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August 19 , 2009

The Other Eight


Superpowers have turned out to be a disappointment. Heat vision? Super strength? Flight? They are nowhere to be found. Instead, powers like photosynthesis or the ability to spontaneously change hair color seem to be the best the world can offer. To make matters worse, the gifted individuals tend to suffer from psychological issues. Nonetheless, in hopes of finding enough functional meta-humans to form a squad, in 1965 the US military created The Guardian Project. The head of the Army's current incarnation of the project hires Dr. Adam Aiken, a psychologist specializing in the meta-human condition, to filter out the most dangerously unbalanced of the prospective super-soldiers. The screening process is to be done with all possible secrecy. This proves to be more easily said than done. A misfiring superpower leaks news of the recruitment effort to the public, attracting a flood of misfit meta-humans from around the nation, each hungry for heroic validation. A sleazy PR officer knows publicity when he sees it and converts the secret program into a nationally broadcast competition with all of the dignity and grace of a reality show. The ultimate prize is a coveted spot on a government sanctioned super team.

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The Other Eight follows the exploits of the applicants deemed sane enough for consideration. On one side are earnest but underpowered heroes like the twitch-inducing Nonsensica or the fluorescent tube-hurling Phosphor. On the other are the better equipped but less dedicated recruits like walking good luck charm Johnny on The Spot and seed-spitting loose cannon The Hocker. Who will win a place on the team, and what will be done about the jilted heroes who didn't make the cut?

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