Targets: Part 21

Off to our left, bright red beams lanced the ground, and then raked across the building I’d been in. It didn’t look like much–a concrete block with brown, wooden siding on the edge of farmland.

When the beams hit the back of the building, it exploded. I wondered if Travis had hit a gas line or if they had had an armory back there.

“Oh my,” Rachel muttered. Haley glanced toward the noise, but kept on driving.

The car’s windows darkened, sparing us the pain of too much light. Simultaneously, sonic dampers muted the explosion’s noise.

Grandpa had figured that Night Wolf didn’t want to be overwhelmed with light or sound.

Almost unaffected by the light, I followed the beams back to their source, discovering the League jet hanging in the air. Not much more than a dark shape, Travis kept it floating too high for Prime’s men to jump to.

Probably.

Travis didn’t stop firing either. Big beams normally meant for ships, and thin lines meant to hurt people rained down on the empty field behind the smoking remains of the radio station.

A small hill behind the radio station blocked the field from easy view of the road, but since we were on a dirt road that ran parallel to the field, we could see everything.

I couldn’t tell what the equipment in the field behind the radio station had been, except to guess that they’d been using it for training.

The remains of another small building smoked there with the equipment. Travis might have blown that up when Ray and Allen were talking to me. Something had pulled Ray out of the room.

Was he directing the people in the field? I didn’t see him, but that didn’t mean much. We weren’t close.

A bunch of them had been behind the radio station when it got hit, but now they were running away from it as that whole end of the field experienced a rain of lasers.

On the far end of the field stood a forest–not a huge forest, but big enough to make it harder for the jet’s lasers to target anybody.

If they didn’t make for the forest, their only other option would be to run through fields of corn which lead them toward us, or in the exact opposite direction.

Later in the summer, they might have been able to scatter and hide in the corn, but if corn was supposed to be “knee high by the fourth of July” (or so the saying went), we were still nearly two weeks short of that.

Not even hobbits were going to be hiding successfully in the corn we had.

Well, okay, maybe hobbits could, but these guys were too big.

So the obvious thing to do would have been for the whole group of them to run into the forest, but these guys weren’t just soldiers, they were old soldiers.

Even with death staring them in the face in the form of the jet’s lasers, they must have guessed on some level. They didn’t simply run away.

They scattered.

Someone had to be organizing them because they assembled into three roughly equal groups, two heading into the cornfields, and one heading into the forest.

I’m sure that seemed like a brilliant idea to somebody, but it turned out otherwise.

The winds began to roar, and a tornado began to form, blocking the cornfields on the opposite side of the field because this tornado lay practically sideways, running the distance between the radio station and the forest.

Dirt and young cornstalks flew into the air, making its shape clearer.

When one of the soldiers tried to jump over it, the tornado simply sucked him in, and threw him back into the middle of the field.

The rest of them fell to the ground, and started crawling away, trying not to get sucked in themselves.

Vaughn’s powers and control had evidently been progressing. I was pretty sure he couldn’t have done that last fall.

The group running in our direction didn’t do any better.

They barely made it to the corn before the three in front started floating straight upward. The others changed direction, but didn’t get far before they started floating upward too.

I wasn’t sure whether it was Daniel or Camille, but Camille seemed more likely.

I wondered how long she could keep them up in the air, but didn’t get to find out. Haley turned down another dirt road, bringing us behind the forest.

Ahead of us, our people stood at the edge of the forest–Larry in full Rhino suit, Gunther/Lee, Alex healing Sean, Kayla in her powered armor, and I assumed the trees hid everyone else.

If Lee’s plan went as he intended (and it seemed to be), we’d be engaging Prime’s people in hand to hand combat within seconds.

Hopefully it would go better than every other time we’d tried.

13 thoughts on “Targets: Part 21”

  1. Nick needs to study some more tactics. The melee fighters aren’t supposed to beat Prime’s men. They’re supposed to draw them out, slow them down and make them easy targets for the jet’s lasers. Though a few decapitations in close combat would not hurt.

    Oh and I think the following applies to the League now, what with all the new (potential) members;

    “Nomen mihi Legio est quia multi sumus”

  2. Me, I’m just looking forward to seeing The Rhino in full-out combat action. Larry’s the kind of no-nonsense, pizza-and-beer guy who was born to wear big heavy armour and pound bad guys. Kind of a mech version of Hellboy.

    Hg

  3. Oh this is going to be a ruckus!

    The thing that messes with my head is that Nick is such a good, technical, analytical narrator and so straight forward in his intentions, that I forget his whole team is more powerful than him, at a physical level. Vaughn can cause cyclones and toss people around, Jaclyn is like a golden age Superman, Cassie’s a Wolverine with a light sabre, Haley’s whole family has powerful senses and strength, not counting like the shape shifting stuff and venom. And Daniel will constantly get stronger with his mind powers.

    But Nick holds things together with his honest, no nonsense approach and his brains. Similar to Batman in that he’s not quote unquote “powered” but everyone respects him. I’d do the obvious Tony Stark comparison except that Tony is less stable and more selfish.

    But it messes with me because if this was someone else narrating, Nick might come across as “the guy in the armour” and less impressive than Vaughn’s weather control or Daniel’s abilities. Until his no-nonsense smarts caused him to win another fight — reminding everyone that he’s “powerful” when it counts. That’s bad-ass — being the “weak” member of the team and still standing strong when the rest don’t have the same focus.

  4. As this group of people was referred to in the radio chatter as “flame legion”, I’m inclined to guess they’re planning on torching the forest.
    Probably kind of sucks for whoever owns the lot, not that the corn farmer’s likely to be thrilled, either.

  5. @Belial: I think the tactics at play here are Lee’s, not Nick’s. At any rate, there isn’t any indication that any of them (save Lee, and even then only if it’s 1-on-1) can survive a melee brawl with the Immortals.

    Won’t be surprised if the lasers come raining down in the middle of the melee, like you said, though.

  6. Jacklyn certainly can – she has done so in the past. Cassie (and her sword) should also be useful.

    Jacklyn with Cassie’s sword could dismember them all with hit-and-run tactics.

  7. Jaclyn could also just pick an enemy up and keep shaking them really fast until something bad happens, whether it’s fire or exploding. Or grab them and run really fast. Like that thing the astronauts have to ride in that moves in a circle fast enough to knock them out from the G force.

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