I grinned, “I feel like we’ve been doing this kind of thing long enough now that we expect it’s not going to be as easy as it looks.”
“Sure,” Cassie snorted out half a laugh, “but I don’t expect it to be this far off either. Go in and kidnap this guy. It’ll be easy except maybe there’s Dominators, or organized crime, or international terrorist spy people, or aliens, or witches, or immortal, evil warriors. Or maybe all of the above. It’ll be fine. Everything’s fine.”
Daniel gave the both of us a smile, “It could be worse. Don’t ask me how exactly, but it could. Before we find out, let’s focus on the mission. How do we find this guy?”
“Easy,” Cassie said. “You do it. Either you feel him out with telepathy or you see in the future the moment we find him and backtrack from there.”
Raising an eyebrow, he shook his head, “You know better. My prescience doesn’t work on demand like that. Don’t get me wrong, if I get a flash of inspiration, I’ll follow it up, but I can’t just do it. The telepathy, sure, but it’s going to have to be a light touch unless we want to risk people noticing—which we don’t. Plus, there’s a pretty good chance that the kind of guy we want will have a shield whether it’s tech or purely mental.”
“Right, so after you work up some leads,” Cassie added, “Nick sends in the bots.”
“I’d say you’re being kind of flippant about all of this,” I said, “if it weren’t for the fact that that’s what we’ll probably do anyway.”
She smiled, “How long have we been training and working together now? Let’s get moving. If you’re right and it’s Armory all over again, he’ll be in the arena, right? We should get tickets for whatever’s in there tonight and see what we can find out. If we want to cast a wider net, maybe we hit a few clubs instead.”
After taking a moment to consider it, Daniel said, “That might be the better option even if there’s a show in the arena. If the guy’s lab is in there, they’ll be hanging up anti-telepathy generators on the ceiling with the wifi.”
I’d been connecting with the hotel’s internet with my implant as Daniel talked. “Related to that, it looks like we’ve got the best or worst of both worlds, depending on your point of view. There aren’t any fights in the arena tonight, but that’s because the arena’s booked for a music festival—Metafest. And when I say ‘arena,’ I mean the whole building, but there are three separate arenas in there and I’ve heard of all of the bands.
“Also, we’ve already got tickets. They came with the room—though given how much they paid for the room, I have a hard time calling it a deal.”
Daniel frowned, “Do you really think going to Metafest will do any good? I’m not joking about the anti-TP tech. Plus, I hate crowds. I can block out the noise if I have to, but that goes against the whole point of being here.”
I knew he hated crowds, but, “Well, Metafight Arena is the closest the island has to a government building. I’ve been flipping through pictures of this place online and that’s where the police force—which is also basically the army—is. They’re all in powered armor and the design uses the same weird joint design that Grandpa and Larry talked about. So even if it’s not Armory, it’s a fan or a student, and if the armor’s stored there, that means it’s maintained there. And that means that someone who knows how to fix it is there…”
“Okay,” Daniel took a deep breath. “Let’s do it.”
“There we go,” Cassie said. “We’ve got a plan.”
“Not for getting out if things go wrong,” I said.
Nodding her head and smiling, Cassie said, “That’s because we’re not going to let things go wrong. We’re not superheroes. We’re a bunch of rich kids with more money than sense and we’re here to have fun. And if things go bad, we handle it the way you and Haley did when that bank got robbed when you were on a date—subtly.”
Daniel looked at her, “Are you sure you haven’t been mind-controlled?”
“Very sure,” Cassie pulled out a gun from her purse. A small pistol made of a shimmery blue-green metal, it was smaller and more glittery than normal—which struck me as exactly the sort of pistol someone with more money than sense might have.
“It would never put up with it,” she said.
It probably wouldn’t. Cassie’s gun had been designed by one of the galaxy’s most evil races and existed only to kill and then kill more. I’d seen Cassie mind-controlled and even if it hadn’t stopped it from happening, it knew who Cassie’s real friends were and didn’t go all out against us.
“It’s weirdly cute today,” I looked it over. “I’m surprised it’s putting up with it and I’m even more surprised you managed to get it through the airport.”
She pressed a button and the side popped up to reveal a mirror, a brush, and makeup, “You know how it adjusts to fit the user. I told it that transforming into a makeup case was the only way it could come along.”