Issue 4 Review

Rising Stars 4 Synopsis


At the Synthesystems Inc. office, Jim is praising Harold, the new employee, for getting a computer system back online in less than an hour. He is taking everyone out to eat. He invites Cathy and asks her to bring her book of Pederson memories. Cathy is hesitant because Harold doesn't even know her. Jim insists that Harold will want to see the book. Cathy gets the book and joins her coworkers at O'Malley's.

Harold is amazed that Cathy is one of the Pederson Specials. Jim jokes that "Pederson Special" sounds like a sandwich - like a "hero" sandwich. He is so entertained by his own wit that he leaves the table to spread his joke to the rest of the pub. As Cathy and Harold continue talking, the rest of their coworkers drift away, eventually leaving them alone.

Harold asks if Cathy has a power. She says she does not. She was raised with the Specials because the doctors thought she was in utero at the time of the Flash. However, she never manifested a power. She assumes they either have her conception date wrong, or the power just "didn't take" for her. Harold, who is obviously quite shy, attempts to compliment her, saying that she is not ordinary to him. He gives up on his fumbled words and asks about the book instead.

Cathy's book is a scrapbook documenting the growth of the Specials from her own unique point of view. Harold asks to start with Matthew Bright, the same Special everyone asks about first.

Daniel Bright, Matthew Bright's father, was a police officer who led the fight against the government when they wanted to take the Specials away from their parents. He took the case to the Supreme Court and won. Watching this battle gave Matthew great respect and love for his father and the law.

Matthew was the first Special to fly. He was also one of the strongest and not very easy to hurt. Matthew loved his powers and enjoyed his training.

Daniel Bright was killed chasing a liquor store robber, and Matthew vowed to become a police officer and continue his father's work. However, fear of the Specials made it impossible for him to get a job in law enforcement. Matthew took off into the sky and disappeared.

The government clamped down on the rest of the Specials and no one was allowed to fly. Cathy explains that none of the rest wanted to leave because they were taught that the normals were afraid of them and would hurt them. She adds that that belief was both true and false.

Matthew Bright got a fake I.D., fooled the background checks, and became a New York City police officer. He was a good cop who talked to children and was liked by his coworkers. Then, two years after he left Pederson, a meth lab exploded during a police raid. A dozen cops were trapped in the burning, collapsing building. Matthew revealed his powers to save them, knowing that it would cost him his job.

Paulson and the Committee wanted the NYPD to fire Matthew. However, the press, police and Mayor all supported Matthew. A court ordered that Matthew couldn't wear a regular badge, so the police gave him a special badge and a special uniform. Now he helps enforce the law all over the world.

Cathy says that the Specials are all very proud of Matthew because he is "the best of us". Harold tries to compliment Cathy again by saying that he thinks she is special, but he gives up and asks about the next photograph in the scrapbook.

Cathy tells the story of Jacob Polachek. Dr. Welles determined that Jacob was conceived after the Flash, but Jacob refused to accept it. He insisted he was a Special and that he had a power no one knew about. He jumped in front of a truck - possibly believing he was invulnerable - and was killed. After his death they found a collection of exceptional short stories he had written. He was special in his own way but didn't realize it.

Cathy begins to tell Harold about Paula Ramirez, but he interrupts and says he has been to three of her concerts. She sings without a band or microphones, and the audience sits spellbound. After the show, no one can remember anything about the performance except that it was beautiful. She also doesn't record albums. Dr. Welles believes her power is related to telepathy, so it can't work through electronics.

The next picture in the book is John Simon. He was serious as a child and stayed away from the rest writing his poetry. His dark poetry is not well received, but he somehow makes a modest living from it. He has the power to manipulate energy. He can avoid cameras and sense electromagnetic waves. Cathy says no one was very close to John except for Dr. Welles.

Harold is surprised to learn that the Specials had cliques. Cathy explains that they were still kids, so the ones with similar powers hung out together.

Cathy is interrupted by her friend, Gary. She jumps up, gives him a hug, and introduces him to Harold. Gary makes a joke about Harold's name and invites Cathy to dinner. Cathy turns Gary down.

Cathy picks up where she left off. Dr. Welles organized games to help the Specials interact more. They were not allowed to use their powers.

Cathy reminisces about Jason Miller. She loved watching him play football, and she was obviously in love with him. In truth, Jason never noticed Cathy, but she leads Harold to believe that they were a couple. Jason wanted to be a comic book hero. He thought the Specials had an obligation to help the world. She was with Jason when he talked to the NexusCorp representatives at a career day at the state college. Jason itemized his impressive statistics, but they did not believe him, so he gave them a demonstration.

Cathy goes so far as to tell Harold that she an Jason were young lovers. She says it didn't work out because of their school and career plans. In truth, she only loved Jason secretly, and he already had a girlfriend. Jason was hired by NexusCorp and given the name Flagg. Harold comments on the possible new names he has heard: Anthem, Patriot, and Justice. Jason still lives in Pederson in the house he grew up in. He is married and has a child. Cathy says she doesn't keep in touch because his wife doesn't like his old girlfriends calling. However, she sometimes calls his home but does not speak.

Jim announces that he is leaving, but Cathy and Harold decide to spend some more time together talking. Cathy tells Harold about several other Specials.

Randy Fisk can see things that others can't and is able to trail anyone. He is an artist and a crime fighter using the name Ravenshadow. His art funds his crime fighting, and the two are bound together as dual expressions of his quest to create order and find meaning.

Laurel Darkhaven was a telekinetic who could only move small objects. She disappeared a few years ago, possibly to join the intelligence community. She could possibly use her ability to pinch the carotid artery and kill someone.

Joshua Kane's father does not allow him to talk to any of the Specials. Joshua has powers of light and levitation. His family can not reconcile their belief that Joshua's powers are a gift from God with the fact that there are 112 other Specials. Joshua has a cathedral in Montana and a television show. He protests abortion clinics, and his displays add more converts. He doesn't get along with the other Specials. Cathy believes he is running away from or compensating for something.

Pyre and a few others went bad. Cathy feels they must be very lonely.

David Mueller could go comatose and enter the mind of another person within twenty feet. He could see through their eyes, feel what they felt, even make them do things they wouldn't remember. As a teenager he would enter the minds of women and examine their naked bodies. David's mother was an alcoholic, and her fourth suicide attempt was a leap from a building. He entered her mind to stop her, but it was too late. He was still in her mind when she died, and he never came out of his coma. Cathy hopes that he is well.

At that very moment in Pederson, someone enters David's hospital room, apologizes to him, then throws him out the window to his death.

Harold thanks Cathy for her stories. He now sees the Specials in a new light. He comments on how they grew up without secrets. Cathy says that there were some secrets. She remembers overhearing Dr. Welles talking to John Simon. Dr. Welles said that if John made a mistake with his powers he could kill all the Specials. He said that John may be the only hope in the end, either for the Specials or the Normals. Cathy does not tell Harold this secret.

As they get up to leave, Harold works up the courage to ask Cathy out on a date. At first she declines, but then she looks at Harold through the eyes of the teenaged Cathy, and she sees him as Jason Miller. She accepts his offer. As they walk the short distance to her home, Harold asks how she knows she doesn't have any powers. Cathy says that by her age, she would have come across all possible situations that could trigger her power.

Suddenly, a cat is hit by a car nearby. Harold and Cathy examine the cat, but it is already dead. Cathy is sad and lays her hands on the cat. After telling the poor creature goodnight, she leaves with Harold, wishing that there was something she could have done for the cat. They walk off, joking about silly powers that she could have, and revealing that they both like each other.

And in a glow of light, the cat returns to life.