So, Julie was awake, and what great timing. What would happen first? Would her friends notice that it hadn’t been her shouting back, or would Julie manage to take off her gag?
It’s days like that that made me want to get out of bed in the morning.
“Time to move,” Travis said, “grab her keys, and get us out of here.”
I looked down at the door. It had a key, and a dial—like on a combination lock or a safe.
That explained all the clicks when she’d opened the door.
“Not that simple,” I told him. “I don’t know the door’s combination.”
“Combination?” His mouth twisted, probably in frustration. “You’ve got Julie, right? Make her tell you.”
I looked at Julie. She didn’t say anything. Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 14
Remembering the lion’s advice, I stayed as close to the reality I was in as I could. I didn’t make an effort to let sound reach my ears, and so I floated through the wall in an eerie silence.
I happened to check the other side of the wall as I floated through. The cheap, fake wood paneling turned out to be just as fake as I’d guessed. Wooden beams and plywood held it up. The real, concrete basement walls were three feet further back, and between them sat machines. Maybe my brother would have been able to name each one instantly, but I couldn’t.
On the other hand, maybe Nick wouldn’t have been able to recognize them either. They didn’t look high end. Improvised would have been a kind word for it. Think computer desktops without the covers, and circuit boards with wires soldered on and leading from the boards across the floor and into the wood paneled walls.
I recognized the electrical outlets at least. Every plug was filled, and each electrical cord led to a surge protector filled with a spaghetti mess of more extension cords.
Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 13
“She’s not,” Travis said.
Rod raised an eyebrow. “How do you know?”
“Remember when she was negotiating how much the Blue Leader’s cut would be? I could hear both sides of the conversation. She’s running off to meet the guy now, and then they’re coming back here. The place might be bugged, but she doesn’t have time to pay attention to us now.”
Travis gave everyone a confident smile. “Now we’ve just got to figure how we’ll escape.”
Tara turned away from the wall to say, “But how? She took everything that might help.”
Still sounding confident, Travis said, “I don’t know, but this is our best chance. The League’s been in worse situations than this, and survived. I’m sure you have too. I’m sure if we keep our minds on the goal, we’ll get out.”
And right there, that was the football player coming out. I’d heard him with his team, oh, dozens of times it seemed like while we were together, and he’d sounded exactly like that. Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 12
The ride didn’t seem long, but for all I knew Julie’s voice might have messed with my sense of time. She kept talking the whole time—when she wasn’t questioning us.
She talked to Samita first. “Tell me your name and what you can do that got you into the program. Be quick.”
Samita and Rod sat in the seats behind the driver. Julie had put herself in the third row with Tara and told Travis and I to sit in the fourth.
Samita cleared her throat. “I’m Samita Nanda. I’m being trained as a wizard, and specialize in creating objects with magical powers.”
Julie leaned her head back. I could only guess at her expression. “You do magic? What have you got?”
“Got? A ring. It protects me against being hurt. They told us not to bring anything obvious.”
“How does it work? Like a force field?”
Samita shook her head. “No. It’s just luck, but a very specific kind of luck.”
Julie leaned forward. “It isn’t doing you much good now.”
Samita frowned for a moment. “Technically, I haven’t been hurt.” Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 10
I didn’t move. It didn’t even occur to me that I could. Listening felt like the most natural thing in the world to do. How could anyone argue with that voice? You just wanted to obey it.
I kept facing straight ahead, so I don’t know where Julie came from—just that she came from behind and to the left. I didn’t even know what was on that side of the street because Travis and I had been talking, and apparently neither one of us had been paying enough attention.
She stood in front of Travis and I, looking the two of us over. Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 9
I tried to point out the euthanasia shop to Travis, but he missed it.
“Super senses?” I asked, speaking softly and, turning away from the window to look at him.
Travis frowned for a moment. “Night vision,” he muttered. “Not this. Besides you’ve got the window seat.”
I smiled at him. “You were polite.”
He had been. He let me on the bus first.
Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 3
On Monday night, Vaughn, Cassie, and I sat together in “Criminology 101.” We weren’t alone. Julie and Shannon were with us.
We sat in a darkened room, looked up at the screen, and watched the professor talk. This would have been normal for a distance learning class except for a few details. First, we were sitting in League HQ. We could have been sitting in a room at the University, but then we’d have been sitting together with Sean, Dayton, and Jody.
It would have been a little awkward for all of us in a variety of different ways. Awkward for me, because Sean and I didn’t get along especially well. Awkward for Cassie and Vaughn, because they were friends of mine and knew Sean. Awkward for Julie and Shannon, because they had been on a team with Sean. Continue reading Being Watched: Part 1
We’d said our goodbyes earlier, so when my sister Rachel and I got out of Dad’s SUV at the airport, we didn’t have much to say to our parents.
I popped the hatch, grabbed my suitcase and backpack and put them next to me in the drop-off area. I handed Rachel her suitcase (her backpack hung on her back), and shut the hatch.
We moved to the side of the vehicle. Mom had her window open.
Rachel said, “I’ve got everything. Nick?”
Dad smiled at us. “Enjoy your conference, and congratulations to both of you again. Full ride scholarships. That doesn’t happen to everyone.”
“Thanks, Dad. Now hurry and get out of here before airport security decides you’re terrorists.” Continue reading TBD: Part 1
“Doing about it?” Jaclyn said. “We were working on a plan to stop them, but we can go to the riot.”
The Marvelous X shook his head. “Please don’t. We’ve reason to believe a villain named Evil Beatnik is involved. You’ve likely never heard of him because he hasn’t been seen in years, but he can influence young people. We’ve organized a number of heroes that are too old for him to control. They’ll take care of him soon enough.”
“You’re sure about that?” Continue reading Under 30: Part 21
“Ask him if he can use the underwater entrance,” I told Cassie.
I was pretty sure the Defenders’ jets could.
Cassie passed it along.
“Right,” Alex said, “I remember that from when I was a kid.”
Continue reading Targets: Part 13