The Hunters:
Beginning of the Legacy
by Keith Kime

"Mom, I can't do this. You know I hate meeting new people, and besides, I'm like a year behind. Why not just let me stay home for a year?" A voice whined from within a box-filled room.
"NO ACE! For the last time, you're going to school and I mean it. Now hurry up. You father's letting you borrow the car, and you're going to be late." Ace's mother yelled from downstairs.
Ace sat on his bed within his bedroom. He was 15, and had just moved to South Carolina from New York. He was going to be entering his sophomore year of high school, and he had learned that he would be a few weeks behind the other kids. He wasn't very happy about it at all.
His parents were both major scientists for GenUTech, which specialized in cybertechnology, genetic research, and new medical techniques. Both of his parents had been employed with them since they were teenagers, working under a high school science project. While they were both highly intelligent, he wondered why he hadn't received the genius genes they had.
He stood up. He was a tall kid, about 6'2", and nicely slim. He worked out occasionally, practiced karate on his on, and generally was in shape. He slipped on some black pants, his favorite kind of jeans to wear. He picked up a box, and opened the one underneath it. He reached in, threw a few t-shirts on his bed, and then grabbed a gray hooded sweatshirt. He slipped it on and grabbed his long hair. During the summer, he had let it grow out, and now it was down around his shoulders. He put it up in a hair tie.
"HURRY UP ACE!" His mother yelled from downstairs again.
"I'm coming….gees, give a guy a break." Ace mumbled. He grabbed his wallet, his bookbag, and then looked around the room. He snapped his fingers. "Can't forget these." He picked up a pair of thin mirrored-sunglasses, and slipped them on his face. He then ran out and tumbled down the stairs.
His mother was waiting for him at the base of the stairs. She was holding a set of keys. "Good bye sweetie have a-"
"Bye mom! Thanks for the car keys!" Ace interrupted, snatching the keys from her hands. He ducked out the front door and ran to his car.
It was 91' Cutlass Supreme, in mint condition. Ace unlocked it, threw his books in the backseat and hopped in the front seat. He saw his mom waving at him from the door, and he smiled back. He started up the car, letting the engine rev up. He checked his mirrors, and smiled at himself. "Let's roll!" He threw the car in reverse and pulled out of the driveway. He then sped down the street and headed toward his new school.

"SHIT! It's almost 8:00!" Ace yelled, as he sat in traffic. This was the first time he had driven in South Carolina, or even to his new school. His father had driven him by it the night before, so he knew the way. Or at least he thought he did.
He looked around and saw a sign. It read "Brookland-Cayce High School-1 mile" and pointed down a road to the right. Ace quickly got over to the turning lane and turned. He drove down a mile, past a neighborhood of old houses. He was impressed by the Southern architecture, and wasn't watching the road carefully.
He turned just in time to almost run over a kid. He stopped the car just before he was about to end the life of a fellow student. The kid was about Ace's size, with curly hair and a goatee. He looked at Ace with a weird "don't I know you from some where" glance, but he kept walking. Ace looked, but then continued on his way to school.
It wasn't much further down, and he saw a sign that pointed to the student parking lots. He turned right on to the street and drove down into the crowded lot. Students were all heading toward the school, which was a very open campus as far as Ace could see.
He looked around for a spot, and he found one. He pulled in, trying not to hit the other cars. He about ran into a light pole. He stopped the car and got out. He looked at his watch.
"SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! It's almost 8:15! Great I'm going to be late!" Ace yelled, grabbing his bookbag. He slipped it on his back and then started running to the school. He jumped, and slid over a hood of red Corsica, and ran toward the corner of a building.
He turned around the corner and ran smack into the same kid he almost had run-over a few minutes before. They both fell down, spilling books and papers all over the sidewalk.
"GREAT!" The kid with the goatee yelled, trying to gather his books up.
"Yeah, that's what I said." Ace joked, flipping up. He extended a hand to help the other kid up. The other kid looked at and then at Ace. "I'm Ace Micheals, um, needs some help there?"
"Sure…I mean first you try to run me over and now you just plain bowl me over." The kid whined. Suddenly a bell rang out, and the kid punched the ground. "And now we're late to class."
"Well hey, this is my first day, so give me a break. I'm sorry okay." Ace apologized, picking up the kid's books. He handed them to him.
"Ace right? Call me Kevin." Kevin said, getting up. He zipped up his bookbag and flung it over his shoulders. "I didn't mean to yell at you. I'm just having a bad day."
"I can understand that. Say, could you help me out here?" Ace asked, pulling out a small yellow piece of paper. It was his class schedule.
"Oh, you are new. Okay. Let me see." Kevin took the schedule and looked it over. "Well you have first, third, and fourth block with me. That's cool. C'mon, I'll show you to your new math class."
"Great. Math. I'm supposedly like 2 weeks or so behind you guys."
"That's not good." Kevin commented, checking out Ace.
"No it's not. Well I can't help it if New York City schools start like now and not half-way in the summer." Ace complained, sweating just a bit. Kevin chuckled, as he could tell Ace was not used to the warmer weather down in South Carolina.
"New York. Ah you're a Yankee then huh? Man oh man. You are in for an ass beating." Kevin chuckled some more. He could tell that this kid was definitely going to be fun to hang out with.
"Why'd you say that?" Ace, Kevin could tell, was definitely not the brightest person in the world. He smacked himself in the head, as he looked up at Ace.
"Oh just the local "Good 'O boys" will want to fight you, you know, that whole stupid Civil War thing."
"To tell you the truth, I'm actually from here, my parents just moved away to do business up North, so I'm technically a Southern boy too."
"Ah, so now you're a Carpetbagger. Oh, that's even worse. Now they'll just shoot you." Kevin joked. They stopped infront of a door that was covered in cute little math pictures and symbols.
"Wow, what a nice Southern reception I get here." Ace laughed. He opened the door and walked in.
"…and then you take the…" The teacher stopped her lesson for the two boys who had just entered her room. "Ah, there you are Kevin. And who are you?"
"Mrs. Gregory, this is Ace Micheals. He just moved here and I was showing him around. We kinda bumped into each other on the way to class."
"Well, don't let me interrupt you two. Ace, why don't you sit behind Kevin? There's an empty seat right there. Sorry class. Just work on your homework while I deal with this." Mrs. Gregory sighed, taking Ace's schedule. She went and sat in her desk, while Ace followed Kevin to his.
"What a great class…" Ace mumbled.
"Now Ace, just because you're new doesn't mean you can just talk and stuff. Come up here and get yourself a book." Ace got up and walked to Mrs. Gregory. She looked at him, handed him a book, and wrote a few things down in her grade book. Ace returned to his seat.
"What a great day…" Ace mumbled, passing Kevin.
"The best parts haven't started yet…" Kevin replied.

Ace made it through first period, and then he left Kevin to go to his second period class. He was going to be in English class. The teacher, Ms. Watson, was a whole lot nicer than Mrs. Gregory was. Ace sat behind a cute little brunette.
"Hey." Ace greeted her, as he slipped in the seat behind her.
She didn't turn around, and just looked around. Ms. Watson was taking role, and the rest of the class was talking.
"Hey, you-who, hey." Ace said again, tapping her on her shoulder. She finally turned around.
"Yes?" She replied. Ace was a bit stunned. She was GORGEOUS! She had jade-aqua colored eyes and red pout lips with a cute button nose. Ace gulped on his words.
"Hello…I'm Ace, Ace Micheals." He took her hand and gently kissed this beauty's hand.
"Well, Ace Ace Micheals, I'm Katlin Orchid. But you can call me Kat." She replied, in a sweet soft voice. She looked at Ace, and was impressed by his charming manners.
"Hmmm…Kat…what a great name. Boy, God must be mad."
"Huh?"
"I mean, he must be mad to have let such a fine of angel as you fall from Heaven." Ace suavely charmed a line to her. She batted her eyes at him, and seemed intrigued by this newcomer.
"Excuse me Ace, Kat, could you keep your minds on the lesson and not your hormones?" Ms. Watson said. She must have started her lesson while Ace and Kat were chatting.
"Catch me after class, during lunch. I'll be hanging out near the football field, near the small peach trees." Kat whispered, turning around to pay attention to class.
Ace slowly leaned back, smiled snuggly to himself, and thought, "Man, already met a new friend, and now this angel wants me to come and sit with her at lunch. YES! What a life!"

The bells rang for lunch, and Ace helped Kat with her books. Some of the girls that Kat had been working with during a class project were all giddy with whispers and looks, as Ace walked Kat to lunch.
They both stood in a long lunch line, waiting to get their share of food.
"So, Ace, how do you like school so far?" Kat asked, still checking Ace out.
Ace looked around, looking for his new friend Kevin. "Well besides just about running over a fellow student, then tackling him later on, having weird teachers, and meeting you, not so bad after all."
"Hey Ace!" A voice yelled out. Ace turned around and saw Kevin running up to him. "Hey Kat."
"Hey sweetie." Kat replied, giving Kevin a hug. She kept her arms around him.
"Oh so you two know each other?" Ace asked, feeling his heart breaking slightly.
"No, not really. We're good friends that's all." Kat replied. "K here goes to my church, and he's in my next class."
"Well what a co-winky-dink, so am I." Ace mumbled, with a slight aversion. He threw a grimacing glance at Kevin, who didn't seem to notice.
"That's like awesome. Um, I think we're next." Kat said, pointing to a mean looking lunch-lady who was waiting for them.
They order pizza, paid, and got their food. Kevin walked Kat and Ace over to some benches that were underneath peach trees. They threw down their bookbags and sat down on the cool grass.
"This is great. In New York, all we did for lunch was get some nasty cafeteria food, sit in crudy lunch rooms, and hope that the local gang leader wasn't out for money." Ace joked, taking a bite into some pizza.
"New York. Man, that's a great city. I go there during the summer, to do modeling work. I just love Rockefeller Center. It's so beautiful." Kat cooed.
"Not as beautiful as you. So, you model?" Ace asked.
"Yes, I do. I'll bring you by some pictures tomorrow maybe. I'll have to look. K's got some of them." Kat replied, throwing a loving glance at Kevin.
Ace turned to Kevin. "So, K, what do you like do for fun, or what is there to do around here?"
Kevin took a bite of his pizza and then pulled out a Nintendo Power from his bookbag. "I don't know really. Usually I just read my Nintendo mags, play games, hang out with Kat here, and hang out at the local arcade."
"Yeah, we've got this awesome arcade. It's like a few blocks down from here, and mostly everyone hangs out there. They have all the latest games, some of them aren't even in the gaming books. Its soooooo awesome. My favorite is the Virtual Fighter 3D game. You actually get to step inside this small room and fight a VR fighter. So far I hold the highest score on that game." Kat explained. She smiled and took a sip of Kevin's Dr. Pepper.
"How can you, no offense, have the highest score on a game like that? What do you do exactly?" Ace asked, looking Kat over. She didn't look like a fighter. She was wearing blue jean shorts, and a white t-shirt that read "BAMN BABY!" on it. She was pretty fit but didn't look like a jock. She was very petite, nicely built for a girl.
"First you step in the game and select different things, like your personal fitness level, the opponents level, stats like height, weight, build, stuff like that. Then you stand while the computer scans your body, to make sure that the VR fighter knows what counts as a hit or a miss. Then the room goes black and the VR fighter appears. You fight till either the VR fighter goes down or till the computer says your down."
"Sounds…complicated. So what do you set the computer to?" Ace asked.
"Oh the highest level. Usually I'm taking on opponents who are 6 to 7 feet tall, move like ninjas, and hit like freight trains, and they're all trained in every martial arts available. So far I have a score of like 520 out of 300, and a record of 42-1."
"Wait, explain the score again."
"Oh, if you beat all the opponents in a level, you get 100 pts. There are about 10 opponents in the three levels. I've gone to the extra levels of the games, that's why I'm at 520, well, I have the fourty-two because I lost to my mirror image."
"Mirror image? It can do that?"
"Yeah, they just used the data that the computer had on me. It's really hard to beat yourself though. But I mean, that's my only lost."
"What martial arts do you know?" Ace asked, still amazed.
"Oh, mostly the basics, Karate, Judo, Tai Kwon Do, Tiger Style Kung Fu, Boxing, Muy Thai Kickboxing, and some Ninjitsu and Streetfighting. I mean, I'm not an expert, I just learn really fast for some reason. And…well it's hard to explain, but sometimes I get like faster and stronger the more I hit an opponent in a row. It's weird, and that's the only thing I couldn't defend against, when I fought my mirror image."
Ace just looked stunned. "WOW. Now that's impressive. Remind me never to get into a fight with you."
Kat smiled. "Okay."
Kevin stood up and stretched. "C'mon, let's get a drink. I'm thirsty." Kat nodded and got up along with Ace. They headed toward the drink machines. They were surrounded by lots of kids. One kid in particular was huge and was showing off his muscles to a crowd of smaller kids, probably freshmen.
Ace turned to Kevin. "Who's the monster over there?"
Kevin stopped. "Oh…that guy….he's Hammerstien. He's the local bully, if you can call him that. He likes to show off those muscles of his and tends to beat up weaklings like me. But just becareful not to get in his way. He always remembers a grudge."
"HEY, KEVIN! GET OVER HERE!" A booming voice yelled out.
"See what I mean." Kevin moaned, heading toward the huge teen.
"What did you do?"
"I gave him some homework and he got busted for cheating….that and some bribery charges that they still won't pin on him. He's a walking criminal." Kevin said, walking while looking at Ace. He ran right into Hammerstien and into trouble.
"So a walking criminal? Well that's funny Duval." Hammerstien chuckled, picking Kevin up by the shirt. He was a big kid. He looked like 7' tall marine with rippling muscles all the way around. His arms and legs were like tree trunks. His smile was very strict and made his face all shrivel up. He saw Ace staring at him. "And who are you?"
Ace stared at him, trying to determine any weaknesses. Something about this kid made Ace uneasy. Ace put up a guard and stepped forward. "They call me Ace Micheals. Let my friend go."
"Or what? It's not like you can actually hurt me, little twig man. I'll break you in two." Hammerstien bellowed.
"STOP IT! BOTH OF YOU!" Kat yelled. She got in between Ace and Hammerstien. "Don't you even think about fighting. Hammerstien, just let Kevin go. Ace back off."
"Sister, please. Don't protect your little boyfriend here. Just go about your business and let me do mine." Hammerstien ordered, pushing her aside. She pushed back and then he shoved her into the machines. He threw Kevin next to her.
"Oh so you like pushing my friends around. Now, let's see you do that to me." Ace yelled, digging up some courage. He got in a fighting stance.
"So you want to play then huh? Let's do it." Hammerstien said, buffing up. He curled himself up, and then started expanding his muscles. Ace gulped, as he saw this huge kid turn into a powerhouse of a man.
"Fuck." Ace shrieked. He gulped again and then back up a bit. Hammerstien was almost 10' tall, somehow, and he was almost 4 times as huge as he used to be. Ace looked at his two friends, who were dazed lying by the machines, and then he looked at Hammerstien. "Let's dance."
Ace ran and jumped on top of Hammerstien, driving his combat boots into the behemoth's face. He flipped off, did a reverse roundhouse to Hammerstien's left knee, knocking him over slightly, before dropping the other knee with a side kick.
"Oh that was impressive, little man. But watch this." Hammerstien bellowed, getting back up. He walked over toward Ace and started pounding into the ground. His fist were almost 2' wide and he was cracking up the blacktop where they were fighting at. Each punch came closer and closer to hitting Ace.
One punch came down on Ace and he caught it. With some strange strength, he lifted Hammerstien up, twisted the arm, and then threw him over his shoulder, into a nearby wall. The wall collapse in on Hammerstien.
"WHOA!" A shout echoed from the crowd of kids watching. Whispers about someone tossing the mighty Hammerstien into a wall passed between the mouths of students, who watched in awe.
Suddenly the giant got back up and rushed at Ace. "You'll pay for that little man!"
{Ace, this is Kevin. I didn't want to do this, but I figured from the display, you're also like me. But we'll discuss that later. Right now, it's time for you to unlock your little secret. Don't be afraid to let thos—} Suddenly as the voice entered Ace's head, Hammerstien ran over and punched him hard to the ground. Kevin, who had recently stood up, fell back down, clenching his head.
"Shit…" Ace said, feeling like a freight train hit him. He got up and looked at Kevin. "What the fuck? Why didn't you say something before?" Ace yelled at Kevin.
"Look, later. Just do it. He's not going to stop till one of you is bleeding or majorly hurt. But with you, he won't stop till your dead!" Kevin yelled back.
Hammerstien looked at Kevin and then at Ace. He snorted like a bull and then charged again at Ace.
"I sure hope this works." Ace mumbled to himself. He strained and within a second, 4 metallic blades slid out from the backs of each of his hands. He was a bit stunned it worked, but realized he now had a fighting chance.
Hammerstien didn't notice the little weapons on Ace's hands and kept charging. Ace saw him coming and jumped. His foot caught the bottom of Hammerstien's lip and he ran over the giant's back, slashing as he went. He slid off Hammerstien's butt, the claws slicing into the giant's calves.
"OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW! Fuck that hurt! Ooooh, you're gonna fuckin' pay for that!" Hammerstien yelled, turning around. Ace was standing still, in a little shock of what he had just done. Hammerstien took notice of this and kicked Ace in the back with his huge feet. Ace flew back into the machines where Kevin and Kat were at.
"Damn…" Ace moaned, getting up. He held his head and shook it a bit, still feeling dazed from Hammerstien's kick. He looked around and saw Hammerstien charging at him. Ace ran back at him. He could feel his strength surging through him, and he felt courageous.
Hammerstien ran into Ace, but Ace pushed back with increased strength. They were locked hand in huge hand, pushing each other with all their might. "I'm….not….giving…up…." Ace moaned, pushing as hard as he could. He looked at Hammerstien, who was pushing with everything he had. Large veins were starting to appear on his face, as the strain of pushing against Ace was being coming very uncomfortable.
"ENOUGH!" Ace shouted. And with that shout, Ace put everything he had into his strength and tossed the behemoth into the air. Ace fell to the ground as Hammerstien slammed into a brick post by the cafeteria door. He was knocked out, finally. Everyone just looked and stared in awe.
Kevin walked up to Ace. "We have lots to talk about. But for now, let me take care of them. And you might want to put those away." Kevin joked, pointing to the claws.
Ace threw Kevin a weird look. "But how did you know?"
"Not now. We'll talk later. Let's just put this little thing behind us, for now." Kevin said. He winced abit, and then everyone started walking away. Then he turned to Katlin. He winced again and she just gave a blank stare.
"What was that all about? One minute Hammerstien's talking to Kevin and then he's laying over here half-way knocked out. Weird." Katlin said, shaking her head.
"What did.." Ace nodded, before asking Kevin a stupid question.
"All in good time my friend. Let's get to class." Kevin said, as the bell rang for class.

After school, Kevin walked with Ace to Ace's car. "So are you going to tell me now?" Ace asked, unlocking his blue car.
"Nope not yet. Let's go for a drive." Kevin suggested, getting in. "Let's go to the park."
The two boys rode around in silence till they got to the park. Ace was pissed off and he got out of the car pretty quickly. "All right, right now, tell me, what the fuck is going on? How do you know about my secret, why was your voice in my head, and why did Hammerstien get that fucking big? And how did these claws come out of my hand? And what did you do to those kids?" Ace yelled out questions, almost stepping up to Kevin.
Kevin sat down on a stump. "Okay fine, I guess I do oh you the truth huh? Well, see last summer I discovered I could hear the thoughts of others. I didn't tell anyone, and just learned to deal with it on my own. I started extending my powers, learning what I could do. Somehow, besides hearing people's thoughts, I could control them as well. This led me to learn that other people had powers too. I just chose not to tell them and just decided to watch them. But the funny thing is, I still don't know why I have these powers and why everyone else has them. Besides that, some of these kids happen to know about their powers and have even had some training from someone, but I can't get that far into their minds to discover who it is." Kevin looked up at Ace. "You were another matter all together."
"Me?" Ace asked, sitting down next to Kevin.
"Yes. See at first, I thought it was something to do with this state and area, but you, you had powers too. But you had only begun to realize it, inside. I mean, you just thought you were stronger than most people, and didn't think of it. You just never knew about those claws."
"So what about Hammerstien and the other students? Why not tell them like you told me?"
"I don't know. Hammerstien's one of the students with training. And I can't get through his mind, or else I would be able to keep him off of me. The best I can do is tell them this never happened. Even Katlin has powers…but I can't tell you about them."
"I think I know already, but I understand. But still why me?"
"You possess something no one else does. Heart. There's something about you that I don't think either of us realizes. And I think that someone or something will start looking for you. You've just let the public see your power use, and I'm sure with the kids here the way they are, it'll happen again."
"So?" Ace shurgged, trying not to see what Kevin was getting at.
"Well do you think you can handle it?" Kevin threw at Ace, staring him very sternly.
Ace raised an eyebrow. "Handle what?"
"The burden you must carry." Kevin quickly replied. He continued to stare at Ace with a very intent look on his face.
"What burden?" Ace threw back, trying not to understand what Kevin was truly getting at. He had a gut feeling that this conversation was one of the most important conversations he would ever had, but he just didn't want to deal with it.
Kevin smiled a bit, as he could see Ace was sweating. "You know what I'm talking about."
"Is this some lame comic thing, where like I'm supposed to be some great hero and you're like my mentor and crap?" Ace finally gave in.
"Maybe, but I'm not a mentor."
"So basically you're saying that I'm going to need to be a hero, right?" Ace said, with a note of destined doom.
"You saved me and Katlin, can you do the same for the rest of the school?"
"Sure." Ace quickly replied, almost by instinct. He was quiet surprised. It was like this was a conversation with a guidance counselor.
"Then you're all set." Kevin told him, a note of finality to it.
"What?" Ace jumped a bit at Kevin's brassness.
"Well you wanted answers. I told you what I know. Live with it." Kevin cut of Ace with a stern comment.
"WHAT?" Ace growled a bit, sensing that he was trapped by his own answers.
"Don't make me use my telepathy on you."
"Try it." Ace gave Kevin a trying look.
Kevin looked at Ace and then laughed. "Nah, it'd take too much time to mess with your mind. It's already fucked up as is."
Ace got a little red and then threw a dirty look at Kevin. "That was cold."
"I know." Kevin replied, with a smile.
"This is going to be an interesting friendship." Ace added, as they got to Ace's car. Ace unlocked it and looked at Kevin.
"Indeed it is." They both got in the car, and headed home, awaiting the next adventure for their new partnership and friendship.



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