Armory met them in front of the hangar. He had Lim and Cheryl with him, each one guarded by a security guard in armor.
More armored security guards stood around Armory, all of them in silver except for a couple whose armor had referee stripes on the top. Larry wondered what it would be like to be those guys—dealing with a real security problem while dressed to manage a game.
Standing behind all of them, Neil Sloan stood just to the side of the hangar. Larry mentally marked the spot, and checked his helmet’s panoramic vision of his surroundings. The earth elemental had followed him and stood behind him on the runway. It wasn’t close, but it was close enough to strike if it came to that.
So basically Armory had taken hostages to encourage his good behavior—except he didn’t realize that all Larry had to do to even the odds was wait. He had six minutes before the Rocket showed up. He could figure out a way to kill six minutes.
He turned on the radio. It was already set to the frequency, he’d used to talk to Alexis on the moon. Killing the external speakers, he said, “Alexis, how are you doing?”
“I am feeling better. My armor protected me. Do you need me to target Armory or the brujo?”
Not moving at all, Larry said, “Not yet. I’m thinking all we have to do is stall for a few minutes. After that we’ll either blow this pop stand, or be in the middle of a big fight. If a fight breaks out, take out anyone you can, but warn me before you take out the bru… That’s Sloan, right?”
A new voice broke in—Len’s—amplified by his Armory suit. “Thought you’d have a few more words for me, Rhino. You had a lot more to say earlier.”
Larry said, “I was saving them up. Didn’t want to use them all at once.”
Armory turned toward him, and the Frog suit’s HUD pointed out that areas all over Len’s powered armor were heating up—not instantly to dangerous levels, but obviously weapons were ready.
“Do you have anything else to say? Because I’m feeling a lot better now. I think it’s clear now who gets to use my technology—anyone who pays the price. Tell that to the people who sent you, and stay out of my way.”
Not for the first time, Larry noted that Len was a lot nicer when he thought he was winning.
Larry nodded, letting the Frog suit move enough to duplicate his motion. “Great. I’ve got your message. I’ll be happy to bring it back. We’ve got a little problem though. It looks like your people trashed our plane. Any of you want to give us a lift home? Otherwise we’re stuck here, and we won’t have anything to do but watch the fights, drink and make trouble.”
He didn’t expect Armory to actually help, but it’d be funny to watch him work out his answer.
Armory eyed him, lowering his helmet to make eye contact. “I’m sure we can find a way get you off the island-even if you have to swim.”
The nearest security guard said, “Sir, headquarters says that the rest of them can go free, but Cheryl has to stay.”
Cheryl said, “What?”
“And,” the guard continued, “we’re supposed to bring her back to the arena now, sir.”
The guard next to her grabbed her arm, as she said, “Hey, Ron, is that you in there? Dammit, I know you. You know this place is connected to the mob. What do you think they’re going to do if you bring me back there?”
The guard didn’t say anything.
Armory said, “What are they going to do with her?”
“I don’t know, sir, but I have to bring her back now.”
Armory turned his armor’s helmet toward the guard in a way that would have been comical if it had happened any other time.
The guard pulled Cheryl to the side of his armor, saying, “I have to go, sir.”
Cheryl turned her head toward Larry. “Are you going to do something?”
Over his radio, Larry said, “If you’ve got the shot, take the shot. Brujo, Armory, whatever.”
From the jungle came the sound of two simultaneous thumping noises. Armory fell, landing on his back. Sloan pitched forward, landing on his face, his legs flying out from under him.
Larry jumped forward, landing in front of the guard carrying Cheryl, and grabbing his helmet. Then he squeezed.
The guard let go of her immediately, and she fell to the ground.
Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed the guard still holding Lim’s arm. Lim had enough freedom of movement to pull a gun out of his jacket. It wasn’t a normal gun either. Silver with a cigar shaped barrel, it looked a ray gun from an old science fiction movie.
He pointed it at the guard’s leg, pulled the trigger, and the metal turned to dust.