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Dariusprime

Little Big Trouble (IC)

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10 June 2011, 2:30 pm

Claremont Academy

South Fields

Fulcrum leaned against a decent-sized boulder she'd carried in from the coast. The apprehension she'd felt about taking another mentoring gig slowly faded the longer she was out here. For better or worse, Wander was her first assignment, and she'd done the best she could. Hopefully the best given the situation. She wished Wander the best, and hoped she'd do well in whatever field she pursued. Which of course brought her thoughts back to her new pupil: Wisp.

Thankfully for her she knew Wisp from previous engagements. In fact from numerous previous engagements, heroic or mundane. That helped calm her nerves a bit more. Plus the surprised look on Mr. Summers' face when Wisp recollected their meetings was priceless. She had the feeling he didn't often find himself surprised or uninformed.

As for Wisp herself, the young heroine certainly knew how to fight and use her powers. Probably as a result of intensive training at Claremont, but she'd have to ask specifically. She seemed like the easy-going type, maybe even a bit nerdy, to which Fulcrum could relate. She wondered if Victoria enjoyed art and reading. Again she'd have to ask.

"What name she prefers too," she said to herself while checking her phone. The meeting was scheduled for 2:45 pm officially, but the giantess wanted to collect a few 'training' aids before arriving. Assorted heavy objects of varying weights littered the area. Which included a microwave-sized ingot of super alloy she borrowed from Viktor. That thing was dense!

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Vicky appeared in the air a few feet over the ground just a couple minutes early. Flipping forward once she landed in a crouch, one arm behind her, the other balled in a fist before her pressed into the grass. "Good afternoon Mona. I hope I'm not late. I was just finishing a project I was working on," she said rising to her full five foot height. She was barefoot though her other training clothes, baggy black pants and a tight purple tank top, were in place. She'd skipped the mask given the heat of the day. Her eyes, ruby points in pools of inky black, darted around looking at the objects in field. "Wowza, when you said tossing tons around, you weren't joking."

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"Not at all, Victoria. Or do you prefer Vicky?" asked Fulcrum as she pocketed her phone. She was dressed in her usual costume, but like the other times they'd been together, she didn't seem bothered by the weather at all.

Turning to Vicky, she picked up the large adamantine ingot and tossed it to her like beachball. She said, "I remember our meeting with Mr. Summers. About how the Doom Room could do a lot of things, but accurate representations of dense objects were somewhat problematic. And that the super-lift gym machines were in for repairs. Figured this would be a good workout."

Realizing she knew surprisingly little about Wisp, she decided to chat and see how things developed. "How are you liking Claremont so far?"

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"I prefer Vicky most of the time," she said side-stepping over to a couple small items with a handy label stating each weighed five hundred pounds. With just a minor grunt of effort she hefted one in each hand. "Loving it here. I miss being able to swing over to Gino's East whenever I feel like a high quality deep dish pie though. That aside, Claremont has been a nice place for me to get a fresh start. Plus, it helps there's several clubs here that are relevant to my interests. Took less than a weekend to get involved with the gaming club."

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Fulcrum smiled and picked up a similarly sized rock. "That's great! What sort of gaming club is it? Board games, cards, video games, rpgs?"

She considered asking her about the 'fresh start', but given the problems with earning Wander's initial trust, she said nothing. Yes, Wander eventually divulged several very personal stories, for which Fulcrum proved an able keeper. She didn't want to feel nosy though. Not with someone she knew only in her heroic identity. Best to keep things slow.

"I imagine the transition to a new school is difficult enough without throwing powers into the mix. What year will be in this fall?" she asked while picking up a block of metal and juggling her load.

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"Mostly it's the classic pen and paper role-playing games. We tend to fluctuate between Dungeons and Dragons, GURPS, Star Wars and World of Darkness," she answered tossing the quarter-ton objects and catching them as if they weighed no more than a common baseball. "Also, some of the guys have been helping me with my poker skills so if you guys want to have another go, I'll bring the feast of pizza and a couple bulk packages of candy to bet with."

Vicky could all but see the question on Fulcrum's tongue, "Back in Chicago, I was the easy target for bullies. Geek, bi, anti-social, and more than a little bit of a loudmouth. I've tried to change those last two here, I think it's gone pretty well so far. But yeah, the change hasn't been particularly easy, so glad I got the stupid energy blasts under control before I lost more sketchbooks and skirts." The last sentence was half muttered before she brightened a little, "Junior year this fall."

"So, I didn't have a chance to ask last time we met up, what with that five-hundred pound crystal and the questions and questions from the guys at ASTRO, how'd Grim's wedding go?"

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"Ah, D&D. I have fond memories of that one," she replied while still juggling. "Haven't played in years. Haven't really had the time. Would like to try World of Darkness though."

Her face turned a little sheepish when Vicky answered her unspoken question. "Sorry. I appreciate the confidence. As you well know, I'm rather...straightforward, and would rather have everything on table at once. But I don't want to seem as if I'm prying."

"Hey, nothing wrong with being a loudmouth though," she added with a smile. Then she tossed Vicky one of her own 500 lb "weights" and added, "All depends on the delivery. You should meet my team mate Jack. He spent years refining his wit to a razor's edge." Didn't add that sometimes he still annoyed her, if only in the sense she wanted to give him a noogie. "On the positive side, you do now have the energy blasts under control. What all can you do with them?"

At the mention of her school year, Mona nodded and looked into the sky, "Wow, a junior. I feel so old. Anything good on your schedule?"

The question of Grim's wedding only resulted in a shaking of the head and eye roll. "The wedding itself: beautiful. The reception: enjoyable. The party crasher: not so much. An old nemesis of Colt's showed up, speechified and tried to goad him. The...oh...eight heroes in the room promptly stomped him and we went back to celebrating."

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"I'm not a huge fan of World of Darkness myself but I have the PDFs and know the gist of the rules. Personally, I'd rather be Buffy than early series Spike in a vampire crowded world," she said shaking her head slightly.

"It's cool, if there was anything I didn't feel like sharing, I would let you know, as politely as possible," she said with a smile.

Vicky caught the weight as she began juggling the two she already held, "Right now, all I've got going on is a fairly inaccurate but powerful burst of energy. Aside from accuracy, I'm working on getting it to 'burn bright, not hot' to act as a less painful way to subdue a foe via blinding light rather than pushing his teeth in."

Keeping her rhythm going she replied, "The big thing I'm looking forward to is the sequential art classes. Grim might still have the sketch I did of her that afternoon we met but I've gotten a lot better since then."

Vicky laughed as Fulcrum recounted the events, "Curbstomp battle eh? Poor schmuck."

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"That's good. Keeping your attacks non-lethal is an admirable goal. Especially considering the kind of people we end up fighting," she replied while continuing her own warm up. "I know from personal experience that the key to ranged powers is the old trope: practice, practice, practice. We can practice the blasts if you want, but we'll have to find a more secluded spot."

"What is your power source by the way? I've noticed that powers often come with themes, not just their users. Maybe we can come up with some philosophy that helps you modify the power," she added before dropping with weights with heavy thumps. She then picked up the block of alloy and began twisting it like clay.

Fulcrum's face lit up at the mention of sequential art. "Really? I'll have to ask to see it. Are you considering art as career? Cartooning, graphic design, commercial art? Do you have a portfolio? I'll admit I'm a bit biased since it's what I do for a living."

As for the wedding reply, she just shook her head again and added, "I mean, really, that is not the time for your big reveal. Wait for the honeymoon or something so you have only two people to battle. I swear I should write a villain manual. Then again some fool would probably follow it and take over the world."

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"I'll have to bring it next time," she said in response to her question about a portfolio. "Mostly I'm doing my own graphic novels, my personal favorite is this genre-blend of the wild west and zombies."

"I'd like that. I usually just use the equivalent of a skeet shooting setup to practice my blasts. One of the guys I train with has these red and black energy blasts so we've got this cool little opposing symmetry going," she explained as a little of her own light blue and black crackling energy began to surround her hands. Noticing she caught the weights and closed her eyes. After a few seconds the aura around her hands subsided. "Sorry. Guess my control isn't as good as I thought. Though, last month I'd have probably ended up wrecking the weights."

When Mona mentioned the source of her powers the weights dropped from her hands. After a minute of silence while she thought Vicky finally spoke. "How familiar are you with the foes the Centurion had during the Great Patriotic War? Specifically 'der Ubermench'? My mother, well for the sake of expedience I'll just tell you that she was given a serum the Soviet army had seized from Nazi scientists instead of how. We're pretty sure that's where my strength, regeneration, and energy blasts come from. Thing is, I haven't shared this with the rest of my team yet. I did tell my boyfriend but not everyone else." Taking a deep breath she shook her head, "I mean, what do I tell them? 'Hey guys, I'm technically Superior's grand-daughter.'?"

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Fulcrum smiled, an almost Cheshire Cat grin. "Oh, really? That's different. I haven't read much like that. Love to see it. Thanks."

Of course mentally, the giantess began processing this new information. Sure, Wisp was in high school, but she remembered some of the work she'd seen in her honors art courses. Not to pat her own back, but some of her own as well. Whether she'd want to be published, if it was even publishable, was another matter. But certainly Mona would look it over. She needed opening-gate titles. Something about Wisp gave her a good feeling.

These thoughts, artistic and financial, flashed across her face in only a millisecond or two. Then she was all mellowness, watching Wisp's energy build it. She nodded and said, "You could have fooled me. I thought you were doing that voluntarily. Is the energy active or passive? Is it like tensing a muscle to use it, or more like holding back the power?" All practical question if they were to train!

She was about to ask about her team mate when the sudden silence fell. For a moment she nearly groaned, thinking she'd really said something wrong, or perhaps pried too far too fast. Her own alloy-clay training ceased, and she watched Wisp with concern. When the truth came out, Fulcrum smiled understandingly at Wisp's trepidation. She stepped over and squeezed her shoulder.

"Thank you. I appreciate your trust," she said, spinning the metal basketball. "You'll know when the time is right. That's vague, but when you really feel like a team, then the big reveal will seem pretty easy. Trust me." She wasn't sure if she should talk about her own experiences, yet anyway, but waited for Wisp's response before deciding.

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"Yeah, I'll have to tell them eventually. Not sure when but I know I will. Just, do me a favor. If I ever wear anything like his SS looking uniform, please punch me in the head. Repeatedly," she said, finishing with a slight smile.

Picking up her weights she resumed hefting them, "Sort of both, calling it up consciously feels like I'm tensing nearly every muscle in my body but when I unleash it I feel like a faucet set on full blast. When I'm not actively calling it up but instead having it begin to leak out on it's own, getting it to dissipate is closer to letting out a breath you didn't notice you were holding."

When she mentioned her zombie comic, she saw the look cross Mona's face she felt the need to say something more, "I have other stuff that rings closer to classic Sci-Fi and fantasy too, the Weird West is just the one I've worked on the most lately. I admit, I've got that artist's temperament where I can easily find myself flitting from one project to the next as ideas strike my fancy... Something I'm working on, Dead Noon was my attempt at that."

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Fulcrum laughed as she returned to her own training device. Hefting it up, she continued molding it like clay. "Sure thing. I'll try my best to slap some sense into you." Shaking her head, she added casually, "I know how having a bad power source can be burden. My powers all come from the Terminus."

"That's an interesting analogy there. Sounds like you could really refine your control then. Fortunately and unfortunately, probably take a lot of practice on your part. Sounds like you're willing to put in the time though!" Which was certainly true, as far as Mona had seen. Wisp seemed to be a very talented and yet very disciplined hero.

As for her artistic personality, that Mona really did comprehend easily. "'Dead Noon'? Sounds really fun. Look, I'll be up front with you. I'm starting up my own publishing company soon. If you want, and 'Dead Noon' or another entry of your work looks ready to publish, I'd like to give it a whirl. I'll give you a fair deal, and probably land you some spending or college money. May require a bit more focus on one project for a while though."

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Wisp looked up at the giantess.  "Wow, um, don't take this the wrong way or anything but you seem a few years too old to be a T-baby..."

"I probably could but right now, my main goal is just getting a better handle on the energy blast itself.  Mr. Archer has Glowstar and I shooting skeet with our blasts while Myrmidon pegs them with various weapons he summons," she explained.

The snow-haired teen's mouth split into a wide smile, her ruby eyes sparkling.  "That would be awesome!  I'll gather up Dead Noon and some other pitch-comics from my portfolio and bring 'em by The Brownstone sometime in the next few days.  Maybe bring a pizza or three with me, make it a business lunch."

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Fulcrum chuckled and replied, "I know. I know. I was twelve at the time of the Invasion. I took direct burst of both Centurion's and Omega's energy. Seemed to have a similar effect to the Terminus baby phenomenon."

"Eh, I'm open to ideas," she said to Wisp's comment on energy blast practice, "Mr. Summers left this whole enterpreise wide open. We can do most anything you'd like. Maybe go patroling? I understand the school doesn't normally allow that."

Putting the alloy ball under one arm, Fulcrum stepped up to Wisp and offered her a handshake, "Deal. Don't feel you have to spend a lot though. I know how expensive even homemade pizza can be anymore."

"I'm really looking forward to seeing your portfolio. Not to be put too fine a point on it, but I'd really like to create a platform for talented women artists. Not that I'll exclude the guys, but breaking into the comics business as a woman is, frankly, a pain in the ass."

Stopping a moment, she asked, "Myrmidon? Summoning weapons sounds like an interesting power."

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"Well, your secret's safe with me," Vicky said seriously, her voice letting Mona know she meant it.

"Patrol sounds good, though I'll need some time to grab my costume. And we'd need to check with Mr. Summers, I'm grounded from patrols," she said, "Long story involving a sucker-punching little bitch and his Fae queen boss."

"Well, I'm well under my allowance budget for the month. Without mid-patrol snacks, I end up using a lot less of what's on the pre-paid card my parents load for me."

"I always suspected. Then again, isn't it almost always harder for women to get into what has typically been considered a boys club?"

"Yeah, Myr's a good egg. Almost painfully polite though. Maybe for today we should keep to the weight training and next time I'll gather the crew for a introductions and a patrol?"

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"I appreciate that. I'm becoming more comfortable with that fact, but..." she replied before trailing off quietly. "We're not alone. That's for sure. A lot of metas have bad sources or bad histories with their abilities."

"Weight training is probably the best bet for today. We can politick Mr. Summers after we're more acquainted. I don't see why not though. You'd be 'supervised'," laughed Fulcrum as she went back to the ball of metal. Slowly she began sculpting it into a recognizable shape, a small dog from all accounts, and a heat simmer rose from the metal. "I'd really like to meet your crew," she added with a smile.

"It's definitely a boys' club, and yes, you're absolutely right. The medium has so much potential, and so many, forgive the term, fanboys, just can't get past the idea that anyone else would be interested. Or worse, they don't want anything to bother their cozy little niches. Let alone those alien creatures...women." She chuckled.

She pointed a finger at Wisp in mock seriousness and said, "I do have one condition on the patrol issue. I want to hear this story about the little bitch and his boss."

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"Myrmidon, Glowstar, Crow, and Changeling are around. I think they had plans though. Did you get a chance to meet Crow or Changeling while we all were in Tian?"

Vicky watched the metal's stress heat simmer as Mona forced it into a dog-like shape. "Yeah. The guys at certain shops look at you like you've got an arm growing out of your chest. But to be fair, we can be a little alien. My ex girlfriend had the kind of moodswings they make fun of in standup comedy clubs across the country."

Vicky sat down on the handily placed boulder, "On a late night patrol when I couldn't sleep Brannagh lured me into an ambush and used some Fae mind-buggery on me. Next thing I know I'm being tricked into hitting my boyfriend who's under an illusion that made him look like Overshadow." She took a slow breath before continuing her story, "On the way out, after Myr summoned a bunch of C4 to blow up the temple I was held in, we slapped around the resident fairy queen." A contemplative look crossed her face, "First place my blasts emerged actually..."

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Fulcrum stopped a moment and thought over the names. "Well, actually, I do recall meeting Changeling. We were in the same division, you could say." Spinning the little dog in one hand, she added, "I don't recall Crow though."

"Alright, I'll concede that much," replied Fulcrum to her comment about being alien. "Unpredictable may be another way to put it."

When Vicky began her story, Mona floated over in a sitting position and listened intently. From the look on her face, she obviously had questions, but the story did have enough cohesion to support her viewpoint. A big smile crept up her face, and before long she was laughing out loud.

"I apologize," she said, trying to bring herself under control. "It's just...that's a wild story by any imagining. But having your ex pull that, and being a super hero, that brings the whole thing up to a higher plane."

Taking a deep breath, she smiled and added sympathetically, "I see your point though. How did everything turn out? Make up with your beau?"

"That your blasts first manifested then is interesting."

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"Well, this is back before I could get from one end of a football field to the other with as much effort as it takes for most people to take a couple steps. Vicky gave a small smile and blushed nearly as red as her irises, "Besides, sometimes, her mood swings resulted in a positive outcome."

"I really do need to thank Lynn again for taking part in that meet and greet at the Millennium Comics store over in the West End, love that store and most of the folks are fairly respectful. Helps my first time there I made friends with a local hero I think."

"Yeah, Crow and I made up. Helps he healed the minor bruising to his jaw, then I ordered his favorite Italian in as a make-up and thank you for the rescue two-fer."

"Not so interesting. I was more than a little pissed at the skank for allowing her errand boy to kidnap me. If we hadn't been in her realm where she was about to drop a cyclone, I'd have argued to stay and lay the smack down but, we'd have never made it back," she said with a shrug.

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"Still, the extreme emotional state may have had something to do with the power's manifestation," Fulcrum replied, still hovering in place. "Listen to me. I sound like a metahuman counselor."

"Oh, those sorts of positive outcomes. Yeah," she added, offering a fist bump to Vicky. "Good that you made up with Crow though. He already sounds like a keeper."

Returning to her dog sculpture, she asked, "Yeah, lotta good people over there. What sort of meet-and-greet was it?"

Slowly, the crude shape took an a semblance of life. Fulcrum worked the metal slowly, molding it like clay and forming the fur with little layers of metal. Looked like Toto.

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"I think you'd make a good one," Vicky said, leaning back against the rock, "I know I feel better getting this out."

She returned the giantess' fist bump, "Good times. And I think he is, his mom is a little creepy but what do you expect from The Morrigan?"

"It was mostly a picture and autograph signing thing. Guess it was her way of giving back to the community. I've still got the little action figure she conjured that looked like what I did at the time. Don't know if she still has the sketch I scribbled out of her though."

The young teleporter watched Mona work the metal into a fairly lifelike metallic version of Dorothy's little dog. Eying the older hero Vicky said, "If a crazy green chick shows up, riding a broomstick, and cackling about wanting your little dog too, can we beat her senseless with it before dumping a bottle of Evian on her?"

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Mona smiled, "I appreciate your confidence. Glad I could help. Heroes carry a lot that they often feel that can't talk about."

The little dog continued to form until Vicky mentioned Crow's mother. Fulcrum cocked an eyebrow and gave her skeptical look, "I don't know a heroine or villainess by that name. You aren't referring to the actual Morrigan of Irish mythology?" Blinking a couple of times, and remembering she'd just beaten up a fae queen, Fulcrum made the logical connection. "You are aren't you?"

Shaking her head, she chuckled, "Wow, they must get along famously. I thought my mother and I locked horns. That's one hell of a mother-in-law if you two ever become really serious."

"Beat the crazy, green chick senseless, sure," replied Fulcrum in mock seriousness, before cracking a lopsided grin and adding, "No water though. That's why we have Blackstone."

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"All three of her," Vicky confirmed. "Few things since my 'breakthrough', for lack of a better term, have been as odd as that little trip to Tian."

"Well, there's a reason Crow lived with his father in Boston before he made his way to the school. And oh yeah," she said, drawing the oh out few a few seconds, "That possibility has crossed my mind, though I'm pretty sure my parents would rank fairly high in their own right. Long story," she sighed, her hand coming to pinch the bridge of her nose.

"Fair point, fair point. Though, if we end up in a scenario where movie villains jump off the screen, she'd probably be the least of our problems. I'd be more worried about, say, A New Hope/Empire Strikes Back-era Vader showing up."

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"Oh, wow, that trip was psychedelic. If I didn't bring Viktor pictures, he never would have believed it. One thing to meet a creature from a mystical dimension, say Freedom Angel, but actually visiting said place is a whole other prospect. Makes me wonder exactly how many worlds like that exist, and how many gods and supernatural creatures of mythology." She looked off into the distance, musing silently and listening to Vicky.

She patted her on the back at her admission, but didn't ask anything.. After all if Vicky wanted to share, she would, and from what already mentioned about her family, things were...well..., "Family is complicated," she said simply.

"If we're lucky, we'll end up with prequel Anakin and simply tease him into submission," she quipped back. "Though Vader would be an interesting foe that's for sure. Keep in mind that such a scenario isn't completely out of the question. Remember when the Freedom League visited Castle Comics back in '99? When the drawings came to life? Or when Toy Boy pulled a similar stunt with cartoons?"

She stopped a moment in thought, "I've heard some of those toons are still running around."

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