War: Part 6

The days between Prime getting back to us, and actually meeting him were a blur. A weird blur. Those of us who didn’t have exams, planned and drilled with Lee. I worked on the suit, the roachbots, and talked through some ideas with Chris, and Larry.

I’d called Larry when Lee told us to think about people who might help, and it was lucky I had.

When I told him the time to meet at Man-Machine’s underground factory, he told me, “You saved me from working for the Feds this weeked. Just told them I was busy.”

We were going to do more than talk through ideas.

Hours later, Larry, a big guy even without the Rhino armor, walked down the rows of frames, engines and powered armor parts, staring. Almost every row had three levels. We could outfit a small army.

“Your grandpa and I always suspected Man-machine had to have some place like this. He just had too much stuff, never seemed to run out. Trash his new suit and he’d come back with an improved version the next day.”

Chris smiled nervously at him. “What would you have done if you had known?”

“Blown it to hell probably, but those are the breaks if you choose this lifestyle. I guess it’s good we didn’t.”

“Lifestyle?” Chris stopped smiling. “I haven’t chosen it. It feels like it fell on me.”

Larry shook his head. “You had choices. You didn’t ever have to put on that armor the two of you worked on. Could have stayed home instead of trying to take down the Maniacs. Whatever reasons you had to stay away, you didn’t. You put the armor on, and you’re here now.

“Look at me,” Larry stopped walking. “You know how I got started in this? I found some of your,” he pointed at Chris, “grandfather’s armor after one of his quick getaways, and I fixed it up. I met the Rocket after that. Been at it ever since, one way or another.”

He checked his watch, and looked at the two of us. “Well, if we’re going to get done what we need to, we’d better start welding.”

* * *

In the versions of the old west that I’d seen on television, people handled duels by walking down some dusty Main Street, and pulling out their guns.

If you cared about whether innocent bystanders got hurt, or didn’t want to be interrupted by SWAT teams, you needed to find someplace more private.

Lee and Prime had arranged the time and location between themselves over the week.

That’s how we ended up meeting Prime and his people in the middle of a grassy field twenty miles outside Grand Lake. We stood behind an old barn next to a dirt road that people probably went down sometimes, but I hadn’t seen any cars yet.

Well, other than ours and Prime’s people’s.

If there had ever been a farmhouse to go along with the barn, it had long ago disappeared. All grayish wood with flecks of red, the barn looked like it might fall in soon itself.

It had a working light behind the barn, the sole light I could see besides the stars and moon.

Aside from one cloud, the sky was clear.

Not everyone came with us. On the League’s side, we had Lee, Jaclyn, Cassie, Rachel, Marcus and I.

On Prime’s side stood all the people I remembered from our fight with the Cabal — the big guy, the weirdly thin, long-legged woman, the man with burning hands, and the guy who absorbed energy — plus a whole lot more. Maybe one hundred more.

I lost count after the first fifty.

17 thoughts on “War: Part 6”

  1. Well, considering they didn’t have an easy time defeating just the small group of Cabal people, this could be a bit hairy…

  2. Sweet!

    As for the hundred vs. six, that’s so many that it becomes a question of endurance as much as anything else. Even if the Leaguers separate and spread out (which they won’t, at least to start), we’re still looking at a maximum of about 5 on 1 at any time. More than that would get in the way, or end up hurting some of their own crowd. So, assuming each Leaguer can handle 5 opponents at a time, then it’s just a question of doing so long enough that they outlast the first 5 and the 11 replacements.

    Heh. Sounds so easy, doesn’t it. Of course, since they’ve been drilling with Lee, they’ve actually got an advantage over the Prime’s horde. There’s no way the horde could have coordinated enough to have each person able to fight cooperatively with all of their teammates. (Combinatorics makes that an unmanageable number: 99 + 98 + 97 + 96 + 95 … a.k.a a complete graph, more easily calculated using the formula n(n-1)/2, where n is the total number of people ion Prime’s horde. Punch that into a calculator, and you get 4950 — far too many combinations to organize and train in a week. And that only counts pairing up two horde members, ignoring distinct combinations of 3, 4 and 5 people at a time.)

    So, as long as they stick to the plan, they really do have a fighting chance. Especially if Lee is there. While he can probably take out most of the horde himself, I’m guessing he’s really there to keep Prime himself in check.


  3. Hg, your breakdown of the logistics was so cool I found myself wishing that there was a scene where a Hydrargentim-like character was part of the League and did the same thing at their planning meeting.

  4. Hmm… I just wonder which side planted more land mines in the field as preparation. I’ll be surprised if neither did (not necessarily mines but similar measures) as both sides have someone who’s survived too long to be a believer in fair play.

  5. Dammit, caught up again!

    Couple of options on how to fix this sentence, but I’m sure you knew where you were going with it: “The days between talking Prime getting back to us and actually meeting him were a blur.”

    Also “Those of us who didn’t have exams planned and drilled with Lee.” Either needs a comma after “exams”, or the words “skipped school” inserted after “planned”.

    Liking “the numbers”. 😀

  6. @ Hg- Awwww. No problem dude. After all, us Legionnaires gotta stick together. (lol)

    @ WA_side: Dude, one time I actually resolved to go a month without reading the serial so that I could enjoy a nice archive binge. But I couldn’t hold out. It truly is frustrating when the story is this good.

    @ Jim: Who cares if you got the first sentence wrong when you’ve have yet to give us a crap episode???

  7. I have an addendum to Hg, though it is possible that in the midst of the math and dropping a logarithm, I missed this being included. You also have to take into account that there are a limited number of places Prime’s Persians can attack the Super Spartans from. I remember it like the old Diablo grid. 8 melee spaces around you, not counting the ranged spots, but ranged attacks can hit enemies in those spaces. Obviously, King Rocketidus doesn’t have a grid or the advantage of the kind of enclosed space that the Spartans originally had (or those six-packs).

    Still, what you’ve got is a large horde of superpeople not used to working together trying to throw their powers at a smaller group that can stick together. They’ll be blasting their melee fighters all over the place if they stay at range, and at melee distance they’ll get all crowded up and may wind up hitting each other. I don’t know of TV Tropes has a name for it, but its kind of the comical reverse of those fights where large gangs attack one person at a time, like the Power Rangers.

    To make matters worse for the Horde, the team consists of the well-armored, flight-capable Rocket, shape-shifty Marcus, superspeedster Jaclyn, intangible Rachel, agile martial-artist Lee, and Cassie. Cassie’s advantage over a large crowd? Superstrength and a big sword with a wide arc.

    It’s just about the perfect team to grab a sword and fight the horde.

    Leaguers! This is where we fight, this is where they get broken knees! Prepare for Justice Fist to show up when they’re all beaten and steal the Glory!

  8. ….and piggy-backing off of Psycho Gecko:

    Prime: This is but the tip of the iceberg that is my army! We will cause all of Michigan to quake under our feet. We will blot out the sun WITH A THOUSAND POWERS!!!!!!

    Rocket: (smugly) Then we’ll fight in the shade!

  9. Speaking about the Leaguers chosen for this scrum, I notice that only those with the highest general survivability factor were chosen. Jaclyn is nearly invulnerable. Rachel is untouchable. Cassie is virtually unkillable. And to Marcus, a big hole in his chest is just a change in shape.

    Night Cat would be exceptional in a close-quarters fight, especially given she can bring down an opponent with a single strike of her venom. Night Wolf is even stronger, and likely an even better fighter. Storm King has the power to affect large groups of people all at once (and well-placed lightning strikes to boot). Daniel can also affect large groups of people, and has what is arguably the most versatile power set ever. Each of these Leaguers, though, can be seriously injured, killed even, with a single lucky hit.

    Lee certainly chose the players well. But I also suspect that Daniel will still be involved, communications-wise, and the others are on the periphery, waiting for the right time when they can make a difference without exposing themselves to certain death.

    And as for the 8 squares (or even 6 hexes), in practice I really can’t see more than 5 at the most, and more likely only 3. (Of course, anything more than 1 on 1 sucks, but still, 3 on 1 is better odds than 50 on 1.)


  10. Oops. Paragraph 9: “I feels like it fell on me.” Is the first word ‘It’ or should ‘feels’ be ‘feel’?

    Still loving the story!

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