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The growing group of young metahumans and aliens found the flight to Canada considerably less eventful than the one to India, but their reception was equally less warm. There was no one to greet the four teenagers as they disembarked at Thunder Bay International Airport after a brief stop over on the west coast, walking through the long corridors of shopping establishments before finding a local map and a set of hastily scrawled directions left for them at the information desk. The path marked for them in ballpoint pen left the city and traveled northward, into what looked like a wooded area. The desk attendant's sunny smile flickered briefly as she glanced at the location of the broad X indicating the route's destination, but she was evidently too polite to say anything unbidden. At the bottom of the written direction, on a page that had clearly been torn out of a journal, the scratchy penmanship finished, DON'T stray into the woods. And thanks. --DS

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Sharl had used his medical certificate to get around the security systems at the airport yet again, and the boy was staring fascinated at the window at the alien landscape outside as the other teens talked to the ticket agent. He tried to remind himself that he had to be careful here: he was very far away from this world's civilization so far north, and an accident could put him in serious trouble. But the bizarre world outside with its gigantic natural plants, freakishly underbuilt city, and locals, no doubt with many colorful customs. "What an amazing place this is!" he finally said, coming back to join the others, looking as awed by this semi-rural industrial town as if he was walking through the Royal Palace of Atlantis. "Who knows what's waiting for us where we're going?"

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Corbin had gone from formal attire to something better suited to the climate and location; seeing that their path took them into the woods, he was especially glad for this. He glanced around, adjusting the strap on his duffel bag somewhat. wearing a red and black flannel shirt, heavy-duty blue jeans, and solid-looking work boots, he mostly stood out due to his stature, though one or two people gave him amused glances. He didn't really seem to notice as he frowned at the map.

"Yeah, that map's a bit odd. Don't like the feel of this, not totally anyways. Why are we going into the woods? Not like we're in a small town, this place is pretty big these days."

At Sharl's question, he gave a pained grimace.

"Sharl, we saw what me tempting fate did. Let's not poke the sleeping cougar, hm?"

With one more glance at the map, he started heading outside and off to their destination. Whatever it was, exactly.

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As soon as the passengers had been able to disembark from the plane Indira had - with polite apologies - disappeared into a bathroom, showing back up in a purple tank top and khakis as the others reached the information desk. Her clothes were, if not scandalously loose or sheer, at the very least more fitted and casual than what she'd worn under her parents' careful oversight. She'd grown more relaxed in general as the flight had gone on, really, still terribly polite but acting less like she was walking on eggshells.

The teenager was highly interested in the sights and sounds too, though she apparently tried harder to not show it; those dark brown eyes betrayed her, though, darting curiously around as she followed the others outside. "It is a very interesting place. Cougars - they are the large tan cats, I think? I would not mind meeting one, though it would seem rude to make it wake up just for us."

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Eve had cast an appreciate glance at Indira as the teen heroes disembarked and had a small chuckle at how... prepared Corbin was. She suspected that neither Sharl or Indira would need much in the way of outdoorsy clothing; she couldn't forget how Sharl passed through the closed door (like some sort of phantom) and Indira had her own remarkable physiological differences.

Which left her at a decided disadvantage, she was ill prepared for a jaunt into the great outdoors. She opened her mouth, about to ask for the location of the best outdoor apparel shop when she caught the subtle uncomfortable vibe, and immediately switched gears. "Is something the matter?" the telepath asked in her soft, French-accented soprano.

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The attendant, a reedy brunette closer to Corbin's height than Eve's and sporting a uniform that did her otherwise attractive features no favours, perked up noticeably as the petite telepath addressed her. The Orléans accent marked Eve as much more recognizably interesting that the vaguely unusual behaviour of her companions, and Becky, as her nametag proclaimed her, straightened slightly even as she looked a little sheepish. "Oh, no, sorry! It's just that I was pretty curious about-- People don't usually leave maps for us to pass on like that, right?" she stumbled over herself in explanation. "There's some local legends about a cabin around that spot. Y'know, goofy campfire stuff. 'And he had a hook!'" Imitating an overdramatic narrator, she crooked one finger with mock menace before self-consciously using the same hand to tuck hair behind her ear. "Gave me the heebie jeebies as a kid."

Studying the map as he and the others stepped outside, Corbin found that they were going to have to catch a cab or bus to begin with unless the flight capable youths wanted to reveal themselves by traveling under their own power. Even then, following the winding trail laid out for them was probably going to be easiest from the ground.

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As soon as the passengers had been able to disembark from the plane Indira had - with polite apologies - disappeared into a bathroom, showing back up in a purple tank top and khakis as the others reached the information desk. Her clothes were, if not scandalously loose or sheer, at the very least more fitted and casual than what she'd worn under her parents' careful oversight. She'd grown more relaxed in general as the flight had gone on, really, still terribly polite but acting less like she was walking on eggshells.

The teenager was highly interested in the sights and sounds too, though she apparently tried harder to not show it; those dark brown eyes betrayed her, though, darting curiously around as she followed the others outside. "It is a very interesting place. Cougars - they are the large tan cats, I think? I would not mind meeting one, though it would seem rude to make it wake up just for us."

Corbin chuckled at Indira's literal interpretation, even as he rolled his sleeves up.

"It's a figure of speech. Well, a variation of one. The whole point is that something like a cougar would be dangerous to wake up like that. I'm just saying, we ought to be careful. Last time I said "things are going smoothly", our plane nearly crashed. Suppose I'm just a mite superstitious."

He shrugs as he looks around for a nearby bus stop. Failing one of those, he'll keep an eye out for a cab, to flag it down.

"We're going to have to hoof some of this, but hopefully we can get a ride at least halfway."

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"We won't see Rogue here," said Sharl a little defensively. "There's not enough high technology in this area for her to use safely. You saw how she fights, she's not going to confront us openly again unless she has some way of taking the advantage. Like making the plane crash." Folding his arms, he stepped back, letting people with more experience with these bizarre cities find what passed for public transportation in the middle of this exotic forest. "How long does it take buses to show up here, anyway? This place is practically the middle of nowhere."

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Indira blinked at Corbin, raising her eyebrows. "Ah - I see," she apologized. "I am sorry; English is my fourth language, and I am often surprised I ever learned more than two. Figures of speech are...they often take some getting used to. 'Poke a sleeping cougar'. Hmm."

"We won't see Rogue here," said Sharl a little defensively. "There's not enough high technology in this area for her to use safely. You saw how she fights, she's not going to confront us openly again unless she has some way of taking the advantage. Like making the plane crash."

"It sounds like I missed something exciting," she observed, listening with great interest as Sharl defended...himself? Rogue? "Though I am glad none of you were hurt. I am afraid I don't know much about buses, here or anywhere - I usually traveled on foot." "That would likely be harder to do at any respectable speed, here, without drawing attention."

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The telepath failed to suppress the giggle at Becky's dramatic imitation. Eve hated when she giggled, to her it was a sound that belongs to someone six years younger, but she did manage to hide her cringe of embarrassment, mostly.

"Perhaps when you get off work you could you tell me about these legends?" Eve asked, willing some of the heat away from her countenance. "It's been a long flight and it would be nice to learn a little more about the area, the map is, as you say, unusual."

Eve frowned when she glanced outside, noting Corbin waiting near a bus stop with the two new students. "One more thing," she added, smiling at Becky, "And I hate to be a bother. Could you phone a car service for us, and recommend a hotel? I'll buy you dinner for your trouble. That is if you don't mind talking about goofy campfire stories."

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A nearby map of the local public transit and a long list of times made it clear that it would be a simple enough matter to get to the edge of the campgrounds nearby their destination, as white and blue buses headed for other parts of the city rolled toward and away from the airport. It was also a simple enough matter to calculate that, as late in the day as they'd arrived, it would be getting dark by the time they made it even that far, and with their luggage in tow it made more sense to find accommodations and set off in the morning.

While Eve may have done a good job of hiding any colour in her cool complexion, Becky's cheeks turned an immediate rosy hue at the French girl's proposition. "Oh! Ah, I mean... okay." The lean airport employee seemed to make a decision to throw caution to the wind, grabbing a pad of paper and quickly jotting down a few lines of information. "Right, um, there's a jump of hotels right near here, but I know this one has a bunch of rooms after a convention cancelled on them. There's a care service we have a contract with I can call, and if you weren't expecting a hike, there's a equipment store down there on the left." Becky pointed down the wide corridor lined with shops. "They jack up the prices, but it's worse if you try picking stuff up at the actual camp sites. And... there's my number, too." Blush renewing, she offered the paper to Eve with a sheepish smile. "I get off in half an hour."

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Sharl kept to himself on the ride to the hotel, doing yeoman work in carrying bags upstairs. For all that his colleagues had seen him walk right through walls, there was certainly nothing about the electronic youth that lacked physical strength. "Listen," he said when they were all there and the others busy checking in, "I need to get my computer set up and see if I can get an Internet connection. I don't need one to survive, but it'll make the night here a lot easier. You guys, uh, you go eat and have a good time. I have what I need in my laptop, and I don't want to have another accident."

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Corbin had enjoyed the ride to the hotel, taking a few precious moments of near-quiet to compose himself a bit. When the arrived and settled in a bit, Sharl voiced his desire to stay behind. Corbin shrugged.

"That's fine. Just give us a call if you need anything; I'm sure you can manage it. We shouldn't be gone for super-long. I promise not to spend the whole night eating."

He gave the small group a grin worthy of a fox in the henhouse.

"After all, I figure I need to make up for two folks who don't eat much if anything, and one teeny tiny gymnast girl who probably just needs two pieces of toast to survive a week."

He's ready to dodge any swings from Eve that his teasing prompts. He starts walking toward the door, hoping the others follow.

"So. What are you guys craving? I could do just about anything, but I thought I saw an "all you can eat buffet" sign on our way in. Want to see if I was right?"

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Fortune had smiled on the Claremont students both old and new; the convention cancelation left many rooms vacant so with an eye to privacy Eve rented out the entire floor. Eve stashed the new clothing and gear in room set aside for Indira and herself and took some time to shower, placed a call to the concierge desk letting them know that she had a guest on the way to the hotel, left a similar message on Becky's phone inviting her up to the Claremonter's floor and slipped into something a little nicer.

"After all, I figure I need to make up for two folks who don't eat much if anything, and one teeny tiny gymnast girl who probably just needs two pieces of toast to survive a week."

Eve chuckled and rolled her eyes. "Two pieces of toast? I'm not a glutton; one half of a slice and a thimbleful of water," she corrected.

He's ready to dodge any swings from Eve that his teasing prompts. He starts walking toward the door, hoping the others follow.

"So. What are you guys craving? I could do just about anything, but I thought I saw an "all you can eat buffet" sign on our way in. Want to see if I was right?"

"Hey, Corbin," Eve called after the linebacker sized teen. "Let's wait until Becky gets here, see what she recommends. It pays to listen to the locals. Besides, a buffet?" She wrinkled her nose, "Getting up all the time to refill your plate sort of ruins conversation, and nothing says 'date worthy' like a sneeze guard."

The telepath glanced back at the room the two boys were sharing. She had poked her head in earlier when she heard Sharl didn't intend to come with them and she urged him to reconsider; she was worried about him isolating himself.

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"There's no point in it," said Sharl, shaking his head at Eve's offer. He was unpacking his computer as they talked, plugging it into the nearby wall socket with practiced ease. "I'm not going to eat solid food while we're here. I'm not going to risk, uh, making a mess again," he added, blushing a little. "And there's no point in my just sitting there and watching the rest of you eat when there's work to be done," he added. "Sitting there and concentrating, minute by minute, knowing that if something goes through me it'll go through all the way. I..." He hesitated a moment, then asked with a hint of hope, "Leave your phone on the table. I'll watch and listen everything that's going on, and if you guys need me, I'll pop in. I'm going to spend some time doing more research about the area. Maybe we can get a better lead on who this person is we're supposed to meet."

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Indira followed the others, remaining largely quiet and letting Eve and Corbin plan; it was less the silence of a shy person and more the silence of someone satisfied to let others handle things they were more suited for.

Until the subject of food came up and she thought she should probably chime in, anyway. "I do not eat, myself," she admitted. "But I would be happy to join you for a meal, regardless."

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Becky arrived shortly after Eve's call, wearing a blouse and jeans which were considerably more flattering on her tall, slender frame than her work uniform. As it turned out, Corbin had spotted just one of several buffet style restaurants in the area of the city around the airport and multiple hotels, but the one their local guide directed them to was clearly on the nicer side and offered the option of more traditional menu selections as well as an 'all you can eat' alternative. The brunette seemed both relieved and disappointed that they were going out to eat as a group, but was quickly distracted by her interest in the recently well traveled teens.

Back at the hotel, Sharl had a chance to do a more thorough search on the name Eve and Corbin had been given for the third student they were to pick up: Kimber Storm. Just as before, they'd been given little more to go on then a name and plane tickets; given the last two eventful stops the chances that the entire tour was something of a test were seeming more and more likely. Disconcertingly, even with his considerable talent for ferreting out information online, Sharl wasn't able to much of anything. Varying his keywords a bit turned up a few pages on Daniel Storm, a sometimes member of Canada's national super team, but that was it.

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Corbin turned to look at Eve with confusion in his eyes.

"Who is Becky?"

----------------------------------------------------------

It didn't take that long to get an answer. At which point he was profoundly glad Indira was coming with them; at least this way he didn't feel like an over-sized third wheel. Not as much, anyways. Plus, this way Eve got her sit-down eating, and he got his buffet!

He sat down in a chair that creaked a bit at his size, his initial plate absolutely loaded with a wide variety of food, his face bearing a huge hungry grin.

"Man, this place has some great stuff!"

He considered trying to lead the dialogue more, but between his hunger and his desire to let Eve have at least a bit of "date time", he chose to start eating, instead.

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Sharl hmmed, studying his results. If Kimber Storm was a relative of Daniel Storm, that would explain the secrecy about her background. While not every hero was as insular personally as Gina, many of them did have very good reason to keep their true names, and their loved ones, secret. He folded his hands before him as he studied his computer, the laptop's light reflecting in his mirrored sunglasses. "There's only one way to solve this mystery," Sharl decided. He dropped his connection to Sage's phone as the blue wi-fi symbol blazed across his chest, and Citizen sent his allies a quick text. Going to talk to True North. May be a bit. And with that, Sharl stepped right into the computer and jetted his way into True North's servers!

The True North network was a clean, orderly system, programs and files moving about in an organized, logical way beneath Sharl's feet. He focused on what he'd heard about Kimber Storm, jetting about the system below as he tried to find information on the young lady who bore the same name as Canada's magical hero.

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Indira didn't seem to eat much of anything - or drink much of anything, for that matter, politely refusing offers of food or inquiries into her appetite. The meal in general was obviously less interesting than the people partaking.

The Indian girl made polite, cheerful conversation with Eve and Becky (and Corbin, when he wasn't eating; she could actually become hollow if she wanted to, and even she wasn't sure where he could possibly put all that), picking at a scarce plate that never emptied and dark curious eyes that never stopped taking in their surroundings.

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True North's database clearly hadn't been designed with someone of Sharl's specific abilities in mind, but the security was tight enough to keep him out of any national secrets. Annoyingly, while he was able to access a considerable amount of information on the Canadian team's members, Daniel Storm was evidently classified officially as a 'consultant'. The sheer number of incidence reports he featured in made that claim somewhat suspect, but it meant that mandatory physicals, psyche evaluations and the like were conspicuously missing from his files. Doing a little digging and slipping past a few firewalls, however, Sharl was able to find an entry which clearly listed the occult expert as having no known living relatives. Of a Kimber Storm there was no mention.

Becky for her part was clearly enthralled by the multinational group. It was easy to see why the young woman had taken a job at the airport, given her penchant for hearing about far off places. It seemed the trait ran both ways, as she was more than happy to related the various local legends about the haunted cabin in the woods. Most of the stories were variations on ones the human teenagers were already familiar with: a masked killer with a cleaver, a ravenous beast that only appeared at night, the ghosts of a disturbed burial site. The tales were mutually exclusive for the most part and presumably flights of fancy; even Becky herself considered them nothing more than macabre entertainment. Still, if there really was a cabin at the end of the trail marked for them, it sounded like a perfect place for anyone looking to avoid being found.

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Earlier Eve smothered her disappointment that Sharl opted out of dinner; she understood the reasons the teen from Tronik provided but she didn't agree with them. Despite that she didn't press the issue at that moment (there really wasn't time) but she had made a mental note to sit down with Sharl and bend her "do not pry" rule a little.

A rule she was gleefully bending right now, as the young Martel was thoroughly enjoying the presence of Becky. The tall brunette had a knack for storytelling, and Eve found herself mesmerized by her voice (among other things.)

During one lull in the conversation, Eve quirked a snow white eyebrow at Becky and asked, "Would you happen to know a Kimber Storm?"

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Corbin ignored the stares his friends, Becky, and some nearby tables were giving him; after all, he'd done a total of 4 plates of food before dessert, all of them stacked plenty high!

He was finally getting some decent comfort food! Sure, it wasn't like they made it back home, but a lot of this stuff was pretty good, especially for a buffet. And while the food he'd had when they'd met Indira was interesting, it wasn't quite his style. Despite the amount he was eating, he never scarfed the food down, and made no mess to speak of; any "mess" was easily taken care of with a wipe or two of a napkin.

He stayed fairly quiet during the dinner, though he answered any questions Becky had, and threw in the occasional comment to the conversation in general. He did slip a curious glance at Eve once in a while. Finally, after he'd sat down with a dessert plate that had 3 kinds of cake and a couple good-sized scoops of ice cream, he sent a question toward her over their mental link.

'I know you're the one who said this needed to be a group thing, but...we're not cramping your style, are we? If you want, we can stay an extra day here. Don't think Summers would be ticked about it.'

About then, Eve asked a potentially loaded question, and Corbin took a slow, careful bite as he waited for the answer himself.

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Becky gave Eve a curious look, tilting her head slightly to one side as poured syrup onto the last of a stack of waffles from a small glass pitcher. "Who? I don't think so, doesn't really sound familiar." The slim brunette furrowed her brow earnestly as she wracked her memory, but evidently the name wasn't ringing any bells. "Are you guys, like... hunting for her or something?" The local girl's voice became a little breathless at the thought of an international game of cat and mouse, laying the fingers of one hand over Eve's wrist on the restaurant table.

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Indira raised her eyebrows, smiling the most disarming smile she could. Or, at least, what she was pretty sure was a disarming smile. "Only technically," she reassured Becky, gesturing with a hand that had spent most of the meal folded on the table or in her lap. "We are trying to find her, and we do not know how easy she will be to find...but she is not in any sort of trouble, that we know of. We ask only because we have been asked to find her but given very little information about her, and these things seem to get...complicated, sometimes."

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