Epoch of the Stars
When the epoch of the stars began, Leon Powers was in an resort. He had blue hair, a young, dashing face, with a white birthmark patched to the side of his head. For a reason he was unaware, his blue eyes, pale skin, and lanky body glowed. Branches flew into his window, as an unusual, dissonant sound buzzed. He looked outside his window, and separating him and the horizon was a cloud of stars. He would never find out what caused him to glow, or change in such a variety of unnatural ways. He breathed out air, when did it get so cold? He thought this feeling an odd pull. For the next few minutes everything went black, he dropped onto the floor- he thought he, and the world, was dead.
He awoke up a few minutes later.
His mom was packing her bag, she was glowing with a golden splendor. Her white, dirty lab coat was draping over her slender body. She had the same blue hair, although a shade brighter, with brown, focused eyes. Her fingers- thin and clean - deftly packed away their belongings. Her second son's was even brighter then Leon. He was yawning, and getting up unintentionally missing the point of his mom’s swiftness. As usual, his brother slept his way through a disaster.
In the hotel room, by the door, his dad was trying to use his cell phone, it didn’t work. His dad had an unusually emotionless expression, and he placed the phone in his pocket. His dad didn’t have much hair, he was losing his last black strands trying to save his family. He had a grayish mustache curled above his moving mouth. If Leon could read lips, he would know they were leaving.
The dad turned on the radio in their red, beat down jeep - nothing. Was this the end of the world? Leon thought the end of the world was when six headed monsters descended, angels would render the skies, and lots of supernatural demons would delightfully eat the wicked. But this was not an ordinary prophetic disaster. Seemingly, only half the world changed, and as Leon discovered traveling down Kissena’s crazed streets it had not changed for the better. All one could hear was the weird echoes of the screaming throes of the new people, and know their transformation vastly different from Leon’s. At this point he didn’t know he was given abilities.
A few months later.
Leon was sitting on a rock contemplating. It was night time. The sky was divided with half of the stars grey and the other a shining white - it had been like that since the cloud of stars receded. He was scanning his body, his strong, robust physique was juxtaposed in his mind with his old, skinny build. In these months he had found out that he was strong, fast, and skilled at magic thanks to a series of unfortunate encounters.
Basically, they had successfully escaped Kissena after the disaster, and had to thank their dad’s heavy foot speeding them out of their former city - it used to be the best tourist location in Fordale. They drove for a few days before camping in the woods north of the city. As time went by, some monsters starting appearing. The monsters were like something from an end of world comic book except they were much faster and had a tendency to eat people. Though they didn’t look like zombies, they were just as mindless. They had dark black skin, with red, hungry eyes. Their families task was to run away from those transformed without getting sucked in. Unfortunately, their transformed mouths were like black holes, and when his brother Mark was in trouble he almost found himself sucked in. Luckily, he ended up punching the monster so hard it flew out of site. It was then that the family started discovering that their glowing skin had led to life changing powers.
It was cool he could now learn to use magic, sprint unbelievably fast, and pick up boulders. The crux was some immoral criminals might give him a super powered run for his money. If they had to be close to star drawn line, they would be just as powerful as Leon and his family . Well, The Power's had since developed a tendency for heroism, and they were hoping to save some of those unlucky folks from the transformed. Moreover, along the way they might as well whoop some bad guys. For the Powers the good side of this disaster was that not all the change was bad, and there were new harmless creatures like the toad dragons, or the even stranger yet not as whimsical large, bird-eating worms.
Enough about that, it was time for the family to go find food. Their family hopped in their jeep heading down by the water. Leon's mom Maria drove. She pulled over to the river with its reflective shimmering and strange shadows. The light of dawn on the horizon was revealing itself as the sun began peeking its head into the moons territory.
“It’s mine!” She exclaimed grabbing a gooey green fork out of her pocket. She had targeted a fish that was the size of a shark when it jumped out of the water with it’s beady, angered eyes staring right back at her. Maria's odd greenish fork swept through the air, she joked around and uttered a few syllables she imagined would be in a Magician’s spell book- she read tales of them as a kid.
A glowing, fiery sphere wiggled its way forward at the entangled shiny fish. The fish waged its tail with its strong muscles unleashing a full forced tail slap. The two collided and a sound reverberated.
The unfortunate fish slowly floated down cooking inside the burning orb trap. The fire left a pleasant odor wafting towards their noses. It stayed cooking in the fire cage hovering above the ground. After, She used her powers to drop the fish into Marks arm. Mark had black hair, and brown eyes with a muscular build unusual for a young teenager- he was fourteen this year. He caught the fish, not noticing any strain. He was surprised he could carry it so easily, it must be at least two hundred pounds.
Mark tore out its spine before his dad Marcus walked over with a grin. He pat his beautiful wife on the back. He felt grateful that magic had finally taught her how to roast a decent meal. His hair had started returning to its original luster, he looked ten years younger than a few months ago. Indeed to the Power's family the stars blessed them.
“Let’s eat!” Marcus pulled out a small table from the jeep. It could barely fit the huge cooked mackerel. It was very large. Finally, they began eating and chatting together as they made their way up the delicious fish. The stars had made all the animals it changed taste even better. It was like all food ascended into a higher realm of deliciousness. Marcus took in big chunks and chewed like a lion - even his teeth felt strong. The dad ended up telling his family - entirely based on his conjecture - that the food might enhance their abilities. He felt his body on a cellular level thanking him for every bite. Their dad would find out later in a lab when he got the chance. He greedily looked at the eye balls that his son Mark was pulling out from the fish. He finally gave into the beggar in front of him by giving him his full approval by put his thumb up. Maria passed the other eye ball to Leon.
Leon was looking at the eye ball he was just handed from his mother and nearly felt sick. If I eat this I’ll be strong he reasoned. The disgusting eye ball seemed to stare at him as it approached his mouth. It was like the fish was seeing this and expressing its disapproval - the look said you can’t be this disgusting, or something like that. Anyway, bottoms up he thought. He picked it up, put it in his mouth, and swallowed. I guess its not that bad. He felt a mysterious feeling traveling through his body. Already he seemed to feel stronger and even his skin was slightly brightening.
“Look at that Healthy shine on our son Maria” Marcus said delighted. “Didn’t we make the best children?”
“Do you feel any different son?” Maria inquired.
“Let me see.” He stood up and slammed his fist into the ground, a series of cracks spread out. “Not bad, I feel a tiny bit stronger.”
They continued talking to their sons about their changing bodies before switching to the topic of the stars. The parents maintained it was a gathering of stars caused from a second big bang; It was the reason they got these odd powers. For their family it was like waking up with a fairy outside their window that granted them a wish, which was a good omen for the their family as they were on the dividing line. But if you were in the cloud like their cheap aunt who stayed at the motel down the block, you either changed into a transformed, a pseudo, or a solid rock.
The Psuedo’s were comparable to humans not including the color of their skin. They had three different colors on their skin, with colorful eyes. If you were beautiful, and became a Psuedo, you were still beautiful, but in a new, garish way. Some had fairly complementary tones, while others had dazzling, inharmonious tones. They had run into quite a few Psuedos when leaving Kissena. The most beautiful Leon had seen was a girl running for her life wearing a tight dress and awkward stilettos. She had white, yellow, and light blue skin with a transformed chasing after her.
Next were figurines like his aunt. Unfortunately, she had turned into a figurine when the star’s passed. When she turned into that statue she had a smile on her face. Worse yet Leon’s step uncle was amusing her in their hotel room. He was still there in his boxers; The evidence pointed to the fact that he was mocking someone on the television. She was so happy watching him. Regardless, whether the reports had hope for them or not, Leon predicted one day the shells would crack, like a cocoon or something, and he had gotten over seeing them.
The Powers had finished their wonderful meal and cleaned up in the river. Marcus was fiddling with the radio like he did everyday. He was hoping to get a message, or some sign that they could do something. It was depressing, but he never gave up. Mark was playing around ‘lightly’ tossing rocks in the lake. If he used all his strength, the deep river would turn into a ford. Marcus finally found a report, he pulled out a pen and wrote down every word.
Unfortunately, the had to head back into Southern Fordale, where Maria and Marcus could report, finally they could see what they could do to help. The family had been on the road for a few months braving the outback before someone figured out how to send out a signal on the radio. The message asked all able bodied to head towards St. Barn’s Hotel in Palm County. When they got there, and if they were physically apt, they would be given either a job or a mission. Leon and Mark joked about being Super Heroes and slaying monsters - boy would they find out.
The facility was basically a erstwhile opulent Hotel that the government took over after the Epoch of the Stars. The cracked brick was marred with stains from the space dust that swept across it. It was six stories tall with round, cracked windows, and had a half hanging, illegible sign oscillating over the entrance. A few cars were parked around the building, including some mobile homes, and large trucks. The one lone tank was parked in a handicapped spot with an odd pseudo sitting on top holding a rifle in his hand. He was odd because of his flag like skin(blue, yellow, and white) and red eyes. He kept looking into the horizon lest a transformed mob attack. Mark waved at him with bonhomie, but he was purely focused on protecting the base.
The family walked into the ornamented entrance through a set of half-working automatic doors. The ceiling was lit up dimly by a chandelier. It had a background painted with fanciful depictions of angels, and other sacrosanct figures – it was somewhat spooky. They were greeted by a female secretary in a red blouse with calming features and dark hair. Maria walked over and talked to her before being guided towards the hallway to the right of the entrance – the brightest area of the building. They some how figured out how to restore power, the Government in Contano - the north continent - was always on top of the pack. The Powers walked down the hallway following the girl in red. Leon and Mark were enamored by the girl in red as her waving figure guided them down the hallway.
The family ended up inside a room with a bald man sitting at his desk. He was flipping through a pile of papers with large hands, and boxy glasses unaware of the guests. The man was in a pin stripped military suit, he had three stars sewn to each shoulder pad. He wore a badge with his name on it, but no one could read it. Above it was four stars, indicating he had full clearance. He dropped the papers on his desk, a new set of brights was in his room.
Leon looked and got the feeling this man was dangerous. The man took out a cigar and put it in his mouth. It was not this man’s huge mustache and robust features that immediately made him feel worried, but the intelligent, scornful look in his eye. Leon sighed and sat down next to his brother. The family rested on a small comfortably cushioned coach waiting expectantly for the man to talk. He didn’t talk for a few minutes until a gun was pulled from his pocket.
“Are you brights on our side?” The man exhaled smoke. “You can’t glow like that unless you have powers, and all four of your are glowing like light bulbs.” He pointed the gun at Leon and pressed lightly against the trigger. Leon shined the brightest.
Marcus nodded, Maria nodded, Leon nodded, and Mark nodded.
“Your son here would probably glow in the dark” he stated before Fixing his glasses. “Where were you all when the bang happened?” He puffed out another cloud of smoke before dropping some ash into the cigarette tray.
“We were at the Dixie Hotel. This hotel that’s surrounded by a bunch of palm trees in the north part of Kissena. We were on the line of the stars.” Marcus stuttered
The man in the two button suit was named General Mantis, and he was important because he was in charge of getting Fordale back. The transformed, and their suction mouths, were tough to deal with. But their was also a few nefarious brights he had to weed out. The evil with powers were a pain. It was his job to make sure he winnowed the brights properly, and this family worried him because of their effulgent bodies. He looked at his intern the young Nora and made a hand gesture – basically, he told to look it up.
Nora ran over to her computer and started looking them up. She was very aware that her boss General Mantis was not patient. She used a few cameras from the hotel lobby to face match their identities. She found their names and connected the dots to their records. Their was only one Powers family on vacation in Fordale, and since it was a tourist-ridden town, her guess was right.
The government had a database that stored everyone's important information. Their names then appeared on the screen, then the kids grades, and then the records of the parents. The only one who did anything remotely wrong was the father. Surprisingly, he got in trouble for an unfortunate chicken experiment when he was in college.
She wrote down some important information and ran over to the General. Her white dress was modest and pretty, but almost torn as she bent over handing him the stack on the Powers family. She clearly had been eating out of stress for the last few days and couldn’t fit her size 4 dress. She was embarrassed, but didn't make a sound quickly running back to the desk.
“Thank you Nora.” The General grabbed the papers and flicked and turned and read.
“What’s your name glowing boy?” General Mantis pointed at Leon who was sitting in the corner innocently twiddling his fingers. He had already smite a few shields around them to slow down the bullets and his fear. He gathered his breathe.
“I am Leon Vim Powers sir and this was supposed to be our vacation. We were one lucky families when the bang happened, sir.” He stuttered
“So your Leon. Tell me boy can you smite?” General Mantis implored
He leaned in and looked at the boy.
Leon slowly raised his hands. “Do you mind if I spin a few?”
“Sure go ahead.” The general gazed fixing his glasses and leaning back into his chair. He would be lucky if they got a few good ones. The closer you were to the line the more powerful the dust made you, and this was an entire family. He had never met a family that was from the line in his few months at this post. He wore a rapt expression and studied Leon, the boy was brightening.
“I call this the fire-fly.” Leon said before snapping his fingers. A glowing ball popped out of his hands and flew over spiraling towards Nora, buzzing in the process. She was currently distracted typing up a report she was supposed to do. The girl nearly jumped out of her seat when a bug landed on her.
“Why do you call it Fire Fly?” The General asked looking at the shaking Nora. The poor intern can’t tell when a smite is harmless he thought to himself.
“One its a cool name and its able to fly. Two because its a means to send message.” Leon enthused. The light faded away from Nora’s shirt leaving the clause I’m smitten. It faded before anyone else but Nora could see it.
Nora blushed looking at General Mantis before asking to be dismissed to the Bathroom. She was gushing with joy on the inside. It was something every girl dreamed about, getting to date a strong man, but this teenager that was her age - she was eighteen - was clearly in a higher echelon. However, after the spell touched her body she felt an urge to go to the bathroom. She was luckily dismissed by the General and spent a few minutes on the toilet thinking about Leon Powers.
The General and the Powers talked for a few minutes as the family introduced themselves and their powers. Mark wasn’t able to Smite, but was one of the few with very amplified abilities. Marcus could Smite, but took a long time to cast. Leon was the most well rounded with amplifications and Smite. Maria excelled at Smite, but didn’t have much in the amplification department. They talked about a few more minor details before the General felt sure they were who they said they were. He crumpled, tossed, and shot the paper in the garbage.
“I’m General Luther Mantis in charge of Fordale. I was hoping to send you guys to Area 8. We are looking for a team to clean up the mess there. It's an old coastal city so you can think of it as a second vacation. I saved the best for the Power's family." He pointed over to a red file. "Nora get the file on Area 8!"
Nora just returned from the bathroom and quickly grabbed a red file. Why is he giving them Area 8? Won't it be dangerous? She was already worried about Leon. She handed the file to Marcus before making her way back to her safe spot by the wall. Next, she sent a quick glance at Leon. It seemed like he could see every movement she made as their eyes met.
Marcus opened the file and flipped through it. Area 8 was described as territory including a large city called Mamia plus the surrounding coast near the south waters of Fordale. He was scared, baffled, and honored to be given such a large, important mission. Lots of ravenous tourists were likely transformed there and they would have to get rid of the transformed to clean up the city before the resurrection troops could be sent in - pseudos in military gear. There were details of a few key buildings, and a before and after of the city. Long, odd vines were wrapped around it. Marcus had enough and passed the file to Maria.
“What makes you think we can handle this by ourselves?” Marcus inquired
“I don’t know if you can, but we are understaffed. Either you go to Mamia or we wait for another family. We are also looking for exploration teams for the further south. I think your two boys would be a great choice.” General Mantis handed another file to Nancy.
“We don’t need our boys being used as smite bait in some dangerous mission for reclaiming Cantano, We’ll take area 8.” Maria returned.
Leon looked at his mom as she twisted her hair trying to appear harmless – she’s getting angry. Leon had once seen his mom toss it down with a few of his teachers. The one thing that worked in her favor was that she never seemed angry no matter how angry she actually was inside. She once wore a smile while hearing her son was a useless moron with no brains. A few seconds later the teacher happened to be lying flat on the floor.
Leon stood up and stretched. He was pretty sure the meeting was over, and his dad gave him a look like it was time to go. He walked over to Nora, she was smiling at him. He smiled back and asked her where to go. She fixed her hair before answering.
“Go up to the desk where you first walked in and they’ll give you a room. Expect some men to bring up food tonight, and thank you for the message."
"I meant it" he said before waving to General Mantis.
The Powers family walked out into the hallway, and Marcus smiled before getting a key from the front desk.
They got a room on the 5th floor, it was beautiful, and spent the night.