War: Part 11

For a moment, Lee and I must have been the only people who realized that Prime was dead.

He grinned as I looked up from the head, and saluted me with the bloodied blade. In that moment, someone shouted, and it seemed like everyone turned to see him standing in front of Prime’s body.

“Rocket, grab the head and dump it someplace!”

I leaned over and grabbed it, using the rocketpack to send myself into the air.

Trying not to think about what I was holding, I looked around for a place to put it, noticing lights shining at the next farm over. They had a pond. I remembered seeing it on the way.

Flying there took only seconds.

I dropped the head without slowing down. It was a big pond. It had a docked motorboat on one end.

The head splashed into the water. I didn’t stay long enough to find out whether it floated or sank.

I turned around and flew back.

As I flew, Haley’s voice came over the communicator in a general message to all. “Their reserves are coming. Everybody get out!”

Below me, people’s positions had barely changed from the way they’d been when I left. Jaclyn had taken advantage of the moment to pound the huge, bald guy I’d fought backward. He lay on his back, and struggled to get up.

“Night Cat, there were a bunch of them who were sneaking out into the field–”

“Night Wolf and I got them. Just leave, okay?”

I’d never noticed.

Thump. The first of the reserves had landed. They couldn’t fly. They jumped about an eighth of a mile at a time. Lee had described them to us as being a lot like Prime and others in his army — strong, tough regenerators, possibly with a few extra powers here and there.

Even with Cassie and Lee’s swords, and Jaclyn being in their league physically, we probably couldn’t take twenty of them.

We had a plan though — retreat.

Thump. Thump.

Two more of them.

Just like the rest of the professionals, they wore black and carried guns, but they didn’t wear bulletproof vests, and were all obscenely muscular.

They’d landed on the edge of the lit up area.

I checked to see what the rest of us were doing. Marcus had morphed into a winged person, and was already halfway around the barn. Cassie put her sword on her back in time for Jaclyn to grab her, and jump over the barn. I couldn’t see Rachel, but that was par for the course.

Lee had disappeared already, which meant it was time for me to call in our reserves.

I clicked on my palm to activate my phone, calling Chris and Larry. “Any time, now.”

The rest of Prime’s reserves landed as I hung up, a rain of people I didn’t care to meet in broad daylight, much less a dark alley.

Or dark field.

The guy whose leg Cassie cut off started shouting at them. I couldn’t hear the details, but I did hear cars, and Cassie’s motorcycle starting on the other side of the barn.

One of them turned to shout at the group, pointing toward the road, which was not good. If they started moving, this wouldn’t work.

Then he pointed at me — that was very bad, but to be expected, given that I was hovering.

I touched my finger to my palm, preparing to blast away.

Except that was when everything began to explode.

Missiles streaked through the air, blowing up in the middle of them, the fiery blasts lighting up the whole place.

Ordinarily I’d have worried about killing people, but from what Lee had said, we’d be lucky to slow them down.

I clicked on the communicator, and asked, “Rhino, you guys got it?”

“Rocket,” Larry said, “go. We’ve got the mech. If we get in trouble, we’ll call.”

I gave the rocketpack fuel, and chased after the rest of the League.

* * *

We gathered in League HQ after the fight, waiting while people showered. Vaughn slept, still in costume (except for the mask) in one of the chairs. Daniel didn’t look much better, but he managed to start checking his email before falling asleep, head on the keyboard.

Travis ordered Chinese take-out for everyone.

No one had wanted pizza.

Chris and Larry came in ten minutes after everyone else. Chris parked the mech in the hangar with the League jet, and came in with Larry.

He walked past the big, steel doors into the main room, eyes darting everywhere, lingering on the trophies, the wall screen, the computers, and all of us.

He looked small somehow, and it wasn’t height. He’d caught up with me sometime in the last year.

Following Larry over to the table, he stood next to where Marcus was showing me a Youtube video.

Chris looked down at the screen. “Who’s that band, and what’s with all the stoves?”

“Hurra Torpedo,” Marcus said. “It’s their thing. They sing covers and bang appliances.”

“Do you think that guy knows his pants are falling down?” Cassie asked. She held a plate with four pieces of pizza on it.

Further down the table, Travis said, “I thought you didn’t want pizza.”

“I don’t, but I’m hungry, and it’s here, and the Chinese isn’t.”

Chris looked over at Travis. “Did you order extra? If you didn’t, I’m okay with pizza.”

At the sound of his voice, Cassie seemed to notice him for the first time. “I didn’t know you’d be here,” she said.

21 thoughts on “War: Part 11”

  1. Didn’t Nick tell them or did they just not expect that he would agree to come.

    I loved the chapter, now to find out how Chris came to agree to come…

  2. I think it was more of Nick forgot in the heat of getting ready for the fight. And that isn’t good when there are 20 more high powered nasties showing up.

  3. daymon34: that would make sense.

    BTW, guess, I don’t have a complete copy of “How to Kill an Immortal”. Why did the head need to be moved?

  4. Notto Mention: Caution. Depending on how well he regenerated, it was theoretically possible that if they put head back together with the body that they might knit themselves together…

    With regards to Chris: We’ll find out more about how he came to be there and why.

  5. How much regeneration are we talking about here anyways? I mean, Wolverine without claws got splattered to goo by a truck and regenerated fully almost instantly, and the Hulk as regenerated from bones before.

    Other immortals require the body to be reassembled, and missing a hand, will cause them to be handicapped for life eternal (but at the same time, the individual pieces recover, and simply require reattachment to be functional again).

    Finally the DBZ scenario, of Cell, where if a single cell survives, he has all the capacity to regenerate fully from it (and the cell will have his full power, and be able to fly and think independently).

    I’m thinking Prime is more the middle example, and that probably his head might still be “active” or he might require reconnection to his body to get the blood/oxygen necessary, in which case he is useless until joined again. Many variables when it comes to immortality and regeneration.

  6. I go by Deadpool in some regards when it comes to regeneration. His works somewhat differently, what with him being crazy and regenerating tumors that cause him to become disfigured.

    To fit in with circus oddities who were possessed by demons, he once cut off his own legs, knowing they’d grow back. In other stories, he’s had his head cut off and it healed back when the head was placed back where it belonged.

    Like Lee, he also has been noted to pull weapons from nowhere. This ability, he has noted, “requires a lot of lubricant.”

  7. Oh, and one thing about Wolverine, since I didn’t think about it for the first comment. During the Civil War event, Wolverine got burnt down to his skeleton by Nitro. It took awhile, but eventually he fully regenerated. Most likely that is because his brain was still intact and because his bones were still there. Of course, then you have to wonder how adamantium could protect his bones and brain from being obliterated, yet still regenerate all flesh outside of them.

  8. Wondering about how stuff works in major label comics is sort of futile, as they work different for different writers or according to what they feel the plot needs.
    What I’ve always wondered about these extreme regenerators is that if they can fully heal up from just a piece of flesh, why doesn’t blowing them up make multiple copies, each separate bit recovering to a full person?

  9. Jim,

    I can’t properly conceptualize this….but I’m wishing that there was more to this denouement.

    I mean, it’s just that that battle was so intense and then it just…ended. And I for one would have preferred to see how Larry and Chris handled the second wave of Primers. Also, for all this talk about an immortal, I would’ve wanted to see just a little more on the subject of just how permanent his beheading was.

  10. @UnwiseOwl – that’s what I thought, too. 🙂

    @Jim: I’d love to hear more about what Rhino and Chris did. Hopefully details in the next chapter? /crosses fingers

  11. Bill/Eli: It’s difficult to know when to cut a scene like this. I generally try to cut when I don’t feel like there’s much to add by prolonging the scene. Chris and Larry’s role was mostly to continue to blast away from a distance, and I decided that it would be better to explain the details in the next scene. Alas, we’re not up to that part yet. Ditto with regards to the head.

    I ended up cutting the next scene just after it started, so if things feel unfinished, I think that’s a big part of the problem.

  12. @Mazzon: In the example of wolverine that I used, all his bits…. came back together from yards and yards away, like a reverse explosion.

    Usually the biggest chunk is what keeps the regeneration going.

    Or as I said in some of the other examples, everything heals, but needs to be brought together to function again.

  13. First, good fight Jim!

    Second, the flesh wasn’t burned off Wolverine’s bones as much as blasted off. Therefore the brain was sufficiently protected by the adamantium. What I always wondered is where he got the fuel/mass to regenerate all that soft tissue. All he probably had to work with was bone marrow and brain matter. Too many writers over the years have given him the Superman Complex where nothing can stop him for long.

  14. I know about keeping a reserve for when it is needed, but it’s kind of surprising that Prime’s reserve didn’t get called in earlier — you know, before he was dead?

    1. Basically it comes down to underestimating the League, overestimating Prime, and not knowing about Lee at all.

      Prime had literally lived for a couple thousand years, and none of them really expected that the reserves might need to be called in. Thus, they called them in too late, and the reserves weren’t as ready as they might have been if they hadn’t been planning to fight a bunch of teenagers.

  15. “The guy whose leg Cassie cut off”

    I’m curious if this guy is always going to be called that. He seems to be fairly prominent.

    I had to smile after I realized that it had to be intentional on Jim’s part that this guy didn’t have a name.

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