Wait, I thought back at him. The teachers aren’t always in the dining hall anyway. Are you sure it’s not just chance?

Pretty sure, he thought back.

Behind me, Tara had been walking with Camille and Haley. As we stepped into the dining room, Tara stopped chatting with Camille and said, “This isn’t right.”

To me at least, nothing about the dining hall seemed in any way strange. Students talked and laughed at the tables. The upperclass students mostly stuck together while the first year students took up half the room, mixing a bit with my year. (more…)

Travis’ mouth twitched. “I’m pleading the fifth on that, but yeah, I like the idea. That might get us what we need. Do we have any other way we can find out more? Like his ex-girlfriend… Jaclyn, do you know where she is? Or what about Samita and Rod? Can’t you, I don’t know, summon up something?”

Samita’s mouth turned into a flat line. “Summoning is very dangerous. One wrong move and you could release whatever you summon into the world. Worse, depending on what you summon, you could put your life or even your soul in danger.”

Jaclyn started tapping furiously into her phone.

Vaughn looked up from whatever he’d been checking on his phone. “Hey, it doesn’t have to be something dangerous does it? I read one of those Dresden Files books, and in there the guy summons up fairies and feeds them pizza. Can’t you do something easy like that?” (more…)

Jaclyn shook her head, and pulled her phone out of her pocket. “That’s not what interests me. What I want to know is why he’s even bothering? What do we know about him?”

“Well,” I paused, mouth partway open, wondering if I should even say it. “I’m pretty sure he’s a client of my dad’s. My dad had a client who was a superhero, and who needed therapy after quitting. Adam’s girlfriend got killed by the mob, and he went on some kind of rampage, killing anyone remotely associated, I guess. Agent Lim got him into therapy. I don’t know why he actually stopped killing and went through with it, but he did say nice things about my dad when I talked to him once.”

Fingers already tapping out something on the screen of her phone, Jaclyn said, “His codename?”

“Dark Cloak.”

She stopped and looked up at me. “That guy? I heard about him.” Then she started tapping away again. (more…)

My lab felt cramped, the air warm from body heat, and my sister’s voice cut through the low murmur of people talking.

“Remember when I joked about needing an auditorium? Next time I won’t be joking.”

We’d moved my lab tables to the walls, folded them, put everything I’d been working on into boxes, and it still felt like we had no room. All the chairs had been taken, and people sat on the floor or stood next to the wall.

By people, I meant everyone in the Heroes’ League who’d come to Stapledon, plus Courtney, plus Tara, Rod, Samita, and Amy.

The monitor of my computer showed burning buildings from a distance. (more…)

15
Jun

I had a bad feeling the creature wouldn’t be on my side, and the fact that it was outside the wards made me suspect it was magic.

I desperately needed to tell people that it was there as soon as the fight was over.

Well, assuming it was real, and not the result of staring at a HUD filled with shades of grey (but not the sexy kind). I zoomed in, and saw nothing in that space.

I checked on Stephanie, finding her still covered with goo. She’d pulled out a knife, and was trying to cut the strands connecting her to the ground. (more…)

11
Jun

Of course they were. I’d tested how the suit worked while exposed to electromagnetic force, figuring that someday I might have to fight Sean in it. Despite the shielding I’d put in, self-repair didn’t work well, so I’d designed it to shut off when exposed to enough electromagnetism that there might be problems.

And here we were.

The suit’s artificial muscles released energy as part of a chemical process however, so there wasn’t anything stopping me from what I did next—rushed them, reaching Blue Mask in one long jump. (more…)

08
Jun

Wind hit me, and a lot of it. It wasn’t a well considered blast either, throwing me toward the bleachers.

I hit the force field hard. Unsurprisingly, I could see it coming at me better with sonar than I would have with my eyes. With my eyes it was almost transparent. With sonar, it was simply a wall.

The field gave a little as I hit it, but not much. I bounced off, and since I was still pointing in the direction of team one’s flag, I kept on going. (more…)

04
Jun

I glanced over toward the side of the arena, seeing healers I knew (Alex in his longcoat and “chainmail”), costumed healers I didn’t know, and paramedics.

They all watched from behind the force shield–which was sensible.

Out of the corner of my  eye, I checked the stands where the politicians were and noticed that more of them were on their phones than I would have expected, and the rest were talking about something.

I had a feeling I knew what, and wondered exactly what they were hearing. The heroes in attendance appeared to be distracted too.  (more…)

01
Jun

Next to me, Amy muttered, “I didn’t prepare any spells to handle that. Red Hex?” Her voice raised as she said Samita’s codename.

Samita shook her head. “Not directly. Troll and I both wear rings that I bound to spirits of probability. They protect us from getting hurt, and of course I enchanted our costumes. I might be able to repurpose something…”

She frowned, and opened one of the leather pouches on her belt, sticking her arm inside, and pulling things out to examine. This wouldn’t have been anything to remark about except that she’d stick her arm in all the way to the elbow while the pouch was at most four inches deep.

Weirder, she’d take objects out of the pouch that were wider than the pouch—a white, porcelain basin, for example.

After examining it, she put it back in. (more…)

28
May

Rachel raised an eyebrow. “What’s going on now?”

Tara crossed her arms. “I noticed you weren’t listening earlier. Is it the same thing we talked about before?”

Rachel took a breath and sighed. Jaclyn pulled her feet out of the holes she’d created when she landed, and shook her head. “I knew that was going to come back to haunt us.”

Remembering how little I could hear during the fight, I said, “I told Hal to update you if he had something that needed action on our part. So far it hasn’t, but I could tell him to update you anyway?”

“Rocket,” Rachel said, looking me directly in the eyes, “this is something that we all need to be kept updated on.” (more…)