“OK. Go for it.”
With the number of times they’d poked me already, it seemed pointless to refuse now. Besides, if some of the weirder parts of my genetic heritage had been activated, I wanted to know.
It all came down to Dr. Mind. All of his life, Dad kept on fighting a Nazi brain in a jar. The guy (if you can call a brain a “guy”) always had minions, and the last time, he created an army cloned from Dad’s DNA. He brought the entire League together for one last mission (they’d all retired). They defeated the clone army, destroyed Dr. Mind , and found a gender-swapped girl clone in the complex.
No one ever found out who the additional X chromosome came from, and it was obvious he’d replaced some of the “junk DNA” with junk DNA from somewhere else.
They’d been trying to figure out what Dr. Mind intended for years. The CIA sent people to the lab in Brazil, but never found his notes.
I think the original Rocket took them, and if he did, I bet Nick knows where they are. He’s probably already read them.
Dr. Wilson stuck the needles into my leg, one after the other, barely giving me time to notice. It hurt, but not for long. Skin closed over the wound almost as soon as he pulled the needle out.
Mom asked, “When will we know?”
“If anything’s changed? Maybe a week. We’ve got more data to compare now.”
Mom sat up a little straighter. “What kind of data?”
Dr. Wilson opened his mouth, stopped, and said, “Agent Ruiz,” (Mom never used Kowalski at work) “I’m not sure she’s got clearance for that.”
“The Heroes League is in the FBI’s hero program just like the Defenders groups. I’ve got the same security clearance Guardian does.”
Unless he’d gotten a higher clearance than normal Defenders, but saying that wasn’t going to help.
He took a breath. “Don’t spread this around. We’ve been using the Cabal’s tech combined with DNA tests to find candidates for the Goldstein process, and it works. After all these years with two successes, three if you count Richter—”
“Richter,” Mom said, “was not a success.”
Dr. Wilson said, ”He was fine physically, but I know, I know… The incomplete psych profile wasn’t our fault.”
Mom’s mouth tightened, and Dr. Wilson kept on talking.
“Well, after years without success, we’ve got five. Plus, compared to using the Power Impregnator, there’s a 30% increase in effect with the Goldstein process. That’s only with the traits the process is supposed to enhance though. If the candidate,” he glanced at me, “has extra qualities, it doesn’t affect them at all.”
“What the fuck? You’ve got a Power Impregnator? Where’d you get it?”
He stopped talking. I guess I didn’t have high enough security clearance to know that.
* * *
Mom had a small apartment in D.C. She didn’t stay there all the time, but often enough that it was better to have her own apartment than a hotel room.
Someone had turned a big, old house into several apartments. Mom’s looked out over a busy road.
I sat on the futon in the living room, both feet on the ground and hands balled up into fists. Mom stood at the door to her bedroom. We weren’t happy with each other.
“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me.”
Mom began to raise her hands in the air, and then dropped them. “My job is to keep things like that quiet. My job isn’t keeping you informed. We shouldn’t be talking about this here, or anywhere.”
Like I was going to let that go. “The ‘thing’ we’re talking about caused a lot of problems. It might be what made Red Lightning go crazy, and now they’re using it on more people. Do you want crazy people with powers running around out there?”