Chapter 1: Flash
Purple Puma had only been waiting for about an hour, and she was already bored.
She had been sitting on top of a random skyscraper, listening to her radio and headset, waiting for any sign of crimes to stop and bad guys to catch, and had been given absolutely nothing to go on for the past hour. She sighed, nearly dozing off while staring at the street lights and cars far below her. With nothing better to do (other then fall asleep and get yelled at by Pearl), she turned on her microphone.
"Come in, Pearlescence." Purple Puma called over the headset. Upon receiving no response, she sighed exasperatedly and finished, "Over."
"What is it, Puma? Over," Pearlescence responded after hearing the confirmation of the end of her sentence.
"I'm bored... over."
Now it was Pearlescence's turn to sigh exasperatedly. "Puma, It's been forty-five minutes. Over."
Purple Puma groaned and let herself flop over, knocking off her headset on the way down. She placed it back on her head and continued, "Why isn't anyone out tonight? No drug dealers, no bank robbers, there aren't even any dumb teens trespassing!"
Silence was all that answered her. She groaned again, "Over!"
"Much better. Puma, no crimes should be considered a good thing. And the night is still very young. As I said, you've only been on watch for forty-five minutes - forty-seven minutes now - so there's still plenty of time for-- oh, hang on one moment..."
Puma lay there in silence for a minute, before Pearlescence came back on the other end of the line. "Good news, Puma. Well, bad news actually, but this should relieve you of your boredom; Call in from Evertech Labs, all of their security cameras just went down."
Purple Puma bolted up, suddenly listening very intently, a huge grin on her face. Now that was something to do.
"Cameras should be down. Confirming. Flash."
"Thunder. Alarms are down. Cameras are down. Entering. Flash."
"Thunder. Entry confirmed."
She loved her job.
Running at a speed that most people really shouldn't be able to run at, Puma sprinted over the roofs of the skyscrapers. She leaped from building to building, clinging to walls and bouncing off of them, all so she could make it to her destination in time. Evertech Labs was basically on the other side of the city from her typical watchpost, so she really had to run if she wanted to catch the familiar villain. Leaping over a very fancy looking hotel, she was able to spot the lab way, way in the distance. She decided to pick up the pace, pushing her limits as she sprinted through alleys and avenues, crossing the countryside, and leaping the fence, just barely slowing down enough to not smack hard into the building's wall.
She glanced up at a nearby camera attached to the wall. It looked almost sad, staring at nothing but the floor, with no little red recording light to indicate that it had any purpose.
Purple Puma smiled wide and approached the door, swinging it open--
Or not, considering it was locked. Cursing at her forgetfulness as to this villain's.... unique method of breaking-and-entering, which usually involved no breaking whatsoever, she pulled out a hairpin and gave her own attempt at breaking in.
A satisfying little click! greeted her, and she made a second attempt at a dramatic entrance.
Her first thought upon entering the building was 'Hey, maybe I shouldnt've opened the door that hard, they probably know I'm here now.'
Purple Puma grinned. 'Well, now I know that they're here, too.'
She darted further into the building, checking every room for any sign of the supervillain's presence. She scoured offices and storage rooms, supply closets and meeting rooms, every little thing, trying to find either the villain themselves, or any sign of their tampering.
She stopped in one of the main storage rooms, filled with expensive tech, and waited. She could hear heavy footsteps over her head, an interesting thump, thump, thump of someone with very big boots trying to sneak around and tiptoe. She just barely heard the murmur of a modulated voice, before there was a sharp pop! from the floor above, and less than a second later, a thunderous CRACK! from the hallway right beside her that made her jolt. The murmuring voice came again, still very soft and quiet, but just close enough for Puma to make out the word "thunder".
Puma ducked under a desk that she decided was a decent enough hiding spot, and watched as the door that she had walked through mere moments ago opened again, to the sight of the familiar, unwanted guest.
They wore a robotic suit that obscured literally everything about them except for their eyes, which were hidden behind a yellow-tinted visor that could be seen through if you got close enough. The arms and legs of the suit were long, and created a sort of bell-like shape at the bottom, while the hands at the ends of the arms had no palms, simply floating and glowing green without a care for physics. The suit's helmet had an odd sort of design, flaring out in such a way that it was almost triangular. Whatever purpose it served to have that shape was unknown to Puma and the rest of her team.
They waltzed on in like they owned the place, seemingly browsing the various technologies on the shelves. They stopped at something that appeared to be a tablet, but Puma had no idea what it actually did.
The villain examined it. Then examined the area around it. Then under it. Then over it. Then, they seemed to grow unfocused, as though they were looking at something only they could see.
Purple Puma grabbed the whip attached to her belt, lashing out with it and wrapping it around the villain's helmet, sharply tugging backwards once it was secure. They tumbled backwards, desperately trying to regain their balance and refocus on the world around them, cursing and getting into a fighting stance. They grabbed Puma's whip, tugging it towards them with Puma still trying to hold on, causing her to hit her head hard on the underside of the desk and be pulled out into the open. She ducked and rolled, yanking her whip back into her own control as hero and villain faced eachother.
"Puma." Cryptid growled, clearly frustrated.
"What, no long-winded monologue? Come on, you're the most talkative supervillain I know!"
"I don't have the time or patience for this right now!" They snapped, before a bright flash filled the room with another loud pop-CRACK as they teleported just behind Puma, snatching up the tablet they'd been examining.
Puma whipped around and charged, slamming into Cryptid at a high speed, sending them both crashing into the shelves and tables filled with tech. The tablet went flying from Cryptid's hands, causing them to startle slightly and jerk towards it, knocking themselves more off-balance as they tried to reach it. Puma grabbed a hold of their leg and yanked, causing them to be unable to save it... except that the tablet had stopped falling anyway, held in place by Cryptid's ferrokinetic abilities. Cryptid did not try to save all the other falling tech in the room, however, resulting in lots of damage to the expensive machinery around them, a serious casualty to their struggle.
There was another quick pop-CRACK and then they were behind Puma with the tablet tucked under their right arm, the left raised and sparking with energy. Puma rolled off to the side, crashing into another shelf as she dodged the shot of energy Cryptid fired off. The shot hit the back wall, causing it to explode outwards. The ceiling above the dueling supers collapsed, completely ruining everything in the room with them.
Puma dug her way free of the rubble and looked up to see that Cryptid had teleported their way to the floor above them, the tablet they planned to steal still within their grasp. She growled up at them, before really taking in the destruction around them. The room - if you could even call it that anymore - was filled with rubble and the remains of broken technology, all scattered about like a tornado had a tantrum in the room. She could see up to the next floor, where several shelves that had been up there had fallen to the ground below, adding to the mess they'd made. There was a small fire, likely caused by electricity from broken wires and Cryptid's blast cannon, that was growing in size and would need to be put out as soon as possible.
Cryptid glared down at her. "Look at this mess! And before you even start, oh no, this wasn't my fault, I wouldn't have done any of this if you and the rest of the Crystal Clods would just leave me alone, and let my do my work! This could've been perfectly fine, just in-and-out with only one little mobile device missing, no big deal. But you always show up! When will you learn that it's better to just let it be! I'm not here to fight - I never even claimed I was good at fighting, or wanted to fight, but here you are, ready to beat me up! If you would just-"
Puma used her whip to grab the tablet right out of Cryptid's hands while they spoke animatedly. They stopped and froze.
She grinned. "I told you that you talk a lot."
Cryptid only stared for a moment. Then they held the tablet with their ferrokinesis and pulled.
Puma fought back, digging her heels into the ground and holding on to a large and heavy piece of rubble, clutching the tablet to her chest with all her might. Cryptid pulled harder, making it more difficult for her to stay on the ground at all. This game of tug-of-war continued for about a minute until it occurred to Cryptid that they could just jump down to her and pry the tablet from her hands. Upon jumping down and approaching Puma, they were kicked and shoved several times as they attempted to lunge for it, causing a small struggle on the ground as they gave up with the ferrokinesis altogether. The small fire behind them was now large enough to earn the title of medium fire, and was also a severe hazard.
"This is pointless!" They managed to spit out during their tussle,"If you just gave it up, none of this would have to happen! I'd just be on my way, and you wouldn't have to deal with this! There will be plenty of other criminals for you to catch, I'm sure, and there's plenty of non-harmful things I could be doing right now too! But if you won't hand it over, then I can be here all night! "
The fire alarm went off.
Cryptid jerked back in alarm, looking around in a sudden panic, both at the fire around them and at the alarm-lights flashing. Sprinklers turned on somewhere else in the building. Taking advantage of the distraction, Puma kicked them off and backed away from the fire, tablet still in hand.
Cryptid stared at the tablet, then at the blaring siren. Finally, they blurted "YouknowwhatyoucanhaveitIthinkI'lljustgonow!" , and there was a pop in front of her and a crack in the distance.
Puma stared at the spot where the villain had stood. 'That's new.'
After the fire department took care of the growing problem, Puma headed back to base. The temple was a secluded area on the beach that the small group of superheroes called home, and the moment she walked through the door she was greeted by the concerned squawking of Pearlescence.
"Where are you injured?!" Pearl fussed and closely examined some light bruises on Puma's face.
"I'm fine P, my lip is hurt a little but I'm fine."
"You're bleeding!" Pearl shrieked.
"Yeah I know, I already told you that I bit my-" She cut herself off after putting her hands on the back of her head, feeling that it was wet. She brought her hands back to her face to see that they now had glowing red blood on them - a trait that was exclusive to those with superpowers.
"I'll bring you a medical kit. Did anything eventful happen with Cryptid?" Pearl said as she went to retrieve something to clean Puma up a bit.
"Oh, Pearl, you're not gonna believe this. They ran off... without the thing they went in for!"
Pearl dropped her supplies. She stared at Amethyst for a moment.
"They've... never done that before. Was there anything else special about the encounter? Anything at all?"
"Hmmm... well, there was fire, but you already knew that. They said they were in a hurry, but they usually say things like 'I don't have time for this' anyway, so maybe not that. An alarm went off..."
"An alarm? Don't they usually disable anything related to security on their way in?"
"Yeah, but this was just the fire alarm. They seemed really freaked out."
"I suppose it makes sense that a thief would be afraid of sirens or alarms, but that seems like a bit much."
"Yeah, I have no idea what that was about..."
"Can I have the rest of the night off?"
"Aww, come on, I'm really injured!"
"You can be dispatch."
Chapter 2: Review
Purple Puma reviews the Crystal Gems' documents while Pearl begins the first class of the semester.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Height: 6-7 feet*
Power(s): Limitations unspecified**; technopathy, ferrokinesis, teleportation
Category: Follower, For Hire, Collector, Hacker
Weakness: Currently Unknown
Survival Rate: 99.9%
Cryptid is a follower of Yellow Diamond who wears a fullbody mech-suit, covering all physical features as a disguise. Typical behavior shows the use of technopathy to disable cameras and alarm systems inside a building, before teleporting inside to steal items of value.
**It is unclear what powers Cryptid displays are functions built into their suit or natural supremity, as are the limits of what has been confirmed super. *The suit obstructs absolutely everything about them, even simple details that would be easy to find out about anyone else, such as average height and gender, including voice, which is obstructed via modulator.
Cryptid boasts the highest survival rate of any supervillain at 99.9%. They have shown displays of hyper empathy and pacifism, while greatly detesting battles take place. A popular example of this is some rare footage of the supervillain despite their camera-disabling habits, showing Cryptid using their suit's tractor beam and their own ferrokinetic abilities to displace cars to obstruct a superhero's path. One of the cars contained a civilian, and the footage shows Cryptid actively stop what they are doing to get the bystander out of harm's way. The rating is not 100% due to their tendency of self defense, causing harm to attacking superheroes.
Puma remembered that video. It went extremely viral. Nowadays it was mostly used as a “look at this supervillains are people and that's why they deserve therapy and stuff” video. To be fair, she agreed with them; villains deserved second chances, no matter what. Puma knew this firsthand.
Shaking her thoughts away, she submitted a change for the weaknesses section: Avoids Alarms.
Pearl was what people may call overworked. Hero-by-night, professor-by-day did sound fairly hectic. However, she wouldn't trade either job for the world, and she did her best to balance both lives.
Of course, she knew what some people thought of college professors, mostly based on what Amethyst- Puma, would show her on the internet. Some people believed that they didn't put in as much effort; that they were silly, or lazy.
Maybe Amethyst was just showing her those posts in particular to get a rise out of her. Either way, she had made a goal for herself to never be seen as lazy by her students.
As the students began filing in, she made sure to take note of every single one; she's found that remembering people's names, hobbies, and interests, no matter who they were, tended to make you more well liked. It wasn't too hard to do, either; taking note of the little things, like how Audrey had a little charcoal on her face and paint on her shirt, and that Brian had his ears pierced and lots of band merchandise. For the new school year, she'd have to adjust to the unfamiliar students coming in. So she watched every student carefully; this girl walked slowly and was a tad sweaty, likely sore from a workout. This boy has colorful hair and- oops, that's a nonbinary flag pinned on their shirt, they also have lots of pencil graphite smeared on their left hand – probably a writer. Hmm, this student has a large backpack, and- oh!
Pearl blinked at the shocking color of this students eyes, a bright teal right eye, with something that appeared to be code scrolling past, and the other an acidic green that flashed like lightning occasionally.
This was a common symptom of super powers. Bright, glowing eyes usually were a sign of excess energy – and energy was not something that supers lacked. They likely were born with the heterochromia, as small abnormalities were also common in supers. Garnet also had two differently colored eyes, and she knew several supers with vitiligo and poliosis, and even some with albinism.
When he sat down, Pearl quickly checked her guideline for the assigned seats – his name would be easy to remember.
Pierre Rabara, Pearl committed to memory.
Purple Puma had been told that she should check all the records and update them as required while she recovered from her last mission. She rubbed at her bandages self-consciously, and glanced at the clock. Apparently, she'd been here for several hours, listening to radio stations and police radios for emergencies, acting as dispatch... and she had barely done any reviews.
She sighed in boredom, and begrudgingly picked up the task Pearl had assigned her.
Now, where to begin...
...Puma almost went back to listening to the radio, before deciding to start with the most basic possible record; the definition of a super.
A super is a simplified term for a person with the supremity gene, a rare mutation allowing people to accomplish incredible feats after the activation of the gene. This is typically triggered via a moment of distress and/or near death experience, the releasing of adrenaline and activation of fight-or-flight instincts causing something akin to hysterical strength (a display of extreme strength by humans beyond what is believed to be normal), which persists after the incident and causes gatherings of energy...
Puma lost her place on the page, continuing somewhere less boring.
You can tell when someone is super based on the following symptoms;
-more commonly occurs in women
-glowing, vibrant eyes that create strange and abstract patterns in the iris.
-neon blood that glows under a blacklight.
-someone with an inactive super gene is more likely to have small anomalies when they are born, spanning from heterochromia and vitiligo to extra fingers and toes to missing body parts, and occasionally more prone to mental illness. Superheroes are typically provided with free doctors and therapists for their service (see superheroes for details).
Eh, that checks out. Moving on...
It had come to Pearl's attention that Pierre might be in the wrong class.
At first it seemed fine – he had brought a lot of equipment for a beginner's engineering class, but it pays to be prepared. Sure.
But every once in a while, he'd look up something she'd said with a raised eyebrow, before biting his tongue and heading back to work.
Occasionally he spoke his mind.
It was a touch... infuriating.
A school of any kind was for teaching, and a teacher of any kind must teach. Questions were a good thing; it meant the student was receiving as much information as they could, that they were engaging... but these weren't questions, they were corrections, little things that would make Pierre jump up with a “you're wrong” and explaining why. And then Pearl would have to tell him why she did things the way she did. It made her class longer than expected, making her unable to cover topics she was hoping to cover in this first lesson.
So in an attempt to make light of it, and to make sure her other students didn't feel insecure because of his vast knowledge of advanced topics, Pearl asked, something between a joke and a question, “Are you sure you aren't meant to be in the advanced engineering class, Pierre?”
There were little giggles scattered about the classroom, and Pierre's face went red. “N-no, I'm meant to be in the beginner's class, I assure you...”
He didn't ask any more “questions” when it seemed like he wanted or needed to, and Pearl internally scolded herself for interrupting his learning in such a humiliating way. She made a mental note to reassure him and ask why he was taking the basics instead of the advanced when he was feeling less embarrassed.
The most basic definition of a superhero is a good Samaritan with the supremity gene, using their abilities to protect and serve their home and people.
To be more broad, an official superhero is a super that registers themselves as an officer of the law to the government, in which case they can be paid for their services to the country defending against supervillains. They also tend to deal with general criminals.
By becoming an official superhero, you can receive health benefits and paychecks, including...
Ugh, was all Puma thought about this one, Yes, I know, save the world and get paid and also therapy. I hate that you have to become an officer for this kind of thing.
She moved on to the next topic linked - besides the links on how to register as a superhero - which happened to be another she was familiar with.
The most basic definition of a supervillain is an individual with the supremity gene who uses their supernatural abilities for their own personal gain, without any regard for the law. These basic supervillains are usually given some jailtime when caught.
The more professional, well-documented version of a supervillain is a super disguising their identity and engaging in organized crime or terrorism, using their abilities to bring harm to anyone or anything as long as they profit. This category of supervillains are usually far too dangerous to be dealt with by regular officers, and as such have to be resisted by someone on an equal level: superheroes.
Due to the sheer variety and serious threat of supervillains, every villain has a carefully maintained record of all their powers, common behaviors, and weaknesses. The records can be accessed here with the proper permissions.
Yup, thought Puma as she clicked the link and entered the password, I've got proper permissions, even if I probably shouldn't.
She decided not to read the stuff about supervillains in prison and their rehabilitation for now. She wasn't sure how well she'd handle the reminder of her own situation.
“Hi guys!” Steven shouted into the house as he entered with a bag of fresh donuts in hand.
He blinked at the empty house before remembering, “Oh, right. School's back, so Pearl's teaching... or professor-ing... Garnet's patrolling and Amethyst's- uh, Puma's reviewing the important stuff. Hmm. I was hoping we could all have breakfast together, but I guess I'll leave these here!” he thought aloud.
He placed the donuts on the counter before grabbing one for himself and happily eating it. He glanced at the clock up by his bed and realized that this was more of a together brunch. Or an alone brunch. It was nothing like he'd wanted it to be.
He frowned a little. Well, Puma's still here I guess, she's just in the base. And if I'd hit my head and had to do lots of boring work, I'd wish I had some tasty donuts.
With a determined smile, he grabbed a couple donuts from the bag and headed into the base with his Mom's password.
“Pu~ma!” he singsonged as he strolled in, “I brought you something!”
Purple Puma looked up from the computer she'd been hunched over, slightly startled before smiling brightly. “Hey, Ste-man! Whatcha got?”
“I've goooooot-” Steven began running while speaking. She was ready for him to tackle her and opened her arms for a hug, sliding backwards in the rolling chair a good few feet from the impact. “-fresh donuts, and a hug!” he finished.
Puma cheered and took her donuts with a flourish, before shoving them into her face as gracelessly as possible. “F'hanks Shdefeb!” she said through her mouthful.
Steven took on his best possible Responsible and Victorious Superhero Pose as he said, “No problem.” as fake-seriously as he could muster. He achieved his goal of making Puma laugh as much as possible, and silently congratulated himself on a job well done.
“How's your head?” he asked, already preparing for a little extra healing powers to be required.
“Eh, it's pretty much all better. S'all good.” Puma reassured him, turning back to the files on the screen.
“Everything we already know. Again. This is the everything-you-need-to-know-bout-villains section.”
Steven looked over her shoulder at the various summaries she was scrolling through;
Follower: Part of an organized group of supervillains.
Mastermind: Leader of a group of supervillains.
Hunter: Essentially a bounty hunter. Kills whoever the Mastermind commands them to.
Thief: Self explanatory, steals for themselves.
Collector: A thief who steals for their group.
For Hire: A villain who will provide their services to anyone who pays. Grouped or ungrouped.
Hacker: 1: Provides technical support for a group. 2: Uses technology for their own gain.
Killer: An ungrouped hunter, usually killing for no particular reason.
Napper: Retrieves people at the request of the Mastermind.
Destroyer: Used as a superweapon for the Mastermind. Tends to destroy things.
Vigilante: Too unstable to be considered a superhero, does more harm than good. Ungrouped.
Unmasked: A supervillain with a known identity. Usually imprisoned or rehabilitated.
Height: 6-7 feet*
Power(s): Limitations unspecified**; technopathy, ferrokinesis, teleportation
Category: Follower, For Hire, Collector, Hacker
Weakness: Currently Unknown (investigation in progress; Avoids Alarms)
Survival Rate: 99.9%
Height: approx. 5'7”
Power(s): Hydrokinesis, flight
Category: Hunter, Follower, Destroyer
Survival Rate: 46.3%
Height: approx. 4'2”
Power(s): Telekinesis, flight
Category: Hunter, Napper, Follower, For Hire
Weakness: Currently Unknown
Survival Rate: 58.9%
Group of 5, never seen apart
Category: Follower, Destroyer, Hunter, For Hire
Weakness: Gullible, not very bright in general
Survival Rate: 67.0%
Height: approx. 7'8”
Category: Mastermind, Destroyer
Weakness: Currently Unknown
Survival Rate: 2.75%
Purple Puma frowned heavily and scrolled quickly past that summary.
Steven frowned a little, too. “Hey, you doin' alright?”
“No.” Puma said dismissively before realizing her mistake, “I mean yes, I mean- ugh!”
Steven glanced back at the screen, before turning back to Puma and giving her a big hug. “It's okay, Amethyst-”
“-sorry. You're with us, now. You can help fight against people like her!”
“That's what I was already doing, though.”
He smiled a bit. “Yeah, but you've got something different now!”
She looked at him and raised an eyebrow.
She blushed and turned away, a big sappy grin on her face as she reluctantly hugged Steven back.
He was grinning too, even as he looked back at the screen in front of him.
Power(s): Speedster, shapeshifter, basic pyrokinetic
Category: Vigilante, Unmasked
Weakness: Emotionally Unstable
Survival Rate: 87.9%
Steven cared about her like she was an older sister - and the past wouldn't change that one bit.
So, Steven Universe Future is lookin pretty good, huh?
Sorry this chapter took so long, it's been a busy few months. I was gonna make it a little longer, but I think I like the way it ends here, so it's staying. Here's to hoping I can write more often in 2020!