Transitions: Part 7

“I’m most worried about the mechs,” I said. “If we can do it without killing anyone on the floor, I’d like to start this thing by aiming the main gun at the lower level of the warehouse. Plus, as much as I’d like to investigate the Abominator generator, destroying it might be the better choice. If you think about it, if they’ve got one Abominator artifact, they might have more.”

Raising an eyebrow, Daniel said, “I didn’t even think about that, but you’re right. If they managed to find something like that and get it working, they’ve probably got more working.”

“Yeah,” Cassie nodded, “exactly that. The lab I grabbed the gun from didn’t just have the gun.”

Izzy shook her head, “If I were outside, I could show you where the people are. We’ve done it before.”

I knew what she meant. She’d get the picture. Daniel would share it with me.

Continuing, Izzy added, “I can knock out whatever you miss when you’re done firing. My only worry is that I don’t know what your cousin looks like and I’m not going to get enough detail to recognize her even if I did know.”

“I don’t even know if she’s in today. I do have a way to find out, but it’s questionable,” I shrugged. “I can try to call her. If I’m lucky, I might hear where she is.”

“Worth a shot,” Cassie said.

Yoselin smiled, “I might be able to find her. I have experience with security and camera systems. If I had a picture and their cameras were well placed, I could find her in maybe half an hour using my implant.”

“And then we get her out, I think,” I said. “Or at least make sure she doesn’t die. If she’s controlled by the Dominators, I don’t think we want her in here.”

“Right,” Daniel took a breath and stared out at the office building through the jet’s cloak. “I don’t have any way to fix her quickly even if I can do it.”

We used the next half hour to finalize details, check with Hal and Daniel’s prescience to understand our chances, call Lim, and notify the League of what we were doing. In the end, I called Ana on my comm, knowing that even if they traced the call, it would appear to come from my house.

After a few rings, she answered, “Nick? I… This is a surprise. Are you calling about where I work? I thought I heard that you were starting your own business.”

“I am. I mean, I did. I’m still looking at options, though. Small businesses don’t necessarily succeed. Plus, do you guys hire contractors? Even big places outsource.”

She laughed, “We do, but how many people do you have? We tend to work with big, established firms when we outsource.”

“We’ve got a contract with Hardwick Industries,” I said. “There’s a little bit of ‘not what you know, but who you know’ in that, but we’ve got it.”

“Right,” she said. “Grandpa practically grew up with Giles Hardwick and you’re a friend of his grandson. My dad still talks with Suzanne Hardwick-Jones, the current CEO, sometimes. You know, that might be enough. If you’re interested, I can pass it on, but you’re going to have to persuade someone that you’ve got something we want. I might even be able to get you in for a visit.”

If we could do it today, that might be a great way into the building, but how was I going to explain why I was nearby? Thinking about the fields all around us, it wasn’t as if I could tell her that I was here to visit the corn.

I went with, “I’d love to. We’ll have to set a date. Are you in today? I’m just wondering because if there are any forms to fill out, the sooner I get them, the better.”

“I’m in,” she said, “and I have no idea. I’ll talk to someone and get back to you.”

In my head, I got a message from Yoselin over my implant, Found her. Her desk is near the far left corner on the third floor of the office.

“Thanks,” I told Ana and we said our goodbyes.

As I hung up, Daniel updated me on what they’d learned. “Lim got back to us. He’s a little nervous about getting help via official FBI channels, but he connected me with the Probationers—“

My eyes widened at that one, “Is that what I think it is?”

“If you’re thinking it’s basically reformed supervillains, yes,” Daniel gave an apologetic grin.

“Except maybe not reformed,” Cassie said, “just finished with their prison sentence. Even better news, since we’ve got the jet, no one except Jaclyn can make it here anytime soon. On the bright side, Guardian and the Midwest Defenders will teleport in if we need help. They’re in the middle of something right now, but they’ll drop it.”

Hal sent me figures based on the plan we worked out. Assuming we took the mechs out of commission, he gave us a better than 70% chance—unless we were missing significant details about what they had inside the building.

I thought about it, “I guess we’d better get the jet ready to fire shortly before Jaclyn and the Probationers show up.”

10 thoughts on “Transitions: Part 7”

  1. I’ve always really liked the concept of the Suicide Squad. Thus, you’re getting two different versions of the concept in this serial–the Probationers as well as the team that the North American Wizards Council provided during The Thing That Eats.

    In addition to this serial, I actually ran a superhero RPG campaign about a team referred to as “The Screwup Squad.” It was basically the same concept, but veered slightly in the direction of Doom Patrol at times.

    Anyway… Top Web Fiction:

    1. Do the Probationers come with explosives installed in their head to discourage dissenters?

      And was the Screwup Squad weird and surreal?

      1. The Probationers don’t have bombs in their heads. I’m willing to take the basic concept, but not the details.

        As for the campaign, I tried for weird and surreal, but that depends on your tolerance for weird. It might be higher than mine. For what it’s worth, here are two groups of villains I used:

        1. The Puppet Liberation Army: created by a spell gone wrong, the PLA attempts to free all puppets from human manipulation. Able to turn ordinary puppets into animate puppets, the PLA is a growing army of fabric monsters.

        2. Zombie Mobsters: They’re mobsters from the 1930s. Also, they’re dead. They may not completely understand the modern day, but their Tommy guns still work.

      1. It was originally supposed to be a live play RPG stream, but that never quite worked out. As a result, I used it with my friends.

        I don’t know if I’d do a series with it (though there’s enough material), but I think a novel would be fun.

  2. If they have more bases than this, this is kind of like starting a war isn’t it? Sure, a war that the other side will probably start themselves if you wait long enough, but it seems like something that some people high up (possibly all the way up) will have conniptions over when they hear about it.

  3. “The Screwup Squad”? Zombie mobsters of the classic era? (To say nothing of Evil Beatnik, Larry the Rhino, the Yellow Burrito, that transdimensional city and the Thing That Eats…. ) Jim, I DESPERATELY want to game with you!

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