The Executioner: Part 9

She kicked up a lot of sand when her feet left the ground, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. I was too busy watching where she’d land.

That would likely be low on any list of “Smart Things to Do When You’re Being Chased.”

Here’s why: If I would have run, I’d have likely made it partway across the street, possibly all the way across, and into the forest.

As it was, she landed within arm’s reach of me.

I adjusted my stance, wondering what she’d try.

She pulled her right arm back, telegraphing her punch, giving me a chance to think about what I’d do.

I’d learned a lot of holds from Gunther, but most holds assume normal human strength, and don’t take into account the possibility that the held person could kick the ground and launch both of you twenty feet into the air.

I didn’t even consider a hold.

Assuming you did it correctly, some throws worked well even against extremely strong people.

Gina could generate tons of force, but I’d practiced against people just as strong.

Stepping a little to the right, I pulled down on the punching arm with  my right hand, and pushed forward on her back with my left arm, redirecting her momentum.

It wouldn’t have worked as well without her strength or the stealth suit’s, but she flew forward, smacking  her whole body into the street.

Out of my peripheral vision, I saw Ray running down the dune. Checking the other direction, I noticed that Gina was already getting up.

The road left bloody scrapes on her face, and arms, but they didn’t slow her at all. One knit itself together as I watched.

If I didn’t move, they’d be able to go after me from two sides at once.

I jumped.

Landing twenty feet down the road, I started running.

The house we’d all been held in couldn’t have been more than a couple hundred feet ahead. I could see Haley’s Stingray, the color currently white, parked near the driveway.

I checked behind me. Gina had just started running, but Ray was catching up. Either he’d gotten the hang of running, or he’d had a hard time with sand earlier, but he couldn’t have been more than a car length behind me.

I was so screwed.

In the back of my mind, I thought about everything I’d heard about fighting regenerators. The results didn’t inspire me. Basically you had to trap them someplace their other powers couldn’t get them out of, or inflict such massive damage that they couldn’t heal immediately.

I didn’t have any traps available. As for massive damage… The car might or might not be out of missiles. The guitar was inside the house, and I might not make it that far.

What else?

I passed a wooden utility pole.

Power lines could inflict massive damage, and not just to him, also to me. The stealth suit was resistant to electricity, but unlike the regular suit, it didn’t double as a Faraday cage.

Still, it was something.

I tried to think of a way to survive hitting Ray and Gina with a downed power line.

As I did, I noticed someone in the air above the house.


I supposed that the situation could get worse, but I couldn’t think how.

A shot rang out, and then another.

I checked behind myself again.

Gina had stopped, and pointed the rifle at Sean.

I couldn’t see if she’d hit because I’d noticed Ray jumping toward me.

I dove into a somersault, coming up to find Ray had landed past me on the side of the road.

He turned. He’d catch me in two steps. We both knew it, and he didn’t say a word about it.

I didn’t get any hints from his movements of how he planned to attack, and I had a bad feeling he’d be more than a match for me in hand to hand combat.

I pointed the sonics at him, delivering a normal blast at maximum power from both hands.

I aimed it toward his head.

Sonics at full blast hurt. The mask over my head gave some protection, but even with it, I wanted to curl up in a ball, and wait until the noise stopped.

Ray gritted his teeth as the sound hit, and nearly fell over, hitting my left arm with a glancing blow.

Well, a glancing blow for him. With Gina’s strength.

The suit protected me from the worst of it, but I took three stumbling steps before I had control of myself. Worse, I’d stopped firing due to the arm wrenching pain.

Then I turned back toward him, the next step of my plan in mind.

Fortunately for me, Ray didn’t seem to be all there. He’d put his hand to his right ear, and it came away glistening with blood.

Seeing me, his hands turned into fists, and he stepped toward me, but something didn’t seem quite right.

He wobbled a little.

I punched him in the face, and he fell on his back. For all his strength, he still had the mass of a normal person.

I grabbed his legs, swung him around, and let go, aiming him toward the crossbar where the utility pole and the power lines touched.

20 thoughts on “The Executioner: Part 9”

  1. Looks like Nick may have damaged Ray’s sense of balance with the sonics. That’ll help a lot, until it heals at least.

  2. “He’d put his hand to his right ear, and it come away with glistening with blood.” This come should probably be a came.

    And Jim, I don’t think you’ve put us through this much torture in a long time.

  3. Wondertwin powers de-activate. “Strength of a nerd.” Nicks only strong because he’s wearing his suit. Ray only had one chance to hit him at full strength and he blew it. I can’t remember if he is at Nick’s strength or an average of Nick and Gina. Same thing on how fast he heals.


  4. @JN: You’re assuming that Ray has no control over whether he absorbs someone’s powers and abilities (or even whether he can absorb abilities that aren’t specifically “powers”). I’m working under the assumption that either A) that’s not true, or B) Ray knows his limitations, and wears gloves he can remove easily when he wants to deliberately touch someone. Why do you suppose Rogue of the X-Men wears a full body suit and gloves?

  5. Because it makes Rogue look hot? Whereas I REALLY don’t want to be thinking of Ray in that way!

    Another awesome read. Thanks for ruining my sleep patterns, forcing me to stay up and read the 5 pages I was behind on….oh well! 😛

  6. Better pay attention to Gina sometime soon, Rocket.

    And it’s nice to see someone realize that super strength doesn’t necessarily equal super mass. It can, but that’s not always a given. Like the difference between Giant Man/Yellowjacket/Antman/Wasp and DC’s Captain Marvel. Yellowjacket’s greater-than-human strength occurs when he’s turned giant. His strength is greater because he’s bigger, with larger mass and muscles. There’s a reason that something like this is rare. Captain Marvel, on the other hand, gets it from magic. It comes from some outside force not tied to how he looks physically. This kind of strength is extremely common, and I just chose Marvel as the best way to illustrate it. That being said, barring some sort of forcefield or invulnerability field, Yellowjacket could probably take stronger hits than Marvel and stay in one place, since the mass is greater.

    Yes, superheroes, I’m killing your unexplained inexplicable powers by forcing you to adhere to physics! Mwahahahahahahahahahahaha- *hack, cough, cough, hack hack, drinks a glass of water* -hahahahaha!

  7. Can’t let Psycho Gecko’s notion of size/strength relation pass without noting that actually Giant Man should be too weak to even stand since when increasing size strength only increases in relation to muscle bisection while mass increases in relation to volume so strength is squared but weight is cubed…
    Ummh, carry on.

  8. Ahhhhhh, but Giant-man was originally Ant-man and had treatments that gave him the proportional strength of an ant. Given that ants can lift objects ten to fifty times their own weight (depending on the type of ant) it made him super-strong — and then when he became Giant-man he still had proportionally greater strength, as his strength increased as well as his mass.

    AND that’s what Marvel used to call worthy of a No-Prize!

    (it’s also why most characters have Captain Marvel-type powers that do a run around physics)

  9. Ummm, actually? I think just about every super power ever devised does and end run around physics — at least, known physics. Can anyone think of even one superpower that totally adheres to known physics in every way? (This should be a power with an known exemplar, i.e. something in use by a published superhero, not something you made up specifically to defeat the challenge.)


  10. Oh yeah, and Mazzon, since Giant Man (and all the other Pym-particle-powered super-sizers) get their extra mass “from a pocket dimension” — one filled with raw, unformed matter — there’s no guarantee that this borrowed matter mass follows the same square/cube law as regular, earthly matter.


  11. Josh, Notto Mention: Thanks for noticing the typos. They’re now corrected.

    Hg: The Punisher’s um… punishing superpower? Or wait, maybe those are just guns.

    Come to think of it, I’m sure they don’t adhere to the laws of physics all the time either.

    Actually that touches on something I’ve probably mentioned a few times in the comments. One of the things that I decided when writing this serial was that as much as I like hard science fiction (the kind that tries to adhere to actual science), I wasn’t even going to try to do so with this. Basically, I decided to take superpowers as a black box, and try to be true to actual physics (when possible) in the effects of people’s powers.

  12. Braniac. Him and other advanced machines adhere to physics, mostly.

    That said, “superpowers” are only beyond the capabilities of living, carbon-based organisms. We have machines that fly, project various forms of energy and force and are much stronger than any organic being. We also have miniaturization, molecular engineering and cybernetics, even if only in their very basic forms. Now, advance technology by about a millenium. Consider for a moment a time when low-power, catalysed fusion energy cells can be as small as the head of a pin, molecular engineering will be advanced enough to make nanites the size and complexity of human cell organelles and cybernetic brains will have the capabilities of human brains.

    Now use that hypothetical technology to construct a machine that looks like a human and mind-wise can function like a human. But physically, every one of its 100 trillion cells is a tiny self-adapting, self-repairing complex of carboncomposite nanites and superconductors built around an 1 microwatt microfusion cell. Outwardly, said machine might well look like a human, even have internal organs that masquerade as human, as long as somebody does not take a good look at the cellular level. But with an energy budget of 100 Mw, there’s a great deal of room for things that would look like superpowers to anyone without the technology to understand them. For example, tiny superconductive coils within each cell could produce small but powerfull enough electromagnetic fields that, interacting with the planet’s magnetic field, could apply a maglev effect stronger than each cell’s weight – and then you have flight. Or interact with eachother to apply forces internally, moving the body around with a strength and speed far greater than any chemically-based organic muscles. And you could also have various forms of energy projection.

    Of course, this requires a sufficiently advanced race to intentionally build (or be) such things and then set them loose in a far more primitive world, not superpowers appearing randomly. The only example in the Marvel universe of such a thing is the Celestials… which, come to think of it, have been said to be the origin of superpowers on Earth.

  13. @Jim: I’m pretty sure Punisher’s guns (like most people’s guns in any action genre, except when it’s a convenient plot device) don’t even follow the laws of reloading….


  14. Yeah, Punisher doesn’t follow laws of physics. Remember, he was killed recently and brought back to life as “Franken-Castle.”

    Not sure if Spider-man’s webbing could count. The web-devices seemed a little small to provide that much webbing, even if they did arguably kill Gwen Stacy.

    Still, there’s ways to hold to physics and still be super. Raytheon’s exoskeleton, or metamaterials allowing invisibility, that kind of stuff is within technological reach.

  15. I don’t know much about cars, but you say here
    “Haley’s Stingray” and elsewhere you say “Haley’s Corvette”

    Are they the same thing ?

  16. Sorry for necro over analyzing this, but the left/right sides and hands bother me here a bit:
    “She pulled her RIGHT arm back, telegraphing her punch, giving me a chance to think about what I’d do.
    ….Nick is thinking…
    Stepping a little to the right, I pulled down on the punching arm with my RIGHT hand, and pushed forward on her back with my LEFT arm, redirecting her momentum.”
    If I follow, Nick performed the classical martial arts exercise and used Gina’s incoming right hand punch momentum to throw her in the direction of the ounch, while he stayed out of the way to her left (his right), facing her. This would put his LEFT hand close to her punching right to pull it down, and his RIGHT hand on her back. At least that’s how I picture it with my humble martial arts training.

    On a side note, I find it a bit out of her character to make the (very well spread) rookie mistake of pulling the arm back before the punch. Straight fast jab (or cross) that hits is always better than slightly stronger slow punch from the back that won’t ever hit an experienced enough enemy. With super strength this becomes much more true, any hit on a mere mortal becomes critical. Ok, she’s new to super strength, but the main point remains.
    I thought she should be close to Ray in combat experience level. Perhaps we’ll learn later (or should assume from now on) that she’s less of the hand to hand combat expert, then.

    That being said, the rest of the story so far looks very genuine (also) combat wise, which adds to the experience.
    Learning martial arts practically ruined 95% of action movies for me, since I can no longer see w/o cringing how the bad guys stand in place, trade slow blows and wait to get hit by the main character’s slow but cinematic kicks. Electronics/computers degree makes watching or reading 90% of sci-phy a pain as well.
    Thus, finding a very long book with practically an engineer as the narrator, decent technical background and detailed fights descriptions that actually make sense, both with physics (within universe) and tactical perspectives is a very rare treat, thank you!

    1. You’re right. I should change that—not only here but in the version that I’m editing for publication.

      As for Gina, I think I’m going to blame that on not being used to super strength and how much more motion you get out of a small move. Also, I see that whole team as more focused on fighting from a distance than hand to hand. They can do hand to hand, but if you wrestle someone able to lift tons, they might rip your arm off. So distance, traps, and bombs are better and get more attention.

      Glad you’re enjoying it so far.

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