Daniel and I spent the rest of the night playing video games on the big screen. Even if the novelty had long since worn off, it beat the TV my family had at home by a long shot.
It felt good.
After a week that included being chased, attacked in my own bed, and ending a second prom night in violence, Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk seemed like a simple, relaxing way to finish off the week. It was made more relaxing by sending Isaac Lim an email about the original Power’s death instead of calling him.
It couldn’t last.
On Sunday afternoon, Travis called everybody in the League, asking people to meet at HQ on Sunday night to talk. So that meant I had to drop the book I’d been reading (David Brin’s Kiln People), and finish my homework during the afternoon, because I wouldn’t get the chance that night.
The meeting officially started at 8:00 PM. I arrived early (around 7:15 PM) to find that Travis was already there, sitting at one of the consoles at the main table, and printing something out.
Haley sat at the table too, but she’d pushed her chair away from it, and was looking in my direction as the elevator door opened.
She didn’t waste an instant before getting up.
We met halfway across the room, next to a big pile of cardboard boxes. One of these days we’d have to declutter the room and move them.
“Travis came early so I got stuck coming with him.”
“Why is he here now?”
“He’s been doing research on the gang, and some other things. He wanted to print stuff out so we all have copies.”
I looked over at him. He looked up and gave me a wave.
Haley followed my gaze, then turned back to me. “I’ve already been sitting here for an hour.”
“Why are you here early?”
“I don’t know. I thought I’d check email. Maybe play video games. I guess I didn’t have anything better to do.”
Instead of joining Travis, we went into the lab, sat on stools next to one of the work tables, and talked until everyone else arrived forty minutes later.
Vaughn came down the elevator last. The door opened, and Travis, who had just been saying, “Let’s get started–” stopped. Vaughn crossed the room, and sat down between Marcus and Rachel. Then he pulled two liters of Coke, Sunkist, and Mountain Dew out of a grocery bag.
“I brought pop. Do we have cups?”
Getting them took another couple minutes.
When he’d gotten back from the kitchen, and everybody had something to drink, Travis started again.
“We’ve all just had an unbelievable week. We took on two different groups, and we won. If it weren’t for power juice showing up all over the country either one of them would have made national headlines. I’d say the training we’ve been getting is paying off. Unfortunately that’s not the end of it. The gang’s big enough that we know we didn’t catch them all, and you all got the email Nick sent. If we want to take down that gang, and prepare to keep the Executioner away from ourselves, and our families, we’re going to have to take this to the next level.
“We’re going to have to professionalize this group, elect some leadership, and start planning to handle it.”
Vaughn took a drink from his cup, and said, “So what are you running for, Travis? President?”
“I’m not running for anything, but we’re going to have to put leadership in place. The old League had a chain of command. We’ll need one too. That’s why I called this meeting.”
Jaclyn nodded. “I agree. We can’t let this just keep on going like it is, but do you have a plan? Or are you just bringing the subject up?”
“Yeah. I took a look at the structure of the Defenders and a few other groups and I thought we could choose one we liked. You’ve got the paper in front of you.”
“Unnecessary,” Daniel said. “We’ve got all that stuff taken care of.”
Travis stared at him. “When did that happen?”
“Back in the 1950’s. The old League set up a financial and governing structure. We’ve got a non-profit foundation that handles money for the League, including supplying money for keeping up the vehicles and HQ. There’s also a for-profit corporation that handles licensing the likenesses of League members for toys, and stuff like that. You’ve seen the action figures in stores, right?”
Travis sat there with his mouth hanging a little bit open. “I did, but since they were all our grandparents, I guessed it had to be an old agreement. I didn’t know we still had people cutting deals for us. Why didn’t you tell anybody?”
“I knew about the foundation part.” I said. “Every time I buy anything for this place, I’ve got to get the money from Daniel’s dad.”
“Dad’s responsible for the foundation.” Daniel said. “Once we all hit 18, we’re responsible. Marcus and Haley are both sixteen, right? So that’s two years from now.”
“Unless your younger brother and sister join,” I said. “Then it’s something like six or eight more years?”
“Right, but we’re not going to let them,” Daniel said. “If we wait until all of us are 18, we can set our own rules for underage members.”
“Wait,” Cassie said, “we get total control once everyone turns 18? Why don’t we just kick the youngest members out? Then we can take control and bring them back in right away.”
Next to me, Haley said, “Hey…”
Rachel said, “Cassie, are you even 18 yet?”
Daniel started off like he didn’t hear either of them. “I don’t think it’s worded like that. First of all, we don’t get total control. We get a structure we can vote to change, and we also get an organizational board. My dad’s on the board, so I don’t think we can game the system.”
“It was worth a shot,” Vaughn said.
“Anyway,” Daniel said, “my point was that all we really have to decide is who our field commander or commanders are. The rest of it’s out of our hands for now.”
Travis sat back in his chair. “So again, why didn’t anybody tell us this before?”
Daniel shrugged. “I don’t know. My dad was supposed to, but he’s been really busy this year.”
“Okay,” Travis said, “who wants to be a field commander?”
Cassie held up her hand. “Me.”
At just about the same time, Jaclyn said, “I’m interested.”
Vaughn looked thoughtful. “It might be cool.”
Marcus stopped drawing, put down his notepad, and said, “So is there going to be one field commander or more?”
“I think we’ve got to decide that,” Travis said. “But, I want to be in the running either way.”