With a brief hesitation, Sydney nodded, adding, “I sent it to the League’s server. You should be able to just pull it up.”
Before Sean could think, he found himself already talking, “Wait, you recorded us and put the video on the League’s server. That’s private! It’s none of their business—”
Interrupting him, she said, “It’s on my private folder on their server. I’m not sharing it with everybody—just Mindstryke. And I let the AI watch too because he was going to whether or not I said he could anyway. Besides, he said he’d help.”
Dayton looked over at Sydney, “They’ve got an AI? That’s… Wow. I mean, it’s the Heroes’ League. So I’m sure they’ve got everything, but I had no idea.”
Sean frowned, “They’ve got two. The gun and the jet. Which one listened in?”
“The jet,” Sydney said. “Cassie’s gun only cares about killing things.”
“Yeah,” Sean thought back to the time it fired at him, “the gun’s an asshole.”
Mindstryke’s smile was visible under his mask. “I won’t argue with you and don’t worry about keeping this confidential, Hal won’t tell anyone and I’m going to consider you a client, which means that I’m not telling anyone either. Why don’t we all sit down at the table and talk about the contract first? After that, I’ll take a look at the video and see what I get out of that.”
Dayton grinned, “That sounds good. Thanks for taking a look at it. I think we’d have been happy even if one of the League’s lawyers had just sent us an email. Having Mindstryke show up is far beyond anything we expected.”
“Uh… yeah,” Sean said, realizing that Dayton was right, “Thanks for coming.”
Walking over to a chair next to the table, Mindstryke said, “Don’t worry about it. Remember the summer after high school when I dropped by and told you about Stapledon and talked you into coming? I feel like I owe you a little bit for following my advice. I want to see you on solid footing and I don’t want to see you get taken advantage of. This life is difficult enough.”
He pulled out his chair and sat down, waving everyone over to join him and even nodding over at Sydney who had continued to stand in the hallway, “You’re already involved. Come join the rest of us.”
Once everyone had sat down, he pulled out a roll of plastic from a pouch on his belt. Fully rolled out, it covered half the table. With a tap, it turned into a computer screen. A few taps later, everyone had an image of the first page of the contract in front of them.
“Before we go through it in individual sections, I’d like to give you the big picture. The big picture is that it’s their standard contract for a new hero group. If anything, it’s a little more generous than most. Thanks to being here in Grand Lake and being involved in everything that happened to the Cabal, you’re more than just a new, regional hero group. You’ve got national and even some international name recognition. They clearly expect to make money off of you—which is why they’re taking a slightly lower percentage of your merchandising than usual.
“And while you’re expected by law to turn over any supervillain or alien tech, you acquire, they’ll be getting a percentage of any money you get as a result of discovering it. They’ve also got the usual provisions regarding things you might invent while you’re working with them. They haven’t given you a break on that at all, but there aren’t any inventors in your group, so no big deal.
“You’ll get their support in the form of salaries and assistance in setting up a base, hiring staff, and additional heroes if needed.
“They’ll manage the business end and own the majority of the company, but you will be able to buy them out if you want. There are provisions for terminating the agreement if you decide you don’t want to be heroes, but it will be expensive. You’ll be able to do it, though and it won’t financially ruin you with these salaries. That’s the important thing. Do you have any questions?”
“Sure,” Jody said, “what’s the point of going over the rest of it? I know what I’m getting paid and I know the big picture. That’s all I care about. I’m done.”
He pushed his chair back and began to stand up.
Mindstryke shrugged, “Honestly, you don’t have to if you don’t want to, but the details are important and if you don’t listen, you’re going to want to hope your friends do. It’s the details that will hurt you in the end.”
Jody looked over at Dayton and Dayton nodded. Jody sat down.
For the next hour, they went through the contract section by section with Mindstryke answering questions. It wasn’t the most fun Sean had ever had, but before it was over, Sean knew that he’d needed it. Whatever his business degree had been good for, it hadn’t made him a lawyer.
When it was over, Mindstryke said, “If there aren’t any other questions on the contract, let’s watch the video.”
There weren’t any questions and so they did. The plastic screen showed the conversation from four different angles at once. It didn’t seem any less weird to Sean the second time around.
He couldn’t help but notice Mindstryke, though. The hero watched as if lives depended on it and maybe they did. As Martin left, walking toward the door, Mindstryke stopped the video, suspending Martin Greatson in the moment.
Tapping on the screen, Mindstryke said, “Hal, have you identified this man?”
An emotion-free voice said, “Of course. This man’s image is associated with many other names, the best known of which is Martin Magnus.”