The war was off, so she had to call everyone who had offered support. Responses ranged from disappointment to laughter at her impression of Ares begging for peace. The community chatrooms were all abuzz with Ares memes; they would eventually leak into the general internet. All in all, the community lost a lot of face.
Thread and Needle showed up with six cases of champaign, all for them. Thanks to their metabolism, they needed at least two just to get buzzed. It was a common issue for anyone with advanced healing or hyperactive metabolisms; they had both.
It was also widely considered a bad idea to let people like Prysim drink, not that anyone could stop her if she were determined. Naturally Adrian and Justin had gotten her blackout drunk to celebrate getting their powers. She couldn’t remember what had happened, and they wouldn’t tell her. She did know all of her flamethrowers were out of gas the next morning.
They spent the evening watching the news and making jokes at the screen every time they showed reruns of Ares’ press conference. He had managed not to use the words ‘practical joke’ in relation to the buildup of hostilities. He also did his regular call for people with powers to register with the league.
The evening ended with a prank call to the president, it would result in him having to spend the next two days in lockdown. The heroes heightened security levels that had just been lowered were raised up again. So Alecia doubted her dad would be getting much sleep, which was too bad he hadn’t been looking too good at the conference.
“Time for you boys to head off,” Alecia said. “I’ve got a project to do.”
“Are you just going to throw our drunk asses out on the street?” Justin asked.
“Yup, go have sex in a bush or something, if I’m lucky you’ll get arrested for indecent exposure and I won’t have to deal with you two anymore,” she said while poking him in the ribs.
“That’s cold, Adrian wouldn’t survive in prison, he’s too pretty,” Justin said.
“It’s true,” Adrian agreed. “Justin would do fine though.”
“Hey,” Justin objected, smashing an empty bottle of Champaign on Adrian’s head. Alecia winced as splinters of glass went flying. Justin barely seemed to notice it, but she was the one who would be cleaning up.
“Oh relax Justin, we all know the only reason Adria is with you is your massive dick,” Alecia said trying to pacify Justin. The two of them roughhousing we responsible for all of the redecorations to the lounge areas of her bases.
“Oh fuck you guys, especially you,” Justin said as he grabbed Adrian by the hair and pulled him in for a kiss.
“Damn it you two what did I say about sex in the base.” They ignored her objections as they fell onto the sofa. “Oh bloody hell please don’t trash my sofa again, I just got a new one… you guys have completely forgotten I’m here haven’t you? Fuck it, fuck each other I’m going to go commit crimes against nature.” Adrian gave her a thumbs up as she walked out.
Alecia didn’t kick them out, she wouldn’t cockblock her friends like that. She was going to make them replace the sofa since it wouldn’t be surviving the night if history had taught her anything. The heroes had to be wondering by now why Thread and Needle stole so many sofas.
She did seal off the lounge part of her base from the labs, for the time being she didn’t want them meeting Keanan; those two would be terrible influences. Not as bad as Prysim was of course, but she couldn’t really do anything about that. Alecia could always just present as Alecia, but the cat was already out of that bag, besides it didn’t feel right lying to her son like that.
Besides she was being an excellent mother, whichever personality she was presenting as. Keanan already knew everything an eight-year-old would be expected to, if necessary he would get along fine out in the world. Something that would have to happen soon, a boy his age would need friends his age.
Alecia started doing a final diagnostic of Keanan’s body, it was a work of art in her not so humble opinion. It consisted of four major parts, the head, arms and a main body, along with ten smaller pieces for fingers.
The main body had a crystalline shape with thirteen sides, the top coming to a point, but the bottom was jagged. The arms were much the same with the pointed parts at the end, and the jagged ones facing the main body. The head was teardrop shaped; the face portion would be the bulb, with the pointed part facing back. Each finger was a three sided crystal with points on both ends.
All of the pieces would be held in place with magic. The body would hover about 30 cm off the ground, the arms about 10 cm from the body, the head about 5 cm above the body. The fingers would vary dependent on the task, but would be about a centimeter from the arms normally. Keanan upon seeing his body for the first time laid out on a metal table asked the important question.
“Why is it pink?”
“It’s not pink.”
“It looks really pink.”
“It’s a pale cream rose.”
“So it’s pink.”
“Yes, but a pale pink.”
“Why is it a pale pink.”
“Short answer or the long answer?”
“Short.” Keanan requested.
“I’m evil, and as your mother it’s my job to embarrass you. It builds character.”
“Long answer please.”
“Changing the color would change the composition of your outer layer. Currently, it can survive getting hit by a car and the temperatures generated by orbital reentry. I could paint you, but everything I have would need to be frequently redone, and I don’t feel like inventing super paint. That would involve too much watching it dry.” As an afterthought she added. “I suppose you could cover yourself in decals like a race car if you want.”
“Am I strong enough to be a superhero?”
“Yes, don’t I would be a laughing stock if the community found out I had a hero son. I’ve got a book of your specs; it includes some magic as well.”
“The big one is self-repair, you don’t heal like a human but you also don’t lose pieces so you can superglue yourself together if need. Magic is a less messy option. I also gave you flight; you’ll hover naturally, but with experience you can do a good bird impression.”
“No, what’s awesome is your sixteen distributed cores, three per arm, two in you head, eight in your body. Each one can hold a full backup of your brain, unless you’re doing some serious spell craft you won’t notice the loss of functions until you’re operating at three.”
“I have sixteen brains?”
“No, you have one brain in sixteen parts. The final trick I’m going to impart on you is some glamor, just a little bit of the stuff but it cost more than the rest of you combined, R&D included.”
“Isn’t that fairy magic?”
“Yeah and Mag Mell doesn’t sell the stuff, you have no idea how many hoops I went through to get it. The thing to remember is it’s not real, well it is real stuff it just isn’t what it looks like, but for all intents and purposes it is. The universe treats anything covered in glamor as what it looks like, not what it is.”
“What are you giving it to me for?”
“Only way we’ll be able to get you out the door, or in an elevator. Remember it’s fragile, but regenerates with power. If you get hit hard or experience an anti-magic effect it will break, and your real form will come out.”
“What will it make me look like?”
“Like an eight-year-old kid, I think it was based on me, so dark hair and brown eyes,” she said. “It will make going so school easier.”
“I’m going to school?” he asked excitedly.
Alecia ignored him as she got the results of the diagnostic back everything was maroon. According to her system that was designed to be annoying to figure out meant everything was working properly. So she activated the base systems.
The head was first, rising from the table. The body followed it as if pulled by invisible strings, pivoted up. The arms were dragged up by the body. The fingers were last flying up off the table to take their places.
It was an intimidating sight towering almost nine meters above Alecia. She started to giggle. “I’m sorry did you say something?”
Keanan had been struck dumb watching his body rise, and let out a long low whistle. “Something about school.”
“Right I’m sending you to school; I have a couple of rules. No telling anyone you have power, it’s not just for your protection it’s for theirs.”
“Ok,” Keanan said not paying much attention. He was still focused on what would soon be him.
“Rule two, no telling anyone I’m your mother, again it’s a safety issue. I have a cover story for you to read later,” she continued. “Also you would get kicked out of school.”
“Kicked out bad.”
“Rule three, you can use your powers just make sure no one sees you drop your glamor. Civilian face and real face need to be kept separate in people’s minds.” Alecia said, moving on to the rule that would cause an issue. “Final rule, no heroics.”
“No Keanan, no heroics, none, nada, nil, zip. You’re too young, and too much the kid of a super villain.”
“No, this isn’t a negotiation. Now go to sleep so I can install you.”
“Oh, and in your golem form call yourself Shatter.”