In my HUD, I saw the Wolfmobile’s dot superimposed over the map of this area. They were only a block or two away. I thought a text message through my implant, “Talking with Jody in costume at the park.”
Amy texted back, “We’ll change.”
Paying attention to Jody as we both stood next the park’s entrance, I said, “he’s fine. He’s probably not happy, but he’s got a healing factor—not like Captain Commando’s but he’ll be running around sooner than I’d like.”
Jody laughed, “I didn’t say I felt bad for the guy. I mean, if he dies it’ll be a problem, but he’s not one of the good guys, right?”
“I’m guessing he’s a clone of Prentkos, a superhero on the EU team. He looked exactly the same but older. I ran into him when we were fighting Rook in Canada except he actually attended a press conference in France on the same day. We know the Nine cloned the original Captain Commando and they were trying to clone our Cap, so it seems likely.”
“I heard about them trying to clone Cap from the Power,” Jody said, his head blurring as he checked to our sides and behind himself.
Having seen something, he turned to look down the block, watching as the Wolfmobile pulled up to the side of the street and Amy got out, standing around a foot taller and clothed in the Bloodmaidens’ black and ruby red accented armor.
Haley stepped out as Night Cat—grey costume with a black cat’s head on her chest. Her stride reminded me of a tiger, smooth with strength behind it. She walked straight toward Jody and me. Amy stopped at the blood spots, pulling out her spear and sticking it into the blood.
Even though it had dried, it appeared to be drawn into the spear, the squirts on the edges disappearing first and then finally the main puddle she’d touched.
Jody’s eyes widened within his silver mask, “Wow. You’re not leaving anything behind.”
Amy stared down at the spear she was holding, ignoring us except that she did reply, “There’s almost none of his essence left in this. I need as much as I can get.”
He blinked and looked over at me, “I heard that we’re going to train with you all sometime soon. I’m looking forward to it. Gotta go!”
He blurred, running away before either of us could do anything. Choosing to watch him, I saw that he wasn’t even running. He was walking. He turned back to look at me, his eyes widened, and then he did start to run.
As he disappeared around the corner of a block, obscured by a two-story house with white vinyl siding, I realized that I was using a touch of power to watch him, something I’d done previously while preventing an Abominator tech-powered soldier from attacking me and also in exercises Kee taught me.
That led me to think back to what I’d seen while watching him run. I’d noticed a little bit of a shimmer in the air around him. I didn’t remember noticing that before. On the other hand, I hadn’t been practicing any kinds of exercises when I’d last seen Jody regularly at Stapledon.
It might mean that Artificers could see when something was warping time. That made the most sense. It was also possible that Jody’s power was related to Artificers, but a side effect of the Abominators’ genetic manipulation thousands of years back. I hadn’t felt something odd the way I did when I first met Kee, though. That was a good thing. If there were anyone I didn’t want to discover a relationship with the Artificers, Jody led the list.
Haley looked up at me, “That was strange.”
Jarred out of my thoughts, I said, “What?”
“He was nice—as nice as he gets. He wasn’t hostile to you,” she sniffed the air. “I think he might have been a little scared. I didn’t notice anything while he was talking with you, but there’s something in the air from when he was leaving.”
I thought back to Jody’s expression before he started to run and wondered what he’d seen. Then I told Haley, “I don’t know for sure, but that might be because of me.”
I used the implant to talk over the comm, telling her, “He might have seen something about me that’s related to Lee.”
She frowned, “That’s not good.”
As I did, Amy lifted her spear away from the sidewalk, “I’ve got everything I can get. I don’t know if it will be enough to find those guys, but I think it might. There’s enough of his essence that I feel a little pull. I’ll have to do a ritual to amplify it, but I think I’ve got a good chance.”
Haley let out a breath, “Then we should go back to HQ.”
They turned to get in the car as Daniel called me over my comm, asking “How did it go?”
“I don’t know. We ran into Jody. He was like a normal person. He didn’t bother me, but he did seem a little weird in a memory that you’ll want to look at directly.”
Daniel might notice something I missed.
“Okay,” he said. “Tara, Hal, and I are pretty sure that we’re going to be facing something big in relation to Major Justice and all. It doesn’t feel immediate, but we’re thinking that he’ll be pulling in more people. It might be the individual teams of everybody in Major Justice’s group, but that’s just a guess.”
“Great,” I said.