They were to use Boom Tubes. He knew this much. He did not much care what a Boom Tube was. He did not wish to. But the blonde girl had been nice. She hugged him and while he had been scared and uncomfortable he knew she had done it as an act of kindness. Which made him want to help her. She had lost someone too, he realised. They all had. And he realised that with Jackson Hyde and his friends gone perhaps lots more people had too.
He wore the clothing Jackson Hyde had given him. He was told it would help him swim better in water. He wouldn’t be able to swim fast like Jackson Hyde could but that was ok. And it had a special lining over his gills that meant he filtered air twice. Which was good.
But he wasn’t like them. He wasn’t a superhero. They said they weren’t either and that might be true. But they wanted to be. They were trying, even though some said they weren’t, to be like those heroes. And as Ishmael walked slowly toward the Boom Tubes with the blonde girl and the boy with blue in his hair he wondered if he was very different.
Hadn’t he been learning to be like other people. And hadn’t the person who’d been teaching him been a hero. Was a hero he…wherever he was. He had noticed in a short time not everyone on the planet was quite like Jackson Hyde and his friends. Or the other young people he now stood with.
Jackson Hyde told him looking out for other people was good. That violence and anger were bad. Most of the time. That he should help just because he could. And he’d realised this was not how the world thought. Not all of it. What he was been told was to be like Jackson Hyde and his friends who were, just by being themselves, heroes. Maybe Ishmael, whoever he was, whatever kind of man he would find himself turning into, might not be too different.
But these ideas were very big and sometimes big ideas are too much like change and change is the most terrifying thing on the planet. And Ishmael wished he was in the see now rather than the sky. And he looked at the blonde girl as they walked and when she smiled at him he wasn’t scared anymore. And he thought what it must be like to feel that all the time. To have, what Jackson Hyde had called, a family.
Then he approached the Boom Tubes. And he knew this was were time for big thinking would come to an end. He knew there would only be time for doing.