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Training Day (IC)

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Dock 14; 700 Hours

One of Freedom City's newest hero's stood atop the warehouse situated at the end of dock 14 at the Freedom City waterfront. Since his arrival in Freedom City, he'd kept in nominal contact with the group of heroes that had first greeted him. One of the younger ones, Wisp, had asked him about sharing some of his military knowledge with her and her friends. He'd happily obliged. The two had set up a time and a date which had finally arrived.

Falconer stood atop the warehouse gazing out over the water. Every few minutes, as dark blue streak shot out of the sky toward the water, there was a splash, and the blue streak rose again. Falconer watched his friend and pet hunt the fish off the coast of Freedom City as he waited for the others. He kept tabs on the things snow was catching as she relayed it back to him.

Small Mouth Bass. Striped Bass. Striped Bass...Yuck. Sea Robin. After that last catch, Falconer saw a small speck drop away from the blue streak as it rose back into the sky, he laughed to himself. But still, he felt sorry for Snow. She was used to hunting Tuna. The poor bird had to catch three or four times as many fish on this coast to get the meal she was used to.

Falcon stood on top of the warehouse and waited for his new students to show up.

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Crow appeared from nowhere on the other side of the roof in full regalia, black jeans, shirt, coat, and hood up. One small rune on his shoulder smoked and burned for a few seconds before winking out, and his hands were in his pockets as he did a quick check behind his head, scanning the skyline.

"Hah! Told Wisp that shortcut'd work."

He resisted the urge to do a little dance, instead turning to give his full attention to the guy his girlfriend had been telling him about. Morgan looked Falconer up and down in frank appraisal, feeling a tad jealous over the guy's build. The teen was no slouch in the muscle department, but a focus on faster punches as opposed to strong haymakers didn't exactly lead to a frame that made girls swoon.

"Falconer, right? Name's Crow. Too bad Raven isn't here, or we could get a whole birds of prey thing going."

A bit of bravado, hide the uncertainty. That, and if Raven really was here he'd be stammering like a madman and begging for an autograph. Crow resisted the urge to facepalm.

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Wisp appeared in a cloud of her bicolored smoke next to Crow, "Well it should be noted I almost went with Sparrow for my 'masked' named. And yes, before you can say 'I told you so', you were right. Next movie's your pick, as per the bet."

Looking over at their host she smiled and switched her speach to Russian, "Good to see you again Falconer. Thanks again for this training session."

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Glowstar had followed Crow and Wisp's flash-stepping path across the city, tracking them from high above. He noted idly that the after-effects of Wisp's teleports looked almost like his own energy beams; could there be some connection there? He pushed the thought away as they neared the Waterfront. He spied the burly man on the top of the warehouse and came to a halt hovering off the edge. "So they get to fire guns," he said, pointing at his fellow Claremonters, "and I'm here as the bullet-stop, right?"

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Falconer turned, and smiled, as the three young heroes assembled behind him. His smile turned to a frown, briefly as he glanced at a digital watch strapped to his left arm. "It is five minutes past 0700 hours. It should not matter witch of you is faster. You are both late." His english was perfect, but his accent was still thick. "ХотÑ, вы можете.*" he responded to Wisp's Russian in kind.

"So they get to fire guns," he said, pointing at his fellow Claremonters, "and I'm here as the bullet-stop, right?"

Get ready, friend.

On my way.

"It is my apology if my intentions have been misrepresented, Glowstar. None of you will be firing bullets. None of you will be shot at." He produced a Magazine from a pocket on his vest. Displaying it to the three assembled heroes, he removed the first bullet, and held it in an open hand. "My magazines are all loaded with blanks. And as for actually using the firearms, as I said earlier I, what I will teach you will revolve more around the proper way to deal with high threat targets such as ones wielding assault rifles without endangering yourself or others."

"Please, stand at attention. If you're going to learn from me, you will do it correctly. A simple request, yes? Glowstar, in front of my please." He pointed, to where Crow and Wisp stood. After taking a moment to show them the proper way to stand, he continued, standing at attention in front of them, "Your first lesson deals with Crows comment. Crow, Raven, Falconer, these are just names, yes? And masks, as Wisp pointed out, they are just masks."

Now. Begin.

Roger.

"A Crow is a carrion bird. A Raven is a carrion bird also. A Falconer is appropriately enough a trainer. But a real bird of prey..."

SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE From out of nowhere, Snow burst through the cloud cover above them, pulling out of a vertical dive by spreading her wings and catching the much thicker air lower in the atmosphere. The bird rocketed over the heads of both falconer and and his students. Swooping low over their heads and coming around behind him, she flapped her wings twice to steady herself before perching on his shoulder.

Good work, my friend.

Thank you.

"A real bird of prey takes a more direct approach to hunting. And so does your average criminal. This you must keep in mind today."

They were now seeing Snow up close for the first time. The bird was nothing less than massive. It stood three and a half feet tall, had a wingspan of ten feet, and was a pure royal blue color with white crests at the top and tail of each wing. Perched upon his shoulder, the bird increased the height of his profile by half again what it normally was. It's eyes held a glimmer of intelligence not normally seen in animals, and it looked over the three of them quizzically, trying to decide what they really were.


*Though, you are welcome.

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Glowstar floated to the spot that Falconer indicated and even touched down on the rooftop, dropping his force field and enduring the soldier-for-hire's instructions on how to stand -- how to stand, for goodness' sake! -- with good grace. When Snow came barreling out of the sky, though, the energy barrier sprang back into life, as the teen hero ducked down in a defensive reaction. In a moment his entire body was suffused with a red glow, dark motes floating from his eyes and hands as he prepared to unleash an attack... Against a pet.

After a few moments the teen got his breathing and heart rate under control again, he eyed the bird warily. The energy cloaking his hands and body disappeared, but he kept the force field up. "Right. Avoid snipers. Useful tip."

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Crow's sole response to the eagle's diving was a raised eyebrow, and he remained fixed in place with his hands in his pockets as the bird swooped overhead. He'd seen rooks and raptors around the same size before, perched on his mother's shoulder during his first visit to her with his dad, and a couple of times on normal Earth as well. Still, this one looks like he? She? It'd rip through those birds with ease. The thought actually made his mouth quirk underneath the bandanna, but the teen's tone was still quite laconic as the eagle wheeled around and flapped towards Falconer.

"Nice bird. Pulled up right on time."

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Vicky stood at parade rest, feet shoulder width apart and her shoulders squared and hands clasped behind her back, trying to imitate how Falconer himself had stood that night on the makeshift airstrip. If she was going to be taking lessons from a military man, she may as well look like she's paying attention to the drills.

When Snow dropped from the twilight sky with a cry, Vicky barely twitched. She knew if the bird was going to dive at her she could simply teleport out of the way before those razor sharp talons could sink into her flesh. "I was wondering where your companion was," she said to the Russian.

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Falconer gave a short nod of approval toward Crow and Wisp when they recognized Snow's dive as a simple ruse, but said nothing more about it.

"Right. Avoid snipers. Useful tip."

"Hmm, not quite. The point was to make a simple analogy punctuated by demonstration. But as you have brought it up, I may as well address how to properly face a sniper." He motioned for them to be at ease, "This is simple: Don't." Falconer fixed each of them with a steely gaze forged by years of self-reliance and survival. "Given the choice, do not fight anyone who is a sniper. I recognize these basic concepts may lose some impact when applied to individuals of your caliber. I say individuals because you are no longer children. I myself was younger than you when I first fought in war. But that is a point aside." Falconer turned to the side, and raised his right arm which had the grapple gauntlet attached to it. Snow gave a short hop and perched on top of the gauntlet. He stroked the side of her beak with his left hand, "The sniper is a danger because you will never see the sniper that kills you. Though bullets may be less effective against Glowstar for instance, 'it is not the bullet with your name on it that you must worry about, but the bullet inscribed with, To Whom It May Concern,'" Falconer smiled, it was one of his favorite quotes, "A sniper will know that you are not a target. But what of the bystanders? How do you stop them from retaliating by firing into a crowd rather than directly at you?" His face was grave, protecting innocent citizens was a serious problem for heroes, "Even you, Wisp, if you are able to find the sniper, would not reach them before they got off a shot. But the problem is worse, you see. Another saying: 'There is always someone better.'" He suddenly smiled, "Tell me, have you ever heard of a man named Orion?"

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Glowstar looked at the other teen heroes. They didn't seem to be catching the reference, so he cleared his throat and spoke up. "Uh, I think I have. He's a sharpshooter -- well, an assassin. Works with the Crime League, right?" He paused, then added, "Do you really think they'd go after civilians to get to a hero?"

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"It is my belief that such acts are not beyond a man of Orion's disposition." Sam frowned, the prospect was a grim one. Protecting those weaker than him was the reason that he'd given up his life as a soldier of fortune to aid the heroes of Freedom City. To think that there were some that would actively harm the innocent still made his blood boil.

"This is not the point, of this exercise. I shall cover that later. Orion is a master marksmen, known to use sniper rifles. He if anyone would be a threat to even someone of your physical strength, Glowstar. That is all. Given the choice, I would warn you not to fight him. It would be best if you let the Freedom League deal with a threat of that caliber." Sam was quiet for a second before realizing what he'd said, "No pun intended, I assure you. I still struggle to grasp some of the finer points of this language. Double meanings included."

"Enough about Orion. This is the real exercise." Sam quickly lifted his right arm, and Snow took to the air. Sam loaded the rifle he held with an empty magazine and pointed it straight at Crow who stood between the other two heroes. He stood directly in front of the teen hero holding the gun with one hand. "Crow, a robber has you at gunpoint and you defend yourself by batting the weapon away," Sam indicated the motion the teen should use. When Crow complied, the weapon was in fact batted out of the way. "You are lucky that his reaction time is poor." Sam pulled the trigger, and the empty weapon clicked due to it's lack of ammunition. As it happened, the weapon had been pointed straight at Glowstar's chest at the time. "Unfortunately, whoever was standing next to you at the time was not so lucky, you see. This is why you must learn to properly disarm a criminal."

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