Targets: Part 24

I didn’t even think about what I’d be hitting. I fired, holding the button down even though I knew it used more power.

I don’t think I panicked, but I can’t say I was thinking clearly.

Being rushed by someone who you know can kill you does that.

The beam entered his chest just under the ribs, and made a four inch wide gash. He looked down, not showing any expression at first, but slowly dropping his jaw.

I couldn’t see how deeply the beam penetrated, but it looked like it had gone fairly far.

He stumbled, but didn’t fall instantly.

He took another step, and Carlos fired his goo gun. The first shot missed, passing the Cabal guy, and me, hitting the side of Haley’s car with a splat.

I hoped it didn’t mess up the paint because then I’d have to mix up a new batch, and I knew it would be a pain.

The second spread out and hit the guy running toward me in the back of the legs. It hardened, and he fell.

He didn’t even try to get up. He lay there, breathing.

If he had the ability to regenerate like everyone else in their group, he couldn’t heal instantaneously.

A charred hole in the clothes on his back surrounded a hole in his skin. Pinkish new skin on the hole’s edge hinted that the shot had bought me time, but how much?

My communicator beeped.

Gunther said, “Everyone, fall back into the field now, and execute the plan.”

Plan? I thought over at Daniel.

All we have to do is fall back–that, and help anyone who can’t get out.

Checking out the situation made me wonder if anyone would be able to move at all.

Once they’d started jumping, they’d landed everywhere. There were no lines, just a chaotic mess of people fighting each other.

Chris, Larry, and Marcus fought back to back, and they were doing better than I’d have expected–aside from being surrounded. Larry’s armor took their punches. I saw some new dents, but he didn’t seem any slower for it, and when he punched back, they flew.

His punches didn’t take them out of the fight, but they didn’t laugh it off either. I saw a guy get knocked fifteen feet into the air, and land crotch first on a tree branch.

Even with invulnerable nuts, that couldn’t have been fun.

Marcus melted out of the way of their blows, and had turned the ends of his arms into piston-like things that would shoot forward with a pop, knocking the person he hit backwards.

Chris alternated between shooting them with goo guns and his own laser, but he didn’t run.

His armor’s left thigh had been dented,  and he limped.

I hoped it was a technical problem.

Either way, I couldn’t see the three of them making an easy exit.

Not far from them, Alex, Brooke, and a group of Jennys stood together. Jenny mostly seemed to be keeping them back with fire. I wondered why she wasn’t using the goo guns. Was she already out of ammo?

Brooke stood next to Alex, possibly a little unsteady on her feet. Alex didn’t exactly appear to be full of energy either.

She managed to keep a portal open long enough for the two of them plus one of the Jennys to get away.

Sean flew upward, out of combat, and into the field behind us.

Gunther stood alone, fighting with a huge flaming sword, backing slowly toward Marcus, Larry,  and Chris.

Prime’s people didn’t try to crowd him. None of them had metal weapons (Sean’s work?), and even as I watched, Gunther chopped off somebody’s hand.

The new Prime (who I’d taken to calling Gimpius Prime in my head) shouted at people to keep on him, but didn’t get too close himself.

Haley swung out from the trees, and her car’s roof opened to receive her. Once she sat down and the roof closed, the car’s rocket booster ignited, and it shot into the air, landing in the field near Alex, Brooke, Jenny, and Sean.

She’d left one of Prime’s people tangled in ropes, hanging from a tree above the battle.

I’d have to ask her how she’d managed it.

In the meantime, Kayla, and Carlos had crossed most of the distance between the dirt road, and the fall back position. Daniel and I followed them.

And that’s why we weren’t in the middle of it when Gunther shouted, “Now,” and the number of Jennys doubled, or possibly tripled.

All of her ran into the crowd, firing the goo guns in the hands of her many bodies, outnumbering Prime’s people three to one.

Not that they went down easily, some versions of Jenny got punched, and disappeared. Some of Prime’s people didn’t initially get covered by goo, and frozen in place, but they probably wished they had in the end.

Larry jumped after one escapee, tackling him, and throwing him in front of Chris–who sprayed the guy with goo.

Gunther hamstrung a couple with his sword, giving two Jennys time to get them.

Rachel made her hand visible over one man’s eyes long enough for Marcus to knock him in front of group of Jennys, and then that was it. They were all subdued.

Well, for the moment. They’d break the goo. It was merely a question of how soon.

Standing next to Gimpius Prime, Gunther said, “Let’s talk about your surrender.”

I didn’t hear much of what followed, both because I wasn’t close, and because I wasn’t listening.

Using the helmet’s zoom to look at the faces in the crowd, I confirmed that Ray and his people weren’t in the group.

I had a very bad feeling about who they’d gone after.

8 thoughts on “Targets: Part 24”

  1. It’s not just a cliche, it’s smart strategy — if you can’t win in one area, find a weak spot. Ray’s good at that.

    The question is, did Daniel or Lee predict that and do something about it? A lot is happening very fast, but I haven’t seen Vaughn or Jaclyn this chapter, maybe they’re handling it.

    There are other options too — just a blur during battle and hard to remember, which is kind of realistic. Great scene. Gunther can chop off heads while they’re subdued if Prime doesn’t negotiate

  2. Just for the record (and because it doesn’t reveal anything really), Vaughn and Camille were involved in herding people into the forest. Though it was never obvious in story, they each had someone along with them (Sydney and Lucas) in case they needed help. Currently all four of them are blocking the other side of the forest so people can’t escape that way.

    Julie, Jaclyn, and Cassie were out to free the various hostages out there. No one currently knows how well (or badly) they’ve done…

    Captain Mystic: If it’s in character, and the next logical step, I don’t worry about whether it’s a cliche. In this particular case, relevant elements of what happens next have been foreshadowed as recently as a few posts ago, and as far back as the end of “Book 1,” and the beginning of “Book 2.”

  3. I’m not sure if it is technically correct, but I read “Jennys” as “the Jennys” in my head in the line, “Gunther hamstrung a couple with his sword, giving Jennys time to get them.”

    I’m not sure what the grammatical rule is for talking about multiples of the same person, but the sentence made more sense with a “the” in there.

  4. You know, I’m not sure either. Putting in a “the” does feel more natural as would “a group of Jennys.”

    I’ll have to think about how I change things.

  5. “We are the Jenny. You will be glue-gunned. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be overwhelmed by young nubile girls dogpiling you. Resistance is futile.”

  6. I’m pretty sure the precedent for referring to a group of “clones” all with the same name was set back in the 80’s with the Christian Slater/Winona Ryder classic, “Heathers”. In that movie, if I remember correctly, they use the article, “the”, when talking about the group, as in “the Heathers”.

    And if you haven’t seen *this* movie, you really, really, really should.

    Hg

  7. “Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be overwhelmed by young nubile girls dogpiling you.”

    It’s probably bad that this part sounds fun to me, right? Especially since Jenny is likely still under the age of consent, depending on where you are/which laws you’re using.

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