Here We Come: Part 5

I thought about it a little more. No, my basic plan was still possible. We could have a rescue group and a distraction group. We just might have to join up afterward instead of having the distraction group get away quietly.

No, better yet, I thought—only risk the people who can take a lot of damage and whose powers allow them to get in and get out quickly.

“OK,” I said, “here’s the plan now that I’ve got an idea of what’s going on.”

Daniel ended the group connection—which was probably a good thing. He’d have had to filter out my irritation at Sean, and not just my irritation. I didn’t know what Haley was feeling, but they’d had a bad breakup when they’d been going out.

Bad, in that case, meant that she’d used the neurotoxic poison in her claws on him when he’d tried to push her to go farther than she wanted, and his family had brought in lawyers and the police.

Filtering the results of that couldn’t be easy either.

In my head, I heard Daniel’s reply.

Believe me, that’s not all I was filtering.

I decided I didn’t have time to go into that.

“Knowing that they’re blocking everything they can means this just got more complicated. Instead of sending in two groups right away, we’re going to go with one group—Jaclyn, Izzy and I. We’re all fast, and highly armored.

“Haley will fly the jet in. We’ll jump out, break in, take out as many defenses as we can, and get Cassie. If that works, we’ll call you on the communicators, and the rest of you can cover us on the way out.”

“What?” Sean had his mouth half open in an expression I read as being somewhere between disgust and anger.

“You’re hogging the whole rescue. I can keep up with you, and I don’t have to be protected like some little kid—”

“Sean,” Jaclyn broke in before he could go into a rant. “Listen to me. Nick’s right. We’ve got a good chance of getting in and out before they even realize something’s happened. Even if we can’t, I think we can take out the psi-blockers—which means all of you can come in full bore. That will make a huge difference to your chances if you have to rescue us.”

Sean blinked, and seemed to be giving that some thought when Flick started in.

“It’s just smart to leave some of your heavy hitters in reserve. If we have to go in, it’ll be you, me and Sydney in the front. Besides, you’re facing the Nine this time. I don’t think you’ll miss out on the action.”

Sean nodded. “OK, but who’s in charge while he’s gone?”

“I was assuming it’d be Flick,” I said. “Well, unless she’d prefer it be Haley or Rachel.”

Haley shook her head. “Not me. If I’m going to be flying the jet, and operating weapons, I won’t have time.”

“I don’t even know if I’ll have powers down there yet.” Rachel gave an exaggerated salute in Flick’s direction. “All hail our glorious leader.”

Sean didn’t argue. From the question, I’d assumed he would want to be in charge.

Either they’d handled it better than I had, or he accepted any authority if it wasn’t mine.

Flick put her hand on Sydney’s shoulder, touching a simple white jumpsuit. The metal that had been covering Sydney lay in a lump on the floor. I didn’t know when she’d removed it.

“You’ll have to choose a codename so we all know what to call you,” Flick said.

Sydney glanced over to Haley, and then back to Flick. “Camille and Haley thought I should call myself Alloy.”

Flick nodded. “There might be another Alloy. It seems to me that there was, but don’t worry about it just this once.”

She paused, and then said, “Time to suit up. We’ll need to go soon, but not this second. Your friends ought to be here fairly quickly. If we have more backup than that, I’ll be surprised.”

Everyone got back into their seats, put on their seat belts, and I listened for Alex.

It didn’t take long.

Alex’ voice came over the radio, “We’re here.”

The screen indicated it had used the Defenders standard encryption, and had sent a key that verified it as a Defenders podjet.

I reflected that this would be a bad time to discover that the Nine had broken the Defenders codes.

“We’re going in,” I told him.

11 thoughts on “Here We Come: Part 5”

  1. I think it’s time Sean went down to the minors or have Gunther beat a lot of sense into him. It would take years but he has the time.

  2. @Jeff P. the mere fact that just this once, Sean actually swallowed his bs leaves me with hope (though not much) that perhaps he’s growing up.

  3. I’m a big fan of Sean getting sense beaten into him whether he needs it or not. I just don’t like the guy. *waves his villain card around in the air* Also, maybe I’ll sic my giant wooden mecha on him…

  4. Silas/PG: When printed in all caps and placed next to each other, “L” and “I” do a surprisingly good job of imitating a “U”.

    Jeff/Bill/PG: Who knows what might happen in the near future. All that and more might happen. Then on the other hand, something else completely unlike it might take place.

  5. Psycho Gecko rode in on his giant wooden mecha in the shape of a nutcracker (complete with hair made of fir), cackling maniacally as he moves the various ash levers and wheels in the cockpit. For good measure, he played a song on in which someone is singing in Japanese in an attempt to appease the ancient Japanese Super Sentai spirits. Wrenching one pair of levers in opposite directions to one another, he commanded the mecha’s mouth to slide open widely, and then closed, taking a bite out of a nearby cashew packing plant.

    Just then, the stereo system’s transmission is blocked. After a moment of crackling, the Beastie Boy’s “Intergalactic” emanated forth from the pine speakers.

    A giant octopus monster with claws stepped out from behind a skyscraper and gurgled at his mecha. The readout on the transparent dogwood display (a technology learned after a run in with a Scottish time traveling engineer on a starship who needed to transport a pineapple into the future to avoid Earth’s destruction) showed that the being was asking for the surrender of the NutCrackinator5000 as the town was literally not big enough for the two of them. Gecko’s reply was succint, “In the words of General Anthony McCauliffe, 101st Airborne…’Nuts!'”

    Psycho Gecko then pulled on a cord marked “Gag Reflex”, pelting the giant octopus with a factory’s worth of cashews. With the angriest “drooble” that Gecko ever heard from a giant octopus, it charged. The giant cephalopod crashed into the the NutCrackinator, causing Gecko’s safety straps to splinter against him and Gecko to make a note to look up if cephalopod is a word you can use to describe octopi. The readout showed extensive damage to a portion of the mecha’s chassis. Gecko pulled up the specifics and saw that the nuclear reactor was damaged. There were a few tons of black ironwood between Gecko and a meltdown, but he still needed a power supply.

    Psycho Gecko mashed down on a button, deploying a tall rod of oak from the back of the NutCrackinator. A bolt of lightning strikes it out of nowhere. Gecko could swear he heard someone say “Wise fwom youw gwave!” but he was too busy managing the power levels to worry about it.

    The NutCrackinator pummeled the giant octopus’ soft stomach with its rounded fists. It had little effect, as the wily octopus has a soft body that can squeeze into all sorts of positions, no doubt prompting rule 34 on some section of the internet. With chances of victory becoming slim, Gecko knew there was only one weapon left that he could trust to pull out a victory.

    He turned towards a button marked by paint and a post-it note. “Mah” read the post-it note stuck just in front of the painted on “Agony Beam.” Gecko punched it and held on.

    The NutCrackinator’s mouth and eyes opened wide as a beam of dark red-brown light shot from the three openings, merged in front of the mecha’s face, and then blasted the octopus. Gecko’s helmet HUD gave him good news. The enemy that was now roaring in agony was a cephalopd. A cephalopd that was quickly being turned into a tropical hardwood.

    The interior of the mecha went dark and quiet as the beam drew out the last of the stored power. Gecko has to resort to rolling down a window to see that his opponent has been fully converted into a wooden statue. Punching the wall of his inactive mech, Gecko calls out victoriously, “Now THAT is mahogany!”

  6. Ladies and gentleman, it truly is a sad day in superhero history.

    City of Heroes is shutting down. So far, the only excuse given is some corporate-speak BS about “realignment” that doesn’t actually tell us anything. One group that reported on it noted that revenue has gone up slightly since going Free to Play, but perhaps the move was made hoping it would go up even more. Either way, I find it BS to jettison such a well-liked MMO that doesn’t follow the conventional grind formula just because it is still making a profit, just not quite the profit you hoped for. After all, profit still means profit, not loss.

    Billing and subscription have all ended even for the paying players. It was sudden. REAL sudden. There are features that the way was made for that now will never implemented. Storylines left unfinished. A new powerset was released just recently and no one will be able to have it for very long.

    I have friends there and some of them I will never hear from ever again after it shuts down. I’m going to try in some way to keep in contact with people I care about, but it’s inevitable that some of this will fall by the wayside.

    In the wake of City of Heroe’s shutdown, you’ll see MMOs like Champions and DCUO which perhaps never had to pander to older graphics cards. They work in different ways and handle superheroes differently. They lack all the features that CoH had that they simply haven’t implemented.

    That’s it. Aside from that, there’s the medieval fantasy MMOs and the Sci Fi MMOs. I personally don’t give a damn about them. I came for the capes and the spandex. When the world gets dark, when a few jackasses in suits cause a recession, and when people want to claim the end is nigh, I don’t turn to a paladin in a suit of armor who just spent a year getting his last level just for them to increase the level cap. Nor do I want to go shove midichlorians down my veins or join some ripoff spaceship MMO where people wind up stuck in a corporate structure. I turn to superheroes and supervillains, and by the end of the year that won’t be the same again.

  7. PG- that was epic. Liked the hunger games callback too. Never saw the movie but I’ve read enough memebase to know what that line is.

    Jim- not sure if you’ve ever read The Descendants, another super hero web serial that had a main character by the name of Alloy. He was one of my favorite characters, so that codename made me want to go catch up on all I’ve undoubtedly missed. Also, loved the ship and gun interaction, just was a little late to post!

  8. PG: I was amused by the “transparent dogwood.”

    As for City of Heroes… Well, that sucks. I’ve never been much into online gaming, but that always sounded interesting. Plus, Eric Burns of Websnark was pretty into it a few years ago, and since I read his blog, I heard a lot about it.

    Charles: I’ve read bits of the Descendants, but not much. I probably ought to go read more of it. Actually, one of the major reasons I’m aware of it is that the author advertised on my site at one point. I’d completely forgotten about Alloy’s name. I’ll have to think about whether that ought to be Sydney’s long term code name. Now that you mention it, I can remember the character. She’s not much like him–fortunately. I wouldn’t want to look like I’m copying anything.

    And with regards to the ship and gun… Thanks. It was fun to write, but writing two AI’s had its challenges.

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