Picking Up Pieces: Part 1

The good point about owning a “jet” created from the remains of alien spacecraft is that it does surprisingly well even in the presence of enormous explosions.

The engines, meant for sending the ship into orbit, shot us far out of the range of the blast. Its shields absorbed what little of the blast could reach us.

The ship’s inertial dampers did well enough that I felt a little pull, but kept standing as the ship shot forward, creating huge sonic booms.

Given that we were in northern Manitoba near Nunavut, the noise probably wasn’t bothering many people. We might have upset more polar bears.

Even though most people in Canada live in cities, northern Manitoba was the kind of place that encouraged US stereotypes. It was three in the morning so we couldn’t see much of anything, but I’d seen pictures of the area.

It was tundra—flat greenery with shrubs, and some forests—and mostly uninhabited.

With any luck, no one would notice the explosion. It wasn’t as if Rook’s headquarters had been in the middle of Chicago, or for that matter, Toronto.

Alex’s voice came over the comm. “Night Cat? Heroes League? Are you out there?”

I took my seat as Haley answered. “Everyone’s here, including Captain Commando.”

A couple voices gave a little cheer (”Whoo!”). They both might have been Jenny.

I clicked on my comm. “What about you? You were all pretty close.”

Alex gave a laugh. “Not as close as you guys. You were right on it. Wish I’d have been there.”

A memory of Rook’s arm appeared in my mind. “You didn’t miss much. Oh… We’ve got a bunch of hurt scientists and their assistants. They used to work for Rook. Can we transfer them over?”

“Can we trust them?”

“Well, kind of. They’re prepared to talk about what they’ve been doing. Rook was trying to kill them, so I wouldn’t expect a lot of loyalty. Seriously, I saw a couple of them die.”

Brooke broke in. “If you want to transfer them over, we’ll have to get close enough that the Mystic can give me a picture. Then I’ll open a doorway, and they can come through.”

A few minutes later, the Jet and one of the Socal Defenders’ podjets hovered above a small lake. In the distance, past the trees, something burned. I guessed it might be Rook’s place.

I wished Vaughn had come along. He could have left the ground wet from rain. As it was, we could only hope Rook’s explosion wouldn’t start a larger fire.

It didn’t take long to transfer them over though—maybe 5 minutes.

They stepped through the portal into the podjet with no real hesitation.

I wasn’t sure I liked that. It hinted at a little too much familiarity with teleportation. I hadn’t noticed anything that looked like a spot to teleport out of when I was in there.

On the other hand, I remembered, I hadn’t been in the middle section. What if Rook hadn’t folded space in there? What if he had a connection to someone else’s teleportation device?

Did the Nine have one, or worse, a system?

I hoped that it had a lot of limits.

Alex’s voice came over the comm saying, “The damage isn’t bad. Give me a few minutes.”

Before anyone had a chance to reply, the sensors beeped. I checked the screen. It showed something—actually several somethings—traveling toward us at nearly the speed of sound.

For all I knew, they might have been going faster before we noticed.

Three were roughly human sized, and the fourth had to be a jet of some kind.

Below the tactical display, a series of messages began to scroll.

[AI Engaged]

[The “jet” coming toward us contains Xiniti technology as do the engines of one of the smaller flyers.]

[You shouldn’t need to fight them, but if you do, I recommend using this vessel’s maneuverability instead of assuming the shields can take it. They might not.]

Haley shot me a look.

“I don’t know,” I said. “This is only the second time it’s ever talked to me.”

Over the comm, a woman’s voice said, “Unidentified aircraft, this is Red Hawk. Please explain who you are, and what you have to do with the explosion near here.”

From behind me, Sean said, “Don’t talk with her. Rev up the engines and leave. What’s she going to do?”

“Unidentified aircraft, my team and I are special constables in the RCMP, and are authorized and required to enforce the laws of Canada.”

A man’s voice broke in, “What my teammate is saying is that even though we’re capes, we can and will call in military backup. We know you’re using alien tech, and the best thing you can do right now is let us know who you are, and why you’re here.”

17 thoughts on “Picking Up Pieces: Part 1”

  1. “The ship’s inertial dampers did well enough that felt a little pull” is probably missing a “we”

    This next part doesn’t have a typo, it just shows that Sean is a fucking moron.

    From behind me, Sean said, “Don’t talk with her. Rev up the engines and leave. What’s she going to do?”

    Hey idiot, she’s the authorities. If she was one of the bad guys, she would already know what they had to do with it and would have been sneaker and blastier.

    “Unidentified aircraft, my team and I are special constables in the RCMP, and are authorized and required to enforce the laws of Canada.”

    For those who don’t know, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or Mounties, have international jurisdiction when dealing with threats to Canada, and they pack some serious heat. That’s just the real life version. It won’t be the nicest thing that they didn’t warn the Canadians they were coming, but we’re not talking about villains. And Sean is a moron.

  2. They’ve dealt with the bad guys, now they need to deal with the good guys…

    At least they can claim to be a recognised hero group, with a good reputation. Can they claim ‘hot pursuit’ of Rook, and the kidnappers of Capt Commando? That’s sometimes good when people cross boundaries beyond their normal jurisdiction… (I think it depends what agreements have been signed.)

    It’ll be interesting to see how much paper work they get stuck with filling-out for being involved in blowing-up bits of Canada.

  3. Thanks for spelling out the RCMP was. I was lost on that.
    I will have to go back and re-read the earlier part but i thought they notified the Canadians that they were going it. Or did Nick forget?

  4. I’m pretty sure the Defenders or the program said they were notifying the Canadian authorities, I just can’t find it doing a quick scan through back issues. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re going to just assume it’s the good guys who got away after seeing a nuke go off.

  5. Ya, the FBI/Program notifying the ‘proper authorities’ likely means they called somebody behind a desk somewhere. I imagine that this operation would fall under the ‘need to know’ category, and until things went mushroom shaped (as opposed to the usual pear shape) the on call Capes didn’t have a ‘need to know’.

  6. “We are members of the heroes league and the Defenders. We were just rounding up one of our own who had gone rogue. Brooke, can you open a portal so that we can transfer Sean over to the RCMP?”

  7. Jeff: That’s cool. I think you’ll be getting a copy before I will (I’m supposed to be sent a few).

    Andrul/Luke: Yep. They were notifying people but they were being careful to notify people that they didn’t think the Nine had connections to as one of the Nine’s things is compromising government officials.

    As for Sean… Aside from this being in character for him, it also comes out of being in other countries and occasionally being embarrassed by things that the odd fellow citizen is saying while I’m there.

  8. Hey now, people from other countries say dumb things in the U.S. too.

    Like an older white immigrant from South Africa proudly telling a story of a time someone angrily asked who he was and his reply was “I’m your worst nightmare. A [offensive term for black people] with a badge.”

    1. I’m sure people from other countries do make fools of themselves here, but there’s one crucial difference–I don’t feel like people are judging me by their actions.

  9. To put the RCMP’s jurisdiction into perspective, they essentially fill a similar role in Canada to that of the FBI. Well, they actually do a lot more than that, including policing at municipal levels for areas and municipalities that either don’t want to run their own police force, or can’t afford to. They also are responsible for the safety of the government heads, just like the Secret Service. One thing they don’t do, though, is CIA-like work, which is handled by a separate group called CSIS. (Clearly, Canadians are fonder of 4-letter acronyms, versus the 3-letter style used by the USA.) I could go on, but that would be boring. But in the current in-story situation, it would be kind of like the FBI showing up, and kind of like Homeland Security showing up.

    Hg

  10. I may be somewhat dating myself, but when the RCMP announced their presence, I pictured Dudley Doright.

Leave a Reply