Chapter 2: Training
M. E. T. A.
The red and gold swirling whirlpool engulfed my vision as I walked through it. I couldn’t see anything but it felt like I was walking normally. I stepped out of the vertex into a concrete room with Sam and one other person.
The stranger was a girl. She had on the familiar black outfit with a unique logo and the same blue glow as everyone else. I mean come on, did everyone have it? This time the logo was an eye with a solid purple dot, not the black middle that was normal.
“Hello and my super name is Irist. I’m going to be categorizing your powers and helping you control them. This should only take an hour or so.” Irist said, the cheerfulness in her voice helping to control my nerves.
“How are you going to categorize our powers? We don’t even know what our powers are yet.” Sam said. He had gone over to the side of the room opposite of Irist.
“Well that is my power after all.” Irist said. Okay whatever I had expected of this categorizing thing, that wasn’t it.
“What do you mean that’s your power?” I asked.
“How about I just show you okay?” Irist said. She became still. She closed her eyes. I waited about a minute.
Sam looked at me. “We supposed to see something from Miss Strange or do we just stand here looking like idiots.”
I opened my mouth to tell him what I thought when a purple glow appeared in the middle of the room. I looked at the glow and there was a purple eye looking exactly like the icon on Irist’s suit. A purple beam like an eye scanner appeared from the glowing eye. The beams scanned first Sam and then they scanned me.
Once the scan stopped the glowing eye disappeared. Irist opened her eyes. I could see streaks of purple draining from her eyes, returning them to their original brown state. I stared at her for a second and then I glanced at Sam. He too was staring at her.
Irist turned around and walked past an open doorway which I hadn’t noticed before. She reached a table with chairs around it set off to the side and took a notebook off the table. Irist started writing something down. I walked towards her.
Irist was a quick writer and finished by the time I reached her. Sam reached me soon after. She set down the notebook and sat in one of the chairs. Then she waited. I didn’t know what to say so I waited for Sam to say something.
After a few awkward moments, Irist rolled her eyes. “Oh come on, not even a question on what I just did? …… Well what I did was just scan you and then I wrote down your powers afterwards. Here is yours, and here is yours.” Irist said as she gave us each a sheet of paper.
“Don’t worry you don’t have to share if you don’t want to. I did get the feeling that you guys were friends though so if you want to you can.” Irist said.
I looked down at my paper. In flowing print it said this; Power identification, Class 6 Body abilities, Elemental, Earth and minor gravity manipulation, ice beam.
“Hey Sam, if I let you look at my powers, will you let me look at yours?” I asked him. I was really curious. I knew what my powers were but it just felt so surreal. I mean, someone could tell you that you could fly but if you had never done it than you wouldn’t believe them right? Same thing but I knew she was telling the truth.
Sam was still looking at his paper. “Sam, did you hear me?” I asked. He snapped out of his funk and looked up at me.
“What Tony, I didn’t hear you the first time” Sam said. He had a look on his face that I could only describe as stunned.
“I asked if we could trade papers.” I said.
“Fine” Sam said. We swapped papers. Sam’s paper was written in the same flowery script as my own. I started to read it.
It said; Quantum brain, technopath, level 10 telekinesis, telepath, class 2 body abilities, mental projection, mental manifestation.
While I thought over what those powers meant I realized something. “Irist, why do we have so many powers? I mean, usually supers have one or three powers, not,” I mentally tallied up mine and Sam’s powers, “Six or seven.”
Irist looked thoughtful for a second and then she replied. “Well, I really don’t know. By the way, why are there two of you here. I thought there was only one of you supposed to come at a time.”
I waited for Sam to say something but he didn’t. So I started talking instead. “Vortex sent the two of us here at the same time because we were in the same room. Some stone gargoyle thing tried to kill me and it trashed my room.”
“How did you stop it?” Irist asked.
“I ran into the hallway and met a strongman. He smashed it into rubble for me.” I told her.
“That sounds like an animator, probably Golem Maker. He’s always causing trouble but I didn’t think he would try and kill new supers. He typically just does small robberies.” Irist said. She sounded a little puzzled as she said it.
“So now that we know what our powers are, what do we do now?” Sam said.
“Well now I’ll call in your trainer. He’ll show you how to use your powers and if you can demonstrate that you aren’t a danger you can go home.” Irist said. She then walked back over towards the door and pressed a button on a speaker next to the doorway.
I could hear some murmuring from the speaker but it was too far away for me to completely make it out. “I have two boys here who need some training. One is a mental and science type. Another is an elemental, rock mostly with some ice….. I know that it’s unusual……. Just send someone down okay?…… Hey don’t blame me its Vortex’s fault, he sent me two at the same time…..OK thanks.” Irist said as she let go of the speaker button.
“Okay boys your trainers will come down and get you.” Irist said turning to look at us in turn.
“Wait, we are going to be separated?” Sam said.
“Well yes but if you want you can train together. However it will take a couple hours more, are you sure you want to do that?” Irist asked.
“I will if Sam will” I said. Sam seemed a little scared of being alone here and I would support him. And to be honest, so was I.
“Yeah, I’d like that” Sam said.
“Okay, I’ll arrange it. By the way what are your names, I think yours is Sam right?” Irist asked as she pointed to Sam.
“Yeah that’s me and this is my bud, Tony.” Sam said as he pointed at me. I waved at Irist. Then another two men came into the room. Each had on the now familiar black outfits and blue glow. If Irist was right than the glow was actually one of my powers.
The man on the right was fairly tall, about 6’2 if I was right. He had on a mask and was bald. I had a hunch that the mask helped him look younger than he was. The man on the left was shorter at around 5’8 and looked young. He had blonde hair.
The bald guy had the symbol of a circle divided into four parts. Each part contained one of the elements. There was red fire, brown rock, blue ice with rivulets of water on top, and a white tornado. The younger man had a steel blue wrench and hammer crossing over each other like swords on a pirate banner.
Irist immediately looked over at them and had started whispering to them while I observed their features. They ended the conversation and while Irist looked happy the two new arrivals did not.
“Well guys, these are the men to train you. The baldie here is The Elemental Master. He is able to manipulate all 4 elements. He will be your trainer Tony. The blond fellow is Techno, don’t ask why. He will be your trainer Sam. Now that introductions are done, I’m needed elsewhere. See you guys later.” With a cheerful wave, Irist skipped out of the room and down the hallway.
We all just stood there for a second and then Elemental Master spoke.“Since you want to train together, we are going to have to take turns.” He turned to Techno. “Who do you want to see trained first?” He asked the young superhero.
Techno shrugged. “I guess we could see what the elemental has. Okay, can you show us your power?” He said, directing the question towards me.
“Sure, here’s the paper that Irist gave me.” I said. I handed him the paper in my hand. Techno looked at it and raised his eyebrow.
“Are you sure this is yours?” Techno asked.
“Yeah, why wouldn’t it be?” I asked right back.
“Because,” Techno explained “this says you’re telekinetic. That’s means you would be my trainee.” I face palmed myself. We hadn’t traded back papers yet and I had given him Sam’s.
“Sorry, that was a mix up. We traded papers to compare powers. I gave you Sam’s. Sam, could you give him mine?” I asked him.
“How about you give the paper to his trainer instead,” Elemental Master said. He stepped in front of Sam and held out his hand. Sam silently gave him the paper. As the Elemental Master looked at the paper I stared at Sam. He had been surprisingly quiet about all this. His face had looked shocked when we first came and now all I saw was a sort of childish glee, or more accurately Hero worship.
Elemental Master cleared his throat. I looked at him. “Since you are getting trained first please follow me. You’re getting taken to the elements training room. First though, put this on.”
He gave me a mask with a string attached to it. As I looked at it Elemental Master explained why he gave it to me. “When we go out there you will be meeting more people. Obviously since some people have a problem with secret identities we wipe peoples minds of any faces they have seen here but just in case it doesn’t work we also have masks.”
Me and Sam put it on, though Sam’s mentor gave him a complete metal one with white glowing eyes. With that Elemental Master nodded in satisfaction.
He walked towards the doorway and turned left. The rest of us followed him. Outside was a concrete hallway. There were more doorways to the right and left. I could see some different color glows coming from some.
All of the rooms were closed though occasionally a masked superhero would walk by.
I could hear the occasional explosion or thud from the rooms as we passed by them. We had almost reached a dead end when The Elemental Master opened up a door on the right side of the hallway. Inside was what looked like nothing I had seen before.
There, off to the left were various sized rocks and chunks of metal. To the right were some campfires, torches, candles, and other fire wielding materials. In front was a water fountain and beyond was a contained room of ice. Last of all was a bunch of targets at the very far end of the room across from each section of elements.
The Elemental Master turned around towards us. “Techno, please take your trainee and sit him down on those chairs.” He said, pointing towards some chairs to the right of the door. “As for you Tony, please come with me to the earth section.” He turned back around and walked towards the earth and metal chunks. This room was made of plastic and those blue pads like at the gymnasium or the dojo.
I followed him and we stopped at the edge of the earth section. “Now that we are here I’m going to ask you to focus on the rock. Imagine it moving, just floating there.”
I closed my eyes and did as he asked. I could see the mental image of the rock he had pointed to. I now imagined it floating. I felt like I had flexed a muscle as I did, similar to stretching out a previously unknown muscle. I opened my eyes to see the rock floating like I had imagined.
“Good, good. Now see if you can hit the target with it.” He said. He gestured upwards and one of the targets floated upwards and moved closer to us. I did as he said and used my newfound ‘muscle’ to push the rock. There was a BOOOMMM that made my ears hurt and teeth ache. The target I had been looking at was no longer there. It was now on the other side of the room shattered to pieces. “Nice, you obviously have power, now let’s try and get some control.”
We spent the next ten minutes or so with me lifting rocks and moving them at various speeds. Turned out the first rock had been traveling so fast it broke the sound barrier. Once Elemental Master thought I had control of it, he asked me to stop. “What, did I do something wrong?” I asked.
“No but you have other things to try than just that.” He said. “Try and imagine ice forming on this target instead of just throwing rocks at it.”
“Oh yeah, Irist said that I had ice beams.” I said. I concentrated on ice forming around it but nothing happened. “Did I do something wrong?” I asked, now concerned that maybe I was wrong.
“No, your power just might work differently. There is nothing wrong with that.” Elemental Master assured me. “This time imagine beams shooting from your eyes or your hands.”
“Okay then.” I looked at the target and held up my hands aiming at the target with them. I imagined beams shooting from my hands. My hands suddenly felt colder. I looked down. My hands were pale white and had flakes of snow coming from them.
I stared at the target again. This time I thrust my hand forward and white beams shot forth. The white beams hit the target. The crackling of growing ice filled the room. The target was now covered in about a foot of clear ice.
“Okay, do you think you can do that again?” Elemental Master asked. The ice cracked and fell off the target, landing on the floor with a musical tinkle. Apparently he had decided to use the target again.
I thrust my hands forward again and the target was again engulfed in ice. “Again” he said as the ice fell to the ground once more. I concentrated and tried something different. I imagined the ice beams shooting from my eyes this time.
The cold gathered around my eyes just like it had with my hands. The world suddenly seemed a little paler in color and I could see small snowflakes floating in front of me. The beams shot forth but they seemed to be see-through, almost ghostly this time and not solid white like before.
I tried to keep up a continuous blast this time. The ice on the target grew towards me, almost like when you see a fast forwarded video of icicles growing. It sounded like one of those videos you see of glaciers, it was loud but not to the point of deafening.
The temperature dropped to about 10 degrees in the room. I stopped the beams before the rapidly growing icicle reached me. I looked at Sam. He had been looking at me in awe the entire time but now his jaw just about touched the floor. “Your elemental powers are definitely strong but how about your body. Here lift this” he said pointing to a big metal chunk.
I reached down and grabbed it. When I did, surprisingly the metal bent underneath my strength. It oozed between my fingers like mud. “Wow. Hey, Elemental Master? I just bent this.”
He looked at the handprint and nodded. “I knew you could do it, I just wanted you to see it as well. Anyways go ahead and try lifting that hunk of metal, some people can do it.”
I did as he said and tried to levitate it like before. The metal chunk lifted but it felt heavier to my third ‘arm’. “Great job, that’s a rare talent to be able to lift rocks and metal. It said that you had minor gravity manipulation but I’ve never taught anyone who had that talent so if you do want to learn more about it I can ask around, all right?” Elemental Master said.
“That would be nice but how about you show me what you can do, I mean. I’ve been busting my tail to throw around some rocks but how about you show me what you can do.” I said. I honestly just wanted to see how good he really was. If you call yourself The Elemental Master, you had better be good enough to deserve the name.
“What do you want to see? I can knock out the targets, I could spar with you, or I can spar with someone else if you want.” The Elemental Master said. He didn’t seem fazed at all that I had challenged him. I looked over my shoulder at Sam and Techno. Techno had a knowing smirk on his face. Sam was just grinning at me. Upon seeing me look at him he gave me a thumbs up.
Being able to move rocks and freeze things with your mind was exhilarating. Metal bending like putty helped egg that feeling. However I wasn’t a fool and Techno’s grin made me wary for some reason. Experience wasn’t something I had on my side and The Elemental Master had been a super long enough to be qualified to teach other supers. He had to be a pretty powerful or skilled person to do that.
Making up my mind I spoke. “How about you duel someone else first. I’m new at this and I don’t exactly like getting beat up just yet.” The Elemental Master laughed.
“You just made a very smart decision kid.” He reached up by his ear. He tapped a hidden device in there and spoke. I assumed that there was some type of microphone in his mask. He stared off into the distance while he spoke. “Hey command, can you send someone to spar with me. If you could send an elemental and not a manipulator I’d be grateful……… OK thanks, I’ve sparred with him before. See ya.”
He looked at me. “On your power list it said elemental. Now you have some type of elemental power so I’m going to have Crystillion to show you what an elemental is. Sit down over there. This might take a while.”
I went over and sat next to Sam. “Nice job, I can’t wait till I can use my powers.” Sam whispered in my ear.
I looked over at him. “Thanks Sam. I’m sure you’ll do great yourself.” I whispered.
Then a cloud of smoke appeared in the middle of the room. From that cloud came a large man about 6’6 holding his nose. He had on a black outfit and a symbol of a human made of crystal on his chest. “Where’s Elemental master at?” The man said. He too was bald and he had a deep booming voice.
“Right here Crystillion.” Elemental Master said from behind the man.
“Are you ready to impress these little pipsqueaks?” Crystillion said in his deep announcer type voice as he swiveled to look at his soon-to-be sparring partner.
“Actually you’re going to show this kid what being an elemental means. Then we are going to spar. By the way, how did you get here so fast, last I heard you were ten stories down?” The Elemental Master said.
“I ran into Smokester. He went ahead and teleported me here.” Crystillion said. He turned back around and looked at me. “So you’re an elemental, do you know what type?” He asked me.
I shook my head. “Irist gave me a paper with my powers but all it said was elemental.”
Crystillion shook his head. “Darn it Irist, always has to make my job difficult. So do you have anything else?” I nodded. “Okay so what other powers do you have?”
I started to list them. “I have super strength, ice beams, and earth-slash-gravity manipulation. I’ve used all but the gravity thing.”
“Okay, nice powers by the way. Here is what an elemental means. It means we can turn our bodies into an element and sometimes we can manipulate our body. Here is mine.” Crystillion took a deep breath and held it. His skin started turning solid white instead of the reddish pink tinge you see normally.
Soon his body was solid white but that wasn’t super strange. Then his skin started gaining a reflective sheen. His skin now started turning clear. I could see right through his arm now but there wasn’t any bone or anything underneath his crystal skin. Soon his whole body except from the head had turned see through. His head retained the solid white look as his original change.
He let out a breath. “This is my power” he said waving a hand towards himself.
“Wow.” I and Sam said at the same time.
“Because we don’t know what type of Elemental you are, just think about your body changing.” Crystillion said.
I did as he asked but it was difficult. I didn’t know what I should try to imagine me looking like and I couldn’t decide on anything. After a minute I stopped trying and looked at him. “I’m going to try something else” I told him.
This time I tried willing myself to change. My entire body got cold, just like when I used my ice beam. I looked down at my skin. My body now had black stone for skin. Curious I willed my hand to flake off. Some of the stone flaked off revealing the same stone underneath.
However I felt like my powers didn’t stop there. I willed myself to change again. This time the rock changed. It started to shatter. After it shattered it revealed a metal skin underneath. Willing myself to change once more the metal frosted over before it shattered too. Underneath this was solid white ice.
“Wow. Some people have multiple elemental forms though it’s rare. Now try blasting ice in all of your forms. Some blaster and elemental mixes I know of get stronger blasting power when they change.” Crystillion said.
“Allright.” I concentrated on a target down range. The cold feeling got more intense on my hands. I looked down. I saw a blue glow from underneath my icy skin, turning them a bluish white color. The beams blasted from my hands but now the beam was a blue-white instead of just white. The ice struck the target. White ice covered the target at about the same rate as before. The ice, however, wasn’t see-through like before. Now it was a solid white.
Changing forms I shot another two targets. In the metal form the ice was the exact same as my ice form. In the rock form it was more like black ice and appeared dirty. On both of my other forms frost spread on my hands, covering me up to my elbow.
“Hey EM, can you bring the targets to me along with the one the kid covered earlier” Crystillion said. The Elemental Master nodded and then gestured upwards and towards him. The targets floated upwards and towards Crystillion and landed in front of him.
Crystillion inspected the ice covered targets, comparing them I imagined. Then he punched the clear ice. It shattered quite easily. Then he punched the solid white one. The ice didn’t break off or shatter though cracks spread on it. The one from my metal form produced the same result though the earthen one shattered it didn’t shatter quite as easily as the clear ice.
“Well there’s something I didn’t quite expect. The white ice can detain most strongman, or titans as we like to call them here. The clear one can be used on less stronger people. As for the black one, I would say it’s somewhere in between. If you ever get into construction, I suggest going ice elemental before icing the supports.” He said.
“How do you know that?” Sam asked
“Know what?” Crystillion tried to clarify.
“I mean, how did you know that the ice can hold titans?” Sam said.
“That’s easy” Crystillion replied. “I can lift about 200 tons. That’s more than what most titans can lift” Lifting that much was impressive, or at least it was to me.
Techno this whole time had been tapping his foot impatiently and occasionally rolling his eyes. “Well if you guys are finished with the whole ‘teach the new guys’ routine, maybe we could get to the fight.”
“Okay Techno we’ll do it, but only because you asked nicely. Kid, you can stay in elemental form but first try to change back.” I concentrated and the constant cold feeling I had felt disappeared along with the whole rock-for-skin thing. Then I willed it back and I transformed back into my elemental form.
“Since he can do that at will now, let’s get this party started.” Crystillion said. As he took up a defensive stance, a familiar red and gold vortex opened at the door of the training room. Vortex stepped through. He then made a fist with his hands. When he did, the brightly colored wormhole closed.
“Did I hear that The Elemental Master is actually going to spar with someone? This I have to see.” Vortex said with a grin. He looked over at us. “Hey are these the people you’re testing now?”
“Yep, you brought me in actually.” I said waving at Vortex. My voice sounded a bit raspier than before.
“Whoa. That’s a nice look for ya.” Vortex said.
“Well since you’re here and you obviously have some type of gate power, maybe you could take us to the training island instead. That way you guys can be a little safer.” The Elemental Master said.
“Yeah, I’ve been there before so I can open a gate there.” Vortex said.
Techno, ever the impatient one, spoke up. “Okay so we’re going to an island so you can use all your powers. Now that that’s out of the way, can we go now?”
Crystillion laughed a loud booming sound. “Yes we can.” Vortex made another whirlpool. I stepped through it right after Crystillion. I looked around. We were on the beach of a deserted island. There were a couple palm trees but they were stunted. There was almost no vegetation and I could see the end of the island about a mile away.
“Tony, use your ice beams and try to make a platform over there in the air” EM, or The Elemental Master, said waving a hand towards the ocean. I nodded. I wasn’t sure exactly what to do so I simply tried to freeze a sort of sidewalk over the ocean. A pathway was made over the ocean just like I hoped. I made it a gradual slope upwards. I walked over on it but I slipped on it and fell.
“Okay, not the best idea you’ve had Tony.” Sam said once he stopped laughing. EM shrugged. He then brought his eyebrows together like he was concentrating. He brought his hands up.
When he did that, a grumbling sound came from the ocean. A series of stone steps with a guardrail came up out of the ocean spiraling upwards to square platform with more guardrails. “There you go, now you can watch without getting in the way.” EM said.
My jaw dropped. Yeah he was powerful. We all climbed up the stairs EM had raised from the ocean floor. Crystillion took a defensive stance as I reached the top of the stairs. EM looked at Crystillion.
“Are you guys ready?” Techno shouted down at the two. Sam came over to me and whispered in my ear.
“Can you make some chairs or maybe a bench?” He asked me.
“Maybe.” I said. I concentrated and looked down. The rock flowed like water and formed into a bench. Everyone sat down on the bench I had just made.
“Yeah we’re ready. You guys count down.” Crystillion said, his voice came faintly over the ocean.
Techno counted down. “Three….. Two….. One….. Fight.” He chopped his hand down signaling the fight to begin.