[November 28, 2021]
It came in a blue folder. A color I had chosen to represent the ocean. Vast and all encompassing.
The ocean did not care about the land, only about the ocean. Much like what this folder represented.
I flipped open the folder to reveal only two sheets of paper, and two photos.
I flipped through the documents.
Name: Shelly Mara Brown.
Metahuman powers: Enhanced physical abilities, feline features
Included was a photo of a young woman. The before and after were almost the same.
Except for the cat ears, and the slit amber eyes.
I closed my eyes in thanks to the greater good. The karma of the island was positive as a cat girl was a much easier sell then something that looked like a reptile.
Killer Croc would have been a hell of a lot harder to sell.
Even when I had been traveling around as a mercenary for Val Verde, metahumans were a thing.
Rare, so very rare. But a known variable in the world.
I stared at the second sheet.
It was a sign contract. A grandiose permission slip, but it was so much more.
I pulled out a pen, and paper.
I had speech to write.
Shelly was a citizen of Val Verde, and with it came all the benefits of living on the island.
She would get taught like any other child. Regardless of what manifested, she was human.
No, she was more then that. She was a child of Val Verde.
In the face of that truth, nothing else mattered. As the Supreme Leader it was my duty to ensure that they all stayed safe.
I had seen what happened due to rampant racism and I would put down the military boot on anyone who tried anything.
My face lit up as I dreamed about any of these gifted children joining second service.
I would never push for it, unless the island faced imminent destruction. Yet I would also not turn away any who desired to sign up.
Oh the potential!
“I welcome to the new children, born with gifts that we can only fathom. Though they can change in appearance, their blood runs true! Children of Val Verde, do not fear this new gifts. Embrace them, as they love and nurturing like any other.”
There was more cameras now. Larger then our old ones. They were all high definition to deliver crisper visuals. Though I didn’t know how effective it was going to be considering that most still used older TVs.
This was a sign of our growth, and I embraced it.
Val Verde was going to shift into the new year. Shift in a big way.
“I am proud to introduce the first of our new metahuman children. May I introduce Miss Shelly Mara Brown!” I gestured to the camera’s left, and they all turned to the side of the stage.
There, wearing her formal school dress, was Shelly.
Her ears twitched, and her face was turning red as she shuffled forward. Blood rushed to her cheeks as she felt the eyes of the world on her.
She eyed the camera with trepidation, but she made it my side without issues.
The cameras followed her and only stopped when she stood at my side.
I placed a hand on her shoulder, and she closed the gap a little.
My smiled only grew as she met my eyes. Her golden eyes bore into mine. She took a moment, but she smiled back at me.
“Miss Brown is the first metahuman to appear before us. Her unique features makes it hard for her to blend in, but I do not blame anyone hiding their powers. Metahumans are powerful. Much like how we all learn to use, and respect the military goods that are apart of our everyday life.”
I stared into the cameras. I paused as I stared into them.
I couldn’t see them. My children. But I knew they were listening.
“These metahumans are not weapons. They are people like you and me. All citizens of Val Verde are protected by the people of Val Verde.” I glared into the camera as I gave Shelly’s shoulder a squeeze.
“Let this day mark its notch into history. We will not falter over paltry differences. It does not matter what unique gifts you may have, nor what you may offer. The seas may rage, but the mountains will remain steady!”
I stared at Shelly, her eyes were wide as I turned my gaze towards her. My eyes met hers, and for a moment it was only the two of us.
“Miss Brown. Your trails, and tribulations will be unique among your peers. Not all physical changes are as easy to accept as yours. But! I will support everyone. Val Verde supports you. Live your life as free as any other.”
I gave her shoulder another squeeze, and she nodded. Tears pooled in her eyes as my words cemented her future. A normal child with abnormal abilities.
She had fretted her changes. Cursed her fate.
The fact that the government, the island, her world, would support her meant more then I could ever know.
She had heard the stories. Other countries and grisly murders. Fear had ruled her days since she woke up with physical differences.
While Val Verde did not receive the latest news by Internet did not mean they were ignorant. Radio signals, special equipment for Internet by the privileged.
News print was still popular on the island.
Word of mouth.
There was still many ways for stories to pass across the island.
My words ensured her future.
I held up a bracelet. It was large, and gaudy. As I placed it on, it wrapped around a third of her left arm. The bracelet was easy to open and close.
“This is the prototype to the new meta inhibitor systems. It will suppress the metagenes for all who wear it. It will be mandatory for all who carry the meta X-gene. This is for safety purposes, but will not restrict you either.”
I gestured to Shelly and the girl unlatched her bracelet. As we had rehearsed, she was able to jump two meters into the air. Then she placed her bracelet back on, and her jump shortened to human performance.
“In case of emergency, the bracelet is easy to remove. The future versions will be slimmer, and lets be honest, better looking. Val Verde smiles upon you. May you sow karma for the greater good, and reap its rewards.”
I stared back into the camera. Pride filled me as I knew that we were ready to roll out prototypes to any who requested it. Future versions would look better.
All I needed was a way to actually teach the children on how to use their powers.
I should contact the Xavier institute. If there was a expert on formal metahuman education, that man had to be the most well known and respected.
“Rest well my children. This choice will have its difficulties, but we have persevered worse. We will stand united against disasters, big or small. As we always have.”
I gave the camera a final smile and turned to make my way off stage.
Miss Brown gave a tearful wave as she trailed behind me.
Candice was waiting with Kori and Fenris. The old man gave us a thumbs up as got off the steps.
“Good job Rico. You may be a shit soldier, but that was a good speech. Little dry though.” The man laughed as he also gave a thumbs up to Shelly. “You said it perfectly. I know that we made history today.”
I frowned at the crazy old man, and instead turned to Candice and Kori.
“It wasn’t that bad was it?”
“Friend Johnny, it was not boring enough to fall asleep to!” Kori smiled as she gave me a thumbs up. Candice broke into laughter.
I turned to my last ally.
Shelly smiled, but her face was focused on something else.
“Traitors. The lot of you!”
Chapter 22: The day they called Caturday