Travis gave a snort. “No, but if we’re going to expand, we’re going to need a system for it. My frat has one. No reason our team shouldn’t.”
He frowned. “If nothing else, it might help to have something to point to when we say no to that guy. I’ve got a feeling he’s going to get pissy.”
Outside, Kid Biohack paused to talk to the small group of people gathered on the sidewalk, most of whom were carrying cameras. When had they arrived? How had they even known we were here?
Even as I asked the question, I knew the answer. We’d participated in a public fight. The police had been called. If the press wanted to talk to us where would they go? Here or the real headquarters (which they shouldn’t have any way to know about)?
As the photographers’ flashes went off, Kid Biohack stepped into the road and ran away, taking only seconds to match the speed of traffic.
With Kid Biohack gone, the group of photographers and (I suddenly realized) a TV cameraman and reporter turned toward the front door of the building. One of them knocked. Between the darkness outside, the tinted glass, and the streetlights, I could see her as a silhouette, but couldn’t hear the knock.
Vaughn gestured toward the door with his hand. “We’re ignoring that, right?”
Travis shook his head. “Yeah. I don’t see a point in doing interviews. Anybody disagree?”
Camille frowned. “Don’t you think we’re going to look bad after smashing those cars, capturing the wrong guy, and then not talking to the press?”
Shrugging, Travis said, “Yeah, but I don’t see any way that talking to the press will make it better.”
Camille turned and watched the door as the reporter stopped knocking and waited. “They might be flattered to get the attention?”
Travis cocked his head, obviously thinking about it. “You might be right, but I’m not up for it. You?”
Camille sighed. “No.”
Haley stopped fiddling with the edge of her mask to say, “Mindstryke recommended not saying anything if you could avoid it. The board can always clarify later, but we can’t take back what we say.”
I met her eyes. “When did he say that?”
She bit her lip. “Last fall after everyone went to college, I called him for advice a lot.”
“Oh,” I said. “He’s probably right.”
Travis nodded. “Can’t beat the voice of experience. I’ll email my suggestions for how we handle new members, but basically, if someone sponsors you, you’re in unless other people have a problem with you.”
Vaughn glanced toward the door, and then back toward the group. “Anyone want to sponsor the Kid?”
No one said anything.
Travis smirked. “See? It’s working already.”
I laughed. Everyone laughed at least a little.
Travis checked the time on his comm. “I don’t know about you all, but I should go. Are we all going together?”
“I don’t see any reason why not,” I said. “We’re all in the new suits, so I think we’ve got something that can pass as civilian clothes.”
Travis nodded. “Yeah. That’s the best thing you’ve come up with so far. It’s so much easier to find a place to change. Anyway, let’s get moving. I’d like to get back to campus. Oh, and I hope everyone remembers we’ve got a Stapledon weekend coming up.”
Everyone already did.
We changed into our clothes, and took the van back to campus, transforming the van to its civilian cover identity in an alley on the way.
The next day wasn’t a good day.
I woke up when my alarm got my attention, an ugly electronic beep infinitely repeating itself. I reached out and found my tablet, which was doubling as my alarm clock now. Turning off the beeping, I realized that Jeremy was awake in the upper bunk.
“Wow. Wow. Wow,” he was muttering. I desperately hoped that meant that he was reading something disturbing because the alternative possibility would be incredibly awkward. Fortunately for me, the upper bunk wasn’t shaking.
“You guys really screwed up last night,” he said to my temporary relief.
“Wait, are you saying you don’t know?”
I got out of bed, finding that he was sitting upright in his pajamas, reading his phone. He looked over at me. “It says here that you guys fought Kid Biohack and some powered civilian, causing more than fifty thousand dollars in damage, and then, in the end, catching the guy was a mistake.”
“Oh,” I looked toward the phone, not really able to see much of the screen. I couldn’t deny that the smashed car window did look pretty bad. “I don’t remember that window specifically.”
At Jeremy’s look, I said, “Look, I know that we broke stuff, but we were moving really quickly down the road, and a lot of these cars were college student cars. I’d be surprised if most of them were worth more than one thousand dollars and I don’t think we hurt more than two or three. Probably.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Probably?”
“Yes, probably. Combat goes crazy fast. Sometimes you think you remember it all, but then you talk to people or see a video and you realize that you missed a lot. I don’t remember damaging a lot of cars, but maybe Kid Biohack and the powered guy trashed them. Or, maybe my sonics damaged more than I could see? I know I trashed a car once without meaning too—that and the guy’s phone. The sonics were set to a frequency that a lot of electronics resonated with.”
At that moment, my own phone began to ring. I checked the screen before picking it up. It was Daniel’s dad.
I had a bad feeling about this.