007: Part 4

by CM Towns

   Antoine knocked at the front door of the Hub. He looked over to the camera up and to his left, waved, and the door popped open. Antoine smiled at Kate who welcomed him in. Antoine looked around, TV was on at the far end and Vidya was seated at her workstation.
   “Busy today,” observed Antoine.
   “Our intelligence department is doing the work of a dozen people. That’s right-three part timers and half a dozen other even less part timers,” Kate replied.
   “So you’re tired?” Antoine asked.
   “Of course I’m tired! And a little cranky. What am I saying? A lot cranky. I hate evil,” Kate replied.
   Antoine chuckled and agreed before saying, “Hey Vidya.”
   “Hey, Antoine. Out late last night?” Vidya inquired.
   “Actually sat home and worked on some gaming. Did a little filing work but just chilled,” he told her with a big smile.
   “So you came by to give us a hand? I’m about to leave right now so you can take my station,” Vidya smile.
   “You having a day out?”
   “Yep. Going to the beach. Decided to get up early, put in some work before having fun. Lots to do,” Vidya said very chipper.
   Antoine nodded, “I’m going to have some fun myself tonight with friends but I am here to help for now. Or just say ‘hey’ really.”
   “Good. Teiwaz, Mizer, Fliopt, King and trying to keep tabs on some of our associates. Busy, boring, tedious work. Also you can now add in this string of superhuman attacks happening,” Kate said before a yawn.
   “Anything on those traces for the Jai-Oin case?”
   Kate shook her head no and then said, “Ghost called. Took a quick look into our Stanis lady when she was in his part of the world. Nothing to report.”
   “I probably need to talk to him soon. Tesla too-governments coming to further complain about his new line of computers,” Antoine said.
   “Their going to shut down the Pascal computers? My dad just bought one-loves it,” Vidya said.
   “I don’t know what will happen. The ability to cloak oneself on the internet is something that really bothers the government. For good reason but also it allows for more privacy, which is also good,” Antoine said.
   “The Pascal computers and tablets are big business, especially for their low prices. It’s not just about the ability to cloak ones activities, which the Pascals only can do so much against government spying-no its also a business move. Tesla’s making a superior product for cheaper than the others. Due to the military contracts and patents he holds he can take a hit with the computers. Obviously he’ll be switching over fully soon, prices will rise but by than everyone will want his machines,” detailed Kate.
   “So the corporations want the government to shut down his computer line because it makes their buddies sad. Government wants to shut it down for making it hard to get in. But at the same time they want him to keep working for them?” Vidya asked.
   “Pretty much,” Antoine said.
   “What jerks,” Vidya said.
   “I agree,” Antoine said.
   The three made small talk before Vidya bid them farewell. Kate walked her to the door as Antoine made his way toward the couch and the TV. Jack Hughes had his tablet out and working while the news was playing footage from Reina Titán’s recent interview with a British independent journalist. Kid Victory had mixed thoughts on her doing it but he himself has did a few brief interviews before. Not like the one on Reina took on.
   The interviewer said to Reina, “You’re referring to the list that was put together, the 10 most powerful in the world. Have you met everyone on the list and do you think they rank?”
   Reina Titán responded with, “I met most. Definitely not the Division 1’s golden boy American Made. As for where they rank, the list is about power but they don’t know exactly how powerful Makt is or even Lady Glória. Plus its only power. Red Sprite is an incredible fighter, probably better than a number of people above her on the list. An excellent mind for combat. Probably whup a few people on that list easy.”

   “So how would you rank it?”
   “Don’t know. Is there a vigilante list?”
   “Yes. Kid Victory’s number 4.”
   “Really? Who else is in the top five?”
   “MidKnight on top.”
   “Serious?” Titán shook her head and said, “I mean, he’s good but not as stylish. Very much kill’em all and let God sort them out.
   Antoine had not watched the whole interview though he had a copy. Could not work up the focus.
   “So what you think, hero? Number four?” Jack asked.
   “Could care less where I rank on a list like that,” Antoine lied. It did bother him a little. Antoine moved around to the reading chair and asked, “How are you doing?”
   “Working my ass off. Retail is a bitch and my hours were cut. Plus all this reading. I’ve been focused on the King situation,” Jack said.
   “Not much info out there.”
   “We got the photo right?”
   “We got photos of someone.”
   “Well-photos and a name. Hundreds and thousands of possible people tied to him. If he rules the world than he has many important people in his pockets. Lots of people to look into,” Jack pointed out.
   “Find anything interesting yet?” Antoine questioned.
   “A lot of possible suspects, some of which crossover with individuals who may have had dealings with outed Teiwaz spies. Makes me wonder if this King guy has been aware of our Super-Nazi problem longer than the President,” Jack answered.
   That reminded Antoine of Izam Mizer’s suspicions, that someone close to the President may be a Teiwaz agent themselves. They had done what they could to look into it before handing it off to the Big Boss. No help from him and his friends. The Guard had a lot on their table and right now he himself was focused on King as well but how do you monitor the President or Vice-President, let alone the White House Chief of Staff or even the Secretary of Education. Big Boss and his friends had a better chance but could only do so much. Antoine knew he was on a new playing board and could not see all the pieces or where they were placed.
   Then there was Teiwaz and Mizer on top of other troubles in Kirby, continued work with the new members to develop their skills and teamwork and now they would have to be more careful with Division 1. Antoine remembered then he was suppose to do some one on one training with one of the reserves coming up. He had too much on his plate and Antoine knew this could cause serious problems. He needed to relax but that was hard with his mind racing through details over and over. He needed prioritize cases but it was difficult to focus on one with other cases needing work. Antoine also needed to spend mroe time with friends and family but at times he felt too distant.
   “Deep in thought?” Kate asked before Antoine yawned and Kate said, “I know how that feels.”
   “You think we work too hard?” asked Antoine.
   “God yes.”
   “Then you two should take the rest of the day off,” Antoine said.
   “Sweet,” Jack said putting the tablet down and getting up.
   “You know you could just-I don’t know, come and go as you please,” Antoine said.
   “Really? Because boss lady here told me to put some work in today,” Jack said grabbing his walking cane.
   “I know Kate is the head of the Hub but she’s not really your boss like-one to give hours. You can work on your own time,” Antoine said.
   “Don’t listen to Antoine. Listen to me. You work when i say you do but you can have the rest of the day off but I expect you back here bright and early tomorrow,” Kate directed and Jack gave her the thumbs up before exiting.
   “You got this running like a well oiled machine,” Antoine said.
   “I know. Were you really in last night playing video games?”
   “Yeah but for a while my mind was elsewhere,” he admitted.
   “We know Teiwaz and Mizer are planning things, we got this new case that interests Frank and some of the others. King can be put on the back burner,” Kate told him.
   “We have enough people to investigate all these and I ain’t letting this King business slip off the radar for a single moment,” Antoine said.
   Kate deeply sighed before asking, “Why this case over the others when the others have more leads? Or they’re more pressing?”
   “Isn’t it obvious? That’s reason. These other cases are small time or we have a better grasp of the enemy. This one-this is the one we have to be ever vigilant about,” answered Antoine.