Travis put down his burger. “Why can’t you just do that again?”
“Because I’m not going to. I made a deal with the original Rocket and solving your problems isn’t in it. Teaching is.”
“What else is in the deal?”
“Telling you about it isn’t in the deal either. When Nick’s eighteen, I’ll tell him, and Rachel. After that, it’s their business.”
I thought about it. “I turn eighteen on July second. There’s not much of a difference.”
“Then you don’t have long to wait. Anyone else?”
He didn’t look like he wanted another comment, and no one said anything.
“Good. Then let’s start out with some general policies about secret identities, and move on from there. You don’t do too badly most of the time, but nights like this aren’t good at all. You don’t want all of your cars parked in front of Nick’s house, and then go into action as the League. You need to find other places to change, someplace that won’t be linked to you. Flying out of your bedroom window is an invitation for the Executioner to murder your whole family. Got it?
“Now let’s talk about school. When you see each other in normal life, you don’t talk to each other about this stuff. You don’t pass notes about it. You don’t text about it unless it’s encrypted. I like moving cars for privacy, but even they can be bugged. Check for it.”
Lee lead us through a half hour long discussion about ways we might use to avoid blowing our secret identities to Ray and his team.
“With the basics covered,” Lee said, “let’s talk about what you’re facing. You’ve got one very competent team of normal human assassins who are connected to Syndicate L. In the Cabal, you’ve got a group of near immortal soldiers who haven’t adjusted to modern times, but are deadly inside their area of competence. Then there’s the remains of Red Lightning’s people, and their children in Justice Fist. They’ve all gone through the Impregnator, and may become homicidal maniacs in the near future. Have I missed anything?”
Vaughn leaned back in his chair. “Wow. It sounds really bad when you put it all together like that.”
“Homicidal maniacs?” Jaclyn looked over the table at me. “I thought you’d told them not to use the Impregnator with juice in their system.”
“Yeah. I found out a couple things last night from Lucas. He thinks it’s more complicated than that.”
“I told you we had new info when I told you about the meeting,” Cassie said.
“You could have told me that before the meeting.” Jaclyn turned back to face Lee. “Go ahead. Don’t let us stop you.”
“OK,” Lee said. “What have you got on them?”
“We’ve bugged their houses. Justice Fist and Red Lightning’s people’s houses, that is.” I said.
“That’s a start. What about the others?”
“I don’t think any of them are located in Grand Lake. The Cabal used to have people, but we fought them, and the cops took them away, and made it a crime scene and stuff.”
“Missed opportunity,” Lee said. “You might have gotten something interesting if you’d put up cameras. Someone might have come by looking for things the police didn’t notice.”
“Not entirely missed,” Daniel said. “I managed to grab the list of their local recruits. I’d forgotten about it, but I remembered when Cassie called last night. We’ve got names and some addresses — which is better than we’d normally have. Prime and the Executioner have all the anti-telepath, anti-clairvoyant stuff and they use them.”
“That’s good. We’ll have to get more, but that’s a good start. Now first off, don’t count on bugging people. Once they discover the bugs, they’ll start feeding you false information. You’ll have to set up alternate systems so you can double check. Second, the anti-telepathic stuff isn’t all bad. If you find a hole in what you can detect, you’ll know they’re there.”
Lee walked back over to the group of us where we sat at the table. “Are any of you taking notes? Someone should, and why don’t you throw them up on the wall screen while you’re at it?”
“I’m taking notes,” Daniel said, “but I’d like to clean them up first. Give me a second.”
“Use mine,” Jaclyn said. She moved her mouse and they appeared. She’d typed in complete sentences, indented where appropriate, lettering, and numbering points as if they were part of an outline.
Marcus laughed. “Jaclyn, you have a problem.”
“Don’t listen to him,” Rachel said. “I wish I were that organized.”
To guess from the expression on Cassie’s face, her notes wouldn’t have been anywhere near that complete. Not that she was taking any.
Next to me, Haley whispered, “I didn’t know we needed to take notes for this.”
“Uh… Me neither.”
Lee kept on going. “Good. Now here’s how I see things. Last time you faced anything this big, it was the Mayor, and you did OK, but if you’d been facing a soldier instead of a politician, you’d have died. For the most part, you reacted. He chose when the endgame started, and most of the steps along the way.
“This time around, you’re going find out what they’re doing, and where they’re doing it. Then you’re going to attack them, and you’ll do it before they expect you to.”