Settling In: Part 5

Lightning hit the leader again, and while his body shook, the paralysis gun dropped out of his hand, falling to the roof with a clunk.

Part of me hoped it still worked by the the time I could move. I planned to grab it. A more practical side of my mind hoped it had been destroyed in the first lightning strike.

Near me, Cassie stood up, entering the edges of the helmet’s peripheral vision. She didn’t waste any time. Once she was on her feet, she ran straight at the leader as he bent over to grab the gun.

She hit him in the back of the head with her fist—not always a good move. Do it softly enough, and you can knock someone out with minimal work, but do it hard enough, and you can give them permanent brain damage. If you’re Cassie, and they’re normal, you also stand a good chance of punching through the skull.

I strongly doubted that he was normal.

Either way, he hit the roof, and lay there.

Cassie pulled out handcuffs from her utility belt, and cuffed his hands behind his back. Then she pulled out another set for his legs.

I’d made them based on one of Grandpa’s designs. Jaclyn and Cassie could both break them—Jaclyn almost instantly. Cassie needed time.

From what I’d seen, this guy’s strength was closer to Cassie’s than Jaclyn’s. Hopefully we had enough time for the police to bring a Box.

“Whoa,” Marcus said, “that was great. What do you think we ought to do with these other guys?”

Cassie glanced over at Vaughn and me, “Storm King fried most of them, but if they do wake up, the cuffs’ll never get around the exoskeletons. We’ll have to get them out first.”

“Hope we don’t rip their skin off. A few of those guys are looking extra-crispy.”

I moved my left arm, and tried my left leg. They moved. I rolled myself over to my front, and pushed myself up.

I could stand even if I felt a little wobbly.

Next to me, Vaughn pulled himself up. “Hey guys, we won anyway.Doesn’t that kick ass?”

I turned to look at him, and nearly fell over.

Cassie grabbed my arm, stopping me.

“Are you okay?”

“I think so. My legs are still coming back.”

Vaughn put his hand on my shoulder. “Me too. I wasn’t along when you guys fought Ray the first time. That’s a nasty weapon.”

“Yeah. I know.” I concentrated on standing.

Marcus nodded. He’d changed back to almost normal—human shape, but all gray skin and his green costume. “Ray caught me when I was completely pre-change. I couldn’t do a thing. This time was pretty cool.”

“Except that he was going to kill us,” Vaughn said, grinning. His mask didn’t cover his mouth and chin.

Marcus sighed, and looked over the unconscious bodies on the roof. “That does bug me. Does anyone know why?”

Cassie let go of my arm. I didn’t fall over. My legs were feeling closer to normal.

“I’m thinking it’s the Nine. They were talking about what happened in D.C. when I was there.” Cassie sounded tired. “I fought people who worked for the Nine, and discovered they were kidnapping girls who looked like me.”

“Wow,” Marcus cocked his head. “Did someone make clones of you too?”

“No,” Cassie said, “but it’d be easier if they had. They wouldn’t have any reason to send people after me. I think they’re interested in Abominator technology.”

“Oh,” Marcus said, and didn’t say what we were all thinking. Some Abominator technology worked for Cassie that, so far as we knew, worked for no one else on the planet.

“We’d better call the cops and get these guys out of here,” I said. “They mentioned something about a helicopter coming.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Marcus said, “the police have been following me since those guys robbed the bank.”

He had a point. I’d been hearing sirens in the background during the entire fight, and they were growing closer now. Police cars rounded the corner and roared down the street, blue and red lights flashing.

Something scraped the roof. We all looked.

The leader was awake. More than that, he was obviously trying to move himself toward the edge. Given the half-foot high ledge, it would be a challenge to get over with his feet and hands cuffed.

Once we turned to stare at him though, he tried to break the cuffs on his arms, muscles straining. Cassie dropped down to push his arms straight.

I picked up his paralysis gun, and pointed it at him. Cassie looked at me, and let go.

When I fired, his head slumped, his arms and legs relaxed.

“I wonder how long that will work?” She stood next to the body, pulling a flashlight off her belt, and looking him over. Covered in black (mask, jacket, pants), the guy’s muscles were obvious through his clothes. Vaughn’s lightning and the man’s fall to the ground had ripped his shirt in a few different spots.

Blood stained spots around the rips, but his skin was unbroken. Even without my helmet’s help, Cassie’s flashlight made it obvious.

“There’s something up with this guy,” Cassie said.

As I began to say, “Yeah, I recognized his voice from somewhere,” she reached down and pulled his mask off.

Blond haired, and square jawed, he looked like a younger version of her father.

30 thoughts on “Settling In: Part 5”

  1. Crap. Now if Cassie got together with him, that would be …

    (What do you call it if you mate with yourself? Not incest certainly, but probably worse.)

  2. To quote a page on Time Travel Etiquette, Eli, “If at all possible, avoid cross-era romantic relationships – with few exceptions, they’re usually not going to work out. As regards sexual intercourse with older or younger copies of yourself, it’s incest in branching or changeable timelines, and masturbation in inevitable timelines. In either case, yes, it is gay.”

    The whole thing is here: http://tailsteak.com/archive.php?num=491 for your viewing pleasure.

  3. Makes sense for the 9. They had his DNA since dr Mind tried to make clone army of him. Why waste perfectly good DNA ? It also makes sense in an economic way if you spend a crap load of moolah to build a super make sure he’s able to heal from injury.

  4. Is it gay to mate with your clone if it’s the opposite gender? Weird, sure…

    “Cassie looked over at Vaughn and I” should be “me” – the rule is to use “vaughn and I” where you would use “I” alone when the other person isn’t there, and “me” when you would have used “me” alone. I instead of me in groupings isn’t always grammatically correct.

  5. OK wow I honestly did not see that coming, my worst/best guess on who the leader could have been was their FBI handler Issac Lim. Thanks for the curve ball Jim

  6. Mating with Clones: I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s kind of disgusting whatever the name.

    Gavin: Thanks for the error report. Fixed.

    Piccolo: Surprising people is always the hope. It’s better yet when I lay the groundwork, and still do so. I’m generally of the opinion that you’ve got to be fair about these things–which to my mind means giving people enough information to guess what’s happening next.

    DWwolf: it’s a sensible way to go, though that’s not exactly the leader’s history. It’s close though. The exact deviation from that may or may not be worth mentioning in the story. I’m not sure yet.

  7. You guys do realize don’t you that Jim reads all our posted theories about the plot then goes with something completely different most of the time, right? 😀

  8. Maybe cause I’ve come to like Isaac Lim, but I never thought he was the bad guy.

    A clone of pop Commando? Damn.

  9. maybe they found some source for his cell material. Blood/tissue thats been shed somewhere after a battle. It could probably survive for quite a while given the regeneration power. Thar or we dont know the whole story about the old Captains background.

  10. Had eye surgery and now my sight is back 2 updates read 🙂 Good times ^_^

    “Once we turned to stare at him though, he tried to break the cuffs on his his arms,” – should that have the word “his” twice in a row? 😀

  11. Woah, clone of Cass’s dad?

    Does that kind of make him her… brother, I guess? Nice job on the reveal though Jim, I didn’t expect that at all.

    I assume he doesn’t have Abominator DNA like Cassie does, otherwise there would be no point in trying to capture Cassie. Perhaps that means he wasn’t made by Dr. Mind himself.

  12. Well, a clone is one possibility.

    If it wasn’t for the fact that Cassie’s dad is so often said to be dead in a definitive way by people, I’d wonder if he was actually alive somewhere. I mean, a person with regenerative abilities could maybe bring their brain back. It would just grow back without whatever data was there. Things like memories, you know.

    Still, this guy’s said to be younger. Plenty of places to pick up some Captain Commando DNA, I bet. Like the supervillain version of Ebay, Obay, whose mascot is Andre the Giant.

    Also, good to have you back, Silas. I told you, you do that stuff with your clone and you’re gonna go blind.

  13. Andrul: I don’t actually change anything when someone in the comments guesses correctly. That said, if people were accurately predicting most things that were happening, I think I’d have to rethink what I was writing or how I was writing it.

    Ace: No Abominator DNA at all because as you guessed, there’d be no point in capturing Cassie.

    Silas: Um… Maybe there were artistic reasons for the double “his”? Or maybe not. Typo removed.

    Bill: Lim being under the mask certainly would have been a surprise though.

    Hg: You know, I don’t think anyone ever has said that to me. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.

    PG: The original Captain Commando is dead, dead dead. Kind of like Henrietta Lacks though, his cells live on.

  14. Jim, if that’s really true, then you’re either the nicest person on the planet by a couple orders of magnitude, or you’ve lead a very, very, very, very, very sheltered life. 😛

    Hg

  15. Hg: Hmmn. A combination of both maybe? I’m inoffensive (I think), and my work history goes from grad school to a (religious) non-profit to working literally in my basement (freelance and for a company).

    So sheltered might fit too…

  16. Henrietta Lacks may be dead, but her cells live on to aid SCIENCE!

    That’s significantly more dangerous in Cap’n Commando’s case. But if there’s no abominator cells, maybe he’s not a clone after all. Or not exactly. Obviously, if they were using that DNA, they’d make sure to include the abominator stuff.

    And if it’s not abominator DNA, how does he have powers? I thought that was pretty much why humanity has powers, save for tech and magic heroes.

  17. Haha, thanks Bill 🙂 And everyone else.

    I just had a random thought. This may have been covered. But who is the worlds (either the real or the fictional) most well known superhero?

  18. Well, it seems Lee is the most well-known “anti”-hero. I dunno who’s the most famous hero in the Legionverse.

  19. PG: I don’t know if I ever said it outright (and if I did people have had months to forget it), but here’s what I meant:

    The Abominators either created new genes from scratch or modified native human DNA to get humans with powers. Any humans with powers have that DNA. No humans have Abominator DNA mixed in–except apparently Cassie–who has what the gun referred to as a “Citizen’s Mark”. The Mark allowed the gun to recognize her as someone who could command it.

    I’m not going to say more about it until it appears in the story, but whatever it is, it’s a mark in her DNA, or created in her body by DNA, that acts as the Citizen’s Mark. An exact clone of her father wouldn’t have it, but Cassie obviously isn’t an exact clone.

    SilasCova: I haven’t said. There isn’t really a Superman figure–except for Superman, and he’s fictional. What there are, are a lot of individuals with powers. The most famous tend to be members of the various regional Defenders units (Guardian of the Midwest Defenders is quite well known, for example), but there are also a bunch of superheroes who have turned themselves into celebrities and don’t really do much crime fighting (the superpowered equivalent of Paris Hilton). They’re at least as well known, but they’re not really superheroes.

    It’s one reason why the Heroes League is still famous. Back when they were around there weren’t many powered individuals so it was easy to keep them straight, and they obviously did things that were useful.

    That said, I’m imagining most countries have superheroes, or at least well known people with powers. One of these days I intend to include a European Union team as well as other heroes from outside the US.

    Based on population alone, China ought to have a bunch.

    Ditto India, and for that matter the continent of Africa.

  20. Given how recently the modern batch of super genes entered the broader gene pool, I’d expect their frequency to vary by a factor of a thousand or more between continents.

  21. Alright, gotcha, confusion cleared up.

    Don’t forget Russia, who would have had a lot of reason to emphasize superheroes during the Cold War, followed soon after by China.

    Probably a bit of tension between various groups in North and South Korea as well. Probably North Korea’s best asset, actually, given that IRL they’re behind the times technologically. If they had a supergenius, they might be finally able to successfully launch a bottle rocket.

  22. DWwolf: There’s actually a super in this setting who can do that in combination with the ability to increase an object’s density. She’s appeared, but hasn’t had to use her abilities–yet.

    PG: I haven’t forgotten Russia. There’s actually a Russian rival to the original Rocket who I’ve been wanting to introduce for a while.

    Bucky: I haven’t quite got the entire “history of powers” out yet, so there are more than you might expect.

  23. Given the concept that powers seem to originate in a few out of the way (mostly) towns in Europe, I’d expect the highest concentration of powers to be in Europe. This is from the Cabal storyline if I remember right.

    Per Jim, several other towns and cities, including Grand Lake, had “breeding” populations that original came from there and individuals would account for random appearances. All this was before the Abominator remnants came to Earth and started working here and our cousins from the stars started infiltrating.

    Based on the given information I expect Europe has the highest concentration right now, but not by much, and within a few of generations it should even out geographically. Even now I would think it’s only a statistical difference, not a huge one

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