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GM

 

2PM, March 21st, 2020

The Riverfront, Emerald City

 

Since the meeting of heroes at the noodle place in Betlehem Heights, Waverider and the mighty Metanaut had volounteered to try and get their hands on an Ultio Suit system. Find a rich kid with a suit, convince him to hand it over, work their charms a little bit maybe, or, well, however else they could do it.

 

A week or so later, they had found someone. A guy named Elliot Elijah Elder, his dad was rich, his mom was on the city council, he attended a fancy private school, so of course his mom had bought him an Ultio Suit. He hadn't really used it a lot, but Metanaut had caught him going into the suit to catch a purse snatcher, then out again, even if he had seemed kind of bored. 

 

Now, Elliot was sitting by the waterfront at the Riverfront, just looking out at the water. All alone, away from his school. Probably the best time to strike up a friendly or not so friendly conversation.

Edited by RocketLord
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  • 2 weeks later...

The Meta-Naut

 

Raya had been a bit hesitant to reveal her secret identity so casually, but this seemed like the best opportunity to get at something. The first element was that if Mars knew Raya Wells was going to be buying up some stuff from him, it might draw some heat away from other investigations. As another billionaire tech wiz, she was probably high on his radar. Could frame it as corporate espionage instead of superhero espionage. The second was that it was going to be real confusing when the Meta-Naut went out and bought stuff with the crazy amount of money that she had available, so paradoxically this was probably the best way for her to maintain her secret identity at large. Spoil it once to spare it for everyone else.

 

Travelling out to the Riverfront, she was on the hunt for a kid who she had seen get into the suit. Triple E, she called him in her head. The research she had done was peripheral at best. She hoped this kid didn't turn out to be a little jerk. That would be annoying. Didn't wanna deal with jerks. If he was a little psycho, she hoped that Waverider would have her back.

 

Thankfully, he wasn't hard to find. Just sitting by the waterfront. Sure. Worked for her.

 

Plopping down next to Elliot, she grinned. "Hey," she said. She was dressed casually enough, a teal suit jacket overtop a black t-shirt and grey capris with boat-shoes. Real approachable looking instead of her normal loud stuff. "Mind if I sit here?"

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Waverider

 

Equal sharing was fairer, so if Meta Naut was going as Raya Wells, then it was Naomi Suleiman who was seated on a bench nearby. As a student, she could easily spend this time studying. Not too intensely, of course. She could monitor the progress of the conversation with her powers. So she had her backpack and her laptop. Hooray for PDF versions of textbooks. Thank you, 21st century! Raya hadn’t explained very well what Plan B was, but at least Naomi was here and available. Had to count for something, right? Plan A was, of course, Raya simply buying it from the guy. Would that even work? Did Raya have that kind of money? Naomi didn’t run in tech or rich people circles, so she didn’t really know. Eh, she had a paper to work on anyway.

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REBELLION

 

Elliot looked up at Raya as she sat down. There was a hint of recognition in his eyes for a brief second, then it was gone and he looked back at the sea. "Do what you want." He leaned back, rubbing his face with his hands. He seemed tired, and now that Raya was close it was clear that he had more than a few bruises on his face. Nothing too serious, just still healing marks, but visible enough.

 

After a moment, he spoke again. "You're Raya Wells, aren't you? Aren't you supposed to be running some big super company instead of sitting at the waterfront?"

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The Meta-Naut

 

Raya smirked, resting on her elbows as she leaned back. "I'm on lunch," she says. "And besides, little secret. The idea of the hard working CEO is mostly just spin. Think we're all working super hard on our yachts? Nah, dude." She pulled out her vape pen, and blew out a puff of cherry scented fog.

 

"You're looking pretty beat up, though. Rough day at school or, uh, you got a little side hustle going? You seem like you work hard."

 

She figured she would ease into this based on how he reacted. She wanted to come off as non-threatening as possible, but she also did have to get to the heart of the matter sooner or later. She just had to play it cool and not come off as a total loon. This seemed harder when she was in Raya mode.

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REBELLION

 

"Sure, just a myth. Unless you want your business to make money, I gues." He didn't seem to bother looking at her, though he scoffed a bit at the cherry scented fog. Or maybe it was at the mention at his bruises. From what Raya had been able to dig up on Elliot, he was from a rich family, and his mother was part of the city council. He wasn't just some kid, and Elysian Academy was rather exclusive.

 

"What's it to you? Is this the kind of thing you do instead of doing your job? Go around and ask teens what they're doing?"

 

He stood up. 

 

"I'm not some pet project, Wells."

Edited by RocketLord
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"Sure you are. Just not mine, you're Mars' with that fancy suit of yours," Raya said, casually puffing on her vape pen again. "You liking it? The superhero life? Seems like having a bit of trouble with it."

 

She smirked to herself. "I could probably make it easier for you. Extra shock absorbers. Hydraulics to the limbs for extra force. Maybe a little heat vision? You look like the heat vision kind of guy."

 

"All I'd need was a chance to take a look at the suit. You'd be compensated for your time, too. Based on the uniform I'm guessing you're rich but you're probably not Raya Wells rich," she said enticingly. 

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REBELLION

 

Elliot stared, then he shook his head. "Mars' project? I've never even met the man. You think he gave it to me or something?"

 

"My parents are rich, they bought that suit. Maybe you're not Elder rich, thought about that?" There was a certain arrogance to his tone. "What's it to you, anyway? Mars probably got all kinds of proprietary tech in there, you wanna use me to try to steal all that or what? Is that it?"

 

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The Meta-Naut

 

"See, Master Elder, I have a theory. Might sound like a conspiracy theory, but I have a little insight into stuff like this."

 

"You might have bought it, but I am going to go ahead and bet that if you crack that thing open, it's been collecting all sorts of data. Knowing the tech industry, it probably has cameras recording stuff you've been seeing, like the faces of criminals to go into a database. Recording statistics like operating temperature, force absorption and projection... If it has a mic, probably hot a lot of the time. P"

 

She turned, and stood, dusting herself. "See, tech like that is expensive. A fighter jet costs about... 22.3 million USD if you're going off our current standard. Based on what I've seen of your suit, it's got a lot of the functions there that make a fighter jet expensive, except now it's miniaturized to snugly fit around your body while not turning you into Elderberry jam. Based on what I know about how expensive miniaturization is, I am going to put the cost of manufacturing each individual suit to about 200 million USD, give or take about 80 million in either direction. Which means selling it to individuals is not a cost-effective solution. Unlesssss he's double-dipping, get it? It's like the fancy phone you got in your pocket. All that software on it, and even the hardware, is constantly reporting all the time."

 

"I wonder what data you might have given up, and what data Mars finds most valuable."

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REBELLION

 

Elliot stared, his eyes widening slightly as he stared at Ms. Wells, then pulled back and let out a short laugh.

 

"You sound absolutely crazy, you know that, right? Look, Mars made this to help people, right? And now you're talking about all the things that it might be recording and sending to MarsTech, and you want to borrow it what, make it better? Or steal all that data you say it might be tracking? Seriously? You do know how shady you're sounding about now, right?"

 

He stood up, shaking his head. "Yeah, sorry Ms. Wells, but that all sounds a little bit too much like some industrial espionage, and I'm not really into getting into that kind of trouble. Sorry, but I'm out."

 

Turning around, he started walking away.

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Waverider

 

Naomi had been quietly “listening” for a little while now, and she winced internally has Raya went full corporate spy on the guy. If that didn’t make him outright leave, nothing would. So she closed up her laptop and put it in her backpack, pacing herself to make sure she didn’t overtake him. Sure enough, he was annoyed enough to leave. She slung up her backpack, and turned to leave herself…stepping right into his way. She was looking the wrong way, and well…being deaf she couldn’t hear him call out, now could she? The little plan worked to perfection. Elliot walked right into Naomi and they both went sprawling to the ground. Ouch. Why was this a good idea again? She sat up; rubbing the knee she banged hard on the ground. Then she started signing apologetically. <I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you there!>

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REBELLION

 

"Ow!" He hadn't heard or even seen her before he bumped into the woman, both of them scrambling to the ground. His first instinct was to bite and yell at her, for watching where she was going, but he stopped himself. No, that was the old him, not the kind of person he wanted to be anymore, and not a part of the facade he needed to keep up.

 

Besides, the way her hands were moving around instead of talking... she was mute? Deaf? Didn't speak at least.

 

"I'm sorry, I should've looked where I was going." Could she even read lips? 

 

The hit wasn't bad, so he slowly climbed to stand and held a hand out to her, pulling out his phone with his other hand to quickly type something, then held out the phone while helping her up. "I'm sorry, are you alright?"

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Waverider

 

Naomi could, in fact, read lips. And messages on a screen. She accepted the hand up, but pretended her knee gave out (which wasn’t so hard, she’d given it a good hard bang; enough to have a nice bruise later) and half fell onto Elliot. Fortunately he was strong enough that they didn’t go to the ground a second time. Leaning on, she pulled out her own phone. How to play this? Nah, just be herself. [No, I’m sorry! I wasn’t looking and I kind of have to.] She tapped her ears with a rueful grin and tapped out another sentence. [Nothing’s broken, I just need a minute. That smarted! 😫]. She stopped for one more second, and took a good look at him. Appraising him, one could say. [If you want to make up for it, though, you could treat me to a cup of coffee.] She smiled at him. Was she really interested? Well…no. The uniform marked him as a high school kid. She of all people knew there were laws, and she was no cradle robber to begin with. But it would be an opportunity to sit down and talk to him a little. Maybe see what make him tick.

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REBELLION

 

She deaf, then. Elliot took a second to compose himself, still holding on to the woman without really thinking, supporting her if her knee had been hurt. Reading the messages, he couldn't help but grin, quickly shaking his head. "So, you just wander around hoping to bump into some teenager that might buy you some coffee?" His tone was joking, even if she couldn't hear that. "Yeah, sure. That's fine." He looked briefly over his shoulder at Wells, checking if she was still there. "Gives me a good excuse to get away from Ms. Wells over there, at least." He motioned with his head in her direction. "She was getting a bit too pushy."

 

Standing up fully, he offered an arm for her to hold on to. "I'm Elliot."

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GM

 

"Yo, Elder!" Of course, Elliot really shouldn't have asked for an excuse to get away from Raya Wells. Even without the heroes' plans, the universe seemed happy to provide as a trio of teens in the same uniform approached them.

 

The one that had called out was thin, and tall. His skin was pale. He wore black leather gloves over his long fingers. His face was a wide grin, he had long white hair that reached past his shoulder. He wore sunglasses. Maybe he was an albino, maybe something else.

 

The second one was broad shouldered, muscular and blonde. Looked like a typical rich white boy quarterback. His expression was slightly vacant, his eyes seeming to focus on Naomi more than Elliot.

 

The lastone was small and shifty. He had a shock of black hair, a few carefully groomed hairs that was the beginning of a moustache. His black eyes shifted back and forth constantly, while he almost hid behind the one with the broad shouldered.

 

"What're you up to, Elder?" The pale boy again. "Skipping class to pick up girls, ha?" He approached quickly, standing up straight in front of Naomi and Elliot. Then, he pushed Elliot, who stumbled a few steps back. "Back down, Omega. The big boys here."

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Waverider

 

Naomi’s eyes narrowed. Even before her powers emerged, she had no tolerance for bullies. She worked out her knee a little (it had been fine to begin with, but have to make it look good) and then stood on her own. Her phone went back in her purse. And she stepped in front of Elliot, between him and the other three. <Leave him alone.> Even if they didn’t know sign language, her disapproving expression was clear and obvious. In her head, she dared them. She double dog dared them. Say something about her disabilities. Try some more force. She’d snap her fingers and give them the loudest screech they’d ever heard in their lives. And no one else would hear it. Well…maybe that was too…obvious. Maybe she’d just deaden the sound around them so they couldn’t hear or be heard. Yeah, they were just teenagers. She shouldn’t attack them.

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The Meta-Naut

 

Raya didn't understand it. She had tried so hard to get this kid to listen and it had failed utterly. She felt a little sick. She was supposed to be charming. What was wrong with her? Justice was counting on her, and if Waverider hadn't been here, she would have screwed everything up.

 

She was shaken from her internal meltdown by the arrival of a bunch of teenagers. Really annoying teenagers. She could have bailed here, of course. Elliot was already thoroughly disgusted with her and she didn't imagine intervening in this would soothe any masculine egos.

 

But then one of the kids shoved Elliot and her decision was made. She hated bullies. Just a real shame she had to do it as Raya Wells instead of the Meta-Naut. Then again, probably for the best if she didn't use powers on a bunch of minors.

 

"Hey," Raya said, walking forward and frowning. She reached for her phone, holding the camera up to the little horde. "Whatcha doin'?"

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REBELLION

 

"Great." It was mostly a mutter, barely audible, but Elliot clearly recognzed the group as they approached. He stumbled back after being shoved. They way he quickly caught himself made it more than obvious that he was used to this kind of abuse. He stood up straight and adjusted his jacket.

 

Elliot looked at the teens, was about to open his mouth and say something... and seemed genuinely surprised when first the woman he'd bumped into and then Raya Wells stepped in to defend him too.

 

"Its not gonna help anything. Just let them get this out of their system and they'll move on."

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GM

 

The pale man looked at first Naomi, then at Raya and smirked. "Hey, lemme see that phone real quick, yeah?" He held his hand out towards Raya, palm open and waiting for her to hand it over, with a wide grin on his lips... and almost instantly, the phone's charge dropped, reaching 0 and shutting off in a matter of seconds. "Oh, would you look at that? Guess somebody forgot to charge their phone, huh?"

 

The large teen moved closer, getting up right in front of Naomi, with a dopey smile playing over his lips. Either he hadn't noticed Naomi moving her hands to speak, or he didn't care. "Hey." He was obviously trying to sound very charming, but not doing too good at it. "You're looking really good. Wanna go grab a bite with me and my pals?"

 

The last guy, the short one, stayed behind the large guy and stayed silent.

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Naomi sighed noiselessly and took one step back. Oh great, an idiot with no sense of personal space. She pulled out her pad and pen from her purse and wrote quickly. [No. Please go away.] She put the pad right in front of his eyes, so he wouldn’t miss it. There were still times when she missed being able to yell, and this was one of them. She did not, however, miss Raya’s phone being drained of charge. They were superhuman, no doubt about it. Superhumans in a private school was something that bore thinking about. And she should probably mention it to both Salvo and Justice, who were smarter than her. But since they were superhumans and this was a big guy, she’d follow Rule One of being an Energy Controller. Never let them touch you.

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The Meta-Naut

 

"I am not handing you my phone, d--Ahhh, okay, I see," Raya said, looking at her phone drained of charge. "That's assault. And god, dude, are my lawyers so much better than your family's," she trailed off into muttering. 

 

She looked at the kid's uniform, nodded at it, and then looked over at Elliot and Naomi. "You know what," she said. "How about we ditch the baby brownshirts here and I bring you guys where you need to go. In my limo."

 

She really didn't want to deal with these kids anymore, and there was no force in the entire multiverse that could make her give them the fight they wanted.

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REBELLION

 

Elliot looked back and forth between Wells, Naomi and the three guys from the academy. They were both ready to step up and fight after Ralph had already shown them what he could do, and they were ready to stand up to them anyway? So, they were suicidal or knew more than they let on? 

 

He stood back a moment, thinking about Wells' offer. "Y'know, that sounds good." He waved, a smirk playing over his lips. He had to make it look good, didn't he? "Later Ralph, have fun with your buddies."

 

That didn't mean he would take his eyes off them. Not that he could do much right now, could he? 

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GM

 

The big guy paused a bit, looking at Naomi's sign, then put his hands up and took a step or two away, the same stupid grin plastered all over his lips. "Sorry, sorry! Thought you Indian babes were s'posed to be easy!"

 

But it didn't seem like Ralph was just going to accept them leaving like that. "Did I say I was done? You think you're too good for me, huh?" He held up his hand, some lightning crackling up his fingers as he grinned at Raya, taking a quick step closer to her. "That punk's gotta learn what it means to be an Omega. He's the lowest of the low, good for nothing. You should just stay away."

 

Of course, the commotion was drawing interest from people around them. It wasn't like the three kids could do much without someone seeing it. But the question was whether anyone would take that bait, or just go.

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Waverider

 

Naomi rolled her eyes, not even trying to hide her exasperation. This guy couldn’t even keep his stereotypes straight. It was the guys who were always horny, because they came to America alone and thus were socially and culturally isolated. It was obvious talking was getting them nowhere, so it was time to leave. And if schoolboy wanted to show off his powers, she could play a little too. She waved goodbye, and the three students went deaf. No sound would enter or exit their immediate vicinity. Turning on her heel, she tossed a thumbs up at Raya and took Eliot by the hand to pull him away from the situation. Well, not pull as in force him. Pull as in enough to be obvious what she wanted. Which was to get away from here.

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The Meta-Naut

 

Raya stayed at the kids. So they were racist and had weird social darwinist classification systems too. Something was deeply wrong with the youth of America. She gave them a disgusted look that was simultaneously dismissive, and turned, ushering her little duckies away from these rejects from the Third Wave.

 

"God, I'm sorry you have to deal with that," Raya whispered in Elliott's ear. "I didn't really do the highschool thing but if that's what it's like, kinda glad I missed it. Sorry for earlier, too. You clearly got enough on your plate."

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