Camille nodded. “I don’t think I’d overthrow a country, but it would be nice to be able to do something. I don’t know how many people the regime killed, but it’s a lot.”
She glanced over at Haley and me. “Right?”
“Hundreds last night,” Haley said. “That’s what the TV was saying when I turned it on.”
Gordon nodded slowly. “Thousands over the last few weeks. Look, I know we’re not going to do it, but we’ve got the power to end it right here–definitely in the room, but maybe even at this table.”
I looked up at down the table from the side where the sun streamed in, bringing out the redness in the rocks all the way to the far wall where the stained rocks glistened.
I guessed there might be fifty people at the table. He had a point there. Fifty people with powers could do some damage.
Not that the world needed or wanted more damage.
I stopped eating, and looked at him. “Are you sure it needs to be us? The government officials handling this might have a good reason for what they’re doing? Plus maybe there’s more going on than we know of. Maybe we’ve already got people on the ground, and the news can’t report it because they don’t know either.”
Gordon tilted his head. “You think we’ve got a mission going there already?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe there’s lots of diplomatic communication going on right now, or maybe they’re not going in for a reason?”
He nodded at me, but this nod was less of an “I’m listening” nod, and more of a “prove it” nod.
I wasn’t in any position to prove it either. When Daniel and I had talked about it last night, he’d mentioned that his dad thought Turkmenistan’s regime worked with the Nine.
That wasn’t something I felt I could pass on.
Gordon started talking before I felt tempted in any case. “It might be that they do have a reason, but it may be that they’re not all that good at it. Think about it, for all the supervillains we’ve had, I’d say the worst people in history have been normal humans—Hitler, Stalin, and who knows how many others? They commanded supers, but it’s not like supers came up with the ideas, you know?”
Gordon leaned back in his chair. “I’m sure you’re smarter than most of those guys.”
“Could be,” I said, “but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to run a country. If people wanted ideas about how to make things work better, I’d offer suggestions, but beyond that I’m not.”
Gordon waved my objection away. “That’s not my point. You might not be interested in running a country, but some supers must be. I bet they’d do a better job of it too. What’s too bad is that they never try. I’d bet Guardian’s popular enough to make a serious run for office if he ever retires from the Defenders and wanted to. He’s far from the only one.”
Next to me, Haley listened with an odd expression on her face. “Are you sure it would work? To me it seems like leading people in a fight is completely different from running a government. I’ve led people in fights, and I wouldn’t have any idea how to become president. My dad runs a small corporation, and he told me it’s not the same thing, but that still sounds closer than running a superhero team.”
Gordon shook his head as if wishing away Haley’s questions. “It’s different. Totally different. Someone like Guardian’s been in the public eye for years. He’s talked with presidents. People like you and me are small timers. He’s been around forever. People at his level have got the skills they need.”
Another voice broke in. “What are you talking about? Something boring?”
Tara, another upperclassman, stood next to the table with a tray of food. As tall as I was, or maybe a little taller, Tara had a square jaw, and blonde, shoulder length hair. She wore yoga pants and a red University of Missouri hoodie.
Her hair was still slightly wet. Hopefully that meant she’d recently gotten up as opposed to showering after a workout.
It still hurt me to move.
Camille said, “Gordon thinks supers should rule the world.” She said it with a grin and glance at Gordon that made it clear to me that she was teasing him as much as answering.
Tara’s expression hardened, and she said, “No. Not a good idea.”
Then she walked away.
Gordon blinked, and Camille watched her walk away, whispering to Haley, “Did I say something wrong?”
Haley said, “No,” but bit her lip as she glanced over toward the table where Tara sat down alone.
Gordon got up with his food. “I should go say something to her.”
Then he left.
Camille looked from Haley to me. “What happened there?”
Haley said, “I’m not sure, but remember how the leader of the St. Louis Defenders group died last year when we were there? That was her father.”
Camille’s brows wrinkled. “How does that go together with supers taking over?”
“I can answer that one,” I said. My sister Rachel had told me the story. “She comes from another universe where genetically engineered supers took over and destroyed every last normal human. Her mother and father come from different strains of those supers. They killed her mother because they didn’t like that she’d created a mixed child. She grew up on the run with her father.”
“I’m guessing,” I said, “but I think that’s it.”