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Aberrant: Mutant High - [MH-Plot] The Proposal (Complete)


Dave ST
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The Proposal

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Director Drumm never taught a class, yet here they were. Several students from all different backgrounds and talent all assembled in his office. Mrs. Childs had personally went to each class room and pulled each of them from their studies. Some, like Kazuo, Warren and Oneca simply assumed they were in some sort of trouble... again. Others like Kia, Alex and Curtis found it strange, knowing they'd done nothing wrong, to be pulled from their class. Yet others like Caitlin, Daniel and Morri simply went with the flow. Why sweat the why's and wherefores when you'll know soon enough, right?

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There were several chairs all lined up in rows in front of his massive hand carved, oak desk. As always he was immaculately groomed and radiated that charisma that set all the female students hearts aflutter. He adjusted the lapel of his incredibly expensive suit and greeted them all as they entered. Casually each took a seat and waited, wonder what was going on. Finally after several moments he clapped his hands together and beamed them all a smile, the sort of smile that told them all in a single gesture that he had incredibly big news.

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"First of all, I'm sorry for pulling all out from your classes," He raised up his hands apologetically. "I know all of you would rather be there soaking up all that knowledge instead of here with me, just chillin' and talking."

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"Really, it's cool, take you time." A majority of the students snickered and giggled when Warren chimed up. Others, the more erudite of the lot, offered him a scowl to remind him he wasn't funny.

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Drumm shared a smile, expecting someone like Warren or Jaunt to have something to add. "I intend to. Because this is incredibly important."

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"What is this all about anyway?" Sakurako asked. "I'm a bit confused."

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"All will be revealed, no worries." He said as he did his customary lean on his desk.

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After everyone had made a trip to to large buffet table filled with snack trays and sodas he began. "Ladies. Gentleman. I am here to disscuss with you something very important: Mutant Terrorism. Those two words are seeing more and more use these days and unfortunately there isn't any end in sight and the more use it gets the harder and harder it will be for members of the mutant community to ever achieve an equal status among the nations of the world. I hate to put it like that, but we all know it's politics and not brute strength that win most wars and make no mistake, this is an age of war."

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"This school," he continued. He was a natural speaker and had already made eye contact with everyone at least twice. Each student felt lik ehe was talking to them despite how many others were actually in the room with them. "Meaning myself, Mrs. Childs and our benefactor-"

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"Dr. Hunt?" Curtis said, with a measure of excitement uncommon to him. He'd wanted to meet Doctor Hunt for a long time and on the inside had hoped he'd be here to speak today. It wasn't until a moment later that he realized he'd spoken out loud and cut Director Drumm off in mid sentence.

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He only chuckled a little bit, pleased by Curtis's enthusiasm. "That's right, Doctor Lawrence Hunt, the man for whom this school is named. We have been working for years to develop a plan that will assist the mutant culture into winning over the nations of the world and helping to establish a balance of peace. Our plans hit an unforeseen snag with arrival of mutant terrorist cells like The Brotherhood and private clubs like Ragnarok. Today's military technology is no prepared to deal with a mutant threat." Everyone noticed how Drumm was different from the media or the government when he spoke. He used terms like 'a mutant' instead 'the mutant' threat. Like the students at the school were all aware, it wasn't their fault mutants abused their powers. The fault lay on the mutant responsible. "Just ask Sonja. How many of their killer robots have you dimantled recently?"

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"Two." Sonja replied calmly. "To be fair though, I had help with the first one." She smirked and tossed a wink to Kia.

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"Fair enough. Again, nice work ladies. I make that point to make this one: everyone on this planet reserves the right to live a life free of bigotry and persecution regardless of their genetic disposition. So we're starting a campaign here to combat both mutant terrorism and government persecution."

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"What, we gonna picket the White House?" Kazuo snorted, already looking thoroughly bored.

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"I didn't say we were going to picket anything, Kazuo." Drum stood up and his expression became so serious the people could feel their heart beating in their chest. "I said combat." Kazuo leaned up in his seat and Warren leaned forward. "Yeah, got your attention now, don't I? I'm here to make you all a very, very unorthodox deal so I'll simply put it as simply as I can. When mutants terrorists appear, you will be there to stop them. When the nations of the world sick their killer robots on the mutant populace, you will be there to dismantle them. You will be watchers over the world protecting both human and mutant kind alike. We don't need to win over the governments we need to win over the people and if we can do that then mutant kind will have a stronger advantage over the nations of the world we can begin negotiating towards a racial unity."

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"You want us to become super heroes." Caitlin said flatly, bunching all that fancy reasoning into a single, simple sentence.

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"In a manner of speaking, yes." His reply was as casual as it was honest. "I've spoken with all of you who have family and your families have all given me their blessing to proceed with this project, all I'm missing is what you want. If you choose not to be a part of this project, then I understand completely and will not hold it against any of you. It will be dangerous, the training will be tough, but I ask you to consider the good you will all be doing."

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"The Sentinel Project has been in development for over seven years and of all the candidates Doctor Hunt, Mrs. Childs and myself have had the honor of meeting, you are the very best. Physically, intellectually and of course genetically."

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"We're the strongest mutants you could find." Warren jumped on the band wagon of summing up answers.

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"Precisely. You show the most promise and possess the greatest level of skill and assortment of mutant abilities. With training and focus, you can help reshape the world in the direction of peace for your species."

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This thread is open to all participants of Mutant High. It is considered a plot thread. Feel free to associate amongst yourselves about tis turn of events in your lives or ask Director Drumm or even Mrs. Childs questions. It's a free-for all thread that is limited to the Director's office for now.

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The words sunk in and Curtis found himself struggling to control his sudden rise in enthusiasm, lest he suddenly and unwisely become the OPEC of enthusiasm for this proposed venture. Going back to that talk with the Astoviks, Curtis had been facing more and more frustration over his admitted lack of a truly productive, unfettered and entertaining venture... here very well might be the answer to his prayers, like a metaphorical angel coming down from a hypothetical Heaven.

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(Curtis had long come to the conclusion that religious faith was something entirely incompatible with established science and basic logic for that).

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In many ways, this could be something he could get behind, and provide his full talents towards. Combat of course was a considered issue, one he wasn't suited for. But rigorous prior training was clearly intended... and naturally, they'd put him 'behind the front lines' so to speak, where his technical and scientific expertise could easily handle various support roles.

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They couldn't possibly have him out fighting someone like Ox, right? Of course, it was obvious! So the only other major element left to consider as part of his criteria... "What resources will we have access to? Facilities, monetary support, vehicles... raw materials and lab equipment?"

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Curtis said the right words.

"My classmate has a point, Sir. I and Curtis are... well... in consideration for someone like Ox... what was it that Warren would say... his Bitch."

She blushed. "Sorry... didn't mean to cuss... and not to belittle Curits' ability, but I do assess I and he are in the same metaphorical boat here... even with physical trainng..."

She stumbled over her words. "What I'm trying to say, is..."

She looked down at the floor. "I'm sorry I spoke out of turn."

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Yes, Curtis and Sakurako." Drumm looked to of them while he took a moment to enjoy some of the cheese from one of the party trays. "As I said, we will be funded. What we propose is a team and on a team everyone has roles. Not all of you are suited to all tasks, to assume as much would be, well... rather foolish and illogical, don't you agree? We will work with everyone and try to develop each of you into a role where you can best assist one another."

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“No.” The voice lashed through the silence in the wake of Director Drumm’s last statement. Every head in the room swiveled to peer to Morri, the origin of the voice. “Morri no help ah-dult who want hurt muh-tants.”

When considering which way the various students would go, the staff had all thought that Morri would go along with the idea. She hadn't had a fit in a while and seemed to be developing quickly into a functional if not particularly bright-sounding young woman. It was well-known that she was becoming more social, particularly with her closest friends. She’d entered an adorable hugging phase, where everyone got hugs from her frequently. She tried different hugs with different people, as if determining the best way to hug every person. Even students she wasn’t particularly friendly with had gotten one hug, though Morri generally wrinkled her nose afterwards and didn’t attempt that again. Curtis had even gotten one (though at the time he had thought she’d finally gone on a murderous rage because she came at him from behind at night, hugged him and was gone before he could respond).

Director Drumm studied her a moment, a little surprised by this turn. She’d been in a good mood when entering the room, giving Eileen, Childs and himself a hug before taking a seat. But now the red-eyed feral was somber and serious. “Well, Morri, the final call is yours. But we’d be helping mutants, not just humans. It’d build a lot of good will for mutants—”

“No. Ah-dults want hurt us.” Morri had risen to her feet, her fists tight; Eileen shifted slightly, giving her a little smile, and Morri’s fists loosened. “No help them. Help muh-tants. Like Gold. Like Morri. But ah-dults?” Her eyes narrowed and she borrowed a line she’d heard Oneca use: “They can dye in fry-er.”

Oneca sighed. “Fire. They can go die in a fire, Morri.”

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Kia frowned a little confused frown.

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"But...not all mutants are good, Morri. And...adults?" She gave Drumm a 'back me up here' look. "I'm pretty sure that the mutant terrorists are adults too. The only ones who aren't is us."

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Then she remembered who she was talking to.

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"What do you mean by 'adults?'"

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"She means the people in charge." Eyes turned once more, this time to the youth clad in plain white t-shirt and jeans that had started off blue, but had become almost white through sun-damage to the dye. It was hard not to look at him, really. He emanated an effortless beauty and unconscious poise that made him practically a living work of art, an archangel sculpted in gold and sapphire.

Alex was still a young man, but the last few months had seen him grow more quietly confident. Though his force of personality did not have the polished debonair aura, born of experience, that Drumm projected, Alex was quite capable of being heard even without raising his voice. He swept his gaze over everyone as he moved from his seat to stand by Morri's, laying a warm reassuring hand on her shoulder for a moment. As usual, he radiated warm sunlight, the faint corona always close to his body flickering in the golden mane of hair that, uncut, fell now well below his shoulder blades.

"She means the governments, the armies, the cops. She means the faces we see on the telly, waving placards and screaming abuse at us. She means the people who whisper and shrink away when we walk down the street, and hate us for making them feel afraid. The people who think they own this world and would kill us rather than let go their perceived control. Morri wants to know why we should help them." The solar mutant let that hang over the group, a question with no easy, cheap answer. Then he crouched companionably by Morri's seat, looking at her.

"Some people might say that it's because it's the right thing to do. To take the moral high ground, to turn the other cheek. I'm not going to agree with that. If that was the only reason, I'd agree with you, Morri: let them go die in a fryer." He gave her a small, serious smile, then stood up and looked around. "The reason I'm going to help them is because its the best thing we could do for mutants, not for humans." He took a few paces into the clear area between his fellow students and Drumm, then turned to fix them with a brilliant summer-sky stare before looking at Morri once more.

"They are ignorant. They're stupid. And they're lashing out because the only mutants most of them know about are the infamous ones that tear up Times Square because they want to make a statement. The only reason governments can get away with their idiotic and inhumane anti-mutant laws is because there's not enough ordinary people out there who can say: Wait, mutants aren't all bad. Not even most of them are bad. We need to show them that they shouldn't let their government do all their thinking for them. And it has to start somewhere." He tapped his chest, then smiled. "Might as well be us, Morri. It's a hard job, but the only way to save the most mutants is to make ordinary people less afraid, to make them stand up and tell their governments to find another way."

He nodded once at everyone in the silence following his words, then started to move back to his seat before pausing, blinking once and looking over at Drumm and Childs.

"Oh, and in case it wasn't clear: I'm in."

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"Are you kidding me?" Incredulity actually managed to scrub all sarcasm from Oneca's voice. "They're not going to see a difference between one group of muties or another. They'll just call it mutant gang warfare or vigilantism. They. Made. Giant. Killer. Robots. To Hunt. Us. Down."

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She glanced at Sonja, her jaw and fists tightening. "They don't even care if they kill the peons on that this point, if it means getting to us. And the sheeple are just as afraid us as the politicians and priests. Hell, they're still killing each other over skin color or dribble in different books. And you want us to stick our necks out for these people?"

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"They'll never trust us," her tattoo had darkened and was slithering angrily over the left side of her face. "We can do things they'll never be able to. Just by existing, we change everything. We mean that everything is changing. And you think running around and fighting with the other new kids on the block is going to make them happy about that?" She stood up, stepping next to Morri. "I'm with her. I'll save other mutants, but I'm not going to put my life on the line for some norm that would just as well see me dissected in a lab or hung for public amusement because I'm not like them."

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"Keep your blinders on if you want, Sunshine," she crossed her arms, "but it just means you won't see the bullet that kills you."

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Sakurako sighed. "See, this is why the defense department gets more funding than the space program... at this rate we'd have a exporation station on Mars and a lunar colony or two..." She said under her breath. To see science used as a weapon well... to her that just wasn't right.

"Just hearing this only confirms to me that the world needs us. Needs us to be the light of reason, to show that we aren't just a bunch of nightmares waiting in the shadows, looking to consume humanity."

She looked over to Morri. "We're not going to make you join us, but the people that want to hurt us, and those of us that want to harm innocent people and encourage those that want to harm us is what we want to stop... and protect the innocent when we can."

She wanted to hug Morri... what all was done to her...

"Alex, thank you you broke it down with more earnesty than I could.. I promise I'll do my best to help you, and everyone else on the team."

"Oneca... I'd rather risk my life for someone who actually listens to reason, than not and have those that are reasonible suffer. What do you think will happen to them after we are gone, Oneca? Think for a moment. What happens to those weapons after they have been used for their primary purpose? You speak of the jihads and race wars, well there are people who struggle in the same positions that we now will be in. Struggling for reason against the zealots. I don't know about you, but I want to stand for what is right, not stand aside and let any hope of unity be cast to the wind." She paused for a moment. "I want to help change the world, Oneca, what you speak of would only send relations between Mutants and Humanity into irretrevable entropy. Then Humanity itself."

"Hearing this talk of Giant Robots... Mutant Terrorists... it should have me scared... and I was... Now, I'm not."

There was stiffness to her spine, her confidence was for the first time present. "To me, with this program, Sir..." she says, turning to Director Drumm "...it's not a question of if I am joining... it is when do we start?"

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"I don't know if doing this will make people reconsider what people think about mutants," Kia says slowly, puzzling out her own conflicted feelings. "But I do know that the headmaster's right about one thing. Ordinary people won't be able to stop mutants from killing them. Maybe us stopping them will help, maybe it won't. Either way, it's the right thing to do. All anyone's ever seen of mutants has been fearmongering and violence. Maybe we can do something to change that."

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"And even if we can't, I'd rather try my best to do it and fail than just shrug and wait for everything to get worse. We're better than that."

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She squared her shoulders...maybe going for a more serious 'soldiery' look, though she really didn't have the face or body to pull a hardcore expression off. It just wound up being adorable.

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"I'll do whatever I can."

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"I'm in," Sonja declared in her deep, womanly voice, Alex's aura washing her shimmering silvery-white hair with gold as he sat down next to her.

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Drumm's proposition made her well with joy and anticipatory eagerness. Talking with Morri, hearing 'Neca's views, Sonja had been thinking of how she could make a difference, for mutants and in the world, and what she would do after school. This, this was exactly what she was looking for. She flashed Alex a private smile, giving his shoulder a fond squeeze as she stood up.

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Someone with Sonja's exaggerated figure and a face to make a cover-girl weep in envy would hardly be taken seriously, but with her greater-than-life-size stature and obvious physical strength, she was all the more impressive, even wearing a casual pair of coral jeans and a striped tank-top. She met everyone's gaze with firm, indigo eyes, but focused her attention on Oneca and Morri. - they were the ones she was most worried about.

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"Alex and Saku said it better than I can," Sonja said with a hint of wry self-deprecation, "but I'll add my bit too. 'Neca, you're totally right, we can do things humans can't. But that is exactly why mutants - us - have to be the ones to step up to stop the ones that go rogue, harm and kill indiscriminately; we have the abilities to counter theirs. Right now, the governments and militaries, they're developing countermeasures to stop all mutants, rather than just the bad ones, because they don't see any alternatives... Or refuse to see alternatives. We can be that alternative and make the world see."

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Sonja took a deep breath, keeping her hands at her sides and trying to be emphatic, instead of looming over the others - a tall order for the girl christened Barbiezilla, among other epithets. "And really, if we don't take risks helping them, why would they - why should they - take risks for us? Quid pro quo. And really, most of us have humans for parents, not other mutants. How'd you feel if some rogue mutant took a shot at LA for 'mutant rights' and dad got hit in the cross-fire, huh? I'll stand up to defend innocent mutants, but I'm also going to stand up for innocent people, regardless of DNA, who don't have a chance to defend themselves."

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She planted a hand on a cocked hip, gaze going around the group once more. "Look, I don't think any of us are naive enough to think this is going to be easy. It's not. It's going to be crazy hard and will take a long time. Maybe longer than our lifetimes. We might even fail. But at least we'll be able to say we tried, instead of doing nothing. This world is big enough for humans and mutants both. But it has to start somewhere. Mr. Drumm and Mr. Hunt and the rest are giving us the chance and I'm taking it."

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Sonja cleared her throat and squared her shoulders. Unlike Kia, she didn't pull off adorable - she pulled off being unfairly gorgeous and resolute some how at the same time, "Thank-you."

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Sonja sat back down next to Alex, calmly crossing her legs, chin elevated to a proud and determined angle.

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At the mention of parents, a tremor passed through Morri. Parents were bad. They were ah-dults. Marco’s parents hurt him for loving. Alex had talked about his sending him here instead of letting them stay with him. Some parents seemed okay, but Morri couldn’t trust them anymore. There was something deep inside her, something that twisted with fear and loathing when she thought about parents. It had solidified into a sure feeling that her parents had been bad, as bad as any other ah-dult.

“Pee-ples take care of own. Muh-tants are own of Morri. Morri care muh-tant.” Few had ever seen the feral state anything this definitively.

“Some of us have human parents, Morri.” Sonja pointed that out again. “Wouldn’t those be our people as well?”

The calm that Morri had been holding onto disappeared suddenly. “Pah-rents ah-dults! Pah-rents hurt!” She followed her statement with a harsh, angry snarl. “Morri help muh-tants hurt by pah-rents!”

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"I'm in." Daniel said with a calm tone to his voice. "I will do what I have to to help." He looked at Morri. "Not all of them, even now, I still have a good relationship with my parents, and I know I'm not alone in that."

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He looked to the others. "We need to show everyone we are willing to make a positive impact, and that we are not willing to sit back and tolerate the abuse anymore. We have to show the rest of the world we can police ourselves, and are willing to. They may never trust us, and they'll likely always be some that fear us, but if we can build up the former, and cut down the latter it will be better for everyone."

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On the mention of parents Sakurako looked down at the floor, wringing her hands.

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"We... we're the lucky few, aren't we? In a position to do something? Morri... My parents never knew I was a mutant... they died before even I knew. My Aunt had taken care of me afterward, and she loves me, and she stands for mutants like us to live in peace with normal humans. There are always exceptions, and in this case there are big exceptions, Morri."

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"And Daniel is also right. We can stop the bullies among mutantkind that harm innocent people human and mutant."

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"Morri... you don't have to join us, but perhaps if you understand at least my reasons... and ours..."

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"I just don't like people getting hurt... suffering... because of hate."

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Curtis calmly sat, leaning his chin on his palms while the others talked and his focus off elsewhere, as if the others were discussing the weather in entirely stultifying tones. The truth was that Curtis had made his mind up, well aligned on the general stance that Oneca and Morri were taking. The capacity of humanity to be ignorant, intolerant, self-justifying and not considering the future had been made clear throughout history.

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And he doubted many of the optimistic volunteers present appreciated the power of spin that the government and their media allies so easily wielded. Sure, Drumm said there would be training... but any screw-ups would be exploited by the bigots in power to the maximum and undermine the whole point of it all. Curtis knew Murphy's Law was going to come in to play, most certainly. There was a chance this would work, he acknowledged, but not a statistically significant one by his predictions.

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Not even getting into the question of whether the governments of the world were even that responsive to popular interests anymore. Ultimately, Curtis' only intentions were to exploit the lab work and resources supposedly afforded him by this Sentinel Program, for as long as possible, get some revenge for Kara... and be prepared to cut his losses at the point that things went south for the winter.

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Nor was he going to say anything right now unless addressed, or there was something worth speaking about. Meanwhile, the cheese and fruit was worth sampling, he decided.

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Despite her weeks of tutoring sessions with Curtis, and despite the few familiar faces in the group, Caitlin felt distinctly on-edge; expansive as Drumm's office was, it shrank considerably when packed full of students she barely knew. She'd only just been deemed stable enough to join the rest of the Academy, and she was acutely aware of the multitude of emotions bubbling up inside her- and everyone else. She had too much nervous energy to take a seat and casually converse, so the redhead simply stayed on her feet, ranging periodically from the snacks to a spot near the door.

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"Well, since everyone else's speakin' up," she began finally, the almost lyrical cadence and faint accent of her voice breaking the awkward silence. "I might 's well put in my two cents. I haven't met most of you, but I've heard of you." She didn't bother adding that most of her information had come from the blonde genius in glasses, since he seemed to have a good grasp of what the others were like. "And I'm pretty sure that all this sharin' of feelings and different ideas is just gonna confuse her more." She nodded briefly in Morri's direction. "She and I are different, but from what I'm told we both deal with the same impulses. Chances're good she's gonna have to see what you're talkin' about, not just hear a bunch of people arguin' about the abstract. Give 'er a chance to work it out herself. Maybe these classes'll help, and maybe not, but she's gonna have to figure out the whole 'human nature' bit on her own."

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There was a brief pause, in which Caitlin forced herself to unclench her fists before continuing. "Far as the training goes, I'll give it a shot. No promises, but I'll try." Having finished, she took a long drink from a bottle of water and quickly bit off part of a sandwich to (at least temporarily) prevent the need for further reply. She looked truculent, even brooding, but inside she was worried and uncertain. She'd managed to keep herself mostly in check in normal situations, but could she really be trusted to actually use her abilities? She wasn't sure, and it scared the hell out of her.

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Warren had remained silent up until now, giving the others time to speak. He knew Sonja would have to say something, she always did. Oneca was predictable, and although he loved her (he just hadn't told her yet) her constant 'let the world burn' mentality he could see was going to cause some friction between them eventually. Mouse was Mouse and Curtis was Curtis and everything they said was predictable giving what he knew about them. Even Warren was predictable, it's not like anyone here, aside from maybe the new girl, couldn't tell what he was going to say, but still he sat there in his chair, legs stretched out in front of him, one resting over the other with his arms folded in boredom.

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"Warren, you've been quiet." Mrs. Childs spoke up after Caitlin had finished speaking. If ever two people didn't get along it was him and Drumm's lovely assistant Director. They were oil and vinegar and it was countless the number of times the two of them had been heard arguing in Drumm's office to the point where Mrs. Gomez had been called in to settle the matter down. He had a knack for just not caring about what was going on around him. If people wanted to fight, let them. If people wanted to bicker, let them, it wasn't his problem. This was her attempt at engaging him and getting him involved. "Perhaps you'd care to add something since people seem to be sharing their feelings and opinions, you could do the same."

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Uncaring eyes locked on her from his lowered head in tribute to Judd Nelson and his stints in weekend detention. After a long moment of silence he finally spoke.

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"She's blind and you're trying to explain what the color blue looks like. Maybe Sonja'll try explaining what bubblegum tastes like next without giving her a piece." The look Sonja gave him was typical but he gave her an obnoxious smirk just to twist the sarcasm knife a bit. He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and this almost made him invisible to some of the people further up front.

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"Our lives suck." He said plainly. There was no sarcasm in his his tone and those who knew him could tell he was serious. "This school is just an illusion, one that we're all thankful for because it helps to keep our minds off of, or distract us from the fact that: our lives suck. That's the long and the short of it. I don't care who you are, by the very virtue of being what we are, we've all dealt with immeasurable loss." He stood looked around at the assembled.

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"Be it our sanity," He gestured to Morri.

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"Be it loving parents who were simply just too overwhelmed," He gestured to Alex.

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"Be it a good life not without it's own set of problems that their mutation only compounded on." He gestured toward Sonja and Oneca.

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"Or the ability to cope with others because your natural talents make everyone else just... less than you." The gesture towards Curtis was predictable.

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"Normalcy." He gestured to Caitlin, displaying that people knew far more about her already than she realized.

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"I could go on, and all of us in our inexhaustible teenage angst constantly try to make it sound like our loss is the heaviest. Like no one in the world could compare to what we've been through." Then he shared. He shared something no one in this room had heard or expected to ever hear from him: His loss. "My mother was a warm, loving, kind and gentle woman." He smiled softly as his eyes were locked and lost in the memory of her. Most wondered if Warren even had a mother, it was a popular assumption that he was simply grown in a lab. "I used to love watching the old Dragon Ball Z cartoons. She didn't understand them but she always made sure I didn't miss an episode." He came to, snapping himself out of his reminiscence. "Long story short, when my mutant 'expression' matured I couldn't control it and I killed her. She's dead, because of me." He was fighting hard to hold it back and they could tell. A burst of emotion was just on the surface and he was fighting it with every ounce of willpower he had. "She was innocent, and human, and killed by a mutant. So I tend to take offense when people think that decent women like her should go 'die in a fire' simply because she's a 'pah-rent' and by proxy must be bad."

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"The government picked me up now that I had no family, and the rest is as you've heard in the rumors. I spent years in a cell being cut open, operated on, poked, prodded and made to fight and brawl with other mutants like we were Michael Vick's dogs. I didn't care either. I was filled with so much anger and hatred for myself I soaked it all up like a sponge. The pain, the violence, the mistreatment. I'm not a spiritual guy, but murder was my sin and Hell was my punishment." He half-laughed looked around the room. "And trust me, or ask Gold. Those labs are as close to Hell as we can get without catching fire." He looked to Morri, wondering if anything was sinking in. He doubted it. "I became evil. I became hate. The more I thought of my mother and what I'd done, the deeper I slipped. I just- I felt I deserved it."

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"And here I am." He waked over to the table and picked up another soda. He'd already gone through two Mountain Dews, but he needed to move, he didn't like talking like this, but it felt good to get it out. "I have been everything you guys hate about our kind. I've killed the innocent. I've poisoned and hurt and hunted our kind." He sipped his soda for effect. "And I've enjoyed it."

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He sighed. "And some reason no matter how hard I push you dip shits away, you still hang around me. You're still trying to put up with my shit no matter how bad I get. Hell, Morri, as awful as I've treated you, you still hug me and play pranks on me. You care. You might not understand it, but you do. This world, I think, needs that same attitude. It's pushing us away and we have a choice: let it go, or keep on caring until it comes around."

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"What I've been through is no greater or less than what any of you have. I've hurt, you've hurt. I've lost, you've lost. I'm forsaken, so are you. Do I hate them for what they did to me? You're goddamn right I do, but I blame those responsible not everyone I meet on the street corner. I hate myself more than them, though. For what I did, for what I've done. I don't care what the world thinks of me, guys." His eyes were glossed over, he was getting real close to losing and it just made everyone remain even more silent, were it possible. "I just want her, where ever she is to be proud of me, after all I've done. Maybe to forgive me, even." He gazed to the floor and sniffled but people pretended not to notice. Warren was a creature of pride and this moment was one of weakness he dared never show. To have feelings, he might have preached any other time, could get you killed or used, or worse. "I can't sit down and flip through a photo album like you guys can. You've all lost something, but I see your pictures and I hear your phone calls. I don't have souvenirs of a past life, no immediate family. Everyday it gets harder and harder to remember what my mother looked like and one day I know it'll fade completely and all that'll be left, burned in my mind, is the expression on her face that day when I did what I did. Before that day comes, I want my mom to know I did something right for once. For her."

,,

He sighed and sat back down, sniffling again and hiding the moisture in his eyes as best he could (to wipe his eyes would have proven he was about to cry. This way he could claim they were just dry or it was stuffy in here). What did you say after that? What could you say? An eerie silence remained until Warren broke it, knowing it was now way to awkward in the room.

,,

"But I ain't wearin' spandex. Screw that."

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Diana had said nothing, she listened to everything everyone else was saying and like Warren she thought it was predictable, she was able to calculate within a few variables where each person would stand and she listened to each of them. Of course, her position was almost certain as Daniels, she had already said she would support him in his efforts to find a path to peace between mutants and humanity, even though she wasn't sure of the practicality of the matter.

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Her own words were short in terms of support for the idea. "I'm with them." She pointed first to Daniel, then perhaps to his surprise, to Warren, though she wasn't entirely sure of that, he might knew something of her own history, there were some similarities, at least in terms of losing the people she loved most in the world when she expressed her own mutant capabilities. So perhaps her agreement with him was not all that unexpected. She then shifted to indicate all of those who spoke up in support of the idea, before turning to those who were less in agreement with the idea, and she addressed Morri first.

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"They didn't mean this the way you think they mean this, they said it wrong for you to understand, Morri, the idea is to resist those who would hurt others, mutant or human, not to protect humans over mutants, or mutants over human." She looked over at Director Drumm a moment. "With all due respect, Sir, you should have know to present this to her differently, Morri sees the world in a different way and doesn't always understand it the way you mean it."

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After addressing the first of the wild ones, she turned to the other one. "Oneca, I'm not sure how practical this idea is, in fact, considering the bigotry and prejudice that is shown by humanity in general, but does that mean that we should discard the good ones, the ones who care and who try to help, just because some of the norms make machines that are programmed to destroy mutants? We need allies, if we're going to make this work, among both humans and mutants, and that's the reason to assist everyone who we can. No one is saying that we should help those trying to kill us, but some of our teachers and those who have helped us? Ms. Peterson is the teacher who has been teaching me artwork, encouraging my ice sculpting practice, and she's a norm, shouldn't we fight to defend those like her who support mutants rather then leaving them to die in fire?"

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“Judge.” Morri spat the word as she rose to her feet. “Judge Morri. Morri know what muh-tants learn. Ah-dults hate muh-tants. Ah-dults make suffer.” The feral spoke with the surety of her experiences. The other students could tell her over and over that adults wouldn’t hurt them, but their words meant nothing to her. Everyone in the room was using the same words as Morri but her words meant different things. Only Alex seemed to understand that to Morri, ‘adult’ meant ‘humans who attack mutants’. Why she was lumping parents in with adults was a mystery only Morri knew.

The sad truth was that Morri didn’t know why parents were bad either. All she knew was that Marco’s parents had been bad, hating him for love. Morri couldn’t remember the reason why her parents had hurt her, but they had hurt her, badly. Just thinking of them made her stomach twist with pain.

Her words spoken, Morri didn’t sit down. She looked at Drumm, letting the observant director see that her answer was the same: she’d help those she deemed worthy of help. Then she turned and stalked out of the room. If they wanted her back, they would find her. But right now, she couldn’t swallow another condescending explanation of how she was wrong and everyone else was right.

Morri knew what she knew; she wouldn’t listen to others telling her that her experiences were wrong.

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Curtis watched the continual barrage of thoughts, opinions and others, particularly directed at Morri. But he supposed Warren had it best. The feral mutant was seeing this at a far different angle then the rest and was set in her mind for that matter. He wasn't sure why it was that he rose, but perhaps it was something about the 'parents' references that reminded him of his own troubles and made him empathize.

,,

Halfway down the hall, Morri heard a level-toned query of... "Morri?"

,,

Morri snarled and glanced back, then snarled louder. She didn't stop, not until she was outside and breathing in clean air. She turned to glower at the approaching mutant. Curtis sighed before he came in closer and rubbed his chin. She could attack him, but that would have probably happened ages ago if she intended to do so. "I know what you're saying about parents. Mine did bad things to my sister and I." It was very clear this was difficult for Curtis to say.

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The hostility on Morri's face eased a bit at his words. Curtis took this as an encouraging sign, and went on. "What Sonja, and Kia, and Sakurako and the others... do you think what they're saying is..." He paused to rephrase: "How would you describe it?"

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Morri hesitated, her expression wary. "Ah-dults hurt muh-tants. Will hurt them. Not yet, but will." "So Sonja and the rest are wrong, and they won't stop saying wrong things?" Curtis prompted, carefully trying to not set her off. "No know." Frustration was thick in her voice. "No lis-in."

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Curtis attempted to do his best to untangle the use of Morriese before deciding to give a shot. "I've found a lot of times, that when talking about different things, that people don't know, and don't listen. And it gets annoying, like right now, you're annoyed, right?"

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Curtis received a curt nod as an answer. Relieved to know something hadn't got messed up in translation, Curtis decided to propose a solution. "It happens, Morri. When it happens, what I do, is stop trying to tell them, and let them figure it out themselves."

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Morri's expression became more annoyed, and she flung out a hand, pointing ardently at the building they'd just left. "No shut up!" she snapped.

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Curtis conceded looking back that she had a point - that sort of wishing people would be quiet came to him at times. Turning back to her... "There's going to be more to talk about there than parents and adults. If the others agree to stop talking about parents and adults, would you come back with me?"

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Morri looked about as enthused at that idea as getting a rectal exam but she nodded reluctantly.

Curtis counted this as a victory, and took a deep breath. "Alright, I'll go and ask them to stop." He went back inside, and heading all the way back to Director Drumm's office...

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Sakurako took off her glasses to clean them, but not until after she enjoyed some of the spread... finally... Hearing Warren was... refreshing, honestly, but something about the turn of the conversation... concerned her. Everyone, her included, were sounding like her case managers when she was confined to a wheelchair, seemingly a few sneezes from death...

"Everyone... I think those of us that have agreed to this... might need this moment now to ask questions then, at least as to what isn't clear, about this endeavor.At least what hasn't been brought up."

Sakurako knew this would be a good way to change the subject.

She adjusted her blazer, looking around. "What I have been thinking to ask first, is what sort of training, outside of the obvious physical regimen will be expected? I mean it is obvious what the Training's goals are... I'm thinking this is also to improve our teamwork overall... but as some would say; 'What's the lowdown?', Sir?"

She had a flash of realization cross ehr face, enough to hold up her hand to pause the conversation. "Umm... and forgive my prying... but what is Dr. Hunt's involvement with us now with this project? Will we be meeting him first hand?"

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Oneca recoiled as if Warren had slapped her with his words. He'd been through so much worse than she had - he was supposed to understand. The world sucked and most of the people in it sucked more. She'd learned the first lesson when Saja died and the second one everywhere from history class to clubs filled with assholes that wouldn't just let her dance and enjoy the night. She'd centered her entire world around hating pretty much everyone and now one of the very few she didn't lump into the "sheeple" category had gone and drunk the kool-aid. He was supposed to be on her side.

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She blinked back tears, crossing her arms defensively in front of her and turning away from the rest of the group to hide her shock and the swell of confusion and conflicting emotions that came quickly on the heels of it. She barely registered that the others were still talking or Morri and Curtis' exits from the room. Anger had always been her refuge from confusion or pain, but she didn't want to be angry at him. To yell at him and say things she shouldn't. He wasn't like the rest of her family. They had to love her. They had to be there, even when she was being bitch. Warren didn't. He could just...leave. She glanced over to him, averting her eyes before his could catch hers.

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The things he'd said, about wanting his mother to be proud of him, she didn't have any way to counter that. Who could compete against the memory of a dead mother? He was going to get himself killed trying to save people that didn't give a shit about him. To make his mother proud. She was going to lose him either way. The room was suddenly too hot and her corset felt like it was cinched two inches too tight. She couldn't catch her breath and everything was starting to spin. She slumped against the wall and let herself slide down to the floor, pulling up the hood of her cloak to keep her face hidden from the others. She wrapped her arms around her knees, pulling the rest of her cloak around her. It wasn't really armor and it couldn't make the stupid things about the world disappear, but she could pretend.

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Caitlin was fuming by the time Sakurako tried to change the subject. Apparently, being "the new girl" meant you had nothing worthwhile to say, but the biggest jackass in school (according to what she'd heard) belted out some sob story and suddenly he was a bloody-fucking-kung-fu wise man? Not a single person had paid any attention, including the girl she'd been empathizing with, but this worthless bowsie opened his stupid mouth and they all just bobbed their big empty, too-pretty heads and just went along with it? Without realizing it, the redhead was growling, her cheeks flushed with suppressed fury as she crumpled the water bottle in her hand into a pathetic bit of clear plastic; the remaining water fountained out onto the floor.

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"Y'know," she ground out tersely through clenched teeth, her whole body shaking with the effort she was putting forth to control herself as she interrupted. "Y'can have it. Keep yer 'special trainin' and yer remedial friends, yer little personal dramas, yer cliques, and yer bloody hero worship. 'd rather have someone gut me- Every. Bloody. Day.- after breakfast than deal with this. I'd rather sit in that feckin' room By. My. Self. for the rest of the feckin' year with those shite doctors tellin' me how much progress I've made 'cause I didn't break anything that day, an' maybe I could join the rest o' the students sometime soon without our dear administrators wonderin' if I'm gonna accidentally kill somebody." Turning to Drumm, she briefly tipped her head up in acknowledgement. "So let's just stick with that, yeah?"

,,

Relatively confident she'd seriously hurt someone if she stood there any longer, Caitlin stalked, seething, out of the office.

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Sakurako put her glasses back on, quickly. There was a furrowed look to her brow.

It wasn't from what anyone said... just something was... just now... crawling up her in a sensitive place in her heart. It was starting to feel hot in here. She looked over to Daniel, then Glacia... She was with the one she could never have... then Morri... something in her head suddenly thanked god that the biggest liability to the group was gone.

Wait... she wasn't supposed to think like this... the girl needed help.

That's what they all say... just to level the playing field... they did that all the time with her.

And now... now she has to work with these people? Her life could be on the line and they'll either treat her like some sort of charity case or nothing more than a means to an end...

She clutched her knees, wrinkling her skirt... it was becoming obvious something was bothering her, but she was bottling it up. Reason fighting teenage impulse... the rebel fighting the orderly proper girl she wanted to be.

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Curtis was heading down the hall, and hopefully some upward and forward progress had been made and would be made with Morri- And then he was treated to the concerned sight of Caitlin stalking down the hall like a ferocious wild cat... what the hell now? Concern colored his face as he came to a slow. Perhaps against his better judgement he began to ask, "Caitlin, are you-"

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She blinked at Caitlin's words, then she paused a moment to consider her actions and what had been said then she went after Caitlin, a touch hesitant but still feeling the need to encourage the other girl, she had done the whole alone thing before, she could understand why the other girl might want to take that path, but she still thought she should encourage her.. running out of the room after. "Wait, wait.. look, Warren's something of a jerk at times.. but..." She paused, logic indicated that the other girl was unlikely to listen anyway, her anger was too much a part of her, and actually made her a bit nervous, so she said her piece and backed off.

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"Look.. just.. don't right the option off later, if you change your mind, I'll leave you be." As she saw her heading toward Curtis, let him deal with miss furious now, she turned and headed back into the room where everyone else had gathered, and then looked at Oneca in the corner. "Gee... what happened to her?"

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The last person she wanted to run into at that moment was the first one who'd actually gotten to know her at all, so of course, that's the way it happened. Cursing her luck even as she saw the look of surprise on Curtis's face, Caitlin just shook her head violently, sending her hair whipping around her face in a storm of blazing copper.

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"I'm fine," she mumbled curtly as she stormed past, waving him off as Glacia returned to the office to avoid dragging the situation out any further. Her father had always teased her about getting her temper from him, but she was pretty sure this went way beyond normal teenage grumpiness. And so what if it did? There was a part of her, the part that secretly frightened her, that reveled in this feeling. Despite how angry she was, there was still a little frisson of excitement that raced up her spine when she thought about the fight with the mutant that had almost killed her. No matter how good her life had been, or how bad anyone else's was, she doubted anyone else got their kicks hurting people, and she wasn't quite so far gone that she really believed that was a good thing.

,,

"Screw 'em," she muttered under her breath as hot tears streamed down her reddened cheeks.

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Curtis found himself brushed past, and feeling hurt in sympathy as she made her way out. Which by now was really reaching the oddness limit for the geek. Her hair was still mesmerizing like that, and he still wanted to console her like Kara needed some -- dammit.

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He couldn't be seriously attracted to her, could he? He was just dealing with frustrating biological... gah. Curtis let out a quiet groan, rubbing his forehead, as he finally switched back to his other mission. The others found the office door opening, and Curtis looking in, expression unreadable and still.

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"Morri agreed to come back, if you promise to put an end to the talk of adults and parents and move on. Which I'll tell her you did, because you will." The last line following was deadpan, but the sarcasm was glowingly implied. "Oh, and as for Caitlin? Thank you very much." The door slammed shut and Curtis turned around, heading back to deliver his message to Morri.

,,

At this point, he was considering his absence from the discussions, and how it might leave him uninformed with Sentinel Program details, but Curtis could find out later. At this point, his patience level was wearing thin.

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"I don't see how this can work... not with this group..." Sakurako muttered. Lowly... under her breath.

But there was a look of distinct and plain disdain and even some anger. "I honestly don't know..." Sakurako said to Glacia. "...I'm not her keeper. Oneca can speak for herself." She snapped.

Sakurako couldn't give one damn towards Oneca... after all the notes, the taunting, the bullying... Sakurako wouldn't care if Oneca fell off the face of the planet. Her self-loathing "woe is me" attitude... now she was cowering in the corner... like the vulnerible mewling child she really was.

In a way Sakurako took a sick pleasure of seeing Oneca meek... a little revenge fantasy fulfilled.

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Alex sat quietly through the arguments, denunciations and Morri's anger. He wasn't at all surprised at Oneca's reaction: he thought of her as basically nice, but superficial - a sort of negative superficiality that manifested in nihilistic attitude and wearing black only because a darker color hadn't been discovered. The others all varied, ranging from Kia's earnestness to Saku's shy resolve, Hotstreak's and Sonja's never-doubted willingness to try to make a positive change. The new girl, Caitlin, was a bit of a surprise in her final reaction, but Alex hoped she'd come around. After she'd saved him and Aradia from Primal, he felt a deep respect for her abilities and courage.

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Warren, though, had only surprised him a little. He felt that his moody roommate would be all for actually trying to do something, plus Warren had sense. He had empathy, try as he did to hide it so he didn't get hurt. The one mutant other than Morri who had the most reason to truly hate humans, yet Alex knew before the Revenant had finished speaking that he would go along with the plan, simply because Warren was mature in ways that most of those in the room, (and Alex counted himself among them) wouldn't be and couldn't be - yet.

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We'll learn, though, Alex thought to himself, blue eyes gazing out of the glass of the picture window behind Drumm's desk as he listened to people continue to talk it out. He felt no need to contribute more than he had already, for now. He could go chasing after Morri, or Caitlin, and try to persuade them to at least come back, but there would be no point until they were ready to proceed past the "Are you in?" stage. Instead, he got up and wandered over to the large window, munching on a sandwich as he soaked up the vibrant spring sunshine peeking through the clouds outside. The surface of his skin glittering softly, he drew calm from the warmth he felt spreading through his cells. This won't be a game. But then we can't afford to be children. Not in these times.

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Natalie has been quiet up until now but now she stood.

,,

"Okay. I for one, think this idea has merit, sir. Change never comes without something to stir it up first."

,,

She nods.

,,

"So count me in. And I agree him.:" Points to Warren "No Spandex. That's just stupid."

,,

Nat looks over at Saku as she sits back down.

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Alex noticed it. When he reached the window he paused and simply thought about it. He was watching Drumm's reactions this whole time and it was the subtlest of things to notice, but Alex caught them. As each person began to speak Drum had already been looking in their direction. When Mrs. Childs spoke up, he was already looking at her. When Warren walked about the room, it was like Drumm knew his path. When Morri got frustrated, he didn't make any movements to calm her. When Caitlin got irate, he simply let it be. It was like all their actions were pre-planned, their replies to his offer already known but he was just simply going through the formality of asking them in person.

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He stood from where he was leaning on his desk. "I'll tell you what ladies and gentleman, why don't we all take a short break to calm down." He smacked the palms of his hands together and gave that assuring grin of his. "This is a big step in all your lives, take awhile and consider it in full amongst yourselves and we'll meet back here a bit later. Say, two-thirty?"

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It was 11:46. That gave them about three hours to figure things out.

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"I'll answer your questions then, but in the meantime, I think your thoughts should be on calming down some. Mrs. Gomez, could you see to Morri please, she seemed upset." He was unphased by any of this. He knew this would end in a terrible fiasco of bickering, but... how?

,,

Okay, seriously, the entire room failed their perception rolls. Even the uber-perceptives. Alex was the only one who managed it and he got lucky.

,,

At this point you may continue to post amongst yourselves for a bit or branch out into separate bickering fictions to come to some resolution with the drama. I'll be posting again in 48 hours to continue the thread, this should give you guys time to 'chat' things through.

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Warren got up, rolling his eyes and sighing. He hit the table, grabbed another soda and a handful of crackers and walked over to where Oneca was hiding from the world. Curious, he stepped towards her an knelt beside her. "Babe," he touched her shoulder. "Hey, are you alright?"

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Sakurako quietly nodded to Drumm's request, taking a soda and some snacks from the tray she smiled. "Thank you, sir..."

She meekly went out of the room, and leaned against the wall, outside in the hallway, she needed to catch her breath for a moment. her brain was screaming. She was beginning to doubt how she could work with that group... everyone was so... illogical and chaotic.

It drived her insane.

She analysed her own emotion... seeing that she was... slipping into that mindset herself. "Dammit..." She whispered in a pained tone.

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Daniel looked to Glacia, "Hungry?" She stared at him a moment then nodded, and then followed him out as they left for the Cafeteria, leaving unspoken the invitation for anyone to join them. They took their food over to one of the smaller tables by a window, and sat down to eat in peace. The entire time, Daniel spent thinking about what had been proposed, what had been said by his fellows, and what Summer had enlightened him about in the months before.

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Not a word would be exchanged over the course of the meal, he could see Diana was doing much the same, and smiled. She'll probably have thought this through much better than I have.

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Nat leaves the room to look for Saku.

,,

"There you are!"

,,

Nat sits down next to Saku and offers her one of the cans she snagged.

,,

"Penny for your thoughts?"

Sakurako sighed. "If there was economical checks and balances to my thoughts in relation to supply and demand, the rate of inflation for my thoughts stands at 5 dollars and thirty eight cents."

She slowly shook her head. "Drumm is picking mutants that are too young for this... I'm starting to wonder what he sees in all of us, I mean half of us can't be in the same room with the other half unless you expect sparks and fireworks to go off."

She massaged her temples. "And I had to end up sitting next to Glacia and Daniel...

She looked over to Natalie. "I like them both... but neither could return my advances..."

She stopped in her thoughts. She didn't want that bird out fo the cage. Not with Oneca skulking about. "...and to have Oneca leering behind me just throws me off. All the time. Although she did seem more disturbed than usual..."

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Kia gets up out of her chair and drifts over to one of the windows behind Drumm's desk. Normally she'd have been going over to people to find out what they wanted to do, and chat and talk about things. This time she didn't feel much urge to do that. Her experience with the robot still haunted her, and she felt in her heart that robots like that were just the beginning, unless they could find some way to make friends with normal people. The only alternative would be a war that she couldn't even concieve of the horror of.

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Normal people's fear and paranoia had alienated mutants, and now other mutants would have to protect them from the harvest of strife they'd sowed. It wasn't fair, or just. It was just the only way that could possibly lead to anything like a happy ending. Or at least an ending that fell short of tragedy on a cosmic scale.

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Most of the others seemed like they were on board though, and that was good. Kia was sorry Morri wasn't, but she understood. Oneca too, wasn't a surprise. Both of those two had a lot of anger, and anger made it hard to make decisions like this. And even Kia had to admit, there was a good chance nothing would work. They'd spend a lot of time and effort for nothing.

,,

She recognized that. She just didn't care. It was better to give your all for a worthy but doomed cause, than to doom a worthy but doable cause with inaction.

,,

The high schooler turned her back to the window then to look at the others. Should she say something? Try to rally them? Would they even listen to her?

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Eileen found Morri outside the building, her red eyes distant. The faculty member slowed, studying the young feral as she approached, feeling out Morri’s mood. The signs weren’t good; the girl was seething with anger. She wasn’t ranting and screaming, or trying to cut anyone, thank God, but there was something far worse about this still rage. Morri was thinking about something intently and unpleasantly--brooding, even. That was progress, but after her talk with the Director, Eileen wasn’t sure that it was the right kind of progress. She’d never intended for Morri to become the monster that Vyse had forced to her be and she’d never considered that she might fail to reform the mutant. She’d considered what to do if Morri had never adapted to civilized life, but not what would happen if Morri became part of the “mutant problem”.
The dark thoughts scared her. Eileen was fond of Morri, and didn’t want look at her and see a dangerous creature that would have to be dealt with. Did Vyse break her? Did he make it so that she can’t trust the very people she needs to learn to live with?
And if he did, what will I have to do to keep her from hurting others?
“Hey, Morri.” Eileen called out well before she would have startled the girl and was pleased that Morri didn’t leap out of her skin. Instead, the feral locked red eyes on her and gave her a wan smile. Given what she’d just been thinking, the smile was a cruel mockery of her thoughts--how could she even consider Morri being dangerous, when the child could smile like that for her? But Jericho had been very clear: Morri was angry at some humans and seemed unable to understand that by helping them, the humans would come around to tolerate mutants.
Eileen sat down next to the quiet mutant. “I hear you didn’t like Director Drumm’s idea.”
Morri scowled. “Like Drumm i-de-ah. Just not for ah-dults. Pah-rents.”
Eileen nodded. “Why not adults or parents?”
“Ah-dults bad. Hate muh-tants. Pah-rents hurt. Hurt Alex. Hurt Mar-co. Hurt Morri.” Morri punctuated her litany of victims with a soft growl.
The last statement caught Eileen off guard. “Morri... do you remember your parents? What did they do to you?”
“No know. Know bad. Feel hurt.” The feral stared into the distance, letting Eileen think. She’d hoped that Morri’s parents would be able to rehabilitate the girl, but if they were abusive, that was not an option. It would also make it harder for the girl to trust and be open to people.
Eileen would have to choose her words carefully. “I know that you haven’t had many people show you this, but the bad people aren’t the majority. Do you know what I mean?” At the confused look on Morri’s face, Eileen changed her approach. “Most people in the world aren’t bad. They might sound bad because they’re afraid. It’s like when you used to stab people when they upset you. You had to learn they weren’t actually dangerous to you. They’ll learn, but not if we don’t teach them.” Morri didn’t look convinced so Eileen tried once more. “If Sonja had hurt you because you stabbed her that one time, you wouldn’t be friends with her now. There are people out there who are afraid of you who can someday be your friend... if you don’t hurt them first.”
“Not Vyse!”
Eileen soothed the girl’s growing anger, watching as it washed out of Morri, leaving calm in its wake. “No, dear, not Vyse. Some people won’t be your friends. Life is about figuring out who is a friend and who is not.”
“Morri hurt the nots.” The red eyes had narrowed dangerously.
“No, honey. It’s better to ignore them. They won’t hurt you if you don’t hurt them. They may say bad things, but those are just words.” Eileen dared to put an arm around Morri, and the wild-child didn’t pull away. “Words can’t hurt. Defend yourself if they try to attack you, but believe me, most of the people in the world will just make scared noises and leave you alone. If you hurt them, they’ll hurt back. Do you understand?” Morri nodded reluctantly. “Do you want to join with Drumm’s idea?”
Morri was quiet and not for the first time, Eileen wished she could read her mind. “Alex and Son-ja on team?” When Eileen nodded, Morri said, “Morri go, help.”
“Good.” Eileen hugged her again. “Why don’t we go back and tell Drumm the good news?” When Morri nodded, they went back inside--
And ran into Curtis, looking for them. “They’re going to move on, okay, Morri?”
The feral nodded, and the three of them headed into the room.
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