Entry Assessment: Part 5

Calvin flew toward us in the air in a leap that had to be getting extra force from the wind behind him, and he wasn’t alone.

Cindy and Paula jumped after him.

It didn’t work out as well as any of them would have expected.

A beam of iridescent light hit Calvin in the air, surrounding him with sparkles that kept on glowing as he flew toward us.

Cindy and Paula’s leaps didn’t allow them to close the distance between either. Wind blew them sideways. People along that side of the athletic field scattered.

I didn’t have time to follow what happened to them. I’d been trying to aim at Gifford. If I’d been fast enough, I might have shot him before he’d broken Daniel’s hold on the group’s heavies.

As I’d aimed at him, the suit felt surprisingly heavy, and I realized that I was being pulled toward the ground despite the Rocket suit’s strength. I struggled to recover my balance, but as I found it, and tried to target Gifford despite my suddenly heavy body, I heard Daniel’s voice in my head.

Nick, turn left, and fire… Now.

I did, realizing only after I’d fired that the blur passing on my left had slowed, resolving into a person–Sofia, their speedster. At almost the same time I realized what had happened.

I’d fired the paintbot with the exact right timing to have her pass me, and ignore the paintbot, not realizing that unlike normal bullets, my bots turned corners.

However quickly she ran, it accelerated fast enough to hit her, exploding in a pinkish red splotch across her back.

Knowing she was out of the fight, I checked the field for opponents. Calvin had hit the ground, and was standing in the middle of the field, still glowing.

Paula, her hair flying everywhere, and Cindy, who had pulled her body into a ball, were both still in the air. Blown unpredictably around in the air as if the winds couldn’t decide which direction to go, neither of them looked particularly happy.

As I scanned the air for Gifford, the same beam that had hit Calvin hit Paula. Ignoring it, I found Gifford hovering high above the field with a sour expression on his face.

Below him, Jaclyn stood next to Keon’s armor. She’d run through whatever heaviness we’d experienced and tapped him, knocking him out of the fight.

As I aimed at Gifford, she pulled a grenade off her belt. I fired off more paintbots at about the same time she threw the grenade.

I couldn’t say for sure who fired first because I was only aware of her out of the corner of my eye.

Wind whirled around Gifford with enough strength that it probably offered real protection against normal bullets. My paintbots went along with the air currents, turning inward until they hit.

Jaclyn’s grenade simply powered through and exploded.

Our utility belts held several different grenades, and she’d used the new one–the one that exploded into sticky goo. Tactically it wasn’t a great choice for hitting a flyer that wasn’t near other people or buildings, but it was a great choice for proving that you could hit someone.

For example, she could have killed him with a rock, but this merely exploded into sticky grey strands that covered his legs and chest.

Gunther spoke into his communicator, and our comms said, “It’s over. Everyone to the bleachers.”

It had taken less than a minute.

After Jaclyn sprayed the strands and they dissolved, everyone sat in the bleachers. Gunther waved us over too.

It wasn’t bad. It felt good to sit, and bleachers were one of the few places I could sit that weren’t uncomfortable because the rocket pack got in the way.

Gunther stood in front of the bleachers. “So, what did you get out of that?”

A first year girl raised her hand. “Don’t fight the Heroes League.”

Gunther flashed a grin at her. “Not bad, but go a little deeper. Why don’t you want to fight the Heroes League? And don’t answer, let someone else get a turn.”

Gifford raised his hand, and Gunther nodded. “It wasn’t fair at all. They’ve been doing this longer, and they’ve got all kinds of stuff. You matched it up with powers, but we weren’t facing powers. We were facing powers plus stuff.”

Gunther laughed. “Exactly. It’s not supposed to be fair. They’ve been training with me for two years now. They made a few mistakes, but basically they did the right thing when fighting you. They had the means to take you out from a distance, and they used it. Closing in to fight with those three,” he aimed his finger at Calvin, Paula and Cindy, “is stupid. They’re too hard to damage, so you can’t hurt them. If you manage to hurt them, they regenerate.”

“Nope,” Gunther continued. “It’s not fair at all.”

20 thoughts on “Entry Assessment: Part 5”

  1. @Someguy

    Not necessarily. That could actually be an accurate statement. Though if it is, Gunther is unlikely to have said it accidentally.

  2. @someguy
    I have to agree with roger on that one. It seemed kinda off until I remembered he’d been using Nick and some of the others to lead training sessions.

  3. Nicely done combat.

    This is interesting, because I could argue that this was a place where Rocket as the narrator is inadequate. He is a thinker, but, what was running that fight was the unthinking (unconscious) trained combat tactics and reflexes of the Heroes League. So, he got a very patchy view of the logic of what was going on, because a lot of it was just too fast for him.

    Now, if Gunther is smart he’ll have high-speed video recordings from multiple cameras at multiple angles of the fight. And, because he is cunning, he’ll only use some of the images because he wont want to reveal the combat logic of the League, just use a few bits a examples. Or, maybe he’ll have previous recordings of supers training and fights? And he’ll use those in preference to stuff depicting the League.

    I guess another possibility is that Rocket had flying camera roaches scattered around, so he and the team can review what happened.

    Rocket may want to go over the mistakes made by his team, with them. But, you might suspect he’ll want rest and food first. 🙂

    Of course, we’ll have to see what Dr. Nation’s training programme requires of them next. 🙂

  4. @Dreamer:

    The roachbots’ cameras have always been somewhat dinky, I don’t think they have the frame rate or the bandwith to substitute for proper, high-speed cameras.

    I could tell the sparkly beam was Cassie, but where did the pressure on Nick’s armor come from? Was it Gifford’s wind?

  5. Amaral, I’d say the gravity effect probably came from Keon, the legless fellow in the armor. We didn’t see any shooting or special effects from him like one might expect to see from a typical armored suit hero. I suspect he has gravity control as a power, and wears the armor to protect himself since he’s not very mobile. Then again, I might be completely wrong 🙂

  6. *closing to fight* should probably be something else, like “closing in to fight”
    Glad they wrecked them though, it makes the freshmen show some humility

  7. Finally got caught up. I think that Lee also picked Nick and his team because outside of battle, they haven’t had to fight as dead-tired as they are, which means that the one predisposed to distraction when confronted by new tech would be more interested in ending it quickly than pondering the tech, giving the other students a better idea of just how dangerous they can be. Lee’s probably going to have a few words with Nick about that habit after this, though.

    On the other side, the “and stuff” likely refers to the fact that they work together, and Nick’s made gadgets and gizmos for his entire group, making them more versatile. Sadly, that sounds like most college-aged kids who don’t understand that a lot in life is more about working together than using other people.

  8. Scottish: Glad you’re reading. There is a bit of an archive at this point.

    Everyone: thanks for the typos. I think I’ve got them now.

    Kickstarter: It continues, and is up to 148%–which is good. I’m hoping to reach 200% by the end.

  9. On the effect: It specifically describes the effect as pulling the suit towards the ground – otherwise, it would be a more general pull. Perhaps Paula or Cindy? The fact that Hammerhead/Calvin (animalistic bruiser with an aquatic theme, so that’s what I’m calling him for now) had powers the HL wasn’t expecting and Nick’s thoughts about not lumping the Cabaliers together lead me to suspect it.
    Not to mention that they’re probably related to Gravity Star.

  10. At first I thought it was Gifford, but shouldn’t Nick be able to tell the difference between a strong wind blowing down and the armor becoming heavier? Also, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Calvin, since by the time Nick felt the effect he’d already been tagged out by Cassie. On reading again, since Paula and Cindy were still being juggled around in the air, Keon seems more likely; Sofia could also have two dissimilar powers, (see Jenny/Flame Legion), but it looks iffy.

  11. I can’t figure out how Keon/Vulcan got taken out. It says that Jaclyn tapped him, but by the rules that only counts for people of normal durability not wearing armor. She should have had to restrain him or otherwise demonstrate that her strength is greater than his armor. (Which is probably is, but you have to show your work.)

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