Prologue

I'm not a coward, I've just never been tested.
I'd like to think that if I was, I would pass.
Look at the tested, and think 'there but for the Grace go I.'
I might be a coward, I'm afraid of what I might find out.

— The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Knock on Wood" (used without permission)


It's not the way I would have done things if I had any kind of choice.

No one ever does, really. In the comic books and movies, they're either born that way or something outrageous happens to make them that way. But then again, in the comic books and movies they can do something useful with it. Even Aquaman finds a way be useful, for crying out loud, and he can't do anything on dry land!

Maybe I should back up a little. My name is Adam. I'm 15, and until a year ago I was just an ordinary kid. Well, maybe just a little bit nerdy ... but pretty normal. I live in Jeannette, an obscure little suburb of Pittsburgh that no one outside of southwestern Pennsylvania has ever heard of. Hopefully I can keep it that way. You see, there is this villain with an evil plan, and millions of lives are at stake.

I know, right? That was about the corniest, most melodramatic thing I possibly could have said. It sounds like I'm quoting from a comic book or a movie script— I might as well have said "It's up to me to save the world..." But it's the truth. It's also the reason I am writing this journal: So if something really bad happens and I can't tell the story in person, there will be some kind of record.

It all started last spring when my grandparents bought me an ant farm at a flea market.

Chapter 1 »