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((Audio Transcript Teen Hero interview with Young Freedom members Edge and Wander, 04212010, 1645))

((Features Reporter Tina Treadman conducting interview))

TT: Welcome, Edge! It's so good of you to come and do this interview with us. I just can't tell you how excited we are that you agreed to participate in our charity issue. The readers just can't wait to find out more about you. (pause) Oh, and I see you brought a friend along, too. It's Wander, isn't it? Two Young Freedom members for the price of one, even better! Have a seat, and we'll get started.

Edge: Yes, this is my friend Wander. She's pretty great. We're both really excited to be here, Tina! I'm a big fan of your magazine; I have been since I was just a little kid myself. And you especially! I loved that interview you did with Soul Power out in LA last year. I've got it up on my wall.

Wander: (inaudible)

TT: That's very flattering! I'm so glad you like my work. I really did think that interview was one of my best... but enough about me, we're here to talk about you! Ah, both of you! (paper rustling) First question: Edge, we all know you're a second generation hero, even if you've been very secretive about your origin. What made you decide to follow in your parent's footsteps? (pause) Or more generally, what made the two of you decide to become heroes? (1)

(brief pause)

Edge: Tina, I knew from the minute I was born that I was going to be a hero. I was lucky enough to have a parent on the Freedom League, a true hero who stood alongside the Centurion and the first Lady Liberty in the brightest, and darkest hours of Freedom City's history. The lessons I learned about duty, commitment, and honor have stuck with me since then....plus, it's really fun! Yeah, I've always wanted to be a hero. I'm just glad I've got the powers to go with it!

Wander: (inaudible)

TT: Could you speak up a little? I'm recording this.

Wander: Sorry. I guess I sort of fell into it. I got these powers sort of by chance, and I decided I should try and do something good with them. I wanted to help people. Joining Young Freedom-

TT: Yes, that brings me right to the next question! Young Freedom burst onto the scene last summer in that spectacular televised battle at the baseball stadium. When did you all decide to become a team and start working together? (2)

Edge: Right then and there! We'd been friends for a while before that, but once we knew what a great team we were, we decided we'd be crazy not to go into action together! You should have been there, Tina, it was a really great fight! I made robots explode, and Wander ripped their heads off! It was totally wild.

Wander: Well, it was on TV, she probably saw it. We'd sort of already been working together, like Edge said, but not in any real fights. It's not like we go out looking for trouble or-

TT: Trouble finds you, of course! That's the amazing thing about being a superhero, isn't it? Edge, we know already how amazing your luck powers are, we've seen them turn the tide in fantastic ways in battles before. Do you feel it's this power that makes you the heart of Young Freedom, or is it your charisma and leadership? (3a)

Wander: (coughs)

Edge: With all due respect, Tina, I'm not the heart of Young Freedom. They've all got the heart of a true hero inside them, and that's what makes us such a great team. I'm just there to make things a little easier for all of them. That's what really makes a hero, you know, it's not just having powers. If you believe in yourself, if you really, truly believe you can do something, you can. That's what I believe, and that's what everyone else on our team believes too.

TT: Beautifully said, Edge. But as a team member, Wander, what do you think it is that makes Edge such a compelling leader? (3b)

Wander: Well... he's really lucky. And he's a nice guy, too. Maybe he doesn't come up with all the ideas, but I guess he knows the most of anyone about how to act like superheroes. And he likes to stand front and center, I guess that helps too.

TT: (laughs) That's very funny! And it brings up another question. Young Freedom is a team with such diverse powers, you must have diverse personalities as well. How do you get along, working together day in and day out? (4)

Edge: Like gangbusters! (laughs) We're all really good friends, on and off the team. Some of us are even more than friends, in fact, but I don't want to name names, heh-heh.

TT: So does that mean you two are- (5a)

Edge: No! No, I mean, Wander and I are just really good friends. She's saved my bacon many times. I'm actually going out with Seraph right now. (coughs) Seraph's great, though, really great. Next question?

Wander: Most of us are just friends. We have so much to do already, between school and training and actually doing hero work, there's not a lot of time for anything else. Some people manage it better than others, I guess.

TT: Tell me, uh, Wander, is it difficult for you being a teenage superheroine these days? I know being a role model for young women must be very difficult, especially with people like Edge and Phalanx on your team. (5b)

Wander: What's that supposed to mean?

Edge: I, uh, think she meant that it's tough because it's mostly guys who have the showy powers on our team, right Tina? So if you're trying to be a role model for women, you have to work twice as hard to get noticed.

Wander: Oh. Well, with teammates like Psyche and Seraph, that's not much of a problem. They take care of all that. I just try to do my job and not worry about it. If people do pay attention, I figure I'll be enough of a role model if I'm doing what I'm supposed to do and doing it as best-

TT: Of course! That's an admirable sentiment. Another thing we've noticed at Teen Hero is the great variety in costumes you all have. How did you come up with your costume designs? (6)

Edge: I made mine myself! It was way back before I knew what kind of powers I was going to have. That's why it's got a lot of design elements, I didn't know what I'd have to cover. I should add, by the way, that I just did the design: it was my mom who sewed it together and found all the parts and design. She's an artist. Thanks, Mom!

Wander: (inaudible)

TT: I'm sorry, I didn't catch that.

Wander: I had my costume given to me. I didn't design it or anything, I just took what was available. It's okay.

TT: Ah, I see. Edge, Wander, where do you see yourself in five years? (7)

Edge: On the Freedom League, fighting bad guys. Or maybe teaching at our school, I just dunno. I want to pass things on to future generations, you know? I've been really lucky my whole life, and I want to try and pass down some of that luck to the people I care about the whole world. And my friends and family too.

Wander: Probably on the Freedom League. I guess. Or doing hero work somewhere else. I like working with Young Freedom, so I guess that's probably what I'll end up doing-

TT: That's great! I had no idea you had aspirations to be a teacher, Edge, that's so admirable. What's your favorite subject in school? (8)

Edge: Um, I guess I like all of them pretty well. History, I guess! That's how you know where you came from, and where you're going. I really like history.

Wander: English is my favorite. I like to read, and the reports and stuff don't bother me. I don't like diagramming sentences and that kind of thing, though.

TT: Ah, I see. Well, it's good that you're both setting such a good example for our younger readers. Tell me, what would you say was the strangest adventure you've ever been on? (9)

Edge: Me personally? Uh, the time my dad and some of his old buddies took me to the gender-reversed dimension. That place was a little weird...but on the team, the weirdest was probably that time we fought those giant Nazi robots. They were some pretty bad guys!


TT: And how about you, Wander?

Wander: Well, one time I helped chase a three-foot tall talking rabbit across a couple of dimensions to rescue a mall security guard. I think that was probably the strangest thing I've done so far. But the Nazi robots were weird, too.

TT: Wow, the things we don't always get to hear are amazing! Tell me, what goes through your mind when you get the call to action? Are you nervous, excited? (10)

Edge: I'm never nervous. Well. a little sometimes. But I'm always excited, and ready to go out and do my best to stop the bad guys and make a better world for everybody else. There's no better feeling than realizing that the world needs you!

Wander: It's hard to say, because you never know what's going on when you first get the call. It could be something really terrible that's going to threaten the whole city, or it could be a training drill. I guess I try to reserve judgment until I know what's going on, but I always feel... anticipation, I guess.

TT: What do you think has been your greatest triumph to date, the one you know you'll tell your grandkids about? (11)

Edge: We saved a village of people in Africa from being destroyed by a volcanic eruption. I know, it wasn't anything showy or flashy, nothing world-saving or anything....but there were kids there, and they were really happy, and they hugged us afterwards. They all got to keep their homes and stay safe, and we even helped them make peace with their neighbors afterwards. It was a good day.

Wander: It's hard to say. We can't always talk about all our missions, for a lot of reasons. But the trip to Erde, even though it was weird, was a really good one. I think we really managed to make a difference there, at least for the moment. They still have a long way to go, but now they have a better chance.

TT: And what about regrets? You do so many difficult, near-impossible things. Are there any missions that didn't go the way you planned, or rescues that just couldn't be done? (12)

Edge: No, I think we've always accomplished what we've set out to do. I mean not everything has gone right all the time, but I think we've always won our fights and beaten the bad guys at the end of the day.


TT: And how about you, Wander?


Edge: Tina, I think what Wander wants to say is that we've all come a long way to get where we are, and that hasn't always been easy. But the important thing is, now we're all working together to build a better world.

Wander: Sometimes things don't work out the way you wish they would have. Sometimes there's nothing even superpowers will do about it. But you keep going on, because you still have a job to do. Next question, please.


TT: Wander, do you find it difficult to balance your academic career with your heroing work? (13a)

Wander: Sometimes. It helps that I only sleep every few days. When I first... I mean, last summer I had to spend a lot of time catching up on some things I was behind on, but now that's taken care of. But I've learned not to put off my homework, in case some emergency comes up when I was planning on doing it.

TT: Good advice! And how about you, Edge? Are you enjoying school? (13b)

Edge: I am! School's not that hard when you get right down to it. I mean, I have to study just like anyone else. Wander and I are in a lot of the same kinds of classes. But if you just go in, work hard, and make sure you're prepared, you can do great anywhere. Stay in school, kids, and you can reach for the stars!

TT: That's great to hear, Edge! Kids today really need that kind of encouragement. Do you see yourself having kids some day? (14)

Edge: Oh, uh, eventually, some day, but not for a while yet. I mean, I'm still in high school. My dad waited till he was older to settle down, and I think I'd like to do the same. There's a lot of the world to see out there.

Wander: Um... I don't know. It's hard to say right now, who knows what's going to happen, right? I kind of think I'll probably be too busy doing hero work. That's not the sort of thing that's easy to do if you have a family.

TT: Well, you have lots of time to decide, I'm sure! What's it like to try and maintain a heroic identity and still live a normal life? Do you feel like you can ever be normal teenagers? (15)

Edge: Oh, sure, I mean, I'm a perfectly normal teenager. Maybe I grew up hearing stories other kids didn't, and got some training they didn't, but it's actually pretty easy to balance your normal life with your heroic life. Right, Wander?

Wander: (pause) Yeah, sure it is, Edge. No problem. I guess if you don't really know what it's like to have a totally normal life, you don't even know what you're missing. It just seems normal to you.

TT: What would you say to children who want to follow in your footsteps? (16)

Edge: Well, uh, Tina, that depends on the kids and what they can do. Kids born with superpowers should definitely find a way to get powers-training, either at a special school or through the government. Kids without powers, well, that's a little tougher. Get in really good shape, stay in school, and find your niche! And for goodness sake, don't try and be a hero if you don't know how to be. Dozens of kids die every year trying to be imitators. Just don't do it.

Wander: I'm not sure that's going to come up, but I'd tell them to appreciate what they've got. It's not so bad being a regular person with family and friends and school and sports. You might miss it more than you think if it went away.

TT: Now Edge, I hate to embarrass you, but our female readers are desperate to know. What would you consider your ideal girl? (17a)

Edge: Well, uh, I would describe my ideal girl as a, um, a friend. You know, someone who I can respect, and who respects me, and who has a lot of mutual interests with me. I guess that's my answer, then.


TT: And you, Wander? Who would be your ideal boyfriend? (17b)

Wander: I don't really know. I guess I'll know him when I see him.

TT: I see. Edge, what are your thoughts on the Freedom League's current composition? If there is a shakeup in the next few years, who would you like to see move onto it? (18a)

Edge: Well, uh, I want you to know that I have nothing but respect for Captain Thunder and everything he's done as team leader. But you know, I think Lady Liberty would make an equally good leader. I mean, she's the symbol of America and liberty, what better symbol do you have than that? I think if Captain Thunder retired or moved into a supporting role, that might make things easier. I mean, the current League, it's had some PR issues lately, you know? Some new blood could really help them out.

TT: And what are your thoughts on that, Wander? (18b)

Wander: Um. (pause) I like Lady Liberty too. I think she's great. The whole League is pretty amazing.

TT: They certainly are, aren't they? We're lucky to have heroes like them, and like you kids, protecting us. Edge, or Wander, what would you say is the greatest single threat to the human race right now? (19)

Edge: Global warming? I mean, all the bad guys out there, they're things we can punch and blow up and make go away. The heroes of Freedom City and the world can handle that. But the other problems, the ones people cause for themselves, like pollution and stuff, they've got to handle without us. And that's pretty important, because that's about the whole planet.

Wander: Drug companies. They advertise in magazines like yours, acting like they're benevolent saviors, like they're superheroes themselves, when they're really just bloodthirsty robbers who don't care if they get rich off of murdering-

TT: All right then! That's very, ah, a very interesting perspective, but we're almost out of time for this interview. For our last question, why don't you tell our readers what the very best thing about being a superhero is? (20)

Edge: The best thing about being a superhero? Why that's easy! It's saving the day! Putting your life on the line for other people is the best feeling there is. I'll be doing it till I'm too old to go any further.

Wander: Making a difference. It's hard work to always be training, and to go out day after day to face whatever's coming our way, but if you can see at the end of the day that you've made things better, that people are better off because of what you did, that's what counts. It's like Edge says, it's the best feeling there is.

TT: That's all the questions I have for today, and I know you both have very busy schedules. Thanks so much for stopping by to talk with Teen Hero!

Edge: It's always a pleasure, Tina! Watch for Young Freedom, because we're watching for YOU!

Wander: (pause) Right. Thanks for having us.

(end transcript)

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  • 2 months later...


This House is Ours

This is a quiet house now. And no wonder; it’s a house in mourning. My father is gone, and I don’t really believe he’s coming back. Not to stay, anyway. What was he said? “I’m doing what the Centurion would do. Saving the world.” He used to tell me about the Centurion all the time when I was younger, taking me out to Heroes Knoll, watching old home movies of him with me, showing me that one precious picture of him, my very pregnant mom, and my dad together just before the Terminus showed up.

I had to help my mom sort through my dad’s papers last week. He had everything there, everything we’d need if he went away one day and didn’t come back. I know things now: things most kids my age don’t know. I know the Centurion’s secret ID; I know where his fortress is, and I know lots else too. I’m named for the Centurion. What does that mean, anyway?

My dad always said that a real hero is willing to sacrifice everything he has, everything he stands for, if it means saving the life of someone else. It’s never about you. Never.. That’s what the Centurion was about sacrifice and heroism. He gave up his life to save us all, and did it without hesitation, without holding back, because it was the right thing to do. I never really understood what that kind of sacrifice meant until now. Maybe it’s because I never really sacrificed anything before.

I can't believe he's gone! I can't believe it! I wake up every morning expecting to see Dad again, expecting to hear that it was all a bad dream or a mistake, that he's coming home and everything's going to be all right again! But nothing's going to be all right again. It seems like it rains more now, and the grass grows thick and wild. My mom tripped on the stairs and bruised her leg, and she swore that carpet never rode up when Dad was home.

She's having trouble working now, and I can't say I really blame her. This wasn't supposed to happen to her, it was never supposed to happen to us. I tried talking to Alex and Erin about it, but I don't think Alex really understood what it meant to feel bad. Maybe she was just telling me things to try and get me to feel better. Or just leave. I told them how I feel and now I'm done. Friends don't always tell friends when they feel bad.

My mom has stopped crying all the time. I guess that’s good. It’s not that my mom is weak or anything, far from it. But she married my dad when he retired, because he’d promised her that he’d keep her safe, that he’d keep everyone safe. And now he’s gone, and have to explain why. Dad went away because I died? Because he did things to change the world, to make lots of people go away, so he had to go away too to bring them back?

And now I’m the one with the power. Reality bending how I want it, changing it how I want. I don’t understand how it works, or how it’s supposed to work. But I do know this. Everything that happened to my family is my fault. It’s my fault my dad didn’t know he might have powers; it’s my fault I died and he broke the world. It’s my fault he sacrificed himself for everyone else before we could do anything else to help him. I broke my own world.

But I’ve got power now, and friends, and I’m getting more of both every day. My dad tried to fix the world, but he went too far, too fast. But I’ll have training, and knowledge, and the commitment to make right the mistakes I and everyone else has made. I can make things better. I can build a better world for everyone. It’s just a matter of time.

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