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October 5th, 5pm

 

The doors to the Doom Room hissed open as the various members of the recently formed Red Squad stepped towards the entrance.  From inside the gathered teenagers found what appeared to be a stereotypical dojo, rice paper walls and wooden floors with banners hanging decoratively.  Crickets chirped softly, the sound carried on a gentle breeze coming from an open doorway within the simulation to a forest outside the building.

 

Standing by the woods, admiring the simulated sunset in her school issued costume, Gauss turned her head back to the group.  "Hey guys, I see everyone got my notes.  So, you guys remember when Headmistress Summers grouped us up together, I figured if we're going to be a team and competing together against pretty much the rest of the school we should probably have a formal meet up to get an idea of what everyone can do power wise, any skills or talents we bring to the table, all that good stuff."

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Salvo stepped first into the dojo, the wooden floors protesting under her weight as she moved to stand beside Gauss, looming over her. Gone was the lanky girl with glasses confined to a wheelchair, enclosed as she was inside Bellios, her armour, shined to a gleaming red and white and crackling with the occasional harmless pop and fizzle. The knight in armor, panels and plates covered with tiny runes and patterns whose meanings only she understands. She was a stark contrast to the zen-like forest around them, a technological weapon in human form anticipating the trigger pull.

 

"This won't turn into a bragging match would it, Gauss?" She asked, her voice modulated to a lower alto, though unmistakably Nicole's. She turned her knightly visor, emanating a purple glow, to the rest of the team and they could almost hear her chuckling to herself. "Cause I'm beating it."

 

She nodded her head and gestured to herself. "Salvo's my codename while suited up and what I can do is pretty obvious. The short of it is I fly and shoot things. Sometimes I explode them too." She tapped the side of her helmet. "And my sensors run a comprehensive suite through magic and radar plus what amounts to a hard-etched supercomputer to run my systems. So battlefield awareness, flight, and loads of ranged options means I can hang back and fire all day long."

 

Then she placed an armored gauntlet across her chest where a arc reactor was set firmly in place and the runes on her hand glowed faintly, as if drawing power from touch alone. "This armor provides protection against all kinds of attacks, including mental assaults, through a combination of alchemically-looped rituals and composite metals. Need someone to handle the frontline and tank hits? I'm your girl."

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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"That's good, because I...really can't," Elizabeth laughed, stepping into the dojo herself. She was dressed casually, in a loose white blouse and matching white pants - a little charm, some kind of half-inch mask, was dangling on a cord tied to her belt.

 

She was looking around with open curiosity, and a touch of wonder - she'd been told about the Doom Room, but she hadn't really believed it. Clearly she should have.

 

Which, somehow, reminded her that she was supposed to be having a conversation. "Um! I do...tricks," she said, spinning around on her heel to face the rest; she held one hand up, palm raised, and light spun itself into a softly-glowing rose. "Illusions, and some...other stuff like that. I'm still figuring out the 'battlefield' bit, got a kind of crash course in the recent...events. I'm pretty sure I'm tougher than I'm supposed to be but I would definitely rather dodge a hit than take it."

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Janus padded down to the Danger Room, looking around with interest but a distinct lack of awe. The downside of growing up Danger, Janus' experience tended towards being used to, if not expecting, this sort of thing when doing super-hero things on Prime. They weren't wearing anything much different from normal, well, normal for Janus. Which meant, poets shirt, leather pants that might have been painted on, boots that laced up over the knee, and a very bejewelled jacket that caught the light. 

 

"It's a good idea," Janus agreed with Gauss as the long limbed Danger teen followed Elizabeth into the room. "And we really don't need to turn anything into a bragging match. I'm sure we all bring something special to the table. The point of working as a team is to help each other refine what those skills are. The whole greater than the sum of its parts and all that."

 

Reaching up, Janus caught their long hair and with deft fingers began to braid it back into a thick rope so it would stay out of their face. "Elizabeth, do you have a code name you prefer?"

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Blinking, Elizabeth looked suitably chagrined at having missed that bit. "Oh! Yes, sorry," she said. "With the whole 'no leaving campus and doing things!' thing, I hadn't thought-- right."

 

She reached down to her waist and detached the little charm; she pressed it between her palms, and when she pulled her hands apart it grew between them, a full-size face covering in white. It was almost unadorned, bearing only its two eyes and a pair of faded stripes that ran from forehead, through the eyes, and down along the cheeks; there was a small indentation in the forehead, but the whole thing looked simple and faded - almost asleep, if a mask could sleep. "Masque," she said, smiling. "M-a-s-q-u-e, for the mystique, I suppose."

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White Lioness

Even though she was a little late Àjàṣorò walked into the Doom Room as if it just when she wanted to arrive. As she walked in her costume, made of advanced hi-tech Dakanan materials, deployed around her clothes though she left her face exposed her hair already carefully teased into a pair of puff at the back.

 

"In my experience, those who boast the most have the least to contribute." when in costume as normal she spoke in her natural accent "And looking at everyone here I don't so anyone like that at all!"

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"Now this is interesting," came a small voice in her head and she concurred. "At first glance, I would associate its making with the marks of the Idolon but even sympathetic resonance can deceive idle study..."

 

Salvo bent down, stopping as she brought her head a few inches away from the mask, her visor pulsing as a whirring sound began somewhere from her helmet, almost purring with interest. It stopped as abruptly as it began and, while still bending down, looked up at Masque. "'For the mystique' is right on the nose for this. An magical artifact that lets you cast the illusions, right?" She turned her helmet to Masque's rose and asked, "Do you know anything about it?"

 

She bobbed her head up and down, acquiescing to Janus and Ajasoro in good spirits. "Point taken. If we're on to skills, my mind is my greatest asset as cliche as that sounds. I'm not athletic like Gauss and the only thing letting me keep up are my thrusters."

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Gauss moved to stand by her armored friend, "Masque, nice to meet you.  And Salvo, don't undersell yourself, your thrusters let you fly at like five times the speed I can manage."

"My powers allow me to fly about one-hundred miles per hour more or less and create magnetic fields powerful enough to lift about one and a half tons.  By the standards of this school, kind of light weight stuff.  I do have a decent amount of competence with computers, I took the sneaking course last year, and I'm a strong swimmer.  I'm still training my magnetism sense to detect things better as well as be more precise with my fields."

 

Bumping knuckles with White Lioness she nodded, "Again, this isn't so much a bragging session as a chance to see what everyone can do so in any events the Headmistress puts us through, we know who is the best fit for each task."

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Following shortly behind his twin, where in costume the family resemblance was unlikely to go unnoticed Red Lynx arrived in his own a lightly armored costume stylized helm tucked under one arm.  His red suit looked to be of similar design and material as that his sister wore in white though more obviously armored in places.  He slanted a quick look to her at the statement and laughed lightly, "In that case I can do what she does but better."  he teased with a slight challenge.  It was obviously not entirely true else he'd be in that particular suit but it amused him all the more for it.  The Dakanan as well did less to disguise his accent and allowed his voice to drop to a lower register that stood in stark relief to his normally diplomatically tailored vocals.

 

"That would involve infiltration, investigation, and hand to hand primarily."  he offered as explanation.  It was clear once they arrived in costume hiding their identities from the team would be of little use even if technically a secret from the bulk of the student body.

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Janus nodded their head politely to Masque, committing the codename to memory. "My family doesn't typically take part in secret identities or code names and I'm no exception. Just Janus remains perfectly fine," the teenage swordsman agreed although they'd neglected to volunteer much in the way of their abilities. Janus grinned at Kam, amusement lacing their tone as they added a polite nod of their head to the royal Dakanan teenagers, "Does that mean that we are foregoing the farce of having not met each other while in squad activities? That's a relief. Espionage is not my forte, personally."

 

Pushing away from the wall, Janus absently stretched one arm over their head, pulling it slightly to work out the kinks, "So what's the exercise that you had in mind as an ice breaker, Gauss?"

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White Lioness

"Yes, sure you are little brother!”

 

Her tone suggested she far from agreed, and also far from serious about it they'd always been somewhat competitive but never that seriously. 

 

"It is strange for us as well to have these secret identities, but apparently necessary so we can live in this country without attracting attention. But here please call me Àjàṣorò!"

 

Having said her piece she then looked to the senior student here ready to find out what was planned for them today.

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"I know a lot less than I'd like," Elizabeth admitted, turning the mask to face her, and frowning at it as if she could compel it to speak. "And not just illusions, but mostly, and I guess that'll come up with practice?"

 

She shrugged, and with a half a glance at everyone else's more colorful gear, placed the artifact over her face; some small force rippled out from where it made contact, clothing stretching and bleaching into a hooded white cloak over an approximation of the school spandex in white and blue. Even the mask was brighter, somehow more alive and new, for all that it hadn't changed much. "Which is to say, I'm with them, I guess! What've you got, teach?"

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"Or study," Salvo offered helpfully to Masque. "Using something without knowing what makes it tick is like driving a car blindfolded." Her finger pointed at the mask then traced its silhouette in the air. "Especially something as obviously an artifact of magic as that. But if you need any help deciphering it, I'm the one you call. Trust me. Get this," and she leaned in closer, hands clasped on her legs, as if to whisper a secret though her voice was normal in volume. "I even got to do a little study on a weapon made by the same smiths as the ones who crafted Mjolnir. Mjolnir!"

 

"Aww, Gauss." Salvo's external-valves seemed to half-sing in a whoosh of air kind of way, and she placed an open palm across her chest. "How's a girl supposed to be modest when her friend's brag for her?" Then after a moment she dropped her hand and waved at the rest of the members who had just introduced themselves. "Hey team. I'm sure we'll have fun any way.

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Kam looked curiously to 'Gauss' as Janus inquired about the days exercises nodded in agreement curious as to what came next.  As Nicole fenced with 'Masque'  on the nature of her mask he smiled slightly, "I would venture in many cases practice and study are one and the same."  he pointed out with a small nod.  "There is a place for skill even in absence of knowledge."  he glanced to Elizabeth, "Though both has it's benefits as well."  he quickly suggested and awaited mroe information as to what they'd be attending.

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"I didn't have anything too extreme planned, start with this little gathering and move over to an easy simulation I have been working on," Gauss said to the gathered teens.  Lifting her head as if she was speaking to the ceiling, she said loudly, "Computer, run scenario SK dash twenty-seventy-seven."

The walls around them shimmered and fell away, replaced by broken and crumbling buildings around them, the floor replaced by rubble filled streets littered with debris, long abandoned cars.  Every so often mounds of spent bullet casings and skeletal remains can be spied.  And in the distance and getting closer were loud footsteps and gunshots,  "Well, crap.  This was not the program I was thinking of..."

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Masque took a step back, thinking very briefly of what a pike through the chest felt like as she listened to the gunshots. "You, um, you do know how to work this thing, right?"

 

One hand disappeared into her cloak and came back out pulling a semi-circle of wood, which in turn trailed more and more handle...until she had, improbably, conjured a full wooden crook-staff from a garment that could never hope to conceal any such thing. She spun it expertly enough, shifting her grip to the part wrapped in white cloth. "'cos I've seen a lot of old Star Trek re-runs," she said, "and I don't think this one usually ends very well. They wouldn't put real hurt-y bullets in a training simulation, I guess....right? Right. ....right?"

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"Why can't you do both?" Salvo asked Kam, challenging him in an off-handed manner. "They aren't exclusive and two is better than one, you know."

 

***

 

"Hmm," Salvo began ominously, purple visor watching Masque pull out a shepherd's crook from the folds of her costume. "Let's just say that there are students who could be hit by an eighteen-wheeler at full speed and not notice it.They need something extra hard to feel the risk when they fail here."

 

Open-hatched thrusters began to snapped open as Salvo said this and she planted her boots on the ground, ready for takeoff. "Just, try not to get shot until we figure this out, okay?"

 

She didn't wait for an answer, her thrusters flaring open with flame and a roar of air outtake. For a brief moment, electricity arced from her jets and frizzled into the ground and Masque could see naked strands of magic interwoven with the flame. Then the armored girl shot into the air like a rocket, smoke trailing her flight.

 

She stopped suddenly in the air, the flame and smoke washing past her. She was high above everyone else, just a speck between the glass faces of buildings, and she slowly turned like a top. The glass reflected her armored form and the miniturized storm around her as she broadened her senses by city blocks. "Scanning for hostiles. What's your metallic sense picking up, Gauss?"

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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White Lioness

It was strange that something like this could happen, did they not watch there own sci-fi television? The White Lion in her wanted to take command, it was in her lineage after all, but she was now part of a team and that meant following orders.

 

"We should probably stick toge..."

 

As she spoke people sprung into action, it was something natural and expected, but it could be disastrous depending on how the simulator was set up. Instead of retreating to shadows, her natural instinct in this case, she looked over at the more senior student to see what they wanted to do next.

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Rushing to his sisters side as the simulation started and something seemed amiss from the older students reactions.  He drew his weapons as he peered about the surroundings, "I'm certain it's most safe."  he assured Masque though his body language betrayed that belief in every tightly coiled muscle.  

 

Looking up where Salvo had taken to the air, "Can you make out what we're up against?"  he called to the hovering magi-tech armed student.  Turning toward Gauss he questioned curiously, "Should we reset to the correct scenario?"

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