I wouldn’t have even attempted to rent this hotel room on my own. It appeared to be the size of the house I’d inherited from my grandfather, but with a better view and air conditioning. That ignored the base under the house, but even considering that, the hotel room was less a room and more of a suite—which was good because I was sharing it with two other people.
I stood next to the window. I could have gone out onto the balcony, but the less chance I had of being seen, the better. Also, it was at least 90 degrees outside and humid. Ocean breezes might make it better, but I wasn’t holding my breath.
Daniel walked up, joining me, and telepathically asking, Enjoying the view? He didn’t need to ask. It was a given that he already knew. He was using it to start a conversation.
I replied, “Mostly. It’s a great view, but I think I’d enjoy it more if we were on vacation.”
Outside the window, it looked like someplace out of a James Bond movie. Square, shiny modern buildings were surrounded by huge green lawns complete with palm trees, wide sidewalks, fountains, and no motorized vehicles larger than golf carts. Colorful birds sat in the palm trees.
In the distance, the ocean glistened. Our building wasn’t next to the beach, but it was taller than the hotels that were. Below us, some people walked past in shorts and short sleeved shirts, others in bathing suits—very small bathing suits.
Switching to the spoken word, Daniel said, “I know. I feel like we just got pulled into something out of our league, courtesy of the US military.”
Behind me, a door shut and Cassie said, “You didn’t say no. You know what they used my dad for and I told you it would be something like that.”
She walked across the carpet to join us at the window. We had plenty of space. The tinted windows were two out of the room’s four walls. Daniel shrugged, “I’m not against doing the job. It needs to be done, but I’ve heard what other teams are doing. They’re getting supervised. We’re not. They’re not treating us like students.”
Standing at a spot to the side of the balcony, Cassie leaned toward the window looking down, “Is that your opinion as the kind of guy who pokes around in people’s heads?”
Daniel sighed, “We haven’t talked to anyone who knows anything in person yet. I think we can all guess why.”
We were working with the CIA with input from other agencies including the FBI. Intelligence agencies didn’t let their people get close to any telepaths but their own if they could avoid it.
Cassie turned away from the window to smile at the two of us, “They trust us. They wouldn’t give us something that could blow up if they didn’t.”
Shaking his head, Daniel let out a breath, “That’s what my dad said before we left. I still don’t like it. Not being able to sense anyone’s motives leaves me more nervous than I’d like to admit.”
Cassie laughed, “Welcome to everyone else’s world… We should probably get down to business. It’s safe, right?”
She looked at me.
“If it’s not,” I said, “we just tipped them off, but yes. If we’re bugged, they’re so good that I’m not going be able to do anything about it. So far as I can tell though, no one was listening in. “
“Alright, then,” Daniel grinned. “Let’s get rolling.”
We walked over to the metal and glass table and chairs and sat down. Whoever had designed the room liked things that glittered. Between the tinted windows, the glass and metal table, the mirrors on the wall, and the hot tub, it felt like everything in the common area of the room either acted as a mirror or could be seen through.
I decided that I was grateful that the fluffy, white carpet on the floor was an exception to the rule.
Once we all slid our chairs forward, Cassie started talking, “Since I roped you into this, I’ll go first. My handler told me that we’re here because they think that whoever makes Syndicate L’s mechs, paralyzation guns, and other technology does it here. They want us to bring him in and they’re not doing it themselves because it’s outside US territory. Since we’re vigilantes, they think it will cause less problems if we do it. Did Lim tell you anything different?”
I grinned and Daniel laughed, “I don’t want to steal Nick’s thunder, but yes. Nick?”
Watching Cassie scowl, I said, “It turns out that Larry and Lim came here back in the 1980s. A former superhero named Armory was making powered armor for anyone who wanted it, including criminals, and Larry was here to tell him to stop.”
“And…” Cassie said, “is it still the same guy?”
I shrugged, “Don’t know. The last Larry saw, Armory was being pulled into the earth by an earth elemental that sank most of the island a few minutes later. At the same time, Larry never saw him die. So it might be the same guy.”
Cassie shook her head, “My guy didn’t tell me any of that.”
“It might be that he didn’t know,” I said. “Lim was there. What I’m wondering is why there’s an island again.”
“As it happens,” Daniel said, “I did a little research on that while we were flying here. A group of investors hired Earthmover to raise the island again. It’s bigger than it used to be. Back in the 80s, there wasn’t too much more than a small airport, a resort, and a stadium for supers fighting supers that they called the Metafight Games. Now there’s a few casinos, an amusement park, a larger resort, a rebuilt stadium, and a small city. I’m guessing that’s why they renamed the place Renewal Island.”
“Alright,” Cassie nodded slowly. “Who were the investors?”
Daniel raised his hands in the air, “A bunch of rich guys. I’ve never heard of them. Rumor says it was Syndicate L, the Nine, the Lords of Destruction, the Devil Coven… You know, the usual suspects, but there’s no proof.”
Cassie started laughing—which she did for a while—and then shook her head, “What my guy said is that it was a straightforward mission—locate, extract, and get away. That’s all. What BS.”