Part 21

by CM Towns

   Somewhere, far from the hands of justice is a beautiful mansion overseeing the ocean. A majestic sight, especially at dawn. Which ocean it is does not matter. This will be the last time this particular home is seen. The men who are occupying this place will exit it after their meeting, never to return. A one time setting for this important gathering-one that brought the entirety of the group together. These four men, none under the age of forty-five, rarely meet in person. Most times if they all must speak they do so by video conference. However there are times when they must come together in person.
   One man is familiar, the sixty year old gray haired man who sent Europa to France. Vogler is his name and he is the oldest member of the Inner Circle. He was once the youngest, rising through the ranks and now is the oldest, the head of the entire operation. The Organization was essentially his and it was a new world, one different than the original members had planed for. Superhumans, aliens, magic, and possibly more.
   Vogler was now seeking world domination on a changed field. Vogler sat in an arm chair watching his comrades get settled for the meeting. They all gathered in the smoking room but no one was smoking. Voglers eyes moved around, considering every mans worth to the group.

   The youngest was Fleischer, forty-seven. Blond hair, full goatee, bulk figure and a million dollar smile. The only man of the group of a mixed race heritage, having a grand-mother of Argentine descent-this one has worked hardest to prove his Aryan resolve. Kept their South American operations running smoothly. A hand in drugs all over the Western Hemisphere. Fleischer had a drink in his hand and was in a good mood.
   Norling was once a beautiful blond man with an incredible physique, now he was bald and gaining weight. The man was still trouble in a fight. He worked hard as well, partly due to the rumor of his homosexuality. It was true, Vogler knew that but Norling had a wife and kids to maintain his image. Vogler did not care whether or not Norling was gay but homosexuality was frowned upon in the Teiwaz. Norling recently helped spread their men into parts of Middle-East and South Africa. As well as working on parts of India, Thailand, and Japan. Norling’s family was one of the building blocks of the Teiwaz and lived up to his families reputation. Right now he was checking information on his cellphone. Always working.
   Finally there was Darby. US born, bastard of a General in their organization. Darby was integral in putting many spies into the US for them. Bald, black neared, and dark eyes. He always seemed to be thinking. It was Vogler who insisted he be put into the Inner Circle. He knew this man to be good for the organization. Though the screw ups with Anslem did not help his standing, he had been working to repair the damage. Darby was obviously waiting for the conversation to get going again.
   “Who do I applaud for Johans death?” asked Darby.
   “You changed your tone on Johan so quick?” Norling asked.
   “His family was important, I had hoped him to blossom into a great man. I admit I was wrong,” Darby replied.
   “The fool only got to where he is due to his lineage,” Vogler said.
   “So we promote someone now?” Darby questioned.
   “Not yet. After the operation,” Vogler stated.
   “Which one? New Authority? Oh wait-that one is a fake,” joked Fleischer.
   “They will be looking into several islands, trying to smoke us out. They won’t see us coming,” Norling said.
   “They won’t, but the Guard might,” Vogler said.
   “You think so?” asked Darby.
   “I think they have an idea, an inkling, but they won’t expect us to follow through. A mad dream. They will not expect how ready we are when we arrive,” Vogler said.
   “It was risky business in France much more than the others-yet we had problems there,” Fleischer said.
   “It was all about measuring response times. Seeing they extent of their police forces and agencies. All the while gathering information here, removing information there, and stealing what we need,” Norling said.
   “And checking out the heroes,” Darby added.
   “We had little interaction with Makt, but what interaction we did have we saw just how strong he is,” Vogler told them.
   “Makt is trouble but does not stray far. He will not find his way into our next operations,” Norling.
   “The new US team debut. They appear just as our spies have told us. It’ll be interesting to hear more about them,” Fleischer said.
   “In due time,” was Darby’s response.
   “There are many superheroes and factions that will cause us trouble but no more so than the Guard,” Vogler stated.
   “So what do we have on them?” Norling asked.
   “Footage of Red Sprite, the Spider Woman, Water, and two men. One of which our dearly departed Mute said was a mimic,” Fleischer said.
   “Sad we lost Mute as well as Grip. Both excellent soldiers,” Norling said.
   “Sacrifices,” Vogler said.
   “Europa is still alive. As are the brothers. All three have kept their mouths shut unlike that fool Johan,” said Norling.
   “What about the warp drive?” Fleischer inquired.
   “We have retrieved some information and notes on its construction, we will have our best and brightest work on that,” Vogler answered.
   “About the Guard, the other new members. The black girl, the one in the hockey mask and now the vigilante called Kestrel. Trouble?” Norling questioned.
   “No worries,” Vogler said.
   “No worries? There should always be worries,” Fleischer warned.
   “In this case-things are working about as expected,” Vogler said.
   “Expected?” Darby asked.
   “We all knew they would grow their ranks, yet we have not seen anyone on the power level of Reina or Huntsman join. As for experience, the closest would probably be Kestrel and she has not shown the capabilities of Kid Victory. They may have more manpower but we have them out numbered, out gunned, and will have them out maneuvered,” Vogler confidently said.
   “So do we move up the timetable?” asked Fleischer.
   Vogler smiled at that idea.