Let’s not talk about Ham Star the Brown-Black Hole from Uranus. Let’s also not stress about the stupid three-way war in space between crystal formed aliens, sentient mole people, and a fucking intergalactic pirate who I dated in high school. We’ll get back to those.
Let’s instead focus on the state of our nonsensical flying space van as it plummeted toward Earth’s moon. We weren’t flying so much as having a theoretically controlled crash. Yes, that's right. We'd moved onto the next phase of our epic vacation. The van itself was missing the hood. I don’t know where it went. I don’t know how we didn’t get sucked into the void. Magic. Science. I’ve gone over this point so many times and I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around it.
Having been in controlled crashes, I can tell you there are worse places to land than the moon, but not many. Chicago, for example, which comprises an eighteenth-century city that has been lifted out of Arthurian legend, with knights on the east side, and a swamp that believes mosquitoes are in vogue on the western end. If that sounds normal, imagine that both creatures, knights and mosquitoes, are over sized monsters out for blood, by the liter. You might ask why these creatures are restricted to Chicago, and I’m not telling.
And while I can’t say what a normal moon would look like. I can tell you what one in a land full of super powered lunatics looks like. There were former bases for superheroes, villains, and senators, which are somewhere in the middle but no less destructive. At least a dozen airplanes could be seen from pretty much any location, one of which might have been flown by the Wright Brothers. Scavenger robots were busy stealing all the metal for re-purposing. There were real lakes and one very angry miniature cloud that rained on anyone having a good day. And the international heroes base.
I’d been to the moon before. It was one small step for Adam, one great disaster for moon-kind.
In short, we were flying in a pile of metal shit, straight for an uneven mess of miscellaneous shit, and the brakes seemed to be disconnected. Probably because the brake pedal had been crushed under Lady Alexandrea’s foot.
“Pull up?” I suggested. “Do some laps around the moon? Take some pictures. Maybe get Clint an aspirin and let him slow us down.” Gravity had to work in my favor for once, dammit.
Our metal bender’s nose bled. The girls were all unconscious. Kennedy’s eyes were wide but the speed and impending doom apparently didn’t bother him. I assumed he could zip out at the last second and save his boyfriend at the same time.
“We will make it,” Lady Alexandrea said while gritting her firm jaw. Our path continued straight for a building in the distance that reminded me of a thumbs-up.
“To headquarters? No way. We’ll be lucky to land in one piece.” I felt kind of sad. My sarcasm had gone downhill since meeting with Ted. Getting laid regularly probably helped with bitterness.
“One piece?” Clinton said and shook his head. “We’re lucky there’s no electric poles on the moon.”
“Oh, there are,” I corrected him for once.
“We will make it. We must. Time is against us on this adventure.” Our driver was clearly insane. “I will not venture across the lakes of our foes unless we must!”
“Yeah, we’ll be just in time to meet the ambulances at the crash site,” I said. My eyes drifted up toward space. Fighting continued out there, so clearly this war had grown larger than I expected. Last time, when Cindy and her drunk unicorn hauled me off, there hadn’t been a war going on. It’d been an escort mission that went all sorts of sideways.
Our van rattled. One of the headlamps cracked. Or maybe it didn’t and it was simply hard to see. I put my hands on the dashboard and braced for impact. While survival would be guaranteed due to my powers, crashing hurt like a bitch.
Down we went.
“Bet the tilt-o-wheel didn’t prepare you for this!” I declared happily. What else could I do? Think about how the moon’s surface grew closer? Dwell on the fact that we weren’t going to make it to the thumbs-up building which was an interplanetary space hero base? Or maybe I could consider how we were veering toward the wreckage of a battleship that had probably been in the Manhattan Project and would be irradiated beyond reasonable levels and have slimes living inside of it?
That’s a joke, of course. I thought of all those things and didn’t feel happy at all. Our path went exactly as I’d feared.
“Igwargle,” Clinton said, or something close. It made no sense.
We hit the edge of the half-buried ship and skipped off the side. My body jerked. People in the back screamed. Lady Alexandrea glared at the moon and twisted the tiny metal bar between her fingertips. I looked at her, the wiggling horizon then closed my eyes. It seemed easier than remembering I was powerless to stop us from crashing.
The world spun. I felt sick. None of those were new given the insane ride we’d been on. We went up, then down, then sideways and in a circle. I opened my eyes briefly to peer through the windshield and watched the moon’s horizon spin.
“Everyone out!” Lady Alexandrea shouted.
The door to our van opened almost instantly. I turned with eyes wide and saw a blur dodge outside. First Kennedy vanished, then Clinton, Leticia, and Whitewash followed by Midnight. They were gone by the time I realized Kennedy had started moving at superspeed.
He took the evacuation order to heart.
I had half a second to relax and couldn’t do it. The belt buckle clicked, I felt pressure on my chest and head. The vehicle vanished and I banged something but we were a hundred feet away from the van before the pain registered.
“God. Mother. Son of.” I uttered a dozen more half started curses while grabbing my head. Oh it hurt, for sure. I couldn’t concentrate on anything for a few breaths. Then I remembered I could breathe, because this is the moon and superpowered people didn’t like being stranded here with no air.
“Fuck!” I shouted long and loud. It felt good to get it out. Hopefully my voice would carry to some government satellites and a pencil pusher in D.C. would shout out the same word in a few seconds.
Three girls were on the ground. Two were still half comatose, but the paler one shot up and clawed at her throat. “I’m going to die, help me, I’m going to die.” Midnight was losing her mind. “I can’t go out like this.”
“You’re not going to die,” I said.
“There’s air,” Clinton confirmed. He spent more time looking after the overloaded Kennedy.
“We’re on the moon! God help me why did I want to go with you idiots to the moon?”
That was the most I’d heard out of the girl, and all it took was the panic of near-death.
“Welcome to the moon. The air’s breathable here,” I said.
“It is?” Whitewash asked. She moved a lot slower than her whatever-you-call-Midnight. Regardless, the sister’s perpetual confusion got old quick.
I tried not to vent frustration on her. She couldn’t have been much older than I was when my powers first hit. Abilities were a mess for normal people too, probably. Maybe. I mean fuck them for having easy stuff to deal with like mind melding.
I got back on point. “Yeah. Or at least it is every time I end up here.”
Metal crashed. I looked over to see a slow-moving cloud of dust shoot into the air then spread further than it would have on Earth. It reminded me that we were in a lower gravity environment and that we had a seventh member to our insane field trip.
Lady Alexandrea strolled out of the wreckage without a wound on her. No soot or moon dust, or anything. Sure, the cloud about her puffed, but none landed on her. I couldn’t say for sure, but I suspected her bulging muscles were so powerful that mere debris from the ruined van wouldn’t dare scratch her clothes.
“Base that way.” I pointed in a direction that might have been right and paused. “I mean. Is everyone all right?”
“No,” Clinton said.
“I feel sick,” Kennedy offered. He looked as pale as Midnight. Which is a hard thing to say out loud without laughing.
Who didn’t? I gave my suggestions. “There’s lots of places to throw up. If it’s projectile enough and you tilt right, you might be able to hit the earth.” My hands folded together in a sharp gesture toward the far marble.
“I’m going to figure out how to kill you,” Leticia said. Of the mess of us, only she still lay upon the moon’s surface. “With lots of pain.”
“And pancakes!” I happily chimed in. “Can’t go wrong with being murdered after breakfast. If I die,” which I probably wouldn’t, “I’d like to have a full stomach. Or steak. Or Kizbillions.” My gaze drifted off in memory. Kizbillions were kind of like creampuffs with half an orgasm mixed into the sauce. You got fatter and very confused about your sexuality after eating one.
Anyway, there were miles of messy land to cover. We weren’t dead yet, and the battle above continued. The teenagers squabbled about life in general. I gave Lady Alexandrea a once over. She clapped twice and the remaining dust scattered further away.
“We were fortunate to land under an atmosphere casting satellite,” Lady Alexandrea stated while glancing upward briefly. The teens followed her gaze up. “There are only six working right now.”
Above us, I saw a floating metal thing that looked like every other floating metal thing. It did floating metal magic or science or whatever. I assumed, from the cleverly pointed name, that it likely gave us breathable air and heat. How, didn’t matter.
She got closer while I sighed and rubbed my arms. The area was cold as hell but not outright freezing. “I’m sure it was luck,” I responded. “And not some,” I took a deep breath and a wild stab in the dark, “idiot toaster humper fucking around with fancy machines!”
There was a beep. I turned around and Flux, who’d been strangely absent the entire time, was less than ten feet away. Its red light dimmed and brightened as the metal iris frame spun. The machine looked up, then down, then back up again. Lights, much like a copying machine scanning a picture, beamed from Flux into the air.
Then a second atmosphere whatever printed out of nothingness. It beeped, fluttered up like a balloon, and the area got warmer.
“What?” Clinton said dumbly. He stared at Flux and me. I shrugged.
“Coincidence isn’t. Welcome to my world. You should probably start running now,” I said.
“What?” Clinton repeated. Leticia slowly stood up with the help of her sister. They turned to look at the same thing I’d taken note of seconds ago and haven’t explained yet.
Ships were headed straight for us. Behind them, a hamster of epic proportions, and I mean epic, such that we could clearly tell it was a hamster from a hundred miles away, rolled after them in an equally enlarged hamster ball.
I waved at my childhood pet-gone-cosmic. He gave a few short chitters that felt like sonic attacks. My ear popped. I hoped that was a friendly greeting and not a deformed “you made me this way” sort of anger.
“Where are our defenses?” Lady Alexandrea shouted. Her hands waved and body twitched all seven billion pounds of muscle at once. She turned and readied her arms, as if she intended to leap at Ham Star herself and take on the whole mole people armada at once. Her legs bunched as she prepared to leap.
“Should you—” my question died as she ignored me, all common sense, and leapt off the fucking moon toward the oncoming swarm of ships. She’d probably win and be holding her breath at the end.
Some people had all the luck when it came to superpowers. I felt envy watching her herculean form smash through two ships then somehow pivot off a third into a fourth. Tin can mole people spaceships exploded in quick puffs of flame.
Ham Star made noises. His plastic ball, if it was still plastic, veered to the side and crushed a fleeing ship. He chased a small swarm of mole people vessels that thought they could outrun a Brown-Black Hole whatevereth moon of Uranus.
I did what any sane repetitive victim might do. I blinked for a few seconds and turned to face normal people, who were superheroes in training, on the moon. Okay, sane might be a stretch.
“Shouldn’t the moon have a new crater from that kind of force?” Whitewash asked in slow drawn out words. Her body swayed unsteadily and Leticia dashed over to provide support.
I shrugged. Clinton’s body blurred and Midnight moved from her current location, where she was still in the midst of half a panic attack, to another spot to the left about twenty feet. A piece of mole people ship came down with a clomp and skidded away. Kennedy had his hands outstretched toward the sky and a few more pieces landed around us.
Clinton paused his relocation blurs to address the question, “According to our homework, she leaps like that all the time. She could probably clear from here to the earth if she wanted.”
“That defies physics,” Leticia said. She looked terribly shaky too.
“He moves metals with his mind, and you’re a violent mood ring,” I said with a faint smile. “Now we really should get going. Flux might forget that we’re only alive because of those doodads.” They were, not me, I would have been alive for any number of reasons. It wouldn’t do good to remind them of that. They were clearly trying to help each other and stay alive while I talked. So, go team them.
“Atmosphere casting satellite,” Clinton offered.
Whatever. “That’s what I said. Doodads. Fancy doodads that are giving you the air you need to survive long enough to get to safety. Okay?”
I lifted my own thumb up to the building on the horizon. It really was shaped after a hand. Probably an intergalactic joke, like one of the heroes stationed there wanted to hitchhike out of the galaxy and only needed a few seconds and a towel.
“Or,” I had a thought. One of my brighter ones for the day. “You take that doodad and go to safety. I’ll stay here and be myself. Trouble should follow me and you can get inside where it’s safe.” Safer. In space. With a war going on and my parents and Vivian and Alice and who-the-fuck knew what else.
“We were told to stay with you,” Clinton responded. He’d become the group spokesperson. It helped that Midnight was the quiet one, Whitewash the vacant one, and Leticia the hateful one. We had the talking one and the joker. Plus, never mind. I’m getting distracted from my brilliance by telling you all the boxes I’d condensed these students into.
I mean, boxes are rude. Labels are mean. People are complicated. Despite all that, Leticia is still the rude one. General is still a muscle-bound idiot. Ted’s a manipulative asshole. Flux cares more about his stupid tool bench than me keeping an atomic hammer smashing thing.
“Flux! You made that one, so keep it above me. Let the kids have the other one,” I said. Flux beeped. I hoped that meant yes. It could have meant, “I don’t like the curves on this one. I’m dumping it for a space mine.”
“Kids?” Leticia said. Her body flickered with a green and red combination that died like a bug zapper sputtering out.
I ignored her. “Clinton, you get your boyfriend and the drama trio to that building over there! See it?”
Clinton nodded. His head blurred as superspeed let him take in every angle around us. “Drama trio,” he said while chuckling. Then he shut up because Leticia’s gaze swung his way. I didn’t have time to figure out if the girls were going to follow him. Hopefully they would.
“Kennedy, do the thing on that and keep it with you.” I pointed at the floating satellite and felt vaguely proud for figuring out a way through this mess. Almost like I’d seen so many shitty situations that I could form a plan. “That’s your ticket to safety. Unless it follows you. I mean, hell if I know how it works.” The latter part was mostly me muttering to myself.
“But we’re—” Clinton repeated.
“Going to die if you stay here,” I said with actual urgency. It wasn’t my life I’d become concerned about, it was theirs. Hopefully the thing keeping air, according to the still rampaging Lady Alexandrea, was made of metal somewhere.
If people wouldn’t listen to me and go away on their own, I’d go away from them. Ham Star and Lady Alexandrea were sure causing a mess, but the second wave of enemies had already gotten close enough for me to distinguish them. VVV’s stupid little exploding armored minions flew toward us. Me. Something.
I ran at the danger. Not because I was a hero, but because I’d live no matter what. You know, this is a good place to point out that there are differences in motivation. Running at danger, because someone had to, is a lie a lot of superpowered people tell themselves. Realistically, I ran because I’d already racked up enough survivor’s guilt over the years. I didn’t want more.
I could live through anything. It didn’t mean I could live with anything—if that makes sense. This last year had been a good one for me. I had hope. I’d done better. It would mean nothing if I stood there and let these kids die.
If I’d known what the future had in store. Anyway, we’re not there yet.
The danger involved a mess. Lady Alexandrea used the flying ships like trampolines. Don’t ask for the physics. I’ve watched it happen and still don’t understand. More mole ships showed up and I couldn’t say why or where they came from. There seemed to be some sort of, portal, I guess, in the distance. It could have been a bright star or something else. All the lasers and mines exploding made it hard to tell.
Ham Star’s giant round ship got farther and farther away. His existence, equally confusing. Like, if someone asked, “How does Ham Star eat ships while in a ball?” I would be hard pressed for an answer. The madness served to remind me how little of our powered world I actually understood.
I knew danger followed me. I knew those students would be safer if we split up. Then a million other mish mashed thoughts hit me and my knees wobbled. If the mole people did take out the moon, and I was left on a rock floating in space with a tree, where would Alice be? I still had a small list of names and adding her to that would hurt.
The thought hit me hard. My shoulders tightened and breath hitched. Certain doom for someone lay ahead and I ran toward it like a mad fool in hops that being a superpowered lightning rod might work out. How stupid was I?
Above me, ships raged at each other with special effects and insanity. There had to be people down on Earth watching this and doing something. We had dozens of active heroes who could make it out here. Where were all those idiots? Even General with his stupid space carrier crew comprised of Showstopper, her kids, and whatever else, should be able to get out here.
“Flux?” I shouted for the robot.
It beeped usefully.
“Can you make us a ship?”
It beeped twice.
“Can we do anything?”
Flux printed, or copied, or lasered into being a piece of paper that floated strangely to the moon’s surface. I picked it up and gave the picture a once over. It showed me, in all my crayon stick figure glory, picking my nose and drooling. Flux’s art was much better. The camera floated, a piece of finely sketched machinery with a heroic gleam on his chrome plating.
Apparently, this was useless. I crumpled the paper and tossed it away. Once it hit the atmospheric edge of the satellite, it continued out toward space. Fuck physics.
I spun in a circle and searched for a useful way to help this madness abate. There were a few distant wreckages and ruins from a building that had been blown up. A huge crater dipped to one side. Back the way I’d come, the teenagers were headed off in the distance. Clinton’s body a blur of motion as he shuffled people around.
None of that helped me. Leticia seemed to be shouting and waving in my direction but they grew farther away with each second. Thankfully, I couldn’t hear their words anymore. I assumed it to be the vacuum of space between us. These satellites didn’t have a lot of range. Really, that part didn’t matter.
I leaned back, took a deep breath, and let it out. If anything would happen now, it should target me and not everyone else. It was a stupid idea. I was a stupid person most days. Invulnerability means far less fear about consequences, less thinking about ways to mitigate safety, and more stupid. Wilhem should have named the class “Defense Against Adam’s Poor Choices.”
“Fuck it! Flux, turn that thing upside and let’s go!” I waved at the floating air maker.
If I couldn’t figure out a way to solve things from here, I’d simply turn the satellite into a crappy space ship and go into space. The universe might trigger my powers and make something else happen, or I’d be my beacon self out in the middle of nowhere.
Flux didn’t. The device, which hovered above me about forty feet like a one-man metal cloud, refused to come down. I hoped for it. It mocked me with indifference. I threw a rock. It ignored my bad aim. My dreams of getting out into space of my own volition were rapidly fading.
Confession time. I made it sound like everything was chasing me and on its way. If that were true, I should have been dog piled by everything in the universe. They were. They simply kept getting distracted because the things that seemed to be after me, were in turn being rolled by other creatures.
For instance, Lady Alexandrea was still wrecking ships left and right. She stole a jet from her latest vehicle. She used it like a skateboard in space and veered around dodging enemy blasts and ramming other vessels through one side and out the other. The woman should have had theme music. Some hard-core rocking sound to go with her hair that fluttered behind her. Something teeth grinding to go with her clenched jaw and flexing pectoral muscle-boobs. She clotheslined green exploding armored minions and roared in defiance despite the lack of breathable air up there.
And I, I sat on the moon’s surface jumping for a satellite and complaining about life’s general unfairness when it came to superpowers. Flux kept tilting its lens toward the amusing action and occasionally returned to my poor attempts. I could bet real money that when this clip showed on Hero Watch’s website, I’d be the laughing stock of the known universe.
“Flux, tambourine!” I shouted.
I mean, if Lady Alexandrea was going to be the singer and lead guitarist on a space adventure, I could at least play a fucking tambourine in support. Wouldn’t you know, Flux copied me a tambourine. It was pink. I do not know where he stole it from.
I give it a tap in hopes that it might bring down the satellite so I could get into space and putter along. Flux chirped, buzzed, then radio station music started playing. I paused in my useless jumping and stopped banging the tambourine. It didn’t make sense anyway. There were no good rhythms to counterpoint the destructive artwork going on above me.
Flux’s gaze focused back toward the distant thumbs up shaped hero base. I gave it a dull stare, waiting for something functionally useful to happen. Something large and pink sailed overhead. My jaw dropped and ears refused to work right.
A “Yeeeeehaw!” overwrote the radio static playing from Flux. I looked at the robot then back to the pink shape moving off toward the storm of ships fighting.
It was a horse of another color. The sides were too rigid to be flesh. It had rockets coming out of its hooves that folded awkwardly behind it.
“Oh, absolutely beautiful,” I said. “A stunning piece of work.” My head shook.
Horses shouldn’t be robotic. They shouldn’t be flying with thrusters on their hooves and a weird shape that was closer to a motorcycle or jet. I squinted in confusion. Right next to the pink confusion machine was a black unicorn. How could I pick out a black unicorn against the darkness of space? The rainbow horn and pale girl on top were hints.
A tiny white spire shot by as well.
“We pew them all. Lady Pink and Lady Black. Pew pew?”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” I stared at the back of Flux’s head. It shifted my direction then looked away quickly, like a child who was in trouble. Lady Black had to be Cindy. That Pew Pew voice, the tiny nameless Crystalline.
“Seriously? You dialed into, whatever,” my words sputtered. Ted had trained me better than this but today, today I was losing the battle. I blame that on my parents. Who were, somewhere in this mess.
“Pew pew!” the Crystalline voice shouted out of Flux.
Flux beeped twice.
“Pew!” it shouted.
“Beep!” went Flux.
I flipped him off.
“Dad, how many are there?”
“Twenty, thirty. They’re being pushed back to the jump gate. I thought the defensive gate was going to take care of them.”
Something exploded. More beeping came out that sounded like a fire alarm.
And for my part, I’d frozen utterly still. So still I couldn’t say if I blinked once or moved my chest to breathe.
“All right! I’ve got two more on lock. Cindy’s on the right flank. And good fucking lord,” the younger sounding girl said.
Rockets came out of the pink horse above. I barely took note as the ships and flying unicorns or whatever veered around in the sky above me. “I’m eighteen, Dad!”
“Watch your mouth anyway!” the older man snapped.
I suddenly realized I wasn’t breathing, fell to my knees and fought back very manly tears. I knew those voices. My lips weren’t working. Flux continued to stare at me, mocking me with his robotic indifference. It beeped every time the Crystalline child shot lasers.
The battle above me did something. I couldn’t tell you what because I’d stopped paying attention. And I say this, knowing full well that I’ll be ridiculed and called a crybaby, but there I sat, on the moon, knowing my family was apparently alive and well. Tears streaked down my face.
I fought it every step of the way. Conflicting thoughts and guilt hit me. I’d been there when my sister’s legs were damaged. I’d seen the look of horror when my parents realized it was somehow my fault. They’d put it together far before the government and around Fifty-Two or whatever did.
I’d seen so many people die over the years. I’d been caught up in almost every major powered event to happen during that timeframe. Never once had I crossed paths with my family, but I counted myself lucky for that. Knowing they’d escaped and were living a life somewhere without me had helped and hurt. And if you’re unsure how something can be the only positive in your life and still the most painful thing ever, well, you haven’t lived.
“Oh yeah! Got me another one!”
But my sister, whom I’d concluded flew around on a pink space horse, sounded so fucking happy. She was blowing up mole people ships and tiny green men while shouting like a cowgirl on the radio. I felt torn between jealousy, anger, and being thrilled. That gave me a headache so I decided to devolve into a wobbling mess incapable of coherent thought.
It took me a bit to come out of it. Specifically, my sister’s excited cheers across the radio made my brain restart briefly.
“They’re retreating!” my sister shouted.
“We did it!” the Crystalline responded.
“I see,” Dad said. “Can one of you get Lady Alexandrea? She’s floating toward Earth right now. It seems the rocket she stole ran out of fuel.”
“I know!” my sister responded with absurd positivity. She sounded giddy about the results.
“She’s got to be low on oxygen too. How long can she hold her breath?” Dad sounded distracted. I heard murmuring in the background and wondered if it was someone else I knew. “Really? Then she could make it all the way to Earth.”
“Lady Big Big!” The Crystalline’ s white dart of a ship flew off. “I will help you!”
My sister laughed. I smiled. Immediately after I frowned, then tried to smile again and couldn’t find it in me to do either one. Do you know what that feels like? To be so torn up about a family member’s happiness that it makes you feel even worse?
“Let’s go!” she shouted.
I blinked. There’d been an echo to that voice. My head tipped back slowly and I saw a woman astride her pink metallic steed.
“Britt?” I questioned. Britt, short for Brittany, was my sister. If my parents had a third child, they would have been stuck with a C name.
“Hole in one. Glad to see you made it to the moon. Man, they weren’t kidding about your luck factor. I mean coming out of a modified van while crashing and managing to evac right into an air bubble?”
Who says “yeehaw” while riding a pink robotic space horse? My sister. That’s who. Who says, “hole in one?” My sister.
Flux set its eye on the horse. The horse sashayed and whinnied like a blender mixed with a live version of the equine. I didn’t even want to figure out what that meant.
“I have—” My brain short circuited like those old televisions showing nothing but static then slowly came back online. While she could happily shout catch phrase at high speed and head into battle against mole people and exploding minions, I couldn’t be so eloquent. “I don’t—” My brain fuzzed out again before I settled on, “What in the fuck is going on?”
Figments and Powers
Recently leaked studies from Area 51 have cited a relationship between powers, etheric collective energy pools, and sustainability. That is, there’s a connection between how many super powers can be in simultaneous use due to some collective “battery’ powering them. The more activity in an area, the weaker the powers outside the area get.
It’s impossible to study this effect on a large scale, accurately without causing untold havoc and destruction. Still, many have tried.
At MITTH, a Michigan based school focusing on Super Powered studies, they took two volunteers with what were considered high level powers. They had these two turn their abilities up as high as they could go and studied other powers in a radius around them.
After three days of continuous use, the two high powered subjects lost most of their abilities, burning themselves out. It took months for the subjects to return to “normal”. Power drains were noted in a radius reaching up to fifty miles. Effectively, those who would normally be able generate enough energy to light a match, were unable to start more than a spark.
How then, do figments sustain themselves? Figments draw from the same power source, but don’t have the same drain in most cases. Larger ones, creatures of collective nightmares and otherworldly beings have demonstrated a certain draw (see the Fatigue Effective in last month’s publication) – but that draw doesn’t hamper powered people.
Science has yet to find a definitive answer, meaning that while we can create tools to detect the use of super powers, based on measuring the drainage effect, it’s almost impossible to track figments. Even more alarming, figments can be nearly anyone or anything – and move or interact with the world like humans.
For example, many ghosts are considered figments. They can interact with the world in a limited manner and travel around. But they seem exclusive from super heroes, unless it’s a type that may be build or have triggered a power designed to fight ghosts.
With all these strange interactions, it’s no wonder that the population at large gets confused.