Simple Choices: Part 5

“I think we may have to,” I said. “I don’t like the idea either, but I feel like having us on the front lines at all times might not be a good idea. We could use help even if it’s Adam’s help.”

Cassie looked over at the medical capsule and then back to us, “I know what you’re thinking. We just lost Travis and you and I both know that there’s something out there that can kill any of us—even me. I’m not sure this is the time to make this decision. I think we might find it too easy to say yes right now even though you know what Adam’s like.”

Letting out a sigh, Haley said, “I know, but I don’t know what else we can do. We need help and we need it to someone we know the Nine haven’t infiltrated. We can call other heroes and we won’t know who they’re really working for. They might not even know. You know what happened with Bullet.”

We’d talked through what happened to Bullet. We’d seen the woman who’d manipulated him die only days ago—not to mention my cousin Ana who’d been manipulated into fighting us.

Cassie nodded, “Point, but just because Adam says he’s against the Nine, he might not be. I mean, think about it. If the Nine had him in their pocket, he’d be a helluva recruiting tool. You want to make inroads into the Nine’s opponents? Take over him.”

That didn’t quite work for me. Almost no one would work with him now that he was on the run. The only people that might would be people like us, people who’d lucked into being hard for the Nine to crack. I’d happened to invent a defense against Julie that worked against the Dominators’ voice powers because Julie was a potential Dominator.

It didn’t seem likely that the Nine had seen far enough ahead to set Adam up as a potential lure. On the other hand, the Nine had access to the True now. The True might be capable enough to foresee an opportunity to recruit Adam within the past month. After our attack on the Nine’s suit manufacturing facilities, they’d be motivated to take us out.

Amy listened to Cassie with crossed arms and a raised eyebrow, finally responding when Cassie stopped, “The fey wouldn’t let their champion be mind-controlled by the Nine. It wouldn’t be an act of charity either. I’m sure they want to make sure that if anyone mind-controls him it’s them.”

By then a crowd had begun to gather. Vaughn, Marcus, Jaclyn and Jaclyn’s dog, Tiger had walked up. Tiger sniffed the ground where Adam had stood, following his path across the room to where Adam had first stepped out of shadow.

Around then, Daniel and Izzy walked in, followed by Chris and that wasn’t all. Sydney, Sean’s sister along with her former Justice Fist teammates Camille and Julie. Tara and Kayla had been in HQ all the time and joined the group.

If that weren’t enough, Kals and Katuk came in with the rest.

We didn’t get to talking about Adam immediately. Daniel, Izzy, Jaclyn, and Marcus all stopped on the way to talk to Travis’ parents. After a time, we all migrated to the table in front of the giant TV screen and walked through what happened and what Adam was offering—which meant a detour back into talking about the fairy invasion he’d caused during a Stapledon training summer along with the creepy and effective assistance he’d given us during the fight in DC when we’d captured/rescued the Master Martian from being killed by the Nine.

It seemed forever ago.

Then we rehashed the arguments for and against that Cassie, Amy, Haley, and I had come up with.

That took us a little over 40 minutes of the hour we’d promised. Near the end, Vaughn held up his hands, “Look, we should just do it. Adam and his fairies are our best shot at finding allies that we know aren’t controlled by the Nine. If we’re worried about him, we should have Daniel look through his brain.”

Daniel shook his head, “It’s not that simple. If the Dominators worked him over, they might use multiple forms of mind control—someone with voice powers to set up triggers and commands followed by a telepath to wipe any memory they might have of who gave them the commands. My dad brought me in on a few of those. Even after he showed me what to look for, I could barely tell.”

Standing up from the chair she’d sat in, Kals looked over the group and said, “Between the two of us, we should be able to find influence from Motivator abilities.”

Through our unintentional connection, I felt Daniel’s mind searching through an infinity of probabilities. I felt the same way I felt staring at the night sky or looking out the windows of our jet while in space.

He let out a sigh, “It’s not guaranteed, but I think she’s right. It’s our best chance to find out if he’s been influenced and a good tactic in general. Don’t count on it to work every single time. Our chance of being betrayed by someone we thought was safe while fighting the Nine is nearly 100 percent. I checked.”

2 thoughts on “Simple Choices: Part 5”

  1. Giant meeting scenes are one of those things I don’t exactly love. I always worry that the logical things that would happen during a meeting (lots of different people talking) will overwhelm the narrative tension that I’m hoping to find.

    Thus, you’ll find that lots of people are mentioned, but very few get “speaking parts” in the scene. I see that as my best shot for sanity.

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  2. I think the way you portrayed the meeting works. It conveys sufficient information without getting bogged down in the minutia that occurs when everyone needs to chime in. The references to Travis’ passing contains enough gravitas to justify a possible allegiance with Adam– despite their past interactions.

    “We need help and we need it to [be] someone we know the Nine haven’t infiltrated.”

    “We[] talked through what happened to Bullet.”

     “I think we might find it too easy to say yes right now even though [we] know what Adam’s like.”

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