Here goes nothing, I said to myself, knowing full well that what I was about to do was a very far cry from nothing. But if I waited any longer, I would have time to contemplate the situation and would probably chicken out once I realized that all the odds were against me. Without waiting another moment, I timidly knocked on the door of the Justice Alliance Headquarters.
It wasn't long before I heard footsteps approaching from the inside, and the door opened to reveal a tall, mysterious-looking man clad in black. A mask covered the greater portion of his face, and he was armed with an array of different weapons and gadgets, including the clawed gloves that covered his hands. A dark cape, purposely tattered at the bottom for effect, extended from his neck down to his legs.
Great, I thought. Wolf-Man. Why did it have to be Wolf-Man who answered the door? He was the dark one, the cold, antisocial vigilante known for striking fear into his opponents. At the time he was doing a pretty good job of it on me, too. Why couldn't it have been Volt, the comical one, or at least Captain Clone? Still, I knew that beggars couldn't be choosers, so I would have to make do. From his mouth came a gruff, emotionless voice, which spoke only one word: "Yes"
Wolf-Man had spoken to me! I was initially ecstatic to have gotten this far, though I still had a lot to do. Stammering, I struggled to get my words out and make myself sound as serious and confident as possible. "Are--Are you, uh, hiring"
Wolf-Man stared at me for a moment; the cold, unnerving stare I knew so well from watching him and the others on the news. Somehow, it was a lot different when the stare was up-close and directed at me instead of to some villain on television.
"No." He was a man of few words, but they were enough to shatter anybody's hopes and dreams. I was about to turn around and just get out of there before I embarrassed myself any further, when I saw someone else come up behind the Wolf-Man. This second figure wore a bright yellow bodysuit with black, lightning-shaped streaks going across the costume. I knew him instantly--it was the Volt!
"Aw, come on Wolf, give the kid a break.", the Volt said in his ever-light and frivolous manner. ""Or did you not realize that you're allowed to be friendly once in a while?" Volt grinned, then pushed past Wolf-Man to come to me. "What's up, kid!", he said, extending his hand in a friendly greeting. Awestruck, I returned the gesture and shook his hand as well. As soon as I did so, I felt a slight electrical shock go through my body, just enough to make me jump a little Volt laughed. "Who needs a joy buzzer when you can do that?", he asked rhetorically. Wolf-Man frowned, not amused by the Volt's silly humor. Volt then inquired of me, "So, what can we do for you"
"This is not a company, Volt.", Wolf-Man cut in. "We can't afford to just offer help to anyone who comes asking for it"
"Hey, chill out, Wolf!", Volt replied. "Let's see what the kid wants!" Turning back to me, he stated, "You'll have to excuse the Wolf-Man here, I think he got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning." He paused, then added, "Oh wait, he's always like that!" Volt laughed at his own joke, and I laughed along too, to be polite (Wolf-Man, of course, remained silent). Volt then continued: "Seriously, though, what do you need"
I was still somewhat nervous, and I didn't much like being referred to as a kid (after all, I was fifteen), but now that Volt seemed to have accepting me, I didn't stumble over my words quite as much. "Well, uh, I'd like to join the Justice Alliance.", I said, not believing that I was actually saying it yet still wanting it more than anything.
Wolf-Man began to speak: "It takes a lot to be a hero. We can't just"
Volt interrupted him. "I think the Wolf's right on this one, kid.", he said. "We generally only take superheroes. And such"
Of course! I had forgotten to show them! "But—But I can be a superhero!", I protested. "I have powers too. Watch!" There were a few pebbles scattered on the ground. Focusing my energy, I mentally lifted them up and spun them around in the air. Both Justice Alliance members looked on in astonishment. I dropped the pebbles, then moved on to the building's door, which had been left open. I caused the door to swing back and forth, the knob to turn, etc. "See?", I asked the superheroes. "I can move things with my mind"
Ever skeptical, Wolf-Man asked in a harsh tone, "Where did you get these powers? How did you do that"
"I, uh, I was on a school field trip.", I explained. "To a science lab. There were some kind of weird chemicals, and a lightning bolt struck them, then they fell on me too. It was like"
"That sounds rather vague.", Wolf-Man accused, "Like a story made up on the spot"
"Look, I'm not a scientist!", I told him. "I don't know exactly how it happened either. But the point is, I have these powers now—and just like you all have superhero names, I call myself Kinetic. Anyway, I'd like to join the Alliance. Do you think I possibly could"
Volt's face bore a look of uncertainty. Wolf-Man turned to him and said, "Volt, we can't possibly let him—"
"Actually, Wolf, I don't think it's up to us.", Volt replied. "We'll have to let the Captain see this one." Wolf-Man didn't look happy about Volt's answer. "Come on inside, kid.", Volt invited. I graciously obeyed.
"He can't come in.", Wolf-Man argued. "The security system is coded to our specific DNA patterns"
"Security system, my foot!", Volt replied sarcastically. Moving over to a small, computerized device, apparently the security system in question, he emitted a small bolt of electricity into the computer, which caused a computerized door to open. "Easy!", said Volt. He gestured for me to proceed.
Behind the door were many identical looking men, all dark-haired, wearing blue suits and red capes. Even though I had seen him on television so many times, due to the excitement of the current circumstances it took me a while to realize that they were all Captain Clone.
"Hey, Cap!", called Volt. "We got something here I think you might want to see"
Upon hearing Volt's summons, all of the Captain Clones ran towards each other, converging back into a single human being. He then exited the room and came to where we were.
"What is it, Volt?", he asked. Then he turned his head and noticed me. At first his facial expression implied that he didn't want me here, as I was not a member of the Justice Alliance and he didn't know how I had gotten inside, but Volt quickly proceeded to explain the situation.
"This kid has superpowers, Cap.", said Volt. "He can move stuff without even touching it—" At this point, I demonstrated my power for Captain Clone, who had not yet seen it— "And he was wondering if he could join"
Captain Clone stroked his chin, apparently in thought. "Well, we'll have to see about this.", he said. "Volt, Wolf-Man, take him to the meeting room." Then, lifting his voice, he let out the famous cry that was known so well to all residents of our city: "JUSTICE ALLIANCE, ASSEMBLE"
Volt led me to the famed meeting room while Wolf-Man followed silently, as was his wont. Personally, I was thrilled--I was going to meet the entire Justice Alliance! We soon arrived at the meeting room. Volt and Wolf-Man took their designated seats around a large circular table, and Captain Clone brought up a chair for me. "You can use one of my chairs.", he offered, grinning. "I only need one right now"
"Thank you.", I said, taking a seat between he and Volt. Wolf-Man sat on the other side of Captain Clone, and soon the others began filing in as well. I recognized them all from the news reports--Miss Lightspeed, naturally first, then a woman called Siren, a man named Suction, and the computerized robotic warrior known as ROM. I received mixed glances from many of them who didn't know what was going on. Once they had all sat down, Captain Clone began the meeting. "Ladies and gentlemen (and robots) of the Justice Alliance, we have an interesting matter on our hands today.", he said. "This young man who calls himself Kinetic has recently acquired super powers and would like to join our team." For the third time within a few minutes, I demonstrated my telekinetic abilities. Captain Clone then continued: "Do you think he should join"
"Permission to speak.", Wolf-Man requested.
"The floor recognizes Wolf-Man.", said Captain Clone.
"I object.", Wolf-Man announced, not to my surprise. "We know nothing about this boy, and there is much more to being a hero than just powers. He is inexperienced and would not stand up to even our weakest super-enemies. The Justice Alliance has no place for a sidekick named Telekinesis Boy"
Though I knew the meeting was to be polite and orderly, Wolf-Man's comment angered me. Acting impulsively, I stood up and spoke out. "First of all, my name is Kinetic, and secondly, I'm nobody's sidekick. I can be a real hero, just like"
"Kinetic, please have a seat.", Captain Clone told me. Embarrassed at what I had done, I obeyed. "Thank you for your opinion, Wolf-Man.", Captain Clone said. "Would anyone else like to speak"
"Permission to speak.", requested Miss Lightspeed, a woman with a red and yellow suit and long, dark hair.
"The floor recognizes Miss Lightspeed.", Captain Clone granted.
"I agree with Wolf-Man.", she said to my dismay. "Please don't take it personally, Kinetic, but we really don't know anything about you or your crime-fighting skills. We could very well be putting you in danger if we allowed you onto the team"
"Thank you, Miss Li--" Captain Clone's polite acknowledgement was cut short by a loud blaring noise, accompanied by a red glow that filled the room.
"Alert, Alert.", ROM said monotonously (his internal computer was connected to the one that ran the Justice Alliance Headquarters). "Headquarters is under attack. Repeat, we are under attack"
"Attack?", I repeated, stunned. "How is that possible? It's the Justice Alliance"
Volt looked at me with a sort of sad smile, as if to say, "Oh well, what can you do?" "Look, kid, we're not invulnerable.", he told me. "We still have enemies and weaknesses just like everyone else. We just have to do our best and hope that nothing too serious comes." Then, turning back to ROM, he asked, "Who is attacking us, anyway"
"Surveillance cameras indicate that the attackers are our long-time nemeses calling themselves the Forces of Evil, also known as F.O.E." To my great surprise, even Wolf-Man cringed with disgust. "This is not good.", he said.
Captain Clone turned to me, a look of solemnity on his face. "As I'm sure you realize, we have to go out and make sure these criminals don't cause any trouble. You are to stay here until we return. Do you understand"
"But I can help you!", I protested. "Wouldn't it help to have extra powers working against your enemies"
"Until we return, I don't want to see you outside of this building.", he commanded. "Period"
With that, he quickly left the building, the other six members of the Justice Alliance following close behind.
I sat in my chair and groaned. What was I to do now? Shouldn't I go out and help the Justice Alliance? It was clear they didn't want me on the scene at that time, but I knew from watching the news that the Forces of Evil were by far their most powerful enemies. If the Justice Alliance was getting their butts kicked by F.O.E., would they still want me to stay inside then? Captain Clone had said he didn't want to see me outside of the building, but what if he didn't see me? I knew that, just like my original dilemma with knocking on the door, I couldn't want any longer or else I would back out. With no time to lose, I ran down to the same place through which I had entered and onto the battle scene, making sure to stay hidden and out of sight.
I gasped upon seeing the Forces of Evil. I had known they were here, but the actual sight of them caused fear to rise in my heart. I saw Captain Clone, who now consisted of about thirty copies of himself, struggling to stop the super-huge, super-strong villain known as Crusher. Volt was trading shots with the evil team's leader, a criminal mastermind called Dr. Energy. Wolf-Man faced off against Lady Dread, while Suction tried to keep the powerful Destructo in check. Miss Lightspeed ran to escape an aptly named man called Stretch, and Siren battled a fire-shooting woman called Blaze. ROM fought against a part human, part mechanical hybrid calling himself Cyber Man.
I saw all this action taking place right in front of me, but I was too scared to do anything about it. Looking back on the experience, I realize that Wolf-Man was right--it does take more than just superpowers to make a hero. If I had openly gone into the battle at that point, I most likely would've been badly injured or killed. Fortunately, I didn't--I stayed hidden and watched as the Justice Alliance battled the Forces of Evil.
To my great dismay, the Forces of Evil seemed to be gaining the upper hand. I watched as the Crusher knocked out one of Captain Clone, which, due to their strong connections with each other, had the same effect on all of them. Wolf-Man, who I had thought to be the master of intimidation, had temporarily succumbed to Lady Dread's fear-inducing powers, giving her just enough time to temporarily disable him and trap him under a large pillar of rock. Volt shot lightning at Dr. Energy, but the latter was capable of absorbing any kind of energy and changing it into different forms at will. He absorbed Volt's electricity and sent it right back at him, causing Volt's defeat. Destructo was a mutant who could tear or break things with the power of his mind. While the hero called Suction was doing everything he could to use his wind and air powers to keep things intact, Destructo had gotten the better of him. Blaze's fire had prevailed over Siren's sonic screams, and Miss Lightspeed ROM had been overcome by her opponent as well. ROM used his (or its, considering ROM is a robot) laser vision to try to disable Cyber Man, but the cyborg's laser cannon arm was more powerful. With ROM defeated, the entire Headquarters computer network shut down as well.
With every member of the Justice Alliance down for the count in some form or another, I was beginning to think that this would be a good time for me to come out. But if the Justice Alliance had been defeated, what chance could I possibly have? I was still left pondering this when I overheard Dr. Energy start to speak.
"Every time we have fought the Justice Alliance, they have come back to haunt us again.", he noted, following the classic style of villain-evil-plot-rants. "But no more! This time, we must finish it. This time, they die"
"Right.", said Destructo, eager to do what his leader had said. "I'll get started ri"
"No!", Dr. Energy commanded. "I will kill them. I am the leader of this organization, and I deserve the glory! All of you, step away!" Intimidated by their leader, the other six members of the Forces of Evil obeyed.
I saw a sphere of bright blue light appear between Dr. Energy's hands, and it soon grew larger and larger. His speech continued: "This sphere is composed of the purest form of destructive energy, and once it is large enough, it will obliterate the entire Justice Alliance! But it must be pure and undisturbed--any form of other energy interference will destroy it. But that can't happen, because the Justice Alliance has been defeated! And soon, the world will be mine! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA"
I was listening to what Energy was saying, and I knew it wasn't good news. Obviously, I had to do something! But what? My powers didn't allow me to conduct any energy. What could I do to defeat the sphere?
Then I remembered--I had seen Cyber Man shoot ROM with his laser cannon, which emitted a huge amount of disruptive energy. A plan was forming in my head, one that just might work--plus it would be ironic and good for dramatic effect. Thinking quickly, I used my telekinetic powers to raise Cyber Man's laser arm and point it in the direction of the sphere.
"Cyber Man, what are you doing?", Dr. Energy demanded. "Lower your arm at once"
"I--I can't, boss!", an astonished Cyber Man protested. "Something's holding it in place! I can't move it"
I knew I had to act before any of the bad guys got wise. Once again using my telekinetic powers, I found the trigger and released a full-on blast of disruptive laser energy, headed straight for Dr. Energy's precious sphere. Much to the villains' dismay, the sphere dissolved with a small explosion, not as big as the one Dr. Energy had wanted, but big enough to revive the unconscious members of the Justice Alliance. Realizing what had happened, partially at least, Volt stretched out his arm and zapped Dr. Energy by surprise, before he even had time to react.
Once their leader was down, the rest of the bad guys were much less confidence, and it was short work for the Justice Alliance (with a little help from yours truly) to defeat the rest of them. Within an hour, all seven members of the Forces of Evil were back in the state penitentiary where they belonged.
While the Justice Alliance recovered from their struggle, I explained what had happened and how I had disrupted the sphere. All of the heroes listened intently, not knowing what to think.
After my tale was finished, Captain Clone spoke. "I ordered you to stay inside.", he said, "But now, I'm glad you didn't. One of the lessons you'll learn in your career as a superhero is that you have to use your judgment sometimes and do whatever you can to best protect the people"
"My superhero career?", I repeated. "Does that mean I can join the Alliance"
Captain Clone smiled. "I think I speak for all of us here when I say we'd be glad to have you on the team"
"Yes!", I joyfully exclaimed. "Thank you"
Soon we all started filing back into the Headquarters building to recover and such. As he passed me, Volt gave me a non-electrical slap on the back. "Good job, Kinetic.", he said. "and thanks"
I was gratefully given congratulatory nods, words, etc. by many of the other heroes as well--Suction, Miss Lightspeed, Siren, and even ROM the robot. Then finally, Wolf-Man came up. I was a bit nervous about this part--did he still feel the same about me? For a moment neither of us said anything. Then, in his perpetually terse manner, he spoke. "Well done.", he said. "You've proved your worth today"
"Thank you.", I told him seriously. "That means a lot coming from you. And I understand what you meant now--a hero is more than superpowers"
Wolf-Man merely nodded, then mysteriously walked away. I stood there silently for a moment, not sure what to do next. Then I heard Captain Clone's voice.
"Attention, Justice Alliance!", he called. "There's a hold-up at the national bank!" He looked to me and asked, "Are you ready"
"Yes.", I replied, knowing that I was now more ready than I had been before our huge battle. "Let's go save the day."