Alice Bucket had been bored since she was a eight year old child. That meant that she had been bored for four years.
She had learned how to read as a six year old, and had read every single book in her local library in less than a month. She was a brilliant mathematician at the age of eight and help her dad make a small fortune by placing bets on soccer games. At the age of ten, her mother scolded her for building functioning miniature planes out of broken toasters and parts from old cars she had found at the local junkyard. And at the age of eleven, she was a self-taught master athlete.
Not that her parents allowed her to show of her talents. What would the neighbors think?! they said. Don't make a fuss! So she had to keep a low profile during the classes at school as she pretended to pay attention as Mr. Braddock taught the class history(and usually with several mistakes that made her roll her eyes) and make mistakes during gym classes and pretend to be exhausted like the other kids.
So it was as if some sort of deity she didn't believe in had decided to save her from boredom the day Doctor Prometheus arrived at her doorstep.
Doctor Prometheus, one of Great Britain's greatest superheroes. The man who outsmarted Laitnesse the Planet Conqueror, the hero who took down the Elephant Man from the underground city of Soahc, the champion of intelligence and one of the founding members of the Cavalry, England's greatest superhero team.
And he had come for Alice.
"You may already have noticed, Mr. and Mrs. Bucket, but your daughter is... talented is putting it mildly. Her unique memory and talent of remembering everything she reads or sees as well as mimicking movements is supernatural. A group of superheroes, that includes myself, has decided to search for and recruit young men and women like your daughter and train them to become the heroes. If you will allow it, then it would be my pleasure to educate your daughter at Cavalry Academy."
Alice sat on the sofa next to her parents and was awestruck for the first time in her life. On the armchair at the other side of the coffee table sat possibly the smartest man alive and one of the greatest heroes the world had ever seen. His costume's chest was adorned with the words Scientia Potentia Est. Words to live by.
And he had come to tell her parents that he wanted to train her.
And despite it being amazing, her father was, as usual, not impressed.
"See, Mary? THIS is the reason why Alice had to be stopped from being a showoff." Onslow Bucket groaned. "So that blokes like Mr. Smartypants wouldn't show up and tell us that we should send her to some school we can't afford. Then she can cry about it for years and-"
"Actually, you have it the other way around, sir." Prometheus interrupted him. "You won't be paying us. We will pay YOU. For your discretion, since the academy is a government secret."
Now it was Alice's parents' turn to be awestruck.
Wearing a domino mask and a red school uniform, Alice stood in front of what looked like a 19th-century Scottish baronial house. The bus she had just gotten out of disappeared in thin air and Prometheus was now behind her.
"Welcome to your new school, Ms Bucket." Prometheus smiled. "What do you think?"
"Is that... Mossbogle House?" Alice knew it was, but she thought it was polite to ask. "I read about it. It used to belong to the Kilwillie Clan until it burned down in 1999."
"Or that is what Dragon Man wanted the public to believe. In his secret identity, he is the laird of Mossbogle, but had to stage the fire to protect his identity from being exposed. But he has allowed me to use it as school. Now come, I let me show you around."
They entered the building... And Alice had a shock as the inside of the huge house was on fire. She looked at Prometheus who seemed calm about this.
"Mr. Firth!" Prometheus said with a clear, high voice. "Not only is that rude and against the rules, but it also lacks imagination!"
The flames disappeared, and a boy at Alice's age, wearing the same attire as her, could be seen.
"Sorry, sir." The boy snickered. "I couldn't help myself. The face on on new students are priceless!"
"Ms. Bucket, this is Ronald Firth." Prometheus sighed. "He is one of your classmates. You will have the chance to make acquaintance with him AFTER he has served detention. Young man, go to my office, and god help you if you aren't there when I come for you."
Ronald Firth snickered as he ran up some stairs. Prometheus shook his head.
"He is an excellent illusion caster, but also... Well, never mind. Let me show you your classroom."
Alice followed Prometheus through the hall. They passed a open door where Alice took a quick glance at what happened in the room, which was apparently nothing. All the students in there had their heads lying on their desks, seemingly sleeping.
"They are doing mental exercises." Prometheus answered Alice question before she asked. "Mrs. Saturn is invading their minds, and they must try to block her out."
"Saturn?" Alice eyes grew wide. "As in SARAH Saturn?! She's teaching here as well?"
Prometheus nodded. "We understand the importance of the future here on Cavalry Academy. We have gathered the best instructors we could find to shape the heroes of tomorrow. Now..." They stopped in front of a door that Prometheus opened for Alice. "This is the school workshop. I would like to introduce you to someone."
The room were filled with metal pieces lying on the floor as well as several power lines. At the left corner at the other end of the room was an Asian-looking girl with school uniform and domino mask. She had her black hair gathered up in a hair-knot and her sleeves rolled up as she was about to use a blowtorch on some sort of machine.
"Ms. Narusegawa." Prometheus coughed.
The girl turned off the blowtorch and looked up. "Oh, hello sir. If this is about the small fire the other day, then I would like to apologize again, but it wasn't-"
"No, no, it's not that. I just came to show you that I have found you a lab partner."
Narusegawa looked confused for a second, but then made a wide smile. "FINALLY! Another genius at school!"
"Yes, Ms Bucket is familiar with machines as well, isn't that correct?"
Alice shrugged. "Oh, I do dabbled with tech now and then-"
"No need to be modest here! Just happy to have someone to talk tech with for once." The Asian girl's left arm stretched to the door. Alice looked at the girl's apparently mechanical arm for a second before grabbing it in order to shake hands. "I'm Hina Narusegawa, a pleasure to meet you."
"Alice Bucket, likewise."
"So, how smart are you? You know about the teleforce?"
"Of course. I LOVE Nikola Tesla." Alice couldn't stop smiling. From this moment on, she was absolutely sure that she would be anything but bored.
Prometheus left Alice and Hina to talk. As he made sure that no one were watching, he entered a broom-closet. As he closed the door the the closet, the floor under his feet disappeared, and he now found himself in a room with several computer screens, all of them showing what the student were doing around the building. He took off the blue uniform he loathed as much as the man it had once belonged to, and found his preferred uniform nicely folded together on the desk where the keyboard to the screens could be found. Now in his checkered costume with letters in each square, he pressed a red button on the keyboard. All the screens now featured the screen image of his great leader.
"Hello, Crosswords." The black-haired woman said with a soft, yet chilling voice. "You recruited another one?"
"I did, Mistress." The self-proclaimed King of Puzzles bowed to the screens. "Another soldier in the making added to your future army."
"And the parents?"
Crosswords made a grin. "Bribed, like the other idiots. They believe that Cavalry Academy is a government institution."
"Oh, but it will be, once we have conquered England." The woman laughed. "Those brats will one day become a force so great that none of the so-called superheroes will be able to stop me. Not even my dimwitted brother Arthur. Wouldn't you agree, dear friend?"
Crosswords made a coy smile. "Only a fool would dare to disagree with you, Lady Le Fay."