The #1 rule of superhero training camp is you don’t talk about superhero training camp.
Or your parents.
Or their powers, which is the only thing saving Vince’s life—he’s the son of a notorious supervillain. But the secret could become a deadly deception when he falls into a super-powered entanglement with gorgeously heroic cabinmate Locke.
When their instructor disappears, Vince’s father may be to blame. Torn between loyalties, Vince’s greatest fear is that his father’s taint will corrupt him and poison his heart against Locke.
Vince might be doomed to follow in his father’s footsteps, but he hopes love can beat genetics.
He didn’t recognize the names of the three other guys in Cabin One, but he never expected he would. Kids with power-gifted parents were raised to protect their identities, for everyone’s safety. He didn’t want anyone to know who his father and stepmother were. Especially his stepmother, though he hated to use that word. It went the other way as well—he used his mother’s maiden name on his application so his father and alleged stepmother wouldn’t know he was at the camp.
A sharp lack of noise brought his attention to a classroom that reminded him too much of high school—being lectured by Mister Mister, who used to besomebody. His power was mimicry—for a few hours he could have the power of any gifted person he touched. Five years ago, he’d run afoul of the villain Chameleon. Vince wasn’t sure exactly what had happened—the media reported only that somehow his stepmother had managed to defeat Mister Mister, after which he’d retired from active duty.
The resemblance to high school ended with Mister Mister, who didn’t look anything like a teacher. For a start, his gray hair, still thick and wavy, was shoulder length, and he wore an olive drab T-shirt the same color as his canvas pants. He had tattoos down his arms and over the backs of his hands. He was also more physically fit than any of Vince’s high school teachers had ever been.
“Welcome to Camp Hologram, gentlemen. You wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t mastered a general control over your powers, so the focus of your training will be learning independence and teamwork. How to maximize your strengths, minimize your weaknesses. How to survive without any powers at all.
“It takes strength of will, and discipline….”
Vince tuned out the boring “why you’re all here” speech. He knew why he was there. He was born with powers and a determination to never be the kind of person his father was. Being the son of a villain didn’t mean that was his only choice.
“Weekend leave is in the city of Guilford, but don’t get too excited. There’s a volunteer element to your grades. I believe most of you have ignored the pamphlet of rules you received before arriving so let me reiterate: booze, drugs, and gambling are not permitted here at Camp Hologram. Lights out is at 10:00 p.m. Reveille is at 5:00 a.m. sharp. You are expected to make up your bunks and keep your gear in your lockers. This afternoon you’re to stow your gear and get to know your cabin mates. When you hear the klaxon, get to the mess hall or go hungry. Now grab your packs and go to your assigned cabin.”
Finally! Vince leaned down to grab his duffle, a heavy canvas bag almost as long as he was tall and stuffed with everything he owned. Whatever he did at Camp Hologram, fail or graduate qualified to be an official hero, he wasn’t going back home. Guilt made him flinch as he thought of his mother. She deserved a chance to make a life without his father screwing it up, and that meant a place with immaculate security. The kind only money could buy. Money popular heroes earned through sponsorships and licensing fees.
The first step was to ace his training.
He listened to the other guys grumble as they shuffled out, most of them with much less luggage.
“This is so lame,” someone said.
“Piece of cake,” someone else said.
Vince didn’t say anything. He followed the others out of the administration building. It was a large complex, holding the showers, the shitters, the kitchen, and the dining hall, along with the lecture room and who knew what else. Stuff the trainees didn’t need to know. Might be in the paperwork Mister Mister rightly guessed he hadn’t read.
Lina Langley: Lina is a first-generation immigrant. She currently lives in sunny Florida and spends her time slashing hot strangers while getting coffee. Her past is haunted by spies, thieves, tyrants, and murderers. A resident of the world, she’s lived on three different continents. She first saw a radiator when she was twenty-two years old, and one time she followed a cat instead of going to a house party. She likes to read, watch TV, and play video games when she’s not developing them. The rest of her free time is spent recreating her own characters in The Sims and hoping that people don’t look at the back end of her games.
Sydney Blackburn: Sydney is a binary star system. Always a voracious reader, she began to write when she couldn’t find the stories she wanted to read. She likes candlelit dinners and long walks on the beach… Oh wait, wrong profile. She’s a snarky introvert and admits to having a past full of casual sex and dubious hookups, which she uses for her stories. She likes word play and puns and science-y things. And green curry. Her dislikes include talking on the phone, people trying to talk to her before she’s had coffee, and filling out the “about me” fields in social media.