Echos: Chaper – I
It was move in day across the Sizemore campus, and it was no different for the nascent heroes enrolled in the HCP than it was for any of the freshmen class.
Max Hall was still found it difficult to believe that it was all real. Being a hero was his life-long dream, a dream that always seemed out of reach. But then he finally figured out how to control his power. When his highschool classmates were applying to their first and second choice colleges, he was sending out applications to each of the Hero Certification Programs. Lander and West Private had been his first choices, because what small-town mid-western boy wouldn’t want to learn how to be a hero in California or Orlando Florida? But even so, he would even have jumped at the chance to go to Overton if they had accepted his application.
But they hadn’t.
Instead the letters came in one by one. First Overton, then Lander, then Korman, and West Private. Each university deeply regretted to inform young Max that they wouldn’t be accepting him into their Hero Certification Program this year, though they very much encouraged him to continue to pursue his desire to be a hero and to reapply for the following year.
But then it came.His acceptance letter from Sizemore university. Maximilian Hall was going to be a hero.
This is if these damn stairs didn’t kill him first. His parents helped bring his clothes and some contributions to the room’s furniture up to his dorm, but twenty-five stories worth of stairs had taken their toll on him. After hugging his crying mother and little sister, and definitely not misty-eyed father, goodbye, Max hefted his box of textbooks and began the trek up the tower.
In the old city of Chicago there hadn’t been much room to accommodate an expanding student population. Sizemore’s solution had been to build six thirty story towers for housing. They were arranged with four, four-person suites on each floor. The stairs ran up the middle of the towers, between a pair of elevator shafts. When they were moving his microfridge into his new dwellings, Max had been thankful that the elevators had been reserved for students moving objects too big for the stairwell. But now that all he had was a small, albeit heavy, box of books, he was less enthused by the decision.
After glancing behind him to see if his mom and sister were still within earshot, he took his first taste of collegiate independence with a sighed “Fuck me…”
Some time later Max stumbled of the interminable stairwell, out of breath and with his arms and legs on fire. He didn’t stop for a break on his way up the stairs. A hero didn’t quit. After fumbling for his suite key, he gratefully collapsed on the common room’s couch. At some point the fact that the door to his new room was open worked its way through his fatigue.
Heaving himself up off the couch, Max called into to the room “Hello? Anyone in there?” As he went through the door he saw a shorter boy standing in the middle of the room, looking around critically.
“Oh, hey!” the boy said. “You must be my roomie. I’m Tom, Tom Porter.” He held out his hand for Max to shake, which he did. “So, when did you get in?” Tom asked.
“Good to meet you, I’m Max, by the way” he answered. “I got in a few hours ago. I just got back from a good-bye lunch with my family. Oh, and picking up my books” He said, glancing back at the hated box.
“Oh, cool. I just got in a couple minutes ago” Tom said.
“Wait, if you just got here, how did you get up here before me? You couldn’t have passed me on the stairs and the elevators are reserved for people moving ” Max asked.
A smile split Tom’s face. “Oh, that was easy. I offered to help a girl moving in with her TV, and hopped a ride on the elevator”
“Oh” Max said “well, at least I got some good exercise out of it.”
“Good way to look at it. Better than a treadmill, and you gotta look good in the spandex” Tom said with a laugh.
“Yeah, I guess so. Umm, where’s your stuff?” Max asked, suddenly realizing that the only thing in the room that wasn’t his was the backpack on his rommate’s shoulder.
“Oh! Right, I guess I got a little distracted there.” Tom said “close the door for me? I guess we’re not supposed advertise that we’re supers.”
“Yeah, sure” Max answered. Confused but playing along, he went out to the common room, and closed the suite door. After a moment’s consideration, he grabbed his box of books and brought it back in the room with him, closing the door behind him.
“Thanks” Tom said. He pulled his phone out of his pants pocket and quickly dialed a number. “Hey mom, I’m here. And guess what, my roommate is here too. Yeah, he’s cool. He can help bring stuff in.” He turned to Max, holding the phone’s microphone against his shoulder “you’ll lend a hand right?”
“Yeah, sure, I guess?” Max answered, still confused.
Speaking back into the phone, Tom said “Okay mom, hold on a sec, I’m going to open it up on my end.”
After hanging up the phone, Tom made a motion with his hands as though he was making a snow ball. Quickly a black ball the size of a baseball formed in his hand. It wasn’t black like an 8-ball, but black as in the complete absence of light.
Tom casually lobbed the ball against an empty wall, where it flattened out into a circle about six feet in diameter. Except it wasn’t black anymore. In fact, in that six foot circle the wall was gone. In its place was a whole different room, with luggage stacked up just inside. Next to the luggage was a short woman with a big smile on her face.
“Hi honey!” she said, rushing through the wall to hug her son, reaching up to kiss him on the cheek.
“Ugh, mom!” Max whined “You said you wouldn’t do that”
“I know Tommy, but I lied. A mother’s prerogative.” Turning to Max she said “So, you’re my Tommy’s rommate? Good, you can put stuff on the high shelves”
Max could feel his mouth hanging open. “Wha… What did you just do?”
“Oh, I can open portals between any two points. I left an unopened one back home, then just connected it.” Tom said. “It makes vacationing a breeze. We never have to worry about forgetting a tooth brush.”
“Ugh” Max said “I wish you had gotten here first. I just do this force field thing, not very useful for moving. My dad and I just about broke our backs getting my stuff up here.”
“Hey!” Tom’s mom interjected. “Less yapping, more carrying you two. I’m not moving you half-way across the country all by myself!”
“Oh, right. Sorry ma’am.” Max hesitated a second before stepping through the portal and grabbing a pair of duffel bags.
“Oh, so polite!” Tom’s mother said “You just don’t get that anymore. Maybe you can learn a thing or two from him Tommy.”
“What did she mean by ‘half way across the country?” Max said, once again confused.
“Well, our living room is about half way across the country.” Tom said “We live in New York.”
“Oh, right. I guess that makes sense. Sorta.”
“Come on, let’s get the rest of my stuff moved before my mom really gets on us.” Tom said, hefting a box