Scene 11 – October 15th
Interior Townhouse, Evening
As promised, I returned home to change into the PA4 before venturing into the night to find somewhere I could practice with my powers. When I stepped out into the night air, however, I had discovered that the thin material of the suit wasn’t strong enough to stand up to the chill of the sea breeze, and that a temperature I considered quite pleasant in a full set of clothes was kind of cold in what, I bitterly considered, was the next best thing to long gloves, knee-high boots, and body paint.
I had gone back inside and grabbed the plaid shirt that I had been wearing that day, pulling it on over the PA4. Like most young queer adults, I had a large collection of plaid shirts of varying colors – today’s had matched the colors of the nonbinary flag. I grinned as I stepped out again, this time ready to face the chill of the night.
Scene 12 – October 15th
Exterior Junkyard, Late Evening
My practice session, I thought an hour or two later, had been pretty productive. I had figured out the limits of my powers, at least to some degree.
My ESP seemed to extend in all directions from my body, and was blocked by the first solid enough object it encountered. The farther something was from me the harder it was to sense – I couldn’t feel the moon at all, which was simultaneously disappointing and a relief, but I could vaguely sense a cluster of skyscrapers that touched the sky on the other side of the city.
It was hard to tell quite how precise it was – it certainly felt pretty precise, but I didn’t really have a good way to measure that – but I had figured out that if I focused, I could get a more clear picture of things – in the sense that I could kind of feel things out with other senses, not just proprioception. Doing so both limited all my other senses (including the expanded proprioception that the ESP normally manifested as) and gave me a headache, so I figured it wasn’t something I would do often if at all. But it had been interesting to see everything in my radius at once – if only I hadn’t gone mostly deaf while I was doing it. Similarly, the incredible fidelity and directionality my sense of hearing had when my ears were effectively spread over the entire junkyard had been incredible, except that I was the next best thing to blind.
So my ESP wasn’t bad. My telekinesis, though… well, it had its ups and downs.
On the up side was that as far as I could tell, I had no limit on how much force I could exert. At least, nothing in the junkyard had been too heavy for me to lift and toss – it was probably more likely that my limit was simply above the weight of anything here.
On the downside… when I started shifting things with more mass than a pair of glasses, I had quickly realized that unlike any other telekinetic I had ever heard of, I had to abide my Newton’s laws. Everything I moved with my TK moved me as well – lifting a pair of glasses had meant nothing, but when I began to lift an old car I had been driven to my knees. A fridge had been about my speed, though.
Back to upsides, it seemed that there was another bonus to the PA4. I wasn’t sure if it was because I was actively wearing it, or if this change would stick around, like my ESP and TK, but I was definitely considerably tougher than I had been. There was no way that slender, 5’4” Quinn Kaufman could have handled the force it took to lift a full-sized fridge two days ago, and a car would have completely flattened me.
Scene 13 – October 15th
Exterior City, Continuous
I was just heading home when I was interrupted by a deep voice calling out.
“Hello there!” came the call from a nearby rooftop, a smile clear in the speaker’s tone, and I immediately zeroed in on him with my ESP. Tall, muscular (very muscular, I noticed with a little embarrassment – I hadn’t meant to look that closely), crouching with one knee on the edge of the building and a billowing cape behind him. “What brings you out so late on this fine evening?
I only knew of one person in New Venice who wore a cape like that. “Canaveral?” I cried, not sure if I believed what was happening.
The superhero gave me a cheeky salute, then launched himself off the building, doing an acrobatic flip before plummeting two stories to the ground and landing in front of me with a perfect three point landing that didn’t even damage the pavement. He straightened up and grinned down at me. His cowl revealed chocolate-covered skin and a wide grin. “That’s me,” he confirmed.
What I wanted to say was that I had admired him since I was 10. What I wanted to say was that he was one of my personal heroes. What I wanted to say was that it was an honor to meet him.
What I actually said was, “I have a poster of you in my bedroom!”
Canaveral’s grin cracked a little and my heart leapt into my chest – I had made it weird, I just knew it – then he laughed. And laughed. And laughed…
It felt like he laughed at me for hours, but it was only a few seconds before he was just chuckling – if it had ever been laughter, and not just anxiety telling me that he was laughing at me – and tapping one of the fins on the side of his head. “I don’t think she’s a threat, Console,” he said, clearly speaking into an earpiece, then focused on me again. “What’s your name, young lady? And what were you doing in the junkyard? Powers testing, right?”
I… hadn’t picked a costumed name yet, and however much I admired him I didn’t think I wanted to give my personal details to a super-powered cop, not if I didn’t have to. Also, “I’m not a lady,” I heard myself say. “They/them pronouns.” Fuck, what if he’s a bigot? I had just outed myself to the leader of the New Champions!
But Canaveral nodded in acceptance immediately, and I felt my racing heart settle, just a little. “Apologies. My questions still stand, though. What’s your name, kid?”
ESP was lame and probably taken, Psychic Augmenter was terrible and so were its derivatives, but… “Call me Newton for now, sir,” I said. “I don’t really have a name yet…”
He chuckled. “I’m no sir. Just Canaveral is fine. Or Navi, if you’re feeling up to it – it’s what most of the Champions call me, since four syllables is a bit long.”
I stared. I couldn’t believe anyone would call him that. “I think I’ll stick with Canaveral.”
He shrugged. “Suit yourself.” After a moment, he prompted me, “Junkyard?”
I jumped. “Oh! Sorry. Yeah, it was powers testing, like you thought.”
“Mind if I ask what you found out?” he said, sounding genuinely curious.
I nervously scratched the back of my neck. “Nothing too exciting,” I muttered. “ESP and telekinesis, sort of.”
“Hey, me too!” Canaveral held a gloved hand out for a high five. I stared at it for a moment before remembering how to work my arms and tentatively gave him five. He grinned as though this was a normal interaction – and, I supposed, perhaps it was for him.
“I thought you had some kind of super strength?” I asked.
He shook his head. “Nah. I control the kinetic energy of the things I touch,” he said. “Lets me pull off some tricks that usually require super strength, sure, but its a bit more versatile in some ways. Less in others, admittedly.” He grinned again – I wondered how often he brushed to get a smile that white. “I sometimes have to ask Vulcan to help open the pickle jar,” he joked in a stage whisper.
Without really thinking about it, I found myself replying as though it was part of the game with Dad, “I usually go for the table saw when I have that issue.” Then I clapped my hands over my mouth – well, where my mouth was, given that the PA4 had a full face mask – I couldn’t believe I had just said that to Canaveral!
He stared at me for a moment, mouth a little open in disbelieve, and I was about to continue berating myself for revealing what a weirdo I was to the foremost hero in the city, when suddenly he laughed. A big, booming, belly laugh that seemed more genuine than his previous friendly chuckles. “I like you, Newton!” he said, slowly calming down. “That kind of sense of humor is rare.” He smiled at me, pleased. “Want to join me in the next leg of my patrol?”
My jaw dropped. “Really?”
Canaveral nodded. “Experience is the best teacher,” he assured me, “particularly when you have someone to help guide you. Besides, I’m just off to bust a drug deal – shouldn’t be any trouble for two heroes like us!”
“I…” my head was spinning – I couldn’t believe he would put me on the same level as him! “I don’t even know if I want to be a hero!”
“Really?” He tilted his head as though confused. “That costume looks pretty professional.”
I blushed activated the mask as I looked away. “I kind of… found this costume. It triggered my powers.”
“Where?” Canaveral immediately asked, and my eyes were dragged back to his face. He had, very suddenly, become completely serious as he had not been before.
“My parent’s attic,” I confessed. “My mom made it.”
Canaveral studied me for a moment. “Alright then.” He smiled once more. “And hey, if you’re not sure, no better way to find out than to try, right? How about it?”
Scene 14 – October 15th
Exterior City, Continuous
I had to think about it. I had promised Dad that I would be careful, but I would be with Canaveral, who was a hero and could surely keep me safe, right? “I’m still learning my powers,” I reminded him.
“I’m sure I can give you some suggestions,” he promised. “Can you give me a few more details? ESP and TK, you said? What’s the ESP like?”
I nodded. “I can sense the positions of everything in a pretty wide radius around me, and it’s more precise the closer it is to me. I can also spread any of my senses over the same radius, but the senses I’m not spreading get drained to almost nothing.”
The hero scratched his chin. “Alright. Stick to your default mode for now, assuming that doesn’t mess with your other senses.” I shook my head, and he continued. “What about the TK? You said it was only sort of telekinesis? What do you mean by that – can you affect yourself?”
“If only I could not affect myself,” I complained, and quickly explained to him how the TK pulled at me when I used it.
“Interesting,” Canaveral commented. “I certainly understand your choice of name.” He scratched again, deep in thought. “What’s the largest thing you tried to move?”
“A car. Almost knocked me flat on my ass,” I confessed, a little embarrassed by how limited I was.
“Hmm. Come over here, Newton,” he said, and led me to the building he had jumped off of. “Alright, I want you to put your hands on this wall. Now… try pulling the building towards you.”
I saw what he meant immediately, and took a step forward. I pulled, and felt everything shift as the force of my TK quickly outweighed gravity’s hold on me. A moment later, I was standing on the wall, my head now level with Canaveral’s – albeit at a 90 degree angle from him. I grinned at the hero, although I knew he couldn’t see it.
He grinned back, “Clever kid, aren’t you?” he complimented. “That’s what I was leading to, yeah. Most telekinetics can’t affect themselves – some can’t even affect things that would move them – but your version can actually boost your mobility.” He paused briefly, then asked, “are you negating gravity entirely, or…?”
I shook my head. “I still feel it pulling that way, a little,” I told him, gesturing to the ground, “but my TK is strong enough to outweigh it.” I paused, then added, “and I think I instinctively pulled at a slight angle, not head-on, so that’s helping to cancel it out. Definitely not negated though.”
He nodded. “That’ll be useful for you. Come down a moment?”
I stepped off. “Another idea for me?”
“Exactly. This is mobility too – try pushing on the ground, see if you can get a boost to your own jumps.”
“There’s a problem with that,” I pointed out. “Coming down safely. I feel like that would take more practice than launching into the air.”
The hero shrugged. “Just keep another soft push to slow you down when you’re falling. I’ll be right here to catch you if you need.”
I couldn’t argue with that – he was right that training next to a hero was pretty safe.
I was right that landing would take practice, though.