The Wayward Son
Part III: Havenport
It was a seven hour flight to New York. Rather than go for the bus and spend my day in a crowded vehicle doing nothing, I used the company credit card to book a private flight to Priest island, taking an hour instead of over eight.
The airport of Priest island was tiny, with a pair of parallel asphalted runway and a half dozen hangar for small planes. It definitely wasn’t meant for large commercial passenger planes. One of the locals graciously gave me a ride to town proper, sparing me a half hour walk through the woods.
Havenport was a lovely little island town, a maybe one to two thousand people in the town itself with about a thousand people spread about the island. With several hours to spare, I took a walk around town. Although the tourist season was ending, the town was still busy, with many shops and restaurants on the main street. One of which caught my eyes. Dean’s diner was one of those retro style prefabricated diner you saw in old american movies. The insides had white and black checkered floors, chromed counter, red booths, chairs and stools in that fake leather texture.
I sat down at the counter and a waitress, dressed in period appropriate clothing, came to me, giving me a menu which I read over quickly before settling for the vegetarian breakfast plate since it seemed appropriate by local time and at least I knew there wouldn’t be meat. It was composed of two sunny side up eggs, some pancakes, hash brown and a whole lot of fruits, although I was somewhat disappointed by american pancakes, real pancakes were a lot better than the thick doughy thing they’d served me. Still it was a nice and filling meal. I paid credit, thankfully I could pass it all as business expense. I knew the higher ups wouldn’t complain too much. Lunch done, I took a run on the beach. I always liked to exercise after eating or spending long stretches of time sitting and the bit of routine felt amazing. Once that was done, I picked up my phone and dialed Tommy Cross’ personal number. He was my liaison to our American subsidiaries and had been in charge of my transfer.
“‘Ello, Tommy Cross here.”
“Morning Tommy, I’m on Priest island I was wondering how my lab was going?”
“Oh hey, Sanjay. Good timing, I thought I’d have to wait all day for you to get here. We’re at Ravenhold but they won’t let us in without your confirmation.”
“I’ll be right over then.”
Since the tourist season was still going even if it was ending, it hadn’t been hard to find a cab to take me to Ravenhold, who thankfully took credit. I hadn’t brought any American money with me.
“Good, you’re here. The bug won’t let us through.” He Tommy said as I came out of the cab, pointing with his thumb at a large colorful beetle like creature wearing an equally massive suit of technological armor in red green and gold. “Gonna warn you, it’s a nut case.”
“Can I see the lab first?”
I climbed onto the trailer’s back entrance, normally a ramp led to it but it hadn’t been deployed. I let the biometric reader scan my palm and the magnetically sealed door opened. Although it looked like an unremarkable metal box from the outside, the lab was actually made to operate in high threat areas undisturbed and undamaged. A tank shell would have only scratched the paint job. It also worked well to keep parahumans out.
I went in and flipped with light switch, bringing neon lighting to life.
The inside had a long row of shelves on one side filled to the brim with components and tools while the other held a workstation, a mechanical workbench and a 3D printing matrix. At the end of the trailer was my power suit containment and assembly mechanism which was notably empty.
“Where’s the my armor?” I asked, peeking my head out.
“Not here, last minute paperwork was added, it should be here by Wednesday the suits said.” Tommy answered.
I cursed under my breath. Two days without my suit were two days I was powerless to do anything. I stepped down and decided to take on the insect guard of the school.
“Uh… Hi.” Was all I thought to say when I came in front of it.
“Greetings… Male shivat untype.” It said looking down and examining me for a moment, its mechanical voice coming from a modulator attached to its suit. In the background I could hear some clicks and chirps, making me think it relied on a translator. “May Shivat self assist?”
“I need to get the trailer inside.”
“Shivat-untype vehicle inside colony vehicle rest area. Shivat self request Shivat-untype move vehicle away rest space. Shivat self request to other Shivat-untype before.”
I blinked. It took me a moment to process what it had just said.
“I’m a student, this is my stuff, I need to get it inside.”
“Colony fledgelings un-present for five-six-one time-unit”
This was going to take a while. Thankfully the gods must have heard my silent prayers as a woman in a pantsuit came our way. She looked completely mundane but at Ravenhold looks were deceiving.
“Shavek, you may return to your patrol. I will handle this.”
“Shivat self wishes Shivat-untypes safe and efficient day-cycle.” Was all it answered before walking off and toward the academy.
“I think its translator is broken.” I said when it was out of earshot.
“Oh no, Shivats just don’t have a complex spoken language so translations are bound to get mangled. If you could communicate through antenna contact, you’d be able to understand him much more clearly.”
She shrugged. “It’s what people have been using since I’ve been here. Not sure if it’s because Shavek is male or just something people arbitrarily settled on.”
“What does he do exactly?”
“Security, he mostly just patrols around all day and watch for trouble.”
“Oh. I didn’t know there were any Shivats on earth.” I said. I’d been to a few security briefs who had given us a rundown of possible threats both on and off earth. Shivats were a society of various eusocial bugs that sort of kept to themselves.
“As far as I know, he’s the only one. One of their scout ship crashed here two years ago we got the others back but he escaped us and he ended up getting stranded. So we gave him a job here.”
“Aren’t you exploiting him?”
“He seems happy. Plus he gets anxious when he’s not working. Anyhow, what can I do for you?”
“I’m a student here, I need to get my tech trailer inside the property. Sanjay Pichai’s my name.”
“I took a plane.”
“That explains it. I’m Catherine Lindström, head of security. I can get your things inside, although before we do, we’ll need to scan your trailer for contraband. We’ve had some issues with students bringing unauthorized tech or other items before. Anything to declare?”
“That works for me.” I went over the list of the equipment over quickly and then she passed a quick call to someone in the administration.
A small team came out with gears, they went in and around the truck scanning every nook and cranny without finding anything beyond what I’d already declared; mostly parts, components and a case of microfusion cells to power the suits weaponry.
“Alright, we’ll get it in. You however will have to wait for everyone else to be here. I hear the Raven will personally welcome you.”
“An honor.” I answered.
I didn’t know a whole lot about superheroes, much less American ones. I knew he was a bird guy who threw knives at people but that was about it. It didn’t help that the Raven wasn’t as publicity hungry as the likes of Captain Thunder, instead being the discrete type.
Before the trailer went in, I took a few components for personal use and some tools. I then caught a ride back to Havenport with Tommy and rented a hotel room for the day, I’d flown for a long time and had a few hours to kill; lying down for an hour or two sounded amazing.
After the nap, I sat down at the desk in my room and began tinkering with the component I’d brought with me. Not having my suit made me feel strangely naked and so I’d hit upon an idea; a concealed palm laser. Attached to the inside of my palm, it would shoot a few blasts before running out of juice. It wasn’t ideal but it was better than nothing and killed a few hours, although I hadn’t dared test it inside of the hotel room. I doubted the company would have paid for a house fire if I billed them the damage fees.
Once the time of Ravenhold’s opening hit, I called Tommy and he picked me up again, driving to the school. As we pulled over by the school, I took the crowd in; somewhere around eighty students of all races, genders and of many different species were coming out of two parked busses. A few like me had come by car, including a giant white woman with what I presumed to be her daughter, who did not share her mother’s stature.
I joined the line of students and as promised the Raven came to welcome us, giving us a brief speech before assigning classes. Guided by a member of staff we arrived at a brick house with two floors. I noticed that my trailer had been left not far from it.
That was it; Despite all odds, I was at Ravenhold, I was going to be a superhero. And as the idea dawned on me there was only one thing I felt.
What in Shiva’s holy name was I doing?