Just Enough Power - 5

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Lonnigan held out the last part of her breakfast. She released it, letting it float an arm's length away. Just as the Jade Prince first taught her, she focused without focusing, letting the power flow from her. Her shield was pulled together into a tight disc, supporting the remains of the protein bar. After half a minute, she had to remind herself to blink. After two minutes, fresh sweat was beading and running down her face and bare chest. Her eyes closed with the effort of concentration, and the bar dipped, then fell to the floor.

I don't really give a shit if you are tired and distracted, she thought to herself, what the hell was that? Only two minutes?

She picked up the bar, blew off the dust and ate it. It might have been safe to get some hot food somewhere, but she didn't feel like taking the risk; the supplies in the storage room were good enough for now. She and Simon had anticipated that it might have to serve as a hideout bunker for a while, so they'd leased climate controlled spaces. In the ninety minutes since her watch alarm had awakened her, she'd had three protein bars and a liter of water for breakfast, done her daily workout, and exercised her Talent to the point of failure. She'd even brushed her teeth with some of the bottled water. Lonnigan shook her head at herself. This wasn't preparation; it was procrastination.

Oh, Simon. What the hell am I going to do?

All the planning had seemed straightforward last night. Now, the best course of action was anything but obvious. If she assumed Simon was dead and moved on the Mouse directly, she wouldn't survive. Exacting revenge was a given fact, not just a option, but if at all possible, she'd like to avoid paying the price of her own life for it.

Unfortunately, Lonnigan didn't think even the Mouse was stupid enough to be drawn out into the open where she could kill him and then fade away into the night. He wouldn't come out, she couldn't really go in. Not alone. As simple as it would be to launch a frontal attack, guns blazing, it was impractical; she would have to do it the hard way. That meant she'd have to take apart the Organization, piece by piece, patiently stripping away his layers of protection until she could get at him. The fact that it would take time didn't bother her. However, a lot of the people she had in mind as sequential targets in this scheme were friends.

Well, they were former colleagues, anyway. Lonnigan didn't have any friends, not anymore.

As targets, they varied in difficulty, but was it possible to peel people away without killing them? Convince them to step aside and stay out of it as she moved on the Mouse? There was certainly plenty of resentment over that bastard's inept management. She couldn't count on resentment against the boss trumping loyalty to the organization, though.

No, the Mouse could replace people faster than she could kill them. She hated to admit that a job was too big for her to tackle alone.

Alone. Oh, Simon, are you dead? I've got to act on the assumption that you are; if you're still alive...

Lonnigan scowled as she made up her mind. If you're still alive, she thought, you'd better be in good shape. She knew how much punishment Simon was capable of withstanding, even now, but if Meng-Shiu had decided to get ugly, then he was going to pay. She'd start with his molars and work backwards.

Decision made, she cleaned up and pulled on fresh clothes. From a lockbox, she took out a gray nylon shoulder bag and opened it. A holstered Sig-Sauer P250, 9mm, just like the one she was already wearing. Four extra clips, fully loaded. Boxes of ammo, 2000 rounds. A folding hunting knife, five inches with a lockback blade. Thirty thousand dollars in bundles of twenties. A box of caffeinated mints.

From another locker, she added a first-aid kit, three changes of socks and underwear and a hairbrush. She grabbed another three protein bars for the road and left the storage room, locking the door behind her. When she was a hundred feet away from her car, she heard a THUPP. Without hesitation, she dropped the bag and threw herself to the left.

It was the wrong direction. She grunted in stabbing agony as a long tether covered in barbed fish hooks slapped against her right thigh. The hooks dug through her jeans and buried themselves into her skin. The oblong cylinder at the end of the tether whipped around fast, five other tethers extending from it, swinging through individual arcs to land on her leg and dig in with their own hooks. Lonnigan drew her Sig and spun around, putting all her weight on her good leg.

Three men stood some distance away. The one in front started to say something. His smile was blown sideways as Lonnigan shot him in the face, a double tap. She refocused on the one on the left, the one with the gun. Then, too late, Lonnigan shifted her aim to the one on the right, the more dangerous one. His gaunt face, translucent and skeletal, seemed to twist as it suddenly occurred to her that there was no reason to fight these men. These men were her friends. They wanted to help her. There was no reason to fight them.

Lonnigan pushed up her shield to block the mind control and instantly felt a jagged shriek burn into the base of her brain. She fell, dropping the Sig as she grabbed at the feedback pod hooked to her leg, trying to tear it free. Hooks dug into her hands as the nanotech circuits amplified and scrambled her psionics before stabbing them back at her.

In less than three seconds, it was over.

She was unaware as the men approached, then bent over her limp body.
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  1. Oh man. I so wanted Lonnigan to win!

  2. Cliff-hanging goodness!

  3. Typo in the 3rd para, "awaken" instead of "awakened."

    This continues to be exciting. Reminds me of Kill Bill, but with psychics instead of samurai. Totally awesome.

  4. Love it. Simply love it. They just *think* they have her, and I can't wait to see her show them what's what.

    (waits patiently for next installment)

  5. Good job on the HTML coding except... Well... the "next" button is broken. Dammit.


    On a serious note, I think the load she was carrying is a bit excessive. Unless I miscounted, she's carrying 1500 $20 bills, which adds up in weight, and 40 boxes of ammo. Each of which is bulky and adds considerable weight. I think you can get the same effect but just srop the amounts a bit.

    And how about that hook thing? Nasty.

    Looking forward to the "next" button working!

  6. D. Paul: Ha! I'm working on that "Next" button. Should have it fixed by next Tuesday...

    Interesting points about the specifics. What kind of a bag is needed here?

    Bills come in bundles of 100, so that would be $2000 per bundle. Fifteen bundles would be slightly smaller than a hardback copy of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix".

    For the ammo, two of these boxes would hold ~2400 rounds. Each is 15-3/4" x 8"W x 10-1/4", so two of them together would be about as big as a Costco-sized box of Cheerios.

    Between the cash, the ammo, the gun and the extra clips, that's a pretty good sized bag, like one of these, in the extra-large size. That's a big bag, and damned heavy, too, but she's pretty tough. Since she was only going to carry it to the car, I'm going to call it OK.

  7. So I went ahead and did some reasearch and some math.

    God help us on the latter.

    A single bill weighs 1 gram, and there are 454 grams per pound. So 1500 hundred bills weighs out at around 3.3 lbs. Both a heavy amount, if you think about the tangible weight of the money, but less than what I was expecting. I though it was going to be a non-intuitively higher weight.

    I also found that a 9mm round weighs around ~190 grains, or around 12 grams each. So after the Math bit you end up at around 50lbs of ammo.

    So i think your bag would work volumetrically, and she is tough enough to lug 60 odd pounds to the car.

    So, you are right and it is a reasonable amount.

    I do have to ask though, if you actually do the math when you come up with these figures, or do you just go with what "sounds" right?

    I tend to start with what "sounds" right, and then go back and do the math.

  8. I always try to ballpark things based on facts up front. It saves time later on straightening out plot points.

    I'm no stranger to large piles of cash. Granted, what I was handling was bundles of singles, not twenties, but you get a visceral sense of what multiple stacks of bills look and feel like. Twenties are easier to pass anonymously than fifties or hundreds, which is why Lonnigan didn't go for the higher density currency.

    I used to shoot a lot, and went through a lot of ammo. I was thinking of 10 boxes of 200 rounds each, which I'm familiar with. I never bought ammo in bulk cans of 1000 rounds, but I had a general estimate of it.

    Incidentally, this is why I had her add nothing more than a first aid kid, socks, underwear and a hairbrush. I knew that bag was going to be big and heavy.


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