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Interceptors: The Sweet Science of Stabpunching IC


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Date: June 2010


Deep under the streets of Freedom City's West End, the swashbuckling hero known as Jack of all Blades finished stretching in the Underground's training room and began bouncing lightly up and down on the balls of his feet, eager to get his first lesson started. Rather than his traditional greatcoat and bandanna mask, the tanned young man wore loose-fitting workout clothes: black shorts and a white tank top that revealed layer of lithe muscle marred by the occasional faint scar. He'd told the rest of the team to show up similarly attired, but hadn't revealed anything else about his lesson plan. Looking up, the fencer nodded to Colt where the cowboy sat in the room's control center, visible through a large translucent panel in the far wall, then turned to look at a digital readout of the time as he wrapped his hands with a roll of tape.

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Lynn stepped barefoot into the training room, wearing a terry cloth headband, black sports bra and a pair of loose gray sweatpants, with a fluffy white towel tossed over one shoulder and a large water bottle clutched in her right hand. She waved up at Colt in the booth, and looked well-rested and eager to begin.

"Hi guys! So, what's the drill, coach?"

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Colt glanced up when Grim entered the room, gave her a smile and a wave, and then went back to his work. Jack had set up an oddly specific training regiment for the team. Colt didn't mind this set up. Rather, he thought it was a very good idea. However, due to the specifications of the training, every one of the training room's settings had to be just right. With his list of instructions in one hand, he set about adjusting the controls with the other.

"Well, I reckon that's Jack's responsibility t'day. I'm just here runnin' assistance."

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The collective group could hear the patter of Dynamo's feet as he descended the steps into the Underground. For whatever reason, he had the habit of taking those steps at normal speed. When he finally reaches the landing, the crew practically needs to avert their eyes; the dude is shockingly Caucasian. His blond hair was riddled with bed head, having obviously recently woken up. He wore a black pair of gym shorts, and a faded white "Offspring" T-shirt, and completed the set with a pair of red high-top sneakers. Couple that with the fact that he's got tan lines when he was the last person you expected to have gotten sun just made it the complete neon white package. Finishing off the last few pieces of is morning's turkey and Hershey bar sandwich he muttered a half-asleep "Murnn'nin brosefs." before digging some sleep out of his eye. "Sos wazzits all about?" questioned Dynamo to no one in particular as he started doing a few warm up exercises and stretches to wake himself up more than anything else.

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Heavy footsteps signaled Fulcrum's approach. She appeared looking, while not exhausted, certainly not in peak condition. Attired in her boxing outfit, blue trunks and sports bra, gold gym shoes, her demeanor suggested a coolly professional wish to simply get this first lesson done. Still she managed a smile as she emerged into the training room.

"Good morning, Interceptors. How is everyone?" came the warm greeting. She waved up to Colt and regarded the rest of her friends. Jogging in place a moment, she said more neutrally, "Sorry to hold up the show. Ready to go."

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Jack nodded to each of his teammates as they arrived. "Stretch a little, get warmed up," he instructed as he finished taping up his hands. "So, Doc had a point about us needing to get some training in. We're all pretty effective when we're playing to our strengths, but we need to develop some flexibility and better teamwork. So. Lesson One." He tossed the roll of tape to Lynn. "Unarmed combat."

Giving the others a moment to prepare themselves, Jack looked up to the control room and gave Colt a nod. A moment later the room was flooded with a droning hum and a deep red light as the power nullifiers Archeville had supplied kicked in. The metahumans down below suddenly found themselves brought back down to human levels. For Jack, the sudden loss of of his energy awareness made him feel like his head had been wrapped with gauze. The fencer had fully appreciated just how much he'd come to rely of the sixth sense, which was the point of the entire exercise. "Like I said," he elaborated, cracking his neck, "unarmed. The objective is to take me down." An insufferable smirk pulled at his mouth as he adopted a loose combat stance. "Whenever you're ready."

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Anyone who thought that Dynamo couldn't get any paler was in for a surprise as all the color drained from his face. He looked genuinely afraid. "Uh... dude? I was kind of in like one fight before getting my powers." said Eli as he took a few steps back from Jack. "Ya know what broheem, this is totally the time for me to start doing that whole "thinking things through" stuff y'all keep yammering on about. So I'm just gonna be over here and think about - dammit Mo' why are you still so fricken tall?" Sputters Dynamo suddenly as he realizes one of their number apparently still has their powers. "Wait, you're on my team! Dibs! Totally calling dibs on being on her team! I can do this." he says as he is apparently now a little more confident with a giantess on his team as he takes a rather poor stance.

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Fulcrum frowned as the familiar radiation drifted over her. Yes, everyone needed to train without their powers, and she could understand the implication. Those blasted nullifiers she could live without forever. Ironically, the worst part for her was needing to breathe. Not breathing for days at a time meant she actually had to think about it for a second to reset her autonomic systems. Which she did with an impressive chesty cough.

"Little warning next time, eh? Lungs get a little dusty," she wheezed before clearing them with a deep breath. After a few sketches and popped knuckles, she said, "Lets get this finished. I have monsters to fight."

The not-shrinking thing didn't seem to phase her. Whatever gave her powers must have fundamentally altered certain features of her genetics and physiology. How fast she was on foot was another question entirely.

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Grim smiled and hopped in place, her adrenaline starting to flow.

"Cool, this should be-"

Then she felt a wave of nausea pass over her, and she dropped down to one knee; for one fearful second, she thought she was underwater, since the sounds of the gym became all muted and she actually felt cold for the first time in years.

Some days I really hate you, Jack. At least you found a way to keep my damn clothes on.

"Like I said," he elaborated, cracking his neck, "unarmed. The objective is to take me down." An insufferable smirk pulled at his mouth as he adopted a loose combat stance. "Whenever you're ready."

God, I so want to smack that grin right of his stupid face.

Of course, this was a great idea, and no amount of pouting on her part would change that, so Lynn took a deep breath, hopped up to her feet, and began to do a few quick stretches.

"Very clever, Jack. Y'know I hate to say it, but I hope someday we have actual enemies coming to get us, so I can have someone else to be annoyed with other than my own boss and teammates."

She laughed and shook her head.

"Still, it's a lot more fair than our last fight, right Jack?"

The edge in her voice suggested the shapeshifter had not fully forgiven the swordsman over the whole Fisticuffs incident, but the anger quickly left her eyes as she began to dance around, small fists held in front of her chest.

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From his place behind the glass in the observation room, Colt had his hands full with the controls. For the length of this experiment it would be his job to ensure that nothing happened to any of the combatants. He had to keep special watch on Grim and Fulcrum. He made sure that their sudden lack of powers wouldn't cause them harm in anyway. And he was lucky that he had been able to work quickly enough to allow the nullifiers to affect all of Grim's powers except the glamour that made up Grim's body and clothing. I reckon that was'a close one.

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"Sure is," Jack agreed easily. "This time it's three on one! You guys might actually give me a workout!" He glanced at Eli with a suppressed wince. "Well, maybe. Nobody's going to beat you up, Zippy. The point is to get better at this, not to confirm the current level of suck." The swashbuckler began moving in a wide circle around the trio, his posture defensive. "The vast majority of people get by without any fancy powers; figure it out!"

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"Okay, wise guy," Fulcrum joked, balling her fists. "Grim, Dynamo, rack him..."

In that moment she exploded. Not literally! She exploded forward, shoes streaking the floor as she lunged. Those long legs and arms she put to full advantage, closing the distance far faster than one could expect. The momentum appeared very deliberate, either to clock Jack, overrun him or get behind him. Instead of full-out punching him, she dipped low and pressed in close, slicing the air just centimeters in front of his chest with a nasty horizontal elbow.


If he hadn't been so good at defending, that probably would have hurt. A lot.

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"Good!" Jack commended as he stepped around Mona's sudden assault, making the smallest movement possible to avoid the crushing blow. "You're still strong, which makes you fast. People don't expect that kind of acceleration from something so big. Use that." The swordsman's tone was encouraging, and he continued to make no move to attack.

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Behind the shielded area from which he ran the controls for the fight, Colt smiled at Jack's words. For all his rash thoughts, strong words, and actions that were so much louder than words, Jack could be a real gentleman if he wanted to. Colt recognized that tone that Jack was using. It was one his mother had often used when he was practicing with his first pistol. She would encourage him until he thought he could do no wrong. Colt had not disappointed her in that respect.

A lump caught in Colt's throat. He felt the hole in his heart where he'd kept his family and his world grow just a little larger. Colt thanked Jack for once more being the center of attention, so that his teammates couldn't see him choke back a tear.

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Grim decided to try something clever, though she wasn't sure if she could pull it off; on the plus side, it would be awesome if it actually did. Holding her hands up in a classic boxer's stance, she began to hop this way and that, grinning gleefully.

"The trick to remember when fighting Jackie is: always go for the face! The man will do anything to protect his precious mug."

It was so good to be able to see her opponent this time around; maybe she could actually enjoy this practice and move on. It would be great to spar with Jack on a regular basis, something she had pointedly avoided for some time.

The various magical and technological devices may have shutdown Grim's access to glamour, but it seemed her footwork was completely unaffected. The tiny brunette was all over the place, ducking, bobbing and weaving like a butterfly on steroids. Just when it looked like she was moving in for the kill, she did a backflip right past Jack as she yelled out,

"Take 'im, 'Mo!"

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Dynamo took off in a blind charge, hitting a sprint almost instantly. Even without his powers he was still pretty light on his feet, as he demonstrated by leap frogging over the crouching Fulcrum. "I'm coming for ya brosef!" roared Dynamo. Flying through the air, Dynamo pulled his feet in front of him, going for a full on flying drop kick to Jack's mug. He had seen it in countless action movies, this had to work.

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If he were being totally honest, Jack would have to admit that he'd been taking Lynn a little lightly ever since their exhibition match at the charity boxing event. He certainly didn't expect so much of her agility to be natural and functioning despite the power dampers, and her sudden flip took him off guard. He smoothly shifted his stance to defend against her just in time to hear Eli's rebel yell. The fencer's head spun around just in time for the younger man's foot to graze his cheek.

Unfortunately for the depowered speedster, he neither knew how to put his full weight behind the blow, nor how to recover gracefully. "Now you're getting it! Divide your opponent's attention! Good!" Jack praised as his hands shot out, snaring Eli's ankle. "But you're over-committing." Spinning about as though he were tossing a hammer, the swashbuckler used his midair opponent's momentum against him, flinging him directly into a startled Lynn, where the pair collapsed in a heap of arms and legs.

Jack rubbed his jaw ruefully, rolling his jaw back and forth. "Hitting me's a good start. Defense needs some work, but we'll get there." He turned to Mona and beckoned her forward with the fingers of one hand.

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Eli's eyes went wide as Jack grabs a hold of high ankle. "No fair~~!!!!" yells Dynamo as he's whipped around the air like a ball on a string. And then he noticed where he was headed, straight at Grim. Guess it's not all bad mused Eli in the second before he collided bodily with Grim. He lost consciousness as they bonked heads and pretty much passed out sprawled out over Grimlakin, much to the chagrin of the cowboy in the booth, unless he was into that sort of thing, he did where chaps after all.

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For about three seconds, Grim was delighted by the success of her tactic.

Yes, he actually hit him! Wait, what?


The next thing she knew, the changeling was on the ground, head ringing from the impact of her teammate. Bleary-eyed, she raised herself up on one elbow as she rubbed the side of her head.

"'I'm coming for ya brosef'? This is your plan? Smooth, buddy."

Then she looked down and saw that the speedster was unconscious...with his head in her lap. :shock: :oops:

"Yo, Eli! Dude! You are going places you are not meant to go, brosef!"

She lightly slapped his face a few times as she wriggled out from under him.

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Colt watched the acrobatics. Unlike Jack, however, he was not surprised at how nimble Grim was without powers.

Then Colt watched as Dynamo got thrown into Grim and where he landed. "Well, now, I reckon I can't just let that stand."

Colt quickly pressed one of the large red buttons on the control board in front of him. A small arm with a device on it descended from the ceiling of the room that the combatants were in. A beam of energy shot out of it and hit Dynamo square in the back. The jolt of electricity the bolt contained not only jump started Dynamo's brain back into working order, but the rest of his body as well. His nerves fired in all directions at once and forced him quickly into a standing position.

"Reckon y'all better look before ya leap next time, 'brosef'." Colt's voice echoed over the speakers in a tone that simply said, "watch it!"

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Mona did her best not to giggle when Lynn and Eli went down. Jack for all his bluster was a very good fighter. She somehow expected something in this vein. Even her, the generally solitary paragon, knew this group training session would be very beneficial. Plus she had some recommendations for future sessions herself. For the moment though, Jack beckoned.

After that initial assault, Mona relaxed and settled into training mode. That didn't mean she got sloppy. No, she simply conserved energy and fought patiently as per her boxer training. She just had to wait for the right opening to pounce, but she doubted Jack would give her one willingly. Most likely if he did, it was a feint.

The paragon popped up to her feet, closing the distance immediately and starting off with a 1-1-2 combo of punches. The jabs were smooth and practiced, and she circled around him using her height and reach to her advantage. After all most everyone was smaller than her.

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"Ah dude! What the heck! That hurt!" called Eli up to... well everyone except Fulcrum actually, hitting Eli had sort of just turned into a team wide affair. And then he noticed his *ahem* surroundings, and Eli's face immediately got the only color it was ever gonna get. Still blushing, Eli propped his head up with both his hands balled up under his chin. "Ya know, we really should do this more often." smiled the impish Eli as he rolled back over onto his back and away from Grim. "We should totally try that again. I'm sure it'll work this time. Ya can't argue with results after all."

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"Ya know, we really should do this more often." smiled the impish Eli as he rolled back over onto his back and away from Grim. "We should totally try that again. I'm sure it'll work this time. Ya can't argue with results after all."

Grim rolled her eyes as she rose unsteadily to her feet. "Dream on, Captain Pervo! That's the last time you're ever getting near that time zone!"

Before she made another move towards Jack, she took a few seconds to take long breaths through her nose, then blowing them out slowly; it was a trick her therapist taught her back in high school when she had panic attacks, and it really helped to clear her head. She was still awful sore from where she caught Eli in the face, though.

"Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh, Jackie B! Wears a wig for the ladies to see!"

Singing her little ditty, Grim looked to be going into another song-and-dance routine of dodges and feints, but then she suddenly came charging right into Jack's wheelhouse, firing a tiny yet powerful fist right at his kisser!

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"That's a no on taking one for the team then; guess I'm just not your speed. Get it? It's a speed joke. 'Cuz I run fast." listening to the sweet music of groans and face palms, Eli expertly sprang to his feet. While not nearly as agile as Grim, Eli was incredibly light on his feet. He was back running at Jack almost as soon as his feet touched the ground again. He did a base ball slide attacking Jack's legs and standing up on the opposite side of Jack. Jack was able to avoid the attack without any sort of problems, but it did give Fulcrum a bit more of an opening.

Eli even added a new verse to Grim's little song "Yar har fiddly ti di! Being a pirate is alright with me!" singing it tauntingly in Jack's ear.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Jack burst out laughing at Lynn's song, allowing himself to become distracted for the split second it took the diminutive woman to tag him across his left cheek. Rolling away from the attack, he came up rubbing his face with a grin. "I'm beginning to see a pattern, here," he drawled as he ducked and weaved through Eli's assault. "Don't forget guys, head shots are satisfying, but you're just a likely to hurt your hand and their face. Work the body!" The fencers acrobatics placed him squarely in the middle of the room, with his three teammates surrounding him. "C'mon! Three-on-one, working together, wearing me down, you can do this!"

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