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


Dave ST
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Caitlin sat on her bed, knees drawn up to her chest, and drew the back of her arm across her face to wipe the tears from her flushed cheeks. The room was largely empty and undecorated, nearly clinical in its spartan atmosphere- a suitable place, she thought glumly, for someone like her. All it lacked were some iron bars on the window and maybe a slot in the door. She hated this place, suddenly and unreasonably, hated the veneer of normalcy that was a mockery of the life she'd had and taken for granted. Unlike most of the other students, she'd had a good home, loving parents, and a decent future, and so she felt that loss more keenly than most. The emptiness, the solitude, the ever-present fear that she'd become a bona fide monster, the quiet where once there had been laughter and love- these things cut more deeply and more cruelly than the claws of the man-beast that had rent her flesh.

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The blankets lay in disarray where she'd thrown them in a fit of anger, half-concealing the dresser and the piles of clothes and shoes and hangers she'd torn out of the closet. A small cardboard envelope lay next to her, and after several moments of silence she finally, restlessly, tore open the flimsy paper tab that sealed it. Dumping the contents on the rumpled sheets, she tossed the envelope itself aside, a tiny part of her exulting in the minor rebellion of having completely ransacked the ordinarily pristine room. It's not as if anyone cared, anyway, she reasoned. The one friend she might've made probably thought she was crazy, and she couldn't blame him. She was. There was no way she belonged with the rest of those students, and the Director had to be out of his ever-loving mind too if he thought otherwise. And, really- sending a bunch of kids out like some comic book team of superheroes to save the day?

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She shook her head and glanced at the small blue SD card briefly, then unfolded the letter.

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"Hey, Cat. Sorry I haven't written! This whole 'night job' business is kicking my ass, but we could Skype or something sometime if they let you guys do that up there. I've got it on my phone now, so you can just call me from your laptop while I'm out and about. Pretty cool, huh? Oh, and good news! Insurance is covering most of the damage at the restaurant, and I heard the Director at your new school is handling the rest, so try not to worry about it. I think Phil's still pretty pissed, even though he knows it wasn't your fault, so maybe you'd better just order delivery for a while 'til he calms down. As an added bonus, the greatest, handsomest, smartest, and generally awesomest delivery guy ever could probably be bribed into carrying it himself if he could get, say, a tour of the academy? He's the kind of guy who worries about his best friend and all, and wants to make sure she's not bored to tears or chained to a wall, or something. So, nice guy that he is, he asked me to send you some music to listen to- I have no idea why, I guess he likes you, or something. ...Platonically! Geez! Anyway, you've probably got classes, or you have to get back to the Danger Room for more training with the rest of the X-Men, so I'll let you take care of all that. Miss you! Talk to you soon, Devin."

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In spite of herself, the redhead's lips twitched upward in a half-hearted smile. She could almost hear his voice as she read, and when she'd finished, she folded the paper again, carefully, and adjusted her pillow to tuck the letter underneath. With the languid ease of the young and athletic, she leaned off the bed and fished around in the darkness below to retrieve her laptop. It wasn't exactly the newest model, and a multitude of dings and scratches were camouflaged by stickers, lettering, and paper cutouts affixed to the case. As she waited for it to boot up, her smile lingered; it was nice to know, at least, that someone had been thinking of her, even if she was feeling a teensy bit guilty for assuming that wasn't the case.

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The first song that began playing, when her SD card reader finished its job, wasn't one she'd heard before. It built slowly, starting with a somewhat melancholy piano, before gradually opening into a melody that sounded faintly reminiscent of her parents' rousing ballads from home.

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You swore and said
We are not
We are not shining stars
This I know
I never said we are

Though I've never been through hell like that
I've closed enough windows
To know you can never look back

If you're lost and alone
Or you're sinking like a stone
Carry on
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground
Carry on

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Caitlin blinked as tears welled up in her eyes again. This wasn't what she'd expected, at all, from the guy who'd forced her to sit through Youtube videos of muppets singing about the internet being for porn.

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But I like to think
I can cheat it all
To make up for the times I've been cheated on
And it's nice to know
When I was left for dead
I was found and now I don't roam these streets
I am not the ghost you want of me

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Something, a feeling she couldn't describe, practically vibrated through her as she listened, despite the urge to shut the laptop down and lie down until sleep claimed her.

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Cause we are
We are shining stars
We are invincible
We are who we are
On our darkest day
When we're miles away
So we'll come
We will find our way home

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As the last notes faded, and the next song queued up, Caitlin paused the music and just sat there quietly, her shoulders quaking with silent tears and laughter. How the hell could he possibly have known? Maybe he hadn't, she realized- maybe he was just sending her music, as he'd said, to help her feel less out-of-touch with the outside world. Gratitude mingled with hints of trepidation rippled through her chest in aching waves, and she resolved to think of some way to thank him.

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With eyes still reddened by tears, the verdant green seeming even brighter in contrast, she hauled herself out of bed and shuffled back toward the Director's office. Lost in her own thoughts, she paid no heed to the curious glances of the people she passed, and as she re-entered the room, simply said with uncharacteristic softness, "I'm sorry."

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Sonja sighed heavily as Morri left, followed by Curtis and Caitlin, but restrained herself from going after them, recrossing her legs and folding her arms beneath her brobdingnagian bosom. Even since Morri had mind-melded with Marco, her progress with socializing had been great. Still,though Sonja wanted to help her out, this was a decision Morri would have to arrive to on her own, same with Caitlin.

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She frowned slightly - it had been annoying when Curtis accused them of setting Caitlin off without even being in the room to hear what was said.

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Holding herself back from consoling her sister was both harder and easier. 'Neca was her sister - she hated seeing her hurting. On the other hand, Sonja knew all she'd get for acting like a big sister in public was a taste of her venomous tongue. She was kind of surprised at how hard 'Neca was taking having an opposing view from her boyfriend. 'Neca took perverse pleasure in taking opposing views from the rest of her family.

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Thinking of 'Neca's boyfriend, she'd have to reevaluate him once more after his confession. She still didn't like him, but when she got the chance to trap him by himself, she was going to pin him to the wall and beg him to not give up on 'Neca, no matter how bitchy she got. Sonja was getting resigned that 'Neca would never grow out of this phase, but she could do worse - much worse - than Warren.

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When Morri and Caitlin returned, Sonja was hovering around the buffet table, nibbling (which looked more like gobbling) what was left of the food. Trim and shapely figure or no, Sonja was big and had a tremendous metabolism. She ate a prodigious amount; it was almost embarrassing.

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She gave Morri a smile and nodded at Caitlin, but otherwise didn't comment on their departure, though she was glad they came back. Even if decided not to join Drumm's... initiative, they should still hear what was going on. She glanced down at her expensive sportswatch.

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"Well, we still have over two hours before the meeting starts up again." Sonja glanced around at who was left, her eyes linger perhaps a bit longer on Alex... and his backside. "Anyone up for a game of hoops, or something?"

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Might help some of them blow off some steam, and hey, it was a team sport, it counted as a team-building exercise.

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Alex looked around and smiled as Morri and Caitlin came in, his thoughts returning from wherever they had wandered as he looked out at the sky.

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"I'm glad you came back." he said softly, making gentle eye contact with them both. Morri went over to him and gave him a hug - Alex was used enough to it by now that he didn't go red under his golden skin. He just put one arm around her shoulder in return, though - he wasn't quite comfortable hugging Morri in front of a roomful with Sonja right over there to boot. Of course, Sonja wouldn't likely mind, but the simple truth was that Alex was careful about hugging Morri. He really didn't want her to react badly, and so he kept things warm but not too intrusive to her sense of freedom. The hug done, Morri went and hugged Sonja, who returned the hug in kind, and then all was right with the world. For now.

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He grinned at Caitlin, nodding. "I never actually had the chance to thank you for the pizzeria. You saved me and Aradia, so as far as I'm concerned you officially rule." Caitlin found herself returning the smile.

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"Rule what?" she asked him, an impish dimple appearing on her cheek.

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"Whatever you damn well want to rule." he said, deadpan, then broke into another smile as he stepped over to her and offered her a hand. "I'm glad you're at least willing to give this a shot."

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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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Natalie doesn't know what really to say at first.

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"Maybe Drumm just sees potential in all of us. That's why he thinks we can do this. Reality is, though, if this is gonna have to work, some of us are gonna have to learn to put our differences aside on the mission. But hey, that's high school for you." She said with a grin.

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"As for you're love life, there's plenty of fish in the metaphorical sea. Just gotta drop another line for them." She said looking at Saku

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"And Oneca seemed to react when what I assumed was her boyfriend decided he was in on the plan. Guess she's having a mental crisis over it."

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"Hoops?" came Kia's voice not far from Sonja as Kia wandered over. "That sounds like fun."

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She gave Alex and Morri warm smiles, then looked over at Caitlin.

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"Hi, I don't think we've really met. I'm Kia." She gave Alex a sly look. "Now what's this about ruling over a pizzaria?"

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Sakurako giggled. "Yes, the O-rings on Oneca's CPU coolant lines looked about ready to blow there."

She took on the voice of a robot. "Does.... not... compute..." She said leaning her head to the side. Then she starts giggling again.

"Look, Natalie, I can work with everyone here. It's just Oneca... she almost took a sick pleasure in making my life miserable. In a way, I'm glad she's left speechless for once."

She crossed her arms over her blazer. "No regret to my feelings there. In a way I'm in the right to feel like I do. I shouldn't have to justify it." She said, adjusting up her glasses. Her attitude actually seemed a bit antagonistic. Something new for the pink-haired girl. "Everyone wanted me to jump through their hoops just to be neutral with them. I refuse to give Oneca some special consideration because she's a moody dead-woman who thinks herself as some sort of damned soul."

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"Then don't. Just ignore her then. If she's just gonna bother you just ignore her and let her wallow in her personal pity pool"

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She said sighing.

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"Anyways. We got a couple hours before Drumm wants us all back. What do you feel like doing Saku?"

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Sakurako sighed pulling out her laptop from her schoolbag. "To be honest I need to cool off. Perferribly by wasting time on a browser game or something of that nature..."

Her stomach growled. "...actually, the nibblings at Drumm's office are... delectible but sadly inadequate. Lunch? Followed by some League of Legends at the lunch table?"

She smiled. Knowing the quiet times were about to end very soon, but to be honest, this could be the start of her truely seeing what she could truly do.

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"I was gonna suggest some Minecraft, but your idea sounds good too, Saku."

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Her stomach rumbles.

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"Sounds good. Let's go get ourselves some grub. "

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Nat was honestly looking forward to the future, but that's gonna have to wait. Food is to be eaten!

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"Just one thing, Natalie, if it is Pizza... we don't eat it in the cafeteria... I always seem to have trouble when it is Pizza Day there."

She sighed. "Oh Minecraft... always stealing my creative energies."

Sakurako straightened her outfit. "But yes, I think some food would improve my mood." she said with a smile.

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"Hoops?" came Kia's voice not far from Sonja as Kia wandered over. "That sounds like fun."

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She gave Alex and Morri warm smiles, then looked over at Caitlin.

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"Hi, I don't think we've really met. I'm Kia." She gave Alex a sly look. "Now what's this about ruling over a pizzaria?"

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"She does." Alex blinked innocently and indicated Caitlin, giving Kia a 'duh' look as though it explained everything, then he grinned. "She saved Aradia and I from uncertain death."

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"Uncertain death?" Sonja came over and draped an arm over Alex's shoulders, her indigo eyes speculative. She'd heard about what had happened on the recruitment trip, of course, but hadn't really had a chance to meet the hero of that day. "What's that supposed to mean?"

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"It means that I'm not sure what was in store, but it would have really, really blowed." Alex said with a shrug, comfortable with transatlantic idiom after months of sharing space with Warren. "Anyway, while I was twitching and trying not to drool on myself, Caitlin saved the day." He gave the redhead another smile. "It appears that the meeting's been adjourned for a bit, but that means we can grab a couple of platters of the munchies and go shoot some hoops. Or rather, we watch Sonja shoot hoops and try not to suck too badly in comparison." He gave the blonde Amazon a mock-reproachful look, softened with a quirk of his lips, before fixing his dazzling blue eyes back on Caitlin, Kia and the others. "Let's go chill out some." he offered.

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"Nice to meet you, Kia. Sorry about... eh. All that," she finished somewhat lamely, shrugging her shoulders.

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Alex's handshake was precisely what she'd expected: warm, firm, and equitable- no classic male power plays. The smile in his blue eyes was gratifying; either he didn't remember the details of what'd happened, or he was more pragmatic than most teenagers. Either way, the Titian-haired mutant felt marginally better about not having scarred such a devastatingly attractive guy for life. "Honestly, I'm really just glad you two came out of it all right," she replied earnestly, her demeanor still rather more subdued than when she'd stormed out earlier. High school was complicated enough on its own, and the additional baggage of turning into a green-eyed ragemonster only made the social labyrinth seem even more unnavigable. She'd been fairly popular back home- was she doomed to play the role of angsty loner now?

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"And," she added, "food sounds great. This may be the only place on the eastern seaboard that can afford to feed me."

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Basketball went well. Director Drumm and Mrs. Childs stood in the window and watched them entertain themselves in the courts below. Winter's chill was fading and between Daniel and Alex the climate always seemed rather comfortable on the chilly, end of winter days.

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Mrs. Childs pushed her glasses up and folded her arms. "Do you honestly think Hunt has the right to ask this of them? They're kids Jericho." She watched them down on the courts. Everyone was there, as it seemed like an odd bonding between them all on this strange day they all seemed to gather in a herd with each other. Alex was laughing at the argument going about 'no powers' after Warren had just done impossible things with the ball on the court. He argued it wasn't 'powers' and that 'natural' agility was simply part of who he was. This was a common occurrence, today it was Warren's turn to start the disagreement, tomorrow it would be someone else who 'used a power' and brought the game to a halt for a bickering session. "It's sometimes hard to forget, I know, but look at them Jericho. They're happy, they're peaceful. They're kids. We have no right to bring them into this life of..." She sighed. "...of regret."

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"Does he have the right?" Jericho repeated softly like he was asking himself the same question and was coming up short of an answer. "Yes, he does. He's the right to ask them to be a part of this and they have the right to refuse."

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She smiled as Alex had resorted to reflecting light off himself into the eyes of the players. A distracted Warren squinted and had the ball stolen from him by Daniel who effortlessly launched a three pointer. With a vengeful smirk Warren gave him a cheerful middle finger and everyone on the benches nearly fell backward with laughter. "Sorry man... s'all natural... what can y'do, right?!" Alex yelled at the players with a megawatt smile. They were just innocent kids having innocent fun for once the way kids were meant to.

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"But they won't." The smile faded from her lovely features. She never would have been this open were the students present, she was evil, their harsh task mistress that pushed them to excel in everything. She was not very popular with any of the students because none of them knew how much she really cared for them. "Hunt knows that, and so do you, don't you?"

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"We talked, yeah."

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"So why go through with it all Jericho?" She sneered, obviously displeased. "Why play willing puppeteer?"

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"You know as well as well as I do," He sighed and looked away from the court. "It's not about what happens today, but what is going to happen. We have to be prepared, he have to put our faith in these children. I don't like the idea anymore than you, Denise, but we haven't any other choice. Lawrence has faith in them, that's good enough for me."

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*****

For once they all seemed like friends. A rare picturesque moment as they filtered back into the office with smiles on their faces and jokes on the tips of their tongues. Still trash talking about the game, or laughing about one play or another or someone's practical joke during the game. Strange was the best way to describe it. Warren was happy, even tossing Alex a can of soda from the table they took their seats, not at all irritated over the light in his face trick. Caitlin was smiling and talking to a few of the others, trying her best to just be, well, Caitlin. Sonja was (subtlety) glued to Alex as they laughed and recounted the silliness on the court. Daniel trash talked Sonja, challenging her to a three point contest which she readily accepted.

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It was like Fate was laughing in their face. On the day where Jericho Drumm and Denise Childs had to make one of their most emotionally difficult decisions of their lives, there was, after some tension, normalcy.

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Everyone took their seats and it took Director Drumm several moments to quiet everyone down. They were like third graders coming back from an exciting recess. "Thank you, everyone, for joining us again. I know for some of you this seems like a wonderful opportunity. To others this might not seem like such a good idea and to others still you may be on the fence."

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If the guy was nervous about anything or was harboring some pang of guilt, he sure didn't show it. "Let's not leap back into where we left off. You must have questions, so I'll take this time to answer them. Curtis, I believe you wanted to ask me something earlier? Let's start with you."

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Curtis had watched the court from the sidelines, more than willing to watch, those his gaze did sneak over to Caitlin at times. It was a hard pill for him to deal with, being attracted to her. Most likely because he also considered advances, crude or subtle (and subtlety in these matters would be hard to pull off) to be unsuccessful wastes of time. She was adjusting to her time at school, and was on the different side of the spectrum from him, or so Curtis felt.

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Also, that uncomfortably risk, the need to not be hurt again by loss still predominated in Curtis' preferences. If only it didn't already hurt and ache, despite Curtis' logical arguments.

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It was a relief to him when they did return, and then Curtis had a smile, a wan one, but a smile. At least here he had something intellectually stimulating, work and challenges that could keep him busy... When Director Drumm brought up again the super-genius' question back at the initial start at the meeting, Curtis took the opportunity. "Yes. I know you said we're funded, but what does that really mean in terms of resources? Vehicles, facilities, equipment... I'm not trying to get a full accounting... but a good idea of what we have to work with would help."

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Internal Correction: What I have to put to good use.

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Drumm laughed a bit. Curtis bee lined it straight to 'how many toys do we have to play with'. "Well, we have what we need. Doctor Hunt is an avid tinkerer and is responsible for several scientific breakthroughs and maintains a state of the art lab. Currently he's really into forensic pathology, and I'm blaming those C.S.I. shows. However, clearly answer you though, in terms of what have to work with the answer is simple: you have what you need. If there is something you feel you need, then you can come to us and we can see about acquiring it for you."

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Kia raised her hand and then said, "What do we need? I mean...I'm still kind of unclear on what we're supposed to do, exactly. Do we just go through life normally, until the news has a mutant attack and we go stop them? What about attacks on mutants though? Like those robots. Can we stop them too? Is there some kind of spotlight that'll shoot a picture of DNA onto the clouds we should watch out for or something?"

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Sakurako adjusted her glasses.

"Good point, Kia, and I will add to that. What will we do with any casualties that said robots will invariably cause? While I've been keeping up with my first aid lessons and been picking up a first responder technique here and there..."

"Oh my then there is the fact that not all of us eat bullets and shit ice cream..." She covered her mouth. "Oh sorry..."

"W.w... what I meant to say is what sort of protection will we have availiable if we need it or require it? Some of us make... pretty bad superheroes in the classical sense."

"I... included..." She wringed her hands... looking at the floor.

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Kia raised her hand and then said, "What do we need? I mean...I'm still kind of unclear on what we're supposed to do, exactly. Do we just go through life normally, until the news has a mutant attack and we go stop them? What about attacks on mutants though? Like those robots. Can we stop them too? Is there some kind of spotlight that'll shoot a picture of DNA onto the clouds we should watch out for or something?"

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Sakurako adjusted her glasses.

"Good point, Kia, and I will add to that. What will we do with any casualties that said robots will invariably cause? While I've been keeping up with my first aid lessons and been picking up a first responder technique here and there..."

"Oh my then there is the fact that not all of us eat bullets and shit ice cream..." She covered her mouth. "Oh sorry..."

"W.w... what I meant to say is what sort of protection will we have available if we need it or require it? Some of us make... pretty bad superheroes in the classical sense."

"I... included..." She wringed her hands... looking at the floor.

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"Ah, now there's an informed question." Director Drumm smiled proudly as he pointed at Kia, giving her a 'good job' wink. She couldn't help but blush a little. "Ladies and gentleman, our objectives are to protect both humanity and mutant kind. For the most part, yes, we still encourage you to live your lives as normal, continue your studies, and try to enjoy your lives. We'll add to your normal studies a training regiment that will focus on preparing you for less than civil dealings with humanity's worst and those of of the mutant community who are out to set the world on fire."

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"Unfortunately there will be no double helix spot lights active in the sky, I already suggested that, and Dr. Hunt nixed the idea." Everyone chuckled as Director Drumm did his best to interject some levity into the topic. "Doctor Hunt has... a gift, for knowing where your time and talents will be most effective. The point is, in layman's terms, is the the government doesn't have the means to handle a mutant threat, so they created those infernal machines. We all know that the machines are not the answer, so simply put one of our goals to dump billions of dollars of junk on the White House lawn until they listen to mutant community. On the flip side of that coin, mutants out there who have formed terrorist cells like The Brotherhood, also need to be brought in check and no country out there is prepared for the sort of threat they bring to the table. This initiative will be bigger than New York, bigger than America. We will be assisting all nations of the world. Fighting their threats, helping with disaster relief, saving kittens from trees. Ladies and gentleman this will be a lot of responsibility and it's we're beyond asking the nations of the world to listen to reason. Every change has to begin somewhere, and we're taking up that mantle or..." He faltered towards the end, which was strange because the Director never faltered. He paused and pursed his lips into a tight smile. "Well, we can look upon our own history and make a few guesses, I'm sure."

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"Jericho has the right of it." A voice with a thick southern accent spoke up from the entrance of his office. There stood a man who was well into his seventies. With his white hair, mustache and pointed beard, he sort of looked like Colonel Sanders, the Kentucky Fried Chicken guy. His suit was also white, right down to his patent leather shoes. He rested on a black cane with an intricately engraved head of a falcon. The next thing everyone noticed were the deep black, circular lenses that covered his eyes. The man was blind. "He has a round a bout way of going about it, but the long and the short of it is simple, really. Think of this initiative as a special forces unit your military might maintain. A group of specially trained individuals who will respond to a particular type of threat."

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He took a few steps into the room and despite the years creeping upon him he seemed in relatively good health. He was slow however, carefully stepping as he tapped the bottom of his cane upon the floor every few steps. "Hello everyone, I am Doctor Lawrence Hunt and, like you, I am a mutant. My gift is the power of prophecy. I have seen the world was. I see the world that is. And I've seen the world as it could be. We will have a well stocked facility for training, research and development and, thanks to a unique satellite network I've constructed and deployed, we'll be able to monitor trouble spots all over the world. Oh, and Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, of course. And, of course, young Sakurako, we will providing ample protection for those who need it."

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He now stood at the desk and he turned about to face the 'class'. "You will know what threats to face, because I will guide you. No spotlights," He smiled at both Drumm and Kia, despite his blindness. "Will be necessary. Our focus to help the people, be they mutant or baseline, which is why we are not asking to be sanctioned by any world government. What I propose to all of you is highly dangerous, and highly illegal. We will all be sacrificing a great deal, and you may be branded as vigilantes or terrorists yourself. That is the nature of the risk for change to occur. I will not lie to you and tell you it will be easy, Gods know I've my own sins to shoulder and before our work is complete, you will to, of that I can be sure."

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"Someone mentioned 'superheroes in a classical sense' and I find myself tickled by the turn of phrase." The Doctor leaned against the desk and rest his cane in front of him. "Indulge an old man in a lecture, if you'd be so kind. What is a superhero in the classical sense? Now, I know some of you are easily thinking Batman, Superman, and those of comic book fame. Extraordinary people doing extraordinary things in the most dramatic of ways and all for the benefit mankind. Yet, I think of something different. True heroism, my friends, is remarkably sober and very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever the cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever the cost."

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At Drumm's praise, Kia seemed to glow nearly as brightly as Alex, if only in a metaphoric sense. She was appropriately awestruck to see Mr Hunt himself, but was the first to speak up during his lecture.

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"But a superhero has to have powers too, right? I mean, they have to be able to do things other people can't. Otherwise they're just heroes."

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"Should there be a difference?" His voice was grandfatherly. His tone a soothing one and he spoke confidently. "Police Officers, Firefighters. These brave men and women face danger everyday, and they are simply men and women doing what others can not. When they join their respective departments they face that fact. When they become officers and firefighters their greatest act of bravery has already been accomplished. They do not regard themselves as heroes because they do what duty requires. Let the world around you come up with titles and tags for your deeds. Taking the first step towards wanting this world to be a more peaceful place makes you a hero. If the world decides to name you a superhero, then by all means accept the moniker, but do so with humility in your heart."

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Sakurako cleaned her glasses. She knew that whenever it was pizza day at the school, something was bound to happen... today is definately no different, even though this wasn't the cafeteria.

"I'm not interested in titles, sir. It is obvious you want what is better. You had me at the offer. What I am worried about is how we will keep our identities off of the grid or at least disassociated with our activities. I may not be on the frontlines often, but there may be times where I am."

"To be honest I don't want wake up at half-past midnight to find a black operation soldier pointing a assault rifle up my nose because someone messed up on our data trail."

She quirked an eyebrow as she put her glasses back on. "Who do we have on the data front? We're not just doing what we do here, cyberspace is also a major front in our PR battle but also a potential weakness."

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"I second Saku's comment. We're gonna need someone to keep the 1's and 0's pointing away from us.

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Natalie thinks for a moment.

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"Other than that, what do we have in terms of fire power among the assembled group? I think I can do a lot of damage if a fight becomes unavoidable. I can also probably serve as defense."

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"I think" Alex spoke up in answer to Sakurako's question, "That if the Doctor and the Director here can build a secret facility with training and a communications network that has managed to fly under the radar of people who would, and undoubtedly could stop them if they knew of it, that their digital security is up to par." He leaned forward in his chair, blue eyes in earnest as he regarded the older men. "But Sakurako's question does trigger another one. You say that we'll be dumping millions of dollars worth of garbage on the White House lawn - I take it your meaning is literal as well as metaphorical..." he smiled mischievously "But that raises the issue that we will become known for these things. Some of us can sneak around, adopt disguises, avoid notice. Some of us" and here he indicated himself, Sonja, and Morri, along with others that stood out from the crowd "Can't. So this facility you're telling us about will be our home, won't it? We won't be able to live elsewhere, or even go out for a burger anymore. I would say pizza, but I've rather gone off pizza lately." He flashed another smile, this one wry.

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"But seriously, that is the truth of it. Once we see a headline reading 'Glowing boy and Fifty Foot Woman save a bus from the Brotherhood', that'll be it. And the governments of the world will likely have far less flattering things to say about us for awhile. So where is the facility? Somewhere remote, so they can't find us? Or somewhere populated, in the hope that when they do come for us they won't simply drop a nuke on the problem?" Alex asked this matter of factly. He had already decided that, whether the world called him a superhero or a terrorist, that he would give the plan his all. His angelic features were composed as he waited for the answer.

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"...and therein lies the importance of your choice, today." His head pivoted in Alex's and Sakurako's directions. It remained tilted in that manner common to most who are blind, signifying he acknowledging their voices. "Miss Hino, this offer comes with no guarantees. There are no absolutes and there no assurances. There is, no matter how good you think you are, any such thing as a impervious network or invisible data trail. Fact of the matter is, most governments, if they wanted to, could walk through that door and stick assault rifles up all our noses. They all already know you're here and they've suspected for quite some time that a campus of mutants closed off from the public can't be a good thing. Trust me, they'll be washing in with the tide of the first waves we cause. Every step will be taken to hide identities if you so wish, I know some of you are more apt to welcome trouble than others," No one missed the way his lenses scanned past Warren, Oneca and Kazuo. "But I assure you, should they step foot on this land. No one ever comes here with the intention of harming the students within this community, and should they ever try I will rain a Hell down upon them likes of which will be biblical. This is a world of growing equality and if those fools want to send robots to our doors to hunt us and kill us, then we can deliver them onto their doors steps with vulgar 'return to sender' jokes spray painted on the sides."

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"Sounds fair." Alex said, that mischievous smile returned.

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"Preach on." Warren said, rather lazily. It was common knowledge that Warren and Alex wern't on best terms at the moment over some spat that happened not long ago but they managed a fist bump, putting aside their troubles for the moment.

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"Logically," he continued. His black glasses scanned the room seemingly in a random pattern. Suffice it to say all were pretty sure he knew where each of them were sitting. Sakurako couldn't help but notice the emphasis he put on the logic part of the word. "We haven't anyone on board for the information systems. This is, after all, a recruitment drive. Had we people already who could do what needed to done, there'd be little point in me addressing all of you, now wouldn't there? At the moment I've been monitoring current events worldwide, but I don't need computers, television, or radio, for that." He allowed himself a prideful smirk that no one missed while he tapped his temple with his finger. "The only other student thus far we've talked to was a young lady..." He turned to Drumm, unable to recall the student's name.

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"Vincent. Violet Vincent." He replied with confidence.

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"Yes! That was her name, thank you Jericho." Dr. Hunt faced the group and continued on. "She's acting a data analyst and agreed to serve as an intelligence operative for those of you who will be out in the field. She'll keep you up to date with all you need to know, aside from that, the rest will all be filled by you. I've never been one for titles or assignments. I'm not one to assign you as a mechanic simply because we need one. All of you are more than what we see daily. I say if you're good with a wrench than pick it up and start fixing stuff, don't wait for someone to ask."

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"Now, onto Mr. Anderw's very insightful point about homes and secret lairs. First, no, there is no bat pole, DC has that copyrighted as well." He stood and couldn't help a laugh at the collective 'awwwws' from the disappointed bat pole crowd. "The Hub, as we've come to call it, will be accessible to all of you at anytime, it will be as much your home as this school and you needn't go far to attend the two, since you've been living above it for several months now." He stood and tapped his cane on the floor. "Second, you can divide as much of your time between the two as you like, but keep in mind that you will still be responsible for passing your classes, the Sentinel Initiative is an academic program, like the football team at a normal High School. Since we're far from normal you have to have good grades in order to save the world." He glared through his glasses. "No excuses."

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"Third, and this is crucial." He pointed his walking cane at everyone jabbing it at the air as he spoke. "Only you are permitted into the Hub. No other students are permitted down below unless an executive order is given by myself, Director Drumm, or Mrs. Childs. That said, let's take a tour, shall we?"

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With a remote on his cane the fireplace in the office slid back into the wall and the massive throw rug in front lowered in sections to form stairs. The school had secret passages, sweet! The stairway led to an elevator that easily fit everyone, it must have been this size in case an evacuation was necessary. The Doctor explained that there were several entrances all around the school and that they'd have genetically encoded 'smart' remotes for them soon enough. The Hub itself was nearly a half a mile under the earth, even below the lake. The tour was extensive and it led the students through brightly lit corridors of stainless steel of indeterminable thickness. All the floors were polished black marble tiles and every door slid open with an awesome 'shh' sound. They were shown the labs, the hangar (yes, there was an underground hangar) that acted as a launch site for a submersible V.T.O.L. jet. It would launch from the hanger, into Lake Erie (not the lake on the campus grounds which was just 'the lake') a few miles down via an underground tunnel. The labs were extensive and equipped with technology that no one had even considered before, everything was at least thirty years ahead of the current technology curve.

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The living quarters were spartan but individual rooms that were more like mini suites you might find at a holiday inn, complete with small kitchens, bed rooms a small living area and enough room for personal effects. The entire place offered the feel of being on a space ship, confined and cold, yet functional. The 'Core' as the Doctor called it was a massive circular room that looked like it belonged on an Imperial Star Destroyer with computers and monitors everywhere with a long window that covered half the room, looking down a few stories into a plain, square room that was massive, at least three times the size of a gymnasium. So far it was the Core was the only room that had an occupant.

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"Hey guys!" Violet waved, beaming them all a bright smile. She was dressed professionally, like a secretary and this was now her job, which wasn't a stretch for her considering she tackled everything in life with a measure of pride and professionalism. As always purple was her theme, matching her hair. Her skirt may have been a bit shorter than 'professional', but every one knew she loved showing off her legs any chance she got but the blouse and the blazer were in typical Dude fashion: 'they really tied the outfit together'. As always she was plum gorgeous (pun intended).

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She opened her arms wide and looked towards the ceiling. "Welcome to my lair! Muahahaha!" Her heels echoed as they clacked on the floor. "Just kidding. Doctor Hunt said I'd be getting some company own here soon. Been compiling data for you guys for weeks. Glad you could make it. Alex..." She offered him a warm smile through pursed lips. Apparently there was still some tension there between the two who had dated briefly before she dumped him. The handshake they shared was evidence of that. "Follow me guys."

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The Doctor turned the tour over to Violet, who led them to the armory, not far from the Core. "Welcome to the armory guys. Lots of toys, most of them don't go boom, but that's because you guys do. Warren come here sugar, I wanna show you guys something."

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"Just remember my girlfriend's in the audience..." Warren waded through the group as a few people chuckled.

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"I know," Violet was quick with a retort. "We've a date after this, don't wait up." When it came to scathing retorts, Violet tied a black belt. When Warren looked back to Oneca and all she offered was a smirk and a shrug as if to say 'I can neither confirm nor deny that statement.' She opened one of the lockers and produced a long, black leather duster, an ear piece, and a pair of mirrored sunglasses. "Carbon fiber. Looks and feel in all respects like leather. The stuff will stop a shotgun slug at close range. Anti-scan weaving makes you harder detect, concealing you mutant genes and, sometimes certain equipment you carry. It's light and breathes like Egyptian Cotton!" She added that last part in the voice of Edna Mode. "Sorry... always wanted to say that." She cleared her throat and went on. "Standard earpiece, runs on an encrypted frequency. It has a condensed, rechargeable lithium cell that'll run for seventy two hours. Small solar panels allow it to recharge itself while not in use."

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Warren put on he coat and his face lit up like a child at Christmas. Yeah, it had his particular 'style' all over it. He slipped on the earpiece with Violets help and suddenly a holographic image was projected in his field of vision. "It has a built in holographic heads up display designed to send and receive on a wireless satellite up link so I can send you intelligence no matter where you are in the world." The earpiece faded out of view. "Optical camouflage keeps the device hidden in areas where subtlety is needed but communication is a must."

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Warren slid on the sunglasses and gave everyone a 'hell yeah' smirk. Collectively everyone rolled their eyes. The last thing he needed was an ego larger than it already was. "Awesome." He nodded. "So, what do the sunglasses do?"

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Violet quirked a brow and shrugged. "They keep the sun out of your eyes."

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He slid them off and turned them over in his hands, inspecting them. "Oh." He said after a few seconds, like every ounce of cool he had was stripped away by a single stupid question.

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Curtis was doing his best to restrain himself to a pleased marvel externally, where internally he was having a gushing, roaring geek-gasm. While giving due note to the armory and the supplementary gear, he had no intention of requiring them by going into the field. And quite honestly, he didn't need to show up for classes, as good grades were a given. He'd probably arrange a system of dispatching assignments via e-mail to his teachers.

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This would free him up to practically live down in the Hub, once he effected the transfer of his few personal possessions to his new room. Already Curtis' brain was compiling a series of To-Do Lists for initial operations in the labs, the Core, and the other appropriately tech-relating rooms. Step one, familiarize himself to the pico-level with Doctor Hunt's glorious gifts (as the higher power the older man metaphorically symbolized bestowed upon one Curtis Shane... and humanity too).

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Step two, identify objectives, based on projected needs (to be determined during the post-familiarization phase) as well as the personal work he'd already been pursuing on a more limited scale, and establish priorities (categorized and recorded).

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Step three: GO WILD! Well, figuratively speaking, and in accordance with proper prioritization. "Well, I'm very impressed." Curtis was grinning as he said this. "You realize I'm never going to leave this place if I can help it."

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Caitlin whistled softly as they entered the Core, hands shoved in her pockets. Holy shit. Devin would get himself bitten by a radioactive spider exposed to gamma rays from the 9th dimension in an alternate reality if he knew about this place. In spite of herself, she grinned at Curtis's obvious enthusiasm; the technobabble, flashing lights, and bleep-bloops didn't do much for her, but it was nice to see the normally stoic brainiac actually smile.

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"Look," she began somewhat hesitantly, reluctant to speak up after her earlier outburst. "The sci-fi stuff is fine, and I'm sure there are serious political ramifications and philosophical issues that will all be discussed by people qualified to discuss them, but I just want to clarify something." The redhead paused, briefly catching her lower lip between her teeth before asking, "We're going to go out and break very expensive things, and very unpleasant people, with permission?"

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"Yeah, but they get to try to break us too," Kia points out, remembering her little dance with the doomsday machine. "We're going to need somewhere we can really cut loose if we're going to get ready for that. The school gym is reinforced, but it's not enough."

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"I'm guessing that's what that huge room we saw from the Core is for, Kia," Sonja suggested with a smile.

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It had looked big enough to even take her at full size. As they had rode the elevator down and down, Sonja had been concerned their new 'secret lair' would be a cramped affair. She needn't have worried. Perhaps to counteract the possible oppressiveness of being half a mile below ground, the hallways and rooms were bright and airy, with twelve foot ceilings. Even their rooms weren't cramped, if cozy, and if the bathrooms didn't have tubs, at the least the shower stalls seemed big enough to accommodate her.

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Sonja was already planning orders to furnish her room to her size. Her eyes casually slid down to Alex standing next to her, idly wondering if they were allowed to share rooms.

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Thinking about Alex, she considered something else he had brought up. Sonja had pretty much always stood out from a crowd, though nowadays the way she did was kind of excessive. But she had never really been targeted before. Well, at least until the Dreadnoughts showed up; before that, all that had been targeted at her were comments about her boobs, mostly.

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She might miss going out to movies or dinner, but they could download most movies and TV and if this place didn't have a killed entertainment system, Sonja didn't know what did. And it wasn't like she didn't need to get all her clothing specially ordered and custom made anyway and they even had a private super sci-fi jet, so she could drop in on her cousins and aunts in Iceland to pick up her orders. ;)

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And she was okay with that, if it meant she could make a difference in the world, for humans and mutants alike, instead of just being a directionless, oversized Barbie Doll. Like Colonel Sanders Dr. Hunt had said, the true mark of a hero was to serve and protect. With friends and friends - she gave Alex's fingers a squeeze - around her, she'd do that proudly, with a clear conscience and glad heart. Seeing all the tech and planning - even if she barely understood it - sure helped boost her confidence too.

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Sonja gave Caitlin a bright smile. "I know, right?! Isn't this school awesome?!" Then the teen giantess turned to Violet, her grin turning wry and amused, and maybe just the teensiest bit envious, since Violet seemed to have been in the know before the rest of them. "So, this is where you've been hiding lately, eh, girlfriend? Cute shoes, Vee, but do you have stuff in your magical mystery lockers for the rest of us too?"

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The pale brow she arched at Warren was far too droll. "After all, it's hardly fair. Warren already knows how much of a badass he is, he doesn't need a kickass longcoat and shades to prove it."

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Daniel had remained silent up until now, clearly impressed by the entirety of the operation, and nodding as the others spoke. "It is very impressive."

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Looking to Kia, he smiled. "You're both right, we get to train here, away from everyone else I'd imagine."

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for Violet he gave an amused nod. "I'd been wondering why I barely ever saw you anymore. I see you've been putting your talents to use."

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He'd seen the rooms, and knew he'd have an interesting decision to make. To stay with the student body, or separate himself further, and come down here. In truth, due to his mutation, it wasn't really a hard decision, but, he'd not make it rashly. There'd be time for rash decisions later.

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When Sonja mentions Warren's new duds, Kia's eyes widen as she realizes something.

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"Oh, clothes! Uh...okay..." She turns to look at Violet and says a little anxiously, "Here's the thing. My powers...when I use them to fight? Like really fight? They're hard on the wardrobe."

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Kia plucks at the sleeves and hem of her shirt. "I grow a spiky sort of shell, and sometimes I get really big. Like Sonja big. So I don't think I should have anything complicated or expensive to wear. Disposable. And...maybe with some spare outfits in a bag or something, for when I turn back."

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So much of what had happened went right over Morri's head. The feral looked utter lost from the moment that they'd descended in the elevator. There was one thing she was clear on, however: she only knew of one way out of this area. That didn't sit well with the red-eyed mutant, who liked to know multiple routes of ingress and egress from any location. One underground was even more unnerving to her. There were no windows and she couldn't see the sun. The lack of connection with the outside left her anxious and fidgeting.

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Silently, she slipped up to Sonja's side and slipped her hand into the Amazonian's. Sonja started in surprise but smiled and gave her fingers a soft squeeze of reassurance. A ripple of pleasure flowed through Morri, just like always when Sonja or Alex touched her. The touch of one of her best friends was enough for Morri until Dr. Hunt mentioned that there were other ways in and out. Sadly, he didn't tell her where they were. It was very frustrating.

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The tension within built until even Sonja couldn't make it better. "Morri go out." It was half-plea, half-demand.

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Everyone looked at her, and Warren said, "Bathroom's right there. Don't go on the floor."

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As several people glared at him for mocking the sweet, innocent and beloved feral, Morri insisted, "Out-side now."

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Oneca had stayed quiet and fairly sullen through the break, trying to figure out a way to make Warren see reason and walk away from the large 'oh, please kill me for being stupid' target acting like some comic book hero for Drumm would paint on him. Every time she thought up something to say, her mind rolled back over what he'd said, and she would slump a little bit more on the bench next to the basket ball court. When time was up and everyone went back inside, she followed, quiet and spiraling back into that dark place she hidden in after her sister's death.

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Drumm was talking again, and then Hunt - their mysterious benefactor revealing himself to be like some KFC commercial but without any secret spices recipe to go with. And Sonja, too, she added bitterly to the projected body count as she mostly ignored the babble around her. She isn't going to just jump into this with her eyes shut, she's going to stick her fingers in her ears and yell "La la la!" the entire time, because that's what heroes do. They were both going to get themselves killed and Professor Prophecy, with his Southern accent and "Ain't I such a white hat, I got a whole white suit", probably already knew how and when.

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So, you're just gonna stand around and watch it happen? Like with Saja? Her jaw tightened at the thought and her tattoo slithered at sharp angles across her skin. What's the point in surviving if you're the only one left?

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If Oneca said half the things she thought, she'd've been in a lot deeper therapy than Caitlin before anyone let her around other people. She squared her shoulders under her cloak and made her decision on the ride down the elevator, even managing to follow Violet's tease while Warren played with the new toys their 'benevolent protectors' were providing them with. To, y'know, go blow shit up and pick fights with other mutants. And people say we kids don't have good role models anymore. The snark actually managed to pull a smirk onto her lips.

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Well, dance with the devil and you're gonna burn, one way or 'nother. Might as well take as many bastards with me as I can before I go.

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Oneca had just made her way back into the room where everyone had gathered, completely missing Morri's request and Warren's retort. She leaned against the doorway, her cloak pushed back and her arms crossed under her corseted breasts. "So, I figure if you're gonna have us out running around like Mutant Special Forces, we at least get to be treated like adults down here. No stupid curfews or bedtimes....none of your business in our bedrooms at all, for that matter." Her smirk was sharp, the first test of their new boundaries. "So long as we play nice and get good grades upstairs, right?"

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Diana watched and walked with everyone else as they looked around in amazement at the Hub, which must have been here a while, and she began to consider what they had been told so far.. if it was all true, then this was carefully planned, with a precognitive guiding things, it was almost certain that not a single one of them was here by accident. She wasn't entirely sure what to think about that, she trusted that the Director had the best of intentions, but good intentions could produce terrible results, so the real question at hand, after all of the other factors were set to the side, did she trust the director's judgement? And that came out to a positive..

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There was a different problem then, if they were going to commit to this, then combat training had to become a priority, tactics, strategy, physical training, and that was an area that she needed a lot of work, unless she relied entirely on her powers, and that wasn't going to work all of the time, her energy stories were not infinite after all. "We need training, all of us, to work as a team and individuals, to expose strengths and weaknesses, if we're going to do this right..."

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She was being ignored. Not even Sonja or Alex noticed her. Even Ilean was talking quietly to Hunt, smiling proudly around the room. Kazuo was studying the coats like the one War-ran wore, trying to look casual about his regard. Morri was a thurd weal to everyone in the room. Her fingers slipped from Sonja, but Sonja and Alex were laughing about something. Slightly frantically, Morri looked around the room—no one was looking at her or talking to her.

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Anger rose in her, twinned with pain. She’d gotten used to having Alex and Sonja be attentive to her, to pay her special attention because she was different. And now… was she not different enough? Were they cutting her out completely? What was happening?

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Morri backed away from everyone, and still no one saw her go. She wasn’t trying to be silent, but all of her friends, everyone she liked and loved, were overlooking her. She reached the exit, and still nothing, and so she left.

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The ride up in the massive elevator made her feel even sadder. Morri hadn’t really been lonely since coming to the school. Kazuo wasn’t a particularly quiet roommate, and Sonja had taken her under wing almost immediately. Morri hadn’t been alone, except for when she’d chosen to be. Now, she felt like she had to be alone, because no one would be with her.

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It was a terrible, shitty feeling.

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Outside the building, Morri blinked in the sunlight, not sure what to do now. Everything she liked to do involved memories of someone else: music and dancing and movies and PIE and everything were all tied up in someone else. Doing those things would remind her that she was doing them alone. Forlorn, she stared into the distance and wondered, What now?

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" *Whistles* Nice set up we've got here" She said looking around the Hub

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Natalie looks over at Diana

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"I agree. If we're gonna be a team at the very least we should know the limits of each others powers."

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She paused waiting for someone else to go first.

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Marco sat alone underneath the big tree where his disastrous first day had started. In many ways, he'd come to see the tree as 'his spot' over the week or so he's been at the school. the place he's go to when he wanted to be alone, in site of the tree being in the middle of the campus. He didn't have to worry about being disturbed though. Word had spread through the student body about what he's said that fateful day in the cafeteria and as a result, Marco had become a Pariah.

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Despite the beautiful day, and the number of people out enjoying it, no one came within thirty feet of Marco or the tree. Some didn't notice or care that he was there, some were throwing him dirty looks and angry glares. most however were willfully and purposely snubbing him. If Marco noticed the behavior, outwardly he didn't seem to care. Deep down though, he regretted what he'd said. Not because he didn't believe what he'd said; he really did believe that mutants were an aberration of nature and that the best thing for everyone is if someone found a cure for the mutant condition, someone like his father. No, rather he regretted his words because they were said out of anger and fear and pain. He hadn't meant to hurt anyone and he hadn't been thinking and he regretted his callousness.

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Currently, Marco was sitting cross legged, with an advanced economics textbook floating a foot or so off his lap. he was concentrating greatly and every time he finished a page his concentration deepened has he slowly, carefully turned the page with his mind. this was the third econ textbook he'd gone though as he struggled to learn finesse with his telekinetic power. He really rather not be doing this but his school appointed trainer; a nightmare of a drill sergeant named Conrad Baily, demanded it. Baily had been a Marine or something before discovering he was a mutant and he was given all of the difficult and out of control mutants as personal projects because he got results. His students, however hated him and called him Sergeant Nazi behind his back. Marco's current assignment was to use his telekinetic power to perform simple mundane tasks for 1 hour every day. He was also required to provide 3 facts he'd learned about other students through the use of telepathy every day.

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While he hated his assignments and still viewed his telepathy as a horrific invasion of other people, he was secretly starting to enjoy the telekinesis. it was kind of cool to just think about an object and watch it respond and move to his whims. He would never admit it to anyone of course, but he was beginning to think he'd miss the T.K. when he was finally cured. Outwardly he sighed at the thought and bent his head back to the book he was trying to study.

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Kia paused, waiting to see if anyone had an answer to her question about clothes. It was pretty important to her...but she spied Morri, looking frustrated and storming away after her outburst about wanting out.

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She was torn between chasing after her and talking to her...but she was really concerned about how she was going to work out her powers without some kind of miracle clothes that she hoped they'd developed along with this amazing base. And then Nat piped up about knowing each others' powers and it just made it seem even more important.

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Morri would be okay, Kia rationalized to herself. She'd go check in on her the moment she could get away.

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“Marco.” The voice, vaguely familiar, caused Marco to peer up sharply. Morri stared at him, the glow of her red eyes muted in the sunlight.

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“Morri.” Marco looked around. “Where’s your friends? The blonde ones?”

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Morri couldn’t stop the downcast look that crossed her face. “Sonex… all down stair. Down elly… elly-vader.”

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“Ooo-kay. That made no sense.” Marco peered at her a moment. “Are you okay?”

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“Morri not.” The girl sat down. “No be thurd weal hard. Morri no like. Morri want back way was. Morri want friends back.” She rubbed at her aching eyes, swallowing past a lump in her throat. She blinked at Marco, miserable.

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  • 3 weeks later...

" *Whistles* Nice set up we've got here" She said looking around the Hub

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Natalie looks over at Diana

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"I agree. If we're gonna be a team at the very least we should know the limits of each others powers."

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She paused waiting for someone else to go first.

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Sakurako had remained quiet, taking in everything she had seen.

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"I can... live with this. Bit of a change... a bit more dangerous. I am sure the training regimen would get us on level footing with eachbother. Although not all contingencies would be covered as well... you can't predict some things."

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She stretched out. "I love the plane here, by the way... would be proud to help maintain her. Just... don't ask me to ride in it. I would't mind flying along side it but.. I'm not that fast and that bird looks well... the definition of fast."

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All the gadgets... all the hardware... she knew she might have to go past her limits now... perhaps face a lot of pain in the process. "I just wonder where I can park myself... I think outside of classes I'd like to move in!" She said with a grin.

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"Look," she began somewhat hesitantly, reluctant to speak up after her earlier outburst. "The sci-fi stuff is fine, and I'm sure there are serious political ramifications and philosophical issues that will all be discussed by people qualified to discuss them, but I just want to clarify something." The redhead paused, briefly catching her lower lip between her teeth before asking, "We're going to go out and break very expensive things, and very unpleasant people, with permission?"

Drumm smiled and gestured in Caitlin's direction. "See? I told you someone would figure it out. Plus, you get a submersible plane. I do have to place one ground rule, though. No using the plane for drive-thru."

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He's only saying that because he wants to try it first." Doctor Hunt spoke up with a grin on his face and he collected a laugh from the assembled. "You are quite right, Caitlin. However we want to do so with a measure of humility in our hearts. We are not the soldiers in this war, we are the ramparts."

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Sonja gave Caitlin a bright smile. "I know, right?! Isn't this school awesome?!" Then the teen giantess turned to Violet, her grin turning wry and amused, and maybe just the teensiest bit envious, since Violet seemed to have been in the know before the rest of them. "So, this is where you've been hiding lately, eh, girlfriend? Cute shoes, Vee, but do you have stuff in your magical mystery lockers for the rest of us too?"

"Indeedly do." Vee said with a cheerful smile. "Trust me guys, if there's one thing I know it's fashion. Using current technology with a few secrets the ol'doctor was willing to share I've commissioned each of you a uniform, and I swear none of it is spandex. Everything from ballistic corsets to giantess clothes that'll grow when you do, you guys will be looking your best while kicking butt."

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She swept her arm out and stepped aside. "Seriously guys, you don't have to gawk at me, the lockers have your name on them, have at it. And before you ask... shark repellant is on back order."

Every Sentinel has 7 dots to spend in the Uniform Background. You may pick only type of material starting off and you must have at least one dot in each of the three options, and you can not rate anything at '5', yet. Aside from that your 'uniform' can be anything you'd like it to be from an armored corset and cloak for Oneca, a nanofluidic outfit for Sonja, or whatever... guys, really, I don't care... have fun with it.

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The only exception at the moment is that Symbiotic is not available. It's still in R&D. ;)

Oneca had just made her way back into the room where everyone had gathered, completely missing Morri's request and Warren's retort. She leaned against the doorway, her cloak pushed back and her arms crossed under her corseted breasts. "So, I figure if you're gonna have us out running around like Mutant Special Forces, we at least get to be treated like adults down here. No stupid curfews or bedtimes....none of your business in our bedrooms at all, for that matter." Her smirk was sharp, the first test of their new boundaries. "So long as we play nice and get good grades upstairs, right?"

"By and large, yes, Miss Bajaar." Doctor Hunt's glasses pivoted into her general direction. "You see though, young lady, the trick to being treated like an adult, is acting like one. Just because certain... activities are reserved for adults doesn't make you one simply because you choose to indulge in them with any measure of regularity."

,,

Oneca was pretty sure she'd never been called a slut so politely before, but the Doctor continued before she had a rebuttal prepared. Hell, if anything it would be worth it to see where he was going with this. "Think for a moment of something other than yourself, Oneca. Consider for a moment if you were more than a spoiled, self-centered, dour, nihilist. Consider for a moment if you allowed yourself to be a part of a group instead of always trying to be alone in spite of the crowd. I pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for."

,,

The way the old man's head cocked sligtly toward Warren then back to Oneca before the grin returned to his face didn't go unnoticed. "Ah, but let's not spoil any endings... where would be the fun in that, hmm? If you wish respect Oneca, you must earn it. I make no demands of any of you, and if you wish for me to earn your respect in kind, than I gladly accept the challenge."

,,

"Uhh," Director Drumm chimed up. "That's his way of saying, yes. Providing you keep up the grades you get treated like adults. Keep in mind though that when you act like idiots, you get reated like idiots. It's the uh," He spun his finger around a few times to indicate everything. "Caveat to everything uh, y'know... being his."

,,

"Eleoquent as always, Jericho." Hunt smiled.

,,

"Yeah, well, y'know..." Director Drumm shrugged. "You beat around the bush."

,,

"I do no such thing."

,,

Jericho looked at Oneca an nodded, knowing the blind man couldn't see him. "A lot."

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