The young Heroes eventually split off to their respective quarters. Some to recuperate from power use while others took care of personal matters.
Shane relaxed into the armchair of his new room before calling Lenny, his Agent, to notify him that introductions had gone smoothly. And about his suspicions of his fellow interns, but Lenny had been just as in the dark as he was.
After that the young man decided to reflect on the new team he was on.
The Heroes were about what he’d expected, except for Rikki’s rather aggressive first impression and attitude toward training. No, his fellow Interns were the only real concern he had; this wasn’t like the HCP where it was a competition to see who could graduate. They’d all become official Heroes as long they put in the work.
The only real potential problems were of trust and leadership. Trust was both invaluable and necessary for any Hero who wanted to last long in a team. Any hesitation toward a teammate or Leader while in the field could have disastrous and lethal consequences.
The problem of leadership among them was a bit more complicated, but he could already see that he and Amy would butt heads eventually.
Elizabeth simply lounged on her bed and searched the local news—finding herself surprisingly content with the day so far.
Sure, she was a little worried about talking about their “situation” at dinner and she could already see that Amy and the DeSoto guy might go at it over who would get to be leader.
But those problems could only end so badly; besides, she was beyond tired of having to hide so much from everyone. She’d done enough of that to last a lifetime while they were in school.
Greg lounged about on the bed in his room, watching videos of fights between gangs and Heroes—primarily looking at any recordings of his mentor’s brawls. Hugh was just as deceptively graceful in the fights he was watching as he had been fighting his teammates.
In truth, part of Greg was doing this just to get his mind off of what would happen during dinner and the wild story Shane had spun for them. They’d all heard rumors, everyone had after dozens of Heroes and one of the richest men in the world, Charles Adair, had gone head-to-head.
Amy was planning. Writing every step down with a #2 pencil and a loose-leaf notebook, it had always helped when she wrote down her plans. Helped her remember what to do, where to be, and when to start something.
She wasn’t worried about her internship, the shadow-boy’s story, or having to reveal her team’s secret at dinner. All she was really concerned about was keeping her position, and even that slight concern would be solved soon enough.
Or so she told herself.
A few hours later and Rikki flew through the halls, calling them up for dinner. Her costume was gone, in its place was a plain t-shirt and jean combo with a pair of running shoes. It was a surprisingly comforting sight to the Interns that all but rushed out of their rooms.
The walk to the kitchen was short and without conversation, the steady murmur of conversation getting ever closer as they approached.
“-till can’t believe you just found a group of those kids waving around some semi-automatics.”, Jack says before stopping abruptly as they all filed in and found chairs to sit at the round and large marble table.
On Jack’s right Elizabeth was quietly eating a plate of steamed broccoli while Hugh’s sat on his left and was currently turned toward his leader, a plate of half-eaten London Broil steak in front of him. Rikki sat down next to Hugh with a bowl of chicken-salad. While similar meals were laid out around the rest of the table for each intern.
“Welcome to dinner everyone!”, Jack bellowed happily, the rest of the heroes echoing his enthusiasm. “Now, just to be clear, this is less about food and more about relaxing and building trust with your teammates, we won’t always be eating together when things get busy or we’re pressed for time. But before we get started, I think we have to explain a few things to Shane here.”, he said with a gesture towards Greg, Amy, and Vanessa.
Shane was briefly surprised by the statement but quickly tried to school his expression. He straightened up a little in attention, eager to know what the deal was with his fellow graduates.
“You were right in assuming that if those three had attended any of the five standard HCPs, they would have been at Intramurals. But they weren’t at any of the known ones. They are from a newly built one in Michigan.”, Jack said in an even tone.
Shane blinked slowly and almost let his jaw drop before marshaling his thoughts, “Um, when exactly did this happen? I can’t imagine building a new Hero Certification Program is easy.”, he said while trying to process the news.
“Construction and security was finished up around six years ago, took another year to make it more like a school and less like a military base. Always need a careful blend of the two to make a decent training facility for Supers.”, Jack says before gesturing toward the three interns apparently from this new HCP, “Anyways, it was built in Detroit and has only been open to students with certain backgrounds. Supers who are the children of either trusted Heroes or the children of DVA agents. The pool of eligible students was as exceedingly small as you might imagine.”
Shane could plenty understand how small a selection like that would be available. Supers in general were already uncommon, Hero-grade ones even more so. And the children of Supers weren’t inherently more likely to have Super-children either. He would be surprised if they had found enough to fill a single classroom.
Jack eyed the clock on the wall before looking towards his plate, “Now that that’s been taken care of; I suggest you four start digging in. Hugh has some news from his patrol that you all need to hear.”, he finished before taking a fork-full of his own meal. The Interns, along with Rikki, quickly following suite.
“A new gang has started turning up in down-town for the past few weeks; they call themselves the ‘White Boars’.”, Hugh began, his deep baritone easily understandable over the noise of their eating. “At first it was just small-time crime; theft, vandalism, and maybe a few brawls. But recently they’ve gotten a large influx of new members and some illegal firepower.”, Hugh voice had gotten a bit somber at the end, but he kept going without pause. “The real concern for people in our profession however is that they’ve recently started recruiting Supers and Powereds alike…”
Rikki, now in her Crusader costume, was flying high over her district and was heading toward the east side, grim determination on her now hidden face.
After dinner discussion of this new gang had been concluded, all the Interns had been sent to bed with a warning that power assessments would start tomorrow. As soon as they were all back in their rooms Rikki had been the first to volunteer to get more information on this new gang while Spectrum and Obsidian-Wraith went out on night patrol.
Crusader wasn’t a subtly Hero, neither was any of her teammates for that matter. But that didn’t mean she had no contacts in the criminal world that came from over ten years of fighting organized crime.
She easily navigated the industrial area, her night-vision goggles helping just as much as her familiarity with the city. She landed with a dull thud in front of a seemingly abandoned warehouse. This was where her contact would be, ‘Kurtis’, the man who near regulated all of the drug trade on this side of the concrete-jungle.