I sat there, reading excerpts of ‘Awakening and You’ that were marked as important with highlighter. It didn’t take long before the cross referencing got annoying, forcing me to eventually give up and start reading the ‘National Heroes Network Powers Classification Canual’ that sat next to me.
I gave the three other books on the desk in a pile a stare and sighed deeply. The lawyer’s meetings were less boring than this.
Three knocks distracted me from my tedium. Agent Williams.
“Come in,” I said, putting the book down. There was a printed copy of a supplemental report I was advised to read, but I hadn’t gotten around to it.
I was urged to read it if I was taking care of Sacrifice, according to the NHN.
Agent Williams closed the door and eventually found a chair to sat down on, with me turning to face him as he did so.
“You look different,” he began.
“I am. I’ve grown. I’m eighteen, for a start.”
“That too,” he said.
I took a pause. He’s talking about the other thing.
“That’s isn’t growth,” I said, placing my hand over my chest. “You don’t grow from things like that. I’m not any better of a person.”
“Yet you did.”
I don’t want to think I did.
“Is there anything important to discuss? Or is it all remarking about me?”
Agent Williams put the briefcase on his lap, opened it and handed over a few files.
“We said yes. A trial period with voluntary members before accepting any more locations, and we agreed on three.”
“The three will be?” I asked, looking at the details. Logs of debate and expected costs; timescale; initial feasibility study; survey and population results; the actual allowed budget.
“Vermont, Mississippi and Colorado,” he answered. “You’ll be making them in a week. You’ll also have to create two extra spaces for research and imprisonment.”
Three villages. That’s more than I expected, but a lot of thinking and sensory capes probably would like to not have their powers dictate everything.
“… How many applicants?”
“At least seventeen families with members who have powers and eight members of the NHN.”
I nodded. This was good. It was worth it.
“I just have to serve out my time, right?”
“Yeah, that’s essentially it,” replied Williams. “Ah. Before I forget:”
He pulled out a second file.
“A part of your sentence is to engage in an Expedition to Abio National Park.”
I took the file, skimming it. Abio national park. I knew that place well. It was Biohazard’s residence.
“Why there?” I asked.
“Well,” he began. “Biohazard isn’t a bad person. He just can’t control his powers, like you or Unperson. We think you could give him residence in your project.”
I see. I’ll be giving the man to rendered half a state into an ecological nightmare in a day a home and shelter. I couldn’t be mad at him, it was never his fault Ohio suffered as badly as it did. I looked at the Expedition members. Me, Alliance, Clawtail and Aim.
“I see. These are copies?” I pointed as the files.
“Yes, they are copies. I’ll be going now. Good luck with your recovery and rehabilitation.”
Agent Williams got up and opened the door.
“Before I forget, I’m sorry to hear about your parents. We didn’t expect Trauma to encounter them.”
The closing and clicking of locks was relaxing. Being alone was serene.
Damn, I should get to reading.
The copy of ‘Awakening and You’ was droll beyond comprehension, yet fascinating with its own naive charm, like a teacher invested in his subject as his students sit dumbfounded and bored. As much as my own ignorance and boredom with the subject persisted I did gain a newly found appreciation for why this was taught in schools. It wasn’t a case of teaching people how to name hydrocarbons or how to create macros in spreadsheet programs; it was more along the lines of teaching CPR and fire safety.
I’d already learned that you can’t avoid encounters with capes like you can with chemistry and computer science. I put my head in the sand, and the little research I did do was too late to help.
I was in over my head three years ago and got punished for it.
Most of the stuff I was reading didn’t truly apply to me, but more towards Samantha who had gotten her powers from an awakening and thus could reawaken at any time.
Reawakening. An event where one who previously had powers subconsciously alters them in high stress situations in an attempt to gain a beneficial power. There is no assumed limit to the number of times one can reawaken, as the current record is the English hero Vector, at fifteen reawakenings.
I felt good, memorizing that. Even if the book was outdated, I appreciated that Maxine gave me this stuff as reading material while I was in here at the NHN Rehabilitation Center. I’ll thank her next time I see her.
Rehabilitation. I guess I would have had to go through with it, considering that Margaret told Maxwell and Unperson the gist of what happened. They insisted I needed it as much as Samantha and Margaret. I couldn’t really make a convincing argument to the contrary, which I guess is a good reason to stay here for the time being.
Not all scars heal, but hopefully Samantha will have a few less after a while.
I put the book down again after placing a bookmark on it, looking at the two folders Williams gave me. An expedition. I smiled at the thought. I’d be able to help Biohazard. Maybe I’ll be able to help all the others who are effected by powers, or at the very least as many as I can.
I motioned to pick up one of the other three books, but I held myself back, opting to place them at the side of the desk on the floor instead, where they wouldn’t tempt me to read them too soon. I was more interested in learning the basics of the super powered world, I’ll catch up on what happened while I was gone tomorrow.