… but you probably want to talk about yesterday afternoon.
Y’know, the big fight? At the museum?
What about it?
Y’know, I’m onto you, Doc, Always asking questions, not answering them. If I ask a question you ask another one.
Yeah, you do.
Why do you think that is?
Well, I guess it’s to let me – see, you did it again!
Or, you do that hmmm and mm-hmmm thing.
You’ve noticed that?
Hmm. Why do you think I would do that?
To – get me to be the one talking. Because this is about me, and my feelings, and anger, and stuff like that.
Do you think that’s helpful?
So what did you want to tell me about the fight at the museum?
Don’t you wanna know about it?
Was it covered by News 9? Or the Herald?
Then what details do you want to be sure I hear about that they might have missed?
Well, since you asked …
So you know the ceiling of the place, in the big courtyard between the Hall of Heroes and the Hall of Villains, and the little one that’s the Hall of People Don’t Wanna Be Called Sidekicks. Big lattice skylight, really pretty, lotta natural light.
So the class is past the statue of Flying Freedom, and just about to the Hero wing, and – and –
Well, honest, I don’t remember that much about all the fine details. These guys crashed down through the ceiling and there’s glass and rubble, and kids are screaming and yelling, and I get knocked over, hard – and then this guy, Flying Butthead or something, is on this biggest pile of rocks monologuing about first step in grand hoohah whatever – and this other Plastered guy with him, starts aiming a plasma thingy at … well, at …
Well, this girl in my class. Mette? She’s like, well, she’s pretty cool, and kinda hot, but not just a pretty face, y’know? We’re in the same homeroom, and we kinda hang out with some other folk and jeez I shouldn’t be telling you about her.
Why shouldn’t you tell me about her?
Cause you’ll think I’m like … anyway, so I see she’s just standing there, eyes wide, and I remember her saying how much the fire alarms bother her because she’s from, like, this space ship? Anyway, I realize I gotta be the one, I mean, I’m the only one can rescue her, cause she doesn’t see this Plastered asshole doing his thing, so I’m like bounding toward her, pushing people out of the way of the falling concrete, maybe a little hard, but I gotta get to her and, well, I grab her, curl up around her, try not to hurt her but keep her from being hurt and there’s this flash of light and this pain in my back like someone’s set it on fire, y’know?
I – how does that feel?
Like it hurts, but – well, Mette seems to be okay, but look around, and Roddy – Sync – he’s there, after skipping out on the field trip, and he’s all in uniform and everything, just like he’s the hero coming in to save the day, only he’s there shooting the breeze with Aliud, when he was like twice as close to Mette than I was, and he coulda rescued her, but he didn’t cause he was being Roddy.
How did you feel about his not rescuing Mette?
Well, one level, maybe I’m just as glad, cause right then I was kinda holding her tight which – but, shit, he was there, he’s always Mr. Perfect, and she coulda got killed if I didn’t save her.
So, how did you react to that?
I yelled at him, that’s what I did. I shouted he’d almost let her get hurt, and I tell him that and tell him to fricking do something.
Yeah, he looks startled maybe, or maybe ashamed, which he should be, right?
Do you think so?
Well, yeah! I mean, Aliud’s cool, but it’s not like a big rock is gonna hurt him. And he almost let Mette get toasted.
So what did he do?
He takes off after Flying Butthead and Plastered.
How did it feel, encouraging him to go into danger like that?
I – well, he’s Sync, the Perfect Fighter, I mean – he’s probably not in that much danger?
Are you asking me?
No. But – well, like I said, he acts like the team leader, makes sense he’s the one goes after the big dogs with the bad guys. So Aliud kinda takes and throws him at those guys. But it’s not like he’s alone, lotta the kids are still coughing or running around, no idea where the Prof is, but the team – my crew, our group, y’know? – we all seem to be on our feet, and we’re taking on the bad guys and helping rescue the civvies.
So how did Roddy do?
He – well, Butthead, he sees him coming, and it’s not like Sync can fly or anything, he’s just, kinda, ballistic, y’know? Big arc, gravity, no control, like throwing a rock. So that’s what I do, I lob as chunk of ballistic concrete at Butthead, make him flinch, and Kiln does this thing with a spear, Sync grabs it, lets it pull him over Butthead’s punch, and he grabs him around the neck in, like, a headlock.
So you helped Sync?
Yeah. He’d’ve been toast if Kiln and me hadn’t lent a hand.
What about Mette?
I – well, I’d partly let her go to throw that rock, and then she like suddenly stiffens, and her eyes are wide, and I’m like – I think maybe I hurt her or she – like maybe she – kinda just realized I’d, uh, y’know, uh, grabbed her, and she didn’t – y’know –
Did she say anything?
No, but she did kinda, like she looked at me and said, y’know, thanks, and I’m like, y’know, you’re welcome, and are you okay, yeah I’m fine, how about you, oh, I’m fine, all that.
Do you think she sounded angry, or upset?
No, I didn’t, after a sec. It was, well, it was kinda – but then, y’know, like, there’s this battle going on, and Roddy’s trying to choke out Butthead, and 1337 and Kiln are doing this stuff with Rubble 'Raser, and Madwhosit, and one of the walls is starting to come down, and Alex is trash-talking Madwhosit and he squirts out all this glue, like a wave of it, and it crashes over some of the kids, and their boss is telling Plastered to shoot some more shots at us, and I’m already pissed at that guy cause that hurt, dammit, even if it’s already healing, and but nobody likes the smell of toasted gorilla hair, dammit, so I like do a big jump at him yelling, arms spread, big teeth all pointy and everything, and dude like slaps me, not even a big blast, but a slap, like a girl, and I get pissed and slam him to the ground and roar and frighten the shit out of him and he starts screaming in French, but like all scared and high pitched like.
How did that feel?
Kinda felt good. I mean, scaring people isn’t good, I guess, but maybe scaring bad guys, if it gets them to stop?
So then he’s gonna take a blast, and I twist him around so that he hits Butthead, and he goes down and Sync jumps clear and Alex is there too. So I look around, and Mette has Aliud against another wall, which I don’t understand, and Kiln is there at the wall that’s crumbling and doing something to it, and couple of girls from the class, Nono and Emma are like in the glue, drowning, but nobody’s looking at Madwhosit, the glue guy, and he’s about to take a shot at Kiln. And he does and knocks him through the wall, like into the next room.
And I see off to one side, Mette gravs Aliud up and out the ceiling, and I’m like, what did he do to her, but then Alex tells me to throw 'em at Madwhosit, so, sure, and I do that “fastball special” that Sarge has us drilling on – and, yeah, being Mighty Joe Young, Natural Propulsion Device isn’t the coolest thing, but it’s a thing. And Alex smacks into him and grabs something off dude’s belt before falling to the ground, hard, and tossing it to Mette.
So do you think what you did there helped?
Well, duh, it’s just I still had this mad on and wanted to jump up and smack down Madwhosis myself, but, yeah, glue in the fur is a bitch so maybe just as well. And I get to do something cool next anyway. And, like, Mette’s been trying to use her gravity on the glue that Nono and Emma are all caught and drowning in but it’s like not behaving, and Madwhosit’s like all pissed off because people been ignoring him except Alex, and Alex keeps using the mouth and stirring him up, and then takes this thing, which I think is maybe to use against the glue because she starts spraying it on the glue with the girls in it. And Madwhosit gets all huffy and smacks Alex with a glue ball to pin him down, then he’s all “Insects! Insects!” but I think he’s yelling at us rather than like hallucinating bugs are all over him or something, and he starts shooting out glue strings or tendrils or something all over the room, and one misses me but hits Plastered, who I’d picked back up again cause I was thinking I’d smack him to the floor some more cause it was fun.
How is it fun?
Well, I was still pissed at Plastered, and now I was pissed at this guy with the glue and wanted him outta the fight, after what he’s done and smacking Kiln and those girls and Alex and all the trash talk. So I thought, hey, I got a weapon, two of them and – it was sweet.
Yeah, I got Plastered in my hand, and he’s got this thick thread of glue stuck between him and Madwhosits, so I fastball special the dude right back into Madwhosits and WHAM, not only does he smack 'im, but this glue string like sticks both of 'em into the wall and each other. Sweet!
Was that it?
Yeah, except Kiln comes crashing back through the hole in the wall, and they’ve got this crazy armor and weaponry and a serious mad-on happening, running right back at Madwhosits, charging him, and the bad guy’s trying to get a hand free to glue-blast him, and Sync totally steals my thing and throws a rock at hand knocking it aside before Kiln leaps into the air like a crazy person, and I swear they were gonna stick him with that blade they have.
What did you think about that?
Well, it was a righteous anger, cause I can see through the hole in the wall that was the room with the temple thing that Kiln made do all the light show, but it was still weird cause Kiln usually is all about this ‘warrior control’ thing and they were like all “Desecrator!” and stuff. But – they didn’t, they just knocked Madwhosits and Plastered onto the ground, in a big pile of concrete and glue and the glue guy is just “Don’t kill me, I surrender!” stuff.
Did you think Kiln should have taken his surrender?
I mean, instead sticking him with that blade? Well, yeah, I mean, there’s being angry and in the middle of a fight, but there’s the dude surrendering. I mean, maybe give him a kick or something but something more, that’s just not right.
Was that the end of it?
Well, no, almost, and something kinda like it, cause Mette had used that thing Alex had thrown her and her powers and was peeling the glue back, so that Emma and Nono were free, and Nono was all woozy from the glue and the rubble, and Emma catches on fire, which is what she does, and she heads toward Madwhosits like, if Kiln provides the spit, she’ll provide the barbecue, and Mette’s right there and looking kind of pissed, too, but then Alex says something soft, not sure anyone else heard but Emma, and me, and it’s “Probation,” and I mean, yeah, you know some of the kids in the school came here in trouble.
So she stops. And I hear Mette gasp, and she’s staring at Emma, but then someone calls out for help, and we’re into search and rescue mode, and that took up a lot of time, even after the city response trucks and the cops rolled up, and like, we had to secure the bad guys and all that.
Was anyone badly hurt?
Not much, mostly cuts and scrapes. And – well it was weird.
Well, we pull this big slab over, and Prof. Fryth is underneath, and he’s looking around and you can tell he’s mentally taking notes, and then he starts congratulating everyone on getting all the civvies out of the way when the fight started, except nobody remembered doing that, and I mean from what any of us remembered or noticed, there was nobody in that space except our class and a couple museum staff when the attack came in. Which was – was –
Well, yeah. I mean, it’s not a busy weekend or nothing, but not even any other classes walking through? I remember a few field trips there when I was a kid, and there were always lots of classes at the same time, cause it was hard to hear with all the kids yelling and the tour guides talking, all echoey.
What do you think that means?
Nothing, I guess. Coincidence.
Yeah. And the press were there when we came out, which – I mean, half of them, maybe, thought I was one of the bad guys, but I guess most got the word, and they were asking about what we’d done, and I was like waving my arms around telling 'em, but Fryth hustled us all back onto the bus, and by the time we got back it was time for dinner at the dining hall, but we said screw it and hung out in – in …
Well, we got a place. Mette found it, cause she likes to map out rooms and understand all the “access ways,” as she puts it, and she said we needed a guildhall, so that’s what we got. It’s a large room, maybe for storage or something, under Gardner? Kind of in the basement, so only these tiny windows up high, and it’s full of chairs, a lot of 'em broken, but we’ve kinda got it set up so that our group can, y’know, hang? Or do homework. Stuff like that. So we all went and hung out there, ordered in some pizza. And kinda talked about what happened.
Did anyone have any interesting insights?
Nah. Mostly just talking good times. Most of us. Mette –
Your friend, Mette – yes?
Did she come out of her funk?
Her – I didn’t say she was funky!
No, she – ah, how did she seem through the fight, and afterward?
Well, in the battle, she got upset a couple of times. Surprised by something, or I dunno what. I don’t – I mean, it wasn’t just – I mean, it wouldn’t be because I didn’t do it that way or for that reason –
Could you --?
Can you just stop with the questions? Please?
All right. You seem upset about something with Mette.
That’s – almost a question.
What about – hmmm. Tell me about Mette.
Means I’m still giving an answer, but … okay. I was worried, maybe, she was … upset. Cause I grabbed her – to keep her safe! – but, still, I grabbed her, and girls, they don’t necessarily like that. And I understand, cause some guys, they don’t grab nice, and they’re assholes. But – I – really don’t want her – to think – I would, y’know, ever –
Do you think she would?
I – hope not.
So how did you approach that when you were in your team’s lair.
We call it …
You call it --?
The Fortress of Attitude.
Was that a chuckle?
Do you think it was a --?
So … at the afterparty …?
Theater term. After the action, when you get together and have pizza and party.
Ah. Got it. So, yeah. Mette was … I dunno. She was kind of quiet. Like somehing was … I dunno. Weighing on her. I dunno if it was about the Aliud thing, or the Emma thing, or … what.
So what did you do?
Dude, I was on top of the world. Telling her about all the cool stuff I had done. Saving her. Bopping Plastered. Taking down Butthead. Putting the kibash on Madwhosits. And, and, all of it without, like destroying the museum. I mean, I put on height, but did all the right things.
And that’s how you felt about it?
Damn straight. And she did a stand-up job, too. I told her so. She was, like, laser focused on saving those girls – and she did! Serious heroics there.
And how did she take that?
She – well, she … started talking. To me. Like, telling me stuff. Sharing.
And how did that make you feel?
Like I was a hero, for once. Like I’d done some good, saving people, and she saw that, and her sharing stuff from her future and like that. Like I was worthy to hear that.
Yeah! I mean – mostly it’s stuff that, well, is kinda confidential. But – she talked about Aliud, and the future she knows about, and all that.
I respect confidentiality – when it doesn’t put others at risk.
I understand, Doc. But this, this was stuff she’d taken care of, or stuff that we can help her with. That I – that we, us, we can deal with.
Of course. Though if – well, if any of it you need help with – that’s part of why I’m here.
Oh, yeah, I get that, Doc. But we got it handled.
So … a good day?
Well – there’s parts I’m not sure of, Doc. But … yeah. I got to be a hero. And – someone else thinks so. That’s a good day.