Under 30: Part 14

I sent everybody a red, and a message. Then I ran back to the lab, and started to put on the Rocket suit.

I’d spent a lot of time fixing and modifying the Rocket suit that summer, but I hadn’t spent much time figuring out how to get it on faster. You know how the armor comes from all directions and attaches itself in the Iron Man movies? I needed that.

The portable briefcase version wouldn’t have hurt either.

The comics do the movies one better. Stark stores the armor in the marrow of his bones, and it forms around him. Don’t ask me how that works, but it’d be nice.

I had to strip out of my regular clothes, put on the bottom layer of the stealth suit, step my feet into the boots, lean back into the main body of the suit, and snap the front of main body and upper legs shut. Once everything else was done, I put on the helmet.

It’s awkward, more awkward without anyone to help.

Once everything was on, I had to run down my check list, making sure that each armor section showed up without error, all weapons responded, and the rockets had fuel.

I could have saved a little time by skipping the check list, but Rocket suit problems aren’t the sort of thing you want to discover in the middle of a fight.

The reason why most teams have someone like Kayla back at HQ became even more obvious as I put the suit on. When you send a red alert (even if you do send a message), everyone’s going to call you back with questions. If you’re putting on armor while they call, you can’t answer the phone unless you get out, or finish and transfer the call to the suit.

Either way, the call will probably go to voicemail before you can answer.

I didn’t even try.

Kayla and Rachel met me as I stepped out of the lab.

“I’m so sorry,” Kayla began. “I never get that angry.”

She seemed like she was about to say more, but Rachel started talking. “That had to be more Evil Beatnik than you.”

“Don’t worry about it,” I said to Kayla. “I’ve got to go. They hit the county jail. It’s up on the screen. People have been calling, but I was busy getting into this—”

“Let’s go,” Rachel said.

I glanced back as Rachel and I stepped into the Grand Lake exit tunnel to see Kayla running to the computer table, and starting to make calls.

She seemed OK.

* * *

You know that line people always say about not making the same mistake twice? We didn’t have to because Sean did it for us.

Rachel and I approached from the air. Even from a distance we could see smoke. When we got closer Ojibwa County Correctional Facility only looked worse.

A five story tall, white cylinder, the county jail held people with no or weak powers who had committed relatively minor crimes—retail fraud, burglary, drunken driving, and so on.

A section of concrete wall lay in chunks next to the building. Stretching from the roof to the ground, the hole had to be at least twenty feet wide.

I couldn’t know what they intended, but if they were hoping overjoyed prisoners would stream out of the jail, it hadn’t worked. The prisoners I could see cowered in their cells, staying as far from the edge as they could.

Presumably serving their sentences sounded better than jumping twenty feet (or more) and landing on a pile of broken concrete.

Dixie Supergirl swooped out of the sky, flying inside through the hole, shattering the door to the cell. Crashing noises came from inside the prison.

Destruction Boy flew after her.

My helmet beeped, and Jaclyn’s voice came over the speakers.

“OK. Here’s the plan, the Rocket and I go in after them. Shift and Ghost, be ready in case more are hiding in the crowd. Otherwise be ready to surprise them. Storm King, zap them if they fly out without us.”

This time clearly, we had a plan.

I dived toward the hole in the jail, noticing Jaclyn’s purple blur below me, passing around the fire trucks, police cars, and onlookers in the parking lot in front of the jail.

As I mentally readied myself to fight, another (green, blue, and silver) blur streaked ahead of me in the air, stopping in the cell where Dixie Supergirl had broken the door.

The Rocket suit magnified the images. Sean, Dayton, and Jody stood next to each other wearing their Justice Fist costumes. Clearly made to match each other, they reminded me again of the Power Rangers.

The prisoner whose room they’d invaded shrank away from them, huddling in the corner in his florescent orange jumpsuit.

Before either Jaclyn or I caught up with them, Sean launched himself through the shattered doorway, and into the prison.

11 thoughts on “Under 30: Part 14”

  1. Sean, you unbelievable moron…

    I’m not completely up to date on modern jails, but concrete keeps getting mentioned with this one, so I’m going to assume there’s a lot of it. That’s a lot of concrete that can be thrown at Sean. She may not even bother throwing any, since she can just speed in and punch his head off. Sean might find he has a problem throwing metal at her, since the place would have done its best to make sure it couldn’t be easily separated from the concrete. I suppose if his power was strong enough, he could drag some of that too, but I think we’re gonna see what a lot of us have wanted to see for a long time.

    She gonna make him squeal, piggy. Wheeeeeee!

  2. Heh. Once again a lovely case of people acting realistically rather than according to comic book traditions… Most of the prisoners are just doing their time and realize that even if they try to run they’ll just get caught and have time added to their sentence. Not that living as a fugitive is that appealing, either.

  3. But wouldn’t it be great if some of them were violent and Sean “The Power” got killed by some middle-aged bald guy with a sharp toothbrush?

    “Gah! My secret weakness! Sharpened plastic!”

  4. Sean, Dayton, and Jody stood next to each other wearing their Justice Fist costumes reminding me again of the Power Rangers.

    The sentence’s a little awkward, to be honest. Perhaps cut the Power Rangers reference, or move it to a new sentence?

    In other news – I am looking forward to seeing Sean’s ass handed to him.

  5. Eli: Good point. Putting a comma after costumes would have improved readability. I made more changes than that, however…

    Hopefully it works.

    Mazzon: I’m fond of having people show a degree of common sense every so often.

    Psycho Gecko: Death by spork!

  6. Jim: By any chance could you quit your job and devote yourself full time to the story so we could get more frequent updates, all without charging us any money? No? Oh well, never hurts to ask!

    I’m not positive, but in the sentence “I dived toward the hole in the jail.” wouldn’t “dove” be more correct? It sounds like it would be but with English what’s right and what feels right doesn’t always match.

    By the way, you really do a good job of portraying Sean in such a manner that your readers always look forward to him receiving a sound drubbing.

  7. Andrul: Both dived and dove sounded off to me so I looked it up. Dived is apparently technically correct, but dove is used in both Canada and the US (though not so much in the UK). So I went with dived.

    As for Sean, while he’s not based on anyone specific, he’s got traits that I didn’t particularly enjoy in some high school classmates (self-confidence combined with a certain self-centeredness and lack of empathy/sensitivity to others).

    The nice thing about adulthood is that many people grow out of that–some more than others, of course.

    As for doing it full time, that would be nice. I’d like to do that and simultaneously get paid…

  8. “self-confidence combined with a certain self-centeredness and lack of empathy/sensitivity to others”

    You just described a psychopath. Interestingly, I recently read that 1 out of 25 successful bosses are actually psychopaths that have learned how to act in ways expected by others.

  9. It’s also a description of a normal toddler.

    Ojibwa County? I swear you referred to it as Ottawa before. Fun to imagine the story happening in places I know, anyway.

    Weren’t they supposed to choose a field commander, did I miss that? Jaclyn does a good job, anyway.

  10. I didn’t refer to the county by name, but I did refer to an Ottawa Golf Course or something like that. I probably ought to make that consistent.

    As for Jaclyn, they never did choose a field commander, but Jaclyn tends to take charge if she doesn’t feel like anyone else is.

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