How One Idea May Benefit Many

Invites. Invites? What does this Lannis girl think she is getting herself into – a knitting club? There I am on Bouvier Street, Foundry City, rooftopping, having a ball in the quiet end of town, when a cop on guard outside the Baudelaire Hotel waves frantically at me. Thinking something must have gone awry with the Peruvian diplomat who is staying there at the time, I wander down to the sidewalk and nod to him.

“Officer.”

“Starlight.” He kind of half-salutes (new cops are always ultra-polite to metas) and hands over a letter. “A citizen asked me to give you this. I’ve run it through the FCPD diagnostic scanners, and it’s clean.” I thank the cop solemnly, and head over to sit on the hotel roof to open the envelope. I’m not crazy about lounging around in comfortable clouds nowadays, because of the potential for power glitches.

Dear Starlight. Good start. You may remember me; you saved my life about a year ago. If I remembered everybody whose life I’d saved, I’d have more friends in real life than Mark Zuckerberg does on Facebook. And my friend and I helped you out the other night. Again, honey, if I remembered everybody… We’re both metas too – Sure you are. And we’re starting a teen metahuman club – kind of a support group. Sure you are. I just wondered if you’d like to join us some night. We’ll be at the coffee shop by the park. Yours sincerely, Lannis Raehe. Well, if you can get caramel macchiato, it won’t be the worst hangout I’ve ever heard of. Not by much, anyway.

But a meta support group? What are these kids even thinking? No, wait. First questions first. Are these kids even thinking? Metahumans have three options, and only three. Be very good, in which case the wider community will become aware of you; be very average and stay anonymously in the shadows; or be very bad, in which case the wider community will still become aware of you, though maybe not in a way you’d enjoy.

Me, I’m pretty well respected by some of the top metas in the world. I admit that’s partly because of Mother, but I’ve done well alone too. When the powers blip off altogether, sometime in the next couple months, I’ll carry on without them until I can find time to track down Rhadamanthus.

Now wait a minute there, Starlight girl. These kids could use the help. Hell, I could use the help, if it comes to that. Mother told me I’d be working alone until I died or quit, with the rap she could lay on me all over the community. If I can pull this off, I can prove her wrong, and then proceed to rub her retroussé metahuman nose in my success.

But first, I have to pull it off.

Calling in the time pips through my earpiece, I pause to consider. Ten at night means that kids waiting for a nocturnal super will still be waiting. Or should be if they have any sense. I conduct a quick survey to see that I’m looking like a super, not a bum. Mask straight. Gloves clean. Gauntlets unscuffed. Cape intact (most unusual for me). Hair reasonably tidy, and off I go to the coffee shop on the edge of the park.

I could find my way through the park blindfolded, I’ve been there often enough and kicked enough would-be rapists in the man-bits, in the trees around there. Odd that I’ve never noticed a coffee shop before. But it is definitely there, with a twee little bell that jangles as I push open the door. I do not like bells.

And surprise, surprise, “Phoenix King” is sitting at one of the tables, drinking what smells like a vanilla latte. I know perfectly well that my earlier dreams about caramel macchiato will go unfulfilled. Can’t afford to leave lip prints on things. Not safe. That’s just one of the things I know that these girls don’t, just one of the things that will get them killed. And after all, part of what I do is preventing people getting killed.

“Ladies,” I say, quietly, aware that I don’t need to get their attention, because they’re all staring at me anyway. “Which of you is Lannis?”

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19 thoughts on “How One Idea May Benefit Many

  1. proverbs31teen March 30, 2015 / 7:25 AM

    Duh-duh-duhnnnn… You should at least try to look inconspicuous, Star. I mean, everyone knows you, but still.

    Like

    • proverbs31teen March 30, 2015 / 8:18 AM

      I’m betting they are, but they also seem terribly impractical. Because to make any use of a lip print, you would have to have a catalogue of lip prints to go through to try to find a match. And having a catalogue like that is inconceivable, because who is going to give you their lip prints? Or are you going around to random people’s cups and saying, “Okay, Starlight drank out of this, so this is her lip print. We may have use of that.”

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      • sarahtps March 30, 2015 / 1:18 PM

        Yeah, and how would you use them anyway? I mean, last time I checked, people don’t go around kissing things randomly. And most crooks, if they’re going to commit a crime, don’t stop in for a drink at the place first.

        Liked by 1 person

      • proverbs31teen March 30, 2015 / 1:30 PM

        Yep. What’s more dangerous when drinking is the fact that you’re leaving DNA with your spit, and, if you’re not wearing gloves, your fingerprints. Then again, you could always wash the cup if you get a real one, not a paper one.

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      • coruscantbookshelf March 30, 2015 / 2:57 PM

        Yes they are really a thing, yes if there’s a Big Bad anywhere in the same country as you you can’t be too careful, and yes you are actually absolutely right about how personal ID-ing data is used, especially where superheroes are concerned. If there is even the remotest chance that any DNA, prints, anything, of yours is on file anywhere and connected to your cover name, then you have to make damn sure the same data never gets connected to your hero name.
        And what kind of super doesn’t wear gloves???

        Liked by 1 person

      • proverbs31teen March 30, 2015 / 4:00 PM

        Mm-hm. But you still don’t have to be paranoid about it, Star.
        The stupid ones. Of which there are many. (Superman, duh)

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      • sarahtps March 30, 2015 / 4:41 PM

        And if you get a paper cup, fingerprints at least would probably be kind of messed up after being in the trash, right? (I could be wrong; all my knowledge of detective stuff comes from mystery novels.)
        @Star: O_o that’s . . . kind of scary, really.
        Also: the kind of super who has a power or weapon that gloves would interfere with. Like, I don’t know, if you had a power that you could blow things up by storing energy in them, but you had to touch the thing to put the energy in it. Or if your weapon is a bow and arrow- I tried one of those once, and gloves would definitely get in your way. Or if you’re a healer and you have to actually touch the person to heal them. *shrugs* No gloves doesn’t equal stupidity, necessarily.

        Liked by 1 person

      • coruscantbookshelf March 30, 2015 / 5:22 PM

        Ahem, no. Fingerprints are remarkably resilient.
        I could understand Audrey or Rebecca refusing to wear gloves, but if your power isn’t in your hands, you’re a fool to. (Archery is different in gloves, yes, but it’s something you can adjust to.)
        Listen, girls, I don’t really care if you want to go around leaving DNA and fingerprints all over the place, you’re not my responsibility, but I personally prefer not to. I’ve had an unpleasant experience involving personal ID data, that’s why I’m ‘paranoid’. If you want me to leave you in peace, so be it, but have the grace to tell me so directly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • sarahtps March 30, 2015 / 7:07 PM

        Really? Huh. I thought they’d get all smudged for sure . . .
        It’s fine; I just don’t see that I, personally, need to be *that* worried about it. *shrugs* I mean, I’m kind of a lot less in the spotlight than you are.

        Liked by 1 person

      • proverbs31teen March 30, 2015 / 7:55 PM

        They’ll get a little smudged, but they’ll probably still be identifiable.

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      • proverbs31teen March 30, 2015 / 8:02 PM

        I guess I have it lucky. Teleportation makes it virtually impossible for people to track me if I know they’re there, and I have the advantage of being able to go to another world where none of them can find me, unless they’re from there. And even then, invisibility.

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      • erinkenobi2893 March 31, 2015 / 4:13 PM

        I don’t think I should be worried, much. The only people who have ever really noticed me were my boss (who seemed amazed by my diligence) and academia. (Who knew that an 85-90% average grade earns one an invitation to two entirely different honors societies?)
        *dresses up like Elsa’s coronation scene minus cape plus mask* Heehee… Sometimes doing incredibly stupid stuff is fun.
        Oh, by the way, Starlight, I think I should probably mention this before things get too complicated; my cousin is a deputy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • coruscantbookshelf March 31, 2015 / 4:48 PM

        I see. Well, you’ll just have to decide whether to tell your cousin the deputy what’s going on, or stay out of his way when you’re working. Which is harder than it sounds, by the way.

        Liked by 1 person

      • erinkenobi2893 March 31, 2015 / 5:44 PM

        Which would you recommend? (He’s trustworthy. Might possibly know I have powers–I’ve known him since before I can remember, our families used to have dinner together every Sunday afternoon and go on vacation together, and he’s not an idiot. They don’t let you on the force if you are.)

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      • coruscantbookshelf April 2, 2015 / 2:45 AM

        A trustworthy not-idiot could be useful. Just remember not to reveal anybody else’s identity to him unless you’re sure they’re okay with it. And come up with an excuse for whatever-your-working-identity-will-be to know him. Actually, that’s something we all need to work on.

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