Mateo looked at me and then out toward Unity’s HQ, “I’m sure there’s a way. Do you think you could fly in? Imagine if you snuck in as close as you could and then flew the rest of the way.”
I nodded, “Assuming they didn’t try to shoot me out of the air and that Unity’s base doesn’t aim their air defenses at me, sure.”
Grinning, Mateo said, “But it’s one more option than sneaking it or racing up to the front door, right? I think we can make a few more options if we talk to people.”
I had to concede the point and honestly, I should have thought of it myself. “Good point. Imagine if we called the base before we tried to sneak in and coordinated with them or something…”
Still, with a hint of a smile, Mateo noted, “They’d be less likely to shoot you out of the air for one and if we’re really lucky, maybe they’ll have an underground sewer entrance.”
Thinking about the cracked streets and general feeling of industrial neglect around me, I said, “A walk through the sewers sounds exactly like something I’d want to do.”
He laughed, “I know, but honestly, the rocket boots aren’t the only thing you’ve got that flies, right?”
I shook my head, “No. The bike turns into powered armor. It’s more in the style of Japanese mechs so it doesn’t immediately make you think of the Rocket.”
Slowly nodding his head, he said, “Good. That fits with V8. Her cars have always transformed in one way or another. Working Man will probably be okay with it. Can you make it to the roof and carry me if you have to?”
Taking another look at the glowing lights of police cars and the helicopter circling Unity’s base, I said, “I think so, but not your bike.”
“We can come back for my bike if we have to.” Then he said, “I’m calling the base and looping you in.”
A beep came over my comm as the helmet said, “Joining call,” followed by ringing and a woman’s voice answering, “Blue Mask? We’re in the middle of something right now.”
“I’m outside,” Mateo said. “We’re meeting up here with Working Man, Athletica, and all the rest of the people who were targeting Syndicate L tonight.”
Nanosecond talked a little too quickly, but between years of knowing Jaclyn, I could translate her words. Plus, my implant helped. “They’re not here. I don’t know where they are. Chromatic called in twenty minutes ago, and I haven’t heard from them since.”
I turned to check around us, trying to see any sign of others hunkering down out here. I didn’t see any.
I checked my helmet’s communicator. I’d set up the Motor City Heroes’ comms the same as the League’s—including the constant GPS location. Working Man had insisted that the GPS needed to be able to be turned off in case someone hacked the system.
It didn’t surprise me that neither he nor Athletica’s location showed up. Not fo the first time, I wished I’d been persuasive enough about the benefits of being able to find other team members to convince him to keep it on.
Still, fighting mind-controlling vampires might be a good time to go dark. Even if the system couldn’t be hacked, a vampire could hack anyone on the team.
Breaking through my thoughts, Mateo asked Nanosecond, “What would it take for us to get in?”
“I don’t know. Convince me that you’re not mind controlled too?”
Even over the comm, I could hear Mateo sigh, “How am I supposed to do that? Okay. I think I can. Nanosecond, you know me and you know the mask. Do you think it would stay on me and let me use it to serve a vampire? Get my location. Zoom in on me. You’ll find me in full gear—mask, sword, and everything.”
Sound came through from Nanosecond’s end. It might have been quick footsteps or the click of a keyboard. It was hard to say, but it was followed by Nanosecond’s voice, “That’s good enough for me to give you the benefit of the doubt. Is that V4 with you?”
“Yes,” I said. “I don’t know how you tell that I’m still me, but I’m betting Blue Mask might be able to tell.”
With a crackle that I’d want to look into later, Mateo said, “I would. Is that enough?”
If Nanosecond paused to think, I didn’t notice, but I probably wouldn’t. She said, “Yes. Alright, there’s a garage not far from where you are. I’ll send you the location. Take your motorcycles. There’s a tunnel in the back that leads to the base.”
Mateo looked over at me and raised an eyebrow. “You didn’t tell me about that the other times I’ve been here.”
“You didn’t need to know,” she said and closed the connection.
Picking up his bike from where he’d put it on the ground, he looked at me, “I’ve been working with these guys for two years now, off and on, and I didn’t need to know.”
I picked up my bike and once it got it about a foot off the ground, the tires adjusted their shapes, moving the bike upright. Mateo watched and shook his head.
As I threw my leg over the body and sat down, I noticed that a rabbit sat next to one of the trees. Little more than a shape in the darkness, it watched us. It might be just a rabbit, but on the off-chance that it was the Skunklord’s, I talked to it.
“Hey, we need some help. Working Man and Athletica might be meeting us at the base over there, but they might have been captured. We don’t want them to become vampires. Can you help? We’ll be in the base.”
The rabbit chewed on some grass.
Mateo motioned toward the road, saying, “Nice try,” as he gave the motorcycle some gas.
The rabbit stopped chewing, turned, and hopped away.