Author’s note: Hi everybody! New author here taking my first stab at writing fiction. As such, I’m completely open to questions, comments, suggestions, or constructive criticisms. Part of the reason why I’m doing this is to hone my chops as a writer, so feedback is absolutely welcome. Just be nice!
Echos – Year 1
Prologue: Part I
The rhythmic clicking of heels filled the corridor as two men walked down it, deep in conversation.
“Are you sure you want to do this, John?” The first man said. He was tall and athletic, dressed in black slacks and a collared shirt. Simple yet functional, he looked like a personal trainer on his way from meeting a potential client.
“Of course I am sure. You should know by now that if I wasn’t sure, I wouldn’t act.” The man called John said. He could have been anywhere between thirty-five and fifty-five, was of average height, average build, with brown hair and brown eyes behind round framed glasses. He seemed to naturally blend into the background, and would be completely forgettable. That is, if you didn’t see his intense gaze, which seemed to drink in every detail of the world around him
The taller man sighed “I know, I know.” He paused for a beat “But after that mess in Lander, you know the DVA is going to give us crap for using your automatic acceptance. They aren’t exactly overflowing with trust for HCP professors at the moment.”
“I realize that Alexander. However, as serious as a betrayal by a professor is, the Department of Variant-Human Affairs has ample reason to trust me and my judgment.” John said.
“Okay, I give. And you know I prefer ‘Alex’. Every time you call me Alexander I feel like I’m getting called to the principal’s office.” Alex said
“Which time?” John asked with a smirk and a sidelong glance to his taller colleague.
“Pick one. You probably know them better than me.” John said “But why are you so sold on this kid? I mean, up until a year ago he thought he was a powered. He needed his mommy to tie gloves on his hands just so he could tie his own shoes!”
John’s eyes narrowed “I passed over a young man before because his gifts seemed limited. He went on to become one of the greatest heroes of his generation. I will not make that mistake again”
Alex stopped walking “Is that what this is about!?” he exclaimed. “You’re still salty about passing up Zero!?”
“I am not ‘salty’. I do not get ‘salty’” John said indignantly. “I simply won’t allow that kind of potential to slip through our fingers again. Thanks to the rise of Lander’s so-called ‘Class Of Legends’ and the fall of Titan, Sizemore’s HCP has fallen behind both Lander and Korman.”
“Whatever, you old salt. I just don’t see what kind potential a kid who can ice skate on asphalt has as a hero” Alex said.
“You have always been the direct one. Stop thinking like a soldier and think like an HCP professor.” John admonished him. “Imagine a hero who can –“
Dean Smith stopped mid-sentence and held up a finger as he slipped his other hand into a pocket. He withdrew a cell phone which was buzzing quietly. Alex didn’t balk, he knew the dean well enough that if somebody had his personal number, they had to have clout. What’s more, if they were calling him, it had to be trouble. His boss was the type of person who called you when you needed his help, usually before you knew you did.
“Yes?” He said, answering the unexpected call. “Yes. Okay, go on. I understand. I will be right there”
“What happened?” Alex said, suddenly serious.
“There was an incident. A criminal super calling himself the ‘Trans-Human’ attacked the Chicago Medical Center.” John said.
“The research hospital? Casualties? Do we know why?” Alex asked.
“Yes, to all three” John replied. “I believe this ‘Trans-Human’ is a Tech Genius super, intent on replacing his own body with technological upgrades. There’s a new technology being tested at the medical center he was interested in stealing for his own uses. Fortunately there was a hero visiting the children’s wing at the hospital. Ani-Man, a member of Second City Justice. He and his team are in pursuit of Trans-Human, but a civilian was caught in the cross-fire.”
“Okay. That’s a weird one, but why are we going?” Alex asked.
“The civilian in question is the granddaughter of senator Mark Malone, an old war buddy of The director of the DVA. The director requested that I take an interest in the matter.”
“Aha. And I’m guessing you need me to come back you up.” Alex said.
“Need? I hope not. But, apparently the girl’s condition is suddenly very unique, and procedure has tied the director’s hands.” John replied. “I suggest you don’t dawdle. I’ll be waiting for you.”
Without another word Alex Marshall turned and broke into a jog towards the upper levels and his car. He didn’t bother turning around to see where the dean was going. He knew he was already alone in the corridor.