TBD: Part 10

“Yeah?” He pulled the tab, and opened the can, barely seeming to care.

That annoyed me, because it wasn’t as if I’d volunteered the information. He’d asked. I didn’t see any reason to start a conversation with him. If anything, I’d be willing to go out of my way to avoid it.

I pressed the down button on the elevator. If nothing else, I could leave.

“Have you been telling stories about me?”

“What?”

“Telling stories about me. Making me look bad.”

“I’ve barely seen you, much less talked to anybody about you. Anyway, if I wanted to make you look bad, I wouldn’t need to lie. You’ve actually treated people I know badly. That’s your fault.”

As I said that, a part of me knew that this was not one of those occasions where honesty would help. In fact, it was probably a really bad idea.

“Yeah, like what?”

“That time you tried to beat me up with Jody and Dayton.”

“You threw a snowball into Dayton’s car.”

“Which does not justify beating up anybody, and three on one is kind of cowardly.”

“You fucked up my leg. I’ve still got a limp!”

He did. Not normally, but after today’s exercise, it was obvious. I had mixed feelings about that most of the time. I mean, I’d done permanent damage to his knee. In the moment though, I said, “Which I’d never have done if your friends weren’t holding me down so you could kick me.”

We stared at each other.

The elevator door opened. I stepped forward. He could argue with himself if he wanted to.

The doors shut before I reached them.

“What are you going to do about that?”

Sean smiled at me, more pleased with himself than he deserved to be.

That brought the situation home. I stood facing Sean without any armor, not even the stealth suit, armed only with a book, and not one of Banks’ larger books either.

The question was, did Sean intend to hurt me, or had he given any thought to what he’d do next at all?

Near him, the vending machine shook. I doubted that he even realized he was doing it.

Through my growing fear, I found myself analyzing what I could do. The vending machine sat in an alcove built into the wall at my left, Sean’s right. If I punched him, I could probably take him down before he backed up enough to put the vending machine into play.

This was so much like chess only he was thinking zero moves ahead—unless he knew something I didn’t.

Also, was I really going to attack? He hadn’t attacked me, and shutting the doors was more of an implied threat than a direct threat.

“See? Without the armor, you’re not much.”

As I tried to come up with a reply, I felt (and heard) a gust of wind. For a second, I thought Vaughn might have heard us. Then I realized Izzy stood with us in the hall.

She reminded me somehow of the Dixie Supergirl identity she’d used when she’d been under Evil Beatnik’s control. It might have been her ponytail and her pajamas even though the pajamas didn’t look much like the Dixie Supergirl costume. The costume had been covered with the Confederate flag. Her pajamas were a t-shirt with the words (and pictures of) “Peace, Love, Giraffes” and blue, plaid pants.

Both the costume and t-shirt left her arms bare. Even though they weren’t weirdly sinewy like some bodybuilders’ muscles, they were solid.

She’d also drawn herself up to her full height. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Sean stepped back. I didn’t blame him.

Even though her voice wasn’t loud, it didn’t quite sound human. The tones were richer, and stranger.

Remembering how she’d taken him out this summer, I wondered if he’d recognized her yet. There couldn’t be a lot of women taller than he was. Plus, she’d taken him out with her voice.

“I—” He said.

She talked over him. “I could hear you. What was the point of that? Do you think that just because you have powers and he doesn’t, you can do anything you want?”

It didn’t end there. Travis appeared. I had no idea where he’d come from, but he stood there in jeans and no shirt, giving a very good view of his muscles.

Other doors in the hall opened, and a few kids stepped out. I didn’t recognize all of them, but enough.

“What’s going on?” Travis asked.

If that wasn’t enough, Isaac Lim stepped out from the stairway along with Flick, a woman on the Midwest Defenders’ team.

She wore her costume, a yellow bodysuit with massive gauntlets around her hands.

“Sean,” Isaac said, “we have to talk.”

30 thoughts on “TBD: Part 10”

  1. Well, that was an “Oh poo!” moment, and Sean is dropped in it up to his eyeballs. First Izzy, then Travis, then the whole floor looking at him? Maybe Daniel woke up and mentally prodded people?
    I think Sean needs some serious counselling AND really needs to grow up

  2. With flick and Isaac there He’ll probably get it whether he want’s it or not. He’ll probably blame Nick for that too.

  3. the flick a female super hero able to take any special effect from any film and make it occur. plus also the trick with the elevator was pretty cool was not expecting that. and Nick’s chess thought strangely reminded me of “so I can clearly not choose the one in front of you”

  4. Lingy hit it right on the head. Seany boy needs to grow up. There’s no room for spoiled brats in the life and death struggles of Herodom. Using his powers to bully an obviously respected member of the community while literally surrounded by that community? He’s either so stupid that he’s going to need a handler whispering in his ear 24/7, or so immature, unstable, and lacking in self control that he needs to be locked up as a danger to himself and others.

  5. See? Sean was gonna throw the soda machine at him!!

    Course, now Sean’s gonna get a book thrown at him. And if he survives that, he’ll have to deal with the aftermath from every other student in the program.

  6. Nice, I had totally forgotten about the power detector. It seems Nick did as well, since in retrospect he could have known that by delaying (getting Sean monologing?) and wait for the graveyard shift monitor people to come dispense scoldings.

    Unlike Bill, though, I hope Sean and his cronies go through a long and tortuous process of growing up and end up redeeming themselves before ending up in the villains’ camp. It makes for the better tale, and Sean isn’t really being portrayed as unsympathetic, just messed up. Eventually, he should be able to overcome his father’s shortcomings as a parent.

  7. “That time you tried beat me up with Jody and Dayton.” should read, “That time you, Jody and Dayton tried to beat me up.” Not the most grammatically correct. However, in Nick’s sleepy state, I doubt that he would be using the Queen’s English.

  8. Just like I expected, Sean idiotically tries to attack Nick even though by doing so he’ll ruin his reputation and probably destroy any chance of becoming popular or making friends, even.

    Well I hope a scolding from Issac is enough to make Sean smarten up but that’s not likely considering it’s Sean.

  9. Izzy’s character is coming along here too. The whole “just because you have powers and he doesn’t” thing sounds like it relates to Dixie Superman. There are the obvious parallels to majorities and how they treat minorities.

    Aside from that, I think I’m going to cut down on talking about her so much before I’m accused of having some sort of crush.

    I suppose I was slightly right that Izzy was involved.

    Also, Sean’s got another idiotic thing going on here. His powers can do all kinds of things, but he leaves himself very open. It is possible Nick could have knocked him on his ass before he swung the drink machine. I mean, powers themselves aren’t everything. Times like this, I think back to Hawkeye and Captain America.

    Hawkeye didn’t feel the need for combat training with Cap since he had his bow. Cap broke the bow and told him then he was through, they’d know Hawkeye more for his ability to fight than his bow.

    Sometimes your powers are useless, or less effective. I mean, a common robber who knows how to fight in close quarters with Sean can take him out.

    So yeah, Hawkeye can now fuck you up without a bow.

  10. Somehow the mention of Flick’s gauntlets gave me this this mental image of someone pulling on a latex glove (with the trademark loud snap sound) as if to do a body cavity search…

    I guess it’s time for Sean’s operation.

  11. Well, Amaral, it’s not that I don’t want Sean to grow up, it’s just that this is the second time he’s challenged Nick like a punk. First time he needed two of his pals and now he goes after him without the Rocketsuit. And all because he thinks Nick’s making him look bad. It doesn’t take a lot to make a horse’s ass look bad.

    I must say, I’m actually disappointed they didn’t fight. Obviously at some point, Nick is gonna have to make do without the suit, so he might as well practice on Sean. In the event Sean succeeded in causing major harm to Nick, that too has a lot of dramatic potential. Daniel plotting Sean’s lobotomy (and channeling his ruthless mirror-self) would be an example.

    But outside of fighting War and Grey Giant, Nick hasn’t really suffered physically on a level of “Screw this! I quit!” Remember it’s only been two(?) Years since Cassie goaded Nick into getting in the suit.

    How would getting nearly killed on his first day in a super college retreat affect his willingness to continue as the Rocket? What if it led him to making upgrades to the armor, like how his granddad’s battles inspired his upgrades? What if Sean injured Nick and left him with the face scar Mirror Nick had?

    The beauty of all this is that no matter what Sean does, he can’t kill Nick. At a government-sponsored recuitment event for supers, I’m sure there’s a medic handy for extreme cases like someone taking a soda machine to the head.

  12. With regards to Sean: My general assumption with Sean is that he’s impulsive, and on certain issues lets his emotions drive his actions. That can look stupid, but intelligence isn’t really the problem there. It just means his anxieties are on full display.

    About Flick: She appeared very briefly at the end of the “In the Public Eye” storyline. She’s part of the Midwest Defenders, and is located in Chicago.

    She never ended up using her powers when she first appeared though. Her name comes from the fact that she takes a bunch of small objects along to throw. The gauntlets are around to help her use her powers (which I’m sure will be used eventually…).

    About Sean’s future: Obviously, I’m not saying. That said, I tend to view first chapters as the baseline that sets the stage for what follows.

    That means I tend to save the big stuff (permanent changes or major harm to a character, for example) for the middle or end of the story. An exception to that would be if I were going to make the big change the main point of the story.

    For Sean, we’re likely to see a slow burn (with major changes appearing at *hopefully* unexpected points).

  13. *sigh* It appears that I’ve caught up. Jim, I have to say amazing as always. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s going to happen next. PG, I have to say that I agree with the others. You really should start writing. Your comments have been halarious.

  14. Mazzon, I think Sean needs a dose of 63, the forbidden ancient technique known only by a few, myself included. Picked it up while fighting on Uranus.

    Strong in the force, Sean is. Can move vending machines can he. But angry and impulsive he is. Up his ass, a stick is. Tempting is the dark side and give in to anger he must not.

    And thank you, Nuclear Paradox. With pressure from you and others, like Wildbow over at Worm, I must admit I’ve considered it. I suspect Jim and Wildbow both want it so they could come over and start putting crazy comments on my story.

    Now, let’s get on to designing some Legion of Nothing merchandise. There’s Legion of Nothing the t-shirt *holds up a shirt showing the rocket with his guitar, words underneath reading “Rock it, Rocket”*

    Legion of Nothing the coffee mug *Shows Daniel’s face with the phrase “I can blow shit up with my mind.”*

    Legion of Nothing the mudflaps! *Captain Commando in her skimpier, tight costume features prominently*

    Legion of Nothing the condom! *pulls out a condom made to look like it’s part of the Rocket armor*

    Legion of Nothing the doll! *pulls out a chibi plushy of Lee that, like Mr. Potato head, has swappable face parts. Squeezes it, causing it to say “Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste” in a high pitched voice*

    And last but not least, Legion of Nothing, the Flametrowah! *pulls out an arm-length figuring of the Rocket, bent over with his arms out parallel to his legs in a kind of U shape. Holds the arms in his right hand and the legs in his left, rear pointed away, and pulls the trigger, sending out a gout of flame from either the rocket pack or the butt on the figure, laughing evilly all the while.*

    The kids love that one.

  15. @Nuclear: Ah yes, I remember well the feeling of readus interruptus when I had caught up.

    Nick tends to over think AND under think things at the same time. He needs to start thinking more about the consequences of his own actions when around known unstable people such as Sean, and he needs to stop thinking so much once the time to act is upon him. Quite frankly, as soon as the elevator doors closed and he saw the soda machine moving he should have struck immediately to take Sean out and I’m surprised Lee’s training hasn’t gotten him to that point yet. If they ever do get into a physical confrontation be sure to have him take out the good knee first. Oh, and he needs to work on hardening the suit against EMP immediately. I’m sure Sean isn’t the only villain, oops… person, out there capable of disabling the suit in that manner.

  16. The suit IS EMP hardened, remember it was designed for the cold war ( and the after effects of nukes ) and facing a lightning slinging arch villain. Its been mentioned b4.
    Also Izzy will come along nicely I think.

  17. If I remember correctly it was mentioned that the rocket had ~some~ EMP protection. Nick was thinking of putting in more though because he wasn’t sure if it had enough to stand up to Sean.

  18. I think he mainly had a problem with EMP when he was using an older model suit, but I’m not sure. Still, don’t mention it in front of the girls that Nick needs to harden up.

  19. With regards to the Rocket armor and EMP’s: The 80’s era suit (which contained much cool electronic gadgetry) got totaled by Sean’s EMP. Well, all the gadgetry did anyhow. Some systems still worked, but not many.

    The modern Rocket suit is a “back to basics” version that Nick’s grandfather made, assuming that Nick would be using it, and that it would be wise to make it as simple and sturdy as possible.

    Bits of it are still vulnerable to EMP’s and magnetic fields, but most of the problems are temporary.

    PG: If I ever get to the point where people would actually buy merchandise from LoN, I want the flamethrower…

  20. ” Legion of Nothing the doll! *pulls out a chibi plushy of Lee that, like Mr. Potato head, has swappable face parts. Squeezes it, causing it to say “Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste” in a high pitched voice* ”

    PG, you really REALLY must stop screwing around and write a story of your own.

    Hell, maybe Jim’ll be willing to let you do a parody guest story like what Robert Rodgers did.

    Say, what happened with Robert?

  21. Sean’s a lot of fun like this. Tension, yes, but not really something Nick can get away with punching. I’d rather not have him turn fullbaddie. At least not without some reason.

    And yes, Isaac really needs to talk with the kid.

  22. Flick’s got one of those names you can’t really use in a comic book with all-caps lettering. Like “Clint”.

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