Blink’s earlier adventures:
Blink’s First Adventure | 2 | 3 | 4
Superhero Summer Camp (this one): 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
In a way, it was like school, except for no homework—and Improv was like a pop quiz every time. Still, it was amazing what he could do with a multi-tool and a big pile of junk. He found himself able to run farther, lift more weight, and hold his own in a fight (even if Ms. Ma obviously held back).
He found himself spending a lot of time with Nixi, at lunch and during the morning jogs. Talking to her became easier as the weeks went by, and he found himself looking forward to the time they spent together.
Then one afternoon, at the end of a frustrating Improv session, Professor Zero poked his head into the lab. “Is he about done?”
“Yeah,” Captain Heroic replied. “I need to give him a re-do on this one.”
“Good timing, then. Blink, why don’t you knock off for now? Run back up to your room and grab a shower before supper. Montana Rack is going to swing by this evening, after her newscast, to interview you and Nixi.”
“Oh. Okay.” Blink glared at the unhelpful junk heap. “Sarika, too?"
“No,” the Professor replied. “Her parents don’t want her on camera just yet. Besides, someone might recognize her. It would be like giving away her parents’ secret identity.”
“Yeah, that makes sense.”
“Sure it does. Don’t forget your hoodie. You don’t want to put your own face on camera, either.”
“Good to meet you, Blink,” Montana Rack greeted him. She looked distracted, and Blink thought she laid the makeup on pretty thick. She was pretty old—older than Mom, anyway. “And Nixi, the computer genius?”
“I’m not a genius,” Nixi insisted. “I just like the work.”
“Okay. Let’s make sure we have this exchange again on tape.” Montana gestured at two of her entourage. “Sam, Bo, take them and get them prepped. We’ve got time.”
“Hi, I’m Sam.” Sam was a young woman, wearing a black hoodie of her own, and Blink instantly felt comfortable with her. “I’m Montana’s intern.” She ushered Blink and Nixi out of the news room and into an adjacent conference room. A thin man followed them, carrying a satchel.
“What’s going on?” Nixi asked.
“It’s all part of the sausage factory,” Sam grinned. “Everything has to be just so. Bo here’s going to put some makeup on you."
“Makeup?” Blink and Nixi both looked skeptical.
“The lighting we use tends to wash out faces,” the intern explained. “You’ll look more natural. I’m surprised they didn’t mention it in your training.”
“I can’t let anyone see my face, anyway,” said Blink, pulling his hood up. “Mom would lose her shorts if she found out I was here, instead of summer camp.”
Nixi and Sam snorted at the metaphor. “All the same. Anything that does stick out won’t look so pale,” Sam continued. “You’re not Count Boris.”
“If he can do it, I can do it,” said Nixi.
“Good. Let’s get started." Sam opened the curtains, letting the evening sun pour into the room. “Oh, perfect. Strong lighting!"
The makeup artist did his work on them both, studied their faces as they looked toward the window, then nodded to Sam.
“Yup, looks fine,” said Sam. “Montana won’t be ready for you guys for at least twenty minutes. You can hang in here. I guess that makes this the Green Room. Bo can do any touch-up work on you guys before we start taping.” She helped Bo pack his gear, and they left.
“Man, what a sunset,” said Blink, crossing to the window. “Not the beach, but the woods make it look nice.”
“Yeah.” Nixi stood next to him. For several minutes, they did nothing but watch the sun light up the clouds as it dipped into the trees.
Blink turned to look at Nixi. The sunset lit up her face… without thinking, he reached out and put an arm around her.
Nixi gasped and froze. “What the hell?” she sputtered, pushing him away. “No—jeez, I don’t—what are you thinking?”
Blink stood gaping under the verbal onslaught for a moment, and then he disappeared. Nixi huffed and pulled the curtains shut, and sat at the desk.
“You guys about ready?” Professor Zero asked, poking his head in. “Hey, where’s Blink?”
“I don’t know,” Nixi grumbled, then thought Oh, crap.
“You don’t know? What happened?”
Nixi stood to pace the room, then stuck her head through the curtains to look outside again. “Jeez. I thought he liked Sarika. He… he put his arm around me, I told him—I said I wasn’t into him like that, and he didn’t take it good. He disappeared.”
“What? What did you say?”
“I don’t exactly remember.”
“Oh, great. Why couldn’t you have just played along?”
“What?” Nixi jerked her head out of the curtains and rounded on her uncle. “Do my feelings not count? Am I just part of the—the amenities around here?”
Zero deflated. “You’re right,” he said, looking at the floor. “That was out of line. You have any idea where he went?”
“I guess he’s back in his room.”
“Yeah. You don’t have to stay in this room if you don’t want, but stay close. I’ll let the news crew know there’s a delay. Then I’ll talk to Blink and give him a little time to cool off. We’ll see if he’s learned to do the public thing for real.”
I’m outta here, Blink thought, wiping the makeup off with a towel. He had not brought much with him, so it wouldn’t take much to pack. His few clothes and the iPad fit in his pack with room to spare.
Shouldering his pack, he visualized the driveway: the defenses, the tree-gate, the foliage on either side. Out.
“Blink?” Professor Zero opened the door, but the room was empty. “Why do supers have to be such… divas?”