“I’m just about to tag the bombs with roachbots, but I’ve got time for that. How long do you have?”
“I don’t know.” He spoke hesitantly. “I caught that they set the bomb, but they didn’t even know how long they had. All they knew is that they might die even if they hurried.”
So apparently in real life, bombs on timers didn’t have convenient displays.
“Crap,” I said. “You don’t have time for me to figure out how to disarm it. I think your best bet is to have Izzy poke holes in it. I’ll send you a schematic showing where. It’ll still be a powerful bomb, but you’ll only get a 100 foot radius blast instead of a mile.”
“Why not have her break it in two?” Daniel asked.
“Better chance of it going off,” I said. “Well, unless you’ve got Cap’s sword.”
“Got it,” he said.
I had the jet send him the schematic, explained where to put the holes and we hung up.
With that, I was again conscious of where I was—hundreds of feet in the air above St. Louis with a tornado ahead of me and dawn half an hour away.
The jet stopped firing its lasers, and Haley’s voice came over the comm. “It’s done. All that’s left are the bombs.”
“Great. Uh… Does Camille have a codename?”
“We’ve been calling her Gravitystar.” The tone of Haley’s voice made me suspect she’d told me before.
It was probably for the best that I didn’t remember. The name didn’t make much sense, and the fact that I didn’t have bad memories of an embarrassing conversation attached to it probably indicated that I hadn’t told Camille so.
On the League’s common channel, I said, “Gravitystar, do you think you could hold the bombs in place if Storm King lets go?”
Her gasp for breath answered my question before she did. “I can try. Holding all of them took more out of me than I thought it would.”
In retrospect I could imagine that stopping hundreds of anti-gravity plates might do a number on her.
“No, you don’t have to. If you can’t, we could lose a bunch of them. Rest for a second. Storm King, can you keep control of them?”
Vaughn paused before he answered, but his voice stayed level. “Yeah. I’ve got them.”
“Ok,” I said, “Ghost and I will tag them, and then after that, you’ve got to move the tornado as high as you can.”
Vaughn snorted, “Because after that… Boom. Right?”
“Night Cat, does the jet say it can hit them without getting caught in the explosion?”
At roughly the same time Haley said, “Yes,” and the jet sent the same message directly to my suit’s HUD.
Only one more thing to check, I thought, and decided to call Rachel. I didn’t get the chance.
Rachel’s voice came over the comm. “I’m in position. Are you ready?” She didn’t sound tired at all.
“Almost,” I said.
“How far are you?”, she asked.
As she finished, I found myself within the bots effective range. “I’m here.”
“Good,” she said, “I’m firing.”
While I couldn’t see her, my helmet’s display followed the bots that flew from a gun I’d recently designed for her.
Simply so that I got a chance, I fired a series of bots where the HUD indicated the bombs were in the the swirling tornado. Despite the suit’s padding, I could feel it as they fired.
One by one, the bots reported back that they’d caught up with a bomb or missed and been destroyed by the whirling winds. Within a minute, we’d found all eleven bombs. We were ready. Even if one escaped while the jet targeted them, we’d be able to track it.
With luck we wouldn’t need to, but it made for a nice backup plan.
As I thought about my next step, the words, [I recommend that you land.] appeared in my HUD.
The jet knew the bombs’ blast radius better than I did.
I began to descend toward where everyone but Rachel, Haley and I waited near the storage building.
Two hundred feet above the ground, an explosion lit up the city like it was day, followed by a thunderous roar. My first impulse was to guess that Haley had started to fire before I’d reached the ground.
Except that seemed out of character.
Then I realized that the HUD showed that the blast had taken place north of us.