What we’ve got here is the beginning of a scene that will be continued on Thursday or (much more likely) Friday. To be honest, I’ve mixed feelings about ending it where I do, but I’ve got to cut the scene somewhere. In the next post we’ll get a little more into the meat of things. In the meantime, I get to spill a teensy-tiny bit more about what the old League was like.
So it was Friday night, the night (if popular culture is to be believed) when everybody who is anybody is out doing something fun.
I was in my grandfather’s lab in Heroes’ League HQ setting rules for the security system. During the summer when I’d basically decided to use HQ as a massive home theater/video game room, I’d set it to let in anybody connected to the original League.
Recent events had made it obvious that that was not a good idea.
I set the security program to let in Daniel, Jaclyn, Cassie and myself without question, other people if they were with one of us, and for everyone else the program would email me a request.
Also, it would always notify me if someone entered the complex.
Having saved the rules, I clicked out of the program and pushed off the stool, walking out of the lab.
The main room was just as filled with boxes as ever, all of them neatly labeled, contents listed. One of these days I would have to go through them. Who knew what else had been sitting inside for twenty years or more?
The communications screen filling most of the far wall was dark. I considered pulling out Guitar Hero II and playing a few songs, but people would be arriving soon and I didn’t want them to find me mangling “Psychobilly Freakout” yet again.
I wasn’t completely sure how I did want them to find me, but I preferred conveying the thought “teenager with grownup problems” as opposed to “teenager with delusions of grandeur who really sucks at Guitar Hero.”
I walked up to one of the command consoles at the main table, setting the screen to display a publicity picture of the Heroes League circa 1965. It showed the team posing next to the command console in costume. Ghostwoman sat next to the console—just transparent enough to see the outline of the chair she sat in. Grandpa stood behind her as the Rocket. Next to her crouched Night Wolf, all in dark gray and looking feral. Behind him stood Hotfoot, recently renamed “C,” and probably just back from marching for civil rights somewhere in the South.
Captain Commando (wearing an enormous utility belt) stood next to C and Red Lightning stood in front of Captain Commando, electrical sparks covering his arms. The Mentalist stood next to Captain Commando and partially behind Red Lightning. He appeared deep in thought.
I backed away from the table to admire it, briefly wishing that they were dealing with all this instead of me.
Jaclyn arrived first. She runs at the speed of sound so that’s not much of a surprise. She walked into the main room through one of the tunnel entrances.
She wore a purple costume with a mask that covered all of her face except for her mouth. It didn’t have any markings or symbols.
She turned to a blur between the tunnel and the table. By the time I could make out her features, she’d taken the mask off and sat down.
“I didn’t know you had a costume,” I said. “Do you have a name?”
“My grandpa gave me the costume last year but no, no name.”
Jaclyn looks a lot like her grandfather. She’s tall (around six feet), skinny, dark skinned, and there’s a facial resemblance too. I’m not quite sure how to describe it. A long face doesn’t quite say what I mean, but it’s the closest I can come up with.
“I never really intended to wear it,” she said. “My brothers didn’t bother to use their powers until after they’d graduated college and moved to Atlanta. Besides, I don’t want to run around the city looking for muggers when I’ve got schoolwork.”
Schoolwork that she’s probably doing at Mach 1, I thought. Between being in sports, school council at Grand Lake South High, playing cello in the orchestra, and on South’s yearbook team, she was probably using her speed just to get through daily life.
“I barely have time to be here,” she said.
“What,” I said, “you have something else going tonight?”
“No, it’s just that I could be working on my homework or researching colleges for my applications or practicing or… I’m sorry. I don’t really want to stay for the meeting. Could we just talk about it now?”
“Well, we’re really going to need everyone. After we talk about what’s going on we’re going to have to figure out what to do about it.”
“What exactly,” she said, “is going on?”
“Um… It looks like someone’s watching us and I don’t know for sure, but they might be trying to kill us or something.”