It was nice to know that Chris had been maintaining the equipment when I wasn’t around to do it, but I felt a little funny anyway. I would have done it if anyone had mentioned that people needed it. For all I knew, no one was using the mini-rocket packs.
I knew it was completely stupid to care, but it was one more thing that I hadn’t known about—like redecorating the main room in the base. I couldn’t deny it looked better, but it had been a shock the first time I saw it.
It made me wonder what else had changed.
As if to emphasize that point, the first policeman to get out of the car stared at me. “Rocket,” he said, eyes wide, “and Night Cat. You haven’t been around for ages. Shift… What’s going on here?”
He did talk to all of us in the end and wasn’t fazed to discover that Philo worked for the Cabal. It probably helped that Philo still couldn’t move, but Philo didn’t freak out either. We saw him get taken away.
Near the end of everything, Kayla called everyone’s comms. “Railgun and Gravity Star have taken off their costumes and are waiting at HQ.”
“Thanks,” Haley said. “We’ll be there shortly.”
That was interesting. Cassie had always wanted us to talk out what we’d done after a fight, but we’d never been consistent about it.
A minute or two later Haley and I were flying back to HQ with Marcus in tow. We were back at HQ practically instantly. It didn’t take long to get out of our costumes and within a few minutes, we were at the table in HQ’s main room, brand new red carpet and all.
The big screen on the wall was set to silently showing several different channels, most of them local. None of them were breaking into normal programming to discuss what had happened. That was good. If and when this speedster became the kind of story that everyone in town cared about, it would be a pain. So for now, the local channels showed typical Sunday afternoon programming—sports, movies, news, and a cooking show.
Marcus, Sydney, and Camille were already sitting there as Haley and I pulled out chairs. Marcus was back to normal—t-shirt and jeans and no more gray skin.
He opened a big energy drink can. As it hissed open, he said, “I guess we’d better get this meeting moving. So… What did we do right?”
It didn’t take long to run through both what we did right and wrong because frankly all we’d done is land and discover that we were too late.
Camille stared open mouthed as Haley finished. “One of the men in the truck was Cabal?” She put down the mug of tea she’d been drinking, moving her hands as she spoke. “Do you think they’re here for us? They only agreed to leave us alone for a year.”
She turned toward her half-sister, brushing black hair out of her face.
Sydney put down her glass of water. She didn’t look obviously like Camille. Where Camille had light brown skin and black hair, Sydney had pale skin and blond hair. If you thought to look for it, though, they had similar slim builds and high cheekbones.
Sydney frowned, sitting with her hands folded against her body. “Last time they came all at once for us. This was just one man, right?”
She looked at Haley, and Haley nodded. “He didn’t seem to be looking for anybody. Anyway, the police took him away when we left.”
Sydney cocked her head. “I thought you said he was the victim?”
Nodding, Haley said, “Exactly, but I think the police might take Cabal members in for questioning whenever they find one.”
Marcus grinned. “Not a bad idea except that he can probably demolish the police station.”
“Yeah,” I said. “I’d count on it, but he didn’t seem like he would.”
Haley leaned forward, putting her elbows on the table. “I’m more worried about the robbers. How do we catch them? If at least one of them is a speedster, and maybe more because we’ve never seen any of them, well, we’ll never see them before they disappear. None of us made this time before they left, and that’s how it’s been every time, right Marcus?”
Marcus took a swig of his drink. “Yeah. That’s about right.”
I thought about it. “It’s a kind of big brotherish idea, but we might put spybots all over, and then set them to fire based on thermal recognition—only put so many goobots out there that there’s no way to dodge all of them when they’re activated.”