Haley didn’t get angry, but I did sense she might be tired of the subject.
She only sent back. I’ll show you later.
Then I felt Izzy’s dawning realization of what Haley had to mean. Of course she’d realized it. Haley and I had both been on national (and probably international) television more than once.
I hope you’re not worried about how you look. There’s nothing wrong with it.
Haley thought, No, it’s not that. Well, it’s not just that. It’s what goes along with it. When the Hrrnna turned, part of me wanted to chase it. That kind of thing happens all the time, okay? And not just with alien horses—small animals too. Squirrels. I don’t want to be the kind of person who chases squirrels.
I didn’t ask what kind of person that was.
If the alien in front of us noticed our conversation, it didn’t show a sign of it. It said, “We are on this world too now. Anything that attacks it, attacks us as well.”
I started to pay attention to the world outside my head again, noticing that the Hrrnna stood very still. I wondered what that meant. In creatures that appeared to fit into an ecosystem similar to our plains, stillness had to mean something.
Then it said something else, but it wasn’t translated.
The world’s colors took on a rainbow outline, and we found ourselves standing in Chicago in front of the building where Chancy Connections’ offices were—not, it occurred to me that Chancy Harris had sent us a message too.
Daniel laughed. “He’s not even in his office. I felt him teleport himself out as soon as we teleported in.”
“That figures.” I looked up toward the office. How irritating. Talk about the ultimate power for avoiding people you didn’t want to talk to.
Beneath her mask, Haley frowned. “I wonder if he knows something?”
Daniel glanced up and the office. “I doubt it. My bet is that he’s irritated that no one’s paying him for two freebie teleports.”
Izzy began to say, “What a—“ and then screeching brakes and beeping horns interrupted her.
Cars on both sides of the street stopped in the middle of the road—not all of them, but enough. It’s not like they were totally stupid either. Well, not all of them. Most of the ones that stopped pulled off to the side of the road. Only a couple stopped in the middle of the road—not that that wasn’t a huge hassle.
Worse they opened their doors and stepped out of the cars.
Then someone, actually several someones, started beeping their horns at the stopped cars.
Well crap, now we start traffic jams by spontaneously appearing on the sidewalk?
Not replying to me, Daniel broadcast, Let’s go—all of us—fly in four different directions. Meet back at the van.
I turned toward Haley.
She shook her head. Pulling my redesigned grapple guns from her belt, she said, “Don’t worry about it.” Then she fired a line up to the top of Chancy’s building. As the line started to retract, pulling her into the air, she fired off the second line at the next building over. Within a couple more shots, she’d completely disappeared.
Izzy and Daniel took to the air as quickly, and I blasted straight into the air.
The rockets roared, and I checked the sidewalk. The people who had been running toward us stopped, blocking the brightness of the rockets’ tail with their arms.
I leaned forward and shot a couple blocks over in seconds, keeping low so that I’d disappear from their vision more quickly. Then I circled around (in a wide circle), and finally landed further down the alley where I’d parked the van. I came down about a couple blocks away, but running covered the distance.
I found Daniel standing behind the van.
Haley and Izzy are already inside. They’re almost done changing.
I considered asking him whether he knew by clairvoyance or telepathy, but didn’t.
Clairvoyance would only cause problems, he told me.
The back door opened, and Haley let us inside. Daniel pulled the door shut behind us.
I started the disassembly function, and the suit came apart in a much more controlled way than before. Instead of clattering to the ground in pieces, it sounded like a soft rain as sections detached and were reabsorbed into the same grey block I’d stepped into earlier.
Daniel smiled at me. “Show off.”
The curtain hadn’t been drawn yet so Haley and Izzy had both seen it too.
Haley’s expression seemed more amused than impressed, but Izzy said, “How did you do that? Or wait, I shouldn’t ask, should I?”
Haley said, “No.”
Daniel put his hand on the curtain. “You might as well go to the front. Some of us have to change the hard way.”
I stepped forward, muttering, “Right,” as I moved between the back seats and into the driver’s seat.
Looking out the front window, I saw that the traffic jam had mostly cleared up. A few people stood on the sidewalk at the end of the alley looking in the air, and up and down the street.
Amazingly, none of them were looking down the alley toward us.
“That’s me,” Daniel said. “Every time someone thinks about looking down this alley, I send a little urge to look a different direction.”
“Wow,” I said, “that could be useful.”
“It is. My grandfather used it to sneak into places. Lee thinks I should develop it for combat.”
“Yeah,” I said. “He would, but he’s right.”
Daniel didn’t say anything, and my mind drifted back to the major question on my mind. “What do you all think? Are the Hrrnna behind it all?”