Thursday, September 05, 2013

Self-Taught Superheroes, Part Twenty-One

I really thought I was still dreaming when I woke up. Can you blame me? I was disoriented, I was in an unfamiliar place (yes, we took over the building eight months ago, but it's not like I slept there every night--I still have school and family and stuff, and I probably don't sleep in the dorm rooms more than about one night out of every twenty) and I was in the middle of a weird horror-movie dream. And I woke up out of the dream to see my favorite movie star saying, "Are you okay?"

Well, I say "movie star", but even I have to admit that June isn't going to win an Oscar any time soon. Not because she's a bad actress or anything; it's just that movies like 'Night of the Blood Leeches' and 'Deathrain' don't exactly aspire to be the kind lofty art that the Academy looks at. But if they did, there'd totally be a little gold statuette with 'Best Actress - June Munro' written on there. Honestly, I think she deserves it way more than Meryl Streep; anyone can imitate Maggie Thatcher if they just watch enough old news footage, but how many people can convincingly pretend to be hypnotized by a lesbian vampire cult? ('Cult of the Blood Sisters'. It was direct-to-DVD. You might not have heard of it.)

That was what made me so sure I was dreaming. I wasn't just seeing an actress, I was seeing my absolute all-time favorite actress. I had watched entire movies for her thirty-second cameo appearances, and she was in my metaphorical bedroom? No way. No freaking way. I just rolled over and closed my eyes again, because if June Munro was showing up in my weird horror-movie dream then it was probably about to get weirder and more horrory, and I didn't want to deal.

And then she shook me on the shoulder a little, in that way that people do when they're touching a stranger. And then I realized I wasn't dreaming after all.

I flipped over so fast that she probably didn't even realize what was happening, and luckily for me, I also went through my embarrassing celebrity gush phase so fast that she didn't realize that either. "OmigodAAIIIEEEEEyoureJuneMunroIvegoteverysingleoneofyourmoviesonDVDIlovedyousomuchinMegaScorpionvsVampSharkcanIhaveyourautographwhatareyouevendoinghereOMIGODdoyouhavesuperpowersdidyoujointheteamthatissoawesomeItotallycantevenbelieveitEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!"

She gave me a blank look. I think that was probably the best thing I could possibly have hoped for. "Hi," she said. "I'm Skreem Queen. Captain Light told me to come and wake you up?"

I nodded. I had calmed myself, collected myself, gotten over my embarrassing gushing, and was now into the next phase of being awkward around a personal idol, paralyzing shyness. "Um. Hi. I'm Cassie. Hummingbird. That's, know, what I call myself." I could feel my cheeks getting hot, and I knew I was blushing bright yellow. (I still have red blood, even though my skin is green, so when I blush, I blush yellow. Science is fun!) "Um...what did Josh need? Er, Captain Light. What did he need?"

She looked at me with a little furrow in her brow. It was a look that screamed, 'I want to ask if you're okay, but I don't know you well enough.' She shook it off and answered my question. "He said that there was a laboratory of some sort that was reporting a hostage situation. A place called PerfecTech?"

That took my mind off of my awkward celebrity encounter pretty quick. PerfecTech had been on our radar for a few months now, and if they were having problems, it automatically fell into the category of 'not good'. They'd been showing up after our fights, grabbing anything weird-looking that wasn't nailed down and driving off with it. We'd tried stopping them, but they flashed some official-looking paperwork in our faces that said that they had legal authority to 'salvage' anything unusual they found abandoned. There was a lot of jargon on there about 'extraordinary technology of sufficient interest to national security', and some signatures of people that I'd seen on the nightly news. We weren't interested in getting those people on our bad side, so we let PerfecTech go. A couple of us even thought it might be good to have someone securing all that weird alien technology and magic artifacts and stuff, just so that it wouldn't wind up on the black market or something, but most of us wanted to know a whole lot more about who was doing the securing before we relaxed. This looked like a good chance.

Or possibly a very bad one, if there was someone who had already broken in and had access to everything they'd piled up and a whole bunch of hostages with it. Imagining a person armed with all the leftover junk from a half-dozen invasions, a small horde of supervillain rampages, and a smattering of mad scientists was a pretty big wake-up call. "OK," I said, realizing she was waiting for a response. "Give me a minute to splash a little cold water in my face, and I'll meet you down in the hangar."

Life as a superhero never seemed to stop. Still, I did get to meet movie stars.


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