Blink’s earlier adventures:
Blink’s First Adventure | 2 | 3 | 4
Superhero Summer Camp (this one): 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Blink yawned, got dressed, and took the elevator. Nixi was already there. She gave him a nod, and he mumbled a greeting. There wasn’t much more to say at this time of morning, after all.
The elevator chimed, bringing Sarika and Captain Heroic. To Blink’s mild disgust, Sarika sounded alert and even cheerful. She chattered to Blink and Nixi as Captain Heroic led them to a golf cart and drove them through the holographic boulder.
“Here we are,” he said. “Let’s stretch a little, then we’ll get started. Blink, you can be Nixi’s jogging partner. Stay with each other, got it? Nixi knows the path. Don’t get to racing, either one of you. I don’t want you getting cramps. There’s water in the cart, everybody get a drink and we’ll go.”
Nixi and Blink jogged along in silence, Nixi puffing but holding up. To Blink’s surprise, she spoke first. “Am I holding you back?”
“I could go a little faster. How could you tell?”
“You’re not even breathing hard.” Nixi stopped talking a moment to catch her own breath. “I wanna be jealous, but it’s my own fault.”
“I got into computers a couple years ago. One of the ads said something about dates in my town, and even got the name of the town right. I got to wondering how they did that, and found a site that explained it some.”
“Cool. You’re a kind of genius on this stuff, I guess.”
“Not really.” Nixi paused again. “I just got into it. It’s not really all that hard. I learned HTML, then scripting, then databases and stuff. I just like it, it’s not like I’m a wizard or anything. You know, twenty years ago, kids our age had businesses doing Web development.”
“Yeah. I was born kinda too late, you know? My parents won’t let me do this full-time. I got a lot of homework during the school year, so I make a little extra money doing maintenance. Rebuilding Zero Point’s intranet is the biggest project I’ve ever tackled. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it. A reference like that is worth a ton.”
“Yeah.” Blink thought Lucky your uncle’s Professor Zero.
“So yeah, I got connections,” she continued, making Blink wonder if she had just read his mind, “but I got the job and I gotta get it done right. But that’s not what I was talking about. Instead of getting outside and playing with the other kids, I started studying Web development. So I got way outta shape. It’s kinda cool, though, having Captain Heroic for a personal trainer. He’s making sure I’m not sitting at a desk all day. Okay, I need a breather.”
Nixi stood bent over, hands on knees, while Blink paced around. “That’s my story,” she said. “What about you?”
“My mom and dad split up two years ago,” Blink replied. “I dunno why. I remember they used to yell at each other a lot, but I figured that’s just what grownups do, you know? But I remember, it was a Friday. Dad left for work, and he didn’t come home. I asked Mom about it, and she said he left us.”
“I’m sorry,” Nixi whispered.
“It’s better. The first year, Dad kept his end up. He came to see me most weekends, and said he wanted to be part of my life. Then… I don’t know what happened. Mom got laid off from the electric company, and all she could find was a job at Slaver-Mart.”
“That’s what she calls Saver-Mart,” Blink explained. “She says they can sell groceries real cheap because they don’t pay their people crap. But that was all she could get. Then Dad started missing support payments. I dunno, maybe he lost his job, too. He stopped coming to see me around then, so maybe he just decided he was over the whole family thing. But then we got a little help. Captain Heroic did some stuff behind the scenes, found her a better job and stuff, and Dad sent a double support check just before I came here. Mom says there’s a lot of bills to catch up on, but now maybe we can pay ‘em all.”
“That’s good.” Nixi stood. “You ready to finish this run?”
“Sure.” They got going again.