Picking Up Pieces: Part 8

Daniel, Izzy, Jeremy, and I left for my room shortly after. We didn’t say much. I didn’t have anything I wanted to say that could be said aloud.

Daniel could have created a four way telepathic conversation, but he didn’t.

When I shut the door to the room, Jeremy started talking. “I never guessed! This is so crazy. I wanted to see the League and everything, but this…”

His voice trailed off, and he started talking more quietly (which was good because he’d been way too loud at first). “You’re the Mystic, and you’re the Rocket, and that was Night Cat and Captain Commando back there…” He looked up at Izzy. “I’m not sure who you are.”

That was totally okay.

Instead of telling him, Izzy glanced at Daniel and said, “No one you’ve heard of.”

Which was totally true since she hadn’t decided on a name or costume yet.

Daniel gave a smile that seemed a little sad, and a little sympathetic. “While it’s good to finally meet you, this is a major problem for us. You know what happens when people find out who a super is, right?”

Jeremy blinked. “I’m not going to tell anybody. The last thing I want is to out you guys.”

He stopped, his mouth open, but not saying anything at first. Then it all came out in a rush. “You’re not going to make me forget this, are you?”

He looked up at Daniel, checked behind himself. He stood in front of our window. Even if he was willing to climb over the stereo and jump through it into the darkness, we were on the third floor. He probably wouldn’t survive the fall.

Not that Daniel or Izzy would let him fall.

Daniel shook his head, “I won’t unless you want me to.”

Jeremy swallowed. “I don’t.”

Jeremy seemed nervous, and I suddenly realized how it would look from his perspective. Both Daniel and Izzy stood six inches taller than he did. Plus, Izzy’s shirt didn’t cover her biceps, and they were pretty well defined.

Not that it mattered, but even if I wasn’t as intimidating, I was there too.

Daniel nodded, still looking concerned. “That’s good. I didn’t want to do that anyway. If you’re going to remember though, we need to make sure that someone can’t just pull it from your head. I’d like to create a mental shield. It’ll make it hard for a telepath to notice you thinking about us, and hard to find anything if they dig in. It’ll also make it impossible for you to accidentally talk about our secret identities.”

Jeremy’s eyes narrowed. “Impossible how? Something like my jaw locks up if I try?”

In the same calm voice he’d been using, Daniel said, “That’s exactly it. We’ve all got variations on the same block. You’re not being singled out.”

Slowly Jeremy said, “It’s better than forgetting, but it’s going to suck when I’m online. I’m on a bunch of cape boards, and I’m not going to be able to tell anyone anything, am I?”

Daniel smiled a little. “Sorry, but no. It’s too much of a risk. You’ll be able to pass on anything that you don’t learn from knowing us, but that’s all.”

“I guess that’s all I ever did before.” Jeremy said. Then he grinned. “Oh my god, I have a pile of questions to ask you guys. It’s all speculation on the boards, but what really happened up in Canada? Why was Rook here, and what did you do there? Was it really a nuke, or just a big bomb? And…” He looked at all of us in turn. “Is there really a super school? I heard there was a super school. I also heard that they’re training them to fight aliens, but everyone knows there aren’t really aliens. People on the boards think they’re going to take over the government.”

I stared at him. “What? There are too aliens. I’ve spoken to them.”

“For real?” Jeremy didn’t quite sound like he believed me.

“Yes. The League’s jet functions as a spaceship. Besides, that whole alien war in the 70’s? It’s in the history books. The League blew up their base on the moon. Wasn’t that covered in your high school history class?”

“Well, yeah, but everyone knows that was a cover-up. Didn’t the League basically destroy the group Dr. Mind was with before the Nine? The Neo-Nazi group? I heard the aliens were genetically engineered by those guys, but they really weren’t aliens, and the government used them to distract the League from Watergate. Didn’t you see the documentary?”

So, that was completely nuts.

I’d heard that people didn’t believe the League fought aliens, but I’d never run into one.

“No, I never saw the documentary, but that’s because I’ve seen alien spaceships. It’s not hard. You can’t always see the Jay and Kay with a telescope, but the gate’s there.”

He sat down on the lower bunk. “Everything I’ve read says its just space junk arranged into a weird shape.”

Back on our first day of the Stapledon program, Bullet had been worried about the public connecting most capes’ powers with aliens. If the general public believed stuff that was even half as crazy as Jeremy, the problems he worried about might be an improvement.

18 thoughts on “Picking Up Pieces: Part 8”

  1. “Jeremy, that’s just crazy talk. Now hold still while we rearrange you mental processes so you can never reveal our identity. Sheesh. Conspiracy theorists!”

    How would anyone even plausibly refute a conspiracy theory in this environment? A nice bit of world building, there!

  2. I’ve been thinking about the government super program and I get that they’re probably trying to blend in with the students’ secret identities, but they really didn’t think it through very well. I would have made sure I had more control over dorm assignments instead of risking this exact situation.

    Bureaucracy, go figure.

  3. …hehehehehehehe….hahahahahahahaha!

    You know what this means, right?

    Ha! This means the LoN world is the one where the crazy guy with weird hair is claiming that aliens DIDN’T do it!

    But seriously, conspiracy theories are pretty self-sustaining. Any criticism can be dismissed by claiming the person doesn’t understand the science, or is only believing the convenient story “they” put out, or that they just don’t want to believe the world is secretly controlled by an Illuminati made up of Reptilians that share the same characteristics as Jews who are secretly controlling all the world’s banks using the Protocols of the Elders of Xion.

    They never get disproven. The more evidence you throw out, the more people dig in.

    …well, that’s not completely accurate. This BBC series, Conspiracy Road Trip, takes young people who believe in various conspiracy theories on a tour of relevant sites in the U.S. to try and show them the real evidence. Some of them have changed their minds. It does a good job with the 9/11 and Creationism episodes, but is a bit hit or miss on the UFO episode. The guy didn’t quite vet all the places they took them, though it did work out for at least one theorist.

    What makes it funnier is that documents were recently declassified that gives us some answers about UFOs. Project 1794 was the U.S. military’s 1950s project to create a saucer-shaped VTOL craft. They wanted it to fly at supersonic, but it didn’t work out too well. Combined with Area 51 being the place where they would fly U2 spy planes out of, and you get an idea how some simple testing could have helped build the narrative we know. Russian spy planes also may have helped the rumors.

    Of course, there’ll be those who say that the declassified secret government documents are just what the government WANT you to think…Luckily, I have all their names and addresses and have been sending signals through their computer monitors so that when they read this last paragraph, they will self destruct.

  4. [Jeremy asks a flurry of questions]

    Yeah, dude, maybe you should wait until after the mental block
    before asking for confidential info?

    [Nick actually answers him]

    *facepalm*

  5. lol love nerd Jeremy. If I lived in a universe with known superheroes, my next logical step would be to ask about (a) greek and norse mythology (b) aliens (c) classified government experiments (sure thrre are hundreds even before power juice) and d) time travel. speaking of which…

  6. Kelvin: One of my friends follows conspiracy theories–not in the sense of believing them. He just likes to know what’s out there.

    Jeff P: Beyond the morality of mindwiping, I like the idea of the characters not having that easy an out most of the time.

    Gavin: The Stapledon program hasn’t had a bad roommate choice blow up in their faces yet. That’s what fixes those sort of holes.

    PG: In some ways LoN’s world is a little more complex even than that. There are multiple groups of aliens, so it’s less a question of whether aliens did it or not, but which ones.

    DWwolf/Kazorh: What Nick said is mostly in the public record. Most people don’t know about the USS Jay or Kay, but they know there are spaceships. People who care about that sort of thing also know about the gate.

    Captain Mystic: Yeah. You’d almost have to ask about those things–provided you recognized which genre you were living in.

  7. USS Jay or Kay – are they collectively referred to as JoKe?

    And I wonder how often Daniel’s going to start thinking of doing a mindwipe on himself and blocking his telepathy abilities?

  8. Sorry Jim, I think I found an error. “The League blew up their base the moon.” I think you need to change it to “…base ON the moon”, or “The League blew up their moon base.”

    As always, loving it!

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