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We can change the world if we change ourselves. We just need to get hold of the old patterns of thinking and dealing with things and start listening to our inner voices and trusting our own superpowers.”

Nina Hagen

The fallout from the Battle of Kemu Valley continued.

In Washington the outgoing president and the incoming one were furious but in the end helpless in having to deal with the T'Tauri aliens through a fifteen year old girl.

Captain K'erk had made it perfectly clear. If the Americans and the humans in general wanted any more assistance from the T'tauri then the T'tauri would only negotiate with and through the human known as Laurie Cassidy

When the black sedans had pulled into the driveway of the Cassidy home in Shelly it was immediately assumed they were there for Sean, such was not the case. Laurie and her parents sat dumbstruck as the situation was explained to them. Laurie of course already knew since she was already in communication with the Qeeg through her Skin suit which the Aliens had left her. She wore it constantly as an invisible second skin. Now fully in control of the awesome applications she was loath to give it up. Her parents however had no Inkling since she and her sister had failed to mention anything about the battle which had saved the world.

Now Laurie was in almost constant communication with The T'tauri starship or actually on board it and when she wasn't she was in Washington. This was going to make school some what difficult.


While the Secrets of the irregulars were still secret it was apparent that those days would be over soon.

Everyone in Shelly knew on some level, having witnessed so much over the last few months. But no one ever talked about it at least not where anyone but their immediate family and friends could hear and especially not to the Irregulars themselves.

Bunny's became their third meeting place and it was quickly becoming their neutral go to place.

Shelly itself saw an even larger increase in activity as the new year began. The base bought up land in preparation of another grander size increase. New construction which normally wouldn't have begun until spring was already underway. Along with the increased size of the base came another increase in population.

In Shelly itself, the base was spurring plans for new construction and new businesses to meet the demands that were coming. Already an upswing in economic growth could be felt.


Around the world things were getting worse the story of the meteor in Kemu was believed and faded from headlines in a week but the wars in the middle east grew and spread, internal civil wars in several African nations intensified and In Europe terrorism and threat of war grew.

And QEH's appeared or rather rumors of them.

In India, a young girl supposedly sprouted wings of blue fire and flew into the sky never to be seen again.

In Ukraine, Russian backed rebels reported seeing a flying man flinging bolts of fire at them killing several before flying off into the night. Both Russian and Ukrainian authorities claim it is a hoax.

In Norway startling pictures were sent to newspapers showing what appeared to be a tall Blond woman standing at an ancient alter, now a historical tourist attraction, wreathed in lightning hurling bolts at a cars and billboards. There were dozens of witness who claim to have seen this woman and her destructive lightning show. According to witnesses she was screaming at hem in what seemed to be old Norse. But no one knew what she was saying. The articles say that the lighting grew so intense that people fled or hid and that the woman was "carried off by the storm"

There were more.


Bunny's Burgers

Last day of Winter Vacation


Sean and Sara sat close together in their usual table waiting for everyone else to show. Abel and Kia came in and joined them. As if some silent signal had been sent, the other patrons in the restaurant finished their meals, paid their bills and left. Bunee closed the register as Alec came in, out in the parking lot Lilly pulled up and exited her Truck she was alone. Bunee came round the counter turned the open sign off but left the door open.

“Alright guys, tell Devin to lock up when your all done. See ya tomorrow” He shoves a hat on his head and goes out as Lilly is coming in.




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"Devin, lock up when you're all done." Everyone said in unison when the teenage trouble maker came out from the kitchen.  They all smiled in camaraderie as he issued them all the bird.

"Oh, you guys are just hilarious tonight,"  he rolled his eyes and unloaded his arms which held a variety of foodstuffs.

He set to preparing their typical orders, going for something a little different with the fries.  He dabbled them in olive oil and set seasoning them with a variety of herbs and spices.  It was an old recipe he knew, in fact it was the only thing he could truly cook, but he'd never tried it with french fries, usually he did it with small halved red potatoes.

"Alright," he asked.  He was in full enhanced mode and it showed as his arms were accomplishing feats of dexterity upon the grill that would have already burned a lesser chef.  Burgers were flipping, plates were sliding, buns were splitting in the air and he caught both halves, you name it, he was in full show-off mode.  "So, welcome everyone to the Just Us League meeting... someone mind telling me what's up?  We got another invasion or something going on?  What's the big reveal?"

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Sara put the burger she had been picking at while Sean ate, and glanced over at Jaunt. She wondered when she had stopped thinking of him as Devin and only as Jaunt, probably when she realized he was a complete dick and that she actually did like him a little.

She didn't like Devin, hated the fucker for all the shit he and others like him had given Sean for so long. But Jaunt she got along with. So no more Devin just Jaunt.

Life really was that simple

"You want a reveal. How about this...I'm not going back to school tomorrow. I'm done with it."


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They had spoken about whether to keep attending school or not before. Sean was certainly not learning anything she didn't already know, and she knew a great deal more besides. At most, all school was providing her with was how to socialize as the woman she was now, and she was doing that at school, on the base, and here and there around the world when she traveled with Sara, or occasionally, Devin.

So while Sean wasn't surprised at Sara's proclamation, she was vaguely surprised that Sara had brought it up now with the others. She kept the surprise from her face however, finishing her burger and giving Devin a thumbs up for his seasoned fries. She sat back in the booth, turning slightly to get a better view of Sara and the rest of the Irregulars, and took a sip of her extra-thick strawberry shake.

"Just because we all happen to be together, doesn't mean there's some terrible doom about to strike, Devin," Sean countered with a grin, "sometimes we can just hang out, even without gaming or anything."

Sean did feel a mild sense of melancholy as Bunnee and the rest of the patrons departed, leaving the dinner to the Irregulars. The Irregulars were different, no doubt, and others could sense it, even if they couldn't exactly classify how. Sean had grown used to the deference and attraction directed at her, but it was still different coming from her neighbors and those who had known her for years, if not most of her life.

"Which doesn't mean something eventful won't crop up." Sean arched a brow as Sara, pursing her lips in curiosity. "We talked about this before, I'm sure all of us have considered it at least once or twice. Anything in particular come up to make the decision clear for you, hon?"

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"I guess it comes back to I just don't agree with keeping all of this a secret." She pushes he plate away "Look we want them to trust us, by them I mean the human race cause I just don't think we fit that description anymore. But how are they going to trust us when our biggest accomplishment was covered up with a lie. And that we have been lying to the world since this happened.

Us going to school, being with our 'friends' is just perpetuating another lie." She leans back and folds her arms across her breasts defensively.

"None of us need to go to school. We are either too smart or we just don't need what they can teach us. It's a waste of our time."

She meets Sean's eye, "That's how I feel."

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"I do actually agree with Sara here.   Aside from the need to maintain appearances, None of us really need to continue with public schooling.   Saying that however,  If we all just stop showing up, Then the suspicions about us will take on a life of their own.  We should be ready to answer them, either with more coverups, or the actual truth."

He looked at the others with a knowing glance.  "The Truth has its own risks.  Once it's out there,  there will be no going back, for any QEH. I've been working on finding others, among other projects.   Soon, there will be no covering up our existence.   I understand the need to hide the Asheen invasion, but this, this is us."

He shrugged.  "To be totally honest, i'm surprised that DeathOtter hasn't revealed the whole entire thing at this point, just for the laughs."

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"She hasn't revealed it because it is her only leverage, the proverbial gun to the head. That is why I suggested to the brass to just reveal us and take that gun away. Though if our actual identities are revealed, it will probably make a royal pain in the ass for us. I mean, you think actors, musicians and pro athletes get mobbed by the unrelenting press? They will be nothing compared to people with superpowers who literal saved the world." Lilly said and then pointed at Sean, "Especially those who look like that." she added.

"And then it sparks the whole 'Enhanced Arms Race' too, which I am not even going to get into." she said with a shake of her head while rolling her eyes.

"Personally, I want to have my life, to be a teen and have as much normalcy as possible for as long as possible, because that goes away in a flash if our identities are ever revealed.

And yes, I would like to finish high school. I am not going for all the other people. I am going for myself. It is something I want to accomplish. I want my diploma. I am not a super brain. I study hard to get and keep good grades. I used to do it because the better grades I had the better college I could get into with the better training facilities for me while I tried to make the US Olympic Team. But now, I am doing really just for myself. I mean, everybody is all big on their gifts and use them all the time or whatever, but what if they go, or are taken, away one day? I, at the very least, want my diploma." Lilly explained and then looked to Sara.

Lilly had caught a little by surprised, but really, not all that much. Sara had grown more and more... not necessarily distant, but her powers had changed her, at least from what Lilly could see. 

"Dude, you're almost done though. You're a senior. You only have a few months left. I know it seems mundane to you right now, probably to all of us really, but it will only help you to finish. C'mon, don't quit with the finish line right in sight. I mean, you are going to do what you are going to do. We all are. And I am not going to hold it against anybody who drops out, but the finish line is in sight. C'mon dude, you got this." she encouragingly as she looked at Sara with hopeful eyes.

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"I'm staying too," Kia said. "I'm like Lilly said...I need school still. I mean, okay I helped save the world but I don't think 'changing into things' is really a job, you know? I still want to do things with my life. And maybe I'm not the same as other people, but I'm still a person and being with my friends isn't a lie."

The words came tumbling out, especially as she finished, and she flipped her hair back behind her head.

"I don't really care, I guess, if people know about us. We can adjust, and there's good and bad things either way. But I don't want to cut myself off from everyone except just us."

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Sara shakes her head and leans forward putting her elbows on the table resting her chin on the intertwined fingers. "Kia it is a lie. All of this," she gestures with her head at the diner and beyond, "is a lie. every day we pretend to be normal is another day we are lying to them and to ourselves.

Look I'm not trying to tell anyone what they should or shouldn't do. If you still feel some sense of accomplishment at what you do here, fine, go for it. Me I don't want to waste time here or with them.

Jaunt you asked why we gathered here tonight. The same reason we all end up together most nights. Because we are what we are and we are not what they are anymore.

And I have news for you, they know it too."

Without waiting for anyone's reaction, she looks at Abel. "How soon will you have this detector thing working?"

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"It's already prototyped, and works fine, though it's strictly a locator at this point."  He looked at her, and sighed.  "i have yet to actually go seek out any of the QEH i've found, I figured we should talk about this first."  He looked to Alec, and then to Devin.  "I'd need one of you to help me with that, in any event."

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"Hardly a big reveal," Jaunt said, finally.  He spun his hand about on the grill and shimmering disc appeared on the horizon of the communal fry bowl on their table.  Another batch of spiced fries dumped from thin air, raining into the basket.  Apparently he'd been practicing his new portal creation abilities.  "Quit if you wanna quit, Hutch, it's your life.  You obviously don't care, so, why should we?"

They all waited, reaching or the new batch of hot fries.  They knew Devin by now, it was never that easy with him.  If there was one thing he loved, it was the sound of his own voice.  "Pretty much par for the course, right?  Edgy, chain smoking, drug dealer as a normal person... high school drop out as a super powered one.  The bar is set so low for you Hutch that you barely register on anyone's radar anyway."

"Devin!"  Sean glared at him, letting him know he'd crossed a line.

"No, she brought it up, she's gonna hear, in all honesty, both barrels,"  He glared back at Sean.  "And I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to her.  Don't fight her battles." He was set back on Sara now and he continued.  "I don't care what people think.  You've all heard me say it, and it's actually a half truth.  I don't care what they think but secretly I don't want to be that guy.  You know the one who could have done something, could have said something, could have inspired, could have made a difference."

"That'll be you, Hutch.  I've got your back to the end, girl.  Ride or Die.  No matter what though I'll always see that person who just quits.  We're a team and we need to rely on each other.  How can we do that when you get a flavor of the week hair up your ass and bug out?  How long before you find the lie in you and Sean and just quit on that?  How long before you find the lie in us and just quit on that too?"  He flipped a burger and it landed.  He pressed it and it sizzled loudly.

"This," he mockingly flailed his head about like she did.  "Is not a lie.  This," he flailed his head about again.  "Is just you seeing a convenient excuse to run away.  Because that's what you do.  You run away, because you're oh, so edgy and rebellious.  Take it from the awesomest and dare I say, sexiest, travel agent in... oh... three hundo light years: If you don't know where you're going, any road'll get you there, and your problems and fears are always there waiting for ya.  Hell, mine help me unpack at this point.  Just send me a post cards frequently and keep in touch."

"With that out of the way," he continued on.  "Hutch is right.  Look, I know you guys like your normal lives but it is very soon going to be a nightmare out there.  Especially with the idiot trio building QEH exclusive weaponry in their basement."  He looked at them with a disappointed and rather unimpressed look.  "Yes guys, I know about it.  I know everything.  I see everything.  I hear everything.  And I hate it.  I know that Lilly's underwear is a comfortable cotton with 'Pink' written in white across the waist band.  Not because I looked, but because I can hear the cotton rubbing against the denim and it makes a distinctive sound, also I can still smell the black dye and detergent," He pointed to Sean.  "I can hear Ru Paul's Brazilian growing back as we speak.  I can smell Kia's conditioner... from three showers ago.  This shit is weird."

"I digress," he went back to his cooking.  "The point is, we're all gonna be outted eventually.  People are gonna freak out and we're going to be stuck finding the new 'Keys'," that was Devin's word for QEH's.  He always thought it sounded like 'Key', not 'Kweh'. "And making sure they're safe.  Governments will try to exploit them, like our is doing to us right now.  Hate groups will form, people will lose their shit.  Good thing the Three Dorkateers are making us an armory, that'll endear the people to us.  We have an obligation to help them, and make sure the transition from normalcy to a Keyed Future is a smooth one."

"Do you guys realize what'll happen when the world discovers us?  Take me for example: I'm a security risk and a threat to national security.  I can go anywhere with no passport, visa, nothing.  The paranoia of the 'what ifs' from that alone could land me in a cell, which isn't a concern unless these geniuses haven't already designed them one that could hold us already.  Thanks a lot if you have..." He flipped the three of them off anyway.  "I won't lie, I've thought about it.  Cleaning out a bank vault.  Breaking into the basement of the Pentagon, opening a portal into the ocean and flooding terrorist caves... I've thought about it, I have, but all that my mind keeps telling me is that we need to be better than the humans are, after all we used to be them.  We know how badly they've messed things up.  We have an opportunity to usher in a new era, I think we should do it by setting the example and being brave enough to not hide."

"Oh, and I don't want to hide the valley event.  I need that book deal to pay for college.  Not all of us can raise pretty rocks out of the ground like Ludo over there.  We saved the damn world, that's gotta be worth a scholarship or something."

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Sara sat stiff as Devin made his speech, no not speech... his verbal attack on her. She sat a million things she wanted to say ...to do ran through her head.

She felt Seans hand come to rest on her arm. She glanced at that then brushed that beautiful hand off and stood stiffly and stalked toward the counter and the opening to the kitchens where Devin was playing grill master.

"Do you even hear yourself, Devin?" Her voice was cold, full of menace. Her eyes had filled with fire.

Devin had seen those eyes in action. Had seen Alien war-machines reduced to smouldering wrecks as she had played beams of pure heat across and through them in Man of Steel movie fashion. They all had. He thought he could feel the heat coming from them.

"If not, this is me quitting and running away, consider yourself lucky." She said as she look up at the ceiling the twin beams  from her eyes cutting and burning the ceiling creating a hole through tile and roof with ease. In the same motion she shot up like a bullet through the smoking hole, a sonic boom shaking the town seconds later far enough away to do no damage.

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"And she bought it,"  Devin said calmly.  "A few harsh words thrown her way and that's her solution: destroy other people's property and wreck shit until she's happy, she has the basic maturity level of the common seven year old.  She's out of control and it's only a matter of time before she turns her powers on the world and hurts people because she doesn't like them.  Soon, we'll be battling her and her Brotherhood of Keys in a valley somewhere."

Without a care he flipped his burger and sprinkled on a few spices.  With his other hand he dialed on his phone.  "So, now I gotta call Bunnie to let him know Sara just wrecked his roof, and call the police to file a report.  And Sean, the next time you two are playing Slurp Jockeys, let he know she's not welcome in here any more.  If she can't respect people's property she can play in the street.  You guys may not wanna be here when I bring up the eye lasers."

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He looked at Jaunt, but there was no malice, or really any emotion in his voice.   "While I agreed on the need, I do understand the desire to finish school.  It's why I haven't stopped going, even if all I do is sit in class bored."  He looked over to Lily and nodded.  "If you'd like help studying, I can help with that, with or without powers."

His gaze shifted back to Jaunt.  "Look we'll only end up fighting her if you keep pushing her buttons that hard.   I get you don't like us making weapons, But what we have right now is woefully inadequate for what is coming next Devin.   I'd rather we develop it, perfect it, and the means to reproduce the technology before  we turn it over to the government.  As for some being exclusive, That's to protect them more than anything."

"All these jibes about us, making this tech, how long before someone else does, The only way to control the mob is to be out in front of it.   Right now, all of us are literally the best in our fields, the most powerful of our kind.  Will it remain that way? I honestly cannot say.  I've never made things to block anyone's abilities other than my own.   Can I do more? Of course, so can Sean and Alec.  You aren't the only one at this table who's going to have a massive bullseye on their backside.   So what's your point needling us, needling Sara?  You act like none of us have considered our actions, And I can assure you that's not the case."


He and Sean both knew that Sara had indeed already killed other people she deemed bad, but he betrayed absolutely nothing of that.


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"Abel, of course I push her buttons," he motioned to the ceiling.  "Look at what she does when I push with words, imagine what she's gonna do when people do it, or someone actually pushes her, or threatens her!  She's not sane.  It's only a matter of time before she kills someone."

"I can take a hit from her, regular people out there can't," he picked up his phone and began sifting through his contacts for Bunnie's number.  "She could have gone after me, I expected her to.  Instead she went after Bunnie's property.  She doesn't think. This is his livelihood, man, this is all he has, and she blasts a hole in the roof because fuck him, right?!  Just one more pathetic human for her tred upon.  Those are repairs the dude doesn't have the cash for, let alone have the means of shutting down this place while the repairs are done. This is how he pays his damn bills and he's been good to us, to me, and that's how she thanks him.  That's how she is.  Self centered, selfish, and crazy.  She's an animal and I'm done with her.  And I don't care if she make gem sprout from the ground, she can't throw money at this problem."

"You guys better go," he nodded his head to the door.  "I'm calling Bunnie, and I'm filing a report and you guys probably don't wanna be here for it.  If I have to beat her into submission my self, she will answer to the law for this, and Bunnie.  She wants the world to know about us, fine, she can be the first super-criminal we, or I, hunt down."

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Devin, I'm going to ask you to not do that.  Not because I disagree, her attitude is problematic, So lets go get what we need to get, and fix the damage.  I will reach out to her, and try to convince her to return, and help fix what she did.   You say she could have gone after you, well she didn't.  She didn't come after me either, when I revealed the nature of my powers.  No one here did.   She was pissed, as were others, but all of us are in this together.  We can work on this together.   We might disagree on things, and that's fine, but we need to still support each other.  Don't let her impulsive mistake be the first proof of our existence."

"Give her a chance to admit the mistake, and repair the damage herself, that's what I'm really asking."   They were all teenagers, hormones were still a thing, and tempers could flare just as easily for most of them.   He was certainly counting on Sean already reaching out to Cajole Sara into coming back to fix this, she had a better shot than he did.     

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Sean sighed sadly, glancing up at the hole in the ceiling Sara had made, listening to the fading echoes of her sonic boom only Devin was able to hear as well. She understood why Sara had done, which didn't mean to she agreed with why she had done it. Sean slid out of the booth and slipped on her coat, picking up Sara's neglected jacket she wore only for appearances sake.

"I understand Devin. Do what you feel you need to do, what you feel is right. It's all any of us can do," Sean said with profound disappointment, and it wasn't only for Devin. "It'll be unfortunate that Keys will be outed by a disturbance like this - it will make trust among all effected parties more difficult - but believe me, I don't like all the secrecy either. If you decide not to bring the issue up to the Sheriff, I'll help with the repairs, if you'll have me, and see if I can get Sara to help clean up her mess as well."

Sean walked over the window into the kitchen. She glanced at the phone in Devin's hand, but made no move to stop him as she met his eyes. They weren't accusatory but they were not soft either.

"You don't know as much as you seem to think, Devin," Sean replied levelly. "Leaving school wasn't an idle whim on Sara's part. She wasn't quitting or running away. We had talked about it before. She was making a decision on how best to spend her time helping others, helping the world. And yes, what she felt was best for herself. Just like how she made the decision to stop selling pot, and even stopped smoking. You know she did, you can smell the difference just like I can, Dev. You can't seem to see how she's changed, grown from the angst girl she was into the woman she is becoming."

Sean pursed her lips in thought. Sara wasn't the only one Devin couldn't seem but to see as the kids they had been, instead of the people they were growing into, and it wasn't just changes due to the natures and effects of their powers, but the simple progress of experience. Of growing up. Devin wasn't free of maturing either, but it seemed like he couldn't help but cling to pushing people away.

"Which doesn't excuse her actions," she added, nodding up at the hole in the ceiling, the bite of winter wind swirling down. "But you do her a disservice there as well. Yes, you goaded her, and yes, she got angry. But she wasn't out of control. She made the choice to that as well, to make a point, if not in a way I would condone. You see, Dev, despite what you may think, she values life, even your life, more than things. Like you, Ride or Die, she'll have your back. But she won't hold your past against you. Y'know, you guys have much more in common than you realize."

Sean snorted in wonder, how they two of them clashed when they actually saw things in a similar light oftene enough. "You can hear everything. Dude, she hears the world, demanding that she acts to defend it. And she has. And whether that voice is in fact the world, a global consciousness, or just something in her head, it's real. Sitting in school while she could be doing something active chafes at her. I'm surprised she lasted this long."

Sean began heading towards the door, though she didn't break eye contact with Dev. She moved with an unconscious grace, completely aware of her surroundings even if it seemed she wasn't paying attention to them.

"I'm curious, Dev. You mentioned us being sent out to find the other Keys we all know are out there, either to bring them in or help them transition. Are you going to push their buttons too to see how far you can go, and when you go too far and they react and lash out, going to go 'Yeeeuuup! Knew it!'? You admitted the urge to use your powers for your own selfish ends. I've felt the urge too. It's almost amazing none of us have abused our powers. There are Keys out there who will undoubtedly give in to those urges. With or without provocation."

Sean glanced up the hole, her perceptions able to still feel the heat emanating from the seared circumference, then gave Devin a pointed glance, silently suggesting there would be Keys who would have no compunction about doing to people what Sara had done to the ceiling. "And for the ones who act that way, who won't make the transition smoothly, or who do but believe their own needs and wants supersede anyone else's, what do we do about them? If we have no way of constraining their powers, do we let them go on their way? Or do we...?"

Sean glanced back at the whole in the ceiling, leaving the other option unvoiced. She understood Devin's worry. He had literally unlimited freedom. The idea of it possibly be taken away must be frightening. But without consequence, Sean believed there would be too many who wouldn't limit themselves, who would do as they wished simply because there were others who couldn't or wouldn't stop themselves. Positives examples were well and good, and were far more effective than punishment for a society as a whole, but there had to be deterrents for those who needed something more concrete than example.

It was a poor society where the only real deterrent was as final as death. By the same token, having a revolving door like Arkham Asylum didn't serve anyone any better. There had to be some middle ground.

"Yes, we've been working on a viable lightsaber. And yes, I've considered how to make a quantum power nullifier. I've also been looking at cheap or free, clean power generation and plentiful nutritious food development. Unfortunately, I still have to work some on my biology and those issues aren't as easy to solve as simply building something and using it. It takes a lot of others to use what we can develop effectively and it'll take a societal shift for them to use it to benefit everyone instead of a select few reaping the vast majority of the benefit."

She gave Devin an injured look. "Just because we haven't solved world hunger or the energy crisis, doesn't mean we don't want to, Devin. Or even that we don't have some ideas on how we might do it. It just means it's a hell of a lot harder to accomplish than making a gun, and will take more time, and it'll take a whole hell of a lot more people to make it work than just us."

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"It'll be unfortunate that Keys will be outed by a disturbance like this - it will make trust among all effected parties more difficult - but believe me, I don't like all the secrecy either. If you decide not to bring the issue up to the Sheriff, I'll help with the repairs, if you'll have me, and see if I can get Sara to help clean up her mess as well."

"Yes,"  Devin said quietly, trying his best not to crush his smartphone in his hand, he was so mad at Sara.  "I'm hard on her.  Because, and I hate to make this comparison guys, but we are a brand.  If one of us screws up, all of us look bad for it.  When the world finally sees us for who we are, Sara's behavior is going to get us all killed.  The public won't accept the excuse "oh, she's not with us" or "she speaks for herself"."

He motioned to the ceiling.  "That.  That right there is Sara.  I don't care if she 'hears the world', or quit smoking, or even quits school.  All I see is woman that when a few mean things get said at her she responds by destroying things, and eventually she'll upgrade to people.  It's okay though, because she has you around to wipe her ass and clean up her mess so she can escape all accountability."

"I don't know the other Keys out there, Sean,"  he looked at them all even though he was addressing her.  "I know Sara.  I push her buttons because the very first interaction she and I had was her showing me how powerful she was by melting a mountain into slag and issuing a threat.  It told me all I need to know about her.  That told me all I needed to know about her.  She is an evil sociopath and until the day she can look me in the eyes after I've given her a verbal lashing and call me an asshole like the rest of you and leave it at that, instead of melting a mountain or destroying someone's livelihood I'm not going to change my opinion of her."

"So," he set the phone down on the counter.  "Here's your chance Irregulars to show me where this team's morality actually lies.  If we allow one of us to act this way and then cover it up, then we have to allow them all of us to act this way and cover for them.  So, what'll it be?  Are you guys siding with Bunnie and the property she's ruined, or are you guys going to side with Sara and cover up her mess?"

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Kia sighed unhappily and got up from the table.

"I'm going to go find Sara and talk to her. I can't go as fast as she can, but maybe I can track her."

She looked apologetically at Sean. "I don't think she's evil but she can't keep doing this kind of thing. We all have to be clear with her on that."

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"It does not have to be one or the other, Dev. We can do both. Yes, you have some points, and made some in a, be it, overly dramatic, kinda douchey way. And yes, Sean has some points too. There's not a good excuse for what she did, but you also played a part in it too. You could have made the same point in the same way elsewhere, and she could have handled it better too.

So I think we can do both. We fix this and then we have a talk with Sara to call her on her bullshit too. If we cannot fix this right this instant, then we can tell Bunnie that things got out of hand, we are very sorry, we will make sure it is fixed and that it is won't happen again." Lilly said, looking at each of the Irregulars still there one at a time and ended on Devin.

"Frankly, the thing that worries me the most her no longer considering herself human. When you start breaking into an "us and them" thing, where you feel you are superior, then it because super easy to start justifying all sorts of terrible shit to yourself.

I think it might do some good for all of us to spend a fair amount of time powered down, and to do so regularly, so we do not forget who we are. These abilities we have are great, but we cannot let them define us. We are each more than our powers.

We are people and friends first. Let's not forget that. And yes, friends occasionally argue and even have spats, but that is all temporary. In the end, we are all there for each other, look out for each other and that is most important when bad stuff happens or one of us has a breakdown. It's not always a perfect 50/50 give and take either. Sometimes, one of use needs a bit more for a while, and I think right now Sara needs us." Lilly suggested as she walked over to the order window.

"And besides, if you do call the police, aside from the possible bad press and horrible way of revealing ourselves to the world, and the law being Sara's dad too, it's not like they have any ability to check her anyways. It's up to us to call her on her BS and help her." Lilly said with a shrug.

"So if you want to call, you can Dev. But I would really prefer you not. At least not this time." Lilly said as she looked to Devin and sighed, biting her bottom lip as she thought about the potential gravity of the situation.


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Devin was quiet for a long moment.  Like Sara, he was overreacting.  He took a breath looked at everyone then looked to the grill and slid the burger he we grilling off and onto a bun.  "Fine,"  he finally said.  "It's seven forty-five, and the closest Lowe's or Home Depot is in Great Falls and it's an hour and fifteen minutes away.  They close at nine."

He leaned against the counter top and took a bite of his burger and relaxed.  "She want to punch me in the mouth, fine.  This is is the only, and last time I will ever cover for any of us wrecking other people's shit.  You guys may wanna hurry."

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Sean gave Devin a direct nod, acknowledging his ultimatum and expressing her gratitude for the compromise as he saw it. "Thanks, Dev." Sean glanced down at Kia as she passed her on her way to the door. "Sara went in that direction," Sean informed her, pointing. Her link with Sara let her know which direction she had gone and roughly hard far she was, but Sara had closed down any actual communication. "But you'll only catch up with her if she lets you, Kia."

Sean studied the damage, using her enhanced senses to get a full picture and taking inhumanly precise measurements. Sara had missed any duct work and there was only minor wiring damage, easily replaced. She nodded in satisfaction - repairs would be relatively easy. "I believe a trip to Lowe's won't be needed. I'm pretty sure I can round up the necessary materials from my dad's supply shed. The only thing we'll need to get is matching paint for the ceiling, unless Bunnee has some in a storage room or something."

Sean fished the keys to Little Bigfoot from her pocket and opened the door. "I'm gonna head home and load up my Dad's truck. Anyone coming along?"

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While the Irregulars set out to fix the damage done by Sara, Kia left the diner and contemplated how to go about looking for their wayward member. Before she could come to a decision however she felt Sara in her mind.

<Sean says you want to talk to me.> Sara dropped from the sky and landed a few feet away from Kia. "Here I am."

Kia saw that Sara had changed into her PAM suit, the cold didn't seem to bother her at all.

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Abel shrugged, and rose from his seat.  "Yeah, Sean, I'll come along.  Let's get what we need, and we can come back and get things ready to go."   He  moved to follow after his best friend, and couldn't suppress a frown.  This was something they had to do, but it didn't mean incidents like this didn't try his patience.

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Kia had already started to grow some wings, but quickly stopped as she whirled around to face Sara.

"Oh, hey! Yeah, I just thought..." Kia shrugged, "I just felt like you could use a friend. I didn't want you to be alone. Kinda forgot that's not how we work anymore, I guess." She offered Sara a smile.

"Still...want to talk a little? The good old-fashioned way that doesn't involve," and Kia makes wiggly fingers at her forehead, waving them at Sara to represent psychic hoodoo.

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"If i didn't want to hear what you had to say Kia, I wouldn't have come back." Sara said with little emotion. She looks up and down the snow covered road then takes Kia's hand and pulls her into a one armed hug."Hold on."

The two teen's shoot up  into the air and arc off to the north. Kia is wide eyed, It's one thing to grow wings and fly but this was like being a missile. the town rushed by below details blurred and then the were angling done and still moving at a speed that was scary Kia gasped as the ground rushed up to meet them only to slow and stop the last few yards before touching down. Kia looked around around as Sara let her go.

They were back where it all began.

"Lets go inside out of the weather. We probably have about ten minutes before the base responds." Says Sara as she steps onto the porch of the old boy scout cabin.

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Sean slipped in behind the steering wheel of her car, twisted gracefully to pull in her long legs, then slid the fob into its slot. The vehicle awoke with a soft bloom of illumination and a faint hum of power that would be on the edge of hearing to any save those with enhanced senses. Abel took the passenger seat and Sean gave him a moment to adjust the seat. Abel might be an inch taller than Sean, if not as leggy, but Sara wasn't nearly as tall. Once Abel was comfortable, Sean put Little Bigfoot into drive and accelerated with smooth, measured power.

There was a soft, faint grin on Sean's lips as she drove them home. It felt like she had been driving forever it was so natural though in fact it had only been a few weeks and she still enjoyed driving her car. Hers in a way few could experience, her own personal design and built by her own hand, with Abel's and Alec's help.

Sean could feel Abel's irritation like an almost palpable thing. The beat of his heart, the rhythm of his breath, the minute contraction of muscle, it was all too clear to her, and understandable. She sighed, blowing a lock of vibrant, multi-hued sunset hair from her face. "You didn't really think we'd all adjust smoothly, did you, Abel? And this is besides having to worry about galaxy-conquering aliens and other Keys we may have issues with or who may have issues with us."

Shelly wasn't big - though it was going through a period of rapid growth thanks to the expansion of Guardian Shield - and even being on the edge of town, it wasn't long before Sean was pulling up the drive to the Cassidy residence, and old farmhouse with a couple of converted outbuildings. Sean parked next to her father's F-350 Super Duty.

"Here." Sean tossed Abel her keys. "Open up the storage shed. I'm gonna talk to my dad, to ask about materials and to burrow his truck."

Sean strode into the house and found her father in his office working on paperwork. Without going into all the details, Sean mentioned there had been an incident that required some simple repairs. Even through his new daughter's superhuman charm and skill at dissembling, Jack could tell Sean wasn't telling him everything, but he didn't press the issue. If she wanted to tell him all of it, she would have.

"Take what you need, Sean," Jack offered, "Just update the inventory sheets. And for the favor, I may ask for your help on a job."

"Fair enough, Dad," Sean replied with a nod, then gave him a quick, controlled hug. "Thanks."

Sean brought the pick-up around to the storage/work shed, hopped out and went to help Abel collect the needed materials and then load them up. Both of them were engineers of surpassing skill - it didn't take much to figure out what they needed, and hardly more to load it up. Though neither were on Lilly's level, Abel was a superhuman athlete, and despite making supermodels look plain, Sean was fifty times stronger than an Olympic weightlifter. Soon enough, the pair of them were back on their way to Bunnee's.

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Abel looked to Sean on the way back, and sighed.  "Of course i didn't Sean.  You've definitely won in that regard, adapting perfectly to being the most physically attractive human alive."   He didn't bother trying to hide anything from Sean,  Sean's perceptive abilities exceeded his own.  "We will need a way to deal with Keys who cause trouble, Those who break the law willfully.   But that's a double-edged sword as well, as such a means could be turned on us.  Leaving aside the morality of who are we to make these decisions, we had best come up with something before others do.  At least this way, we can ensure it's non-lethal."

"As I said before, I want to find the others, to help them come to accept their powers, and to help them make lives for themselves, without being utterly beholden to anyone else, within the laws of society.   The Galaxy busting aliens are a problem, but right now how much can we really do?  If we move to fast, we'll throw the entire world into chaos, I'd rather lay the groundwork for Keys and humans to live together in peace."


He shrugged.  "But you know all of this already, I've said as much to you before.   I agree Devin pushed her buttons, illustrating Sara's control issues,  but we can work with her to curb that.  You more than anyone have the ability to do that.  What if someone had seen that?  I'd have had to do something none of you would have liked to cover that up, if that was what we chose to do, which would have only led to further division among us.  We can't afford that.   Hopefully Kia's able to calm her down.   Perhaps its time for some actual teambuilding exercises.   Sure, in a fight, we worked seamlessly, but in Life, nobody's really on the same page."

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On 12/5/2017 at 8:47 AM, Sara Hutchins said:

"If i didn't want to hear what you had to say Kia, I wouldn't have come back." Sara said with little emotion. She looks up and down the snow covered road then takes Kia's hand and pulls her into a one armed hug."Hold on."

The two teen's shoot up  into the air and arc off to the north. Kia is wide eyed, It's one thing to grow wings and fly but this was like being a missile. the town rushed by below details blurred and then the were angling done and still moving at a speed that was scary Kia gasped as the ground rushed up to meet them only to slow and stop the last few yards before touching down. Kia looked around around as Sara let her go.

They were back where it all began.

"Lets go inside out of the weather. We probably have about ten minutes before the base responds." Says Sara as she steps onto the porch of the old boy scout cabin.

"Cool," Kia said breathlessly. She looked dazedly around, then hurried after Sara onto the porch.

Distracted a bit, she realized she'd lost track of what she'd meant to say to Sara. And really...maybe that was good? People were doing a lot of talking at her. She wasn't sure anyone had really listened to her.

So she just said, "Talk to me."

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Devin was sitting on the counter when they returned, eating another burger.  It was downright freezing in the place by the time they got back and light snow had started to pile up on the exposed tables.  They began assessing here to start and it was obvious Devin was not going assist in the slightest.  "This is awesome," he chuckled.  "It's after eight, on a Sunday, in a small town at the only place that has decent food and you guys expects to a complete ceiling and roof restoration after the church rush... and expect no one will notice or hear it?"

"He took a bite and smiled wide as he chewed.  "This I have to see."

Suddenly the entire environment shifted and wavered, like heat rising off desert sand.  The waves distorted sight and blurred perceptions until forms began to take shape amidst it all.  The lights grew brighter, the hole in the roof disappeared and the snow on the tables vanished.  People started to fade into view and the few servers Bunnie had began to walk past the teenagers like they weren't even there.  The noise level rose incredibly high in an instant and every booth was suddenly packed with people eating burgers in their church clothes, talking and carrying on.  In the parking lot vehicles appeared, fading in form nowhere until every parking spot was filled, there was no room for anyone to stop and get a burger, even if they wanted one.

"What the hell?"  Devin leapt from the counter and walked around.  Bunnie dinged the bell at the kitchen partition and screamed 'Order up!' and one of the servers approached and collected it.

"If there is one thing you guys can count on, it's my brother being a colossal dick,"  Marissa, Devin's twin sister, came out from the kitchen, having most likely entered through the back door.  As she walked out, she walked right through one of the servers like she was a ghost.  "That should buy you some time, it's only an illusion.  People will see the place packed, will hear really loud Sunday night music playing and with the parking lot full, will probably not bother stopping for after church burgers.  My record is about forty-five minutes... so if you guys can work fast, it'd be appreciated, this size of an illusion is going to make for one hell of a nose bleed."

"M.J.!" Devin looked shocked.  "I didn't know, why didn't..."

"I say anything?" She scowled at him, staring daggers.  "Oh, yeah, because you're just Mr. Forthcoming lately aren't you!?  Beach get-a-ways with the track star... rolled up money in your drawers," she threw a wad of money at his chest and hit hit with a solid thud.  He was swift enough to have caught it but he was in such a state of shock that it just fell to the floor with a few bounces.  Mari was pissed, and they could all tell.  She was barely calm and twitch at her left eye told them she was barely keeping the illusion from collapsing.  "No... no, you know what?  We're not doing this right now, Deej.  You guys are going to fix that roof... and then when that is all done... someone is going to tell me what the fuck is going on, and what's happening to me."

"Mari, look..."

"Devin... this requires a lot of concentration."  She spoke to him through a locked jaw.  "Shut up and help them or so help me I will smash every thumb drive of Naruto episodes you have..."

Devin disappeared and reappeared in front of Sean and picked up a nail.  "Pointy end goes in the wood, right?"

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Sara just stared at Kia. She closed her eyes and opened them. "Your the one that wanted to talk to me I thought. But ok, I'll talk.

You want to know what bothering me, why I'm dropping out of school. The world is bothering me, Kia. We are wasting our time and our power pretending to be normal teenagers, letting the military, hell anyone but ourselves, telling us what to do or how to do it. We have the three smartest people in the world and instead of them telling the world how things should be done we are sitting around with out thumbs firmly up our asses.

Right now there are places in the world where decades long drought is causing famine on a scale that is unbelievable, in another part of the world torrential rains are destroying crops and flooded rivers are destroying homes and lives. In Alaska there's a fishing boat which is going to sink in a couple of hours with 47 men on board who are going to die. The Coast guard knows and is trying to get to them but what if they don't. And don't even get me started on the crimes against women and the poor that are being inflicted by terrorist and religious assholes all over the world." Sara is glaring at Kia now.

"We have the power to stop all of this to make this a better world. And what do you guys want to do. Go to the prom and graduate. Keep all of this secret for as long as we can so we can have a normal life.

Well guess what our normal lives ended in this cabin on Homecoming night. We are not normal, We are not teenagers any more and aside from lying to everyone around us more importantly you are lying to yourself if you think otherwise."

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"Yes, Devin, pointy end goes in the wood," Sean replied in a tone suitable for a kindergartner in a remedial class. "I'll even show you where to put the pointy end in." She grateful wave to Mari as she strode in to assess the situation. "Thanks for the assist, Marissa. I assure you, you'll get your explanation."

Outwardly, Sean seemed completely unsurprised by Marissa's appearance and demonstration, but Devin noted a spike in her heart-rate before it settled once more. She mused on when Marissa may have first manifested her powers and what events occurred around the situation as she looked up at the hole in the ceiling.

The damage was actually quite light, relatively speaking. No support beams were hit, nothing had caught fire, and the hole was only just wider across than Sara's shoulders. Sean arched a brow.

"Okay guys, this isn't too bad. And was probably intentional," Sean admitted, lips tightening for a moment. "Despite what it may have looked like, Sara wasn't actually really angry and definitely wasn't out of control. If she were, we'd have had fire damage rather than seared, sheered ends, and she's worked enough with my dad to know how to minimize any structural damage."

Sean set up a pair of sawhorses overlaid with plywood for a workstation and began hauling in tools while she had Abel and Lilly start bring in the necessary materials needed. Mentally taking measurements and making calculations, Sean murmured to Devin. "I believe Sara was trying to make a point Devin, and she was likely going to come back to fix the damage. Which--" she raised her voice over Devin's imminent protest, "doesn't excuse her actions, yes. But honestly, especially now, she wouldn't have been that easily goaded by words, not from someone she thinks of as a friend. I'm just not sure the exact point she was trying to make. She has spending more time with Apollo than the rest of us, while we've been talking with Pandora."

With the inhuman dexterity and coordination that Sean, Abel, Devin, and Lilly all possessed, then engineering talents of Sean and Abel, and the experience Abel had working with her father, the Irregulars worked  the repairs with a swiftness and precision that would have had the crew on any home improvement show keel over in envy.

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As the superhuman kids worked with amazing cohesiveness  the now familiar sound of high pitched buzzing followed by a twinkling shimmering light in the corner of the shop had them all stop and look.

Laurie materialized in the T'Tauri transporter beam and looked around at all the construction material. "Hey guys whats all..." she stopped in mid sentence when she spotted Marrisa her best friend, who was equally shocked and staring at her. "What the fuck! The sensors showed only Keys here. Marissa! You manifested?"

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"Mani-what now?"  Mari looked at her bestie with a confused expression.  It dawned on her she just 'beamed' in.  "Okay, what-the-fuck... do we not use doors in this town anymore?  How did she do that?  How did Sara do... that!" she motioned to the repaired ceiling.  "How do I make things appear, and why am I disappearing!?"

"I don't even know what 'manifested' means.  What's a 'key'?  I came to talk to my brother over some seriously weird shit that's been happening to me lately and I see Sara skydive backwards through the roof and Deej loose his fucking mind."  Compared to her brother, Marissa was apparently the potty mouth of the family.  "Then everyone left, I was scared to say something so just paced around for a bit, then when everyone got back I decided I'd... well," she waved her hand to draw attention to the massive illusion.  With the work finished it was slowly fading as Mari let go of the grip the image had on her mind.  "I'm not playing, guys, I'm about to snap and I want some answers, like yesterday."

"Hey, babe."  Devin said with a smile as he was gone and reappeared next to Laurie in an a blink, completely ignoring his sister's tantrum.  Laurie smiled and they hugged tightly, a bit too tight to Mari's diva trained eyes.  When they finished Mari cocked up an eyebrow. 

"Babe?  Wait, you two...?" She asked, completely blindsided, and forgetting that she'd come here for answers.  This bit of gossip was way more important to the high school teen.

"It's complicated." They both said in unison, much to the grins and smirks of their assembled friends and co-conspirators.

"...and that."  Marissa traced a finger from where Jaunt was to where he suddenly appeared.  She did it silently two or three more times, looking at the rest of the Irregulars as if to say: 'you're okay with this weirdness?'.  Finally, her gaze swept across all of them.  "That right there... that's the sorta shit I'm talking about.  This is some seriously messed up shit.  It's like I'm suddenly in an episode of 'Welcome to Night Vale' or something.  Guys... I have a cheer competition to be ready for... I don't need this kind of added stress.  You guys are weird, I get it, it's cool, do your thing, I'm not judging.  But popular people have things to do... when does this crap wear off?"

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"It never wears off.   That said, there are those who can "turn it off" temporarily, but most cannot."   He shrugged.  "As to the weirdness you refer to, well it's not weird to us, Given what we've done in the last few months, that's almost tame, especially with your brother's abilities.   We ALL have abilities, though how they are expressed is quite different.  We've had them for a good while,  so we've mostly acclimated to having them.  You will too if you work at it, besides, we're far from the only ones like us, even here in town, let alone the entire world."


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"You've had them for a good while?"  She glared at Devin.  The twins shared everything with each other and finding out Devin had contracted some super virus and didn't bother putting her in the loop irritated the snot out of her.  "Funny, first I've heard of it..."

"M.J., I was getting around to bringing you into the loop," Devin expressed as honestly as he could.  He had one arm around Laurie and it'd been so long since they'd seen each other neither really felt the need to let go.  "But so much has been going on, seriously, you don't even know.  For reals and for true, things have been just as weird for us as they have for you, but we can help you."

Mari took a moment to avert the daggers of her eyes from burning a hole through her brother.  He was, after all, the only one she had.  "Laurie, are you?"

"No.  Still human."  She replied with a smile.

"She has this awesome skin tight alien bondage outfit though."  Devin added.  "Makes her, like invulnerable to stuff."

Marissa covered her face in with her hands in frustration and slowly slid them back over her hair.  She squinted painfully as if ignoring a migraine.  "Would someone, please, aside from my idiot brother explain what the hell this is and what is going on?  What are these abilities, where do they come from... why me?  I-I don't want any part of this weirdness, I wasn't bitten by anything, around any weird experiments that wrong... I even wore my glasses during the solar eclipse!  This isn't happening, this can't be real."

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"There have been things going on in the world that have made it more likely for the manifestation of more quantum enhanced individuals, like you, like us.   Also, It's been shown that there is some correlation to proximity to other QEH being one of many factors leading to manifestation.   We're still working out everything on that front, but the primary cause for it is gone."

"Most abilities have to be activated, from our studies, but there are some that are innate, and simply don't turn off. "

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Lilly sighed and stepped forward, waving.

"Hey Mari." she said as she walked over to her and glanced at Devin.

"You know how since Homecoming night, and the big lightning storm at the lake that night, everybody has kinda knew or felt that has been weird stuff going on, but nobody really wants to talk about it? Well, that's because, when it really comes down to it, people just want to be happy in their ignorance and a world that is explained and makes sense. Well, we were kinda sucked into that weirdness." Lilly explained with a shrug.

"We've pretty much all got our abilities that night, that is except for Devin. He got his more recently. We found him, explained stuff and he started hanging with us right after. All of our abilities are different too. I mean, there might be some little overlap, but when it comes to the big stuff, we are all unique, just like you." Lilly said as she stirred her ice in her glass with her straw.

"Being around people with abilities a lot seems to make it more likely that you'll get abilities too, but it is still long odds. There might be some sorts of genetic predisposition too, but we're not sure yet.

There was another way to boost your chances of getting abilities, but that's not really an option. And then some big stuff happened just a bit ago, so more have started popping up, all over the world." Lilly said as she walked over and sat on a stool near Mari.

"What I can tell you for sure, is that you can learn to shut off all of your abilities though. That is what I did when on the field and still do it most of the time.  

But, I know. 'Why me?' right? All I can say is that it is what it is. What matters now is what you do with your abilities, if anything.

We were all friends before. Well, except for Devin. He was emo, douche loner at the time. But since we got these abilities we have been working together and using our abilities to protect people. Lots of people. And yeah, our families know, well, except for your parents, and we have some help too. There is always room for another though. And what you can do.. Well... that's pretty amazing."

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Laurie was getting whiplash looking from person to person then held up her hands "Ok everyone lets just hold up a minute. Sara did that?" she pointed at the hole.

Sean nodded and started to explain " Yeah she and..."

"Later sis. I take it you guys were going to repair it but if we are going to have this sort of a discussion it should be somewhere with a little more security."

The red head stepped up underneath the hole and raised her left arm. "I'll leave some nano-bots here and with the stuff you have  for repairs they can replicate the roof like it never happened. Now, why don't we all beam up to the Qeeg, and discuss this and a few other things that have come up."

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