I couldn’t argue with her. Every injury that sent me to the emergency room before the age of ten happened while playing with Cassie — the broken arm, more than forty stitches worth of cuts, and the time she stapled my foot.
When push came to shove, I probably came out with less damage when we fought the Grey Giant than I did most times when we played together as kids.
“It does seem reckless,” I said, “but I’m not exactly sure what to do about it. She tends to just do what she’s going to do.”
Haley frowned. “I can’t believe she gets away with it. We need to have a meeting or… I don’t know what. People need to be able to say no if she’s going to do something that really could get people hurt.”
“Travis said we should have a team leader once.”
“Are you sure he didn’t mean that he should be team leader?”
I tried to remember.
“I’m not trying to rag on him,” she said, “but he always takes over. It drove the managers crazy, but they couldn’t fire him.”
“I think he was advocating for a rotating position.”
“Oh.” Haley paused for a second. “That might be okay, but it doesn’t help us now. I still think we need to talk to Cassie.”
I sat in my chair, trying to think what to say next. “I’ll see her at school tomorrow. Otherwise I suppose you could just call her on the phone.”
“I could, but I don’t think she’d listen to me alone. I think we’ll need everybody.”
I couldn’t help but wonder how that would go and if everyone would even agree.
Just as I began to tell her my thoughts, I realized that she was looking out the window.
I followed her gaze, seeing blowing snow, and parked cars.
“Do you hear something?” She searched the sky through the window.
“A hum,” she said. “There.” She pointed upward.
A small helicopter hung above the row of brick buildings across the street. It could not have been more than two, maybe three feet long.
The fact that it stayed in the air amazed me. When you considered the size of the object, the speed of the wind, the fact that the snow could not be making things any easier for either the remote pilot or the control mechanism, it should have been struggling.
Instead it stayed level just a few feet above “Doug’s Pharmacy.”
“Is it armed?” I asked. The body seemed to be little more than a cone, but something protruded from the front.
“I can’t see it that well,” she said. “It might be a gun.”
“I wonder if we should get away from the window?” I asked. Inside though, I found myself pulled in different directions. Whoever made that thing had solved all the problems I had with winterizing the roachbots. If I took it down, I could save myself weeks of work.
“Actually,” I said, getting up, “why don’t I just quick a minute look out the door?”
Haley got up with me, grabbed my arm before I made it to the door, and leaned into me, whispering, “What are you really doing?”
To the goths and the staff, it must have looked as if we were about to kiss.
“I’m wearing the stealth suit. I’ll take it out with the sonics.”
“You don’t need to protect me.”
“I’m not,” I began, but stopped, realizing it would be better to be thought overly protective than explain that I really only wanted to shoot it down and take it apart.
I managed to break away long enough to step through the coffee shop’s glass door. Haley followed just behind me.
The drone swiveled to point at me. I began to raise my right arm, but never got a shot off.
The drone blew up.
A beam of yellow energy came out of the sky, blasting it into pieces, most of which were blackened or burning.
Haley pulled me back into the doorway to avoid one of the rotors. It hit the brick wall just to the left of the door, bouncing off to land on the snow covered sidewalk.
From above, a human form began to descend, yellow energies surrounding it, moving like fire moved, reminding me of pictures of the surface of the sun.
A super. Great.
I prepared to pretend I’d just been saved.