I shut down HQ for the night around 11:23 pm, knowing even as I did it that my parents weren’t going to be happy.
We had arrived back at 10:47 pm. In theory, I suppose, I could have been home on time if I’d skipped showering and let everyone else turn things off. Unfortunately just taking off the armor and putting it away took 10 minutes. Short of asking Jaclyn to carry me back to the house at full speed, I couldn’t see any way to be home on time.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 60
Inside the police department looked like most institutional buildings — beige walls, tile floor, cubicles — but with the obvious addition of men and women in blue carrying guns.
We ended up standing inside a conference room. “We” in this case meant new and old Heroes League members, the Midwest Defenders, the FBI representatives, PsyKick, Larry, and a few police.
It was a big conference room — two, actually. They’d taken out the divider between two rooms as we came in.
The tables had been pushed to the wall and the sleeping bodies placed in the middle of the room. All the rest of us stood around the edges while Daniel, his dad, the Fed with the psychic helmet, and PsyKick deep probed their minds.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 59
“No. There’s no way I’m doing that,” I said.
“That was a joke. I wasn’t suggesting you let Mindstryke take over, but you need to listen to the guy. No one thinks about it when they start, but managing your image is a major piece of the job.”
Guardian pulled a couple pieces of pepperoni pizza onto a plate.
Flick leaned in toward the table and smiled briefly. “He’s right. Some of you have heard about what happened when I joined the Defenders. I think the most important thing I’ve learned in the past two years is how to handle myself in public.”
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 58
“Is there some way I could avoid being on TV?” I said.
“Are you nervous?” Haley asked. “Your grandfather was on TV all the time.”
“Was he your grandfather?” Flick said. “I wondered about the connection. I remember seeing him on TV as a little kid. He always seemed so calm.”
Flick didn’t seem all that much older than we were. I would have guessed mid to late twenties. At best she could have seen him at the tail end of his career unless she’d seen some old news footage. During a history class, I once saw him in a World War II era newsreel.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 57
The house only blew up a little bit — at least by comparison to an atomic bomb, for example. It didn’t have a mushroom cloud, just gouts of flame pouring out the kitchen windows and doors. To judge from what it looked like afterwards, it must have blasted out a couple pieces of wall too, but I was too distracted by the flames and smoke to notice.
We had already gotten out when it happened. The explosion destroyed the kitchen, part of the dining room, and started most of the back of the house burning. Even through my armor I could feel the heat a little.
I hit the ground when it blew like everyone else, realizing belatedly that I probably didn’t have to.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 56
We descended toward the house. Daniel and his father floated down with no visible means of support as if they were riding an invisible elevator. The wind held Vaughn in the air, blowing his hair wildly as he rode it down. Marcus circled down, gliding like a hawk. I followed Daniel, my jetpack set to give slightly less force than it would take to hover.
OK, Daniel’s dad thought at us, Bouman’s in the basement with his wife and kids. He’s armed with some kind of gun, probably equipment confiscated by the police. I have no idea what it can do so be careful and keep the violence to a minimum. If we can manage to capture Bouman without beating him unconscious in front of his family, I’ll be happy.
A burst of thought from Daniel: We’re going to be attacked shortly… um… now.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 50
“Marcus, too,” Daniel continued. “Really, they found each other. I’ve told them where we are.”
Moments later, they stepped out from behind the nearest house and into the light outside their garage. Marcus appeared almost like himself except for feathered wings. Also, though I hadn’t noticed it earlier, I realized that he wore a costume and had been all night. Gray like Travis and Haley’s, his costume flashed a rainbow of colors when he moved. On the left side of his chest were the words, “The Shift.”
Vaughn limped next to him, his left arm hanging in a way that seemed somehow off. Blood spattered the lower half of his face where he had no mask. A slit the width of a knife blade showed skin and dried blood on the right side of his neck. To judge from the amount of dried blood on his costume, it surprised me that any could be left inside him.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 49
“Are you getting anything?” I asked Daniel.
We stood about twenty feet to the side of the main table where everyone else sat, quietly talking.
“Almost,” Daniel said. “I’ll pull you in when I’ve got it.”
The grownups hadn’t been gone for long.
My vision blurred. Superimposed upon the League HQ’s main room, I saw the lab with it’s collection of machines and spare Rocket suit parts. Larry (his helmet off) fiddled with the controls of one of Grandpa’s more advanced fabrication machines. Daniel’s dad and C, Jaclyn’s grandfather, faced each other next to the counter on the left side of the room.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 48