Graduation: Part 18

After they hung up, I sat back and thought about it. If I were going to skip, when and how would I do it? I wasn’t going to be able to get my parents to write a note. The block only prevented my parents from recognizing what was going on, or stopping me from doing it.

I decided I’d skip tomorrow. Maybe Rachel could call the office and pretend to be Mom? She’d probably get a kick out of it.

Deciding that I was finished with Rocket suits for the night, I assembled a few more of the anti-paralysis devices.

Just after eleven, the hangar doors  rumbled open. Flipping to the security camera’s view, I saw Cassie on Captain Commando’s motorcycle, and Marcus and Travis in Night Wolf’s car coming to a stop. Rachel floated through the ceiling, solidifying next to them.

Cassie parked the cycle, took off her helmet, and shouted something that I missed because I hadn’t turned the sound on.

Judging from the way she smacked Rachel on the shoulder, the news had to be good.

I turned on the speaker to the room just as Travis and Marcus stepped out of the car.

“What happened?”

Cassie looked up toward the camera. “We found out where Prime’s staying, really where all of his main guys are staying. When we give that to the Feds, it’s going to get crazy.”

“Where are they?”

“The Baymont Inn down on Jefferson St. Can you believe it?”

“Crazy?” Marcus said. “The Baymont’s going to be a hole in the ground. That  guy  is big.”

“Yeah,” Cassie said, “tell me about it. Remember the guy whose leg I cut off? He looks a lot like him.”

Travis waved everyone toward the door. “Come on. Let’s call Isaac.”

* * *

Fifteen minutes later, we had.

Special Agent (and superhero liaison) Isaac Lim appeared on the big wall screen standing in front of a more exciting background than usual.

In short, he wasn’t in his office. He stood in front of rows of people and computers. At the far wall, three big screens showed different views of the space around Earth. The largest showed a slice of our planet, but with small shapes moving above it. Fuzzy white lettering labeled the shapes.

I couldn’t read the ships’ names, but a few of them appeared to be moving quickly.

Another of the screens showed a view from a spaceship, or possibly a space station. I couldn’t identify it. All I could see were stars and a long white hull.

The third screen showed the perspective from one of the fast moving ships. Blue flame from the engines of the ship ahead of it took up a third of the screen.

I couldn’t help but think that they were wasting an incredibly large amount of energy.

Then the ship turned, and I got an impression of something wedge shaped, and huge. The ship with the camera turned to follow it, and then we could only see blue fire.

Isaac moved his arm, and the background blurred, making his face the only thing we could see clearly.

“Good to see you all. What have you got for me?”

Amid the background noise of competing voices, I thought I heard, “Mindstryke’s probed them and he thinks they’re likely to try psi weapons next.”

I didn’t hear more because Travis said, “Prime’s location, and we’re pretty sure his men are there too.”

“Great. Pass it along to my  email, and we’ll coordinate the next step. Do you have anything on the Executioner?”

Cassie stepped a little closer to our wall screen. “Ray’s here and the group of them are working with Russell Hardwick. He’s training them all to fight Prime.”

“Ray’s training them to fight crime?”

“Not crime. Prime.”

Isaac smiled. “Right. Sorry. It’s noisy over here. Send me evidence if you’ve got it.”

Then he looked off to the right. “I’ve got to put you on hold for a second.”

The screen went black except for the FBI’s seal and the words “Superhuman Affairs Branch.”

We didn’t even have time to get bored before he came back on the line.

“Do you have anything else? I’m stuck in the middle of something now.”

Marcus asked, “Are we going to be hearing about this on the news?”

“Not if we handle it right. Now if any of you sign up for the Stapledon scholarship I emailed you about, I’m sure you’ll hear a lot more. I’ll talk to you all later.”

He hung up.

Marcus turned and looked us over. “We interrupted him in the middle of a space battle. That is so cool.”

“So that’s  what Daniel’s dad’s been doing,” Travis said. “You all heard that part, right?”

We had.

Rachel looked up at Travis. “Did you hear anything we couldn’t?”

“Nothing that made any sense. A lot of ship coordinates.” Travis paused, and then said, “Well, we probably ought to have Vaughn talk to Sean now. We’ll need an ‘in’ there if this whole situation starts changing.”

I thought about arguing, because somehow having Vaughn get involved as Vaughn seemed like a risk, but I didn’t have a reason, just a guess. So, I didn’t say anything.

Besides, we did need a way to pass information to Sean, and better Vaughn than me.

16 thoughts on “Graduation: Part 18”

  1. The first thing I thought of when the space battle was described was, “Uh-oh. The Feds are going to be a little too busy trying to save the world to act quickly enough to make a difference for the kids.”

    But yeah, spaceBattle == totallyAwesome. (Or maybe totallyAwesome.includes(‘space battle’) would be a more likely situation.)

    Hg

  2. I’m not entirely sure that Nick would be correct that a long trail of blue flame is “wasting” energy. It’s certainly burning fuel, but that might be necessary. I’m not quite sure how space battles in this universe work, but they might be needing the extra burn for faster acceleration. All a question of dog fights vs. artillery battles.

    And maybe it’s just me, but I’m not expecting Prime to be so easily located. So… trap?

  3. I’m not promising that people will go into space any time soon, but it will happen. As for space battles… That’s pretty much an inevitability.

    I like them myself.

  4. @PercentiledOne: I think the inclusion of this bit is supposed to be more of a clue about how talented Nick really is. If he can look at an alien battleship and immediately recognize ways to improve it’s energy usage, then it kinda shows how much he really groks energy systems.

    Also, the release of so much visible light is inherently wasteful, since the light energy, blowing off in all directions like that, is doing nothing to move the ship in any useful way. I’m thinking that Nick is thinking that he could put that excess energy to good use, such as powering shielding or cloaking systems, or siphoning it off into the laser batteries, or something like that. It’s much like the opinion about how airplanes are inherently wasteful because of the amount of sonic energy they throw off.

    Which gets me thinking about the regenerative braking systems in hybrid cars, and that the Rocket armour pretty much has to have some sort of system that recovers kinetic energy during speed drops and movement changes

    Hg

  5. Regarding Nick’s observation about blue flame:

    I tend to assume that if you’re trying to generate force and you’re getting force plus a lot of light, you’re probably not taking as much advantage as you could of the released energy.

    That being said, as much as anything else, it amused me that while a natural reaction to what he’d seen might be “Oh, cool space battle,” Nick would instead be critiquing the spacecrafts’ designs.

    Regarding the Rocket suit and kinetic energy recovery… It does do that. I mentioned it in the story’s third post, I think. Not that it’s reasonable to expect anyone to remember that but me.

  6. I think a lot of us remember that he runs around a lot because it saves fuel and recharges the electricals. What’s scary is that the suit literally returns more energy than it consumes while amplifying his motions to run at high speed. The question is does it return more energy than his body consumes to make the initial motion? How much force can the suit exert before it’s not fully regenerating it’s own batteries? It’s possible one or two suits could be used to drive the generators of a small power plant. This brings up the question about how green minded is Nick? Could the appropriate systems in the suit be modified for clean energy without compromising its secrets?

  7. Bill: Just for the record. Space is never going to be the main focus of the story. One can go other places for that sort of thing. Also, I’ve seen superhero comics go fairly far off the rails when they get too disconnected from normal life. So if that’s what worries you, please don’t be.

    Jerry: That’s an interesting line of speculation. Who knows? It might already be happening. On the other hand, it might be technology far enough ahead of its time that recreating it would require enough teaching that Nick’s grandfather wouldn’t want to spend that much time explaining things.

  8. You said:

    The block only prevented my parents from recognizing what was doing, or stopping me from doing it.

    perhaps you meant:
    The block only prevented my parents from recognizing what was HAPPENING, or stopping me from doing it.

    or
    The block only prevented my parents from recognizing what * I * was doing, or stopping me from doing it.

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