Chapter 7:

Friends and Filler

That time three friends with special abilities were thrown to a new world where superpowers don't exist

Nikola jumped out of bed with an unmatched fervor. Usually, he wasn’t a morning person, but this wasn’t an average morning. It was the first Saturday they had since classes began, and they had something special planned.

“John, come on, wake up!” Nikola shouted, pounding on John’s door. He repeated the stunt with Seth.

“How are you of all people so excited so early in the morning?” John asked, rubbing his bleary eyes as he stumbled out of his room.

“It’s training day!” Nikola said with a wide smile. Ever since Elain learned about their powers she had come over every day, discussing the possibilities of their abilities, and how they could grow. Like Seth, she came to the conclusion that there was definitely more to their powers than they previously thought, and she had a laundry list of ideas to try.

“Dude, Elain said to be there at eleven,” Seth said, appearing from his room. “It’s not even eight yet.”

“Well, it’s not just that we need to prepare for,” Nikola said. “Tonight’s the big night, remember?” John and Seth looked at him with confusion, before an expression of pure horror crossed their faces.

“We set that for tonight?” Seth asked, disbelief written in his eyes.

“Was that before or after we agreed to do training?” John asked.

“After…” Nikola said, confused by his friend’s expressions. “Did you guys not realize?” John and Seth shook their heads in almost perfect sync with each other.

“We are idiots,” Seth said. He rushed into the living-room-kitchen-combo and stared around. A mountain of dishes was stacked in the sink and various clothes and books were strewn around everywhere. “We gotta get this place clean!”

“What are you talking about?” Nikola said with a smug grin. “I keep my part clean.”

“Like hell you do,” Seth said, shoving past Nikola and throwing open the door to his room. His eyes widened, and a look of pure awe crossed his face as if he was gazing upon the Ark of the Covenant. Nikola’s room was immaculate. Everything was tidy and in its place. Not a single speck of dust could be seen on any of the surfaces. It looked more like a showroom than a place a person lived.

“Are you really that surprised?” Nikola asked. “You know how my Mom is about keeping clean.” Seth’s mind flashed back to Nikola’s home. It was always so clean you could do brain surgery in there with no health risks.

“You set us up,” Seth said, his voice barely above a whisper.

“You have no proof,” Nikola said, leaning against the wall in the hallway.

“I can read minds, Nick,” Seth said. “I can hear that you tricked us, and I can hear how smug you are about it.” He sighed. He was well and truly defeated. “John!” he yelled. “I’ll get the dishes, you handle all the crap that’s lying around.”

“Got it!” John replied. He immediately got to work, opening portals to his left and right, seemingly throwing items into them at random. In truth, he had opened portals to his and Seth’s room, and he was dumping things on the floors. If it came down to it, they could just lock their rooms, so it was fine to make a mess in there.

Seth had rushed over to the sink and was telepathically washing three things at a time, while his hands washed a fourth. It was a very efficient way to go about things, playing to both of their abilities’ strengths. Nikola watched them go for a minute, then walked over and picked up the living room rug.

“What are you doing, Mr. Clean?” John asked. “I thought this was our mess.”

“Yeah, but I don’t want all of our friends to think we live like animals,” Nikola said, carrying the rug out to their small balcony. This was the event that they had feared. Each of them had made a friend or two separately, but there hadn’t been a chance to introduce everyone to each other, so they invited everyone to their apartment to, in John’s words, ‘unify the squad’.

Outside Nikola sent a few rapid blasts of kinetic energy through the carpet, thoroughly dislodging any dust and debris stuck inside. He had been helping his mother clean the house since he could remember, and had developed many shortcuts with his ability. He went back inside and picked up the couch cushions, giving them the same treatment as the rug. He had no qualms about using his kinetic energy like this since it was one of the easiest to recharge. He could just throw himself off the roof a couple of times and absorb the impact.

“Hey Seth, throw me the broom!” Nikola called. Seth cast a glance to the broom closet. It opened and the broom flew out, barreling to Nikola at dangerous speeds. Nikola caught it, stopping it dead in the air, and got to work sweeping the floor where John had finished.

“Seriously, Nick, what were you thinking?” John asked. “How are we even going to entertain them?”

“We’re literally superhuman, I think we can find a way,” Nikola replied. “And you two signed off on this idea too, don’t go pretending I acted alone here.”

“We can’t let more people know about us,” Seth said. He was applying some elbow grease to a pot. Nikola noticed one of the plates in the air seemed to wobble a bit. He knew this was a sign that Seth was losing his focus and quickly ran over, catching the plate just in time. “One is already too many.”

“Instead of worrying about that, worry about not destroying our dishes, will you?” Nikola asked. The plate lifted back out of his hands.

“Yeah, sorry,” Seth said. “John has a point though, what are we going to do?”

“I got you covered,” Nikola said. “I rented a few movies, I bought a deck of cards, Logan is bringing a few board games, and if all else fails we’ll do magic tricks.”

“Aren’t magic tricks a little childish?” Seth asked.

“Not if you can move things with your mind,” Nikola said, pointing at the plates floating above Seth. He went back to sweeping. “Oh, and I got Logan to ask that guy who threw the party on the first night if we can borrow Generic Fighter 12.”

“You did?!” Seth asked, spinning around. Nikola barely managed to dive for the plates in time.

“Dude! Focus!” he yelled, looking up at Seth from the floor. “We don’t have an infinite amount of plates!”

“Sorry, but you should have led with that,” Seth said, lifting the plates off of Nikola.

“Yeah, I guess,” Nikola said. “But I doubt our guests are gamers, so it might not be the best attraction.”

“What makes you say that,” John asked, joining them in the kitchen. He’d managed to make good time in tidying up the living room.

“Well, three of them are girls,” Nikola said. “Logan might be able to throw down, but I doubt they have interest in something like Generic Fighter 12.”

“I’m telling all three of them you said that,” Seth said. Nikola glared at him.

“You wouldn’t dare,” he said.

“Oh, wouldn’t I?” Seth asked, staring back with fierce determination. The staring contest continued for almost two full minutes, before Nikola’s eye’s finally twitched closed. “Ha! I win!” Seth yelled.

“I don’t think there are any winners here,” John said. He was looking down, his face twisted in grief. Seth followed his eyes down. On the floor were the shattered remains of three plates.


“Why did she ask us to come all the way out here?” John asked, stepping out of a portal. They had been daisy-chaining portals for almost five minutes. As instructed they followed an above-ground power line to a substation located a few kilometers out of town.

“Even weirder, why didn’t she come here with us,” Nikola said, coming through the portal too. “I mean, gas is expensive, you’re free.”

“I feel like I should take offense at that,” John said, frowning.

“He isn’t wrong, though,” Seth said, finally joining them on that side of the portal.

“I think I have a hunch as to why we are here specifically,” Nikola said. John and Seth turned to him, motioning for him to continue. “It’s for me. Remember she wants us to train. That means thinking of new possibilities for our powers, and then learning to use them reliably. I already have a new thing, my Electric Sprint, I just have to learn how to use it. She probably wants me to sap some electricity from the substation to fuel my attempts.”

“And what about us?” John asked.

“Well, you two don’t necessarily need a specific location to try out new things, right?” Nikola asked.

“That’s exactly right!” a voice behind him said. Nikola let out a sound somewhere between a screech and a bark and spun around.

“Don’t sneak up on us like that!” Nikola said, trying to catch his breath.

“Those two knew I was here,” Elain said, feigning innocence. Seth turned around again, a pang of betrayal shooting through him as Seth and John nodded confirmation.

“Consider it payback for this morning,” Seth said. “So, Elain, what exactly do you have in mind here?” He was still wary of Elain. On the surface, she seemed normal, if a little eccentric, but Seth could see below the surface and her mind still set him on edge. It never lost that red-hot glow that only seemed to get brighter when she was around them.

“I’ve given it a lot of thought,” Elain said, rubbing her chin as if she was still thinking. “Nick, you got yours mostly right. When you drain energy from the station try to take as much as you used last time you did the Electric Sprint, and don’t overdo it. We are technically stealing here.” Nikola nodded and jogged off to do as he was told.

“John, you told me you could only go to places you knew or could see?” Elain asked. John nodded.

“I need to have a sense of the space I’m going to,” he explained.

“What I want to try with you is to broaden where you can go,” Elain explained. “I’m going to show you a few pictures of my bedroom and I want you to try to make a portal there.”

“Ok, but why your bedroom?” John asked.

“Because you’ve never been there,” she said. “And I locked the door, so no one will see your portal if you manage to make it.” John nodded in understanding, then took a few steps away to let her give Seth his training too.

“Seth, it was hard to think of something for you,” Elain said. Seth expected this. Telekinesis was a very useful ability, but it didn’t have a lot of layers. Telepathy was a whole other story, but Elain didn’t know about that aspect of his ability. “But I have an idea. First, can I talk to you about something?”

“Sure,” Seth said. He wasn’t sure where this was going. Elain was frustrating to talk to since her mind was so hard to read.

“I don’t think you three were sent here by accident,” Elain said.

“We know, the woman who sent us here told us,” Seth said.

“That’s not what I mean,” Elain said. “I mean you three specifically. She could have chosen anyone, but she grabbed you.”

“I’m still not following,” Seth said.

“Look at your power sets,” Elain said. “I think the three of you if your powers grew and you worked together, could get home.” Seth’s eyes grew wide.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“It’s just a theory, but I read a lot of science stuff since I saw you three,” Elain said. “Now I’m not an expert and I might just be spewing pseudoscience here, but with superpowers in the mix I think it might be possible to make a portal back to your world. I think the biggest issues are energy and instability, but if Nikola poured in enough energy to open the thing, and you helped stabilize it with telepathic force…” she trailed off.

“We just might be able to pull it off,” Seth said. He didn’t think it was true, but it might be worth a try.

“To do that you all need to get a lot stronger, though,” Elain said. “To that end.” She handed Seth a thin piece of cloth.

“What am I supposed to do with this?” he asked.

“It’s a blindfold,” Elain clarified. “You’re going to learn how to see without your eyes.”

“Are you on something?” Seth asked. He sounded genuinely concerned.

“No, I’m not,” Elain said, not fazed by his allegation. “Think of it as echolocation, but with telekinesis. I’ll throw small stones at you, and you’ll try to catch them before they hit you.” Seth looked down at the blindfold. He hated to admit it, but it made some kind of sense. He didn’t know if it was possible, but it was worth trying.

“I don’t like the idea of being pelted with rocks,” He said.

“Then put up a bubble of force around you while you do it,” Elain said before he could continue. “That way the rocks don’t hit you and you train your endurance too!” Seth couldn’t think of any way to argue with that.

“Fine, let’s do it,” he said.

“Great!” Elain said. She seemed to actually be excited. “I’m going to set John up with the pictures. Go find a nice place you want to sit while I pelt you with rocks.” Seth nodded and strode off.

Elain walked over to John and handed him a few printed-out photos. He sat down cross-legged in the grass and arranged the pictures in front of him. Next, she went to check on Nikola. He was standing in a runner’s stance. By the look on his face, she could tell he was either trying extremely hard to do something, or he was constipated.

“Are you ok?” she asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Nikola said, relaxing his stance. “I’m trying to recreate how I felt when it first happened. Maybe that triggers something. If that doesn’t work I’m just going to start running like a madman.”

“Try not to hurt yourself, ok?” Elain said. She turned and walked to where Seth was sitting a few meters away.

“Will do!” Nikola called after her. He retook his stance and closed his eyes, focusing on the memory of his first Electric Sprint. He let a small spark of lightning dance between his fingers. He would figure this out, even if it took him weeks to do.

Seth felt the determination in Nikola’s mind. It was admirable, and it made him want to work hard too. He tied the blindfold over his eyes and tried to visualize a large field of telekinetic energy surrounding him. A bubble where he was King, his word was law, and not so much as a grain of sand escaped his sight. The first stone hit him in the back of the head.

“Sorry!” Elain called. “I thought you had a force field up!”


“Damn, that was brutal,” Nikola said. He was slouched into one of the seats in the living room of their apartment. Seth and John were similarly splayed across various pieces of furniture. “Did either of you manage anything?”

“I managed a splitting headache,” Seth said, his arm covering his eyes.

“And I spent a day envisioning a way to get past a locked door into a girl’s room,” John said. “I know she told me to, but I still feel like I should apologize. What about you?”

“Not even a spark,” Nikola said. “Why is this so hard?”

“I don’t know,” Seth said. “The movies usually just show a training montage around this point.”

“Real life sucks,” John said. He checked his watch. “When are our guests supposed to get here?”

“Any minute now,” Nikola said, not even bothering to look up. Seth let out a pained noise.

“I forgot about that,” he said. “Nick, you really are a dumbass for putting training and this crap back to back.”

“You’re just salty that you didn’t have anyone to invite,” Nikola said.

“I’m sorry, the only person I managed to get to know is a potential psychopath who figured out our secret!” Seth shot back.

“What do you have against her?” John said. “She seems perfectly normal to me.”

“Yeah, John, she seems normal,” Seth said. “But her mind is weird. I’ve never seen anything like it. Honestly, I’m scared the three of us will wake up in a cold and damp basement chained to a wall one day.”

“I think that’s just you, man,” Nikola said.

“Oh, come on,” Seth said. “Even without telepathy, you have to have noticed how she acts around us. She’s obsessed!”

“I’m not fighting you on that,” Nikola said, sitting up. “I just don’t think she’s obsessed with us. I think she’s just obsessed with you.”

“Why would she be obsessed with me?” Seth asked, also righting himself. Nikola shrugged.

“Dunno,” he said. “Some girls dig the bald look.”

“Remind me again why you’re bald,” John said, choosing to remain in his horizontal position.

“When I use my telekinesis my hair floats,” Seth said. “I don’t like having a tell, so I got rid of it.”

“You’re lucky you can pull off the bald look,” Nikola said. He ran his hand through his long hair. “I don’t think I can part with my luscious locks.” He jumped up to his feet. “Now come on, we should set out the drinks and snacks before everyone arrives.


The roster for the evening ended up being the three residents John, Seth, and Nikola, Logan, who Nikola met in class, Olivia, who John ran into, Emma, who Nikola ‘saved’, and Elain, who wormed herself into their lives by posing a direct threat to it. They all arrived in quick succession, saving the residents from having to give the tour of the apartment multiple times.

“So, what’s on the docket?” Emma asked, pouring herself a drink.

“Well, we have a few movies, cards, board games, Generic Fighter 12, and I can do magic tricks,” Nikola said. Seth nearly choked on the chips he was eating, a reaction prompted by the spike in excitement from the girls’ minds when Nikola mentioned Generic Fighter 12.

“You have GF12?!” Olivia asked her voice equal parts excitement and amazement.

“Well, yes,” Nikola said, caught off guard. “You know the game?”

“Of course we do,” Emma said. “I’ve been playing the franchise since Generic Fighter 4!”

“I’ve been playing since the sixth one,” Elain said.

“Well, look at that!” Seth said. He threw one of his arms around Nikola’s shoulders and waved his arm dramatically to gesture at their guests. “All of the girls know the game! Remind me again, what was it you said this morning? Something about them being girls, so they can’t play games?”

“Cheap shot,” Nikola accused, shoving Seth off him. “And don’t you dare put words in my mouth. All I said was I didn’t expect them to be interested in the game.”

“How about we hold a mini-tournament?” Logan suggested. “We’ll hold playoffs between the guys and girls, and then have the best guy go up against the best girl.”

“Sounds like fun,” John said. He was nonchalant, but Seth and Nikola knew to be afraid. John was scarily good at the game.

“You better beat them, Nick,” Emma said. “I want to crush you in the finals.”

The tournament began in earnest. Insults and trash-talk flew across the room as if they were heavy artillery. Seth, Logan, and Elain fell out in the first round. They gracefully accepted defeat and took their spots as spectators instead. Logan took on the role of commentator, delivering a play-by-play of the ongoing games. In the semi-finals, John and Nikola were pitted against one another. It was the longest game of the tournament thus far, but in the end, John squeaked out a victory. On the girl’s side, Olivia obliterated Emma in less than a minute.

The final match had arrived. John and Olivia were up against each other. Both were phenomenal players, and their game lasted a long time. So long, in fact, that everyone else lost interest and gathered around the snacks table to talk.

“I’m really glad you set this up, Nick,” Logan said. “It’s a lot of fun to just hang out, and you all seem like good people.”

“Thanks,” Nikola replied. “I’m just glad everyone’s getting along and having a good time, you know?”

“It’s a good thing too,” Seth said. “I’ve been around these clowns for years. We need some fresh blood in the group.”

“You make it sound like you’re a vampire,” Emma said.

“You don’t know my past,” Seth said. He almost immediately regretted his words.

“Yeah, come to think of it, you guys haven’t told us much,” Logan said. “All we know is you three have been friends for years.” Nikola and Seth resisted exchanging a telling glance. They had to scramble to come up with a plausible answer.

“We’re from a town a couple of miles south of here,” Nikola lied. “It’s a bit of a craphole, so we came here for college.”

“Yeah, we’re lucky all three of us got in here,” Seth added. He was rapidly reading everyone’s thoughts, seeing if they bought the lie. Luckily they had no reason to doubt the trio. He was also worried about Elain, but she seemed perfectly content to let them lie their way out of this.

“We didn’t really have exciting childhoods, I guess,” Nikola said. “So there’s not too much to tell.”

“Yes!” John shouted from the living room. “Eat it!”

“I think John won,” Logan said. This got a laugh from the table. “Now come on, I want to play the rest of you too.”


“Things went off without a hitch,” Nikola said, rinsing out the last of the glasses. Their little soiree had gone on for a few hours, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Now all that was left was the cleaning.

“Yeah, I’d say it went pretty well,” John said, wiping down the counter.

“You and Olivia were getting pretty cozy back there,” Nikola said. “Do you want to ask her out?”

“No,” John said. “What’s the point? Not like we’re gonna be here for a long time.”

“We might be here forever,” Nikola said.

“Don’t be so pessimistic,” John said. “Besides, you can’t talk. You and Emma weren’t exactly distant.”

“So? We’re both adults,” Nikola said. “And don’t make assumptions. I don’t want to ask her out either.”

“How do both of you lie so easily?” Seth asked. “There’s no shame in it. We’re nerds, and for quite possibly the first time you have girls that don’t actively dislike being around you.”

“Elain doesn’t seem to mind being around you either,” John said. Seth frowned.

“Well,” he began, but stopped. He had no intention of getting involved with Elain, but he knew the more he tried to convince those two about it the less they’d believe him.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” John said, claiming his victory.

“You guys should be more careful around Elain,” Seth said.

“Getting protective already?” Nikola teased.

“No. Nick, I’m serious,” Seth said. “I know you guys can’t understand this, but please just trust me. Something’s off about her.”

“Maybe she’s just crazy,” Nikola said. “You know, the obsessed stalker type? What’s that called again?”

“It’s a yan-” John began, but his jaw was forced closed by an invisible force before he could finish.

“Don’t you even say it,” Seth said. “I don’t want that jinx on me.” John lifted up his hands in surrender, and Seth let go of his jaw.

“I think you’re just paranoid because she found out our powers,” Nikola said. “Any normal human would have their minds go a bit crazy if they saw what she did.”

“Maybe,” Seth said. “All the more reason to keep them under wraps.”

“Whatever you say, boss,” John said. He stretched out his back. “I’m gonna hit the hay. Goodnight, guys.”

“See you tomorrow.”


Falcon paced up and down the apartment. Nothing. There was nothing! After that video surfaced the whole internet was in shock and scrambling to find more information. It was like an army of people looking into this so Falcon wouldn’t have to, and yet they turned up with nothing. It was infuriating. No trace of where the person in the video had gone. Not even a clue about who he was. The camera didn’t capture his face well at all. The best Falcon had were blurry screenshots that were enhanced as best they could. It wasn’t enough, but patience was a virtue. If enough time went by surely another incident would occur, and when that happened Falcon would be there. These Super Humans could count on it.

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