In my mind, I tried to get Daniel’s attention, and succeeded.
Me: Don’t tell him about the Impregnator. Pass it on.
Daniel: Got it.
He did, and everyone looked at me.
Cassie paused, and then rattled off, “It’s a lot more interesting. Vaughn’s uncle is leading a group of Red Lightning’s followers’ kids. They’ve got juice. They’re using their kids as a distraction while they’re planning on fighting with a local gang that used to be part of the Cabal, and they’re in contact with Ray of the Executioner team somehow, and he’s hoping to join up with them.”
She took a deep breath.
How could she not? Almost all of that was just one sentence.
Meanwhile, Isaac didn’t say anything, and I began to wonder if we’d been cut off.
Then, “Are you serious? How did they talk to Ray?”
“I don’t know. The Rocket bugged the house and all they said was that he’d been called by someone who said Ray would be out of jail soon.”
“And they didn’t say who the contact was?”
I broke in. “Did you ever look into the death of the original Power? He knew Solar Flare, and he died the same day we caught the Executioner here. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I think that part of the team is still out there, and I’m betting that’s the contact.”
Isaac sighed. “OK. How did they find out about you?”
“Remember when I fought those guys after school, and ended up in counseling? The kids I fought are children of the group. My school’s assistant principal, the guy who assigned me to counseling? He’s in the group too. Vaughn’s uncle guessed that Vaughn had powers. Mr. Sledge noticed Cassie and Vaughn and I were hanging around together this year, and –”
“Got it. Here’s the plan. We’ve got people who can impersonate you. I’ll send them up soon. Seeing both of you at the same time should throw them off. We’ll just have to coordinate the appearance. Aside from that, I want any evidence you’ve got. Send me a copy of whatever they said about Ray. We’re going to have to up the security on him. In situations like this, I’m told by our legal team, that I should tell you that I’m not requesting that you do any surveillance work, merely asking you to provide me with work you’ve already done. You understand that, right?”
Vaughn laughed. “And if we happen to do more, you’d like to hear that too.”
“Right,” Isaac said, “but I didn’t request that you do any more, because I can’t. It would be completely illegal to request anything like that, so I’m not. Before I go though, I need to ask if you’ve got any reports of violence between the gang and Vaughn’s uncle’s people. Do you?”
“Nothing’s happened yet,” I said. “At least that we know about.”
“Good. I’ve got a few other questions to ask you, but I’ll call back tomorrow. I’m going to call a few more people tonight, and start them looking into Ray’s contacts. Also, can you give me the name of the uncle?”
“Russell Hardwick,” Vaughn said.
“Great. I may get to sleep tonight after all. If you could identify any people you know are involved in this little conspiracy, that would help too. Get it to me with the surveillance.”
“Sure,” Cassie said, and we signed off.
Once Marcus cut the connection, Travis turned to me and asked, “What’s with ‘Don’t tell Isaac about the Impregnator’?”
“I just haven’t been telling him. Giving the government the ability to empower supers seemed like a bad idea. Grandpa had fifty years to hand it over, and he never did. Why start now?”
“Cool,” Travis nodded. “I’d argue with you, but when you think about how some guy leaked the whole juice project… Can you imagine criminal organizations empowering their people? Government can’t handle this stuff.”
“Well, it wouldn’t work on everybody. Really, an incredibly low percentage of the general population. What was more on my mind was that the original juice was about a third as effective as activated powers. The government’s version is about two-thirds as good, but we don’t need more people at full power.”
Sean seemed powerful enough already.
Cassie frowned a little. “The government’s not doing that badly. The Goldstein process is still secret. That’s what they used on my dad, and me.”
Travis nodded. “Yeah, but that’s probably totally military.”
Jaclyn pulled out her phone, checked the front, and put it back in her pocket. “Are we done? I’ve got school tomorrow.”
Except for Travis and Rachel, we all did.
“Not quite,” Travis said. “Isaac’s got people on the Executioner, and he’ll send people out to deal with the identity problem, but the journal’s still out there, and there’s still the Cabal’s gang. We should have a plan.”
As usual, Cassie didn’t look tired at all, and inevitably said, “I’m all for staying.”
Sitting at the table, Haley rested her head on her arm. “I’m not.”
Vaughn raised an eyebrow. “It doesn’t seem like there’s much to plan. If we keep on listening in on my family and maybe bug the other guys’ houses, the journal will show up. All we have to do is wait.”
Travis shook his head. “I was thinking about something a little more active. Haley caught the scent of the guy who took the journal. If Daniel can copy it over to me, we can both hunt him down.”
“Travis, I’m not hunting anyone right now,” Haley said.
“Let’s try tomorrow, but Daniel should give me the scent now.”
Haley’s eyes narrowed, and she shot him a look that I wouldn’t have wanted to be on the other end of.
When Daniel finished, Travis said, “Yeah, that’ll work. We ought to meet again tomorrow. I’ve got some ideas about how to find the gang.”
I felt that it might be a mistake to assume Isaac could actually take care of everything on his end, and that even if he could, the fact that he had people capable of impersonating us on call didn’t seem like an entirely good thing.
On the whole though, I wanted to go to bed. Everything else could wait till tomorrow.