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Bannon last won the day on October 14

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  1. "You could always-" Charlie started, then immediately thought better of it. No, he couldn't. "No, I couldn't." Jason said, as if echoing Charlie's thoughts as the smile faded from his face. "You should probably go and find out what she's telling everyone, though if you want my advice you'll avoid asking her to repeat herself. Or indeed to pass the salt. No telling what'll light her fuse." "It might be important for you too." Charlie ventured as Jason ducked into the driver's seat of his car and glanced up at him. "It probably is, if she read Cook's mind. But she didn't want to tell me - she wanted to have a tedious discussion about ethical use of power first, which would have started a prolonged debate with everyone expressing their views, and I would be sitting there listening to my brain cells dying while people scored oh-so-sassy snark points against a backdrop of the philosophical equivalent of 'I like the orange crayons' filling the air before anything of real import was discussed." He gave Charlie a narrow smile. "I'll get the Cliff Notes assuming anyone cares to share with me. See you tomorrow." With that, he pulled the door closed and started up the engine. Music roaring through the windows as the MP3 player flared to life, the Charger growled once like an angry beast before peeling out of the parking lot.
  2. Those cold eyes narrowed slightly, and for a brief terrifying moment Charlie wondered if he had overstepped some mark, let on that he had seen too much. He wondered if Sophia Fingleman would wear a low cut top and weep over his closed casket or clasp the urn with his pre-cremated ashes in it to her bosom... And then Jason smiled. It was a faint smile, but it reached the lanky boy's eyes. With a faint ripple of relief, Charlie realised that the predatory stare was studying him as if seeing him anew. Jason understood, at least on some level, what was being offered. And though his outlook was indeed quite removed from any definition of 'normal', the odd teen did respect insight and bravery: Charlie was nervous, but had gone ahead and offered a hand of friendship anyway. Still outwardly expressionless, apart from the faint smile and slight warming of his gaze, Jason slowly nodded to the young actor. "Maybe I'll take you up on that sometime." he said quietly. "Appreciated."
  3. "What's tiresome is how oblivious you are." Jason didn't slow down his stride, forcing Charlie to hurry to keep up or else be left behind. "She knew I met with Cook. The only way she could know that is by reading his mind or mine, so spare me the 'delicate feelings' excuse." He drew on his cigarette, then snorted smoke like a particularly scornful dragon. "I was trying to focus on the practical. I asked - not demanded - to know what Sara saw or read or heard that led her to suggest a permanent surrender of my mental autonomy. She ignored me, and when called on it decided to tell me I hadn't earned it rather than address the practical issue at hand." He glanced sideways at Charlie as he walked. "I've saved her life. And others. I have given a lot of focus to ensuring that my friends-" and now the word dripped ice. "-were informed and safe. I have even been honest about myself. Have not earned. Indeed? Then we shall see what has been earned, and to each their due." The last word was almost a quiet snarl. They reached his car, the sleek dark shape of the Charger gleaming in the late afternoon sun as Jase finally stopped and turned, facing Charlie and meeting his eyes, his tone becoming calm once more. "She was right about one thing. I'm the center of no-one's universe save my own. She meant it as a slight - but it's not, because you see I do not need to reflect the light of others. I shine with my own light, and that is all I need to see by." He gestured back towards the bleachers, the lock on the drivers side popping up behind him. "Now leave me alone." he said, turning to climb into his car.
  4. "Well, I am glad I took time out of my day for this." Jase stood, shouldering his satchel. "Where-?" several people began to ask. "I gave my answer on the network issue. I then asked a question. Twice. I got no answer. I'm pretty much done here." Jason stated curtly, then glanced at Sara. "The morality question is irrelevant to me - Just as with my mind, and my loyalty, the use of my powers is mine to decide on. You can of course do likewise. Just bear in mind that if anyone sees fit to use their powers on me without my consent and I do find out about it, I will consider myself similarly unrestrained should it prove convenient for me. Causality - choice and consequence. As Marissa says, things have a tendency to come full circle. And yes, I'm well aware I am not excluded from that - but I'm perfectly content to deal with my own consequences." He indicated Mari with a faint smile. "Case in point." He turned, putting a cigarette between his lips and flicking the end to life with a fingertip. "Etienne is a cockroach to me, as much as Liam is. But his ultimate fate isn't mine to decide so long as he stays away from me. Cook, I have use for. At least for now, I would consider it a favor to be repaid if Cook were left alone." He exhaled a twin jet of smoke from his nostrils, then glanced at them all once more. "At least for now. Up to you, though." With that he strode off towards the parking lot. "Good talk. I miss these little get-togethers. Sometimes I forget why I prefer my own company." he said without looking back.
  5. "Seconded." Jase said from where he was sitting. "The network is something I would be willing to use as a tactical resource, not a strategic utility." He didn't visibly react to Marissa's 'bat-shit crazy' comment. "I'm in favor of setting it up when we're aware it's needed, not having it in place in case it's needed." He leaned forwards, regarding them all. "Because here's how I see the situation devolving. At first, it's great. People only use it for emergencies. It saves lives, even. And then people get cozy and start to use it instead of talking face to face on matters other than critical. It will be filled with chatter about the play, or sports, or people asking me for help with their homework. If left in place, we will become a collective." He paused, then shook his head. "So my answer to that is 'no'. My autonomy is sacred to me and means more to me than anyone's safety or convenience. Even my own." He sat back. "If the rest of you wish to do it, then by all means go ahead. Now, what was on Cook's mind earlier, Sara?"
  6. "So, you know Cook spoke to me." Jason said from where he sat, legs folded Indian-fashion, on a bench. "That implies you read him, so tell me, what did you see in there?" "Wait, Cook spoke to you?" Lilly looked at Jason. "This morning? You didn't say anything." "Nobody asked." Jason replied evenly, his expression composed. "What did you speak about?" Cassie inquired, eyeing the lanky genius curiously. The answer was a shrug of his bony shoulders. "I am certain Sara can tell you. What I want to know is what was going through Cook's head when she dipped her trawl-net in there, and why it means I should subject myself to being 'on-call'. I don't even like the idea of having a cell-phone - what makes you think I'd be any more sanguine about having people knocking on my mental door at whim?" There was no particular animosity in Jason's tone - he wasn't being snarky or hostile, rather matter-of-fact as he held up a fore-stalling hand. "I know, the network allows for private communication as well as amongst the group. It is not mind-reading, rather mind-speaking. The advantages are many, moreso for those of us with psionic gifts. We found that we can 'tune in' to each other, boosting each other through your link on Sunday, remember? That's a powerful tool." "Then what's the problem?" Sean asked. "Simply my own preference." Jase shrugged again. "I'm happy to use the network as a tool when needed. But to be permanently linked to others? I need a really, really good reason to agree to that. At least one."
  7. The boy's head tilted forward from his contemplation of the ceiling, his gaze considering Doctor Cook with apparent suspicion. Then he leaned forward a little, interested. "I'm a scientist as well, Doctor. I'd like to help - and not just as a test subject." His brow furrowed as he considered the doctor's words. "The fact that I was a control, and not one of the active test subjects and yet appear to be ahead of the others is an anomaly - and like you I don't believe in coincidences." He smiled at the older man. "It's obvious that despite the careful processes you've been using, and the control you've exerted, there's random elements at play, something a fresh perspective might be able to trace." "And how could you help?" Doctor Cook asked. His tone was not sneering or condescending, but curious. Jason met his gaze, his voice calm as he explained. "My psychokinetic abilities are not the sum of my talents. I'm not going to indulge in false modesty, Doctor. That wastes both our time, so consider this a job application - I am right at the top of the measurable scale of human intelligence. I absorb and process information, calculate parameters, analyse and extrapolate better than anyone I know, even Sean. I teach myself languages for amusement - I currently speak five, including Ancient Greek and Latin. I learned Russian in under two weeks and am currently studying Italian. I taught myself graduate level math, chemistry, biology and physics from textbooks and practical observation and experimentation before Junior year even started." Jason's attitude was not that of a braggart - there was no boasting or hyperbole in his tone, merely a cold matter-of-fact recounting. "I could teach most of the classes I am currently required to take, but take them because I will need the paper qualifications and grades... plus they help me with my social skills which, as we've noted, are not the best. Needless to say, though, I am bored." The last word was said with quiet force, and the good doctor blinked a little as he considered the lean figure sitting across from him, smiling his nervous tic smile once more. "I want to know as much as you do how my powers work and interact with my surroundings. I also want answers, Doctor, and unlike my fellows I don't have any particular moral outrage about what you're doing here. Don't just use me as a test subject - let me assist you." Jason leaned back in his chair once more. "Give me that challenge, let me work with you, and I will cooperate as a test subject."
  8. The Bleachers Not too far from where Marissa was dispensing much needed wisdom to Clara, a solitary figure sat on the furthest end of the bleachers, indeed about as far from the school as a person could sit whilst still being on school property. Unlike Clara when Marissa had found her, this one did not radiate misery or the air of trying to keep their shit together. Instead his lanky frame was stretched out on his back on a bench seat, earphones in whilst he looked up at the sky, eyes tracking the clouds scudding across the early Fall blue. His thoughts moved like the clouds, fast and shifting as they made their progress across the cold vastness of his mindscape. He'd been tempted to flay Charlie verbally for his shapeshifting stunt in the equipment locker in front of Tawny. Though the blonde girl being there was Devin's doing, it was Devin's decision ultimately as to whether 'his people' were to be brought in. Nothing up to that point couldn't have been hand-waved or glossed over. If Charlie had done that in front of Jason's dad, Jason would have been irritated in the extreme. Not enough to hurt Charlie, but enough that Charlie would remember the moment for a long time. At least, the snarky side of his consciousness supplied, as long as he was capable of remembering. But there was a reason beyond restraint or mercy (hah!) that he hadn't given Charlie an acidic sandblasting. The boy lacked confidence, and slapping him down when he used his gift would not help with that. Charlie's manifestation of the Shine was a marvel of adaptation and biological control, but to use it well required imagination and confidence in himself. His stunt in the locker had been bold and, under other circumstances, amusing. Jason was thinking things through these days before acting on his frustrations - this wasn't like giving Cora a boot up the ass to wake up and smell the coffee. There was a nuance to this situation. Nuances. Previously irrelevant to him - cobwebs through which he tore as he saw fit, moving in straight lines while other ducked and weaved to avoid them. They were still cobwebs, unable to restrain him, but now he at least paid attention to what the results would be of a course of action. He hoped. The bracelet was another matter. He'd wanted to study it, but right now Devin needed rest and the bracelet needed to stay with Devin. When Cassandra was recovered, they could try something else that didn't involve her directly interacting with the thing. Otherdimensional people, advanced technology, psionically active devices. He wondered if they had anything to do with the atomic generator and the strange radio, too. Friends had nearly died this morning. His mother was in his life, however peripherally. Doctor Cook and he were... talking. This was progress at least. He wanted to know what Cook knew, and then could lay further plans. The lanky youth picked up a sandwich from the paper plate on his chest and bit into it, chewing reflectively, considering the patterns in the clouds.
  9. U.S. History <Bunnee's tonight suits me. I have nothing planned. Let me know the time and I'll be there.> Jason replied, keeping his thoughts about an ethical discussion to himself. He determined his own ethical stance, which had everything to do with practical aesthetics and little to do with abstract principles of morality. Those were interesting to discuss - but hardly relevant to him except as norms to appear to abide by while convenient. If he saw a need to do something, he would do it and not agonise over it at all. His part in the discussion over, his mental voice went silent as he went back to half-paying attention to the lesson and mentally designing some improvements for his hothouse.
  10. Once Lona had cleared Cassie of more than a headache and exhaustion - being resuscitated takes a toll - Jason relaxed somewhat from his attitude of vigilance, though he did pass Cassandra a plastic bottle of fruit tea from his bag. He, like most, didn't miss the 'sudden' erudition Devin was displaying - but then he, unlike most, knew what it was to project a self that was vastly different to what lay beneath the mask. He wondered how Devin kept up the act - personally, Jase had found acting mediocre to be exhausting and frustrating. To each their own talent, he supposed, smiling very slightly as he leaned back against the wall behind the stack of mats and relaxed. As others spoke, he merely listened. Lona, Devin and Marissa were all on the right track - he saw no reason to waste words voicing support without being asked. Etienne was Clara and Sara's operation, principally. He saw his role in the interrogation as being for physical security and, he mused, to possibly take 'necessary action' - a handy little euphemism which could mean anything. He saw no dichotomy between caring for his friends and callously disposing of enemies - the same hands which saved the life of a girl could just as easily snuff the life of a spy if he saw it as needed. The only difference being that he cared whether Cassandra lived or died. The meeting seemed to be wrapping up. The summary being: there were people in the other world. Devin had been given an anchoring artifact to stop his teleportation acting as a banana peel and sending him sliding sideways rather than forwards. Lilly's gift seemed to have altered, with more focus on her physical prowess. Cassandra had nearly died meddling with a device intended for Devin. Marissa was still mad at everyone. And at some point an investigatory / rescue mission would be going to the Notaworld place - which he of course would be on. He didn't even see the need to vocally assert his intent to go. He slid forward off the mats, shouldering his satchel. He stopped for a moment by Devin. "Interesting morning you had." he said quietly, pale eyes studying the other boy. "I'm glad you made it back." Then he moved towards the exit, the door opening for him as he approached. "Where-?" Lilly began. "Getting lunch." Jason replied as he walked out of the storage room, the door swinging shut with a 'click' behind him.
  11. "Blacked out? You had no pulse and no breath." Jason told Cassie, taking advantage of their current closeness to examine her eyes, one after the other. "Like you'd been electrocuted." His lips quirked in a smile. "Depending on your theological position, you were looking into Forever." He took her wrist gently, taking her pulse once more. "I want Lona to check you with her Shine. Till then, you sit still and chill." he told the reporter, a certain firmness to his tone as he helped her slowly sit up, then sat himself beside her, glancing over to catch Avalon's eye.
  12. Jason was already coming to his feet as Cassandra was shoved toward him but scarcely missed a beat, long arms catching the blonde girl and bringing her to rest gently atop the mats. Her face was pale, and it was with a certain amount of concern he realised she was not breathing. The lanky teen held one hand out to forestall others rushing in as he placed two fingers against Cassie's throat, even as invisible hands straightened her out on the stacked mats into a more comfortable position. "No pulse, no breathing." he muttered, loud enough for the others to hear as he began CPR, starting with chest compressions, his hands linking together one atop the other and pressing down sharply, one to two pushes per second as he counted to thirty under his breath. "No quitting yet, Cassandra." he told the unconscious girl, his voice calm but underlaid with an edge of something. Moving to her mouth, he gently pinched her nose closed then breathed deep into her lungs, turned his head to inhale, then repeated the deep breath, absently aware of the scent of caramel lipgloss. Then he straightened, felt her pulse for a moment, then went back to the chest compressions, one to two per second, blocking the world out so that all that existed was Cassie and the task at hand. To the others he appeared calm, coldly focused on what he was doing. It was the truth, but not the whole truth of what was going on inside Jason's head as he tried to save his friend. He felt her Shine, dim but there, and reached for it as he again hit the count of thirty and moved to breathe air into her lungs once more...
  13. Joking and sage advice aside, Jason knew what it was to face death and know that this was IT. He'd felt it in the woods, when the sabertooth had pounced and he'd seen nothing but death there. The adrenaline spike had left even him shaken loose from his normal rock-solid moorings, enough that he'd been curiously vulnerable to Marissa's concern, and the connection she had offered. In many ways, that moment was when he'd decided to set aside his 'person mask', and step into the light. He studied Devin for a long moment, then floated his bag of honey-glazed jerky over to the boy who, despite the recent gulf, he still considered a friend. "Chow down." he said. "It'll help you recover some energy you burned off." His tone was calm as usual, but there was a note of fellow-feeling, of sympathy there that was usually missing in his normal conversation. "What is it?" Devin took a sniff, then shrugged and made ready to chew on a piece. Tawny stared at the floating bag, then at Jason, then at the others like she was going quietly crazy, or was convinced they had. "Venison." Jason said, leaning forward to peer at the bracelet from where he sat. "Seasoned, dried, then honey glazed. Good energy food." he added absently, then glanced at Cassandra with one eyebrow raised. "You're our meta-sensory expert - what can you get from this?" "Meta-whatory?" Tawny blinked, then looked at Cassie, then at Devin again. "Can someone please tell me what the... the poot is going on before I scream to wake myself up? He-" she pointed at Charlie "Just morphed his darned head into a newsreader lady. Devin-" she pointed at the currently happily-chewing Jauntsen "-just talked about teleporting and monsters and women in armor. You-" she pointed at Jason "- just floated a snack!" The lovely girl screwed her eyes shut tight, then reopened them. "Nope, still here." she said, her face pale and taut. "Someone please, please tell me I'm not mad?!"
  14. Bannon had arrived silently, sat himself on a pile of mats with his legs folded Indian style, then calmly taken a paper bag of homemade jerky from his satchel and settled in to wait. His gaze was curious, but other than that he radiated stone-like patience as the rest of the teens had filtered in, chewing absently on his snack. He trusted that Devin was no more likely than he was to skip lunch without good reason. And then an angry blonde had whirled into the equipment store and stopped dead in the middle of some angry line of questioning. Jason sighed - evidently Devin's text had been sent to Tawny, too. He glanced at Devin, then scrutinised Tawny with his habitual stare, then shrugged and settled back against the wall behind his perch, popping another piece of jerky into his mouth as Devin waved her in. Then Devin displayed the bracelet, which immediately drew Jase's attention. The thing practically hummed with the light of the Shine. He glanced at Sean and Sara. "Is this like the arrowheads and suchlike you two saw in Helena? Psionically active?"
  15. Principal's Office Bannon didn't lose his expression of cool guarded skepticism, considering Doctor Cook and weighing whether or not the adult was playing a game. Right now, it didn't matter so much if Cook was lying about his mother - this was just the initial play, a litmus test to establish whether the man would at least appear to cooperate. If Cook was genuine, then it meant he didn't know everything about his test subjects. If not, then it would come out later, and Jason would proceed accordingly. Either way, Cook's honesty right now was not the most important thing. "Kaitlin Forster. Blonde, blue eyes, 5'6", roughly 110lbs at a guess. She's currently covering Biology as a substitute for Mr Carson." Cook blinked at the lanky teen across from him, then punched the information into his phone and sent the message before setting the phone to one side. Jason glanced at it, then at the Doctor. "As a show of good faith, I will go first, as that might take a few minutes." he shrugged. "I used my gift to bodily hurl Liam Day around his kitchen, causing multiple injuries. I wasn't sure I was capable of it until I did it, and in my mind he warranted punishment for what he did." "Ah, yes. I recall hearing about an attempted attack on another teen?" Cook probed, noting the relaxed posture and manner of the boy. "Attempted rape." Jason said with only a fraction of emphasis on the second word. "Yes. Against a friend of mine." "You could have killed him. Was that your intent?" Cook asked curiously. Jason shook his head. "The injuries were designed to cripple painfully, not kill. With a top notch medical facility nearby, he will live." he said with an almost clinical casualness. "If I had wanted to kill him, he would have been found dead, not alive. Or not found at all." "And why didn't you want to kill him?" Cook inquired, filing away the boy's attitude. "Don't get me wrong, I applaud your restraint - but he tried to rape a friend of yours." "And if he had succeeded, the outcome would have been different." Jason's voice was cold wind off a mountaintop. "I took into account the fact that my friend would not want him killed." Jason paused, frowning. "I did not take into account the fact that she didn't want him hurt either. That was surprising." He appeared to consider for a second, then shrugged. "She knew you did it?" Cook asked, then answered himself. "Of course. Who else could have done it, or would have?" He peered at Jason. "And how are your friends taking this?" "How do you think?" Jason snorted, a trace of bitterness entering his voice. "Most of them haven't even talked directly to me about it. They're all treating me either like I'm a bomb about to go off or an abusive drunk parent. The ones that have addressed it are either morally grandstanding or willfully naive - possibly both." "That sounds like it might be tough." Cook noted agreeably. "After all I've done for them, it sucks." Jason seemed frustrated, gesturing with his hands. "I step up and risk my life against monsters, stand between them and death, work to make sure we're understanding our gifts. I invite them into my personal sanctum, my private space. I punish those who would violate or take from them. I trust them by letting them closer than anyone else has ever gotten. My reward? Petty ingratitude and fear." He let his head fall back and stared at the ceiling as if lost and seeking answers. "Everything I've done to try and bond, and I feel more isolated than ever." he said quietly.
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