As it turned out, Phil needed to give Hawkins little more than the location and the energy signatures of the men they were looking for.
“According to Sasha and Mariel, the only one who seems to be at the headquarters right now is Fitzhugh.” Phil told Hawkins, as he carried on a mental conversation with Sasha. “Hightower seems to be in London with Watson, though he could show up here at any time, especially if he senses something amiss.”
“Got it, Phil.” Hawkins assured him. “We’ve been training the young Guardians just as hard as you’ve been training the Star Guides, and like your bunch, ours seem to have some interesting skill sets which are proving rather useful. They managed to get a lot of information out of Hightower’s pyrotechnics.”
“How so?” Phil’s curiosity was piqued given what he’d seen of the new crop of Star Guides.
“It appears only Hightower inherited any special skills. But the other two clearly got the lion’s share of the brains.” He laughed. “If it were me, I’d be ripping Hightower a new one just about now for blowing the top off of any possibility of remaining under the radar until they were ready to move.”
“Let’s hope that’s why he’s in London.” Phil replied a little anxiously. “That would give you some breathing room to rout out Fitzhugh. Do you have any idea how you’re going to get to him so far below the surface?”
“Actually, we figured there had to be some way to get fresh air down there, especially after they blew up the top levels of the mine. Some of the kids thought it might have something to do with their connection to the town, and they were right. It seems part of the deal Adams had with them was to use his house as an entry point. I have some people there right now, making the air a little less fresh.” Hawkins’ pock-marked face split into a ghoulish parody of a grin.
“I can only imagine.” Phil burst out laughing. “Please keep me posted, and let me know if you need anything else from our teams as things progress. “
“Will do” Hawkins replied as he teleported back to rejoin the commanders he’d been briefing telepathically during the meeting.
Arriving back at the Adams house, Hawkins admitted to a grudging respect for Hightower and his friends. The location of the access point for the underground headquarters was brilliant. The property was extensive, much of it pretty secluded. A great deal of activity could occur here while the town’s residents were oblivious. An ancient stand of tall trees minimized the risk of detection by air. The living room had undergone a major redecoration during his brief absence. One solid wall of video screens displayed a live feed of their enemy’s command center.
“Have you located Fitzhugh yet?” he barked, his massive frame filling the doorway.
“We believe he’s in the office on the left, Sir” a young trainee named Harvey Jackson stood quickly, knocking over his chair before replying.
“Get me a visual of the office.” Hawkins demanded.
“Working on it, Sir.” Harvey replied with a quaver in his voice. “W-W-We suspect he’ll open the door pretty soon to escape the noxious odor we’ve introduced into his environment.” With a devilish grin, he pointed to a corner of the screen where bottles of sulfur were stacked in an outbuilding elsewhere on the Adams property. Their contents were slowly trickling down the airshaft connected to the offices ready to assault the olfactory senses of Fitzhugh and his staff.
“What about the rest of Fitzhugh’s staff? Any idea how many are down there with him? Hawkins asked as Harvey divided the screen into multiple scenes showing the locations of Fitzhugh’s support team. Some sat at desks staring intently at computer screens while others shared a meal or slept. The underground environment gave ...