Targets: Part 25

While Gunther talked to Gimpius, I tapped out a message to Jaclyn.

“Busy?”

If she were in the middle of a fight, a text would be easier to ignore than a call. Probably.

Her message came back seconds later.

“Not busy. We freed the hostages and brought them to the hospital. They’re  OK. Some scrapes and bruises. No major injuries. No one dead. We’ve handed the Syndicate’s people over to the police. Is it over on your end? And did something happened to Kayla? She’s supposed to be handling communications.”

“Kayla’s fine. Are my parents there?”

“No. They aren’t supposed to be. Did that change?”

Back when Daniel took Ray’s call to HQ (even though it was only a few hours ago, it seemed like days now),  Ray had said something about not needing them because he had enough hostages.

So he might not have taken them with the others, but he could have left them as backup hostages.

Or, thinking about how he usually handled his victims, he might have been planning to kill them on the way out if things went wrong.

Which they had.

I wrote, “Don’t know. Bye,” and blasted into the air with the rocketpack, flying away from the fall back position in the corn field, and toward Gunther.

I heard shouts, but I didn’t listen to them, landing a few goo-splattered soldiers away from Gunther. Larry stood next to him.

The nearest one tried to grab me with his left hand, but I was out of reach, and he couldn’t move.

He chuckled as I stepped around him.

“So that’s it,” Gunther said, “you’ll leave them alone for a year, and we’ll let you all go.”

Gimpius said, “Agreed, but after that year, no limits.”

He glared as I came closer.

“I’m not going to stop hunting until the two of you are dead.” He eyed Gunther, and then me.

“The Rocket?” The bulbous head of the Rhino suit turned in my direction for a moment. “Why him?”

“He’s the one who took my father’s head away. Where is it now?”

“Uh… I didn’t keep it. I dropped it in a pond.”

Gimpius made a noise somewhere between a sigh and growl.

“Wouldn’t want to be you,” Sean said from behind me.

He must have followed me, I realized, and looking behind me, I noticed that everyone was coming.

Even Travis had moved the League jet. It floated above the field, and had its anti-personnel lasers pointed at Prime’s people.

“Gunther,” I said, “I have to go. Ray’s going after my parents.”

Gunther didn’t miss a beat. “Of course, he is. I’m going with you.”

“What?” Larry asked. “How do you know that?”

“I don’t,” I said, “but he’s not here, and he knows who my parents are, and Accelerando saved the rest of the hostages. So…”

“God damn,” Larry said. “If everything’s taken care of here, we should all–”

My communicator started flashing red. Kayla’s voice came over the communicator, “It’s the second wave. The roachbot saw Syndicate L mechs!”

“Rhino,” Gunther said, “you take command. I’ll borrow Night Wolf’s car and help the Rocket.”

“No, I’ll go.”

“Nice thought, but I don’t have a choice.”

I couldn’t see Larry’s face behind the gray mask, but I could imagine a look of comprehension that went along with the sound in his voice.

“Oh, that. Well, then you’d better move. Where to?”

“My dad’s office for Dad, and my mom works at home, but if they’ve already been taken, I don’t know where.”

“I do,” Gimpius Prime grinned through the hardened goo spatters on his face.

I didn’t like the look.

Gunther said, “What do you want?”

“Nothing.”

No one said anything.

“2913 Northshore Drive,” he said. “My people brought stuff over there for him.”

“What,” Sean said, “is it rigged with explosives?”

Gimpius shrugged. “Believe me or not, but you’ve got a chance of beating him there, if you believe me.”

Gunther smiled. “He’s probably hoping to finish you both off, but I’d bet he’s telling the truth… mostly.”

Gimpy didn’t say anything.

“I’m going. He could already be there,” I said, and clicked the buttons on my palm that readied the rocketpack for take-off.

“Wait for me. Don’t fight him by yourself,” Gunther said.

I barely heard him over the noise of take off.

For the first time since putting the helmet on, I paid attention to the GPS readout. We weren’t more than twenty minutes south of Grand Lake. They must have been deliberately trying to disorient me on the way down here.

I could be home in less than a minute if I wanted.

Maybe I could get Jaclyn to check my dad’s office. I clicked on the communicator and started to text her.

I’d just moved my left arm in front of me and touched a button with my finger when Rachel materialized. She had her hand on my shoulder.

It had to be at least the third time she’d pulled the “invisibly tag along” trick since she’d gotten home from school.

Not that I wouldn’t need the help.

“You could have told me.”

“I barely had time to grab on,” she shouted through the wind. “Besides, don’t complain about me. Look behind us.”

I turned my head to see Sean Drucker flying behind me. “What are you doing here?”

“He killed my father. I’m going to kick his ass!”

24 thoughts on “Targets: Part 25”

  1. You know, they should have at least crippled Ray and his team the first time they captured him; you don’t need to kill somebody to permanently take him out of action.

    Also, a capsule implanted within a criminal’s body, say near the heart or at the base of the skull, and rigged with a small explosive can be a lot more effective than a prison in holding people hostage.

  2. Belial666, that’s a villain’s trick. If you bomb-tag the criminals, it’s only a matter of time before you bomb-tag the vigilante heroes, since they’re ‘uncontrollable and dangerous’. And once you tag them, you tag all of the registered heroes, since they’ve got ‘nothing to worry about’. And then you need to tag their families, because they might develop powers. And their associates, since sometimes powers happen by accident. And then you just go ahead and tag everybody, because ‘why not?’.

    “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” ~Benjamin Franklin

    PS: Is it obvious I despise the Patriot Act?

  3. The bomb trick has been used before in comics. The Suicide Squad, headed by Amanda “The Wall” Waller, is a secret government program in which supervillains who have been captured are given a chance to work black ops for the government as expendable assets. I believe they got bombs implanted into them as well.

    There was also the way the nanites worked during and after Marvel’s Civil War. They kept Norman Osborn, Bullseye, and other released supervillains on a leash. The government could track them anywhere, see what they saw, and hear what they heard. Well, maybe not hear all the voices Osborn heard. If the villains get out of line, the nanites could shock them, paralyze them, and/or kill them. No clue what happened to all that between Civil War and Siege.

  4. It was probably taken care of in some easy-to-miss-issue, and never referenced again.

    Or alternately, they forgot about it. I suppose that can’t be ruled out.

    Outside comics, in David Brin’s book “Sundiver” a significant percentage of the population have electronic monitoring devices implanted in their bodies due to their potential for violence/anti-social behavior. It’s worth mentioning that the book doesn’t regard this as an admirable thing.

  5. To quote Lenin, “Trust is good, control better.” It’s a practical way of thinking, but leads logically to a totalitarian rule.
    What comes to crippling, it doesn’t really tend to stick in the genre, with all the regeneration, healing powers and supertech on the market.

    Btw, am I the only one who can’t stop imagining Gimpius to be wearing a gimp mask?

  6. i have a question will the rocket ever use the chair? the reason i ask is because he does have the potential for abit of power right?? i was thinking that the power he could get is the power to create some sort of energy shield, force shield, or deflector something like that would be very useful to him even in the rocket suit. it could give him and extra layer of protection. am sure over time he could get abit stronger and be able to protect one or two other people. sorry it not my story i juts thought it was a could idea. i like nick i just don’t want him to lose to all the strong people that just keep on coming. i dont think the rocket suit will be enough for him. i really like this story thanks to podiobook i started to listen to it then i found this and the rest his history… awesome work keep it up your have a very good imagination…will the team go to space?? your hinting that something big is taking place space armor. fill free to ignore this if its to much am juts exited by this story

  7. PatrickFL, I think think the only problems we have with your comment and question is the grammar and typoes. Aside from that, feel free to talk about crazy stuff all the time. My prediction about time traveling alien plots could still be relevant.

  8. @PatrickFJ

    Ah, but Nick DOES have powers.

    Low grade internal focussed mental powers according to the test.

    And oh gee, looky there, he invents mad scientist gear …

    So what would his boosted power look like I wonder?

  9. Mental powers boosted — just gave me a mental image of Nick’s head swelling to ungodly proportions like the Leader. OUCH.

    Things are about to get real personal for Nick. Luckily he has Rachel on his side, who is totally bad-ass enough to be the equalizer in any fight. I would want her on my side even more than Gunther/Lee.

  10. While trying to build the Legion of Nothing as Mutants&Masterminds 3 character, I found out something every interesting; the average superhuman was built with 150 points. Giving someone quickness 10 with the limitations of “mental only” and “technological matters only” costs 5 points.

    That seemed like a very small mental power – almost insignificant. But speeding up their understanding of technology by 1000x meant that while the usual scientist had to spend a decade coming up with a viable, workable concept and plans to implement it, someone with that power would need only 3-4 days.

    I believe that accurately reflects how gadgeteers and superscientists work in comics – they aren’t necessarily smarter than other scientists but they seem to go through the mental process of developing ideas hundreds of times faster than normal scientists. That’s how, say, Tony Stark could develop the concept for the Iron Man in a cave in the middle of nowhere.

  11. @Roger Willcocks and G.S. Williams the test he took tells us that he has potential for abit of power. when nick took the test mind and energy turn slightly blue…..he also said something about telekinesis could be possible with that sort of combination. so i think something like a shield that deflect bullets, lasers or protects him from taken punches would be cool.
    i do not think that nick has that power or has not yet demonstrated it (well am not sure something strange did happen to the girl who was trying to probing his mind could that be it?or did she trigger a mind bomb).
    i think that it could be telekinesis or maybe low level telepathy maybe. he know when someone enters his mind.. when the mayor tried he was trying to fight him off. he have a block like his sister maybe its also prevent him for using his powers. i have one last thought when he turns 18 his teacher lee does have something to tell him has part of his gramps final message maybe it will include his powers??
    so whats do you guys think? he has potential now the question is whats sort of powers does he have

  12. Patrick: I think potential is just that: potential. We don’t know for sure until he takes the chair, or at least, takes a bit of Juice.

    I doubt he’ll do either, though. For starters, we know that Nick knows whatever powers he may gain is likely to be insignificant. Secondly, we also know that Nick thinks the Chair/Juice combination is risky, and may turn him into a power-crazed megalomaniac.

    While I understand your wish for Nick to have more power (because you don’t want to see him crushed by stronger guys), I think the element of uncertainty is really good for the story! Every time Nick goes out in the field without his suit (or every time he’s running low on working suits) I begin to bite my nails just reading the chapter.

  13. @ Eli James
    i know what you mean right now he is going to try to protect his mom and dad and he only has his stealth suit. on top of that his trying too take out ray’s team…. wow alot of work for that underpowered stealth suit. there are other ways to gain power trauma been one of them maybe lots of stress? but your right i have to pace myself and wait for the story to develop. you know what am not sure if i can lol its a wonderful story its very well made that’s the problem it keeps me guessing. i cant wait for more

  14. I thought that the mental part was just the beginnings of the psychic shielding that Nick was developing. I remember somebody mentioning that he had very rudimentary psychic defensive traits and that Nick must had developed that because he grew up with Daniel. No idea on the energy part, though.

  15. João: I’d respond to your comment, but it’s probably better handled in the story. Cool that you’re caught up to the present though. I’d noticed a few people reading through the story lately.

  16. you said:
    “Uh… I didn’t keep it. I dropped it a pond.”

    I think you meant:

    “Uh… I didn’t keep it. I dropped it IN a pond.”

  17. Gunther smiled. “He’s probably hoping to finish you both off, but I’d bet he’s telling the truth… mostly.”
    he is talking about himself in the 3 person “you both” lee/Gunther+Nick
    –>defenetly a roman emperor
    refering to asterix and obelix
    dontknowwho:he is talking about himself in 3 person
    cesa:who.
    dontknowwho:you
    cesa:oh he
    (dont know if there is that dialog in the english version)

  18. A year, and then you have to do this all again? No prison can hold them?

    I personally would say, no way. I’m not doing this again in a year. I’m on the phone with Cassie, asking her to bring me her sword.

    Seriously, it’s not just his life he’s gambling with. Any of his friends could die to trying to defend him.

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