Hi-Five

Tag: metakids

Season 1:2 ‘Welcome to The Hive’

(Start here.)

 

 We were all kind of forced into this situation.  Maybe some of the other metakids are eager to take up the mantle of their parents.

“Team Sassitude Gives Reporter an Ear-Full” reads the morning paper’s headline.  Jason’s was the only outburst, but it was enough to make the front page.  Mom and dad weren’t too happy afterwards.  They never yell at us.

We don’t need a global crisis during our first week on the job.  Everyone should take us seriously.  Jason and I sit up in our room, waiting for dad to get home before we’re taken to our base of operations.  The Guardians Society has their own headquarters, somewhere.  All of the metas take extensive precautions to protect their identities and locations since there are so few of us.  None of the known ninety-nine have died.

You should’ve kept quiet.

“Can’t we just talk, like normal people?” Jason is sprawled out on his bed, legs dangling off the edge.  At this point we should probably have our own rooms and bigger beds.  But we’ve never wanted either.

“What if mom hears us?”

“Doesn’t matter, they’ll be gone tomorrow anyway.”

Jason.  There’s a little more emotion packed in there than I intended to send across.  Jason almost sobs.

“Dude, why’re you so upset over this?”

“How can you not be upset?  Our parents are leaving for who knows how long.  They could die out there and we’d never know.”

“I mean, why aren’t you angry about this?  They’re dumping all this crap on us without so much as a crash course.  We’ve played game tutorials more thorough than this,” Jason says.  He gets up from his bed and leans forward on the window sill.

I’m failing to think of a reply.  I could reach into his head and find what he wants me to say.  He’d know if I did it.  So I just sigh and stare at the ceiling.

“Everyone else is going to the beach this summer, and then college.  None of their parents asked them to guard the world while they go make peace with E.T.,” he says.

There’s a crunch in his direction.  Jason had grasped the sill and crushed the bottom of the window frame in frustration.  He lets the splinters fall onto our carpet.  I hate to admit it, but he has a point.  We were all kind of forced into this situation.  Maybe some of the other metakids are eager to take up the mantle of their parents.  Ingot and Mach seem old enough to hold jobs.

“I guess, we don’t have much of a choice,” I say.  It’s an awful response, but it’s the only one I can muster.

“We should always have a choice,” he says, “but you might be right.”

Super strength probably lends itself to an increased temper, add an Irish heritage on top of it and Jason’s short fuse is brought into focus.  We both look the part, but I suspect mom contributed some Italian blood.

I hate it too, but who else will protect them?  I sent across images of the press conference, whatever I’d seen on the news that morning, and what I remember about an attack on our high school a few years ago.  I’m not sure how sending images across works.  Jason says it’s like dreaming: nothing can really be explained, but it all makes sense in your head.

We’ll try.  It’s not often he sends something back.

I fall back onto my bed.  Jason walks around and then leaves to go downstairs.  Sometimes I’ll stay in his head just to keep up on what happens in the rest of the house.  Right now I’ll leave him alone.  He says he doesn’t always feel me in there, but I think he’s lying.  Often times I know he’s lying.

Every thought pattern is unique. Jason’s thoughts flow smoothly which makes for easy manipulation. His memories serve as clear mirrors reflecting the past. When he’s angry things can get intense. Calming him down reminds me of the time I had to make a race car in shop class from a cube of balsa wood. Sanding down the rough edges until it all reached a desired smoothness. In this scenario there’s a chance something bad will happen if I fail to sand everything over fast enough.

We’re supposed to visit our base of operations today. Dad says it’s in the city, and we might have even been in the building before. I imagine this is what it feels like to someone on their first day at work. Excitement, apprehension, a twinge of fear, reluctance. An aversion to change.

Dad comes home a little while later.

“Desmond, let’s get going,” he calls.

“Do we need to suit up for this?” I call down to him.

“Only if you want.”

My clothes are fine for now.  Jay is sitting on the couch watching a basketball game on TV, mom is at her desk.  She’s always been the one to take care of family matters while dad goes out on missions.  The Guardians Society only calls her when they really require her skills.  Jason shuts the TV and we head out.

The rest of our group is already at the meeting spot.  I was expecting something a little more grand.  We’re standing outside of a fifteen story tall office building.  It’s not all chrome and glass like some of the newer buildings.  This is a concrete slab with black metal forming honeycomb frames around the windows.

“Welcome, to The Hive,” says the Mauve Avenger.  I think he’s Mach’s father.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” says Dragonette.

“Our headquarters is an office building with an awful name?” Mach asks.

“Keep quiet.  The whole building isn’t your headquarters,” Mauve Avenger says.

Floor twelve seems innocuous.  Mauve Avenger punches in a code on the keypad for the door in the elevator lobby.

“This glass can withstand a megaton of force,” dad says, “all of the glass in the building can.”

“And all the glass on this floor is equipped with adaptive camouflage.  Anyone looking inside will just see an ordinary office, complete with worker drones.”

Ratchet really outdid himself with the glass.  Sleek hexagonal tiles coat the floor and walls, and the ceiling is covered in clusters of similarly shaped lights.  There are few furnishings on the floor: a control panel and monitor, elevated sparring platform, complete kitchen, and a couch.

“Armory and sleeping barracks are at the end of the hall, though we’ve cleaned out most of the gadgets,” dad says.

I walk over to one of the windows and stare out at the city.  The others chatter behind me about some of the unseen details of The Hive.  There are no vehicles or gun turrets, and the armory has next to nothing inside.

“Nice view,” I look over and see Dragonette.

“Yeah, I’ve never seen the city from up this high,” I say.

“I guess when you can fly, this seems normal.”

“I wouldn’t know.”

“Right, I forgot.  So your brother seems pretty cool,” she says.

I can’t help but laugh, like an outburst, “Oh man, just you wait and see.”

 

 

Next Chapter

Season 1:1 ‘New Metakids on the Block’

 

 And so, we’ve decided to entrust these heroes with our regular responsibilities.

We’ll never be normal. My brother and I are identical twins, and some people already think that’s strange. There’s a three percent chance to conceive twins. There’s almost no chance those twins have powers; unless the parents do. Our parents are Orion and Lady M, but we just call them dad and mom.

Twenty years ago, ninety-four normal people developed extraordinary abilities. 2003 saw the most powerful solar flare ever recorded. Almost every theoretical paper centered on the newly minted metahumans concluded the radiation from this event triggered something within the genetic structure of each person. I’ve never been good at biology. Our parents and thirteen of their friends were the only ones to shed their old lives and become heroes. They formed The Guardians Society as a promise to protect the public.

“Boys, hurry up or we’ll be late,” dad says from downstairs.

Today is the official press conference about The Guardians Society’s mission and who will be filling their shoes. The public is in the dark about our powers, and that we’ll be the ones watching over the planet. The whole planet.

“Can’t believe mom just expects us to stay quiet through the whole thing,” says Jason. He’s my brother.

“She meant it too. You’re lucky she didn’t say what she was thinking,” I say.

I stand by the door to our room and wait. I’ve always liked looking at the bedroom from this angle. Two windows face east and another pair face south; from our door I have a clear view of the block. The curtains are a little too thin to keep the sun out in the morning, but I’ve never minded. Jason was always the late sleeper. Mornings are when my mind is clearest. Jason strips down to his underwear to change into his costume.

None of our costumes have capes. Everyone agreed those served no purpose. Most outfits are simple and functional; complements to the wearer’s powers. Mine consists of a short-sleeve shirt, form-fitting pants, and a hooded cowl. My brother has a vest and mask in place of the shirt and cowl. He likes to show off his muscles. Not that we get out much aside from media appearances. Together, we’re Gemini. We’ve never been formally introduced as a “package deal”, but mom and dad told us we’re supposed to work as a pair. Dad will keep our relationship a secret from the press. If Jason keeps moving like a slug no one will ever know about us.

“Stay out of my head, Des,” he says, “I’m going as fast as I can.” He glares at me before returning to slipping his legs into the outfit.

Most people claim twins have a telepathic link. Jay and I have a legitimate connection. Well, my telepathy works the strongest between the two of us, and I have a bad habit of planting suggestions in his head.

“Sorry, I’m just nervous,” I say.

“It’ll be fine. We’ll just try and stay out of trouble.”

“Not about the press conference. About, everything.”

If the two of us survived high school without using our powers, we should make it through the next couple of years. Mom and dad kept close watch over us when they weren’t out on a mission. Usually, it was a call about Jay getting in a fight at school that brought them back home. He really had to be careful if I wasn’t around to stop him. Super strength isn’t something anyone can just turn off.

Our parents tried to maintain an illusion of mediocrity to keep us safe. I guess they knew at some point we’d start using our powers more often. They’re more than just powers, they define us. There have been hundreds of instances where using telepathy would make my life so much easier, but I decided against it. We stay cooped up in our modest suburban home pretending to be average teenagers who will one day have full-time jobs in an office with two and a half kids at home. On a lot of levels our family is like one you’d find on a daytime sitcom: angsty teenager, confident mom, insightful father, nerdy other sibling, all living in a little white house.

“Jason and Desmond, get down here right now or you’re stuck watching the whole thing on TV,” mom says. She sounds more perturbed than dad had.

“Dude she’s getting mad,” I say.

Hurry up.

“You’re going to make me mad if you don’t quit it. Just go wait downstairs,” he says. I stay with my back against the wall.

It’s cold out for the end of May. Two windows are open to let a breeze to blow through. Our costumes do little to protect us from the cold. Jason’s temper probably keeps his blood warm, but I barely have any mass on my bones. Enhanced strength must lend itself to an enhanced physique or something.

“Alright let’s go,” Jay says. He bounds down the stairs and I follow close behind.

“Finally. You boys shouldn’t keep your mother waiting,” dad says.

Mom walks in from the kitchen. Both of them were suited up and ready half an hour ago. Jay and I were still finishing up a round of gaming at the time. I always beat him, even at shooters, but we still had fun. He’d try pushing me off the bed. I made it hard for him to concentrate after I had hit the floor; or the wall. Now mom stares at us and maintains silence. Her usual tactic for letting us know we’re in trouble.

Jay, Dad, and I circle around her and the room fades to pink. Everything is distorted like looking through the windshield of a car in the pouring rain. Jay and Dad look the same, and mom has vanished. We all stand still while the surroundings come back into focus. This time we’re standing in front of the nation’s capitol. Mom’s waiting next to the rest of The Guardian Society; a group of fifteen metahumans. Their kids are here too.

We had only been to DC once before as a family. Our parents show up here on a semi-regular basis. Dad used to tell me stories about reporting to a call from the president in the middle of the night. The spotlights illuminating the dome heighten the tension in any situation. Walking into a room with a handful of politicians and knowing the situation is dire enough for them to have given up on every other possible avenue. Their eyes, glassy and darting around the room, attempt to fixate on something and slow their thoughts.

The mood for today is much different. We ascend the stone steps amid the din of the reporters. I remember how much I enjoy being here to smell the fragrance of cherry blossoms in the air. Everyone seems calm despite the anxious chatter.

Jay and I walk over to stand next to Dragonette. She’s the only other metakid we’ve met before. A few years older than us and a bit more mature, her looks are striking. The name fits her so well. She reminds me of the dragons I’d read about in Japanese mythology. There’s a quality about her which makes me want to spend hours studying her but frightens me every time our eyes meet. We were first introduced at a community barbecue. She and Jason chatted about sports while I stood in silence. I smile and offer a wave. Standing on the other side of Jay means I can’t hear their conversation, but I can still gather what they’re saying.

“I thought there were five of us,” Jay says.

“We’re waiting on the speedster,” she replies.

“What’s he call himself?”

“Beats me,” she says and shrugs.

Help.

A green blur whizzes past and I’m almost knocked to the ground by a shove against my shoulder. Jay reacts fast enough to grab me since I was already in his head. The speedster screeches to a halt a few feet next to me. He bends over to catch his breath. I right myself and shake my thoughts back into focus.

“Sorry I’m late,” he says with a huff.

“Dude, watch where you’re going,” I say. It’s taking a lot of effort to keep Jay from beating this kid up in front of the press.

“I know, I know, I’m sorry.”

“Quiet,” says Count Crypt. He’s the resident medium for The Guardian Society, and I think he died the moment he got his powers.

Jay elbows me in the shoulder right before dad gives the opening remarks.

“The Guardian Society is here today to share a few more details about our impending mission and answer a few of your questions,” dad says. A few cameras flash while reporters scribble down the speech. “We received high-level readings of an unknown energy near Neptune. Further analysis has revealed it to be some sort of alien craft with technology far beyond our own, even with the help of Ratchet.” He’s some sort of technological genius, but he’s often resistant to share any of his creations with the rest of society. His daughter is part of our team.

“With our combined powers, we can reach the craft within a couple of months. But this will equate to years in Earth time. And so, we’ve decided to entrust these heroes with our regular responsibilities,” dad says and gestures towards the five of us. I stand up straight and look out over the crowd.

Every camera bulb flashes. The reporters start clamoring and squeeze closer to the steps. More cameras flash, a few hands spring up into the air, and someone drops their legal pad. We just stand and watch.

“I’ll introduce them and then take questions. First on the left is Ingot, next to her is Dragonette, the twins are Gemini, and Mach is on the end. Together, they form a capable team. Now, let’s try and make this orderly, I’ll answer Jean’s question first,” dad says.

Jay and Dragonette look out over the crowd as if they’ve done this before. The two of them exude confidence. I lean back to check on Ingot; she’s got her arms folded. Mach scratches the back of his head. Our parents have spoken to the media enough times to know most of them by their first names.

“Orion, where did these heroes come from? They all look much younger than you,” Jean says. Then she realizes her comment might come off as offensive. Dad just laughs along with a few other members of The Guardian Society.

“To be honest, we’re not one hundred percent on their origins. But we’ve known them long enough to put our full trust in them.”

“What’re their powers?” another reporter calls out.

“Well I don’t want to spoil anything. Let’s just say they’re unique and talented.”

I wanted to meet the heroes dad was describing. Telepathy, super strength, and super speed are far from unique. Any second grader could come up with a more imaginative set of powers. And talented? I can’t speak for the other three, but I know Jay and I have never seen any real action. I’m not counting the kids he beat up at school.

“How should we refer to this team? Have they got a name?”

Before dad can answer, Jason speaks up, “Do we really need a name?”

 

Next Chapter

The first post for Hi-Five. Read more about it, and myself, in the ‘About‘ section.

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