complicated than that. NPZs are caused by empowered people called blockers. The power that blockers have is to block out all powers within a certain area and range.
“What’s the range?” No surprise that the question came from me since I spent most of my life acutely aware of distances and ranges.
“Well, Mr. Sallinger, it’s different for everyone. Most powers vary slightly in their strength from hero to hero. You might ultimately be able to move larger or heavier objects with your telekinesis than your father, for instance. And it’s the same with blocking. Most blockers project an NPZ that’s roughly round in perimeter shape and maybe fifty to one hundred yards wide. Typically, they have to be pretty close to the area they want to block.”
Henry piped up. “So you’re telling me that there’s a person sitting in a room somewhere in this building and that this person is creating the NPZ for the entire school?” He didn’t sound much like he believed her, but I had quickly learned that Henry just always sounded that way. Know-it-alls are always skeptical of new information because they operate on the assumption that there is no information that is new to them.
“There is, Mr. Gardner,” Mrs. Crouch responded, leaving out much of the added detail we’d all expected.
“Does that mean they never leave the school?” James wondered aloud. He was turning out to be a very sensible and levelheaded guy, even if he was a little too wrapped up in his teleporting business for a seventh-grader. “Or does it mean that the school’s not an NPZ at night?”
“The no-powers condition is dependent on this person’s presence, and the school is still a no power zone at night, Mr. Gregory. He or she is a permanent resident here. It’s a sacrifice, one made in order to provide security and protection for you and your fellow students and your families.”
“So it’s like the memory dude out in the real world?” This time it was Freddie again, who, judging by his tone, was quite impressed with himself for knowing about the memory dude. I must confess it was news to me, and I wanted to learn more.
“Yes, exactly, Mr. Wheeler.” Mrs. Crouch appeared to be finished speaking on the subject of the memory dude, which simply wasn’t going to work for me.
“Wait,” I began. “What memory dude?” My father had made mention of some special memory-related powers that helped keep superheroes flying under the radar—sometimes literally—of the American public. But I wasn’t sure if that was related to what Freddie was talking about or not.
Fred either assumed I had directed my question at him, or he just didn’t care, because he answered before Mrs. Crouch could. “There’s this guy that uses his powers to keep us hidden from the real world. You know, so they don’t find out superheroes exist.”
“Custodians, Mr. Wheeler, and that is correct. Paul Weatherby is his name, and he is probably the most powerful custodian among us. His mind is capable of perpetually shielding other heroes from the public. And that’s how many of your parents stay safe and hidden from view.”
This concept didn’t make sense to me. And since we only had an hour a week to ask anything we wanted, I wasn’t going to stop digging. “How does it work?”
“Well, Mr. Sallinger, the nature of what we do out in the real world—fighting crime and fighting other empowered individuals who have less-than-selfless motives—dictate that it often will take place in public … out in front of anyone who happens to see it. Mr. Weatherby is able to keep them from …” she paused, searching for her words, “remembering what they see.” Then, as if sensing my lingering confusion, she added, “If custodians go zipping through the air in Manhattan, people are going to see them. Or if they slam a villain up against the Sears Tower, people are going to see it. But even though they see what’s happening, the memory fades almost immediately,