Fresh Meat: Part 3

“It’s not impossible,” Jaclyn said. “But, I can’t say I’m excited to find out whether they’re ultimately more loyal to humanity or themselves. Lee’s deal with the Cabal gives us a year where they’ll leave us alone.”

Haley bit her lip. “That was last June.”

Jaclyn nodded. “Do you think they’ve been counting down the days?”

Haley sighed and her eyes darted between the two of us. “I hope not. I don’t even know what day it was. Do you?”

I looked over at Jaclyn and she shook her head.

“No,” I said, “but I’m sure I could figure it out. Anyway, I bet one of us knows.”

Jaclyn nodded. “Even with their descendants here, I’m not that worried about us, but Marcus and Sydney are still in Grand Lake. Even if they weren’t, all of our parents are.”

I wanted to say that they were soldiers, and they probably wouldn’t go after civilians like our parents. I also wanted to believe they wouldn’t go after Marcus or Sydney because even though they were both there, they weren’t big players in what happened. If anybody, I’d expect them to go after me. I’d been the guy who’d dropped their leader’s head in a pond, ensuring that he’d actually die for real.

Of course, Lee had cut the man’s head off, and he was probably going to be teaching here.

Anyway, as much as I wanted to think that the Cabal’s soldiers wouldn’t go after Marcus, Sydney or our parents, they had the last time around.

From the way Haley stiffened, I guessed that her thoughts had gone in the same direction as mine.

“Look,” Jaclyn said, “Lee knew about the deal. So did Larry. I’m sure one of them told the League’s board.”

Daniel’s voice filled my head. Along with it, I felt the presences of Haley and Jaclyn.

Don’t worry about it. Well, don’t worry much. The board knows, and my dad mentioned to tell people that they were on it. I don’t know what they’re doing, but they have connections. I’m sure they’ll work something out.

Izzy and Daniel were ahead of us in the food line, already grabbing plates. The two of them looked like they belonged together—both of them taller than six feet with light brown skin. Both of them drew attention, but in different ways—Daniel because he was literally tall, dark and handsome in a baby faced way. Izzy drew looks because even if she held herself like she wanted to hide behind the glasses she wore, she had a presence to her.

I’d call it an indefinable presence, but her muscles were more defined than most. She wore clothes that hid them—like tonight’s long sleeved, loose blouse—but they were there.

Izzy brushed against him, and even though Daniel could construct an effective mental shield, it wasn’t as effective with those of us who’d grown up with him. Even though he must have blocked us from feeling all of it, we still felt a hint of everything a guy feels when his girlfriend brushes against him.

Haley giggled.

Jaclyn thought back, Thanks for telling us. How about we end this conversation now, and pretend that last part never happened?

The connection ended as Daniel blushed.

Izzy asked Daniel something, glancing back at us as he answered. Then she smiled uncertainly, and went back to loading her plate with food.

Jaclyn shook her head. “For now, we’ll hope that the board has Grand Lake covered.”

Haley looked up at Jaclyn. “You don’t think the Cabal would come here, do you?”

Jaclyn shrugged. “I don’t know, but I doubt it.”

“Me too,” I added. “With all the security they have here, whatever the Cabal tried would turn into a direct attack before it was over, and I doubt they want more attention. It pretty much destroyed them after we exposed the mayor.”

In the lull that followed my comment, a hand tapped my shoulder. “Planning something big?”

I turned to find a red haired girl my own age. She wore black jeans and a matching jean jacket. A blood red gem hung from the necklace she wore.

“Amy,” I said, happy I remembered her name. That sounds bad, but I knew her codename better. “This is my girlfriend, Haley who’s also Night Cat. Haley, this is Amy, also known as Bloodmaiden. She was with us for New York.”

“The magical princess?” Haley asked.

Amy glanced at me. “My fame precedes me, what there is of it. Did Nick mention me?”

Haley shook her head. “No, I saw you on the news afterward, and looked you up.”

I spoke up again, realizing something I should have said, “And, of course you know Jaclyn.”

“Of course you do,” Jaclyn said. “Did everything heal up?”

Amy nodded. “It took a few days even with magic. How about you? I saw them burn you. I would have died a few times over.”

Jaclyn clenched her jaw at that. “I’m okay. Doctors and healers can’t do much for me, but on the bright side, it’s hard to really hurt me. I got better.”

Amy turned her head, following the line. I recognized some of her friends near the end of it.

“I should go,” she said. “See you later.”

She gave a little wave, and left.

We were at the table. I grabbed a plate, and then a hamburger.

Next to me, Haley grabbed her own plate. In a tone that sounded more curious than accusing she asked, “Did you know she likes you?”

I hadn’t.

15 thoughts on “Fresh Meat: Part 3”

  1. And It’s up. You may wish I wrote faster, but not as much as I do. There are things in the current story that I’d really like to get to. First though, I’ve got to do the ground work–which is fun on its own terms.

    Feel free to vote Legion up on Top Web Fiction, and if you want, the Pen and Cape Society story finished yesterday. I wrote the closing chapter. You can now take a look at it as a whole.

  2. First off, great installment. Secondly, I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about Courtney. If she can control her metabolism, she can alter not just her looks but her athleticism over time. She could be as strong as the world’s strongest man, and fast as the world’s fastest man, both at once. That, combined with training from Lee, could make her a deadly fighter should she wish it.

  3. I like how Nick is missing the trees for the wood in this – grand strategy, yes, forethought, yes, immediate social interaction, not so much.

    Scene-setting is good. Tells you more about the characters. The characters and how they all fit together in the story is one of the more fiddly things to get right, and you do a good job of it.

    Wording:

    “But, I can’t say I’m excited to find out exactly how this all works out” – this reads a bit clumsy. I’m a bit reluctant to comment on meaning rather than typos, but, as it’s the first para of this section, you might want to re-word it. Change “I’m excited to” to “I want to”, maybe? Something about “I’m looking forward to how”? Maybe change the first sentence to “The situation’s not impossible”? Otherwise the link/context jars a bit.

  4. Haley! HALEY! god, that girl needs to have a talk with Daniel about boundaries. Like yesterday.
    It’s not like Nick is the world’s best actor or anything… and Amy wasn’t trying to flirt!

  5. Things I can believe:

    It’s butter.

    A thousand year-old cabal led by an immortal Roman trying to rule the world through a secret breeding program.

    Aliens wanting to destroy earth for being the home of kidnapped alien supersoldiers.

    In space, no one can hear you make out.

    Things I can’t believe:

    Nerdy daydreaming guy has more than one girl interested in him.

  6. PG,
    oh, I can. He’s reasonably smart and bookish. Some girls go for that.
    Plus, with his /obvious/ inability to understand Daniel’s sex appeal, he
    may have some as well — that he’s also not noticing.

    … and haley might have simply misread alienspaceprincess.
    which would be hilarious.

  7. @Psycho
    Nerdy daydreaming kung-fu fighting superhero owning several million dollars earmarked for “fighting evil”, who happens to have a growing national reputation. Also, his daydreams are about battle devices that he then builds, uses, and blows up.

  8. Heh, if bloodmaiden is a magical princess in the sense of actual royalty of some sort, it’s pretty likely that she is both very good at reading people, and manipulating people. She’s also quite likely to have a hard time accepting “no” as an answer if she thinks the answer should be “yes.”

    She didn’t *seem* spoiled or self-centered to any great degree, but she hasn’t been all that forthcoming or open yet either.

    And PG, if she *IS* a princess that has a sister, and that sister is the one who got to inherit the dimension she came from (If I’m remembering that little bit of backstory right) she might just be interested in collecting heroes who can help her win a war, and Nick’s “powers”, if you want to call them that, would certainly quality as very high on the list of most potentially useful allies for a full scale war. Nick’s powers scale based on the resources available to him. Very few other supers can say that.

    Bloodmaiden could very easily lead Nick and crew down a very exciting path.

    If Bloodmaiden is interested in powerful supers, especially if she is interested in powerful supers for their genetics, Sean would be a strong choice for her too.

    Imagine a child of Bloodmaiden and The Power. They would gain power by wounding or killing, and would have the magnetic power to create and/or control waves of blades that might wound or kill hundreds of people at a time.

  9. All the above having been said, I’m expecting a visit by some irritated aliens soon. “We invited you to be an honorary clan member, and you haven’t even called or stopped by for a beer and pizza? Don’t make us break out the probes.”

  10. I feel people are going way too far by accusing Bloodmaiden of ulterior motives. Rebellion against her sister? Marriage? Kids? Seriously guys? *laughs*

    I think it’s much easier. Amy simply likes him but so far hasn’t acted on it. All she did was being friendly. I doubt she has any plans yet. And if she did, those plans would be more along the lines of “Try to talk to Nick alone and confess to him” although even that seems unlikely because she knows Nick has a girlfriend already.

    They might be superheroes but they are also young adults. It’s probably more about hormones than about planning out their genetic legacy for a super army. 😉

    The question that interests me far more is: If all the origin of all superpowers were the genetic experiments of the Abominators on humans, then where does magic come from? Is it something else? Extra dimensional? Very advanced technology that looks like magic?
    Or is it similiar to Paladin’s healing powers? Because that looks like magic to me, too.

  11. As a rule, unless the author establishes that magic is just ‘sufficiently advanced science’, or someone using a power that they THINK is magic but is just a broad power, I assume it’s Magic. It has internally consistent rules that need not be consistent with the normal rules of reality, or of any other form of magic.

    Paladin’s healing power has been referred to several times as ‘a power’ as opposed to ‘magic healing powers’. It’s been described as a ‘field of well-being’ that makes everyone in it healthier, including the badly injured. It’s no more magical than Haley’s transformation, Daniel’s telepathy/telekinetics/premonitions, or Vaughn’s lightning. Any of those could be read as ‘magic’ under the right circumstances, but they’re called ‘powers’ and so they are.

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