Adventure of a Lifetime
Part V: First Day
Our first class, homeroom went amazingly. Being taught by Defender, hero of Detroit was an honor. He gave us a quiz and we worked on it before he called us one by one to discuss our academic objectives.
As we were all in different grades, we were to work on our own, which suited me. Following a teacher’s lesson could get a bit tiring. But there was another cool part; since Charlie and I were in the same grade, we got to work together on our first math lesson.
Our next class was Parahuman history. Rather than being taught by a hero, a Gimelian named Professor Apex. Gimelians were those gorilla people from an alternate earth, was our instructor. It was my first time seeing one in real life. There were several thousands on our earth, having emigrated ever since we’d built the first dimensional portal.
He gave us a lesson on history; from the appearance of the first mutants fifty-four years ago after the first alien race to make contact had appear only to have their ship mysterious explode. We didn’t have proof they were responsible for the first parahumans, but they looked pretty damned guilty.
The lesson also covered the rest of the 20th century; the cold war, the anti-mutant hysteria, the McCarran act that made heroes and their sympathizers into enemy of the state, starting a new witch hunt which would have made Joe McCarthy proud. The McCarran act had been the law for a whole decade before public support for heroes had made it get overturned and pardons been granted.
The Cold War had taken most of the later half of the twentieth century, wars hadn’t been the only thing to happen; we’d peacefully contacted several parallel earths and in two thousand two the Itharii had come, seeking refuge and settling earth.
However, the most recent event of parahuman history hadn’t been a happy one: the Tzari invasion four years ago, for which a lot of people still bore scars. I’d been lucky enough to have been spared most of it, but a lot of people knew someone who’d died because of it.
The lecture ended and the professor let us go.
With Lunch break upon us, we went for the Cafeteria, following the map on our tablets. It wasn’t that hard to find, located just behind the administration. The Cafeteria Galleria as they called it, was actually pretty cool. It was more like a mall’s food court than a cafeteria really with seven different restaurants. Charlie went for a submarine sandwich but I didn’t feel like those, instead lining up to the chinese counter.
One of our classmates, Yougen the wheelchair using girl joined me. She had brown hair with a reddish tinge, blue eyes and wore baggy sweatpants and a sweater.
I got Singapore noodle, a wonton soup and a some spring rolls and Yougen ordered the same. She received her food and put her platter on her laps, securing it with one hand before rolling forward, alternating which wheel she dragged.
“Want some help carrying your platter?” I asked.
“Oh… uh sure.” She said after a moment. She stopped and gave me her platter.
I found Charlie sitting down with Allison at one of the table and went toward her, Yougen following me. The two of them seemed to be talking but I couldn’t hear their words over the brouhaha of the cafeteria.
“I can’t use my powers untransformed.” Allison said, answering a question I hadn’t heard. “I have an energy form I change into.”
“Talking powers, are we?” I said, making my presence known before sitting down.
“Well, if we’re going to be a team, we outta know what each other can do.” Charlie explained.
She had a good point.
“We could have some power reveal party.” I offered. My heart started beating a little hectically. Was it a stupid idea? “Not sure if you’ve seen but the back garden of the house is amazing; it’s got a pool and everything.” I then added as if it meant something.
“Ooh I like that idea We could all get to know each other.” Yougen said.
Others started flocking to our table and we shared the idea of the party which they were on board with. I didn’t share it but I was just glad they didn’t think it was a dumb idea… We agreed to meet at five in the backyard of our house before we split up, most of us going to the administration for our ID and requisition; Ravenhold was actually cool enough to give us a money allowance.
“So, where did you get the idea for a power reveal party?” Charlie asked as we waited in line to get our picture taken for the school ID.
“It’s just kind of a silly thing I did a few years ago at Boston’s CapeCon. They had a spot for parahumans to hang out and someone proposed we put on a show with our powers, we pitched the idea to the con and they let us use one of the room where an event had been cancelled at the last minute.”
“That sounds pretty cool but you do remember that I don’t have any powers, right?”
“Yeah, but you’re the mini-raven, which is like ten thousand times cooler.”
She smiled at my remark.
“Magpie.” She said after a moment.
“That’s my superhero identity.”
“That’s pretty cool, it was your dad’s first identity right?”
“Yeah, when he was still the first Raven’s sidekick.”
“I’m Housatonic.” I said after a moment.
“Like the river?”
“It suits you.” She said, giving me a white and purple smile from her braces.
“It’s just a stupid name I picked because I didn’t know what else to choose.”
“Hey, don’t beat yourself like that; the only reason my dad was a Magpie was because he stole the first Raven’s wallet and the first Raven thought it was a funny in joke.”
“Yeah, When he was thirteen, he ran away from home and lived in the streets until the Raven took him in. Apparently he was impressed with my dad’s agility and dexterity.”
Our turn came for the picture, with Charlie going in first. She didn’t look all too comfortable with getting her picture taken, just standing rigidly and trying a forced smile. Then came my turn, which I thought went fine.
We went to the office, which printed our cards. She went in and out before me. When I came out, I found her waiting for me.
“Got my ID.” I said, waving it around. “How do I look?” I gave it to her and she examined it.
“You look great.” She answered, her voice a little odd. Was she lying?
“Ah thanks. Can I see yours?”
“Mine’s pretty bad.” She said, looking away uncomfortably. “It’s just that I look like a boy…” Still, she reluctantly gave it to me.
It was bad, really bad; she looked like it had been taken at gunpoint and she had a point; people wouldn’t have been able to figure out she was a girl, not helped by her rather masculine name.
“I think you look fine.” I lied. “Beside it’s not a real ID card if the picture isn’t terrible.”
That made her smile again, which brought me relief.
“Want to go back to the dorm?” She asked.
“Right, I’m thinking of making a small buffet for the party; nothing complicated just a few bites and stuff.
“Would you like some help?” She offered.
“Sure, that’d be nice.”
We went outside and found the grounds were now filled with students of every year. They’d apparently began before us. I noticed that they had colored badges pinned unto their clothes.
“Why are people wearing colored badges except us?”
“That’s their security clearance badge.” Charlie answered.
“Basically it represents what they’re allowed or not allowed to do.”
“Why don’t we have those?”
“We haven’t earned one yet.”
As we walked through the grounds to the dorm, Charlie explained how Ravenhold worked; the teachers would constantly gauge our abilities and when they’d deam us ready, we’d be given our first security clearance.
Security clearance determined what you could and couldn’t do as a hero and what privilege you had on campus; the higher the clearance the more important and dangerous missions got. The first level, Red, essentially just made you into a glorified security guard to test your diligence and ability to do as told. Orange was the first real level for heroic duties.
We arrived home and Charlie and I got to work. Although she’d offered to help, she was a disaster in the kitchen; not knowing how to properly handle a knife or any of the terminology. Still it was the intention that counted and she was a fast learner; not making the same mistake twice. With a bit of training, she’d make a perfect kitchen minion.
And I admit; having her being the one looking up to me felt great.