I took a breath. It’s one thing to be worried about a possibility, and another when it’s there in front of you.
“They’re printing out everything Hal gave us. I don’t know what they’re planning to do with it, but they’re involved somehow. Do you know what to do? It’s not like I’m going to go over there in armor and beat them up.”
Haley took her eyes off the screen to say, “I don’t know either. Could you tell Agent Lim?”
“I could, but I think he’s home for the weekend, and anyway I doubt he’d be able to get anyone to do anything soon enough.”
I checked the screen, noticing that the document was still printing, glancing over toward Gordon and Stephanie’s section of the screen to learn that they were still going at it. Their clothes were still partially on, probably because they knew they could be interrupted at any moment.
All the same, I had a better view of Gordon’s butt than I ever wanted.
The idea of shooting off a bunch of explosive roachbots, “accidentally” destroying the computer and printer, and pretending it was a misguided Fourth of July celebration passed through my head.
I didn’t do it. Some things are such obviously bad ideas that you don’t even try.
What I needed to do was to preserve the evidence of whatever they’d done, and I didn’t have access to Stephanie’s account. Dr. Nation, Technomage or somebody similarly brilliant had set up the network.
You didn’t leave something like that to your average computer networking guy when you knew a bunch of tech geniuses would be its main users.
“Here’s a crazy idea,” Haley said, “you could walk over and ask them. They might not even know where it came from.”
I shook my head. “No, I checked the League’s mail server just now. The email went to Stephanie’s account.”
I pointed at the text box I had open. It showed the sent mail log.
Glancing at it, she wrinkled her nose. As her eyes returned to her side of the screen, she whispered, “Whatever you’re going to do, do it now. I think they’re done. Their heartbeats are slowing down.”
I pulled out my League phone, and called Dr. Nation. Actually, I texted him first, but when he texted back that he was up, I called him.
“I shouldn’t be up,” he said when he took the call. “What’s going on?”
On the screen, Stephanie and Gordon were fully clothed and she sat on his lap in one of the chairs. The printer was still going.
How could I pass on the essential details? “We’re in the tech labs. Stephanie’s printing out files that someone got from Vaughn through enchantment. We’re trying to find out how.”
Slowly, he asked, “What kind of files?”
Knowing that this was the point where I could be getting myself in trouble, I said, “An analysis by the jet’s AI about how to overthrow the Turkmenistan government, and lots of secret information. Daniel’s dad was okay with us gathering the information. We weren’t going to go forward without permission. The jet threw in the analysis on its own.”
A much longer pause, and the picture on my computer froze. At the same time, the printer stopped printing.
“I’ll be down shortly.” Then he hung up.
Haley frowned. “Something moved inside the doors to the hall. We can’t leave.”
“And, they just realized they aren’t alone.”
I checked my handheld roachbot controller. Gordon was pointing out of the doorway at an angle. Thinking about the layout of the room, I knew he was pointing at my lab. I’d only turned on one light—the lamp next to the computer. Haley might be able to work in the dark, but I couldn’t.
It looked like we’d get to talk to them after all.
The next few seconds were the longest seconds I’d experienced since fighting Gordon’s brother.
A roar as I felt air move reminded me of the sound of Vaughn’s flight.
Gordon and Stephanie landed in front of my lab’s doorway. Stephanie’s foot hit the ground hard, and she glared at him even as she adjusted more quickly than I could have, rolling on the ball of her foot, and spreading out the force.
I knew she could do more than simply think. I didn’t know exactly what, but I had guesses.
Gordon said, “Sorry.”
She frowned. “You need to be more careful.”
Gordon nodded, and walked through my doorway. Objects around the room rattled, as a small wind blew around the room. Stephanie followed, showing a hint of a limp.
Gordon’s gaze took in both Haley and I. “How long have you been here?”