Under 30: Part 7

Jaclyn and Marcus had arrived first. I arrived second—but only because I grabbed the stealth suit instead of the full Rocket armor.

So instead of appearing almost knight-like in shining gold armor, I appeared in armor that looked like a black leather jacket with matching pants, and gray helmet. Plus, I’d worked out a way to hang my guitar next to the rocketpack on my back in a way that felt comfortable. Granted, it still looked like a guitar hero controller, but it was useful.

Ambulances, police cars, and a Metahuman Containment Cage (generally called “boxes” because of their shape) pulled into the parking lot as I landed.

Finding that Jaclyn had beat me to the scene didn’t surprise me. Finding Marcus with her did. She could run at Mach one, and she lived within the city limits. Marcus could shapeshift, and his family lived out in the suburbs.

I landed in the parking lot next to them. The stealth suit’s cooling system fought the heat. It was already above ninety degrees.

Jaclyn’s purple costume stood out next to the brick building, but it worked for her. A person with lighter skin would have looked stupid in the same shade.

“They’re gone,” Jaclyn said. “Not that I’m surprised.”

“And that’s why the revolution won’t be televised,” Marcus said. “It ruins the surprise.”

I turned to Marcus, “I’ve always wondered what revolution people are talking about when they say that. Where does that come from anyway?”

Marcus shrugged. “No idea. I’ve only ever heard it as a joke.”

“Uh… How’d you get here already? You’re usually close to last.”

He checked both ways before he talked, and spoke softly. “I hitched a ride with Accelerando. My parents are on vacation for a week—just the two of them—so I’m staying with her.”

Which made sense. They were cousins, and with both of her older brothers out of college and living in Atlanta, they had the space.

Even though Travis and Haley were also his cousins (on his dad’s side), they were leaving today for a family vacation, so he couldn’t stay there.

“Ok. So do you know anything about what happened inside after the signal cut off?”

Marcus shook his head.

Jaclyn said, “I overheard the paramedics. It sounds like everyone’s okay, but a little disoriented. They think someone piped gas into the building.”

“That sounds like Dr. Madness,” I said. “He started out with a madness gas, and moved on to other effects. Later on, he made devices that did the same thing telepathically. I wonder if the new one doesn’t have telepathy, or if the gas covered a wider area?”

Mr. Madness,” Marcus said. “Unless you want to make him angry… What do you suppose is up with that?”

“I don’t know. Maybe he flunked out of his doctoral program and got stuck with a masters?”

A gust of wind blew, and I stumbled, but didn’t fall. Vaughn walked down the sidewalk toward us in a glossy, black costume that still made me think more of bondage gear than superheroes.

“Sorry everybody, I should have landed further away. What were you guys talking about?”

We told him.

“You know, Master Madness wouldn’t have been a bad name for a supervillain, but you know what would be better? If he did that, and his real last name was Bates. That’d be hilarious.”

Jaclyn rolled her eyes. “Hey Rocket, what about the Mystic?”

“Remember his vacation? He’s leaving today too.” Daniel’s dad had met his mom during his stint in military intelligence. Every year they went to Israel for a couple weeks in the summer.

“Oh. That’s inconvenient.” She looked at Vaughn. “Captain Commando?”

“On her way, but she’ll be leaving for vacation tomorrow.”

“Didn’t she already go on vacation?”

“That wasn’t a vacation,” Vaughn said.

Cassie’d gone to Washington for a checkup by the scientists who’d changed her.

“Ghost?” Jaclyn asked.

In my rush, I’d forgotten to wake Rachel up. Her League phone’s red alert should have done it though.

“Sorry. She’s probably uh… floating here at maximum speed,”—which wasn’t very fast.

“So aside from Ghost, this is all of us for the next two weeks. Huh.”

I thought about that, and probably so did everyone else. Another funny coincidence. Of course, these trips had been planned for months so Evil Beatnik couldn’t have just changed everyone’s plans. In Daniel’s case, his family went almost the same time every year. So, assuming that Evil Beatnik had only escaped last night, he didn’t have to use chaos powers to warp reality. All he had to do was listen to us discuss our vacation plans for the summer, and time his escape to coincide.

Of course, Evil Beatnik could theoretically have used his powers to influence our vacation dates months ago. That would argue for more planning than I wanted to think a chaos spirit did.

As we stood there in silence, paramedics pushed Terry Smith, News 10’s anchor, past us on a stretcher.

“The rain in plain falls mainly on the Spain,” he said, conversationally.

Vaughn watched as they loaded him into the ambulance, “We could call people from Justice Fist.”

“No!” Jaclyn and I said the word simultaneously. I’m not sure who was louder.

“Look,” Jaclyn said, “I like what I’ve seen of some of them, but I don’t trust them enough to put my life in their hands.”

“Of all of us,” Marcus said, “you’re the one who least needs to worry about that.”

“Hey,” Vaughn said, “I’d trust Sydney and Camille.”

Jaclyn made a face. “Outside of comic books, being ‘smoking hot’ is not a good enough reason to put someone on the team.”

* * *

We looked for the rest of Friday without finding them. I heard later that Cassie volunteered to stay instead of going on vacation with her mom, but Vaughn apparently told her to go—we had it covered. And so she went.

On Saturday afternoon, the Ice Twins’ team robbed three banks simultaneously. Dixie Supergirl ripped the door off her bank’s vault. At another, White froze the security guards while Blue made the vault’s door cold enough that it shattered with a punch. Destruction Boy melted anything that got in his way.

The police didn’t come. They were too busy hallucinating purple rabbits.

21 thoughts on “Under 30: Part 7”

  1. I’m getting the feeling our heroes themselves are being influenced here. Vaughn’s seeming more irresponsible than ever, and since when did Nick start paying attention to how people look in their suits even so far as to leave the, like, totally square Rocket armour home in favor of the ‘cooler’ duds when going to face not one but five supervillains packing serious heat (or, in the case of the twins, lack thereof)?

  2. Well Mazzon came out and said what I’ve been thinking out loud — the Beatnik is influencing reality and it’s fun to see how it lets Jim write more comedically. I didn’t want to say it so that it would catch people later, but Mazzon let the cat out of the bag.

    But that’s why I keep saying “I really like how this arc lets Jim show his humorous side” and comments to that effect.

    Hopefully Nick and Jaclyn will be able to figure out how to beat the Beatnik — as Jaclyn is fairly responsible, she might not be easy to influence, and Nick’s innate rationality should be able to assert itself if he can keep from his tendency to occasionally geek out in immature fashion. Right now he’s favouring his Rockstar guitar, so maybe not yet — but his scientific brain might be the key to unlocking the situation if he can get ahold of himself.

    Though really I’d be calling in adult backup ASAP.

  3. purple bunnies… what about pink dancing elephants…. no no make the disneyfied nightmares go away!

  4. Excellent chapter as always.

    “The revolution will not be televised” is the title of a song\poem by political activist Gil Scott Heron. What he meant was the most important stage in a revolution takes place in the viewpoint of the people, and cannot be captured on film.


    Since Jaclyn is black, she would likely be able to explain this.

  5. “Outside of comic books, being ‘smoking hot’ is not a good enough reason to put someone on the team.”

    Again, THIS ^ is why I read LON.

  6. “Right now he’s favouring his Rockstar guitar”

    Kinda reminds me about what the crazed future/alternate rocket was saying…….

  7. @Mycroft I was thinking the same thing. I really wonder when he’ll put into practice some of his “future knowledge” and maybe step up his artillery. Not to the drastic extreme “War” did, but just a bit above roachbots and the guitar.

  8. Daniel wont be that far away…His dad is in the same team as the Guardian..and he does portals. If push comes to shove he’d only be a few phonecalls away..

  9. Sorry, probably can’t have a character called Master Bates. Would be too similar to Jedi Master Baytes, a character added as a joke in some Star Wars comic books because the writer hated how his usual editor added “Master” to the names of all his Jedi Characters. Not much of a stretch, given that they weren’t supposed to get laid.

    Now we just have to wonder about what connection, if any, Evil Beatnik has to the New School villains. Maybe Bachelor Madness is just hoping to make enough to go back to school and get his doctorate in fine arts.

    “Quake, mere mortals, at the power of…Doctor Madness, DFA!”

  10. Master Bates is a character in Oliver Swift, IIRC. This was *not* a double entendre, at the time the phrase had not acquired its current meaning.

  11. signs that LON has been effected by chaos: 1) Nick didn’t warn Rachel when the news was on. 2) As was prev stated the whole “let Captain Commando get her vay-cay” 3) Nick not saying “Mr. Madness” if anyone would be technical it would be him. 4) Where was Night wolf this whole time? and why wasn’t Cayla at the scene?

    1. Night Cat was prepping to go on holiday that same day…hard to sneak out under your parents nose then…Kayla has no powers and sits in the command center pretty much.

  12. Heh, had to check Emote Control’s facts and funnily enough Oliver Twist came out in 1838 and Merriam-Webster dates the first known use of “masturbate” in English to 1839…

  13. Bah, facts, defintions….stop perturbing me, you masticating defenstrators!

    Also, good points about the various ways all the characters are slipping. I think they’re slipping…awaaaaaaaaay

  14. Is it an indication of the high geek levels of Jim’s readers that probably none of us had to look up the definition of defenestration?

  15. “Is it an indication of the high geek levels of Jim’s readers that probably none of us had to look up the definition of defenestration?”

    Who the hell are you calling a geek??? I TOTALLY had to look that up! *quickly grabs a dictionary* See???

    *Someone points out to Bill that the “dictionary” he’s holding up is actually a Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan DVD*

    DAMMIT! I’m caught.

  16. the Ice Twins’ team robbed three banks simultaneously
    2 twins 3 Banks simultaneously
    doesn’t work or what powers do they have?/how close are the banks?
    even if it is long past the time when bill will see this
    i had to look “defenestration” up, happens regulary maybe because my nativ toung isn’t english
    (was way more difficult to look up Master Bates^^)

  17. oh sry get it now the team robbed three banks
    understood it first as the twinsrobbed 3 and other teammembers robbed other banks … never mind

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