I dropped my books off in my dorm room—as in I literally dumped the books (and notebooks) from my backpack on the floor, shut the door, and ran up the steps to the top floor of the dorm. I made a quick check for people in the little alcove under the hatch to the roof.
Assisted by the stealth suit that was hidden under my clothes, I crawled up the ladder more quickly than I would have normally, and flipped the hatch open to find Vaughn, Camille, and Haley already there and in costume.
I pulled myself up, shut the hatch. “I didn’t expect to be last.”
Standing, I yanked the controls for the stealth suit from inside my sleeves, tapping the spot that triggered the hoodie, pants, shirt and backpack to meld together.
The material surrounded me and hardened, blinding and deafening me for a moment before the eye holes turned transparent and the sound came on.
Vaughn was already speaking. “—skipped my 10 o’clock class. So, I was here.”
“You rebel,” Camille grinned, and turned to me. “Haley and I were studying.”
“The new costumes make changing easier,” Haley said, “but I wish they passed for more materials.”
I nodded. “I haven’t had time. It’s more complicated than you’d think—”
“I know. I shouldn’t have mentioned it. We should go.” She nodded to Camille.
Camille looked at me and then Vaughn. “I’m already carrying Night Cat. Anybody else want one?”
I thought about it. “I’d be better off flying myself. If I do have to turn on the rockets, you’ll be safer the further away you are.”
“Ditto,” Vaughn said. “I’ll probably blow you into a building even if I’m trying to be careful.”
“Then we’re going first,” Camille said, and she and Haley rose into the air, aiming South toward 138th Street. She gave a wave as they left, nearly disappearing into the air as their costumes took on the the color of the sky.
I gave the rockets fuel and rose into the sky, flying after them. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Vaughn rising from the roof behind me, his costume turning blue-white just like mine had.
We weren’t invisible, but we were as close as I could manage for now. I hadn’t figured out how to make light bend around us, but making our costumes match what was on the opposite side was close. It worked better for the front and back than the sides, but I couldn’t complain.
Well, I could complain. The next algorithm would be better, and sooner or later I’d take a crack at bending light.
We crossed the city, passing above a grid of roads containing strip malls, green lawns, brick factories from the 1800s and 1900s, mirrored, glass towers from the last fifty years, and more recent factories made of concrete, some of them covered with wood grain siding.
Modern factories and almost indistinguishable, mirrored, modern office buildings ran down the length of 138th Street—which ended in Grand Lake’s airport.
I quietly hoped we didn’t fly in front of any low flying planes.
Vaughn and I had passed Camille and Haley as we’d neared the street. I’d been following the armored car that had left a BNC bank branch as it passed the spybots, but it was only once we got close that I noticed a detail I’d missed.
There was more than one armored car going down 138th Street.
In the late morning, 138th carried less cars than trucks, but these two armored trucks pulled out into traffic from the same gas station. It seemed like an odd coincidence, especially that one was a Brinks truck (gray with blue letters), and the other Dunbar (red with white letters).
The armored car industry wasn’t something I followed, but it looked like they were competitors.
The armored cars weren’t alone either. There were four Cadillac Escalades pulling out of the gas station with them, one ahead of and one behind each armored car.
Over my communicator, I said, “Hey, is everybody seeing this?” I sent a few seconds of video.
“That’s weird,” Haley said, stretching the last word.
Kayla’s voice came over the comm. “That’s not all of them. I’ve been checking the other spybots and there two more armored cars and even more Escalades on their way.”
Additional blue dots appeared in my HUD, and then I did see them—two more squat armored trucks along with their Escalade escorts pulling off a side road on to 138th street behind the group we’d been following.
It made sense. If you had a city that was experiencing armored car robberies, but you still needed to get the money in and out, it would make sense to create a giant convoy. The gang wouldn’t be able to take out all of the armored trucks, and if the people in the Escalades were effective, they might be able to hold off the gang.
If it were me, I’d call Protection Force. They rented out supers and people who trained to fight supers.
Almost at the same time, I wondered if flying nearly invisibly behind a giant convoy of armored cars and mercenaries was the best thing we could be doing.
As I had that thought, Haley asked Kayla, “Control, did you tell the banks about seeing Alden?”
“They said they were taking ‘appropriate measures.’ I… didn’t push them for more.” Kayla’s voice trailed off.
“That sounds bad,” Camille said.
“Yeah,” Vaughn added.
At the same time, my suit pinged. I checked my radar, finding that two people in powered armor were behind us, and flying in our direction.