War: Part 14

Finding Ray didn’t sound like a good idea, but it sounded better than finding him after he’d killed everyone we knew.

Isaac Lim wasn’t available when I called about protection for our parents. I left a voicemail.

“So,” I said after hanging up. “How do we find Ray?”

“Don’t know,” Lee said. “I’m not a detective. Your grandparents handled that. My job was to come in at the last moment and save the day, or maybe just stab a few people. You know, the fun part. Investigating’s boring. You find out who checked into hotels and rentals. You call everyone you can think of and see if they’ve seen people matching Ray and his pals’ description.

“All your grandparents had their own way of doing it. Romy would float in invisibly and go through their stuff. Joe, he’d use those walking bugs of his. Cohen, he’d run through people’s minds, or go on a precognitive hunch. Chuck would sneak around, and talk to his contacts on the street. It worked out.”

Jaclyn said, “What about my grandfather?”

“Or my dad?” Cassie said.

“Nothing too strange,” Lee said. “Reg could run fast enough that most people couldn’t see him, so he could cover a lot of ground, or put down a lot of bugs. As for John, he liked the direct approach — dangle people out of windows, beat people, tie people to chairs… I remember one time he cut off his own finger, let it grow back, and said, ‘Now let’s try yours’.”

“Whoa,” Vaughn said, “what happened?”

“Don’t know. Long time ago, but he stopped after getting bad information. People will say anything they think you want to hear if you’re dangling them out a window. After a while, he learned how military interrogators do it, and started using the Rocket’s bugs when he didn’t have anyone to interrogate. It worked a lot better.

“If you want some advice though, here’s one thing I can tell you. Don’t let Ray see you. Don’t let him see you as yourself. Don’t let him see you in costume. And if you’re going to go looking for him, use the buddy system. That’s all I’ve got.”

He checked his watch. “Well, I should leave. Let me know what you come up with.”

Rachel looked over at Lee. “Do you think I’d be okay alone?”

Lee paused, and said, “Against almost anybody else, yes. Against him? Well, I don’t know if there’s a way to catch someone who phases through walls, but I’d guess that if there’s a device for it, he’s got one by now. I’m sure he’s got a plan to handle each of you, and all of you. That’s why we’re going to come up with something he didn’t plan for.”

After that, he walked into the hangar, and drove away. Larry left a few minutes later, leaving the League plus Chris to discuss the next step.

We finished eating, talking about options. If Ray’s people didn’t want to be bothered, they’d want to use someplace without people. In Grand Lake that meant an old farm, an old factory, or in the early summer, a cottage by a lake. Lake Michigan was still too cold for swimming, and the smaller, inland lakes didn’t get busy until school let out.

As we discussed where we might look, Chris said, “What did Lee mean by precognitive hunch?”

Daniel stopped eating and put his plate in front of him on the floor.. “It goes like this. I can kind of sense where I ought to be going and go there. If I wanted to sense the biggest threat to us, and just follow my intuition until I got there, I probably could. The problem is, it might not be Ray. We might not know enough to recognize it for what it was when we got there, and even if it was Ray, we might not be prepared to face him. So we’re better off doing our homework first, and using my hunches as a backup plan.”

“You can tell the future?”

Daniel shook his head. “No, just zero in on threats without really understanding what they are.”

“It sounds dangerous.”

“That’s what my dad says. I’m hoping to get more control over it.”

“Cool,” Chris said. “Well, I better go. My parents are going to start wondering where I am. I’ll see everyone uh… later.”

He left for the hangar. Each step of the mech clanked on the way out.

When the outside doors shut behind him, Travis said, “Dammit Nick, why didn’t you tell us he was coming?”

“Things got busy. It slipped my mind. Anyway, Daniel cleared him. He’s safe.”

“Bringing in anybody when we’re half out of costume is too big a deal to forget about. Especially someone who’s grandfather was your grandfather’s nemesis, and who recognizes some of our real identities.”

“Man-machine already knows who we are,” I said. “And he actually helped the League when they were fighting Red Lightning, remember?”

“That’s not the point,” Travis said.

“Nick,” Jaclyn said. “He’s right. You can’t just bring someone in like that. That’s a team decision. At the very least, I’m sure a lot of us would have chosen to be in costume while he was here… ”

She pursed her lips, and then said, “I hope he doesn’t think he’s joined.”

“No,” I said. “He doesn’t even want to. He was just helping us out. Besides, he’s not going to talk or anything. We talked it through and he’s got a block like Kayla’s. He agreed to it.”

Travis, Jaclyn, Cassie, and Vaughn all started to say something, but then Daniel raised his hand.

“I know this wasn’t the best way to handle it, but Nick won’t do it that way again, and he did cover all the bases. ”

From their faces, I could tell it wasn’t really okay, but it was close enough. Mentally, I thanked Daniel for covering for me. We’d arranged the block and all, but he’d known I wasn’t going to tell anybody until afterward.

No problem, he thought back at me, but you know they’re right, don’t you?

I know, I thought, but I’m not going to do it again. I can’t imagine anything like this coming up.

* * *

I slept in the next day, and then went to HQ to see if I could find any clue as to why the sonics in the right arm still didn’t work.

While running through my official email, I found one from Lucas AKA Red Legacy.

He wanted to meet.

14 thoughts on “War: Part 14”

  1. Someone please help me I had conformation on what I’ve already known. I am infected with LON SYNDROME and I like it. Hopefully the great story here will help keep the infection to a manageable level by tell all the people I know to read this story.

  2. Don’t go, Nick! Ray might have had access to their emails! He might rip you off on pills that are supposed to make your…rocket…larger.

    Shouldn’t be that tough to find Ray though. He’ll need to test out his powers, so somewhere is going to be experiencing something superpoweredl. Also, either he’s needing to use Syndicate L contacts to get weapons and supplies or someone’s making some suspicious Ebay purchases in the area. Since Ray’s team is wanted, they might just have taken a family hostage, forcing someone to go outside and manage their affairs while holding the rest of the family hostage.
    In fact, that would be one way to convince someone to contact the League.

    Especially if said someone had been injured the same day his superhero alias was, and then had a couple of superheroes walk in there to heal him.

    They’ll have to out-homework Ray. He’s been taking down people with powers for a long time. He knows all the ins and outs and knows how to research and find them, probably has some facial recognition software that can work around masks. Green Arrow wouldn’t stand a chance against him with that distinctive goatee. Might even set up a bunch of crimes where the League needs to respond so that he can have the rest of his team watching potential candidates around town and seeing who seems to be appearing and disappearing. Watching how they react to each other, perhaps keeping a device handy to pick up and hack into any comm signals.




    …and late at night, the stairs in your house go Creeeeeeaaaaak.


  3. “I know,” I thought, “but I’m not going to do it again. I can’t imagine anything like this coming up.”

    Way to jinx it. Now he’s pretty much sure to do the exact same thing with Lucas.

  4. “Well, I should leave. Let me know what you come up with something.” Ummm that should either be “when” instead of “what” or perhaps delete something.

    What if Ray can disguise himself and Nick brings in Ray disguised as Lucas??? Indeed the possibilities for mayhem this episode opens are gloriously endless.

  5. At least Chris was blocked and cleared by Daniel, though I can see why the other team members aren’t happy. They didn’t have a choice on if Chris was going to learn who they were.

  6. Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your rears!

    I have found out that the roachbots aren’t entirely fictional.



    As those two articles reveal, DARPA has been working on controlling bugs using microchips in a project eventually aimed at putting cameras and other spygear on them. And they’re making them nuclear powered.

    It isn’t the same as robotic roaches, but this is one of those cases where real life is wierder than fiction. Robotic roaches, sure they sound possible in the future. But we now have the technology to remote control bugs and turn them into spies? Sounds like some sort of drug-induced paranoia.

  7. Heh. Nuclear-powered cockroaches.

    In a story I’m working on, one of the characters eats bugs. He believes it to be the source of his powers. (Whether it actually is remains to be seen.)

    So what happens when he grabs a nuclear-powered spy bug, and chomps down? (Aside from the guy on the other end of the camera getting up-close-and-personal with this character’s epiglottis….)


  8. Tension in the ranks, uh oh!

    Ray is almost a bigger problem than Prime because he isn’t interested in running gangs or having wars or global domination — he flies under the radar to just straight up kill heroes and their families. He could be anywhere, so the Legion better figure it out fast.

  9. Couple of typographical items, Jim:

    1. “but then Daniel raised his raised his hand” — ’nuff ’nuff said

    2. In Nick’s thought-conversation with Daniel near the end, shouldn’t his response text be italicized instead of quoted, the same as Daniel’s in the line previous? Just to be consistent, I mean.


  10. I’ve never liked the investigation phase of my super-powers game. The referee makes it too hard to track down leads and the people we manage to capture almost never give us information, so I’m in Lee’s camp. Some of our best ploys involved setting traps to draw the enemy to a site we had some control over… in some ways similar to the old farm fight.

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