CHAPTER THREE
QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS
AND MORE QUESTIONS

     “Scott! You’re going to be late!” Scott’s mom called up once more, waking Scott from his slumber. He had scarcely slept after what took place yesterday. He had been far too busy taking it all in and making plans, thinking up new questions to ask Demitri and Matthew.
     “I’m up!” he yelled down to her as he lunged forward in bed, then looked at his alarm clock. “Oh, man! Why didn’t it go off!?” he shouted as he rushed out of bed and threw on his blue Revolt series t-shirt and some fairly worn jeans. He went ahead and threw his backpack on too, rushing to the kitchen for a quick bite to eat.
     “Do you have everything?” Scott’s mom asked while watching him hurry to make some toast.
     He got himself a tall glass from the cabinet and answered her as he held open the fridge and poured himself some orange juice. “I think so.”
     “You should sit down while you eat,” she told him.
     Scott gave out a refreshed and satisfied sigh after gulping down his whole glass of juice. “No time,” he replied, then forced the hardly toasted bread up out of the toaster and hurried along. “Bye, Mom! See you later,” he said as he rushed out the door with plain toast in hand.
     Scott ran down the sidewalk, scarfing down his breakfast. He couldn’t wait to be done with school, and with it being a Friday, he knew he’d have the whole weekend to work on his powers and get into the superhero role. He still didn’t really understand how to summon his ability, but he knew somehow in the midst of excitement it would just become clear and burst out.
     Scott slowed his pace before reaching the bus stop as a sudden anxiety came in the midst of his thoughts. What if he got excited during lunch hour? Or while playing video games? What if his powers activated and he blew something up without even meaning to? It did happen to his headphones, which was no comfort to him as he slowly reached the stop and noticed his friend Jason was already there.
     Jason started grinning, holding his backpack’s straps by his chest as he began shifting side to side.
     Scott glanced at him then looked away, feeling overwhelmed with a sense of responsibility and a concern for his lack of control.
     “What’s wrong, Scott? Upset that I beat you here for once?” Jason laughed but Scott barely showed notice.
     “Yeah, sure,” he mumbled.
     “Hey, don’t go all emo on me,” Jason said, clapping his hands against his legs.
     “Sorry,” Scott said as he looked up and smiled a little. “I didn’t sleep well, so I guess I’m just tired,” he yawned as the bus pulled up.
     “At least you made it. I was beginning to think you were just skipping out,” Jason said as they boarded the bus.
     What Scott expected to be a slow day ended up moving along quite quickly, and he became increasingly anxious with each passing hour. He wasn’t the type to worry under normal circumstances, but this was anything but normal. Superpowers that could go off with excitement, heroes that could show up at any time. Though both were unlikely scenarios, Scott found himself thinking about the possibilities without rest.
     When Scott arrived home it was no different. He constantly looked at the time, whether it be in his room watching his alarm clock or in the kitchen checking the clock on the oven. He was feeling both anxious and excited about meeting with Demitri and Matthew.
     “Are you waiting for something?” Scott’s mom asked as she lowered her magazine and noticed him looking at the clock for the third time within five minutes.
     “Oh, uh…” Scott paused, trying to think how to answer. “Not really, I’m just tired.”
     “Well if you’re that tired, you should go to bed!” she told him.
     “But it’s only eight o’clock!” he said in opposition.
     “So? If you get in bed now you might actually wake up at a reasonable time tomorrow,” she replied, lifting her magazine back up to read.
     “No way. I’m definitely sleeping in,” he stated.
     “All right, that’s fine! I’m just telling you, if you want to, it’s fine for you to go on to bed.” She shrugged as she glanced along the pages.
     “I think I’m gonna go watch TV,” he decided.
     “Okay. Have fun,” she said as he headed for the hall while his dad was just coming in.
     “Hey Scott. Heading to bed already?” his dad asked as he passed him in the hallway.
     “What? No! I’m going to watch TV!” he loudly replied.
     “Hahaha, I’m just kidding! I overheard you and your mom,” his dad teased.
     Scott shook his head and smiled. “You always do that!” His dad grinned as he headed into the kitchen while Scott went into his own room, shutting his door behind him. He felt strangely more relaxed now. He had gotten through the day without any mishaps, so the probability of anything going wrong at this point seemed unlikely.
     Scott settled down on his bed, turned his television on with the remote and leaned back on a couple pillows. He began waiting. A couple hours went by and there he was, still waiting. They’ll be here at eleven, right? he pondered to himself, knowing it may very well still be an hour or two before he would see them. The volume on his TV was barely loud enough to hear now, as his parents were likely to be winding down for bed soon.
     Scott grew impatient and got out of bed. He began pacing in circles, bored and slightly sleepy. He sat back down on the side of his bed, in case they dropped in soon. He squirmed around in his impatience then took his remote and turned off the television. And so he waited with another ten minutes sluggishly passing by.
     What should I ask them first? he contemplated, kicking his feet lightly up and down against the side of his bed. He stood up once more, just to try and keep himself alert. He slowly walked around his room, sliding his hand along the smoothed edges of his wood furniture, then sitting at his desk to draw or doodle. After another fifty minutes he began to get especially anxious. He made his way to the window and casually peeked out through the blinds at the night sky, though there wasn’t much to see due to the bright streetlights throughout the small town.
Scott gave out a sigh, letting his hand drop from the blinds to his side as he lazily turned away. As he completed his turn he gave a start at seeing Demitri in the room with him.
     “Dude, don’t do that!” Scott said in a rough whisper to him with a hand over his heart.
     “Come on,” he said, offering Scott his hand. Scott grasped it while Demitri used his other hand to press the device on his wrist that teleported them back to Mainframe.
     “Welcome back!” Matthew greeted as the two of them stepped off the blue circle onto the reflective white tiles.
     “Thanks!” Scott said cheerfully. “So what are the plans for tonight?”
     “We were trying to decide between cards or the jumbling tower…” Demitri replied.
     “What?” Scott asked.
     “Oh, you meant as far as work goes!” he remarked teasingly. “Well first answer me this…” Demitri said, pausing to cross his arms and stare down at Scott more seriously. “Did you tell anyone anything?” he asked, Demitri already knowing full well what the answer was.
     “No,” Scott answered somewhat timidly.
     “…Good!” Demitri replied cheerfully.
     “It’s not like anyone would believe him!” Matthew pointed out.
     “Hah, well let’s get right down to business then, shall we? We can go to the training room and give you more tips for mastering your powers, if you’d like,” Demitri offered to Scott.
     “Oooooor…we could kick it up a notch,” added Matthew, wanting to make things a bit more interesting.
     “Do you mean actually go for a night out on the town? Bagging bad guys and all that?” Scott asked with a somewhat building excitement.
     “Not quite,” Demitri answered and Scott’s enthusiasm came to a halt.
     “Or helping cats down trees. Whatever you guys do,” Scott murmured.
     “Hey! I have yet to help a single cat down any tree!” Matthew retorted.
     “And that’s a good thing why?” Scott asked with a smirk.
     “Hey, guys!” Demitri interrupted, quieting them both and bringing their focus back to the original topic. “Thank you,” he said calmly. “Now then, what Matthew was getting at is that we could actually set Mainframe’s training room to fire on us. I’m not just thinking of holograms but a mode that would let you know when you’ve been hit,” Demitri explained.
     Scott was now giving his full attention to the idea. “Wait, why would we do that? Doesn’t it hurt?” Scott asked.
     “Worse than the sting of a wasp,” Matthew replied and Demitri nodded.
     “Well…that’s not so bad!” Scott said.
Matthew stared at him with a hidden scowl for a brief moment, “Have you ever even been stung?”
     “Pffft, yeah!” Scott said, brushing it off as nothing.
     Demitri snickered. “As Matthew said, this is a bit worse. Well, as far as immediate pain goes, but I’m sure it’s nothing you couldn’t handle,” he assured Scott. “Now then, we have to make this fair,” Demitri said while scanning the walls for gear Scott could use. “Then again, you might just end up destroying that equipment. How about this! Matthew and I won’t use our armor or weapons of any kind. We’ll all be relying on our powers alone,” Demitri proposed.
     “I guess.” Matthew shrugged, then pulled his helmet off. “I wish you had thought of that before I put it all on,” he complained while Scott stood silently, seeing what Matthew looked like under his armor for the very first time. Demitri then pulled his helmet off and placed it on the wall. He had a healthy and young appearance, not quite as old as Scott had maybe imagined at their first meeting.
     “This thing actually gets in my way sometimes,” Demitri said as he unhooked his cape from his armor and hung it up.
     “Uhm…how old are you guys?” Scott asked.
     “Why? How old do I look!?” Matthew snapped, causing Scott to look apologetic. That was quickly cured as Matthew grinned afterwards and got back to removing his armor.
     “I’m twenty-three and Matthew is twenty-one,” Demitri answered, having hung up the last of his armor alongside Matthew’s.
     “Okay. Just curious,” Scott said.
     “So, what are we waiting for?” Matthew remarked, assuming the lead and heading to the wall to activate the elevator. Scott and Demitri followed him in, Scott wondering just how bad it could really hurt to get shot by one of their lasers, but hiding any such thoughts with a confident smile.
     “Oh, Scott, how was school?” Demitri asked, creating some small talk while waiting to reach the training room.
Scott paused as if the question caught him off guard, then he shrugged. “Meh,” he responded, just before the reverberating clank that indicated they had reached the ground.
     “Let’s do this!” Matthew said eagerly as he headed out of the elevator first, taking an immediate left to set the room. He pulled the lever to turn on all the lights and got right to bringing out the machines. “How long do we want to go for?”
     “Set it for ten minutes on a lighter mode,” Demitri commanded.
     “You sure? We could go for something a bit harder since there are three of us,” Matthew commented.
     “No, make it easy for round one. This is Scott’s first real time around, let’s not overwhelm him,” Demitri said.
     “I’ll be fine. I mean it’s not like they can kill me or anything.” Scott said, rubbing at his neck upon ending his sentence.
     “Oh, they can,” Matthew teased, setting the training room as Demitri instructed.
     “Matthew…” Demitri said in a lecturing tone, then looked at Scott. “They can’t kill you but believe me when I say you don’t want to get hit. It hurts,” he warned and Scott’s eyes widened when Demitri looked away.
     “Okay, all set! It’ll start in one minute, so be ready,” Matthew said as he did a quick sprint away from the wall’s control panel. “Oh hey, the goal is to knockout the machines with red lights. We take all of those down and we win,” he explained to Scott.
     “What if we can’t take them all down? Do they just keep shooting at us?” Scott asked.
     “It’s time based. If we don’t finish off the machines within ten minutes, the training course will end automatically,” Demitri clarified. “Also, Matthew and I will be helping out, so I doubt it’s even going to last for five,” he said confidently. The sound of a buzzer went off, indicating that the session was starting.
     “Here goes!” Matthew remarked.
     Not all of the machines lit up, but the ones that did were either marked with a blue light or with red. There were a total of ten red machines, one for every minute set, and each with only one gun mounted on the side or top.
     The first two fired off at the same time, one aiming for Demitri, the other for Scott. Demitri rolled across the cold metal surface, dodging the white laser and using his powers to hide. Scott on the other hand fell backwards, avoiding the laser but hurting his rump, to the point that he pondered whether it was worth it. With a glance back up Scott saw yet another machine aiming for him. He scurried across the floor, crawling behind a blue-lit machine as the red one fired at him, barely missing his leg. Scott peered around his cover to see Matthew running towards the one that just shot at him. When he got near, he pulled a force field around himself, blocking two shots on his right and one from the machine just in front of him. He then dropped the field and swiveled around the machine, pulling wires from its back before it could turn or respond.
     Scott leaned back against the blue-lit machine. It seemed to him he would be safe there long enough to get something worked up to take out a mechanism, but on the other side of his shield the floor opened up under a red-lit machine for it to descend into as a way of moving position, and when it came up it was right in front of Scott. His eyes widened when he saw the floor open up and when the machine started to rise his heart beat faster. It locked its gun on him but he pulled himself together and lunged at it. Just a brief second of what seemed like slow motion overtook Scott as he grabbed the barrel of the gun, then an immediate explosion followed, destroying the top part of the machine as Scott pulled his hand back unharmed.
     He began to smile with confidence as he rose to his feet, looking down at the smoldering machine, but then an unexpected shot from behind hit the back of Scott’s right arm.
     “ARGH!” he yelped as he clutched it and turned quickly to see it. He turned just in time to see Demitri appear behind the machine that had shot him, stomping a foot against it and brutally ripping its cords out, to the point of disrepair. Scott then noticed Matthew had lowered his guard as the other machines had already been dealt with.
     “You okay?” Demitri asked, taking his foot down and relaxing his shoulders a bit as the victorious sound of success was rung through the room by a buzzer.
     “Yeah,” Scott replied, releasing his arm. To his surprise the pain quickly ceased, but the fact that he had been hit at all made him feel somewhat discouraged.
     “You did good, Scott. Even if you did hide for most of it,” Matthew said. Though his words didn’t exactly comfort, Scott smiled all the same.
     “Thanks, I guess,” Scott said with a certain emphasis to show his displeasure.
     “You did fine,” Demitri assured him, then led the way to the elevator.
Scott watched the elevator appear and stepped on it with the others. “So that’s it?” he asked.
     “Yeah, that’s it for tonight. Just a quick round. We can’t do too many in one night or you’ll blow up all of our machines!” Demitri laughed.
     “Yeah, and you ripping them up with your bare hands is a whole lot better,” Matthew remarked sarcastically.
     Scott reflected briefly over the battle as the elevator went up. “Uh, hey. How is it the machines didn’t shoot at you when you went invisible? I mean, if you just make illusions or whatever,” Scott asked Demitri.
     “I said I create illusions, true, but I never said that was all. I’m able to mess with motion detectors, cameras, things like that. I’m…honestly not completely sure why my powers have an effect on machines, they just do,” Demitri said.
     “That’s so cool,” Scott said, almost coveting it as the elevator stopped and they reached the main floor. With the pause in activity, Scott decided it would be a good time to ask more questions. He thought over the many he had come up with last night, trying to decide where to start. “Hey, Demitri…” he began slowly, making sure he had his attention before asking anything.
     “What’s up?” Demitri asked.
     “I was wondering, where do our powers come from?”
     “Ah, good question. Believe it or not, you were more than likely born with this ability, but like many things it needed time to fully develop,” Demitri told him.
     “So wait, if we’re born with these powers, then couldn’t you see everyone in the world who has them?” Scott probed further.
     “No, not quite. It’s sort of like having three different stages to the abilities, the first being when they’re still in development. Mainframe can’t detect them during that stage. The second stage is when they’re developed and just inactive, like ours are right now. Mainframe can pick them up, but only during a special scan. We run one of those every Sunday to see what it gathers,” Demitri explained.
     “Makes sense.” Scott nodded.
     “And lastly, there’s the active stage. I believe I mentioned something about that when you first came here, but Mainframe signals when someone is actively using their powers, homing in on their exact location. It’s just a visual signal on screen, so we have to be watching for it when it happens, but we have Mainframe set to monitor and record whenever possible. Of course, you’d have to be somewhere out in the open for Mainframe to record you, but you get the idea,” Demitri said, ending his explanation.
     “Yeah, okay. I was just wondering though, are we the only people in the world right now with superpowers?” Scott asked with growing curiosity.
     “Nope!” Matthew answered. “I asked the same thing when I was new to all of this.”
     “It’s true, there are a handful of others out there,” Demitri replied.
     “Whoa, wait! Why aren’t they here, then?” Scott questioned.
     “Not everyone speaks English, kid,” Matthew indelicately remarked.
     “Well there’s the language barrier, true, but also there tends to be a time zone and lifestyle clash. While we’re working at midnight it would be eating up someone else’s afternoon, and some people are just too busy to add something like this to their lives,” Demitri said.
     “Hmm, being busy never helped me get out of it!” Matthew disputed.
     “Hey, you were the first person Mainframe picked up that actually lived in the United States. There was no way I’d let you off the hook,” Demitri told him.
Scott held his hand up to his chin as he thought on the answers they gave. “So we’re the only people in the United States with powers then?”
     “As far as fully developed goes, yes,” Demitri answered.
     “Just us three,” Matthew added.
     “Cool!” Scott applauded with one loud clap then suddenly gave out a yawn. Scott noticed Demitri looking at him and his somewhat sleepy eyes and mannerisms.
     “I think we should call it a night,” he said.
     “What? Already?” Matthew and Scott reacted nearly at the same time.
     “Hey, we’ll meet up tomorrow night,” Demitri assured them.
     “Oh right! Saturday! I almost forgot about bowling,” Matthew recalled.
     “Bowling?” Scott questioned.
     “Yes, every other Saturday we get together and go bowling. There’s this particular alley we go to that’s open till midnight but almost always empty by ten. We get the place all to ourselves,” Demitri explained with a smile.
     “Yeah, we can’t work all the time. Heroes gotta rest, too!” Matthew added casually as he leaned back against the wall.
     “I’ve yet to see you work at all,” Scott snidely remarked and Matthew lost his balance for a brief moment.
     “That’s because we have to babysit you, kiddo,” Matthew replied with a sound of warning to his voice.
Demitri shook his head and gave just a slight eye roll at their squabbling. “All right, you two. Scott, will you be able to join us?”
     “For bowling at ten? Sure!” he agreed cheerfully.
     “All right then, let’s call it a night and meet up tomorrow,” Demitri determined to which Scott agreed and willingly went on his way, teleporting back to his room.
     Matthew crossed his arms and simply gave Demitri a suspicious smile. “Seems awfully early to call a quits. And without even checking around for anything interesting to do?” he mused.
     “Scott needs his rest. Though that’s not to say you and I can’t go for a run,” Demitri commented.
     “What about you calling it a night?” he questioned.
     “Just on Scott’s training, Matthew. You didn’t really think I’d let you off the hook two nights in a row, did you?” Demitri grinned as he pulled his armor off the wall and slipped it on over his chest.
     “Not for a second,” Matthew said, taking what was his and putting it on.
     The two went about their usual routine that night, excluding Scott from their little venture without his knowing. There wasn’t much time spent tapping calls before one caught their interest. The caller was from a rural area, claiming he caught a teenager in his home making off with some of his goods. The description of a gray hoodie and blue jeans was more than enough for Demitri and Matthew to work with, and the two wasted no time in answering the call.
     “Think we’ll catch this thief before the cops even get to the house?” Matthew asked as Demitri used Mainframe to locate him.
     “Oh, I know we will,” he replied confidently as he set the coordinates to teleport. “Let’s go!” he commanded and off they went.
     As one could undoubtedly guess, the young thief didn’t get too far. He was running on foot, avoiding roads and passing through a cornfield with little to no light. He was confident in the direction he was headed, as if he had planned and practiced that path continuously. Seeing the shadowy shapes of trees ahead, he pulled out a flashlight and slowed his pace to catch his breath. As he approached the end of the tall corn, however, he would soon wish he had kept running. Demitri was standing just ahead, but the young thief remained blissfully unaware of his presence, that is until Demitri grabbed his arm from the side and cuffed the now panicking teen, pushing his back so he came to the ground on his knees.
     Matthew came running out from the trees ahead. “I’ll take that!” he said as he reached the two and snatched away the thief’s plunder, which was held in a beige-colored bag. Demitri was checking him for any weaponry, but as expected for the quick-to-flee thief, there was nothing more than his flashlight, cell phone and car keys.
The scared and confused teenager tried to make them out with the light from the moon as his flashlight now laid in the dirt. The light shimmered on their armor but in no way reflected off of the fitted material underneath or Demitri’s dark cape. The armor was enough to tell, though. They were no cops.
     “Who are you guys!?” the thief shouted, squirming around on the ground below.
Demitri pulled him up off the ground and looked him straight in the eye through the visor of his helmet.
     “Justice,” Demitri answered. The young thief shook with fear despite his best efforts to look bravely back at him.
     “So, what do you say we do with him? Tie him to a tree? Leave him for the cops? Or perhaps we could cuff him to the front porch of his angry neighbor? If they really are neighbors, I’m sure the guy would go easy on him,” Matthew said. “Or…maybe we should take care of him…” he threatened, then took only a moment to charge up a force field which brightly reflected the moon’s glow.
     “No, please! I won’t do it again, I swear! You can take the stuff, just let me go!” he begged fearfully.
     Demitri signaled for Matthew to stop, then looked down at the thief as the force field lowered.
     “See that you don’t,” Demitri said sternly. He then quickly and effortlessly removed the handcuffs and gave him a push backwards, to which the thief stumbled off balance but didn’t fall. “Go,” Demitri commanded, and the young thief hastily grabbed his flashlight and ran as fast as he could.
     Matthew just stood there in shock for a moment before Demitri gave a sigh and shook his head.
     “What was that?” Matthew asked blankly.
     “What was what?” Demitri asked back, crossing his arms as he still gazed off in the direction of the young thief.
     “You let him GO!?” Matthew thundered with incomprehension to Demitri’s decision.
     “Yeah,” Demitri replied as he began fiddling with the device on his arm, as if he were about to teleport back to Mainframe.
     “Why would you do that?” Matthew asked in bewilderment.
     “It was pretty dark out. Did you see him at all?” Demitri asked in response.
     “What?” Matthew puzzled.
     “He was just some scared kid. Probably the same age as Scott,” Demitri said, looking at Matthew.
     Matthew smacked himself in the forehead. “You can’t just let someone go because of that! He needs to be punished for stealing.”
     “Are you sure punishment is what he needs?” Demitri asked, then held up his arm to signal they should teleport. “Come on. We need to hurry up and get those things back to their rightful owner,” he commanded.
     Matthew just shook his head. “Fine, step to it, then,” he replied, then the two of them teleported back to Mainframe. Once there, they reset the destination, then they teleported again, this time to the caller’s house. They placed the bag of goods on his front porch, but had to make a hasty retreat as the caller noticed people outside and was swiftly and angrily going to investigate.
When they made their way back to Mainframe’s main room, they pulled off their helmets and straightened their hair with their hands.
     “…Okay, seriously. What was with that whole ‘justice’ line? I thought we went over that,” Matthew suddenly brought up.
     “We did. You just didn’t come up with anything better,” Demitri replied and they both started to grin as Matthew shook his head.
     “And you say I’m something.”
     The rest of that night was much like the previous, with Matthew leaving and Demitri shutting things down. A new day was waiting just around the corner.

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