The holiday's were busy, so those few days between the first day of the new year and the first day back to school at the Sagan Academy were the only restful days I got to enjoy for the season. I mean, when you have holiday shopping, league wars, a massive battle against Father Time, and your normal missions and patrols to do in a three week span, a few extra days to snuggle in bed for an extra fifteen minutes feels really, REALLY good.
I woke up and checked the Sagan Academy homepage, looking to see what special events might be going on. A bright yellow photograph of a student filled my screen as soon as the page loaded.
HAVE YOU SEEN ME???
I didn't recognize the student in the picture, but he bore a familiar face. Ian Barrowman. I may have passed him in the halls at some point while at school, but I was sure I didn't have a class with him. His face was friendly, yet a bit sullen, like someone who had to work to smile. The bulletin went on to say that he hadn't been seen since New Year's Eve.
Astra and I would have to look into this while we were on the grounds. Between her psychic abilities and my variety of noses, while in different animal forms, we could find some clues. With luck, Doug might be able to join us as well, but after what happened to him with the Dark Elves, I didn't know if he would be up to heroing yet.
Madam Marvelous ID#26130
Ian woke up inside a small room with bright lights shining above him. As his eyes fluttered open, he noticed that there wasn't a bulb or source to create the light. It simply hovered above him like a cloud in the sky. He tried to move, but found his body wouldn't move. His arms and legs felt like normal, but when he tried to lift them off the padded surface his body was on, they wouldn't shift. Had he been in an accident? Was he paralyzed? Even his head wouldn't turn.
"Hello? Where am I?" Ian asked the room, hoping someone would hear him. "What happened to me? Was I hurt?"
Using what peripheral vision he could, he noticed what looked like a plastic line ran from his arm to part of the room behind him. Was it an IV? He'd been in a hospital before, but it wasn't nearly as quiet as the room he was in currently.
Suddenly, he felt sleepy again. He fought against the drowsiness, but couldn't resist the urge to drift into unconsciousness.
Madam Marvelous ID#26130
The hallways of the Sagan Academy were abuzz as everyone in school was talking about the missing student. Groups of students asked one another if they knew him while a smaller number of groups leaned upon one another, admitting that they did. Teachers asked their classes to share whatever information they might have. Even Mr. Smith and his wife called another assembly to bring everyone together to talk about resources and support for those concerned or wanting to help aid the search, but advising all students to not actively engage in the search for fear of them being lost as well.
Well, when you are a cape, sitting back and watching during a crisis isn't going to happen. At least, I didn't plan on doing nothing. I hoped Astra, Doug, and some of my other friends from league wars would help as well. Catalyst, or Alan Marcus, would I was sure. I wasn't sure about Quan, aka Wyldfyre, but I figured he might. If Astra was involved, Futurina would be too, and since he and Futurina were... friends?(ewww)... he would most likely be drawn in.
Ms. Fae would, I was sure, under normal circumstances, but in her condition, she might not. She most likely would have some pull with others at BADGE to help out.
Madam Marvelous ID#26130
Astra walked through the halls of the academy. She did her best to keep others thoughts out of her own. The thoughts around the school were of a missing student. Oddly she didn't sense him as missing. That was strange in itself. She focused on what Doug was talking about.
"...so, I imagined my self as a Dalek from Doctor Who and just went wild saying EX-TERM-IN-NATE!" Doug explained. "It was so much fun."
"Doug, are you sure you're okay?" she asked.
"Never better," he confirmed. "Alan is a genius." She smiled at that.
"Good, I think we'll be needed with this missing student case," she stated. "Perhaps we should contact Kitt'n?"
I found Keri and Doug studying in the library at our usual table in the stacks next to the science-fiction/fantasy novels after classes finished for the day. I really enjoyed the library at the Sagan Academy. Every section had a different theme, and the tables nearest the fantasy books were all round with twelve swords painted on the surface, as if students were knights around Arthur's round table. "Hey there. You guys want to stay here or go outside for a while."
That was what I said, but to Astra(Keri) I thought "I think we should do some poking around and try to find the missing student. What do you guys think?
"Didn't you hear? They found him?" A young woman putting books on the shelves said quietly. She approached out table. "The Sentinel just released a police update on the case. He was fine. He just got lost while hiking back to town after his car broke down."
"What a relief," Doug said. "His parents must be thrilled."
Keri nodded, her face a combination of pleased and pained at the same time. She'd tried to go home once after her ordeal, the alien induced transition from her being Kevin into Keri when she gained her powers, but her parents wouldn't accept the new person at their door as their child. To me, forms were as fluid as changing clothing, but others didn't share my unique perspective. The funny thing is that I always felt like I was female. A girl. Even when I changed into a male form, like when I became Gar, the... bits... I had didn't change how I identified.
Most of the time, the additional parts only seemed to get in the way.
I often wondered if that mattered to Keri.
"Thanks for telling us," Keri said to the librarian. "We can still go outside for a walk around the campus for a while if you would like, Kitt'n. The meeting I have with the Morphon-Enhanced students doesn't start for half-an-hour.
After the assembly we had last semester, Keri helped mentor kids with developing Morphonic changes. Some kids developed powers quickly and learned to use them rapidly. Not everyone who got Morphon powers gained abilities strong enough to make them heroes, and some of the abilities weren't really all that useful at all. One girl developed the power to create scented air. Not poison gas or anything dangerous, but smells like lavender, lilac, and roses. Where some boys would just walk around and fart, sprays of fragrance would erupt from around her. Some kids started to use the nickname Febreze around her.
Keri spent a couple days a week participating in a group to help kids who wanted to learn more about controlling their powers so they didn't embarrass themselves in public, but didn't want to go to BADGE for help. BADGE, with all its obligations and efforts to stop crime and super-villains, intimidated a lot of younger people who didn't see having powers as a gift, but more as a curse, or at least a case of bad acne.
Madam Marvelous ID#26130
Infinite Tempest hovered over the abandoned building, held aloft by a strong gust of warm air created by his powers of controlling atmospheric conditions. He used the telescoping monocle built into his helmet as he searched for a missing student at the Sagan Academy. Scouring the piles of abandoned storage pods, he tried to detect any thermal gradients indicating human life.
One pod gave signs of occupancy, but they were shades lower than the normal 98.6 degree temperature. If it were a person, they were suffering hypothermia from exposure to the cold weather of the month of January. I.T. descended rapidly toward the corrugated metal container's closed door, which he found to be closed and barricaded somehow.
"Hello. I'm here to help," I.T. shouted through the door. Hearing only silence, he pounded on the door once and watched. What he thought might be a body didn't move.
I.T. grabbed the handle and pulled with all of his impressive strength. There was a snap of wood from behind the metal and as the door opened, he could see that a now-broken 2X4 had been used to secure the opening.
Continuing to view the interior thermally, I.T. stepped in and maneuvered around smashed crates and broken containers strewed throughout the interior. In the far back corner, a bearded man laid huddled in a mass of torn vinyl banners and plastic sheeting in a makeshift bed, oblivious of Tempest's entry.
I.T. tapped a device built into his bracers, activating his communicator. "9-1-1."
As the phone app dialed, I.T. knelt to check for a pulse on the man's wrist. Even though he wasn't the target of his primary mission, this person clearly needed aid.
"9-1-1. Who am I speaking with?"
"This is BADGE operative Infinite Tempest. I've located a 40ish-year old man in need of medical attention. He is unconscious with a low body temperature and pulse rate," I.T. said as calmly as if reading a grocery list.
The man stirred slightly. "No... leave me alone... They'll find me..."
"It's OK, sir. I'm here to help," I.T. said as he commanded the air to slowly warm within the pod. "9-1-1, he's waking up but still needs medical assistance."
We have an ambulance on the way to your location. Your GPS has you at the old Wayne Enterprises factory. Is that correct?"
"I believe that is correct. Should I meet the ambulance at the gate?" I.T. asked. He could easily carry the man to a meeting point, but was unsure if moving him would be wise.
"Remain at your location. They'll come to you."
"No... No... Don't let them come for me..." the man said before his head tilted to one side and he dropped back into unconsciousness.
I.T. verified the man still had a pulse, which he did. "What happened to you, sir? Maybe when you wake up, you can tell me."
The Infinite Tempest
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