We let him in, bringing Lucas up to the conference room.
He limped as he walked, sighing as he sank into the chair. “Thanks. I was going crazy standing out there. Their fliers could have come by at any time.”
Rachel and I sat down with him, but not before Rachel said, “Thirsty?”
“Depends on what you’ve got.”
“Water, if you’re asking what I think you’re asking,” Rachel said. “Almost everyone in the League’s underage.”
“You think I’m the kind of guy who starts drinking before noon? I was hoping for coffee. I’ve been living on the stuff lately.”
Rachel smiled at him. “You’re out of luck there too. I’ve seen some here, but I’m sure it’s over two years old, and I don’t know if the coffeemaker even works.”
“I haven’t checked,” I said. “I only drink it at coffeehouses, and even then not straight.”
“Rocket,” Rachel said, “could you get us all some water?”
I pulled some styrofoam cups off the table in the corner. They were a little dusty, but they were stacked upside down, so no big deal. I stepped out of the room, used the sink in the mini-kitchen, and came back.
“What happened?” Rachel asked as I passed out the cups. Lucas eyed the bit of spiderweb on his cup doubtfully.
Lucas sighed again. “It’s bad. I should have told the Rocket before, but my dad’s been hiding most of what used to be Justice Fist, and their parents. My family’s got a few places around town, and we’ve been keeping people hidden with advice from Protection Force and the FBI.
“We checked, but the Feds didn’t have anybody with powers available. They said they were all busy. And you know what’s crazy? At first my dad didn’t care, so he brought in Protection Force’s normal human bodyguards, but then later, he asked about their supers, and all of them were busy too. Anyway, we’ve been trying to keep our people safe by keeping them together and having everyone with powers take a shift.
“Last night I got to sleep, which was good because I’d just gotten off a two day shift at the hospital. I was sitting down to breakfast with everybody when I heard guns outside. I didn’t even have time to stand up before a bunch of big guys (probably the Cabal) stormed our cottage–followed up by Ray’s crew.
“They ran straight through the walls, and we all opened up. Jody turned into a blur of speed, but he couldn’t hurt them, and neither could Dayton. My dad and I started throwing lightning, but it was useless. It didn’t take them out.
“I stayed with my dad for most of the fight until they grabbed him, and he shouted at me to go and get help.
“I couldn’t see any way to win, so I left, and called you.”
He took a breath, and then said, “I hate this. I went through the Impregnator just in case I ever had to face the Cabal, and what good did it do? I couldn’t do much more than the time we tracked them down to that house on the northside. If it’s possible, I think I did less.”
“To be fair,” I said, “they’ve gone through the Impregnator since then, and you were probably facing their best people this time. We barely escaped from those guys when we fought them before they got zapped.”
Rachel leaned forward. “You said Ray was there. What can he do? We’ve all been wondering.”
Lucas looked at each of us. “He can’t do anything on his own. He copies powers by touch. It takes a little while for him to be able fully use the new one, but then he’s got it at full strength.”
“Oh, wow,” I said. If he’d had that last time. Especially if he’d touched Jaclyn, anything could have happened.
“Oh, yeah,” Lucas said. “That’s not the worst of it. He came in with the same powers as those Cabal guys, but after Jody punched him, he had this period where he didn’t have either the Cabal guys’ powers or Jody’s speed at full power, but he had both of them at the same time.
“He clocked the kid instantly. I envy him that. I’ve been wanting to hit Jody since I met him.”
I laughed, and maybe I shouldn’t have. Of course, I’d already gotten my chance. Too bad it hadn’t done any good.
I was about to ask how he felt, and if he needed any medical attention, but then both Rachel’s and my League communicators pinged.
Rachel got to hers first. “Ghost,” Jaclyn said. “I’m carrying Sydney. I’ll be at the office in seconds. Storm King tells me that Sean, Julie, and Camille are coming by air if they’re not there already.”
“They’re not–” Rachel began, but then we saw the three of them dropping past the window.
“They are,” Jaclyn said, “and so are we.”
Over the link, I heard Sydney say, “Sean!” and heard a cascade of clicks in the background as Jaclyn used the keypad next to the door, followed by a mechanical clunking noise as it unlocked.
“Hurry,” she said.
I felt a hint of relief as they got off the street, but it didn’t last long.
Lucas pushed himself back, knocking his chair over, and shattering it. Staring out the window, he said, “They’re here.”
Outside, five of Prime’s best landed in the street, cracking it.