Learning to Deal

Dr. Trevor Seaborn heaved a sigh as he scanned his patient’s chart, and shaking his head, he entered the fourth treatment room in his offices. The patient, a SPB named QuikStryke, had been assigned to his roster after the death of a colleague, one Dr. Rudy Nielson. The papers said that Dr. Nielson died in his sleep, but scuttlebutt around the hospital told a different story. It seems that Dr. Nielson left his shift that night with a very attractive redhead, one whom the nurses were saying had “something not quite right about her.” Whatever that meant…

So Kane, the patient with no last name, as Seaborn referred to him, had been dropped into his already overflowing lap. Interesting case though, he had to admit. Kane claimed to be from a different reality, and to have come through a portal that was damaged in transit, causing the waning of his powers. The secondary psychic presence within his mind had removed itself, or possibly dissipated, ten days ago. With the removal of the intruding presence, Kane had quickly stabilized, though in a much weaker state then when he was admitted to G.C. Memorial. He had arrived with powers equal to some of the most powerful heroes in the city, but the loss of the psychic energy his body used to fuel his powers made him one of the weakest. And that was something Kane was not learning to cope with very well at all.

As the door slid shut behind him, Dr. Seaborn put on his professional smile, and asked the man waiting for him, “So, Mr. Kane, this is what, the eighth time I have seen you in here this week?

Kane was sitting on the reclinable work table, naked to his waist, with electrodes hooked to him in a dozen different places. He managed to look chagrined. “It’s not easy out there Doc. You try heading into surgery without half your brain working properly!”

Dr. Seaborn chuckled as he checked the scanners readings. “Yes, but I’m not the one who has lost the use of his powers. So who was it this time? Vahzilok zombies? Clockwork ‘bots? Running past a grocery store again?”

Kane’s face reddened at the memory of such ignominious defeats. “Hey! I told you I didn’t see those Hellion’s car jacking till I was in the middle of them! I mean, who ‘jacks a station wagon! Honestly!!!”

Kane’s rant trailed off as the Doctor’s face showed an extra degree of interest in the scanner’s recordings. “What’s up? Am I growing another head or something, Doc?”

Dr. Seaborn smiled and shook his head. “No, quite the opposite. Your psychic ability seems to be regenerating itself. I am showing a 10% growth since last weeks scan. Remarkable!”

Kane grinned from ear to ear at the news. His deepest fear was losing his powers permanently and being left defenseless in a world in which he had created many powerful foes. That was modified now with the fear of being left in a reality he didn’t know, with no hope of ever seeing his wife or friends again. Well, his wife anyway. And a couple of his friends…

Dr. Seaborn sat at his desk and powered on a P.C. in the room. He began entering a few notes onto Kane’s file. A stickler for English, he stared annoyed at the hero’s call-sign as it flashed on his monitor. “So, I keep meaning to ask you. Why drop the “c” from Quick?”

Kane’s beaming smile turned to a frown of annoyance. “Too many dang hero’s in once place! Can you believe there was already a QuickStryke here in Paragon City? Guess he passed away last summer though.”

Dr. Seaborn nodded with a sageness reserved for residents of Paragon City. “Would you believe that I have three versions of the name “Stalwart” on my patient roster?”

Kane shook his head in disbelief, “Losers! Why would anyone settle for a misspelling of… Oh. Never mind.” He chose to ignore the doctor’s chuckling.


The chirping coming from her P.D.A. went ignored by Agent Alicia Richards. She was busy repeating her vowels to the porcelain bowl in her bathroom. The “stomach flu” she had contracted after… that night… with Doctor What’s-his-name, had plagued her for the last few days. She always seemed alright by lunchtime, so she dealt with it as she had every other problem in her life, ignored it till it went away. Only this one was taking a bit longer to take the hint. Having popped a “morning-after” pill form a small quantity given to all female Agents of Crey, she was certain pregnancy was out of the equation.

Flushing, she wiped her mouth with a nearby towel, and headed into her home office to see what the incessant chirping was about. Entering her password, she opened the P.D.A.’s e-mail directory, and found a hit from the bug she had placed on Kane’s hospital file. Smiling grimly as her stomach threatened another sprint to the bathroom, she sat down in front of her home computer system, and relaxed into the Corinthian leather chair which represented one of the few luxuries she allowed herself.

With a few clicks of her mouse she was viewing Kane’s file, noting the update by Dr. Trevor Seaborn, the SPB physician assigned to Kane, or QuikStryke, as he had registered himself down at City Hall. Breezing through the file, she noted the returning power levels, and dropping a copy of the entry into a file of her own, she sat back to ponder its meaning.

Kane had woke up the same night she had visited the hospital, narrowly missing seeing her there. That would have blown her cover, and this assignment. Security Chief Hopkins was not known for giving second chances, so Alicia gave thanks for this small favor. Since then, Kane had entered the hero community with gusto, obviously used to his old powers and tactics for dealing with foes. That attitude had landed him in the hospital many times in the last 10 days, a fact which Alicia regarded with glee.

Clicking open an adjoining file, Alicia scanned though the monikers of the various heroes that Kane had joined up with on various (mis)adventures. None of them rang a bell until she saw the most recent entry. It seemed that Kane was spotted meeting with a sorceress named Cassandra Kincaid, a much more powerful heroine, just last night. The name bugged Alicia, so she ran a cross reference against Crey’s Hero Database, an extensive source of information kept up to date by many methods, not all of them legal.

Several hits were red-flagged immediately. Kincaid brought up four positive hits:

1. Marcus “Malthaeus” Kincaid, Flame-wielding “tanker,” the leader of a hero team name the “Archons of Justice”

2. Cassandra “Cass” Kincaid, Fire-wielding sorceress, of the “controller” classification, leader of the “Sisterhood of Justice,” daughter of Marcus Kincaid

3. Kiryn Kincaid, Shadow and Energy wielder, “defender”-class, daughter of Marcus Kincaid and Kirstyn “Doubleheliix” Shaw, perceived to be a time traveler from the future, she was an expert in Transdimensional physics. High on the possible “recruitment” list for Crey’s Science Department.
4. Kirstyn “Doubleheliix” Shaw, classification “blaster”, utilized light-based energy, recently engaged to Marcus Kincaid, also a member of the Archons of Justice.
The flagged list continued, mostly hits related to reports made on the exploits of the above heroes. Alicia scanned through them ’till she found the cross-reference with Kane’s file. Opening the message she noted that Cassandra Kincaid and members of her Sisterhood of Justice had been the heroes who found Kane out in Crey’s Folly, and subsequently handed him over to Manticore.
Flipping back over to Kane’s file, she read through the transcript of the two hero’s conversation, recorded at long range by a pair of Infiltrator’s she had assigned to following Kane’s every move. It was mostly a “meet and greet” get together. Kane was thanking Cass for her help, then discussing the nature of the city. Cass had recommended that Kane apply for membership to her father’s super group for support and companionship as he knew no one in town. The rest was useless chatter, nothing Alicia could use.
Closing the file, she stood from her computer and walked over to a nearby window and swung it open for a breath of fresh air. Someone a floor or two down was grilling already, and Alicia inhaled a lungful of the sweet bbq smells wafting up to her. Her stomach rebelled again, and Alicia sprinted for the bathroom once more.

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