In this 26,000-word novella, the first in a series, four dysfunctional misfits attend a seminar led by a famous, charismatic motivational speaker. Afterwards, they develop superpowers that are fueled by their individual dysfunctions. More
In this 26,000-word novella, the first in a series, four dysfunctional misfits attend a seminar led by a famous, charismatic motivational speaker. Afterwards, they develop superpowers that are fueled by their individual dysfunctions.
There's the nerd whose extreme shyness allows him to become invisible. There's the princess, whose fear of old age allows her to time travel into the past. There's the stressed office worker, whose sense of not having enough time allows him to freeze time. Finally, there's the delivery guy, whose claustrophobia allows him to walk through walls.
Their first mission: find the President of the United States, who has suddenly gone missing. Their investigations lead them to an alien armada that has set its sights upon Earth.
Ungthwap put the knife back on the tray. It picked up the glass of liquid and swirled it around, careful not slosh any on itself. “Now, James: this is an acid, the fastest acting acid known to my planet.”
Ungthwap emptied the glass onto James’s hand. James clenched his fist and tried to jerk his arm away, but the shackles held him tightly.
“You don’t feel anything yet,” Ungthwap said, “because the acid is in the normal flow of time and we aren’t. But if we were, the acid would already have completely dissolved your hand, and would be working its way up your arm, eating away at your flesh.”
James suddenly screamed. The skin of his hand reddened. Pockmarks began to appear, in excruciatingly slow motion.
Ungthwap continued dispassionately, “Now you begin to feel it, in excruciating slowness. The normally instantaneous action of the acid will be drawn out over the next several hours. Well, for you it will be hours...To the normal world, it will only be seconds. But you get the idea. Tell me: where is the human called Michael Miracle? Where did you last see him?”
James screamed louder, his face screwed up in agony. He tried vainly to twist in his chair. The skin of his hand was now brown, burnt. Boils broke out over pockmarked skin and blisters formed and burst in supremely slow motion. “I’m just a data entry clerk!” he screamed. “I didn’t sign on for this!” But he didn’t answer Ungthwap’s questions.
“We have plenty of time together, you and I,” said Ungthwap. “There are things even more unpleasant than this. And you thought your ability was a blessing! Can you imagine what would happen if I put you under a guillotine?”