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Claremont Academy
~9 am, 1st August 2022

 

Being one of the premium schools for superhero teens in America, if not the world, Claremont had one of the most impressive computer system money and tech heroes could provide. But it wasn’t perfect and today of all day the system had mysteriously crashed, rumours were currently running amok with no theory quite winning out yet.

 

That didn’t help for the students, new and old that had turned up to settle into their new (or old) dorm rooms. With no records available right now two poor interns had been roped in to do an ad-hoc organization of room for now. Smartly they’d also roped in a few of the older students to help guide the new students to what rooms worked for now. Tomorrow things might change, but for now, a general make-do method was doing the rounds of those directing students around.

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Maddie Madrigal

Maddie knew nothing of the chaos ahead of her as she wandered through the gate of Claremont, waving goodbye to the driver that had bought her from the temporary quarters the league had provided her with. She hoped she hadn’t given the driver too much of what apparently called a “tip”, all the little bit of paper considered currency here all looked the same to her.

 

Really this whole world was strange to her, the sky was the wrong colour and distinctly lacked any floating island. And that was just the first of a thousand sights, sounds, and smells that made this world just seem so… alive.

 

Talking of such things there seemed to be a mass of students around what she figured was probably their trainers. She had no problem seeing what was going on, at almost 6ft Maddie could look over the top of many of the students, but for now, she had no idea what this was all about.

 

Maybe it was some form of training exercise?

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Carmen Arrache

The first day of actual classes was something she was partially dreading. Having had to run the quickest set of remedial classes in order to catch up with other students her age, Carmen was hoping that she could have at least a somewhat easier time of things. What friends, or could she say acquaintances more or less she did have were likely far too busy themselves to help her if she needed anything. She was essentially on her own in the crowd after leaving her dorm, trying to look above everything from her more average stature. With such a mix of individuals, especially those with such varying appearance, even some stranger than her own, it could be hard to see yet partially relaxed.

 

"No puedo ver a dónde ir," (I can't see where to go) she spoke to herself, using her sense to the best of her ability to be able to hear voices and sense the movement of the crowd through the walkway.  It appeared than many of the students were gathered, unmoving, to be standing there in front of several trainers, assuming it was the freshman group. At the least, people that could tell her where to go for whatever program she needed to go to. She'd fiddle with her canvas satchel bag of books. Even in the late summer heat she was still wearing the warmer varsity jacket.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Summertime was over. Leaving  home to go back to school always made Luke felt a bit nostalgic, although to be honest, it was not like his family lived that far away. That morning, though, he didn't have time to reminiscence about the summertime gone. It was his senior year and the boy had volunteered to help out with sorting the new (and old) students while the system was down. Although, once he had done so, he hadn't thought it would be so testing for his patience. 

 

"No... I don't care if that wasn't your damn room last year. That where it says you have to go now. Ok?" He half-instructed, half threatened another kid, growling, as he grew tempted to just shove the fellow super-hero in training to his room. 

 

It was then, that he spotted a familiar face. He opened a path for himself through the crowd and waved at Puma, with a big grin on his lips. "Hey...

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Carmen

She was not further than she was before she got into the line, having been told that while she may be slightly above the age and grade of newer students, she still needed to take the orientation day tour regardless. It was something about fostering community and friends. Carmen wasn't the type for that and looked for any sort of opportunity to leave it and see if she could go one of her classes. If push came to shove, even skip them all together if it meant getting away from the loud crowd of new students.

 

"O' Luke...I didn't see you there," she spoke. All her sense were on overdrive, too many people around, harder to track with inexperience that she had. Puma seemed to lose that more annoyed look to one of a shyer sort, "You seem rather busy today."

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Having secured his room already, Owain was safely in position next to a booth constructed of scrap wood and plasterboard. "Lemonade!" he called. "Get thy lemonade at the cost of a mere fifty cents! We also offer various confections such as candy, chips, and various treats from distant lands!" 


Behind the counter, a smiling Neko was counting the money and handing out the treats; mostly from a service Raina had found for them at only a small finder's fee. Though most of her fellow students didn't talk much about money, she'd found it was easy enough to turn a profit in the superhero business. 

 

"Hey!" said a rainbow-haired girl who seemed to sparkle as she approached Neko. "It's Catgirl Reacts! OMG, my little brother loves your show! Can I get a selfie?" Beaming, Neko gave the girl just that, posing as the hovering phone floated up in front of them. Holly Cline was one of the 'popular' girls, a psychic from a famous hero family, and her support could only make things better for them. 

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Cat-Sith

 

Simon was already on campus, having nowhere else to go. He avoided any and al responsibility as an 'upper-classman', but he did decide to actually get out of his room. He decided the little lemonade stand was a good place to start. He hopped down from a nearby wall and walked over.

 

"Oo, lemonade." He said, fishing around in his pockets. "Sounds good." 

 

He looked up, and up, and up, at the much taller boy, and handed him the coins.

 

"Can't blame ya for makin' a little money. No shame in offerin' up something to drink. A little honest business never hurt nobody." 

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"Aren't you Simon?" asked the rainbow-haired girl, a smile on her face as her hovering phone circled back around to her pink-nailed hand. "Hi, I'm Holly Cline, but people here call me Mastermind. I didn't know you knew Neko and Owain. I love your hair!" 

 

"Holly has been most generous in her support for our business," said Owain significantly, pointing to the large thermos the girl wore at her hip. "How do you fare, Simon? Is all well with your foster parents?" 


For her part, Neko was counting the money, her sharp nails clacking against the change, occasionally swiping somebody's credit card through a reader attached to her phone. 

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"Yep... Turns out that our systems aren't working and that I volunteered to help the wrong day..."  Luke smiled. "I wonder if I can recruit some assistance..." The young man suggested playfully. Although, to be honest Puma did seem a little lost herself. 

 

"Need help with something by the way? Your friendly neighborhood's dragon is at your service." He offered.

 

"Looks like Neko and Owain are using this opportunity way better than me by the way..." He shook his head and grinned, a few moments later when he noticed their small stand. Indeed, time displaced or not it felt like the two teens had far more business sense than the young dragon, whose summer job hadn't exactly left him swimming in gold... "God I think I can use some lemonade..." He added. 

 

"Hey... I didn't know you two were so famous." He playfully teased the couple of 'entrepreneurs'. Admittedly he did have a social media presence himself, but it was in his civilian persona and since he had started to tune down the 'thirst-trap' videos (that Muirne would have probably not appreciated) he hadn't seen that much of a success. 

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Carmen

 

"Are you sure you'd want me to help, I think I'd just get in the way honestly" she spoke in response to his offer. Carmen really didn't know how that she could help him, and while prsenting her case why such would be a bad idea for her to help, she didn't actively refuse it, "I guess try to figure out what to do, if I should just go to my classes or take this orientation. I'm not entirely sure where I should be going."

 

Like an abandoned kitten, she'd follow Luke around, and in her disappointment, it'd lead them towards Owain and Neko. Owain, she didn't have much issue with. A nice guy, though being so out of time was strange in some instances. It was Neko she did have issues with. For some reason, maybe instinctual, the two just didn't seem to get along at all, and while certain events had healed the rift, it only resulted in weirder and silent standoffs.

 

"Hello Owain... Neko," she'd greet. Carmen had little to no social media of any kind.

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A couple of the dollar bills Neko was counting twitched, then rolled up into a small ball. A moment later the ball unrolled into a small origami bunny. The paper bunny lifted it head and sat up as if looking around. It took a few hops and stopped to looks around again.

Leon appeared from the crowds, a playful grin on his face.

“There you are.”

He addressed Luke and gave his roommate a fist-bump and teased him with a wave of the clipboard he was holding. Luke hadn’t been the only one who had pick the wrong day to volunteer.

“Having fun yellin at the noobs? I could hear you across the promenade.”

He glanced around, giving Owain a nod before smiling at Carmen and Neko. He gave Neko a quick, playful wink as the bunny continued to hop a few times in a circle before finally stopping and settling into being just a small rabbit of folded singles.

“Well now, if it isn’t my favorite two cat-girls. You’re both ready for the new year, right?”

Leon turned his attention to Holly and flashed a friendly smile.

“And I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure miss…”

Leon flinched a little. He looked away into the crowd of students to point at one and yelled.

“Hey! Did you just take a bite out of that book? Whyyyy? Know what, I don’t care. Do that again and I’ll drag you in front of the headmistress and you can explain why to her.”

He probably couldn’t actually do that, but they didn’t know that and usually a stern look and threat is enough.

He turned his attention back to the others again.

“Sorry, freshman.”

He shrugged and gave Holly an apologetic smirk.

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Cat-Sith

 

Simon didn't want to admit that he didn't relate to his foster parents very well, so he just said. "They're nice people." 

 

Simon turned to Holly and gave a broad smile. "Why, yes, I am. Thank you, yours is very nice. People didn't have hair dye from where I came from.  I don't know Owain or Neko very well, I just got a bit thirsty." He had to admit, she was pretty. Claremont was full of pretty girls. This was not a negative.

 

When he heard a reference to cats, he chuckled to himself. Then, his form shifted in shadow, and he was replaced by a small black cat, with a white spot on it's chest. He blinked up at the rest of the crowd. He gave a cat-like languid stretch. He briefly considered jumping up to the counter, but he didn't want to get his fur on their wares. 

 

So, after showing off a bit, he changed back into his human form. 

Edited by Thunder King
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Neko gave Carmen a look, tail twitching behind her, but smiled carefully. She knew the girl wasn't so bad, and there was no reason to let their dual natures make them enemies. Even if she makes the hair go up on the back of my neck... Really, she was much more interested in Leon, who got a real smile from her as she got Owain to take her place behind. "Leon! Get your own money," she said playfully, coming up next to him with her hands folded in front of her. Owain sold Luke the lemonade with a ready smile, his hand touching the other boy's for just a moment as they swapped coins. 

 

"Hi, I'm Holly Cline, but you can call me Mastermind. And you're Leon." For her part, Holly was impressed, both by Leon's trick and - even more so - by Cat-Sith's. "OMG! That is so cool!" she told Simon, having filmed the whole thing on her phone. "You should go on Tiktok too, you would get epic hits. Shapeshifting is so awesome, that's the one thing nobody in my family can do." 

 

At that moment, a puffy cloud of pink butterflies formed nearby, took a humanoid shape - and promptly transformed itself into a slight, slim figure with pointed ears and bright pink hair cut short. "What ho! Holly, who are these fine specimens?" Holly quickly introduced Gwen, whose pronouns were they/them, a traveler and mystic from the realms of the fae. Gwen beamed at the phrase, then admitted, "My mother was, I am a Butterfly in the garden of such magic." Their eyes set on Luke and they declared, "Is that a dragon in manflesh? I have one of your kind in my service. How wonderful! Why did we not hang out with them before?

 

"Gwen's dad is a cop," Holly confided to Simon as Gwen sauntered over to eye Luke, "but they're okay. My dad once got into it with their dad over pot, though, sooo embarrassing. They've been a little extra since the last time they really went at it with their dad." 

 

At that moment, a big, muscular young man with a teenager's goatee visible under his hoodie bumped into Carmen. "Oh jeez, sorry!" He pulled up his hoodie, revealing a darkly complected face marred by what looked like a cybernetic enhancement across his left cheek, one mostly obscured by a big, heavy set of sunglasses. "I can't see well yet! Sorry!" He sounded mortified. 

 

"Hey Bert it's okay!" called Holly. "Come over here!" 

 

 

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Carmen

 

Everything in her body wanted and told her to start hissing at Neko, some sort of territorial instinct that drove her try to do so, only stopped by common sense and the fact that she knew that Neko wasn't that bad. They had their differences, but it was no reason to be overly rude. That was why her smile was one that was of a more pensive kind, clearly planned out as not to be upsetting in some sort of nature. At the moment now, it was more jealousy.

 

She'd watch the transformation into a small cat by Cat-Sith, unamused for the most part as she stood there. More interesting was the fairy like girl that had suddenly appeared in a puff of butterflies. Carmen wasn't sure about the fae thing but she herself was a talking cat herself, beyond the pale of a normal human being. This was what Claremont was all about, the meeting of such special individuals that she had been promised. People just like her.

 

"¡Oye, míralo!" she spoke as she was bumped into. He was bigger than Carmen by a good margin, the tech noticeable by how close they were, "You're fine, just be careful."

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Bert cringed briefly. "Are - are you sure?" When Carmen was, he relaxed a little. "Hi, I'm Bert." He stuck out his hand for a shake, his grip firm, his skin mottled with silvery patches that were cold to the touch. He distinctly even smelled of tech, and medicine, up close. "Oh, uh- hi Holly!" he called out to Holly, his loud voice sounding like a combination of electronic and natural. He headed over there and joined the group, waving a hello with his metal-mottled hand, shifting nervously as he looked at the others, seeming to expect some kind of fearful reaction. 

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Leon gave Neko a smile as she slipped from behind their little makeshift sales counter. Turning his attention back to the others in time to see Simon’s little show.

“Show off.”

Leon smirked at Simon as he shifted between human and cat, then back again. But it was a friendly smirk from a fellow ‘show off’. Well known to his friends as one, he was sure they would give home the side eye for calling someone else for it.

He looked back at Holly and nodded as he regarded the clipboard in his hand, seeming to flip to a random page, but really the papers told him where her name was.

“Holly…, Holly…, Holl- ah here we go.”

He glanced up as Holly introduced her friends

“Gwen?”

He flashed her a bright smile and flipped to another with a nod. Leon looked over at Bert, one eyebrow raised as he took in what he could see of the boy. In next moment he just gave a small shrug and glanced back at the clipboard.

“What’s the last name? Only had one Gwen, but there are like three Bert’s.”

He asked unfazed then looked over at Simon again.

“What about you? Got a name, or can we call you something like Mr. Wigglesworth?”

He teased with another smirk.

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Maddie Madrigal

So many people was somewhat overwhelming to someone used to quiet chambers of her home, so Maddie looked for somewhere a little less in the action. Whilst a few were gathered around the merchants booth seemed to be a little less hectic. Making her way to the booth she got out what she figured was the correct amount to pay for the refreshments.

 

“I wish to sample one of your drinks…” her voice was booming, an advantage in the noise and bustle “...but I am new to this place and know any of these flavours! What would you recommend as a suitable refreshment?”

 

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Owain looked up at the giant girl, briefly alarmed, but when she was interested in a purchase he smiled. "Well-met, fair giantess!" He pointed around the table, where a large pitcher of lemonade stood by a selection of red Solo cups and various small containers. "The drink is the juice of the lemon mixed with the freshest of water and powdered sugar, and the little cups allow for...ah yes, customization! You mightst have, ah, strawberry, watermelon...well, if you can read the English of this place, I am sure thee can see our offerings." 

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Carmen

Hand reaching out somewhat shyly towards his, Carmen would finally take his hand to shake in a somewhat awkward greeting. Cold metal steel on her own strange and soft hands. It would be a very short shake, Carmen not wanting to take it for very longer, "I'm sorry... I'm Carmen. I transferred into the school," she says before backing off just a bit to give him room. Being so big, she didn't want to get in his way. Instead, she would focus on the small show that Simon was giving, wondering at the strange power they possessed.

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"I'm, uh, Bert Miller," said the anxious cyborg. "The Bert is short for Albert, if there are two of them. Nice to meet you, Carmen," he said with a smile that showed a few steel-colored teeth. "I, uh, ain't never been to a normal school. This must be weird!" 

 

At that moment a thought came to Leon - one that wasn't his own. Holly's voice sounded in his head as she thought 

 

BERT IS REALLY SELF-CONSCIOUS ABOUT HIS POWERS. HE WAS INFECTED BY NANITES DURING THE INCURSION. A LOT OF PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF NICHOLSON AND CLAREMONT HATED HIM FOR IT. 

 

She had a - kind voice, was the right way to put it, sounding more like a mom than a girl who couldn't have been that much older than he was. "I love your origami," she told Leon, in a normal voice. "My little brother is really into that right now, and we're trying to encourage him. It's healthier," she added cryptically. "Maybe you could come over some time and show him....?" she hazarded. 

 

Neko smiled at the pretty American girl with her teeth and said "We could all go to your house." 

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Maddie Madrigal
This world was already confusing enough, but no it offered even more choices! If she had not been bought up to be a stoic at all time she might give a wail of despair. Still there was also so much new and exciting things to experience, she just had to take the first steps.

 

Growing up my mother thought that to be the best warrior I should eat on the gruel that they feed the servants and drones upon.” she explained in a matter of fact way “Though sometime the kitchen staff would allow me to eat some gel cubes, they tasted no better but at least they had a pleasant texture. They had a color not unlike this one, so that is the one I shall try!”

 

She pointed to the green colored liquid not knowing what she was about to experience!

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"Yes, moeder, I have everything," Jonah said to his mother as he hoisted the bags of what he would be bringing as he arrived at Claremont, looking at her  as he stood there with a docile expression. He wore a sleeveless hoodie with a mountain logo in neon pink against a dark grey, a loose pair of board shorts, and running shoes. He kept up the old more more human appearance. There were four bags of his various clothes and other things, though most was still packed up at his mother's new place (she'd moved with him to here, which he understood).

 

His mother, a frizzy haired blonde somewhere in her forties peered owlishly over her towering boy, as he was, as per normal lacking any sense of urgency. She rolled her eyes behind her glasses and shook her head, "Jonah, well good, call me later, yes? When you are free tonight and let me know. I have meetings the rest of the day about my new job. I love you sweetie, and please be careful," his mother, Tess spoke with a slightly exasperated tone in a light Dutch accent.

Jonah nodded at her, "Yeah, of course, text me later when you're done. I love you, moeder, and talk to you soon!" And as blithely as he was, he turned and strode carrying the bags over his broad shoulders, even if he did have the build of a scarecrow, crossing past the entrance and into the main yard as he looked around. Soon he stopped, and shifted his load around to hold up the map and figure out things. He knitted his brows together as he glanced from it, and sweeping his gaze around as he worked out where he was in relation to things.

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Owain blinked and gave the giant girl a measuring look. He didn't recognize the accent but that meant very little. "Yes! Yes, of course, a leader should eat as well as the lowest among her vassals, else what sort of leader are they?" he said agreeably, pouring Maddie the watermelon lemonade. "From what realm do you hail?" he asked her cordially. "I myself am from the realm of my lord Arthur, which many here dub Camelot." 

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Paper

 

Leon gave Carmen a nod and smile before he glanced back towards the table, having heard Owain talking to someone else but not recognizing the new voice. He literally did a double take as he noticed the new girl’s impressive height. He mouthed a silent ‘wow’ and turned his attention back to his clipboard just in time for Bert to answer him.

 

“Miller… Albert MIl-”

His eyes skimmed the page.

“Ah, got it.”

Leon nodded. He started to tilt his head to look at Holly when he realized she was talking to him in his head and he stopped. He glanced at her and raised an eyebrow but didn’t say anything.

He turned his attention back to Bert and tapped his clipboard.

“Alright now, don’t think that just because you got the whole ‘cool cyborg’ thing going on you’re gonna get special treatment. My roommate’s a dragon, so it takes a lot to impress me.”

He gave Bert a friendly smile.

“You’re just like everyone else here. We’re all different in our own ways, as the teachers would say. As of now, you’re just one of the guys.”

His smile became a grin and he offered Bert a fistbump, hoping he had been as encouraging as he was trying to be.

“I think you’re gonna find a lot of new friends here.”

 

He turned his attention back to Holly, smiling, he nodded.

“I would love to encourage a love of paper in someone. Don’t get me wrong, digital is a godsend, but nothing feels quite like paper.”

 

He chuckled a little at Neko and put a hand on her shoulder.

“Play nice or I’ll get your room switch so you’re rooming with Carmen here.”

Leon teased then made a show of looking around. He leaned conspiratorially towards the new arrivals.

“Speaking of which… Before I see if the little mountain with the legs behind me, that Owain is flirting, with needs help.”

He thumbed back towards Maddie.

“Just between us, if anyone wants to make sure they get roomed together just let me know. I have a way with paperwork.”

He flashed them all a mischievous smile.

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Once Jonah was further into the courtyard, taking in the sights while orientating himself, before he settled on a group of students, and he over to the. With an easy long legged gait, those four big bags held readily.

 

"Hallo," he spoke in an unsteady baritone, that along with the size of him and how there were only hints of him starting to fill out indicated the recent growth spurt, and the breadth of his shoulders said more would be coming. "I'm Jonah," he smiled at them, conscious of his new height and he easily shifted the bags around to one hand, freeing his right that he stretched out towards them. In doing that, he relaxed, and let the magic, or whatever that was holding his 'normal' appearance go, and his features became harsher, as the color fled his from his face and hair. Slowly his skin settled on that glacial blue, with his hair shock white.

 

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