After talking to Haley, I went through variations on the same conversation with Daniel, and Chris–except Chris and I also talked about getting the new armor to HQ.
I put on the stealth suit, covered it over with clothes, stuffing the helmet into the backpack that hid a mini-rocketpack, and ran to League HQ, the guitar bumping along in its cloth case on my back.
Between the eighty degree heat, and wearing a long sleeved shirt and jeans, I began to regret not biking almost immediately.
The League cellphone rang, showing a call from Travis. I took it.
Standing on the edge of Grandpa’s block, just past Veteran’s Memorial Park, I suddenly remembered the fight we’d had with Future Knight, and the other supers whose memories the mayor had modified.
Hopefully we wouldn’t trash the neighborhood again.
“I’ll make this quick,” Travis said. “Vaughn got a hold of Sean, and Camille and Julie got together and called HQ for help. The rest of Justice Fist and their parents are gone.”
“I don’t know. Could be just kidnapped. Hey, I’ve got a feeling everything’s just about to go down. What’s happening with the California people?”
“They’re coming. It sounded like today.”
“Great. I called Lee. We’ve got half of Justice Fist, Chris, Lee, the California people if they come, and Larry. That’s something. Anyway, we’re going to get together and respond.”
“What about our parents?” I was nearing Grandpa’s house.
“They’re a problem. We can’t bring them to HQ because who knows what they’ll do. Can’t force them into hiding without people noticing. Our best shot at keeping them safe is taking Prime’s people down.”
“Right,” I said. Never mind that we didn’t have a solid idea how to take them all down. Not permanently anyhow.
We hung up as I entered the house. Once the elevator brought me downstairs, I changed into costume in the locker room.
I stepped out, helmet under my arm, to find Rachel waiting outside the door. All in white, gun and utility belt hanging around her hips, she only needed her mask to be fully in costume.
“Hey, little brother, where are you going?”
“I’m meeting Lucas at the office. It sounds like he needs someplace to hide. Actually, we may end up with everyone, and their dog here in a little while.”
“So I’ve heard. Travis called me a little while ago. He said he’d call you next. Do you need any help?”
“I don’t know why. Lucas isn’t after me.”
“And if they followed Lucas, you’re going to fight them in that?” She indicated the stealth suit with her hand.
“Point. I was hoping the defenses would hold them for a while. I got them mostly working this spring.”
“Grandma told me about them once. How do you think the city’s going to like the crater?”
“There are a few to try before the self-destruct, but, you’re right. You can come along.”
And anyway, if I understood what Grandpa had been trying to do, the crater would be remarkably self-contained.
I flew through the tunnel with Rachel holding on to my shoulder, a trail of small lights guiding us.
We stopped in front of the metal door, waiting for it to slide out of the way.
When it opened, we stepped into the lower level, which wasn’t much more than a garage one car wide with a concrete floor.
We used the side door on the right side of the room, stepping into a stairwell that led up to the offices.
I’d setup a laptop in the corner of the conference room, and I used it to check the security feeds.
Lucas stood in the alley behind the building, nervously checking the sky, and, up and down the alley.
He didn’t look good. Blood had dried under his nose, and on his right cheek, which was already swelling.
A long, bloody slash ran diagonally across the front of his white, button down shirt. Something had torn most of the right leg off of his pants, leaving parallel stripes that I guessed had to be claw marks.
I remembered seeing clawed soldiers among Prime’s reserves.
Given that Lucas powers were pretty much the same as Red Lightning’s, and had included some degree of invulnerability, I guessed that at least one of the clawed guys had gone through the Impregnator before we destroyed it.