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[OpNet] The Sleeper


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Dear Abbie,

I think I'm in trouble. I'm only 14 and thought being a Nova would be cool. But there were kids at school who picked on me. But when I get real angry I go to my room and cry until I go to sleep. When I woke up those kids parents were on TV. Some monster had killed those kids. I feel like I know some secret, that it may be me. I don't want to go to the clinics cause they may lock me up. It may even be worse, that I don't have powers then I'd die from embarrassment.

- The Sleeper

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Dear Sleeper,

You are in a very dangerous situation. You are afraid, and you aren't sure you can even trust yourself. My first suggestion is that you find someone you can trust, preferably an adult. You will probably need someone to help you be strong. Your parents are excellent candidates for this. Understand that they may be a little reluctant to help, at first; they have never encountered this situation, and won't know how to respond. You know your parents best, so you make the call, but do find a friend. Because you owe it to that friend, as well as your parents and the rest of the people around you to find out if you are the one who is responsible for these other children's deaths. Even more, you owe it to yourself. I'm certain you don't want to hear that. But think: if you don't find out, and it turns out that you are the one, what happens the next time you get angry at mom and dad? Or your best friend? That's a very scary thought, and you shouldn't have to live in fear. The people at the Rashoud Facilities can help. They are very discreet; if you're not a nova, no one will ever know you went, and you can rest easier at night knowing that your most complicated problems will be zits and the opposite sex. If you are a nova, the people at Project Utopia will help you learn about your powers and how to control them. They will teach you how to be safe for yourself and for others. Newly erupted novas are dangerous, even when they are always in control of themselves, because when they flex their quantum muscles, they may inadvertently wind up hurting a friend or teleporting themselves to the moon. Nova powers are nothing to take lightly, and if you have them, you can't take them lightly, either. In the worst case, finding out that you are a nova and that while you were asleep you caused these children's deaths will help keep you safe, if it should happen again and someone who didn't know you were asleep shot you or otherwise hurt you.

Also, a word about being locked up: they can't do that. What Utopia may do is keep you with them until you learn to control your powers, but I hope I've made the case that you must learn to control your powers, for your own safety and the safety of others. You will NOT be held criminally liable, however. There may be a big to-do and a lot of stir, but if you did not have a mens rea--a guilty mind--at the time of the act, then you did not commit a crime. There have been other trials involving sleepwalkers, and whether or not they are liable for actions they take while sleepwalking, and the fact of the matter is, they were not taking any conscious action, and therefore committed no crime. In order to have a crime, you must have a conscious action and the intent to commit that action. You had neither. It is possible that it may take a court case to prove this, but if everything you have said is true, then you shouldn't worry about going to jail, because it won't happen.

I wish you the best of luck, and urge you to act quickly.

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