In the Public Eye: Part 17

Okay. It’s up.

And just for what it’s worth, I thought I’d point out that I’m using Twitter to let people know about update progress. That way I don’t have to continually write something like “not yet ready to post… Wait… It’s almost ready… Well it could be ready in minute… But it’s actually going to be ready tomorrow,” into posts that I then delete the next day anyway.

I can do that in Twitter instead and evidence of my inconsistency can be kept for the ages.

“So what does the ‘drink of gods’ do?” I asked.

Isaac flicked toward Vaughn as he said, “It depends on the drink. Each one does something different. It could be anything from throwing lightning to becoming strong. Some don’t do anything. They just test which recipes will work on a person.”

“That’s wild,” I said. “It sounds a lot like Red Lightning. He gave stuff like that to his henchmen after he decided to turn on the League.”

“Are they exactly like Red Lightning’s?” Vaughn pushed his hair out of his face and stood there looking uncomfortable.

“I don’t know,” Isaac said. “We don’t have Red Lightning’s recipes to compare them to. All we’ve got are old samples of his work. Do you have something more?”

Even I could hear the interest in his voice.

“No,” Vaughn said. “I used to, but I gave it away. You haven’t seen it with the other books? An old brown journal in my grandfather’s handwriting?”

“Nothing like that,” Isaac said. “Everything we got out of there is in a dead language.”

“Huh,” Vaughn muttered.

“Well, that’s what I’ve got,” Isaac said, “I’ll let you know more when I get it. Email me if you’ve got questions.”

I saw his hand move to cut off the call.

“Wait,” I said, “I’ve got one more thing I should mention. I… punched the mayor in the head yesterday.”

He said, “Was it in costume or out?”

I told him the whole story. Isaac took notes. Vaughn just said, “Whoa.”

“Nick,” Isaac said. “The time to tell me this was yesterday. If he starts pushing this we’ve got no plan for damage control.”

“He hasn’t.”

“Yet,” Isaac said. “He’s going to. It’s just a question of when.”

“Daniel’s dad has a plan.”

“Mindstryke? OK. What is it?”

“I don’t know.”

Isaac sighed. “Nick, I’ll get back to you later. I’ve got to call some people.”

He cut off the connection.

Above us, the television screen on the wall went black. It felt like the whole room turned dark. As my eyes adjusted, Vaughn said, “Think he’s pissed?”

“I don’t know.” I stood up. “I think I’m going to go home.”

“No problem. Get some sleep or something. I’ll shut things down on my way out. Or you know, you could stay and watch my interview—shit, it’s on now.”

He put Fox 50 on the big screen and I heard the announcer say, “Our lead story tonight is ‘The New Heroes League: Too Young?’”

The very tanned and fit reporter continued, “A little more than a month ago, the New Heroes League appeared, seemingly from nowhere, but reviving names and identities that were household names in the 1950’s.

“But the original Heroes League were first of all soldiers who had been tested in the battlefields of World War Two. The current members of the League don’t appear to be any older than twenty. Do they have the judgment necessary to defend a city? Let’s go to City Hall where…”

The picture showed the mayor and a reporter standing in the mayor’s office. Wind blew through the windows behind the desk. I’d shattered them with the sonics after knocking the mayor unconscious.

Then, it had seemed like the quickest way to leave. Now it seemed like a really dumb idea.

I started paying attention again midway through Mayor Bouman’s reply to the reporter.

“… we were talking about the scandal when he punched me. I don’t know anything after that.”

The camera moved in for a close up of the mayor’s face as he talked. They definitely hadn’t covered his black eye with make-up for the broadcast. It looked bad.

With the segue, “And we all remember this from just a few weeks ago,” they went into footage from the car chase—including the moment where we hit the stoplight. Had one of the police cars been filming? I didn’t remember seeing cameras at the time.

Following that, they showed a small interview with Vaughn as the “Storm King,” ending Vaughn’s clip with him saying, “I know how much drugs can hurt a guy personally. That’s why I go after them so hard.”

Next to me, Vaughn said, “Well that’s not the worst thing. I was getting worried that they’d show—oh no… ”

The screen showed Vaughn in the parking lot at the station answering a question. “You know,” he said, “weather powers. Rain, fog, lightning… You want to see? Sure. And what’s really cool is I’ve got a lot more control than I used to. Watch this…”

He pointed his hand at the station’s mailbox. Electricity arced across the gap, blasting the metal box off camera and turning the wooden post into blackened shards of splintered wood.

The camera turned toward Vaughn. “Oh man, I meant to stop just short of the mailbox. Sorry guys.”

Back inside the studio, they showed the stage where they do interviews. In one chair sat the reporter. In the other sat my dad wearing the dark blue suit he always wore on television.

“To add some perspective, we’ve asked noted child psychologist Dr. John Klein to comment on what we’ve seen.

“Dr. Klein,” the reporter said, giving his voice a serious tone, “do you think teenagers are ready for this kind of responsibility?”

Dad said, “To be a vigilante? I don’t think anybody’s ready for that.”

“But Dr. Klein, what about teenagers in particular?”

“I’d say it can be a corrosive force in your life whether you’re a child or an adult,” he began.

I overrode Vaughn’s control of the screen and shut off the broadcast.

Now the wall TV showed my desktop wallpaper—a picture of a spaceship called Serenity.

“But that was your dad,” Vaughn said.

“I can listen to him at home,” I started to walk toward the elevator. Even before the door of the elevator opened, all four phone lines began to ring.

Vaughn stared at the phones, “Aren’t you going to help?”

“I can’t deal with this,” I said.

6 thoughts on “In the Public Eye: Part 17”

  1. Great chapter. Very real ending.

    One typo:

    “I’d say it can be corrosive force in your life whether you’re a child or an adult,” he began.

    I think you’re missing ‘a’ between ‘be’ and ‘corrosive’. Since it’s dialogue, the grammar’s not as important, but I’m assuming that someone with as much education as Nick’s dad probably wouldn’t dropped the article like that.

    Still loving the story, and I love where you’re going with this arc.


  2. Vaughn is so hiding something about that drink of the gods.

    Now the wall TV showed my desktop wallpaper—a picture of a spaceship called Serenity.

    Have no place I can be since I found Serenity.
    But you can’t take the sky from me.

    Hells yeah!

  3. I had to think for a while as to what exactly Nick’s wallpaper would most likely be. It could just as easily have be the schematics for some device, but having it be Serenity felt right for the moment.

  4. I just started reading this yesterday, loving it!

    Nitschke, I’d have to say that since Vaughn has admitted selling his father’s notes that yeah, he’s hiding something from Isaac 🙂

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