Impetus Chapter 2

Impetus

“Yeah, k’know, I just want to do everything I can to help our community!” the teenage girl said perkily, pouncing her foot up and down, her black and purple suit fitting snugly to her thin, lithe frame.

“I love you, Impetus!” someone shouted from the unwashed throng, fortunately held back by a barrier of police tape and news vans. Behind the mask, Adam held back a wince.

Fortunately he had thought of a more fitting name for his powers—and new persona—than he had when confronted by Materia. After all, he hardly wanted to be seen as merely her… fangirl, trapped forever in the shadow cast by her undeserved fame.

His powers were not the strongest—certainly, he was loath to admit, not on par with Materia’s—but he used them effectively, buoyed by his impressive intellect. Imparting velocity to small objects might not seem too useful—but only to a fool who did not understand the physics of vectors and momentum.

He had hated being talk down to by the person he hated most—but he had turned it against her.

After all, what revenge could be better than usurping her position—making her unneeded in a crime-free city?

And with his new persona—a laughably dim teenage girl, much like Materia herself—he could steal not only her glory, but the irrational adoration of her fans.

This was more attention than Adam had ever received in his life. And although he tried his best to repress it—a small part of him never wanted this to end.

***

Back home, Adam peeled the tight suit from his body and stepped into the shower, wincing as the hot water hit his bruises. To be frank, the fight could have gone better. How could he have known that the bank robber had the power to increase air resistance? It sounded bizarrely specific, but was surprisingly useful again both security guards and Impetus’s projectiles. It was truly fortunate that metal coins were so aerodynamic, or Impetus shuddered to think what could have happened. That gasoline tanker so easily could’ve—but there was no use in focusing on could-have-beens. It was just lucky she had been nearby and no one had died.

—not that he cared what happened to the people in this city, of course. Don’t be absurd. Just look at the crimes they committed, the politicians they elected. Perverts, imbeciles, and meatheads—every one of them.

No wonder they needed her. Needed a hero.

If they would just listen to her and follow her example, everything could be so much better. If only…

But of course that would never happen. That’s why the current system of heroic thugs and corrupt politicians needed to end. And he was going to make sure that it would.

Wouldn’t they be surprised when their beloved “Impetus” turned on them. Maybe it would finally push them to some kind of real action, not merely placing band-aids on society’s gaping wounds.

After all, that was her job.

***

Jenny—aka Materia—was so glad that she had made a new friend. A super friend. Heh.

Too often, this line of work was lonely. In either identity, it was hard to let people get close. Not to mention it could be male-dominated, and she didn’t super want to be friends with a thirty year old who communicated his emotions by punching.

It was really great to have a female friend around her own age. Not to mention Ener—sorry, Impetus’s amazing help in fighting Neon City’s constant stream of supercrime.

It wasn’t great of her, but she couldn’t help but wonder about Impetus’s alter ego. She could swear something about her vibe seemed familiar—could it be that she went to Xenon High too?—but she was probably just imaging things.

She should really just leave things alone.

After all, it’s not like she wanted anyone poking into her identity.

But it wouldn’t hurt to follow Impetus for just a little, right?

***

Jenny’s heart pounded as she hid behind the trash can she materialized. Honestly, she worried about what she would ever do if she somehow lost her power. Impetus glanced back but didn’t seem to notice.

So far it had been pretty boring. Impetus walked around North Xenon some, saying hi to various fans and business owners. One man gave her a free ice cream cone. Materia had to resist the urge to say something about the white drip that stood out way too clearly on her dark outfit. It was kind of adorable, though. She hadn’t taken free food from strangers for years, ever since Chef Deth had tried to poison her.

Today seemed like a pretty low crime day, and after walking around downtown for a while Impetus started to head out south to the ‘burbs, hopping on a skateboard and propelling it with her powers. Materia really admired her precision. Back when she had started out she could barely create a sphere. She had to materialize an electric scooter to even keep up.

Finally Impetus stopped in front of an unremarkable split-level house, throwing her skateboard upward while gripping its end to fly in a smooth arc through an open bedroom window.

Jenny squinted up through the window from a few houses down. From what she could see, the room really wasn’t what she would have expected. Impetus seemed like a generally pretty normal, cheerful girl, with maybe the exception of her vaguely goth-y black and purple uniform. This room, however, was kind of a mess. A poster of Dibolus hung above an unmade bed, while the top of a black minimalist dresser was covered in villain figurines. Overall, it looked less like the room of a spunky teenage heroine and more like that of a chronically depressed, edgy nerd.

Impetus was out of sight. As Jenny snuck closer to the house she could hear the faint sound of cheerful humming and water running. The humming abruptly stopped, and she tensed up, afraid she had been heard. But it continued again a moment later.

She decided, against her best instincts, to take a minor risk. Patting herself down to make sure she was in street clothes, she simply strolled up to the door and rang the bell. After a moment, an ordinary looking middle aged woman opened the door.

“Hi! Sorry to bother you on the weekend, but I was just wondering if—um—if there are any teenagers that live here? We have this… survey! About their attitudes towards supers and… oh, here they are!” She reached behind her back and materialized a clipboard and a stack of surveys.

“Uhh… I doubt he wants to take it, but I can ask my son? Pretty sure I know what he would say anyway.”

“Oh, actually, ma’am, this is for… an outreach program to encourage more girls to go into hero work? So if you could have your daughter take a look, that would be great.”

“Sorry, then, I just have the one son. Wish I could help you out. Good luck asking other people!”

“Yeah, thank—”

The door slammed shut.

***

Jenny walked far enough away to not seem suspicious, but stayed close enough that she could still see in through the open window. She was a little confused. Did Impetus not live here? That would explain the room. Maybe she was a niece?

Or could this go further? Could Impetus be hiding all signs of her other identity from the world? The family pretending that her son was a single child?

Just then, she saw someone wrapped in a towel enter the room. They had familiar spiky short hair, still wet from the shower. But the towel was only wrapped around their waist, clearly exposing a pair of small nipples.

Wow, she should learn to close her window.

Jenny watched as a now costumeless Impetus stepped into a pair of briefs, followed by jeans and a black hoodie. They turned to close the window, letting Jenny sneak a quick peek at their face.

Wait a moment! That’s Adam, the weirdo from school! Or, wait...

She squealed to herself as the window slammed shut.

Ohmygod! I can’t believe that on top of all her herowork, Impetus is also trans!

***



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