Demo: Part 10

“Okay,” I typed. “Keep watching them, and report—unless I’m fighting. Then only bother me if it’s bad, and it’s something I can actually change. Actually, tell anyone in the League under those conditions.”

The alert flashed. [Understood.]

I needed to encourage Hal to use a handle in the League’s comm system. Having him interact with me through the alert system didn’t make a lot of sense.

Taking my eyes off transparent letters in my helmet’s HUD, I started paying attention to everything around me again.

Amy nodded toward my hands, a gesture made a little stranger by her black and blood red helmet. “What were you doing?”

I didn’t have to reply before Tara asked, “Who were you texting?”

While I’d never intended to keep that particular function of the suit’s gloves secret, it was a little disconcerting that Tara could guess that easily. Granted, it wasn’t a surprise.

Keeping my voice low, I said, “I probably shouldn’t say publicly.” With all the military supers, and the military powered armor of currently unknown abilities around, I couldn’t assume privacy even if I used the suit’s sonics to narrowcast my answer.

Tara nodded. Amy smirked. “Super secret Heroes’ League stuff?”

“Kinda. I really will tell you later—just, you know, not here.”

Knowing that the League had an alien battle simulation AI could only freak people out. In the interests of putting the minds of anyone who’d been listening in at rest, I put my hands on the bench, obviously not messing with my suit.

I could use the backup tongue control if I had to. It was a bit slow for typing though.

Meanwhile on the field, teams one and four were still talking. Sean seemed to be talking a lot, and even though I couldn’t see much inside Gordon’s hood, I could tell that he was frowning—plus he kept on clenching and unclenching his fist.

I checked the time. Team one had two minutes left before they had to fight. I wondered if they’d be done by then.

On the other side of the field, Izzy’s group was actually holding hands—not for long, but they were. As I glanced in their direction, they’d stood in a circle and put their hands into the middle, raising them up and giving a little shout.

My high school track team had done that sometimes. Those of us in long distance always made fun of it later.

Judging by Izzy’s blank expression, she’d have fit right in with the distance runners. Someone on that team must have loved high school sports though. You don’t come up with something like that spontaneously.

If you do, there’s something wrong with you.

I felt myself grinning, and wondering what Haley or Daniel would make of it. They’d both know more about who was enjoying it and who wasn’t.

“Hey.” A voice came from behind me, making me jump. My armor scraped the stone bench beneath me as I turned, finding a black cloak standing in the front of the general students’ section. Darkness obscured the inside of the cloak, obscuring the face that had to be inside it.

Chicago’s criminals must have found this guy terrifying. Dark Cloak scared me more during the day than he did at night.

All the same, the suit’s sonar created a workable picture of Adam’s face within the hood, along with other things his cloak hid—a gun in its shoulder holster, and internal pockets holding devices I didn’t recognize. I considered mentioning the weakness of his illusion, but didn’t, guessing that this wasn’t the place for it.

He gave a gentle grin, saying, “Thought I’d wish you luck and let you know I was rooting for you.”

“Thanks, I’ve got to admit I’m still a little surprised. If anybody, I’d expect you’d be rooting for uh… Moonglider and the Power’s team.”

He laughed. “Because I met you at the club? I didn’t go because I liked those guys. I’d heard you were coming, and I wanted to apologize for how things went the first time we met. Now I’m going to go back to my seat. Kick some ass for me.”

“Sure,”I said, watching as he walked down the row and turned to walk up the stands.

Several people down the bench from me, Rod leaned forward so I could see him past Samita, Amy and Tara. “There’s something about that guy that rubs me the wrong way.”

Rod wore a black mask along with his black trench coat, blond hair standing out against the darkness of his clothes.

“Yeah, what?”

Rod sniffed the air. “I can’t say for sure in this form, but I’d say he’s allied with the Unseelie Court.”

Amy turned to eye him through her helmet. “I don’t know your magical creatures. Which ones are they?”

Samita leaned forward, answering for him. “The fairies that don’t like humans.”

Amy turned her helmet toward mine. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

As connections I didn’t particularly like crystalized in my mind, I said, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

16 thoughts on “Demo: Part 10”

  1. Is this related to your entry in the first hero story collection book, the one with all the different writers?

  2. @Chance

    Being a “good guy” is subjective; Erwin Rommel was considered a good guy by the german people. To the allied forces, he was the enemy.

  3. Error: and I wanted apologize for how things went the first time we met.

    Fixed: and I wanted to apologize for how things went the first time we met.

  4. There’s a scrapped which is a bit excessive as well, I don’t think that poor bench merited disintegration 😉

  5. Nothing is final! They could be wrong!
    Then again, they probably aren’t.
    Jim, I understand that you have artistic license to do whatever you want with the fae in your story, but in most things (containing such beings) I’ve read, all faeries “don’t like humans.” The Unseelie Court are just more upfront about it. The Seelies (and the wildfae) are just more partial to drive you mad with lust and rage than they are to stab you.
    With all this talk of faeries in LoN, I can’t help but imagine a Dresden crossover.
    I can imagine that outside of morals, Harry and Lee would platlay off of eachother well. Murph would be searching for a way home the whole time. And cam you imagine Kincaid getting together with Lee? Über mercenary team.
    Anyway, just daydreams.

    1. Black Hat: With the fae, it depends on which version of the fae you’re using. In mythology alone, there are a bunch of different versions. A lot of them have some that are more friendly to humans and some that are less friendly. As a general rule, both groups will happily screw you over under the right circumstances.

      I’m not following any particular mythology for them. I’m taking the “whatever works best for this story” approach.

      As for Dresden crossovers… In some fantasy universe where I know Jim Butcher well enough to suggest that, I’d love to.

      Actually, as crossovers go, I’ve often thought a Doctor Who crossover would be funny too, given that the Doctor and Lee have immortality in common, but are so very different in all other ways.

      1. I can see it now… the Doctor trying to teach Lee his “responsibilities” while Lee just looks on and laughs, cutting through legions with spontaneous bladed objects.

        Another crossover I’d be interested in is “The Evil Beatnik Possesses BomBonesaw (from Worm).”
        I have no idea how he/it would react.

        Another one, even though neither of these characters are LoN (sorry! Wrong place, I know!) would be The Last Skull’s Jin vs. Worm’s Contessa. That would be a fight I’d like to see.

  6. Is the last sentence intended as-is or should it be “crystalized in my mind” with the “in” added? Personally it would flow better for me with the addition but I’m not about to criticize a style choice. Just wasn’t sure whether it was an intentional one or not. 🙂

  7. @Mycroft
    You are correct being a “good guy” is a subject matter though I’m not entirely sure I agree with your choice of example. If you want to use nazi german officers there are more monstrous ones than Rommel around. Who addmittedly was a military genius but also insisted on correct behaviour towards military prisoners.
    As towards the high five moment its actually common in team sports though I’m not surprised it wasn’t a tradition in the track club.

  8. “Knowing that the League had an alien battle simulation AI could only freak people out.”

    I would swap ‘only’ with ‘easily’ I’m fairly confident that there are at least a few people on the planet that would have reactions other than being freaked out.

  9. No, I think Nick’s saying that people would definitely freak out, no possibility of them not.

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