My hand hit the door, and it melted away, leaving me in the Cohen’s house. I sat at the table where I’d sat many times over the years. A picture of the Cohen family hung on the wall nearby—Daniel, his mom, dad, brother and sister posing together at the beach.
Hanging on wall near the picture was a series of hebrew letters in burnished metal. I’d been told what the words on it meant before, but I could never remember. I stared at it for a moment.
I glanced over at the pile of books piled on the end of the table. As usual, they were mostly about interior design and art history.
A pile of paper sat next to them.
Then even though she hadn’t been there before, Daniel’s mom was sitting in the chair across from me. Just like in any normal dream, I found myself simply accepting this.
She gave me a smile. “Hello Nick, I talked to Daniel, and realized I needed to tell you a little more.”
I nodded. “This is about my counseling appointment and PTSD then?”
She flashed another smile at me before her expression turned serious. “Yes. Daniel’s father and I have been checking on all of you.”
I took that in. “Everyone? That’s good, I guess. I thought our parents were supposed to let things happen or everyone dies.”
She nodded slowly. “That is true, but there are ways we can intervene, and this is one of them. It’s too dangerous to let any of you go down that road.”
I’d looked up PTSD on Wikipedia. The thought of Jaclyn, Izzy or Travis ending up with it was frightening considering that one of the symptoms was excessive response to possible threats.
Any of the three of them could level a building without help.
I thought about what that implied. “You can cure PTSD?”
“I knew you’d understand. Severe cases are still difficult even for telepaths, but we can fix normal cases.”
And that was kind of crazy. A problem that might destroy a normal person’s life could be dealt with by Daniel’s parents before we knew we had a problem. If that normal person got help, it could be years of work before they could handle normal life.
That led into my next thought. “So you’ve been fixing us all? That’s why we’re doing okay?”
She shook her head. “We barely did anything. Lee prepared you better for this than we expected.”
She met my eyes. “What little we’ve done is more preventive measures. We don’t want to give anyone else an excuse to go into your heads.”
I flipped that around in my mind. The implications were unnerving. For whatever reason, they felt they had to protect us from people involved in the Stapledon programs.
I wanted to ask more questions, but then the dream dissolved into nothing.
* * *
Saturday afternoon came before I knew it. It found me in the lab watching the computer screen. The screen showed Izzy’s position on the map. A small window showed the view from her helmet camera.
She stood on rocky top of the compound’s foothill. Near the back, they had an exit for flyers or anyone else capable of surviving the hundred foot drop.
The transparent dome that protected the compound met the rock, but didn’t simply rest there. A white substance that almost looked like plastic surrounded the bottom edge of the bubble and extended up ten feet. It looked like it might extend into the ground too.
Izzy stood in front of a door shaped outline in the white stuff. She reached out, touching her hand to a panel off to the right of the doorway.
The panel lit up, and the door sank into the ground.
Izzy stepped forward, stopping for a second. Brown rock ended only a feet feet past the edge of the dome. She went far enough that we could see over the cliff.
It looked like a long way down.
Then she took off and the distance became even longer, but I stopped paying attention as her speed began to increase.
“Look at that,” Vaughn said. “I’d choke if I ever got that high.”
He was probably right. By the time he said that, Izzy was flying above clouds—not that that meant anything necessarily, but in this case her altitude showed she was already at 30,000 feet.
I’d been that high, but the Rocket suit could be pressurized when necessary.
I turned away from the screen. We had most of the League in my lab. Daniel had said we ought to tell the whole League because the blowback would hit everyone if something went wrong. That meant Daniel, Cassie, Vaughn, Haley, Camille, Jaclyn, Courtney and Amy crowded around my desk. Travis and Rachel might have been there too, but the upperclassmen were doing some kind of field trip.
Hopefully it would go better than their trip to Infinity City.
Courtney and Amy weren’t really official League members, but Amy was there to set up a spell that kept this gathering private. As for Courtney… Well, she was associated with us in everyone’s mind anyway, so she’d probably feel the effects if it went wrong too.
Jaclyn walked up to the computer and watched the screen. “How long did you say she’d take?”
“I don’t know. She didn’t know her maximum speed, but at her current rate um… Four hours?”
She watched the screen for a minute. “Do we have any way to help her if something goes wrong?”