Being Watched: Part 6

After we finished talking, Lee said, “The advanced class is coming in soon. I’d have you stay except you’re already going to stick out.”

“I am?”

“You’ve been training with me for years. You’ll stick out. Oh… And by the way, bring the full suit next time. You’ll need the protection.”


“Count on it.”

Not long after that, I walked out of the door, finding a group of ten people waiting outside.

I recognized a few. Rod, a bearded, but otherwise typical college guy, and Sam, a sorceress of Pakistani or Indian descent. I couldn’t remember which. She said, “Hi, Nick.” Rod gave a wave.

Cassie knew them somehow. They were a year ahead of us.

It felt a little weird that they recognized me, but I’d pulled them out of an invasion of fishmen during the summer. You don’t forget something like that.

Plus, Grandpa had left the identity of the Rocket with a massive reputation to live up to, so everyone next to them probably recognized me too.

The group of them filed into the gym, and I was alone in the hall. Alone amid gray concrete walls, I walked my way back toward the bunker’s inhabited section.

If I’d wanted to avoid thinking about Grandpa, I couldn’t have. The Defenders had decorated with pictures of important moments in history for superheroes. Ranging from the World War 2 era, pre-Heroes League group called the “Victory Squad” to the last gasp of the Abominators in the 1970’s, Grandpa seemed to appear everywhere.

Nearing my room, I turned the corner to see Dayton—Dayton, as in one of Sean’s friends. Dayton, who stood a head taller than me, and had become even more muscular last spring after Vaughn’s uncle ran every member of Justice Fist through his own version of the power impregnator.

“Hey Nick,” Dayton grinned at me, showing no trace of the animosity I usually saw in Sean. “How long have you been training with that guy?”

If it had been Sean, I might have ignored him and kept on walking, but aside from one fight, Dayton had always been decent to me.

I stopped, and thought about the question. “Well, officially since I was twelve. My grandfather gave me free martial arts lessons as a Christmas gift  and Gunther was my teacher. The thing is, I’d already known him for years before then. He’d been teaching me things even before he’d officially started training me.”

Thinking back, whatever form Lee wore, he’d always been training me. Even the games he’d played with me as a little kid were all obviously about strategy and tactics. Some of them had taught me basic fighting moves, and I couldn’t have been older than six.

Dayton nodded, “Thought so. Remember when Jody, Sean, and I fought you, and you kicked our butts? I asked you afterward where you took martial arts, and you told me a studio. It was good, but nothing like this guy. Did you know you move like him?”

“No.” Did I move like him? I didn’t try to except when he told me to—which happened a lot in class. If anyone would notice, it would be Dayton. His real power was the ability to pick up skills by watching people use them.

“It’s pretty cool. He’s always walking as if he expects to be attacked, and he’s always watching for it. You’re not exactly the same, but you do a lot of the same things.”

I probably wasn’t watching for nearly as many different possible attacks as he was.

Dayton put his hand to his chin and thought for a second. “You know, the way you walk doesn’t make you look nearly as cocky as he does either.”

That managed to get me to laugh a little. “I’m sure.”

Dayton laughed too. “Yeah, I bet he thinks he can take on anybody. Don’t take that wrong. I’m getting the feeling he can.”

“Could be,” I said.

Dayton checked quickly to either side, “Um… I don’t want to bug you about this. I know Sean’s been a jerk to you, but if you could—”

Sean’s voice interrupted him. Dayton and I turned toward the noise, and saw Sean walking down the hall, about fifty feet behind Dayton.

“Oh,” he said as he saw me, and didn’t say anything else.

On the whole, I saw that as an improvement.

“Talk to you later,” Dayton said, gave me a wave and walked toward Sean.

I stood in the hall, wondering what that had been about. Had Dayton just talked to me so he could bring Sean up, or had that been a spur of the moment thing?

What had he been planning to ask, anyway?

All I could say for sure was that Sean wasn’t in on it. Otherwise he would have finished, right?

Haley had said Dayton seemed like the only decent guy among Sean’s friends back when she’d been dating Sean. I could see that, even if I felt like his loyalty was misplaced.

Crazy to think Vaughn’s uncle had sent Sean and his friends through the power impregnator (without much opposition I’d bet, even though some of them were seriously screwed up) while I had to slowly get permission from everyone on the team to do the same with Courtney.

Well, I only had Rachel and Travis to go.

19 thoughts on “Being Watched: Part 6”

  1. I happen to be already primed for horror stories, so that’s why I’m seeing this as a case of “Yeah, for all my life, even since I was 6 years old, I’ve had this immortal guy secretly altering how I act and think via games and training. Turns out he even lived way back in the gladiator times. I remember, because one time we were on an airplane and he asked me if I liked movies about gladiators.”

  2. @ Gecko…

    “Yeah, for all my life, even since I was 6 years old, I’ve had this immortal guy secretly altering how I act and think via games and training …”


    Now, doesn’t that line make you think of Dune? Duke Leto secretly having Thufir Hawat train his son/heir Paul to think like a Mentat? Granted, they’re only immortal if they’re taking spice, but…)

    Or is it just me?


  3. Nick could you please please train me so I can become a member of heroes league? said Dayton.

  4. I think Lee does have plans for Nick. And they involve Nick being an ally in the fight vs his own people.

  5. Mycroft/PG: It’s kind of funny how the same events get changed by the tone of the story you’re imagining. That said, I’ve got to admit I’ve lost count of the times I’ve read Dune…

    Captain Mystic: Maybe… Maybe not.

    DWwolf: Lee definitely has plans for Nick.

  6. lee probably knows more from his non-linear perception of time than he’s letting on. Wouldnt want to scare the peons now….

  7. Probably less a matter of non-linear perception of time as the fact that if you’ve seen enough, you notice that life tends to act out the same stories. There IS a reason to learn history, you know.

    Now, let’s just make sure that Lee never goes all The Thing on Nick and later have him as a form and name.

  8. I wonder if Dayton would be able to train people with the skills he learns by using his powers.
    Didn’t Taskmaster do that, train mercenaries in the fighting styles of some of the heroes he watched?

  9. “Haley had said Dayton seemed like the only decent guy among Sean’s friends back when she’d been dating Sean. I could see that, even if I felt like his loyalty was misplaced.

    Crazy to think Vaughn’s uncle had sent Sean and his friends through the power impregnator while I was slowly getting permission from everyone on the team to do the same with Courtney.”

    It feels like there’s something missing between these two paragraphs. I’m not sure exactly what, but they just don’t connect. It’s a very awkward transition.

  10. I’m fine with the last two paragraphs… because that’s how I think. This brings up this tangent which brings up this tangent which puts me right back where I was in my obsessing.

  11. I think Dayton wanted to say “I know Sean is a jerk but im not and I want to be in the Heroes league.”

    Also I like the part about Lee training him with strategy games ever since he was 6. You can see that he was trained to lead but he never realized he was trained. He’s the best leader the league has even if he does not know it yet.

  12. Luke/Notto Mention: As it happens, I reread the post yesterday, and decided to alter the second to last paragraph just a little. Luke’s post today reminded me I still hadn’t.

    Rain: At the very least, he’s been trained longer than anyone else…

    PIccolo: I vaguely remember Taskmaster doing that. I’m not 100% sure though.

  13. Yes, Piccolo, Taskmaster’s photographic memory was very useful for training heroes and villains. For instance, he trained the sixth Captain America, who went on to become U.S. Agent.

    Oh, and the training aspect came up in The Avengers Initiative in which he worked for S.H.I.E.L.D. by training the next generation of superheroes. In a slightly different way of training, he was also hired to sneak onto the helicarrier as a security test and was able to get Maria Hill in his sights.

    Other aspects of his ability are that he can watch something speeded up and do it somewhat quicker for a short time, within the limits of a normal human body, and his fear of swimming. When he was a kid, he tried to use his power to emulate an Olympic diver, but forgot to learn how to swim first. He utilizes some sort of energy device that can be turned into various weapons like Daredevil’s sticks or Cap’s shield. Hey, I count Captain America’s Shield as a weapon. Lee should know, he might have met Leonidas or Alexander of Macedonia.

    He has been known to be less effective against opponents who have no real fighting style, such as Deadpool who was manacled at the time.

    Also, dude knows how to pull off an awesome skull mask look. That is a really good look.

  14. Cap’s shield is definitely a weapon. He’s used it to take out multiple enemies with a single throw by calculating trajectories, ricochets, and ballistics. It wasn’t just his body that was amped up to ultimate human perfections.

  15. Plus, thanks to his shield, we get the immortal comic book line:

    “I command you to” *wank!*

  16. Rain, I have to say I disagree with you on leadership. At this point in time anyway, I really see Jaclyn as their best field leader. Travis and Cassie are also better at leading in the field than Nick.

    Nick thinks too much at this point. He hasn’t learned that a good plan when you need it is better than a better plan when the fight’s over already.

    This is something he’s not likely to learn unless bad things happen, but he’s already had a few bad things happen and he’s still not quite getting it.

    Now as a group leader, outside of combat? Yes, he’s probably the best choice. Maybe one day he’ll be a good field leader, but I’m not seeing it yet.

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