Drakken's cloaking system for the hovercraft was not terribly effective, the way it bent light left a visual wrinkle and it did nothing for noise, but over the years the O'Ceallaighs had realized many of their neighbors had some idea about Team Go and politely pretended to know nothing. The Middleton expedition set down in the back yard and Kim and Shego took the girls to their doting grandparents while the faithful Ron played pack mule and unloaded the three tons of equipment necessary for the overnight care of infants.
“Man,” he complained after the third load, “I thought we all agreed to call me a partner, but I still feel like I'm being treated as sidekick.”
Shego patted him on the cheek, “Poor boy.” Then she felt his arm, “It's because you're so big and strong. We poor, weak women just can't manage without you.”
“You are so full of it,” he grinned.
“Ronald! Language in front of the babies, please!”
“Sorry, Mrs. O'Ceallaigh.”
Shego laughed and gave Ron a hug. “Is the hovercraft unloaded? As soon as Princess gets out of the throne room I want to head to Go Tower.”
“Are you unloading your stuff or taking it to the Tower?”
“You didn't unload our stuff? That's it, I'm advertising for a new sidekick.” She headed out to get the bag for herself and Kim, but stopped before she went out the door. “Thanks Ron.”
Four minutes later the hovercraft was back in the air.
In the twenty minutes since the rough filing had been completed a teams of Wegos had gone through every file folder, reading more slowly.
“It's not going to be very helpful,” Mego predicted gloomily. “Reading the past doesn't always help with the present.”
“Tank suit equals the past,” a Will said.
“And it had to be someone who had a history with the Gang of Evil wearing it.”
“Well, thirty of you doing your individual thing won't help. If any pattern is going to pop out you need one guy looking at all the material.”
“Thanks for the suggestion. Guys?”
The Wegos dumped the entire pile of file folders in front of Mego, and he started sorting. He knew that was going to happen.
He looked up a minute later, “I have something important.”
“Do either of you airheads have someone looking for Johnny the Snitch?”
“Look, we haven't done of the hero thing in awhile, okay?” A Will said, “Since we have an Ed downtown I'll look for Johnny. But the man five years behind in case filing shouldn't look too smug.”
As the Will left he called back into the Tower, “Hey, something setting down out here, probably Sis and company.”
A pair of Wegos went out while the others and Mego remained on their various jobs.
“Hey, sis,” said an Ed, throwing his arms around her and giving her a fast hug.
“Hi, Kim,” a Will greeted her with her own hug.
“What happened?” Shego asked.
“Your little brother just pinched my bottom.”
“Come on, Kim. You're almost family now.”
“And would you pinch big sister's bottom?” Shego asked.
“Well, since you asked so nicely, sure.”
“What do you want on your tombstone? I'm asking now because there won't be time to ask afterwards if you try it. And keep your hands off my girlfriend. I regard her ass as my property.” Shego gave Kim a little pat on the fanny for emphasis.
Kim looked over to Ron for support, “Help me.”
“Your own fault KP, never fall in love with a sex fiend.”
Shego snorted, “I could tell you things about your red-haired friend here, but let's get in to the Tower.”
They all sat around the large table. Shego felt out of the loop and the Wegos wanted to keep peace in the family, so Mego presided at the meeting.
“So basically we know squat?” Shego summarized at the end of Mego's presentation.
“Yeah,” Ed confirmed.
“Any efforts to question Gang of Evil members yet?”
“And how to you suggest we do that Miss know-it-all?”
“Let me try. Oh, and have downtown Ed send a photo of that weird garment from the police station. I'm hoping I can't identify it.”
“You're crazy Sis.”
“Yeah, and I'm not here helping you either.”
“What are you talking about?” Mego demanded.
“Ron and Kim are here helping. I don't want Hego to see I'm here helping if at all possible. You guys have to promise to keep your mouths shut.”
“Hello, Shego? The village called -- they're looking for their idiot. It's getting real hard for the rest of us to take the Hego - Shego feud seriously anymore.”
“Well, Hego and I respect traditions even if the rest of you don't.”
“Oh yeah, keep it up Sis,” an Ed warned her. “We may take a vote and decide a new person gets the title of family jerk.”
“If you guys keep it up I'm back in Middleton. I'm serious. I can't help what Hego might see. But you have to promise to say nothing to him.”
The brothers promised.
“You too,” she said to Kim and Ron, who agreed even more reluctantly.
“Don't complain, people, I'm not making you sign a blood oath or anything. Now excuse me. If you haven't filled my old dressing room with crap I'm going to go call Bella.”
Shego had kept the black woman's phone number on her cell phone. She wasn't sure if the former criminal would be in or able to help, but crossed her fingers and dialed.
“Hello, Bella? Is that you?”
“Yes, who is this?”
“This is Shego--”
“Ohmygawd! I saw it on the news this morning. Is Hego all right? Have they found him?”
“I'm here because Team Go is looking for him. I'm hoping you can help me. They haven't reported it, but Hego was captured by two guys in Tank suits. That spells Gang of Evil. I thought you said Obtinus was dead.”
“I don't remember exactly what I said. I should have said I heard he and Serpent King were dead. It's not like I was invited to the funerals or anything.”
“Look, I left Team Go before the Tank suits were something to worry about. Can you tell me anything about them?”
“Well… “ Bella hesitated.
“Please, he's my brother.”
“Okay. Hego was always a gentleman with me -- even after I dropped that cinder block on his head. And he has saved the city… The big jump in Tank suit technology was with the Hydraulic Woman.”
“What, wealthy socialite Christine Marshall, heir of the Marshall Manufacturing fortune, who was secretly in love with Hego and donned the mantle of Hydraulic Woman in a vain attempt to gain his attention, helped his most bitter enemies?” Shego leaned back and banged her head against the wall three times. What was it about being back at Go Tower that made her talk like an idiot?
“Uh, yeah,” Bella replied to Shego's long-winded exposition. “Obtinus got her to help redesign the suits. He told her they'd capture Team Go and give Hego to her. He was lying, of course, but he got improved technology out of it.”
“Great, I appreciate the tip on a new suspect. I doubt it's her, but we'll check it out. The problem is figuring out what two enemies were wearing the suits.”
“There is a chance it was only one person.”
“Police report said two suits.”
“I believe you. And maybe it was. I was in jail, or out of jail and being careful with my parole, but I heard that Obtinus was trying to put a robotic brain or a remote control or something into a Tank suit. That way he could build an army of them. If he got that worked out it could mean there was one person in a suit and the other was like a robot or something. Maybe they were both run by remote.”
“Thanks. One last question, I need the address for Dexter's pharmacy.”
“No, the Alchemist has been retired as long as I have. It wasn't him.”
“Look, I'm not going to hurt him, and I'm not going to turn him in. But someone has my brother and the person who did it was wearing Gang of Evil technology. I remember the neighborhood you told me it was in. I've got a missing brother, I will find him, but I want to do it as quickly as I can.”
Bella made Shego swear not to reveal the source of information; then gave her the name and address of the drug store.
When Shego emerged from her old room a Will called her over to look at a picture, “Damn. Well the other hostage is a woman called Speed Queen. But with the Cloak of Hercules in the police property room she won't look much like herself and is going to be no help.”
Matt was still conferring with Kim and Ron when Shego interrupted. “I found out that Hydraulic Woman helped with one of the Tank suit upgrades. Could she still be carrying a torch for Hego and be part of the kidnapping?”
“Probably not. You've been out of town. I think she's on disposable husband number three at the moment.”
“Well, maybe she's looking for number four. I think you should get small and tail her for a couple hours.”
“Better than sitting around here. I'll have a Wego work on reading files.”
“God, why isn't that stuff on computer yet?”
“'Cause Henry won't ask the city for a secretary, technology gives him troubles, and the rest of us are out of the hero biz, remember?”
“And what are you going to do?”
“I'm going to look up Aviarius and the Alchemist.”
“Can we go with you?” Kim asked.
“Sorry, love,” Shego replied grimly. “But I don't plan on using Global Justice rules during interrogation.”
“That's wrong,” Kim said flatly.
Shego pointed an imaginary gun at Kim's head, “Bang. End of Monkey Fist.”
Ron and the brothers looked puzzled by the exchange. “You wouldn't kill him,” Kim stated, rather than asking it as a question.
“No, but I'm going to do what is necessary to save Hego.”