The discussion went on after that, but no one said anything new. In the end, we took a vote with almost everyone voting yes to working with him.
Cassie spoke for everyone, though, when she said, “Alright, it looks like we’ll be working with him, but we don’t have to trust him. He’s got to pass Daniel’s and Kals’ testing. Plus, if Amy scans him with magic and finds something unexpected, we still ditch him.”
“That’s a good idea,” Daniel said, nodding. “The Dominators have wizards and vampires working with them too. It’s common for them to use multiple methods on their more important thralls. It makes for an unpleasant surprise when you think you’ve cleared out everything and you’re wrong.”
Kals looked over at him, “This is a hell world. We’d never look for something like that.”
Now back to her normal body, Amy said, “A hell world? Don’t you have magic wherever you’re from?”
“Most people don’t know for sure that we have magic here,” I said. “They assume it’s just superpowers.”
Shrugging, Kals said, “I don’t know. The Human Ascendancy isn’t much more than a giant prison colony ruled by a dictatorship. I was told all my life that there was no magic just like there was no rebellion. After my mom and dad joined the rebellion, we heard stories about magic, but we never met anyone like you.”
For a second, it looked as if the meeting would devolve into a discussion about magic in space. My implant had already delivered a history of the Xiniti’s experience with magic since expanding outward from their homeworld and joining the fight against the Abominators.
From the topic headings alone, I knew that it looked interesting and that I didn’t have time to go into it.
I never got the chance. Kayla’s workstation started beeping. She stepped away from the table to walk over to the cubicle that acted as the League’s command center.
When she got there, she turned back to look at the rest of us, saying, “I think you’re going to want to see this,” and throwing the call to the twenty foot tall screen in front of us.
A fist appeared in the middle of the screen, the hand pointed upward at the end of a muscular arm. I knew that logo. The whole group did. I could tell from the audible groans.
To be fair to everyone in Justice Fist, it wasn’t the original logo. That one had been designed by a guy in Hardwick Industries’ marketing department on request from the then CEO and current prison inmate, Vaughn’s Uncle Russ.
I couldn’t say how, but this one looked better, cleaner, the design of the hand simpler. Access to a better logo designer must have come along with their deal with Future-men Capital, one of the biggest venture capitalist firms investing in superhero groups.
Justice Fist’s logo disappeared and Sean’s face appeared on the screen. If the background behind him was real or even if it wasn’t, Future-men hired the best for their investments.
Sean dominated the foreground of the screen—with curly blond hair, a lanky, muscular body, and a face that I’d heard high school classmates giggling over, he looked the part of superhero. The background, though, was where the money went. It showed the city skyline.
If it was real, they owned a tall building near downtown with a window that framed the skyline perfectly. If it weren’t, their graphic design team had a great eye. Between the skyline, the window behind Sean, and the silver and white of the office, the visuals told the viewers that this team was new, modern, and in the middle of everything.
Our visuals would have told the viewer that we had a bunker somewhere—not that they could see us. With most of us out of costume, we were only showing the Heroes’ League logo.
Without taking a breath, Sean started talking, “I heard you guys got attacked and I saw where. I didn’t think they’d go after you at home—your parents’ homes. That’s crazy. You guys kept that separate from your superhero identity and you guys were the ones that were good at it…”
He stopped, shaking his head, and then added, “We just thought you should know that we’re behind you. You want our help, we’ll be there.”
I didn’t know what everybody else was thinking, but the biggest thing on my mind as he talked was that he didn’t know that Travis was dead and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to bring it up right now. In fact I was pretty sure I didn’t.
Vaughn spoke up, “Hey, thanks. Almost all of us are here. We’re in the middle of planning a response. Don’t be surprised if we call you in when we figure out what we’re going to do.”
Sean’s mouth dropped, “Right. Of course you’re making a plan. Call me once you’ve got something. We’re with you.”
Less than a minute later, the call was over. It was nice that he thought to call, but he’d told me that there was a connection between Future-men, Magnus, and the Nine.
We couldn’t assume that he was still acting out of his own free will.