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Electra

Midnight Meeting (IC)

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It was well past eleven pm by the time Erin stopped into the common room, but she was dressed to go out. In the sense that she was wearing her uniform, anyway, which was about as dressy as she ever got. James wasn't around tonight, hadn't been for the past several nights, but the habit of looking for him in the evenings was too ingrained to let go of easily. She hoped that whatever was keeping Phantom so busy didn't last much longer, so that James would get some free time again. Until then, though, she was on her own to entertain herself on the evenings she didn't bother with sleeping.

Duty pulled at her to leave the empty common room behind and get on with her night's training, but she was bored of endless solo practices. Even Archer was having a hard time throwing anything new at her out of his fetid little mind these days. Plopping down on the couch in the middle of the room, she picked up a wiimote and booted up her favorite racing game. Also not as fun solo, but at least it was better than slapping around computerized mooks for the rest of the night.

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With his things moved into his new dorm room, Trevor found himself at loose ends. He'd been surprised how easily his possessions fit into the small living space; he briefly wondered how his grandfather's manor had avoided feeling empty. That was likely the elder Hunter's doing, he supposed, the thought bringing on a pang of homesickness.

At least they let me set the coffee maker up in here. His schedule as the new Midnight necessitated certain routines to keep up, and his habitual consumption of staggering amounts of caffeine was chief among them. It also meant he wasn't going to get to sleep anytime soon, either. Still wearing his jeans and long sleeved shirt from earlier that day and with his oversized mug in hand, he resolved to explore a bit of the campus, enjoying the peace and quiet.

As the lanky youth ambled into the commonroom, Trevor was surprised to find someone else was still up. "Hey," he called quietly by way of announcing himself, moving to lean on one of the end of one of the couches. "Thought everyone else was asleep." Reminding himself of his resolution to be more sociable, he added, "Erin, right? Still learning names."

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"Hey Trevor," Erin said, nodding a greeting as she paused the game. "I don't sleep much, maybe once every few days. Too boring," she joked, smiling somewhat ruefully. Boring sleep had never been her problem. "Things are usually quiet around here at night, but some people are always up. If you're a night owl, you can always try out patrolling, or just hang around and play games, or go and train in the gym or the Doom Room." She gestured to her own uniform, the generic Claremont blue-and-gold spandex ensemble that showed off a lot of very well-defined muscles. "I should be there, but eh. You up and around every night?"

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"Mmm. Sort of a... family tradition," Trevor replied, taking a long pull of his fair-trade Mexican shade grown. "Sleep when we're dead, right?" he noted, only realizing the statement's macabre overtones as the words left his mouth. He hid a slight wince with another sip of his coffee. C'mon, Hunter, you can get through one conversation with a girl without coming across as a complete mental case. Staring into the pool of black liquid in the mug prevented him from making too careful an examination of the spandex Erin had pointed out. ...maybe.

"What's the 'Doom Room'?" he asked, attempting to change the subject. Between Summers' pitch and what the other students had mentioned, he'd heard some pretty wild stuff about Claremont, but even amongst all of that, the ostentatious name stood out.

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Erin grinned a little. "That's not the real name of it," she told him, "it's actually the Responsive Combat Training Simulator, but they forgot to put any vowels in so they could make it some catchy acronym. And once you meet Mr. Archer, you'll know why they call it a Doom Room. You ever see Star Trek? It's kind of like the holodeck there, except not as sophisticated. You'll probably get a powers evaluation done there, if they don't know what you can do already, plus if you're on a team, you can train there." She shrugged. "I generally spend a couple hours a night there, but it gets boring sometimes." She thought back to his earlier statement. "So are your family heroes, or just like staying up late? I know Mark was going nuts over your motorcycle or something."

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Trevor quirked an eyebrow at Erin's explanation of the training facility. Though some of the gear in Midnight Manor was pretty fantastical, it was also decades old. Apparently superhero technology had come a ways since then. Beyond that, he was surprised the students were given access to it. Looks like I made a good call transferring here.

The lean teenager tiled his head slightly to one side. "Mark certainly seems... enthusiastic," he agreed judiciously. "Apparently our grandfathers worked together on the Liberty League, back in the day." He shrugged. "You inherit the name Midnight, you inherit the late hours."

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"He's sort of a fanboy," Erin agreed easily. "He really, really loves the heroism thing, not just helping people, but the costumes, the mythology, all that stuff. It's kind of annoying sometimes, but he's also really, really good to have on the team, so I guess that makes up for it. I don't know much of anything about the history of the League, except what we learn in class," she admitted easily. "Your grandpa was the first Midnight, then? Did he train you?"

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Trevor murmured an affirmative as he took another sip. "Mmm. Lived with him instead of my folks for years. Always knew a lot about the old heroes, but I didn't think much of it until my powers surfaced and he showed me everything." Rotating the cup around in his palm, he watched the liquid swirl about inside it. "Taught me a lot, but he never had powers himself, so. Claremont."

He looked up at Erin. "How about you?" he asked her. Between their respective powersets and histories, all of the students he'd met so far seemed to have a story behind them, and he was always more comfortable talking about someone else, rather than himself.

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Erin became visibly uncomfortable about having the conversation shifted her way, but she just shrugged. "I'm mostly self-taught," she told him. "But I don't have a lot of weird magic-style powers, either. Just extra strength, speed, resilience, stuff like that. I missed a couple years of school, but I'm finally getting caught up with that, and with the power training. They work you hard here, till they decide you're ready to be out in public, at least."

She turned off the video game and set aside the controller. "I could show you the Doom Room, if you want," she offered. "You can only access it if you're on a team, but you can come with me this time. It's kind of cool."

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Trevor simply nodded in reaction to Erin's explanation. The laconic youth certainly understood a reluctance to discuss one's self in detail, and had no intention of forcing the topic. "Got the impression Summers didn't like me being out there without his stamp of approval," he agreed.

At the mention of the training facility, he took a last pull of his coffee. "Yeah, okay. Do I need to get into uniform?" he asked, spreading his arms to indicate his civilian attire. His subdued reaction belied his eagerness. This kind of workout was precisely the reason he'd agreed to transfer to Claremont, after all.

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"You probably ought to, if you want to actually run a simulation. Nothing in there will kill you, but it can hurt you, and if you get your clothes ruined, they stay ruined." Erin tugged at her uniform sleeve as she rose from the couch. "This stuff is way more durable than civilian clothes, plus the school replaces it if you do manage to destroy it. Are you using a practice uniform, or do you have your own?"

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The corner of Trevor's mouth twitched upward in a small smile. "Blue and gold aren't really my colours," he explained simply. "Five minutes." With a polite nod, he strode quickly back to his dorm room.

Soon a new figure appeared in the doorway, only its unusual height and slim build suggesting it was the same person. A matte black, lightly armored jumpsuit melted into a featureless mask, marked only by glowing red eye shaded by the brim of a fedora. Midnight adjusted the sleeves of his jacket and tugged the ends of his gloves down into them. A harsh, grating voice spoke through the mechanical filter of a gas mask. "After you."

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Erin raised an eyebrow. "I hope you can see through all that," she said mildly, then headed for the door. It seemed like a heck of a bulky getup to try and fight in, but he'd at least managed to get into it pretty quickly. She led him down to the main floor, then across the darkened campus to the main building and a stainless steel elevator. She had to give the elevator her finger and retina prints before the doors would open, but soon enough they were on their way deep underground. The elevator opened onto a long narrow corridor, dim at night but for puddles of light spilling down from overhead fixtures every few yards. Their footsteps echoed as they walked down the white hallway, to a large gunmetal gray door set deep into one wall.

"The locker rooms are down the hall," Erin told him as she scrolled through the programs on the computer screen set into the doorway. "You can keep an extra set of clothes down here if you like to work out between classes, and there's showers and a first aid kit and stuff. You want to fight, or just train?"

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Midnight followed behind Erin, silent despite his costume. In the darkness outside, he almost seemed to blend into the shadows, save for the sparse light glinting off of his mask's lenses. As they traveled down through the facility to the Doom Room, he carefully noted the directions and security precautions along the way. His grandfather had taught him that the difference between the winner and loser in a fight was often who had been paying closer attention.

When Erin inquired to his preference for fighting or training, the flat response was, "There's a difference?" There was an easily perceived difference in his manner, and not just from the filter on his mask. Midnight stood with the slightest hunch, squared shoulders giving him a broader appearance. His posture suggested both a readiness to leap into motion and a cold confidence which Trevor had lacked, or perhaps simply kept better hidden.

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"Yeah," Erin said with a shrug, "there's plenty of training routines for people who are too strong or fast or whatever to use the gym equipment. I don't know what your powers are, if you need that sort of thing. People like Mike and me, we don't get much benefit from the weight machines people with normal strength work out on, but the computer can provide enough resistance. I don't know how, it just works. But if you like fighting better, we can do that." She scrolled through to a particular program. "Here's a supervillain battle, I've done it before solo and it was really tough. Two people should be about right. You in?"

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Some of Trevor's softer demeanor slipped into Midnight's attitude as he gave Erin a sidelong glance. 'Her and Mike?' Big Mike? Taller than me, twice as big? He reflexively gave her well toned form a closer inspection before feeling a fresh stab of self conscious embarrassment. "So when you said 'extra strength'..." He quirked an eyebrow under his mask.

Pushing his surprise away, he turned back to the door. "Sounds good," he intoned.

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"I can deadlift about ten tons when I put my back into it," she told him, without pride or modesty. "But that doesn't really come in handy that often in the field, at least not so far. When we do disaster simulations, it can be pretty important." Erin paused as the door slid open, drawing a small cylinder from a holster at her belt. She gave it a practiced spin, making it extend into a silver and black baton nearly five feet in length. Oddly enough, it seemed to be padded somehow, or at least had a soft look to it.

"Do you fly?" she asked as they walked into the simulation. They were in a dirty and nondescript city alleyway, but the colors were dull, the lines a little softer than reality. The simulation had not started yet.

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Trevor was beginning to get the sense that he should just start assuming that every new person he met at Claremont could heft a minivan in one hand. "Huh. Good to know." Of course he wondered why anyone with that much raw power required a weapon at all, but the lanky teen already felt he had imposed on Erin enough that night.

Stepping into the simulation, he looked around, trying to take in every detail. Amazing... His astonishment nearly distracted him from the question. "No, grapple," he replied, producing the device from his belt before looking over at Erin. "Why? Should I?"

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"Nah, but it would be handy," she told him, taking a visual sweep of the alleyway in the moments before the simulation activated. "I can't fly, and I haven't got a gun or any real range of attack, so Archer gets a sadistic kick out of running me up against flying energy blasters. Try to keep to cover." She hefted her bat, body and face alert as she prepared for a fight. It looked like she'd had a lot of experience with this sort of thing. "You ready?"

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"Throw things, Midnight suggested offhandedly. The dark figure dropped into a prepared stance, and plumes of pitch black mist began to fall from his sleeves to swirl about his feet and fists as he grunted his readiness. Inwardly Trevor steadied himself, hoping that he wasn't about to make too large a fool of himself. He'd had reasonable success with the odd unpowered mobster and drug dealer, but super villains, simulated on not, were something new. He had a growing certainty that he was well out of his league standing next to Erin. Guess I'll just have to start training, then.

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Suddenly, the two heroes heard a terrible crash from over their heads! Looking up, the two teen titans spotted a small plane in the process of crashing to the ground in the blocked-off street in front of them. It didn't take them long to recognize the Atomcar, the flying craft the Atom Family used to get around when they were out of the Nucleus, or recognize the green-skinned hulking figure pounding at the windows. Gamma, the Atom-Smasher, was in full rage, his body glowing with radioactive power. "I'll kill you!" he yelled as the plane hit the ground. "I'll kill you, then find your mommy and daddy's graves and kill them too!"

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"Stay behind me," Erin instructed tersely, "and don't touch him unless radiation doesn't hurt you. That green glowy stuff burns." She leapt forward, closing the distance between them and the downed plane with a single impressive bound. She wasn't even on the ground before she brought her bat to bear, swinging it at the villain's head as if she were going for a line drive. It connected with a solid thwack, the vibrations singing up her arms as the bat absorbed some of the lethal impact and spread it out.

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"Ow!" Gamma staggered beneath the blow, the tip of Wander's bat briefly glowing red as she pulled it back. If she left it in there too long, the radiation coming off Gamma just might melt it! "You big bully!" the hulking radioactive monstrosity spat at her. "This is all your fault! All you stupid heroes! But I'll get you!" He drew back his green glowing fist and hurled a massive punch at Wander, one that connected solidly with her mid-section.

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"Got it covered," intoned as Erin charged their simulated opponent. He meant it literally; his costume included a light lead, pliable lining for just such an occasion. The bad news was that Trevor wasn't sure how well it would stand up to actual combat condition, and he doubted it would completely block Gamma's power. Still, it was the edge he needed to get in close.

To that end, he fired the grapple already in his hand, latching onto a nearby building and swing into the fray, thin wisps of inky mist trailing behind him. Ignoring the villain's accusations and threats he called gruffly to Erin, "Do you need to see to fight?"

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"It helps, but I can do without it," Erin called back. She'd doubled over for a moment with the rib-cracking force of Gamma's blow, but straightened quickly and seemed unharmed by the time Trevor swung into the fight. "Try and get him away from the plane!" She crouched and leapt entirely over the radiation controller's head, bouncing lightly off the skin of the plane and coming at him from behind when he wasn't looking. The back of Gamma's neck was a perfect target for her bat as she delivered another vicious blow to the villain, sending him reeling.

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