Then Daniel frowned. I can’t say that there aren’t potential problems, though. Memories associated with verbal commands using Dr. Hansen’s tie pin or other people’s voices last longer than normal memories and a decent telepath could use them as foundations for altering how someone thinks—which is why the Dominators are as effective as they are.
Have someone with voice powers put in a few basic commands, let a telepath set up a framework that connects the commands together, and maybe have a wizard set up a way to revert to that mental state if a telepath removes it and you’ve got something I can’t remove and maybe something I can’t detect.
I looked over at Dr. Strazinksy again. But you’re pretty sure that’s not the case here?
I felt a wave of amusement from Daniel. Mostly sure? Even if the commands were all magic they’d leave traces in his brain if they were used. I wouldn’t know why the normal flow of his thoughts had been disrupted, but I’d be able to tell that they had. I’m not seeing any of that here. It’s probably still worth letting the Defenders or Amy take a look at him. I don’t know everything and after looking at Dr. Hansen’s head, I’ve realized that I know less than I thought I did before I looked at him.
That’s comforting, I thought back at him.
He sent me an image of him shrugging. It’s good to know your limits. I’d be willing to experiment if we had no choice. Between Amy and I, we could handle a lot, but since my dad’s on the way, it’ll be better to let him do it.
Mindstryke arrived twenty minutes later along with two other people. One was a tall black man who wore a top hat, long-tailed black coat, and glasses. In a noticeable Chicago accent, he introduced himself as Baron Samedi. The other was a woman in her 70s wearing in an all-black costume that made me think of a military dress uniform. She didn’t introduce herself.
They weren’t done by the time we left. Since they were in costume, Daniel and Izzy stayed—Daniel to help his dad and Izzy in case something unexpected happened. Amy, Vaughn and Cassie stayed too. Amy stayed to watch the procedure as Bloodmaiden. I wasn’t sure why Vaughn and Cassie stayed, but they’d come with Amy.
Haley and I walked out, officially because we were civilians and unofficially because there wasn’t anything we could do. We left the building in a different situation than when we’d walked inside.
The police surrounded it, blocking entrances and refusing to let anyone inside. Leaving was a different matter though. They barely looked at us on the way out.
Haley and I held hands once we were past the people, the cars, and the reporters. NBC News 10 had a van out in front.
When we were all but alone on a walkway nearly two buildings away, she looked up at me. “How are you doing? I know you liked Dr. Strazinsky.”
I turned back to look at the building for a second. “I’m okay. I think we did the right thing by going in. They’re getting help. Who knows what they would have done if we did nothing? Um… How are you feeling?”
She frowned, “Useless. I know I wasn’t, but nothing went right. We went in to get information last night except it turned into a fight and then Victor teleported me nearly to Wisconsin. If we’d used the jet to scan around Hardwick Industries, we might have found Rook, Protection Force, and everybody before we went in. Then someone still might have been teleported out, but maybe not.”
I nodded, checking around before I spoke. No one was near us. “That’s true. We didn’t do enough before we went in. No guarantees we would have seen anything out there though. They had technology that I didn’t even know existed. They might have Abominator tech for hiding things.”
She nodded. “They might have. I still wish we’d have looked.”
My phone beeped. I read the text on the lenses of my glasses. It was from Isaac Lim to my Rocket communicator account. It said, “You can remove anything personal from Higher Ground after 2 pm. Your special guest can come along as long as she’s in costume and arrives separately.”
I tapped out a reply on my phone since it would be faster than blinking it out with my glasses. I wrote, “I’ll be there.”
Haley leaned in to check my phone. “Leaving?”
“It looks like it. I’ll be back tonight—probably by four, actually. I’d normally be working today, but obviously not now.”
I put the phone back in my pocket as Isaac sent me back a thumbs up icon.
Haley frowned. “What do you think they’ll do about your internship?”
I thought about it. “I have no idea. Ideally, they ought to count it, since it’s not my fault they were criminals.”
She laughed. “Don’t count on it.”
“Yeah. I shouldn’t, but I’ve still got to go.”
An hour later, I drove down the dirt driveway into the employee parking area of the Hardwick Industries compound. The parking lot was about half full. The police cars and unmarked Chevrolet Suburbans parked all around the building along with two semi-trucks in the parking lot in front of the main buildings made up for the lack of employee-owned vehicles.
Police waited at the garage exit. They didn’t say anything to me. I already had an escort. Tara waited next to the door wearing a green and white costume that hid her face.
Officially she was there as a member of the Heroes’ League to assist as necessary. In reality, she was there because she wanted to meet Emmy and this seemed better than driving her by Emmy’s apartment.