I didn’t know it was Prime when I took the call.
The caller ID said the number was “unavailable,” but I’d set the voicemail system to play the voicemail live while I was there.
So… “You’ve reached the Heroes League. Please leave your number after the beep.”
I recognized the voice from the time he’d called to threaten us. The language? That too. He left the message in Old Frankish.
As he talked, I debated breaking in, and seeing if he would use English. We had a plan worked out. If we ended up speaking we were supposed to keep him angry, and push him into arranging a date to fight us soon.
I wasn’t sure if I needed to make him angrier though. He practically shouted into the phone.
As he started to wind down, my urge to do something won out against my urge to not be shouted at.
I picked up the phone. Letting the computer distort my voice into the standard Rocket voice, I said, “Can you say it again in English?”
“Leave this to your betters, boy,” he said, continued on in Old Frankish for a sentence or two, and hung up.
Apparently he didn’t trust anyone under 30.
I recorded it all anyway, so no big deal.
When he hung up on me, I had a brief moment of wondering whether I should call Lee or Isaac Lim back first. I decided on Lee in the next half-second.
“I’ll be over in twenty minutes. Gotta finish off my class and arrange for someone to take my next session.”
Lee came down the elevator fifteen minutes later.
He walked across the main room, passing the cardboard boxes, pausing for a moment to smirk at one of the trophy cases. Between dimness of the lights and the distance, I couldn’t tell which case.
When he finally made it to the main room’s only table where I sat at a computer, he put a black motorcycle helmet next to my monitor, and sat next to it on the table.
“Let’s hear it,” he said.
I replayed the whole conversation including my part in it.
After the recording finished, Lee said, “Not bad. Could be better, but not bad.”
“So, what did he say?”
“Well, first he insulted me for a while, but then he got down to business. We’ll meet with him next week Thursday to set up details for the fight.”
“What kind of fight? Who’s in it?” I thought for a second. “And weren’t you trying to push him into doing something tomorrow?”
“To answer your questions… No I don’t know what kind of fight or who’s in it. That’s for Thursday. As for pushing him, yeah, no question I wanted to move him faster, but it’s not my fault if he’s had 1500 years to get educated. I’m happy it worked as well as it did. He knows it has to be a trick somehow, but he can’t just ignore it. That’s why it pays to know languages. You’ll never be able to hurt anybody as much in their second language as their first.”
Strangely, none of my language teachers had ever used that justification.
“Okay,” I asked, “so who do you want to be in the fight?”
“Doesn’t matter much to me at all. It’s more a question of who I don’t want to be in in the fight — everybody. Here’s how the Cabal works. They’ve been recruiting powers from the lower end of society for years. Now the government’s discovered their breeding villages, and they can’t recruit from the big cities where there are a lot of supers without people noticing. Here in Grand Lake you had Red Lightning’s breeding program, and you had the Mayor, and he was probably monitoring the results for the Cabal.
“So,” Lee continued, ”they’ve been going after the gangs around here. I’d bet they’ve taken over half of them by now, and terrified the other half. And that means that if we have a fight that takes out their leadership, good. Then we only have the Executioner and company to worry about after that.
“The idea,” Lee said, “is to take out the Cabal’s people before they notice their best bet is in working with the Executioner.”