Thursday, August 14, 2014

Apprentices of note: Pyrepower

Since Pyrepower did a big favor for me the other day (not that kind, fan fiction writers, sorry), I thought I'd do something in return: give her a little more exposure (again, not that kind). So here's my favorite apprentice's secret origin.

Pyrepower got her start a few years back. She lived in Texas. She was on track to be valedictorian at her high school. She had great grades, plans for college, you name it. But she was Stage 2 by then, so of course she was doing better than her peers.

She was going to be the designated driver for her group, who were all going to a big post-football party - pigskin being a very big deal in her town. They went to the party, they had fun. She wasn't really the "party girl" type. The football team was all there, natch, and they were all drinking, natch. They pretty much had their pick of girls, and most of them went upstairs with the girl (or girls) they wanted at the party.

One of Pyre's friends wasn't interested in the attention from one of the jocks, so she asked for a ride home. Pyre said okay, she'd go get the car. They drove away. The jock piled into his car with a few other friends and took off after them - motives uncertain, but probably guessable. On the road, they crashed, and Pyre's car went off the road. She was trapped in the wreck and burned alive, transitioning to Stage 3 in the process. Her friend apparently got out but passed out, and was hospitalized. The jocks were shaken up, but not seriously injured.

Pyre's body was still transforming and healing itself. She woke up in the hospital a few days later. Her friend was on medication and being treated for burns and smoke inhalation. In the meantime, the jock had given a statement to the police that Pyre had been drunk and hit their car instead. The cops bought it - pigskin being a very big deal in their town - and let the guy go without any warning or fine, even though it was clear they'd been drinking.

So our girl is accused of drunk driving, her insurance company refuses to cover anything, her parents are totally upset with her, and her chances at giving the valedictory go up in smoke. She spent 17 agonizing hours recovering from being charred literally to the bone, and she was not happy.

So she goes after the jock and his friends in a big way. This is where I come in. I'd like to say I was coincidentally in the area, but I get a news feed of likely or confirmed Stage 3 transitions and I headed down to see what was going on. I stop her before she burns them alive in their own car, because I'm a nice guy like that.

"He's going to play football!" she screamed at me. "My life was ruined, and he's going back to play football!" Well, this seemed unfair to me, so I had her tell me her story. I checked it out a little bit - trust, but verify, you know? - and told her, fine, we'll come up with something.

So we go back to the jock - well, she goes, and I hitch a ride in shrunken form to observe - and she lays out the deal we worked out. Life for life. She didn't die, neither does he. But it's not fair that he gets off because he's a football dude and she's an academic, so she's gonna give him a choice. Fess up about what really happened that night, or she's going to break his legs so he can't play, and whenever he's healed up, she'll come back and break them again. I credit the movie "Casino" with the idea.

Our boy agreed to the deal and said he'd confess. A few days of nothing and one broken leg later, he realized that keeping his word was a good idea and came clean. Of course there was no going back for Pyrepower at that time, but she wanted nothing more to do with these people anyway. She had a lot of unexpressed anger that was going to take time to bubble up and deal with. I told her that since was 18, she was an adult, and she could do what she liked. If she didn't have job prospects (her impending DUI conviction, and the assault charges, saw to that), I'd offer her on-the-job training. I explained my version of villainy. Professional lawbreaker was a hard sell at first, but she discovered she had a taste for it.

I got her into some therapy for the trauma and the anger management. We picked a code name. I wanted something else, but she said Pyrefly was too goofy. She doesn't believe me when I say the shortened name sounds like "peepee" and is embarrassing. I'm happy to say that she's doing good, she's furthering her studies, and she's not just perpetrating violence and theft all her life. She's a good kid, and I'm proud to have her as an apprentice.

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My short name is Pyre, not PP.

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You're welcome to think whatever makes you happy, kid.