David walked down the hallway ramp onto the second floor as several possibilities played in his mind about what he was about to do. Some might see it as an attempt for a power grab. Others might see it as him just stepping out of line to the but since he was still a newcomer in the new order of how Joseph Braun ran this group then maybe none of them would even throw a fit.
Jane was walking down the hallway, heading from the direction that he just came from, "Jane, you're with me."
She stopped in her tracks, "I…what?"
"Now!" he yelled as he passed by her and headed into the cell. He wasn't in the mood to wait for the others. He didn't know the mindset of Joseph right now or how it was going to be in about five minutes. Naomi had called him in the meeting room to talk to him. Probably about the situation with their father but with Agent Braun now a prisoner here, he had to get the man some protection. He'd pissed both his kids off. What he'd done to them wasn't going to be easily forgiven despite his attempt to turn against the Facility.
Braun was going to have to do a lot more than that.
He opened the door and watched as Frederic rose to his feet.
A few seconds passed and they stared at each other awkwardly.
Frederic spoke first, "You're not the first one I expected to see."
"You should consider yourself lucky on that one," David said, "You probably know that they're not going to play nice anymore. Everything's fair game now. Naomi's safe at home and Joseph's leading the group…and so now the fun begins for the Braun children. You have a lot that you're going to answer for and I guarantee you that Joseph will make sure you answer for it."
"I've been trapped in the future for two months, David," Frederic said in an annoyed tone, "You should really do something more than telling me things that I already know."
David stared him down and then "I'm a Guardian-."
David stopped and rolled his eyes, "But unlike them I don't manipulate things to fit my agenda. I figure out which side is most likely to win, and I align myself with that winning team. And you sir, are not part of the winning team. You are a normal man among superhumans and only Kyrie Trent seems to have some sort of affection for you. However, I don't believe that a child should murder their parent, and I seriously doubt Jane or Able are going to become your human shield-."
"Not likely," Jane said but David knew that she probably would. She was 'good' like that, but Frederic didn't know that.
"So give me a reason why I should do my best to keep you alive?"
Frederic shoved a small booklet into David's hands, "Look on the first page."
Jane watched as David opened the small booklet and whatever he saw made his eyes go wide and the blood drained from his face, "That's impossible."
"What is it?" Jane asked.
David shoved the booklet in his pocket and walked towards the door, "Stand guard, don't' let anyone in here unless I give you orders."
"You don't lead this group, Joseph does."
"Make an exception," he snapped, "Guard the door."
Jane waited until he was gone before she started mimicking him, "Make the clone watch over the prisoner. What work does she have to do?"
"You're not Jane," Frederic said, stopping her in her tracks.
She didn't look at Frederic, "Yes I am."
"You're hair's three inches longer and you're not the happy optimist I seem to remember. You may be a Jane Doe, but not the one they had before I left..."
Jane shoved her hands in her pocket, "No, I'm not."
"Able was in a bad mood when he programmed me," she said and sat on a chair across from him.
Naomi paced the length of the meeting room and tried to run through the speech she was about to make to her brother. IT felt like each time, no matter how hard she tried it would end badly. How was she supposed to get Joseph to listen after she dropped the bomb that their mother was a Guardian?
Did that make them Guardians? Was it genetic? She needed to ask David or Lisa.
"Hey," Joseph opened the door, "You wanted to talk?"
"Yeah," she said and felt her heart start to race. Crap, he was early and she was trying to find a way not to be blunt, "You might want to sit down."
"Is this about Starkson?" he sat down. She could see that his hand was clenched tightly, but he was trying to keep his face blank, "I'm not mad about you going with him. Its fine, Naomi. I'm just trying to understand how you'd trust someone like him of all people…but if you felt like mom was in danger, I suppose I can understand that."
"IT's….something like that. I need you to be calm until I'm done telling you what I saw tonight."
"Alright," he said tensely.
"Um…when he came up to me last night, I thought it was probably just a trap. But since it was mom, I decided to risk it. I figured that if he was stupid enough to try anything then I'd take care of him myself. Um…We got to the house, dad had mom tied up."
"Is this the part where I'm supposed to remain calm?" Joseph demanded.
""Mom made a confession, Joseph," Naomi's voice caught in her throat and she swallowed and forced the words out, "She's a Guardian."
Every emotion in Joseph's eyes crumbled to dust. He didn't ask if she was sure. He didn't theorize that she was wrong. He didn't have to. Joseph knew that she wouldn't tell him about something this big unless she was completely sure. And it would be insulting to her intelligence if he had. Not that her intelligence was completely reliable after slipping off with Starkson, but he knew that this was a particular thing that she wouldn't get mistaken.
His broken look was immediately replaced with anger and he angrily slammed his fists on the table. Naomi jumped and backed away as he shoved it over.
"Joseph," Naomi said in shock.
"Leave me alone!" he snapped and started walking out of the room.
"What's going on?" Lisa asked from the third floor.
Joseph stormed out of the room and looked across the room to where Able sat, "IS the EM shield down?"
"I was just about to put it up. I wanted to make sure you were in for the night."
"Fine," Joseph said and teleported out.
Naomi put her head in her hands, and struggled not to start crying. The silence was deafening.
"Naomi?" Able approached her and asked gently, "What happened?"
"Tell everyone," she said and straightened up, "Mom's a Guardian."
"What?" he asked.
She didn't want to process it or any of their questions right now, she didn't have the answers they would be looking for, "I need to talk to dad."
"Oh," Able said hesitantly, "Yeah, you should know that….might be a problem."
David looked up as Naomi stormed angrily into the room, "I guess knocking is for the weak…or calm…or polite…"
"Where do you get off telling Jane that I don't get to talk to my father?"
"Your father used to work for the Facility up until recently and the last thing I want to do is put him in a room with a pissed off fire starter."
"You don't make that decision," Lisa reminded him.
"I do when Joseph isn't here."
"Lisa is the second in command. She makes those decisions."
"Officially. But Lisa would rather hide in her doctor's office doing research than be the second in command. Someone's got to step in. You can see your father of course but I'd rather you calm down first.
"I don't have the patience for this, I just found out that my mother is a-"
"Guardian? Yes I'm aware
Her eyes darkened dangerously, "You mean you knew?"
"Not until Able sent out a mass text letting us all know what the slam downstairs was all about," David said with a smile, "And I'm guessing you gave him permission."
"Just stop," Naomi snapped, "I need more information. What do you know?"
"Why on earth would I know something? Talk to Starkson. You talk to any other Guardians and they probably either won't know what's going on or they would lie to you."
"That's why I plan to take you."
"I don't know where to find them," David said.
"Well then," Naomi said over her shoulder, "I suggest you start looking."
It was only an hour but Naomi felt like she called her brother 600 times and each time it went to voicemail. Her brother didn't even see the point in answering it but she didn't care. She didn't like not knowing where her brother was. He had a temper and sometimes he let that get the better of him.
If this was one of those times, this didn't bode well for their mother. Joseph had never had a close relationship with their mom. He'd been too much of a rebel during the first sixteen years he'd lived at the house. When Naomi was growing up, she'd attributed it to her brother's never ceasing immaturity. He didn't follow the rules and nothing was going to make him. When she was thirteen, her brother had showed her his ability to teleport. And when holding that secret was too much for him and the tensions with mom was at a breaking point then he ran. Naomi had never understood it until a little over two months ago, when she learned that she and her brother were taken at an early age by Facility agents and it resulted in her burning the apartment down with their captors in it.
After she had learned what happened, she'd figured that Joseph's rebellion was subconsciously him acting out because he sensed something had gone wrong and because of their father's absence.
Now she had a new theory, maybe Joseph left because subconsciously he sensed that something was wrong with their mother. He was a hothead and overprotective, but he was usually right about people once he started thinking.
What had Joseph's gut feeling told him about their mother?
She put her hand on her forehead and tried to stifle a sob. She'd known that they were pawns since she knew who the Guardians were. But she never expected this. She never knew that it ran this deep. She never realized that everything about her life was supervised and controlled.
She didn't want to think about it, but she couldn't get it out of her head. Her mother was a Guardian, everything was changed now.
Someone knocked on the door and she jumped, "What?"
David opened and door and slipped in, "I don't want to be in the same building with a pissed off firestarter so I made some calls…Starkson's dropped completely off the map and the ones that might know where he is aren't telling me anything," he looked at her phone, "We also tried to trace your brother's phone only to find that he left it here. He could be in one of a billion places. After he escaped the Facility he became an expert at disappearing, which you already know. Anyway, the only way we could catch up to him is if I freeze time and I can't do that for long periods. IT gives me a horrible migraine."
She pushes her hair out of face, "At least you tried."
"And your father's fine. He said you flashed some fire in his face and Lisa treated him for some first degree burns. After that display, I hope you don't wonder why I don't want you near your father."
"It was an accident, I wasn't thinking straight."
"And you are now? How many times have you called your brother?"
I'm just making sure he's not going to hurt anyone."
"Oh really? And what would happen if we were able to track down Starkson or your mother? What would you do?"
"I'd do what has to be done."
"You'd kill them?" David said and then grabbed her shoulders, "Naomi, listen to me. It's not your place to decide who lives and who dies because you think you've been wronged."
"I'm sorry…aren't you the one that thinks that I should do what benefits everyone in the long run no matter the sacrifice?"
"Because this isn't about the greater good. This would be about revenge. No matter what happens, she's still your mother. If you go in and kill them for revenge then you're just as bad as they are."
"Well," she said, "Since I'm part guardian, I suppose the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
"Oh stop. You're not a Guardian. Unless you turn into a time traveler and then they make you go through their initiation process. I don't see it happening though. Starkson's only interested in those that he can get control of and he can't control you. You certainly wouldn't qualify for a Guardianship if that was the case"
"He certainly wants to try."
"Oh yeah," David agreed, "He won't be happy unless he gets us under his thumb too."
"And which side are you on?"
"The side that makes sure that doesn't happen. I don't have any alliances left to the Guardians and I've seen what you can do and to be honest that scares me more than them."
"And can I rely on that?" Naomi asked with an eyebrow raised, "How many times have you had a gun pointed at you or your trust been challenged."
"Well, they were right to suspect me; I was reporting everything to the Guardians at the time."
"You're not bitter at what we all put you through?"
"Oh I'm bitter," he said, "I'm just trying to make you feel better."
She gave a half smile and shook her head, "I need to find my mother before Joseph does."
"Yeah good luck with that, Guardians know how to blend in. And it's not like anyone's going to miss her, didn't she spend 30 years keeping herself isolated from the outside world? She won't have anyone to contact. Until she chooses to show up again, she is gone."
"Well, I can't just sit here," she said and then froze when David gave a beaming smile
"Exactly what I wanted to hear!" he tossed a file on the bed, "We'll do a case."