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[IC] The Only Thing I Know For Real

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July 12th, Third Day of the Terminus Invasion
2248 Hours
Briefing Room A1, Subbasement Level 1, Claremont Academy

 

 

 

In the hours and days following the Invasion, only few safe areas remained for the citizens of Freedom. One of them was Claremont Academy, as it turns out the Summers had planned for the eventual inevitability, the Academy was prepared for an attack.

 

 

Or at least, that had been the expectation. As it turned out, the systems themselves could not hold off the hordes of bodies being thrown at them, and what heroes had made it to the Academy spent their time in shifts, assisting with the defence to the best of their ability. The Subbasement was, for the time, fully secured, and the dorms were filled up with people receiving first aid and doing their best to recover before heading out into the fight once more.

 

 

Walking through the hallways, one had to avoid stumbling over weapons, equipment and clothing, hastily thrown away, with nobody having the energy to try and keep things organized. Keeping up the fight was more important. Which was why a small crowd of heroes had been gathered in the briefing room, for a top-priority assignment.

 

 

The group was being briefed by headmistress of Claremont, Callie Summers herself. It was a simple briefing, no fancy graphics, no extended speeches, just right down to business. “As you may have noticed yourself, the Annihilists have changed their method of attack. They’ve incapacitated multiple people and dragged them off, something that we’ve been trying to keep under wraps as good as possible in order to preserve some degree of morale. “

 

 

“Now, I’m not telling you this for nothing. Our scouts have managed to track down the location these people have been brought to, the College. We need to get them out, and with every minute that passes, they are in more danger. As are we. I need you to get in and extract them. We have no idea how many people are being held there, or what exactly is being done to them. “

 

 

“This will be dangerous. You will probably see things I wouldn’t want anybody to see. You will face what we can only assume is a massive force of enemies. We won’t be able to keep up any radio contact, you will be on your own.  But don’t ever forget this, all of these people rely on you. This is your chance to save potentially dozens of lives, while also dealing a major blow to our enemies. “

 

 

“Now, any final questions? The faster we’re done with this, the more people you can save.”

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GM

 

"You bet!"

 

Rev gave her characteristic snap of the fingers, ending with a thumbs up sign - and a small pilot light burning from the tip of her thumb. 

 

"Its all going to hell anyway, may as well throw ourselves in to the very depths!" she concluded. Sure, she was scared, but she was excited too. This was proper hero stuff!

 

Quite how to do it, well, that was another matter. She deeply wished to know where SFX was. She was the smart one. Rev was the...well. Rev was the Rev one. 

 

"Where we going?" she asked. Getting ready to take to the skies...

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Pacer had been a busy young woman. The Terminus jammed or otherwise restricted communications where they could, so as one of the fastest beings on the planet (and probably the youngest by a significant margin) she’d been running messages day and night. That didn’t mean she didn’t get into a fight or three, but she’d been a vital link between separated heroes, allowing them to coordinate where they could.

 

Stalwart, for his part, had been putting his strength to work fortifying the Academy. It was a lot easy to armor buildings when you had someone who could bench press the building itself. He’d gotten into a fight or two. The freshmen were still talking about the Omegadrone he’d punched literally over the outer fence. It was like a home run, but with a punch.

 

However, neither of them were mentally or emotionally prepared for this. Pacer covered it with speedster bravado, but she was sickened by the last threeish days. Stalwart had his faith to sustain him. This did not mean he wasn’t terrified.

 

“Only question I have is the same as Rev’s, ma’am.” Pacer’s respectful tone was the only outward sign of how she was feeling inside. “We’ll take of the rest.” She grinned. “Don’t worry about a thing.”

 

Stalwart nodded. “We have a responsibility to help those people. You can rely on us.” His right hand gripped a crucifix he had in his pocket.

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Facsimile was still a bit shocked by it all if the truth be told, he'd spent the last few days wandering around the makeshift shelter, transforming himself into static electricity and working to keep everyones devices (personal or super science wise) charged and functioning amongst other tasks, whilst he lacked the power of his more dedicated classmates he found that being able to adapt his abilities and ply his skills across a broad spectrum had made him useful it had also kept him from wondering about what might have happened to his family and his neighbours...or really anyone he'd met over the last few years after coming into his powers.

 

It was honestly a bit of a relief to find himself given a mission at last, principle summers had done her best to keep from sending students out, regardless of how old, powerful or skilled they were but it was now all but unavoidable.

 

He took a brief moment to centre himself and quiet the uncomfortable thoughts that his inaction had allowed to settle on his brain before answering

 

"I think I'm ready teach, just...point us in the right direction and we'll do what we can." a mix of exhaustion and relief at the prospect of finally doing something direct and more useful than being a powerbank or other purveyor of minor convenience.

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Shellshocked was the word she'd used to describe herself over this.  She was processing, she was not ready.  But that didn't matter did it?  It's like John Lennon said.  She couldn't be back home with dad and mom, and her father was a stranger that she couldn't get to.  Physically.

She didn't know where Hanna was, and she here because... well there was no reason.  She was seventeen.  This was all insane, and growing more and more insane as time passed out.  Yes, some untrained, and untested kids were going to be able to handle this with anything other than luck.

"... yeah, sure.  Let's do it."  

 

 

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The Headmistress paced the room as she waited for the students to confirm what she’d already known, that they’d take part. In a situation like this, it was necessary to get their approval, whether or not they had a choice, on the other hand…

 

She pulled forward a map of southern FC, with the Academy circled in red. A second circle had been drawn around a group of buildings, which Summers explained was Freedom College, only a few minutes’ walk away from the Airport. She then took a marker and began drawing on the map.

 

“Our scouts figured out a fairly safe way, you shouldn’t be attacked if you follow it. The Annihilists are everywhere, so be careful, but we expect low presence along this route. “ She then handed each of the students a small satchel. “There’s a copy of this map, a compass and some other basic utility in there. Use it if you get lost and try to slowly make your way back here, with your safety as the main priority. “

 

“And now, let’s deal them a serious blow. Good luck.”

 

 

Some time later
Freedom College

 

As expected, the route that Summers had picked out was quite secure, and the group arrived at their destination without getting involved in anything on the way there. The college looked … quite different. Just being around it made one’s hair stand, as if some primal reflex raised an alarm. Which was probably fair, as there was a visible wall of Terminus energy surrounding some of the buildings and when one looked through a window, there was only an inky blackness on the inside.

 

The group was hiding inside a bunch of bushes, only a short walk away from the entrance to the Medical Sciences Building, where the captives were being held according to the intel.  

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It had been a harrowing journey for alex, he was brave to a fault but the terminus weren't just random weirdos with powers or gizmos and no morals they were monsters, the litteral stuff of bedtime stories and urban myths but they were real and all the more terrifying for their reality.

 

He wasn't a hardend hero who'd faced down gods and monsters and it was wearing away at him but for all that the fear he felt honed his wits to a razor edge and he found an odd balance between frenzy and tranquility.

 

After sitting in the bushes and watching the site for any patrols with his classmates he at last spoke up in a hushed but clear tone.

 

"I think if i mimic the barrier i can effect it enough to make a hole we can slip through." He wasn't sure of course he'd never attempted the like.

 

"Or failing that i can pass through and attempt to shut it down at the source." It wasn't much but it was all he could offer at the moment.

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Rev

 

"That sounds like a plan to me" replied Rev, scanning the forcefield. "I mean, its as good as any, right? That energy field seems to be made of energy. And its a field! A field of energy!" she said, full of eagerness. 

 

She didn't really know what she was talking about, and she didn't pretend to. But she remained eager and positive - and after all, she had clocked what Alex could do. It sounded reasonable to her. Dangerous, but reasonable. Which, in her eyes, was pretty perfect. 

 

"How are we going to get the hostages out though? Do we need a van or a bus?" she asked. Of course, she kind of wanted that. Supercharging the school bus and driving it at a thousand miles an hour had always been a little ambition of hers...

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Stalwart shook his head. “I don’t think that’s a good idea, Facs. Who knows what that would do to you?” He had a casual appearing grip on his sister’s shoulder. There was something…no, he was imagining it. Cosmic level energy maybe vibing with itself. He didn’t know. He was in training to be a minister, not a scientist.

 

Pacer squirmed under her brother’s hand, but didn’t get anywhere. “Let me check it out. I’ve been doing this the whole time. I’ll be fine. We don’t need a van or a bus either. I can do it myself. So let me go, already.”

 

Stalwart shook his head again. “What if they’re ready for you? We have to work as a team. This is serious, Pacer.”

 

Pacer looked up at him, and she wasn’t pouting. She was serious. “I know, bro. It’s dangerous. But somebody needs to do it, and I’m the one who can get in and out before almost anyone can start having a thought.”

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Corinne was quiet.

 

No, she was silent the entire trip over.  She didn't understand them.  Were they psychotic?  The world was falling down around them, and they were... gleeful?  How the hell could they be so broken?  She didn't understand them.  Understand this.  It was beyond her ability to cope.  Her expression severe, her head down, tucked into the hood of her sweater.  She wasn't sure she could deal with this, that she could handle this.  But, if anything the probable end of the world was always a time defined by a lack of choices.  Wasn't it?

 

Zenith appearance wasn't discrete, but it was likely expected, as the tall teen's power surged out in the chaotic roil it presented, and she lifted a hand, making iridescent shards of something in the air around it, orbiting slowly, before she threw her hand behind her like she was tossing trash, and with the shards scattered behind them, striking pavement, cars, buildings, whatever, and embedding themselves there.

"Or it rips you into itty-bitty bits.  There is that.  But..."  She held up a hand, and the glowing apertures of light she called eyes regarded the shard floating above her palm.  "We can check on something not alive first, to minimize premature heroic and noble sacrifice."  And with that she made a motion of throwing her hand out towards the field, and sent the bit of matter she tabula rasa'd into existence right at it.

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At first, there was no effect. The shard flew towards the field of energy and once it hit it, simply stuck in it like it was a wall. But as the first second passed, it became clear that wasn’t all that would happen. The field’s thickness seemingly changed, it grew thicker around the shard, beginning to slowly engulf it.

 

At the same time, the shard itself began to glow in a colour that was nearly as discomforting as the field itself, which caused this strange sensation of nausea in the back of the head when one was just looking at it. Red lines began to appear on the shard, and right before the field had fully engulfed it, it broke apart into tiny pieces, all of which then seemed to only strengthen the field.

 

It took maybe a few seconds at most, it was hard to estimate the exact amount of time in these surroundings. But while looking around, the teens did manage to spot that one of the building’s front doors was not surrounded by the wall. The text written in stone above the entrance was illegible, the large door had been opened a tiny bit.

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"Well yeah, that would've sucked to be sure...thanks zen." He said with sincerety now his jets had been cooled and his attention had snagged on the open doors.

 

"I don't like it....i feel like a crawdad staring at a trap...but it seems ta be our one way in..."

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Rev

 

"It sure looks like it" echoed Rev. "But its the only way in, and the clocks ticking" she concluded. 

 

"I can't see we have any other choice. The only way we know what's through that gap, is going through it..."

 

It seemed logical enough, but with the whole world burning, even Rev was unsure. She didn't like this, and she didn't like having no choice either. But the situation wasn't going to change itself just because she didn't like it. 

 

"Lets go!"

 

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"Well, sure, why not.  Live once."

 

Zenith snorted and raked her fingers through her wild, living mass of hair as she skipped, dashed, and leapt while moving towards the door.  As one would expect a ballerina to do so.  Going to the door, her arms held up and above herself, crossed so that her power manifested with a pearlescent mass of... something above her and around her to at least provide a tunnel through.


She might be heading towards the danger, she clearly did not trust it.  Haughty and fickle creature that Corinne was, there really wasn't anything she could do to avoid this.  Still she pushed the door open, her other hand held up and ready for... something.

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Zenith was quite right with that expectation. The room the teens had entered looked like it was a run-of-the-mill lobby style room, a few couches to sit down on, two tv screens to inform students of what was going on, various doors leading places.

 

Or at least, it had been, before all of this had happened. The couches were toppled over and broken in half  most of them had bloodstains on them, much like a fair part of the floor and room in general. The TVs were showing static, the lights that were meant to illuminate the room were all broken. The wall of entropy that covered the outside of the building covered everything in a red glow, and while the outside had been discomforting, just spending time in this room made the hairs on one’s back stand up.

 

At first glance, the room seemed empty, but something, some instinct, told the heroes that something was moving. Something, which after their eyes had adjusted to the lighting became more and more clear, towards the end of the room, perhaps 40 ft. away. A silhouette that looked way too familiar, one that could’ve meant something positive in this exact situation, if it wasn’t for the inky red and black shine that covered their classmate’s wings as he prowled on the floor, ready to strike his prey.

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Rev

 

"Wow! This is like a scene from Gunbusters 7!" muttered Rev. "Not that...ah....I ever watched it, of course, as its certificate 18. But you know, if I had watched it, it would look like this" she explained hastily. 

 

Not that she could actually see the red glow. She couldm't see red. 

 

Normal red, anyway. Infrared, another matter. 

 

"But, er, I can't say that was in any Gunbusters movie..." she added as she saw the strange silhouette. 

 

"Err...we come in peace! Here to save you! Heroic heroes!" she blabbered with her normal clumsy but effective charm. In her heart, she felt that it was likely a swipe with a cybenetic fist was needed...

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"Jann?" Alex blurted out before he could stop himself, the figure of his avian friend all to familiar to him but the wings...black and red?

 

Oh....oh no.

 

"hostile!" Was the next word he barked as his hand shot to his belt and steel overtook flesh and adrenalin flooded his veins.

 

Jann was a fearsome fighter with more natural tallent than him though they'd only sparred by points he'd lost more than he'd won, now with the terminus tech on his wings who knew what he could do now?

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