Graduation: Part 22

I scanned the radio for news reports. Police band could tell me what was going on now, but not what had happened.

I called up the GPS. The Baymont Inn wasn’t far away. I decided I could do a flyby without too much trouble. I probably wouldn’t even get seen, which was good, because if I got into a one on one fight with Prime’s people, I might not survive it.

As I altered my course for the southeast corner of Grand Lake, I managed to find a local all news AM station.

They appeared to have someone on the scene. That or they were using one of the reporters from News 10. If I remembered correctly, the same people owned both stations.

“… The Baymont Inn on Jefferson Street has been almost completely destroyed in what appears to be an FBI raid. At 10:15 pm, witnesses reported seeing the police, the FBI, and National Guard troops surrounding the building. At about the same time, the last of the hotel’s guests evacuated as many had been warned to leave during the day.”

Once I flew north past Fillmore, one of Grand Lake’s suburbs, I realized I didn’t need my GPS to find the Baymont at all.

At night, Jefferson was generally brighter than most streets in the city, but despite all the light from the stores, and restaurants, the Baymont Inn still stood out.

It was the flames, mostly.

Even if the Baymont hadn’t been on fire (and it was), the Econolodge and the Denny’s on either side of it were.

And even if nothing had been on fire, I like to think that I would have picked up on the way the police and National Guard had blocked off the roads around the hotel.

Not to mention the burning Hummers.

Over the radio, the announcer continued, “Witnesses claim that the FBI was in contact with the people inside the building by telephone and offered to allow them to surrender, but as they were talking, the people inside allegedly broke through the wall and started the surrounding buildings on fire. They escaped from several powered FBI agents, and are still at large.”

Powered FBI agents? I didn’t see any — unless they were the people being loaded into ambulances.

I saw Lt. Van Kley standing next to her cruiser, talking with men in suits and a few more men in combat fatigues.

I considered flying down to ask them for more information, but I didn’t. I wasn’t supposed to be out in uniform anyway.

Giving the rocketpack some more fuel, I aimed myself upward, hoping Prime’s people didn’t include anyone who could fly, and watching the helmet’s readouts for planes.

At the top of my arc, I could see most of the city. Even this late, light from buildings and streetlights outlined the lake it almost surrounded.

I aimed myself at Veterans Memorial Park and started to descend.

As I did, I realized that the newscast had somehow segued into a talk show.

“This is the Maaaaassive Mike Show on Grand Lake News Radio. Tonight’s topic: The Heroes League. Where are they? We’ve got more superheroes in Grand Lake than ever before, and none of them are doing anything. We had murders of gang members last week. Did we see them? No. Did we see them after someone nailed a guy on the Heroes League’s own building? No. Well, how about tonight? You know, when the FBI completely fails to nail a bunch of powered criminals, and starts half a city block burning? Did we see even a single member of the League? Not a damn soul. They’re teenagers, so we can’t expect them to show up day in, day out like the cops do, but this is a big deal.

“I could say ‘Well, they’re kids. They just don’t pay attention.’ But remember last fall? They weren’t just the first people who knew about the Mayor. They were the only people, so I can’t believe they don’t know about this.

“That’s why I’m asking you to call in, and tell me what you think they’re doing?”

And of course he didn’t stop there. Neither did the callers.

A woman with a gravely voice said. “It’s the week before exams. Maybe they’re studying?”

“Bull. Kids don’t study till the night before. Next caller?”

For half a second, I imagined flying to the studio, explaining what we were up against, and seeing if he had any actual suggestions as opposed to, you know, just carping.

I didn’t, obviously.

I flew back to the forest near the park, changed into civilian clothes, and walked home in the dark.

* * *

I went to school on Monday. I’d checked with people in my classes over the weekend, and it turned out that I hadn’t gotten assigned any homework on Friday. By the end of the day on Monday, I hadn’t gotten assigned any either, and it seemed obvious that we weren’t going to much of anything before graduation on Thursday night.

I’d have a whole week to work out bugs in the Rocket suit’s new arm, and maybe even get ahead somehow.

I made some serious progress on Monday afternoon. I attached it to the suit, and it worked. I could bend the arm, and it had full strength.

The only things wrong with it were a couple error messages, and the sonics. They wouldn’t turn on. They worked on the old arm, but not the new one.

In a worst case scenario, I decided I could live with that for a little while.

14 thoughts on “Graduation: Part 22”

  1. Interesting update. I’m wondering if the FBI had at least some success, or if it was a complete failure. Also, is there anything that they can learn about what happened to be prepared for the confrontation that will be coming.

  2. I suppose this is something that pretty much comes with the genre… If FBI were successful in apprehending villainous SPB’s, there wouldn’t be much need for the concerned citizens in brightly coloured tights.

  3. NO! Don’t do it Nick! I can assure you, you are going to wish you had the sonics. Fix ’em while you got time!

  4. @Mike

    He’s still got the sonics in one arm, just not in the one he fabricated himself. I think he’s more concerned with getting it in wearable condition than in getting it to peak condition. Even with only half the sonics online, one of the armored suits has to be a lot safer than the just the stealth suit.

  5. I wonder what the “couple of error messages” are for… sort of like I wonder what the “Check Engine” light on my car means… oops that one meant the arm will self destruct in T seconds.

  6. Wow! A talk-show host playing armchair superhero! My GOD, how absolutely indicative of the day and age we live in where Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and every damn website in the world makes everyone think that they have something meaningful to say.

    Jim, these real-world touches are solid-gold.

  7. The first error message reads “PC LOAD LETTER” and the second is a notice about turning in his TPS reports.

  8. LOL @Psycho Gecko.

    Glad no-one spotted him out and about. I was reading it and saying “No, Nick, don’t do it, those “Primers” are bound to take you out!”.

    Hmm, suit nearly fixed, graduation coming, trouble increasing. Methinks Jim has some mighty-fine action on the way.

  9. Pangoria: You’ll find out more about what happened to the FBI raid in a little while.

    Luke/Mike: He’s got sonics in one arm only — the left arm. I may have to rephrase that section.

    Bill: I like doing outside commentary showing what other people outside the League think of what’s going on. And AM talk show hosts (of whatever political stripe) are such easy targets. Oddly enough, one of my clients in my web developing business is a AM talk show host (but he’s a nice guy).

    WA_side: For better or for worse, action will be coming along in the not too distant future.

  10. @Notto
    The check engine light means you’ve gone for a while without the dealer looking at the car. I kid you not, it’s attached to the mileage. In theory it’s so the car will receive regular maintenance. My opinion is so that the manufacturer can get more money from you by poking a special tool on a recessed button that resets the light.

  11. a little late, i keep forgetting to comment as i go on to the next chapters, but are we ever gonna get stuff on nick’s relatives? they inherited the same genes, so i expect some would have powers (the transparent stuff like rachel’s ability) or perhaps some other expression of what nick got. might be an interesting place to get a villain, especially if the relative in question is like nick

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