As far as origin stories go mine isn’t what you would call defining. I didn’t get bitten by a radio active spider and my parents weren’t shot in an alleyway after the Opera. No, my story is far more run of the mill. Born into a generation of Gifted it was simply a given that I was something special. I was always destined to be a costumed hero with a secret identity.
What’s a more interesting story about me is how I received my super hero name.
Before my parents ever trusted me to become a masked and named hero I had to be supervised whenever I wanted to test my powers in a real situation. I was thirteen and I had been training my whole life under the wings of my parents before I rebelled and went out without them.
It was the middle of winter in New York City and I caught wind of an illegal Russian smuggling operation at the docks. I didn’t think about what they were smuggling I just knew that it was the opportunity to show my parents that I was ready.
In the dead of the night I rugged up in my darkest winter gear and set out on a flight path towards the docks. The clothes did nothing to provide any warmth in the blustering weather so I was forced to mess around with my Heat; a power I wasn’t completely comfortable with yet and usually left me looking extremely sunburnt.
By the time I reached the docks I had a thick white coating of snow on my clothes and I was bright red. Luckily though I was able to drop into a crouch directly beside the Russian’s ship and remain unseen.
The Flayed Pony was an enormous oil tanker and belonged to a very reputable Russian magnate so the police had been avoiding investigating the rumoured smuggling which was not something I was going to do.
I turned up my Vision and scanned along the length of the ship and spotted two armed guards looking towards the dock. I waved nonchalantly at the guard standing almost directly above me but the moon was nowhere to be seen and all of the lights at that end of the dock had mysteriously been broken leaving visibility for a Normal almost non existent.
I doubted there would be any guards looking out towards the ocean so I flew around the stern of the ship and landed on the deck on the opposite side of the bridge. My assumptions were proved correct and I had free reign of the entire deck of the ship providing I didn’t alert the two guards. As quietly as I could I wiped the snow off of my clothes with the assistance of Heat on my palms and then moved down the length of the ship.
I passed three sets of stairs descending into the ship but I continued almost all of the way to the bow before taking one. You might say I was stupid to set out on my own to take on armed Russian smugglers but you can’t say that I wasn’t prepared. Before I had committed to going I had located the schematics of the ship and memorised them. So I knew exactly where I needed to go first and I had found a way to get there that would more than likely keep me unseen for the most amount of time.
I descended to the bottom of the ship and then climbed on top of three thick pipes mounted to the roof that ran the length of the hallway. After crawling for almost fifty metres, circumventing bulk heads that would have taken me through the modified space and likely the Russians, I dropped into the engine room. It took me a second to recall the steps I had to take to disable the power to the entire ship and then I set about flipping the correct switches and turning the right dials. The ship was already almost completely dark in the parts that I had seen but I knew I had been successful when the red emergency light came on above my head.
I quickly moved away from the control panels and aligned myself beside the doorframe and waited. Within seconds the unfortunate thug who had been ordered to investigate stepped through the door. Now I might have only been thirteen but I had been preparing my entire life to become a powerful hero so I already had considerable muscle mass which I used to crush the thug’s skull in with a right jab. It didn’t help him that I used my Muscle to add a little something extra. He bounced head first off of the side of the engine with a far louder thud than I had wanted so I was forced to step through the door immediately into the larger space, no point restricting myself to the tiny engine room. I could see the seven Russians mostly frozen in place as one rushed frantically towards a generator, but they couldn’t see me moving slowly into the room, my mouth hanging slightly ajar at what else I saw. When I had thought of Russian smugglers I had imagined guns or drugs. Not animals. There was a pungent smell in the air when I thought about it, I just hadn’t noticed over the powerful scent of diesel and the oil that used to fill the tanker. The Russians had totally redesigned the interior of the ship, that’s how I had gotten the schematics, and the entire compartment that used to be an oil tank was now packed with animal cages.
I froze and looked at all of the mainly African animals for longer than I should have which allowed the thug to turn on the generator. The Russians saw me straight away, of course they were all looking towards the engine room where they had expected me to be and stupidly where I was still standing. Six gun barrels readjusted towards me leaving only one Russian standing still, which told me exactly who was in charge.
I stepped forward with my right foot and forced both of my palms forward with outstretched arms. The six thugs cartwheeled through the air, disappearing over the top of the cages. I strolled nonchalantly forward until I was only metres from, to my shock, the owner of the tanker Boris Yelshenko.
“It’s all over Boris,” I said, practicing my assertive voice, “You can give up now or face the same fate as your thugs.”
“You are just a boy,” Boris said flabbergasted. “You Americans think you are so strong you can send a boy American to stop me.” He kept talking for a while after that but those two words, Boy American, just sounded so right and I knew I had found my monicker.
As he talked he brandished a pistol in his hand and it slowly made its way up until it was pointing at my chest.
I puffed up my chest and placed my clenched fists on my hips like all of the comic book heroes seemed to do. “You’ve made a big mistake thinking you can mess with this Boy American,” I tried to say threateningly but the massive grin that appeared on my face betrayed that.
Boris fired and without even waiting to see what his first bullet had done he emptied the entire clip and pulled the trigger a few more times just for good measure.
I’m not invulnerable so those bullets hurt like hell especially from so close. It’s just lucky I was wearing a Kevlar vest and that he aimed for my chest or things could have ended far worse than a few cracked ribs and a bruised chest.
I stepped forwards when his gun dropped to the floor and he started to withdraw with the worst look of fear that I’ve ever seen, even to this day. Before he could get away I stretched and hit him with a much softer punch than I had the thug earlier but still enough to put him to sleep for a day.
I returned to the deck very slowly and painfully, each step sending fire through my chest. I phoned the police once I reached the dock and told them I had heard gunshots. I waited until I saw the lights approaching in the distance to make sure none of the Russians escaped before I made my exit.
On the flight home I didn’t use my Heat so that the cold could numb my chest. There was no way I was going to be able to hide the injury from my parents so the next day I told them the full story. To say the least they were not impressed and there was no point getting excited about the name Boy American because there was no way I was going to be ungrounded before becoming an adult. Needless to say it was all totally worth it.