As much as Sean wanted to argue, he knew better. He’d said so himself, “Yeah. You’re making it sound like you’re leaving.”
Mindstryke tapped the rollup screen and the end farthest from him rolled into the shape of a cylinder. Then the cylinder shrunk enough to fit into the pouch on his belt. “I am. The group of you need to talk about this and make a decision. This is your team and I’m not on it. You need to start making big decisions as a group and with this one you’ve at least got a few hours to think about it.”
Then Mindstryke stood up, “By the way, there’s one more reason that Magnus might have shown up that I didn’t think of until just now—bait. He might be trying to push the Defenders to investigate Future-men Capital, possibly to distract us from something else he’s doing.
“Despite that, we’re still available to help if you do sign. The possibility that he secretly runs Future-men is too big of a risk to ignore. We need to know what kind of connections he has there.”
Putting the screen into a canister on his belt, Mindstryke said, “That’s it. Call me whether you sign or not and tell me about it. We might want to have someone on call to see what they do if you ignore them.”
With that, a door-shaped hole in reality opened behind Mindstryke. He turned, stepping through, leaving a silhouette of colors.
Jody looked back at everyone else, “I don’t remember him being able to do that.”
Dayton continued to stare as the colors faded away, “I don’t think it was him. It must have been Guardian, or maybe the Defenders have a teleportation device? I don’t know.”
Sean shrugged, “It’s the Defenders. They’ve got cash.”
They sat there for a moment and then Sydney pushed her chair back and stood up, “If you’re going to make a team decision, I don’t need to be here.”
Eyes narrowing, Sean said, “You’re not going to watch us with the bots, are you?”
She shook her head, “No. I want to know what you do, but I’m trying to be nice. Besides I was only watching before because something weird was going on. This isn’t weird at all.”
Backing away from the table, she walked down the hall to her room, “Good luck.”
With that, they were alone in the room. Sean looked from Dayton to Jody, “What do you guys think? Do we sign or don’t we? And if we do, are we going to be the Defenders’ spies?”
Jody shook his head, “We sign. Look, I think that if Magnus wants us he’s going to go after us whatever happens with Future-men Capital, but if we sign, at least we get the money.”
Dayton cocked his head, thinking, and then sat up, making it obvious how much taller he was than Jody, “You know, Jody might be right, but not just for the reason he said.”
He put his hand on his chin, “Think about this… What if Magnus is showing to make us nervous about Future-men Capital? Because if we don’t sign and we have to raise our own money, we’ll be more likely to sign up with him when he shows up again.”
Sean thought about it, “Yeah. Could be, but why does he want us in the first place? That’s the part I don’t get.
Dayton raised his hands, “I don’t know. All we’ve got is what we know just happened and what Mindstryke said, right? I don’t know anything more than you do.”
Nodding, Jody said, “That’s what I don’t get either. We can do cool stuff, but we’re not the most powerful people out there.”
Shrugging, Dayton said, “Maybe it’s a way to get at the Heroes’ League. They’re in Grand Lake. We’re in Grand Lake.”
Jody didn’t move for second but then nodded, saying, “Might be. I mean, we shouldn’t get too precious about ourselves. We’re not that important. There’s got to be a bunch of people in Grand Lake with powers, right?”
Looking over at Sean, Jody asked, “What do you think?”
“I’m about half and half. I like your idea that we might as well sign and get the money because Magnus will go after us either way. I mean, Dayton could be right that Magnus is trying to prevent us from signing. I just don’t know why he’d bother. On the other hand, if we don’t sign, we don’t talk to people at Future-men. If contact with them were the way to mess with our heads, then we should stay away, right?”
Sean felt he could have said it better, but that was good enough.
Jody tapped on the table, “So then we sign, right? I don’t hear anyone saying don’t.”
Dayton frowned, “I’m kind of saying don’t. If it’s a way to get at the Heroes’ League and we don’t sign, we avoid it.”
Voice raising, Jody said, “I don’t want to give up my future to save the Heroes’ League. They can take care of themselves.”