“Red Legacy?” Marcus said. “Are you trying to remind people of Red Lightning? Or was that accidental?”
Red Legacy chuckled. “I was going to remind people of Red Lightning one way or the other.”
He held his hands apart in front of him, facing each other. Electricity crackled between them. It was colored red.
“Oh wow, you’re doomed.”
“Right,” Red Legacy said, “so I thought I’d take it head on.”
“Yeah,” Marcus said. “I can see where you might do that. As soon as Storm King started with the lightning, people got real nervous, and his wasn’t even red. So, do you do weather too?”
Red Legacy shook his head. “I can’t, but Red Lightning couldn’t do much of that either.”
“So, can you blow up buildings with your lightning?”
“Small buildings, maybe. I haven’t tried it, but I’m not as powerful as he was after his power upgrade. The government juice is more powerful than his Power Elixir, but not like the fully activated power.”
“The way I remember it,” I said, “he was also strong and really tough afterward. You too?”
Red Legacy nodded. “I can bench a couple of tons when fully medicated. No one’s tried to kill me, so I haven’t gotten to test if bullets bounce off my chest. Anyway, what are you guys doing out tonight?”
“Patrolling,” Marcus said. “It’s been dead quiet, but since the murders, we’ve been out looking for the guy.”
“Right. Us too. Do you have anything?”
“No,” I said.
Marcus smiled. “I’m surprised to see you here alone. Don’t you guys always show up together?”
“I’ve nothing against them, but they’re all a bunch of high school kids. I’m not meaning to offend either of you if you’re still in high school, but I’ve been out for about eight years now. I’ve got no interest in who’s dating who, and which teachers are mean and all that. I’m sure I cared back then, but it’s been a few years.”
And that, if I hadn’t already suspected it, pretty much confirmed it had to be Lucas, Russell Hardwick’s son. He’d graduated medical school, and was in his residency. Of course, he wouldn’t care about high school gossip.
Yet again, I wished Daniel were with us. Of any of them, Lucas would be in the best position to know if the Impregnator were up and running yet. It was his dad’s project, after all, and it had been about a week now. Hopefully, Sean would follow my advice about not mixing the juice with the Impregnator.
And on the off chance he hadn’t passed my advice on…
“Hey,” I said. “I tried to tell uh… the Power… this last Sunday, but if you guys get something like the Power Impregnator working, make sure that you’ve dried out from power juice by the time you try it. Give it at least a day, maybe a week. The original Rocket thought mixing the two might have been the reason Red Lightning went crazy. I told the Power to tell everyone.”
Red Legacy frowned. “He didn’t tell me at all. Not that we have anything like that, but if we ever do, I’d like to stick with the sane part of Red Lightning’s legacy.”
He turned to look out over the neighborhood. We were only a few blocks from where the murder occurred. It wasn’t the best neighborhood in town, but wasn’t the worst either. Most of the houses were well kept up. They were older houses though, so the houses that weren’t kept up stuck out.
At night however, unmowed lawns, overgrown gardens, and cracked windows disappeared, so even the houses that people ignored seemed okay. We could see a few blocks over, row after row of lit up windows.
Red Legacy faced us again after a moment. “So, we’re all out patrolling. Do you want to work together tonight?”
“Sure,” Marcus said.
I went along with it. Marcus was field commander for the night, and I thought it might be worth getting a sense of whether Lucas was as messed up as his father seemed to be.
The obvious didn’t happen. By that I mean that we didn’t get attacked. He didn’t awe us with his wisdom, disgust us with his cowardice, or lead us into a trap and betray us. Mostly he just seemed like a decent enough guy.
Over the next few hours, he took a few drinks from the metal flasks hanging on his utility belt every forty minutes or so. I timed him.
It seemed like a detail worth knowing.
In an ideal world, I would have been out on patrol the next time anyone saw the guy with the burning hands, but I wasn’t.
On Tuesday night, almost a week later, I sat on a stool in the lab in HQ, assembling the copies of my paralysis ray blocker for everyone’s utility belt.
Around seven, lights started blinking yellow throughout the complex, and I checked the computer. Jaclyn’s alert device had been activated. I got her coordinates, put on the Rocket suit, and flew out to find her.
Following the Rocket suit’s GPS led me to the Harbor Place apartment complex on the southeast side of the city, near Abraham Kuyper College. Why they called it Harbor Place, I didn’t know. Grand Lake and Lake Michigan were on the west side of the city.
Harbor Place had two ponds in front of it, but no river. It hadn’t even been decorated with a nautical theme. The buildings were four story brown brick with brown siding, and brown, wooden balconies.
I recognized Cassie’s (as in Captain Commando’s) motorcycle in the parking lot instantly. I’d spent too many hours rebuilding it not to.
Even if I hadn’t recognized the bike though, I would have noticed a few other clues that I was in the right place.
The first? The front of a mini-van in the parking lot had been half melted.
The ten foot hole in the side of the building was the second clue.
Cassie, Jaclyn, Red Legacy and another member of Justice Fist stood in front of the hole shouting at each other. Five bodies lay at their feet.