Tag Archives: Mayor Bouman

Courtesy: Part 37

“Huh,” I checked around us again for hostiles with the suit’s sensors and didn’t see anything while my mind raced.

How much could they get out of Arete at this point? He’d been dead for a bit by now. On the other hand, your opponent always did things for a reason. Best to assume that they were going to copy his voice, add it to the telepaths, and create some kind of super-influencer or add it to every fungus construct they could.

“Does everyone have buzzers? As in anti-voice control buzzers? Preferably my design?” I looked around the group for responses. Continue reading Courtesy: Part 37

Courtesy: Part 32

We didn’t have much time to have a discussion about it either because the problem with fighting a hive mind (or at least a central intelligence that coordinates all the others) is that it constantly sees the big picture.

The big picture in that moment was that it had us off-balance and it was time to capitalize on it.

We’d destroyed the ones holding Jody, but now all the rest of them had charged in while we were doing it, trampling the bodies of the ones that we’d killed.

It wasn’t just the tendril monsters either. Continue reading Courtesy: Part 32

Courtesy: Part 31

I’d deliberately chosen to be our right flank, knowing that I’d be in the front line. As they came toward us, I opened up with sonics, trying a medium width beam and aiming for their legs.

My plan? Slow them down.

While imperfect, it worked okay. Though a wider beam might not do as much damage as a narrow beam, it allowed me the luxury of poor aim. I wasn’t terrible at aiming, but I was running, trying to keep aware of my teammates’ positions, and also trying to point the sonics under each arm at something useful. Continue reading Courtesy: Part 31

Courtesy: Part 30

You know how I’d said that a mass attack from all directions would be a bad thing? That’s more or less what happened.

The smaller room where we’d met Bouman had been the point where the parking garage under City Hall connected to the basement levels of the parking garage next door that were reserved for staff of the city, county, and federal buildings.

With more understanding of our psychology than I’d realized they had, they’d filled the smaller room with a mix of tendril monsters and office workers from City Hall and maybe other buildings too. I could tell from the business casual slacks and button down shirts combined with name tags hanging from lanyards. Between the name tags and the film of mushroom skin over their bodies and faces, I understood the whole situation.

If we wanted to escape by way of City Hall, the way we’d come, the most efficient  methods to use would be Izzy’s scream, my bots, and Sean’s buzzsaw of ball bearings. All of those would straight out murder other human beings now. Continue reading Courtesy: Part 30

Courtesy: Part 29

“I stopped it!” Bouman shouted back, his TV host handsome face showing more emotion than I’d ever seen on it.

I used my implant to think through to the League channel, “Portal, you should be able to get through now.”

“I know,” Brooke said, her voice a little louder than I’d expected. “I’ve been watching you. Give me a second.”

That made sense. In her position, I’d have been watching my camera stream too. Continue reading Courtesy: Part 29

Courtesy: Part 24

In my HUD, the screens from Haley’s team showed similar scenes. The tendrils extending from the fleshy mushroom masses waved and jerked around spastically—so much so that I wondered if the shock of Daniel’s attack was making things better or not.

Sure, the Fungus Collective might not be able to concentrate, but on the other hand, some of those tendrils were as thick as small trees and many of the people on Team Hidden weren’t physically more powerful than a normal human. Continue reading Courtesy: Part 24

Courtesy: Part 22

Sean’s comm started ringing. He stared down at the screen. Thanks to the Rocket suit’s sensors, I’d zoomed in on the screen and read it before I even had time to consider the question of his privacy.

It said, “Mom.”

Bouman nodded, “You’ll want to get that.”

Sean all but snarled at him, “I know what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to scare me. Mom’s either one of you by now and she’ll say anything or she’s surrounded. Either way, I can’t stop you from doing whatever you want to her, but if you kill her, you don’t have any hold on me at all.” Continue reading Courtesy: Part 22

Courtesy: Part 21

“Welcome to City Hall,” our ex-mayor said. “I may have said those very words to two of you only a few years ago.”

Daniel gave a short nod, “I think you did. A few things have happened between now and then.”

At that Bouman laughed, sounding like a normal human being. If there were some area of his mind that the fungus had warped, Bouman could still manage normal human responses. Continue reading Courtesy: Part 21

Courtesy: Part 20

My first instinct was to tell him that I doubted it strongly, that the fungus was a parasite that was warping his perception of the world, and that he wouldn’t look back on what he was doing right now with pride later.

Daniel, though, told me, Let’s see where this goes. We heard Bouman. How much independence of thought do they have? Are they still individuals but now they want to preserve the fungus or is it a hive mind? Talking will let me feel him out mentally.

Okay, I thought back at him, but we can’t let it stall us. Continue reading Courtesy: Part 20

Courtesy: Part 11

I heard a weary laugh from more than one person on the comm. A few more laughed a little too hard.

Ex-Mayer Bouman, Synergy, or whatever he now called himself  kept on talking, “People of Grand Lake, you might be afraid of what’s coming, afraid maybe that you’ll be absorbed and stop being you.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. You’ll be you but fulfilled. You’ll share your hopes, dreams, and worries with all your brothers and sisters in this city and sharing your burdens will make them light.”

Over the comm, Cassie muttered, “This guy does not understand how much it sounds like joining a cult.” Continue reading Courtesy: Part 11