Stars, Specters, and Super-Powers in front of people again.)
Looking into their new rivals in the North Coast Guardians, the team found out from Carl Caravel that Interlocking Technologies was owned by Concord Holdings, which also owned a number other companies (Aspera Charter Schools, Covenant Transport, Advanced Idea Mechanics, and a think tank called the Friedman Foundation).
They also found out that the North Coast Guardians were formed under the auspices of a radical new rehabilitation program called The Smoking Mirror Project. Supervillains were offered early release contingent on their participation in some sort of new therapy program. Sideshow, Scarab, and Blue Shift were known participants in this program. Another villain, Gamma (who the Scrap Pile fought in space once) had run away after apparently having an adverse reaction to the treatment.
The team split up. Disco wanted to check out a Covenant Transport warehouse just outside Beta City. Torpedo, Magi, and Land Shark went to the wilderness on the south side of Lightfoot Island, where Caravel believed Gamma was heading.
After some flirting in the office in his civilian identity, Disco went back outside to see a smallish object flying away in the distance. He suited up (spinning like Wonder Woman to change into his costume) and flew after it.
Magi and Land Shark cooked up a search method which involved a lot of tunneling and leaping and fire. Torpedo swam out to search the lake. While Magi and Land Shark dealt with an avalanche, Torpedo spotted an air-filled underwater cave with lots of cheap camping gear and fast food wrappers scattered about. After letting Land Shark and Magi know what he was doing, he hid nearby and watched the entrance.
Eventually, a pair of somewhat shoddy-looking cyborgs flew into the area, checked some sort of scanning instrument they were carrying, and plunged into the water. They were followed shortly by Disco, who first took a moment to change into his aquatic costume (a silver speed-o with suspenders). The cyborgs looked around the cave, took some readings, and were preparing to leave when Torpedo and Disco attacked. The cybogs went down fairly quickly, although one of them did manage to temporarily nullify Disco's powers first.
They were able to determine that the cyborgs were cobbled together from a combination of Dimension Q technology and tech scavenged from Karza's soldiers. They had successfully identified Gamma's energy signature and had been about to follow her trail when the Scrap Pile stopped them. They did, however, have a legitimate Hero Corps operating license. Despite this, Magi sabotaged their jets so the Scrap Pile could get to Gamma first.
Gamma revealed that Smoking Mirror was actually a cyber-brain scavenged from the Karza War. IT had adapted it to ESPer technology so they could use it to brainwash people. Something about Gamma's powers had protected her from its effects, giving her the chance to flee. She believed that Sideshow, who was formerly known as The Clown, was also immune and was trying to get ahold of the brain for his own nefarious purposes.
Gamma revealed that Sideshow had once mentioned a contact called "Warmaster" and that neither Scorpio nor Jellyfish were known criminals. Jellyfish's powers had come from exposure to alien technology during the Karza War.
Magi took the opportunity to point out that they never should have made a deal with Qth-raq, and a few other old arguments resurfaced, but everyone had a nice dinner in the intensive care unit with the carry-out Disco brought from the Castillo Grande.