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Avenger Assembled

Go Forth And Bring Me Labrys (IC)

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Early Spring 2019 

Claremont Cafeteria 

 

A few weeks after the incident where the duplicates of superheroes showed up at Freedom City, Veronica was just starting lunch when she was interrupted by Judy Smith. Judy and her sister generally gave the Dangers a wide berth, but today Judy looked burdened with purpose and Ashley looked vaguely mortified through the usual air of disdain she tried to project. "Veronica? Can Ah talk to you for a minute?" asked Judy, who of course had no food. Judy usually didn't come into the cafeteria either, come to think of it. 

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Veronica Danger

 

Veronica had just open a book off to one side of her tray, one written in a language that very much looked like it might be Greek.  Although somewhat surprised to have been approached by Judy, the teenage Danger gave the Smith sisters a smile.  "Hello Judy, Ashely, yes, please take a seat."  She stated, indicating the seats across from her.

 

Glancing down at the book again, she gave a small grin as she closed it once more.  "Mr. Kuzkin asked me to review a few lines of the Iliad in the original Ancient Greek for him."  She explained with a small shrug.  "So, what can I help you with?"

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"Yeah, Ah had that class in the fall. He's pretty nice once you get to know him." Judy had had a pretty good Classical education, at least by the standards allowable by her parents. The literature of past ages was supposed to be much better than the literature of today, even if it was mostly super-boring compared to the good stuff. "Ah wanted to ask you something," she said, her voice serious as she took the seat. Ashley took a seat too, sitting so she could see the rest of the room. 

 

"It's about that...ax thing, you have, the labrys." She pointed to Veronica's charm. "Ah wanted to ask you what that meant, like if Ah saw someone wearing it, what would that mean?" Ashley fidgeted, looking visibly uncomfortable, but Judy was laser-focused on Veronica. 

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Veronica

 

Veronica's hand instinctively reached up to the silver necklace around her neck from which several small symbols hung, including a labrys.  Rubbing her fingers on the labrys, the teenage Danger gave a small smile, "well, the answer to that question depends a lot on context."

 

"I purchased mine on Crete, where it was believed to be a sacred symbol of the ancient Minoan religion, although always associated with female goddesses."  Veronica paused a moment before continuing.  "That association has likely influenced many of its more modern meanings.  For some it is now a symbol of Hellenic Polytheism or for the neopagan Goddess movement.  It also has come to be associated with feminism as a symbol of the matriarchy and more recently it has been adopted as a LGBT symbol for lesbian feminism to represent women's strength and self-sufficiency.  There have been a few other uses by very different movements, but most of those have been defunct for decades."

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She's so smart! I'm glad I talked to her. 

 

Judy swallowed - but didn't look surprised by the news. "All right...that's what Ah thought." Ashley relaxed, just a fraction, at Judy's words. "Back when all those copies of us here, one of mine was wearing one of those around her neck, and Ah'm pretty sure she was gay." She took a breath, then said, "But that doesn't matter, right? Ah mean, there are dimensions where everybody's evil, or the opposite gender, so what somebody's like in some other world, that doesn't mean anything about this one." Ashley was tense again.

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Veronica

 

"Ah."  Veronica stated as Judy explained she had been seeking conformation of a conclusion she had already reached.  What was a bit more interesting about the conversation was Ashley’s reactions to what Judy was saying, though Veronica did not focus too much on that, keeping her attention on Judy.

 

"Well, I for one have never encountered anyone from Anti-Earth personally, duplicate or not, but I certainly have heard a bit about it from Uncle Ace."  She then stated.  "But your right, it does not matter and I would not be too concerned that it means anything about you.  It is possible there could be alternate dimensions that exist that are nearly identical to ours.  Not that I have particularly extensive experience, but in the case of my two duplicates I encountered that day, we each had a considerable number of similarities, but also significant differences.  And yes, one of mine was male, Vincent."  She then added with a small grin.

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"Ah was worried you'd be mad," said Judy bluntly. "Ah mean, Ah know there are a lot of people at Claremont who are gay..." She tugged lightly at her hair. "Ah don't think there's anything wrong with it. Ah just didn't want to think that some copy of me knew more about mah life and my family than me." 

 

"Earth-XX, huh?" asked Ashley, trying to take the change of subject even if Judy was still so rattled she'd have missed it. "Heard a kid made it with his duplicate one year. Boys are gross." 

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Veronica

 

One of Veronica's eyebrow’s arched ever so slightly at Judy's further explanations, but did not comment, instead turning toward Ashley.  "Ew."  Veronica replied.  "Which was also my reaction when my female other self that was also here began making some suggestive comments about our male counterpart.  So, boys hardly hold a monopoly in being sexually adventurous.  I mean, there are certainly examples from my family from both genders."

 

Veronica paused a moment, and then asked.  "How about you Ashley, anything shocking or surprising from any of your duplicates?"

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Ashley wrinkled her nose, wondering why the hell so many teenagers thought flirting with themselves was something to admit in mixed company. At least it was just her duplicate, not her, I guess. "I liked my doubles fine. We'd have owned this school if Summers hadn't kept us on lockdown," she said with a shrug and casual toss of her hair. "Guess I'm not that complicated." 

"They seemed nice enough," said Judy with a little shrug, though it seemed like she was leaving something out. "Ah wanted to know more about...everything that happened." 

"Eh, best not to worry about it," said Ashley with a shrug. "Basic multiversal theory. Worst thing you can imagine is happening to someone just like you right now - but so's the best thing. It all balances out." 

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Veronica

 

Veronica nodded slightly as Ashley talked about getting along with her duplicates and again in agreement with Ashley's statements about Judy not worrying too much about trying to learn more about her duplicates.  "Ashley is right, you could drive yourself crazy trying to second guessing past decisions based on what you learn from duplicates about their lives and world as you go over every difference that might exist between you."   

 

The teenage was quite a moment, then looked from Judy to Ashley as she asked.  "By the way, out of curiosity, have the two of you ever met your Earth-Prime selves?"

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Judy swallowed and looked at Ashley - evidently this was a tense subject. Ashley played things cool. "Not much to say there. They never saw their world die, so they never had to learn to make hard choices. They're not going to be superheroes, if that's what you're asking." Casually, she took the multitool off her belt and started to toy with it, flicking it open and closed. 

"The other me doesn't have any powers," added Judy, "so there wasn't any reason to send her to Claremont." She tugged at her hair and went on, "They're just off doing their thing, far away from here." 

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Veronica

 

Veronica noted Judy's slight tensing but did not comment or react to it.  Instead, she just gave a small nod as Ashely explained the situation with the two sisters' duplicates from this dimension.  "Not overly common, but not unheard of either."  She commented on the fact that the Earth-Prime Judy apparently did not have powers. 

 

"But likely for the best, I imagine having your duplicates always present around campus would likely cause a fair bit of confusion."  The teenage Danger then added.

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"It'd just be another reason to get the Hell out of this place once we graduate," said Ashley with great feeling, earning a nod from a silent Judy. "How about you, back to global adventuring when you've graduated?" 

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Veronica

 

"Yes, that is the general plan."  Veronica replied when Ashely asked her plans after finishing at Claremont.  "I might consider college, but likely will want at least a gap year before continuing on with that.  I mean, after I finish my three years here, that time will far and away be the most time I have spent in any one place in my entire life.  If not for being able to get away for winter and spring break and over the summer, I am not sure I could make it a full three years."

 

"How about the two of you?  Any particular plans after you graduate, other than getting away from here that is?"

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"We're going to shake the dust of this town off our feet and get very far away from Freedom and its heroes. Judy's going to go to college somewhere safe, and I'm going to keep cleaning up the streets," said Ashley with feeling. "There's a lot of scum out there, and it's gonna be damn easier once we're out of Freedom. Never should have ventured onto the Raven's turf to begin with." 

"Ah'll probably be a nurse," said Judy quietly. "Ah haven't had an eruption of mah powers in a couple of months, so if that keeps up Ah can finish my degree somewhere quiet." Her face screwed up at that, and she laughed sharply for a moment. "Maybe somewhere where Lulu's from, or some place like that." 

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Veronica

 

Veronica felt it was probably best if she did not bring up that Ashley's view of what "cleaning up the streets" entailed was part of the reason she had been brought to Claremont after her run in with the new Raven.  Starting a debate on vigilantism and the root social issues behind certain crime was hardly polite.

 

"That is a very admirable career Judy."  The teenage Danger instead responded as Judy mentioned what she was thinking of studying.  "If you are ever interested, Danger International is often operating a few humanitarian projects around the world that often involve providing medical care.  I was at one in Tanzania over winter break.  A good way to get some hands on volunteer experience."

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Judy made a small noise in the back of her throat, and for a moment or two Veronica could tell that the girl wanted to say yes to that more than anything. But instead she simply put on that prom queen smile and stood up. "Ah'll have to think about that one, Veronica. Thanks again for your advice; Ah really appreciate it. If there's anything Ah can ever do for you, just let me know." And with that, she turned and headed away, her ever-watchful sister walking by her side. Neither of them were saying much to each other.

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