“I’m going to take it and let everyone listen,” Daniel continued.
He clicked a few buttons on his keyboard, and the view from his monitor appeared on the big screen, covering most of the wall.
The switchboard program showed a list of callers (ten reporters in the last five minutes) and voicemails, followed by information about the current caller. This amounted to:
FBI Notified. Tracing…
Daniel answered, “This is the Mystic.”
Ray’s voice filled the room. “The Mystic. You weren’t around for Christmas. I got caught by a bunch of teenagers, but none of them were called the Mystic. It’s not much, but it’s something to be grateful for.”
Daniel’s voice stayed calm. “That could change.”
“It could, but I’m not counting on it. This time I planned it out. I’ve got something you’ll want back. Say a few words, Mr. and Mrs. McAllister…”
The scream in the background sounded a lot like Haley’s mom. A voice that had to be Haley’s dad got out, “Damn you–” before being silenced.
“Those bastards,” Travis began, and his body changed. Hands and feet turned to claws, and his muscles, which were intimidating normally, became larger and more defined.
Something in his chair cracked. I couldn’t see what.
Next to me, Haley took deep breaths. Her muscles strained, but didn’t change.
I felt like I should do something, put my arm around her shoulder maybe, but at that moment, touching her without warning didn’t seem like a good idea.
“Now, I don’t know for sure how they’re connected with the League, but I’ve got my suspicions. Nothing I could prove in a court of law, but I’m not a lawyer, so that’s not a problem. If I’m right, they’ve got a son and a daughter, and the daughter’s got a boyfriend. He and I chatted for a little while.
“You know what’s interesting? Night Cat’s also got a boyfriend. She’s going out with the Rocket. Don’t you love coincidences? I know I do. They make my job easier. Now if she’s not some kind of two timing slut, it’s going to be the same guy, and today I found out his name.
“It wasn’t much work to find out where he lived, or who his parents were. In case you’re wondering, no, we haven’t collected them yet. I don’t think we’ll need to.
“We’ve got Justice Fist. We’ve got the McAllisters. And, we’ve got some wonderful leads, but I think we’ve got enough hostages. See when I talked to Nick, I got the impression that he was a good kid. Good kids don’t let their girlfriend’s parents get shot in the head, and they don’t let other kids’ parents get shot in the head either.”
Daniel’s face hardened. His mouth became a thin line. “That’s sick. What kind of monster are you? They never–”
“I’m a monster who’s getting paid.”
“Don’t interrupt me, or you could find your own family on my list.”
Daniel opened his mouth as if he were about to talk, but he didn’t. I don’t know why he stopped, but I know I wanted him to.
“Good. Now here’s what I want Nick to do. I want him to show up downtown, corner of Fulton And Sikes. Once he shows up we’ll contact him, and tell him what happens next. A couple things about that–no Rocket suit, no guitar, no equipment. Tonight he’s an ordinary kid. Now as for the rest of your team. Stay out of it. We know how to deal with you. If you doubt that, check out our kill list on Double V.”
“What’s going to happen to him?”
“Nothing much. We want to talk with him. After we talk, we’ll let everybody go, but that’s only if he shows up within an hour, starting now. If he doesn’t show, we’ll execute the hostages, one every ten minutes. When we run out, we’ll move on to his parents. Got it?”
“I’ve got it.”
“Remind him not to be late.”