The alert also appeared on everyone’s phones, and most likely all of the city’s radio and television stations. After the beeping ended, the message said what they always said—stay in your house until we say it’s safe. Also, the following individuals were released from containment… It listed everyone in the gang we’d fought earlier that day—except for the woman who operated the Eagle suit.
That made sense. She was a normal human, and the city only had ten cells rated for superhuman containment. Why waste one?
I flipped through the pictures, noticing Haley doing the same. The last two pictures showed Alden and Philo, noting that they were the ones who’d broken the others out. Jillian didn’t make the list.
Maybe Alden hadn’t bitten her? Maybe she was resisting The Thing’s takeover process?
It would be nice to think so. More likely it took a little time for The Thing to assert control.
Next to me Haley sighed and shook her head. “I feel like we should go to the SCF, but it sounds like it’s too late.”
“Yeah.” I clicked on a news report on News 10’s website. It didn’t have anything more than the alert we’d gotten and the text wasn’t more than a paragraph.
Jeremy looked up from his laptop. “Superhuman containment facilities like Grand Lakes are only rated for a maximum of one day. After that it’s illegal to keep supers there and they have to be transferred to a facility with a longer term rating.”
Haley stopped tapping on her phone. “How do you know that and I didn’t?” Turning to me, she asked, “Did you know that?”
I thought about it. “Kind of. I knew there was a rating system. I didn’t pay much attention to it.”
Jeremy lit up. “There are a bunch of conspiracy theories that center around the timing of somebody’s transfer. People get transferred too early or too late or more people get transferred to a facility than it has rated cells… You know. If there’s anything suspicious people jump on it. They had some great ones that supported the idea that the government was faking aliens.”
Raising an eyebrow, Haley said, “You know aliens are real, right?”
He paused, but then said, “Well, yeah. I do now, but it seemed like pretty good detective work then.”
My phone rang. The screen showed that it was Kayla calling over League channels. “Hi?”
In an unusually level voice, Kayla said, “Vengeance called HQ. He wants to know who sent the red. Should I put him through to you? I don’t have to. I’d like to hang up on him right now. The only thing stopping me is that he’ll probably call back.”
“Go ahead.” I had sent the red alert even if I’d been trying to get the attention of supers who might be vulnerable to The Thing—not Vengeance.
“Okay,” Kayla said, sighing, “I’ll let the jerk through.”
In the next moment, my phone clicked and Vengeance growled, “What’s the red alert about?”
“The Thing That Eats,” I said, understanding why Kayla sounded so irritated, “we’re trying to get any supers’ attention and get them into our HQ where they’ll be safe. It’s looking for powered hosts.”
“Is it?” Vengeance had stopped doing a bad Batman imitation and sounded interested. “Typical. It’s been using a powered host every time we’ve seen him in the last two hundred years. Wait, did you say hosts?”
“Hosts,” I said. “That’s right. It infected multiple people and we’ve seen more than one Thing at the same time.”
“Oh.” Vengeance lapsed into silence, but then said, “It hasn’t done that before—at least that I’ve been told about.”
As I tried to figure out what to say next, he added, “Continue to gather your people, keep them out of our way, and we’re in good shape, kid.”
He hung up.
I moved the phone away from my ear, and stared at its screen. “That was anti-climactic.”
Haley put her own phone back in her pocket. “I’m sure that’ll change when he realizes what we’re really doing. I hope Lee gets back to us about Chancy soon.”
Jeremy had been tapping on his keyboard again, but he stopped. “What are you doing?”
“Getting everybody protection and then we’ll go after it,” I said. “You’d be staying in HQ with Kayla, obviously.”
Haley broke in, “A friend. Also staff. She coordinates us.”
Both Haley’s and my phone started ringing simultaneously. Muttering, “Now what?” Haley pulled her phone back out of her pocket and answered it. I did the same, hearing Kayla’s voice on the other end.
“Grand Lake’s police department wants to talk to Night Cat and the Rocket.”
“Why?” I asked.
“I don’t know. They’re trying to recapture everyone Philo and Alden broke out and there’s someone who will only speak to the two of you.”
“Why me?” Haley and I asked simultaneously.
“I don’t know,” Kayla said, a little more loudly than usual. “It’s the witness—Morgan Spitz-White. She’s insisting.”
“That name rings exactly zero bells,” I said.
“I didn’t recognize it either.” Kayla’s voice was at her normal volume. “She’s the woman who uses the Eagle armor.”