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MBCE

Placement Tests -- Geckoman

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The knock at Chris' door was firm and full of authority. No one knocked at teh doors like that unless they were one of the faculty members of the school. When Chris opened the door, he saw a tall powerful looking man before his door. It didn't take Chris long to recognize Alan Archer, the physical education teacher.

"So, you're the kid with the flying machine, are you?" Alan said as he took an apprasing look up and down Chris' frame. "They tell me it's pretty interesting. Since I was assigned to do your placement test, I guess it would help if I saw it. Mind giving me a tour before we get started on your tests?"

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Oooooh... it's that big dude. And he wants to see my ship. Isn't cleanliness a school rule? Oh, flip. "Um, sure, yeah. It's stored in the trees near the parking lot, if you just want to follow me," said Chris, as he pondered if the Pitchoo needed to follow school rules on school ground.

He took the remote out of his belt and pointed it at the door on the side of the sleek green craft. "Now, before we enter, could we bear in mind that I am a teenager with a large flying ship. Cleaning hasn't really been on my mind..." The door beeped and the hatch folded downwards, revealing the cream interior to be strewen with clothes, CDs and pizza boxes. However, the control panel on the ship was mostly unobstructed, as was the floor space in front of a glowing blue-green holographic projection on the wall. "Ta-da?"

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Alan looked over the area with a critical eye for a moment before taking down some notes on his clipboard. "All right, Chris. So, did you make this yourself?"

Alan moved over to teh control panel and looked down at the controls while waiting to hear Chris' response.

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Alan nods his head, accepting the explination and making a mark on his clipboard again.

"Okay, Chris. One other thing we need to know is exactly what do you know of your powers? We like to set the placement tests based on what the students already know of their abilities. Also, the question comes in that we need to know if you want to add this," Alan says with a wide gesture to include the ship, "to your test as well."

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Chris smuiled, and began to energetically explain his powers and ship, like a child showing off his toys (well, but for a few years he would be).

"This airship, the Ptychozoon seems to top out at 500 MPH in the air, is radar-invisible while having radar of its own. It also has cannons which fire out a stream of what look like electrical pulses." He then gestured at the holographic display on the wall. "Darian, he's a student and I think he helps out as a lab assistant here... he fixed me up with this, it makes 'hard light constructs', or as I prefer to call it, holographic hoverboards. A lot slower than the ship, unarmed, but you're surfing through the air on glowy lights so definitely cooler."

"As for my powers... I've basically got every ability a gecko does. I'm slightly quicker and more dextrous than an average human, can crawl on walls, have heightened vision to the point where I can see heat signatures... Oh, and I can identify people by scent. I also heal pretty fast, but I haven't been willing to test out how fast. I know I can regrow a hand within an hour though."

"Oh, yeah, and I've got miniaturised, wrist-mounted versions of the ship's weaponry, only they don't fire quite as quick. I think it might be to recharge, but I'm not a brilliant technician and I keep forgeting to ask Darian to take a look for me. He's good with this stuff."

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Alan made marks on his clipboard as he listened to Chris's explination of his powers. When the teen was finished, Alan looked up from his clipbaord. "A healing, huh? That sounds like a very useful ability. Good."

The teacher begins leading chris back intot he compound, explaining the test as he goes along.

"Well, the test consists of five stages, each of which will test a different aspect of your ability or knowledge. Keep in mind that this is simply a placement test which means there is no pass or fail, but rather a determination of what you still need to improve on. It will also act as a point of what classes you'll be assigned."

"Between stages, you'll be given time to relax and refresh your condition. Before the stages begin, the lights will flash and I will explain what you need to do. For the most part, it's a very painless process that allows you to understand your own shortcomings."

Alan stopped before a door and regarded Chris. "Any questions before you head inside to begin?"

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"Nah, can't think of any off-hand," said Chris, walking off towards the doorway without hesitation. "Bring on the testing!" Something I've never said in school before, and hopefully never will again.

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The room was empty and unfurnished when Chris entered. It wasn'T long before the lights blinking signalling the beginning of the test. Alan's voice came over the room's hidden speakers.

"Okay, Chris. This first test will determine how well your senses work. You mentioned that your abilities mimic those of a gecko so were going to see just how far that extends. A number of targets will be placed in the room. All you have to do is notice that they are there. Once you note their presence let us know and we will send in the next target. You will need to find four different targets. Good luck."

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Chris walked into the centre of the room, and stood looking around him warily. He heard the target click out of the wall, spinning rapidly to see where it was. The walls seemed bare. "Where are you?" he muttered, for a moment, before slapping his forehead and looking up. "Above me," he said looking embarassed.

In response, the target shot back into the wall and the panel folded in front of it. The lights dimmed further and another click signified the wall projecting another target. He looked around himself slowly and methodically, taking ten seconds or so before spotting the target in a darker corner. "OK, in the corner, nice try."

Then the room was plunged into pitch blackness. "Now, what if I'd been afraid of the dark? Inconsiderate," said Chris, looking into the darkness around him and straining his senses. Then he spotted it. The target, with a faint heat signature on it. "Back-left corner, the one somebody pressed their hand on the front of. Left a heat trail." He didn't bother hiding the smugness as the lights came back on and a small podium extended forth from the floor. It had a rag on it.

"Now, I was expecting a trophy, but..."

"You said you had a good nose, now blindfold yourself and we'll see, shall we?" explained Alan over the intercom.

"Bet you ten bucks I can do it," smirked Chris, tying the blindfold tightly over his eyes. "I can smell the cash already."

The click came, and Chris span, sniffing his way around the room completely blind. He spent a minute on his hands and knees sniffing about, before taking off the blindfold. "So, you can't bet with the students, right?" The podium with the blindfold hadn't gone back into the floor, but had flipped the top of it to reveal the target. "What else have you got for me?"

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The door opens and workers bring in a table full of refreshments as wella s a chair for chris to use. Teh chair is quite comfortable and the food is good quality.

Alan's voice comes over the speakers. "Take some time to refresh yourself while we get things set up for your next test."

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Chris reclines in the chair, eating a bagel stuffed full of ham. Good ham. Yay, ham! "Coulda found it if they hadn't been so sneaky..." grumbled Chris to himself. "Wasn't even very smelly wood. What'd they expect from me, miracles?"

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It isn'T long before the lights flicker, signalling the start of the next stage. Workers come into the room and take the chair and table away, leaving Chris alone in the room again.

Alan's voice came over the speakers. "Okay, Chris. We would like to test your zappers as well as your aim now. A number of targets will appear, you must hit and break through the item. You will have three chances per target to hit it but only one chance to break through. There will be for different tragets. Good luck."

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Chris strapped on his zappers firmly, tightening the firing mechanism around his fingers and knuckles. As one target appeared, he casually tightened his fist and twisted his wrist, a small blast of electrical energy shooting forth with a PEW! sound, shattering the wooden target. "Too easy," smirked the teen as another, slightly smaller, target appeared.

He raised his left arm and hit the wall to the right of the target, following up with a right-handed shot which failed to break the target. The third shot missed. "Come on, I had a dead shot and the thing didn't break!"

An even smaller, metal target popped up and Chris crossed his arms to support both zappers, firing off three shots in quick succession. The first went wide, the second ricocheting from the tough metal and the third hitting the pole supporting it and glancing off at an angle. "Awww, c'mon, this sucks!"

Then a fourth target came up, moving from side to side. His left-hand blaster went off by miles, before Chris shook his head. "OK, focus... focus!" The right hand shot would have hit but for the target reaching the end of its path and reversing to follow it again.

"Alright, let's shatter this thing," growled Chris, making a gesture like wringing his hands. As he brought them up in a firing position, an audible click came from the paired switches marked 'safety cut-off', to be replaced with a loud bang as a ball of concentrated energy exploded forth from the zappers in a cloud of smoke, hurling Chris backwards and hiting the target with a loud clang.

As the smoke cleared, the target, now gently swaying on its pole, was seen to be completely intact. "What are you using to make these things? That's just stupidly strong..."

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AS workers came into the room with the usual refreshments and worked ot clean up after the last test, Alan's voice answered Chris' question.

"Well, they're made from all kinds of things. Ms. Harcourt pretty much hands us the materials for the tests. I think she uses these tests to continue her experiments. Don't worry too much about it. You did quite well. It will oonly be a moment longer before you begin the next stage of your tests. Relax"


Time flies fast and it is as if only a few minutes had passed before the lights flicker again.

"This next test will determine the extent of your agility. If you truely have teh abilities of a gecko, then this should be fairly simple for you. Your task is not difficulty. Just don't get hit."

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"Bring it," said Chris, crouching low as a robot drone shaped like a gun-metal orb dropped from the ceiling. It dropped to eye level and shot a foam dart at Chris, who immediately dropped to the floor, the dart flying over his head. Jumping up, the second shot bounced off the ground beneath him. Landing almost touching the drone, the third shot missed by millimetres as Chris threw his whole body to the ground.

The drone flew away again, leaving him time to stand up and face its successor. He leaned back a little and lazily watched the shot fly past his head. Hey, is that shot moving faster? he had time to think before rolling forwards and turning to see a dart stick to the floor inches from where he was. "C'mon, shoot me ag-" PING! ThudThud The shot had fired, easily missing and slamming into the wall as Chris jupmed, slamming his hands into the ceiling and pulling his legs up. He dropped in a crouch.

The third drone shot out, quickly spinning full circle and firing. Unable to react in time, the dart stuck to Chris's chest as he moved, running towards the wall. The drone flew after him, pivoting as the Geckoman stepped up onto the wall and shooting his leg, before waiting for him to drop off. The third shot hit the side of his head.

"That... was intense," said Chris, pulling off the sticky darts and throwing them at the drone which had appeared behind him. He jumped and spun, hands hitting the roof and pulling the legs up to scuttle quickly away from the shot the drone had quickly aimed upwards. The timing was wrong and it went way off. Glancing down, Chris saw the drone take aim again, pushing off the wall hard to avoid the projectile. "Hah!" he shouted triumphantly, before wincing as he smacked into the floor, the third shot hitting his back as he tried to roll away. He elected to stay down.

"Now, that's not fair. Plying a guy with food and shooting at him while he had that bloated feeling. "

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Workers come in and remove the remains of the test as well as bring in the table of refreshments.

It doesn't take them long to clean up the mess but Chris notes that they continue working, setting up four different stations. When the preparations were completed, the lights flickered.

Alan's voice came over the speakers again. "Your next test will let us know how far in your schooling you have come. There are four different stations that you must go to. There you will be asked to complete a task. You must go to each station but the order is up to you. The four stations will examine your Creativity, Intellect, Practical application, and Charisma. Good luck."

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"Ok, let's just do these in order," muttered Chris, wandering over to Creativity. There were a couple of boxes with pegs, wires, bulbs and resistors, as well as an instruction card. 'Find some way to make the lightbulb light up.' "What!? That's easy!" scoffed Chris, rummaging for a power supply...

... no power supply. Not even a AAA battery. "Hold on a second," thought Chris, an idea occurring to him. He wired up the bulb to two wires quickly and deftly, before sticking them both into his fingertips. "Aaaaand... electrostatic charge," he laughed, turning on his wall-crawling ability and letting the electrostatic charge he generated light the bulb up. Not very much, but enough for a loud 'Ping!' to signify he'd passed at that station.

The next station was Intellect, with a computer keypad and screen set up. It had a question displayed on the screen. "What is the unit of measurement for capacitance?" The old Chris would have been clueless. But the Geckoman liked technology, and knew it imstantly. "Farads," he typed. 'Ping!' "Next!"

The third station had an locked box. Apparently he had to open it. He picked up a bent piece of wire, stick it in the lock and "BZZZZZZZZZZZZT!" The alarm was set off. "Hey!" said Chris is mock outrage, flipping over the box. He quickly disconnected the wires underneath, then tried the lock. It clicked open with no incident, to reveal... an empty box. 'Ping!'

The next station was denoted Charisma. Geckoman was good at that. A bored-looking student stood there with a clipboard. "Hey, what you here for?"

"Apparently need to work on gullibility and apparently you can help."

Chris read the card that had been face-down on the table. "Did you read this?" "Nope."

"Well it says to do the test, you need to put your hand on that metal plate thing. Must be a lie detector." The kid sighed and put his hand down. BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT! He shouted and brought his hands away. "Ow! Do you know what that could've done if I didn't have my powers!?"

"Card says you're immune to electrical shock, so obviously yeah. Teachers aren't allowed to fry students... any more." He turned to face the teachers. "So what do I win?"

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Alan's laughter at teh question proceeds the appearance of workers entering with the refreshment table and chair. "Nothing, but it was fun to watch. It'll only be a short while before we start the final stage. Relax and enjoy yourself."


A short time later, the lights flicker again, and Alan's voice comes over the speakers. "This is your last stage. We want to test your piloting skills. There are four courses we want you to fly, each consists of three tricks you have to perform. When you finish one course, you head to the next. Now, we can do this by simulator, or you can pull out your ship. Either way works for us. Just let us know."

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"Let's fly the actual ship. I'm more used to working the controls," said Chris, going to leave the building. Alan led him out to where they were letting him store the Pitchoo. "OK, try to stay above the grounds and don't go too high. We don't want to stand out, as Mr Summers told you when you were invited here."

"Coolio," said Chris, spinning into the chair at the console, pulling on his Geckoman goggles and flicking a switch. The door closed with a Fwoooooosh! The engine humming, the ship rose up into the air and sped upwards, only to be quickly overtaken by some larger versions of the round drones in the training room.

"OK, here we go," said Chris, as one drone collapsed and reformed into a large square frame. Using his right hand to adjust the angle of the ship, he forced the thurst down hard and careered through the hoop, spinning on the ship's x-axis before levelling out to effortly pass through a smaller, circular hoop. "Let's have some music," mused the teen, reaching over to a touch-screen panel to his left... and smacking into a third hoop angled so as to be slightly less obvious.

The drones moved away across the school grounds a fair distance, kids pointing up in awe. "Look at me, not the floating spheres! I have guns!" said Chris is mock outrage, spinning the ship on the spot and rocketting towards the obstacles. The green blur twisted at the last minute to fit through a slanted hoop. But the twist threw the ship into a spin, spiralling through the next loop, clanging off the sides and crashing into the side of the third and sending the metal parts flying in the air even as they reformed into an orb shape and flew off. "DAMMIT!" swore Chris.

Getting frustrated now, he kept moving forwards towards the rapidly-assembling loops and squares and oblongs forming. The first obstacle was three circles slightly off-centre from each other, and at his speed he could only turn enough to make it through, not to get through without scraping the sides and sending sparks flying. He dove down to drop through a small hoop, but the turning circle wasn't enough to loop back upwards through the one above him. On a final, rapid slalom he knocked three of the poles over. "Nnnnnnnng," moaned Chris, head in his hands.

He swerved at a slower speed, following the arrows forming from the metal the drones deconstructed into. He was moving down towards the trees. "Oh, not more slalom..." he groaned, eyes widening as he attempted to bank the ship quickly.

The bark and leaves flew everywhere, as the Pitchoo followed the next arrow upwards and upwards and... upside down? Clinging to the sides of his seat, Chris panicked and spun the ship back around, hitting the next narrow circle in the process. "Computer, memo to me: buy green paint and body filler!" shouted Chris, as what looked like big spiky mines loomed into view in a large cloud. He tried to pull up too late, crashing through them in a shower of machine parts, sparks, scraping and screeching.

A few minutes later, Chris landed next to Alan again. "In my defence, my lack of ability to fly was kinda the reason for me being invited here. Wouldn'ta been noticed otherwise..."

Left thrust, middle steering, right brakes

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Alan gave a short chukle at Chris' attempt to cover his failings. "Don't worry about it. We'll make sure to include a lot of piloting practice for you. I'm sure by the time you leave us, you'll be an ace pilot. Oh, one more thing. We didn't test out the limits of your regeneration as that is something that can be very dangerous as you should be well aware of. Just don'T think you have no limits. Everyone does. Just because you were able to regrow a hand once, doesn't mean you'll be able to do always. Take care of yourself and you'll never have to know the limit of your regeneration."

Alan folded the clipboard under his arm. "Well, you're free to go, Chris. Make sure you park the ship before heading off to other activities."

Alan gave another smile before turning and walking back into the school, leaving Chris alone with his thoughts.

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"Park the ship... Alright," he muttered. Damn, I suck. I thought I wasn't bad at flying, but they had to go and make me look bad. He kicked a rock and went into his ship, letting it float up and off the ground. "Well, now I don't want to go off to 'other activities'," grinned the teenager evilly. His hands went to the thrusters...

... and Alan glanced out the window to see a green blur accelerating forwards and away, up into the clouds.

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