Bugging the house and cars paid off even before we got back to HQ.
It wasn’t perfect. I hadn’t known whose car was whose so I’d bugged all of them. When one of them started going, we got excited, but then we followed where it went on the car’s dashboard screen. It ended up at Meyer Music, a local store.
When I checked the roachbot’s pictures of the people leaving the car, I saw a woman and two small children carrying thin books inside. They were probably there for piano lessons.
That’s where Rachel and I had gone when we were little kids.
I switched the controller to the roachbots inside the house in time to hear their phone ring and a mumbled half-conversation.
When it ended, we heard, “So, what’s our lord and master have in mind?”
“We’ve got to move it. They’re running everyone through the power device now.”
“That’s what the call said, and you know him. He’s not patient.”
“We’d better get everybody then.”
After some grumbling and shouting, they got all four people out of the house, and into one of the cars.
We’d gotten off the freeway, and were within in a block of HQ, and Veterans Memorial Park as we noticed them getting on the freeway and heading south.
Haley glanced down toward the screen, and slowed the car. “Do you think we ought to follow them? We could get behind them if we turn around now.”
“Uh… What if they notice? You’re both at full power, but I’m not, and even the full suit in perfect condition isn’t a match for them in a one on one fight.”
“We ought to do something,” Daniel said. “It sounds like they’re throwing everybody into the Impregnator. I don’t think we want that to happen.”
Haley bit her lip. “Do you think we could… destroy the machine without fighting them?”
“It depends,” I said. “Between Daniel’s telekinesis, your ability to sneak around, and the guitar’s laser, I bet we could. The question is, could we get away after that? The machine would be destroyed, but they wouldn’t be.”
“Right,” Daniel said, “but if they empower everybody that could be a big, big problem. Plus they’ve been taking power juice for years. What if they all go psychotic?”
“Wow,” I took a deep breath. “That would not be good. Of course, it took years for Red Lightning to go off the deep end.”
“But it could still be bad in the long term,” Daniel said.
Haley drove the car into Veterans Memorial Park, and turned down the service road. “I think we should call everybody.”
“Right,” I said, “especially Lee.”
“OK,” Daniel said. “Let’s do that, but here’s something I just thought of. Remember when Vaughn used the Impregnator? It fried him. He couldn’t do anything for at least an hour. If we catch them at the right time, maybe they won’t be able to fight.”
* * *
We sent everybody a yellow. I tried to call Lee, but got his voice mail.
In the mean time, we got everyone else into a conference call — well, except that Jaclyn joined us in HQ. She’d been waiting to see if we needed backup anyway.
Daniel explained the situation, ending with, “So they’re throwing everybody into the Impregnator, and it sounds like they’re working with Ray. If we want to stop that, now’s probably our only shot at it.”
“Do it,” Travis said. “Scout out the area and we’ll meet you.”
“I’m sure we’ll want more of a plan than that,” I said.
“Of course we’ll want more of a plan than that, but we don’t have any information. Once we’ve got that we’ll have a plan. That’s why I want you to scout it out.”
Cassie asked, “Is Lee coming?” Wind roared in the background as she talked.
“I don’t know. He’s not answering his phone. I don’t really think we should go into this without him.”
Travis started talking as I finished the sentence. “We can’t wait for him. Do you think he’d wait for us if the situation were reversed?”
“No,” I said, “because even if he screws up, he can’t die. We can.”
“That’s not why,” Travis said. “He’d go, because when he sees this kind of opportunity, he takes it. This is no time to be timid.”
Jaclyn sat at the terminal next to mine. I looked over at her. “What do you think?”
“Nick, I’m sorry, but we’ve got to at least scout it out.”