Rachel in Infinity City: Part 14

So, Julie was awake, and what great timing. What would happen first? Would her friends notice that it hadn’t been her shouting back, or would Julie manage to take off her gag?

It’s days like that that made me want to get out of bed in the morning.

“Time to move,” Travis said, “grab her keys, and get us out of here.”

I looked down at the door. It had a key, and a dial—like on a combination lock or a safe.

That explained all the clicks when she’d opened the door.

“Not that simple,” I told him. “I don’t know the door’s combination.”

“Combination?” His mouth twisted, probably in frustration. “You’ve got Julie, right? Make her tell you.”

I looked at Julie. She didn’t say anything.

It was hard to tell through the gag, but it looked like she was smiling. Worse, all she had to do was stall. She could even pretend to cooperate. I wasn’t going to remove her gag, so we’d have to play twenty questions or she’d have to mime it. Either way, I’d bet the Blues would be coming down the stairway before she finished.

“Not that simple,” I said, and tried to think about what I could do. I could have asked Travis to rip the door out. It might have worked—or made the room explode.

I spied Julie’s suit jacket. It had a gun in the pocket, a small one with arabic writing on the side. I’d seen it when I cut her shirt sleeves off, but hadn’t grabbed it because there hadn’t been much of a point.

I picked it up, ejected the magazine, and checked the barrel from the back. It had a full magazine plus one in the chamber.

I pointed it at her. “Julie, I know you’re planning to stall, so let me tell you why you won’t. If they come down here, I’ve got your gun, and if we get into a firefight, everything’s going to blow up. The gas cans won’t need much to go off—just one good ricochet. So you know what you need to do? Help me with the combination. I’m going to start now. Nod if I need to start with the key. Shake your head for the dial.”

She didn’t move at all.

Crap. How far was I going to go? I wasn’t going to threaten anything I wasn’t willing to do. That left out killing no matter how much she deserved it.

From the stairs, a man’s voice shouted, “Are you close?”

“Working on it!” They weren’t going to believe me for long—if they still did. Except for being female and twenty-something, I didn’t sound that much like Julie.

I needed to get at this from another angle.

Samita and Rod had both come to the door, and stood on either side of Travis. Tara stood behind them.

“What do you need to make a protective circle?”

Samita’s brow furrowed, and then she said, “Anything I can write with.” Then she glared at Rod. “Not pee.”

He shrugged. “That was a joke—mostly, but ink’s liquid. It could work.”

Ignoring him, Sam turned back toward me. “I’ve got everything I need in my coat. Where did she put it?”

It was my turn to shrug. “Don’t know, but I’ve got your rings. She was wearing them.” I’d taken them off when I’d tied her hands.

I reached through the door, and handed the rings over. I made my hand and the rings solid, feeling the touch of Samita’s fingers as she scooped the rings up.

“She was wearing both of them?” Samita sounded shocked.

“Is that bad?” I asked.

“It’s complicated,” she said, “but it shouldn’t work.”

“Give me a second.” I turned invisible and intangible, and flew upwards.

The first level wasn’t much. The windows had been boarded up. Light came in through a couple knotholes. Plus, they hadn’t covered over the very top of the window on the left for some reason. A rectangle of sunlight hit the middle of the room, showing the worn boards and the dust particles in the air. Whatever this shop had sold, they’d left nothing, but bare wooden floor.

I flew toward the back, passing the counter. Even the cash register had been pulled out.

The back held only empty shelves.

I was wasting time. I could have flown up into the second floor, but I doubted Julie would have taken it up there. I had no idea where though.

I decided to get back downstairs, making a quick detour past the side door to see if my guess about who’d been shouting at us was right.

I floated through the wall, and found myself in a hallway that turned into a stairwell at the side door. That wasn’t the good part though. Our stuff was sitting on the floor just to the left of the door—our costumes, cellphones and Samita’s red jacket.

I materialized, and I was about to grab the stuff when the same voice from the outside that I’d been hearing shouted, “We’re coming in!”

Then I heard the sound of boards breaking. The door had been covered with plywood on the outside. On the inside though, it was metal, and it rung with the hit. It even bent a little.

They’d probably blast through in another hit.

They needed a reason to reconsider that plan.

I turned invisible, and intangible, and stuck my head partway out the door. Even the alley felt bright after being in the basement, but it wasn’t so bright that I missed what was going on outside. Seven of the Blues stood in the alley.

The biggest of them stood in the middle of the alley, beginning to run toward the door.

I waited until he was within a couple steps, made myself visible (but transparent) and shouted, “Merry Christmas!”

His eyes widened, and he stumbled, missing the door and hitting the wall to my left. Bits of brick fell where he hit.

Deciding they needed more of a reason to stay back, I pulled out Julie’s gun, and shot the next nearest Blue soldier in the gut.

25 thoughts on “Rachel in Infinity City: Part 14”

  1. Is it wrong that when I picture Julie bound and gagged, I get a mental image of the gimp from Pulp Fiction

  2. Evil Twin: If Julie had that kind of thing lying around, it would mean the room had some odd extra uses.

    As for the correction, that sentence was supposed to be read as sarcastic. It may not work, but that was the intent.

  3. We’re going to need Muddy Waters, Bryan Lee, and Sonny Rhodes. I hear they know how to handle the Blues.

  4. Not willing to kill, but willing to shoot a guy in the gut? Hmmmm. Maybe she didn’t think that one through.

    Anyway, minor typo in the first paragraph: “or would Julie manage to take off off her gag?”

    Hg

  5. Yeah Hg, we’ve seen Nick dither more about accidentally killing people (a very valid concern in the rocket suit) but it seems odd that Rachael would barely even menace Julie because she feels like she can’t follow through, but would shoot a random Blue without thinking twice. Rachael struck me as having a more grounded approach to confronting the necessity of killing, without being blithe about it.

  6. Here’s one of those things where it kind of matters where you cut the post (as opposed to where you cut the scene which continues in the next section). If you were to go back to part 6 of this, you’d find the following line while describing the True:

    “The material of the uniforms reminded me of the bullet resistant material most supers used in their costumes.”

    So there more might be more consistency going on than is obvious. Plus, the beginning of the next section reminds people of that line because I know people can’t really be expected to remember it.

    Unfortunately the spot where it happens doesn’t make for a great closing line. Thus you get this one.

  7. Just thought I’d mention that Star Harbor Nights has been defunct for some time now. She stopped working on it a couple years ago and now the site is gone completely.

  8. Won’t kill em, but it’ll be painful. And if he charges her, pull a bullfighting move and crash him into his buddies.

    Oh, I got the “we were kidnapped by a girl with voice powers” blues.

  9. Oh, man, if you’re updating links, whatever happened with the last skull and notorious? I read them after the crossover you posted here and was bummed when all the updates just stopped in 2011.
    And is that crossover canon? I was thinking about it in context of this story, what with all the alternate realities…

  10. Funny you should ask… I have no idea when or if Last Skull and Notorious will resume updating. I have, however emailed Robert (the author), and he’s alive and doing reasonably well.

    As for the crossover. Yep, it is canon. In fact, I can promise you that there will be references to it before this story is over (I wouldn’t expect to see crossover characters though).

  11. Is it problematic?

    I do wonder if I might drive people away or make them shut up. And I know I can get argumentative at times, hopefully not to the level of that mc2 person. I also worry I get annoying when I seem to respond to almost everybody.

    Then there’s the minor letdown of the works that people repeatedly say they enjoy best being parodied versions of Wildbow’s.

    At least I try to have fun with the wild mass guessing over there. Ironically, Wildbow keeps hitting on various smaller things I’d thought of or have done in stuff not found online. Like that scythe-armed guy (big story I’m working on, guy with six arms, two scythed, called Maulnster), or Siberian (that involves SecondLife), or Bakuda (that involves a roleplayed character on SecondLife).

    Actually, the one that shares characteristics with Bakuda was reused in a story that might still be online. I needed a good enemy to fight a character of mine from City of Heroes. If it wasn’t so long, that’d be a good story to show some more love to the comments section here.

  12. Had two ideas on that actually. The first was less a serial and more various stories. Might star yours truely playing the role of karmic trickster, might have various other characters I thunk up. Not so much continuity there though.

    The other was more like if some wacky supervillain (Where would I get one of those?) found a link to another dimension’s internet and for some reason I haven’t yet figured out (attention whore maybe?) blogs his activities, sometimes while in the middle of them thanks to his power armor.

    Unfortunately, both ideas seem to revolve around a certain character (ME!). I’ve been working on the de-sueing, but people might be tired by now.

    1. I think this may be your first comment though.

      Good that you’ve caught up (except maybe that you’ve skipped doing other important things).

  13. I knew about the reboot, but anything that hasn’t been updated in three years with een a comment by the author can be considered officially dead. She is doing other stuff, just not SHN.

  14. Ah, cliffhanger problems. I also hadn’t picked up on the bulletproof issue (and I likely read Part 6 more recently than this one, because archives), but for me Rachel’s such a badass that I figure she was aiming to wound without necessarily lethal force anyway. The main difference I see between her and Nick is she is WAY more impulsive. He overanalyzes, where Rachel’s more “Imma gonna do this”.
    But at the same time, she knows her limits, to the point of “not threatening anything she’s not willing to do”. Meaning when she DOES threaten, you’d better goddamn listen to her. Yes, I am way too invested in this character, stop looking at me funny.

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