NEW VINDICATORS (Books I - XIII)

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

New Vindicators, Chapters 1109

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:53 pm

Chapter IX: It’s Getting Boring by the Sea
It wasn’t long after Max agreed to go with them to the nightclub that Lloyd asked a question that threatened to damn Raanan’s plans: “How do you intend for us to get there?” he asked.

Raanan’s jaw dropped. Hell in a Handbasket was sheltered in Manhattan, across the East River. While there was always the F train to take them into the city, none of them had actually had the opportunity to thoroughly explore their adopted city in the few days they had lived here. Raanan had no inkling where to get off the train or where to go once they emerged above ground once again.

For the second time since Raanan had announced his plans for the evening, John came to his rescue: “What about Solon? I mean, his magic teleported us around the country when Miss Wellor and I went to recruit Lloyd and Jude.”

Raanan looked at the trio of young man in turn with his expression of confusion slowly growing. “Teleport?” he asked.

“Yeah,” Lloyd explained. “He waves his hands in the air and says something like ‘Trogdor’ and suddenly everything around us changed. It was kinda badass.”

Raanan frowned. He was capable of such a feat but unable to take anyone with him. “All right,” he said, looking towards the dorms worriedly. “Let’s find him quick before Stinky and his sidekick come back with Razi and that fat chick…”

As the trio headed out in search of the magus, they became oblivious to two others falling in line with them: after their departure, Carl had arrived to check in on his amnesic roommate. His asking, “Where is everyone?” prompted Sergio to divulge all he had overheard. With no other plans for the evening, Carl decided to tag along and encouraged the other senior to do the same.

The group only continued to grow as they made their way down the hall. While Andrew never returned with Razi, Jude had successfully convinced Pandora to come with them. Not long after they fell in line, Will and Gregaro caught wind of the plan to depart and joined in as well. With each addition to his would-be entourage, Raanan’s scowl deepened. By the time they had found Solon alone in the library, the Filipino youth wore a disgruntled look on his face.

It took some convincing to get Solon to agree to come with them. He wasn’t interested in clubs or music or girls—he only wanted to advance his own arcane arts and impress the Aurelius enough to become his heir. Ultimately, it was Max who convinced the magus to join them: he reasoned that the Aurelius’ job would take him beyond his sanctuary and that Solon would need to know how to handle himself in a social situation and navigate urban environments. Seeing the trip as a learning opportunity, Solon consented to transport the group there and back.

Solon’s teleportation circle was only accurate when he intimately knew his destination. Having never even heard of Hell in a Handbasket, it took him four tries before he landed the assemblage anywhere near the nightclub.

With each casting of the spell, Solon was careful to picture a rooftop. Though he was oblivious to most things, he understood the fractured social paradigm of human and Neo-Sapien relations. Though not a Neo-Sapien himself, the public was unaware that magic existed and the party’s sudden appearance would undoubtedly rope him in with his classmates.

The twelve teenagers climbed down the building’s fire escape and proceeded out of the alley. A line of people was already snaking its way down the street, leading some to doubt Raanan’s boasts that he could get them in. “Just let me talk to the bouncer,” he said. “I’m sure once he sees my card, we’ll be golden…”

Raanan led the procession towards the front of the line, only to realize he was not the only one confident that they could bypass the velvet ropes.

Compared to Raanan and his classmates, they were a small group. Whereas twelve students had left the New Vindicators Academy of America, there were six of the strange crew making their way towards the doors. Like the teenagers, this band included only a single female. Also like the teenagers, the likelihood of them being granted admittance was slim…

One of them was a short, scrawny young man with a bowl haircut and glasses patched together with a bent paperclip; he wore jogging pants and a red ensign shirt. At nineteen-years-old, he was several years younger than many of his comrades—most of which were in their early twenties.

One such comrade was an African-American man garbed in a black shirt that proclaimed, in big, pink letters, “VIRGIN.” Beside him a tall, muscular man sporting a goatee. In his mid-twenties, his tweed jacket hung over a shirt sporting a line from his favorite webcomic: “Ninjas can’t catch you if you’re on fire.” A Japanese man was twitching his shoulder to the music emanating from deep within the club; he merely wore freshly ironed jeans and a black T-shirt that simply read, “The Game.”

Each of them was focused on the lone female in their group. Either she didn’t notice their linger gaze or merely didn’t care. She was the tallest of the group—besting the man in the tweed jacket by a mere inch. In her late twenties, the sickly-thin woman sported long, black hair, a wide forehead, hollow cheekbones, a square nose and large lips.

At their head was a rotund man whose girth stretched the too small T-shirt that merely depicted the icon ‘S’ shield Superman wore on his chest. “So, a human cleric of Pelor, a half-orc barbarian and a multiclassed elven enchanter/fighter walk into a bar,” he was saying to his friends, “and the halfling rogue walks under it.”

The others couldn’t help but chuckle as they made their way up to the bouncer. At the sight of them, the bald man simply folded his arms across his chest and planted himself between the odd group and the club’s doors. “I think you have the wrong address,” he told them.

The fat man rolled his eyes at the man. “If you are trying to intimidate us, I believe you botched your skill check.” He reached forward and patted the muscular man on the arm. “Step aside, my good man: my friends and I seek to indoctrinate the newest player in our party with a night of merriment.”

“You wanna keep that hand?” the man asked, looking down at the appendage. “Keep it off me.”

“Kenan? Demonstrate for the man who it would be in his best interest to let us through?”

The black man stepped forward and held his hand out, palm upwards. A single flame danced above his hand and caused Max to roll his eyes.

Some of the people waiting in line started to back away slowly; others took off at a run. “So, are you going to let us through or not?” the fat man asked the visibly shaken bouncer.

Max started to advance on them but Raanan reached out and grabbed the back of the youth’s shirt. “Dude, let ‘em go!” He gestured towards the entrance and smiled as the bouncer let the six slip through. “What would you rather do: beat some dorks in the street or go inside and grind on some of the finest tail New York has to offer?”

Once Max stood down, Raanan patted him on the stomach. “Good boy! Now sit here and let Big Daddy Lumanta work his magic!” Raanan moved to crack his knuckles but they didn’t crack. Rather than face embarrassment, he supplied the cracking noise him himself. Reaching into the inside pocket of his jacket, he marched up to the bouncer.

Having been publicly cowed by the last group to pass through the doors, the bouncer was feeling humiliated and looking to take out his aggressions. When the short boy approached him, he simply pointed down the street. “Hell no,” he intoned loudly. Still, Raanan persisted…

With his back to them, the other students couldn’t make out what Raanan was doing. He pulled something out of his coat and showed it to the bouncer. The agitated man paused to listen to Raanan. He looked away then and Raanan passed something into the man’s hands. Stuffing whatever it was into the back pocket of his jeans, the bouncer stepped aside and Raanan gleefully waved for his classmates to follow him into the club.

Once they were inside, Raanan started doing the Cabbage Patch—a move that caused a lot of his peers to raise their eyebrows: Raanan thrust both of his arms out parallel with each other; with his hands clenched into fists, he slowly swung his shoulders in a circular motion that piloted his rigid arms in synchronicity with his gyrating hips. “Too flat,” he said as his eyes passed over a Korean girl. “Butterface,” he said at the sight of a blonde dancing near her. His sight locked on a chesty redhead sitting by the bar. “Jackpot,” he said as he set his mind on the woman easily ten years his senior.

Suddenly, Raanan crouched down and began pumping his right arm back and forth. It was a dance move universally known as the Lawnmower and after three or four tugs, his arms seized an imaginary lawnmower that he steered towards the unsuspecting woman.

Lloyd and Max exchanged looks of confusion; John couldn’t help but laugh. Sergio simply gazed about him in wonder. “What are we supposed to do here?” he asked. In order to be heard over the amalgamation of driven bass lines and synthesizers, he was forced to raise his voice.

“Dance,” Carl called back.

“But there’s no music,” Gregaro said, covering his ears with his hands.

“This is music,” said a dancing Pandora. As someone who branded herself as a punk, she was at home with the short, punchy songs the new wave band belted out from the stage.

Gregaro shook his head. “This is not music,” he offered. “This is just noise. Buddy Holly! The Everly Brothers! Ritchie Valens! Now their music was the end!”

“I’ve never heard of the Everly Brothers,” Pandora offered, “but the other two… didn’t they die in a plane crash with the Big Bopper?”

Gregaro looked to his roommate to confirm the purple-haired girl’s claim. When Carl nodded, Gregaro frowned.

“You, uh… you didn’t like Elvis did you?” Pandora asked.

Gregaro looked back the girl with a confused expression. “Why?” He cringed and braced himself for the worst. “What happened to Elvis?”

“Nothing!” Pandora exclaimed. “Elvis is super!”

The trio had failed to notice that their classmates had wandered off. Sergio was the easiest to spot: the amnesic had done just as Carl told him and was dancing. Surprisingly, he was able to perfectly mimic the movements of the others huddled around the stage. Not far off, John was suggestively dancing with the Korean girl Raanan had dismissed as flat-chested. Seeing the two of them sparked something in Jude: the young man grabbed Pandora by the hand and pulled her away from the others.

Carl looked around Gregaro’s back and pouted when he failed to find Will there. All week long, the two had been inseparable: Will had tirelessly worked to help Gregaro adapt to his new temporal home. Unwilling to abandon the fedora-capped youth, Carl stood back, oblivious to Solon’s presence behind them on the wall.

The magus peered out at the legions of young people enjoying themselves. Across the club he could see Gage dancing by himself; it was a sight that caused him to drop his gaze to the floor: he was ashamed that the handicapped boy had no fear plunging into this environment while he was gripped with fear. He needed courage and he knew where to find it…

Solon Carlyle cast a quick spell to alter his appearance—making himself look several years older—before meandering off towards the bar.

It was there that he found Raanan watching with a slack jaw as the redhead he had first descended on left the bar. “What!?!” he thundered after her. “You don’t like pizza!?!”

Solon raised an eyebrow at him as Raanan turned towards the stage; he threw his arms back and rested his elbows on the bar. “Bitches, am I right, man?”

The magus had no idea what to say. He simply turned away at the bartender’s approach and drew a blank. He had no idea what to order either.

Raanan whipped around and smiled at the bartender. “Two Jack and Cokes, m’man.”

“Riiight, kid…” the bartender laughed.

“Kid?” Raanan asked. He rolled his eyes as he reached for his wallet. “Dude, in case you couldn’t tell, I’m Asian.” He flashed his driver’s license, which claimed the 15-year-old had been born in 1974. “We all look young.”

The bartender looked at the Georgian driver’s license and then back to Raanan with a suspicious look on his face. Rolling his eyes, Raanan snatched his wallet back and pulled a crisp one-hundred dollar bill from it. “Two Jack and Cokes,” he said again, this time more slowly. Snapping the billfold shut, he stuffed it back into his pocket and looked across the bar.

The redhead was sitting on another stool, being approached by one of the people who had slipped in ahead of Raanan’s group. The man in the tweed jacket sauntered up to her and tapped her on the shoulder. When she turned, he smiled. “What alignment are your boobs?” he asked. “Because they look Awful Good to me!”

Raanan and Solon cringed when they saw the man get slapped. When the bartender came back with their drinks, Solon looked from the pair of glasses to the woman and back to the glasses. Before Raanan could react, he took them up and walked around the corner to where the woman was sitting.

“Here,” Solon said, setting one of the drinks in front of her. “I’m… not going to try any cheesy pickup lines on you. I didn’t even want to come here—my friends dragged me into it. I just… I saw that guy harassing you and I figured you didn’t want to be bothered and I thought if I just sat next to you and made it look like we were together, these others guys might start leaving you alone.

“Please don’t slap me.”

The woman smiled and raised the drink. She leaned forward and Solon’s eyes bulged as he looked down the neckline of her shirt. “I’m Rebecca,” she breathily said into his ear.

“I’m Solon,” he said stupidly. Her cleavage still held his gaze.

“That’s different,” she said as she pulled back. He forced himself to make eye contact. “Never heard of anyone with that name.”

“Solon was a poet in Ancient Greece.” He simply continued to nod and fought to keep from looking at Rebecca’s chest. When Rebecca put the glass to her lips, Solon did the same. He took a swig of the absconded drink before letting it dribble back into his glass. Before the glass could leave his lips, his eyes bulged at the sensation of her hand on his thigh—her fingers inches from his groin.

Raanan watched the entire episode in stunned silence. “Some guys have all the luck,” he grumbled. He turned back to the bar and looked at the pair of rings left by the perspiring glasses. “And he stole my drinks!”

“A wench sets an adventurer’s drink down before him and smiles flirtatiously.” Raanan turned and took in the sight of the fat man chatting up a pretty blonde. “‘Is that a +3 dagger in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?’ she asks.

“‘Nope,’ says the adventurer as he reaches into his Bag of Holding, Type II. ‘It’s a canoe.’”

The girl stared strangely at the man. “I don’t get it.”

“That’s okay,” he said. “Wanna screw?”

The girl simply got up and walked away. With a heavy sigh, the overweight man slipped into her seat. “Bitches,” Raanan said as he sat next to him. “Am I right, man?” He produced his wallet once more and withdrew another banknote depicting Benjamin Franklin. “Two Jack and Cokes!” he declared, slamming the bill down on the bar.

“Big spender…” the big man said as the remuneration held his gaze.

Raanan shrugged. “I was kinda hopin’ that if some fly bitches saw me droppin’ Benjamins, they’d be all over me.” The youth never noticed the other man signal to his friends to join him. “I mean, I thought wealth and status got bitches in the mood, y’know? Freakin’ Centurion Cards being invitation only…” Raanan was oblivious to the three men flanking him; he simply seized the Collins glass set before him and took a drink. When he put the glass back down, he had an ice cube between his teeth. “Then some loser goes and practically walks right into her pants!” Chewing on the ice, his head swiveled from side-to-side, taking in the other men. “Sup, guys?” he asked casually.

“Gimme your wallet,” the fat man said.

Raanan turned to him and then looked at his friends; the Neo-Sapien—Kenan—was amongst them. Raanan rolled his eyes as he realized what was about to happen. “Seriously?” he asked. “Look, you douches don’t know who you’re messin’ with, okay?”

“Jim?”

The youngest of the group reached out and grabbed Raanan by the neck. He easily hefted the boy into the air—an act that made the bartender reach under the counter and seize his baseball bat.

“Name’s Raanan Lumanta,” the Filipino managed as he reached for his wallet. “Now that you know who you’re messing with…” He took the wad of bills out and offered them down towards the ponderous man. “Here you go.”

“Put him down,” the bartender said, pointing the bat at the group, “and get the hell out of here!”

“Jim, put him down.” The scrawny youth put Raanan back on the floor. “Kenan?”

Kenan reached over and took up Raanan’s untouched drink. He put it to his lips and drank deeply. As he set the glass back down, his cheeks were puffed out. Raising his hand to his face, he snapped his fingers and a tiny flame appeared over the tip of his thumb.

Suddenly he spit the drink out. Coca-Cola was hardly flammable and distilled liquors—such as Jack Daniel’s—was 80 proof, or 40 percent alcohol. There was hardly enough alcohol in Raanan’s drink to render it flammable; Kenan accomplished nothing but extinguishing his own flame.

They all looked him oddly—Raanan, the bartender, Kenan’s friends. “That was a lot cooler in my head,” he said.

Raanan used the respite to drop to all fours and crawl between Jim and the fat one. The moment he was free he took off at a run towards the closest classmate he could find: “Max!” he screamed. Pulling his fellow sophomore away from a cute brunette celebrating her twenty-first birthday with her sorority sisters, Raanan tried to turn his group’s pyro towards theirs. “Go beat them up!”

Max looked down at the short boy. “Seriously?”

“They held me up! Took my money!”

“You got rolled by nerds?”

Jim snatched the baseball bat from the bartender’s hands and bent the aluminum club over his knee.
“You got rolled by super-powered nerds?” Max asked, amending his previous statement. Undaunted, he converged on the quartet: only the skinny Japanese man and the Gothic girl were missing. “Hey, I think you took something that belongs to my…” He looked over his shoulder to where Raanan stood, punching the air energetically. “Friend?”

Laughing with his friends, the scrawny one of the group stepped up to the daring youth. He swung the bat down and into his hand. Gripping the head, he squeezed and left an impression of his fingers in the bat. “As you well know, magic and weapons are prohibited inside the cafeteria,” he said.

Max waved at Jim. Once he knew he had the older youth’s attention, he pointed to his feet. “Your shoelaces are on fire,” he said matter-of-factly. Jim idly looked down and discovered that the teen was hardly lying: the aglets of his laces had indeed burst into flame.

“So, what are you losers doing in a place like this?” he asked as he watched the thin man try to stomp out the flames on his shoes. Ultimately, Jim found it infinitely easier to simply kick off his shoes. “Isn’t your usual Friday night pretending to have sex with imaginary characters or playing World of Warcraft or something?”

“We came to see the band,” the youth said in his socks. “Gordie LaChance is Shooting Up Castle Rock is up next and they are awesome-cubed.”

Max shook his head. “That has to be the gayest name ever.”

“Oh no you did not just blaspheme against Wesley Crusher!”

Jim charged forward and took a swing at the athletic youth; having been in his share of fights over the years, Max had no problems in dodging the wild blow. “Man, you guys really suck…”

“Yeah, well, your momma’s so fat she provides one-hundred percent concealment!”

“Yeah, well, your socks are on fire!”

Jim looked down to see that his socks were indeed on fire. Momentarily forgetting that he was impervious, the rawboned man flew into a panic.

Realizing they were dealing with Neo-Sapiens, the fat man thrust a flabby arm forward and pointed towards Max. “power_gamers!” he exclaimed in a voice loud enough to stop the band’s performance. “Roll for initiative!”

“And now…” the black man announced as he pulled his hands back in the style of the Kamehameha, “I shall divide you by zero!” His hands flew forward and a torrent of flame exploded towards Max. Without a care for the attack, Max simply walked through the fireball; he emerged from the offensive without being singed.

“Yeah, guess who doesn’t catch fire, moron?”

The music’s ceasing coupled with the jet of fire had drawn the attention of the other students. Emerald flames crackled in Lloyd’s skull as he ran to his roommate’s side. “I’m comin’, Max!” he screamed as he summoned his soul-weapon—a warhammer—to his hands.

The power_gamer’s stereotypical Asian nerd, sp4wn_p01nt, teleported into Lloyd’s path and immediately the Nephilim’s eyes fell on the man’s shirt: “THE GAME,” it read.

“Nooooooo!” the Nephilim howled. He swung his weapon in a fit of rage and repeated the process each time the thin man dodged. “You just made me think about it, dammit!”

Carl rose up into the air and flew over the crowd. His eyes locked on Kenan, or RedHott315 as he was known online and in battle; he had seen the flame spurt emanate from his hands and assessed that his standing so close to the bar could prove to be a danger to the rest of the club’s patrons.

Thrusting his arm towards the man, Carl let loose a blast of solar energy for the gamer.

PWNAGE’s jaw dropped as he watched his teammate stagger from the blast of white-hot light. “Wow,” the man in the tweed jacket said, “you just got owned by some kid…”

“No screen cap,” the other man grumbled as he clung to the bar, “didn’t happen.” His arm fumbled behind the counter and grabbed the first bottle his fingers found.

He produced a bottle of tequila.

“Move it, Tak!” the pyrokinetic thundered as he hurled the bottle at Lloyd’s feet. As the glass ruptured, sp4wn_p01nt teleported away, knowing what was coming next: RedHott315 took aim on the floor at the Nephilim’s feet and unleashed a jet of flames from his palm.

The alcohol ignited and Lloyd gave a short scream that gave way to chuckling. Lloyd walked through the fire in much the same staff Max had: only his clothes showed any damage. “This was one of my favorite shirts, you douche!” Lloyd thundered as he looked to his chest. Acquired during Head East’s 1979 tour, the black shirt depicted a sphinx and promoted the band’s “Different Kind of Crazy” album. Now, the flames had taken bites out of its hem and sleeves; Lloyd’s shoulder was still ablaze.

“Are you all fireproof!?!” the man thundered.

“Nah, broseph,” Lloyd said as he continued to march towards his opponent, “I’m not fireproof…” He watched as n00b charged for him with the baseball bat. He didn’t move to dodge as the super-strong gamer swung the weapon down and never flinched when it made contact. “I’m freakin’ invincible!”

Such a claimant signaled to the power_gamers’ only female member: the group’s Gothic girl, Nora Mondale—or Ding!, as they called her—used her own abilities to bolster her allies’ powers while dampening their opponents’. One by one, Ding! focused on one super-powered brawler or another: after augmenting PWNAGE’s powers, she moved to decrease Lloyd’s.

As Lloyd swung his spectral warhammer through the invulnerable n00b, the frailer man counted with a blow of his own. Denied his imperviousness, Lloyd staggered back from the attack and let both his soul-weapon and the fire in his eyes dissipate. n00b failed to take advantage of the respite and instead watched as his leader—the GM—hurled a handful of dice at Pandora, who was now racing across the dance floor to join the battle…

The polyhedrons pelted the pudgy, purple-haired punk precipitating her to pause. Provoking her pugnacity, Pandora put her palms together and projected a peal of plasma for the portly pacesetter of the power_gamers. The pedantry of power packed a puissant punch that put the porcine person on his posterior.

Carl looked from the rotund man’s still form to the origin of the blast that brought him down. “I… I think you killed him!”

Pandora turned towards Carl with eyes brimming with agitation. “He threw dice at me!”

The barefoot n00b smiled lecherously at Pandora. “I would love to tap that…” the youngest power_gamer said.

“You’d have to roll at least a 15 to get into my pants,” Pandora growled at him.

“Only a 15?” Raanan laughed. “You whore.” Before any of his classmates could even think of silencing him, PWNAGE hammered the shortest teen with a blast of bio-energy.

The man in the tweed jacket possessed the Neo-Sapien power to absorb and redirect energy. Fueled by one of RedHott315’s blasts, PWNAGE began to pick off the weaker heroes with his own attacks. He took aim on Max and John, who had together bested RedHott315 through a combination of simply immunity to the nerd’s attacks and mentally manipulating water to nullify the man’s attacks. As John received the blast, Max continued his charge undaunted. With an alcohol-soaked rag wrapped around his knuckles, Max ignited his fist and slammed it into the big man’s face.

PWNAGE absorbed both the brunt of the punch and the heat of the flames. “That which doesn’t kill us can only make us stronger!” he laughed as he thrust his arm forward. With his palm inches from Max’s face, his next blast—empowered by Ding!’s leveling-ability and Max’s attack—would be from a point blank range.

Jude’s arms wrapped around Max’s midsection and spirited him away to safety. In a heartbeat the pair was behind the now-vacant bar with an unconscious Raanan, Lloyd and John. “I was thinking we should leave…” Jude said timidly.

“Good idea,” Max said. “Where’s the wizard?”

“I think he left with the other people,” Jude said. “It’s pretty much just us and them in here at this point and I didn’t see him anywhere… Will’s gone too.”

“Cowards,” Max grumbled, standing up to lunge back into the battle. He hesitated when Jude grabbed his wrist. “What?”

“What am I supposed to do about these guys?”

Max looked about the nightclub to assess the state of their brawl. Gregaro was still bundled up in his coat and hat, locked in a futile fight against the power_gamers’ transporter. While his quick jabs and rapid footwork were reminiscent of some of the best boxers the world had known, all of Gregaro’s prowess in the ring was useless against the teleporter. With each strike Gregaro threw, sp4wn_p01nt merely disappeared, only to reappear in the boxer’s blind spot.

Not far from where they were, Sergio stood back in order to protect Gage. Gage was trying to get around him—insisting that he was hardly a burden—but the amnesic refused to hear it.

Carl was still in the air, unleashing phosphorescent fusillades upon PWNAGE while Pandora kept moving to stay out of n00b’s reach and pelting him with plasma bursts from a safe distance. By attending to the enemies who were still standing, they simply allowed Ding! to tend to the unconscious RedHott315 and the barely conscious GM.

Max pounced over the bar and tackled Ding! to the ground. “You so much as breathe funny and I’ll burn your face off,” he snapped as he pinned her.

“How do you plan on doing that,” she asked in a nasally voice, “after I’ve depleted your powers? Your strength?” As if to prove her point, Ding! pushed Max off of her. He felt weak. He felt tired. He wasn’t sure what had come over him. “Your stamina?”

The GM swung a barstool down and over Max’s back, dropping him to the floor. Barely holding on to consciousness, Max tried to push himself up, only for the GM to sit on him. “Stay down, hothead!” the fat man laughed.

“You’re sure you’ll be fine?” Sergio asked his blind classmate, unable to merely sit back any longer. Unlike the others, he possessed no super-powers—he had nothing that would make him a contender in this brawl. Still, he felt he had to do something…

“I’ll be better than fine,” Gage said. sp4wn_p01nt had a cell phone in his pocket—the electronic device was like a beacon to the boy from Brooklyn. “I’m going to put an end to this…”

As Gage sent an arching line of electricity through the air, connecting himself to sp4wn_p01nt, Sergio charged for the GM. “Leave him alone!” the amnesic thundered as he swung his fist for the rotund man.

Sergio’s attack hit harder than he could have dreamed: not only did he knock the GM off of Max, he sent him flying into the bar. As the GM dropped into an unconscious heap, Sergio turned towards Ding! The woman smirked at him. “Big mistake hitting Greg,” she said haughtily. “You should have come for me first. Now, all your strength is-”

“Is what?” Sergio asked as he slammed his fist into her stomach. It wasn’t just the punch that made the Gothic woman’s eyes bulged: she realized that her powers had had no effect on the youth—his terrifying strength had not diminished in the least bit.

“He hit Nora!” n00b screamed as he watched the only girl who wasn’t related to him and whose phone number he had fall to the floor.

“I swear,” PWNAGE growled as he took aim on Sergio, “these kids’ dice must be loaded or somethin’…” The blast of energy exploded from his palms and collided with Sergio’s chest. He let out a triumphant laugh as he saw the man stagger back from the blow and hurriedly high-fived n00b.

Sergio was still standing. He was hunched over but still on his feet. He straightened his back and as he rose up, PWNAGE saw that his blast had not only obliterated the shirt his opponent wore but tore through his flesh, exposing the metal frame and tubes and circuit boards contained beneath.

Even more shocking: Sergio’s flesh began to knit itself back together, leaving him whole again in no time.

Something clicked in Sergio’s head then: his attacker was across the room and experienced in ranged combat. Sergio knew how best to fight him and raised his arm in preparation for a counter attack.

He was surprised at the hissing sound of air escaping his arm: plates retracted back, revealing crevices in his skin that he hadn’t ever known were there. His palm swiveled around counter-clockwise on a ball hinge as metal coils slowly moved through the frame that just seconds ago had been his right arm.

He gaped in astonishment at the lenses aligned throughout the bionic appendage and then something akin to instinct took over: he took careful aim on his opponent and watched as a blinding blast of energy rocketed from the cannon his arm had transfigured itself into. “Oh…” he muttered at the startling display. “Well, that’s different…”

He trailed off as he noticed something engraved into one of those metal plates: the inside of his arm read, “Sentry Model #IN18769.”

Carl landed and simple stared in wonder at his roommate. “Sergio?” he asked in astonishment.

sp4wn_p01nt appeared behind PWNAGE and n00b then. “We’re getting out of here!” he thundered, grabbing both men by the collar before suddenly teleporting away. Max rolled over onto his side and looked to where the other three members of their group were: the GM, RedHott315 and Ding! were all gone as well.

At the sound of sirens in the distance, those who still stood converged on Sergio. “We need to get out of here,” Pandora said.

Gage hurried away from the others. “You guys get out of here!” he declared. “I need to take care of something first!” His classmates gaped at him in wonder as Jude appeared in their midst; the sophomore had already taken their unconscious classmates out of the building, leaving them secured on the same rooftop Solon had first brought them to.

Grabbing Pandora’s hand, Jude teleported her away before he returned for Max. When he grabbed Gregaro he shivered at the biting cold that permeated the older youth’s coat. After he had taken Carl, Jude returned for Sergio, only to see Gage hurrying back into the club. By the time he returned for the blind boy, Gage was standing where the others had been.

“You mind telling me what was so important that you had to go and run off-”

“The cameras,” Gage said, interrupting Pandora. “I figured it would be best if there was no evidence we were ever there…”

The sound of someone climbing up the fire escape drew those still standing around. The tense teenagers relaxed only when they saw it was only Solon and Will. “And where did you two go?” Pandora asked. “You saw danger and took off running?”

“No,” Will said, “we got the club’s other patrons to safety.”

“Dude?” Max asked, narrowing his eyes at the magus. “Are you wearing lipstick?”

Solon grinned stupidly. “Yeah…” he said before weaving his hands through the air, in preparation for transporting them all back to the campus…
To Be Continued... wrote:Mister Negativity and Captain Pretty Pants.
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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapters 1107 - 1109

Post by flynnarrel » Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:59 pm

Now you see? That was a *much* different introduction than the European New Vindicator's got to one another. With them it was a cooperative thing. With the European crew it was 'okay, introduce yourselves, now fight each other'.

They're off to a good start.

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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapters 1107 - 1109

Post by Arkrite » Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:11 pm

Holy alliteration Batman!

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New Vindicators, Chapters 1110

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:20 pm

Chapter X: Race for the Prize
Magnus Loder stood on the balcony, overlooking the East River. His right hand left the rail and brought the cigarette to his lips. He took a long drag before he heard the telltale sound of crying coming from deeper within the apartment. Flicking what remained of the cigarette into the night air, the man pushed the glass door aside with a thought and slipped back inside. “Wah!” he screamed when the crying persisted. “Wah! Wah! Shut the hell up! I’m coming already!”

He crossed the living room at a casual pace; the sound of his child’s cry of alarm hardly instilled him with haste. “Goddamn whining brats are going to wake Maria up…” he grumbled as he mentally gave the doorknob a twist. The door opened at his approach and he took in the sight of his wife slowly making her way out of bed. “Go back to bed,” he spat. “I got the brats.”

“I’ll take care of it, Mag-”

“I said I got it!” He rounded on the Latin woman with a furious look that made her slowly return to their bed. Only when he saw her sit on the edge of the mattress did he round on the pair of bassinettes. “Enough already!” he screamed at the crying twins.

His arms delved into his son’s bed and scooped Jim Loder up into his arms. He pulled at the onesie’s snaps; with one hand he pulled the fabric back while the other tugged the waistline of the infant’s diaper. Seeing it clean, Magnus glared at his son. “He’s hungry, Magnus,” the man’s wife intoned softly. “Hand him here.”

When Jim’s twin sister’s crying failed to subside, Krystal’s father rounded on her with a fury more intense than he showed most of his enemies. “Shut up!” he snapped at the three-day-old. “Goddammit, why can’t you two let your mom just sleep?”

“Magnus?” Maria asked. “Just… hand him to me…”

“Why? What good is it going to do? Even if you get him back to sleep, his sister is just going to snap him out of it!”

Maria broke into tears and Magnus rolled his eyes. “You want him so bad?” he growled, thrusting their son into her arms. “Take him! Take him both! I don’t give a damn!”

Behind his back, he could hear Maria trying to calm the baby. With a thought, he slammed the door shut behind him. For a moment, he paused. He inhaled deeply before exhaling. Then he heard it: Jim’s crying had subsided. “Kids keep us up at all hours of the day,” he snarled as he stomped away from their bedroom, “they do nothing but cry, Maria won’t let me freakin’ touch her…”

“A little high-strung?”

Magnus’ eyes darted about the darkness. Though he couldn’t see him, he knew who was there: he could not forget that voice.

“Get out here where I can you, you son of a bitch,” Magnus snarled.

The lights switch was flipped and the room was baptized in light. By the Loder’s front door stood a skinny man in well-worn, faded blue jeans and a navy blue hooded sweater.

The sweater’s hood was pulled low over the blonde’s head, keeping his powers from affecting his host on sight.

“You shouldn’t sneak up on someone like that,” Magnus hissed. “Deimos paid us a little visit a few months ago—everyone’s a little on edge about uninvited guests just letting themselves in late at night.”

“And if I rang the front bell, I’d be welcomed in with open arms?”

“Do you deserve a warm reception after everything you’ve put us through?”

“My point exactly,” Adonis said.

“So, why don’t you give me one good reason to not use everything ferrous in this room to give us one less skeleton in the closet?”

Adonis nodded. “Autumn Colbenson.”

Magnus stared strangely at him. “I don’t know what the hell that’s supposed to mean. C’mon, Adonis! You’re supposed to be so smart: you should know that there’s a fine, fine line between being cryptic and making sense. Why don’t you take a minute, think about which one you’d rather do and-”

“You remember the White War?” Adonis asked.

“The day I graduated high school, got kidnapped along with my ex-girlfriend, survived a bomb blast, watched you make Alexa kill my dad and my granddad and then my plan to stop the chaos you and your moronic little cult unleashed got my best-friend killed. Am I remembering it right?”

Adonis nodded sadly. “I was sorry to hear about your father, Magnus. It must have been hell to have him taken from you twice.”

“Don’t,” Magnus said. “You can’t play the nice guy. You can’t stand there offering your condolences when you Goddamn killed him the first time!”

“You’re right,” Adonis said. “What I did to you was terrible. I’ve made horrible mistakes in my life but-”

“But what?” asked Magnus. “But you’re going to right those mistakes? Fantastic! Where’s my dad? You stole him from me and I had to make a deal with the devil to get him back. You’re all about repaying your debts? Fine, you can be the one to sell your soul this time…

“If you even have one at this point.”

“I deserve that.”

“You deserve a lot more than that.”

“Like what!?!” thundered Adonis. “Like giving your wife more time!?! Like figuring out what was right in front of your nose the whole time where Contagion was concerned!?! For God’s sake, Magnus, I thought you and I were past this! You came looking for me, remember? You needed the Affiliation to buy Maria time!”

“No!” snapped Magnus. “I needed Renewal to buy Maria time—you and the rest of your flunkies just tagged along for the ride!”

“I’m not trying to steal anyone’s thunder. I just don’t understand where this hostility is coming from when I thought that we were past this petty bickering! I thought that that entire episode with Contagion had helped get us past all of this!

“I thought I could come to you with this!”

The door opened and Maria edged her way into the room. “Magnus?” she asked. “I heard shouting and-” She stopped at the sight of Adonis.

“Get back in the room, Maria,” Magnus commanded.

“What’s going on?” Maria didn’t address her husband but the leader of the Affiliation—an act that seemed to evoke more of her husband’s wrath.

“I said get back in the room, you stupid bitch!” Magnus snarled as he rounded on her. It was enough to get her to obey him and enough to force an expression of total shock onto their guest’s face.

“What’s happened to you?” Adonis asked softly. “You’re not yourself, Magnus…”

“What’s happened to me?” the man snarled. “In the last few months, I’ve died, buried my father for a second time and become a father to two brats who have apparently conspired to ensure I’m never allowed to close my eyes! Enough about me, though: what’s new with you? Rape anyone lately? Caused the deaths of a few thousand more innocent people? What!?!”

“You… died?”

“Part of me did…” Instantly, Adonis understood: part of Magnus’ ability allowed him to divide his consciousness between two parts; one body represented all that was good about his psyche while the other was an avatar of all that was negative about the man. If one part had died and Magnus was this hostile, it was obvious to the man’s former roommate that it had been the redheaded Magnus Loder—the totality of all that was good about him—who had been slain.

All that remained were the negative traits of Magnus Loder’s psyche: every impulse and urge—every dark secret and selfish ambition that filled the whole had outlasted his passion and hope. Bright optimism had been devoured by bleak pessimism; a desire to serve and protect had been eclipsed by survival instincts.
A yearning to make his family proud had died and all that remained was a longing to be praised.

“Oh, God, Magnus… I’m so sorry.”

Magnus folded his arms across his chest. “Did this visit have a point? You’re cutting into some valuable me-time: jerking it in the shower to thoughts of Chienne.”

Adonis knew the man was trying to strike a chord with him. He ignored the comment about the woman he loved and instead produced a flash drive from the pocket of his sweater. “This is a copy of all the data we have compiled on Autumn Colbenson,” Adonis said. “There isn’t much there but… I wanted to keep your camp in the loop.” The man slowly crossed the room and gently rested the device on the table beside Magnus and Maria’s couch.

“During the White War, the Affiliation took Patriot Robotics as our base of operations. Doctor Noah Meinstein had been working on something there, Magnus: three boys able to generate an impenetrable force field large enough to seal off an entire city. You remember?”

Magnus nodded. “The brats Alexa found? The ones in the tanks?”

“Those boys were bred in Patriot Robotics’ basement. They were made using genetic samples from two Nephilim: Michuru Bradshaw and Autumn Colbenson.

“Both are the children of Samael.”

“Where are you going with this?” Magnus asked.

“We don’t know… how, but we know that somehow, Autumn Colbenson is involved in almost every sick, twisted science experiment Doctor Meinstein ever came up with. Zero, Boost, Knitter, the Boys… The files are redacted but her name is in them. Everything this guy has done can be traced back to her somehow… Add in that this guy has been discreetly backing the Church of Genetic Purity and Black Box? This woman is at the root of everything you and I have faced, Magnus.”

“What’s this bitch’s power?” Magnus asked.

“I don’t know,” Adonis said sadly. “We can guess, of course: the Boys are three Primes Noah made using Autumn and Michuru’s DNA. We know that he used Mister Bradshaw simply because of how raw and destructive his power was—it acted like a catalyst to increase the ability the Boys inherited from their mother…”

“The barrier,” Magnus concluded. “This bitch has the power to make an impenetrable force field.” Suddenly, he understood Autumn’s connection to Boost: if Doctor Meinstein was trying to find a way to increase powers, Boost would act as the solution. Still, he couldn’t understand the rest: Zero and Knitter were both means of retarding Neo-Sapien powers. Why would Doctor Meinstein want to eliminate Autumn’s ability and augment it at the same time?

“We know how things connect to her, we just don’t know why. Whatever it is though?” Adonis turned back towards Magnus’ door and seized the handle. “My people are going to uncover it. It’s great what the Vindicators are doing, Magnus—I applaud them—but as they improve the way normal people see us, it will only antagonize our opponents more. The Vindicators are making them desperate: Patriot Robotics, the Church of Genetic Purity, Black Box… They all have their fingers on the trigger. It’s just a matter of who’s going to pull it first.”

Magnus said nothing more as Adonis opened the door and stepped through it. If he knew the man—and he did—he knew that Lurker was undoubtedly waiting for him in the shadows of the hall. It was likely that Adonis Skraag was no longer even in New York, let alone on campus.

Magnus Loder walked across his room and picked up the flash drive Adonis had left for him. Turning it over in his hand, he thought about who he could give it to. Portal, the current leader of the Vindicators, could likely make the best use of it, given that it concerned his megalomaniac of a father. Horde would have been a good choice as well—who knows what encrypted data he might be able to breakthrough, where Adonis’ minions had hit a brick wall? Doctor Jenkins was a bit of the best of both worlds, having the sort of intimate knowledge of Noah Meinstein that Portal had and the technically savvy Horde wielded.

Magnus Loder considered who best to give the data too and then he considered something else: once upon a time, Magnus Loder had been holding all of the cards: he had information on the Affiliation and he never took it to his allies. He was smug and confident: he believed he could take the group down by himself and that everyone would be forced to recognize how heroic and smart and clever and strong he was. He wanted the spotlight and he wanted to share it with no one.

It was one of the worst attributes of his personality…
To Be Continued... wrote:Doctor Cheryl Colbenson, Phase and Tinnitus versus Kurenai Kage
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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1110

Post by Horsenhero » Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:52 pm

See? Now I hate Deimos even more. Magnus has gone from a bartely tolerable egotist to make my eyes bleed deplorable. Ugh. This was one murder Deimos shouldn't have botched...or should've botched completely. Half measures never turn out well.

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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1110

Post by Arthur Eld » Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:16 pm

Actually, he should have just killed the negative side. Then we'd have a Magnus who actually deserves the spotlight he craves so much.

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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1110

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:20 pm

Arthur Eld wrote:Actually, he should have just killed the negative side.
Well, to be fair to Deimos, he tried...
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1111

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:31 pm

NEW VINDICATORS #102: Shiver


Chapter XI: For What It’s Worth
The middle-aged woman nearly trampled an aged volunteer as she stormed down the hall of the hospital. Clad in a grey pantsuit, the bespeckled woman’s blonde hair would have spilled just beyond her shoulders were it not pulled tightly into a bun.

Doctor Cheryl Colbenson was joined by her two most-useful agents. There was seldom a time when she was without both of them. From the moment she had assumed the position as the Director of SPB Affairs—a position title she would later have ‘interim’ affixed to—she knew she could be a target of Neo-Sapien extremists. In order to get near her, any would-be assassin would first need to get past Tinnitus’ ears; Vincent Haynes’ Neo-Sapien ability granted him clairaudience—the ability to hear the faintest of noises from a mile or more away. If they avoided his detection, they would next have to get through Phase; Cloud Goodman was capable of transforming his body into any of phase of matter: he could be water vapor, ice or liquid, making him a versatile bodyguard.

Even in his natural form, Phase’s body was malleable: another aspect of his ability allowed him to assume the appearance of anyone he wanted. At the moment, he was under orders to take on the guise of his master: for the moment, Doctor Cheryl Colbenson and Phase were identical.

It was something that drew strange stares from most of the nursing staff as their procession past—everyone but one, Phase noticed…

“Tinnitus?” the real Doctor Colbenson asked.

The nineteen-year-old said nothing. Though he followed along in rank and file, he appeared lost in thought. “Tinnitus!” the fake doctor snapped.

Tinnitus snapped out his stupor with a wide eyed expression. “We are clear,” he said in a whisper. “Something is bothering me though…”

“What?” growled the doctor. Though she trusted his ability, she didn’t like the thought of something upsetting them here and now.

“I do not know the words that would accurately explain it. My ability… I can see with my ears. In the field of vision I possess, I am detecting a hole…”

Doctor Colbenson grimaced, knowing that this could not be good. “Just what is that supposed to mean?” the woman asked, afraid to be walking into a trap.

“I’m not sure.” Tinnitus bowed his head again as he tried to listen for the hole in his hearing. He fought to rationalize who was slipping through his perfect hearing and, more importantly, how it was even remotely possible.

Phase had his suspicions: he looked back down the hall, to where the aged volunteer knocked at a patient’s door. The old man shuffled in, offering newspapers to those kept here on the fifth floor of the New Hampshire hospital.

He was the only one who did not seem disturbed by the sight of two of the same woman…

Knowing that sometimes the best way to disarm a trap was to spring it, Doctor Colbenson pushed open the door her convoy had stopped before. She passed through the threshold of the hospital room to find a mustachioed man in his early sixties lying on the bed, staring up at the ceiling in wonder. “What happened, dad?” the woman asked, softly closing the door behind her. Her agents stood as sentries governing the hall.

“I…” General Arthur Colbenson’s face contorted in deep thought. “I can’t remember…”

The woman cursed: if only she hadn’t lost the cube that was her agency’s namesake, this wouldn’t have been a problem. “I’ve sent my specialists to examine your house. Someone melted the lock with acid.” The report also claimed that acid burned a thumbprint into the door’s wood—a peculiar calling card that intrigued the woman…

The oddest piece of the puzzle to her, however, was that her father had been found unharmed; he had been lying on the couch in his sitting room, undisturbed and unable to remember much of what happened. “Who attacked you?”

“There were three of them,” he said slowly. “Three humans, at least and… a small pack of wolves.” The woman recalled her soldiers’ reports on the raid they stages on that warehouse in Canada where the refuges from the New Vindicators Academy were rumored to be: the men had mentioned wolves fighting alongside the Neo-Sapiens. “They… turned on the lights and left me with one of them…” He tried to remember their names. He had heard names. “They left me alone with the boy in the hood and he… he told me he wanted to talk and then…”

“And then what, dad?”

“I don’t remember.”

Dissatisfied, Doctor Colbenson excused herself slipped back into the hall. “An Esper?” she rationalized, trying to determine what had happened. Whoever had attacked her father undoubtedly did it because of his connection to her. These were her enemies and she had to be prepared to face them. Still, if they meant to attack the general, they had done a poor job of it. This wasn’t about hurting those close to her: this was about extracting information.

The fact that her father couldn’t remember anything about his mysterious house guest implied that they had used some sort of mental ability—not unlike those Erich von Zelewski had employed in turning her enemies into her agents. The redheaded German was just one more tool she was sad to see slip from her grasp…

Regardless, she theorized if the reason her father couldn’t remember the conversation was due to an Esper wielding telepathic powers: had someone gone into his head to retrieve information on how to strike at her, only to exorcise the memory of the encounter? Why leave him with the memory of the other two men? Why allow her father to remember the wolves? Why was the only fragment of his mind missing what pertained to this lone man’s interrogation?

“How much did you hear, Phase?”

“Enough.”

“Do you know of anyone at that school with powers like this?”

“That depends upon whether or not your father is a homosexual.”

The doctor rounded on him, ready to strike him. The aged candy stripper passed them, reminding her that they were in public and she could not so readily discipline her apparent clone here. “He is not,” she growled.

“There was a student in my graduating class named Adonis Skraag.”

The doctor shook her head. “You’re lying.”

“Pardon?”

“I’ve read the files on every student who ever went to that school. There was never a student at the New Vindicators Academy named Adonis.”

“His parents were murdered by the Church of Genetic Purity. Charges were brought against several of Bedford’s parishioners but they were all acquitted. He dated my sister. He was responsible for the White War. How can you deny that he exists?”

“I’ve never read anything on him in the school’s records. If he existed—if they had information on this supposed classmate of yours—wouldn’t someone have written something about him?”

An idea suddenly struck Phase then: “Call the base,” he commanded, praying his theory would be disproven. “Ask them to find out what they can on James Tiberius R Kirk.”

Doctor Colbenson indulged Cloud’s suspicion and put the call in to her technicians. After a few moments she shook her head at him. “We have no data-”

“Ask them to look up a student named Lawanda Murphy.”

“Try ‘Lawanda Murphy’,” she told them. She waited a few moments before shaking her head.

Phase thought on the Neo-Sapien group who had assaulted Peoria and somehow managed to instantly liberate the entire concentration camp without anyone noticing. One of them had a dangerous ability that he feared might be involved in their current crisis. She had been two years under him during his time spent at the school. Like one of his closest friends, David Meinstein, she was an heir to a portion of Patriot Robotics. “Have them look up Melynda Halcyon.”

The doctor complied and in moments her eyes widened in fear. “There’s nothing in her file but a note,” she said darkly, “and it’s addressed to me.”

“What does it say?”

“‘To Cheryl, with love.’ It’s signed, ‘Adonis.’”

Tinnitus looked at the two oddly: the revelation provided an interesting distraction to the problem he faced.

“I’m going to go and say my farewells to my father,” Doctor Colbenson said with ice in her voice. “We need to get back to base as soon as possible and try to decipher what this means.”

The volunteer knocked on the door next to General Colbenson’s room. With more speed than any normal person possessed, the old man produced a pair of kunai seemingly from out of nowhere. Even faster, he had them sailing for Black Box’s leader.

Phase shifted forms as he moved to interpose for the woman. As Doctor Colbenson crouched low and covered her head with her hands, the daggers collided with the man’s frozen body and harmlessly fell to the floor.
Doctor Colbenson shouted out orders that came out soundlessly. Immediately the doctor thought on what Tinnitus had said about their being a hole in his hearing: there was an area in the hospital where no sound was given off and now she understood that this was the source of such phenomena.

Tinnitus likewise understood the source of his confusion. He wasted no time in pulling the back of his shirt up and drawing the pistol holstered at his lower back. While Phase moved to provide Doctor Colbenson with cover until she could escape into her father’s room, Tinnitus opened fire on the old man. Each shot made no noise but the bullets still flew for the target.

At the sight of the attack the nursing staff began to scream in the muted area and flee for their lives as the strangeness only continued. In their flight, they missed the strangest sight of all: the old man deftly dodged the gunshots with staggering agility.

The attacker’s fingers sank into his neck and began to peel off the skin on his face, revealing the visage of an attractive Japanese girl underneath. With incredible speed, the ninja girl dashed forward, charging straight for her fellow Neo-Sapiens. Tinnitus continued to fire on her as Phase swung to punch her. The girl tucked one leg under her and slid under Phase’s sweeping punch. Stopping at Tinnitus’ feet, the girl snapped back to her full height and landed an uppercut into the younger agent’s jaw.

As Phase rounded on her and Tinnitus staggered back, the girl dashed through the closing door and unleashed a volley of stunning jabs into Doctor Colbenson’s stomach. As the blonde woman crumbled forward—conscious, but feeling her extremities go numb—the warrior girl quickly caught her and flashed the woman’s father a daring look.

General Colbenson shot out of bed and the girl kicked her leg into the air. Her foot connected with his jaw, forcing him to fall prone back onto his bed.

Chancing a look behind her, the kunoichi saw Phase slip under the door in his aquatic form. Phase muttered something that was never heard. Instead he sloshed towards them, elongating his body and projecting his fluid form for them. The ninja rolled her eyes at his persistence as she shifted the doctor’s body to throw her over her shoulder; the action freed up her right hand to produce another kunai. As soon as Phase saw it, he saw it thrown it for the window.

The window shattered and the ninja leapt through it. Phase followed, ready to fall for the streets. Instead he was shocked to see a gust of wind rise up and carry the ninja; she put her feet on the wall of the hospital and began to run up it.

Immediately Phase assumed his vaporous form; a living fog, he began to follow—his weightlessness allowed him to glide on the same squall the girl used to defy gravity, employing it to increase his speed.

At the rooftop he was surprised to find a helicopter waiting for the young woman and two people he took as her associates ready for battle.

One was dressed in a fine Italian suit; he wore horned rimmed glasses and carried a suitcase handcuffed to his left wrist. Raising the case above him he immediately opened the case and a pair of Dillinger pistols dropped out and into his hands.

More threatening was the Japanese man with the glowing blue eyes. It was an effect Phase knew well: “Hellfire.” He was surprised to find he could speak again. “Looks like someone finally took reality off ‘mute’…”

“Sound can’t travel in a vacuum,” explained the Nephilim. “Kaze’s power is control over the wind.”

“You thought to deafen Tinnitus,” Phase growled. “He found the silence to be suspicious and I agreed. You would have been better off to not obscure the hospital.”

“And you might have been better off not to follow.”

Hajime Hanyou’s eyes locked on Phase; even in his insubstantial form, the soul-wrenching powers allowed to a Nephilim were enough to best him.

As psionic energy assaulted his brain, Phase gave a scream and was forced to revert to his natural form. Hajime manifested a glowing, azure katana and advanced to finish his opponent.

He was stopped when the man holding down his bowler hat with one of his pistols tapped him on the shoulder with the other weapon. “We have what we came for,” said B.B. Jones. “Leave him and let’s leave.”

Hajime didn’t appreciate his subordinate ordering him around… but he wouldn’t argue with logic. Still, he was determined not to be followed: intending to subdue the agent, he delivered another shock to Phase’s soul.

As the Nephilim climbed onto the helicopter, Phase fought to simply continue kneeling on all fours. Looking up, the agent watched as the helicopter became smaller and smaller, the further and further their rogue group ascended into the sky with the leader of Black Box…
To Be Continued... wrote:"A countenance more in sorrow than in anger."
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1112

Post by Michuru81 » Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:46 pm

Chapter XII: Shiver
“If thou hast any sound or use of voice, speak to me. If there be any good thing to be done that may to thee do ease and grace to me, speak to me. If thou art privy to thy country’s fate, which happily foreknowing may avoid, O speak! Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life extorted treasure in the womb of earth, for which, they say, spirits oft walk in death, speak of it.”

Michael McDougall grinned close-lipped as he looked at his students from above the top of his ragged and worn copy of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. From the inflection he lent to the Immortal Bard’s longest play, his passion was apparent; the sophomore class did not share his enthusiasm, however: Jude Bellows, Pandora Filash, Lloyd Hilton, Raanan Lumanta, Maxwell Swift, John Titus and Andrew Woodford sat in a half circle around the man’s stool, bored out of their minds. Only Razi Lumanta seemed to truly enjoy the Bard of Avon—she was plowing through the play, determined not to be held back by the class and read at her own pace.

Lloyd’s quasi-shaven head was resting atop his arms, folded atop his desk. His book had been propped open in an attempt to keep the teacher from noticing him catching some shuteye but his book had long ago fallen to the floor. Max, meanwhile, doodled in his spiral notebook. John glanced across the aisle at his caricature and pondered why one arm was so much bigger than the other.

Andrew tried and failed to not be noticeable in his gazing longingly at Razi while Raanan didn’t even attempt to hide his cell phone as he checked his email. Beside him, Jude grinned dopily at Pandora while the purple-haired girl expertly ignored his attentions.

Two weeks had passed since the majority of them—excluding only John—had first arrived on the campus. Only a little over a week had passed since they had snuck off to slip into a nightclub usually reserved for those twenty-one or older. They counted it a blessing that none of the faculty had come to inquire about what they knew concerning the incident: it had been all over the news that two super-powered groups had clashed at Hell in a Handbasket. Though the delineations had been vague, most of the combatants were described as teenagers—at least one of which was said to exemplify characteristics of a Southeast Asian. “Maybe Malaysian or Filipino?” one witness had said. “I don’t know…”

The guilty had tensed upon hearing such a testimony broadcast on television: they knew how damning it would be to Raanan and dreaded that if the diminutive boy went down, he would take the others with him.

No one said anything though—which seemed to make it worse. For days, they nervously awaited someone to barrel out of the shadows, thrust an accusing finger at them and proclaim, “I know!” The longer they waited for it to come, the more solicitous they grew.

The mystery concerning Sergio—or Dell McLinux as Raanan had taken to calling him, once he heard about the amnesic boy’s odd transformation during the fight—only made things worse. The knowledge that the senior was some sort of android was a revelation that could have helped in deciphering his identity. Exposing such information to their teachers, however, would inevitably result in them questioning just how such an adumbration had come about.

Carl had put his foot down where Sergio was concerned: several of the students had pleaded with the robotic youth to keep his secret a little while longer. Only four seniors had gone on the trip to the nightclub however: Sergio was as apathetic as ever—even when it concerned him—and Gregaro abstained from saying anything on the grounds that regenerating androids with arms that unfolded into cannons was new ground for him. That left Carl and Gage to take the initiative and block the underclassmen from bullying the amnesic. Gage simply shrugged, putting it all in Carl’s hands…

The toe-headed senior told them all to leave Sergio alone until he made a decision. If he opted to alert the faculty to his true nature, they would have to respect such an adjudicature. In order to enforce such a mandate, Carl was seldom seen away from the android.

“The cock crows and we have this humorous moment woven in with such tragedy and drama,” Michael said. “Marcellus, wanting to stop the ghost from leaving, asks Horatio, ‘Shall I strike it with my partisan?’

“This is the opening to Hamlet, a play we’re going to spend the next two weeks reading through in class. As you’re going to be finding out, Hamlet is the basis for Disney’s The Lion King. Hamlet or Simba is visited by his late father’s ghost—King Hamlet or Mufasa—imploring him to avenge his murder at the hands of his uncle—Claudius or Scar. Timon and Pumba are analogies to Horatio and Fortinbras. Simba pushes Nala to kill herself—wait, maybe they differ there…” He paused, expecting them to laugh there. When they did not, he sucked on his bottom lip while bulging his eyes. “Rough room,” he muttered before continuing: “Both are plays about vengeance though! Hamlet’s father appears as a ghost, seeking revenge for his murder!”

Suddenly the door opened, revealing a gaggle of students seeking their hour with the English teacher. “It seems I’ve exceeded our temporal allowance,” the man conceded. “I’ll see you all tomorrow then, when we pick parts for our reading!”

The incoming class waited in the hall as Michael led his students outside. It was there that his eye caught the sight of the math teacher…

Katherine Wellor is only just over five feet and only a little bit over her ideal weight. Her strawberry-blonde hair was cut in a bob, making her head look too tiny for her broad shouldered frame. She was hardly a stunner, but then again neither was Michael. The man’s addiction to coffee had left his teeth stained tombstone yellow—a fact apparent on the rare occasions when he actually smiled. His bold nose looked as though it was trying to escape his greasy complexion and his hair was hardly ever combed.

“Kat,” he called, hailing her as she greeted her next class. “Hey, Katherine… Sam and I were going to go grab a bite to eat and catch a movie tomorrow night. Interesting in tagging along?”

She forced herself to appear apologetic. “I’d like to but-”

“If I have to I’ll get Candace back here,” he said as he flashed the woman a teasing grin. The young Esper was in Peoria for the week, visiting her family…

A few months ago, she had worked up the nerve to call her parents. For almost a year, the Strange family had feared the worst had happened to their youngest: one day, Candace had simply disappeared without a trace—her backpack and a suitcase were missing along with some of her clothes. She left a note for them on her bed—one that simply read, “I’m sorry but this is for the best.” Even though she was only writing them a letter, she was unable to pen falsehoods. The only way to keep from telling them everything that happened—the only way to keep them from becoming involved—was to keep it short and simple.

They knew about her ability; it was the reason her parents had divorced. When it became obvious that no one could tell a lie around Candace, her father theorized that she was a Neo-Sapien. Since he didn’t possess any super-human abilities and his wife didn’t possess any super-human abilities, he was forced to consider that his wife had not been faithful. Not long after he left his family, his ex-wife spontaneously decided to move from Papillion, Nebraska to Peoria, Illinois.

They knew about her ability but they did not know that it had been the catalyst for their exodus…

The Fuhrer, inhabiting the body of Erich von Zelewski, had scoured the globe for teenaged Espers. He gave a subtle suggestion to each of their parents to move to Peoria—to bring their children to him. He saw to it that each of the children was enrolled in the class he was teaching at a local high school and intended to slowly integrate them into his army of thralls.

Though one of the Damned had banished the Fuhrer and most of his loyal minions to the Astral Plane, Lebender Schatten lacked a physical form and thus was incapable of being transported there. With the wraith still on the loose, the Espers elected to leave their homes to ensure their families could not be used as leverage to make them release the rest of the Sixth Reich.

The Sixth Reich had freed themselves, however, with the help of the White Witch. They had been swiftly defeated by the Vindicators and were now secured away in Tartarus.

With the threat to her family behind her, Candace had called her mother. The woman had come to visit the school a month ago, bringing her eldest with her. Maureen showed her baby sister the engagement ring she had been given during their estrangement. The wedding was this weekend but Candace needed to be fitted for a bridesmaid dress.

She hadn’t gone alone: Christmas had suggested someone with offensive abilities go, in the unlikely event that such measures would be necessary. She seemed to have her own agenda for returning to Peoria, however and was vexed at the school’s inability to produce the obsidian cube she had brought with her from the Midwest.

Still, Candace’s ability to force those around her to tell the truth might have kept Katherine Wellor from uttering whatever excuse she had to cloister herself in her apartment this time. For weeks, the man had been trying—and failing—to get the reclusive woman to join him and the members of the faculty he had befriended. Like Christmas, he had ulterior motives: he didn’t want to befriend her but woo her.

He wasn’t the only one with romantic intentions: Jude Bellows was the last one out of the classroom. He stood beside the two teachers and looked both ways down the hall. That he was short didn’t help his search—that his quarry wasn’t much taller was hardly a boon either. Still, through the congested hall he could make out the back of a purple head. A determined look splashed over his face an instant before he used his Neo-Sapien power to teleport to her side. “Hey, Pandora!” he cheerful said.

“Hey, Jude,” she apathetically muttered, keeping her focus straight ahead.

“Awesome song. Do you like the Beatles?”

“Not really.”

“Yeah, me either. So, what kind of music are you into?”

“The good kind.”

“Yeah? Like… what, like… like…”

“Don’t think too hard,” Pandora said. “You might have to go change your pants if you strain anymore.”

Jude forced himself to laugh. “That’s a good one. You’re funny, Pandora. Funny and smart and cute…”

The girl rolled her eyes; she knew what was coming: every day since they had arrived at the school, Jude had asked her out. He hadn’t given her much say the night they had gone to Hell in a Handbasket—he simply found her, grabbed her arm and told her that the others were all going to a nightclub. The only reason she hadn’t resisted was that the scene sounded somewhat interesting to her and the prospect of their classmates would keep it from turning into a date.

That was what she thought. Jude, however, had decided it was a date. Now, he tried to carry her books from class to class. He waited for her to sit down in the lunchroom before he took a seat—always right beside her. He always seemed to be “just passing by” whenever she left her room to use the restroom—the only respect for her privacy the lovesick boy possessed extended to her bedroom and the restroom, but the distance between them was fair game.

While any other girl might have enjoyed the extra attention he showed her, it was getting on the young woman’s nerves.

“You doing anything Friday?” he asked hopefully.

She knew she needed to do something about this: she wanted him to leave her alone—to go find someone else to pester. “Yes,” she said firmly. She stopped in the middle of the hall and turned her cold stare on him. “Friday night I will be busy trying to avoid you, Jude. I will be sitting in my room, holding my bladder until it hurts, because every time I head towards the bathroom, you’re there. If I go to the library, you’re there. If I head down to the common room to hang out, you’re there. The cafeteria? Guess who!?! I can’t move in this school without you being right there and it’s getting annoying!

“I’ve tried to be nice about it. I’ve politely turned you down time and time again. I’ve dropped hints but you… You don’t get the message! For the thousandth time, I don’t care that your stuff got shipped here! I don’t want to come to your room and watch a hard drive full of B-Movies! I’m sick of hearing about that stupid makeup kit—no, I don’t want you to rubber warts on my nose or have some stupid, prosthetic eye dangling over my cheek! I’m sick of smelling the cologne you must bathe in! What I want—get it now—is for you to leave me alone you short, stupid, clueless, immature, smelly geek!”

She turned on her heel and the crowd that had gathered around them shifted to let her stomp away. Once she was gone, all eyes were on Jude, standing in the middle of the hall. He looked around and saw Lloyd and Max struggling to rein in their mirth; Laura Geraldo looked like she was about to cry; Mort Norris was pointing and laughing; Carl flashed him a sympathetic look that mirrored Andrew’s; Raanan was fighting to keep his cell phone steady as he his body shook with laughter. “This is so going on YouTube!” he roared.

Determined not to let them see him cry, Jude used his Neo-Sapien power and disappeared from the hallway…

Pandora pressed on. At the end of the hall, she hurried down the stairs and exploded through the doors that divided the classrooms’ wing from the Lighthouse. This time of day, the Common Room was empty—the rest of the student body was moving from class to class. She had been excused from her next period, however…

The sophomore had known that this was coming for sometime: every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, she and the rest of her class had been forced to endure the school’s version of physical education. One-part exercise and one-part basic self-defense training, the two instructors had warned the students that occasionally throughout the semester, they would be required to meet for solo lessons. Last week, Chienne Bedford strode into Miss Wellor’s algebra class and excused John Titus for the rest of the afternoon. When she next saw him, he was excitedly showing Lloyd and Max how he could fire his body’s perspiration from his body like legions of tiny, sweaty bullets.

These solo lessons were meant to help develop each student’s grasp of their powers. Magnus and Chienne considered each student individually and theorized what should and should not have been possible with their abilities. Given how her powers had manifested, Pandora was hardly eager to learn to more ways to wield them—she just wanted a finer control.

Fifteen minutes later, she was garbed in the black and white uniform all of the students were given. She hated the very notion of conformity but there was no helping the rules… She stood in the center of the Wreck Room, watching Chienne Bedford orbited her slowly. The woman fixed the pudgy girl with a searching gaze that—coupled with her silence and pacing—came off as intimidating. Magnus Loder leaned against the walls beside the exit, smirking knowingly at the two females.

“Name the states of matter,” Chienne commanded suddenly.

Pandora gulped. “Solid, liquid, gas.” She paused before adding, “Plasma?”

“Exactly,” the blonde woman said. “In physics and chemistry, plasma is a form of ionized gas. Electrons are not bound to a molecule but are free roaming, giving it properties that differentiate it from solids, liquids and gases.

“Earlier this year, the Vindicators based out of Tokyo buried their leader. Codenamed the Rising Sun, her powers were very similar to your own, Pandora.” As Chienne talked, Magnus used the remote in his hands to summon up the image they had queued into the Wreck Room’s computer. Suddenly, the trio was standing in a circular chamber with hewn stone floors and wrought iron railings that snaked along the stone stairs that curved around both sides of the room; the stairs led to a balcony across from the doors—several spectators, all garbed in the school’s black and white uniforms, stood looking down on them.

Pandora followed Chienne’s gaze to the four who stood in the center of the room. She recognized Missus Goodman but not the large, graying man who stood at her side. Similarly, the two young people who faced each other were alien to her: one was a pale, thin blonde boy who wore no shirt while the other was an attractive girl who claimed both Japanese and Korean ancestry.

“Are you ready?” the big man asked.

Both of the holographic teenagers nodded.

“Then fight!”

Pandora felt sick as she watched two of the male’s ribs push their way through his flesh. His hands flew to his stomach and tore the bones apart. Pandora’s reaction to the sight of the daggers they had become matched the Rising Sun’s.

As Scrimshaw deftly whirled the knives between his fingertips, his flesh slowly began to knit itself back together. The display of power marked him as a hand-to-hand combatant and, seeking to strip him of such a benefit, the Rising Sun took to the skies. Here, the scene paused. “The Rising Sun flew by way of generating solar winds,” Chienne explained, “a stream of charged particles ejected from the upper atmosphere of the sun permitting an escape from gravity. This stream of plasma manifests the Heliosphere: a bubble that encapsulates the entire solar system and can induce geomagnetic storms that can drop power grids here on Earth.”

“And you think I can do that?” Pandora asked. “You think I can fly?”

“We think you can do more than that,” Magnus said as he approached the two women. “I don’t think you realize how powerful you are yet. Did you know that the Rising Sun could use your abilities to generate electricity? The ability of the positive and negative charges to move independently makes plasma electrically conductive. Not only does it respond to electromagnetic fields, it can manipulate them.

“I’m guessing you don’t know what a stellarator is, do you Pandora? It’s a device that imbues plasma with magnetic fields to confine a nuclear fusion reaction. Think about that for a second, Pandora: in the event of a nuclear holocaust, all it would take is you and me to defuse the situation. Sobering, isn’t it?”

“At the moment you’re only using your abilities in the most simple of ways,” says Chienne. “We intend to push all of you to consider everything that you’re fully capable of. Push your boundaries. With a little effort, you might be able to generate electricity, control magnetic waves…

“Influence gravity…”

With his fingers on the controller, Magnus began to fast-forward through the two-year-old battle from the Trials. He slowed as they approached the end of the Rising Sun’s battle against Scrimshaw. By now, the girl was bleeding; crimson stained the floor and dark clouds floated on her uniform. “This is where she realized that the same mechanics that enable her to fly could be reversed,” Chienne explained. “The Heliospheric current has a small electrical current rotating throughout it. Now, imagine the underlying magnetic field rapidly spinning around this storm of energy, fighting to pin it all down…”

Pandora watched as the Rising Sun knelt on her hands and knees with her opponent’s sword driven through her stomach. Scrimshaw crumbled to the floor before her. Flat on his back, she could see the blonde boy struggling to move.

It was here that the instructors again paused the scene. “In a moment of desperation, she realized that she could generate her own gravitational field and force everything around her down to the ground.” Magnus shook his head before letting the rest of the scene play. “However, it’s believed that the strain of using her powers in this way, coupled with the injuries she sustained, are what led to her losing consciousness.” Pandora watched as the Rising Sun fell to her side; Scrimshaw got to his feet, was declared the victor and the medical staff came to tend to the girl’s wounds.

“For now, don’t focus on controlling the gravity around you,” Chienne said, “just work on trying to fly.”

“Fly?” Pandora asked. “That’s… that’s what we’re doing here?”

Magnus nodded. “What? You were expecting something else?”

“I guess I’m just surprised it’s not so… lethal.”

Chienne frowned at the statement. “Considering where you were when I found you, Pandora, I didn’t think it would be prudent to start this semester off by-”

“I got it,” Pandora said curtly. She did not need to be reminded of what had happened—she thought about it constantly. “No, I… I like it better this way.”

“Well, all right then…” the woman said. “Time to get to work. We didn’t go through all this to tell you what you should be able to do.” The ground lurched and the metal plate Pandora was standing on rose into the air. Chienne’s eyes were gone—in their place was a pair of white flames. “Mister Loder and I are going to trade off on keeping you in the air. You want down? Either you fall down or you fly down; one or the other.

“What’s it gonna be?”
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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1112

Post by The_Broken_Angel » Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:25 am

Hey, great post man, (as Always), loving the story, it seems almost superhuman how you can keep the story going after so long, and keep me on the eadge of my seat while your at it!

Got something to ask though, dont know if i should post it here or not, but with the whole mythology of your 'verse- i have got to ask- how do you you deal with wear people go when they die? is it that some goes to wherever, based on what they did in life, or is it based on a very strict, 'old testement style' way of looking at wrongs and rights? and for that matter, would it matter what religion you believe in at all?
And on that note, how does your gaming group handle the whole religion part of your games for that matter?

Thanks
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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1112

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:18 pm

The_Broken_Angel wrote:Got something to ask though, dont know if i should post it here or not, but with the whole mythology of your 'verse- i have got to ask- how do you you deal with wear people go when they die? is it that some goes to wherever, based on what they did in life, or is it based on a very strict, 'old testement style' way of looking at wrongs and rights? and for that matter, would it matter what religion you believe in at all?
To begin with, I am a Christian. Specifically, I am a Baptist; even more specifically, I am a bad Baptist… Now, that’s not to say I’m a horrible person—just that I feel as though my inability to amalgamate myself into the collective perceptions of my fellow believers leaves me the black sheep of the family. For instance, I’m in favor of gay marriage, I’m pro-choice and I have never actually fired a gun in my life which… is pretty much the antithesis of being a Baptist…

The cosmos of the Oubliverse is heavily influenced by Judeo-Christian beliefs, with an emphasis on “Judeo”. Different Christian religions use different Bibles. Jews hold true to the Old Testament, while the Christian Bible is the Old and New Testaments fused together. Other faiths hold that the story continues even after the New Testament; I think a certain Broadway musical puts it best: “Wow! So the Bible is actually a trilogy? And the Book of Mormon is Return of the Jedi!?!”

Most Protestants don’t employ any of the Apocrypha—books most churches don’t consider divinely inspired (because, you know, they clearly have the ability to make such a distinction with zero chance of error) while the Catholic church employs some of it. Essentially, when it comes to the Bible, most religions sort of pick and choose what they want to pay attention to. For added fun, some of them consider books canonical but don’t think they should be taken literally: Protestants assert that Revelation is a prophesy of things to come while Catholics approach it with a historicist view.

I digress though; I tend to do that fairly frequently…

My point is that while I myself am most identified as being as a non-practicing Baptist, the majority of the mythos behind the Oubliverse comes from apocrypha. I always had a problem with the chronology of the Bible: God creates the universe, makes man, leaves him in the Garden of Eden and along comes the Serpent—generally accepted to be Satan. Later on, we’re told Satan was once an angel who fell… but when did that story occur? Asking various pastors never yielded much aid here… but apocrypha offers more than an explanation…

The story of the Grigori comes out of Enoch. Actually, if you look at the story, you’ll realize how horrible mine is: in the apocrypha, the leader of the Grigori is Semyazza; in the Oubliverse, Samael is the only Seraph to fall with the Grigori. Essentially, the idea of Lucifer rebelling against God because God created man in his own image and then commanded the angels to serve said image comes out of apocrypha. The notion that a second fall occurred when the Grigori abandoned their posts to mate with human women is also straight out of apocrypha.

There is a verse from the Judeo-Christian Bible that touches on the cosmos of the Oubliverse: Genesis 6:4 reads, “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” While most scholars suggest that this (the reason for the Deluge) shows that angels mated with humanity, most churches hold that this verse is talking about Seth’s line (sons of God) marrying into Cain’s (daughters of men). Still, any other instance of “sons of God” refers to angels, so why shouldn’t it be so for this verse?

There’s a few other instances of the Oubliverse drawing on the apocrypha for its origins… Remember all of those Nephilim Apocatastasis resurrected? Their names all come out of the Lesser Key of Solomon. Way back in the seventh New Vindie’s book, Mister McDougall, under the effect of Candace’s truth-telling powers, refers to events chronicled in the Book of Tobit. The point is, my own religion has little effect on this world. Baptists (even us non-practicing ones) tend not to even look at the apocrypha and the Oubliverse drinks pretty heavily from it.

As far as where people go when they die… it’s not something I really plan on touching on. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had her say it but… I know at one point, I had intended for Maria to talk about what happened when she died: her experience with death was going to be nothingness—same as it is for Rumble and Bulwark. The idea is that they’re not done with their story yet, so why spoil the ending? Some crazy alphabet guy knows that they’re going to be going back and doesn’t allow them to sneak a peek at where they’re bound.

Why do I do it like that? Mostly because I don’t want to alienate anyone. Most Protestant churches (like mine) hold that there’s only one way out of Hell while Catholicism, Islam, LDS, ect. hold that there’s another way. Now, let’s say Maria came back from the dead and said she’d where she’d been. Wherever she had been would vindicate one religion while condemning another, and that’s not what I’m here to do. I’m not here to say, “I’m right, you’re wrong” or anything of the sort… because there exists the chance that I’m wrong and you’re right.
The_Broken_Angel wrote:And on that note, how does your gaming group handle the whole religion part of your games for that matter?
From the first session, my secret was always that Neo-Sapiens were descended from demons. When I first began fleshing out the campaign world, the first page of my notebook had Genesis 6:4 sprawled across it—it was the concept around which the rest of the world took shape. My players, however, did not learn of this for several months…

At the time, the group consisted of an atheist, an agnostic, a Catholic, two Baptists and two non-denominational Christians. When Samael revealed, “Oh, hey, the Old Testament? That happened—I was there. I’m an angel—a fallen angel—you all have infernal blood in your veins and we’re in a war against demonkind”, none of them stopped and said, “Stop trying to convert me!” Most of them just sort of went, “Cool, so… can we go kill Adonis now?”

Today, my group consists of two of the same players. Where do the other five go on Sunday mornings? Couldn’t tell you but so far, no one has been offended by Biblical elements being distorted/infused into the game setting.
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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1112

Post by The_Broken_Angel » Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:15 am

by Michuru81
To begin with, I am a Christian. Specifically, I am a Baptist; even more specifically, I am a bad Baptist… Now, that’s not to say I’m a horrible person—just that I feel as though my inability to amalgamate myself into the collective perceptions of my fellow believers leaves me the black sheep of the family. For instance, I’m in favor of gay marriage, I’m pro-choice and I have never actually fired a gun in my life which… is pretty much the antithesis of being a Baptist…


The More You Know!

Hey, thanks for all that, (I thought you would just write a paragraph, so its kinda awsome that you wrote a entire page!), im just interested in the cosmology, 'is all. I consider myself a "Everythingist", i would go teach wicca in a synagogue, then turn right around and go, stand with my boyfriend and sing in a christian choir.

Its good to see how your beliefs inpact the game, without going into a huge rant. In my M&M world, we had a 'Psudo-Christian' cosmology. We had angels and demons, and a few other things taken from a couple of other religions. But It wasnt a clear cut as the standerd "Angels=Good, Demons=Bad" that you see in other games.

There were 'Demons' walking around that still had there halos and wings, and 'Angels' Breathing sulfur
in your face, some of the angels were as evil as the demons, (Though, mind you, most of the demons were still a bunch of Douchs),and even the devil (Who the players had the... pleasure... of meeting at a couple of points) was more of a depreased, sulking teenager than the embodiment of evil, due to the whole 'an entire religion, numbering in the millions, that, while argueing amongst eachover, all agree that, one day, the universe is going to kick your ass, while saying that He/She/It, Did no wrong by introduceing sin to humanity, as 'It' See's events, i was like setting a disgustingly perfect bird (Humanity) out of its gilded cage ('Perfection')


In the end, it was more of a 'political party' rather than a Permanant choice feel, with lots of little groups spread around, constantly changing goals and increasing and decreasing in size, rather than good.vs.evil.

But I Digest...

On a completley different note...i have been reading a bit, and i Have to ask...is Mr LMNO.P.QRS (or how ever you spell his name), is he...God? not the whole 'Reality warping" or 'breaking the forth wall" stuff, but its just some of the serious things he says kinda make you think...

Anyway!, good work and keep on writing!
Twisted tales and Broken Lifes, another one is doomed to die, while the mortals ran for all, there was no gods to stand at all, yet with strange eons, even death may fall...

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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1112

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:44 pm

The_Broken_Angel wrote:(I thought you would just write a paragraph, so its kinda awsome that you wrote a entire page!)
Getting me to talk isn't the challenge; getting me to shut up? ;) I like hearing the sound of my own voice...
The_Broken_Angel wrote:On a completley different note...i have been reading a bit, and i Have to ask...is Mr LMNO.P.QRS (or how ever you spell his name), is he...God? not the whole 'Reality warping" or 'breaking the forth wall" stuff, but its just some of the serious things he says kinda make you think...
I'm not sure; I've never asked him. ;)
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1113

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:07 pm

Chapter XIII: The Shape of My Heart
Norman Goodman leaned forward and spoke into the microphone. “All right, Sergio,” he intoned, “we’re coming down.” Vacating the Wreck Room’s control booth for the chamber’s main floor, he took in the single fixture of the room: the senior who couldn’t remember his existence prior to appearing in a mysterious pillar of light that deposited him in Midtown Manhattan. He was followed by Doctor Howell and Doctor Jenkins, the man who had modified the Wreck Room for this very purpose…

X-rays were nothing more than electromagnetic radiation; by simply adjusting the wavelength of the light the Wreck Room solidified, it was possible to turn the chamber into one giant x-ray machine.

Together, the four men watched as the films appeared floating before them. “You were correct, Sergio…” Doctor Howell said as he scrutinized the holographic image before him. “You lack a skeletal system—beneath your flesh is naught but a metallic chassis.”

“So, I’m a robot?” the amnesic asked. “That’s why I don’t get hungry or why I don’t sleep…”

“It would certainly explain the circumstances surrounding your arrival,” Doctor Howell said. “While you don’t seem to remember it, the Vindicators who brought you here said that after Mister Hamilton absorbed the pillar of light into his body, you were left lying in a heap of robotic parts. As I understand it, Horde is currently studying them—perhaps he can offer more insight into this revelation? If you’ll allow us, Sergio, I could also consult with a few others: I can send a copy of these scans to Mister Manuel at the Vienna school. He’s brilliant and one of the students there possesses an ability that bequeaths uncanny acumen upon him. Along with Doctor Jenkins, I’m sure they’ll uncover the truth behind your sudden appearance.”

While James Howell was a medical doctor with a strong focus on oncology, Zachary Jenkins was a doctor of engineering. Since joining the staff of the New Vindicators Academy of America, he had been brought in to consult on only one medical case so far: in the wake of Deimos’ last battle, Doctor Jenkins had been asked to design the prosthetic leg Eli Cron now employed.

When Sergio had come to the infirmary theorizing that he might be an android, Doctor Howell had once more asked the man to give his opinion on their findings: “Whoever designed this must have been a genius,” the engineer intoned. “When you first came to us, you were measured and weighed.” His eyes never left the scans as he asked Norman, “Didn’t he come in under two-hundred pounds?”

“Sergio’s six feet tall and you weigh one-hundred and sixty pounds,” the nurse offered.

“Your body must be made from a light-weight alloy—maybe titanium or some kind of aluminum alloy? The lack of internal organs helps to compensate for that but… My God, the measures that were taken to make you indistinguishable from anyone else…” He moved as though he might put his hand over the boy’s mouth and stopped less than an inch away. “He inhales and exhales! If I had to guess, I’d wager that you don’t necessarily breathe but were built to fake it. Your lungs are nothing more than a very deceptive cooling system—likely there to keep the instrument we can hear ‘beating’ in your chest from overheating…

“Absolutely incredible…”

“Yeah, but what about this?” Sergio extended his arm and forced the same transformation he had witnessed weeks ago while fighting the power_gamers. According to Sergio, it was a feature he had only discovered just yesterday—the reason he asked to be scanned. He pointed out what was engraved on the inside plates. “What does that mean?” he asked. “Sentry Model #18769? Is that what I am? Just… one in a series?”

The word “Sentry” troubled everyone present: Sentries were the name of the giant robots Black Box employed in their raid of the school. It didn’t take Doctor Jenkins’ sagacity to recognize the hand of Doctor Noah Meinstein in their design: Sentries looked like larger versions of Portal, although less bulky. Lacking a cavity for a human pilot allowed the man to install the hydraulics that enabled them to move, the servers that processed them, and the power source that ran the machines inside of them.

Everyone in the room looked worriedly to Sergio: was he the latest model Doctor Meinstein had produced? A prototype capable of passing itself off as a normal human? Had he staged the pillar of light merely to draw the Vindicators to his spy, knowing what they would do with an amnesic youth who had appeared in such an astonishing fashion?

Was he able to spy on them through Sergio? Could he activate Sergio from a distance and give him the order to terminate everyone on the campus?

The headmaster put on a veneer of tranquility and smiled reassuringly at his charge. “I’m not sure, son,” Doctor Howell offered. “Perhaps after my colleagues and I ruminate on it after some time, we will have answers to give you…”

He watched the android leave the Wreck Room. Only when the trio was alone did the headmaster look to the other two with sad eyes. “We can’t have him walking the halls,” Doctor Jenkins said darkly. “There’s no telling what Noah’s planning with him, James.”

“How could there be that many!?!” Norman thundered. “I mean, are those numbers a reflection of all the different sentries or just his particular type? How could that madman have built eighteen thousand giant robots and no one ever noticed!?!”

“Gentlemen,” Doctor Howell intoned, “what is needed most at this moment is that we remain calm. Zachary? You worked under Doctor Meinstein for years. You know him better than either of us so… tell me, is this level of engineering something he’s capable of?”

Doctor Jenkins thought on his answer for a moment. “I want to say ‘no’,” he offered slowly, “but that wouldn’t be the truth. Doctor Meinstein is a madman who rides on the coattails of other geniuses. The Zero System? The Zero Grid? The Portal Key? Those were my babies, Doctor Howell. I’m not arrogant enough to suggest that no one else could have made the strides that I did but…” A sigh escaped the man’s lips. “It’s the same with the Primes or Knitter or Boost—Doctor Boguslaw Czesak, Doctor Francis Bacon and Doctor John O’Reilly were the pioneers behind those breakthroughs… Still, they couldn’t have done it without his support. We’re not just talking about funding either, James. Noah has his hands in so much that he can give his lackeys access to things they could get nowhere else…

“It’s entirely possible that he found someone to engineer such a marvel. The light-weight body, the way the parts simulate base human functions—even the way his skin feels!”

“Hold up,” Norman said, “doesn’t it strike either of you as weird that someone would go to so much trouble to make something that… on the surface looks like a normal person but becomes so obviously inhuman to anyone who looks deeper? I mean, look at that cannon he’s packing in his right arm! Why not just equip him with death ray eye beams or whatever sci-fi trope you people are so fond of? Why make something so stealthy be so flashy in what’s apparently it’s lone mode of attack? Further, what about his fingerprints? Like you pointed out, Doctor Jenkins, Sergio’s skin feels like real skin! His touch is warm, his flesh is spongy and pliable! Why go to all the trouble to make something so lifelike if you’re going to skip over the little details like unique fingerprints? If Sergio was sent here as… as a Terminator or something, wouldn’t his creators have realized one of the first things we would do to try and help him figure out who he is would be to fingerprint him?”

“Not if they didn’t count on him becoming amnesic,” Doctor Jenkins offered.

“Or did they?” asked Doctor Howell. “I’ve been trying to puzzle it out ever since the Vindicators brought Sergio, Carl and Gage here… According to Portal, Sergio said two words before he collapsed: Sol Invictus—Invincible Sun.

“Sol Invictus was the sun god of the Roman Empire and the head of a cult established by the forty-forth Roman Emperor, Aurelian. I’m afraid my knowledge of the occult is severely limited. I contacted Doctor White last week, simply to ask if he had any knowledge of such a deity having been an actual person. After all, it seems as though Odin and Zeus were real—why not Sol Invictus?”

“I guess that would explain the light,” Norman mused.

Doctor Howell dared not delve further into this line of thinking—not with Doctor Jenkins here. The headmaster had mentally mapped connections between the trio of seniors: Sergio arrived in a beam of light that Carl was able to absorb into him, just as Gage showed up claiming to have been led there by someone who may or may not have been Doctor Jenkins’ dead son Drew.

As far as he knew, Doctor Jenkins was not privy to the knowledge that Drew had conquered the grave and he wished to keep it that way…

Regardless, he couldn’t help but wonder if there was something unseen connecting the three boys: Sergio, who had been freed by Carl, and Gage, who had been led to them. Drew had not led Gage to the school but to that spot—to the light that had drawn Carl and delivered Sergio. There was a connection there… but what?

“Regardless, we can’t just let him wander the halls freely! We can’t risk Noah having a foothold here!”

“And what would you suggest, Zachary?” asked Doctor Howell. “Strap the boy down and dismantle him?”

“If it protects the students here!”

“You can’t do that to him,” Norman declared. “I know what he is physically but… there’s something else going on here... I don’t know if ‘mentally’ is the right word but… Look, I admit that I’m out of my pay grade on this one. I’m just the school nurse. I don’t know anything about artificial intelligence—nothing more than T.V. and movies have told me—but I know what I’ve seen...

“You know that girl who teleports liquids with her mind? Cheyenne? Over the weekend, I was heading down to the infirmary and she came in—asked Sergio if she could have the television. He primarily camps out in the Common Room and watches television. He’s more prone to sharing then Bulwark or Curler or whatever we’re calling him now ever was but when Cheyenne turned it over to some country music countdown thing, he left. Apparently, he likes most genres of music but he can’t stand country.”

“He’s taking art,” Doctor Howell said quietly.

Doctor Jenkins looked to the headmaster with a puzzled expression on his face. “What does that have to do with anything?” he asked.

“I believe that beauty exists but I can’t prove that it exists. Still, when it is right in front of me—when I listen to “As Tears Go By” or when I read Keats or when I look at my lady love—I can’t deny that I am experiencing something beautiful. Still, beauty is subjective: I find Doctor Samantha Talley to be the most beautiful woman who ever walked this earth and yet, I realize not everyone will share that opinion. Similarly, she has this bizarre notion in her head that the string arrangement of most of the songs found on December’s Children is clumsy and lacks the personality of any Beatles’ album.

“There is no practical reason for me to believe in the existence of beauty. It’s hardly necessary for me to believe in it. Belief in beauty is not logical. Yet, Sergio elected to enroll himself in an art class and apparently favors the exquisite windows into the lives of the middle class Vermeer offers.”

“That’s it?” Doctor Jenkins asked. “That’s your argument for why we shouldn’t restrain a walking weapon? He doesn’t like a steel guitars and his favorite colors are blue and yellow!?!”

“No,” the headmaster offered, “we’re simply suggesting that it’s hard to consider dissecting a student who exhibits such individuality. Whatever Sergio is externally, he is hardly an automaton. He exhibits free will-”

“Free will that Noah could override with the push of a button, James!” The engineer took a deep breath and slowly shook his head. “It was about three years ago that I met Doctor Natalie Styles. She came to my house in Brooklyn, told me who she was… She told me my son had manifested powers and was being brought home. She told me that it wasn’t safe for him to stay with me anymore. She told me that it wasn’t safe for my son to stay with his father!

“Doctor Styles told me that this school was a place where people like Drew would be safe. Despite everything that’s happened, I don’t regret sending Drew here, James… This school strives to give kids like my Drew a place where they’re safe and by letting that weapon roam the halls, you’re endangering them!”

It was Doctor Howell’s turn to sigh. “Zachary, please try to understand: I cannot, in good conscience, allow a young man-”

“A weapon! One of Noah’s weapons!”

“-be torn apart because of what he could be! Don’t you understand, Zachary? That’s the same argument they make for all of us!” He pointed towards a vacant wall and then back to himself, indicating the general populace and Neo-Sapiens. “Doctor Meinstein or Black Box or the Church of Genetic Purity—they all argue that we have the potential to be dangerous and therefore are a danger to the rest of the world! They argue that because of the threat we collectively represent, it’s justified to hunt us down and lock us away—to murder us or experiment on us like some sort of modern Mengele!

“Sergio or Dell or whatever sobriquet we’re using demonstrates things he likes and things he dislikes!”

“We accept that the boy was created with the direct intention of blending in with mankind!” thundered Doctor Jenkins. “In order for him to do so, he would have to have some ability to mimic human traits! Why are you so apt to ignore the possibility that he exhibits likes and dislikes because Noah programmed him to!?! It would be like Noah to play upon your sympathies, James!”

“Except that the man has never met me! He knows nothing about me! Besides, if you accept that Doctor Meinstein is capable of producing such an advanced A.I., why can you not accept that this miracle would rebel against its original programming? Is it not within the realm of possibilities that Doctor Meinstein created something so intelligent that it developed a conscience all its own?”

“With all due respect,” Norman nervously offered, “you’re both idiots! Neither of you have even considered the most obvious problem with this entire line of thinking: if Doctor Meinstein built Sergio to spy on us, why would he stamp something so damning inside his arm? Even if he didn’t count on us finding it, why risk putting it in there? I mean… doesn’t that strike anyone else as odd?”

Neither Doctor Howell nor Doctor Jenkins knew what they could say to such a theory: the presence of the engraved words and digits did seem to dissolve any argument that Sergio had been built by their enemies to spy on them. In its place, it left a new question: had Sergio been built to make them suspect the CEO of Patriot Robotics? Why? What did anyone have to gain from them being more suspicious of the company than they already were?

Suddenly, a darkness descended over the three men’s hearts and minds: it was better when they suspected Doctor Noah Meinstein than to have no inkling as to who had built Sergio and why. “Better the devil you know…” Doctor Howell said sadly. Before they could begin to ponder this newest mystery, a voice cut across the intercom…

“Good evening, gentlemen.” Turning and looking up towards the control both revealed Dane at the controls. “I apologize if I’m interrupting something but… I was wondering if I could have the room to prepare for tomorrow’s driving lesson?”

“Of course not, Michael!” announced the headmaster, forcing himself to send cheery. “We were just about to clear out anyway! I dare not consider what fate would befall me were I to miss my fiancé’s nightly video call.”

“Speaking of which,” Dane asked, “tell me you’ve reconsidered the bachelor party…”

As the trio made their way back towards the entrance, the room shifted around them. Suddenly, they were walking down a bustling sidewalk, past the busy street that would no doubt serve as the scene for tomorrow’s lesson. “While I firmly hold that whatever plans you made would be far tamer than anything Mister Noble intended to concoct, I reiterate: I have no predilection for the single life, let alone in bidding it adieu.” Doctor Howell opened the door of a small coffee shop and Norman led Doctor Jenkins inside; the men were now flanked by the doors to the men’s and women’s locker rooms while the stairs to the control booth were ahead of them. “I believe we should offer our own Mister Meinstein what we’ve discerned here today,” Doctor Howell said in a hushed tone. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Dane but that he didn’t want to have to argue against detaining Sergio again. “Perhaps he can offer some insight into why someone would try to make us suspect his father behind Sergio’s design.”

When neither Doctor Jenkins or Norman offered anything to add, the man forced a smile to overpower his dark and worried expression and continued moving forward…
To Be Continued... wrote:"Thou canst not then be false to any man."
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 1114

Post by Michuru81 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:28 pm

Chapter XIV: Summer’s End
Gage stopped outside his door and read the currents moving around him. He could feel the electricity racing through the wires hidden behind drywall, forming a map of his surroundings. He saw nothing but darkness shattered by a white-blue outline. It moved down the hall, curved around every room…

The only difficulty the blind young man had in getting around the school were the occasional decorations left in the open: a table holding potted plants here or a water fountain there. While he had learned to simply walk down the middle of the hall, he had the occasional run in with one of his classmates: not all of them carried a cell phone or perpetually listened to their iPods; so long as they were carrying an electronic device on their person, Gage could detect their presence.

It was this ability that allowed him to sense whether or not Raanan would be in their room. Of late, the sophomore had been spending less and less time there. Strangely enough, so did his vast collective of potted plants: over the last week, the number of plants occupying the room began to dwindle—an aspect Gage noticed only because he had stopped bumping into them. With Raanan gone yet again, Gage began to feel about in an attempt to discern how many plants still remained: his hands found a single plant—a tall tree that rested in the corner of their room nearest the foot of Raanan’s bed. The blind youth’s fingers found the acuminate tip of the oval leaves; knowing next to nothing about horticulture, Gage had no idea that the only plant the remained was a dwarf ficus benjamina.

None of it made sense to him: why would Raanan have so many plants shipped from his home in Georgia, go to such lengths to ensure the delivery men did exactly as he commanded, only to banish them from their room? Gage had mentioned the phenomena to one of his classmates only to learn that the plants had not been distributed around the school. As far as Carl Hamilton knew, Raanan hadn’t been leaving his collection of flora strung about the halls or in the library.

There were other mysteries surrounding the Filipino youth’s behavior: each night, Gage went to sleep positive that Raanan was not in their room, only to wake to find him ready to start the day. Each night when Gage rested his head on his pillow, he was incapable of detecting either of the two cell phones Raanan was perpetually equipped with, only to sense them the next morning when his alarm clock sounded.

Something was up and Gage was determined to find out what…

That night, after he had made sure that Raanan was not in their room, Gage pushed his dresser against the door. Now, the only way in or out would be their window. In the top drawer of his foot locker was a roll of electrician’s tape. He quickly went to work sealing the window and carefully poked holes in the tape with an ink pen. When he was finished he felt over the tape. His name was now spelled out in Braille across the surface.

Gage emptied a bottle of water under the covers of his own bed and then sat down on Raanan’s bed; if he fell asleep, he didn’t want his roommate given any room for excuses. He tried to keep himself awake by working on fixing an old television he had pilfered from a dumpster in Queens. All of the campus’ televisions were too new—he couldn’t see them the way he could older televisions. Still, his head drooped sometime after midnight only to shoot back up when he heard Raanan’s arrival. “The hell is this!?!” his roommate exclaimed.

It took Gage a moment to realize what he had been orchestrating. “How did you get in here?” he asked, pushing the television aside and rising to his feet.

“Uh, I’ve been here all night,” Raanan said.

“No, you haven’t,” Gage growled. “I’m blind, not stupid: I can see electronics, Raanan. Your cell phones weren’t in here-”

“You can see my cell phones?”

“You weren’t in here.”

“You can’t read my e-mail or anything, right?”

“I can’t see your texts or listen in on your phone calls or look at your browsing history. I can just sense your phones.”

“Sorry to disappoint you,” Raanan said with a voice filled with relief, “but I got in after you fell asleep.”

“How? The door was blocked.” Gage’s hands felt over the window—the tape stamped with his name was still in place.

“I was here all night!” Raanan exclaimed. “You were in my bed so I slept in yours.”

“Sleep comfortably?”

“Yeah.”

Gage pulled back the comforter. “Did you wet the bed, Raanan?”

Raanan sputtered. “I—I didn’t—that wasn’t me!”

“The truth, Raanan: how the hell did you get in here?”

“What do you want? Money? How much do you want?”

“What?” asked a surprised Gage.

“How much do you want to keep quiet?” Raanan asked. “Five hundred? A grand? What?”

Gage felt Raanan shove crisp bills into his hands. His fingers felt over them; the texture was perfect. “Where did you get this kind of money?”

“My dad’s loaded,” Raanan offered. “Just… just take the money and shut up, okay?”

“Not until you tell me what’s going on! How did you get in here, Raanan!?!”

“The ficus, okay!?! I can transmit from one plant to another but they gotta be the same genus…”

“What?”

Raanan took a deep breath. “The plant here? It’s a door to every other ficus just like it. I can touch it and pull myself through it and out another one.”

“You can teleport!?!”

“Yeah but… I don’t want everybody to know…”

“Where do you teleport to? From? Where do you go every night!?! I know you’re not sleeping here-”

“One of my houses, okay? I got a place over in SoHo. I like my privacy so… I keep the school thinking that I sleep here but I just come in here and use my powers to go to my own place.”

“Aren’t you a freshman though? How the hell did you buy a place?”

“I’m a sophomore. And my dad-”

“Bologna.”

“Dude, I told you already: my dad is loaded like mad!”

“So why doesn’t Razi have a pad of her own? Your dad gives you your own place but not your sister?”

“Razi’s not my sister…”

“Where does the money really come from, Raanan?”

“My dad-”

“The truth or I’m going straight to Doctor Howell!”

“Dude! Real mature bringing Doctor Monkeyman into it!” Gage threw the money aside and moved towards the dresser. Raanan hurried to plant himself between his would-be roommate and the door. “I’m a bit of an entrepreneur, okay?” Raanan offered. “The services I offer are unique in that I manage social connections between independent suppliers and their target market while simultaneously presiding over the shipping of the product—making sure that it is transported swiftly but also safely—and receiving payment. This is a fickle, volatile business and if the consumer received a product improperly transported, it would cut into the profit margins of the manufacturer. If they don’t get paid, I don’t get paid so… I tend to take my work very seriously.”

“You wear a lot of hats,” Gage said. He was still suspicious of the youth.

“I have to,” Raanan said. “Eventually, I’d like to start my own company—Raanan Enterprises. Think about it: when someone gets an idea for a product, they may not know the first thing about how to market that product. By allowing my firm to take over their managerial duties, they can focus more on what will ultimately make or break them: the product itself.”

“What’s the product?”

“Dude, c’mon… A little discretion…” When Gage moved to move past the youth, Raanan surrendered. “Fine!” He hesitated a moment. “Look, you know how… commercials for certain products ensure that delivery will be made in a plain box with no markings on it… You know, so that dudes don’t get embarrassed? You know? Like… male enhancement pills or… certain toys that someone might be embarrassed to have their mailman drop off?”

Gage raised an eyebrow at Raanan. “You’re a sex toy delivery boy?”

Raanan sighed. “How do you think I got us into the nightclub, huh? I slipped the bouncer some samples of my goods—pills to make… other parts of his anatomy as big as his biceps… I could score you some if you want?”

Gage’s face flushed crimson. “I—I’m no. I mean, I’m okay,” he stammered. “I don’t… No, I don’t need those kinds of drugs.”

The blind boy felt the shorter student’s elbow playfully jab him in the ribs. “Dude, every guy needs those kinds of drugs. It’s too bad you’re blind! I’d drop anchor and show you how well they work!”

“I’m good, thank you!”

“I mean, I guess since you’re blind, you’d have to feel to see the results…” Gage put his shoulder into moving the dresser. “It’s not gay if you’re blind, I mean…” Gage found reserves of strength he didn’t know he had when he heard Raanan’s belt buckle clinking. “All right, c’mere but make this quick…”

Gage opened the door and slipped out into the hall. “Sorry, but I’m supposed to be meeting Carl and Sergio for breakfast!” Only when he had shut the door behind him did he begin to breathe more easily and suddenly, Gage came to understand the axiom, “Ignorance is bliss.”
To Be Continued... wrote:"O horrible, O horrible, most horrible!"
OUBLIETTE - NVAE: IC | OOC

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