The only thing that astonishes Tony more than finding out that his new job is at a school for superheroes is finding out that most of the students aren't real superheroes. And when the school comes under the sights of a group of terrorist marketers, they could really use a superhero.
Tiny Cedar Creek, twenty-five miles outside New Metropolis, was targeted by terrorists yesterday in an attack that authorities are describing as “bizarre” and “baffling”.
“It was a pretty weird choice of target,” Sheriff Ralph Duncan told reporters in a prepared statement this morning. “To be honest, we didn’t even realise it was terrorists until the video showed up on our doorsteps. We’ve watched this thing five times, and we still can’t figure out why they did it,” he added. He went on to suggest that the terrorists had intended to strike at the much larger New Metropolis dam, and that yesterday’s attack was the result of a miscommunication.
The video, which has been released to the media, credits the bombing to an obscure terrorist group calling themselves the American Liberation Army. A masked man claiming to be the group’s leader boasts of their ability to “strike at targets both large and small throughout the country.” “The capitalist oppressors should not feel safe anywhere they go,” he said on the video.
The Cedar Creek Dam was the highlight of an artificial kayaking run. Bill Howard, President of the National River Rafting Association, said that he was “shocked and disgusted” at the terrorists’ choice of target. “This is a great tragedy,” he said. “The Cedar Creek run was of great importance to kayakers in the area. It will be sorely missed.” The White House held a press conference today to address the attack. “We are treating this attack with the utmost seriousness,” a media liaison told reporters. “We will not stand by and permit terrorists to carry out these attacks on American soil.” He also expressed concern that this attack might spark panic in the economy. “We cannot allow this to happen.
Americans must rally around our country’s great industries – particularly our river rafting industry, which has been so sorely damaged by this brutal attack.” When asked to comment on the White House statement, Bill Howard agreed. “It is really important that people keep going to the rivers and the beaches, and that they keep buying kayaks and canoes,” he said. “These attacks might have a very negative effect on the whole adventure sport sector, and I don’t think that’s something that Americans want to see happen.”
Tony reached the last page of the newspaper, folded it up into a messy pile, and went back to what he had been doing before he started reading, which was trying not to stare at the receptionist. She was pretty, or at least pretty enough – long blonde hair, perfect figure, two-piece knit suit in a rather garish shade of pink – but that wasn’t why Tony was staring at her.
Not staring at her, he reminded himself. I am not staring at her. He recrossed his legs and lifted his eyes to the ceiling, trying valiantly to interest himself in the cornices and the floral centrepiece, but it was no use. His eyes kept creeping back downwards, and even when he wasn’t looking at her, he could feel her sitting there, almost as if she was emitting radioactivity.