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Graduation Proclamation: Woman in Red

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It could have been any street in Freedom City, or almost any city in the world, a crowd of people making there way to work. In the early morning light everyone looked gray and almost the same, but that was because everything seemed to be in black and white. And there was no sounds the people moved in complete silence and more unusual for a telepath no thoughts or emotions leaked from these people.

Apart from the two of you standing there as the crowd weaved around you there was a flash of red of a figure moving against the flow of people.

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Thanh stood stock still. It took him several long seconds to process that something was very wrong. No colors, for one. There were usually colors. And there was usually sound too, from what he remembered. But the very first thing he noticed, the thing that made the hair rise on the back of his neck, was the other kind of silence. The mental silence. No stray feelings or glimpses of emotion. He hardly noticed them when they were there, but now that they were gone, it was like being deaf. He felt his breath becoming rapid. What. The. Hell. Is going on. He stared around at the murky, colorless city. Was this FC? It all looked so different in monochrome. He needed to get back to Claremont, he was going to get in trouble-

He jumped nearly a foot in the air when he saw the other guy standing next to him. He was in color, at least compared to their surroundings. Thanh had been so busy listening for minds in the crowd he hadn't noticed the one right beside him. Thanh stared at him, taking an involuntary step backwards. "Who are you?"

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It was a blink and he was here.  Aware something was off more or less immediately.  He shook his head, and who he was changed.  After all this was in the mind, right?  Wor something like that.  The image he had of himself was not him as a Claremont student.  It was him wearing dark clothes, with that mask.  He wasn't rally Elias.  That was a name, he thought of himself as something else, as Errant, or whatever name he chose for that, it didn't matter, the identity was solid enough. Then he glanced towards the voice he head, of cours, that change couldn't have been easy for the other guy to watch.  As right now he needed to build commonality between them.

"Errant.  You?"

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Thanh was mildly impressed by how unperturbed Errant seemed, despite their situation. "Vox," he said, determined that if the other boy wasn't scared, then neither was he. "You don't happen to have any idea where we are...? No, I don't suppose you would...are we still in Freedom City? I can't tell. If we are-" he waved to the crowds, "-there's something rotten in the state of Jersey. I don't know about you, but this all looks...wrong to me. I mean, even besides the lack of color, there's..."

He glanced at Errant. Okay, he's obviously a cape. Maybe even another student. "I'm a telepath, but I'm not picking up anything here. At all. I should be getting something from all these people, but it's like they're all just completely empty in their heads." If they didn't have minds, did that mean he was basically powerless here, he wondered? Did his TK still work? Or was he just going to have to go get a good sturdy baseball bat to defend himself with?

A thought struck him. "Hey, wait. Did you see that in the crowd a second ago? I thought I saw somebody wearing red. Like, actual red, not grey. Maybe we're not the only ones stuck here. Think if there's others, maybe somebody else will know what's going on?"

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"Shared dream?  Or someone else's mind?  It's hard to say."  Of course, the cold monotone way he spoke, and the old hockey mask, he looked like a slasher, or some character from a horror movie.  The lack of his web made him... more aware of the difference than anything, the fact that his identity because what he wanted, and needed it to be here...  It was adding up, and Vox reminded him, and he blinked, and he pulled up the memory, and he cursed himself silently, because he was so used to his web.  

"Right, follow the red., c'mon..."  He then made chase after the flash of color besides them here.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It was subtle at first but as the two of you tried to catch up with the woman in red the crowd started to clump around you to start to impede your progress. The only good thing about this was that they were also trying to stop the woman as well. Whilst it was a tyring task you were making good progress and either of you could force you way through to her any minute.

The question on your minds was what this was all about, in mental mindscapes such things tended to have some meaning and whatever the thing was it must be a pretty big metaphor.

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"Ouch - hey, watch it - coming through - make a hole there," It took a few moments for Thanh to remember that talking to these people probably wouldn't help much, seeing as how they weren't really people. Probably not, at least. One habit he found impossible to shake was keeping one hand on his pocket as he shouldered his way through the throng. Crowds like these were where pickpockets thrived. Or, to put it another way, crowds like these were where he used to thrive, and he had no intention of letting himself walk off with his wallet, whether it was imaginary or not.

"So, whaddaya think?" he grunted. "This must mean something, right? Isn't that usually how it works? Does the crowd, like, represent all of the obstacles we have to overcome to...become true heroes? Or pass algebra, or something?" He thought for a moment. "And what's the woman in red supposed to represent?"

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  • 2 weeks later...


"Don't over analyze it.  It doesn't really help.  She is different, we follow.  That's it.  Do not get lost with side thoughts."  He stayed out of dreams, he certainly didn't want to end up in another Claremonter's dream.  Their hormonal influences were bad enough in their waking lives.  His point was concise as he followed after the woman, taking a small bit of a lead as he did so.  With Thanh behind him, though he did note how nervelessly the people around them seemed to be.  His eyes narrowed as he kept chase, though he knew she would notice them, if she was capable of noticing them.  Which he suspected would be the case.  Something had to give here.  Really.  Some hint.  Some clue.

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Eventually the crowd seemed to thin, though they never seemed to stop moving, and the psychic heroes found themselves at the base of a rather plain looking fountain. Perched demurely was a young woman clad in a jumpsuit, the woman in red they’d been following. She had a round friendly face with a rather warm smile. It seemed rather out of place in this grey world they found themselves.

“Hello there and welcome to my brain, you can call me Ms Red. I figure you’ve got a lot of questions about what’s going on here.”

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Thanh nodded slowly. "You could say that, yeah." He addressed her, but behind his mirrored sunglasses, his gaze roved uneasily around their surroundings, watching for any signs of danger. This would be the perfect way to distract them while something sneaked up behind them and took them by surprise. Or to get them to lower their guard so she could devour their souls. It was the way he and his friends had always worked before - one would approach the mark and get their attention while another - usually him - would stealthily obtain their wallet.

"Let's start with the obvious, I guess," he said. "Who are you, and where are we? More importantly, how do we get home?" And are you trapped here with us, or are you the one trapping us here?

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His eyes narrowed behind his mask as she turned to address them, and in that manner.  Either she was psionically gifted, or... this was something else.  He didn't know what was happening, and he let Thanh take the lead.  He wasn't looking for what she said, or what was asked of her, he was gauging and weighing for what was lacking.  That was far more the concern.  While not particularly confident about certain things, as dream logic meant that how he knew how to perceive the 'world' around him was screwy, and in part up to someone else's subconscious.

He had felt enough subconsciouses to not be terribly thrilled about such.

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“I’m not real in the literal sense I’m a construct of whoever’s brain this is, a little place that is me I guess it’s to fool telepaths. I don’t know who this brain belongs to, I’m tucked away where I can do no harm.”The woman looked kind of sheepish

“I quite like existing so I want to stop what's happening her. Whoever owns this brain has been infected with some kind of psychic virus, that's what these people represent it’s trying to reorganise this brain to how they like it.” she gestured around the crowds moving in there straight ordered lines.

“I think I can take you to where the parasite lives but I can’t actually fight them, I don’t have the brainpower to put up a serious threat. All I can do is block the link and stop the infection spreading.”

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Psychic parasite? That couldn't be good. This sounded like a job for the Claremont seniors, one of the more experienced telepaths, or...anybody but him, really. He'd arrived at Claremont with a lot of big ideas about being a hero, and he'd met more or less an entire super-team at the gates, but once he'd settled in he really hadn't done anything but study and keep to himself while they went off on their assorted escapades. It had been so refreshing to just live a semi-normal life for once, he'd nearly forgotten about the school's "extracurriculars." He hadn't even used his powers in months, not for real. Now he was trapped in someone else's brain, and he had to fight some kind of mind-tapeworm?

Well, he wasn't going to get anything done by standing here and moaning about it. He cracked his knuckles with what he hoped was an air of masculine purpose. "All right, then. Parasite. Let's kill it, or exorcise it or whatever." He sneaked a sideways glance at Errant, standing there implacably. At least he seems to know what he's doing. Probably happens to him all the time. "You wanna do this?"

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