“Blue strained herself,” Jaclyn said, using the codename we’d used for her last time we’d gotten desperate for a codename.
Her current costume was actually a costume, and it did have some blue and yellow on it, but more black. It reminded me of Native American designs—which fit. She was at least partially Mexican, and a lot of them descended from native tribes.
“Whoa,” Vaughn said. “Her powers, you mean? She doesn’t look hurt.”
He landed near us. I felt the pull of the wind that kept him in the air stop.
Sean landed near him, and the Rocket suit didn’t miss a beat—no static, errors or anything. Either he was getting better at controlling himself, or the suit’s shielding worked like it was supposed to.
His eyes fell on Travis, who was still tapping on his communicator.
“What’s up? Something going on?”
Travis glanced over at him, and frowned for a brief moment. “I’m trying to find out what happened in Grand Lake.”
Sean’s puzzled expression showed that he had no idea what happened in Grand Lake.
Travis didn’t even look up from the screen as Jaclyn said, “Local capes, including your sister, fought a ship full of aliens.”
He blinked. “No kidding. Are they okay?”
Jaclyn shook her head. “No one knows. They were shouting about pressing a button, and after that, radio silence.”
“Fuck,” Sean announced to no one in particular, “I told Sydney not to get involved in whatever thing she was doing with Haley and Camille. I mean, how could they think they could handle something like that?”
“They had help,” I said. I’d stopped trying to contact them. “Man-machine was there, I guess, and probably the Shift, and—“
Sean turned to stare at me. “Didn’t you put him in prison or something?”
Jaclyn broke in before I could reply. “It sounds like he’s out, but that’s not all. Could you please stop saying people’s names in public? Someone could be listening.”
Sean rolled his eyes. “Come on, Accelerando,” he emphasized her codename, “they evacuated the city. Who’s going to hear us?”
A voice from above us said, “She’s got a good point.”
I jerked my head toward the sound of the voice. I think most of us did because the voice said, “Relax everybody, I’m here to ask questions, not fight.”
“Get on with it,” Travis said. “I noticed you a couple minutes ago.” He didn’t look up from his comm.
A short man hung in the air above us, camera balancing on his shoulder. The crazy thing was, I recognized the guy. He’d flown into Grand Lake with Justice Fiend last year.
“I wasn’t recording,” the man said, landing on the pier. “But Accelerando’s right. You don’t know who could be listening in. Some tabloids would pay thousands of dollars for a hero’s first name even if they didn’t know which hero it was. Somebody would figure it out, more so with you than most. You don’t even have a secret identity, right?”
Sean eyed the guy, giving him a suspicious look. “What are you doing here?”
Smiling, the man said, “Glad you asked. I’m Shane Perez. I specialize in shooting video of supers, especially when they’re fighting. Right now I’m shooting video for local TV stations, but I work on movies too.”
As if he were making some kind of point, Sean commented, “You don’t have a secret identity either.”
Camera aimed casually toward the ground, Shane said, “Not in the least, but I’m not a superhero or a criminal. People pay me to get footage, and that’s all. Sometimes they pay me to ask questions too. That’s why I’m here today. I just got some amazing footage of that ship uncloaking, having its power fail, start to fall, get held up, and then completely fall apart as a group of heroes escape. I’d like all of you to talk about that. It won’t take long—five or ten minutes tops.”
Sean gave us a sidelong glance, then turned back toward Shane. “I could answer some questions.”
Vaughn shrugged. “Whatever. It’s over now. I don’t think we’ve got a schedule, but what about Blue? Shouldn’t we be getting her somewhere?”
This didn’t seem like the right time for an interview, but I didn’t have a good reason to say no, beyond being irritated. “I can’t even promise five minutes. People are already on their way for Blue now, and when she goes, we all ought to go.”
Shane raised the camera as Jaclyn shook her head and knelt down to check Izzy’s pulse.
“So why don’t you start with why you were on the spaceship to begin with. What was the plan?”
We talked him through it despite a background feeling that I should have told him to go away. We talked through everything he’d filmed through to in the end including Izzy’s contribution.
Vaughn laughed, and punched Sean’s shoulder, “No way, I told you it was too light. I mean seriously, I did my best, but I don’t exactly have a precise power. If I’d gone all out I’d have taken out buildings on both sides of the river with tornadoes. We’d have done more damage than if we’d let the ship fall.”
Sean meanwhile looked like he’d discovered a particularly bad smell. “It’s not like we didn’t do anything. I put my all into keeping that thing up. When they came out and we could finally let go, I pushed the falling pieces away from them.”
He had? I hadn’t felt like I was getting any help at all, but I couldn’t be sure. For all I knew, his help might have made all the difference.
“We didn’t get hit,” I said. “I hate to think what would have happened if we had. Normally, Blue’s pretty close to invulnerable, but I don’t know what she is right now.”
I wondered if I should go further than that, but didn’t. I didn’t want to diminish what Izzy had done. She’d made all the difference in keeping the ship up. At the same time, Sean had done his best. You can’t ask for more than that.
Shane stopped filming, aiming his camera down. “Thanks everybody. Maybe you’ll see yourselves on TV.”
Then he flew away.
Rachel appeared a few minutes later, fading into view next to Izzy’s bench.
Travis looked up from his comm. “Where have you been?”
Rachel grinned. “The Hrrnna leader left in an escape pod. I’ve been redirecting him.”