She pushed the button.
All the voices disappeared into static along with the displays in the helmet and every light in the armor. As of that moment, she was alone in front of the exit to HQ, and not standing either.
She didn’t know what the suit did to help her stay balanced, but whatever it was, it had to be electrical because moments after the lights faded she fell over backwards.
Taking stock of the situation, she stared upward. Stars peeked through the leaves and branches, visible in the dusk.
Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 16
“Grandpa,” Chris said, “your pacemaker?”
Kayla could imagine Cannon shaking his head as he replied. “Between the distance and my armor, the pacemaker should be fine.”
“No,” Chris said, “this doesn’t sound like a good idea. I can take it in, and get out. I don’t have any missiles left and low on power, so I’m not going to get into fights. I’ll run.”
C talked over everyone. “Good so far, but I think we’re going to need everybody we’ve got left. I’d say send in the ship, both Man-machines, get their attention, and place the device. It doesn’t matter which of you does it. Get everyone in the jet, and then set the device off. The jet will survive that, right?”
Not waiting for anyone else, Cannon said, “It will. I tried hitting it with the anti-electronics effect back in the 70’s. The shields absorbed it. I’m not even sure they knew they were hit.” Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 15
Cannon’s voice was a little distorted as it came through the speakers. “Give me a second. I think I’m passing some rock.”
He paused. “Are you all still there?”
Almost everyone said, “Yes.”
“It shouldn’t be hard now that you’re here,” Cannon said.
Kayla guessed he meant C.
Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 14
“No extra beans,” Kayla said. “Got it.”
She looked down at the gun. It had two grips. The trigger and guard were on the back one. the front grip had a line of buttons on the side. Above them, it said, “Extra,” followed by “Beans,” “Cheese,” “Chunky Salsa,” “Green Sauce,” “Red Sauce,” and “Shell.”
Thinking back to English composition class from last semester, she wondered what Chekov would do if he saw a burrito gun hanging on the wall in Act 1 of a play.
Probably kill himself, she imagined.
Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 13
“Where?” Haley asked. She wasn’t whispering.
“Above the forest. Right in the middle. It’s kind of close to the forest entrance to HQ.”
Haley’s eyes dipped toward the instrument panel. “The AI sees it, and it thinks it’s going to move…”
On the screen, the League jet exited the water, covered in panes of darkness, aiming toward the forest. The white beam, painfully bright even on the screen, aimed off to the side of where HQ’s scanner had identified it as an anomaly.
Above the forest, a silvery shape flickered, resolving into the aliens rectangular landing craft with a long burn down the craft’s side, and a blackened hole three quarters from the back. Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 9
Then the man appeared. Wearing a black helmet with a transparent faceplate, the alien commander had thick features, somewhere between handsome and Neanderthal. Kayla wouldn’t have looked twice at him on the street.
Then he opened his mouth. His teeth were like a wolf’s—all points, ready to rip and tear.
She thought about how much it would suck to be his dentist, choking down a giggle while reprimanding herself in her head. What was she, ten?
The newscaster’s voice said, “The alien ship hovering over New York City broadcast this message moments ago.”
In a scratchy voice with an unidentifiable accent, the commander said, “You will give us the alien devices. They are not yours, and will only cause you trouble. Give them to us, and we will tell no one. Keep them from us, and we will burn your cities to the ground.”
His nostrils flared and he sniffed in a movement that reminded Kayla of Travis and Haley.
Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 8
“One more thing,” Haley said. “The armor Chris made for you back when we fought the Cabal is still here, right?”
Kayla said, “Yes,” hoping her voice didn’t sound like she was thinking what she was actually thinking–that this was getting worse and worse.
Haley glanced toward the hangar where they’d kept it, and said, “If it sounds like they’re coming down here put it on. It might make the difference between living or dying.”
“But I was awful in it. I was useless. I don’t like fighting. I’m fine helping you coordinate, but I don’t train all the time like you do.”
Kayla put her hands in her lap, suddenly aware that they were shaking.
Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 7
Gerald snorted. “Bet we could get in.”
Kayla felt her jaw drop. “I don’t think that would be—“
“I know. I know!” Gerald shook his head. “Even if they helped it wouldn’t be worth it. I saw what they did to people in the end. We’re all better off dead than that. I was speaking hypothetically. I saw the fight with the robots on the news. Nick’s been working with his grandfather’s mono-molecular blade tech. Chances are he’s got a prototype lying around.”
Marcus smiled, and leaned forward at the table. “He made a jackknife. I came down here once when he showed me. That wasn’t the best part though. The best part was when he forgot it was on and it cut through the table. He grabbed it before it went through the floor.”
Haley shook her head. “At least he didn’t cut his fingers off.”
Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 5
Kayla watched as two men in powered armor stepped through the sewer tunnel entrance Sydney and Camille had used.
Both suits were gray with bulky chests, and wide, stubby legs. The chests and legs opened in the front. Chris stepped out first. Dressed in what could best be described as a black flight suit, Chris stood a little over six feet tall.
She knew he’d been shorter than that when she’d last seen him.
He helped his grandfather out of his armor, or tried to. After he had one leg out, Gerald Cannon said, “You can let go, I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure?”
Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 4
“The ship?” Kayla glanced across the room toward the big, metal doors to the hangar.
“Might be,” Haley said, and sighed. “There’s a lot of stuff in the base, and I don’t know what a quarter of it is. The Rocket would know. Oh… Could you ask the jet to check out the ship?”
Kayla said, “Ok,” and began to move her mouse pointer toward the jet’s icon.
She only made it halfway when the jet’s square started blinking, and a message appeared.
Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 3