Telling the jet to throw the streams on screens in the passenger area so that people without implants could see them too, I announced, “This looks bad. At least one of these people is one of the True and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more. We should probably assume that, actually. The big question is if they have backup and how close it is.”
I flipped through the various accessible video streams that Hal’s friend (I guess?) had made available. There were more than I would have predicted, but most of them were either through laptops or security cameras that computers could access.
The useful streams were almost always security cameras, but they were placed with the owner’s needs in mind as opposed to mine. I did hit the jackpot after some looking. It turned out that the True soldier had a laptop in his van, one that a group of additional True were sitting in the back area and using. Judging from the fact that I could use the camera to see them and the mic to listen in, they used it to communicate with someone and so they hadn’t disabled either device.
There were three of them, two of them were male and wore blue shirts and jackets, making them identical. I supposed if they exited the van one at a time, no one would notice. The third one was female. She’d gone with a black business suit, allowing her to pass as some kind of professional—though if you looked closely, you might notice the guns in shoulder holsters under the jacket.
All three stared into the laptop’s camera, watching someone on the laptop’s screen, or so I assumed. A male voice said, “… This mission is switching from surveillance to extraction. We think the Heroes’ League is on its way. So, we’re sending in backup. You won’t be able to take them on on your own. In the meantime, suit up and get ready to fight. We’ll tell you when you need to move on the target.”
As the True began to take off their clothes and put on battledress (pants and jackets with a black, white, and gray camouflage pattern), Cassie glanced back at Daniel, “Unless you think it’ll make things worse, I’m going to let the Liberators know we’re in town and about to get into a fight.”
Looking away from a screen showing Master Martian, Daniel closed his eyes and then opened them, “I don’t know what’ll happen, but I’m not sensing that the battle will be worse if you do. Go ahead. At least they’ll know we’re being polite.”
Cassie nodded as she closed her eyes to control the jet via implant, “That’s what I figured. Incidentally, everyone, we’re nearing Master Martian. We’ll be there in less than ten minutes. You should start thinking about your plan for getting him out.”
We all looked at each other. I can’t say what anyone else was thinking, but I was thinking, “Crap.”
Yoselin turned toward us, “From what I saw in Bullet’s memory, the first Master Martian appeared to have mental powers—telekinesis, telepathy… Are the second Master Martian’s powers the same?”
I didn’t need to tap into the jet’s internet connection to know the answer, but I used it anyway, “So far as anyone can tell, they’re the same—telepathy, telekinesis, and short distance teleports. We’ve got telepathy and teleportation blockers in the jet’s storage area. I’m trying to figure out if we should use them. If we come in to rescue him, he might feel like he owes us. Dumping blockers all over might ruin that. Plus, Daniel wouldn’t be able to use telepathy either.”
Turning away from the weapons console, Haley said, “We should use them. I don’t think he’ll trust us even if the True already have him when we rescue him. What I don’t know is what we’re going to do when we’ve got him. We’d have to keep him unconscious the whole time or run the telepathy blocker. I could poison him, but for all we know, my venom won’t work on Martians or whatever he is.”
Yoselin opened a pouch on her belt, pulling silvery, metal discs out of it, “I think I may be able to help. These discs stick to telepaths, using the energy it pulls from them to remain attached.”
Daniel stared at her hand, “No kidding. My dad told me the Russians had something like that, but this sounds nastier.”
Nodding, she gave a small smile, “My father improved on the original design.”
Without turning around, Cassie said, “What we’ve got then is that I fly in, you all jump out and kidnap Master Martian from his apartment. Daniel attacks his brain and Yoselin sticks that thing on him. Then we leave before the True have time to do anything.”
Vaughn frowned, “And if the True do have time, I hit them with lightning. Plus, I don’t know, maybe Tara helps?”
Tara shook her head, “My head still hurts. I overused my abilities today and if I go out there, I’ll be a liability. Haley should go. I’ll take the weapons console and direct you from here. I can handle that much. I’m sorry.”
Her head drifted downward and she looked at the floor.
“That’s okay,” I said. “I think we’ve got a plan. It’s a little more direct than I’d have come up with, but it could work.”
“That’s good,” Cassie said, “because we’ve got less than five minutes now.”
As Tara and Haley swapped seats, we talked through a few more details. Then I checked the streams again, fast-forwarding back through where I’d left off when we started talking. Learning that I hadn’t missed much, I watched Cassie take us in, using the gravitics to lower us down next to Master Martian’s apartment. The orange-painted balcony hung off to our left. We’d be able to land on it when we opened the hatch.
Even with cars going down the street below us, no one noticed we were there. I’d had time to figure out how to use the shields as a real cloaking device during my senior year. They weren’t as effective as shields in that mode, but you went in cloaked to avoid fighting.
Yoselin, Haley, Daniel, and I stood up and crowded around the hatch as Cassie said, “Everybody ready? Go!”
Before anyone could reply, she opened the door.