TBD: Part 7

The rest of the week went by in a blur, and we spent most of it in the hotel. We did take a couple field trips—probably to make it seem like we were a normal bunch of students visiting Chicago. During one field trip we went to the Field Museum.

For the other, we toured the Midwest Defenders’ Chicago headquarters.

We got a more thorough tour than most groups, but the Defenders were all out on an emergency. That was okay. As much as I missed seeing Daniel’s dad as Mindstryke, and liked most of the other members of the team, Guardian still made me feel incompetent.

Aside from the field trips, we spent the rest of the week taking tests both physical and mental, some of them based on our abilities, some of them common to everybody.

I spent most of Tuesday, Wednesday, and part of Thursday taking tests, some on general problem solving ability, others on science and engineering, and one on strategy and tactics. They also threw in some psychological and personality tests.

Oh, and near the beginning of the week, everyone took the power juice test—the one where they dropped small amounts of liquid on your arm, and the colors indicated your potential power areas.

Just like the last time I took it, I came up with nothing worth mentioning.

Around 11am on Thursday morning, I found myself sitting in the hall with around twenty other people, all of us waiting to see our advisers.

I didn’t know anybody. Well, that wasn’t quite true. I knew Brooke, Guardian’s daughter, but her name got called about the same time we noticed each other. We waved as she stepped into a conference room.

It sucked. With as many people as I knew through Grandpa, it seemed like one of them would be around.

On the other hand, I could handle being alone. I pulled out my League phone, and began to check email. As I opened one from Haley, my phone beeped.

A yellow dot appeared on the screen. I clicked on it.

The next screen showed that Marcus and Haley had already responded. They were the only members of the Heroes League that were still in high school, not in college, and not in the program. The screen showed no details on the threat. I called HQ.

Kayla answered. “Rocket, don’t worry about it. It’s covered.”

“What’s covered?”

“There’s a guy with scales robbing a jewelry store downtown.”

“Who are they fighting?”

“A guy with scales. I don’t know his name.”

My heart beat faster. “There are a lot of guys with scales out there. Some are no big deal. Some are really bad news.”

“I don’t know which one it is, but I’m sure it’ll be okay. It’s not just Night Cat and the Shift. They’ve also got a couple Justice Fist people along.”

“Uh…” I thought about that. Most of the former Justice Fist group were here too. It only left—

Kayla interrupted my thought, “The girl who covers herself in metal, and the one with gravity powers.

“Wow. Ok.” So… Sean’s sister, and his half-sister who he refused to acknowledge because acknowledging her would mean he’d have to admit his dad cheated on his mom.

“I’m sure it’ll be okay,” Kayla said.

“OK. Gotta go,” I said, and hung up, still wondering if I should fly home.

Meanwhile, a woman was saying, “Nick Klein? Nick Klein to conference room five?”

I pulled myself up, and said, “That’s me.”

She pointed down the hall.

I followed her arm, walking down to conference room five, opened the door, and walked in.

It could have been the same conference room Izzy dragged me into earlier in the week. They all looked alike—wood grain table, beige carpet, white walls, and potted plant in the corner.

The only thing different was that this time Izzy wasn’t here.

A mustached man stood up, pushing his chair away from the table. A couple inches taller than I was, he wore a black t-shirt that showed his chest muscles.

He held out his hand, “Freddie Nation. Nick, I’m sure you don’t remember me, but it’s great to see you again.”

I didn’t remember him, but the name told me I was in the right place. Of course, my papers said that “Dr. Fredrick Nation” was my adviser, and somehow this guy didn’t look like an engineering prof to me.

“I don’t remember you, but it’s… good to see you too.”

17 thoughts on “TBD: Part 7”

  1. “Well, that wasn’t quite true. I knew Brooke, Guardian’s daughter, but her name got called the moment noticed her.”

    Also, consider changing it from “a note from Haley” when he’s checking his email. Odd phrasing to me.

    Odd to see an engineer be buff. Not impossible, just odd. Let’s see what Machination has up his sleeves..ooh, biceps.

  2. Dr. Nation… I can definitely feel a horribly bad ‘indoctrination’-pun hiding just below the surface, waiting to bite someone.

  3. lol Mazzon 🙂 I would never have noticed that pun underlying things there. Even if it was by accident.

    Gecko; There’s nothing wrong “a note from Haley” as far as I can see. Nothing odd about it.

  4. There’s nothing wrong with a buff Doctor. Bruce Banner was buff, half the time anyway. And let’s not forget the iconic and inescapable Doc Savage, pulp hero extraordinaire.

  5. The one bad thing about reading this serial is that you have to wait a few days to the next episode.

  6. PG: Fixed both. For me, the “note” part was something that seemed a little wrong to me too–even as I wrote it. Whether or not it is, I changed it anyway.

    Mazzon/Silas: I totally missed that too.

    Thomas: Cool. It’s always nice with serials to have a few episodes to read.

    DWwolf: That’s definitely the nature of the beast unfortunately. On the bright side, if that’s the only bad thing about reading the serial, I’m okay with that.

    Luke: Haven’t thought about Doc Savage in a while.

  7. I’m not even go into the number of comic book Doctors with some buffness. I mean, you have Doc Samson, a psychiatrist, Tony Stark, who probably has a doctorate or two by now, Dr. Strange, who at least knows kung fu and was a surgeon, and others. You’d think being a doctor and a superhero would take up so much of your time you wouldn’t be able to work out.

    Ah well, I’m mean enough to cut my own skepticism down to size. After all, what’s the point of basing things on evidence if you’re just going to ignore some evidence that comes along?

    Instead, this time, I’m going meta:

    Dolph “Ivan Drago” Lundgren: Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering, won a scholarship to MIT.

    UFC Heavyweight fighter Shane Carwin, degrees in engineering, works as an engineer when not fighting.

    Female example MMA fighter Rosi Sexton, PhD in Theoretical Computer Science, degree in osteopathy.

    Remember the big black werewolf from Underworld? His name is Kevin Grevioux: Writer of Underworld, degree in microbiology, but did not complete his degree in genetic engineering.

    Buzz Aldrin and any other astronaut. Period.

    Maybe in terms of doctorates it isn’t quite there, but as far as science and engineering goes, not a bad crowd. That’s one crew that’s definitely not…*slips sunglasses on* expendable.

  8. All it takes is the Freddie. Some people just kind of own their names in the common cultural subconscious… Just ask anyone named Elvis or Adolf.

  9. Oddly enough, Bryan May (also of Queen) has a doctorate in astrophysics. Not that that’s particularly relevant to this, but hey…

    And for what it’s worth, I liked Highlander (the movie) quite a bit (and actually had the Queen album where “Princes of the Universe” appeared at one point). I never did see the TV series.

  10. Oooohhhhh, don’t get me started on Highlander. The original movie was a hundred thousand kinds of awesome. The “sequel” was so dreck-ridden, I was angry by the time I walked out of the theatre. (Yes, after the end of the movie. I saw the whole thing, up on the big screen. I know exactly how bad it was.) Suffice it to say, I have a very strong suspicion that the hack who coughed up the sequel never saw the original, never even glanced at the first one’s script, but simply overheard someone at a party talking about it, and thought, “Hey, I bet I could make some money on a sequel to that thing. Heck, it’s got Connery, it’s guaranteed to make some cash.” Later, when confronted with the fact that the Spaniard died in the first movie, a wave of a hand and a half-mumbled utterance about “bringing him back with a flash of light” was the only response.

    As you might be able to tell, I’m still angry about that. And I’ve never seen any of the other sequels, or the TV shows, for fear it will make things even worse.


  11. One of my friends told me Highlander 3 wasn’t bad, and referred to it as Highlander 3: The Apology.

    I wanted to see Highlander 2 up until the moment that a completely different friend pointed out that the villain was an alien named “Katana,” and that the reviews were horrible. I found that persuasive, and still haven’t seen the movie.

    Another group of friends went to see it anyway, and reportedly came out shouting, “There should have been only one!” *

    * For those of you who have seen the original Highlander, that might be funny.

    1. I know this is years late. But the point is I think everyone should see Highlander 2. Just so you know where the bottom of the sequel ladder is.

  12. I saw the series before I ever saw any of the films, and I always enjoyed it. It didn’t even suffer from the Film to TV production quality dissonance, as (aside from a couple of scenes) the orignal film always looked pretty low budget to begin with.

    As for the sequels, 2 was terrible, and 5 is supposed to be almost as awful. 3 was basicly the first film all over again, with better effects and swordplay (don’t get me started on the Flynning of the first film) and the premise of 4 was basicly “What would happen if Connor MacLeod and Duncan MacLeod were in the same film? Let’s find out, because crossovers are AWESOME!” A thought with which I totally agree. Crossovers ARE awesome.

  13. ‘It sucked. With as many people as I knew through Grandpa, it seemed like one of them would be around.’

    It think you mean to say that ‘none of them would be around’ in this sentence?

    Also, I have to say that I’d completely forgotten about powers coming from aliens given how many bits of my first read-through I remember, which is surprising for me given my ADHD.

    The exposition from Bullet doesn’t really seem out of place like you were worried about and flows well in terms of narrative, but peppering it with a few more descriptions of students or action phrases on their part might help give it some more energy. Though it’s mostly fine given how short it really is.

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