Having watched the recording, I understood why the mayor had slipped under everybody’s radar for so long. We had video right here of him planting commands into the brains of an entire team of heroes while simultaneously having almost no evidence of it.
The fact that everybody had stopped and started talking on his cue pointed in that direction, but not inarguably. It was purely circumstantial evidence.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 38
Sitting on my bed later, I tried to think through my next move.
I didn’t for a minute intend to seriously consider anything Magnus thought he had to offer. It sounded like he wasn’t going to be any help in a fight and I couldn’t see how cutting off access to the mayor’s money would do any good. I would have blown him off immediately except that I had been freaked out by the fact that he’d called me on my cell phone.
Not that I still wasn’t a little freaked out by that.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 37
I stood on a corner a couple blocks from my house. The street was dark and music came from the house behind me. With all the windows shut, I couldn’t tell what kind except that it definitely included a bass drum. Cars lined the street in front of it. A man in a devil costume walked up to the front door and stepped inside.
I felt naked. My armor sat back in HQ and I wasn’t wearing the full stealth suit — just the part that could fit under clothes.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 36
“OK,” I said, “I’ll take a look at the recording tonight and put something together for the local news.”
“Thanks, Nick,” Travis said, “Once we get this asshole off our backs, we can get back to fighting crime instead of other heroes. Which reminds me, how did you end up fighting Tomahawk anyway?”
I told him.
“Red Lightning’s lair? That’s unbelievable. You’ve got to take me down there.” Travis put down the Denali book and not, I noticed, on the pile. It was placed diagonally next to the pile.
Fighting an urge to pick it up and put it back, I said, “No reason you can’t go. Just talk to Vaughn. He let me and Haley in.”
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 35
I decided to take the day off from costumes, but the day didn’t cooperate with me.
School went okay that way. I saw Vaughn and Cassie in the halls and said, “hi,” but that was about it. The day didn’t fall apart till I got home. I arrived before my parents, pulling the mail out of the mail box and grabbing the paper off the front porch. I unrolled it to find myself on the front page under the headline, “ROCKET AND TOMAHAWK BRAWL DOWNTOWN.” A smaller headline below it said, “Mayor Calls for More Assistance.”
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 34
“Looks pretty bad, doesn’t it?” Vaughn said. “You’d never believe it, but my grandfather’s personal stuff never burned.”
“It must be the only thing that didn’t,” I said.
A layer of dark soot seemed to be everywhere, mixed with bits that crunched when I stepped on them.
“Nah,” Vaughn said, “The side tunnels didn’t burn. That’s where I found the stuff that I handed over. Let’s go.”
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 33
“Why are we going this way then?”
“The tunnel I used to go through collapsed during the rainstorms we got near the end of August. This is the only other one I know about,” Vaughn said.
I couldn’t see anything. Was I supposed to go down there and locate the gun by the flash from its muzzle? If I was lucky, the gun was fixed and capable of firing in only one direction. If I was unlucky, it had the ability to track targets. My armor did well against bullets, but I didn’t feel much of an urge to test its limits.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 32
Hardwick House sat on a hill near the middle of downtown. It began, not especially humbly, as an enormous mansion back when Percival Hardwick made his fortune as a lumber baron. His heirs added on to it in a peculiar mixture of styles. The first section used the thin spires and intricate woodwork of the Gothic style. A later addition to the house had added an eight story tower and the extensive stonework of the Medieval Revival style. The final section of the house had been added in the late 1920’s — six, flat roofed stories, each story less wide than the story below. The final story ended in the shape of an Egyptian pyramid.
Impressively hideous, it absorbed almost half a city block when you included the grounds.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 31
Putting the suit on and checking the systems took a good ten minutes as usual. I ran down a tunnel to the exit in the middle of the forest in Veterans’ Memorial Park. It felt good to be in the full suit. The last time had to have been when I’d bugged Magnus’ house in Chicago — almost a month ago now.
The doors opened above me and I jumped, making it a good twenty feet before the rockets kicked in and took me the rest of the way into the sky. The trees went past in a blur of branches. I found myself looking down on the city lights almost before I realized it.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 30
I caught Vaughn on the way out of the lunchroom. We didn’t have any classes together and we hadn’t eaten together lately because Cassie had been spending a lot of time with Kayla. Repairing relations, I guessed.
Vaughn had been talking with a couple other guys. Neil leaned against the wall next to the door, tracing the tattooed dragon on his forearm while Dave talked. “… someone called the cops and we ended up climbing the fence while holding our skateboards. They caught Mike, but Neil and I got away.”
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 29