As we rode, I kept on checking behind us with my helmet’s peripheral vision. The vampires didn’t show up. I didn’t know whether this was good news or bad. Counting two bags worth of rice wouldn’t be quick by any stretch of the imagination.
If your best way to fly involved turning into a bat, they wouldn’t have much of a chance of catching up with us either. I didn’t know how quickly bats flew off the top of my head, but I felt confident motorcycles were faster.
On the other hand, they might know where we were going and see no reason to interfere because they assumed we were doomed.
We drove through neighborhoods with older houses with big porches, wide streets with blocky one story buildings that sold auto parts, Mexican food, advertised themselves as a “supermercado,” or in one case, “Chicago’s Pizza.”
That one struck me as strange because Detroit had its own style of pizza. On the other hand, it wasn’t as if people were required to eat it every time simply because they lived there.
There were still empty lots, but now that we were in southwest Detroit, there weren’t as many. There were more signs in Spanish—which meant we were riding through Mexicantown. It made sense. Mexicantown was north of Detroit Unity’s headquarters.
Driving down almost empty streets in the dark meant that nothing was open in the first place and that this section of the city looked different more because I knew what it looked like during the day than how it looked now.
Darkness hid the brighter colors on some stores and any sign that wasn’t lit up.
At first, it also hid any signs of the fight. It wasn’t as if I saw police on every street corner or supers in the sky.
The distant sound of sirens was the first hint of what was coming. That and the sight of a helicopter flying south above us.
Zooming in on it, I told Mateo, “That was an Apache. Think it might be from the military base near here?”
His voice came over the comm, “No idea. I’ve never gone there. I’m sure they’d have called in the Unity team if they needed help.”
His helmet tipped upward as he followed the copter’s progress across the night sky. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they used the military against Unity. It would be one way to pin them down—unless the police bought one as surplus.”
The helicopter disappeared into the darkness. “Think that’s possible?”
Mateo shook his head, “I’ve heard of departments getting military equipment to use against supervillains, but if they had one tough enough that they needed it, they’d call in Unity.”
“Which means that if they were going up against Unity, it’d be a good reason for its first use.” Reviewing what I’d seen of the helicopter with my implant, I didn’t see any obvious missiles or other weapons, but it might be a good floating platform for devices that prevented telepathy or teleportation.
Nodding, Mateo said, “The Unity team might disagree, but yeah. Um… I’ve been listening in on the police and I think we might have to park our bikes and walk in.”
“What have you been hearing?”
“They’ve surrounded the place and they’re trying not to let anyone in or out. Some of the officers don’t sound completely happy with the orders they’re being given, but no one’s challenging them directly from what I’ve heard. They’re being told that the Dominators are controlling the team.”
I stared out into the darkness ahead of us, failing to see anything more than older houses. “That figures. I guess sneaking in is worth a shot, but my bike is my best equipment.”
Mateo laughed, “I know. We’ll get as close as we can before we ditch them.”
We got as close as we could, but it wasn’t that close.
Unity’s headquarters stood on what had been an empty field near the Mistersky Power Station, a big, brick building on the Detroit River.
Unity HQ wasn’t on the river itself. It was across the street and a few blocks down from the power station, but the station and its smokestacks were visible all around it.
On a good day, the area looked like an industrial park that included both abandoned, empty, green fields, and old factories still producing whatever a business called (for example) Detroit Tube Products would produce.
Unity HQ reminded me of nothing more than a castle. Several stories tall with grey, concrete walls, its tower and main entrance stood to the left. Though it had big windows on the top story, there weren’t any on the first two levels and the building stood in the middle of its lot, giving it the benefit of open land on all sides.
Though designed to have appealing, rounded shapes, the short pillars around the building were made to stop vehicles from getting too close.
So, on a good day, despite the mowed, dark green grass that gave it the feel of a modern office building, it was a fortress.
This wasn’t a good day. It wasn’t even a good night and police cars backed up by armored personnel carriers had blocked off the area around it for blocks—big blocks.
We stopped when we could see the lights surrounding it, but a quarter-mile from the nearest police cars. As big as Unity HQ, we couldn’t see much more than the grey walls. We’d pulled our motorcycles up to a group of trees twenty feet from the road. Tipping the bikes over, we stood within the trees, hoping we wouldn’t be too obvious.
“The way I see it,” I said, “we’ve got a choice between trying to sneak through an open field slowly and maybe getting caught or riding closer on our bikes and hoping Unity might find a way to get us in. I don’t like our chances either way.”