Category Archives: Arc 5.0: A Kind of Small Crow

A Kind of Small Crow: Part 10

The flunky started hitting himself, and screaming, his voice reminding me again that this was Davis, the guy who’d made the offer to Courtney.

I wondered for a moment how much damage I wanted to do to him. I had questions for him, after all, but that didn’t matter as much as I’d have thought.

Rook’s suits were pretty well constructed.

The bots wedged themselves into cracks, but they did a lot more damage to the powered armor than the person inside. Plus, after the first wave, I brought in a wave of EMP bots.

The first wave withdrew as the second settled on him. He stopped hitting himself for a moment, and adjusted his footing, probably in preparation for attacking me—or possibly escaping.

Then the EMP bots exploded. Continue reading A Kind of Small Crow: Part 10

A Kind of Small Crow: Part 9

Too quickly for me to see anything but a blur, Travis punched the guy in the face—if you could call a beaked helmet a face.

His punch hit the right cheek, denting it, and twisting the beak. The helmet made a crunching noise, and bent backward. It didn’t seem to bend further back than a human head could, but it didn’t seem to be capable of bending forward anymore.

Not that that mattered. Travis’ punch had knocked the guy backward. Continue reading A Kind of Small Crow: Part 9

A Kind of Small Crow: Part 8

I couldn’t see it happen, but at least one of the bullets hit. Vaughn fell, or maybe more accurately, lost control.

He flipped over a few times, dropping dangerously low. I would have lost track of him if it weren’t for the sonar built in to the stealth suit’s helmet.

His black costume blended into the night, but the helmet outlined his body, showing him as he nearly hit Grand Lake Marina Supplies. I say “nearly hit” because he didn’t.

He swerved right just as he was about to hit the “G” in Grand Lake.

Continue reading A Kind of Small Crow: Part 8

A Kind of Small Crow: Part 7

Unfortunately, it was also an idea that I had to use quickly instead of thinking through the implications.

The last time I’d pointed the guitar’s explosive end at a guy in powered armor, it had nearly killed him. Only Alex’s ability to heal had kept the man from bleeding out.

Alex wasn’t anywhere around here. I definitely wasn’t going to have time to fly to California to pick him up.

But still… Continue reading A Kind of Small Crow: Part 7

A Kind of Small Crow: Part 6

When the laser hit, Rook’s armor glowed, reflecting the light, but not entirely. In fact, not for very long at all.

The laser drilled through, and light came out the other side.

Rook screamed, and I stopped firing, backing up, pulling my shoulder away from the claw that had pierced almost all the way to my skin.

Rook took a step toward me, but nearly fell over, his leg wobbling.

I tried to think of the next step.

Continue reading A Kind of Small Crow: Part 6

A Kind of Small Crow: Part 5

I grabbed the handle, and the door opened even as something in the back of my head suggested that he’d have expected us to run out the back.

Unwilling to randomly spray whatever was out there with the guitar’s laser, I aimed a wide angle sonic blast out the door with the speakers on both arms. Set at a frequency that generally set electronics to vibrate, the sonics had the potential to be devastating—provided we were facing rook-shaped robots.

If there were people out there, the best I could hope for was nuking their iPhone.

Continue reading A Kind of Small Crow: Part 5

A Kind of Small Crow: Part 4

I hung sideways, and it wasn’t very comfortable. The stealth suit had hardened where it hit the seat belt and the right armrest, so nothing hurt.

I turned my head to check how Courtney was doing. I’d heard her hit the door, but she moved, and illuminated by the dashboard lights, I could see her turn her head upward toward me.

“Are you okay?” She asked. Continue reading A Kind of Small Crow: Part 4

A Kind of Small Crow: Part 3

They went for the windshield first, and if it had been normal glass, it would have shattered.

It was transparent aluminum—kind of. Grandpa came up with a transparent metal alloy that included aluminum, and I was glad he had. It bought us some time.

I pressed the button that electrified the outside of the van.

A black bird dove, hitting the windshield with its beak, and leaving a divot in the middle of the windshield.

Courtney and I jumped back in our chairs as it hit, and watched as it became outlined in bluish-white, crackling electricity.

It fell, spasming.

Continue reading A Kind of Small Crow: Part 3

A Kind of Small Crow: Part 2

I wasn’t worried about the communicators’ encryption. I’d only put them together last spring. It wasn’t as if they were old League technology that everyone had analyzed thirty years ago.

Maybe I should have been worried more. The communicators were based on the roachbots, and Grandpa had designed the first versions of the roachbots in the 1950’s as mobile bugging devices.

I’d updated them substantially over the past year though. Grandpa’s design survived only in the most general terms.

All the details of the current systems were mine.

Of course, the communicators still connected to the League’s old alert system. That might be a vulnerability.

Continue reading A Kind of Small Crow: Part 2

A Kind of Small Crow: Part 1

As always, Jefferson Street was a zoo. It probably had the most fast food restaurants and chain stores of any street in the city. At ten or eleven at night, the traffic became bearable—it wasn’t bumper to bumper anymore.

I brought the van to a stop on the other side of the road from the one with Lakeside Lounge–four lanes worth of cars and semi-trucks away.

We were next to a Subway, a shoe store, and Grand Lake Marina Supplies. That last store took up most of the space. Even though the store had closed, the lights were still on, and I could look in at speed boats, engines, water-skis and other gear.

Continue reading A Kind of Small Crow: Part 1