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frogandbanjo t1_iyburrx wrote

So, two things about supes:

One, you can never tell how, exactly, their powers are going to work.

Two, there's no minimum intelligence requirement.

The world hangs in the balance. I'm speed dialing every fucking supe I can think of; my supercomputer is running the simulations. Every combination of known powers, limitations, and side effects is battling to the death with everything we know about that damned meteor - not nearly enough. Never enough. It's clearly not a regular hunk of space rock. It's fucking pink.

Sixteen, by my reckoning, are terrified that it's made out of exactly the stuff that renders them powerless. One is just offended, for some insane reason, and won't engage. He's an asshole anyway. I wasn't banking on him.

Some of them went off-world. I hope they never live that down. They probably will.

Souperman stands, implacable, unflappable, bowl in hand. I check the waiting list. He wasn't even on it. That makes me feel better. If he had been, well... to be honest, I'd have quietly removed him. I'm not catching flak in the post-apocalypse for having put off testing the one idiot who was willing to be brave.

Matter. Energy. Inertia. Entropy. It's different for every supe, not just for every power. Some speedsters get excited and try going from zero to a thousand in less than a second. Death By Physics. It's less common now, but still a classic entry. Others, meanwhile, play by the rules, run the tests, do the work, and then discover that they would have been fine regardless. Some supes can lift buildings effortlessly. Others discover that they can't magically ignore torque and shear. They end up tearing a hunk out, which usually causes a collapse. Some of them end up going through the floor instead of lifting anything at all. Time stoppers get frozen. Invisible dudes can't see. The list goes on. Life just isn't fair.

That's my whole business model. If not all of them are going to be smart and careful, then somebody has to be for them. I can't tell you how many times I've heard some variation on the theme that my own superpower is common sense. It's infuriating, but the money's green, so I don't bitch.

The computer pings yellow, which is better than red, but it's too late. Out of curiosity, I glance at the combination. I chuckle; I never would have thought of it. Constructing the database and the program had been a good idea. That's my thing. I have good ideas, and then I do the fucking work.

I wait for a few moments, holding my breath. When the world doesn't end, I exhale. I wasn't planetside, of course. I'm not a fucking idiot. Still, it's my home. I'd have missed it.

I go to the feeds and watch in slo-mo. I see the whole spectrum. The audio is pre-filtered, but the raw stuff is available if I need it. The computer perceives and processes even more. Its previous task was deprioritized.

The feeds never went out - no catastrophic impact or temperature spike. They recorded everything. It's an ugly sight, but I examine the footage closely enough to confirm.

I update the entry for Souperman. I feel a pang of guilt - far less than if he'd been on the waiting list, but still something. I think of all the other supes who might've helped him out. Maybe they could've carted him around the cosmos a bit, letting him turn lakes, then seas, then oceans on dead worlds into soup. Heck, mountains too, I guess. Whole continents, maybe. There's no telling how powerful he could've become. If it had been gold or something else sexy instead of soup, they probably would've.

I know that none of them will feel it. Guilt doesn't get you anywhere in this game.

Anyway, here it is. It's as complete as it's ever going to get. I don't have the budget to send supes out hunting extradimensional space for traces of matter and energy - everything that used to be that hurtling meteor, but then suddenly wasn't.

Souperman, b. Eugene Constance Forbes 1993, p. 2012, d. 2025. Power: the ability to turn anything into any amount of any kind of soup. Temperature of soup hard-linked to soup type. Power allows displacement of all excess matter and energy, possibly total annihilation. Ability to add or conjure mass and/or energy unclear. Cause of death: acute, catastrophic power overexertion. Died saving the planet Earth from a likely extinction level event: strange meteor.

Yes, "strange meteor" is its own entry. I look at it for a minute on my screen. I shrug, and click to customize. Really, really big strange pink meteor. That's better. That's a little dig at some of the cowards, and that one insane asshole.

The phone rings. I pick it up. It's a different asshole - one that pays well.

"Yikes," he says.

I preemptively bite my tongue.

"Not enough chicken soup in the world to cure that, huh?"

These fucking guys.


Random_name46 t1_iycu1r4 wrote

I can't get over "Souperman". I mean, it's right there but I never would have thought of it.

Well written, as ridiculous as the story is I feel for our hero.


AChromaticHeavn t1_iyf5wiq wrote

omg dude, I didn't even finish reading before I had to scroll down here and "death by physics" is now totally my favorite nerd joke of all time.