Super Social: Part 1

The Stapledon program ended in the third week of August. My first classes started in the second week of September, so I had two weeks to relax—really more like a week and a half. I spent most of it sleeping.

Okay, that wasn’t true. It felt like I slept a lot, but that’s mostly because I wasn’t having to get up at six or seven in the morning to be out on the field running or fighting. So anyway, it was a wonderful week and a half. I spent it hanging around with Daniel, Haley, Vaughn, and Jaclyn. Cassie even managed to sneak up from D.C. for a few days.

We had a couple of movie nights with as close to everybody as we could get and then came school.

Grand Lake University’s classes started on Wednesday, making Monday the first official day students could move in unless they were freshmen or RA’s. That meant that Sunday was my last official day of freedom—sort of.

It wasn’t a day full of wild, crazy fun. Haley and Travis were with their parents. They’d flown somewhere for the weekend. Daniel was in Chicago even though the University of Chicago hadn’t started yet. He was hanging around with his dad at the Midwest Defenders HQ. Izzy was joining him there.

Midway through Sunday afternoon, I walked from my parents’ house to my grandparents’ house (which I’d inherited) and took the hidden elevator down to League HQ.

I still wasn’t used to the changes.

The elevator doors opened and I looked out into the main room of Heroes’ League HQ. The size of a basketball court, with the League’s accumulated trophies displayed on one end and a twenty-foot tall screen on the other, it used to have forty-year-old olive green carpet on the floor.

At some point during the summer, the League’s board had hired workmen to remove the old carpet and replace it with dark red carpet. They’d left uncarpeted paths around the sides of the room and through the middle. There, though, they’d smoothed out and stained the concrete. It almost looked like marble.

It looked good, and more to the point, it no longer looked like an extremely large basement storage room. It looked professional. They’d even moved the big pile of boxes to one of the side rooms.

I’d seen it when we’d had people over for movies, but I’d been distracted by seeing everyone then. Now it felt like another place.

Well, almost. I walked down the middle path toward the table in the middle of the room. Marcus sat there using one of the computers as well as the big screen on the wall. He’d thrown a bunch of things up on the big screen, mostly social media—Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and SuperTV’s web page.

Marcus stood up when I was near to the table. Slightly taller than I was with light brown skin, Marcus wore jeans and an Incredible Hulk t-shirt. A backpack lay on the floor next to his chair. It was probably filled with art supplies.

“Hey,” Marcus said, clapping me on the shoulder, “I am so glad you’re here.”

I shrugged. “I saw your text. What’s going on?”

“Well, you know how you fought a dragon during the summer? People started sending the League links to videos of the fight.”

“Huh.” I thought about that, staring upward at the big screen. “Where are people sending links to?”

Marcus looked up at the screen too. “A bunch of places—our website’s contact form, Twitter, the Facebook page… All of it.”

“When did we set all of that up?”

Shaking his head, Marcus said, “We didn’t. The board did. We’ve got access to all of it, though. They asked us to clear it with them before we say anything with the accounts.”

“No kidding.” The board seemed to be doing a lot these days. Of course, it made sense. All summer, the most junior members of the League were the only ones around—Marcus, Chris, Sydney, and Kayla.

Marcus nodded his head. “It’s been weird without everybody. So much stuff falls in your lap. Stuff like that.”

He pointed up at the screen. The YouTube video showed us fighting the dragon inside the compound, paying attention to some parts of the fight that I’d missed. I’d been nowhere near the part of the fight where people had been passing people out of the compound’s main park while goblins attempt to attack.

The fog didn’t entirely solve the problem, but Jaclyn was amazing, knocking back anything that made it through the fog. For that matter, Sean was great too, hitting the fae with cold iron constantly.

I even looked good. The visuals painted Haley and me in a positive light, showing us engaging in a hopeless battle so that the rest of the team could pass unconscious bodies back and away from the attackers.

It was interesting how much work the editors had gone to in order to keep people’s identities secret. No one had their identity revealed.

That had to be a clue as to who was releasing the video, but I had no idea where it pointed.

18 thoughts on “Super Social: Part 1”

  1. I just noticed the name of this book is “infection.” So many horrible possibilities.

    Zombie plague
    mind-control worm
    computer virus
    Grey goo
    infiltrators in organizations.

    1. Alas, the offer was rescinded. My recruiter doesn’t know why. That said, I know that they just got a new CIO and that things are prone to being changed at the moment, so that could be it.

      Also, it’s worth mentioning that it was at the place that I was laid off from due their budget changing.

      This was a different department, but could be the same deal.

  2. Dear Jim:

    With regards to Bloodmaiden, she’s the first (and so far, only) ‘magical girl’-type character I’ve EVER liked. At all! And I like her a great deal.

    Usually, I detest ‘magical girls’ as anathemic to everything that creates an interesting character… so congratulations on creating an intereresting and complex ‘magical girl’ that can be taken seriously, even with all her trappings:
    Flashy cartoonlike transformation scene [CHECK];
    Increased “stature” (not just height) [CHECK];
    Spiritual presence of all past ‘magical girls’ [CHECK];
    Glowing armour and weapons [CHECK]
    and near-limitless power [CHECK].
    Jim, you’ve used your world(s) and your characters to make a ‘magical girl’ character that works EXACTLY AS WRITTEN — and is still worth reading about.


    Most ‘magical girl’ characters are nauseatingly cute and clueless. Their complex magical backgrounds are trivialised down into irrelevancies that are rarely mentioned. They giggle and squeak — and even allowing for translation errors in the original Japanese cartoons, ‘magical girls’ generally seem to be as thick as pigsh*t. Yes, the trope was manifestly aimed at junior-high schoolgirl readers, or younger… thank-you very much for showing us what a mature version of a ‘magical girl’ can look like.

    1. Thanks. Amy exists because I felt that Nick should be thrown together with at least one person he didn’t know during the alien invasion.

      She’s a magical girl partly because they’re essentially superheroes and I wanted to do something different from the standard Western superhero tropes, and partly because having someone do a magical girl transformation scene struck me as funny in that context.

  3. Nice to hear from Nick… Good that they’ve got people doing the social media bit for them, or, they’d never have any time for super hero-ing. [grin]

    So, does a cat mecha toy now get added to the range of super hero figures? [grin]

    When does Nickie, the female other-dimension version of Nick get mentioned. You need to hit all the tropes. [grin] If she does exist, I hope she isn’t the ‘Rockette’…


    “We had a couple movie nights”, missing ‘of’.

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