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angrydurf

Your Own Worst Enemy

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While it was not common to be summoned to the Jasmine Summers Administration building in the middle of a weekday it was rare that it was for accolades.  Thus when the tight lipped RA passed off the notice for Winnifred to attend a meeting with the Headmistress it was to say the least some cause for concern.  There was no specific mandate for the girl to attend alone of course either so it hadn't taken much thought for Robin to volunteer to join her for the short walk to the imposing building and found the young ladies awaiting the appointed meeting in the spacious foyer where a kindly receptionist informed them Ms. Summers previous meeting was running slightly overlong and they ought have a seat.

It didn't take long before a younger student, attractive in a blond girl next door kind of way sat opposite them and smiled prettily as she stared at the pair rather unguardedly without saying a word.

Edited by angrydurf

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Though a bit anxious over the summons, Winifred maintained a outward appearance of perfect calm, straight-backed and shoulders squared as she sat primly. She shot Robin an appreciative look for about the third time since they'd arrived in the foyer while trying not to seem obvious about it. She hated to be a burden but not having to be there by herself went a long way. She didn't think she'd done anything that warranted reprimanding but she was still learning all of the rules of the school and the present day in general so she couldn't discard the possibility out of hand. Wracking her mind for some slip or faux pas did little to ease her discomfort.

When the blonde girl she didn't recognize sat down she tried to politely avoid eye contact until it became clear that the younger student had no such compunctions. Frowning slightly Winifred finally spoke up, "While I admit I'm not as current yet as I might like, my understanding was that staring was still considered impolite," she commented coolly.

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Robin was starting to get used to being summoned, so she went along with Fred with less concern than most would have had. Of course, Robin also braced for the assumed inevitability of getting kicked out of the program. It gave her a bit of emotional buffer from the idea of it, at least. She followed along, hands in her jacket pockets and surprisingly light on her feet as she followed Fred into the room. "It'll be fine," Robin told her roommate as she dropped into a chair next to her with boneless grace, "You're practically a model student."

Stretching her legs out in front of her, Robin slouched into her chair like she was settling in to nap - which she might have been. Robin could really drop into a light nap in most places and most positions. As Winifred decided to address the staring student, Robin cracked her eyelids open with a much more laconic, and somehow slightly menacing, "'Sup?"

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Hannah knew better than to be scared, she was a good student, after all. Studious, quiet. Maybe a bit too quiet, but this wasn't a counselor or anything. But, she she was nervous anyway. Anything that had the potential to turn into a personal confrontation made her nervous. When she arrived and saw Robin and Winifred there, she felt a little better. She slipped into the farthest seat she possibly could. She folded her hands, lowered her head, and just stayed quiet. She heard Winifred and Robin talk to the other girl, but she didn't look up. 

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The girl blinked, for the first time since sitting down the astute might notice, as she was addressed almost startled by the remark.  She smiled with a hint of dimples creasing her cheeks as she sat up straighter, "Was I?"  she asked now blinking too often, "I didn't realize, I hope I did not offend?"  she asked her tone concerned.  As she spoke her eyes followed Hanna's entrance and she beamed at the collected girls, "Oh goody everyone is here!"  she bit her lip looking at Robin with her head tilted slightly to the side in an almost birdlike inquisitive pose, "Uhm, are you here for assessment as well?"  She asked pulling a data pad much like the one assistant coach capote had used for Robin and Riley's assessments from her back pocket that most certainly should not have been able to hold a device of that size.  She shook her head, "I have two on my list, Ms. Wei and Ms. Cooper?"  she looked concerned then shrugged and smiled, "The more the merrier is the term yes?" and started toward the Headmistress' door while the receptionist looked up from her work and shook her head, "Ahh Ms. ah Changeling?"  She said gently, "The Headmistress is-"  She was cut off by the door opening and the woman in question stepping out, "Is ready to see you now."  She said in firm polite tones looking over the girls with a warm smile for Changeling and a quirked brow aimed at Robins presence.  

She waved them all into the room, "Come in girls this won't take long."  she said her voice kind but commanding.  Taking a seat behind her desk she waited for the students to enter and seat themselves before speaking.  "Ms. Cooper, Ms. Wei," She started with a nod, "In the effort to ensure your learning and control of your more esoteric powers is tailored to your needs you will be attending a powers assessment this morning."  she said flatly, "Changeling here,"  She gestured to the younger seeming student with a warm smile, "Has requested to observe, She is a former student at the Academy and trustworthy though not faculty at this time she will be overseeing your assessments." the headmistress informed them before looking coolly to Robin, "Ms. Chevalier?"  She asked with a crease in her brow, "I believe you have already undergone assessment."  she said flatly the question as to why robin was there left hanging.

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Robin followed along, a half step behind Fred as she tucked her hands once more in the pockets of her worn jacket. She shrugged, the gesture as laconic as her greeting to Changeling had been earlier. "Fred was a little nervous about what might be going on and so I tagged along for moral support. I have study hall during this period so I'm not skipping class or anything," Robin provided, her tone falling into familiar defensive patterns. Robin's entire file probably had 'has issues with authority figures' scrawled over it in large letters. Her chin tipped up, the gesture defiant, as she pointed out. "It didn't say anything at all about what it was for so we didn't know it was for assessment."

Her jaw snapped shut before she could continue on and make anything worse for her friends. She shoved her hands deeper into her jacket with only a mutttered, "Needed moral support for my assessment though," instead.

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Standing with perfect posture in front of the Headmistress' desk it was almost imperceptible when Winifred stiffened at the clarification that this was a 'powers' assessment. Robin had had some particularly intense things to say following her assessment alongside Raina among others, most of the focused on one of the faculty, a Mr. Archer. Even setting that aside she couldn't help but feel that such an experiment meant something very different for her than it did for someone like Hannah. "Is that wise?" she blurted before sucking in a short breath and looking to see how annoyed Summers was at being second guessed. "I-- I don't wish to endanger anyone, even under controlled circumstances." She didn't outright say that she couldn't control her monstrous form, everyone there already knew that, she was sure. She straightened the white morphic molecule coat that had been designed to accommodate any unavoidable outfit shredding realizing that there was likely no way to talk her way out of this, given the Academy's focus.

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Hannah knew that Winifred was afraid of losing control, but she wasn't afraid. She knew what her monstrous form could do, at least, well enough to know what it was. She could put up walls between her and the monster if need be, and around others. "I can fly." she said quietly to Winifred. "I'll be okay." She did not say, however, whether or not she'd handle the assessment well. She trusted her scholastic abilities, but she secretly worried that they'd decry her as a lost cause and send her home, unable to truly master her powers. "An assessment, um, okay." She said, nodding nervously. "I've been practicing, and...um, yeah I'll do my best."

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Summers gaze cut to Robin, "Your critique of your own assessment has been acknowledged Ms. Chevalier." Summers said firmly, "All appropriate actions have been taken."  she finished clearly intending the matter be put to rest.  Her tone was gentler for Winifred, "Ms. Wei," she intoned carefully, "We take every precaution for the safety of our students."  her eyes flicked to Robin almost as if the message was as much for her before returning to fred, "You will find Changeling here is quite versatile when it comes to attending unusual situations."  she added with a smile for the bubbly and friendly younger seeming girl.  "The Training simulator is likewise well equipped to handling any manner of superhuman stresses."  she guaranteed. 

"Ms. Cooper."  Summers then said crisply, "You too will be tested."  she smiled lightly eyes crinkling at the corners, "The assessment is for us to best facilitate your training and education."  She offered as explanation, "Without knowing your skillset and abilities we can't see where your weakness lie nor how best to see to it they are not exploited nor endanger yourself or others."  She said finally and gestured to Changling.

The shapeshifter stood smiling, "All right girls lets go!"  she said and marched to a bookshelf in summers office to rapidly tug a series faux books and reveal an elevator not unlike the one hidden in the tree Robin had used before to access the Doom Room.  Leading them down the elevator and to the room itself she was effusive and friendly, "Don't worry about how you do it's just to get to know you better really."  she said happily, "And these routines were designed by Mr. Archer and reviewd by S. Summers herself, you are quite lucky to get such personalized attention."

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"You'll do fine," Robin told Fred as she fell into step with the other girls. Ms Summers hadn't sent her off and that was close enough to assent to come along and make sure that no mishaps occurred during this particular test. She shoved her hands deeper into her pockets and gave Hannah a friendly smile, "You both will. Don't underestimate yourselves. Raina did well on hers, after all." Of course it had all gone downhill after that but best not to focus in that part.

She stepped into the elevator, leaning her shoulder easily against the wall on the way, "Man, how many secret elevators are in this place?" She asked as they stepped into the empty room that comprised the Doom Room. Having seen this before, she gave it all a cursory glance before explaining to Fred, and Hannah, "They use these simulators to form solid holograms that seem totally real. They can make it feel way bigger than it actually is but its all illusions, really. It's wild."

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Winifred looked rather ashen as she followed the young woman introduced as Changeling, staying a half-step ahead of Robin and Hannah to minimize the chances of either girl noticing the expression on her face. That she was less concerned with how she might score of the assessment than she was about having her 'powers' tested in the first place presumably went without saying. The elevators were still a novelty but she could at least wrap her head around the idea of the mechanics involved if not the specifics; Robin's talk of 'holograms' - whatever those were - solid or otherwise was completely opaque to her. "Illusions? Mirrors and trapdoors, then? Or closer to the way Raina renders herself invisible?" She wasn't as genuinely interested as she would have usually been but any distraction was welcome.

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Hannah thought she understood, holograms. Solid but not real. She considered. "Like my powers?" She said, creating a small box between her hands, it was roughly shaped and looked to be made of stained glass. "It feels solid, but if I say...made a chicken it wouldn't be alive, it'd just feel real. I think what that means is these holograms look and feel real, but aren't actually there. Or am I not getting this either?" She asked. She was trying to be helpful, but she wondered if Winifred would understand the concept.

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"Yes precisely Ms. Wie."  their bubbly chaperone replied encouragingly, "It is very advanced for this locale but the exercises simulate a wide variety of hazards and threats though all are merely phantasms and carefully calibrated to ensure no lasting injury to trainees!"  she exuberantly explained as she gestured to the drab grey walls.  She quickly thumbed through the tablet with a sigh, "Uhg these individual assessments are so very dull might as well take test."  she remarked and with an exaggerated wink to indicate conspiracy suggested, "I think we'll begin with the group exercise yes? Much more dynamic."  she was quite pleased with the decision and her power to put it in action and tapped the tablet summoning forth a dismal foggy evening at the foot of a rather haunting looking establishment those familiar with the wider Freedom City area would recognize as Providence Asylum.  

As the simulator whirred to life a dark hooded figure recognizable as the Mysterious Raven crouched atop the gates, "I've traced the signal here and we can't raise the staff."  she intoned darkly, "Whatever has triggered these riots is inside however and I have to get these protective devices to the rest of the league before they succumb as well."  she exposited helpfully and looked back towards the ominus building, "I'm afraid it's up to you."  and with that she was gone as if she had never been

 

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"Good lord!" Winifred exclaimed as the holographic simulation sprung up around them, turning in a complete circle as she scanned up and down. She'd grasped the basic idea of the illusions at work but even with fair warning this was well beyond anything she'd seen or imagined. Reaching out hesitantly she touched the gate to the asylum, ascertaining just how solid it actually was. "...very well. This is a sort of thought experiment, then, a hypothetical scenario?" She visibly took a few slow, deep breaths to center herself before turning to her classmate. "What would be your suggestion, Hannah? Can you provide us with some light?"

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"Yes, I can do that." She said, producing a tiny ball in her hand that began shedding light in every direction. "So, I think we should get inside and find out what triggered the riot. Try not to hurt people as we do so." She offered as a suggestion. She looked up at the looming asylum, and closed her eyes for a moment. "It's just a simulation." She said to herself. "Like a video game, a play. It's not real, but we have to treat it like it's real." She then mumbled. "Not that it makes it less scary...." With that in mind, she set to walking towards the asylum. 

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"So... did you want me to watch... or?" Robin asked, unsure of what their erstwhile mentor was intending before she gave a little shrug of her shoulders and jogged over to the rest of the group, "These things have some fail safes set in place so it'll stop or whatever if you, uh." Robin paused, remembering the scene with Riley, before she amended, "... if it needs to."

 

Realizing that she was the native of the city, she offered, "That's Providence Asylum," Robin offered, largely to Fred although she wasn't sure if Hannah knew the landmark, "And Raven's a superhero although she's sort of retired now. It'll probably be easier to avoid fighting if we can avoid places that people are gathering and its possible what ever is making people looney tunes might be able to affect us which is probably Fred's job to figure out as she's the science'y sort. We could go to the roof - I can carry you up there, Fred if you want?"

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"Oh you are quite welcome to join in Ms. Chevalier."  Changeling replied easily with a nod, "The simulation is more than capable of adjusting to your aid."  she explain with an excited nod and took a step back vanishing into the small control and observation area where Robin would recall Dauntless and the students not being tested had watched the other assessments in her last sojourn into the doom room.

 

As the girls crept across the ominous grounds of the asylum it was clear something wasn't right, the small guardpost at the gate was abandoned and seemingly in a hurry.  From the distant building itself the quiet of the night was punctuated by a blood curdling scream of terror or the haunting tones of unhinged laughter.  The environs themselves were unsettling enough but there was something more a constant tickle at the back of hte neck as if being watched, or hunted.

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Winifred swallowed thickly as they moved along, remembering that the scenario had been crafted in part to test her reaction to stress. That thought didn't help calm her nerves nearly so much as she might have liked, nor did remembering that none of what she was seeing was strictly real. "This whole affair is fundamentally disturbing," she muttered just loudly enough for the other girls to hear. "How can you trust anything you see know this level of illusion is achievable? Phaw." Turning back to the asylum grounds, she looked about and attempted to get her bearings. "That woman in black said something about tracking a 'signal' but I don't think any of us are equipped to follow such a trail, correct? Still, perhaps we might deduce the sort of space from which such a broadcast might logically originate. A high point, perhaps?"

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