[In-Character] Truth & Justice, Episode 9

I’m still off-balance. My life has never changed so much; it was always a succession of grades and schools, the differences more and more meaningless. In our morning training session, Raz had me dance. That I went along with it is a testament to how determined I am to make this superhero thing happen. I remember dancing with Keisuke, the night before he went off to study in England, and I remember not crying and wondering why.

Today was about Raz, mostly. We were investigating a series of seemingly random beatings, by someone who from the surveillance footage might or might not have been the spitting image of him. There were some kind of telepathic messages involved — “Suffer” — from someone who must not understand the nature of the human condition. I think I need to get a better grasp of Raz’s philosophy of spontanaity in case he decides to try to be a martyr again. Superheroes are supposed to help people, and that includes other superheroes. We caught up with him at the airport, where he was fighting what looked like some kind of clone or duplicate of himself, and some sort of force field kept us from getting involved. When he beheaded his other self, the body dissolved into black goo. I still need to do an analysis, not that we have the facilities to do the in-depth study I’d like to do. He actually handled it fine himself this time, but there’s no telling how many others there are out there.

This wouldn’t be so frustrating, except I transformed in public. People were running for their lives, and somehow they found time to point a damn television camera, so “Mega-Rider II” is all over the news. I never really thought about what it would be like to be famous, but seeing myself on the news makes my skin crawl. I need to become a different person, a better person, but I can’t change fast enough.

Things are moving even faster now. We’re probably going to be flying out to Colorado, to Aegis, a town supposedly populated by metahumans, tomorrow. I don’t think of myself as a metahuman, but then I don’t think I ever quite figured out what a human is in the first place. Life requires certain assumptions of you, including the assumption that those around you have the same kinds of thoughts, feelings, and rights. That people think otherwise is why we need superheroes, I suppose. Still, I wonder. The population of metahumans has been steadily rising through the 20th century and into the present. It’s still a small fraction of the world population, but for how long?

The tenth anniversary of my father’s death is looming nearer every day. I’ve never known the world to care much for round numbers — January 1, 2000 was by all accounts a dull and ordinary day — but I can’t shake the feeling that this will be an exception, if only because someone wishes to make it so.

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