Thursday, October 09, 2008

"Never Special," Costume Concerns, pt. 6, 399 words

Nodding in recognition, I say, "Oh, I think I've heard of you. Didn't you use to work with Hat Trick? That string of con man thwartings?"

Alter Ego smiles and nods. "You've got a good memory. That was, what, eleven years ago? Nah, twelve, soon."

"How come you didn't keep going on," I ask, genuinely curious. Hat Trick had been a magician and professional skeptic in the vein of Houdini, always ready to tear apart any con or scheme he stumbled upon, taking care of the less-obvious but no less insidious criminals out there who preyed on the lonely and elderly, the grieving and the gullible. He was still working, last I heard, but his time with Alter Ego had been his most successful. Hat Trick found them and Alter Ego leaned his brain on theirs until they couldn't lie, and their schemes fell apart under Hat Trick's scrutiny.

He shrugs. "I've had my fifteen minutes," he says, "and I've always been a bit of a homebody. Traveling all over the place like that chasing one con man after another... Not really to my liking." Alter Ego shakes his head and grins wryly. "But enough about this old dog. What kind of powers bring you here?"

A little reluctantly, I admit, "The standard set."

"Now don't be like that," he says, leaning on the counter. "Nothing to be gloomy about there. That's a good all-purpose power set you have. I would've loved to be able to fly, back when I first got my powers. I still wouldn't mind it, but I'm more used to how I am now. You chosen a hero name?"

"I, uh..." I start to shake my head, but suddenly something leaps to the fore, and I speak it before I can really think about it. "Yeah," I say, tucking a stray strand of hair behind my ear. "Shatterforce."

It feels like it should be a momentous occasion, finally deciding upon my hero name, but what little significance there is in the moment gets swept away by his casual nod and businesslike, "Alright. Decent name. Lord knows I've heard far worse, considered far worse for myself when I was just starting up. Though if you don't mind me saying so, it sounds more like something for a big, mean cuss of a bruiser than a lady like you, no matter what your powers may be like."

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