Case File 002: Part 2

by CM Towns

   Back at their base inside the Sekowsky Mountain in West Virginia, the Guard met in their War Room on the Executive Floor. The large round table with the mirrored center displayed the Professors avatar hologram. Antoine Jackson sat at the main seat with his back to the largest monitor in the room. Jackson was in beige cargo shorts and a Street Fighter shirt. He took a drink of his coffee and then said, “Ready to start?”
   To his right sat Jessie in her favorite Siouxsie & the Banshees shirt. Sally sat to Jackson’s left wearing a more business casual look as if she were in a real work position. Jessie was second-in-command with Sally third so they sat next to Antoine-as his reasoning went.
   Next to Jessie was Elijah. His clothing was rather plain-button up white shirt and slacks. Elijah did not have that much opportunity to go shopping for himself due to his mutation making him too recognizable. On the other side of the table was Reed, in jeans and game geek shirt, his eyes on his handheld game. Next to Reed was Araminta, who wore her hair in a ponytail and sported a cute shirt and jean shorts. She seemed well rested compared to some of the others. Finally there was Frank. Black jeans, black shirt with torn off sleeves and chugging his coffee a couple seats away from Araminta.
   “Okay-Kate?” Jackson said.
   KATE STOKES, the Professor, said, “I am going through the data I retrieved. I don’t know how much of it we got before the feds broke the parasite. But I can tell you that what we have got is not of much of any use.”

   “No new locations to hit?” Elijah asked.
   “The ones referred to have already been hit or are out of our reach. I did leak a few locations and expect a few raids to happen soon but I don’t expect much coming from that,” she answered.
   “We should be moving on to hitting their other homes. The ones overseas,” Frank suggested.
   “These guys are spread out. We can’t just go to Germany and expect to find them. We don’t have the resources or the manpower,” Jessie said.
   “We can always increase the manpower,” Jackson said.
   “We still have a ways to go in this unit. Plus Frank, Elijah, and Araminta need more training. Huntsman needs to control his power. We don’t even know the extant of Elijah’s mutations,” Jessie pointed out.
   “We still don’t know the extant of your own powers,” Sally reminded her.
   “That’s different. We’re on different levels.” She turned to Elijah and said, “No offense.”
   He took her hand, smiled and said, “None taken Canary.”
   She pulled her hand away and Araminta hid a little giggle. Frank spoke up, “These guys are going to rebuild their organization in the US.”
   “Probably already working on it. I’m just saying we can’t take on their entire infrastructure now. We can watch, learn, attack when needed but right now… We have very little to go on and its hard to keep refueling the Flier plus replenishing the gear we run through on every operation. I know we get it all for cheap but that still means money. Plus we’re wanted criminals. We can’t just keep gallivanting around because we’ll eventually run into cops who don’t feel like looking the other way,” Jessie said.
   “All I know is Dr. Sillen is alive and well and that bothers me greatly,” Elijah said.
   “Sillen will pay. That racist rat bastard is gonna meet real justice. You can trust me on that,” Antoine said.
   “Any thoughts, Kate?” Sally asked.
   “I’m inclined to agree with Jessie for now. We can not afford to jump on every tiny clue. As for Sillen, there has been no leads on the Master-Doctor’s whereabouts. General Anslem is still in a coma and under constant police guard. There have been sightings of Powerhouse here and there but nothing confirmed. We should focus on other threats,” Kate answered.
   “Like who?” asked Frank.
   Antoine turned on the keyboard built into the desk and started typing. “CEKTIC escaped,” he said turning around as the picture of the nine foot tall, purple colored alien beast that appeared on the screen. Cektic had a wide base, long tail and two toes on each foot and four fingers on each hand. It’s head had a rock like cranium with slits for nostrils and a mouth of sharp teeth.
   “How did you ever beat that alien prick by yourself?” asked Jessie.
   “Hit him with a gas truck and jumped before the explosion. Poured liquid nitrogen down his throat once and hit him with a big alien weapon. Stuff like that,” he answered.
   “I just beat the tar out of him,” Jessie said.
   “I hate that guy,” Reed muttered having finally looked up from his game.
   “Where would he go?” asked Frank.
   “Anywhere he can hide. Mountain rages, forests, sewer systems. Who else?” inquired Jessie.
   Jackson brought up images of a trio of rogues he personally knew. A fair skinned woman in a black dress adorned in jewels around her neck and fingers. Another was an older man with gray, receding hair, goatee and dressed in a white lab coat. Finally a caped man in a white, green, and black number with his faced covered in ninja mask. He said, “BAD PRINCESS, DR. HALLOWEEN, and JAI-OIN the so-called Ninja from the future.”
   “Those are all your bad guys,” Frank said.
   “If there is one thing I learned from you is that Kid Victory’s enemies like to play in Kid Victory’s playground-Kirby City. Not threats to the whole US. At least in my eyes,” Jessie said.
   “We will mark them, along with Cektic, as unaccounted for,” Kate said.
   “I thought Jai-Oin was still operating in Kirby?” Elijah asked.
   “His clans laid low these last few weeks,” Antoine answered.
   “Are we creating files for all our enemies?” asked Sally.
   “It seems like the best idea,” Kate said.
   “Jessie and I know FLIOPT is running guns in Russia. The DAGA CARTEL in Mexico has been moving some dangerous weapons into the States as well as flooding the streets with drugs. They have been working to keep a low profile after they took control of the Mexican underworld. We should keep our eyes on them,” Sally contributed.
   “What about IZAM MIZER?” Araminta said.
   Jessie scratched her tattoo and nodded. She answered, “Mizer has been MIA for a while and who knows what she’s gonna do when she finally pops up. Also we need a file on our mysterious cult that’s after Araminta. Shit-might as well put the whole top ten most wanted list and known terrorist organizations up there too.”
   “Those terrorist organizations will no doubt be collecting new weapons and finding their own superhuman soldiers to help go to war,” Elijah contributed.
   “There have been a trio of major robberies at Military R&D and military contractors. Could be related,” Kate said.
   “Could be something the military is already on,” Jessie started, “I think we should worry about getting the base up and running, building equipment, training, and resting before another big fight.”
   “We need to always be ready for every fight,” Antoine said.
   “No. We need to fight the battles that need to be fought, wage the wars that make a difference. We all don’t want to be brooding in our secret lair battling our rogues for the hundredth time,” Jessie retorted.
   “Jessie,” Sally said knowing it was a subtle jab at Antoine.
   “There has been a… Ummmm-spike in magical activities in dozens of locations. Most recently in New Jersey and Delaware. In fact, New Jersey was where Araminta was found,” Kate said.
   “Can we bring up a map with the locations? Maybe there’s a pattern,” Frank suggested.
   “That’s you Kate,” Antoine said. From her home Kate sent the map over. When a ping sounded Antoine opened up the attachment on the small computer at his seat and put it up on the big screen. There were spikes down from Vermont to Massachusetts to Pennsylvania and into New Jersey.
   “That looks like a trail,” said Frank.
   They all looked at Araminta. “I don’t know anything,” she said.
   “Sillen said they were tracking a mage-measuring the changes in molecular structure of oxygen or something. Every wizard leaves an imprint behind or around them-something technical. It seems they were tracking someone else that they confused for Araminta,” Elijah said.
   “The change in particles and atoms is different per magic user, but usually returns to the original form quickly unless the person inhabits an area long term. This person, or thing, being tracked is leaving lasting effects,” Sally said.
   “Anyone suspicious in your neck of the woods?” Frank inquired.
   “I don’t-I mean there were squatters other than myself at that school but I never really saw too many hang out for a long time,” she said.
   “Worth checking out,” Antoine said.
   “Seeing as nothing bad has been reported in this persons travels it could be a waste,” Jessie argued.
   “We need to at least take a look,” Antoine replied.
   “If it’s just about taking a look we might as well have the newbies handle it themselves. Like homework,” Jessie suggested.
   Antoine was curious about the trail but understood Jessie’s point. Before he could reply she added, “They’re just gonna check out Araminta’s old digs so it shouldn’t be a problem. Plus Huntsman will be there in all his superpowered glory.”
   “Shooting people is fun,” he said with his eyes on his game.
   Antoine nodded. “Okay. They can check it out Monday.”
   “Good. Frank, Araminta, we’re going to pick up some furniture. Make this place more liveable,” Jessie said getting up. She looked to Antoine and then Sally and continued, “If you guys want to keep working on our enemies list just give me the cliff notes later.”
   Jessie, Araminta and Frank exited. Reed closed his game and said, “This was boring,” before he got up and left the room.
   Elijah looked over to Antoine and shrugged. “I find it fascinating. Shall we continue?”