There are moments where you have to make a decision about what you’re going to do. Some of them will be hard. Others might be easy. This one? This was a repeat.
When we’d attacked Rook’s base, he’d attempted to shoot a nuclear missile at the League jet—which Haley happened to be flying. Then I’d shot his hand with an explosive bullet or maybe many bullets. At a distance of couple years, I didn’t know anymore.
In that moment I did know I didn’t want Haley and the others to be attacked by things that I knew could cut through their armor. I didn’t have a well thought out reason to do what I did—something like, “Taking out Rook will stop the attack by demoralizing his henchmen.”
After the fight with Jared, I didn’t quite have the energy for that level of thought. Using whatever “powers” I had pulled a lot out of me. I felt like I did after taking a long run.
What I had was a thorough knowledge of what Cassie’s sword could do—cut through anything I’d ever seen—and an awareness that going three or four inches deep into a body was enough to hit something vital. Even though Haley could regenerate, Tara and Vaughn couldn’t and it wouldn’t be too hard to cause more damage than she could repair in time.
I fired off two killbots, aiming one at Rook’s head and the other at his chest.
They both hit. It didn’t go as planned.
Though I couldn’t see it until it hit, the killbot that hit his chest didn’t go through. It hit and stalled before it got through the armor. The one that I’d aimed at his forehead did the same. Before either bot could explode, both of them glowed and turned to dust.
It may have been the tiredness, but at first, none of that made any sense. A moment later, it became obvious.
There were countermeasures that worked against killbots. They were based on the same technology that was used in Cassie’s sword. When I’d gone to space, I’d learned that the Abominators had used it as well, but that they’d figured out countermeasures and then people stopped using it as weapons technology.
I’d actually given one to a genetically modified human called Four Hands who thought it was the time to bring it back to fight the human heirs to the Abominators’ civilization.
I doubted that Four Hands had given the secret to Rook. He didn’t need to. Rook had figured out the basics on his own and then worked the countermeasures into his own armor. It made sense. In his position, I might have done the same thing if I’d known that the owner of Captain Commando’s sword might come looking for me.
Too bad I hadn’t thought of that earlier. I’d known that the killbots’ monomolecular blades wore out, but hadn’t designed my suit or anyone else’s with that in mind.
I hoped that none of us died. On some level, it would be my fault for not thinking things through.
Even as that thought went through my brain, my implant offered up information on the other effect I’d seen—the killbots’ disintegration. I’d thought of it as an entropy shield in the sense that it increased entropy. The implant referred to it as a disintegration field—which was more precise in terms of what it did.
I’d seen it in operation when the Hrrnnna attacked Dr. Griffin’s lab.
My suit didn’t have countermeasures for that. I wasn’t going to be able to get close or trust that my bots would survive hitting him.
The rest of Rook’s henchmen—two of them—and the remaining bots began to move toward me, obscuring Rook from my view.
Grateful that the Rocket suit did most of the work, I shot upward while talking over the comm as fast as I could. “Rook’s here. He’s sending people down for you and they can cut through my armor.”
“Are you okay?” Haley sounded out of breath.
“Fine,” I said, continuing with the words, “for now,” in my head where she couldn’t hear them.
The crowbots and the two henchmen flew up after me, but slow enough that I could take a shot at Rook with the laser.
Rook’s chest and head were wide open from the angle I moved to, but to aim, I had to move my arm and while the suit did most of the work being tired made it harder to hold the arm still.
I kept the laser on, raking the beam in his direction, but still missed even though I did cut into one of the crowbots. The bot’s wing burned, revealing that it had layers of a shiny substance under the outer layer.
Grandpa used that same technique. For that matter the material of my Rocket suit used a variation on that same technology.
It didn’t matter though. That’s something I could punch through as long as I could keep the beam on it for long enough.