NEW VINDICATORS (Books I - XIII)

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Michuru81
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1181

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:04 pm

Chapter LXXXI: You Could Be Happy
Candace Strange smoothed her chiffon skirt as she sat down on the sofa across from Doctor Bell’s chair. The teenage girl forced a glimmer of a smile—one that caused her eyebrows to raise—as she anticipated the start of this session. “How are-?”

“We don’t have to do this,” the mousey girl said, interrupting the woman.

“Do what?” Doctor Bell asked.

“Go through this… whatever this is…”

“You don’t think you need to talk about what happened last week?”

“I do,” she said. She frowned then. She hadn’t expected that. She sighed at the look of confusion on the therapist’s face before continuing. “Okay, so… you know how my powers work, right?” Doctor Bell was compelled to answer, but Candace proceeded to talk over the woman. Even though her question had been rhetorical, she knew the effect it would have. “I mean, they had to brief you… The thing is, my powers command myself and everyone around me to tell the truth. I can’t lie—not to you and not to me. Believe me, Doctor Bell: I’ve already been down this road. I already sat down and just started talking about everything that happened and… I know exactly how I feel about what happened.”

“Why don’t you enlighten me?” Doctor Bell asked, slightly amused.

“I hate myself. I mean, if Christmas hadn’t been knocked out in the crash and Absalom hadn’t got Gideon with that headshot? Either of them could have tore him apart. I mean, Carl can fly and shoot laser beams from his hands; Gideon’s a robot from the future; Christmas saved the world from the Basileus… Me? I make people tell the truth…

“Gideon’s got some sort of mission here in the past and Christmas… She’s bummed that they wouldn’t let her skip her senior year and join the Vindicators but…” Candace shrugged. “I think it’s obvious that this year’s just a hiccup in her plan. Honestly, given how she took care of all of us? The Espers, I mean? I wouldn’t be surprised if she was leading the Vindicators a year from now… I mean, if Carl isn’t doing it…

“My point is, they’re all so obviously destined for great things. Me? What am I? I make people tell the truth…”

“And you don’t think that’s not incredible?”

“Yes and no. I mean, it’s the reason I’m getting straight A’s. Think about it: if I’m taking a test, all I have to do is ask myself ‘What are the first five years of Nero’s rule collectively called?’ or ‘When was the Council of Nicaea held?’ and I know it’s the quinquennium Neronis and 325. It’s essay questions that slow me down. I mean, let’s say Mister McDougall puts something like ‘Why is it significant that Beowulf borrows Unferth’s sword before facing Grendal’s mother?’ on a test; unless the question is asking something that I know for a fact, my powers aren’t going to spit out the answer. Algebra is kind of a problem too: unless I’ve seen the equation solved—that specific equation—then I’m not going to immediately know the answer. I have to discern it using what I know and that can trip me up…

“But in my day-to-day life? My powers are more of a bane than a boon.”

“And why do you say that?”

“We all ask plenty of questions we don’t want answers to,” Candace said. “Are you married?”

“Divorced,” Doctor Bell said.

“Think about everything you ever asked your ex-husband where he was expected to answer a certain way: ‘How do I look?’ or ‘Does this make me look fat?’ ‘Was it as good for you as it was for me?’ ‘Do you think she’s prettier than me?’ Imagine now that he told you the truth: that he told you that he sees you getting older, gaining weight and yes, he was thinking about the babysitter the last time you two had sex.”

Doctor Bell smirked. “How do you know he didn’t?” she asked, jokingly. “I did say we were divorced…”

“I would seriously hope that it would take a lot more than that to make two people give up on love,” Candace was forced to say. Immediately, she started to blush. “Sorry, you asked me a question and…” She sighed. “I hate my powers.”

“I can only imagine what it must be like.”

“You don’t have to imagine,” Candace said. “Why did you and your husband split up?”

“Our adopted daughter manifested her powers and he couldn’t handle having a Neo-Sapien as a daughter.” Doctor Bell’s eyes bulged. “I see what you mean.”

“Yeah. Now picture that… but all the time. I mean, when I leave, you get to go back to telling whatever white lies you want: you can lie to yourself or to Doctor Howell… If one of my classmates asks why you and your husband split, you can tell them that he cheated or things didn’t work out… What’s the one celebrities always use?”

“Irreconcilable differences,” Doctor Bell offered. She smiled knowingly at Candace. “So, since your ability forces you to tell the truth, I have to ask: is this all just a smokescreen? Did you come in here and start rambling on about how your powers let you already dig deep into your soul for how you feel because you thought it would distract me from directly asking you that very question?”

Candace frowned. “Yes,” she said.

“After I read your file and saw your ability, I thought it would be best to just jump right in and get to the chance. It was going to be the first question I asked you, and you cut me off at the pass.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. It was fairly clever of you.”

“Thank you.”

“So how are you?”

“Not good.”

Doctor Bell nodded. “Why don’t you tell me about it?”

“Like I said: my powers aren’t anything stellar—not on the level Carl or Christmas or Gideon are on. There’s a reason they’re on the New Vindicators squad and I’m in the equivalent of the special ed class. It’s just that what happened got me thinking about what could happen. If Carl and I continue seeing each other—if we’re still seeing each other when he’s a Vindicator one day?—he’ll make enemies, right? Enemies who could use me to get to him.

“What if I become Carl’s weakness?

“Absalom kidnapped me—used me as bait to lure in Lloyd. He got Lloyd where he wanted him—he shot him and killed him. How many times is that going to happen? How many times will someone take me and use me as bait to lure Carl or his teammates into a trap they never walk away from?”

“I don’t know,” Doctor Bell was forced to say.

Candace grimaced and steeled herself for asking the question she didn’t want answered: “I need to break up with Carl, don’t I?”
To Be Continued... wrote:Raanan.
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Michuru81
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1182

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:06 pm

Chapter LXXXII: The Perfect Crime #2
Raanan Lumanta strode into the room with a certain swagger Doctor Bell had not been prepared for. Doctor Howell had provided her with a file on each of the students she was asked to assess and of them, Raana’s was by far the thickest. In it were notes from every one of his teachers and a few faculty members who may have simply passed him in the hall. It seemed as the boy had gone out of his way to offend—in one way or the other—every single person on the school’s payroll.

There were reports from students that he had sexually harassed them, openly mocked them, and in one situation, attempted to sell them drugs.

Raanan Lumanta’s report painted the picture of a young man who had gone out of his way to solicit sex from every able-bodied female on the campus. Expecting a dashing lothario to come walking through the doors, Doctor Bell had steeled herself in preparation for the worse... and then the door opened to reveal a short, frail-looking Filipino boy.

Raanan’s dress shirt was unbuttoned almost to his navel and stuffed into crimson jeans—the legs of which vanished into a pair of snake-skin cowboy boots. “Doctor,” he said, greeting the woman casually. “A pleasure to meet you.”

The psychiatrist barely knew what to say to the spectacle before her. “Likewise,” she said cautiously.

She gestured to a seat: a cushy chair had been brought near the couch in the headmaster’s office. It wasn’t that she practiced Freudian psychology—it was debated whether Freud felt his patients would be more open and free to express themselves when there was no eye contact involved or if Freud himself felt uncomfortable with his patients looking at him; rather, Doctor Bell found that if her patients were invited to relax, they would be more open during their session.

Raanan strode away from the couch resting on a far wall of the office. He slipped around the headmaster’s desk and rested his laurels in Doctor Howell’s wide, reinforced chair. “Please,” Raanan said, gesturing to one of the two chairs resting on the other side of the desk. He had spent a lot of time in those chairs. “Won’t you sit down?”

Doctor Bell took one of the chairs and smiled at the sophomore. “You like power, don’t you, Raanan?”

“Shouldn’t I?” he asked, flashing her a bright smile. “Seems like a nature thing. Survival of the fittest and all that.”

“You don’t like feeling powerless though, do you?”

“Who does?”

“I’ve been reading your file but honestly? It never clicked until just now…” Raanan was far too confident: he had the power here, in this session. His profile suggested that he would not face what had happened; so long as he held the reins of their conversation, they would never address anything substantial. She needed to jar him to get him to open up… “The harassment is just your way of telling them they have no authority over you. You push women away—degrade them—before they can reject you.” She watched as the smile faded from Raanan’s face. “You subtly tell everyone that you’re the one who decides how your social interactions will be.”

“You exploded when Mister Loder and Miss Bedford put you in the lower class—you ran away.” Raanan’s eyes fell on a picture of Doctor Howell and his fiancé—anything to keep from meeting Doctor Bell’s gaze. “Bogart took you then and forced you into a cage, fed you when he decided to feed you…” Raanan sat up straight. “He humiliated you, didn’t he?

“And just now, you chose to sit behind the headmaster’s desk. You’re trying to throw me off, right? Trying to assert that I’m beneath you?” It wasn’t that she couldn’t help but smirk at the boy: she just knew that a cocky grin would help to sell it. “You really thought you were going to play mind games with someone who does this for a living?”

“Is it my turn yet?” Raanan idly asked. He was doing his best to appear uninterested but Doctor Bell saw through the cracks: she could see how he had been shaken up. “You and your ex-husband adopted a girl who turned out to be a Neo-Sapien.” She glared at him suspiciously. How had he known that? “Whose plumbing didn’t work? His or yours?” He shrugged. “Must have been his or he probably would have left your ass years before he did. Or maybe your girl turning out to be a Neo-Sapien was just the excuse he needed to go find someone to give him what you couldn’t: a child.”

“I don’t know how you listened in on my session with Miss Strange-”

“So your husband couldn’t love a Neo-Sapien child… but you could, couldn’t you?” Raanan asked. “Hell, you probably would again, right? I mean, ever since your husband left, you’ve been so lonely…” He slid his hand inside his shirt and slowly rubbed his unimpressive chest. “Any warm body would do, right? And hey, you’ve been reading our files and you know all about how emotionally vulnerable I am since I was abducted by Bogart.”

“So, you’re going to blackmail me? Is that it? You threaten to destroy my career by coming forward, saying I took advantage of you? Made love to an underage boy?”

“You said it—not me.”

“And you’ll do this unless I… what?”

Raanan shrugged. “You’re a shrink, right? I figure you go and see my buddy Max, give him a clean bill of health… Get him back here at the school.”

“Max is being treated, Raanan. He’s getting better. You’d jeopardize all of that just because… you miss him?”

“I want my Max back,” Raanan growled.

Doctor Bell nodded. “Understood. So, do you think we could maybe continue our session here? I have to give my assessment to Doctor Howell-”

“Just tell him I couldn’t be more sane and that Carl, Pandora and Razi are nuts and should be locked up.”

“Or we could talk about what Bogart did to you? Maybe talk about Lloyd?”

“Or I could just go tell Doctor Howell that you threw me on his desk and rode me like the stallion I am.”

“No,” Doctor Bell said calmly. “I tape every one of my sessions, Raanan. You can go to him, tell him whatever you want, and then I’ll play back the tape of you attempting to blackmail me.” Raanan glared at her. “So, why don’t we start over? Why don’t you tell me about Bogart?”

“You’re bluffing.”

“Why don’t you tell me about Bogart?”

Raanan’s eyes darted around the room, looking for a video camera mounted anywhere. “Where is it?”

“Why? So that you can destroy the tape?” Doctor Bell shook her head. “Why don’t you tell me about Bogart?”

“Where’s the Goddamn tape!?!” Raanan thundered.

Suddenly, Doctor Bell felt nauseous. Her head pounded; her stomach was heaving; her body broke out in a cold sweat and all strength drained from her.

“It just hit you, huh?” Raanan asked, noticing the fearful look in her eyes. “I can make plants do anything I want, doctor… including spray toxic pollen into the air.

“Think about it, doctor: I’m a very intelligent young man, right? I wouldn’t risk exposing aspects of my powers I’ve deliberately kept hidden if I thought there was any chance they’d be revealed, would I? I’m obviously very confident that you’re going to give me the tape. Trust me: that confidence is not misplaced.

“Give me the tape and I’ll give you the antidote. Free Max, give me a clean bill of health, torch the others’ reputations and I’ll leave your career intact.”

Doctor Bell swallowed her sick. “My bag,” she said, nodding to the black purse resting on a nearby file cabinet. Raanan eyed it suspiciously and his eyes shone when he caught the sight of the lens.

“How insidious of you.” The sophomore upended the contents of the bag on the floor and then rummaged inside until he pulled the concealed camera out. At the realization that it was a digital recorder, lacking a physical tape, Raanan threw it to the floor and repeatedly stomped on it. “Sorry things had to get so ugly,” Raanan said, releasing a counter agent into the air as he made his way to the door. “Good luck with the rest of them, doctor. They’ve got some serious issues.

“Then again, not everyone can be as stable as I am.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Gregaro.
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Solarflare
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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Two More Chapters

Post by Solarflare » Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:13 pm

I always knew that he was evil and should be put down.Maybe the voices are right about him.I just wanted to say. That it has been great getting all the new chapters.keep it up.It has a great story line.Great work

Michuru81
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1183

Post by Michuru81 » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:52 am

Chapter LXXXIII: Caring Is Creepy
Gregaro dropped onto the couch and stared at Doctor Bell from under the brim of his beaten fedora. The woman did her best to endure the stench of cheap booze rolling in waves from him. “A little early to start drinking, isn’t it?”

Gregaro shrugged. “It’s after noon.”

“I mean age-wise,” the woman said. “You’re a few years shy-”

“I was born on December 25, 1942. Technically, I’ll be turning sixty-seven in a few weeks.”

“I can’t imagine Doctor Howell is all right with one of his charges drinking on campus.”

“I can’t imagine how he’s gonna find out,” Gregaro said. “Doctor-patient confidentiality and all that.”

“Do you normally drink?”

“I might have a little.”

“After class? After dinner?”

“I spread it out.”

“And when did you start doing this? After Governor’s Island?”

Gregaro cracked a smile. “You’re smooth. That your way of asking if Lloyd’s death pushed me to start drinking?”

“Did it?”

The senior shook his head. “It sucks what happened to Lloyd. He’d be alive if that dumn broad would have listened to me and made him sit the mission out. But no, I started drinking before what happened to Lloyd. Way before…”

“Before you were frozen?”

Gregaro shook his head. “Nah, I didn’t have a reason to then. First time I ever touched the stuff was at that party—the night we ran into that kid who raised the dead…”

“So, why do you drink? You said you didn’t have a reason to before you were frozen—do you drink because you miss your old life?”

Gregaro said nothing; he merely folded his arms over his chest and turned his head to stare at the door.

“I read your file, Gregaro. More specifically, I read your father’s file. It said one of his enemies kidnapped you and your mother.” Gregaro stiffened. “Your father was only able to save you. It was implied that he was haunted by your mother’s dead—started drinking. Was that when you-?”

Gregaro looked at floor. “No,” said darkly. “It had nothing to do with my mother.”

“Then why?” she asked. “Help me to understand, Gregaro.”

Gregaro only continued to sulk, prompting the therapist to give him another nudge: “I want to help you, Gregaro; I really do. It’s obvious whatever you’re holding in is hurting you; talking about it—getting it out—could really help.”

“I’m trying to forget about my old life!” Gregaro snapped. “Okay!?!”

The woman was stunned; it should have made sense: Gregaro couldn’t go back to his old life—to the friends and family he’d left behind when he’d been frozen decades ago. He was haunted by memories and drank to dissolve them.

“Before I… before I ended up here? I was engaged.” A smile touched his lips. “Ginny was… God, ‘beautiful’ doesn’t do her any justice. You’d need to come up with a whole new word to describe just how gorgeous my girl was. She was smart too, and sweet. She cooked as good as my mom did and she wasn’t afraid of anything.

“Not long before I ended up here, I asked her to marry me. We were going to spend the rest of our lives together and… she… What am I supposed to do—just forget about her!?! If I could do that, then I guess I never really loved her to begin with, huh?”

“No,” Doctor Bell said, “but… despite what your birthday would imply, you’re still very young, Gregaro. You have a lot of life left in you. Do you really think Ginny would have wanted you to waste this gift? If she loved you nearly half as much as you loved her, do you honestly think Ginny would have wanted you to drink yourself into oblivion? She would have wanted you to be happy. She would have wanted you to find someone else who makes you happy—as happy as she made you…”

When Gregaro said nothing more, Doctor Bell opted to steer the conversation into what she had hoped they could focus on: “According to your file, your powers manifesting is why you spent half a century in suspended animation, right? You fell into arctic waters and your abilities manifested to save you, but trapped you in ice. So, you only knew you were a Neo-Sapien when you woke up in their period.”

“What’s your point?” Gregaro asked gruffly.

“I wanted to talk about your inability to control your abilities. Gregaro, when a Neo-Sapien can’t control their powers, there’s usually some sort of psychological block in the way. Is it possible that your regret over leaving Virginia is the catalyst behind your inability to control your powers?”

“I thought we were supposed to talk about Lloyd’s death or something.”

“You’re avoiding the subject.”

“Because I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Why?”

“Because I can’t remember! I remember the Vindicators getting the mission to go to Kaffeklubben Island and that’s it! We left and I woke up in this year… Will said there was a battle with the Cold Warriors and that I ended up in the sea and disappeared. I don’t remember any of that though—the fight or falling in the sea or getting frozen… I don’t remember any of that, okay!?!”

Doctor Bell’s brow furrowed in thought: Gregaro had created a mental block that prevented him from controlling his powers—powers that manifested during a moment he had blocked out from his memory. It seemed obvious to her that whatever had happened back then—whatever had happened fifty years ago—was holding Gregaro back from reaching his true potential…

Whatever happened in the past was keeping him from having a future…
To Be Continued... wrote:Solon.
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Michuru81
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1184

Post by Michuru81 » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:54 am

Chapter LXXXIV: Song for a Friend
His eyes were on the gauze encircling his left hand. His right arm—bound in a cast—was held horizontally to his chest by a sling. “So,” he said timidly, never taking his eyes off his bandaged hand, “how does this work?”

“You just talk, Solon.”

“About what?”

“About whatever you want to talk about.”

“How will I know if it’s the right thing to talk about?” he asked. “I mean, I get why you’re here. It’s because of Lloyd, right? My girlfriend isn’t scheduled to meet with you—it’s only the New Vindicators and Candace, right? It’s just the people who were involved in what happened to Lloyd.”

“Do you want to talk about what happened to Lloyd?” Doctor Bell asked.

Solon shook his head. “There’s… not much to tell. Lloyd was a student here. He was a Nephilim. He liked to show off his muscles. He died.” The magus shrugged. “We weren’t exactly close. While my heart goes out to his family, it’s not as though I feel this great, personal loss…”

“Fine. Then, do you want to talk about what happened to you on Governor’s Island? Do you want to talk about what Justice did to you?”

Again, Solon shrugged. “He broke my elbow and stabbed me in the hand,” Solon said. “Not much to say…”

“Except that you’re not a Neo-Sapien.” Doctor Bell sighed. “I’m sorry, I don’t have a whole lot of experience here. I didn’t even know magic existed until I read your file, and even then I was skeptical. Still, Doctor Howell assures me that you’re a wizard and that the source of your power comes from being able to utter some magic words and move your hands, correct?”

Solon nodded glumly.

“And with the injuries that you’ve sustained, you are unable to function as a wizard?”

“I prefer ‘magus’,” Solon said. “Wizard has a stigma attached to it. Tell people you’re a wizard and they either imagine some man-child living in his parents’ basement, rolling dice and slaying orcs, or the sort of people who insist Harry Potter wasn’t written for children. Aleister Crowley best described what we do as blending art and science together in a manner that causes reality to acquiesce to our will. But yes, my current condition prevents me from being able to cast a single spell.

“And as I understand it, you’ve dismissed the option of having your body healed by another mage?”

“Yes: Doctor Howell proposed asking the Aurelia to come and cast a simple spell to mend my body back to its original state.”

“And you declined to do so. Why?”

“You wouldn’t understand.”

“Help me to understand.”

Solon sighed. “I want to be the Aurelius. You’ve no doubt heard of him: Doctor Steven White led a team of Vindicators during the nineties. The Aurelius was more than a codename, though: it was his title. You see, anyone is capable of wielding magic. Everyone’s force of will is attuned to one discipline of arcana or another. Only those who are descended from the original Aurelius however, are capable of taking this art further.

“At all times, the world is protected by an Aurelius—someone on our family tree is given the title and the responsibility of protecting mankind from things beyond their scope of understanding. There are not many of us left and Doctor White’s will not live forever.”

“So, you’re hoping that when he retires, you’ll be chosen as his successor.”

“Yes,” Solon intoned.

“And what does that have to do with your denying a magical cure to your injuries?”

“Just because I need to move my hands to cast a spell, doesn’t mean everyone does. It’s a form of focus. The complexity of what we do is so great that the incantation and somatic movements are simply a tool we use to divest ourselves of the need to wield this most primal of forces. However, there are some mages capable of casting without the need for an incantation or the need to wave their hands through the air. The Rhino, for instance, inexplicably casts spells without doing either. In his rhinoceros form, he has no hands—no fingers to weave in an intricate pattern. When he casts, he does not utter anything in the Language of the Birds. He simply casts.

“So, you’re looking at this as… what, removing your training wheels?”

“I think that I’ve relied far too long on my hands to cast. Doctor Howell said that it should take about six weeks to heal on its own… and that there’s the chance of it healing wrong.

“Necessity is what causes Neo-Sapien powers to manifest, yes? A girl who falls out a second-story window discovers she can fly or a boy discovers unbreakable flesh after a car accident. I’m hoping that the same is true for me: after all, magic is simply reality bending to the will of the caster. If my will is strong enough—if my need is great enough—then maybe I’ll be able to cast without the need of my hands. Once that happens, I can heal my injuries myself.

“Once that happens, I’ll be a shoe-in for the post of the Aurelius.”

“It’s obviously very important to you.”

“It is.”

“Is it because of your father?”

Solon said nothing.

“Like I said: I read your file. It said that Peter Carlyle left you and your mother-”

“When I was thirteen-years-old, my teacher, Mister Ryeom, took me to Scotland… You see, way back in 1900, there was this group of dark mages who tried to wipe out our bloodline so that they would be the only possible candidates to become the Aurelius. A war was fought and their family was destroyed. Only seven descendants of the original Aurelius survived: Thaddeus Buchanan and his sister, Lola, Abraham Field, Bruno Marsh, Eldritch White...” The boy sighed. “Henry Carlyle and Rachel Stark.

“Henry and Rachel were the youngest of the survivors. When the dust settled, Henry was seventeen and Rachel was sixteen. They were in love with each other. There was a problem though: their blood line was thin. They were told that they couldn’t be together—that they needed to marry other people to help bolster their numbers again. Henry went home to Philadelphia and married a woman he knew from his childhood and Rachel headed for Scotland and married a man there.

“Henry and Mary Carlyle had six children—my great-grandfather, John Carlyle amongst them. Years later, Henry found out Rachel died giving birth to her third child. That boy eventually rose up against his elder siblings—killed his big brother. Rachel’s middle child—her daughter—found Henry and asked for his help. She looked so much like her mother that Henry couldn’t say no. He left his home—his wife and children—and helped her defeat her brother. He spent the rest of his life with her. They’re buried together—in Scotland.

“Mister Ryeom thinks that Henry just couldn’t cope with life after the Blood War. He left Mary for Laise because she reminded him of all the excitement he’d experienced fighting dark mages and demons.

“Mister Ryeom took me there—told me that story—because the same thing happened to me. My dad packed up and left. My mom and I weren’t casters—we had nothing to do with that world. He got bored with us and threw us away. He’s out there somewhere, traveling around the world, using his magic to battle the supernatural.

“If I become the Aurelius, he’ll see that I’m not boring! He’ll see that he should have stayed with us! He’ll…”

“He’ll regret leaving?”

Solon nodded. “I have to become the Aurelius.”

Doctor Bell frowned. “And what about your girlfriend?”

Solon blinked. “What?” he asked.

“Your girlfriend. Is she a magus as well?”

“No. Mindy…” He sighed. “She’s human. She’s related to a Neo-Sapien but doesn’t have any Neo-Sapien powers herself. Black Box scooped her up and put her in Peoria and she was with the other refugees who came here.”

“And how does she fit in with what you want for yourself?”

“I don’t know. I mean, she’s… she’s only fourteen, you know? It’s not like we’re talking about settling down and having kids. We’re just… we’re just having fun.” His eyes bulged suddenly. “Not that we’re—we’re not having…” His face flushed with crimson as he meekly uttered, “Sex.”

The young magus took a deep breath and started over. “Honestly? I don’t think I’d have a problem being married to someone who had no abilities. I mean, so long as she could accept being married to someone who… Okay, the Aurelius? His job description is pretty weird. I mean, he lives in an extra-dimensional church with a vault full of artifacts; it’s like a museum where everything on exhibit is imbued with magical energy that could unravel existence. For him, a day at the office involves fighting the sort of monsters parents tell their children don’t exist. He speaks languages that don’t exist and hangs out with gods. I think if a woman could put up with that?” He chuckled softly. “I could probably endure her being a normal, ordinary woman. I mean, my mom was a normal, ordinary woman and I loved her.”

“No offense, Solon, but I imagine so did your father once.”

Solon’s expression soured.

“I just worry that you’re being unrealistic. You may feel this way now, but life has a way of changing how we see the world. The idealism and zeal we held in our youth fades, only to be replaced with cynicism and resentment.”

“Aren’t you supposed to make me feel better—not worse?”

“I just think maybe you shouldn’t judge your father so harshly.”

“He deserves it,” Solon growled. “He left, not me.” Tears rolled down the boy’s face. “He left when we needed him the most—when she needed him…”

“Solon, there’s no telling what was going through his head when-”

“If he hadn’t left, he could have healed mom! He could have healed her! He could have used his magic to remove the cancer or to stop her pain or…” The boy’s good hand balled into a fist and punched the cushion of the couch. “He didn’t even come to the funeral! He didn’t come…” He trailed off unintelligibly.

“Solon?”

“He didn’t come back for me,” Solon bawled. “He couldn’t give a crap less about me.” He snorted, drawing the trail of snot back up his nostrils. Whatever remained was wiped away on the sleeve of his shirt. “Sorry,” he muttered. “Are we done here?”

Doctor Bell nodded glumly and watched as Solon rose up and excused himself. As the door latched behind him, Doctor Bell rose up and went to the files the headmaster had given her. Thumbing through the file on Solon, she found his enrollment form and stared down at the signature of his guardian.

She made a mental note to ask Doctor Howell is Peter Carlyle really had signed the forms or if someone had forged the man’s name.
To Be Continued... wrote:Will.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1185

Post by Michuru81 » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:55 am

Chapter LXXXV: The Show Must Go On
“I wasn’t exactly… conscious… when Lloyd died,” Will said slowly, “but I keep playing it out in my head—how it must have gone down, y’know? Not just him dying though—it’s like… the whole thing: everything that we did after we arrived on the island.”

“Why do you think you do that?”

“Honestly? I have no clue. I mean, I think that I’m just trying to make sense of it.”

“You won’t.”

“I know, but I…” Will threw his hands up in surrender. “It’s like I need to figure out where things went wrong. Gregaro’s pissed at Miss Bedford—says Lloyd and Pandora never should have been on the island to begin. Maybe that’s where we—no. I know that’s where we went wrong. Sure, Pandora said that even if we made her go back to the school, she would have come after us, but Lloyd? Lloyd couldn’t fly—he could barely grasp the intricacies of the New York subway system so it’s not like he would have found his way to the island.”

“He had every opportunity to excuse himself from the mission.”

“He wouldn’t have, though. Lloyd…” A smile came to Will’s face. “He was always flexing—always showing off his arms. He was so in love with himself, it was hilarious.” That smile faded as Will rubbed the back of his neck nervously. “He was too macho—too proud. He’d never back down from a fight if the others were there. He’d be too afraid of how it would make him look…

“Gregaro thinks that Miss Bedford screwed up but honestly, there was nothing she could have done. The one who screwed up was me.”

“It wasn’t your-”

“Miss Bedford chose me to lead,” Will said reflexively. There were things he’d been holding in for days. It wasn’t so much that things that came out in a rush now that the dam was broken; on some level, Will had simply been waiting for permission to let it all come rolling out. “Ever since I… God, ever since I woke up in this body, everyone has had expectations for me! Jacob—my son, I guess—expects me to remain faithful to his dead mother! If I so much as looked at another girl, he gave this disapproving look…

“Do you know what happened to my team of Vindicators? What really happened, I mean?” He rolled his eyes. “We were betrayed by our own. It’s a long story but… the end result was I ended up living a new life halfway around the world with no inkling of who I really was. I didn’t know I was Lodestone or that I was a Neo-Sapien. I didn’t know I had a wife and kid on the way. I ended up getting married and starting a family. Catherine died back in ’94. Our eldest died in the Gulf War but I’ve got a daughter. For God’s sake, Ronnie’s forty-two; she’s never been married, never had kids… I’m the only family she has left and I…” His shoulders sagged helplessly. “She has no idea what happened to her old man. About two years ago, he just vanished from the retirement home and she hasn’t heard from him since.”

“Have you tried talking to her?”

Will shook his head. “What would you do if some high school kid called you up one day and said he was your dad? Oh, and he was actually a Vindicator and has this entire other family he conveniently forgot about? Honestly, it’s probably better she thinks I’m dead.

“Thing is, I love my daughter, Doctor Bell. I miss her. I tried talking to Jacob about her and he wouldn’t hear it. Like I said, he won’t even let me look at another woman—he won’t stand for me talking about having been married to another woman—having other kids…

“I can’t talk about my family with anyone. I’m not allowed to live my life because of who I was. I can’t have a relationship with Jacob and his family; I can’t have a relationship with Ronnie. I thought the best thing for me would be to just start a new life, y’know? I came here looking to escape both my old lives and what happens? Miss Bedford tells me to lead Gage and Lloyd into a fight against Absalom… Why? Because I led the Vindicators!?! It’s like they don’t see that I’m a different person—they don’t understand that I’m not Lodestone! I’m not, I’m just… I’m me…

“But I didn’t say anything. I went ahead with it and Lloyd…” Will shook his head. “Lloyd died because I can’t be the person everyone just automatically thinks I should be!”

“I think that a lot of the problem stems from their understanding of your situation. Your file suggests that you’ve retained the mental faculties of a man who’s lived nearly eighty-years.”

“I do!” Will snapped. “Trouble is, I’m an 80-year-old man in a 17-year-old’s body! I may have experience on my side but the hormones are kind of counteracting some of that. You can’t possibly understand how frustrating it is to be surrounded by so many girls—girls that I know up here-” He tapped the side of his head. “-are young enough to be my great-granddaughters and still…” A heavy sigh escaped his lips. “What’s the alternative though? Give up? Live a hermit’s life and just wait for death to come for me?

“Like I said, I keep running what happened to Lloyd over and over in my head and the one thing I keep thinking is that it should have been me.

“I wish it had been me…”
To Be Continued... wrote:Razi.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1185.1

Post by Michuru81 » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:12 pm

Chapter LXXXVI: Title and Registration
Doctor Bell smiled at the diminutive girl sitting across from her and the girl smiled back. She watched as Razi Lumanta crossed her legs in a lady-like manner and neatly folded her hands atop her knee. Again, she smiled at the psychiatrist. “So, tell me about yourself, Razi?”

Razi appeared surprised by the question. “Why?” she asked. “Were you not provided with a file with the pertinent information?”

“I was.”

“Then what information are you asking for? I wouldn’t want to bore you with details you already know.”

“It wouldn’t bore me.”

“It would. I’m a boring person.”

“Why would you say that?”

“I just am. I read and study and do my homework. I don’t have many friends or a boyfriend—anything that resembles a social life of any kind. I do not lead an exciting life like Raanan.”

“Your brother is-”

“He’s not my brother.”

“Then what is he?”

“Raanan is Raanan,” Razi offered matter-of-factly.

Doctor Bell waited for the girl to continue. When she did not, the woman decided to press forward. “Why don’t you tell me about what happened on Governor’s Island?”

“Andrew and Candace were captured by Justice and Absalom and our group went to liberate them. I went with Pandora and Lucas to free Andrew; we encountered Justice; I thought I had incapacitated him but he managed to use me as a shield against one of Pandora’s attacks. I lost consciousness and when I woke up, Solon was injured and they were saying Lloyd was dead.”

“And how did you react?”

“I did what I could to help Solon.”

“What about Lloyd?”

“They said Lloyd was dead; I’m not sure what I could have done for him.”

“That’s practical of you.”

“Even though Absalom was also dead, Justice escaped. As I understand it, Max took over for Lucas as was able to seriously injure Justice, but he had escaped. He could have been waiting for us to lower our guard.”

“I see,” Doctor Bell intoned. “Have you given yourself any time to mourn in the days since Lloyd’s death?”

“I don’t need it,” Razi said. “I don’t mean to sound cold or callous; Lloyd and I were not very close.”

“Who are you close to?”

“Lucas,” Razi said. “Pandora and I are roommates.”

“What about Raanan?”

“I’m not close to Raanan.”

“How would you describe your relationship with Raanan?”

“Raanan is Raanan.”

Doctor Bell held back a dejected sigh and elected instead to try a different approach: “Going through your files, I noticed that you and Raanan both have the same mother and father listened on your enrollment papers.”

Razi nodded. “Yes, but our mother is no longer alive.”

Doctor Bell nodded: of everyone she had seen today, Pandora Filash and Candace Strange were the only two students who had a relationship with their mothers; it seemed all of the New Vindicators had either buried the woman who gave birth to them or had never met her. “According to your records, you were born in Manila on February 22, 1993 but raised in Atlanta, Georgia from 1995 until last year, when your father moved the company to New York?”

Again, Razi nodded.

“Raanan’s record suggests the same date of birth, the same place of birth… Your records are almost identical.”

Razi said nothing.

“Several people—the headmaster of this school included—are under the impression that you and Raanan are twins… but you both fervently deny that you’re siblings.”

“We are not siblings.”

“Then what are you?”

“Honestly? Doctor-Patient confidentiality?” Only when Doctor Bell nodded did Razi continue. “I’m Raanan.”

“Huh?”

“This body is composed of plants; Raanan’s ability allows him to manipulate plants—their growth, their movement… Everything I say, everything I do takes place because Raanan wills it.”

“Why would he do that?” Doctor Bell asked, slightly confused. “I mean, Raanan spent days in a cage. If he had complete control of you, why didn’t he use you to come free himself or have you tell someone where he was?” She thought about it a little more. “If you’re nothing but a puppet, how did you do anything while Bogart was siphoning out all of Raanan’s powers?”

Razi thought on that for a minute. “You’re right. I suppose that doesn’t make much sense.”

“It doesn’t add up.”

Razi sighed. “Fine. You got me. I’m not Raanan’s puppet.”

“Then what are you?”

Razi reached up to her forehead and pinched the zipper suspended at her hairline. With a tug, she unzipped her skin and Elemenoh P. Quarez stepped out of the empty husk. “I’m Elemenoh P. Quarez. My parents needed to learn Common. More important than that, it’s officially midnight in Illinois, where Michuru81 lives, which means it’s April Fool’s Day—his most favorite holiday ever.”

“So this entire chapter is a prank?” Doctor Bell asked.

Elemenoh nodded. “It would have been a lot funnier if Michuru81 hadn’t been a lazy wiener. Do you know what happens towards the end of this story? Adonis gets shot in the face and dies. Do you know how cool it would have been if THAT chapter got posted today? Everyone would be all like, ‘Oh, nice try, Mich but we’re onto you now!’ But then, the next day, he would just continue with the story and both of the people who read this would be all like, ‘Wait, so… that WASN’T an April Fool’s Day prank?’ And honestly, not pranking both of the readers but making them think it was a prank? That’d be pretty awesome…”

“So, why are you telling both of the readers this? I mean, surely, you could have saved that joke for next year…”

“Un-uh,” he said, “I got bigger plans for next year.”

“How big?”

“Really big.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Razi. For real this time.
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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1186

Post by McGuffin » Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:35 am

Hah, nice one, ya got me :)

I've really liked all the last few chapters, it's been nice to get into the heads of the students. Oh, and Raanan needs to get hit by a bus. Several times. I suggest the Curler for the job.
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Michuru81
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1186

Post by Michuru81 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:41 pm

Chapter LXXXVI: Title and Registration
Doctor Bell smiled at the diminutive girl sitting across from her and the girl smiled back. She watched as Razi Lumanta crossed her legs in a lady-like manner and neatly folded her hands atop her knee. Again, she smiled at the psychiatrist. “So, tell me about yourself, Razi?”

Razi appeared surprised by the question. “Why?” she asked. “Were you not provided with a file with the pertinent information?”

“I was.”

“Then what information are you asking for? I wouldn’t want to bore you with details you already know.”

“It wouldn’t bore me.”

“It would. I’m a boring person.”

“Why would you say that?”

“I just am. I read and study and do my homework. I don’t have many friends or a boyfriend—anything that resembles a social life of any kind. I do not lead an exciting life like Raanan.”

“Your brother is-”

“He’s not my brother.”

“Then what is he?”

“Raanan is Raanan,” Razi offered matter-of-factly.

Doctor Bell waited for the girl to continue. When she did not, the woman decided to press forward. “Why don’t you tell me about what happened on Governor’s Island?”

“Andrew and Candace were captured by Justice and Absalom and our group went to liberate them. I went with Pandora and Lucas to free Andrew; we encountered Justice; I thought I had incapacitated him but he managed to use me as a shield against one of Pandora’s attacks. I lost consciousness and when I woke up, Solon was injured and they were saying Lloyd was dead.”

“And how did you react?”

“I did what I could to help Solon.”

“What about Lloyd?”

“They said Lloyd was dead; I’m not sure what I could have done for him.”

“That’s practical of you.”

“Even though Absalom was also dead, Justice escaped. As I understand it, Max took over for Lucas as was able to seriously injure Justice, but he had escaped. He could have been waiting for us to lower our guard.”

“I see,” Doctor Bell intoned. “Have you given yourself any time to mourn in the days since Lloyd’s death?”

“I don’t need it,” Razi said. “I don’t mean to sound cold or callous; Lloyd and I were not very close.”

“Who are you close to?”

“Lucas,” Razi said. “Pandora and I are roommates.”

“What about Raanan?”

“I’m not close to Raanan.”

“How would you describe your relationship with Raanan?”

“Raanan is Raanan.”

Doctor Bell held back a dejected sigh and elected instead to try a different approach: “Going through your files, I noticed that you and Raanan both have the same mother and father listened on your enrollment papers.”

Razi nodded. “Yes, but our mother is no longer alive.”

Doctor Bell nodded: of everyone she had seen today, Pandora Filash and Candace Strange were the only two students who had a relationship with their mothers; it seemed all of the New Vindicators had either buried the woman who gave birth to them or had never met her. “According to your records, you were born in Manila on February 22, 1993 but raised in Atlanta, Georgia from 1995 until last year, when your father moved the company to New York?”

Again, Razi nodded.

“Raanan’s record suggests the same date of birth, the same place of birth… Your records are almost identical.”

Razi said nothing.

“Several people—the headmaster of this school included—are under the impression that you and Raanan are twins… but you both fervently deny that you’re siblings.”

“We are not siblings.”

“Then what are you?”

“Raanan is Raanan.”

“And what are you?”

Razi fixed Doctor Bell with a cold look. “A threat to his existence.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Gideon.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1187

Post by Michuru81 » Mon May 14, 2012 6:37 pm

Chapter LXXXVII: Bent
After she’d excused Razi, Doctor Bell collapsed into the extra-wide chair that rested behind the headmaster’s desk. Permanently trapped in the form of a gorilla, Doctor Howell had certain physical requirements she noted surrounded her: the keyboard of his computer was larger to accommodate his larger hands; the handles of desk drawers and cabinets were deeper; his frame necessitated wider furniture… She imagined this must be what it would feel like to shrink…

Reaching across the broad desk she took the next file off of the shrinking stack: there were only four left for her to evaluate. In two hours she would be finished with these sessions and on her way back to her office to prepare a letter giving her thoughts on the New Vindicators’ mental status following a traumatic ordeal.
Opening the next file, she wasn’t sure what the point was: she’d been through the file several times now and couldn’t understand why the administration felt the need to have her analyze this student. Gideon Newton was an android; she assumed he was simply a slave to his programming.

Doctor Howell argued against such a notion, however: according to him, Gideon possessed free will. He made his own decisions—good and bad. There were things he liked and things he disliked. The only thing that the headmaster felt separated Gideon from his classmates was his physiology.

Still, Christmas Clark had helped to cement a stigma in the therapist’s mind. Christmas painted Gideon as cold and indifferent towards her advances. The girl was obviously frustrated and oblivious to how futile her attempts to woo the android were.

It now fell on Doctor Bell to meet with Gideon and determine whether or not he was affected by what happened around him and, if so, the level of the effect Lloyd’s death had played on him.

A knock at the door summoned her attention away from the futuristic robot’s file. “Come in,” she intoned. The door opened and Gideon Newton slipped into the borrowed office. “Good afternoon,” she said as he closed the door behind him. “How’s your day been so far?”

“I can’t complain,” Gideon said as he made his way to the chair across from the desk. “We’ve been excused from classes for the day and there was a Trading Spaces marathon on.”

“You like Trading Spaces?”

“Yes,” Gideon intoned.

“What about it do you like?”

Gideon thought for a moment. “What’s your favorite color?” he asked.

“Blue,” Doctor Bell said.

“What about the color blue do you like?”

Doctor Bell smiled at him. “Point taken.”

“So, you’ve just spent the day watching television? Not… hanging out with your friends?”

“I felt Candace wanted to be alone with Carl. To my knowledge, they’re remaining on campus so… everything is fine.”

“You don’t like them to leave campus?” Doctor Bell asked. “Because of what happened? With Justice and Absalom?”

Gideon shook his head. “You wouldn’t understand.”

“Try me.”

“Isaac Newton built me in 2137 and sent me back in time to stay close to Carl because he is both the future’s salvation and it’s damnation.”

Doctor Bell stared at Gideon in wonder. “Oh,” was all she could manage. Time traveling androids were outside of her area of expertise. “So, you’re friends with Carl because… Isaac Newton programmed you to?”

Gideon shook his head. “I was his roommate before I knew about my mission. I’d fought beside him—I had already considered us friends. Now though? I worry about him more. Every time he takes Candace out, I worry about what could happen to him. I worry about the man who traveled back in time with me ambushing him or… or Sol Invictus attacking him.

“My father would not have sent me back in time to protect him if he did not need protecting.”

“So, your friendship has turned into a mission? Is that why you don’t return Christmas’ attention? Because all this is to you now is a mission?”

“Yes and no,” Gideon said. “I’m not oblivious to her. I just don’t want to hurt her.

“I don’t know what, but I know that something big is coming—something I have to help save Carl from. I don’t know what that will require or what will happen to me if I’m successful. In Back to the Future, Marty’s actions in the past change his future. When his actions seem to sunder his parents’ relationship, he begins to fade. Will I fade if I prevent the future where I originate from coming about?

“It doesn’t seem fair to get involved with someone when I don’t know what’s going to happen to me.”

“None of us know what the future holds for us, Gideon. If everyone approached relationships the way you do, no one would get involved with anyone.”

“There’s a little more certainty in my case,” Gideon said.

“There’s certainty in every case,” Doctor Bell said. “The moment we’re born, we begin to die. Death is… it’s an inevitability that no one case escape. If you spend your life worrying about the details of your demise—the when and how of it—you’ll end up missing out on so much.

“The end of the journey is not as important as the journey itself.”

“True,” Gideon intoned, “but that holds for humans.” He raised his arm and stretched it to the side. With a thought, he commanded the plates to slide back and the laser-emitting cannon concealed within telescope outward. “I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m far from human, Doctor Bell. My body starts to repair itself the instant I sustain any sort of injury. In all likelihood, I’ll look like this forever. Ten, twenty years from now, I’ll look like a teenage boy.

“Christmas though? She’ll age. She’ll grow old and get sick and eventually die. Barring some sort of cataclysm or temporal erasure, I don’t believe I can die.”

“So, you feel it isn’t fair to yourself to get attached?” Doctor Bell struggled to understand what the youth’s logic was. “You’re afraid of getting close to someone because you might outlive them?”

“Why are you here?” Gideon asked. “You were summoned to help everyone cope with Lloyd’s death, right? Death is inevitable and yet we all need help in coming to terms with it.” Gideon shrugged. “I’m just not sure if I see the point in saying hello when I’ll inevitably have to say goodbye.”

Suddenly, Doctor Bell realized that Gideon—in a way—feared death: he feared having to outlast those he built relationships with and dreaded putting them through the misery of mourning him.

Suddenly, she realized that Doctor Howell had been right: Gideon Newton was not a slave to his programming but as human as the rest of his classmates…
To Be Continued... wrote:Gage.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1188

Post by Michuru81 » Mon May 14, 2012 6:39 pm

Chapter LXXXVIII: Broken
“When you arrived on Governor’s Island, you were sent with Will and Lloyd, correct?” Doctor Bell watched Gage closely for any sort of reaction; from the moment the blind boy sat down, he had given her no indication he felt anything at all. Even now, he only gave her a curt nod. “Why don’t we start there: tell me what happened when you ran into Absalom?”

“Wasn’t there a report filed?”

“I want to hear your version of the events, Gage.”

“Absalom followed Lloyd to the school, attacked Carl’s group, kidnapped Candace, lured the rest of us into a trap and killed Lloyd before dying from injuries he sustained during our battle. There; that’s what happened. Can I go now?”

“How did you feel when Lloyd died?”

“Sad,” he said reflexively.

“Anything else?”

“Isn’t that enough?”

“Were you close with Lloyd?”

“Not especially.”

A quiet fell over the room as Doctor Bell considered how best to ram the wall Gage had erected. “You mentioned a report… Do you know what your advisor said in it?”

“No,” Gage said.

“She wrote that when she arrived on the scene, you were covered in Lloyd’s blood and frantically trying to defibrillate Absalom. Apparently, after she got over her initial shock, she had to pull you off of Absalom at which point you became… I believe the word she used was ‘hysterical’.

“It doesn’t take a degree in psychology to see this effected you more than you’re letting on, Gage.” Gage’s file told her that his mother had died in the White War, he suspected his father had been killed by Black Box and he had spent a year living alone in a pawn shop that a dead student had guided him to and from. There was a slew of issues she hoped they’d be able to encroach upon.

The boy shook his head. “I don’t want to do this,” he said, grabbing the arms of the chair to pull himself to a standing position.

“I’m afraid you have to, Mister Morris,” Doctor Bell said. “I know it’s rough but… that’s why Doctor Howell asked me to come here and talk to all of you: you and your classmates went through a very traumatic ordeal and-”

“And what? Lloyd died and we’re alive.”

“I think there’s more to it. I think you know there is.”

“Seems simple enough to me.”

“Why were you trying so hard to revive Absalom?”

“He killed Lloyd; he should have to account for what he did.”

“Did you kill Absalom, Gage?”

“No. Will took a clip from him-”

“Did you kill Absalom?”

“-he used his powers to fire the bullets and shot Absalom-”

“Did you kill Absalom?”

“Yes!” Gage snarled. The boy was spitting sparks as he leaned forward, impossibly turning his glassy eyed stare into a baleful glare. “Yes, I killed the son of a bitch! I was trying to bring him back around so I could do it again!”

More so than when she had during her session with Raanan Lumanta, Doctor Bell was afraid.

“You want to know what happened? Absalom used me as a target! Lloyd said he had some sort of gauntlet that gave him powers like Lloyd has—that’s how he took down Will. The son of a bitch must have turned it on me and Lloyd knew I couldn’t see what was… He knew I wouldn’t be able to dodge it! That’s why I was covered in Lloyd’s blood: he tackled me. He tackled me and while he was lying there, Absalom calmly walked up to us and shot him.

“You want to know how Lloyd’s death made me feel? Powerless; Useless; Like a Goddamn cripple. Had Miss Bedford sent anyone else with them, Lloyd would probably still be alive. Hell, if she’d only sent the two of them, it would have turned out better than it did. Absalom was wounded from Will’s attack and Lloyd had him on the ropes. Absalom used my handicap to create an opening and he killed Lloyd.”

“Miss Bedford’s report said that I was covered in Lloyd’s blood when she found me, right? She left out the part where I still have it on my hands…”
To Be Continued... wrote:Andrew.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1189

Post by Michuru81 » Mon May 14, 2012 6:41 pm

Chapter LXXXIX: Whataya Want From Me
Andrew Woodford nervously slipped into the headmaster’s office. It wasn’t often that he found himself here, if his record could be believed. The boy seldom got into trouble; his few appearances in this room were usually because of someone else’s errors in judgment—be it because he had witnessed Rick Tasker bullying some of the other non-powered students or Raanan Lumanta harassing the female constituency of the school…

…Or when his roommate proceeded to masquerade as his crush’s dead father’s ghost, ending weeks of psychological torment by endangering her and their classmates by teleporting them into a Wreck Room session.

It wasn’t that Andrew Woodford was a bad kid but that he had a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time…

“I wanted to talk to you about what happened, Andrew—about Justice kidnapping you.”

Andrew grimaced. “Do we have to call it that?” he asked tepidly. “I mean, ‘kidnapping’ makes it sound like… well, like I’m a kid. Can’t we call it an abduction? ‘Justice abducted you’ or something like that?”

“Is that how you felt? Like a kid?”

Andrew shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“Walk me through what happened that night, Andrew. What do you remember?”

Andrew hung his head. “I… I was in the library with Razi and the others. I was on one of the computers and everything went black. We heard Gage bumping around in the halls and while we were helping him… Justice came.

“He shot Pandora and… Lucas saved us. He told Razi and Gage to hold him back and me… He had me go get help. I went off trying to find someone who could move Pandora—Solon or Miss Bedford or…” The boy shrugged. “I headed to Solon’s room but he wasn’t there… so I started to head for the Common Room.

“That when Justice found me.

“He said Max got away but I’d make good enough bait to lure him out of hiding. He took me—dragged me off to that island and just handcuffed me in this building… It was a few hours before the others showed up. Lucas turned into Max or something and… he stabbed Justice and lit him on fire and pushed him out a window. It was nuts.

“Max went after him but Razi was out cold and Solon’s arm was mangled. I stayed with Pandora to try and help them and… then we found out about Lloyd?”

“And how did you feel? When you found out Lloyd had been killed?”

Andrew said nothing.

“Andrew?”

“Kind of… glad,” he said, reluctantly. “Lloyd, Max, John… they used to make fun of me and Jude. I didn’t want him to die but…”

Doctor Bell nodded.

“I haven’t gotten to tell Jude yet,” the boy said. “We’ve been talking online. He has a girlfriend over at his new school and he’s learning kung fu. He was going to come back here and kick their butts for always makin’ fun of us…”

“You miss your friend, don’t you?”

Andrew nodded enthusiastically.

“Do you have any other friends?”

The boy paused to think about an answer. “There’s… Razi… but she likes to be left to her reading. I guess Pandora and I were friends. I mean, she was hanging out with Jude and me a lot until…”

“What about the other students in your training squadron?”

“Eh, it’s… It’s like everyone else is friends with everyone else, y’know?”

“What about your family? I read that your parents moved here-”

“My dad did,” Andrew said. “My mom got sick a few years back and… it’s been just us. When my powers manifested? The whole town sorta wanted to kill me, you know? A cop locked me up just to keep me safe from everyone else. When the school saved me, they picked up my dad, figuring the town’d just turn on him too.

“The school supplied him with an apartment on the island and offered him a job at the school, but he…” Andrew sighed and shook his head. “He turned it all down. He’s working as a janitor in some school in Brooklyn—has an apartment there… I haven’t seen it, though. We… We don’t talk much.”

“Why is that?”

“Honestly? I think he’s angry about what happened. He lost his job, his friends, his bowling team… all because he’s got a stupid speeb for a son.”

“You’re not stupid, Andrew.”

“Yeah?” he asked angrily. “My power is that my bodily fluids are bleach. I can’t… fly or shoot beams of energy out of my hands or anything like the others can… Even in my training squadron, there’s a guy whose power is to make people go unconscious. Another kid can make a ball energy in his hand—any energy he wants! Me? I make clothes whiter and don’t mix with ammonia.

“It’s no wonder everyone always has to rescue me.”

“I don’t think you should beat yourself up about Justice. The man was a soldier-turned-police officer; there wasn’t much you-”

“It’s not just Justice,” Andrew said. “Townspeople—normal humans—would have killed me if that cop hadn’t saved me. Even then, Jude and the others had to come free me and bring me here where I just ended up needing saved by them again.

“It’s no wonder my dad won’t have anything to do with me.”

“Have you given any thought to transferring to the Tokyo school? If you’re so unhappy here?”

“What’s the point? My powers are still going to suck. My dad still won’t talk to me.” He sighed dejectedly. “The only person I’d know would be Jude and I… I don’t speak Chinese so it’s not like I’d be able to talk to anyone…”

“Japanese.”

“Huh?”

“Tokyo is in Japan, not China.”

“See? I don’t even know what country it is; why should I move there?”

“Why should you stay here?”

Andrew sighed and shook his head. “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, you know?”
To Be Continued... wrote:Chienne.
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Michuru81
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1190

Post by Michuru81 » Mon May 14, 2012 6:42 pm

Chapter XC: Help I’m Alive
Chienne slipped into the headmaster’s office and smiled politely at the woman standing behind the desk. “Hello,” she said meekly. “I guess I’m your last patient?”

Doctor Bell nodded wearily. “It’s been a long day…”

“I can imagine,” Chienne said. “If it’s any consolation, I doubt we’ll be long.”

“Oh?”

“Look, I know you were brought in to evaluate everyone after… what we all just went through—assess whether or not everyone’s fit to return to normal, right? Let me make this easy on you: after I leave here, I’m handing Doctor Howell my two week notice. I’m resigning as these kids’ advisor.”

Doctor Bell sat in the wide chair behind the headmaster’s desk. “Oh? What brought this decision on?”

“Isn’t it obvious? Governor’s Island was a catastrophe; a kid got killed and…” The blonde woman threw her hands up in surrender. “What experience do I have in leading anyone? In teaching? The only qualifications I have are that I have a lot of raw power at my disposal and I spent close to a year with a Vindicator, learning how to fight.”

“Godai; your half-brother, correct?”

“Yeah. We sort of crossed paths when we started running from… from what we’d done. On the way, he taught me to control my abilities and how to fight. If we weren’t sleeping or on the move, we were sparring.” She smiled fondly as she thought of that time. “It took him a year to take a spoilt little girl and teach her how to defend herself.”

“Doesn’t sound like an easy task.”

“It wasn’t. Believe me: I’m difficult.”

“Hmm…” The psychiatrist nodded to herself. “Help me to understand something: how is what he did for you any different than what you’re doing for these kids?”

“My brother never got anyone killed.”

“Gage Morris’s mother and a hundred-thousand or so other people might beg to differ.

“You said that Godai was running, Miss Bedford. From what I know of the man, you’re absolutely right. I saw the memorials on my way in this morning—James told me the horror stories of his first year here… For the first time since Bio, your brother opened his heart and let someone in, and she died. She died and her killers transformed your brother into a ravenous beast that slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people. When you met him, he was beating himself up over what had happened—things beyond his control—but he still took you under his wing and tried to make sure you had to experience the sort of pain he did.

“Now, you have the chance to pay that forward. You have the chance to teach these children what your brother taught you—to help them not experience the sort of pain you have. But you’re resigning… It’s too bad your brother never taught you how to stand your ground and face your worst fears.”

“They won’t listen to me,” Chienne railed. “Gregaro blames me for what happened-”

“Gregaro’s a teenage boy who was ripped away from everything he knew. He’s instinctively angry and looking to channel that somewhere. Factor in that he comes from a time when a woman’s place was in the kitchen?”

“I’m not so sure he’s wrong. I should have told Lloyd and Pandora to head back to the school. I should have just called the Vindicators and let them-”

“They had two live hostages; time was of the essence.”

“I should have gotten there quicker.”

“But you didn’t.”

“I should have!”

“Next time, be faster.”

“I’m serious!”

“So am I.”

Chienne let out a squeal of frustration. “Are you trying to be infuriating?”

“No; I’m trying to make you see how idiotic and childish you’re being. Don’t you see it? The only reason the school appointed Magnus Loder to work beside you is out of pity—out of some sort of fear that if he’s not kept busy with something, he’ll do something incredibly stupid. This is your job, Miss Bedford. This is your responsibility. Your job is to train these kids and prepare them for everything this world is going to throw at them. Lloyd Hilton was killed and that is a horrible thing. Truly, I can’t even fathom the sort of pain you’re feeling right now but you don’t have the luxury of wallowing in this abyss of self-pity. You may only be a few years older than most of these kids but they’re still kids and you’re not. You’re the one who needs to be strong and guide them through this.”

“You really think so?”

Doctor Bell took off her glasses, closed her eyes and pinched her nose. “I think, Miss Bedford, that a fallen angel prone to foresight, who apparently only mated with mankind on the rarest of occasions, took it upon himself to sleep with your mother, a woman who was married to one of the greatest opponents the Neo-Sapien race will ever face. I think that you were raised in house built on hatred and manifested powers that are rooted deeply in love.”

The woman rose up from her chair and picked up her purse. “I think it is very obvious that you have a destiny that extends beyond throwing in the towel when things get too hard.” Doctor Bell made her way to the door; with her hand on the doorknob, she paused long enough to look back to the astonished young woman still sitting across from the headmaster’s desk. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to deliver my assessments to Doctor Howell, along with an audio tape of my session with Raanan Lumanta.

“Goodbye, Miss Bedford… and good luck.”
To Be Continued... wrote:The Reptile.
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Michuru81
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1191

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:08 pm

Chapter XCI: A Spoonful Weighs a Ton
If there was a reptile that had a natural gift for navigation, the Reptile didn’t know it. All he had to help him master the labyrinthine tunnels under Patriot Robotics was his own wiles and the extra senses afforded him by his Neo-Sapien abilities.

That would be enough. The Reptile was unlike any of the other Neo-Sapiens the Wisent had employed: Light Man, Singe, Enyo and Deimos wielded raw power; Lazarus’s regeneration meant next to nothing could keep him down for long and Bogart was capable of borrowing any of their abilities. The Reptile, while possessing the potential to fight at something close to their level, was not the sort of man who looked to solve things with might or blasts of energy. Rather, he strove to think his way out of the predicaments that were one of the few occupational hazards he so often encountered.

No, the Reptile could not simple blast his way to freedom but he had a weapon more dangerous than any his former colleagues had: the ability to think his way out of any situation…

When a power vacuum threatened to suck up the empire the Wisent had built, following his incarceration, the Reptile put his faith in Bogart as being the man who would come out on top. When Bogart had lost his bid for power, the Reptile offered to let the frightened and fractured man feed off his own abilities, giving the Reptile the ability to blend in with humanity. Now that Bogart was dead, the Reptile had forged an alliance with a former enemy and a former Vindicator: now that Bogart’s protection had been taken from him, the Reptile had taken shelter under Lodestone’s wings.

Of course, that protection came at a price and that price was slipping into places like this… From the Reptile had seen, he had no doubt that Noah Meinstein was a dangerous opponent to toy with. The man was brutally intelligent, engaged in highly illegal deeds, and possessed a trove of resources. To the Reptile, that meant that the man Lodestone had sent him to spy on had the reason to take extreme measures when it came to security, the knowledge that he needed to take those measures and the money to secure the means to procure those measures.

It was those measures that the Reptile now refused to underestimate.

He had used the ventilation system to gain access to the lower levels and instantly found it protected by a web of motion detectors. It had been simple enough to shut those down though… from a console he’d located on levels found on the building plans registered with the city. It would be simple enough to scurry back up the same shaft but the Reptile recognized two problems: one, if his electronic sabotage had been detected, that exact shaft was something Meinstein’s security team would be watching; and two, in his flight from Doctor Colbenson and Tinnitus, he had managed to lose himself in the maze of corridors.

He couldn’t get back to that particular shaft even if he wanted to.

It would be simple enough to crawl up another shaft, but without access to the system that monitored the sublevel’s security grid, disabling the motion sensors was out of the question. Prying open the doors of an elevator would be a small feat for him, but doing so would undoubtedly set off an alarm and summon security to whatever exit he elected to use after crawling up the shaft.

He considered following the two he’d run into and walking out with them. With his blending ability, they would never notice his presence in the elevator car. Still, the man—the one Doctor Colbenson had called Tinnitus—had detected him amongst the shadows and with his back turned. With the possibility of those heightened senses working against him, the Reptile abandoned any hope of using them to get him out of this…

The couple’s presence begged several questions though: if Tinnitus had detected the Reptile’s presence due to some sort of Neo-Sapien ability, why would he be aiding the director of Black Box, an organization apparently devoted to wiping Neo-Sapiens off the map? If he were some sort of prisoner, why alert his captor to the Reptile’s presence? Why not try to use an intruder to escape? Could he have been cooperating with them because they had something on him? A hostage, perhaps? There were countless methods they could have used to coerce him to cooperate…

The most disturbing theory was one in which the Reptile had to assume Tinnitus had been brainwashed into serving Black Box’s director. Lodestone had warned him going into this that Doctor Meinstein kept a team of brainwashed Neo-Sapiens—“Primes”—on hand to deal with any super-powered threat. It stood to reason that whatever process had been used to control his foot soldiers could be employed in putting reins on Tinnitus.

Most distressing, however, was their presence down here. They must have had access to the lower levels—why else would they not be skulking about, trying to avoid detection like he was? If Doctor Meinstein had given them access to the sublevels then there was a high probability that they had recounted their encounter with him to their master. He knew that he could expect an ambush by the Primes at any moment…

Lodestone claimed to have exploited an entrance from the sewers in the past. It seemed preposterous to the Reptile for Doctor Meinstein to invest so much in securing the sublevels, only to leave such an obvious backdoor in his system…

Still, if Lodestone was right, it may have been the best chance he had of escaping… With a dejected sigh, the Reptile set off in search of the sublevel’s sewer access…
To Be Continued... wrote:Black Box's ace in the hole is awakened...
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Michuru81
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1192

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:10 pm

NEW VINDICATORS #109: You Can’t Always Get What You Want


Chapter XCII: Play With Fire
“Hey, you reached Christmas!” said the recording of the young woman’s voice. “I didn’t answer your call, so you know what that means!”

At the sound of the beep, Doctor Colbenson hung up the phone. “No answer from Miss Clark, either…”

“I heard,” Tinnitus said as he continued to drive the van across the bridge. In moments, they would emerge on Roosevelt Island. It wouldn’t be long before they had parked outside the gates of the New Vindicators Academy and still, they had yet to activate a single sleeper agent.

Every individual entered into the concentration camp Black Box had managed had been telepathically programmed. After hearing a specific set of keywords, they would enter a hypnotic trance where they would do whatever the speaker commanded. Armed not only with the activation codes but a directory of each inmate’s cell phone number, Cheryl was growing more frustrated as the process wore on…

For a week, she had been making her way through the list. She had reached several of Peoria’s former inmates and read the activation code. Most responded only with confusion at the series of words she read. Somehow, someone had deprogrammed the majority of her sleeper agents.

In the back of her mind, she remembered the security footage from the Tabula Rasa chamber: it was a boy garbed in the Vindicators’ uniform who had stolen the cube—no doubt the artifact was in the school’s hands… If they had discovered what properties it possessed and determined the cause of Levi Carmichael, Jack Rexroth and Doug Droll’s attack on the Vienna school, it would stand to reason that they would touch the cube to everyone bearing five digits seared into the inside of their right arm.

Still, there was one Black Box had programmed but never branded—one last hope for the woman to activate a sleeper agent inside of the school… Unfortunately, their intelligence had never found a phone number for him…

With a defeated sigh, Cheryl called the school’s front desk and asked to speak with her last chance to seize victory.

“He’s at the reception,” the man who answered the phone said. “May I ask who’s calling?”

“He won’t know me…” Cheryl grinned, knowing how best to coerce him to pick up the phone. “But he knew my grandmother. Tell him Virginia’s granddaughter is on the phone…”

In the minutes she was on hold, Tinnitus piloted the van down the street and soon, the walls of the New Vindicators Academy of America appeared. She scoffed at the sign outside—the Meinstein Institute for Higher Learning. Her benefactor’s son may have had the public fooled, but she knew what was really lurking behind those walls…

Soon, the world would know what had been there…

“Who is this?” her sleeper agent demanded when he picked up the phone. “They told me Virginia left no heirs-”

“White Boise Sundial Zero,” Cheryl said. Silence answered her. “Are you still there?”

“Yes,” he said.

“Will you obey me?”

“Yes.”

Nothing could have erased the smile that spread over her face. “Find Katherine Wellor and bring her—alive—to me. I’ll be waiting outside of the school’s front gates.

“Kill anyone who gets in your way.”
To Be Continued... wrote:He's baaaaaaack...

...and no, it's not Elemenoh...
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