“So this is the embassy,” Jason observed, stepping back and holding his arms out wide. His age was shown through his style. He wore a tan suede jacket over a black turtle neck, and a thin gold chain was resting on top of the turtle neck. Jason always was old-school and refused to change.
“Yeah,” Harry replied. “Come a long way from the days of meeting in your basement.”
“Hey now,” Jason retorted. “You never saw a basement like that though, be real.”
Harry chuckled. “No, I certainly have not.”
The embassy was an old Museum in uptown Manhattan that the Assembly had transformed into their American headquarters. It was a big and beautiful old building.
The two men stood a few more moments in slightly awkward silence, neither one sure whether the time for pleasantries had elapsed.
Jason was the first to break the silence. “So you got the new prospects coming in today, huh?”
“Well I wouldn’t call them prospects,” Harry answered. “A new group of individuals who need help coping with their unique abilities.”
“Been working on your diplomatic speech?” Jason quipped immediately.
Harry sighed. “It’s tough for people who aren’t yet used to their powers. It seems like the more and more people develop abilities, the more certain other people turn against them and the harder it is for them to go about their daily lives. They need a place to go.”
Jason nodded and continued to glance around the room that used to be a Native American art exhibit. Harry had transformed it into a sort of group therapy room. The walls were a dark red and as the sun shone through the windows during the early part of the day it lit up the room beautifully. There were also still a few pieces of art left behind that Harry really admired, including an old dream catcher.
“It is beautiful,” he repeated. “Certainly no private island though.”
Harry dropped his head. Before he retired from the Assembly Jason had been against their buying an island on which to build their new world headquarters and superhuman society. Jason was old-school and he hated the commercialization of superheroes. He saw the island as another PR stunt on behalf of the Assembly.
One of the reasons Jason had decided to retire was age. Unlike Harry, his body was completely organic and the older it got the more difficult it was for him to perform the way he used to. It became harder and harder for him to keep up with the others who had abilities, but Harry suspected that the main reason he walked away was because he was constantly getting into more and more disagreements with the Assembly leadership and could no longer stand to be a part of an organization that was moving in a direction he considered inappropriate.
“I thought it was over-the-top at first too, but when the concept for the society was explained to me it made sense. These people need to have a place to go,” Harry tried to explain.
Jason grimaced. “I am all for an organization they can join to work with them and support them, I just don’t like the idea of isolating them from the rest of society. What kind of message does that send?”
“Where better to have them than around those who understand them and are fully equipped to deal with them if they get out of line?” Harry countered.
Both men again stood silent. Neither wanted to argue but these were the issues that had driven them apart in the first place. They had once been the two closest friends on the team, but with time their subtle differences had grown much larger.
“So you brought me here because you finally brought in another one without supernatural powers, did ya?” Jason said, trying to lighten the mood a bit.
Harry smiled. One thing he knew Jason had hoped for since the formation of the Society was to bring in another exceptional individual with no superpowers to speak of. The lack of such an individual to succeed him was most likely the reason Jason had hung in as long as he did. It was one topic that Harry had to say he agreed with Jason on.
His ninja skills and knowledge as an engineer were not the only traits that made Jason a valuable addition to the Assembly. The fact that he didn’t have any powers was one of the main reasons he had been able to lead the Assembly to a number of triumphs. This was due to the fact that those with abilities generally jumped into a situation head-first, never bothering to take the time to evaluate. At times Harry had been as guilty of it as anyone. The fact that he knew he could get hit hard and then get right back up as if nothing had happened provided him with little incentive to stop and think. As with most super humans, he knew what his strengths were and he used them to his advantage.
However the purpose of creating the Assembly was that its members worked more effectively as a group than they did as individuals. Jason understood that. As someone without powers he had been practiced in the art of observation. He was a master at studying and understanding his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as his team members’. Therefore he was able to strategize which team member’s strengths would match up best with their opponent’s weaknesses, enabling him to coordinate an effective attack. Harry and the others had learned early on to trust in Jason’s instincts as they were almost always right.
Harry and the rest of the team owed their life to Jason a dozen times over. Somehow the ones with powers always got themselves into trouble and Jason was always there to get them out. That was the reason it was so important to him to find a protégé—someone who could fill that role and act as a leader to the hard-headed powered heroes who often exhibited reckless tendencies, especially when brand new to the game.
Harry believed that part of Jason also wanted someone who could represent the non-powered population in such a powerful organization. Without someone like him there was no one to keep the group grounded and prevent them from taking advantage of the fact that they were so much more powerful than the rest of the world. That was also another reason he was so fearful of uniting all of the super humans on the planet in one place—there was no way to regulate them.
“She’s amazing,” Harry replied. “I think she could be the one.”
“The one?” Jason inquired.
“You know what I’m talking about,” Harry said with a grin. “The one to replace you as the token no-power in the Assembly.”
Jason cringed, but managed a smirk. Harry’s words had stung him a bit, but he knew that it was meant in jest. “Tell me about her.”
Harry began his scouting report on the young woman. “Name is Sabrina Bower. Her parents disappeared when she was very young and she’s been in and out of the system ever since. I happened to stumble across her when I was in the Bronx the other day. I noticed two suspicious looking characters following her down the street. Naturally I kept an eye on her in case she needed help.
“She knew they were following her so she ducked into an alleyway. Naturally the two men following her saw this as an opportunity and sped up to follow her into the alley. That was when I crossed the street and ran over to help her, but by the time I got there she was already taking care of it.
“Both men were armed—one with a gun and one with a knife. She disarmed them both without even blinking. She started kicking one and karate chopping the other, then grabbed a nearby trash can lid and started beating them both over the head with it. It was amazing. I haven’t seen anyone that good since, well…you.”
Jason smiled big enough that for a brief moment he flashed his teeth. “She lured them in.”
“Sound familiar?” Harry replied with a smile of his own.
Just then the first of the new arrivals came striding in through the door. He was a tall, athletic young man with a buzz cut and piercing blue eyes. He looked a bit confused as he walked into the room.
Harry’s internal computer immediately ran facial recognition and pulled up the young man’s file. “Welcome…Jeremy! Good to meet you.”
As technology continually upgraded itself, so had the software and hardware in Harry’s bionic brain. He went into a military research facility once a year to have his systems updated. He was now able to connect to networks and cloud drives wirelessly as any computer would. His favorite upgrade was that he could now close his eyes and stream movies whenever he wanted.
Jeremy’s eyes widened as both Harry and Jason approached him.
“Yeah,” he squeaked. “It’s an honor to meet you guys.”
Both men shook his hand and Harry directed him to a section of furniture that was arranged in a circle on the north side of the room.
“That one is going to be special,” Harry commented quietly to Jason before two more young super humans entered the room.
“Thomas and Mandy Tune!” Harry greeted with a little too much excitement. “I’m Harry and this is Jason. We’re former members of IAS.”
“No kidding,” Mandy replied in a sarcastic tone as if insulted that Harry would even suggest that she might not know who they were.
“You’re the two most famous men on Earth,” Thomas chimed in as if almost trying to apologize for Mandy’s rudeness.
“Thanks,” Harry replied with a forced smile. Jason on the other hand was grimacing.
“I hate the internet,” he commented into Harry’s ear.
After the Tune siblings came a young Asian American surfer dude from California, a red headed woman who at age thirty was the senior member of the group, and finally Sabrina Bower.
“And this is Jason,” Harry said, introducing Sabrina to the man he hoped could serve as her mentor.
“The Eagle,” Sabrina commented as though unimpressed, “they bring you here to make me feel more comfortable because I don’t have any powers?”
Jason smiled. “I think it’s more likely that they want me to feel more comfortable knowing they brought in someone else without powers.”
Sabrina maintained her unconcerned expression. “Well I’m not in anything yet.”
“O-kay,” Harry said, clapping his hands together as the last members of the group took a seat.
“I’m not too late, am I?” an adolescent voice called from the doorway. Harry turned to see the source of the voice, but found that he didn’t recognize the young man. He tried to run facial rec, but found nothing.
“You are?” Harry asked inquisitively.
“My name is Bryan James sir,” the boy responded. “I hope you don’t mind, but I checked myself in.”
Harry glanced suspiciously at Jason, who replied with a shrug. Individuals with emerging powers were more than welcome to check themselves into the embassy, but no one ever had—mostly because intelligence generally picked up the first sign of any superhuman activity and immediately logged it in the Assembly’s database. There was absolutely nothing in the system on this Bryan James.
“Of course not,” Harry responded, trying not to sound suspicious. “What is your ability, exactly?”
Harry watched as the young man’s face turned to one of deep concentration. The only thing Harry could concentrate on was the fact that the kid’s hair was all over the place.
Bryan cringed as if trying to force a thought into Harry’s head.
“Let me guess, telepathic abilities?” Harry mercifully freed the boy from his overly extraneous efforts to get inside his head. He noticed Jason tense up a bit as he took a step toward the boy.
Bryan immediately relinquished his concentration and instead perked up with satisfaction. “And telekinetic.”
“Bionic brain,” Harry explained, pointing to his head. “Can’t get into this baby.”
“Riiight,” Bryan replied, as if he should have known. Then, without needing an invitation, the boy turned and walked to join rest of the group.
“I’ll keep an eye on him,” Jason told Harry as he walked past, also suspicious of the newcomer.
“Right,” Harry spoke loudly to the group. “Let’s get started!”
Harry grabbed a rolling chair from the conference table to his right before sliding it over to where the group was situated on the far side of the room. He had arranged several couches and plush lounge chairs in a circle, all of which were currently filled by the new arrivals. His intention was to provide the most comfortable environment possible for the group.
As he rolled the chair next to where Jason was sitting and took a seat, he noticed everyone silently waiting for him to begin the conversation.
“Hello everyone and welcome to the embassy for the Superhuman Society of Earth—also the American headquarters for the International Assembly of Superheroes. As you already know,” Harry gestured to Mandy, “my name is Harry Armstrong—a.k.a. Major Justice—and this is Jason Haze—a.k.a. The Eagle. Please though, call us Harry and Jason as we prefer not to go by our ‘codenames,’ if you will, in personal conversation—or at all, really.”
Harry paused as the young super humans nodded their heads or casually waved their hands in a silent form of greeting.
“Before we go around and introduce ourselves, let’s get any questions you may have for Jason and I out of the way now,” Harry instructed.
Immediately, Thomas Tune raised his hand. “Which one of you is the better marksman?”
At the exact same time, both men answered “Me.” They turned to each other with suspicious glances as the rest of the group laughed at their contention.
Jason made his arguments first. “He has an internal targeting system so it’s not really fair. Turn that off and it’s not even close.”
“With a crossbow maybe,” Harry countered. “But even without my targeting system I’m more accurate when it comes to a firearm.”
“Why a crossbow anyway?” Jeremy interrupted, directing his question toward Jason.
Jason adjusted his posture in his chair as he answered. “You can put a lot of different things on the end of an arrow. Not so easy to alter a bullet, they are too small and move too fast. They just kind of kill people.”
“Like a boxing glove?” The Californian surfer asked with a stoner chuckle.
Jason responded annoyed, as though the comment had been made to him before. “This isn’t a comic book.”
“Is it true you can block a bullet using your sword?” Mandy blurted.
“Yes,” Jason replied firmly.
Harry couldn’t stop a small laugh from pushing its way out of his mouth. Jason glanced over at him as if demanding he explain himself.
“We’ve been shot at how many times, and I’ve seen you actually pull that off maybe twice?”
A guilty grin formed on Jason’s face, like a small child caught in a fib for the first time. “She only asked if I can, she did not specify the percentage of success.”
Again, the group had a laugh at the two heroes’ bickering. As the room grew silent again, the red headed woman raised her hand.
“Yes,” Harry called on her.
“Why did you guys leave the Assembly?” she asked innocently.
Harry saw Jason slink down in his chair, dropping his head to stare at his hands which were folded in his lap. He had no interest in answering the question.
Harry searched for the most diplomatic answer possible. “The two of us had been at it for a long time.” He paused as he carefully formulated the rest of his response. “A lot has changed since then, and believe it or not saving the world gets rather exhausting after a few decades. It wears on the mind—even a half robotic one. Now, with the emergence of so many more extraordinary people, we were able to step aside and give our minds and bodies a well-deserved rest.”
Harry finished his answer with a nod, satisfied with his verbal craftsmanship. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Jason, still staring intently at his thumbs.
“Enough about us,” Harry continued with an abrupt change of subject, “Let’s find out more about you.” He gestured to the young man on his left.
The young man’s eyes grew wide, not expecting to be called on to speak so soon. Harry’s files told him that the young man’s name was Hikaru Asaki. Hikaru was of Japanese descent—his parents immigrated to California just a year before he was born. He was twenty years old, and both sounded and looked like a surfer. His long black hair extended down to the base of his neck. Both his body and facial features were thin and lean, his skin slightly tanned by the sun.
“Uhh…” he replied, uncertain of where to start.
“Start by telling us your name, where you’re from, what your ability is, and how you got it,” Harry explained.
The Asaki boy nodded and took a breath. “My name is Hikaru Asaki, but all my friends call me Blaze, so…call me that.”
Blaze shook off a nervous laugh and continued. He spoke with a chill California drawl. “I’m from Santa Cruz, California, and…my power is invisibility.”
A gentle “ooh” came from the rest of the group at the mention of Blaze’s unique and desirable ability.
“Yeah,” he continued. “I was in my buddy’s hydroponic lab…”
Blaze stopped in his tracks and glanced around the room, realizing the implications of his story. “We grow tomatoes and veggies!” He insisted.
The rest of the group chuckled before quieting to hear the rest of his story.
“So I was in the hydroponic lab or whatever, and I was replacing one of the lights. Some dude had given him some special kind of light bulb that would make the plants grow faster and bigger somehow—I didn’t really understand any of it because I’m not a botanist or anything—but he told me if I changed the light for him he’d hook me up with some free…veggies.” He couldn’t help but grin as he carefully adjusted the small and irrelevant detail of the story.
“So anyway, there was this freak lightning storm going on that night, right? So I go in and I climb up on the step stool to reach the lamp over the plants and take out the old light, and right as I’m putting the new one in—I’m not really sure exactly but lightning strikes the house or something because there was this big flash and the bulb exploded and next thing I know I’m blacked out.”
Again, Blaze paused to gauge the reaction of the group. Everyone stared in silence, waiting to hear the rest of the story.
“So I wake up and I’m like, all freaked out. But I check my body for all my limbs and whatnot and I feel okay, so I get up and go home. When I get home I open the door and walk in, and the family and everything is chillin’ out getting ready for din-din, but nobody even says ‘hi’ to me or anything—they’re just like ignoring me.
“So I go over and start waving my hand in people’s faces but everyone is just ignoring me. Finally I call out, ‘Hello!’ and everyone in the room freaks out and starts calling for me. I’m like, ‘I’m right here!’ but no one looks right at me. All of a sudden they start getting mad at me and thinking it’s all some kind of elaborate ruse, but it’s not a ruse—I’m right there!
“Finally I walk past a mirror and notice that I’m not there at all—I’m like invisible or something! The problem was that I didn’t know how to undo it. I thought maybe I was dead or something and came back as I ghost. So I start freaking out while my family’s freaking out and I just leave the house to get away from the freak-fest. I get to the main road and I start to cross the street—not paying attention and forgetting that I’m invisible, and the next thing I know I turn to see a city bus coming right for me! I panicked and jumped up in the air and covered my head as the bus got to me, but I don’t feel anything. I uncover my head and I’m still alive. I look up and now I’m inside the bus and everybody on it is staring at me—they can all see me!”
The group waited an extra beat to make sure Blaze had finished before acting appropriately to his impressive story.
“So you have the power to phase through things as well?” Bryan inquired.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Blaze responded. “It must be like a separate thing though because when I was at my house I was opening doors and stuff.”
“That’s awesome,” Thomas Tune added from across the circle.
Jeremy was next. “Hi, I’m Jeremy Groff,” he spoke in a forced confident tone. “I’m from Orlando, Florida, and I think I’ll tell you about my story before I reveal my ability—I’ve always wanted to be a marine biologist, and my last semester of high school some of my classmates and I took a trip to visit the University of Hawaii. While we were there we went scuba diving near some underwater volcanoes.
“At one point during the dive, I noticed a small, underwater rift, and it was glowing this strange, teal color. It looked unlike anything I’d ever seen and I had to get a closer look, so I left the rest of the dive group to investigate real quick but when I got there something about it drew me in closer. I don’t know why but I felt mesmerized and kept swimming closer and closer—until I got too close.
All of a sudden this boiling hot water or something came shooting out from the crack in the surface and starting melting my skin.”
An expression of terrified disgust suddenly formed on all of the faces in the group except for one—Bryan. Something about Bryan seemed off to Harry. He ran body scans and found that the young boy seemed a little too excited to be there. The body readings on the others in the group suggested a more nervous form of excitement, as was expected from anyone in a foreign environment such as this, but Bryan seemed almost too happy.
Jeremy’s narrative continued. “Thankfully one of the other people in the group saw me starting to wander off and followed me over. He saw the hot water envelop me and quickly signaled for help. The team got me to the hospital on the big island as soon as they could but so much damage had already been done. They told my family that my entire body would be severely scarred over for the rest of my life.”
“Looks like you made it,” the older red headed woman stated.
“Yeah,” Jeremy agreed. “The next day I woke up and my body and skin were fully healed as if nothing had ever happened. The doctor said it was miraculous and seemed almost terrified of me because there was no scientific explanation for my recovery. Then as they poked and prodded me to try and find out what happened, I realized that I couldn’t feel any pain—in fact I couldn’t feel much of anything. Occasionally some pressure here and there but that was it. No hot, no cold—and any time they took blood or a skin sample, I was healed within seconds.”
“Cellular regeneration,” Harry stated in observation. “That is a very exclusive club.”
Jeremy half-cocked a smile as though he wasn’t entirely thrilled with his new ability. It must have been hard to go through life without being to experience most external sensations.
“My turn!” Bryan blurted out from next to Jeremy. Both Harry and Jason looked at the teenager with slight contempt.
“My name is Bryan James—from Cleveland—codename: Psychosis.”
Harry and Jason rolled their eyes at Bryan’s mention of a “codename.”
“I didn’t know we were doing codenames!” Blaze half shouted from his chair. “I want one!”
“I was thinking about it,” Bryan said, responding to Blaze’s plea, “and I think you said it yourself in your story.—Ghost.”
Bryan’s lips mimed the word as he pondered it in his head. “Yeah!” He whooped. “That’s badass!”
Almost simultaneously, the heads of both Harry and Jason dropped into their palms.
“And you should be Painless,” Bryan told Jeremy.
“Okay,” Jeremy replied, completely unconcerned with his codename.
“You don’t generally pick a codename,” Harry attempted to explain. “The names Eagle and Major Justice were given to us by others. We didn’t decide that was what we wanted to be called.”
Bryan and Blaze were looking at Harry, but it didn’t appear as though his words had registered.
“Anyway,” Bryan continued—he abruptly stopped speaking and closed his eyes. Harry watched the boy in confusion, when suddenly the rest of the group perked up in stunned disbelief. Jason quickly sat up, his expression becoming very stern. He clearly did not appreciate the boy getting inside his head.
“Gnarly!” Blaze yelped.
“And I can use telekinesis,” Bryan added, gesturing with his hand as he picked a decorative vase off of a nearby table and moved it toward him with his mind.”
Blaze could barely contain himself. “Whaaaa?!”
The rest of the group also began to murmur with awe and excitement. Bryan smiled from ear-to-ear, pleased by their reactions.
“And how did you come about this ability?” Harry asked him, trying to get the group back under his control.
Bryan lifted his head as though proud to explain his genetic altering event. “I was taking some college classes at the local university, and one of the neurology professors had this model brain thing that demonstrated neurological impulses, so I put it on.”
There was a confusion in the room as Bryan completed his short story.
“What? Like a hat?” Jason asked him.
“More like a helmet,” Bryan explained as though it made any difference. “But yes. On my head.”
Harry inquired further. “And why did you do this? What was the purpose to putting something like that on your head? What were you trying to accomplish?”
“Well,” Bryan started, a burst of pride building inside him, “I was hoping to end up here.”
Harry and Jason were too stunned to speak after hearing Bryan’s confession. They turned to each other, an expression of fear and distrust on their faces. They had never before heard of anyone intentionally staging an accident in order to develop superpowers. It was a rather disturbing turn of events.
Jeremy asked the final question for them. “You gave yourself powers on purpose?”
“Yep,” Bryan responded quite proudly.
Quickly, Harry intervened before Bryan could go any further. “Let’s move on. Laura?”
Bryan appeared displeased by Harry’s sudden dismissal, but that was a discussion he and the Assembly would need to have on another day. Now was not the time to set a precedent for people like Bryan.
The red head to Bryan’s left began her introduction. She was a shorter, curvy woman with fiery red hair and cherry red lips. Her icy blue eyes were big and round, and her eyelashes dark and thick. In Harry’s younger days she would have been considered the best looking broad in the place. Unfortunately too many men didn’t know how to appreciate a real woman anymore. He found himself drawn to Laura, but he knew that his soul was too old for someone in her early thirties—even if his physical body hadn’t aged.
“My name is Laura Swift—and I appear to be the oldest one in the group…awesome.”
“Not the oldest,” Harry remarked with a warm smile. Jason glanced over and cocked an eyebrow as though he were inside the human half of Harry’s mind.
Laura politely returned the gesture. “My ability is that I can alter my mass and weight.”
And with that Laura was done—short and sweet. But the group wasn’t going to let her off that easily.
“What can you do with that?” Mandy Tune asked her.
“Well, I can basically jump really high whenever I want, and then if I so choose I can crush things with my body.”
“And how does one come by such an ability?” Bryan asked, as if sarcastically echoing Harry’s question to him earlier.
“I was born with it,” Laura explained.
“A chromey,” Jeremy stated as if almost impressed.
“Chromey” was a term used to describe those who were born with their abilities rather than developing them through some event or chain of events later in life. The name—a play on the word “chromosome”—signified the idea that their abilities stemmed from a natural alteration to their genetic makeup during development.
Laura again smiled politely as though she had nothing more to say, signaling Harry to move on to the Tune siblings.
“Acro-bash!” Blaze shouted from his chair.
Bryan began analyzing the codename in his head. “Not terrible.”
Harry rubbed the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. “Thomas and Mandy,” he muttered, signaling the siblings to take their turn.
“I’m Thomas Tune…”
“…and I’m Mandy Tune,” the siblings introduced themselves.
The Tunes were a couple Midwestern farm kids who got caught up in the big world of superpowers, and to this point they had taken to it quite well. Since discovering their abilities, the two had become big celebrities in their home state of Oklahoma as the first and only ones from the Sooner state to have any powers made public.
Mandy was nineteen—a former homecoming queen and captain of the cheer squad. She had blonde hair and blue eyes, and seemed to never have learned the term “moderation” when it came to applying makeup. Still, she was classically beautiful with a tall, athletic build. She was everything a good ol’ boy could want from a woman.
Thomas was only seventeen years old and to put it bluntly—he was a big boy. A country boy and former Oklahoma state heavyweight wrestling champ, Thomas was big and strong and looked like he could carry a cow over his massive shoulders. He too had blonde hair but his eyes were hazel, and his jaw looked strong enough to crush diamonds.
Both Thomas and Mandy spoke with a down home drawl. “A year or so ago after a high school football game we got into an accident,” Thomas began.
“Thomas hadn’t gotten his license yet so I was driving him over to his friend’s house before I went to see my boyfriend who was on the team,” Mandy continued.
True to fashion, Thomas took it from there. “It was real dark out and had just started raining so the road was kinda slick, and we pulled up on some semi-truck that had turned over on its side blocking the whole road.”
And then Mandy, “Well by the time I saw it I tried to stop, but the road was too slick so the car started to slide across the pavement and into the truck.”
Thomas then carried the group to the obvious conclusion. “We run right into the trailer.”
“They said it was carrying some kind of mineral waist,” Mandy elaborated.
“The windshield had shattered and there was a hole in the truck trailer so it poured all over us and we were inhaling it while we was passed out,” said Thomas.
“It was radioactive,” Mandy added.
“Of course,” Bryan interrupted, as if radioactivity was an inevitable part to the story.
Thomas and Mandy both nodded silently toward Bryan for a brief moment following his interruption.
Thomas continued the story. “When we left the hospital a few days later the doctor said everything was fine. Said he didn’t know how but we had made it through untouched.”
Surprisingly Thomas continued the story on his own without any aid from Mandy. “It wasn’t ’til about a week later that we realized we hadn’t gotten out untouched—we were in fact very touched. I was out in the field and started touching things, and that was when I realized that if I wanted to, I could turn my body into any material I put my hands on. Rocks, wood, hey—you name it.”
“Then when I found out about Thomas I tried it myself,” Mindy chimed in. “I tried to touch some wood and turn into it, but when I concentrated like Thomas told me to I turned into water!”
“I damn near thought she’d melted like the Wicked Witch of the West,” Thomas added.
“But then all I had to do was concentrate again and I turned back into my human form. That was when I realized that I could transform between solid, liquid, and gas,” Mandy concluded.
Bryan’s eyes grew wide at the Tunes’ story. “The Elemental Twins,” he spoke softly.
Blaze’s face lit up as he heard Bryan’s codename for the Tunes. “Nice!” The two exchanged a passionate high five.
“But we’re not twins,” Mandy commented, put off by the suggestion.
“We’re a year and a half apart,” Thomas explained.
“Thank you Thomas and Mandy,” Harry said in an attempt to once again shut down the codename conversation. “Sabrina, that just leaves you.”
Sabrina was curled up with her feet on the chair, resting her chin on her knees. When Harry called on her she placed her feet on the floor and leaned forward. She was only seventeen years of age. Being a very petite girl, it must have required a lot of technique and strength of will to create the kind of power and ferocity she had displayed against the two men in the alleyway. Her skin was quite fair and her head proportionately small to her body. She had a small, narrow nose and dark brown eyes. He chestnut brown hair was about shoulder-length and pulled back into a ponytail—a single strand hanging down over her face. She was wearing an old, grey hoody with holes cut into the cuffs for her to slide her thumbs through.
“I’m Sabrina, I’m from here, and I don’t have any powers,” she stated flatly. “Are we done?”
“Why are you here then?” Bryan scoffed.
“Hey!” Jason barked at the disrespectful telepath.
“I guess I’m not too sure why, dick,” Sabrina shot back in frustration.
“Bryan,” Harry called firmly, demanding the boy’s attention. “I’ll have you know that the most valuable team member and greatest leader the Assembly ever had is sitting to my left, and it just so happens that he doesn’t have any—quote-unquote—powers either. Those who rely solely on their superhuman abilities are weak. It is our human side that makes us strong and makes us heroes and that is why you will never be a fraction as strong as Sabrina.”
Throughout Harry’s rant Bryan had begun to sink further and further into his chair. He hadn’t expected an outburst like that out of someone like Major Justice.
“To answer your question, Sabrina,” Harry turned back to the young woman, “yes. We are done here.”
He then turned back to the group and tried to shake off the anger he had felt from Bryan’s rude comment. “Jeremy, Blaze, Thomas and Mandy, and I guess Bryan,” he spoke the last name with some discomfort, “I believe you are staying at the here at the embassy. I will show you your rooms. Sabrina and Laura, we will see you tomorrow when I will talk to you more about the Assembly and the Society. And remember, if you stick around to the end of the week we will be taking a trip on the Assembly’s private jet to Insula Lacertus.”
The prospect of a trip to see the new superhuman society and the Assembly’s world headquarters on the private island got an excited response from the majority of the group as they stood up to follow Harry out of the room. Harry smiled as he got ready to show the young super humans their home for the next week. He had a good feeling about this group.