While I was having a lovely time with drill sergeant Blinky, the rest of the city was reaching its boiling point. People were mutating left and right, in both Snobbyville and Undertown. Forcing the divided city, for the first time in sixteen years, to face another pandemic that they have no idea how to cure. The average citizen was in a panic; going into pure survival mode. Buying toilet paper, paper towels, disinfecting wipes, and even essential oils. Reverting to the days that political parties fought for control and the fear of nuclear war.
Those who mutated were doing their best to handle the changes. Which was hard to do when they ranged from setting themselves on fire to having purple skin. It was clear that gaining superpowers was nothing like it was in the comics and movies. Some sought help from the government, most made the same decision that I did; to hide it. Most of us have read or watched enough sci-fi to know the last thing the government will do is help us. Unless the world "help" means dissect in official government talk.
Scientists and doctors alike working night and day. Hours turned to days, days to weeks, and before anyone knew it a whole month had passed. All hope seemed last till one of two leading geniuses of the century, Walt Goodwin, announced that he had found a solution. That what was happening was an undiscovered side effect of the Covid-19 virus. As he describes it, the virus somehow mutated and restricted the human DNA with the help of the mysterious orange cloud.
When asked if he had a cure, he answered at it is in the works, but in the meantime, he did have an answer for the current situation.
In fact, he announced it all over the city saying, "The poor unfortunate victims and their families don't have to go through this alone. We at Goodwin International have prepared clinical resorts on several remote islands that I privately own. Here the victims can live and get treatment for their symptoms in a place with state-of-the-art medical and scientific equipment and staff. All they have to do comes to any of my businesses and we will take care of you. No payment is needed. You don't even need to identify yourself, I know if I was in your shoes the last thing I would want is for my family and friends to worry."
Hearing this must make him seem like a charitable man, a pillar of society, but in reality, he is anything but. Having gain notoriety during the revolution for being the second smartest man on earth, beating the likes of Enstinen and Stephen Hawkings by a landslide. The Italian suit-wearing, bald, one-eyed, genus has only one goal, to make money. It's the only reason he made Goodwin International. Rumor has it he sells illegal Bondarium weapons on the black market and turns a good profit too.
I could go on and on about all the rotten things this miser has done, but I'm sure you get the picture. So, right off the bat, you know something is wrong when he offers a "free" service, of any kind. It should have set off warning lights and raised flags, turning people away from a promise that was clearly too good to be true, but if WW2 taught us anything, fear and desperation are powerful motivators. Hundreds of people flocked to Goodwin International, not knowing they were walking straight into hell on Earth.
It would be much later before I and the rest of the world would find out the tragic fate of most of the people who sought help, but some would come to escape. It would be one such person that would force not only me but many other victims of the Orange cloud apocalypse, which has been come to be known as the Orange incident online, to choose whose's side were on.
It happened at the start of August. A week before the start of my second year of high school. I'd learned a lot about how the universe works, and as a side effect, I also learned how to use my powers. It was mostly trial and error. Along with more than a few explosions, not to mention more crash landings than I care to remember. Of course, that could be the concussion talking.
Though I'd have to say learning more about Blinky was the most interesting. Those gnat thinks were actually nanites and man can they do A LOT. As you might remember they took the form of a ring around me. Now if that doesn't scream suspicious then I don't know what would. The great thing about them is they can come together to become any nonliving thing as long as they understand what it is and how it works. Making them more efficient mimics than cubic zirconia.
I'd always wanted one of those fancy AI smartwatches. You know the one that acts as your planner, GPS, phone, and other things I'd have to read the manual to know, but who'd do something like that? Anyway, I had Blinky turn into a purple left-handed smartwatch. And before you ask yes there is a difference between a right and left-handed watch. It's the perfect disguise for them after all it's not odd for a smartwatch to talk. At least it won't make me seem more insane than I already am.
During my training, I found that Blinky has no concept of physical limitations. Things like fatigue or even injury are things that they don't understand. It probably due to them being machines that not only repair themselves instantly but also can keep working as long as they have power. So it took some time to convince them that I needed not only a break but to slow down altogether. Explaining that I have a life to live and limits, needing to relax once in a while. This leads me to finally being able to spend time at home.
Though to my surprise, my Aunt was home! With her working for the black company Rabbit Designs, a subsidiary of Goodwin International, I rarely see her at all. When she saw me her face had a concerned look, but I can't blame her. I look like I lost a fight with a dump truck. Having come back from training I was converted head to toe in dirt.
"What happened to you?!", my aunt asked as she comes over to me.
Oh, I was training to control my powers and got pretty dirty in the process. I'm fine by the way so don't worry. Yep definitely can't say that.
"You know how it rained last night, right? Well, a truck splashed got me with one of the leftover puddles. It took so long to walk home that I dried off. Sorry if I tracked anything in Aunt Celty." I said with a smile.
"No, it's fine as long as your alright. Now hurry and get cleaned up, we're heading out soon."
"Where we going?"
"School shopping. It is that time of year."
This might just be the first time in six months she's got a break. I don't know whether to be honored or disapproving. I know it should feel good knowing that she wants to spend time with me, but she should really get some rest. Though that goes for both of us.
"Are you sure? Don't you want to rest some?" (I know I do).
"No, no. I'm fine. Hurry up or we'll miss the bus to the main city."
Great, we're heading to Snobbyville. That's just the place I want to be after training all morning. But looking into my aunt's eyes and seeing her so excited. It was clear that I had no choice but to drag my tired butt to the place I REALLY don't want to be. Well, it's official I'm an adult.
My day was about to go from horrible to horrible times 2.