NEW VINDICATORS (Books I - XIII)

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Arkrite
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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1114

Post by Arkrite » Sat Jul 23, 2011 7:03 pm

Oh dear.
Based on his personality, how he treats women, and the fact that he's peddling drugs I'm kind of hoping Raanan didn't make his way to the Europe School ;~)

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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1114

Post by Horsenhero » Sat Jul 23, 2011 7:35 pm

Raanan seems to me to be a character due a rude awakening. However, knowing the kind of players who get attracted to Michy's games...I'm guessing that rude awakening is summarily ignored or misunderstood. Besides, we don't need him...we've got Juozas and Jason. Granted, neither deal drugs, but both have questionable attitudes towards relationships. :wink:

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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1114

Post by Arthur Eld » Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:03 pm

Good stuff, looking forward to seeing what happens next. I especially enjoyed the reference to Jason. I see him and Manuel being very effective together.

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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1114

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:04 pm

Arkrite wrote:Oh dear.
Based on his personality, how he treats women, and the fact that he's peddling drugs I'm kind of hoping Raanan didn't make his way to the Europe School ;~)
Peddling drugs!?! Who said anything about peddling drugs!?! I didn't say anything about peddling drugs! Raanan didn't say anything about peddling drugs! Nope! No drugs here! Nu-uh! No way! Those are illegal and bad for you... [tugs uncomfortably at his shirt collar while sweating profusely.]
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1115

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:09 pm

Chapter XV: Gimme Some Salt
The worst part about learning to fly was learning that you couldn’t fly. It wasn’t that Pandora was incapable of flying but that she was prohibited from doing so. After she had proven herself able to defy the forces of gravity, she had been eager to get back into the sky.

At first, she had only been able to push her body away from the levitating platform her instructors had trapped her on. It took a leap of faith to jump from it: though only twenty feet in the air, it felt like jumping off the top of a skyscraper. Still, while she had mastered using her abilities to keep herself from falling, landing was something she didn’t have much experience with. After she brought herself to hover over the floor, she fell to the ground. Still, the sensation that came with flying overpowered any pain or embarrassment.

The female instructor responded to Pandora’s enthusiasm with amusement while Magnus Loder merely rolled his eyes. “What, do you want a cookie?” he had asked. The purple-haired girl dismissed his cynicism and the man excused himself.

Chienne spent the next hour working with Pandora on the rest of the basics: how to land, how to control her speed, how to maneuver… Every step of the way, the Wreck Room provided them with simulations so real, Pandora could hardly believe they were still deep beneath Roosevelt Island. When it was over though, she was disheartened by her teacher’s warning…

The public still considered the school a think tank. It wouldn’t do to have trails of ionized gas left in the wake of a flying, purple-haired girl making figure-eight’s in the sky above the Meinstein Institute for Gifted Youngsters. It would draw too much unwanted attention and beg too many questions of their neighbors. Pandora could practice flight on the weekend, in a class Magnus and Chienne were holding for all of the students capable of such a power.

As it turned out, there were a handful of students capable of using their powers to fly. As it also turned out, Pandora was the youngest of them: of the seniors, Christmas Clark could access telekinesis to lift herself into the air while Carl Hamilton surrounded himself in a force field of light which he moved in a fashion similar to telekinesis; amongst the juniors, Yoshimi Coyne flew of her own power—there was no explanation for it—while Solon Carlyle flew for a limited period of time after the casting of, what he called, “a simple spell”. Will Loder could fly only by equipping himself with a ferrous costume: his command over magnetism allowed him to manipulate his uniform and, by extension, the rest of his body.

Will and Christmas were not, however, expected to attend the flight workshops. Both had enough practice with their abilities that they didn’t need any more. The notion that either would pass up the opportunity to step into the Wreck Room and take to the illusory skies was preposterous to Pandora; every day since she had learnt to fly was hell: she couldn’t wait to be in the air again…

Further complicating things was the situation with Jude. By now, everyone had seen the incident: if they hadn’t been there, they had seen the video Raanan had posted online. Even after the headmaster had requested the short boy take it down, the video had been mirrored and was beyond Doctor Howell’s control. Now, Pandora couldn’t enter a room without every conversation halting. She knew they were talking about her—about how she had treated Jude. Deep down, she wondered how they would have handled it had they been in her shoes…

Jude, on the other hand, had taken to skipping class—not just those he shared with Pandora, by the sound of it. After the faculty had coerced him into going to class, he had teleported away after one of Raanan’s comments: “Dude, you need another shower: I can still smell the cologne you bathed in…”

The oddest part was that she was beginning to miss Jude’s presence. The ordeal had made her realize that Jude was the only friend she had here. There weren’t many other girls in her class and the others appeared to be in their own cliques: Christmas cast an intimidating shadow while Candace and Laura kept to themselves; Yoshimi was a bit of a tomboy while Agatha was too religious for Pandora’s tastes; Kasunda was seldom seen not trying to suck her boyfriend’s face off and Jessie was intolerably vapid. Most of the other girls—from Cheyenne to Annle—were too preppy. That left Razi, Pandora’s roommate…

Razi, who curiously insisted Raanan was not her brother despite that they claimed the same man as their father, shared a birthday and had the same last name, perpetually had her nose in a book. She seldom made small talk and when someone else initiated the conversation, she replied tersely.

Razi’s introversion, coupled with the way jocks like John, Lloyd and Max treated her, made her realize that Andrew and Jude were about the closest things to friends she had in this school. By hurting Jude, she had alienated Andrew, leaving her alone and with only the promise of flight as a reason to get up in the morning.
She was thankful to see the weekend meet her. Hours after her last class, she laid down in her bed with a smile nothing could erase: she knew that once she closed her eyes, nothing else would matter—not how she had handled the situation with Jude or her lack of friends… Once she opened her eyes again, it would be time for her flying lesson.

For the first time in a long time, Pandora Filash truly enjoyed being alive…

With the lamp beside her bed turned off, the room was illuminated by a determined moon outside her window and the minute light affixed to the top of Razi’s book. Excitement kept Pandora from getting to sleep. She laid back in bed and fantasized about the next morning. Her mind wandered and she imagined herself leaving New York—flying across the Atlantic to visit all of the places she had dreamed of seeing: London, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Vienna, Rome… A year ago, she had befriended Dorothy Collins, a girl who had just moved back to America from Germany.

Dorothy’s dad had been stationed at Ramstein Air Force Base and had lost his life in a terrorist attack. Before that, however—before Dorothy and her mother moved home and before a hatred of Neo-Sapiens began to swell up inside Dorothy’s heart—the girl had traveled all over Europe: Dorothy had swam in the Mediterranean and ate tiramisu in an Italian café that resided in a building so old that the Renaissance masters might have once passed through the threshold. Dorothy had once gone to Cairo for a weekend getaway and attended a wedding in Sherwood Forest—a place Pandora didn’t even know was real.

Dorothy had insisted that the most beautiful place she had ever seen during her life as an American abroad was Greece. “Nothing compares to the sight of Greece,” she had confessed to Pandora. Pandora made a note to see Greece herself—to fly across the sea and see it the way the birds saw it…

She didn’t know when Razi had turned off her book light or when the quiet girl had rolled over in her bed. Pandora simply smiled and told herself to take her roommate’s cue…

As she closed her eyes, she saw it. Her eyes opened again and she watched as fingertips poked through her ceiling, followed soon by an entire hand. The limb groped at the air futilely as more and more of the arm came through.

Pandora was helpless as the specter continued to descend. Stark terror seized her tongue and kept her from screaming; it forced her eyes to remain unblinking—drinking in the horrific sight of a ghoul wafting down from the floor above her.

Soon the arms had pushed through and a full torso appeared. Mummified in scraps of cloth, the figure drifted downward in defiance of the law all other beings obeyed: the phantom slowly coasted downward more like a falling feather than a man.

Lying horizontally above Pandora’s bed, the figure pulled at the rags that orbited its skull and revealed a bald head covered in horrible, disfiguring burns. Those bandages billowed weightlessly from the left hand while the right was thrust accusingly at the panicked girl below. “You!” the charred figure mouthed silently.

Pandora started to cry as the figure silently wafted above her bed, condemning her with its eyes. “I’m sorry,” she whispered weakly.

“Murderer!” the ghost mouthed.

Pandora frantically shook her head. “I was just trying to protect her,” she admitted. “I didn’t know what I was doing!”

“Murderer!” it soundlessly reiterated. Gravity seemed to take a hold of the ghost then as if swiftly started to drop out of the ceiling.

Pandora rolled onto her side and pulled her knees as far into her chest as her distended stomach would allow. She tried to bury her face into her knees but her body wouldn’t allow it; instead, she settled for shutting her eyes tightly and pretending that the haunting visage was not there. In doing so she was denied the sight of the apparition diving through her, through her bed, and through the floor.

“Go away,” she began to mutter. “Go away, go away…” She began to chant those two words faster and faster—louder and louder. “Go away!” she screamed.

Snapped awake, Razi rolled over and turned on her lamp. She took in the sight of Pandora curled in the fetal position, shaking and crying and muttering “Go away!” like a mantra. “Pandora?” the dark-haired girl asked. “Is everything all right?”

Through her eyelids, Pandora could make out the luminescence that bathed the room. She could hear her roommate’s voice. She knew the specter would be gone but dared not risk cracking her eyelids even slightly… “Is he still there?”

Razi looked about the room before asking, “Who?”

Pandora sniffled. “My daddy,” she managed weakly. “My daddy’s ghost…”
To Be Continued... wrote:"O, woe is me to have seen what I have seen, see what I see!"
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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1115

Post by Horsenhero » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:19 pm

I really shouldn't get such a kick out of the events in the NVAE pbp being mentioned in the narrative. I shouldn't, but I do. I feel sorry for Pandora, but she'll survive (at least a little while :twisted: ). I DO think, in some ways life will be easier for Raanan and Razi once people realize they're different aspects of the same person, not brother and sister (it's my theory and I'm sticking to it).

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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1114

Post by Arkrite » Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:19 pm

Michuru81 wrote:Peddling drugs!?! Who said anything about peddling drugs!?! I didn't say anything about peddling drugs! Raanan didn't say anything about peddling drugs! Nope! No drugs here! Nu-uh! No way! Those are illegal and bad for you... [tugs uncomfortably at his shirt collar while sweating profusely.]
He's also completely non-affiliated with any wine making entrepreneurs in Spain. Not that he has any idea of what I'm talking about. But if he did know, he wouldn't be affiliated. After all, why would they need vitamins? Healthy, normal vitamins. ;~)

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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1114

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:41 pm

Arkrite wrote:
Michuru81 wrote:Peddling drugs!?! Who said anything about peddling drugs!?! I didn't say anything about peddling drugs! Raanan didn't say anything about peddling drugs! Nope! No drugs here! Nu-uh! No way! Those are illegal and bad for you... [tugs uncomfortably at his shirt collar while sweating profusely.]
He's also completely non-affiliated with any wine making entrepreneurs in Spain. Not that he has any idea of what I'm talking about. But if he did know, he wouldn't be affiliated. After all, why would they need vitamins? Healthy, normal vitamins. ;~)
Exactly!
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1116

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:17 pm

Chapter XVI: Mysteries
Pandora had awoken her neighbors with her screaming. The first to respond to her alarm were her neighbors, Yoshimi Coyne and Alexis Anneley. They entered to find her curled into the fetal position, sobbing hysterically while Razi looked on helplessly. Much like Pandora’s roommate, neither girl really knew what to say or do: Yoshimi was a bit of a tomboy and lacked anything remotely resembling a soft side; Alexis, however, was the exact opposite… Dreams of fame prompted Alexis to primp herself; the pretty, preppy girl who spent an inordinate amount of time brushing her long, raven hair, was intimidated by the image Pandora normally conveyed. She looked at the clothes the punk girl wore—she saw the purple hair and the facial piercings and was immediately cowed.

Kasunda Itou, however, had no such misgivings. As she swept into the room, she brushed Yoshimi aside and dropped onto the bed beside Pandora. “What happened?” she asked, looking up at Razi.

Razi was still wearing a confused expression on her face. “I don’t know… She started screaming… Something about her father’s ghost…”

Kasunda wrapped her arms around Pandora but the sensation of another’s touch caused the girl to scream. Her limbs exploded from the ball she had become, pushing Kasunda away as the Japanese girl jumped back. “Pandora,” Kasunda said, “it’s okay… It’s Kasunda! No one’s going to hurt you!”

Kasunda’s roommate, Cheyenne Ford, pushed through the throng of girls congesting the hall to peek in. “Everyone’s accounted for,” she reported. “Annle and Mindy are scared to death though: they heard the scream and thought Deimos was back…”

“All right! Everyone get back to bed!” Kasunda rose up from Pandora’s bed and swept her arms out wide in an attempt to herd the gawkers back to their rooms. “We’re not under attack! Just a bad dream is all!”

Before she completely left, Kasunda looked over her shoulder and cast a worried look at Pandora. “I sent Laura to go alert the teachers,” she said for Razi’s benefit. “I’ll make sure they’re aware of what’s going on.”

Kasunda was as good as her word: after running into Chienne and Dane in the hall, she quickly explained the situation. It wasn’t long before Victoria Goodman arrived; she went on ahead while Doctor Howell listened to the girl’s exposition. As Chienne worked to check-in on the other students—mollifying their fears that they were not under attack again—Alicia Altair moved to join Missus Goodman in counseling Pandora while Dane and Alicia’s husband dealt with the boys roomed a floor above the girls.

Pandora didn’t sleep that night. She didn’t turn off the lights. When morning came, she left her room only because Razi left. When Pandora made her way into the cafeteria, she found all eyes on her.

The public debacle with Jude had made her somewhat used to all conversation abruptly ending when she entered a room. This was different though: before, it had been controlled—maybe seven or eight people did it. Now, it was the entire student body doing it…

It had the effect of curbing her appetite. Rather than let their gaze linger any longer than it had, the girl turned and hurried out of the room. She hurried for the sanctuary of the vacant classrooms and swiftly shuttled into the third floor girl’s room.

She hid in a stall until it was time to head for the flying lesson in the Wreck Room. The experience wasn’t so bad: Christmas was away from the campus and Will and Yoshimi had more practice than the rest of them flying—they hardly needed any lessons. That left Carl and Solon as her classmates today. While Carl was certainly more compassionate than Solon, who barely gave Pandora a second look, he was reluctant to say anything for fear of touching on a subject the girl didn’t want touched on.

In the end, the lesson was harmless and the time in the air helped to take her mind off of the previous night’s experience—if only for a moment. It was as they were about to leave that Solon turned to her and said, “There’s no such thing as ghosts.”

Carl’s eyes bulged; he was unable to believe the junior would choose to bring up such a topic to their underclassman. “We’d better get changed,” he said, trying to hurry the magus along without this descending any further than it had.

Solon appeared not to have heard him, or felt his hands seize his wispy arms. “When we die, our spirit departs the material plane,” he said haughtily. “No amount of unfinished business or whatever nonsense Hollywood has brainwashed you into believing can bind a spirit here. We transcend to another plane—the afterlife, I guess a layman would call it. There exist some alternatives, granted… Those who die in the Astral Plane become a part of it while the tulku have learned to distill their existence into a new host body upon death—effectively reincarnating themselves… but there is no such thing as ghosts.”

“I know what I saw,” Pandora decreed angrily.

“Do you now?” Solon asked. “Am I to understand that in the few weeks we have known each other, you have mastered the knowledge I have been assimilating since birth? You have delved into the occult, sifting aside urban legend and cinematic corruption to uncover the truth of the unknown?” He started to clap. “Bravo, Pandora. Congratulations on-” Pandora didn’t wait for him to go on: she simply punched him in the nose.

As the willowy boy fell to the ground, their instructor turned her back and feigned to have not seen or heard anything. Carl knelt beside Solon and moved to help him up. Still, he couldn’t hide the smile on his face as Pandora stormed out of the chamber.

In the girl’s locker room, she stripped out of the uniform. Her weight made her self-conscious of her body and she was immediately relieved that none of the other girls had elected to attend the workshop. Just as she reached into the locker for her blouse, she heard the door open. She hurriedly pulled the shirt down over her head just as Chienne rounded the corner. Out of everyone, Chienne was the last person she wanted to see her like this: Pandora hated her flabby stomach and her love-handles; in her mind her thighs were too wide, her butt was too big and her legs were too short. None of these were problems Chienne had—the blonde was practically perfect in every way. Though she said nothing, Pandora couldn’t help but think that the woman was judging her mentally…

“Look, I… I’m not the best with these sort of things,” Chienne said. “You want me to swing a sword and beat something? I can do that, no problem. Talking? Being open with people? My parents essentially raised me to hate myself and I’m in love with the boy who effectively raped me. I’m probably not the most stable person to lend an ear but I just…” She wrestled with how to say what was on her mind. “It’s natural to feel guilty about what happened, Pandora. Do you remember what I said that night at the hospital?”

Pandora did: it was just after her father had died—while her mother laid comatose in a hospital bed. Chienne walked into the room and told her that she knew what had happened when the girl’s powers manifested. She went on to tell her about how Forrest Bedford had ultimately met his end…

Of course, Pandora should have been disbelieving: after all, she had just seen the man on live television an hour before, rally his followers against the Neo-Sapien scourge. Then again, how long ago had the man announced that his daughter was dead—slain by the same Neo-Sapien that went on to kill his wife—only for her to come walking in to Aubrey Filash’s hospital room?

According to Chienne, the man on television was Forrest Bedford in body but not in mind. She said a lot of things Pandora should have found ludicrous: Magnus Loder hadn’t killed Senator Bedford but Forrest Bedford in the body of a shapeshifting Neo-Sapien had martyred her to help propel his message of hate and intolerance, only to slain nights later by Magnus and Chienne. Pandora knew that she should have laughed in her face but that night, there was just something that made her want to believe Chienne. The blonde had been so charismatic... Still, she attributed it to simply wanting to escape a world of fear and uncertainty.

“I played a part in ending my daddy’s life, Pandora. Forrest Bedford killed my mom and I… I helped Mister Loder to take him down for it and I’ve regretted that every day ever since. He was a monster, yeah, but he was my daddy… He was the man who took me to the movies every Sunday—just him and me. He was the man who took me and my brother camping in the backyard. He used to let me stay up late with him and watch T.V. whenever mom worked late.

“He was the man who was supposed to walk me down the aisle and give me away to the only man I’d ever love more than him…

“My point is… no matter what he became at the end, I can’t forget who he was when I was growing up. He may have been a monster but he was my hero once upon a time. I feel so… guilty and horrible sometimes and I-”

“You think I’m nuts, don’t you?” Pandora suddenly blurted out the question the instant it crossed her mind. “You think I imagined the whole thing! You actually believe Solon!”

Chienne looked away. “It’s… hard not to. I mean, the supernatural is his area of expertise-”

“I know what I freaking saw!”

“Pandora, I’m not…” Chienne sighed. “I’m not judging you. I’m just saying that maybe what happened the night your powers manifested-”

“The night I killed my dad, you mean!?!” Pandora thundered. “God, I am so sick of hearing you all dance around it! I can admit it: my dad came home drunk, started to beat the piss out of my mom and I vaporized a hole through his chest! See!?! That was easy! I can do it, so can you!”

“We’re not trying to… We just want you to feel-”

“What?” asked Pandora. “You and Mister Loder and Doctor Howell—you all work so hard to keep from saying I’ve done anything wrong but you practically said you’d harbor a fugitive! Come on, Chienne! The police still want me for questioning back in Seattle! You’re harboring a criminal—implying that I did something wrong—but you won’t say I did anything wrong!”

“You didn’t!” Chienne exclaimed. “Your powers manifested in response to the situation! You felt like you needed to protect your mother—like you needed to stop him-”

“How is that any different than if I had grabbed a gun and shot him!?! If you’re all so damn sure that I didn’t actually do anything wrong, why did you warn me to get out of Dodge before they-”

“Because you’re a Neo-Sapien, Pandora! Because they wouldn’t give you a fair trial! And if the Church of Genetic Purity gets wind of it all? Hell, even if you get off, you’ll never know peace! Your name will be known; you’ll have Justice—this nutball who hunts down Neo-Sapiens who use their powers to kill people—after you… It isn’t worth it!” Again, Chienne sighed. “I didn’t come here to argue with you. I just… I hoped that maybe I could help…”

“Help me what? Forget that I killed my dad?”

“No! Help you forgive yourself for killing your dad!”

Pandora was flabbergasted. “Is that what you think I am? You… you think I…? I don’t feel guilty! He was beating my mom! He smacked her around so bad she’s in a freaking coma, okay!?! If anything, I’m sorry I didn’t stand up to him sooner!”

“You don’t mean that.”

“Oh, really!?! You’re a mind reader now, Chienne!?!” Pandora hastily pulled on her black, denim shorts before snatching her shoes from out of her locker. “Guess what I’m thinking now!” she roared as she swung her footwear around to propel the door to slam shut.

Only when she was back on the elevator did she put her shoes back on; she didn’t want to risk giving Chienne time to catch up to her and continue their argument. Once she was finished, she let out a frustrated scream and slammed the bottom of her fists against the wall behind her.

“What the hell were you doing in Pandora’s room last night!?!” she heard someone thunder as the doors opened. Curiosity got the best of her: she hurried around the corner to see what the commotion was…

Eddie Vermeulen was counted amongst the freshman class. His Neo-Sapien power was classified as “chronolock”: his body permanently existed outside of space and time. It was theorized that there may be a way for him to learn to control his abilities: after all, if there was no way to control it, there should have been no way for his Neo-Sapien parent to conceive him.

Standing before him—with his back to Pandora—was Jude Bellows. “Well!?!” Jude thundered.

“I wasn’t in psycho girl’s room!” Eddie declared vehemently.

“It had to be you!” Jude snapped. “You’re the only student here who could phase through the floor!”

“Who said it was a student?” Eddie asked. “Maybe your girlfriend’s just crazy?”

Jude threw a punch that went harmlessly through Eddie’s intangible body. Those who had gathered around them began to laugh at Jude’s futile attempts to injure the ghost-like boy. “Lay off of him,” one of them said as he pushed through the crowd.

Pandora and Jude both turned and took in the sight of another of their underclassmen. Strangely, the boy had his arm thrust forward with his fingers curled into a finger-gun he trained on Andrew. “He said he didn’t do it,” said the dark-headed boy coolly, “so unless you have some sort of proof other than your hunches, I’d suggest leaving him alone.”

Jude sized up the white boy for a moment; Pandora wondered if he was trying to decide whether or not he could best the boy with the textured shag cut. It seemed he thought he couldn’t: Jude unclenched his fists and his arms dropped slowly to his sides. “Sorry, Black,” he said to the boy.

Black’s icy gaze apathetically drifted from Jude to his roommate. “C’mon, Eddie,” he said apathetically; the white stick of a recently-finished sucker jutted from his mouth and bounced with every word he uttered. “Let’s get out of here.”

Pandora watched as the crowd made to part for Black; she couldn’t recall having seen the freshman before but almost everyone else in the room seemed to know him and fear him.

When the sea of students dispersed back to whatever had occupied them before the promise of a fight lured them to Jude, Pandora stepped into the chamber. “What was that all about?” she asked.

Jude whipped around and his eyes bulged at the sight of her. “How long have you been there?” he asked.

“Long enough,” she articulated. “What are you doing?”

Jude looked away before muttering, “Trying to find the jerk who’s messing with you…”

“And you think that kid did it?” she asked incredulously. Disbelief gave way to embarrassment. “It… it wasn’t another student,” she said. “It was my dad… My dad, he… He died before I came to this school.”

Jude said nothing and Pandora found herself thinking about what Solon and Chienne had said: ghosts did not exist, according to the mage, and Chienne presumed that the apparition was Pandora’s mind playing tricks on her. While she certainly didn’t feel guilty over what had happened to her father, she did feel guilty about how she had treated Jude—more so, now that she saw he may have been the only one on her side…

“Thanks,” she muttered. Jude turned and looked at her confusedly. “It was… sweet of you to try and find the guy—not that I think someone at the school did it, I mean!”

Jude forced a smile. “You, uh… you wanna get out of here? Grab something to eat? Get your mind off everything that’s…” He trailed off as he turned away. “Never mind. I know how you feel-”

“I skipped breakfast, actually,” she said softly. “I… I could go for a bite.”

Nothing could have erased the smile on Jude’s face as he turned back to face her. Without hesitation, Jude took Pandora’s hand in his and teleported them outside of the school…
To Be Continued... wrote:"O! my offence is rank, it smells to heaven."
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1117

Post by Michuru81 » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:51 pm

Chapter XVII: Handjobs for the Holidays
Razi enjoyed the silence while it lasted. In the wake of Pandora’s nocturnal vociferation, she had begun spending less and less time in their room: she spent the weekend with Jude and his roommate, Andrew…

The night after her screaming had woken Razi up, Pandora came in and collapsed on her bed. She told Razi all about how the trio had gone out for lunch, only to go see a couple of movies. With Jude’s Neo-Sapien abilities, they had forgone the cost of the ticket: at the ticket booth, Jude pulled the pair aside into a small annex reserved for payphones made obsolete by the dawning of the age of the cell phone. He peeked around the corner and spotted a small area out of eyeshot. With a thought, Jude took them all past the concession stand and placed them in a hall outside of the theatre.

In the morning, Pandora left with their classmates to do it again: she spent her Sunday watching new release after new release with Jude and Andrew, leaving Razi perfectly content in their room, where she plowed through Dan Wells’ I Am Not a Serial Killer and—still in the mood for horror—Shirley Jacksons’ The Haunting of Hill House. She was a few pages into The Monk when her roommate returned again.

Though Razi was content to just continue to immerse herself in Matthew Lewis’ eighteenth century offering, she could sense Pandora’s eyes on her. Turning her head slightly, she saw the other girl sitting on the edge of her bed, bouncing her leg up and down eagerly. With a sigh, Razi slipped a bookmark into the tome and sat up. “What?” she asked. She had known that she would regret having asked such a question; she just hadn’t imagined she would come to regret it so quickly.

“What do you think about Andrew?” Pandora idly asked.

Razi shrugged. “He is a boy from the south who smells funny.”

“Oh. Well, he likes you,” Pandora offered.

“That’s nice,” Razi matter-of-factly said before she looked to her book. “Is that all? Can I go back to reading?”

“Well, he… he wanted me to find out if you like him.”

“I do not dislike him.”

“So… what does that mean?”

“It means that I do not dislike him. I do not wish him harm. I am impartial on all matters concerning Andrew Woodford.”

Pandora unleashed a groan as she collapsed back onto her bed. Thinking this was a sign that she could return to her book, Razi opened her book once more and laid back. “Look, Andrew… he wants to ask you out.” Pandora rocked herself back into a sitting position. “You get what that means, right?”

Razi closed her book again. “I am fully aware of what it means,” Razi said plainly. “I understand that boys like to ask us out and they like to hold our hands and kiss and brag to their friends that they performed whatever sort of sports euphemism idiots identify various sexual acts with. I am well aware of what his intentions are but… I am not interested.” Razi opened her book once more. “I merely wish to be left alone and allowed to read my book.”

Pandora stared at her roommate with a puzzled expression. “So… are you… You’re not gay, right?”

Razi rolled her eyes. “Not being interested in dating translates to you assessing that I am a lesbian?” she grumbled. “Interesting.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. I just… Look, I’ve been spending more and more time with Jude and Andrew and they were pestering me to get you to come out with all of us.”

“For a double date?”

Pandora shook her head. “No, it… Well, Andrew wants to date you, yeah, but I’m not interested in Jude.”
Razi shut her eyes tightly and breathed in through her nose. “Is he aware of that?”

“Who? Jude? Yeah. Why wouldn’t he be?”

Razi sat up and rested her book on the table by her bed. She had given up hope on ever being allowed to read it now. “Because you have been spending a great deal of time with him. Your actions now contradict what you said before.”

Pandora shook her head. “Jude knows we’re just friends.”

“Really?” Razi muttered. “Interesting.”

“What is?”

“That you have deluded yourself into thinking that Jude can turn his feelings off like a light switch. The boy was hopelessly infatuated with you and then you tore his heart out in the most public of forums. Embarrassing him was the least of your crimes there. Now, you think that you can just retreat into his arms and honestly expect that his heart won’t at all be confused by this sudden three-sixty?”

“One-eighty,” Pandora corrected. “If you turn around three-hundred and sixty degrees, you’re right back where you started.”

“Exactly.”

Razi had hoped that was enough to settle it. She watched Pandora mull it all over. She watched her pounce to her feet and hesitate before crossing the room for the door. When Pandora left again, Razi took up her book once again. She was even able to make some momentum before Pandora returned with rejuvenated spirits.

“Everything is okay!” she announced.

“Good,” Razi said as she turned the page. She failed to look up from the book. “I was worried,” she added dryly.

The mattress sank under the seat of Pandora’s size 18 jeans. “I went up to his room and asked him point blank if he knew that we were just friends. He knew there was nothing going on between us.”

“I stand corrected,” Razi said as her eyes continued to scan each line of text. She was relieved when Pandora apparently saw through her sarcasm and surrendered: the purple-haired girl shifted to lie down. She didn’t bother with the blankets; she didn’t even take off her boots. She simply laid down and rolled over, buried her face into her pillow and remained still until Razi turned off the light.

Within a week, life at the New Vindicators Academy of America had returned to whatever passed for normal in a school for teenagers with super-powers. The school had forgotten all about every embarrassing moment in Pandora’s brief time at the school; Jude was coming to class again; Raanan’s video was forgotten by the appearance of a video of two koala bears savagely fighting; no one was talking about the ghost Pandora had seen a week ago tonight and Pandora wouldn’t have it any other way.

As if the universe felt it needed to further make it up to Pandora, another round of flight lessons was scheduled for the next morning. Each time class dismissed, she counted off another hour until she could leave the ground: “Twenty-one hours, twenty hours, nineteen hours…” With her head figuratively in the clouds at the prospect of having it literally in the clouds, she was oblivious to the occurrence all around her: as she made her way from Mister Altair’s music class, she failed to realize that the chatter densely filling the hall came to a grinding halt with her approach.

Blissfully ignorant of what was happening around her, Pandora walked into Miss Wellor’s classroom and her ears caught Lloyd telling John, “-gave him a tugger-”

John smacked Lloyd in the shoulder and the Nephilim turned; he took in the sight of Pandora, staring curiously at him, and then moved to take her usual seat across the room from where the trio of jocks sat.

Only recently had Doctor Jenkins modified the Wreck Room even more. When not in use by a faculty member, the room transfigured itself into a gym with almost every weight training device imaginable. Any student had access to the room at this time but not to the control booth—keeping them from potentially trapping any of their classmates in a dangerous scenario.

For weeks, John Titus, Lloyd Hilton and Maxwell Swift had spent the bulk of their free time there. Little did they realize that the amount of time they spent there had sparked a new series of rumors—one Pandora was ecstatic to have replace rumors concerning her sanity—pertaining to the sophomore boys’ sexuality.

Then again, as if to dispel those rumors, John and Jessie Martin had found themselves sentenced to a Saturday detention when her roommate returned from Peoria to catch the couple making out on her bed.

Once Pandora was out of earshot, the boys began to whisper again. She narrowed her eyes on them suspiciously but that faded as her new best-friend slipped into the room.

As Jude walked in, John stopped him. Pandora cringed, fearing the worst, only to flash a puzzled expression when John held up his hand for the boy to high-five him. It was a process Jude was forced to repeat with Lloyd before he was allowed to pass.

When he took his seat beside Pandora, his face was red. “Okay, what the hell was that all about?” Pandora asked in a hushed tone.

Jude shrugged. “Beats me. Hey, uh… you got a pencil? My last one broke last hour…”

Pandora turned towards Jude and bent over the arm of her desk to rummage through her backpack. As she scavenged for a writing instrument, she missed John clasping his hands around an imaginary skull and lowering it down to his crotch. She missed his eyes rolling back comically and his short bursts of pelvic thrusts; she missed Lloyd’s laughing; she rose up, offered the pencil to Jude and raised an eyebrow at the nervous look on his face. “Are you okay?” she asked him.

She followed his gaze to where John and Lloyd were giggling and looked back at him. Slowly, it all came together for her: “What did you tell them, Jude?” There was a warning tone in her voice.

“Nothing!” he snapped.

Pandora said nothing; she simply stared at him with intense rage brimming in her eyes.

“Look, they wouldn’t stop riding me, okay?” he said in a hushed voice. “After what happened last week, in the halls? Raanan’s video? They wouldn’t stop giving me grief but then… they saw us together…”

“What did you tell them about us, Jude?”

“I told them you gave me a…” He hesitated before spitting the rest out in a weak, quiet voice. He had said it low, hoping she hadn’t heard it.

She had.

“I’m going to kill you!” she snapped as she jumped out of her seat. “Tell them the truth!” she thundered.
Jude slowly sank into his seat. “Dora…” he muttered meekly. “Please don’t-”

“Tell them the truth, Jude!”

Most of the class simply stared at them in confusion. John and Lloyd watched with interest. “She… never gave me a…” He made a fist and swung his arm up and down. “I lied.”

Lloyd started to laugh. Pandora glared at him. Jude started to cry—an act John pointed out to the rest of the room. Suddenly, Jude vanished… seconds before Raanan waltzed into the room.

“Did I miss something?” he asked, noticing the mirth that had fallen over most of his classmates.

Pandora rushed out of the room. She didn’t know where she was going; she didn’t know if she was going to lock herself in her room or find Jude and apologize. She had started to buy into Chienne’s theory: what she had seen was just her conscious playing tricks on her. She had seen her dad’s apparition because she felt guilty about how she had treated Jude. On some level, she knew that she had to make this right… but she wasn’t sure if she should. In a sense, it felt like this vindicated Razi: did Jude’s falsifying carnal acts with her constitute him still harboring feelings for her? If she apologized, would that just continue to give him the wrong idea about what they were?

Ultimately, Pandora fled for the sanctuary offered by the room she shared with her Filipina roommate. She threw herself onto her bed and broke the dam that held back her tears. That day at Swedish Medical Center so many weeks ago, Chienne had arrived with a bouquet of promises: “I know things are hard and confusing for you now,” she had said in a soothing voice. Strangely, Chienne had smelled of sandalwood: it was Pandora’s favorite scent; it reminded her of the chess set that sat on her maternal grandfather’s coffee table. She had never seen it used but she had also never seen a speck of dust on it. “If you come with me though, I can take you to a place where you can escape all of that…”

Chienne had lied to her. Pandora had not escaped the world she entered the instant she took her father’s life—instead, she had traded it for one equally hard and just as confusing. There, she had been facing uncertainty: would she go to prison for killing her father? Would her mother ever wake up from that coma? Here, she faced a cold and uncaring roommate, a lack of true friends and legions of students intent to make fun of her rather than get to know her.

There also existed the slight possibility that she was slowly going insane, envisioning the charred specter of her father.

The gravity of these things caused Pandora to cry herself to sleep. Her eyes snapped open when her ears registered the clicking noise she had come to associate with Razi turning off the lamp by her bedside.

The sound of Razi’s comforter being pulled over her small body reached Pandora’s ears not long after. She rolled onto her side and strained her eyes in her skull to look up at the window. Moonlight filtered through: she had slept the day away.

Pandora got out of bed and crept towards the door. She made sure not to open it any more than she had to: while the hall lights were dimmed at night, she didn’t want to let in anything that might disturb Razi’s slumber—even if the other girl hadn’t gotten there just yet.

She made her way down to the common room and caught sight of Sergio sitting alone on the couch, watching television. She froze when she heard Lloyd’s voice coming from behind her. Hastily, she hid behind a wall and watched as he led Max and John down towards the elevator that would take them to the sublevels.

Rolling her eyes at their endless workout routine, Pandora continued on towards the cafeteria. While the kitchen was closed, there was still a bounty to be found in the fridge and in the cabinets. Pandora poured herself a glass of milk and found a Hostess Fruit Pie in one of the cupboards. The milk was gone before the pastry was and another glass was poured. Only after the third glass had been drunk did she consider making her way back to her room. She didn’t feel sleepy—not after having slept all day—but she wasn’t sure what else to do. Rather than endure a seemingly endless stream of Trading Spaces with Sergio, she headed back towards her room and, again, opened the door only as wide as she had to.

Unsure as to whether or not Razi had yet drifted off to dream, she shut the door as softly as she could behind her only to gasp loudly at the sight that awaited her…

Upon turning around, Pandora took in the sight of a charred-faced ghoul hovering above her bed, fixing her with a menacing stare. Again, the specter said nothing; it only pointed at Pandora and mouthed its indictment.
Her gasp had stirred Razi. The Filipina rolled over in her bed and then sat up at the sight of the girls’ uninvited guest. Words failed her as she watched the ghost race across thin air towards her roommate.

Pandora unleashed a low snarl before bringing her hands together out before her chest. She unleashed a pulse of energy that cleanly went through the specter and incinerated the shade of her lamp. The blast of plasma failed to slow the apparition’s charge. Soon he was on Pandora and proved himself capable of shifting between tangible and intangible as he grabbed her by the wrist.

As Razi pounced from her bed, Pandora sniffed the air. There was something familiar about the specter—something she noticed only once he grabbed for her.

Razi grabbed the ghost’s rags just as he vanished from existence. In what helped to confirm her suspicions, Pandora’s surroundings changed: she was now standing in the Wreck Room, disguised as a normal gym.

In her confusion, Razi released the ghost and the ghost released Pandora. Their sudden appearance had drawn the attention of the three boys working out; Lloyd gave a girlish shriek at the sight of the ghost’s burnt visage.

The ghost released Pandora and then he was gone.

“So there really is a ghost?” asked a confused John.

Pandora was shaking her head. “No,” she growled, finally understanding what was going on. “There’s no such thing as ghosts—that’s what Solon told me…”

“Then what is it?” Lloyd asked nervously.

Before Pandora could answer him, the Wreck Room’s features were transmogrified. “Look!” Razi cried, pointing towards the window of the control booth. Sure enough, the ghost was there, reconfiguring the settings of the gymnasium.

Now, the five sophomores stood in a round, stone chamber. Two stairwells snaked their way up the walls to meet at a balcony that overlooked the arena. Pandora recognized it as the room Chienne and Magnus had evoked for her first private lesson. It was the coliseum where she watched the Rising Sun fight Scrimshaw. According to her instructors, it was the scene for the Final Trial—the fifth test the 2007 graduating class had undertaken to try and prove their merit as candidates for the Vindicators and their branch teams.

The ghost was not done with manifesting images formed of solid light. During the Trials, graduates had competed in squads of four and the ghost now worked to conjure a random squad from that period to engage the sophomores.

Four figures appeared, garbed in the black and white uniform of the Vindicators. Three were men, one was a woman.

The first male wore the standard uniform, while the man at his side wore jeans and a black, hooded sweatshirt slashed with the same white ‘V’ his allies wore. Neither man was that impressive physically; neither appeared to have an ounce of muscle on them. Their light brown hair was contrasted by the blonde hair of the lithe, pretty female in their midst. The sight of the attractive young woman caused Lloyd to forget the sight of the ghost: he playfully jabbed Max in the ribs.

The last of the four holographic opponents to appear before them was more muscular than any of the three real boys in Pandora’s company. The Kevlar uniform clung to his every curve so that Pandora felt the urge to fan herself. His uniform sported an oval chest window which showed off a patch of black hair; his wrists were adorned with several jelly bracelets—one for each of his sexual conquests.

His long, black hair hung almost to his chiseled jaw and a white streak ran through his bangs.

Crimson, heatless flames erupted from his eyes.

“Dude!” Lloyd declared. “He’s like me!” Suddenly, green flames flickered in the other Nephilim’s skull. “I totally got dibs on this guy!”

One of the thin boys—the one wearing the standard uniform—was suddenly engulfed in flames. “Really?” John mused, barely able to contain his smell as he thought to where he had left his water bottle. “Fire boy’s mine…”

“I’ll take the other one,” Max said. Without looking towards Pandora and Razi, he asked, “You think you too can take the blonde, thunder-thighs?”

“I’m so pissed off, I could take them all on,” Pandora growled. A smile appeared on her face as her feet slowly left the ground: she wouldn’t have to wait until tomorrow to fly after all…
To Be Continued... wrote:"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
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Horsenhero
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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1117

Post by Horsenhero » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:06 pm

Neato! I really don't know what else to say since I'm trying to piece together the puzzle of exactly what's happening.

Michuru81
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1118

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:49 pm

Chapter XVIII: They Never Got You
What Dominique Infinity wanted, he took. As a child, he didn’t bother with being discretion: if he wanted candy or a toy, he simply carried it out of the store. He was stronger than most children his age; his skin was unbreakable. He was fast and capable of flight and then there was the matter of his ability to act as a conduit for the unearthly energy summoned from the depths of Hell itself. Dominique knew that there were few who could keep him from taking the things he wanted and this was why the New Vindicators Academy of Europe was so uncomfortable at the thought of him graduating . . .

For four years, the Italian had cowed the faculty: he intimidated most of his teachers—daring them to do something. He had come close to raping on teacher, only to succumb to her strength-sapping abilities before things could go further. Ultimately, one of the headmasters—Alan Altair—had managed to keep the boy in his place but his classmates also served to make him toe the line. For all his power, Dominique stayed clear of Corey Ander and Taegan Mallory.

After graduation—after Dominique Infinity were released into the world—the faculty knew that it was only a matter of time before he became a target for the Vindicators . . .

One thing kept him in line: the promise of the Trials. Dominique was told that at summer’s end, he would be summoned to America to compete against his old classmates and the graduates of their sister schools. Impossibly, this seemed to compel him to obey and Dominique bided his time . . .

When September came, he was told to choose three others to include on his team. Everyone presumed he would draft the most attractive girls from his graduating class and while he certainly chose Felicity Venizelos, he also chose Tyson Noble and Evan Bradley. It seemed that the prospect of beating Corey and Taegan was too great for him to not take it seriously; Dominique Infinity chose a pair who had been best-friends since their first day of school—a duo he knew would and could work well together.

They were admitted to the Trials as Team Paragon, named for their leader’s codename. Backlash, Kiln and Terpsichore followed the Nephilim through the first four trials, only to face the possibility that they would face each other in combat afterwards.

Such a team now stood before Pandora and a fraction of her classmates: she stood back-to-back with Razi while John and Max watched as Lloyd rushed for their virtual opponents.

In his hands was a hammer forged from green flames. As the young man raised it over his head, his T-shirt ceased to fit: from behind him, they could make out the proposed dates for ZZ Top’s 1982 “El Loco” world tour stretch as his mass increased. Lloyd didn’t grow—his raw strength was simply augmented by his ability.

Backlash shifted to interpose himself on his leader’s behalf. Lloyd’s soul-weapon swung down for the hooded man and his teammates witnessed a blue glint of energy were it impacted less than an inch from the would-be target. Suddenly, all of Lloyd’s strength and power was stopped and hurled back through his weapon and into his arms.

Having his charge rebound on him threw him back from the graduates. Lloyd went sent through the air backwards; his back slammed into the ground and his momentum caused him to skid to his classmates’ feet.

“Got it,” Max said, looking up from Lloyd to Backlash, “don’t hit the skinny kid . . .”

John had bolted from his allies’ side to where he had left his sports bottle. It didn’t dawn on him that he could control the water inside and command the bottle to come to him; he was too busy running from the flying man wreathed in flames. With Kiln hot on his trail, John dove across the floor of the stone chamber, snatched up the bottle and rolled out of the path of a jet of flame.

Once he was on his feet again, he knew he had to keep moving: Kiln’s blast with continuous—it followed him along the floor of the arena. As John ran, he unscrewed the cap of the bottle and poured the water out. With a thought, the water yielded before hitting the ground: it gathered together into an amorphous orb that hovered along side of him.

Looking from it to Kiln, John knew he would need a lot more water if he was going to have any hope of extinguishing the full-body inferno his opponent wore. Even though the Wreck Room’s holographic opponents had to act like living things—if they were made of metal, they were magnetic; if John had been born with pyrokinesis, he would have been able to manipulate the flames that coated Kiln. Illusory or not, the Wreck Room was programmed to treat them as real people: their bodies would be made up most of water. The only question was whether or not John could gather it from them…

As he continued to dodge Kiln’s attacks, the others moved to dodge Paragon’s. The Nephilim flew high into the air and rained beams of hellfire on them from above. Razi, Max and Lloyd scrambled to dodge the blasts while Pandora stood beneath him with a smile on her face. “Thank you,” she whispered.

With their opponent airborne, Pandora would have to meet him in the sky. She rejoiced at having a reason to rise into the air—she loved being able to fly. Pandora took off like a rocket and Max paused in awe. “Tubs can fly!?!” he exclaimed, stunned to see her shoot herself towards Paragon.

Pandora’s arrival in the Nephilim’s domain caused him to halt his bombardment of his grounded enemies. Now, he sneered at the overweight young woman before him. “No fat chicks,” the Italian stated, waving her away.

“Screw you,” Pandora snarled as she outstretched both arms towards Paragon. The heels of her palms came together and in her rage, she unleashed more energy than she normally expended. When she had been fighting the power_gamers, she had noticed the difference between the blasts she used against them and the stream of plasma she had emitted the night her powers first manifested. Now she understood: when her emotions overpowered her, she tapped into reserves of energy normally denied to her. The sight of her father savagely beating her mother, the realization of what had really been going on these last two weeks . . . . It may have been cliché but Pandora found herself forced to admit that the angrier she was, the more powerful she was . . . .

The stream she unleashed for Paragon was so massive that it hardly resembled a beam anymore. Now it was a cone—a spray of energy that dispelled all shadows from the room. Those gathered on the ground were forced to look away; if they could have cast their eyes upward, they would have failed to see Paragon’s silhouette amidst the energy. It was not because the blast was so intense that it removed the very sight of the man from existence . . . but that Paragon was now that fast . . . .

Terpsichore’s dance inspired her teammates: it affected the chemicals in their brains to mimic something similar to fight-or-flight response. By dancing, the Grecian girl was able to boost the effect of their powers; in Paragon’s case, that meant making him stronger, tougher, faster and more powerful than he already was.

The Nephilim doubled one hand over his fist and swung them down and into the space between Pandora’s shoulder blades.

Pain shot through her; she nearly blacked out. Though she clung to consciousness, she lost her concentration—the only thing that enabled her to project a stream of charged particles from her body. Pandora began to fall and her only comfort was that the impact of her landing wouldn’t hurt nearly as much as Paragon’s sucker punch had.

With the dazzling display terminated, the sophomore’s peers were able to gaze up again. At the sight of her roommate falling, a determined look fell over Razi’s face. “I’ve got her,” she said confidently. Before Max’s eyes, Razi began to grow. Her torso elongated and her hair grew longer and thicker. Her legs lengthened; her toes stabbed into the stone to keep her warped form from toppling over. Her arms stretched just as her fingers did. Her skin slowly took on a greenish hue and odd, gnarled wrinkles began to appear over her body.

As Razi Lumanta reached up to catch Pandora and lower her back to the ground, she almost looked like a tree . . . .

While she had saved Pandora by growing she had painted a target on herself. Kiln flew in a circle around her, unleashing his stream of flames on her bark-covered flesh. Razi caught fire and howled as she began to shrink back down to her normal size. The flames, however, did not subside.

At the sight of her in agony, John commanded the water he had gathered to race across the room and apply itself to her burns. In no time, the flames were suffocated but John was without a weapon to wield against Kiln. “Ideas?” he asked, backing up to join with his classmates around Razi. “Anyone?”

“Yeah,” Pandora said grimly as she rose to her feet, “we switch targets. Ignore the other guy with fire eyes, Lloyd. If he can shoot that stuff like a beam, so can you, right?” The kids scattered from one of Kiln’s focused jets of flames. “Focus it on him! Work to take him out!”

At her command, Lloyd began to send his own blast of flames for Kiln. Though Kiln was practiced at employing aerial maneuvers to dodge attacks, Lloyd’s efforts appeared to at least keep the heat off of his classmates.

“Razi, think you can take that form again?” When Razi nodded, Pandora grinned. “Good, I want you to pin the guy in the hooded sweatshirt. His power has to have something to do with being attacked so don’t try—” She cut off as Paragon returned to hurling a barrage of hellfire upon the floor. Again, the sophomores dove out of the path but one wasn’t so fortunate: one of Paragon’s crimson blasts struck Max: the boy fell to the floor; he ceased to move . . .

“Dammit,” Pandora growled; there were only two of them left to occupy their remaining two opponents; if she stopped to check on Max, it would be giving an advantage over to the others. As she considered whether or not to run to her fallen teammate’s side, she remembered something she had been told on her first day: the Wreck Room had safety protocols in place to keep anyone from being severely hurt. For now, she would have to trust that the room would not let Max suffer any life-threatening trauma and focus on getting through this.

“John, take care of the girl. She hasn’t attacked us yet so… I don’t think her powers are offensive. See how she’s been dancing? That’s got to have some kind of effect.”

“You… want me to beat up a girl?” John asked.

“A hot girl,” Lloyd pointed out as Kiln dodged another of his hellfire bursts.

Pandora ignored them. “I’m going to handle the big guy.”

John almost did a double take. “Because that worked so well the last time you went up against him?”

“This time I’m not going to get cocky,” Pandora said. “I’m not trying to take him out though—just distract him so you can do your jobs. Once we have the others dealt with, we’ll work on focusing all our strength at him.”

She didn’t wait for any further argument: Pandora propelled herself into the air and—thought she pinged at Paragon with the puniest of plasma pulses—she focused herself on avoiding his attacks at all costs.

Below her, Razi had effectively disabled Backlash while John pinned Terpsichore. Without her to augment the other’s powers, Kiln’s evasiveness diminished and Lloyd clipped him with a blast of emerald flames.

Once each of them was subdued, they were entrusted to Razi. As Paragon laughed off Pandora’s blasts, he was pelted by one of Lloyd’s. Just as his attention shifted, John surrounded his skull with water and watched as the mighty man flailed wildly to push air through his lungs.

In minutes, the simulation ended; Team Paragon was gone and the arena faded, leaving only the gymnasium with a discernable exit behind.

Lloyd immediately ran to his best-friend’s side. “Max?” the Nephilim asked. “Are you okay, man?”

The prone boy opened his eyes slowly and looked up at Lloyd with a look of confusion. “Who are you talking to?” he asked weakly.

“Uh, you, buddy… I’m talkin’ to you, Max.”

“Who’s Max?”

John rolled his eyes. “Don’t tell me this campus just adopted another amnesiac…” he groaned.

“Dude,” Lloyd said with a tone of worry in his voice, “don’t you know who you are?”

The youth sprawled on the ground shook his head. “Of course I know who I am,” he said with a pleasant smile. “My name’s Lucas.

“Pleased to meet you.”

Pandora ignored the oddity and turned on the others with the same intensity she had executed the battle against Paragon with. “Lloyd, get Max to the infirmary—let whoever’s there know what happened. John, I need you to wake up Doctor Howell; Razi, go find Candace. Meet me on the third floor dorms . . .”

“What about you?” John asked as Razi began to storm out of the chamber. “Where are you going?”

“I’m going to kill the ghost,” she grumbled under her breath.
Michuru81 wrote:"The play's the thing, / Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king."
OUBLIETTE - NVAE: IC | OOC

Michuru81
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1119

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:52 pm

Chapter XIX: I’m a Ghost
Pandora was standing in the stairwell, looking through the narrow glass slit in the door that peered down the hall of the boy’s dormitories. At the sound of footfalls behind her, she turned and smiled at the sight of the school’s headmaster. “All right, I brought him,” John said as he followed Doctor Howell up the stairs, “Now, are you going to tell us what this is all about yet?”

Pandora turned to where the others were sitting: Razi and Candace were sitting on the stairs leading up to the next floor—the unused floors—wearing the same confused expression. “Follow me,” she said as she pulled the door open.

They all funneled through the doorway and down the hall. Their procession stopped at Jude Bellows and Andrew Woodford’s room. The purple-haired girl put her hand over the doorknob and unleashed a small pulse of plasma that obliterated it. With a mighty kick, she stormed the room and took in the sight of the boys curled up in their respective beds.

At the sound of visitors, Andrew sat up bolt erect. Jude lay perfectly still. “Don’t even think of teleporting away!” Pandora snapped.

Jude slowly rolled over. He took in the sight of Pandora standing before Candace and Doctor Howell; his expression soured. “How long have you been able to turn intangible?” Pandora asked.

With Candace in the room, Jude was forced to answer and answer truthfully. “Mister Loder and Miss Bedford pulled me out of class a few weeks back—started talking to me about theories they had concerning my powers . . . . After we got out of there, I kept practicing on some of the stuff they said and . . . they were right: if I teleport, but don’t focus on a location, my body enters this . . . intangible state between being here and being somewhere else.”

“Mister Bellows?” Doctor Howell asked, disbelievingly. “You can turn your body intangible?”

Pandora glared at him as Jude admitted that he could; there was no sense in asking to confirm something said in the presence of Candace Strange.

“How did you know about my dad?” the purple-haired girl demanded.

Jude pouted. “I . . . I was so angry after what you did to me that day in the hall. I teleported into Doctor Howell’s office—went snooping through your personal record. I wasn’t looking for something—I was just going to add things to it—make you look bad. I saw the report on how your powers manifested and we were reading Hamlet in Mister McDougall’s class. I thought that I could . . .”

“You used that stupid make up kit you were trying to get me to come look at to make yourself look like a ghost—a charred specter . . . like what my dad would look like . . .”

Jude started to cry. “Yes.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa . . .” John said. “How did you figure all this out?”

“I didn’t notice the first time he became the ghost because he stayed intangible the whole time,” Pandora said, “but tonight, he had to turn solid in order to grab me. That’s when I smelled it: that God-awful cologne he practically bathes in . . . . After that, he teleported me and Razi and the sensation was just like when he teleported Andrew and I into the theatre. It all clicked then: the ghost only appeared when I pissed Jude off. I knew Jude was the one haunting me—I just couldn’t figure out how he was doing it or how he even knew about my dad . . . .”

Doctor Howell didn’t know what to say. “Mister Bellows, is this true?” He knew there was no reason to ask such a question—not in such close proximity to Candace Strange. Still, he asked, hoping for an answer other than the one he knew he’d be given. “Did you break into my office, invade a student’s privacy, harass this student and endanger several of your classmates by locking them in an active Wreck Room scenario?”

Jude sobbed uncontrollably. It was all he could do to nod his head.

“I don’t believe I have ever said these four words to any student here but . . .

“I’m disappointed in you.

“Get dressed and await me in my office—touch nothing, Mister Bellows. We will discuss your fate when I arrive.” With that, the headmaster ushered the other students out of the chamber.

Once they were back in the hall, Pandora turned to the pajama-clad gorilla. “Doctor Howell?” Pandora asked. “I . . . I think I . . . I think I should go back to Seattle. I just . . . what Jude did . . .” She started to cry. “He went too far. I can’t . . . I can’t stay here. I won’t!”

Doctor Howell nodded solemnly. “I understand,” he said before thinking for a moment. “Do you remember the speech I gave on the first day of school? I said that it was my hope that when you left this place, you would be the best person you could be—that you would be equipped with prosperity. If I were to allow you to leave under these circumstances, Miss Filash, I fear that I have failed. Similarly, if I were to expel Mister Bellows, I would be throwing him to the wolves. Like yourself, he has nowhere else to go . . . and yet, I understand that you both cannot remain here . . . .

“Allow me to talk to the headmasters of our sister schools. I will explain the situation to the both of them and see if either would be willing to except Mister Bellows as a transfer student. If he left, would you be able to bring yourself to remain here?”

The others—John, Candace and Razi—looked at her anxiously. When she said nothing, it was Razi who spoke up: “You have to stay here,” Razi said with only a fraction more passion than she used at all other times. “What happened back there was amazing, Pandora: you assessed each of our strengths and calculated a formidable plan of attack against a group with years more experience than any of us.”

John nodded in agreement. “That was fuggin’ awesome.” Whether he ignored Doctor Howell’s glare at the use of his favorite word or whether he simply hadn’t noticed it remained unseen. “I’m sorry for givin’ you crap, Pandora. We really couldn’t have done that without you.”

Doctor Howell looked from them to Pandora. “Well, Miss Filash? Will you be staying?”

This close to Candace, Pandora couldn’t tell a lie: “I think I’m going to be happy here, sir,” she said, realizing for the first time what Chienne had been talking about when she promised her a place where things could start to get better . . .
To Be Continued... wrote:"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."
OUBLIETTE - NVAE: IC | OOC

Horsenhero
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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1118 & 1119

Post by Horsenhero » Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:54 pm

Don't send Jude to the Vienna school!! Current is just now beginning to act like a non-psychopath!

Not to mention Emily would rip his spleen out through his basilar skull if he tried something like that wreck room stunt.

Arkrite
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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapter 1118 & 1119

Post by Arkrite » Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:34 pm

Horsenhero wrote:Don't send Jude to the Vienna school!! Current is just now beginning to act like a non-psychopath!
Yeah! Wait, what?

Bigger worry, dropping an intangable teleporter into a mix with the PCs? Either he's going to be antagonistic or he's going to be dead before the month is out ;~)
Horsenhero wrote:Not to mention Emily would rip his spleen out through his basilar skull if he tried something like that wreck room stunt.
And considering her strength score that's quite the threat. We're talking slow painful death here ;~)

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