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Placement Tests -- Mercy


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Natasha looked down at the map in her hand and checked her bearings. The school was larger than she had expected it to be and it seemed that there was a large influx of students that started just around the same time as herself.

Today was her chance to show the staff at Claremont just what she could do.

Natasha opened the door and entered the large gym. Standing in the middle of the room, a clipboard in his hands, was Alan Archer. He wore a whistle that hung around his neck and his red training pants and white polo shirt marked him as the head physical teacher at the school.

"Miss Natasha Porter?" Alan asked as he looked down at the clipboard in his hands. "Let me welcome you to the school and expalin what is about to happen here. All new students must undergo placement tests to get a better understanding of the abilities they posses. This allows us the chance to gauge what is needed to round out your education. Our records indicate that you have received some combat training already. Is this correct?"

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Natasha yawned loudly, blinking rapidly as she tried to stay awake and read the map she had. She was dressed casually, long sleeves and pants to hide most of her costume, the bits that wouldn't fit under clothes tucked into her large handbag. Finally finding her way there she puts on her best fake smile. She might not be thrilled with going back to school, but it was a lot better than living on the streets.

"Call me Tasha please" she replied hand covering her mouth as another yawn makes forces it's way out of her. "And yea, I guess. Chute Boxing, Krav Maga, and some throwing lessons, just a couple months worth though, before that I was just trying to learn not to accidently crush stuff"

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Alan looked down at his clipboard and made some notes on it. "Okay, Tasha. It sounds like you know your way around in a fight. We'll be testing that today. What other abilities do you have access to? The more we know, the better we can test you on them."

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"I'm a lot stronger than I look and can fly." Tasha replies promptly, before admitting in an annoyed tone, "But flying is hard. My mentor was also trying to teach me some non-combat skills. Detective work, pyschology stuff, and an EMS course. Mostly I just hit things though."

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Alan nodded again and wrote down on his clipboard again.

"Okay Tasha. I think we have everything we need to begin. Normally, I step out and watch from a private room as we put you through the test. When the light flickers, I'll explain what you are supposed to do and the test will begin. For your first test, I think I want to have front row seat."

A side door opens and four men come out dressed in training clothes. All four seem to be of different builds from large to small. What is obvious about the three is that they all move with a grace that only trained fighters tend to have.

"Your first test is to show off your offensive capabilities. All you have to do is manage to hit each opponent three times. You'll be given three attempts per opponent so take your time. Once you finish with one, the next will advance. When you have finished all four fights, you'll be given time to rest, not before. Good luck."

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  • 2 months later...

"Whatever floats your boat, sir, just try not to get too close" The young heroine replies flippantly, shooting into the air. Whether she was flying or just leaped it's hard to tell, but she certainly landed, none to softly, on one of her opponents who folded with a choked cry.

Mercy had never really viewed her training as 'art' despite what her mentor had called it and it showed as she quickly dispatched her three remaining opponents. With a backflip and a spin in mid-air that only someone who can fly could pull off she knee'd her second adversary in the face.

The remaining two managed to dodge her mid-air roundhouse kick, but Mercy simply landed between them, balancing on one leg, bent like a 'T' as she hit them both in the stomach, one with her foot the other her fist.

"How was that?" She asked, slightly distracted as she tried to straighten out her cape(the thing always got tangled in a fight.

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Alan nodded his approval at the swift work Mercy did of the stage. "Impressive. You were very sure of your movements. Also, very offensive. Take a moment to relax as we clean things up and get ready for your next stage."

Workers come out to help the downed men as well as bring out a table loaded with refreshments of all kind. A chair is also brought out for her to use at her leisure.

It isn't long though before Alan calls for her. "Oaky. This next stage will test your defensive abilities. You will face four different opponents of differeing ability. Their job is to touch you three times. Your job is to not allow that to happen. The object is to avoid contact using your training. Good luck."

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"Sure! Great." Mercy replied as she flopped into the chair, pulling up the bottom of her mask(and just baring her mouth and chin) so she could messily tear into a multitude of snacks. Drinking an entire bottle of water in one go she casually tossed it over her shoulder and brushed the mounds of crumbs off of her costume with a resigned sigh.

"Always with the dodging. I can take bullets but nono, it's important that people don't break their hands on me." she complained loudly as she fixed her mask then asked hopefully, "I don't suppose knocking them out before they get a chance to hit me would count as not getting touched?"

She evaded her first opponent, a tall skinny man with disturbingly long arms, with ease. Not so much ducking and weaving as swaying in place, making it look laughably easy as stood there, laughing at him. "Wow you're terrible. Are you even trying?" she taunts.

"Can't touch this! Dun nununun!" sang the tone-deaf heroine as she ducked, wove, and otherwise twisted away from her second challenger, who nearly tags her but she always manages to stay just out of reach.

Mercy doesn't do quite as well on the last two, tripping over her cape and landing on her rear while trying to camouflage her movements with said garment. The last man, a hulking brute who moved much too fast for his size, tagged her three times so easily she took to the air in surprise and snarled "If this were a real fight I'd destroy you! Dodging is stupid!"

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Alan shakes his head at Mercy's outburst. "No, it isn't. I admit that a strong offensive is usually the best defense, but there are times that going fully defensive is your only option. It's best that you at least have a healthy respect for that way of thinking."

Again a refreshment table is brought out and Mercy is given time to rest up. As she rested, workers came out placing large hoops around the room. It was clear that it was some kind of obstacle course. With the varying height of the hoops, Mercy was sure that it had to be a test of her flight ability.

Once everything was set up, Alan turned to Mercy. "We're ready for your next test. We'll be testing your fliying ability. There are four stages to this obstacle course. You have three chances to complete each stage of the course within the time limit. Good luck."

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"Flying, it would be flying" Mercy muttered grumpily as she rubbed her hands against her thighs, not that it would help with her sweaty palms much through the gloves.

The young heroine floated up to the first of the series of hoops positioned around the room. Everything will be fiiiiine she lied to herself. And at first it was as she snaked through hoop after hoop, looping and managing to avoid touching the rings(mostly).

Then disaster struck and her cape got caught up in one of the hoops. Letting out a small choking sound as her cape pulled taut, Mercy hung, suspended and still in the air for one, brief moment. Then with a tearing sound her cape came off and she was bouncing around the room uncontrollably like a pinball, denting walls and getting tangled up in all the hoops.

Finally with a loud bang, she hit the floor, rolling and flipping head over heels before stopping in an udignified heap. "I'm ok!" she called, voiced muffled under the mountain 'o' hoops. Though the young heroine made no attempt to get up.

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Alan winched when Mercy hit the ground. "Hmm, we'll have to work on that flying quite a bit it seems. Perhaps even lose the cape until you can master your control better. Come on, take a moment and rest up while we start cleaning up the mess."

Workers move quickly to take down the obstacle course and bring out the refreshment table. This time, a medic comes over to check on Mercy's bruises to make sure she was in her top form before starting the next stage.

After a moment, Alan came over. "It's going to take a little longer to set up the next stage for you so we might as well chat while we wait."

Mercy can see workers bringing in a a number of components to a machine and begin to put them together. The size of the machine was very large but she had little idea what its purpose was.

"If we had the main training room, this would be much quicker. Unfortunately, it's in use and we have to make do here." Alan took a moment to look at the progress of the work before turning back to speak to Mercy. "So tell me, why did you don the mask, Miss Porter?"

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"The cape stays and I'm fine." Mercy protested annoyedly waving away the medic, ignoring the weird popping sounds her throbbing shoulder was making. "That is a big machine, what's it suppose to do? The mask? It keeps my identity secret from the badguys. Really, I thought you were suppose to teach this kind of thing here?" she jokes to Alan, offering him a doughnut from the refreshment table.

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Alan shrugged his shoulders. "Your call. I was never particular about capes myself. Tend to just get in the way."

Alan glanced over at the machine and smiled, "Now, Miss Porter, I don'T want to be ruining the next stage of your test before we were ready to give it to. Where would the fun be in do ing that?"

He turned back towards Mercy and declined the offering with a shake of his head. "First and foremost this is a place of education. We work to teach our students how to live normal lives, not make superheroes. The super hero business isn'T for everyone, Miss Porter. You of all people should know that. You've been out on the streets and seen the horrors that can happen out there. We want our students to know how to live normal lives with their abilities. Only a select few manage to become heroes."

Alan lo9oked at his watch and then at the progress of the workers. "So, again, I ask you why did you decide to become a hero?"

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Mercy sighs in resignation. "There's no main reason I do it. I could tell you I just like to fight, or my former mentor sorta forced me into it, or I like helping people. They'd all be right and there's more to it but.. really it's a bunch of little things." the heroine finally responds.

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Alan nodded his head at her reasons. "I can respect that. Soemtimes, it's the little things that forces us to step out into the role of heroes."

Alan turned and looked at the work and smiled. "It seems they're all finished, Miss Porter. Time to begin the next stage of tests."

What he workers had put together was a large press like machine. There was an empty space in the center that Alan pointed Mercy into. Above her head was a metal plate.

"This is a test of your strength, Miss Porter. All you have to do is keep that plate above your head from pushing you to your knees. We will be gradually increasing the pressure, grading your strength. The machine has tested some of our most powerful Students so it should be interesting to see how you do. Good luck."

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"Alright, but every machine I touch tends to break..." Mercy offers dubiously as she climbs into the empty spot. "This'll be easy. All I have to do is stand here" the heroine told herself, placing her hands above her head, palms on the plate.

"Not so bad." she muttered as the machine rumbled to life. At first nothing happened. Mercy stood as still as a statue and about as readable, face hidden behind her costume. A short while later a small wind seemed to kick up, emanating from the young woman in the machine, hair and cape kicking up and whirling about as her body used whatever it used to fly to supplement her strength, gusts of air filling the room like a storm.

Locking her knees she tried to stop her arms and legs from quivering as she held her own against the metal monstrosity.

But it was all for naught as slowly, with much grunting and an absurd amount of swearing, she was forced to one knee, letting out an angry "Alright! Alright! Shut the damned thing off!" with a whispered, "Before it crushes me."

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The machine is stopped and Mercy is given time to refresh herself. After a few minutes, the workers complete the set up for the last stage of the tests.

Alan points tot he four different areas set up by the workers. The first area looked like a small gym, the second area had a few people sitting on a bench, the third area looked to be a small library with a computer on hand, and the final area was a small device with tools nearby.

"This last stage will test your skills. All of our students have some talent or other outside of their powers. This is designed to determine yours so that we can adjust classes for you. There are four sections. Each section will test one aspect of your abilities. You must visit each section once and complete a task there. The order is left to you, but be warned, the tasks get progressively more difficult. You get three attempts to complete each task. Good luck."

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  • 5 weeks later...

Alan watched as Mercy readied herself for the trial. A small part of him wandered if she would manage to pass this stage of the test. So far she had shown great ability to he had no fear that she would perform greatly.

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