It took another hour in Ms. Moreira’s office to get the paperwork done. Mr. Marcus came down and helped, and they took care of a lot of things. Most of what I had to do was listen and agree sometimes. It was easy, and I hoped things would continue to go so well.
We finished shortly after 11:00am. Ms. Moreira handed me a large file folder full of papers, and made sure I knew they were important. I understood. I even knew what most of them were. We also went up to a room in the back and they took my picture for my hero license.
After that, we headed back out to the lobby, Brighid taking back her position in the rotunda, relieving the assistant who’d been standing in for her. She said, “I’ll be here if you have any questions, Ward. Come by and see me if there’s anything you need.” We shook hands, and said goodbye.
We stepped outside, and saw the plaza again. A bunch of heroes in their brightly colored costumes were dancing there. I wasn’t sure why. Mr. Marcus smiled at them, and said, “Come on. Let’s get some lunch, and then get you started. You’ve got an appointment at Icon at 12:30.”
We had lunch at a “City of Gyros” resturant, which was busy and smelled deliciously of cooking meat. Over lunch, Mr. Marcus made sure I knew what was going to happen, apologizng for having been unclear before.
Today I would go to Icon to develop and get my uniform. Then I would go back to City Hall and be sent off to the training and test area for new heroes. Once I succeeded there – everyone seemed sure I would – I would be a licensed hero. Then all I need to do is see a contact who’s name I’ll be given, and do as they ask five times a week, or more.
I said, “I think I can do that,” smiled, and added, “I’m glad to know what I need to do.” The smile seemed to perturb people at the resturant. I stopped, mildly embarrassed.
We took the monorail to Steel Canyon. I looked out the windows, at the city passing below us. The neighborhoods all looked different, and when the doors would hiss open at a stop, they each smelled different.
King’s Row was a grimy looking collection of tenements, factories, and warehouses. The air smelled of smoke, several kinds. The people looked slightly grim, and I could see flashes of light in the distance from heroes fighting in the streets. It looked like an unpleasant place to me. The monorail stopped there and sat with it’s doors open, perfectly still. Nobody got on or off.
The doors closed with a hydraulic hiss and thump, and the car moved forward with a sedate sounding electric hum. The car glided along the track quietly, smoothly along the elevated track.
We passed through a tunnel in the War Walls, huge concrete-and-force-field walls that isolate parts of the city from each other. The tunnel was only minimally lit, and coming out in to the bright light of the afternoon was a little dazzling.
The track ran high over the city here, the sign at the front announcing with it’s recorded patience, “Next stop, Skyway City.” Nobody paid attention but me, because they’d all heard it before. The track was a little rougher here, a number of the joins between track segments making the car jerk a little. Mr. Marcus commented, “This section of track was badly damaged in the Rikti War.”
This part of the city seemed to consist mostly of bridges, with layers and layers of buildings and roads running every which way. Ramps connected them, and people moved steadily over them. I thought it looked confusing.
The car slowed for a number of sharp turns and glided slowly over a city park. There was a group of heroes standing in a group, which interested me more than the architechture. A faimilar pattern of stripes caught my eye in the middle of the group, white on blue. A petite redheaded girl, with tiger stripes in those strange colors was apparently sparring with a spiny girl in blue trunks. I stared, fascinated. The little stripey girl flipped the other casually over her shoulder, and then went and knelt next to her, talking as the spiny one got up. I noticed the red ears and the tail when she turned.
I was staring quite blatantly, until she was blocked from view by the wall of the station. Nobody on the car but Mr. Marcus noticed, though. The striped girl hadn’t even looked at the tram as it glided overhead – they must pass over all day long. I was relieved to think I hadn’t made a complete fool of myself. When the car stopped, I turned forward again, and then asked Mr. Marcus, “Do you know who that was?”
“Who was what?” asked Mr. Marcus.
“The girl back there,” I said, “with the stripes, and the tail.”
I must have looked nervous or something, because Mr. Marucs chuckled and replied, “Oh! Maybe it was Mynx. She’s a member of the Freedom Phalanx, and works training new heroes. You’ll probably meet her later.”
The name “Mynx” stayed with me, thinking about what I’d seen in Skyway.
I was quiet for a while, staring at the seat back in front of me, as the car slid out of Skyway and in to Steel Canyon. I ignored the huge skyscrapers, and throngs of people in the downtown of Steel Canyon, lost in thought. Mr. Marcus said, “You okay, Ward?”
After a moment, I said, “She had stripes. And a tail.” David Marcus nodded, and I added, “Like me.”
Understanding lit David’s face, and he said, “Ah! There are quite a few cat-girls here in Paragon City, Ward.
I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, really. People like me here. I had never expected it.
Mynx, in Skyway City. I smiled, and looked forward to meeting her.