Here We Come: Part 2

We let the telepathic connection lapse, and I concentrated on flying. Specifically, I thought about the route, and whether I ought to be getting special permission. The signal had come from Canada.

Theoretically dropping by without warning could cause an international incident.

Of course, Canada got along with the US pretty well. It wasn’t as if we were going to fly into North Korea, for example.

Still, Canada had its own supers as well as an air force, and I didn’t want to run into either of them.

Well, not unless they could be persuaded to help, but I wasn’t sure that I had time to look into that. Plus, the Nine had people everywhere. If I went through official channels, someone might warn Rook.

“Where are we going?” Jaclyn had to raise her voice. She sat in the second row back along with Rachel and Flick.

“Somewhere in northern Canada,” I said. I looked closer at the map on the screen. “Northern Manitoba in fact. No wait, southern Nunavut maybe. Do you think the Canadian government will mind?”

From behind me, Sean laughed. It had an edge to it. “Why should they? They’re practically the fifty-first state.”

“I’m sure they’d disagree with that,” Flick said. “But Nick, don’t worry about it now. Our people have already contacted anyone who needs to know. Next time, ask Agent Lim. He’ll talk you through asking the right people for permission.”

I checked our position. We’d crossed into Canada. I checked the radar. Not seeing any missiles or superheroes closing on us, I decided we were safe.

I couldn’t see much out the windows. The stars and moon above us flickered dimly. Haley had turned on the shields (though not up to full strength). They didn’t let much energy through.

It didn’t improve the scenery much, but it helped hide us from radar.

Looking down, I didn’t see a lot of lights either. Wherever we were going, it wasn’t the most populous part of Canada.

“We’re going to be there in less than twenty minutes,” I said. “Who did Guardian say he’d be sending in? I know about Paladin, Portal, and Flame Legion. Who else?”

Flick hesitated. “Well, that might be everybody. No… They’re sending Straka, and maybe Mr. Intuitive, but remember what I said? We’ve got a lot on our plate right now, and we can’t send all the help we should. The Junior Defenders are at least experienced but they’re not supposed to be much more than help getting you people out.”

“So it’s basically just us? What about the Canadian teams?”

“I’m sure we’re talking with them sweetie, but we’ve got to be careful. You know the Nine.”

She said it calmly, as if she weren’t implying that the Nine had infiltrated any government worth infiltrating.

I checked our position. We were getting close. I started to descend, bringing the jet down fifty miles away. We could send someone in to scout out the base, and if they got in trouble, the jet could close the distance quickly in seconds.

I landed in a clearing next to a lake. A forest stood all around us. At that distance, blending in wouldn’t matter much. It wasn’t as if they’d see us out the window in the middle of the night.

Still, for all I knew, they might have regular patrols.

We left the shields on, letting them absorb the little light available. It wouldn’t turn us invisible, but we wouldn’t be obvious either.

OK. Maybe I was being overcautious.

“Here’s what I’m thinking… The Mystic and uh… Izzy, do you have a codename?”

She shook her head. “No, and I’m not ever using Dixie Supergirl again.”

“We could call you…” I noticed the color of her shirt. “Blue?”

“After my shirt? Are you kidding?” She sighed. “If it makes it easier, sure, but just this time.”

“Anyway, the two of you can scout ahead. If there are problems, come back, or call us and we’ll join you.”

As they stepped out of the door, I wondered if I should ask Daniel about their relationship status. She lived in California last I’d heard, and visiting him in Chicago might not be much at her speed, but it had to mean something.

We’re not going out. She just dropped by to talk about Stapledon.

Seriously?

I don’t want to go into it right now.

So it’s definitely more than Stapledon.

He didn’t say anything, and then the door shut behind him.

Haley looked up from the screens in front of her. “And now we wait?”

“Probably. Well, maybe. I had this idea while we were flying. Cassie’s gun is alien tech, and the jet’s mostly alien tech. I wonder if there’s a way to make them connect, and boost its telepathic range?”

26 thoughts on “Here We Come: Part 2”

  1. Well crap, I finished writing this at the normal time, but didn’t notice that it was still on draft status until just now.

  2. Jim, I have a question, how much of the ships weaponry consists of alien doo-dads? Specifically, is there a way that Nick could copy all or elements of Cassie’s guns and give the ship a serious upgrade? How about the Rocket suit?

  3. so far as i know is not the rocket suit just made out of tech you can find around the house (assuming you have that technology in your house) and as for Canada, i am a proud Canadian who has heard the fifty first state analogy too many times to count. I have also been informed that I live in an igloo with my pet polar bear when we have the same temperatures here as in New york.

  4. The suit definately not. adv ceramics, alloys multiple hour rocket endurance on god knows what fuel. battery tech LASERS!

  5. I think Sean is on off handed comment away from being slapped by someone.
    Never heard the 51st state thing, that would be a big state. I did hear it called Americas Hat. I like to think it would be a top hat, because all the Canadians I know are classy.

  6. Sure, let’s plug the sociopathic murder device into our absurdly powerful space plane to see if they can talk to each other. What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

  7. Luke: Pretty close to my thoughts exactly… Just what could be so horrible about giving the gun a whole rocket ship to control!

    51st state: On the off chance that the Canadians agreed to become the 51st state (& came in as one state!), the Texans wouldn’t be very happy as that would drop them down to only being the 3rd large state, even in the contiguous states.

  8. I’d hope that Rocket would be very careful about letting various bits of Abominator tech talk to each other. Unless he is very desperate.

    Getting a briefing from Cassie about the Gun would be a really good idea too. There might be serious trust issues…

    The Gun seem to have one priority in life, more burny, then more Burny, and finally, More Burny!!!

  9. Evil Twin/DWwolf/Captain Mystic: He probably could over the course of a few years of work. Basically he’d have to reinvent and/or copy completely new technologies and lots of them. Though far in advance of your average engineer in terms of powered armor, he still doesn’t know everything about everything.

    That said, the Rocket suit at this point includes technology that was inspired by alien tech (but still isn’t) in spots.

    Captain Mystic: As someone who lives in Michigan, I’ve probably gone to Canada more often than the average US citizen. One company I worked for was owned by Canadians. Thus stereotypes about Canadians amuse me.

    With regards to temperatures being not quite what you’d expect: A friend of mine once noted that it was colder in Grand Rapids, Michigan on a particular day than it was in Siberia. That surprised both of us.

    Rain/Captain Mystic: I’ve heard the 51st state joke a bunch of times. I’m not sure if I found it funny even on the first one.

    Dreamer/Luke/Notto: We’ll see as to how cautious he is, but Nick’s generally cautious, and Cassie did basically tell him the whole story about what happened in Washington D.C.

    Oh, and on a totally irrelevant note, this was in my local paper: Love in the air: Grand Rapids couple tying the knot in ‘world’s first jet pack wedding’

  10. I believe that our almost paranoid Nick will take care to put some kind of filter before giving the weapon acces to the ship.
    Actually, he only has to give the weapon acces to sound boxes.
    This weapon really loves extra crispy.

  11. I wish I could go to Canada, but alas I live far away. Canadians could come down here during winter and sweat a good bit, though. Welcome to Florida: The land that time forgot.

    Or maybe it should be “Florida: Just when you thought they were dead…”

    or “Florida: Everwhere else in the nation is having a drought. We’re raining our asses off. Screw you.”

    I’ve mainly heard the phrase 51st State used in relation to the UK, to the extent that a Samuel L. Jackson movie set there was titled such over there. Then again, people have also argued that Australia’s pretty lock-step with us too.

    Of course, there’s also the fictional universes. In Watchmen, Vietnam is the 51st state thanks to Doctor Manhattan’s interference in the Vietnam War.

    In the fake documentary C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America, the CSA takes over portions of Central and South America as well. I don’t remember if they’re considered states or not however. They’re involved in a Cold War with Canada, with the Cotton Curtain. Given that Canada was a refuge from the slavery, discrimination, and WASPy homogeny of the CSA, it’s the place responsible for Elvis, rock and roll, and a strong entertainment culture.

    In That 70’s Show, the immortal statement is made, “In Canada, the beer is stronger, so the women look prettier.”

    And in the WWE…well, Canada and Vince McMahon don’t get along very well (See: The Montreal Screwjob) so they’re not above some jabs at each other. So Canadians can be “evil foreigners” in wrestling. Whether they’re accepted as such is a different matter.

  12. extra crispy… burny… maybe we should call it “Rice Krispies”? Do you think it would be offended? or did the Rice Krispies elves have names?

  13. not to mention shame on you for not knowing the rice crispies elves’ names. also the gun should be called something totally non threatening like mr. cuddles. that way bad guys would be too busy laughign to watch out for it.

  14. “We could close the distance quickly if we had to, and this would allow us to scout around before going in—assuming they hadn’t already.”

    “They hadn’t already” here could refer to “close the distance”, “scout around” or “go in”, but from the context it seems that it was supposed to refer to having seen them. In that case, it’s missing a verb.

    Storywise, I’m scared for them. As Luke and Notto mentioned (Ha! Ha!) plugging possibly hostile AIs into your big guns and escape route is generally a no-no, especially since Nick did not build the ship and is not an expert (yet) on its workings. By the way, from what I remember, the ship is made from copies of captured alientech, but is it Xiniti or Abominator derived? it seems that in the 70’s both kinds of wrecks might be found, or did the Legion and friends already have the Abominators mostly wiped out by the time the Xiniti arrived?

  15. From what I understood Nicks Granddad got hold of an alien shipwreck in the 50s but didn’t get the stuff from that working for about 20 years. The rocketship it self was also 50s/60s, But got continuously upgraded. Partly with a fusion reactor and antigrav tech from the alien wreck.

  16. Amaral: True… so potential the ship and the gun could get in a fight! Oh great! and here I had only thought of them teaming up!

  17. PG: I recall seeing an issue of Maclean’s (a Canadian weekly magazine) that had “My Canada Includes Florida” as a headline. I remember thinking, “That’s news to people in Florida,” but it probably wasn’t. I’m guessing they’re plenty aware of where tourists come from. I know people in Michigan are.

    Notto/Hg/Captain Mystic: I’m not sure whether it reflects well on me or not that I instantly knew Snap, Crackle, and Pop’s names.

    Amaral/DWwolf/Notto: DWwolf’s right about the jet’s history. That said, the Heroes League basically took out the few remaining Abominators before the Xiniti got there. All the same, there were parts from Abominator, Xiniti, and other species vessels available to Nick’s grandfather in the 70’s and thereafter.

  18. Yeah, I see I wasn’t the only one thinking, “alien gun that wants to kill everyone, crossed with a super powerful jet with great shielding and invisibility… not the best combination”.

  19. @Hg I can’t decide if calling the gun Sizzle or Sparkle makes it sounds more like an American Gladiator or a My Little Pony (both of which would be amusing cross-over potentials for the gun)

  20. Bit of a necro here, but I couldn’t resist posting.

    As I was reading the comments about temperature and Florida, I couldn’t help but remember that back in January there was a day where Whitehorse, Yukon was about 2°C warmer than Orlando, Florida. It annoyed me a little, because southern Manitoba was hitting wind chills of -50°C at that point. I even managed to find the article: http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/parts-of-the-yukon-bask-in-unseasonably-mild-temperatures/19929/

    On the topic of Canadian stereotypes, people should check out Rick Mercer’s Talking to Americans show. It’s quite amusing, but you might not get some of the jokes at first.

    Finally, I don’t know if you’ve read Brandon Sanderson at all, but I’m getting a definite Nightblood (from Warbreaker) vibe from the gun.
    Is sentient? Check
    Powerful? Check
    Likes destroying stuff? Check
    Has an attitude? Check

    Great story, by the way. I really like it.

    1. Commenting on old posts is totally okay. Thanks for reading and enjoying it.

      For what it’s worth, I’ve actually watched Rick Mercer and found his show both funny and embarrassing. I did actually get a lot of the jokes largely due to knowing more Canadians than the average US citizen.

      Haven’t read any Brandon Sanderson though, but I’m getting the feeling I should.

  21. He writes mostly fantasy, and has the full version of Warbreaker available on his website for anyone who’s interested in sampling his writing. Aside from starting there, I’d recommend The Way of Kings.

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