Casting Shadows 1.3 (Tuesday)

I returned to the dorm, mind buzzing with possibilities. Not only did my powers actually have some utility, I was improving. The fact that I had found another use for my powers meant that I would probably find more, which boded well. There was probably not too long before Sean got back, so I rushed to pull off the body armor and stash it away under some clothes in one of my drawers. Once I had changed into more civilian clothes, I pulled out my laptop and started work on my Theory & History homework. I had pulled up Wikipedia and was looking at the “List of Known Metahumans (by Ability Ranking Sum)” page.

“Ugh, this is annoying. Some villains have been inflating their ranking and got the page locked. This data is out of date.”

“Even with old data, I’m sure you can still use it for this assignment. It is history after all. Ooh.”

Sean sat down heavily on his bed.

“I have had a long day.”

The next day, Sean and I woke up and headed to Metahuman Ethics and Psychology. Sean was groaning and sore the whole time. I guess the Hero program does some serious training, I thought. We weren’t the first people there this time, I spotted Sasha and a few people I didn’t know there already. I could guess how Sasha got there. Professor Stone walked in from one of the side doors with some papers and started class once the rest had arrived.

“There are five kinds of villains. I’ll go over them in order from what is commonly considered least dangerous to most dangerous,” Professor Stone said after outlining the course much like Dr. Rayne had the previous day. “First, the desperate. These are people who commit crimes because they think they have no other choice, because of the their situation. Second are the businessmen. These people do it for profit or personal gain. With few exceptions, they don’t really hold stake in crime, they just do it for the money or fame. Third, the misled. These are people who think they are doing the right thing, who believe in a misguided cause.  They tend to be very dedicated to their cause, but can be persuaded.” Most of the class was taking close notes, Sean and I included, but I spotted one person who was just taking it in, staring intently at the professor.

“Fourth, the animals. These people can’t help themselves, and are unpredictably violent and often have no sense of self-preservation.” Professor Stone took a breath before continuing. “Fifth, are the monsters. The people who just enjoy it. These are the most dangerous kind because they have no morals, like the animals, but they are still capable of rational thought and planning. They have no remorse and will not flinch from torture or murder.”

She paused for a moment and let it sink in. Many of the students would be facing down people like that in the future. I knew she was glossing over one reason a lot of villains get started; rebellion against authority and against the law. Her grouping also clumped teenage vandals doing it for fun with psychopathic mass-murderers.

“Now, more often than not, these will overlap. Sometimes combinations of the types will occur. There are exceptions, but most of the time, they can be categorized as one of these five. We are going to be analyzing the motives of well-known villains and defining them as one of these five or as an exception and going over how to tell them apart. The distinctions can tell you what the villain will do in a tight spot, and may very well save your life.”

There was no question what group in the class that was directed at. Wren raised his hand- he had evidently taken care of the paperwork to change majors last night.

“Yes?” prompted Professor Stone.

“Can you categorize heroes the same way?”

“Well, yes. Not the exact same way, there are some important differences, but the concept still applies. We’ll be going into that later in the course,” explained Professor Stone

“Okay, thank you.”

“Now, if anyone doesn’t know a villain I am referencing, just raise your hand and I will explain for you.”

The majority of the rest of the class was spent going through some well known villains and ascribing motives to them. There was a weird moment when she used Denizen as an example and a good quarter of the class spun my direction, and still more were clearly deliberately stopping themselves from doing the same. I didn’t think so many people knew my family history. In the end the class decided that my grandfather was the first, and shifted to the second, despite occasional protests that he was the fifth. The latter was mostly because he was scary: at his prime he had taken down several teams of heroes and still been unharmed. Some people didn’t want to give so strong a villain so harmless a ranking.

Those who knew his actual history were more lenient- he was a polish immigrant who found himself out of a job due to the prejudice against immigrants during the time period who discovered his powers and turned to crime, later continuing because, well, he was rich off it. I tactfully refrained from adding some of my less well-known tidbits about my grandfather.

Our homework was to pick five villains and categorize them, with explanations of why we think that and and evidence from their actions. I felt like I would probably have a slightly different take on a lot of them than the others. My next class was one of the required classes outside my major, a math course. I wasn’t too excited for that.

* * *

Sean was looking forward to Power Training. He hoped that the class would be less intense than Combat Training. At the very least, it was also the only other class that was done in-costume because of the risk of people’s powers being found out and connected to heroes later in life. The school provided uniform grey costumes for those without their own yet, but some of the students used their own. Sean’s was one of the most well-designed, though there were a few others with similarly professional costumes.

Once in the Davis gymnasium, where they were meeting, the students were each greeted by a ghostly projection of Coach Mary. The real coach stood in the center of the room, silent, maintaining a number of astral projections. It was easy to guess what her power was.

“Guardian Angel. I see you’ve got your full regalia together,” remarked Coach Mary. “I want to see you fly. Just fly a few loops around the gym, easy does it.”

Coach Mary had a gentle voice, almost like a kind old lady, but rumor had it she could be tougher than Coach Masters. Sean spread his wings and lept into the air. As he circled the gym, banking tight corners at the edges, he saw all the other students doing similar things, exercising their powers, demonstrating for Mary. He spotted who he assumed was Sasha blinking back and forth between two copies of the diminutive coach every couple seconds. There was one boy standing on top of a pillar of glowing energy, and someone who had turned into wood remarkably similar to the floor of the gym.

Some of them had been led off into separate rooms designed for certain types of powers- he spotted someone in a soundproof room through a window shattering glasses, and someone emitting a lot of undirected electromagnetic energy in a room lined with copper bars. Sean reveled in the feeling of swooping through the air, though he was used to flying outdoors. After a few laps around, the projection of Coach Mary that had been watching him kicked off and floated up next to him.

“I want to see how maneuverable you are. Go in tight circles, as tight as you can manage. I want to see your turning radius.”

Guardian Angel obliged, turning circles. After a little while he started to get dizzy and pulled up.

“Hmm, not great. You won’t fare well in a dogfight,” commented Coach Mary.

Guardian Angel was taken aback. He had thought he had done quite well. Then again, he had to rely on actual wings, whereas most flying capes didn’t have that limitation.

“Right, now lets see how fast you can go. Go to the other side of the gym and back as fast as you can.”

Sean dove down and swooped across the gym, pulling up at the last moment, the air rushing past his wings. He spun and did the same back the other direction.

“Well, you’re not breaking any records. Let’s work on your maneuverability.”

The next several hours were much worse than Combat Training the day before. The school had a tortuous aerial obstacle course for which he had to dodge and weave between red pillars hanging on ropes from the ceiling. By the end, he was dripping with sweat, barely able to stay aloft. Every time, a ghostly coach would watch, give some harshly critical analysis, tell him his time, and sweetly say, “again.” He was beginning to long for Combat Training the next day.

* * *

Masquerade sauntered through the crowd. He had chosen this event specifically for the press- though such a high-class event certainly was to his taste. None of the guests had made the connection between the figure in a white suit standing head and shoulders above the other guests with the high-profile villain of years past. His ivory cane tapped the floor, the silver knob clasped in his white-gloved hand. He had spent some time enjoying the atmosphere and the music. Choosing a partner dressed to his standards -a white dress and pearls- he began to dance.

His dancing was graceful, but with his long legs, it was quite difficult for his partner to keep up. She was soon sweating with exertion, but had no intention of stopping. This was surely the best dance she had shared in quite some time. Eventually, she began to feel quite strange, and excused herself. Masquerade spun off and continued with another partner.

The guests were suitably shocked when Esme Fantina collapsed suddenly, sweating blood and gibbering madly about a masquerade, a dance, a chance to find a true romance.

Masquerade had just worked up momentum, spinning at a feverish rate, though never running out of breath or tiring in the least. His latest was dressed in a florid yellow dress a bit too modern for his taste in women. He wore her out much faster than the last.

This time, a man saw the progression of events. Horrified, he shouted,

“Fiend! What have you done to this poor innocent girl!” He had a flair for the theatrical.

Masquerade appreciated that.

He began to sing, quietly at first, but gaining in volume rapidly. The orchestra was quickly drowned out.

“ Masquerade! Paper faces on parade,”

Masquerade bowed, tipping his white top hat at the gentleman who challenged him.

“Masquerade! Hide your face so the world will never find you,”

He silently drew his glass sword. The blade was nigh invisible apart from the gleam off it’s edge. The crowd was beginning to panic.

“Masquerade! Every face a different shade,”

Masquerade began to flourish his sword, absentmindedly slashing several people who had gotten too close to him. He moved like a dancer. The gentleman had drawn a sword as well.

“Masquerade! Look around, there’s another mask behind you.”

The room was plunged into chaos.

“Masquerade! Grinning yellows, spinning reds,”

Masquerade skipped lightly through the carnage, still singing, sword flashing.

“Masquerade! Take your fill, let the spectacle astound you,”

His white porcelain mask was totally expressionless as he struck down another party-goer.

“Masquerade! Burning glances, turning heads,”

A splash of blood flew off his sword, not a single drop staining his pristine white suit.

“Masquerade! Stop and stare at the sea of smiles around you,”

Most of the party-goers were huddled at the edges of the room in terror.

“Masquerade! Seething shadows breathing lies,

“Masquerade! You can fool any friend who ever knew you,

“Masquerade! Leering satyrs, peering eyes,”

“Masquerade! Run and hide, but a face will still pursue you.”

* * *

Jamisson was not having a good time. The console was alight with incoming emergency calls. Masquerade at a ball just out of the city, Shatterpoint robbing banks left and right, some villain team called Limit Break pulling a heist at a museum, and one of the city’s gangs was claiming territory on the edge of the city. It’s like they knew the Wardens were out of town. Their communicators were still off the network, so reaching them was impossible. That left him with one option, but he was loathe to use it. After the debacle last summer, he was not liking the idea of calling on the Wardens of Tomorrow, but they were the only well-organized superteam left in the city.

On the console now was the news footage from Masquerade’s massacre. The footage, captured from a helicopter, showed Masquerade in his classic costume, slowly walking down the stairs in front of the mansion. His suit was unblemished, but rivulets of blood ran down the stairs by his feet. The light from the spotlight shined off his expressionless white mask. He was singing to the news chopper,

“Why so silent, good monsieurs? Did you think that I had left you for good? Have you missed me, good monsieurs?”

“Dammit,” he muttered to himself and hit the button.

“And to think I liked that movie.”

* * *

I was glad Sean wasn’t there when the communicators started pulsing. I had just gotten out of math, and was glad of it. I sprinted back to my room and checked the communicator. It said to meet the Wardens of Tomorrow outside the Warden’s building ASAP. I quickly donned the body armor and headed out. The Wardens of Tomorrow were just exiting the building in costume when I arrived.

“Shadow, I wasn’t sure they’d call you out for this,” said Guardian Angel.

“ Wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t. I still don’t know why they did.”

“Jamisson didn’t tell you? There’s been a spike in criminal activity and the Wardens of Justice are out of town on a mission. We’re going to be taking care of some gang members holed up in dockside. Pyroclasm and Cryoclasm are going after Shatterpoint, and Savage is tracking down Masquerade.”

“Oh crap, Masquerade’s out?”

“Yeah,” Guardian Angel’s tone was completely serious, “let’s go.”

The young superheroes, Guardian Angel, and I piled into the back of the Metahuman transport van. Guardian Angel appeared to be able to retract his wings into his back. It made sense to me- I’d seen him without them plenty of times now. As we drove, the sounds of combat grew gradually louder.

“Sounds like someone beat us there,” commented Plateau.

“Shit!” exclaimed Kismet suddenly, standing and throwing open the door of the van.

I figured it was probably a good idea to follow suit with the precog and dove out the door after her as an explosion rocked the van, tipping it onto it’s side in a crash of glass and crumpled metal. Dame Danger pulled her way out next and set about pulling the rest out with her exoskeleton-amplified strength. Once I made sure they were safe, I looked around to figure out what had happened.

“Dammit, Spit, be careful. There were people in there,” said a female voice from inside an alley.

“If they’re more CCS reinforcements I don’t care. I’m tired of dealing with these assholes,” replied a male voice, closer. Presumably Spit.

The rattle of gunfire continued to echo from a few blocks away, cutting off their conversation.

“Hey guys, we’ve got company,” I said back to the Wardens of Tomorrow, who had just finished climbing out of the back of the van. The driver had climbed out and was quietly radioing for backup. Moments later, the two who had been talking turned the corner.

 

“Balls,” commented the man, who was wearing what appeared to be a welding mask with the bottom half cut off.

The woman reached into the air and pulled a radio out of nowhere and started shouting into it,

“Guys, we’ve got heroes. Let’s get the hell out of here.”

It was then that I recognized them. They were both members of one of the city’s villain teams, Limit Break.

They turned to run, but Plateau had recovered and made a wall in front of them, cutting them off. Guardian Angel had taken to the sky to get a view of what was going on where the gunfire was, and had to dodge a blast of light streaking up from the street below. Spit had started trying to blast his way through the wall Plateau had made, but Plateau was letting the rubble sink back into the ground and re-creating the wall.

“Sham, this isn’t gonna work,” Spit said.

“Call in backup?” asked Sham.

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Scratch that, we need help here,” the woman said into the radio.

We had just pulled ourselves back together from the van tipping over when there was a dull thump and a flash as a yellow-costumed man appeared and looked over at us.

“Ohh, dear,” he commented.

A moment later, a section of the wall bulged out and revealed what appeared to be a large man made of bricks and asphalt -Golem- and a man in a grey and green costume -Limelight, if I remembered right,- vaulted over the wall Plateau had made, hands shining with light.

“Well then, let’s get dangerous,” said Golem, and charged.

* * *

Pyroclasm and Cryoclasm walked side by side. They ignored the roaring inferno just ahead of them. One more of the pillars holding up the roof crumbled, splinters flying towards the duo. A wall of ice caught the shards before evaporating in the intense heat.

“Give up, Shatterpoint!” roared Pyroclasm. “You’re fighting a losing game.”

“You take down any more pillars and the roof will come down on you,” added Cryoclasm. “We’d survive that, but I doubt you would.”

“If you take me in, I don’t want to go to jail,” called out Shatterpoint over the roaring flames.

“I’m afraid it’s too late for that,” replied Pyroclasm.

The flames increased in intensity briefly.

“Hear me out, hear me out. If you give me protection, I can give you my employer.”

“Employer? You’re bullshitting us. You work alone, for money,” spat Cryoclasm.

“This one was different. He knew my name, my family. He never said it, but… He would kill them. Or worse. I- I couldn’t turn him down.”

“We can offer protection for your family, if that’s the case. For that you’ll have to give us your civilian identity.”

There was a pause before he replied.

“I can live with that.”

Shatterpoint stepped out into the open in his grey costume. A hole in the flames opened up as he walked. Cryoclasm and Pyroclasm approached him, and Cryoclasm knocked him out with an ice-covered fist.

The moment he was out, the flames twisted and roared back into Pyroclasm, winking out. Contrary to what they had said, the structure of the building was almost completely intact, apart from the damage Shatterpoint did and a thin rim of frost.

“It wouldn’t hurt to let me show off once in awhile,” joked Cryoclasm.

“Of course it would! Who knows what havoc you would wreak?” Replied Pyroclasm melodramatically.

Cryoclasm socked her brother gently on the shoulder.

“Ware treachery! Back, fiend!” Cried Pyroclasm, retaliating with a gout of flames. His sister laughed at his antics and replied,

“Come on, we’ve got to get this lug back to HQ.”

“You ruin my fun, Cry.”

“That’s my job.”

“Too true, too true.”

* * *

Dame Danger squared off against Golem. She had designed the exoskeleton to make her actually effective in combat. There was no better way to test it, in her mind. Golem lumbered forward, and she dodged under his swing, jabbing at his knees. There was a crunch and a shower of debris. Golem kicked at Dame Danger but Plateau thrust his hands upward and Golem’s foot slammed into the short wall that had formed in front of his foot. Dame Danger took advantage of it and vaulted over, delivering a blow to his torso, accompanied by another shower of brick fragments. Golem grabbed at her, and she dived back, but stumbled over the wall plateau had formed. She cried out and Plateau went pale. Golem looked over at plateau. Plateau saw Dame Danger struggling to escape Golem’s grasp, her suit failed, sparking and jerking, and raised his hands in surrender. Golem threw Dame Danger’s now limp form at Plateau and they both went down in a tangle of limbs and shattered electronics.

Up above, Guardian Angel was realizing what Coach Mary had meant earlier. He barely dodged another of Limelight’s blasts of light. It was impossible to dodge his blasts once he fired them off, but it was possible to tell where he was aiming by where he pointed his hands. Guardian Angel dived in towards Limelight and swung at him with his electrified spear -non-lethal and with better range than the flaming sword. Limelight adjusted the beams of light supporting him and dodged easily. As he swooped past, Limelight fired off a few blasts at him, the first two nearly clipping the tips of his wings, and the third catching him square in the chest, splattering off more like water or plasma than light. The armor took most of the impact, but it launched him backwards, flailing his wings to stabilize his flight. Guardian Angel was beginning to realize how ineffective close-combat fliers can be compared to the flying artillery type. As he was trying to catch himself, another blast caught one of his wings and spun him out of control, spiraling to the ground for a hard landing.

Kismet twisted out of the way of the attack a moment before Flicker appeared with a dull thump and a dim flash, already punching. She tried to grab his arm and pull him off balance, but he had already vanished again. a moment later, he appeared from a slightly different angle kicking out at her legs. She shifted her stance and hooked her leg around his to pull him off balance, and once more he vanished.

He must be changing positions somewhere I can’t see him to catch me off guard, she thought. She jabbed out with a punch at the empty air, catching Flicker in the shoulder. Lucky for me that doesn’t work so well on me. He vanished again and came at her from the other side. She blocked his first punch and caught his arm in a lock on his second, managing to pull him off balance before he teleported himself out. She heard a dull thump from inside a store near where they were fighting. He must have a very short range, she thought. She sprinted over to the store, kicked open the door, and was greeted by an empty shop.

“Oh sh-” she said a moment before he caught her in the back of the head.

Shockwave stood watching the carnage unfold.

I should help, he thought, I have to help. But if I do, I’ll hurt someone. He had heard that some people freeze up in combat, but he’d never guessed that he was one of them. The fight wasn’t going well for the Wardens of Tomorrow.

Do I really not want to hurt people, he wondered, or do I just not want to get hurt?

Sham had pulled a pistol out of the air and was offing Legion’s duplicates left and right, slowly backing away. When the pistol ran out of ammo, she tossed it into the air where it vanished and was replaced with the same gun, fully loaded. Legion took the opening and sprinted in, splitting into two as one took her first shot and the other dived off to the side and continued running towards her. Her next few shots missed, and Legion body-slammed into her, taking her down. She shoved him off and rolled away, producing a taser from the air instead. Legion backed off immediately, getting out of her reach.

“Oh, so that’s how it works,” commented Sham excitedly, “all self-sacrificial when I have something that’ll off your clones real quick, but when I have something that hurts a bit, you back right off,” Her tone turned mockingly sarcastic. “How noble.”

She skipped forward, swinging at Legion with the taser. He stumbled back, losing his footing and getting caught by her next jab.

“Good job. I wasted a lot of ammo on you, kid,” he heard her say as he slumped to the ground.

Spit spat another stream of rubber bullets at me. He’d caught me with some earlier, not expecting it, but this time I felt their path through the air and shifted just out of the way. The ground around us was littered with pockmarks from the impacts of his projectile spit. I ducked as he fired off a shotgun blast from his mouth. What a weird power, I thought. Then again, I’m one to talk.

I started advancing towards him again, and he fired off an explosive round at the ground a good way in front of my feet. The surprised look on his face was priceless, but I was mostly focusing on my own surprise as I felt the pressure wave from the blast travel through the air, pass through me, and continue on. I laughed. Of course it went through me. It’s made of air!

Spit backed away several paces and fired off a few tracer rounds my way, failing to set me on fire like he had hoped as I shifted my body narrowly in between them. His aim was off, which explained why he relied on explosive shot most of the time. As I closed in on him, he took a deep breath and fired out a beanbag round which caught me by surprise and arrested my forward momentum.

“Stay down,” he growled, his voice rough as gun-smoke trailed out of the corners of his mouth. He followed up with a shell filled with a sticky glue-like substance which adhered me firmly to the ground. I was out of the fight.

* * *

Savage sniffed the air. The bloody footprints from the mansion had led him a good ways, but the trail had dried up since.

What kind of person has no fucking smell?

He growled involuntarily before he could stop himself. He’d dealt with people like this before. It was never easy. Instead of trying to pick out Masquerade’s smell, this time  he tried to pick out other smells that could have clung to his person. He was getting frustrated with his lack of success when he hit upon one. The smell from one of the victims sweat, faint and fading, but still present, led away from where the trail had ended. From what he could tell, she had been killed by a contact poison absorbed through the skin. Unpleasant business.

Savage followed the scent until where it went into a run-down tenement. The door was hanging partially open. He pushed his way in and stalked through the halls. At the end of one, he could hear a voice singing quietly and smell something he recognized faintly but couldn’t place and a subtle whiff of peppermint. He roared and smashed through the door. The room was empty, pristine even, except for a small gramophone and the words

here kitty

carved expertly into the wall. All too late he realized what the smell was as the pepper spray bomb exploded his senses.

* * *

The group trudged back to the Warden’s building, minus Shadow, who had slipped off once he realized he could teleport right out of the glue that Spit had stuck him with. Dame Danger pulled up alongside Guardian Angel.

“Can I see that?” She asked tentatively.

“Huh, what? Oh, sure,” said Guardian Angel. When he had landed on it, his spear had cracked down it’s length, exposing it’s circuitry. He handed it’s fragments to her.

She examined it for several minutes, then asked,

“How does it work? There’s no power source?”

“When I fly, I generate an electrostatic field that helps keep me airborne, though it’s not strong enough to be a full forcefield. This here converts energy from it into electricity when I’m holding it,” he replied, pointing to a dense block of electronics in the hilt. “It’s based on Dr. Mind’s work with forcefields, kinda in reverse.”

“Oh wow. I think… Do you mind if I borrow this? I think I can do better. If-“

Kismet cut in, saying: “alright, kiddo, I’m going to cut you off before you start spewing technobabble, Ok?”

Dame Danger looked embarrassed. The group lapsed back into a sullen silence as they pondered their failings in the fight with Limit Break.

* * *

I knocked on Dean Storm’s door.

“Come in,” he said.

I opened his door and limped in. Dean Storm looked up at me from his desk and asked,

“Would I be right in assuming you want permission to visit one of the school’s healers?”

“Yes, sir.” I winced at a twinge in my ribs. “Ideally off-“

“Off the record, yes. Can’t go exposing you, whoever you are. I understand the need for discretion. Normally I’d say you don’t need my permission, but in this case I think a red slip is warranted.”

Dean Storm finished his scribbling and handed me a red piece of paper with his signature, the date, the words “off-record, confidential,” and some obscure verification symbols on it.

“See Claire, give her this.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

I limped back out of the office. I had hoped the dean would understand my position.

I headed to the building where the nurses and healers worked. The man at the front desk looked up from his game of solitaire. I waved the red slip at him and said,

“Here to see Claire.”

He scowled and said,

“Just a moment,” standing up and poking his head into one of the doors off the room. He and Claire had a brief exchange, voices muffled. After a moment, I was ushered in and sat down on the patient bed in the room.

Claire was pretty, though not quite beautiful, with golden-red hair flowing down to below her shoulders. I placed her as a graduate student.

“Red card?” She asked, and I handed it to her. “You’re not one of the hero program students. Are- ugh, never mind. I hate these things, because I can’t ask how the injuries happened,” she commented, continuing “If I do ask, which I probably will, you don’t have to answer, OK?  Now, shirt off.”

I obliged, and she inspected my injuries.

“Well, I’ll bite. How’d it happen?”

I pointed to the purpling bruises on my shoulder and abdomen saying, “close-range fire from a riot gun, rubber bullets,” then at my chest, “close-range fire from a riot gun, beanbag round,” then at my upper arms and legs saying simply, “glue,” and finishing by waving my hand at my face and saying, “Asphalt shrapnel from an explosion.”

“What?” She exclaimed incredulous, then sighed and said, “that really doesn’t explain anything. Probably for the best, but now I’m just more curious. I can deal with that, though, and it looks like it’s mostly stuff I can do. I can’t heal the broken rib, but I can speed that up a bit. Be careful for a few days. Okay, ready? I need your permission to touch you.”

I nodded.

“This is going to hurt,” she warned me as she laid her hands on my chest.

It did.

* * *

A buzz echoed through the room at the top of the Warden’s building. Jamisson jerked out of his book. The Wardens of Justice had just come back onto the network.

“Jamisson, this is Mind, do you copy?” Mind’s voice was rough.

Jamisson jumped up from the leather chair by the council, leaning over the console.

“Here. What do you need.”

“Thank god. Get the jet ready to pick us up. Load it up with-” he broke off, coughing. “Load it up with water.”

“The jet is getting ready.”

“Good. We have an extra. Non-hostile. No control over his powers. Don’t land the jet in the hangar on the return, land it in a field, on the roof if you must. Whatever you do, don’t let him into any building with more than two rooms. Under any circumstances. Have paramedics ready to treat severe dehydration, exhaustion, shock, malnourishment, serious friction burns,” he paused for a moment, “and untreated PTSD.”

“All in him?”

“No, in us.”

Jamisson physically reacted to that. The Wardens of Justice usually came out of missions almost unscathed.

“The jet is on it’s way.”

There was no response, just the sound of Dr Mind collapsing to the ground.

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13 Responses to Casting Shadows 1.3 (Tuesday)

  1. “All in him?”

    “No, in us.”

    Niiiice…

    Hg

  2. flame7926 says:

    I’m sorry to say I skipped the combat, since I had no idea who anyone was. The rest of it was good. I would recommend including more dialogue, since it helps with characterization.

    Are the Wardens the only superhero team in the city, or in the country or what?

    • I probably should have clarified that at some point. They are the only government-funded team in the city. There are a few amateur groups, but none of them qualify for federal funding. They are pretty renowned for being serious powerhouses, though, so they get called out of the city occasionally.

  3. “Even with old data, I’m sure you can still use it for this assignment. It is history at all. Ooh.”

    Typo!

  4. there was no question what group in the class that was directed

    Needs a capital.

  5. solitaire. I waved the red slip at him and said

    Needs a comma.

  6. fallintolife says:

    “Third, the misled. these are people who think they are doing the right thing, who believe in a misguided cause.”

    ‘These’ needs to be capitalized.

    Also, I found the combat follow-able. I’m not sure if you changed it or not since flame commented, but if you did, good on you; it worked. 🙂

    • I didn’t change anything, actually. That’s something that was on my list but I haven’t gotten around to yet. Odd. I think it’s due to the fact that there are a ton of individual people involved in the fight at once, and if you missed someone’s introduction I guess that could get confusing..

  7. farmerbob1 says:

    “Ugh, this is annoying. Some villains have been inflating their ranking and got the page locked. This data is out of date.”

    If I were a villain, and I wanted to be successful, I would seed the database with false information that made me appear weaker. That way when Captain Underpants shows up to stop me, they will be overconfident. If you make yourself seem too powerful, sure, some heroes might leave you alone, but they are only leaving you along long enough to gather a team, which will lead to a Roflstomp.

  8. Jesp says:

    “There was probably not too long before Sean got back, …”
    That read awkwardly. Maybe “Sean would probably be back soon,”?

    “…. I had pulled up Wikipedia and was looking at the “List of Known Metahumans (by Ability Ranking Sum)” page.”
    Missing ” when Sean walked in” at then end of the sentence? Otherwise the next conversation is weird.

    Thanks for another good chapter. Conflict is a-brewing on all fronts and more exploration in powers is given. Not sure how Dame wasn’t killed other than that sort of thing doesn’t happen very often in stories but certainly could have added a whole new drama dimension. Not that I’m advocating killing off the main characters… 🙂

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