“Yeah,” Turbo sighed to himself. “I’m lost.” The boney teenager searched for the front office of his new school for 20 minutes. The school was as large as the only college campus he’d been on, with several satellite buildings. It took him that long to wind his way through the courtyards and crowded halls to get from one end to the other.
The halls were crowded and loud and he had trouble finding anyone that wasn’t already in a conversation to ask for directions.
Turbo ended up in a building that was likely a gym. The waxed wood flooring seemed to emit a soft pale glow. The rows of bleachers on opposite sides were the biggest clue to the building’s purpose.
“Doing better?” Turbo heard a soft voice coming from under the nearest set of bleachers. If the gym wasn’t so quiet he wouldn’t have heard anything at all; it was almost a whisper.
“Alright!” he cheered internally. Turbo doubted a whole crowd would be hiding out under the bleachers. He hoped he could finally get some directions. It did occur to him that the person might be up to something they didn’t want to get caught doing. Instead of peeking in, he spoke up from where he was.
“HELLO!??” he shouted. “ANYONE IN HERE!!!??”
“Shhhhh!!!” a hissing sound came from under the bleachers. A tall, lithe girl with short, light blonde hair dashed out of her hiding spot.
“Sorry,” Turbo smiled at her and lowered his voice to a normal tone. “I’m just looking for-,” she interrupted him again by dashing forward and clapping her small hand over his mouth.
“Shhhh!” she said again. “Whisper.” Before Turbo could react another voice spoke up.
“It’s okay, Nia,” a girl with bright orange hair walked out from under the bleachers. “I’m fine now,” she said. She walked to Turbo as Nia pulled her hand off his mouth.
“I’m Riot,” she said and extended her hand. “This is Nia,” she tilted her head at the blonde.
“Petunia to you,” Petunia glared at Turbo.
“Turbo,” he shook Riot’s hand with a broad grin. His name had plagued him for all of his short life. He loved it, but he always felt out of place going to school with Johns and Janes. But on his first day at Toku-High, he met someone named Riot. He instantly felt more positive about the year ahead.
“Everything okay?” he asked. He needed directions, but that could wait for a moment.
“Yeah,” Riot nodded. “There’s just a lot of noise and excitement in there. “She waved in the general direction of the main building. “I need a quiet place to calm down and Coach Dread said I could use the gym.”
“Oh, okay,” Turbo nodded. “Well, I don’t really get it, but it sounds like everything’s cool. So.. can one of you…,” a quick glance at Petunia’s cold brown eyes told him it wouldn’t be her. “…point me toward the front office. I still kind of need to register.” The girls giggled at him, but Riot nodded.
“Yeah, lemme see your node,” she said.
“Uhh… is that a thing I get when registering?” he asked. Petunia sighed and rolled her eyes, but Riot continued to smile. She reached into her jeans pocket and pulled out a card-sized pane of glass.
“Do you have one of these?” she asked.
“Oh!” Turbo reached into his pocket and produced his own. Riot touched her node to his. When she pulled it away a white arrow appeared on the display pointing to his right side. He turned slightly and the arrow moved like a compass needle. “Awesome,” he said. “Thanks!” He smiled, waved, and turned to follow the arrow.
“Bye-bye,” Petunia waved.
“Hey wait!” Riot said. “You’re a Calavera too, right?”
“Uhh… ?” Turbo shrugged.
“What’s your favorite number?” Riot asked.
“42,” Turbo replied, then paused. “Wow. Didn’t know I had one.” Again, both girls giggled at him. Riot walked a circle around Turbo looking him up and down.
“Turbo, huh?” she wondered aloud. “I wonder what you can do.”
“Do?” he asked. “What do you mean?”
“You’re a Calavera. When you get awakened you’ll be super strong, but you’ll probably also have an ability that fits your name. Coach Dread is a Calavera. She has a sonic scream that can totally be classified as “dreadful”,” Riot chuckled to herself. “Coach Haste can give others super speed. Frost is another Calavera student here. He can…,”
“Make ice?” Turbo asked. Riot wavered her hand in a ‘more or less’ gesture.
“He can coat himself and anything he’s touching in frost. That’s about it, but it makes good armor.”
“And you?” Turbo asked.
“I get stronger and faster from ambient kinetic energy or sonic vibrations. But,.. I can’t really control it yet. So if it gets to be too much I kind of go crazy until I use up the extra energy. I usually go somewhere quiet before it gets to be too much.”
“And I walked in here yelling and screaming,” Turbo shook his head and looked Petunia in the eyes. “I’m sorry,” he apologized to her. He got the impression that he offended her more than Riot.
“It’s fine,” Riot said. “When you get to the office tell them you want to be awakened and they’ll take care of it.”
“Does it hurt?” Turbo asked. Petunia giggled at him, by herself this time.
“You can crack an Earth in two; don’t be a baby,” she said.
“Take it easy, Nia,” Riot said. “He’s new; you didn’t know everything at first.” She turned her attention back to Turbo.
“It usually takes a tattoo or scarring of some kind, but they use nanos to give you a micro tattoo smaller than a bedbug. You won’t feel a thing.”
“Whoa… Nanotechnology? Superpowers? This school is pretty amazing,” Turbo said.
“Wait until you try out roller derby,” Riot smiled. “Think of how much fun you can have with superpowers on the track.”