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Hero University
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Hero University

Prologue
 

Ember, Geist, Rouge, Wisp, Hornet, and me Q-Rider. There have never been many students at Hero University. One of the reasons is because HU only takes in young heroes, the second is because HU is located in the very middle of the Sahara desert. I am actually only sixteen--quite young to be accepted at a university.

Another thing different about HU is the hundreds of air thrusters built in the bottom foundation of the building, allowing it to move anywhere....which is exactly what the University was doing at this exact moment. Every time HU takes in a new student, it moves to a different location. The headmaster explained this to me as being a “safety measure”.

As you may have guessed, the heroes at Hero University are actually trainees. Also as you may have guessed, my name isn’t really Q-Rider. My real name is Quinn Mathews, and unlike all of the other students here at HU I don’t even have real powers. Because of my millionaire father I create my own gadgets, all have Q- In front of the names though. Here are some examples.

Q-Pack- Jet pack that runs on air.

Q-Needles- Sedative needled that will put a man to sleep in seconds.

Q- Mask- A device that cloaks your appearance, making the wearer almost invisible.

Q-Board- A snowboard shaped device that allows the user to hover up to 30 feet high and fly 50 MPH. A backup device for the Q-Pack.

Q-Shot- A handgun used only in last resort. Shoots plasma bolts and Q-Needles. Can be set from low to lethal.

Q-Suit- Super suit for Q-Rider. Is bullet-proof, fire-proof, has indoor heater, AC, and radio.

These gadgets took several years to make, and had cost a couple million dollars each. I myself was a bit of a science geek, which kind of helped in the design of each gadgets. Originally the gadgets were supposed to be made so the army could use as secret weapons, but I decided to keep them to myself.

Now you must be wondering, how did I find out about Hero University? Well the answer is simple. I didn’t. The truth is, the school contacted me and told me to pack my bags.

I lay on my bed now, watching the darkness dance around my room and listening to the soft hum of the giant air motors at the bottom of the university. An intercom was placed in every room, hallway, bathroom, and closet in the entire school. Right now Headmaster Williams was stating an announcement. “Attention students, as you all know we are moving to another area. Since the past reports of uncomforted areas that we have received. Some of these reports demanded moving from the Atlantic ocean, Sahara Desert, Bermuda Triangle, the moon, and so on. So the staff and I have agreed to settle down in Paragon City, Rhode Island. Thank you.” As soon as the rest of the students were informed that they wouldn’t have to live on the moon again--cheers erupted.

I didn’t cheer. Instead I just lay on my four poster bed thinking. I found myself thinking about my mother and my father and even my annoying little sister. I wondered what they were doing right now. I smiled to myself. Duh! They’re probably sleeping! I thought. Finally I laid back and allowed the soft hum of the engines to put me to sleep.

 

Now if anyone happened to look up in the sky at this exact moment they would see a fast moving cloud shaped like a school--the school’s shields would make sure of that. Now the only thing that could see the school at this moment would be a 6GG-Radar system--and there is only one on the earth and its over in China.

“Attention students you are now entering Paragon City: The City of Heroes. Classes will resume tomorrow after we have settled in. Good Night.” There was a sudden rumbling that shook me awake. I sat up in my bed and rubbed my eyes, willing the tiredness away. There was another rumbling, louder now. Then came the sound of metal scraping against metal. There was another rumbling, more like a earthquake and then everything stopped.

I threw back my covers and walked over to the window to inspect our new home. This Paragon City was crawling with thugs--looks like they’d need a lesson from Q-Rider. I sat back on my bed and smiled to myself. I could hardly think of myself as a teacher, let alone teaching thugs. But that wasn’t the kind of lesson I was thinking about.

I lay down on my bed again. Looks like the thugs are going to have a little meeting with the Q. Bright and early tomorrow. I went to sleep with a wide grin covering my face.

Chapter One

I awoke to the sound of beeping from my alarm clock. I quickly got up and shut it off, yawning in the process. I then walked over to my closet and undressed from my PJ’s. Then--as quickly as I could--I pulled on my Q-Suit. Finally I took the Q-Board from the bottom of the closet and headed into the main hallway of the university.

My name is Quinn Mathews, but the other students normally call me Q-Rider. I walked quickly but silently down the hallway, making sure that I wouldn’t make any noise. I walked past an open door.

“Hey Q what are you doing up so early?” A lump said from under his covers. “Er....nothing. Just checking out the school.” I replied. The covers were thrown back and my friend Rouge appeared. He took one look at me and went back to sleep, breathing deeply.

I sighed, it had been a close call but at least Rouge didn’t call the headmaster on me. I sighed again and continued down the Victorian hallway. After several minutes of walking, getting lost, and having to retrace my steps--I found the double doors that opened into Paragon City. I put my hand on the knob and turned.

“Where do you think you’re going Mr. Mathews?” I turned around to see the headmistress standing with her hands on her hips.

“J....Just getting some fresh air.” I stuttered.

“Well you can’t leave the university yet. Breakfast is almost ready

--and besides, today is your first day of lessons.” She pointed. “Now go to your room and get dressed into your school uniform.” She said in a matter-of-fact kind of voice. I shrugged sheepishly and returned to my room. Looks like those thugs can wait for a day. I smiled to myself. Just don’t get to comfy, cause’ there’s a jail cell with your names on it. I smiled again and dressed into my preppy school uniform.

When I got to the mess hall Ember, Geist, Rouge, Wisp, Hornet, headmaster Williams, and headmistress Williams were already seated. I quickly ran forward and took an empty seat at Rouge’s left.

Ember--as you may have guessed--is a fire blaster, but he’s also crazy and never knows when to stop. Geist can walk through walls and turn invisible, highly helpful for attacking complexes. Wisp is Geist’s half-brother and can also walk through walls, but can’t turn invisible. Hornet is another gadget-freak like me, he mostly uses his paper-thin wings to fly--and his sword as a sort of needle. Rouge can fly, but he’s also a gunner. Rouge is the only student at HU that has shown me any generosity, and now he’s my best friend. And of course myself. Q-Rider. Like Hornet I use gadgets because I don’t have powers, but I use a larger variety of my own design.

I bit a large piece from a sausage, and quickly washed it down with a swig of my orange juice. “So Q, are you going to the lecture Mr. Smith is doing this afternoon?” I thought about it for a moment, taking a nother large bite from the sausage impaled on my fork.

“Nah man, I’m going to cut this one. I’ve got some stuff I need to do.”

So after breakfast--instead of heading to Mr. Smith’s lecture--I went back to my room and changed once again into my Q-Suit. But this time I brought all my gadgets, clipping most of them onto my utility belt.

Once again I ran downstairs--not caring how much noise I make--and opened the doors and stepped into Paragon City. My first thought of Paragon City was that it was huge. The city was filled with skyscrapers, pollution, thugs, and--I rubbed my eyes to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating--other heroes.

I looked back at the university and was amazed. The school fit perfectly into place, making it look as if it had always been there.

“Hey gimme your purse lady!”

“Help!”

I turned to see a thug--or as other heroes referred to them, hellion--snatching a lady’s purse. I smiled to myself, looks like every hero has to start small. I took my Q-Shot from my utility belt and loaded two Q-Needles into it, just one and a grown man would be sleeping in seconds.

I parted my legs, took careful aim, and shot....twice. The needles entered the man’s neck; the force of the shots took him off his feet. In less than a millisecond he was on the ground, writhing as the drug took effect. Once he stopped moving I ran over to him, picked up the purse, and returned it to the lady. Then I picked him up and--using my Q-Board--took off into the air with him over my shoulders.

I reached the city jail and turned off the Q-Board, allowing gravity’s power to take effect. I landed silently on the ground and folded the Q-Board into the shape of a calculator, then I put it in a pouch on my belt.

When I entered the lobby the first thing I thought was......boring! There was a bench to one side and above that there were photographs of the Paragon Police force. On the other side was a reception desk and behind that was a nicotine-addicted, half drunk cop. When I walked up he put down his copy of The Paragon Times and grunted.

“What do you want?”

I cleared my throat and proclaimed.

“Hello sir, my name is Q-Rider and I have come to jail this helli--”

The man cut me off.

“Yeah, yeah. Just show me your Hero License and we can all get on with our lives.”

“Er....my....h....hero license sir?” I stammered.

He raised his voice. “Yeah. You know the card they give you when you register.”

“Erm.....register?”

“Yeah kid, what are you a retard or something?”

“I don’t really have a Hero License.”

“Well,” He said, leaning forward. “Prepare to spend a night in the big house.”

“Wha?” He grabbed me by the shoulders, pulled my hands behind my back, and cuffed them--all in one swift moment. Then he threw me up against the wall and began to frisk me, pulling off my gadgets and setting them on a table as he went.

“Why are you arresting me?” I demanded.

“Fighting crime without a license.” He replied casually.

After he was sure that he had removed all of my “weapons” he turned me around and said. “You are entitled to one phone call.”

I forced back the urge to say “No shit Sherlock!”

I was glad I didn’t say what I was going to, because the look on his face told me that if I did he would probably knock the smirk off my face. He led me to a small telephone that was bolted to the wall and showed me that I had three minutes. I picked up the phone and dialed the number of the school.

I sighed in relief when the machine told me that no one was there to receive my phone call so instead I left a message, trying to explain everything with the two minutes that I still had. Then I finished the message I hung up the phone and allowed the man to lead me to a cell.

The cell was small, dirty, and stunk of corpses. I settled myself down next to the bars of the cell to get the freshest air. I slept. My sleep was uneasy and clouded with bad dreams. I dreamt that I was thrown into a jail cell and the next thing I knew: people were glaring at me through the bars as if I were part of a “Teen Superhero” exhibit at a zoo.

I very suddenly awoke to find myself breathing deeply. I wiped sweat from my brow and tried to clear my mind. I looked to the bars nearest me to find a man was actually looking in at me. I almost screamed but stopped myself when I noticed it was the headmaster--then I wanted to scream louder.

“You know that little stunt you pulled would have any other student expelled.” He said in a mono-type voice.

I lowered my head.

“Yes sir, I understand. But what’s so special about me?”

“Nothing really, we just didn’t want to have to disappoint your parents.”

I lowered my head even further.

“So I’ve decided to get you out.”

Hope blossomed in my chest. The guard that had arrested me yesterday suddenly appeared with a set of keys. He picked a key from the set and grunted as he pushed it into the lock. He turned the key and opened the door, allowing me to pass.

At the reception desk he handed back all my gadgets and I gladly added them to my utility belt again. Then, headmaster Williams led me out the door and back into the sunlight.

“Sir.....he arrested me because I didn’t have a license--do you know where I can get one?”

He laughed.

“Yes. I probably should have registered the entire school the second we got here. But,” He tapped his wrinkled forehead. “this memory isn’t as good as it used to be.”

Then he led me to the city hall and inside. Where he allowed me to register. After registering I walked into the blinding sunlight again. And in one hour lessons started....again.

Chapter Two 

“Whoa, cool!” Rouge said as I showed him my new hero license at breakfast the next day. “When can I get one too?”

“I don’t know.” I said truthfully. “But it can’t be too long.”

Rouge leaned closer to me and whispered into my ear. “So are you going hunting again after breakfast today?”

I smiled back at him and shook my head. “Nah man, I’ve got to catch up on my studies.”

So--as I had agreed--after breakfast I followed Rouge to the fifth floor to study Science with Mr. Smith. As we walked into the room Mr. Smith greeted us with a hail fire of sharpened pencils, these were his greetings. I tried to duck but it was too late they had already gone through my flesh.....and continued traveling. “Huh?” I said stupidly.

“Holograms Mr. Mathews, holograms. You see the reason I greeted the class with what looked like deadly pencils is because of reflex. When you are walking through the streets anything can happen to you. For instance, a person in a apartment above you may have knocked a flower vase out of the window--if you don’t act fast then you could find yourself unconscious.” He smiled and threw a pencil--a real one this time--as hard as he could at Ember, who in return turned it into a pile of ash.

“Such sharp reflexes Todd--” Then without warning threw one at Rouge--who easily avoided it by hovering into the air above the pencil.

“Very good--” He threw one. The pencil traveled toward Geist who simply smiled as the pencil flew through him and stuck into the door behind him.

Smith threw another. This time the pencil found Wisp, who did the same maneuver as his half-brother.

“Yes--” He threw one at Hornet, who sliced it to pieces with his sword.

“Good--” He turned to me--his fierce eyes burning crisp holes through me. “Good--”

He threw it. In the second that it flew through the air I tried to think of which gadget to use. I was still thinking of what gadget to use when the class gasped. There was a tingling sensation in my right ear and my hand steadily rose to scratch it. When my hand did meet my ear seconds later I gasped. The pencil was stuck in my ear. I gasped again when I brought my hand down to find that blood glistened on my fingertips.

“Poor, very poor.”

The sound pulled me back to reality.

“Michael will you please lead Quinlan to the clinic?”

“Yes sir.” Rouge said and grabbed my arm and led me out of the science room.

We walked down a flight of stairs in silence. When we turned into the main hallway that lead to the clinics I finally said. “So, your name is Michael?” I asked.

He looked at me. “Your name is Quinlan?” He retorted.

I smiled. “Quinn for short.”

He looked away from me. “Mike for short.”

I smiled and pushed open the door to the clinic which now lay before me.

The clinic was a healer by the name of Agitha “lga, who used to work as a hero until she was accidentally shot in the leg by one of her colleagues. After that her team kicked her out--said she slowed the group. Agitha sat in a high-back chair and watched me intently as I entered the room.

After I had seated myself opposite her, Rouge bowed and left. Agitha looked at me for a short second and chuckled.

“What’s so funny?” I asked.

“Looks like to fell victim to the old Mr. Smith pencil trick.” She chuckled again.

“You mean this isn’t the first time a student has come in here with a pencil impaled into his/her ear?”

She giggled. “No, no always in the ear,” She sighed. “I’ve actually treated students with pencils stuck in their noses, hands, necks, and once one was stuck in a student’s eye.” She chuckled again and without warning moved closer and pulled the pencil from my ear. I gasped.

She smiled at the thing and threw it into the trash. Then she leaned forward, closed her eyes, and placed her hand on my ear. Without seeing I knew that the small wound was sealing together again. When it was all done, she ushered me out of the room. I was walking back to the classroom when I heard it: a low buzzing sound that meant the speakers were on. And then--

“At this time would all students please make their ways to the mission briefing room? Thank you.”

The machine clicked off. I smiled and changed direction, Looks like I'd get a mission after all.

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