Noticing the wind, I wondered about Gordon. He did have a temper. I remembered at least one time he’d nearly lost it with me. All the same, this seemed different. I’d never seen him lose control of his powers out of anger.
Of course, maybe I’d never seen him angry enough.
On a gut level, I didn’t quite believe he could be this angry at whatever offenses he imagined I’d committed without also being goaded into that anger either by Dominator work in his head or something else.
I looked over at Stephanie and wondered if she knew anything. She was watching Gordon and Bullet, but not trying to talk Gordon down—which I understood. Even a couple of years after a breakup, residual feelings about it might make things worse instead of better.
She might be able to calm him down with her technology, but it might be construed as an attack. Anyway, Gordon knew how her tech worked and might even have a way around it.
I risked a quick look at her armor. Black with flat plates all over her body, the plates doubled as both armor and displays. Stephanie’s area of research or maybe a weird talent was for creating symbols that created effects in the mind of the viewer. They made someone look away, freeze, or force them to feel any emotion she’d designed the display to produce.
None of the plates were open, meaning that Stephanie wasn’t responsible. Maybe I shouldn’t have worried. We’d worked together at Higher Ground to fight the creation of the True, but she’d been spying then and never quite felt trustworthy.
Given that she’d been spying on the Coffeeshop Illuminati for us and warned us that they were coming, I was probably paranoid.
Still, you couldn’t deny that she’d be a tempting target for the Dominators and she’d been out of contact with me for at least a year before we saw her at the Coffeeshop Illuminati’s compound.
All the same, none of her displays were open.
Gifford, meanwhile, had landed next to Gordon and said, “Are you okay?”
Gordon all but snarled at his younger brother, “I’m fine. Bullet’s letting these people walk all over him because they’re the Heroes’ League.”
Hearing that, reminded me that it was one of Gordon’s issues. Despite being the son of a respected super and experiencing the side effects of that respect while growing up, he seemed to resent that it was also true for us except a little more so.
Bullet turned to him again, “I told you to stand down. If you’re not going to listen to me, I’m going to tell you to leave and meet us back at the eggs.”
Cassie sent an implant-to-implant message, Gordon’s about to explode. If we stay out of it until he attacks his own people, we at least win in PR.
I responded, Yeah. I’m beginning to think the Dominators upped his resentment toward the League.
As if to make that point, Gordon told Bullet, “If you don’t show some backbone, I don’t think I have to listen to you. The Coffeeshop Illuminati isn’t supposed to be a top-down organization. We’re supposed to be a superhero collective. We work together, but we each do what we think is right. You’re here to advise but you don’t run the place. That’s old-school thinking. We represent a new way of thought.”
Next to me, Amy raised an eyebrow. If she was thinking that this wasn’t the place to go into a rant about your philosophy of superheroism and life, I couldn’t argue.
From the contingent of Coffeehouse Illuminati, I heard one cheer as Gordon talked.
Bullet turned away from us to look at his own group, “There’s a danger in losing focus when you’re in the middle of a job. We came here with a shared purpose. We can’t lose that now. The Heroes’ League made an excellent point—that they’re in a battle with the Nine. If we act prematurely, we let the Nine use us and we can’t risk that.”
Gordon stepped up to Bullet, standing face to face with only inches between them, shouting, “And what does that mean? Just do whatever the Heroes’ League tells you?”
Bullet shouted back, “That’s enough of that! I’m trying to teach you something, but it does no good if you’re unwilling to be taught. Go back to the transport eggs and wait for us.”
Gordon laughed, “Do you see what he is? He’s just another fascist in the end.”
Next to him, Gifford said, “Moonglider, I don’t think this—“
He didn’t finish. Gordon paid no attention to him, summoning up enough wind to throw Bullet into the air, shooting him toward the side of the half-circle the Illuminati had arranged themselves in while they were still thinking about tactics.
Bullet passed through the side of the half-circle without hitting anyone, and gained in altitude.
I recognized why. Glints of light hit bullet-shaped bits of force collected around him and held him in the air.
He stared at Gordon and more bullets gathered around his fist.