Riptide

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Chapter 3

I placed the light blue jacket over my white t-shirt as Mrs. Hunter called our school. “And now, all the way from down the hall, welcome our very own team, the Electrons of G.A.T. Education!” She yelled as I was pushed out from behind the curtain into the burning brightness of the spotlight. I took a deep breath as I waved to everyone in the crowd before sitting down. I could see Chloe holding up a glittery sign which had managed to stay dormant until now. I chuckled and waved quietly. Peter sat beside me, his hands tightly squeezed together. He looked up at me, seeming to realize I was there at all and put his hands under the table.

“You got this,” he whispered. I nodded and glanced at the team opposing us, scanning their members quickly, analyzing their interests and most probable topics just based on the clothes they wore. One example would be the student closest to us and presumably their Team Captain. She had short black hair, had big green circular glasses and wore a plain white t-shirt covered in pandas. I could assume her case was anti-zoo and she would, therefore, be up against Tony, our team secretary. Peter nudged my arm with his. “By the way,” he said as Mrs. Hunter moved to the judging table. “You’re up first.”

“Wait, wha-” I was cut off as Mrs. Hunter asked each team to put forth their member for the powered vigilante debate. I glared at Peter as I walked over to the stand. He simply smiled and gave me a “thumbs-up.” I rolled my eyes and leaned into the microphone to introduce myself.

“Good Evening, fellow ‘gifted’ students,” I said. “Oh wait, nope. It’s still the morning, it just feels like the evening, am I right?” I joked. Dead silence fell across the room. I began to fumble with the necklace Charlie had given me, as I often did when I was nervous. It was a habit. “Anyways,” I continued awkwardly. “I’m Olivia James and I am stating the pro powered vigilante opening,” I finished, stepping back and allowing my opponent to make her introduction. I watched as the short girl with platinum blond hair and big brown eyes looked down at her shaking hands and clear her throat before speaking.

“My name is Rebbecca Evans and I am making the anti powered vigilante point,” she said tensely. I could tell this was her first serious debate.

“Okay,” Mrs. Hunter said. “Pro point, state your case,” she said, smiling quickly at me.

I nodded, breathing deeply for a moment and allowing myself to feel my words, not just say them. I cleared my throat and began. “Superheroes,” I said. “One word with a world of power, over the people around them and inside. These are humans and aliens alike who endanger their own lives for the greater good. They do this every, single, day as part of their job. No one asked them to help us and yet they do, always. Some have died protecting us because they believe so strongly that we are worth it,” I said, taking a pause for dramatic effect. “And how do we repay them? By picking and choosing which one of them to treat like gods and which one of them we decide to fear. We are masters of our own fear. I think that we use fear as an excuse for wanting to hate things we do not understand. But we should not fear what we do not understand. Marie Curie once said 'Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood, now is the time to understand more,' I paused once again, watching as every person in the room leaned closer to me, needing to hear my words. 'So that we may fear less,' and I would agree. Now is the time to understand more. About these heroes, about this new world we are descending into and about ourselves. So help me, join me, as I offer a helping hand to these heroes who work to save us because if we are to use fear as an excuse for hatred than we are no better than those who threaten us,” I said. “Don’t let fear win,” I finished as applause erupted from all around. I stepped down to signal to Mrs. Hunter that I had concluded my statement.

“Thank you, Olivia, wonderfully composed and expertly executed,” she said. “Now let’s hear our opposing point, presented by Rebbecca Evans.”

Rebbecca looked slightly shocked when she heard her name called but she seemed to shake it off pretty quickly, as she began to speak. “When we hear the word ‘superhero,’ most of us think cool abilities, flying, heroic speeches, mythic struggles, masks, or costumes, but those people completely ignore the other side to these “heroes,” as my opponent called them,” she said as if knowing when she was writing her argument what I was going to say. “They leave the city in ruins after one of their battles and they say they do their best, but would they really be able to say that to the people who get hurt after a building is thrown at them or a laser is accidentally shot towards them and everyone else they work or live with? They lie to us and tell us they are our protection when really, they will be our downfall. We are humans, we are strong, capable beings and we have people, normal people doing the same thing these ‘heroes’ are doing, only they do it without masks and without abilities. If anything, we should treat our own people like gods and lock those who do not follow our laws away. Last time I checked, vigilantes are not legal, nor should vigilantes with superpowers be. This is not fear. This is preservation. What happens when one of these ‘heroes’ decides they don’t want to take orders anymore? They would have the ability to destroy so many of us with the flick of their wrist. We can’t let them do this,” she said. “We must fight for our future,” Rebbecca finished and stepped down with a nod to Mrs. Hunter.

“Thank you, miss Rebbecca. Passionately spoken,” she said before turning to me to ask if I had anything left to say. I thought for a moment. Deciding I had nothing left to say, I shook my head. “Well, that concludes our superhero statement portion,” she said. “Thank you, ladies.”

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