“Right,” I said. “Not getting your name right isn’t a good sign. I mean, to be fair, when you’re talking in front of a bunch of people, it’d be easy to get something wrong.”
Haley made a tsking noise. “You’d have to be extremely distracted to get our names wrong. When we’re in costume, it seems like we can’t even breathe without it being covered by the press.”
Marcus looked up at me from the computer screen. “If you’re going to talk about Biohack instead of boyfriend/girlfriend stuff, would you mind bringing me in?”
“No problem. Haley, did you hear that?”
“I did, and Marcus is right, this is a team business call. We should have a team meeting about Biohack.”
“Yeah,” I said, pulling Marcus into the call. “Should I start trying to pull everybody in?”
Haley’s voice filled the room while a stylized outline of a cat’s head next to the words “Night Cat” appeared in the lower right corner of the wall screen. “No,” she said. “We’re just talking right now. Let’s send everyone an email with some times and pick the one that fits the most people.”
“Makes sense,” I said.
Marcus pulled the desktop’s microphone closer. “All hail the glorious leader.”
“Bite me,” Haley replied, but not with any particular malice.
I looked over at Marcus, asking, “What’s that all about?”
Haley and Marcus were cousins just like Marcus and Jaclyn were cousins, making him descended from two of the original League members–Night Wolf and C (C stood for the speed of light).
Maybe it was a family in joke?
Haley said, “I was field leader most of the time after you all left for college.”
“Just teasing her,” Marcus said, a hint of a smile still on his lips.
“Really?” I said. “I knew you led the team against aliens last spring, but I didn’t know it was all the time.”
Haley sighed. “It wasn’t all the time, just a lot.”
“It made sense,” Marcus said. “Sydney and Camille are her friends. For me, she’s family. Chris and Kayla don’t have a problem with her. She was a good choice. Plus, my uncle has had her train the wait staff at more than one restaurant.”
Haley snorted. “Right, because training the wait staff is exactly like leading them into combat.”
“Three words: unexpected tour buses. Did your heart rate spike? Because that’s not too different from combat.”
Haley laughed a genuinely amused laugh, and it was good to hear it.
Whatever she was about to say was lost to noise as alarms rang. A quick look at the big wall screen told me that it wasn’t the alarms that rang if the base was being invaded.
This was the alarm that meant that some highly desirable target had been attacked. At someone’s discretion, probably 911’s, the summary went straight into local heroes’ notification systems.
My grandfather had been involved in creating the protocols. I remembered hearing about it.
Marcus clicked on the link that had appeared in the notification window that was placed above the team list.
The notification said, “Armored car attacked near the outskirts of Grand Lake.” Then it gave coordinates.
“Can you see it on your phone?” I asked.
A beep came came from Haley’s end of the call. “Yes. The two of you should try to get there. I’ll see if I can catch up.”
Marcus was already getting out of his chair. “We’re probably going to see another empty truck.”
“Most likely,” I said, and then I ran for the lab and the Rocket suit.
Marcus stepped into the lab as the Rocket suit transformed from a block of golden ceramic into a suit of powered armor, completely surrounding me.
Running through the pre-flight check, it showed no errors. It had long since completely repaired itself from my last real fight.
With my vision now assisted by multiple forms of technology including my HUD, I walked out of the lab able to lift tons and take blows that would turn my unarmored body to an unattractive reddish paste.
“You’re not going to mind if I hang on are you? You’re my fastest way there.” Marcus had changed into a green costume that shifted from dark green on one side to light on the other.
“I figured you would.”
“Good,” he said, and his body changed from light brown skin to a dull grayish substance.
We left by the forest entrance, shooting upward past the trees. Marcus had shifted his hands and arms so that they surrounded my upper chest and hollowed out his body, making easy to tow it behind me.
I could feel the drag, and I wasn’t sure it was the best way to bring him along, but it wasn’t bad. I hit three hundred miles per hour quickly enough, covering the twenty mile distance in what seemed like the blink of an eye.
It wasn’t hard to identify the armored car. They’d done their best to make it inconspicuous. It looked like a white, late model Ford van. It wouldn’t have stood out in any way except that it had been rolled sideways off of the highway and lay there, wheels still spinning.
In the bright afternoon sun, the grass was light green, but the grass wasn’t the interesting part. The interesting part was the brown circles around the van where the grass had been torn out of the ground.
That argued strongly for a speedster of some kind. I switched on thermal imaging, supplemented by sonar, in case they were still there, but vibrating in such a way that they were hard to see.
No one was outside, but I could see human shapes inside the van.