The video went straight up to the part where Amy and then Lee appeared (as Gunther, the form he’d used in World War 2), the dragon Artaxus ran away, obviously terrified, and all the attacking forces followed him through a gate and out of our world.
I couldn’t help but notice that the video had been drawn from different cameras and different angles. It made me wonder if it had been taken from security cameras (or maybe drones) at the compound where we’d stayed last summer.
That brought me back to wondering who had released it. It made our team look good, while the Stapledon program, the teachers, the Feds, and the Castle Rock compound where we all stayed look bad. At the least, it didn’t make them look competent at security.
“How long has this been out?”
Marcus held up his hands. “No way to know for sure. The video says it was posted on August 20, so not long after you all left. It might have been up other places sooner, or I don’t know, it might have been posted privately then, but made public later? No idea. I only heard about it couple days ago.
“I’m surprised you didn’t know about it earlier. You follow Double V pretty closely.”
I stared up at the screen. “I’ve been sleeping and reading a lot these last few days. Even without a Faerie invasion, the program is intense. I was surprised that they kept it quiet at all. I was half-expecting to go home after everything happened, but they gave everyone a couple days off and continued normally.”
Marcus nodded along as I finished. “If I hadn’t been getting emails from Haley and Jaclyn, I wouldn’t have known anything had happened.”
On the screen, the video listed the injuries of everyone involved. There were a lot of them. The video didn’t lie, but when you post a picture of someone, describing their injuries, it leaves an impression. In my case, the caption was, “The Rocket’s burns would have required him to have his arm amputated if Paladin, Preserver’s son hadn’t been there to heal him.”
In Cassie’s case, it said, “Captain Commando was stabbed more than ten times. The damage would have killed a normal person.”
Marcus barked out a laugh. “They forgot to mention that she regenerates.”
I shook my head, sighing as I said, “Or that Alex healed me with no problems, and wasn’t even particularly worried about it.”
After a moment, I said, “The media’s going to be all over this. We should tell everybody.”
Marcus waved my comment away with his hand. “Already did. I sent everybody on the team and the board an email with links.” He grinned. “We’ve become a well-oiled machine here while you’ve been gone.”
I raised an eyebrow.
Marcus laughed. “Yeah, I know. It’s like the Avengers without the famous Avengers. The team gets started by heavy hitters like Thor, Ironman, and Captain America, and then the team gets handed off to Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, and Hawkeye. That’s in the 60s comic, but movie version’s not that different.”
“You’re better off than you’re making it sound, and we’re not nearly as good.”
Marcus tapped a few keys, and said, “Point, but you’ve got to think about it… Right now it should have just been Sydney and me, and Kayla, but Kayla’s just staff. Except that’s not how it worked. We’ve been pulling in Chris, and after everything that happened during the alien invasion, we know Kayla can keep her head. So, worst case scenario, we’ve got Kayla and Chris in powered armor plus Sydney and me.”
I pulled out a chair and sat down at the table. “Has that happened?”
Marcus frowned. “Twice, so far. The first time we’re pretty sure it was a couple of Rook’s henchmen in powered armor. Gerald’s pretty sure they were deliberately baiting us. You know—trying to figure out if you were in town. We caught a few of them and the rest disappeared.”
“Gerald?” I asked. “As in Cannon?”
Marcus took a breath. “Okay. This is where it gets really, really weird. Turns out that when you get Chris, you get his grandfather along for the ride. The old guy’s finally accepted that he shouldn’t be out in the field, but when Kayla’s in the field, he coordinates and offers advice. Well, orders, really. The problem is, he’s scary good. He makes very good guesses about what the criminals are going to do next—which figures since he used to be one.”
I leaned back in my chair. “Wow.”
Nodding, Marcus said, “You’re telling me. We probably should have talked about this when we were all together for movie night, but all of us here thought that people would freak out.”
I thought about it. “You’d be right about that. Does the board know?”
Grinning slowly, Marcus said, “Yeah. Well, maybe not all of them, but my grandpa was here for the invasion too, and he worked with Cannon then. Now that Lee’s at Stapledon, they’ve both been training us together. So, at least one person the board knows and is okay with it.”
It took me a little while to process that. Marcus didn’t stop grinning while I did.
“See what I mean? People would have freaked.”
I closed my mouth, thought some more, and started talking again. “I’m freaking. Okay. So ignoring that no one on the team is an official member because they’re under 18, and the whole retired supervillain mentor thing, what was the other time you all suited up?”
Marcus’ face tightened. “There’s a group hitting armored cars. We all suited up to catch them to help the police two weeks ago, but it didn’t work. They got out before we even saw them. We’re pretty sure it’s metahumans.”