How did I know this was another dimension? Clouds in the sky hadn’t moved and reminded me of pretty pictures on artwork. It served as a simple enough sign. Plus, the teleport had been harder than normal. And Alice hadn’t shown up out of nowhere, yet, to start murdering.
She’d gotten really, disturbingly good at popping up out of the blue. Like if the President didn’t have a small army of people to prevent superpowered disasters, she could simply show up and off with his head. But he was covered. The man moves faster than I do, and I can outrun a… well, we’ve covered that already.
Onto the next order of business. There are best practices when landing in a new situation. For normal people, it should be the following; identify where you are, a safe place to stand, what you have, and take note of anything moving. Assume someone or something is watching or will be soon because teleportation doesn’t just “happen.”
I mean, sort of. Sometimes it does just happen.
My take on events after being relocated is a bit more streamlined due to the knowledge that life could always get worse but I’d never actually die. I search for the Four Bs. Bacon. Bathroom. Beer. And a bong. Boobs used to be in there but I’m trying hard to be semi-faithful. It’s difficult when people wearing skin-tight clothes are in front of me.
Like right now. Walker had left. There were still whatever-many people nearby. They ran an entire gambit of expressions, power presentation, attitude, and clothing tightness. Two had thrown their hands up and stomped off. A chunk shook their heads in disapproval. Others fidgeted.
I went first, “Well. I quit. Being around me tends to get people killed so I would be the best teacher ever.”
“Walker said you’d want to quit,” Whitewash said while rubbing her arms. “He said you can’t.”
“Of course he did,” I responded dryly. Walker had stupid time traveling powers.
Now, the last time I ran into someone who could see the future, I’d tried to be unpredictable. It sort of worked. Ted and his ex-wife, now remarried and on a four-month honeymoon according to a company Email, had come out of our encounter on top. Ted also had lots of time to plan his revenge, and while it hadn’t gone perfectly right, he’d still won. So, fighting anyone with knowledge of the future is tricky.
I got a crazy girlfriend, an annoying sidekick, and a job out of that mess. Technically it was a win on my side as well. For me, fighting future predictors is essentially letting my powers to throw wrenches into plans. For everyone else out there, don’t overthink it. Do what you’re going to do. The moment you second guess yourself in the face of someone who can predict the future, things go to shit.
Anyway, I closed my eyes tightly and took a deep breath then shook it off like a bad pop song.
“Hey.” I pointed to some of the taller students with sharp chins. “You guys party hard right? Where’s the liquor? I’m going to need fortification to deal with this brilliance.”
They glanced at each other, smiled in a way that oozed boyish charm, and chuckled. They did not answer my question. They would the first to be kicked in their sock-stuffed jockstraps.
“He said you’d say that. He wrote you’d say that. Technically,” Whitewash answered.
“Yeah. Walker’s a great man with amazing foresight. How old is he now? Seven billion in dog years?” As a brief recap, for anyone who didn’t get the message during my first story, when in a pinch I use sarcasm. It’s safe to assume anything I say is dry and not serious.
“And that,” Whitewash responded.
I raised a hand and mouthed a half-formed question. After thirty seconds of talking to these people I prayed for an interdimensional war. Rabid multiplying puppy dogs would have served as well. They were cute, mean, and swarmed. It would be terrifyingly adorable.
“He said you’d space out and daydream too.” Of course he had. Whitewash had a piece of paper in front of her. There was text on both sides that appeared to be handwritten in an archaic script.
My eyes fluttered in a roll then I waved at her. “I assume he had a next step. Somewhere on the cheat sheet?”
The paper clearly had notes on it. Those notes were probably about our entire conversation. How could he know that if he’d left? Walker might have something around here recording the events. Or invisible. See, there’s so many possibilities in the superpowered world that it’s absolutely stupid to worry about the “how” of situations.
“He said you’d want to stand over there about ten feet.” She pointed to my left, back inside where the force field had locked me. I did not want to stand there. “And that you should use the password Gizmoto in ten minutes.”
That made about as much sense as the rest of my life. Gizmoto might trigger a nuke. Knowing Walker, it would only be good in about ten minutes. Not nine, not eleven, but ten.
“And that?” I asked, pointing to the sheet in her hands.
Whitewash squinted then reread the paper. Her friend nudged her then pointed to the bottom end. I sighed and waited. The girl carefully folded the paper and handed it over.
I sighed while unfolding the paper and glared at the two girls. She had taken away all that pain but it wouldn’t put her in my good graces. She’d be higher than Midnight, who was still on the ground.
On the sheet, the last bit read, “The current iteration of The Fiasco takes the piece of paper and reads it. Hello. Move to the designated spot. The password is above. Midnight will hate you forever if Whitewash touches her. Whitewash’s sister, Leticia, will beat you to a pulp if you order Whitewash to interact with Midnight. Midnight will die without Whitewash’s help. Hold onto this paper for nine minutes.”
My eyes fluttered in annoyance. I didn’t step to the spot mentioned. I had no other way to argue with Walker other than by disregarding him. To my knowledge, I had that luxury since he hadn’t zapped me out of existence. He probably couldn’t.
“Did he leave you a personal message predicting what you’ll do?” Clinton or Kennedy asked.
I nodded, bundled up the piece of paper and threw it away.
“Don’t feel bad. He does it to everyone,” Kennedy or Clinton said. “Sometimes we get them in the mail. Normally they’re threats to tell our parents when something is out of line.” The boys shared a glance and both shuffled. “Like, before.”
“How old are you all-stars? Future paragons of tomorrow? Heroes of the new era?” I couldn’t decide on what to call them.
“Old enough,” one of the smirking chins on the right said. Yes, I know, chins don’t smirk. He had a chin. It was cut. He smirked. The chin made the smirk smirkier which made me want to hit someone. Flux used to be able to copy me a psychic hammer about the size of a street lamp to beat people with but he’d dropped the pattern in favor of a mechanics monthly magazine and refused to update the material. He loved the saucy workbench on page fifteen.
“Which one of you is which?” I asked of the dynamic duo.
“Clint,” Clinton said. He was the taller one and not a speedster. His hair was in spikes.
Kennedy, the speedster with windblown hair answered next, “Ken. You know my brother.”
He had blond hair and a lanky build, but that meant nothing. His visible face helped but the biggest giveaway were the jawbones. They poked out sharply. Powers also tended to run in families and were often the same type of ability.
“Bolt, something?” He was the speedster out of area fifty-two. The one who’d want to put a tracking device on me to make life easier. I talked about him before.
“That’s him. He’s working on the east coast now. Bolty said you were there for the mole people invasion months ago. You made an impression by standing up to the army and turning them around. He said you saved lives.”
“Fucking mole people.” I blanked out again for a moment.
It’s a weird feeling to be appreciated for being an omen of disaster to an entire species. Mole Peoples, cockroaches of the superhero world, dubbed me the Herald of Failure. That would have been fairly standard, except Mole People failed everywhere. I just happened to be around about eighty percent of the time.
I hoped, rather wickedly, that Alice and I might go to one of their capitals this summer. We could see the statue of me in all its depressive glory then paint the town red. The latter part would be mostly her.
Now, I’ve been painting a kind and orderly picture of the students. This is partially a lie. A lot more than the five of them were talking. Whitewash, Leticia, Clinton, Kennedy, and Midnight are simply the only ones who matter to the rest of this tale.
If you want more details, imagine for a moment that the following sort of whispered conversation happened the entire time I stood there. Though none had dared chatter too loudly while Willem was present.
“Who is that?”
“Is that Adam? What is he doing here? I know Mister Walker said he was our teacher but he can’t be serious.”
“Adam killed my mother. He must prepare to die.”
“He should be taller.”
“He helped put my dad in jail.”
“I mean he’s got no muscles.”
“Well he punched me in the baby maker when I was ten years old and triggered my powers. He’s wiry.”
“Adam, tell me. Is Alice really as hot in the sack as you make her out to be on your video feeds?”
“Why would you ask about Alice? What about the Edible Beg? Or Ice Princess? She’s a teacher here. Remember, he talked about her on his first airing with Hero Watch.”
“I can’t tell what Alice sees in you.”
“I can’t believe it’s really him.”
“Please. With his powers? You were bound to see him eventually. We all were. This is just a lot sooner than I expected.”
And so on. Fifteen or more people who were on the tail end of being teenagers or barely stepping into adulthood, were busy berating me, fighting each other to get to me and deliver a punch to the face, or holding their friends back. Everyone except for the five I mentioned above and the two frat boys with their chiseled jaws and clear political futures.
“Okay. There’s a lot of you. And chances are if I hang around, one of you will do something annoying. Like two of you will launch an evil plot to take over the class. I don’t know.” Their future complications would be varied and convoluted. I knew, because they were always a tangled mess that made baby mama drama tame. I’d seen far too many superpowered people at various stages of their journey. “Whitewash and angry protector lady, Walker gave me the choice of having you heal Midnight.”
The students had different reactions. I plugged an ear to help pretend they didn’t exist and continued attempting to negate Walker’s nonsense orders.
“I don’t care what you do. Apparently, you three have a thing where you hate each other. Great. I also don’t plan on being a teacher here because my life is complicated enough. And I am not a good role model on preventing stupid stuff.”
“But you’ve seen a lot, right?” the woman wearing a full-on motorcycle helmet asked. She had regular clothes, jeans and a t-shirt. The mask had to be something high tech. The smooth rounded corners and stiff nature didn’t strike me as a magical item. Magic helmets normally had gems. Shiny, annoying gems.
I paused then worked on exercising a more investigative stance. Hero Watch still paid me. People still clicked links. Money let me buy Alice stuff, or help with her college because regular Alice tried to have a normal life. Therefore, trying to be a professional was theoretically required, like my paychecks.
“All right. Let’s, uhhh, be more formal. Flux, where are we at?”
He beeped. I didn’t understand an ounce of it but put out my hand. The floating camera came with a lot of features, most of which were still mysteries. Some days I had a few hours to try and figure them out, most days I didn’t. Occasionally Flux copied me awkward and unwanted articles about other heroes, which I used as toilet paper.
“Right, microphone.” He gave me a suspicious looking device that might have come from a girl’s nightstand. It didn’t faze me, I simply brought it up and spoke into the pink bit of plastic.
A student in the back asked, “What is he doing?”
“I don’t know. He took the notes,” Whitewash responded.
I kept talking. “We’re going to pick up at a new location. Standing here is a crowd gathered by Walker himself, time line stepping mastermind and hidden overlord of the world.” Flux beeped. “Okay, technically I think he’s the third overlord. A timelord perhaps. Remember to check the dossier section of Hero Watch’s website for what little we know. Most of it’s probably redacted.”
“I think he’s doing a webisode?” Clinton said.
“A what?” Kennedy responded.
“His internet site? Hero Watch? We’re being debuted,” Clinton said with a trace amount of awe.
“So, behind me are a bunch of yappers likely to get themselves killed during their first fights. I’ve been told I’m now one of their teachers. I’m not sure how that’ll work since I doubt I’ll be…” I leaned over to one of the students. She pulled away with a disgusted face that I’d learned to ignore years ago. “Where are we?”
“It’s a secret,” Leticia shouted for her companion.
“Brilliant,” I answered while standing upright again and totally not side eying the pink device in my hands for strange buttons. “So, we’re in a totally secret location. Because it’s a secret, it’s pretty likely one of you people out there has already figured out where we are. It’s even more likely that someone is already working on breaking in. I’d suggest not doing so, because Walker oversees this place.”
I spoke for my viewers’ benefit. In a few days, I’d get an internet connection and clone someone’s laptop. It should last long enough to fire up the website at some coffee shop and see how people reacted.
“This place is secure,” the angry one hovering over Whitewash said. She probably uttered this defensive statement on her delicate flower’s behalf. Whitewash seemed wishy washy and a nervous sort.
“Behind me, chattering among themselves, are at least three named heroes. This is Whitewash, she has a hang-up with Midnight, who’s passed out on the ground and might die soon. “
That set off Leticia. She stepped toward me and swung. I stood, calmly expecting interference from those above. Leticia’s fist caught me in the jaw. My head whipped sideways and pain blackened my vision. I toppled over Midnight, who hadn’t been healed, and fell into the teleportation.
“Don’t you dare bring that up,” Leticia said, looming over me and waving a glowing white fist of probable doom.
I rolled my eyes and worked my jaw back into position.
Flux whirred and once again narrowed his red lens at me. I flipped him off. He bobbed slightly in acknowledgement. We had that kind of relationship. Flux watched me do stupid stuff with amusement and I hated him for not copying me nukes to throw at assholes. I mean he could. I didn’t have the powers to set them off. Setting off nukes, when they’re in rocket shells, is way harder than it sounds.
“Part of my training as an ace reporter requires me to ask why,” I said. Caring and asking were entirely different.
“None of your business,” Leticia responded.
“It’s the name, right? Whites and Nights never get along. Always some stupid sayings about standing in sunlight while she’s darkness incarnate—” my dramatic hand shaking got cut off as the angry one stomped toward me. My face still hurt from the prior punch. Leticia’s fist flared with that ugly blurry white color.
She did a way better job with the violent gesture. I wished my limbs could glow. Not white. I wanted a cool murder red or dramatic shiny silver. Maybe some imposing black.
Leticia babbled something. I tuned out the classic rant until she got to be too much. Walker had given me a captive audience.
“So, class, as your temporary teacher against derp. This, right here”—I waved the microphone up and down at Leticia—“is stupidity. You don’t threaten people. It makes you sound like an idiot and doesn’t accomplish anything if your target’s not afraid of you.”
Whitewash fidgeted. Clinton and Kennedy shook their heads and smiled. The drunk frat brothers in the corner with whatever powers and smirking chins outright laughed.
Leticia responded with more anger. She shook and vibrated white. “I’ll make you afraid then.”
I dusted myself off and wished for a new shirt. Flux spun around in circles and backed up to get a better angle. He came with a panoramic mode for exactly this sort of nonsense.
My heels dug in and I kept pointing out her flaws. I’d resolved before not to let anymore stupid heroes push me around. It’d only taken one woman overdosing, seven seasons of television shows, a hotel that turned into chaos incarnate, and years of frustration.
“Afraid? Of what? Of your sparkling personality and anger management issues? The zealous overprotectiveness of your whoever she is?” Their ambiguous relationship bothered me. “Some perceived and undoubtedly long list of slights between these two? Well done. Your hero name should be White Knight. Get it? Between Whitewash and Midnight.”
She kicked with a foot that had been dipped in glow-in-the-dark paint.
We hit the ten-minute mark. I found out why this timeframe had been important because the sky shimmered. Clouds bent and distorted. A large mass bubbled behind them and the entire horizon crisscrossed with electrical surges of energy.
Oh, and Leticia’s foot bounced off the recently reactivated shielding. She cursed. Whitewash squeaked. Midnight groaned and jerked weakly. Dying kittens had more energy. That sobering thought painted a clear enough picture. I tore my gaze away from the protruding whatever bubbling through the ceiling to spare her more than a glance.
She wore simple clothes, a shirt, and jeans that had sparkles on the back pockets. They were dirty and had holes at the knees which were not a design feature. She filled out the jeans but had a slender top half. Her laying there, breathing heavily and sounding like a sick old man having a heart attack worried me.
I’d resolved to not let people push me around anymore. I’d also decided to renew my own efforts to prevent people from dying. Not out of any joy at being in a powered person’s presence, they were still the bane of my existence. Or I theirs. Whatever.
“Whitewash, are you going to heal her?”
Whitewash shook her head. Leticia rolled on the ground, still grabbing her leg and cursing. The bulging sky shielding got worse the longer they goofed around. All the other students, that is to say, ones who hadn’t been mentioned in Walker’s note, were busy watching us like it was an episode of some drama television show.
“Okay, the rest of you? Classic hero situation. While you’re all looking at me, no one is paying attention to that.” I pointed up to the breaking force field. It might be some other construct, but the idea was simple enough. We were in a place that had been protected from the outside. That giant creation was going to come through.
See? I’d been here maybe fifteen minutes and people were already breaking in. Such is my life.
Clinton asked a vaguely intelligent question, “What is that?”
“Bad? Crashing? Invasion? Take your pick,” I said while nodding seriously. “So, you’re in classes or something. What’s next? You use powers to stop it? It looks really big. And if this place is secure, then whatever that is will either be really weak upon busting in or is so strong nothing you do will be able to stop it. Good luck!”
I waved at them with both hands until they started chattering among themselves. They could come up with a plan for defense. My skills as a bystander wouldn’t do any good, and Flux could copy me an object but I had no idea which ones were of any use. The magazine’s epic page fifteen wouldn’t stop a spaceship.
Now, a lot of this tale so far has been me talking at you. That’s partially because we’re recapping prior events, reintroducing people, and catching up with the new stuff. For anyone who’s forgotten, my ability “lets” me attract superpowered events. These tend to happen in direct relation to threats upon my life or when it was too peaceful and quiet in my localverse. Walker had been right, I’d seen a metric ton over the years.
That’s how I knew about the giant thing busting in. It’s how I knew that these two, Midnight and Whitewash, would be at odds with each other because of the whole color thing. Events followed a standard flow that only branched out in so many ways. If Midnight changed her name to Pain Maker Lady, it’d probably resolve the whole situation.
A hero flew straight toward the bulging air bubble distortion with two more winging up behind him. I didn’t feel surprised. When they glowed or fired beams I would enjoy a light show. When Midnight grabbed my arm and the pain in my skull resurfaced, I buckled and cried out.
“Must kill you,” she weakly said. Her words were hard to hear over the flickering pain that arched through me.
I raised a shaky arm and karate chopped her on the head. Midnight flopped to one side. She shuddered violently, and blood oozed from one ear.
“That’s bad right?” I said, worried my equally weak attack had caused her brain to turn to mush.
“I don’t care if you’re a no-go, if you make Whitewash touch her, I’ll find a way to kill you,” Leticia said.
I snapped. “Well if Whitewash doesn’t heal her, Midnight will probably die. That was on the note. So, you decide if you want to be an overly aggressive bitch and stop her from saving someone, or let Whitewash decide for herself like a potential adult.”
“I’d rather have The Land back. Sis, I’m killing him. Worst case, Walker will just rewrite history.” With that wonderfully deluded reasoning, Leticia marched toward me, the pasty white glow from before infused her whole body.
“Wake up! You’re not five anymore. You’ve got powers. People will die around you. I don’t know what color the sand is that you’ve stuck your head into—” Now I’m going to pause here again. A shield was between us. I had immortality and powers on my side. I also had a sore jaw from being clocked. And resume. “—but you’re not helping. You’re not. You try to kill me and this all goes from mildly annoying to bad. Then from bad to worse. And worse to—”
She straight up started demolishing the shield with a series of punches that might have been from boxing. I don’t know, all kicks and punches were the same to me. A child could have been flailing wildly with all four limbs and I’d consider them on par with a material arts master, especially where powers are involved.
Midnight groaned and rolled on the ground. The shield held. Whitewash ignored her sister and bent to touch the bleeding woman who probably couldn’t string a coherent thought together.
This time I got to watch what happened. Pale energy, much like that on Leticia, flashed from Whitewash’s eyes and flowed down both arms. There it mingled and swirled around, mixing almost seamlessly with a blacker energy.
I ignored Leticia’s childish tantrum on the shield that separated us. It wasn’t interesting. People wanted to kill me all the time and if I stopped to take in every little detail this world would be boring. And detailed.
It was the pensive sort of way that Whitewash touched the other girl. The way their energy mixed. The anger of her sister. It told me that there were two possibilities, but one stood out as more likely than the other. See, there’s a flipside to the whole night and day black and white standoffishness. They either don’t get along at all, or they get along, really, really well. To the point that pants drop and noises are made. If I had to bet on a reason for their dysfunction, especially in light of that almost perfectly harmonious blend of gray, it would be something sexual and family judgment.
“So—” I almost opened my big mouth and spilled the whole thing.
Leticia’s strikes increased in shield shaking intensity and her white energy changed to a pink that reminded me of strawberry milk. That told me she knew. Mixing their powers clearly worked because in the half a minute Leticia flailed, Midnight already looked better. She moved slowly but the motions were less jerky.
“Well, at least your sister isn’t a bigot,” I offered.
Leticia’s aura of power went full red and she slammed into the shield. It rippled then shattered. I sighed. The world blurred and I suddenly felt dizzy, disconnected, and nauseous.
“You can’t kill the teacher,” someone said.
My ears popped and face scrunched. The world had a completely different view than before. Instead of watching Whitewash kneel over Midnight and touch her tentatively, I could see an angry red ass, or an ass lit up angry red, pause. Leticia looked left, then right for me before she turned and managed to project more irritation than before. Poor girl wore her emotions like a mood ring.
For anyone confused on what happened, like me for a good fifteen seconds, Bolty’s brother had whooshed me away. Speedsters make the world confusing.
“Seriously, after The Land was torn to shreds, we’re lucky to have any mentors. You know how many people Walker considered? Almost two hundred.” Clinton patted me on the shoulder. I hated him for being taller than me by almost half a foot. His goofy friend Kennedy was a bit more relatable.
“And the giant spaceship coming in matters more than your grudge.” Kennedy pointed at a ship, which had fully passed through the protective shield. There was a hole behind it that had pure blackness on the other side.
“Plus, he’s right. You’re being a bigot. Everyone in class knows it,” Clinton added. “You’ve been like it since day one of tandem power practice.”
My thoughts at this point were positive. The two guys were on my side. I mean, if they’d seen what I’d saw, they were probably all for a same sex relationship and telling family members who stood in the way to go to hell. There’s a lot of assumptions built into that speculation and only time would tell for sure.
Midnight stood with misleading ease. She pushed back Whitewash, glared at me, wiped away blood that dripped from her nose, and asked, “How are you still alive? I put enough pain into you to kill a herd of elephants.”
I poked my nose and wondered about the agony I’d had before being teleported. Pain hurts. I don’t like it. But it’s standard in the superhero world. It’s everywhere. Some round villain who liked to punch people in the face until their brains were mush once said ,“Life is pain” then grunted disgustingly. I’m sure a bunch of other people also said the exact same line, but this guy did it on national television during one of the bloodiest superhero battles in existence.
I’d been seventeen and my powers surfaced days before that event. That was my introduction to the powered world. Anyway, back to Midnight’s question of how I was still alive.
“Life is full of pain,” I told Midnight. “You learn what you can live with.”
She stared at me with eyes made of liquid darkness that were somehow blacker than her skin. I blinked at that realization, since she’d been a pasty white girl moments ago. Whatever effect that was had to be tied to her power. Which probably explained why Leticia didn’t like Midnight.
Eventually, as if I’d said something profound and not spouted some useless platitude, Midnight nodded.
“Ah, you’ve realized something valuable! Ta-da!” I threw both hands out then did half a bow. “I can quit knowing I’ve enriched a student. Just send me somewhere quiet, if you please. Like the Middle East.”
Which, despite what you might think, is one of the most peaceful places in the world. Superpowers can make or break a country. Anyway, the brief bit of pride on delivering a moral lesson, the kind where I had no clue what I’d imparted, faded quickly.
Leticia shook her sister violently. Whitewash was covered in a glow that was as pure as Midnight’s, but in the other direction. You know, white. Like I haven’t said that enough. Stupid superheroes with their names and powers being the same color.
“Tell me you didn’t,” Leticia shouted.
“She did, and I didn’t make her!” I helped.
The red glow dimmed, flickered to a blueish black combination then clicked off. “You know what happens! Your magic keeps melding with hers,” Leticia said.
See? This is the kind of stuff that makes me not want to pay attention to superpowered people. It doesn’t make sense. Leticia knew about the swirling grayness when the two of them touched. She was upset over it, and moments before I’d been assuming it was a high school drama, sex is complicated, type problem. I mean, it was, is, but with superpowers. Whatever.
“I had to,” Whitewash said.
She didn’t. Just so you know.
“She had to,” Clinton and Kennedy stated in unison.
“You didn’t,” Leticia responded while shaking her sister even more. The white glow from the pain reliever faded in time with Midnight’s own encasing darkness sliding away. In moments, they looked like college aged girls.
“Each time you interact, the backlash gets longer. You’ve seen it! You’ve felt it,” Leticia said.
“I had to help her,” Whitewash said while shaking her head.
Oh God, they were at it again. “Spaceship! Doom. Doomtastic doomy doom falling slowly toward us,” I shouted, hoping to avoid them going into a conversational spiral of annoying.
“Spaceship,” Clinton said. He nodded seriously like he’d been paying attention but his tone implied he couldn’t be bothered to care.
I turned to figure out where the falling pile of lead had gotten to. It hung up there, as if fighting the inevitable fall from orbit. Small thrusts on the base fired off while heroes wearing capes and other stupid accessories shot beams of light.
Another ship burst through from blackness, followed by a dozen tiny single person vessels. I took in the sight and immediately hated Walker for bringing me here. At this point, you could probably guess my next thoughts. For anyone not psychic, here’s what they were.
“Great, mole people now have spaceships.” Followed quickly by “Ew, Vivian’s working with mole people.”
An Accord On All Sides
There are rules to being a powered person. By “rules” I mean guidelines;
Don’t involve civilians
Don’t involve family
Keep damage minimal
Military heroes stay in their own countries
All of these sayings come with a caveat of “when possible.” Realistically, following these guidelines is unlikely without an overwhelming power bringing down the hammer. Amoral people can be heroes, villains, in between—and become blinded in pursuit of their goals. Human emotions are harder (and perhaps stronger) to manage when powers turn impulse into an explosive action.
A handful of people on every single side have agreed to bring “the hammer” down on those who get out of hand. This is an international and occasionally interplanetary group. The biggest point they agree on is trying desperately to separate government powered people from the rest.
When the media compares power people to mini nukes, capable of untold and renewable destruction, it seems best to make sure they’re not waving a country’s flag on foreign soil. Often, they don’t want heroes waving any flags at all, because when small gods choose sides, politicians get nervous, especially the few who aren’t sociopaths.
The rules are revisited every year. A list of those breaking the guidelines is reevaluated every year. People in gray areas are repeatedly questioned about their actions. When asked, Senior Lightning, leader of the Global Guardians LLC for fifteen years running, is quoted as saying “To the outsider, it often seems as if we are unable to make progress in the war against powered terrorism. But I see the men and women who work beside me struggle every day to prevent humanity, powered and normal alike, from falling over the precipice into extinction. There is no progress, there is only surviving another day. We are in this together, even if intelligent life upon this planet doesn’t act like it.”