Discussion in 'Imperium OffTopicum' started by jackelgull, Apr 7, 2019.
UPDATE 0: Orientation
There were many perks to being the student council president at Hero High. It gave you authorization to learn many of the secrets of Hero High, and access to many more through channels of inquiry opened by your position. Plus through the student council’s hands flowed the club budgets. But unfortunately, it also meant giving the student orientation speech. Apparently the headmaster felt the students would “respond better to one of their peers” which Christian felt was a load of bullcrap, the man was lazy and probably couldn't be bothered. But whatever, Christian was aware of his privileges and not ungrateful for them.
The suit is stifling in the summer sun, and he discretely scratches under his collar before looking out at the incoming freshmen. The crowd is listless, almost silent, and Christian runs through several approaches in his head. In the end he decides to wake the crowd up first.
Concentrating hard, his hands burst into flames and form a fireball. He makes it explode, causing a huge noise.
The crowd jumps in its skin, no longer an energyless mass.
“My name is Christian Brown” he speaks loudly to snap them out of their shock, “and I can control fire. I am also the president of the student council.”
He has their attention now, he can tell. He nearly grins. There’s always a thrill in using his powers, the knowledge that the very shifts in energy that makeup every conceivable reaction in the universe were also at his fingertips. Well a specific set of energy changes anyways. He couldn’t really change energy except to make fire, but it was still really cool.
“Instead of boring you with the values of our school and the history behind it, I’m going to cut to the chase. Today all of you are assembled here to attend Hero High. Many of you came in with some kind of preconceived notion of what we are or how we run. I want you to throw away those conceptions right now, as well as everything you think you know about schooling. Because Hero high isn’t, at its core really a school. It’s more than that. It’s an experimenter’s laboratory, and tinkerer’s workshop, a place of near unlimited freedom for all of you to explore your powers. There are really no teachers or student’s here, everyone here is a mentor on a lifelong journey to learn.
You will of course have regular classes on the regular high school subjects, but attendance is not necessarily mandatory, show up at anytime at any class and learn. The only mark of your success and failure will be the final exams. It will be up to you to have the self discipline to come to class when you need to learn and to approach the professors for lessons. But no worries, I have complete faith in your ability to succeed. It is why you have all been chosen - you have demonstrated the self discipline and initiative to succeed in these unique circumstances.
However while this school is very lax in its attitude towards experimentation, your safety is our paramount concern and any student caught nonconsensually using their powers on another student or causing harm will be disciplined. In the most extreme cases they may be expelled.
To close off this speech, I need to let you know a few things. One is that each of you will assigned your very own dorm room, because once you are a student of hero high, you are not allowed to leave the campus without permission from the headmaster. This is for your own safety and I advise strongly against breaking this rule. Second, if you have any problems with another student feel free to approach the student council. We are the ones in charge for mediating disputes between students and enforcing the school policies and creating a safe environment. And finally, your student guidebooks, with your dorm number, as well as the schedule of classes and the school’s rules and policies will be made available to you. Once you get them, you are free to leave, although you are also welcome to mingle and get to know your fellow classmates better.”
“Thank you for your attention, I will see you when school begins” Christian finishes with a bow and leaves the auditorium.
Waiting for him at the entrance to the student council exit is the head of the Discipline and Enforcement Committee, Grimm. At 6 feet, 8 inches tall and a hulking figure, Grimm was exactly the sort of person you’d want in charge of breaking up situations before they got violent, or ending whatever violence there was already there. He could also take a punch, really really well. He’d been on fire, electrocuted, and with his arm chopped off, and he just shrugged it all off and went back to normal, it was one of the eeriest things Christian had ever seen.
“Do you have some business with me?” Christian asked coolly.
“I wanted to congratulate you on giving a fine speech, you really sold the students on our values and ‘core mission’”, Grimm spoke, his voice becoming even more sardonic at core mission. To an outsider this conversation would appear bizarre. Christian knew because of their history together that Grimm was just mocking the facade of the school the layers of deception and subterfuge the true mission hid behind. He also had little to no respect for the actual mission of the school. It was just his default setting - irreverent mockery not particularly targetted to anyone or anything just directed everywhere - at himself and the world in general. Christian despised it and despised Grimm as a result..
“Yes yes, I know I hardly gave a stirring oration on freedom and the self improvement, and yes i know such a speech would largely be meaningless. Now please if you’re done with your ritual dose of useless mockery, get to the point.”
Deciding he’d had his fun, Grimm said, “So which one of these freshman do you see becoming a problem?”
“Why do you think I know? This is the first time I’ve seen any of them.”
“Don’t tell me you didn’t thoroughly read the files of those that were accepted”, Grimm pointed out.
“Well, how nice of you to take interest in the work of the student council. If only you’d do so when you aren’t bored out of your mind.”
Grimm shrugs, “hearing the exploits of troublemakers is entertaining, dealing ith them is a hassle I go through only if I have to.”
Christian sighs, “Look, I know you don’t really give a damn, but seriously, keep an eye on Tomyris. If an A rank causes trouble, it’ll bring more scrutiny then it’s worth.”
Grimm snorts, “She can literally go on a killing spree and it wouldn’t change anything, or haven’t you been paying attention to the school shooting statistics in the America.”
Christian replies dryly, “I was rather hoping this school have better PR then the NRA, given we don’t have a constitutional amendment to hide behind.”
“Alright, alright”, Grimm says, “I’ll keep an eye on Tomyris”
Special event for crezth:
Grimm wasn’t the most hardworking of student council members - he did the bare minimum of what he considered his job, and no more and no less. But Tomyris was an A-rank super, and as much as he didn’t care, Christian of the headmaster wouldn’t let him hear the end of it, if he didn’t at least try to monitor her. So during the after orientation bonding period, he’d been sort of orbiting in a trajectory around her. From what he observed, she definitely fit the bill of trouble. Her shoulders were squared up in preparation for battle and her face was hostile and untrusting. She was approaching this school from the position of adversary, which was bad, because this place mostly kept a lid on its secrets by convincing its students they were its friends, or atleast, not something to actively be resisted. Not, of course, that she was wrong to be suspicious.
He wondered what she’d heard, if she was a believer in one of the myriad conspiracy theories surrounding this school. Did she hear that this place was part of the Illuminati? That this was a front for the CIA? That the headmaster was an evil alien god? Briefly he amuses himself with the thought of giving her a tour of the real school. He wonders if she’ll run screaming and then never stop.
She’s met up with another student. Someone’s name who begins with a T maybe? Grimm knows he’s been given her file, but honestly he couldn’t give a crap. After talking to her Tomyris seems more … relaxed. She still seems hostile and untrusting, but it no longer feels as sharp. He wonders who that girl Tomyris spoke to is, and then wonders if he cares enough to find out. Probably not, he concludes.
Now Tomyris is leaving orientation with trickles of other students. Time, he thinks, to introduce himself
Name: Morgan Fisher
Physical appearance (optional): Shorter than average and a bit skinny, with a distance runner's physique. Tan skin, chin-length wavy brown hair, and hazel eyes. Usually wears jeans and a red jacket.
Powers: Phasing. Morgan can "phase" themself, parts of themself, or nearby objects or people, rendering them intangible. They're limited to ~20m of influence, and a phased entity return to normal if it leaves this range. Morgan can control whether phased stuff falls through floors and whether multiple phased objects interact normally or clip through each other. If something is dephased while inside another object, it is shunted out to the nearest open space. Heat and light affect phased stuff normally.
Threat Level: C - Literally untouchable by conventional weapons, but offensively limited and vulnerable to fire or explosives.
The enforcers: Legally, Hero High is obligated to have security on campus in order to protect the students and staff from any kind of threat, including a super gone beserk. However, security of any kind would mean outside oversight, and make it harder to control the flow of information. And so the school naturally hit on the perfect solution - they made an arrangement with a private security company to subcontract work to hero high students. The enforcers are the result and are in essence a private police force.
They’re in charge of enforcing school policy on drugs (as well as breaking up fights and generally upholding the law) and are hilariously bad. Not only are students not really well trained for the task (it doesn’t help their contractor’s only training is “five signs you’re dealing with crack”) and undermanned and underequipped(you try policing a student body of 450 with like a dozen enforcers) the head enforcer Grimm also doesn’t really give a damn.
The enforcers are also responsible for handling anti-social students as well as students who get to close to the truth behind the school although this is not a publicized part of their duties. Being an enforcer requires a deliberate and practiced incuriosity towards the various weird stuff you encounter and a total lack of concern about what happens to the people you hand off to the nice men in top hats and masks (You’re officially being told they’re being sent to the school counselor but the excuse is laughably thin at best). Since the job offers a stipend it’s often taken up by students from poorer backgrounds so they have money to send home or spend at the business district in the eastern side of school
Also next update is being planned in two weeks please respond to orientation by then. Here’s what I expect from you - at minimum tell me how you’ll respond to the event by giving me a sentence
Welcome aboard marcher, I also need you to give me how you respond to the orientation, it can be as simple as “My character goes to their dorm” and that’s it. A more complex response isn’t of course highly welcome
Hero High, New Hampshire, 08/31/2019
Lucy was aghast at the gigantic mockery of education that was Hero High's orientation. She had been assured repeatedly that she would be attending the top school in the country whose alumni went on to be the biggest influences in whatever field they were in. But this... speech, if it can even be called that, dashed all of that away. No mandatory attendance? The only gauge of one's success or failure being the final exam? And what was this about not being able to use our powers on each other? This was a superhero school was it not? How on God's green earth am I supposed to get through the day and all my studies without it, she thought.
Lucy looked around at the people next to her and thought about what the student council president had said about "self-discipline". A stupid ol' jock in one of those sports jackets, a kid in what seems to be a school uniform from another school muttering in some weird language under his breath, a girl quite loudly talking to another girl seated right next to her not even pretending to care, someone with dyed hair and earphones in, and... is that someone floating above her seat? God, all of these people are too weird and insufferable, Lucy commented under her breath. So much for being among the best and brightest when you have these fools as classmates. Calling them classmates might even be a stretch, as half of them probably won't even show up to their classes and the other half will probably fail even if they do.
And with that she leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms in a huff.
Frankfort, Kentucky, 04/22/2019
The wait was unbearable. Seated in a wooden chair in a brightly lit hallway, Lucy gazed at the door in front of her, listening to the person typing within. The door read Jason Valdez, the name of the government official that had been leading the testing of Lucy as part of the National Super Power Registration Act. He was a very old man, Lucy would hazard a guess of in his sixties or seventies, and sported wispy grey hair and big round glasses that covered half his face. She resented him, both for forcing her to come to Frankfort to be tested for the past month and for the slow, plodding style of speech he had.
Uncrossing her arms, Lucy turned her attention away from the door and toward her foot, bobbing up and down in boredom. Her meeting was scheduled for eight o'clock, instead she found herself sitting here for half an hour. Fortunately for her, the wait wouldn't be much longer. She could hear Mr. Valdez move about and head toward the door.
Lucy straightened up as Mr. Valdez opened the door, never lifting his eyes from the stack of paper in his hands.
"Ah... Ms. Dormer?" he called out.
Lucy responded in the affirmative, and then he replied, "Can you confirm your birth date for me?"
"November Eighteenth, Two Thousand and Four."
Lucy considered how useless of a question this was. She had been meeting him for the past two weeks, can't he recognize her by now? Or is his vision just that bad? Maybe if he would actually look at her he would stand a chance of knowing.
The official led her inside her office. It was a pretty cramped and barren place, save for the cluttered desk in the middle of it. What wasn't covered by papers and reports had a computer on top of it, the monitor facing away from the doorway. It was rather cool in here, as it was for much of the rest of the building.
Mr. Valdez took his seat in his chair squished between the wall and the desk, and Lucy sat down in one of the other chairs facing the desk. The man began to click away at things Lucy could not see for a minute or two, followed by rifling through the papers on his desk. Stopping to clean his glasses first, Mr. Valdez went on to offer an explanation about the delay.
"Computer troubles, you see. This old machine is getting on in its years like me, and doesn't want to work half the time. You know how government stuff is, right?" He chuckled.
Lucy didn't respond, other than to give a half-hearted smile. Truthfully she had to force herself to.
"Well, your last test was completed last Friday, and you're all good to go after I give you your results. The lab folks liked to call it 'Waking Energy Siphon', and while I'm sure you're aware of your own power I believe I have to go over its effects with you. You see, when you make eye contact with someone else you begin to drain them of energy, so to speak. They grow lethargic, or tired, and after a few minutes are liable to pass out. You, though, grow more alert, more... awake, and you report having difficulty sleeping after the act. We believe this is because you are using this energy to stay awake. Are you following me?"
They're treating her like a child, Lucy thought. She's been using this power since she was seven, though she had told them otherwise, and despite showing awareness of how it works they seemed to have bought her lie. And what's with thinking I don't know what lethargic means?
Lucy nodded, hiding her contempt for the man.
Mr. Valdez smiled and looked back at his computer. "While we understand this ability might be disruptive to you, your family, and your social circle, we are pleased to report based on our present understanding of your power and from the screenings we had you take that you are a perfectly safe individual. You see, we have several tiers of what is called the Threat Scale. Starting with S at the top, and going down from A to F, like your school grades. We've elected to assign you the grade of F, meaning you pose minimal threat to your community."
Mr. Valdez smiled as if she was supposed to take it well. Most people would be hurt to be considered a threat at all, but this is not what Lucy took issue with.
"F?", she whispered faintly to herself. Lucy might come from a sheltered life in one of the most rural areas of the country, but she had heard about other superpowered individuals before. It was an open secret all the top names among them were Bs at least. The best of the best, the pioneers of tomorrow. Yet she, Lucy Dormer, top of her class in every respect had only earned an F? She had never earned an F in anything before in her whole life! There had to be some mistake, something they overlooked. There was no way her power was so weak it only deserved an F.
The official droned on, unaware of the miniature panic attack Lucy was having over this. He was completely unaware of just how badly she was missing the point of the threat scale, instead talking about laws regarding use of powers and schooling options available to superpowered individuals. She paid no mind to any of this, consumed by her thoughts for the next twenty minutes.
In her childhood, Cassidy Fitzgerald never showed fear. Not when she first discovered her powers (by punching a boy giving her lip). Not when the telepathic kid in elementary school for 'gifted children' entered her mind like rain through an open window. When her father had to move to Chicago, and neglected to inform her until days before it actually happened, she just spat into the dirt. "Well damn. And I was getting so attached to this place too." Dalia, who sat next to her, just laughed and shook her head wistfully.
When she finally moved away, they each promised to write, having failed to say, at least in Cass's case, what lay in their hearts. "I needed you. I wouldn't be okay without you."
But she is not okay. On her first day at the new middle school for metas in Chicago, she learns that at least two of the children in the classroom are telepaths and begins to sweat.
The lady of the castle fears only four things. One of them is supplies shortages. Another is artillery, but some castles placed cannons on their own walls, like a tiger who has eaten her hunter and digested his gun into being a shiny and lethal new fang.
Except in four ways, the castle is invincible. And so, the lady of the castle is free of concerns.
Cass never writes to Dalia. She doesn't know what to say to her. What would she talk about anyways, the weather? That they opened up a new Costco?
That she misses her?
She doesn't like the other children because they keep asking her what she can do, and how things were like back where she came from. Even Dalia counts as a child. Yes, Dalia was was a friend, but friendship must also have its own terms of armistice. Own terms of disengagement.
She wants to tell her that she's afraid, but that would entail admitting that she was only pretending to be brave.
The meta-human surgical team hoping to work with her comes from China. They are hoping to use her and her powers to test a new experimental surgery. Using Cass' telekinesis, they will solder a new connection between the amygdala and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, a feedback loop that will help the brain learn to control its own fear and anxiety. Though they never use the word fear or anxiety. They use the terms: Trauma. Disorder, like a routed army fleeing to a stronghold.
They never mention turning Cass into a castle. Probably a mere sideeffect.
Five years since her mind was invaded, and the sight of telepaths still made her go numb. She sweats uncontrollably and lies awake for hours, paralyzed, her heart a small unsteady pain. But no one has ever noticed, and she’s never told anyone. She has never shown any fear before.
When she wakes up from her own self-surgery aided by the Chinese surgeons, however, she is a castle. She knows it in her walls. Now, now she can be as strong and aloof as she wanted. She goes to talk to other children and make new contacts. She begins to write to Dalia. She helps her sometimes with math homework over skype.
"You're so kind," Dalia whispers. "Can I...?"
"No, nothing," Cass replies flashing a warm smile. "There's nothing I need, now."
"Has your social relationship improved?" the psychosurgeon asks, tapping at his notebook. Certainly, his English improved.
"Oh yes," Cass replies. "I think the surgery has been a great success so far."
"And your control over your own powers have also improved?"
"Yes, haven't you seen that I'm floating around now?" Cass says, coyly waving from above.
"That is great to hear, Miss Fitzgerald," the psychosurgeon smiles. "You have no idea how much this research will improve the lives of telekinetics like you."
"No doubt. No doubt. I've been helping people a lot more. Reconnected with a friend."
"Your friend. Is he or she..."
"Is she a metahuman, too?"
"Yes," Cass says. She touches down on the ground. "I'm helping her deal with some stuff."
"Would you say that she would also benefit from a surgery like yours?"
Cass pretends to think for a moment. "No," she says. "She's already being helped."
"Anything else you would like to report, Miss Fitzgerald?"
"Nothing. Nothing else."
The lady of the castle is safe within her walls. Without a supplies shortage or incoming artillery bombardment, the castle will usually withstand the test of time. It was intended to house the lady and her family for generations, after all.
Within its walls, the lady is god. She may be free of the concerns of the outside world. However, even the lady of the castle fears spies.
Her mind grows more convoluted every day as she devises more and more intricate neural traps and thought patterns to confuse any would-be-spies. With a taste acquired for psycho surgery, she has no intention of stopping any time soon.
Unexpectedly, Dalia undermines her.
"You were never going to tell me," she skypes one day.
"Psychosurgery--is this some kind of lobotomy?"
"I don't know what you are talking about."
"Stop it. I've already heard everything. The way you just got over... just got over everything. I thought I was just being a coward. I thought I wasn't strong enough when compared to you."
"I wanted to help," Cass says, after while. "I thought it would help me help."
"I don't know. I just thought... I just thought... maybe when you wrote to me again, that you were scared too. I guess you were, but it's gone now. I wish you could get it back. I wish--"
Cass has had enough. She slams shut the doors to her castle. She walks off to scream.
Even the mighty lady of the castle is afraid of loneliness.
But the castle is a lonely creature, standing alone atop the mountains and hills.
It is a fear that can not be avoided. The destiny of a castle was to be alone.
"Miss Fitzgerald, the results of your latest telekinetic training was impressive indeed," the psychosurgeon says with a great big smile. "Am I correct in thinking that your levitation can now last indefinitely? Your ability to interact with microscopic objects appear improved as well--would you say that your senses improved? Tell me everything, please!"
"The lady of the castle does not concern herself with outside affairs such as gravity and visual input," the mouth answers for her while she ponders a new robotic design. The psychosurgeon blinks, as if he has suddenly lost all of his hard-won English skills. "I'm sorry, can you run that by me again?"
Cass sighs. "Yes, fine control seems to have improved. I believe, however, self-visualization is far more important aspect of attaining control than the surgery itself. By visualizing myself as being detached from concerns, I can devote further computational power into calculating necessary vectors to keep me afloat. And to process input from my telekinesis."
The psychosurgeon frowns. "But you would say that the surgery has helped you in attaining this self-visualization?"
"Yes, I suppose so."
"This is wonderful data. You have no idea how much help you have provided us, Miss Fitzgerald."
"That is nice to hear."
"And your other psychological issues? Do you think this psychosurgery have helped you in reining in control of your trauma and disorder?"
"Yes, I suppose so."
It's a new high school, and Cass is still not afraid. She has not been afraid for the past few years.
She walks off to find someone to talk to. Maybe that telepath-looking girl will do.
Mallory standing along with the crowed of other students as they wait for the school orientation to begin. Other people around her are just as silent as her waiting for speaker to welcome them all. Mallory closes her eye tuning everyone out as think about the new environment she been placed in and the incident that brought her here. "Maybe things will be different this time", Mallory thought as she opens her eyes due to hearing a loud explosion sound happening in front of the crowed.
There Mallory saw a man with silky brown hair wearing suit and ties with pair of old spectacles that gave him a academic like appearance. Everyone else around Mallory were either amazed or not really impressed with the man display. Her response to the attempt at wowing the audience was only rising her left eyebrow in a questionable matter as it felt that his attempt was akin to act of a modern man showing cavemen a matchstick on fire.The man name was Christian and he introduce himself to the crowed as he goes into giving his speech. Mallory didn't really pay that much attention to Christian's speech as she heard this kind of speech from her guidance counselors so many time with the only difference being superpowers being tagged onto it.
After giving his speech and telling everyone their free to go Mallory raise from her chair while taking out a small black book titled The Raven by Edgar Alan Poe. She started to walked out but not before taking one glance around herself to see the people that would be her classmates for the rest of the time she here. Mallory had to admit that her classmates colorful bunch as she saw a blond hair jock, a weebo, a blue hair girl with leather jacket who judging from patches a music lover, the black token girl, and some girl with glass maybe a nerd or elitist. "Well if you include me we surely have the stereotypical school cliques patent down", thought Mallory while sighing as she continue slowly walking with her book in hand.
Jeremy Ford was super excited to be finally here! So many stand users! But there was one thing he was more excited about - it was Friday and that meant it was JoJos Friday! Jeremy excitedly ran back into the room to see what Girno and his gang were up to this week.
OOC: Sorry guys I'm a bit busy I'll try do some more substantial RP later.
Name: Marcus Andale
Physical appearance: The first word to come to mind when describing Marcus is tired. He has a perpetual case of bed-head and there are always dark rings under his eyes. Standing at 6' tall and 145 pounds Marcus has often been called things such as beanpole or boney boy. If you were to open his eyes during the day you would see they are a dark brown, matching his hair color. At night however, his eye color changes to an unnatural indigo and his hair changes to match. He is usually seen wearing beat up sneakers, sweatpants, and a hoodie. He is 15 years old.
Powers: Dream manifestation.
While he is asleep, he manifests his own dreams into reality. The creations are always brightly colored and reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoon characters. They are often soft and fluffy and vulnerable to damage, but they have the added benefit of being able to empower others with various effects. The stronger the person's desire, the stronger the effect empowers them. For example, if someone wants to become stronger, a cartoonish muscle suit forms around them, greatly increasing their strength. To avoid pulling in other peoples dreams into his own, Marcus sleeps during the day, earning him the moniker Daydreamer. While in this dreaming state he can still perceive what goes on around him and can sleepwalk to wherever he needs to be.
During the night, Marcus wakes up and his appearance and powers change. While awake, he can pull horrors from the unconscious fears and nightmares of those around him. These manifestations are most powerful against those they are drawn from, often growing stronger as the target becomes increasingly terrified.
Background: Marcus was born in a small town in rural Pennsylvania. His father owned the local car repair shop and his mother was a waiter at the local diner. There was not much to do in the small town, so to fight off boredom, Marcus and his friends had to use their imaginations. They had massive mock battles against zombie hordes and evil super villains. Marcus often got in trouble for daydreaming during class and as he grew older it got worse. When he went to sleep at night, he was often tormented by nightmares not of his own making. He kept dreaming up the fears of his friends and family, eventually driving him to stay awake as long as he could to avoid the nightmares. Finally at the age of fourteen, his dreams began to manifest into reality. He had fallen asleep during class when a creature from his dreams was formed above his head. Through it he could see the startled looks of his classmates and his own sleeping form. After much searching, his parents eventually found a place to put their special child, and off he went to Hero High. In order to avoid the dreams of others mingling with his, Marcus now sleeps during the day and is awake during the night. Through his dream manifestations, he can still interact with the world by using his creations to see and move his body for him.
Daydreamer: C. While the manifestations can handle small arms fire, larger caliber rounds and high explosives tear them apart. The manifestations main strength is in their ability to empower others.
Waking Nightmare: B While more powerful in one on one combat, the manifestations can use common fears, such as death and spiders, to combat multiple enemies. His powers are weak against coordinated and driven enemies, making fighting a well trained, battle-hardened army nigh impossible.
Spoiler Laurel being Judgey :
Laurel stifled a yawn as the… what was he again? Debate Club president or something? droned on about ‘school values’ and ‘being a mentor’. The fireball he’d shot off was pretty cool, but when it became obvious he wasn’t going to do a repeat performance Laurel’s attention moved to his fellow students. Gotta be honest, he wasn’t impressed. The little pod he’d been herded to was full of scrawny little oddballs, he was fairly sure none of them did any sports. Well, the skinny twins might play tennis, but that only kind of counted and even then they didn’t really have the build to be any good. Anyways. There is a nerdy girl who looked like she didn’t get enough sleep and... was she asleep? Christ. Could be handy, he didn’t have access to Gilbert’s books anymore and she looked the type. Near her was a goth with a notebook out, she seemed just as bored with the whole speech as him and had a notebook out. Couldn’t get a good look at what she was doing with it, probably angsty poetry. Near her was another goth, kinda reminded him of one of those ‘trolls’ he’d occasionally seen on Gilbert’s computer, they were from some comic. Dunno, couldn’t really get a read on her. Heh, read. There was the twins who seemed to be in the I’m-nothing-like-her stage, with one in what was probably natural black hair and the other dying hers bright white, like she was pulled right from one of those animes Gilbert so loved whining about, and the way they were carefully keeping their distance from each other. They both had the same look of a crazy in their eye, that was never good. If they started painting the walls red and muttering about bodies being mortal cages and death being the ultimate freedom he was out. Well, no, but damn him if he would put up with that. The school had counsellors for that sort of thing, they’d fix them. Whatever. Anyways, he could make out sitting on the far side of the evil twin a tallish boy with heavy bags under his eyes. That’s two sleep-deprived classmates, though this one seemed to at least be staying awake. Well, that’ll make standing out easier at least, tired people generally aren’t good at schoolwork and are pretty suggestable. Speaking of suggestable, there was a bright-eyed and grinning brunnette who was lapping up the lecture about school rules. She at least seemed normal and… woof. Behind her. That hair. The silent air-guitar with… holy ****, were those sparks? Now there was someone he could respect. She didn’t look sporty, but god-DAMN did it not matter. There was also some black girl, looked a little young, and a.. boy? Girl? Damned if he could tell, and an older student. Probably a ‘mentor’ or something equally stupid. Back to Rocker Chi-damn, she was talking to one of the twins. Maybe if he… no, the background droning had stopped and everyone was standing to leave. Oh well, he’d talk to her later after they got to their dorm. Christ, he was moving into a dorm. It was like going to college, but four years early. This was going to be amazing.
Jonathan was standing at some distance from the crowd of students waiting for the school orientation to begin. He had a slight smile on his face, reminding himself of when he first came to the school. 'Newbies...'
As Christian was giving his speech, Jonathan approached closer to the other students. He stood silently, hearing to Christian speaking. Truth to be told, he wasn't that much interested in that speech. He was there mostly because he had volunteered to aid the new students integrate themselves in their new school and help them with any social problems they may have. It wasn't the most desirable of tasks for an older student to undertake but someone had to do so and Jonathan's social skills meant that he was the best suited for the job.
His past was somewhat different than that of most other students. His father was a corporate executive and his mother was a research biologist. Thanks to their connections, especially those of his affluent father, he had an easy time getting accepting into Hero High. When he first came to the school, he was a lot like those other students though. He was alone and a bit afraid of this new, strange home but he had a strong sense of mission; to not disappoint his parents and become a good enough student in order to gain admission to Harvard. Jonathan, being eloquent in his words, was able to quickly make friends and gain a reputation for his good social skills. As he quipped sometimes, being a conversationalist was his second superpower.
Once Christian had finished giving his speech, Jonathan coughed a bit. Seeing that few paid attention he coughed a bit louder. "Hey!" he said. "A moment please? Thank you. My name is Jonathan Wang and I am one of the older students here. I have partially completed the school curriculum and as such I have been in your position. I have volunteered to aid newbies like you find their place in the school and help you with any social problems you may have. If anyone needs my help, just ask me. Don't be strangers!"
One Week Earlier
As the private jet of the Vastag family finally reached the Atlantic on its way to America, Vanessa couldn't help but feel a little excited. She'd been all over Europe at this point, but it was the first time she'd gone to a new continent, so it really did feel like an adventure. She almost wished her father was coming along to see her off, but as usual he was busy entertaining his new lady friend and probably working on getting Vanessa another sibling. The more things change, she supposed...
"Kíváncsi vagyok, hogy igaz-e, hogy minden amerikaiak valóban kövérek?" Vanessa wondered aloud.
"Nem mindegyik, méz," the tall, raven-haired and elegantly dressed woman sitting across from her responded. "And you should probably get used to speaking English, Vanny."
"My English very well, Melinda!" Vanessa protested. "I know several languages, nem?"
"Well Americans only know the one, so you should get used to it," Melinda said, prompting the two of them to laugh. Melinda had only been her nanny for a couple of years after her last one was fired for blabbing about an affair to the tabloids, but Vanessa had really grown to like her in a short time, and while she probably accompanied Vanessa to the United States partially to visit family she had there, it meant a lot to have her along for the ride.
"It will be interesting to see how American school works," Vanessa mused. "A place where I can experiment with powers and meet others like me? It sounds fun!"
"More fun then those NATO academies who were clamoring to take you in?"
"Oh absolutely. I checked them, you know, and not single one had drama club! How do you have proper school without drama club?"
"Philistines," Melinda joked, scrolling through her phone. "And I take it Hero High at least has one?"
"I...think so. But matters not, if there is none I start one!" Vanessa got out of her seat to do a triumphant pose and immediately two other Vanessas spawned to either side to pose dramatically as well. Just then, the other member of Vanessa's staff returned from the back; Raafi, a stocky Iranian man who was Vanessa's personal chauffeur, and definitely not her pilot judging from the green tinge to his face.
"Ugh, I hate flying," Raafi moaned. "Couldn't we have taken a boat?"
"I think I can get a boat back home for you when you're done visiting," Vanessa said. "I will have to bug daddy for it, I don't want you to barf on return trip and ruin perfectly good vacation."
"Thanks...hurkkk," Raafi wretched, running to the back again. Vanessa liked being nice to the staff that worked for her, especially poor Raafi who got bullied a lot by her father. Back home she may have been popular, but she could never shake the reputation of being a spoiled brat and a pampered princess. Granted that shoe sometimes fit, but at the same time it would be nice to visit somewhere new where maybe she could make some friends and meet some people who didn't first see her on some reality TV show.
One could only hope.
A few of the students stared at her as Vanessa exited from the expensive limo and was hugged goodbye by a woman who looked way too young to be her mother.Putting that aside, Vanessa made her way into the crowd, enjoying the idea of not being at the center of everyone's attention for once. Sure the goggles got a few odd looks but aside from that as far as anyone knew Vanessa was just another student with a strange set of powers eager to learn.
And now that that was done, she could start introducing everyone to the awesomeness of Vanessa Vastag properly!
Before she could accost someone and forcibly become their friend, there was an explosive noise from the front of the crowd as some authority figure got the group's attention to give them the rundown on the school and how it worked. The more she listened, the more she was encouraged by how things would work around here. Experimenting and messing around was right up her alley, after all, and from what this guy said Hero High was going to encourage her to do just that.
For now though it was time to accost some friends! And she spotted her first target almost immediately...
Some time soon after orientation, in the school gymnasium
They told her that this was a place of freedom. Osore didn’t really understand what that word, freedom, was supposed to mean anyways, but she knew the dictionary definition of it. She knew that it was supposed to be a good thing, so she was feeling pretty pleased when she dragged Dartanian out to the ‘gym’ as soon as the orientation was over.
They were the two children from Baltimore and, well, they didn’t know anyone else (Osore, for her part, didn’t even particularly feel like she needed to talk to anyone but Dartanian in the school), so they decided to play a game of Lies. Rules were simple: say something, true or false. See if your friend gets it right.
It teaches you to see other people, her psych told her. It allowed her to reclaim some sense of subjectivity.
Osore sucked very much at it.
“Do you really think this… facility…” - Osore hesitated to use the word ‘school’ - “Is safe? I mean, I think I saw a janitor who got knocked out on the way to the orientation room.”
Tomyris lay on her back on the bleachers, staring up at the overhead lights. For a gymnasium it was nothing like back in Baltimore. Back there you’d expect a basketball court with some ugly, rusted old bleachers scooched off to one side, and a repurposed closet and washroom that they called a locker room. Here it was like an Olympic playground. There was a basketball court, sure, but it bore the same resemblance to the ones back home that a fish might bear to a dolphin.
“Are you saying you think you saw it,” Tomyris says, one leg dangling off the side of the bleachers, “or you think he got knocked out?”
“I dunnow, he was lying on the floor. Maybe he tried to confiscate contraband and got punched in the face,” Osore shrugs.
“Why would a janitor confiscate contraband?” Raising her head, Tomyris shoots Osore a smug glance. “Lie.”
“You are right,” Osore tosses Dartanian a bottlecap. Something to keep score. “They were too busy to be sleeping on the job, although they looked like they wished for someone to knock them out.”
Tomyris grabs the bottlecap out of the air and holds it up for half a moment like a victory chalice. She drops her arm into a swinging, half-moon position, the bottlecap dancing across the tips of her fingers. She sighs, still looking up at the ceiling. “Safe? Hell no, it’s not safe; this school is siccing spies on me.”
“Spies? Surely not,” Osore replies. “Unless you mean that tall boy who thinks he’s more sneaky than he is,” she says, slightly quieter. She doesn’t point at him. She does not even glance at him, nor acknowledge his presence in any other way. It’s a convention that they both abide by, in the presence of police and other such people.
“I don’t even know if he thinks he’s being sneaky,” says Tomyris, in that same slightly quieter tone. “It’s like he doesn’t even want to be, like, here in general. It’s a very lazy spying.”
Osore shrugged. There was no need to call out ‘truth’ specifically. “No teachers or classes are kinda nice though. Very....” Osore struggled to find the right words. “Laissez faire? Is that how that phrase is used? Not sure how this is supposed to make us into good people, though. Are we supposed to just punch each other until we figure out how?”
There is a little ring in the gym, laid with mats. Osore stares at that meaningfully. “Because it seems to me that’s what the expectation is.”
Tomyris doesn’t respond right away. “Maybe they’re trying to observe a Lord of the Flies-type situation,” she says, sitting upright and swinging her legs over the side of the bleachers. “Watch us destroy each other, then take the winners and brainwash them into being super-soldiers. Like a proving grounds.” She hops off the bleachers and paces around on the mats. “All right, students,” she says in a clipped, military voice, “drop and give me twenty, then kill the person to your right!” She mimes a few punches in the thin air.
“Heh, well,” Osore says, taking a step onto the mats. “I promise that if we have to kill or destroy one another, I won’t destroy you.” She makes what she thinks should be a warm smile. “Or at least, you know, leave you till last.”
Tomyris laughs, appreciating the macabre suggestion. This was why she hung out with Trudy. “Hey, with any luck, you won’t even have to make the decision.”
Osore hums. “Hey, hey, you don’t think I would actually l destroy anyone now, do you?” she puts up her most disarming smile. Shrugged shoulders. Pupils focused sideways. Lips slightly pursed. “It was a joke! If it was my turn to lie, I would’ve won,” she says in a half-truth. She doesn’t admit that her first instinct was to consider the logistics of it all--the feat of destroying everyone else in the school. Probably through poisoning the lunch.
She stretched out her arms. “But hey, in case I do go insane, you would be there to stop me, right?”
“Stop you? What gave you an idea like that?” Tomyris giggles. “Hey, come on, square up. Let’s give ourselves a practical reason not to kill anyone by letting off some steam now.” Tomyris holds up her fists like a boxer and hops side to side on the mats.
That is all the permission Trudine needs. She takes the opposite side, mimicking Tomyris’ posture. She’s nervous, of course, and intent on throwing the towel halfway through the match (despite the fact that she never did in the past dozen or so times she made that resolution). She takes a probing swing at Tomyris first--fast enough to hurt. Slow enough to be blocked. Trying to draw a response or an overextensio
She is angling for a grapple or an arm-lock--something she’s been trying to learn in lieu of just cracking skulls.
Tomyris goes for the block, repelling Trudy’s attack and returning with one of her own, which Trudy also promptly blocks. The two circle each other in this fashion for a few more swings, each attack becoming more probing. It’s almost rote; they’ve fought so many times that these probes reveal as much and more about the enemy’s stance.
Finally Tomyris takes a step back. “You’re trying to put me in an arm-lock, aren’t you?”
“Am I really that obvious?” Trudy says, carefully amused look on her face. Mouth open in mock shock. Goddamnit, am I really that obvious? She thought.
Well, cat was out of the bag anyways. Trudy takes a lower stance, ready to lunge in for a grapple. She was faster than Tomyris, as long as she could avoid the retaliatory punches, she could probably take her down regardless of whether she saw it coming or not. And then it clicks to her.
It was just like soccer, isn’t it? Pacing your strength. Waiting for the right moment to cut in and shoot.
Next time Tomyris blinks, Trudy is upon her, face frozen in a grimace (but smiling on the inside, Tomyris knew), hands reaching out to flip her onto the mat. Tomyris makes to form a fist, but falters; she thinks she has a clear shot, maybe not, but… she hesitates. The next moment, her arm is locked; the moment after that, her face is on the ground.
Half-heartedly, Tomyris reaches out a hand and slaps the mat. “Yield! Yield, sheesh.”
Trudy releases the pressure on her arms, although she still doesn’t get up on her feet. “Hey, you sneak! I’m calling bull, you could’ve stopped that easily.”
Tomyris produces the bottlecap, seemingly out of thin air, and holds it up for Trudy’s inspection. “Here, fair play.” Trudy takes it gingerly. “Thanks, though,” she says. “Not many people would put up with my nonsense.” She gets up on her feet. “Hey, do you… remember how we first met?” she giggles slightly. “I was really nervous, you know. They told me that you were supposed to help me learn how to deal with all this--” she waves around generally. “...All this crazy sh*t. And it turned out that you had your own crap to sort through. Do you remember?”
Osore honestly doesn’t quite remember the details. She remembers maybe her disappointment creeping into her voice, though. And things going bad. She can’t remember exactly how things went bad. A wrong question? A flirtatious breach of norms? Oafishly direct confrontation? She just remembers Dartanian going from bemused to disappointment quickly--probably thinking: “Great, the man is pressing his discipline cases together so that they kill each other.”
But no sign of this passes through Tomyris’ disposition, which turns distant and cloudy. “It’s the science of sociopathy,” she says in a hollow tone, pushing herself back to her feet. She shrugs. “Whatever.” She waves it off with a hand that tries to seem casual. “We’re all just trying our best, right?”
Osore blinks. Tomyris seemed distant, but also thoughtful. “Hey,” she says, pressing her luck. “How are you holding up with all this,” she asks. “With all of it. Not just the school. We both know that the school’s baloney. Just… all of it…” she says, struggling to find the right words. “Like, all those things we know are bull, blurring together into some amorphous creature.”
Amorphous. Ethereal. Cannot be touched. It’s the only way she knows how to describe it.
Tomyris scratches the back of her neck, and gives a half-hearted shrug. “One day at a time, right?” She shakes her head. “Don’t worry about it. Hey, let’s go to the cafeteria and see what kind of ritzy stuff they’re dishing out here.” She slings her bag over her shoulder and starts off in the direction of the canteen.
Osore blinks again as Tomyris leaves, not sure what to make of the exchange. Not entirely sure what her companion was feeling at the moment (but then again, when was she, really?)
“You comin’?” Tomyris’ voice rings in Trudy’s ears. Osore decides, that she will think about it later. She’ll have time to think about it more. She runs after Tomyris, just a few steps behind her.
Morgan joined the crowd, waiting for the speech as the rest of their classmates filled in around them. For what’s supposed to be a private, super-exclusive school for supers, the students seemed rather … normal. Sure there were your typical high school outsiders, the punk rocker, the goth, the anime kid, but apart from a strangely distant levitating person, no one really seemed all too — and the student council president just made an explosion. And then the student council president started talking. And then the student council president just said a whole lot of stuff in quite a small amount of time. Morgan just sat there, a bit stunned by the speech. No mandatory classes? No teachers? Sure, the school didn’t exactly have a typical reputation, but cutting out classes and just letting people experiment with powers seemed a bit far outside the realm of normalcy. And of course, there is also the matter of that strange limit on leaving the campus. Just keeping a record of students on campus would make sense, but needing permission directly from the headmaster seems a bit strict. The oddly severe warning against breaking that rule wasn’t much reassurance, only bringing to mind the dozens of conspiracy theories that claim to tell the true purpose of the school.
As the president took his bow and students began to stand up and make their way to get their guidebooks and schedules, Morgan lingered in their seat for a bit. This was it. This was Hero High. After weeks of anticipation, after the past days packing for the school, they were finally there. There. Hero High. You know, that school with a hundred and one different theories about why anyone would ever just let a whole slew of potentially dangerous supers hide away in rural New Hampshire under the watch of some shady private organisation. That one. Morgan had always kinda held on to the belief that maybe all the rumours were just rumours. That Hero High was just a better-than-average, well-funded private school with regular classes and teachers and all the typical high school staples, and that the worst thing going on was just the federal government keeping tabs on some potentially very dangerous members of the population. That idea might have been a bit naive. Morgan stood up. Might as well grab the schedule and guidebook and head to the dorm to figure out what to do next.
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