We ended up in the bathroom. After I made sure no one was in there with us, I checked the door and turned to Anna.
"Spill," I said.
"He's a power."
"Yeah, I kinda figured that out around the stage where he mind-controlled me," I said. "What does he want? Why isn't he, like--why isn't he under surveillance, or getting registered, or--"
"You aren't doing any of those things," she said, though her tone was reserved.
"I'm not using my powers on other students!" I said, trying to keep my voice under control. A moment afterward and I realized a crucial flaw in my premise. "Okay, I'm trying not to use my powers on other students. Anna--this guy--he can't do this sort of thing. What does he want from you?"
Anna squirmed with discomfort, looking for an easy exit. I didn't give her one. "He wants me to get him something," she said.
"Can he read minds?"
"No," she said. "Just give out commands, and--make people do things. Sometimes he can scramble brains, confuse people. Make you forget something you just saw."
"Okay," I said. "So he doesn't know--wait. Why hasn't he just controlled you? Made you get him whatever it is he wants?"
"I have defenses," she said, flushing with color.
"...defenses?" I said. "You aren't--wait, Anna, you aren't a power, are you?"
"No," she said. "God, no. But, uh," she looked around, as if worried someone might be listening in. "My mother is involved in that sort of stuff."
I stared at her. "Your parents... Are they capes?"
"No," she said, and a look of exhaustion settled across her face. "It's complicated, okay? What's important here is that Philip wants something I'm not giving him."
"And what is that?"
"It's called Synap. Syn for short. Have you ever heard of it?"
"Yeah. It's--it's not illegal yet, but nobody's supposed to have it," she said, her voice dropping lower. "They're gonna make it illegal soon, I'm pretty sure. Powers take it. It makes them go haywire. Take enough of it, and you can develop whole new abilities."
"Why does he want it?"
"He's a psychic, but he's not very powerful," she said. "If he went and got registered--he'd be, like--not enough to get into the cape business, you know? He couldn't really do anything with it. Maybe some government work... but he wants to, like, be a celebrity. Thinks if he takes enough of it--"
"He'll go all Xavier," I said.
"Great. So exactly why do you have this stuff?" I asked, my eyes narrowing.
There was a sound at the door; we both froze a moment, turning to it. Whoever was about to step in apparently had second thoughts. I turned back to Anna, waiting expectantly.
She was as red as a turnip.
"Well?" I said.
"I--um. I made some of it, once. A while back. And I might have asked him... to help me get some of the ingredients. His dad's a chemist, and--"
If I had heat-vision, I imagine I'd have been boring a hole through her skull. "Why did you make some of it?"
"Because--because I wanted to become a power."
I folded my arms across my chest. "And did you?"
"No," she said, and she looked like she was on the verge of tears. "It was stupid--the stuff can kill you if you're not a power. Heck, even some powers who take it end up dying--but I was really miserable, and I thought--"
"It's okay. I'm sorry," I said, reaching out to touch her arm. "I'm just worried."
"What are we going to do?" she asked, wringing her hands.
"We'll talk to Sumerset," I said. "He'll know."