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Quinn

Broke, Blind, and Bedlam (IC)

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8:14 PM

August 15th, 2011

Somewhere Beneath Claremont Academy, Bayview

Freedom City

Morgan had his hood and bandanna down, otherwise in full costume. The scale of what Summers had prepared for his students never failed to impress the young student, the hidden training zone, known as the Doom Room, had rapidly become one of his favorite places on campus; if only for how murderous he could crank up the settings to test himself. Admittedly, more than once he'd gotten the crap kicked out of him by reaching too far too fast, but one day...one day...he stood in front of a huge computer bank, casting an eye towards one setting; "Wander." He'd seen it, he'd been sorely tempted to test it, but given that several settings lay between the one where he'd been thoroughly destroyed and that one, he'd been saving it. But one day, oh yes...

Crow shook his head and began inputting the settings he'd planned for today's extracurricular training. He'd been scheming this for a while, after the discussion about this new team, these "Irregulars". On the one hand, they were planning to speak to Summers about formalizing the team. On the other, it seemed that it might go down a tad easier if they had evidence of just how well the group worked in cohesion, not just in Archer's sessions, but in a proper mission format. Since they couldn't go out and about on patrols, the Doom Room was the best option. And to boot, John had said he'd be inviting Corbin along to supervise; Morgan winced slightly, but steeled himself. He owed him an apology anyway, and he knew that the big blue dude was one of the more experienced upperclassmen out there. He'd provide a great deal of legitimacy and support for the endeavor.

Tap-tap-tap. A scenario began to be formed on-screen, bits and pieces appearing here and there as he worked to get it right; he'd seen Archer do it a dozen times, even asked for a crash course in forming combat scenarios before. He cast his mind to Etain, another student he'd invited. He'd seen what she was capable of back in Tian, as well as heard from John the training regimen she put herself through; anyone who could keep up with John on that score was definitley an impressive individual.

He sat back and looked at the ceiling for a moment, stroking his chin. Morgan'd sent out the text messages and phone calls about an hour ago; hopefully they'd be here any minute...

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"Wander scenerio? Does that mean Erin, I heard she is very tough."

There was Etain. Glancing around Morgan at the controls for the room curiously, she may of tried to peer over him but she was too short to really look over his shoulder. She stood with good posture in her blue walking suit with her hands folded behind her in a pair of black lacey gloves. Her hair was up in a complicated knot held up in by a pin decorated with a blue fabric rose making her look less like someone going into combat and more like someone going to an afternoon tea party. As she started looking over the controls,

"Very interesting names they have for these. I wonder if they are all named after previous students."

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Vicky popped into the room next to Morgan and before she'd noticed Etain, leaned down and kissed him square on the mouth. A minute later she stood back up and finally noticed Etain. "Um, sorry. Didn't see you there. Nice outfit, very Steampunk-y," Vicky said, her eyes scanning the other girl's appearance. To Morgan she said before moving to lean against an empty bit of wall, "So, what's the plan? I'm guessing this isn't exactly going to be a milk run." She might not have looked it, given she was wearing a black skirt and white blouse, but she had come prepared. In the messenger bag strapped across her body set a new costume she'd been working on for a few days. Inwardly, she was excited to try it out without any hyper-vocal critics from the press.

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"A milk run won't give us a very good test of your abilities, now will it?"

Corbin Hughes, aka Cobalt Templar, was leaning against the doorframe (and taking up most of the door's space while he was at it) in casual clothes. He eyed the three teenagers in front of him with a mildly amused smile.

"That's why you're here, right? Proving you guys are a team, and one that can go out and work in the field."

He straightened up and walked further into the room, leaning past Morgan to glance at the control panel, before giving the other boy his space.

"Just a tip: Even I would be utterly destroyed if I tried to solo Wander's training simulation. Consider it a goal for any and all of us to attain. Now."

He settled into a nearby seat and looked at Morgan expectantly.

"What exactly did you have in mind for today, Mr. Crowe?"

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The doors to the elevators opened slowly, and John walked out into the hallway. Taking the first right at the next hallway he waited for Corbin to clear the doorway before quietly entering the room with the others.

"What exactly did you have in mind for today, Mr. Crowe?"

"I am wondering that as well, Mister Corbin. That is, if I am going to be allowed to formulate a plan for this scenario or are we yet again 'winging it'?" John was clad in his combat uniform, minus his helmet but still sporting a pair of sunglasses.

John nodded hello at the others. "Good evening, everyone." he said as he set down on one of the chairs closest to Etain.

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As if on cue, Crowe spun the chair around, looking at the others in various states of repose around the room. With a sober look, he bowed his head toward Corbin and spoke in a properly apologetic tone, delivering what was likely a repeatedly-rehearsed sentence that he'd been practicing for several days.

"Corbin, before we start, I just want to apologize for...well, a few days ago. My foot was firmly in my mouth at the time, and I'm properly ashamed I made that comment; enough so that I'll say right now I owe you proper redress for it. A debt of honor. Please accept this, and my sincere apologies."

He kept his head down, waiting for the big student to at least acknowledge the apology; he'd learned a long time ago that swearing that kind of debt was extremely serious buisness, amongst both realms he had his feet in. Given the nature of how he'd bollixed things up royally, however, he felt the situation merited it.

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Corbin raised an eyebrow at Crowe's overly formal statement and tone, but didn't interrupt the other boy. He was silent for over a minute after the rune-user finished.

"And I let my temper take hold. Suffice to say, it's not exactly a day for many of us to be proud of. Still, I can think of one major way you can repay that debt: Try to think before you speak. I'm not interested in anything fancy, Morgan. I don't feel like having any sort of honor-slave or the like. Improve yourself, and we're even."

The large youth was entirely serious as he looked at the underclassman.

"With that, said, it sounds like you lot have plans to make for this little showing."

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Morgan leaned back in his chair, silently relieved. Old-school debts in legend had habits of cropping up at the most awkward times, and although he knew he likely owed Corbin one, hearing that was a distinct relief. For which he felt a vague amount of chagrin for. He resisted the urge to facepalm. Instead, in a suitably theatrical gesture, he removed a (borrowed) pair of glasses from his coat pocket, flicking them open and breathing briefly on the lenses before polishing them. The teen placed them over his eyes, then steepled his hands before him and leaned forward, letting the light from the ceiling shine on them, making it impossible to see his eyes.

"Oh, plans are definitely going to be made here, Mr. Hughes. Yes, indeed. If you all will take your seats?"

He waited until butts were planted onto cushions, then reached out with one hand and pressed a button. Six pictures showed up on-screen, each depicting a different building or individual. None of them were particularly of note, but what drew the eye was the number beside them, and the small dice icon in the middle.

"Took me ages to put this together. Okay, here's the deal. We're trying to prove we're a team, so today, I figure we show exactly how we'd respond to what'll be our bread and butter; the call to action. Each of these screens is a potential disaster scenario programmed into the simulator, with it's own opponents, tricks, and pitfalls. When the dice stops rolling, the number that comes up is what we'll have to react to. Some will involve timers. Others not. We might have time to come up with a plan of attack, or we might need to wing it. We don't know what we're going to get; just like real life. And just for the record, I only put together the program that'll pick these. Mr. Archer only pointed them out to me, along with their names. So I'll be going in just as blind as you guys are."

He smiled again, the glasses glinting in a suitably theatrical manner, and held up a small red button attached to a wire, which ran to the Doom Room computer.

"This is The Button, my friends. This button here rolls that little dice there. Who wants the honor of sending the Irregulars on their first mission?"

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At the posture Morgan assumed she winced inwardly. "I never should have dragged you to the anime club's showing of Evangelion. I do hope some of the better shows have rubbed off as much as that one did."

Vicky leaned forward, "If it's all the same as team's resident dice-jockey, I'd like to give them the roll." A part of her had wanted to keep silent, letting his girlfriend have the dubious honor may have seemed like a weird sort of nepotism. Another part of her wished she'd worn her favorite game-night shirt and a pair of jeans that morning.

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Etain smiled and greeted the others as they came taking their seats and watching quietly as Corbin and Morgan spoke of a previous incident before getting down to business. Though there was a bit of curiousity to how abrupt this all was, as such Etain raised a finger to interupt,

"This is a very interesting game of chance, but I do think we may wait until Brian is in our company to continue. Or is he not attending today?"

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There was a sudden sound of pounding feet from outside the situation room, and the doors whispered open just in time for Brian to come barreling in. Or rather for Glowstar to -- he was already in his silver-metallic jumpsuit, cape fluttering behind him. He took a moment to catch his breath and fix his high collar, making eye contact and nodding at all the other students in the room. Well, almost all of them. When he caught Corbin's gaze, Glowstar ducked his head for a moment and moved on.

Standing in the doorway, he pointed a finger at Morgan and pronounced, carefully, "Ass." The teen moved to a chair and spun it around, straddling the chair and leaning against the back. "Your text said the twenty-fifth. Met John coming down, still had to grab a shower, ended up doubling back for the suit..." He fell silent, still fuming. "Later on, you and me, man. Words."

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Corbin shook his head with a smile as the other teens discussed who would "roll the dice", and as Brian skidded in with an irritated look on his face. When the white-and-red clad teenage hero met the ring-user's gaze, there was no accusation or anything of the sort, only calm evaluation. Finally, he spoke up.

"Morgan. A question. When that button is pressed, does the scenario begin immediately? Or do you all have a chance to get down into the Room proper first?"

A smile was threatening to show on his face.

"Because it would be rather awkward if you started the scenario and weren't in the room."

He glanced at Brian's fuming form.

"Perhaps you and Brian can have your spar after the training session proper?"

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Morgan rolled his eyes at Brian, mentally noting that their next spar, he'd really put the late teen through his paces. For now, though, work needed to be done. He smiled crookedly and motioned at the six images, leaning back in the chair.

"Scenario begins immediately, yes. Some of them, we'll have time to plan before we head down to the Room proper, other times we'll have to haul ass down there as fast as possible. Point of the exercise is that life is rarely so convinient as to have us on scene at the exact moment all heck's breaking loose, y'know? It's how we react once we're clued that something's going on that makes the difference here."

He shrugged at the linebacker-sized teenager, hoping the intent of the exercise had been made clear; part of this he'd been discussing with Archer, but more than a bit was him pretty much "winging it".

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"Oh, that sounds fun, maybe than we can do a tag team match. Brian and Morgan versus me and John, it would be a fair match I think."

Etain's tone was light and playful like any tension in the conversation either didn't exist or didn't require any immediate attention. She smiled brightly throughout it all sitting up straight and with her hands folded like she was talking about the weather or a game of tennis.

"But that is for later yes? I suppose we should be going to the room now that everyone is here?"

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"Your text said the twenty-fifth. Met John coming down, still had to grab a shower, ended up doubling back for the suit..." He fell silent, still fuming. "Later on, you and me, man. Words."

"I am glad you have arrived here in a timely manner, Mister Brian. Irregardless, we would have not started without your presence.

"Oh, that sounds fun, maybe than we can do a tag team match. Brian and Morgan versus me and John, it would be a fair match I think."

"Indeed, maybe the four of us can work something out when our next scheduled training time with Mister Archer occurs."

John then opened the small kit bag by his side. and took out a small box about the size of a lunch box. Flipping the latches open, the box revealed a series of hands free comm-links. "Mister Archer allowed us the use of these tonight provided they all return to him undamaged." John handed out each one to his teammates. "I have preset the frequencies, so please confirm they are working before we enter the scenario." After passing them out John turned to Corbin. "The communicators are set to 117.890 MHz, if you wish to monitor our comm chatter while observing. "

John put his sunglasses into a case in the bag before putting his comm-link on, and adjusting it so it would be comfortable. Once that was done, he summoned the rest of his costume and the faceless helmet assembled itself over his head.

"I am ready whenever the rest of you are." John said, voice oddly deadened from the muffling effect of the helmet.

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Glowstar took the communicator and tried it on, adjusting it a few times and tapping the prominently labeled "TEST" button. There was a power pack that, after a little finagling, he managed to affix to one of his arms by a velcro strap. "Not an ideal situation," he muttered, mostly to himself, "but it should work." He stood and tested the range of motion -- thrust his arms out in front of himself, stood poised dramatically, did a few jumping jacks, threw a haymaker punch with either arm. Nothing outside the realm of possibility for a fight, really, and through it all the headset remained in place. "Works, anyway," he said, returning to his seat.

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Corbin nodded as Crow explained his reasoning.

"That makes sense, then. Just didn't want you to get locked out of your own practice session. Because you're right, life is rarely convenient when you're a hero. Trust me."

He turned to shake his head in amusement at Etain's suggestion.

"I could always referee the match."

At John's words, he turned to the console next to him and adjusted a few items, before triggering the radio system.

"Test test. Yes, seems to be working."

He regarded the group of underclassmen. These...Irregulars.

"Are all of you ready?"

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Vicky slipped the little commlink over her ear after pulling her snow-white hair back into a loose ponytail. Rolling her neck and having the piece not move she nodded to John, "Thanks."

When Corbin inquired about the group's readiness she nodded and replied, "I can change on the way. I've been working on and I think I've perfected teleporting my costume on while sending my civilian clothes into my bag. I can't get them in folded but at least when the smoke clears, the top isn't inside out and backwards."

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Etain examined the ear piece carefully. It was mostly plastic with no visible metal though, good. She slipped it into her ear as she slipped on the masquerade mask. Her orange Reniassance esc dress covered all trace of the previous gown as well as the ear piece but it was all still there as per usual, just hidden,

"I am ready as now, so then, shall we go?"

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Glowstar shot a glance at Crow when Wisp mentioned teleporting right out of her clothes. He rose and punched his roomie in the arm, winking at his friend, before moving to the door of the briefing room and leaning against the wall there. "I'm ready," he said. "And for the record, Changeling? I'll take you and John on any day of the week."

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Crow grinned and picked up the button himself, giving a somewhat sly look at his roommate in response to the wink. Then his roomie said something that nearly made him crack a rib holding in a guffaw, and he settled back into the chair.

"I'll run bets for that shindig, Bri. And supply the popcorn. Alright, Irregulars (and guest)...showtime!"

With a flourish, he brought his hand down on the button, and spun his chair to face the screen as a drama began to unfold upon it.

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As Crow steepled his fingers and watched the screen, the dice spun about the desktop for a few moments. It bounced up and about the various monitors, before coming to rest in the centre of the largest screen, four dots up. The fourth image, that of a police car, enlarged itself, revealing not just it, but a line of FCPD vehicles surrounding what looked like one of Freedom City's downtown banks! From the speakers came the crackling of a police band radio, the dispatcher's calm and collected filling the room.

"Dispatch to all available units, we have a hostage situation, Freedom City Savings and Loan. Unknown metahuman elements have seized the bank, demands have not been issued as of yet. Freedom League elements unable to respond at this time, requesting all available units respond. Repeat, requesting all available units respond."

More police cars arrived shortly thereafter, establishing a stronger perimeter. Interior cameras began to appear on the other monitors, showing a pack of civilians lying facedown in the lobby of the building with their hands on top of their heads; the vault door was wide open, half of the huge steel door literally melted, and cash bags were flying out from it into a cart. One particularly burly individual (burly in the sense of walking mountain, the guy was big) supervised a pair of twins as they hurled bags from another cart into a shimmering portal held open by another fellow in a yellow jumpsuit. Another villain, clad entirely in biker leathers with a rather large revolver, stood smoking a cigar while watching over the hostages; from what the heroes could tell through the grainy camera, he actually looked somewhat bored.

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Glowstar ambled back over and leaned on the table, studying the screen carefully. "First priority," he said without preamble, "is the hostages. I should be able to cover them with an energy shield, which should keep them safe until we can get them out. Someone should see if they can't slip through the portal and grab the money, though, or at least tell the cops where it comes out." He stood up and dusted his hands off, shrugging lightly. "After that, looks to be pretty standard beating-on-the-bad-guys day."

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Changeling studied the screen for about a minute.

"That seems good yes, Victoria can take me and you inside the building. I conceal our entrance then follow them out of the portal and contact you where it comes out."

She looked towards John and Crow,

"Do you think you will be good for covering the outside? A good diversion to keep them confused, if they only think there is two they will think they have an advantage. Victoria can come back out just as quickly to help."

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Morgan nodded, running over several ideas for distractions mentally, then pointed at the vault where bags were still flying out.

"Sounds workable, but we've still got one unknown factor in the vault; and we don't know if they've got confederates elsewhere in the building."

He stroked his chin, then looked at Brian and Vicky, then at his faceless-armored comrade. An inkling of a plan began to roll through his head; while he was no slouch, he'd learned fast that John's input would frequently make a major difference in a madcap scheme. He raised an eyebrow at Myrmidon thoughtfully, then turned to Changeling.

"Hmm...Etain, can you throw up a double-cloak on both Glow and Wisp? One throws up the shield on the quiet, the other scouts the building while Myrm and I raise some hell outside?"

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