Trapped Like a (Lab) Rat
- This is probably one of my less inspired chapter titles. Hit ‘em with a cliché. Brilliant.
- Goofy labs are an essential part of any good piece of fiction. I’m thinking mostly of Q from the Bond movies and Ted from the Naked Gun movies. The NWCW research division is called Special Projects, abbreviated as SpecPro.
- The SpecPro Enforcer’s name was originally Jaris. However, with “Jaci” and Enforcer “Jenkins” thrown into the mix, it seemed like I had too many names with the letter “J.” I renamed him “Garris” as a tribute to the Mass Effect character Garrus Vakarian (note the spelling difference).
- It’s probably not the most likely thing for a super-speedster like Chris to play Division III college baseball. It’s really not fair for the other players, but he does restrict his abilities. The flashback here serves to show us that delicate period following Miss Lightspeed’s death in which Chris and his father are beginning to drift apart.
- “On most days, a gentle admonishment from my father would follow for wearing them indoors. I’d welcome it” is a line that breaks my heart. His father has started paying so little attention to him that Chris would rather be rebuked than ignored.
- I didn’t play baseball in college. Just didn’t feel I was good enough to do it. Love baseball, however.
- The part where Chris gets Garris’ name wrong was originally a “Jarvis” joke (since the character was originally named Jaris). It didn’t quite work with the name change, but I retained the mental slip by Chris.
- Colonel Chaos’ ultimate plan to defeat superheroes in revolt involves stripping away their powers. Considering the possibility that the Kiltechs could one day return, that doesn’t seem like a very good idea.
- The flashback gives us an interesting parallel. While Chaos is currently developing the depowering beam as an offensive weapon, it was originally something to contain superpowered threats. The moral: technology itself isn’t good or bad; it’s how you choose to use it.
- No more Bif! Pow! Whap! refers to the Batman TV series that managed to turn superheroes into punchlines. In some ways, the genre has never recovered. Life wouldn’t be the same without it, though.
- Is the Imperator costume (note how Chris refers to it as a “costume”) really that hot? Or is it just nerves?
- A standard particle buster gives off a bluish light. Red is deadly. Basically, if the NWCW Enforcers can’t subdue you, they’ll kill ya.
- “Special” Enforcer Jenkins is a high-ranking official in the New World Common Wealth. She’s another strong female character, although she’s a bit thin on development in the book. Readers are supposed to dislike her immediately.
- Colonel Chaos is very effective at running propaganda campaigns, even against his own son. He has no qualms about humiliating his son in front of other members of the NWCW. The wisdom of this strategy is somewhat dubious, but it shows everyone who’s in charge. If Chaos will do that to his son, just imagine what he’d do to you.
- Chris comments on how he needs to give the bad guys a little more credit. Yes, catching them is a pain in the butt. However, some of them put a lot of work into planning and pulling off a heist. Thieves have his begrudging respect…at least for a minute or two.
- I don’t think anyone can argue with the assertion that Steve Perry’s voice is a superpower.
- Chris is starting to suspect that there’s something wrong with his father. Colonel Chaos’ mercurial nature isn’t quite in keeping with the man Chris knows. Yes, the death of Miss Lightspeed has changed Chaos’ worldview, but his actions are alarming.
- “Clermont Rehabilitation Resort” – a fun place for everyone!
- So here we go. Chaos wants his son to return to Clermont. We’re catapulting toward the end now.
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