Chapter 239

                For a moment, several of the students wondered if they had somehow forgotten about a Hero mixer. As they filtered into the gym, they found an abundance of men and women milling about waiting for them. The Hero idea was tossed out quickly, since none were in costume and few were in the sort of shape that Hero-work demanded. Dean Blaine stood in the center of them, waiting patiently for his students to fall in-line, which they all quickly did. A few noticed a familiar bald man among the sea of faces, and suddenly things clicked into place.

                “Students, today we are holding a special session during your gym time, one that any of you with a decent memory should have been expecting.” Dean Blaine held out his hand, gesturing to the people scattered around the room. “As Mr. Nicolo was kind enough to teach you about last year, agents are a key part of the Hero world, and this is the time where you can meet, mingle, and see if you find one who feels like a good fit for you. Usually we hold these a little closer to Intramurals; however protocols and schedules have been changed after last year. Those of you with no interest in an agent are free to train as usual if you’d prefer, not every Hero makes use of one. For those who would like to learn more about agents or find one to work with, please spread out and talk to as many as possible.”

                Dean Blaine paused, glancing to the agents, who had all fallen silent and were watching him. He stared at them for several moments longer, then coughed loudly. Finally taking the hint, several began pulling out laminated signs from their briefcases and purses. Once that was done, Dean Blaine continued.

                “Many of these agents have certain specialties or aversions. One might only work with advanced minds, others prefer male or female clients, and so on. I’ve asked those with such limitations to hold signs declaring them so that you can spend your time talking with agents as efficiently as possible. Those of you who have a Hero name and image picked out, be prepared to discuss it at length, as your agent will absolutely want to know what sort of Hero they’re signing on to manage. Those of you without those aspects figured out, be aware that there is some limit on how deep you’ll be able to take the discussion. Also of note: while it is tempting to choose an agent located in the same town as your internship, do keep in mind that they are used to working with people all over the nation, so don’t consider geography to be a severe limitation. Other than that, I believe the agents are capable of explaining themselves to you all, so go start mingling.”

                “Blaine, aren’t you forgetting something?” Lenny had sidled up to the dean’s side unnoticed, his stature and overall appearance allowing him to easily blend into a crowd.

                “Ah, yes. As thanks for taking the time out to come speak with us last year, Mr. Nicolo has requested to chat with a few students before they enter the general meet-and-greet fray,” Dean Blaine said. “Who would you like to talk to?”

                “It’s a short list, don’t worry.” Lenny didn’t so much as pull out a post-it note, he clearly had these names committed to memory. “Roy Daniels, Vince Reynolds, Alice Adair, and Shane DeSoto, let’s have a chat.”

                There was some mumbling from the rest of the agents, although none of them were stupid enough to try and argue with Dean Blaine in his own school. This was a courtesy the HCP offered for the sake of its students, any agent who made waves would find themselves uninvited from the next year’s session.

                “Those four, to Mr. Nicolo, the rest of you, find an agent and begin talking,” Dean Blaine ordered. No sooner had his words ended than the students all broke off, most going in different directions.

                Vince, Roy, Alice, and Shane all made their way to the center of the gym where Lenny was waiting for them. He gave each one an enthusiastic handshake before motioning for them to huddle closely around him.

                “Alright, we’ve only got so long for this so I won’t beat around the bush here. I called you over because I’m looking to take all of you on as new clients. Now you can go talk to the other agents if you want, I’m confident enough in my skills that I’m not threatened by some competition, but I do need an answer before you leave this gym so I can start everything moving. There’s a lot of groundwork to do with you all.”

                “Wait, why us? You haven’t even heard our Hero names or anything,” Vince said.

                Lenny snapped and turned his hand into a finger gun, pointing at Roy. “Ettin.” His hand moved as he motioned to Alice. “Legacy.” Another snap and the finger was aimed at Shane. “Styx.” The last snap and Vince was staring down the length of the finger. “And you, Mr. Reynolds, are undecided.”

                “Styx?” Alice turned to Shane. “I figured you’d take your grandfather’s name. Why Styx?”

                “A dark river that runs through the underworld felt like a good fit for someone wielding deadly blades of shadow. And it connects to Charon, which surprisingly made it more appealing than I expected. As for Captain Starlight… Angela is the one who earned that name, not me. Taking it without winning it feels wrong. Besides, with grandfather in the public eye again, I think having another Captain Starlight out there would be confusing.”

                “Tempting as it might be to manage such a legendary account, I think forging your own path is the right call,” Lenny agreed. “And I can work with Styx. I think you’ve got potential to go places, if someone manages you right. That power of yours is going to scare a lot of people, but scary can be useful in the right hands.”

                “Okay, so I get why you’d want Shane, but I don’t even have a name yet, let alone a concept,” Vince reiterated.

                “From what I hear, your name might be largely irrelevant given what you can do, but in the end it doesn’t matter what you pick. Not so far as retaining my services go. An old friend asked me to look out for you three, and that’s what I’m doing.” Lenny lowered his voice significantly and motioned for all of them to come even closer.               

                “Sooner or later, word about you three is going to get out, and when it does you’re going to need someone with a lot of skill overseeing your image. Because once the world finds out that you used to be Powereds, it’s going to be a god damned shitshow.”