Demo: Part 5

Tara nodded. “And how do we win?”

“Well,” I thought about her question, trying to guess  what she was going for, “the obvious answer is that the specific strategy and tactics might be different for each team. That’s not the answer though. Our best quality as a team is that our capabilities could be completely different at the end of the week than the beginning. I might modify my suit or bots. Amy or Samita might use new spells or new magic objects.

“We’ll have to train against the other teams all week, so we may have to come up with ideas, and then not try them out until the tournament–which means we really won’t know how well they work.”

Tara grinned briefly. “That’s what I was thinking too. But we’ll have a better idea of what might work than you think. I can remember every move the third and fourth years have made in a fight I’ve seen.”

Along with an ability to somehow see patterns in that mass of memories, that’s how I’d assumed her powers worked–though I couldn’t think of any time she’d said it outright.

“Okay,” Tara said. “Everyone, I just asked Nick his opinion. If anyone thinks he’s missed something important about our general strategy for winning the tournament, it’s time to speak up. If no one has anything, it’s time to look at each group, and discuss what we need to do to win.”

It took a little while for everyone to get into it, but we spent the next hour brainstorming. Eventually we went to dinner as a group. This was more incidental than intentional. We were all hungry by then, and there weren’t many people left to eat with but each other.

It gave me a direct view of something my sister Rachel had mentioned about Tara. She was very different person when she wasn’t using her powers than when she was. Some people adopted a persona in costume, but I didn’t think that Tara did.

During supper, Tara talked about light things–some reality TV show she’d watched, the quirks of the teachers (Bullet especially), and told a few stories about growing up in Infinity City, somehow managing to make it sound less desperate than it was.

After supper, we left the dining hall. Amy had  gone off with a couple of her friends. Rod and Samita were ahead of us in the hall. That left me walking next to Tara–which felt a little weird. I’d spent a lot of time with her while we were assisting Lee, but it was all business. Here, she was laughing at jokes when I told them.

“It’s nice to be here,” she said, taking a breath. “I loved growing up in Infinity City, but you never could relax, not really.”

“Can you relax here?” Lee had trained me to always be aware of my surroundings, but obviously some places were more dangerous than others. I didn’t spend a lot of time making sure that I was aware of 360 degrees around myself.

Tara smiled, and looked strangely like a normal person, and not as grim as she’d seemed since her father died. “Oh, you know. I can relax most of the time, but not quite always.”

Then she lowered her voice, and tilted her head. “Here, ”

She opened the door to a conference room.

I stumbled in after her, not completely sure that this was a good thing. Haley had told me that I was attracted to Tara, and it didn’t take much to guess  why. She had the physique of a comic book character. Whatever abilities supers had, they typically looked more athletic than they did  like models. Whoever had designed the super soldier clones she was descended from, they’d gone to the trouble of making them attractive.

However committed I was to Haley, I couldn’t help but notice.

For an instant, I wondered why Tara wanted me in the room. Before I drew the the wrong conclusion, Tara had reverted to the version of herself I had more experience with.

She’d put her hands in her pockets of her yoga pants, and stood still.

When she spoke her voice was even, only barely more expressive than a monotone. “I could see from the way they held themselves that Gordon and Stephanie are angry with you. Further, you and Amy share some secret, and now that I think about it, there are several time periods where none of the members of the Heroes League were in the common areas.”

She met my eyes. “What are you hiding?”

18 thoughts on “Demo: Part 5”

  1. The smartass comeback would of course be, “If I wanted you to know about it, I wouldn’t be hiding it!”

  2. “there are several time periods where none of the members of the Heroes League were in the common areas.”

    This seems to indicate to me that Tara monitors the common areas. All of them. That is a bit worrisome, since we’re talking about common areas for at least a couple hundred students. Dorm lounges, cafeterias, recreation rooms, the library, gymnasium, pool, exercise fields.

    Is Tara tapped into the campus security system?

    1. I think its more like Nick said, perfect recall and the ability to make sense of that mess of memories plus some extra powers. Most humans filter out most sensory input and there are indications that autism is a problem of that filtering mechanism.

  3. First of all, great chapter, even though I was fooled into thinking there would be some new romantic conflict. 🙂
    On the other hand, you did bring the problem of someone who notices stuff noticing stuff to the table.

    Anyways, typos:

    “She was very different person when she wasn’t using her powers than when she was” – I think you could change the phrasing a little. It’s kinda hard to understand.

    “I think about it, there are several time periods where none of the members of the Heroes League were in the common areas.” – now I’m just nitpicking, but maybe your should use “when” instead of “where”.

  4. Sometimes, Tara, their only hiding something because they don’t want you to know about it. Or, you know, its information that can take down a regime.

  5. I came to the same conclusion as dwwolf. Perfect recall combined with the ability to sort the memories and recognize patterns explains her observations perfectly. She would have already noted which common areas and times the Legion members tended to visit and would notice deviations in their behavioral patterns without even half trying.

  6. Whew, finally caught up.
    Despite the whole “miscellaneous middle eastern country” debacle (Is it middle eastern? I forget.), you/Jim seem(s) to be focusing more on Nick’s romantic life than he has in quite some time. I also notice that for the first time in, well, ever, Nick is “noticing” females (other than Haley, of course). This is, of course, blatant speculation, but it seems to me that our protagonist’s break from the single life may be nearing its end. On a side note, Izzy is getting dangerously close to the point where people (readers and characters alike) permanantly associate her with the name “Blue” preventing her from switching. Personally, I think she should build on it, going for “The Blue Blur” or some similar catchy title. As a side note, “blue blur” is rather fun to say.

    1. Turkmenistan is a real country that used to be part of the Soviet Union. In the real world, they were ruled by a dictator immediately after the USSR’s breakup, but got a better government after he died. In the “Legionverse,” a superpowered regime took over after the dictator died.

      As for romance… Well, school lends itself to that. Get a bunch of people in their late teens/early twenties together, and relationships will happen, some of which will be total train wrecks due lack of experience.

      As for Izzy, she will choose a name. I’m just hoping it’ll come out at a dramatically appropriate moment.

  7. It will be funny, if after Blue chooses her new name, everyone keeps calling her Blue, and she has to correct them. For a long time.

    If it bugs her, I could see Vaughn doing it every now and then for decades. Just to poke at her.

  8. Excellent idea. Try to annoy the person who can put her fist through your brain without even thinking about it. Yup, that is SO Vaughn.

  9. I am amused that Nick seems to have only noticed that he’s attracted to Tara because Haley pointed it out to him.

  10. “She was very different person when she wasn’t using her powers than when she was. Some people adopted a persona in costume, but I didn’t think that Tara did.” (Missing an ‘a’. Also, it seems a bit like Nick’s contradicting himself – saying that Tara WAS different when she was using her powers, yet then saying she had NO different persona. And I guess he is contradicting himself, having misjudged her, but the tenses aren’t making it clear for me. Not sure if this is the same issue “My very own name” had.)

    “the door to a confernce room” (conference)

    I actually thought Tara had a measure of precognition, given how she’d been counting things down in the “Infinity” arc, so it’s good to have that clarified. Also not sure I buy Nick paying more attention to women in the prior comment (perhaps I’m more in line with John’s prior comment) but of course we all see things differently.

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