It had to be important. Think about it. You’ve got a couple. They’re young and in love. It’s the Fourth of July, a national holiday, and instead of going out and doing something or retreating to someone’s room to make out, they were here in the lab waiting for a print job to finish.
And also making out.
I couldn’t help but notice that they were being very… thorough about it. Clothes were on, but hands were under clothes, and some side effect of Amy’s spell gave the two of them a red aura, more of it in some spots than others.
I couldn’t know for sure, but I suspected that the strength of the glow meant something. More power maybe?
On the other hand, judging from where it gathered, the glow could simply mean that certain spots contained a lot of blood.
Given that blood apparently contained power in her system of magic, I could see where that would be useful.
“Nick,” Haley whispered. “You. Are. Staring.”
I wrenched my head away from them to find Haley guiding me toward my lab, taking careful, controlled breaths, the way she sometimes did when trying to hold her change at bay.
She glowed too.
I felt sure that I wouldn’t have this strong a reaction normally, and neither would she. It had to be Amy’s spell. That led to another thought—that Amy could view the world like this any time she wanted—and maybe all the time.
That fit. Her description of the Bloodlords hadn’t made them sound like thoughtful, careful people. On the other hand, her story about not being accepted into a magical university hadn’t made her sound particularly calm either.
I glanced back toward Gordon and Stephanie. They were still going at it, as was the printer (though not with them).
“Nick,” Haley gave my hand a squeeze.
“Sorry. I don’t know what they’re printing.”
She glanced back. “Does that matter?”
“It’s got to be important, or they’d be making out somewhere else. It’s also got to be really big, and the only thing I can think of that fits—”
Haley interrupted me. “Would be the transcripts.”
She frowned. “That’s a bit of a leap. You’re accusing them of kidnapping Vaughn so they could steal information from us.”
I couldn’t deny that she had a point. I couldn’t think of any connection that they’d have to Faerie. Even if they had one, they had to realize that stealing from us opened up a big can of worms if we ever figured out who did it. They might get thrown out of the program, or even go to jail.
Well, okay. Going to jail wasn’t likely, but I had a feeling that lots of teams would have a frontier justice style reply.
I stopped, looking Haley in the eyes. “Could you maybe sneak in and look?”
She raised an eyebrow. “By the time I get back there, neither of them will be wearing pants, and if they notice me it will be all kinds of awkward…”
We’d crossed the room by then and shiny, grey fabrication machinery blocked a direct view of Stephanie’s doorway.
“Couldn’t you crawl in on the ceiling or something?”
“I’m sure one of them will be looking up at least part of the time. Couldn’t you use roachbots?”
“I guess. I just don’t know what Stephanie’s thing is. If she’s an electronics genius, something will notice them.”
“Better them than me.” Haley pursed her lips. “I’m imagining having to make small talk. ‘Gordon, Stephanie. Funny to see you here. You both look surprisingly naked tonight’.”
She had a point.
We walked to my lab, hurrying, but trying not to make noise while we did it.
Once we got into my lab, it didn’t take much to activate enough roachbots. I’d worked up a kind of nanobot assembly line for them.
I readied them with my handheld controller, and flew them across the common area, landing on the wall outside the lab in case Gordon’s aerokinetic abilities led to an ability to sense air movement.
I walked the first one down the wall, taking a wide view of the room. Her lab made no sense at all. On first glance it appeared to be full of paintings except they were all covered with drop clothes. That was my first glance though. With my second I realized that there were no paints in sight, but that there were welding tools, and lots of metal lying around the room.
Deciding that this didn’t have to make sense immediately, I sent the roachbot toward the desk with the laptop and printer. Using another roachbot to watch Gordon and Stephanie, I asked Haley to tell me if they seemed to to notice either bot.
After her agreement, I lowered the roachbot toward the printer, and once I saw the words, it wasn’t a question.
They were printing out Hal’s translations.