When I said the League jet appeared, I meant it literally. In one moment I heard an engine’s roar coming closer. In the next, the jet hung above the roof, floating lower until the door opened, and Daniel walked down the ramp.
Then he stared for a second at the hundreds of dead frog-things on the roof.
For Rod, Sam, and the rest, it wasn’t Daniel walking down the ramp. They saw the Mystic, third generation telepath, and a member of one of the most famous telepathic families in the world.
Plus, Daniel was kind of hot even if that wasn’t obvious through the mask.
Anyway, he walked down the ramp in his costume—black with silver accents—tall, and sounding calm.
“Everybody on board, and be quick. We’re in a little bit of a hurry.”
Waving people past me, I said, “A hurry? Why?”
“We called the Liberators, and they told us that only authorized aircraft are allowed near D.C. right now.”
“Why isn’t the League jet authorized?”
“Officially, they said we’re too young. Unofficially, I think they looked at the jet’s specs and realized the main guns could turn the White House into a burning hole. They sounded excited we were coming at first, but when we got closer they wanted us to land the jet at Baltimore’s airport, and fly in on our own. That’s forty-five miles away. We decided to turn on the shields and sneak in.”
The last of my lookalikes stepped into the jet.
Daniel smiled, and told me, “So everyone’s in. We’d better move.”
We walked up the ramp, and the door closed behind us.
From the front, Haley said, “Shields are up.”
A new hum started.
“I didn’t know we had shields,” I said, walking up to the second row of seats, sitting down, and pulling a seatbelt across my body.
Daniel sat down in the next seat over. “We’ve never had much of a reason to turn them on.”
“Just once,” Haley said. She wore her Night Cat costume. From behind, I couldn’t see much more than gray.
Next to her in the Rocket suit, Nick said, “Yeah, and that was a mess. I hope this goes better.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Daniel said, “if we get in trouble, I’m sure my dad or Isaac Lim can smooth it over.”
“That must be nice,” Rod said.
Remembering how much Sam and he disliked that guy who was part of the Liberators and what he’d said about legacy heroes in general, I cringed a little inside.
“It’s better than getting in trouble for getting you guys out,” Daniel said.
I was about to cut in and tell Rod to relax, and that the rest of the team were okay when Daniel talked to me telepathically.
Daniel: Don’t worry about it, a lot of legacies are jerks.
Me: I know. I’ve met a few lately.
Daniel: Right. Well, anyway, I thought I’d talk to you privately a second.
Me: Go for it. I’m not busy.
Daniel: Here’s something you should know. That guy in the suit? John? He said he didn’t know he was working for the Nine. He was lying. He knew the whole time. Right now he’s trying to figure out the best way to escape. I’ve passed it on to Haley. She’s setting something up with Isaac Lim.
I looked up at Haley. She was texting somebody on her communicator.
Daniel: The reason he’s got all these girls who look like you is that they knew you could operate Abominator tech. What they didn’t know is that your dad took you to Grand Lake. They’ve been watching adoption agencies and foster families on the East Coast for years, I guess. And thanks to the Cabal’s stuff getting out, they’ve been testing for powers. Not just with them either. I guess they’ve got plans for people with powers. Unfortunately, he’s got enough of a mental shield that I can’t just scan him for them.
Me: I managed to step into the middle of everything this time. Do you know what’s with the frogs? Why are they invading?
Daniel: No idea. We’ve been following the Double V forums. No one seems to know. It looks like they’re losing though.
Me: Ok. About the Abominators… Can you sense the gun? Its Abominator made, I think. Its an AI.
Daniel: No. Not a thing, but you know what? You’ve got this system activated in your brain that I’ve never seen before. I can’t touch it mentally, but I can sense it’s there the same way I sense mental shields. It’s weird.
Me: Do you sense any changes? After what Lee told Nick…
Daniel: No. Nothing. Aside from the newly activated part of your mind, no other changes.
Me: Good. Watch me, okay? If Abominator tech messes with my head, someone’s going to have to stop me. It’s not going to be easy. You saw the roof.
Daniel: I know. I’ll watch, but I wouldn’t worry about it for now. You’re normal.
Me: I’m my dad’s female clone with a splice of alien DNA. If there’s one thing I’m not, it’s normal.
Daniel: You know what I mean.
Ahead of me, Nick seemed to be doing a lot with the controls. All the alien technology in the jet made it impossible to tell if we were even moving—especially with its shields blocking the windows.
All I could see was inky blackness. No stars. No lights.
And then it all changed. Haley said, “Shields down.”
Nick said, “Hey everybody, we’re about to land at Baltimore Washington International Airport. The frogs aren’t anywhere near us. You’ll be safe until it’s time to go home.”
Through the windows, I suddenly saw planes, runways, and hangars. We floated over them, landing on the helipad. Men and women in suits were waiting next to it for us. I had a feeling the FBI was going to get some interesting stories out of John.
After that I’d be able to go home–my real home. I could take the jet back to Grand Lake with everyone else. Except I ought to let Mom know. I thought about that. She’d called me ages ago, and I’d turned off my normal cell phone once I got into costume. I didn’t dare guess how many times she’d called me since then, or how worried she’d been.
She was going to kill me.