Jeremy hung up his towel inside his closet, and said, “Is this major?”
I didn’t know I was that easy to read.
I looked away from the computer, and up at him as he stopped next to my desk.
“Seriously,” he asked, “How big?”
And the crazy thing was, I really could tell him. Daniel had telepathically blocked him from passing on information to anyone outside the League.
On the other hand, the less he knew, the better. If Daniel didn’t maintain it, the mental construct would dissolve on its own eventually.
I thought for a second, and made a decision. “Really big. In an alternate universe I died while saving St. Louis, Missouri. In this universe, I think I just got the clue that made me go investigate, and so I’m trying figure out a way to save the city, but not die.”
“Geez,” Jeremy stood there, still in his bathrobe. “Here’s an idea. Tell someone else what’s going on, and let them go.”
I shook my head. “Not as easy as you’d think. Most supers will tell you not to trust an alternate version of you because even well meaning versions might not be as close to you as they think. So basically no one’s interested. The other reason is kind of the opposite of the first… I actually met an alternate version of myself from a world where he was the only human left. I got the impression that he’d been kept away from something big, and regretted not taking uh… more decisive action.”
Jeremy blinked. “Wow. Are you saying that’s what’ll happen if you don’t go?”
“I don’t know, but the timing of the big event is close. Whatever happened there, happened this winter or spring.”
“So why don’t you ask him for more info?”
“Can’t,” I said. “The last time I saw him, he was back in his own universe, and I don’t know where it is. Plus, he tried to kill and replace me in this universe, so Haley shot him with a particle accelerator rifle.”
His eyes widened. “Your girlfriend? She’s so small…”
Haley was only about five feet tall, but that didn’t really matter. It didn’t have anything to do with what she would or wouldn’t do.
I didn’t say anything. Maybe he’d stop asking questions? He did have class soon.
Jeremy glanced toward his alarm clock, and turned his head back toward me. “You live a really weird life. I mean, unbelievably cool, but weird. I’ve got to get to class though. Tell me if you need anything. I’d like to help if I can.”
“I don’t see how you could, but thanks. I’ll ask.”
He walked over to his dresser, and started pulling on clothes. As he did it, I couldn’t help but think that it was nice that he offered even if there wasn’t anything he could do.
* * *
I spent the rest of the day as I might have normally—like I might have if I didn’t have a potentially world ending event on my mind. I trudged across campus to attend classes, making sure I wore boots.
It could have been worse. I was tired. My mind was somewhere else, but I hadn’t missed any assignments or readings. I got a couple assignments, but that was normal.
Around four, I found myself walking back from my last class of the day, a chemistry class, when my League phone rang.
Nobody was near, so I took the call.
Before I put it to my ear, I could see that the call came from Cassie. “Hey,” I said.
“I’ve got some weapon ideas,” Cassie said.
I looked around, amazed at how much campus had cleared out, but honestly, didn’t it always on Friday?
“Ok,” I said, “what?”
“A non-lethal takedown weapon. Maybe one of those paralysis guns? Plus I’d like something big, something with real potential to take out something like the Grey Giant. So maybe lasers? Like your guitar?”
Walking down the sidewalk toward my dorm, I said, “I think that can be done. Actually I figured I’d be putting in stun guns like ones the Defenders use, and the lasers would be good too. They’d have the good point that you’d have ammo as long as you had energy, but the bad point that you’d use up energy faster that way.”
As I talked, my mind flipped through who I’d have to call tonight. I’d want to get to St. Louis soon, and I’d want to do it differently than I’d done it in other universes.
“What’s going on, Nick?” Cassie sounded irritated. “Are you there?”
“Uh… sure. Just a little distracted. You know, the St. Louis thing? I finally got a clue that makes a little sense.”
She didn’t wait for an instant before talking. “You’re going in, aren’t you? You aren’t leaving me here for this. I’m coming along.”
“It’s going to be really early. I’m thinking that if we don’t want anyone to see us, we’ve got to get there before six, so I’d have to pick you up around four something. Plus, everyone could die. Are you sure you want to go?”
“Don’t kid yourself. I’m coming. Vaughn’s coming too, right?”