Ready or Not: Part 4

Haley’s voice came over the speaker. “What’s Sean doing here?”

On the monitor, both Sean and Sydney looked around, neither of them sure where Haley’s voice had come from.

The two of them stood inside a sewer pipe. The door in front of them was made of concrete covered in reinforced steel.

That wouldn’t be much of an obstacle.

Sean wore his Justice Fist costume—green except for a white triangle that had a green fist inside it. Sydney appeared to be completely covered in gray metal.

She turned her head in Sean’s direction, scowling as she said, “He wouldn’t let me go alone.”

“Well I’m not going to let her get hurt.” Sean had given up on finding the speakers, and talked directly at the door.

I put on my helmet because that was the only thing left to put on, and I didn’t feel like carrying it. Then I walked out of the lab, hearing Haley say, “Wait for a second. I’ve got to talk to someone here.”

At first I wondered if she were waiting for me, but once out of the door, I could see her talking to Daniel and Izzy. Daniel wore his normal costume—all black with silver accents.

Izzy’s costume didn’t look anything like the one she’d worn as Dixie Supergirl. If anything, it looked like off-the-rack women’s workout clothes—an aqua colored, armless t-shirt, black pants, and a black mask covering the upper half of her face.

If she generated shields over herself as I suspected, she could wear anything.

Haley glanced at Daniel. For a moment, she had a blank expression on her face, followed by annoyance. Then she turned back the computer, and started talking into the microphone again.

Nick, Daniel sent to me. I argued we should take Sean too. Sorry, but you know why.

Despite my immediate surge of annoyance, I did. We were facing Rook. Rook and the majority of his people wore powered armor. Plus, he had all those robot birds. Short of getting Technomancer or his son Carlos, we couldn’t choose anyone better than two people with magnetic powers.


I’d put some effort into improving the suit’s sensory capabilities too. Zooming in on Haley, I could see her frown as she said, “I’m opening the door.”

Not that that was the last door. She had to open a few more, and disable some security measures before they made it in.

The big metal door on the wall opened and Sean walked in, followed by Sydney. He stared at the room, eyes darting from one of the League’s old trophies to the next, checked out the shelves next to the wall, paraphernalia collected from Nazi super-soldiers, and the pile of boxes where they’d packed up everything else.

Sydney seemed a bit cooler about it, but she’d been invited over a few times during the summer. She walked around Sean, straight toward Haley and everyone else at the table in front of the big screen.

I’d been walking toward the table even before Haley let them in, so I reached the table a little before Sydney and Sean.

Sydney stopped next to Haley’s chair. “I didn’t mean to bring him.”

In my mind, Daniel said, With his dad dead and the way they’ve barely been talking lately, he’s afraid of losing her too.

I thought back. I wish you wouldn’t make me feel sorry for him.

Daniel sent back, Sorry. If it makes you feel any better, there’s also a part of him that’s jealous that she’s been here so much, but that’s not the main reason he came.

Sean walked up, close enough to hear what Sydney said. “Hey, Mom’s worried every time you go out, and I’m not going to let you get killed. I know you’ve been fighting people with these guys. Trust me, you shouldn’t be. You should wait until you’re old enough to be in the program.”

Sydney turned to face him. I couldn’t see her real expression through all the metal, but if it matched the face that rippled across it, she was glaring at him.

“Don’t give me that. You were doing all kinds of things before the program. You just don’t want me to be here with them. Or to be around Camille.”

Sean sputtered, “That’s not true!”

I felt amusement from Daniel. It is partly true, but letting them fight about it isn’t going to get us anywhere.

I sent to Daniel, Then we’d better take control of this and get going.

You, Daniel sent back.

Me, what?

You need to take charge. You and Haley called everybody, and Haley is assuming that you’re going to run this. I bet she’d do a great job herself actually, but she isn’t expecting to.

What about Jaclyn and Rachel? We’re picking them up on the way.

But they’re not here now, and before you ask, I’m not going to take it on. This one’s yours—unless you pass it off to Jaclyn.

Again, crap.

12 thoughts on “Ready or Not: Part 4”

  1. This should be interesting.

    Is Sean going to grow up at last and become a useful member of the team, or is he going to screw up again? And is Nick going to encourage him, or set him up to fail? Because Nick needs to mature a bit more too.

    Having spent FAR more time than I should have reading from the start, it’s frustrating that I can’t simply click on the next chapter link to find the answers. But at least I can now comment on the story as it happens!

  2. Whoops no edit button. s/FOR/FAR/ (EDIT: Now fixed. –Jim)

    BTW I had my own Nick/Sean experience of a sort at University. In my last year Lab partners were set for us, and I had to partner someone whose way of working was completely different from mine. I thought he was bossy and too conformist; he thought I was disorganised and lazy. (We were probably both right.) A good part of graduating was never having to see each other again.

    Except when we started work, we discovered we’d both gone to work for the same company! We avoided each other for a year or two, then had to work together again. As adults, we were able to recognise each other’s abilities, and we’ve now been friends for over 30 years.

  3. Dave: Yeah. The good point about catching up is that you’ve caught up, and can comment as things happen. The bad point is also, of course, that you’ve caught up.

    I’ve had my own experiences with people in school that I’m drawing on for Nick and Sean’s constant tension. Unfortunately none of them ever resolved into friendship. That said, even if they didn’t resolve into something positive, most of them resolved into not really caring about stuff that happened that long ago. That’s good enough for me.

    Notto Mention: Yeah. That’s the hazard of having Daniel in the room. For him everybody’s constantly broadcasting their deepest secrets and fears, and it’s more work to not hear it than it is to hear it.

  4. It’s cool that we get 2 drastically different characters in the main cast now. You have Sean who is a good guy but dos not like Nick and Nick dos not like him. Then Izzy who started off as a bad guy (kind of) and everyone likes (some more then others).

    On a side note: I really like the name Izzy, it’s not one you hear a lot.

    On a 2nd side note: I did love reading page after page of the story! And Jim is a jerk with the cliffhangers. Haha. But I look forward to Monday and Friday mornings like a kid and Saturday morning cartoons.

    More on Sean: I really hope he dos come around because I think between him, his sister and Nick they could make some crazy tech! Or at least it would cut down on the Fabrication time.

  5. so lets hope that Sean does not screw this one up. I would rather have him as my ally if I were Rocket than as a villain. Also about Izzy she needs her own “look” and its interesting that she is with Daniel he would be perfect at anticipating what she wants all the time.

  6. Ow. I wonder if Sean is the sort of bully who makes a good follower or not? Well, I’ll know in another episode … or two … or three … we’ll see.

  7. Rain: Izzy is short for Isabel. I couldn’t see people saying Isabel all the time. As for Sean… You know, I hadn’t been thinking much about that, but yeah, it would be easier to shape metal that way. There are probably even things that aren’t obvious that you could do with that that would be extremely useful.

    Captain Mystic: In the long term, I’m imagining Izzy will get a real costume.

    avr: Yeah. That’s going to be at the heart of what comes next in some ways.

  8. disable a some security measures

    There seems to be an errant a sticking around in this sentence. This could be a few security measure, or some more security measures. But a some security measures is wrong, isn’t it?

  9. This idea of the reluctant leader who has to be dragged kicking and screaming into taking charge is too delicious for comments, Jim.

    A bit of autobiography here, perhaps?

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