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Claremont Academy, Leonard Fox Auditorium

Bayview, Freedom City, New Jersey

Wednesday November 3, 2021


Inside the front entryway to the large auditorium building on campus waited two members of the Freedom League for the pair of Claremont students they had been paired with.


One of the League members was five foot five woman in a recognizable bright yellow form-fitting bodysuit with a this black and white checkered pattern strip running down the side of the arms and legs. Most of her head was covered in a matching yellow mask, with only the lower part of the face exposed. Long brown hair in a ponytail stuck out the back of the mask and a pair of hi-tech, mirrored goggles covered the speedster’s eyes and upper half of her face.


Over the last few years, Velocity had actually become much more acquainted with Claremont, if from behind the scenes. Over the last three years she and her husband had been foster parents for a Claremont student. Next year, her own son would be a freshman at the school. But of course, today was not about her connections with the school, it was about what her and her fellow League member might be able to do in terms of assisting a pair of current students.

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Gabriel leaned against the wall nearby, eyes closed and head slightly bowed. Someone who knew him might at first think he was praying. But the hint of a raised eyebrow beneath his shining helmet and the mask beneath said otherwise. 


"Lot of excited kids out there."


He lifted his head and opened his eyes. An almost sad smile graced his face.


"When, exactly, did they become 'kids', instead of 'teenagers'. I feel like it was just a few months ago that I wasn't that much older than my new students, and now, well."

Velocity knew Gabriel still held down his job at the university, somehow. Likely a combination of lower demand for theater classes than many subjects, and how natural the subject still came to him. 

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Barely a month into the term, and Academy Headmistress Calliope Summers already knew how to get Academy Student Wilona Tabana to do stuff. It was…staggeringly smple, honestly. Summers just…asked instead of ordered, and most of the time Wilona said yes. And so when the Headmistress had asked if Wilona wanted to meet two members of the Freedom League, Wilona said yes. Who wouldn’t? The whole mentorship thing (for she was not stupid or blind as to the reason Summers asked) could kick rocks as she was doing just fine, thanks. But it was a chance to meet some legendary heroes. It was one for the scrapbook for when she was old and tired. Really felt like she was forgetting something important here. Eh, it’d come to her.


So Wilona, in Effigy Robes and domino mask (full costume) flew down through one of the auditorium’s skylights. She did open it first, naturally. Libertas (her wind flight spell) whirled wildly around her, roaring in the suddenly enclosed space. There was no way possible she could not do a superhero landing. The sound was impossible to miss. She grinned in the savage joy of a dynamic entrance well made. What was her codename again? Oh, right. Fire danced around the fingers of her right hand as she lowered Libertas to a minimum. “Hiya. I’m Effigy. Nice to meet you.”  A breeze ruffling her clothes, fire lighting her from one side, and of course the dramatic entrance and pose…it was almost like she wanted the two legends to be impressed by her. But that couldn’t be right. Nope, didn’t sound like Wilona at all.




Meanwhile, Naomi had been backstage inside the auditorium since early that morning. The theatre club (such as it was, those poor happy few) was planning to put on a production for Thanksgiving. But alas, last year’s background and scenery had faded over the last year. It needed touching up, and who better than that quiet girl who’s also drawing something? Naomi didn’t mind. It made her feel useful. Why had she been here all day? Well. It turned out the previous production had been rather…traditional. Good natured pilgrims. Helpful Indians. Maize. The usual. The theatre club wanted to do something a bit more…historically accurate this year. So Naomi also got saddled with a partial set redesign and a costuming revamp. It wasn’t like she’d been working entirely alone. The theatre club had been diligently helping alongside her. But it was mentorship day, and so they’d said their goodbyes to go get to that.


Naomi, unfortunately, was in the zone. Sketching and painting and stitching and gluing as busily as someone with two hands and what was basically telekinesis could be. She did not hear the theatre club leave, because earbuds. Or notice that they were gone, as they’d put their work away for now. Nothing to visually or physically trip over. Wilona’s flashy entrance did grab her attention for a moment, but then she heard her partner’s voice and dismissed it as Wilona being Wilona. If only she had actually looked, she would have seen the two Freedom Leaguers loitering. But alas, she did not.

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"I know how you feel." Velocity replied to her teammate with a smile. "Most of the students out there are too young to remember when I was a teenage hero myself. The youngest where not even born when I started out."


The speedster caught site of Effigy as she began her dramatic entrance, turning to face the direction the teen was approaching from to watch her make her landing. "Good morning Effigy. I'm Velocity and this is Gabriel." The speedster replied with a warm smile before a puzzled look came to her face. "Isn't one of your classmates supposed to be meeting with us as well?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

"I suppose I didn't start quite as early, but still."


And then the young lady who went by Effigy showed up. He gave a slight smile at her...vim and vigor. At Velocity's question about the other student attendee, he tilted his head to one side for a moment, then spoke with a loud voice even as he stepped forward, hands clasped behind his back and armored coat flaring just so as he moved. Ever a man of the stage, he was. 


"I think she's in the back stage area. Would you come join us please, young lady?"


He turned to regard Effigy calmly for several moments. 


"So. Effigy. Are you doing well?"


Part of him wanted to give some advice on the dramatic entrance, he couldn't help appreciating someone with a flair for drama in the right moment. But he got a sense that he should hold off on critiquing just yet. 

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“Classmate?” Wilona did not know what Velocity was talking about, and the bafflement showed plainly on her face. Because Naomi was decidedly not filed under “classmate” in her mind. “No, I don’t think so.” But neurons started firing in the back of her mind. Meanwhile great, someone had told the great hero about what happened on Halloween. “My hand’s fine. It’s not the first time I’ve burned it and it won’t be the last. Hell, it’s not even the worst time.” Another chance to impress the great heroes? You betcha. “Now the Terminus Invasion, whew…I thought I was gonna burn it off.” Unlike a lot of people would be, she wasn’t actually that traumatized by it. Sure, it was terrible. Really, really terrible. But she’d also been incredibly awesome, so for her it kind of balanced out. When she wasn’t thinking about the genuine friends she’d lost among the street people. Which she wasn’t. Door firmly shut, yes indeed. The last neuron fired, and the thought bubbling in the back of her mind leaped to the front. The specific trigger being Gabriel speaking to someone who couldn’t currently be seen. It had just taken a few seconds for her to get it. “Oh! Classmate, you mean Nao-I mean Invisigirl.” She was never going to get used to the codename thing. “I thought she was already here.” Naomi poked her head through the curtains in response to Gabriel’s call. “And see, I was right. Not in the usual way, but whatever.”




Naomi was a busy workin’. Grooving to some sweet pop music. Lost in her little art world. She’d finished the sketching, but that just meant there was more painting to do. And she needed to use her hands for the stitching and more delicate gluing. Progress had slowed a bit, but she was still in the zone. It was a very good day, but she’d become aware that she was forgetting something important. She’d think about it when she was done, though. This was crunch time. The nitty gritty. Her powers could hold things in place, but the detail work was all her two hands. And then Gabriel’s voice basically slapped her upside the head. Nonsene syllables came out of her mouth. naomiellison.exe was knocked off line and had to reboot. Metaphorically speaking, of course. She poked her head through the curtains after turning her music off and taking out her earbuds. She had four different colors of paint on her face, and a pencil behind one ear and a dry paintbrush behind the other. This prompted Wilona to speak again. The reboot was complete, but language was uh…having an error. Speaking was impossible. Naomi blinked a few times, wearing her usual zoned out expression. Error resolved. Also, thing forgotten remembered. So she stepped entirely out from behind the curtains. Her customary overalls were, well, very dirty. The full rainbow of paint colors. Fabric swatches pinned to the outer pockets. Glue dotted the entirety of the denim. She practically radiated contentment. Her hands were full of stitching, so when she waved half of a period authentic pilgrim costume (a man’s shirt, specifically) waved with her hand. “Hi.” Language was still having an error, so saying more was impossible. It would be so much easier if she could speak in pictures. But alas. Well. At least WIlona was having fun.

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Velocity glanced over in the direction that Gabriel had turned to call out for the other student schedule to meet with them for a moment before focusing back on Effigy as the fiery teen began downplaying the injury to one of her hands and her exploits during a recent incident on Halloween and the Terminus Invasion from a few years ago. Well, she certainly doesn’t seem to have any confidence issues, at least on the surface. The speedster thought to herself while smiling at Effigy's stories.


The Freedom League then turned towards Naomi as the somewhat disheveled girl made her way over to the trio, somewhat sheepishly offering a greeting. "Hello…Invisigirl is it?" Velocity stated with a small wave of her own. "Looks like you have found some extracurricular activities you are interested in here."

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  • 2 weeks later...

"I'm sorry to hear about your hand, Effigy, and I'm glad it's doing a lot better."


Gabriel somehow exuded compassion without an undertone of condescending pity. Almost like he meant what he said! He turned slightly and gave Invisigirl a friendly smile and nod. 


"Nice to meet you, Invisigirl. I'm Gabriel."


He gave her a wink and a conspiratorial smile.


"Not the actual Archangel. Though I've met him! And it warms my heart to see someone contributing to the arts like you are. People sometimes forget how important the crew on a production are."


He looked between both girls as his smile settled a bit into 'patient mentor' mode.


"So. What brings the two of you here today? I know Velocity and I have lots of things we could talk about, but I'm curious what the two of you are hoping to accomplish today?"

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Effigy and Invisigirl


Wilona momentarily looked completely baffled. Someone being nice just to be nice…well, it wasn’t like she didn’t believe people could be like that. Soup kitchen folks, some priests and nuns, you know. Good people like that existed in the world. People who did care about hands that did not belong to them. She just didn’t expect a pro superhero to be one of them. They were never the violent type, you know? Peace through love and compassion, not superior firepower. “Uh. Thanks, I guess. I’m…I’m not immune to fire and heat, ya know? I throw around a lot of fire, I burn my hand. S’how it is. I don’t mind it.” The bravado and performance had been knocked out of her and honestly there wasn’t any reason to bring it back now. And he was asking about…oh, no. Totally had the wrong idea. She waved the whole concept off. “Oh, that. The whole mentorship thing can bite me. I just came for the meet n’ greet. You guys are legends. Thought I'd shake hands, maybe get a picture and an autograph. Yanno.”


It was at this point where Naomi’s brain was finally processing language properly again. Or as well as it ever did, anyway. She pointed behind the curtain for Velocity’s benefit. “Helping.” She held up the pilgrim’s shirt as if it was self explanatory.


Wilona’s face showed understanding. “Theatre club asked for a hand, ‘cause my girl’s such a great artist. Thought you’d finish that quickly, tho.”


Naomi shook her head. “Extra work. Lots of redoing.”


Wilona nodded. “Makes sense. Long as you’re happy I guess.”


Naomi smiled radiantly. “Yes. Very happy.” She was floating just as much on her work well done as the compliment from Gabriel the legendary superhero. But he’d asked a question. Wilona had answered it. Naomi had to, as well. Of course, the answer was both simple and complex at the same time. “…dunno.” Codename, codename, what was her codename? “Effigy signed the sheet.” She shrugged helplessly. She did not know how to explain that she did what Wilona did by default. At least, not without it sounding really freaking weird. She just…didn’t want to be parted from her. Of course, being completely guileless, her distress at being unable to explain was plain on her face.


Wilona walked over and slung an understanding arm over her shoulders, instantly easing the invisible girl’s distress. “My girl’s always a step behind me. Last few years it’s been her and I against the world.” She was not about to get emotionally vulnerable in front of strangers, hell no. So just the basics. “Where I go, she goes. What I do, she does too. Unless she’s got something else lined up, yanno?” Wilona squeezed Naomi’s shoulder, and the smaller girl smiled. “Ain’t like I mind having a shadow, either. But I think her being here right now was just a coincidence.” She grinned. “If the club decided to work in somebody’s dorm or something, we’d be looking for her right now instead of talking.”

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