Courtesy: Part 63

More deep ripping noises came from all around us. I didn’t see anything falling yet, but I didn’t care to try my luck.

Kayla’s voice came over the League comm channel, “Ronin and the Mystic both say go. Go!”

There weren’t many of us left—Alex, Amy, various Jenny’s, Kals carrying Katuk, Izzy, and me. Izzy stood next to the portal, waiting, I assumed, for the last person to go through before going herself.

I’d been planning to do the same, but realizing she was here let me off the hook. She was the better choice if you wanted someone here who could handle the entire parking garage collapsing.

More than twenty feet wide, the circular portal was big enough for three people at a time to walk through and even more to fly. Izzy, Amy, and I floated upward, allowing Alex, Kals, and Katuk through—the Jennys hanging back, guns drawn and pointed out at the room.

None of the Fungus Collective’s remnants showed up to attack or flee at the last second, but the ceiling above us rumbled. Izzy pushed Amy and me forward and followed us through.

The last sounds I heard from the parking garage were cracking noises and the screech of tearing metal.

The portal closed behind us, its silver surface disappearing to leave Amy, Izzy, and I fifteen feet above the floor of the League’s hangar. Everyone in the League plus Sean’s group, and even Prime, Logan, ex-mayor Bouman, and Yellow Mask stood below us.

I could only guess they’d joined the main group outside the circle.

If I had to choose a word to describe us, I would have had to go with battered. I didn’t see any blood. The suits’ repairs would have hidden it, but a quick look at the suits’ stats showed that they’d all received heavy damage. 

Almost everyone was sitting down or even lying on the floor—not to mention all of the people who’d been frozen as part of our last-ditch defenses against the Dominators.

In addition to Cassie, Katuk, and Haley, Marcus, Jaclyn, and Vaughn all lay on the floor unmoving. I wouldn’t have chosen the hangar with all of the tools on the walls, stains from oil (and other fluids) on the floor, and dirt from the tires of the various vehicles for medical care, but it was good enough.

Kals and Daniel started working to bring people out of their artificial comas. Alex, after a quick hug from Brooke started healing anyone who needed it.

I landed near Haley and sat down next to her. I couldn’t do anything, but at least I’d be there when she came out of it.

* * *

Only a few hours later, I found myself alone in my lab.

After Haley woke, I’d told her what happened and then she’d checked on the rest of the team and her parents. They’d been evacuated to the Midwest Defender’s Chicago base along with mine. We’d checked in with them to make sure they were okay and then left the base to check on the city itself.

The Fungus Collective was gone and the people they’d controlled had been freed. There hadn’t been any great loss of life so far as we knew, but information was still coming in. 

Still, it had been confusing for the average person. When we talked with them, people remembered the sense of urgency they’d felt to defend the collective, but not why they cared and their memories felt jumbled and disjointed. I heard more than one person say it felt like a dream. Others said it felt like memories from childhood—unclear images and emotions.

We’d helped people get home for a while and we weren’t the only ones. Bouman’s team helped as did Sean’s new Justice Fist—including Jody. Even the fairy army chipped in. Elven knights brought people home by horseback. 

I heard later that some people rode the dragon-like beasts home. None of them remembered telling the beasts where they lived or how they got up the nerve to climb on a dragon’s back.

I also heard that children who had been separated from their parents in the confusion of the day were found at home in their beds sleeping. Even stranger, some other people who’d been listed as missing were also returned to their homes.

When I’d checked over the comm with Adam to make sure we weren’t incurring debt to Duke Metzul, he’d said, “No. It’s all part of the conflict. He agreed to help us fight and not to let anyone come to harm. Leaving children loose in the city puts them in danger.”

“Just making sure,” I said, “I don’t want those kids owing him anything either.”

“I’m sure they don’t,” he said, his response quick, but then added, “I should check on that.”

When he closed the connection, I took a look around the city with my bots, making sure that I didn’t see anyone wandering or being guided into a forest by fey creatures.

I didn’t see any of that. I did see county sheriff cars and the National Guard patrolling the streets—since Grand Lake’s police were not at their best. 

Aside from that, the streets were almost empty—though city workers were shoveling up broken glass and repairing shattered streets downtown. Even being possessed by fungus didn’t give them a day off.

Footsteps and the word, “Rocket? Are you busy?”

I looked up from the computer in the lab to see Guardian walking through the door, “Not really. I’m just checking how the cleanup is going.”

His silver, Xiniti—made suit sparkled in the light. Pulling out a chair next to me at the counter, he said, “I’m here on behalf of the Xiniti to send Kals and Katuk back to the Xiniti base near Mars. I also brought back your parents since it’s over now.”

“Here?” I asked.

He shook his head, “I sent them to their homes.”

The chair sank as he sat in it, “I’m also here because we need your input and testimony regarding Major Justice and Diva’s son Hunter. I’m coming to understand that he touched off all of this.”

8 thoughts on “Courtesy: Part 63”

  1. You had a couple of ‘and I’ the should have been ‘and me’. Look for if you mush them together into a plural pronoun that would be ‘us’.

    1. The rule of thumb my Mom taught me is to just take out all the others, and only use the I/me: e.g.

      “Izzy, Amy, and I floated upward” –> “I floated upward”

      “Izzy pushed Amy and I forward” –> “Izzy pushed I forward”
      “its silver surface disappearing to leave Amy, Izzy, and I fifteen feet above the floor” –> ” its silver surface disappearing to leave I fifteen feet above the floor”

      I’m pretty sure she learned it from her Mom, who taught elementary school back in the 30s, when they really cared about teaching stuff like that. 🙂


  2. Everyone in the League plus Sean’s group, and even Prime, Logan, ex-mayor Bouman, and Yellow Mask.

    Think you forgot a “were also in the room”, or some other indication of where they are.

  3. It took me a min to read this correctly >> In addition to Cassie, Katuk, and Haley, Marcus, Jaclyn, and Vaughn all lay on the floor unmoving.
    Maybe rearrange it a bit so there aren’t so many commas back-to-back >> Markus, Jaclyn, and Vaughn all lay on the floor unmoving in addition to Cassie, Katuk, and Haley.

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