Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Avenger Assembled

Shaper of Things (IC)

Recommended Posts

A few weeks after his life went south, Edge sat alone in a quiet corner of Liberty Park, watching the fish swim around in the little pond. Mr. Dark Star had suggested he come out here and meet a friend of his to help him explore his new powers, but deep down he wanted to do nothing of the sort. The special abilities that he'd always been so proud of were now a painful reminder of his father and what had made him go away. What if that happens to me? What if I have to leave Mom, and my life too? It was a terrible thought, especially with the grieving woman he'd left behind at home to come out here. If not for all the friends his family had made over the years, and if not for his own friends, he didn't know what he'd do.

But that's what happened to Dad. He didn't know what was happening, so he couldn't control it. I can make things better if I do things differently: if I can figure out how my powers work.Looking down at the pond, he concentrated on the fish swimming there, trying to keep things modest and careful. He wiggled his fingers and inky black dots swam over the little guppies, turning them a bright, cute shade of pink that reminded of a stuffed animal. They looked baffled at their transformation, but not actually hurt. Feeling confident, he rose from the fish pond and decided to try the same trick on a nearby bush.

Share this post


Link to post

The bush was bigger than the guppies, but not much more difficult to manipulate. The dots started in its center and radiated out, leaving streaks and spots of pink color in their wake that spread to cover the entire plant. It looked like it had been dipped in Pepto-Bismol by the time Mark was finished. "Nice trick," came a woman's amused voice from behind him, "but your color choice could perhaps use a little finesse." He turned to see a woman in her mid-twenties or so approaching him, pretty behind what her green costume and brown cowl concealed of her face and figure.

Stesha had arrived a few minutes early for the rendezvous, but had chosen to remain concealed and observe for a few moments. Derrick's description had been accurate enough that she was sure that the angry and uneasy-looking young man was the one she was looking for, even before he started painting the scenery. "You must be Edge," she said, offering her gloved hand. "I'm Fleur de Joie."

Share this post


Link to post

"Uh, hi," said Edge a little abashedly. He shook her hand with a firm grip, a legacy of long practice, and looked at the plants. "I was just messing around, you know, practicing..." He reached up and ran his hand over his cowled head. "I just found out that my powers didn't work the way I thought they did, so all this is still pretty new to me. Mr. Dark Star said you're a plant controller?"

Share this post


Link to post

"That's right," she told him, waving a hand at the poor pink bush, which rustled its leaves like a dog shaking off water and resumed its normal color. "Dark Star thought I might be able to give you some tips on having powers over life and death." Fleur smiled behind her domino mask. "I realize it's not quite the same as how he described your powers as acting, but it's a start. Everything we do has consequences that we have to be willing to bear the responsibility for. How long have you been practicing?"

Share this post


Link to post

"My whole life! I mean, uh, just a couple of weeks, since everything got weird." Even through the goofy goggles, Fleur could tell he didn't want to go too far down that road. "I used to just be able to make things better for people, and to blow things up. Changing things, and making things, all that's new. I wanted to see you before I accidently hurt someone with them. Or myself."

Share this post


Link to post

"All right," Fleur said, nodding as she sat down on the edge of the pond. She took a few seeds from the pouch at her belt, dropping them into the water. Within seconds, water lilies had grown up from the muddy bottom of the pond and unfurled their flat mats of leaves on top of the water. As the purple flowers bloomed atop them, she looked to Edge. "What exactly are you afraid of?"

Share this post


Link to post

"Hurting people. Losing control of my powers, so I can't be trusted with them anymore. So that I'll have to go away, just like..." He shook his head, trying to dismiss all the bad thoughts, but it wasn't easy. Mark didn't have a lot of practice with that! "People with powers like mine have hurt other people. I want to make sure I can use them for good." He reached down and touched the plant. "That's really beautiful, Ms. de Joie. I've tried making big things like that, alive things, but it doesn't work very well."

Share this post


Link to post

She laughed. "You can call me Fleur," she told him. "Most people do. I went a little overboard on the whole hero name bit." She reached into her pouch again, poured a few seeds into his hand. "Why don't you start smaller?" she suggested. "You might find it's easier to encourage what's already there than to make something new from whole cloth. You can get the feel of it that way."

Share this post


Link to post

Mark concentrated on the seeds, black dots rising from his hands to encapsulate the seeds, seeming to reach inside them and make them swell and grow. It soon became obvious that things were going awry, though, as leaves and branches erupted in a tangle of unnatural plant, as if the plant was being put together by someone with very little idea of how plants actually were supposed to work. He flinched, and the plant fell to the ground, landing with a fluff as impossibly tangled leaves reached up to the ground. Despite the twisted, misshapen look of the plant, it found root immediately, sinking its roots into the earth as the leaves turned a shade of very dark green.

Share this post


Link to post

"Mmm..." was all Stesha could think of to say for a minute as she watched the blighted plant grow. "Okay, let me have it now." Taking control of the plant with her own powers, she did what she could to untwist the stems and correct the weird growths, but it certainly wasn't the rosebush it should have been. When the plant's growth had stabilized and it was quiescent, she looked up at Edge. "Can you describe to me in words what you were trying to do when you used your power?"

Share this post


Link to post

"I was trying to turn those seeds into plants," said Edge with a little shrug, a teenage boy embarassed to be caught in a mistake. "But I don't know a lot about plants, so I guess I messed it up. I was trying to make a picture in my mind, like what I did when I turned that bush or those fish colors. That's what happens when I try and do complicated things."

Share this post


Link to post

"That's not what I want you to do," Fleur told him patiently, reaching into the water lily's purple flower and withdrawing some more seeds. "If you want to work with life, you need to respect it for what it is. These seeds have all the blueprints they need to grow perfectly. They don't need your input on what to be, they just need a little nudge." She poured them into his hand once more. "Try again, but this time, try and take ego out of the process. Grow the plants the way they want to grow, not the way you want to grow them."

Share this post


Link to post

"Okay, Fleur." Mark concentrated on the plants, this time bending down and putting them on the ground first. The transformation now was a very, very slow process, one he was mindful of not screwing up with Fleur right there. This time the seeds actually sank into the soil, disappearing beneath the earth, and slowly tiny, little buds began to grow out, little seedlings on the edge of true maturation. He stopped there, afraid to go any further, and looked up at her. "Is that okay? Are they all right?"

Share this post


Link to post

Stesha rested her fingertips against the soil and concentrated, checking on the health of the little plants. "You're doing well," she encouraged Edge. "Can you feel how it's different, doing it this way? You have to know how something is supposed to work before you can start trying to change it. If you don't know why and how something is alive, how can you change it without risk of killing it? Keep going," she told him. "These are ready to go further."

Share this post


Link to post

The following transformation was obviously not at all easy for Mark, who sweated and strained, bending over the plants as he labored to bring them to life, getting down in the dirt and getting the white parts of his costume dirty. A couple of times he made false starts, the saplings growing together in an unnatural way, but each time he straightened them out, sometimes even going back, until a slightly sickly, but basically sound cluster of rosebushes was growing by the edge of the pond.

Share this post


Link to post

"Much better!" Stesha told him enthusiastically, passing a hand over the bushes to perk them up after the strain of their creation. "When you let them grow the way they're designed to, all you have to supply is the power. That's the safest way to do it, but you want to be able to do more, right?" She touched one of the branches of the bush, making a deep red rose bud and bloom.

"The real answer is education. I was lucky, I suppose, that I had a degree in botany before I ever got my power. It gives me a fundamental understanding of the way plants work, so I know how to change them without hurting them." She stood and brushed herself off, offering him a hand. "In your case, well... you may have to do a whole lot of studying. If your business is changing everything, you'd better know how everything works. But starting small isn't a bad idea."

Share this post


Link to post

"That felt really good," said Mark, taking her hand with a big smile. "I've planted real flowers and gotten them to grow eventually, but never all at once like that, with my powers. Do you do a lot of planting?" he asked her. "Mr. Dark Star said you fix up gardens and parks all over the city. I think that's really great. Superheroes should do more to make things better for people, even the little things."

Share this post


Link to post

She helped him to his feet, then automatically restored the grass they'd both been sitting on, so the new bushes were the only sign of their presence. "Plants are my life," she said with a smile. "Or my professional and heroing life, anyway. Most of my hero work is less about fighting bad guys and more about making Freedom City a more beautiful place to live." She was quiet for a moment. "Maybe that's the best lesson I can give you, more than teaching you how to grow plants. Shaping reality is best done in small doses, and that doesn't make it less effective. You don't have to change everything. Changing one thing, like making a park beautiful or putting flowers in at an old cemetery, can make a big positive difference for people. Just because you have a lot of power doesn't mean you always need to use all of it."

Share this post


Link to post

Mark nodded at that, absorbing her words with the eagerness of a born student, before hesitating again. "Can any of your powers hurt people?" he asked her, a guilty look on his face. "I'm sorry, I know that's very personal and I don't know you that well. That's just...that's the other thing I'm afraid of. Being dangerous like this."

Share this post


Link to post

"I can hurt people with them," she allowed thoughtfully, "knock them unconscious, throw them around, things like that. Plants can be dangerous. But no, I can't do any of the things that I can do to plants to people or animals. One trick pony here," she said with a laugh. "On the other hand, what I do with plants can have a profound impact, so that's something I have to be wary of. If I uproot a tree and don't put it back, that's decades of growth just gone, shade lost, animal habitat lost, to say nothing of people who might have an investment in it. Same thing with someone's garden, or somebody's crops. So I have to be thoughtful when I go to use them. I imagine you've had to use your powers to hurt people before?" she guessed.

Share this post


Link to post

"I've always been able to hurt people with them," Mark admitted. "I can make them have accidents, so they trip and fall, or punch themselves, or blow up...if they're robots, or something," he added quickly. "My powers were about luck, so I could give my friends really good luck while giving everyone else really bad luck. Once I made all the guns in the hands of a big gang of bank robbers break and stop working without even having to go inside. I used to think that kind of thing was really funny."

Share this post


Link to post

"It sounds very handy," Fleur replied with a smile. "There've been times in a fight when I definitely would've liked to change the odds a little. I've heard about some of the things Young Freedom has done, it's really impressive. Is it that your powers still work like that and you can just do more with them now, or have they fundamentally changed lately? I know that's rare, but it can happen sometimes."

Share this post


Link to post

Mark hmmed at that. "More than I've...I've figured out that they were more than I always thought they were. I can still do all the things I used to, but it's deeper now. It's more being able to play the piano rather than just hitting one key over and over again. I can still do everything I once did, I can just do more now. It's a little scary. I can reach out and take things apart, or make them out of thin air, or just make them...different."

Share this post


Link to post

"That's good," Fleur told him with a nod. "You can start slow then. Stick with the powers you know how to use, and get that studying in. You can practice when you're not in a fight and your adrenaline isn't high. Take your time, be very careful, and you'll probably do just fine. A big part of using your superpowers properly is having the desire to use them right and not hurt anybody. The fact that you care about it means you'll be okay eventually. It'll just take work."

Share this post


Link to post

Mark and Stesha spent some time practicing their plant growing, Mark moving very slowly, very carefully, to make sure the plants he was growing turned themselves into adult plants the right way. Eventually, though, as things kept on going well for him, he got careless, and at a bad time: the tree he was growing suddenly cracked and broke in two, a big chunk of wood falling out and landing in the earth by his feet. "Oh, God! I'm sorry! I'm sorry, I didn't know blue spruce were pine trees! I thought it was like a oak tree or something!" Embarassed, he waved his hand, and the whole tree began to disappear. "I can fix it!"

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

×