Lengthening Shadows 3.4

“Man, fuck that guy,” said Legion, straightening and taking his arm off Jet’s shoulders.

“You feeling better?” asked Jet.

“Yeah. I didn’t want to mention it, but I’m feeling a lot better.”

“Why not? And also how? You could barely stand earlier.” Jet stepped back and looked Legion over. He was noticeably less pale and appeared far more steady on his feet than he had been before. The others hadn’t seen it, but Jet had gotten a good look, being closer to him than they had been. Legion had not been in a good state before, as bad as Jet had ever seen him. And Jet had seen him pretty bad.

“I have a theory, but I don’t like it,” Legion paused. Jet looked worried, though he tried to hide it, Legion knew his friend well enough to be able to tell. “Remember the first bank robbery we stopped that went bad?” he asked.

“Yeah; the guy with the jump jets, right? Your duplicate got shot. I remember that really well.” Jet still had nightmares about that sometimes.

“No, I got shot. First bullet went through both of us, second bullet killed m- the clone. Or the first one hit me before I split. I don’t remember. Either way, I still had a bullet in me. Hurt like a bitch.”

“What?” Jet was shocked. More so than Legion had expected, even. “But you didn’t get any medical attention. You, you looked fine!”

Legion looked uncomfortable. “That’s the thing. By the end of the fight… It was gone.”

Legion hesitated again while Jet absorbed the information. “What if,” Legion started again, “What if my power makes people want to kill me?”

“What?” Jet said, confused by the non-sequitur.

“Think about it. If I heal whenever I use my power, and my power is activated by dying, maybe if I’m hurt it just, I dunno, maximizes the chances of getting killed? And then since whatever injury I had was part of what killed me, it heals.”

“That would mean… Phenomena-“

“Yeah.” Legion looked at his hands nervously.

“But that doesn’t make sense! You weren’t even hurt.” Jet shook his head. “I know you feel guilty for what he did, and you want to take the blame on yourself, but it wasn’t your fault, Luke.” Jet maneuvered around Legion so he could look him in the eyes. “He went too far, and it broke him. It wasn’t your fault.”

“But… Why is it always me? First Phenomena, now Kismet, both went after me after overloading. And did you see how the Upright Man reacted when he saw me?” Legion wasn’t complaining- he sounded legitimately curious now. The sudden change in tone was a bit startling to Jet.

“I… Dunno.” Jet looked doubtful.

“They’re all precogs. Maybe I do something really bad in the future.” This idea didn’t seem to worry Legion at all. In fact, he seemed rather excited by the idea of doing something that significant.

“Wow, you’re morbid today,” said Jet nervously.

“Nah. Today is a good day.”

***

Dame Danger and Emily looked around another identical hallway.

“Hm. You’d think they would have signs or something,” remarked Dame Danger, clearly irritated.

“They didn’t have them at Hillglade either, but that place was a lot smaller than here,” replied Emily.

“You know,” began Dame Danger, “if you’re right and they are just trying to stall and keep us away from IT, what if we just took the path of most resistance? Figure out where they don’t want us to go then go there.”

“Or we could, you know, call the others.”

***

“What happened here?” wondered Kismet when she, Adam and Plateau reached the source of the gunshots earlier. The hall was littered with wood splinters and shards of plastic, like someone had gotten very angry at a chair and gone to town. Among the mess were several prone chipheads each bleeding slightly from many small scrapes peppering any exposed skin.

“I don’t know, but I don’t like it. This might mean there are other powers at work here. Other students with powers, maybe.” Plateau nudged one of the unconscious chipheads, seeing no other injuries besides those from the wood shrapnel.

“That’s quite possible. Statistically, few metahumans use their abilities outside of emergency situations or for mundane tasks,” Adam said, no doubt looking up the relevant statistics.

“You’re missing the obvious,” said Kismet. “Emily and Double-D came through here,” she flipped over one of the Chipheads with a foot. “Looks like they put up a fight.”

Plateau checked the team tracker again just in time to see a call incoming from Dame Danger.

“Are you both okay?” he asked, answering immediately.

“Uh, yeah. Hey, we’re lost again. Where are you guys? Oh, and Emily thinks she knows what’s going on here. They’re after the student records.”

“We’re in the hall with all the splinters. Now, what was that about student records?” Plateau asked aggressively.

“Oh yeah, she wasn’t here for that, was she?” mused Kismet in the background. Plateau ignored her, though Adam looked at her curiously. Plateau carried on his conversation while Kismet explained further.

“Plateau here beat the shit out of some girls last year -in the girls’ bathroom. He only didn’t get expelled ’cause Mr. Chase vouched for him, said he would have stepped in himself, but he legally can’t enter the girls’. And then it came out that those girls had been running a bullying campaign against some handicapped kid. The school board flipped it’s shit, the girls got transferred, long story involving lots of letters from angry parents later he’s next on the list to get kicked out. He gets expelled, and he’s off the team, and the school knows it.”

“The school knows it?” Adam interjected curiously.

“Yup. He’s in the database. They get that, they get his identity, and mine, and probably Legion and Jet’s.” Kismet eyed Adam, reappraising the diminutive cyborg.

“And Dame Danger?”

“Yeah, probably,” she said, after some deliberation, chuckling internally at the steel that would come into Adam’s eyes.

“Then we have to stop them.”

“Yeah, we do,” said Plateau, stepping into their conversation. “Dame Danger and Emily are closer than we are. We’re going to meet them there.”

“She really needs a codename,” Kismet commented. “Maybe-“

“That’s not important right now,” interjected Plateau, asserting leadership once more. “It’s even more important than we thought that we stop this soon.”

The group set out once more. There was minimal resistance, but the halls had pretty much been completely cleared out already by Dame Danger and Emily. What chipheads remained were staying inside the rooms.

“This is it,” said Adam, gesturing to a door, painted green and labeled ‘The Swamp,’ illustrated with caricatures of the IT staff as various goblins. Directly across from the door sunlight streamed through a bank of windows with a view of the Senior Courtyard, the door to which appeared to have been forcibly torn off its hinges, letting in a cool breeze. In the courtyard rested, of all things, a huge black helicopter.

“How did they land that in there?” wondered Adam idly, though the others ignored his speculation. “The updraft should have kept it from touching down.”

Kismet looked around. “Where are the others? They should have gotten here before us.”

“I don’t know, but we can’t afford to waste time. You both ready?”

“Yeah,” said Kismet, and Adam nodded.

Plateau started to push through the door into the IT department.

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9 Responses to Lengthening Shadows 3.4

  1. It’s looking like this arc is going to be a bit shorter than the others, simply due to the pace of the plot at this point. And also, managing interactions between seven characters is hard! I guess this is my penance for not fleshing them out much before now.

  2. “Are you both okay,” he asked, answering immediately.
    question mark

  3. C. Coyote says:

    Cliffhangers, why did it have to be cliffhangers.

    What’s wrong with snakes? =]

  4. farmerbob1 says:

    The chipheads are communicating with one another, and yet they are not converging on areas where they detect resistance?

    Unless their primary goal is something unrelated to the IT area, one would think they would be protecting it better.

    Or are there two separate organizations here, chipheads and something else?

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