↑‘The thief’ was a middle-aged eastern Indian man, forehead creased in concern. He’d grown out a beard and his hair was long, tied into a knot at the back. He dressed simply, ready for the outdoors.
“Balminder,” Kurt said.
The thief, Jeanne thought. The Dealer. He absconded with as many vials as he could take. Kurt had said that along with Manton’s defection, it was one of a series of betrayals that led to Cauldron keeping their roster small and disconnected. - Excerpt from Interlude 5x II
↑ 2.02.12.2A partner to the Doormaker, capable of granting clairvoyance, seeing whole other worlds at once. It left most subjects incapacitated for a week after use, and it overrode any other perception powers.
No use to the Number Man, but essential for Cauldron in vetting universes and finding individuals. Most individuals. There were some, like the Dealer, and triple-seven, who’d escaped. - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
↑“Puzzle piece number two. I’m afraid it’s one of those cases where things have been covered up too well for us to verify, but I’ll tell you what I heard. Tallahassee, Florida, just three months ago, a rumor circulated about someone calling themselves the Dealer.”
“What was he dealing?”
“Powers,” Gregor echoed her.
“Pay him an amount in the neighborhood of thirty five thousand dollars, the Dealer gives you something to drink, and you join the ranks of the heroes and villains in the cape community. Powers in a bottle.”
“I see. How does this relate?”
“Because one individual claiming to be a customer made a blog post about his transaction. It’s near the end of that file. In his post, he described the Dealer as having a metal suitcase filled with vials. Engraved on the inside of the lid…”
“The same symbol as the tattoo,” Gregor guessed.
Faultline nodded, “And that’s where we stand.”
“I see. Can we track down this individual with the blog?”
“He’s dead. Murdered by two unnamed capes less than a day after he made the post.”
“What I think is that someone out there has figured out how people get powers, and they’ve made a business out of it. But the first attempts didn’t go so well. It could be that, if the chemistry is bad, the people who drink the stuff become like you, like Newter, like Sybill and Scarab.”
“So this person, or people. You think they are experimenting. They have been refining their work, and the physical changes have become smaller.”
“And this Dealer was either their salesman, or more likely, someone who stole some of their work and tried to profit from it. The people he dealt to didn’t get the tattoos.”
Gregor’s chair groaned painfully as he leaned back.
“What is next?”
“No one’s seen or heard of this Dealer since the blog poster was murdered. The Dealer’s either dead or gone to ground. So we follow our other lead. I’ve got private investigators looking for Shamrock. I’m thinking we wrap up our contract with Coil, here, then, if we’re lucky enough that our PIs find her before the bounty hunters do, we pay her a visit. Either she can tell us something, or we can offer her a position on the team.” - Excerpt from Interlude 5