I clicked for more information, and realized that it wasn’t Cassie’s new communicator sending the signal. It was her old one.
The old League had alert signals that allowed them to show status using green, yellow, and red like ours did, but didn’t allow them to send sound or pictures—just location.
They’d been great at what they could do, but I’d replaced them last spring.
Some people had turned the old ones in, but not everybody. I didn’t have a problem with that. The original League had trained a lot of supers, and most of them had kept their devices as mementos.
On the off chance that someone else might have picked up an old device from the original Captain Commando, I checked the device’s broadcast ID.
It matched up to the one I’d given Cassie.
And that meant, that in all likelihood Cassie had kept her old device, and when Rook’s people had taken or destroyed her new one, she’d signaled us with the old one.
Or, she’d kept the old one, and they’d taken it too and were using it to throw us off or trap us.
By the time I realized I’d been ignoring Daniel, the signal ended. It had lasted less than thirty seconds.
“Nick?” Daniel looked concerned. “What just happened?”
“I don’t know. Cassie’s old tracking device just sent us her location. That or someone’s trying to trick us into believing she just used it.”
“What do you think?” He asked.
“The way Grandpa did the encryption, I’ve got a hard time believing anyone could imitate it. At the same time, they could probably activate the alert if they got a hold of it.”
Izzy leaned into the picture, moving next to Daniel on the bed. For the record, both of them had clothes on. We hadn’t interrupted them in the middle of having sex or something.
I felt grateful for that.
From behind her screen, Haley caught my eye. She probably wanted to know who Izzy was. She’d been on vacation when I’d met her last summer, and Haley wasn’t yet old enough for The Stapledon program.
I thought about trying to tell her, and then wondered if the Stapledon program’s version of the block would let me.
“Hey,” I told Daniel, “if we’re going to check it out, I think we’ve got to go now. If it was Cassie, and she deliberately gave us a short burst like that, there’s a pretty good chance that Rook noticed it too. They’ll probably take it and move her. The crazy thing is that if she’s there, we’ll need everybody, but we don’t have time to pick people up.”
Daniel nodded, “Where is she?”
“Way up north. The signal came from near Hudson Bay in Canada.”
Izzy drew her lips together nervously, and then said, “I can get him to Grand Lake before you take off.”
“Great,” I said, remembering when she’d carried me. I’d have to ask Daniel what was up when they got here.
Not that it would be bad if they were dating or something. She’d tower over most other people I knew.
Daniel gave a brief smile, but then looked a little more serious. “Oh, Nick? You might have a little trouble leaving when you want.”
“You’re about to get interrupted a few times.”
I barely had any time to think about that when the screen began to beep. Meanwhile the words “Guardian, Midwest Defenders,” appeared near the bottom of the screen.
“Crap. I should go.”
“Sorry,” Daniel said.
I took Guardian’s call, wishing that Daniel could see further ahead. If we’d stopped talking earlier, I might have missed this call entirely.
Guardian stood in full costume—a silvery substance that covered him from top to bottom. Between his muscles and his height, he looked as impressive as his reputation, which was also huge.
I tried to think of an appropriate greeting for one of the better known heroes in the world.
I went with, “Hi.”
“Rocket,” he said, and held up his right hand. The silvery costume parted enough to make a ring visible. An inset “gem” glowed red. “My League alert ring just turned red. Who’s in trouble?”
“Captain Commando just got taken by Rook. We’re pretty sure he was working for or part of the Nine.”
I didn’t expect to surprise him with that, but he didn’t say anything at first.
He recovered, though.
“How did that happen? You weren’t fighting the Nine’s people, were you? You were supposed to leave that to us.”
It was my turn to stumble.
“I… We… didn’t know it was the Nine. We were going to check it out, but then the situation kind of got out of hand.”
He took a breath, and then let it out.
“I don’t think you know what this means,” he said. “Now that they’ve got her, they’re in possession of secrets that could change the balance of power between them and us, and I don’t have time to handle it because I’m in the middle of something equally critical.”
I hadn’t noticed it before, but he wasn’t standing. He was flying, and other people in costumes flew near him.
“That’s okay,” I said. “We know where she is, and we’re going after her.”
His eyes widened. “No. Absolutely not.”