A/N: This is the basic format for the story:
*More information at end of story.
The students shuffled back into the classroom. A piece of blank paper was on each of their desks, with several colored pencils in boxes next to the papers.
"When did you set this up?" Chloe asked.
"I had a teacher come in when we were out training. Use these to design your costumes. Remember to specify any matrials and sizes, and any additional adjustments or augments will go on the back of the paper."
"Alright, kick ass!" Christopher said.
"You have to the end of the day."
"Seriously?" Max asked.
"Yeah. It's the first day, so just gonna let you get used to everything. I do have an assignment for you to take home however."
"I guess homework on the first day is a fair trade," Ryan commented.
"Great," Treeman said. "Here." He used several roots to pass out papers to every desk. The papers had several personal questions.
"What's this?" Owen asked. "A questionnaire?"
"It's a psychiatric evaluation. To be a hero, you have to have the mind of a hero. We can't have unstable minds doing hero work."
The students reluctantly took the papers.
"One more thing, actually." He handed them more papers.
"This is what's called a 'waiver'. This is because later on, you will go out and get 'field experience', and we need consent from both you and your respective legal guardians."
The students looked at each other nervously. A legal waiver? A small bit of reality hit them about just how dangerous being a hero could actually be.
They spent the rest of the day sketching what would be their hero costumes, or rather the costumes they'd use for training and field experience. According to Treeman, they were considered version 0.1, because version 1.0 would be the costumes they'd wear after registering to be professional heroes.
"This is kind of cool, I guess," Max told Chloe.
"I'm hoping my costume will be alright."
"Anything will look good on you," Max told her. "Er- I mean, like, not in a weird way."
"I know what you meant. That's sweet. You're a good friend."
"I think you mean a super friend."
Chloe rolled her eyes.
"The hard part," Max said, "is figuring out which parts of my suit should conduct, and which parts should insulate."
"Right. I need to make sure my suit can provide warmth of my power starts to get the better of me."
"I guess this is harder than I thought. Probably why he gave us the whole day."
"Now that's a good idea!" Treeman shouted. He was looking at Nathan's paper, which proposed a self-regenerating material for his suit.
The students went along the rest of their day. While many of them set traditional hero designs, there were a few that stood out.
Manuel had requested a suit in which could support his shapeshifting power.
Samantha had requested a material that would turn invisible like her.
Alice asked for a simple witch outfit that better suited her magic style.
When the day was over, they handed in their designs and specs and walked home with their evaluations and waivers.
Max and Chloe went to the latter's house to work in their evaluations. They had many personal questions about personal tragedy, perspective on friends and family, and on hypothetical situations. One of the many themes seemed to be about prioritization.
They decided to watch some TV after they were done. A hero named Aerial Ace was on the news. He wore a yellow/tan, high-tech suit with a pair of glider wings (complete with boosters) attached. He also had a short, black ponytail and the top part of his face was painted to resemble a bird in two shades of blue. He carried several arrows in a quiver, and had a bow.
He was facing one of his nemeses, Blackbeard.
Blackbeard claimed to be a distant relative of the famous pirate, of which he bore the same name (Edward Teach).
His own suit was a high-tech version of his supposed ancestors. He had an eyepatch-like monocular device, with a red lens, a metal bandolier, six revolvers, a dagger, and a pirate hat.
Laser blasts came from the revolvers. Aerial Ace used the boosters on his glider wings to dodge, shooting arrows at Blackbeard. Blackbeard pulled out his dagger and cut one of the arrows in half. Aerial Ace fired an arrow with an anchor attached. The anchor hit the floor, acting like a grapnel (grappling hook) to pull him towards Blackbeard. He twisted around and used his bow to hit Blackbeard's legs, tripping him. While he fell, Aerial Ace kneed his face. While Blackbeard was on the ground, Aerial Ace jumped into the air and fired an arrow, which discharged an adhesive, glue-like material which trapped Blackbeard.
"That was so cool!" Chloe commented.
"Yeah? Just wait 'til I'm a pro. I'll become the best hero ever!"
Aerial Ace - Profile
Identity: Victor Muños, "Halcón" (formerly)
Type: Acrobatic/Non-powered (Gadget)
Power/Abilities: Master of archery, several types of arrows, a pair of glider wings with rocket booster, master of strategic combat
Weakness(es): Lacks superhuman durability, tech prone to damage/malfunction, vulnerable to speedsters
Affiliation(s): League of Superheroes, 9th Street Brotherhood (formerly), Tall Tales (collaboration)
Relationship(s): Brother (deceased), Girlfriend (formerly)
Blackbeard - Profile
Identity: Edward Teach
Type: High-Tech/Non-powered (Gadget)
Power/Abilities: Six laser pistols made to look like revolvers, a dagger made of an unknown metallic alloy, a high-tech "eyepatch" outfitted with IR, X-ray, and UV light
Weakness(es): Lacks superhuman durability, speculated that he may suffer from megalomania and delusions
Affiliation(s): None, Villain Syndicate (occasionally), Criminal Minds (occasionally)
Relationship(s): Edward "Blackbeard" Teach - supposed distant relative (unconfirmed), Great(x)- grandmother - supposed sister to Edward Teach (unconfirmed)
The students shuffled back into the classroom. They each handed in their papers.
"Karen, dear, can you come up?"
"On my way, Mr. Truman."
"You can call me Howie, you know?"
"Ok, Mr. Truman."
"Ok, well she'll be up in a bit to collect these. In the meantime, I have prepared some different tests for you. And I have prepared some different studies for you as well, based on on your needs. Also, the lab has estimated your costumes will be ready on about 3 to 4 weeks."
He motioned for the students to follow him. They entered a massive gymnasium of sorts, with various different centers.
"Jacob. See that room over there? Made of a special metal alloy. It was used to test the more dangerous powers. All yours to manipulate."
"Huh?" Jacob asked.
"Cassandra. For now, I want you to just test the limit of your elasticity. So stretch to your heart's content. As for you, Summer, we have a contained weather facility, leftover from government weather modification experiments, so go nuts."
"Hold up," Cassandra asked. "What now?"
"Don't mention that to anyone," he told the students. "Now, for Tyler. Got an entire shipment of rubber balls. I want you to turn them all into stones, and then back again. Ryan, go out to the field and run 100 laps."
"Isn't that like 25 miles?" Ryan asked.
"Just about. Samantha, I want you to run through walls for now, and don't let me see you. Erin, I want you to walk up to that railing up there with nothing but your magnetism. Manuel, keep changing forms. And Christopher, hit the weights."
"This sounds like nothing but using our powers," Max commented. "Aren't we going to learn real scenarios?"
"In time. But for now, I want to see the limit of your power. Superpowers are physical, there's a limit to how much we can out ourselves through. Go past those limits, and two things can happen."
"Either you surpass them, or... you put yourself at risk. I want to see that point. It's why I had you sign those papers. Hero work is risky, after all. It's also why I gave you that psychiatric test. What you do when you reach that point is a factor."
"Chloe, I want you to keep yourself cool. Not only to see how long your ice can last, but how long you can last with your power. Aaron, I borrowed some notes on the molecular structure of several items. I want you to make me as many of these items as you can. Michael, I want you to destroy all of these items after Aaron finishes making them."
Michael laughed as Aaron squinted his eyes.
"Jackson. See that room, labeled "Equipment"? Go in there and make something. Surprise me. Owen, make a flame as big as you can without making a fire hazard, and maintain it for as long as you can. Joey, those bar-like objects justing out were for Frogman, back when he attended this school. Use your wires to swing from them."
He went on.
"Leela, head over to the target practice. It's a shooting range of sorts. Nathan, due to your specific power, I don't have a lot for you to do, so you'll spar with me."
"A-ahh?" The sound escaped from Nathan.
"Max, there's an electrical machine. I want you to conduct your electricity through it, and try to manipulate any energy it throws back at you. There have been a lot of electricity users, so we had that installed."
"Sweet!" Max shouted.
"Erica, I want you to lift as many objects as you can in the rec room. It's kind of a mess, so I want you to straighten it out while you're at it. Lastly, Alice, a friend of mine gave me this book. His own sidekick studied from it. I want you to memorize these spells, got it?"
Alice nodded her head.
"Then everyone, go get started."
The students started exercising their powers.
Nathan sparred with Treeman. Nathan had absolutely minimal combat experience, so it didn't take long for Treeman to tie him to a tree with branches and roots.
"Tsk tsk tsk. You really aren't that good. But thankfully, we have procedures for that. Combat training will definitely go a long way, and maybe some external enhancements."
"I'm not sure I'm really cut out to be a hero."
"Nonsense. You just have to think like a hero. For example, if that tree you're tied to was a person you were standing in front of, you'd try your best to protect them, right?"
"So, let's say Ryan over there, I'm going to kill him. What would you do?"
"I'd save him."
"And the person behind you?"
"Heroes save more than just civilians. It takes more than two to tango in a hero fight. Sometimes a hero has to prioritize the villain's defeat, so he needs a team. That's what these organizations and sidekicks are for."
"Anyway, time's almost up, so just sit tight until it's time to go back."
"See ya." Treeman went inside to check everyone else's progress.
Nathan tore himself from the tree, injuring his wrists and waist. The tissue regenerated, then the muscle and skin.
"But what if there is only one hero?" he asked himself.*
*Some things I wanted to clarify:
1. This story is split into four parts. Classroom 54 (E53), League of Superheroes/Tall Tales (E53), the introduction of two brothers later on (E53), and the stories of Rookland (E17), which will all converge at some point.
2. The 9th Street Brotherhood is a gang in the area in which Knightsville is located, of which Victor Muños (Aerial Ace) was a former member. His placa (moniker) was "Halcón" (Hawk/Falcon).
3. The League of Superheroes and Tall Tales are organizations which are registered under a certain execitoce agency (i.e. CIA).
4. Villain Syndicate and Criminal Minds are organizations that were a response to these, though the villains that make up these organizations vary and often have no permanent positions.