I thought about her answer, “If he’s one of the nine people that run the Nine, it might fit. I suppose if he’s one of the Dominators, the connection could be there. For all we know, they might run the Nine even though it’s supposed to be the other way around. Thing is… I don’t think he can control anybody. He called me a bunch of times and I didn’t suddenly think he was a great guy. If anything, he creeped me out.”
Daniel frowned and looked over at me, “I just had an idea. I’m going to see what I get if I try to imagine us doing a search for Magnus and see what I get out of sensing the future.”
Then he shut his eyes and leaned back into his chair. It seemed a little strange not to be able to feel anything at all when he tried that, but that was the whole point of telepathy blockers.
After a few moments in which he seemed to do nothing, but breathe slowly, he opened his eyes and slowly shook his head, “This isn’t good. I can’t sense him. It might not mean anything because I’m not great with projecting the long term. I generally need a more specific plan, but I still think something is off here. I can generally sense someone’s presence in the future and with Magnus, I don’t get anything. It’s as if he doesn’t exist.”
“Doesn’t exist?” I considered it for a moment. “Do you think it’s as if there’s nothing there or if there’s a kind of hole?”
Closing his eyes again, Daniel took two slow breaths and said, “A hole. I can’t feel him in the future, but I feel like we can head in his direction if that makes any sense at all. I can only think I must be sensing the side effects of his existence even though I can’t intentionally find them or him.”
In the seat next to me, Haley asked, “Are there other people that you can’t sense like that?”
Daniel nodded, “Mostly psychics that know how to hide from prescience, but also Gunther and sometimes the Rocket.”
At my look, he added, “Lately you’ve been blinking in and out—you can guess when.”
It wasn’t too hard. I’d been practicing pulling energy out of nowhere and putting it into the skills that Kee had been teaching me—sensing Artificers, resisting phasing attacks, and communicating with her and eventually other Artificers. If practicing shielded me from prescience, Magnus might be far worse than I’d thought.
I’d been assuming that Magnus was simply a Cabal immortal. If I remembered correctly, Lee had said he’d met him during the Roman Empire. That opened up another possibility. Kee had told me that I’d need one thousand years to develop my abilities to a basic level. If Magnus had inherited Artificer DNA, he’d had at least two thousand years.
Of course, given that Lee could also evade prescience in the same way, it might well mean that Magnus was also an avatar of an Artificer. If so, who? It might be Nataw, the Artificer who the Abominators used to generate DNA for their projects. That didn’t seem likely to me since I would have expected Lee to recognize him, but it might be some other Artificer that Lee wasn’t as familiar with.
Either way, it gave a huge clue as to why Magnus kidnapped my parents.
In my HUD, a message from Haley appeared, “Practicing what you’re learning from Kee?”
She’d texted me while I’d been thinking. I typed back, “Yes.”
That underscored another issue. What were we supposed to do with Master Martian? Right now we weren’t able to talk about what to do next because of what we might reveal while he was in the jet. I didn’t want to let him go because he might still know more that none of us knew was important enough to ask about yet. I didn’t want to keep him because we couldn’t talk without telling him things we’d regret.
I used my implant to ask Hal to check on Master Martian’s legal status.
“Hey,” I said, looking over at Master Martian, “we need to do something with you. I’m sure somebody wants to put you in jail, but no one seems to have a warrant for your arrest right now. I want to let you go except that I’m a little worried that the Nine will be looking for you after what just happened.”
Master Martian eyed me and then everyone else, “I’m willing to take my chances. I think I’ll be safe as long as I’m not with you.”
“I’ve got an alternate suggestion,” I said. “You know the silver and black disc that sent you here? We’ve got one ourselves and we know how to send you back. It’s in our base, so I’m not wild about the idea of bringing you inside, but if you’d let the Mystic put you to sleep, we can bring you inside.”