The Hero contest.

Authors note.

First off I have been having trouble with one wrist I sprained it a few months ago and it is acting up again.

Second Dorothy and myself have been sort of playing with a Whatley universe idea. Comical mostly.

Here is something that occured to me this morning. If other authors want to write up pieces of various students doing things as part of the contest they can.


--SEPARATOR--

The semi retired Hero Ms. Midnight stood in front of the auditorium full of most of the students at the school. She was dressed in a conservative, but well tailored, business suit courtesy of Roger's boutique in Dunwhich. The skirt suit hugged and showed off every curve even though it was in a very dark brown. She wore modest heels with the suit.

The rather short mini skirt showing off her shapely slender legs was not her idea. She would have rather have worn pants, a throwback or holdout to her very younger days when she was one of the founders of a cottage known only as Poe.

For the last forty years she had been an active superhero. Going around most of North America, and sometimes the world, 'Putting out fires' as she called it. She had seen friends grow old and die, attended a number of funerals, and put away many a criminal in her time.

She had also seen many would be hero's try the same but with disastrous results. Her purpose today was to, hopefully, get the next generation to at least think before they did something.

She stepped up to the podium, nervously of course. Forty years as a hero in the public and a room full of students, plus some video to those students that couldn't make it, made her feel like she was a young girl again. The nightmare last night where her voice kept going up and down like a yo yo while trying to speak making the whole room laugh really didn't help. Thank god she didn't have to wear that stupid uniform!

Ms. Midnight stepped up to the microphone after Mrs. Carson introduced her to the somewhat quiet and settled crowd. The speedsters, of course, couldn't sit still. She looked very calm and professional to those students that could see her.

"Thank you Mrs. Carson for the wonderful introduction."

"Hello everyone. Some of you are no doubt wondering why an older superhero like myself would reveal themselves to you all. Yes I have kept a secret identity and will still keep that as I do have family."

"I could be here to give you a long list of verbal diarrhea about how to be the best superhero or how to be successful, however that may mean to you, or even how to not be a hero.

I won't be doing any of that."

"Instead I am here to offer you all a challenge." she let the crowd talk for a bit and settle down.

"In my time I have seen many a hero go after a criminal without getting proof. Said criminal leaves the hospital and jail free because said hero did not take the time to get proof. In many cases those very same hero's have been forced to pay large sums of money to the "criminals" due to lawsuits.

You do NOT want to go there!" she took a moment to let it sink in while she got a sip or two of water.

"My challenge is simple really. For the next three months I challenge you students to demonstrate how to be a proper hero. Yes I do keep in mind that many of you are going to be the next great villain or may not be heroes at all. Still this knowledge will be beneficial to you in any aspect of life to come. " She continued on over the raised whispers of the crowd.

"There are rules for this challenge. But before I get into those the prize." She had to wait. The mention of a prize caused a stir.

"Three hundred thousand dollars will go to each student that wins. If it is a group that means each student in that group will get three hundred thousand." again the voices raised and she had to wait. Mrs. Carson stepped up and gave a look to the crowd which got most of them to quiet down.

"Successful candidates will be videoed and shown on screen here in the auditorium. I'm sure a number of you will like the chance just to show how good you all were." she was also sure that those students that were villains in training would love the cash to do whatever they wanted. The 'tinkers' would just love the money period. Others had inflated egos.

"Rule one! You Have To Have Proof! If there is a crime, prove it before you do anything. After all how will any of us know you were a hero without proof."

"Rule two. No attacking other students, no matter what crime you may think they are doing. If a student really is doing a crime let Mrs. Carson or chief Delarose know."

"Rule three. Crimes of theft have to be greater than ten thousand. Let the police do their jobs people!"

"Special passes will be available to students to use. You will be accompanied by a current hero if you intend to fight crime. Some of you will no doubt not require a super hero. Some of you will."

"Yes I said hero. Not superhero. Most of these heroes are retired. Some were firefighters, some police, some ambulance, some were even the flying superhero kind. And yes some were even 'villains' that were never caught." THAT got a reaction from a number of previously bored students. Most of these kids would never know just how much work was involved in making this possible nor how many bad meals she had to attend to allow them to do it.

"Obviously as a "school" we cannot allow you to do obviously criminal acts..." thus began the long list of conditions she had to agree too.

--SEPARATOR--Several months later in the same auditorium.

Gemma looked out over the assembled crowd of students. This was not the same crowd of students she had talked too just a few short months ago. Many had seen or done some truly heroic feats. Some had seen horrors that had aged them into a maturity that only comes from experience. A few had smug looks that let her know they thought they were a shoe in for the prize. It made her stomach curl.

However there was one student that she looked at more than any other, without looking like she was looking. This student looked so ordinary.

"As I am sure many of you have heard. A number of you faced situations that were uhm. What is the best word? Difficult? Extreme? world ending? " she shrugged.

"As heroic as they may seem there was one act that our entire panel of judges for this contest picked as being the best example of a true hero above all others."

"Please watch the screen."

The lights in the auditorium dimmed as the very large screen came to life. Instead of city streets or countryside. The screen showed a hospital. In the hospital was a very weirdly shaped person. They had the body of perhaps the strongest built man ever and the head of a young girl. Including pigtails.

"This is Emily. In this picture she is five and half years old. At the age of five she suddenly and inexplicably manifested as a mutant and started to age rapidly. Well her body did. Her mind did not change. Abandoned by her parents she was brought to this hospital, which is really not that far away."

The picture changed to show this large manly shaped person in a rather humorous pink dress sitting at a table playing with dolls and apparently having tea.

"The student that will be named in a few moments visited this hospital. The student in question doesn't have any ties to Emily. They just showed up at the hospital and offered to help out. Poor Emily had, till this point, been treated at her apparent age. Our student recognized that Emily really was a little girl still and this is a picture of the two of them playing with dolls and having tea. The staff was amazed at how the once sullen person came alive for our hero."

The picture changed yet again to a video with the play symbol in the middle. In the background you can make out the fuzzy picture of a hospital bed.

"The hospital specializes in extreme case gsd patients. Some recover enough to be self sufficient. Some have even, in the past, made it here. For many however this is the last place they will ever see."

The video then started. You can hear the tell tale beep beep beep of a heart monitor in the background. The small face of the girl in the previous pictures is hard to make out. The once big body looks like it is a heartbeat from being the walking dead. One arm is grossly swollen while the other is so curled from age and arthritis it cannot move anymore. As you watch you can slowly see the eyes of the girl in the bed getting cloudy.

"I'm scared!"

"Sssh Emily I'm right here."

"Why did this happen to me?"

"I don't know. I was told once that god placed us all here to learn a lesson. If we pass we move on. If we fail we repeat that lesson."

"Did I pass?" she asks in a shaky little girl voice.

"I hope so. I really really do."

"I can't see anymore. Hold me please"

For the first time in the video the student is seen as he walks around the bed. He is wearing his mostly Whatley uniform. He is known for not having any real powers. He is just a gadeteer and not the best around. He grabs her hand in his. The wizened one not the swollen numb one and holds it gently. And he keeps holding it as Emily struggles onscreen to take breaths. Until at last you see a stillness come over the body. The beep in the background gets longer and longer between each beep.

"Tell..." Emily says with her last breath as the monitor goes to that steady sound well known by all as the death of someone.

The screen fades to black.

As the lights come up Ms. Midnight turns around to face the still crowd of students tears openly falling down her face.

"That, ladies and gentlemen, is the mark of a true hero!"

Mrs. Carson barks out" Sit down Ms. Walcutt!"

The end.



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