Let’s get this story started! But if you’ve just teleported in, you can click over to Blink’s earlier adventures:
Blink’s First Adventure | 2 | 3 | 4
“All right, honey, I’m coming,” Mom replied, and hustled out to join her son. “Bye.” She hugged him, with some hesitation for a change. “Have a good time. I expect you to write.”
“I will,” said Stevie, shouldering his pack, already looking at the van with the Lake Walnut Grove Summer Camp markings emblazoned on the side. “It might be email, though. The info packet said they have a computer lab and everything.”
“Communing with nature by day, surfing the web by night?” Mom gave him that joshing look of hers. “Sounds like you won’t be getting much sleep.”
“I’ll be fine, Mom.” Stevie hugged her one more time, then shouldered his bag. It had taken a lot of willpower to not just pop out to the van and be gone in the first place. “At least you can get some stuff done without me underfoot all the time.”
“Seriously, Stevie? You aren’t underfoot much, if at all. But maybe I’ll get a little time on the computer, at least until you get back.”
“Ha. Maybe you can get a new computer while I’m gone.” He grinned. “Bye, Mom. I’ll miss you. Try to have some fun, okay?”
Mom nodded, and gave him a little nudge that said it was finally okay for him to burst out the door and run for the van. The side door opened when he was halfway down the short sidewalk, and he jumped in and slid his pack under the seat.
“She finally let you go?” Captain Heroic asked from the driver’s seat.
“Yeah.” This was the Heromobile, wearing a skin that Stevie (aka Blink) thought might be custom for this one job. He looked around, and realized that there were other passengers already here. “Oh. Hi,” he said, with some embarrassment.
“Get settled in,” said Captain Heroic. “We can do introductions once we’re rolling.”
Stevie dropped into the middle seat, next to a skinny Chinese-looking dude in black, and buckled up. “Okay,” he said, and Captain Heroic drove away.
“Hello,” the dude nodded. He had a thick accent and a high, soft voice. “I am Ma Ling. You may call me Linda if you are more comfortable with that.”
“Oh, okay.” Stevie clamped down on his mouth. Saying sorry, I thought you were a guy was probably rude.
“I’m Sarika,” the girl in the back said. She was dark, but not black like his friend Lashaun, and her smile made her cute beyond belief. And...
Something important dawned on him. “You’re a Devi, right? Or your parents are?” He turned to Ma Ling. “And you’re one of the Masked Warriors?”
Sarika laughed, making him feel warm, and Ma Ling nodded. “I am going to help train some of the other heroes in close combat techniques,” said Ma—no, Ling—didn’t they put their first names last or something?
“Cool.” Stevie thought he should say something else, but could not think of anything. “How about you?” he asked Sarika.
“Kind of like what you’re doing,” she replied. She had a little accent, a kind of lilt that Stevie thought sounded cute. “I’m going to help with Professor Zero’s research.”
Jeez, he thought, do I like her or something? Not like she’s going to be interested. Then again, he did have a superpower. Maybe she would be.
“And you’ve both heard of Blink,” said Captain Heroic. “Here he is. The youngest person ever to manifest a superpower.”
“Amazing,” said Ma Ling. “The universe has something important for you to do, if you must shoulder your burden so soon.” She nodded once and turned away.
“You can really teleport yourself?” Sarika asked. “Can you carry anything with you?”
“Yeah,” Stevie replied, happy that Sarika was paying attention to him. “My clothes, obviously. Anything else I’m holding, too.”
“Well, I got Frank Crain away from the Blackuras, and he weighed a hundred and fifty.”
“That much?” Sarika looked confused for a moment. “Oh, you mean pounds.”
“How about distance?”
Stevie wondered how many questions she had, but decided that wasn’t important. She was talking to him. “I haven’t tried to find out, really. I always just pop to somewhere close.”
“Sure. I pop in and out of my bedroom all the time.”
After that, the questions trailed off, and they all spent the rest of the trip in their own shells. Ma Ling meditated, or maybe she was praying. Or taking a nap. Sarika occupied herself with an iPad, oblivious to Stevie’s mixed admiration and jealousy. Unable to handle the conflicting emotions, he turned around and watched out the window. The supers had already come through with finding Mom a better job, something with steady hours that paid better than Slaver-Mart, but it hadn’t made much of a difference in their situation so far. Mom was too obsessed with catching up on old bills to consider essentials like a new computer just yet. It wasn’t even worth thinking about getting an iPad.
A few more miles down the freeway, and Stevie’s thoughts drifted back to where they were going—Professor Zero’s compound. He had seen a few shots of the place on Channel Fourteen and HNN, but living there for six weeks (while Mom thought he was at some summer camp) was going to be awesome beyond belief. Professor Zero would try to figure out what limits his teleportation power had—that was part of what the supers had disguised as summer camp for him—but maybe it was going to be more than that, if Ms. Ma and Sarika were along for the ride. It was kind of stupid, thinking it was just going to be about him for the whole summer.
Too bad I can’t tell Chris and Lashaun about this. Or anyone else. Being a real superhero would make him the envy of his class. Just getting more than the visitor’s tour of Professor Zero’s place would do that. If he was stupid enough to let on, of course—that thing with Frank just proved giving out your secret identity was a dumb move. But Sarika asking him about how far he could teleport himself got him thinking. He had never given much thought to that before. He occupied himself with a daydream: Strapping on a backpack, he picked up Mom. A second later, they were on the beach. Then again, that wouldn’t pay for their hotel or anything. And letting Mom know what he could do just seemed like certain disaster…
The van shifted, and Stevie jerked awake. They had left the freeway, and Captain Heroic was turning. Ms. Ma was still meditating, and Sarika spared hardly a glance before diving back into whatever she was doing on her iPad. Stevie thought he knew which exit this was; Dad had taken him out here on one of his rare visitation days last summer, to the state park. He remembered that day—they hiked one of the trails and threw a Frisbee for a little while. It seemed like Dad had wanted to tell him something important, but couldn’t figure out how. He remembered wishing they had just gone to the nearby Dari-Freez for ice cream instead.
Sure enough, there was the sign to the state park, but Captain Heroic turned the other way. Things would be different this year.