After class, I went to talk to Professor Stone
“So you’re Denizen’s grandson?” She asked me excitedly.
“Uh, yeah.” I cringed inwardly. This was going to be awkward.
“Good, good. Great! So, can I ask you some questions about your grandfather? I’d credit you if I publ-”
“Will, have you seen Wren?” The door slammed back as Kevin burst into the room, looking around frantically.
“I think he was…” I thought about it, and realized that he hadn’t been in class. “Wait, nevermind. He never showed up for Metahuman Psych this morning. Is everything okay?”
“He’s vanished. Nobody’s seen him since the thing Sunday night. Josh and I’ve been been looking, but-”
“Wait, what happened Sunday night?”
“Don’t you remember? Our whole dorm had to evacuate. There was a fire or something. I didn’t see you or Sean there, so I figured Wren was with you guys, but I haven’t seen him since.”
A fire? That would have been when Sean and I were gone.
“Shit, that’s bad. I need to make a call.” I dashed out of the room, glad to get away from Professor Stone’s questions. As soon as I was out of the room, I dialed Jamisson and kept walking briskly towards Planchett.
“Hey, we have a situation at Collswell University. Got a missing student, name of Wren. Apparently there was a fire in one of the dorms while GA and I were out. I think the warehouse fire was a distraction.”
“Let me see what I can find,” said Jamisson on the other end of the line. “Confirmed. The school has records of a small fire, source could not be identified, with an evacuation. I doubt it was Pyroclasm. He would have had to be in two places at once. Notifying Guardian Angel now, but he’s in class. I’ll let the police downstairs know, but for now you should look into this yourself just in case.”
“Will, what’s going on?” Kevin had caught up with me.
“Got it,” I hung up and spoke to Kevin. “That’s what I’m trying to find out. Do you know Sasha’s number?”
“Ugh, no. Why?”
“Damn, I hope-” I cut off as I felt Sasha appearing inside Planchett.
“Will, have you seen Wren? I’ve tried calling him, but it says he’s unavailable.” she called as she came out of the building to greet us.
“You haven’t either? Okay, that’s bad.”
“Has anyone called emergency services? It’s been 24 hours.”
“Yup, just did. Sasha, you saw him last, right?”
“Uh, yeah. How do you know that?”
“Doesn’t matter. I think I know what’s going on.” My Wardens communicator started to buzz.
“Crap, I have to go.”
* * *
I arrived at the Wardens’ building in less than fifteen minutes- I was getting faster at that. Jamisson greeted me as I made my way through the maze of desks and police officers which had formed on the first floor.
“Shadow, I’m narrowing in on where the Upright Man could be located based on where he’s appeared,” he said curtly. “I am reasonably sure the house where we found Emily was just a throwaway location, a meeting place of sorts. I have a few leads I want you to investigate; Savage is off the grid again and Charity is involved in a fight with Blackwell right now, so you’re the only hero I have available for this right now. I want you to be very careful. I’m sending Emily with you to get some experience, so keep an eye on her, and watch out for Pyroclasm and Cryoclasm. It’s reasonable to assume at least Pyroclasm has turned, so take all precautions.”
He handed me a thin band with a small black box protruding from it.
“This is a subvocalizer Dr. Mind threw together this afternoon for us. I want you to test it out. Just whisper and it’ll pick it up and transmit to the console.”
“Neat.” Removed my helmet and slipped the band around my throat. I jumped as Dr. Mind’s voice whispered in my ear.
“Please whisper your name for calibration,”
I hadn’t felt any vibrations in the air, so I assumed it was resonating through my jaw or something similar.
“Shadow,” I mouthed, without making any sound.
“Wow. We need to get these for the whole team.”
“That’s the thought. Here, this one’s for Emily. She should be down in a moment in a temporary costume.”
Jamisson departed back to the console and I waited among the bustling police force. I drew a few curious looks, but for the most part they were very professional and just ignored me.
“You know, I can kinda see why you guys wear these,” came Emily’s voice from the stairs a moment before she entered. She got a few more looks than I had. Her costume was tight-fitting and sleek, padded with just enough armor to protect while still being able to show off her curves. It was all black with grey down her sides and between armor panels, with silver and white lines running through it. I wasn’t sure if the lines were part of the design or the result of her power.
“Come on, let’s go.”