"She calls them the Red Crown Society," Jace explained. "Popularity is a virus. It spreads like a disease. When Big Red takes you under her wing you feel amazing. They are courted with their insecurities. She pinpoints their weaknesses and use it as a way to gain their trust. She give the illusion of them earning entry into this elite membership only club, marked with a red crown.
You spent the past 20-something years as a loser and finally someone understands that the bullies and mean girls who put bubblegum in your hair, but she pats your ego and gives you a lolly pop and a pretty pin and you're memorized by her words. You're a queen, at least for the next few weeks or so, and you sit on your throne and revel in the chance to finally soak in the approval of their peers.
"The crown is injected with a virus that begins to infect the wearer from the moment she first touches it. It only takes a few days to complete the infection before they are sired under her control. They will begin to come at her call, no matter the distance. She tells them who they are to associate with. She threatens them. She criticizes them. She talks behind their backs. They defend her. And they are oblivious to the mind control. They trust her.
The virus is more than just a chemical bond to her.
Most of the time they don't realize they are worker ants, spreading the virus. She gives them sustenance they need to survive if they carry out her plans. They don't realize that they are contractually obligated to stay committed to her, and their lives depend on it.
If, by a split chance, a friend of family member is able to remind them of their life before the virus entered their blood stream, they might try to run. But she will win. She always wins. Before they know it they are going through terrible withdrawals. They crawl back to her. Or, the virus mutilates and they destruct. Exactly how she planned.
He slid a manila folder across the table. Logan opened it to see news clippings and head shots of young women, possibly in their early 20s. She recognized some of their faces from the local news, but the headlines listed cities from across the state.
Logan flipped through the file, browsing the headlines and looking at the ladies straight in their eyes.
"These girls, who died," Logan wasn't sure she wanted to know the answer, but she knew she had to ask. "How did they die?"
"[Adrienne] was murdered. The virus was still weak and she resisted the infection. Big Red was furious and lashed out." Logan knew [Adrienne]. She was the only victim in the string of unexplained murders that she had actually met. "Her murder was perhaps the most vicious because it was fueled by rage as well as the vendetta."
"[Nina]'s suicide was tragic for everyone. She had been infected in the beginning and the virus was able to mutate and attack her genetics for two years before it worked it's way to her brain. I wish I had gotten to her in time. I would have taken her from her misery much quicker, and without the casualties."
"[Emma] is the only person we know who was able to infect another. We were too late. " Logan tried to think back to the head shots pasted on the television screen during the 6:00 news. The name [Emma] sounded familiar, but she couldn't link her name to a face. "She had infected [Kristina], and we were forced to take them both down. "
"[Willa] was another one of Big Red's kills. We had been tracking her, because of her relationship with Emma and Kristina. We knew they were capable of transmitting the virus to more women and we had heard rumors of a plan to bring in a new crew."
"[Willa's] mother identified the virus within her and tried to treat her. Big Red couldn't have known she infected one of the old country's oldest doctor's daughter. As [Willa] regained self control of her mind Big Red refused to let her go on her own terms. She was promptly removed from the program."
"There are still countless young victims under her control. We are trying not to terminate their existence until we know they are transmitting the virus. Big Red knows we on tracking her spawn and she is warning them, and they report back to her. She is our ultimate target and we don't need her catching on to our attack."
Logan gasped, and stopped on a photo of herself.
"The hunt for you has clearly been terminate now that we know you were not infected," Jace explained when he noticed the picture. "It still isn't clear how you were able to maintain immunity during your time under her command."
"The ones with the marker on their photos are the people we want you to find." Jace had no emotion in his voice as he told her.