“So after years of silence, the New Heroes League appeared out of nowhere. How did that happen?”
“I came in late,” Rachel said. “You’ll have to ask the Rocket.”
Erika turned her attention to me. “So?”
“A few of us got to talking,” I began.
“We’re all connected to the original League one way or another. We got together a few times, and we decided we wanted to bring it back instead of letting it end.”
“And that’s when you decided to take on the Gray Giant?”
“That was a side effect of running into Syndicate L. We discovered they were transporting something and it happened to be him.”
Erika said, “That must have been a big surprise.”
“He was just a normal sized surprise at first, but he grew.”
She laughed. “That’s what he’s famous for.”
After that she asked us questions about the most visible events of the League’s return — mostly incidents that caused property damage — the Mayor, the Maniacs, fighting Man-machine, Prime, the Cabal, the Executioner, and finally Justice Fist.
“So what do you think about Justice Fist? The original Heroes League had the city all to itself, but now you have to share with another team. Do you see them as allies? Rivals?”
Rachel shrugged, “I’ve barely met them. Rocket?”
I wondered what I should say. Obviously, I wasn’t going to say exactly what I thought of Sean. Everybody knew what had happened to his father, so it wasn’t the time to point out that he was an overconfident bully who thought his powers made him practically godlike.
“They’re okay. They’ve helped us out a couple times. No complaints.”
“What about reports of tension between yourself and the Power? We’ve got a witness who claims that the two of you nearly got into a fight in a junkyard this spring, and others saw you arguing after you fought Jack Maniac.”
I wondered who had told them about the fight in the junkyard. The argument after fighting Jack Maniac was less of a mystery since that took place in the middle of a suburban neighborhood.
“Well, things happen. People get upset. I don’t think we ever punched each other or anything. Besides, it’s not like that with everybody in Justice Fist. Anyway… We got lucky in a couple different ways that they didn’t. The original League arranged a teacher for us, and we’ve got people connected to the original League willing to offer advice when we need it.”
“Oh, really? Who?”
With luck, I’d distracted her from pursuing the whole Justice Fist issue, and put the interview back on track for Lee’s message.
“Well, in Double V’s database you’ll find an entry for a being called the Immortal? His entry suggests that he might be ‘Gunther,’ a German in the French Foreign Legion that operated with the Heroes League during and after World War 2? Well, that’s true. And you know how we were talking about Prime and the Cabal’s army earlier? We’ve got a message from the Immortal to Prime. Here it is…”
I started the recording in my helmet. Lee started talking in some Germanic language that wasn’t German. Not modern German at least. It lasted for maybe a minute.
From her waist up, Erika appeared to be completely patient and interested. I couldn’t help but notice that she tapped her toe during the entire speech.
When Lee finished, and his voice turned into a laugh, she asked “What did that mean?”
“Well, he started by challenging Prime to fight us. Then, he said that if Prime didn’t drop everything to arrange a time now, Prime was some kind of coward, and he finished things off by talking about Prime’s wife back in the first half of the fifth century. He describes a birthmark she had in a very… private place. I don’t know exactly how he knows, but it’s implied, you know?”
Rachel pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to Erika. “It’s in Old Frankish. Here’s a translation. You can run it under the recording.”
* * *
They ran it on the eleven o’clock newscast. They cut a lot, but kept Lee’s message, running the translation as a crawl on the bottom of the screen.
Rachel and I watched it at home. Mom and Dad had gone to bed as had Grandpa and Grandma Klein. They were leaving on Saturday, and needed to be at the airport early.
“That ought to stir up some trouble,” Rachel said as the segment finished.
“Yeah,” I began.
Then my cellphone started ringing.