Mateo shook his head, “We didn’t follow them. We’d fought all the way up the tower, destroyed I don’t know how many vampires by then, and they were fresh. Offering them a way out kept everyone alive.”
Chin jutting forward, Working Man said, “Including them. They’re monsters that live off of humans. They literally took over the city’s police department and influenced the local media to keep it quiet as they had the police lay siege to Unity’s base. That’s a significant level of power to let loose in this city. What’s to stop them from starting up where they left off?”
Meeting Working Man’s eyes, I said, “They can’t. Between your group and ours, there’s barely anybody left. You took out the people that Barrington said were in charge of that. We killed a lot of others. I don’t know how many, but up until the vampire king and his advisors, everyone we saw—including one that worked with the Dominators. I’d be surprised if he wasn’t the guy that planned out the part of the operation that influenced the police and the media.”
Raising a hand, Amy cleared her throat as if expecting that everyone would stop so she could talk. Even if that was a leftover from being an heir to an empire in another universe, it worked. “I know I’m not part of this team, but I was part of this fight. Mateo was right not to fight them. From what I learned, they’re similar to my people. We’re like vampires but not the same. We’re descended from a race that came to our Earth and the closest thing I can compare us to in your world is maybe dhampirs—all of the strengths of vampires and none of the weaknesses.”
Almost talking over Amy, Samita added, “And Blue Mask and V4 were prepared for normal vampires from what I saw, but holy water, garlic, bags of rice wouldn’t have helped. Worse, one of them, Loremaster, fought my teacher, Reliquary, and survived.”
Staring at her, Working Man smacked the table, “That was the time to call for help. I know we weren’t available before but if you had called us then, we would have been.”
I sighed and I knew it was loud because everyone looked at me.
Working Man nodded, “Do you have something to say about that?”
“Yes. We had no way to know that. You’d said you’d meet us earlier, but you didn’t show up or respond to anything we tried. For all we knew, you were dead or too busy to answer. Either way, there wasn’t any reason to think that calling you at that moment would have brought you over. None.”
“They told you I was alive,” he said.
“Right,” I tried to keep my voice from rising, “which showed that they weren’t trying to put one over on us. When Blue Mask asked them to call off the police, they could have just said yes. Instead, they told us that you’d taken care of it, basically telling us that they had no support and no backup.
“I have to admit, Barrington didn’t seem like the brightest guy in the world and some of his people may have lived a little too long to think straight, but Loremaster seemed to know what he was doing at least. As for the rest of them, I don’t think they were bright enough to pull this off without all the help they had. I think they were just convenient figureheads that happened to have one good idea—calling all the vampires they could find together.”
“Help from the Dominators, you think, and for all you know, the Nine?” He didn’t shout, but the volume ticked upward as he talked.
He’d seemed to gloss over the fact that I’d brought in people associated with League members to help earlier, but it sounded like that wasn’t going to last. In the back of my head, I knew that he might not bring it up and that the best thing to do was try to calm things down, but trying to connect the vampire with Dominator connections to problems from bringing in Amy made no sense.
“The vampire worked with the Dominators, and yes, they do work for the Nine, but I didn’t see anything that said the Dominators were involved here. And if you’re trying to imply that bringing in Bloodmaiden means that the Nine will come after all of you, no. He was dead before we got any help.”
“Besides,” Rod piped in, “if it comes up, we’re going to tell the press that we know Blue Mask from Stapledon—which we do. News reports will back us up.”
Ignoring Rod, Working Man started talking, “That’s not good enough. Anyone who looks at the big picture—a techie working with Bloodmaiden, Troll, and Red Hex will wonder if it’s the Rocket. I would.”
V8 turned to look back at him, “Working Man, V4, I think we all need to remember that this fight was successful. There might be problems that come up tomorrow, but today we need to remember that we won—“
Working Man talked over her, “We also need to remember that I gave strict orders about bringing in others—“
I didn’t need to hear more of that, “Orders that were irrational and likely to get us all killed.”
In the back of my mind, I wondered how long it would be before I lost my temper or if I had already and hadn’t noticed?