Picking Up Pieces: Part 4

A little more loudly than necessary, Jack said, “Jethro Tull is a group, not a person.”

Haley scowled. “Sorry. Just curious.”

Then she shut off the comm, and looked back at Flick. “I’m not going be able to talk to him much longer.”

“Sorry, hon, but you might like him better once he changes.”

To judge from Haley’s expression, she doubted that. “Once he changes into what?”

It wasn’t as easy to read Flick’s expression in the dim light, but her tone of voice made me suspect she was smiling. “A spirit of the forest. I’m not a wizard, so I can’t tell you exactly what kind, but he’s generally in a much better mood.”

Haley opened her mouth to speak, but didn’t get the chance. The Red Hawk’s voice came over the comm.

“League jet, you’re free to go.” She almost didn’t sound like she believed it.

I clicked on my microphone. “What about the Defenders?”

“They’re free to go too.” She paused. “I’m sorry for the delay. We’d received a report that someone had taken your jet and they were going to fly it to Ottawa and—”

Something started beeping, and I stopped listening, concentrating instead on the screens on the jet’s dashboard. The one with our position showed small objects descending from above—missiles, and a lot of them.

“Watch out! Missiles—” I began, but it became completely black outside. The shields were up, and I had no idea if anything I’d said made it through them.

When the shields were at 100%, nothing made it through. We could only tell that anything was happening by watching the shields’ energy absorption statistics. We couldn’t hear the explosions, or feel any hint of them.

We’d been hit several times with the accompanying energy spikes, but nowhere near dangerous levels.

The question was what had happened to everyone else. We might as well have been sitting at home–though I was still worried about Alex, Jenny, Brooke, and everyone with them.

After a few seconds, the shields stopped absorbing anything.

“You can probably take down the shields now,” I said, addressing the ship.

[With your permission, I’d like to thin the shields enough to scan the area first.]

“That would be even better.”

The radar (for lack of a better term, it was more than that) showed that the RCMP and the Defenders’ podjet were both still in the air.

There was no sign of missiles.

Our shields thinned and disappeared.

A transparent, bluish-white half-sphere floated above the RCMP vehicle, centered above one of the figures hovering near it.

Not so far from us, the Defenders podjet accelerated, and made a quick circle around the lake, engines glowing red. It didn’t have any shields visibly up, but with Alex piloting, they probably came down the moment the missiles stopped.

“We’re out of here, bro,” he said over the comm. “Well, unless you’re planning to hit the Nine again tonight. I’m up for that.”

An adult male voice in the background said, “What? Alex, no—”

“I’m kidding,” Alex said, obviously speaking away from the microphone. “He doesn’t have other plans.” To me he said, “You don’t, right?” Lowering his voice, he said, “Because if you did, I’d see what I could do.”

Haley clicked her comm on. “We’re done.”

“What did I tell you guys? We’re gone.” The podjet shot away, and disappeared, the engines’ glow fading into the night sky.

On the ground, below the RCMP ship, something glowed red. Small flames licked the remains of a missile that had either missed or hit the shield, and rolled off.

It wasn’t the only one either. Fortunately, the fires seemed to be dying.

Red Hawk’s voice came over the comm. “League jet, are you okay?”

“We’re fine.” Haley sounded genuinely relieved. “We weren’t hurt at all.”

“That’s good. You took… a lot of hits.”

I spoke into my comm. “I’m thinking we should move in case they’re planning to send a second round.” It wasn’t impossible. The ship’s computer had calculated that the missiles had been fired off ten miles north of Rook’s base.

Red Hawk said, “Good idea.”

I was about to close the connection when Flick spoke up. “Hey Red, this is Flick of the Midwest Defenders. I’ll send you a full report tomorrow—late tomorrow.”

Red Hawk laughed, her high voice making me wonder how old she was. I clearly didn’t know enough about Canadian capes.

“Don’t worry about it. I won’t be up early either.”

Flick laughed too. “Good. Call me when you do get up. I’ve got some ideas for how our people might coordinate a little better.”

After a little more of that, we left, heading south, and hoping we didn’t run into any other problems.

For a little while, it was just quiet conversation while the engines hummed. I watched the radar, and kept my hands near the weapons’ controls while Haley flew.

Then Jaclyn asked Flick, “What were they told about our jet?”

Flick said, “You noticed that? Nice catch. They were told that either you’d been dominated or that someone else took the League jet, and that they were going use the weapons on their government in Ottawa. Once I get the Mystic’s dad to clear Red Hawk, I’m hoping she’ll help me trace that story back up the chain. Then the real fun begins.”

16 thoughts on “Picking Up Pieces: Part 4”

  1. …They seem to be awfully calm and in no way curious about that rain of missiles that came at them.

    And now I wonder what the in joke was between Red Hawk and Flick. Half wonder if it has something to do with our rowdy fertile nature spirit possibly transforming to stop the missiles that came down on him. Or it might just be that they’re both going to be up late dealing with the question of where a rain of missiles came from.

    Sounds like the person in RCMP command passed on where they intercepted the jets so that someone else could fire from a ways away. I’m afraid I don’t know enough about the targeting computers of missiles to know if there’s a way to trace them back to their source. Or it could have just all been as easy as knowing the RCMP would stop them long enough to get their positions locked down on their own advanced tech and call down the thunder.

    Oh, and

    “Sorry, hon, but you might like him better once he changes.”

    To judge from Haley’s expression, she doubted that. “Before he changes into what?”

    Don’t know why she asked that. Probably should be “Once he changes into what?” instead.

    1. With regards to their reactions to the missiles–good point. I should make their reactions more obvious. Plus I assumed that they’d assume the missiles had to be from the Nine.

      I should make that more obvious too.

  2. i could see them being kind of none shallot about the rain of missiles. When you have to deal with supers every day. some missiles don’t make a big bleep on your danger radar. I mean Izzy and Jac could have been sunbathing outside and loled at the missiles.

  3. a terrorist plot to bomb Ottawa. will that still happen? is this jsut a distraction form the nine acutally goign and doign that? now i am worried. will have to check my news! also was anyone hit hard by that hurricane? there was no big storm in my area jsut some rain and wind.

  4. @Rain: I almost never comment on errors in others comments (except PG’s — he’s practically asking for it), but I believe the word you are looking for is ‘nonchalant’.


  5. @Rain/Hydargentium

    It’s one of those errors that people are generally too polite to correct others on, and therefore never get corrected and winds up getting passed along. I grit my teeth every time my dad says ‘Each to their own’ instead of ‘To each their own.’

    Here’s a few more:

  6. Hey HG, “others comments” should be “others’ comments”

    We all know they had to be from the Nine. My point was that you can apparently face a rain of missiles in Canada at any moment because the Nine just have bases or vehicles all over the place, and the League just wants to go and leave hunting down the source to the possibly-compromised RCMP.

    Chances are good they’ll have further dealings with the RCMP that will mean messing with the Nine and taking out a missile base.

    *Holds up an umbrella* Such a dreary missile rain we’re having, but what can you do, eh?

    As for your video there, I could care less about correcting myself when in error. Remember, for all intensive purposes, it’s useful to have things written where everyone can clearly understand them on their chart in case they sneeze and begin to bleed out. I’m surprised he didn’t mention irregardless, which doesn’t really mean anything.

    Also, the phrase “you have your work cut out for you” always confused me. I learned it at the age when I was still cutting paper with scissors in school, so it seemed to me to say that my work was going to be easier because part of it was already done. Or if you needed to build a raft and you find several logs from downed trees that someone has just left around. Oh, and for all y’all who look down on it, y’all is a contraction of “you all” and so is proper English even if it’s not always recognized as such.

    Does nothing to address my stepfather’s discussions about the latest debaco instead of debacle.

  7. If we’re throwing around videos, I might as well toss out one that I think is the best version of this particular song, and a good choice for Halloween. I’m stalled on writing my three-part romance tragedy based on it, though.


    And, since tis the season, let’s just link to a nice horror video too. Let’s pick one short and sweet and not all that scary.

  8. @PG – HOLY #$%@^%$@^$#@%$#@!!!!!!!!! I NEVER MAKE THAT TYPO!!!! I guess I totally deserved to get schooled on that one. 😛

    Seriously, thanks for pointing that out. I’m so embarrassed.


  9. After that “practically asking for it” comment, how could I resist? You were practically asking for it. 😛

    You just have to move past feeling bad about typos. Even our esteemed authors like Jim and WIldbow make plenty. They then miss some, have them pointed out by us, and then correct them as if they were never there. We don’t get to correct ours, which is why my Psychonamous Gex story kept a few errors in it.

    To use a far more humiliating example for me, it’s like trying to point out where people have the bible wrong and that some things aren’t in there when people think they are, then getting too far ahead of yourself, making a mistake, and getting called on it for seeming as bad as the people you’re criticizing.

    By the way, anyone doing anything for NaNoWriMo?
    I don’t think I could sign up for it personally because it seems to be regular people writing without any personas, and I’d hate to meet with them in person and say, “I’m a little stalled trying to work out a way for my protagonist to shove his hand in another guy’s ass in the middle of battle. Hey, romance story writer, any tips?”

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