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Friday March 1, 2013

Mozambique air space between Pemba and the Messalo River Valley

11:00 CAT (Central Africa Time) [5:00 AM Freedom City]

 

Though it was not yet mid-day on the southeastern coast of Africa, the temperature had already reached the high eighties, without accounting for humidity.  Rain clouds lay to the west, though that was hardly unusual as March was the wettest month of the year for this region of Mozambique. 

 

An old, Soviet made Mil Mi-8 (Hip) helicopter was flying low over the acacia and palm savannah that covered much of the area near the Messalo River valley in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province.  The sliding side door on the left side of the aircraft had been left open, providing those inside with some much welcome ventilation to help deal with the stifling heat, humidity and the smell of aircraft fuel from the twin turbines located just above the helicopter’s cargo area.

 

For the ten passengers in the back of the Mozambique Air Force transport, this was the last leg of a long journey.  More than fifteen hours ago, they had left Jordan International Airport in Freedom City aboard a plane chartered by Danger International.  Their travel route had taken them through Accra, Ghana, where they had boarded a smaller plane, which had flown them to the airport in Pembra, Mozambique, where they had then boarded the Hip.

 

Five of the passengers were employees of Danger International, a foundation and NGO that was heavily involved in humanitarian aid projects in a variety of Third World countries.  Dr. Mario Conte; registered nurses Dorothy Cofield  and Andrew Myers; civil engineer Denise Gorrell; and support personnel Steven Wilker were part of the disaster relief team DI was dispatching to the Messalo River valley in response to flooding that had occurred when a dam under construction on the river had collapsed less than forty-eight hours ago.  The other members of the team, along with UNISON super-agent, Edge, were already on site, preparing the base camp the team would be using during its stay.

 

The other five were individuals who had volunteered to assist the team for the next few days, and were in fact superheroes.  Four were students (two young women, two young men) from the Claremont Academy.  As a graduate of Claremont himself, during the rushed planning for this mission, Edge had had the idea to reach out to the school and see if any students might want to join the mission for a few days and get a chance to learn about other ways they could use their powers that did not involve fighting criminals.  The fifth was by far the most unusual of the group, a humanoid cheetah, the superspeedster known as Jubatus.

Edited by Thevshi

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Tona Baudin hadn't known how to feel when Headmaster Summers had approached her about a field trip to Africa. Normally she was the first one to jump at the chance to get out of the city and into any kind of natural setting, but she had never conceived of going all the way to Africa. The whole situation felt exotic and otherworldly.

Now she felt tired. Ten hours of traveling via various machines that all went far too fast for reason left her feeling unusually fatigued -- jet lag, one of the other students had called it -- and the heat and vibration of the aircraft didn't help. Nor did the fact that she had her eyes squeezed shut to avoid one of her vehicular panic attacks. But the petrochemical stink, the bright sunlight on her face (the portions not covered by her mask, anyway) and her own stubborn will kept her awake. She just wished the trip was over, already.

Edited by Raveled

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John looked to be watching the countryside pass by from his his position with his legs hanging out of the door of the helicopter where normally the door gunner would sit. The senior Claremonters' thoughts were elsewhere, namely wondering why exactly he was in Africa of all places on a mission humanitarian aid of all things. Still, Headmaster Summers had seemed adamant that John go, even pointing out that he did not want to have to order John into taking the mission. John had grudgingly accepted, lamenting the fact that he could not just take the direct route and fly there himself. His repeated attempts to arrive on location faster during the journey were either waived off or not taken seriously.

 

So here he was, in Africa of all places, on a mission of mercy. The clone nearly scoffed out loud at the inanity of those words, not that they would be noticed over the twin turbines of the helicopter drowning out most of the other noises. He was not in his armor, seeing as this was not a combat mission but was wearing his ubiquitous sunglasses, and his day to day wear of militaristic styled clothing. Plus trying to sleep wearing a helmet always gave him neck cramps.

Edited by Semi-Autogyro

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For someone who had never been out of the country, a trip to Africa seemed incredibly exciting. During a time when he was actively questioning his future, an opportunity to see other parts of the world seemed like an incredible stroke of luck. He had always considered doing more volunteer work, but between the stress of researching and understanding his own magic and trying to get into college, it always seemed like there weren't enough hours in the day.

 

He wasn't sure who else Headmaster Summers had asked. Marcus was frankly surprised that he had been asked. He certainly wasn't going to say no, however; he was, after all, more adept at solving other peoples' problems than his own. He had only been on a plane once before, and the hours-long trip went by pretty quickly. When Marcus wasn't reading, he was sleeping, and the Beast Rune was surprisingly cooperative throughout. He at least had the sense to wear his costume; as odd as that felt, it would have been even weirder if he'd actually been traveling in his bear form. The beast-like mask was more to protect Claremont than his own identity anyway.

 

Marcus packed light, bringing what tools he could. He didn't see a reason to pack anything with active magic--a bag of blank pewter runestones, some ivory ones, carving tools, that sort of thing. He'd even gone as far as bringing a book mapping out ley lines across the region, among others. It was about as prepared as he could make himself without going completely overboard. Or looking like a complete magic nerd.

 

As he stepped out into the sun, he already felt as if he was the only one actually excited to be there.

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Jay Xavier wasn't sure why he'd been invited to take part in this particular humanitarian mission; in fact, he hadn't even been aware of it until his therapist, Ed Halstonne, asked him how he intended to respond to the invitation. One scan of his spam folder later, Xavier had some little food for thought. Whoever was responsible, they'd clearly done enough research on Xavier to discover who his therapist was, as well as Ed's email address… which indicated that they (whoever 'they' were) had wanted to be sure that Xavier would read their message rather than just ignoring it.

 

So… who was 'they'? And why had 'they' gone out of 'their' way to request Xavier's participation in this act of constructive charity? He wasn't affiliated with the Freedom League; rather, he was a B-list hero at best, and whatever degree of fame he possessed, he doubted that notoriety extended beyond the borders of the United States. True, he'd done a little a couple of years back, but even then, there were plenty of other heroes who were more noted for doing that sort of thing…

 

All in all, it was a puzzle. Xavier didn't like this kind of puzzle—but he hadn't been able to discern any indication of ill-intent on the part of the mysterious 'they' in question. And when all was said and done, the Messalo River had flooded after a dam collapsed; there was work to be done, wreckage to clear away and rebuild, water damage to restore. It might not be the typical 'job for Jubatus', but that was alright. As a freelancer, Jay Xavier had experience with atypical jobs.

 

So it was that Jubatus ended up riding an ancient rustbucket of a Russian helicopter through the skies over Mozambique, a ride he shared with four other superheroes…

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Giang Trang, also known as Tsunami, sat calmly in her jump seat in the back of the old Cold War era helicopter, doing her best to ignore the jostling that occurred with almost alarming regularity as the helicopter continued its flight to the disaster stricken area of the country.  The Asian teen had taken the opportunity during the long flights to get some sleep and meditate.  Lacking any distinct costume of her own, she was dressed similar to how she had been almost two months ago when she had traveled to the Lost World with John, Subito and Cerys: a dark green cami top, over which she wore a light khaki long-sleeved shirt, unbuttoned at the moment with the sleeves rolled up to just below her elbows, a pair of olive cargo pants and a pair of hiking boots, well worn in during the Lost World trip.

 

 

When she had heard about this opportunity, Giang had not hesitated in volunteering.  Naturally her powers were well suited towards helping deal with the flooding caused by the dam’s collapse, and she certainly wanted to do what she could to help the people affected by the disaster.  But she also had reasons to want to get out of Freedom City for a little while.

 

Since the early part of February, she had hardly left the school's campus, and the few times she had, she had not ventured far or stayed out long.  This self imposed isolation was a result of her and John being attacked by agents sent by her father at the Chinese New Year's celebration in the West End.  Right now, a remote region of Africa seemed like the last place her father, or anyone else, might be looking for her.

Edited by Thevshi

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GM

 

Messalo River Valley Highlands, 3 km south of the Messalo River

Elevation: 230 meters

 

Mark Lucas, better known as Edge when he was in costume as he was now, had been on site for about four hours already, arriving in time to meet members of the Danger International disaster relief team that were coming from India and Europe.  The location Danger International had selected to base its relief efforts from was an old, dirt runway in the lower highlands of the Messalo River Valley.  The airstrip had seen a variety of uses over the years.  During Mozambique's fifteen year civil war, various sides had used it to help supply their fighters in the area.  Since the civil war's end in 1992, it had seen occasional use by NGO's such as Danger International as part of their humanitarian relief and economic/educational development programs in the area.  Its close proximity to the area affected by the flooding made it the perfect place to base the relief efforts.

 

Over the last four hours, the UNISON super-agent and the members of the DI team currently on site had received a number of supply runs by transports brining equipment and supplies DI had prepositioned in India.  Edge's powers had been extremely useful in quickly unloading those supplies off the transports and placing them off the runway until they could be moved if needed. 

 

Among the largest things Edge had been required to move (and even they were rather light for him), were a number of Ecopods that DI had specially designed to serve as facilities for its various humanitarian aid teams around the world.  Appearing to be little more than your standard cargo shipping container, the "pod" interiors were actually custom fabricated to perform various rolls.  Each "pod" was able to operate completely "off the grid," in terms of power usage, with solar panels and small wind turbines providing electricity.

 

Edge had placed two "pods" near each other a few dozen meters west of the runway.  Together with connectable sides which folded down and an attachable roof section, the two "pods" formed a small medical center that had examination rooms, inoculation and blood drawing stations, and probably the most advanced surgical suite within several thousand kilometers.  Each "pod" had also been pre-stocked with boxes of medical and surgical supplies, which still needed to be unpacked and stored in the appropriate places.  Overseeing the set up of the medical center was Dr. Mansi Rangan, a female doctor from India. 

 

Four other "pods" had been placed together by Edge to form what would serve as the living quarters for the DI relief team.  There were three which served as "barracks" for the team personnel (two for the men, one for the women).  The fourth contained a kitchen and shower facilities.  The fold down sides of the four connected (along with a heavy tarp cover) to form additional living space that served as both a lounge and dining area.  Like the medical "pods," these had come pre-stocked with a number of supplies (bedding, provisions, etc) that needed to be unpacked and stored, but most of that work was waiting for the arrival of the rest of the relief team from the United States.

 

The most recent two "pods" to have been delivered had been placed together by Edge to form the operations center for the relief team.  Currently, the final set up of that was being over seen by Lais Tambe, a civil engineer from India and Colette Fournier, one of the team’s support personnel from France.  Also present on site currently was the security detail for the DI team, lead by a man named Danimir Kvesic, a Croatian national and veteran of the French Foreign Legion. 

 

The sound of a helicopter approaching caught Edge's attention, and he looked to the south to see the Mi-8 Hip approaching in the distance.  "It looks like the rest of the team is arriving Mr. Edge."  Said a voice to his left.  The speaker was the team's liaison from the Mozambique Army, Lieutenant Paulino Lidimo.  In his late twenties, Lieutenant Lidimo not only spoke fluent English and Portuguese (the "official" language of Mozambique), but he also spoke Makhuwa, the language spoken by a number of the locals in the area.

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Construction projects weren't easy for Mark, who despite his great power had never been much good at doing anything precise. But he'd carefully studied the blueprints, checked and double-checked everything, and luckily gotten everything mostly right in the assembly process. Maybe it hadn't gone as fast as magically summoning a warehouse full of food every couple of hours, but looking around he certainly felt satisfied for all the good work he'd accomplished. He'd missed out on some things by not going to college and by not being a full-time Freedom City hero, but right now he couldn't have felt more satisfied. "Call me Edge, Lieutenant!" he said with a bright smile, feeling a little awkward about the older man calling him a Mister. "Let's go meet the kids!" 

 

Mark was waiting at the helicopter door when it landed, cape fluttering in the breeze and ready with a big smile and handshake for everybody as they got off. "Hey Jubatus, hey Tsumani, nice to see you again. Blue Jay, hey, my friend Wander told me great things about you! John, Marcus, hey, how you doing?" In blue and white and gold, in a mask and with a cape down his back, Edge might have looked gaudy, even ridiculous against the subdued backdrop of the base, but somehow he pulled it off - perhaps it was the dazzling smile. "Welcome to Mozambique!" he declaimed dramatically. "This is Lieutenant Lidimo," he said by way of introduction, "He's on loan from the Mozambiquian Army to help us out. If any of you don't know me, by the way, I'm Edge, aka Mark Lucas. I'm so glad to see so many of you out here. We could really use your help. How was your trip?" 

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Once the helicopter had set down Blue Jay was rocking in her seat, wanting to get out and feel real dirt under her feet again. Once the way was clear she was out like a shot. Once she was out of the vehicle and stomping around in the sun, she visibly relaxed and took to scanning the horizon. Africa was much hotter than she was used to, and there was more grass and less trees than she could see. Still, if she turned her back on the strip of packed dirt and tuned out the idling machine, she could almost believe that this was some place she could understand.

Then someone called her name and she turned and her jaw dropped. He was standing there, cape flapping in the wind, smiling and greeting them all by name like they were all old friends. When she heard her name her mouth went dry and she had to swallow a few times before she could respond. "It was very long. But now we are here to help, but I don't know what we can do that the Mighty can't."

Edited by Raveled

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Jubatus (not 'Jay Xavier', as he figured he was on the clock, more or less) spent most of the 'chopper ride looking out the windows. He'd acknowledged/greeted his four traveling companions when they boarded the aircraft; all of them being Claremont students, there was an elevated probability that all four were supertypes. Blue Jay he was mildly familiar with from having worked with her twice before; Arcturus he only knew of only from social media and news reports, which painted the kid up to be some sort of magic-using shapeshifter; as for the other two, Xavier didn't know much about them, but he suspected that John might have been involved with crowd control during the Day of Wrath and that utterly bizarre business involving Doktor Archeville, and Giang could have been the water-controller who helped out with an attempt at kidnapping Deep One babies from the aquarium.
 
Whatever; Xavier had never been gregarious even before the damn fur coat was permanently installed, and the damn cheetah-influenced neural architecture that came with it certainly didn't make him more open to interpersonal relations. Much more interesting to goggle at the terrain of a continent he was visiting for the first time!
 
When they finally touched down at their destination, they were greeted by—
 
Oh xxix it's him!
 
—Edge. There weren't many things which could terrify Xavier, but Edge was definitely one of them. Being a troubleshooter, deliberately thinking about Ways For Things To Go Wrong was just one of those things Xavier did, and when he applied that mindset to the disturbingly cheerful, world-class matter transmuter…
 
Upshift

 

Xavier closed his eyes. Come on, Jube. You're being utterly, completely stupid here. The kid's not some kind of psychotic murdering freakazoid, he's a friggin' superhero who's earned his good rep. Get a xxxxing grip on yourself, you idiot cat! He spent a second or so calming down for a couple of minutes… Okay. I'm cool. I can do this. I'm the fastest cat alive, I don't fear anything I can outrun. I can make nice with the kid.

 

Downshift

 

Jubatus stepped off the chopper and shook Edge's hand. "The flight was okay, Señor Lucas. Could've done with less engine noise, but the view made up for it."

 

"…now we are here to help, but I don't know what we can do that the Mighty can't."

Hm. What's with Blue Jay? "Define 'mighty'?" Jube asked the archer. "I mean, everyone's more powerful than someone. And this isn't a competition; if you're pulling your own weight, I don't really see the point in comparing your load to someone else's." Then, to Edge: "You just let us know what needs doing, we'll take care of it."

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When the helicopter had touched down on the dirt runway, Giang had picked up her pack as she started towards the door John had been sitting at during this last leg of their long trip.  The Asian teen waited as Jubatus exited ahead of her.  Where in the past the humanoid cheetah hero would have been rather shocking to her, Giang's perspective had been somewhat changed in her rather eventful short time at Claremont, which had included encounters with the Serpent People in the Lost World.

 

She gave a small smile as Edge greeted her, shaking his offered hand.  "It is very nice to see you again as well Edge."  She replied, moving on to make room for the others and wanting to get out of the dust kicked up by the wash from the helicopter's rotors. 

 

Waiting at the edge of the runway as the rest of the passengers disembarked and the initial greetings were made, Giang scanned the area around them, taking in some of the scenery and studying the base camp Edge and the others present had been working on all morning.  While she was not immune to the hot climate, she had also lived in a similar climate for the first seventeen years of her life, so she was not unaccustomed to these conditions.

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John had helped the remaining members of DI off the helo before turning his attention back to the welcoming committee. Ah. I see. The clone hero thought as they were greeted by Mark Lucas who John knew to be a former Claremonter. More relevant to the situation at hand was his status as a UNISON agent, which meant that this trip was probably the Headmasters way of pointing out some applicable career choices after he graduated this May. He knew Giang personally, but the others were pretty much unknown quantities outside of reputation or what he could ascertain during the trip.

 

When the Blue Jay had practically vaulted out of the helicopter, it was not much of a surprise to John as she had greatly reminded him of a caged animal during their long flight. The humanoid cheetah being twitchy was a given as well, but he did not expect the odd visceral reaction to Edge or the biting response to Blue Jay. Ignoring that, he shook Marks' hand firmly and repeated to motion with the lieutenant. "Sirs." He said simply and moved off to the side, his attire and bearing making him look more like a hired mercenary than a student. 

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While he had never actually held a conversation with Mark, Marcus knew enough of him to know that he wasn't a jerk. All things considered, that was good enough for him. Simply getting off the helicopter and out into the open meant that he didn't have to distract himself with studying or sleeping--it was only a matter of time before Tona's and Jubatus's cabin fever started to become contagious.

 

"I slept most of the way here," Marcus admitted with a nonchalant shrug. He extended his hand to shake Edge's. "Got a lot of reading done too..." He glanced among those with whom he'd arrived, rubbing absently at the back of his neck with his free hand. There was more going on than was immediately visible, but Marcus wasn't sure if he should concern himself just yet. New places and people were a lot to process, and he was trying not to look as excited as he really was about doing something different without having to cross dimensional boundaries.

 

He could only hope that this trip would go better than the Pennsylvania trip had gone. But he was older now! Wiser! At least, he liked to think so.

 

"I'm sure there's something we can all contribute," he mused, in response to Blue Jay's comment. "Kinda looking forward to what that is, myself."

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When he had finished greeting the civilian scientists and engineers who had arrived with the rest of the young heroes, Edge turned back to face them. "All of us have something to contribute here," he said seriously. "Whether from your powers, your education, your job experience, or your hero skills, all of you can do a lot of good here. What we do here isn't going to get any of us on the cover of Time or make us interdimensional champions, but it'll do a lot of good for a lot of people. There are bad guys called hunger, and poverty, and want, and those are who we'll be throwing down with this week." He thought for a minute, then went on, "We are a little bit concerned about possibly encountering super-mercs or something, but so far there's been no sign of that yet. If you do see somebody like that, get with your team and protect what we're building here." 

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GM

 

Lieutenant Lidimo greeted each of the newly arrived heroes with a friendly smile, though he was clearly a bit surprised by Jubatus' appearance.  After Edge and the lieutenant greeted the civilian members of the DI team, Dr. Conte, the senior member of the DI team, suggested they all move over near the base camp that Edge and the advanced team had put together to finish the introductions.  Several members of the DI security detachment had made their way over the Hip and unloaded some equipment the US based DI team members had brought with them, taking it over to the base camp as well.  Once everyone was clear, the old military helicopter lifted back into the air, turn slowly around to being the trip back to Pemba.

 

The other members of the DI advanced team all gathered around the new arrivals, and a new round of greetings and introductions began.  Once those were finished, Dr. Conte called for everyone’s attention.

 

"First off I would like to thank the members of the advanced team for all the work they have done thus far in setting up our base camp, though I understand that thanks to our UNISON representative," he indicated Edge, "that went much quicker than it might otherwise have."

 

"I would like to thank everyone for volunteering for this mission, as short as that may be.  I know there are some of you who have a lot of questions about what you will be able to do to help, and rest assured, those will be answered soon enough.  But for the moment, we are on a bit of time table.  Another supply transport should be arriving in about an hour and a half.  Before that, I would like to try to finish unpacking and organizing the base camp as much as possible, so we can unload the transport, get those supplies sorted out and then use the rest of the afternoon to get down to the affected villages and start taking stock of the work we have in store for us over the next few days."

 

"But first, I would imagine that like me, most of us who just arrived are likely rather hunger as it has been awhile since we last ate.  And I am sure those of you working all morning are getting hungry as well.  So we will take a short lunch break first, though as the kitchen and other food supplies have not been unpacked yet, we will all have to settle for MREs for this meal.  So let's go eat!"  He was about to turn away before he paused and turned back towards the group.  "And one last thing, particularly for those who have not been in a tropical climate such as this," he regarded some of the heroes that had just arrived from Freedom City with him, "be sure to drink lots of water."

Edited by Thevshi

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"He's the Mighty," Blue Jay said to Jubatus. "He fought alongside the Brave, the Marksman, the -- oh, wait." She listened attentively to Edge's words, nodding slightly, and then switched her focus to Lidimo. She frowned at the mention of MREs, since some of Mr. Archer's jokes had revolved around how terrible they were, but she decided that anything Edge could endure, she could.

At Dr. Conte's warning about water, she unhooked the canteen from her waist and took a long pull on it, sloshing it around afterwards to try and judge how much there was left. "Do we have a fresh water supply," she asked. "And what about hunting? If we could live off the land, we wouldn't need to eat the MREs."

Edited by Raveled

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GM

 

Dr. Conte looked over to Blue Jay as she asked her questions, giving her a warm smile.  "Those are some very good questions."  He replied.  "Fresh water supply can often be a major issue following a flood, particularly for those we are here to help.  Flood waters can contain a variety of contaminants, and can often contaminate the water supply villages regularly use.  Testing those sources will be a high priority as we start visiting the affected locations.  As for ourselves, we have a considerable supply of fresh water, both for ourselves and to provide to the affected locals, and will be receiving regular resupply.  Depending on what we discover regarding the local water supplies, locating alternate water sources might be a high priority as well, and I understand that one of you has abilities that can help with that."

 

"As for our food supply, the MREs are mainly for when we are out working in the affected areas.  We are well stocked with other food and a full kitchen, all of that just needs to be unpacked right now.  As for living off the land, there are a number of potential game animals in the area, though many are on the endangered lists."

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Crowbar in hand, Edge cracked open a crate of MREs and started handing them out to heroes and colleagues alike. "Just use a tablespoon of water for the self-heater," he said, showing those unfamiliar with how MREs actually worked how to do it. "I didn't know what dietary preference you guys have," he said apologetically, "so I had them set aside a mixed crate for you. There's the vegetarian pasta fagoli, and barbecue beef and potatoes." For all Mark's great power, it didn't cross his mind to change anything about his own meal as he sat on  a nearby crate and started to eat. "So what led you guys to volunteer for this?" he asked the Claremont kids, including Jubatus in the conversation without hesitation. "Are you looking to do international stuff when you graduate?" he asked curiously. 

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Hunting?

 

It was almost as if the Beast Rune had only just stated paying attention to what was going on around Marcus. The length of the trip really had affected them both. He wasn't even thirsty until Dr. Conte had mentioned it, but even then, he wasn't too worried. He let out a yawn, having enough awareness of himself to cover his mouth.

 

"I can eat just about anything; I'm not real picky." Still, his choice of the barbecue beef and potatoes wasn't really all that surprising. "I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do after I graduate. 3 years ago, I would've been fine hanging out in the Theater District just doing lighting and set design but now..."

 

"Besides," he said with a nonchalant shrug, "I have a feeling it'll be good to see other places. It's a lot better than just seeing them on a map."

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Jay was fascinated by the MREs. An entire meal that you could hold in your hand! If she had more of these, she could even eat meals on patrol without getting out of her costume, or having to resort to fatty, frost-covered food. She still checked the nutritional information on each package carefully, though. She didn't have superpowers to see her through, so she had to be careful to keep her body in tip-top shape. After a few moments' consideration though, she handed the barbeque beef back and opened the package of pasta. She followed Edge's instructions exactly and tasted the food somewhat hesitantly, but after the first forkful she dug into it. It was actually very tasty, much more so than some of the stuff that came in much brighter packaging!

Edge's question caught her off-guard, and she had to swallow a mouthful of noodles before answering. "I was raised in the country," she said, which was only half a lie at most. "I'm much more comfortable out here than in a city. I guess Headmaster Summers thought I would be useful out here." She paused to take a swallow of the sports drink that came in the MRE. "I don't think I could do international work," she admitted. "Too much traveling involved."

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The feline speedster noted, was not surprised by, and shared, Arcturus' taste in MREs. Mental note: See if anyone's willing to trade my potatoes for their meat. Also make inquiries re: which local prey animals are on the Endangered Species list.

"So what led you guys to volunteer for this?" he asked the Claremont kids, including Jubatus in the conversation without hesitation. "Are you looking to do international stuff when you graduate?" he asked curiously.

"I'm here for two reasons," Jubatus replied. "One is curiosity; whoever sent me the invite went decidedly out of their way to make sure I'd get their message, and it's not at all clear why they went to that much trouble for me in specific. The second reason is that making a difference for the better is most of why I do the hero thing in the first place. What with the flood and all, there's a job that needs doing, okay? I may not be the best hero for this particular job, but I'm damn well going to do it."

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Giang also selected one of the vegetarian meals from the case of MREs that Edge opened up, thanking the UNISON super-agent before taking a seat nearby with the rest of the group of Claremont students.  Growing up, the Asian teen had typically eaten rather simple meals of rice and vegetables, so she tended to be rather open to trying new foods.  And after all, she had lived on the streets in Singapore for about three weeks not long ago, so had learned to be satisfied with just about anything she could get to eat.

 

When Edge asked the group why they had volunteered, Giang listened as several of the others answered the question first.  After Jubatus had spoken, she realized it was likely her turn to speak.  "When I heard this involved a flood, I thought my abilities would be useful in helping to deal with the aftermath of such a disaster.  Both in terms of helping move the flood waters and trying to control the river until any barriers to keep out the waters could be built or repaired."  She stated.  "As far as whether I would wish to do international work once I finish at Claremont, I have not yet given that much thought until now.  But it may be a possibility."

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Thankfully, John was able to stop himself from scoffing audibly at the frankly inane idea of hunting and gathering as he silently waived off the offer of a MRE. He was not hungry yet and he would prefer to get his food himself as he knew that inspecting food for alteration or tampering in a first greeting situation like this would not be ideal. In any case he needed far less food than most people, and would eat later after getting the lay of the land and finishing the tasks requested of him.

 

The teen was content to quietly observe sitting on the outskirts of the group, his alertness ratcheting up a notch at the mention of superhuman mercenaries. John scanned the camp, an awkward pause after Giangs' response before he realized that there had been a question directed at him. "I did not volunteer. My presence here is more the results of a suggestion as to what to do after I graduate with my limited skill set. As for the international work, I am no stranger to it, but not in a humanitarian aid fashion." He stated truthfully, as circumventing SHADOW was more important to him than international politics and its associated ilk.

Edited by Semi-Autogyro

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"It was kind of the opposite for me," Mark admitted. "My dad was...on the old Freedom League, the one before the '93 Terminus Invasion, and I grew up around a lot of older superheroes. I always figured I'd grow up and get a job with the League like my dad did, especially after I turned out to have powers, and I'd just be a superhero in Freedom City. But as I got older, I decided I wanted to be something more than I had been growing up. Funny coincidence so many of us went to school in the same place, huh?" Open secret though it was, there was no point in broadcasting Claremont's nature to the general public even with the limited privacy of where they were. 

 

The fate of Edge's father, who'd been a celebrity before his death, had gotten around Claremont - the hero who'd turned villain, then died saving the world from the Terminus during the graduation of an earlier iteration of Young Freedom, but wasn't something widely known to the general public. 

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GM

 

Once everyone had finished with the somewhat hasty meal, it was then time to finish up the set up of the base came and get things organized for the real work to begin. 

 

Giang and Blue Jay were assigned to assist Dr. Conte, Dr. Rangan and the two nurses in unpacking the various medical supplies for the medical suite that had been set up.  Nurse Cofield showed the two teenage girls the color and number coding system that was used to indicate where the various supplies were to be placed within the suite.  The two then began assisting with the somewhat tedious, but important, task of helping unpack and organize all the medical supplies.

 

Arcturus and Edge went to help Denise, Lais and Colette, along with Kvesic and his security team, with unpacking and organizing the supplies for the command center as well organizing the staging areas for the food and water supplies to be distributed to those affected by the disaster once they began to arrive in just over an hour.  Among the various supplies for the command center were a number of hand held radios and GPS units, surveying equipment and a variety of construction tools.  Preparing the staging area involved setting up large canvas tents in which to store the various supplies, which were arranged in a sort of half circle near the command center with the open space in the middle large enough to park both of the cargo configured HMMVEEs that Danger International had deployed with the team. 

 

John and Jubatus joined Steven and Lt. Lidimo in unpacking and organizing the rather straight forward supplies for the living area of the base camp.  This mostly consisted of the food and water supplies for the team as well as other supplies for the kitchen.  Of course, thanks to Jubatus’ considerable speed, these tasks only took a small portion of the time they might otherwise have.

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