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olopi

[IC] Kick Off!: Counting Stars

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Friday, August 26th, 2016

The Athletic Field, Claremont Academy, Bayview

8:14 PM

 

 

 

The sun was beginning to set, the Academy’s main building, located to the south catching a last few glimpses of sunlight. Most of the school’s students had returned or arrived already, in preparation of the new school year starting in just three days. Some had also stayed through the break, or arrived earlier, earlier in their summer break. Among the latter group were Jann Fa-Re, Selena Kwon and Alexander Lloydd, all of whom had been at the school for at least a few weeks now. They all got along, so they had been spending time together, and were doing so right now.

 

While many of the students attended the Kick-Off Dance held in the gym, or were out in the streets of Freedom City doing their own thing, these three had decided to take the relative silence this day would offer, with most people doing the best with their last few days of break-time, to work on something. They had planned it, they had acquired the supplies they needed through various ways, and as the sun was now setting, it was time to put the plan into motion.

 

Meanwhile, a few dozen feet to the south, Naomi Suleiman was spending her time inside her room. A dance did not interest her much, so she just was inside her room for now. Suddenly, something caught her attention. Through her window, she saw a group of people, three or so, flying above the athletic field. It was something unusual for a variety of reasons, including the fact almost everybody was currently at the dance.

Edited by olopi

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Alex was still so unused to energy forms...his entire being, every last molecule was straining against the coherency of his form, it longed to break free and disperse in all directions as was its very nature, but for now he had a solid enough grasp of himself to keep his crackling blue form together as indistinct as it might look to his friends.

 

"Zzzzzo....Pretty Cool Huhnnnn?" his voice now more of a buzzing than his usual slow smooth voice as electricity arcs around the opening of his makeshift mouth "Ready Whenzzz you are Gauzz!" he said enthusiastically as his form flickered with anticipation, he wonderd if it was his or the lightnings longing for release. "Thunderbal Zpecial...what a cool name."

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Naomi Suleiman had loved dances, when she was younger. She had the moves, graceful yet attractive. She adored feeling the music flow through her, influencing her movements. It had been…sublime, to use the word she’d picked up in English last semester. She shook her head, shoving away those thoughts, and put away another shirt. She had gone home for summer vacation. She’d only gotten back yesterday evening, and there was unpacking to do. And besides…the music would still flow through her, but it wasn’t even close to the same thing. She shook her head again, and noticed the group flying outside. What could that be about? The dorms were practically empty, with the only people not at the dance not being the type to venture out tonight anyway. She took a minute to change, sliding her Claremont costume under her normal clothes. Normally, this wouldn’t work, the Claremont costumes going more or less from head to toe. However, she’d redesigned hers after that…incident…in the Goodman Building. Now she had separate costumes for the warmth and the cold. It was the former she slid under her clothes. She slipped her new pen and pad in her back pocket, and her phone on her hip. She headed downstairs and out the door to investigate what was going on by the athletic field.

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Selena floated a few yards away in her Claremont uniform, her cape flapping in the gentle late summer breeze, impressed once again by the versatility of Alex's powers.  Behind her, spread out carefully on the ground, lay dozens of fireworks, each connected to a bit of scrap steel from the metal shop's recycling pile.  "Very nice Facsimile, though we need to work on the Cannonball Special again sometime soon." she called back as both she and one of the fireworks rose higher into the air.

 

With a push on the metal, her left eye's glow increasing from "barely lit candle" to "briefly as bright as a torch", she shot her friend's explosive target high into the air. 

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PC

 

 Jann had decided to join his friends, they had a plan and he was part of it. So, there he was. He too was flying above the school grounds, keeping some distance to the electrically charged Facsimile for obvious reasons. While he was following his friend’s movements, he was at the same time also scanning his surroundings, his eyesight not suffering from the sun slowly setting. A watchful eye, always a good thing to have.

In his hands, he too was holding fireworks. He’d helped aquire them through a variety of means, and was now waiting for an opportunity to throw some, they seemed like interesting weapons to use. He was flying around, occasionally dropping lower, occasionally rising, trying to get the best view on the fireworks his friends were creating. While waiting for the others, he had started to juggle the fireworks, four of them, doing his best not to drop them. Then, suddenly, he stopped. Three of the fireworks he had been holding fell, towards the ground, as he began to speak.

 

“Something over there. Nobody I’ve seen before. Should we go and check?”

 

Realizing he had dropped the fireworks, he pulled his wings inwards, making him drop straight down, until he caught up with the fireworks, gracefully grabbing onto them and moving back up to his former altitude in only a few swift movements.

 

Edited by olopi

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GM

 

 

 

Off in the distance, close to the gym, a group of people was walking around. Skulking more than walking, actually. Under the cover of darkness, they were moving, scouting out the area surrounding the gym. They seemed on edge, with some stress behind their movements.

 

When Jann pointed it out, both Facsimile and Gauss could see something move in the bit of light that was still there, but only rough figures, and only thanks to their current elevated position, being able to see what was currently happening in the space between the dorms and the gym.

 

Meanwhile, Naomi had just exited the dorms, as she saw a bunch of strangers move around, looking like they were up to no good. She’d managed to take cover before they saw her, but they were only a few meters away, so most movements would probably reveal her. She could get a better look at them. All teenagers, much like her and the other students. They were led by a guy, dressed in everyday clothes and holding a skateboard in his hands. Following him were a few others, together with a girl, looking a bit older than the others, her hair in a ponytail.

Edited by olopi

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He was minding his own business.

 

Later, of course, he'd swear up and down that's what he was doing. Just minding his own business. He'd been minding his own business since he'd arrived on the bus a few days ago. Just minded his own business getting a dorm room, minded his own business moving in, minded his own business going to the first few classes. The dance hadn't appealed much; mostly since Jake hadn't been around long enough to really find any interest - and honestly it was just a disaster for him waiting to happen anyway. One bump and he'd probably light up, and then he'd get in trouble, and then he'd get accused of something, and then expelled, and then the world would probably explode.

 

It had been one of those days.

 

Jacob Cross, alias Outlaw, leaned against an exterior wall - looking somewhat mournfully at the hidden pack of cigarettes he'd had concealed in an inner shirt pocket. It was empty, of course. Never mind he'd bought it not an hour ago, and the wrapping was still on it. Inside was black licorice sticks - and a Raven marker. Black licorice. He hated black licorice. Granted, he was chewing on one stick now (why waste licorice?), but he was doing so out of...rebellion. Yeah, that was it. Feel the sting of teenage revolution.

 

He grunted and pushed off the wall, pondering either making for the dorms or the gym roof. Listening to the music might be nice, at l-WHUMP. Ow.

 

...just minding his own business - and then a guy with a skateboard walked right into him, sending them both sprawling. Jake a bit less winded (thank you Nullifier Vest, you are like a warm metal snuggy that protects people), but his wide-brim hat hitting the ground, his jeans getting dew on the butt (he hated that), and his nice shirt getting grass stains on it. He managed to sit up, giving the offender a Class 2 Glare.

 

"Y'all often go around not lookin' where you're goin'?" was asked in a withering tone.

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Facsimile had been all but too delighted to be carefully and casually, spearing the fireworks out of the air with thin tendrils of electricity that branched from his outstreched hand, lancing and bursting them into flashes of colour and light  almost instantaneously.

 

Not to say that it was easy, he had to be very careful to direct the energy with precision to avoid frying anything, not least of which would be Jann, he was about to make a particularly corny one liner when his Avian friend had sounded the alarm, for what he'd said was certainly alarming. "Well zat zertainly don't zound right...but what do you guyz think?"

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Pulling a domino mask from her belt and fixing it into place she nodded at the boys flying near her.  "Probably a good idea.  If we're lucky, it's just some other students we haven't met yet.  If not..." she trailed off as she willed a pair of steel orbs from a pouch on her belt into the air, allowing them to begin a slow, lazy orbit around her body at shoulder level.  "If not, the school year will certainly be kicking off with a bang."

 

Taking the lead she flew ahead and up trying to stay out of the light of Facsimile's crackling form, attempted to get a better look at the group of teenagers who had just collided with someone.

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Naomi didn’t have to move to watch the teens. She didn’t even need her eyes. She could feel them in the vibrational field caused by the party’s music. And then someone else collided with the lead boy, the one with the skateboard. She…didn’t know who he was, either. New school year, new incoming students. It might be time to intervene. She slipped on her mask, shucked her shirt, and stepped out of her skirt. Now Waverider had made her appearance. Tucking her clothes aside and stepped out into plain view. A good entry, it was. Ruined only her holding up her pad instead of speaking. [Is everything all right here?]

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GM

 

 

 

The man holding the skateboard stumbled backwards, landing on the ground in a sitting position, his hands also hitting the ground at about the same time. He wore a red pair of jeans, a classical red plaid shirt, and a black skate cap, no brand symbol on it.  He looked at the guy he had just walked into, as one of the people following him hurried forward, looking somewhat concerned.

 

“You okay, Bro?”

 

The one that had come running forward actually had a costume. A mask covering the top part of his head, and a sleek bodysuit, in black and blue. He helped the skater, who was still holding onto his skateboard get up. While he was pulled up, the man in plaid addressed Outlaw, in what clearly was a Canadian accent.

 

“Sorry. Didn’t expect to run into anyone here. Just watch the corner next time, and it’ll be fine. “

 

The woman that also had been sneaking around the area moved up, looking at her two colleagues. She looked a bit confused, at Outlaw, then at the skater and his friend. She tilted her head to the side a bit, before speaking, a Spanish accent accompanying her words.

 

“Uh, guys…”

 

Just then, Naomi stepped out, holding up her sign. The skater noticed her pretty much immediately, nudging his friend with his elbow to get his attention too.

 

“I think that’s your territory, dude.”

 

The man in costume looked over to Waverider, trying to look at her sign for a second, before raising his hand. In this light it was not easy to see, but Naomi did still recognize ASL, and that was what he was doing right now.

 

“[Yeah, nothing serious.]”

 

The woman tried to raise her voice again, as one more person that had been accompanying the group spoke up, standing behind the others, looking around the area.

 

“You do realize what this means, right? Or do I have to spell it out?”

 

The two guys looked at each other for a second, then towards Outlaw and Waverider, then at the rest of their group, and back at each other. “Oh. “ “Right. Yeah...” Something dawned on them, as their bodies moved slightly, into what was a combat stance, the one in costume still finding time to address Waverider.

 

 “[Nevermind. Things aren’t all fine. We’re about to fight. The others don’t understand me talking like this, so take this as you want. Can probably still leave if you want to.] “

 

Two more people stepped forward, as the other members of the group began to subtley circle around Outlaw, moving slowly, and under the cover of some darkness. They also did their best to not lose Waverider out of their sight, but didn’t seem to pay as much attention to her as to Outlaw.

 

Meanwhile, the others were closing in, seeing the group that had been sneaking around before, five in total, slowly circling in somebody else. They all seemed ready for combat, but seemed to wait for somebody else to make the first move.

 

 

Edited by olopi

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"...yup. I getcha." A pause - then a slow drawl - to the one who'd offered to spell it out.

 

Anyone other than Outlaw, they might have fooled him. Anyone other than a T-baby who'd stared down kidnappers, a few angry mobs, and more than a few muggers - they might have fooled him.

 

But when you got treated like a pariah - or worse, a monster - you got real used to people being shifty around you. Maybe surreptitiously checking weapons under their clothes. Maybe shifting 'round to get to the right places where you could sucker punch a monster before they took you down. Maybe get to a good spot to leg it. Maybe get ready to draw.

 

Jake? He slowly got to his feet - eyes sliding over each of the bunch in turn. Took 'em in, as they moved. Shifted his weight, just right. He even more slowly reached up - tugging along his hat brim; a gesture oddly reminiscent of a gunfighter, spinning the chamber. You could almost hear the whirr - the click of the hammer. His hands drifting to hang by his hips. Fingers slowly twitching, cracking. The air started to thicken; just a bit - before he took in a powerful deep breath, and seemed to settle his shoulders. He let his eyes drift over 'em again.

 

"...this don't gotta turn ugly." The teenager said, quiet-like. With an odd...smoulder...in his tone. Another long, low breath - there wasn't fear in his eyes, that was for sure. "...ugly means folks might do things they'd rather not. Might want to-" Slow breath. "-go somewhere. Get a quiet drink, instead." 

 

His fingers stopped twitching.

 

"...reckon we could do that. Just us'ns. No trouble."

Edited by Quinn

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Waverider was happy. The first ASL user at this school that wasn’t a teacher! Then she frowned and, slipping her pen into her pad’s spirals, signed back. <Hold on a minute. Nobody has to fight. What’s going on? Maybe we can help?> She didn’t recognize anyone here, though that wasn’t so odd. It was a big school, though she was starting to think she’d seen Outlaw around somewhere.  With half a thought, her force field kicked on. She didn’t want to fight, but it was going that way. <But if you insist on fighting, five on one isn’t fair at all. So I’ll make it five on two.> Still unfair, but a little better. She stepped into range to defend the boy with the drawl if she needed to.

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The two guys who had done most of the speaking so far looked at each other again, then at the girl that had also spoken a bit, then the other two people in their group, and back to each other again. Both of them hesitated a bit, their movements without a real goal. Outlaw’s short speech had certainly gained everyone’s attention, the three people leading had taken a step backwards, while the two keeping further behind had in fact moved forward a bit. The skater looked back at the rest of his group moving closer, looking perhaps even a bit distressed.

 

“Doubt that’ll work. The mission is all and all that.

“The mission is all … Yeah. … No way out of this now.”

 

Some more ASL by the guy in costume. His eyes were fixed on outlaw, much like everyone else in his group, but he could still address the other person he had been talking to.

 

[“No. There’s no way around this. This is something much bigger. No second option.”]

 

The woman with Spanish accent spoke up again, not waiting for her groupmate to finish adressing Waverider, or not seeing him doing so.

 

“The mission … is all. Yes, so it is. “

 

The general positions of everyone had changed just a bit. The three that had spoken had taken steps backwards, while the other costumed one was slowly closing distance. The other girl in the background still stood there, paying attention to Outlaw and her surroundings, but not really doing much at the moment, barely moving, looking rather relaxed, even.

Edited by olopi

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His form growing more agitated and fuzzy as he approached to hear the offers of violence of the strangers surrounding the new kid made his blood crackle.

 

he screached with his reverberating voice "I dont even Knowzzzz this person But if you think you can just come into our zchool and start ganging up on one of uzzz you are in for a zzzzuprise!" flinging a bolt of his ephermial being with a swipe of his hand, sending a searing arc of electricity dancing along the ground singing away the grass and melting a little bit of paving but otherwise failing to find effect. "Get Lozzzzt, Punkzz!"

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PC

 

While Jann had been the first one to spot the strangers sneaking around, he had not been the first one to close in. As his friends moved closer, so did he, a few fireworks as well as a lighter still in his hand. As he got closer, and realized what the situation was, even picking up a few words, his expression became more stern, his brows pulling downwards, his mouth entering a neutral state. Instead of using his wings to advance as full speed, he slowed down his motions, getting the maximum distance out of every flap, and saving his stamina.

 

As the three moved closer to the scene, Jann waited. He did not hesitate, he simply did not want to be the first one to attack here, he would draw too much attention that way. Instead, he waited, until the first attacks were made, by both Alex and Selena. As various things were shot through the air, Jann executed one last flap, rising above the other two, flicking open the lighter and igniting the flame. A short moment of aiming, before he threw the fireworks, the fuse now burning. The throw carried the fireworks some way, before the fireworks’ own propulsion kicked in, and steered them straight towards the ground, hitting it close to the main group of strangers.

 

The girl managed to dodge in time, whereas the costumed man that was slowly advancing and the guy that had been speaking with Waverider got hit by the initial explosion, various bits of firework flying through the air, hitting them. Both seemed to be protected by force fields, as the sparks just disappeared whenever they got close. What neither of them presumably knew, these fireworks worked in bursts. A few seconds after the the initial explosion, the various sparks would explode again.

Edited by olopi

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GM

 

The man in costume jumped away, but not fast enough to avoid the initial sparks. It did not matter much, as they all simply bounced off his body or disappeared, right before coming into contact with him. There was no visible indicator, but it did not take a lot of observation to realize a force field was at work here. He looked at the firework, before taking a few steps backwards, breaking out into a sprint after a few steps. He moved fast, probably assisted by some sort of power, and soon stood quite close to the three heroes that had just flown in.

 

“Fine.”

 

Somebody observing his movements closely might have picked up him moving his fingers a bit, but everyone was too far away to actually notice it in a low-light condition like this. However, what happened afterwards was easy to notice, as suddenly, an expression of pain appeared on the Avian Weaponmaster’s face, barely managing to hold in a scream of pain. He looked significantly weakened, and did not manage to properly support his flying, descending at a less-than-safe speed, all the while still doing his best to hide his pain.

Edited by olopi

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Waverider just wanted to head this whole thing off. Plan A was never just blast away until problem solved, unless there were monsters. These people? Not monsters. So, instead she concentrated for a second to tune the vibrations just right, and a loud screech hammered into all of the opposition’s eardrums. That ought to slow them down and maybe make them think twice before actually starting this fight. That was the plan, anyway. How well it worked was yet to be seen.

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GM

 

A few of the intruders were clearly affected by Waverider’s blast, as pain warped their expressions. In the middle of the fray was the girl that had been talking before, looking uncertain and somewhat frightened, after having just dodged an explosion of fireworks next to her, and then managed to throw her arms up in time to avoid the deafening blast that had affected her friend standing in front of her. While frantically looking around the battlefield, her body changed. Her skin became darker, a full brown, with a surface structure of wood. Her hair changed too, the colour now matching that of her wooden skin.

 

Then, at the same time, some parts of her body simply disappeared, replaced by nothing. She looked none worse for wear, and was still able to move her lefts, even with her thighs seemingly gone. This became evident as she executed something between a jump and flight, and landed next to Waverider.

 

Stop it!”

 

 While still yelling, she promptly tried to attack with a punch, thrown without much thought or experience. Which Naomi was able to dodge without any effort.

Edited by olopi

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Too slow on the draw. He hated when he was too slow on the draw.

 

The situation was a mess, he could tell that right off the bat. When the fireworks hit, all hell just broke loose, and he was smack-dab in the centre of it. First rule of combat - stand still, you go down fast; so you start moving. His legs were already pumping as he threw himself forward, eyes fixing on one target. One of the 'invaders'. He'd talked, drawing the eye - good enough. A hand shot forward from the hip...

 

First time he'd fired a shot in...well, not necessarily anger, but first time he'd fired a shot period in a long time. Just like ridin' a bike, so an it was. Drew a bead, nice and slow - his thumb twitched like he was cocking a hammer, and with a jerk a triplet of black bolts screamed across the distance; heat shimmering in the air. Black and red bolts. Black and red fire bolts. His limiter vest whined as he started to stress it - the same flames bursting from his feet as he launched up. Eyes picked up - was that his roommate? - one of the incoming fliers tumbling down. Claremont colors. Instincts kicked in.

 

Jann heard the rush of air and fire more than saw it, before a figure crashed into him and got arms 'round, halting his downward tumble. A bark in his ear.

 

"Oy! Head in the game, man!"

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GM

 

 

 

The next few seconds were full of action. Metal balls soared through the air, also flying towards the attacker.  He simply weaved out of the way of the balls, them hitting the ground at high speed. As for the bolts of fire, they hit. They hit the air slightly in front of Null, where they, much like the fireworks before them, simply dissolved.

 

As the bolts flew through the air, something else took most of Jake’s attention. One of the two women, the one who had not spoken so far, suddenly appeared only a few feet away from him. Just as Jake turned around, burst of smoke coming forward from her hands filled the air around him, she must’ve shot off at least a handful. Yet, at the same time, none of them hit. One came close, but Jake’s movement was enough to allow him to dodge.

 

And then, a loud sound. Loud enough to leave ringing in the ear, filling the entire area of combat. This time it’s origin was not the fellow Claremont Student however. The invaders seemed not to be affected, either because they had already been affected by Waverider’s, or because they had not to deal with it.

Edited by olopi

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PC

 

 

 

Jann looked quite shaken. He breathed heavily, trying to regain some composure and concentration, as Jake managed to catch him mid-air. His voice sounded weak, a bit ill even. “Thanks. Owe you one.” Jann rested for the blink of an eye of quiet he had, regaining his strength while still being held onto. Then, he freed himself again. Injured still, but ready to get into battle. He let himself drop, gracefully landing on the ground. His eyes were focused on Null, as was his entire stance.

 

Slow steps, stalking his prey. Focused on every slightest move. And then suddenly, dodging to one side, a quick side-step. His opponent looked rather surprised at said dodge, not expecting it, as his attack missed. He too began to take slow steps to a side, the two of them beginning to circle each other, watching every move. The atmosphere between them was almost visibly tense, and any slight move would probably cause the two of them to break out of the circling and back into full combat.

Edited by olopi

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