Rachel in Infinity City: Part 6

I told them the whole story, explaining the statue and a little bit about what’s like to phase out. I finished with, “Julie’s not here anymore. I think we’ll be safe leaving after lunch.”

Tara had stopped eating while I talked. When I stopped, she started, her words coming out all at once, moving her hands as she talked, “So that’s how they keep tabs on everybody—I bet they’re listening to all of us. And you wouldn’t believe the stories I’ve heard about people who started fights here. They completely disappeared! I wonder if they’d talk to me if said hi on the way out?”

Rod opened his mouth a couple times when it almost seemed like the torrent of words would stop, but said nothing, looking frustrated.

Samita broke through before he did, taking her hand away from her chin. She’d been holding it there through most of what I’d said. “I can’t believe I didn’t notice. I’ve been trained to notice when someone’s bound a guardian spirit to an artifact.”

Her brows furrowed. “That might mean that they enchanted the spot to discourage enchanters from examining it, or it might mean that I’m completely unfamiliar with their techniques.”

Her voice trailed off as she thought about that, reminding me just a little of Nick.

Rod didn’t hesitate to jump in. “The important thing is that Julie’s gone. We should get out of here.”

Travis shook his head. “Maybe not. If she’s not going to bug us as when we’re here, we should stay. If she’s watching for us, she’ll get bored and find something else to do.”

Thinking back to how many times she showed up, I said, “It depends on how obsessed she is.”

Travis sighed and nodded. “Got it. Point made. I’d say, let’s stay long enough to eat, and then check outside again.”

* * *

An hour later, we stepped into the hall. Tara had already paid the bill. We walked down the hall, Travis ducking to avoid hitting his head on the red lights hanging from the ceiling.

I hadn’t thought about how he had to do that much lately.

Any thoughts I might have had about past dates, and how hard it had been to kiss him vanished when I noticed we weren’t alone.

People were exiting a room ahead of us in the hall—and from the double doors, it appeared to have been a big room. I was surprised by how similar they looked. For a second I thought it was their uniforms.

They all wore black uniforms, but half of them seemed to be accented with blue, and the other half with green. The material of the uniforms reminded me of the bullet resistant material most supers used in their costumes. They all almost looked like they might be related, but if they were, their relationships didn’t include much trust.

They separated into two groups as they stepped out the door, the blue group lingering on our side of the door. The green accented group gathered around the other side of the door.

The groups stood just out of arms reach.

Without the accents on their clothes, it would have been impossible to tell the groups apart. The men and women had blond hair, and square jaws. The men stood a little taller than six feet with muscular frames. The women were just a couple inches shorter and if not as muscular not weak looking.

A moment later, I realized that the men didn’t have similar faces, but the exact same one—blocky, but handsome, the kind of face you find on pictures of knights. The women were almost the same, but not quite—wider cheekbones, thicker lips, and wider eyes.

Tara stopped when she saw them, shrinking into herself. That’s when I noticed that she looked like she could be the women’s younger sister. Her face wasn’t quite the same, but it was close.

“Let’s stop here, and let’s not go out the door until they’re gone,” she said. “It’ll be safer.”

I stepped ahead, standing in front of Tara. She didn’t complain.

After a moment the two groups started moving, walking with an easy grace and power that reminded me a little of a tiger, and lot of the way Haley and Travis moved.

Lee had been training me to notice it. It meant they might be fast enough to hit me before I became intangible.

By the time we stepped into the main dining room with its tables, servers, and easily more than one hundred people, Tara had recovered, and was walking next to me.

She reached out and gave my hand a squeeze, and said, “Thanks,” before letting go.

Quietly, I asked, “So, what was that all about?”

10 thoughts on “Rachel in Infinity City: Part 6”

  1. I am surprised that no one has commented on how “odd” it is that Sam and Rod were selected to go on this little outing with Rachel and Travis. Out of all of the potential supers in training, the two that are selected were the ones that have had some contact with the League. Coincidence? Perhaps. More likely, Jim is letting us know that the government is using field trips like this to cross pollinate the various isolated super groups to ensure a better network of assistance when the proverbial alien fit hits the shan.

  2. Actually E.Twin (mega man weapon name, lol), I considered it not odd at all.

    You said:
    “More likely, Jim is letting us know that the government is using field trips like this to cross pollinate the various isolated super groups to ensure a better network of assistance when the proverbial alien fit hits the shan.” (bonus points for that nucking futs statement 😀 )

    I already felt that’s the purpose of such field trips, and of the program in general as well. I see future heroes teams being more like a college football team, with players being recruited, and being offered shiny cars as motivation for joining.

    The other thing is, that these coincidences of meeting with those two, are constant in the side stories and not in the main line. So its a bit of a slow introduction of those characters, with us learning more about them. I much enjoy them.

    The writer in me is just thinking that maybe Jim didn’t want to keep track of another set of heroes just yet, and decided to keep the cast smaller by reusing these side characters.

  3. It may also be a case of ‘give the people what they want’. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I really like these particular guest stars, and wouldn’t mind them showing up more often. Tara’s growing on me too, now that she’s gaining more depth than ‘bubbly blonde tour guide’.

  4. Are the identical people more clones of Captain Commando? I don’t think Rachel and Travis were there for the fight with the clones so they wouldn’t recognize them. Or is this some other unrelated abuse of cloning?

  5. I suspect that Rachel would recognise them if they were Cassie or John clones, so I guess they’re probably something else. My money is on nazi eugenics. Seems appropriate that our first adventure from the eyes of Rachel might have nazis in it.

  6. I’m not sure Rachel would recognize them as Captain Commando clones immediately as she didn’t immediately recognize the similarity with Tara.

    BTW, I’m really enjoying the Rachel viewpoint story.

  7. *sits off to the side, eating fish heads and practicing a five-point technique to duct tape a grenade to a person’s chest.* To quote Confucius: “That shit be whack.” I would be inclined to think eastern criminal gangs from the uniforms and emphasis on physical speed. But blocky europeans. What’s Tara’s power again? Or maybe she’s from one of those Red Lightning style power breeding families.

  8. Evil Twin/Pangoria/Luke: I’m glad some people like Rod and Samita. Personally, it’s a mixture of reasons that they’ve reappeared. First off, since this is supposed to be a field trip for the older people in the program, Rod and Sam would definitely be going too.

    Also, getting supers from all over to know each other is definitely on the government’s agenda… I’d be lying though if I didn’t admit that with as much new stuff that I’m going to be throwing at people in this short story, it seemed like a nice idea to have familiar characters in the small group.

    leinadrengaw/UO/Notto: Rachel would have noticed that Tara looked like Cassie if she did look like Cassie. As for where exactly they come from, that’ll show up fairly soon.

    Notto: I’m glad you’re enjoying Rachel’s perspective. I had slightly mixed feelings about telling a story from her perspective set in Infinity City instead of Grand Lake or Ann Arbor which would have allowed me to do something with her normal life and relationships. As things are, we’re going to get a bit of that anyway, but, not in Grand Lake.

    PG: Tara’s power hasn’t yet appeared in the story, but it will very, very soon.

  9. All looking the same, with wide mouths and big eyes. It’s beginning to look a lot like fishmen again.

  10. “If she’s not going to bug us as when we’re here, we should stay” seems to have a spare “as”.
    Agreed, the Rachel viewpoint is really neat. I was actually looking forward to this part coming up, suspecting we would see things from her viewpoint. Infinity City or otherwise, I like her no-nonsense style character. And familiar characters are nice too, one is automatically a little more invested in them.

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