When It’s Over: Part 7

Pressing the buttons on his palm, Joe made the suit turn upright and hover. As the Nexus flew toward him, barely slowing down and raising his arm, Joe wondered how good an idea this would be.

Bright shifting colors raced toward him, and passed to his right, quickly followed by the Nexus himself.

Joe turned in place in the air. It had seemed difficult the first time he’d tried it, but after more than thirty years in the Rocket suit, he barely thought as he did it.

The Nexus turned toward him, turning upright in the air and pointing the bracer at him.

Turning on the suit’s PA, Joe broadcast, “Mark, I know that somehow you’re in there, and that you can control this being that you’ve become. I don’t know what the Abominators told you, but they lost. They can’t hurt anyone you care about, and they can’t hurt you. I’ve been told that the Abominators on Earth were the last ones left. There’s nothing to fight for. Relax. It’s over.”

The creature’s face broke into a smile. The colors around its bracer grew in size, surrounding his entire arm in a blurred rainbow without warning.

Joe didn’t have time to move, knowing the strike would come.

And then it didn’t.

The colors faded in a bright pop. Nexus’ face contorted in anger. Joe barely had time to feel relief before it leaped straight at him, moving faster than Joe could dodge.

He tried, managing to step to the right, but that only meant that a fist several times the size of his own brushed across his armored chest instead of punching it directly.

It was the hardest hit he’d ever felt in the Rocket armor, and that included a direct hit from an artillery shell.

He rolled across the ground, his armor buzzing and beeping error messages. From the pattern of the beeps, significant damage to the suit, probable structural integrity problems.

Joe gave a laugh as he rolled to his feet. He barely needed diagnostics to tell him that.

His chest hurt. Had that thing broken a rib? Well, it wouldn’t be the first.

Still dizzy from the speed of the roll, he looked toward where he’d last seen the giant.

He hadn’t moved, but blinked when Joe met his gaze. In the back of his head, Joe wondered if this was such a good idea. He had a plan, but it assumed that Mark had more control over the thing he’d become than that.

One more hit to the chest, and the creature’s hand would probably go through.

Joe turned off the buzzing and beeping with a palm click. Wishing he’d known Mark at all, or had any idea what motivated him, he pushed himself to go forward with the plan.

“Mark,” he began, thinking that if the giant attacked, he at least had more distance.

The giant didn’t give him any time to go further. With a scream, the creature flew forward, racing toward him. He gave the rocket pack as much thrust as he could, betting that it could catch him anyway.

He bathed the giant in sound from the sonics, hoping the weapons’ algorithm would find something fragile that would resonate, something that mattered.

It didn’t seem to affect him.

Nexus aimed upward with more speed than Joe expected, altering his path. Joe had spent too much time at this to be unrealistically hopeful. At the speed the giant was traveling, combined with his maneuverability, he’d catch him sooner or later.

All he could do was hope that Mark had more influence than he seemed to. That, and the possibility he could salvage the plan.

Twisting in the air, he managed to avoid the giant’s first pass.

Still above the empty lot, he aimed for the elevated highway, flying in the direction where it was mostly built.

A glance behind him showed the Nexus turning to follow.

Except then Joe heard an explosion, and orange cheese covered the Nexus. Gooey strands lead from the bridge to the street below, catching the Nexus in the middle.

Freddie stood on other side of the lot, dressed in his Yellow Burrito costume. All yellow, and textured to look like a burrito shell, it was at least functional as armor even if Joe thought it looked silly. Still, the red wig with fake vegetable bits did a good imitation of salsa.

The burrito gun he held was shaped like a burrito crossed with a rifle.

The giant struggled and the strands jiggled, pulling at the concrete above and below. There wasn’t any question in Joe’s mind that the giant would get free.

It gave him time, and that might make the difference. He slowed, coming to a hover above the bridge. It wouldn’t be able to see him directly, but from what he’d seen of the creature so far, he felt sure it knew that he was there.

He started dialing the League on the line that piggybacked on NASA’s communications. With any luck they were done meeting with the Xiniti by now.

Houston didn’t put him through instantly, but he hadn’t expected them to.

“It’ll take a minute,” said a man’s voice.

Joe didn’t recognize the voice, and grunted an acknowledgement.

Down below, the Nexus had pulled the arm with the bracer free, the bracer glowing with swirling colors. A jerk and a twist of his body pulled its chest and the other arm free.

It aimed the bracer at Freddie, but he jumped sideways, and the surface of the ground where he’d stood turned into black rock with glossy spikes.

Freddie fired another exploding cheese blast, but this time the Nexus aimed the bracer, and as the multi-colored light hit the strands, the cheese changed to dust.

The giant pulled himself free of the rest of the cheese all at once, not even looking in Joe’s direction. He turned to follow Freddie as he ran toward the nearest building, floating downward.

When he was about half way to the ground, he whirled in the air, aiming the bracer toward the bridge. Joe followed where he pointed, seeing the blur of Larry in the Rhino armor.

Joe aimed himself toward the giant, flying at maximum speed and turning the sonics onto their highest setting. He didn’t seriously hope to hurt it, but it might be enough of a distraction for Larry to avoid getting hit.

Mark might admire the Rocket, but he might not make the same effort for everyone.

12 thoughts on “When It’s Over: Part 7”

  1. Well, I managed to publish by midnight Central time. Granted, I live in the Eastern time zone, so that doesn’t really count, but it’s close.

    Anyway… I don’t have anything useful to say here. Um… So… Top Web Fiction if you’re inclined, and also an article by Christopher Wright, writer of Curveball, on the Pen and Cape Society’s website. It mentions Legion of Nothing as well as stories by other members of the group.

    For the record, Curveball is a great serial too (check the sidebar for the link).

    http://penandcapesociety.com/christopher-b-wright/introducing-the-pen-and-cape-society/

  2. Did you rush to get it published in time? There are far more typo’s, grammar mistakes and phrases that don’t quite flow than I would expect from you in this chapter. You might want to go over it again at some point.

    Other than that, great chapter. Looks like the fight is only just starting and it’s only going to get more interesting from here.

  3. Does the AI needs to use Mark to drive/power the psychic weapon, and forcing him into the background means that it has to rely on (just) physical force?

    Typo(s):

    “Still dizzy from the speed of the role” – should be ‘roll’.

    “Mark knew might admire the Rocket”, should be ‘The Mark he knew”, or “Mark, he knew, might”?

    General question, is the psychic giant’s name ‘The Nexus’, (both words capitalised), or is he a ‘Nexus’, or is his name ‘Nexus’? I’ve got a bit confused about this, in the last few episodes.

    1.  Joe barely had time to fee relief before it leaped straight at him, moving faster than Joe could dodge.
      Feel *
      And nice cant wait for next week.

  4. Very nice arc so far. Still love those flashbacks and bonus stories; they allow us to have a breather from the current drama to focus on old, mostly self contained drama. 😛

    Also, typos:

    “…he pushed himself to go forward with the plan he’d had.”

    he’d had (=he had had) implies that he no longer has a plan?

    “..thinking that at least if the giant attacked, he at least had more distance.”

    “at least” gets repeated. You could probably replace one of those with “in the worst case” or something similar.

    ” Joe had spent too much time at this to be unrealistically hopefully.”

    “unrealistically hopeful” or “unrealistic, hopefully” both fit, but have almost opposite meanings, though in the second case “too much” should become “enough”.

    “…aiming the bracer toward the bridge, Joe followed…”

    this comma should be a period.

    also what Dreamer and Djkblue said.

  5. Also, since we’re marking editing errors, I’m going to point out the first sentence, which ain’t a sentence at all. Must’ve been a serious rush, Jim, although, to be clear, the editing is the only thing that suffered — the writing quality itself is as good as ever.

    Hg

  6. And the majority of the writing screw ups are now gone…

    I hope.

    Dreamer: With regards to the giant’s name… I think of it as The Nexus, but it irritates me to write it that way for some reason I can’t explain. I will have to go over that, and think about what I want to call him.

    Hg: It was a semi-serious rush…Mostly I had some work related issues on my mind. Plus, I didn’t want to risk going to bed at 4am, and then come into work even less capable of dealing with said issues.

    Added bonus? I was worked up enough about this that even though I finished on time to get a decent sleep, I still couldn’t actually sleep when I went to bed, and probably stayed awake till 3am anyway.

  7. “He barely needed diagnostics too tell him that.”
    That’s the wrong form of two. Should have one less vowel.

    Also, terrific story; been enjoying it ever since…damn I don’t remember when I started reading.

    Being “The Nexus”, versus simply a nexus, or just “Nexus”…It strikes me as this:
    The reason it irritates you to write it as “The Nexus”, is because you are human. It’s also why Joe would refer to it simply as Nexus, even if he’s aware that it self-identifies as “The” Nexus. Calling it “Nexus” is faster for communication and identification of the concept that represents the physical entity.

    A human will ask “What’s this thing’s name”, an Abominator will ask “What’s this unit’s function or purpose”. And the function or purpose *is* the name, or rather, the designation.

    So to the Abominators, this giant is The Nexus, of whichever unit or group he was in/with. And that’s how it comes across when Abominators or their servants communicate with others; they are their function, but because they are still an individual(as in, physically separate from other, similarly-minded units), they are “The *function*”, instead of just being “function”.

    It can also be part of a huge superiority complex–“I am THE Nexus; all other Nexuses are mere pretenders to my glory/name/fame/whatever”
    In which case, upon meeting any non-abominator-servant with the name of Nexus, THE Nexus will immediately set out to execute them, for the crime of trying to take a title which is not their own.

    Any of that sound close to home, for this thing?

  8. Small typo I think

    that only meant that a fist several times his own —

    that only meant that a fist several times *the size of* his own —

  9. That first sentence can probably be fixed by removing “to” from “Joe made the suit to turn upright”.

    No remarks on Joe’s friends to the rescue? Because I think he was pretty much toast otherwise. Granted, the tradeoff is he now has to keep them from getting fried.

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