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Cole + Caresse (IC)

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It had been a few days since Caresse had her biological augmentation to keep her powers in check. They weren't gone, but they were manageable now. It had to be straight skin to skin contact instead of just making contact with her person. Though biological augmentation was not without it's downside. She felt numb for three days straight. Luckily she hadn't been assigned a roommate yet, so it was easy to lock the door and curl up in a ball on her bed. She began to feel a little bit better when she got some feeling back. Wearily she rose from her bed with a smile. She stretched with a satisfied yawn and a smile. She headed for the shower, it would be good to feel the water on her skin. After she was done, she suited up in her new costume. To others it was bland and dark, but she liked it.

Walking out of the dormitory, she was looking for some of the people she met a few days ago. The school was partially empty due to summer. Sure their were classes going on, but it was sort of a ghost town at the moment compared to what it would be.

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Settling in over the last 4 or 5 days had been fairly easy for Cole. After all, he had few belongings, no schedule to maintain and minimal oversight. The only thing he'd had to do was the test at the Lab which had its ups and downs but went fine. Since then, he'd mostly been entertaining himself. There weren't many people here and he really didn't know anyone too well anyway. Not to mention it was significantly nicer and had far more freedoms than where he'd just been.

At the moment, Cole was sitting under a rather large tree out on the grounds. Wearing simple jeans, a t-shirt and sneakers, he was just a regular student at the moment. He was leaning back against the trunk of the tree, with a digital sketchpad/table on his lap. He might have been mistaken for just idly enjoying his day except for the bits of energetic working he'd engage in. He'd stare off into space a moment or two. Then he'd begin quickly typing/drawing/working on the device. A pause and a satisfied nod, perhaps a moment of reconsideration. Then the cycle would start all over again.

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Cole. Torque. That was his name, or names. Caresse felt like she had found a lone easter egg. She made her way over to the tree he was sitting at and sat herself down. though not too close, hopefully. She liked to think she knew of personal spaces. Maybe it was just a psychic thing she picked up? She didn't know, ut ever since the accident that got her here, she was very wary of people's space. "Hey man," she sailed with a smile and leaned back, "is this seat taken? I hope I'm not interrupting anything important."

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Cole looked up, slightly disoriented and distracted as he pulled himself out his focused state. "Ah, hello there Caresse. Nope. Please feel free," he said nodding to his side. He had no concerns about spacing and contact though he knew she did. "Are you feeling better?," he asked curiously. "I noted your lack of presence around the campus and at meal times the last few days. And given your bike didn't seem to move, I deduced you were ill or wished to be alone in your room after your appointment. You certainly seem happy today," he concluded with a smile. He might not know her too well but he was a fairly intelligent fellow. "And no, you're not interrupting anything important. Just some notes I was making," he said politely putting the device down so he could focus his attention on the conversation and not appear rude.

"

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Caresse nodded as Cole spoke, affirming that she had been cooped up the past few days. "Well, the whole locked away thing," she sighed heavily, "it's, well it's something that needs explaining. First off, I am going to be honest with you. My powers are something I need to explain. I can't touch people. They can't touch me either. Not in a 'I'm not really there' fashion. No, something weird happens. It messes with their," she paused for a moment to sum up the right word, "emotions?" She hung her head glumly, "Before a few days ago it was bad." She looked to him again, "Like it bleed through clothes and stuff. Anything that was on me. But the Albright Institute had been helping me. Trying to get rid of the power overload. They found a 'biology controller'. While he couldn't take the whole power away, he did rearrange it somehow to make it not so potent though." She stopped and blushed a slight bit. She didn't mean to grill him, "If I'm talking about something you didn't want to know, I'll change the subject."

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Cole quirked an eyebrow. "Sounds like a organic version of a power inhibitor," he said idly. "I'm glad it seemed to have worked, and made you more comfortable," he added nodded towards her and noting her proximity. A few days ago, a few feet away had seemed more than close enough. "Sounds like a difficult power to have. Having a way to ease the burden, even not perfectly must seem great. Is it permanent," he asked curiously. "This doesn't upset or bother me. But you don't owe anyone an explanation you know. Your privacy, your choice. I appreciate you telling me of course, but you didn't have to. If I might ask, why did you you tell me," he queried.

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Caresse paused for a moment. The question was a valid one. Why was she here spilling her guts to a guy she only met once. Did she really know that he was trustworthy? He was just the guy that she met on the first day. The first guy, yes, but she met others too. Victoria, Morgan, John and ... the weird kid? She had to save face not to look weird herself. "I apologize," she said sympathetically, "I was just looking for someone to talk to. And you were the first person I happened to see." She sighed, "as for why I'm so open with someone I barely know, you're right. If I have misjudged you, please forgive me." She shook her head downward, putting her arms across the top of her knees, "I've just been cooped up for a while. Being alone makes you, just, I don't know," she looked up and totally expected him to be gone.

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Cole nodded with a smile. "Quite alright. Everyone just needs to unload or vent now and again. Nothing to worry about." He nodded to her. "Being alone sucks," he said with a firm nod. "I get it, believe me." He scratched the side of his face idly, rubbing at an momentary itch. "I completely understand. I was cooped up for about the last 10 months and I don't recall anything before that. I admit, you definitely have a harder time than I. I was just locked up; you've had to deal with your powers being difficult for you too. You must be pretty strong, internally speaking, to carry the burden well enough that you keep smiling. There's no shame in needing to unload now and again. It's good for you. And I don't mind being here for it in the least," he said with a nod and a chuckle. "If it was just a random occurrence."

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Looking to Cole, Caresse leaned her head on her crossed arms that were held up by her knees. She sighed contentedly, "Thank you for understanding." She mentally shook her head at this scene. Here she was, pouring her heart out melodramatically, like some daytime TV talk show. Cole was not Dr Phil, She had to treat him better than that. "I'm sorry to here about your misfortune." Prison? Amnesia? Wow, this guy probably could write a book about his life. She'd love to hear about it, but it sounded personal. She wouldn't prod unless he presented more about, "Should I ask or do you wish to talk about something else?"

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"Not a problem. Happy to help, even though I didn't do much." He shrugged one shoulder and absently waved one hand. "You've got nothing to be sorry for. Me either I suppose. Just the way it is really. I understand the why. It sucked, but I still understand it." He looked at her, tilting his head just a tad. "There's never anything wrong with asking is my philosophy. Questions make it easier to learn right? If someone doesn't want to answer, they can just say that," he said with a happy chuckle.

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Yeah, let's not bring that up again, Caresse thought. "Hm," she thought out loud while picking up her head, "questions. I do have a few. I never got the full tour after sign up, did you? Maybe we can poke around this place and find something out?" She smiled and then glanced over at the thing Cole was drawing and then back to him, "Or we can sit right here. I'd love to get to know someone better. Like what you're doing there?" She pointed to the tablet he was working on, "Could it be those weapons you were talking about?"

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He shrugged one shoulder. "I never really got a full tour but I did memorize the floor plans as well as the grounds layout. I admit to doing a little exploration on some of my free time. I'm fine with walking around seeing stuff again or simply hanging out. Completely up to you." He hands her the digital sketch pad. On it, were multiple pages. Some were of a plasma-sword and another was of a motorcycle. The drawings were easy enough to make out though the writing was rather technical. "One is a weapon, yeah. Vicky mentioned it that first day and was curious if I could make it work. The bike...well, that's just something of a hobby."

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Caresse looked a bit surprised Cole handed his piece of equipment to her. She smiled thankfully and looked at the things he pointed at with a bit confused. The writing was weird to her, but it made sense to hear him talk about it. She nodded along as he spoke. She didn't say anything about the pictures. Technical stuff was his expertise, not drawing. "I have a sword myself," she said softly tracing the schematic with her finger, "but that does look cool." She picked it up again and then lightly touched the bike, "How close to done is it?"

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"It's copied from that movie actually. I'd actually seen them on the Net while stuck in the Facility. I like trying to build things so, figured I'd see it is possible." He chuckled. "I haven't started building it yet; just working on the designs and engineering of it. Think I got it. I'll probably take a crack at building it tomorrow or the next day. I think I should be able to get it built with a couple days work...barring any unforeseen accidents of course," he adds with a grin. "This will be the first time I can build something without someone taking it away. Should be fun."

"You use a sword? Is it anything particular like a monomolecular blade or something you could buy somewhere," he asked curiously. "I've done some sparring but don't really have a preference for anything particular," he added. "Do you do martial arts or something? Or just have a thing for swords," he asked curiously.

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Caresse looked confused at the word 'monomolecular', but she smiled anyway. "Well, it is something I earned," she nodded. "I saved up every last bit of money for a long time." She handed back Cole's tablet to him. "It cost me a pretty penny, but when I had enough, my teacher knew this sword maker in Japan who knew how to make swords with ancient techniques. He made my teacher's sword and he made my sword. It's not all science or magic, but it's very special to me." She sighed, "yeah, I've had eight years of kendo and iaido lessons. Things change when you get powers."

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Cole nodded to her. "So it is special then. It's like keepsake, a treasure memory or a badge of the effort you put in. That's pretty cool."

He had no idea if had ever trained or for how much but, from the testing he had undergone, he knew he was no slouch. "What made you start studying? That is quite an investment of time for a young person. I'll take your word about changing. How did everything change for you?". It wasnt the same question as how was she different but it was along a similar vein.

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Caresse shook her head to the notion about it being a keepsake and a treasure. When he asked about the changes, she looked up again. "It's something like this. Remember I told you that my people affects people's minds? It does so tremendously. When I first started out it was cool. Everyone was like 'Hey Caresse, show us that thing you can do!' and i would start to glow happily," she tried to show it off, but it was not a happy glow. It was a black outline that surrounded her now. "I'm sorry, that's what I'm feeling now," she hid the aura. "But I would glow a happier color, and then when I touched them, it made THEM happy. Like emphatically so. I eventually learned to not give it out so freely. When people started trying to pay cash I cut that quick. It was reserved for only special occasions. But then the ugly side showed up. I could do more than happy. Apparently i could do fear and sadness. Unintentionally. By feeling it. When those went off in a crowded room, well, things got very less friendly. And that's why I'm here." She looked at him with a weak smile, "Though I'm sure this is just unwarranted projection on to you. I apologize."

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Cole nodded as she spoke, taking in what she said and did as well. "So you were having fun and your power spiked somehow. It went out of control and people no longer thought it cool. It made it harder to have friends or maintain the image of who you were 'before'. Here you're safer, on a more even footing I would imagine, not to mention the possibility of finding a teacher for your abilities thereby learning how to control it hopefully. Sounds like a good thing for you to be here then, despite the trauma and difficulties you've likely endured," he said with a nod and a little smile. "I do hope you'll be happier here."

He paused a moment, looking over at her and the dark glow. "So, given the aura you're projecting or just did project, are you implying that I am making you uncomfortable or unhappy somehow? I don't mind you projecting those previous problems on me; I understand. But I don't want to be making you uncomfortable." He continued to look at her a moment. "Have you tried reading emotions from others or forcing yourself to feel something in order change that aura?," he asked curiously. He lifted a hand hand and put his hand out, holding it there a long moment. "If you want to try, I'm willing," he said honestly.

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"Sort of, " Caresse said with a a little break in her voice. She was trying to put the sadness behind her, "If I think about it real hard I can do an emotion I'm not feeling." She closed her eyes and the black outline came back. She took a deep breath and squinted hard. For a moment, she was glowing a dark purple. "Happy," her aura switched to a dark white, "Calm," she switched to a dark blue, "Hope." She stopped glowing, "Yeah," she blushed, "it's not the real emotion I'm feeling, but I can control it a bit." She took off her glove slowly with a bit of a hard swallow, "Is there anything you want in particular?"

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Cole shook his head. "No no, you misunderstand. I'm not asking you to make me feel anything. That would be reminiscent of wherever you went to school and endured all of that. I was trying to show that not everyone is afraid or reluctant because of what you can project into them. That I apparently cause or make you think of some kind of stress, hence the black aura. That I am trying to rectify that by my willingness to undergo whatever negative feelings I provoke in order for you to feel better. I am not concerned or worried about how it will affect me." He left his hand there but shrugged. "If you don't want to risk it, I understand. I am simply offering."

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Caresse blushed and covered the top part of her face with her open hand, "I apologize for jumping the gun. I thought you were helping in a different way." Her eyes closed, she took one big breath through her nose while pinching the bridge and then exhaled. She was not about to breakdown now. She was glad she didn't have to show that damn aura all the time. The glove slipped back on easily thanks to the morphic molecules. She ran back what he said in her mind. Now it made sense! He was asking her if she could read auras. "As for the aura reading thing," she shook her head, "no. I've never tried or even thought about it. I wouldn't even know how to start." She smiled lightly, "Would you?"

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He gave a rueful little smile. "That wouldn't be helping you at all. Besides, it'd be a little rude and insensitive in my opinion," He waved her apology away. It wasn't a big deal. "Not a clue. I've done no research whatsoever on such things. I really don't have any powers like you if you recall. I was just using logical progression and reasoning. Emotional projection is only a tiny step from emotional reading which is extremely close to true telepathy. Maybe with training your powers will expand and develop that ability as well." He looked at her curiously as he closed her eyes and pinched her nose; it was something people who were frustrated or had headaches did (not in this case but he didn't know that). "Are you alright?

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Caresse did some hand waving of her own, "I'm OK," she said half lying. "Telepathy, huh? You mean I can be the Scarab one day?" She grinned at the thought while putting her pointer fingers on her temple. "Cole, I'm seeing... I'm seeing... That you're an awesome person." She smiled, touching his shirt near his heart, "Don't ever change that, man." She blushed and scooted a bit back to her original cross-legged relaxing position leaning back. "So, uh, how do you like the school so far," she said looking to get her mind elsewhere.

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He gave a smile. "That's a pretty lofty goal. But who knows? Maybe you could be that powerful and heroic someday. Is that something you want? To be a superhero?" He chuckled at her fake reading; he barely knew who he was, the chances that he wasn't going to change on some level were infinitesimally small. Still, he understood and appreciated what she had been trying to say. "I'll do what I can," he said with a small smile though he noted she avoided answering his question. "School? Well, we've only been here a few day. Still settling in I guess. But honestly, it is way better than the Facility so I've got no complaints at all. How about you?"

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"I really don't know to tell you the truth," Caresse shrugged, "My condition makes it hard to interact with other people. But then again, if I had real telepathy I could just wrap myself up like the Scarab and let no one ever know who I was." She crossed her arms behind her head to prop up, "But that's why we're here right? A whole school full of powered teenagers?" She smirked, "If at least five of us don't become the Power Rangers I'll be surprised." She shook her head, "Well, you've possibly seen more than me," she sighed. "This is the first day i've truly got around to seeing things. The first day there was that whole rampaging powers problem and the other days i was so numb from 'surgery' I didn't want to even leave my bed much less my room."

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