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Freedom Fallout


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GM

 

A Tuesday afternoon in early February, 2021

Claremont Academy

 

"I don't know why I gotta bring the punk along, sorry about that, Miss Cahill." Travis Armstrong seemed to shift between being in a great mood, and, well, being in a spectacularly bad mood. The good mood seemed to come whenever he looked at Judy, and the bad? Well, he obviously wasn't a fan of one Luke Landers.

 

He was leading Luke and Judy down a hallway in the administrative building. Ashley was there too, of course. Travis Armstrong was not about to take Judy's bodyguard away, especially not now. They stopped inside the room, where a screen was on, showing a group of people somewhere in Southside, holding signs. Some kind of demonstration. The signs were hard to make out, but one in particular was easy to make out, with big black letters on white: "WHERE IS JAYCEE?" 

 

"It seems like you've gotten quite a following, Miss Cahill."

 

Luke would recognize the young man holding the sign.

 

His name was Matt Wagner.

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Was he in trouble? Again? Being dragged by the Coach before he could finish his training session so suddenly seemed to suggest it, but the fact that he was together with the freaking daughter of the ex-president pointed in a different direction… He was gonna know soon anyway, so yeah, with no need to worry, Luke strolled through the halls with a confident pace and a cocky grin on his lips.

 

The punk has a name by the way.” Luke smirked. Now of course he knew who Judy was (she was on TV after all), but he hadn’t had many chances to hang out with the senior himself during his short stay at Claremont. “Luke here.” He offered to shake hands with the girls.

 

By the way… I know you must have heard this a million time already...” He gave Jay a playful smile the two were still on the way, ignoring the coach’s glares. “...but it takes guts of steel to do what you did Jay. You were freakin’ awesome.

 

Once they got to the surveillance room, Luke gave a quick look at the monitors. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just a demonstration, there was no supervillain swinging in the sky (as far as he could see) and the protester didn’t seem dangerous…

 

Feigning a lack of interest, he grabbed the gym water botte from his battered backpack and took a generous sip from it.

 

It was then that his eyes glanced on a familiar face. Matt!

 

Color drained from his cheeks as he spat out the water in a cone rivaling in magnitude his dragonfire breath. Damn!

Edited by Nerdzul
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"Thank you," said Judy to Luke, seeming to radiate warmth in more ways than one with a soft smile. "Y'all are very kind." She was in person a far cry from the glowing angel of righteousness that had reshaped American politics with a few well-placed words. 

 

The daughter of the former President looked faintly sick for just a moment, then looked away and closed her eyes. 

 

"This isn't anything new," said Ashley softly, putting a hand sympathetically on Judy's shoulder. "We've seen demonstrations like this before." 

 

"Ah know that," said Judy, biting her lip for a moment. "Ah can hear them talking about it sometimes. But Ah never thought Ah'd see one here." She shot the teacher a frightened look, but fearfully asked Ashley as much as him, "we're safe, aren't we? They didn't find out about the school?" 

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GM

 

"Yeah. I thought you might recognize that guy, Landers." Armstrong crossed his arms and shook his head. "You better clean up that mess."

 

Looking over at Judy and Ashley, his expression softened somewhat. "That's the question, Miss Cahill. They're in Southside now, but they've been moving through the city. The man holding the sign is one of Landers' known associates from before he got here. Who knows what Landers might have told him?"

 

He paused, despite his otherwise stern demeanor, his voice was softer yet when he spoke again.

 

"Have you considered making some sort of statement? Even with the new president being sworn in, these things are getting worse, Miss Cahill."

 

On the screen, the demonstration were starting to push back against the perimeter a group of armored officers had formed.

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Don’t worry ok? I can’t believe they would want to hurt you anyway, I mean…” He gave Jaycee a sympathetic smile. Yeah he could vouch for his friend at least, but the rest? Who knew right? “Plus it’s safe here anyway.

 

Yeah I…” Luke ruffled the hair on the back of his neck after the Coach’s remark. What the hell are you doing Matt?  He felt guilty a bit perhaps, since getting to Claremont he hadn’t been around his old friends as much as he should have, immersed as he was in this new life of heroes and wonders...

 

Hey…” Luke frowned, and instinctively clenched his fists. “I didn’t tell him jack shit. What kind of man do you think I am?” He angrily remarked. Indeed he had put his friend at risk already, there was no way he was gonna share with him something that could get him in trouble. 

 

Whatever. I have to go and talk to him…” Yeah and calm down the crowd? How? Scare them off maybe? No way, he wasn't gonna use his powers on these people... He had no idea, yet he had to do something...

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"Ah know all the things they say," said Judy, crossing her arms over her chest. "All the time." She looked away for a moment, listening to Luke's argument with the teacher, then said, "Ah need to go." 

 

"I really don't think that's such a good idea, honey," said Ashley, eyes widening as she considered the prospects. "We'd have to get your whole team out there, and you know how hard that is logistically." 


"They're just normal people," said Judy, and as she spoke colors bled over her skin, an almost dazzling rainbow brightness that seemed to fill the room. When she spoke, it echoed as she added, "They can't hurt me. And if you're coming with me, you know Ah'll be safe," she said, giving her mentor a smile. Her glowing face hardened as she added, "This is the path Ah put myself on when Ah decided Ah wasn't going to be afraid anymore."

 

"...okay. Okay, let's go," said Ashley. "But no teleporting. We're all going in together." 

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GM

 

"I think you're a criminal that was given a chance he doesn't deserve, Landers." Armstrong crossed his arms, obviously not afraid of Luke in any way. 

 

With both Judy and Luke stating they had to go and talk with the people at the riot, he sighed. "Look, the headmistress won't like it, but I'll look the other way, alright? Go out there and try to get them to calm down, and if anyone asks, I didn't tell you about any of this, got it?"

 

"Just stay safe, alright? I'll try to cover for you."

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Ashley blinked a moment and said "Judy, Luke, if you'll wait outside the door, I'll meet you in just a moment. We'll take our car." She folded her hands behind her back, watched as Judy and Luke exited the room, then turned and walked up to Armstrong.

 

Outside, Judy looked unaccountably nervous as the door closed behind them, glancing back in and seeming to peer right through the metal - her eyes glowing a faint but obvious shade of rainbow. 

 

Inside, Ashley chose her words with great care, her tone not actually rising above a conversational tone as she said, "That was a very ugly thing you said to that boy just now." She didn't sound like a high school student at all - but of course by now Claremont's faculty knew that this visitor to the campus wasn't just a bratty senior who'd been held back a few years. It occurred to her that she could probably threaten him effectively with a report to Summers but that was not something she'd ever be willing to entertain. "If I ever hear about you talking like that to a student again, I will come back here and you will not like what I teach you." She met his eyes, gaze hard, then turned and walked out of the room. 

 

"Okay," she said with a smile as the door closed behind her, "let's head for the parking lot. I think you'll like the car," she commented to Luke as they went, "we call it the Dawg..." 

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Yet here I’m… Am I right?” He forced a cocky smirk, but his eyes told a different story. Damn the coach did know to hit where it hurts didn’t him? Luke’s knuckles whitened as he kept clenching his fists. Calm down Luke...

 

What if he was right, though? What if he was just playing pretend… With all the ‘hero’ thing. No way! And yet… The young man lowered his eyes, looking away from Mr. Armstrong.

 

He relaxed, if only a little, when the man ‘allowed’ them to try and sort it out. Like if he wasn’t going to go anyway, permission or not. He saw himself out the door without a word.

 

………..

 

Whatever, right?” The young man shrugged once it was just the two of them. His gaze then darted to meet Judy’s. It must suck for her too, yeah… A thousand times worse perhaps. “Hey…” He gently put one hand on her shoulder. “You are going to do great. I know that.” He smiled. 

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