Brighid Moreira took me to her office. We sat down and she told me about heroes. I listened. She is quite a storyteller, when she wants to be, and I was captivated. She talked for most of an hour about what heroes do, and why Paragon City loved them.
She told me about Mr. Marcus’ work with the State Department and how they often had a difficult time finding a place where unusual people would be accapted, much less wanted for their unique abilities. It was about then that I began to understand.
Paragon City offers people who work only as a hero a minor compensation, as well as subsidized room and board. All they have to do is continue their work as heroes. “What does a hero do here?” was the biggest question I had.
Ms. Moreira explained this as well. To qualify as a city-subsidized hero, the person must have no other significant income, and must report in to city-authorized contacts at least five times weekly that they have completed one of the tasks assigned to them. She also said, “I’ve read David’s report, and I’m sure you are quite capable of doing this. The only question I have to ask is if you want to.”
The answer was easy, and I nodded, and said, “Yes, please, Ms. Moreira.”
She smiled and said, “Wonderful! A couple of pieces of bureauracy to get out of the way, and we’ll get you started.” She turned to her computer and worked at it for a moment, and said, “All right, let’s see, what do we need to know?” She also opened a folder with, “Doe, John” written on it, and flipeed through some pages there.
Seeing this, I said, “Is that folder about me?” She looked up, a little startled, and said, “Yes, it is. Why do you ask?” I pointed to the name, and said, “Mr. Marcus called me John Doe once. I’m still not a doe, or a deer of any kind. I’m a tiger.”
Brighid laughed, and said, “That’s funny!” A moment later, sounding impressed, she added, “And you can read! That’s excellent.” She turned to her computer again, and said, “Well, the first field here is a space for your name. Since you are not a doe, what shall we call you?”
I said, “I don’t know, ma’am.”
She asked, “What did they call you where you came from?” She did not like my reply of, “Thirty-seven.” and said, “That’s not a very good name for a nice guy like you!”
I sat and looked at her. I really had no idea what to suggest. After an awkward moment of silence I said that.
Flipping through the folder from Mr. Marcus, Brighid said, “You make force fields? And throw lightning bolts?” I nodded. She flipped a few more pages, and then pulled a paperback sized book out of one of her desk drawers and started flipping through it, making notes on a scratchpad. Occasionally, she would tap the end of her pen on the desk while she read. The text was too small for me to read from the other side of the desk.
At one point she smiled, chuckling, “Oh, I like that.” and writing something down. She circled it idly while continuing to look through the little book. After a few minutes, she looked up at me and said, “I think I have a good name for you. It is a good, honest name and suits you. What do you think of the name Ward Ohm?”
“Ward Ohm.” I said. It was short. I could pronounce it easily, and she seemed very much to like it. I thought about this for a moment.
Ms. Moreira must have thought I did not like it, because she started explaining, “Ward is the short form of Howard, a common man’s name. It means “watchman”. Ohm is the name of a respected scientist from mid 1800’s, an early pioneer of electricty.”
I said, “That would be fine, Ms. Moreira.”
She smiled and typed, “Ward Ohm” in to the “Heroic Name” field of the form, and “Ohm, Howard” in to the “Real Name” space on the form.
Thus began my heroic career as Ward Ohm.