The One Where Discount John Wick and an Electrical Hazard do Devious Shit Together
Whoever the hell Quiver actually was,
he didn't seem to stick around. Cora didn't feel like asking Green Arrow about the dude either, so she just tuned him out. In the time between Metamorph coming to his senses and the League showing up to bring the team back to the cave, Cora scoured the entire bank for any remaining weapons used by the robbers. She came up with several energy-based and magnetic guns, as well as another repulsor glove like the one used on her. She ignored the curious looks that the League gave her as she carried roughly ten different weapons on her back, and the first thing Stormcaller did was take all of her newfound war trophies to the Mount Justice laboratory. Cora scrambled for every possible electrical tool she could get her hands on and laid all of the guns and fancy fuck-off gloves out on one table. On another, she slowly and curiously disassembled one of the rifles, setting apart each component she removed and placing any bolts or screws in a plastic bag. She scribbled things down on a notebook she balanced on her knee. About thirty minutes in, one of the lasers had been completely taken apart. The power supplies, refractors, and even the parts someone like Batman probably couldn't name were all laid out nicely and neatly.
And Cora was taking notes, clearly neck-deep in whatever work she was doing.“Now this is interesting.”
Viktor's voice cut through the quiet laboratory, interrupting Cora's crafting-montage from the room's entryway. Since returning from the mission, the resident grump was actually in a better mood than usual. Who knew a completely successful mission would have such an effect on him? I only ever find Alisa in here but it appears Cora and I are sharing the same ideas today.
There were two different rifles held firmly in each hand. One was the rifle from the bank heist mission that fired a hardening foam. The other was one Cora didn't recognize. It was the dart rifle Viktor had taken for himself after facing off against the serpentine Kobra agent. “And here I thought you would just hang those up like ornaments from your ceiling.”
He strode over to the next table over to set the two rifles down while eyeing Cora's workm Viktor was genuinely impressed by how far she'd gotten with taking the weapons apart as well as her organization of each of the many components. “Forensics? Or are you building something?”“Both,”
She responded without looking up, as she was currently unscrewing a fragile, high-voltage refractor pin from an array in the weapon’s barrel. “This isn’t just run-of-the-mill advanced tech. This stuff is top dollar, and someone with access to it decided to rob a bank. But if you can get your hands on stuff like this, you shouldn’t need money. Something there doesn’t add up. And I’m sure Batman and the other leaguers are gonna wanna know about it. Also, I had an idea to make something as soon as one of those robbers blasted me with one of what I’m calling the Fuck-Off Gloves. So I’m studying these weapons as much as possible. I can apply my powers to this tech if I reverse-engineer it.”
During her rambling, Cora set the rest of the barrel’s internals aside, organized for easy reassembly. Viktor on the other hand could barely hide his intrigue.This can't be the same person… She's smart? It doesn't… It doesn't matter. I'll take it over my initial assessment of her.
He started disassembling the rifle from the bank heist first before he gave his take on what Cora shared.“I admit that I agree with you. I also believe there was more to the bank heist. These weapons, while impressive, aren't what I would use to threaten lives with. Electrified bolas, hardening foam, soundwave emitters, and the shock- the 'fuck-off gloves'… They're weapons that would have the primary purpose of incapacitation. I hypothesize the use of these weapons wasn't always part of their plan. That a third party wanted to see them field tested. I'm sure Green Arrow knows more but him being a leaguer, I doubt we'll ever get further details from him.”
It was easy to tell Viktor was annoyed when voicing the last part of what he said. “I admire your dedication toward our superiors… and, more importantly, yourself. Every mission is just another step.”
High praise, coming from Mr. Perfect. “Thanks. I’m trying to pull my weight, and this just feels like it’s a perfect step forward. Between you and me, though… I have a feeling the League is gonna take all of this from me the moment they realize there’s something shifty going on here. Probably so they can study it themselves or whatever. I’ve noticed they don’t really tell us stuff- They like keeping things quiet if they can. If Batman walked in and snatched up these guns, I bet I’d never see them again. I got enough to spare, honestly but- Y’know. Figured I’d beat him to it before he tries to make a Batlaser or a Batblaster. I’m gonna build- Uh… A Stormblaster. Yeah, that sounds badass.”
Viktor raised a brow at Cora's naming conventions but also realized he'd never named any of his equipment before. Rainblade. Rainikens. Rainvisor. Rainsuit- Damn.
She held up an unscrewed port on the power supply and noted down the prongs on the inside, then glanced over at Viktor’s table. ”Is that a… Rainblaster? Okay- I’ll stop now.”“Please.”
He almost begged as he'd already mentally bruised himself with previous names he came up with in his head. “Unfortunately, I'm not entirely savvy with creating weapons. However, I am familiar with the components and can determine their function. If I can figure out these two rifles… and perhaps even two more of the weapons you have there, I'm certain I could make rough schematics to pass off…”
By this time, both of his rifles were disassembled but not completely. He quickly took a photo of them respectively before typing into his phone while he continued. “...I was going to take my idea outside of our team but perhaps you could be useful instead. I'd pay, of course.”
Cora gave him a curious look. “You’re asking me to… Build you a weapon? I’m sure I can. I’m thinking I’ll either build a gun that just shoots concentrated lightning and uses me as the power source, or an actual gauss rifle. What are you thinking about? Some sorta weapon like what I took from the robbers or something more like what you’ve got there?”
She asks, pointing to the dart rifle he took apart.“All of the above.”
He clasped his hands behind his back as he started pacing the length of the table in front of him. “But to be more specific. I require a mid to long-range collapsible semi-automatic rifle that fires nonlethal projectiles. The ammunition stored in separate types of magazines won’t be too much of a hindrance on my mobility as I intend to retire my bow and arrows.”
He spoke as if he had been waiting years for this very specific type of weapon. It was easy for Cora to grasp that Viktor didn’t share these ideas with the others. Stopping in his tracks, he faced Cora again. “Initially, I favored only this dart rifle, due to its range but it lacked versatility. Despite this, I had planned to spraypaint this very colorful weapon into something that fits my… style.”
Viktor barely took a breath as he continued. “Fortunately, our recent mission bore unanticipated fruit. The hardening foam rifle is one of my favorites as it is the least lethal of the weapons we discovered. The electrified bolas would need a change in design. Perhaps a lightweight round with prongs that can electrify a target. Lastly, the sound emitter could prove useful. It doesn’t use rounds, so it could be an attachment to the weapon in a similar fashion to the M203 grenade launcher or infrared lasersight. I’m not too interested in the shockwave-generating gloves. Not with the type of missions we’re typically tasked with. You know… keeping people alive.”
Viktor was sure shockwaves could be useful, but he was concerned with accidentally administering them in combination with his enhanced strength while striking an enemy. Even if he created a method of implementing with the rifle, it would be inferior to the other weapon functions Viktor planned to utilize.”I’m pretty sure I can do all of that. The cool thing about getting struck by lightning is that I got turned into a walking generator. If a shockwave glove needs a power source, all I have to do is rig it so there’s a receiver on the inside and send a signal through it. I could insulate it and build some conductors that redirect lighting around it for when I need to zap someone and not shockwave them.”
She could tell Viktor was feeling like a kid in a candy store right now.“Semi-auto, collapsible and nonlethal… I can make that, but the ammo’s gonna be the tricky part. How does that gunfire the darts? Do they have some kind of compressed gas in them?”“I'm not actually interested in the darts or what's in them. Though, your mention of gas reminds me that we should use the same type of gas chamber if not this one from the dart rifle. It'll keep the shots quiet and we can sacrifice stopping power as we're not intending on shooting through anything.”
Viktor set the gas chamber from the dart rifle aside before running his hand across the barrel. “We can shorten this barrel but the width… It will have to be determined based on the rounds containing the hardening foam. Once we have that, we can also make the… taser rounds. I guess that's the best way to describe them. We can make those the same caliber as the… 'HF' rounds. And that's not even including testing the volume of the foaming agent and voltage needed.”
Viktor sighed. This would take plenty of work but he was fortunate to have someone just as or even more excited in making some new equipment.“Okay… taser rounds could be pretty easy to make, just stick a cylinder of ionic sodium in a rubber casing, and put a set of prongs on one end and flight stabilizers on the other end. That’s not a problem. For hardening foam, the barrel’s length might be beneficial. I’m thinking the best way to expel that stuff would be something like a shotgun shell. It could fire, an inner casing would be launched, and the barrel’s rifling would keep it stable and flying fast. It would be like a really small grenade launcher shell and would explode to release the foam on contact. Sort of like Green Arrow’s foam arrows. But we sure as shit aren’t getting his help on this, considering.”
She joked, referring to how the League was usually frustrating when it came to information.“Perfect.”
It was a word Viktor used sparingly.
Cora tore a clean sheet out of the notebook and started writing down ideas for a gun. She made two columns, labeled “Cora” and “Viktor.” In Viktor’s column, she wrote “grenade launcher” and “taser rounds.”
In hers, she wrote “railgun” and “lightning gun.”
Viktor gave a swift nod at the sheet before shifting toward the disassembled rifle from the bank heist. He grabbed a clear canister of sealed light blue liquid from the laid-out parts, eyeing it for just a moment.“I’ll start with analyzing the foam so I can figure out how much is appropriate for each round. You can… I guess I’m following your lead after that.”
Viktor felt slightly uncomfortable with this kind of humbling but a part of him was glad to have someone who was quite crafty to help him.
And like that, the two got to work. They were getting a hell of a lot done too. Both were fixated and meticulous. There were no cut corners, no whining, and there was no such thing as “just good enough.” Cora and Viktor tinkered for hours, only exchanging a few words of either praise or correction in between. With neither having the capacity to leave their work undone, they continued until they had something to work with.Sometime later…“I’ll keep it steady.”
Viktor was holding up one of the newly designed weapons for Cora to put some finishing touches on.“Okay, let me juuuuust….”
Cora inserted a pre-machined rod of solid graphene into a socket on the side of a weapon, she then fit a hollow cylinder around it and screwed a plate over the whole thing. The weapon lit up like a Christmas tree in Viktor’s hands. Neon-teal rings lining the barrel started to crackle and hum with electricity, while a digital display of a wave began to spit out numbers that made no sense to anyone other than them. Mounted onto a rail on the gun, a holographic sight began to faintly light up with the same color.
Their first successful prototype
worked. Cora smiled wickedly while Viktor grinned slightly as the first of their creations. “It’s charged up. All we need to do now is fire it at something- And put on glasses. It’ll be bright.”
Viktor glanced around.“The best we have here are safety glasses… Take it outside, by the obstacle course. The tires. I’ll acquire something for our eyes. Hmm… or just for mine?”
He narrowed his eyes at her glowing blue ones, wondering if they were resistant to bright light since they were bright lights themselves.“Just yours, yeah. I’m kinda flashbang-proof. If we take it outside we might attract attention. But it would be safer than here… Hmm… Yeah, let’s go outside and do it. I’ll blast some tires and you can jab me for not knowing how to shoot a gun.”
She joked, before packing the gun for the obstacle course with Viktor, along with whatever he wanted to test. They made a quick stop to his room where he grabbed his visored helmet.
Once they were outside they realized it just before dawn. The sky was dark with a faint hint of light rising from the horizon. Cora stacked a bunch of tires on top of each other, took a position roughly 60 feet away, and aimed her weapon. Viktor positioned himself 45 degrees and about 30 feet away from her. “Okay… You ready to take notes over there?”“Affirmative!”
Viktor declared as he held up his phone to record the event while leaving formal notetaking for later. “Fire when you're ready!” “Okay…”
She held the gun up and squared her shoulders. Remembering that Viktor told her beforehand not to put the sight directly against her face, she lined the glowing dot up with the tires, as close to center as possible. And…
A sound like the last few seconds before a transformer exploded filled the air. It was the hum of extreme voltage, heavy enough to feel against one’s skin. As she pulled the trigger, a flash of blue and white streaked across the field. The tires they used as target practice were still standing, but there was a smoldering hole where the shot landed. The rubber had been vaporized at the point of contact and melted around it.
Cora didn’t even flinch at the flash of light. She saw the entire thing as clear as day, from the moment the charge left the barrel to when it turned the rubber into smoke. She had a proud smile on her face as she turned and looked at Viktor who had just removed his helmet and was sharing the same smile.“It WORKS!”“You hit your mark as well.”
Viktor was making his way to Cora with his helmet tucked under his arm. “Want to try it again? One shot isn’t legitimate enough for-”
The sound of a blaring alarm sounded from Mount Justice. “Oh shit.”
Viktor lowered his head with a sigh. “Uh… That’s not good- Is it?”
Cora asked, switching the breaker on the weapon. It was now incapable of firing, even if it was charged. The information displayed on it reflected the charge of the battery, showing it was empty.“Not again.”
Viktor groaned.“Please don’t tell me we just accidentally ripped open a hole in spacetime or something.”
Viktor shook his head. He was quickly reminded of the night when Alisa totaled the team’s jeep.“Haven’t done that before… It’s less of an effect on the universe and more of an effect on… us.”
Viktor sighed again. “Ever been grounded?”
Viktor asked as if it was only a punishment administered at Mount Justice. “Once or twice. If anyone asks, we’ll just tell them it was here or in a lab with a bunch of lab equipment that could’ve been obliterated.”
She said, making a mental note to write down that the weapon felt warmer than it should in her hands.“No. Just hand it over to me and get out of here.”
Viktor donned his helmet and reached his hands out to Cora. Though Viktor was the least bit afraid of whatever would come out of this from the League, he wasn't sure what would happen to Cora. New members of the team were very easily let go after committing actions that deemed them unfit. “It's now or never. Give me the weapon.”
Cora was visibly confused. Social cues were not her specialty. ”Why? What’s happening?”
Cora asked, looking around only to find that they weren’t alone anymore. There was the sound of gusts before none other than Red Tornado landed in front of them.“Nevermind, Cora. Just… let me do the talking.”
Viktor had given up on her, mentally dialing back a bit of the praise he had given Cora previously. There was no use trying to avoid it, the two of them just had to face whatever Red Tornado had in store.
Viktor explained everything, from the procurement of the weapons from the mission to the testfire of one of the newly assembled weapons. There were a few questions from Red Tornado concerning the purpose and design of the new weapons, which led to more of an intellectual discussion rather than stern reprimanding. There was a moment where Red Tornado considered what their corrective punishment might be but Viktor and Cora hadn't actually done anything wrong except damage training equipment and unknowingly set off an alarm that likely gave everyone alerted a brief yet sudden scare. Still, the red robot would need to at least report this event to the rest of the League. There would be much to talk through with the other members of the League but it would go smoother than Viktor and Cora explaining to their teammates why they were woken to a blaring alarm at the crack of dawn.