Augmented, Superheroes of the Faith Chapter 1: Classroom Visit
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Rosalyn sat in the back of the class while most of her friends clamored to be in the front. Eventually, she realized that she would be making a scene by trying not to make a scene, so she sat at the first desk in the front row while all of her friends sat on the carpet.
The door to the classroom opened, and everyone thought it would be her. It actually was four bodyguards, who made certain that the sixth-grade students were at arm’s length away from the space that they were preparing for her to speak. They were all dressed in black suits and ties, along with dark sunglasses. They literally tapped off a rectangular area right in front of the blackboard, and then they got on their ear-mounted radios to announce that “everything’s clear”.
What does a superhero need bodyguards for? Rosayln thought.
Eventually, Katharina, the very first augmented human being, stepped in. She was every thing that Rosalyn had seen in pictures and on television. There was no one word that could be used to describe the color of her hair. It was a mixture of all the colors not in the rainbow with brown, black, and some white thrown in. Her eyes were like that of a cat, with an odd shade of emerald. Her legs were very wide and always angled, like that of a praying mantis, yet she walked with ordinary steps. On her back, she had wings of an angel which usually stayed close to her spine. She wore a female version of the suits that her bodyguards wore, with a short skirt and a bareback blouse.
She waved like Miss America to the kids, and many kids excitedly waved back.
“Hello there, children, I only have time to visit this classroom for a few minutes. Do you all know who I am?”
The students responded in chorus with a yes. Rosalyn rolled her eyes as she remembered how the teacher lectured for an hour about Katharina and all the good she had done for augmentation over the years.
“Good. It looks like I all know who you are.”
All of the students had put on their “Hello My Name Is” nametags, then Rosalyn remembered that she had left hers back at her desk.
“Except for you in the back…” Katharina was pointing right at Rosalyn. She could have fled to her desk and snatched her nametag, but didn’t feel like making a fool of herself by getting up, running to her desk in the back row, and running back..
“Rosalyn,” she said as coldly as possible.
She was not looking forward to telling her grandfather that she talked to Katharina. He practically didn’t let her come to school today, but Rosalyn had missed several days on account of being sick, so she practically had to come to school no matter what until the year’s end.
“I only have time to answer some questions.”
Katharina called on the first little hand that she saw. “Why do you have wings and grasshopper legs?”
“Judith, we covered this in class, remember?”
“Oh, don’t worry, Mrs. Hennessey” said Katharina, “I’m not offended at all. Let’s see…Judith, isn’t it? Everyone asks me that.”
Rosalyn thought that no one in their right mind would ask that. She was surprised that Judith had asked her that.
“It is true that modern day augmentations have made it possible to fly without wings, and jump very high without grasshopper legs. This wouldn’t be possible without the wonders of genetic engineering. No augmentation would be possible if scientists hadn’t been looking to the animal for inspiration. Now, we can fly like the birds, see in the dark, and much, much more than the animals can do. Now, I could have these augmentations removed, but I do it to remind everyone of the inspiration of the first genetic improvements.”
Ernest raised his hand, and violently shook it. He was naturally called on.
“Yes, young man?”
“Is it true that you have every augmentation?”
“I have the basics like super-strength, extra-dense skin, super-speed, advanced hearing, infrared vision, pyrokinesis, bio-electricity, and telekinesis. That’s moving objects without touching them.”
She quickly called on someone else.
“You’re the most powerful one of them, right?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that. Upgrades come out every once in a while, and I usually get them as soon as I can. The same thing goes with new powers. Every once in a while, my father makes a breakthrough and discovers a new one. That hasn’t happened for a while.”
The next one didn’t even raise her hand. “How do your powers work?”
“How do augmentations work? Most of them are the result of just crossing DNA strands with that of animals, think of it as mixing a human with an animal. We can thank the rhinoceros for my super-tough flesh, the insect for its proportional strength, and the electric eel for my bioelectricity. Then there are other advancements that are more the result of physics rather than genetics. Abilities like telekinesis are the result of charged particles. You see, I’m able to shoot positively charged particles that cling to an object, like that eraser over there. I can then shoot negatively charged particles into the air. Since opposite particles attract, the positively-charged eraser is drawn to the negatively-charged air and appears to be floating.”
The entire class was quite impressed by the floating eraser.
“Yes, sometimes I forget how wondrous it is. However, it has its price. You see, altering the DNA is very delicate work, on the microscopic level, in fact. It was a process my father developed, and it has been perfected as a result of scientific experimentation. You should only get augmentation that has been approved by the Federal Augmentation Organization. I realize that it is incredibly expensive, but never, under any circumstances, participate in non-FAO augmentation or meta-drugs. It usually ends up with the user dying. Now I have to go now, but I want all of you to promise me that you will never use fake augmentation, and that you will wait until you are eighteen before you receive this treatment. Can you promise me you won’t ever do it?”
“We promise,” said the whole class in chorus. Katharina noticed the one student who was not sitting on the floor with others who didn’t join in with the others. Her name was…
“Rosalyn,” she said, “can you promise me that?”
“Yeah, I promise.”
“Rosalyn,” said Mrs. Hennessey, “watch your tone. She’s trying to keep us out of trouble.”
“It’s because of her we have trouble!”
No one said anything for a few seconds, and the bodyguards gave Katharina signals that she needed to leave.
“Miss Katharina, I am so sorry.”
“I understand. Students act up. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen it, Mrs. Hennessey.”
“I don’t know why, she’s…”
“I do. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen it. I think I had better leave now.”