As always, Jefferson Street was a zoo. It probably had the most fast food restaurants and chain stores of any street in the city. At ten or eleven at night, the traffic became bearable—it wasn’t bumper to bumper anymore.
I brought the van to a stop on the other side of the road from the one with Lakeside Lounge–four lanes worth of cars and semi-trucks away.
We were next to a Subway, a shoe store, and Grand Lake Marina Supplies. That last store took up most of the space. Even though the store had closed, the lights were still on, and I could look in at speed boats, engines, water-skis and other gear.
Across the street, Lakeside Lounge took up most of the strip mall. The only store next to it was something called “Dan’s Fan City.”
Dimly lit, I couldn’t see much in there, but I could see fans.
If I remembered what Haley said correctly, Davis had gone into the back.
The screen on the dashboard showed Travis and Haley parked on the far end of the Lakeside Lounge’s parking lot. The “Wolfmobile” blended in with all the other cars. Even knowing where it was, I couldn’t see it.
Meanwhile, a group of people stood next to the entrance of the building, the ends of their cigarettes glowing in the dark.
The screen showed Cassie as being five minutes away (assuming she didn’t drive her motorcycle through yards and parking lots), and Marcus as roughly the same—he flew slower, but straight.
Over the communicator, Haley said, “So why are you driving the van?”
“Courtney heard both ends of our conversation, and figured out who I was. I couldn’t leave her there after that, so I brought her along.”
Haley said, “Oh, no…”
Simultaneously Travis said, “Again? Wasn’t Chris enough? Seriously, you have got to stop telling people without an okay from the rest of us.”
“Look,” I said, and I might have sounded a little irritated, “I didn’t tell her, she had enhanced hearing. She heard Haley talking.”
Courtney cringed. “I am so sorry. I wasn’t trying to find out. I modified my ears so I could hear better, but all I wanted was warning if people were sneaking up on me.”
Travis groaned. “You’re letting her listen in?”
“What was I supposed to do? Tie her up, and stuff her in the back of the van?”
The sound of wind and Vaughn’s voice came over the speaker. “That’d be kind of kinky.”
Oh great, Haley had called us on the League’s common frequency. Everyone in the group could listen in if they wanted to.
Marcus’ voice came over the speakers along with the flap of his wings. “You know what’s crazy? The guy who created Wonder Woman was way into bondage, and that’s why Wonder Woman got tied up all the time in the beginning. Bizarre, right?”
With a muffled growl and series of thumping noises, Cassie’s motorcycle overrode all other noise. “I missed half of that. Why are we talking about bondage now?”
Almost at the same time, Haley, Courtney, and I gave three variations on, “We’re not.” Meanwhile Marcus began, “Well, you know Wonder Woman—”
“Never mind,” Cassie said. “Did you send the roachbots in yet?”
“No,” I said, but Haley interrupted me, “A few. That’s how we followed him. I haven’t found him again yet. They’re just crawling through the vents right now.”
“So we wait till they find him?” Cassie asked. “Then what?”
“We call the Feds,” I said. “If it’s the Nine, and it is, that’s what we’re supposed to do.”
Travis started talking practically the instant I stopped. “No. We should take out their power impregnator like we did with the Cabal.”
Courtney gave me a confused look.
At the same time, I said, “No. We barely survived that, and we’re not supposed to.”
“C’mon Rocket,” Travis said, “do you think we’ve got a chance of running into anything even close to the Cabal’s people and Ray’s team at once?”
“Famous last words,” Vaughn said.
Travis’ response sounded annoyed to me. “What do you mean by that?”
“Nothing,” Vaughn said. “You know what I mean. Whenever people say something like that, it’s always worse.”
“We don’t live in a horror movie,” Travis muttered.
“Yeah,” I said, “but the Nine are tough, and they’ve fought us twice now. Who knows what they’ve picked up?”
“Not twice,” Travis said. “The first time was Night Cat plus Sydney and Camille.”
I’d said it because it sounded good, but then I thought about it. “Did you all use League communicators?”
We’d let Justice Fist borrow them last spring.
Haley stretched out her answer into two syllables, “YEEees?”
“That’s one thing they might catch,” I said.