First Cabal Member: We need to have Bauer arrested on trumped-up charges again before he finds out what we're really planning, which will have nothing whatsoever to do with anything that has happened so far.
Second Cabal Member: What are we really planning?
First Cabal Member: Those episodes aren't written yet.
— Dave Barry, "24: The Ultimate Script"
It's all about power: grabbing it, keeping it, using it... Power is our currency, our DNA, our God.
We control the world. We provide the blueprint and we give the instructions. We're the people in grainy photos on grassy knolls; we're the shadowy faces in smokey backrooms and darkened boardrooms. We're right here, hiding in plain sight, buying and selling favours: blackmail, treason, deceit- these are our stock in trade.
We work the magic of the drunken evenings with senators and chiefs of staff. We shake down demons, and negotiate with sorcerers. We have stocks in Hell, and compromising photos of Angels. We use any means necessary regardless of the cost, because the world is a bad place, and you can either do or get done.
Mayor: Er, Master Betty, what is the Evil Council's plan?
Master Betty: Nyah! It is EVIL! Haha! It is so EVIL! It is a bad, bad plan... that will hurt many... people... that are good. I think it's great 'cause it's so bad!
— Kung Pow!: Enter the Fist
Spoony: ...The Shadowy Council of People Who Sit in Poorly-Lit Rooms and Secretly Rule the World...
From Spoony's review of The Avengers, recounting the one thing he didn't really like in the movie
Sheridan: Who are you?
Man: Now, that's really not important.
Sheridan: Who are you?
Man: Who decides that the workday is from 9 to 5 instead of 11 to 4? Who decides that the hemlines will be below the knee this year, and short again next year? Who draws up the borders, controls the currency, handles all of the decisions that happen transparently around us?
Sheridan: (slightly confused) I don't know
Man: Ah! I'm with them. Same group, different department.
When shall we three meet again?
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
When the hurlyburly's done,
When the battle's lost and won.
That will be ere the set of sun.
Where the place?
Upon the heath.
There to meet with Macbeth.
—Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 1, 1-7