“Great,” Cassie said, “Is he a Nazi too?”
“Dunno,” I said, and tapped away at the computer, heading for the Feds’ supers database.
Vaughn said, “Aren’t you the guy who knows this stuff? You’re on the Double V forums all the time.”
“Well, yeah, but I don’t know everything. The Nine keep a low profile. Everybody knows they do stuff because sometimes they take credit for things, but they employ supers, and they’re an organization. So when supers show up, you never know if it’s one of the higher ups or some mid-level guy.”
I watched as our system passed our key, and then got an encrypted response from the other server. When it verified that it came from the Feds, we could assume that we’d logged into the real server instead of some impostor.
A little later, I’d searched out the Nine’s entry. I displayed it on HQ’s twenty foot tall screen.
We started reading.
“An organization with global reach, the Nine is best known for its mysterious nine leaders…”
I skimmed downward.
“The Nine’s operations include legitimate companies, but also support of political organizations, some with ties to terrorists, and even revolutionary groups. The group owns its companies indirectly, often using corporate entities that exist only on paper…”
It offered a link listing front companies and the organizations they’d supposedly owned as well as individuals said to be working with them. The names were meaningless to me.
I kept on reading.
“Our first evidence of the Nine comes from the raid the Heroes League made on Dr. Mind’ facilities that resulted in the acquisition of a toddler with a combination of Captain Commando’s DNA, DNA from an unknown donor, and nonhuman DNA. Following up on the communications attempts that followed the raid revealed worldwide connections. Further research indicated that these communications occurred regularly, and that Dr. Mind’s supplies had been ordered by individuals on other continents with no known ties to his organization.”
The entry listed operations where the Nine were likely involved in what was going on.
I read the whole thing, and clicked through to read related pages when Cassie and Vaughn caught up.
I didn’t, in the end, find a list of who specifically ran the Nine.
“Terrorists,” Vaughn said. “These guys fund terrorists.”
Cassie and Vaughn had logged into the database on their own.
“And political parties. And they don’t seem to have a problem bribing or blackmailing government officials either. It looks like they’re all about behind-the-scenes power,” Cassie said.
“Yeah,” Vaughn stared at his screen, “the Feds think they’ve got connections in corporations all over too. I’d say these guys want to take over the world, but it looks like it might be too late.”
From the sound of their voices, they were impressed, and maybe a little shocked.
So was I. If they had as many connections as it seemed like, it couldn’t be long before they got into whatever database listed all of our real names.
Of course, we didn’t have access to that one either. I’d checked. So maybe we were more secure than I’d expect.
“Umm…”I said. “Totally different subject, but I’d like to know what you think. You remember Courtney from school? I’m thinking about fixing up our power impregnator, and letting her use it.”
Both Vaughn and Cassie looked up from their computer screens.
Cassie said, “What?”
Vaughn cocked his head, and then shook it. “Whoa. She doesn’t know about, you know, all of this, right?”
“I haven’t told her anything. I was just thinking that it might be a good idea to let her use her powers legally instead of illegally. She’s going to use them anyway, and if she owes us, that’s a good thing. Otherwise she’s going to have to steal stuff to brew her own power juice, or find someone else with a power impregnator.”
Cassie stood up. “I know for a fact that the government’s got a bunch of power impregnators these days. What’s wrong with talking to them?”
“I talked to Isaac. I think it can happen if I try to pull strings, but I guess that there’s a line. A bunch of supers’ kids are going through as part of a political deal.”
“Deal?” Cassie looked over at Vaughn, but from his face it was obvious he didn’t know what I was talking about, so she turned back to me.
I explained it.
Listening, her face seemed to get redder as my explanation went on. “That is so messed up!”
“I don’t know,” Vaughn said. “I think that’s the way these things get done. Everybody cuts a deal.”
She shook her head. “Not like this. For all we know, the government hasn’t gotten around the whole psychotic side effect problem—which is not good at all if they’re running everyone through it. If they did figure it out, it ought to be open to everybody.”
“Right,” Vaughn said, either sounding calmer than Cassie, or faking it better, “but I’m sure they’ll open it up soon, right?”
He caught my eye.
“I don’t know,” I said. “Isaac never said anything about opening it up to the public. Actually, it sounds like they’re keeping the power impregnator as quiet as possible.”