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[IC] Rock, meet Paper

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Claremont Academy, Bayview, Freedom City

9:21 AM

 

 

It was John Blake’s first day at Claremont Academy, he had only just arrived. Of course, being a Freedonian, it was not as big a change as for many people. Either way, one of the assistant teachers had just finished showing him around the most important places. The droms, the school building, the gym, and the park. There, the teacher had left him, hurrying back towards the school building for the next lesson.

 

John still has some time, the first lessons would be in the afternoon, so exploring the school grounds seemed like a good idea. By the time he had made his way back towards the building, it seemed to be break, as various people, some looking more “average” than others, walked around the place, played games, or simply mingled. A group of men, probably about John’s age, walked up to him. Most of them passed, but then, one of them, very deliberately, bumped shoulders with John. The others, a group of 5 people, turned around almost immediately. The one still closest to John, fairly tall and with blond hair, began to speak.

 

“Hey newbie. Careful, or do we have to show you the ropes?”

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John was absolutely stunned.  All these people with such weird abilities, there went one that transformed... Ooo!  One that had psychic powers, that has to be cool!  The majority looked fairly normal, but even normal here seemed very weird.  He knew that this was a place for super heroes, thus his choice to keep what kind of school this was from him mom a secret, with some help from the Headmaster, who helped him along into the classes.  He was still trying to decide if he should keep the nature of his powers secret or if everyone would already know about his alter ego when another student bumped into him, he thought that one was a bit further away than he was.  Being as stocky as he is naturally, he didn't really move, but he moved his body movements without thought to look like he was hit a lot more than he felt out of pure habit.

 

"Oh, I'm so sorry, this place is just so new, and all these weird abilities on display, I guess I wasn't paying attention."  After he said this, he noted that the taller blonde boy had a few friends to go along with him.  None of them seemed exceptionally strong, but then again, neither did he.  He sees the familiar smirk, the all too familiar glint in their eye that always seemed to accompany the bullies of the world.  He shook his head slightly and just hoped he was imagining it, why would superheroes be bullies after all?  He gave him the benefit of the doubt and said, "There are ropes?  Do you mean where the dorm rooms are, they seem to have neglected that in my tour... as well as neglected a tour... Wow, what a bad start now that I think about it."

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The other teens accompanying the blond one simply stood there, their eyes peeled on what the two talking would do. They didn’t seem to impressed, as if they had seen a situation like this before. One of them looked around the area a bit, looking who was in the vicinity, with what perhaps was a bit of doubt on his face.

 

The teen who had spoken for his part, continued to stand in the same spot, rubbing his shoulder slightly. His expression was rather smug, especially once John conceded that he didn’t really know a lot about the school. “Wow, you’re really new, aren’t’cha. Chalk it up to the staff to not show people where things are. You’ll find them soon enough. “

 

He began to circle John, speaking with curiosity. “Now, what’s your deal? A mage? One of those fairy-freaks? Can’t be strength, but perhaps it’s speed?” By the time he’d finished, he stood just a few feet behind John, the rest of the teens standing in front of him.

Edited by olopi

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John definitely started noticing the tell-tale signs that these were not exactly the most savory of people, especially the one who had started looking around like he was checking for staff which John already knew, there wasn't any nearby.  The blonde teen, who appeared to be the ringleader of this group, sidled up next to John, asking him about what he can do, and still John wasn't sure if he would want people knowing what he can do, but he already gave this kid far too much ammo as it was, trying his best to quickly size up the situation, and if he could possibly escape it.  Maybe joking along with this one will help?  He had only ever dealt with one set of bullies before, but they always hated when he joked around... stow that option for another time.  It was early morning so he couldn't easily show his power if needed.  

 

"Well, I'm the newbie, can't I ask the first question?  What can you guys do?  Seems a fair trade, what can you do vs what can I do."  John says this, playing up his naivety.  Sometimes appearing dumber than you looked was better than showing all you can do from the start.  He kept a close eye out for any and all kinds of attacks, what if this kid threw fireballs or something... Surely this wouldn't progress to that point though, he had only just gotten his new shirt, couldn't stand the idea of his other form running around in yellow spandex, so regular clothes it was for him still.

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It still amazed Ralf at just how similar humans and animals behaved.

 

He seemed content to just watch for a while. That was, in fact, one of Ralf's long-standing assignments: observe and learn from other students. Technically, he'd only existed for all of three years, leaving him with a lot of catching up to do. Thankfully, he had adapted relatively well given his circumstances, and he had enough of a moral compass to know when certain things weren't okay. He also wasn't in the habit of interjecting into someone else's affairs unnecessarily... which left him at a little bit of a crossroads when it came to the clearly new student.

 

So, for a few moments, he just watched and listened, an unusually large candy cane between his teeth like some sort of sugary cigar. The new kid was alright so far, but there was no telling how long that would last. A closer look was in order. Rising off of his favored spot leaning against a nearby wall, he sauntered over towards the group like he belonged there.

 

"I always thought that was a rude question, just ASKING what people can do... I mean, what if he doesn't want anybody to know? Might be a sensitive subject. Manners, fellas." Ralf smiled broadly, hands stuffed in the pockets of his jeans. "Wouldn't want the new guy to think we don't have any."

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The teen looked a bit surprised when he heard somebody else approach, turning around to face Ralf with perhaps a slight bit of uncertainty. At the same time, his buddies moved up a bit, their attention now focused on the new arrival, but still keeping attention on John. Still, the teen did answer to John’s question, even if he no longer was looking at him. “My mom’s Tennessee, might have heard of her, she’s kind of a big deal.”

 

The teen who had done all the talking so far, Harper, as Ralf knew, looked less smug, but still pretty sure of himself, or at least did the best to appear that way once he turned around. He took a few casual steps, while continuing on. “Well, most of us don’t have a reason to hide it. Our powers don’t corrupt, we’re not gonna suddenly open a rift for Omega, or say, attack somebody in cold blood. You know what I’m talking about, you don’t want a bunch of uncontrollable threats running around in secret either. Besides, we’re asking nicely, not just interrupting somebody else’s pleasant conversation. “

Edited by olopi

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The young and still fairly inexperienced hero actually had no idea who Tennessee was, but figured mentioning that based on his tone was not the best of ideas.  He had no idea about this new person.  Seemed friendly enough, and he did come to aid him it appeared, he was obviously not part of their crowd.  He mentally breathed a sigh of relief but remained a touch guarded against this new person as well, no reason to go blindly trusting.  

 

"In all honesty, even if I wanted to, my power doesn't really work right now.  It only works at night... or at the very least, it works at it's best at night, and otherwise is kinda hard to explain.  But even still, you never said your power, just your parent.  In my experience, powers don't transfer from parent to son."  He decided it was only fair that he says somewhat of his power, he could explain rather easily but decided it might be more fun if this bully caught him during a point he could legitimately defend himself during.  Give them the hook, a bully will chase it every time.

 

"You certainly seem to have manners, Guy-Who-Just-Walked-In... My names John, what's your name?" He said to the newer arrival, clearly trying to be jestful in nature.

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"Huh. 'Pleasant conversation'." Ralf's skepticism dripped from every syllable, but he never stopped smiling. As smug as Harper seemed to be, Ralf's boundless confidence was hardly shaken. At this point, his curiosity about the new student was nearly at the same level as his desire to throw Harper off his game entirely. "I wasn't aware 'pleasant conversation' looked like circling sharks but... hey, what do I know, right?"

 

The entire time, Ralf kept walking forward. "Oh! Right. You can call me Ralf." Ralf hadn't completely forgotten about Harper's entourage; he genuinely wasn't sure how the entire thing would play out. He wasn't, after all, supposed to go full Amorph in front of people yet. He had a feeling it would come to that one day, but this seemed like a rather inappropriate time. He tugged at the plastic left on the candy cane he was eating and reached for a nearby trashcan--a good ten feet away, casually stretching his arm over and back again. "Uncontrollable threats... come on. That's a joke, right? It's not even a good joke... no puns or anything."

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Harper continued to look rather smug, while also further walking around the two teens casually. His buddies, in the meantime, didn’t do much, simply following the conversation. He sounded slightly less sure-of-himself, but still was confident in his abilities, as he spoke, standing to the side of John and Ralf.

 

“You might do things different over in Europe, but this is how we do it. “ Ralf’s display of powers did not seem to affect Harper too much, even if one of his entourage backed off just a bit. When the German brought up the threats, Harper chuckled slightly. “See, that’s why I ask. You have no clue who does what here. I get it, you’re from a place where metas are rare. Most threats over there probably are Nazis of some sort, so it’s easy enough to tell. But down here? Who knows? When the school’s about to burn down because of one of them, I’ll be the one to stop them. Stop them, and then “told-you-so” you. “

 

He then moved in front of the two, looking directly at John, with some scepticism. “Told you so. A creature of the night. Lock your doors everyone, who knows what he’s capable of.” A short pause, his friends looking unsure, but Harper continued. “Oh, and just so you know, some powers are hereditary. Just because your parents didn’t get bitten by a werewolf or something doesn’t mean that applies to everybody. “

Edited by olopi

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Ralf just suddenly stretching his arm so casually 10 feet did surprise John, but he honestly had already seen weirder while here, he just looked more normal than most when he did it.  He just assumed this was natural, something new he'd have to get used to.

 

John gives a tiny chuckle and decides to mess with the Tennessee boy, layering every ounce of sarcasm he had into his voice, Ralf filling him with a small amount of confidence, but not insignificant amount of it. 

 

"Yeah, I'm so scary.  Such a creature of the night, able to use cars like bats.  You really think that's my power?  Nah, I just have some night vision is all.  Really, I still don't know how that qualified me for here, but I suppose you'd have to see it in action.  Even a dark room works." He says, curious on the reaction he might garner.  At that moment, he realizes that the person he's been talking to has just casually claimed Nazi's are still around.  "Wait, Nazi's are still around?  I thought only Neo-Nazi's existed anymore, and they weren't like the Nazi's persay but I admit to not a ton of knowledge on them."

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Truth be told, Ralf wasn't well-versed enough on German history to really be offended; Harper's comment was met with a blank stare. Nazis were bad. That was generally what he remembered, which made mentioning them seem sort of illogical and strange. Ralf, after all, had an especially pointed reason to dislike Nazis. Suddenly Ralf's eyes widened; something clicked. "Oh! Now I get it. You're scared."

 

It was the sort of brazen thing that most people wouldn't have said about someone else out loud. Ralf, however, had no such filter. "I mean, I guess I get it. The world's a big and scary place and some people just find it easier to jump at shadows. Dunno how you're gonna save anybody like that, but sure, we'll go with that. I think you might be wound a little tight though. You gotta relax, man."

 

Ralf paused for a minute, then switched gears entirely as he looked back at John. "...I guess someone using a car like that might be a little intimidating. But that's why we're here, right?"

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Harper was staggered by Ralf’s accusation, taking a step backwards. His expression wasn’t as calm and smug as before, a bit of anger brewing up. “Wha-. Scared? I’m not scared, I’m proactive. Look around. Most of us can bring down an entire building. Some of us could take down an entire city. If you can’t control it, you have to somehow make sure it doesn’t happen. “

Harper’s buddies, in the meantime, took a few uncertain steps around. Some of them forwards, some of them backwards, their eyes peeled on whatever Harper would do next. Next, he addressed John.

 

“Yeah, nice try. Just night-vision wouldn’t land you here.” He held his arms outwards, and became a bit louder, some anger in his voice by now. “See, he’s hiding something. But, the question is, what?” He took a few, calculated steps forwards. “Relax? You relax, see where it takes you. We’re not here to relax, we’re here to avoid these things. “

 

His right arm began to change shape, becoming what appeared to be water, as two members of his entourage stepped forwards. One of them grabbed Harper's shoulder, while the other just stood there. “Dude, no.”

Edited by olopi

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Lillian had been sitting quietly under a tree, going over another book from the library about the spirits of the world. For someone with an interest in the occult it was interesting, if its insights into the spirit courts were limited. Sensing a pattern here. She thought. Lilly cringed when she started hearing someone yell. Her gaze fell on the group assembled around someone she had not recalled seeing in her short time at Claremont. Taking a deep breath, she put her book into her bag and started making her way across to them silently.

 

Along her upper left arm lavender and violets started to grow, clinging on by a piece of ivy seemingly in defiance with how the plants actually work. Strange scents started to fill the air, ones that seemed to melt away anger in an instant. "Can you just stop." She said, the scent in the air starting to grow stronger. "If he really was a danger I don't think Summers would let him walk around the school grounds without someone keeping an eye on him." She eyed his arm nervously. It was rare for her to actually talk to someone like this but she felt she had to do something. 

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Harper jerked his shoulder forwards, trying to break his friend’s grip, to little success. By now, he looked pretty angry, his friends not helping him calm down at all. By now, both of his arms were water, and his expression was full of anger. “Let go. I’m dealing with th-“

 

And then, as she made her entrance, Lilly’s pheromones began to take effect. Harper could not actually see her from where he was, so he turned towards his friends, and then towards Lilly, who had now made position clear thanks to her talking. The pheromones took effect, as his expression became more smug again. “Uh. Okay. You’ve got a poi…. What’s happening? What’s going on?” He took a step backwards, his eye shooting sceptical glances towards Lilly. “You’re doing something, right? That’s a good point though. “

 

Harper’s entourage didn’t seem to be too affected by the pheromones, as the ones that had backed off came closer again, and the one still holding Harper’s shoulder loosened his grip just a bit. One of the ones standing behind harper gave Lilly an approving nod.

Edited by olopi

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As John only was feeling ready and getting ready for a fight, the pheromones didn't affect him too much, but even he noticed the blonde guy go from angry to much calmer.  When he claimed it was the plant lady, he John didn't feel like he was lying, so he turned to her

 

"Hello, my name is John, sorry about this being the way we meet.  I do feel he wants to figure out exactly what I can do. I dunno if there are any dark places around that could provide a safe place for a friendly sparring match?  Just to get it all out of his system?  Oh, and what is your name?"

 

The air really did smell sickly sweet, but somehow in a good way rather than a bad.

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"At it again, Harper?"

 

A snarled voice came from a nearby doorway - the entrance to the gymnasium and exercise building. A click of boot heels on pavement, a rustle of cloth against metal; they saw more than a few students give the approaching figure a wide berth. For reasons that became obvious, once a low hum could be heard.

 

He was medium-height, and lanky. Fairly well-built, going by his shoulders and chest; though those were slightly obscured by the humming metal vest he was wearing. Below that was a worn Claremont-colors t-shirt, and a pair of blue jeans below that, with the clicking coming from a genuine pair of cowboy boots on his feet. His arms were exposed, even in the cold snap of winter, but he didn't seem to have any goosebumps. On top of his head was a wide-brimmed hat, a finger on his hand pushing up the brim to show a scowling young face. He might have been handsome, if it wasn't for that twist to his mouth; clean-shaven, strong chin, tanned skin. Though the red eyes were a bit odd...

 

"I been havin' a bad day, chum. A real bad day. An' now I come out an' find ya harassin' somebody else?" He inhaled, his scowl softening. Slightly. "Why don't ya just dry up, an' scram."

Edited by Quinn

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For the first time since arriving, Ralf frowned. It wasn't Harper's display that did it--though that was, in fact, cause for some serious concern on Ralf's part. Ralf's problem had more to do with what he said than what he was doing. He chewed the candy cane in his mouth down to nothing and took a deep breath before speaking.

 

"You talk about being 'landed here' like this is a prison. Like we're all weapons waiting to be put to use or put down... you have no idea what you're talking about. I know what that looks like. And this? This isn't that. Not even close. I spent half my life behind a glass because of people who thought EXACTLY like you. They were wrong. And so are you."

 

He didn't get angry often. It was a weird, altogether foreign emotion to him. He didn't like how it felt and it took him a while to get to that point, but without realizing it, he was starting to tense up.

 

At least, until Lillian showed up.

 

Ralf didn't have a sense of smell in the same sense that most normal people did. He did, however, notice that the air changed when she showed up, and he felt far calmer than he had just before she arrived. It was a welcome interjection as far as he was concerned, though he had a feeling that Harper wasn't going to let this go so easily.

 

 

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Lilly tilted her head and furrowed her eyebrows. It was clear she was a bit thrown off by Johns reaction to the pheromone-laced scents coming from her flowers. They were not out of the woods yet. Kinda glad I didn't go with the lust combination. I'd hate to see what that would do to him. 

 

And then more people started to walk right into the situation. Someone looking like a cowboy from hell was not something she was expecting but she was starting to adapt to the weirdness this school attracted. He gaze lingered on him for a second longer than she should have and returned to Harper. "Look, it would be great if we all just moved along." She said, trying to not draw attention to her arm as she moved it a bit more out of view of the assembled jocks.

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Harper looked a bit out of it, unsure how to deal with the mix of emotions currently rumbling inside of him, as he listened to what Ralf was saying. He stood firmly in place, his entourage similarly unsure about this entire situation. Harper seemed to search his words for just a second, then replied.

 

“Well… then you know what I’m talking about. There’s threats, and if they want to lock us up, we have to stop them. Thing is, most of them would much rather just burn down the city.”

And then, Harper’s frown increased, perhaps counteracting against the pheromones, as he heard a voice all too familiar. His entourage took a step backwards at the sound of the approaching Jake, one of them eyeing his surroundings carefully. First, he almost shouted again.

 

“Well speak of the metaphysical devil. “Then, he became just slightly more quiet, back at “loud-talking-volume ”Its Omega-boy, looking like he’s about to go for my throat! Uncontrollable, I tell you. Just look at him, that tells you enough. He could, literally, destroy our very dimension of existence. And he’s just walking around all casually, threatening people!”

Edited by olopi

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...the problem with pheromones, especially airborne ones, is a bit of fire can potentially burn them out.

 

The problem with fire, on occasion, is that it can burn hot and fast.

 

The problem with burning hot and fast, applied to a human being, can cause them to do certain very rash things.

 

This might have been reflected in certain people's thoughts as a fist bunched up Harper's front, smoke curling up from the point of contact, hauling him forward to nearly nose-to-nose. Jake's arms were burning. Black flames curled up them to the elbow, his breath smoked, and his eyes glowed - the limiter vest doing the same, and letting out a low pitched, strained whine. Cross felt the calm just burn outta him, the scowl turning to a far more vicious stare.

 

"Most folks, they learn not to play with fire." Jake snarled. A deep breath, and they could see him exhale brimstone. "Want me to teach you?"

Edited by Quinn

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When John sees this, he steps up to this cowboy guy (seriously, the weirdest fricking day) and while getting a big ol' whiff of his smoke says "*cough cough* hey, trust me on this, he ain't worth the anger.  Just watch that look of terror and know you've won already." He claps his hand on the cowboy's shoulder, trying to assure him his words were true

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Something told Ralf that he should probably do something. Jake's entrance was abrupt and whatever was affecting him didn't seem to be having the same effect on the cowboy, leaving Ralf with a little bit of uncertainty on how exactly to deal with it. He knew fighting wasn't going to solve a thing... if that was the case, SHADOW wouldn't exist at all. And as much as Harper probably had it coming, he hadn't actually done anything yet.

 

"Hold on... er... Tex." Ralf wasn't sure if that was an overly stereotypical nickname or not. He actually thought it was kind of funny, but Jake looked rather serious and the whole situation could have gone a number of ways. "Nobody's looking to hurt anybody or get hurt. Even if some of us have a wildly overblown sense of self-importance..." Ralf cut a glance back at Harper in a 'yes-I-mean-you' sort of way.

 

"My point is, everybody has secrets. Everyone in the world. Even you. And no one owes them to you because you're afraid of what they MIGHT be capable of."

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That was enough for Harper to hear. In just a second, the rest of his body became water too, he now looked more like a living wave of water the size of a human than anything. His two buddies, who had until now flanked him, took a step backwards, some worry on their face.

 

Harper’s watery hand pointed towards Jake, with more anger in his voice than before, perhaps the pheromones did not affect the water as much. His voice sounded different too, the water changed it quite massively. “Oh yeah? Go ahead, try it. Water doesn’t burn, and even you are smart enough to realize that. Teach me, go ahead. Teach me, and realize that you can’t do ---.” He held out his hands in a “come at me” gesture. Meanwhile, three of his buddies looked slightly more on edge too, while the other two backed off another step carefully.

 

They looked on with doubt, awaiting the next move, not willing to act just yet.

Edited by olopi

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...sanity spoken all around him. Reason and good sense in his mind. Calmness filling the very air, soothing whispers.

 

Blood pounding in his ears. Anger and frustration in his head. Fire burning up the calm, boiling his blood.

 

He looked at John. At Ralf. The two didn't look...afraid. Matter of fact, they looked more concerned. And both of them - by God, both of them were actually looking at Harper with more...they were backing him - they were backing him, Jake, up. Harper's taunt wouldn't leave, the scum hiding behind his power, acting smug, acting superior, like those sons of bitches who-

 

a hand ramming into his chest - "Water don't burn, but it boils." - screaming, howling, watery face twisted in pain - fire, everything, everything on fire...

 

His flames sparked and sputtered, even as he 'held' onto the 'collar'. Slowly, they dissipated; black and red still coiling up his arms. He choked off what he was going to say, staring with purple-tinted eyes still glowing, sparking, smoking, into the watery orbs of the elemental in front of him. A flick to John again, and the newcomer saw his eyes turn from torches to plain white and red. A deep breath; and he let go.

 

"...says somethin' when the new guy's talkin' more sense than most." He muttered, stepping back. A scowl at Harper again, and he shook off his hands; forcing the black fire to smoke off and dissipate; leaving the cuffs of his T-shirt slightly scorched. "Clear off, Harp. Let 'em be."

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For a moment it seemed there would be no fight at all.The coils of tension that were slowly starting to wrap around the inside of her chest were starting to fade. Then Jabcob burst into flames and panic was starting to set it. What is with the boys in this school? Do they really want to get themselves killed? Already she was trying to pull whatever mystical influence into the earth, ready to stop it before it started. But then everyone started speaking up. And it seemed to cowboy was starting to calm down. She sighed in relief. "Look. Just go." She told the enraged water elemental, her flowers still pouring out the calming pheromones that stilled choked the air with its overpoweringly sweet smell.

Edited by Darksider42

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