“Push the button, Control,” Haley talked at a normal volume, but the intensity in her voice made it seem louder.
Kayla’s voice came through. She started to say, “I…” hesitated, and said, “You’re all right there.”
“We’ll be fine,” Haley said, sounding just as intense as before. “Now!”
Man-machine’s voice came over the comm at almost the same time, “Now, dammit!”
The HUD showed them in the forest above HQ, not far from the forest entrance. From their movements, they had to be fighting. A dot labeled “Control” stood further away from the group–almost undoubtedly Kayla in the powered armor we’d made for her when we fought the Cabal.
I’d made that armor more with the idea of allowing her to watch a fight in safety and provide us information than fighting. And that’s what she appeared to be doing this time. She had observation bots out and streaming information to the rest of them. I could have followed their feed, and seen what they were fighting, making the fight about more than moving dots.
Maybe I would have, but as I considered it, Kayla said, “Okay, okay, I’ll do it. One, two, three–”
Then all the dots turned grey, and the feed went dead.
I clicked out of the feed, and tried clicking in again. I joined the Heroes League channel, but nothing was on it except for the members that were here.
The system diagnostics were registering that the HQ broadcast tower was down. We still had the tower downtown–the one near the League’s official office, the one I’d blown up.
It wasn’t picking up any signals.
I calmed myself, reminding myself everything I’d seen was completely consistent with using an EMP. I could easily see Chris or his grandfather trying that one. I hadn’t been completely successful when I’d tried it, but they probably didn’t know it.
Plus, even if Haley tried to tell them, I could completely see Man-machine ignoring her.
I could also imagine Man-machine figuring out a way to affect them anyway.
It didn’t change the fact that while Haley might be safe, she also might be dead, or fighting for her life, and I couldn’t do a thing about it.
Travis’ voice broke into my thoughts. “Rocket, what do you think?”
“Uh?” I said.
They had been talking about something.
Travis clenched his right hand. “Haven’t you been listening?”
I paused, not sure if I should try to be truthful or not.
“It’s okay,” Izzy said, her voice quiet. She’d probably heard everything.
“It’s not okay,” the intensity in his voice reminding me of Haley’s. “You can’t be zoning out now–”
“Night Wolf,” Rachel said, using the same tone of voice she used when she was trying to be patient with me. “It’s not a good time for an argument.”
I thought about telling him why I’d gotten distracted, but we didn’t need to have both of us distracted.
Travis started talking when she stopped, obviously trying to ignore Rachel. “Rocket, how well do you know their tech? Do you think they know where we are, or do we have a chance to sneak up on them?”
I started to say, “I’d be more surprised if they didn’t know where we were,” but only got up to the “I’d–”
Then the Hrrnna interupted me. In tones that sounded close, but not quite like human speech, the Hrrnna said, “Earth creatures, surrender. We know that we cannot match your Abominator bred might, but think you should consider this. We long ago became used to fighting hopeless battles against your kind, and will sell our lives dearly.
“Even now, we’ve traveled across the water and come to one of your cities. If you should destroy the fusion generator, this ship will fall and kill hundreds if not thousands of your people. Even if you see no value in our lives, don’t you see some value in theirs, or even your own? I tell you now that we have rigged a portion of this ship to explode when it touches your Earth.
“If you value your lives, you won’t test our resolve.”
I checked our position via the GPS. It was right. We were nearing land now. If we’d been in Grand Lake, it might have been an empty threat on a Sunday night. In New York, we probably would kill people. People actually lived in New York City’s downtown. The evacuation from what I’d seen had mostly been of Manhattan.
Vaughn and Sean were still following us. The rest hadn’t managed to keep up. I didn’t know exactly how much ship they could hold, but I had a bad feeling that this ship would be more than they could handle.
Travis, in the meantime had decided to talk back. “Yeah,” he growled, “suppose we decide to let you win, what happens?”
The Hrrnna replied, still sounding emotionless, filtered through its translating device. “You go home to your families, and we repair this ship, and continue our exile in this horrific sector of space. We simply want to live.”
In the face of of this, Travis started laughing. “You just want to live? How are we supposed to believe that? You just spent most of the last few months trying to kill us three times over. I’ve got a better suggestion, how about you surrender, and we’ll stop trying to send you to Hell where you belong.”
“Very well,” the Hrrnna said, “then we shall die together.”
The ship tilted, aiming toward the ground.