Entry Assessment: Part 2

I glanced up at the red, rocky cliff to my left, thinking about how I’d have to run into the parking garage to get to the truck, and walk back.

It wouldn’t be too bad once I got the Rocket suit, but, it looked like a long walk from here.

Turning back to Gunther, I said, “You realize that we’re tired, right? Dr. Nation’s program is all about unpredictably stressing us to the breaking point, and maybe a little past it.”

Gunther nodded. “I’m counting on it. That means you won’t be able to fight for long, and you’ll have to use quick, efficient takedowns on anyone you fight.”

“Takedowns? Who are we fighting?”

Gunther grinned, revealing white teeth. “The toughest people in the first year class–at least on paper.”

I took a breath, feeling it in my chest. “So this is right now?”

He checked the other athletic field. “I think you’ve got ten minutes, maybe a little more. Bring Jaclyn, Vaughn, Daniel, and Cassie. Tell them to bring their gear.”

“Tell us to bring what?” Jaclyn asked. She walked up, making it one of the few times I’d seen her as anything other than a blur in the last few hours.

She looked like I felt—which said something. A few drops of sweat glistened on her cheek, and while she walked at a normal speed, her gait seemed more deliberate than usual.

“Our gear,” I said, turning my head toward her. “We’re doing a demonstration of… something.”

Cassie might have been sweating, but she she didn’t look tired. “We’re going to be fighting someone? Who?”

“The toughest first years, I guess.” Turning back to Gunther, I asked, “Why?”

He said, “That would be telling, and it’ll be better if you don’t know. Ten minutes. Be there.”

We were drawing a crowd, or if not drawing one, we weren’t deliberately discouraging a crowd from forming.

We stood just off the side of the track. A lot of people were walking off the last round of laps. After running as much as we had, you would think we wouldn’t want to move, but walking slowly felt better than you’d think.

Plus, I’d always been told it was better to slow down than simply stop exercising. They probably had too.

Interrupting his own conversation with Brooke, Alex brushed a bit of blond hair out of his eyes, and said, “This sounds like it could be good. You want to watch? I want to watch.”

Brooke smiled at him, and then over at us. “Let’s.”

Neither of them looked especially tired either.

Conversations sprouted as people explained what was going on. Then people started walking toward the first years’ field.

Walking with them, and a head taller than most, Sean shouted, “You’d better win,” at us as he walked away with his friends Dayton and Jody. The two of them were a study in contrasts—Dayton was almost as tall as Sean, but more muscular. Jody stood a head shorter than either of them.

Uncharacteristically, Jody ignored me. Since gaining powers, he’d seldom missed an opportunity to taunt me. Of course, he’d been close to getting kicked out of the program for it last year.

Plus, Sean might feel like he owed me somehow for getting Sydney help. I wondered if he’d told Jody to leave me alone. “You’d better win,” almost sounded encouraging by comparison to some things we’d said to each other.

* * *

Ten minutes later, we were landing in the first years’ athletic field. Well, all of us but Jaclyn. She’d run, and Cassie only flew because Vaughn kept her in the air.

Personally, I wasn’t sure I’d have let him carry me. I’d seen his face before he put his costume on, and so had Cassie. He looked like someone had kicked him in the stomach. No one had, but that didn’t stop him from looking greenish.

I’d worried that Vaughn might have a touch of altitude sickness, but I could worry all I wanted and that didn’t stop the fact that we were flying in.

In the last ten minutes, someone (probably Earthmover) had removed the stone containment half circle from the center of the field, leaving no sign it had been there but a line of dirt where the grass should have been.

The first year class had relocated to the bleachers next to the field.

I wasn’t sure when they’d put on costumes. They must have done that earlier, but I knew they’d been in shorts and t-shirts earlier in the day.

Who was I kidding? They’d probably been told to report to their first class in uniform.

Members of all the other classes loitered around the field, some standing together, others lying on the grass. I wasn’t sure they were even awake.

Gunther’s voice met my ears as I landed.

“Officially, this is still part of your entry assessment, but they handed it over to me. When they did, I imagine they were thinking that I’d use it to evaluate your fighting skills. I don’t have to. A couple of you have been trained by me personally, and I know what you two can do. A few of you have been trained by your parents or perhaps at a martial arts studio, and that’s something, but most of you haven’t been trained at all. That doesn’t mean you’re not dangerous, of course. Your powers are remarkably impressive.

“So here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to choose a few of you, and you’ll get a chance to fight members of the new Heroes League. When the fight’s over, we’ll talk about what happened.”

He turned toward where we stood in the field, “Are you ready?”

“Ready,” I said. The suit’s sonics modified my voice so much I barely sounded tired at all.

Vaughn and Jaclyn didn’t have that going for them, but their voices blended with the rest of the team.

“Excellent,” Gunther said. “Now we’ve got several of you who came out of the Cabal’s breeding program. Please stand up.”

18 thoughts on “Entry Assessment: Part 2”

  1. If you haven’t, take a look at the Kickstarter. Your help will make it possible for me to put Legion of Nothing out as an ebook series, increasing its reach, and resulting in actually being paid for writing.

    Incidentally, the first day of the Kickstarter was remarkably successful, generating almost half of what’s needed. With any luck, it won’t take long to become fully funded, and if I’m really fortunate, people will donate enough for the next two books rather than just one.

    Anyway, I’m grateful for whatever you give, or do to make this Kickstarter work.


  2. Wow, Gunther is much more of of dick than I remember… still good to get it out in the open and out of the way so these kids can actually learn something.

  3. Actually, this is an excelent idea. Interdepartment fights taughts us in university that when things get ugly sometimes it is best to simply schedule a long meeting and put it all in the open.
    Sometimes not.

  4. “you’ll have to quick, efficient takedowns”
    Definitely missing a word, could be a few choices depending on yours and Gunther’s style
    “You’ll have to use quick…”
    “You’ll have to make quick…”
    “You’ll have to make use of…”

    Now that I’ve caught up again I need to hit the back button and take a closer look at your kickstarter. I love the idea of the Legion being in ebook format.

  5. “Then minutes later…”

    Maybe wiping the floor with the Cabal’s kids won’t engender much of a feeling of camaraderie, especially with the year’s respite being almost over, but it might be just me. Then again, Lee/Gunther has consistently been able to manipulate events to get somewhat surprising results, so the jury is still out on that one.

  6. It’d kinda suck for the Heroes League if they were so exhausted from the run that they did poorly.

    I think we’re going to see some messed up knees. Maybe some kicked groins, like that time against the Cabal. Just remember, it’s not easy for them to fight someone who is choking their intestines.

  7. Gunther grinned. “I’m counting on it. That means you won’t be able to fight for long, and you’ll have to quick, efficient takedowns of anyone you fight.”

    “Takedowns? Who are we fighting?”

    Gunther grinned, revealing white teeth.

    Ok, so the error with the missing word was pointed out above, but you’ve also got Gunther grinning, then grinning.

  8. Ack… Only potential typo I can remember because I’m too busy wondering who will stand – will people suddenly find themselves standing who didn’t even know they were part of the Cable program? Will people who know they are be able to remain seated? Anyway,

    I think you might have wanted “Ten” rather than “Then” in this sentence – or another comma.
    Then minutes later, we were landing in the first years’ athletic field

  9. @Notto Mention I’m assuming that they were already told who was part of the program because Lee/Gunther/Extra-Dimensional assassin called it out, and he’s not really one to make mistakes.

  10. After running as much as we had, you would think we wouldn’t want to, but walking slowly felt better than you’d think.

    Wouldn’t want to move at all?

    I had a feeling that was what he meant once he started talking about the “toughest”. I’m thinking this is somewhat training for the league as well, but I hope they don’t get trounced due to fatigue.

    Also, nice job slipping in the bit about surpassing limits for all of us who were wondering about the training.

  11. Hm, the multiple grinning was dealt with, but not the missing word. (I tend not to repeat errors previously flagged, whether fixed or not, but found that curious.) One other curiosity, last episode Gunther said “Grab a team”, implying it was Nick’s choice, but here he straight out lists the people. I’m going to assume it’s because he realized Nick’s a little tapped out mentally as well as physically.

    Nice bit with Sean, by the way. His character arc has felt “done”, but not only good to see he’s still around, but that with all the people who seem to be AGAINST Nick this arc, that there’s a chance for allies from unexpected places.

  12. Missing a word here:
    and you’ll have to quick, efficient takedowns of anyone you fight

    Maybe add “use”:
    and you’ll have to use quick, efficient takedowns of anyone you fight

    1. I made a mistake above as I didn’t realize you used “of” instead of “on”. Here it is completely fixed:

      and you’ll have to use quick, efficient takedowns on anyone you fight

  13. Almost five years after this post, but I spotted an extra ‘the’ in the line that begins:
    Members of the all the other classes
    Should be ‘of all’ not ‘of the all’

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