In a low voice, I asked, “You know this guy?”
Not even looking at me, he said, “You remember Shield? He was my cousin.”
Despite the name, Shield didn’t carry a shield. The idea was that he was everyone’s shield. He’d died in a fight with the Grey Giant when I was starting high school. Kid Biohack would have been starting college. I didn’t know how old Shield had been, but I had the feeling that he’d been just starting his career.
I opened my mouth to say I was sorry and maybe find a way to tactfully remind him that we were here to delay the Grey Giant, not kill him. I didn’t get the chance. Kid Biohack ran straight toward the Grey Giant, hitting his leg and knocking it out from under him.
I had to jump sideways to avoid having the Grey Giant fall on me. I landed next to the work area closest to the wall, avoiding a mech’s half-constructed frame, but denting a metal cabinet. They’d have a job getting that one open again—though I couldn’t say I felt bad about it.
The Grey Giant wasn’t so lucky. He fell face-first into a dumpster full of damaged mech parts and packaging. It would be nice to think that hurt him, but it didn’t.
It hurt the dumpster. The metal screeched as one side bent and hit the concrete floor with the weight of the Grey Giant’s head.
As an opening move, it made a statement. I wasn’t sure what the precise statement was, but I knew one thing. It wasn’t the kind of statement that helped create quiet conversations that distracted the Grey Giant from doing his job.
If anything, the statement was something like, “Watch me kick your ass,” and while it did distract the Grey Giant from his job, it was because it made him want to murder everything within reach. At least that’s what I assumed from the way he bellowed and pushed himself up, not seeing Kid Biohack, but seeing me.
He swung at me with his right hand, missing, but only because he started the swing while getting up and I saw it out of the corner of my eye.
I engaged the rockets and shot halfway down the room where I flipped over, turned around, and landed. Roaring, the Grey Giant ran after me—except it wasn’t me he was going for. Kid Biohack had stopped almost as far from him as I had and now he was running back toward the guy.
He turned into a silver blur as he ran down the room’s middle aisle straight for the standing giant. I half-expected him to knock down the Grey Giant again, but instead, the Grey Giant whipped his arm out, smacking Kid Biohack sideways, throwing him through a working area, knocking down a half-constructed mech, a pile of mech armor plates, and denting a metal cabinet so deeply that he reached the concrete wall behind it—which cracked.
Kid Biohack didn’t get up, but he did move his arms and legs, beginning to push himself up on all fours. The Grey Giant laughed and began to run toward him.
I say began because I fired off a bunch of boombots, aiming them at the giant’s eyes where they erupted in a series of explosions. I hadn’t had anything like them the first time I fought the guy and maybe I should have given some thought as to whether or not I might blind him forever if I did that.
I didn’t, but he was just fine for some value of fine.
He screamed and brought his hands up to his eyes, wiping out ash and boombot bits. Then he screamed again, this one deep enough that I could feel it vibrate my suit. It wasn’t loud enough to be a sonic attack, but still…
Then he looked toward where he’d hit Kid Biohack, following the trail of destruction with his eyes, staring at the smashed and dented remains of the metal cabinet and cracked wall. Kid Biohack wasn’t there. While the Grey Giant wiped his eyes, he’d run through the room, stopping at a work area behind me, leaning against the wooden tabletop, breathing heavily.
So that was one time when he could have died. Given that he was hurt, it seemed likely there would be more.
It was time to start fighting to win—which was easier said than done. The last time we’d fought the Grey Giant, the only one of us who was able to hurt him had been Cassie using her father’s sword. Shocked by its ability to cut into his leg, he’d run away only to be taken out by the Midwest Defenders.
In the meantime, I’d added more options to my suit including killbots that used tech from Cassie’s sword. The Nine had tech that could defeat them, but not everyone did, and that was far from my only option.
The Grey Giant’s head turned away from where Kid Biohack had been and toward me, stopping to stare at Kid Biohack behind. Then he grinned, “There’s not going to be anything left of you but paste.”
With a lurch, he charged us.
Through my comm, I said, “You’re hurt. Go!”
“Give me a second,” he gasped for breath, “I’ll be fine.”
I was already in the air by then and didn’t have time to argue. The Grey Giant had covered half the distance to us. I flew toward him, turning on my blinding light show when I reached the level of his head. As he shielded his eyes with one hand, I activated the sonics, aiming them at his head.