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WYRM: Newcomer (Solo)

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WYRM HQ, Midtown

July 6th

 

The World Youth Rescue Movement's HQ didn't really have a high tech training room unlike Claremont. It was noticeably simpler and more bare-bone. Still, it was better than nothing and it got the job done, allowing Cho and the others to train. Currently Cho was under much stress, having to fend off attack after attack from multiple angles. The teenager crossed her arms over her face as a jet of hot flames erupted. She barely had the time to recover from that when a black blurr began assailing her with sharp claws. With only a brief moment to strike, Cho landed a punch on the second assailant, sending it flying, only to leave herself exposed to another jet of flame.

 

--

 

As Cho was currently sparring with Magmatic and Racer Konchu, on the other side of the reinforced glass, Saboteur and Brainclay observed. "She wasn't kidding when she asked if this was simply a question of filling some gap in the team's abilities." Saboteur commented. "She's actually managing to hold her own against both Magmatic and Racer.

 

' 'Holding her own' is somewhat innacurate. She is clearly overall weaker than the two of them at once. This is hardly what I would call a fair fight. Not to mention she is very close to collapsing. Her endurance and resillence are formidable but not enough in this situation.' The telepath 'replied', still blankly staring ahead, not even making eye contact with his interlocutor. There wasn't a single hint of facial expression from the adrogynous alien.

 

Continuing to observe the sparring match, which was less and less in Cho's favor as she kept being wailed on non stop by the other two, Saboteur added: "Still, the initial reports and assesments prove to be entirely accurate. Her abilities are quite impressive. I wouldn't say they are anything legendary, there have been plenty of individual with powers of this kind across superpowered history, but she's still something. Especially since she's clearly untrained and tapping into a mere fragment of her powers."

 

'Mental blocks are apparently quite common for individuals of this kind. Their feeble, simplistic terran minds are unable to rationalize the amount of power they posses. Their emotions, especially fear and doubt cloud their mind and install blocks. These blocks are what prevent them from fully accessing their full capabilities. A similar phenomena exist within telepaths.'

 

"Yes what about her history and the psychological profile?" Saboteur was suddenly reminded, having asked Brainclay to review it.

 

'Subject is of mixed ancestry. Biological progenitor unit you call a father was apparently what you would called korean-japanese. It appears that the bequeating a japanese name to the child would be strange, but that is the only apparently unusual detail to her history beyond her unusual ancestry. Said father was killed in a random act of violence, which may act as a potential motivator for fighting what she may consider 'evil'. Otherwise her famillial history is completely and utterly mundane and insignificant. As for Cho, she appears to be rather mundane herself.' Coldly stated the alien.

 

"Define mundane, will you?" He asked back to the alien.

 

The telepath continued to coldly state everything, still not making any eye contact: 'She is not particularly notable. She does not stand out from the crowd of countless other humans of her age range and gender. The subject has her own unique...quirks...but those are nothing out of the ordinary. Her most notable trait is that she is actually quite the underachiever; it is this very trait which prevents her standing out from the rest as she is remarkably lazy and unwilling to develop any talent she might naturally posess.'

 

"If you ask me she seems rather determined so that IS something. Still, I guess that was part of the whole idea, getting someone that is...ah, I suppose 'normal' is the right term." Said Saboteur, continuing his analytical observation of Cho's fight, down to her fighting style. Or rather lack of fighting style, as the case was. It was only at Claremont that she ever received any amount of what might be called training. Mostly it was just her flailling until she hit something. "Her balance and reflexes are good, but hardly good enough to suffice in a fight like this. She's poor at guarding her sides and..." He muttered to himself, analyzing the battle.

 

'I would hardly defined someone so infused with entropy as 'normal'. Such being is an anomaly. It is, therefore, anormal.' The telepath added, as it walked out of the observation room.

 

--

 

"Okay, phew whew okay...yeah...j-just a minute." Cho garbled out, collapsing from the repeated blows from Magmatic and Racer Konchu. She had done everything to hold her own against the two in a brawl but raw determination wasn't enough to keep her ticking and fighting forever. Grunting, the teenager tried to get back on her leg after receiving blows that would have broken an ordinary human in half. "I-I think we're good for today. I hope you guys got, well, whatever information you wanted out of that."

 

"Oh I'm sure Miles got what he wanted out of this Choey! He's good at picking up other's weakness. Here, take my hand I'll get you up!" Said the energetic magmin, offering a large, thick hand made of hardened crystals to her sparring partner.

Edited by RobRX

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Once out of the shower, Cho headed back to the team's cafeteria. "O-ow.." Said the teenager as she sat down, still completely sore from the sparring match, so much so that even sitting felt uncomfortable. She took a brief moment to look at herself; her skin covered in scratch marks from Konchu's claws and burn marks from the fire. Adding to that were various bruises. "Ugh, at least it will heal..."

 

"So I've been wanting to ask, how much do you work out? Because you've got some muscular arms." Said the Magmin, sitting at the table. However Cho was rather unsure if the crystalline being ever ate or even needed to.

 

The question caught her by surprise. "Um...uh...not a lot, actually. It, um, it comes with powers. Just um, please don't make this awkward, okay?" Self-conscious, Cho grabbed her jacket and put it on to cover herself. Getting ogled by an elemental being was just really weird. "Anyway I hate to say it, okay well not really, but I really don't think I'm cut out to be part of that team let alone lead it. It's ridiculous. I have little to no combat experience or training and you two are clearly leagues above me in terms of raw power." Cho said, talking about the magmin and the other person currently sitting at the table, all quiet: Racer Konchu. Annoyed, the teenager got up and prepared to leave. "It doesn't make sense to make the newbie and weakest team member the leader. Look, I'm sorry, Saboteur can have it back. I don't have what it takes."

 

"If you say so." Added Racer Konchu, her voice barely audible. She wasn't even looking at Cho.

 

"Aw come on! You can't leave! What's wrong, hey tell me! Don't go away, stop it Cho please don't go you'd say you would stay with us, what's the matter why are you changing your mind?" The magmin shouted, running after the girl and grabbing her arm with her shifting, glowing crystalline hands.

 

"Because I'm not good enough, okay?! I'm really not what you think I am. I'm not a great hero, I'm not skilled, I'm not a genius tactician okay? I'm really nothing special except for some weird fluke of nature and...well I'm not even sure that's nature so much as being born wrong." Cho shouted back at the Magmin, who slightly recoiled.

 

"You really think there is something wrong with what you are?" She asked, dissapointed that was apparently the case.

 

"No, not...as much as you'd think. I don't spend days wallowing in my own tears at being born a monster or being afraid others will shun me for being different. That's weak. That's pathetic, it gets nothing done for others to actually like you. It's just something different." The teenager clenched her fist as dark red crackles appeared around her and the inside of her body began to glow. "I..I didn't earn my powers. I just have them because that's how I was born. That ain't right. People like that, well, they usually become hero or villains and there's nothing they can do about it. Those that do become heroes, well there was already something great in them. I don't have that."

 

Somehow the Magmin had really enjoyed that 'speech', but for all the wrong reasons it seemed. "See? THAT was good! I knew you could start doing those big heroic speeches, you're exactly the kind of person we need!"

 

However that only angered Cho, who proceeded to stop the floor in fury, causing the whole building to shake. "CUT THAT SH** WILL YOU?! Don't look up to me like that! Stop it, it's creepy, I hate being coddled and being told how this is great or that is great! There's nothing great about me! I'm not from some illustrious heroic familly and I don't have any glorious legacy to carry!"

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Awkward silence filled the room as Cho and Aby'sal stood there, not talking, simply awkwardly staring, while Kiatsu stayed at the table, not saying anything either and simply staring at her food. "I-I'm sorry. See, that's exactly why I shouldn't be part of the team; I'm a mess, I get too emotional and I have doubts." Finally said Cho, throat all tight and her speech half incomprehensible.

 

"No one is perfect." The japanese girl said, finally moving her face to look at Cho, pushing aside her plate and getting up.

 

"But I'm...Maybe I should be! People like the Freedom League members, people like the greats. They're not like that, they don't doubt themselves! He would never doubt himself! He'd know exactly what to do and even if he did have doubts, then he'd probably still know what to do for the best of everyone!" Cho's face contorted with angst and rage.

 

"He? Who?" The mutant magmin asked, unsure of who Cho was talking about.

 

"The Centurion." Mumbled the teenager.

 

"Oh. Him. But you're not him." Kiatsu pointed out. "And you've never even met him." In fact she wasn't even born when he died, repelling the multiverse's most dangerous foe, destroyer of world, the dreaded Lord of the Terminus, Omega.

 

"So? He's...he's like the ultimate hero! He's THE superhero! Well he was anyway, back when he was alive. See I don't know how he got his powers but I'm sure that whoever he was as a person, he had what it took. Me? I'm just a mess." She then added, at least self-aware. "And full of teenage angst."

 

"Awww, you're just pushing yourself too hard, setting impossible standards."

 

"Why wouldn't I push myself too hard? I got all roped up in leading a whole team of people, some of them clearly more experienced and competent than me. That means YOUR lives are now MY responsability. If I mess this up, you could do. I could die. Innocent people could die hell if things gets really bad enough? Probably the whole planet but...hopefully it doesn't come down to that. Because the world would be pretty badly screwed if it's fate depended on us." She continued to rant. Or perhaps vent was more appropriate.

 

"All you've done are a few sparring match and some training attempts to use your powers." Said a voice behind her.

 

"Oh...hi Miles." Cho muttered. "Just ranting off my mouth at how being the new team leader is a terrible idea. I'm sure you can support me in this, right? You can't possibly be in favor of that."

 

"You would be somewhat...ah...surprised at what I believe on the matter. However I will repeat myself and say; you haven't even had the chance to try. As for why we've picked you; you have experience with things most of us do not."

 

"Like what? Collateral damage?"

 

"You are more or less the only one of us who actually has any experience out there in the real world, if I can use that term. Can I?"

 

"Real world...?" She asked.

 

"Aby'sal said it before, didn't she? You are the only one of us with experience at being a civilian; at having a taste of what it's like to be part of the masses. In other words, you are the normal one. You know what it's like to be on the other side. Not to mention we are all foreigner to this country."

 

"Hmm, I guess that's true but that's hardly what I'd call 'team leader' material. Plus I'm not a people person."

 

"You still blend in better than any of us. I'm not going to go into the details here and now but trust me on this; you're much better adapted to interact with the civilians than any of us. Believe me, this conversation is becoming quite a bother. You can talk without end. Now goodbye." He replied, turning his back and quickly exiting the room, as if getting bothered by having a prolonged conversation with another human being. It seemed that was something that Saboteur disliked or at least felt uncomfortable at.

 

"...I really don't get this guy." Cho said out loud, still unsure of what had just hapenned.

Edited by RobRX

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WYRM HQ, Midtown, Building Roof

 

"So, I take it that's your brooding spot." Said Cho, landing on the roof top of the building, having lept and climbed there. As she had been told, Saboteur was on the roof. No information yet if he was actually doing any kind of brooding, however. The teenager stood there, awaiting an answer. One that never came.

 

"So...not really the type for small talk, huh?" She asked him, hoping the second try would work better.

 

"I try to keep things to a bare minimum. I talk when I have to. And I talk about things which suit me. I assume you are here to talk about our earlier conversation, correct?" Saboteur replied, still overlooking the city from the edge of the building, looking down at the people on the street, looking at the cars and the trains. Watching, silently.

 

Feeling like snarking a bit at Saboteur's expense, Cho said: "So is that the part where you act all brooding, laconic and uh...well I dunno, the part where you play the brooding smart loner."

 

Saboteur frowned at the sentence, being compared to a simple archetype. "Yes and you clearly play the part of the newcomer. Look, neither of us can be reduced to such simplistic characters, so what is your point?"

 

"Oh nothing just, ya'know...wondering why the hell you pop into a conversation, lecture me and then run off to brood on a roof."

 

"Our conversation had come to an end. I said why you were considered for the role and I stand on that opinion however I had no reason to continue talking."

 

"Yeah why am I getting the feeling that whole team dynamic just isn't all that strong?" She chimed out, for once rather aware of what was going on rather than oblivious.

 

Mile slightly turned his head, giving Cho a much better view of his cybernetic eye and grim face. "You are not quite correct; we do have a dynamic. It's just that we are not close friends in a way you'd expect us to be. We do trust each other and we do respect each others but absolutely nothing says a team has to stick together and enjoy common hobbies and act like good friends. If you knew anything about the superheroes you seem to idolize you would know they are not 'superfriends', but rather work partners."

 

"Well it wouldn't hurt Brainclay and Bestia to even show their face. Haven't seen them since I joined up." She pointed out to him.

 

"Neither are very social. Bestia's just not good with people, preferring animals. Brainclay just cannot process human interactions, especially not verbal ones. He finds them too crude. Plus a mind is a terrible thing to read." Said Miles, explaining to her why these two weren't quite so interested in interacting with people.

 

"I'm not forcing anyone, I-I never would it's just..." Cho muttered, stuttering a bit.

 

"Is it ego? Are you bothered they are not acknowledging you as their new superior?"

 

"No! Hell no, why wouldn't you even think that?!" She shouted, angered at the idea that it was anything about ego and a desire to polish it. That idea was, in some ways, completely anthetical to her.

 

"I see. Good." Replied Miles, as laconic as ever, turning his face back to look at the city rather than Cho.

 

"...yeah you're right, small talk can get a little weird and difficult. Especially in these kind of situations." She admitted, somewhat feeling like a jerk for previously calling out Miles on his inability to maintain a conversation, when she sometimes had the same problem, albeit for entirely and completely different reasons.

 

"Good to see you understand. Now if you want to make yourself useful to the team, maybe you ought to learn to better handle yourself in combat and have a better grasp of your powers. I know you were holding back against Konchu and Magmatic."

 

"N-not really. Racer's pretty damn powerful overall. More so than Magmatic."

 

"And she, too, is holding back. But I see you do notice it; when someone is holding back. Keeping their powers on a leash out of fear."

 

"Why all the pressure for me to do that?"

 

"Aren't you the one who complain that you can't use your powers properly? That it makes you less than the others, like the Claremont students?" Miles said, tusing Cho's own words to motivate her to refine her powers, as that was an important part of the entire plan. If Cho mastered her powers and got stronger while being loyal to the WYRM's cause then it was perfect. If she got more powerful but had to be disposed off, the more powerful she was the more the public could be swayed on the idea that she was too dangerous for the greater good.

 

"W-well yeah, but...um.." Cho muttered, once again back to awkward mutterings.

 

"But what?" Miles asked again.

 

"N-nothing." Replied the teenager.

 

"Then you know what to do." Said Saboteur, certain that the push needed to get Cho to begin training and mastering her powers would be overall minute. Everything was already in place and he was fully aware that she already had the desire to do so. All she needed was one final, subtle push.

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WYRM HQ, Midtown

July 7th 2014

 

'You must close your eyes and allow me in, human Cho.' 'said' the androgynous, telepathic Lor as he applied his hands to her head. 'If you do not allow me in, I will have to force myself into your thoughts. I am under the impression that it is not something you would like, so take a deep breath.'

 

"I'm...r-really not sure about this. Is it really that good an idea? I mean what if it goes wrong? W-what if Brainclay see things inside my head he shouldn't what if he..." Cho said, rapidly, trying to not freak out at the incoming mental invasion.

 

"Your powers are a complex things. Unfortunately, none of us here have anything remotely similar to yours. It means that the only way to understand how they function. Once Brainclay is inside your mind he can understand what mental process activates them." Explained Miles. Of course, he had ulterior motives about trying to get the telepath inside Cho's head, even if he wasn't quite willing to risk him trying to alter her memories and personality. In the event she noticed or fought back, it would mean a very high chance of getting vaporized until nothing was left. For now it was better to dig in and try to understand how it was inside her mind.

 

'Once I am inside, I want you to begin vaporizing this refuse.' The telepath said, standing behind her. The refuse were various old and derelict objects, like cardboard boxes, old lunchbox and a rubix cube. 'Stop. Stop, you are resisting me. Do not make this painful for you.'

 

"Hnng, gah...sorry but! I! Can't! Stop! Fighting back!" Cho shouted, eyes closed and face contorted as she kept, on instinct, closing her mind to Brainclay's prying. It was an automatic reaction, not something born of constant training to resist mental influence. A simple, almost animalistic preservation mechanism. Raising her hand and focusing her power, Cho fired a single shot of her signature orange-red desintegration beam, which made short work of the poor old rubix cube.

 

Slowly but surely  the telepath wormed his way into her mind, trying to understand what mental process were activating the powers. 'I see. Now, do it again. But like this.' The androgynous telepath 'said', followed by giving Cho instructions which were hard to translate into words.

 

"I don't see what's do different this ti-ohmygod." Cho said, as she opened her eyes, shocked at what she was seeing; instead of having burned off or desintegrated the refuse, it was instead floating in the air, gathered into a big lumpy ball. With Brainclay assisting the control of her body, Cho found herself altering the structure of the ball as the objects composing it seemingly changed consistence. Melting was slightly innacurate, however. Soon everything was nothing but a gooey ball of diverse matter. "W-what...but..what, how?! How did I do that?!"

 

'It appears the molecular structure of the material can be radically altered.' Explained the Lor psychic. 'It can be modified extensively but it appears no new matter can be formed. The alterations are also quite crude.'

 

"But...b-but I can DO THAT?! How?! Since when?" In her shock, Cho found herself losing control and the ball of matter fell to the ground with a somewhat comical 'splat' sound.

 

'Our estimations were correct and corroborate with what you told us about Claremont's 'diagnostic' of your abilities. We now have a more concrete proof; you, Cho Paige Lee, are a manipulator of molecules. Perhaps all your abilities are tied directly into this.' Stated the telepath, coldly and clinically.

 

"But what did you Do?!" Asked the teenager, greatly surprised at the results.

 

'I controlled various functions in your brain, allowing it to achieve a greater equilibrium and state of focus, albeit temporarily. I allowed you to think more clearly and unburdened by previous experiences. Even then, the process was vastly too short and temporary to achieve greater results.'

 

"Then do it again!" Cho shouted, wanting to see more of what she could do.

 

'As I have just explained; the process is incredibly limited. It is a temporary aid in self-control, not a complete and utter control of your mind which allows me to fully tap into your powers. Unless you fully surrender to my will, I can merely assist.' Brainclay further explained.

 

"So what's the biggest issue right now?" She asked.

 

'You are still, despite your mutation, very much like an ordinary human. A primate. An Homo Sapien, as your kind has scientifically labelled itself. Your mind is not designed to compute the complexity of your abilities. It is simply incapable of fully grasping the underlying process required to accomplish a more complex physical phenomena. It does not matter how poweful you are, it is pointless if your mind simply cannot ever take you past a point where your abilities are used instinctively.'

 

"Well crap. But I guess that's probably for the better!" Cho replied to Brainclay, strangely content with that answer. "I don't think I'd be able to relate with people if I existed in a way that's alien to them."

 

Brainclay did not replied, as he chose to remain silent, prefering to hide from Cho the consequences of being consumed by her own powers. Such a scenario would offer no positive benefit. She would simply die, consumed by her own abilities until she died.

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"O-okay. Another attempt." Cho said, while being eagerly watched by Saboteur and Brainclay as she sat in the training room, surrounded by a rather large amount of broken and useless objects. Next to her were physics books; somewhat complicated material for her, but hopefully something which would allow to better grasp the subtleties of her powers. Picking up the discarded case of a now broken DVD, she focused, trying to alter the properties of the object. It's structure warped, buckled and then began to stretch.However as Cho lost control again, it turned to a gooey paste in her hands. As she played around with the stretchy matter, an idea came to her mind.

 

"Hey! Miles, come here! I need a live subject!" she shouted. "No, I'm not going to make you explode."

 

"I thought Brainclay and you had come to the understanding your powers do not work on living matter which is not your body." Stated Miles.

 

"Okay, uh...just start running away from me will you? And whatever I do..." She said, leaving the end in a temporary suspence.

 

"Yes?" The young man replied.

 

"DON'T dodge it." Cho simply stated, dead serious. "Now move!" She shouted and Miles began running away from her, playing the part of an escaped criminal. Firing a bolt from her hand, Cho targeted the ground where Miles was going to be in the next second. Upon contact, it changed consistency, becoming temporarily fluid as it engulfed Saboteur's body, restraining him.

 

"YEEEEES!" Loudly screamed Cho. "It worked! Woo! Yeah!"

 

"I see. Interesting." He simply said, completely without emotion as he simply remained stuck inside the warped matter.

 

"You like it? Just bam! Fwoosh! Instant crime-stopper and not need to destroy half a city block! Not bad, huh?"

 

"You seem quite happy with the results. That's good."

 

She turned to the other person observing her progress, the telepath: "Any comment, 'clay?"

 

'No.' Replied the androgynous alien. Either they weren't impressed, didn't care or simply lacked the ability to show that they did.

 

"I'll take that as a 'good job'. I mean, close enough, right?" It's not that Cho really cared all that much about compliments, but they still felt good, didn't they? For her it was a major milestone right there but unfortunately her new 'friends' just weren't as heartwarming and kind as Stronghold, Glamazon or Maxima. She figured these three would have reacted with a bit more interrest but unfortunately the WYRM members had a way of acting all detached. Except Magmatic, who was sometimes almost disturbingly chirpy and energetic. "R-right. I forget. You two are allergic to fun." She added and, as she passed next to the tangled up Saboteur, carefully punched the solidified mass of matter to release him. "Oh and sorry about the floor. I'll try to smooth it out later as much as I can."

 

'Are you upset at our reaction?' Asked the telepath.

 

"You know what upset mean? Also, wow, I can be really a total jerk and not even realize it..." The teenage girl said, suddenly realizing too late just how actually snide that comment was.

 

'I am familliar enough with human thought patterns to understand the basics of it.'

 

"L-look it's just...ugh look it's not about wanting people to clap at me. Okay well to be honest that would be nice but this isn't why I do it. It's just for the first time since I've gotten my powers I'm actually able to understand them and use them in a way that doesn't destroy everything around me. Well sure, it's still messy but I didn't turn Miles into chunky salsa when I caught him." She tried to explain to Brainclay, even if words were likely quite limited to the mentat. Not to mention Cho wasn't very good at constructing her sentences in a nicely flowing way. "It just means a lot to me to know that my powers can be used a bit more constructively."

 

'I see.' was the only message the alien psychic sent back. No way to tell if they even understood.

 

"It means a lot more than you might ever realize." She said, sounding as if an incredibly heavy weight had been lifted off her chest. One she had never ever expected to lift and be freed of.

Edited by RobRX

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WYRM HQ, Midtown

Later that day...

 

"I take it this must be your brooding spot." Saboteur said, entering the living space of the WYRM HQ, where Cho was currently reading while Kiatsu was busing playing with a game console.

 

"I'm guessing that's payback for my comment the other day, huh?" She replied, still looking at her book, this time being the one doing the antisocial routine, their roles reversed. Previously, Cho had been the one trying to get a conversation out of Saboteur.

 

"I had not figured you as the abrasive or prickly type. Was my initial assesment of you entirely wrong?" It was vague, but Saboteur was at least trying to aim for a smirking smile.

 

"Don't lie. You know I can be like that. I'm not all sunshine and rainbows and really bad wannabe heroic speeches." Said Cho, looking up from her book for a moment, then going back to it.

 

"You do crave it, don't you?" Saboteur asked.

 

"Hm? Crave what?"

 

"Acceptance. Respect. You want people to acknowledge you, even if you don't want to admit it because it would go against your own self-imposed code." Folding his arms, Saboteur rested himself against a wall, waiting for Cho's inevitable reaction to that comment.

 

"It's not that! It's not...I-it's not...ugh..." Anger turned to barely coherent rambling, as usual. "J-just....uuugh. Look, I don't do this for the fame. I don't do this because I want to look superior to other people but it's just, well, I guess some appreciation is always nice. But look! I-it doesn't matter here! We're not talking about the public cheering on me and making me statues, it was just you and Clay. It's just I got caught up in the moment. I was so glad I actually managed to use my powers in a way that wasn't horribly destructive and you just stood there without even a single bit of epxression on your face. I can understand for Brainclay, I guess, but sometimes you're really a total snow man!"

 

She sighed and her shoulder slumped. "I mean is it really too hard to have more than one of you even show any kind of emotion? Or at least more than one? You and Clay are cold. Bestia's always pissed at something or ignoring people."

 

"It can be dangerous during a mission to let petty emotions get in the way." Saboteur pointed out, explaining his point of view.

 

"I know that but we're NOT on a mission here! We're not trying to stop someone from taking over the world or stealing a bank or stopping a building from collapsing!" Cho shouted back at him, even if yelling is hardly a good way to get a point across. "Sure you're good, you know how to fight. Maybe even kill. But you don't even know how to settle down, take a break and act like a ordinary person. Seriously, what's your major malfunction?"

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"I'm not the one with a malfunction. You are." Simply replied back Saboteur.

 

"...What? What!? I'm the one with the malfunction? No way!" Angrily shouted back Cho. "You're the one with something crammed right up your butt! Probably your sniper rifle!"

 

"This is exactly what I mean; you are impulsive. You do everything out of raw emotions. Gut feeling." Miles said, explaining to Cho how she basically acted. Or at least how he saw it, at any rate.

 

"So?!"

 

Saboteur walked up to her until they were face to face. Or at least close enough, given the height difference. In this case Cho being the taller one. "Let me ask you this; how much training did you receive?"

 

"A bit, look I'm still learning!" She barked down at him, getting more and more pissed by the seconds.

 

"My point exactly; you're not trained." Saboteur stated. "You're a civillian. Who just randomly woke up one day with enough firepower in your right hand to destroy everything around you. So you have those powers. And then you decide that it's your responsability to use them to punish evil. But do you know how to use them? Of course you don't. Then let's say you find yourself in a situation where you are depowered; do you know how to fight? Or how about this; do you have any knowledge of tactics? Do you know how to disarm a bomb? How to pilot a plane?" He continued to look at her, not even flinching, not even scared even if she could toss him across the room with one arm or even kill him on the spot if she wanted to. Even if that wouldn't happen. But still the fact was Saboteur wasn't even remotely intimidated.

 

"...n-no, I don't know any of those things." Cho said, weakly, looking away.

 

"Exactly. You're unskilled and unstable."

 

Cho clenched her fists, holding back a build up on energy. Holding back the urge to get ticked off and vent it all out. "You know, you're not really making much sense right now! First you try to get me on this team and say you want me to lead it, but then you start saying I don't know jacksh**! MAKE UP YOUR MIND!"

 

"Maybe you shouldn't have provoked me." Explained Saboteur, tone still even and cold.

 

"YOU started it!" She growled.

 

"Did I?" Asked back Saboteur.

 

"I'm pretty sure you did. You taunted me! Saying I did it because I wanted people's attention and respect! I don't do it for that! Hell I'd keep doing it even if the whole world hated me because I...stick...to what I believe in."

 

The young man squinted with his only eye. "Those are bold words. I'll keep you accountable to them."

 

"Yeah. I intend you to." She said, turning her back to him and leaving the room.

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WYRM HQ, Midtown

July 9th 2014

 

The door to the WYRM HQ went flying as Cho stumbled in, badly wounded. Her left arm was in shamble, badly damaged and her costume had been seriously torn up. "Ugh...hey...could use a little help he-" She soon found herself cut off before she could even finish.

 

"CHO WHAT IS GOING ON?!" Shouted Magmatic, shocked at the sudden arrival.

 

"Hold on, I'll explain. Ugh, ngh...Racer. Medkit. Now." She didn't have to wait long. A black carapace formed around Kiatsu who immadiately dissapeared in a blurr, only to come back quickly, carrying the first aid kit. "T-thanks."

 

"That still doesn't tell us what hapenned." said the Magmin.

 

"Well, I was on patrol. Okay no not really, I was actually doing groceries for my mom but...heh, patrol sounds cooler." She chuckled but then started wincing in pain. "Point is, I was just out of the shop when a bank robbery happened. The good news was that I was right next to it, I stopped it even before the police showed up. Bad news was the guy doing it was a hell of a piece of work. Turns out he could grow diamond blades out of his body and even fire them. Cut me up pretty badly."

 

"I thought you said you ended it before the police showed up. If the fight was quick how did he hurt you so much?"

 

"Uh...threw myself in front of a whole storm of sharp spikes to free hostages. Almost cut my arm off. Don't worry I already took out the spikes that got in my stomach." Using her valid hand, she covered her mouth and coughed blood.

 

"But why come here?" Racer asked. "Why come and get first aid here."

 

"Because she wanted to show off, didn't she." Saboteur said, emerging from the shadows. "She wanted to show us how heroically selfless she could be. Isn't that right, Rampart. Fitting name."

 

'Enough, Saboteur.' Echoed the telepathic voice of Brainclay, who slowly floated toward the group. 'You should be using your medical expertise to help treat her wound. At least, I am under the impression that is what should be done in the current moment.'

 

"What hapenned here?!" Said a booming voice: Bestia Diabo.

 

"Cho is injured, we're treating her wounds." He explained to her. It was a rare moment, where Bestia even showed her face to the rest of the group outside of missions.

 

"I-I...I just wanted to show I trusted all of you. Yeah, even you, Miles. Hnngg...aaah..." As she talked, saboteur extracted the razor-sharp shard embedded into her bones.

 

"So. You say you trust me." He said, still operating on her arm.

 

"Yeah, even if we disagree. Even if I almost feel like I hate you. But I can't allow myself to hate you for those reasons. You and the others got me to be part of the team and we'll stick being a team. Or...um...uh well at least we'll try, right? Hgn. Aah. Ow. Ow ow ow..."

 

Saboteur grunted at his work being made harder than necessary. "Can you stop moving, I'm trying to remove the shards before the wound close and we need to seek assistance to cut you open."

 

"Hmpf. Thanks for ignoring my attempt at apologizing. Oh what the hell, I'll say it; I'm sorry. But I still disagree. Doesn't mean I think you're wrong necessarily..."

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WYRM HQ, Midtown

July 12th 2014

 

The sound of something hard hitting metal.

 

Again.

 

And again.

 

Repeatedly.

 

Cho's fist when crashing against her 'punching bag', a large lump of metal suspended by heavy chains. And the process repeated itself, despite how painful it might feel and despite the state of her arm, still feeling a bit sore from having sharp blades cut right into it. "Hyaaaaaargh!" Cho roared and screamed, punching one last time into the metal hunk. This time the impact caving it in so hard ot nearly shattered in half and went flying across the training room.

 

'I was under the impression you were supposed to rest and recover.' Brainclay 'said', while slowly floating toward her.

 

Crouched over the hunk of metal, Cho was currently in the process of molding it back into shape. At least roughly, anyway. But it was a punching bag after all, not a work of art. "I'll be fine. I told you, if I want to lead the team I need to feel like I'm to shape. Physical. Mental and uh...um I forget the third one but you get what I mean."

 

'You still feel the need to test your powers, don't you?'

 

"Yeah. And when the powers are tested and trained, when I know how much I can do, I'll focus on the tactic part!" The banging sounds continued as she kept punching the metal slab. "Not...really sure where to start but I'll figure something! I dunno, Sun Tzu or something. Then maybe I can start spouting some ancient asian philosophy and be all stereotypical and start calling people 'grasshopper'!"

 

Silence. 'I am uncertain of the meaning of your sentence.' replied Brainclay.

 

"I-it's...it's a joke. A bad one. Because my dad was, okay look n-nevermind. Beside I just mixed up Sun Tzu and Confucius so don't tell the others, it's a little embarassing." She said, trying to stop embarassing herself.

 

'Perhaps you can explain.' Brainclay asked.

 

"Jokes. You do have jokes in space, right? Space jokes about space or something. No?"

 

'No?' He replied, still unsure, as the only answers could be found inside Cho's head and he had been told to avoid prying in there for now or else she might notice and become suspicious.

 

"Oh my god this is gonna take a while, isn't it." Cho said, covering her face with her hands. "I-I thought you were smart, 'clay. Like somekind of genius intellect with super brain powers. But apparently! Apparently you don't know jokes or you don't have those in space."

 

'I am smart. More than you by a significant margin. I simply do not understand where your sentences are going. They are poorly structured.' The alien said, locking it's gaze with her, making Cho take a few step backs, albeit solely by reflexes. Brainclay had a rather unnerving effect around people.

 

"L-look I'm just...I'm not...I'm not good at speaking, I gotta practice that too. I-I stutter you know. It's not a good thing to stutter and shake out of nervosity when you're telling some psychopath with superpowers to step away from hostages." A few more steps back.

 

'You still feel fear. Even if your body is almost indestructible, you still are easily filled with fear. Humans are so easily overpowered by that emotion. After all, your mind is not as impenetrable.' Thet continued to say, with a completely even 'tone'.

 

"G-getting a little creepy here, 'Clay!" She shouted at them.

 

'Ah I see. You are becoming uncomfortable. I suppose it is here I must apologize.' As easily and suddenly as it had began, it stopped. Clay stopped moving toward her by floating as they landed on the ground; the first time Cho had even seen Brainclay do so. 'Human emotions are a complicated thing. One I wish I did not have to deal with.'

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WYRM HQ, Midtown

Later that day...

 

"What am I even doing?" Moped Cho, sitting on a couch. "Can't talk to Miles without being a total bi*** and now I'm having freakouts talking with 'Clay. Yeah sure, that's real good for the relationships. Sure Cho, forget he's a weird telepathic alien and doesn't understand manners. Get all spooked out. Yeah, totally not hurting it's feelings. Wait do they even have feelings? For all I know they're from a species with no emotion. " She continued to talk, rambling to herself, alone. "What DO I know about aliens, anyway? Nothing! Aaagh!" Frustrated she started to pull at the uneven strands of her hair.

 

"I can't have their trust and respect if I keep screwing this up! I can't make this team work if I can't deal with them. Things can't work like that, we can't have teamwork if I keep pissing them off! Wait! That's it!" The teenager stood up, struck with an idea. "I just...I just need to take things in my own hands. If I want something done I'll have to go down there and get it done myself!" She fist pumped.

 

--

 

July 13th

 

"We're going to patrol as a team? That's new." Saboteur noted.

 

"Grrrrhh, so you're actually taking control of the team?" Added Bestia, looking pissed. Meaning look like her usual self.

 

"N-not really. L-look, you got the whole idea wrong. I'm not here to rule the team with an iront fist. Look there is no hiearchy to the team because something like that is useless in a situation like ours. We're not like the military or the police. It's more...like...um..." Tried to explain the teenager, unsure how. The idea made perfect sense in her head but she couldn't find the exact terms to explain it to the WYRM members.

 

The crystalline magmin spoke up: "Like what, Cho?"

 

"It would have to be something born out of trust, you know?" She tried to explain again. "Look I'm not here to boss people is what I'm saying."

 

"And yet that would partially defy the purpose of a leader. But no matter, we will try what you are proposing."

 

"R-really? Well...I guess that was easier than I expected." Cho exhaled in relief.

 

--

 

WYRM HQ, Midtown, Secret Room

Later that day...

 

"Saboteur's report, July Thirteenth. Everything is proceeding exactly as planned. Currently, both options to our plan remain entirely valid. Cho has accepted to lead the team in spite of earlier conflicts with team members. I firmly believe it is entirely possible to turn her loyal to our cause and instill in her the problem values and qualities required to do so. Should this fail, she's perfect for the initial plan. This is a scenario we cannot lose. Everything is falling perfectly into place." The young man paused and passed a hand on his face. "Sweat." He simply stated, as if surprised at how much he was sweating and was nervous making this report. But why? Everything was falling into place, just as he'd said. Either Cho would join them, becoming their most powerful pawn or she'd be framed and used to shatter the public's trust. So why the sudden nervosity? "Pause report. Is there something in the plan which could go wrong? Everything is how it should be. Why am I so worried? Resume report: We'll be soon taking the field as a team." He stood up from his chair and prepared to leave.

 

"End Saboteur's report."

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Guatemala

July 15th

 

"Allright so, if I got this right, what we're dealing with here are super-mercenaries? Superpowered criminals-for-hire?" Cho asked, just to be sure if she had understood everything right. In fact she had, but by nature felt like asking anyway because she thought she might have understood it wrong.

 

"Correct. At least, it's what the intel says. Some say they might have some association with OVERTHROW."

 

"Where have I heard that name be- aw crap..." Cho said, realizing what OVERTHROW was, having heard about it both on the news and sometimes aroud Claremont.

 

"There's nothing certain, as this doesn't really fit how OVERTHROW operate. They're terrorists, Rampart. Of the worst possible kind. Forget about 'supervillains' with silly motif and gimmicks. If these people have any ties to the kind of circles OVERTHROW operates in this will be get ugly fast." He readied his high-tech sniper rifle. "Which is why I have this."

 

"Yeah, about that; are you sure you wouldn't want a laser gun? Or a bow? Does it really need to fire live bullets?" She asked, not very keen on the idea of having someone toting around some heavy firepower, something that could easily kill someone.

 

"You fire entropic energy from your hands, which can destroy the atoms in someone's body. You are in no position to judge if my tools are too lethal." He replied to her. He didn't feel like having that argument right now.

 

"You know, having someone who can turn into an animal is pretty cool when it come to scouting." She pointed out, referencing to Bestia Diabo's ability to turn into all manners of beasts. A very handy abiity if you're in the wild, especially if you need someone to scout ahead.

 

"It is useful." Racer added, barely audible, as usual.

 

As if on cue, a large monstrous-looking bird landed near the group before transforming back into the form of the Angolan revolutionary, Bestia Diabo.

 

"So what's it like out there?" Asked Cho. Her way of asking for a report, even if highly informal.

 

"It's a big camp. Hidden by the trees mostly. There are a lot of guards outside and it seem to continue underground. Expect heavy resistance, which is fine by me! I wouldn't like it any other way!" The teenage former(?) revolutionary grinned at the prospect of inflicting massive carnage on the camp. "Oh and the ones outside are only armed with normal weapons. Rifles. Rocket launchers."

 

"Right, okay. Guess I'll take the lead then. Turn myself into a bullet sponge! Well, I mean it's not like they can harm me. Bestia? Racer? I think the three of us can charge into the place and take down the outside guards without any problem." It seemed to her like a decent plan, anyway. Sending in the three 'big guns' to storm the place. Taking down the guards without exposing anyone more vulnerable to bullets.

 

"Magmatic and Clay can cover our back. I'll be keeping in touch, in case you need some assistance. Tactical or otherwise." He paused, remembering that Cho said 'no ranks, just friends advising each others'. "That works for you?"

 

Cho sent the question right back at him: "I dunno. Works for you?"

 

Saboteur nodded. "Yes."

 

"Okay then! We got a plan! Let's move!"

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Amongst the chaos of gunfire, grenades and rocket flying, Cho has her very first experience of battlefield hell. She had dealt with armed criminals before, but nothing able to bring down such a punishing amount of firepower. Add in the yelling and what she presumed to be lot of cursing and the overall experience was rather horrific. And messy. Very messy.

 

It was still unclear if these were members of OVERTHROW or not, but they weren't playing with the kid's gloves. Saboteur had indeed been right on the matter. If not for the fact her body was more or less impervious to bullets, Cho would have been dead five times over considering the amount of shots she took. Still, living up to her new name, Rampart, she had spearheaded the attack on the mercenaries (or was it terrorists, this whole thing was strangely confusing and unclear), drawing fire to herself. The (somewhat comparatively) brightly colored costume helped somewhat.

 

Cornered against the wall, one of the violent psychopath unloaded his entire clip at Rampart in a fit of panic. Grabbing the weapon, the teenager squeezed it into a useless lump of metal before throwing it away. "Okay down you go, now." She said, slapping the side of his head, knocking him unconscious. Taking a moment to breathe, she looked around and saw the carnage, including Bestia chasing off after one of them, while in the shape of a feral-looking white gorilla. Grabbing the man, she tossed him away and he flew away into the forest, screaming.

 

"Whoa whoa whoa! What the HELL?!" Cho shouted, appearing right next to Bestia. "Did you just throw that guy away like a ragdoll?!"

 

The monstrous gorilla shrank down and morphed back to a human shape. "Hrg. Yeah, so?"

 

"Well that guy didn't have any powers! Least not any I noticed. None of these guys had and you just THREW HIM! Like a softball!"

 

"...So?" Bestia replied, not getting the point.

 

"He might be DEAD! You don't...y-you don't use excessive force like that!" Cho yelled.

 

"He's scum, does it matter? Beside, I didn't throw him too hard. He'll live." She simply said, looking in the general direction. "Yep, he's alive. Just a bit going to hurt all over."

 

"Seriously, what the hell?" Repeated Cho.

 

"These aren't good people, Cho. You've seen how they attacked us. They are savage. Violent. Remorseless. They probably raid entire villages. Extort entire populace. They are not good. Teach them pain, they will learn." She said, with her growling voice.

 

"But we don't know that and we...we..." She tried to justify herself, but it was hard given the presumed identity of these people.

 

"Don't go soft on psychos. They might exploit that softness."

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"Once we're in we have make this quick. We form into teams of two. I'm with Clay." Said Saboteur, once again assuming the lead position, which didn't bother Cho one bit; after all, she had said that it less of a leadership thing and more of a trust thing.

 

"I'll keep an eye on the rookie, maybe teach her not to be so soft." Bestia added, teaming up with Cho most certainly not out of goodness of heart.

 

"Then Racer and Magmatic make the last team, got it." Cho added.

 

"Clean sweep. In and out, we trash everyone in our way before they even get a chance to do anything that might put us at a disadvantage." Saboteur explained, before glaring at Cho, the comment clearly aimed at her. "That include prisoners and hostages. If we clean the place quickly, they won't even get the chance to put their likely prisoners in danger."

 

"How likely are we talking about them having prisonners." She asked back.

 

"Very." He simply said, grim as ever.

 

"Okay I got it. Come on." She simply said, nodding at Bestia and the two went their own way into the underground base.

 

It didn't take long for the two of them to encounter some heavy and violent resistance. Fortunately for them, these were still ordinary troops. Or so Cho thought, until she found herself knocked against a wall before she could even see what was coming at her. Getting up fromt he rubbles, she opened her eyes ang gasped. In front of her was an enormous, ridiculously muscular man who only barely looked human. His skin was a scabby red and his bald head twisted in a feral rictus. "So! Heard we had some visitors." He said, speaking english in a powerful, growling voice.

 

"I-I take it you're one of...t-those super-mercenaries?" She asked, brushing the debris off her suit, looking up at the man. Unfortunately, her fear was noticeable in her voice as she ended up stuttering. Cho was far from small, but he made her look positively tiny and waifish by comparison, being easily twice as large as her.

 

"Yeah. So, who are you? No really, I want to know." He said, strangely polite and calm as the chaos raged nearby, Cho having been tackled across multiple walls and separated from Bestia. And strangely articulate, as one would expect a much dimmer intellect given his monstrous appearance.

 

"I'm..." Cho swallowed a bit. "I'm Rampart." She said, trying to sound as calm as possible. Then she noticed the hands. They were red. Well, far redder than his skin. Covered in blood. And that clearly wasn't his blood, which meant...

 

"Hreeh hree, sorry. Never heard of you." He grinned, showing a mouth full of long jagged teeth. "And you know what else, little girl?"

 

"N-no?" Cho said, starting to sweat.

 

"YOU SHOULDN'T TALK TO STRANGERS!" Roared the man as he charged her, punching her in the stomach at full force, creating a shockwave. Immediately, she collapsed, unable to breathe.

 

"What a joke. You're such a rookie. I could see it in how you moved. You were scared of me, weren't you?" With his immense and calloused red hand, he pinned her to a wall, choking her. "I know what you were thinking. You thought you had to talk to me. Your little routine was just to calm your fear, wasn't it? I know you were overcome with fear. Don't worry, sweetie, that's normal. Means you're sane. But it also mean you're just a little girl thinking she's tought just because she's got powers. You think you're the first superpowered brat I see? Don't be stupid. I've already grinded dozens stronger than you into a bloody paste." He kept squeezing and squeezing. "But don't worry, I'm a good teacher." And then Cho found herself thrown across the room yet again. On the good side, she could breathe again.

 

"Y-you're talking too much..." She wheezed out.

 

"Oh I know I talk a lot, but teaching is my passion." He said, lumbering toward her.

 

Screaming in rage, Cho fired off everything she had at the monstrous man's face, engulfing him in a stream of orange-red crackles. As the smoke cleared, he simply grinned, his face only showing some burns.

 

"Oh, now I want you ever more." He said, grabbing her by the hair.

 

"F-for what?!" She screamed, spitting at his face.

 

"I got this thing for kids. They make good students. First I break them." Grabbing her, he proceeded to headbutt her, breaking her nose. "Then I teach them. Isn't that right...kid?" The monstrous man asked at someone outside of Cho's vision.

 

"Yes. Teacher Molienda." Said a voice, sounding completely broken inside, speaking with a thick spanish accent, much thicker than the red man.

 

"Good. Now here's my new lesson; I want you to break her. Now do it!" Roared Molienda.

Edited by RobRX

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"I'm sorry. I have to." Simply said the boy, walking up to Cho. He looked a bit younger than her and somewhat weak and malnourished. However it didn't take long for her to get that he wasn't some ordinary malnourished kid. Getting struck by a beam of light quickly proved her that the initial assertion was wrong.

 

"Oof, okay that one hurt." She simply said, before standing up, albeit with great difficulty.

 

"Still trying to stand, I see." Molienda said, leaning against a wall, just enjoying the spectacle as hell was breaking loose in the underground base.

 

"Y-yeah, I'm kinda stubborn like that. Okay, round two." Cho said, wiping off her lips. "But, see, jerkface. I'm going to...um...I'm going to win this one without even lifting a finger on this kid!" Cho declared, boldly. In her mind, she knew this was a completely and utterly ridiculous plan with little to no chance of sucess. It mostly relied on how far gone or not the kid was.

 

"Brave words, but foolish. Still, it entertain me greatly!" Said the monstrous mountain of muscles.

 

"Oh yeah? Well, I got nothing to lose here, since I can't beat you!" She replied, trying to grin while secretly mere seconds away from collapsing from fear.

 

"Hurt her." He simply said to the kid, who proceeded to fire another blast at Cho, who stood there, taking the blow. "Again. She is bad. But once we break her, we can make her a good kid, like you."

 

"If I wanted to hurt you, I would have already. I wou-" Cho's speech was cut short as she took another beam of light. "Light controller, right?" She said, trying to guess the kid's powers. "Whatever he's done to you was....um, well I'm going to guess horrible. But it doesn't need to be like that. You're strong, you can easily beat me."

 

"Well, at least she's honest." Commented Molienda.

 

"What do you gain, hurting me? Killing me?" Cho added, between taking lasers to the face. "If you strike me down, there's no going back for you, you know? Least not easily, anyway. I-I know you're a good person. Okay well no, it's a guess. But I think my guess is right. If you weren't a good person, he wouldn't have needed to hurt you to make you obey! That mean you don't want to do what he order you!" Then she collapsed on one knee. "You know what? I-It's your call. You can kill me here and n-now. Just remember I didn't even lift a finger to stop you."

 

The deformed man grinned: "That's it, girl? That wasn't all that good. Maybe if I do spare you, I ought to teach you to express yourself better. So, last offer; you join me or he kills you."

 

"I'm not very good at the whole speech thing but I think I can at least get a message across. Oh, also I kinda rambled on, huh?" The teenage replied at Molienda, before grinning. With a loud, thunderous roar, a white gorilla lept at the sadistic monster, tossing him to the ground. "Y-you...shouldn't talk to strangers." She replied, trying to sound witty but only ending up having a coughing fit.

Edited by RobRX

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"Come on, don't be stupid." Cho said at the boy, his arm currently raised at pointed at her face. "He's crazy. He's a psycho, he's just using you!"

 

"I-I have to. I must survive. Destruction is survival..." He wimpered out, reciting what was presumably some mantra driven into his head by his twisted, violent instructor.

 

"O-okay look, don't make me explain what I'm trying to pull off!" She shouted at him, causing him to recoil. Grabbing the boy's hand, Cho put it against her face. "It's simple; you shoot this, I'm probably dead. You don't shoot me and I'm not dead so, um, can you do it or not? Can you shoot my head off?"

 

"I-I-I..." Kept whimpering out the boy.

 

"I'm defenseless. Now I'm asking you, can you do what he's asked you to do? Or are you better than that? D-don't...don't be afraid. A-at least not of me and not of..." Cho looked at the gorilla currently fighting the grisly Molienda. "And not of her. Yeah even if she's pretty scare sometimes. The thing is we're here to help. I'm not him. And you're not him either. I know you're hesitating, I know you don't want to do that. Whatever he's done to you, you can put into the past. You CAN take him down. You CAN because you're stronger than me. All you need to do is take what looks like one impossible step! Then you're free to see the world, the sky, the mountains, the forests and all manners of crazy things. We can show you a happy, beautiful world...well, sometimes. All he offer you is murder. S-so please, help me."

 

Screaming, venting his anger, the boy turned to Molienda and fired beams of light at his face. This combined with Bestia's feral onslaught, started to cause him some actual harm.

 

"DO IT! Come on, do it!" Cho cheered him.

 

Roaring, Molienda pushed Bestia off him. Fortunately at the same time arrived Racer and Magmatic on the scene.

 

"So what did I miss?" She asked.

 

"Oh just me getting my butt kicked by fugly over there, finding out he's a psycho who tries to turn kids into killing machines and then having the dumbest plan that I'm still not sure how the hell it even worked out. You might want to go help Bestia and the kid." Explained Cho, giving the magmin a very quick rundown of the situation. "Also. Ow, My everything."

 

"YOU DIRTY LITTLE BRAT!" Roared the monstrous bruiser as he lumbered toward his former pupil, half-blind by the light show. His punches were fast, leaving Cho only a slight margin to react as she lept, tossing the kid out of the way, taking the blow for him. The massive fist connected to her face and she went flying, hitting a wall and falling to the ground, limp. With one last drop of energy, she raised a thumbs up at the boy, before falling unconscious.

Edited by RobRX

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Slowly, Cho came back to her senses. "Hnnngg, gah...where am I?" She asked, speech slow and painful. Her eyes flickered at the bright light she was seeing.

 

"Outside the base. They've lost out trail." Saboteur explained, while tending to her wounds.

 

The teenage girl winced in pain: "Feels like I've been squished into a pancake."

 

"You have a certain knack for getting yourself horribly beaten and somehow surviving." Saboteur replied back to her.

 

"Hnngg. It...gnnn...come with the name." She said, trying to smile at him.

 

Saboteur inquired, while washing Cho's face. "That was one reckless trick. Bestia told me and the boy confirmed. Even more impressive from such a poor speaker like you. How did you know it would work."

 

"Huh? Um...uh..." For a moment, Cho hesitated between telling the truth and making things up to look cool, eventually settling for the former purely out of principles. "I...I-I uh...no idea. I had no idea it would work, I thought it wouldn't even work, to be honest. Yep, it was a completely crazy gamble, I was seconds away from probably soiling my costume."

 

"You let yourself be reduced to a punching bag. Why?" Asked Racer.

 

"Because I took a risk. If...If he really was a good person, then he'd get the message. I wanted him to see who was the bad guy in that. So I didn't lift a finger. If I tried to use force, well he might get angry at me. To be honest I still had enough juice to splatter him into a wall, even if the big red jerk had softened me up quite a bit." She winced in pain once again. "Hnng. That guy was something. Really out of my league. Is he dead?"

 

"Sadly no. While fighting, the complex began to collapse from collateral damage. He might still be alive under the debris." Said Bestia, sitting nearby.

 

"You are crazy." Saboteur said, shaking his head in dissaproval. "You could have gotten yourself killed. This was a ridiculous stunt which you had no way to know would actually work. The chances were extremely slim; it was nothing but a fluke. It won't work again."

 

"Yeah you're probably right. But I couldn't beat Molienda on my own. He scrapped me pretty hard early in the fight. There was no way I could beat him. Then I saw the kid. I took a chance, that's all. I don't regret anything. Beside, getting beaten up to a bloody pulp is part of the job." Cho explained, even if she knew that it wouldn't really work; Saboteur was dead set on this being a bad thing and he clearly wouldn't budge.

 

"Any way, we're pulling out of this one. Felipe is coming with us, for now." Saboteur said, gesturing at the light-controlling boy, sitting on a rock, visibly still shocked by everything.

 

"Good. Good, that's...t-that's good." Cho muttered, before passing out again.

Edited by RobRX

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WYRM HQ, Midtown

July 17th

 

"His name was Molienda. Or the 'Grinder' if you preffer the translated version." Explained Saboteur, in a debriefing of sort, with Cho sitting nearby, in cast and bandages. "From what I managed to gather about him, he's a genetically modified former terrorist-turned-super thug-for-hire. He has a habit of kidnapping children with 'special gifts' and breaking them, molding them into weapons. He's an expert fighter in addition to his strength as well as a an expert in torture."

 

"He was a nasty piece of work. Guy was strong. Way stronger than anything I've fought so far." Cho said, speech a bit hard given her injuries. Injuries which would heal fast, fortunately.

 

"We should have made sure he was dead." Bestia commented.

 

"The whole place was collapsing, I almost had to dig us out of there." The magmin replied.

 

"In any case, we've disrupted their activities in Guatemala. I'm going to make a guess and say their affiliation with OVERTHROW was incorrect. These troops were too poorly trained." Continued Saboteur.

 

"M-maybe they were just loosely affiliated. Meant to be goons. Meatshields. Diversion. Expendable troops." She replied, unsure if her guess was correct, given her lack of experience and knowledge on the subject matter.

 

Saboteur nodded. "That is indeed a possibility."

 

"So when are we going back to finish the job?!" She shouted, eager to get this wrapped up as soon as possible.

 

"I am not sure." He simply said.

 

"What do you mean, you're not sure?! We know there's more of them back in Guatemala. We know they're up to no good so why aren't we going back?"

 

"Maybe. In time. First we need you to recover." Explained Saboteur, looking grim and serious yet again.

 

"Okay then, how about I try to heal right here, right now!" Declared Cho, suddenly struck with yet another completely crazy idea.

 

"That's ridiculous. Even if you could do that, there is simply no way you can do so without overly stressing yourself. Don't be in such a hurry."

 

Orange-red crackles appeared around Cho as she focused her powers inward. They couldn't affect living, organic matter. That much was true, albeit with one single exception; herself. The same process which had enhanced her strength and endurance could be reactivated to help speed her recovery process. Getting up, Cho tore off the cast and bandages. "Aaaaaaaaah...heeeere we go. Much better." She said...only to stumble after taking a few steps. The recovery was far from even remotely complete. She had just accelerated the process for a brief moment.

 

"I just warned you, didn't I? You're risking putting too much stress on your body. We don't know the long-term effects." Said Saboteur, shaking his head as he joined Racer in putting Cho back on her feet. "You're getting ahead of yourself. You're even getting arrogant and overconfident because you're starting to finally understand your powers. Unfortunately you will also have to learn you have limits like anybody else."

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WYRM HQ, Midtown

Later that day...

 

"Understand I'm glad you are becoming more motivated, but I question your newfound resolve. It sound like you're trying too hard to prove yourself. You might understand your powers better but you haven't mastered them. Beside, raw power is far from the only thing which can determine the outcome of a battle; there is skill, training and focus." Saboteur tried to explain to Cho, who had gotten up and resumed her use of the training room, despite her injuries not being fully healed.

 

"You want me to get serious and now I am getting serious, Miles." Cho said, while trying to lift the immensely heavy weights.

 

Miles understood, but still tried to explain his point since it seemed Cho had missed it: "Suicide by overextension was never my goal. If you push yourself too much, we don't know what might happen. Especially if you overuse that healing trick you did."

 

"So. Does that mean you care, now?" She asked.

 

"Yes and no. I do care for the well being of those on the team but no, it is not a sentimental thing." He explained.

 

"Okay good to know." She simply said.

 

He nodded at her, before preparing to leave. "Still, for what it's worth I'll consider everything that hapenned so far a decent start." Miles said, something which somehow felt a bit odd and out of place coming from him, given his cynicism and dislike of Cho's recklessness and idealism.

 

"You think so? Or a-are you lying?"

 

"Fifty fifty." He stated, admitting the previous statement was half a lie. "But I figured some encouragement would make you feel better, improve your mood as well as teamwork."

 

"....Ah." Was the only thing Cho could say on the matter.

 

"Still, keep yourself healthy and alive. It is better for the team."

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WYRM HQ, Midtown

July 18th

 

The next day, the WYRM crew gathered up. It seemed, to the older members, that the team was gathering more and more these days and actually working as a team, as it should. Something not everyone was in favor of, as Bestia was missing from the meeting.

 

At the table, Cho was busy scribbling down ideas on paper. Once Racer arrived, the last one to since Bestia had off-handedly said she 'might not be there', she spoke up: "Okay so, basically what I'm trying to think up is a plan so we can take down Molienda and the rest of his team. I intend to fight Molienda, well maybe not all by myself but he's definately going down. Any ideas? Saboteur, maybe?"

 

"Traps. Stealth. Using the terrain to our advantage. All the basics." He simply said, looking down at the sheet of paper, not sure if it was worth putting something so obvious down.

 

"Do we even know what the rest of his team are capable? None of us encountered them."

 

"Either way, Molienda's pretty strong! And he knows who we are and what we do."

 

"This does reduce the element of surprise."

 

"Oh! Oh! Wait, I...I think I got an idea!" Cho suddenly shouted as she started to frantically write it down on the paper. "Okay, look it's not exactly the best idea but....but what if, well, Molienda doesn't know how many of us there is. As in, he doesn't know how many of us there are in the team total. There could be reserve members. So what if, I'm not sure how, one of us figured a way to fake being another team member while the person being faked disguised itself as someone else!"

 

"Go on, explain. Preferably making a bit more sense."

 

"All we need is one of us to somehow pretend to be someone else on the team. So first off how do we do that?" She asked, looking around at each and every single on of them at the table.

 

Brainclay turned their head and looked at Cho. 'A mental projection. It can fool the senses but not machinery, which is irrelevant in this context. I could project the appearance of any one of you unto myself.'

 

"Then I put on another costume, preferably one that covers me up all the way and I pretend to be someone. With different powers, too."

 

'And how would you accomplish that?' Asked the telepath, still staring at her.

 

"Well I could fake having some suit that gives me powers. Plus maybe I could see if I can't pull some trick that people wouldn't expect me being able to do."

 

"Interresting. If somewhat unoptimal. I suppose it could fool Molienda long enough to get a few good hits in and even the playing field."

 

"Come on, it will be fun!"

 

Miles squinted at her with his organic eye. "Fun. Fun, really? You almost got yourself killed and you think this is some kind of game?"

 

"So what if I find this fun? What's wrong with liking what I do? It's certainly better than always being gloomy and going on and on about the weight on the shoulders and responsability and yaddi yadda! I take what I can get out of this, you know? Some days I get beaten to a bloody pulp trying to save someone and some days I get to see real, living dinosaurs. What's wrong with trying to find some pleasure in what you do, especially if it's a way of life that will probably get you killed!" Cho stopped, breathing in. "Sorry, I know, that's probably all wrong."

 

"I disagree with this statement but the plan in itself is not bad. Far from the best plan, but we can proceed with that."

 

Racer Konchu nodded. "I will see if we have something we can use as a spare costume."

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WYRM HQ, Midtown

Later that day...

 

"I don't understand." Racer said, as she rummaged through the gear of the WYRM, trying to find anything that might be added to Cho's makeshift costume. "Why not simply alter your suit to make a new design?"

 

"Because I don't think I can easy tweak it. Beside, I'm trying to make something that looks like armor. I'm really trying to trick Molienda, make him think I'm some guy in an armored suit. Well, I won't be able to fake a real robotic suit but I can definately make it look armored." She replied, while searching the other side of the room, tossing things around in hope of finding something that wouldn't look too horrible and would fit her. "I've sent Abys'al to the scrapyard, hopefully she'll get some metal to finish it. I mean inbetween the two of us, we should be able to mold it into makeshift armor."

 

"How long do you believe he will buy your trick?"

 

"Uh, I don't know. Hopefully long enough to trick him!" A few more things went flying. "Huh, well, I guess I can use that as an undersuit. Hmm..."

 

"So how do you intend to disguise your powers?"

 

"Um, well I opened a few books, checked stuff about molecules and if it works out I might be able to freeze things. Not something I usually need to do but I guess that's something I might be able to do. So I'll paint this suit white and blue and pretend to be some freezing guy."

 

The door opened and Magmatic walked in, carrying a large bag. "Scrapmetal! Get your scrapmetal? Who want some metal?"

 

"Good! Put in the floor, we'll start reshaping it into armor right away! Give me the biggest piece, I'll start with the helmet." She said, as Magmatic handed over a large plate of rusty metal, which Cho proceeded to bend and wrap around her head until it was all covered up.

 

"Can you even breathe in that?"

 

"Mmmhmmmppfffmmpff! Mppff pffmmff!" Touching the metal wrapped around her head, Cho's hands began to glow. Soon the glow wrapped itself around the metal, engulfing it into a ball of crackling orange-red energy. Slowly, the metal smoothed itself out and began reshaping, eventually forming into the rough shape of a bucket-like helmet with a slit opening for the eyes. "I'll ask Miles where the rest of the tools are later. Just trying to see if everything fits. So, how does it look?"

 

"Could be better."

 

"Definately doesn't look all that...glamorous."

 

"It's a first try, okay? Now hand me over more metal so I make a chestplate! Oh and Racer, since you're fast; can you go find me things to add to the suit. Like, I don't know, tubes or something."

 

Racer Nodded. "Got it." She said, before growing her black exoskeleton and dissapearing in a blurr.

 

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Guatemala

July 20th

"Okay." Cho said, lowering the binoculars. "Yep, Molienda's in the camp, so I guess that whole plan wasn't for nothing. But, yeah as expected he's not alone. I see three or four guys in there who look like they're in charge too. What do you think?"

Saboteur observed the scene with his cybernetic. "Likely the other mercenaries."

"Mmmmh. So, anything to add to the plan?"

"We need to strike when they are a sufficient distance from Molienda. Or rather a sufficient distance from each others. You and Clay take on Molienda. We split in group for the rest and hope we can take them down quickly enough to assist each others."

"What about the new kid? Hrm. I don't think he can take this." Bestia said, gesturing at their newest addition, Felipe, who was sitting further away from the others, looking exceedingly nervous. Upon hearing this comment, Cho got up to see the newcomer. Unlike the others, he had no costume. Just some makeshift body armor scavenged up quickly to protect him from stray bullets should his powers fail him.

"Hey. Something's wrong?" She asked, crouching to get on his level.

"I'm scared. You think everything be okay?" His english wasn't perfect, but at least they could understand him.

"Yeah sure, everything's going to be fine!"

"You sure?"

"Um..." Cho's expression changed to one heavily wracked with worry and uncertainty. "Yeah, uh, no. It's probably going to be messy and terrifying but you know what? I'd rather be honest with you. Yes, that stuff can get really terrifying and yes it can and often will go horribly wrong. But you know what else? That's no reason not to do it."

"You're not so good with pep talk."

"Y-yeah I'm...really not all that good with it, no. Just keep making these walls of light and hopefully you'll be safe from the bullets. Just do it defensively, okay? Stick with your partner, let them handle the brunt of the battle and just focus on keep you and your partner safe. A-at least I think that's what's going to work."

"So you're not sure your plan work."

"L-like I said I don't want to lie."

"You not very good at hero thing?"

Cho shook her head in dissapointment. Toward herself, that is. "Y-yeah, sorry about that."

"Well, you still young, no? So it's not too bad, you can improve."

"Right..."

"When this is over, I go back with you. Also can you give me english lesson?"

"Why me? I'm sure the others could gi..." She looked at Saboteur. Then Bestia. Then Racer. None of them had english as a first language. Then she turned to Magmatic and Brainclay; neither were from earth. Or rather one was from inside the earth. "Okay yeah, you know what? I'll handle that. No problem."

 

 

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"He's not ready." Simply said Saboteur, still observing the camp as Cho came back after talking with Felipe. "He's even less trained than you are. And clearly even less ready to face Molienda again."

"I know he's not but what are we going to do about it? We need all the help he can get plus...well I guess it would be wrong to not give him a chance at payback."

"True, but I'm simply saying that if anything goes wrong in all this, he's the most likely to completely snap."

"We gotta work with what we have, right?"

"Unfortunately so. We'll have to minimize the risks of it going wrong. So, I take it you've taken the last steps in preparing your plan."

"Yup!" Cho said, adjusting her new makeshift armor. Using spare costume parts and scavenged material, she had made a white and blue costume decorated with snow iconography. A metal helmet connected by (useless) tubes would complete the imagery of some armored ice-user.

"Can you fake it long enough?"

"Probably. It's not usually how I use my powers...but...I guess..."

"You guess?"

"Yeah, a bit. Don't worry, I got this. Clay? You know what to do, right?"

The telepath floated toward the two. 'Correct. I know what I am instructed to do and will follow with the plan.'

 

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"Okay...okay..." Cho said, breathing in. "Saboteur. Magmatic. You two, um, diversion. Yeah, diversion that's what you'll do. Brainclay and I take on Molienda. Bestia?"

"Grrr...what do you want me to do, fearless leader." She said, with an exceedingly mocking tone.

"You...you're teamed up with Felipe."

"You're kidding, right?"

"No. You're a pretty good fighter and you'll be wrecking everything so...um...I guess in the chaos they'll focus on you rather than him. A-at least that's the idea. Turn into some huge were-elephant or something and you'll draw all the fire on you. All he does is cover your back."

Saboteur  nodded. "I suppose that make some amount of sense."

"Racer?"

"Yes?" She simply replied, not even looking up.

"I'm told you're holding back a lot. So what I need you to do is...is uh...w-well basically, I need you to actually not hold back, this time. If someone gives the signal, you hit Molienda with everything you've got. No holding back. At all."

"I can try."

Trying to find anything good to say, Cho spoke up the first quote that came to her mind: "Do or do not. There is no try."

Racer kept her head down and simply muttered. "...That is Yoda."

"Y-yeah it's Yoda, but you get the idea."

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Chaos erupted in the mercenary (or was it terrorist? Their motives had remained unclear even to this point) as Saboteur began moving around the camp, throwing smoke grenades. Meanwhile, the ground split open right in the middle of the camp, rocks flying everywhere and magma leaking. Magmatic had tunneled underneath it and cause a minor eruption. Guessing what was going on, Molienda ordered his best men, presumably the superpowered ones, to seek out the WYRM members and kill them. Cho's plan could begin.

Brainclay, projecting a mental image of Cho, entered the camp alongside the real one, her features and gender hidden underneath the makeshift ice suit. The two immediately headed deeper into the camp in order to confront Molienda.

"Look whose back." Said the monstrous man, grinning, his wounds already healed. "Well, this is your last chance niña or else I will break you!"

Brainclay, of course, wasn't remotely able to properly convey Cho's emotions, voice or facial features, making it seem as if she was simply staring at Molienda with no expression whatsoever, eyes like a dead fish.

"Playing the silent game, aren't we? Well then. I suppose it is time I give your new friend here a demonstration." Roaring, Molienda threw a punch at the real Cho, who tried to dodge but to no avail, getting knocked to the ground. Raising her hands and doing everything in her power to properly fine tune her ability to control molecules, she began controlling the moisture in the air around Molienda, who soon found himself covered in ice. Roaring, he shattered a large part of it and began pummeling Cho.

On cue, Racer rushed into the fight, slicing at the mountain of muscles with her claws. Enraged by his wound, Molienda grabbed Racer and used her as an impromptu club against the fake Cho, sending Brainclay flying away and leaving Racer in the dirt. Seeing this as her chance, Cho jumped at Moliend, who grabbed her before she could apply her frost-covered hands to his face. "Sorry, but your little ice cubes don't scare me." He said, holding her by the wrists, keeping the fingers a mere inche away from his ugly scarlet face. "O-okay." She said, voice distorted and muffled by the helmet. "How about this?!"

Molienda's face twisted to pure horror as the armored ice-user's body became engulfed in orange-red crackles, an infernal glowing inner light leaking out of the holes in the armor, sparks flying out. Mere inches away from Molienda's face, a beam of entropic energy erupted, engulfing his head and upper body in pure destruction. His screams of pain and terror erupted, drowning out all the noises in the camp and nearby jungle. "HRRRUUUGGLLLUUAAAAAUUUUGGGGGHHHHHHH! AAAAAAGH!! AAAAAAAAGH! GAAAAAH!! MY FAAAAAACE!" He screamed, covering the smoking, gruesome mess with his callous hands.

 

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