Picking Up The Pieces, Part 5: So Now What?

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(August 11th, 2008)

“Okay. So. What went wrong?”

The silence that followed the statement was deafening. It was broken, as usual, by a wry comment. “What went wrong was that we got our butts handed to us by a zombie baseball player.” Lucky shifted the bag of frozen peas he was holding over the massive purplish bruise just above his left eye. “A fictional zombie baseball player.”

“Yes. I know that.” Amber paced back and forth across her living room, looking at her friends. “What I meant was, why? We stood up to the Antiheroes. Hell, we stand up to Ecchs all the time! What the hell happened this time?”

“Well, I think we were doing pretty well until Phil grabbed Timebender and poisoned her.” Nadia cracked her neck, trying to carefully manuever a piece of dented bracer into position to be removed. “I mean, as soon as that happened, Nightshade ran over, grabbed Casey, and threw him at me. I don't think she could have managed that if Amber was still active.”

“Mm, good point. Don't ignore Phil.” Amber stopped thoughtfully. “Hey, Lucky, has Phil ever actually managed to paralyse either of us? I mean, he used to lassoo you all the time, but you never got paralysed.”

“No, I always slipped free at the last moment. A few times, he jabbed himself with thorns and got confused for a few moments.” Lucky sat back thoughtfully. “He's gotten a bit better aim-wise, I think.”


“Well, I think what we need is a more reliable anti-zombie weapon. That last fight was basically a stalemate, but that won't last.” Jim piped up from his spot on the couch, one hand holding a large ice pack to the top of his hat. “We don't have holy water or anything, do we?”

“Nope.” Amber finally took the last seat, frowning thoughtfully. “Not sure I like this. Three henchmen should not be a match for four heroes. Bad for our image, bad for the city's continued well-being.” She sighed. “And we need to think about it pretty quickly. Just because Casey's arm broke off while he was pounding on Lucky doesn't mean Ecchs and Byron can't find him a new one. How did we beat Rigor Mozart?”

“We set him on fire, then ran away really fast.” Nadia, taking the last piece of her armour off, stretched and sprawled across the couch, leaving just enough room for Jim to sit. “We could try that again.”

“Yeah, alright.” Amber smiled cheerfully. “It couldn't hurt, right?”

“Okay. So. What went wrong?”

“We were set on fire by a zombie baseball player.” Lucky patted at the charred holes in his shoulders, and then shook his head glumly. “Well, this uniform is entirely ruined. Jim, you're lucky that yours is fireproof.”

“Luck doesn't enter into it. Fireproofing my duct tape is almost as important as waterproofing it.” Jim shrugged easily. Unlike the others, he was only a bit soot-stained. “If you'd like, I could work on some fireproof suits for the rest of you.”

“No, I think we can take cleansing fire off the list of good strategies. The Mayor is angry enough about this time.” Amber winced painfully, sitting cautiously on her chair, and wiped ash from her hair. She sighed heavily. “I'm going to need to get a haircut. Great. That's just lovely.”

“Sorry.” Nadia was staring intently at the floor. “I didn't think they'd make a zombie that could burn for that long. Or that Nightshade would carry flame-retardants on her.”

“Ahh, don't worry about it. We all approved the plan.” Lucky smiled hollowly. “So, punching didn't work well, and fire left us with a few minor property damage issues.” He shook his head. “And they just finished rebuilding that mall, too.” Nadia winced, and he quickly pushed on. “Anyway, seems like we might need to look up a religious angle.”

“They're scientific zombies. They don't do the religious thing. What we need is some sort of anti-zombie vaccine…” Amber broke off, and looked over at Jim. “Um…?”

“Amber, I'm a mechanic, not a doctor.” Jim shook his head soberly. “I can't help you on this one.”

“Damn. Alright, let's get some rest.” Amber smiled as strongly as she could. “It'll take the Doctors at least a week to repair all that damage to Cold Casey. We'll have time to plan something. Third time's the charm, right?”

“Three strikes and we're out, more like.”

“Not helping, Nadia.”

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