Chapter 4

Owen stepped into his room and surveyed the new living space. It was large, not that he was surprised, however aside from the boxes that had been shipped from Colorado, he found it surprisingly sparse. A bed in the corner, dresser by the far wall with a small television perched on top, and a desk across from the door with a monitor and keyboard parked in place. Truthfully, it only seemed under-furnished compared to the opulence that had been present at every other place he saw throughout the day.

After basic introductions, Galvanize had shown him around. The area set aside for their residence consisted of three floors. The one below the elevator entrance was the gym, a sprawling, state of the art facility with enough equipment to accommodate a team of Olympian hopefuls. Unfortunately, since none of his new team had strength that was too advanced, there were no ultra-dense weights that Owen could use. He didn’t mind that too much, though. Part of his ability kept his muscles from atrophying, so it wasn’t as though he’d get weaker without training. If the need arose, he could always have someone ship his old weight set from Colorado over.

There was also a large room set aside with various sandbags, movable platforms, and mock-building fronts. Galvanize had explained to Owen that this was the room where they honed their rescue skills, doing drills through constantly changing scenarios to make sure they were on top of their game. Here Owen had met Zone, a tan young man with frosted tips, a dazzling smile, and a body-fat percentage so low it had to be unhealthy. They’d exchanged pleasantries, then Zone had hustled off to shower before an appearance promoting a skateboard company he represented. From the speed at which the younger Super moved, Owen suspected he was less than thrilled to have this new addition to their team. Owen didn’t really mind that either, he wasn’t exactly dancing at the idea of being here himself, after all.

The middle floor was the one where he’d come in at. Aside from the living room and kitchen there was a large dining room, a conference room, and an office area with several computers, printers, and the like. Galvanize explained that this was so anyone who needed to print out headshots or other such paraphernalia before an appearance could do so in the comfort of their own home. Evidently they had formerly outsourced such tasks, however, it had turned out that doing them in-house was far more cost and time efficient.

The last floor was living quarters, five large bedrooms, private bathrooms, a small nook with a coffee bar, and a sealed door. Owen had asked about the sealed door, however Galvanize had told him that it was a high-tech area that only upper-management was allowed to access. Evidently, inside was a variety of gadgets and technology they were only permitted use of during training and missions. For a brief moment Owen contemplated snapping the metal door down with a minor exertion of effort, then thought better of it. It was only his first day, and he’d promised Lenny he’d try and be on good behavior. Given the abundant wealth of the team Owen was now on, he suspected his manager had pulled more than a few strings to make this happen. He needed to play nice, at least until he knew if he could handle this place or not.

Once the tour was done, they headed back to the main floor, where a pretty woman with a notepad was waiting for Owen. She took him back through the building, down to a normal business floor, and set about the task of registering him in the system. Stacks upon stacks of forms were signed, so many that Owen nearly spaced out and used his real name several times. Heroes’ code names were, for purposes of legal contracts, considered acceptable alternatives to their own names. This had come about as more Heroes sought to enter private industry based on their Hero credentials, but were not willing to compromise their secret identities. The only exception to this rule were Heroes who inherited a legacy name, a name used already by a previous Super. They had to add a number after their signatures, distinguishing their identities, so that they were not bound by contracts or agreements their predecessors had signed.

After the seemingly endless forms, he’d been taken to a different area where he was force to step into a strange machine that catalogued his biometrics to allow him access to his new home. Then he was given a badge and card for entry into the building. Owen could not, for the life of him, understand why they insisted on taking a picture for his badge even though he was wearing a mask. He’d pointed this out, even offering to go back and change into his Titan mask so that it would be consistent, however his female guide had merely shushed him down and assured him this was all part of standard procedure and had to be done in a precise way. Owen tried once more, pointing out it made no sense. The woman agreed, then told him to sit in front of the camera and not to smile, because that would make the picture harder to recognize. Owen gave up and complied.

Now, at last, he was done for the day. Officially registered, he was a part of this team in every legal way. He might have made an effort to connect with them more, but by the time he finished everyone was out doing various appearances. Owen wondered if they spent every day like this, and if so how they ever were around to respond in time to emergencies. He needed to see what these kids could do, and soon, otherwise when they finally did go on a call he’d have no idea how to treat them if something went wrong. It was an issue he’d try and remedy tomorrow.

Owen carefully unpacked his duffel bag, the possessions too important to trust to a courier service. First were his Titan costumes. He kept three of them, so that if one was dirty or in need of repair he had spares on hand. They were made from hardy material, but Supers like him were often put in situation that not even technology enhanced cloth could stand up to. Next came a large metal box with a strange, orb shaped lock on it. Inside were a variety of trinkets and trophies from his first round of Hero days. Some were too dangerous to let out of sight, but most just held too much sentimental value.

The final item extracted from his bag was a picture frame. Inside it were two photos, set side by side. The first showed a younger Owen and a small boy in a junkyard, the boy proudly holding a washing machine over his head. The second was Owen and another small boy, this one noticeably heavier, this one clutching a spelling bee trophy in his hands. In both photos, one could easily make out traces of Owen’s strong face in the younger boys’ growing features.

Owen carefully set this frame on his desk, next to the monitor. Now, he was home.