I understand that my dad is a member of Silver Seven. S7 is the best-known superhero team in Silverline City. They work with CiCon, the military, the cops, fire and rescue, everybody. If there’s a lifesaving effort that calls for superpowers, S7 is the guys they call.
What I keep forgetting is that my dad takes his home work with him.
Miguel rolls the Legacy move for “whenever time passes” and gets a 6. We make the GM Legacy move “Make them answer their family’s concerns”.
“You unmasked in front of a bunch of strangers.” My dad is sitting with me at the kitchen table, leaning forward, hands clasped. “That’s a detail you omitted in your briefing. Why did you do that?”
Mom is working late in the Science Sector, but she’ll pester dad for details about me. Katia is supposedly up in her room. Too bad she always has ways of finding out. My grandfather Jesse isn’t here, but dad will talk to him anyway. So I’m expecting to have my ear chewed off at least one more time. May as well get it out now.
“At the time the infrastructure came down, something… happened.”
We’re in Sector Zero. We’re chasing Science Pirates. And I’m with a bunch of unknowns.
When everything comes down, though, we’re also in darkness. And we’re separated. I hear the shouts and screams from the Science Pirates, and from my compatriots. I hear cursing.
I can’t actually see in the dark, despite having shadow powers, but my mask includes night-vision gear. So I can see green outlines. There’s Sabine. I know her secret identity, Mia Duson. I know she has speedster powers. I know she “sings” when she moves. What I don’t know is the person with her, beyond their name, “Midge”.
Right now, Midge is close to crying. As seconds turn into minutes, I hear a suppressed sniffle.
“What’s the matter, sweetie?” It’s not me - it’s Sabine. She crawls over toward Midge, wraps an arm around her. Sabine always has her goggles on. I assume it’s to protect her eyes at high speeds, but maybe she has some kind of night-vision gear too.
“It’s… pipes,” Midge explains, sounding very small. “They can collapse. Get plugged. Flood. I’m worried. Feels like we’re in a pipe.”
I’m not sure what kind of pipes Midge has been crawling around in, but I know fear when I hear it.
“It’s okay, sweetie, I’m here. We’re both here. Remember me? I’m Sabine, that’s Ghost.”
I’m not sure what I can do. Sabine is, though. She fishes something from her pocket. “Ghost, NODs off,” she warns me, and I look away. Thoughtful, and attentive. There’s a flicker of fire. Sabine has a lighter in her hand, lit, and she carefully passes it to Midge. “Don’t leave it burning for too long, okay?” she cautions. “We don’t have a lot of oxygen in here.”
Midge looks at Sabine, and nods. She’s a comfort, I can see that much. But when Midge looks back at me, I realize that my costume - designed to generate fear and uncertainty in criminals - is working against me here. I doff my hat and take my mask off. This would normally be unthinkable, but I’m not thinking clearly. Right now, all I know is someone needs my help.
“My name is Miguel,” I say, as gently as I can. “This is…” I glance at Sabine, and she catches on. “Mia. My name is Mia. You are really Midge?”
“Yup. Midge Leafstone.” The quivering is going away, and they are breathing more normally. “How… how are we gonna get out of this place?”
I glance at my Silver Seven emergency transponder. I swore never to use it, but right now, people need to get out of here safely. The roof collapsing is the least of the dangers in Sector Zero. Who knows what might be leaking into the atmosphere right now, or coming toward us, or whatever.
I took something off the Science Pirates too, during the fighting. I pull it out. It’s an inertial navigator, a tool they use to get around inside the Sector safely. Is it still working? It is.
The transponder has no signal. I sort of expected that. I look up, and see Sabine stroking Midge’s hair. I realize I can solve two problems at once - if I trust a stranger.
“Midge, do you want to rescue us all?” I ask.
They brighten up immediately. “I can do that?” Their voice sounds doubtful.
“I’m going to teleport you out of this place,” I explain. “You’re going to take these two things. You’re going to press this button on this thing right here, okay…? There’s gonna be a voice. No matter what it says, or asks, just say, loud as you can, ‘Sector Zero intrusion, priority pickup, SM75’. Now, say that back to me.”
“Seek… Sector Zero intrusion… priority pickup… SM…75.” Midge still sounds uncertain, but their hands aren’t shaking as they hand back the lighter and take hold of the transponder and navigator.
“Okay. We’re gonna go into darkness for awhile, and when you come out, I’ll be gone,” I say. “This is fine. I’ll be teleporting right back here. I need to be here, to take care of other people. Okay?”
Midge nods. That’s the last thing I see as the lighter is extinguished.
“Alright, here we go…”
My dad is still listening. “So to calm a worried kid down, you compromised your identity?”
I mean, when he puts it that way… “Yes, sir, I did.”
“When you wear that hat and coat, son, you are not Miguel Murphy. You are the Guardian Ghost. One of several. The Ghost is many things, but they are not a fallible, mundane person. The Ghost strikes from the darkness, wields fear, but always in the service of a greater ideal. If you want to be another hero, son, go be that hero. But as long as you’re my successor, and not just my son, I expect you to do better.”
The GM makes the move “Tell them who they are or who they
should be”. David Murphy wants to shift Miguel’s Freak up and Mundane down. Miguel accepts the shift.
“Yes sir. I understand.”
David stands up and walks to the fridge, then grabs a beer. “I’m going on patrol later tonight,” he announces. “I want you to stay home tonight, and think about what I said. And let your mom fuss over you, she’s earned it.”
My dad leaves for the den. That’s when I see Katia poking her face around the wall. She snuck downstairs and was listening to us all this time?
She sticks her tongue out at me. She’s thirteen, why is she such a brat? She should be more mature. I wave her away with a hand, but she stalks into the dining room anyway.
“I wouldn’t unmask to a bunch of strangers.”
“Nobody wants to see your dumb face.”
She sticks her tongue out again, but sits down at the kitchen table, next to the seat dad left.
“What do you want?”
She looks away, and shrugs. “Nothin’. Just thinkin’ about what to tell mom when she gets home.”
Of course. “Just tell her to talk to dad.”
“Where’s the fun in that? I like talking to mom.”
If it gets me in more trouble, anyway. “I’m grounded tonight. I’ll be busy talking to mom. Why don’t you go up and watch Netflix or something.”
“On… your computer?” she asks carefully. The computer with the non-kids Netflix account. It’s one of the few bargaining chips I have to deal with her.
“Yes, go ahead.”
More on the way soon!