For a little while, no one said anything. Then a door opened at the end of the hall and Sydney walked into the room, blond hair bouncing on her shoulders.
She looked over at Sean, “I can’t believe that guy was real, and then how the lawyers were like ‘yeah, I know he’s crazy, but what can you do’?”
Sean blinked, “You heard all of that from your room?”
Shaking her head, she pulled out her phone, “I bugged the room.”
Then she pressed on the screen and four small objects buzzed out from the corners and flew past her down the hall.
Dayton laughed, “Nice.”
A touch of red colored Sydney’s cheeks, but that disappeared as Sean asked, “Did you get those from Nick?”
Keeping her voice level she said, “I am part of the Heroes’ League. Anyone can grab a few for their utility belt. Besides, technically, I got them from Chris. He’s been making them based off of Nick’s designs.”
“Wait,” Dayton said, “is Chris the Rocket now? Thanks to my mimic thing, I can tell that it’s not Nick in the suit lately.”
Sydney shook her head, “Chris covers for him when he’s not around so that there’s always a Rocket in Grand Lake. Nick’s been in Detroit this summer and all the seniors said last year was rough at Stapledon. Plus Nick was in outer space and doing special government stuff during his junior year… Chris ended up in the suit a lot more than anyone expected he would.”
Holding his hands in the air, Sean said, “Wait. Everyone stop talking. That can wait. Syd, what the hell? Why were you bugging us?”
Her lips twisted, “What do you mean, why? I was worried for you. The lawyers showed up out of nowhere and said some random guy was going to be here. I wanted to be ready if you needed help. We lived through years of wondering what stranger was going to be the Cabal—“
“That’s over,” Sean began, but Sydney kept on talking.
“But it doesn’t mean that guy’s safe.” She stopped, frowning.
Sean wanted to ask her how she’d know, but managed, “Okay, I get it. He seems pretty messed up and that’s what I was about to bring up to the group. Are you guys still okay with signing?”
Jody shrugged, “They money’s the same, right? It’s not like they’re making him the team leader. They said we’re never going to see him again.”
Dayton grinned, “They said they didn’t think we’d see him again, but they also said he never did this. I’d say that I’d like to see the contract. Weren’t you going to get that looked at?”
Walking over to the kitchen counter, Sydney pulled up a stool. Sean considered asking her to get out of the room but decided he didn’t want to go through another argument. “Yeah, I sent it over to Vaughn last night. He said he’d have someone look for it—one of the League’s lawyers.”
Nodding, Dayton asked, “When are they supposed to get back to you?”
Sean shook his head, “I don’t know, before the meeting? We didn’t set a time. I did tell them when we were supposed to sign.”
With a quick grin, Dayton said, “Hey, that’s good enough for me. They seem like the kind of people who will get back to us on time.”
Half-expecting to have to argue about whether he’d done the right thing, Sean said, “Uh, yeah. That’s what I thought.”
“Works for me,” Jody looked over at the tv. “You think we can get lunch or something while we wait? We’ve got almost three hours to kill now.”
Sean shrugged, “I guess we could order pizza.”
“Cool, cool,” Jody sat down on the couch, put his feet on the black table in front of it, and picked up the remote.
Before he had a chance to press the on button, Dayton’s, Jody’s, and Sean’s comms all beeped at once. Sydney looked up from her phone, “I didn’t get that. What’s going on?”
Ignoring her, Sean looked at the comm screen on the arm of his suit. He had a message from Vaughn, “Do you guys have time to look at the contract now?”
Dayton looked up from his comm, “That’s convenient.”
In a spooky voice, Jody said, “Heeee’s psyyychic…”
Muttering, “Asshole,” Sean typed, “We’re all here.”
On the screen, Vaughn texted, “Great. Sending you the contract with comments. Lawyer incoming.”
Before Sean had time to ask what that meant, a tear ripped open in the air behind the couch, pulling sideways to become a human-sized hole. A man stepped through, turning back as the hole dissolved to say, “Thanks, Guardian.”
As the web of sparking energy around the tear in reality disappeared, becoming a normal spot in the living room, but one that was now occupied by a man in a navy blue costume with a small Greek letter to the left of the man’s heart.
Sean knew who this was. It was the man who’d first talked to him about going into the Stapledon program.
Mindstryke looked over at Jody, “He’s not psychic, but I am. Let’s talk about this contract and unless I miss my guess, something important just happened here. Sydney, if you could send me that video you took, I think we should talk about that as well.”