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Avenger Assembled

A Day Without Powers (IC)

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Easter break meant a quiet campus around Claremont Academy, though by no means an empty one given the large number of kids who lived in the city or who didn't have a good home to which to commute for the holidays. But fortunately Duncan Summers always had a project in mind for the kids, though it wasn't always one they liked. Still, extra credit was extra credit, not to mention their civic duty. Between the goody-two-shoes, the kids looking to pass their next test, and the small detention crowd, there were a surprising number of Claremont kids waiting around in the science lab when Mark arrived. Looking around at the small crowd, he gave a cheerful, though somewhat diffident hello, before looking around for his friends.

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"Yo, Mark!" said Chris, tapping him on the shoulder. "You here to get experimented on creepily, too? I think he's going to make us fight, personally. I think he'd enjoy watching it. Odd, but plausible." He stopped musing and resumed actually talking to Mark. "Why're you doing it?"

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"Who couldn't use some extra credit?" Erin put in, pushing herself away from the wall she'd been leaning against. "And it's something to do, anyway." She shrugged at the other two. "I don't think he's going to make us fight, though. He'd have told us to bring our uniforms for that. Everybody here's in street clothes, except the ones who never take off their costumes."

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"It's, you know, important," said Mark to Chris, a little diffidently at what they were discussing. "I don't want to think I don't have anything to contribute but my powers."

When the last of the children arrived, Duncan Summers wasn't long behind, escorted by the school's science teacher, who carried a big suitcase full of the same ankle-mounted power nullifiers the kids recognized from pictures of Blackstone, the supervillain prison. Most of the kids fell silent as the headmaster slowly made his way into the center of the equipment-filled room to study them all, a hard-to-read look of concentration on his lined face. "May I have your attention, please." At his words, the last kid talking fell silent.

"I'm glad to see so many of you here. Welcome to Special Powers Training. I'm sure all of you are curious about what that means." He looked around the room, his gaze unflinching. "For the next twenty-four hours, all participants will be without their metahuman, magical, or other enhanced abilities." He took a breath, and looked more paternal for a moment. "I know many of you are used to your special abilities, some of you have come to depend on them. The prospect of losing them, even for a day, is a frightening prospect." He spared a single, brief glance down at his bad leg and the walking stick he leaned on, before looking up and adding, "But today is about overcoming a disability, not being ashamed by what you've lost. Or being frightened by it. It will be difficult. If any of you want to leave now, by all means, do so."

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"I've got a question," piped up Chris. "How're we supposed to deal with the sensory deprivation? I mean, it's not like I was born with enhanced senses..." Yay, magical syringe... wait, not that kind of magical syringe. Wait, I stopped talking. Resume, dammit! Videlicit! "Not like I was born with them," he continued. "But you do kind of get used to them. When I put that on, am I just suddenly going to lose most of my sense of smell and a good chunk of my eye range, or will it be a gradual drop-off?"

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"The inhibitors will take effect immediately," said Ms. Harcourt, earning a gulp from several of the students. "After all, these are the units designed to restrain superpowered prisoners during their confinement. The only difference is that the battery will run out after twenty-four hours. That's why we haven't asked anyone who is dependent on their special abilities for survival to join us today."

"There is one more difference," added Summers. "You can take your inhibitor off at any time during the day. This is not an exercise, not a punishment. But if you remove your anklet, it cannot be replaced, and you will not receive credit."

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Erin shifted uneasily, looking at the other students. She wasn't really afraid, exactly, but losing her powers was a rather uncomfortable notion. She'd had a quick taste of that back at Halloween, and had gotten gotten less of wisdom and more of nightmares from the experience. But this was a controlled exercise, not an attack. "Well, it's only a day," she murmured aloud, shrugging.

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More questions were asked by some of the other students, some verifying that yes, the inhibitors did work on all powers, whatever their origin, and that attempting to crack open the inhibitors and figure out how they worked would "require technical expertise that I don't recommend you feign, Anthony." Mark listened to everything, his confidence warring with the uneasiness he'd felt since he'd gotten wind of just what this project was about. He was more than just his powers, he was sure of that...but the thought of going without them made him uneasy.

Mark bit his lip briefly, and then raised his hand. "I'd like to volunteer to go first, sir, ma'am." He walked over to the two adults, shook Mr. Summers' hand reflexively, and then stood there and watched with wide eyes as Ms. Harcourt fit the anklet on him. Though Mark felt a faint tingle as the field snapped on, all the people watching saw was just his face briefly paling before he gave everyone a big thumbs up and added, "It feels good!" With that, he turned and walked back to the others, looking a bit subdued.

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Faith had been quietly standing next to Mark. When he stepped up she beamed with joy, following his lead. She looked at him lovingly as they put the anklet on him and clapped happily when he voiced his approval. "I wish to be next," she piped up and walked towards the anklet-holding teachers. She smiled as they attached the device to her leg. When it took effect it felt like the wind being knocked out of her. She took a large gasp of air as the gift of psionic constitution left her body. She felt frail. Walking to Edge she hugged his torso and leaned on him. "I'm glad you liked it, baby," she said weakly.

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Chris just rolled his eyes. "Ah, screw it. Walking on the ceiling gets lame, anyway." He winced as the bracelet was snapped on, taking a few steps forward. "Urgh, I feel all clumsy now. And my nose feels blocked. Not having superpowers - it's like flu!"

He spun on his heel and returned to the group. "So... no powers again. Nostalgia!"

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Erin hesitated for a long few moments, watching as other students accepted their power nullifiers. She had to give herself a stern talking to about how safe the Claremont campus generally was, and about how she could take the stupid thing off any time she wanted. Finally she stepped forward and stuck out her foot. As the field took effect, she staggered a little, catching herself on a chair as she regained her footing. With a little less color in her face than she'd had before, she headed back towards her place. "What are we supposed to do now?" she asked, loud enough for anyone who cared to to answer.

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Mike waited patiently as the others were fitted with the nulifiers. They had initially been uncertain if he even could participate his powers were so ingrained they were uncertain what would happen if they were nullified. His assurances and his teams reports of the effects of the nullifying weapon they had faced had eventually convinced them. He stepped up and was fitted as well. He felt the field take effect and the vague feeling of vertigo as his senses snapped inwards and his strength and stamina were suddenly sapped. He squeezed his eyes shut and steeled himself to stay upright. As the feeling passed he looked to Chris and Erin with a grin, "Well that's not as bad as some ways of losing your powers."

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"Hi, Faith," said Mark weakly, putting his arms around her. He felt decidedly odd, inside and out, which puzzled him. His powers weren't supposed to make him feel this way, were they? It was a scary thought. A really scary thought! He hugged Faith tight, turning pale, as Ms. Harcourt explained that today was a typical day for all of them.

"You're all excused from powers training, of course, and any scholastic events that would require the use of your special abilities. But any commitments you have, I want you to do your best to meet. That's what being a hero is about." She smiled faintly, then added, "But since most of you are on spring break anyway, I trust that you'll all be able to use your time wisely."

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"Hah, naive fools!" proclaimed Geckoman under his breath. "They took my powers, but not... my keys! We shall fly and fight crime once more! FOR JUSTICE!" Wait... He looked left and right. "Oh, yeah, subtlety. Riiight..."

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Erin leaned against the wall for a minute or two, getting a feel for her new body. It wasn't horrible, she decided after the initial shock had worn off. It certainly wasn't as bad as it had been when she'd gotten depowered by Hellion's dad, and stripped of everything that had made her different from this world's Erin. Her body still responded, if a bit sluggishly by her standards, and she felt, well, okay inside, at least. She was startled when her stomach rumbled suddenly. That usually didn't happen till she'd gone days without anything to eat. "I'm going to get lunch," she told her comrades. "Then... hey, you want to go to the park?" she asked Mike. "We could find a baseball game or something. With our powers turned off, we could play like normal, with regular people."

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Mike visibly brightened at the prospect and nodded vigorous agreement, "Mind if I join you for lunch?" He inquired curiously. Proof positive that his ability to pack in the calories was not related to his powers. He glanced sharply to Chris, "Well I think that's part of the point of the exercise but I don't think our normal, erm, activity level is a good idea. I Get pretty trashed when almost invulnerable."

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A little subdued, Mark followed the others out of the building, for once letting other people take the lead. "I'll join you guys," he said to Mike and Erin, "baseball sounds pretty fun. I mean, I might-woah!" Mark put one foot on the building's steps and fell, tripping over his feet as he tumbled down the stairs and landed face first on the sidewalk below. He was dead silent for a moment before he said in a low, pained voice. "Ow...ow, that really hurt..."

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Faith gasped as Mark fell. She tried to catch him but it didn't work as she was still winded. Quickly rushing down the stairs she knelt down next to him and turned him over, inspecting for injuries. "Baby, are you OK? Are you hurt? I... I'm sorry I couldn't catch you! Can you say something? Anything?" He answered her with a low pained groan that sounded like he was hurt. He was scraped up pretty badly. She grabbed a first aid kit off the wall, "Don't move, baby," she said with a hint of distress in her voice as she pulled out some ointment and bandages, "I'll fix this."

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A disconsolate Mark looked up at the stairs, his eyes wide and his head bloody. "I fell down," he said again, looking a little frightened. "It was really scary, and it hurt. That's never happened before. I mean, I just...I just tripped, and I went down! Ouch!"

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Erin made a grab for Mark as well, but she wasn't nearly as fast as usual, and just missed him as he went head over heels. While Faith grabbed the first aid kit, she crouched down next to him and took his chin in her hand, turning his head from side to side to look into his eyes. "You're okay," she told him with great assurance. "Just make sure to watch where you're going." She stood up and stepped back as Faith rushed back with the bandaids and Neosporin, leaning against the railing to wait for them.

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Mike started as Mark stumbled and reached out to him much to late, not that he was really any quicker to react when he had his powers.

As Faith tended Marks wounds he stepped carefully down the stairs to his side offering a hand up to his roomate with a good natured grin, "We all have our stumbles every now and then rig...." He trailed off as he let out a small grunt of effort in lifting the smaller teen to his feet blinking with surprise.

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"Epic wipe-out, dude," mused Chris, raising an eyebrow. "You seriously have never tripped before? Once, when I was a kid, I fell down the stairs. Huge knee scar. Mind you, it healed when I got my powers."

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"No, I mean, I fell down before..." Mark carefully, gingerly stood up, leaning on Faith as he did so. He looked a little beaten up, but not particularly worse for wear. "And I've been hurt worse than this in super-battles. But that was...that was just so scary. I mean, it wasn't for a reason, or anything, I just...I just fell down!" He shook his head, looking at the others, not seeing much understanding there. "I'll be okay. Let's go play ball, all right?"

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Faith held on to Mark as he got up. "Don't move too quickly, baby." She nodded, "Playing ball will be fun," she said reassuring him. Not that she knew how to play it. But she would learn for him. Faith gently held his hand, making sure not to touch the bandages. She looked at him and smiled, "Don't worry, you'll be OK," she confided to him warmly, "You're more than just your powers. You're Mark. The guy everyone loves." She tucked herself under his arm and looked up to her boyfriend to reassure him.

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Mike chuckled at that, "Well we all like you at least." He corrected with a smile. He turned to join the rest of them heading towards the park then paused glancing to wards the dorms, "Hey I'll be back in half a sec I'm just gonna zip over to grab my ... ah never mind." he finished as he remembered that it would take him much longer without his normal speed to help. He shrugged, "This is gonna take some getting used to."

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