Then the word, “Breach” appeared in my HUD along with, “Stopping bleeding. Repairing suit.”
By that, I understood that that the bot had made it all the way through both the full Rocket armor and the stealth suit. From the pinprick of pain and the fact I could still move my arm, I guessed that it wasn’t that bad.
Then I felt a cool sticky liquid hit and solidify as the padding around my bicep exuded a substance that coated my arm, preventing more bleeding.
The words, “Expelling foreign matter,” appeared in my HUD and the killbot fell out, falling toward the trees. It appeared to have been stopped by some combination of sonic damage, the EMP bots, and my armor. The suit’s material might be enough to wear out the monomolecular blades faster, but it had a better chance if the killbot were damaged.
Between learning that Rook’s armor included first aid materials, having my arm nearly cooked through by a dragon, and participating in a small guerrilla war over the summer, I’d been giving more thought to injuries. Even if it wouldn’t help against dragon breath, stopping bleeding had been on my list.
Even as I tried to understand whether or not the bot had shot through my arm, I was already doing my best not to have it happen a second time. I aimed myself away from the group of henchmen and crowbots, spraying them with the sonics in the hope that I’d damage them more.
The two henchmen didn’t follow me. They dived into the forest where I’d seen Rook fall. Though I didn’t think I’d regret it if it turned out that I’d killed him, I doubted that I had. The fact that the crowbots kept on following made me suspect that he was alive, but I didn’t have time to follow up on it.
With the crowbots behind me, I had to make a choice. Did I want to outfly them and join everyone on the ground or should I take out the crowbots first?
I decided it would be better for everyone if I reduced the number of enemies, preferably without dying. I felt confident that Rook would load his bots with more killbots than I would.
Giving the rockets more fuel, I felt myself shoot forward. As my stomach seemed to sink inside me, I targeted the crows with my own boombots. Watching through my HUD, I saw one of the bots hit a crowbot dead on and explode. I’d set them to target where the wings joined the body if they could and it had.
The bot fell, one wing blown to bits and the other still on and flapping.
The other boombot hit and the crow exploded in a series of booms and balls of fire that extended twenty feet in every direction. I could only guess what Rook had intended with that bot.
The other three had been a little ahead of the crowbot when it exploded, disappearing from sight in the blast, but righting themselves and flying after me.
Knowing that my suit flew faster than the crowbots, I accelerated to give myself some space, and then jinked right and a little down to see if I could line the bots up. I couldn’t get all three in a line, but I got two.
I fired off a killbot, watching it hit the side of one crowbot and then the other. They both fell out of the sky. The bullet made it halfway into the third bot’s outer skin and then exploded.
It didn’t take the bot down. The crowbot flipped sideways and seemed to tumble, but then righted itself—though the beating of its wings seemed a little off even if I couldn’t say how. Before I could take advantage of that, the barrel in its chest fired off one killbot and then another. I didn’t notice it. My implant did and notified me. Knowing it, I activated the sonics at tech destroying frequencies and pushed my rockets to their maximum possible speed.
EMPbots might have been better, but I’d already used more than I wanted to.
Assisted by my implant, I saw the moment where the first killbot got into range of the sonics, spontaneously started to smoke, and fell out of the air. The second killbot swung sideways, forcing me to adjust the sonics’ targeting, and making me wonder if the killbots were controlled by a person or an AI.
Either way, the bot was getting closer. Did this one have extra fuel and speed? Either way, I didn’t like it, but recognized the cleverness in the inconsistency.
I aimed the sonics at it, widening the area of effect so that I wouldn’t have to be as accurate, and twisting left, forcing the bot to change direction. The crowbot followed it.
Both of them lost ground on me. I sent another blast of sonics in their direction, getting another comm call as I aimed, which was annoying.
“Incoming!” Cassie shouted. Below me, a burst of light appeared in the forest.
In that moment, Cassie connected directly to my implant from hers, allowing another voice into my consciousness.
HA-HA! BURN, PRIMITIVE!
With that, a beam of burning light shot upward from the ground, disintegrating tree branches and the remaining crowbot. I hoped Cassie wouldn’t let her gun talk to me during the entire battle.