Demonstrating storage was easy and safe. Firebolt had a target. Shocking Grasp didn’t really look like much unless it did something to someone. I held up my hand, letting electricity crackle around it. “Shocking Grasp. More or less twice as powerful as my Firebolt, but obviously limited in range.”
Meztli nodded. “Interesting.”
“Though with that said…” I conjured up Mage’s Reach. It was a ghostly white version of my hand, though the details were so vague it could really have been any hand. “I can extend the range with this.” I moved the hand around, eventually shoving it into the target. “The hand can also pick stuff up.”
Though it might seem foolish for a mage to give away all of his secrets, I wasn’t being as incautious as it seemed just for the sake of money, or even opportunities to level. I needed to impress her so that I could get hired properly, and holding back wouldn’t accomplish that.
I waved my hand, creating a black film on the ground. I crouched low and moved across it. Grease was kind of disgusting, but also kind of fun. I continued to slide across the floor beyond the ten plus foot patch. “Good for incapacitating people,” I said. I waved my hand again to dismiss the spell, though I’d made it very short in length to begin with. It was cheaper that way. I wasn’t made of mana. “And, temporary.” I held up my arms and gestured to my front that was no longer coated in black goop. I was so glad it was temporary.
“An invisible armor made of force that can stop bullets.” I didn’t say how many bullets, but that was also a slightly different number than it had been. I spent my free points on that for more upgrades, since I wanted to be alive for more future things.
“Anything else?” Meztli asked. She looked impressed enough, not questioning me to see if I had anything good but just wondering where my abilities ended. I hoped I read that right, anyway.
“That’s it. Oh, besides translation magic. I don’t… actually speak English.”
“Translation?” she looked interested. “How does that work? One language at a time?”
“It works with anything.”
“Anything? Do you —- ——–?” She swapped languages. “How ——— is the ———-?”
“Can you repeat those last two sentences once more?”
“Do you mean anything? How effective is the translation?”
“Quite good,” I replied in whatever language she was speaking. “But… rare languages… are harder.” I didn’t need to explain more than that. Translation actually more or less copied the understanding of the people around me. It wasn’t just those immediately with me, but if nobody in the world spoke a language it wouldn’t do much to translate it.
“Okay. And that’s the end of your abilities?” Meztli asked.
“Currently, yes. I might be able to learn more.” That was a gross understatement. There were tons of things I could pick up easily- assuming I levelled up again- but I wanted to define my own growth. And I thought I should probably keep some secrets.
“Great,” she said. “You know what we do here, right? You’re willing to engage in combat with supervillains and their minions? You mentioned bullets after all,” she said, looking at my leg.
“Absolutely,” I said. “I understand combat will be part of my duties.” Wouldn’t do me much good, otherwise.
“Then you’re hired,” she said.
“… really?” I asked. “Don’t you have to do a background check and stuff?”
“Are you a murderous psychopath?” she asked.
“… no?” I answered. I wasn’t a psychopath, and I hadn’t killed a single human, so I couldn’t be a murderer. Whatever those bats from that hell portal was weren’t people, so they didn’t count- and it wouldn’t have been murder even if they were people.
“Then it should be fine. Though,” she admitted, “I suppose we do have to finish those checks. They’ll take a few days, but it seems you might need it for your leg. If you don’t mind my asking, how did it happen?”
It seemed lying wouldn’t be helpful. “I was working in a warehouse when some people with guns came in. I got shot fighting them.”
“And you still signed up to be a merc?” she nodded. “That’s the kind of attitude we like here.” She pulled out a tablet- I was still learning all the names for these things, but those were the bigger versions of smart phones, which were… more computery versions of regular cell phones. She started to input stuff. “Do you have any references? Anyone you know who could vouch for you?”
“Uh… maybe a few people from Extra? Zorphax and Malaliel, maybe.” At least they shouldn’t make my position any worse. “And Basant.” I heard the sound of the elevator behind me. I was beginning to recognize that particular sound.
“You know Malaliel?”
“Not much? She just was involved with getting me accommodated.”
“I see,” Meztli said. “Should be interesting. Since you came through Extra, there will likely be a few other questions but I don’t really need to know about that personally. I don’t suppose you have references from inside the Power Brigade?”
The elevator dinged. “Not really.” I’d been on Earth for a grand total of less than a week. I barely knew anyone. Except… “Well, I did see Great Girl. We fought an earth elemental together. Or… at the same time? She did most of the work, throwing that car at it.”
“Sophia threw a car at something?” Meztli asked.
“Hey!” A voice called out from behind me. I turned to see a vaguely familiar figure. “Meztli, you’re not supposed to just casually throw out civilian identities like that!”
Meztli shrugged, “You don’t have a mask on, and he’s likely going to be hired to the Power Brigade. It’s not a big deal.”
I recognized the profile of the woman now. It was just the smallest I had seen it. Her six foot tall form, instead of the increasingly muscled figures of her larger version. And the mask didn’t really conceal her face. Great Girl was quite recognizable. She looked over me. “Hey, you’re that orc right?” she covered her mouth. “Err, sorry.”
“About what?” I asked. “I am an orc.”
She breathed a sigh of relief, “Oh good. You looked like one, but… you know.” I didn’t. “Anyway, you really want to join the Power Brigade? I suppose it’s a better idea than just wandering into an area with monsters pouring through portals. I thought you were just a poorly trained rookie, but it seemed you weren’t even that, hmm?” She held out her hand for a handshake. “I guess we can officially meet. I’m Sophia, also known as Great Girl.”
I nodded. “Turlough. About that superhero name-”
“I didn’t get to pick it, alright? That’s the Power Brigade’s thing. And uh…” she looked around conspiratorially, whispering, “They’re bad at it. They just pick an aspect of your power and throw on some sort of other descriptor.” She rolled her eyes, “I’m a woman so I got ‘girl’. And I got great because it means big.”
“I can’t fault the minimal logic behind it,” I shook my head. “I wonder what sort of name I might have?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. What do you do? I saw a couple things but I was busy wrestling that rock monster and definitely not throwing a car. But if I had thrown a car, it was thrown at me first.”
Meztli rolled her eyes, “I’m not going to rat you out to the financial department. I’m sure the owner of that car had super insurance anyway.”
“… I hope so,” Sophia said. “Anyway, Turlough… you did a fire thing? And some slippy thing?”
I nodded. “I’m a mage. So those are pretty standard.”
“Mage?” she tilted her head. “That’s… something.” Unlike many of the people who said that to me, I didn’t get the feeling she was saying an orc couldn’t be a mage. It was more of the general response of people in this world about magic and its whole thing of not existing. “I guess that’s a good name for a power set though. Can you shoot magic missiles?”
I shook my head. “I didn’t learn that one yet.” I wondered how she knew that was a possibility?
There wasn’t much more to say between myself, Sophia, and Meztli. Sophia confirmed that I’d been involved in the battle but couldn’t do much to assert my capabilities beyond that. Then I was busy with paperwork, though filling it out was… difficult. I could understand it easily enough, despite its complexity, but I simply didn’t have some of the information being asked for. Work history… well, they kind of wanted jobs that had lasted for more than three days.
At least I had a name and mailing address, though I still didn’t have an electronic mailing address. There were so many things I needed in this world that it would take a while to catch up. Maybe I would try to figure that out while I waited for a response from the Power Brigade.
There was a small beep, causing Basant to pull out his phone. Not that he ever put it away for long. This particular beep belonged to a new contact who Basant had spent quite a bit of time dealing with lately. He might have been annoyed if the person in question hadn’t been so pleasant about everything.
‘I got an electronic mail address! Turlough@Baycorp.com’
Basant smiled slightly. Turlough was always excited about everything.
Another message followed it.
‘Still don’t have a computer though’
And then another.
‘Also I applied for a job at the Power Brigade’
Basant stood there for a few moments, looking at the last one. Turlough had just been shot, and then wanted to become a mercenary? He might actually be crazy. He didn’t seem like a violent psychopath, but there were always those who enjoyed a fight. He’d given a reason, but it didn’t exactly make sense. Basant chose not to ask further because it seemed related to his power… or his world.
That was the sort of thing you ran into when working at Extra. Extraterrestrials were fairly decently catalogued, at least those that had frequent contact with Earth, but it was entirely possible that there were an infinite number of dimensions to draw extradimensional people and things from.
Personally, Basant thought it was far too easy to rip open holes to other dimensions, but with all the supers around it was really hard to say what made sense to begin with. While every power had a limit, they didn’t always follow normal rules.
Time to return to work. He should see if the Power Brigade had put in a request for information on Turlough. If they took him on, Turlough would become their responsibility. It wasn’t that Extra didn’t want to deal with him, but he had a propensity for getting into trouble and there was enough work for Extra to do regardless. They didn’t have the resources to keep individual people safe. It was enough trouble just keeping track of people arriving in the area.
Large cities drew in people like a magnet, and that included those who might not fit in elsewhere. New Bay was large and extremely populous, and the more supers, extraterrestrials, and extradimensionals that came to the area the more likely more would come. New Bay was the biggest nexus of that sort on the west coast. New Mass on the east coast was the only bigger one in the States, and it was more than one city.
A few moments later he saw the Power Brigade had indeed put in a request for information on Turlough. Basant only had access to that information as his primary contact, he couldn’t just look at Extra’s databases on a whim. Not even the higher ups were allowed to do that. Funnily enough, Turlough’s file was fairly empty. Short, but dense. But everything that happened to him so far had ties to extra, from the moment he’d been picked up by the police.
Basant sighed. It was sad that the world still had people that would bash someone over the head just for having green skin and tusks and nothing else. While his own brown skin was slightly less targeted than historically, that was only because there were easier and more obvious people with differences. Of course, to some people humans were the strange foreigners, but at least most of those that ended up on Earth realized they should restrain themselves. Except those who became supervillains. At least there hadn’t been any full-scale alien invasions for some time, with the multitude of species represented on Earth being a handy deterrent force.