SUPER – Chapter 2 – Interim Hero
Super - Chapter 2 - Interim Hero
“Mom.. Dad.. what happened? Why am I here? Where am I going? Why are they taking me? Who are these people? Don’t let them take me! Don’t leave! I know you didn’t mean it dad! I know it! You can tell them that right?....
Penny. Her hair was so stringy and blonde. The sweetest smile, dancing, dancing in a circle in a green dress. Green grass. Warm and bright. Fading away. Fleetingly short...”
Adam woke up to his alarm on his watch, sweating profusely. He pushed himself up from the square small pillow on the couch and sat thinking momentarily about the dreams he had. He liked to take a moment in the morning to really go over his dreams, if he had any at all. This morning he was feeling a mix of warm and fuzzy and sad. He couldn’t remember the first dream he had, no he would rather call it a nightmare. The second though he remembered. “Penny...”
Penny was Adams first (and only) girlfriend. She was a light in his lonely darkness even though they only dated for 6 months. She just couldn’t take his gloomy, lonely demeanor anymore after awhile. She needed someone that was as bright and happy as she was.. He loved her..
“Phew..” Adam exhaled deeply, pushing the hair out of his face. He decided to get ready for the morning. He checked his watch “Olivia isn’t on break for another 25 minutes” .. he decided to take a shower in the meantime and eat breakfast.
After a while he called Olivia.
*ring* ring* “hey Olivia, what’s up? I got your message when I got off SUPER last night”
“Yeah? How did it go! You a hero? I’m a hero!” She said
“Yeah I’m a hero..” Adam replied
“Haha, I never expected that of you, Adam, the creepy loner. You are more like an aspiring villain.” She teased
Adam laughed then responded “yeah? Well with your mouth the villains will here you coming before you get there. You will never be able to save anybody”
“Oh yeah?” She laughed back “well guess what, I chose invisibility as my super power! So they won’t know what’s comin!”
“Really?” Adam said, genuinely surprised. He knew Olivia well and had a good guess of the ability style she would pick. Something flashy like super strength, flight, or something along those lines.
“Of course!” She said, before he could say anything, “you better be on after my work. Finish up your videos quick! My Hero name is Sly Girl, I’m at the training academy right now! I already passed the exam for my license” She bragged “now tell me, tell me, what’s your ability???”
Adam thought about it, he confirmed from her that she only had one ability. And from the others he heard they only had one ability as well, but he had two. He pondered if whether or not he should tell her. Then decided she was his best friend he can tell her anything. “Yeah I actually have two”
“Two?!” She exclaimed
“Yeah , two” Adam said shyly “I’ve got..”
Before he could say she cut him off “wait a minute wait a minute, you only get one! I mean I guess you could get more from playing the game. Did you have a secret event?! What happened?!”
“I .. I don’t know.. I chose super perception in the beginning and when I got in the game I had a power called warping as well. I asked the tutorial robot guy and he said he didn’t know either.”
“Tutorial robot? Mysterious skill? Wait wait, you’ve got to tell me more after work. This is too much! I just got in the game in the hero academy, the receptionist helped me with my abilities. Seemed the same for mos all of the other players I ran into.”
“Hmm..” Adam thought,
“Well anyway Adam, see you later! Oh wait what’s your hero name?? And where are you?”
“It’s shroud, and I’m at the training academy as well. I’m still practicing my abilities. I couldn’t quite get warping yesterday. But yeah I’ll see you later we can meet up in game, I’ll be at the training hall if you want to meet me there, near the back.”
“Sounds good! See ya!”
Adam hung up the phone, standing up and stretching. He had more questions and was deep in thought about SUPER. He then thought about what he had to do for his video channel. “Shit almost forgot, have a few videos to edit”. He had a few gaming review and theory videos to edit before he uploaded them. He also had to make an update to his video log on SUPER. He decided to leave out the two ability mystery of his and just put in super perception and why he chose it. He got to work busily, settling down in front of his computer.
After quite a few hours he was done, he texted Olivia that he was about to get on and got a quick reply “awesome!” From her. He put on the familiar headset, hit the start button and felt himself whisked away into SUPER again.
He felt that odd sensory overload of suddenly being thrown into a new place, like teleporting from your living room to the middle of time square, except he was sitting in the same spit as when he logged out, next to the familiar black table in the practice hall of the hero training academy of Grantropolis. He sat up, looking at his hands.. the same hands as always, he looked at his clothes, he still had the same grey hoodie, jeans and black shoes. It must have stuck with him when he was first scanned at the start of the game. He looked around, seeing nobody nearby, nobody except the few heroes or aspiring heroes also utilizing the practice hall. None of the same heroes from yesterday were there, except mountain man near the entrance “is he always there?” He wondered .
*tap tap* shroud jumped, spinning around. “What?” He could have swore he was just tapped on the shoulder. He looked around he was the only one nearby
*tap tap* .. the same sensation. He spun around, who was tapping him on the shoulder? Did they have super speed? He was sure with his passive perception he would see someone. He turned around and almost jumped backwards. Right in front of him was Olivia, or someone that looked like her, no it must be her. She was the same 5’4 red head with big blue eyes, she was smiling at him with her big white smile. Shroud did notice something different, she was dressed like a hero! Except all pink?? A pure pink jumpsuit with a white “SG” on her chest. “It’s me Adam, oh I mean Shroud” she said, smiling.
“Hey ol- I mean Sly Girl, what’s up? Also that’s a pretty flashy outfit for a sneak character isn’t it?”
“Of course! I mean you can’t see me when I use my ability so what does it matter what I wear?” She said frowning slightly, her cheeks puffing out “I might as well wear whatever I want! Anyway look look!” She reached in a pouch on her white utility belt, pulling out a small card. It was what Shroud was going for, an interim hero license for aspiring heroes. It meant she had passed the exam. “Nice Sly Girl! You are quicker than me for sure”
“Well yeah it’s a breeze when no one can see you, you can just knock them flat on their butt or avoid people. The exam was a piece of cake! You shouldn’t have any troubles. Now show me, show me your warp ability! I wanna see!” She was jumping up and down, oddly excited. Shroud could feel peoples eyes on him and her from around the room, probably wondering why he was with a pretty girl like her. He ignored them.
“Fine fine” Shroud said, relenting to her pleas. “I only just think I’ve got a picture of warping in my mind, I haven’t actually done it yet.” He said
“Ohh! I’ll get to see your first attempt then?” Sly Girl said cheerily. “Go ahead then!” She nudged.
“Alright let me see..” Shroud said, turning to the black table, staring at a wooden screw. He thought to start with something small and simple since he knew he was weakest rank in the ability.
“Here I go” he said, staring intently at the screw and concentrating hard, imagining the space warping into a vortex around the screw. He kept imagining and willing the warping ability to activate and did this for a solid 2 minutes before he felt it. He felt the warp start to form and in an instant a small purple portal with a black center materialized and formed around the screw, it was about 3 inches in diameter and was only there for a second before it disappeared, the screw along with it.
“Wow..” he thought, hearing Sly Girl saying in the background “cool cool! What an awesome ability!”
“Wait a second.” Shroud said “where did it go?” He looked around, focusing on his perception ability and spotted it. It hadn’t gone very far, only 5ft away from the table, lying on the floor. “There it is.” He walked over and picked it up. “Looks like it doesn’t just disappear, it has to go somewhere.” He mumbled to himself.
Sly girl was getting impatient with shroud standing there staring at a wooden screw and talking to himself and said “alright well I’ll leave you lovebirds alone, but if you are going to screw get a room. Hahaha.”
“Haha, very funny very funny” Shroud said, turning to see her off, Sly girl shouted “I’ll be practicing my invisibility and dodging over there!” She pointed, to an area with hanging sandbags that were swinging back and forth, obviously meant for dodging practice.
“Alright lll be here” Shroud shouted back.
“Now” he thought, “I can finally start getting into this.” Shroud returned to the table and remembered the feeling of the warp ability from before, focusing on the odd sensation and willing it to happen again. He focused on the same wooden screw, but this time he wanted to try and see if he could warp it to where he wanted. He made the same 3 inch portal appear, and tried to imagine sending it just a foot away on the table. He saw a similar portal appear at the same instant not a foot away but maybe 2 and the screw warp to it, falling out and onto the floor, just missing the table. Shroud picked up the screw, putting it back down where it was. He had a revelation then. “It is two portal like vortexes then. So they both materialized almost simultaneously and I can conjure them wherever, with a thought. It’s a lot hard focusing on two different warp portals at the same time... hmm... maybe if I practice keeping them conjured? I should see how far apart I can make them and how big I can make the portals.”
Shroud began summoning the warp portals. He saw that if he really focused he could make them about 5 inches in diameter and could put the 2 portals about 6 feet apart. He also noticed he couldn’t make the two portals touch each other, they had to be at least an inch apart. He then attempted putting objects in the portals. He focused on keeping two portals open at the same time, and put the wooden screw in one, seeing it come out the other some 5 feet away. He then got adventurous and tried putting his finger through “wow what the hell.”
It was the weirdest feeling he ever had. He put his finger in the portal and saw his finger tip poke out of the other portal 5 feet away. What was worse was he could feel the other with that finger tip. He quickly pulled his finger back, seeing it was still there, intact. “Weird Weird Weird... but this means... I can go through my own portal? If I could get it big enough anyway... that’s what I’ll do. It only took a few hours to rank up my perception ability, and I think I can rank up warping and perception at the same time.
He sent Sly Girl a message in game saying “hey I’m going to rank up my warping skill and perception for a little while. Don’t wait up for me.”
“Alright! You grind king!” She replied “I got a request a little while ago for a mission anyway, I’ll do that then... message me when you want to meet up!”
“Will do” Shroud responded.
He turned back to the table, and started grinding out his warping and perception abilities.
After about 3 hours he finally ranked up in warping and in super perception. His passive perception ranked up one with his super perception as well, and he noticed it instantly, the sharpening of his senses.
|Aspiring not yet Hero||Shroud||No affiliation|
|N/A||N/A||Super perception - Poor|
|- sub ability - passive perception - weak|
“Finally!” Shroud thought. He immediately tested the extent of his portals. It seemed to double in both size and distance he could place them, about a foot long portal now that he could place about 10 feet from each other. He also noticed it became easier to concentrate on the warp portals, he didn’t have to focus as hard to use the ability “the difference between ranks is crazy.” He said, now using his super perception. He noticed when he focused on super perception now he could make out about twice as much. He could see the details on heroes moving around quickly some 200 yards away and could hear the conversation of mountain man and some newcomer near the entrance of the practice hall.
He practiced a little more with his new ranked up abilities and then decided it was finally time, to go take the hero exam!
He messaged Sly Girl again, saying “hey I’m going to go take the exam now, wish me luck”
He started walking towards the exit to the hall, getting a reply from Sly Girl about halfway “hey can’t talk really this mission is crazy! Good luck!”
“Man...” Shroud said, kind of jealous she was getting to go on missions so soon. Him having two abilities and one being really difficult to use and understand slowed him down. Not to mention he started the game halfway across the city from the academy. As he got close to the exit mountain man approached him, his towering demeanor again intimidating. “I was watching you.. not bad” he said, chuckling
“I’ve never seen an ability quite like that one” he continued “now I bet you want to take that exam eh? Become a real hero?”
“Alrighty then, I’ll tell you it’s not so easy. But it’s easy to get to. Just leave the hall, turn left and go down the hallway. You can’t miss the reception room for the exam. Good luck!” He bellowed, parting shroud on the back hard enough to almost make him trip.
“Jeez” Shroud thought “are all true heroes this domineering?” He followed mountain man’s directions, taking a left out of the giant doors of the practice hall. He continued down the long hallway, seeing only one entrance at the very end. It was, to no surprise, a massive entrance. And through it was a red carpeted circular room with two separate doorways on the left and right from the entrance. There was a circular black receptions desk in the middle with a.. cyborg?.. sitting behind the desk. There were several other people and humanoids in the room. Shroud assumes they were here for the same reason, for the exam.
He noticed they all had costumes on though, and he did not. He was the only person in the room with plain clothes on. He felt out of place. Nonetheless he walked up nervously to the receptionist, the metallic cyborg, half man and half machine.
“What do you want?” The cyborg said sharply.
Shroud was taken aback by the tone of his voice and his glowing red eyes that seemed to burn a home through him. “Umm.. well I’m here to take the exam” Shroud said.
“Fine, whatever, fill this out and wait. No questions.” The cyborg receptionist said, practically throwing a clipboard and pen at him.
The form was a lot like the one he filled out at the beginning of the game. He had to put his hero name, his abilities, and aspirations. He quickly finished and returned it. The cyborg took it quickly without looking at Shroud or saying anything and waved his hand, telling Shroud to go.
Shroud turned around and went and stood by himself, a little ways away from the other applicants. There were 8 other applicants in the room with him, and some of them were huddle in groups, talking amongst each other. He felt bad about it but he couldn’t help hearing their conversations as his passive perception made it easy to pick up on what they were saying. He heard them talking about their abilities, and the game, and they were even talking about him saying things like “who is this guy? An applicant? Why is he wearing plain clothes? Is that his costume?”. But mostly they were all talking about one person saying “did you see that guy? He was the only one The cyborg guy was nice and talked to. What’s with that? Is he an npc? Is he special?” He picked out who there were talking about, it was a guy standing by himself in the corner. He was the same guy he saw before! The guy he thought was a villain in the lobby, the all Black Wearing, red haired guy he met eyes with from before.
“Weird!” Shroud thought “didn’t think I would run into him again. He was curious now about him too, and used his perception skill to take a look at him. He noticed more closely that the guy was dressed in a black trench coat, in a pink or goth style with high black boots, black jeans, and a black t shirt underneath. He seemed angry almost, he was leaning against the wall, arms tucked, with spiky red hair that was so red it had to be dyed. His skin was a tan color and his face shape resembled a Native American almost with high cheek bones and a strong jaw. He was clearly buff and could be seen through the trench coat with his broad shoulders and thick neck. His eyes were closed but from before Shroud thought he remembered them being red.
Shroud was studying him and the other applicants in the room when the cyborg got up and said angrily “alright you wannabes let’s go! Go through that door and get out of here!” Pointing towards the door on that right, that opened when he did.
He sat down immediately afterwards as everyone started to shuffle towards the door, everyone was confused and talking amongst themselves. Shroud was the last to go through, or so he thought. He was almost through the door when he noticed that the villain looking guy was walking right next to him. “Why didn’t I notice him before?” Shroud wondered. His passive perception was high enough now that he should be able to notice someone walking next to him, or even right behind him. He was confused for a second but his attention was dragged away to the scene before him beyond the door.
Shroud stepped through the door and into forest, it was all thick grass and there were oak trees all around. High above there was a glass ceiling with the sun shining through brightly. All the other applicants were looking around as well, standing in the small clearing near the door, which slammed shut soon afterward. Shroud spun and heard a click as the door locked.
A few seconds later there was a loud beep and a voice that seemed to come from speakers somewhere in the forest “Alright applicants!” The female cheery voice began, “welcome to the exam! Here we will test to see if you have what it takes to be a hero!
“This is just an interim exam so it’s not as hard as the real thing but it’s your first step, and definitely don’t take it lightly! Right now you are at the entrance to a forest. And your goal is to reach the exit door and leave the forest as quickly as possible! We won’t tell you where the door is but the catch is that only the first 3 who leave will pass, the others fail!”
“Good luck!” The voice ended. Immediately a couple of the people near shroud took off into the forest, the others (like himself) were still lost in thought, not having come to realization of the situation. One applicant turned and punched another. He must have had super strength because he sent the guy he punched crashing into a tree nearby, as he slumped to the ground
“What the hell” Shroud thought.. “is this a hero test or a battle royale?” He decided to get away from everyone and turned to run. He felt heat fly pass his face as he was running and saw a fireball whisk pass his face, hitting a tree next to him and exploding in flame. He reeled and almost tripped, but pressed on, picking up speed. He ran blindly through the forest, trying to run as fast as he could to get away from the other applicants. He wasn’t sure of his combat ability and didn’t think he could fight anyone if it came down to it. After 2 minutes of running he saw something with his perception on the ground in front of him and jumped over it. It was a tripwire! He wasn’t sure what would have happened if he hit it but he didn’t want to find out
“So the other applicants aren’t the only thing I have to worry about??” He started to slow down a little, focusing more on his super perception to try and find more traps. And sure enough there were more and more trip wires and even pit falls as he went on. He started to hear screams from around the forest every so often and assumed they were other applicants falling prey to these traps. After a few more minutes of walking the stopped seeing traps altogether and this only made him more cautious “why aren’t there anymore traps? Am I getting close to the exit? Is this the wrong way? Or.. is there something else to worry about now?”
He kept walking slowly, and after a couple more minutes of seeing or hearing nothing he heard a rustle in the brush nearby and something sprung out and hit him in the chest so fast and hard it sent him sprawling on the ground. He strained and rolled around. The game luckily suppressed the pain, about 90% of all pain to be precise, but that 10% was enough to hurt in this instance. shroud coughed and rolled over, pushing himself up. He heard something running towards him from behind with his super perception and instinctively jumped away from the sound, getting out of the way just in time as a fist was flying by his head. He saw the owner of the fist was a very tiny humanoid, covered completely in leaves and barefoot. They were wearing a tribal mask with leaves sticking out the top.
Shroud backed up, and was turning to run when he heard the masked person dash towards him again. They were really fast, faster than him. “Do I have to fight?.. I guess that is what a hero does”. Shroud prouded himself on being a calm neutral person no matter the situation, he had been in a fight once in his life in high school when he stood up to a bully and had been able to remain calm during the whole fight. He didn’t win, and got beaten badly but never was bullied again after that.
He decided that he would have to fight this masked figure and started trying to think of how.. “they are faster and stronger than me. I can hear and see their movements but it’s hard to react.. wait I’m forgetting” he was thinking, as he jumped out of the way of a kick he heard cutting the air, rolling wildly on the ground as he scrambled to get up.
“I’m forgetting my warping ability... but I’ve never used it while moving before, or on anything moving.. can I use it?” Shroud was thinking, as the figure got closer again. “I don’t have a choice...” he thought, slight fear sinking in as the figure was steps away, lashing out with another punches aimed at shroud’s face.
Shroud envisioned the same portal he had practiced so hard where the fist was, and the portal popped up, just missing the fist, but it had the effect of making the masked person stop and jump backwards. They were clearly cautious of the portal. Shroud thought up a plan now.. he just didn’t know if he could make it work.. but again he had to try.
The masked person seemed to be more cautious now and dashed behind a tree, out of sight. Shroud lost track and looked around, trying to find them. After a few seconds he heard that familiar sound of rustling as the same fist came flying at him from behind. He whirled around and imagined the same portal on the fist, and the other he put in front of the masked persons face. This time he had it right, and the fist hit the warp portal, popping out of the other portal, hitting the masked person solidly as they fell backwards, unconscious. This was his plan, he had planned to hit the masked person with their own fist using warp, as he didn’t know how else he could win. He couldn’t escape or fight the person with his own strength, so he planned to use his own strength against himself.
Shroud didn’t wait to see if they were going to get back up and turned and fled in the opposite direction. He ran for a solid minute through the forest, before reaching a clearing in which he stopped, blinded momentarily by the Light of the sun. He blocked his eyes and when they adjusted looked ahead, eyes widening as he saw a monstrous scene ahead of him. There was the villain looking guy, surrounded by knocked out masked people, dressed and looking the same as the one he fought, except there were ten of them! Beyond him he saw the door past the clearing “there it is the exit!” Shroud thought, his eyes falling back on the spiky red haired guy, wondering “are you kidding me, ten? All at once? I struggled so hard with just one of them... what is his ability?”
The villain looking guy didn’t seem to notice shroud and turned and walked towards the door, opening it and walking through, shutting it behind him. Shroud watched him, then after a second started sprinting for the door himself “I don’t think the exam is over yet, I can make it! I can do it!” He was running hard, pushing his black vans hard into the green earth as he barreled forward. He heard with his perception other footsteps approaching from the forest, as a couple more applicants came busting out, he heard a boom and saw one of them leap quickly overhead, towards the door. They smashed into the ground and quickly opened the door and entered. He saw the other applicant he had heard burst into the clearing. They were shouting at him and he saw the same fireball almost got him from before crash into the ground next to him, followed by a volley of them as the applicant gave chase to shroud, throwing fireballs fiercely. They crashed all around as shroud tried to keep running and dodge the fireballs. One graze his leg, scorching his jeans as he just reached the door, ripping t open and rushing in. He closed it behind him, slamming it shut as he heard the booming of fireballs on the door behind him. He collapsed, panting. Even though the game didn’t fatigue you as easily (about 90% again) he was still exhausted and struggled to catch his breath, he had never run so hard in his whole life.
Shroud slowly recovered and began to look around the room he was in. He saw the other two that passed with him, the villain looking guy sitting in a chair next to a tiny table in the far right corner, and the other who passed was the guy who leaped over him. He approached shroud, putting out a big hand to help him up saying “the name is Captain Smash, nice to meet you!” His voice was deep and burly, to match his massive exterior. He was probably close to 7 feet and all of his features were exaggerated. His head was round and bold, his skin tan and almost coppery. He was wearing a classic looking hero costume that was red with white and blue outlines. His muscles were ridiculous, like the man could win strongest man in the world using only one hand.
He helped shroud up and Shroud said “thank you, uh captain smash, the name is Shroud”.
“Oh? Shroud is it? Well nice to meet you! Sorry if I scared you earlier, I got too competitive and almost landed on you! I’m still not quite used to my ability yet haha. Oh by the way, that guy over there is a real nasty fellow eh? I tried to be friendly and congratulate him but he gave me a real mean look and would only give me his name, The Magician. Real mysterious sounding eh? Haha.” He chuckled. Captain smash seemed to be a real genial guy, Shroud instantly took a liking to him.
“Yeah mysterious, the first time I saw him I definitely thought he was a villain” Shroud said. “Anyway, congratulations on passing too, and don’t worry about earlier it was a competitive exam after all.”
“Ho ho” Captain Smash chuckled “well I guess we are waitin here until someone gets us? Not quite sure, both doors are locked though.”
“Really?” Shroud said “I guess so then...”
They waited a while, the magician sat in the same spot unmoving, his eyes closed like before, while shroud chatted with Captain Smash, exchanging stories about SUPER. Shroud learned that Captain Smash had a unique ability, which would explain his massive body. He chose super muscle growth as his ability, which led him to being able to work out and grow his muscles almost limitlessly. He said the first day he played that he was in the practice room lifting more and more, and now he can lift about 10000 pounds with his arms and squat 50000. It was quite a smart choice of ability in shroud’s eyes as it meant that he wasn’t restricted like super strength to a set amount that he could push past his limits.
Shroud explained his warp ability, not mentioning the super perception as he didn’t want the awkward conversation of explaining why he had two abilities. He thought it best to keep it to himself. While he was explaining his ability he noticed out of the corner of his eye that he caught The Magician’s attention briefly, which faded away when he finished explaining his ability.
“Wow!” Captain Smash exclaimed “I would have never thought of that ability. Sounds versatile for sure!”
After a little while longer the door opposite the exam exit door opened, and in walked the same cyborg from the reception desk.
“Great.” He said unenthusiasticly, “you three passed. This way then.”
Captain Smash and Shroud exchanged shrugs and confused glances. They had passed a difficult exam but didn’t even get a congratulations or anything.
The three follow the cyborg out of the room and down a hallway, leading back to the same red carpeted room. The cyborg produced 3 licenses, with their names and their information. “Only thing left is to get your picture taken, then you can start working as a hero. Head that way, he pointed to the door opposite the one they took before. He didn’t look back up from what he was doing and the three excused themselves.
They didn’t see anyone that they had entered with, surprisingly. “There must be a different exit for them” Shroud thought. They sauntered over to the door, Captain Smash opened it and held the door for shroud and the magician, then they all entered a small room with a finely dressed gentleman with pale skin and a long mustache standing behind a camera on a tripod.
“Well congratulations gentlemen” he said regally, with a slight twist of his hand, almost like a royal, as he addressed them. “The name is Aberworth and I will be your photographer this afternoon.” He bowed slowly and elegantly, before landing his eyes on shroud “well well, do you not have a costume, ser?”
Shroud shook his head “I have an idea for one but I don’t have one, no”
“Well!” The mans eyes lit up “I perhaps can assist you, utilizing my exquisite ability tailoring!”
Shroud blinked twice “tailoring?” He asked.
Captain Smash seemed amused with a hint of confusion on his face, The Magician didn’t seem bothered.
“Why of course! I can fabricate any garment you so please just tell me what it is and if course!...” he flicked his wrist and produced a tape measure “we must have your measurements ser.”
“Um uh okay” Shroud said, he explained what he wanted in a costume. The man listened intently, taking shroud’s measurements while he did so. After a minute or two he backed up a few feet and seemed in deep thought and concentration.
Out of nowhere the costume Shroud had envisioned appeared in midair in front of the gentleman. Both captain smash and shroud were taken aback at the weird summoning of the costume but The Magician didn’t seem to care whatsoever.
“There we are!” The gentleman exclaimed, holding his hands out as the garment just hovered in midair. He said “alright ser, if you would kindly hold still.” And he waved his arms dramatically as the costume flew towards Shroud, hitting him hard as he took a couple steps back. It was a weird sensation as he felt the clothes he was wearing be replaced with the new costume. After a few seconds the gentleman said “that concludes that.” And brushed his hands, resuming his elegant posture “perhaps you would care to garner your new appearance in a looking glass?” He asked, “peruse yourself there.” He gestured with a nod, towards a full body mirror on the white marble wall nearby.
Shroud walked over and looked at himself, he was stunned! He was dressed head to toe in the costume he had dreamed of. It was all dark blue with white inlay throughout, he was wearing a dark blue visor over his eyes, the classic mask like visor that heroes like Robin, Batman’s sidekick wore, and all the golden age heroes. He had a long, thick dark blue cloak around his shoulders, underneath a jumpsuit again of dark blue but with white inlay throughout, he had a white utility belt and dark blue gloves and long boots. The aspect he was most shocked at with his appearance was his hair. The gentleman had even changed his hairstyle! No longer did he have his shoulder length unkempt brown hair but a tight, neat, short hairstyle that resembled the classic pompadour style of golden age heroes. “How did he...” Shroud thought. He wasn’t upset at the change and in fact quite liked it. He had thought about a new hairstyle with his costume but didn’t say anything to the man...
“Now then! We may continue gentlemen!” The man continued “let us get your photographs shall we? You first, my ser” he said to Shroud, beckoning him over.
Shroud walked over and stood in front of the camera where the man positioned him. The gentleman took his picture and asked for his license which he scanned underneath the camera. “Here you are ser, it is official now!”
Shroud took the license from him, glancing it over. “Yes! I am a hero now!” He thought to himself, excitedly. He saw his face on the license, the new hairstyle and the dark blue mask, it also had his hero name and his details, along with the status of hero rank. Right now he was only an interim hero, the trial period you might say, to see if he had what it takes.
Shroud left the room as the others were getting there photographs taken and stopped outside the room to message Sly Girl, “Hey, got my license I passed the exam! And what do you mean easy?! I haven’t run so hard in my whole life!”
As he finished the message Captain Smash walked out and stopped Shroud before he left, “Hey there! I wanted to let you know if you ever want to team up sometime you can always message me! Nice meeting you!”
“Nice meeting you, and of course the same goes for you.” Shroud said, trying his best to smile. He isn’t good at small talk and conversations in general.
Captain Smash shook Shroud’s hand heartily before saying goodbye and leaving the exam room.
*ring ring* message alert. Shroud opened it up, it was of course from Sly Girl responding to his message.
“Congrats! Well maybe that’s because you are out of shape?” He could almost hear the jesting tone in her voice. She continued, “well I just finished up my mission not so long ago and I’m right outside the hero academy. Hurry up and come meet me so we can go on a mission together!”
Shroud hurried out of the room, not bothering to reply back since she was so close. he wanted to check his status now that he was an official hero! “Status”
|Interim Hero||Shroud||Hero Association|
|N/A||N/A||Super perception - Poor|
|- sub ability - passive perception - weak|
“Interim hero! Great!” He wasn’t a full hero, more a novice but he had made his first step. He noticed also warping had ranked up and was eager to find out what the limitations were but remembered that he had to meet up with Sly Girl right now and decided to leave it for later
He decided that he was going to rank up his Super Perception as he walked and was focusing on objects and people as he worked his way toward the exit of the building. He was especially interested in the costumes of the heroes in the building. He could focus and see the nuances of their costumes, the material and the decorations. His eyes fell on a faimiliar hero as he was approaching the exit, The Magician. He was leaving the building “Hmm... that guy is weird. Weirder than me maybe?” Shroud thought “what’s his deal anyway?”
Shroud pondered this as he walked, the odd interactions he had with him, his almost angry, pained expressions.
His eyes fell on a different hero entirely as he exited the building, a familiar all pink hero, and his best friend “hey Sly Girl.” He said “what’s up?”
“Hey Shroud! It’s great! Congrats on passing the exam! I hear only like 20% of people are passing and others have to wait for a whole week when they fail. I just walked through my exam, no one knew I was there hahaha.” She laughed. “Oh oh let me tell you, let me tell you! The mission I was on! I saw my first villain! I was the support in our group there was three of us we went to stop a small gang in the area that was running drugs!” She went on and on, explaining heartily the details of the small mission she went on,”and the villain! I think he was another player he seemed to be in charge of the gang, and he had two abilities just like you! he was really hard to deal with! One of the players, I mean heroes, in my party got “killed” he has to wait an hour to respawn.
“Killed? Respawn?” Shroud thought to himself while she continued, detailing the events that led up to the capturing of the gang and the villian. “What an odd world.” Shroud thought, “that you put the hero and villian players against themselves, and villains can be arrested, while heroes don’t seem to have as much of a penalty. Do they get two abilities to start? Unlike heroes? Also getting killed and respawning.. sounds like a basic RPG element.. but sounds painful, this game has a certain pain threshold.” He remembered the exam and getting hit by the masked man and the pain he experienced then, he couldn’t imagine what dying felt like “I’ve really got to do some more research into this game before I get on next” he pondered.
“So yeah! We should go on a mission together Shroud! Come on! I’ll get you set up with some support gear, you at least need a GPS tracker to get around!” She grabbed shroud by the arm and started to pull him through the crowd of people, as they made their way toward the fancy hero shops that he saw on his way to the academy. They soon reached the area with the shopkeepers hawking wares out on the street, bartering with heroes and businessmen alike, he thought they would stop soon but she kept pulling him along, past the sharply dressed businessmen and the owners, past the beautiful store windows with the shiny metal gadgets. She lead him around a corner of a large shop which seemed to sell boots and shoes mostly, down a small alley that was as dirty as it was small, you couldn’t fit 2 people side by side here. After a short walk, about halfway down the alley Sly Girl stopped in front of a tiny door that looked like it had been rusting there for half a century. Sly Girl Knocked three times, *tap tip tap* and she and Shroud waited in the dark, small alley for a minute or so.
Finally, the door opened, and a scraggly old man with droopy eyes and a long grey beard stepped out, pushing the hair out of his face. “Oh, Sly Girl, come in!” His voice cracking as he spoke. He gave shroud a look, saying “a new hero eh?” He looked shroud up an down, and nodded, saying no more as he lead them both inside. Shroud walked in and was surprised as he went from a dirty, small, dark alley into a perfectly clean workshop. Inside was all sorts of machinery and tools, everything shining and spotless. “So.. what can I do for you both.”
“He needs a GPS like you got for me!” Sly Girl exclaimed. “Like this one!” She reaches in her toolbelt and produced a small square device that had only a large screen on one side.
“Hmmmm..” The man said, stroking his beard “I ran out of those...”
“No! We need to go on missions he needs one!” Sly Girl said sadly.
Shroud stood silent through the whole exchange, not quite sure what was happening, leaving all the talking to his friend that dragged him here.
“Well... I do have something else for the aspiring hero, that goes with his outfit actually... hold on a minute...”
the old man worked his way slowly into a back room that was just off to the right of the far wall, Shroud heard the clinking and clattering of objects being moved around and sorted through. After a couple minutes the old man returned, holding a small cardboard box about a foot long. He sauntered over to Shroud and handed it to him “see if this fits ya.”
Shroud took the box, saying “uh thank you.” He was excited and confused at the same time as he opened the small package, seeing inside a visor that looked a lot like his, except for the eyes had dark round glass over them where the holes on his visor should be. The odd thing about it was it’s bright green color.
He took it out of the box, looking it over. He could feel it was heavier and had some sorts of wires sewn into the cloth straps. “That there is all you will need sonny” the old man said, his eyes twinkling slightly as he fell into explaining his invention,
“This is a visor, but the eyes here are holographic screens that you can pull up real world display of maps, gps, and an A.I. That will answer questions and help you with roblems and solving tasks, like doing your taxes. I know it’s ingenious. Oh and the glass screen is bulletproof, and the cloth should stop a knife, Incase you ever get shot in the eye or stabbed in the head har har har.” He chuckled, wheezing slightly as he ended his speech. “Oh gimme that for a second” he said, taking the visor and walking over to one of the many workbenches. He put the visor under some sort of machine that resembled a large computer, glancing at shroud now and then as he punched buttons for a minute, ending in a large flash of light. The green visor had turned into the same blue color as Shroud’s costume!
“Here you are” the man said, handing off the visor to him.
“I don’t know what to say” Shroud said, he felt like he just got handed a legendary item in a fantasy rpg, “thank you, and uh what do I pay??.. i.. I don’t have any cash or anything.”
“Silly!” Sly Girl interjected “I’ve got you covered for now” she said, an almost villainous twinkle in her eye as she said “you will just have to pay me back.”
“Oh no...” Shroud thought “she doesn’t mean giving her money I know.” Anytime Olivia loaned you something she didn’t want monetary compensation she would always get you to repay the loan or favor by doing something much worse than handing over money... Adam remembered countless times he had borrowed a few dollars just to end up mowing her lawn or cleaning out the gutters on her roof. One time he borrowed $200 for his water bill just to learn that she wanted him to do her grocery shopping for a whole 2 months!
“Umm uh I don’t know if I can take this then..” Shroud said hesitantly, starting to hand it back to the man. “Nonsense!” Sly Girl interjected, stopping his hand, “you need that and you know it! Look I’ll just have you help me in game on some missions and what not, nothing big!” She shoved the visor back towards him, and shroud relented. She always got her way.
“Har har” laughed the man at the exchange, “well Alright then. There you have it sonny.”
Sly girl and the man exchanged currency, which looked to be all digital as sly girl produced another small device and held it up to a similar device the man had. Shroud wondered how he would access his currency, but then remembered the visor and that he thought he remembered the man mumble something about currency exchange in his long winded speech, Shroud didn’t pay all that much attention to the man through the whole exchange.
The devices beeped and that was all that was needed apparently as sly girl said goodbye and turned, grabbing Shroud as she started for the door, “oh!” The old man exclaimed, “the name is Rick. If you need any supplies I’ve got the cheapest and best around.”
“Alright, I’ll be sure to drop back around then” Shroud said plainly, “oh the name is Shroud.”
The old man nodded his slow nod again, as Sly Girl impatiently nudged Shroud our the door “jeez... she’s always in a hurry.”
Once outside shroud put on the visor, making Sly Girl stop so he could adjust it. As he strapped on the Visor he noticed right away that though from the outside the eyes looked dark from the outside from the inside he could see as plain as day, with no loss in his vision whatsoever. He had been a little worried that it would hurt his super perception skill. After a few seconds of adjusting and finally tying the knot to his head he heard a click and a small robotic voice sounded from.. inside his head? It definitely sounded like it anyway. “Do you hear that?” He asked Sly Girl, she looked at him funny and shook her head. The voice continued, “Hello, I am the A.I. Assistant for this visor, I have no name.,, would you care to know the functions of this visor? Simply thinking yes will do.” Shroud was skeptical but thought “Yes” and the monotone voice continued “okay. The functions are as follows: gps, map, currency exchange, record/take picture, call, hero mission center, and assistant...most functions will show up in your field of vision holographically. No one else can see the functions.”
“Great.” Shroud thought, wondering what assistant could do. He decided to focus on thinking “assistant” and the same metallic monotone voice continued “assistant active, what do you need assistance with?”
Shroud thought “information on the game functions of SUPER”
“I am sorry I don’t know what you mean.” The voice said.
Shroud thought “forget it then” and heard “assistant mode deactivated”
Shroud realized that he had been standing there for a little bit while Sly Girl had been tapping her feet, arms crossed and pacing.
“Oh done?!” She almost yelled, “great! 1st mission time! Let’s go!” She turned and starting walking briskly back down the alley, explaining to shroud as they walked “okay so we are going to make a call to hero mission control and get a mission! I’ve got a phone here. Your visor has one though right? Try it out! You should get your first mission yourself after all!”
“Sure if you say so” Shroud said and thought “hero mission control”
“Calling hero mission control” the assistant voice sounded, followed by a brief ringing as a female voice picked up on the other end, “hero mission control, who is the caller please?”
“Shroud.. ah interim hero Shroud? Well I see you just got your license and you have 0 missions. You are eligible to do interim missions only. Would you like one in your area?” She said,
“Yes, please” Shroud responded, a little on the hesitant side, though his heart was beating a little fast. He was wondering what she would give him.. a robbery? A super villian to fight? A local mafia group to stop? What?
“Alright then.. your mission in that area is to check out the area of 12” N and 24” E on the map of Grantropolis. Go to this area and deal with the suspicious activity as shown on our intel. The compensation depends on your contribution. Do you accept?”
Shroud thought for a moment, a mysterious mission? Are they all like this? He didn’t know what he was getting himself into but almost instinctively said “yes”
“Great, Interim Hero Shroud, please report back in after you complete the mission.”
“I will, thank you”
“No need for thanks, you are the hero after all” the woman said before hanging up the phone.
“I got a mission” Shroud said, telling sly girl the details
“Oooh!.. a mysterious mission! I haven’t gotten one of those, I mean they are all kind of vague but none like this with no details. Let’s go, come on! I’ll put in those coordinates real quick!” She pulled out her gps and put in the coordinates quickly, before shouting “it’s this way!” Pointing a north-ish direction,
“Awesome, lets go.” Shroud said, almost excitedly. He and sly girl turned, and started briskly walking, towards his first mission!