Part 1 – Extended Capabilities.

Being blind-folded, pulled into a car and driven somewhere that she couldn’t see should have made Adelaide Blake hyperventilate and wet herself. That’s what most fourteen year olds, and indeed adults, tended to do when agent Price abducted them. Instead she appeared to be eating from a large bag of mixed nuts that had been secreted in her pocket, making loud crunching sounds. It was intensely annoying. Agent Price pointed this out to her. Adelaide replied that if he didn’t want her to eat he shouldn’t have kidnapped her in the first place.

“I’m a government official,” agent Price looked irritably into the rear view mirror, “I don’t kidnap people.”

“Fine,” Adelaide said between mouthfuls, “still, it’s your fault. Could have just told me what you wanted me to do.”

“Your task is a government secret,” he said, “anyone could have heard it in the street. Why do you have to be eating now anyway?”

“I’m hungry pretty much all the time. Puberty’s hard my friend.”

Agent Price didn’t reply, preferring to keep his eyes fixed on the road ahead. Sitting in the back, Adelaide made a vain attempt to memorise the bumps the car made as it drove, in order to retrace the route at some later date. TV detectives made it look far easier than it actually was and she lost count fairly quickly. She was scared, of course she was scared. However, she preferred not to show it. Price seemed like a genuine agent, which was a relief of sorts. An ordinary kidnapper probably wouldn’t take the time and effort to explain that he was from the government and that she was required for an important and dangerous task. She only wondered what it was. Adelaide had no delusions of her own abilities, the very idea that she could do anything dangerous for the government was ridiculous. Nevertheless being driven to a top secret location by someone who sounded like some kind of super spy was undeniably cool and it was hard to not be just a little bit excited, as well as terrified.

The car slowed and there was the sound of Price stepping out. He opened Adelaide’s door and pulled her out by the shoulder before frogmarching her through what sounded like a series of long hallways, stopping every now and then to spin her around a few times. Eventually she was forced into a chair and, after a few minutes of struggling with the knot, Price pulled off the blindfold. They were in a bare, white room. Stepping into Adelaide’s field of vision, agent Price folded his arms. He really did look like he’d stepped out of a spy film.

“My apologies for the… methods with which you were brought here,” he said, “It’s very important that I speak to you.”

“I see,” Adelaide narrowed her eyes, “you know your flies are undone.”

Agent Price glanced down. Leaping to her feet Adelaide pulled a spray can from her pocket and emptied its contents into his eyes. He stumbled back with a yell, clutching at his face.

“What the hell was that?” He blinked rapidly and glared at her.

“That was for blindfolding me and dragging me here,” Adelaide grinned and put the bottle of spray deodorant back in her pocket, “always carry one, in case of emergency. Surprised you fell for it.”

“Right,” he scowled, “that’s… good use of initiative.”

Sitting back down, Adelaide crossed her legs and rested her chin in her hand.

“So what do you want with me anyway?” She asked. “Look, I hate to disappoint, but I’ve got a lot of pressures in my life right now and I really don’t need the government giving me ‘secret assignments’ or whatever.”

Price turned away and clasped his hands together behind his back, his brow furrowed.

“What if I said I wanted you to lead a team of heroes and fight crime.”

Adelaide stared at Price for a very long time, her eyes the size of dinner plates. When she eventually spoke her voice was hushed.

“When I said I didn’t want any secrets assignments from the government I was perhaps exaggerating. You want me to do what now?!”

Price smiled and put his head to one side.

“Good, I thought that would get your attention. Allow me to explain.”

Adelaide nodded. She was aware that she was becoming slightly slack-jawed, but decided that Price probably wouldn’t notice.

“Our world today is a complex one,” agent Price gestured with his hand, “there are certain individuals, more than ever before, with what the government calls ‘expanded capabilities,’ it’s thought that one in every million people are so blessed.”

“Yes yes,” Adelaide nodded impatiently, “I know that. Get to the bit about me fighting crime.”

“People, that is to say ordinary humans, have become somewhat… mistrustful of so called super-humans,” Price said, “to the extent that they tend to be ostracised from society. The reason why this occurs is, unfortunately, because many of those with ‘expanded capabilities’ tend to misuse them.”

“Yeah,” Adelaide frowned, “my mum’s always telling me not to listen to what people say about them. She says we’re all equal.”

“Well then your mother is very open minded,” Price sighed, “and I wish more people were like her. They are not, however, and the government feels that the intolerance towards super-humans is reaching a peak in recent months. As a result we’ve come up with a strategy to warm the people’s collective hearts, and that’s where you come in.”

“Right,” Adelaide was temporarily nonplussed, “so…?”

“A team of ‘heroes,’ fighting crime about town,” Price explained, “would hopefully alleviate some of the mistrust shown towards super-humans. A normal human at its head would be a symbol of our ability to cooperate with those who have expanded capabilities. The government thinks that a team consisting of teenagers would be easier for the public to sympathise with.”

“And you want me to be the leader?”

“You were picked at random. It appears the choice was a good one.”

“Will it be dangerous?”

“You need only fight small, neighbourhood crime, so no. In all honesty it’s mostly so we can show you off to the media.”

“Do you have a team ready or what?”

“No,” Price made a face, “we didn’t have the time or resources to form one ourselves. We were hoping you could.” He passed a slip of paper across to her, “contact us by this number when you’re ready. Will you at least give it a go?”

Adelaide grinned.

“Mister, you’ve got yourself a deal.”

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