Demo: Part 19

Wind hit me, and a lot of it. It wasn’t a well considered blast either, throwing me toward the bleachers.

I hit the force field hard. Unsurprisingly, I could see it coming at me better with sonar than I would have with my eyes. With my eyes it was almost transparent. With sonar, it was simply a wall.

The field gave a little as I hit it, but not much. I bounced off, and since I was still pointing in the direction of team one’s flag, I kept on going.

Aiming toward the flag in its stone pillar, I moved away from the force field, and over the edge of the stone arena we were supposed to stay inside. Not coincidentally, I also happened to be directly above the stone ball track.

I say “not coincidently” because the moment I crossed over the track I saw a ball rolling in my direction. That wasn’t a big deal because it wasn’t as if balls could fly, and I was well above the track—except apparently, it wasn’t that simple.

The ball hit something and shot upward at exactly the right moment—when it would be at the right angle to hit me, but too close for me to dodge.

It hit my chest, throwing me upward, and into a tumble. The ground, and the sky alternated from one to the other, blurry gray stone to blurry gray sky.

Not sure if I could think straight enough to avoid hitting the ground, I clicked the “hover” command on my palm. Then the rocket pack started turning on and off, not thrusting except when my tumbles pointed me upward.

Soon I found myself hovering above the arena. It hadn’t taken long.

All the same, it didn’t change the fact that Slugger and Gordon had already reached our side of the arena and were fighting with Rod, Samita, and Tara.

I also knew I couldn’t pay attention to it, and would have to trust them to handle it.

I dove toward their flag, wondering how Sean, Stephanie and Blue Mask would try to stop me. Of course I didn’t just dive.

I also opened up on them.

I’d loaded up the Rocket suit with non-lethal ammunition—basically goobots and nothing else. The ten goobots I’d used against Gordon would have been excessive under normal circumstances, but today I had goobots to burn, or more to the point, not burn. If I wanted to burn things, I’d have been loaded up with high explosive rounds.

Not that it would have been a good idea.

Stephanie had been standing between me and the flag, strange symbols all over her suit blazing. I couldn’t see the symbols, but the suit’s thermal cameras supplied enough detail to the HUD that I could tell her devices were warm.

The HUD also showed a brief notification that I’d been hit with a sonic attack, but there was no detected damage so far. Unfortunately the sonic attack had been within the ranges I often used to attack people’s technology.

Stephanie never saw the bots coming. One moment she stood with her suit awash in the glow of multiple devices. The next saw her covered with goo. Strands ran down her body and stuck to the stone floor below us.

Blue Mask had been standing next to Stephanie. Well, I thought he had, but he didn’t get hit. Steel flashed as he batted the goobots out of the air, sometimes slicing them in half with his sword.

That’s when I realized that I could barely see.

The grey dust Sean had ben controlling completely surrounded me. Worse, the dust wasn’t any easier to see through with the sonics, radar, or thermal imaging.

I guessed that it had to be magnetite, but powdering iron would have the same effect.

That’s the moment when the suit reported that there had been some damage from the sonic blast after all. It had damaged the fuel control mechanism. It didn’t say which part, and I made a mental note to remind myself to write more fine grained error messages in the future.

All the same, I told myself, I could still fly, so whatever had happened, it couldn’t be that bad.

Naturally, that was the moment when the fuel cut out, giving me the notification, “out of fuel.”

Except for the fact that I was falling, this was no big deal. The armor would repair itself with the exception of a few parts, and the fuel control mechanism wasn’t one of the exceptions.

I hit the ground on the other side of the flag, skidding and bumping, until I finally hit one of the rectangular stone barriers.

Barely visible through the dust, Blue Mask charged me, sword drawn. Sean stood next to the flag, teeth clenched, probably concentrating.

The suit gave me a notification.

Self-repair processes halted

11 thoughts on “Demo: Part 19”

  1. You know I don’t try for really “cliffhangery” cliffhangers. In fact, I try not to use them too often. This, however, appears to be one of them. Honestly, I’m not actually trying to make things go completely wrong here. That said, there are specific instances where the self-repairing processes of his suit don’t work. We’ve just hit one.

    Anyway, please vote on Top Web Fiction.

  2. Oh no, cliffhanger!

    Blue Mask can probably cut Nick, seeing as he can cut the goobots, so Nick is in pretty serious danger here. He can’t fly out, assuming he can’t use the nanobots as fuel. So, I guess he’s going to use the sonics, or perhaps lasers to blind Blue Mask with the light?

    dwwolf mentioned ‘brown note’, which reminds me that there’s a frequency to get your opponents to void their bowels. If he uses that on Sean, I doubt that he’ll forgive Nick. Hopefully he’ll just use something painful enough to break his concentration.

    You know, since Nick, as a hero, fights mostly non-lethally, even if he does so against people with super durability a lot, he should get some more efficient non-lethal tactics. Something to destroy concentration on almost everybody without killing them. Like putting them in constant pain, or perpetual itchiness, or uncontrollable laughter.

  3. Hmm, brown note.

    something tells me that the shielding protecting the politicos on the bleachers may not block this……

  4. Sean concentrating? presumably he’s fine-tuned his abilities to be able to focus purely on the self repair bots then?

  5. Hrm. “The ground, and the sky alternated from one to the other, blurry gray stone to blurry blue sky.”

    Jim, I didn’t think his suit was displaying real colors here. Did the sonics and radar fail here, giving him real vision, briefly, or?

  6. Also, Nick went from being surrounded by magnetite or iron dust and not being able to see, to suddenly being able to see again. Did he turn off his radar and sonar, and switch to normal visuals, since Stephanie was covered with goo? A film of dust thick enough to interfere with sensors might also be thin enough to see through with standard vision?

    Also, Nick mentions four people from his team, and all five from the other. Sneaky, sneaky, Jim 🙂

  7. Believe me, Jim, I know brain farts.

    I wrote a fanfiction of Wile E. Coyote entering the Wormverse a few weeks ago. He was mute (I know the cartoon Wile E. wasn’t fully mute, but I made my version mute) I brain-farted so much, having him talk.

    It’s SO HARD to write a character who is missing a critical ability we take for granted. When you start messing with such things, you open yourself up to all kinds of mistakes if you aren’t real careful.

    And then, hopefully, your fans poke you about them 🙂

  8. While Blue mask seems the more immediate threat, I really think that he needs to take out Sean. Sean is interferring with the Rocket suit, and that is the bigger threat. If Nick takes out Sean he will have a better chance of taking out Blue Mask. If Nick can’t overcome the interference, he won’t be able to handle Blue Mask as the suits integrity deteriorates.

    Of course as long as Nick keeps them occupied long enough for Blood Maiden to grab the flag it may be a mute point.

    THE ROCKET is the BIG HERO, and so is the big target. This would make him a great diversion. He is also obvious and loud.

    I am looking forward to the next entry.

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