As the video finished, I wondered what Ray intended to do next, and wished I’d left some roachbots on their cars and in their stuff. We’d found them only to lose them again, and we could use the warning if they attacked us.
We’d only barely survived attacking them.
That being said, Ray seemed like the kind of guy who searched for bugs, probably obsessively.
I sighed, and slumped a little in my chair, taking my hands off the keyboard.
We were completely over-matched.
Short of nukes, I couldn’t think of anything that could really hurt Prime’s people, and I didn’t want to kill them. I just wanted them to go somewhere else and leave us alone.
The only thing I could think of that might help would be using paralysis — except that would be temporary, and might not work on everybody.
Well, I had one other option, flying in with the jet, and blasting away with the main guns.
According to Grandpa’s documentation, the main guns worked against battleships, and spaceships. They had a good chance of doing more than just stunning Prime’s people, but that was because they had a good chance of burning them down to cinders.
I needed to come up with something less draconian.
Hypothetically, I might be able to set up a situation in which their regenerative ability ran out of stored fat to use for energy, and started cannibalizing muscles, leaving them weaker than a normal person.
And then what would we do with them? Pass them on to the police? The authorities would only be able to hold them if they kept them on a starvation diet. Otherwise they’d leave, destroying anything between them and freedom.
Well, assuming the police had no useful techniques for keeping them inside.
Thinking about the people who would die if they didn’t, I wondered if I had to get used to the idea of killing. I didn’t want to.
Could there possibly be a way to manipulate them into leaving us alone, dividing Prime’s people from Ray for example? From what I’d just seen, that seemed possible. We needed the right motivation, something stronger than whatever hold Ray had on them.
Maybe Lee would know what to do.
I tried to push it out of my mind, and walked home. It was supper time anyway.
* * *
After supper, I lay on my bed, trying to decide what to do next. I thought about checking email, but most of it would be about stuff I didn’t want to think about anyway.
Playing video games seemed irresponsible.
The best thing I could do had to be going back to HQ and working on the suit. And that was pretty depressing by itself. Sure, I knew where to look to find the problem with the right arm’s sonics, but I’d been pounded by Prime’s people. Who knew how many more problems the suit had now?
My League phone rang. I considered ignoring it, but it was Haley’s ring.
I got off the bed, grabbed it from the top of my desk, and answered it.
“He’ll be alright. They don’t think there’s any organ damage. That was the big worry, and they still have some things he’s got to watch for… His ribs will be healing for a little while, but they don’t know how long. It’s three to six weeks for normal people. Nick, he won’t be able to fight.”
“I know. I broke a couple ribs in that fight with Sean. Maybe Travis can train Kayla how to use the communication system. She asked me for help in the middle of everything.”
“It was her first time.”
“I know, and I can see how Cassie would bring her in, but I wish I’d known beforehand.”
Haley didn’t say anything.
“Right,” I said. “I should have done the same thing with Chris, but it was a lousy time for Cassie to make the point.”
“I don’t know, but I wasn’t calling about her. Do you mind, if I come over?”
“That’d be great. I’m just a little surprised.”
“Travis doesn’t need me around. He’s fine, but he’s sore, and he’s really grouchy.”
We talked a little longer before we hung up.
As I lay down again, I realized I felt a little better. The idea of hanging around with Haley sounded a lot more pleasant than worrying alone.
Someone knocked on the door.
It couldn’t be Haley already. I got up, feeling the muscles in my chest and back as I walked downstairs.
I’d be even more sore the next day.
As I got to the bottom of the stairs, the door opened. My mom said, “Nick, it’s Daniel.”
Mom went back to the computer in the family room as Daniel and I stood together in the kitchen.
“Hey, I didn’t know you’d be coming.”
“I wasn’t. I started thinking about this afternoon, and I decided to drop by.”
“Uh…” I tried to figure out some nice way to say Haley was coming over, and realized that there wasn’t a polite way.
“Oops,” he said. “I’ll leave when she gets here.”
At least he wasn’t mad.
We went up to my room. Daniel sat down at my desk. I sat on the bed.
“So what’s up?”
“We’ve got to find Ray. Not right this minute, but starting tomorrow for sure.”
“No,” Daniel shook his head. “You don’t know. I caught a little bit from his head during the fight. Not a lot, because I was busy, but a little. Nick, we’re scaring the crap out of him. Almost no one ever surprises him because he’s super paranoid and tries to plan for everything, but we’ve caught up with him twice. He dismissed the first time as luck, but now he’s decided we might be competent, or we’re being used by someone who is.
“He’s decided that he needs to deal with us sooner.”