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Claremont Academy dorms, January 6th, 8.00 A.M.

Chloe strode down the corridor of the girls' dorm, scanning the room numbers. Everything she owned was in the suitcase she trailed behind her. Rather less than Chloe had been used to pre-accident, but MD273 had never owned anything. Being outside the medical bay of her own house was still a little overwhelming; being alone at Claremont Academy was just about impossible to concieve.

She glanced at the scrap of paper in her hand to confirm the room number and knocked tentatively on the door. Were you meant to knock on your own door? She could figure that out later.

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Kristin was sitting cross-legged on her bed with a chemistry textbook floating in front of her in a green halo of light when she heard the knock. She looked at the door, then down at the pajamas she still wore, then back again before giving a little shrug.

It's not like they let boys in here anyway..

"Come in! It's not locked" she called as she plucked the textbook out of the air and balanced it on her knees, her head tilted slightly to the side as she wondered who it might be.

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Chloe came on in.

"Hi. You must be Kristin. I'm Chloe, your new roommate." She handed over the piece of paper with her room designation, in case Kristin needed proof. Two-person room... right, she could do this. She'd seen this in movies. Were they meant to have some sort of hilarious misunderstanding and then c ome out the other side as friends? Or maybe one of them would be a Roommate From Hell? Or maybe they had to band together against some horrible person living down the hall. Or maybe Kristin was a boy in disguise.

Although she had been warned that real life wasn't exactly like the movies.

"So, uh... new school. I'm told you're pretty new too." Was that right? People got offended if you weren't interested enough in them and threatened if you were too interested. Chloe hoped she'd found the balance.

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"Oh hey! I didn't think you were getting here for another week! I must have my dates mixed up!" Kristin replied as she tossed her textbook aside and hopped off the bed. She headed over to shake the new girls hand. "And yep, I'm Kristin and you're definitely in the right place." she said as she gave the offered sheet of paper a quick glance. I've only been here a couple of months. Don't worry, it all seems pretty scary to start with but you'll get used to it pretty fast."

"Do you need any help getting your gear in here?" she asked with a grin. "I'm more useful with the heavy lifting than I might look."

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"Thank you, but no. I, too, am more useful at heavy lifting than I look, but in this case it is unnecessary; this is all I brought with me." She wheeled the bag into the room and placed it on the end of the unoccupied bed. She unzipped it and dug under a couple of neatly folded school uniforms, her newly chosen hero outfit, and two carefully coordinated casual outfits for a tiny bottle of pills, which she gave a shake and placed on the dresser.

Smile. Right. She returned Kristin's grin. "I haven't... I mean, I don't recall ever attending school before," she said. "I'm hoping it will be an instructive experience. I think I understand how the system works though. So, what special ability brought you here?"

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"You don't remember going to school before?" Kristin asked with a slightly quizzical look on her face. "Is that some kind of amnesia? Umm.. sorry, you don't have to answer that if you don't want. I ask too many questions sometimes. And anyway, you won't be the first person here who doesn't remember their past that much I guess."

With a gesture she caused her textbook to float casually off her bed and turn over in the air, faint green light streaming off it. "I'm telekinetic." She said simply. "I can move objects by thinking at them. So I'm here to learn how to control it and how to use it."

"One thing you should know though," she continued, "sometimes if I have nightmares when I sleep I accidentally move things around without waking up. If you notice that happening just thump me in the arm or something, it'll stop when I wake up!"

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"I'm not actually capable of hitting people," Chloe said. Throwing information around like that could be dangerous if she was going to be a hero, she knew, but if she was going to live with Kristin then the girl would figure it out eventually anyway. "I'm sure I could find a nonviolent way to wake you though. As for my memories..." Chloe paused for a moment to sort out the pronouns in her head. People accepted "Chloe", but "MD273" creeped them out. "I was in a car accident a few months ago. I suffered some fairly extreme head trauma. I've observed a lot of old video of myself but I don't remember anything as myself from before the accident. So no, I don't remember school, although I've seen photographs." She shrugged. "I guess all that education turned out to be a waste of time. How about you? telekinesis sounds pretty versatile. I suppose you could do all sorts of interesting things with it."

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Kristin suppressed an almost overwhelming urge to give her new roommate a hug. "Oooh wow. That must be really hard. I'm so so sorry to hear! Do you not remember anything at all? Wow..." With her curiosity piqued, she asked "I guess that if you're here you must have some kind of special abilities too? Was it something to do with your accident? I first used my telekinesis by accident.. it was pretty scary stuff for a while! And what do you mean you're not capable of hitting anyone? It's not hard to give a little thump right?"

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"It's... against my nature," Chloe explained. "I died in the accident. The process used to revive me was an unusual one, one invented by my parents; a sort of automated healing system. It stuck with me." Speaking as Chloe instead of MD273 was hard. She supposed she'd get used to it. "I'm a healer now. Not just somebody with medical training, a healer; it's what I am. It means I can't do harm, not to humans anyway. Not even a thump. I could cut you open if you needed surgery, but that's about it. Accidental telekinesis... that sounds dangerous."

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Kristin paused, clearly taking a moment to process that one. "Wow, okay.." she chuckled with more than a hint of nervousness. "You'll have to forgive me if I don't quite know what to say to that! I guess it's a second chance right? And being a healer? well that's a pretty noble thing right there if you ask me!"

She gave a bit of a sigh. "As for the uncontrolled Telekinesis.. well it's usually pretty minor now. I might tip over a lamp or knock a few books off the shelf or something, but you don't have to worry about me ripping the roof off in my sleep or anything. When I first got here I had to pretty much hide away everything when I went to bed, but now it's really not so much of a problem."

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Chloe nodded. She hadn't been worried about her personal safety (there were few injuries she couldn't heal, to her knowledge) or her belongings (most of what she owned was clothing), but she wasn't sure how to clarify that, so she let the subject drop. "So you're planning to use our telekinesis for the greater good then, I suppose? Are you going for shielding and defending with it, or using it as an aggressive power? Or both? It seems like it would be difficult to do both to me, but I don't know anything about telekinesis."

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Kristin shrugged as she hopped back onto her bed and folded her legs up underneath her comfortably. "I can do both. The defending myself seems to come fairly automatically. It's a bit like I can sense things coming and knock them away pretty much without thinking. Apart from that I can lift like a ton and hit pretty hard, so if someone needs to be subdued I guess that's what I'm working with!"

"What about you?" she asked curiously. "How does your healing work?"

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"Nanites. My parents are engineers, they have a variety of robotic systems including a nanite healing chamber. When Chl... when I came in after the accident, there was too much damage to heal normally. I... the nanites were integrated permanently into my system. My power is limited, but I can heal a lot of basic injuries on contact. Bruises, broken bones, possibly severed limbs -- I haven't tried that yet. You understand that it's difficult to experiment ethically. I'm hoping that this school will help me to learn how to apply my powers properly, as well as their limits. And how to handle myself in combat, of course, which seems to crop up in the ourse of every hero's career with worrying regularity. I'm sure you appreciate that not being able to strike an opponent does limit one's options in combat somewhat, even for nonviolent people."

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"Healing broken bones sounds like it's pretty full-on healing to me! And severed limbs would be pretty amazing! What about worse internal injuries, can you do those too? And how fast is it? I guess more serious ones take longer to heal right?"

Kristin paused, then looked a little embarrassed. "Sorry," she said "When I find something interesting I have a nasty habit of trying to ask all the questions that pop into my head all at once. You're right about the fighting bit though, it's going to be a little awkward if you can't thump someone. How about wrestling? Can you do that? Or can you use the.. uh.. Nanites was it? Can you use those for something other than healing too?"

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"Not really," Chloe said. "They're medical nanites. They do medicine. I could attempt to demonstrate their possible use in combat if you would agree to spar with me, but they are neither efficient to use in combat nor aggressive." Combat was one of the things that Chloe was going to have to learn to deal with, she had decided. Much as she would attempt to avoid it, it would not always be possible. "I tend to prefer to avoid combat. I'm experienced at calming agitated people and people in pain; that comes with being a healer. But there will always be patients... opponents, I mean... who can't be reasoned with."

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"Sparring is always fun!" Kristin said with a wide grin. "I can show you the gym a bit later after you're all unpacked if you like. "There's pretty much always someone willing to have a bit of a match. I usually like to head over there in the evenings to see who's about. There's a fair few people here who can trounce me without much effort though. I learn heaps, but I sometimes come home pretty battered!"

Leaning back a little, Kristin stretched lazily. "If you want to give me a couple of minutes to get dressed I can give you a bit of a tour of the campus if you want. I got lost a bunch of times in my first week because I didn't really get a tour. Then again, my roommate was a giant bee at the time.."

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"Thank you. A giant bee?" Chloe had been assured that she wouldn't be even close to the strangest thing at Claremont Academy. She'd had her doubts, but it seemed that the doctor had been correct. Giant bees... even the oddly friendly telekinetic who seemed disconcertingly happy about the prospect of fighting probably rivalled her in strangeness. She shrugged (a gesture that had taken a lot of practice to get right) and quickly moved her few neatly folded outfits and small bag of toiletries into the dresser. Having run out of tasks, she sat stiffly on the end of her bed. "I have some trouble with new places," she admitted. "I am not yet used to leaving my house... or even my room, for that matter. I assume your sense of direction is better."

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After a bit of a backwards-roll off her bed, Kristin started to dig in a chest of drawers for something to wear. "Yep. Giant bee. She goes by Super-Bee. About as big as a truck she is. Oh and she breathes fire too. Scared the hell out of me when I first met her! She's pretty adorable though."

"And don't worry," she continued as she picked out a pair of black trousers and a long sleeved red shirt, then started to dress. "We'll get you out and about in no time. I can show you around and I'm pretty sure I still have my campus map around here somewhere if you need it."

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"I see." A giant, firebreathing bee. Okay then. Chloe wasn't used to dealing with nonhuman sentients. They raised uncomfortable ethical questions. Were they also patients? Where was the line drawn? Did her programming forbid her from hurting them? She supposed she'd find out. Probably at the worst possible time.

"And Super-Bee is also a hero?" If nothing else, the school was probably a brilliant place for future heroes to network. And future villains to learn all about their future adversaries under the guise of hero training. "I should have a map somewhere here in these orientation documents," she said, digging through the paperwork she'd been given. "It looks simple enough on the map, but I'm not used to navigating in real space."

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Kristin chuckled "I'm not sure that she's planning on being out and about in the city fighting crime, but I'm sure she'll be learning how to defend the valley that they bees call home! I think the real reason she's here is to learn about people and the outside world!"

Properly dressed she sat back on her bed and reached for her shoes. "The best way to learn to find your way around is to explore. If you want I can come for a walk with you and you can navigate. I'll just help if you get yourself lost, what do you say?"

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"Alright." Chloe paused to take a pill from the bottle on the dresser before digging out the map. It may not be complicated, but the campus was certainly big. The system of underground levels reminded her of home, though. Maybe it wouldn't be too difficult to figure out. "Where should we go first?" There was something about Glow that she couldn't quite place. Familiar but... "Your accent. You're Australian, aren't you?" She grinned. "So am I. Born in Tasmania. I suppose people with powers would probably gravitate here from all over the world, wouldn't they? Where are you from?"

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Kristin finished tying her shoes and grabbed a jacket off the end of her bed as she started to head for the door. "Yeah there's loads of people who aren't from around here on campus. We'll have to get you introduced to some people! As for where we should go.. well what do you want to see? We could find your classrooms, or check out some of the other facilities. The gym is always a favourite!"

She opened the door and held it open for Chloe. "Have you visited the admin buildings? That's probably something you should do if you haven't, there'll be paperwork to do!"

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Chloe nodded. "I made certain that all necessary paperwork was completed. It is the rest of the campus that I haven't seen." She frowned at the map for a moment before latching onto Kristin's recommendation. "The Gym, then." She traced the route with her finger, memorising the directions and distances, folded the map away, and strode confidently out of the dorm.

"I admit I'm a little worried about cultural clashes here. Most of my knowledge of social protocol comes from textbooks and television, outside of dealing with patients of course. Do you have any advice?"

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Kristin closed the door behind her and fell into step next to Chloe as she headed for the exit of the dormitory. She grinned as the new girl managed to get started in the right direction, which was more than she had managed to do on her first day.

Better direction sense than me for sure!

"I think that you don't need to worry about culture clashes too much. There's a lot of very different people here. People from all nationalities, people who are giant bees, heck, there's even a girl who's actually pretty much a ghost. I figure if you want to know something, just ask. Most everybody is pretty friendly really and everyone is used to meeting people who are different to them!"

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"I see." The doctor had been right. A place for misfits of all kinds indeed. She made her way to the gymnasium, breaking her memorised route only to navigate around small crowds of people. Chloe had never been in a gym that she could remember, although she'd seen them on television. She wasn't sure how much benefit she'd get from exercise, since so much of her strength came from unnatural nanite adjustments anyway. "I suppose it's good for the school to include a gym, given the physical nature of the students' chosen careers."

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