Poet growled as she stared at the four walls of her apartment's living room. The off-color white confining as she thought back to the aftermath of the incident.

"We, the Head Council of the Hero's Society do find that the superheroine known as Poet is to be placed on forced leave until it is determined that Mastermind is no longer a threat."

Her growl turned into a snarl as she remembered the condescending platitudes from that bastard Ultraman.

"I'm sure this whole Mastermind thing will be cleared up shortly. I will be handling it personally, so don't fear. You will be back to catching purse-snatchers soon."

"I fucking hate that sexist piece of shit," She muttered to no one, "Harasses half the women in the society just because he's the Head of the Council. He gets away with it because he's so popular with the press. Damn fucking, glory hound."

Snorting she glanced out the window, "And there is my little stool pigeon," she grimaced, "ready to report back to the league if I step outside my doors."

Plopping herself down into her recliner, the Scarlet Avenger tapped her finger against her nose.

Smiling nastily, she picked up the phone.

Stalker turned his collar to the cold, "I can't believe I have to sit out in the cold and babysit Poet," He griped into the cold night, "She's a big girl. She can take care of herself."

Glancing up at the Apartment, Stalker snarked, "Ultraman's an ass. My wager is that Poet has Mastermind wrapped around her little finger at the end of this. Girl is serious bad news when she's pissed."

A small delivery van pulled up in front of the Knight Nightmare, a skinny teen stepping out.

"Excuse me," he whined, "are you, Mr. Stalker?"

Stalker grimaced, what is Poet playing at?

"I'm Stalker," He growled, "what's your business with me?"

"I have a Pie here for him."

"I didn't order no Pie."

"A Ms. Poet phoned it in," the teen virgin droned on, "It's fully paid for."

Glad to see their's no hard feelings, Stalker sighed, the last thing I need is the Fatal Female to be mad at me.

"I'll take it, thanks kid. She already take care of your tip too? Or is that on me?"

"Nah man, I'm taken care of." The young man finished, "just need you to sign."

Smirking, Stalker scribbled his signature and grabbed the steaming pie.

"Thanks, Man," Stalker sighed, "This'll hit the spot."

As the teen angel drove away Stalker opened his treasure.

"What the Fuck?!" Stalker exclaimed, "Pineapple, Anchovies, and Carolina Reaper Peppers!"

Raising his quavering eyes to Poet's apartment, his eyes moistened as he took his first bite.

I'm so glad Poet isn't mad. But how did she know my favorite pizza?"

Watching Stalker devour the abominable crime against pizza, Poet tasted the acid of bile. Running to her small bathroom, the Scarlet Avenger heaved into her personal porcelain god.

"How in the hell can he eat that," She moaned.

The thought caused her return to her Alabaster Diety, as her apartment was filled with the sounds of her fervent worship.

Mastermind strolled through the doors of the Hero's association.

Being immortal does have its advantages, he smirked, the time to give yourself access to any building worldwide, for example.

Snickering to himself, he strutted past their security. Flashing his ID at the few guards, Mastermind continued his way unimpeded.

The fact all my false Ids are in fact real; helps as well. All it takes is some time and credit history, Ha!

Scanning the area, Mastermind searched for his quarry. In his left hand, he fiddled with a USB drive.

Now, where is the Megadeuce known as Ultraman? I have a 12 o'clock appointment with my masseuse and I would rather not be late. Ugh, such an inconvenience to my day.

Continuing to wander through the building, he noticed a small group of young heroes milling around.

Wait. Did I come during application day? he wondered, Maybe I can miss Jean-Paul just this once. It's not every day I can examine my future enemies.

Scooping up a clipboard, he addressed the hopefuls.

"Alright, I think we should start with introductions. We'll start from the right and work our way across. Tell me your hero names and powers. Also, I want to hear why you want to be a hero. We need to get through this quick, so limit your responses to twenty words or less."

"Uh sir," One of the newbies stammered, "We've already been turned down. Ultraman himself said our powers and skils are not 'Hero association level."

"Oh he did, did he?" Mastermind snarled, "Do any of you know who I am?"

So glad I kept this hero identity up.

The five young applicants shook their heads.

Oh, this is going to be fun, I get to screw with Ultraman and add some interesting new heroes.

"My name is Arcane and I wield the mysteries of magic!" Mastermind exclaimed.

"You're an Honorary founding member!" one of the male rejects realized, "One of the most powerful beings in existence."

"That is correct, young man," Arcane smiled, "Yet, my power is just a high level of skill with ritual magic. I have never had any ability with spells. Can't even cast them."

The young heroes stared blankly at him.

Umm, Excuse me, Mr. Arcane, A young woman flinched, but how is that possible? If you don't mind me asking of course.

"I don't mind at ..." Arcane paused, "Did you just speak directly into my head?"

The girl's eyes bulged as she jumped behind one of her much bigger friends, Sorry, I don't have any other way of talking. I'll be quiet now."

Huddling behind the hulking male, the small girl vanished.

Arcane chuckled, "It's alright young one. I was just surprised that Ultraman turned down a telepath, those are usually snatched right up. I didn't mean to startle you. Please come forward and tell me about yourself. Remember 20 words or less."

Oh, uh okay, she stuttered, My name Is Silent Girl and I can communicate with anyone on the planet. Also, I can understand all languages.

"Wait, anyone on the planet?" Arcane queried.

Silent Girl nodded from her hiding spot, only her head visible.

Arcane's grin nearly split his face, "Do you need to be aware of them, or can you just scan."

I can scan or send direct. But only what people say, I can't read minds."

"So technically you can listen to any conversation, anywhere, at any time, with no actual need for a warrant. Dear God, I am overriding Ultraman's signature right now. We need to get you trained, ASAP."

Stepping out from behind her meat shield, Silent Girl launched herself at Arcane. Glomping onto the Mystic Marvel she let loose a mental squee that deafened everyone within 20 ft.


Patting her head, Arcane smiled down on her. Wrapping his other arm around her, he returned the hug.

"You earned it," Looking up he stared at the next in line, "Alright lets' continue, remember 20 words or less, I am old and don't have the time or attention for anything more."

"Before I answer, are you going to stop hugging Silent Girl?" The beefy male giant huffed.

"Do you want me to stop hugging you?" Arcane asked his diminutive remora.

Silent Girl shook her head.

"No", Arcane snarked, "I am not, either continue or lose your chance."

"I'm Brick," he snickered, "I generate brick walls. They deteriorate within seconds unless I sustain them. I can't move while I do."

"That seems useful for defensive and rescue operations," Arcane mused, "How many can you sustain at once?"

"One at a time, But I can vary the length and width."

"How quickly can you put them up?"

"5 minutes." Brick muttered, "That's why Ultraman denied me. Takes too long for combat.

"That is completely ridiculous," Arcane spat, "That power has plenty of applications, even with those limitations. You'd make a superb support hero and if given training could eliminate the drawbacks all together. You Are In."

Brick's mouth opened and closed a moment. Then the broad man knelt.

"Thank you," He sighed.

Arcane smiled, "Thank me by making sure you're the best you can be."

Turning to the next in line, he cocked his head curiously.

"I am most curious about you," He queried, "You don't often see one of the night people seeking to be heroes."

The painfully slender female towered seven feet over the rest of them. Her spindly arms dangling around her knees. Six eyes were spaced randomly on a face split by a nightmarish mouth. Nodding her head in acknowledgment, she smoothed her suit. Taking a moment more to straighten her ruffled skirt, she hissed.

"Is what Ultraman talked," she grumbled, "Only was less polite and more honest."

"Heh," Arcane chuckled, "I imagine it was, but everyone else here is getting a second chance. There is no reason your rejection can't be reconsidered as well."

"Self is Barrow Wight," she conceded," Self is Shadow walker, Hunter, is Night Person. Self's race is Gug-kin."

Tapping one of her talons against her chin, she continued.

"Can also walk secret paths."

Arcane stared dumbfounded, "And he denied you?!"

"No denial, no interview," She muttered, "Was asked to leave, told not wanted."

The horror lowered her head, black drops of tar dripping from her eyes to the carpet. Acrid smoke drifted up as the tall terror rubbed at her eyes.

"Now you tell Barrow to leave too," She sighed, "Is okay, self expected this. Hoped not."

Turning to go, Barrow was halted by a sudden weight. Looking down, she saw Silent Girl glomping onto her.

Staring down at the woman, Barrow Wight patted her head.

"Thanks, is good to know Self has friend."

"Friend's Barrow," Brick stated, handing the tall woman his handkerchief.

"Yeah," Arcane snarled, "And a place here. That xenophobic deuce canoe can lick me if he has a problem."

It was Barrow Wight's turn to cock her head. Accepting the handkerchief from Brick she dried her eyes.

"You make enemy of chairman on Self's account? No want to make Arcane's life hard."

Arcane laughed, "Oh don't you worry about me, Ms. Wight. Ultraman can do shit to dick to me."

Barrow Wight smiled, "Thank you, Barrow can do good. Not just hear screams from Day people anymore."

Arcane pointed to the next recruit, "Alright, next in line. Tell me what you can do."

Removing her hand from Barrow's arm, the young woman thought.

"Twenty words or less, huh?" she muttered.

Closing her eyes, she smirked, "My name is Torque, Contortionist, Martial Artist, Escape Artist, Acrobat, Detective extraordinaire."

"I am almost afraid to ask why he denied you," Arcane grimaced, "But what was his reasoning?"

"He told me he could buy a woman with those skills anytime."

"And there it is," Arcane cringed, "On behalf of all men and the Hero community, I am sorry for any pain or suffering caused by that disgusting comment. Oh, and to congratulate you on getting in. You have all the makings of an excellent pursuer type character."

Smiling at the sputtering Torque, Arcane moved onto the last potential recruit.

Stepping up, the young man began, "I'm Hive-mind, I duplicate myself and shapeshift. Each clone acts as a part of me, controlled by a singular intelligence."

Arcane shook his head, "So, what in the name of fuck all, caused Ultraman to deny you?"

Hive-mind sighed, "Fuck all is right. He inferred that I was one orgy away from a scandal. Gave me a porn studio's address. Asshole even had the nerve to make the, 'its masturbation not sex joke'. Like I haven't heard that a hundred times."

Arcane pinched the bridge of his nose, "Okay that's two sexual harassment lawsuits and a potential discrimination complaint. Whelp, you have my recommendation. I will also be the one to train all of you. I've been looking for a way to end my boredom and I think this could be it. I might also be able to rope Poet into this. She's on forced leave right now but could be easily brought in to help train you lot. I think you'll like her."