The flight to Ann Arbor to pick up Rachel and Jaclyn took less than 10 minutes.
We picked them up at a small lake Rachel had called “Barton Pond.” Whatever it was, it was large enough for me to find from the air, and float over while they boarded. Plus it was dark enough out that we wouldn’t be too obvious.
They were in costume. All in white, Rachel’s gun hung from her utility belt. Jaclyn’s costume was purple, as ever, and unlike anyone else on our team, she wore a mask instead of a bullet resistant hood.
Being basically invulnerable, she could do that.
As they pulled on their seat belts, Jaclyn said, “So, do we have a plan this time?”
“I’d been wondering that myself.” Flick said. Her voice had a hint of a southern accent—possibly from Texas—but just a hint.
Rachel eyed her as she finished putting on her seat belt. “The program’s not running this now? That surprises me.”
Flick twisted around in her seat to face Rachel. “We’re all about training you to be able to take initiative. Plus, you’re special. You’ve already faced people like this and come out ahead. I’m here to give advice and help keep you out of trouble.”
Sounding slightly amused, Rachel said, “And that’s all? You like us, so you’ll let us go into mortal danger?”
Flick grinned at her, but only for a second. Then she looked very serious. “I’ll let you in on a secret. We’re stretched a little thin right now. We don’t have anyone we trust who we think can handle it, and this has to be done. Some of you can guess why, and if you can’t, consider yourself lucky. People have died because they knew.”
Haley and I looked at each other. I’d given everybody a big hint when I talked about the gun.
Well, whatever. Too late to do anything about it now—unless we were willing to convince Daniel to fix the problem.
“Getting back to the plan,” I said. “We still don’t know enough to have a firm plan. All we know is that they’ve got Cassie, and when her distress call came up, the coordinates were for somewhere near Hudson Bay. I’m guessing Rook’s got a base there. If that turns out to be the case, I’m thinking we send in the armored, and fastest moving people to get Cassie while the other people distract them.”
Sean smirked at me. “Dude, I could send out an EMP that nukes their electronics, and that’s the end. They can’t do anything. They’re all in armor, right? That’s Rook’s thing.”
“Maybe,” I said, “but here’s the problem. You’re not the only guy with magnetic powers out there, and I can only speak for myself, but the current Rocket suit doesn’t include any metal you can affect. Plus, it’s got a lot of ceramic.
“Plus, you’re not the only guy who can do an EMP. I’ve put in stuff to protect against them. I’m betting Rook has too. Even if he hasn’t protected everything, the security system would be high on his list. His powered armor too, I bet.”
“Sure,” Sean rolled his eyes.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You don’t want me to show you up. If I do the EMP, I’ve fixed everything, and you’ve got nothing to do.”
“No,” I said, and stopped. I knew he was wrong, but where were the words?
Rachel leaned forward in her chair, putting her closer to Sean. “Hey Sean, let’s remember the last few times you and Nick worked together. The way I heard it when you attacked Izzy, you lost control of all the metal you were using as a shield, and she had to save you—”
Sean interrupted, “No, that’s wrong—”
Izzy flushed, but said. “It’s true.”
Rachel didn’t stop, “—from being crushed. Oh, and let’s see, when you went up against Ray and Gina with that truck, you went ahead of us, and what happened? You lost, and ended up a hostage. How far do you want me to go back? You act first, and think later. If you go in with a big EMP or any ‘plan’ like that, you could get all of us killed, got it?”
Sean turned around in his chair, and I expected him to start screaming at Rachel, but then he didn’t.
He turned back around, and leaned forward to catch Daniel’s eye. Daniel sat on the other end of the row with Izzy and Sydney between them.
Sean shouted, “Get out of my head!” Then he leaned back, and didn’t say anything else. Neither did the rest of us.
It felt very quiet in the jet.
“Uh,” I said. “So… That’s the whole plan for now. I’m planning to use the jet’s sensors from a distance to see if we can get more information. Then we’ll come up with a better plan.”
Flick nodded. “That’s good enough for now.”
I turned on the anti-gravity, and let the jet float upward into the night sky, suddenly remembering that I ought to be going to bed around now.
Deciding not to think about that, or how I’d deal with classes (assuming I didn’t skip them), I thought at Daniel, What was that all about?
I felt embarrassment coming across our connection.
I pushed him—not directly. I didn’t manipulate his brain. I reminded him that one of his coaches, a coach he liked a lot, said the same thing. He’s been blaming himself for his dad’s death. He thinks it was retaliation for attacking Ray, and blames himself for not thinking that through.
He’s probably right. You didn’t remind him of that, did you?
Not directly, but I knew that if I reminded him of the coach, he’d get himself there.
Whoa. That’s kind of manipulative.
I felt a brief wave of guilt wash over from him.
I know. I don’t like it either, but I couldn’t think of another way to shut him up. Cassie doesn’t have time for this. Besides, he might learn something.
We could hope.