I thought about Camille for a second. She was a junior — which meant that Sean’s dad was doing it with her mom when Mrs. Drucker was pregnant with Sean.
The fact that Sean didn’t know led me to another thought. “If Sean and Camille ever got involved, that would be really messed up.”
“That would be sick. Someone should tell them — just to avoid it. I read somewhere that siblings who weren’t raised together are actually more likely to find each other attractive than your average person.”
“No kidding. Do you think one of us should say something?”
“You can do it,” I said. “I don’t think he’d listen to me.”
I thought for a moment, and than asked, “When you said Rachel noticed them talking, were they just talking, or are they still together?”
“No. They were talking about money. I think he must be paying her monthly.”
“Wouldn’t that be cool? But no, it’s boring. I think he’s just paying his share. So maybe he’s not a complete jerk. It’s just hard to tell. Actually, from what I’ve seen Sean and Sydney might be better off with the same arrangement.”
“You mean getting his money, but not actually seeing him?”
“Exactly. I wouldn’t live at their house if you paid me.”
We talked for a little longer after that, but eventually I did manage to end the conversation and retreat to the lab. There, sitting in the same room as two broken Rocket suits, I managed to get through my graduation paperwork within half an hour. It had looked worse than it was.
With that out of the way, I set up the various machines in the lab to start pumping out roachbot parts. After an hour of messing around, it became obvious that I couldn’t create roachbots from start to finish by machine. I could, however, get them about halfway. I’d have to do a lot of the soldering myself, but I could at least get the shell finished and a majority of the components inside.
The new ideas used largely the same design. With the exception of replacement bots for bugging people, they were all essentially mini-missiles.
Basically I had three new concepts:
1. Explosive roachbots.
2. Roachbots that delivered the same paralyzing noise as the paralysis guns.
3. Roachbots that sped after cars or people and latched on, delivering coordinates back to HQ or my controller.
I started the machines going, waiting a while to make sure things were going correctly, and then I left the room.
Marcus was still watching video.
I sat down at the main table, logged into a terminal, and opened up a window to monitor the machines in the lab.
“Hey, Marcus. Do you have anything left? Should I be helping?”
“I’m getting close to done, but if you want to check the voice mail, it’ll get me out sooner. Rachel’s been checking it, but she hasn’t been in today, so someone’s got to.”
I deleted the voice mail from reporters. There were a lot of them, just like there always were after a big fight. I forwarded anything that sounded like a business proposition over to the board’s email.
I listened to the voice mail from normal people. Some of them were complaining about the property damage from the fight. Others were calling to thank us for fighting.
I wasn’t sure if we deserved the praise. There wouldn’t have been a fight last night if the Cabal’s army hadn’t been trying to trap us.
After about twenty minutes, I only had a few voice mails to go.
One of them stood out. From the area code, it appeared to come out of Tennessee, but the caller ID didn’t supply a name.
I clicked on the call.
I didn’t recognize the voice that came over the line. It sounded level, male, and not all that old — at best, I guessed that the speaker had to be in his thirties.
The man’s accent hinted that the speaker came from the south, but it didn’t hint very strongly.
“Heroes League. You escaped. I never expected it. All of our intelligence indicated that you were nothing more than children who’d gotten lucky when you faced your mayor, but now you’ve fought some of the best of us. So, a few of you must be competent. That, or luckier than I want to believe.
“I can’t ignore you anymore, and I can no longer trust you solely to my subordinates.
“I’m coming myself.
“Don’t congratulate yourselves for this. I, and the people with me, are the inheritors of a two thousand year tradition of service to the Cabal, the part that survived its destruction, the empire’s last, hidden legion. You exposed the Cabal, and you stand in the way of our plans. We will destroy you or die trying.
“I am Prime, the legion’s commander, and I will see you soon,” he finished, and hung up.
I listened to it a couple more times before stopping and staring at the screen.
Marcus’ voice broke me out of imagining what powers and people the Cabal’s remnants might have at their disposal.
“Nick, are you okay?”
“Kind of, but you’re going to want to listen to this.”