“No kidding?” I shook my head. “Well, I guess we heard her telling him that he needed to get to know well known supers. We’d probably qualify for that even if we hadn’t done much of anything ourselves.”
She glanced toward where I assumed that they were. It was too dark for me to tell at that point.
Haley frowned. “I get it. I heard her too, but isn’t it messed up? People are worth more than how useful they are to you.”
“Even beyond that,” I said, “I’m not even sure that that works in the long run. I’d think that they’d notice that you’re using them after a while.”
“Hmmn,” Haley muttered. “I don’t know. I knew girls in high school who were into the whole popularity thing, and a couple of them seemed to be mutually using each other. It sort of worked. Well, until they fell out, but I think that was about something else.”
I pulled out my phone, and started searching for Diva in the SuperTV app.
“I suppose Hunter can’t be the only one getting that kind of advice.”
Haley scowled. “I don’t like that. I thought this would be different. We’re all here together, and we’ve all got something in common that we don’t have with anyone else. Can’t that be enough? Why turn this into high school?”
Still sitting on the bench, Haley pulled her legs up to her chest. “I suppose I was being silly, but I was thinking of Hogwarts.”
“Having Voldemort try to take over every year doesn’t sound like my idea of fun.”
Haley stuck out her tongue at me. “You know what I mean. During normal years it was just a school for wizards. That’s all. I was hoping for something like that.”
I looked up from my phone. “You know what would be nice? If they divided us into houses and put all the people who would eventually turn evil in one of them. It would save everyone a lot of work.”
She glared at me, or at least faked a glare. “Besides that’s not true. In the end it wasn’t what house you were in, but what you choose to do.”
I shrugged, scrolling down the search results. “I know. I just thought it was funny.”
“It was a little funny.” She put down her legs and leaned into me in one fluid movement.
“What are you looking up?” She asked.
“Diva.” I’d found her main SuperTV entry. I clicked on it, and began to read.
Haley followed along as I scrolled down.
Analysts consulted for the SuperTV entry apparently thought that her whole superhero career had been concocted as a way to get her into Hollywood.
I wasn’t sure if that was fair to her, but since most of her superhero career had taken place before I’d been born, I didn’t know enough to say either way. Even my sole personal experience with her had been after that. The hidden storage containers she’d wanted Grandpa to invent had been intended for personal appearances.
Controversy aside, the article was interesting. The organisms she generated apparently either grew on her skin or were the upper layer of her skin.
“Ewww,” Haley mumbled.
It might explain why she looked so much younger than her age. I wondered if that meant she was actually young or just appeared that way.
The article didn’t say.
It did say that she’d never exhibited any special physical abilities, relying instead on creatures she’d generated. They weren’t worth much until they’d reached a certain size–at least bug sized. She could have easily controlled swarms of bugs, but she went with a Hollywood theme instead–classic movie monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, werewolves, King Kong and Godzilla.
Lesser supervillains and purely human criminals had been beaten unconscious by dancing copies of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, and delivered to jail by flying monkeys.
Once she became better known, lawyers came after her for violating copyright, but somehow (the article didn’t know how) arrangements were made. She got the rights to use certain characters, and started to promote upcoming movies by using their characters.
About the same time, she started providing creatures to movies as special effects and appearing in them herself–to the point that she was better known as a movie star with powers than she’d been as a superhero.
We finished reading the article, and Haley pointed out a video. “She must still be active. That one shows her attacking someone with smurfs.”
“Do you think Hunter’s got the same power?”
Haley thought about it. “I can’t say for sure, but they both smelled a little weird in the same way.”
“You’ve got more to go on than I do. The article mentions she’s got a son, but it doesn’t say anything about him.”
Haley covered my phone with her hand. “We could do something else.”
I looked at her. “Good point. It’s not as if we have any reason to worry about him. Um… If you’re wanting to pick up where we left off, I’m feeling like this isn’t very private. The nearest thing that is definitely private is my van in the parking garage.”
Haley raised an eyebrow. “How about a walk? We could go down to the first level.”
She had a point. As we left the bench, I asked her, “What do you have tomorrow?”
She checked her phone. “Something called ‘Entry Assessment.’ It lasts all day. You?”
I checked my email for the welcome packet I’d received. The only item on my schedule for Saturday was “Physical Training.” It lasted from 8am through 2pm.