We arrived in Paragon City late at night, after a delay that slowed us down for several hours. At first, the city did not look much different than others, and I was a little downcast. I was expecting another set of worried and distrustful looks at a hotel, and then to be, at best, ignored.
Until we arrived, it hadn’t occurred to me to wonder what I would do in the future, but I started to be concerned as we drove through the darkened streets. I was remembering the wary comments, of, “No pets!” and the unpleasant reactions of the people at the airport, and wondering how I would get along here.
We did stop at a hotel. I didn’t notice anyone looking particularly oddly at me, and there seemed to be no trouble at the front desk. That was a nice change. The bed was only a little too short here, too. That never has bothered me much, as I tend to wind up curled up in a ball, anyway.
Mr. Marcus told me, “Get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow will be a busy day, and you’ll get to meet a lot of new people.” I must have looked worried, because he smiled and added, “Don’t worry. They’re looking forward to meeting you. You’ll do fine.”
I did not sleep well that night, despite Mr. Marcus’ reassurances.
We left the hotel shortly after 8:00am. Mr. Marcus left his luggage there, and I didn’t have any. Morning traffic in the city was somewhat busy, but it didn’t bother us much, as we walked to the monorail and took it to Atlas Park. I wasn’t sure about the train at first, but nothing bad happened and Mr. Marcus assured me we only had to go a few stops.
I had been expecting people to stare and be uncomfortable they way they had been in other places, but people hardly paid attention to us. I was just thinking how unusual that was when the doors hissed open for a stop. It was then I saw my first heroes.
There were three of them. One was tiny, strongly muscled and a dark green color, with glowing orange eyes. He wore only an orange pair of briefs. One was an average height woman, in excellent shape and wearing a form-fitting suit with a blue and gold pattern, a tiara, and carrying a very large sword. The first thing I noticed about the third one was that he was big. He was almost as tall as I am, and a huge bulky body shape. He was a very, very large black man, wearing a navy blue suit with a red lightning bold on the breast pocket, and a maching red cravat. He was an imposing sight, despite his neat attire, and I had to resist the urge to back away.
They didn’t do anything particularly amazing, they were just riding the train somewhere and talking to each other. The little green one said something and the others glanced at us. I realzied I was staring and looked away, embarrassed. It’s not polite to stare.
After a moment of looking outside – drab warehouses and closed looking factories, a neighborhood called King’s Row, apparently – I glanced back. None of the heroes seemed offended, which was a relief. As they got off at the King’s Row station, the woman and the neatly dressed one smiled cheerfully at me. The little one might have, but he was kind of lost in the crowd.
Our stop came up and we got out of the car and left the station, making a short walk to City Hall. There were a lot of people around, and a large number of heroes in front of the building, lingering under an absolutely gigantic statue of a man with a globe on his shoulders. Other large statues circled the plaza.
Mr. Marcus was smiling and said, “See? I told you you’d fit in just fine. Let’s go get you registered and you can learn all about what you’ll be doing.” I replied with something witty like, “Uh, okay.” and followed him in to the building.
The lobby is a spacious affair with a rotunda and shiny marble flooring. There was a couple of wings to either side, a set of desks with some heroes queued up at them in the back, and a woman standing in the middle of the lobby, deftly directing people places and talking to a lot of passer-by. She seemed quite at ease, and to know everyone.
Mr. Marcus walked straight to her. When she saw him, she smiled, and said, “Hello, David. It’s good to see you again.” He replied, “It’s good to see you, too. Let me introduce you to our newest lost soul.”
And so, I was introduced to Ms. Brighid Moreira, the City Representative. She smiled and looked up at me (almost everyone looks up at me) and said, “Hello there! I’m very pleased to meet you.” I smiled and replied as I was taught, a polite, “It is my pleasure to meet you too, ma’am.”
This simple thing seemed to delight her, although I didn’t understand why at the time. She asked, “Has David told you why he’s brought you here?” I shook my head and replied, “Not in any detail, ma’am. He said that I’d be valued and welcomed here.”
She gave Mr. Marcus a pointed look and said, “David, you’ve done it again, and not made clear why you’ve come, haven’t you?” At his sheepish grin and admittance of, “I guess so.” she shook her head amusedly and said to me, “Let’s take care of that right away. Then, if you’re interested, we can get you all taken care of.”