Targets: Part 13

“Ask him if he can use the underwater entrance,” I told Cassie.

I was pretty sure the Defenders’ jets could.

Cassie passed it along.

“Right,” Alex said, “I remember that from when I was a kid.”

Ten minutes later we were all in the hangar. The doors to the air lock opened and a Defenders podjet rolled in. Egg-shaped, except for the wings and wheels, it wasn’t much longer than a van.

I seemed to remember that it could operate in space, but couldn’t reach orbit on its own.

Anyway, when it came to a stop, a door opened above the wing, and Alex, Jenny and Brooke stepped out, jumping off the wing to the floor.

All three of them were in costume–Alex as some kind of cowboy/knight, Jenny in red, and Brooke in that silvery, alien suit.

Except there weren’t three of them. Carlos stepped out on the wing, touched his hand to the door, and the door slid into place and locked up.

Carlos wore a blue Los Angeles Galaxy t-shirt, and shorts.

It made total sense that he wasn’t in costume. He was eleven or something, and shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

Still standing on the wing, he took in the room–the tools on the wall, the League jet, Night Wolf’s car, Captain Commando’s motorcycle, the League moon rover, and half a dozen other pieces of equipment in various stages of repair. His jaw dropped a little.

“This is so cool.”

That was exactly what I needed to help keep myself calm before turning myself over to Ray–the knowledge that Technomage’s son, a kid who naturally communicated with machines, would have total access to everything in HQ.

Alex grinned up at the kid, “You bet.”

Then Alex turned his attention to the rest of us. “Rocket, great to see you again. You want to introduce everybody?”

I’d forgotten what it felt like to be around him. I felt good, amazingly peaceful even though I knew it wasn’t natural.

“I wish I had time,” I said. “Things are moving really fast. Ray’s people are about to start killing off hostages if I don’t show up soon. The Mystic can give you details.”

Carlos bounced once on the wing as if it were a trampoline, and jumped off.

In a lower voice I said, “Why’d you bring Carlos?”

Brooke laughed. Jenny groaned.

Alex stepped closer to me and said, “He’s the only reason we’re here. They’ve been keeping us busy, and out of trouble, but I happened to volunteer to take him to the San Diego Zoo, and here we are.”

“The way I remember it, his parents didn’t trust you at all.”

Alex nodded. “His mom trusted me just long enough.”

I didn’t have time to deal with this.

“Well okay, I’d better head out.”

The readout in my helmet said I still had forty minutes, more than enough time to get downtown from here. Haley could drop me off in Night Wolf’s car.

I’d decided to leave for the locker room, and grab my clothes when the sound of a horn filled the hangar.

I hadn’t even taken a step.

That was the alert for the forest entrance. All of the regulars–Travis, Haley, Jaclyn, Daniel, Cassie, Rachel (she’d appeared while we waited for the jet), and I ran for the computer on one of the counters in the hangar.

The remains of Justice Fist, and “Three” plus Carlos crowded in behind us.

Jaclyn got there first.

She logged in, and the screen showed a white delivery truck from a couple different angles. Unlike most delivery trucks, it didn’t have a sign on the side.

Chris sat in the driver’s seat, and Kayla sat on the other side of the cab.

“I’m letting him in,” Jaclyn said.

A little while later, the doors on the other side of the hangar opened, and the truck rolled in. Chris parked it in front of the League jet.

They’d have to move it if Larry brought the Rhinomobile.

Chris and Kayla were both in the grey coveralls that went with Man-machine’s armor.

Neither of them wore masks.

Sean stared at them. “What the fuck are you doing here?”

Daniel spoke directly into my head. Sorry, I can’t cover that one up without practically lobotomizing people.

I sent back, Haley and Rachel and I should go. Could you pass that along? I’d like to leave before Sean recognizes me.

I felt rather than heard his sigh.

Leave. It’ll probably be easier that way.

20 thoughts on “Targets: Part 13”

  1. This whole secret identity thing is really, really going to be an issue it seems… Maybe they could bean Sean with a frying pan and hope for amnesia?

  2. Is the word thirded? Give him a lobotomy!

    New suits in the van, this could prove interesting. Can’t wait for the next installment. Then again, I can never wait for the next installment!

  3. Hey, did anyone else notice that we have more hints about being able to function in outer space? It almost makes me want to just get this stuff with Ray over with, so we get on to the space part sooner.

    Almost. This Ray stuff is still riveting, and not just because of all of the armour and machinery involved. (Sorry, couldn’t resist that pun.)

    Hg

  4. Also, I’m betting that Ray has really done his homework on this one (since he’s not the kind of person who likes to be made a fool of once, let alone twice), and has plans in his pocket for dealing with Three as well. The only true wild card here is Carlos, but what a wild card he is!

    Hg

  5. JCIRL: Thanks for reading. I’ve been noticing that a few people are reading through the archives at the moment. It’s nice to know when someone makes it all the way through.

  6. Sean reminds me of the need for a certain machine from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s that big perspective machine, which shows someone just what their true (insignificant) place in the universe is.

    I think we all hate him. And they’d better put the Legion mind-meld on him to keep him from talking. You know, they’d better do what they can to reduce the amount of talking he does in general. Not sure how voice-girl is thinking about the whole thing, but at any sign that she’ll blab, one of these days, Bam! Pow! Straight to the mind-mojo.

  7. hmmmm… eyes skipped ahead on Psycho Gecko’s comments…. hmmmm give Sean a girl’s voice. That should shut Mr. Macho up for a while.

  8. Yipeng: I’d noticed that someone was reading this from Singapore, and wondered if it was someone that Eli knew. Seeing your comment, the answer is clearly yes…

    As for whether it’s complimentary, I think so. For Legion I’m trying to do in prose what I’ve enjoyed in comics.

  9. Well so much for keeping a lot of secrets, time to put a ton of mind locks on Sean. Or he will be spouting off crap where he doesn’t need to. That’s the problem with having public and secret heros mixing, it can get messy.

    I wonder if the technomage will be useful, I know he is just a kid but he has great talent.

  10. OK, Nick, Chris, Larry, and Carlos need to get together and bang out some new suits.

    Chris + Nick did very nicely. Add Larry’s experience and Carlos’s ability to communicate with machines? Troubleshooting and design finalization would be very rapid.

  11. I believe Togop meant “why the hurry to get Nick to the rendez-vous?”. Call up an image of near to where he has to go downtown through the internet. Have Brooke/Portal do her thing. Nick steps out less than a minute later and goes around the block. Gives them plenty of time to come up with a better plan and to deal with Sean and the rest.

    Having said that, I would imagine the reason for NOT invoking Portal’s power would be pinpointing a place downtown without civilians – with them around, since Nick can’t be in the suit, at best he’d be outed as someone with information, and at worst people might think HE had teleport powers. Also, it might make Ray more touchy. Also, we’d miss seeing the particular scene in the next part…

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