“Do you have any idea how much trouble you are in?” Blastwave’s hands slammed down on the desk. The varnished surface bubbled for a moment under the heat of her palms, before she quickly removed them and stalked back and forth. “Interrupting an officially-sanctioned challenge, initiating challenge during negotiations, use of an untested device without its creator’s permission…”
“Hey, now. The gun was in the files, and we’re minions. It was tested.” Nightshade crossed her arms testily. “It’s not my fault that idiot over there fired it by mistake.” She stuck her thumb out at Phil, who curled up tighter into a ball.
“Thorry. I wathn’t trying to…” He mumbled from inside his protective layer of tendrils.
“Besides, that gun did not perform as desired.” Nightshade glared at Blastwave, who returned the favour. “Trust me, I checked it. I’m not stupid. It was supposed to teleport them to a random location within one mile, while we did whatever we wanted. Plus it barely ever works because it can’t teleport people into solid objects. It was just our bad luck that it triggered that time.”
“Then where are they?” Blastwave growled. “We’ve searched every building in the radius. We’ve tried to contact them.” She waved an arm furiously. “Hell, even Ash can’t find them, and he is with them! He’s completely lost track of that limb!”
“I don’t know!” Nightshade yelled. “What part of this is confusing you? Whatever the hell happened, it wasn’t the gun! The gun isn’t that powerful!” She shook her head. “I don’t know if you deal in pseudotech much, but it has pretty solidly defined limits. You can’t just pop an extra battery into the thing and call it a day!”
In the hallway, Moonbeam was pacing back and forth, while Terrorfire sat glumly in a small plastic chair in the corridor. She glanced up at a shout, to see Nadia rushing towards her. “I came as soon as I heard. What the hell’s going on?”
“Well, at the moment Blastwave is seriously talking about disassembling Malefico from the top floor down, starting with those two idiots.” She shook her head. “And as far as things stand now, she has reason. It looks like the weapon they used misfired, and sent the Champions god-alone knows where.”
“They’re still alive, right?” Nadia asked worriedly.
“We haven’t found their bodies.” Seeing Nadia’s stricken expression, Moonbeam quickly elaborated. “They should be. They’re just not anywhere within cell range. It’s possible that they’ve been time-displaced, and will show up in a few days. We’ve got a team sweeping the site where they vanished right now, to see if they can find anything.”
“God, I hope they’re okay.” Nadia swallowed heavily. “This was just a routine thing.” She looked over at Terrorfire. “Um, I guess this isn’t great for you, either, huh?”
“No, I love giving depositions to the SEA. Really makes my day.” Terrorfire’s voice was heavy with sarcasm. “It’s not like I had anything else to do today. But no, it’s really important that I stay here just in case they decide I tried to sabotage my own damned encounter. Pah.” With a snort of disdain, he sat back against the wall, ignoring the others.
The awkward pause was broken by a beeping from Moonbeam’s cell phone. Flipping it open, she listened intently. “Got it. I’ll let them know.” She moved for the door, motioning to Nadia to follow.
They entered just as Blastwave and Nightshade were halfway through another round of accusations and denials. Moonbeam cut them off. “We have a lead. Techs at the lab say that the gun was spliced. Someone managed to get a psicrystal focus into it.”
“The doc doesn’t use any Atlantean tech anymore.” Nightshade frowned. “And all the prototypes he had that did use it were destroyed when the Witch Doctor tried to steal them.” She paused. “So, uh, what does that do, exactly? And please don’t say ‘vaporizes people’, because I would never live it down with my parents if I accidentally killed my sister.”
“No, it’s a focus. For a psibeacon.” Phil looked up hesitantly, and Moonbeam sighed. “Someone rigged your gun to teleport them into a psibeacon relay. They could be anywhere on the planet – or even off it, if they have an interdimensional beacon. We’re running a check with Atlantis to see if they registered anything like that, but they’ll have to search manually. Could take a few hours.”
“Oh, thank God.” Nightshade sagged with relief. When everyone glanced over, she added. “Because, uh, I don’t want to be arrested, or… you know what, screw all of you, I can be worried about my sister.”
“At least they’re alive.” Nadia said. “But who would do that? And to where?”
“I don’t know, but they’ll be safe.” Moonbeam shrugged when everyone looked over at her. “Like Nightshade said, that device didn’t work very often. If it was going to throw Lucky into a dangerous situation, his powers would never have let it fire. Wherever they are, they’re fine.”
“Never thought of it that way.” Nadia nodded with a smile. “I just hope they get back soon.”