Railgun flipped through channels on the big screen. The local NBC News 10 already had the flying dinosaur in view of its helicopter, but that wasn’t all. Many of the cable news stations followed the same feed. It wasn’t the News 10 feed.
One station labeled it as “Invaders Live Feed.”
I checked on internet news sites. The invaders were making the feed available online. They were that confident of destroying us? What else did they have?
I walked up to Control’s computer. Railgun had stopped talking to us and called the local National Guard base, telling them, “We’ve got four gateways throughout downtown now and one in the air. The downtown gates appear to be moving after a few minutes… Yes… I’ll pass on anything new.”
The map on one monitor showed the city with glowing spots that I guessed had to be open gateways.
The open gateways were moving parallel to each other down two streets. If they kept their pattern, they’d be on either side of police headquarters in a few minutes.
I touched the screen, making a line from them to the police station.
At almost the same time, two of the gateways disappeared from downtown and reappeared in the suburbs next to the Grand Lake National Guard Armory, accompanied by warning pings from the speakers.
Night Wolf leaned in, towering over both of us. “Holy f—k! They’re going for the armory. Call them!”
Railgun said, “I know! I know!”
She grabbed the phone, fumbling as she tried to make a connection.
Night Wolf turned around to the assembled group. “Everyone get into groups. Quick Response team should head downtown, but the Power and Shadow should head down to the base to help—”
C had turned away from the Starplate and walked back toward the main group with the Rocket, Accelerando, Control and Bloodmaiden in his wake.
“Thank you, Night Wolf, but everyone should go downtown. Quick Response team should target the giant flying dinosaur. That includes you, Critical Mass. Get out there and push it out over the lake before you destroy it.
“The rest of you need to drive the dinos into big groups, preferably toward their gateways. They’re trying to spread the soldiers out.”
Someone in the group muttered, “Schooled.” It might have been the Power.
Night Wolf ignored it, raising his hand, “But what about the National Guard?”
C nodded. “They’ll be able to handle it.”
He cleared his throat, “Railgun, make sure the Guard knows we shut down a gateway with a lightning strike. They should be able to send grenades or worse through. Then slip on your metal and get downtown with the rest. Control or I will direct all of you. In the big picture, we’re going to do our best to contain the dinos for now. When Guardian gives the word, the League jet and Critical Mass will disappear, but after that, the threat’s over.”
Control stepped up to me and handed me a watch—at least it looked like one. It had a wristband, but no face.
She said, “It’s an interdimensional homing beacon. Hang on to it or we won’t be able to find you. Press the button to get our attention.”
I strapped it to my wrist. “Got it.”
Blue tapped my shoulder. She’d tied her long, black hair into a ponytail. “Ready?”
I glanced up at her. “For this? I’ve never trained with you and it’s been four years since I last suited up. I’m completely ready.”
“You have more experience than any of us but C,” she said.
“I know, but I need to know how your team works.” I gave my tote bag full of equipment one last look. I couldn’t take any of it where I was going.
Blue nodded. “That would be nice. Can’t you fly?”
I nodded. “I don’t know if you’ll be impressed, but I can stay in the air long enough. Just make sure I’m not close to anything fragile when I take off.”
I’m not allowed to tell you how we got out of the base, but Blue let me go above Lake Michigan. I let a little power loose, feeling the explosion point me upward as it always did.
I created a series of small explosions, each one pushing me upward and forward. I’ve never known quite what to call the protection that surrounds me, but force field always felt a little off. It’s more than that.
Blue and I flew across the water, turning in toward the shore and crossing over to fly above Grand Lake the lake instead of the city, flying over docks, marinas and private beaches.
It wasn’t hard to find the dinos’ creature. It circled above downtown Grand Lake, its feathers as red as a cardinal’s.
Over the communicator, Blue said, “We need to get it above Grand Lake before killing it. I’m strong enough to throw it. What can you do?”
“I’ll distract it,” I told her, let more energy in, and threw myself toward it in a burst of explosions.