‘Other’: Part IV

‘Other’

Part IV: Family Revelations

I was still buzzing from Wednesday that not even Charlie’s shots at me during photography bothered me. Caroline was apparently still cold-shouldering her as well which I figured played a part in the whole Charlie-is-cranky-as-hell-ness. I joined forces with Tyler in Parahuman History, possibly the only history class he could tolerate.

“We’re continuing from our last lesson, anyone care to remind everyone what we were looking at?” Professor Apex asked.

“We were looking at the role the Liberty League played in the cold war,” Allison volunteered. “Specifically at the various affiliations they had to the US government in the early 1970’s,” they added.

“Correct. The Liberty League was something the US government formed following the rise of parahumans. The idea was they were there to protect the world, when in fact they were there to protect the conservative US government’s interests,” Prof Apex explained.

“Now the Liberty League were responsible for a lot of avoidable conflicts during the cold war but it their intervention in Vietnam that triggered a social movement that would shape the hero world into one you now know,” he finished.

“Anyone here know what the McCarran act and the Marshall act are?” he asked the class.

“The McCarran act declared all independent heroes enemies of the state. The only way a parahuman could act as a hero was to become a member of the Liberty League,” Charlie answered. Prof Apex nodded and looked around the room for someone to volunteer a response on the Marshall act. When no one spoke up Apex sighed.

“Following an insurgency in December 1971 the Marshall act was passed to allow authorities to use willing parahumans in whatever way they deemed fit to battle the communist forces. It was only meant to be active for a short period but public support swayed the vote and in the end the McCarran act was repealed. As time has passed there has been more laws and regulations but far more freedom than the days of McCarran act as well.” I hesitated before raising my arm, drawing Prof Apex’s attention.

“Yes Allen?” He asked.

“Why was there such a big issue with a hero group working in the interests of the US? Does it not make sense for them to do that? Protect their own citizens I mean.” I looked around uncertainly as I lowered my hand.

“Point worth raising, anyone have a response? This is an open debate, no one is wrong,” Apex said.

“Dude, they destroyed democracies in the middle east and propped up dictators and fundamentalist groups that have fucked the region over because they didn’t like socialism,” Allison replied with the biggest ‘duh’ tone.

“Yes, The Liberty League was corrupt, but the public didn’t know that at the time. My question is why is it bad in theory?”

“We don’t need theory, we have actual evidence that it doesn’t work,” Jaeger threw in. “A hero group tied to a government is then tied to those government officials. They will act as they are dictated to, doing horrible things,” he shrugged.

“Maybe I’m phrasing it wrong. I don’t mean tied to the government, but just acting in the best interests of US citizens,” I said.

“That’s what Legion do, only they act in the best interests of all countries and not just the US,” Charlie replied. I frowned, wondering if my point wasn’t getting across properly. I opened my mouth but Tyler rested a hand on my arm.

“Just let it go dude,” he whispered. I sighed and dropped it. Apex surveyed the class before concluding the debate was over. He dived into the Vietnam conflict, telling us what module to turn to on our work tablets. Physical training and homeroom passed by quickly after that. I suspected I hadn’t done myself any favours in Parahuman History. I opted to hide in my room for a bit, only wondering downstairs close to dinnertime to see if Caroline needed help. However as soon I entered the kitchen my ID beeped at me.

RETURN TO DORM ASAP

“Huh, wonder what’s going on,” I murmured. After a few minutes everyone was back at the house and someone knocked on the door. Caroline let Mr Martin inside for a surprise inspection. I wasn’t too surprised when he told Sage and me we needed to do a better job keeping our room tidy. In my defence, it was mostly their mess. They had a habit of leaving clothes on every surface but inside their wardrobe.

Then rather than leaving, he opened the door, unleashing an onslaught of family members on all of us.

“Allen, honey!” Mum said, jogging to me and pulling me into a hug. My eyes bugged out even more when I saw Daniel, my step-dad, walking up to us.

“Hi,” I said, unsure how else to respond.

“Let’s go somewhere quieter to talk,” Daniel murmured, frowning at some of my classmates.

“Right, follow me,” I said. I was headed towards the garden then I saw Ahti and their family in the hot tub and sidelined them to the front lawn. It was a nice enough day thankfully and there was a bench outside.

“So, what’s up?” I asked. My mum smiled and shot Daniel a shy smile.

“First of all, it was not planned in anyway,” my mum started and I frowned.

“Well, no, I didn’t plan on developing powers,” I replied. My mum laughed at the joke and rested a hand on Daniel’s arm. His expression softened a little as well.

“I hear your grades are picking up again – they were lapsing at first,” Daniel said.

“Daniel, grades don’t matter, he’s still got another year before his SAT’s,” my mum cut him off. “What is important is that you’re going to be a big brother,” she finished, grabbing my hands in hers. I stared at them both, trying to wrap my head around what they were saying.

“T-that… that’s great,” I smiled.

“I told you he would be happy,” mum said, looking at Daniel who looked himself relieved.

“Do you know the sex yet?” I asked.

“No, we’re still deciding on if we want it to be a surprise,” she replied.

“Huh, and what will you do if they’re intersex like I was?” I asked. I regretted the words the moment they left my lips. My mums expression fell and soured.

“Allen, I thought we already discussed this on the phone-”

“Forget I said it,” I said, holding up my hands. “I’m happy for you. I’ll have to see if I can get away from Ravenhold to help out when they’re born.”

“That won’t be necessary,” Daniel said. “We’ll be hiring a nanny to help in the early days if needed.”

“That costs money, I’m free,” I shrugged.

“I would really prefer a professional, no offence son,” Daniel said. Something about his tone and manner felt off. I realised then that he didn’t want me anywhere near his child, at least not alone.

“You know I’ve been showing great control of my powers recently, nothing would ever happen,” I said, meeting his gaze head on.

“Of course not,” he laughed nervously. “How about we meet some of your friends? Or how about that roommate of yours – Sage was it?” Oh god, anyone but Sage. They wouldn’t be able to understand them at all. Both parties would get upset and I didn’t want that.

“Just wait here and let me go find the-him,” I quickly corrected myself. I hoped Sage was in boy mode today. I looked around downstairs but couldn’t see them and headed up to our room where they were picking out clothes. Very feminine clothes.

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