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City of Heroes
Winds of a New Beginning





You know, most heroes never get the chance to get their ‘Upgrade’ as soon as they get their costume. By ‘Upgrade’, I mean that they get a new power. But then again, I seem to be breaking a rule of being a hero every time I turn around.
We hadn’t known it at the time, but the battle I had endured with Nakona and Sordan had actually made me rise one security level, to Security Level 2. Because of this, I was able to learn something new to do with my powers.
Surprisingly, learning something new with your powers isn’t as easy as you think. I had the option to learn how to Heal Others, learn to Absorb their Pain, or learn to give other people Deflection Shields.
It had taken me a while, but I finally told Ms Liberty that I’d choose ‘Heal Other’.

Now, you see, when Heroes get trained up, the Trainer they go to can’t just show them how to do it. Not every Trainer will have the same powers as you do. In that case that they don’t, you will usually be teleported to a secret base filled to bursting with Training Heroes and the world’s best Healers, Martial Artists, Psychics, take your pick.
In short, this would be one place that Lord Recluse would love to wipe out.

The Healer I was shown to was a woman named Healing Spirit. The similarities between mine and her Hero Names were slightly scary, but we initially had the same purpose in life. Healing Spirit’s powers were so strong; however, that she was constantly regenerating her cells. And that meant that she could never die unless someone killed her.
Slightly depressing, but she was the best in the business.

Even behind my mask, you could still tell that I was young for a hero. Some Hero’s powers manifested when they were18 or 19, but most appeared at around 21. There was a third, unspoken rule of being a Hero that I’d broken.
Healing Spirit’s surprise didn’t show at all, apart from her raised eyebrows. She quickly got over it, and went on to teach me how to heal other people. It was like sending out a healing aura, I eventually got it. And as Healing Spirit assured me, as I got better, it would take less concentration until I could do it effortlessly.
After I had learnt what I needed to, I was teleported back to Ms Liberty’s side. She gave me a quick grin, and a small nod. I nodded back, before running off. From what I could tell, it was nearly midday, and I had promised to meet Nakona and Sordan at a small restaurant.

Upon arrival at the restaurant, I waited. Half an hour went by, until I suddenly beeped. Jumping, and attracting customer’s attention, I quickly looked at my wrist. All heroes had a Navigator to help them find their way around Paragon City. It could also send and receive emails, keep an eye on your Super Group, if you joined one, and help you keep in touch with your team. It had a link directly to your central nervous system somehow that let you ‘type’ things without needing a keyboard. Looking at my Nav now, a message popped up on the screen informing me that I had an email.

‘Hey, Guiding Spirit. Congratulations on your first day as a hero!
Me and Sordan would have really liked to celebrate with you, but
we got caught up in business in King’s Row. A weird Clockwork
called Paladin somehow appeared out of nowhere, and we had
to rush to the scene to help fight it. It wasn’t fun, but now we
need to stay here and help clean up. These machines have
an annoying habit of reconstructing themselves, so we’re
separating the pieces and sending them to different parts of
Paragon.
We’ll see you as soon as we can, but, until then, go out and
have some fun. Don’t let Sordan know though. You know how
he acts when he hears the word fun. ;p

Bye! Xoxoxox
Nakona’

Making a face, I closed the window the email had appeared on. Slightly depressed, I looked around the restaurant. Waving over a waitress, I ordered my meal and ate in silence, slipping into my usual state of daydreaming. The door slamming open turned me from relaxed to alert in a matter of three seconds, I still wasn’t over my fight in Sally’s, but it was only a young child racing his brother into the restaurant. He stopped short when he saw me looking at him, and was quickly overtaken by his brother. Giving the child a smile, waved. The kid broke out in a toothy grin, waved back and continued the race.
Sighing, I looked down at my food. I wasn’t very hungry anymore. Getting up, I instantly attracted the attention of the waitress. She bustled over, giving me time to dig into my pocket for money. When I had paid for my meal, I left the restaurant and paused out the front of it, wondering what to do now. I had the option to go to my first contact, now that I had my costume.
Responding to my thoughts, the Navigator beeped once, making me look at it. The name ‘Susan Davies’ popped up on the screen, along with a headshot of her. Thinking of her made a map of Atlas Park appear on the Navigator’s screen, with a pulsating circle seeming to indicate where she was in reference to where I was. She was south of where I was, and just slightly west. I begin to walk in the general direction, not wanting to run or Sprint, even thought I had been given strict instructions from Sordan to Sprint whenever, and wherever, I could.
Giving a sigh, I started out on a jog. Sordan seemed to have the uncanny ability to know when I DIDN’T stick to his ‘Training / Torture’ schedule.

By the time I reached Town Hall, I was red in the face and puffing and panting. I took a moment to lean against one of the pillars. Making a mental note to get in shape, I straightened up and went inside the Town Hall for the second time in my life.
Ignoring the Registration Area, I went down to the level that had been restricted from me a few days ago, where new Heroes usually received their first Contacts. It also held the main offices of the five groups of Paragon City that dealt with Hero Origins.
From the looks of my Nav, I had to head to the first door on the left. Entering, I saw the back of a woman, one who was currently on the phone talking to someone.
At the sound of my footsteps, she turned slightly, looking at me from the corner of her eye, which wasn’t going to be a good vantage point for her.

“Green Ghost, if you’re here again, go on a patrol. I’ll talk to you after.” Turning her back to me again, Susan resumed her conversation. I arched an eyebrow, before shaking my head and turning back the way I had come from. She had given me a mission, and I intended to finish it.
Details of the mission popped up on my Nav, giving me the basic info. All I had to do was check in at points around Atlas Park, and report and suspicious activity to Susan. It gave me basic reconnaissance work, and let me get a tour of the park as well. Sighing, I set off at a jog towards my first check-point, which was located near the Yellow Monorail line of Atlas Park. Running to the back of the Town Hall, I made a beeline to the stairs that would take me up to the tram. I stopped at the foot of them and looked up. The top was a fair while away. Shaking my head, I started the climb. Paragon City was way bigger than what I was used to.
When I reached the top, I leaned on the stone wall for a moment, catching my breath. It required less time this time round, and once I had recovered, I walked the few, short steps to the check-point. My Navigator beeped and sent the information to wherever processed the data, and then showed me the location of my next stop. It was downhill of my location and I could get there easily.
Luckily, I had something to occupy me. I hadn’t walked more than ten steps when my Navigator beeped again, signalling the arrival of a new message. It was from Sordan Snapkick, which filled me with a feeling of dread. He hadn’t witnessed me walking, had he?

‘Guiding Spirit

I’m sending you this message to let you know that I’ve just started
up a new Supergroup, the Twilight Troop. We’re setting up our
base now, but it will have the equipment you need to train as well.
So, tonight, after you’re done, you’ll be met at the park south of
Hyperion Way and escorted to the base. We’ll be sending one of
the founding members, Aedos Aimfire, to help you. He’s a
Blaster, and at Security Level 15. You won’t have to worry about
trouble in Atlas Park with him around.
Until tonight, farewell.

S
o
r
d
a
n
 
S
n
a
p
k
i
c
k’


I walked as I read, making the time go by faster. I nodded my head in approval and opened up my map again. The Twilight Troop. It sounded slightly like the Dawn Patrol, except not.
The second checkpoint came and went, as did the third and fourth. Sighing, I was about to get the final checkpoint, when I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. Turning, I saw two Vahzilok pulling a middle-aged woman into the sewers. My heart began pounding, and a sweat broke out on my forehead. About to open up the mobile phone unit I had had placed into my Nav, which had involved the cannibalisation of my own mobile phone, I stopped. Nakona and Sordan were busy, and I had to prove myself sometime.

I set off at a sprint, inadvertently getting the final checkpoint as I did. Coming up to the Sewer pipe, I slowed down and stepped quietly, peeking into the sewers and frowned. It was too bright out here, so all I could see was blackness. Drawing up my courage, I grabbed the top of the pipe and swung myself into the pipe. Inside, I landed on my feet and remained unassaulted by the rotting, animated corpses, instead, my nose was assaulted by the smell. The woman was being dragged around a corner while screaming hysterically. Her screams bounced off of the walls, confusing anybody who hadn’t seen which way she was being taken. Sneaking even more quietly, I flattened myself against the wall when I hit it and looked around the corner carefully. The corridor was clear apart from the two Vahzilok and the woman. Inhaling, I focused my mind on myself and drew on my power. My skin tingled, and then felt like it was expanding. It remained in place, though, and an aqua bubble of energy surrounded me. Dashing around the corner I aimed a tackle at the Vahzilok to the left and ran straight at him. Instead of hitting him with my body, however, my forcefield knocked him off of his feet and too the ground, breaking his hold on the woman. The other Vahzilok took one look at me and grinned, showing a mouth of blackened, rotting teeth.

“Look here, we have a young one. Not bad looking either, we can have some fun with ‘im before we submit him for inspection.”

Anger flared up in my mind. I ran at the Vahzilok, bumping him into the sewer water as well. The woman, now free, ran for the entrance of the sewers, leaving me to take care of the zombies. I looked at them coldly, daring them to try and do something.
To make it short, they did. One of them pulled out a machine gun, and the other pulled out a knife.  A spray of bullets pattered harmlessly off my shield, but the knife was thrown at me, sinking into the shield and stopped inches away from my skin before the bubble forced it back and away. It short back at the Vahziloks, losing momentum as it did. Going lower, it hit the Vahzilok with the gun on the foot, point first.
He began howling instantly trying at the same time to fire another round at me and get the knife out of his foot. I guess being undead meant that your nerves were still intact. Couldn’t say as much for the skin though.
Bullets went everywhere, ricocheting off the walls and up the corridor. A few struck my shield, but fell down instantly. Luck suddenly went my way as intelligence reached the zombie’s brain and he bent down fast to pull the knife out of his foot, just at the same time as his partner did. The two were going fast enough that when their heads collided, it would have hurt them severely. They staggered from each other, somehow knocking the knife out of the Gun-Vahzilok’s foot and onto the floor. Seizing my chance, I lowered my shield and ran between them and created it again. They flew away from me and slammed into the walls, sliding down unconscious.

Giving a satisfied smirk, I sent a mental command to my Navigator, one that caused two pairs of handcuffs to teleport themselves into my hand. Snapping one of them around the wrists of one Vahzilok, I watched it get teleported away, before turning to get the other one. Unnoticed by me, that one had gotten up and had gotten the knife back. Dread and fear entered my stomach and I cringed away, cursing the fact that I had to lower my shield to arrest the Vahzilok.

Out of nowhere, a ball of flames hit the undead creature’s left arm, setting the rotting flesh on fire. He screeched, pawing at the flames to put them out. Bring up my bubble a final time, I rammed into him, knocking him into the wall again and sending him out like a light. The flames on the Vahzilok’s arm flickered and went out, leaving charred flesh and a very nasty smell in the air. Sighing with relief, I turned to look at my saviour. I was met with a red and black costume, with spikes coming out everywhere. He had black hair and a fairly serious look on his face. Crossing his arms, he assumed a casual stance and looked at me.

“You might want to arrest him before he wakes up.” He guy said, his voice a light baritone.

Memory struck me again, and I quickly put down my shield and used the handcuffs on the Vahzilok. When he was safely away, I groaned with relief. The adrenaline rush had virtually gone with the fear, and I was feeling slightly faint. Tiredness seeped into my bones, and I threw a grin at the man. “You saved me. Thanks for that.”

“No problems.” The serious look had gone, replaced with an infectious grin. “I’d prefer this over the alternative. I’m Firoi by the way. As you can tell, I control fire, and I can let loose radiation as well.”

“Guiding Spirit, Empathy and Force Fields.” I responded in turn. Firoi raised an eyebrow, but otherwise, said nothing.

“Come on; time to get out of here. Before my nose comes off and attempts to strangle me for putting it through this torture.” Firoi said, turning in the direction of the exit. I nodded and ran to catch up with him. He looked like he was in his late teens or early twenties, it was hard to tell. Awesome costume though. The exit of the sewers loomed up ahead of me, and without thinking, I went out them and into the blinding daylight.

“Oooooow.” I covered my eyes and rubbed them. I heard Firoi exit the pipe next to me, I had run ahead to be out first, eager to run from the scene of my first arrest. Without notice, I was struck from the side. Giving a yell of shock, I opened my eyes, prepared to hit my attacker. Hellion, Outcast, maybe even Clockwork?
Nope, it was the woman from the sewer. She gave me a bone-crushing hug, thanking me for saving her life. I stammered my own reply, telling her it was nothing. I eventually got away, but only after promising to look after myself, go to bed on time and have dinner at her house sometime. The last one was an empty promise, and me and the woman both knew it, but it was the thought that counted.

I looked at Firoi, who simply gave me a wry grin. “First person you’ve saved, huh? Don’t worry; you learn to get away from them faster and with less fuss over time.”

“I hope so.” I grumbled. Remembering my mission, I looked in the direction of the Town Hall. Firoi, reading my expression, nodded his head.

“Come on, I’ll escort you there. I doubt you’ll get any more missions today, because of your age and your Security Level, but you never know. It all depends, really. Your contact might not even have any more missions.” We began walking at a leisurely pace. I began dreaming wistfully for a shower to get rid of the sewer stench. I also made a mental note to see if I could get deodorant in bulk.

“That’s alright.” I told him wearily. “I don’t know if I’m even up for another mission.”

“Good point. I remember my first one; I was shaky for the whole day afterwards.” Firoi seemed off in a world of his own, before coming back to the present and fixing me with a look. “You know what, I like you. Here, take my number, and if you’re ever in trouble, just give me a yell. Just don’t call after twelve am, or before 10 am.”
I blinked, before adding his number to my Nav / Phone. Giving me a small salute, he sauntered off, in search of some pants to burn.

I shook my head. That was one confident guy. Wishing I had his confidence, I went in to meet my contact face-to-face for the first time. She was sitting at her desk this time writing on a pad of paper. She looked up as I came in and gave me an encouraging smile. “You new here hun? Don’t worry, we can get you all set up. Your first mission is always the hardest, but once it’s done, the rest is a snap. What’s your name honey?”

“Guiding Spirit, though you seemed to call me the ‘Green Ghost’ before.” I said wryly and let out an irresistible smirk as she connected the dots.

“Oh my god, I’m sorry. I was on the phone, and you looked like another hero who comes in frequently when you’re seen from the corner of the eye. He asks me out constantly, so I was a little bad-tempered with him. How did your patrol go? You shouldn’t have taken that long.”

I smiled tiredly. “I saw a woman being dragged into the sewers by two Vahzilok, so I –“

“What? Oh no, we’re going to have to contact people to help that poor woman. Do you remember which sewer they went into? What clothes was she wearing? What did the Vahzilok look like?” The phone was already on her ear, but she put it down again when she saw me smiling. “You think this is funny?”

“No.” I said. “I know I’m a teen, and we’re meant to be heartless and all, but I don’t think it’s funny. You don’t need to do any of that, because I already saved her. There was no time to get anyone else.”

Silence reigned in the room; Susan sat at her desk with an expression on her face similar to her new piece of paper. Remembering Firoi, I opened my mouth again. It wouldn’t be right to forget him.

“I had them beaten, but I had to lower my shield in order to arrest one of the Vahziloks. The other one woke up, and was about to stab me with a knife when he was hit by a fireball. A hero called Firoi helped me just in time; otherwise I’d be another name on the missing list.”

Susan sat back with a chuckle. “Sorry, I was just surprised, that’s all. Your first day and you take down two Vahzilok and save a woman’s life. You’ve either got guts or insanity in your bloodline somewhere. Well, seeing as you’ve already completed your first mission, you’re done for the day. As a point of interest, you said you have Force Fields, right? What’s your secondary? Electricity, fire, hmm?”

“Oh, Force Fields are my secondary power.”

“Ah, so you’re a Controller. Earth control then?”

I chuckled. “No, my primary power is Empathy.”

Susan looked puzzled, before acknowledgement hit her. “Oh, you’re that kid. You caused quite a stir in admin upstairs. Nearly sent the new guy into hysterics, something about you defying all laws of nature. Wait ‘till I tell him this. You’re an Australian too, which makes you even more weird.”

I sent her a half-serious death glare. “Why? And how could you tell?”

“You have an accent. And it’s strange, because there aren’t too many Australian heroes out there. You have the Outback Ranger, Uluroo and Golden Girl, but not many others. Must be something in the water, or lack of it.”

It was true, really. The three she had named were Australia’s most famous heroes. Outback Ranger was a Fire Manipulator who carried around an Assault Rifle, one he had customised and created himself. Many trees and bushes in the Outback needed fire to breed, which is where his name came from. Uluroo was the Aboriginal Martial Arts extraordinaire. Uluru was a very sacred site to the Aboriginals, and Kangaroos are quite deadly in a brawl, with their punches being able to kill. And Golden Girl was named for her energy Manipulation, which was a golden colour, which was unusual in itself since most Energy users had white or electric blue coloured attacks. It also came from the location she lived on, the Gold Coast of Australia.
And now there was me. The freakshow with a weird power combination at the age of 16.

“Yeah, something like that.” I muttered, wondering if I’d ever become as famous as those three.

Susan saw my dazed look, and seemed to mistaken it for tiredness. “Go to your hotel hun, you look run off your feet. And eat something too, otherwise you might collapse.”
I nodded my head and took my leave of her. Thinking wistfully of food, I grinned. If I remembered correctly, right now, Sally’s pastry was half-priced, now that it was getting late in the day. Smiling, I felt content, knowing I already had my day planned out. I was on my own until sunset, and I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to spend that time eating!


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