Tara nodded. “And how do we win?”
“Well,” I thought about her question, trying to guess what she was going for, “the obvious answer is that the specific strategy and tactics might be different for each team. That’s not the answer though. Our best quality as a team is that our capabilities could be completely different at the end of the week than the beginning. I might modify my suit or bots. Amy or Samita might use new spells or new magic objects.
“We’ll have to train against the other teams all week, so we may have to come up with ideas, and then not try them out until the tournament–which means we really won’t know how well they work.”
Tara grinned briefly. “That’s what I was thinking too. But we’ll have a better idea of what might work than you think. I can remember every move the third and fourth years have made in a fight I’ve seen.”
Along with an ability to somehow see patterns in that mass of memories, that’s how I’d assumed her powers worked–though I couldn’t think of any time she’d said it outright.
“Okay,” Tara said. “Everyone, I just asked Nick his opinion. If anyone thinks he’s missed something important about our general strategy for winning the tournament, it’s time to speak up. If no one has anything, it’s time to look at each group, and discuss what we need to do to win.”
It took a little while for everyone to get into it, but we spent the next hour brainstorming. Eventually we went to dinner as a group. This was more incidental than intentional. We were all hungry by then, and there weren’t many people left to eat with but each other.
It gave me a direct view of something my sister Rachel had mentioned about Tara. She was very different person when she wasn’t using her powers than when she was. Some people adopted a persona in costume, but I didn’t think that Tara did.
During supper, Tara talked about light things–some reality TV show she’d watched, the quirks of the teachers (Bullet especially), and told a few stories about growing up in Infinity City, somehow managing to make it sound less desperate than it was.
After supper, we left the dining hall. Amy had gone off with a couple of her friends. Rod and Samita were ahead of us in the hall. That left me walking next to Tara–which felt a little weird. I’d spent a lot of time with her while we were assisting Lee, but it was all business. Here, she was laughing at jokes when I told them.
“It’s nice to be here,” she said, taking a breath. “I loved growing up in Infinity City, but you never could relax, not really.”
“Can you relax here?” Lee had trained me to always be aware of my surroundings, but obviously some places were more dangerous than others. I didn’t spend a lot of time making sure that I was aware of 360 degrees around myself.
Tara smiled, and looked strangely like a normal person, and not as grim as she’d seemed since her father died. “Oh, you know. I can relax most of the time, but not quite always.”
Then she lowered her voice, and tilted her head. “Here, ”
She opened the door to a conference room.
I stumbled in after her, not completely sure that this was a good thing. Haley had told me that I was attracted to Tara, and it didn’t take much to guess why. She had the physique of a comic book character. Whatever abilities supers had, they typically looked more athletic than they did like models. Whoever had designed the super soldier clones she was descended from, they’d gone to the trouble of making them attractive.
However committed I was to Haley, I couldn’t help but notice.
For an instant, I wondered why Tara wanted me in the room. Before I drew the the wrong conclusion, Tara had reverted to the version of herself I had more experience with.
She’d put her hands in her pockets of her yoga pants, and stood still.
When she spoke her voice was even, only barely more expressive than a monotone. “I could see from the way they held themselves that Gordon and Stephanie are angry with you. Further, you and Amy share some secret, and now that I think about it, there are several time periods where none of the members of the Heroes League were in the common areas.”
She met my eyes. “What are you hiding?”