I wasn’t sure I liked how he phrased his last sentence, “Uh… Check on it? Did you lose it or something?”
He laughed, “Not exactly. We sent it to a safe place. You’re not the only person who’s ever asked us to pick up a bad guy’s stuff. In fact, we encourage it. Legally speaking, it’s the best choice. If you take it, you’re stealing evidence. If we take it, the prosecutor can use it at trial—which is much better.”
“I know. My grandfather told me about that. Plus, it was covered at Stapledon. So, where is it? Can we visit or is it so top secret that nobody can know the location of the vault?”
Lim laughed, “Sorry. I have to explain it to newbie heroes all the time. Anyway, we can bring you in. There’s an area for visitors—sometimes superheroes, but more often researchers. You wouldn’t believe the number of patents that come out of that place. Well, maybe you would.”
I should probably have been keeping my mind on the possible visit, but something struck me in what Lim had said, “Wait… So the inventor doesn’t get the patent?”
“Well,” Lim said, “supervillains mostly don’t bother to patent their inventions. Plus, congress passed a law a few years back that prevents someone who uses their invention in a crime from patenting it afterward. The way I understand it, it’s supposed to encourage innovation—mostly by encouraging people to steal criminals’ ideas. It might stop a few wannabe mad scientists, but my experience is that by the time someone decides to invent a freeze ray and terrorize the city, there’s more going on than money can solve.”
“Alright,” I still had more questions, but I decided to stay on target. “Can you arrange a visit? We’d like to take a look at Martin Magnus’ stuff, and the sooner the better.”
“Can do. I’ll call you back when I’ve got a time.” Lim told me goodbye and hung up.
I looked around at the group, “Lim’s going to try to get us into some kind of place where they store supervillains’ stuff.”
Vaughn grinned, “We’re going to be able to just roam the aisles?”
Rolling her eyes, Cassie said, “You make it sound like Walmart. Dad told me about that place once, I think. He said it was a big warehouse. They wouldn’t let him in. He thought it was funny.”
“He did have a reputation for breaking everything my grandpa made for him.” I shrugged, though I’m not sure if anyone could tell through my armor.
The conversation might have gone on longer except that my comm started beeping. It wasn’t just my comm either. Everybody except for Yoselin looked down at the comm on their left forearm. I might have trusted her with one of the League’s new costumes, but I hadn’t trusted her with high-level access to HQ’s communications.
That’s what was causing the beeping. Superhero teams and regular people from across the country were leaving messages in our phone system and social media. Most of them were supportive, both on the part of the superhero teams and the general public. There was a minority that seemed to be as angry as Senator Abrams.
Kayla’s laptop beeped along with our comms. “Crap,” she kept on scrolling down the screen. “Reporters are calling too. Do any of you want to talk to them?”
We all looked at each other, most of us saying, “No,” at the same time that Vaughn said, “Maybe.”
Cassie shook her head, “That’s not a good idea. No comment is the best comment, remember?”
Chicago Hawk, one of our Stapledon instructors had taken a class period to talk about handling the media, mostly by avoiding them. I couldn’t argue with that idea right now. I didn’t have a good idea of what to say and I didn’t feel like stumbling around to find it would help us much.
“Hey,” even without using telepathy, Daniel had our attention, “The board can draft a statement. We should concentrate on tracking down Martin Magnus and figuring out what he wants.”
Next to me, Haley frowned, “Do you think this got his attention? We know that the Nine were watching him and we can guess that they might be watching him because of Magnus.”
Glancing over at Tara, she asked, “What do you think?”
Tara shook her head, “I don’t have enough information, but if I assume that Magnus is one of the Nine, it’s certain that he’ll know.”
Next to Daniel, Izzy pushed her long, black hair out of her eyes, “Are you confident that Magnus is one of the Nine?”
Tara shook her head.
A notification came through my implant. This one was from Hal.
[You asked me to locate your cousin Anastasia’s workplace. It’s a well-funded startup called Eden Tech. It’s south of Chicago.]
Eden Tech? I didn’t know why that sounded ominous, but it did.