Chapter 22 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo
Posted by Harry Heckel
The mayor watched as the university’s reactor moved closer and closer to meltdown. One of the screens in the Monitor Room showed a white ace on a black background.
His hand flinched toward his own Freedom Squad communicator, but he didn’t know why. Everything was set in motion. There was nothing that anyone could do to stop it. Once again, the Ace of Spades had manipulated everything to his advantage.
Within a few short minutes, victory was assured.
An alert flashed on the Monitor Room’s internal security system. Someone was trying to break in, but he had changed all the codes.
“It will take Homeland Security hours to get in, and no one strong enough to break through those doors is around. Pity that I was trapped in here. Maybe I’ll blame it on Rigel and forgive her during the funeral,” he said.
With a whoosh, the security doors to the Monitor Room opened. A burning smell floated inside the room, as a man in a black bodysuit with flames on it walked inside. “Sorry, Mr. Mayor. I’m not a full-fledged member of the team and Rigel didn’t give me the security code. I’m supposed to make sure that you’re safe. I’m Velocity.”
“How did you get in here?” the mayor said. This was not in his plans.
“Oh, I tried all the possible code combinations. It took a while and luckily it didn’t automatically lock me out.”
“Well, yeah, I mean relatively. I have super-speed, sir,” said Velocity.
“How dare you? You aren’t even a member of Freedom Squad. You aren’t authorized to be in here. I was safe in here, now I’m exposed to danger. Get out, now,” the mayor said.
Velocity looked around the room. He pointed at the screen showing the reactor’s danger level heading into the red.
“Wait, what’s that?” Velocity then pointed at the screen with the spade symbol. “And that? This doesn’t look good. Mr. Mayor, we need to do something, sir.”
“You are right, Velocity,” said the mayor, acting surprised. “Can you call Rigel with your communicator?”
“Actually, no, I can’t, sir. Like you said, I’m not officially on the team yet. Rigel wanted to keep me a secret so a villain known as the Ace of Spades wouldn’t find out. It looks like he’s doing something though.”
“You’re right, Velocity. The Ace of Spades is doing something, and as fast as you are, you can’t outrun the speed of thought. You belong to me now,” said the mayor.
Velocity felt something dark and terrible enter his mind.
Less than a second later, the mayor was lying unconscious on the ground and the screen showing the spade symbol was off. Velocity had a slight headache, but nothing more.
He stood over the mayor and said, “The fastest neurons move at 250 miles per hour, so, for the record, I can outrun the speed of thought.”
Velocity looked around. “There’s got to be a way to call Rigel. I guess I’ll try everything and hope this base doesn’t have a self-destruct switch in here.”
He raced through the room, trying every communicator looking device he could find. While he couldn’t get the mayor’s to work, one of the consoles activated for him. “Rigel, this is Velocity. There’s a problem. It looks like the Megalopolis State University’s nuclear reactor is going into some kind of danger reading. I’m not sure you have much time.”
At the university grounds, Defiance continued to scream as Fusion’s energies coursed through him. Rigel saw Solaria return, throwing fire, but it had little effect. Nightstar was the one who drew Fusion’s attention as his psychic blade cut into the nuclear villain. She tried to regain her focus when Velocity’s message reached her.
“Velocity, where are you?” she asked.
As she spoke Nightstar withdrew his sword. Fusion released Defiance in response. The smell of burned flesh hung in the air. A circle of flame whirled around Fusion’s head, but he paid no attention to it. Instead, he swung two radioactive fists together at Nightstar. There was a burst of light, and Nightstar was gone.
Velocity said over the communicator. “I’m in the Monitor Room at Freedom Squad Headquarters. I’m looking at a monitor screen. There’s something labeled MSU reactor with a red area on some kind of gauge or meter and it’s growing redder. I think it’s a temperature reading. Um, can I think it hard to you?” he asked.
Rigel gasped. Her heart felt like it stopped for a moment before she realized that Nightstar had teleported himself back over to Ion. Her head was still hurting. She could see the playing cards in her mind.
“Rigel?” Velocity asked.
Cori collected herself. “Sorry, let’s give it a try. Concentrate on the image and concentrate on me. I’m a little distracted.” She wondered if she could handle telepathy and manage to telekinetically ensnare Fusion again.
Snowfall had arrived. “Ice barrier!” he shouted, thrusting his white-gloved hands forcefully at Fusion. A huge cloud of steam formed in the air. As the air thickened, he continued his efforts.
“Seriously?” said Solaria. “Where have you been? This guy’s immune to everything. Anyone have any ideas? Nightstar, can you teleport him somewhere? Rigel, Ion, anyone? Ideas?”
“I could come get you…” Velocity said to Rigel.
Her sense of danger was much stronger now. “Nightstar, I need to pull back,” Rigel shouted. “Stop Fusion.”
“Don’t worry, we will,” said Nightstar. “Everyone, just do your best to stall him until Starlight comes back.”
Ion groaned softly.
“What?” whispered Nightstar.
“That sounds like one of my plans,” said Ion.
Rigel flew behind a nearby building. “How did this appear on the monitor screens?” she asked.
“The mayor was watching it before he tried to take over my mind. I’m pretty sure he’s the Ace of Spades. I knocked him out. Now, I’m going to come get you, because this is way out of my league,” Velocity said.
“That’s no good. You can’t come here, Velocity,” Rigel looked down at the flashing red warning sign on her communicator. “We have radiation issues. If something happened to you, I’d have no one there who could stop this. The Ace probably cut off all access to the reactor’s controls from anywhere but our Monitor Room. If not, I’m sure that whoever’s on duty inside that reactor would be sounding alarms. Concentrate.”
“Is the reactor going to blow up?” he asked.
She didn’t answer. Instead, Cori focused all of her thoughts on Velocity. She remembered his house, how he had sounded when they had talked. She imagined him in the Monitor Room, wearing the brand-new costume that she had given him, nervously staring at a display counting down to catastrophe. She reached out, but there were so many minds. She didn’t know Matt that well.
An idea struck her. Matt was fast. His thoughts would be fast. She found it, a high-pitched whine, a supercharged signal among all of the other minds.
“Contact,” she said to herself.
“G’day, Matt,” she said telepathically, but what she was really concentrating on were Velocity’s thoughts. The reactor was going to explode. “Show me the computer monitors,” she thought.
As Velocity scanned the room, images appeared in Rigel’s head. She saw everything that he saw, as if his eyes were her own. “There,” she said.
She heard a loud explosion and bits of debris fell from the building next to her. Solaria’s comm signal indicated that she was unconscious and Snowfall’s did the same. Cori had to resist the urge to help. Ion and Nightstar could handle things. If she didn’t stop the reactor, nothing else would matter.
“Velocity, I’m going to feed you information. Just type everything as fast as I get it to you.”
He didn’t answer, but she could feel him typing. The first attempt failed, but she quickly readjusted.
“Everything’s flashing,” thought Velocity.
“Keep going,” said Rigel. “Execute that. Let me know.”
She thought to Ion, “Get Solaria and Snowfall and everyone else you can to safety. The reactor may explode.”
“Is that why you left?” he thought back.
“Yes. I’m trying to stop it.”
“Then I’m not worried,” thought Ion, “besides, Nightstar and Defiance need me to keep being a distraction.”
Rigel held her breath. There were a number of repeated booms from the direction of her team.
“Hear that?” came Ion’s thoughts. “That was me, being a distraction.”
Despite herself, Rigel smiled.
“How will I know if this works?” asked Velocity.
“You’ll know. Matt, no matter what happens, thank you.”
She saw the display change before Velocity’s eyes as she heard his thoughts, “It looks like it worked. I think it worked.”
Rigel spoke into her communicator. “The reactor is safe.”
Back at Freedom Squad Headquarters, Velocity breathed a sigh of relief. “I’ve got to go help them.” The mayor was still lying unconscious at his feet.
“What’s going on here?” said a Homeland Security agent. “What happened to the mayor?”
Velocity raised his hands slightly. “Look, he um… fainted from the excitement.”
“Who are you anyway?”
“Velocity, newest member of Freedom Squad.”
There was some commotion behind the visible agents. The agent facing Velocity lowered his rifle, as Protector entered the Monitor Room.
“He’s a member of Freedom Squad,” said Protector. “A new one, but we needed some more recruits. Velocity, I heard Starlight earlier. Do you need to go somewhere?”
“Yes, Fusion’s on the loose near the reactor at Megalopolis State.”
“I’ll watch the mayor,” said Protector. “Go.”
“Yes, sir,” said Velocity, and the next moment, he was gone.
“I’ll tend to the mayor. Go to the university and give them some support,” said Protector.
The Homeland Security agents murmured agreement as Protector went over to the mayor. He reached into the pocket of the mayor’s suit coat and found an ace of spades.
“Too obvious,” whispered Protector to himself.
Rigel had returned to the battle. Defiance was wrestling with Fusion, obviously in pain from the villain’s radiation, but continuing to fight. Nightstar circled around them, doing his best to avoid getting struck while trying to find an opening. Ion seemed to be building up charge, also waiting for an opportunity. Defiance was keeping Fusion in check, but preventing the others from being able to attack.
“Defiance, let him go, now!” shouted Rigel.
Defiance let go and dove to the side. With her telekinesis, Rigel caught Fusion once again and held him immobile.
Nightstar struck Fusion with the psychic sword while Ion raced around Fusion, arcing electricity. The psychic sword did its damage this time, and furthermore, Fusion’s energy levels seemed to be dropping.
Ion seemed to read Rigel’s mind. “Trying to create an electromagnetic field to contain some of that radiation. It’s an experiment, but I know tossing lightning bolts at him doesn’t do much,” he said.
“You’ll need to experiment more next time,” said Nightstar as he pulled his psychic blade out of Fusion. The nuclear villain collapsed.
“We won,” said Defiance, staggering over to lean against a wall.
At that moment, Velocity arrived. “I’m here.”
“It’s over,” said Rigel, “you’ll have to be faster next time.”
“Seriously?” he asked.
Ion laughed, but whether from amusement or sheer exhaustion, Cori couldn’t tell.
Posted on November 29, 2013, in Freedom Squad, HeroNet Files, NaNoWriMo and tagged Ace of Spades, Comic Book Heroes, Freedom Squad Novel, Fusion, Harry Heckel, HeroNet Files, Megalopolis, Nanowrimo, Nanowrimo daily post, Nanowrimo Word Press author, Nightstar, Nuclear Explosion, Rigel, superhero, Superhero text novel, Superheroes, Superheroine, Telekinetic, Telepath, Velocity, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.