War: Part 17

Daniel turned away from his monitor. “We should go down there. Not too close, but down there and see if we can learn anything. Maybe we could bug their place.”

“They could turn us to paste,” I said.

Daniel gave a slow nod. “You’re right, but we don’t have to be seen. I think we’ll want to know what they’re up to. Imagine what happens if they show up while we’re dealing with Ray, and we haven’t planned for them.”

It was a good point. Too good to ignore.

And that’s why we found ourselves in Night Wolf’s car thirty minutes later. Haley drove. I sat next to her, and Daniel sat in the back.

Haley set the car’s color to blue with tinted windows, allowing it to fit in as much as a 1964 Stingray could. I needed to put together a less noticeable car for daytime surveillance soon, preferably something large enough to handle the full Rocket suit.

I wore the stealth suit, but I did have the guitar too. That counted for something.

Anyway, it wasn’t as if I’d have much of a chance to take them out in the full Rocket suit. We had a hard time with one of them before Prime came. Four would be impossible.

If they noticed, our backup plan was to leave quickly. Worst case scenario, we had Jaclyn on call to pick up the car and carry us away.

Best case scenario, we got some information at the price of spending yet another day of summer break worrying about dying.

Which was kind of lame.

It was my second week of summer vacation. The sun hung in the air, alone without the company of clouds, and the temperature was in the low seventies. It felt perfect — warm, but not unbearable, and I wasn’t in any position to enjoy it.

I’d spent the last two weeks underground working on things, training, or fighting. It didn’t feel like vacation yet. It felt like an extension of school, but with guns.

Haley stopped the car three houses down from the rental. A big, two story, grey painted house, it sat in the middle of the block next to a big, two story, yellow house.

The street would have been on the high end back when it had been built. I’d heard that in the nineteenth century, the wealthy people had their houses on the main roads because it made it easier to travel. True or not, it explained streets like this one, a four lane road that led downtown but whose large, Victorian houses all looked a little run down.

The air conditioner fan blew cool air as we looked over our target.

I aimed the car’s hidden shotgun microphones at the house, searching for noises.

A screen on the dashboard showed an image of the house, but with markings for distance. Using the joystick, I moved the crosshairs across the windows on the front and right side of the first floor, hearing in quick succession “Bob the Builder” on the TV, children arguing about the channel, a toilet flushing, and the dishwasher running.

I aimed the mic toward the second floor.

“We’re in the right place,” Daniel said from the back. “Something in that house obscures telepathy.”

I let the crosshairs linger on the second floor’s front window.

A man grunted.

“So we’re working with the assassin now.” The man had a deep voice, and an accent I couldn’t place.

A new voice said, “It sounds like it. Orders from the top. The new Prime says they’ve got a device that means no more drink of the gods.”

“And no strings attached? I don’t believe it.”

“We’ll have to help them kill the League, but that’s not a change.”

“Stupid Prime. After all his talk, the new levies are worthless. They don’t have discipline.”

“Give them time. It always takes time.”

“And this device, when do we get it?”

“Don’t know. Afterward, I’d guess. Maybe the First Cohort might get it beforehand.”

“Ain’t that always the way?”

They kept on talking after that, but I barely listened. I got out the roachbots, opened the window and sent a few to the home, and a few to the cars in the driveway.

We waited until the roachbots made it into the room with the people who were talking, and then Haley put the car in gear, and we rode away.

As she drove toward the highway, I turned back to Daniel. “That was an extremely lucky series of events. You called exactly the right person who happened to have a problem with his tenants, and we arrived just in time. Did you –”

“Yes. We’d been calling people for days. I used my precognitive ability to find the name with the most danger associated with it, so that it wouldn’t take even longer.”

“What?” Haley talked toward the rearview mirror. “I thought your dad told you not to do that.”

“He did, but he doesn’t know everything, and we don’t have time to waste. If they’re working with Ray, and it sounds like they are, they’ll lead us right to him.”

“But your dad had to have some reason –”

“Let’s drop it, okay?”

I recognized Daniel’s tone of voice. This conversation wasn’t going to go anywhere.

Haley must have too. She drove the car up the on ramp, and down the highway, moving a little faster than traffic.

We were on the same highway that the Grey Giant had chased Daniel, Cassie and I down. Daniel had found Syndicate L that time the same way he’d found Prime’s people this time.

Don’t start, Daniel thought at me.

12 thoughts on “War: Part 17”

  1. Nick’s a bit forgetful at times but he’s got a pretty good head for patterns and such. He seems to be feeling a bit of unease about Daniel using his ‘danger sense’. I wonder how many years it will be before he and his teammates learn to pay attention to his hunches about such things.

    P.S. Still waiting to find out the parameters of his super ability that he doesn’t think he has 🙂

  2. Getting a bad feeling about the use of an ability that specifically seeks out danger doesn’t really take a superpower. Sooner or later that trick’s going to go south so thoroughly there’ll be penguins.

  3. Ok so Daniel cheated a little, still I agree that one day they are going to get a bad lead from it sometime.

    Lucky break this time though, found last of Prime’s people and they could be working with Ray. That or the whole thing could be a set up to get them into the open. That’s the problem will calling around a lot, just drop a false lead and all kinds of problems happen.

  4. daymon34: They still haven’t done all that much actual investigating of anything, and it gets a lot harder when telepathy blockers are involved. Once they get better at it, the temptation to cheat might get lowered. On the other hand, using it might mean they don’t get better.

    Mazzon: Quite possible. It’s likely that one of these days they’ll discover something completely irrelevant to what they’re looking for, yet horribly dangerous. It’s one of those things that makes me vaguely happy when I think about future plans for the story.

    andrul: You might be waiting for a while. To the degree that Nick’s got anything beyond human normal, its effects are subtle.

  5. Or what if the precognition actually alters things… creating more danger than existed before or being subconsciously felt by the danger.

  6. “Worst case scenario, we had Jaclyn on call to pick up the car and carry us away.”
    Seriously, I loved this line.
    So yeah, after a week, still catching up… And I have classes coming up, as well as the Dune books waiting for me to read them…
    Still, awesome story, and it will take a bit for me to catch up.
    PS: I came here from Worm. Though I didn’t actually finish worm, because around Arc 21, it got a bit too sad for my tastes. Loving the different ways you guys set up your own superhuman worlds.
    And hello to Gecko and Hydrargentium (saw you guys at Worm)

    1. Worm does make you feel utter despair at times.
      On the upside, it’s not the darkest of Wildbow’s stories. Both Pact and Twig are actually much darker, if that’s possible.
      They are SO good though.
      Hopefully LON doesn’t get quite that dark, I’d like to sleep at night for a change.

  7. A screen on the dashboard showed an image the house, 

    Missing an “of”

    Long-time reader. Lost track of this site around arc 5, slowly catching up again. Still as fresh now as it was when I first stumbled across this.

    1. Thanks for noticing the typo and I’m glad you’re back. It can be a challenge to keep up with serials sometimes. I’ve dropped a couple unintentionally myself.

      I hope you’ll enjoy the most recent stuff as much as what you’re reading now.

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