Bullet said nothing for a few seconds, but then added, “Yes. I’m part of another project now, but it’s one that I think you may already know about. I’ll send you the location. You can visit whenever you like, but give us some warning.”
I noted the “us” as he talked and wondered if I should ask more, but decided not to, “Sure. Today’s okay, right? We could be there before noon, depending on where you are.”
“That will work. Send us your ETA once you know. You can land your jet on the lawn.”
He said goodbye and we ended the call. I looked around the group, “He’s sending me the location and we can visit whenever. He said he’s part of another project now and it’s one we might know about.”
Haley’s mouth twisted, “He didn’t tell you anything more than that and you didn’t ask?”
We were at whatever stage of the relationship you’re at when you recognize that however much you love each other, you know that your significant other has faults, “I thought about it. I didn’t think I should push in the call. I’m hoping that the location I get will tell me what we need to know.”
Haley frowned but didn’t argue. As she did, my comm sent me a notification. Bullet had sent his location. I had the comm pull up a map. The location turned out to be a forested area between Portland, Oregon, and Mount Hood—closer to Mount Hood.
I connected the comm to government databases we had access to and ran the location through them, coming up with a satellite photo of a house. House was the wrong word for it, though. The correct word was a mansion, assuming that people lived there. My gut told me it was a team’s headquarters even if it wasn’t the official headquarters.
Surrounded by pines, with the rocky, white shape of Mount Hood in the distance, the house had been designed to look like a wooden cottage—if cottages were four stories high. A section jutted out in the middle of the front, windows running from the bottom to the top under a sloped roof. Each story had balconies and walkways around the outside, the walls made to look as if they were made of logs or at least stained wood.
Long enough to hold at least two semi-trucks and their trailers, I could only guess what might be inside. With as many windows as the building had, the dark glass showed nothing.
As Daniel sent the image from my mind to everyone else’s, I said, “Right now I’m thinking maybe a few people stay in the jet. Maybe even stay in the air after you drop us off? That and yeah, notifying everyone to prepare to be backup might be a good idea. We’d probably only get Izzy and Jaclyn soon enough, but we might not need more than that.”
“Right,” Cassie said. “If the jet’s circling, we’ve got its main gun as a backup. That’s going to make them think all by itself.”
“I hope,” Daniel said. “I’d like to be part of the group going inside. I’m pretty sure Bullet’s going to be out of range from the jet.”
“Alright,” I said. “That puts Vaughn, Haley, and Cassie outside in the jet and Yoselin, Tara, Daniel, and me inside. That’s not a bad distribution of people. Is everybody okay with that?”
Ten minutes later, were downstairs putting on costumes and letting everyone know what we were doing. Well, Kayla was doing that as well as arranging backup for us. Thirty minutes later, we were in the air and within an hour, we were landing on the lawn in front of the… log mansion. It looked bigger than it had in the picture.
It only took a few minutes for us to get out and for the jet to float upward, circling in the air above, leaving Daniel, Tara, Yoselin, and I on the grass.
Bullet stepped out of a side door next to the big, windowed, middle section that extended out of the front. He wasn’t wearing a costume. Instead, he wore a black t-shirt and jeans. By comparison to how he appeared in Armory’s memories, his blond hair had thinned, some of it now gray. Back then he’d been in his mid-twenties. Now he was in his mid-fifties. He still wore mirrored sunglasses though.
He looked up at the jet as he walked up to us, “Where’s the jet going?”
“Nowhere,” I said. “It’ll be close, but in the air.”
He looked up at the jet and then over to me, noticing, I felt sure, that I was in full Rocket armor. It might be a little egotistical to assume that he knew both versions of the costume, but I’d been seen in both. Experienced heroes paid attention to things like that, especially if they’d spent time with tech-oriented heroes–which he had.
“You’re in the middle of something?” He glanced back at the building.
Not sure whether his look meant that he was considering running or looking for help, I went with, “We’re trying to figure that out, but it’s better to be cautious.”
He grinned, “Good. That sounds like your grandfather. Come on in.”
Resisting the urge to point out that outside wasn’t the best place to say something like that, I nodded.
Waving us to follow, he started walking back toward the house, talking all the while, “Good to see all of you here. It’s good to know that your students are using their training.”
Giving us another look as he opened, he said, “Rocket, Mystic, Ronin, and…”
Everyone wore costumes based on the same tech as my suit, but he looked at Yoselin. She’d decided to use one of my new Heroes’ League costumes instead of wearing her powered armor which was designed to resemble the Cuban flag. She’d set the temporary suit’s color scheme to be black with broad orange stripes up the sides and green accents.
“Cypher,” she said.