This story takes place in the same universe as X Marks the Spot and will be my own take on a super hero universe. It will owe a little bit to the Wild Cards series of books. This is a WIP and is covered by the Creative Commons License below.
Finding that box in the woods was both the best thing and the worst thing to ever happen to me. I was right that my life would never be boring again, but like my favorite comic book says, with great power comes great responsibility. I had a clear vision of how the world needed to be. The aliens told me that they had given me my abilities to fight in a war that had already passed. That was their mistake. There was still a war on of sorts and it needed fighting. The world was being controlled by idiots. I needed look no further than my own high school to see that. The power structure was determined by looks, popularity, and money in varying combinations. I had none of the above. For the first couple of years after my experience with the box I just sat back and observed. I tested my abilities, sipping intelligence from those around me and learning how to use the limited telekinesis. I read volumes that were beyond my years. I kept these things secret from those around me, even my beloved mother.
Once I was ready to begin my journey to power, I began to build the cadre I needed. I surrounded myself with outcasts. Boys and girls who were smart enough to be of use to me, but not so smart that they would catch on to what I was doing. I tried to add one other gifted person to the circle but that ended in disaster. I mishandled it and she doesn’t trust me any more than perhaps she should. Overall I was successful in my efforts. I had a few friends that I carried with me to the beginning of my Freshmen year and was able to convince my mother and my teachers to let me engage in a period of self study with these people. I used that time to begin to build to my ultimate goal, the takeover of the entire school.
Mind you, I don’t mean that in the strictest political sense. I didn’t want to be class president or the like. I wanted to run the daily operations. I wanted to control the actions of the adults from the principal down to my fellow students. If I could do that, I reasoned, then I could do the same thing once I was out in the real world. School would serve for me the same purpose it purported to serve the boys and girls that would grind through the next four years. It would mold them into what they wanted to be.
The school bell rung shrilly on that first morning. It amplified the headache that I carried with me nearly constantly. Being around too many people made me feel like I was in a vast echo chamber. I was able to damp down the effect, but it cost me. The pain was a dull throb that was only alleviated by solitude. Even my prescription for migraines, the source of which only I was aware, barely touched it. But I could function.
Billy sat across from me. We were the only two in the library during the homeroom period. I was supposed to be tutoring him. I had helped him all through Middle School, at first to avoid beatings. Eventually, even he saw the benefit of a more amiable relationship. While we could never be friends, he was now less of a threat and more of a weapon I could use when I needed strength of arms.
He flipped through Captain Underpants, while I took notes and doodled in my moleskine. It was the end of the first grading period and I had my first target in my sites. There was a small gang of miscreants that “ruled” the ninth grade. They were lead by Joseph Ramirez, a tenth grader who was by all accounts smart for his age. They weren’t a gang as such, but they certainly had a loose power structure and even made money by selling everything from tests to illicit over the counter and prescription drugs. Ramirez was smart enough not to delve into the harder drug trade. The Dragons and Ochos filled that niche and would step hard on anyone who tried to interfere. I was certain that he knew where the boundaries were and was likely being groomed for upward mobility.
I had his name circled in red. I needed him to join me or I needed to take him out, one of the two. Neither one would be easy. A meet would need to be arranged.
“Billy. I need you to take care of something for me.”
He looked up from his book, a dull smile on his face. “Yeah, Mark? What’s that?”
“I need you to go and talk to Joesph Ramirez. I want and audience with him.”
“Audience? Is he gonna sing or something?”
I shook my head. “No, Billy. I need to talk to him and I need you to arrange it. This is very important and I need you to not screw things up.”
“I know Joseph. He’s on the football team. I’ll talk to him between first and second period. Whatcha wanna talk about with him. In case he asks?”
I stroked my chin. “Tell him that I have a supply of medications that I think I can arrange for him and his people to sell for me.”
Billy’s eyes widened. “That ain’t legal.”
I shushed him with my hands. “Think of it this way. I have medication that will go to waste if it expires. They may know someone who can make use of it. It would be a shame for that to happen. And it’s my medication after all. Shouldn’t I be able to sell it?”
He shrugged his broad shoulders. “I reckon.”
Bless the boy, he wasn’t that smart when he was outside my zone of influence. The ten or so IQ points he lost when near me was almost more than he could spare without starting to drool. “Great. So you do that. Tell him that I will be available during first lunch and will wait for him out by the monkey bars on the second playground.”
He started to stand.
“Wait for the bell, Billy.”
He sat back down and resumed reading his book, giggling occasionally.
I looked forward to first period. The “tutoring time” I was allowed with my big friend was a good way to start the day, but it wasn’t exactly stimulating. When the bell did ring. I made my way out into the halls and towards class.
When the time came I waited by the monkey bars. While no self respecting high schooler would be caught “playing” out here, we were allowed to take time during lunch to be outside. There were guardians appointed to ensure that no one smoked or started fights, but they took their jobs watching us almost as seriously as they took their jobs to instruct us.
I will admit to being somewhat nervous. I was taking a risk, my biggest one to date. I didn’t think anything bad would happen, and in this case my intellect failed me.
Joseph arrived a few minutes late, flanked by two even larger boys. They were, no doubt, all members of the football team. If not then I could see no purpose in their existence. They wore puffy jackets displaying the blue and green of our school along with long white shirts and low slung jeans. Joseph’s blond hair belonged to a bottle and was betrayed by swarthy skin. His wing men were both black and looked to be brothers.
I pushed myself off from leaning against the cold metal and walked towards them, hoping I looked cooler than I felt. As I came within what I thought of as “siphoning distance” I got a surge from Joseph. It caught me by surprise. Part of me had assumed that he was a typical gang banger. He shook his head and grimaced. Most people didn’t notice the effect that my ability had on them. He appeared to.
He nodded to the two young men bracing him and they closed in on either side of me. I was boxed in. “So you have something you’d like to talk to me about?”
My eyes flicked around looking for Billy. “Yes. I think we have something that would be mutually beneficial.”
“Looking for your backup? Don’t.” He stepped well into my personal space. We were approximately the same height, but I weighed two-thirds of what he did.
I tried to steel myself and hoped that it didn’t show. “There’s no need for this to be confrontational. This is business. Just b-…”
He poked me just above my sternum, hard enough to cut my words off, but not hard enough to do any damage. “No. Business is between equals. You’re not my equal. You’re just a deluded little Freshman. If you’ve got something good you will give it to me and I’ll kick your skinny little ass.”
I though about asking if he meant “or”, but I knew better. I reached into my jacket. The boy on my right, Dolla’ according to the name on his jacket, caught my arm, pinning the hand in its place. “I was just reaching for a sample of the product.”
Joseph nodded at Dolla’ who let me go.
I pulled out the Altoids tin and held it out.
He took it and then nodded again. This time Dolla’ and his brother both grabbed an arm. I watched as he opened the small box and removed the piece of parchment holding two Oxy. The mints went into his jacket and he fingered open the illicit package. “Nice.” He looked up at me. “You’ll get me more of this.” It wasn’t a question.
“I can do tha…” Again with the poke.
“You will do that.” He looked at his wing men. “Show this young man what will happen if he doesn’t.”
I heard Dolla’s knuckles creak. I desperately looked around for a teacher or any other witness. None were immediately obvious.
“Boys, boys boys.” The woman’s voice came from above and behind us.
The look on Joseph’s face was a mix of anger, frustration, and surprise that I didn’t have a word for.
“You won’t be tuning anyone up on my watch.” A shadow flashed above our heads and I saw a Hispanic girl not much older than Joseph land lightly behind him. She was a good head taller than either of us.
Hostile Takeover by Scott Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.scottroche.com.