Cameron yawned for the second time in as many minutes.
She sat slumped in a chair pushed against the wall, staring at the door Agent Brown had disappeared into ten minutes ago. Definitely more than the moment she said it would take. The many games she had downloaded on her personal phone weren’t entertaining enough to keep her attention when she was this tired. Last night was one of those nights where sleep was practically impossible.
“Sorry for making you wait, hopefully this will make up for it,” Agent Brown said, finally emerging from the room with two cups of coffee in her hands, handing one to Cameron. She took a sip, testing to see how hot it was, and was pleasantly surprised to find it almost the perfect level of warmth. “They’re going to let us in, soon. They need to finish a few things up.”
“Okay, so clarify something for me while we wait. Why am I even here?” Cameron gestured to the cramped hallway they were waiting in. “Visiting a facilities for crazy powers isn’t on my bucket list.”
Agent Brown smiled indulgently. “I told you last night, remember? After I caught you staying out past your curfew. You could call this a punishment, I suppose.”
“Getting to miss school is a punishment? I think we have very different definitions of punishment. Unless you’re planning on putting me here, because I’m already getting the creeps from the cheery flower wallpaper.”
“Well, maybe warning is the better word to use here. We’re not tracking you anymore but we will take that freedom away if you continue to push it.” She paused to drink some of her own coffee. “The warning is a bonus, the real reason I wanted you to come with me is because I wanted you to meet Tom.”
“He lives here?”
“Used to, now he lives at the SAA building in Avocet, like yourself. He’s been gone for a couple of weeks, he was required to come back to do some tests, so they’re certain he’s safe to be out in the world. He is, and that’s why we traveled all the way here to pick him up and bring him back with us.”
“And you want me to meet him because…?”
“I think you two might get along,” Brown admitted. “You’re both around the same age and I saw you reading that book, the one with the bar of soap on the cover, I’ve seen him reading it too. People with similar taste in literature tend to get along, so they say anyway.”
Cameron drank more of her coffee. “Are you sure it’s a good idea to introduce this possibly psychotic teenage boy to a convicted criminal?”
Agent Brown laughed, and laughed and laughed. Cameron wondered if she’d pass out. Finally, she got herself under control. “Tom is a lot of things, Cameron but psychotic is the last word I’d ever use to describe him. He wasn’t sent here because he’s unhinged or violent, Tom just can’t control his powers very well and with a power like his, that’s very dangerous to the people around him.”
Most powers had trouble learning to control their abilities at first, when Cameron got hers she would accidentally teleport random objects into new locations. It was a huge pain in the ass to find where she moved her stuff. “But he’s got it handled now?”
“Of course, I’ve been helping him, he’s made a lot of progress since we first met. It won’t be long before he’ll be capable of having a normal of a life as he wants.”
The door opened enough for a nurse to poke her head out and smile politely at them. “Sorry about the wait, Agent Brown. You can come in, now.” They both got up from their seats as the nurse pushed the door all the way open. “Follow me, I’ll show you where he is.” They did, entering the room – a small office between the waiting room and another hallway – and passing it go walk down the hall. All the walls had the same pastel green paint with little flowers in random places. The doors were identical too except for the number on each one. They stopped in front of the one marked B15. The nurse knocked on the door, the sounding echoing down the hall.
A teenage boy came out after the third knock. He was only a few inches taller than her, his dirty blond hair cut short, and his green eyes brightened when he smiled at Agent Brown.
“I assume you can take it from here?” the nurse asked Brown.
“Yes, thank you,” she said. The nurse left, going further down the long hallway, disappearing when she reached the end and turned right. “Tom, this is Cameron Pierce. Cameron, this is Tom Harris.”
He extended his hand, still smiling. “Hi, it’s nice to meet you.”
She shook it. “Likewise.” His hand was unusually warm, as if he held it against a heating vent for several minutes.
“Come on, let’s go. Our ride is waiting for us,” Agent Brown said, before the silence that ensued could get awkward. Cameron and Agent Brown had ridden an inventor made ship to get here. There wasn’t actually a pilot, the ship drove itself once someone inputted the coordinates. They walked back to where they just came from.
“So, what were you doing in there?” Cameron asked.
He shrugged. “Just having me test out my powers, see how well I control it, check what my power level is. That kind of stuff.”
Ten years after the government officially acknowledged the existence of superhumans, an inventor came forward with a device that could detect the energy surrounding all superhumans. Power levels were based around the amount of energy around a superhuman. The device wasn’t perfect, though, there had been some cases of superhumans not being detected by the device at all. Creed told her it was possible to learn how to conceal this energy to bypass the detectors, it was how he managed to keep his identity hidden despite interacting with the SAA often.
“That so? What’s your level?” Agent Brown gave her a warning look. Cameron rolled her eyes. “If you don’t mind me asking, of course,” she added.
“I don’t mind, really,” Tom said, shoving his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Thirteen. I’m a level thirteen.”
Cameron whistled, impressed. Thirteen was considered to be very high, it was estimated that in twenty years, thirteen would be the average power level for superhumans. What a scary thought. “I’m only seven myself.”
“Seven isn’t anything to be ashamed about, Cameron. It’s quite impressive, really,” Agent Brown said.
“I don’t think level is anywhere near as important as the power itself, I consider yours to be way more useful than mine,” Tom said.
She felt her phone vibrate, distracting her from the conversation. Her personal and SAA phones were both set to ring if someone sent her text message or called, this had to be the burner phone.
Creed was trying to get in touch with her.