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Shaking off the cobwebs


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Gordy adjusted his domino mask as he walked into the gym, wishing not for the first time that the school had better practice disguises. He hated having to wear his own mask that fit better, and this one smelled a little funny. 'Sure wish mom would hurry up and finish my new costume. Can't believe I outgrew the old one over summer. 'Bout time I had a growth spurt.'

Gordy looked around in the gym, trying to figure out which exercise Mr. Summer would have him doing today. All he knew for sure was that he had to be ready with a new trick. Well, he had a new one. He hadn't thought of it over the summer like he was supposed to. He had in fact thought of it two days ago during math class, and had been unable to concentrate for the rest of the period. Not that he ever concentrated on math.

"I'm ready!"

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Even as Gordy called out his readiness, the headmaster of the school, Duncan Summers came into the gym, his cane keeping step with his movements.

"So, Gordy. Before we begin, tell me exactly what it is you've heard about today's exercise. I know the students talk about their own little trials so I'd like to set the record straight before we begin. If you start with too many rumors and false information, it could hamper your performance and that is something we don't want to happen."

(OOC: The OOC thread is here)

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"Well, I was talking with a group of the guys who already went, and they said it was pretty simple. First stationary target practice, then the combat drone and then we show you our new trick. They also said that after all of that we had to fight you, but I'm pretty sure they were kidding." Gordy looks around himself one more time. "I don't even see any drones though. Are they gonna try and surprise me?"

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"Well, I was talking with a group of the guys who already went, and they said it was pretty simple. First stationary target practice, then the combat drone and then we show you our new trick. They also said that after all of that we had to fight you, but I'm pretty sure they were kidding." Gordy looks around himself one more time. "I don't even see any drones though. Are they gonna try and surprise me?"

Duncan smiled and placed his hand on Gordy's shoulder. "It's a good thing that I asked!"

Duncna lowered his hand, placing it on top of his cane. "Each test is different for each student. This is not simply a combat drill session as a lot of the students here at the school just do not have combat abilities. No, we like to get a thorough examination of the students."

The headmaster truns from Gordy and begins moving away from him. He continues speaking as you gets closer to the door. "For you, we've devised a number of interesting tests for you to perform before you get to show us your new trick. I hope it's a good one by the way, though that part of the examination has only a fraction of the overall grade. In all, you have five tests to perform, your trick being the last test. Once I leave the room, the room will be set to begin. Good luck."

As the last of his words floated on the air, Duncan Summers, headmaster of the school, stepped out of the gym leaving Gordy alone in the large area.

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Gordy breathed in deep as Duncan Summers made his way out of the room. Out of reflex he began to do his scales, just like he would before a big stage performance. Just as the headmaster reached the door he brought up his sound wall force field, making the air around him shimmer. 'You can do this. Remember your training from last year, remember to relax, remember to breathe. Think about archery lessons from the summer. You can do this. You can fight.'

"Bring it on!"

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Over a loud speaker, High Note can hear Headmaster Summers. "Gordy, you're going to begin your testing now. The first stage is simple. All you have to do is use your sound control to mimic the various tones and frequencies that you hear. There are four different parts to this test and each one will become more and more difficult to maintain. As this is simply a test of your capabilities, failure is not important. We simply want to judge where you presently are in your abilities, so don'T panic. If you don't get the tone right away, you have two more tries to get it right before we move on to the next section. You have a total of three attempts per section so don't worry too much about your performance. If you manage to match the sounds, then the room's light will flicker indicating that the next section will begin shortly. Ready?"

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"Ready." Gordy listened for the first of the tones. Nothing fancy, short busts, probably in the middle of his vocal range. Trying to steady he nerves, Gordy takes a deep breath. Just as he sings out the thought 'I suck at tests' goes through his head, and he sings out about an octave off.

"Sorry. Let me try that again."

Forcing his mind to go blank of all but his task, Gordy tries again. 'It's just like being on stage, only different sounds. Sing from the diaphragm and all that.' This time he nails it, singing almost perfectly in sync with the noises.

No sooner does he stop for a breath then the next noise starts. Same range, longer notes. Just a little bit harder. Note much though. High Note lives up to his name and has no trouble stretching the notes longer. The sound manipulating teenager stops to rest his voice.

"Very good Gordy. Now try this one."

The tones began to come quicker, like the lyrics of a Dispatch song. On his first try High Note can't go quite fast enough. He stops, listens for a moment, then tries again. With just that little extra study, the note are no problem.

"Excellent. Now for the real challenge."

Impossibly, the notes hit quicker and quicker. Not only that, but they seem to be switching all over the vocal range. This is really going to be tough. On his first try High Note manages to switch his tone from note to note, but is not nearly quick enough with his individual shouts. On his second try he gets closer, but still note close enough and stops after only 3 notes. Last try. 'Hmm, I wonder if he can tell the differance between me doing this with my vocal powers and with me just signing. I could always try that.' Gordy glances at loudspeaker momentarily. Certainly they could see him, though he didn't know where the cameras where. They also probably had all sorts of different devices to measure the use of powers. Too risky. Rumor had that Headmaster Summers used to go after the big name villains with nothing but sheer determination. Something told Gordy that even if he could fool the power measures, he wouldn't fool the Duncan Summers. There was only one thing to do. Give it one last try.

Thinking about it later, the most frustrating part of the test to Gordy would be that he almost had it. Just a little too slow in coming, and by this point he was stressed and out of breath.

"I can't do it. I'm sorry."

Duncan Summers can almost hear the defeat in his words. Obviously Gordy wasn't used to having his voice fail him.

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Duncan's voice came over the loudspeaker. "You did very well, Gordy. Not many could have performed what you just did. You shouldn't let your performance here affect you in the wrong way. Try to think of this as new goals for you to reach."

"We'll beign the next stage in a few moments. Have a drink and relax. Things will only get more an more difficult from this point on."

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After Gordy had taken a short break, the lights flicker and Duncan's voice again comes over the speakers.

"I hope you're rested, Gordy. This stage is a test of your ability to accurately target with your sound blasts. A number of targets will be placed within the room. All you have to do is hit them with your blast. There will be four parts to this test, just like the one before, they will become progressively more difficult. You have three chances to hit the targets. Good luck."

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Gordy just nods and takes a final swallow of his honey tea. Someone in food services new something about voice. The first of the targets pops up just as Gordy makes it to the line on the ground. 'Easy does it. This one is just like at camp.' A deep breath precedes High Note's shot, and his concentrated blast of high pitched sound strikes just to the left of center. A good hit.

Smiling a little with his easy success, Gordy waits for the next target to pop up. It does, a further way down the range. These ones can be a bit of trouble. Still, it's a bit like camp. And Gordy did well at the camp archery classes. And he does well now,hitting just to the left of center again. 'Guess my point of aim is off. I need to work on that a little'

With two up and two down in quick succession, High Note starts feeling pretty good about this. 'Bring on the next one. I'm getting good at this.' This time the target pops up and moves a bit from side to side, back and forth. 'Huh. Didn't have moving targets at camp.'

Trying not to be phased by the more unfamiliar target, High Note focuses in. He follows along with his eyes, then lets go when it's directly in front of him. It hits just to the side.

"Try aiming at where it will be, not where it is." The headmasters voice cuts into the room through the speaker. High Note nods and gives a double thumbs up, showing that he's listening. He follows in front of the target this time, taking a few seconds to really get his bearings, and lets go with another blast. It just hits around the edges of the target. Not the best hit, but it's still a hit none the less.

'What the last one going to do, fly?'

As it turned out, the last of the targets did not fly. It did however seem to have some sort of AI that made it move away when he looked at it for too long. This one was going to be tough. Really tough. Trying again High Note takes a few seconds to get the idea of the movement and look for a pattern. Thinking he spies something he launches his blast, but it's quite wide, and he hits only the far gym wall.

High Note does his best not to let it annoy him. He just need to nail down how the target moves. What did his teachers always say. 'Don't worry about speed, worry about hitting.' As usual, his teachers were right. The blast of sound speeds from High Note and makes contact with his target. Sure, in a real combat he might not have had the luxury of so much time to aim, but for a test, it seemed to work just fine.

"That's right. Sondheim himself couldn't have hit those notes!"

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"Very Impressive, Gordy!" comes the voice of the headmaster again. "You've been holding out on us, haven't you. Take a moment to refresh yourself again before the we proceed to the next stage."

Food and drink is again brought in for the young man to take at his pleasure as well as a chair for him to sit in and rest.

Once he has had a few moments, the lights flicker signalling the start of the next stage. Workers come in and remove all of the materials that were brought in for his break, which was very curious as so far, the test area was no where near that section of the gym.

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"Gordy, we've tested your ability to control your sonic powers as well as your ability use that power as a weapon. Now, you must show us your ability to protect yourself. You will face four different targets each with varying attack potential. The exercise is simple. Don't let them touch you. This is much more difficult than before as each target must touch three times. This eliminates those random lucky shots that occasionally occur. Good luck."

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Gordy gulps in nervousness and a little bit of fear. He hadn't used his deflection shield much since the tomato incident. Mostly because he'd been trying to keep himself out of situation where he got shot at. Just for his own added peace of mind he activates his force field.

"O..Ok. I'm ready."

The first target, looking like a petty thief, fires from directly in front of High Note, but he flinches and doesn't have his sound up in even close to the right place, the blast hits him in the chest. It doesn't hurt as much as he thought, though that may be the force field.

The second shot comes before High Note fully has the ability to recover from his mental shock and nerves. Again, he is very much off with his shield, and again the blast hits him. This time he had managed to react, so it only caught him in the shoulder, but that's all it needed to do.

As the last shot from the first target screams toward him, High Note screams, in the more literal sense, toward it. The Shot is blocked almost perfectly. One out of three. Not good. But it didn't hit all three times. That's what counts.

'Round one down. I really hope they aren't filming this. Would not make for a good audition tape.'

Almost without warning the second target, looking like a well dressed bodyguard, pops up to begin it's attack. Fortunately there was a little bit of warning, allowing High Note to turn toward the attack and throw up a wall of sound, bouncing the shot away from him. 'That's it. I'm starting to get the hang of this.'

Feeling confident, High Note prepares himself for the next shot. It looks like a worse shot then the last one, throwing High Note off by just enough for him to have his wall in the wrong place. Quick footwork keeps it from making real contact with him though.

The last shot come in right down the middle, and it is of no real challenge for High Note to throw up his wall and render the attack useless.

'Two out of three blocked, and no hits that time. That's gotta earn me some points.'

The third target, looking a little like Rambo, appears just as High Note finishes his thought. The first shot catches him completely unaware, the deflecting wall going up as the shot hits him. 'That can't have looked good.'

The next shot from Rambo-lite comes in high and toward the shoulder, narrowly avoiding the wall and catching High Note in the humerus.

Two up and two hit is not making Gordy feel all that confident about his chances of passing this round, but he tries not to let it get to him. 'I'm sure even Colm Wilkinson had days where he couldn't sing it out right.' The last shot comes in, down toward his legs, but the sound wall goes up just in time to keep him safe. 'Huh. I did crap, then good, then crap. Lets hope the pattern holds. I need to rock this next part.'

The last of the targets he is to face in this test pops up. Someone in the test office apparently has been paying attention to him, as the attacker takes the form of Andrew Llyod Webber. "Oh. It's on!" The hated play rights first shot comes in, making a bee line for High Notes face. Without even a hint of his earlier fear High Note throws up a deflective screen, making the attack do nothing. The second attack fares somewhat better, faking out the teen super and catching him in the gut. The final attack of the test is almost identical to the one before, passing through the screen and getting High Note right in the face. High Note lets the anger of being outdone by Webber get to him and launches an attack at the target.

"That's for Cats!"

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"Hey, I liked Cats!" came Duncan's voice over teh speakers again. His tone, however was mirthful and lacked any anger at Gordy's retaliation at the drone.

"On a more serious note, pun not intended, it seems you could do with a little more work on that deflective shield of yours. Expect to see some extra classes assigned to you to help in that area. For now, take some time to refresh yourself before we begin the fourth stage."

Food and a chair are again brought out for Gordy to use at his leisure. AS he partakes in the refreshments, more people come out to clean up after the last test. The people move slowly, as if giving Gordy plenty of time to regain his strength. Actually, when he starts to think about it, after each stage, the breaks became longer and longer. Already this break had lasted longer than the previous three stages put together. Whatever was coming next was going to be big.

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With the room cleaned and spotless, the lights flicker once again to indicate that the fourth stage was about to begin.

Duncan's voice again came over the speakers. "Well, Gordy, we're almost finished here. After this stage, you'll show us your new trick and I must say I'm looking forward to seeing it. So far, we've tested your ability to control your sonic abilities. We've tested your offensive capabilities as well as your defensive capabilites. Now comes the most important thing we will test you on."

The room goes black for a few minutes and Gordy can hear the sound of people moving about, placing items all through out the room. After what seems like an eternity, the lights come back on to reveal a variety of items.

A small stage with a microphone and a keyboard was sitting off to the right. It was a similar set up to the one from his various perfoming classes. Opposite the stage, sat a table with numerous books. Gordy recognized them as mostly textbooks from his classes. To the right of the desk was a large wardrobe and mirror. A small podium was also there, one that he used often in his debate classes. To the left of the small stage, was a small television, it's picture blank.

"There will be times when your powers will not be able to save you and only your skills will allow you to survive. Gordy, what you see before you are various items to test just how well you have been paying attention in class. Each small section represent a part of the classes that you have been taking. You must use each section once for you to pass this section of the test. You may only use a section once and unlike the previous stages, you get one chance per section to beat the challenge. Good luck."

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For just a few seconds, this is the test that truly scares Gordy. Testing him on paying attention in class? How cruel could one school get? After his initial shock has worn off though, Gordy starts to realize that this might not be so bad. It looks like the classes he actually kinda does pay attention in. Art Appreciation, Debate, Theater Craft and Choir. Well, he calls it choir, though really it's his independent study. After taking it all in Gordy walks over to the textbooks and looks at the sheet of paper next to his "Psychology of Super-Villains" book.

'A well established villain is making his attack on a bus full of orphans for the third time this month. Based on the Ravens techniques for reading into a villains past, what can we ascertain about his motives?'

"Hmm." Gordy takes a moment to think back to his classes. Reading into people had never been his strong suit, but this one seems fairly obvious.

'A villain will often lash out at things that remind him of his life before he gained his powers(or built his suit/andriods/ect). This villain was probably raised in an orphanage and blames such a system for never providing the love he needed. If the villain is a super-genius, then he likely blames the orphanage for never recognizing his intelligence.'

Satisfied that he has the correct answer Gordy moves on to his art appreciation sheet.

Name the painter of this impressionist style painting.


"Crap. Is this Manet or Monet? I can never remember which is which. I'll go with Monet.

Though unsure of himself, Gordy knows it's pointless spending too much more time on it, or he'll second guess himself out of a correct response. Or back into a wrong one. The next book he looks it is "Victory without Violence" and it's sheet tells him to go to the podium. At the podium he is given a scenario. 'Your arch nemesis is holding the trigger to a WMD that he is threatening to set off. You can't safely engage him in combat and must talk him down.'

"Why do they always have a trigger? Why can't they ever just come down and fight? Oh crap, is that already filming? Let me start over. This won't get you what you want. You may think that blowing up the mayors office will help you forget your past, but it won't. The only thing that can blow up the hurt and pain you feel inside of you, is you. Now please, put down the trigger, come down here, and we'll get you the help you need."

Feeling ok about his last performance, Gordy walks over to the challenge he had been saving for last. Music. Attached to the mic stand is a note. 'Study and then sing the 'Largo al factotum.' At this Gordy swallows a little. Largo al Factotum is meant to be one of the most challenging of all Aria's. Still, this is his world, singing. The young performer takes a deep breathe as he studies the words, settling his nerves. A second deep breathe and he begins to sing. Even without musical accompaniment he manages to stay on beat and on not to trip over too many of the words, at least not noticeably. Looks like all that time spent learning to lower his vocal range wasn't a waste of time.

"Usually people throw roses at this part."

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"Impressive," came the headmaster's voice over the speakers. "It seems you haven't been slacking off in your classes afterall."

People come out and begin clearing away the various props fromt eh last test and even a few nod their appreciation for Gordy's song. Refreshments are again brought out to let Gordy regain his strength.

This time however, Duncan Summers comes out to join him. "You've done quite well so far Gordy. I'm proud of you. All that's left is for you to demonstrate your new trick for us. I have to admit I am fairly curious as to what you have to show today. Is there any props that you need? Drones for targets or another purpose? "

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"Huh. I don't know what kind of drones I would need. I've only ever done this before on my sister, and that was really an accident. I guess I would need drones with emotions? And Ears?"

Gordy does a few vocal warm ups, and to his surprise, such a drone(apparently) is brought in.

"Wow. We have everything here. Ok. So, here's what I found out. You know how they say music soothes the savage beast? And you obviously know that hurting people is not really my thing. So I came up with this. I was singing some of my lines over the summer, you know for practice. And I was getting to my death scene, and I was really, really concentrating on putting alot of myself into it. Well, I must have put to much of me into it, because next thing I know, there's my sister, just weeping on the couch. She thought it was the saddest thing she'd ever heard. And she's seen me pretend to die on stage, like, five times. So I just kinda started in on Put on a Happy Face, you know, from Bye-bye Birdie? And she perked right up. Like creepily perked right up. People don't usually cheer up that fast. But anyway, that's where I got the idea for this little bit from. I wanna see if I can do it again, and if I can do anything other then make people laugh and cry."

With that Gordy beings to sing, a song from Les Miserables, designed to fire up the blood

I am warning you Javert

I'm a stronger man by far

There is power in me yet

My race is not yet run

I am warning you Javert

There is nothing I won't dare

If I have to kill you here

I'll do what must be done!

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Four drones are brought out and set up for Gordy to perform his trick. His music flows over all four of the targets and due to the nature of the test, none try to avoid the effect.

Only one of the drones seems to react to the music as it struggles to turn its aggression upon the drone on its right. After making sure that the others wouldn't react to the music, the lights flick signalling the end of the test.

Gordy stops singing and feels the effects of trying the stunt. Obviously, he had a long way to go before he could do it on a regular basis, but he was getting closer.

Duncan Summers comes in just as the drones are being taken away. He walks over to Gordy with a smile on his face. "Now that was impressive, Gordy. None of your teachers ever thought your control of sound would translate into the ability to affect a person's emotional state."

Duncan gestures to the chair brought out for the young man to sit. "I must admit, though, that we stacked the deck against you there. Each of the drones were programmed with different musical tastes. It was something your reaction to the Webber drone earlier had given me. What would happen if your target had different taste in music than the one you would sing? As the drone that reacted was programmed with a dislike for musicals, I would guess you would need more work on your selection of songs. To that end, you'll be getting a new schedule that will include a more diverse exposure to music. So you can expect to hear a lot more of Adrew Llyod Webber."

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Gordy looks proud of himself for a moment when the drone responds, and even more proud, almost smug, when Mr. Summers says his new trick is something he and his teachers hadn't thought of for Gordy to try. He looks less pleased when Mr. Summers talks about drones with different musical tastes, and down right mutinous when the idea of having to listen to more Webber comes up.

"I swear to the gods of theater, if I have to listen to 'Memory', I will break something. Do you have any idea how many times I've heard people at auditions pick that song? And their never any good at it. It's even worse then 'Tomorrow.' And that's almost universally recognized for horrible."

Gordy takes a deep breath, trying to force his emotions under control before he slips and says something to the headmaster he'll regret. "I'll take classic rock appreciation. That seems fair."

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Duncan shook his head and smiled. "No, Gordy. You seem to have misunderstood me. You will be taking special lessons on top of your normal classes that will be tailored to give you exposure to all music types. Don't look at it as extra work, it's all about improving your abilities."

Duncna lays a hand on Gordy's shoulder and begins to lead the young man out of the room. "Just think how that knowledge will improve your next test!"

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