“Is this really necessary?” Todd asked as the fire light flickered across his face, reflecting lightly upon his wireframe glasses. It was strange, after being around technology so much over the past months, the diminishment of his power’s constant guiding fireworks of intuition to a low hum was unnerving.
“That’s none of your concern.” The DVA representative’s voice was clipped as usual as the short woman sat across from Todd, only a small wooden table separating them.
Not that the distance or her stature gave Todd any delusions of resistance. Not only was he already resigned to his fate, he was pretty sure the woman across from him with vibrant blues and brown hair was trained and armed. Or at least she had the look of someone like that. But the cherry on top of all of that-
“Take it easy, Daisy, telling the guy won’t hurt.”
-the fact that the two Heroes that had captured him were also in the concrete room with them made it exceedingly clear how secure his situation was.
Pulp leaned against one of the walls with a candle holder and gave it a soft knock while Intuition stood smiling in another corner. “Places like this were built for Supers with high-end tech based powers. It’s probably overkill based on what we’ve seen of your tech, but the DVA doesn’t want to mess up anything after finally getting such a valuable source of information.”
The woman apparently named Daisy didn’t give Pulp anymore than a grunt of acknowledgement before turning back to Todd. “I am obligated to reaffirm with you that a telepath will be sitting in upon this interview, which is me, to verify that you are telling the truth.”
Before anyone could say anything else Todd spoke up. “I’ll make a full confession, I’ll tell you anything I know about previous associates as well.”
The light of the four large candles situated on each stone wall flickered for a few more seconds among the stunned silence, the orange light gleaming off of Todd’s now healed face and new glasses.
“Well fuck, now I just feel awkward.” Intuition broke the silence as he stepped nearer towards Daisy. “He tellin’ the truth?”
“Mostly.” Daisy responded. At Todd’s surprised expression, she explained further. “No one ever truly wants to talk about everything they’ve done over a large or especially active part of their life.” The hard-eyed woman then turned back to Todd. “Please, continue.”
“Ah, yes, well; let’s start from the top.” Todd stumbled a bit. “My primary bosses names are Francis, Brian, and Immadesco.”
“Ugh, wannabe super villains are the worst.” Pulp bemoaned after hearing that last name.
“And of course the two normal ones have names too generic to really go on.” Intuition affirmed.
“What do you mean by ‘primary’?” Daisy asked.
“There are other Supers in the organiz- ,gang, that were basically ranked hire than me. I was the tech and supply guy; I’m only as important as the gadgets I make.” Todd thought for a few seconds before continuing. It was hard for him to get into the habit of calling them a gang, but he wanted to get on the Hero’s good side as much as possible at this point. “I only have speculation about most of their powers, including my bosses. I’d already accidentally gotten some information on our sources leaked; so I was kept away from all new members with powers.”
“We can circle back to that later” Pulp said. “What else do you know about your bosses, are they operating solo?.”
“Well, they aren’t exactly self sufficient.” Todd took a calming breath then; his life would most likely change drastically after this. It was one thing to rat on his known, former bosses, individuals he was fairly certain the Heroes could protect him from. Now though, he was potentially going to attract the attention of far more influential and powerful people, most likely metaphorically and literally. “I think their getting major funding from another group and I’ve got recordings from bugs to prove it.” Todd had to though; he was already a lose end, so he would be a target anyways, might as well give the people protecting him everything he had.
“Sweet, sweet validation.” Pulp’s grin was disconcerting, but Todd continued regardless.
“And I think their funders are foreign in nature.”
For the first time since he’d been escorted to this building Todd saw an expression on a DVA agent’s face other than grim or apathy. Daisy’s eyebrows were raised in evident surprise and worry and Pulp’s smile had turned into a deep-set frown.
Intuition broke the silence with a chuckle though. “Well, shit. We might actually need to call in more help on this one.”
* * *
Lily sang a little tune to her self as she got dressed in her small room, movements becoming more energetic as the music blaring through the small speaker in her room picked up in tempo. Only turning off the radio after slipping on her running shoes, the last of her non-descript outfit of dark-grey hoodie and pants.
Lily was in a good mood today, as she well should be. She had successfully helped Pulp and that Intuition guy catch Todd, without getting caught by either the Heroes or the gang.
The Heroes knew something was up obviously, she’d yet to even hear of a dumb Hero, but they had no way of tracing it back to her.
“Hey, Silly. You in a good mode today?” A raspy voice emanated from the doorway to her room, the distinct sound of something metallic hitting the wooden floor of her room leaving no doubt to who it was.
Lily scoffed before even turning around to see it was her father. “I can’t tell if you’re actually calling me silly or if that’s by far your worst attempt at a pun.” Lily rechecked she had everything she needed for another day of “work” before walking past her father and out into the carpeted corridor. “And for your information; I’m happy that my pay check came in today.”
“Do you think you could get me another one of these then?” Her dad said, gesturing at his mostly plastic and metal prothestic.
“I got that prosthetic so that you can take care of mom while I’m not here. I’m not gonna replace your good limbs to fufuill your weird cyborg fantasy.” The daughter jokingly chided as she made her way to the little staircase that lead to the living room.
“Fascination, not fantasy, there is a profound difference.” Her father corrected.
“I’m going to work, mom!” Lily called down as she quickly made her own way down, almost reaching the landing before her mother had time to respond.
“Oh my, again?” It took visibly effort for the willowy woman in the wheelchair to turn herself from the TV and towards her daughter.
“Are you sure you’re doing okay Lily, they’re not pushing you to hard? You’ve been working overtime this whole week.”
“Don’t worry about it; it’s just courier work after all and my summon let’s me cheat with the smaller packages.” Lily reassured her partially paralyzed mother, walking over and reorienting her towards the still playing TV. “And besides; it worth it if it means I can help dad keep us afloat.”
Her dad pursed his lips at how her powers were supposedly being used, but the expression cleared into a smile at the last remark.
With that Lily gave both her parents a kiss on the cheek before walking out of the apartment building and down the two flights of stairs that would lead her to the ground-floor lobby. As soon as she got out onto the street she wiped the grin off her face and let her face resolve into it’s usually stony, cold expression. The change in demeanor didn’t take much effort on her part; though it kind of turned people off it also kept her from looking like a target. That last part more than a little important considering the company she kept.
It took her a little over ten minutes to reach the address given to her via the burner phone she’d told Brian to contact her with. And she was betting the usual work she would have to do, which mostly consisted of checking where, if any, Heroes were in a general area, would take a few hours at most. A far cry from the ten hour shifts she lied to her parents about but it was the only way she could think of explaining the suspicious amounts of money she made now.
Her phones’ map app lead her to into the middle of any alleyway, the grey clouds above casting the already shady area into near-night darkness. Lily felt an uneasy feeling well up in her stomach before people came out of both ends of the alley, boxing her in.
“You the Lily girl?” A young woman with heavily freckled skin and in a poufy coat asked, a larger man walking beside her.
Lily had summoned her companion before the woman had even finished asking her question. Above them, known only by the summoner herself, the air distorted as if a heatwave had been localized, before settling back to normal as the creature blended in properly and flew silently above. “Yeah, that’s me.” Lily said in a calm voice as she used her summon to verify that two other not-quite-fit-but-large men had approached from behind as well, ready to have her summon attack at a moments notice and very aware of the pepper spray and knife she had on her. “What’s this all of about? Never seen either of you before.”
“We had a mole in hour midst.” The woman said bluntly, a western accent Lily couldn’t quite place affecting the last word. “It scared Brian and the rest something fierce, so he’s currently combing through everyone, and I mean everyone, for signs of disloyalty. She hasn’t found any other moles, but she has killed two idiots willing to sell us out to the cops.”
“That doesn’t explain why you’re here.” Lily pointed.
“Ah, yes; my name is Candy. And since Brian is still busy and I’m the only other confirmed to be loyal member with a power that can effectively act as a lie detector, though I ain’t exactly as reliable as a Telepath, I’m here to verify your loyalty. Even though you’ve been around Brian a lot; it doesn’t hurt to be thorough.”
Lily breathed a mental sigh of relief, unsure if she could have martialed her thoughts while being grilled by the intimidating second-in-command. “So, how does this work? If it were Brian he could just read my mind while asking me questions.”
“I just need skin-contact.” Candy said, stepping forward before brushing a lock of auburn hair out of her face and putting a hand out towards Lily, as if to give a shake.
Lily begrudgingly grabbed the pale appendage. As soon as she made contact, Candy’s eyes glowed and took on the image of a shifting kaleidoscope; Then nothing else existed for Lily outside of the conversation and her own thoughts.
“Do you plan on ratting out the gang?”
“No.” That isn’t the method I’d use.
“Do you plan on walking out before were finished?”
“No.” I already know I’m too important and know too much to be let go.
Then the world slammed back into clarity and Lily staggered back as Candy twirled around and began walking away.
“Alright, now that that’s all been cleared up, it’s time to get you back to base; Immadesco wants to discuss something with everyone proven to be loyal. There’s something grand about to go down.”
Lily breathed an angry sigh and walked forward in resigned obedience, following Candy as the two men behind her brought up the rear. Whenever that suit wearing idiot got excited about something “grand” it usually meant a shit-show.
Case in point; The last time had been with a fire breathing minotaur.