Authors: Lucas Flint
Tags: #Superheroes | Supervillains
In a second or two, the suit stopped moving and I looked down at myself to see what the suit looked like on my body.
Damn, it looked awesome. It was skintight, showing off my body. It fit so well that it was like I wasn't even wearing anything at all. In fact, my super suit felt more like a second layer of skin than a mere suit.
“So?” said Dad. “How does it feel? Can you move well?”
I rolled my shoulders, which felt just as natural as if I was not wearing the suit. “Yeah. It feels like it doesn't weigh anything.”
“Yes, these super suits are indeed amazing,” said Dad, putting his hands on his hips. “I designed the material that is used to create them, but the design came from NHA artists. I'm no good at making an aesthetically-pleasing design, which is why I let the artists design it.”
“Cool,” I said. I ran my hands down my body, feeling the smooth surface of the suit. “How well does it hold up in a fight?”
“It should protect you from most forms of attack, although you can still be hurt,” said Dad. “Your super suit is designed to handle flights at one hundred miles per hour and won't wear out if you use your super speed. It is also flame retardant, so if you find yourself fighting someone who uses fire, you should be safe, although I recommend not letting yourself get set on fire for obvious reasons.”
I walked away from the table, still testing out the suit's movement. Again, I was amazed at how easy it was to move in. It wasn't too tight or anything else. I couldn't wait to fly or run around in this thing. It would be amazing.
I turned around to face Dad, who still stood by the table. “Dad, this is amazing. I feel like a real superhero now.”
“Glad you like it, but you're not quite there yet,” said Dad. “Next, we will go onto the practical training, where we will test out your powers so you can learn how to control them.”
“Does that mean we're going to go out on the streets and fight criminals?” I said. I balled my hands into fists, but mostly to test out how they felt. “I'm ready to fight crime if you are.”
But then Dad shook his head again. “Sorry, Kevin, but we're not going on the streets fighting crime. That's not what I meant when I said we were going to test your powers.”
“What?” I said in disappointment. “But I'm going to be a superhero. Shouldn't I learn how to use my powers by fighting actual criminals?”
“You aren't going to be a superhero,” said Dad flatly. “I am only teaching you how to use your powers so you can defend yourself from Master Chaos, should he successfully make it here. You are not going to go around the streets fighting crime, especially in our little community. That's what the police are for.”
“Why not?” I said. “Didn't you do that when you were my age?”
“Only because I was young and foolish,” said Dad. “There is a reason I never told you about my superhero career, Kevin, and it's because I didn't want you trying to emulate it.”
“But I've read about other young neoheroes who fight crime,” I said. “Like the Lightning Triplets, Watt, Volt, and Lumen. They fight crime all the time and they're like fourteen-years-old each, maybe even younger.”
“That's because the Lightning Triplets are not currently the target of one of the world's most dangerous supervillains,” said Dad, folding his arms across his chest. “Your Mom and I want you to live a normal life. But as long as Master Chaos is after you, you will need to learn how to use your powers for self-defense.”
“What's so bad about being a superhero?” I said. “They save lives all the time and even the whole world on more than a few occasions. Why wouldn't you want me to live that life?”
“Because it isn't as glamorous as it seems,” said Dad. “Anyway, I do not want to talk about this with you any further. Instead, we are going to begin training right away, unless you want to continue arguing with me, and you know you can't beat me in an argument.”
I would never admit it, but Dad was right. The only person who had ever beat him in an argument was Mom and I am pretty sure that the only reason she won that argument was because Dad let her. My chances of beating Dad in an argument weren't very high.
So I said, “All right. So where are we going to do the training? Here?”
Dad once again shook his head. “No. I don't want you wrecking the basement or house with your powers. Instead, we're going to a place that I think would be perfect for you to practice your powers in secret, without drawing any unnecessary attention to us from people who don't need to know about them.”
“Where?” I said.
“You'll see,” said Dad. He walked over to me and put a hand on my shoulder. “We're going to teleport there, so get ready.”
I nodded and mentally prepared myself as Dad reached for his belt and turned the dial on it.
In an instant, the basement of our house vanished and we were standing in a wide-open, hilly field under the hot Texas sun. I looked around the area, smelling the scent of fresh grass, but did not see anyone else in the area save for us. I looked up at the sky, but it was also empty, except for a few scattered clouds.
“Where are we?” I said as I looked at Dad, who had removed his hand from his belt and was now looking around the area like he was trying to make sure were alone.
“This is a field several miles outside of town,” said Dad. “I found it during the week when I was waiting for your super suit to come in. We're out in the wilderness and there's no one nearby for miles. That's good because I didn't want anyone accidentally stumbling upon us while we practiced.”
“How long are we going to practice?” I said.
“Until dinner,” said Dad. “That's what I told your Mom. She'll call me when dinner is ready, so once she calls, we'll leave and resume tomorrow.”
“Sounds good to me,” I said. I looked up at the sky again. “I'm going to try to fly again.”
I jumped into the air, but again fell to the ground. I looked up at the sky and scowled at it.
“Why can't I fly?” I said, looking at Dad again. “It's not that hard, is it?”
“It's not as easy as it looks,” said Dad. “But we're not going to focus on that at the moment. Right now, we're going to focus on your super strength.”
“My super strength?” I said. “Dad, I already know how to use it.”
“No, you don't,” said Dad, shaking his head. “Just because you have used it twice doesn't mean you know how to use it whenever you want.”
“Oh, yeah?” I said. “What does that mean?”
Dad sighed, like I was being intentionally dense or something. “Consider the two scenarios under which you have used that power. What are the similarities?”
I frowned, thinking about how I had used my powers so far. “Well … the first was when I punched Robert through the cafeteria wall when he was threatening to beat me up … and then the second time, when you were using the Detector to scan my brain.”
“Good,” said Dad. He tapped his forehead. “But I want you to think about
you used your powers. What was it about Robert or the Detector that made you use your super strength?”
I thought about that. It was kind of hard because I wasn't used to this level of introspective thinking. Dad already seemed to know the answer, but I knew he wasn't going to share it with me, at least not until I gave him my best guess.
Finally, I shrugged and said, “I dunno.”
Dad sighed again. “Are you sure?”
I nodded. “Yep.”
“All right,” said Dad, who was sounding frustrated now, although he was clearly trying to hide it. “In both circumstances, your emotions became too much for you to handle. When you punched Robert, for example, you were feeling angry at how he was treating you and how no one else backed you up, didn't you?”
“How did you know?” I said in surprise. “I didn't tell you how I felt.”
“I can tell because I'm your father,” said Dad. “And also because I know, from my experience with other young neoheroes your age, that it usually takes a strong emotional reaction for their powers to manifest the first time.”
“And the second time,” I said, quickly catching on to Dad's line of thought, “the Detector was starting to hurt me and that was making me angry and worried.”
“Precisely,” said Dad. “So what conclusion can we draw from these two situations?”
“That I need to be feeling negative emotions to use my powers,” I said. I clinched my fists. “Become angry.”
But Dad shook his head. “Wrong. The correct conclusion to draw is that you need to gain better control of your powers so you can use them for your benefit. When you punched Robert, you ended up becoming Master Chaos's number one enemy; when you broke the Detector, you cost me a lot of money. In both cases, you didn't really benefit, did you?”
I flushed when Dad mentioned that the Detector cost him a lot of money. “I didn't mean to break it.”
“That's fine, but you do agree that both situations didn't work out well for you, do you?” said Dad.
“Yeah,” I said.
“So you need to learn how to control your strength so you can use it to your advantage regardless of what situation you find yourself in, instead of reacting to your negative emotions,” said Dad. “That is what we are going to be doing today.”
“Today?” I said. “You make it sound like we're just going to focus on super strength and nothing else.”
“Of course,” said Dad. “It is currently the only power you have any access to and it is the one that would be most helpful if Master Chaos attacks. It is much harder to gain access to a power you haven't used before than it is to practice a power you already do have access to.”
“So when will I learn how to fly and use my super speed?” I said.
“When you have completed your super strength training,” Dad said. “Anyway, enough talking. Let's get you started.”
I didn't like Dad's vague answer, but it was pretty clear that he wasn't going to give me anything more detailed than that. So I looked around the field again, which was still flat and empty.
“What am I supposed to use my super strength on?” I said. I gestured at the field. “There's nothing to pick—”
echoed behind me, causing me to whirl around to see a huge metal block resting on the earth just a few feet away. It was twice as tall as me and ten times as thick, but I didn't know where it had come from. It certainly hadn't been there even a second before, otherwise I would have noticed it. It was impossible to miss.
Then I saw that Dad's hand was resting on his right gauntlet, which displayed a keyboard of some sort.
“That is what you will lift,” said Dad, pointing at the metal block like it had always been there. “It weighs two tons, but I think you should be able to lift it pretty easily if you are as strong as I think you are.”
“Where did it come from?” I said. I looked at the sky, but didn't see anything that might have dropped the block.
“Another pocket dimension,” said Dad. “I put the metal block in there for safekeeping. Once we're done for the day, it will go back into the pocket dimension until we need it again.”
“Wait, so you can access pocket dimensions with your gauntlets?” I said. I looked at them with more amazement than before. “What else can they do? Cure cancer?”
“Not yet, unfortunately,” said Dad with a sigh. “Regardless, you must now try to lift the metal block with your super strength.”
I looked at the metal block again. It looked really heavy, probably heavier than anything else I'd tried to lift in my life, but if I had super strength, then it should be easy to do.
Then I realized I had a problem and I looked at Dad again. “How do I access my super strength? Am I going to have to get angry again or something?”
Dad shook his head. “No. You should never rely on your emotions to control your powers because emotions are highly unreliable. Instead, you need to focus on accessing that strength and using it to achieve your objective.”
“Focus?” I said. “How am I supposed to do that?”
“Walk up to the block, close your eyes, and then visualize yourself being strong enough to lift that block above your head,” said Dad. “If you can't see yourself doing it, then you can't do it. But if you can see yourself doing it, then you can do it.”
“You sound like one of those self-help books Mom always reads,” I said.
“Just do it,” said Dad. “Trust me. It will work.”
As skeptical as I was, I decided that Dad probably knew what he was talking about better than me, so I walked up to the metal block and stood before it. Bending over, I slipped my fingers underneath it and tested its weight. Yeah, I couldn't lift it even half an inch off the ground, but I hadn't focused yet, so I closed my eyes, just as Dad said.
In my mind, I imagined myself lifting the metal block off the ground and raising it above my head. I looked pretty cool, showing off my awesome muscles as I hefted the block above my head with no problems. In fact, in my imagination, the metal block weighed almost nothing. Of course, that made sense, seeing as I have super strength.
That's how I knew I could do it. I opened my eyes and tried lifting the metal block again, certain that I would be able to lift it exactly the way I had imagined it.
But the block wouldn't even budge under my strength, no matter how hard I tried to lift it. And I didn't feel any stronger than I normally did, either.
I stood up and, looking over my shoulder at Dad, said, “I focused, just like you said I should, but I can't even budge it.”
“Kevin, did you actually focus or did you instead spend time admiring yourself in your imagination?” said Dad.
I froze. “How did you know I was doing that? Can you read my mind or something?”
Dad shook his head. “No. I'm just your father and, as your father, I know you better than you know yourself.”
I scowled and gestured at the block. “Then what am I supposed to do?”
“Actually focus,” said Dad, tapping the side of his head. “By 'focus,' I mean simply create a mental image in your mind of you lifting the block above your head. Don't admire yourself or fall in love with your own image. Just a simple, neutral mental picture that shows you achieving your objective.”
That still sounded silly to me, but I didn't know how else I was supposed to access my powers, so I decided to listen to Dad and try again.