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I'm just your average person. Not rich, or particularly skilled at anything. Until a few days ago, when (for a reason I can't disclose) I got some amazing superpowers: I can fly, I'm completely invulnerable to any kind of damage and lift pretty much anything.

I've decided to use these abilities for good: Like a traditional superhero, I'm going to patrol the streets at night and save people from criminals and disasters wherever I find them.

At the same time, I'm afraid that a villain (super or not) might discover who I am and threaten my loved ones. Luckily, those powers come with a transformation. In my normal form, I'm still a regular person. If I transform (which makes me look entirely different), I can use the abilities I mentioned above.

There is no way I'd be recognised when transformed, the transformation is instant and I can trigger it at any moment simply by thinking about it. What's stopping me however is the likelihood of someone noticing me transform.

Obviously I have to do so away from public places: Not the middle of the street. But wherever I go, there's always the chance that someone will notice.
If I duck into an alley or a phone booth, there's no way to guarantee that someone from a building across the street won't have noticed that a regular person went in and StackExchangeMan flew out. Or my neighbour would notice that SEM keeps flying in and out of my windows and be suspicious.
This becomes especially difficult given that CCTV is everywhere; if the police (some of which could be corrupt, or simply not like vigilantes) check all the cameras around where SEM last appeared, they may find a good view of the entrance to the alley I used.

Is there any place in modern times where I could transform completely unnoticed?

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    $\begingroup$ Reminder to close-voters: The OP cannot fix the problem if s/he is not made aware of it. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Dec 15 '16 at 20:01
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    $\begingroup$ That being said, I don't see how this off-topic. The activities of a select group of people with a common need (concealing their true identity) in a modern environment while carrying out their moral obligation (helping others and defeating villains) is not story-based. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Dec 15 '16 at 20:03
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    $\begingroup$ Telephone booth $\endgroup$ – Devsman Dec 15 '16 at 20:07
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    $\begingroup$ To go a different direction: Transform and never change back. Sacrifice your own personal life, hurt those you love, and abandon everything. You have the ability to save so many more lives if you're always on duty. If you have super speed, your greatest good may be as an alternative energy source. What way you choose to save others, can you live with yourself knowing that you chose to have dinner at home that night rather than saving the orphanage because it would have blown your cover? $\endgroup$ – Engineer Toast Dec 15 '16 at 20:22
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    $\begingroup$ @Devsman I had the same thought. I fact, I was wondering if the transformation involved a pair of non-prescription glasses... $\endgroup$ – Ghotir Dec 15 '16 at 20:33

19 Answers 19

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How spectacular is this transformation? Can it be hidden if you simply wear a hoodie and nobody happens to see your face? Or, say, does your body suddenly become twice as big with muscles or something?

Places that are less actively surveilled include public parks, bedrooms, and restrooms. In addition you are trying to pursue anonymity by nobody seeing you, but modern anonymity software usually tries to get you to "blend in with a crowd" of other network traffic: you may prefer to change in the bathroom of a local mall, for example, where you can go in wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase, and then pull out a hoodie from your briefcase, stash the case itself in the ceiling tiles (because you can fly!) and walk out incognito in a hoodie. Okay, so "malls" are a little rare, but on busy nights you can probably do the same thing with bars, go in, order a drink, pay up, use the bathroom, change, leave in a hoodie, people who recognize you out on the street won't know which patron of the bar you were.

Or you may want to actively be mistaken as a homeless person: thick dark clothes, big backpack, etc. This means that people will mostly avert their eyes from you, but it also makes it less unusual when you go where homeless people go. Remember, homeless people will go places like under bridges where police are not likely to look. Near my apartment there's a big storm drain coming out of a hill; you have to sneak behind a guard fence to get there but homeless people like the space because it's open and sheltered from the elements (when the rain isn't flushing out through it). You change from homeless to superhero there, fly around the hill, solve crimes, change back to homeless when you return.

Some alleys may not have many windows on them but they may still not be blind: you may be able to enter in one way, transform with relative privacy, then exit the other way. Similarly, you might just drive (or even live in!) a big van, that would give you some protection.

Keep a reflective jacket and hard-hat in the trunk and people might just assume that you're an official worker if you pick up a manhole cover and head down into the sewers, no surveillance there. Come out of a different manhole and you'll be known everywhere as the smelly superhero who busts out of a manhole to save the day.

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    $\begingroup$ "Places that are less actively surveilled" ... for now. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Dec 15 '16 at 16:29
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    $\begingroup$ Get an apartment on the lowest level of a building, and use super strength to dig a tunnel connecting the storm sewer system to a secret exit (a-la the bookshelf hiding the Batpoles). This allows you to emerge from a random manhole. Get a job that can be done in a remote place (like mining for precious minerals) where your super strength can make quick work of it, and earn the money to buy that building, and a few others. Launder some money and have Superhero buy a building to be his HQ, repeat tunnel trick. Now you don't need manholes so often. $\endgroup$ – Monty Harder Dec 15 '16 at 19:29
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    $\begingroup$ "Come out of a different manhole and you'll be known everywhere as the smelly superhero who busts out of a manhole to save the day." Why is this not a real comic book series? $\endgroup$ – Devsman Dec 15 '16 at 20:16
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    $\begingroup$ This answer raises a question: can the transformation be hidden under clothes, or wardrobe change is part of the power up? If change happens only to body, the hero can in most situation pass as normal person just walking by, punching the thief, returning the purse and disappearing into the crowd. $\endgroup$ – M i ech Dec 15 '16 at 21:33
  • $\begingroup$ The Sewer Urchin character in the TV show The Tick. $\endgroup$ – SRM Dec 16 '16 at 1:05
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It's not villains you need fear, it's your own government. And in the modern world you're screwed.

There are more cameras watching us than ever before. Heck, if a spy agency realizes where your efforts are concentrated they can simply start spying through everyone's cell phone cameras, etc. and they will end up tracking you down sooner or later (my bet is on "sooner").

I would recommend keeping your head down, or otherwise moving to some remote country side where there's little to no surveillance because I honestly can't imagine any government passing up the chance to study and or dissect one such as you.

You'd not only represent a major opportunity to learn how to potentially "manufacture" super soldiers, but also a threat! What if you don't like their policies and decide to take out some politicians? Who would be able to stop you? It's simply too risky to allow you to run around unchecked.

Now, if you've got such an underdeveloped sense of survival that you still want to go ahead with being a superhero, then you should probably use some unobtrusive alley to change, and then fly straight up. However, many businesses have hidden cameras watching their back doors, and there might also be windows facing out into these alleys, and people might see you, or record you.

Basically, every time you change, you take a risk. And sooner or later you're going to get recorded. Probably "sooner".

Instead, you should probably move to some remote area in Mexico, or Columbia, and start taking out drug cartels. Live in some village where there's no surveillance, fly up high over the jungle, spot drug labs and wipe them out. Or simply attack their villas with impunity - after all, you have no corrupt politicians tying your hands, and no laws holding you back.

Keep in mind, however, that there's an endless supply of "bad guys" willing to step into their shoes, and that they might end up having access to some pretty crazy weapons.

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    $\begingroup$ The paranoid government cound even goes so far as to fund a mobile app game where you use GPS and your camera to walk around and play your game... maybe with... dunno... cute monsters you can catch... $\endgroup$ – Mindwin Dec 16 '16 at 11:43
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    $\begingroup$ @Mndwin And when it detects a face that might match, it places... er... monster caches (?) near that person to observe them more. $\endgroup$ – wizzwizz4 Dec 16 '16 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps to check them we draft up some Tony accords? $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Dec 22 '16 at 0:08
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Amish country

During the day, you are an unassuming corn farmer, or a hunter in the woods, or whatever. During the night, you retire to your no-tech shack, transform into your alter ego, and fly to the city under the cover of darkness. Patrol the city at night, then fly back home before dawn. Maybe you even have a superhero cave somewhere with all your fancy gadgets and intel center. But you never transform during the daytime, or anywhere near a city. If there is a disaster, then you have to go there at night, then surface and help people the next day, and then disappear.

Make sure you do not regularly have contact with other people at home, so that you disappearing for several days at a time is not an issue.

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  • $\begingroup$ Probably works until the time a supervillain manages to have one of their henchman attach a tracking device to anything you're carrying - your cape, for example. The superpowers do not seem to include super perception or a super intellect, so you not noticing that device is possible. $\endgroup$ – Michael Schumacher Dec 16 '16 at 15:41
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    $\begingroup$ This works if strictly limited to the scope of the OP's question (patrolling the city at night) but surely you'd also want the option of intervening when a supervillain opportunistically tries to take over the city? Often they do that in daylight hours, or so I've heard. While you're hunting your unassuming corn in the woods, how are you going to get the message that people are in danger? $\endgroup$ – jez Dec 16 '16 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelSchumacher Change clothes at your urban HQ. Don't take anything home. If the super-form allows (for example, it's covered in fur or has no obvious genitalia), don't wear clothes at all. $\endgroup$ – SPavel Dec 16 '16 at 18:25
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelSchumacher No capes! $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Dec 22 '16 at 0:09
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No one location

Pick out several locations - clumps of trees in a park, alleyways, abandoned warehouses, car parks, shopping malls - and vary your route between them. Muggles are pretty awful observers, after all, so you can take advantage of that. Yes, people are going to notice that StackExchangeMan flew out of a building, but they were very unlikely to have been paying any attention to LukeN when he went in. If witnesses can give any description at all, it's likely to be vague and generalised. If you can get more than one witness to disagree on what they saw, even better.

If you changed in a park last time, assume that park is full of Downvoteite and had for the shopping mall. If you entered the warehouse through the north side, fly out through a window on the east side. Go in on the bottom storey of a multistorey car park and fly out through level three (not the top level, though - too obvious).

But best of all?

Don't tell anyone that StackExchangeMan has a secret identity

Make it known that StackExchangeMan lives in his Fortress of Review in the wilderness of Detroit, and comes out when needed. If you have the technology to create robot duplicates of yourself, build one that can sit on a deck chair in front of the Fortress whenever you're not in action. People shouldn't even be looking for your secret identity, because even the fact that you have a secret identity is a secret.

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    $\begingroup$ Note: people have poor power of observations, but cameras... $\endgroup$ – Matthieu M. Dec 16 '16 at 7:57
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    $\begingroup$ One problem: statistics. Soon people will observe a pattern at which hours you are most active, and at which hours you are very rarely seen. Even if you sacrifice your sleep pattern by randomizing your hours of active duty, they will still discover that you are available only in a certain percentage of hours a day, so they will quickly deduce that you lead a double life. $\endgroup$ – vsz Dec 16 '16 at 21:04
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    $\begingroup$ Or that even superheroes need to sleep sometimes. $\endgroup$ – Werrf Dec 16 '16 at 21:07
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    $\begingroup$ @Werf: Think "StackExchangeMan never rescues anyone between 9 AM and 5 PM on weekdays" $\endgroup$ – Hurkyl Dec 17 '16 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Hurkyl In Death Note that's how the super detective quickly found out that the worldwide operating villain was probably a student from X timezone. $\endgroup$ – xDaizu Dec 19 '16 at 12:41
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Your problem is finding a place to change back to normal! Most folks with cameras aren't recording regular joes around them, but they are FOR DAMN SURE recording a superhero zooming around! Plus it is far more likely that authorities will know where a superhero was LAST SEEN in order to look at CC footage and witness accounts than the reverse. It is far more difficult to both recognize someone from CC footage and track their movements through time than media typically portrays, so a normal person rounding a corner and SEM (stackexchangeman) coming back around doesn't necessarily mean the normal person turned into SEM, they could have kept on walking. But SEM dropping into a bush and a normal person crawling out, well that is a red flag.

SEM has another problem as well, his electronic signature. His cell phone, RFID active devices, BT enabled smart devices, etc. Unless those things vanish into a pocket dimension when he transforms, he is either still gonna be trackable as SEM or there will be a little pile of identifiable items left behind (that he also has to go back and retrieve, greatly increasing the likelihood of being identified as SEM).

Authorities will start to create sniffer traps and hope SEM comes by. They will try to ID his electronics, collect any DNA residue he leaves behind, possibly even try to get his scent for dogs/chemical sniffers. Depending on the amount of transformation he undergoes he may retain enough facial marker consistency that facial recognition can id his non-transformed face.

But in general I think most of the focus will be on where SEM goes, rather than on where he comes from, based on the assumption that while he could be anywhere when he "goes active", but will probably return to a safe place to heal, change, or hide once the threat is over. Humans are far too predictable to be able to choose truly random places to hide, so knowing where SEM goes afterwards, even if it is just a rough idea, will yield more information about him than trying to guess where he comes from.

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  • $\begingroup$ Very well analyzed. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Dec 16 '16 at 15:41
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    $\begingroup$ This is where electricity powers come in handy $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Dec 22 '16 at 0:14
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It's a boring answer but in a highly urban setting, there are so many cameras that the only real solution to this is figuring out a few places where there are no cameras (and typically few people) and using those to transform. Society has done a pretty good job of making sure that there are few to no "private" public spaces within easy reach. If they were easy to happen across they would be be havens for crime, sex, etc.

The closest thing to a consistently "private" public place in a city would be a largish park. One where you'd blend in with the crowd going in, find a few seconds of not being watched, kick your heels together, and then fly out. The main downside to this is that when there's an emergency and you need to save the city from the villian's missile bearing down on it right fucking now, you don't have the luxury of hiking it across town for a leisurely stroll in the park first.

You could opt to have your own mobile private place. A car, for example. You'd want a van or SUV with tinted (or non-existant) windows so that nobody could see you change. The main problem with this is that if your superhero form is conspicuous (unnaturally large pectoral muscles, brightly-colored leotard, etc), someone is going to remember seeing you step out of a white 2006 Chevy Tahoe with a bumper sticker that says "My other car is a broom" sooner or later.

Third-best option: trusted associates. You bribe/coerce people who own or rent property around town to let them use your space for changing. Walk into the grocery store, exchange a raised eyebrow with the cashier, into the back room, up some stairs, presto chango, fly off the roof and beat up some evil. But what happens if (when?) those associates betray you? They could become informants or even ensnare you in a trap once they realize how much you are worth to someone else.

As others have already mentioned, the cover of night provides more options, but perhaps not significantly more.

Finally, changing into your superhero self is often going to be easier than changing back into your normal self. If you do a particularly good deed and become a media spectacle, expect the local news and police to suddenly become amazingly interested in trying to figure out who you are and what you do in your non-heroic off-hours. They will have undercover agents, spotters, spies, large cash rewards for tips, even helicopters to track your flying habits (unless you can fly very fast). Don't think you're going to be allowed to fight some crime, bask in the warm afterglow of victory and then waltz off into the sunset unhindered by adoring fans, curious reporters, and angry police. You better be damn sure what you're signing up for here.

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Go for a hike every evening. Pick an unpopular portion of woodland near your home. Hiking is perfectly normal, and as it gets dark less people will be out on the trails. Find a place in the wilderness to stash your average-joe clothing and reveal your spandex undersuit. Fly up into the night under the cover of trees, darkness, and seclusion.

Eventually gain enough money to get a house next to a lot of woodlands, and install secret tunnels from your home to various secluded areas of the forest.

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You would want to use the same places criminals tend to use to commit crimes, for the same reasons criminals use these places to commit crimes - the lack of video surveillance or reliable witnesses that allow them to get away with their crimes would allow you to get away with your transformation.

Abandoned properties, no-tell-motels, drug dens ("crack houses", etc.), an out-of-sight potion of the local skid row, or just the middle of nowhere would all do just fine. I would probably prefer a drug den or no-tell-motel, as it gives you a plausible explanation for your absence while you were off doing your super hero thing, should anyone follow you, and any witnesses who noticed something off would be both unreliable and inclined to keep their mouths shut anyway. Of course, the major drawback is that your alibi for not being a superhero is that you were strung out on illegal drugs, or sexing up your hooker at the time... but nothing's perfect.

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Underwater!

Spider-man and Elsa underwater

There's a lot of water on Earth (326 million trillion gallons of it). There's enough that we can lose entire airplanes full of people in them for years!

Just make your superhero live near a beach, and when it's time to superhero, go for a swim in the ocean. Once you get underwater, transform. You won't drown (because you're invincible) and you can come back up to the surface thousands of miles away (nobody said you could only fly through air).

Changing back is just as easy. Once you've waved goodbye to the adoring crowds, dive underwater to your "submersible base" off the coast of Portugal, surface again in mundane form on a beach in Australia.

The only downside is if someone steals your beach towel while you're superheroing.

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  • $\begingroup$ Until someone wonders how you are going for hour-long swims so often and why they see you nowhere. $\endgroup$ – Nobody Dec 16 '16 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ Big problem: That trip will take way too long. It doesn't matter how fast you can actually travel, if you want to avoid detection you have to keep your speed down. If you go supersonic there's no question the government can detect you, even high but subsonic speed should leave a tremendous wake and such things can be detected. $\endgroup$ – Loren Pechtel Dec 16 '16 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ @LorenPechtel - Luckily, "supersonic" means exceeding the speed of sound, and the speed of sound in water is a lot more than the speed of sound in air. As for wake, you're invincible. Make like Inception and go deeper. $\endgroup$ – Steve V. Dec 17 '16 at 8:37
  • $\begingroup$ @SteveV. And going deeper will somehow hide your wake? They can build instruments to go to any depth. $\endgroup$ – Loren Pechtel Dec 17 '16 at 21:36
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    $\begingroup$ @LorenPechtel - How much does one hydrophone array cost? How much would it cost to place enough hydrophones to cover 1,338,000,000 cubic kilometers of ocean? Let's hope "They" aren't on a budget. As for whether going deeper will hide your wake...yes, it actually will. $\endgroup$ – Steve V. Dec 18 '16 at 1:54
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In crowded, public place.

As others said, cameras screw you. Moreover, obvious choices like "going somewhere" also leave you vulnerable. You could argue you should abandon your phone, since you can be tracked by metadata, but let's not be that paranoid. Anyway, you just don't want yourself to be tied to the superhero appearance. What should you do?

In crowded places, people don't mind you. You are a superhero, so they will know you have superpowers. Simply wear something on your face that will make you unrecognizable(e.g. anti-pollution mask, these are getting popular now). People won't know who you are, and you will be able to transform everywhere.

Mask image

Bonus: When people see that some guy in mask transforms into the superhero, you will get followers. Thousands of people will wear those masks to be as cool as you, and this will lead to you being literally the same as others, but with your face covered.

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  • You are not going to use any electronic devices capable of communication (at least not as a hero and not immediately before you transform). This alone can make you suspicious, depending on the surveillance laws in your country (not yet, I think, but it's a somewhat realistic scenario for in 20 years if current trends continue).
  • If there is any chance you might be spotted leaving your transforming spot in hero form, you can't use it again. Ever.
  • You'll need a plausible explanation for what your normal ego is doing while you are heroing.
  • This is way easier if you are rich, you can buy a huge manor. You'll need to go the real paranoid fortress route:
    • Lots of surveillance technology in a perimeter around it
    • Private security guards (tempted to call it private army) which you make sure will also defend the property against legal intrusions (at least while you are heroing and should be at home but aren't actually)
    • Locking systems all around and also spread inside the house to make intrusions slow even if your guards fail you.
    • All rooms in the house insulated against communication attempts (sound, radio waves, light, etc.) with extra good protection for the outer walls.
    • Absolutely ban electronic devices capable of sensing anything from your house, but for a few rooms which are considered insecure and dedicated to a purpose - say a TV-Room, where you have your home cinema / multi media center, a work room with computers and Internet (for your normal persona), a work room with computers and no Internet (for you hero persona) and so on. No smart light bulbs for you!
    • Get security advisors to find additional strict rules you'll need to follow.
    • Have all your supplies flown in onto your own helipad/airport using your own aircraft, make sure to include lots of petty orders and don't shop locally, make sure to let your family help. :) Include hidden cabins (or just a locked VIP cabin for your exclusive use which no one else can open to check whether you are inside), anytime you want to leave you just smuggle yourself onto one of your aircraft. Ideally, have them designed so there is a way to leave it while airborne without being seen by the crew/cameras.
    • Of course have a couple of classic escape tunnels, but I would only use those for emergencies, because evidence of a tunnel is hard to hide if you are ever caught leaving through one.
  • Either that or go for the other extreme: If you are poor or just minimalistic, then it's also easier:
    • Go live as a nomad in low tech environments (developing countries, or just far away from city centres)
    • while living very low tech yourself.
    • Always do your heroing far away and try not to show off your maximum speed so people underestimate how far you can fly. A vertical start up to like 5km height in dark clothes at night at maximum survivable acceleration should be pretty much unnoticeable (maybe get anti-radar clothes/armor made. If a whole fighter jet can get its radar signature down to that of an uncamouflaged tennis ball, much more should be possible for something as small as a human).
  • But as an average human in Western European or American society, I don't think it's plausibly possible. Not if your own nation state is trying to find you. On the other hand, if you could coerce police into actively covering up for you:
    • Police CCTV would stop being a problem
    • Police could confiscate and muddy evidence. They would need to be careful so as not seem suspect themselves, but as soon as there is reasonable suspicion a vigilante (i.e. criminal) was seen, they should be able to openly intervene and carefully deny as much as possible.
    • If someone denunciates you but has no hard evidence (recognizes hero coming out of a public toilet, saw you transform in an alley, etc.), police could claim that CCTV proofs otherwise. They could interrogate the denunciant and undermine their credibility (even with fake alcohol tests).
    • Cell phone tracking would stop being a problem as long as you are careful with apps (easy way: don't install any) and stay well within the jurisdiction of your corrupt police force.
    • You would still need to be careful, but using most of the urban-centered suggestions in the other answers would suddenly be viable.
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From his company's tower

Step 1 - Funding

Since the original question did not specify Stack Guy's flying speed, I'm assuming it is in the realm of Superman's speed; a.k.a. pretty damn quick.

The first thing Stack Guy needs to do is fly to the asteroid belt. Find some asteroids with high concentrations of iron, nickel, gold, silver, etc. Bring them back and sell them for a couple of billions dollars (if not more). Now he has initially solved the "I'm not rich" limitation of the initial question.

Step 2 - Headquaters

Stack Guy sets up own company, Stack Guy Industries (SGI). He picks the city and neighborhood he wants to most directly influence. He buys the right parcel of land. And then he builds the Stack Guy Industries Tower (SGIT).

The SGIT is a sixteen story commercial and residential complex. (Sixteen is used for an example, the actual number of floors and their composition may vary based on Stack Guy's funds, needs, and expectations.)

The first floor is a full sized grocery store (Cub or whatever other large chain he can get). They get to use the space rent free, in return for keeping their prices low.

Floors two through five are SGI's office space. A cube farm, conference rooms, and other manager and executive offices.

Floors six through ten are research space. Some more conference rooms and offices for the scientists, but mostly various laboratories.

Floors eleven through fifteen are apartments. SGI employees are offered living quarters as part of their incentive plan, for two basic reasons (outlined below).

Floor sixteen is Stack Guy's penthouse suite, office, and primary executive conference room.

And SGIT has a secret. All of the apartments on the fourteenth and fifteenth floors have a secret door, leading to a hidden staircase, which connects to the hallway between Stack Guy's suite and the executive conference room. Stack Guy told the designers and builders it was so his main advisors would have access to the top floor in the event of a power loss or hostage situation. He also implied it was because it wouldn't be a proper hero hideout without a secret passage. He further implied that he might want his cute CTO to have private access to his room (and verse vica).

Step 3 - Human Resources

Hire SGI personnel.

Crisis Monitors take phone calls, listen to police band radios, watch news, and monitor the internet and Twitter. Stack Guy doesn't have super senses, so he needs some way to figure out where crises are happening.

SGI, and Stack Guy himself also needs a team of Lawyers. Someone is going to sue Stack Guy, and he also needs someone to negotiate contracts for TV appearances, merchandising, and non-crisis assistance (i.e. Stack Guy can hire himself out as a rocket replacement; he can carry modules to the ISS faster, safer, and cheaper than a traditional launch. Only saving the world is pro bono).

SGI also has a team of scientists. They have two jobs. The first is traditional research, SGI tries to make the world a better place by more than just sending out a flying brick to punch things. At the same time, Stack Guy might need a scientist advisor on a specific emergency; how does he stop an erupting volcano, or melting nuclear plant? Because of that, the scientists are more strongly encouraged to live in SGIT, so they are on hand 24/7.

Beyond that SGI will need IT, maintenance workers, publicists, HR, and division managers.

Step 4 - Bring it all together

Stack Guy only ever appears from SGIT. Usually flying off the private deck on the top floor, but sometimes through the front doors for various reasons.

Meanwhile George T (Stack Guy's original/secret identity) is hired on by SGI in whatever mid to high ranking job best fits his skill set and work history. Whatever position it is, it comes with a fourteenth floor apartment. So now George can sneak back and forth between his apartment and Stack Guy's suite. And he (and dozens of other people) have a plausible reason to live in the same building Stack Guy always appears from.

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War zones

I get the comic book lore of patrolling Gotham City or Metropolis for purse snatchers. But the fact is, you'll have so much work in Aleppo you'll never get out of the city limits, and it's real easy to hide in a war zone. Unexplained phenomena are easily lost in the fog of war.

And if you ever did have any spare time, there are those two small projects in Fukushima and Chornobyl that need a super person just to get cameras into hard places. Who knows, might even pick up a few more superpowers.

You're gonna be booked solid.

The Illuminati

"Listen, gumshoe. You've done pretty well to get this far, but you're not the first and you're way, way above your pay grade. Do you really think it's half as simple as we make it look? Sigh... Put it this way, do you really think a fellow like me could operate without sanction from the highest... possible... levels?"

You want to be buddying up with the Illuminati or other supranational entity, because they care about the shape of the world, not about dissecting and militarizing you. Find them. And if the Illuminati doesn't exist... form it.

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Use your abilities.

You've said that you can fly - this is a significant 'Force Multiplier' as you can be where you need to be very swiftly; so why 'patrol the streets at' all? Your best bet would be to use technology to help - and you've provided that technology in the form of CCTV.

Exactly how you use the CCTV is going to depend on a few factors, but the options would seem to be:

  1. Have a sidekick who is a computer whizz. They hack the CCTV, monitor the feeds and direct you to where you need to be.
  2. DIY it - if you're able to hack the feed, then you don't need the sidekick (although that means a greater workload for you)
  3. Make a friend amongst the CCTV operators. If something goes down, then they contact you
  4. Create your own net, placing webcams in likely trouble spots

Once you're doing that, you no longer need to 'patrol' and can find an ideal point for your base - a nice abandoned lot, somewhere fairly central. No need to worry about transforming, etc - you take your time going in to make sure no one sees at the start of your 'shift'. You can put your 'command centre' (if using option 1 or 2) there, and simply fly out when you need to. You're much more likely to spot a crime happening that way, as you have several sets of 'eyes' instead of just one.

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  • $\begingroup$ Weak answer, in my opinion, because many CCTV cameras aren't networked, there's also cell phones, there's no index to find all of them (and they're ubiquitous). Generally I think this is an unworkable approach. $\endgroup$ – SRM Dec 16 '16 at 1:08
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Jump in a manhole and transform in the sewer. I don't think there's any cameras, they'd have to be infrared if they are. If you're dressed up as a worker, maybe even arriving in a truck, this might provide an alibi for a while. Of course only until someone notices this superhero appearing out of the sewer every time, and then they figure out you are the one going down all along.

Once transformed, you may be able to fly to the end of those channels, and fly back to where you need to be. This way there's some disconnect between where the hero came from and where the normal person left.

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I would say the transform part is not so much of a problem

Habit is your enemy

The true problem will be every time you change in some place you will have to leave it! And maybe J. Doe is unnoticed when you enter a place but StackExchangeMan will obviously be.

Even if you change at night in a large desert area you will have to change back at some point and the question remain the same, as you will be tracked by your foes/government/supervillain...

May you fly really, really fast. Not sure it help, maybe it's even worst as you will be easily tracked by sound or some kind of thermic satellite detection (friction is your nemesis)

Whatever,at some point someone will notice the you're not their every time StackExchangeMan save the world. If you got a family and don't want them too know i can't figure anyway to leave without bieng noticed. Maybe lie on your job and pretend you work by night as security agent or something like that?

I would says the three solution for you are:

  1. Never change back, no problem, you don't care you'are so strong noone can hurt you. Of course it as some drawback concerning your personnal life
  2. Live alone, as an asocial and unloved people in some desert place. Noone will have interest in you, you can leave when you want to go save some innocent. Obvious downside is your real live is not really funny.
  3. Teleport!!! If teleportation is inside your powers it solve a lot of problem. You appear from nowhere and come back to no where. Impossible to track you, you can change in your own bathroom if you want ^^
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My vote: Home.

It's just "home" is in a large wooded area in a place with huge amounts of fog.

Travel only at night. Make yourself an anti-radar suit. Transform, fly up to your fortress (SEM's "home" in orbit) and leave the stealth suit there. Keep your airspeed down, your takeoff is pure vertical. By the time you're clear of the fog you'll be high enough that you won't be eyeballed from the ground and you monitor the air traffic to stay away from planes. (You need to do this anyway, you don't want a midair!) Lift vertically to the height of your station, then accelerate. Nothing will show this flight. Make your normal flights to/from your fortress very obvious--NASA-style returns and when going up make your gravity turn low--boost to orbital velocity while still high in the stratosphere. Both ways you leave a fiery trail in the sky, make it look like you can only do minimal maneuvers out of atmosphere.

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Place where it is considered wrong to say that you were there, or to record who goes there.

So I am thinking

AA meetings

or another kind of X-Anonymous meeting.

While the attendance AA meetings are not legally privileged information (in most places). No one who attends should be willing to tell you were there. And they by design as supposed to be in places where you going in and out is not a matter of public record.

Similar for any kind of community drug rehab clinic. Domestic Violence centers probably also. In the right places, church's would work as well.

So you go to the meeting hall. Maybe attend the meeting, maybe not. Go to the toilet, and then skip out.

In a large city, you can probably find one, any night of the week.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think this answer works for turning into the superhero, but as other answers have pointed out, the bigger problem is turning back into your normal self. I don't think the AA solution works. Is there more you could add to make it viable? $\endgroup$ – SRM Dec 17 '16 at 22:57
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Ok here's a pretty cool answer I think:

Study geology* and use your super human skills to create an elaborate underground labyrinth! The labyrinth could have multiple access points to the outside world and could have connections to multiple indoor-type places (some shed in Nebraska, a mountain hut in Switzerland, some place near your own home). A combination of the difficulty of your labyrinth, together with the use of a lot of entry/exit points should make it very difficult to pinpoint the origin of your location.

Perhaps you will need to restructure the labyrinth from time to time to make sure no one ever maps it completely (be sure to remove any children or spies before you do).

One obvious problem with this is the fact that you will need to get to an entry point before you can transform, which might take some time depending on where your location is relative to the entry point.

* Not sure if you really need to study geology or something else, but you want to make sure you don't accidentally start collapsing buildings or other structures by digging tunnels.

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protected by Community Dec 16 '16 at 13:02

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