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The Essential Guide to Heroing

Zeitgeist Blue

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Roberta Isley Gardens, Claremont Academy

Bayview, Freedom City, New Jersey

Thursday, January 31, 2019


12:01:49 PM


"Reina Nightingale."


The manila folder slid across the table to Reina's side. If she were to look inside she would see her school files printed on paper. Her application and acceptance into Claremont Academy, her previous school records, her entrance essay and various documents necessary for the proper documentation of a student.


It was almost complete, save for any sensitive personal information that wouldn't be available to a student's cursory search.


Across from Reina, Nicole stared blandly behind her spectacles as if she could assess the sophomore just like that. Nicole was sitting on her wheelchair and wrapped in winter clothing, a black and white scarf with floral patterns over a dark green sweater. Faded jeans and winter boots completed her outfit.


Reina and Nicole were seated at one of the tables in the gardens. The sun shined merrily down on their heads, warming them even with the whole grounds frosted in snow, and with lunchbreak just started many students had moved outdoors with them. The benches and the tables and seats were swept clean of snow by the staff and so were summarily filled up in a short amount of time. 


Reina could see the students eating lunch or walking in twos or trios across the gardens or inside the nearby administration building. One or two adults who could only be teachers could also be seen. It was a fairly typical scene for a high school boarding school except the background was punctuated by the use of powers. Small uses of powers. She could see a student light a small fire on her hands to keep another girl close to her warm. Another, sitting on a bench by the Zen Gardens, stirred up snow into fractals and patterns as he read a textbook on mathematics. A student flew down from the roof of the library, too far to see who it was.


"I've read your file," Nicole said, bringing Reina's attention back to her. "But I bet that doesn't tell me everything, so why don't you tell me more about yourself?"


It was a student mentor program the two had entered into paired randomly or as Nicole had suspected, chosen by whoever was in charge of this thing. And this was their first meeting after a few days since the pairs were announced, the first time the two had talked to each other face-to-face instead of reading a name accompanied by a picture or seeing the other briefly in the hallways.


"You just arrived this month, right? So let's start with that. Expectations from the school? From this? And why did you enter both?"


She pushed up the frame of her glasses with a finger, allowing Reina to speak.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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Reina had heard Pan talking a little bit about Nicole on their little excursion, but it hadn't occurred to her to give it that much thought. It wasn't until the school assigned her a mentor that she really started giving it more thought than that, and she'd only heard about that yesterday afternoon. But, she was here to make friends, and connect with people, and it'd worked okay with Pan so far so maybe--


Reina sorta froze up a little when Nicole pulled out a file with her name on it. It looked real official, real important. One of the biggest reasons she was here at ll was to keep from being dogged by the name she'd left behind, had Nicole just...? Reina picked up the folder with a shaky hand and started leafing quickly through it, shoulders relaxing somewhat when the only name she saw was 'Reina.' The tide of panic started to recede, but very slowly, her head full of static.


Deep breaths. Reina set the folder back down, fiddling with her fingers as she looked at Nicole's nose so that maybe she'd think she was making eye contact. "...Its, um, not super special. Got powers last winter, and always up to heroes...Tried to patrol a bit back home." She swallowed, looking down at her hands. "...Wasn't very good. Claremont found me? Somehow?"

Her eyes fell down to her hands. "...Seemed like a good place to learn. Still pretty bad, though...Get scared super easy, and overwhelmed. I thought this would be a good way to try..."

God, Nicole must have thought Reina was such a waste of time! "...Sorry..."

Edited by Curious Key
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Of all the teens in Claremont she could have gotten, it was someone with crippling social anxiety.


Nicole watched with morbid interest as Reina struggled to even form proper sentences, settling down in this half-hearted, half-though out phrases. Stared, really, with unwavering eyes like someone would stare at a trainwreck in motion. The older teen hadn't even done anything yet but Reina was already halfway to a cold sweat.


Her eyes flicked over to Reina's fiddling thumbs then to Reina's downcast eyes, and Nicole sighed, raising a hand so she could rub her cheek against her palm.


The seconds ticked by in a tense silence. Reina fiddling her thumbs and Nicole rubbing her cheek. A football rolled to a stop at the side of their table but Nicole didn't move to acknowledge it or the coming freshmen owners.


It wasn't morbid curiosity coursing behind her eyes this time but something resembling stress.


"Are you serious?" She drawled out the last word.


And then another sigh as she closed her eyes, hand going up to adjust her glasses.


"Right. Whatever." She looked at Reina again and rapped a finger on the table between them to get the sophomore's attention. "So Reina, my expectations. This is my third year in Claremont and you kind of expect the weird when you've gone that long in it and I do sincerely hope this isn't something like that. Let's see, I've tried the superhero thing for a year until Summers shut us down on that. I intern at Archetech in the Exotic Energies Division and volunteer with their charity work every month. I'll also be the best you'll ever see in the know-how department of functional magic and tech and can work with my hands like no one's business. You know what this means?"


Nicole didn't give Reina much time to answer, talking over her if she said anything.


"It means I hope this isn't a waste of my time. But don't worry, I came in expecting something like this, kind of. I improve things so I asked myself, how hard can it be to improve a person? Inexperience, gets scared, freezes up. We can fix that."


She gave Reina a smile, supposedly reassuring but perhaps Reina wouldn't find comfort in the flashing teeth.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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  • 2 weeks later...

This was a mistake... Reina's face drained of color as Nicole kept talking, ending with an echo of Reina's own fears. She was an important hero, an experienced hero, and Reina was wasting her time.


She could say she changed her mind, she could go back to her room amd hide in her laptop until the feelings went away, or even retreatvto the crash to give herself a little solitude. It would be better, surely, for both of them, to end this here and now.


But she wanted to be a hero. And maybe it was selfish, but she wanted to see what she could learn, even if it wasn't much. 


She took a deep breath.


"...Okay, please teach me..."

Edited by Curious Key
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Her smile widened, more genuine now. Then she swiveled her wheelchair from the table and navigated the way back to the main path, stopping only briefly to check if Reina was following her. They had the same goal at least, and the Sophomore was willing to learn. That was something Nicole couldn't find fault in.


As they moved to the pathway leading to the admin building, Nicole spoke from her seat. "I heard from Pan about your fight at the Super Museum. It's a good that you know your way around a scuffle but I want to go further than that. For many new powered heroes, they go in not understanding their powers, relying solely on 'hard-won' experience," and her fingers made quotation marks at this, "as if thinking failure isn't a part of that experience."


Up the ramp, past students and faculty. "Now you're a sophomore but you haven't missed much. Freshmen year is mostly non-powered related courses. That's three years to learn how to use what you have, how to control it and maybe even get stronger with it before you can use it in the "real world' like Summers wants."


Again the quote marks. "But even if you coop yourself up here twenty four-seven, three hundred sixty five days a year sometimes the real world comes to you. Like the Krampus attack back in December or your run-in with those two hench bros... which is where I come in."


(OOC: I'll get the GM post up in a couple of days at most. Feel free to reply.)

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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Combat Simulator, Sub-Level Four, The Subbasement

Jamin Summers Administration Building, Claremont Academy

Bayview, Freedom City, New Jersey

Thursday, January 31, 2019


12:12:30 PM


Reina found herself in Freedom City.


What struck her first was that it wasn't snowing. The sun shone pleasantly in the bright blue sky, not a cloud in sight, and most of the pedestrians she could see wore light clothes fit for summer. Bright dresses and shirts, shorts and caps to ward off the sun. She alone had winter attire, what she wore this morning, but she did not feel overly warm even under the sunlight. She could see some cars had their roofs down, bathing the passengers with sunlight. Nearby yellow taxis waited in line for passengers.


She was beside what looked to be a main road, four lanes in total, but traffic was light and cars coasted by. The traffic light signaled red and the cars stopped, allowing pedestrians to cross the road. People glanced at Reina, standing still by the pedestrian lane, but paid her no mind after that, walking around her on their way to whatever business they had. She could see a boy on a skateboard deftly wave through the crowd pass by her. A man wearing a gray suit and carrying a suitcase bumped into her and did not look back, too occupied with his phone call to apologize.


The buildings rose above and around her, a mixture of residential high-rises and brick establishments, ranging from a few stories tall to dozens. An Italian place was open behind her and she could hear the ringing of cutlery as diners ate their lunch, smell the pizza and the pasta wafting from the open windows and the outside area. Tangy on her nose, with generous heapings of baked cheese and herbs in their dishes. 'Mama Lou's Kitchen' the sign said in green letters over the brownstone that made up the rest of the building, a half dozen or so story affair that sat contentedly amid the highrises.


"You're in Midtown, Freedom City during the Summer of 2017." Nicole's voice came through a speaker, hidden beneath the lifelike simulation. "Beyond fighting criminals and beyond working against hostile forces, those with powers have a responsibility to their fellow people. It isn't unlike people having a responsibility to their fellows. We respect each other, we value their rights as human beings, we respond to their needs when they call for help. This is a common factor between those with powers and without, something that makes us all human. To ignore it is to cheapen yourself."


She pauses for a few seconds and the simulation goes on as if nothing has happened.


"And sometimes, that call to humanity happens in the most unexpected of times."

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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