I’d only been with the Oklahoma City Nation Heroes Network and I’d already noticed that there were glaring issues with the entire team, from the juniors to the seniors. Me, Derek and Maxine had been thrown into the juniors to recuperate the numbers they had lost and all we did was get our asses whooped and cause property damage.
I guess another cause was the fact that not only is the Junior group lacking, but so is the Senior group.
My evidence? It was Gunsmith.
He lacked in every quality a leader required, let alone the leader of a team of superheroes.
He wasn’t charismatic, he wasn’t confident and worst of all; he wasn’t strong.
I felt a pang of pity for they guy as I saw him in his suit, his stringbean arms polishing a rifle far too complex a fragile for use in a fight.
“I see,” he said to Event Horizon who had just finished explaining the situation. “You do know risks are involved. I wouldn’t want to have to deal with anything too troubling.”
Event Horizon was firm in her response. “I understand, sir.”
“Very well then,” he said. “Let’s start with this. Okay?”
The three of us nodded.
“Good. You should know that your powers fit the same state. They are incontinent. There is however, a second effect. You should be able to leave a space where your power will have its effects linger,” said Gunsmith, gesturing as his rifle sat on his lap and he held a greased up cloth in his left hand. “This is your ‘active’.”
Nobody said a thing as gunsmith took a small pause, a resumed his lecture.
“I’ll give you one important detail you must not forget; wherever you crate a space with your active will be permanent. Only you can dispel your own active space. Otherwise, it’ll be there even after you die.”
“Really? How would my power work?” asked Maxine.
Gunsmith gave it some thought. “You are probably thinking about how your powers don’t work via proximity, right?”
“Yeah,” replied Maxine. “I’m not sure if I can do what you are asking.”
Gunsmith looked at me. “How about we have Ryan try first, then? He won’t do too much damage if he messes up, and his ability has easily observable effects.”
I shrugged. “Okay. I’ll go first,” I said.
Gunsmith stood up, placing his rifle and polishing cloth on the chair. “Good,” he said, smiling. He took several small steps towards me.
“Event Horizon, use your power on my gun.”
She complied. Event Horizon placed out a hand and stood still. then she took a step back, and Gunsmith’s rifle flew off the chair in the direction she stepped. Telekinesis? No, it still obeyed gravity.
“You should explain for the new recruits,” said Gunsmith when she was finished with her display.
“It’s not telekinesis,” began Event Horizon. “It’s more accurate to call it telestasis. Anything or anyone I focus on will no longer be able to gain any distance from me. I’ve also got a few minor enhancements to my balance and stuff so I don’t get dragged around instead.”
“I see.” said Derek.
Gunsmith looked at me. “Reach your arms out.”
I did so, slowly.
“Think about your powers. What do you feel when they are working?”
I thought about it. I thought about being with everyone at the mall, I thought about how ignorant I am of the world of superheroes. I thought about when the Hunting Party came. I felt safe with my power. Not truly safe, but safe as I could be. I imagined myself as something that supported Maxine when her powers affected Ricky. I imagined being with Derek, and how he rarely leaves my side now. I thought about Ellen.
I could feel it.
“I feel it. I feel like everyone is safer,” I said. “Everyone but me. I don’t feel safe at all. I feel angry.”
Gunsmith waited a few seconds. “Good,” he said. “Focus it on the space between your hands.”
I did so, and after several seconds, I could feel it. My power. I stooped and it stayed there, completely invisible and intangible, but there all the same. I waved an arm through it. It stayed.
“I did it, sir.”
“Good,” he said. “Can you move it? Try thinking about your power and tugging at it, or something.”
He wasn’t working off a script. This was him mostly bullshitting me from what he does know, and trying to see what works. Whatever, as long as it helps. I stuck my hand in and moved it about, thinking about the mall, thinking about Ellen. I could feel it move between my fingers, like floating imaginary jelly.
I pulled on it and I could sense it’s form change. Letting go, it stayed as I left it. I tried again with a quick, simple sweep through it, moving it to the movements of my arm. It felt like I left claw marks on reality.
“Yeah, I can move it.”
“Now try getting rid of it, Ryan.”
No hints this time. He doesn’t know how. I guess that means that anyone who can create spaces like this haven’t removed them, but claim they can? Or maybe they haven’t documented it well? I’m unsure.
“I don’t thi-” I stopped. This wasn’t about me. This was about Maxine and Derek. Maybe I should think of taking it all back?
I put my hand in my space. I thought about my powers, but this time I thought about not having them. I thought about where I would be right now. Today, I’d be with Derek, Micheal, Ellen, Maxine and Ricky. We’d all have fun, not having a single worry about this world we’ve been dragged into.
The space I created was gone. I looked around, Derek was still normal, behind me at the edge of my range. I did it, I did it easily.
“Yeah, it’s gone now.”
Gunsmith smiled. “Okay, I guess that was a good demonstration,” he said. I glanced at Derek and she looked nervously at him. Maxine was the same.
“Honestly, I’m not sure how your powers would work. maybe you’d create an area where people are forgotten, or everyone has your powers. Maybe your space has it’s own memories separated from outside the space, giving anyone amnesia while inside. You’ll figure it out sooner or later. The important thing is that Ryan can help fix anything you or Derek do, be it accidental or not. Your mistakes aren’t unsolvable, so don’t panic or worry. I’m sure you’ll help each other.”
If it wasn’t for Ellen, I’d agree with his speech.