The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 14

Cannon’s voice was a little distorted as it came through the speakers. “Give me a second. I think I’m passing some rock.”

He paused. “Are you all still there?”

Almost everyone said, “Yes.”

“It shouldn’t be hard now that you’re here,” Cannon said.

Kayla guessed he meant C.

Breathing a little harder, Cannon continued, “I figure we find them, and you run into the middle of them. Then Control presses the button, and it’s all cleanup from there.”

C shook his head. “Can’t. Wish I could.”

Cannon snorted. “I heard you were going blind, but I figured you had to have figured a way around it by now. Otherwise you wouldn’t be in HQ. If you’re worried about blowing the secret, I’d say that now’s the time.”

C sighed. “Wish I could. There’s more going on here than I can tell you about now. Later, we can talk, but for now, the kids will have to do it.”

Cannon didn’t say anything for a moment, but followed it up with, “I imagine this has something to do with the League’s other surviving member.”

When C didn’t respond, he said, “Yep, thought so. Seeing the future never seemed worth it to me–”

C interrupted. “We shouldn’t talk about it. Let’s talk about a plan. Forty of the Abominator’s ground troops verses three kids directly, two senior citizens, one support staff, and a nearly sixty year old doomsday device. Have I got everything?”

Haley said, “The AI says ‘Ahem.'”

C laughed. “I barely remember the Rocket inserting it into the jet. We barely used it except on the last few missions after we retired, but I should have remembered it. Tell it I’m sorry. We might need it tonight.”

From Haley’s tone, Kayla could imagine her smiling a little as she said, “The AI says, ‘Forgiven.'”

Kayla wondered what else it had said.

Cannon barely waited an instant before talking. “What I’ve got isn’t much of a doomsday weapon. I’ve toned it down, and I always thought of it as specifically targeted.”

“Yeah,” C said. “It was targeted at the Heroes League, and I’d say it still counts as a doomsday weapon if anyone who controls radiation is inside.”

Chris’ voice came over the comm, “What kind of weapon is this?

Marcus spoke up. “That’s what I was about to say.”

“It specifically targets the Heroes League?” Haley asked. “Isn’t that a problem since we’re all on the same side now?”

Kayla watched the camera windows on the big screen, hoping that they decided what to do before the aliens attacked.

“Whoa,” C said. “I’ll give everyone an overview. Man-machine jump in if I get it wrong.”

“Can do,” Cannon said.

“The way I remember it,” C said, ” it was a two pronged attack. Temporarily, no electronic devices worked, and everybody’s powers acted strangely. I was just as strong and fast, but got tired easily. Captain Commando and Night Wolf were in the same position, and they couldn’t heal much better than a normal person. The Mentalist, Ghostwoman, and Red Lightning mostly couldn’t use their powers at all.”

“Technically,” Cannon said, “they could still use them. They couldn’t control them very well.”

“Mmm-hmmn,” C said, “Ghostwoman had to be willing to float away into alternate universes to use hers. Red Lightning couldn’t control where the lightning hit. If we’d been visited by Sgt. Atom, the whole city could have died from radiation poisoning.”

On the other end comm connection, Cannon’s voice sounded more frustrated when he replied. “Sgt. Atom didn’t show up. I was careful. I trapped the Rocket and all the rest of you. None of his suits worked, and the rest of you overexerted yourselves before you knew what was happening. It should have worked.”

“Except I got out of the hospital, took the stairs up to the roof, and smashed it with a baseball bat.” Nodding, C continued. “I never understood how you learned how to do it. The electricity I could see, but affecting our powers? You never did anything with them before then or after.”

In a matter of fact tone, Cannon said, “You’re right. That wasn’t an interest. I got that information from Red Lightning.”

C grunted. “I should have guessed. I forget, was that before or after his power jump?”

“Don’t know,” Cannon said. “I told the Rocket later, but he didn’t believe me until after the Mentalist confirmed that Red Lightning was behind the superpowered gangs. Stupid.”

“Not stupid,” C said. “Red Lightning was his best friend since the age of six, and they’d fought in a war together. The Rocket wasn’t going to accuse him on your say so. So what’s the new plan?”

Cannon replied, “Nearly the same as what they did at the beach. Get their attention, and set the bomb off. Their camouflage and armor won’t work. They’ll barely be able to move, and we’ll be able to do whatever we need to. The only problems I see is that the device is fairly fragile and easy to break. Someone will have to sneak it close and set it off, preferably from a distance. If you stand behind the ship, and let it shield you from the blast, your equipment should work.”

Cannon added, “I volunteer.”

13 thoughts on “The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 14”

  1. Oh Gecko, that made my day. I literally sprayed my coffee over my computer screen from laughter. Cheers for that.

  2. Small error in the sentence “…ground troops verses three kids…”

    I assume you meant the troops would be fighting the kids and not reciting songs or poetry to them. Substitute “versus” for “verses”

    As always, loving the story. Thank you again for all your hard work for our benefit.

  3. I hope that Nick and Chris wil have some opportunities for Grampa Cannon to share all or most of his technical knowledge and wisdom with them before he kicks the bucket. It would be a shame if they spent months or years learning stuff by experimentation that they could have learned in a single conversation or possibly a demonstration.

  4. Kayla wins again.

    “Kayla watched the camera windows on the big screen, hoping that they decided what to do before the aliens attacked.”

    Definitely at least a fifty point agent there. After this adventure, she should use experience to buy down that “lack of self-confidence” disability.

  5. Haha! The AI reminds the players of its existence! Maybe they will take advantage of its superior abilities!

    Or maybe they will underuse it because of their bigoted organic-central mindsets.

    One of the two.

  6. “Cannon’s voice sounded a more frustrated when he replied” Needs one more or one less word.

    And I thought I saw another, but can’t find it now.

  7. I’m just curious about what the AI’s reaction is going to be to the possibility of the ship it ‘lives’ in being exposed to tinker-tech that can disable electronic devices.

    At the very least the AI should ask for some details on how it works, so it can be sure to set up shielding to work properly.

    “Ahem. If there is any interest in me being of continuing use here, it should be remembered that I exist within an electronic medium. What is this about ‘no electronic devices worked’, and ‘hiding behind the ship’?”

  8. @Farmerbob1 – I’m assuming the larger and more comprehensive shields on the ship should protect it. Otherwise, that would really be an ignoble end for such an amazing creation.

    @the leaking pen & PG – I did too.

  9. Have the word “as” in here twice.

    I’ve toned it down, and I always thought of it as as specifically targeted.”

    Should be:

    I’ve toned it down, and I always thought of it as specifically targeted.”

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