Hero University: Chapter One
By: Daniel Maher

I awoke to the sound of beeping from my alarm clock. I quickly got up and shut it off, yawning in the process. I then walked over to my closet and undressed from my PJís. Then--as quickly as I could--I pulled on my Q-Suit. Finally I took the Q-Board from the bottom of the closet and headed into the main hallway of the university.

My name is Quinn Mathews, but the other students normally call me Q-Rider. I walked quickly but silently down the hallway, making sure that I wouldnít make any noise. I walked past an open door.

"Hey Q what are you doing up so early?" A lump said from under his covers. "Er....nothing. Just checking out the school." I replied. The covers were thrown back and my friend Rouge appeared. He took one look at me and went back to sleep, breathing deeply.

I sighed, it had been a close call but at least Rouge didnít call the headmaster on me. I sighed again and continued down the Victorian hallway. After several minutes of walking, getting lost, and having to retrace my steps--I found the double doors that opened into Paragon City. I put my hand on the knob and turned.

"Where do you think youíre going Mr. Mathews?" I turned around to see the headmistress standing with her hands on her hips.

"J....Just getting some fresh air." I stuttered.

"Well you canít leave the university yet. Breakfast is almost ready
--and besides, today is your first day of lessons." She pointed. "Now go to your room and get dressed into your school uniform." She said in a matter-of-fact kind of voice. I shrugged sheepishly and returned to my room. Looks like those thugs can wait for a day. I smiled to myself. Just donít get to comfy, causeí thereís a jail cell with your names on it. I smiled again and dressed into my preppy school uniform.

When I got to the mess hall Ember, Geist, Rouge, Wisp, Hornet, headmaster Williams, and headmistress Williams were already seated. I quickly ran forward and took an empty seat at Rougeís left.

Ember--as you may have guessed--is a fire blaster, but heís also crazy and never knows when to stop. Geist can walk through walls and turn invisible, highly helpful for attacking complexes. Wisp is Geistís half-brother and can also walk through walls, but canít turn invisible. Hornet is another gadget-freak like me, he mostly uses his paper-thin wings to fly--and his sword as a sort of needle. Rouge can fly, but heís also a gunner. Rouge is the only student at HU that has shown me any generosity, and now heís my best friend. And of course myself. Q-Rider. Like Hornet I use gadgets because I donít have powers, but I use a larger variety of my own design.

I bit a large piece from a sausage, and quickly washed it down with a swig of my orange juice. "So Q, are you going to the lecture Mr. Smith is doing this afternoon?" I thought about it for a moment, taking a nother large bite from the sausage impaled on my fork.

"Nah man, Iím going to cut this one. Iíve got some stuff I need to do."

So after breakfast--instead of heading to Mr. Smithís lecture--I went back to my room and changed once again into my Q-Suit. But this time I brought all my gadgets, clipping most of them onto my utility belt.

Once again I ran downstairs--not caring how much noise I make--and opened the doors and stepped into Paragon City. My first thought of Paragon City was that it was huge. The city was filled with skyscrapers, pollution, thugs, and--I rubbed my eyes to make sure I wasnít hallucinating--other heroes.

I looked back at the university and was amazed. The school fit perfectly into place, making it look as if it had always been there.

"Hey gimme your purse lady!"


I turned to see a thug--or as other heroes referred to them, hellion--snatching a ladyís purse. I smiled to myself, looks like every hero has to start small. I took my Q-Shot from my utility belt and loaded two Q-Needles into it, just one and a grown man would be sleeping in seconds.

I parted my legs, took careful aim, and shot....twice. The needles entered the manís neck; the force of the shots took him off his feet. In less than a millisecond he was on the ground, writhing as the drug took effect. Once he stopped moving I ran over to him, picked up the purse, and returned it to the lady. Then I picked him up and--using my Q-Board--took off into the air with him over my shoulders.

I reached the city jail and turned off the Q-Board, allowing gravityís power to take effect. I landed silently on the ground and folded the Q-Board into the shape of a calculator, then I put it in a pouch on my belt.

When I entered the lobby the first thing I thought was......boring! There was a bench to one side and above that there were photographs of the Paragon Police force. On the other side was a reception desk and behind that was a nicotine-addicted, half drunk cop. When I walked up he put down his copy of The Paragon Times and grunted.
"What do you want?"

I cleared my throat and proclaimed.
"Hello sir, my name is Q-Rider and I have come to jail this helli--"
The man cut me off.
"Yeah, yeah. Just show me your Hero License and we can all get on with our lives."

"Er....my....h....hero license sir?" I stammered.
He raised his voice. "Yeah. You know the card they give you when you register."


"Yeah kid, what are you a retard or something?"

"I donít really have a Hero License."

"Well," He said, leaning forward. "Prepare to spend a night in the big house."

"Wha?" He grabbed me by the shoulders, pulled my hands behind my back, and cuffed them--all in one swift moment. Then he threw me up against the wall and began to frisk me, pulling off my gadgets and setting them on a table as he went.

"Why are you arresting me?" I demanded.

"Fighting crime without a license." He replied casually.

After he was sure that he had removed all of my "weapons" he turned me around and said. "You are entitled to one phone call."
I forced back the urge to say "No shit Sherlock!"

I was glad I didnít say what I was going to, because the look on his face told me that if I did he would probably knock the smirk off my face. He led me to a small telephone that was bolted to the wall and showed me that I had three minutes. I picked up the phone and dialed the number of the school.

I sighed in relief when the machine told me that no one was there to receive my phone call so instead I left a message, trying to explain everything with the two minutes that I still had. Then I finished the message I hung up the phone and allowed the man to lead me to a cell.

The cell was small, dirty, and stunk of corpses. I settled myself down next to the bars of the cell to get the freshest air. I slept. My sleep was uneasy and clouded with bad dreams. I dreamt that I was thrown into a jail cell and the next thing I knew: people were glaring at me through the bars as if I were part of a "Teen Superhero" exhibit at a zoo.

I very suddenly awoke to find myself breathing deeply. I wiped sweat from my brow and tried to clear my mind. I looked to the bars nearest me to find a man was actually looking in at me. I almost screamed but stopped myself when I noticed it was the headmaster--then I wanted to scream louder.

"You know that little stunt you pulled would have any other student expelled." He said in a mono-type voice.

I lowered my head.
"Yes sir, I understand. But whatís so special about me?"

"Nothing really, we just didnít want to have to disappoint your parents."

I lowered my head even further.
"So Iíve decided to get you out."

Hope blossomed in my chest. The guard that had arrested me yesterday suddenly appeared with a set of keys. He picked a key from the set and grunted as he pushed it into the lock. He turned the key and opened the door, allowing me to pass.

At the reception desk he handed back all my gadgets and I gladly added them to my utility belt again. Then, headmaster Williams led me out the door and back into the sunlight.

"Sir.....he arrested me because I didnít have a license--do you know where I can get one?"

He laughed.
"Yes. I probably should have registered the entire school the second we got here. But," He tapped his wrinkled forehead. "this memory isnít as good as it used to be."

Then he led me to the city hall and inside. Where he allowed me to register. After registering I walked into the blinding sunlight again. And in one hour lessons started....again.
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