Chapter 165

Vince came back to reality slowly, grogginess tempering his perception as he slowly sat up on the surprisingly comfortable hospital cot. The first thing he noticed was his blurry vision, but close on its heels was a sense of overwhelming thirst. Luckily, a blurry glass was shoved into his line of sight before he even had to try and articulate this problem.

“Drink it all,” Dean Blaine instructed unnecessarily as the student grabbed the glass and begun taking the water in over-sized gulps. “Mr. Weaver’s ability has the strange side effect of leaving its victims with cotton mouth, and the longer the duration of being under, the worse it is.”

The glass was empty in no time, so Dean Blaine refilled it from a carafe on a nearby table. This process repeated three more times before Vince felt there was adequate moisture in his throat to speak.

“Rich put me under.”

“While we generally discourage the use of powers on other students outside of class, in this case I think it was a prudent call. It seems you had a bit of an uncontrolled reaction at the news footage.”

Vince swallowed hard and felt a tickle of pain still lingering in his throat. “Did I hurt anyone?”

“Not a soul. Mr. Weaver reacted before the bit of fire you were releasing could spread. Once you were out the flames dissipated quickly. No one even got so much as a hot flash,” Dean Blaine assured him, handing over another glass of water. This one Vince sipped slowly, letting it wash over his throat in small increments. “They brought you here as soon as you were stable, and your friends have been watching over you ever since. In fact, once Mr. Weaver released you there was quite a tussle getting them all to leave the room.” That was an understatement if ever he’d told one. Dean Blaine had been certain that Camille Belden was going to scratch and bite before she went willingly. Only Stella and Violet had been able to get her to temporarily retreat.

“They wanted to stay?”

“Don’t be stupid, of course they wanted to stay. You have very loyal friends, Vince. Never doubt that. I just felt it would be better if only I were here when you awoke.”

“In case I was still out of control.”

“Yes, that is certainly part of it. I’m glad to see such is not the case,” Dean Blaine admitted.

“I owe that to Rich, I guess. He made a pretty incredible dream for me. I got to talk things out with my father and put everything in perspective.”

“Mr. Weaver only provides a template and a suggestion,” Dean Blaine informed him. “In this case, he told you to go somewhere safe and work through what you’d seen on the screen. He left you with a fleeting awareness of reality and a compulsion to make peace with your father. That was it, all the rest was you.”

“I think I still owe him anyway,” Vince said.

“Unquestionably,” Dean Blaine agreed.

“So, what was the other part? You said you only stayed here in part to make sure I didn’t lose control of myself.”

“I needed to tell you that what you saw on that television has changed everything,” Dean Blaine said, his voice heavy with responsibility. “It was bad enough when you had a potential connection to a deceased former Hero, but with the revelation of him being alive and the confirmation that he is indeed the man who raised you... the time to come will not be an easy one for you.”

Vince nodded and downed more of his water.

“I’ve been keeping most of the parties interested in you at bay,” Dean Blaine continued. “I will continue to do so as best I can; however, this has opened new doorways for them, ones that I cannot, and in all good conscience should not, block.”

“What will they want from me?”

“To ask you questions about Globe, to know about everything he ever said to you and what you two did together. They’ll be combing through your testimony for any clues that could lead to his capture. They will doubtlessly petition to bring in a telepath, but thankfully courts have ruled that no person can be forced to submit to a telepathic reading unless they are charged with a crime.”

“Couldn’t they just bring one in and not tell me?”

“They could, although that information would be equivalent to breaking into a home and recovering evidence without a warrant. Not only would it be inadmissible, it would invalidate anything connected to it. Still, there are some who would try it in a case like this, which is why I’ll be with you for every interview that is conducted.”

“You don’t have to do that, sir.”

“I most certainly do, just as I’d have to do the same for any other student here. While you are enrolled in the Hero Certification Program at Lander, you are all my responsibility. That means it is up to me to protect the outside world from your untrained abilities, but it is just as much my job to protect you from factions in the outside world who would take advantage of your relative inexperience. I assure you, while these interrogation sessions are likely unavoidable, they will proceed with everything on the up and up. That much, at least, I can still do.”

“Thank you very much,” Vince said, setting down his empty glass. “I’m starting to get the feeling this is about more than just Globe.”

“It shouldn’t, however it probably will be,” Dean Blaine said. “What you five students are, and more importantly what you were, has gotten a lot of people very interested. It was far more manageable before Mr. Clark’s outburst last year. We’ve still managed to contain any official leaks about your existence. Sadly, that doesn’t stop rumors or determined investigators.”

“So they want to know about the process?”

“They wanted that since last summer. No, what they’ll want now is to know exactly what the son of Globe can do, and once they realize how strong you are, the question will shift from ‘what’ to ‘why’, which is silly because no answer will satisfy them. That’s all to come; for right now you need to rest and recover. Final match is in a week, you know.”

“Oh yeah,” Vince said.

“I’ll go let your friends in now, before they decide to riot and cost me yet another door.” He was halfway across the room when Vince called to him.

“Dean, all this help. It isn’t just because I’m student, is it?”

Dean Blaine sighed; the boy might not have Campbell’s perception but he did have his father’s gift for seeing right to the bone of a person.

“Not entirely, no. Your father and I were in the same class, and we worked together on more than one assignment. Before he was a villain, Globe was a friend of mine, and he saved my life on many occasions. Heroes help each other; it’s part of the code we live by. I can’t do anything for him, not since he’s just committed another crime on national television. So if nothing else, I can at least look after his son.”

There was no more talk before Dean Blaine left the room, leaving the door open to the flood of Vince’s fellow students clamoring through it.