NEW VINDICATORS (Books I - XIII)

This is the place to recount your superheroic deeds for all to gaze upon with astonishment and wonder.
Locked
Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 25

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Dec 26, 2006 11:19 pm

Chapter XXV: Head Games
Alexa Hawk smoothed her skirt calmly. She sat forward and upright, almost rigid on the plush couch, maintaining the very image of composure. “So, what do I do?”

“We just talk, Alexa. Please, make yourself-”

“I am.”

“You don’t seem-”

“I am.” Her voice was more authoritative this time. “What do we talk about?”

“Whatever strikes your fancy, I suppose.”

Alexa sucked her bottom lip in and began to contemplate just what to say. She was normally talkative. Half the time, most people would pay nearly any price just to see her shut up. At the moment, she found that the situation was somewhat stressful; no other time did people look at her, expecting her to be the one to carry the conversation.

Doctor Pickford quickly realized getting her to open up was going to be a challenge and instead resorted to the notes he had on Alexa to break the ice between the pair. “It says here that you’re the daughter of Doctor Bradley.” Doctor Bradley had been permanently trapped in his aquatic state for the better half of the last quarter-century; his lack of a physical form made it difficult for him to father a seventeen-year-old girl. “How is that…?”

“We’re not really father and daughter. A while back there was an organization called Project: PRIME that extracted DNA from several high profile Neo-Sapiens and used them to create genetically superior Neo-Sapiens through in vitro fertilization. I’m Doctor’s Bradley’s DNA but not his daughter.”

“My apologies.”

“Why? It’s not like you did it.”

“I was merely attempting to assert my condolences.”

“It’s fine.”

Doctor Pickford raised an eyebrow as the girl retreated into a pout. “Is it?” he asked, setting aside his notepad and tucking his pen behind his ear. “I imagine that must have hurt tremendously… finding out who your father was and feeling so much more separated from him.”

A smirk began to tug at the corner of her lips, fighting to get her to cast off her calm demeanor. She wrestled with it. To Alexa, image was everything. A woman didn’t need psychic powers to get a man to do what he didn’t want to; all she needed was to smile in just the right way, to trace her neck in just the right manner as to ensnare his senses. Body language could do more than control: it could confuse. The slightest twitch of the eye could expose one’s true motives. The inflection behind a phony laugh could demolish any hope of convincing someone you were not as intelligent as you truly were. Alexa was an expert of manipulation and she employed every weapon God had given her in that rare art.

“Are you dating anyone?”

Doctor Pickford blinked at the question. “I’m not sure I understand?”

“Then you must be an idiot.” Insult him. Enrage him so that he didn’t see through to the true intention. “I mean, it’s a simple question…”

“No, I suppose I’m not dating anyone.”

“You suppose? Well, who could we ask that would know for sure?”

“No, I am not dating anyone.”

“But you were. For quite some time, I’d guess.” As the confusion completely engulfed the psychiatrist and began to pull him under, Alexa hurled a lifeline as she nodded to the far wall. “There’s a spot on the wall where the wood is different. The sun bleached the wood around it… but not that spot. It’s just the right size for a picture. Someone was hanging there and you took them down. I’d guess a picture of you and her? Was it the sort happy couples have taken together when they’re convinced they’ll be together forever? So tell me, doc… how rough was the break-up?”

“I’m not sure that it’s any of your business,” Doctor Pickford said calmly, returning to his steno pad and scribbling furiously in an attempt to seem busy. Or perhaps it was an attempt to avoid meeting her gaze.

“And why is that, doctor? Because we haven’t known each other more than a scant few minutes? Is it because I’m not privileged enough to learn what makes you hurt? You don’t trust me enough to open up and reveal the aches and pains you’ve suffered over the years? Let me tell you, doctor… I couldn’t agree more. We haven’t known each other enough to begin to pry. You have your demons and I have mine. Let’s keep them buried.”

“Fine, you don’t want to tell me about your father… how about you tell me what you thought was going to happen here? You thought you could turn this all around and get into my head? Sorry sweetheart, it doesn’t work like that. You don’t want to talk about yourself, that’s fine but don’t turn this back around on me. This isn’t about me: it’s about our jobs.

“The Department of SPB Affairs believes that you have each gone through a traumatic experience, what with four of your classmates being killed and all. They want to make sure you’re all fit to return to the social project you’re each a part of. My job is to get into your head and evaluate whether or not I feel you can go back to Eleanor Roosevelt High School… or if you’re riding the bench back at the Lighthouse. My job is to see if you can do your job… and at the moment, I’ve gotta say you’re not near ready enough. I doubt you ever were.”

“And what is that supposed to mean?”

“It means that if you can’t open up to me without attempting to reverse this and try and get into my head… then why should you be trusted with such a precious mission as improving relations with humanity on behalf of Neo-Sapiens the world over? Alexa, you were dead set against opening up to me the moment you walked through that door. You’ve done your best to remain as rigid and cold as possible. It completely contradicts what I was told about you. Everything your teachers have said paints you as being warm, vibrant, passionate… So far you’ve been demeaning and defiant! It occurs to me that you’re not emotionally stable enough to be involved in such an assignment… which means you’ll have more time at the New Vindicators Academy… with instructors such as Rift, Walkabout and… well, Doctor Daddy.”

“You can’t do that!”

“Give me a good reason.”

“Because-!” She cut off with a sigh and dropped back onto the couch’s cushions. For a moment, she considered her options… but settled on only having one way out of it. “Let me tell you about my relationship with my father…” she said as she made herself comfortable. “And why the less time I spend with the man… the better.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Tripper's turn on the couch...
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 26

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Dec 28, 2006 9:09 pm

Chapter XXVI: Everywhere You Look
“They’re starin’ at her!”

“No, they’re not…”

“They are too!”

“They’re not staring…”

“Which part of their eyeballs nearly poppin’ outta their sockets doesn’t register to you as them starin’, Jacque?”

“They’re boys,” Cassandra said, turning around from where she led their procession through the streets of San Francisco. “Boys with naturally healthy sexual drives. You don’t recognize it, Jacquelyn, because you’re not used to it, but when boys are imagining you chained to their wall this is what they look like.”

Another young man tripped as the group moved through the town; tumbling to the earth because his eyes were on their little party instead of on his own two stumbling feet. Jealous girlfriends slapped their male companions for staring so intently, while others simply crossed their arms over their chests in embarrassment. Some men just simply lost their focus in whatever they were doing: dogs were crouching down to use the bathroom wherever they wished and Frisbees went uncaught; pitches were missed and ants were advancing their onslaught on quite a few unattended picnics. Life in Alamo Square Park had come to a screeching halt… all because of a sight some had never seen before.

Of course, what many were unaware of was that the six young women were not only Neo-Sapiens, but were New Vindicators: youths trained in the use of their powers that they might rejoin humanity with a better control, be it to protect themselves and those around them or to better hide their identities as those unfortunate enough to be born a member of a race that was feared and hated by a vast majority of the earth’s populace. Of course, some stayed on to join the ranks of the Vindicators and some were accepted to branch teams like the Guardians, who policed Alcatraz Island.

At the head of their march was Cassandra Goodman, also called Hourglass for her power to turn every molecule in her body into a grain of sand. Her instructors believed she had some of the greatest potential out of her peers and it truly was a pity that the young woman never applied herself. Behind her marched Donna-Anne Manther and Jacquelyn Webber, called Jetstream and Tripper, respectively. Donna-Anne’s ability was an unstoppable flight path that obliterated anything in the Tennessee-native’s path. Jacquelyn Webber, Jacque the Tripper as some affectionately called her, had control over what she dubbed the Trip Field- an unearthly energy she could form into shields to protect herself or to envelope others and force them to the ground… painfully.

Behind them walked Forecast and Circe. Gale Weathers was more than an arrogant young woman of African-American heritage; born with the power to manipulate the very forces of nature, the weather was the weapon of choice for Forecast. Her bunkmate, Mae O’Connell, was capable of mesmerizing the mind through her siren’s song, forcing them to do almost anything she commanded.

Bringing up the rear was the heart of the south, the dainty southern belle known as Rumble. There were no words to describe just what Atlanta Jane White’s powers were: she had inherited her power matrix from her mother, the Vindicator known as Phenomena. The short answer was that Rumble was the pinnacle of perfection when it came to the physicality of the human body. There were some who theorized that Atlanta and her mother simply were in a constant adrenaline rush. She was easily the strongest—not of the girls, but of the students at the New Vindicators Academy.

She was also voted unanimously as the most spacey of the student body. Oblivious seemed one way to describe Atlanta, though some apologists offered up naïve as an alternative. Indeed, part of her charm seemed to stem from the raw innocence she seemed to radiate. Still, few were close to the girl; she lived in her own world and seemed perpetually ignorant of her peers’ presence. Even now she only followed their band due to the prodding of Jacquelyn and Donna-Anne. She maintained partial distance however, skipping along to the beat blared by her iPod and licking the sucker she had produced from her private and seemingly-endless candy stash.

“I toldja they were starin’!” Donna-Anne said low to Jacquelyn, a fiendish grin spreading across her face.

“Are we there yet?” complained Mae.

“Almost,” Cassandra called back. Her pace had slowed since entering the park—since feeling the eyes of so many men. She reveled in the thought that they were picturing her modeling the full Victoria’s Secret catalogue personally for each of them.

“I just wanna tear off-” one whispered to another.

“God, I could just-”

“-my teeth!”

“What I wouldn’t give-”

“-those pigtails!”

Cassandra came to an abrupt halt and spun around to stare past the four closest to her. It seemed Donna-Anne’s fiendish grin was a contagious one, spreading to Jacque and Gale now. A confused look appeared over Mae’s face. She obviously hadn’t noticed that Cassandra’s long, red-brown hair hung down her back, held under a bandana. Cassandra’s head swiveled and her eyes focused on Atlanta, licking away at her sucker, blonde pig-tails swaying with each bouncy step.

“Mmm… root beer,” said Atlanta idly.

In a huff, Cassandra hurried on. The grins were getting all the bigger as their pace quickened. “What?” demanded Mae. “What happened? Can we slow down? My legs hurt. You guys, let’s just go back to the hotel-”

“You’re the one who wanted to see the stupid house, okay!” snorted Cassandra, fully past the brink of no return. “Little miss pig-tails over there and I are the only ones who know San Francisco—difference is, I grew up here and she only spends two weeks each summer here.” Cassandra Goodman’s teeth began to grind, shooting daggers at Atlanta who either hadn’t noticed that she was the true focus of every male’s attention or simply didn’t care. “I could have been fine with just going down to the water… showing off that new bikini I bought-”

“You mean the dental floss you bought,” interjected Jacque under her breath. It seemed only Donna-Anne had heard it, based on the chuckle she unleashed.

“-and derailing the train of thought of every man in a five-mile radius but NO! YOU had to see the stupid house were they shot Full House!”

“Ya’ll know that technically it wouldn’t have been shot there. They just used an exterior shot to make it all look like it was here. Whole show probably happened in Burbank.”

Mae’s jaw dropped at the bomb Atlanta had just shattered her world with. Cassandra seemed agitated that the dainty damsel had finally seemed to join their group’s conversation. The others just seemed astonished that she had finally said anything to them.

“Shut up,” grumbled Cassandra, “and go back to your Tootsie-Pop.”

“It’s not a Tootsie-Pop, it’s a Dum-Dum. Tootsie-Pops have a Tootsie Roll center. Everyone knows that.”

“I’m about to Tootsie-Pop you, you stupid… God, your stupid accent is really annoying, you know that!?”

“Girls,” Jacquelyn said, seeing disaster coming and trying to divert it at the first sign of its ugly head, “let’s just drop this. C’mon—let’s so see this house-”

“It doesn’t matter now!” cried Mae. “Uncle Jesse was never really there!”

“Awe, look,” laughed Cassandra, “Princess Peach here made short, freckled, and ugly cry!”

“Ya’ll’s sensitivity trainin’ is really makin’ matters great.”

“You know,” Donna-Anne sputtered, seeking to end the altercation as peacefully as possible, “I heard once that John Stamos was supposed to play Cyclops in the first X-Men movie.”

“What!?” demanded Cassandra. “In what universe would I even want to know what you just said, let alone understand?”

“Well, Mae keeps goin’ on about John Stamos and I thought about his wife bein’ all like, nearly-nekkid in them movies and I remembered readin’ somewhere that he was supposed to have been Cyclops.”

And the others froze. A silence set on the girls for a time, one broken only by Mae’s question. “Who’s John Stamos?” she asked.

“W-what?” asked Cassandra. “You were the one who just HAD to see the house from Full House because it was your… what were the words you used? ‘All time favorite show of all time’? How is it that Full House is your favorite TV show and you don’t know who John Stamos is?”

“Um… was he Uncle Joey?”

“I swear to God,” Cassandra snorted, stomping her way back through the park towards their hotel, “when I get back, I’m demanding more Wreck Room sessions from Rift. They want me to experiment more with my powers, fine. She wants me to learn to defend myself, fine! But I’m only doing it if I get to beat the crap out of you and the southern Pippi Longstocking over there.”

“Pippi Longstocking wore braids,” interjected Atlanta between licks, “not pig-tails.”

“Whatever! They look stupid!”

Atlanta shrugged. “The boys seem to think they’re cute.”

Doctor Pickford couldn’t stop laughing. “So, wait… so she knew the whole time?”

“Atlanta’s more aware of things than I think any of us realize,” Jacque explained. “I think she knows she’s cute. She knows that men find her overtly attractive. She just doesn’t hang on it the way Cassandra does.”

“Why do you think it’s such a problem for Cassandra to accept Atlanta?”

“Probably because being attractive is part of Atlanta’s powers. Her powers put her in… how did Doctor Styles put it? ‘She’s in a perpetual state of fight-or-flight response.’ She’s always experiencing an adrenaline rush and that’s got her metabolism working overtime. I mean… the girl has this sweet tooth and she eats like a pig but she never gains a pound. She doesn’t wear make-up either. She’s super-religious or something and says it would be bad to try and make herself look differently than God made her.

“I guess my point is… a lot of the way Atlanta looks comes from her powers and… well, Cassandra puts a lot of effort into how she looks. She takes forever in the bathroom to look the way she does. A lot of its natural… I mean… okay, it’s weird talking to a guy about this but like… okay, girls like me? We’re built like boys. Guys don’t look at us. They look at girls like Cassandra. It’s probably not just her powers that earned her the codename ‘Hourglass’, you know? I mean… she’s perfect.”

“I haven’t met her yet, but… believe me, nobody’s perfect. People may look perfect on the outside but inside… she’s just as insecure as you are.”

“You wouldn’t know it by looking at her.”

“She is,” the doctor said with an affirming nod—as if that would affix some measure of truth to his words.

“Well, she doesn’t deserve to be. God, if I looked like her…”

“You don’t though, Jacquelyn. You’re you and… let me ask you something: why do you think it is that Alexander chose to be with you? I mean, from what I’ve read about him and what you’ve told me… he’s a stud. Football, wrestling… Apparently he’s carrying a 3.8 average too. Brainy body-builders don’t just fall out of the sky. He’s an amazing person and… he chose you.”

“So… what’re you saying? He made a mistake? He should be with someone like Cassandra or Atlanta? Someone he could go into public with and people wouldn’t look at them and think they must be brother and sister because there’s no way a guy who looks like him would be with a girl who looks like her?”

“I didn’t say any of that.”

“You probably thought it though…”

“Jacquelyn… what I was trying to express was that Alexander chose you because, well, to real men, things like who has the biggest bust size and the smallest waistline don’t matter. I think that a part of Alex resonates with what’s inside you and I think that it’s an aspect of yourself you need to confront. So long as you can’t accept that he loves you for who you are… so long as you can’t love yourself… your relationship is doomed to fall apart.” Doctor Pickford frowned as he looked down at his watch. “Our hour is just about up. It really has been a pleasure meeting you, Miss Webber. I look forward to meeting Alex… Cassandra makes me a little bit nervous.”

Jacquelyn gave the man a façade of a smile. “I don’t know about Cassandra,” she said, “but Alex drove me in. Our sessions are back to back. You’ve got him next.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Messiah complex.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 27

Post by Michuru81 » Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:16 pm

Chapter XXVII: Roll With the Changes
“How did you enjoy Alcatraz?” Alexander Sway’s attention seemed held by his shoe; his left leg was crossed over the other. “Alexander?” Doctor Pickford asked. “Alexander?”

“I’m thinking,” Alexander said.

“About what?”

“The answer.”

“To what?”

“You asked me a question…”

“It wasn’t meant to be so thought provoking, Alexander-”

“I prefer ‘Lex’.”

“Lex… it wasn’t meant to cause you to work the neural synapses in overtime. It was a very simple question: ‘How did you enjoy Alcatraz?’ If you enjoyed the tour, simply say something like, ‘I enjoyed it very much, Doctor Pickford.’ If not, tell me that it sucked and you’re glad to be back on the east coast.”

“I-I wasn’t sure... Never mind; forget I said anything.”

“No… go on.”

“It’s going to sound stupid.”

“Lex… please? I promise that I’m not going to judge you for the things you say here.”

“I-I was trying to think of the right answer.”

“It’s your opinion, Lex. There is no right or wrong answer.”

“Sure there is.”

“How do you figure?”

“Well, let’s say that… I dunno, hypothetically, you were dating a girl who turned out to come from a super-villain family. I know how corny that sounds but… well, a few people from our school have parents in Alcatraz. Neo-Sapiens get their powers from one or both parents and not everyone’s mommy and daddy were Vindicators.

“I get what you mean.”

“Okay, so… assume that your girlfriend is normal, but her parents, her older brothers… they all have Neo-Sapien abilities they use for ill-gain. Now, one day the Vindicators show up and a battle ensues and the end result is that her family is taken away from her and put in Alcatraz. They’re still her family and she loves them… but she resents the Vindicators for doing their jobs and taking them all away from her. Now, you’ve just come back from a tour of Alcatraz. Again, hypothetically, you enjoyed it. You think the Guardians have created a nice system for jailing SPBs and on some level you could even see yourself with them after graduation. It may be your opinion, but when spoken to the wrong person it becomes the wrong answer.”

“No, not the wrong answer… just perhaps the wrong thing to say.”

Lex shook his head. “That doesn’t change that it’s still wrong.”

Doctor Pickford mused for a moment on the truth in what Lex had divulged and recoiled quickly. “Why did you come up with that scenario? Does it have anything to do with Jacquelyn’s mother?”

“Jacque’s mother is not in Alcatraz.”

“No, she’s not… she’s a former thief-turned-Interpol agent. Still… does that situation make you feel uncomfortable?”

“Not really.”

“Have you ever met Jacquelyn’s mother?”

“No. It isn’t about me though… it’s about how she makes Jacque feel.”

“Why do you think you do that, Lex?”

“Do what?”

“Put the feelings of others before your own? You were reluctant to answer my question because of how I would react to your honest answer. You’re apathetic to your own feelings your relationship brings up and focus everything on how things make Jacquelyn feel instead. You seem to interpose yourself on everyone else’s behalf, Lex.”

Lex had nothing to say. He had never looked at himself like that; he had never stepped out of himself and looked at how he acted. Now that someone else had forced him to see it, he found himself forced to agree with the man. Still, Lex couldn’t help wondering what was so bad about what he did…

“Why don’t you tell me about Alcatraz, Lex.”

Located in San Francisco Bay in California, Alcatraz Island was a military stockade turned maximum security prison turned tourist attraction. For the twenty-nine years it served as a prison it was home to some of the most infamous men in American history- Al Capone and Robert Stroud to name but a few.

Renown for having never logged any officially successful escapes—having seen all attempts ending in death either from a hail of bullets or life stolen by the frigid bay, thirty-six prisoners attempted it. Some had their attempts popularized in film. No matter how intricate their plans were there was no escaping one single truth: the prison was a rock.

Then-Attorney General Bobby Kennedy shut the prison down for good in March of 1963; the expense of operating the prison (when compared to the budget of others) and the bay’s pollution from sewage pumped out by the hundreds of inmates and numerous families living on the island. It became a tourist attraction complete with gift shops pushing gaudy, novelty souvenirs on their visitors. In recent years, however, the need for such an infamous prison—an inescapable pin—was once more needed for a new breed of criminal. The likes of syndicate men like Al Capone went the way of the mustachioed man in a black hat. The world was threatened by Neo-Sapiens who sought to use their genetic talents in new ways: some for self-gain, others for a misguided cause. Still, some used their gifts to strike terror into the hearts of the world’s citizens.

It was in the wake of Black September that it all began. On the eighth day of September, in 2001, the seventh incarnation of the Vindicators returned from the Himalayas short two members and with one fatally wounded. Bombarded and badgered by the media, the survivors exploded and announced their disbanding. Both opponents and proponents for Neo-Sapiens knew that it had been an open invitation for tyrannical Neo-Sapiens to step forward and unleash their onslaught.

Three days later Jihad, a man born with the ability to generate doppelgangers, hijacked four airplanes and proceeded to drive them into strategic locations. It was through his actions that the World Trade Center fell and it left humanity demanding a response to end the NS threat once and for all.

In the wake of their outcry, the United Nations had spawned a new assembly: the Department of SPB Affairs was an office dedicated to policing the world community of super-powered beings. New legislation outlawed the independent gathering of these peoples, effectively putting to bed over a half-century of the world being protected by super-heroes. To satisfy the public, the governments of the world had boasted that they could fill the shoes of the Vindicators. They needed a display of their competency. They needed a place to detain the malcontents they had apprehended.

And Alcatraz was open for business once more.

Opened and operated by the United Nations, the funding problem was solved. To correct the problem the sewage would play, the United Nations contacted a division of Patriot Robotics operated by Wayne Bruce. Mister Bruce created a system to not only protect the environment from further waste but to improve on the existing quality. Now there was only the problem of policing their super-powered prisoners.

One of the Vindicators VII, Brian Hart, was made warden of Alcatraz and the leader of the Guardians, the team of Neo-Sapiens who jailed the most dangerous Super-Powered Beings known to man. Like the New Vindicators Academy, the Guardians had been founded in 2001, after the Vindicators VII disbanded. The general public was unaware that the Guardians were Neo-Sapiens; they were simply told that only the most select men and women were chosen for the job. They were subject to intense scrutiny- not only in the hiring process but each shift when they reported for duty. Given the number of ways a Neo-Sapien could infiltrate the island, numerous precautions were put in place to ensure that the Guardians were indeed the Guardians and that they were in control of their faculties.

Nearly every man and woman who called themselves a Guardian had been promoted up from the New Vindicators Academy. The Guardians’ deputy leader, Lieutenant J.J. Manther, was no exception. For some of the seniors present on the tour it was a reunion with old friends. “Momentum put BOOM! away months ago,” Lieutenant Manther explained. “The man’s ability is to unleash devastating blasts whenever he opens his mouth. Naturally, we had to muzzle him.”

“Doesn’t that come off as…” Alexa Hawk searched for the right word. “Inhumane?”

“His powers render him unable to speak or eat anyway,” the lieutenant said coolly. “We’re not depriving him of anything he needs. We’re merely restricting his ability to use his powers to level the fortress.”

“His hands are free,” pointed out Deimos. “Why doesn’t he just rip that mask off?”

“Electronic inhibitors; when the mask feels stress, it sends out a painful electric shock.”

Deimos cringed and visibly touched at his face, as if fearing a matching muzzle might be put on him. A few of his peers seemed to hope one would.

“Over here is where we keep the Brown Recluse.” The kids began muttering amongst themselves. They knew the rumors. The super-powered criminal known as the Brown Recluse was the woman who had given birth to Lawanda Murphy, one of their own until a few weeks prior. “And here, Nightingale.” The muttering stopped as all eyes went to Mae O’Connell, the young woman known as Circe. Like her mother, she possessed a rhapsodic voice that could mesmerize the mind and compel those hearing her to do almost anything.

Still, it was hard to tell the pair was indeed mother and daughter. Nightingale was an enchanting woman, though the rigors of life in prison had managed to tarnish that beauty over time. Mae was ordinary. A short bob of red hair and emerald eyes helped to bring out the swell of freckles painted across her face. Lanky and pale, she looked even more awkward facing her mother… and noticing no recognition on the woman’s face.

At an early age, Mae had been abandoned by the woman. Leaving her daughter behind had helped her escape her pursuers. The woman had never made an attempt to find or reclaim her daughter. Mae’s foster family had arranged for her to sit in on the woman’s trial that led to her incarceration here but still, the woman seemed unconcerned with the fact that she had a daughter.

Without anything said between them, Mae was among the first who followed their guide to the next cell.

“A monkey?” Deimos asked as he set his eyes on the gorilla, calmly sitting in his cell and reading Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’. “A monkey? You caged a freaking monkey?”

“Silverback,” Lieutenant Manther intoned.

“I advocate Doctor Howell,” the gorilla intoned deeply. “It is an honorary designation, yes… but one I feel I have merited all the while.”

“Though Bookworm would like to think otherwise, our resident monkey-man is probably the smartest fella under this roof.”

“Charmed, I am sure,” the simian intoned graciously. “Well, young men and women… what engenders you to my pulchritudinous domicile?”

“School tour,” J.J. Manther replied.

“So what’s the monkey in for?” Deimos asked. “Stealing bananas? Fatal fecal flinging?”

“Ah, such a masterful use of alliteration!” exclaimed Doctor Howell. “Myself, I am biased towards onamonapea; it just sounds so silly. No, my bald-headed clot… I am here because I believed my cranium contained the cure for cancer. See? I can string together a sentence constructed of successive words beginning with the same consonant as well. I dare say we might pen Pulitzer-worthy prose if we put our powers together.”

“When Doctor Howell was just a little younger than all of you, his Neo-Sapien powers manifested,” Lieutenant Manther explained. “Essentially, his body transformed… adapting the form of a gorilla. He’s never been able to transform back.” The lieutenant shook his head at the man’s misfortune. “He was always smart though… He skipped numerous grades. When his power kicked in he was only fifteen and already graduating high school. Because of his appearance, the scholarships he had been awarded were revoked. Still, he continued his studies in the privacy of his home. After a few years, he started to think he had found the answers to numerous questions plaguing doctors the world over. Doctor Howell applied for research grants, but was turned down. That’s what led him to a life of crime.”

“I’ve heard about him,” Doctor Pickford said, interrupting Lex’s narrative of his recent trip. “The Aurelius’ team of Vindicators fought him a few times. He was always careful not to endanger human lives while robbing banks and the like.”

Lex only shrugged. “I felt so sorry for him… I mean, most of the people in there… they could have had normal lives. People like Mae’s mom or the Shadow could have just got a job in an office or started a family. They had options… but Doctor Howell? He’s known the worst sort of persecution Neo-Sapiens face and yet… he didn’t come out as bad as they did. Okay, take the Order of Chaos: they’re a group of villains dedicated to being the personification of what people say all Neo-Sapiens are. People like Forrest Bedford call us monsters and they prove them right. We got to talk to them and Solar actually told me that he didn’t believe that things would ever change. We were always going to be outcasts… so why fight it? He believes in living up to the horrible things we’re attributed.”

“And Silverback is the antithesis of this.”

“Doctor Howell,” Lex said sternly, correcting the doctor. “Calling him Silverback is no better than Deimos calling him the Monkey Man.”

“He seems to have had an effect on you.”

“I talked to J.J.—we go back pretty far—and I asked if it were at all possible to write to Doctor Howell and… I’ve got the green light. He was an inspiration to me… I know, we’ve only had this one superficial meeting, but he’s taught me not to compromise my morals for my dreams. More so, I learned that no matter what people are going to say, no matter what they do to me, I know who I am.” And in that moment, Doctor Pickford found himself wishing that Jacquelyn Webber could have heard him say that; he prayed she would come to realize she was in love with a man who wasn’t as shallow as she seemed to see every other man. “I refuse to become what the world thinks I am. I refuse to conform to the image I’m shadowed by. I’m going to be me… and God help me… I hope that’s going to be enough.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Hourglass.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:58 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 28

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Dec 31, 2006 11:08 am

Chapter XXVIII: Right Through You
Cassandra Goodman smiled suggestively at the doctor and a baffled expression quickly snaked its way across his face. “Is—is everything all right, Miss Goodman?”

“Fine,” she said, her husky voice was breathy as she arched her back to slip out of her jacket. “It’s so hot in here though, I feel like I’m burning up.”

“A little too dressed up for a psychiatry session?” he inquired, noticing the clingy black dress she had worn under the suede coat. Cassandra shrugged as she adjusted the straps of her attire.

“Well, when I realized my session wasn’t until late and that I would be in Manhattan anyway, I thought: why don’t I make the most of things and unwind a little while I was here.” A precocious grin appeared on her face, pushing the beauty mark near her full lips up and raising the doctor’s eyebrow. “How many of us have you seen today?”

“Only a few,” he said. It was something of an understatement. In his first full day of evaluations he had seen eight of the New Vindicators, counting Cassandra. It had taken up twelve hours of his time, but he didn’t think of the time spent, but the compensation earned.

“Sounds as though you could stand to unwind yourself,” she said, her voice almost a soft purr that tickled him at the base of his spine. “I’m something of an expert at unwinding. Maybe I could be of some service to you…”

“I had the fortune of meeting your twin brother today,” he said dryly. “He’s so mature for a seventeen-year old. How do they say it? ‘He’s seventeen, going on fifty’. He has an old soul… just a wisdom that comes from age, shinning in his eyes.”

“I could care less about my geeky brother,” she grumbled.

“My point, Cassandra… is that while he may act older than he is, you look older than you are. You also try to be older. I’d prefer it if you’d stop with the innuendo.”

“What innuendo?”

“Cassandra… you’ve been throwing suggestive looks my way since the moment you walked into the room! The way you walk, the way you gesture when you talk… you’re a very sensual woman and stunningly attractive—I’ll grant you that—but you’re still a child. You’re a little girl and I’m not going to bite at the bait.”

Her jaw worked furiously to find something to retort with. Inside, she waged war with her emotions. She wasn’t sure whether to be more infuriated by his accusations or by his indignation; being called a child was insulting to the young woman—as much so as to be accused of attempting to lure him into debauchery. “I-I’m not a slut,” she sputtered.

Doctor Pickford blinked in surprise. “No one called you that.”

“Oh, whatEVER!” she snorted. “You think I don’t have to deal with all day? All the boys think that if they just smile sweetly I’ll sleep with them right then and there! Jacque and Donna-Anne are constantly talking about me behind my back. Sometimes, when they think I can’t hear them… they say things. They say these horrible things. They think I’m some kind of whore who just sleeps with anything that moves. Then I have Atlanta—always throwing scripture in my face. God, sometimes… you know, I don’t know what’s worse: them making fun of me or God-girl telling me how I need to get right with Jesus.

“My family? Oh, they’re just as fun. Cloud used to try to fix me; he treated me like I was broken or something. It’s weird though ‘cause the last few weeks, it’s like he hasn’t cared but he used to try and tell me what to wear or how to act. I was such an embarrassment to the freaking Boy Scout! Most of the time, dad won’t look at me. We’re Catholic. Do you know how Catholicism works? Basically, everything is a sin unless you’re the one doing it—in which case, praying to an idol makes it all okay again. Anyway, they made me go to mass awhile back and dad’s priest became pretty convinced I was the devil incarnate—like I was a succubus sent to devour his soul or something; naturally, my dad now believes the same thing as they share the same brain.”

“Then why do you do it?” Doctor Pickford cleared his throat and made a few notations as he continued. “If you know what the source of the hostility is, they why continue to feed the beast?”

“Because that’s called conformity! There was this guy who used to think conformity was the way of things. His name was Hitler; did you ever hear of him?”

“That doesn’t work,” he said, shaking his head at her. “Come on, Cassandra; think here. It’s one thing to adhere to the image others have of you and another to present yourself as something you claim not to be. I’ve got to tell you, Cassandra… before you even came in here, I had an opinion formed. I don’t like to do that. I’ve been kicking myself for it… but from what I’ve read on you and from what some of the others have said… I assumed that you were a classic case of a little girl who didn’t get her father’s love as a child and constantly strives for the attention of any male she can. But I don’t think that’s it. I think you’re a complicated girl. I think that you’re more complex than that. So… what is it?”

Cassandra’s head was hanging, her long, brown hair draped down to hide her face. There was no masking the sound of her sobs. There was no hiding the dark stains her tears were forming on her dress. “Cassandra?” Doctor Pickford asked.

“When I was about thirteen… mom got pregnant again. She—she lost the baby… She had this really bad postpartum depression and… I guess… daddy wasn’t—he… well… Mom wouldn’t let him touch her so he…”

A pained look came over the doctor’s face as he realized what she was trying to tell him.

“It’s like I told you… it’s only a sin unless you’re the one doing it. I think that’s when I stopped believing in God. I mean… why would God let something like that happen to me, you know?”

“I’m so sorry, Cassandra. What about your mother? Does she know about what happened to you?”

“I didn’t want to make things worse for her… so I never told her. One day she stopped what she’d been doing and daddy stopped what he’d been doing. It was like we were all just supposed to go back to the way things were and I—I just never talked about it.

“The thing is… my daddy was never really a good father. Mom was great but daddy… he never got involved in our lives. He didn’t play with us. He didn’t help us with our homework. He never wanted kids to begin with—he told Norman, our older brother, that he never wanted any of us to begin with. I guess… I realized that the only way daddy ever showed he loved me was when… we…

“It’s the only way I feel loved, you know?”

Doctor Pickford was speechless. The young woman threw back her head and smoothed her hair down. “Do—do you think we can stop? I can’t—I don’t think I-”

“That’s fine. I’ll call for someone to pick you up-”

“No… I have a ride,” she said, wiping her eyes on the back of her hands as she rose up and crossed the room to the door. With her hand on the door knob, she froze. “You—you won’t get my daddy in trouble, will you?”

Silence answered her. “I—don’t like it,” Doctor Pickford finally said. “If I had my way, people like him wouldn’t be allowed to see the sun for the rest of their natural lives.”

“But whatever I say—it just stays between us I thought!”

“Don’t worry…” he said. “I don’t like it but… no, I won’t get Mister Goodman in any trouble.”

“Thank you, Doctor Pickford.”

Cassandra stepped into the hall and made her way back to the waiting room, where Adonis sat reading the same issue of X-Factor he had thrown before the man. “Are you all right?” he said at the sight of her makeup’s state.

“I’m fine,” she said with a fiendish grin. “I don’t know what your problem with Doctor Pickford is. The man is so easy to manipulate. Really, Adonis… a little half-truth goes a long way.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Doctor Pickford meets Lodestone
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:59 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 29

Post by Michuru81 » Mon Jan 01, 2007 2:31 pm

Chapter XXIX: Be Like That
Well into his second day of sessions, Doctor Pickford was exasperated. Already he had seen Gale Weathers and Donna-Anne Manther; Mae O’Connell was a breath of fresh air before his meeting of Marcos Verón. Now, in the wake of the Brazilian youth’s session, all that remained for today was Maria Espada, Drew Jenkins, Atlanta White, Jeremy Carlson and his next session…

“Isn’t this a treat?” Doctor Pickford said, rising to meet with his next charge. “There’s five good ones,” he said, extending his hand in greeting. “Mister Loder… it’s a pleasure.”

Magnus Loder, also known as Lodestone, was a man with a great burden and a far greater destiny. He was the fourth generation of Loder’s born with the ability to manipulate magnetic fields. It allowed him to do more than move and shape metal- Magnus’ father was capable of using his abilities to alter the electro-synapses in the minds of others, ‘attracting’ them to his side. Though Magnus himself had yet to be able to use his magnetic abilities to persuade others, he was able to perform feats only one other Loder had. Magnus was able to split himself into two exact copies, though dividing his consciousness as he did so. His normally white hair became red and blue, respectively, upon splitting into his positive and negative personas.

Since his great-grandfather, the men of the Loder family had donned the name Lodestone and fought on the side of justice, protecting the innocent and defending the weak. Granted, his aunt was the antithesis of this, having turned from the path of righteousness and tarnishing their name as the villainess Bipolar. Like Magnus, she had also found herself able to split into two. It had been a bitter reunion, meeting her in Alcatraz only a week back. Still, despite her, the name Loder was something Magnus was proud to hold… even if it meant that people knew him for who he was descended from and not from his own deeds.

“I have to admit, I was quite anxious to meet you,” the psychiatrist admitted, leading Magnus to the plush furniture their session would take place upon. “I mean, you’re part of a legacy that’s impacted the world so much; I was curious to see how it had affected you.”

“I’m sorry to disappoint you but being the next Lodestone hasn’t affected me too much. I think I’m fairly normal.”

“I wasn’t talking about that legacy, Magnus. I was talking about the legacy of Johann Meinstein, your great-grandfather’s father.”

Magnus couldn’t even fabricate a thought. Johann Meinstein had been a loyal soldier in the National Socialist German Worker’s Party.

Perhaps it began on April 16, 1945, when the Red Army began its final assault on Berlin. Eight days later, three Soviet army platoons completed the encirclement of the city and the Fuhrer called for all citizens to fight in the militia against the oncoming onslaught. It was six days after when Johann Meinstein had been present as Adolf Hitler and his new wife said their farewells before venturing into his study to commit suicide. He had been part of the guard that had carried the Fuhrer’s remains outside and lit them aflame.

Johann had escaped the Soviet occupation of his homeland and moved to join his brothers in Italy. En route to continue the war effort, he learned of the surrender of the German forces… and his heart sank.

Some believe it was the defeat and eventual surrender of Japanese forces that truly marked the end of the Second World War. Perhaps it was this which truly provoked Johann Meinstein’s latent psionic talents to manifest. His power as an Esper lent itself well to his cause and helped to further the dreams of the Fuhrer. Proclaiming himself the Fuhrer of the Fourth Reich, he struck the world on September 8, 1945… and nothing was ever the same.

It was that day that the world learned of the existence of Neo-Sapiens… that day in which the world trembled. It was that day the five nations victorious over the warmongers cobbled together a new brand of special forces… the Vindicators were born from that fear and from that need. Led by the American soldier, Samuel Meinstein, Uncle Sam was capable of dispersing himself into an army or becoming a Brobdinagian figure. The half-brother of the Fuhrer, he was determined to take down his father’s other son and regain some of the honor their name lost in the Fourth Reich’s original assault.

With him was a beautiful young woman who hailed from Great Britain; Crusader was blessed with super-strength, invulnerability and flight—making her a force to be reckoned with. Pierre Money was better known as the Frog; the Frenchman was not as physically imposing as some of his companions, but his acrobatic abilities allowed him to contribute greatly to their overall cause.

Nikoleivitch Volkov, the Soviet farmer known as the Iron Curtain, could transform his flesh into organic steel, adding more muscle to the Vindicators. Lastly, to shield them from the Fuhrer’s mental attacks, Huan Li, better known as Jaundice. The Chinese man was as gifted of an Esper as was the Fuhrer. While Johann’s true strength fell in controlling and attacking, Jaundice’s talent was in shielding, incapacitating and simply reading thoughts.

They were well-equipped to dismantle the Fuhrer and the Fourth Reich… but they had not counted on his son. Wilhelm Meinstein had inherited his mother’s Neo-Sapien talent for the manipulation of the magnetic field. Under his father’s coercion, he fought the Vindicators and nearly killed the Iron Curtain in their encounter. Had it not been for the intervention of the mysterious pirate Bernard Fokke, better known as Falkenburg, he would have. Once Johann had been defeated, his hold over Wilhelm had been loosened and the man sought to escape his father’s shadow.

Changing his name to William Loder, the youth perpetuated his origins as an immigrant from Portugese who had lost everything in the war. Seeking to rebuild his life and his family in America, he settled down… eventually joining Falkenburg in the second incarnation of the Vindicators and leading them as the first Lodestone.

Since then, William had disappeared along with his team decades ago. The general consensus was that William Loder had passed on… and had passed on his name to his son. James Loder went on to become the second Lodestone and his son Jacob followed in his footsteps. The two had since retired; the Loder family had settled in Ohio and had both given their blessings on the passing of their greatest heirloom… the Lodestone name.

“You know… there are scholars who look back at history and think that maybe the existence of Neo-Sapiens explains everything,” began Doctor Pickford. “Maybe the angels and demons written about in religious texts were nothing more than people born different; perhaps they had wings or burning red eyes and prehensile tails? Dragons? You know, there’s a legacy in China? They call themselves the Drake. They’re not unlike you and your family.”

“What’s your point?”

“Well… there’s evidence that Neo-Sapiens have been around for a long while… FDR identified them as Nephilim—the half-angelic offspring mentioned in the Bible. My point, I guess is… the world didn’t know about them until Johann Meinstein tried to keep World War II going. His blood flows in your veins, Loder. Think about it… if he hadn’t… would the world know of Neo-Sapien kind yet?”

“So what? I’m supposed to feel guilty? Sins of the fathers and all of that?”

The doctor shook his head. “Believe me… I’m the last one who should judge anyone on what their father has done.”

“Then what are you getting at?”

“Every teacher at the New Vindicators Academy faxed over their notes on you all. Some are short and simple. Some… good God, it must take Michuru 10k just to say ‘hello’. My point, Magnus, is that an overwhelming majority seem to have the same impression of you though.”

“And that is?”

“The keyword I see repeated most often is ‘arrogant’.”

“Hey, if you’ve got it-”

“That’s it though; I’m not sure that you have it and neither are they. This last week… you’ve all been through a lot. You were all taken to San Francisco to tour Alcatraz and become formerly introduced to the Guardians. You were also put through a battery of tests in the Wreck Room. Apparently to see which of you has leadership potential…”

Magnus’ eyes brightened at the sound of that. The young man fancied himself as charismatic and capable; he wasn’t merely striving to be promoted to the ranks of the Vindicators—Lodestone was going to lead them.

“…and you’re coming up short there.”

“I thought you were supposed to be kind and supporting.”

“Qualities inherent in a leader, right? Tell me, Magnus… how’re things with Adonis?”

Immediately Magnus saw where the doctor was taking this. “Chienne doesn’t want to be with him,” the young man thundered. “He’s being childish!”

“You’re dating a girl who abhors Adonis simply for being a Neo-Sapien! You don’t find anything even remotely odd about this?”

“I—you wouldn’t understand!”

“Try me.”

Magnus dropped back against the cushions and felt like he wanted to scream. He had held the same argument with himself many times—literally; it was one of the joys of being able to split into two people. “I figure… parents. They love us unconditionally, right?”

He never caught the fiendish grin that came across Doctor Pickford's face. “Not always…”

“Well… I figured that… if Chienne were pregnant and her kid was a Neo-Sapien…”

“You’re kidding me!” Silence answered him. “You’re not kidding… okay… Loder, let’s think about this for a second…”

“I already have. Sure, it’ll take years to do. I mean, who knows how old our kid would have to be before manifesting my powers—if at all! Still… Chienne… Chienne’s parents… they’d love our baby.”

“Do you know how Atlas was born?” Magnus shook his head. “His human father was a bigot… who couldn’t accept what he had spawned. He spurned him… and thus the rage turned an innocent little boy into the monster that terrorized the world. Are you telling me you’d be content to gamble away everything and possibly give rise to a new Atlas? Loder… I was simply going to tell you that I thought you were arrogant in riding the Lodestone name and forgetting that you have the legacy of the Fuhrer hanging over your head as well. But this… this is… You know something? I’m not sure there are words to describe what it is you’re planning here.”

“I know it sounds crazy but-”

“Loder… what would your father think if he knew what you were planning?”

Magnus grinned big and Doctor Pickford was startled by those emerald green eyes. “He always did want grandchildren.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Long way to fall.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 30

Post by Michuru81 » Mon Jan 01, 2007 7:37 pm

Chapter XXX: Perfectly Still
“I have four brothers,” she said with a shrug, as if that were all the answer in the world Doctor Pickford would ever need. “J.R. is the oldest. He was the only one of us born in Mexico. The twins were conceived there but they were born here in New York—in Brooklyn. Then there’s me and then Santiago.”

“And you’re the only Neo-Sapien out of the bunch?”

Maria Christina Espada smiled sweetly as she nodded curtly. “Papá doesn’t have any abilities. We’ve always thought my powers came from mi madre.”

“And where is she?”

“Cielo.”

“Is—is that somewhere in Mexico?”

“It’s Heaven. She—she died giving birth to Santiago. He’s always been so quiet and withdrawn… I think he blames himself for her death. It’s been hard on us—especially on me and him. Our memories of her are far and few between… but papá always worked hard to make up for her not being there.”

Doctor Pickford smiled. The luxury of having a loving father… the man grinned at the thought. If everything worked out then he might get the chance to be the proud father he always dreamed of being. “Why don’t you tell me about how your powers manifested?”

Maria bit her bottom lip. “There… isn’t much to tell, really. You know how they say most powers manifest out of necessity? A boy who can fly only does so when he begins to fall? Things like that?”

“Yes?”

“I was playing baseball,” she said, only a smattering of embarrassment in her voice.

“O-okay?”

“Well, I was playing with my brothers and the other kids from the neighborhood…” Maria tucked a long strand of black curls behind her ear and began to blush. “I was always something of a tomboy. My papá didn’t know about girly things. It wasn’t until I came to the school here that… that I met Cassandra and Alexa and they… they taught me how to put on makeup and about hair and clothes and… sometimes, it’s weird to think back to days spent playing baseball in the street under a setting sun.

“Well, I was rounding for home and someone threw the ball to Eduardo. The twins were playing third and catching, Enrique and Eduardo I mean. I was in a pickle. Eduardo planted himself right between me and the hubcap we used for home plate. I was barreling right for him and then… wham. We’re talking eight-point-four on the Richter scale. I didn’t know it… I didn’t know my mom was a Neo-Sapien but… I had it in me to manipulate the earth. I never had much help until this year, when Mister Bradshaw started teaching here. He said my power is called geokinesis. He has it too, but… he has to be sad or hurting inside before he can start to use it. He’s showed me a lot of tricks though.”

Doctor Pickford smiled politely. “Do you ever miss your family? You paint the picture of closeness-”

“I see them every Sunday, for mass and dinner. Everyone lives in Brooklyn, so it’s not much of a hassle to get us all together once a week.”

The doctor looked at his pad. “So… you mean to tell me that you have no social imbalance? There’s nothing devastating in your past? You’ve got no demons in your closet?”

“Should I?”

“Miss Espada… our time is almost up and so far you’ve given me no reason to suspect you’re anything but a healthy, balanced, intelligent, capable young woman. You’re almost the complete antithesis of everyone else I’ve met with. I have to ask… what’s your secret?”

Maria smiled happily. “I always eat my veggies,” she said. “Thank you, Doctor Pickford.”

The man grinned back… knowing full well that life often sought out people like Maria. When it found her, it would come straight for the jugular. She had the furthest to fall and for that… he genuinely pitied her.
To Be Continued... wrote:Copycat Dies!
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 31

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Jan 02, 2007 9:28 pm

Chapter XXXI: Take It to the Limit
Drew Jenkins dropped down onto Doctor Pickford's couch and flashed the man his dopiest grin. “I’ve been thinking about it since we were told we were gunna see a shrink… I couldn’t figure out what to tell you-”

“You can tell me anything, Drew. I’m here to listen and-”

“No! It’s gotta be big! I mean, c’mon… you’ve been talking to people who can turn into water and move rocks with their mind. How am I going to top that? With a happy childhood? I think not, my good man. No- what I’m going to tell you happened to me two days ago and this is going to blow your mind! You have to be ready for this. Are you ready?”

To say that Doctor Pickford could hardly hold in his excitement would have been an understatement. The man merely raised an eyebrow at Drew’s energy and smiled for his behalf. “I’m ready,” he said calmly. “Give it to me.”

“Okay… two days ago… I, Drew Jenkins the First, being of sound mind and body… died.”

Doctor Pickford merely stared at the young man, attempting to understand where this was coming from. “I… I’m sorry? Did you just say that you… died?”

“Yup!”

“Drew… you…”

“I didn’t get it either but sit back and allow me to elucidate! You see, my good doctor, it all started a few days ago. I had gone to see my dad, back home in Brooklyn. He works in Manhattan—pain of a commute but he says he can’t leave either. He was born and bred in Brooklyn and he loves what he does. Well, I’m on a bus, coming across the Queensburough Bridge, making my way back to Roosevelt Island where the school is. Anyway, there’s this guy on the bus and headed for the same place I am. Well, not the New Vindicators Academy but Roosevelt Island.

“His name is David Dathe and he’s the same age as I am. He goes to the same school—well, okay… not the New Vindicators Academy of America but Eleanor Roosevelt High School. That’s the problem with going to two schools, I s’pose: nobody ever knows which one you mean. Anywho, I’m coming back from my dad’s place and David is headed for his parents’ house. See, David had been away… put in a hospital for the mentally ill. Thing was, David wasn’t supposed to be out…”
  • ...

David was calm as he rose up and made his way down the isle of the bus. A glance in the rear view told transit driver Sean McClain that the young man was approaching. “Sir? If you could just take your seat…” Somehow, it didn’t have the desired effect. David continued to make his way to the front of the bus. His attention more needed on the road ahead of them, the driver continued to do his job and merely made his voice more authoritative. “Go pop a squat!” he yelled.

David’s fingers were as cold as the grave. He blamed poor circulation for the touch that sent chills up the spines of others. Reflexively, Mister McClain had enough time to shudder as his head was slammed against the glass of the window.

The faint smear of blood was telltale that the driver had lost consciousness. The other riders were already in a panic as David pushed the man from his perch, Mister McClain’s body crumbling on the stairs and sagging against the door.

David took control of the bus and began swerving wildly through traffic. “Stop dodging!” he snarled as the other motorists did their best to avoid a head-on collision. “C’mon! Just let it work!”

In the back of Drew’s head, the last time he had played the part of the hero performed an encore presentation. He had stopped Bret and Kyle Morris at the White Pawn, but not before they had killed two people: a cop’s wife and son. Detective John Long had told Drew it wasn’t his fault, but Drew couldn’t help but feel that if he had acted sooner—if he had dispelled his doubt with more haste, those two might still claim the land of the living as their home.

He would not see his hesitation repeat such a scenario.

In recent weeks, Drew had come to learn that his ability was to mimic the Neo-Sapien powers of those nearby him. It came as a surprise to both him and his father; neither had known his late mother to have been a Neo-Sapien, but there was no denying that anything was possible. At first he had assessed his abilities were simply the same as Bret Morris’ powers: Drew believed he was capable of transforming into light. It seemed now though that his ability was simply to mimic the powers of those around him.

Unless he was in the presence of other Neo-Sapiens Drew was a normal human.

He attempted the trick Mister Bradshaw had taught him and felt out with his power in the hopes of sensing another like him. Drew failed to find another whose abilities he could copy; it didn’t mean there weren’t any Neo-Sapiens around him, just that he had failed to find them. It was still an aspect of his powers that he was getting used to. Still, it seemed that for the time being he would have to rely on his training.

Attacking the young man was not an option; if he assaulted him it would leave no one in control of the bus. The other passengers were too panicked to rely on one of them to reclaim control if he wrestled it from David. He had to dispatch the young man and take control himself. “But how?”

Thinking was an aspect which Drew equated with hesitation and that he threw to the shadows. He rose up and ran forward, making his way up the isle with less poise than this madman had just moments before. Grabbing David Dathe by the shoulders, he hurled him out of the side and barked commands to the passengers behind him. “Take the wheel!” he snarled. Then, suddenly, something slithered across his consciousness. It was what Mister Bradshaw told him to feel for: Neo-Sapien abilities. David Dathe had powers but nothing was happening. There was no energy flaring from his hands and he certainly didn’t feel stronger. He couldn’t fly nor could he read minds; what sort of power did this young man have?

Drew wrestled David to the floor and the two began skidding towards the back of the bus. David was fighting him; the young man had no combat expertise at all, but he wrestled to free himself and return to the steering wheel. Drew was far from being physically imposing; if he were someone more like Alexander Sway he could have used some sort of grapple learned on the mats to subdue his opponent. Drew improvised though: he reached up and pulled at the latch on the emergency door…

At the bus’ current speed, the door flew open and the pair tumbled out the back. The others fought to hold on to their seats and two brave souls moved to close the obvious hazard. They would be safe now, but they were far from Drew’s ultimate concern as he and David collided with the pavement.

The pair rolled back, tearing clothing and flesh on the road’s surface. It hurt more than anything Drew had ever before experienced… and then a car ran over his left leg.

Drew rolled out from under the car, flung behind the speeding vehicle. His body was adrift in a sea of pain that obscured him from the sight of the car swerving and sending David flying as well. Another car slammed on their breaks, desperate to avoid doing any more injury to the two boys.

It was to no avail.

Drew and David were both hit head on and their lifeless bodies were plunged into the East River…
  • ...

“I came around sometime later. I was spitting out water and… that’s when I realized I’d just gotten mouth-to-mouth from a guy. It was… really horrible. I had no idea what had happened. One minute, I’m in nothingness—just this world of white… the next I’m getting Frenched by a dude.

“Lex and Jacque filled me in… I guess they met this David guy a couple months ago, back over the summer. See, David Dathe hated life. He was pretty much as emo as you could possibly get and one night… he’d had enough. He hung himself and… that’s when his Neo-Sapien powers manifested. When he was taken down and moved to the morgue, he woke up and walked out and realized death had cheated him. David’s power is that he can’t die… he keeps trying. Lex said that he was on a date with Jacque and they saw David at the gas station they were filling up at. He was just standing there with the hose, letting gasoline spray everywhere, smoking a big ol’ cigar. They managed to keep him from blowing the place sky high and David earned himself a one-way trip to the Spider.”

“So… you actually died?”

“Yup. The impact from the car did it. David’s powers would have brought us back right there, but we were also drowning so… someone had to get the water out.”

Doctor Pickford shook his head. “What an experience. You say in death you were met with nothingness? Do you think that confirms the non-existence of an afterlife?”

Drew shook his head. “Nah… I was raised in Brooklyn’s First Bible Church of God. I’m pretty sure there’s a God in Heaven.”

“If you buy into Christian theology… why do you think you were in a realm of nothingness?”

Drew grinned, as if the answer couldn’t be similar. “Same reason David keeps ending up there… it’s not our time to go yet. We’re just in a holding place until we could come back here.”

“I admire your faith.”

“You don’t believe in God then?”

Doctor Pickford grinned fiendishly.

“What’s so funny?”

“Just—oh, never mind. You wouldn’t understand. That’s a very interesting story, Mister Jenkins. I hope you don’t find yourself crossing over again anytime soon.”

“Hey… if it’s my time, it’s my time… I guess the only regret I would have is…”

“Yes?”

Drew smiled brightly as he thought back to the words Sam White had told him that day in White Pawn. “Having regrets.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Rumble
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
OUBLIETTE - NVAE: IC | OOC

Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 32

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:29 pm

Chapter XXXII: Not the Doctor
“You don’t like me, do you Atlanta?”

Atlanta made no move. She merely continued to stare ahead, her attention held by the table between the two. “It’s nothing personal, Ah assure ya… Ah just think Ah would have been more comfortable with a nouthetic counselor.”

Doctor Pickford blinked in surprise that a seventeen-year-old girl even knew what nouthetic counseling was. It was a practice the man had heard of, working within the realm of psychiatric medicine. The practice of nouthetic counseling was one in which laymen and pastors used Biblical doctrine to heal. For some psychiatrists, such as Doctor Pickford, it was holistic medicine and a course he generally discouraged others from. “Yes,” he said. “Some of your peers have mentioned your faith. So, you’re a Christian?”

“Ah prefer independent, fundamental, Bible-believin’ Baptist, to be honest.”

“Don’t we all.” Suddenly, something caught the doctor’s attention. “May I ask you a question, Miss White?”

“Knock y’self out.”

“How does your faith view your family business? Er—the fraternal business, I mean.”

“Muh dad?” Atlanta Jane White was the daughter of two former Vindicators. When Doctor Stephen O. White had recruited Scarlet Clementine to his team of Vindicators in the mid-80s, he had never dreamed they would one day wed and start a family. When they married, neither pictured their fairytale wedding culminating in divorce years later.

Doctor White was born in the Aurelii gens—a prestigious birthright in ancient Rome and more so in this day and age. Only those descended from the original Aurelius could become the Aurelius, the Earth’s Master Mage. Atlanta’s father was the charged as the guardian of all things mystical in this realm. It was a duty he dreamed she would one day take up… but situations being what they were, her cousin Coup was the acting Apprentice instead.

“It’s just… well, don’t fundamental Christians frown on the sort of black magic your father wields? I imagine it must be a terrible strain on your relationship with him.”

“Not really,” she admitted. “Muh parents divorced on account of my dad’s duties. He was devoted to protectin’ the whole wide world from all the things that go bump in the night. He didn’t pay enough attention to muh momma and me. He still doesn’t. Ah go out there every summer—he lives out in San Francisco… still, he can’t stop bein’ the Master Mage long enough to be my daddy.”

“It must hurt.”

“Ah can’t go bein’ selfish now. Daddy missed my sweet sixteen, but it’s hard to stay mad at the man when he was out dealin’ with the ghost of the Mad Gasser of Mattoon. My junior high graduation? Woodwose were actin’ nutty and abductin’ babies over in Europe. How can ya be mad at someone when he misses your big events on account of savin’ the world?”

“That’s certainly a mature outlook.”

Atlanta could only shrug in response. She didn’t consider herself mature, only natural. She couldn’t imagine anyone behaving any way other given the circumstances.

“Still, is your faith the reason you’ve chosen not to follow you father in becoming the next Aurelius?”

The young woman sighed visibly and shook her head. “Ah get the impression ya’ll hope Ah’m gunna say ‘yes’ right now. Your opinion of people like me—Bible-thumpin’ fundies—has been more than apparent throughout this here session of ours; unbiased y’all ain’t. If y’all are hoping Ah got myself a Jack Chick mentality, y’all’re gunna be sorely disappointed. Do us born-again back-water bippies think magic is a no-no? Sure… but I got enough of a mind to leave judgin’ people up to someone with a heapin’ more experience than lil’ ol’ me’s got. Ah ain’t so perfect muhself; ah ain’t about to go beatin’ down anybody on account of them not adherin’ to my belief systems. Ah respect ya’ll and pray to God that what goes ‘round comes ‘round.”

Atlanta got to her feet and smiled politely at the doctor. “If’n ya’ll don’t mind now… Ah think Ah’ll go see about maybe meetin’ up with a nouthetic counselor now.”

And without any protest from Doctor Pickford… she was gone.
To Be Continued... wrote:Saving the best for last...
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
OUBLIETTE - NVAE: IC | OOC

Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 33

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Jan 04, 2007 3:18 pm

Chapter XXXIII: Friends in Low Places
Doctor Pickford looked at his watch. Jeremy Carlson was now fifteen minutes late for their first meeting. Given the reading material the educators at the New Vindicators Academy had provided him with, the young man who called himself Deimos was the one he was most interested in meeting. It was for that reason he had scheduled Jeremy in for the last appointment of the bunch.

Of the students he had seen, he had approved them all—even Atlanta who was now being observed by a different sort of counselor. “When pushed into a corner, they performed perfectly,” he had noted on the project’s overall progress. “They can defend their core believes and do so without compromising the totality of their essences. They are bright young men and women and are more than capable to return to the social experiment.”

Fifteen more minutes had passed; Deimos was not coming.

Doctor Pickford looked out his window at the sheet of rain veiling the cityscape from his vision. Without another word, he pulled on his coat and took up his umbrella. His laptop was resting comfortably in the courier bag he carried so many case files and notes in; he felt naked without it.

Doctor Pickford locked the door of his office behind him and made his way down the somber halls that led to the foyer of Harbor Therapies. “Goodnight, Jeanine,” he offered as he passed through, nodding to his receptionist. Numerous other officers were set within the building. He found himself walking past the public face of Cold Trading and O.S.I.R. and to the eighth floor elevators that would deposit him in the lobby.

For a moment, he considered it. The man who had delivered the notes on the students, Michuru Bradshaw, had stopped off for a drink in the Starbucks in the lobby. “It may look like vomit and smell like vomit…” the man had said, referring to his Green Tea latté, “it even tastes like vomit but, God help me, I’m addicted.” For a fraction of an instant, Doctor Jason Pickford considered waiting in line with every other patron of the beanery, all to sample what the educator had dubbed as a horrible concoction.

It was there that his eyes found the young man: his head was shaven and his scalp was covered in a single tattoo. A black flame roared at the back of his head, the flames licking up and over his skull and giving the illusion that Jeremy Carlson had hair. He was unmistakable; how many other people with such a description could there truly be?

At the sight of him, the doctor slipped in line—his attention never leaving the young man sitting at the table, casually adding to his coffee from a hip flask. With his bold experimentation in coffee in hand, the doctor took a seat where he could observe. For minutes he watched as Deimos eyed the people walking by with nothing but content. Still, his attention would periodically drift to a young woman sitting at a table, bags all around her. Everything she owned she seemed to carry with her. Still, her appearance was too well kept to mark her as homeless. This seemed a recent development in her life…

Deimos rose up, crossed the room and straddled a chair across the table from her. “Deimos,” he said in introduction.

“Excuse me?” she asked.

“My name’s Deimos. Tell me yours.”

The young woman laughed; her laugh was loud, but it didn’t seem to disturb any of the other patrons. “How courteous. Wow, I’ve really found my knight in shining armor, haven’t I?”

“If you don’t tell me your name, I’m going to be forced to resort to a stream of expletives that degrade women.”

The girl grinned fiendishly. He was a challenge. She liked a challenge. “Shade,” she answered, nodding along as if that were good enough for her. “My name is Shade.”

“What kind of name is Shade?”

“What kind of name is Deimos?”

“It’s Greek… for the personification of fear.”

“Oh, how ominous!” Her sarcasm was more than apparent.

“What’s your deal?” Deimos took in the baggage and raised an eyebrow at the young woman. “You runaway or something?”

“There’s no home left. My mom died a few months ago. There was nothing else there so… I started this little road trip.”

“What about your dad?”

“I’m looking for him.”

“Oh. Does he live in New York?”

“I-I’m not sure.”

“What’s his name?”

“How should I know?”

Deimos laughed. “What? So, you’re looking for someone but you don’t know who and you don’t know where? I’ve got just two questions: what are you smoking and why aren’t you sharing?”

“It’s complicated, okay?”

“Hey, I ain’t gunna judge. I never met my dad either. He left before I was born. I tell you what though: if I ever meet him, I’m gunna kill him.”

Doctor Pickford couldn’t help but grin fiendishly.

Shade smiled invitingly at the young man before her. “It sounds like we’ve got a lot in common, Deimos.”

“Yeah? Then how about we store your crap at my place, hit the streets, party it up and if things work out you can crash with me?”

“Your place?” she asked. “You look like you’re still in high school.”

“I go to this school… I had roommates but now I got my own room.” He didn’t care if the room was under perpetual surveillance or not; as Deimos saw it, if they saw him sleep with her and ejected her from the campus for that then at least he had slept with her before she was ejected.

Shade stood up and moved to collect her bags. “Best offer I’ve had all day.”

The two young people had left… and Doctor Pickford found himself alone with his untouched coffee. It had taken enough nerve just to order and pay for it; drinking it would force him to evoke more courage from forgotten reserves. “It really is a shame, Jeremy…” the man said, a spark of black flame leaping up from his fingertip. The tiny spark shifted and formed into the very image of Deimos’ face, appearing only for the doctor’s amusement. “I was really looking forward to finally meeting you…”
To Be Continued... wrote:Out of control.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
OUBLIETTE - NVAE: IC | OOC

Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 34

Post by Michuru81 » Sat Jan 06, 2007 11:25 am

NEW VINDICATORS #5: Wipe Out


Chapter XXXIV: Dreaming in Metaphors [Part I]
“Amalgam!” Caliber screamed across their psionic link. “Go limp and change to a lighter form! Avian, do your thing!”

Spreading her wings and gliding across the ground, Addison Truman threw out her arms to catch her teammate. “Hiya, handsome!” she said with a wink and a grin.

“He’s taken, Avain!” Tripper grumbled from the ground. “Keep your mind on the mission and off my boyfriend!”

“Sheesh,” the winged warrior said as she rolled her eyes. “You’ve been dating for all of two weeks and she’s already got that collar on you. Are you sure you wouldn’t have me, Lex? I mean… I have a twin, you know.”

“Avian!” screamed Caliber as he blasted past her, using his Neo-Sapien ability of unstoppable flight to rocket through the air. “Land him and follow me. I need you in the air! Tusk, keep on that support beam! If it falls, we fall! Tide, where are we at on the flames?”

A voice cut across the telepathic link established across each of those present—the totality of Psion’s mental faculties. “Too many and too hot!” Tide bellowed. “I feel like I’m going to evaporate up here, boss man!”

Caliber landed and spun to face the burning building. The firefighters weren’t the only ones too stunned to move; police officers barely had to hold back the gawking civilians. All present were docile as they watched in awe as the New Vindicators used their powers to save lives and contain the flames.

A wolf burst from the bottom floor, a soot-covered child on its back. With a thought, Okami turned back into a Japanese woman and scanned the skies for John Jeremy Manther; the high-flying Caliber was more than the field leader for their little group—he was the object of the young woman’s every desire. “I think that’s the last of them, J.J.,” she said across Lucus’ telepathic link.

“Caliber while we’re in the uniform, Okami.”

“Reon when we’re in nothing, buster. Besides, no one can hear us over tubby’s link.”

“I heard that, slanty,” came Psion’s voice.

“Baldy.”

“Saaaaaaaa-LUT!”

“Knock it off!” barked Caliber. “Psion, don’t get distracted. We don’t need the mind link going down when it’s crucial. Okami, I don’t care if it’s a mind link or verbal, I want you all to get accustomed to using our codenames in the field!”

“Hey, boss?”

Caliber sighed. “What, Tide?”

“Building’s gunna blow.”

Caliber’s eyes widened as the building exploded and the simulation came to an end. The twenty students under Caliber’s watch remained in the Wreck Room, the enormous gymnasium capable of utilizing holograms and hard light to generate nearly any scenario its programmers could imagine. It was also responsible for eating up a substantial portion of the academy’s budget. “So much for a mission complete,” Caliber growled, looking around at his soldiers. “Ma’am? Can I have the status report?”

“Fog and Hourglass were taken out almost instantly and you failed to even notice,” came Doctor Styles’ voice across the intercom. “Captain Canada’s stray blast of arctic pressure took out Jetstream on accident.”

“I saw that one,” Caliber grumbled, shooting a glare towards the sophomore. Alicia Gladstone blushed, and did her best to hide herself behind Addison Truman’s wings. “What else?”

“Excellent use of Psion’s talents, but you neglected crowd control. If you had relied on the communicators built into the uniform, you could have had Lucas telepathically herd the civilians away. You’re their leader, J.J. and a good leader knows what his people are capable of.”

“Who else was eliminated?”

“Hit and Run, Flint and Steel… the freshmen cell was entirely wiped out. The sophomores only lost Fog, Hourlgass, and Jetstream. Once you lost Tusk I called it over as he was about all that was keeping the building from crumbling down on top of you. Still, twelve of your twenty made it through the exercise. It could have been better but… good job, J.J. Really, you performed excellently today.”

As the students of the New Vindicators Academy made their way down the halls of their private institute, they passed by another cell. Their general education was one thing, but for the purpose of learning how best to use their powers, all four years were mixed to better allow the younger students to learn from their elders. The entire student body was divided up into groups of twenty, each with a senior designated as their field leader. Caliber was appointed over the Class B and Class C’s leader…

“How’d you do?” Nocti asked. It was a simple question, deserving of a simple answer. Still there was a hint of animosity slithering across his words towards Caliber. The two had fought one-on-one only a year before. Nocti and his twin sister Tenebrae were products of Project: PRIME and were two of the most dangerous weapons sent to kill the students at the New Vindicators Academy. Caliber had defeated Nocti, while Okami had nearly eviscerated the girl. Though their alignment had changed in the wake of all that had happened then, the two young men hadn’t quite gotten over their mutual dislike of each other.

Under Nocti’s command were his sister and several other students, most of which were fragments left over from the project’s twisted experiments. Fathom was the youngest of those saved from their tanks. With her stood Ombre, Besitz and Izzy; though they were French, German and Japanese in ethnicity each shared a common father. Each was the product of splicing the DNA of Johann Meinstein into the wombs of latent Neo-Sapiens. The result was that Ombre and Besitz’s powers were psionic in nature, though watered down by their mothers’ abilities. Isato took fully after his biological mother in his genetic template, with no hint of his fraternal legacy.

Still, many natural Neo-Sapiens served under Nocti; Amnesty, Beekeeper, Bramble, Circe, Coriolis, Drifter, Filter, Forecast, Linguist, Loess, Megaton, Quint, Prism, Rapunzel, Shiva, and Spook were the soldiers granted to the other squadron of New Vindicators.

Between the squadrons themselves there was little-to-no actual competition. They all worked together in other areas. In their civilian roles, many were friends. Excepting their leaders, the young people got along swimmingly.

“Twelve out of twenty,” Caliber said through his teeth. “Good luck in there.”

Before his opponent could utter another word, Caliber continued to lead their procession out of the Wreck Room levels and back towards the main areas of the campus. The command room door was open; Halogen had been waiting to give Caliber the readings on their performance as well as her notes for improvement.

If he was going to ask her… it was now or never. “Ma’am?” J.J. Manther asked when the other team had passed out of ear-shot. “I—I’ve heard rumors about students being selected for a social experiment.”

“Yes,” Doctor Styles said nervously, “the department wants to prove that people like us can really live amongst humans without the fears humanity has coming to light. They want to prove that despite overwhelming pressure to use their powers, we can show restraint and remain on the same level as a normal human. It likely won’t happen for another year still—we have some details to hammer out yet—but members of the junior class will likely spend their senior year at Eleanor Roosevelt High School.”

“Ma’am, could I… could I be held back?”

“You can’t!” Jetstream barked. “You were so excited when Warden Hart asked you to join the Guardians! Mom is excited for you! We all know how much it means-”

“What if you get sent to this high school, Donna-Anne? You’ll be here in New York and I’ll be in San Francisco! I won’t be there to bail you out!”

“We won’t need bailing out!” she retorted indignantly.

“Please! You all fight and flirt too much! You think you can even go a day without one of you messing up? What happens when Lex trips and his body becomes linoleum? What about Addison and Max? It’s kind of hard to hide those wings or being eight feet tall with protruding molars! What about-”

“J.J.!” Doctor Styles exclaimed.

The young man’s zeal quieted as he looked over his charges. Amalgam rubbed the back of his neck nervously. Avian and Tusk struggled to keep from crying. The two were denied a normal existence because of their powers. They were both very aware of their appearance, but to have it thrown in their face like that had hurt beyond all measure.

“Oh, God! Guys, I’m sorry… I-I didn’t mean it like that… I—look… I believe in each of you but… but I care about you guys. I haven’t been able to sleep lately… I’ve just been too worried about what could happen…”

“They’ll all be okay,” Doctor Styles said. “They’re ready to make this move and… and so are you.”

“Yeah!” laughed Tide. “Don’t worry about it, dude! I mean… if things get really rough they’ve got their powers to bail them out.”

“Not everything can be solved by violence, Peter,” said Doctor Styles sadly. Tide was in his fourth year at the New Vindicators Academy and he still seemed to think that every situation could be solved by powers alone. As much as she felt this could have used another discussion on their responsibilities, she feared that like all the other speeches Tide had been given, this one would fall on deaf ears. “Anyway… I need to go give Professor Alston the prognosis of your exercise. Excuse me…”

As she walked off, many of the New Vindicators left to go their own way. Some headed for the library and others back to their dorms. Caliber held two back, however—the two he trusted the most: Tide and Amalgam. “Lex,” he said when the trio was alone. “Can I ask you to just… look out for my sister over there? I’m worried about her. I’m worried something will happen… Just… promise me you’ll look after her.”

“Her and all of them,” Lex said, as if there were no other course to take. “You know I will, man. You don’t even have to ask.”

“I know… I know. Thanks, Lex. Take care of them.”

As Amalgam hustled to catch up to Tripper, Caliber turned his attention on Tide. “You’re going to be here too, right? You said you were going to continue your education and you’ve been accepted at NYU-”

“I know what you’re getting at,” Peter Titus said with a broad grin. “You already know my answer. I’m the same as Amalgam. C’mon, J.J.! This is me you’re talking to. I will always be there to protect them…”
  • ...

Alexander Sway woke with a start. He was a simple man, who didn’t much believe in omens and prophesy. As such, he didn’t consider a dream about the past to have a deep meaning. His reunion with a mentor, J.J. Manther, some scant few weeks ago, was simply the catalyst that had resuscitated his old memories.

“Is everything okay?” Jacque said, looking over the top of the Feminine Mystique at her boyfriend of over two years. Not some breadth from the pair, their peers were enjoying the changing of the leaves by playing football. Their sport was made all the more interesting by their Neo-Sapien powers.

Beyond the wry smile he flashed her, Lex gave no answer; he merely took in the others’ game. They laughed as Donna-Anne exploded skyward to seize a kick from Atlanta. Despite her speed and altitude, she was still an easy target for Marcos’ tornado-like powers. “Fumble!” one of them screamed. As the kids dove for the ball, walls of earth rolled up to block them and Maria easily snatched up her target. The earth shook and tore apart under her, and surfing on a mound of soil she crossed between the trees designated as their goals at the start of their sport.

Lex watched as another snap resulted in Cloud only grazing the ball with his fingertips, making Magnus’s beautiful throw count for nothing as the ball sailed into Gale’s arms. “Two hands!” Magnus cried to cloud. “Two-!”

Adonis tackled the young man to the ground and suddenly Lex realized that his utopia was still far from there. Despite the outward appearances, they still weren’t functioning as a team. Had anything changed from Caliber’s outburst? Had they grown at all in the near two years since J.J. Manther had graduated from the New Vindicators Academy and joined the Guardians?

“Jacque!” Lex exclaimed, pointing for Adonis and scanning the ground around him.

In no time, Adonis’ barrage of meager attacks was halted as the Trip Field surrounded him, pulling the young man to the ground and off of his teammate. Adonis had been dealt with… but Magnus was far from being forgiving. The young Neo-Sapien had split into his positive and negative side… and the blue haired Magnus was out for blood. “Got a death wish, punk? You came to the right place!”

Lex slammed his palms down against the base of the tree. It was a tactile trick Mister Bradshaw had explored with the young man. Rather than mimic an object’s physiology, adapt to it. Bonded with the roots, Lex’s hands shot through the soil and sprung up under both of the Lodestones. A hand grabbed at an ankle each and pulled the pair to the ground.

“Knock it off!” Lex barked. “Both of you!”

“What’s gotten into you?” Jacquelyn demanded. Lex’s attack had given her enough time to cross the field. Adonis could easily get up but one look from her would throw him back down. For a moment, he seemed suppressed… but Magnus was another story…

The chains from a nearby tire swing groaned and links near the top bent and snapped. Atlanta’s enhanced hearing brought her attention around and the young woman quickly assessed the situation. “Magnus!” she screamed. Running to put herself before the coming attack and Adonis, Atlanta readied to counter the youth’s plans with everything she had.

Drew made for a better counter to Magnus’ powers. He felt out with his powers. In the back of his head he was aware of them and their position based solely on their powers. In the darkness, they were each a light… a beckon calling him to them. At a glance he could tell what powers they had… and from that deduce who they were. He sifted through the choices: Maria’s geokinesis, Atlanta’s super-strength…. He moved to latch onto Magnus’ own magnetic compulsion; with that he could fight against his friend’s will. Still, something caught his attention…

Morphing; none of the students at the New Vindicators Academy were capable of morphing. In the same being Drew sensed a limited psionic talent- the ability to body swap. Raw forces surged within the light, blinding him with an amazing command over gravity and magnetism. It was a light brighter than all the others, possibly due to the amazing hodgepodge of powers contained in one being or possibly from the staggering strength the being possessed…

The ability to alter their appearance coupled with limited and unpredictable psionic talent and behind it all was command over magnetism and gravity.

Drew opened his eyes and looked out at the others. None of them had that sort of potential. None of them had abilities even close to some that he had detected. By spinning, Marcos could generate and control the direction of cyclones. Shannon’s body was covered in sharp spines. Jodi’s body was super-dense. Doug could comprehend languages. Cloud could turn into a living fog.

Drew reached out with his power once more and made contact with the mysterious being amongst them…
To Be Continued... wrote:Gravity's a harsh mistress.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
OUBLIETTE - NVAE: IC | OOC

Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 35

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Jan 07, 2007 10:51 am

Chapter XXXV: The Impossible
As Drew’s powers raged out of control, the student body found themselves slowly lifting off from the surface of the earth. Subconsciously, Drew had lessened the gravitational pull around them. Some began to scream and others remained level-headed. Almost as soon as the chaos began, Jacquelyn Webber reacted and used her Trip Field to force her boyfriend back to the earth. Alexander Sway landed, and immediately began to float upward again. Reacting quickly, Lex bonded with the earth itself, anchoring himself and watching helplessly as the others drifted skyward.

Magnus Loder commanded the chains he had wretched from the swing to tether himself to a nearby tree. As the chains wrapped around his waist and a thick branch at the other end, Maria Espada wasted no time in evoking the earth to reach up with arms formed of soil and rock to reel her back in.

Donna-Anne Manther grabbed Jacque and propelled the two towards the ground. Her force field protected the duo from the impact of their landing. “Take her!” she barked to Lex, already beginning to ascend upward—though not of her volition. The young man wrapped his arms around the love of his life and the couple watched as the young woman known as Jetstream hurtled herself back into the air to try and bring in any others.

One of the members of the Junior class, a young girl known affectionately as Prism, hurled crystal shards spawned from her gem-like flesh, piercing into a tree and granting hand-holds for those passing nearby. With his left hand, Cloud Goodman grabbed on and looked back to the epicenter of this chaos. He seemed to recognize the energy signature emanating from Drew Jenkins and it left him more than frightened. This was the power of Atlas, the most feared Neo-Sapien on this earth. Words could not describe the thoughts running through the young man’s head.

“Cloud!”

The sound of Cassandra Goodman’s cry snapped Cloud back to reality. She was within his reach, slowly drifting up with Doug Hershey pulled tight. “Cloud! Help us!”

“I—I can’t let go!” Cloud called.

“Give me your hand!”

If it was possible for Cloud to have looked more terrified… he did. His heart began to beat out of control. His stomach began turning over. The fear and the anxiety married in the pit of his stomach and he knew a decision had to be made. “I—I’m sorry,” he whispered sincerely. While his left hand held himself to the tree his right hand made no move to pull the pair to him.

It was an act that brought an ugly look from the lovely young woman and one that forever seared itself into his memory. It was also one that went unnoticed by so many others, struggling just to keep themselves on the ground. Around him, Drew Jenkins was oblivious to their plight—blinded by his own. His DNA reconfigured itself over and over, changing his shape to mirror the appearance of others. Magnus’ hair became shorter and darker as he took on the appearance of Addison Truman.

His bone structure configured itself to Adonis’ and then he became “Suicide Dave” Dathe. Drew howled in pain as his bones melted and reformed again and again and again. Beneath him, Amalgam and Tripper were working to regain order; Lex had formed a plan where Jacque brought the students to the earth and Maria snared them within a massive earth cocoon. Still, given the number of students, they were struggling to work fast. “The Freshmen are too panicked to secure themselves!” he called out. “Save them first! Seniors, do what you can to anchor yourself to something!”

Pillars of ice were snaring students’ ankles, pinning them to the trees courtesy of Ben Altair. In her aquatic form, Alexa Hawk was more fluid and able to stretch her form; anchoring herself, Alexa reached for the underclassmen and hauled them to Maria’s rock shell.

“Gal!” Atlanta screamed to Donna-Anne. “Can ya’ll get me close enough?”

Donna-Anne looked from Atlanta to Drew and then back again. She nodded, understanding what the girl was planning and grabbed at the young woman’s wrist. An explosion of force rocketed the pair for Drew. Magnetic force and intense gravitational pull pushed against them the closer to him they got. “Push it, gal!” Atlanta screamed.

From the ground, Lex Sway had deduced what they were doing and pointed them out to Jacque. “They need more force,” he offered. His girlfriend nodded, knowing how she could help. Given their trajectory, her Trip Field would pull them towards the earth… with Drew caught in the path. One look was all she needed and the pair was yanked through Drew’s force field.

“Ah’m sorry!” Atlanta screamed as she flew for the young man. Her knuckles whitened as she pulled back her fist. She didn’t hold back; Drew’s jaw was broken… and his unconscious form came hurtling towards the ground.

Magnus groaned as the chains tightened around his midsection; his body dropped towards the ground with Drew’s power surge suppressed. Many other students were now in a freefall and were more panicked now than they had been when the chaos had begun.

Marcos began spinning, creating vortexes to catch who he could and cushion their blows. Maria summoned up a bed of loose soil. Closing his eyes from the incredulity of what he was about to do, Lex stuck his hand into the back of his pants and copied the properties of his underwear’s elastic band. “Atlanta! Jodi!” he cried to two strongest students he could reach. “Grab a leg!” They quickly complied and discovered that Lex made for an impressive trampoline.

As the crisis died down, everyone was once more back on the ground. Though their efforts had spared many from the fall, some had been hurt; Alexa and Atlanta made their way around, tending to the injured. Those who couldn’t walk were carried in by Lex or on makeshift gurneys Magnus had created. As the first were brought in, the teachers were alerted to what had happened and rushed to assess the crisis.

“Hey,” Mister Goodman said as Lex emerged once more from the school. The man was looking out over the scene, shaking his head at the thought that one Neo-Sapien had brought so much strife on their heads. “You did good out there.” Alexander blinked. In all the years he had known the man, he had never heard him pay anyone a compliment. “You were working together out there… working as a team. You were helping each other.”

Lex paused as he looked out at his friends and allowed himself to smile. J.J. was right: they did flirt and fight too much. Still, it comforted him to know that when worse came to worse they could get over it all. They could get over the fighting and they could get over themselves and pull together and resemble a team.

“They did really good out there,” Mister Goodman said. “You did real good out there.”

Lex wasn’t sure if his heart could take it if the man continued to compliment him.

“We’ve been looking for two leaders,” Coach Crag said. “We’ve been watching and testing you all and… majority vote seems to be for you and that little lady of yours.” The man’s strong hand clasped down on Lex’s shoulder. “Lead them well, kid… they’re all yours.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Recoil.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
OUBLIETTE - NVAE: IC | OOC

Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 36

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Jan 07, 2007 8:32 pm

Chapter XXXVI: Angry
“You did WHAT!?”

Mister Lang, the Aborigine who had served the world as the Vindicator known as Walkabout, poked his little finger into his inner ear, attempting to regain some fraction of his auditory senses from Magnus Loder’s outburst.

“We decided on Sway and Webber as prefects,” Professor Alston said coldly, not even bothering to look at the young man as he answered him. “Of you all, they’ve shown the most aptitude-”

“What aptitude? When?”

“For starters, when they held their own against Singe and Lazarus-”

“So that’s what it takes to be a leader?” Magnus exclaimed, interrupting Doctor Styles. “A few freaks from this Affiliation—which may or may not even exist!—attacks you and BAM! You’re a leader?”

“We also factored in the attack on homecoming,” Doctor Styles continued. “They remained cool and coordinated the rest of you. That could have gone down a lot worse than it did. Some of the kids there could have died.”

“We’ve been testing you all in the Wreck Room too,” Mister Bradshaw offered. “Lex and Jacque have come through with flying colors each time.”

“Congratulations,” Atlanta said, turning to fix the two with a bright, sincere smile.

“Yes, yes, congratulations!” Magnus said, laughing uneasily. “It’s amazing what people can do when opportunities are presented to them instead of me. I mean… why shouldn’t you be the leaders? I only come from a long line of Vindicators. I mean, my dad was a Vindicator. His dad was a Vindicator. My dad’s granddad LED the Vindicators but… obviously that doesn’t measure up to… hmmm, Lex’s dad is a fat drunk in a trailer park, isn’t he? Oh, and Jacque’s mom is a spy or something who couldn’t even give a crap about her! Yeah… they’re the obvious choice. I would have done the same thing.”

“So that’s it?” Magnus turned to face him—the former Vindicator known as Coach Crag. “You want to be considered based on the acts past generations have taken? Hey, the first Lodestone—the one who led the Vindicators at one point—his dad was… oh, yeah! His dad was the freaking Fuhrer!”

“The Freaking Fuhrer?” Mae O’Connell asked, whispering to Gale Weathers. “Someone actually used that codename?”

“That’s not fair-” Lodestone barked.

“And attacking Jacque like you did?” Lex asked, flashing a glare at the young man from above Jacquelyn’s head. Her head was down, buried against his chest… doing her best not to begin crying. At the moment, she was having a hard time appearing as the capable leader she had been elected and the emotionally-wounded young woman she was. It wasn’t because Lodestone didn’t accept her as a prefect but for the pain attached to her memories of her mom. “You can say what you want about me—I don’t care if you accept me or respect me—but I’m telling you right now, if you ever disrespect her like that again, I’ll make sure you know a bigger hurt.”

“Oh, what a leader! The big man is actually THREATENING me now! And you people are okay with this? You can live with this decision?”

“You want it straight, Rookie?” Mister Goodman barked. “You’re not cut out to lead! Grow up and accept it! You only look out for yourself and only play at being a team player when it’s beneficial to you.”

“I’ve never threatened anyone!”

“No, you’ve just been a pompous, arrogant little jerk who treats people badly!” So many of their number were caught off guard by Victoria Goodman’s, Miss Mist’s, statement; she was normally so compassionate and demure. “I don’t think a one of us blames Lex for saying what he said. I can’t speak on everyone else’s behalf, but I think more of him for it and less of you for taking this so far…”

Magnus looked around the room. The staff had gathered the Senior class first to introduce their selections for prefects. It had been a long time coming—nearly out of the first semester as they were. Still, many had been happy with their results. Excepting Magnus, most of the students seemed to agree with the jury’s selection. “Whatever… I have a date.” Magnus’ eyes rose up to find Adonis. The young man’s expression went from wistful to acidic. “Today is Chienne’s birthday,” the young man announced. “I can’t keep my lady waiting.”

Thundering out of the room, Magnus’ departure was followed by the resumption of congratulations and the exit of one member of the faculty…

As Magnus Loder stomped down the halls back to his dorm room, he found himself passing the aged Vindicator known as Walkabout; his appearance was just one of the benefits of being able to manipulate the time and space continuum. “You’ll never make friends like that,” the aged aboriginal intoned.

“Like I care about them! They’ve got their precious leaders! Just wait for this to blow up in their faces. You think the jock and his stick of a girlfriend have what it takes to handle these idiots? So what if I hurt their feelings? If they’re so immature as to let this affect our working relationship, they don’t deserve to be the leaders!”

“I wasn’t talking about them. I was talking about Mister Skraag. Just remember that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. High school love is a fickle thing, Mister Loder, but friendships, if forged right, are ironclad. The actions you take today could-”

“Adonis is obsessed with my girlfriend, Mister Lang! What would you do?”

“I would stand aside.”

“She doesn’t want to be with him though! Why should I break things off because-”

“She doesn’t want to be with a Neo-Sapien. Yet she is still with you. A relationship founded on lies is doomed to fall.”

Magnus folded his arms across his chest and puffed out his bottom lip. “What would you know?”

“With old age comes wisdom… and a bit of dementia but mostly wisdom… and an overactive bladder.”

Magnus moved to make his retort when he caught sight of Ben Altair moving down the halls towards them. “Believe what you want,” Magnus grumbled, stalking off before he had to suffer what he perceived as an apology in the coming.

Mister Lang blinked in surprise. “He’s late,” he said to Ben as the young man neared him. He jutted his thumb in the direction Magnus had just gone. “He’s late… for a very important date.”

Ben’s brow wrinkled as he wrestled with understanding with what the old man was talking about. “So? So am I.”

Jacob smiled politely and patted the young man on the back. “Sure you are…” he said, warping space to permit himself to shift through reality. Left alone, Ben made his way down the hall, ready to get himself ready for his date with Katie Merrick…
To Be Continued... wrote:Numb.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
OUBLIETTE - NVAE: IC | OOC

Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 37

Post by Michuru81 » Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:26 pm

Chapter XXXVII: Numb
Doctor Natalie Styles passed the steaming cups to each of her friends in turn. “Cider for Breanne,” she intoned. “Green tea latté for Michuru and white chai tea for Miss DiMera and moi.”

“Thank you,” Michuru said meekly, sitting down at the table once the other woman had. The albino sighed at the apathetic tone in his voice. She had hoped by dragging him off the campus for a night he would forget that his friend and teammate, Richard Jorgenson, was still unaccounted for.

Given that he was the prime suspect in a rash of murders at the school, his disappearing the night his son died didn’t lend itself to his case.

Breanne Jordan had removed the plastic lid from her Styrofoam cup and raised it to her face, letting the warmth cascade over her.

“Don’t thank me yet, Michuru,” Natalie said, trying to distract him with humor, “as a doctor, I’m not sure I can simply stand by and watch you put that into your system. That’s disgusting.”

“It’s actually quite good. Would you like to try it?”

“Nah; I’ve got issues with drinking after people.”

“I haven’t drank out of it yet.”

“No, but if I drink out of it then you’ll be drinking after me.”

“It’d be like if you two kissed!” Breanne exclaimed, eyes wide with an array of emotions that left Michuru unable to tell just where she was coming from exactly. Pandora seemed equally horrified. “It’s just… eww. Yeah, it’s best not to drink after anyone.”

Michuru’s eyes had wandered over to another area of the coffee shop. Despite her best attempts to take his mind off the night’s events, Cassandra Goodman could not get Adonis Skraag to pay her any attention. For their educators, they understood. Adonis was infatuated with Chienne Bedford, who was currently dating one of his teammates, a young man by the name of Magnus Loder. To say that Magnus Loder was the image of grace and poise as he administered to the situation would have been an overstatement.

“Donna-Anne’s been in about the same place as Cassie,” Natalie said. “Ever since the night Quinton died, Cloud’s been so… distant. It’s like he’s completely forgotten that he was dating Donna-Anne. He’s just been so cold to her advances…”

“I guess its date night,” Pandora said. “Loder’s off at the Bedford girl’s birthday bash. Lex and Jacque are out for the night—celebrating their promotions, likely. Deimos mentioned he had a date too and the Altair kid implied as much.”

“Suuuure,” muttered Breanne. “You can’t believe anything Ben says. If he’s not lying to your face, he’s insulting you.”

“He’s a good kid.”

Pandora and Breanne flashed a quizzical look at Michuru for daring to make such a statement. “In what universe?” Breanne asked. “Really, because I’d like to go there just to see how Ben is when he’s not constantly putting people down or boasting himself up.”

“Make it a trip for two?” Pandora asked. Breanne turned and shook the woman’s hand, sealing the deal.

“You two are horrible,” Natalie said with a low chuckle.

“If this is date night…” Breanne skirted around the question dangling from the tip of her tongue. “…Which one of us is out with Mich?”

Natalie nearly sprayed the room with her drink; Pandora flashed a devious grin; Michuru merely blinked. “Oro?” he asked.

“I think we all are,” Natalie said, quickly composing herself. She returned to chuckling softly as she hooked her arm around his. “Lucky you, huh?”

Pandora sighed. “These kids don’t know how lucky they are—being able to have something resembling a normal existence.”

“Normal?” Michuru asked. “So far, four of their peers have died and they just dealt with one of them nearly sending them all into orbit this afternoon. How is that normal?”

“Well… when I was their age—actually, when I was younger than they were, I was a full-fledged Vindicator. I was flying around the world and spelunking down into other dimensions with Crusader and her crew. I didn’t have time to date—I was too busy not dying!”

Breanne rolled her eyes and folded her arms across her chest. “At least you’ve been on a date. After I graduated the New Vindicators Academy, I was still too well known. I’m surprised I can just sit in a Starbucks and not be mauled.” Her eyes flashed up to an uncharacteristically-quiet Natalie. “What about you, Nat? Did you ever get to date?”

Natalie almost choked on her spiced tea. “Um… there… there was one guy, yes. He was so oblivious though… I ended up asking him out. Well… actually, I did it over the internet.” She looked as though she suddenly wished she were Alexa Hawk; at least then she could turn into a puddle and escape their stares. “I couldn’t work up the courage to ask him out in person so… I sent him an IM. I’m glad I did though. We went out and… and…” She began to blush; the bright red in her cheeks stood out against her white hair and pale complexion. “I—I really had fun. I really enjoyed being with him.”

“So what happened?” Breanne asked. “Did he dump you?”

“Well… no…”

“Did you dump him?”

Natalie blushed an even deeper shade of red, if that was at all possible. “Of course not! I’d… I’d never…”

“So what happened?”

“Probably a mutual breakup,” Pandora mused. “I mean, something happened… or they’d still be together.”

Natalie became extremely focused on the lid of her drink.

“Oh, my God!” exclaimed Breanne. “You’re still with this guy? Who is it? Have I met him? Is he as cute as Michy?” A wry grin spread over her face. “Does he have a younger brother?”

“Can we… can we change the subject, please?” asked Natalie, beginning to blush.

Pandora seemed just as disturbed by the direction their chatter had taken. “Yes, please…” she growled, not wanting to think about her best-friend’s possible love-life.

“Fine,” grumbled Breanne. “What about you, Michy? What was your first date like?”

Michuru stared intently at the cup in his hands. “Michy? Michy, what was your first date like?”

Michuru smiled fondly. “It was with Bridget,” he intoned softly.

Breanne’s eyes widened. “I—I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to-”

“It’s fine. You—you probably remember it. It was just after Bridge started to talk again… when she had just come out of her stupor. Rosa, Bridge and I were watching CNN and there was this report about a rapist prowling Chicago State University. I—I grew up in Chicago. Back before my powers first manifested… I had friends. One of those friends was Leah Lynn. She was amazing. She was so emotionally strong and so sure of who she was—even at that age when nobody knows who they are or where they’re going. She did. I always admired her… but then one day admiration became infatuation. Unrequited love is the worst kind, I guess…

“I kept telling myself that my powers triggered and kept me from working up the courage to ask her out. Who am I kidding though? On some level, I think that I actually believe that my powers manifested to keep me from asking her out. I mean, if our powers manifest out of necessity… what if my abilities triggering that day was just God’s way of keeping me from getting the happy-ever-after with someone who I wasn’t meant to be with?

“Anyway… I hadn’t seen her in years but… there was a report about the rapist and Leah gave a statement. Normally, victims remain anonymous but—not her. She was too strong… too courageous to just become a statistic. I heard after that she switched majors. She’s a woman’s counselor now… uses her strength to help other women find their own.

“Rosa told me to let it go after I told her I was going. She said that a rapist wasn’t something for the Vindicators to deal with… She said that it was just a job for the police. I got angry and… well, you all know what happens when I get angry. I try to stay calm… I try to keep it all inside. Sometimes… stuff happens though and I go off the handle. When I get ticked… I explode. Stuff burns; people get scorched. I’m a dangerous person to be around when I’m angry and right then… after I had went against orders and took the Vendetta to Chicago… I wasn’t alone. Bridget knew I was going to just go anyway and she said she wanted to come with me. I figured that it was on account of our friendship. We were pretty close, Bridget and me.”

“That’s saying it mildly,” Breanne grumbled. “Michy—Michuru was the world to Bridget. See, she was in this catatonic stupor. She was there… but she wasn’t. Michuru and Bridget… their job was to follow close enough so that Brian—Bridget’s brother—could leach their powers with his. His powers were kind of like Drew’s… basically, the idea was that he could use their powers better than they could so… he did. Michuru was like Bridget’s babysitter. He was always talking to her and encouraging her and then… one day she broke out of her shell. She started talking again, sure… but there was more to it. It wasn’t that she had started talking—it was that she was talking to him.”

Michuru managed an uneasy smile for Breanne’s kind words and delved back into the recesses of his memory. “We were riding on my scoot, snaking our way through my childhood stomping grounds. I was so angry that Leah had been hurt… I was so enraged that something had happened to her and I was wrestling to keep it all under control. Bridget was on the back of my bike, with her arms around me praying to God that she didn’t fall off.

“I knew Brian was going to go ballistic. He was always so over-protective of her and I knew there was no way he’d buy that she came of her own free will. It was weird, but… hearing about Leah being raped had pushed her even further into the red zone than it had me.

“I figured it was a woman thing.

“Bridget leaned forward and I could feel her body shift against my back. Her chin brushed my shoulder and her hot breath hit my ear and sent a ripple through every fiber of my essence. We started to talk strategy—like how we were going to find the guy and what we were going to do. We weren’t going to run blindly into it. All of the victims had stated that they couldn’t move a muscle once this guy got to moving. He was drugging them or something; they were conscious… but their bodies were unresponsive.

“The plan was… we would hang around campus and wait. All the girls had been attacked while on grounds—the attacker was preying on them here. Once we got there… once I saw where Leah had been violated, I got mad. Small embers sparked up from the gloves and Bridget just touched my shoulder and they were gone.

“Bridget spotted a flier for a party one of the frat-houses was throwing that night. Drunk chicks seemed like a good target for a serial rapist and we thought we might get lucky and find him there. Most of them were too drunk to notice the guy in a trench coat walking through their house carrying a katana. For the life of me, I’ll never understand why people drink: it looks like urine, it smells like urine, I can only imagine it tastes the same but… what would I know? I’ve never drank beer… or urine.

“Out of the corner of my eye I spot a guy in sunglasses grab a redhead’s wrist and pull her into his arms. My thumb eased the blade and the steel sang to me. I had awoken it to the prospect that it was time to dance—to shine. The girl laughed and called him Scott and kissed him in a familiar way and I disappointed my sword by letting it hammer back into the saya.

“‘Hey, babe!’ this guy says. ‘Enjoyin’ the party?’

“My head whipped around and… there’s this guy in a Kiss the Cook apron and his boxers trying to coerce Bridget with a plastic cup he’s spilt half of on her boots. Every ounce of me wanted to throw him to the floor and force him to lick it off. I’m a stickler for showing women the proper respect. I let it go at the moment as… we’re here with a purpose and causing that sort of a scene would not help that goal. I simply slid up beside her and slipped my arm around her waist. ‘She’s spoken for,’ I told him.

“‘She’s got lips… a tongue… why not let her speak for herself?’” In my mind, I’m thinking of about fourteen things I could do to him right here that would have him weeping himself to sleep for the next month or so. ‘Then we’ll see what else those lips and that tongue can do.’

“Bridget got clear when my body burst into flames. Not only do I fail to register what I’ve just done, I don’t even see that I’ve just blown our cover, killed the party, and sprung our trap myself. Some guy screams that I’m an NS, stating the obvious and really doing the education system a great credit. ‘Get Rodney!’ the guy screams.

“At the time, I was trying to figure out if Rodney was their resident advisor. Do fraternities have RAs? I dunno. Fraternities are stupid. Well, Rodney comes running in and he doesn’t look any different than the rest; he has a little more muscle, maybe but he has the same haircut and the same sideburns and he looks just as drunk as they do. Given the NWO shirt he was sporting, I’d say he’s was a wrestling fan and… you’d have to have a few beers in you to be entertained by that. Nothing at all stands out about Rodney… but something seems familiar.

“‘I can’t touch him!’” Rodney screams. “’I’ll get burnt!’

“‘Take him, Rod!’

“Rodney, it turns out, was a backyard wrestler. I’ve studied martial arts for years. I could humiliate him without powers so… I power down. It takes a lot to get me calm but… I’d been making some progress. It wasn’t just that I had an effect on Bridget, she had an effect on me and my emotions. I managed to power down and the flames that were licking my skin snuff out. I’m okay. I’m normal. My clothes are fine—they were specially made to withstand this as… well, my accidentally combusting into flames tended to happen a lot. Seriously; back then it was like a biweekly habit.

“‘It’s him!’ Bridget screams. I spin around to see her pointing at Rodney and for a second it doesn’t click. ‘The descriptions!’ she screams at me, frustrated with my ineptitude for not seeing this sooner. She’s right though; I get it now. Rodney is the sketch they kept flashing on the news. Rodney’s face is the one that’s gunna be waking Leah up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night for years to come. Rodney’s the piece of filth I had come looking for.

“Rodney’s hand landed on my face as I turned, ready to draw my katana. Suddenly I felt all tingly… like when you stay up too late and your leg begins to fall asleep. It hit my arms first. I dropped the sword and screamed from the pain of the massive cramps in both my feet. It felt like my toes wanted to turn inside out—like they were trying to get the rest of my body to follow suit. We’re talking full-body Charlie Horse. I failed to notice that my scream was slurred; my tongue was numb and my jaw was slack.

“I crumbled to the floor. I could see Bridget’s boots—slightly stained from that moron spilling his beer on her earlier. I could see my sword laying between us. Then I could see Rodney move around me and I knew he was going for Bridget. The girl let out a scream as he advanced closer and closer.

“Rodney, I realize, is the kind of person the Vindicators were created to fight. He’s a Neo-Sapien, just like us, who uses his powers for ill-gain. He’s no Atlas or Mister Mayhem. He’s not disillusioned with the idea that he needs to conquer humanity or destroy one faction of humanity to ensure a peaceful tomorrow. He’s simply a guy whose touch can leave a person numb and defenseless. It clicks with what the news said; the girls all said they couldn’t fight back. They were forced to just lay there and take whatever he did to them. He didn’t overpower them… he just used his powers on them. He numbed them, like he did with me, and then he had his way with them.

“Our guy got close enough to use his powers on her. Bridget fell forward, her eyes focused on me… tears in them. Rodney bent down and rolled her over onto her back. I had cleared the room with the fireworks show but we could already hear the sirens wailing in the distance. I got that Rodney couldn’t do anything here… and he got it too. He grabbed her ankles and started to drag her off and… that’s when I saw Bridget flex her fingers. Her face turned twelve shades of enraged and her hand suddenly moved. In a heartbeat she’s freed my katana free from the saya—the blade was drawn and moving and I was helpless. I was numb from Mister Walking-Anesthesia’s trick.

“I was defenseless to save Rodney…

“An hour later, Rodney was en route to the nearest hospital. Emergency rescue squads stopped the bleeding, but they couldn’t stop their laughter. Bridge stabbed him right where it counted—she planted my blade right between his legs. As Vindicators we were congratulated for our collar. They said once he was hooked up on the painkillers they started pumping into him he admitted to the whole fiasco. Rodney had admitted to countless rapes over the years—all courtesy of his powers. Worse, he wasn’t the only one. Most of his fraternity brothers were in on it too. He’d numb them and he got to go first. We leave the other guys to the locals and make our way back to the Vendetta. That’s when Bridge drops the bomb on me…

“‘I was raped,’ she said once we were back on the scoot. ‘My dad was an attorney. I was going to be one too. Well… he had gotten this guy convicted and his two brothers came after me. Me and my fiancé… well, he had only just proposed. They raped me and shot him. That—that’s why I was in the institution.’

“I didn’t say anything. What could I say? What do you do when someone tells you something like that? All I could do was think-down the flames rising up on my arms. ‘I had the power to heal Kyle but… I didn’t,’ she told me. ‘I couldn’t. I was too afraid. I didn’t want to see some other girl end up like me, Michuru. I couldn’t stand the thought of someone else going through what I did.’

“‘I was just appreciative of the company. If you hadn’t been there though… how were you immune to his powers anyway?’

“‘I wasn’t,’ she said. ‘My regeneration must have pulled me out of it.’

“‘Good thing you came then.’

“‘Michuru?’

“‘Yeah?

“‘Before we head back to New York… can we swing by Phoenix? I know it’s out of the way but… that’s… that’s where Kyle’s buried.’

“I nodded. ‘Yeah. Anything you want, girl.’

“Her arms slipped around me again and once more I could feel the warm of her body heat transferring to me; the sensation of her head resting against my back. ‘This is enough,’ she whispered. ‘Just let me stay like this…’”

“Wow…” Breanne said. “That’s… that’s some first date.”

“Yeah,” Michuru said, rolling his eyes. “Most people end dates by walking up to her door and maybe a kiss… I’m a rebel though. I like to end a date by taking a girl out to her dead fiancé’s grave. I know, I know… most people like to save that for the fourth or the fifth date but… what can I say? I move fast.”

“And why should we?” thundered Adonis. The four whipped their heads around to see what the commotion was. An apron-clad employee stood before Adonis and Hourglass, the look on his face saying a million things at once; ‘I don’t get paid enough to do this’ worked. So did ‘What if this kid uses his powers on me?’ Though it had been nearly fourth months since the incident, Adonis’ face was well-known after his parents’ murder.

“Let’s just go,” Cassandra said. “C’mon… we’ll find somewhere else…”

“No!” Adonis boomed. “This isn’t right, Cassie! I haven’t done anything indecent. I haven’t caused a commotion. I haven’t threatened anyone or harmed anyone in anyway. I haven’t done anything wrong! Why am I being thrown out!?”

“Sir… no one is getting thrown out…”

“No? Good… then I’ll have another espresso… maybe a cheese Danish if you’ve got them.”

“Why don’t you just leave, Freak Show?” one of the other patrons exclaimed.

“Is your girl an NS too?”

“Gotta be! Why else would she be touchin’ one!”

Not all of the patrons were quick to dispense genetic slurs. Some were content to merely get up and leave, half-finished drinks still steaming on the table in protest. Their point came across all the same.

Adonis looked around the room. His ability was to leave women infatuated with him; it wouldn’t have taken much effort to turn half the room to his side… but he knew what it meant. In the corner he saw four of his teachers. Their inaction spoke volumes. Any one of them could have unleashed their Neo-Sapien powers on the people here… but that would have only proved their enemies right. He could have used his powers to strike back… but he settled instead for standing up, helping Cassandra into her coat, and leaving peacefully.

As Michuru turned back to his colleges he was surprised to see a smile on Natalie’s face. “What?” he asked, unsure what about any of this had pleased her.

“The way they handled that,” she said. “I—I think we’re really having an effect on these kids. I think we’re doing something right.”

And they all sipped their coffee in silence.
To Be Continued... wrote:Party of the Year
Last edited by Michuru81 on Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
OUBLIETTE - NVAE: IC | OOC

Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 38

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Jan 10, 2007 7:07 pm

Chapter XXXVIII: I’m a Believer
Katie Merrick’s arm was hooked around Ben Altair’s. Her eyes were on him; she smiled and giggled softly as he gawked at the sheer impression the manor gave people on their initial visit. “That—that’s huge,” he managed. “Your friend lives here?”

“Yeah,” Katie said. “It’s her birthday today. C’mon, let’s go.”

He never saw it coming. Ben hadn’t pieced the clues together. He had yet to realize what it was exactly that he was walking into. Beyond the pulchritudinous stained glass doors Ben found himself immersed in a world he didn’t know existed. It was a reflection of Katie’s world and it was populated with jocks of every stock and preppy, self-absorbed youths who sneered at him with contempt for having invaded their inner workings. Ben’s eyes flashed to the news crew setting up—how often was a girl’s eighteenth birthday broadcast on the nightly news? For a moment, he considered a tactical retreat but Katie was his anchor to this dominion. “Let’s go mingle!” she said, just a hint of a giggle in her voice.

Ben’s eyes ran down Sharon Harris’ neckline, fading down past her navel. He swallowed the breath he had been holding and quickly realized how underdressed he truly was. He didn’t fit in; not a T-shirt and pants so baggy he could have housed a family of four per leg. He considered escaping. He would need to gnaw off his own arm, but at this point he thought it would be a noble sacrifice. Katie Merrick had pulled him to the room’s epicenter; simply slipping out was now far from an option.

“Hold on,” Katie said. “I’ve gotta go wish the birthday girl many returns of the day.” With a giggle and a wink, Katie hurried off, abandoning him in the shark infested waters.

For a moment, Ben awkwardly danced to the obnoxiously loud, repetitive beat playing. He was alone in that, he quickly realized. “I really like techno,” he said nervously to a passerby. The young lady gave him an odd look as he nodded, affirming his statement. “Yeah. For a while, I was in this phase where I was going to be a DJ. I had a keyboard and some software for mixing…” His voice faded into her laughter and his heart sank when she turned back to her friends.

“You know,” Ben said, snaring the attention of another young woman, “we don’t usually play stuff like this in the band I’m in.”

“You’re in a band?” she exclaimed enthusiastically. The entirety of her attention was on Ben and his spirits soared. “What’s your name?”

“Ben,” he said.

“No, no—what’s your band’s name?”

“Oh… um… we’re… the… Eleanor Roosevelt High School Marching Band.”

She started to laugh. “You’re hilarious!”

“I—I’m serious…” he mumbled.

“Excuse me for a second,” said a guy who Ben had never seen before; he slipped between him and the young woman. “I need to borrow this guy for a second.”

A dopey grin appeared upon Ben’s face as the young man led him away. By the look of him, he was one of the jocks. He certainly had the build for it. To Ben, all jocks looked the same. They were a factory assembled action figure removed from their blister packaging and cardboard backing. The only difference was the variant paint used on each one’s hair. Still, Ben was just happy to be accepted. “Hey guys!” he exclaimed, leading Ben over to a cluster of more jocks. “This is—um… bro? What’s your name?”

“Ben-jamin Al-tair!” Ben exclaimed, just as the song in his dreams did. Upon realizing what he had said, he turned a bright shade of crimson and the others looked at him quizzically.

“Yeah… okay… well, my boy Ben here is Katie’s beau this semester.”

“Rock on!” one of the guys said. “You’re hittin’ that now?”

Ben reeled back in horror. “I’d never strike a lady!”

They all shared a confused look, before one took the initiative. “No, bro… he means you’re the guy sleeping with her this semester.”

“This semester?”

“Oh, yeah… we’re all Kate’s Official Fan Club. We all dated her, always for one semester. At the start of the semester, she finds a guy and starts dating him. Once the semester’s over, she drops him like a sack of bricks.”

“Chris Tribe; first semester, Sophmore year,” one young man said, extending out his hand. Ben shook it awkwardly, his mind computing everything he was being told. Katie had latched onto him a few months ago- near the start of the semester. Was she planning on dumping him at the end of next month? “This is Danny Williams, Austin Dressel- they had her last year. Um, Alan Peters had her after I did. Freshman year she was with Aaron Kelly and Alan Dietrich.”

Ben wasn’t sure what was making him feel worse: the idea that his girlfriend was inevitably going to dump him in another month or that out of all the guys she’d been with she had slept with all of them but him. He felt miniscule, as if he didn’t measure up to the others. Suddenly, the relationship he had enjoyed so much had become a competition.

“Ben?”

He spun around at the sound of Katie’s voice and came face-to-face with one of the most beautiful young women he had ever seen. Long waves of gold spilled down onto her shoulders and down her back. Her skin was immaculate and so porcelain-like. He had to stop himself from staring at the very image of her perfection. Cassandra Goodman and Atlanta White were beautiful but this young woman was positively enchanting. “This is Chienne Bedford,” Katie said cheerily. “And this is her boyfriend, Magnus Loder.”

Ben’s head whipped around to Magnus. The man seemed agitated by Ben’s very presence. This was not going to be a good night.

“Chienne, Magnus… this is my boyfriend: Ben Altair.” Suddenly, Katie realized that Ben had done just what she told him: he had been mingling… and she didn’t seem to appreciate who he had been mingling with.

“Hey, Katie…” Chris Tribe said with a wry grin.

Magnus and Ben ignored them. Magnus dipped in low and flashed Ben a hate-filled glare. “Nothing weird, you understand me? Things are going too good for me now to have you come in and expose everything!”

“You think I want my girlfriend knowing what we are?” Ben snorted. “Believe me, I’m not about to go powering up here…”

“Good. Keep it that way or so help me I’ll lodge your tuba or whatever it is you play so far down your throat-”

“Getting along okay?” Katie asked.

Magnus spun around, flashed her his most winning grin and slipped an arm around Ben’s shoulders. “Best friends forever!” he laughed.

“Excuse me?” Magnus turned and found himself facing a man a couple years their senior. He stood out amongst the gang of high school students on Chienne’s guest list; rather than the unshaven beginnings of a beard, he had a full goatee that accented his maturity nicely. “Hi… maybe you can help me. My name’s Peter Titus. I’m trying to find the birthday girl.”

Magnus grinned. “That would be my lovely girlfriend,” he said proudly. “Miss Chienne Bedford-Loder… right here.” Chienne laughed at his introduction.

“So we’re married now, huh?”

“Young love,” Peter said. “It’s so cute… So she’s Chienne?”

“Yup!” said Chienne. “Hi… do—do I know you?”

Peter grinned. “I have a feeling we’re about to become very close.” With a thought, Peter’s body turned to water. At the sight of his transformation, Chienne screamed. Ben spun, looking to Magnus as if unsure what to do. Under normal circumstances, Ben would have armored-up, coating his body in a sheet of ice. Magnus would have snared anything metal in the room and begun flinging it at the newly exposed Neo-Sapien. Under the current circumstances, both were hesitant to expose themselves in the way Peter Titus just had.

Peter’s arm whipped between Ben and Magnus, knocking Ben back and to the floor and pushing Magnus aside. The aquatic tendril wrapped around Chienne and retracted, pulling her to him. “What do you think you’re doing?” Magnus growled. “Let her go!”

“Let her go?” repeated Peter. “Your little girlfriend’s daddy happens to lead one of the biggest anti-NS groups in this world. One outted Neo-Sapien’s parents were ‘allegedly’ killed by him and his cronies… then Addison and Lucas…” Magnus’ eyes widened. How did this guy know about Avian and Psion? “Kai and Quinton… No one else is going to stop her father… but I made a promise! I’m going to protect them!”

“How—how do you know about-” Magnus froze at the sight of Chienne. The young woman flailed wildly to escape the man’s grasp.

“Oh, for the love of…” Peter’s hand morphed: what would have been his phalanges shot off the warping tendril and squirmed up her nostrils and into her mouth.

“Stop it!” Magnus screamed, charging forward to strike him.

Chienne lost consciousness and Peter turned his attention on Magnus. Raising his hand, he never made contact; Magnus simply let out a scream and dropped to his knees. Hanging between them was a small orb of water; as Peter lowered his arm, the water cascaded on the floor. “H—how did—how did he do that?” Ben asked.

Peter scanned the room as if looking to see if anyone else had the courage to stand against him. For most, it was a foolish, reckless idea. They had their opinions about how dangerous Neo-Sapiens were and the assault Magnus had suffered only bolstered such ideas. No one else was willing to stand up to Peter. No one else would bar him from leaving.

As Peter made his way out the room, Magnus hurried up to meet him. “Wh—what?” Peter spun around and caught the sight of young man still on the floor behind him. Courtesy of the Morph Buckle he wore, both appeared to have black hair. “You’re a-”

A folding chair sliced Peter in half at his midsection and his body quickly pulled itself together. Still, he had lost some volume from the attack. He was beginning to hurt. “I guess that’s how we’re going to play it, eh?”

“Put her down,” the blue-haired Magnus snarled. “She’s mine!”

Katie’s jaw dropped. “There’s two Magnuses!” He eyes dropped to the other. Magnus did his best to keep his identity. Chienne’s friends were seeing Magnus Loder, still on the ground after he failed to fight off his girlfriends’ abductor.

‘There was a Neo-Sapien who looked like me, throwing metal around? Well, I hear that some Neo-Sapiens came make themselves look like anyone… I can’t figure out why he’d want to look like me though…’

“Ben, there are two-” Katie became even more confused. Ben was gone… and she was disappointed. Magnus had moved to save the girl, even though he didn’t stand a chance. At the first sign of trouble… Ben Altair had used the chaos as his chance to escape.

“This is supposed to be a private party!” exclaimed the frost-clad warrior sliding in on a warping bridge of ice. “I don’t recall having seen your name on the guest list, Water Boy!”

“For a party at the Bedford’s house, there certainly are a lot of Neo-Sapiens in attendance.” Peter growled at the sight of Frostbite’s entrance. Being a being composed entirely of water, the prospect of an ice-manipulating Neo-Sapien hardly appealed to him. “No self-respecting Neo-Sapien I know would be caught dead here!”

“Yeah, well, we came for the food,” Frostbite grumbled. With his left hand he stabilized and guided the path he rode and with his right he created a handful of icicles he hurled Peter’s way. Still, Peter’s movements were as fluid as he himself was; it didn’t take much effort for his form to elongate and dodge each of Frostbite’s projectiles.

“Nice trick, but I can do better. See, ice is just a solid phase of water… and water… well, that’s my department, I’m afraid. I don’t just throw energy around like you and the other kid… I manipulate it.”

Suddenly, Ben understood what had happened to Lodestone. “The human body is about sixty percent water,” Peter explained. “It’s a little less in women… and lean muscle is more water than fat is. You look fairly healthy though…”

Peter pulled the water straight from their bodies. Frostbite’s eyes widened as Peter’s arm reached for him. If Peter pulled the water from his armor, would his identity still be obscured? Would everyone in the room suddenly know that Ben Altair was a genetic mishap? Would his secret be exposed?

Would Katie still love him?

A sigh of relief and a visible cloud of his breath left Frostbite’s lips as Peter instead aimed his abilities at the ice-structure he was standing upon. That sensation quickly left him as he realized what this would mean. “Crap.” The ice became brittle and the scaffolding shattered. Frostbite toppled into a freefall, diving for the ground.

Lodestone’s negative side hurried and pulled every metal object he could to him. Folding chairs and silverware, watches and pens… everything came together, forming a crude slide that broke Frostbite’s fall. The young man tumbled to the ground, groaning from the bumpy ride. Still, he was conscious. “Who’s a team player now?” Lodestone growled under his breath. The young man scanned the room and caught sight of Peter making his way out the door…

Chienne in his grasp…
To Be Continued... wrote:Your mission, should you choose to accept it...
Last edited by Michuru81 on Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
OUBLIETTE - NVAE: IC | OOC

Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 39

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:13 am

Chapter XXXIX: Land of a Thousand Dances
Aside from the tour he had received upon orientation, Magnus Loder had never even seen the War Room; now he found himself seated in it for the second time today. The large, circular chamber was a nexus point between the school and the lower levels. In order to descend into the Wreck Room, med labs, or expansion bays, one had to first make their way either through or around the room. It was from this room that any authorized personal could access the school’s computers—putting all collected data on alumni at their fingertips as well as a level of control over the school’s security features.

Magnus did not have time to enjoy the architectural genius of the lower designs. The young man growled as he watched the replay of the news. “Three Neo-Sapiens have abducted Chienne Bedford, the daughter of Forrest N. Bedford, founder of the Church of Genetic Purity, and his wife, Senator Amy Bedford.”

“But we weren’t helping him!” Ben exclaimed, watching as the media continued to play the footage retrieved by Cameron Kirk. Dispersed around the room was the Senior class of the New Vindicators Academy. For weeks they had been learning to defend themselves. For years they had been learning to deal with their abilities. They were being prepared to reenter society safely, with the ability to protect both themselves and their loved ones should their status be discovered. Some though, were preparing for just this sort of situation. “They’re making us look bad…”

“What do you think the media does?” Mister Bradshaw intoned. “We’re Neo-Sapiens and we live in a world that isn’t too keen on our existence. They paint us as threats to their God-given freedom to simply be and when there’s a story to be told about our kind vindicating such claims… society eats it on up. Nothing plays better than Neo-Sapiens Gone Wild.”

Victoria Goodman, the former Vindicator known as Miss Mist, was still recovering from what Lodestone and Frostbite had told them. “You—you’re sure he said his name was Peter Titus?”

“For the seventieth time, yes!” Magnus rolled his eyes and jutted a thumb at the television screen. “Okay, I get that you know him… does that look like him? If you won’t take my word for it, just look.”

“It wouldn’t be the first time we couldn’t trust our eyes,” Missus Goodman intoned, looking across the room at Deimos. It hadn’t been too long ago that someone had impersonated Deimos and murdered another student. “I just… I have a hard time believing Tide would do this.”

“I don’t.” Victoria Goodman’s eyes fell on Doctor Styles then, shaking her head at the monitor. “Peter always believed that any problem could be solved by our powers. If he really thinks that Forrest Bedford was responsible for Addison and the others’ deaths… this exactly how the Peter I know would react.”

“Do we even know that Mister Bedford didn’t kill them?” asked Marcos.

“No,” Jacob Lang, the aborigine known as Walkabout, intoned darkly, “and it is not important. Whether he did or not, our concern should be rescuing his daughter.”

“Wait! Hold up!” exclaimed Deimos. “You want us to go help a guy who may hate us more than I hate Michuru? That has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard.”

“As it stands,” Mister Bradshaw responded, ignoring the youth’s comment, “Mister Bedford has already rallied his congregation. Don’t forget that the church is an off-shoot of the KKK. Bedford used to be a Grand Dragon who moved to extend their special brand of hatred to envelope our kind. The Klan still exists, but the Church is an order that specifically targets Neo-Sapiens. That being said… he’s going to have a field day with this. This will likely become the trigger for a new concerto; Forrest Bedford will see an NS abducting his daughter as a declaration of war.”

“War? Getting a little too extreme there, eh, boss man?”

Mister Bradshaw shook his head at Donna-Anne’s statement. “Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo by a young Bosnian who wanted to unify the South Slavs. Noble dreams, but the means he took to get there broke out and created the First World War. One side may brand Young Bosnia as Freedom Fighters opposed to the occupation by Austria-Hungary but others see them as terrorists. Which one will Tide be remembered as when it’s time to write of this in history?”

“So, back to our original question:” asked Ben, “who is this guy?”

“Well… he was one of you.” Doctor Styles slumped down into one of the seats at the war room’s conference table and began accessing the school’s files. “Peter Titus, also known as Tide, graduated in 2005. Like Doctor Bradley and Alexa, he’s capable of turning his entire body to liquid. Despite this, there is no biological relation between them. What sets Tide apart is his other ability: hydrokinesis.

“Tide is capable of controlling water—kind of like telekinesis but directly limited to an element. From what you boys have said, you’ve been on the receiving end of Tide’s favorite trick: rather than hammer at an opponent with water, Tide rips the water from an opponent’s body, rapidly dehydrating them. He has a few others… like his suffocation: in his aquatic form, his body is malleable; he roots his entire hand into every breathing passage, denying you oxygen and slowly putting his opponent’s down for the count.”

“Under water, he can actually separate molecules—providing oxygen to his allies while submerged.” Magnus glared as Lex Sway intervened, offering what knowledge he had on their opponent. “He can also manipulate the current, shooting anything through the water like a torpedo.”

“He sounds like a hoot,” growled Adonis, glaring spitefully at the screen. He couldn’t stop watching as the scene of Chienne’s abduction was played again and again. “When do we go take him down?”

“You’re not going anywhere,” Michuru intoned. “Your opponent is a man- meaning your powers won’t work on him. They need help in the field, not a liability—your feelings for Miss Bedford might make you just that.”

Magnus flashed a devious grin Adonis’ way.

“The same goes for Magnus.”

“What!?”

Michuru regarded the young man coldly, fixing him with a icy glare from where he stood. “As much as I appreciate yours and Adonis’ zeal, I don’t want anything compromising this mission.”

“Cindy has a point,” Patrick Goodman pointed out. “The last thing we need is for either of you idiots to be trying to prove anything out there.”

“You already denied me my position!” Magnus snarled. “You expect me to sit here and twiddle my thumbs while MY girlfriend’s life is on the line!? I need to be out there! I need to help her! I need-”

“The OR prepped for an emergency addapairtome?” Mister Goodman shook his head at the young man. “You’re staying here.”

“I’d like to see you try.”

In an instant, Patrick Goodman showed his students why he was known as Coach Crag. His skin transformed into bedrock as he became a hulking thing—he was as jagged as he was dense. He struck an imposing form, glaring down at Magnus and daring him to make a move. “I’ve had it with you! I’m tired of your constant whining! I’m disgusted with your showboating! I’m fed up with your attitude! I’m done with you! When are you going to understand that it doesn’t matter who your daddy is, or who his daddy is—we are your superiors and you are going to start to show us the proper respect!”

“Why? Because you’re a has been?”

“Better a has been then a never was! You keep going as you are and that’s what you’ll be! I knew your father! I knew your grandfather! So far, I’m trying to find some resemblance—because God help me if you’re what Jacob Loder raised… I think I’ve lost a little respect for him, kid.” The mound of muscular rock turned to Mister Bradshaw and nodded. “You’re the one who wanted to train them to fight. As far as I’m concerned this is your mission. I’m too disgusted...”

No one said anything as the man lumbered out of the room. Only his wife, Victoria, followed after him. She was the only one who could calm him when he reached his boiling point.

“I want Amalgam leading in this mission,” Michuru intoned softly, hoping to regain some control over the room. “He’s got the most experience with Tide—he’s calling the shots on the field. Alexa and Drew—Fathom and Copycat—are going with him. Fathom’s aquatic form should be able to withstand just about anything Tide can throw and Drew’s abilities will let him adapt as the situation requires it. Beyond that I want Atlanta and Deimos with them. Atlanta’s powers give her accelerated lung action; coupled with her own resiliency, she should be able to endure Tide’s worst. Deimos and Rumble both act as heavy hitters. If things escalate into a brawl, they should be good to go. Lex? Anything to add?”

“I want Frostbite on this mission too,” he said. Ben blinked in surprise at the use of his codename. He hadn’t expected to be drafted on what seemed like such a delicate mission. Still, he beamed at the prospect of being selected for this important of a task. “It’s been almost two years since I’ve even seen Pete. Ben’s seen his movements recently. He’s more used to his style of fighting.”

“I was there too,” Magnus growled, “and I’m actually useful.” Lex ignored Magnus’ comment… and Magnus continued. “What would you do if it was Jacque?”

Lex thought for a second before turning around and giving the young man his honest answer. “I’d try and calm myself down… tell myself that Mister Bradshaw’s right. I could compromise that mission. My emotions could cost us something more than one person’s life. If someone screws up out there it’s not just Chienne who’s going to pay: it’s every Neo-Sapien across this earth. That’s a lot to gamble, just to feed foolish pride. Still… I’m fairly stubborn, and I think that despite all of that, I’d completely disregard orders and go after her on my own.”

Nothing could have wiped the grin from Magnus’ face.

“And that’s why we’ll be posting a guard at Magnus’ door until this mission is over.”

Except for Mister Bradshaw, saying THAT…

“One question:” Atlanta asked, “how do y’all expect us to find Tide?”

Mister Bradshaw nodded. “Ever since Lucas’ death, we’ve been without telepathic support of any kind. I had to call in a friend to help us locate them both. Miss Jordan’s been waiting upstairs for his arrival.” As if on cue, the door opened and Breanne Jordan led in Earth’s Master Mage. The man who stepped into their midst was one of the most powerful men on the planet. He was the Aurelius, Doctor Stephen O. White.

Atlanta’s eyes widened at the sight of the enigmatic figure entering their collective. “D-daddy?”
To Be Continued... wrote:The Astral Plane
Last edited by Michuru81 on Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
OUBLIETTE - NVAE: IC | OOC

Locked