Aftermath, Part Four: Breaking Up

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(April 3rd)

The table of the old safehouse was extremely crowded, with all fourteen of Danger Ace’s rebels gathered around, and with every chair taken. Even then, Charon, Chad, and Jack Silver had to stand, hovering around to listen. Katy Lee looked around at her group, and tried not to frown. “Alright.” She started. “At the moment, we have three objectives. First, we need to keep on the move, gathering up any other supers that want to fight Rex Mundi – we especially need to find ways to link up with organizations in other countries that haven’t been obliterated, like Interpol. Secondly, we need to launch sabotage missions against Mundi’s forces across the planet, whittling down the weapons he can use against us. Finally, we need to undermine and wipe out his three big weapons – Ash, the psiportal, and the narrative engine.” She looked around at everyone, and managed a slight smile. “Dream big, that’s what Nate always used to tell me.”

“Well, you’ve certainly succeeded.” Jack Silver said wryly. “I believe Nightshade had some thoughts on the last count.”

“Yes, but I’m putting them on hold for the moment.” As Nightshade opened her mouth to protest, Danger Ace raised her hand. “Don’t want to hear it. We need to weaken Ecchs before we can go after his main weapons, and there aren’t enough of us for a direct assault.”

“So what is the plan?” Amber asked quickly, before her sister could explode.

“Right now, recruitment is top priority, but I want some sabotage right off. We’re going to break into four groups, three of three people and one of five. The large group will start sabotaging Ecchs’ troops. The smaller groups will travel here in the States, through Europe, and into China to start recruiting.” Danger Ace answered.

“Bad idea.” Lucky said quietly. “The sabotage team needs seven.”

“Really.” Jack Silver said witheringly. “And why, exactly, is that?”

“There are seven people on Ecchs’ team. Seven is a lucky number, narratively, and one that will give him an edge. Notice that seven SEA agents survived, and I got out with a group of seven?” Hazard answered. “We’ll need the same edge for any group that’s working on active attacks.”

“Alright, that’s it.” Danger Ace cracked her knuckles. “What the hell is with you two?”

“Huh?” Lucky asked.

“For the last three weeks, every time we get onto a narrative discussion, the two of you go into stereo sound.” Katy said angrily. “I’ve read your files. You are not narrative scholars. So what gives?”

“Uh…” Hazard frowned, considering. “I’m not sure.” He finally said. “But I know that we’re right.”

“Mm-hm.” Danger Ace looked around the table. “Doctor Wydemere, you have a thought?”

The Witch Doctor was scribbling figures on. “It’s possible… I’m not a narrative scholar either, but I might have an explanation. Lucky – both of the Luckies – have been depowered by Ecchs’ machine. But technically, their powers aren’t gone. They’re merely being hijacked by a more forceful need. In which case… if I carry the one… yes.” He looked up triumphantly. “As a rule, you two are sensitive to your own luck powers, yes?”

“Fairly, yeah.” Lucky nodded with a frown.

“Of course!” Jack Silver interrupted as the Witch Doctor opened his mouth to continue. “The machine’s telling them what changes Mundi is making!”

Jason glowered at the interruption, but nodded. “It seems possible. Probably, even. We’d have to double-check their hunches to be sure, but we might have an edge after all.”

“Hm.” Katy said slowly. “In that case, I’ll trust your judgment for now. Alright, here’s the plan. Team Alpha is Blastwave, Jack Silver, Lucky Lad, Timebender, Handyman, Nightshade, and Chad. Team Beta is me, Eclipse, and Hazard. Team Gamma is Auger, Charon, Oleander, and the Witch Doctor. Alpha is on sabotage duty. Beta will gather American heroes. Gamma will work in Europe. We’ll move into China as we get more recruits. Lucky and Hazard will use their narrative powers to help us in the areas that Ecchs is strongest, and Auger’s general predictive abilities should help Team Gamma.”

“Didn’t help last time.” The Witch Doctor muttered. He looked up to find every SEA agent glaring daggers at him.

“My ability to foretell the future is limited, I’m afraid.” Auger said softly. “I did know that many agents were likely to die soon, and I reported as much. We believed it was in battle against Mundi.” She sat back in her chair. “You may be right, though. I’m a combat precognitive primarily – only a second’s forewarning. I don’t know if…”

“You’ll succeed. We don’t have time for doubt.” Katy stood, looking around the room. “You have your missions. Blastwave, you’re in charge of Team Alpha. Auger, you have Team Gamma. Try to stay in touch, but don’t give each other full plans. If one of our teams is caught, Psiborg will have the details out of our minds in minutes. Jason, do we have any defenses against him?”

“Well, Beta and Gamma certainly will.” The Witch Doctor said thoughtfully. “Hazard’s suit will shut him down, and I still have that Atlantean gun. Needs to recharge after every couple shots, of course, but fortunately there’s only one Psiborg. As for Team Alpha… I can have something together for Ladd by this time tomorrow.”

“Good.” Katy nodded firmly. “Team Beta will leave in one hour, and Team Gamma will leave tomorrow. Alpha, you’ll be on your own.”

“Alright.” Blastwave looked over to Timebender. “Care to do the honours?”

Despite everything that had happened, Timebender smiled.

“Let’s do this.”

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