Even the most obnoxious people will stop arguing when they know the building they’re inside is about to explode.
In theory, at least.
“What?” Julie asked.
Sean looked from me to Lucas. “You’re kidding, right?”
From behind him, Sydney said, “Sean!”
“No. And now it’s twenty-three seconds. Go!”
Above us, something in the ceiling crunched.
That did it. Sean turned around, and got out of the doorway. Julie, Jaclyn, Rachel, Lucas, and I ran after him. Sydney and Camille had already started.
We all ran down the stairs to the main floor, and Jaclyn clicked the combination into the keypad in a blur of purple gloves.
The far end of the floor dipped downward, opening into the tunnel.
We ran inside, and then as we hit pitch darkness people began to slow. I pulled a small flashlight off my belt and turned it on.
“Don’t stop,” I said.
“Why?” Lucas asked.
“Part of the tunnel’s going to fall in.”
“What the hell’s your problem?” Sean shouted. “Are you trying to kill us all?”
At least that’s what I thought he said. I could have missed it because at that moment, a huge barrier slid out of the wall, hitting the far side with a solid thunk, and blocking off the tunnel behind us.
“Do we have everybody?” Jaclyn asked.
I swung the flashlight around. Sydney and Camille were up with her. Lucas, Sean, and Julie were near me.
We hadn’t lost anyone, and that was good because the explosions started and the ground began to shake.
A chunk of the ceiling fell to the floor next to Jaclyn along with some dirt.
“I think we need to keep moving,” Lucas said.
An unfamiliar voice (by process of elimination, Camille’s) said, “If nobody minds, I can fly us down. Just… Rocket, could I have the flashlight? Or maybe you could come up here?”
I came up there and found myself floating. I guided Camille down the tunnel to League HQ. It was probably the first time I spoke to her, and she seemed nice enough given that she was Sean’s half-sister. I wondered if she knew? Or if he and Sydney knew?
Either way, I wasn’t going to bring it up.
Once we got going, we traveled quickly enough. We reached HQ within minutes.
Daniel, Cassie, Haley, and Travis were already there, and in costume. They were all at the the main table–in front of the big screen.
The screen showed the remains of the League’s offices from the view of a nearby antenna we owned. The building wasn’t standing of course, but it could have been a lot worse. The explosion could have thrown chunks of building across the downtown, but it appeared to have imploded.
Most of it had fallen into the lower level, but not everything. Parts of the walls had slid into the parking lots on either side.
Also, the huge pile in the middle was on fire.
None of the Cabal’s people were in sight. If they’d been on the roof, they might be inside all that.
Over the room’s speakers came the sound of reporters talking about the scene downtown, and the constant sound of phones ringing as people tried to call us.
Camille floated the group of us up to the front of the room, and let us float to the floor.
It seemed a little odd to feel gravity’s pull again.
Haley’s expression, the part not covered by her mask was hard to read. Normally she looked happier to see me, but normally I wasn’t bringing Sean and Sydney into HQ.
Travis’ expression tightened briefly, and then relaxed, but he didn’t take his eyes off us.
This was going to get awkward.
I tried to think of something to say, but drew a blank.
Daniel, his face unreadable thanks to his full face mask, said, “Everybody, we just got a call that claims to be from Ray Malone.”