Faerieland: Part 38

Haley glanced toward where we’d seen the dragon fall. I wondered how soon we’d see him again.

“OK,” she said. “As long as I’m being useful. I’m not likely to do much good against that by myself.”

“We’ve got to go to the garage, and it’ll be faster if we fly.”

Haley frowned, muttering, “Great.” But she still stepped forward and put her arm on the shoulder of my suit. The hardness of her transformed nails made a slight scraping noise.

I picked her up, started the rockets with my tongue, flying straight up with the idea that it would be easier to avoid arrows and Vaughn’s winds. Haley pulled herself closer (which would have been hugely distracting if I could feel it through the suit), saying, “I hate this.”

The wind pushed and pulled on me at first, but by the time we were about one hundred feet from the ground, I no longer felt it.  With the winds no longer shielding Haley from arrows, I twisted in the air, aiming the Rocket suit toward the garage, or at least the elevator that would take us to it.

Haley said something that I missed. It didn’t sound happy.

In moments we’d shot past the shops, and into the elevator. Three times as long as the van, and twice as wide, the elevator was obviously meant to handle as many vehicles as possible. Despite that, it moved surprisingly quickly, sinking downstairs almost as soon as I pressed the button.

Given what could be happening upstairs, it still felt too slow.

We watched the rock wall pass through the elevator’s front windows.

Haley bit her lip. “I hope they’re OK without us.”

I nodded. “Me too.”

The doors opened, and we ran for the van. It was only three rows back from the elevator, and next to the  red rock wall.  I’d left it in “rusty white plumber van” mode, and it looked worse than the glossy sports cars on either side.

Haley  jumped over each row rather than run between cars. I jumped over one row, set the rockets to hover, and let my own momentum carry me over the other two.

I landed behind the van, and scrambled around the side toward the driver’s side door. Haley landed behind me and ran toward the other side.

I didn’t have to unlock the van. The door unlocked itself as the Rocket suit neared, and adjusted the driver’s side seat to fit the suit’s size.

Entering from the passenger’s side, Haley stopped as she entered, standing next to her own seat as my seat sank, and widened.  “That’s cool, and kind of creepy.”

I shut the door, and sat down, watching as the dashboard’s screens began to glow.  “I’ve got more of the new stealth suits in the back. You’ll have to wear one for everything to work. There’s nowhere to change but the back though.”

She frowned, but then stood up. “My clothes aren’t much more than rags anyway, and I know you’ve seen me in a bikini.”

Between the fights with the goblins, and crawling through shattered rock, her jeans and shirt had multiple rips.

It didn’t take long before she’d changed, and was back in the seat wearing a gray jumpsuit with the Heroes’ League’s  stylized “H” logo. I backed out of the row and drove into the elevator. As the elevator’s door shut, I started the tranformation sequence, reminding Haley to, “Keep your arms close to the seat!”

“I remember,” she said, and she had remembered. Her arms  were on the armrests.

Aside from that, though, the Catmecha’s tranformation when two people were about to go into combat was  different from the transformation when then seats were full and there was no fighting.

Haley’s seat was moved behind mine. When we were in place, webbing surrounded us, keeping us in our seats, and protecting us. With the webbing came connections to the Catmecha’s systems.   The exact amount of energy available in the fuel cells appeared along with details about how many bots the mech held and where, the armor’s current status, and its speed.

Haley, I knew, would be getting the same information, but focussed on the mech’s weapons. It would be appearing on a screen that had been created in the webbing in front of her.

“Wow,” she said. “It feels like being inside a video game.”

“It does, kind of.” I stopped there, watching the system run through its checklist over my HUD. The Catmecha was ready. Ahead of me, the elevator doors opened and I directed the  mech outside, wishing I’d had the ability to put an AI inside. As unpredictable as Hal was, he made running the jet easier.

Any wishes I had about the ideal version of the mech were swept away by the elevator doors opening. I had the mech walk out, using my HUD to check nearly 360 degrees around the mech.

Goblins were waiting for us outside the elevator. They had bows at the ready, arrows nocked, but when they saw the mech, they turned around and ran.

I gave the mech some fuel, feeling its smooth gait as I initially directed it down the road, but once I got past the shops, I slowed the mech down, getting an overall look at the situation before I got into it.

We’d only been gone for a couple minutes, but in a fight, that could be an age.

Ahead of us, the dragon roared.

12 thoughts on “Faerieland: Part 38”

  1. And so this post is officially up. You can vote for Legion at Top Web Fiction if you’d like: http://topwebfiction.com/vote.php?for=the-legion-of-nothing

    If you go over to the previous post or to the top of this page on the top left, you can click through to the Throwing the Gun podcast. We’ve got a new one out. In this one, I get to interview Marion Harmon, author of the “Wearing the Cape” series. I like his writing a lot, and recommend it.

    EDIT: I should just put the link here, shouldn’t I?
    http://penandcapesociety.com/podcast/episode-6-going-pro-marion-harmon-wearing-the-cape-bad-writing-advice/

  2. I think Haley is handling this pretty well…

    Someone should talk to Nick about dumping his team-mates in new tech without them being trained in it… Though, I suppose this isn’t unknown in super hero settings! [grin]

    I wonder if the goblin archers would have run if the mecha was humanoid in shape?

    Typo(s):

    >>I nodded. “Me too.<< missing closing quote.

    "webbing surrounded us, keeping us in one our seats", extra word 'one'?

    "Any wishes I had about the ideal version about the mech", should the second 'about' be 'of'?

    1. Thanks for the typos. They’re now fixed–hopefully without introducing more.

      As for the goblins… Good question. It probably would have looked like an armored person, making it significantly less strange looking to people who regularly fight armored people or even giants. By contrast, a big armored cat would likely be outside their experience.

      Well, probably. We’re assuming, of course, that there isn’t a race of big, armored cat people somewhere out there in faerie.

  3. Edit suggestion:

    “The exact amount percentage of energy available…”

    –> remove “amount” or “percentage” (redundant)

    1. Also, Nick’s only seen his girlfriend in a bikini? That’s… sad, and disappointing.

      I KNEW he should have gone off with Amy when he could have! Sure, I get that doing that would run counter to his fundamental nature, but OTHER THAN THAT, Amy would be 1,000x more fun (and that’s before taking her to bed).

      Haley has some insecurity issues (justifiably so; which makes it so much worse). So far she hasn’t let them become disruptive, and she hasn’t reacted by getting too clingy and possessive with Nick, but all the warning signs for it are there, and potentially even a relatively amiable breakup could set that bomb off. Which is bad, because even though Nick is committed to her in his own way right now, he’s also pretty ambivalent about being in a relationship in general. So he’s got this fine line he’s got to toe that he’s not even aware of, and probably won’t be until he casually crosses it unawares, then he’ll have a mighty ball of fur, strength claws, and hurt feels on a rampage.

      So TL;DR that’s a hell of a lot of baggage to have to deal with, for not very much benefit, it sounds like.

      1. I think you might be exaggerating just a bit about how bad Haley’s insecuritys are and focusing on the wrong things in there relationahip.
        They have only been dating for about 2 years or close to that (may feel longer because of time between updates) and have mentioned before that they had decided to wait before going that far and they proably do haveebty of fun with each other when not dealing with a crisis but we only ever really get the moments when something is going on and its usually someting bad.

  4. Couple of typos:
    winds .
    arms were
    tranformation
    was different
    systems. The
    directed the mech

    “the Catmecha’s tranformation when two people were about to go into combat was different from the transformation when then seats were full and there was no fighting.”
    This doesn’t seem right to me. Like it was written by someone else and stuck in. Or maybe it’s the different scenarios presented. Or maybe it’s just too wordy. I think you are just saying that Battle-Mode Catmecha is different than Travel-Mode Catmecha. Also, is the implication that if there were more than 2 people it couldn’t go into Battle-Mode? And outside does the Catmecha look different? All that was said was that the transformation was different.

    Thanks for the chapter! ^_^

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