Chapter 16, Part 2
Declan scooped up his backpack and followed Cassie out of the office as Luke practically bounced behind. Declan looked around him as they walked.
“This is crazy,” he said.
“What?” Luke asked.
“Meeting you two. Hearing that message. I’ve lived my entire life thinking I was just some sort of freak.”
“Well prepare to have your mind blown again, dude,” Luke said, about to launch into a description of everyone’s powers but Cassie cut him off.
“When did you get here?” she asked.
“I flew in a few days ago, and then it took a little bit to get out here. There’s a little village a few kilometers from here where the coordinates sent me. Someone from here met me and brought me out,” Declan explained.
“You flew all the way here?” Cassie asked, her own wings hurting to think of it.
“Yeah, in a plane. Ever heard of them?” A grin teased his face and Cassie ducked her head in some embarrassment.
“That was dumb,” she said.
“I won’t hold it against you.” He winked.
“Well, um, you hungry? I think the others are getting lunch right now,” she said.
“Sure, I’m always eating,” he said.
“Awesome. And we’re doing burgers for dinner. You like burgers?” Luke asked.
“Don’t know if I’ve ever had one,” Declan said.
“Then welcome to America!” Luke said. Declan chuckled.
They reached the kitchen doors and Luke pushed through first announcing “Avengers, assemble! We have a new team member!”
“He always like this?” Declan asked.
“Yeah,” Cassie smiled. “You sort of get used to him.”
The sandwich assembly line paused as Declan and Cassie stepped in. She took charge of introducing him to the others. There was a respectful silence as he shook hands, even with the shy Abby, and then Caleb and Luke started began a fresh interrogation. Abby perched on her chair, head cocked ever so slightly, watching Declan interact. Sam raised an eyebrow at Cassie. She shrugged back. She wasn’t so sure about Declan yet. The initial shock of someone else with her power was wearing off and her fine-tuned survival sense was reasserting itself. Braxton had said that everything had checked out with Declan, but better safe than sorry. She’d have to talk to the others about not saying too much about themselves.
“Hey,” she finally interrupted. Whoever Declan was, it was clear he was a bit overwhelmed right now as well. “Let him grab something to eat. You can put your bag wherever for now. We’ll get you a room after lunch.”
“Ok, thanks,” he replied.
Once everyone started eating, things quieted down. Training had given everyone an increased appetite. Cassie darted a glance at Abby over her turkey sandwich. So far Abby hadn’t sent any alarm signals her way. In fact, the young girl seemed more preoccupied with her Cheetos than with Declan. Guess I’ll ask later, she thought.
“Josh, you want to take him upstairs?” Cassie asked when the eating slowed to a halt.
“Sure.” Josh took Declan’s plate as he retrieved his backpack. Cassie waited until the door swung shut behind them.
“Ok, guys, what do you think?” she asked.
“He seems cool. And, Cassie, he has wings!” Luke said.
“Looks can be deceiving,” Sam warned.
“Yeah, but he’s pretty short. I mean, I’m taller than him,” Caleb said.
“I guess I just want to know why he’s here,” Cassie said. “I know we sent out the message and obviously it worked, but I’m not about to start trusting him based off the fact he’s like us. Just look at the Freak.”
“True,” Luke mumbled.
“And who knows, there could be more people like Amelli out there. It’s not like the Novum Initiative was a big secret and maybe another of the colonists got the same idea as Amelli,” Cassie said.
“So what do you want us to do?” Caleb asked.
“Just be careful around him. Don’t give too much away about yourself or us, at least until we figure out if we can trust him or not.”
“He’s nice,” Abby spoke up.
“Braxton said everything checked out with him,” Cassie said.
“They probably did an in depth search on him before they let him anywhere near here,” Luke said.
“Information can be altered, right?” Sam said.
“True,” Luke was forced to agree.
“Look, I’m not saying he’s a spy or anything,” Cassie said. “I’m just saying that we don’t know him. Make him feel welcome, but don’t go telling him everything you can do.”
“Ok,” they all agreed.
“Abby, you pick up on anything else?” Cassie asked.
“He’s a little sad. But I don’t think he’s telling us everything.”