I turned around, leaning to the right to peer around the shattered wall. Three figures were walking down the hall. They weren’t close by any means, but they were close enough. The suit pegged them as being three hundred feet away.
Samita had already turned to face the hall, looking out of the opening we’d made. She turned again—this time back toward us. “Everyone come close to me.”
Holding her staff in front of herself, she said a few words and the room around me seemed different—almost transparent. I say almost because I couldn’t see through anything, but I felt like I could. Everything seemed to shimmer—our clothes, hair, the lights (of course)—even the all black server rack, and the rock walls.
Amy’s armor shimmered, but that was given.
Samita said, “We’re invisible now. Don’t talk, and don’t move. It’s possible to hear us. Oh… And we have to stay next to each other. If we don’t, it breaks the spell.”
Haley frowned. “Could we maybe move to the edge of the room before they get here?”
Amy nodded. “That’s what I was thinking.”
Samita glanced back toward the opening in the wall, and said, “Sorry, yes.”
As we started to walk, all staying close to each other, Vaughn grinned. “Can you imagine if the spell didn’t allow walking? We’d have been stuck there in the middle of the room, and they’d walk in, totally destroy my leg, and be saying, ‘I stepped into something that feels like a bloody paste, but I can’t see it. Does that seem weird to you?’”
Haley held her finger to her lips. Vaughn blinked, glancing toward the opening.
No one stepped through, and that, at least, was good news.
Barely audible, she whispered, “They heard you.”
We all stopped walking. Fortunately, it was a moot point. We were already next to the wall.
I still couldn’t hear them, but I upped the sensitivity of the passive sonar. I got blurry image of the hallway for my trouble and shadowy images of the three figures. They’d closed some distance, but not enough that they’d find us in the next few seconds. Either they had great hearing or Vaughn had been talking loudly.
Vaughn often did talk loudly, but I couldn’t discount the other option.
Haley didn’t seem too scared though. She watched the opening, but didn’t seem tense. Bearing in mind that the worst of the Cabal was practically unkillable, I would have expected her to be tense.
They must have heard Vaughn, but not have been sure of where his voice was coming from.
I could tell myself that at least.
After a little while, I could hear their footsteps through the helmet’s sound system. Soon after that they stepped into the room. I recognized them—to a degree. Calvin normally looked slightly heavy, had blond hair, and wore jeans that appeared to be more regularly washed than mine.
As we saw him then, he was in his other form—a seven foot tall grayish humanoid with clawed hands and webbed feet. He also had gills on his neck. Obviously built for water, he didn’t seem to have any difficulty moving around on land. He wore the student training uniform in red, white and blue.
Paula, her frizzy brown hair in a ponytail, walked in after him. She walked in wearing the school uniform too, stepping over the remains of the wall without stumbling. The way her eyes swept the room made me suspect that she was taking Lee’s training seriously. That was a good thing overall, but not at this moment.
The third Cabal descendant didn’t even come into the room. She stood outside the opening, presumably watching the hall. That wasn’t a bad idea either.
If I remembered correctly, her name was Cindy.
Calvin stopped next to the router and servers, staring at all the cables that covered the wall, leading upward, both towards the next floor as well as the ceiling of the room.
I hoped he didn’t know enough to recognize that I’d tampered with it. Near me, Sean stared at them, the expression on his face blank, and unreadable—at least for me.
I hoped he wouldn’t attack.
Calvin shook his head. Turning around, voice rasping, he said, “I don’t see anybody.”
Paula shrugged. “Then let’s go. Sure, we heard something, and yes, no one’s supposed to be here, but if we don’t see anybody, we don’t see anybody. They should send somebody good at finding people. We’re just good at hitting people.”
Calvin said, “I don’t know. I’ve got sonar, and it works better underwater, but there’s something wrong. It doesn’t feel right in here.”
My stomach felt queasy. Could he sense that? I didn’t want to fight them.
Paula’s lips curled. “We need to use the… things to contact Hunter.”
She tapped a fleshy growth on the back of her neck. I hadn’t noticed it before, but Calvin had one too.
Paula’s growth opened one green eye, and she frowned. “Hey, tell Hunter we heard something on the floor with all the labs.”