Danny nodded. “We know each other’s identities. Trust is pretty much a given. Can’t have that without being honest with each other. However, I want to make it clear that I haven’t made a decision yet. Not at least until I know how this works.”

“Of course,” Becca said. “Before we get started, I have a question for you that’s not on the forms. Why now? You’re in your twenties. Why have you waited so long before becoming active and pursuing work as a hero?”

“I’ve never been a villain or been employed by one, if that’s what you’re asking,” Danny replied. Becca didn’t say anything. Instead, she stared straight into Danny’s eyes, waiting for me to continue. “My powers awakened much later than the norm, and I’m still trying to figure out how to use my sonic blasts efficiently. When I first started, using a couple proved to be a major strain. Now, I can use half a dozen without tiring myself out.”

“And what caused this awakening? Do you know?”

Danny hesitated. Sasha had already outed him to Becca, and his hero carrier possibly relied on her. So, he told her the truth. “Are you aware of the attack on Sal’s Gym and Dojo last week?”

“Of course,” Becca replied. “Druid and Dryad pursued Power Merchant and his goons into the establishment. Then the Freaks jumped the pair and one of them decapitated Britain’s hottest woman of twenty-twenty-two. The reports are inconsistent and Malfunction destroyed the cameras in the area, but many witnesses reported on Jose the Lizard almost killing Druid.”

“It wasn’t the Freaks that decapitated her. If anything, they were trying to get Power Merchant, too. After Sasha had her blood sugar crash during the evenings’ deliveries, I took over. I was driving by the gym when the attack happened, and saw Power Merchant’s henchmen facing off against Druid and Dryad. Dryad fell before the Freaks arrived on the scene.”

“And this connects to your awakening how?”

“Druid got disarmed during the fight. He was in trouble and the Freaks came in and saved him before attacking Power Merchant’s henchmen. Druid was still a target and in trouble, so I got him his staff.

"And you got hit in the crossfire?”

Danny shook his head. “Power Merchant was waiting in the shadows, watching the battle unfold. He saw me help Druid and, while I was trying to flee, he shot me. I almost bled out while cycling home. My uncle brought me in and then I awakened.”

Becca raised an eyebrow. “You recovered from a gunshot in a week? Your powers come with a healing factor?”

“Eating food makes my body regenerate from wounds reasonably fast. I was in bed for two days before I could move without keeling over in agony.” Danny thought it best not to give her the minutiae of his powers. Turning rift monster essence into new abilities was a secret he didn’t intend to share with anyone. “That’s besides the sonic blasts and sensory abilities Sasha probably mentioned.”

“Most people that I represent or have represented had their powers for several years before they donned a mask,” Becca stated. “They took the time to hone their abilities and learned to use them effectively. We would screen their powers for a preliminary rating, but that won’t be as effective on you since powers can change and develop drastically in the first couple of years after awakening. Still, a measurement will help in calculating a good jumping off point.”

“I still need to know what I can expect as your client.”

“It’s important that you understand that by going in through me, you’ll never officially make it as a rostered League member, but they’ll still issue you a licence, letting you operate as a hero. That won’t stop you from finding sponsors and finding other avenues of earnings, though. The downside is for the next ten years, my agency will have the rights to your name and your hero likeness. That means every endorsement, sponsorship, ad campaign, or whatever you take part in, I’ll get a cut. However, instead of a PR team working on all rostered heroes and prioritising high earners, you’ll have my full attention. I have an entire floor of my children working to do the best for my small pool of clients.”

“That’s good and all, but my primary concern is regarding my identity and keeping my family separate from my super life,” Danny said.

“As soon as you walked through the doors of this building, all of my staff and me are liable if your identity is ever leaked,” Becca replied. “It doesn’t matter whether you sign with me or not. That stands. Even if you break the law or defect—I hope you don’t—the League will require major subpoenas to access your records. That’s assuming you don’t turn into a terrorist or a serial killer, of course. If you’re openly committing violent crimes and there is evidence of it, we will have to hand over the information, eventually.

“My agency will take care of costume production and design. Everything we make is state-of-the art and designed to keep your DNA safe—given something doesn’t get through your armour and leave fluids, skin, and bone everywhere. We have a security team that scours the HoloNets around the clock for leaks regarding our heroes. This involves hackers erasing compromising CCTV footage.”

“So I get major bang for my buck for thirty-per-cent of whatever I make off my hero persona.” Danny stared at the coffee table thoughtfully. The deal felt perfect for his needs. “The ten-year term bothers me, though. A lot can change in that timeframe.”

“Indeed, it can. The contract doesn’t force you to continue as a hero. The contract involves the brand you build while working with us. When you first start off, you won’t be making a lot of money. However, our outfitting team, security, and the public relations floor will work for you tirelessly to ensure your career has the best launch. We need to recover our investment and then expect a minimum period of profit from all the work we put in.”

“That’s understandable,” Danny said, taking her words in. “I’m in.”

“We still need to do your physical, but I’m pleased with your basic IQ and psychological evaluations,” Becca said. “Talking to you has been pleasant, too. Too many of the supers that come to me for representation—hero or civilian work—have bloated egos. You’re not one of them, fortunately.” She offered Danny her hand again, and he shook it. “I foresee a long and pleasant working relationship.”

“Me too, Becca. I’m not sure I’m ready to join the League yet, though.”

“We can discuss that after your physical.”


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About the author

J Pal

  • London


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