“You’re going to have to talk to a judge if you want to get out.” Jaclyn stood opposite Chris’ grandfather. “We don’t have any power over that.”
Cannon didn’t seemed fazed by her response. “The old League was in bed with the FBI. You’re telling me you aren’t? Besides, I’m not expecting you to do it directly. I’ll tell you what you want to know about the ball, and after that you’ll call the FBI and I’ll tell them something they want to know.”
“Not while the Mystic’s in the room. Get him out and we’ll talk.”
Daniel stood to the left and just behind me. Cannon looked up and met his eyes. “I want your word that you won’t listen in.”
Without hesitation Daniel said, “You’ve got it.”
Jaclyn turned around, “Mystic?”
I thought in his direction, confident that he’d notice.
Daniel: It’s okay — just a second, I’m bringing everyone in — he’s not going to screw us over.
Jaclyn: What is he going to do?
Daniel: Exactly what he said. He’s going to tell us where the ball came from and then give the FBI the name of someone he thinks they’ll want.
Daniel: I don’t know, but it’s somehow connected with the ball.
Me: Why isn’t he giving him to us then?
Daniel: Not sure, but I’m guessing he doesn’t think we can handle it.
Cassie: How would he know?
Haley: Did you get the name?
Daniel: No. He’s doing a good job keeping it out of his head. Anyway, I’d better get out of the room.
The connection stopped.
“I’ll be outside.” He walked around Cannon and his guards and stepped out the door. The guards followed Daniel out, leaving Cannon alone with us. Did the guards trust us, or were they hoping we’d pull a Jack Bauer on him?
Cassie took a seat on one of the tables and put her feet on a chair.
With the click of the door’s lock, and the fading of Daniel and the guards’ footfalls, Cannon started talking.
“I collaborated on the ball with one of my students. He knew the Maniacs and needed help with the laser and a few other problems. I did what I could, solved some problems he couldn’t, and then he delivered it to them. Well, after that he told me that they’d just taken it, and didn’t pay. At first I didn’t care. I’d retired when the Rocket did, and I had my business. I didn’t need the money. But then I saw that they’d made millions of dollars. It pissed me off. That’s when I decided that they could afford my fee, so I dusted off the Man-machine armor, and caught up with them in Louisville. I ambushed them while they were counting the money from one of their jobs, and took the damn ball back. They were a bunch of pansies without their armor. A bunch of whiners.”
Jaclyn’s mouth twisted. “You ambushed them and beat them up?”
“Tell me heroes don’t do it. Ask the original League about it if they’re still alive.”
“Hey –” Jaclyn began.
Cannon talked over her. “They were in this little motel on the edge of town. I ripped open the wall, and gassed the group of them. When I questioned the first one to come out of it, you know what I learned? They’d paid. My student had taken both of our shares. Asshole. I took the ball anyway. Told them they should take it up with him if they wanted another one.”
“That’s the story,” he said. “Nothing more to tell about that.”
“No, wait,” Jaclyn said. “Your student. Don’t you think he’ll want it back?”
“He’s moved on to bigger and better things. He’s the guy who came up with the paralysis rays Syndicate L uses. He and his people supply them with powered armor, mechs, and a lot more than that. And not just them — the mob, foreign governments, and individual criminals too… That’s the name I’m willing to give the Feds. Tell them.”
Cassie got off the table and stood up. “Why didn’t you just do that in the first place?”
“I don’t rat out my friends that easily. Even him. My lawyers thought they could get me off with a short sentence because of my age and the statute of limitations had expired on almost everything I’d done — except for assault on the Rocket here. They still do, but I don’t want to be stuck here if the Maniacs decide to pay me a visit.”
Jaclyn looked at him. “You don’t think they’ve planned for the possibility that people might break into prison?”
Cannon’s lips curled. “I don’t believe in any security system I haven’t checked out myself, and they haven’t let me look at theirs.”
No one said anything for a moment.
“Well,” Jaclyn said, “if nobody else has questions, I guess we can go. Anybody? Night Cat? Rocket? You haven’t said much.”
“I’ve only got questions he can’t answer,” I said.
Haley looked Cannon over once more, and said, “I don’t have any questions.”
“We’re done?” He said. “Good. I want to talk to the Rocket — alone.”