Haley barely let him finish before jumping in. “What do you mean, ‘no?’ You’re not going to do anything. You just told us so, and we can’t leave her there.”
Guardian’s jaw tightened, and he said, “We’re going to do something, but we’re going to do it right. Even if you know where she is, and it isn’t a trap, they’ll still be expecting an attack. I’m not going to throw high school students up against Rook and possibly more of the Nine’s people. If anything, I’m going to send in experienced people. Time to stop talking, and give me her location, I’ll get as far as I can.”
Somewhere in the back of my mind, a part of me wanted to remind him that some of us were college students, but I doubted that arguing technicalities would get me anywhere.
Instead, I said, “We’re going. We know it might be a trap, but we can’t leave her there without help—not if there’s a possibility that it’s not a trap.”
Guardian’s face assumed a frustrated expression that reminded me of Dr. Farkas when he’d been saying I couldn’t double major.
“I know you want to help her, but there’s a reason we don’t send inexperienced people up against the Nine’s people. They’re competent. They’re prepared. They’ll kill you, and then what good will you have done?”
I might have sighed at that, which probably wasn’t the most polite thing I could have done. I really don’t remember doing it, but Haley told me afterward that I had. So, okay…
I sighed, and Guardian frowned at me.
“Look, we can’t leave her. We have to try. Sure, we’ll give you the location, but the people you’re sending can be our backup. We’ve got to go now. Remember what happened to the original Captain Commando when Fracture caught him?”
Regeneration had opened whole new avenues of torture. From what Grandpa said, it took a lot of work to get Captain Commando’s legs back into the right shape, never mind the rest of his body.
“Besides,” I continued, “no one leaves a teammate in a situation like that. The original League wouldn’t. We’re not going to either.”
Guardian clenched his jaw again. “Okay. Go, but I’m going to send someone with you. Don’t forget to send us the coordinates. I can’t use them right now, but I will.”
“Good,” Haley said. “I’ll make sure he doesn’t forget.”
He frowned at her. Whatever concerns he may have had about sending teenagers into combat weren’t being put to rest. I mean, she was kind of small. He should have been overjoyed. He had no idea how much his chances of actually getting the coordinates increased with her involved.
Something beeped. I checked, and a small picture of Daniel and Izzy appeared near the bottom of my monitor. They’d entered the complex by the hidden door in the forest. Underneath, the were the words, “Identifed. Passed.”
That was fast.
I sent a few commands to the League Jet that were meant to get it warmed up, and save us some time.
I stood up from the table, telling Haley, “I’m going to get the full Rocket suit on. Do you feel comfortable handling everything here?”
Haley raised an eyebrow. “Seriously?”
“Well, I spend more time here than anyone else, and we don’t spend much time with the equipment when we’re here together. So I don’t really know—”
She cut me off. “Nick, go. I’ll be fine. Kayla’s on her way anyway.”
Crossing most of HQ’s room, I ran to the lab, passing trophies and souvenirs the League collected over the years. An uncomfortable feeling in my stomach reminded me that Rook had killed a lot of people, and any respect he might have for my grandfather wouldn’t stop him from killing me or my friends.
If it did, it would only be because he’d had an idea that we’d probably appreciate less than that.
Either way, we might not be coming back.
I didn’t like that feeling. Fortunately, it mostly disappeared when I got into the lab.
I’d done a lot of work on the Rocket suit during the summer. It stood next to the wall, completely fixed from the damage it had taken when we’d fought the Cabal’s leftovers in the spring, and then Evil Beatnik in the summer.
Plus I’d integrated roachbot controls into the helmet, and added pieces that turned the Rocket suit into a kind of roachbot aircraft carrier.
I shucked off the stealth suit’s helmet, pants, and jacket, leaving me in the thin layer that acted as my flight suit.
Izzy and Daniel came in and started talking to Haley as the suit’s chestplate closed. I pulled on the arms, and started to choose the types of roachbots I’d take.
I looked over the monitor on the desk. It showed a picture of two people in the old sewer entrances. One of them was Sydney Drucker, Sean’s sister. That didn’t surprise me. Haley had been hanging around with Sydney, and her half-sister Camille a lot this year.
Unfortunately, the other person wasn’t Camille. It was Sean.