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JohnStargazer

Lights at his back, Stars in His Eyes (IC) (OPEN)

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As he climbs out of the taxi in front of the massive gate tower that mark the front of the prestigious Claremont Academy, a tall, dark-skinned, blonde haired young man glances around, a bit hesitant. The whole place is a little upscale for what he was used to, and it's not like his grades really warranted a place like this, but Mister Albright had insisted.

"I don't see why I should go to a boarding school, let alone a boarding school a mile from my house."
"Now, John, Claremont Academy isn't an ordinary school. It's run by an old friend of mine, Duncan Summers. He's made the school into a place where young men and women can learn to use their powers responsibly, and to work with others, as well as getting a good education. In the long run, this will be good for you. A chance to make new friends who understand what you're going through, teachers who understand what you're dealing with, and training that ensures you'll be ready for it. Not to mention, it's far more secure in case someone does try to follow you home or attack you when you're resting."
"Well..."
"And I'm sure there are plenty of girls your own age who'll be happy to meet the new Beacon, dressed in ways that seem absolutely scandalous to someone my age..."
"That's exploitative and insulting to my inte- let me go get my bags, old man."

Signing in with the security desk inside the tower, John is quickly processed and directed inside. "You just need to find the administration office, they've got your paperwork already, they just need you to pick up your things and get assigned a room for the semester."
"Alright, thanks for the help!" Bag tucked under one arm, he practically bounces out of the room, into the main quad, smiling brightly and breathing deep as he takes in the campus itself... "So... This is it, huh? I don't hate it..."

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As John walked across the peaceful quad, the silence was suddenly broken by loud barking! A gangly orange cat streaked across the lawn, followed by a wildly yapping terrier mix hot on its heels. The cat crossed directly in front of John's path, ran straight through the broad trunk of a nearby oak tree, then scaled it in a wink, hissing angrily. The dog, unable to stop in time, clobbered into the tree at a full run, yelped, and then sat back shaking its head, wondering what had happened. The orange cat bristled a few moments longer, then seemed to notice John. With a curious look in its oddly intelligent eyes, it walked out along a low branch to get a better look at him.

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Well, that's unexpected... what kind of boarding school allows pets? John laughs at himself a bit at the stupidity of that question as soon as it occurs to him. Probably the same kind where half the student body can level a small building, and the other half handle multiple city blocks. For that matter, they might not even be pets. This could be, like, a pair alien student whose species just happen to look like our earth felines and canines, or a set of shapeshifters who are fighting over whose turn it is to be the biped, or... Y'know, I'm gonna just stop myself there. I could probably get into a really silly list a mile long if I keep at this.

Setting his bag down (after all, in a school full of superheroes in training, who's gonna grab your stuff and make a run for it?) John walks carefully over to the tree, making shooing motions at the dog as he does.

"Go on, get. I'm sure you've got no reason to go treeing that poor cat, or at least none that'll matter tomorrow, am I right?" Glancing upwards at the cat, he extends one arm slowly towards it, doing his best to maintain eye contact and make no sudden moves. "And as for you, how about a quick ride to someplace a bit safer, just in case?"

If she drops out of that tree onto my head I'm going to feel like an idiot. I mean, even worse than I will if it turns out she's an ordinary cat and everybody thinks I'm the weird kid who talks to pets. Admittedly, again, super-hero school. Maybe they'll think that's my power... which would make me as qualified a super-hero as Cesar Millan, so we're right back to being an idiot. On the plus side, any nearby telepaths with no sense of privacy will be getting a nice kick out of this.

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The cat strolled along the branch towards him, sniffing his outstretched hand curiously. Close up, John could see that the cat wore a blue collar with a bronze tag that read "OLIVER" and gave the address of the school. Once he'd had a good sniff, Oliver gave the fingers a peremptory headbutt and began purring, obviously demanding petting. When he decided John was good people, he stepped delicately onto the boy's arm and walked up to his shoulder, nuzzling his ear. John's qualms about talking to strange cats began to subside, replaced by a pleasant calmness.

Before he could think about where a safe place would be to drop the cat off, he saw a tall, muscular girl in t-shirt and shorts jogging across the lawn. She caught sight of him and turned his way, but her eyes were mostly for the cat. "Hey, there you are," she said to the cat. "You gotta stop taunting the dogs, it's not nice." Scolding delivered, she turned her attention to John, giving him a curious once-over. "Hey, you new?"

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John smiles brightly at the strange girl, scratching the cat's head as best he can with the akward angle, and nodding gently.

"Yeah, I'm starting this semester, but I wanted to get all moved in early. Beat the rush, get settled in, avoid the headaches." He extends his left hand to avoid disturbing the cat, "My name's John Stargazer. Nice to meet you, Miss...?"

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"I'm Erin," she told him, shaking the proffered hand with a firm but not painful grip. "I started last summer, I'm a senior this year. And I guess you've already met my cat. He gets a kick out of getting dogs to chase him, knowing they can't possibly catch him. It's his only vice, I guess. Where do you come from?" He looked like a surfer boy and he was very cute, but Erin was sort of inured to that by now. No harm in taking a look, though.

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"I'm actually from just a few blocks away. I was living with my parents and sister in Southside, until Mister Alb- uh, I mean, a friend whose semi-secret identity I'm not giving away, suggested I transfer to the school for their safety. Gonna be kind of nice, being away from home, but still close enough I can visit them often. How about yourself?"

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"I'm from Seattle, more or less," Erin replied with a half-shrug. "Been in Freedom City almost two years now though, so it's getting more familiar. Is this your first day on campus? Oliver sort of has a talent for finding and checking out the newcomers. It's not too hard to get around here, though." Oliver jumped down neatly from John's shoulder, twining around his legs for a minute before sauntering over to Erin. She picked up the cat and petted him absently. "So what do you do?" she asked John.

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"Well, mostly I play soccer, though I like some other sports, too, and have been meaning to take u- and I got halfway through this sentence and realised you probably mean my super-powers, don't you?" Stretching a bit now that his shoulder is clear and his range of motions are free, he allows himself to shine a little, glowing with the White Light in it's tamest form. "I actually control this... kind of... light... thing... that I am not describing at all well, but I can shape it into a bunch of different uses." He glances around, then back at her, "On that subject, you're not a telepath, are you?"

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"No, but my roommate is," Erin replied, some surprise in her voice at the sudden shift. "Do you need one for something? I mostly just run and jump and hit things. There are people will all different kinds of powers around here though. Even in the summer, there are some of them running around just about all the time. If it weren't so hot today, there'd be more people outside on the lawn."

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"Nah, nah. I was kind of lost in my thoughts earlier, and it hit me what a dork I must've sounded like if there were any telepaths listening in. I don't know what it is, but something about my first day in a super-powered school has me a little off-balance and over-thinking things, y'know?" He takes a little breath, shakes his head, and continues, "It is a bit hot out, though, isn't it? Any chance to administration offices are nice and air-conditioned? I'm supposed to report there in my sunday best, so I can't exactly take off my shirt to beat this heat..."

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"Everything's air conditioned around here, this is a ritzy place," Erin told him with a crooked grin. "Up until Summers took over, it actually was an expensive private school, so the facilities are nice. I'll show you the way." Setting Oliver back down on the ground, she turned and headed towards a collection of buildings on the quad. "And I wouldn't worry about telepaths. It's rude to get into someone's mind without asking, and besides, who wants to be listening to the weird random thoughts of hundreds or thousands of people every day? Even a really bored telepath has better things to do than that."

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"I dunno I've never met a telepath that's managed to get bored." A young man said as he walked up with an easy smile and nod to Erin, "Heya Erin." he intoned as he pushed the thick glasses frames up his nose with one finger he was still getting used to them and they seemed perpetually ready to slip off to him. He extended on large hand and introduced himself, "Mike Harris." he said as he looked down on John and it was obvious that despite the slight slouch and hunched shoulders he was much taller and broader of shoulder than one might first assume.

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"John. John Stargazer. I'm a sophomore, just moving in." John shakes the older boy's hand and smiles back. "Nice to meet you." Breaking off from the new arrival for just a minute, he trots over to his poor abandoned bag and tucked it back under his arm where it belongs.

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"Hey Mike, how's it going?" Erin said with the easy smile she reserved for close friends. "I was wondering where everybody was today. John just arrived on campus, so I was showing him to the main building. Pretty sure it's inhumane to let anybody stay outside too long when it's this hot out. If you stick around, maybe you can show him to the dorms when he's done there?"

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Mike nodded easily, "Pleasures mine." he replies with a smile and a firm shake. "Alex is probably at work again." he said with a shrug, "Marks around somewhere I'm sure." he said with a shrug. He answered her question with an easy nod, "Yea sure I'm not doing anything for awhile." and with that headed toward the admin building with the Erin and John.

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As the trio enter the administration offices, John approaches the secretary's desk and turns in his paperwork. As he waits for it to be properly processed, he turns to the older students. "So, things are probably a bit boring around here, eh? Early curfews, strict rules, no leaving campus, no getting up to mischief, am I right?"

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Suddenly, Mike and Erin's commlinks crackled to life, and a voice John hadn't heard before came crackling across the radio waves. "Hey guys, it's Mark: can one of you jump outside the window and catch me? I tried out Gravity Master's new catapult and it...well, let's just say I was able to fly there for a while. But not anymore! Wah-hi-hi-hoi!" When the secretary recognized Mark Lucas' voice, she sighed but didn't seriously react.

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Erin sighed. "You got him last time, I got this one," she told Mike, then zoomed out the front door. Out the wide window, it was possible to see her look up, make a prodigious leap straight up into the air, and come down a moment later, holding a tall, good-looking boy in a costume and cape. Both of them reentered the office a moment later, nonchalant about the whole thing. "You know you're not supposed to try those things out without a super-scientist around," Erin was chiding Mark. "Anyway, here's the new guy. John, this is Mark. Mark, John."

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"Aw, it was fine," said Mark, as if he was trying to reassure a particularly paranoid friend. "GM's real smart. Besides, I knew you'd be there to catch me." Hey, how you doing?" he asked John, shaking his hand with a big smile. Mark's costume was all gold and blue, a cheerful, bright thing that seemed to match the boy's personality. "They call me Edge when I'm in costume."

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Mike sighed as the message crackled across the comlink and nodded to erin as she ran to catch Mark. Turning back to John he shrugged, "Its not so bad. There's rules but they're fair." he said with the quiet confidence of one likely to follow those rules even if they weren't explicit. He grinned to mark with a shake of his head, "Ya know the last time GM was playing with his toys unattended we all got sucked to Nazi land right?" he chided his roommate.

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"Well, that definitely answers my question about boring..."

John smiles, taking an instant shine, if you'll pardon the expression, to this fun new upperclassman.

"Nice to meet you, Edge. My name's John Stargazer, but I suppose since you told me yours I should give my hero-name, too... I'm the new Beacon. Uh, extremely new, to be honest."

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Mark looked at John as if he'd just vomited a cat out of his mouth onto the rug. "Oh my God! Mr. Albright died!?!" Appalled, he covered his mouth. "That's awful! He was such a nice old man! He used to come over to my dad's house all the time for his barbecues." Beating his chest, he waved madly at the heavens. "Why do all the great heroes leave us!?" Throwing his arms around John, he added, "It...it'll be all right, man. I'm sure you can live up to his legacy."

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John, unexpectedly embraced by this strange, strange person, immediately shifts into the 'akwardly being hugged stance' known to so many fraternity members with melancholy drunks for roommates, arms as wide as possible while still patting the hug-giver on the back in a vaguely comforting fashion.

"Whoa, whoa, hang on. Dead? Mister Albright isn't dead. The transfer took a lot out of him, sure, but he's still amazingly healthy for an eighty-five year old... I mean, the whole point of his giving the power to me was to make sure it didn't end up in some random, unprepared stranger when he did pass on. But, I take it this means your dad knew him, then?"

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Erin reached out and gently pried Mark off the new kid, pulling him back and putting an awkward arm around him. "It's okay Mark," she repeated, keeping one eye out for black dots on the horizon. "The guy just retired. If he's eighty-five, he's certainly due for some leisure time, right? And now you get to work with the new one, like your dad or grandpa worked with the old one. That's pretty cool."

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