Chapter 240

                Vince’s eyes had gone wide and he nearly choked on his words as he worked to spit them out. “You know about us?”

                “He’s Titan’s agent.” Roy reached over and patted Vince lightly on the back, trying to shake him out of the shock. “Smart money says that’s the old friend who asked Lenny to take us on as clients. And Lenny ain’t the kind of guy who takes on work like that without knowing why.”

                “If it makes you feel better, remember that agents have countless layers of non-disclosure agreements in place, so even if I wanted to go public with that news I couldn’t,” Lenny assured Vince. “But from what I understand of the situation, your group was supposed to be a test case, meaning there will be more to come down the line, so sooner or later word is bound to get out. Any agent worth their salt would know to get out in front of it, be ready for the story if not breaking it themselves. There’s only one shot at presenting you all to the public, and I’ve got some ideas to make the most of it.”

                Shane held up a hand. After a few seconds of no one calling on him, he went ahead and spoke anyway. “I can certainly see why Titan would want you watching over these three, but why did you call me over as well? I’ve never been a Powered.”

                “No, you’re just the grandson of Captain Starlight, the current top of the class, and a guy wielding one badass power,” Lenny said. “This is still my job, scooping up hot prospects is part of it.”

                “Shouldn’t you be going after Chad then? He’s the real top of the class; I only got his spot by a fluke.”

                Lenny turned to see where Chad was, finally spotting him across the gym talking to an agent team from Buffalo. “First off, fluke or not, results still matter so stop selling yourself short. As for Chad, he seems like a great kid, and he’s a tough son of a bitch, but he’s got limited charisma. I have no doubt Chad will be a great Hero, my certainty in his ability to be a high-profile celebrity is lacking though. You, on the other hand, have potential. Not to mention a power that I think most agents would mis-market, which makes the idea of taking you on all the more intriguing. I love a good challenge.”

                “You’d better, if you’re looking to take on three former Powereds as clients.” Alice stood briefly from the huddle and scanned the room, taking note of all the men and women in business suits chatting up her classmates. There was no way to tell who was the best of the bunch and who was just hoping to milk some new graduates for quick cash before throwing them aside, not without proper research. In other circumstances, she might have called Charles to ask for guidance, but that was no longer an option. She’d either have to vet them all, or put her faith in someone else’s judgement. Her eyes left the crowd and turned to Roy. There was no way to be delicate about this in such close quarters; however Lenny seemed the type to appreciate honesty. Maybe he wouldn’t mind. “Roy, you know Titan better than any of us. Do you trust his choice of agents?”

                “She’s a blunt one. Noted.” Lenny muttered the words more with interest than annoyance.

                “Only when I have to be,” Alice replied.

                “Titan doesn’t always make the best choices, with life or career, but Lenny ain’t among the bad ones.” Roy paused to smile at the short agent, who returned the expression with unexpected sincerity. “He’s a good agent and a good man; he looked out for me and my mom when the scandal went down. Truth be told, I already planned to spend this whole session trying to convince him to take me on as a client before he called our names.”

                “Come on kid, with your looks and power booking you is a no brainer, even if me and Titan didn’t go back so far. I take it this means you’re signing on?”

                “Hell yes,” Roy said. “It’s a damn honor.”

                Sheepishly, mirroring Shane’s move earlier, Vince raised his hand. Unlike Shane, he didn’t wait for permission to speak up. “I’d like to sign on too. I trust Roy and Titan, if they say you’re an agent I could put my faith in then that’s enough for me. Besides, I have no idea what I’m supposed to be looking for in an agent anyway, so I don’t think I’d get anything from talking to more.”

                “Show of faith appreciated,” Lenny replied. “Welcome aboard.”

                The huddle was broken as Shane took a step away. “While I appreciate the offer, Mr. Nicolo, you’ll forgive me if I do meet with some of the other agents before making my decision. This is a large one, and as much as I enjoyed the summer training with Titan, I have to lean on my own judgement above all others for something so important.”

                Lenny gave a short nod. “I wouldn’t have pitched the idea if I wasn’t okay with it. Go, meet, schmooze. Just make sure any agent you talk to knows what you can do, not just your lineage. Our access to the Hero world means we get inside information, so pay close attention to the items they made a point of committing to memory.”

                “Sound advice. I’ll keep it in mind and get back to you before the end of class.” Shane turned and headed off to the nearest unoccupied agent, a tall woman who nearly seemed to trip over herself when she saw Shane heading her way.

                “That kid is in for a lot of ass-kissing over the next hour.” Lenny moved in slightly, closing the gap that Shane had created and drawing the group in close once more. “Alice, you’re my last holdout. I need to end this so the other kids can talk to me if they want. You going to stroll around the room, or do you already know if I’m a good fit for you?”

                “Ordinarily I’d be tempted to vet all my options, but since Roy and Vince have already signed on it makes the most sense to go with you,” Alice said. “If you can actually get us through the reveal, then we’ll be fine. If you can’t, then I’m probably sunk no matter what since any bad press from these two will lump me in as well. If you can pull it off and I choose another agent who bungles my own reveal though, then I risk dragging Roy and Vince down. Since the failure of any of us presents a high chance for the failure of all, the soundest move I can make is to put all three of us in one person’s hands. Win or lose, we’ll do it together.”

                Lenny artfully lifted a single eyebrow. “I see someone lives up to the hype, no wonder you’re doing so well in Subtlety. It’s a pleasure to have you with us, Alice. I promise to do my best for all three of you. Four if Shane comes back. In return, my request is that you always shoot straight with me. I can protect Heroes from a lot, but not if I don’t know what to watch out for. You can lie to your shrink, your priest, and even yourself, just not to your agent. Everyone able to deal with that?”

                The question was met with general mutterings of agreement, so Lenny broke out into a large grin and did another round of handshakes. “Great to hear. Now you three should use the rest of this time to go train. People have high expectations for my Heroes, and I like to see them come out of graduation as strong as possible.”