Chapter One: Powerstar Does Not Exist, part 1

"Oh. My. God."

John’s smile wavered slightly. So did his body, as it hovered three inches from the floor. Heather gaped at the figure floating before her, her eyes trying to slide away from the silver-blue halo flickering around John’s body. She raised one finger and her mouth worked silently. After trying — and failing — to form several different words, Heather collapsed into a recliner, still speechless.

"Heather?" John breathed. I was worried about a lot of different reactions, but not this. Just how badly did I mess this up? The programmer dropped carefully back to the floor. "Come on, honey, speak to me. Say something. Anything." A moment later, he reached over and gently touched Heather’s hand.

The day had begun well. After being released from the hospital the night before, John had experimented with his newfound abilities obsessively. He hadn’t tried anything more dangerous than a butter knife yet, but he’d bent it in half when he pressed the blade against his arm, and he hadn’t gotten so much as a scratch. As the day progressed, he discovered that he could feel the electricity in the walls through some new sensation that was somewhere between sight and touch. John strongly suspected that he could control that energy with concentration, but the rest of his time had vanished when he discovered he could fly.

Flying wasn’t as wondrous as comics and science fiction made it out to be. It was better. Experimenting in the Angeles National Forest had taken up the rest of the morning as well as all afternoon. There, the trees provided both cover and training; he hadn’t hurt anything but his pride, but flying full-tilt into a tree trunk will teach anyone to be more responsive, invulnerable or not.

Things had gone downhill from there. Heather had been completely supportive, if somewhat dubious about his claims, until the moment he floated into the air. And now, as John’s hand brushed against hers…

…images flooded his mind, memories of how they met when the radio station she worked for as a DJ was covering WonderMedia’s last film, their first date, the time she let herself into his apartment while he was in the shower, staring at John lying in a hospital bed while her heart pounded like a sledgehammer…

…except that John had been unconscious at the time.

"WHOA!" they both screamed, John jumping back and Heather leaping to her feet almost simultaneously. They stared at each other for a long moment.

"John…I was flying. I mean, I remembered flying. One time I flew into a tree and it didn’t hurt. Well, it was embarrassing, but…but…" Heather’s words shot out in rapid succession at first, trailing off as she heard what she was saying. There was another long pause. "That was you, wasn’t it?" she asked very quietly.

John nodded. "I guess I’m a telepath, too."

Heather began to giggle. "A telepath. A flying telepath. Sure, why not?" she added as John shrugged. "Can you see through walls, too?"

"Not yet," John replied, almost giggling himself. "I’m not counting anything out yet." He sobered quickly. "Heather, what happened? It was like you couldn’t believe what you saw. I mean, literally could not believe what was right in front of you."

Heather nodded. "Actually, yeah. I just…zoned out." The DJ giggled again. "It was almost as bad as being in Dr. Johnson’s calculus class."

They both laughed. "Tension, cut," John said as he chuckled. Together, they added, "Operation successful." The laughter continued for a few moments, then Heather threw her arms around him and they hugged each other tightly.

"Uh, John?"

"Yeah, Heather?"

"I’m floating," Heather said calmly. "We’re floating."

"Yeah, I can do that too," John explained. "Me flying is just using TK on myself."

Heather nodded. "So this is you using telekinesis on us."

"Yep," he agreed as the embrace ended, John holding her hands as they floated gently in place.

"God, this is so cool," she said without changing expression. Then they laughed again.

John gently lowered Heather to the floor, then landed with a thump himself.

Heather shook her head, and John could tell she was still having a hard time believing it. "And you got these powers from the fumes?"

"What else could have done it?" John laughed. "Before fumes, no powers. After fumes, powers. Works for me."

Heather’s smile faded. "It still doesn’t make sense, though. I mean, why didn’t everyone in the room turn into Captain Beacons? If it’s that easy, why don’t we already have super-types flying around in capes plucking cats out of trees or whatever?" She began to pace, ticking off each point on a finger. "I can’t imagine anyone better, hon, but you just happen to be the only one with the right genetic quirk to get super powers, and those fumes just happen to be the one thing that’ll trigger them? There has to be more to it than that."

"Well, I don’t know that I’m the only one, or —" John began.

"Exactly!" Heather whirled in place to look at her partner, who was slightly taken aback. "What if there are other people who can do…whatever you do?" She grinned suddenly. "Maybe Oscar’s rethinking his relationship with gravity."

After a moment, John shook the startled feeling off and grinned back. "Sounds good to me. Oscar could use a break."

Heather sighed, shrugging emphatically and looking upward imploringly. "That’s not my point, love." She looked back at him. "What really happened to you? What happened to me when I saw you doing…your thing? No offense, honey, but what are you?"

"A man with a gift," John replied simply. He walked over to her and put his hands on her shoulders. "You’re right. We need to figure out where this power comes from. Whatever it is, we can face it together." Wilson gave her shoulders a gentle squeeze, then let go. "In the meantime, though, I think what I do now is more important than what I am."

"Fair enough. So." Heather smiled knowingly. "What are you going to do with it?"

John grinned. "Remember that Captain Beacon costume the guys at work gave me?"

Heather shook her head, but she was still smiling. "Like I had to ask." She sobered quickly. "You’ll need to change it, you know, if you want any pretense of a secret identity."

"I’ve worked it all out. I even figured out someone I can trust who can help me with the modifications," he added with a wink.

"Oy." Heather sighed dramatically, then winked. "My fingers are aching already."

"Hey, at least they made one my size," John quipped. They both laughed again.

NEXT: Powerstar Does Not Exist, part 2

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