Seth Solar watched with arms crossed at a wide telescreen broadcast showing a B class disaster variant wreaking Havoc on Haven's streets. He watched with his gang of A-class fellow students in their barracks rec room where previously, they had been reviewing combat footage from their training sessions.
"Don't some of us have to go out there and help? We're technically hero trainees, right?" said Simon Wells, rank 10 A-class student. He was leanly built with a gleaming red visor around his eyes to help channel his ability to generate kinetic beams.
"No. We're bottom of the rankings, remember? Heh." said Zayn, rank 8 A-class student and closest to Seth Solar now that Ghost was found dead. Zayn shrugged, the black feather wings on his arms ruffling. "They'll never call on a bottom feeder school like us.
Plus, Haven Supers Academy is right there."
There was distinct sarcasm in Zayn's voice, and for good reason. Haven Supers Academy was a mediocre super academy, almost at the bottom where Blackwater sat. There was no way any of their trainees could handle a disaster of this caliber.
Most likely, they were cowering in their academy walls or, at best, assisting in evacuation.
Blackwater, on the other hand, sat at the bottom so as not to attract any attention, not because they were weak.
In terms of pure combat, its students were all quite capable, and the A-rank likely matched the trainees from the top 50 academies. Of course, in other aspects like civilian evacuation, the students were woefully undertrained by design, because what did future villains and mercenaries need to know about saving civilians?
But if the entire A-class were unleashed on this variant, then they could destroy it in half an hour, tops. Seth Solar alone could probably kill it, but then again, his power was exponentially higher than anyone else's in his class.
The current rank 1 Mel Morales only beat him due to the nature of her force reflecting barriers that used his own power against him.
In raw destructive capability, she fell far, far below him.
"Yeah, Haven Supers, hah! What a stupid joke," said Evan Harker, rank 15 A-class student and the last of Seth Solar's gang. Evan laughed as he fiddled with parts for his wolf shaped battle drones. "I bet one of my dogs could fuck their top students up."
"Woah, look at Gladiator and Rocket Man go," said Zayn as his avian pupils narrowed down to slits.
On the telescreen, Gladiator landed on the giant manta's back and stabbed his blade in before flying back, carving out a long scar.
Unfortunately, said scar healed near instantly, and a bolt of targeted lightning struck Gladiator from the manta's spines, sending him hurtling down to the ground below.
In retaliation, Rocket Man jetted above the manta before firing down a volley of heat seeking missiles. A cloud of smoke erupted from the ensuing explosion, and out of it, another bolt struck Rocket Man head on. This shorted out Rocket Man's mechsuit, causing him to fall down like a rock.
"Dumbass didn't even have EMP protection," said Evan. "Look, now he's going to fall to his death. I don't get these heroes, honestly. Why go into a fight you know you're at a disadvantage with? Pointless, if you ask me."
Before Rocket Man hit the ground at terminal velocity, Gladiator emerged from a pile of rubble and saved his fellow B-rank hero.
"Aww, would've been cool to see Rocket Man get crushed in his tin can suit," said Evan.
"Kinda sweet, though, the way he saved him," said Simon. He sneered. "I bet you they're fucking each other on the down low."
"Shut up." Seth Solar crossed his arms as he watched the screen intently. He grit his teeth, knowing that if the damage from his manta got any worse, it might hit the Red Circle where his precious Boost was.
But Seth could not intervene. He could never, ever show himself in public as that would reveal that Blackwater, a supposedly bottom tier school, had a top class Alter in their ranks.
Not only this, but if word ever got out about his Solar blood, then it would cause a sh*tstorm of bad PR for both the main Solar bloodline and Seth.
The Solar family was a billion credit dynasty propped up largely by the biggest villain organizations.
Many of the disasters that Solomon Solar, the shining patriarch, triumphed over were set up by these villain syndicates.
Caged variants that just happened to escape in populated city centers where Solomon patrolled.
High profile villains that Solomon Solar kept beating over and over again after they always mysteriously escaped from jail, often with tips from Solomon Solar himself.
Everything was a setup to maximize Solomon Solar's power and position.
In return, Solomon Solar was the highest ranked plant in the AA and gave the Dark Six, the most powerful criminal organizations in the world today, inside information about the AA and Panopticon.
Even Seth Solar, in the end, was just a PR tool.
Once he graduated from Blackwater and worked a few years as a high-profile villain, he was supposed to come out the shadows as Solomon Solar's kidnapped, estranged son who had fallen to villain corruption.
Then, after a lengthy fight, Solomon Solar would show the world his resolve and lock up his own son, at which point, Seth Solar would enter into Solomon Solar's revolving rogue gallery.
Seth Solar's entire life was essentially a marketing scheme for Solomon Solar.
But fuck that.
Seth would obey his evil wretch of a mother, the current headmaster of Blackwater and the one who controlled his entire life, for just a few more years. He would do the villain work and build up his reputation, but when it came time for him to fight Solomon Solar, that heartless, cruel fuck that had forced Seth into this sham of a life, Seth would not hold back.
He would kill his 'father'.
Then, he would show this disgusting world what a true villain was. He would make them feel true fear and suffering.
For that, he needed Boost.
As a Starter Child, Seth reached close to his full potential power from a young age, but in exchange, his power ceiling was not as high as it could be. Unlike, say, current rank 1 Class A student Mel, Seth could not dramatically improve with training either.
In a fight with Solomon Solar who had honed his powers for over fifty years, Seth would always lose regardless of whether it was staged or not.
Seth needed Boost to make up the difference. Then, he needed to find a way to counter his Kryptic weakness so that the higher criminal organizations did not have a way to instantly kill him when he got out of control.
"Something wrong, Seth?" said Evan. "Still in a bad mood about Ghost kicking the bucket?"
"Fuck that junkie," said Zayn. "He wasn't fit to be with us. All those times he jittered - all because he couldn't control himself. Pathetic."
Simon took a sip from a can of Coola. "Agreed."
"No. I could care less about Ghost," said Seth. What he really cared about was the Boost.
All of a sudden, Seth received a phone call, his Eye-Phone buzzing in the pocket of his uniform. He took the call.
"Seth, my golden boy, how do you do?" said Casimir.
"Casimir? You better not tell me my order's canceled this Saturday," said Seth. "You don't know how fucking long I've been waiting for it. And how much I've paid you."
"Aha, as lady luck would have decreed, I was calling you about that. You see, Seth, I believe you need to step in here. Why not flex those muscles of yours and drive this creature back?" said Casimir.
"What? Are you joking, Casimir?"
"I do make quips here and there, but no, my boy, this is no jest."
"AA reinforcements and Panopticon drones are coming in a half hour, maybe an hour," said Seth. "You can't hold out that long? What are all those villains there for? Show? They can't handle a couple of slime minions on the streets?"
It was not that Seth did not want to rip this variant apart to make sure the Red Circle was safe. He could not.
Revealing his face and powers to the public at this stage was far too early. And he was supposed to be a villain. Saving the city would make him too sympathetic for his later staged conflict with his father.
If Seth disobeyed these orders, there was no guarantee that the high ranking criminal organizations that worked with his father would not send assassins with Kryptic against him.
"I cannot have this beast make a mess of the city before my grand event on Saturday," said Casimir. "I understand your position, but could you do me a favor? I will be generous enough to add in additional samples of Boost to your order as well as fine liquors on tap this Saturday."
Seth paused for a moment. "Fine. But ten minutes. Ten minutes is all I'm spending fighting this thing."
He flipped his phone shut and walked out the room.
"Where you going, Seth? This sh*t's just getting good!" said Evan.
Seth did not spare a glance back before he shut the rec room door behind him. "Shut the fuck up and wait here until I get back."