I found myself remembering back to when we’d faced Ray and the Cabal and Ray’s method of terrorizing his targets—killing their families first, getting closer and closer, and then killing the target. From the way Haley’s face tightened, I guessed that she was remembering the same. Back then, we’d been able to rely on the FBI to guard our families. Knowing that the Nine likely had an ear there, we’d have to do it ourselves.
I said, “Can you move more bots out? We need to cast a wider surveillance net around our families, but I think we might want to do the same around close friends.”
Depending on their goals, we might even have to consider watching over more distant friends or even civilian co-workers. That expanded into a huge net. Maybe we needed to get Tara, Daniel, and Hal into a meeting, not only to figure out how to best deploy our resources but also to think ahead. We couldn’t just sit here and let our families get attacked. We needed to go on the offense and find them first.
That meant I’d need more bots, especially more bots that could attack.
Kayla’s voice came over the comm, “I’ll check how many we’ve got in the inventory. I think we used most of the ones with range when we first heard people might be coming for us.”
“You’re right,” I said. “I’m going to have to start building more.”
“I’ll tell Chris,” Kayla responded.
“Good idea,” I said and the conversation ended.
Haley started to walk faster as she talked, “They’re going to go after our families. We need to find them first.”
Amy, still in her normal body, frowned as she tried to keep up, “I know. We won’t. I’m beginning to feel better. I think I know where to find a little bit of the Cabal soldier’s blood.”
“It’s got to be dried by now,” I said.
“That’s better than nothing,” she said.
The rest of the walk felt like a meeting. Everyone on the League discussion channel had questions for us and we answered them. I used my implant to convert its recording of our conversation with Ruthie into a video file, giving everyone a look at that conversation and an account of the day’s fight along with it. Over the walk, we developed a plan. Amy would find her blood. I’d make more bots. Izzy would fly over Grand Lake to see if she could find anything. When one of us got a clue, we’d follow it and find these people.
I hoped it would be enough. The message we’d received left out details I wanted to know. Were the people coming after Uncle Steve going to try once a day and give up after taking their shot or were they going to make sure they killed someone even if it were a random person with no connection to us? Also, were they starting tomorrow or did we still have to worry about who they’d kill today?
Over the course of the walk, I learned one other thing: Travis was now home and staying at his and Haley’s parents, meaning that we were all now back in Grand Lake except for Rachel who was still somewhere out there in space.
When we walked out of the tunnel and into HQ’s hangar, seeing the jet, the red, white, and blue Commandocycle, and the black, Corvette-styled Wolfmobile and went from there into the base’s main room, it felt like an active superhero base. Kals was in the far corner of the room talking to Julie. Chris and Kayla stood talking next to the tables and desks near the wall with the big screen that showed the view from spybots across the city. Marcus, still in a hoodie and jeans, talked with Katuk near a trophy case. Tiger lay on the floor next to them. I hoped he didn’t knock over the case. The dog was literally as large as a horse.
Amy looked over at Haley and me, “The construct feels normal now. I’m going to go everywhere you fought the Cabal soldier and look for blood, starting with the park.”
“I don’t think you should go alone,” I said, watching as her eyes narrowed.
“He’s right,” Haley said. “None of us should go out alone in costume right now. I’ll go with you. We can take the Wolfmobile. It can blend in with traffic.”
“Like the van,” Amy nodded and her red hair brushed her shoulders.
“Better than the van,” Haley began to turn back toward the hangar, “it’s smaller.”
“I can follow, but I’m down a lot of ammunition and I think I need to start making more bots.”
Amy shook her head, “We’ll be fine.”
Haley bit her lip, “If it won’t take long to get the bots started, it wouldn’t hurt to follow us. I’d feel better knowing we have backup if the guy from the Cabal shows up.”
“I’ll hurry,” I said and took a few long steps with the armor. With the armor’s strength, the steps were more than twenty feet long and I crossed the big room in seconds, stepping into my lab. There, Daniel and Tara were sitting on stools next to the counter then ran down the left side of the room. The screen on the wall near them showed a League text channel—Hal’s.
“We’re trying to figure out their next move,” Tara said, smiling at me.
Daniel thought at me, Chris started making more bots. I have a feeling you’ll want to follow them to the park.
I thought back, Why didn’t you tell me sooner?
This is the best time for you to leave.
5 thoughts on “Friends & Family: Part 1”
From the number of tagged names on the end of this post, you’d think that it was a giant discussion, but I’m trying to avoid writing huge meetings unless it’s absolutely necessary.
On another note, it turned out that my dog had cancer in the lungs and we had to put him down on Monday. We had him for eleven years, but he was actually 13 when he died–which is a long life for larger dogs. He was a german shepherd/laborador retriever mix.
Also… Top Web Fiction
I’m really sorry about your pet.
Dogs are the best. 🙁
Thanks. He was a great dog—not maybe in the sense that he was well behaved, but he’s a great source of stories.