Heroes Reborn - Book 1
Heroes Reborn - Book 1
Are we defined by that which makes us great - our ability to think, to hope, to love? Or are we doomed to answer to our weaknesses - our tendency to fear, to torment, to hate? In the end, perhaps it is both. For what is mankind if not a host of contradictions?
- extract from ESCALATING EVOLUTION by Mohinder Suresh
ODESSA, TEXAS - TWELVE MONTHS AGO
It was a beautiful summer day as the monarch butterfly fluttered across the park, its orange and black wings a majestic sight in the sunshine. It flew just above the lush grass, flitting here and there before coming to rest on a park bench. The butterfly paused to bend and flex its wings, soaking up the mid-morning warmth.
Someone else was on the bench, close to where the butterfly had landed. Noah Bennet looked every inch the company man in his grey suit and tie, wearing an old-fashioned pair of horn-rimmed glasses. He had an apple in one hand, uncertain whether to start eating. People had been gathering for hours. The summit was due to start at eleven. Once it was underway, he'd get few chances to eat for a while.
Bennet sunk his teeth into the apple while checking his watch. 10:33 - not long now. A shadow fell across him, prompting Bennet to look up. A tall, dark-skinned man loomed over him. Known simply as "the Haitian" within Primatech, many feared his rare ability. Bennet considered Rene an ally, a trusted friend within the company. But that didn't stop him from demanding answers as soon as Rene joined him on the bench.
"Is she here?"
Rene feigned hurt at his brusqueness. "What, no 'hello', no 'how have you been'? We've been friends for too long, Noah."
Bennet had little time for niceties. "Sorry, I'm just -"
"She's on her way. But she wanted me to talk to you first. To prepare you."
"This rift between you and Claire - it's not healthy," Rene replied. Father and daughter had not spoken in years, their relationship like a wound that never seemed to heal. Bennet knew the Haitian was holding something back about Claire, but didn't push it - yet. Instead he gestured toward the nearby Primatech facility.
"Why do you think I helped put this summit together? People have come here from all over the world -"
"Sure," Rene cut in, "to decide how people like me are supposed to live our lives. Where we can work, who we can marry."
"We all just want what's best," Bennet insisted, aware how weak that sounded.
Rene shook his head. "History is full of people who thought they knew what was best for others ..." He rose from the bench, adjusting his jacket.
Bennet knew his friend was right, but he still had high hopes. The summit was a fresh start for all of humanity - evolved or not. But it also had a bleaker potential, should those involved fail to grasp this opportunity to embrace the future. They had to make the summit work, for the sake of all those like Claire. Thinking about her brought Bennet back to Rene's unexplained remark. "What is it that she wanted you to prepare me for?"
The Haitian opened his mouth to reply, but again avoided giving a direct answer. "Like I said, she'll be here." He strolled off, heading away from Primatech, where a temporary stadium capable of holding thousands had been erected.
"Aren't you going in?" Bennet called after him.
"Never been much of a joiner."
Bennet smiled at that before taking a fresh bite of apple. He got up and strode toward Primatech headquarters, leaving his half-eaten snack on the bench.
The summit had attracted dignitaries and news media from around the world. Three days of discussions about evolved humans had also proven to be a magnet for spectators and protestors alike, forcing Primatech to double and then redouble its security detail. The whole event had blossomed in scale beyond all expect