Intrusion: Part 1

I waited to see what would happen, but after a few minutes, Jeremy texted me, writing, “J’s talking to cops. I’m riding along. You can go home.”

I typed back, “OK,” told everyone what was going on, and drove back to the dorms.

After we got back to the university, we all walked together back to the dorm. After we got there, Caleb and Gabriel walked off toward their own rooms. Courtney hung around with Haley, Camille and me in my room for about an hour after that, talking through everything we’d wished we could have said to each other back in the van.

Plus, I ended up explaining to Courtney and Camille about the mercenary who’d worn Eagle themed power armor in Rook’s headquarters. Neither of them had been along that time.

Courtney got up from behind Jeremy’s desk. “I thought that only happened in the movies.”

“What?” I asked.

She smirked. “The nemesis thing. You know what I mean. Stuck for villain? Make it the hero’s opposite number, but evil. Now if they want to do it right, it should be Rook because he’s got all your stuff. If it’s the mercenary in the Eagle suit, they’re going off script because it’s almost always the same gender as the hero—”

I opened my mouth, but she held up her hand. “No interruptions. For you, a female nemesis won’t work unless you seduce her, and turn her good.”

Camille laughed. “And don’t worry about Haley. She won’t mind.”

Haley shook her head, and pretended to punch Camille—who didn’t stop laughing.

“But for real,” Courtney said, “I hope you’ve got your bots watching for trouble because you don’t know she didn’t follow us back here.”

I let out a breath, nodding. “You’re right about that. I couldn’t do anything but try to act normal, and if the Eagle suit’s operator guesses who I might be, I’m not the only one in danger.”

Stepping closer to the door, Courtney said, “I know. Don’t forget to ask for help if something happens. Almost all of us are in this dorm.”

I sat up, trying to sit straight up on my mattress even though Haley sat next to me. “If I get the chance, I will. Besides, it might not be me they’d be after. Send a red and we’ll be there.”

“I’m planning on it,” Courtney said, “And not just because I can’t do much more than try to look like someone she’s not looking for.”

She gave a quick grin. “And now I’m out of here. It’s not a Stapledon weekend, so I can sleep in, and I plan to start as soon as possible.”

Giving a wave, she stepped through the door as we said good bye. When the door shut, Camille stood up. “She’s got the right idea. It’s midnight, and I’ll bet you’d like the room to yourselves, so—”

Her eyes widened and her jaw dropped. For a moment, I suspected she’d been the subject of a psychic attack, but then she said, “Lucas?”

By itself that didn’t mean much except that Haley had already turned toward the window. I followed the direction of her stare.

A man floated in the darkness, partially illuminated by the light inside my room, mostly hidden by the wall next to my window. His arm stretched upward as if he’d been caught just before knocking on the window. He probably had been.

“Would you mind opening the screen?” He checked from side to side.

I stepped up to the window. “Maybe,” I said. “They make it difficult on purpose. They’re worried about people falling out. Not even the glass windows open all the way. Could you maybe meet us on the roof?”

“I’d love to.” He withdrew his arm and floated away.

Camille blinked, and then peered at me. “How do you get to the roof?”

Haley raised an eyebrow. “That’s what I was going to ask.”

“There’s an access panel on the top floor near the stairwell on the men’s side. Vaughn got me a key a couple weeks ago.”

Haley got off the bed and slipped on her shoes, “Where did he get it?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. He has a talent for getting things.”

Haley frowned. “I bet.”

I didn’t have anything to add to that, and a few minutes later we all stood on the roof. It wasn’t exactly well lit on the roof, but Lucas looked like he had every time I’d seen him—button down shirt and slacks, short hair, and light skin. He was in his late twenties.

He was Vaughn’s perfect cousin. If Vaughn was the cousin who was perpetually in trouble, crashing cars, getting involved with drugs, and ending up in rehab, Lucas had gone the opposite route—top grades, medical school, and awards all the way through.

Holding out his hand and shaking each of ours, he said, “It’s been a while. A long time since Justice Fist, right Camille?”

She shook her head. “Not long enough.”

He laughed. “It was a horrible mess, wasn’t it?”

I met his eyes. “It seemed like the only time we ever saw you was when you felt Sean was about to do something stupid.”

“Then we saw each other often.” He grinned at me, but then shook his head. “It’s nothing like that now. I’ve been watching the news, and you’re having a hard time with that gang that’s been robbing armored cars. It’s only a matter of time before my dad ropes me into the family business.

“Would you mind if I helped?”

14 thoughts on “Intrusion: Part 1”

    1. I remembered Lucas was with Justice Fist, in part because it was Camille identifying him (handy having her there). The comparison to Vaughn filled in the other gaps. If memory serves, he had a brush with death and they had to get Alex in to help.

      Regarding the so-called nemesis, what if she seduces Nick to turn him evil (with technology)? Haley would like take more of an issue then. 😉 Or, hey, we’re all progressive here, what if Nick seduces Rook to turn him good? Granted, that would be a bit of an uphill battle, given their history. Fun dialogue there.

  1. A previous associate returns… Fun! [grin]

    Typo(s):

    Looks like something has gone wrong with the speech marks on the last couple of paragraphs…

    1. Yep. Hopefully I fixed that now.

      On a personal level, I like bringing characters back–if only because I want to see how things change for characters over time.

  2. Courtney hung around with Haley, Camille and I in my

    Should be ‘and me’ because it would be ‘with us’ if you made it plural.

  3. I think you might have partied a little too hard this weekend Mr. Z. 🙂
    Next to last paragraph, you’re missing the trailing quote mark after ‘family business.’

    1. You might be surprised, but that’s actually correct. When the same character starts a new paragraph while talking, you’re supposed to leave off the trailing quotes to show the new paragraph is connected to the last one.

      1. While this is true, I think you might strengthen your end-of-chapter hook by showing Lucas doing something while making that last statement. Something that reminds us a little about Lucas. Dust his knuckles on his chest? Wink? Close his eyes a second and take a deep breath? Show us something about Lucas.

        There’s nothing *wrong* about the end hook line, but I think you could easily make it more powerful.

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