As I spoke, the second came up behind the first. When the suit’s visuals depended on the sonic and thermal systems, the edges became fuzzier than with normal night vision, but the second person appeared to be female.
Unsure if it would be worth listening in, I decided to anyway. The suit was receiving sound from that direction already. It would just process it differently.
Static resolved into a husky woman’s voice. “… How far do we have to go? Halfway between the buildings?”
The man turned his head, maybe enough to see the woman out of the corner of his eye. “That’s what they said. Don’t worry about it. I gave them the signal. They’ll be watching.”
“Great. More alien tech. God only knows what this will do to us.” Even with the fuzzy outlines of the sonics and the mask over her upper face, I could see her lip curl.
The man snorted. “If you don’t like alien tech, what are you doing working at Higher Ground?”
Her voice near to a hiss, the woman said, “I like science. I like studying alien tech. I don’t like being experimented on.”
This time, he turned to look at her. “Are you kidding? This is the best thing that ever happened to me. You know what I’m like normally. I’m nothing. People have walked over me my whole life. Now I can rip them apart if I want to.”
She stared up at him. “You won’t really do that.”
He grinned. “Who’s going to stop me? The Heroes’ League? I can take any of those kids. Think about it. We’re stronger than most of them and smarter than any of them except maybe the Rocket.”
The woman turned away from him, staring at the lawn ahead. “If we don’t time this right, you’ll get your chance to prove it.”
“Let him make one more circle. We’ll go when he reaches the far corner of the building.”
The two of them shut the door and backed into the indentation around it, blending in.
Thinking about Haley’s hearing, I talked as softly into the comm as possible. “They’re going go after R2 makes his next circle. I’m getting the impression that they’ll get picked up if they make it halfway to the next building. I don’t know how. We need to stop them from making it.”
Tara’s voice came over the comm, her mind having already calculated probabilities to small for me to guess at in the time we had. The True were like that.
“R2–watch behind you when you go past, circle around and be ready with your goobots. Rocket, tell him when they move around and slow them down with goobots or sonics, whichever fits best. Railgun, jump over the building when you hear the Rocket.”
Chris neared the far end the building, his rocket pack keeping him in the air with twin streams of reddish-orange fire. It felt a little strange to be seeing a Rocket that wasn’t me.
“I’ll be ready,” I said as Chris added, “Got it” and Sydney muttered, “Okay.”
Chris made the turn around the building and I readied goobots. I’d added guns to the stealth suit since coming home—small ones, the equivalent of a pistol or maybe submachine gun.
Through the suit’s HUD, I heard the woman speak again. “Rocket to our right.”
They watched Chris fly toward them, flying almost upright, looking around as if he had no idea where the infiltrators were.
He flew at maybe fifteen miles per hour.
The man said, “He’s flying slower this time around than the first. I think we could take him.”
“Don’t,” the woman’s voice went up a step. “That’s not you. It’s whatever change they made to us in that machine.”
“It doesn’t matter. I like it.”
I couldn’t see more of them than fuzzy human shapes, but the smaller shape seemed to shrink back from the larger one.
Chris was almost there by then. Again keeping my voice low, I spoke into the comm, “R2, be prepared. You might be attacked on the way past them.”
In a louder voice than I would have used, Chris said, “Seriously?”
“Did you hear something?” The woman stared out into the night, loosely in my direction. “I thought I heard someone say something and then the Rocket responded. I think someone else is out there.”
Before I could say anything else, the man stepped out from the doorway, took a leap that put him on the lawn a little short of Chris.
His next leap came as I said, “Watch out!”
It didn’t do much good. Reaching out with claws extended, the man wrapped his arms around Chris and the Rocket suit and began to squeeze.
Even if she didn’t seem to be as enthusiastic, the woman didn’t leave her partner alone. She jumped after him, but her first leap carried her past where Chris and the man fought.
Her second leap sent her in my direction. Chris was going to have to fend for himself for a little while.