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    Kirk Haussman lay on his bed, his mind in a tumultuous spin;  his homecoming had been ruined by a gigantic argument between his parents and his sister over her new boyfriend.  What made him more unsettled  was the feeling of impending doom that seemed to permeate everything.

    For as long as he could remember, he had visions.  No, he reminded himself.  These weren’t true visions.  They were more like really strong hunches or an overactive intuition.  He no more had the capability of seeing the future than Statesman did of not being a paragon of virtue.

    He closed his eyes and sighed deeply; he knew sleep would come, but he needed to banish the dread from his mind.  He thought of his math class at Missouri State; almost instinctively, he yawned.  Few things in his life were as boring as that. 

    But, came a small voice, there was that test you took.

    Immediately reawakened, Kirk’s mind went back to the unit in probability.  The teacher had placed 20 envelopes on a table, and had told the class each envelope contained either a blue strip of paper or a yellow one.  The class was to guess what each envelope contained.    While most of the class had guessed in the 50 percent range for accuracy, Kirk had baffled everyone, including the professor, by getting 18 of the 20 envelopes correct.

    Kirk sighed, now finding himself wondering what it all meant.  He knew his intuition was rarely wrong, but didn’t know why.  Why it could warn him of avoiding a certain road for traffic but not something of greater importance, like if he was in danger, mystified him.  Kirk stared at the ceiling, wondering.

    In the adjacent room, he could hear the muffled conversation of his sister.  She was talking to someone, presumably on the phone, since he could only hear her voice.  Maybe she was talking to a friend, or maybe the mystery boyfriend his parents only identified as  “Viper.”  Just the name of the guy gave Kirk an uneasy feeling, and he had said so.  His sister retaliated by screaming at the three of them and stormed upstairs.

    Outside, he could hear thunder rumbling. The low wail of sirens could be heard, although the weatherman had said nothing of storms that night.

    Uneasy by this sudden change in weather, Kirk jumped out of bed and went to his bedroom window.  The sky seemed to have a reddish glow to it in different spots.  The color seemed to intensify, then fade.  He noticed that the source of the glow was coming closer to their house.

    Run, he heard the voice in his head say.

    Just then, he felt a sharp pain wrack his head.  Kirk cried out loudly and clutch his temples.  A loud roaring could be heard, and  Kirk could just make out the sound of his parents running around frantically, trying to get Kirsten to come down to the basement for safety.

    His parents burst into his room, and Kirk found himself run through with an agony he had never felt before; he felt as if he was being simultaneously run through and torn apart.  His scream seemed to be coming from the absolute depths of his soul.

    Then the world went red.

    He woke up in a triage.  A nurse gave him a cursory glance and disappeared.  She returned with a doctor.

    “You’re very lucky,” he said.

    “Where’s my family?”  Kirk asked in a raspy voice.

    The doctor paused, which told the young man all he needed to know.  Closing his eyes as the doctor tried to explain to him what had happened over the past couple of days, Kirk suddenly envisioned a nurse in the unit dropping a tray and making a lot of noise in the process.  Almost on cue, the scene replayed itself just as he saw it in his mind.

    “…Otherwise, you’re just fine,” the doctor concluded.

    “Would you like a TV brought to you?”  asked the nurse.  “It might make it easier to understand.”

    Kirk nodded.  He needed to know what was going on; he needed to know where his family was. 

    The nurse wheeled a small television in front of him and turned it on. 

    “…of course, Statesman denies any allegations he was doing anything inappropriate with the mystery blonde woman, seen here.”  The screen showed a blurry picture of a voluptuous woman leaving the famed superhero’s office.  “Again, he cites the delay in aid to Paragon City to other factors.”  The image changed to that of a reporter, whose smarmy grin seemed to revel in the implication of Statesman being caught with his pants down, literally or otherwise.

    Kirk changed channels.  Each newscast covered different aspects of the alien attack, and he quickly got the sense of what had happened.  He looked down at the bed, trying to take it all in.

    Another vision came unbidden into his mind; a warning siren was going to go off.  When the siren went off for real, Kirk felt his skin crawl.  Whatever had happened to him in the attack, he was forever changed.

    “Do you have an ability that makes you more than human?” came a voice from the television.

    Kirk looked up.  Staring back at him on the screen was Statesman.  “If you do,” he said in a commanding, almost hypnotic voice, “Then we need you here in Paragon City!”

    Kirk stole a glance at the medical staff.  They were involved with other patients who appeared to be faring worse than he was.  Quietly, he peeled the sensor pads off of himself and rose from his bed.  If he wanted answers, then Paragon City was the place to find them.

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