That was interesting, and not necessarily good. It wasn’t necessarily bad. It didn’t automatically mean Sean was planning to take out his fear and anxiety about his sister on me.
It didn’t mean he wasn’t either.
Vaughn saw him as Sean got closer. “Hey, he’s coming back–”
And then Sean was there, landing on the sidewalk with exactly the force required to stop, and not a bit more or less. I’d come to envy that. Sure, I’d worked out a landing command that did the same thing, but it wasn’t flexible. I needed to do manual landings a lot, and when I did, it was all too easy to drop a foot, or have to run a few steps before I could fully stop.
Despite the control he’d shown when landing, Sean slumped when he hit the ground.
He shook his head. “That was so stupid. I was going to fly home and then I realized I can’t get back to Grand Lake. I’m too tired. And even if I wasn’t tired, I can’t fly fast enough. It’ll take me hours.”
Vaughn put his hand on Sean’s shoulder. “Even if you could get back there, you couldn’t do anything to help her. The best thing you can do is relax. The Rocket was saying that he’s trying to get Paladin or Preserver in there. Rocket, how’s that going?”
Sean looked over at me, his face (what I could see of it since his mask covered his eyes) a mixture of hope and fear.
It was hard not to feel sympathy for him. I was scared for Sydney too. I didn’t know her very well, but I liked her better than her brother.
That didn’t say much, but she’d been decent to me any time I’d been around her. She’d never gone out of her way to be friendly, but she could just be an introvert. Come to think of it, I’d never gone out of my way to be friendly to her either.
“I asked Lim to call me as soon as he could. I’m pretty sure Paladin’s tired, but his father, Preserver probably isn’t. He might have been up in space, but they’re nearly back now if they aren’t already. Plus, she was hurt fighting in this with us. Preserver’s always made sure to heal any hero he could. I’m sure he’ll do the same for her.”
Sean nodded. “I’ve always heard that. Tell me when you know something.”
Then he sat down on a bench, leaning back, and looking up. He didn’t say anything.
Travis, meanwhile, had stood up when Sean turned around. Sean couldn’t have seen it since he was facing Travis, but I’d noticed that Travis’ dewclaws–the claws with the poison–had extended from his palms by the time Sean landed.
Haley had said that Travis had never liked Sean when they were dating. He had little choice but to remember the police investigation Sean’s family had brought down on them when Haley ended their relationship.
She’d poisoned him with her own dewclaw when he’d tried to push her to go further than she wanted physically.
As strangely gratifying as it would have been to have Travis take Sean out the same way, he didn’t. When Sean lay back on his bench, Travis sat down on his own and retracted his claws.
Vaughn exhaled, caught my eye, and shook his head. He’d noticed the claws.
I sat down too. There wasn’t much else to do until the medical team was done with Izzy and Jaclyn.
Minutes passed. No one talked as the sky grew darker and the last bits of sunset faded from the sky. The sky turned black, but not dark black. It was whatever color the sky gets when the streetlights make it impossible to really see it.
I thought I saw a few stars, but I wasn’t completely sure.
Then my communicator rang. The square next to Lim’s name started blinking. I took the call.
“Rocket,”Lim said, “What’s the problem?”
“Grand Lake,” I said. “The Power’s sister got hurt fighting aliens there. It sounds pretty bad, the kind of thing you’d need Paladin for, or Preserver. She controls metal. She doesn’t have regeneration or anything like that.”
Lim said. “Got it. I think we can manage a visit by Preserver. He’s with Guardian in space, but they’ve taken care of all the asteroids. Guardian can teleport him in.”
On the bench across from me, Sean stopped looking at the sky, and watched me.
“Great. Is he going to look at anyone else, or just the Power’s sister?”
Lim said, “Anyone with life threatening injuries, or injuries that normal medicine can’t handle well. He won’t handle everything. He might have to save his strength, and come back later for some injuries. We’re going to be sending him all over the globe, anywhere the Hrrnna hit.”
“Understood.” I made my answer short, expecting him to end the call.
“One more thing,” Lim said, “great job with the ship. In good condition, I’m pretty sure it could have leveled the city.”
“Thanks,” I said.
Lim laughed. “You’re welcome. I wish you’d mentioned you had a way to take it down earlier though. I had to blow Stardock, and if we hadn’t that would have been better.”
“Sorry,” I said, and meant it. Blowing up Stardock couldn’t look good on his record. “I didn’t have a plan yet when you asked. Besides, it was practically empty when we boarded it.”
“Yeah,” Lim said, “That’s one of the things that I’ll be putting into my report. It would have gone differently if we’d tried to board it when it was flying over NYC, and was full of soldiers.”
Worry must have carried over in my voice because Lim added, “Don’t worry about it. It’ll all be fine. I stayed within mission parameters. My highest priority is to keep you kids alive. If I’ve got a choice between losing equipment and losing people, I’m supposed to choose the equipment every time.”
“Good,” I said. “I don’t want you to get in trouble.”
“Me neither,” he said. “I’ll be fine.”
He ended the call shortly after that.
Vaughn stopped pacing down the sidewalk, and grinned. “There you go. It’s taken care of. Preserver’s going to Grand Lake?”
“Yeah,” I said.
Sean nodded at me. “Thanks. If Sydney died, it would have killed my mom.”
“No problem,” I said.