I took the call even though my history with Sean wasn’t great. Aside from being a bully to me until it was clear to him that he’d be kicked out of the Stapledon program unless he stopped, he was Haley’s ex-boyfriend, the kind that she’d had to use her poison claw on to stop him from pushing to do more physically than she wanted to.
He’d apologized to me about that, but I wasn’t sure he’d ever apologized to her.
In the last few years though, he hadn’t been a problem and he’d even worked with us a couple of times. I owed it to him to at least give him a chance.
Through the phone, I heard, “Hey Nick, I’m in our headquarters so this call is safe.”
“Okay,” I told him, deciding that Uncle Steve had a block, so he was probably safe, but I muted the phone and told Uncle Steve, “I’m going to have to take this call.”
He said, “You bet,” as I turned to my right and started walking alongside the wall, passing the remains of a set of Nazi-made powered armor that Grandpa had taken down. Not even trying to check the name, I listened as Sean continued.
“You know we reformed Justice Fist, right?”
“I did hear that, yeah.” They’d signed with one of the big companies that invested in and monetized superheroes’ occupations—Future-men Capital. It was one of the big ones even though it sounded like a business name from 1950s science fiction novels. To be fair, the business was most likely that old.
Sean said, “You know how we signed up with Future-men Capital?”
“Yes,” I hoped he wasn’t about to try to recruit me.
“It’s been great, but some weird shit happened when we signed. Some guy named Martin Magnus showed up. We didn’t know it at the time, but Sydney used your computer to figure it out. Anyway, we had Mindstryke look at our contract. When he found out about Magnus, he offered us help to find out more because it looked like Magnus might have a connection to Future-men Capital.”
Mindstryke hadn’t mentioned that to me, but Daniel’s dad was a lawyer. Even if it wasn’t, strictly speaking, an example of attorney-client privilege, he might well treat it that way.
“Wow,” I thought about that. I wasn’t completely confident about us fighting a guy that was thousands of years old, but I felt like Sean and his group might be a little more overmatched.
“Yeah. I mean that guy was part of the Cabal or something. Sydney told me I should tell you about it. Are you going up against the guy?”
Did I want Sean’s help? Even if we weren’t on bad terms right now, our history might make him a little unpredictable. I said, “It’s more like he might be about to go after us and we’re trying to beat him to the punch. Have you learned anything about Magnus?”
Sean laughed, “Nothing at all. We had that one weird thing when Magnus showed up, but then the next thing we heard was that he’d resigned from the board. We looked online and we couldn’t find anything about the guy other than he owned a bunch of stocks in the company. He was calling himself Martin Greatson. We did track down his LLC, but it was the address of a building that had been knocked down. I think they’re building something there now, but it doesn’t seem to have any connection to him. Like I said, weird shit.”
I looked over at the wall. A series of photos and articles about the original League had been framed and hung there. Articles about their fight with the Abominators covered this spot from the floor to the ceiling. I wondered what they’d have done if they found out that Magnus was trying to find the Artificer weapon that Lee had hidden here.
It seemed bigger than anything they’d faced.
I responded to Sean, “At least you know that Martin Greatson was an alias. It’s better than not knowing.”
“Yeah,” Sean said, “but we knew that before we even started looking. Do you know anything more? Sydney thought you’d want to know this.”
“I do,” I tried to think about how much I wanted to tell him. “It’s not enough to find the guy yet, but you know everything you’ve seen in the news about us lately? That’s all led us to Magnus. We’re pretty sure he’s connected to the Dominators and the Nine. I don’t know if you have those buzzers I designed? Sydney might have given you some. It’s more important than ever to wear them—especially if you’re meeting with people from Future-men Capital. The only thing I can think of is that he used his board position to plant a mole or two in the company. I can’t think of any better place for the Dominators to control. You’d meet with a wide variety of supers regularly. They all mostly trust you and so if you didn’t act very often, you’d have your pick of supers to control. If you were careful about it, you could get a mole in the staff of some major teams.”
Sean let out a breath and something in our connection buzzed. I hoped that he hadn’t accidentally used his powers over magnetism to waste his phone.
“Shit,” he said, “they could be anywhere.”