By Muffy Borgeron
It was a strange day at ATOM Labs when maintenance worker, Gil Heredia, fell into a vat of chemicals but did not gain superpowers.
Heredia, 54, was making his normal rounds of the day when he entered one of the many chemical storage rooms. A longtime ATOM Labs employee, he is usually careful, said his manager Lauren Paladio, but accidents happen. “Gil was mopping up the walkway that goes over the vats of chemicals,” she said, “like he does everyday. He wears slip-resistant shoes, like everyone must, but according to the security camera, he just tripped over his bucket.
“I’m just thankful he’s still alive, but frankly, I’m surprised that he hasn’t gained superpowers.”
Exposure to chemicals is one of the leading causes of attaining superpowers. The UN estimates half the world’s superhuman population gained their powers by this method. “At the very least, he should have some physical mutation,” said ATOM Labs scientist, Carlos Montero. “Like tentacles for legs or blue fur. But so far, nothing. His skin is just burned, which is not a mutation. Certainly, I’m grateful he’s alive, but the fact he hasn’t grown horns and a tail confuses me. Maybe it’ll take time.”
Heredia is currently being monitored by the ATOM Labs Biology Division. His wife and two sons joined him in his room, but he is in a medically-induced coma while his body heals from his burns. Scientists expect a long recovery.