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Registration Day: 2 Fang 2 Furious (OPEN)

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Thaelia looked down at Koa, the scrawny youth's stature hid an impressive might from what she had been told.  Impressive enough to rival a barbarian warlord, royal, or even herself.  A fact that made Claremont Academy the location most uniquely suited into helping the youth better learn the use of his abilities.  For his safety, and the safety of others.

 

Still, she was surprised when the senate came forward with the request for her to pull some strings to enroll into Claremont Academy.  Not that the administration ever needed much convincing in shaping the superpowered youths of the future.  No, it was the fact that she was even on speaking terms with the Atlantean Senate that  surprised her.  Not everyone was mind controlled that day, and the image of an Atlantean princess going against Atlantis was hard to forget.

 

"There is much to be done.  The examination of your abilities in the Doom Room is first item on our agenda.  I will have words with the administration in the meantime, do take care to not accidentally maim another student."  The Atlantean demigoddess was attempting to be reassuring.  To an outsider her words may have potentially carried a sort of insensitive bit of bluntness.  Or just insanity.  After all, it wasn't every day someone mentioned maiming in a school context.

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Koa heard the surfacers had an expression: "like a fish out of water." He was fairly certain it wasn't usually this literal. The surface world was bright and dry, two things that Koa was not used to. He scratched irritatedly at the collar of his shirt which happened to be almost choking him, he'd rather have it totally unbuttoned but that felt wholly inappropriate in front of the princess. 

 

Which was a whole 'nother thing. There was another surfacer expression that came to mind. "Little fish, very big pond." He was meeting a princess. Being helped by a princess. Him. A kid who grew up in the backwaters of the Pacific. He was talking to a princess. Or he would be if he had said anything. When she mentioned the Doom Room, Koa stood at attention. 

 

"Yes your Highness." Koa gave an Atlantean salute, as his father had taught him. "I haven't maimed anyone in..." How long had it been? Months. Just say months that's probably true. "Months." 

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Sharl liked the cut of Nicole's jib. She'd been through a great deal, left permanently disabled by primitive Terran medicine, which probably explained the way she still clung to superstitious mumbo-jumbo - but she was brilliant, a hard worker, and even had pleased Miss Americana with the quality of her work that summer, which was about all he really asked for in a trainee. Really, she'd be better off just going ahead with a full upload, he thought, not for the first time, or at least full-on cybernetic augmentation. But he'd learned not to judge people for their personal choices in the last few years, and he had to admit the teenager had certainly constructed an impressive piece of power armor for herself. And all that on her own, too. 

 

Citizen himself had been something of a ghost during that summer, popping onto screens to chat with Miss Americana about Archetech West over in the Emerald Cities, occasionally appearing in holographic form to offer technical advice during Salvo's work. Coming today in his android body was something altogether special - but then it was a special day. Over a secure radio link, he said, It's okay to be nervous. There's a lot to be worried about today.  

 

Citizen and Salvo touched together on the Claremont grounds not far from the two Atlanteans, Sharl frowning briefly before he recognized his former classmate Glamazon and what must be her protege as well. "Thaelia, hello!" he said out loud with a wave, not breaking his radio link with Salvo as he did so. "I think we must be the first ones here." 

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Breath in.

 

Breath out.

 

Breath in.

 

Breath out.

 

...

 

Nothing would have been simpler, really, than the breathing exercise Nicole had been trying to conduct since she took to the skies trailing after Citizen. But she was nervous. She could admit that to herself, and though it was a normal response, that did not stop her stomach from roiling when she took off, or whenever the winds buffeted her armor or as she focused to keep her flight steady. She remembered having retained enough common sense to initiate regular tests as she worked on her Bellios, her armor, but this was her first real run - the maiden voyage as the sailors say.

 

Still, she felt like retching.

 

Her helmet crackled as Citizen's link came through. It's okay to be nervous. There's a lot to be worried about today.

 

No, it's fine. Just need to work out the kinks. She watched as Citizen accelerated forward, and she matched his speed, their course bringing them closer Claremont grounds. She could see the atrium dome, neo-classical in style, and just beside it, clashing horribly, the high-tech premises that housed the simulation room. Her destination, and she placed a marker over it, bringing up the public blueprints and reports of the Doom Room. Never hurt to be prepared.

 

"He mocks you, you know," her father said from beside her.

 

She ignored him, like always when he was in the mood to monologue, and he choose to interpret her silence as permission to continue. "Or generations worth of our studies, which is close enough. I remember when he rebuffed your explanation on how transfused blood-fiber impulses could generate a far more efficient energy source than the runes arranged in dual orders. Conducted in such a way as to secure a metaphrical link between lifeblood and mankind's most prevalent construct since the industrial revolution? Odd, but brilliant, of course. I don't belittle innovation."

 

Her eyes kept their scrolling down the pages, the forums, and the internet. And when she spied the two figures on the landing zone, her fingers pulled up two more threads. Thaelia or Princess Thalass, also known as The Glamazon, was a well known figure, and her exploits comprehensively documented. The other, reed thin hero that stood beside her though, was just as unknown as Nicole was: Koa Kalehani.

 

Her father withdrew behind her, and sat on the study couch that was his favorite. Gaudy, just like most of his tastes, especially clashing against the white of her mind interface. "Try not to embarrass yourself," he said, pulling out Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and a fountain pen. "Bellios is a work of art beyond the ken of any ignoramus."

 

She gritted her teeth. "I don't plan to."

 

At the same time, Citizen landed, then she following close by. And while he gave an exuberantly waved greeting, Nicole raised her hand in acknowledgement. A more muted opening, but she did not know The Glamazon personally. "Princess Thalass. Koa. Nice to meet you." She nodded to each in turn.

 

"Good," her father said curtly, then resumed his writing. Bellios hummed in anticipation. Her stomach heaved.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Dread.

 

Deep, dark, existential dread.

 

Sure Corinne had some training, but it was enough to make sure she wouldn't turn her room, and roommate, into crystal, or mud, or ice, or something due to a nightmare.  It seemed some she was aware of it, she rarely did things on accident.  Well, apart from freaking out, that was... well she was doing those things consciously, but it was different.

 

So this was sort of the first step.  With the pressure that the rest of Next Gen was pushing, along with all the adults in her life, well the ones here.  There always seemed to be an undercurrent of, 'But we expect you to,' whenever the question of her being a hero came up and she deflected away from it.  She wasn't someone who lived in fear per say.  She simply have a different priority set from years of having a desire and a clear, focused goal.

 

Now though?  Now she was off to the side, staring at the doom room like it was living fire.  She wore the school uniform, though she had expressed displeasure regarding it, as it was kind of hideous if 'iconic, not her word choice.  Blonde hair cut short and slicked back, as she shifted from foot to foot anxiously, with the anxious, nervous energy of a taut violin string.  Ready to sing, or fray under the pressed.

 

She didn't really pay too much mind to the others yet, even as she loomed over them.
 

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Hm. Wonder if she's on Young Freedom, thought Citizen, recognizing the underground location. "Hello!" he called to the Claremont student, not immediately recognizing her. Claremont's student database wasn't in his face-recognition database - for obvious reasons. "I don't think we've met," he said with a smile, the android paragon recognizable enough to the West Coast-native Corinne as the most famous hero active in the Emerald Cities. His picture hung in a few places on campus too. "I'm Citizen, and this is Salvo." With supername etiquette, he usually defaulted to the codename first, not knowing who knew what on campus these days. I'll let you introduce yourself, he added by radio link to the armored heroine. He knew her armor made for quite a change from her previous existence, and how she chose to present herself was up to her - and to the psychologists on staff at Claremont. 

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The pond keeps getting bigger. Koa took in the growing throng with something not unlike dread. The others all looked so much more... impressive than he did. Then it dawned on him, that probably meant they wouldn't be terrified when he turned. He looked over the now growing crowd of people again. One seemed aloof, but the other two had said hello, and it seemed rude not to reply. 

 

"Hello, Salvo. I'm Koa." The young Atlantean said extending his left hand to shake, (that was how surfacers did it right?) with a wide grin before remembering his teeth even in this form were like razors. He shut his lips while still keeping a now far shyer smile. "But I guess you knew that... I'm Feeding Frenzy!" Oh did that feel good to say. He hadn't actually gotten much of a chance to say it out loud, but he liked the way it sounded. His smile broke back into a toothy grin before slapping his other hand in front of his face embarrassed still over his teeth. 

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"Hello, Salvo. I'm Koa."

 

Nicole watched Koa go through his motions. Awkward, gawky. She shook his hand and even through her gauntlet she could feel a lack of familiarity with the gesture. The Claremont database indicated his status as an Atlantean, but presented little detail of his metahuman abilities beyond personal information. She could guess of course. Most Atlanteans do not possess a mouth set with rows of razor sharp teeth. There were sightings during the attempted Atlantean invasion of soldiers who could turn into monsters to be used as shock troops, and he could have a connection to that, even if he was too young and clearly did not have the bearings of a professional military man.

 

...

 

Right.

 

He had a hand held self-consciously over his mouth in a vain attempt at covering his toothy grin. And she pursed her lips, lucky to have a lowered visor to hide behind. She wasn't disturbed, not really, by his physiology. There were more unsettling depictions in dusty old scrolls than someone who did his utmost to be unassuming. "It's fine?" she says, unsure on how to go about this.

 

Shaking her head, she steps back, another thread already open and being read. Corrine Conrad or Zenith, as her preferred name in-costume. As to be expected, there wasn't much except basic and public information. Citizen introduces them both and Nicole nods, waiting for Corrine to snap herself awake.

 

Are we waiting for any more?she asks Citizen through their private channel, tapping her boot unevenly.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Corinne wasn't there.  Not entirely.

 

That much was clear.  It was also a complaint levied against her dancing.  Her technical prowess was far above her age bracket, she was not emotive.  Without the smile or the normal genial air to her, she was an imperious looking, classical beauty, but slightly disapproving and unattainable.  Her shifting became more agitated until she was bouncing from foot to foot, on the balls and toes, and bringing her knees up high on each 'up'.  Then it connected, and she realized attention was on her, and she frowned a little bit as she turned to them.  Her glance was furtive, and then to take her mind on it, she reached down, into her power and grabbed at her uniform.  The crackle and distortion shimmering like a living thing around her form.

She didn't like it.   She needed to change it.  As she pulled the shoulders up, and made a hood over her head.  Then she grasped the next high knee she ripped the material, and reshaped.  Removing one leg and then the other, until she was in two toned teal and pink Converse high tops, and she had finished she was in something of a day-glo long sleeved romper, without  any leg covers, apart from the shoes.

With that she shrugged a bit at them. "Didn't like it..."  As if she needed to justify herself.  "I'm Corinne."  She didn't not identify as Zenith, not really.  At least not for reasons they'd know.  Then there was a flash of a small smile, and she went from tall, frigid ice queen to something much more approachable.

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The part of Citizen that had fought in the recent Atlantean invasion wanted to give Freeding Frenzy a hard state - the part that remembered being an awkward alien kept that look off his face. It wasn't like he'd never seen a humanoid with extra dentition, anyway. "That's a good super-name" he said, shaking Koa's hand with the practiced smile of a trained diplomat. "I like the look," he offered. "I think you'll do well here." He was equally friendly with Corinne, who reminded him of someone he couldn't quite put his finger on. Powers are interesting - atomic transformation? Matter manipulation? He'd have to look up and see if she was in the files at Archetech, but for now he had other business to attend to - because their escort had arrived. 

 

"Hello, everyone!" Two students walked over to join them, both in the formal blue and gold uniforms that Claremont students wore only for special occasions - a change from the armored jumpsuits that they typically wore on deployment. Citizen didn't recognize either of them, so he hung back and let Salvo make her own introductions this time. "Welcome to Claremont." The tall Asian boy in the lead stepped forward. "I'm Jayaman Panggabean, and this is Qualia," he added, indicating the dark-skinned young woman behind him with the striking purple hair. We're your guides today." He looked Salvo up and down and suddenly exclaimed brightly, "Nicole! Is that you?"

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"Jay?" Nicole's visor snapped open, revealing half her face covered in a bright light and spinning runes and letters, undecipherable to anyone but her. They fade quickly as she stepped forward to meet her younger colleague halfway-- or should she call him a friend? She raised a hand in greeting. "Yeah. Finished most of Bellios last week. And your sword? It's working properly now?" 

"It is." He puffed up with pride, twirling the magical sword with an ease that belied its weight in steel. "Let me tell you, I can't wait to see what this can do. All the things you've put here, I don't even know where to start." As if to stress his point, the tip of the sword crackled with electricity, which began to snake its way down the blade's length. Jayaman had asked her to modify the sword and she took to the task when she wasn't working on Bellios, studying axioms and intricacies based on Hindu occultism. The end product served both of them - Jayaman got his sword, better than ever, and Nicole had applied what she had learned into her own workings.

 

"Glad you like it." Smiling, she nodded at the demonstration and the silly pose he maintained, then snapped her helmet shut. She knew his abilities well. He'd told it to her once on the third night they had both stayed up, working so late that the sun was beginning to rise. Me? I turn into a hawk-man with wicked claws and the eyes and the beak. Keeps the bad guys on their toes. But my sword and training's where it's at. Without them, I'm just some schmuck in the streets who likes to punch people. - June 8, 2017. 4:52AM.

 

There wasn't any need to bring the school databases on him. She knew more than Claremont could provide, those files accessible to the student population at least. But Nicole had done so for Qualia as soon as Jayaman's introductions. The younger girl was a psychic. Standard package: telepathy, ESP, and telekinesis, but also showing an affinity for sensory illusions and skill with her quarterstaff. Both Sophomores.

 

"Hello Qualia," Nicole greeted, then crossed her arms and forced herself to wait.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Koa took in the various displays of powers with interest and a twinge of Jealousy. Everyone here seemed to have powers they could show off. On the one hand he had exceptional control for a wereshark, he hadn't eaten anyone well ever. But it wasn't like he could  just turn to show off. He would get stuck in that form and he didn't want that to be a first impression. 

 

Koa held his tongue as he watched, he didn't have anything to add. Instead, he slipped off to the side still where he could see, but where he would go unnoticed. He melted into the shadows to take in the displays.

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Corinne kept flexing her arms, swinging them back and forth, before she settled back a bit.  "Hello."  Came the muted response from the colorful girl, nodding towards the two, as they interacted with Nicole, the girl in the armor.  Who hadn't engaged her.  She really didn't know what was going on there, but she wasn't overly concerned.  People have their own stories and struggles, Corinne, she told herself, as she watched Koa move back into the side.  Not that she seemed even remotely plussed regarding that, after all she was used to being watched and looked at on stage.

 

She didn't know anyone, as she had been locked away catching up, dancing, or getting away from this place when she could, just to feel and breathe normalcy.  Or something resembling it.

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The group wound up getting quite the tour of Claremont's facilities, though of course most of it wasn't terribly new to Nicole. Claremont had always been a fully accessible campus, but now she could access things with far greater ease. Jay and Sharl stuck with Koa as they took the Atlantean wereshark on a tour of Kord Hall, the men sticking with the boys, while Glamazon and Salvo headed to see the girl's floor. There were familiar faces there aplenty for Nicole, though most of them weren't as good at recognizing her as Jay had been. Passing through their rooms gave them time to put their stuff down for the rest of the tour, and to meet their roommates - or rather, hallmates.

 

Koa's condition meant that he'd actually been given a single room opposite Huang Faretti, another boy with a "similar problem", as Jay described it, his lip curling slightly. Huang wasn't in his room. "Probably off screwing around," he said dismissively. "There are some irresponsible people on this campus, boys and girls who haven't mastered their own destiny in any meaningful way. I'm sure you'll do better," he said reassuringly to Koa as they headed outside. 

 

For her part, longer needing an accessible room, Nicole had been moved into a room she'd share with Faiza Saeed, a friendly British-Pakistani girl who Nicole remembered as a friend of Jay's. "So nice to see you!" said Faiza brightly, embracing Nicole with automatic affection even inside her Salvo armor. "We'll make a great team this last year, eh? Lot of trouble a girl on her own can get into on this campus, but I'm sure we'll make it work." Qualia and Faiza, aka Slide, were friends too, and the girls chatted for a moment. The friction controller couldn't join them quite yet, she was busy finishing up a summer art project that looked a bit like a great many shards of pretty pink plastic assembled together in a shape resembling a small dog. 

 

After their short tour of the dorms, the group met again outside the dorm. "Where to next?" asked Citizen curiously; the android having gotten a strange vibe off this latest class but not ready to make an issue of it. What do you think so far? he inquired of Salvo.

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"Yeah. You too," Nicole said, taken aback by the outburst that greeted her as soon as she stepped into her new room. Then she found arms wrapping around her armor in a hug, and Nicole squeezed back awkwardly, feeling the other girl's warmth as if there wasn't an inch of malleable metal between the two of them. In the span of the hug, the school's file on Faiza Saeed sped by her helmet interface, and then more articles and videos posted on the Internet. She was just about done reading when Faiza released her.

 

She was wearing a dark blue hijab that fit well with her blouse and jeans and warm smile on her face as she considered Nicole. "We'll make a great tram this year, eh? Lot of trouble a girl on her own can get into on this campus, but I'm sure we'll make it work."

 

"Yeah." Nicole trailed off and nodded, agreeing with her sentiment but not sure what else to add. Then Qualia had entered the room and began to make small chat with Faiza. Nicole tuned their conversation out, focusing on her new room instead. It was empty and bare but for Faiza's belongings still packed in boxes stacked neatly one on top of the other. She measured the dimensions of the room and scanned Faiza's belongings, then picturing how the room would look like with all of their stuff in it. Her canvas and tools by the window, Faiza's picture frames on the overhang, her desktop taking the corner space...

 

*****

They had gathered together outside the dorms in a few minutes, and at Citizen's question Nicole had to stamp down the first answer that popped into her head. She ran over the specs of Claremont again, their functions and how they interacted with one and the other to form from disparate parts into a campus whole. She glanced over to the others, waiting for someone else to speak. Jayaman and Qualia were watching Corinne and Koa as well as each other.

 

What do you think so far? asked Citizen through their private channel.

 

Nicole looked at him and shrugged, cliche as it was. Nothing new. I know all of this.

 

"The Doom Room."

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Koa took in the whole of the tour with both sight and smell. His senses were fine, but he didn't really get why surfacer said relied on only one sense. It was useful to figure out where things were based on the smell. For example, the boys dorms smelled or perhaps stank of sweat and he thought maybe angst. It was good to know that if he had to find home that was another thing to be sniffing for. 

 

"I'm sure I'll be fine." Smiled Koa as he heard about the other hallmate. He wasn't too sure what the other student had, but well he was looking forward to meeting him. Most of his family could be described as troublemakers so it wouldn't feel too unlike home. 

 

When he arrived back with the others Koa smiled hearing the discussion of the Doom Room. He didn't say anything aloud, but instead just nodded emphatically, careful to keep his mouth closed as he did so. 

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Corinne already had her space, and a roomie, Hannah a.k.a Prism.  She had to jettison out of school due to her powers... erupting.  As such she had been playing catch up.  But today was a good time to meet with, and interact with her classmates, and the like.

 

She had interaction with the Next Gen, the Misfits and their hangers-ons, as well as the Brohort.  Tacitly she might be considered a member of the Next Gen, given her status as being the daughter (biologically at least), of the billionaire hero Amir al-Misri, also known as Asad.  She slept walked along with the rest, letting them take it in.  She'd speak idly with Jay and Faiza, nothing too in depth, they weren't terribly close, as she had appeared shortly before end of year.  Though Faiza was a nice person.

 

So she waited for them at the meet up spot, and being restless, she was stretching.  In the splits position, and bent forward, until her face was against her knee, and her hands wrapped around the middle of her sole.  The Doom Room.  It was why she was anxious.  They wouldn't put them there wou-... No, they would.  She drew in a slow breath, and shifted her position to her other leg.

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"Now we're not going to do anything elaborate," said Citizen as the doors to the Doom Room opened. The group of new students, plus their escorts, had all ridden together in the elevator (somewhat uncomfortably) down to the fifth level metal-lined corridor that had taken them to the Doom Room. "I'm not a teacher, I'm just an alum. We'll be doing an old Young Freedom training scenario." As they stepped inside the large, cubic room with its lined holographic walls, Sharl thought about the past. The last time he'd been down here he hadn't actually been part of Young Freedom, of course, he'd been part of the team trying to help figure out what exactly had happened to Alan Archer and why his last training scenario in this room had gone so spectacularly awry. So that's where I heard of him! he thought suddenly, 'loud' enough for Salvo to hear, as he shot a look down at Jayaman as he joined the others heading into the Room. 

 

"So do you guys have a favorite?" he asked of the teenagers, trying not to think about how recently he'd been one of them. "I've got Medieval-1, Crisis-3...all the classics." There were also quite a few more safeties in place than there had been before, or so he remembered. 

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So that's where I heard of him!

 

Nicole shot a questioning look at Citizen's outburst. What? she sent back, remembering that her facial cues where useless when wearing a helmet.

 

They were in the simulation room now, and she stepped beside Citizen, glancing at the group as he began to recite the scenarios. She considered the options before her, crossing her arms as she thought, each scenario bringing up more conjectures and threads to clutter her interface. Medieval, Crisis, Outer Space, Invasion, Undersea, Cross-Dimensional... She ended up flipping a mental coin as her father watched, bored.

 

"Just choose Medieval," He snapped on her fifteenth toss and seventh tails.

 

"Crisis," she told Citizen.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Jayaman was of course not entirely wrong.  Huang certainly wasn't in his room and by Jayamans standards his activities would probably fall into 'screwing around'.  While most new students were of limited interests at best to the dhampir the the scintillating circuitry of Salvos enchanted armor drew his attention enough that he stalked the group, though he'd say followed, down into the Doom Room to get a better look.  

 

"Excellent choice."  he spoke up as if he hadn't been all but invisible moments before, "They never quite get the frequencies right for cross dimensional."  he noted sparing a knowing glance at Jayamon before slouching with a practiced indifference against the wall of the control room.  He scanned the other newer students through the sunglasses he still wore picking out the style of Koa's tattoos with a small nod quirked a brow as he pondered if he was atlantean or just from one of the island cultures influenced by the aquatic ancients.  He spent a long moment trying to place Coriene, she had the bearing of one fully comfortable with the super powered unusual in first gen heroes and the cheekbones were right, "But Socotra's still under Typhoons rule."  he murmured under his breath and tilted his head, "A Danger?"  he asked as politely as his still nascent social skills allowed.  Despite the question his attention was still drawn to the enchanted suit and it's intricate hermetic circuits, he was probably staring, hopefully not showing enough elongated canine to make anyone uncomfortable, but he was distracted.

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Nicole's ears perked up as her auditory receptors detected an unknown subject that was not inside the waiting room moments before. Curious, and a little peeved at someone getting under her sensors, she collapsed the mess of data threads and initiated her radar, sending out a single pulse. She counted eight people when before there was seven, with the newcomer leaning against the back wall. He was... very pretty wouldn't be too inaccurate, maybe handsome even, never mind the two elongated canine teeth that reminded her of a vampire's. And he was staring straight at her.

 

She straightened and turned, meeting his eyes. "Yes?"

 

A quick cross-reference matched the face, and she moved to him. 

 

"Did you get lost, Huang?"
 

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Corinne was not, however, entirely comfortable with herself.  Or her powers.  Other people... well, she was a dancer.  Poise and composure were things she had.  She had to have.  Plus it helped that she was going through the motions of what she needed to do to realign herself.

 

Her hands went down to press flat to the ground, and she pushed up, gliding up with practiced ease, until she was on one foot.  Then it was a simple matter of carrying through, hands remaining on the ground as she moved her legs, one going up, and carrying through the split in a hand stand, until she brought her following leg through and swung her torso up, and standing tall.

 

Corinne was a fidgeter, despite the fact that she had a serene face (one could argue a resting b**** face), her hands were slapping and drumming against her hips and thigh.  She was use to stares, but caught the one from Huang, and she blinked a bit.  She couldn't immediately place him, the last few months of catch up meant she knew less than she could (cross country moves, famous parents, and all that stuff made things murky, and she had to play catch up).

 

Slowly one brow artfully arched, even as his attention shifted, "Alec Draven much?" She demurred in a murmur.  "Excuse me, danger?"

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Oh, it's him. Citizen frowned as he peered in the direction of the voice on the floor, trying and failing to catch sight of the famous Ouroborous. Famous for some, anyway. By all accounts the invisibility was something that the younger man had inherited from his father, a fellow infected with the blood-borne extradimensional pathogen that some people called 'vampirism' on Terra. Obviously it blocks the standard energy spectrum but not the latent psionic energies of sentient observers - fascinating! "All right, well, the more the merrier!" he said with cheer up in the lobby. He'd caught the tension between the escorting students and Huang, especially from Jayaman, whose glare Huang's way was truly fierce, but without any reason not to he decided to go ahead with the simulation. "Setting the timer for five minutes. We're going to put you in the middle of the, uh, Archevil Invasion. It's a slightly alternate version," he added, "so you'll have to do something original. You need to find a solution to the biggest problem that you see. Here you go." 

 

He pressed a few buttons and a crude but recognizable version of the Pyramid Plaza seemed to spring to life around the heroes - the holographic technology had been deliberately 'dialed back' in the wake of the incident with Mr. Archer, overall giving them an experience that had about as much fidelity as the latest console video game system - albeit a console that they could fully interact with and touch, smell, and hear. And there was a lot to touch, smell, and hear here - the Plaza was full of panicking people, running in terror and pointing to the sky! Overhead, a gigantic something was climbing its way up all three Plaza towers at once, looking like a gigantic, multi-eyed octopus as it ascended its way towards the matte-blue colored skies, giving a terrible inhuman cry that echoed like an ancient war drum, the shriek sending the civilians around them into a further state of panic. 

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Huang smirked sidelong at Nicole and shook  his head, "You should know a better a Magus is never lost, they are always precisely where they intend to be."  he replied with a charming smile.  "I was admiring the outfit, very fashion forward, and intricate channeling of the elements."  he complimented openly.  "Last name?"  he questioned as he looked to Corrien, "Perhaps no then, not many are unimpressed by facilities such as these."  he mentioned with a shrug, "Most who aren't have them at home."

 

Huang shot Jayaman a flirty grin, "Smile you're so much prettier when you smile."  he teased with a slight laugh and stepped out into the room as the simulation came to life, "Spoopy."  he noted helpfully and fixed his gaze on the creature scaling the building, "See this is what I mean, it's like the ecru of extradimensional elderthing."

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"Funny, that's what every mage wants you to think," Nicole pointed out. She couldn't help but roll her eyes at Huang's attempts to affect the wisdom and poise he did not possess. There was no accounting for how people carried themselves, but it was precious in the way he tried.

 

She traced a single rune down its disparate components with an armored finger. Huang saw the armor light up where she pressed it, somehow expressing her pride in the way it glowed in different energies only visible with Huang's mage sight. It spoke of centuries and lost magic, of how it adapted to the times and grew stronger with each passing generation. It became one with its wearer and took up her proclivities and strengths and shortcomings, and there was pride there. So much that it lit up with the slightest provocation. "At least you have a good eye," she said, her words clipped.

 

Then Huang left and even a blind woman could see the tension between him and Jayaman, but before Nicole could ask what was going on between them the simulation began with a familiar sight: the Pyramid Plaza. She had seen better renditions, but she could imagine the place where her department called its own. Deeper in the bowels of the stylized ego of a man, they would not be privy to the sight of an oversized Calamari-to-be climbing their towers.

 

She blinked, processing the simulation with wide eyes. Then the monster shrieked and shook her from her reverie. She glanced at Citizen, at the fleeing civilians, and finally at her schoolmates. She points at the monster. "Biggest threat or much too obvious?"

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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