I made a terrible first impression. In my defense, I didn’t do anything really bad. The interviewers just seemed to have it out for me. I showed up just before two o’clock, time the police station had given me when I called the number. It was half an hour until the results would be announced for everyone, so there was one more ten minute interview after me, then another ten minutes to finalize the team.
I sat down in the waiting room twiddling my thumbs and looking at the other applicants. That was when I started to get nervous. Not a single one of them had an exposed face. Some of them were dressed in makeshift costumes, others in regular clothes with a dramatic mask. I was the only one who felt comfortable enough to show my face. Probably, I guessed, because it was the only one that had already been revealed. I wasn’t the only one to notice this. Just before I was called in, a girl in a venetian half-mask sat next to me. “Hi,” She said, “You’re that guy who was on TV the other night, right?” I laughed.
“Yeah, you could say that.” She nodded. As she did, I noticed her hair. Reaching to her shoulder blades, it was light brown. An attractive light brown, but that wasn’t what caught my eye. She had a hair tie that looked like it was made of silver light. It was shining, and it looked unlike anything I had ever seen before.
“Eh-echm,” She coughed. “You’re staring.” I shook my head.
“Sorry, it’s just… your hair tie. What is it?” “Oh!” She said, reaching around and taking it off. “It’s a light construct I made.” She presented it to me, but as soon as her hands left it, it disappeared. She grinned, and procured another one to put it her hair.
“Light construct?” I asked. “It’s my power. Light constructs are just items that some people can make. They vary person to person, but mine have a light attribute, a limited duration when not in contact with me, and I have to draw them before I make them.”
“Draw them?” I asked. She rolled her eyes.
“Yes. D-R-A-W. I think of it as programing them. I carefully sketch out a detailed picture of what I want to make. Anything I’ve drawn, I can make. Except, of course, living, mechanical, or chemical stuff.” She shrugged. “That answer your questions?” I grinned.
“Almost. Why are so many people here?”
“We want to hear the results for the team. Honestly though, I think most of them are wasting their time. It’s pretty obvious who’s going to make it in.” I coughed.
“Oh man. You don’t know who’s going to make it? Alright. Sitting in the corner there is Exile. She’s a prodigal mage here to study under Rune. He’s the supervisor. That blonde surrounded by guys is Dagny. She’s an all around psychic. There’s me, Luna, and my hyper coordinated brother, Apollo. He’s actually been on a SVRA team before. He has enhanced speed and strength and everything, but his main power is he has perfect aim. With everything. He uses a bow, knives, some guns… even a sword and he never misses. He has super proprioception. If I’m not getting this across, he’s uber-deadly with any weapon. And then there’s you, of course. That’s everyone expected to make the team. It’s a little small, but everyone on it is pretty powerful.”
I was about to comment, but then a door in the wall opened and a voice called out “Everest.” As I walked to the interview room, I passed the so-called Apollo, who was exiting. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed, moderately tall. He was dressed in a costume, but it was completely unlike all the other ones in the room. His costume was simple yet flattering. He wore olive green pants, and a matching t-shirt. Over that was a black Kev-weave vest with a golden “A” on it. His half mask was the same green as the rest of his suit, and it covered his eyes, leaving his grin clear. The thing that stood out most about him, though, was the amount of weapons he had all over him. He had two bandoliers of uncertain content around his chest, a quiver and an old style epee on his back. He had a batman-style utility belt, and at least two pistols hanging from it. We sized each other up, then nodded with mutual respect. As he walked past me, I noticed an assault rifle slung across the small of his back. I shuddered, and walked into the interview room.
It was a small, bare cell. There was a small desk in the center, with one chair on each side. In the corner, there was a third chair. It wasn’t until I sat down in the empty desk chair when I started looking at the other occupants of the room. On the other side of the desk was a teenage hero dressed in black. His shirt was pure black. It was presumably a short-sleeved one, but I couldn’t tell because over it, he had what looked like a scuffed leather jacket with a rip over his chest. In closer scrutiny, it looked to be more Kev-weave, though very tightly woven, and very thick. Kev-weave is about fifty times as strong as kevlar, and a single t-shirt of it can deflect bullets. They’re usually used by close-combat mages who can’t buff themselves. It doesn’t do much against most superpowers, but it can protect someone against a stray bullet or a knife. The only drawback is its cost. Kev-weave garments are extremely expensive, usually a luxury only for the uber-rich and the SVRA. I looked at the thick concentration of the Kev-weave in his jacket, and shuddered at how much it must have cost. Then I realized what sort of power it would have taken to rip it, and nearly pissed my pants. His face was completely covered, with a half mask over his nose and mouth and a pair of tinted goggles over his eyes. I couldn’t see anything lower, but I guessed it would be black, probably with his as of yet unseen logo. Though I couldn’t see his eyes, he seemed to be glaring at me. The other occupant of the room seemed not to have the same wrath towards me. In fact, he didn’t seem to have anything towards me at all. He was staring at his hands, seemingly fascinated with something. Like me, his face was uncovered. He wore a long red robe with golden flames dancing across the hem. A mage, I surmised. “So, the superstar deigns to join us for an interview, eh?” the hero in black drawled. “Well, yes,” I said, rather confused, “I want to join the SVRA.” The man in the corner laughed, and said, “Congratulations. So do most of the people outside. Why do you deserve it anymore than them?” I grinned. This, I could answer. “Well,” I said, “I think my actions last night should speak for themselves.” At this, the hero in black stood up and glared at me. “Well, you’re an arrogant fucker. You think you can walk in here after taking down some minor criminal and expect to get a job? Look at some of the other applicants. Apollo is an experienced hero from Wisconsin. In his time, he single handedly took down eighteen supervillains, five of which were B-class. When the SVRA approached me to form a team, I had just finished fighting two A-class villains working together to kill me. I managed to stave them off and survived with no major injuries. All this without super invincibility or any of your strongman crap.” I just stared at him for a minute, actually a little intimidated by his tone. His tone, and the lightning dancing around his fingertips. All of a sudden, I heard a slow clapping from the corner. The mage said, “Wow. Twice in one day, he’s gotten emotional. Seems like a record.” The hero in black turned and glared. As he did, I saw the utility belt with a red Z on it. I realized that I had just pissed off Zeta, who seemed to be the leader of the new team.
“Look, kid. What’s your name and power?”
“Um. Everest, and I’m a density changer,” I stammered. The mage paused.
“I’m Rune, and this is Zeta. Zeta is heading the team, I’m just helping out and making sure he’s following the rules. I’d like to welcome you to the team.” At this, Zeta turned to Rune as if to say something, but Rune started talking before he could. “Admit it, Zeta. He’s got more balls and more potential than most of those idiots outside have in their whole bodies. He’s already got publicity, so he’ll be a good move, and you need all the people you can get. You don’t have enough suitable applicants for a good team yet. Take him, and you can kick him off later when you get more members.” Zeta sighed.
“Fi-,” he started to say, but a siren started going off. “Shit! Look, Everest, if you want to prove yourself, here’s a chance. We have a supervillain that the police can’t handle. Let’s go.” He stormed out of the room. When I followed him, I heard him reading to the waiting room, “The following heroes have been accepted. Apollo, Luna, Dagny, Everest, and Exile. To those applicants denied acceptance to this pres-,” He paused, cocking his head as if he were considering something. He started again, “To those applicants denied acceptance, please get the fuck out and never come here again.” Then he marched out of the room, the five people named following him. As we walked out, I saw a familiar looking kid with long brown hair slip away. Rune was somehow waiting outside for us. He cleared his throat. “Welcome to the SVRA, and congratul-,”
Zeta cut him off with a wave of his hand. “You can give them the run down later; what’s the story?” Rune gave Zeta a pitying look. “It’s Legion again, I’m afraid. Alone this time. Shouting for you to fight him.” Zeta swore. A police van pulled over the the street. “Get in,” Rune said. “We’ll discuss the plan on the way there.”
“The first time we met, Legion nearly killed me,” Zeta began. “He was a student who scored highly on the magic potential test. Much like Exile here,” he said, nodding towards a girl in jeans and a t-shirt, “He surpassed all the tutors they could throw at him and started trying to advance his knowledge by himself. The difference is, where Exile succeeded at demon summoning, Legion messed up. He invited every demon in hell into his body by accident. Before he was driven mad or torn apart by the demonic energy, he managed to make a deal with Mephistopheles to control himself. Now, Mephistopheles lives within his mind, and allows demons to enter one at a time. Like me, he is a power switcher, utilizing the demonic energy in his body to do whatever the demon can do. Where I have seven powers, he has 666. Where I have my serval,” He paused to run his hand over what looked like empty air, then suddenly turned into a sleek wild cat. None of us jumped; we’d seen weirder things. Zeta continued, “he has Mephistopheles. His body has started to mutate from the power and it makes him very hard to kill. He has an impossible strong healing factor and enhanced strength no matter what power he’s using. Here’s the strategy. Apollo. You’ll go on the roof. Use your bow or a gun to hit him in the limbs. Don’t bother aiming for his head, he doesn’t need it and it’ll grow back. Dagny,” He said, looking at a pretty blonde girl with a drama mask, “you’ll go with Apollo and set up a mental link with us all. If you can, try to use your telekinesis to reduce the amount of dust in the air. Everest, you’ll be in close quarter combat with him. Luna, you’ll protect Exile and Rune. Exile and Rune will try to set up an exorcism circle and a ring of fire. I’ll go where I’m needed. I haven’t unlocked my third power yet, so I’ll only be using fire and lightning attacks. Any questions?” Luna raised her hand. “Yes?” She cleared her throat and said, “Um, my constructs do pretty well against demonic energy, should I move to close combat?” He seemed about to say something, but then the van stopped. He nodded, and we prepared. Luna conjured a suit of impressive looking-armour and Apollo strung his bow and loaded his gun. I raised my density, and Dagny closed her eyes. Exile muttered something and her hands became wreathed in flame. Zeta raised his hands as if he was preaching, then said, “Let’s get the motherfucker!”