Prologue 3

Arrowsmith, Illinois

Daniel Silvers was not having a fun day, in fact he probably would have considered it in the top 15 most not fun days of his long life. Being insulted by administrative dipsticks in ever increasingly polite language, or being blown off as a prankster or a crazy old man who was off his medication was somewhat aggravating. Upon occasion (3 times) he had devolved into incoherent cursing while holding a phone that was very suddenly and indefinitely put on hold.

{Authors note: I know it's not accurate... or really of any importance at all... but when I picture Daniel cursing incoherently I think of Sydney from Grrl Power, page #32. Cheers to Dave for coming up with some insanely awesome incoherent cursing. Cheers!}

"Any luck, dear?" Queried his wife, her smug smile made all the more obvious for her attempt to hide it in a coffee cup. Instead of answering he set the phone receiver into it's cradle with great precision and care before picking it back up and winding the old rotary dialer to call the Korman admissions office once more.

"Korman University admissions office, this is Candis speaking." by some quirk it was the first person he had talked to when this whole marathon had started.

"Hi, Candis." Daniel replied in his most reasonable tones. "This is Daniel Silvers again. No, you CANNOT put me on hold, this is NOT a prank, I'm NOT just some crazy old man, I WOULD like to be admitted to the Hero Certification Program at Korman University and I am NOT going away until I get an acceptance letter. So either you help me or I catch the next plan out and I take it up directly with the HCP Dean. Now are you going to help me or do I have to come down there in person?"

"What time shall I tell the Dean you will be stopping by?" Was the polite response.


Korman University, NY, New York.

Duncan Steels, Dean of the HCP at Korman, was relaxing in his office and enjoying one of those vanishingly rare peaceful times in the middle of his usual 30hr work day/never ending crisis when a knock came at his door. With out opening his eyes or taking his feet off his desk he turned his head and yelled in the direction of the door.

"It's open!"

"Dean, I have a prob-. Oh, um. Would you like me to come back later?" Charles Anderson, the Head of Admissions asked.

"No, Charles, I'm just resting my eyes. Speak."

"Um, OK." Dean Steels was new to his position and many of the staff had not yet gotten used to his casual and sometimes abrupt manner. "I'm here to bring to your attention a potentially ugly situation. A man by the name of Daniel Silvers is requesting admittance to the HCP."

"Yeah? So what's the problem, you don't want to admit him?" Steels asked in a mild tone.

"No" was the curt reply.

"So find a way within the rules. His academics aren't up to par. His background check isn't clean. We have enough of the damn things, surely there must be something to sink him on."

"While he's no advance mind type he held his own in the academic testing, especially in the applied sciences, his background was clean as a whistle and none of the other rules can be bent to fit."

"So what's wrong with him that you don't want him here?"

"He's 60." That last comment finally got Dean Steels to open his eyes and put his feet on the ground.

"He's 60?" Steels wasn't sure he heard right.


"He's 60. And He wants to join the HCP?"


Dean Steels spent a long moment considering and then with a shrug leaned back in his chair with his hands laced behind his head and lifted his boots back up onto his desk. "O.k. If he wants his shot, we'll let him have it; if he can't handle the program he'll most likely wash out within the first day and the problem will take care of itself. But just to satisfy my own curiosity set up a meeting with Mr. Silvers. I want to see this guy for myself."

"He's already on his way." Charles replied with some chagrin. "One of my employees apparently thought it was a good idea to be flippant and goad him into coming here in person. She has already been talked to about this. He told her he would be taking the first plane out and will be here, at your office, at 11 o'clock tomorrow morning."

"Then my curiously will be satisfied that much sooner. I shall have to have my secretary clear my schedule."

"I don't think you have a secretary anymore, Dean Steels. She stormed out screaming 'I quit' as I came in, I also think there was something about inhumane work hours and a sexual harassment suit. It was all very garbled and, though I hesitate to add it, somewhat demonic as well."

"Ah, well then I can sleep in tomorrow. A new secretary will show up sooner or later, I may as well enjoy it while I can."

"...Sure, Dean Steels. Well. I have many demands on my time these days so I'll leave you to it." The Head of Admissions turned to the door.

"Oh, and Charles?" The Head of Admissions looked back as he was opening the door. "Thank you for informing me."

"Your welcome, Dean Steels, though I was only doing my job." and then he closed the door.

"Yeah." Was the sigh to the empty room.