Targets: Part 8

I set the red alert on my communicator–not the one for the complex. That would have shut down all the entrances, and the rest of the League would need them.

From outside came the sound of screeching brakes. One of the older streets in the city, State Street ran straight into downtown from the suburbs.

Cars filled all four lanes, and between standing in the middle of the road and (in one case) getting hit by a pickup truck, the Cabal’s men had blocked three of the four.

The pickup’s front had been smashed in. The Cabal soldier bounced into the backdoor of a yellow mini-van, but stood up in time to pull himself on top of the truck’s cab and jump for the sidewalk.

The three cars behind the truck rear ended each other while a gray Ford Focus slid right, into oncoming traffic, creating another crash.

I decided not to think about the drivers.

Anyway, I barely had a time to think at all.

One of the Cabal’s people jumped, flying toward the windows at the front of the conference room. His aim wasn’t quite perfect, or maybe his shoulders were wider than the the window (which was made of  transparent aluminum). Either way, he shattered it, but didn’t sail through.

He managed to get his arm over the sill and began to pull himself in, giving us a good look at his head.

His clawed hands, and too wide, fanged mouth reminded me slightly of Travis and Haley, but his expression seemed stiffer, and less–I don’t know–human.

I didn’t get to look at him for long. I began to pull up the guitar, but Rachel and Lucas both beat me to it.

Rachel pulled out her pistol, and fired, the booming noise hinting that the bullet had exploded on impact, meaning that one of my designs had probably worked. It wasn’t easy to tell for sure because Lucas had hit him with a lightning bolt at almost the same time.

The room shook with the noise.

As the man fell out of the windowsill, and I ran to the laptop in the corner of the room. I switched away from the cameras’ view of the outside to the building’s controls.

Clicking, I sent commands through HQ’s network. All over the building, motors hummed, covering the windows and doors with an extra layer of armor.

I wondered how long that would stop them.

Switching back to the security cameras, I saw that the Cabal’s people were all out of the street, and appeared to be talking together on the sidewalk.

That wasn’t a good thing. I activated the building’s sonics.

Inside, we didn’t hear much more than a distant whining, but outside, they were experiencing noise that had to be far above the threshold of pain.

Against that background, Jaclyn stepped through door to the conference room, followed by Sean, Sydney, Camille, and Julie.

Jaclyn wore her purple costume. Like Lucas, the rest of them wore street clothes. Julie, in particular wore jean shorts, and a white halter top which, while distractingly low cut, didn’t strike me as the best choice for a fight.

“How are we doing,” Jaclyn asked.

“Not sure,” I said. “They’re just standing there right now. No. Wait. They’re jumping.”

Five thumps came from the roof above us, followed by a solid crashing noise.

The lights in the ceiling shook. One broke.

“I take that back. I think we’ve got to go. Right now.”

Jaclyn turned around, “You heard him. Get out. We don’t want to be here when they come through the roof.”

Sean didn’t move, stopping everyone. “That’s nuts. There’s seven of us. Even if we can’t fight them. Julie can tell them all to freeze.”

“I’m sure Ray’s got a way around that by now–” I began, only to be interrupted by Lucas.

“Listen Sean, you idiot. I’ve put up with you for months now. We don’t have time to discuss this. When they say go, you go.

Julie’s eyes narrowed. “Shut up.”

For an instant, her voice felt overwhelming. What I’d thought of as a “queer tone” to her voice before felt more like a river of sound, but… only for an instant.

I felt a thimble sized object on my utility belt hum, matching and distorting what she said.

Jaclyn’s and Rachel’s went off too.

Julie stared.

Very calmly, but very deliberately, Jaclyn said, “Get. Moving. Now.”

A metallic, tearing noise came from above us. They weren’t through the ceiling, but they were through one layer.

I clicked a few buttons on the laptop.

“Thirty seconds,” I said.

Lucas raised an eyebrow. “Before what?”

“Building goes boom.”

26 thoughts on “Targets: Part 8”

  1. a tightly controlled boom? On the villains whose powers mean they could probably kill Superman by c*ck slapping him? I doubt it

  2. Maybe it’s an intentionally funneled upwards explosion. If they got flung 10 miles high that buys them time to evacuate ( since no matter how strong if u can’t fly your still gonna take time to come back down.. + gravity can be harsh wacking the ground at max speed is gonna leave a mark ).

  3. I believe Nick mentioned specifically a few posts ago that the self-destruct system on the downtown building was designed to be highly controlled in terms of damage radius.

    And Daniel B has a good point. If they League can find ways to push these jokers into orbit, they may not die, but they’ll be out of the action for a right good while.

    (Hey, does anyone remember the Spider-man comic where he got the Captain Universe powers, and fought the Hulk? The fight was over pretty darn quick, when Spidey hit Hulky with an uppercut that launched him into orbit. Granted, it was the Grey Hulk, but still….)


  4. I haven’t seen that comic. Actually, I haven’t thought about Captain Universe powers in years, and went off and read about them in Wikipedia.

    I’d only ever seen that used by characters that were normal people. Handing it over to actual superheroes seems like overkill.

    On the other hand, Spider-man wouldn’t have much of a chance against the Hulk otherwise (not without Hostess snacks* at any rate…).

    * To anyone who got that allusion, my apologies. To those of you who didn’t… In the 1970’s, Hostess had a long running ad campaign in Marvel comics. What did we learn from that ad campaign? Essentially that any villain in the Marvel universe can be defeated by distracting them with Twinkies, cupcakes, or fruit pies.

  5. Marvel Zombies brought back the Hostess ads…kinda…they had one in the same style, but there weren’t any actual Hostess products. Just a couple of little kids who were happy to see what they thought were the heroes their parents said would save them.

    Also, Skaar, son of Hulk, defeated the Juggernaut rather easily with a throw to orbit.

    On a lighter note, concrete. Drown these idiots in the stuff. Maybe they’d survive. Even if they break out of it physically, if they can’t get it out of their windpipes or lungs, could be bad for them. Alternatively, I read of something in a story called Salvation War where a fellow gets some sort of thick pumice dust in his lungs. As his lungs try to expel it with mucus, the mucus mixes with the pumice to form a sort of concrete, while the pumice further tears the guys lungs. It’d be a bit slow acting, but that’s one way to disable someone who can regenerate.

    Lightbulb!…a miniature thermobaric weapon hidden inside Hostess snacks. Wait til they eat them and detonate. Heat and pressure. At most, major debilitating stomach damage/looking like a veteran of the Battle of Yonkers. At least, major gas.

    *Takes note of a potential superhero name*

  6. Hmmh, I do recall there having been numerous occasions of Spider-man fighting the Hulk without extra powers…

    Explosions tend to make the neighbours unhappy in tightly built city environs, I wonder if they can make the building implode instead?

  7. Spidey fought Hulk a lot sure (I remember an early issue with the Enforcers and the Green Goblin!) but he can’t knock anyone into orbit, let alone the Hulk, under his own power. The Cap Universe powers make anyone cosmic.

    But Superman could deal with these goons with one arm tied behind his back!

  8. I wonder why in comicland there are always advanced robotics, advanced energy weapons, timetravel and whatnot but not realistic space-age materials, improved/miniaturized versions of conventional weapons and application of large-scale tactics.

    There currently exist real-life materials that can withstand over 300 tons per square inch. Even if you are superman, you aren’t going to punch through a foot-thick wall of that. At least not immediately.

    Secondly, fission-pulse cannons. Nuclear bombs work by a sphere of explosives directing their force inwards to compress a piece of fission material enough so that it reaches critical density and explodes. Real-life nuclear artillery works in roughly the same way, the fission material being compressed upon impact.
    Now, they can make high-power lasers here. No reason they could not make a high-power magnetic accelerator small enough the be man-portable. It would accelerate 100-gram plutonium or uranium bullets at high enough speed that upon impact they compress and reach critical density, resulting in an atomic detonation.
    You don’t like a super-strong regenerating guy? Shoot him with a sniper rifle that hits with the explosive force of a couple thousand tons of TNT.

    Third, why don’t our heroes take their fusion-powered jet, fly it at 60.000 feet, use observation systems comparable to a spysat to target the weaponry, and then shoot with their fusion-powered lasers that can blast holes in battleships and spaceships? Those would be a lot more accurate than conventional explosives, cause a lot less collateral damage since they are focused and are undodgeable no matter how fast you are; nobody can see a laser coming without precognition.

  9. Belial: All good points.

    As ever, I can’t speak for everybody writing this kind of thing, but I’ll bet that no matter who the writer is there’s always going to be some time that one or more of the readers knows more than the writer on a topic that directly relates to what they’re writing about. I research stuff, but I don’t research everything.

    I’m assuming you’re referring to carbon nanotube based technology?

    In any case, here are the in story reasons:
    1. The Rocket was more focused on suits than on buildings and thus used more conventional materials.
    2. The office is more a decoy than a working base. It’s really only supposed to last long enough to evacuate to HQ below. At some point that will be referenced in the story.

    As for the weapons suggestions… You’ll know why I’m not commenting in the near future.

  10. True, nobody can know everything. And thanks for the reply.

    Yes, I was referring to carbon nanotubes and other products of molecular engineering. The first time I read about the sword that cuts near-everything in your story, I thought that’s probably how it was made.

    Also, there would be several futuristic (and not so futuristic) weapons The Rocket could use in his suit against regenerators. He already has sonics, that can disable despite the damage. What about beta-ray or gamma-ray emmiters? If regeneration needs some sort of “template” in order to fix the damage or superpowers need it to function in general, corruption of their DNA via radiation could cause permanent harm.
    Another form of harm that regeneration probably cannot “heal” is thermal attacks. Instead of a laser that cuts through them, make a wide-beam microwave attack that raises their body temperature by a couple dozen degrees. While physical damage could be healed, could regeneration expel the extra heat faster than normal? (i.e.manipulate energy). If not, a couple dozen degrees increase, even if prevented from causing physical damage, drastically changes the chemical properties of the body’s own fluids because some reactions simply don’t happen in some temperatures. Fancy having your red blood cells unable to absorb oxygen? Fancy having your muscle cells unable to process the chemical energy needed for motion? That’s why heatstroke can kill without any visible damage.
    In reverse, a supertech “freezing” beam, if possible. The effects of cold upon biochemistry are even worse than heat. Lower one’s body temperature by 10 degrees and cellular activity cycles collapse without any physical change or damage required.

  11. @Belial: a note on radiation as a counter to regeneration – our bodies have DNA repair mechanisms (in fact, we have a couple – the fastest being corrective editing of DNA; the most drastic being programmed cell death – see: and so it should be safe to assume that superheroes with regenerative abilities have increased DNA repair functions.

    So gamma and beta radiation as a counter probably won’t work unless Nick figures out the right rate of DNA damage, one that would outstrip the rate of repair.

    And again, the potential for collateral damage is too high (particularly for other members of the Legion/civilians in the surrounding area). Also, DNA-related diseases usually take time to kill. You don’t want something that kills a super a day later (probably more, given that supers with healing abilities are different – and fastest time for a normal guy to die (see: Chernobyl) is a full day) when he’s in your face, ripping your armour to bits.

    Your suggestions re: freezing/heating sound more promising.

  12. Heating does sound better. Remember the hydra of Greek myth. Or the Luke Skywalker arm stump of Star Wars myth. Cauterize before they can regenerate. The problem is, this is a superteam who gave a girl a hard time for cutting off a leg they knew would grow back. They aren’t killers. They’ll smash kneecaps, but a person is more or less a whole person with a broken kneecap. I don’t know if they are morally ready to be the kind of people that kill or handicap on this scale.

  13. Beliel, if i knew you and if you were male or feale i’d/hug and kiss you for those comments!!! I am writing my won super story and set myself up with a villain similer to these guys, without any real through as to how to kill him, beyond the usual, and vaguely bland “Tack his head off” so thank you for the help!

    BTW, i find it interesting we are dicussing the science behind killing superhuman beings who are fast, strong, tough and can heal rapidly. Just saying

  14. “Building goes boom.”
    Seriously, can anyone get more succinct than that? 🙂

    Remembering that the original Rocket served in WWII, I think he would have probably used conventional explosives placed at key structural supports to cause an implosion of the building. He had the intelligence to do so and probably had chatted with demolitions experts during the war.

  15. I think I probably stated before that it is hard to be a regenerator without air. That’s why I’m such a big fan of filling their lungs with stuff.

    I also have a good idea for using itching powder on them, but it is not useable in battle.

    Why don’t more solutions to superhero fights come in suppository form?

  16. @Psycho Gecko: probably because of the targeting difficulties. It’s pretty easy to kick someone in the ass — it’s much harder to kick them *right there*. (Although if you can, I suspect it might be a seriously debilitating move. I’m imagining the shockwaves caused by a super-strength boot through a fluid-filled tube system. Let’s hope you’ve got super-sphincters if it ever happens to you.)

  17. About Belial’s weapon suggestions… A gamma ray emitter seems rather irresponsible, as one of the chief properties of gamma radiation is high penetration meaning that you irradiate not just your target but also anyone and everyone else in the same direction across a fairly long distance regardless of minor hindrances like regular walls.

    What comes to the freeze rays, well, a lot of things are possible but according to the science we have now, this one isn’t. Negative energy just doesn’t exist, so you’re stuck to cooling things by splashing something colder on them.
    Could be possible in the fiction though of course, but it’d be part of the fictional stuff.

  18. Hydrargentium, super strength is what makes anal sex impossible for those that have it, I believe. At least, on the receiving end. The super sphincter would make such actions extremely uncomfortable. The Boys, a mature themed webcomic, even has a situation where prostitutes have to take drugs that give them increased durability and strength just to handle super-clientele, otherwise they get pretty useless pretty quick.

    What we’re forgetting are the basics. Like a sleeper hold. A real one, not like the wrestling version. It knocks them out by applying pressure to cut off the bloodflow. One downside is that the pressure has to be enough to knock a person out, but not enough to kill them.

  19. ‘As the man fell out of the windowsill, and I ran to the laptop in the corner of the room. I switched away from the cameras’ view of the outside to the building’s controls.’

    Either the ‘and’ needs to be removed, or the two sentences need to be joined.

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