I felt Travis grab my arm as I stepped toward the door, and said, “Hang on!”
Jaclyn and Travis jumped with me as I gave the rockets fuel, and that was all for the best. The Rocket suit wasn’t meant to carry people. Sure, you could carry people. You could carry several people, but let’s put it this way—if a car were falling off a bridge, and I was the only chance for the people inside to survive… well… those people were likely to have a very short life.
This was bad for a whole lot of reasons, but mostly because it wasn’t at it’s best maneuvering while carrying three people, two from my right arm, one with my left. The right rockets had to compensate by putting out more force on that side just to keep us from listing to one side or the other.
This made all turns a little sluggish. If you hypothetically happened to be flying above the Hudson River while pieces of a spaceship fell from above, this was more than a little inconvenient.
The HUD said, [COLLISION ALERT].
I weaved as a particularly big chunk of the ship fell. It looked like the entire back end of the ship.
It landed in the river, making a big splash. I aimed upward, checking both Travis and Jaclyn to see how comfortable they were, and if they were having any trouble hanging on.
They seemed fine—as fine you can be while hanging by one hand from the Rocket suit and traveling across the Hudson at twilight.
Travis appeared to be watching the ship more than me. At least his eyes seemed to be pointed in that direction. With his gray mask covering most of his face it was hard to tell.
Jaclyn hung on to me, but watched Izzy, holding her close and keeping Izzy’s head from flopping around while we flew.
I wondered if her powers still worked when she was unconscious. She’d dug deep to keep the ship from sinking while we were still in it. It would be wrong if a piece of debris fell on her and killed her.
With that in mind, I decided to land as soon as I could.
Two of the piers on the New York side had grass and even trees growing on them. They appeared to have been deliberately landscaped, complete with park benches.
I aimed for there. The trees didn’t have leaves, and the grass was brown, but the HUD labeled it “Hudson River Park.” At least we wouldn’t get in trouble for landing there.
I suspected the same wouldn’t be true if we landed on the Statue of Liberty’s torch, and we could have. It wasn’t that far away. It wasn’t all that close either, but still we could have made it.
We touched down, and Jaclyn laid her out on the nearest park bench. Not as long as Izzy was tall, the bench didn’t look that comfortable to me. Izzy’s legs fell on both sides. It didn’t have a back.
I opened a comm connection to Issac Lim, and he took it immediately. “Great to hear from you. How’s Izzy doing?”
“How did you know that?” I checked the HUD. He was miles away, and none of us had time to tell him.
“Ghost,” he said. “She called in as soon as you got out. We’ll get Izzy to a hospital or to Paladin, but honestly, Paladin’s wiped out. How badly is Izzy hurt?”
Even though he couldn’t possibly see it, I shook my head. “I don’t know. I’m not even sure she is hurt. She might just be tired. If anything, I’d say that she strained her powers if that makes any sense. She kept the ship in the air, and then she collapsed.”
Lim took his time responding, long enough that I began to wonder if he’d put me on hold. Then he said, “It can happen. I’ve seen people lose their powers for a time. They usually come back, but if you’re lucky, she’s tired. We’ve got a fix on you and we’re sending someone to pick you up.”
Glancing at Jaclyn’s burned costume, the reddish spots on her face and arm where she’d been hit, I asked, “Is it over? Is anyone still fighting?”
“Give me a second,” Lim said, and asked something I couldn’t catch. “No,” he said. “No one’s fighting. All the ships are accounted for as well as the asteroids.”
I felt a surge of fear as I thought about my next question, but asked it anyway. “What about Grand Lake? Have you talked to anyone there?”
“We haven’t talked to anyone, but we know that your people took down the ship. Rocket, I’m sure they’re all fine. Man-machine came out of retirement for this one. I’d never have thought letting that guy out would be useful. Biggest collar of my career and he served less than a year. Still, he played a role in saving all of us. Anyway, I’ve got to go. I’ll talk later.”
I’d barely closed the connection when Travis turned to me and asked, “What happened in Grand Lake?”
Jaclyn looked over at me too.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I checked the League’s channel in the middle of everything, and they were shouting about needing to press a button, and then there wasn’t anything. I haven’t been able to make a connection since.”
Travis started to tap at his wrist mounted comm. After a little while, he stopped, looking up at me. “Why didn’t you tell me this before?”
“We were in the middle of fighting, and we couldn’t do anything about it.”
He grunted something and started tapping again.
I wanted to help, but it was clear that we weren’t going to get anywhere by calling Haley or any of them directly. I tried to think of other options. Who could I contact that likely wasn’t affected by the electromagnetic pulse, but was near enough to know what happened.
As I thought, two figures landed on the pier with us—Sean and Vaughn. “Hey,” Vaughn shouted. “Are you all okay?”