Brooke opened another portal.
Through it I could see a warehouse filled with vehicles — delivery trucks, police cars, armored trucks, hummers, and a semi. It wasn’t full either. The information we’d gotten from Carlos showed that half the vehicles were out this time of day.
Brooke changed the scene to the inside of a delivery vehicle and Jenny climbed through. She did the same thing until Jenny sat in each vehicle.
“Your turn,” Brooke said, and closed the portal. Then she grabbed my hand and the hand of the sole remaining Jenny.
Suddenly, I could sense Jenny and Brooke, but behind them, the Jennys in the warehouse, a Jenny keeping watch down the block from there, and a Jenny writing down notes in a history class.
Me: You’re in school?
Jenny: My spring break was last week.
Jenny: Ready to teach me how to hotwire cars?
I guided her through the first one, pointing out which wires to connect. After that, I assisted her with the difficult ones, making the next few minutes a blur of Jenny’s hands, tools, and wires. Within a few moments, the garage roared with the sound of engines.
Distantly, I heard Alex say, “Are we ready?”
“They’re all started.”
“Great. Brooke, put us in one of the hummers.”
Brooke withdrew her hand and the connection to Jenny and all the cars cut off. I found myself sitting on the couch in front of the TV with Brooke and Jenny standing off to my left.
Alex stepped through the portal in front of us.
“You’re next,” Brooke said.
I followed Alex through and found myself in the backseat of a Hummer. Jenny was already in the driver’s seat. Brooke appeared next to her a moment later.
Jenny gunned the engine, driving toward one of the opened doors, joining a line of cars and trucks that she was also driving. It was crazy. It felt like I was in the middle of “Being John Malkovich” — which was, by the way, a very strange film.
As we drove toward the door, people started running into the room. A few of them held guns. Most wore coveralls. I assumed they were mechanics.
Everyone went down, caught in the crossfire of multiple Jennys with pistols.
“Stun guns,” Alex said. “They’ll be fine.”
The semi-truck passed us. The Jenny inside blew the truck’s air horn and waved.
Within seconds we were out on the street, part of a near traffic jam of Jenny driven vehicles going in all directions. Halfway down the block, Jenny said, “We’re all out. None of me are left in the garage.”
“Kick ass,” Alex said.
I turned and looked out the back window. No one seemed to be behind us — well, no one but Jenny.
When we got two blocks away I said, “I can’t believe we’re getting away with this.”
“We haven’t yet,” Jenny said.
“We will,” Alex said. “We got everything out. From here on, the worst that can happen is we get pulled over.”
“I don’t know,” I said. “If Syndicate L has any metahumans, you never know what’s going to happen.”
“That’s the beauty of going after Syndicate L,” Alex said. “No metahumans allowed. They got worried about metahumans taking over the group so they only allow them as contractors. Contractors aren’t going to go to the wall for them. So all we’re dealing with is normal people.”
“The one time I went up against them they had a super.”
Alex shook his head. “I know it, but, it wasn’t the same thing. They’re a transport operation and he was cargo.”
* * *
We did get away with it.
The only excitement we had after that was almost anti-climactic. For a second, it looked like a police car was following us, but it turned left and disappeared.
We abandoned the hummer in a quiet neighborhood in San Bernardino. Jenny pulled out a can of bright, red, spray paint and wrote “Syndicate L” across the side. She wrote “wash me” on the other side.
It showed up nicely against the hummer’s dark gray paint job.
Alex took a can of black paint and sprayed over the dashboard, taking care to cover the speedometer and radio.
Then Brooke opened up a portal and we went back.
We took turns watching the TV while everyone changed back into street clothes. I’d brought mine along.
We flipped through the channels, but didn’t see immediate coverage of what we’d done. It was a little disappointing. Jenny had left them in clusters of three or four in front of places like police and fire departments. In most cases, she’d painted the warehouse’s address on their sides.
I watched the eleven o’clock news alone in my hotel room. They covered it.
“Police are investigating the source of vehicles found parked in front of municipal buildings in various cities in Riverside and San Bernardino counties…”
One police department had treated it as a potential bomb threat. Another had managed to accidentally activate hidden machine guns in one of the cars. No one had gotten hurt.
Unnervingly, the next picture showed “the address of a Riverside warehouse painted on several of the cars.”
Fire trucks and flame dominated the scene.
“Police will not confirm or deny whether the warehouse was associated with Syndicate L.”