He couldn’t bring himself to smile.

Problems of self-confidence aside, Kid Win had produced an interface that was easy to use.  Legend clicked on the yellow button and waited.

“The interface is easy to use, except for when it struggles with its self-confidence. Then it starts asking you why you’re using it rather than some other interface that’s surely way better, and you have to take the time to comfort the interface before it continues with its job. Four stars out of five.”

Voices played from the computer’s speakers.  He adjusted the volume and listened.

“We suspect that Bonesaw and Siberian also escaped, with Hookwolf as a new member of their group.”

This is what Legend told the Triumvirate… but who’s talking here? This is not a recording of their meeting, surely (Kid Win talked about putting data into this thing, not preparing it to record stuff), so was Legend quoting this? Is this a message from Skitter?

“I see.”

“Any reason for the curiosity?”

Alright, apparently it is a recording. Why?

“Hard to keep track of what goes on beyond these walls, sometimes.”

Text appeared, transcribing what was being said.  The program paused, the image of the yellow button popping back out.  A red word appeared below the last statement: LIE.

Ohh. That’s why.

And when Kid said this wasn’t his work… This is based on Armsmaster’s work, isn’t it.

A vague lie, but not a damning one.  His pulse was pounding as he hit the waiting yellow button to resume the record.

“We have no need for human experimentation.  The Number Man can calculate the odds of success for a given formula.”

LIE.

It seems Alexandria was fooled easier than this device.

He clicked again.

“…Who knows enough about Cauldron to tattoo or brand them with the mark while simultaneously having access to these kinds of resources?”  His own voice was the one playing from the speakers.

“It’s not us,” the Doctor’s voice answered his.

LIE.

Yep.

How about Alexandria talking about being able to tell lies from truth? Can you trust her?

He sat staring at the screen, horrified.

Cauldron had given him his powers, had given him what he needed to be at the very top, to lead the largest collection of superheroes in the world.  They hadn’t wanted much in exchange.

That’s very unusual for them, but maybe they operated differently back then.

He kept an eye out to make sure nobody got too curious about Cauldron, diverted them if they did.  He’d greased the wheels for some of Cauldron’s top customers.  He was also ready to defend Cauldron if and when it became public knowledge.  It was for the greater good, he told himself.  There was no way for Cauldron to operate otherwise, lest the world’s governments fight over the ability to create whole armies of people with powers and interfere with the organization’s ability to operate.

Yeeeah, Cauldron might not be as good a thing as you thought.

It would operate, he knew, it obviously wasn’t in a location where it could be raided or seized by military forces, but it wouldn’t be able to reach nearly as many people, and capes would come under scrutiny with the possibility that they’d purchased their powers.

I recall Taylor wasn’t thrilled to find out that was possible.

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