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Dr Archeville

Freaky Fraternity

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Fall 2019 -- shortly after Aquaria's speech at Claremont

Claremont Dorms -- Room 213

7-ish pm

 

Despite how much his roommate had been amped about it, Davyd Palahniuk had elected not to attend Aquaria's speech.  It's not that he wasn't interested in seeing her -- a Deep One, here, on campus!  Not attacking or eating anyone! -- but he already had a lot of homework to catch up on, and was happy to be able to study alone in his room for a bit.  He'd never done well in history, and while Claremont's version of U.S. History courses focused more on the impact of  superheroes (and supervillains) on the country, and was thus much more interesting to the native Freedomian, he still had difficulty keeping all the names and dates and whatnot right in his mind.  He was lying on his bed, with his textbook on his chest, eyes closed in concentration.  "Okay, let's try this again.  First there was The Ghost, then Johnny Danger, then Bluesman, then Centurion, then Eldrich... wait, no," he picked up the book, "no, Eldrich then Centurion.  Then-"

 

And that's when his roommate reappeared.

Edited by Dr Archeville

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Octoman

 

The door to Room 213 slammed open. Ben Wang stormed in. He hadn't ripped it off its hinges, but he'd loosened the screws. "What's next? When we get a robot kid up in here, is Summers gonna bring TALOS in to give a talk about how, ACTUALLY, A.I.s really DO wanna kill all humans?! But that's OK, 'cause that's not BAD, just DIFFERENT?!" He turned around and let himself fall onto his bed, then turned his head to the side so he could see Dayv's face. "You made the right call, Dude. COMPLETE waste of time. WORST. SUPERHERO. EVER. And Summers? NEVER shoulda trusted that SLIMY BACKSTABBER. I still don't know who here taught Geckoman how to be a superhero, but I can DAMN sure cross ONE name off the suspect list. Would she even BE here if DADDY didn't OWN the place?"

 

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Ben's sudden entrance startled Davyd, causing him to drop his history textbook... onto his face!  When he picked it back up, his entire head was deformed, as if a heavy book-like object had fallen onto a clay sculpture.  Ben could still make out his roommate's confused expression, but his flattened face gave his speech a nasal tone (which he couldn't hear) and lip-reading picked up a flat affect to his speech.  "What?  The Deep One speaker?  What happened?"  He set his book aside, sat up, and leaned forward slightly.  "I know you'd been looking forward to that.  Was it really that bad?" 

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Octoman

 

"'Was it really that bad?' WAS IT REALLY THAT BAD?!" Ben jumped back up to a sitting position, gesturing wildly as he practically shouted. "DUDE. My ROOT CANAL was more fun. TOTAL DISASTER." Ben's face immediately shifted from an angry grimace to a grin. He let out a chuckle. "Y'know, Man, usually, when people say 'Pick up yo' face', it's a METAPHOR. But Dude. PICK UP YO' FACE!" And just as quickly, the jovial expression turned angry again. "The only thing 'DEEP' about HER was the 'detritus' she was shoveling up to her freakin' KNEES." He cupped his hand around his mouth and harshly stage-whispered "'DETRITUS' is the TECHNICAL TERM for FISH POOP." His voice rose back up to a near-shout. "And now I'M probably the 'Deep One', as in 'Deep Detritus' of my own, with that TOOL Summers, 'cause I called her fishy ass OUT. Picked the mic up and DROPPED IT, know what I'm sayin'?" He mimed the act as he described it.

 

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"Okay, okay, so it really was that bad.  But-"  He paused at Ben's suggestion, felt his face, looked down to his textbook, and realized what must have happened.  "Hunh.  'kay, gimme a sec."

 

He closed his eyes and concentrated a moment.  Nothing happened for a few seconds, then his features slowly started popping back out.  "C'mon, c'mon..."  The growing look of frustration on his face underscored how slowly it was going, so he did what any plasticine character would do: he blew on his thumb, which caused his head to hyperinflate, then settle back to normal.

 

"So," he began nonchalantly, "Aquaria said, what, that she & the Deep Ones really are coming to eat us all?  Sacrifice us to their demon-gods?  Crush us, see us driven before them, and hear the lamentations of our women?  Enslave us, make us toil in their oyster farms?  C'mon, bro, gimme details!"

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Octoman

 

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"Aquaria said, what, that she & the Deep Ones really are coming to eat us all?  Sacrifice us to their demon-gods?  Crush us, see us driven before them, and hear the lamentations of our women?  Enslave us, make us toil in their oyster farms?  C'mon, bro, gimme details!"

 

"She didn't say, like, they had a definite PLAN. But it's definitely on their to-do list. She spit a bunch of lines about how someday up's gonna become down and the haves are gonna be have-nots and some fools are gonna get stabbed, some real Gog-and-Magog stuff, and it sure sounded like the SUPER-FREAKY-fish-people think they're gonna get a power-up and when they do they're gonna come SHISH-KEBAB all the only-KINDA-freaky fish-people and take their stuff, like ya do, and maybe do the same up here. I gave her public relations on a freakin' silver PLATTER, Man. Just straight-up asked 'Hey, so, do y'all eat people?' ALL SHE HAD TO SAY WAS 'NO'. But she didn't SAY 'No'. She said a whole buncha stuff that WASN'T 'No'. 'Do we eat people? Well, that would be wrong.' NOT AN ANSWER. She was like half a step away from sayin' 'We're sorry that you're offended by us eating you' when I peaced the heck OUT."

 

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"... and Summers was okay with all this?  I mean, she had to vet Aquaria, right?"  He morphed into a reasonable copy of Headmistress Summer, holding up a magnifying glass.  "Do a background check and all that?  I think I read the Freedom League even vouched for her," now he looked like Captain Thunder, scratching his head, "they're okay with all this?"

 

Something was not adding up.

 

"Okay, so what did the audience do?  Did anyone else call her out on that?  I think we've got a student or two from Atlantis this year," he shifted again, now looking like Sea King, in his younger, Silver Age phase, "were any of them in the audience?"

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Posted (edited)

Octoman

 

"APPARENTLY freaky frog-woman's a former supervillain or something. You ever hear about that supervillain-to-superhero work-release type program they do with the ones who, like, didn't try to take over the world or didn't kill too many people? She's supposed to be one of their SUCCESS STORIES. I'd hate to see their freakin' FAILURES, right? Ugh."

 

Ben slumped back onto his bed, leaning his back against the wall.

 

"There were some of the not-quite-as-freaky-fish-people there too. Not just students, but I think, like, their dads or something. They kinda had my back. I'm like 'Hey, so, do y'all eat people or not' and they're all 'Yeah, Dawg, I think you should answer his question!' Frog-Lady starts talkin' about how the Deep Ones might HYPOTHETICALLY kill us and eat us and the Atlanteans came back with how they might HYPOTHETICALLY harpoon the Deep Ones and make themselves some fish-skin leg warmers, the whole thing got SUPER-tense. But I didn't hear anything popping off on my way out the door, so I guess they calmed down?" He shrugged.

 

Edited by Grumblefloof

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"Oh, yeah, Project Freedom!"  He shifted back to himself, "I've read up on them.  I think it's a great idea!  It always kinda bummed me out to see people using their superpowers for villainy.  If you're lucky enough to get powers, you should use them to help people!"  He cocked his head slightly, "I mean, I know there's, like, lots of reasons for people doing crimes, and it's not always their fault.  And there are some people who are jerks and monsters even before getting powers, and getting them just made them worse.  But if you're the type that didn't do anything seriously bad -- or even if you did but it's only because you were under mind control or something, not in full control of yourself -- then I'm all for rehabilitation and giving them a chance to give back to society!"

 

He paused, scratched the back of his head, "ah, sorry, didn't mean to get all preachy-political there.  So, okay," he placed both hands on his lap, "you weren't completely alone out there, others were questioning her, too.  But, it sounds like there was already some bad blood between them and her.  So, maybe not the most objective..."

 

Another pause, then he leaned forward a bit, "I get the feeling there's more to this than you're telling me, though."  He shifted again, now looking like Sigmund Freud, "what does Aquaria's words mean for you, hrm?"

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Octoman

 

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Another pause, then he leaned forward a bit, "I get the feeling there's more to this than you're telling me, though."  He shifted again, now looking like Sigmund Freud, "what does Aquaria's words mean for you, hrm?"

 

Ben leaned back onto his bed and stared at the ceiling. "WELL, Doctor Cokefiend, it all started when I was five and I walked in on my dad 'bringing some kishka home from the deli for my mom'." He shook his head violently. "Damn, I shouldn't even JOKE about that. Now I really CAN'T stop thinking about it." He rolled back toward Dayv. "I mean, she's a freaky fish-person. I'M a freaky fish-person. There ain't that many freaky fish-people walkin' around. It's pretty easy for one bad apple to spoil the barrel when the barrel's only got like FOUR apples in it. We gotta REPRESENT, know what I mean? Best fin forward. People look at me, they see HER. Like I NEED one more freakin' reason for someone to scream at me to go back where I came from. I like it in the water, but I don't wanna hafta go and MOVE there. Can't exactly bring my laptop, and I don't think the wi-fi reaches down that far. Give me memes or give me death."

 

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"Mhmm, mhmm," Freud!Davyd muttered while appearing to jot down notes on his pad.  "Und dis reliance on de internet, did it start after your... tranzformation?  Nein, nein, you vere an 'internet explorer' even before dat, ja?  So perhaps it is not a case," he shifted again, compressing down into a smaller but broader form, and now resembled Dr. Ruth, "of you fearing people vill stay away from you because you are a 'freaky fish-person', but you are using de 'being a freaky fish-person' as another way to keep people avay?  As another barrier?  But," she held a hand up, "dis is a barrier you did not create, dat you did not choose, so it is different.  It vas forced upon you, und so you vorry dat you cannot control it?  Dat it vill control you?"

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Octoman

 

"Yeah, I was an 8-bit gunslinger ridin' the dusty digital trail LONG before I got bit." Ben pointed a pair of finger-guns at "Doctor Ruth" which popped off in rapid succession. "Mamá and Tatay figured out real quick that a computer's a great babysitter." His voice dropped a full octave, and his body briefly transformed into the man Davyd had seen in multiple photographs of Ben's parents but had yet to meet in-person. "'Better than TV, at least he's learning something!'" Ben's skin melted and rippled and he assumed his most often-used form, the one which looked like the kid from those same pictures. "I mean, I don't think I'm gonna lose my mind and start rampaging through the streets like Gigantosaur or anything. But I'd be lying if I said I had my powers a hunnerd percent on lock, y'know? I mean, that's why we're here, right? Make sure the kid who can bench-press a Buick knows how to punch a fool without caving his whole freakin' face in and poppin' his head like a giant zit, don't trip in the hallway and launch my stinger-beak on reflex at some poor dude who's just walkin' by, Eee-Tee-Cee. And Man, I don't THINK people would freak if they saw "The Real Me', I KNOW they would, 'cause I freaked out when I saw it. I don't mind so much that YOU saw it, 'cause, let's be real here, you ain't exactly People's Sexiest Man Alive when you wake up in the morning either. I'm not about to piss on your lack of a face and tell ya it's rainin', so you don't gotta pretend people wouldn't see me and call an old priest and a young priest up in here to cast out Pazuzu."

 

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Ruth shrugged, and morphed again, stretching out thin limbs, a narrow head with a thin lipless mouth, two tiny slits instead of a nose, and solid yellow eyes.  His flesh took on a mottled mix of blacks, browns, pinks, reds, and yellows -- all the colors human skin could come in, as well as Grue crimson.  This was Davyd's true form now, the one he reverted to when he was unconscious, though he was working on that.  "Hey, I know I look like one of the aliens that tried invading us," his voice warbled, "that got stuck in mid-transformation.  So yeah, I know about people freaking out.  Heck, this isn't even the worst of it: when I first changed, I was just a giant blob, could barely control my body!  But, like you said, we're hear to learn.  And yeah," he nodded, "I know people judge others based on appearances all the time.  And that sucks.  But you & I know that's just a superficial read.  Like the Claremont handbook says, our powers are what we have, not who we are; how we use them, what we do with them, will shape how others see us.  So... maybe don't dwell on the "freaking people out" part, but instead focus on finding the right people to freak out.  Like..." he glanced at their window, "maybe some crooks?  I mean," he looked back to his roommate, "it worked for Raven, right?"

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Octoman

 

Ben jumped off the bed to his feet, his back twisting and flowing like water as he did, emphasizing the lack of a rigid skeleton under the surface. "DUDE. NOW you're speakin' my language!" His skin broke apart into hundreds of little pieces which folded over themselves to change the texture of his flesh, while his cells released new pigments which changed his colors to the yellow, black, and blue of the Octoman "costume". "Less talky-talky about the feels, more introducin' the foot to the ass, it's been' dyin' to meetcha, hope you guys hit it off!" He jumped up into a crouch on the windowsill, then stopped and turned around. "But we should probably do, like, 'stealth-mode', 'till we're off-campus." His skin filled with a new combination of pigments which changed his colors to match those of his surroundings. He looked like someone had used an image editing program to cut a vague human shape out of a photograph and then pasted it on top of another copy of that photograph, just a millimeter or two off from its original location.

 

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