By Dawn Vogel
1. Begin as a scientist studying the infinite permutations of the genetic alterations necessary for superheroes to manifest powers. Insist on frequent studies regarding a local family that has evidenced high numbers of power-manifesting members in multiple generations, but startlingly not in the present generation. Classify them as a legacy family, changing their names and details for the papers you publish.
2. Grow close to the eligible scion of the legacy family that is your life’s work. Remind yourself you are a scientist above all else, and such emotional attachment is dangerous and prohibited. Stop staring at his crystalline blue eyes and focus on your analysis of his bloodwork. Marvel at his family’s powers (but only in private).
3. Agree to get coffee with said eligible scion (just once). Remind yourself you are simply getting to know him better as a person, rather than as a test subject. Assure yourself this is not in violation of your scientific ethics. Laugh at his jokes. Accept his surprisingly tender, lingering hugs.
4. Realize, after several instances of ‘getting coffee’ with said eligible scion, you are now being referred to as ‘an item.’ Stop returning his calls for three days. Acknowledge there is a void in your life when he is not near. Call him at 2 a.m., after a bottle of cheap merlot. Marvel at how quickly he reaches your apartment. Be glad your nosy neighbors are sound sleepers.
5. Accept that if you and said eligible scion were to get married, his family name is not one you could adopt. Listen as he tells you he wouldn’t expect you to adopt his name (because he secretly hates it, too). Realize you could see yourself married to him.
6. Don’t tell him about your latest invention, because who wants to talk about work all the time. Acknowledge that he would have concerns, which are without foundation. Assure yourself it will be a boon to his family’s work and yours.
7. Insist upon a small legal ceremony, nothing fancy. Don’t invite the whole family, as that many capes in a wedding portrait would be garish.
8. Have a son. Fret over what is to be done with a squalling baby when there’s so much work to be done in the lab. Luxuriate in the fact that your beloved husband’s family is wealthy, and he’d rather stay home with your newborn son than take you away from your pursuits. Miss them enough to always make sure you’re home before bathtime.
9. Unlock the secret that allows your technology to suppress powered individuals by removing their powers. Consider the ethical ramifications of such technology. Watch a multitude of newsfeeds showing the destruction superheroes and supervillains have ‘accidentally’ caused on both coasts and between. Realize power is a tool that must be wielded with the greatest of care. Deem most powered individuals insufficient to the task.
10. Test your technology on suitable victims. Ignore the fact that said ‘victims’ are allies of your husband. Remember the harm they can cause. Think of the good you are doing for the common man. Assure yourself this technology can be used to stop supervillains, too, if only there were any who were not imprisoned, clinically insane, or dead.
11. Discover you can modify your technology to not only suppress powers but to take those powers as your own. Assure yourself such modifications are in the pursuit of science.
12. Start with something small—stamina. Hold your breath for a long time. Run without tiring. Allow your husband the luxury of a good night’s sleep while you stay up all night with your teething son and still make it to work the next day.
13. Work your way up to something more—super strength. Rearrange the lab furniture. Sling the laundry from washer to dryer with ease. Smash a few windows. Break a few bones.
14. Stop the first hero who tries to stop you. Tell yourself your mother-in-law never had any kind words for you anyway.
15. Realize you have become a threat to all you once loved, but the rush you get from using your technology is dearer to you than the love you once felt for your husband and son. Seclude yourself in the nearest mountaintop lair. Try to forget about your husband and son.
16. Hope your son inherited your non-powered genes.