“That’s what we’ve been worrying about for the last few weeks. They really could be. They’ve had years to get into place. We don’t know where. We can’t trust our government contacts too far and even outside, any organization could have a silent observer from the Nine or the Dominators.”
I stopped, unsure of how far to go. For all I knew, Sean might unwillingly be one of the Nine’s brainwashed pawns.
“That’s fucked. We don’t have many government contacts, but there’s Future-men Capital and we can’t get rid of them. Our contract says that a percentage of the profits from our merchandising pay back their investment in our group. There’s no way we can pay enough to get out of the contract, not yet anyway,” he paused, but then continued.
“Like I told you, we knew that Future-men might be connected to Magnus and went ahead with it anyway. It seemed like it’d be the right thing to do. If he’s one of the bad guys, we want to get him, you know? That’s the reason we’re here, but right now it looks like we won’t even know if the bad guys are there.”
“Well,” I said, “that’s why I mentioned the buzzers. If Sydney got you some, wear them. Every time they buzz, you’ll know the Dominators are trying to get into your heads.”
“Okay,” Sean said, “I’ll check with Sydney. That’ll help. At least we’ll know that they can’t get at us. Oh… There’s one other thing. Sydney mentioned that you guys have been practicing with other teams. I can understand if you don’t want to, but could you add us to the list? We’re both here and you might have to work with us sometime.”
He was right. If we were going to train with anyone, the team that shared the same city with us was the first team we ought to be talking with. “Sure, but I should say that arranging all of that is really Cassie’s thing. It was her idea, so she’s making it happen. I’ll pass it on to her that you want to and she’ll call you. Out of curiosity, how’s Jody doing these days?”
Out of the three people that I knew were in Sean’s new Justice Fist, Dayton was a great guy who’d always been decent to me even after I beat the three of them in a fight. Instead of holding a grudge, he’d asked who I trained with. Jody, on the other hand, had never been anything other than a jerk even after Sean started to change.
Sean laughed and then sighed, “He’s better. I don’t want to get your hopes up too high, but in the last few weeks, since we signed with Future-men, he’s been like he was on the basketball team. He shows up for practice, does his work, and doesn’t get in trouble. He’ll understand it’s important to work together.”
“Well,” I said, “if we can’t work together, it’ll be better to find out in practice than in the field, but yeah… We’ve already worked together during the Hrrnna attack as well as a bunch of Stapledon training sessions, so it should be possible. I’ll pass it along.”
“Thanks,” Sean let out a breath. “We’ll be ready.”
We said goodbye and I put my phone back in my pocket.
While I’d been talking, Vaughn and Tara had stepped out of the elevator, walking up to Uncle Steve who I’d wandered away from to talk. It was nice that he hadn’t followed me.
Vaughn was pointing toward the locker room, bathroom, showers, and kitchen to our left and talking, “We used to have to share one shower area. Now we’ve set it up like the toilets—separate rooms for each one so we don’t have to have men and women shower in shifts.”
Tara shook her head, “I know you do that, but I still don’t get it. Everybody has a body and if you see a naked person it doesn’t mean that it has anything to do with sex, but people here act as if it does.”
Uncle Steve opened his mouth as if he was thinking of saying something but then chose not to. I hadn’t told him about how Tara had grown up in Infinity City, a spot where an infinity of parallel universes met, and that comfort with nudity was the least of a million differences from growing up in Grand Lake, but it looked as though he was beginning to understand.
The first rule of talking to Tara? Expect that she’s comfortable with things you’re not. Some of those things don’t even exist in the universe you live in and can’t.
I’d have walked over to the group of them except that the circular door on one of the tunnels swung open and Daniel flew in. The door shut behind him as if by its own strength, and he flew toward me. His black and silver costume absorbed his mask.
With a look toward Uncle Steve, he said, “I didn’t expect to find out he was here.”
It was a given that Daniel had gotten the complete story from our heads already, but I added, “It looks like he’ll be staying here indefinitely.”
He nodded, tight-lipped, “And the bad news is that the danger to all of our families, not just yours, jumped upward. Whoever’s coming for him knows enough to target our relatives.”