“Okay,” I said. “The only problem is that we don’t know where they are. Except that it’s going to be in downtown Detroit or near it. Also, given that this is Syndicate L, it’s going to have bottled water available.”
Tilting his head, Vincent blinked. “Bottled water?”
I nodded, “You’ve never fought them before?”
Vincent’s brow furrowed and his tail twitched, “Once or twice. My brothers and I spend more of our time fighting a gang called the Thumb.”
I’d never heard of the Thumb. I made a mental note to look them up. “Imagine if the mob were run like a Silicon Valley start-up and you’ll get Syndicate L.”
Vincent’s eyes narrowed, “How many times have you fought them? Didn’t you just start?”
Having a second superhero identity was getting annoying. “A few different times, but under a different name. I’m been told that I shouldn’t say who.”
The hamster gave a toothy grin, “A man of mystery? I’ll see if I can puzzle it out, but don’t worry about it. I won’t tell anybody. It’s a relief that you’re not a complete newbie. The odds are against us already.”
By that time, the staff began to enter the parking garage, putting the sleeping heroes on stretchers and cleaning up the blood. One man stopped to stare at a dent on the side of a car, muttering a curse.
Vincent glanced over at him, “Don’t worry about it. The team will pay for it.”
The man nodded, “Thanks.”
Motioning us all to come closer, Mateo addressed Vincent, “You were under their control. How did it happen and what did you learn?”
Vincent sighed, “I think you saw it. Working Man was talking to you when they attacked. At first, we thought it was just Syndicate L’s people and maybe some of the police, but it wasn’t. Vampires appeared, turning our own people against us. Syndicate L’s people swarmed us and then it was over. They brought us into an old, abandoned skyscraper and Rudolfo—“
I snorted, “Rudolfo?”
A smile tugged at the corner of Vincent’s mouth, “I know. I thought it sounded silly at first, but then I knew I’d be willing die for him and it stopped sounding silly. You wouldn’t know it from how easily he went down to your… automatic stake gun, but he was powerful. He mentioned the Dominators. It didn’t sound like he was one of them, but that sometimes they hired him.”
Mateo frowned, “That might be good news. If the Dominators hired him, it means he’s not a member. Do you know what skyscraper it was?”
Shaking his head, Vincent said, “I don’t know its name, but I think I might be able to find it by smell if we go back to where we were captured.”
Stepping back and crossing his arms over his chest, Mateo said, “Let’s go, then. Do you need to ride with us or do you have your own transportation?”
Vincent turned to look at my motorcycle, “I think I’d rather ride with you.”
With a tight grin, Mateo said, “I’m fine with that. What about you, V4?”
“Sure.” My bike easily had enough space for a second rider and maybe a third.
We turned, starting to weave through the Unity staff people as they applied first aid to Athletica. She was still sleeping.
Mateo turned his head to look at Vincent, “Do you know what happened to Working Man? Did they send him somewhere else or is he still with them in the building?”
Frowning, Vincent said, “I don’t know. I don’t remember him getting captured. The last I saw of him, he was still fighting them. He wasn’t with us when Rudolfo put the finishing touches into our heads.”
Looking over at me, Mateo said, “There’s hope that he’s out there then. I’m just surprised he hasn’t contacted us at all.”
I shrugged, “That would make sense, but I don’t know. I could see him keeping his comm off in case Syndicate L can detect it. They do have some sophisticated tech. Then maybe he’d be tracking Barrington, the vampire leader, all by himself. You know him better than I do, but that seems like the kind of thing he’d try.”
Stopping next to his motorcycle, Mateo said, “See, you did learn something while you were here. That’s exactly the kind of thing he’d do. I just made the mistake of hoping he’d do what tells us to do—call for help when you’re in over your head.”
I swung my leg over my bike, “Maybe he’s not in over his head?”
Mateo laughed, “In his head, he’s never in over his head, but we should talk. Riding off to shut down a vampire who’s controlling a host of vampires, supers, Syndicate L people, the police, and the local media makes it sound like we might be a little overconfident.”
Climbing up on the bike behind me, Vincent said, “My brother Rembrandt says that no matter who you are, you’ll go down if someone punches you hard enough. I think we’ve got a chance.”
Then he tapped on the face of the watch he was wearing, “Door’s open. Let’s go out the shed exit.”
Mateo and I looked at each other and I followed his motorcycle into the tunnel, ready to take on a host of vampires with a swashbuckling swordsman and a humanoid hamster martial artist.