This is a little short about a character I’ve been thinking about for a while. Superpowered stories always take place in the past or the present or the very near future. What happens when you combine superpowers with science fiction?
"Hello, I am Detective Commander Osterman," the woman said. She was tiny, but her perfectly tailored uniform and stern demeanor gave warning that no liberties would be allowed.
"Do you know why you are here?" she continued.
"I presume it has something to do with this," the man in the chair said, waving at his right torso. His right shoulder and arm were bare, with pink soft skin underneath. His shirt was scorched just barely enough to hang around his neck. The shirt originally seemed to have some design, which was mostly covered with black char.
"Yes. Did no one offer you a replacement shirt?"
"Oh they did. But no one can replace this shirt. It's older than you are."
"More importantly, we have video of you getting hit with the blast from a plasma cannon. Your arm was vaporized."
"Pretty cool special effect huh?"
She glared at him, which seemed to cause no appreciable change in his expression. He was taller than average, but not by much. He had dark, mousy brown hair and grey eyes. He did not have a stern jaw, but a soft, round chin that was covered by a goatee.
"Mr. Jacobson, if that is your real name. You were in the middle of a firefight between a terrorist organization and Concordiat Special Forces. It was not a special effect. The only reason you are not on trial right now, is we want to know what happened to your arm."
"Why would I be on trial?"
"Being a terrorist."
The man sighed heavily.
"I'm not a terrorist."
"You can say whatever you like. You were there."
"Yes I was," he replied sadly.
"I can help you."
"I very much doubt that."
"Those people are not terrorists. They were, are, after me now. The only way you can help is to get me a new identity and passage out of this system. Preferably out of this entire little pocket empire.
"If you lock me up, those "terrorists" will think nothing of setting off the biggest bang they can come up with to kill me. That includes nuclear or antimatter, whatever they can get."
"Probably, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong."
"Why do they want to kill you?"
He sighed again.
"There's no way I'm getting out of here is there?"
"OK, I'll tell you. But it's a long story and one that you will not believe."
"In the year CE 2025, or thereabouts, a group of people began to be born."
"That was nearly two thousand years ago."
"Yes, now quit interrupting, this is hard enough." The Detective Commander leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms.
"That group of people had abilities. Ones that normal people didn't have. The people of the time would call them "superheroes". But most of the people never found out about them. The governments of the world, realizing very quickly what these people could do, snapped them up like Pokemon."
"Pokemon. It was a card game… nevermind. Some made it illegal to be super powered. Some made them into virtual slaves. Some made them into super soldiers. Even a hint of a new super would send hundreds of agents to a hospital or doctors office.
"They became a nuclear deterrent for a new age of man. They were used, abused, and tossed out when they became too injured to fight.
"What they didn't realize is that all of the super powered people came from one place. There was a gene fixer in China."
"The country. On Earth."
"Earth is a myth."
He sighed again. "No it's not. It's where all humans came from. This will go a lot easier if you just listen."
"It will go a lot easier if you tell the truth."
"My lady, I assure you, it is totally the truth. Anyway, the climate was heating up and that had an unfortunate side effect of reducing the birth rate. I was never sure how that happened, but it did. The wealthy or anyone who could save up enough would go to China, where gene-fixing wasn't totally illegal, in order to have a child. People from all over the world would go.
"Mostly it was OK. The yellow eyes that are dominant eye color of humans, that was due to gene-fixing. Before 2020 or so, no human was born with a yellow eye color.
"But one lab, it turns out, did a lot more than fix heat resistance into their children. They did other stuff too. Turns out, the guy who invented superluminal travel was a child of that lab. So was the woman who invented gravity plates, that we still use two thousand years later. The guy who caused the Alpha C Catastrophe. As brilliant and insane as he was, also from that lab. But some of the kids weren't just super smart.
"Some could do things. Some could fly, some could walk through walls, some could project energy or were unbelievably strong."
"People can't do that. If they were so powerful, they should be in charge now."
"Who says they aren't?"
"Kidding. They are all dead. Humans being humans, hunted down and killed most of them. They had decided, not consciously mind you, but rather as a collective will, that these type of people were too dangerous. They went crazy about it too, for a while.
"A kid who got a perfect score on the SAT was murdered because the mob thought she might be super smart. Supers were powerful, but only a few were invulnerable. A hail of bullets or a carpet bombing with napalm was enough to kill most of them.
"One guy who was invulnerable died of cancer. They couldn't have operated to save him even if they wanted to." The man paused again. A careful observer, which the detective was, might have noticed his eyes were slightly wet.
"Finally, as humans truly began to explore the stars, the race of superhumans was extinct. But there were always rumors. A really smart kid, a really strong kid, or a really fast kid. The kinds of rumors that would bring fanatics out to investigate. And, by investigate, I mean murder on sight.
“None of those people were supers though. During the first year of the "war", the lab in China, every lab in China, was bombed to dust. Mostly by kinetic strikes from orbit. The secret was lost with them. No new supers have been born."
The man stopped.
"You didn't quite finish that last sentence. I thought there was going to be an "until" at the end."
"Maybe. Again, there was a rumor and it was enough that I thought I might check it out. Evolution can be fast or slow, but it always works better than man's design. I always thought it would happen again."
"I don't know. The little girl was vaporized in the plasma blast."
"But you recovered."
"You're one of them."
He looked down at the table.
"What's your power?"
"Isn't it obvious?"
"You can heal yourself."
He just nodded.
"You're probably right. I'm crazy. Making up stories. I told you. It was a special effect. These are plasma burns on my shirt. It's new wave fashion."
"So what now?"
"Told you. Either you sneak me off this rock or those terrorists will use bigger and bigger bombs to try and kill me."
"But they can't."
"Well, I've never been at the center of a multi-megaton antimatter explosion either and I'm not looking forward to testing the idea."
He sighed again.
He held up his hands, which had the remains of the restraints he was in.
"Those were titanium."
"Yeah, sorry about that."
"So you could have gotten out whenever you wanted."
"Sure, I could get out of these and this room. But then what? I'm in a building surrounded by cops who probably have or can get guns. I'm not interested in being shot a hundred times… again."
"That really happened?"
"I was younger and stupid. Then I spent the next one hundred and seven years in a prison colony."
"What about the terrorists?"
"The record was sealed and then destroyed."
"It must be amazing."
"It sucks. I have to have my wisdom teeth removed every three months. I can't get my eyes corrected either. I'll always be a little nearsighted. Any surgery to correct it is repaired."
"So, if I shot you now?"
"Wouldn't mean a thing."
"Why are you telling me this?"
"You seem trustworthy. And, if I was right, there are supers coming back, they'll need someone to protect them."
"And you're dumping that on me?"
"You seem trustworthy."
"You are insane."
"Quite probably yeah."
"How old are you?"
"Born December 15th, 2020."
"But you said they were born in 2025. You were the first?"
"Probably the first. But healing, that's not obvious like flying or teleporting. How do you think I stayed out of all of that. I hid."
"Just like you'll do now."
"It's worked so far."
"Worked? It hasn't worked. You're still alive, but that doesn't seem to mean much. What have you done?"
"Don't judge. You don't have the right."
"I do have the right. I do stuff. Even though if I'm killed, it's permanent. I still get up every morning and do my best to help people. What do you do."
He looked embarrassed. "Not much."
"Do you want to?"
"I'm not a hero."
"That's not what I asked."
"What do you want me to do."
"Now you're insane."
"I have no skills, I'm not a cop."
"Skills can be learned. There would nobody better at protecting people than you."
"Because I heal? It still hurts."
"Dead doesn't hurt at all."
"No one finds out."
"I can probably make that happen."
"I need to be publicly made dead. New ID, everything. And I can walk whenever I want?"
"Then you're in?"