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'Wow,' was the thought that went through Claudes' head at the ongoing drama. No small part of him wanted to sarcastically clap at the improv soap opera performance. The other part, namely his mouth was already shooting off on pure ingrained impulse.  

 

"This is a real treat now viewers, the females' emotional display has cowed the male and now he resorts to the time honored tactic of grovelling. It will remain to be seen if this desperation gambit will prove successful on his part while the public nature of this disagreement potentially affecting either participants social standing in this insular community that has just recently began its yearly replenishment to replace the members who leave after gaining the matriarchs' and her attendants approval." Claude loudly whispered in a overblown mimicry of an Australian accent as if he was excitedly hosting a nature documentary.

 

Dropping the accent for his normal Bostonian drawl he asked the nearby Lulu and Adam. "Dis sort of thing a normal occurrence 'round here? Not dat I'm not enjoying the show or anything, I'd just like to know if I should keep some popcorn handy in the future." 

 

Edited by Semi-Autogyro

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Legatus

 

Raised voices, especially unfamiliar ones, were something that No. XVIII, as he still could not help but think of himself, wasn't sure he'd quite gotten used to. Sure, there had been more than a few shouting matches back home, but most of the time nowadays when he heard shouting, it was because someone was in trouble. He lifted a few inches off of the ground, preparing to launch himself off in the direction of the shouts, before he paused, reminded of all the lessons he had had in the months since his arrival at Claremont.

 

Foremost among those lessons had been people usually can take care of themselves here. XVIII took a deep breath, wishing he could more easily tell when he was actually needed, and let himself fall lightly on the balls of his feet. Walking places invariably took longer than flying to them, and flying was far more enjoyable. Nevertheless, his repeated visits to the Vice-Principal's office had taught him something else - he was supposed to be learning to be "normal" at Claremont.

 

It was therefore several minutes before the tall, black-and-blonde haired teen arrived at the parking lot. Almost at once he was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people. He hadn't really grasped how many students would be coming to Claremont, despite intellectually understanding that there would be many, many more than his old home-school. "Wow." The word came out of his mouth before he realized it. Suddenly, the vast, crushing emptiness of the campus seemed like it was going to be overrun with dozens of unpredictable and unusual individuals. This will be... harder than I thought.

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Octoman

 

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"... so I think my room's down this hall, and-"

 

"And just what kind of education are you going to be getting here, hrm?"

 

"Kateryna, we went over this, he's learning how to use his abilities."

 

"Yeah, yeah, but what about useful skills?  Job skills?  What kind of career can he train for here?"

 

"Mooom!"

 

 

Ben was walking on the ceiling when he reached both his assigned dorm room, and the Palahniuk family. When he started babbling, it wasn't clear exactly who he was talking to. His head still bobbed and his body still swayed in time with the music while he talked. His luggage hung under him, stuck to his tentacles and waving a couple feet over the floor while he talked as much with his hands as with his mouth, not actual sign language, just frantic gesturing.

 

"Gotta be honest, losing my hearing, that SUCKED, and I'm NOT over it, so, like, don't bring it up, I'll talk about it if I want to. I know we're supposed to be all loud-and-proud here, but I legit was gonna try to just read lips and fake it. But Mamá's doing the whole crusading lawyer thing, so she wasn't about to sign off on ANY school, even Superhero School, what am I saying, ESPECIALLY Superhero School, if they weren't ADA-compliant, know what I mean? And it's gonna be kinda hard to sit there in class with the sign language interpreter both Mamá AND Principal Summers insisted on, spending every class staring a hole in my face, and I'm just all 'Shrug, Gee, I wonder who THEY'RE here for?' But silver lining, if I hadn't gone deaf, I probably wouldn't have learned how to read lips, and then I wouldn't be able to eavesdrop on other people's conversations while still grooving to what's left of my tunes. That's called 'multi-tasking'. It's one of the many marketable skills they teach here. But here's how my parents explain it when one of THEM gets into this argument: Publicly funded and mandated secondary education isn't supposed to teach 'job skills'. 'Education' and 'Training' are two different things. 'Job Training' teaches you how to do a job, just like it says on the bottle, no false advertising there. But EDUCATION? That teaches you how to THINK. How to be a PERSON, not just a cog in a machine. He's not learning how to do A JOB here. He's learning how to LEARN. Training for doing one job, maybe that puts food on the table for a while, until that job goes away. And specific jobs, those go away ALL THE TIME. I know that 'cause I do computer programming. We get rid of other people's jobs every DAY. Freakin' ROBOTS, Man. The most 'marketable skill' any kid today can learn is how to learn OTHER skills, 'cause doing one job your whole life and it's the same job Great-Grandpa did is some horse-and-buggy crap that ain't comin' back. I do computer-stuff, and I'm really good at it. I could drop outta this place RIGHT NOW and by this time next year I'd be making fifty-K writing the code that tells everything from your phone to your car to your freakin' microwave how to do its thing. But my parents would go on a RAMPAGE if I did that, and it's not just 'cause they wanna watch me walk across a stage in a black dress with a funny hat. Think about it. You really want me doing that job when I don't know ANYTHING about history or politics that might tell me that the thing I wanna try and do already got tried and killed a bunch of people years before I was born? In a world where freakin' SOCIAL MEDIA has already LITERALLY caused genocides and civil wars? Dial it back, you want me making stuff you're gonna have to look at EVERY DAY without knowing ANYTHING about art or design? Crank it back up, you want me or your boy here VOTING and sitting on JURIES, people's LIVES in our hands, without knowing anything about the world other than the ONE THING we need to know to do whatever our job happens to be that year? C'mon, of course not, we're trying to have a SOCIETY here. It's the same reason we stopped doing free-market fire departments and garbage trucks. Y'know how Fire and Disease don't stay in one place just 'cause we drew lines on a map? Well, neither does Stupid. Also, like, if a bunch of hormonal teens can blow up buildings with our minds, maybe it's a good call to send us to a school that teaches us why blowing up buildings with our minds isn't always the best idea, before we, y'know, start blowing up buildings with our minds."

 

He stopped for breath and shook Dayv's hand, while still standing on the ceiling. "Hey, I'm Ben. You Dayv?"

 

Edited by Grumblefloof

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Nick stopped dead in his tracks. The music had drawn his attention, but no sooner had his triangulation started then another source caught his attention. He reversed gears and walked outside backwards. Thankfully, the crowd outside was good company to blend with. Much like Micah, he stood stock still, amp and guitar in his arms. His eyes though darted about to gauge the reaction of the bystanders.

 

A quick analysis of Judy's vocal pattern suggested she was, in technical terms, royally pissed. The glowing eyes though...now those were interesting. In the bright morning light, the glow was initially missed, but its sound was like chiming bells. Analyzing that energy threw up strange readings. Nick visibly cringed.

 

I wonder what her powers are...

 

So focused was he on the energy signature and the couple's conversation that he missed Claude's opening. What he did hear though was enough for him to ever so calmly take two steps away from the Bostonian. Why? Death Rays. Metahumans favored eye beams. Her eyes were glowing. Simple math.

 

Did he feel bad for rubbernecking? Nah, not really. He wanted to see if the male's courtship display would appease the female's ferocity.

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"Blew her off all summer," growled Watchdog to Pan, her arms crossed over her chest and a look of fierce satisfaction on her face at the way Judy had stood up for herself. "Bad move. Scuse me." She made an ostentatiously rude gesture Claude's way, making sure the little punk saw it, and headed over there to punctuate it. "You want to see something $(@ing wild?" she snarled.

 

Judy snapped open her fan and began rapidly fanning her face, feeling a truly unaccustomed warmth. As she studied Leroy, her big eyes wide over the fan, she thought fast. That's the most romantic thing anybody has ever said to me! Ohmigosh! But I have to stay strong, I can't let myself be lulled into a false sense of security by him again. "Well...that's altogether different," she finally said, the glow in her eyes fading as she approached him to tap her closed fan against his chest. This time when she spoke, her voice was distinctively soft. "But if you're going to be talking that way to me, Leroy, you'd better have a ring in that pocket of yours." 

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Micah had relaxed slightly as Judy continued to tear into Leroy, at least leaving his "mid-stride" pose. However, when Leroy called him "Thunder" and accused him of being involved in "hangdog skulkery", he went still and his eyes narrowed slightly. 

 

"My name is Micah, Leroy. If you want to use my code name, it's Thunderbird, not 'Thunder'."

 

He paused for a moment, and his lips pursed as he rolled his next words around inside his head for several moments.

 

"That was your one free time calling me a dog, even if it was only incidental. I'd request you not do it again, even obliquely. Or we'll have words."

 

He turned around and started to walk away. The intent of his posture, his stride, and his face all said he wanted to ignore everything going on behind him. 

 

"Congratulations. To both of you."

 

There was no anger in his voice, but it held no joy, either. 

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Claude peered over the rim of his aviators at the chick wearing biker chic called him out, every ounce of his braggadocio nature screaming for him to not back down from this challenge. He turned to face her directly, while dropping his duffel bag to the ground as a vulpine smile that didn't reach his eyes broke across his face. "I'm flattered, really." He said about the gesture and the threat.

 

"But I'd prefer to get to know you, because if you want somethin' 'wild' from me in return you'd have better buy me dinner first. Maybe a movie. Unless if this little bit of dramedy counts as a show." The Bostonian made a circular motion with his index finger at the word 'little' to encompass everyone present with the implication. 

 

"So what's it goin' to be?" 

 

 

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Such quick escalation! Everything, all at once! Leroy's entire story, being shipped off between courtships on his strange world, only being able to be saved by Judy? Ashley prowling off to deal with the new guy that kind of insulted Judy, Pan guessed? Judy proposing marriage! Micah standing up to Leroy and letting him know just how he felt about how Leroy had talked to him?

 

Pan absolutely lost it. "BWA-HAHAHA!" He doubled over laughing, slowly floating over to Leroy and Judy with a trail of golden pixie dust behind him, while he tried to regain the ability to speak. Breathing heavily, he stood up straight, brushed his hair back to refresh himself for a moment, then placed a hand on the shoulders of each of his teammates. He opened his mouth to speak, then snickered again, took a deep breath and regained some composure.

 

"Judy. Leroy. My dear friends. I am so happy for you, but, this is absolutely the worst idea." He snickered again, letting go of their shoulders to cover his mouth with the back of his hand before falling into another laughing fit.

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Nick backed away at Ashley's approach. Oh yes, he looked frightened and angled his cargo as a shield. Not once did he take his sight off her. That the teen was on guard was a safe bet.

 

A swirl of emotions played across his face. Fear was the obvious, but more so he was upset. Not angry so much as a mix of disappointment and confusion. He'd officially been at the school less than, what, 30 minutes, and already the illusion of Claremont as a safe place was gone. It was just a preppy high school for kids with powers. He wanted to go home, and that thought was punctuated by a silent sigh.

 

What to do then? The safe thing would be to stay out of the confrontation. Claude's joke was sorta out of line, but the response felt disproportionate. Which took Nick's thinking down familiar and unpleasant roads. The memories galvanized him. If he had to choose, he'd pick the mouthy kid over some leather-clad bully.

 

His shoulders slumping, as if he knew this was a bad idea, Nick sidled up beside Claude as the other teen spoke. A tightly-wound ball of nerves, yes, and trembling, but he stood his ground. His stare down was determined if nothing else.

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Lulu stood up on tippy-toe to accept a kiss from Adam, and then easily slipped under his arm. 'Hey, you! Nah, we're doin' alright out here; just meetin' some new folks an' givin' them the lay of the land. We just-"

 

And then the drama between Judy and Leroy blew in like a hurricane in the Gulf, and the redhead was transfixed; Judy was her friend, and Leroy her boneheaded boyfriend. She'd gotten over her initial dislike of the boy, but he would never not be ridiculous, and now he was pulling this stunt? Unbelievable!

 

But now there were more pressing matters, like Ashley's impeding decapitation of the cocky new boy. Judy and Leroy would sort themselves out like the stars of a bizzare Disney Channel sitcom, but the threat of violence right in front of her was very real. Turning her Southern sweetness up to 11, the telepath swiftly stood between the two.of them, arms spread and palms out.

 

"Now why don't you just calm down, y'all; we don't need any fightin' the first day back, do we? You got a whole term to learn to hate each other proper; why waste all that potential?" There was a twinkle in her eye, but also just a hint of pleading.

Edited by Heritage

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21 hours ago, Avenger Assembled said:

"But if you're going to be talking that way to me, Leroy, you'd better have a ring in that pocket of yours." 

 

Pointedly ignoring Pan, though Micah's reaction drew a flicker of uncertainty across his face, the Dragon Prince of Earth-2 took out two rings from the sleeve of his robe. One had a core dark as night but shimmered with threads of shifting colors, the other was plain and bright as steel. With understated grace, Leroy went to one knee.

 

Raising the dark rainbow, he said "This ring holds my blood, it will open any door and grant you passage anywhere on my home world. There is no magic upon it, no marker or lingering eye. It is my promise to be by your side, Judy, and to be yours alone."

 

Taking the dark ring and Judy's right hand, gentle despite strength that could shatter stone, he slipped it onto her finger, eyes fixed on hers as if none of the rest of the tittering, skeptical crowd existed. It fit perfectly, the material smooth as glass and oddly warm.

 

Raising the silver eye, he said "Judy, your light guides me. If you will have me, let me wear this mirror of it. Together, we can bring love and joy and radiance to a universe of suffering!" His face shone with his smile, even the scars that rent it so slender they almost disappeared, his eyes dancing amber in the sunlight. Even the gold tattoos of fire and twining dragons on his arms seemed alive and joyous in the moment. 

Edited by Ari

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"Micah, wait, don't go!" But Leroy had things to say too, and for the moment Daystar's attention was all on him. Judy's eyes were wide like stars as the ring slid onto her finger in a perfect fit - fearfully and wonderfully made. "Oh, Leroy, Ah-" 

 

"Oh, big man wants to fight with the little girl-" Ashley glared at Claude - and suddenly her interaction with the two boys changed. Up close, with Ashley too distracted to fully keep up appearances, Claude and Nick had a good view of exactly what happened. The look of fiercely sullen hostility she was wearing dropped off her face like the slamming of an iron door - and suddenly came erupting back to molten life as she looked at what was happening between Ashley and Leroy. The look she'd been shooting Claude was a pale, false shadow of the look she was shooting Leroy's way. 

 

Judy spoke in a barely audible whisper. "Ah will, Leroy. Ah promise." She took his hand in hers and the conversation was suddenly and forcefully interrupted by Ashley's 

 

"NO!

 

She abandoned her confrontation with the boys entirely and made a beeline for Judy and Leroy, interposing herself between the two of them with the desperate energy of a bodyguard leaping for a bullet that she already knew she'd been too slow to stop. "We are going to go inside," she said, her voice like fiery frost as she took Judy's hand. "And we are going to think about this." 

 

For her part, Judy looked ready for a fight, clenching her hands into fists as her eyes lit up. "Ah don't see why this is any of your-"  


Her voice rising to a Southern pitch that matched Judy's, Ashley hissed "Is this what Momma and Daddy would want?"  

 

"IT'S THEIR FAULT AH'M HERE!" Judy's sudden shout seemed to catch her sister by surprise - and for a moment the two sisters stared at each other before Judy turned and began walking back to the dorm, her head held high, cheeks colored bright red. 

 

 

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Adam stepped up behind Leroy.

 

"I don't doubt your sincerity, and neither does Ashley. The wisdom, perhaps, but not the sincerity.  I don't doubt Ashley's sincerity, either. Judy is a delightful person, but clearly less cynical than her sister." Adam placed his hand on his friend's back.

 

"There is a whole school year ahead of us, Leroy. I'm glad you've found someone that delights you, but we've got a lot of life ahead of us. I cannot imagine the pressures you're under, but life has a way of changing in unexpected ways."

 

He turned his attention to Claude and gave a sincere smile. "Claude, was it? My name is Adam. Welcome to Claremont. Please be careful." His tone was so thoroughly sincere and guileless, it was clear he meant it.  He was almost positive she couldn't actually harm him, but something about Ashley frightened him, and he doubted that Claude had his durability.

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Claude was about to laugh in Ashleys' face when she began trotting out the whole 'fighting a girl' line. His gut feeling and street savvy sense pegging her as having some sort of martial training; not to mention he'd been witness to what the 'fairer sex' could do when sufficiently motivated on more than a few occasions. So no, she was someone who he'd treat seriously: a threat. Then she pulled a 180 that left the Bostonian blinking in bewilderment as he watched Ashley go careening back towards her gal pal with the same deadly intent possessed by a heat seeking missile. "Okay...now dat was weird." he stated as his posture relaxed and then bent down to pick up his bag from when he dropped it moments ago to free his hands up. 

 

Once the duffel was situated back on his shoulder, he shot Lulu, Adam, and Nick a helpless shrug. "Sorry 'bout dat." 

 

"I don't particularly hate or dislike her; but if girlie over there thinks she can bark at me to try and browbeat me into line she has another thing comin'. Especially since she went from zero to throwdown before whatever that was happened," he indicated the ongoing loud spectacle.

 

"It's not my position to pry, but those are some wicked hardcore mood swings." Claude observed out loud to the southern redhead before turning to her boyfriend, idly wondering if Ashley was holding a torch for Judy before pretty boy got involved or something along those lines.

 

"But, thanks for the warm welcome and the advice." he said offering Adam a handshake with a wry grin. "I'll try and take the latter under advisement."

 

"As for you, roomie." Claude intoned ominously as he whirled around to face Nick. "Thanks for havin' my back." He held out his raised fist towards the quiet teen for a fist bump.

 

 

Edited by Semi-Autogyro

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The temperature wasn't what made Nick sweat bullets. He was so sure there would be fight. His muscles were winding up. Then Lulu intervened and Ashley reversed gears as quickly as she started. The whole thing only took a few seconds, but in that time Nick's face furrowed in surprise. This wasn't a normal situation. Was this some sort of tough guy, er, gal, act? What exactly was her relationship with Judy to elicit such a reaction?

 

Those questions though were nothing compared to the initial huh? Nick looked at Claude, then back to the trio of Judy, Ashley, and Leroy. Then to Lulu. Once the yelling really started, he moved from confused to complete fish-out-of-water. As if that wasn't his default state that is.

 

So he just watched Judy storm passed. Electromagnetic senses were brought forward from the Cacophony and he listened to her for signs of that strange energy. Then he focused on Ashley, ignoring the subtle bio-electromagnetic aura for anything of interest. For the first time since he arrived, a genuine smile graced his lips for a second or two.

 

Now having had a moment to center himself, Nick turned back to the group. Given the excitement, he had more-or-less been ignored by Adam and the others. But he didn't seem to mind. Being invisible had its advantages. Claude caught his attention as he was heading for the door. He flinched before facing the Bostonian. His sullen demeanor soften a bit, and shifting the goods to his off hand, he returned the fist bump.

Edited by Dariusprime

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Legatus

 

XVIII - no, Felix - watched the arriving students with slightly wide eyes. The sheer speed at which they seemed to change their minds and emotions was startling, but he supposed that was a natural result of not actually knowing any of them. With his siblings - well, he could still remember XVI's smirk, XVII's laughter and quick wit, and XX's gentle smile. Shaking his head before the black cloud of despair could descend upon him, the teen began walking towards the center of things, his eyes narrowing. 

 

When the flying boy approached the two who seemed to have become engaged, XVIII tilted his head. I thought that you could only get engaged with parents' permission at this age. That had been in one of the less relevant law books that Dr. Rex had had the third generation read, but it was surprising how easily the memory came back to him when prompted by this sort of thing. As Ashley dragged her sister off, Felix put a hand on his chin, contemplatively. They're talking so much, but saying so little. 

 

"What the heck is going on here?" He wondered aloud, his voice louder than he would have intended, had he intended to speak at all.

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Dio

"Good question there, buddy." said the bright green Beetle next to Legatus. 

 

"I mean...woof, moo, uh...beep-bebeep-beep?" Two enormous slitted eyes blinked up at him where the headlights usually were. "Look, don't ask and try not to get involved, long story short is that human kid in the robes and tattoos is my boss, that human girl he was saying all that crap to is his girlfriend, and the larger human girl who broke them up is first girl's boss. I think. Not really sure, but it's a safe bet. It's me, Dio," a great green claw reached out, offering Felix a handshake, "good to see you again, human guy Felix. I'm being a car until I can sneak off tonight, you got any plans?

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Horroshow

 

Meanwhile, inside the Dorms...

 

The five Palahniuks stared in shocked silence for a moment, not quite sure what to make of the tentacled motormouth that had appeared before them.

 

The man in the brown and white track suit was the first to react, letting out a boisterous laugh and slapping the tie-dyed-wearing man in the chest.  "He got her there, bro!"  He then clasped the teenage Palahniuk's shoulder with one hand, "I think you'll be learning a lot from this one, yes?," and extended his other up to Ben.  "You seem... comfortable with all this.  You'll look after my nephew, yes?"  The man smelled of cheap aftershave, cabbage, meat, onions, and beer.

 

The short-haired woman, whose facial expressions ran from surprised to annoyed to irritated then down to mildly irked, was the second to speak.  "Yes, well.  That is important.  Especially in this economy."  Her tone was very 'I recognize the truth of what you say, but I don't want to admit it.'  She smelled of motor oil and steel, gasoline and industrial soap.

 

"Well, as long as he learns what makes him happy," said the man in the tie-dyed shirt, rubbing his chest where his brother had slapped him, "and how best to share his gifts with the world.  Maybe even-" the woman shot him a look that made him pause.  "Well... he's got time to decide."  He smelled like an assortment of bars, mostly high-end ones.

 

Davyd, thoroughly embarrassed, offered his hand up to Ben.  It was difficult to describe his scent, because he smelled like lots of things, including several things Ben had never smelled before.  "Ye-yes, I'm Dayv.  These are my parents, and my uncle Sasha, and my babusya."  He glanced back at the elderly woman.

 

She had remained quiet, but her facial expressions had spoken volumes.  She was initially as shocked as the others at Ben's appearance and diatribe, but quickly warmed to him, and had to stifle a laugh a few times.  She liked this one, oh, yes.  Ben could smell lingering traces of all manner of baked foods around her.

 

"So, this is your first year here?  It will be my first full year.  I was here for about a month and a half last year, around April, and with everything that was going on then, I never really got a chance to really familiarize myself with the place.  I do know a few of the students, though I haven't seen any of them yet.  They may not have gotten here yet."

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Octoman

 

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The man in the brown and white track suit was the first to react, letting out a boisterous laugh and slapping the tie-dyed-wearing man in the chest.  "He got her there, bro!"  He then clasped the teenage Palahniuk's shoulder with one hand, "I think you'll be learning a lot from this one, yes?," and extended his other up to Ben.  "You seem... comfortable with all this.  You'll look after my nephew, yes?"

 

Ben dropped down to the floor and shook the man's hand. "Comfortable? Are you kidding? When I was little, a guy who went to this school SAVED my LIFE. Saved my whole FAMILY. Coming here, following in his footsteps, that's a DREAM COME TRUE. Yeah, of course I'll look after him." Ben shot the man his signature dual finger-guns. "Take him under my...wing?" A couple of his tentacles started flapping. "Bunkmates, that's a BOND, Man!" He threw an arm over Dayv's shoulder and pulled him in close.

 

Quote

"Ye-yes, I'm Dayv.  These are my parents, and my uncle Sasha, and my babusya."

 

As Dayv named each of his relatives, Ben nodded to them and offered a handshake or a wave, and a greeting. "Mucho gusto, shalom, kumusta," and he finished with the two-handed colloquial ASL sign for "What's up?"

 

Quote

"So, this is your first year here?  It will be my first full year.  I was here for about a month and a half last year, around April, and with everything that was going on then, I never really got a chance to really familiarize myself with the place.  I do know a few of the students, though I haven't seen any of them yet.  They may not have gotten here yet."

 

"Yeah, first year, first time. Just got my powers a few months ago. I think most people already finished moving their stuff in. I saw a bunch of people hanging out front on my way in." He pulled his phone out of his back pocket. "You wanna go say 'Hi', then just lemme know if you got any preferences for the theme music to our slow-motion badass power-walk."

 

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Inside 

 

Suddenly the door to the fire stairs burst open - revealing a pairing that at once matched and didn't match at all. Ashley Smith was in the lead, eyes hidden behind her sunglasses, face smooth with professional blankness. It had been Judy's idea, mad as she was, to take the stairs, but then she'd remembered four flights were no joke in a maxi-dress. Just behind her was Judy  her tan face bright red high in the cheekbones, her big eyes staring straight ahead with the look of somebody who was desperately trying not to cry. She was cursing herself inside her head for wearing the flowery dress, which she had to hold up with her hands so she could walk quickly enough to escape the screaming inside her head, her face wrinkled in that look that meant she wanted to cry.

 

"Scuse us," said Watchdog as they passed between the family and two boys standing in the hallway, giving them both a quick once-over as they went. "Dave." Her companion radiated heat as they went, the air around her wavering just slightly as if on a hot day, and she was ostentatiously careful not to touch anyone as they passed. The tension between the two of them was thick enough to cut with a knife. They were of a height, Ashley substantially more muscular than Judy, though, and did bear a certain resemblance to each other as two young Eurasian women with big eyes and dark hair. 

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Horroshow

 

"Hrm?  Oh.  Oh!"  Davyd was still getting used to Ben's mannerisms, but was picking up on them quickly.  "Well, what do you have on there?  Maybe something with some heavy bass.  Ooh, something classical, to subvert the image of undisciplined youths?"  Davyd's father had stepped forward, peering at Ben's selections.  "Maybe... dad, what's that one with the-"

 

He paused when he saw Ashley and Judy storm past, managing to give them a wave.  "Yikes, looks like some drama's already started.  Probably something Leroy did.  Uh, that's Judy's boyfriend," he explained to his family & roommate, "and Ashley, her older sister, is very protective of her."

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Artificer

 

Back outside

 

A new student had just made his way past the Main Quad and was making his way slowly to the dormitories.  He was clearly fit, with well-toned arms and legs, yet seemed to have some trouble walking.  He wore brown gladiator sandals that laced up to his mid-calf, dark blue short breeches that ended just at the knee, a dark green short-sleeved tunic, cinched together by a brown belt and bandolier that were covered in pockets or various sizes; over his back was slung a brown backpack.  He had an olive complexion, sharp cheekbones and a strong jaw, and dark hair that reached down to his shoulders.

 

He stopped once he reached the gaggle of people assembled near the bench just outside the residence halls.  He detached some sort of waterskin from his belt, took a long drink, then looked to the others.  "Pardon me, fellow students, but could one of you direct me to the residence assistant?"  His voice was barely a whisper.

Edited by Dr Archeville

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Sun Dragon

 

"...Well said, Adam. I suppose I must find her later and apologize for the mess I made of my apology." Leroy had been shocked momentarily speechless at the sudden eruption from Judy's sullen and withdrawn sister. Rising to his feet, the silver band still in his hand, the New Atlantean regarded it for a moment. He waved politely at the duo of Claude and Nick nearby "Good morning! Welcome to the Academy! Justice be done!" 

 

Sighing as he pocketed the ring, Leroy smiled wanly at his erstwhile artificially-assembled ally "I clearly have much to learn, you and Louise have a much more successful courtship. I wished only to make up for all that time, but her family..." his handsome face furrowed as a thought struck him. 

 

"I wonder-" he was beginning when 

23 hours ago, Dr Archeville said:

"Pardon me, fellow students, but could one of you direct me to the residence assistant?"

 

Spinning around, eyes bright and hands clasped, Leroy beamed like the Sun itself upon the newest arrival "A knight of Atlantis! Yes! Come this way, please! Which dormitory have you been assigned, comrade at arms? And what is your name? I am Leroy, from one of the other Atlantises. The RAs are such good sorts, they shall have you sorted in no time!" He indicated the dormitories "The men's assistants are on the left when you reach the lobby of each floor. I should be happy to show you!" 

Edited by Ari

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Nick returned Leroy's greeting with a timid wave of his own. He then redistributed the weight of his cargo and took one last look around. Normally, he'd be transfixed by the variety of people. Especially this many metahumans. The confrontation with Ashley, however, took a lot out of him. Shoulders still slumped, Nick looked at that fine line between anxiety and exhaustion.

 

Nodding to Leroy and Heroditus as they passed, the small teen followed them inside and looked around. Room 102 shouldn't be difficult to find. He pinched his eyes closed for a moment. The Cacophony of electromagnetic and acoustic signals, cellphones to music to radioactive decay, receded into the background. Like a form of tinnitus, the Cacophony was ever present. It could be ignored when he really needed to concentrate.

 

With a clearer head, he checked for signage and faced the appropriate hallway. Only to see the tentacled teen and what appeared to be an extended family. Thankfully, Judy and Ashley were just passing through. Nick stopped in his tracks. Again the amplifier played the role of shield as he attempted to disappear in plain sight.

 

Intellectually, he knew his current moods were volatile. That's why he had ongoing therapy and training. Yet he couldn't explain why he was wracked with near panic. The family and, he assumed, Claremont student did factor somehow.

 

With his head down, the short kid in the cowboy hat walked stiffly into the hallway. The shuffle was a poor attempt at stealth at best. His pace quickened as he approached 102. Small favor at least his room was before the crowd. Fate is fickle however. The amp thumped against the door frame as the weight finally got to him. He fumbled for the key and dropped it. A long sigh.

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Claude grinned at Nick when he returned the fist bump and let the teen move on to find their room. Getting out the way of the copious foot traffic by relocating to one side of the entrance hall, he leaned against a support pillar and mentally began accessed the repository to pull down what he needed: psychology, sociology, a little criminology, cold reading, and healthy dose of a veteran cops' gut instincts. He wasn't going to scour the repository for information on Ashley, since he had been ordered not to. But that didn't preclude him from making his own dossier on her.

 

The boy from Boston began replaying the scene over and over in his head mentally, while utilizing the accessed data to look at the events through the eye of a clinical psychologist, veteran detective, and a professor of sociology. The conclusion he arrived to made Claude even more baffled as it clearly read everything that she had done exactly as he sarcastically correctly called it earlier: performance art. It was all fake up until she realized what was happening between her gal pal and her boyfriend? fiance? Only then did her emotions turn real. 

 

He ran his free hand through his hair as he watched the mystery and her friend go deeper into the dorms. 'So what should I do about it', he thought. Chances were the raven-haired Mizz Summers who ran this joint knew. 'I could just observe and ask her once I get a better picture than just the one encounter. Yeah, that might work.' Decided on a course of action, he returned the wave the pretty boy gave him before dropping a cheesy line about justice. 'What the hell, does everybody here have more issues than yearly subscription to National Geographic?' He exasperatedly wondered before deciding to follow his silent roommates unspoken advice and getting while the going was good.

 

He came up behind Nick as the teen fumbled his room key at which he swooped in and grabbed it off the floor. "I got ya man, let's get out of this hall," Claude stated as he swiped the keycard to get access to their new home for the next year. 

Edited by Semi-Autogyro

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