Not that we had time, and to judge from how they handled the True, if they were anything but decent, we were so screwed.
I’d never seen Vaughn target more than one person at a time with lightning. He’d told me that he didn’t think he had enough control to do it without straight out killing people. Whoever the person behind the lightning I’d just seen was, he’d taken out everybody near the entrance to the alley all at once.
Glancing upward identified him instantly—the red costume with a lightning bolt under an arch with Egyptian hieroglyphics on the chest? That was Red Lightning’s costume. I’d always thought the lightning, plus the arch, plus the hieroglyphics was a little busy, but I’d never gotten to complain to Red Lightning himself about the questionable logo design due to him being dead.
It appeared that I might get the chance now. This wasn’t Vaughn. This wasn’t Vaughn’s cousin Lucas, or his Uncle Russ, Lucas’s father. It was Giles Hardwick, the original Red Lightning.
Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 21
I had to shut her up long enough for us to escape even if it meant shutting her up permanently. As much as I hated everything she wanted to do to us, I still didn’t want to kill her.
I flew across the street, passing the True, sometimes flying through them. They weren’t moving.
I looked back—no one was moving. Looking forward I found one exception—Julie. Even the True running with her had stopped.
I thought about that. She’d been hired to catch Tara, but maybe she didn’t get paid if the Blues caught her themselves?
Julie ran across the laundromat’s parking lot, still shouting. I couldn’t hear her, but from her lips, it looked like, “Don’t move! Don’t move! No one move!”
Then she smiled.
Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 20
I pulled my finger away from the screen, and the button changed from “Red Alert” to “Alert Sent.”
I was just about to call Travis to ask what Tara wanted me to do when the situation changed again. In the moments between noticing the Blues with the motorcycles and the Greens jumping out of their vans, and sending the red, the Blues had jumped off their bikes to join their fellow Blues in firing shots at Rod. At the same time, the Greens had taken a position off to the side, and they weren’t carrying handguns like the Blues. They had automatic rifles—specifically AK-47’s.
One of them had a grenade launcher.
I didn’t know how much trolls could take, but Rod couldn’t stand there forever.
As I came to that conclusion, one of the Blues stood up, waved his arms and all the True stopped firing.
He started talking, and taking the chance that Julie wasn’t in range, I listened in.
Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 19
I stared at the phone’s screen, trying to remember what Nick had told me about his design. He’d put the phones together last spring when we’d been facing the remnants of the Cabal. After a moment, I remembered everything.
Nick had used the the Defenders teams’ communication protocols for our communicators. They were based on protocols Grandpa designed, and they’d become a standard. It wasn’t much of a jump to guess that he’d designed them to work here too—especially when I remembered that Dixie Superman got lost and came through Infinity City to our world. Grandpa successfully visited Dixie Superman’s reality once, and he would have needed a way to get back.
I could easily see Nick throwing in a way to detect which reality we were in if he had access to Grandpa’s plans.
This was the best news I’d had in hours, and I might have screamed in relief—except I didn’t—and that was good, because as I floated there, another name appeared on the team list:
∞ Red Lightning
And that put a whole new spin on everything—what with Red Lightning having betrayed the original Heroes League, and being, well, dead.
Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 18
I gave them a few moments, and that was a mistake.
Remember how I’d protected myself by phasing out enough not to hear? It’s great for avoiding control by super-powered slavers, but not so good for hearing what’s going on.
My fear was that they’d take Julie’s gag out, and she’d start telling me what to do. What I didn’t think of was that they’d take her gag off, and she’d immediately tell them how to turn off the bombs and open the door.
I don’t know if that’s what happened, but as I was about start my final countdown, the door opened, and the Blues walked in with Julie.
She stood with them, trying to order everyone inside the circle to do something.
Not that I had any idea what.
Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 16
She folded like she’d been punched, her hair falling into her face as she bent over.
I hadn’t killed her. I hadn’t planned to either. I’d thought the material looked like the kind my grandfather designed for the League, and then improved again and again over the years. With one shot, I’d proved my guess right.
Better than getting it wrong for sure, but I wasn’t going to dwell on that.
Then I flew completely out of the door, shooting toward the woman I’d shot, and turning invisible.
Not waiting to see the results, I dove back into the building, and grabbing Samita’s jacket I flew down the stairs, through the door, and inside. Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 15
So, Julie was awake, and what great timing. What would happen first? Would her friends notice that it hadn’t been her shouting back, or would Julie manage to take off her gag?
It’s days like that that made me want to get out of bed in the morning.
“Time to move,” Travis said, “grab her keys, and get us out of here.”
I looked down at the door. It had a key, and a dial—like on a combination lock or a safe.
That explained all the clicks when she’d opened the door.
“Not that simple,” I told him. “I don’t know the door’s combination.”
“Combination?” His mouth twisted, probably in frustration. “You’ve got Julie, right? Make her tell you.”
I looked at Julie. She didn’t say anything. Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 14
Remembering the lion’s advice, I stayed as close to the reality I was in as I could. I didn’t make an effort to let sound reach my ears, and so I floated through the wall in an eerie silence.
I happened to check the other side of the wall as I floated through. The cheap, fake wood paneling turned out to be just as fake as I’d guessed. Wooden beams and plywood held it up. The real, concrete basement walls were three feet further back, and between them sat machines. Maybe my brother would have been able to name each one instantly, but I couldn’t.
On the other hand, maybe Nick wouldn’t have been able to recognize them either. They didn’t look high end. Improvised would have been a kind word for it. Think computer desktops without the covers, and circuit boards with wires soldered on and leading from the boards across the floor and into the wood paneled walls.
I recognized the electrical outlets at least. Every plug was filled, and each electrical cord led to a surge protector filled with a spaghetti mess of more extension cords.
Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 13
“She’s not,” Travis said.
Rod raised an eyebrow. “How do you know?”
“Remember when she was negotiating how much the Blue Leader’s cut would be? I could hear both sides of the conversation. She’s running off to meet the guy now, and then they’re coming back here. The place might be bugged, but she doesn’t have time to pay attention to us now.”
Travis gave everyone a confident smile. “Now we’ve just got to figure how we’ll escape.”
Tara turned away from the wall to say, “But how? She took everything that might help.”
Still sounding confident, Travis said, “I don’t know, but this is our best chance. The League’s been in worse situations than this, and survived. I’m sure you have too. I’m sure if we keep our minds on the goal, we’ll get out.”
And right there, that was the football player coming out. I’d heard him with his team, oh, dozens of times it seemed like while we were together, and he’d sounded exactly like that. Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 12
The ride didn’t seem long, but for all I knew Julie’s voice might have messed with my sense of time. She kept talking the whole time—when she wasn’t questioning us.
She talked to Samita first. “Tell me your name and what you can do that got you into the program. Be quick.”
Samita and Rod sat in the seats behind the driver. Julie had put herself in the third row with Tara and told Travis and I to sit in the fourth.
Samita cleared her throat. “I’m Samita Nanda. I’m being trained as a wizard, and specialize in creating objects with magical powers.”
Julie leaned her head back. I could only guess at her expression. “You do magic? What have you got?”
“Got? A ring. It protects me against being hurt. They told us not to bring anything obvious.”
“How does it work? Like a force field?”
Samita shook her head. “No. It’s just luck, but a very specific kind of luck.”
Julie leaned forward. “It isn’t doing you much good now.”
Samita frowned for a moment. “Technically, I haven’t been hurt.” Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 10