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Date: a few days before February 8th, 2010

Earlier at an Undisclosed Location:

Grim sat in her chair, legs dangling; the room was small, lit by a single recessed ceiling fixture, and contained nothing more than a table and four chairs, all cold metal and hard plastic. Her sensitive ears could tell the room was soundproofed, and her amazing nose detected little more than stainless steel and traces of Endust. A single sliding door allowed access to the lifeless chamber.

Sure, she was restless, but when the boss tells you to wait, you wait; luckily, the young faeling had numerous ways to amuse herself. She conjured forth an oddly-shaped set of wooden blocks that she precariously balanced on the table in various positions, testing her reflexes, control and the lightness of her touch.

And she waited some more...

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Undisclosed Location

The Boss's voice crackled over what Lyn assumed was some sort of concealed intercom. "Be right down; sorry to keep you vaiting. Got tied up in some vork; you know how dat goes. Can I brig you anyding on my vay down?"

He was far closer than he was letting on, though. In fact, he was already in the room, and had been for some time.

Muah hah hah! The improvements to the cloaking field are working fantastically!

Yes, yes, I can see that, but do you not think it is time to stop sneaking about and get on with the task at hand?

Oh, c'mon, just a bit more. Wanna see how close we can get? Betcha I can reach out and touch her-


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Undisclosed Location

"Be right down; sorry to keep you vaiting. Got tied up in some vork; you know how dat goes. Can I brig you anyding on my vay down?"

Grim craned her head around, trying to place the source of the voice, even though it was probably pointless; after all, Doc was the best there was at the mad science thing.

"Uh, I'll take a diet 7Up, if you have one. No ice." She shrugs. "No rush, I have my little Grimalkin playset thing here to keep me company."


"Noooooooooo! All those years of planning!" :)

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Undisclosed Location

HA-ha! Your stack of wooden blocks was structurally unsound!

Wow... even for you, that is petty.

Pet? Well, don't mind if I do!

Ohhh no you do not!

A whiff of ozone, metal, plastic, assorted chemicals, beer and sausage suddenly assailed Lynn's nose, coming from behind her. Turning, she saw Archeville, his left hand outstretched, and his right hand clasped to his left wrist.

Oddly, he seemed almost... surprised that she saw him. "Ah! Hello, Lynn! Sorry for dat little bit of deception -- I vas standing here de whole time, testing out some improvements on mein cloaking field."

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Undisclosed Location

"Ah! Hello, Lynn! Sorry for dat little bit of deception -- I vas standing here de whole time, testing out some improvements on mein cloaking field."

Grimalkin narrows her eyes and cocks an eyebrow.

"Okay, you do realize how incredibly creepy that sounds, right?" She shakes her head dismissively. "Whatever, be as creepy as you want, I don't really care."

The blocks wink out of existance, little trails of mist rising from the tabletop as the shapeshipter steeples her fingers and leans back in her chair.

"So, what can I do for ya, bossman?"

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Undisclosed Location

"Creepy? It's not creepy," Archeville said, unclasping his wrist and pointing up towards the air, "It's Science!"

Somehow, his voice actually reverberated on that last word.

I love the acoustics in this room!


"Und it also ties in to de assignment I vould like you to undertake," he said as he walked around the table and tossed down two folders he withdrew from his lab coat. "Dose are brief dossiers I haff assembled on two students at Claremont, Alexandra Albright und Michael Harris, better known as Psyche und Phalanx. I haff... concerns about dem, und vould like you to covertly monitor dem in deir day-to-day dealings."

And make sure they are not -- wittingly or not -- a threat to anyone.

A threat to me!

Lynn would find the folders contain a few photographs and descriptions of the two students, along with their class schedules, a list of places they frequented when not in class, a brief personality profile, and a description of their metahuman powers. Alexandra's file was far more complete than Michael's -- his personality profile just said "introvert" -- though neither contained information that Lynn herself could not have found out.

That is, until she got to the last page in each folder, which was a very official and heavily redacted government report. It contained most of the same information the rest of the folder held, but all those thick black marks made more questions pop into her mind.

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Undisclosed Location

Grim quickly scans the files, all business as she tries to quickly absorb the information; she nods to herself frequently as she speaks.

"Okay, we can do this two ways: I go in invisibly, snoop around and whatnot, or I can go in as a student and get to know 'em. Personally, I think number two is the better option, especially since number one pits me against a whole school of supers and security systems."

Suddenly her whole body stiffens, and she holds up her hand like she's already in class.

"Whoa, hold up; this girl is an uber-psychic and way smart. She will detect me, in either scenario." She gives Doc an appraising look. "But then again, you're super-smart, too; can you rig up a thingamabob that not only blocks psychic powers, but makes it look innate, like it's part of my own power set? Otherwise, this girl is on to me, and the mission is scrubbed."

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Undisclosed Location

"Astute as ever, Lynn," Archeville replied with a sly smile, "Your qvick vits will serve you as well as, if not better dan, your metamorphic capabilities."

"Now," he said, walking towards the door, "if you vill follow me to de operating theatre, I can get de psionic shield implanted; it should require no more dan an hour of brain surgery...."

That scare is all the release I am allowing you have today.


"Joking! Joking!," he quickly said, throwing his hands up. "Dough I do haff a shield for you, a small device," he said as he reached into one of his lab coat pockets and pulled out a tiny clear box containing two thin button-sized discs. "You can vear dem behind de ears, und dey vill completely shield you from Albright's telepathic abilities... vell, theoretically, at least. Dey vill vork against other psychics, too, dough not nearly as vell. Dey are powered by your own body heat, but can get erratic vhen exposed to extremely low or high temperatures."

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Still Undisclosed

Grim's eyes go wide for a second, but then she chuckles at herself for falling for the joke. She nods as the German scientist describes how the device worsk, as well as its limitations.

"Well, good thing it's winter, huh?" A pair of fuzzy earmuffs appear on her head. "Don't worry, I'll keep 'em warm, and thanks."

She continues reading the files, somewhat troubled by all the mysterious black marks. "So Doc, if I go in undercover, do we clear all this with the school first, or is that a stupid question? I'll still go in either way, I'm more just curious."

As she reads, subtle changes begin to take place; first her hair shifts into a bright red buzzcut, then a black bob, and finally lengthening into a simple blonde ponytail halfway down her back. Similarly her clothes are first preppy, then punk, and finally drab and vaguely military, a black sweater, cargo pants and clunky black boots. Her voice and accent is all over the map

"I'm thinking...maybe someone...from overseas, like an exchange student...a bit like Blink, yes? It could work for us."

The blonde haired girl has dark brown eyes, and radiates a steely resolve, both intimidating and attractive. Her Russian accent is excellent.

"Yes, I think this is best. She has powers from early age, and now has come to America, avoiding life of crime back home. St. Petersburg or Moscow."

She looks up at Doc, and for a moment it's quite clear Grim is still behind those eyes.

"Whaddya think, too much?"

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Undisclosed Location

An unfocused, far-away look washed over the Doktor's face for a brief moment, then he snapped back,

Mmmm... shapeshifters...

We were just at Oktoberfest a few months ago; did you not get your fill of carnal delights then?

Too much is never enough!

"I believe Nadia vould approve, ja," Archeville replied, "dough you may vant to pick a smaller town, von not as vell known -- or as easily researched by anyvon trying to break your cover."

"As for 'clearing it'," he continued, "I haff talked to headmaster Summers und shared mein concerns mit him, und he agreed dat a third party observer vould be beneficial. I haff most of de papervork prepared for your admittance, I vill just need you to give me some information on your new persona to help finish dem."

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Date: February 8th, 2010

The paperwork didn't take long to complete and shortly thereafter Grimalkin arrived at Claremont Academy. She was met at the main gate by a vivacious young woman who introduced herself as Daisy Gibbons. A few discrete inquires revealed that she had plenty to say about Alexandra Albright as well as her friends, none of it favorable though none of it of any real substance either. Mostly rumors of broken curfews and boys in the girls dorms. She left Grimalkin at the administrative office with a happy smile and an over the shoulder warning, "Just make sure you don't end up with dregs like that Lenya."

Inside the officious secretary took her name and asked her to have a seat on the bench in front the headmasters office next to a familiar young man in headphones bouncing lightly to the beat of his music.

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The striking young woman sits quietly for a moment, backpack resting on her lap; the hood of her light blue parka is trimmed with fur, and her boots look fairly pricey.

Wow, I meet BD on the first day! Pretty sweet.

'Lenya' turns to the boy beside her, and waves a hand to get his attention. "Pardon me, hello! Sorry to be bothersome, but it is my first day. Is the waiting long?"

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"What's your name? I'm Eddie!"

Lenya smiled as she shook his hand; her grip was surprisingly strong. "Very nice to meet you as well, Eddie; I am Lenya Sokolov, new student to Claremont Academy from Russia."

She looks around at the pictures on the walls, some of them showing previous graduates, and shivers a little.

"It is makes me a little nervous, to be coming here; so many sypergyeroi together, in one city."

The Russian beauty flashes Eddie a shy smile as she shakes her head and starts digging through her backpack.

"Nothing like this back at home in Tambov; that is certain!"

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"Where's Tambov?"

Lenya shrugs and sort of wiggles her hand. "It is small city, not so many people as this, far from Moskva-" She looks apologetic. "Sorry, is 'Moskow' in English. Not too much to do for me; there is football, but our team is not so good."

Looking over her shoulder, she leans in to speak to Eddie in confidence. "There is much mafiya in Tambov; when I am having powers, my mother and father fear for me. They think the vory, the prison gangs, will come for me, to make me steal for them. Then they read of place in America where I can be safe."

Thank you, Freedom University law library! And how horrible am I to do this to poor Eddie?

She looks about ready to cry, a mixture of sadness, happiness and love. "I am sorry, it is rude of me to say so much." With some effort, she smiles as she wipes away the tears. "So Eddie, your school is big; when we are both done talking with Mr. Summers, you will take me to see it?"

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"Dang, that sucks." Eddie, replied to her sorry story. "I mean, we have a few mobs in Freedom City we're constantly having to keep in check. I know how much it would suck if one of them came and took me away..." Eddie raised his eyebrows and a very sympathetic look played across his face. "What about you're parents, did they come with you?"

"So Eddie, your school is big; when we are both done talking with Mr. Summers, you will take me to see it?"

"Hmm, let me see what's on my schedule," Eddie smiled, not wanting to say no to a pretty face like hers. He pulled a schedule book out of his messenger bag and opened it to the day's date. Over his shoulder, Lenya could see a few words penciled into today's block under various times:

Listen to music.

Listent to music.

Meet with Summers.

Listen to music.

Listen to music.

Listen to music.

"Well, I am kinda busy..." He said, tapping at the page with his finger, "But you know what? I think I can make time for a tour. Sure thing, Lenya!"

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"Well, I am kinda busy..." He said, tapping at the page with his finger, "But you know what? I think I can make time for a tour. Sure thing, Lenya!"

The Russian beauty arches an eyebrow and laughs. "Well, I am glad you are able to 'squeeze me in', as you say." The door opens and Eddie is ushered in, recieving a friendly wave from Lenya as he heads into the headmaster's office.

- - - -

About an hour later, Lenya is strolling the Quad with Eddie, her backpack over her shoulder. She smiles as she sees a particularly intense snowball fight in progress, involving several students, and possibly one or two staff members.

"My goodness! They are really going for it!" :D

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Eddie just stood and laughed, seeing a few of his friends in the crowd. "When you've got a school full of super heroes, their punches can hurt like getting hit with a truck. Snowballs rapidly become a more effective means of communication, if you know what I mean."

Eddie watched the snowball fight and tried to pick out a few of the people he knew. He pointed out his friends to Lenya, "...and if you look over that way, you can see Mike hiding behind that snow drift, and...ha! That's great! He's covering Alex from the snowballs. What a guy!" Eddie cheered. He wondered if he would be able to continue the tour or if he would get sidetracked.

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Underneath the white dusting of snow, the bright lemon yellow of Alex's parka was like a beacon of sunshine in the winter wonderland. The thick wool hat pulled down over her hair was an equally unnatural hot pink, neither of which went with the fluttering red and green stripey scart fluttering in the wind. She was laughing as she huddled between a large boy and the bulk of a snow drift. Turning her face in towards his chest, Alex closed her eyes. It was easier to target the other students with her mental senses than her physical.

With a laugh, four snow balls rose up behind Mike and went zipping at their targets, guided by invisible telekinetics.

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Mike continued to block the assorted snowballs whizzing their way, occasionally batting them out of the air with one long arm while crouching in front of Alex. He had abandoned his own light coat in favor of better mobility and carried on his portion of the battle in t-shirt and jeans the frigid air not seeming to touch him.

He had thus far refrained from firing off any snowballs of his own but as he saw Eddie he grinned wide and called out, "Eddie, think fast!" as he slung a loosely packed snowball at his friend confident that the chilly projectile would do no harm even at the startling speed it traveled.

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"Wah!" Eddie made an attempt at ducking, but it came too late. The snowball clipped the top of his head and took his hat and headphones clear off. Dusting them off, he stowed them in his bag and tossed it off to the side.

"Oh, now it's personal." Eddie joked as he began packing a snowball of his own. "Come on!" he called to Lenya as he sent the frigid projectile back at Mike.

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'Lenya' recognized Mike and Alex from their files; in particular, the psychic's powers were clearly evident. However, they otherwise appeared to be two normal teenagers, devoid of sinister intent.

Aw man, they're just a couple of nice kids! My job sucks. Still, snowball fight!

Laughing, the young Russian eagerly joins in the fray, dropping her backpack and performing a few fairly impressive tumbling moves across the snow before dropping into a fighting crouch; while not up to the standards of some of the other teens present, her throws are fairly powerful and deadly accurate.

"Which is my side? I am just throwing at people!" :D

Among her targets are Mike, the strange acrobatic boy she doesn't know and, sad to admit, Eddie from time to time, just because ;) Alex is fairly safe behind cover, and rarely presents a target.

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Eddie began winging snowballs wildly. He sends snowballs flying every which way. One point, he mounded up a mountain of snow, and focused some of his powers on it. He managed to pick up a pop station on the radio, and by vibrating the air around the mountain of snow, he was able to split it up into a multitude of individual snow balls. He then started winging them around.

After getting a snowball in the back from Lenya, he yelled, "Hey! I thought we were on a team!" And tossed one back her direction.

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