War: Part 19

We scouted it out even before we left HQ.

Prime’s men had parked in a dirt parking lot. Adjusting the roachbot’s position on the car gave us the name of the business — Perliss Manufacturing, Co. The roachbot’s GPS system gave us the exact location, and soon we were looking at it through Google Maps.

We could have used government maps, but Google had a better user interface (though the Feds updated their maps more often).

The square cement block building stood a few miles outside Grand Lake along M-22. A little bit of research showed that Perliss had manufactured auto parts until last year when they’d gone out of business.

Still, as abandoned auto parts factories went, it seemed to be in a nice place, assuming you wanted to be out in the boonies, surrounded by trees and farmland.

Travis walked up as I finished. He wore his costume, and he’d transformed, making him more muscular than usual, and just as big. His fangs and claws weren’t proportionately larger than Haley’s, but they seemed more intimidating.

The satellite view hung on the big screen next to a browser window with a Grand Lake Sentinel article entitled, “After 30 Years, Perliss Manufacturing Closes.”

“Plenty of trees around the sides and back. We’ve got cover.”

“If we need it,” I said. “You know how the roachbots self-destruct? I’ve made a version that’s more of a flying bomb than anything else.”

“Not much of a bomb. They’re pretty small, right?”

“Well, yeah, but it’s a shaped charge, and there’s a lot of force for its size. What you do is take a bunch of them, and they work their way into crevices, and then they explode. Plus, I’ve been working on roachbots that make an electromagnetic pulse. So between the two, I’m thinking we could destroy it. Pulse to damage the mechanism. Then blow it up with the others.”

“It sounds like it’d work. What kind of range do they have?”

“Not much of one. Maybe a football field, but that’s optimistic. It assumes there’s no wind, for example. Think one hundred feet if you want to be sure.”

Rachel had stepped up while we were talking. “Why don’t I float in with couple grenades. It would be simpler.”

“I think Lee said that if there’s a way to block you, Ray would probably have it,” I said.

Rachel said, “You know what I hate about our grandparents being famous? Everyone knows what we can do.”

“Except for me,” Marcus said. “I’m an original.”

“I can’t argue with that,“ Jaclyn said, walking up with Daniel, Vaughn,  and Haley. They’d been talking about something next to the pile of boxes and our own copy of the Impregnator.

“I’d go with the roachbots, by the way,” Jaclyn continued.

“Yeah,” Vaughn said. “I was thinking of sending a tornado at them, or maybe some lightning, but I might kill somebody.”

“You might kill Ray,” Cassie said. “I’m not saying we should, but no great loss if you did.”

I turned to look at her. Cassie was in costume and had the sword, but that’s not what I was noticing. Kayla stood next to her.

Kayla gave a little wave, and said, “Hi, everybody.”

“Kayla,” I said, “I didn’t know you’d be here.”

“I had an idea,” Cassie said. “You remember how when we were fighting the Mayor, we all got separated? Well, you know what we need? Someone who’s not in the middle of the action. Someone who can call for help, or tell us information we can’t look up ourselves. Kayla already knows us. She’s already been blocked, and she doesn’t have powers, so it’s not like we’re taking anyone out of the field. She’s ideal.”

“Right now?” Jaclyn’s face tightened. “Cassie, this isn’t a good time. Are we all going to be bringing in our friends without telling anybody?”

“But it’s not the same thing. We’ve known Kayla for years,” Cassie told her.

“Some of us knew Chris,” I said.

Daniel said, “I think it’s a good idea. Teams usually have someone back at base.”

“It’ll be like the Matrix,” Marcus said. “With the operator on the ship.”

Kayla turned her head, taking the whole scene in. “I can go. I don’t have to stay.”

“No, stay,” Travis said. “I just wish we had time to train you.”

* * *

Thirty minutes later I found myself landing on a dirt road in the full Rocket suit. The road ran through a farmer’s field, and ended in the forest behind the old auto parts factory. Leaving rows of corn behind me, I stepped into the forest, hoping that they didn’t have anyone watching this far back.

It hadn’t looked like it from the air, but I couldn’t see everything from the air.

Standing behind a tree, I activated my helmet’s communicator. “Everybody, I’m in position, and I’m ready to send in the bots.”

14 thoughts on “War: Part 19”

  1. It seems like Cassie is trying to get under Nick’s skin a little with bring her friend in. Bring back Chris it doesn’t hurt to have a extra big brain in the base. He can get to all the work that Nick can’t.

  2. Ahh, football field, America’s favourite unit for measuring anything that can be compared to one. As if using archaic customary units were not enough… Pardon my bitter foreignness.

    So they decided to take directly into operative use a switchboard with no training, no inside information on what’s what and no credentials for the position. Hmm, sounds like what they really need is a HR department.

  3. @Mazzon: yeah I’m really wondering at this Kayla thing too. She’s untrained, Cassie’s putting her in danger, plus she’s. Not. Supposed. To. Know.

    Why can’t they use Chris as operator?

  4. When Marcus said that about being an original, I had an awesome idea.

    It’ll be just like Metal Gear solid, except the box/crate/barrel will look his shapeshifty skin shade.



    “It’s just a box.”

  5. Eli: I know it was an rhetorical question, but I’m constantly thinking about where I should stop. It’s particularly hard when I’ve hit the natural end point for the scene, but haven’t written quite as many words as I usually do. At that point, what I generally do is put in enough of the next scene that people have a taste of where things are going. And then I stop.

    I’ve read that what I should be doing is writing the actual scene in such a way that the end itself is a cliffhanger. I do that sometimes, but while that appeals to me in terms of efficiency and elegance, I think giving a taste of the next scene works too. I’m just told that that’s not the way to do it.

    Notto Mention: Kayla’s last name is Ketchem, and I probably should have reminded people of it more directly, but she figured Cassie and Nick’s identities out herself and was blocked from talking about it except with them back a few episodes.

    As for whether she’s in danger and what Lee will think about it… That’s to be seen.

    Jeff: Cassie’s motivation will eventually come up…

    Unwise Owl: That’s not a good precedent is it?

    Mazzon: You may be amused to know that I’ve seldom watched football, and back when I was in high school, our school didn’t even have a football team. We did have a very good soccer team though. As for the units… Yeah. At one point we were supposed to switch over to the metric system. And then we didn’t. Oddly enough, we used the metric system in all the science classes I ever had, and also, strangely enough in the sports I was in (distance running and swimming).

    Psycho Gecko: I may have to steal that thought, but probably not for the next scene.

  6. @Jim: “Oddly enough, we used the metric system in all the science classes I ever had, and also, strangely enough in the sports I was in (distance running and swimming).”

    Not so odd when you think about it. The entire scientific community uses the metric system, because it’s more precise and easier to convert than the Imperial system. The sports you mentioned would use it because they’re largely imported from other countries (unlike our homebrewed sports, Baseball and Football, which tend to use the Imperial system) and the competition leads to an international level more than our particular sports (with the exception of the obsession Japan and the Carribean nations have with baseball)

    Still loving the story, by the way, and really glad that I’ve got 2 years worth of posts still to go through before I run out of updates to read. Keep up the good work!

    1. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. For me it’s strange to think the section you’re reading is that old, but it is.

      Honestly, it seems like I just finished it.

  7. Yeah, I’m actually going back through on my first ever full re-read, and I see my occasional posts and think, “I first read this how long ago? and have been keeping up with it since when?”

    Oi, vey.

  8. Third time re-reading this section. And it always feels like the team walks on Nick. ‘Make this, be at these meetings, maintain the base. How dare you think for yourself and bring in help.’ Then Cassie turns around doing even more of the same and rubbing it in Nick’s face when she was the one pushing for all of this.

    1. It’s rather absurd that Kayla is brought in. It’s been mentioned a number of times that Cassie is a point of weakness in secret identities. If everyone who figured their identities out through Cassie were allowed at base, every villain and reporter would be inside. Kayla is also a regular squishy human. Chris at least can help Nick with maintenance and tech development. The anger at Nick for Chris which was less sudden as well as shared to a couple individuals versus pure acceptance at Kaylas commandeering is absurd.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *