Harvest: Part 1

Amy looked over the group. “I wish we could take all of you. You don’t know right now how much I wish we had time to construct more wards, but we don’t.”

We had a large group, but we were leaving one too—Kayla, Chris, Dayton, Julie, Shannon, and even Kid Biohack could have helped. Despite his lack of powers, Jeremy might have too. That went for the injured (Haley, Sean, and Jody) and the infected as well.

It was depressing to think about as well as pointless. I might as well wish for Daniel, Izzy, Rachel, and Jaclyn to show up.

Cassie stepped into the circle we’d formed next to the wards. “That doesn’t mean they can’t help. We might not want them where they might get bit, but we’ve got remotes the Rocket made and Kayla will need help. You’re not out of the action.”

From behind the transparent red wall, Travis said, “She’s right. You can do all of that.”

Haley looked at Travis and then back at everyone else. “Between Kayla and I, we can organize something useful.” She turned to me. “Kayla can control your bots, right?”

I thought about it. “Yes. I think she can take over the pods too if she needs to.”

“Good,” Haley reached out with her unhurt arm and put her hand on the Rocket suit’s upper arm. I let the helmet dissolve.

“Stay alive,” she said, and we kissed.

Avoiding her arm as we pulled away, I said, “You too. You might not be safe. If Lucas could send information back, The Thing will know where HQ is.”

Haley stepped back. “I thought about that. We’ll figure something out.”

“I hate to break this up,” Rod said, “but shouldn’t we leave? And what are we using to get there?”

“The van,” I said, touching my palm and making the helmet reform. “It might be a little snug, but everyone will fit.”

Rod looked over at the van. It still looked long, sleek and futuristic. “You’re going to change it into something less conspicuous, right?”

“Yes.” I started walking toward it, and people followed me, boots clacking on the concrete.

“What form?” Rod walked alongside me. “White pedophile van? Seventies airbrushed chain mail bikini warrior? Catmecha? I’m just curious.”

Everyone always seemed to get on me about the bikini warrior. They missed the point. I’d picked that one in case I wanted the van to be noticed.

I didn’t bother to explain. “The van has a lot of options. We won’t have to use any of those unless people want to.”

“I vote bikini,” Vaughn said from behind me.

Cassie laughed.

“No bikini,” Samita said.

“Naked would be good, too,” Vaughn said, as if that had been what Samita meant.

“I don’t even think that would be legal.” Samita told him.

“Has to be,” Vaughn said. “Free speech.”

We were at the van. I stepped inside, followed by the others as the van detected their comm units. I flipped through my options, finally settling on making it look like a black Ford Transit with one way windows.

Since I was pretty sure I’d seen similar vans used to carry people to and from airports, I added “Grand Lake International Airport” to the van’s sides as further misdirection.

I took the exit that let us leave through a hillside in the forest next to Veterans’ Memorial Park. It would be a little difficult to explain why an airport van would be using a rangers’ access road near midnight, but we didn’t have to.

The only people who use roads like that near midnight are high schoolers too busy making out in their cars to notice.

Amy sat in the front as the Bloodmaiden—black armor, glowing red gems and spear. Thanks to the size of the van we’d managed to get Vaughn, Samita, Rod, Cassie, and Camille into the van without needing to resort to having anyone sit in the aisle.

I accelerated, and the van hummed with purely decorative engine noise given that it ran on fuel cells and didn’t use gas.

I drove toward Grand Lake University, staying above the speed limit whenever possible and running stoplights and stop signs. I was careful about it, but at this time of the night not many cars were out.

I hoped we wouldn’t get pulled over by the police, but it might have been amusing if we were. I’d roll down the window and the officer would see Amy and me in full armor in front. Behind us would be everyone else in costume. I bet they’d let us off.

Five minutes away from the university, Haley called and I answered her on the van’s comm so that everyone could hear.

“Control and everyone else here is watching through your spybots and things are heading toward the GLU.”

Amy leaned toward the dashboard, probably trying to identify a microphone, but then gave up. “What kind of things? The Thing That Eats?”

“No. Raptors in the air. Cougars and maybe coyote on the ground, but definitely a few bears. Plus we think we saw Vengeance and his hangmen near the university.

“No sign of The Thing That Eats so far.”

5 thoughts on “Harvest: Part 1”

  1. typo: I hoped we wouldn’t get pulled over but the police Maybe should be: I hoped we wouldn’t get pulled over by the police

  2. Nick’s use of the van here makes me think there’s another place where there might be a lot of people in one place – the Airport. Now, I would imagine the Wizards shut it down when they blocked off the city, likely with a story for grounding all flights… but that raises the new question of whether driving around in an Airport van is inconspicuous. Given no one is flying anywhere. The Wizards might catch on.

    As long as I’m commenting, a few other things I’m musing about…
    -The Campus makes sense for another reason. Jillian’s ability needed power juice to be activated. But that stuff’s now illegal. So, where to get it? Well, wherever she got it, probably illicitly through people on campus. In fact, maybe that’s where Nick should start, the “harvest” might target the source of the power juice first. If they don’t know who that is, maybe there’s a job for Control.
    -The jail might be another target, and certainly it’s already been hit once… but with that fact, coupled with them moving powered people away after a short time frame, I can see why it might be rejected by TTTEats as not worth it. Though if there’s a military base next to it, that seems like another good target… it’s better guarded than the Campus though.
    -Given how Lucas and Travis seem fine within the warded area, one wonders why Reliquary didn’t do something similar, in order to offer some sort of direction behind the scenes. I suppose the blood magic is just that taboo, such that only Amy is equipped to do it – though if Reliquary isn’t contained in that way, I feel Amy will end up facing off with her mentor at some point. After all, we really don’t know where Reliquary ended up.
    -Amy’s remark about not being able to heal anyone until they find “the first one” implies that they need to locate Andronicus. So the best move for TTTEats is to play the “I am Spartacus” card, meaning they won’t know which of them he is, and whose essence to drain. In fact, why would he even be at the campus, and not somewhere safe? I suppose there could be something about the power loss as he splits requiring him to be there.
    -With Nick recording phone conversations to play for the others, I wonder if he’d have the ability to simulate someone else’s voice. He’d certainly be able to chop together words that were already spoken. Not certain if that’s relevant here, but I am simply musing.

    One last thing, more humorous, the phrase “Raptors in the air.” conjured up the image of a bunch of small, flying dinosaurs from “Jurassic Park”. (It doesn’t help that, being in Ontario, the first twenty search hits for “Raptors” are the Toronto Raptors Basketball team. I had to search “flying Raptors” to realize they’re birds.) I’m guessing this is something the Wizards are doing, perhaps to clear the area, doesn’t feel like a TTTEats plan.

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