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Old Friends, New Friends [IC]

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For this visitor, Alex actually came out to meet Elena and give her a tour of AEON's facilities personally, rather than having her shown up to the office. Elena was treated to the sight of what the young woman she'd helped train had become. Sober and quiet, she looked like a miniature adult in her tailored suit. She was well loved by her employees as everyone had a quick smile when she showed up and no real fear of the woman who arguably signed their pay checks. A few times, Alex stopped to offer a few words of helpful advice in the tour of the different branches of the business that compromised AEON along their stops but she tried to keep it to a minimum.

Eventually, they wound back up in Alex's office, with Alex gesturing to the couch in polite invitation, "Thank you for indulging my desire to show off for a little while. I'm very proud of what we've accomplished here in such a short time. I do have high hopes, but that's really not why I invited you here today as I mentioned. There is someone I'd like to introduce to you."

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Elena Guerrero pulled up to the AEON building in a limousine. It was not an extravagance she indulged in full-time, but it helped to keep up appearances when she needed to get around the city without flying around in a cape or tearing open holes in Reality. Her scarlet blouse contrasted brightly from underneath her black tailored skirt-suit. As with every time Alex had seen her in civilian attire, she carried a lattè in her off-hand.

"Thank you for indulging my desire to show off for a little while."

"I'm never too busy to make time for a student of mine, especially when she's the finest student I've ever mentored in...that particular subject. Well, alright, I'm almost never too busy."

"I'm very proud of what we've accomplished here in such a short time."

"As you should be. Most people your age are struggling to balance four hours a day at a burger shack with getting their homework done. Meanwhile, you're changing the world. I hope the Rhodes investments I was able to secure were sufficient. The number was not as high as I would have liked."

"I do have high hopes, but that's really not why I invited you here today as I mentioned. There is someone I'd like to introduce to you."

"Oh, is Eve here today? I was wondering when Duncan would get around to contacting me about her."

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Alex smiled and shook her head slightly as she crossed to the window, touching the connection that was ever present. "No, not Eve. I would have introduced you before now but I don't think he was ready then. He's ready to meet you now."

She wasn't usually quite so evasive, but the smile on her face and the contentment in her mental presence was a good sign that she was feeling quite pleased with herself for more than the corporation. Alex went over to the window and unhooked the locks keeping the panels shut. With care, she opened the window and pushed the hair out of her face as it was immediately blown around. "... my other half, so to speak."

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Phalanx didn't really know what Alexs plan was though her having him wait several hundred feet over her office while waiting for her signal meant she was up to something. He assumed it was some kind of photo op for either Young Freedom or perhaps AEON.

At her silent signal he did an easy roll and dropped out of the sky swirling contrail marking his descent. He leveled out at the last moment to swoop in through the window, sunlight glinting off the bronzed bracers and boots of his blue and gold costume. He came to a stop in the middle of the room and dropped the last few feet to the ground with a smile as he walked the final few steps to Elena, he always felt odd hovering in front of those who couldn't fly almost like it was gloating. He held out one big hand her direction and introduced himself, "Hello I'm Phalanx." he said and glanced to Alex with a slightly softer smile, "You must be a friend of Alex's." he added in his low crisp tone.

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He held out one big hand her direction and introduced himself, "Hello I'm Phalanx." he said and glanced to Alex with a slightly softer smile, "You must be a friend of Alex's." he added in his low crisp tone.

"Well, more of a tutor, really." Alex and Mike both suddenly felt Elena's voice in their minds. As Duncan rarely finds students requiring my particular area of expertise, I remain an independent contractor, rather than a full-time member of the faculty. But Alex is by far the most gifted psychic I've ever had the pleasure of mentoring.

Elena took his meaty hand with her own much, much smaller one and shook it firmly. "Of course. Michael Harris. You're another one of Duncan's students. He speaks very highly of you, though no doubt never when you're around to hear it. He's always been a firm believer in the leadership philosophy of handing out reprimands like candy, while hoarding compliments to artificially inflate their perceived value, like diamonds."

As she spoke, Elena picked up on the subtle telepathic interplay between the two teens, as well as the subtext that coated the underside of their every look, gesture, and spoken word to one another. A very strong bond indeed, she mused to herself. They remind me of Mark and Laurie.

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"She's a friend as well," Alex said with one of those gentle smiles as she crossed over to close the window again behind Phalanx, "Sweetie, go ahead and change. You know it gives Marie fits when you wander around in costume outside of the office."

She glanced to Elena and shook her head slightly her expression fond of her personal assistant but long suffering, "She has all his posters... Half of them signed."

Alex crossed over to the mini-fridge in her office and began levitating drinks out over to the low coffee table, coasters floating out first to settle under them.

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Mike was mildly surprised by the mental communique but unlike most minds she touched Elena didn't sense any of the discomfort most held for such examples of psychic power. He nodded to Alex, "Oh right of course then." he said and glanced to Elena then spun in a sudden blur as he switched back to his civilian clothes. The blue and gold of his costume replaced in the blink of an eye with a loose fitting T-shirt and faded jeans. As he came to a stop he pulled a pair of glasses from a case in one pocket and placed them over his eyes. He of course had no need of them but it was a recent nod to protecting his identity in the wake of Alex's revelation of her true nature.

"Its a pleasure ma'am." he said with a smile to Elena, his posture somewhat more drawn in and his voice lacking some of the timber he adopted as Phalanx. He looked to Alex, "Well she asked so nicely." he said with a shrug, "It only took a second." he was still a little uncomfortable with his fame.

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"So, Alex," Elena said as she smoothed her skirt and sat down in one of the plush office chairs. "What motivated the decision to go public? I don't think I need to tell you that it's not a move to make lightly." She crossed her legs as she sipped the last of her Starbase lattè. The cardboard cup hovered in the air for a moment before floating down into the trash can by the side of the desk. Elena mentally intercepted one of the drinks flying out of Alex's minifridge, diverting it with a subtle hand motion to the coaster which had just slid out of its holder and across the desk to her side. "Most of us conceal our identities for a reason. And I doubt you lack the mental fortitude necessary to maintain dual identities, especially with your lover already 'in the know.' So I assume, then, that you had some greater good in mind?"

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"The Terminus mutation is passed on genetically. In the case of two parents with the same affliction, the strength of power only seems to increase. Its a matter of months if not weeks for the scientists still working on our old projects to uncover that. Perhaps only days." Alex said soberly, touching Mike's lightly to still his discomfort at Elena's turn of phrase. "I will not have our daughter held in the same sort of facilities we were. I will not watch them take away our rights one by one. Not in my life time. Not now. Not ever. The Terminus Effect must be demystified in the public's eye. I had hoped to have Mike come out in five years. He's a better spokesman than I will be but right now I am the only one who can manage that sort of psychological stress as well as the actual physical danger."

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Mike blushed a deep red at Elenas term for their relationship and opened his mouth to correct her when Alex laid a hand on his arm and he quieted though still mildly uncomfortable, 'Why does every one think we're ...' he asked silently of Alex though he wasn't really wanting or expecting an answer. He turned in surprise at her revelation of Zoes existence, but settled easily enough as Alex clearly trusted this women.

When Alex spoke of her plans to have him reveal himself later his eyes went wide, 'You never told me that.' he said uncertain what she meant by ready but in many ways he knew, He had enough doubts still about his powers as it was. Mike looked back to Elena still mildly discomforted by the topic of conversation, "From some peoples response already I think the facilities we were tested in would be gentle by comparison, especially if the first of us to be revealed lost control or hurt someone." He added to Alex's explanation, he certainly didn't want that for Zoe but he also felt that Alex had done a service for all of them by doing what she did.

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"A noble sentiment. I assure you, had I been...available during your childhoods, had I known about the conditions under which you were raised, I would have intervened, directly. For whatever that's worth. But when you two do eventually have children of your own, you can rest assurred that I will not allow history to repeat itself."

"Wait...I'm not sure I understand. The children who were in utero during the 1965 invasion turn 50 this year. Are you telling me that their children, their grandchildren, showed signs of mutation, and the American government covered it up? Or have members of your generation sired infants who have already manifested powers? I suppose 16 is a bit young to start procreating, but it's certainly not unheard-of. How did you encounter this information? Has Duncan been informed? Or the Freedom League, for that matter? Doktor Viktor Archeville is a close personal friend of mine. I'm sure he'll have some useful insights into this phenomenon."

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'It didn't come up before it became a moot point.' Alex replied, covering his hand with her own much smaller one. The first question she left untouched. Squeezing his fingertips gently, she continued aloud, "Our daughter won't be born for another fifteen years but the same energies that gave me my expanded perception and Mike's increased strength gave her enough control over speed that when faced with the loss of all she knew, she ran back through time itself. I have done everything I can to cover her signature but she bleeds the same energy signal that all of us do and, eventually, someone will notice. If they haven't already."

This time when Alex gripped Mike's fingertips it was for her own comfort. She knew she was playing a deadly chess game. "I haven't told anyone although I imagine Mr. Summers is aware of some, if not all, of her origins. I have not contacted anyone else. I am still debating the merits of doing so."

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Mike's countenance hardened ever so slightly at the mention of Zoes traumas and existence, "As proof that the Terminus mutation carries on and with her particular powers ..." he trails off uncomfortably, "People could react more poorly than they do to Alex or would to others, She has enough to deal with without that." he finished mildly uncomfortably. "She may have told Mr. Summers, she spoke to him before we found out and he set her up at Claremont." he further explained.

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Alex and Mike both experienced the very rare sensation of watching Elena Guerrero look surprised. "...Well." She hesitated for a few moments. "This must have been a very confusing and traumatic situation for both of you. Though not half as confusing or traumatic as it must be for her. Duncan neglected to mention to me that we have another time-traveler running around the city. He must be trying to keep it quiet, and I don't blame him. He wasn't any happier to learn how you spent your early years than I was. She isn't making it easy for him, though."

So...this ultimately comes down to public relations. You seek to become the face of a minority group, a face people like and trust. Do enough good works, and maybe people will stop worrying that you've all been co-opted by the Great Devourer. A shrewd strategy indeed, though it comes at great personal cost. You continue to impress me, Alex. It's true, Michael would have made a more 'ideal' face for the movement - our powers provoke an unparalleled level of blind, irrational paranoia in even our fellow heroes, let alone the general public. You'll face an uphill battle with their hearts and minds if the specific nature of your gifts ever becomes public knowledge. But it's a battle I think you can win, and I'll do everything I can to help."

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"The matter of my gifts is already public knowledge. I wasn't about to reveal my nature without revealing all of it. It's simply too risky. I have down played the details but what we do here is too important for it to risk collapse due to public backlash over a fostered deception. I'd rather face an honest up-hill battle rather than win on a lie," Alex said simply, slipping her hand into Mike's as she sat next to him on the couch. "I do appreciate your offer of help."

She turned to Mike then, diverting the topic at least a little and prodded him gently to take more of an active role in the conversation, used to as always drawing him out of his shy shell. "We don't lie if there's a way to avoid it. Sometimes, there simply isn't, but other times you just have to take the long road."

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Mike smiled to Alex and gave her hand a squeeze, "It was quite the shock yes." he agreed as his memories flickered over the events of Zoes arrival and the revelation of who she really was. "It has taken ... Alot of adjustment, She's very frightened still and just trying to avoid everything that happened ... Will have happened?" he shrugged ignoring the confusing tenses of time travel.

"I think its more than public relations. Its a matter of who we all are and how we view all of our heroes." he explained, "We have responsibilities beyond just using our gifts to help directly. We are examples of what those with the will to do so can achieve." He shrugged slightly uncomfortably, "I don't know it seems like some of us only want to beat up the bad guys and forget about what an example we can be. You can't do that when you're lying about who and what you really are."

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  • 2 weeks later...

[bg=#BF0000]"Well, if the two of you strive to become the faces of an ethnic minority group, you'll both need good publicity. This company's efforts, and your exploits with your fellow teen heroes, are both an excellent start. But you'll have to think bigger in the near future. The two of you graduate from Claremont next year. And if you want to put your smiling, nonthreatening faces on the front pages of every newspaper and web site in the world, and find an outlet through which to use your gifts for the benefit of Humanity, then there is only one place for you. I haven't had many dealings with The League of late, but Viktor Archeville is a close friend of mine. And I believe that Daedalus, Pseudo, and Siren would all be willing to give me a few moments of their time, after everything we've been through together. I'll make some calls. I can probably set you up with a sort of informal 'internship,' and if you conduct yourselves in the same exemplary manner Duncan has described up to this point, I see no reason why there shouldn't be seats on the Lighthouse waiting for you when you graduate."


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Mikes eyes grew wide, "You'd do that for us?" he asked in slight awe at such an opportunity. He glanced with a wide smile to Alex then back to Elena, "That's a great honor ma'am, We won't let you down." he said with the conviction only the young could truly muster though when he said it it seemed completely natural. He cocked his head to the side slightly as he processed what she had said, "You worked with Daedalus, Pseudo, and Siren?" he asked confused for a moment as he didn't know of any psychics on the league since the death of the original Scarab.

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