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September 4, 2018 

Claremont Academy (Fourth Floor, Rita Kord Dorm) 


Jaycee had suggested they meet people before the assembly. "The first time you meet somebody, you set the tone for the whole rest of your relationship. If I meet them now, when Ah want to and on mah terms, that'll make it easier to stay in control. And Ah gotta stay in control, right?" It was actually one of the most perspicacious things Ashley had ever heard her charge say - and certainly the longest string of words she'd put together since a recently-drained Jaycee had parted company with the bulk of her Secret Service detail at an undisclosed location and headed onto Claremont's campus that weekend. They'd come in early, before any of the other students arrived, and Jaycee had spent most of her time in her room studying and texting to her sisters. 

And so it was that the "sisters" headed out into the fourth floor hallway, Ashley taking the lead as she would for the next two years. Jesus Christ, she took a moment to think before she took in the scenery. 410 was down at the end of one hall on the fourth floor, with 409 and 411 on either side a little further towards the main staircase. There were backstairs too, of course, and escape hatches that the sophomore students probably weren't going to find out about yet. Ashley was dressed for her part in a leather jacket, denim shirt, and scuffed jeans. She'd told her handlers that the pink dye in her hair cut down on the "look" she was trying to present, but they'd told her it would soften her image. By which they mean not make me look like a lesbian. 


She contemplatively chewed a toothpick as she scanned the hall, then took a look back at Jaycee as she closed the door behind her. "Judy" Smith didn't look much at all like her First Daughter self - with her long hair loose and hanging down her back, in baggy brown shirt and slacks that had made her make a single small noise at the sight of them, she looked like one of the refugees they were pretending to be. She was smiling the smile of someone who'd had media training, though, as she ran her fingers against the gold cross she wore around her neck. That was new too; a gift from the First Lady that nobody had seen in public yet. "Well?" 

It was true - Ashley had to lead the way on this one. She headed down the corridor, looking for open doors - or the sounds of activity inside them. 

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White Lioness
Àjàṣorò looked at the space where she'd be spending her time at Claremont. It wasn't much, in fact, it was probably small than all the places in her home, but whilst she was here this was her space. For a few moments she just looked at it all and enjoyed the experience of it all, and today was just the first day!

She put the large hold all that contained all the clothes and supplies that she thought she'd needed on the bed, even though she could get anything she needed from home within hours this was her chance to try and do things on her own.

Packing could come later though! Instead, she stood at the door of her room, or at least half a room, to see who else was on this floor, how exciting to meet real American teenagers, and heroes to boot.

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When the door opened, Ashley blinked for a moment and fell into 'character' a moment before Àjàṣorò could actually see them - and so it was that the White Lioness's first encounter with Ashley and Judy was a hard scowl from the former and a cautious smile from the latter. "Ah, howdy!" said Judy with a nervous smile, giving Àjàṣorò a friendly wave. "A'm Judy Smith. Nice to meet you!" For her part, Ashley had snapped open a blinking device from her belt and scanned the White Lioness with it while Judy was giving her greeting. 


"She's clean," muttered Ashley, stepping back fractionally to lean against the wall and let the two girls actually talk it out. She was a little disappointed that the Dakanan royals hadn't brought one of their famous bodyguards along (if only to see what the competition was like), but she supposed they could take care of themselves. 


"Sorry," said Judy apologetically. "Mah sister's a little, um, paranoid." She reached up and twisted her fingers in her hair, then suddenly smiled. "And unfriendly! She's Ashley." 

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White Lioness

It was strange she'd been around bodyguard all her life, her Grandmother had started an all-female guard a tradition that still stood today, and this woman had all the signs of a diligent guardian. In fact, Àjàṣorò had to really fight to stop her Umbheki from coming along, in fact, she couldn't help but think that she was at a nearby cafe keeping an eye on her from a difference.


But then again they were sisters, and she looked after her brother (and vice versa though she'd never have admitted it) just as fervently. Maybe Umbheki's paranoia was rubbing off on her.


"Greeting both of you, I am Àjàṣorò." her American accent was near flawless and she even broke down her name as many outside her homeland struggled with it.


She also gave Judy a large friendly hug, Àjàṣorò was never shy in such things, she paused however and then looked at Ashley with a raised eyebrow. Not sure how the sterner teen would react to a sudden hug.


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Ashley looked back at Àjàṣorò, toothpick still clenched in her teeth, holding her gaze flatly until Judy spoke again. 


"That's so pretty!" she said cheerfully. "Ah love African names," she guessed. "Ah guess we're neighbors now," she said, hands folded in front of her. "Ah've never been in a boarding school before," she confessed, "so this is all pretty new to me. Is your first year too?" 

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White Lioness

Àjàṣorò looked at Ashley for a beat or two before giving up and just giving her a big friendly smile. Instead, she turned her attention to the friendlier of the two sisters.


"This is my first year here too! Until recently I was home tutored, my family is very traditional like that. Though my father is trying to embrace new ideas, which is why I guess I was allowed here!" then with a thought she added


"Myself and my twin brother Kamau, though I'm the eldest despite what he says." she grinned before adding


"You should come meet him once we've settled in neighbour!"

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"Ah've been homeschooled most of the last year," admitted Judy, "so Ah'm looking forward to getting to know some people who I'm not related to. But it must be nice to have you and your brother in the same school, ah guess that, um, must be going around these days." She looked back at Ashley for just a moment, then said, "Can we come in, or are you still decorating the place?" 

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White Lioness
Àjàṣorò smiled at herself as she pondered that she shouldn't set her brother with a date on the first day, especially when there were many eligible women (and men) back in Dakana who would wish for that honour.

"Like many siblings, we bicker and fight quite often, but yes it is nice to have him here with me."

She stood to one side and swept her hand into the room.

"Mi Casa, Su Casa as they say, though I've not really unpacked yet. I'm waiting for my new roommate to arrive." she was particularly proud of learning that expression.

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Ashley stood up off the wall and walked brusquely in first, taking out her handscanner as she went. Her face set, she walked quickly through the living area, peeked into the bathroom without comment, then looked back at Judy with a nod. She knew she couldn't do this across the campus - but if people got used to it now, they'd stop thinking about it later when she really needed to clear a room before Judy entered it. 


Biting her lip as if worried Ajasoro would object to her sister's scrutiny, Judy stepped inside and looked around. "Looks nice! Guess they all look the same, but at least you have the tree out there," she said with a nod towards the most interesting view outside Aja's window. "Ah already got all of my stuff unpacked," she said. "Ah didn't get to bring much." 


"We have what we need," said Ashley, seeming to look away and peer out the window. 


"So what do you like to do?" asked Judy. "Ah was thinking of joining one of the clubs here, but Ah don't really know anybody except Ashley yet." 

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Monica had travelled to and from Freedom City quite a few times these past few months, so getting to actually settle in before having to leave again was something she was looking forward to.  She didn’t have many things to bring along, so like the previous times she’d managed to fit all of it into a Claremont branded sports bag, which was slung around her as she walked past the other rooms, trying to figure out which was the one she’d been assigned to.  


The one with an open door and people talking inside. Monica wasn’t sure how to feel about that, she would kinda have preferred to settle in and get her things in order, but that probably had to wait for now. She approached the doorway and looked inside, doing her best to put on a smile and not slouch.




She was a fair bit taller than the others, her Claremont hoodie’s hood drawn up, hiding most of her hair, her hands in its pocket. She continued talking, actually kind of settling into it, saying something without the words feeling forced to herself.


“So, are all of you my roommates? Because I only see two beds and when they talked about lots of couples forming here, I didn’t realize they’d push it this hard.”

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Briefly taken aback, Judy blinked as she looked at Monica, her eyes wide. 


"We're sisters," Ashley chimed in, a hard beat to the last word. Even as she spoke, she was snapping a device off her belt and pointing it in Monica's direction, briefly interposing herself between her sister and the new arrival. Nodding after a moment, she moved away without another word. 


"Um, yeah," said Judy, reaching up and entangling her fingers in her hair. "Ah'm Judy, and that's Ashley." She pointed back at Ashley, who'd resumed leaning against the wall and glowering at the room. She fixed her gaze at Monica and said, "...hey, Ah know you! You're that new Lady Liberty. Ah didn't know she was on our floor," she said, swiveling her head to look back at her sister. Ashley responded with a shrug and a We'll talk about this later look. 

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White Lioness

At last her roommate was here, it was another exciting part of this whole experience. Overjoyed she gave her new roommate a huge friendly hug, before regaining a little bit of composure.


"I am your roommate, Àjàṣorò, I was just showing our new neighbours our room. If you need some time to settle in then we can always leave, I myself have yet to unpack!"


She pointed to her large oversized holdall to emphasise the point.


"If you wish that bed I am happy to move, I have no preference in the matter."

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Here we go…


Monica couldn’t stop herself from actually speaking it out loud, even if she’d just muttered it under her breath. It had taken a total of maybe 5 seconds for the first red flags to appear. So much for the stuff she’d been told, as it turned out her own expectations had been more on point.


Whatever was going on between those sisters was … interesting, at the least. Pink-Tips over here had something going on, with that scanner thing and her general demeanour. One look also told Monica enough about the power dynamic between the two of them. Maybe the brown-haired one would be different when approached on her own.


“Yeah, that’s me.”


She sounded a lot more disinterested all of the sudden, at least until her new roommate intersected and hugged her, which was unexpected. Monica wasn’t sure how to feel about it, but she didn’t try to do anything about it, it was pleasant enough once the initial surprise had disappeared. Aja seemed nice enough on her own, at least with this first impression.


“Nah, I’m fine. Don’t have much to unpack anyways.”


She walked over to her bed and sat down, placing her bag beside her. It wasn’t quite as comfortable as the one she’d stayed in in one of the hotels, but still a big improvement over what she’d had before. She leaned back, touching the wall with her back, without saying anything more, the room’s atmosphere especially towards her was a bit too difficult to judge right now

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The silence was awkward for a moment - but Judy spoke up quickly, seeming to shake off her confusion by sheer force of will. "Well, it's exciting to have a real celebrity on our floor!" She smiled like a beauty queen. "Lady Liberty was always mah favorite superhero." Behind her, Ashley scanned the room with a practical eye, tensing for what could become a real argument. The real world was a lot more diverse than the world Jaycee Cahill had been raised in, whether you meant the small town where she'd been born or the exclusive private schools she'd attended all her life. If that was going to be a problem, better to find out about it now under controlled circumstances than out in front of the liberal Claremont student body. 


Change the subject. Don't let her hang out there. "Hm. Must be theme. Outsider floor?" she asked, making a gesture that encompassed the whole fourth floor. 

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Monica wasn’t sure how to react to that statement. It was technically true, sure, but she really didn’t want anybody else to see her as “ a real celebrity”. That, on top of all the other stuff, was the last thing she needed. She’d probably already attract way more attention than she wanted.


Which was to say, any. If she could’ve chosen she’d’ve attended under some sort of secret identity, considering she never had the chance to have one in the first place. Would’ve meant she could take things cool, but her powers made that pretty much impossible. So, this was what she was stuck with.


“Heh. “


She then turned to Pink Tips, whose question did raise an interesting point. Monica didn’t know about any of the others, but neither of them seemed like the average member of society, so maybe there was some truth to that.


“No idea, you probably have a better handle on who’s here from the sound of it.”

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White Lioness

Àjàṣorò knew exactly what it was like to have everyone eyes on you, she'd been well known among her people since the day she was born. She was looking forward to a little anonymity here in the States, but in the dorms, it was different these people were, she hoped, her friends.


"I have a confession to make, but it must be a secret among those at this school. I am not only Àjàṣorò, I am also the daughter of King M'Balla and the bearer of the mantle of the White Lioness!" as she spoke her accent changed into the rich tones of a Dakani accent


"I did not do this to deceive you more to experience the reality normal life of an American Teenager. Albeit one with superpowers!"

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Judy stared at Ajasoro for a moment, as if looking for a lie - then grinned. "Wow! Lady Liberty and a secret princess. Claremont's gonna be a lot more interesting than Ah thought. A pleasure to meet you, your highness," she said, executing not a bad curtsey despite her humble dress. She folded her hands on her lap, then shot a glance at a decidedly-unimpressed looking Ashley before saying, "Ah suppose Ah should tell you where we're from. Ashley and I are, um-" 

"Classified. We don't know them yet." said Ashley, taking her toothpick out of her mouth and giving the two girls a hard stare, picking up on the momentary hesitation that had tossed the ball into her court. 


"Yes, well...Ah gotta actually know people, Ashley!" said Judy, frustration creeping into her voice for a moment. "So I'm just glad to meet both of you, I mean...I haven't met anybody normal in a real long time, so it's nice to just be with other girls." She smiled. "Ah mean, I haven't really talked with anybody new since Raven put Ashley away." 


That actually made Ashley drop her toothpick - even if she wanted to smile at Jaycee's quick thinking. "Yeah, well, bastard shouldn't have brought you into it. He never actually put me away, just...put me here.

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A princess, then. That was a bit of a relief, actually. It meant that Monica’s roommate was probably as famous, and if not, at the least as well-protected. Of course, having a princess as a roommate could turn a bit awkward, depending on what sort of luxury she was used to. ‘Cause Monica neither could not would live up to any of it.


Now, as for the sisters, they only became ever more intriguing. Monica didn’t have much of a reason to care about them, but with how …Ashley, apparently, was acting, there was something there.  Maybe it’d come up at some point. Monica wasn’t one for digging around in people’s past, there usually was a reason it’d stay hidden.


As she listened to the others she took her phone out of her pocket, clicking a few buttons to log into the local wi-fi absently, checking her student ID and responding at the same time.


“Another victim of the Liberty League’s generational turnover, then?”


Maybe it wasn’t the right thing to say, but it was the first thing that had come to Monica’s mind and by the time she’d fought about what she was saying, it had already left her lips. Maybe it wouldn’t sound as insulting as it sounded now that she thought about it…

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"I'm not some washed-up old loser or their spoiled grandkid," said Ashley with a sneer. She was almost certain Midnight and the other refounders of the Liberty League had been at Claremont around the time she'd been there - oh well, if she ever saw them, she'd owe them a beer. "Minute we graduate, Judy and I are history.


"Um, let's talk about something else," said Judy, shifting where she sat. "Ayjay, can you...can you show us your crown?" she asked, smiling a little awkwardly. "Ah'm sorry if that's too personal, but Ah don't meet a lot of princesses!" 

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White Lioness

It was fascinating to hear the real opinion about American heroes, from apparently those that had interacted with them. Though she couldn't help but feel that there something more going on, but today was moving day and not the time to bring things up.


"The throne of Dakana isn't quite like that I'm afraid, I'm no Disney princess! Being a member of the Kings family doesn't give you the right to become ruler someday. If it was my brother would become King someday. As it happens the holder of the White Lioness one day I might take over the throne. Though I'm in hurry to take over the position from my father."

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Lucky you.


Monica didn’t need to hide how she felt about the possibility to just “become history”. Because sure, she’d become history too, but not in that sense of the phrase. Hell, she probably already had, looking back on all the reaction she’d apparently gotten, most of which she’d only heard about second-hand.


Watching the other sister and Àjà interact was quite funny, Monica could understand the , well, naivete, because hey, this was a real-life princess. That was quite cool, even if Monica wasn’t sure how she personally felt about her the more she thought about it. Well, she’d have enough time to figure it out now.


“Is Claremont’s education that good? I’d always assumed somebody that important to the nation wouldn’t go abroad for that long.”

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When one was moving along their dormitories corridor, one wouldn't expect a virtual-infested daemon to break out of the wall and start dancing the opening sequence of High School Musical. One didn't expect to either overhear someone refer to themselves as the princess of a nation. Unironically. With reference to Disney princesses.


Ordinarily Nicole would have ignored the comment and kept on rolling. There were many strange and weird students around these parts and stranger and weirder personalities to accompany them as if mixing it all in a strange and weird snowball. But she passed by the open doorway and saw a whole party happening inside. She hadn't yet broken her fast on digging through people's online footprints for fun but she knew new students when she saw them, and all these four were new.


Being the responsible upperclassman, she decided to stop and knock on the opened door of the room. "Hey, excuse me, new kids? Try to keep from saying those things so loudly. You never know if someone really mistakes you for royalty and sends an assassin at you."


She grinned, lightly sardonic. It wasn't meant to be serious and she'd be flabbergasted at how gullible the new batch was if they did take it seriously. 

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White Lioness

"It sounds strange but I've never felt like a princess, I was never expected to take on the mantle of leadership so I could do mostly as I pleased. Despite the efforts of several very frustrated tutors! So I guess that in that way it will be a challenge, but I am always up for new challenges!"


With the newcomers fake warning Àjàṣorò grabbed the nearest small object, in this case a paperclip, and sent it whizzing right past Nicoles ear


"You sound like my Umbheki, but I am more than capable of taking care of myself." she smiled and shifted to a less defensive since "But please welcome to my room I am Àjàṣorò!"

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Ashley took out what Nicole recognized as a high-end scanner, the sort of device used by super-scientists for rapid data gathering, and pointed it at Salvo - pressing a few buttons, she waved it in her direction before nodding at Judy, her ever-present scowl not leaving her features. 


"A place this small, rumors spread quickly," said Judy with a relaxed smile, pulling one leg up underneath her as she leaned against the bed. "But Ah think everyone here can keep a secret. So what do you girls like to do for fun?" she asked, pronouncing "like" as "lahk". 

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