War: Part 15

Haley and I met Lucas late Friday night on the roof of an old, empty, print shop on the southeast side of Grand Lake. I couldn’t guess the age of the building. The flat roof had three different levels, one of which might have been the roof of the original. The rest were probably additions, but I couldn’t be sure. Sagging, white, aluminum siding covered the outside walls, making the whole building look dilapidated in the same way.

It stood on the northeast side of an almost unused five way intersection. A 80’s era, brown Buick came by just as we landed. It was the only moving car we saw.

I let go of Haley and she stepped onto the roof.

“I wish we’d taken the car. Even in the summer, the air still feels cold.”

“I know,” I said. “But the full armor doesn’t really fit in the car. It’s probably safer this way.”

“For you. What if we got attacked in the air?”

“Uh… That’s a good point.” I found myself imagining Prime’s people slamming into me so hard I lost consciousness, and let her go.

“Maybe I should teach people how to use the mini-rocketpacks. The original League did. It wouldn’t be –”

“Rocket, he’s coming.”

I couldn’t see anything in the sky but stars. As I began to ask her where, Lucas flew over the top of the trees behind the print shop, landing next to us with a thump.

He didn’t break through the roof, but I could feel his landing through my boots.

“Hey,” Lucas said. “I’ve got bad news. The Power Impregnator got stolen along with my Grandpa’s journal that had the plans.”

“Wow,” I said. “The journal too? That’s not good.”

Haley didn’t say anything.

“Right, and you know who I think did it?”

“The Executioner,” I said. “That’s my guess anyway.”

Lucas nodded. “I thought I’d better pass it on. The League will have to deal with it anyway.”

“What about Justice Fist?” Haley asked.

Thanks to the streetlight, I could tell that Lucas had rolled his eyes.

“Justice Fist,” he said. “There’s no more Justice Fist. Everyone got scared off after Sean’s father got shot. And even if they hadn’t, my dad shut off the money, and brought in Protection Force.”

“With Solar Flare, and all the other guys selling advertising on their costumes?” That wouldn’t go well at all. We’d already stopped Solar Flare from killing Ray once. If he still wanted revenge, it was going to make our lives more complicated than I wanted to think about.

Lucas shook his head. “No. No superheroes. Dad hired bodyguards. That’s all. I think the supers are more of a marketing thing. They get attention while the bodyguards do the real work.”

I thought about it. “Are you sure you don’t have supers… uh… secretly?”

“Nah. I had to give my own bodyguard the slip to meet you. If he had powers he’d be here right now. Which reminds me, I’d better get back before he wonders where I am.”

He looked up into the sky like he was just about to take off, but then he said, “Hey, were you guys in on what happened last night?”

The media had been reporting on our fight with Prime’s people all day except they only had footage of the night time explosions and the craters in the field behind the barn. There hadn’t been any mention of Prime’s body or his head.

“Maybe a little,” I said.

Lucas laughed. “I figured. I was in the ER last night. We had gang members from gangs from all over the city, all of them with broken bones, and full of juice. Why? And what was with the TV appearance?”

“That would be complicated to explain,” I said.

“It’s okay. I don’t need to know. I’m just saying that if you need help, I’m here. I owe you for being able to walk. And if you’re fighting the Cabal or the Executioner, you might be able to get more than just me. My dad would be interested.”

“I’ll remember it,” I said.

“Good.” He grinned at me. “Don’t forget.

And then he did fly into the sky, blending into the darkness and disappearing.

“You’re going to tell everybody if you bring him in, right?”

“Of course. That’s a lot bigger than bringing in Chris. All of those guys got run through the Impregnator and who knows what that means?”

Haley looked down at the roof, then back up at me. “I should find out how Sydney is doing. I meant to call her after what happened, but it’s been exam week, and between studying and preparing for last night, I didn’t. I’m a horrible friend. I should have called her by now. I don’t even know if they’ve had the funeral yet.”

“It’s only been a week. You’re fine. I bet she had exams too. Besides with Protection Force and the FBI and everything, she might not even be answering her phone. If you’ve got access to the data, you can triangulate and figure out where someone is. They might not even be allowing her to turn hers on.”

Haley sighed. “I’m just worried. Sean might have decided to kill Ray, and convinced her to help. Even if he has Jody and Dayton with him, they’ll all just die. They can’t win.”

“On the bright side, they probably won’t ever find him. I’m still trying to figure out where to look.”

12 thoughts on “War: Part 15”

  1. It looks pretty certain that Lucas will get brought in, and possibly a couple of the others eventually. Too many of them are the type of marginal good guys that turn after a couple of bad breaks and go rogue.

    The team has avoided the issue of recruiting for far too long. The need to make agreements with the other ‘good’ guys in town, such as associate membership, is growing quickly. They have also failed in some basics such as cleaning the HQ to clear out the dust and musty smells. It is in serious need of toilet and shower redesign which will only get worse with time.

  2. What do you expect from a bunch of teenagers and college students… do ya think they’ve even remembered to haul out the empty pizza boxes?

  3. The bigger problem are those darn plans. You can destroy the Impregnator. But as long as those plans exist, someone is going to be able to put one together. If Ray’s low on cash, those plans probably just bought him Syndicate L’s entire armory. If Prime were around, he probably would have given all his arms and legs for the Impregnator. A few times. You know, because of the regeneration.

    Which brings us to another point, has anyone figured out how to give cows and chickens regeneration powers? Do you think it would mess with the consistency of the veal/tortured baby cows? I’d hate to lose some of the deliciousness.

  4. Psycho Gecko: Regenerating cows. You know, with all the regenerating characters in comics, you’d think that someone would have come up with that. Regenerating cows could solve world hunger. Chop one in half, you get two back.

    You just have to hope they don’t come back after being cooked.

    Haldane: That almost begins to sound like the Legion of Superheroes. You’ve got the regular Legion, plus the Legion that didn’t make it in.

    1. West Coast Avengers, Great Lakes Avengers, The Defenders, All spin offs of Avengers formed by cast offs or former teams. The New Mutants were the ‘B’ squad of the X-men, Then you had the Blue and Gold teams, X-Force, X-Factor, X-Caliber. The major labels have a grand history of cast-offs, rejects and former members of teams forming new ones. 🙂

  5. LIGHTBULB!

    Well, actually, came to me while trying to sleep. What if Ray didn’t steal the impregnator in order to get powers of his own? Maybe he’s comfortable with how he’s been operating up to now. Once again, easy for him to find out Lucas might be friendly with Rocket, after the healing in the hospital. Surely a good guy like Lucas would pay Rocket back by letting him know the impregnator was stolen. Rocket flies there or drives there in that car. It is just a matter of using Ray’s experience and technology to track where the Rocket or the Wolfcar goes back to.

    And Jim, I think there was enough wierdness with Marvel’s cows. See, a group of Skrulls came to Earth to impersonate the Fantastic Four and make them appear to be criminals. Long story short, they get turned into cows with all their memory and higher learning functions erased. Some time later, some people eat some odd hamburgers. Many die or get some sort of psychotic agression towards Skrulls, and some get superpowers. Thus the Skrull Kill Krew was born, dedicated to killing as many Skrulls as possible. It showed up as recently as Secret Invasion, though the Kill Krew had lost members to the disease they got from eating Skrullburgers.

    Just hope that the cows don’t regenerate as well as Wolverine or someone might wake up to find a fully regenerated cow in their intestines. The Skrulls missed a far more horrifying Secret Invasion plan, if you ask me.

  6. Given that the League’s regenerator, Cassie, eats something like three times as much as a normal person, it seems unlikely that you’d really save much with regenerating livestock.

    Although I guess it could save time waiting for the beast to grow to maturity before you harvested.

    And given the way that powers tend to be something of a crapshoot, you’re as likely to end up with flying, superintelligent cattle with eyebeams as regenerating cattle.

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