Chance & Fate: Part 11

Tapping my fingers on my palms, I brought up our group’s location. Daniel and Izzy’s location came up as “Unknown”—which didn’t necessarily mean that they were dead. It could mean that the bomb had kicked out enough of an EMP that it killed their comms.

For that matter, if their signal came through, I realized, it didn’t necessarily mean that they were alive.

The thought that I needed to include people’s health in the next iteration didn’t distract me enough. I was still aware that Izzy and Daniel might both be dead or near to it.

The bombs weren’t nuclear, but they obviously included materials that I wasn’t familiar with. Even if they were only briefly radioactive or poisonous, they could still kill.

Then Daniel and Izzy’s status flickered from red to green. A good sign.

Not only that, but I could see from the GPS that they were moving in excess of 400 mph towards us. This was better yet.

Well, unless it meant that Izzy was carrying Daniel’s body. He could stop bullets with telekinesis, but not fire or heat.

I didn’t have long to wonder though. Izzy appeared, carrying Daniel, silhouetted against the backdrop of the city and the fire that still burned behind them.

With Izzy’s speed, I didn’t even have time to register that I’d seen them before I felt Daniel’s mind.

I’m not dead, he thought at me, but it was a near thing. Izzy had barely stopped poking holes in the bomb when I sensed it would blow.

I got an image of a backroom filled with computers, and saw a grey disc lying in the corner. Izzy pulled her hand away, and five other people, all of them in costume, backed up.

I wondered what had happened to the others, and heard Izzy’s voice in my head.

They all died.

With the added dimension of direct mental contact, I could hear her think it with a touch of disbelief. I could also feel the torrent of emotions behind what she’d said—shock that it had happened so quickly, guilt that she hadn’t been able to stop it, fear that it had killed more people than we knew, and hope that it hadn’t.

Daniel filtered his own emotions better, but we’d spent so much time in each other’s heads over the years that I went past his shield before either of us knew it. I felt his relief at not dying, and sadness for the others. He’d felt them go.

I felt them secondhand—a jumble of thoughts, terror, and fiery pain.

I gasped.

The flames had surrounded him too, but he’d warned Izzy. She’d grabbed him before the blast threw them away. The flame didn’t reach them. I sensed heat, but no pain.

By then the others’ consciousness had been completely annihilated.

It also confirmed what I’d suspected before—Izzy wasn’t physically invulnerable. She generated some kind of shield unconsciously, and when she’d pulled Daniel close, it included him.

I wondered how far out she could make it go. Theoretically, she might have saved them all.

Keep that quiet, okay? She doesn’t need to hear it right now.

From a distance, Izzy’s presence said, I didn’t catch that. Are you talking to me?

Daniel and I said, Sorry, we didn’t mean to leave you out simultaneously, and with exactly the same tone and inflection.

That’s when we ended the connection, and I became aware of myself again. I floated above the ground, descending toward everyone else. Izzy and Daniel had already landed.

I hit the ground seconds later, and not all that hard.

Haley’s voice came over the comm. “Is everyone down? I’m just about to start shooting.”

“Everyone but Ghost,” Cassie said.

I probably should have said something, but after what I’d just seen, I still felt out of it.

“I’ll be fine.” Rachel’s voice came across the comm distantly, and with a maximum of static.

“If you’re sure,” Haley said. “Just, be careful, okay? I’m starting… Now.”

In the sky, thin lines of light crossed upward from the jet to the tornado. Small objects exploded, raining glowing, reddish bits on the city below.

It was easy. I’d been overly cautious. I’d been wrong about the bombs. I should have skipped the roachbot tracking devices. I could have blown the bombs up on the ground all at once and saved us a lot of work.

Haley and the jet’s lasers made it to number nine without an explosion, but on number nine, the sky turned white. I’d thought the one that Izzy damaged had been bright, but I didn’t have anything to compare it with. This explosion filled the sky as far as the helmet let me see, and triggered the last two bombs almost simultaneously.

The three chained explosions blew the howling tornado apart. Even though Vaughn had directed the tornado and the bombs as high as he could, I still felt heat. The suit suppressed the noise of the blasts, but I still heard them.

All the same, it wasn’t long before the brightness faded, the pre-dawn sky turned back to darkness.

Over the comm, Haley laughed nervously as she said, “Thank God, it’s over.”

None of us had any idea what would come next.

17 thoughts on “Chance & Fate: Part 11”

  1. I could her think it with a touch of disbelief. “hear her think”

    Still not tired of these stories. Keep up the Fabulous work.

  2. Well, that’s solved the bomb problem. But as our heroes are wondering, what will happen next?
    It’s never good. Why does nobody followed up neutron bombs with a cake barrage?

  3. And so at Ronin’s funeral, they played “Great Balls of Fire” and Ronin’s daughter grew up to be Rocket’s nemesis. Or she went back and joined the Greens and Blues, taking control of them to bring some order to a humanity that would unleash such devastation on itself. Or she started her own GreenBlues in that dimension.

  4. Goodbye Defenders. We hardly knew you.

    May be some after-the-fact finger pointing here. That’s a lot of dead heroes. I’m not sure what the mortality rate is for superheroes in this universe, but I get the impression it’s low enough that this will leave a big impression on the community.

  5. Yeah, and, uh, why were they all standing around watching what would happen? Excellent leadership there, Ronin.

    Also, minor editing oversight in the first paragraph:

    “It could mean that the bomb had kicked out enough enough of an EMP that it killed their comms.”

    I think enough is enough.


  6. This is exactly the point: if a bomb is set to detonate you send only the number of people essential to stop it. Not more, not less.

  7. Or you send out the “indestructible” ones. No idea why the defenders were sitting there taking notes.

  8. I am confused as to why the Defenders were sitting around watching Izzy defuse the bomb. The one that could defuse the bomb and had expertise in doing so was already hurt. There was no reason for the rest of the Defenders to be standing there when Daniel could have mind linked everyone. It was like they were standing around watching a bad movie– that had an even worse ending. You know there will be a train wreck at the end. You just can not help yourself. You must watch.

    Kind of like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls.

  9. I was planning to mention it (if I explained it at all) in the next section, but it amounts to simple bad luck. They’d largely evacuated the the building, and were passing through the room with the bomb on the way out.

    Of course, even if they hadn’t gone through the room, they were still in the blast radius as there wasn’t much time before the bomb went off from the beginning.

    Jerden: I just took 4 of your comments out of the spam folder. If you left one and it doesn’t appear, feel free to email me ([email protected]).

    Jeff/Hg/Roger: Thanks for the typos. Fixed.

  10. Jim,

    Perhaps a sentence when Daniel and Nick are “psychically conversing” could clear up the whole Defenders thing.

    “Keep that quiet, okay? She doesn’t need to hear it right now. [Besides, everything happened so quickly, there was really nothing anyone could have done.]”

    That way, you keep the drama of the unknown and help make Blue Izzy seem more sympathetic.

  11. I don’t say this enough but, great story. I like how the whole leadership dichotomy re: Nick is shaping up. Nick mentioned that he overplanned for the present bombs. Still, he had not planned on there being bombs outside of the warehouse. Ronin was described as a great leader for the fight but lost 5 people and possibly himself when the bomb went off. Nick saved himself in this timeline but his plan cost the lives of 5 supers and an unknown number of civilians and anti-super zealots. Also, Rachel and others had to prod him along in the making of his decisions. I am curious as to how his leadership style will evolve.

    1. I like it when characters grew incrementally instead of having a great insight and becoming brilliant instantly. Fortunately, that’s something that works well for serials.

      As for making alterations to what Daniel says in this post… It depends on exactly how I handle aspects of the next section.

      Also, thanks. I’m glad you’re enjoying the story.

  12. @ Psycho Gecko – I like that bomb idea! Or the alternative – make all the wires the same colour! Bomb designers are so unimaginative.

  13. PG dont ask me where but i saw/ read a story where that happened. The heroes cought on and stopped it anyway i think. damn what was that in……

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