When It’s Over: Part 5

Trying not to let fear affect him, Joe said, “It’s not a trick. I don’t have any more to trick you with than you already see.”

The creature stepped toward him, and Joe decided against stepping back. They were more likely to attack if you showed fear. He’d learned that at least from the Abominators’ attachment to hierarchy.

If you acted like you were above them, they might attempt to throw you down, but they’d at least have to consider the possibility that you outranked them. If you were lucky, they’d submit out of ingrained habit.

The giant covered the forty foot distance in all too few steps. He stopped only ten feet away, forcing Joe to look up.

He felt like a four year old. He barely came up to the creature’s waist.

Joe looked upward, making steady, strong eye contact–for all that that was worth. The creature probably couldn’t see through the helmet.

Amazingly, the giant didn’t hold up his bracer and use it for whatever horrible purpose Lee’s people had designed it for. The giant said, “I see possibilities.”

Then, staring down at him, the creature swallowed. “You’re connected to them.”

It held out the bracer, not pointing it at him, showing it to him.

That was not a connection he wanted anyone to make. Lee had told him about his own species, how they didn’t want any intelligent life but their own to even exist in this universe or any universe, and how they’d seeded the universes with artifacts that would encourage other creatures to destroy life–other races and their own.

And also that if a civilization became too large or too powerful, or just wasn’t susceptible enough to temptation, Lee’s people would show up and destroy it themselves.

Joe had a bad feeling that this creature–whatever Mark had become–might be powerful enough to make them take notice. If he guessed that Lee had taken up residence on Earth and they found out, they’d almost certainly destroy the planet and everything on it.

Joe shook his helmet from side to side, “I’ve never seen that thing in my life. Why are you showing it to me anyway?”

The giant frowned, looking almost comically grumpy. “I sensed a connection. There’s something about you that shares a past with this thing.”

The creature’s face turned grim. “I am The Nexus. I see all things. I see connections. I see patterns. Nothing is hidden from me.”

And yet, Joe thought, he didn’t see my distraction for what it was until he’d been talking for five minutes. If five or six minutes were even the default amount of time the Nexus saw into the future, there could be a way to use it.

He thought about it. If he managed to get the creature stuck somewhere, but waited until more than six minutes afterward to blow it up, that might work.

He had a bad feeling that the only thing he had access to that might trap the giant would be the Abominator weapons back in HQ. He didn’t even consider that. He’d have to depend on Larry and Freddie to bring the weapons, and Larry seemed to be a kind of magnet for disasters.

Putting Abominator weapons in his hands during a fight was simply asking for buildings to burn.

It wasn’t as if Larry did anything wrong either. A lot of supers were impulsive and headstrong, but the universe seemed to have it out for him.

Which reminded him, Larry and Freddie could appear at any moment. He need to keep “The Nexus” talking.

He needed to think of a way to handle it at the same time.

At that thought, he realized he heard music. He wasn’t sure what the song was, but somebody driving past in a red El Camino was listening to rock music extremely loudly. The singer was telling the world that he was a joker, a smoker, and a midnight toker.

The Nexus pointed his arm at the… car? (Joe had never been sure what to call them. A flatbed station wagon?)

A triangular field appeared, widening the further it got from the bracer until it enveloped the car.

The car’s color changed from red to orange, and screeched to a stop.

Along with the El Camino, the road underneath and around it had changed to a road with the deep black color of new tar. Unlike the rest of the road, no potholes existed.

The driver pulled himself upright behind the steering wheel, and Joe realized that the steering wheel had switched from the left side of the front to the right.

From the expression on the driver’s face as he stared at the dashboard, Joe guessed that this surprised him too. So the vehicle was from an alternate world, but the driver at least must still be from this world. It made more sense than time travel at any rate.

The sound of the El Camino’s engine roaring away showed that its driver at least wasn’t getting bogged down in thinking about why things had changed.

For his sake, Joe hoped that the license plate was normal or at least close to it. Joe glanced at it as it left. It did look normal except for the words “Her Majesty’s Great Lakes State.”

Joe turned back toward the giant. “Don’t do that again. These people are under my protection.”

The giant’s expression didn’t look angry or sad, merely confused, and possibly a little sick.

It pointed the bracer toward him, and Joe knew that the time to talk was over.

11 thoughts on “When It’s Over: Part 5”

  1. With any luck, the next update will just get weirder. We’ve really only touched the tip of the Nexus’ powers.

    Oh… And if you feel the urge, click through to Top Web Fiction, or to Web Fiction Guide and vote for or review the story… Plus if you’ve read the ebook and feel like reviewing on Amazon, that helps me too.

  2. Ok, what the flying pink penguin is going on at this point? I don’t think I have ever been so lost in one of your stories. I’ll have to read over the last few chapters to make sure there isn’t something that I’m missing.

    1. That’s actually useful feedback. I’m guessing that there are a few too many digressions between actions first of all. Beyond that, I’ll have to think.

      EDIT: If you’re confused because you don’t know who the characters are, or why they’re fighting, that’s a bad thing. If you’re confused because it’s not obvious why Nexus is doing what he’s doing or why the car changed, that’s okay. That’s supposed to be confusing right now.

  3. Alternarocket armor time.

    Also, seeing as this guy calls himself a Nexus and can do all this dimensional swapping, I have to wonder if he’s connected to Infinity City.

    Ah, the noble El Camino. Half car, half truck, all American (with a Spanish name)

  4. So, working hard to stop the civilization-killing info leaking to the _really_ bad guys?

    This giant is looking even more interesting – the question as to who modified him, and how much of a free agent he currently is, is quite fascinating. And, maybe, how much does using his powers mess him up?

    Yes, I’d wondered as well about connections between “The Nexus” and “Infinity City”… I didn’t have any problem reading this, but, I guess I might have a high “weirdness threshold”. πŸ™‚

    Interesting to find Joe thinks Larry is a bad luck magnet – does this improve in later life (I’m unsure, from memory), or does he still “live in interesting times”?

    Typo:

    “but the universe seemed to have it out for him” – should that be ‘have it in’?

  5. The car becoming ground-effect, short-range, anti-gravity, and wheel-less, might have been interesting…

    I guess we’ll see what more weirdness occurs. πŸ™‚

  6. Well, the right-hand drive and the “Her Majesty’s” thing definitely make sense together. πŸ™‚ Although I wonder what kind of history could have left America as part of the United Kingdom, but still led to Elizabeth ascending the throne. Not inconceivable, but her ascension was a bit of a fluke, a divergence from what would be a more likely path.

    @Dreamer — “have it out for him” is a common expression, at least in my neck of the woods.

    @Cultist — Just relax and go with the flow, and all will be revealed.

    Jim, please don’t listen to Cultist. Modern storytelling relies heavily on digressions and cut-aways and flashbacks. Look at the success of such shows as Lost, or Damages, or Rectify. (Hmmm, and maybe you should change the name of this to a single word….)

    Hg

  7. I didn’t have any problem with the weirdness, but then I was a math/physics major and have read Revelation. I was just eager to see whether the vehicle was actually swapped out with another world or whether the vehicle had always been morphable (like Night Cat’s car) and the driver didn’t realize it.

    Oh and here is the only typo I saw:
    At that that thought, he realized he heard music.

  8. I don’t know. Maybe Benedict Arnold wasn’t found out and managed to stop the rebellion. Maybe George Washington wasn’t able to convince people to go on a night raid across the Delaware on Christmas. Maybe the guy there paid attention. Maybe failure to do that led to lower reenlistment. Maybe they performed worse, were unable to secure French support, and were put down.

    Heck, maybe Washington won at Fort Necessity. Maybe Thomas Paine was killed before he could turn to writing. Maybe the colonies were given representation, then were soundly voted down in Parliament.

    Maybe the British crown was taken by Joan of Arc, whose female descendents continue to take the throne by tradition to fight the robot legions of Mecha-Napoleon while both sides deal with the opportunistic Iberian Caliphate and their flamethrowing heli-tanks.

    Really, there are a lot of possibilities for how the UK has both the colonies and a female queen.

  9. Noooooooooo! I finished reading the archives! Now I have to… *gasp* wait for more!

    I’m hooked… well played Jim… well played
    (in fact reading the adventures of Nick, all the technology talk, all the other characters in powered armor or mecha kinda make me want to try to make my own…)

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