I thought about it a little more. No, my basic plan was still possible. We could have a rescue group and a distraction group. We just might have to join up afterward instead of having the distraction group get away quietly.
No, better yet, I thought—only risk the people who can take a lot of damage and whose powers allow them to get in and get out quickly.
“OK,” I said, “here’s the plan now that I’ve got an idea of what’s going on.”
Daniel ended the group connection—which was probably a good thing. He’d have had to filter out my irritation at Sean, and not just my irritation. I didn’t know what Haley was feeling, but they’d had a bad breakup when they’d been going out.
Bad, in that case, meant that she’d used the neurotoxic poison in her claws on him when he’d tried to push her to go farther than she wanted, and his family had brought in lawyers and the police.
Filtering the results of that couldn’t be easy either.
In my head, I heard Daniel’s reply.
Believe me, that’s not all I was filtering.
I decided I didn’t have time to go into that.
“Knowing that they’re blocking everything they can means this just got more complicated. Instead of sending in two groups right away, we’re going to go with one group—Jaclyn, Izzy and I. We’re all fast, and highly armored.
“Haley will fly the jet in. We’ll jump out, break in, take out as many defenses as we can, and get Cassie. If that works, we’ll call you on the communicators, and the rest of you can cover us on the way out.”
“What?” Sean had his mouth half open in an expression I read as being somewhere between disgust and anger.
“You’re hogging the whole rescue. I can keep up with you, and I don’t have to be protected like some little kid—”
“Sean,” Jaclyn broke in before he could go into a rant. “Listen to me. Nick’s right. We’ve got a good chance of getting in and out before they even realize something’s happened. Even if we can’t, I think we can take out the psi-blockers—which means all of you can come in full bore. That will make a huge difference to your chances if you have to rescue us.”
Sean blinked, and seemed to be giving that some thought when Flick started in.
“It’s just smart to leave some of your heavy hitters in reserve. If we have to go in, it’ll be you, me and Sydney in the front. Besides, you’re facing the Nine this time. I don’t think you’ll miss out on the action.”
Sean nodded. “OK, but who’s in charge while he’s gone?”
“I was assuming it’d be Flick,” I said. “Well, unless she’d prefer it be Haley or Rachel.”
Haley shook her head. “Not me. If I’m going to be flying the jet, and operating weapons, I won’t have time.”
“I don’t even know if I’ll have powers down there yet.” Rachel gave an exaggerated salute in Flick’s direction. “All hail our glorious leader.”
Sean didn’t argue. From the question, I’d assumed he would want to be in charge.
Either they’d handled it better than I had, or he accepted any authority if it wasn’t mine.
Flick put her hand on Sydney’s shoulder, touching a simple white jumpsuit. The metal that had been covering Sydney lay in a lump on the floor. I didn’t know when she’d removed it.
“You’ll have to choose a codename so we all know what to call you,” Flick said.
Sydney glanced over to Haley, and then back to Flick. “Camille and Haley thought I should call myself Alloy.”
Flick nodded. “There might be another Alloy. It seems to me that there was, but don’t worry about it just this once.”
She paused, and then said, “Time to suit up. We’ll need to go soon, but not this second. Your friends ought to be here fairly quickly. If we have more backup than that, I’ll be surprised.”
Everyone got back into their seats, put on their seat belts, and I listened for Alex.
It didn’t take long.
Alex’ voice came over the radio, “We’re here.”
The screen indicated it had used the Defenders standard encryption, and had sent a key that verified it as a Defenders podjet.
I reflected that this would be a bad time to discover that the Nine had broken the Defenders codes.
“We’re going in,” I told him.