All the same, it’s easy to say you went to bed, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll sleep once you get there. It gets harder to sleep when you know you’ve got something big planned the next day. That’s especially true if you know you could get hurt, that your friends could get hurt, and if one of your friends is a telepath with who you’ve had a low-level telepathic connection since childhood—at least when you’re in range—you might sense his anxiety too.
I don’t think either of us noticed it at first, but twenty minutes after pulling the sheets up, I found myself staring at the ceiling, which thanks to the mirrors on the ceiling, gave me a dark reflection of myself staring up at myself. Lit only by the stars and moon outside my windows, I could see only a little more than shadows, but it was enough for me to recognize my face.
As I did, I found myself wondering why the shades were up, feeling sure that I’d closed them already even though I knew I’d left them up deliberately. I wanted to see the stars. That’s the moment where I realized that it wasn’t me wondering about the shades. That was Daniel.
Sorry, Nick. I’m having a hard time sleeping, It’s probably knowing what we’re doing tomorrow. It’s easier when you don’t know what you’re going into.
I sent back a feeling of my amusement and felt his in return. It felt like we were both eleven and sleeping over at one or the other’s house. No big deal. I was feeling that way too.
Great, he thought back, a feedback loop. Maybe I should work on keeping my thoughts private until at least one of us is asleep.
If it helps, I thought back. That or we could go out somewhere play a game.
He sent back a picture of the last time we’d tried playing Jenga using his telekinesis and grocery carts. They crashed in a heap. I felt him shaking his head. I doubt they have big grocery stores here anyway.
He had a point. If they did, it wasn’t the kind of superstore that had enough carts to leave them unwatched long enough for us to play games. Besides, it’s not as if either of us wanted to.
There is something I’d been meaning to mention to you, but we were all too focused on planning. You know how you’re going to be the distraction so we can get in and out?
I was all too aware of it. My part of the plan kept on rolling through my head.
Well, Daniel continued, you remember how Cassie suggested that Kid Biohack could handle that and I said that it ought to be you? It wasn’t just that we can trust you to do it. It’s also because if we let Kid Biohack do it alone, his chances of dying are astronomical. When you’re both doing it, they’re much lower.
That answered the question of why Daniel might have a hard time sleeping. I wouldn’t want to be sitting on that either. What if I’m doing it alone?
Daniel thought about it and I could feel him sense the universe’s possibilities. A better chance of dying, but still nowhere near as bad as Kid Biohack. Whatever it is, it’s either something he’s particularly vulnerable or that you’re trained to handle, but he isn’t. And no, I don’t have the faintest clue what it might be.
What could I be prepared for that Kid Biohack wasn’t? Technology, aliens, and though it overlapped with the other two, Artificers and their relics.
That’s all I can think of too, Daniel said.
While a technological problem didn’t sound too bad, I could do without the rest. I considered telling Daniel that, but found that whatever had been keeping me up no longer mattered. My eyes closed and I could feel Daniel slipping away too.
My last clear thoughts of the night were that I must have been kept up by his worry.
The next day we reviewed my bots’ recordings in case there was more data, visited the festival as a group again, and notified Kid Biohack of our plans. I sat down on my bed, looking into the comm unit on my wrist. Over his comm, he grinned at me, “So, you’re going in around seven? That works. I’ll be there the second you call. The footage will be amazing!”
Not wanting to argue about that, I went to my next question, “You know you’ll probably have to leave afterward, right? Whatever’s left of this place’s government is going to be really angry. You’ll probably have to leave with us and depending on how crazy things get, we might have to take any civilians associated with you. Make sure they have a meeting place if things go wrong and that you know what it is.”
He smirked, “That’s the easy part. People like feeling involved.”
I nodded, “Alright. One more thing, whatever happens, wait for me to call you in. The Mystic’s determined that we’ll be facing something with a good chance of killing us unless we’re together.”
He gave me a thumbs-up, “Got it. I’ll wait for your signal and haul ass to find you.”
With that, we hung up and I walked out of the bedroom. Yoselin, Daniel, and Cassie were waiting around the table. Their suitcases sat on the floor nearby. “He’s all in. He says he’ll wait until I call. Are you all ready?”
Cassie raised an eyebrow, “We’re ready. Your luggage is still back there.”
I turned around, seeing it next to my bed. She wasn’t wrong.