Chance & Fate: Part 6

I had the jet’s scanner zoom in on the storage building, specifically on the objects inside. Flat discs approximately the thickness of tires lay on top of each other, arranged in the shapes of cylinders.

From the picture, the building appeared to be about seventy-five percent full. It wasn’t hard to calculate either. The building was rectangular.

I wondered exactly what that worked out to in terms of discs.

I zoomed in further, trying to zero in on one specific disc.

From behind me, Vaughn asked, “So, what’s in there?”

“I’m trying to figure that out,” I said, trying not to sound annoyed.

I must not have done a great job of it though, because Vaughn said, “Sorry. I wasn’t trying to piss you off.”

Still adjusting the scanner, I said, “You’re not. I’m just having a hard time adjusting this thing.”

The picture wasn’t coming together. Some spots were blurry. Some spots were clear, but the devices appeared to be made out of multiple thin layers, and it clearly displayed more than one at a time.

From what I was seeing though, the ceramic I’d come up with protected the outside, and provided the internal structure. Plus, I felt fairly sure each disc had a anti-gravity plate on the bottom.

“Hey Mystic,” I said, “could you do that thing where you sense the biggest danger to the city? We probably ought to make sure this is it.”

Daniel sounded amused. “Already on it.”

“Good,” I said, and stared at the screen again. I didn’t want to fiddle with it anymore. Fortunately, the jet had an artificial intelligence that probably knew how to operate the scanners.

Taking my hands away from the controls, I said, “Heroes League jet AI? Hello?”

On the screen appeared the words: [You have my attention.]

“Could you adjust the screens so we have a good picture of the devices in that building, and if you happen to recognize what they are, please tell us.”

I had some guesses, but I wanted to save some time.

More words appeared on the screen.

[The devices in that shed correspond to devices commonly used in warfare among several spacefaring species.]

“So what do they do?” I asked.

[They don’t all do the same thing. Some of them are bombs. I’d estimate them to be capable of destroying life within a mile radius. Most are neutron emitters. They’re similar to your neutron bombs except that they can be reused and moved to another location once you’ve replaced the fuel source.]

People started talking, but I barely noticed.

I stared at the screen for little while, and then said, “Could you show me each type, layer by layer? Please identify anything you can.”

It did. I’d been right about the anti-gravity plates. They all had them. The bombs’ design also included tricks for enhancing the blast that had never occurred to me. The neutron emitter was… evil. It looked like it would do what it was supposed to—kill the people without damaging their stuff.

I turned around to look at everyone—easier in the Rocket suit than you might think, but still a little uncomfortable. “Hey,” I said. “I think I understand what we’ve got to do. The way I see it, these bombs have hugely complex designs that they can’t possibly have manufactured here—not entirely. They got the fuel and some of the parts from off-planet.

“The good news is that because they’re so complex, we can probably get rid of them by smashing them and they won’t go off. The bad news is that they’re using the ceramic I was planning to use on the next generation of armor, so they’ll be kind of hard to smash.”

“Easy,” Vaughn said. “Turn the jet’s guns on them. Boom, they’re gone.”

Two chairs down from Vaughn in the second row, Sydney said, “I don’t think that sounds like a good idea.”

At the same time, Rachel said, “No.”

“You know,” I said, “it might work better than you’d think. It’s just that there’s a small chance we might set the bombs off that way, and then we’d probably,” I checked the screen to find that the jet had written [undoubtedly], and continued, “uh… undoubtedly all die because the bombs would overwhelm the shields. That’s why I’d also avoid using Captain Commando’s gun, lightning, and stuff like that.”

Rachel interrupted. “This is going to work a lot better if you tell people what’s going to work than if you tell them what won’t.”

“It’s not that hard to figure out,” Cassie said. “My sword can chop them to bits.”

I thought about that. “Right. And I bet Sydney or Izzy could smash things. Haley could rip them apart with her claws… Camille controls gravity, so she could increase it and get the same effect as Sydney or Izzy. I’ll show you where to hit.”

“Rocket? Everybody? There’s a second spot.” Daniel stood up next to his chair. “We’re at the most immediate threat, but the other one’s just as big, and it’s connected to this one somehow.”

Next to him, Izzy took a breath. He’d probably already talked with her about it.

Cassie looked up at him, and asked, “Where is it?”

Daniel shook his head. “I won’t know until I get there. I could find it and report back.”

Izzy said, “I’ll go with him,” and stood up.

I looked at them, and thought for a second. “Ok. Do that, but I’m thinking we should wait until you call us before we start destroying things here.”

As I was about to turn to open the hatch, Camille asked, “Do you think we should destroy things here? Maybe the Defenders should do it?”

Talking at about the same time, Vaughn said, “You mind if I go with them? I might be useful there.”

As they realized that they were talking over each other, Vaughn and Camille stopped, and laughed.

Except then Vaughn turned back to me, “But seriously, do you mind?”

15 thoughts on “Chance & Fate: Part 6”

  1. I have a bad feeling about Vaughn’s survival of this chapter. He’s getting a lot of attention this time around.

    But this is a really good time to let other people know there are evil alien weapons laying there in the middle of a city. Advanced tech left alone in the middle of a city can be incredibly dangerous and something for heroes to watch out for.

    *thinks back to the time-traveling marine spaceships falling damaged into a city, him escaping in a shuttlecraft*

    For HEROES to watch out for.

  2. I’m with Vaughn on this one, better that he goes with Daniel & Izzy to bring extra firepower than accidentally set off the bombs with a stray lightning bolt here.

  3. More to the point, a warehouse full of these things isn’t a plan for criminal activity, really. It’s a plan for extermination. Considering Earth is supposed to be off limits, I’m betting the League is going to have an interplanetary war on their hands no matter how this gets dealt with.

  4. I agree that this is certainly a plan for extermination. Can`t be anything else in this scale.
    Now, the governments need to be warned, to say the least. The right thing to do is to get the bad guys BEFORE they have a storehouse full of alien bombs and not after. Intelligence services failed hugely in this one.

  5. No, that was me. They were supposed to be these floating coffee warmer things that plug into the USB port on your computer? But thinkgeek screwed up my order, and it was all final sale. Now I don’t know what to do with them.

    Anyone know if it’s legal to sell crap like this on eBay?


  6. All I get when I go to Ewan’s website is “Hello world!”

    As for weapons sold over Ebay, they probably want to comply with regulation. I know in the U.S. certain miniguns can be sold by civilians if they were made prior to a certain year, but that’s obviously a bit different than a full-on WMD.

    Seriously, what ever happened to the good old days WMDs were handcrafted with care and madness by an evil genius in a secret island lair somewhere? Now everyone just outsources them to China, or Laos, or Cambodia.

    I got a WMD from China once. You know what I found? Lead! Lead on the WMD. That could cause some serious health issues, you know. I don’t want to be dragged into court by a guy who is half melted and complaining of lead-poisoning. Do you know how sympathetic WMD survivors are in court?

  7. Survivors? Well, there’s your mistake. But seriously, it’s way easier to get them to settle before they get an attorney. If you let a paraplegic with lead poisoning get to court you’ve already lost.

    Unless you were involved in some complicated scheme to infiltrate the court using the victim as a secondary destructive device via dna alteration to a walking human time bomb. But then the lead might screw that up… so I think the moral here is don’t order from China.

  8. The worst part, to me, about outsourcing that stuff to China is the knock-off runs they do afterwards. They finish your product, the thing you spent all that effort and money designing and developing, ship it off to you, and then they do another batch under their own knock-off label. How annoying is it when every inner city kid is running around with a cheap imitation of your nanobot bomb or your combination acid-and-nerve-gas atomizer?! Geez, I mean, half the time, the things don’t even work! It’s bad for the rep, man.

    Bad. For. The. Rep.


  9. Nanobot bomb? There’s your problem right there. Keep it simple what you use them for. For me, it’s the health benefits, but you can’t let them build up too much or you risk problems in your arteries when they shut down.

    That said, it is possible I added a grey goo protocol for the day I run across an eldritch abomination.

  10. “had a anti-gravity plate” – either AN anti-gravity plate, or had the plural, no ‘a’.
    Of COURSE there’s a second spot. That way, even as everyone pats themselves on the back at Site A, things can still go pear-shaped elsewhere.

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