Breaking & Entering: Part 8

Rook’s control room sat near the middle of the dome, and like the other rooms at the center, the ceiling rose to the top of the dome.

The rooms on the second floor shared a transparent wall with the corridor below. People on the second floor could look down into the labs and control, but they weren’t just then.

I gave the Rocket suit a little thrust, and I hovered a little higher, out of the Rook suit’s reach.

On the second floor, people in blue jumpsuits and masks lay down or crawled on all fours.

Out in the first floor’s hall, pieces of concrete fell. On the second floor, a monitor fell off a desk, throwing sparks as the screen shattered.

With the tearing noise I’d heard came a popping noise. I couldn’t place it, guessing it might be the sound of the rivets that connected the roof to the beams popping out.

I had no way of knowing for sure though, and I didn’t have time to follow up on it.

While hovering out of reach kept me out of a wresting match, it also turned me into a target for everyone in the room.

I was already taking fire from the lightweight Rook suits with submachine guns.

I gave the suit more thrust, shooting up, but generally back in the direction where Rook slumped in his chair, and the second heavy Rook suit stood over him.

Really generally in that direction though—I wasn’t trying to go back there. It was just the only direction possible without flying toward the roof or trying the shatter the transparent wall in front of the room.

Then it dawned on me that I had no reason to stay. Cassie wasn’t here, and Rook wasn’t threatening to kill my friends. It was time to leave.

I flipped over, turned the sonics on at full blast, and aimed for the transparent wall. Cracks appeared in front of me even before I reached it.

I gave the suit more thrust, holding out my arms in front of me, and hoping I hadn’t misjudged the material’s strength. Sure, it looked like glass, but I knew it didn’t have to be.

It broke, but not quite the way I would have expected.

I felt the impact in my arms, and it felt solid. It hurt. I blasted through the material anyway, taking huge chunks with me into the hall. No big deal, right? What’s a wall when you can lift tons?

I tried to flip over to slow down, but still hit the wall on the other side of the hall. I didn’t break it even if I did leave holes where my elbow and knee hit.

That wasn’t the worst of it.

I turned around to check if anyone was following me, and was in time to hear a loud noise as a spiderweb of cracks appeared followed by a huge crash as the entire wall fell into the hall while part of the the second floor bent, falling inward.

It stayed mostly in one piece, bending, but staying six feet above the floor on the far end.

People shouted, screamed, and cried as they fell. Some fell into the control room, others on the shattered material in the hall.

I stared. I should be doing something. Helping them? Tending to their wounds maybe?

I couldn’t. I had some bandages in my utility belt, but not enough.

Plus, if went back in there, people would probably try to shoot me.

How could I have known a transparent wall would be structurally significant?

Then I noticed the heavy Rook suit—the one I’d damaged with the sonics. He wasn’t moving much, and he had to be able to see me. The Rocket suit didn’t exactly blend in.

He leaned against a computer station, holding himself up.

The nerve gas. He was dying.

I’d basically killed him.

I didn’t know what to do next. I ran down the hall. Cassie had to be close. If I found her, maybe I could get Alex to heal everyone when I got out.

The next section of the core of Rook’s base was a total loss.

Except for a few cracks, the transparent wall was still intact, and the second floor was still in place. That was the good news.

Human-sized cylinders filled most of the room. I didn’t know what they were used for, but I couldn’t see anyone inside, just blue liquid.

The people I could see were dead. Two men and a woman in lab coats lay on the floor next to the chairs they’d fallen out of.

The computers in front of them were on, and open to a lot of windows.

I didn’t have time to find out more.

The gun flashed. It lit up the hall.

“She’s here?”

Two quick flashes.

“The next section?”

Flash.

19 thoughts on “Breaking & Entering: Part 8”

  1. WOOT first comment. I haven’t done that in like forever.

    As usual, some solid writing. I feel like this section each chapter has good cliff-hanger break points, but for some reason I want longer individual chapters — the little bites aren’t satisfying enough because the writing is awesome but too brief.

  2. So… Is it manslaughter then, if you have to break the wall that keeps the nerve gas (someone else released) out, so that you survive? Nick has really got himself in a bad situation here…

    Still, if you are dealing with murderous people who use nukes and nerve gas as bargaining tools, I guess you can be pretty sure it’s going to get messy.

    Also, if someone is playing with nerve gas, are they likely to have antidote around, ready to use, in case something goes wrong, say when they’re maintaining the system? I could speculate that enough antidote, combined with a speedster, might greatly improve the situation…

  3. Nerve gas isn’t exactly an ‘antidote’ kind of situation.

    I say chalk up the deaths to self defense. They wanted to kill him and he attempted to defend himself by fleeing from their guns. It just so happened that their other weapon, nerve gas, got to where they were as a result.

    To an extent, the superhero limit on self defense can be considered a little bit higher. Many heroes can survive more. Hard to argue self defense if Ironman pummels a guy who just had a 9mm handgun. However, being assaulted by someone would allow nonlethal retaliation, success or not.

    All that is ignoring wartime conduct. If an alien invasion breaks out, it is generally acceptable to shoot first. I reference, of course, the decision of Avengers V. Chitauri Invasion Force.

  4. Idiots who use chemical &/or biological weapons deserve to suffer from Finagle’s Law and Death By Irony.

  5. Morally complicated, in a place full of nerve gas, where armored units are battling and, at least, denting walls, are you responsible for the death of a normal person that didn´t have a mask?
    Probably not if you were not the one that released the nerve gas to start with.
    An example of how this can get complicated in real life:
    – Cops get into a favela (slum).
    – The drug dealers start to shoot the cops using AK 47 assault rifles.
    – The cops shoot back.
    – A child that was playing on the street gets shot.
    – The community does a manifestation in front of the governor palace, or closing the road that passes close to the slum. They ask the cops not to go in since it is in the nature of the drug dealers to shoot back. This or something similar.
    – They basically blame the cops for the death of the boy.
    This is what created the BOPE. This elite team does not go into the place openly during the day with a mandate. They go at night, wearing black uniforms with painted skulls.
    No young innocent boy is killed when BOPE acts.
    But, they never arrest anyone alive.
    One day before a military intervention in the slum you give BOPE the authorization to act. Any drug dealer with half a brain will disappear. Or he will disappear anyway.
    Next you occupy the place with tanks.
    Finally you implement police stations.
    It is not working very well because there are already cases of corruption in the new police stations, but it is an improvement from armed thugs controlling openly the streets.

  6. Error spot; “I gave the suit more thrust, shooting up, but but generally…”
    I’m assuming there should only be one but? No jokes about bottoms here.

  7. “The nerve gas. He was dying.
    I’d basically killed him.”

    Ah, well. Next time, you’ll know to maim your opponent and explode one of his limbs instead of using your sonics. Live and learn.

  8. If Rook has a standard sarin derivative, then he should also have plenty of atropine around. Sarin is what most people think of when they think of nerve gas, and it’s nasty stuff. However, most people who work around it or in situations where they would be exposed to it (through attack, usually) are trained in the use of atropine syringes, which are small enough to fit in an emergency kit and simple enough to use that most people can figure them out (remove sheath, jab syringe into thigh, and squeeze). The U.S. Armed Forces actually drill their members on the use of atropine syringes regularly, as do the Civil Defense elements of the Israeli government/Armed Forces.

    If Rook is smart enough to be a real threat (when he’s not doped up on painkillers), then there’s plenty of atropine around to protect his people. Of course, while the atropine will fight off the effects of sarin, it doesn’t leave you feeling too peachy afterward (atropine itself is a toxin, and dosing yourself with it without sarin exposure can kill you), and if the nerve gas has been released, Rook’s people should be trying to get the hell out of there. This is, of course, assuming it’s a sarin derivative, and Rook follows at least some of the Evil Overlord rules (such as keeping antidotes for any poisons he may use).

    What Rocket should be worried about is Izzy and Jackie busting open that dome and allowing the nerve gas to drift across civilian populaces. That’ll make Homeland Security less than happy.

  9. Let’s see… Rook and his forces are guilty of kidnapping, torture, murder, possession and use of chemical weapons, possession of nuclear weapons (to the NRA’s eternal shame that isn’t allowable for private citizens in the New World, or at least I really hope it isn’t legal), possession, use, and distribution of controlled substances (both whatever doped up Rook and the power juice), and then multiple counts of attempted murder of law enforcement agents.

    In the course of defending himself, other agents, and preventing a nuclear attack on Canadian soil, the Rocket took actions that blew off a portion of Rook’s arm and then escaped. In the process the control room was exposed to the same nerve gas they were using in an attempt to kill other law enforcement agents (Accelerando and Dixie Supergirl).

    Heck, if you add in all the stuff they can get away with to deal with terrorists (Rook’s people could qualify better than your average supervillain), then it seems there’s no obvious breach of the law in Nick’s actions. Nor are they immoral or unethical.

    Of course, still doesn’t mean it sits well with him to know he has killed a man.

  10. Hey Gecko what about all the illegally human experiments Rook wanted to perform on Captain Commando so the 9 could use illegally alien weapons?

  11. Just two things…
    1) Dying in an armed confrontation is an occupational hazard for evil minions. I’m pretty sure they can’t even get insurance against it since it’s to be expected.
    2) Venting toxins into a building where superpowered people are fighting is much like drinking beer in a mosh pit. Any sane person should expect spills.

  12. “MadNinja Says:
    October 1st, 2012 at 5:27 pm
    Hey Gecko what about all the illegally human experiments Rook wanted to perform on Captain Commando so the 9 could use illegally alien weapons?”

    Does this mean you can get legally alien weapons?

  13. Could count. Or might not.

    Depends on how you define human. Something that once came up when talking about neanderthals. I mean, she is alien enough to be able to use an alien weapon that only reacts to certain alien DNA.

    It’s entirely possible that the government has no qualms about experimenting on and torturing aliens. Most would make the point that human rights belong to humans.

    Not like there’s ever been a legal precedent for denying people rights based on only a minor “deviation” in their ancestry. Like the 1/32nd rule in the American South where you were classified as black with all the rights that involved if you were even that much “black”.

    Since that one group of aliens is still nearby and can destroy the planet, maybe they figured they’d better not give them any reason to think Earth needs a good destroying.

  14. @PG
    Don’t forget that the current ‘catchall’ origin for super-powers is alien DNA. You can assume all power-juicers have a few abominator bits in their genes, and likely most of the ‘spontaneously gained powers’ types do as well.

  15. @Gecko It not clear if Cassie has alien DNA or it is just whatever crates the Citizen’s Mark.

    Luke Licens Bullet explained that alien heroes and metahumans are descended from humans modified by the Abominators.

    Does this mean you can get legally alien weapons?
    Flick has said it is owning alien artifacts is illegally.

    Flick nodded. “I don’t suppose that you’re aware that most countries, including the United States, require people to turn in alien or magical artifacts if they find them?”

  16. You know, I’m surprised they really never even thought of this then. I mean, same thing they could have pulled with District 9.

    I’ll be right back.

    *Grabs a saw and walks off. Returns a few minutes later with a hander alien claw for a glove, firing an alien gun off into the air*

    Yippy ki yay, mothercluckers. Pew pew? *Pew pew!*

  17. No Nick you did NOT kill anyone. Rook, taking whole chapters from the How To Be An Evil Son of a Bitch guide gassed his own people and put them in harms way.

    THAT’s what happened.

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