Cue Sinister Music

I head back up to my office, and someone’s sitting in my chair. It’s not Vector, because she was walking the other way, and, also, she doesn’t do the backwards chair looming thing (usually). I sort of freeze in the doorway, stock still while the high-backed chair spins incrementally around.

I also gasp dramatically.

“Heya, TK,” Walker says, with a grin.

“Red,” I greet him. “What, no cat?”

He shrugs. “You know how they are about carryons these days.”

“Oh, well, guess it’d be far too much trouble to check one just for pranks,” I say.

Walker laughs and bounds out of the chair to give me a hug. “With what they charge you to check extra? Please, not even if I found a 25 pound cat.”

I hug him back. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“Long weekend,” he tells me.

“Uh-huh,” I agree. “And what possessed you to spend your long weekend in my office?”

He rolls his eyes. “I’ve been here ten minutes tops, and I was playing Sudoku. If you must know, Half-pint’s getting settled in to UCJC and the progenitors want me to make sure nothing goes wrong.”

“Aw, she picked your alma mater after all?” I say.

Walker chuckles. “What can I say? I’m very convincing.”

“If they wanted to make sure nothing went wrong, you were a hell of a bad pick,” I add.

“Why do you think I’m over here instead of over there?” he agrees. “What’s Darren up to? I haven’t seen him around.”

“No, he’s on the early schedule, these days,” I explain.

“Damn, really? At least you’ve stuck to your guns, although I never saw you turning mask, how’s that working out?” Walker shakes his head at me.

“I was on early up until, like, two weeks ago,” I tell him, “because I am an adult and don’t drink until all hours of the fucking night anymore, Walker, how’ve you been?”

“Holding my liquor,” he pronounces. “By the way, Travis the elder sends his regards.”

“You’ve been working with my uncle,” I verify.

Walker grins. “What? I told you I moved to the Big Apple.”

“Yeah, but you didn’t tell me you were on cat-wrangling,” I say. “It’s a big city. And he hasn’t mentioned you.”

“I don’t think he likes me,” Walker says. “All ‘I’m busy, Walker, fuck off’ this and ‘I’m busy, Walker, fuck off’ that.”

I laugh.

“So he tells me, the weirdest origin story I ever heard, my nephew got his powers saving a cat,” Walker takes me by both shoulders, “and I said that’s so weird the exact same thing happened to Fox.”

“That,” I say, “was an extremely pointless story, not even making it to the level of funny misunderstanding, because no hijinks could possibly ensue, and also because it was instantly resolved.”

“Well, I don’t know, we stopped someone from kidnapping the president immediately afterwards,” Walker argues. “That’s hijinks, right? Wacky, even.”

“Right,” I say, “the president of what?”

“Some coffee shop, I don’t know,” Walker says, “but you like coffee, you should be happy.”

“I’m so happy you got the coffee president home safe and sound,” I dutifully inform him.

“Alright, so what are we doing this weekend?” Walker asks.

“We?” I laugh. “You just show up unannounced and expect me to play tour guide?”

“It was not unannounced. I told at least Darren and Ash,” he says, offended.

“Ash doesn’t work here anymore,” I remind him.

“What? That fucker,” Walker says, “why am I never informed of these things?”

“I don’t know, maybe being on the wrong coast does something to your listening skills?” I offer. “But if you want to go up to Harbor and visit, be my guest.”

“Ash moved to Harbor,” Walker repeats. “Why am I not surprised?”

“You’re not surprised Harbor has a tower of its very own?” I tease, “I figured you would be.”

“A tower!” Walker yells, putting a hand to his chest, “I just assumed dear Ashley got fired!”

“Without you around? Not likely,” I say.

“I only pinned maybe four or five things on you guys, and no one believed a word of it,” Walker says, “well, except that time I said you broke the vending machine, but you have to admit, you were glaring at it pretty hard pretty much every day, so you should really give me that one.”

I pat him on the shoulder and send him off to harass other agents.

“This weekend, Travis,” he reminds me, making finger guns.

I do not know why I’m friends with that guy, I really don’t. I wave. I pull out my phone.

“You will not guess who just showed up,” I tell Darren.

“Um,” Darren says. “What, at the office?”

“Yes, Darren, at the office, I would appreciate a little warning if Walker’s about to appear,” I say.

Darren laughs. “If I’d warned you, you’d have set out candy, and you’d never be able to get him to leave. At least this way he’s run off to talk to…oh, Carmen, at a guess.”

“Pray for her soul,” I advise him.

“Now, now, Travis, I’m pretty sure she actually likes him,” he tells me.

“Sure, now that she only has to deal with him in small doses,” I agree.

“Well, lucky you, he’s only down for a week,” Darren tells me, “and play nice, or he’s going to say terrible things when he gets back and you know how upstairs feels about that.”

“Yes, I’m sure he’ll tell my uncle just exactly how poorly I reflect on JCity,” I say. “God, I bet he got me one of those awful shirts with the huge worm in the cape.”

“I’ll take it,” Darren offers cheerfully.

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Performance Art

“Shh,” Vector tells me, reaching out to pat my arm.

It takes her a few tries, because instead of looking at me, she’s staring at the next table over, where Sass and Apogee are about to have a conversation with Pom.

As soon as she sits down, Bartok looks in a random direction, waves enthusiastically at – well, it looks like she’s saying ‘Laces’, but he’s still in the weight room, and picks up her tray. On her way out the door, she pauses to shoot me a horrified expression. Then she shrugs.

“It’s amazing. I think the moron doesn’t even know what’s going on,” Vector says to me.

“Vector,” I sigh. “That’s…not nice.”

“She called someone ‘the spic’ this morning, I heard her,” Vector says, “I think it was Kitty.”

I shake my head at the girl, because, really, seriously, really? “Carry on.”

“…and then I told him that it wasn’t my job to do intake paperwork and made him do all three of them himself,” Pom concludes.

“Made who?” I mutter to Vector.

“Keller,” Vector says, “invisible Keller. Damn it, Travis, don’t say it, I know he’s not invisible.”

“I wasn’t going to,” I protest, and lean away from her again.

“It kind of is your job, though,” Sass tells her.

“Whatever.” Pom shrugs and starts rearranging her food. “That’s what he gets for staring at my ass all shift.”

“You’re sure it was Keller?” I ask Vector.

She gives me the scathingest Look I’ve seen from anyone all week, even Pathos.

“That was,” Sass says, trying not to laugh, “very rude of him.”

Pom stands up and turns around, bending over slightly, patting her rump. “I know. I mean, is there something worth staring at about this? It’s just an ass. You’ve seen them before.”

“Yeah,” Sass agrees, agreeably inspecting her ass.

“Well,” Apogee says, “he was supposed to watch your ass, you know, that was his assignment.”

Pom laughs and pats her hand. “Oh, Apogeegirl, you’re so funny! No, that phrase means a different thing, you see, it means he’s supposed to protect me, and open doors, and stuff.”

Sass stuffs the rest of her sandwich into her mouth.

“I should’ve brought popcorn,” Vector tells me.

I hand her a packet of M&M’s.

“You’re a saint,” Vector says.

“Shh,” I say, just because I can.

“And then Yang tells me that I can’t change the files because I don’t have administrator access,” Pom continues, “even though, hello, look at me –”

“Look at you?” Sass says, raising an eyebrow.

“I unzipped my suit almost all the way, because if they’re going to be like that,” Pom says, “I think he’s gay. And, anyway, it’s not like those files weren’t about me, so I should have access, right?”

“Should you?” Apogee asks.

Pom shakes her head and smiles indulgently. “Yes, Apogeegirl, I should.”

“That’s terrible,” Sass tells her, with no inflection whatsoever.

“Right?” Pom waves a hand. “He thinks he’s so smart because he has, like, a computer science degree, from, I don’t know, Yale or Harvard or wherever.”

Sass just adopts a pained look at that one, and I can see Apogee making a mental note to ask her about it later.

“Meanwhile, Erica is totally trying to steal my job,” Pom continues, with a sigh.

“Steal her job!” Vector repeats, in a hysterical whisper.

“Steal her job,” I repeat, laughing not nearly as hard. But, then, I don’t know her.

“Oh, good gravy,” Apogee says.

“You’d think it’s enough for her that everyone thinks she’s so fucking perfect, right?” Pom says, smacking her hand on the table. “With her perky little tits and all.”

“They’re kind of normal sized,” Sass says, but Pom doesn’t hear her.

“Who wears a skirt that short?” Pom says, “you won’t see me crying if anything happens.”

“Are her skirts really that short?” I ask Vector. “Short-short? I mean, how short?”

Vector shrugs. “Not, that I’ve noticed. Watch the show, Travis.”

“And do you know what she says?” Pom yells, “she says to me, to me, that she’d be happy to schedule someone else in for the interview. To me! My interview!”

“I don’t think she meant her,” Apogee says.

“Oh, Apogeegirl,” Pom says, “I know you don’t get it yet, but that’s the way things work here. When a girl tries to get you not to do a thing, she’s either trying to steal your job or your boyfriend.”

“O,” Apogee says, “kay.”

“Was she trying to get you not to do it?” Sass asks, “or was she just not trying to get you to do it? You know. Leaving you an out?”

“Aw,” Pom says, “this is your first job, huh? Okay, no, see, she thinks she’s being clever, hun.”

“Right,” Sass says, with an eager nod. (Sometimes she is kinda Sassy, honestly.)

“But I see right through her!” Pom shakes her juice angrily. “I know the shit she’s up to, and I’m not putting up with it. I’m filing another complaint.”

“Remind me to remind Sheridan to lose that complaint somewhere,” Vector whispers.

I nod.

Pom sighs. “But I totally got to beat up Paragon on the range today, and let me tell you, that felt good like nothing else. That guy has it coming like wow.”

Sass and Apogee agree vehemently.

Vector and I give each other a teeny tiny high five, sort of at table height and quiet-quiet.

“Did you know he actually told me girls shouldn’t fight crime?” Pom shakes her head.

My eyes bug out a little at that one.

Vector snorts at me. “What, you didn’t know he was one of those?”

Pom flips him off across the room (he doesn’t see). “Girls can do anything men can do, motherfucker! What a sexist piece of shit.”

Everyone shakes their head at her. She kind of settles in to eat after that, only jumping in when she has a little something to redirect the topic at hand.

“It’s like performance art,” Vector tells me.

“You hate performance art,” I tell her.

Vector pats my arm. “I hate things some student group threw together in ten minutes to try to get a passing grade. Also, anything that defaces someone else’s art.”

“I wasn’t including plays,” I say.

“Look, sometimes you can put on spandex and leap around and it’s meaningful,” Vector says.

“Well, you get paid more, at least,” I tell her.

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“Alright, where do you want me to set up?” Pathos asks, flipping through a notebook, while the kids are finishing up their laps, looking only vaguely grumpy.

(Except Caffeine. Caffeine is always weird about the running thing.)

I gesture to the corner with the chairs and mini-range he asked me to put out for him.

Pathos stares at the three chairs. “Two students? I thought only – oh, one of them has an effect, huh? How permeable?”

“Seems to go away if you concentrate on it,” I tell him. “I’ve never noticed anyone having a problem when speaking directly to him.”

Pathos laughs, turns to me, and abruptly clears his throat. “Oh. Well. Okay. Well, I’ll keep that in mind. Just Jailbait and, uh –”

“Psybeam,” I say, gesturing to him. It’s not all that helpful, because they’re running in a pack, but I point at him anyway.

“Psybeam,” he repeats, “right.”

And continues to watch me out of the corner of his eye as he makes his way over to the chairs.

The kids slow down as they get to me, stopping to lean over and pant (because, apparently, Coach Domino was getting lax in his old age), or to fall dramatically to their knees, hand over heart, gasping and demanding water, in the case of Caffeine.

Enigma Machine tosses a bottle of water right at his face.

Caffeine catches it, of course he does, because of those goddamned reflexes.

No, actually, I’ve changed my mind, I feel pretty good about him catching that one, because otherwise someone would be getting on my case about having missed it and letting a water bottle smack a kid in the face. (Pathos, probably.) The rest of them pick up water bottles on their own, except for FiendPuncher, who has her nice decorative bottle still with her, all shiny and unscuffed, and probably filled it up at the fountain.

Those things are pretty cool, actually. Smoke swears he ran a tank over one once, and there wasn’t a scratch on it. I’m inclined to believe him, but that may be because it’s intensely discomfiting to argue with Smoke. (I know, but still – it’s not like I talk to him enough to be used to it.) Bartok says he’s full of shit and you can barely drop one from ten stories and have it survive. I don’t know why the Flight Crew gets such a kick out of these experiments, but we’re not short on replication.

“Jailbait,” I say, “Psybeam, you’re over there with Pathos.”

He bristles when I point to him, even from clear across the room.

“Why do they get a special teacher?” Gatling whines, “I want the qualified guy!”

I don’t smack Gatling on the nose even once.

I mean, also, I don’t have a newspaper.

“Because they have better powers than you, dumbass,” Caffeine says.

Gatling crosses his arms and shakes his head. “People are just people no matter what kind of powers they have and you shouldn’t treat them differently just because you think one way is better.”

FiendPuncher starts cracking up.

The other three turn to look at her.

“I’m sorry,” she says, then, clearing her throat, higher pitched, she says, “I’m sorry I just thought of a funny joke that’s all.”

They don’t seem to believe her. One even says, “oh, yeah?”

Yes, Gatling. Who glares. And says, “let’s hear this joke, then.”

“Okay!” FiendPuncher dons a beatific smile. “Knock knock.”

“Who’s there?” Gatling says, warily.

“Who!” FiendPuncher says, her smile growing wider.

“Who who?” Gatling growls, balling his hands into fists.

FiendPuncher slaps her hands to her face. “Oh, no, an owl infestation!”

Caffeine and Enigma Machine both start laughing. I don’t, but it’s through an effort of will that more than doubles when I see the kind of daggers Gatling is glaring at her.

“You know,” Gatling says, forcefully nonchalant, “that’s not that funny.”

FiendPuncher just looks at him with wide, innocent eyes, and says, “maybe you just need to grow a sense of humor.”

I do snicker at that one, but I don’t think any of them hear me. When I can talk to the students without laughing at any of them again, I say, “so. We’re working on individual exercises, today.”

“Power drills?” Caffeine asks, clapping his hands together.

“Yes,” I agree, and, because it’ll be so much faster than explaining out loud, just hand him the sheet that tells him how many circles to run in.

He takes off with a whoop.

“You two are on flying routines,” I say, to FiendPuncher and Enigma Machine. “Show her the basics; I’ll be by to check your form in a couple minutes.”

“Which routine?” Enigma Machine asks, with a huff.

“Start with the first and work your way through them, Enigma Machine,” I tell him. “I know you remember your flying buddy showing you. It was two years ago.”

Enigma Machine sighs even more exasperatedly, and says, “well, come on then, little lady, let’s show you how to fly.”

I can tell there are no cameras today, because she flips him off with both hands.

As she flies after him, Gatling says to me, “I’m not working with you.”

I raise an eyebrow.

“If you lay one finger on me, I’ll scream rape.” He smirks.

“I’m not going to touch you, Gatling,” I tell him. “I’m going to give you instructions, verbally, from way over here, and you’re going to practice using your powers.”

He tucks his hands into his pockets and rocks back on his heels. “And what if I don’t?”

“Then you can get the hell out of my class, because I have no idea why I’d waste time teaching you,” I say.

Gatling snorts. “Typical. Just want to get out of doing your job, any way you can, huh?”

Maybe I should send him over to hang out with Pathos after all.

“You know what, Gatling?” I say, and hand over the sheet, still from way over here. “Do the things patterns has specifically, personally cooked up for you to better yourself, or don’t. Sit there. Read a book. Play Angry Birds. I really don’t care.”

And then I leave to go check on my flyers.

When I glance back over, Gatling is doing his work. Or doing something, anyway. Sullenly, but he’s working at it. The flyers seem to be almost halfway down the list. They’re not coordinated with each other, not yet, but they’re working through the basic patterns very quickly. Willing to bet FiendPuncher memorized the exercises, too. I wonder if she has some sort of memory enhancement.

That would be a little out of place for a white hat, I think. Mostly they’re too young or too dumb when they get their powers to care about studying. That’s really more of a gray hat skillset. Of course, three quarters of black hats have perfect recall or something like that, so what do I know. Maybe all the white hats are just trying not to seem like nerds.

On his way out, before we move on to meditation, Pathos sneers at me, “would have been real helpful to leave me a table, dog.”

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Everything’s coming up coffee.

Perry’s good to her word; she’s out of the apartment before Darren even gets up (judging by the fact that he leaves a note scribbled on the bottom of her note). Also, both of them made coffee before they left, because I find both a cold-pressed thermos and a milkshake in the fridge for me.

I maybe do a little happy dance. Which could be embarrassing. But I’m still at home, so no one can see me, so ha.

Milkshake goes with breakfast. (Breakfast is toast, because I’m running late.) Thermos goes with Travis to work. (Thermos is empty by the time Travis gets to work, because Travis has too long of a commute, because Travis is bad at long-term planning. Which is why I’m heading for the cafeteria yet again. I’ll be quick, though.)

This is getting to be a habit. I feel like I should call Perry out on this, because she’s supposed to get me breakfast for the foreseeable future. I have the email promising it and everything.

Oh, wait, right, that’s just how she tricked me into going to the diner. Shit.

And she’s going to be gone for at least a week, so no more diner, even. Aww.

“Travis!” a familiar voice calls out, and I spin around, looking for Amos and Jenny.

Jenny’s wearing her costume again, with her mask tying her hair up in a makeshift bun.

“You look perky today,” Jenny tells me.

I grin at her. “Everybody made me coffee. Perky! That’s punny.”

“I’m not sure it actually is,” she says.

Amos beckons for me to sit. “I got you coffee, too, but I guess you don’t need it.”

“Coffee,” I say, and wrap my hand around the mug. Oh, hey, that’s the mug I’ve been looking for, for, like, a month or something. Everything’s coming up coffee.

Amos laughs. “Same old Fox.”

“Now I feel bad I didn’t also get you coffee,” Jenny says, raising an eyebrow.

I beam at her, and drop a maple sugar candy into the mug. “Coffee here is shit, anyway.”

“I feel like it would be really funny if I’d gone to a coffee shop somewhere, and you’d be all double fisting that and the swill Amos hands you,” Jenny says.

“We can try that tomorrow,” I deadpan.

Amos hands me a muffin off his tray. I wave it off. Jenny takes it.

“So, did you hear about the transfer?” she asks.

“Someone just got transferred here, or someone got transferred away?” I ask.

She flicks a blueberry at me. “New transfer, moved here, some cold case obsession. I was thinking about pranking him into showing up at your class. Is that more funny, or more mean?”

“Most days, I’d say it depends on his sense of humor,” I say, and sip at my coffee (maple-y), “but I’ve got Pathos helping out today, so no go.”

Jenny laughs at me. “Always living perilously, aren’t you, Fox?”

I hold my hands up with a ‘what can you do?’ expression.

“I wouldn’t think he’d agree to that,” Amos says. “I mean, he turned down teaching before anyone finished asking the question in the first place.”

“I don’t think he knows Teke is me,” I say.

Amos grins at me. “Aw, you’re already using your mask account to trick people.”

“Yeah, I feel real bad about that one,” I mutter. “I needed someone to go over things with Jailbait and Psybeam, anyway.”

“You know Psybeam is,” Jenny glances at me, looks away, and nibbles on her muffin. Finally, she says, “are you sure Pathos is the best person to teach him?”

“I noticed,” I tell her, “but maybe he won’t. And he is pretty much the only choice.”

She shrugs. “Doesn’t make him a good one.”

I roll my eyes.

“I feel like there’s got to be someone else,” she says, “I mean, I know he’s the only one who works for us full time, but there have to be a few freelancers or something.”

“Manipulative Bitch can, but I think that’s all,” Amos suggests.

“Oh, that’s true, but she’s pretty busy,” Jenny says, “also, she had the kind of connect-the-dots training that makes it kind of hard to teach, didn’t she?”

“I did consider that,” I say, “I can’t get her in to do it for months, and Clark Cunt wasn’t willing to teach at all. I heard a rumor one of the Vigilantes has something emotional. Just a rumor, though.”

She frowns and shakes her head at me.

“Well, I wasn’t actually going to ask them,” I tell her. “Can you imagine how that would look?”

“I can imagine it would be harder to deal with than Pathos,” Jenny says. “Especially given all the paperwork you’d have to do to get one in the building.”

“Under guard,” Amos says, crossing his arms, “and they’d probably make your guest lecturer wear a cuff, anyway, which would sort of defeat the purpose.”

“Which one, anyway?” Jenny asks.

“What, like I remember? Probably 15,” I tell her.

She chuckles. “The old one, or the new one? I mean, if it’s the new one, whatever, but if they switched over because someone got a power, that’s hilarious.”

“Could be 15 wanted to go legit,” I say.

She makes a face. “Could be they don’t want anyone in their little club who’s actually extranormal, and start the rumors themselves to seem less bigoted.”

“I don’t know,” I tell her. “Didn’t they catch 2 flying that once?”

“That was 5 – no – 4,” Jenny corrects. “And who knows what tech they have access to?”

“We’ve got skintight suits capable of sustained flight up to three hours in field testing,” Amos explains, then pauses. “And word is, someone else had them first. It can be done.”

“They fail almost 70% of the time,” Jenny says, “Kitty says they don’t handle well at all.”

“I’ve heard terrible things,” Amos agrees. “But you’ve got to keep Flight Crew occupied somehow, don’t you?”

“Do you?” I ask.

“Really? With the Superbitches and the Cunts both going after anyone who flies in?” Amos asks me back.

I shrug. “And that’s why we have the smallest unit of any major city. It should work out.”

“Two flying teams is probably a bit much,” Jenny tells us.

We both nod.

“Although, if you’re building your own suits,” she says, “it’s kind of a waste not to make them fly. I mean, if you can’t just roll them out, you’re not saving much.”

“I think they do just roll them out,” I tell her, “the company’s a front.”

“You may have been reading too many conspiracy theories,” she says.

I shake my head, grinning. “Am I making you question reality again, Jenny?”

“I can tell reputable sources from grasping at straws,” she tells me, “so, unless you can convince me why you think the mainstream line is that off the mark, no, no you are not.”

“There are some pretty compelling arguments,” I say.

“I’ve seen some of those compelling arguments,” she says, “and my planet actually did have sewer alligators. Well, lizards. Big lizards.”

“No,” I tell her, “not that kind. It’s how far underground their lair goes. There are blueprints.”

“It’s a lair,” she draws out. “It’s supposed to go underground. Just because they built a company on top of it doesn’t mean – I actually have no idea what your conspiracy theory is.”

“It’s not a conspiracy theory. It’s just a note about their potential manufacturing capabilities combined with their seemingly instant suit repair,” I say.

“I’m pretty sure that is a conspiracy theory, Travis,” Jenny says, exasperated.

“Well the money trail’s a little convoluted,” Amos tells her, “but I don’t see why they definitely don’t just have extra ones stockpiled. I think they’re modular, even.”

I look it up on my phone and hand it over.

“Oh my god,” Jenny says, laughing, “that’s not a news site, Travis.”

“You know their mission statement is to figure out what all the masks are hiding, especially us,” Amos says to me.

“They’re very good about fact-checking,” I protest.

Amos considers that. “Is there any particular reason you distrust the Superbitches?”

Jenny hands me my phone back. “I feel like there are better groups to look into.”

“Well, the other ones we already know we can’t trust,” I say, “and, anyway, why are there two teams if they’re always going to work together? Why not just the one team?”

“They don’t always work together,” Jenny says. “I thought it was an aesthetic thing, anyway.”

“So you admit they have the same technology,” I tell her, brandishing my phone.

“It’s because the Rocket Powered Cunts are all men,” Amos says. “They don’t specify for entirely political reasons. It’s just a boys versus girls type game for them.”

“I don’t know if we can necessarily assume they’re all men,” Jenny says. “I mean, it’s mostly the Superbitches who have powers, right? Could be anything. Could be aliens.”

“Could be a conspiracy?” I add, with a grin, to synchronized eyerolls.

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Case File: San Salvador Reality Warping Incident (Citywide) (II) (ref)

Reality warping powers come in a wide variety of forms, and it’s hard to make any sort of comprehensive list of them. (See the Reality Warping wiki) (Note: that thing is hilariously wrong – patterns) They also seem to frequently mimic other powers in nature and scope.

(For a discussion of whether reality warping should count as a mirror power, see Dyer and Dexter Through the Looking Glass, and the Circe Project discussion boards.)

Here, we primarily see the massively larger than normal target (the city), as well as the duration of the event (estimated indefinite, if not for intervention) (Note: Probably closer to 3 or 4 years before physical burnout, assuming no support powers, maybe closer to 1 or 2 for psychological – patterns). There’s no indication (indeed, in most of these events) that there was any additional agent at work; the reality warping power itself simply acted in this manner. These are only the most notable effects, anyway, but the most substantial of the evidence for some incidental mirror power.

(See Addison and Gaius Funhouse Mirror, chapter 8 for an in depth argument of this as a standard support power (and the rest of the book for a depiction of the incident from that perspective))

In this incident, we also see power suppression at work. Now, while it’s been posited by many sources that this is either a mirror-like side effect of the power or a mirror power itself (see Ivanov et al. ‘Reality Reflection’, Soong ‘A study on the mirror-like effects of reality warping powers’, Moore et al. ‘Reality Warping Powers and Common Secondary Powers’, Chan and Channing ‘Seven Common Powers’), it’s important to note that in this case, the power suppression worked on all individuals (with powers) from parallel worlds, as well as all of those with magic. (Addendum: It’s also important to note that a fair amount of technology (extranormally associated and not) ceased to function.)

It’s rare that a single power can suppress both extranormal abilities and magic use, although it does happen from time to time in the case of native and parallel extranormal manipulation (See Oz (V), Gold Standard (IX), Rule of Law (L), Strong Nuclear Force (I); see list of parallel suppression abilities). Even devices cannot be reliably built to do so (and will break down quickly when they can be built), so evidence points to this being a separate power, either a side effect of the reality warping, or another power altogether (as listed above).

Also note the facets resembling other powers that are in no way mirror related: some geographies changed (although most of the layout of the city remained the same), some buildings or parts of buildings switched places, the atmospheric content shifted in the affected area only (including weather indicators for weather that would have occurred outside the affected area), certain technologies were replaced with older or different versions rather than simply ceasing to work, enhanced memories were retroactively affected (note: almost all memories subjects should have had up until that point were recovered, and many report memories accrued during the event impacted, such as development of perfect recall memories despite this not being possible at the time), and some people underwent dramatic personality shifts.

(See the precise boundaries of the event – map)

Although many people noticed buildings and stores, etc., getting redecorated, the most consistent change was repeated reference to a ‘Los Angeles’, most notably among souvenirs, but also present on maps, signs, etc. Such items that were removed for testing or research during the crisis remained as such (and now fetch a high price as collector’s items). This, along with the changes in details to people’s clothing, personal possessions, etc. (mostly minor, with exceptions) leads researchers to believe that the warping was not specifically and in detail rendered by the perpetrator of the event, but rather that some section of our reality was replaced with a different one, either by copying or exchanging with some part of a reasonably similar world.

(See list of ‘drastic changes’; see vetted list; see verified list)

(See list of geographic changes, list of historiographic observations, see list of missing, see list of new persons, see list of hospital admissions for drastic changes in mood or behavior)

(See list of comparisons to known parallel worlds)

This is not an uncommon theory; most city scale events have some or much coherence to the altered space, belying the idea that they’re a fantasy of one person (or any group of people) made manifest. Smaller scale events are harder to judge, but are frequently commensurate with the finding, at least when it comes to location-based changes. Certain types of reality warping are incompatible with these theories, but have never been seen on a scale larger than a few dozen square feet.

(See Dubois-Hayashi ‘Alternate Dimensions’ for an illustration of some such events, as well as low-level theoretical background)

(See the Fake Place Real Talk message boards for amateur discussion on the theories, see list of academics, see list of academic resources)

(See Seethepalli Control X for in depth discussion of alternate reality replacement theory)

(See the Dolfen Review Guide to Reality for technical discussion)

(See the WHO comprehensive list of powers (reality warping)) (Addendum: if you’re a masochist or a nerd with too much free time Addendum: or both!)

Of course, the most important thing to remember when interviewing witnesses and suspects is that something like this is a deeply traumatic event, and most will exhibit behaviors you’re likely to associate with guilt, lies, or paranoia. (They may also show flat affect or a lack of emotional range; this is more likely to be an indicator of shock than sociopathy.) This holds true not only of those within the affected area during the event, but also regarding those interacting with or observing it from the outside, and even some with little contact but strong ties to the area in question.

(See Park, Parker, and Parkinson ‘Coping with Reality Warping Events’)

Addendum: (See Park, Parker, and Parkinson Paradigm Shift)

Thus, a gentle hand is required when dealing with any and all persons potentially involved in perpetrating or continuing an event like this, simply because many suspects will be caught up in the search. (Perpetrators will often also feel deep guilt, especially those with initially good intentions, and are almost as likely to be traumatically affected as a bystander.)

(See list of interview guidelines)

Note especially that, while the risk for the average person is almost negligible in most cases, the risk for vulnerable groups is extremely high, especially those that rely on extranormal abilities, magic, highly specialized technology, etc. to survive or live their lives. Most deaths will occur immediately, with the toll rising sharply over a relatively short timeframe as patients’ previous treatments wear off, they can’t access the right medication, or their equipment breaks or malfunctions. Keep in mind, risk of injury both physical and psychological (as well as suicide) increases over time as well.

(See list of high risk groups)

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Home is where the heart is

Perry pops up from the couch and grins as me. “You will not believe-”

“Really?” I say, turning to Darren, “why’d you let her in here?”

Darren raises an eyebrow. “Don’t look at me. You’re the one who gave her a key.”

“Fox, do you want to hear about the erotic fanfic I found about you, or not?” Perry asks.

I sigh dramatically. “What are you even doing here, Perry?”

She laughs. “I was hungry.”

“So you showed up at my apartment?” I shake my head. “I’m not cooking for you. Go ply your munchies on someone else.”

Perry rolls her eyes. “Yes, I was looking for food here, specifically, Travis.”

“Well, you are here, specifically,” I remind her.

“Yes. Because you’re right next to that one really good pretzel cart.” She shrugs.

“You walked all the way here for a pretzel?” I ask her.

“I did not walk,” Perry says, “I would never use such a plebeian mode of transport.”

“Uh-huh,” I tell her. “I hope you took the long way around, Per, that park is not safe at night.”

“I wouldn’t worry about it,” Perry tells me, “the driver should be back any minute now.”

“Well, couldn’t the driver have just taken you away in the first place?” I ask.

Perry grins at me. “But then I wouldn’t be able to visit with my bestest friend in the whole wide world, or some asshole who lives with him.”

“Thanks for that,” Darren says.

“The driver had to drop me off anyway, of course,” Perry adds.

“Naturally.” I shake my head. “Why, exactly?”

Perry shrugs. “Well, I couldn’t very well just drive up to a pretzel cart, I mean, treating a food stand like a drive-through; I would look like a crazy person.”

“Plus it’s so incredibly passé,” Darren agrees.

“I don’t think that means what you think it means, Random Fuckhead,” Perry says.

“She’s been calling me that since she got here,” Darren tells me.

“When did you get here?” I ask Perry.

She shrugs. “I don’t know, I came in halfway through this movie.”

“She’s been here for an hour,” Darren says. “She claimed she was waiting for you.”

“I have very important news,” Perry explains.

“If this is going to involve, in any combination, me, sex, and nutjobs on the internet,” I tell her, “I don’t want to hear it.”

“Oh, no worries, he hasn’t gotten to the sex yet,” Perry says. “That’s what we love about him. Master of the slow build.”

I sigh even more dramatically.

“Oh, shut up and eat your pretzel, Travis,” Perry says.

I glance over at Darren, who opens the oven and hands me a pretzel out of it. “There’s soup, too, if you want it.”

“Good soup?” I ask, “or crappy microwave soup you made Jenny sneak in?”

Darren gasps and widens his eyes. “Don’t be mean, Fox, I’m sick!”

“Worked yesterday,” I inform him, “don’t oversell it.”

“I got the kind you like, with all the tiny jalapeno bits,” Perry calls, “I don’t hear a thank you.”

“Thank you, Perry,” I say, taking a bite of the pretzel. “You did not need to have someone drive you all the way over here to buy me a snack.”

“If you must know,” Perry says, flopping back down onto the couch, “the studio’s trying to renege on the vacation time they promised me, so I’m hiding out until my plane leaves.”

“This sounds like a terrible idea, Perry.” This pretzel is pretty much the exact opposite of a terrible idea, though. Damn You, Perry.

“You have a guest room,” Perry defends.

“Do you even have your luggage or anything with you?” I ask.

“Driver has it.” Perry changes the channel as the credits on her movie end. “Ooh, elephants.”

“Do you have, like, a toothbrush or a change of clothes?” I ask.

“I always carry a toothbrush. Always. Right now, I have three. And I’ll just rummage through your and the fuckhead’s stuff until I find the clothes I like. I’m fine.” Perry pulls the throw over herself, engrossed in the elephant…movie?

“I don’t get a say in this at all?” Darren asks.

“Shut up, Random Fuckhead,” Perry tells him. “You’re ruining the movie and also Fox’s life.”

Ok, movie, then. I wonder if I’ve heard of it.

“That’s a little dramatic, I’d wager,” Darren says.

“No shit,” Perry agrees, “I work in the pictures, dollface.”

“I never would’ve guessed,” Darren says.

“My plane leaves at, like, 6:30 or something,” Perry continues, “I’ll be gone before you even wake up.”

“Yeah,” I say, “with all my clothes.”

“I wasn’t going to take all of them,” Perry argues, “I was only going to take the ones that look better on me than you. It’s not my fault you only buy things that look adorable on me.”

“You think everything looks adorable on you, Perry.” I sit down next to her.

“That’s because I’m gorgeous and charming,” Perry says.

I steal the throw back from her. “I think it’s because your parents put you in catalogs as a baby and it gave you complexes.”

“Right,” Perry says, “because anyone would want an ugly baby representing their brand.”

“I’ve seen a few,” Darren says.

“No one asked you, numbnuts,” Perry shouts, even though he’s standing right next to her. Doesn’t hate Darren, my ass.

“Babies pretty much all look the same,” I tell her, just like every time we have this conversation. I’m starting to wonder whether she legitimately forgets them the next day. “A cute baby just turns into a regular adult.”

She gasps, holding her hand to her throat. “Are you saying I grew up ugly?”

“Well,” I say, with a shake of my head, “I wasn’t saying it, no. I would never voice that, Perry.”

Perry smacks me with a pillow.

“Who did I make out with this time?” I ask her.

“This time?” Perry leers at me. “Why, Travis, have you been reading about yourself?”

“No, but I’m on a team with two of PR’s cult favorites,” I say, “and they like to send links.”

“Klepto,” she says.

“Klepto?” I repeat, “Klepto what?”

“You’re making out with Klepto,” she says.

“Oh, god,” I say. “Did they not notice my alignment or team affiliation or anything?”

“Someone’s got it in their head you’re Doctor Blueprints,” Perry explains.

“And so you’ve decided to support him by obsessively reading his work?” I ask.

“Not the author,” Perry says, patting me on the arm. “There’s a website devoted to it. The author just thought it was a good premise.”

“This feels racist,” I say.

“Yes, I’m sure it is,” Perry says, “but it’s quite a good story regardless.”

“It’s kind of not about me,” I tell her. “It’s kind of about Doctor Blueprints.”

“Yes, well, that’s his OTP, so,” Perry says, with a shrug.

“I’m pretty sure Doctor Blueprints is dead,” Darren says. “I’m pretty sure the CIA shot him.”

“Look,” Perry says, “do you want to hear about how Travis was kissing an extremely popular dastardly supervillain, or not? Because if not, I need Cheetos.”

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I head out for an early dinner as soon as I dismiss the class. I’m feeling pretty good about things in general, because Sensei Domino stepped into the gym just as Gatling was gearing up to yell at me again, and it freaked him the hell out. No problems for the entire rest of the day.

“Travis!” a familiar voice calls out from behind me.

Right. Amos and Jenny wanted me to have dinner with them. She’s in costume, this time, but only just; her mask’s hanging around her neck. I wonder if she’s been doing more interviews or what.

“Long day?” Jenny asks me, when I stare and her and forget to say anything.

I half-heartedly glare. “It’s never not a long day in charge of the kids. These kids particularly, but I’ve heard it’s all kids, everywhere, no matter how trained you are.”

“Wow, the hell’d they do this time?” she asks.

Amos motions for me to sit. “Any requests? I’m just grabbing a sandwich.”

“Coffee,” I say, and drop my head onto the table.

Amos laughs. “Same old Fox.”

“They’ll grow out of it,” Jenny says, patting my hand.

I shake my head at her. “They didn’t even do anything, this time. I’m just so convinced they’re about to pull something, I can’t relax even when they behave. Especially.”

“What, as a group?” Jenny asks. “Or do you think they’ll go one at a time? Some sort of rota?”

“Urgh,” I say, “they’ll all just use each other as distractions.”

Jenny’s laughing too hard at some imagined free-for-all to do much more than take the sandwich Amos offers her and shake her head. Amos hands me a coffee and another sandwich, and sits down to eat with us, staring at her for a few minutes.

“What?” he says.

“She’s planning on giving all the kids whiffle bats or something, so they can band together and cause some real trouble,” I explain.

She shakes her head at us. “I was not. I was just thinking how easily that one kid you never notice could take advantage of a distraction.”

“I’ve noticed Psybeam, Jenny,” I say, and drain most of my coffee in one gulp.

Jenny waves it away. “Well, of course you have, in class, but have you noticed how much of the rest of the building he’s in? Even sometimes during school hours?”

I shrug.

“No, I’ve seen him, too,” Amos says. “I mean, I didn’t notice until she mentioned it, but I have.”

“It’s probably weird that I’m not more worried, right?” I ask.

Amos shrugs back at me. “I mentioned it to security, and they haven’t caught him out of bounds, yet, just peeking into meeting rooms and things.”

“Maybe he’s just curious?” I mutter. “I really feel like I should be more concerned about this, and I’m not. I wondered if that’s intentional or unintentional.”

Jenny glances between us, frowning. Finally, she says, “he doesn’t seem dangerous or anything. I just thought it was funny no one noticed him. It is an extranormal thing, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, both things,” I tell her. “But it’s one thing to just slip people’s notice, and another thing to project a sense of calm or something onto them.”

She shrugs. “I doubt it’s on purpose. He doesn’t seem all that suspicious.”

I roll my eyes.

“I’m serious,” she says, “you know I’m immune to all your suggestivity crap, so it can’t be him projecting some sort of false trust onto me. And he seems fine. I can talk to him, though.”

“Someone should talk to him,” Amos agrees.

“I mean, if he’s doing it on purpose I can probably suss that out,” Jenny says, “but I don’t know how likely that is to be the case, have you talked to any experts, Teke?”

“No,” I say, “but Pathos is coming in tomorrow, so I wouldn’t worry.”

She frowns slightly, nods, and goes back to her sandwich.

“Good for Jailbait, too,” I add. “I mean, she’s got to have a handle on her powers by now, but it can’t hurt to have someone to talk it over with.”

“Always good early on,” Jenny says. “Especially if you have anything rare. She’s got a pretty esoteric set, doesn’t she? She could probably use a dozen mentors.”

“I wish they’d actually followed through on that mentor matching program,” Amos says, crossing his arms, “but, no, the budget has to go who knows where, and just wing it, right?”

“I hear that,” Jenny says, shaking her head.

“Well, at least we know the people who bother to sign up for sure want to do it,” I say.

Jenny chuckles. “And at least us extranormals, as a people, are pretty good at guessing when powers will go well together. Usually. Almost always.”

“Exceptions that prove the rule,” I say.

She makes a face. “Who the hell decides to stick an illusionist with Sherlock Holmes?”

“That was extremely poorly thought through,” I agree. “‘Stop uneliminating the impossible!’”

“I got the feeling she was covering up evidence, just to fuck with him, by the end, there,” Jenny adds. “I mean, not destroying it, just hiding it until another team got there.”

“I heard she was the only one who would take him,” Amos explains, then pauses. “I’d guess the thing that finally got to her was his insistence on using quotes.”

“He didn’t actually call things elementary,” Jenny asks, “did he? It doesn’t take a lot of inductive power to realize that’ll get annoying real quick.”

“Probably not,” Amos agrees. “But he loved film noir.”

“Because he was a detective, see?” I add.

“And it’d be a long night before she could call him trained,” Amos answers me back.

I shrug. “But I don’t know how much a database would help with that kind of issue.”

“Especially if you expect people to move,” Jenny agrees.

We both nod at her, Amos twirling his finger around his ear.

“When you’re stuck to one city,” she says, “I think you know all your potential mentors.”

“Yeah, I don’t know how much difference it would really make,” I tell her, “but it’s a theory.”

“I think the old-fashioned way might work out better all around, given that you couldn’t accidentally volunteer people who want no part in it,” she says, gesturing to herself.

I shake my head, grinning. “Did I tell you how I got my job?”

“Your job better not have been an accident,” she tells me, “I’m not settling for another teacher that keeps second-guessing my lectures, I’m spoiled now.”

“Started it by accident, but I’ll stick around if you feel that strongly,” I console her.

“Good,” she says, “you’re in charge of brainwashing the youth to bring flowers and embrace it when my people invade.”

“No,” I tell her, “only fruit baskets. In case of allergies.”

“What the hell kind of operation are you running?” she asks. “Did I say fruit baskets, or did I say flowers? Hop to, recruit!”

“I can maybe do candied flowers,” I say.

“At least give me something to work with, here, Travis,” Jenny says, exasperated.

“I can probably handle flowers,” Amos tells her, “I do know most of the PR team.”

I put in an order with the quartermaster – on his phone.

“Oh my god,” she says, laughing, “how many did you order?”

“So many rumors,” Amos says to me, “there will be so many rumors.”

“There were already plenty of rumors,” I say.

Amos considers that for a moment. “Okay, we’ll see how long we can milk this.”

Jenny takes a look at his phone. “Aw, that’s not enough for a whole invading army.”

“Just the advance team,” I say.

“Well, it’ll have to do,” Jenny says. “But you two better hurry up, here.”

“Fruit baskets,” I tell her, even as Amos points to me and mouths disparaging things.

“Oh, we’ll get flowers, alright,” Amos says. “You won’t be able to find the building anymore for all the flowers we’re going to get.”

“Okay, but nothing anyone’s allergic to,” Jenny cautions. “A lot of people have allergies, and we don’t want to cause any problems. Travis has the list if you want to check.”

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Sensei Domino shows up a while before class, settling in at the desk in the corner. The one I used to use whenever I was subbing, if it was free, and for some reason, it usually was. It makes me grin. Add one to the list of people who think that’s the very best desk, even though it has the little wobble to it and the weird shaped drawers. It adds character.

(It’s mostly the hilarious graffiti all over the keyboard tray.)

I don’t bother him, because he seems intent on setting up his laptop. He probably has a pressing deadline or something, and figured it would be a lot quieter up here with me, which it probably is, and, I mean, it’s not like he’s not an instructor, so it shouldn’t actually be all that surprising for him to show up here to work. Then some music comes blaring out from the speakers – that laptop has some high-end speakers – and he relaxes back in his chair.

“So, you know how I share an office?” he asks me.

I nod.

“Three desks, two interns, both of them hate music,” he says.

I grin. “All music, or just this music?”

“As far as I can tell, everything. I even put on some Brahms real quiet and the newer one glared at me and switched it off.” Sensei Domino shrugs. “Kids these days, I tell you.”

“Yeah, it’s all that internet and cat messaging and instabook,” I say.

“How do you hate Brahms? It’s elevator music!” He throws his hands up. “It’s specifically chosen to be inoffensive. I can’t work in silence!”

“What are you working on?” I ask.

He shrugs. “Supposed to be working on some sort of handbook for training in the suits. Of course, they’re a week overdue on notes and updates, so I can’t even get it to the illustrator yet.”

“A week’s not so bad, for the guys who run that department,” I tell him. “I mean, it depends on how many interns they can force to try it out, but you’re not getting that back for a month at least.”

He snorts. “I wish they would. I can’t get the illustrator to stop badgering me about it. Had to send the old descriptions, and I don’t even know how well they work without the testing notes.”

I shake my head. “Well, hopefully it’ll come back without the suits drawn correctly, and you can tell them to redo it completely and they won’t even notice you changed the notes in the meantime.”

Sensei Domino laughs. “Hey, you know a couple flight crew guys, right?”

“I’m on a team with two,” I tell him. “It’s still Hunch’s team, though.”

“Damn,” he says. “Still trying to figure out what the hell they even expect for flying exercises, and they just will not let me get in one of those things.”

“You can ask Jen,” I say, “she just tried one out. I bet she can give you pointers.”

“Jen?” he asks.

“Apogee,” I say.

“Oh, right,” he agrees, “the skyscraper obstacle course.”

“That should give you an idea what sort of warmups will get people used to the suit, anyway,” I say.  “I don’t know if it’ll be much help for advanced fighting techniques.”

“Well, that’s the problem, anyway, isn’t it?” He sighs, humming along to the music for a minute. “Nobody believes me that they need to know it without the suit first.”

“What do they want you to do?” I ask, curious now, because what the hell are they asking him to draw up a guide for?

“Judo,” he says, “throws, mostly. I tell them, okay, have them show up for judo lessons if it’s that important. They say – get this – they’ve been through basic, what’s the difference?

“Wow,” I say.

“Like it’s not something I devoted years to learning how to do right,” he says.

“I’ve been through basic, too,” I say, “or something close enough, anyway, and I can’t even kick a board in half.”

Sensei Domino tilts his head. “Have you tried?”

“No,” I admit.

“You probably could,” he adds, “it’s not really kicking them in half that’s the hard part. I let the white belts do that, no problem.”

“Why do people frame them, then?” I ask.

“Fuck, people frame the scribble they did in art class, too, doesn’t make them Jackson Pollock,” he says. “I promise you, you will not have a problem kicking or punching a board in half.”

“Fair enough,” I say. “What will I have a problem with?”

“Who knows? It’s always something you wouldn’t think could possibly pose a difficulty, but there you go.” He shrugs. “Did you want to do Mondays? I looked, but I couldn’t find you.”

“Sure,” I say. “I was out most of Monday, but just this week.”

“Gotcha,” he says. “Monday can be your paperwork and karate day.”

I grin at him. “I try to get my paperwork done during other people’s lessons, actually.”

“Fine, then, use Monday to watch reality TV, see if I care,” he says.

“I like dog training shows,” I tell him.

“Suit yourself, I can’t stand anything where people don’t yell at each other.” He crosses his arms. “Kitchen Nightmares is where it’s at.”

“I like Trading Spouses okay,” I admit.

“Right? Nothing like a bit of incredibly confused drama,” he says, “so much better than scripted TV, with all its plots and narrative threads and later returning to things that require explanation.”

I listen to the piano for a while. “You like Jerry Springer just a lot, don’t you?”

“Maybe,” he says. “Maybe I’m the one who keeps leaving it on in the break room.”

I shake my head at him. “And hiding the remote? For shame.”

“Oh, that’s not me,” he says. “That’s someone who can grant invisibility.”

“It’s there, it’s just invisible?” I ask, incredulous, because who does that?

“Okay, so,” he tries not to laugh, “this one day, I show up with breakfast for everyone, and two people are there and just tearing the room apart, looking.

“Whitman is there, you know, Whitman with the see-through-illusion powers, just glancing back and forth between them and the remote in confusion.

“You see, it was still on the TV, you know, on the little velcro tab on the side. And she’s standing there, pointing to it, and they’re just ignoring her.”

“What happened?” I ask.

He shakes his head. “She took a croissant from me and left.”

I laugh. “Did you give them the remote?”

“Well, someone must have found it,” he says, “because I sat on it later.”

“Let’s see,” I say, “there’s Whitman with the anti-illusion, Jameson with the x-ray vision, Carter can see through invisibility, right?”

He nods. “Keller and Graham can, too, but they cancel it if they touch it, so probably not.”

“Okay,” I say, “who else? Brackenridge can do the ‘find any object’ thing, Circuit sees everything in schematics, which I have to imagine would help.”

“Ping sees everything in echolocation,” he adds.

“Would that help?” I ask. “I mean, is it just invisible, or are other senses affected?”

“I don’t know, but you’re the one assuming only the surface layer was invisible,” he reminds me. “Could’ve been any kind of effect. Honestly, maybe even one of those ‘ignore me’ deals.”

“Ooh,” I say, “like Psybeam.”

Sensei Domino freezes for a second. “There are six kids in your class.”

“Yeah,” I agree.

“I, uh,” he shakes his head. “I forgot him.”

“It’s cool,” I say, “I didn’t notice until literally this morning. I noted it in his file.”

“That’s unsettling,” he tells me.

I shrug.

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To-do List

Night shift manages to make a bunch of arrests and end up on the news, complete with their very favorite flourish of flying the suspect out of the building and beelining to HQ, coincidentally passing by the cameras on the way there. You see, because there was a firefight below, so they just wanted to get him safely into custody. You see, because they wanted to get him processed quickly, in case any more crimes were in progress that he could help out on. You see, because there’s nothing more fun than terrifying some dude so you can guarantee yourself an interview in the morning.

I mean, some rich white dude, who was almost certainly involved in modifying those cuffs (and, as it turns out, wristbands, too), but there’s a reason there’s a process. (Of course, there’s a reason there aren’t any rules about flying suspects around, too.) I’m actually kind of surprised he didn’t piss himself when it happened. I would strongly guess Sunspot does not warn them beforehand. You see, because it’s an emergency, it would take too long, he’d be in danger, it would ruin all the fun.

Yay, problem solved.

Still no word on exactly what kind of powers were keeping us out, but at least the guy got overconfident, and there’s a fair amount of evidence in his desk and computer. Hoping it will turn out to be something new and cool. Probably it won’t.

But you never know. There was that whole article on speedsters tending to have perfect pitch last week, so there’s always new research. (Of course, if it does turn out to be something interesting to more than just the nerdy amongst us, they’ll probably just get disappeared anyway.) (I mean the interesting things, the research notes. Not the mirrors.) (Fuck it, maybe that too.) (I mean, it’s probably not interesting anyway.)

Note to self: ask Perry to keep an eye out for research breakthroughs once I’m allowed to talk about this. Also, ask Caffeine if he can sing. (Maybe not. Is that personal or anything?)

So today is just back to writing up lesson plans and schedules and shit. I can’t say I miss the cold all that much. Null squad seems kind of annoyed; they look like someone told them it was going to be at least a couple weeks. They’re hanging around talking to whoever they haven’t see in a while, all while wearing shiny little cuffs so as not to creep people out. (Most of them, anyway.) I would really hate to be a null, I really would.

Also, apparently someone got into an altercation with Spiderbitch again, because I swear, we just had a memo about this last week or the week before. On the same case, even. Oh, yep, there it is – why do people keep feeling the need to pick fights with her? It’s no wonder she won’t stay in the city.

I wonder if the Gates teams fight with her, and every time they do she just comes back here. Actually, no, that would be awful. That would be basically the worst, sticking to one city until you got annoyed with it, with just too long between cities to figure out that, actually, you hate both of them the same. She should probably move somewhere else altogether. (I don’t know where people wouldn’t get into fights with her, though.) (Also, I should ask P&P if that lawsuit ever panned out.)

I feel like this is another one of those things I should bring up in class. Because the last jerry-rigged ten minute ‘words hurt’ spiel worked out so well. I think FiendPuncher was the only one who listened to it, and even she might have just been nodding along for the cameras. So maybe bringing in some outside hero is back on the table. (Presumably not Spiderbitch.) At least Pathos agreed to come in tomorrow. I’m guessing because he didn’t put two and two together and notice I’m Teke, but it’ll look real cagey if he backs out now, so there’s that settled.

I really hope he doesn’t say anything awful to Psybeam. Hopefully he won’t even notice.

Karate today this week, hopefully we can go back to the regular schedule next week, but not on Friday, because they’ve okayed patrol.

Well, that’s good, at least. I can show them how to make sure they cover a decent amount of ground. I can teach them how to spot crimes from up top, too, because I’m not completely heartless, I’m taking them by rooftop. Always good for a wave at a news chopper if one comes along.

Also because there aren’t actually going to be any criminals on the roof, which I certainly can’t say for street patrol. No minors are getting injured on my watch.

Paragon wants some information on the heredity of powers. I send him a few links, plus some recommendations for books if he actually want to head to the library. I wonder if this is for a class project and I basically just did his homework for him.

Well, as long as it’s not a research project, just a paper, I’m good. People you know are a resource, too, the upper school librarian told us that enough throughout middle school. I ask him, just in case. (His response is almost immediately. And kind of pissed at me.)

Vector wants me to sign her petition to stock more targets. She seems to have all the deadeyes on board, but only about half the tekes, which are going to be a lot more help, given that most of the deadeyes aren’t actually working in the city. I sign.

Also, I wish they would maintain the other sniper range a little better, because the good one seems to constantly have extranormal monitoring equipment all over it, not to mention the slightly rabid scientists telling you you’re screwing with their data.

There’s an angry email from Todd’s parents, that’s nice, apparently they’re willing to go on for pages if someone call their kid a bigot. They’re going to try to get me ‘fried’.

Actually, on second thought, that might not be a typo. They might actually be angling for the electric chair. That sounds pretty much in their wheelhouse, now that I think about it. Todd’s got to learn it somewhere. Hopefully he’s learning how to spell somewhere else, even leaving that particular error aside.

Stranglehold’s forwarded me another ‘hilarious’ piece of fiction about me. I think I’m going to hold off on reading that. Possibly until never. I really don’t need more awful grammar in my life. Or more people insisting I’m secretly a vampire or dating all the members of some band or both!

I surreptitiously just delete that one.

Bartok’s sent a highlight reel from the concert. I take a few minutes to watch it, leaning back in my chair and basking in the fact that I don’t remotely have to wear headphones. The acoustics in this entire office to myself are pretty great.

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