Master Martian went for it. From the tension in his shoulders and the tightness of his face as he said, “Yes,” I got the impression that he might not fully trust Daniel in his head, but he also knew that we didn’t have a record of treating villains any worse than any other hero group.
Plus, if he calculated the odds, it was obvious that we could do anything we wanted to him whether he said yes or no. So it wasn’t as if we had to lie about having a way home to get him to do something.
We got home around twenty minutes later. Daniel floated Master Martian out of the jet, through the hangar, and out into the main room of the base.
Kayla sat at the big table in the middle of the room. She looked up from her laptop as we walked through the wide metal doors, aiming for the black and silver disc near the massive screen at the front of the room.
Jaclyn’s dog, Tiger, an orange and black striped dog the size of a large horse, gave a loud woof and bounded toward us, stopping only when he reached Master Martian. For a moment, I thought he might grab Master Martian and use him as a chew toy, but he only sniffed the man, spending an unnecessarily long time investigating Master Martian’s crotch.
Izzy reached out and scratched behind his ears, her hand disappearing into his curly fur. The dog licked her face, leaving dog saliva on her face and mask. He had a large tongue.
Wiping the stuff off with her hand, she said, “I like you too, but yuck.”
Kayla, meanwhile, had gotten up from the table and walked toward us with a box of tissues in her hand. She held them out to Izzy as the dog left her to sniff Yoselin who said something to him in Spanish.
As Izzy took the box, Kayla said, “I keep them around for a reason.”
Then she pointed at Master Martian, turning to Daniel to ask, “What’s he doing here?”
Vaughn answered before Daniel, “He’s going home—wherever that is. Some kind of Mars in a universe that isn’t much like ours.”
Kayla frowned, “Not the dinosaur universe, I hope.”
Daniel shook his head, “No. Somewhere else.”
As we walked up to the disc, he added, “I hope we don’t have any other questions for him because once we send him away it’s going to be a lot harder to ask him.”
I shook my head, “I don’t. Anybody else?”
“If you don’t,” Cassie said, “I don’t think anybody does.”
She walked up to the side of the disc, stopping about a foot away. She knew just like the rest of us that it could send you to another universe without much warning once activated. Worse, it might only send part of you.
“Mystic,” I said, “we’ll need him on the disc to figure out where we’re supposed to send him. Probably you ought to wake him up while we do it. It’d probably be bad to send him home asleep.”
Daniel grinned, “I was planning on it.”
Stopping next to me, Kayla asked, “Do you want me to run it?”
I shook my head, or in her view, my helmet, “I’ve got it.”
I’d used my grandfather’s notes on the disc to connect it to our network, allowing any of us to run a universe-to-universe transition from one of the computers. When I’d returned home from space, I discovered that it simply worked with my implant, associated with a rich vein of history that I hadn’t had time to investigate.
I connected to the disc, allowing it to draw energy from the base’s fusion plant. As Daniel let Master Martian drift to lay on the silver and black rings, I activated the disc’s dimensional analysis feature, allowing it to sense the frequency of the universe that Master Martian originated from.
There wasn’t much of it. What the disc sensed was our universe. It made sense. If Master Martian had budded a piece of himself off and grown a new body, it would have been grown using local materials. Was there enough left of the original to keep a connection to his own universe?
On the disc, Master Martian pushed himself up to a sitting position, “Is something wrong?”
“I don’t think so,” I scanned through the disc’s various readings, hoping that I’d find one that would help. Inside my head, the implant showed me a visualization of parallel universes, a cone where the wide end spread to infinity.
I increased the sensitivity on the disc’s sensors and got a small flicker. Adjusting it more gave me a solid signal. “I’ve got it. I don’t know where it will send you, but it will be someplace familiar—possibly where you disappeared, but maybe your home. If we had the location in the disc’s database, I could tell you what it looked like.”
Master Martian stood up, “Send me. I don’t care where it is.”
I looked over at the group. No one shouted out questions. I activated the disc and with a flash of rainbow colors, Master Martian faded away, his head turning to look into the distance of wherever he was. As he began to speak, his body sparkled and disappeared.
I deactivated the disc. We didn’t need any accidents.
Across from me, Vaughn slapped his forehead, “Oh man, I just thought of a really important question… Kidding.”
Cassie punched his arm.
Above us on the wall, the League’s massive screen lit up, showing the block where we’d fought the Cabal with its smashed cars, damaged buildings, and the grisly remains of some of the Cabal’s soldiers.
Kayla’s voice carried over the reporter’s description of the scene, “I didn’t know it was that bad!”