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Slade nodded along with Jin’s summary of how school had been for her so far. It wasn’t hard to see why she would assume everything would be the same at the new school, even if she had yet to hear anything about what school it was that he had in mind. “Perhaps” He would allow, it was after all, possible that H.A.E.Y.P. would prove to be no different then any other school in some regards, but he doubted it. “and fair enough we can talk about the school I have in mind later.”

He took a moment to gather his thoughts as he met the determined look on his niece’s face. This conversation had a lot of potential to hurt after all. “I never officially met your father actually” He would answer after a short moment. “We saw each other a handful of times, but never spoke and had never been formally introduced.” He would shrug at that admission. It wasn’t a personal thing, more of a safety thing. That and the fact that Slade was still a hired killer and Edgar was a police detective. Granted he did marry Yumiko, so perhaps they could have gotten along, they would never know now.

“But I did meet your mother on a business trip.” He would go on, a wry smile tugging at his lips. “It was in Russia, years ago. I was after a target for the KGB, a matter of state secrets having gone missing.” He would explain his gaze not leaving Jinny’s as he spoke “Yumiko was doing much the same, though she was looking for a target from the Triad if I remember correctly. Never learned if it was a revenge contract or a retaliation one. But then again I never asked.”

Slade would wait only a beat or two before continuing, he knew what he was saying wouldn’t make much sense without more context but even then, he did not doubt that young Jin’s ability to infer some truths from what he had said already. “Our targets were hold up in the same building, though different floors. The protection around her mark assumed I was after them, and vice versa for my mark’s protection to her. We teamed up because there was no reason not to, and every reason to do so. She saved me from getting shot through the leg, and I stopped her from getting her arm cut off.”

It was nostalgic to think back on those times now that he was. Back when he was younger and foolish. Back before he became a living legend.

“It took some time after that meeting for us to actually exchange names, but we often ran in parallel back then.” Thankfully they also never seemed to run against each other, as it would have been a shame for Slade to have had to kill her back then.

But sometimes that was just how business went.
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Jinny stared at him for a while after he told his story. It was clear behind her eyes that she was thinking, processing… struggling.

“What’s the KGB? What’s a Triad??” She looked confused, and started to pace back and forth.

“Targets, marks, guns, swords...” Pace, pace, pace. “It sounds dangerous. Really dangerous.” A lot of things started to fall into place in her head. While she did have access to the internet, there was a lot of blocked websites that she wasn’t allowed to see. Most of what she did get was either educational or geared toward young children. But she’d heard other kids in school talking about R-rated action movies, and things of that nature. She wasn’t a fool – she knew he wasn’t in the military. He’d never admitted to being a superhero, which had been a question asked when she was younger. That left very few options. And one conclusion.

“...Is this… business why my mother and father are dead?”

Some days, she could think about it matter of factly. Other days, it hurt. Today was an in between day, but her head was spinning so badly that she couldn’t feel the twinge of pain in her stomach.

“Uncle Slade.” She stared up at him, and for the first time in a long time, she was afraid.

“Just… what exactly are you?”
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Slade waited, and watched as Jinnyah started slotting things together. Watched as the more important pieces of what he said came together. He expected more, but that was his own fault, he had forgotten for a moment that Jinny was still a child. Regardless of how much training he had given her, regardless of her past experiences.

It made the fear in her eyes hurt that much more.

A deep breath, in through the nose, the only indication of his unease. “The KGB, the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti, or the Committee for State Security. Was the Russian Intelligence agency. They go by the FSB now, but thatt’s not changed much about them.” Answers for questions. Granted it wasn’t answering the more burning question that had posed to Slade, but he was not too proud to acknowledge that he was stalling in some small way. “And the Triad is the largest Chinese crime syndicate on the planet.”

Yet now there was nor more questions to use as a buffer. “I am a mercenary. People, anyone with enough resources, can choose to purchase my skills and talents towards accomplishing something that they want to have happen. Mainly people hire me for assassination, but that is hardly the only thing I have been paid to do.”

“And the business I take part in is connected to why your parents were killed, but not because of what they did, But because your mother left. The guild she used to be a part of didn’t like that, and after years of trying and failing to bring her back into the fold they decided she was a loose end.” Slade hoped he didn’t have to say what happened to loose ends in the underworld. It was perhaps the most vivid memory Jin had after all, and he knew it could be a sensitive subject.

"I was never planning on hiding this from you forever, because that it would be impossible, but I bring it up now because a decision needs to be made. My actions these past few years have drawn eyes form those who do the same work I do, because they don't know about you, and eventually they will come looking for answers."

Slade would reach into his pocket and pull out his phone, bringing up both the public webpage for H.A.E.Y.P. and their darkweb counterpart. "I want to get ahead of that and the school I was thinking about would help" He would gently toss his phone to Jinny. "But" and it was an important distinction "I wont force you into the world I live in." And he would do his best to uphold that, if Jinnyah wanted to leave before she was dragged any deeper in. The thing was at the end of the day, it might already be too late.
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Jin caught the phone, but said nothing for some time. She was still processing all that she had heard. Now that she knew just who her mother had been, she was trying to reconcile it with the woman she had known. Her mother and father had been gentle, kind people. For goodness sakes, her mother would let bugs out of the house rather than squash them! She had been happy! They had all been happy.

“...they killed my mother because… they didn’t want her to have a life. Am I getting that right?” She stared at her bare feet for a moment, gathering her thoughts. When she spoke again, her voice was different than usual. Quiet, but ice cold. She looked up, and her eyes did not belong to the child she’d been about 5 minutes prior.

“I still have dreams, you know. About that night. I didn’t see anyone’s faces. But I know their voices. I think I could recognize them anywhere.” She paused. Trying to word what she wanted to say. “Sometimes my dreams get weird. I think of myself going with my parents. Fighting these women. Hurting them.” Even softer. “Killing them. All of them. Every last one.”

There was a strange, meditative stillness about her now. “I didn’t think about it when I was little, because… well… I don’t think I was smart enough then. But I am now. I’m never going to be normal, am I? Not because of my powers, but… because of this. All of this.” She gestured around her in a loose way. “My mother would play a game with me when I was small. Be as quiet as I could, and try to sneak candy from her pockets. Sometimes I actually won. I never wondered about that game. Now… do you think she was teaching me, even then, to be...” She shook her head then, letting the matter drop. She would never know, after all.

“You talk about not forcing me to live in your world. But I think I’m already in it, Uncle Slade.”

Only then did she look at the information on the phone. “HIVE Academy for Extraordinary Young People?” It was a fancy looking private school from the looks of it. Spacious grounds, smiling children, crisp uniforms. But it was still a school. Then she looked at the other page. “...highly skilled, combat ready, power training…” Some of it sounded like what they were already doing at home. “Infiltration and Wetwork? What does that mean?”
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Slade was many things. Pragmatic, resourceful, and in a lot of cases pessimistic. It was a good way to not end up dead in his line of work after all, hard for things get bad when you expect and have prepared for things to go wrong after all. But even with that kind of way of thinking Jinnyah still managed to surprise him.

The icy demeanor she held, her dreams, and dare he assume willingness, to kill those that had wronged her. It was utterly… Facinating. And then to add to it that she had already been being trained, not that he was entirely surprised, it did explain some of the reason she had picked up things so quickly after all, but still… ‘I fear I have done you a disservice’ He would muse silently ‘I underestimated you far too much’

“You are close, in regards as to why the killed your mother. It wasn’t that they didn’t want her to have a life, it was that they didn’t want her to have one outside of them.” A small but important difference. It wasn’t that Yumiko had a life and a family; it was that Yumiko had one outside of the guild. It was that she held something more important to her then the guild. That was her crime.

“As for Revenge,” He knew that they, that he, was getting side tracked with this point but he was curious. Jin hadn’t out right stated it, but he was sure that she yearned for it, especially if her dreams were any indication. “One day perhaps. But I can assure you that right now most of them would kill you.”

“So far, all that I have taught you, and what I can assume you Mother was teaching you are simply the basics. The foundations. Any who had not mastered those were likely already killed by your parents that night.” It was blunt and perhaps a bit cold, but also likely true. Slade hadn’t seen the assault, but he didn’t need to. Yumiko was not a simple nobody, the fact that she had been left alone for as long as she was proof well enough.

“But that brings us back around the HIVE Academy. Infiltration is the act of getting into a location without being detected. Whether that means being a ghost that moves through the shadows, or just another face in the sea of them. Wetwork is killing people. Assassination. Be it with blades or rifles.” In contrast to Jinny’s stillness, there was an energy about Slade. A passion hidden just behind his relaxed posture.

“You are likely correct in that you are already in my world, but I will ask you one last time if you want to embrace it. You already know risks of being involved in it, already know that once you step into it like this it will never truly let you go. Your last chance to turn back.” Slade would like to say he wouldn’t judge Jinnyah for her answer one way or another, but that would be a lie. He already knew she had the capability for it after all, but he honestly didn’t think she had the mentality for it before today. He had expected that one day, at some point in the future, she would have broken away from him and joined with the capes. Putting the skills he had taught her to use ‘Saving’ people.

But this? This coldness? It changed things, and Slade very much wanted to see where it would take her.
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Jinny stared at him for a long moment. Then she started to pace back and forth. She did this often when she was thinking about something very hard, or trying to solve a problem. “I thought you would tell me I was bad because of my dreams. I didn’t think you would accept me.” There was a tiny little smile on her face, but it faded fast.

Did she really want to do this? Go deeper into the world she didn’t know she’d been born into? Her parents had not been ordinary people. Her mother had been infamous enough to attract attention. Her father, while being “Just” a police officer, had been decorated and praised. So who was to say that she couldn’t follow in their footsteps?

A thought occurred to her then, and she stopped midstep. “I’ll be right back. Don’t leave.”

She dashed out of the training room, her footsteps echoing around the empty house. She went to her own room, grabbed a particular object, and came rushing back down.

“You said, people purchase your skills, right? I want to do that.” She held out the bright pink piggy bank that had been a birthday gift when she was 6 years old. It currently held about $20 in various coins, along with some international coinage that she’d been given as gifts. “I want to hire you to help me.” She stared him right in the eyes. “I want you to help me track down the people that killed my parents. I want to take from them what they took from me. I want to be strong enough so that no one takes anyone from me, ever again.”

“If you can do that...” She was looking up at him with a strange mixture of a child’s eager hope, and an adult’s level of determination. “If you think I can do that. Then I want to do it.”

She understood what she was getting into. She understood that it could very well kill her in the process. Maybe that should have been a scary thought, but she found it oddly soothing. No matter the risk, she could not go on pretending to be normal anymore.
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Slade kept his silence as he watched his young charge puzzle her way though this new information. He smiled a bit himself at her soft remark, they were rather alike in that regard it seemed.

As she raced out of the basement, Slade stayed where he was, going over the notions in his head that needed to be revised. Updating plans, and tweaking beliefs. After all things were going to change, he had been training her before that was true, but now? Now he could raise her as a protégé. As they were going to be staying on the same side of the equation, no need to kept some of his secrets to himself anymore.

He was part way though planning out what to do with this house when Jinny came back down. Mental timer clocking the whole trip at just over a minute and a half. And he couldn’t help but raise an eye brow at what she had brought down with her. That surprise went nowhere when she put forth her offer. One that was both audacious and insulting. Anyone else would have been shot after such an offer, but not Jinnyah, after all she didn’t know.

Plus, it was Jinnyah asking.

He would close his eye for just a moment, and when he opened it again there would be a subtle shift in his demeanor. Warmth, compassion, humanity. All of them became absent from him. His gaze sharp and analytical. Seeming to take Jin apart simply because she was in his line of sight. Because for the first time she would meet Deathstroke. Not a different person, just a different frame of mind.

“It will take years.” He would say after a long moment. He did have to consider the job seriously before accepting it after all. “Many of the people you want dead have been training all their lives. And bringing you up to their level will take time, as will tracking them all down.” Information that was to be expected, obstacles that could be encountered. “And successful completion of this will ensure that you will never be able to quietly leave.” He would reach out to place his hand on top of the piggy bank. “But once it is complete, the number of humans on the planet who will be able to take anything from you will be only a handful.” And even the nonhumans that could do such would be limited if Slade had his say.

“But that is what you are asking for isn’t it?” He would go on to say taking the money. She already had her chance to back out, he wouldn’t insult her by asking again.

“So you are aware, you have just purchased a contract on The Kiretsu no junjo” Because the list of those responsible for killing Jinnyah’s parents started at the Heads of the Guild, and to kill them most of the guild was also going to have to be taken out. “That was who you Mother used to be affiliated with.”

"This means we are going to have to up your training." He would add, not that that wasn't the plan already. HIVE wasn't exactly going to be a lighter work load either, and Slade wasn't going to let Jinny simple pass her classes there. But now with a goal, it might be easier to push her towards excellence. "The school will help with that. Any questions?"
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Jinny shifted as she watched her Uncle… change, somehow. She balked, very slightly, at that icy blue gaze sweeping over her. But then she stood up straight, and stared back at him. If she wanted to be taken seriously, she had to be less scared. Subconsciously, she was mimicking his posture.

“Kiretsu no junjo. I’ll remember that.” And indeed she would. She was already repeating it several times in her head, so the name would stick. She would likely ask him what it meant later. When he said her training would have to be upped, she smiled. There was still a coldness in it, but there was also excitement.

“I’m happy. I like training anyway. And if it’s going to take years, then we’re lucky I’m only 9. That way, we have a really long time.” She frowned very slightly and muttered to herself. “I hope they don’t die or something stupid, before I get to meet them.”

“Do we have to write down the contract? Do I have to sign anything?” She wanted more details of this new life she was embarking on. Even if she probably could not get all of her questions answered at once, this would still be a good start.

“What else does a mercenary do besides kill people? What’s the most fun you’ve ever had?”
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“No, nothing to sign. Nothing needs to be written down” Slade would answer turning to place the piggy bank down somewhere off to the side. “At least not with me. Each Mercenary has their own preferences, as do the people that hire them. My memory is good enough that I can simply remember.” He would explain with a smirk. “My reputation also helps.”

“And you can sell what ever services you want to. Assassination is a large draw, plenty of people want other people dead after all, but it is hardly the only task that people want done.” He would go on to explain. “Infiltration, Corporate espionage, kidnapping, sabotage, bodyguarding, hacking, training. Anything is an option if you want it to be. Which also means that you only have to do what it is you are willing to do. I refuse any contract that has to deal with kids for example. Doesn’t mater the reason or the offer, I refuse to go after children. But not all mercs are like that, we each have our own codes of conduct.”

“The most fun I’ve had?” He would take a moment to hink over that while he slipped out of his mission focus, it had served it purpose. “That would be when I was hired to eliminate a small PMC. Private military company. They had gotten wind of me coming a few days before I got to them, so they had time to fortify the place and be on alert for me.” His smile turned both mocking and cruel as he thought back to that mission. It was an attempted assassination on him disguised as a legitimate contract but he didn’t care it was fun. “It allowed me to utilize all of my skills to their fullest. Required it as well, otherwise I doubt I would have survived to collect. As not all contracts will pay up front, some only pay after completion and some will split pay”

“Some of those skills we can start training you in now, some will have to wait until we get settled in at the academy. As this basement was only built with the fundamentals in mind.”
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Jinny listened closely as her uncle explained all the kinds of work she could choose from. She didn’t know what espionage was, but infiltration and hacking sounded rather fun to her. “I guess I’m going to have to learn to kill people sooner or later.” She said it rather nonchalantly, as if she were talking about riding a bike. When her time came, she wanted to be ready. That meant she was going to have to tackle some difficult things. It would be interesting to see just how she responded when it came to taking a life.

“You took down an entire military?” There was an eager, gleeful look on her face, the pure opposite of his mocking smile. Maybe a PMC wasn’t as many people as she was imagining, but again, maybe it was. She would believe it. “That’s super crazy. You’re… a scary person when you’re not with me, aren’t you?” That was probably the biggest understatement of her young life.

“Can you teach me to be scary? Like what you did just now.” She straightened up and did her best Deathstroke impression, mimicking the cold glare. “That’s going to be important. If I want people to take me seriously, I’m going to need...” She searched for the right word. “My own brand of scary. Right now I’m just short.” Right now, as small and unassuming as she was, she wouldn’t be scaring anyone. But perhaps that could be used. Being an unexpected factor had it’s advantages.

“Oh. And I want a weapon.” A gun was not on her mind at this time. She wanted something sleeker. “Can we start there?”
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“I’ll try to arrange a hunting trip before school starts up again. It’s not quite the same, but it is a good first step” Slade would offer, not bothering to correct young Jinny misconception. Because she already knew how to kill someone. If she were to lash out at someone in the same way she had been burning off energy earlier and put some force behind her blows they would require hospitalization at best and a morgue at worst. It would be interesting to see how the other students faired if he was being honest.

“Not an entire military, a small Company sixty to seventy men.” He would correct. Because although he was good, he wasn’t that good. “And I’ve been known to be intimidating.” He would agree humbly, enjoying the simplicity of her statement. He was curious to see how she reacted when she learned more about his professional reputation.

“As for teaching you how” Slade would take a moment, both to contemplate the best way to answer and to enjoy the adorable bit of mimicry that Jinny was putting on for an extra moment. “That will be more difficult. A lot of the aspects that assist in Psychological warfare, that is utilizing being scary, come from experience. But we can still work on it. It is good that you realize that you need to own brand of intimidation however, what works for some won’t work for others.”

“And we can definitely start with getting you a weapon.” Slade would say his cruel smile returning for a moment. “Follow me” He would say as he started to walk towards the equipment cage. The cage was locked with another blank keypad, in fact just about all of the keypads down here were that way, an odd but effective security measure.

He would open the cage and then walk towards the row of lockers at the back before entering yet another code on one of the blank keypads of one of the lockers. But rather then open the locker, which Slade knew held a supply of C4, the locker itself sank into the floor revealing a hidden door way. “You’ve asked about all the locked rooms before.” He would say before stepping though the door way into the room beyond. Following behind him Jinny would find herself standing in a surprisingly large room. It was equal in size to the garage up in the main house, but it was far from an open space. Just about every inch of the walls were covered in weapons and evenly spaced out in the room were racks upon racks of even more weapons. Guns of all types and calibers, bladed tools from simple tactical knives to massive twohanded swords lined the shelves alongside polearms and axes galore. Just about every type of weapon was stored within this room, even some of the more esoteric weapons like whip swords could be seen.

“I keep them locked because it would be very difficult to explain why most of them look like this one”
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Jinny stood there, among rows and rows of various weapons, and just stared for several moments.

“This. Is the coolest room I have ever seen.” Her voice was filled with awe and delight, and then she took off, giggling like a kid in a candy store. At first she was just looking at everything, not touching. But eventually she took a small pistol off the wall and held it with both hands. It was easily too large for her, so she put it back.

“Where did you even get all of these? What else are you hiding in the house?” She skipped among the rows of guns cheerily. “Do I get to see all the rooms now?”

On she went, looking a long time at the sword section. There were broadswords and shortswords, katanas and straightswords. Many of them were larger than her, and she didn’t dare try to lift one. “Maybe when I get bigger.”

She stalled next in the knife section. Her eyes gleamed as she looked at all of them. Small daggers, combat knives, butterfly knives, wait, was that a - “Uncle… you kept this?” She slowly picked up an ordinary kitchen knife from the rack. “...I kinda remember trying to stab you with this. I’m glad it didn’t work.” She paused. “Might work someday.” And she put it back, examining the rest with great care.

After some deliberation and testing, she came back with her arms full of throwing knives, and a pair of slender daggers floating dutifully behind her.

“These are the ones I want. And maybe a sword when I can carry one. But you’re gonna have to help me pick a gun. Because I don’t think they make them small enough for me.”

She carefully set the knives down at his feet and gazed up at him, eager for approval.
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Slade would chuckle slightly at Jinnyah’s exuberance as she bounced around the room looking at all the tools of death he had stored here. “I’ve been collecting them for quite a while at this point.” He would answer “Most of them I purchase from some of my contacts, but some of them I pick up from jobs while I’m working.”

“And I’ll show you how to open most of them now if you want.” He would continue as she bounced around the room. “Some of them have volatile materials in them so those will still have to wait until we can cover how to handle those materials.”

He had to move a bit close to see what it was that she had asked about but simply grinned when he saw what it was. “Yes, I kept that. One day you’ll be able to tell people you got the drop on me with that knife.” He would say, his smile at Jinny gravitating towards edged weapons much softer than it had any right in being due to the context of it. “And you’ve got a long way until you can do so again”

He would kneel down to inspect the weapons that Jin had chosen. He knew they were in top condition, as he made sure that everything in this room was in top condition at least once a month. Twelve razor sharp throwing knives balanced for throwing with grips suitable for CQC in a pinch. They were also light weight, good both for throwing easy as well as not being much of a strain if young Jinny wanted to control them telekinetically.

Next was the paired set of Daggers, twelve inches of frighteningly sharp twin edged steel. A Simple, yet fictional, grip to allow a myriad of grip options when it came to wielding them. The Balance was weighted more towards being used in melee but that didn’t remove the option of throwing them if needed, though that would require some extra work to keep throws on target.

Slade couldn’t help but let out a chuckle once he was done with his inspection. “Either I’ve taught you well, or you have a good set of instincts.” He would say ruffling her hair. “These are a great choice for how you fight.” And he didn’t miss the longing look she had thrown at the swords earlier; these were also a great start for learning how to use one of those later on as well.

“Want to start with learning about how to use them now?” He would ask standing up once more. If she did, he would grab another pair of daggers so that he could demonstrate the correct stances and grips. "The other option is to get your outfit put together" He would add "After all your normal clothes won't do much to protect you while on a job"
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Jinny grinned happily as her weapon choices were approved. “I’m glad you like them. They just said ‘pick me up’ so I did.” As she was presented her choices for the time being, she paused. While she did want to learn to use them, and soon, the prospect of clothes perked her interest.

“I want a costume! Can it be anything I want? Well…” She thought about that for a moment. “Probably not anything. It’s gotta be made out of special material, right? To make sure I don’t get shot or chopped in half? Is it going to be made of the same stuff your suit is made of?”

She paused again, and smiled sheepishly. “I don’t want it to be orange. Um. I’m sure it’s a nice color and you like it and everything but I don’t. It’s like… looking at a juice box.”

“I think I want my outfit to be purple. Not all the way purple, just some.” Her mind was already racing with ideas of what it could look like. “Can I have a cape too?”

She started to pace again, brain going.

“And that means I get a mask, right? I have an idea, but...” She looked down, displaying a sudden and unusual bout of shyness. She rubbed the back of her neck, not meeting his eyes.

“I kinda want an eyepatch, but instead of making it dark, it has like… computer readings and data and stuff.” Jinny had grown very interested in the workings of computers and technology.

“The eyepatch is so people look at it and think of you and get scared before I even start fighting. But only if you think it’s ok.”
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“The best weapons are the ones that seem to call to you.” He would reply. And he did only mean the ones that seemed to call out to you. AS ones that actually called out to people tended to be bad news. But that was neither here nor there.

“Similar materials if nothing else. Parts of my outfit are caustic without an accelerated healing factor” He would explain thinking about the Volatile Promethium mesh that was the core component of his battle suit. Granted the Depleted variety of that metal was still vastly useful so that was still an option to work into Jinny suit. Greater materials could come later anyway, Kevlar and Titanium mesh would work in the interim while they worked on getting the design kinks worked out.

Slade would let out a laugh at the insult to the secondary color of his armor. “I’ll let you in on a secret” he would say leaning in “I’m not a fan of the color either. I mainly use it as a subtle insult to those I’m up against. After all, if they can’t stop me when I’m wearing bright orange and blind in one eye. How good can they really be at their jobs?” Granted his favorite color wasn’t any better for stealth, its just that it also wasn’t as an inherently threatening color as orange was. As Orange was use for all manner of safety signs due to its eye-catching nature. Thus, people subconsciously associate it with danger. The same could not be said of Sky Blue.

Once Jinny started pacing Slade left her to her ruminations on color and accessories and instead gathered up her chosen weapons and started leading the way back upstairs. He would give a short “Follow me” as he left so that she would know that he was leaving. Not that there was any risk if she spaced out too deeply. The room wouldn’t close until a close command was input on another keypad after all.

Still, he was caught a bit off guard at the idea/request of getting her own eye patch. And he bit down on his first reaction to vehemently deny it. The thought of Grant flashing through his mind at the obvious connection. Still, it chaffed against him, as it was going to place an even bigger target on her. Not that the target on her wasn’t going to be big already.

“The idea has merit” He would say after a moment of mulling it over. “But not at first perhaps, or at least not a full eye patch. We can get a visor of some sort with the data readings at first to get you used to practice and then if you like it, we can elevate it too an eyepatch afterwards.” He would go on to say. Mentally adding that he would also make sure that she was skilled enough to protect herself against most actual threats by that time.

Hopefully.

“That also means we are going to have to start training you to fight with only one eye.” He would add as an afterthought. “As People will try and jam it once they learn of that.”

The room that he eventually led Jinny too was one of the numerous locked rooms in the house. Inside the room there were dozens of boxes labeled with various types of materials and a work table that was some strange union of leatherworking and sewing table. “I’ll state that while I am capable of building my own suits, I normally outsource it to the main manufacturing to someone else. This room is mainly used to repair normal wear and tear.”

“We are here to give you an idea of what materials are available, what they feel like and get some concept sketches put together for an overall design. So feel free to dig around and see what there is in the bins”
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Jinny followed quietly when she was asked, still thinking, but about something new.

What had been that look on her Uncle’s face just now? It was just a flash, but it was an emotion she couldn’t quite quantify. Was her having her own eyepatch such a terrible idea? There was something else going on, but she hadn’t the slightest clue as to what that could be. Food for thought, but for later. At least he would think about getting her a cool visor.

When she was led into another locked area, this one full of clothing materials, she smiled a little bit. “I don’t know why this one is locked. Nothing in here seems dangerous.” She picked a bin at random and opened it, finding it full of dark leather. It had a nice scent to it. She ran her fingers across it, feeling the texture and the weight. “Maybe this could make good boots?”

The next bin she dug into was full of kevlar, something she didn’t recognize. It was black and yellow, and quite heavy, with something else woven in that she didn’t know. But she liked how it felt.

She went on, opening this bin and that, asking about materials that she didn’t know, and basically touching everything. Unfortunately there was nothing purple there, but lots of black. She put small samples into a little pile, keeping track of where she got them from.

Then she settled next to him.

“I definitely want to draw ideas for suits, but first I want to show you something I’ve been working on.” There was an eager glitter in her eyes. “It might help figure out just what we need to put in it.” She grabbed his hand. “This time, you follow me!”

She would make him follow even if she had to drag him. Even though he could still pick her up off the ground. Back to the main room they went, with the practice dummies, targets, and very small things like her favorite darts.

“Okay. So. I can use my telekinesis to make things fly, right? I was thinking really hard when I was washing the dishes one day, and I guess I was spaced out looking at the bubbles or something and-” She stopped short. “Wait, that part doesn’t matter. What does matter is this.” She was practically bouncing by this point, barely able to contain her glee.

“Watch this.” She shut her eyes, and took a few deep breaths. Then she concentrated, and with a little noise of effort, simply lifted off the ground.

“Uncle. I Can FLY!” Indeed, she was hovering a few inches off the ground. She opened her eyes and they were a luminous silver. She giggled, and started flying a low, slow circle around him. “I worked it all out on paper. It’s all about math and physics! If I can generate enough energy to act against my own weight on the ground, and I account for the pull of gravity, then boom, up I go! What I can’t do yet is get really high without help. And by help I mean walls.” She was starting to talk a little faster now, with the excitement of telling a secret she’d been hiding for weeks.

She made her way to the nearest wall, and zipped upward. If he was paying close attention, he might notice that she was still only a few inches from that wall, just as she’d been from the ground. Instead of true free-flight like some capes had, she was using her telekinesis to push herself off nearby surfaces and hover. With time and practice, she might do something quite near actual flying. But for now, this was all she had worked out on her own. Slowly, she came to a careful stop beside him, looking up with absolute and utter glee.

“I actually got up in the air last week, but I didn’t want to tell you because… well… I didn’t really know what it could be for. But now-” Now meaning that she was on a brand new, albeit much darker path. “I think this could be something.”
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“Most isn’t dangerous no, but still hard to explain” Slade would say as he stayed near the door and watched as Jinnyah move about the room picking out various bits of material. Most of the stuff in here was relatively normal. Leather, Kevlar, both normal and with mesh underlays. Ceramic, Polymer and steel plates. Canvas and various types of foam.

But there were also rarer things in smaller bins, small amounts of Promethium, both volatile and depleted alongside depleted uranium and enriched titanium. Exotic animal hides such as dinosaur, or odd alien creatures. Small shards of kryptonite, locked and sealed in labeled lead tins. Along with other bits and pieces of things that Slade hadn’t had the time to puzzle out.

And he, like Jinny, kept track of where everything came from. Though he did such more out of habit then anything.

“Feel free to start sketching when you have time” He would go on to say, once he was done chuckling at being dragged away by his niece that is. Still, he followed along willingly, curious as to what it was that had gotten her so excited.

And once he was let in on the secret, he could readily agree with her enthusiasm. It was both a fantastic display of skill, and endlessly useful. “More then just something” He would say seriously, the gleam in his eye sharp as he reviewed this latest development over and over. It was easy for him to notice that it wasn’t true flight, but the way it was that she was going about gaining lift also led him to believe it was more then simply levitation either. Especially with the mention about bubbles shortly before the Demonstration.

“You’re encasing yourself in a bubble of telekinetic energy tuned to zero out gravity’s effect. Aren’t you?” His question was laced with a small amount of excitement. If he was right, Jinny might be more than a simple telekinetic. And that would prove to be very, very interesting.
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Jinny’s eyes glittered with delight. She grinned huge. “You understand! Good, because I’m not really sure how to explain how I’m doing it. I wrote it all down, though, if you want to look at the numbers later.” At one point she’d had to step on a bathroom scale to take her own weight into consideration. She was overcompensating a bit, as the bubble wasn’t perfect yet. But it was working, and that made her happier than anything else.

“I had to do it with my dolls first. I was worried I’d mess up the math and crush myself.” She paused, her own mind several steps ahead of her mouth..”Wait. I think I could actually do something with that.” She pulled one of her dart sets off the rack, balancing it in her hand to test the weight. Her lips moved silently, her eyes darted back and forth. It was a look that Slade would have seen on her face before.

Calculation.

Somewhere in Jinny’s mind, numbers and formulas were moving and falling into place like Tetris blocks. At times this was a quick, almost immediate process. But sometimes she had to dive into it, leaving her in an odd sort of state for several seconds. Teachers had worried about it before realizing that she could outdo upper level students.

She murmured, “yeah, that’ll work” before coming back to reality. “Here, hold this. I want you to throw it at me.” A cunning smile slipped onto her face. “Not at my face or anything. Center mass. If I have this right, I should be able to bubble the dart and slow it. I think.” There was an eagerness in her eyes. She got some distance from him, and indicated for him to throw.

If he did, she would stare directly at the incoming weapon and snap her hand forward. It would stutter in the air, then slow down until it clattered at her feet, the momentum being negated. Jinny looked down at it, eyes wide.

“…holy shit!”

She had never sworn before. Not in front of him at least. Today was a day for all sorts of new things, it seemed.
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Slade watched with unmasked interest as Jinny ran the numbers in her head. It wasn’t the first time he had seen her do this of course, but it was the first time he let himself considering just how he could help refine it in regards to his chosen profession. Because the ability to weaponize math would always be a surprising and frightening ace to have up one’s sleeve. Just look at snipers for example.

Still, he would wait and give a, lazy, throw just off to the side of her when she asked. Aimed so that it would slip under her arm if she was wrong. But the smile that split his face when she was right was a sharp one.

“Well. We are going to need to focus on your ability to read your opponents.” He would say with that same smile. “And your caution is warranted when using it on yourself, as crushing something is well within your capabilities even if you can’t handle it just yet.”

He would let out a chuckle as he picked up one of the darts on the rack and rolled it between his fingers. “It seems that once again we have a target of speed and precision when it comes to your training. Because if you think that is impressive,” He would gesture to the dart laying at Jinny’s feet “I’m looking forward to your reaction when you can do the same to bullets in mid-flight.” Without warning he would spin and throw the dart in his hands at the dummy that Jinny had been wailing on earlier. It would embed itself right between the eyes.

“Because, fun fact, all but the heaviest bullets tend to be lighter than a dart. They just happen to be moving much faster.”

They had two months to prepare for H.I.V.E. but considering all the years of fundamentals they had already covered. That wouldn’t be a problem.

“So what do you want to get started on first?” He would ask, as they had a plethora of new avenues to take Jinny’s training down.
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Two months was both plenty of time, and not time enough. For the first month, they focused on her weapons mainly. Training with the daggers and throwing knives, which she took to like a fish to water. They fit her style very well, just as they both had hoped. The training was very intense, however. The first week, Jinny fell asleep after they had finished for the day, in the middle of the training floor, and had to be carried to bed. But she rose to the challenge after that. Soon, she was treating the blades as extensions of herself. And yet, there was still so much more to learn.

She also began to train with guns. So far, that was a little troublesome, as most guns, even small pistols, had enough kick to throw off her aim. Even an accurate shot could be thrown off by outside force. Still, she kept at it, trying any gun Slade would allow in her hands. Her aim was good, but she was still just a bit to small to be anywhere near where she could be.

Her powers were a different story. Jinny had always been quite good with them, but Slade wanted her better. After some trial and error, they both determined that she was giving out too much power. Her mother had been precise, like a laser. Jinny was more like a beam cannon. It was something that had proved it could hurt her once before, and she had to learn to dial her power back to something more focused. It was difficult, but she was getting the hang of it.

Now, with only 2 weeks before the school year began, they were going on a little trip. Jinny had been promised a hunt, and she was going to get one.

“Be vewy, vewy quiet. I’m hunting wabbits.” Jinny quirked, as she looked out into the expanse of the forest from their little campfire.
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