“And then what?” Haley asked.
We were sitting on my bed at home, backs to the wall, our legs next to each other.
“I don’t know. Isaac and Flick took him away. Isaac asked me some questions later, but he already seemed to know what happened.”
“What happened after they left? You said everyone was in the hall.”
“Well, not everyone. Izzy and Travis both have enhanced senses so I know how they found out, and I don’t know about anybody else. It wouldn’t surprise me if more people heard us than opened their doors. Sean was shouting part of the time, and I’m sure I was louder than usual. Anyway, by the time Isaac got up there, there were maybe eight people. I told you they detect power use somehow. I think they might have cameras in the hall too.”
“It doesn’t sound like they trust the students much.”
“I… think it’s more complicated than that. I mentioned that I was surprised they got up to where we were so quickly, and Isaac told me that the program had no tolerance for bullying. He said, ‘You’ve heard of bullied kids coming to school with a gun? Well, it’s as if every kid in the building has a gun—except for the ones with atomic bombs. Plus they’ve got friends. If the program turns this hotel into a smoking hole in the ground, the fallout will be so big that getting fired will be the least of my problems’.”
Haley’s eyes got a little bigger. “Oh, no. He’s right.”
“Yeah. I mean, if I got the jet, I could probably take out the hotel myself, and there are a bunch of people who could do it without any technology. They measured strength, and Travis can move 40 tons. Izzy and Jaclyn can both do more than 80. The device they brought isn’t accurate after 85 tons. It’s a very interesting device though—”
I started to explain why, and then stopped. Haley had an expression on her face that I’d slowly begun to recognize as the “please don’t explain that now” look.
“Anyway, I’d bet any of them could take out the hotel by themselves, and I know they’re not the only ones.”
“Is Sean out of the program?”
“I don’t think so. I saw him the next day. If he was out, I think they would have sent him home. Why?”
Haley pulled her legs up to her chest, and put her arms around them. “Don’t be mad. I still think Sean is a jerk, but I don’t want to see him kicked out if he doesn’t have to be.”
“I don’t want to see him kicked out either, but you know what’s weird? Isaac told me that if they can only have one of us in the program, it will be me. It’s really crazy that he’d say that. I mean, I could get Sean kicked out.”
“I don’t think he was promising to kick Sean out if you asked for it.”
“No, but still… After Sean tried to push you to go farther than you wanted, and after I fought him, he brought in lawyers and his dad’s friends. He made the school get me counseling, and his dad pushed the police into investigating you. Now it’s totally the opposite. He’s got no power over us at all, and there are lots of ways I could hurt him.”
She bit her lip. “What are you going to do?”
“Nothing. At least for now. I want to give him a chance, but honestly, I got pretty angry about it afterward. In the moment I didn’t feel much, but later it bugged me that he thought he had the right to terrorize me.”
“I know I said I didn’t want Sean to be kicked out, but if it looks like anything is going to happen, tell somebody, and watch out.”
“Don’t worry about it. I will. Daniel said the same thing, and I don’t think he’s going to let me go anywhere without him.”
Then because it had been on my mind, I asked, “What happened to you? I saw you sent a yellow to everybody, and then everything turned green later.”
“Oh that,” she smiled a little. “I was downtown with Sydney and Camille, and Kayla relayed that the police were having trouble with a lizard guy. He called himself Ridgeback–I’ve never heard of him–and he’d robbed a jewelry store. Anyway, we caught him. Sydney and I chased him down, and Camille turned off gravity around him, and made him float. He had a few normal people with him, but they weren’t hard to catch.”
“Ridgeback? That’s interesting. If he’s the guy I’m thinking of, he’s more of a mercenary. I’ve never heard of him stealing jewelry.”
“He wasn’t very good at it. He did it in the middle of the day, and overturned a bunch of cars. It was almost like he was trying to get attention.”
“Which would be dumb,” I said.
“I know.” She let go of her legs and stood up. “Do you want to go for a walk?”
My phone began to ring. I pulled it out of my pocket. I didn’t recognize the phone number.
Haley leaned over and glanced at the screen. “That’s Sean.”