MAU: Can't Take The Sky From Me! Chapter -14-

Steven was more confused than ever. Just who in the hell was the woman and the man on the bike?

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. None of the characters, places, or anything else is meant to be represented by anything in reality. Duh! Fiction, get it? I the author reserve the rights, so please don't go posting this anyplace else without my permission. A very special thanks goes out to Cathy who spent the time to make this story readable. Another round of thanks goes out to all the others out there in BCTS land who have encouraged and inspired me to write and keep writing. Any remaining mistakes are all mine.

MAU: Can't Take the Sky From Me!
Chapter 14


Enroute from shopping

Vicinity of Urban Hells Acres

Bridget had no idea how they had blown their cover, but somehow, they had. Perhaps the Iron-Man suit that he was wearing had sensors able to detect the technology they were using.

How, was a question for later. Now, they had to survive. Going home or to the authorities was out. If he turned aggressive like he did with the Air Force then she would only be putting more people in danger, for all it might force him to back off.

Even as she veered off towards her hiding place in the glade, Bridget knew she'd already made her decision. They would have about as much privacy as it was possible to get around here. She could only hope and pray that Steven would listen to reason.

Her face was still hidden by her helmet, so her Bridget identity was still safe. However, she didn't have time to shift it back to near 'his' normal appearance. At this moment she regretted the vanity that made her show off those female curves, even if they were mostly just padding.

“Al” She ordered. “Prepare a mask for me to show a feminine version of 'Griffin's' face. Can you do that?”

“Most assuredly, Ma’am.” Her computerized valet confidently replied. “I'll use one of the intermediate morph images I already have stored.”

“Danny.” She warned her rider. “I'm ducking into the woods here to hide us.”

“That's not going to stop him from following.” He breathlessly replied, while holding onto her for dear life.

“I'm not hiding from him.” She explained. “This is so we can talk this out like reasonable mature people without an audience.”

Bridget hit the lifters lessening their weight as they decelerated hard turning onto the barely visible path.

“This is Steven 'the Perv' we're talking about.” He objected. “You know the one, who twists everything you say so it benefits only himself?”

“What other choice do we have?” She asked, bringing them to a stop. “Hide out in a crowd and hope he doesn't do what he did with the Air Force and freak everyone out?”

“No,” Danny answered. “That would be bad. That really would bring those MIB's down on us.” He dismounted, watching the Iron-Man armor clear the top of the trees and begin to land.

“I don't trust him either.” She said evenly. “This is the best of bad choices.”

“Just keep close to your bike.” Danny advised. “You have my heavier armor design which will offer more protection than our suits. Be ready to use it, just in case.”

“I hear that.” Bridget replied. “Tango is military speak for the letter Tee like in trouble. If you see anything that looks like he's pulling a fast one, shout it out three times and armor up. I'll do the same. You got that Al?”

“Yes Ma'am.” Her computer replied.

As Danny nodded his agreement too, she let out a long slow breath. At least they were partially protected from the wind here in the glade, if not the rain.



The Glade

He was more confused than ever. Just who in the hell was the woman and the man on the bike?

However, the computer was correct. It was anomalous. The motorcycle wasn't producing the heat signature a big bike like that should be emitting. As an engineer, he knew heat and friction were two of the biggest design considerations. They each led to other problems which could cause any machine to fail.

That motorcycle was breaking the rules. According to the thermal scans from his excellent sensor suite, even the wheel hubs were producing near zero heat. That was, of course, nearly impossible given that even the best wheel bearings heated up.

Steven blinked as the riders saw him, and the bike accelerated like a rocket despite the lousy weather. His pulse raced as the chase tempted him forward. His boot repulsors kicked hard. The hunt was on!

It was a disappointment when he saw the riders head into the woods. Swooping over the top on the trees, he spotted them stopping by a waste pond that was near to overflowing from the storm. A scum of trash covered the growing runoff waters.

Together the two dismounted and stood by the motorcycle, waiting for him.

It was unsatisfying that he couldn't just drop from the sky in the patented Iron-Man, shake the earth landing. With the ground this soft, he would only bury himself in the soft soil. So regretfully he had to do a conservative touch down. At least with repulsors he didn't have to worry about sucking debris into a turbine.

Turning up the volume on his microphone, he demanded. “I want to speak with Griffin Morgan.”

“Anything you have to say to him, you can tell me.” The tall woman in the biker leathers announced, raising her visor.

The engineer and designer in him was impressed as the face-shield lifted into position forming a visor protecting her face from the rain. The rest of him was disgusted. This, this … person was clearly the one he was looking for. She could've passed as the 'twin' sister with the strong masculine features smoothed not just into youth, but warped into the fat putty of femininity.

Steven's resolve strengthened. He could fix this. Opening his armor's vents, he concentrated on emitting his pheromones. Hopefully the glade would keep the wind from dispersing it too very badly. Last night his experiment with Brian proved it didn't take much exposure to make someone suggestible.

“Then tell 'him' this.” Steven said, coldly as he raised his own face plate meeting her eye to eye. “He broke in and trespassed on my property and used something that did not belong to him. 'He' will return whatever he made and make amends.”

Even as he spoke, Steven recognized the two in front of him had seen something he'd missed. His surveillance hadn't seen them wheeling a motorcycle out of the MAU, and he was certain they hadn't been back and created it today. He'd made certain his property was well hidden.

No, they had made devices that could make other very useful gadgets that were still far above what earthly technology could accomplish. Once again his focus had betrayed and blinded him to other possibilities. It was all the more reason to get these two back to his house and get the most out of the last few operational hours of his MAU.

“I'll pass along the message.” The woman replied, keeping up the fiction that the boy hadn't, for some unfathomable reason, turned himself into a bitch.

“That's not good enough.” Steven retorted. “If you're standing in for him then you're also taking responsibility for what the 'boy' did. I know you're using technology developed from what was taken from my property. You will come with me back to my house and return every last item.”

The girl shook her head, not so much as saying no she wouldn't, but as if trying to clear it. He grinned inwardly seeing that as a sign his 'mojo' was doing it's stuff.

“Yes,” He said pleased. “You and your friend.” The other boy hadn't said or done anything.

Right then, it all fell apart.



The Glade

Danny had watched all of this with a lot of nervousness. That had changed to confusion when, he saw Bridget wasn't acting quite right. Was this one of her plans?

Distracted by Iron-Man over there making demands, he missed the first blinks of Dr. Otto trying to get his attention. His medical program was on 24/7, monitoring Danny's condition since even cocooned with the protective confines of the suit, his body was still relativity fragile.

After the fifth blink, the audible alarm sounded!

“Caution! Dangerous levels of airborne narcotics detected!” Doc Otto warned.

The list of chemicals, drugs, and steroids ran off his display as he cued it for more information.

“Short answer Doc Otto.” Danny demanded. “What is this stuff and what does it do? We're in a situation here!”

“It's a complicated cocktail of pheromones laced with hallucinogens,and hypnotics.” The medical program replied. “I summarize that it would cause suggestibility, impulsiveness, and possibly sexual arousal.”

“Crap, he's trying to slip us a roofie! Suit us up Jeeves!” Danny yelled out, “Tango, Tango, Tango!”



The Battle of the Glade

“Tango?” Bridget's fogged brain tried to process what she was hearing.

“Yes Ma'am.” Alfred responded. “Activating power armor and defensive programs.”

Her motorcycle snapped about her reinforcing her riding suit with much heavier hard plates and defenses.

“Emergency medical protocols engaged.” Her own medical unit announced.

Her veins felt like ice were being poured down them, but the floaty, half-drowsy feeling was abruptly wiped away.

Focusing her attention on her HUD that had reappeared along with her helmet with her armor activation, she cursed.

'The Perv' had lived up to his reputation by trying to drug her and Danny!

Speaking of which, Steven had taken a step back, probably startled by their armor doing its thing.

His face plate lowered, his armor sealing.

“So that's the way you want to do it.” Steven bought up his repulsors. “I can do that.”

A ripple of fear shocked her even as she half-turned, bringing her arm shields to bear.

“Wait!” She tried one last time to reason with him. “It doesn't have to be like this!”

“Then shut down your armor.” He demanded.

There was only one answer she could give and she knew Danny agreed with her.


The HUD flashed with warning lights as a sledgehammer-like blue beam sent her flying.


501st Legion detachment

With Collective auxiliaries

Enroute to area of operations

Beth stood on the brakes as a black form hurtled across the rain slick road in a crash of splintering trees. Only her Jedi reflexes and reliance on the Force kept them from growing a new unwanted hood ornament.

She didn't fight the wheel as the van slipped and skidded. Guided by the Force, she danced the van in a un-choreographed production of physics and conservation of momentum. Their dizzying spin lost the last of its energy leaving them upright and parked by the side of the road as if Beth had planned that all along.

“Oh shit!” The Stormtrooper Sergeant spoke for them all. “I think someone started the show without us.”

Looking down the path of broken and smashed trees from which the flying projectile they fortunately didn't see any wrecked structures. Like out of some comedy routine they turned to look in the other direction where amazingly the crashed figure stood.

It was all black and between seven and eight feet tall. A pair of folding wings at the shoulders doubled as arm shields while a large vector thrust unit on the back promised agility along with flight capabilities.

The corporal identified it with a little awe. “SAMAS armor from the Rifts role-playing game.”

Twisting their heads, everyone followed it as it leaped back over the van heading back the way it came. No one missed it unshipping the large tri-barrel gun nor the thunderous roar that drowned out even the storm.

“Everyone out!” The Sergeant shook off his shock. “Kolawaski get a lock on that target!”

“We have a contact!” Beth told Sean over their com-link. “SAMAS powered armor from some Rifts game. It's in combat with an unknown opponent. Here's my location.” She hit the button to squirt him their coordinates.”We're going in.”

“Best to follow the debris path.” The Sergeant said, putting on his helmet, “It's the straightest path to the action, although following the road around might be faster.”

“But that would expose us to being seen by the civilians.” She finished for him, snapping on her utility belt.

“You ready for this?” She asked Danni, who hadn't said a thing the whole time.

“I've communicated with our Klingon warriors.” The Borg woman replied calmly.

“We're fully prepared.” She pulled up the hood of her Vulcan style cloak as her two drones did the same.

“Good,” Beth held her light saber by her side, staring at the broken rough trail. It would not be easy going. “Sergeant move us out!”



Battle of the Glade

She used the hydrogen originally processed for use as reactor fuel to rocket her high enough to get a line of sight lock on that ass, Steven.

She was furious at not just him, but herself. She just walked right into the situation that let him gas her. That put her friend Danny in terrible danger.

Danny might've been cured of his fatal disease and had a bio-symboit suit to protect him. However, inside there he was the same fragile boy whose bones and body had yet to recover from years of debilitating illness.

“Al,” She commanded. “Bring up that gun Danny designed.”

“Your weapon has been fabricated and is at its primary standby position.” Al reported not a second later.

She reached up, flipping the tri-barrel into place as the gun's targeting software came online. Adjusting her laser aiming point so all three circles became one she squeezed the trigger.

“We're going to rock!” Thunder roared as hundreds of projectiles broke the sound barrier as they screamed down range.

“Ma'am.” Al interrupted her 'Dakka' moment. “Our ammunition situation is critical. We'll need access to more raw material to continue.”

She watched Iron-Man spin away after her hurricane of death of a thousand cuts smacked him a good one. He sure as hell wasn't out yet. The red and gold armor landed on his feet, bringing up his repulsors again.

“Grab materials between jumps.” Bridget used her vector thrust rockets to viff hard to the right and dropped to the ground. “On the bounce!” She quoted Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers.

Above her, a repulsor shattered a treetop, sending out a spray of needle sharp splinters that only bounced off her armor. Make no mistake, she was in the fight for her life. Just how the hell to get out of it alive was the big question.

“Danny” She radioed. “Break-off and get out of here! I'll try and lead him away.”



The Battle of the Glade

Hearing Bridget's voice was like the weight of the world lifting from his shoulders. He'd imagined the worst after Steven blasted his friend and she went crashing through the trees.

He'd also discovered that Bridget's invisibility gimmick didn't work very well when moving. It was like the blurry effect in that old Predator movie. Staying still made you damn hard to see, but moving spoiled things.

On the other hand, that had only been after he'd frozen in fright. Confined to his 'wheels' his entire life, this was a humbling experience. Now that he could really live, the fear was like being hit with 220 volts that traveled from his toes all the way up his spine to his brains. He couldn't even breathe.

“You Bitch!” Iron Perv barked.

The crack of splintering trees followed as repulsors spat blue beams at his friend.

Danny turned and ran 90 degrees from them as they traded blows. His fear made his feet light. He had no idea of how far he'd traveled before thought was able to out shout his fright. His own 'backpack' hadn't the materials of the bike to work with. Slowly, it'd been fabricating his own armor on the run.

Thunder roared behind him as Bridget cut loose with another burst from the gun he'd designed.

His heart raced like never before, but he forced himself to stop. He'd faced death before, but that was while staring at the banks of soulless medical equipment that foretold a grim truth. Death was only a few heartbeats away. Today, tomorrow, or maybe the day after, the Grim Reaper was patient, and he was there, patiently waiting to claim Danny.

This was different, but also the same. The fear had to be overcome so he could do what had to be done. Whether it was to live his last days to the fullest and give what comfort to those he loved or, like now, stand by those who had stood by him.

His options however were few. Jeeves and Doc's warnings scrolled down his helmet’s HUD. Despite all of the healing he'd been given, his body was still frail. That fight and his panicked run had stressed his health past the point of safety.

Perhaps Danny had been confined to a bed and chair most of his life, but that didn't mean he was clueless in a situation like this. Books and computer games had been his salvation to his inquisitive problem solving nature. He couldn't fight, but that didn't mean he couldn't help.

“Jeeves!” He commanded. “We need to identify the frequency Target Alpha is using to communicate with the other Iron-Man suits, as well as any active or passive sensors.”

“Frequency acquired.” The AI reported, showing a list of communications and radar data.

“Shut them down, jam him.” Danny ordered. “Targeting sensors are the priority. He's going to frequency jump around so you'll have to be agile to keep up.”

“I'm clear, Bridget.” He transmitted. Boy or girl, his friend had never given up on him. There was no way he would leave his best friend alone and hanging.



The Battle of the Glade

Wood exploded as Iron-Man's beams severed a tree in two. She rolled to avoid the falling top half. Bringing up her tri-barrel again, Bridget fired another storm of bullets, but he jetted up out of the way.

She wished Danny had gotten further away, but if he hadn't been screwing with 'The Perv's' sensors, she would be in even worse shape. Running for it wasn't going to be easy. He was just so damn fast!

Unable to lock directly onto her, His repulsors blasted the fallen tree, causing it to smash into her. Knocked sprawling, she used the gravity drivers and her jets to get to her feet.

She was just in time to catch his armored boot in the chest, smashing her to the soggy ground again. Tumbling, his follow up repulsors showered her with mud.

This time she hit her jets hard, blasting muddy dirt right at him and throwing herself far enough away to get some room to maneuver. With his weapons in his gauntlets, he could point and shoot a lot faster than she.

The tri-barrel roared again, but he whirled away, caught on only the fringe of the burst. Besides, it was clear that, despite the high rate of fire, it just didn't have the penetration power to hurt him.

Crack! Bridget felt something break as she was knocked to the ground again by a repulsor double whammy. Unfortunately that was not true of his weapons' ability to hurt her. Maybe it wasn't slicing holes into her powered armor, but it was beating the crap out of her inside of it.

The only thing that was saving her was Danny and Jeeves playing his sensors like a cheap video game. If he wasn't having his systems continuing to crap out on him, Steven would've finished this already.

His kick carried her high into the air to crash into an already crushed stump.

“Stand down and unseal your armor!” He ordered, doing a jet assisted hop to stand there in the rain and mud above her.

“Go to hell!” Bridget retorted, struggling against the pain. Pushing herself up, she bought up her tri-barrel.

“I don't think so.” He replied, blasting her weapon, the repulsor ripping it free of its mount.

“I say again!” Steven sneered. “Unseal your armor!

To be continued!

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