A Kind of Small Crow: Part 7

Unfortunately, it was also an idea that I had to use quickly instead of thinking through the implications.

The last time I’d pointed the guitar’s explosive end at a guy in powered armor, it had nearly killed him. Only Alex’s ability to heal had kept the man from bleeding out.

Alex wasn’t anywhere around here. I definitely wasn’t going to have time to fly to California to pick him up.

But still…

I spun around as Rook came within range. We were four hundred feet above the ground by then.

Cars and buildings created lines of light on the ground, the nearest streets clogged with vehicles.

I aimed the guitar’s body at Rook, clicked the spot on my glove that fired off the guitar’s explosive filled end.

If the neck hadn’t been broken, I would have activated it by smacking it against the ground, pulling it back up, and pointing at the target. I’d allowed for a back up activation route through the glove/helmet. It worked, but wasn’t nearly as cool.

The end separated from the main body in a blast of fire. I could feel the heat on my hands as the body fell apart.

The (now wedge-shaped) missile streaked across the distance, surrounded by fire, and exploding right in front of Rook—if things worked correctly. I’d tried to give Rook extra space.

The idea was to damage the armor, not kill him.

Rook saw it before it exploded, and tried to dodge. That was par for the course.

Flaming guitars aren’t subtle weapons.

He didn’t dodge quickly enough though. A blast of flame that my helmet mostly blocked out covered the upper half of Rook’s body. He’d managed to get one wing partly in the way, but that wasn’t enough.

When my helmet readjusted to the darkness, chunks of the metal (I assumed) wing were missing. Plus the blast had knocked him backward, and he struggled to stay in the air.

OK, that was an extremely charitable way to put. More accurately?

He tumbled.

He fell.

He hit the roof of Grand Lake Marina Supplies building. It was inevitable. We hadn’t done any appreciable property damage yet.

I began to descend. I doubted Rook was down. I wouldn’t be down in either version of the Rocket suit. If you’ve got any sense, you design powered armor to handle a fall—especially if you know you’ll be flying.

On the other hand, I wanted to make sure Courtney was still alive.

Even if Rook wasn’t down, we still might be able to get away. Anyway, going up against Rook in the stealth suit minus the guitar wasn’t the smartest idea.

I pointed myself toward the gas station, swooped down, pulled myself into an upright position, and landed.

Courtney stood next to the concrete pillar with Haley and Travis, both of them in costume. I didn’t see the Wolfmobile, but they had tipped the van upright.

The cars in the intersection were moving a little.

“Is he down?” Travis asked.

“For now,” I said. “I saw him hit the next building over, but I don’t know for sure.”

I pointed my finger toward where he’d fallen.

Travis glanced over there. “Why don’t you know for sure? That’s not something you can leave to chance. I thought I’d help Storm King, but we can’t leave Rook. We’ve got to make sure he’s not going to get up.”

Night Wolf,” Haley said, sounding irritated.

“He’s out of my league without the full suit,” I said. “Plus, he trashed my guitar. We need to get out of here.”

Courtney stepped away from the pillar. “I’m for going. I’m useless in a fight.”

“Not completely,” I began, but Travis held up his hand, and I stopped.

Haley turned toward the fan store next to the Lakeside Lounge, and I expected to see Rook flying toward us from there somehow–even though it was on the other side of the street.

He didn’t.

Courtney looked toward the fan store, and then quickly over toward the Lakeside Lounge. “Do you hear engines?”

My immediate response would have been, “Which engines?” Even if they were moving, cars were backed up as far as I could see.

Vaughn flew out from behind the Lounge, and he wasn’t alone. Three more people in armor like Rook’s followed him.

He turned, flying over the road, and pointing a hand backwards.

Lightning hit the first one, doing no damage that I could see.

Rook’s people replied with automatic weapons fire.

13 thoughts on “A Kind of Small Crow: Part 7”

  1. Ahh, but all you have to do is point out that you’ve killed rook and they’ll most likely pack up & leave……
    remember, henchmen (henchpersons?) are glorified mercs…they work for money. Their loyalty is bought, not earned. No employer = no pay = no fight.


  2. Well this is getting dicey. they better hope the FBI that’s supposed to be keeping tabs on them shows up soon. or it would be cool if Dixe Bell showed up. she would trash this guys easy.

  3. @Mycroft
    You assume they’re working FOR Rook, as opposed to WITH him. Rook is working with the 9 on this, so regardless of their precise employment status, these Rookies have to answer to what amounts to the Legion of Doom. The scary version, not the silly Superfriends version. I doubt they take failure lightly.

  4. Pinkhair/Hg: Rook and the Rookies sounds almost like it should have been a band from the 1960’s.

    Mycroft/Luke: The Nine are supposed to be similar to one of those big supervillain organizations like the Legion of Doom or possibly Hydra or something like that.

    Rain: Of course, the FBI really doesn’t generally take on supervillains directly. Usually, they call in supers when they get out of their depth.

  5. And to think, they scoffed at my plan to build a giant mechanical octopus to fight off Rook. Well, looks like they could use more arms now, doesn’t it?


    Besides, as I’ve mentioned before, rooks are a bird that is known for its grouping. A parliament of rooks. We all know the best way to defeat a parliament, don’t we?

    *Slides a Guy Fawkes mask over his face and calmly walks underneath the whole group of them, wheeling a barrel in front of him. As he goes over a bump, the “gunpowder” sign falls off, revealing words “Drunken Winston Churchills – One Barrel.”*

  6. Damn you Jim! I was all jazzed at the way Nick bombed Rook, and then you bust out with MORE of them.

    Are you actively trying to see if you get somebody reading your story to pass out from cliffhanger-induced stress??

  7. Heh. “It was inevitable. We hadn’t done any appreciable property damage yet.” Yeah, there’s only so much you can do when the fight isn’t out in a field somewhere. I was wondering if we’d see the guitar’s final blow again – too bad it’s not a duplicate this time around. I do think Nick’s reticence is problematic – yet justified – in terms of giving Rook “extra space”… the guy seems to have the same tech savvy, with less conscience.

  8. “I’d tried to give Rook extra space.” WTF
    I really really hope 1 of them dies to the nine. Maybe Haley.. with Travis in the team she’s redundant anyway.

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