Travis nodded. “That sounds good, but we still don’t even know who we’re going to attack. The Cabal’s going for us for sure. Justice Fist and their parents might not. And we don’t know whether Ray and his people are going to go after us first, or whether they’ll go after Solar Flare.”
“Right. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. You don’t know, and it’s time to find out. Time to bug the Cabal’s recruits, and setup surveillance on the best targets. Also, you’ve got to come up with a better way of searching through the videos than you’ve got so far. From what you’ve said, it sounds like you’re always behind.”
“We are,” Marcus said. “There’s more to go through than we’ve got time for. Hours and hours. We’re bugging over twenty people, and it feels like a million.”
“Automate it,” Lee said.
I thought about it. “I think I could, but, an audio to text program might garble it.”
“Being two days behind is worse. You want to know what they’re going to do before they do it.”
On the other side of the table, Vaughn brought his chair back to the floor. “Lee, I know you know what you’re doing, but don’t you think you might be a little paranoid? I mean, I know the Executioner and the Cabal’s people are dangerous, but it doesn’t look like they’re going to join forces and go after us. Nick read that Ray’s dad was with Red Lightning, and it sounds like he’s going to work with my uncle and Justice Fist. So, he’ll be fighting the Cabal’s people. By the time it’s over, he might not even be alive. Besides Justice Fist might not go crazy. I went through the Impregnator, and I’m fine.”
Lee nodded as Vaughn talked, and then grinned for a second. He walked away from the table, and stood in front of the screen. “Nick, could you throw up some pictures of the Cabal group you fought? The guys from the house. Thanks.”
Lee gave the screen a once over,and turned to us. “Remember that guy?” He pointed to the guy whose leg Cassie cut off. “I know him a little. He’s not the only guy like that that they’ve got. And now that everyone’s got the government version of the juice, they’ll all be working closer to their potential than they used to be. Not only that, but only the toughest of them could have survived being hunted down all over the country. From what I know of Prime, he’ll come down here with those guys, and it will be bloody and brutal.”
Giving the picture of the Cabal’s people another look, he walked back towards us.
“Vaughn, you might be right about the two of them taking each other out, but I doubt that Ray and his team are going to be on the front lines. They don’t have powers. If they’re acting as advisers, it’ll be your uncle and cousin who will be on the front lines. Ray’s team will probably melt away if it gets tough. Hell, they’ll probably snag the Impregnator, and sell it to Syndicate L on the way out.
“So, even if you don’t care what happens to Prime, Ray or the Hardwick’s group, care about yourselves. Whoever has the Impregnator has the power to build an army of supers, and if Prime gets it, they’ll be more powerful than before, and pointed at you. And I’ve only given you a couple of the bad scenarios that become possible now. Here’s another… What if Ray’s a potential super? His dad was with Red Lightning, right? Or another… What if he caught enough clues about who you are that it won’t be hard to figure out your real identities now that he’s out of prison?
“There are lots of possibilities, and to be blunt, I don’t think the nine of you can handle them alone. We’re going to do three things this afternoon. First, we’re going to list people who can help, and we’re going to call them. Second, we’re going to start finding out where Prime, Ray, and everybody else are. Third, we’re going to come up with contingency plans for all the major possibilities.”
We were there for four more hours, and by the time we were done, my mind spun.
The many ways that we could die, and the possible solutions blurred together with what I needed to do to the communicators, and the surveillance recordings. I could barely eat when I got home for supper, and Rachel didn’t seem much better.
My parents didn’t say anything, but they had to notice.
Rachel and I walked back to HQ afterward. On most Saturday nights, HQ would have been empty, but Rachel and Marcus were going through the recordings at the table in the main room, bringing us up to date. Travis, Daniel, Haley, Cassie, Jaclyn, and Vaughn pulled up chairs on the other side of the boxes in the main room, discussing how to bug everybody on the recruits list.
I’d planned to finish working on the communicators myself, but Jaclyn stepped through the door of the lab. “Do you need any help?”
I looked up. “If you’re interested, sure.”
I showed her where to solder, and we finished all of them that night. She finished more than I did.
We even got to test them. She ran a few miles away from town, and I tried to contact her while flying. The communicators worked, but I definitely needed to come up with a better way to filter out wind noise.
After Jaclyn left, and Haley’s meeting broke off for the night, she came into the lab.
I was cleaning up, putting away the soldering irons and the spare parts.
She sat down on one of the stools, and asked me, “Do you think it will be like this for the rest of our lives?”
Thinking about Prime, the Executioner, the people I’d called, and all the contingency plans, I said, “I hope not.”