Home > Firefight (Reckoners #2)(7)

Firefight (Reckoners #2)(7)
Brandon Sanderson

After high school, he got a job working as a night watchman at a factory. He spent his days posting on various conspiracy theory forums, speculating about the impending fall of the country. I don’t think this was precognitive—he was just one of a large group of eccentrics who were dissatisfied with the way the United States was run. He frequently said he didn’t believe that the common people were capable of voting in their best interests.

That’s about it. I will admit, however, that I’m curious why you want to know the past of a dead Epic. What is it that you’re researching, Tia?

Underneath, scrawled in Tia’s handwriting, were the words, Yes, David, I’m also curious what it is you’re digging to find. Come talk to me.

I lowered the paper, then walked over toward Prof’s room. We didn’t use doors in the hideout, just sheets of cloth. I could hear voices inside.

“David …,” Abraham said.

“In these notes, she told me to come talk to her.”

“I doubt she meant right away.”

I hesitated by the doorway.

“… these flowers are an obvious sign that Abigail is involved,” Tia was saying inside, speaking in a low voice. I could barely hear.

“That’s probable,” Prof replied. “But the petals themselves are very obvious. It makes me wonder—either a rival Epic is trying to turn our attention toward her, or …”

“Or what?”

“Or she herself is trying to taunt us into coming. I can’t help but see this as a gauntlet thrown down, Tia. Abigail wants me to come face her—and she’s going to keep sending people to try to kill my team until I go. It’s the only reason I can think of that she’d specifically recruit Firefight.”

Firefight.

Megan.

I pushed into the room, ignoring Abraham’s sigh of resignation. “Megan?” I demanded. “What about Megan?”

Tia and Prof stood face to face, and both turned on me like I was a piece of snot on the windshield following a sneeze. I lifted my chin and stared back at them. I was a full member of this team; I could be part of …

Sparks. Those two really knew how to stare. I found myself sweating. “Megan,” I repeated. “You’ve, uh, found her?”

“She murdered a member of a Reckoner team in Babilar,” Prof said.

The words took me like a punch to the gut. “It wasn’t her,” I decided. “Whatever you think happened, you don’t have all the facts. Megan isn’t like that.”

“Her name is Firefight. The person you call Megan was just a lie she created to fool us.”

“No,” I said. “That was the real her. I saw it in her; I know her. Prof, she—”

“David,” Prof snapped, exasperated. “She is one of them.”

“So are you!” I shouted at him. “You think we can just keep doing this, like we’ve been doing? What happens when an Epic like Backbreaker or Obliteration comes to town? Someone who can simply vaporize the entire city to get at us?”

“That’s why we never went this far!” Prof shouted back at me. “That’s why we kept the Reckoners secret, silent, and never attacked Epics who were too powerful! If this city is destroyed, it will be your fault, David Charleston. Tens of thousands of deaths will be on your head!”

I stepped back, shocked, suddenly aware of what I was doing. Was I really arguing with Jon Phaedrus, head of the Reckoners? High Epic? The air seemed to warp around him as he shouted at me.

“Jon,” Tia said, crossing her arms. “That was unfair. You agreed to attack Steelheart. We’re all culpable here.”

He looked to her, and some of the anger left his eyes. He grunted. “We need a way out of this, Tia. If we’re going to fight this war, we’ll need weapons against them.”

“Other Epics,” I said, finding my voice.

Prof glared at me.

“He might be right,” Tia said.

Prof turned that glare on her instead.

“What we’ve accomplished,” Tia said, “we’ve done because of your powers. Yes, David brought down Steelheart, but he’d never have survived long enough to do so without your shielding. It might be time to start asking ourselves new questions.”

“Megan spent all of those months with us,” I said, “and never turned against us. I saw her use her powers, and yes she got a little cranky afterward, but she was still good, Prof. And during the fight with Steelheart, when she saw me, she came back to herself.”

Prof shook his head. “She didn’t use her powers against us because she was a spy for Steelheart and didn’t wish to reveal herself,” he said. “I’ll admit, that may have led her to be more reasonable—more herself—during her time with us. But she no longer has a reason to avoid using her abilities; the powers will have consumed her, David.”

“But—”

“David,” Prof said, “she killed a Reckoner.”

“It was witnessed?”

Prof hesitated. “I don’t have all the details yet. I know there is a recording at least, taken when she was fighting one of our people. And then he was found dead.”

“It wasn’t her,” I said, then made a quick decision. “I’m going to go to Babilar and find her.”

“Like hell you are,” Prof said.

“What else will we do?” I asked, turning to leave. “This is the only plan we have.”

“This isn’t a plan,” Prof said. “It’s hormones.”

I stopped at the doorway, blushing, then glanced back.

Prof picked at the flower petals that Tia had dumped on the dresser. He looked at her, still standing with her arms crossed. She shrugged.

“I am going to Babylon Restored,” Prof finally said. “I have business there with an old friend. You may accompany me, David. But not because I want you to recruit Megan.”

“Why, then?” I demanded.

“Because you’re one of the most capable point men I have, and I’m going to need you. The best thing we can do to protect Newcago right now is keep the Epics from fixating upon it. We’ve overthrown one emperor, and in so doing made a statement: that the day of Epic tyrants is over, and that no Epic—no matter how powerful—is safe from us. We need to make good on that promise. We need to scare them, David. Instead of a single free city, we need to present to them an entire continent in rebellion.”

“So we bring down the tyrants of other cities,” I said, nodding. “And we start with this Regalia.”

“If we can,” Prof said. “Steelheart was probably the strongest Epic alive, but I promise you that Regalia is the most wily—and that makes her just as dangerous, if not more so.”

“She’s sending Epics here,” I pointed out, “to try to kill the Reckoners. She’s scared of you.”

“Possibly,” Prof said. “Either way, in sending Mitosis and the others here, Regalia declared war. You and I are going to kill her for that—just like we did with Steelheart. Just like you did with Sourcefield today. Just like we’ll do to any Epic who stands against us.”

He met my eyes.

“Megan’s not like the others,” I said. “You’ll see.”

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