Counterattack: Part 10

Vaughn, Marcus, and Daniel, each of them too tired to fly, ended up riding in the back of Night Wolf’s car with Travis and Haley.

With the Rocket suit’s computer down, I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of flying either, so I ran back to HQ. Jaclyn ran with me, making sure I made it. Even with many systems down, the suit still did most of the work, so I was okay. Besides, I’d rested a little while other people talked to police and reporters.

Taking off the suit turned out to be a near impossible without help. Systems that were supposed to unlock the armor’s sections wouldn’t release their hold.

Travis, Haley, and Jaclyn all helped remove pieces, sometimes with tearing noises that made me cringe.

Looking at the pile of parts afterward, I wondered what I was supposed to wear. I still hadn’t finished repairing the regular suit. It didn’t have too far to go, but I didn’t know exactly how long. I’d begun to worry that I’d have to just recreate the whole arm instead of fixing the melted one.

I didn’t even like to think about how long repairing the 80’s Rocket suit would take.

I could have used the classic 60’s and 70’s version of the armor, but it wasn’t just one suit. I had three similar (but not quite complete) suits with parts that could almost be easily swapped.

I didn’t even consider using the space version of the suit. With all the talk about various Defenders units going to space, I thought I might need it soon.

I could have used the underwater version, but I hadn’t fully checked that one over. And anyway, it wasn’t intended for land use.

In the end I decided I’d have to use the stealth suit for a while. On the bright side, I had a couple extra jackets, and, unlike any of the other suits, I could create replacements for the stealth suit quickly.

If I supplemented it with other gadgets that might be enough to tide me over until I could use the real Rocket suit.

I walked out of the lab to see most of the team standing next the main table in front of the wall screen, talking over what had happened. Haley walked with me. I hadn’t realized that she was there.

“Are you okay?”

“I don’t know. Mostly just tired.” I paused, then said, “What was Sean thinking? He didn’t have to do that.”

“Do you think he tried to?”

“I don’t know. I did kind of piss him off recently, but he wasn’t looking at me or anything as he did it.”

“If he knew who we were, he might.”

“I don’t think he does. He hasn’t said anything, and he’s not quiet about things like that.”

“No, he’s not.”

At that point, I came within earshot of the group’s conversation.

“What we really needed,” Jaclyn said, “was communication. I didn’t have any idea what Haley or any of her crew were doing. Not that I’m complaining.” She looked over at Haley. “I heard you did a good job.”

“She did,” Cassie said. “We wouldn’t have found half the people we did without her. Most of the time, they barely knew we were there.”

Marcus slouched in one of the seats next to the table. “Cassie’s right. I bet some of them still don’t know what hit them.”

“Thanks,” Haley said. “But it wasn’t hard.”

“But I still wish we’d known what was going on with you,” Travis said. “If it had all gone wrong, there were a lot of them back there. They could have killed you all and we wouldn’t notice.”

I thought about it and said, “Daniel might have known.”

“No,” Daniel said. “They were out of range most of the time.”

Like Marcus, Daniel sat at the table. He sat up, but he still looked tired.

“You’ve talked about a new communications system,” Travis said. “You should make it first priority. We’ll need it. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of these guys.”

I sighed. “I’ve still got to fix my own stuff.”

“I know,” Travis said, “but communication could save us all.”

“While you’re at it,” Vaughn said, “make it something Sean can’t nuke. I had my cellphone with me, and it’s dead. My parents are going to be pissed.”

Deciding to ignore the possibility that he’d accidentally done it himself, I nodded.

Ignored by all of us, the local Fox affiliate played on the wall screen. Unlike all the other channels, they had news at ten pm instead of eleven. I remembered seeing them show up after the fight.

We all went silent when they started showing the aftermath of the fight. From the way they presented it, you would have thought Sean won the fight by himself. They showed the piles of guns, and the unconscious bodies. I appeared, weaving a little in the Rocket suit before I sat down. Paramedics checked over Daniel and Vaughn in the background while they interviewed Sean.

“They’re lucky we showed up,” Sean said.

No one asked him why our team seemed so much more tired than theirs.

The next story was about how the Executioner team was finally going to trial.

According to the reporter, “The prosecutor’s office believes that even if they can’t link them to other murders, the alleged murder of FBI agents should be enough to send them to jail, or possibly to their own executions.”

We all went home after the broadcast. I walked with Rachel. Neither of us said very much, and even more than team communicators, I thought about going to bed.

Except I couldn’t. I had half my calculus homework to finish.

18 thoughts on “Counterattack: Part 10”

  1. Executioner stuff is coming up, and Rocket is without a “real” suit. I almost say he should just leave school and be Rocket full time. Considering he’s smart enough to not need to be involved in “high school”.

  2. I like how Travis is all Captain Kirk all of a sudden: “Scottie, we need warp engines. Communicators. Phasers. Oh, and a pizza.”

    “Captain, I canna get it all done!”

    Don’t bore me with details, I’m not an engineer!

    “Bloody right ye aren’t, selfish sod!”

    I’d like to see Travis do half the things Rocket has for the team. Yes, those things are needed. But seriously, where’s the time? I can kind of see Nick becoming the lab team member, like the Beast or Antman or Mr. Fantastic, going into battle only when necessary.

    He could probably get a GED but school’s almost done, and I imagine he wants to go to university for credentials. He’d make a wicked inventor and make a lot of money off patents.

  3. The work of an engineer is never ending and largely thankless. There’s always something to fix and/or upgrade even without people coming up with ideas for necessary or just useful or convenient improvements. And does Kirk ever say “Hey Scottie, you’ve been working too hard. Take a load off, we’ll row to Fomalhaut.”?

  4. Hey folks. @G.S. – I was thinking the exact same thing when Captain Travis all of a sudden making demands. I’m wish he did things more useful than just always comment on what the group needed. How about he actually DO something to make these things happen.

    About Sean, I didn’t see him as an idiot this time around. He used his power in a spot it was needed in, and he only messed up one person’s gear. I think he actually put in a good showing.

    @Jim, to answer the previous discussion that was brought up about the merit of fight scenes; I think that any kind of scene has it’s challenges, just like every genre.

    What I think makes the LON’s fight scenes so good is that they serve to advance the story, they don’t detract from the overall plot, and they’re well paced and described.

  5. @notto – That’s a damned good point. Nick needs help, bad. And, like it or not, Chris Cannon is part of this world. Wonder if Nick’ll make the connection? Or more likely, if Chris will?

  6. This probably hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves, but it’s around a month from the end of Nick’s senior year. That’ll be more important in the next section of the story.

    As for the issue of not having enough time to do technological improvements… I’ve worked as a programmer/sysadmin/web developer. This is one of those rare occasions in the story where I get to “write what I know.”

    People are often pretty reasonable, but often they have no idea what’s hard and what’s easy. At that point, you educate (if it’s possible).

  7. *distant sound of banging on desks and people yelling “We want Chris. We want Chris. We want Chris”* OK, or just the next episode.

    And, Jim, I will definitely look forward to the graduation episode(s).

  8. Notto: Expect the graduation episodes to start sooner than you’d expect.

    Bill: I tend to apply the same rules to fights as every other scene — they advance the story or they don’t happen.

  9. I may be the odd man out here, but I’m not too sure about Chris being invited to join the team.

    We still have NO idea where this kid’s loyalties truly lie, and it’s been what, only a few months, since his name even came up in the discussion.

    I say put him through some kind of trial run, gauge his reactions, and have Daniel check him out and see if any dark secrets are swimming around down there.

  10. Slowly catching up with this. Loved this episode. Question: Is Graduation the last arc or are you planning for more later?

  11. Graduation is the arc that’s currently being updated. It’s going to continue to be updated twice a week. And after it finishes, I’ll start the next arc.

  12. Loving it!

    Keep forgetting the odd typos I spot by the time I hit the comments :o)

    There is this one though “I didn’t even considering using the space version of the suit. “

  13. Heh, even if he could have said it better, Travis is right. Communications fro the team is more important than equipment for one person, in most situations. Nick has suits he can wear. Even if the communicators are cheesy little badges that pin to your chest.

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