Here it is. The first day of being a hero. Or at least the start of our official training to be one. You excited? I wasn’t. In fact, I was so nervous I broke my medicine cabinet; I was in a hurry and just as I was closing it, I heard someone shout my name. I turned and well, forgot I was holding onto it. And pulled it right off the wall. Trust me, stuff like that happens to me all the time. I’ve gotten so used to my own strength that I just stopped noticing. Funny huh? Anyway, the day started as yesterday did. The horn sounds, we’re all dressed and ready on the common area except this time, we got our upgrades. Axel had his funny looking little ignitor on with a few additions of his own, including welding goggles and a bandana. Why he chose those I’ll never know. Kyle now had a damn trench coat along with his new tactical gear which I assumed was made of the new skin stuff or whatever it was. Johnny had the least changes but I noticed he too had fighter gloves and elbow pads and such. Standard stuff for a martial artist. And Fe? God damn. Her outfit looked and still does look awesome. It looked like actual full on armour but was coloured in maroon and navy blue paint. You could still see the original colour still just a bit though. I think its grey? Probably why she painted it but damn it looked cool. Team Hyperion had apparently already gone so it was just us here. Tyler handed out what looked like small black boxes covered in buttons and a light. “These are you designated communicators. They’re DNA imprinted, so they’ll only turn on if you’re the one throwing the switch” everyone took theirs and put it in different places. I put mine on my belt, and turned it on. It spoke! “AUTHENTICATION REQUIRED. STATE HERO NAME AND CODE NAME”. Everyone elses said the same thing and as they did we each looked at Tyler. “Go on” he said “Your names are already logged don’t worry. This is just for communication between us and our operator”. So, one by one, we did as he told us.

“Riot. Codename, Fragger”
“USER ACCEPTED”

“The Ghoul. Codename, Invis”
“USER ACCEPTED”

“Johnny Yakuza. Codename, Dragon 01”
“USER ACCEPTED”

“Hysteria. Codename, Moodswing”
“USER ACCEPTED”

“Hammer Jack. Codename, Brick”
“USER ACCEPTED”

You have absolutely no idea how good that felt to say. I’m a hero! I thought, I can actually do this! Tyler smiled as he spoke, “right so today you’ll be out and about on a pretty common patrol path through Old Town. But while we’re out there, if anything happens DO NOT attempt to resolve things until I get there. You’re still inexperienced. Remember that.” And with that, we we’re out in Old Town. It was a pretty bright day, a little chilly but it was bright enough to be considered sunny. Tyler stopped us eventually, telling us “okay since it seems pretty quiet today, I’m gonna let you all split up. Just don’t leave Old Town oka-” and before he could finish, everyone else was already gone. Tyler just looked at me and said “Well, looks like its jus-” he put two fingers up to ears, “okay got it, I’m inbound. Sorry J, gotta run. Remember don’t leave Old Town!” And with that, Zap was off, using the electronic signs to rocket his way to wherever he was needed. And then that just left me, stuck in an environment I hated. Surrounded by people. “Well” I thought to myself “better start somewhere”. So I started for my favourite part of Old Town. Heroes Corridor.

Now you’re probably wondering, “Jack, why’s it called that?” And that’s a good question. They call it Heroes Corridor because its where most of the heroes flock to since not only is it a financial district, where all the banks are and such, is because of that that a lot of villains flock there to try and get their names heard. Lots of big battles and stuff have gotten down there and it often gets resolved right there and then. Plus, my mum used to take me there to get me some hero merchandise and toys and stuff. Good memories you know? And sadly, not a lot happened. A few people high fived me and I had a pleasant conversation with a corner store owner about me starting up. She was pretty excited to meet a future hero. She told me she doesn’t get a lot of high profile customers. I laughed but honestly, that made me kinda sad. She was so sweet; its a shame she doesn’t do well. Though I hear she’s doing swell now. And I know, since I still go there whenever I get the chance. She sells my favourite candy bars, I can’t help myself. The day dragged honestly but halfway through the day, something occurred. It wasn’t a brawl. Far from it. I reached the street of the tallest building in Sidestep City and noticed an ambulance crew and some of the police. I looked up and could just make out the figure of someone halfway up. Everything in my head was telling me “just leave it. Call Tyler. He’s more experienced just leave this to him.” But, in case you don’t know me well, I go by my instincts and they were telling me that I had to help here. No matter what Tyler told me. I approached scene and and officer eyed me up, then said “you a hero kid?” In a rather gruff, albeit exhausted voice. I nodded and he seemed super relieved, “great. Maybe you can get him down”

“What’s going on?”

“Some kid climbed up using the stairs. We sent a guy up there and he came back telling us the kid wants to jump. Somethin’ about his mom dying.”

“Oh. Poor kid”

“Yeah…”
“Anyway, you think you can get him down?”

“No. But I’ll talk to him”

With that, the officer gave we a weird look, and I made my way inside. I gotta say, it was a pretty fancy place. A hotel maybe? I don’t know, I could never afford to even look at a place like this. Also I don’t see why the cop they sent earlier took the stair. The elevators worked just fine. I ended up on the 18th floor and as the doors opened, I saw more cops and a few paramedics. They noticed me and I explained to them what I was gonna do. They seemed concerned but, the let me into the room, wishing me good luck. I saw the kid, standing and peering over the edge of the big ass window. He looked up and without looking at me, screamed “Go away! I told them not to send anyone!”

“I ain’t just anyone. I’m here to hel-“

“You can’t help! Go away!!!”

“Hey, look just calm down okay? I’m just here to-“

“DONT YOU GET IT?!?! GO AWAY!!!!”

We both went quiet for a while. It was agony. I knew exactly how this kid felt and I wad running out of options. I wait to long, he jumps. I move too soon, he jumps. So, I did what I said I was gonna do.

“I’m just here to talk to you. I promise, I won’t take you down if you don’t want me to.”

“T-talk?….”

“That’s right. Just to talk”

I edged closer to the window, and he seemed to not notice. Or maybe he did, and he was letting me. I knew his limit though, so I made sure to stop a good distance before he crouched and sat down, dangling his legs out the window.

“My mom got killed….Some guys tried to rob the store she was at….she got caught trying to get help and one of em just….”

He started crying then. God that hurt. It tugged at my heartstrings so much. We were ages apart. No kid should have to go through that. No one should. But at the end of it all, that’s just how it. We can’t change that. He continued…

“Then my dad….I found my dad in his room…he was covered in these funny looking pills….he wouldn’t wake up so I called my uncle….they told my dads dead too….today….”

He buried his head in his knees and continued crying. I approached without even thinking, sat next to him and put my arm around him.

“I know…..I know….I felt the same way you do….”

He pushed me away “how could you!?! You’re a hero! They never feel like this….”

You know, up til this point, I never told anyone of my life before I became a hero. But I figured, I can relate to this kid. He deserves to know. I grabbed him as gently as I could, picked him up and put him down on solid ground. Then I looked him dead in the eyes and said, as gently as I could,

“I had a fiancee before this hero stuff you know that? She got taken by bad people too…”

I paused, composing myself before carrying on

“kid I’ve done some bad things. Ive hurt people and I’ve killed people too. I lost my fiancee because of those bad people and I was one of em. Your mom died sure and I can help with catching who ever did it. Hell I’ll even give em a crack round the jaw just for you. But your dad? He wouldn’t want you up here. Neither would your mum. Just like my Alice didn’t want me doin the same. It just happens. The only thing we can do is push through it. But we don’t have to do it alone and certainly not like this.”

“I didn’t become a hero to fight guys and show the world how strong I am. That was a part of it”

“I became a hero so no one else would have to feel the way I did.”

He looked at me, a mixture of shame, shock and sadness in his eyes. He asked, “I don’t wanna go down yet…..can you stay here with me?…” I knelt in front of him, putting my hand on his shoulder, “of course. I’ll stay as long as you’d like. You got a name?”

“Kai”

“Name’s Hammer Jack. Or Jack if you want”

It got dark and eventually, he asked to go down. So I took him down, and handed him over to the ambulance crew. I explained to them what was up with him and they promised me he’d get the best care they could give him. I got back to my bunkhouse (I guess?) And found everyone in Spark waiting for me. “Where did you go?!? It’s been hours!!” Tyler said, looking pretty disappointed. I explained what happened then listened to everyone else’s day. Afterwards, we all made our way to our rooms and eventually, I fell to sleep.

I didn’t care if I didn’t stop a robbery like Axel and Kyle did. Or stop a rampaging villain like Johnny, Tyler and Fe did.

I helped someone. And to this say, that’s still one of my greatest achievements as a hero. Its the little things like that, that make this job worth it.

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