Posted by: lordkyler | April 23, 2011

Superheroes – The Original Draft

So, in light of all the old writing from Convergence, (which will resume in a couple of weeks,) and the overhaul I’m currently working on for this story, I figured I’d share the original with you. (Well, the first draft worth anything, anyway.)

This is the original draft, the first story ever done with these characters, and as I’ve said, it’s not nearly as developed as it should be, although it has a sweet prison escape, I’ll tell you what. That makes up for a lot.

STILL, it is being overhauled right now, so that hopefully one day I’ll be able to point you to a finished book or amazing characters and say, “here, superheroes! Enjoy! Sequel underway!” presumably followed by adoration and demands that I get it published.

So, anyway, here’s the first draft in it’s entirety. Enjoy.

Chapter One: Dawning

Jefferson City: 2:00 p.m.

It was a dry, hot Thursday afternoon. One of those days where everything stands still and seems hushed and quiet. Even the traffic on the crowded downtown streets seemed quieter, as if reluctant to break the gentle cushion of silence. For better or for worse, the day had the fate of several people entwined in it, standing out simply because their lives were to be changed in an unforeseeable way.

Many impossible things happen. The minds of science are puzzled, and then the discovery is made, and the seemingly irrefutable laws of science are changed yet again, leaving the world a different place.

Today, one of those events was about to occur. A small research laboratory had just installed a new machine. It had been flown in from a government installation for testing. Jefferson City Labs was small, and relatively unknown, but had a very good reputation. They were going to perform tests on this machine which inexplicably seemed to output, rather than its intended energy source, a new and unknown source of power.

Unfortunately for them, the device was activated by accident, and without being detected, sent large amounts of this mysterious energy pulsing through the city. Fortunately for the inhabitants of Jefferson City, it was nearly harmless and affected almost nobody. It’s who was affected that is the focus of this tale.

A few people, no more than twenty, in a city whose population was more than thirty thousand individuals had something happen to them. If science ever had the chance to analyze them, they would have found that all of them shared exactly one group of unidentified genes, one little piece of DNA, that would later allow them control over abilities no member of the human race has been endowed with before. All from the same piece of DNA. The abilities varied from individual to individual. DNA is not the sole reigning factor in a persons makeup, and slight differences like environmental, social, and mental variances caused changes in the way their powers manifested themselves.

The faulty generator was shut down in a few minutes, thanks to an astute employee, but it was already too late to reverse the consequences.

[Notes on Chapter One: The story was always meant to take place in late summer, for some reason. I don’t know why, it just was. And as for the generator accident, that’s since been decided that it should be a mystery, one, because it’s more interesting, and two, because it’s not so important to the story. Something I’ve realized is that it doesn’t necessarily matter where their powers come from, but instead what they do with them. The new Superhero story will be character driven, that’s for sure. Besides, radiation, magnetism, and many other phenomena are invisible to the naked eye, Who’s to say what caused it? Also, I was trying to work in a real philosophical angle on this for some reason, about fate and all. That will be either toned down, ascribed to character, or actually have a point in mind.]

Chapter Two: Revelation

Jefferson City, next day, 8:00 a.m.

The first to discover his new abilities was Walter Richardson. Walter was a teacher in the Jefferson City Middle School. He taught fifth grade math and science, in Room Three.

Today the kids seemed even more rowdy than usual. It was fall, after all, and they were now recently imprisoned again. In addition, they were all ten years old, which explained a lot. In fact, maybe they weren’t noisier, maybe it was just that he was more used to quiet. He had spent the summer months living in his brothers summer home, a log cabin in the mountains in the next state over, working on a research paper, and there wasn’t a lot of noise up there.

Time to get down to business, he thought to himself, and prepared to employ his attention getting gimmick, as tradition dictated. In other words, he would soon make a complete fool of himself. In the name of science, of course.

“Hey, kids!” he yelled above the din. “Check it out!” Summoning up his deepest bass tones, he stretched forth his hand. “I am the Eraser Master! All living erasers must obey my every word! Fly to my hand, Destroyer of Chalk Marks!”

To make his act more convincing, he actually tried to pull it to him with his mind, as he’d heard from his acting cousin, ‘getting into the role’. It ended up turning his act into something a lot more convincing than he’d planned. The aptly named ‘Destroyer of Chalk Marks’ obeyed his silent command and floated swiftly into his waiting palm. For Richard, there was a brief period, just a few seconds, that he could not do anything. It reminded him of a concussion he’d received when playing football in high school. His brain seemed unable to process for a few seconds, and it seemed like he the things he was seeing were far away, a long time ago, and easily forgotten. Then he snapped out of it, and was still unable to do anything, but this time because of astonishment.

He stood there, staring at the eraser in his palm, trying to make sense of it all. The few kids who’d actually been paying attention and got a good view were shocked silent too, and the silence spread to the rest of the class. New anomalies in the human race. Telekinetic powers, and a room full of silent ten-year-olds.

Walter stumbled over and flopped into his special chair. He seemed to remember his surroundings suddenly, and said distractedly, “class dismissed.”

The kids quietly filed out of the room, with curiosity and bewilderment almost drowning out their excitement at being let out of school early. Walter sat there for fully half an hour, then walked to his car and drove home, still absentmindedly clutching the eraser.

[Notes: I felt the need to have him try to reach out for the eraser, so I concocted this little scenario. Now though, I see I may have been trying to hard, and really the class clown teacher doesn’t really fit his character, I realize. This scene will be amended in the rewrite.]

Charlotte DeVries was hot, tired, and sweaty. Charlotte worked as a salesperson at a shoe store, and they didn’t have air-conditioning there. It had been a busy day, and she had been kneeling every five minutes to help someone with a new pair of shoes, and all she wanted to do now was get a big glass of cold water and relax on her couch.

She stood impatiently in the elevator, wanting nothing more than that water. Oh, it would be good. She unlocked her apartment door, and went straight for the fridge. She was out of ice. Frustrated, she set it down on the counter, and stared pointedly at the glass, just wanting nothing more than for it to be cold. Suddenly, it white tendrils swirled over the glass. Mystified, she picked the glass up, assuming it had somehow fogged up, like the glasses she wore sometimes did. She picked it up, but to her surprise, it was freezing cold. Her reflexes forced her to let go before she realized the glass was cold. It broke into two large pieces on the floor. She bent over, and looked at it. There was no water. It was frozen solid.

Her distinctive quizzical look came over her face, wrinkling and creasing it to the point of looking almost ridiculous. She tried to ignore it, to block it from her mind, but the sensation that had come over her when the cup froze would not leave her mind. The delightful tingle, that came over her whole body, making her feel warm and secure; it wouldn’t leave her. On an impulsive whim, not unlike her, she threw a glance at a neglected house plant. This time the sensation was that of shivers, still delightful, like you get when listening to beautiful classical music, and seemed clarify her thoughts, and heighten sensations. Suddenly some new type of vision flashed across her mind. It looked like thermal vision, if that Animal Planet documentary was anything close to what it actually looked like. She could instantly sense, and see, but not quite see, how the heat was dispersed, all over the room, and suddenly realized she could transfer that energy. In fact, that’s what she’d been doing since the ‘cold tingle’ began. With her regular vision, she could see the houseplant she’d looked at begin to wither and blacken, and the air danced and jiggled around it, a flameless heat. She could sense that she was not generating the heat that burned the plant, but was instead pulling it from the heat in the room. In fact, the room was noticeably cooler now. Charlotte made herself a sandwich, and ate, pondering over what this new development meant to her. She would be pondering that for the next couple of days.

[Notes: Charlotte has now got herself the affliction of undiagnosed ADHD, which is really going to affect her character. Still, this section isn’t all too bad.]

Nelson Bates was an inmate in the maximum security facility. Mass murderer, serial killer, and altogether an evil man. Serving a life sentence, as it happens, although if his still continuing legal case progressed to much further, he’d be getting the death penalty for sure. As it was, he was currently fighting six guards, after he tried to kill another inmate at the institution. It was pretty easy to hear him.

“I’LL KILL YOU ALL!!!” he screamed in his infamous rage. “YOU WILL ALL DIE! EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU WILL PAY FOR THIS! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME!? YOU WILL PAY!”

The inmate he’d been trying to murder was cowering in a corner of the room. He’d been winning the game of poker they’d been playing, and Nelson had accused him of cheating. Characteristically, he got a little upset.

“ALL OF YOU! I’LL KILL YOU, I WILL KILL YOU! JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE WHO MESSES WITH ME!” he said, backhanding a security man with a power that took the man’s breath away. But they were winning. Two men had pulled out clubs, and one had his arm around Bates’ throat. Suddenly, Nelson became very quiet. The guards, trained to read body language, did not see this a good thing. He had frozen in position, trembling and shaking. Nelson was experiencing something new to him. New to anyone, in fact, as no one had ever had powers like this before, close as some may have come. He was suddenly, inexplicably, exhausted, trembling and shaking, feeling deathly cold. But then, warmth began to creep into his weakened body. The guards stepped back, and one of them moved towards the door, drawing his weapon. Nelson began to straighten up. The warmth was spreading through, flooding him now, and banishing the cold fingers that had gripped him moments before. It felt empowering. His judgment felt somewhat clouded, although his brain seemed to operate faster than ever. It was now suited for action, instantaneous and quick, with no morals. If these abilities had graced a better man, the morals might have been there, but Bates had long ago stopped listening to his better half. Now, in fact, he couldn’t remember what had been bothering him.

He felt better than he ever had in his entire life, vibrant, full of energy, as if he was connected to a power grid. Instant, effortless power! His pupils swelled, filling the whites, and bringing in so much light that he would have been blinded had his system not been bolstered. Now he could see so much more, so much better. His hearing was more acute too. He could actually hear the guard’s hearts beating hard in their chests, and barely hear the voice of the P.A. system far away in another part of the compound. Everything was more alive. Now nothing could stop him. He felt invincible. For all purposes, at this time he may have well been.

He snapped up out of his slouch, and with a wild and crazy laugh, flew at the guards. He sprang with more force than an Olympic long jumper, and smashed one guard into the wall, breaking half his ribs at one time and rendering him unconscious. Two more closed in on him, from both sides, but Nelson was already on one,slamming him in the face with all his might. The unfortunate man’s nose collapsed into his face, leaving him with an appearance rather like that of a mugged Michael Jackson. He slid into the next, knocking him off his feet, and on the way down, slammed with both hands, sending him spinning off to the right, into the wall. There were now three guards left, one of whom was pointing a gun right at his chest. He fired. Three shots, straight at the ribcage. But something strange happened. Where they struck, the skin tightened and stretched, and the texture of his skin became more pronounced, and felt stronger than metal. Through his unzipped uniform front, he could see the bullets strike. The veins in the surrounding area turned blue, flashing around the area of impact for a brief second, and then the skin receded, leaving him with not a mark on him. The slugs had simply flattened and bounced off.

Now he realized he was practically invincible. It had only taken about six seconds for this mini-episode to occur, from the jump to the first shot, and now Nelson took out the rest of them with one flying leap, throwing his body horizontally, and smacking into the three of them at one time. So, excited for his newfound powers, and exhilarated at the thought of being free again, he had fortunately completely forgotten the inmate that he’d been trying to kill in the first place. He kicked the door, right where the doorknob on the other side was located. The metal dented deeply, and the handle on the other side was knocked several inches out of alignment. Then he simply pulled the door open, and walked out.

He ran down the narrow corridors. An alarm sounded. One of the guards had remained conscious enough to hit the alarm button. He came to the set of narrow metal stairs that led to a guard tower. He shouldered his way throughout the metal screen and the heavy wooden doors that blocked it. Two shots came for him, from the guard on duty who’d heard the alarm and the ruckus at the bottom of the stairs and put two and two together to reach four, plus two bullets. The bullets, as before bounced off of his head, and Bates bypassed the stairs that turned back on themselves to reach the top, instead leaping up the space between them, easily eight feet, to dispatch the guard with one swift kick. He raced the remaining twenty-something feet to the top of the tower at speeds that would have easily been twice as fast as the current world record, had anybody been timing him. Nelson had been casing the prison since he’d arrived, deciding on various escape routes had the opportunity ever arisen. He now reached the top of the watch tower, where he forced the window open. A power cable ran from the spotlight to the outer ring of the prison. He used a pair of hand cuffs he’d stolen from the tower guard and slung them over the wire. He began to zip line down the wire, just as he’d seen in that movie on television one night.

More guards had followed the trail of broken doors up, and began to fire at him. The bullets only served to propel him down the rope faster. One had a dart rifle, probably loaded with fast-acting anesthetic or even poison, but it to just ricocheted off his back like everything else. Once there, he dropped down and shimmied down the pole carrying the wire elsewhere back inside the prison. He dropped down, into the outer ring, where prisoners where rarely allowed. Barbed wire and high stone walls still stood in front of him. His plan at this point, he managed to remember around the fog that kept him from clear thinking, was to make his way throughout the buildings until he got to a gate.

He was saved this trouble when another body dropped beside his. He spun around, ready for anything, when he saw it was Adam McCollister, another inmate. He smiled a cocky smile. Adam, although outwardly charming, was convicted of drug dealing, armed robbery, gang violence, and was finally incarcerated on a murder charge after he killed his girlfriend. He and Nelson knew each other well, and sadly, were excellent comrades.

“What’d you get?” he asked hurriedly. “I didn’t set off the alarms, and you wouldn’t have got this far if ya didn’t get nothing. So hurry up and show me.”

For an answer, Nelson flexed his muscles, and shoulder slammed the outer wall. The stones buckled slightly, but their weight from the stones above kept them from falling through. It was still more than almost anyone else could do with an industrial strength sledgehammer and mechanical aid. He added, “Bulletproof, too.”

Adam nodded, then stretched out his hand, fingers tense and stiff. The wall around the area described by his probing fingers collapsed in a heap of dust. Completely disintegrated.

“I just walked out,” he said in his Chicago accent.

They stepped out, regrettably unleashed on society yet again, and already planning their new partnership in crime.

[Notes: That “close as some may have come nonsense should have been cut, but I left it in there for you to see anyway. Nobody has ever seen anything close to what Nelson is capable of. Imagine original Superman if he was pure evil. Nelson is worse. I’m sorry about the Michael Jackson joke, not because Michael Jackson is dead, (he wasn’t when I wrote this,) but because it’s not really funny, and it probably killed the guy. I apologize. Adam’s powers have since been changed to microwave generation, but he still walks out easily. I’m going to have to make a more plausible reason to have them join up, though.

Cathy Deanham was filing papers in her job as a secretary in a life insurance company. The file cabinet wouldn’t unlock, and the keys were missing. (Another employee had picked them up by accident and taken them home, thinking they were his spare car keys.)

“Well,” she said, resignedly. “I guess I’ll just have to call the locksmith.”

She leaned against the file cabinet. She fell straight through it, too, with a surprised little squeal. It didn’t just fall away from her, but fell on top of her. The whole cabinet dissolved, becoming a smooth cool liquid, as the particles lost cohesiveness. Before she hit the floor however, she stopped, just as she’d realized she was falling and trying to cushion it. She looked to see what had stopped her fall. There was nothing there. She dropped around to her knees, and felt the area where she had stopped falling. It was solid. But there was nothing there. The particles had frozen in place, in effect ceasing to be a gas, and becoming a psuedo-solid. She glanced around, to see if anyone else was there, then promptly timed out and scheduled an appointment with a psychologist. Was she crazy, she asked herself?

She would have to find out.

[Am I crazy? Lets find out! Remarkably logical thinking for an insane woman. Also, I was trying too hard to have little “accidents” that conveniently showcased their powers. In the next draft, it’s going to be involuntary, and much messier.]

Susanna was blond, young, popular, and, regrettably, had a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. After a bout of seizures, she was again in the hospital. She seemed to have no memory of who she was, she didn’t act like herself, and she couldn’t think straight or balance right. She would become agitated for no reason, becoming violent. After the generator malfunction, she was laying in bed, staring at the ceiling with a blank stare, seemingly oblivious to the world around her. To her confused and scattered mind, suddenly only one thing was clear. The power socket on the wall to her right. She swiveled her head over to look at it. Out of curiosity, and also out of an urging she couldn’t understand, she tried to pull at it mentally.

All of a sudden, her mind cleared. She could feel herself getting better, as if she was waking up from a bad dream. She could think clearly again, although the past remained a horribly detailed and clear experience.

Over at the wall socket, something was happening. A small arc of electricity was moving, coming from one socket and heading into the other. Susanna was almost too emotionally overwhelmed to notice this, but there was a pull on her mind, steady and strong, that would not allow her to forget it. Smiling like a lunatic, but with a puzzled expression in her eyes, she mentally manipulated the pull she was feeling. The electric arc moved and stretched. She gasped, her newfound elation almost forgotten. She found she could move it, shape its path, tell it where to go. It was now large, reaching almost to the ceiling.

Suddenly she seemed to flip it around, and inside out, like a napkin, changing it, showing a different side of itself. Right along with the mental image, the electricity spun around, then was sucked into one small area. The small area, she could feel, could not be manipulated, only pointed, and so she quickly sent it towards the ceiling. Tile shattered.

Susanna tried to think of what had happened, but seemed to be being drawn back into a dark pit. The brain injury was reinstating itself. With energy born of desperation, Susanna grabbed for the electrical power again, yanking it this time. It sprang forward, like a bungee cord, where you have to pull it farther back than you would have thought to get it where you want it to go.

Her mind cleared again. She sobbed, thinking of how close she had come to being back in that horrible state. This strange power, the power of being able to move and convert energy, as she remembered from high school, was the only thing that kept her thinking clearly. It was a savior to her. She’d obviously just converted electricity to kinetic energy. She decided to experiment.

She seemed to be able to control energy. She found she could manipulate things like electricity and light, moving them and marshaling them on command, and she could instantly convert any energy into another type, say, kinetic energy, which she could not control as much, as she had found out from the now broken section of roof. She realized that although she would never want to give up this power, even if only so that she could be herself again, she could never reveal it. She had seen far too many movies to not realize that the government would want to perform tests, etcetera.

She resolved to keep a small refraction of incoming light bent, continuously, to keep her mentally clear. She then called her family to tell them about her miracle cure, happier than she had been in her entire life.

[Notes: “like a napkin” was probably not the best way to explain it, but the bungee cord simile I still like, although it could be expressed better. This self-healing factor is now a major part of her character motivation, as its the only thing keeping her from darkness. She could be one of, if not the most powerful heroes, if she could only regain her lost confidence to use it.]

For a few others, this day would be fateful as well.

Jeremy Cole received a very big shock, when during a pickup basketball game, he suddenly found himself falling down. What was unusual about this was that suddenly down to him happened to be sideways to the rest of us. He hung onto the basketball pole until realizing that he was causing it, then fell down the normal way.

[Notes: Still works for me, somewhat, although the incident will now probably occur in private. Jeremy is one of my favorite characters]

For Rebecca Van Rompuy trying to make herself as light as possible in her ballet class, she was surprised to be floating several inches above ground, having somewhat unintentionally altered her density to become lighter. Alarmed and not fully understanding what she was doing, she panicked and instinctually reversed the density change. She promptly fell straight through the floorboards, however, without injury, as the density augmentation had left her extremely tough. When the dance teacher asked what happened she said the floorboards must be weak, not allowing herself to recognize what she had done.

[Rebecca is a discontinued character, at least for the time being, having been replaced in the young girl department by Missi and Chrissi Brooks. The main reason for this is that I thought her power (density alteration) was less “realistic” than I would have liked, although I may bring this character back in one form or another in the sequel.]

Officer Carl Ng of the Jefferson City Police Department found he had the ability to alter peoples perceptions about him. It became rather apparent after an armed gunman had suddenly treated him like an old friend, and seemed to regard the fact that he had just been pointing a weapon at him as a joke. “I’m just kiddin’ with ya, man.”

Later in the day, a belligerent speeder had inexplicably cowered and seemed unable to look him in the face, as if he was suddenly revolting. He almost got another speeding ticket as he drove away from him.

[Notes: Also dropped, as he didn’t fit into the overall powers set. Also, as soon as I watched Heroes, I found out the whole “psychic cop” deal had already been done. He was then changed to a dentist, then dropped. I will eventually use his power in another character in some other story, though, because in the right hands, it could be extremely powerful.]

A mugger had just cornered college freshman Tyrone Miller. Suddenly he noticed absolutely everything, and his brain kicked into turbocharged mode. He had lifted his hand and a white mist sprayed from the pores, reminding him of that alien movie, which suddenly was not as scary as himself. The attacker fell back clutching at his face and howling in agony. He sprayed a nearby cinderblock with a different, yellowish compound, and the block had dissolved, eaten away by acid. Tyrone decided he should probably change his major to chemistry.

[Notes: Again, dropped character. Unique power, but better suited for a minor X-Men character than this story’s updated mythos. Also, it was kind of lame.]

Scientist William Elliot was in the desert by himself, fourwheeling later the next day. Suddenly he had a very unusual feeling, of great power, and great foreboding. He stopped his ATV. Pointing a gloved finger at a cactus, he allowed some of the power to leave. He felt terrible. The earth shook, and the air trembled, and a small nuclear explosion blasted its way through the desert. He had just split a few atoms. The blast strangely did not kill him. He was not blinded by the explosion. In fact, it seemed regular, not much worse than a flashlight in his eyes. However, as the mushroom cloud went up, he realized what he had just done. He knew he had done it too, no doubt about it.

In order to stop fallout, he attuned his newfound powers to the radiation. He could feel it being pulled into him. This time, instead of that sickening, gut-wrenching feeling he’d had when he caused it, a warm feeling flooded him. He felt strangely calm, and knew the area would be safe from the errant energy. With little more than mild interest, he noted he was glowing. He realized that since the radiation had to go somewhere, probably being discharged as a much less toxic form of radiation; electromagnetic radiation, in the form of light particles. Interesting, he thought to himself. If it were safer I would study this. Then the warm feeling left, and the light gradually faded away, like a light bulb that’s been on for a while. His ATV had been destroyed in the explosion. He was left to walk the two miles to his car at the highway.

[Notes: This character is not abandoned, but has been pushed back to the eventual sequel. Kind of lucky that the NUCLEAR PHYSICIST gets NUCLEAR POWERS, amiright?]

Chapter Three: Obligation

This comprises most of the major players at this stage of the account. Others may come later, but it is these individuals who set the stage for later developments. As the days progressed, some decided to commit themselves to the higher good, to make the world better. Others decided to get even with the higher good, and make the world better for them, despite everybody else. A few still were unsure of what do make of it. Some were trying to forget, pretending it hadn’t happened. It wasn’t working. You can’t forget a thing like that, when your world changes. They tried anyway. However, eventually, all of them would have to choose one side or the other…

[Notes: Well, of course some of them would try to deny it, but doubtless someone will want to try out these amazing new powers. Also, I quite like the line, “get even with the higher good.”]

Walter had not been himself. For three days he had stayed in his apartment, and the only reason his concerned friends knew he was there was because he kept ordering food over the phone.

The only light in the room came from the slitted blinds, casting barred shadows over him. All he had been doing was sitting there. For three straight days. Thinking, mulling over the possibilities in his mind.

Questions came unbidden, and, unbidden, answers rushed to fill his head, but he wasn’t sure whether or not anything helped.

The first, after the initial shock had worn off, was do I even have it, this- this- he didn’t even want to think it.

However, that was quickly dispelled when he found the eraser, which he’d absentmindedly carried home, hovering in front of his face, turning over and over like the thoughts in his head.

Rolling his eyes, he snatched the eraser from in front of his face, and tossed it over his shoulder. Somewhat annoyingly, he caught himself lifting it and setting it gently on the fake fireplace.

It seemed almost automatic, and he realized it might be harder to stop it than to use it. Then he woke up from the stupor surrounding the use of his power, and couldn’t remember what he’d been thinking, like when you have a dream and can’t remember what you were dreaming, only that you were dreaming something.

He continued to sit. Issues and concerns playing over and over. Questions of power, responsibility, suitability, but eventually he came to the conclusion that, no matter how he looked at it, he couldn’t honestly come up with anything that felt right, except what the old superheroes always said, ‘with great power come great responsibility.’

And caution, he made himself remember. Governments and organizations the world over would kill for people with his power.

So, to be a hero, and ‘save the world, ‘ or maybe not that dramatic, but on the sly. No one could know his secret identity. He couldn’t stop himself from thinking the old comics clichés.

Newly resolved, he called to say he’d be into work tomorrow.

[Notes: So, Walter isn’t exactly the type to be comic-literate, but he’d still arrive at the same conclusion. Also, instead of an amnesia-inducing stupor, it is now massive amounts of pain. Fun]

Cathy could not decide what to do. She wasn’t sure she even had them. The psychologist was no help at all. He thought maybe she was hallucinating. She might have thought that herself had it not been for the feelings that had accompanied it. It had not been so noticeable at the time, but that was because it was drowned out by the surprise and confusion, but now, the more she looked back at it, the more obvious it had become. The feeling of destiny, and power beyond her own, mixed with an awe and appreciation for the world around her, which she could now sense in a way she had never done before. Undecided, she continued her daily business, still wondering at the marvel of it all.

[Notes: “Them” being powers, by the way. Her mental state, that of abject awe and a sense of majesty and wonder, has been changed, although she’ll still think she’s crazy.]

Nelson and Adam had stolen a car by disintegrating the locks, driven it to a rather decrepit part of town, and broken into an abandoned apartment room. Nelson had eventually settled down, and his powers had gone into remission for the time being. As soon as he had slipped out of his enhanced state, he was heavily fatigued. His body wanted rest, and the weariness was deep set. He collapsed, on the cigarette-burned mattress and slept for a few hours. His body’s advanced metabolism allowed him to recover in a short period. Adam had had trouble thinking straight for a while, and experienced something similar to a hangover. He was used to it. He too, was recovered in a few hours. Together they deliberated on what to do next. They decided to try themselves on something fairly easy. So they decided to rob the Stevens & Sons bank that afternoon.

[Notes: Nothing too much going on here, not much to say. The Bank is an immediately resolved plot point, though. I mainly just wanted to show the aftereffects of Nelson’s intensive power usage.]

Susanna had not even begun to think about anything like how she should use her powers, as she was so elated to be well again. The only reminder of it at all was the small shaft of light kept bent around her, causing a small and almost unidentifiable shimmer. It stayed at the back of her mind, and she could never quite forget about it. This was a small price to pay for her healing, though. Friends and family came in a never-ending stream, expressing their joy and happiness. Susanna had no time to even begin to think about her new talents, and was far too busy trying to get back to normal life to bother trying to get into a new one as a super hero.

[Notes: Surprise! Susanna is going to be psychologically devastated by crippling self-doubt in the new version. It’s all fun and games in this draft!]

Cathy was at the largest bank in town, Stevens & Sons, to cash her paycheck. Stevens was the largest bank in town, second largest in the state. It handled millions of dollars, and conducted a lot of international business. In fact, an armored truck was parked out front, loading crates of bills into the large and heavily protected vaults. The bank was big enough to hire guards. Armed guards.

Cathy was in a very long line, and used the time to think about possible uses of her powers, if indeed she had any. Not what she would do with them, just ways she could use them. She hadn’t tried anything, but the file cabinet was missing.

Two men, the spitting image of T.V. bank robbers walked into the bank. Cathy froze. Everyone froze, except the guards, who drew their pistols. Not pointing or shooting; yet, but still definitely drawn.

The man in front, big, burly, and all business, stepped forward. “Everybody down on the ground!” he commanded. No one moved. The men did not appear to be armed. The man grew angry. “Everyone down on the ground! Or somebody gets hurt.”

The guards, trained to read body language, noticed the man getting ready to do something, ready for violence, and lots of it. Strangely enough, they saw his pupils of his eyes swell, replacing the whites. Time for action. “You two,” said the security guard. “Hands up.” He lifted his gun and pointed it straight at them. “Now.”

Nelson, far from cowed, began walking towards the guard.

The guard took another step back, but was still not scared. “Take another step and I’m shooting.” he said, but Nelson just shrugged as if to say ‘whatever’, and kept on walking. Several people shrieked as his gun went off. The bullet struck Nelson in the chest. Nothing happened. Slightly scared, the guard emptied the entire clip at him, grouping shots at his chest, stomach, and head. No penetrated at all. The only reaction was a slight push from the force of the impact. The guards eyes widened, and Nelson floored him with a vicious kick.

The other guard was about to shoot too, but Adam disintegrated the gun in his hand, and he was dispatched with a brutal chop from Nelson.

“Now,” said Nelson, not even breathing hard. “Everybody, down on the floor, now.”

Everybody did. The tellers had obviously pushed the silent panic buttons, but after the demonstration by the thieves just a minute ago, nobody thought that would change much.

Everybody was panicking, except Cathy, who almost wanted to be, but couldn’t. When the masked men had used their powers, she realized with a shock that there were others like her, and they were not exactly working to improve humanity. Obviously she wasn’t hallucinating, because everybody else was seeing it too.

Now, all she could think, I’m the only person who can stop them. No one else. Just me.

By this time, Adam and Nelson were in the vault. McCollister had simply disintegrated the door, which now lay as a heap of shiny dust on the floor. The men unloading the armored van had seen Nelson and Adam. They were two unarmed men. The guards were six trained professionals with submachine guns. The guards didn’t stand a chance. The banks patrons, lying on the floor, heard shots rattled off, followed by grunts and a few nauseating cracks. Cathy stood up, and with courage she didn’t know she had, walked into the vault. She was scared, but that was all underneath what she felt she now must do, like that quote, that courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. She strode into the large, cold room, lined with concrete and steel. The men were standing there, stuffing thousand dollar bills into backpacks. They looked up at the sound of her approaching.

“You can’t do that,” she said, with a conviction that surprised even her. “Leave, or I’ll make you.”

Nelson glanced at Adam. They had just taken out eight armed men with nothing more than their newfound powers, and now some woman was telling them she’d kick them out? Yeah right.

“I wouldn’t say things like that, if I were you.” said Nelson, rising. “You could get hurt.”

Almost overwhelmed by what she was doing, the words slipped out of her mouth, a tribute to the classic banter in the comics of her day, “I’ll risk it.”

Adam growled, deep in his throat. Like the first time he’d killed someone, he allowed the anger to overcome him. He leapt through the air, shooting like an arrow from a bow, hands outstretched.

Cathy felt the awe-inspiring feeling come over her, and for the first time, purposefully used her abilities. The air molecules in a thin sheet froze in place, not moving, harder than any metal known, and completely invisible. Like a force field, thought Cathy, listing it with the other ways she could use her powers, and almost completely ignoring the fact that a homicidal maniac was leaping at her, murder in his eyes. She felt perfectly safe. Adam, slightly disconcerted by her calm, then bounced off of the hardened air so hard he left a dent in the safe-deposit boxes he bounced off of on the way down.

He was surprised. His mind was still too active, too action and reaction to fully recognize what had happened. He ran forward again, charging like a wild elephant. Again, he smacked off of the wall. Hard. He shook his head, slightly dazed with the force of his collision. The whites had begun to creep back around the edges of his eyes. “Let’s get out of here,” he said, somewhat hesitantly. The whites disappeared again. “We’ve got enough. We don’t need anymore trouble. Move!”

Adam shrugged, not one for giving orders, and he reduced the wall behind them to dust. They ran off. Sirens sounded in the distance. Cathy realized she couldn’t be here either. They would want to know what happened, and she couldn’t give them an answer without being put in an asylum. She, too, ran out the hole in the wall, stopping only to grab her purse before leaving.

[Notes: Man, I need to stop making everyone so comics-literate. Story-wise, this showdown probably should have occurred much later on, the beginning of Cathy’s return from suspicions of psychological breakdown, but I felt like I wanted to write an action scene, so here it is. Cathy’s powers are extremely versatile, given a quick mind, and this should also mark the beginning of her serious experimentation with it. I thought I was conveniently ignoring the extreme temperatures that would occur from completely stopping molecules in place, or making them move enough to flow like water or gas, but actually, I was thinking of it wrong. She’s not freezing the molecules in place, she’s causing them to stick to one another differently. Again, I’m probably missing some fission or fusion related explosions, but hey, it can’t be perfect science if people are doing this with their brains.]

•••

Well, that concludes this draft. Look forward to the redesigned and much improved version of the story coming sometime in the future.

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