As we enter Starlight’s apartment, I can’t help but glance around at the decor. It’s very simple and understated, not too busy. It feels Spartan, but like a haven rather than a military base. I can still feel the stress that Starlight is obviously under, though. Again, I want to fix it, but I’m not sure how. Food is always a good start, but how should I move forward?
“I don’t know that you’re all taking this seriously,” Starlight says, without preamble. “This could be a potentially dangerous situation, and while the choice to become a superhero is ultimately up to you all, you need to think carefully before making that choice.” I just get the barest wisp of a thought–that Starlight didn’t exactly get a choice, herself–maybe a hint of regret that she rushed into it? I’m not sure.
“I agree,” I say out loud. “It seems that trouble keeps on finding us, so we can’t exactly avoid the choice any more. Should we take this step, or not?” I swallow. Public speaking isn’t exactly my forte. It requires me to be open to the emotions of an entire audience, and that always makes me nervous, when I can’t just block it all out and will myself to relax. “More importantly, does any of us–except Starlight, of course–know anything about self-defense at all? I took one class and carry pepper spray in my purse. That’s it.” There’s absolute silence around the room. Audrey and Saxon look at each other. This has suddenly become more serious than any of us ever expected. The incident at the library showed that. When you have superpowers, trouble just has a way of finding you.
“Maybe we shouldn’t actually choose personas and uniforms just yet,” Rebecca says cautiously. “But I do think we should learn to protect ourselves, should another situation occur.”
“I know how to fight,” Saxon says quietly.
“Then you could teach the rest of us,” I reply. For a long moment, we just gaze around the room at each other and no one says a word. I shiver. It’s as if all the heat was suddenly sucked from the room.
“I can shoot,” Rebecca adds. “Not that it’ll be any help,” she continues shyly.
“No, actually. It might help us to be able to tell how to remove the rounds from a gun.” Again, there is utter and complete silence.
Suddenly I hear Starlight’s voice inside my head, and it’s hard to keep from jumping. She’s projecting her thoughts very deliberately at me, and though the sensation is new to me it’s clear she’s done this before.
Two p.m. on Monday. The gym on Farnam Street. Don’t be late.
It seems that, like it or not, we are all headed… somewhere.