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Thunder King

First Day Jitters

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March 5, 2012, 1:00 PM

Mali sighed and sat down on the bed. Her dad had insisted on sending her to live at the school. She could, of course, visit whenever she wanted, home really wasn't that far away. However, that being said, she was both excited and very, very nervous. School had seldom been kind to her, and now she was in a place full of people with super powers!

Ah, well, she thought, at least she didn't have to deal with all of those rich, snobby girls that liked to say things behind her back. She stretched and stood up. She decided, then and there, that she might as well take a tour of the facilities.

She looked at herself in the mirror and nodded. She wore a loose-fitting black t-shirt and a pair of boot cut jeans. She preferred them loose, so that her mobility would not be hindered. She reached for her red jacket, a defense against the cold, and opened the door to her room.

Might as well make herself busy and see what the place was all about. She wanted to see the sights, and maybe meet someone new.

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John was in the lobby, focused on the guitar in his hands as he strummed out a melody. His olive drab undershirt did not entirely cover bits of bandages that peeked out from underneath it, and his camouflage cargo pants were lazily tucked into his unlaced combat boots. Every once and a while he would open up a nearby notebook, and write something down before returning to the guitar.

He had been told directly by Headmaster Summers that he was supposed to be recuperating from his recent experience with the rogue scientist. It was just that he was starting to go a little bit stir crazy with what usually took up a large portion of his day no longer being available to him until he was cleared by a medical professional. To that end he had focused on his other objectives, mainly trying new hobbies and getting more practice at his current ones.

Hearing the sound of footsteps he paused mid-strum, and looked up. A young woman stood there, one he had not seen around campus before. "Good Afternoon, Miss. Are you a new student?" He set his guitar aside and stood up, extending a friendly hand in greeting to the new arrival.

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Instantly, Mali stopped and looked at the young man. He looked like a friendly sort, so she smiled politely and shook his hand.

"Yeah, just getting used to the place, you know? I've never been anywhere like this. I take it you've been here a little while?" She asked.

Already she was meeting new people! She wondered who this guy was, what he could do, and what he was doing in this school. That would all wait, however. Would be a bad idea to be so rude as to outright ask. Might as well just be friendly.

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"Indeed. I have been a resident here since April of last year." John sized up the new arrival as he shook her hand. He then turned his gaze out the window, one that gave a good view across the campus, and gestured to it. "If you would like I would be more than happy to escort you around campus." John gave her a friendly smile, the one that Morgan had termed 'not scary'.

"Or if you would rather investigate on your own prerogative, that is fine too. If you should find yourself in need further assistance or information please do not hesitate to ask it of me." He tried to recall if there had been anything said about a new student, but came up empty.

"I am called John. It is my distinct pleasure to make your acquaintance, Miss...?"

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She instantly noted that his speech was oddly stilted and off. She waved it off. All sorts of people could be here, why would she judge someone just because they talked odd. Besides, he looked friendly enough.

"It would be great if you could show me around." She said, smiling politely. "I'm not sure where anything is, and, well, I wouldn't want to get lost."

"But...if you'd rather not, I understand. I don't want to be a burden." She looked around a bit, letting her eyes soak in the details of the surrounding area.

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John blinked twice, noticing that she had not offered her name. Knowing that some preferred to keep such things to themselves he brushed passed it and continued.

"Then it will be my pleasure to assist you in this matter." He replied easily, and began packing up his things. "Please do not feel that you are interrupting my plans or the like. Currently, I am being restricted from my normal activities to aid in recuperation." At this John pointed idly in explanation to one of the gauze wrappings on his body that was visible.

"Regardless of that fact, I already possessed no concrete objectives for the day." With the last statement, he clicked closed the guitar case and turned to her.

"By your leave, I shall return shortly after I have returned these items and retrieved the appropriate attire." About three minutes later, he had arrived sporting a BDU jacket and patrol cap.

"Is there any location in particular you would wish to visit first?" John asked as he slid on his ubiquitous sunglasses and held open the door for her.

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"Ow, I hope you'll be okay soon, that looks like it hurts." Suddenly, she realized something and she slapped her forehead at her own rudeness, "Gosh, I'm sorry! My name is Mali." She said. She had stupidly not noticed his subtle request for her name. Ah, well, she hoped he wasn't upset about it.

"I...don't really have any specific place I want to go." She said with a shrug. "I'll leave that up to you. I'm just looking around."

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"I will heal in time, but thank you for your concern." At her next outburst his reaction was a simple nonplussed eyebrow raise.

"You do not have to apologize, Miss Mali. Some students here choose not to reveal personal information about themselves until they are acclimatized." when the pair got outside he looked around and finally decided on where to go.

"Judging by your physique and bearing you seem to be a practitioner in some style or variant of martial arts, so I think you would appreciate seeing our regular training facilities." He pointed across the quad at the building in question.

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At his notes regarding her build, she blushed slightly, but let it slide. He didn't mean anything by it, obviously. He was merely making an observation. Still, she unconsciously crossed her arms. "Oh, well, I was raised to always be polite to people, and, well, I don't have anything to hide."

"The training area would be pretty cool to see. I'll probably spend a while in there." she said with a nod.

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If he noted her uneasiness or blushing, it did not show. "If only more people here were to be in possession of such abilities." was all that he said about the matter.

"The Gymnasium opens at 0530 to 0600 and is open till 2200 hours, or 2400 hours on the weekends." John explained as they walked towards the structure. "If you would like we can assign you a personal locker today as well."

When he reached the door he held it open for her. "As one of the student volunteers here at the gym, I strongly encourage you to find a partner to aid you if you are going to be doing exercising or training that requires a spotter."

They walked past a set of double doors that were open to a basketball court, which was currently occupied by about eight students playing a pickup game.

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"Oh, we can take care of that later." She said, admiring the gym as she walked, while keeping track of John's military time.

She was used to needing a spotter, so she was sure to do that. She mentally worked through her home routine and tried to match it up with what the school had, adjusting it mentally to ensure her routine didn't have to end.

Still, it was a big school, people seemed like they might be nice. She felt good about going to school there.

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"Very well." The tour was more along the lines of a walk through of the facilities. While she had probably seen such equipment at high end gyms or health clubs, it probably was a bit jarring to hear him idly informing her of the sauna or Olympic-regulation swimming pool located elsewhere on campus.

There were quite a few pairs of students in the gym who called out to or waved to John and Mali as he escorted her though the facility. The final stop on their tour of the gymnasium was one of the unoccupied training rooms.

"These rooms typically house students who would like to spar or train with each other without using their meta-human abilities. There is a check-in log put aside for their use posted in the lobby if you would like to procure their use." He looked up at the clock on the wall.

"If you would like, lunch is still being served in the commissary at this time."

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"Oh, I already ate earlier this morning, not hungry yet." To be truthful, her nerves weren't calm enough for her to sit down and eat. She was too nervous about the new school to eat just yet. Besides, she wanted to see more of the school. There was no reason to go eat just yet.

"Besides, I want to see more of the school before I do anything else. What next?"

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"Closest building would be the library." He said as the pair walked out the doors of the gym, while walking at a measured pace towards the building to their left. "Its hours of operation are the same as -"

He stopped mid-sentence and mid-stride and stared at the large tree that was in the middle of the quad. A small sigh of resignation was heard from John as he turned back to address Mali.

"We will need to make a slight detour, at the moment. It should not take too much time." John made a beeline over to the tree and looked upward.

"Yet again, Morgan?"

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A figure dangling from an upper branch made a face at John, his arms crossed. The hem of a long black coat covered in elaborate silver-thread runes dangled below the teen's shoulders, the ankle attached to the leg attached to the torso attached to those shoulders stuck in a most familiar spot. Morgan Crowe finished the face with a minor shrug.

"For the record, I neither confirm or deny the presence of a stink bomb in Brian's closet. If he should ask. Which he might."

A light breeze, and Crowe swayed on his branch, making a perfectly innocent face. Then waved amiably at the new student beside his comrade.

"And hello! Welcome to Claremont!"

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Mali blinked, then blinked again. It was odd seeing a guy, just hanging upside down from a tree. She shook her head and smiled.

"Hi! And thanks! Did you do this on purpose? Do you need help getting down?"

She looked over at John quizzically. On the one hand, he seemed to think this was a regular thing, but his tone suggested disappointment or exasperation. Maybe he did this occasionally, albeit accidentally.

Ah, well, she'd at least offer to help him down. She couldn't very well let him hang up there as she went on her tour. What kind of superhero would that make her?

"My name is Mali, by the way..."

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By the time Mali looked back to John there was a study-looking long staff in his hands. "That will not be necessary, Miss Mali."

John placed one of the ends just in front of where the danging teens trapped ankle was located. "On three. One. Two. Three."

With a slight bit of force at the other end of the improvised lever caused the tree to release its grasp on Morgans' ankle. John sidestepped at the same time, to avoid being used as an impromptu landing pad.

"I will claim diplomatic immunity then, if he should ask that of me." He declared to his friend as he dismissed the no longer needed weapon.

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"No need, Mal; J's got it." Grin. "Okay, one, two, three!"

The body came tumbling down, and Morgan shot a hand out to grab one of the nearby branches. A quick swing and a tumble, and he hopped up to his feet on the ground where John had been standing a moment before. He stretched from side to side, then shook off his hand; which Mali could now see had a strange glove on it. Metal-plated, with three similar runes across the backplate.

"Thanks, mate. You sure you can't call up an axe for me? Please? I can offer you more Jell-O than you can possibly imagine."

He grinned, and then turned to extend a hand to Mali. "Cheers. Morgan Crowe. And no, that wasn't on purpose. That tree's just a pure incarnation of evil. Nobody believes me, though."

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"Evil trees, super powers, guys hanging upside down in trees..." Mali shook her head. "None of this is weird to you guys, I take it?"

She shrugged. "This place is huge. Much bigger than the High School I was going to. Glad to be out of there, too."

Mali looked around the area. "So, is this where people hang out, or...where do people hang out here?" She asked.

This was already a good day. Both of these guys seemed cool, and they didn't seem put off by her, intimidated, or anything else. Still, this was going to be an interesting day. She hoped to make friends.

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John blithely answered his friend. "I would be the wrong person to bribe in this matter. The groundskeeper or Headmaster Summers would be a much better choice, but I sincerely doubt you would avoid the repercussions of such an action."

He watched a pair of students walk by. "In any case, Morgan, if you truly felt the tree was a malevolent presence you would have had your allies from Parkhurst look at it."

John returned his attention back to Mali. "I am afraid that I am a bit jaded when it comes to mundane and eldritch occurrences. As for your second question, that would be better addressed to Morgan as he is more knowledgeable about the social scenario here."

He pointed a thumb over his shoulder to the library, as mentally wondered if she was not used to metahumans. "We were just on the way to the library."

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Morgan mock-wept, leaning on the tree, and talked in a fake broken voice. Punctuated by the occasional sob.

"Nobody ever belieeeeves me! I tell you, this tree is evil! Nefarious! Villainous! A growing incarnation of leafy doom and destruction!"

At the last line the fake sadness shattered, and he leaned back laughing. Wiping his eyes off, a low chuckle kept his shoulder shaking, and he shook his head at John's comment vis-a-vis the social situation.

"Pfft. John, I spend most of my time either up the tree, doing homework, or training 'till I can't feel my legs. I'm the last person you want to ask about Claremont's high society." Grin.

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Mali couldn't help but giggle a bit at his mock declarations of doom. It looked like the people at Claremont were friendly and nice overall. She was sure that someone, somewhere might bully or mock here, but it wouldn't be either of these people.

John was serious, straight forward and a bit odd. Yet he was also helpful and friendly in his own odd way. She knew he had some sort of powers, namely when he suddenly had that staff, and when it disappeared. She wasn't going to ask about it, mostly because she was pretty sure she was one of the few people here without powers.

Morgan seemed a bit goofy and silly, maybe a bit mischievous. She couldn't put her finger on it, but something about his jacket was odd. Maybe it was something to do with what he could do?

Either way, she avoided making judgments about these new people in her life. She had always been taught by her father that while first impressions are important, you never know what sort of situation the other person is going through. Best reserve your opinion for when you see them at their best and worst.

"So why do your homework in that tree if it's evil?" She asked with a wry grin.

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Mali could probably tell by Johns' arched eyebrow at Morgans' impromptu performance that he was probably a little bit amused by it. "I was intoning that you possess greater familiarity in that area than I do Morgan." Which was true.

"Regretfully, I am somewhat at a loss when it comes to the nuances societal dialoging." John offered in explanation to Mali.

He returned his attention to Morgan. "If it would make you feel better, I could ask Mister Archer about chloro-kinetics in our training sessions. That would also make Victoria happy since she has been wanting to see akimbo chainsaws in practice for some time."

John frowned at the tree an then looked closer at one of the designs on Morgans' coat. "I thought you had thoroughly field tested that rune. Any idea why it landed you here?"

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Morgan gave Mali a flat look, kicking the tree with his heel.

"I don't do my homework in the tree, I just spend an inordinate amount of time hanging from the tree. It mocks me, dangit." The flat expression dissolved into another amused one, and he elbowed John in the ribs with a chuckle.

"Akimbo chainsaws? Seriously? I don't even want to know how you'd balance that, man. Or keep from chopping your own arms off. Just don't do that in front of Flora, mmkay?"

Another chuckle, although his ears reddened a bit at John's next question, and he shuffled his feet with a cough.

"Aaah...well, yeah, but...y'see, traveling by literally being the wind can be a bit awkward when you're in a hurry. Aaaand sometimes you can end up blown off course. Loss of concentration plus multiple breezes slash pieces of you all over the place, and when you coalesce again can be a bit...awkward. Though why this tree, I still don't know."

And another heel boot to the bark.

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John rocked forward a bit with from the friendly elbow. "I suppose I shall re-iterate my relief that magic powers tend to have built-in fail-safes for matters such as this."

Scowling briefly, he continued. "Miss Flora has made her opinions known about my proximity to plants after my so-called attempt at gardening."

"However, If you think the chainsaws would be too unwieldy, the more practical choice would be a flamethrower to be used against chloro-kinteics. I think that the others would claim pyromania after the last few times I have used such weapons in training." The last line was delivered with a sly smirk plastered across his features. "When I can resume normal training, that is."

John stopped himself and turned to the person he was supposed to be assisting. "My apologies, Miss Mali. Depending on your meta-human powers, we can help point you in a direction when it comes to training."

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