Vaughn, Stephanie, and I stood in Sandy’s office. Since Vaughn wore one of my new Heroes’ League costumes, he’d set it to fully cover him and turn black with no symbols. On the off-chance that any cameras were working other than mine, they’d see two men and a woman in unmarked costumes.
Symbols for hacking people’s brains covered Stephanie’s costume, but they were only obvious when she turned them on. From what I understood, she planned to do her best to avoid using them since that would reveal that “Hologram” (her mother’s codename and now hers) was here.
She’d done a good job of avoiding it so far. She’d planned for this before I even started my internship, getting access to the door system and setting up key fobs with names of fictional employees with full access to the building. Better, she’d gotten access to the building’s camera system and set things up so that the system would copy the recordings from the night before over.
In many ways, Vaughn and I were dead weight, contributing nothing at all, but honestly, I’d take being dead weight if it meant getting in and out with no problems.
We stood next to Sandy’s desk, the same long desk I’d seen through my bot when Russell Hardwick visited Ryan here.
Vaughn walked around the end. “You said it’s over here. Do you know which one? There are two.”
I leaned over the wooden desk. He was right. There were two sets of drawers that could be filing cabinets. On the other hand, the desk was long enough that it had two chairs and two spots for laptops. From what I’d seen in the video I’d taken, both Ryan and Sandy used it.
Stephanie shook her head. “The one nearest you, I think.”
Putting his hand on the handle of the top drawer, Vaughn took an experimental tug. “It’s locked. Do you have the key?”
Leaning over to look, Stephanie said, “Just because I could get us in, it doesn’t mean I’ve got everything worked out. Let me come over there—”
She was straightening up when Vaughn said, “No, I’ve got it,” grabbed the handle in one hand and yanked the drawer open, pulling one side of the handle out of the drawer while shattering the section of wood and metal around the top where the bolt went into the desk.
Dr. Nation’s regimen of exercise and food supplements had allowed some people in the Stapledon program to access latent powers. Vaughn’s cousin and grandfather both had strength and toughness in the mix. It wasn’t a surprise that Vaughn had access to a bit of that now.
“Shit,” Stephanie said, “I was going to pick the lock. So much for leaving no hint that we were here.”
Vaughn shrugged, “There’s no chance this doesn’t end in a big fight. Every time we do anything, it ends in a big fight.”
Stephanie glared at him. “And it always will if you go in with that attitude. What’s in the drawer?”
Vaughn pulled out a stack of folders. “No idea, but here they are.”
Placing the folders on the desk, he opened the first one. It contained a stack of photocopies, each one showing a picture of writing in a language I didn’t instantly recognize.
In the first few moments, it seemed to be nothing more than pictures, but as I looked, my implant notified me that it did recognize them. They were writing from the Abominators’ language. To judge from the pictures, the letters and words were photographed outside somewhere cold (there were bits of snow) and had been carved into rock.
Precisely where they had been taken wasn’t obvious. I couldn’t think of anywhere that reportedly had Abominator writing carved into the wall. From what I knew of the Abominators’ history on Earth, the writing could be one hundred thousand years old.
I stared at the first picture and then found that courtesy of my implant, I could read the language.
“Okay,” I told everyone. “I don’t know what we’ve got here, but I should probably photograph each page. It’s Abominator writing. It’s not all that clear what it’s about from looking at the first page here, but if it’s got something to do with any of the artifacts out there, we’re definitely going to want to know.”
Pulling a couple more folders out of the drawer, Vaughn said, “Abominator writing? That’s crazy. Let’s see what else they’ve got.”
Stephanie stared at me. “You can read Abominator?”
I shrugged. “Kind of? It’s a side effect of going to space last summer.”
As she took a moment to process that, I made a quick connection to all of my different bots. As of this moment, no one appeared to be walking around the complex.
So, at least I didn’t have to worry about that—yet.