Hidden 7 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Kuro
Avatar of Kuro

Kuro "more reliable than god" - micki

Member Seen 0-24 hrs ago

Location: Auditorium, Intake Building - Pacific Royal College
The Homecoming Trials #1.21 The Calming Serenity of Music

Interaction(s): Katja @Zoldyck, Trevor @Jarl Coolgruuf
Previously: A Tall Tale Lie

There was an uneasy air between Haleigh and Katja. It wasn't so much tense, but more so just plain awkward.

Haleigh hated herself for it. She was the reason things were awkward between them; Katja was simply worried for her and acted out of concern. And yet nonetheless Haleigh brushed Katja off as she tried to dance around her worries. If only she didn't have these stupid powers, Haleigh thought. They were a heavy weight on her shoulders, as if she was about to be buried under them just like before. She wouldn't look and feel like a nervous wreck if they were gone. She wouldn't have others taking pity on her, like Haleigh was a lost puppy. And most of all, she'd be able to walk again; to be "normal" once more without the looming threat of devastation following closely behind.

Before Haleigh could wallow anymore in her depressed state, the sound of someone whistling snapped her back into reality. She looked around for the source, only to realize the whistler had been Katja. The song was foreign to Haleigh, but whatever the tune was, it sounded nice, and for the first time in a long while, she found herself smiling.

As the two approached the intake building, however, Haleigh was suddenly cut off by the rest of their teammates, whilst Katja went ahead and continued onwards. She felt ambushed, caught off guard by the sudden onslaught of "soccer" and "FIFA". Why was he apologizing? Had they been talking about her? It was all overwhelming, enough for her to begin retreating back into the shell she had just begun to come out from.

"Huh?" Haleigh stuttered. "FIFA? I'm not sure I've ever... played it." She continued, clearly trying to find an out.
3x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 7 mos ago Post by Roman
Avatar of Roman

Roman King of Dirt

Member Online

"So, Lucille. Why do you think I called you in today?"

Luce paused. Dr. Lehrer exuded an aura of calm and welcome, but there was an edge of absolute control that creeped up behind you if you paid enough attention. Luce was carefully attuned to the fine-print of people around her; she spent a lot of time slipping through it, tip-toeing cautiously around the peripheries of attention. Only step into notice when absolutely necessary. Otherwise, skirt beneath it.

No such luck stuck in a stuffy, sparsely-decorated office under the ever-watchful eye of P.R.C.U. Chancellor Jonas Lehrer, eyes twinkling as they stared you down like a hawk watching a particularly bold-feeling field mouse. The hairs on the back of Luce's neck stood up, and she suppressed a shiver.

"To learn about me." She finally answered, and was surprised when Jonas chortled rather suddenly, his guffaw devolving into a cough as he reined himself in and re-gathered his composure.
"Ah, Ms. Calder," he replied, clearing his throat, "you make it sound so...academic. Like this is all in the name of research."

Luce raised a single eyebrow, genuinely confused.
"With respect, Dr. Lehrer - is it not?"
Jonas shrugged in a gesture of defeat, leaning back in his chair, all the while his gaze never breaking.
"What do you understand this institution to be, Lucille?"
Luce's mouth twitched near-imperceptibly. He kept using Lucille. It was what her mother had taken to calling her after the...after. No one called her 'Luce' anymore. She rolled her shoulders slightly, feeling that edge of control creeping down her back again.
"A school." She answered, curt and withdrawn. Jonas nodded, but said nothing, just let the silence hang in the air. "A boot camp." She said, Jonas only continuing to nod slowly, solemnly. She felt mocked, and could feel heat in her cheeks. "A lab."

Jonas stood, still taking those slow, ponderous nods, his eyes off Luce now but his attention never wavering. He walked toward the office door, pausing ever-so-subtly by the shelf-ful of folders as he did so, almost in an act of contrition toward Luce's accusatory outburst.
"A lot of students feel trepidations in their first few weeks, Lucil-"
"It's Luce." Luce demanded, suddenly standing and all bristles, anxiety and uncertainty discarded in the wake of self-assertion.

Jonas smiled the warmest smile he'd worn since she'd stepped in, and Luce immediately felt like she'd played right into his hand. The wind was sucked out of her at the realisation, and she relaxed her posture, almost amused by how meticulously he had lead her through the tension that had now been thoroughly deflated.
"It's been a pleasure to meet you, Luce. I'm looking forward to getting to know you better during your education with us." He opened the office door, gesturing with his arm in a gentle invitation to leave. "Do let the next pupil know I'll be ready for them shortly."

Location: Community Farm - P.R.C.U. Campus
The Homecoming Trials #1.22: Grounding Techniques

Interaction(s): None
Previously: In Vivo

All she needed first was a deep breath.

Perhaps a deeper one that what she'd taken.

The assembly had been fine - standard fare - nothing Luce hadn't expected from the opening of the semester. The usual platitudes, the national anthem (which she sung easily, being reminded of her elementary school days, though she heard several murmured, fumbled, or incorrect lyrics amongst the crowd), an opening address by the figureheads of the university's faculty. Cass, whom she'd recognised by virtue of shared lingering around the campus ahead of the start of term, had sat next to her, sporting his own Blackjack armband. He nodded politely, which she returned. She was glad he was as content to sit silently as she was - others (that she noticed, much to her chagrin, shared the Blackjack armband) weren't quite so self-aware.

It had all spiraled away from her with the announcement of the Homecoming Trials, and the revelation of a weekend retreat upon which she had been forcibly conscripted. The mere mention of the Southern Plateau injected ice into her veins, and she felt rooted to the spot while the rest of the student body slowly filtered out of the stadium stands; her knuckles went white where she gripped the sides of her seat, her brain tumbling over itself as it processed the development. On the verge of a panic attack, Luce heard Dr. Mercia's words, echoing in the back of her head. Ground yourself. Deep breaths. Five things you can see. In through the nose. Five things you can hear. Out through the mouth. Five things you can feel.

The attack subsided, and Luce opened her eyes taking a few more shaky breaths as the crowd continued to move around her. Carefully, she stood up, her feet and legs feeling heavy as she willed them to take one step after another, dragging herself finally out of the stadium amongst the final dregs of pupils filtering out. From the gates of the arena, the walk back to her dorm room felt impossibly long, but with each new step the anxiety lessened, and as she passed by the farm block on her way and saw the greenhouse in the distance, she felt calm and in control. The dragon loomed in the back of her mind, agoraphobia threatening to spill over, but she knew she could stem the flow, dam it so as to only let trickles through rather than flood completely. By the time she'd made it to the dorm room it was with a newly-steeled outset. P.R.C.U. was a new beginning; she could not let that fresh start be tainted by the past she so desperately sought to leave behind.

Otherwise this was all for nothing.
3x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 7 mos ago Post by webboysurf
Avatar of webboysurf

webboysurf Live, Laugh, Love

Member Seen 33 min ago

Rory dabbed at the sweat gathered in the small of his back with a small hand towel as he slammed the locker door shut. His teammates were busy hooting and hollering, but Rory couldn’t help but feel disconnected from it all. His father had promised to be there, but it looked like his family had skipped out on coming to the biggest dual meet of the year. At least, most of them. Mary, of all the members in his immediate family, had taken the time to come to the match. She was on her phone half the time… but at this point, he couldn’t complain much. But now that everything was over, and he felt his teammates patting him on the back and throwing praise in his direction. Rory had decisively scored points for his high school, and helped them cinch the victory. He just nodded and smiled in response, muttering out a few thank you’s as he shuffled out of the locker room.

The air outside was bitter and cold, and a fresh layer of snow coated the cars still parked in the parking lot. Rory zipped up his overcoat and shoved his towel into a side pocket of his gym bag before slinging the latter over his shoulder. As he began to trudge through the snow, he heard a soft shrill voice call out to him. ”Are you just going to leave me here, freezing, John Cena?”

Rory stopped in his tracks, instantaneous guilt running up his spine. His mind had completely blanked on the simple fact that if she had been to his match, she was going to need a ride home. Especially since no one else showed up. He turned around slowly, giving a faint smile. Mary was a solid foot shorter than him, but the glare in her eyes was menacing. It was undercut only slightly by her shivering, huddled up as much as she could be underneath her blue scarf and bright pink puffer coat. ”Shi-errr… yeah, sorry. I spaced a bit there. Come on, let’s get you in the car.”

Mary quickly began sprinting through the snow towards the old minivan he had been allowed to drive, and Rory had to quicken his pace to keep up. He fumbled with the keys in his pocket before finally managing to press the unlock button, and the two were in the van within seconds with the car running and the heat on full blast. Mary sat huddled up, waiting for the heat to kick in proper. Rory fished an ice scraper from the back seat, and set about clearing off the car to the best of his ability. After a couple minutes, Rory was back in the driver’s seat and sighed in relief as he felt the hot air blowing. Mary was already comfortable in the passengers seat, playing on her phone. As Rory went to shift the car in reverse, Mary had shoved her phone into his face. ”You almost had him there, halfway through your match. You could have ended it a lot quicker.”

Rory tilted his head in confusion, leaning his head back and grabbing her phone. Sure enough, there was a small clip of the match. The camera was zoomed in on Rory and his opponent grappling at the shoulders, Rory making a few extended swipes towards the knees. Sure enough, she was right: he was so close to getting a good grab. Rory remembered the match. He had hesitated, and played a bit more defensively. He turned his gaze towards his sister, jaw slightly ajar. ”Yeah… you’re right. I almost-” Rory’s mind was finally playing catch up, and he held the phone out to his little sister. ”Wait, were you filming my match?”

Mary snatched back her phone, and was immediately back into some app typing away. ”Well, yeah. I sent it in the group chat, so Mom or Dad can watch it later.”

Location: Stadium - P.R.C.U. Campus
The Homecoming Trials #1.23 : A New Face

Interaction(s): Inigo Giménez-Pozo @Mao Mao
Previously: What the Hell is Kumbaya?

Rory tilted his head slightly at Trace's continued outburst. He could tell something had struck a nerve... but was confused with the sudden talk of football. He hadn't been talking about football, and Trace didn't look like the type to have an interest in a full contact sport. Their... confrontational personality seemed suited for a violent sport, and they could probably wipe the floor with Rory if he didn't watch his tongue. But in this circumstance... it seemed like the team was stuck with each other for a while: yet everyone but his boy Trevor wanted to be anywhere other than here. Though even Trevor split off on his own, and Rory took his time to exit the stadium. He shoved his hands into his pockets, his steps lingering as he slowly trickled out of the stadium. He felt a vibration coming from his phone, and pulled it out to give it a quick look. It was a simple text from his sister. >Are you and your team ready for the Trials? Will and I are meeting our team to strategize.< Rory's steps slowed to a stop as he reached the exit of the stadium, looking up to see all the others leaving in different directions across campus. To call them a team felt wrong. He quickly typed back. >I'll manage. Keep an eye on Will, and use your heads.<

He looked out towards the others leaving, before his eyes locked on to a stranger sporting an armband with the signature Blackjack logo. None of his teammates seemed to notice... granted, everyone else seemed to be caught up in their own little worlds. But Rory noticed them. The stranger didn’t seem to be up for introducing themselves to anyone who left, which is natural when most seemed to leave the opening ceremony in a sour mood or in a rush. So, Rory took a deep breath before striding over to Inigo and extending out a hand for a proper handshake. "Hey, my name is Rory, it's nice to meet ya. I see you're with Team 21... I'm heading back to the House to pack some stuff for the Trials. Why don’t ya join me, and we can meet up with the others?"

- -|◄ FIRST---
4x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by psych0pomp
Avatar of psych0pomp

psych0pomp DOUBT EVERYTHING / except me... i'm cool

Member Seen 2 mos ago

Location: Intake House - Pacific Royal Collegiate & University - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
The Homecoming Trials #1.24: Icy Starfish

Interaction(s): Katja, @Zoldyck
Previously: The Collegiate Circle Jerk

Trace stood there in an athletic bra, fitted briefs, and knee-high socks. People in bikinis had more skin showing than them. Yet, when Katja entered there was an instinctual urge to cover themselves. They’d grown up around nothing but brothers, so it was practically second nature. Yet, when the realization hit of who it exactly was, Trace dropped their arms. “No need to do that. You’ve probably seen worse if you evah been to any beach.” They pulled the shirt over their head and continued to talk, “but if it would make you feel bettah. Then I’ll turn my back to you, and you can to me. Eh?”

They unfolded their joggers and slowly slid them on, missing the leg hole a couple of times before getting it right. The silence was even more obvious now that there was someone else in here; like a lukewarm pool that no one could decide if they wanted to be in or not. So, Trace quickly fastened their joggers and slipped on their trainers, tapping the shoes on as they walked towards the door. “All yours,” they said as their back was still turned away from the other woman. “Good luck, but I’m sure you’ll do alright. But uh—if Banjo is on your team, could you do me a favah and punch him in the jewels? You can make it look like an accident. He’s just an absolute wanker that needs some emasculation.” They opened the door and started to slip out. “Alright, here’s to us hopefully getting’ roommates that we can borrow clothes from. Cheers!”

With that, they were out in the hallway. They pulled the back of the trainers up as the heel was still crumpled against their foot. Slowly, they started to make their way toward the buses. The sooner this was over, the sooner Trace could get settled down again for the second and—hopefully—last time.

This all felt immeasurably stupid. They figured they should be happy that this wasn’t some detention camp or community service disguised as a boarding school. But did they have to swing this hard into school spirit? While some of the kids here seemed well adjusted, despite being enemy number one over spiders, snakes, all of Australia, bombs, plagues, and cilantro, some of them seemed to have experienced the worst of it. Trace’s experience was not great, but it had been made better by the nigh constant intervention of their dad. Alienation, bullying, othering, and violence were the tip of the iceberg for some kids here. While others seemed to be living in a sitcom, laugh track and all.

Trace passed through the doors and made a brisk jog to the buses, trying to avoid their arch-enemy the sun. They wholly ignored what was seemingly a mostly naked Banjo. Any guilt they had for asking Katja that favor melted like an ice cube up a cat’s asshole.

- -|◄ FIRST---
3x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Mao Mao
Avatar of Mao Mao

Mao Mao Sheriff of Pure Hearts (They/Them)

Member Seen 0-24 hrs ago

Location: PRCU - Western Canada
The Homecoming Trials #1.25: Initiation

Interaction(s): Rory Tyler @webboysurf
Previously: New Arrival

The gentle breeze of the warm afternoon felt nice while it tickled the olive skin of an observer. That was who Iñigo was, and it didn't bother them in the slightest. Perhaps it was because of their frequent visits to The Strip caused them to often watch tourists roaming about. Or maybe they just enjoyed seeing life unfold from a distance; there wasn't any reason to think about it til now. And it didn't help that their teammates were scarcely having a conversation. In fact, everyone was absolutely starting to disperse from each other, if only briefly, before the trials tonight. Iñigo felt relieved they won't have to explain themselves (and the reason for their late arrival) to the others—for now, at least. But, of course, someone had to approach them all of a sudden. ¿Por qué yo, dios?

"Hey, my name is Rory, it's nice to meet ya. I see you're with Team 21... I'm heading back to the House to pack some stuff for the Trials. Why don’t ya join me, and we can meet up with the others?"

Rory seemed nice. And the fact he didn't instantly act like he was talking to a convict was a good enough sign for Iñigo. It meant that details of their sudden arrival hadn't spread to the team yet. But perhaps their teammate was doing an excellent job of hiding the fact. Regardless of his intentions, his presence was quite endearing, and it would've been rude for them to leave him hanging. Something engraved by their mother at a young age and constantly brought up whenever their little brother was being a little shit at... no. Don't think about them now—not while someone's here. Iñigo shook their teammate's hand and got up from the planter. Their smile was genuine despite still bearing a headache from the inhibitor earlier (it usually lasted twelve hours in the best case).

"Sure, it isn't like I have nothing better to do. The name's Iñigo, by the way." Iñigo smirked at Rory before beginning the lengthy walk back to the dorms. They felt delighted to be walking around without being surrounded by a ten-foot barbed wire fence, having hostile guards beside them every day, or wearing that awful inhibitor. It was fucking liberating. But the awkward silence between their fellow teammate was going to kill that feeling. So to preserve it for as long as humanly possible, Iñigo decided to kick-start a conversation by throwing a seemingly harmless question at Rory (in truth, it was their clever way of learning about the others rather than going in blind and playing catch-up at the trials). "So... what are the others like? I am quite curious about our crew of misfits."

- -|◄ FIRST---
3x Like Like 2x Thank Thank
Hidden 6 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Lord Wraith
Avatar of Lord Wraith

Lord Wraith Indefinite Hiatus

Member Online


Taking one last look back at the building behind him, Kowalski shook his head before climbing aboard the quad-rotor Albatross series aircraft. He passed the Harpies and Manticore in the loading bay before making his way inside to the staff lounge. While each of the six Albatrosses that H.E.L.P. had in service was far more luxurious than any other military vehicle he had been in, this particular one had been specially customized for the Director of H.E.L.P. and was a cut above.

The aircraft shifted from its takeoff mode into flight seamlessly. Pouring himself a drink, Kowalski felt the aircraft gradually adjust its course, heading back west towards Alpha Base.

The explosion was the last thing the late director of H.E.L.P. heard.


| Albatross-1 Crash Site - West Virginia, United States of America
The odour of fresh manure drifted over the rolling hills interspaced with the sprawling fields of West Virginia farmland before being lost in the still billowing smoke of the crash site. The acrid smell of burnt fuel, lubricants and flesh caused the nose of Special Agent Sebastian Scott to crinkle in disgust while he continued to survey the wreckage of Albatross-1.

Each of the six quad-rotor VTOL aircraft was part of a special requisitions project developed by the best and brightest that H.E.L.P. had to offer. These vehicles were purposefully built for rapid transportation and deployment but were also fully combat capable. Deceptively heavily armoured, they were designed to withstand fire from even the most advanced anti-aircraft artillery. The hull of each Albatross should have been able to withstand nearly anything shy of a nuke being thrown at it.

Sebastian let out a growl of discontent. He didn’t like the smell of any of this. Neither literally nor figuratively.

Continuing to scan the scattered debris, he tried to focus his senses, filtering through the various layers of scents, isolating the overwhelming ones and ignoring them before honing in on the subtle faded notes. The bodies were burned beyond recognition, but there should still have been something he could use first to identify them, and secondly maybe even a trace of what managed to take the aircraft down.

“Agent Shield! The Director’s body is not here.” Agent Scott suddenly barked, alerting the supervisory agent to his conclusion.

“Local authorities assured us all passengers had been accounted for with no survivors. How certain of you are that conclusion?”

It was a loaded question and Sebastian knew it. When Albatross-1 went down, the Director along with everyone else on board was presumed dead. Local authorities had been first on the site and had reinforced those assumptions. The agent didn’t envy his supervisor for being the one to have to recant the previous statements. It wasn’t in the best interest of cooperation to turn around and call the locals liars or incompetent.

“If I’m going to issue a retraction of that fact, then I need it to be iron-clad before I send SAC Locke to Director Caspian.”

“I’ve got the pilots there-” Sebastian replied, pointing towards one body, before turning and gesturing towards the other. “And there.”

Stopping, he took a few steps forward, tracing out the Albatross’ interior layout amongst the wreckage. Stepping into what should have been the crew quarters, the H.I.T. agent motioned toward five more bodies.

“The Director’s security unit is here, save for the remaining body that was stationed outside of his quarters.” Sebastian craned his neck towards another piece of wreckage. The underlying smell of oak pointed towards the Director’s favourite Scotch being spilled amongst the twisted and torn metal. But true to Sebastian's words, there was only a singular body amongst the debris.

“The facts speak for themselves, there is a body missing and it has to be the director. No one else on the boat's manifest would be considered an asset. Let alone worth causing an international incident." Agent Scott replied. “Bring in another team to verify, bring in the K-9s, they aren’t going to find any evidence of the director here. There’s not even a drop of blood left. This is looking less like an assassination and more like an abduction.”

Michael knew better than to doubt Sebastián. A gifted agent, Sebastian's ability coupled with his 'condition' made him an ideal bloodhound in these sorts of situations.

“The security detail were also stripped.”

Sebastian and Michael both turned to the source of the interjection. Sebastian's piercing gaze in particular turned to meet the bright-eyed optimism of their young probationary agent. Fresh out of Pacific Royal’s Hyperhuman Enforcement Accelerated Training program, Veronica Duquesne was the newest member of their Hyperhuman Investigation Tactical Unit.

“That is to say, they’re missing their Hyperhuman Combat Suits. There’s equally no trace of their armour.”

“Good catch, Rookie.” Praised SSA Michael Shield as he processed both Duquesne and Scott’s observations of the scene. “Residual HZEs are also off the chart, the boat must have been destroyed by another Hyperhuman.” He paused, massaging his brow before letting out a long, exasperated sigh.

“It all means we can only be dealing with Hyperion.”

“Odd they haven’t claimed the attack yet.” Sebastian commented, “You’d think they’d want to make a point of the director’s abduction. Kowalski is after all one of the biggest proponents for Hyperhuman and Human cooperation."

“We’re missing something, go over it all again.” Agent Shield ordered before his scanner began to flash as it detected a concentrated cluster of residual high-energy particles. Sebastian’s nose flared as he took a deep breath. His eyes flash momentarily, the hackles on the back of his neck rising.

“Teleporter,” Michael stated.

“One we’re familiar with,” Sebastian replied confirming what SSA Shield had already concluded. The familiar sickly sweet traces of a certain perfume filled the young agent's nose as he detected it beneath the other lingering scents in the pair's immediate area.

“Get a BOLO out on for the known Hyperhuman Cassidy Parker, classification Exoteric Fundamental, considered a Delta level threat.” Michael ordered Agent Duquesne. “Scan for HZE surges matching this signature in a one-kilometre radius. For every match you find, scan another kilometre in radius, I want to find out where she’s going.”

Waving for the rookie to follow him, Shield turned back to address Sebastian once more.

“The second they have her route, I want you in pursuit.”
Location: Pacific Royal Collegiate & University - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
The Homecoming Trials #1.026: The Rising Storm
Interaction(s): All
Previously: Winds of Change

Rhythmic guitar and harmonica-filled music blared from the cab of the truck as James ‘Jim’ O’Neil haphazardly steered the massive six-wheeled vehicle with his right hand. His left, however, was otherwise occupied as the tanned arm hung out the window, tapping against the side of the door to the beat of his favourite Delta Blues. Behind Jim was a convoy of similar vehicles, each heading to the Intake House to pick up the newest Pacific Royal students in order to shuttle them to the Southern Plateau for the Homecoming Trials.

It had already been a busy morning, with having to deliver Iñigo to the Chancellor before the kick-off ceremony. The ‘prisoner’ transfer had made the red-blooded American madder than a boiled owl. His knuckles turned white gripping the steering wheel as he thought back to the earlier events of the day. Each member of Team 21 was under his care, as the team’s assigned faculty representative, which essentially made him their den mother. While he didn’t have to care, Jim had never been one to take injustice lying down and seeing a Hyperhuman in chains paraded across campus wasn’t exactly something he took kindly to, let alone one of his.

Downshifting the truck, Jim purposefully over-revved the engine as he pulled the six-wheeled truck up to the Intake House. His music still turned all the way up, it practically shook the aged windows of the large brick house in their frames. Besides his own vehicle, another of the shuttles was emblazoned with the Blackjack ‘Spade’, while both were followed by a pair of identical trucks marked by a white circle nearly encompassed by a darker one placed over the top of it; the logo of Team 21’s rival university-level team, Eclipse or Team 18.

Climbing out of the spacious cabin, the bearded man emerged from the driver’s seat, waving for the driver of the other Blackjack vehicle to follow. Jim’s graying hair was unkempt, bordering on bedhead which seemed to stand in stark contrast to his neatly trimmed beard. Though the man was still something of an enigma, this was not the first time that the members of Team 21 had laid eyes on Jim O’Neil. He had personally met and toured each member of Blackjack through the campus upon their first arrival and acted as the team’s liaison and in a similar capacity to a guidance counsellor, ensuring the team and all of its members were where they were supposed to be, when they were supposed to be.

Straightening his trademark jacket, Jim twitched his nose before spitting out the wad of gum he had been chewing. Pausing to reach back into the vehicle behind him, the older man pulled his stetson from atop the center counsel and placed it on his head.

The sound of the H.E.L.P. issued Minotaurs had alerted almost all of the residents of the Intake House to the shuttles’ arrival. Counting the waiting students, Jim nodded his approval as almost all twelve were waiting and ready to depart.

“How’s my team of wildcards doin' today?” He asked with a smile, before waving the younger driver from the second vehicle towards the group.

“Tad!” Jim exclaimed in his usual boisterous tone. “Introduce yourself to the team!”

From behind Jim stepped forward a slender, mousey male. Loose curls of raven-like hair hung from his head, obstructing part of his face. Dark eyes stared out at the gathered team as Thaddeus ‘Tad’ Finch nodded a salutation toward them.

“Hello,” He started with a small wave before looking at Jim and back towards the team as he cleared his throat, “I’m a student teaching assistant at Pacific Royal Collegiate and University, a member of both House Strigidae and a former member of the last iteration of Team 21 prior to our graduation. Like you, I went through the Hyperhuman Enforcement Advanced Training Program, before beginning work with the Department of Education and Logistics, which subsequently led me back here and before you today.”

“Tad here is y'alls student advisor, your personal guru.” Jim interjected speaking over the graduate student, “Everything y'all goin' to go through as part of the Trials, the H.E.A.T. program and just general student life here at P.R.C.U., Tad has already been through. Don’t hesitate to ask him for advice or help if the need arises.” Jim explained.

“Officially Tad no longer belongs to this team,” Jim paused, winking toward the team, “Unofficially he’s still as much of a member of Blackjack as any of y'all.”

“Look what the Chancellor dragged in,”

The voice came from the driver of one of the Eclipse vehicles. The barrel-chested man made even the Minotaur look like a small vehicle as he squeezed out of the cabin. A pair of dark aviator sunglasses seemed to accent the smug look on his face.

“Team,” Jim stated, turning towards the fair-haired gorilla of a man, “This mountain of a man is Aaron Matthews, the faculty representative for your fellow new students of Team 18.”

From behind Aaron, a petite-framed redhead appeared. Her piercing blue eyes studied the gathered members of Team 21 before a look of boredom washed over her face. Turning her attention to the other gathered group of students, a smile crept back onto her face.

“And this spitfire here, is Team 18’s student advisor, Ryan Clarke,” Jim added, gesturing towards the smaller woman.

“These ones have the look of winners,” Ryan stated as she pointed towards her own team before looking back towards Jim and the rest of Blackjack. “Yours, eh, I wouldn’t go all in just yet, Jim.” She turned back towards the vehicles, pausing to ruffle Tad’s hair before winking at him.

“So cute,” She said, her nose crinkling in a look that was somewhere between the lines of disgusted and smug.

“All students assigned to Team 18, you’re in the vehicle marked with an Eclipse, anyone not assigned to Team 18 can find their ride 'cause you’re not with me.” Aaron hollered as the twelve members of Eclipse departed leaving Jim, Tad and the rest of Blackjack.

Jim had read the files on all of the upcoming students. Watching the other team as they climbed into the pair of Minotaurs, he began to put names to faces. The blonde boy that raced to be first into the lead Eclipse vehicle, he recognized as Gareth Wagner, a student possessing the ability to propel themselves forward at high speeds, enveloping themselves in a bubble while doing so which essentially turned them into a human bullet. Following at Gareth’s heels was Robert Thoreau, or RJ as his file had noted as his preferred name. Like Blackjack’s own Axel, RJ possessed a variation of tactile telekinesis that allowed him to expand his body’s bioelectric field to grant him a variation of hyper-strength.

Following the two boys came two girls, one with dark hair while the other had horns peeking out of her forehead. Jim figured for the first he had a fifty/fifty shot of whether she was Charlotte Valentine or Simone Richards. However, without double-checking the image on file or seeing the girl use her abilities, Jim couldn’t remember which this was. The other was definitely the team’s osterokinetic, Kaitlyn Riley.

A male towering a head above the others started towards the first vehicle. His fur-covered face and red eyes pointed to this being Adam Prince. As he made his move towards the Minotaur, the pair of blonde women darted towards the second vehicle. By Jim’s recollection that would make them Layla Schade and Eden Sherwood, a photokinetic and florakinetic respectively.

Raising an eyebrow at how the two girls avoided sharing a vehicle with Adam, Jim tilted his head to get Tad’s attention, gesturing with his eyes for him to watch. Whether the members of Blackjack knew it or not, the Trials had already started and if they were to win, then Jim and Tad needed to realize all strategic advantages. Teammates avoiding each other meant there was a flaw waiting to be exploited.

Jim turned his attention back to the remaining five members of Eclipse. By his recollection, the only ones left were Zebulun Michales; the Hydrokinetic, Noah Gallager; the animal shifter, Sunder Rana and his toxic spit, Raoul Ishmael; the pyrokinetic and the remaining woman. Upon a second examination, Jim decided she was Simone Richards and the first woman must have been Charlotte.

“I’d get your team moving and loaded, O’Neil!” Matthews called from the driver seat of his truck. “Don’t want to miss out on the good campsites.” He laughed, laying down the horn to signal his departure before yelling over the engine as he pulled out. “Plus, sounds like this year’s Trials are going to be rough!”

“Well, what are y’all just standin' around for?” O’Neil said, turning back to his own team, “Blackjack, get your asses in gear. Six of y’all with me, the other six with Tad.” Climbing into the driver's seat again, Jim continued to bark orders.

“Anyone who doesn’t get in right now is walkin'. If there are no seats left in the cab, climb in the box.”


The large all-terrain vehicle tore across the island, seemingly unhindered by the rough paths cut through the forest surrounding the campus, nor bothered by the uneven terrain along the mountainous range towards the center of the island. Eventually, the scenery changed from plains of blowing grass and protruding rocky crags to a large flatland. It was barren save for the numerous bodies now inhabiting it, along with colourful banners flying in support of each of the eight school houses.

"... As most of y’all know, any student is welcome and invited to view the trials,"

Holding a shortwave radio up to his mouth, Jim continued to explain the ongoing activities to the team, broadcasting his voice between both vehicles. Gesturing with an arm through the open window, he pointed towards the numerous rows of tents and multiple campsites. While many of the tents were dressed in house colours and grouped across eight areas, the rows closest to the center were more monochromatic, instead bearing their team logo. Each of these team campsites had six small tents, all placed around a central fire pit. Most of them were already lit and the smell of cooking meat, vegetables and numerous other appetite-inducing aromas wafted through the open windows of the pair of Minotaurs.

As the team continued to approach the center of the plateau, they could see the temporary bleachers erected on either side. A team of faculty members and graduate students were working to terraform the plateau into this year's trials. From the ground, greenery began to appear as a massive hedge grew from the ground.

To the west, Jim’s eyes narrowed as he spotted an ominous row of dark clouds, coming closer to the island. There was no way the Chancellor would allow a storm to dampen the event, even O’Neil had to admit those clouds didn’t look good. A cold wind whipped through the open window, sending a slight chill down Jim’s spine. It echoed over the Southern Plateau like a blood-curdling scream.

“Do you hear how the wind sounds here?” Jim asked, picking up the radio again, “The edge of the Southern Plateau is known as the Howling Cliffs because an enthusiastic Elemental decided to use their abilities to shape the cliffs to perfectly accent the ocean wind in such a way that it sounds like a banshee. It’s impressive, damn eerie too.”

Bringing the vehicle to a stop, Jim climbed out, motioning those riding with him to follow suit. Behind their Minotaur, Tad brought his vehicle to a stop as the team reunited around an empty campsite.

“Listen up y’all!” Jim yelled to the gathered group, “I may like the sound of my own voice but I hate repeating myself.” Taking a step forward, he pointed towards the pair of vehicles as Tad opened the tailgates and began producing their bagged tents.

“First order of business to get our camp set up, two people to a tent, find a bunkmate. I don’t frankly care who pairs up so long as the rest of us aren’t going to hear you all night.” He paused, his eyes seemingly looking directly toward Banjo.

“In any capacity,” Jim added, his tone making the implication perfectly clear. “While you lot do that, Tad here will get the fire going and rassle us up some grub, If ya don’t eat meat, now’s your time to speak up and Tad will get you the proper vittles, otherwise, I think we have something y’all are going to enjoy.” Lifting his hat, Jim smoothed his hair back before replacing the Stetson atop his head.

“This year’s homecoming trial is centred around the massive hedge maze you see growing over yonder. Startin’ tomorrow, we’ll be sending you into the hedge and as a team, you’ll need to work together to navigate it, while also overcoming anything you encounter inside. While I can’t get into specifics with y’all, I can forewarn you that these obstacles can be anything as simple as a riddle to a trap riddle corridor to even a physical confrontation.”

Clearing his throat, Jim continued.

“For tonight though, y’all should try and bond as a team. Throw the old pigskin around, sing kumbaya, play truth or dare, I don’t really care so long as you actually learn about one another. Another good idea, go over your Hyper Abilities, learn your deck before you play it. Now’s the time to reveal any hidden talents.” He nodded to Tad to get started on the fire.

“But first order of business, let’s get these tents up!”

■ Set up camp
■ Bond as a team
- -|◄ FIRST---
4x Thank Thank
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by PatientBean
Avatar of PatientBean

PatientBean Hi, I'm Barbie. What's up?

Member Seen 1 hr ago

Alexandria was setting the table for dinner when she heard the front door open. She waited for a beat to hear the sound of it closing. If she heard a soft click, it was a good day. If she heard it slam, well....


Bad day it was.

She rounded the corner of their dining room to see her husband, Garcia, sitting on the bench next to their front door and taking off his shoes. She could tell my the furrowed brow that the talk did not go well. She expected it wouldn't. If she were being honest with herself, she had some hard questions for her husband also.

It was interesting when she thought about it. Growing up she had always dreamed of having children of her own. She wanted four total, two boys and two girls. As she got older and news reports on how parents were disowning their children for coming out as gay or trans or not following a certain religion made her cement her desire to love her children no matter what. They could come into the world purple for all she cared, she would not love them any less.

And then there were hyperhumans. What person wasn't mildly curious about them? It was the stuff of fiction to think a person could have a gene that granted them extraordinary abilities.

And she was one of them.

No one knew. Not her parents (though she suspected one or both of them kept that secret also), not her siblings, not her husband, not her children. She felt guilt and shame at hiding it, especially given what happened to her daughter. A mother should be there for her child through any issue. Instead, she let her husband take charge. Essentially hide their daughter like she was something to be ashamed of. And Calliope felt that brunt. She could tell. She remembered Calliope at age 5, running around in her pigtails, playing with anyone who would listen, annoying her older brother. As she got older and more and more demands were put on her, she could see Calliope's smile dim and dim to the point she no longer recognized the same little girl. The first night she noticed Calliope's change she sat in the bathroom and cried. What could she do? She loved her daughter but she also loved her husband. She wanted to go to her daughter and encourage her to be open and loving. When the incident happened she wanted to hold her daughter and proclaim "I get it. I am like you. There is nothing wrong with you." Instead, she stood behind her husband who all but called their daughter a freak. Sure, he didn't say the words, but the insult lay behind his eyes.

Calliope was not the same after that.

And now she was at some school in Canada and they were here, pretending like that didn't happen while her husband mounts an attack on hyperhumans.

Garcia glanced up after removing his left shoe and caught her eye. She loved him. Truly. Deeply.

But right now she hated him.

"Dinner is almost done." She let that comment rest a second before she returned to setting the table. She would let him stew a bit. Then they would eat dinner like a family. Then she would bring up her desire to spend some time with her sister. For a week. Maybe two. Until the press died down some. She would deny him sex tonight to drive home the point. Perhaps she would call Trevor from work. Feel desired and wanted by someone who wasn't a jackass.

The thought gave her pause. If someone saw her, that would ruin Garcia's career even more.

And that sealed the deal for her.

Location: Pacific Royal Collegiate & University - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
The Homecoming Trials #1.27: Team Bonding Anyone?

Interaction(s): Cassander, Banjo
Previously: The Rising Storm

Calliope had left the two guys to their own devices. She had put her own foot in her mouth, but she stood firm on her belief that a statue was a silly thing to waste money on, donated or not. Hell, she came from a country where people fought tooth and nail to keep statues of Confederate soldiers up despite all the evidence to the contrary.

She got dressed in her uniform and made her way to where everyone else was headed. Her mind went back to a few things. The Blackjacks. The team she was now a part of. It was full of wild personalities from what she saw and heard. Perhaps that was why the team was called that. She didn't expect much from them, but perhaps she would be surprised. Cassander surprised her a bit. She enjoyed talking to him. Axel seemed...intense. And then there were the others. She tried to recall names, but she was coming up blank. Oh wait, there was the guy she saw exiting Lehrer's office. The one with the nice ass. Banjo. He was an interesting figure. She suspected he intended to cause chaos wherever he went. And, she had to admit, he was rather cute.

Calliope made her way to the gathered crowd, seeing others on her team all come up and get ready. She was introduced to Jim and Tad. "Was there a requirement you needed to have a one-syllable name? she thought to herself as Jim rambled on. Soon, they met face-to-face with another team. Calliope scanned the other students as their respective faculty advisor and student representative spoke. Ryna made a jibe toward them. For some reason, and she would have to check herself later, she wanted to punch Ryan then and there. No one had seen anything they had done and they were already being judged?

Calliope shook it off. She would prove herself in the field. Perhaps so much so that she would be transferred to a different team. One that would vibe with her better.

But still, the comment irked her.

She mentally checked each of the students on team 18. Calliope prided herself on her ability to read other people. Not so much in what they said, but in what they showed. Body language often told others far more information than words could. As she watched as each student made their way to the car, she read nervousness, excitement, and uncertainty. But under it all there also was a healthy dose of competitiveness. It seemed team 18 wasn't as gun-ho as their staff was.

That didn't help her much, but at least it calmed some nerves that she was trying to hide. She made her own way to the vehicle meant to transport them and took one of the seats in the cab. All the while, she thought about how she was going to get through this and excel.

The drive was long and she all but ignored everyone else in the vehicle. She needed to think. She didn't expect to be staying at a 5-star hotel before the trials, but to camp outside? She hated camping. Calliope felt a sense of connection though to Jim's story about the elemental who helped shape the canyons. She was an elemental, after all. She felt a sense of pride in that. Elements shaped the world, after all.

Soon, they were tasked with setting up camp. "That's what we need. A staff member subtly hinting at us having sex with each other. she thought. She had joked before about singing kumbaya together and now they would have to team bond? She drew the line at doing trust falls. They all literally met a few hours ago and now they were expected to work together?

Calliope glanced around. She supposed she would have to find someone to bunk with for the night. There was Cassander possibly, though she was still unsure about him. Axel? The girl in the wheelchair? The muscle woman? The one who suggested they all come together before? God that would grate on her if she heard him all night.

Calliope made a snap decision. She walked over to Banjo. "Hey, name's Calliope. I don't suppose you would be up to sharing a tent tonight?" He seemed like her best bet at some enjoyment tonight. Plus, maybe he knew how to pitch a tent. The literal way. She was sure the other way ha been mastered long before the two of them met.

While she waited a response, she wondered what everyone's abilities were. And would they gel? Or was this all going to end in their little house of cards falling down?

4x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Tackytaff
Avatar of Tackytaff


Member Seen 12 days ago

Location: Pacific Royal Collegiate & University, - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
The Homecoming Trials #1.28: Step by Step

Interaction(s):@Jarl Coolgruuf @Roman
Previously: N/A

Makenna kept half her attention on the final proceedings, the rest on one-handedly typing out text messages on her phone; tucked unseen in the bag strapped across her chest. It wasn't as though there was much to hear from their team lead and his lackey they didn't already know. The arrival of Eclipse team briefly interested her, but aside from the one obvious beastly member, there was nothing to identify the abilities of the others and thus no reason to give them much consideration. The small display between teaching assistants finally forced an eye-roll from her.

“Rivalry, spirit, go team.” Makenna wiggled a fist as high as her shoulder, just in case the sarcasm hadn’t come through her dead-pan tone. Didn’t these graduated adults have better things to do than play camp councillor?

She wasted no time moving towards the back vehicle with Tad, having decided well ahead that Jim’s get-friendly attitude was not for her. Jim, Tad, Ryan. It seemed anything more than four letters was too complicated. The moment one tried to pin her as ‘Ken’ she’d officially have to bail. She scanned the small car for a seat, opting to sit with Trevor, one of the younger boys in the group and someone she assumed would be easy to manipulate. If they were going to be participating in some childish competition- she’d at least win.

“Oh hey,” She began, a sickeningly sweet smile plastered a mile wide as she gave her duffle bag a final kick underneath the seat with surprising force. “Mind if I sit with you? A bit tight on space,” She gestured to the surrounding cabin, but didn’t wait for a response before taking the seat next to him - close enough their knees bumped. “Trevor right? - Makenna” She introduced herself, pocketing her phone before reaching out a hand, still all smiles as she gave the boy her apparent undivided attention.

It was an impressive display on Makenna’s part to keep from further eye-rolls or sarcastic remarks as I’m-Just-Like-You councillor Jim tried again to initiate some form of comradery among the young adults.

“No red meat,” She called out to Tad with an innocent smile, just as the group began to break.

Already people were pairing off. Makenna considered her options. The bitch and nut job she’d been stuck with at the intake house were the first off the table. She had no interest in doing work on behalf of the wheelchair bound girl, and alternatively found the impressive Afrikaner too intimidating to actually approach.

”Hey Luce,” She decided by taking a step toward the blonde, realizing too late she knew next to nothing about the quiet girl.

“Mind pitching together?” She asked, “Think I might have spotted the one spot slightly flatter than the others.” Her thumb pointed over her shoulder to indicate the tent in question, the other hand blocked the sun from her eyes as looked for a reaction to her cheerful greeting.

The boys from the carpool were left forgotten with the others. For all the flirting, Makenna was engaged. Happily, even, at times.

- -|◄ [url=First Post URL]FIRST[/url]---
◄ [url=Previous Post URL]PREV[/url] || [url=Next Post URL]NEXT[/url] ►-
[url=Latest Post URL (Edited after a subsequent post is added, can be linked to current post is current is latest)]LATEST[/url] ►|
6x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Jarl Coolgruuf
Avatar of Jarl Coolgruuf

Jarl Coolgruuf The Mellower

Member Seen 2 mos ago

Location: P.R.C.U. - Southern Plateau
The Homecoming Trials #1.29 No I in Teamwork

Interaction(s): @Tackytaff
Previously: Friendship is Hard

“These ones have the look of winners,” Ryan stated as she pointed towards her own team before looking back towards Jim and the rest of Blackjack. “Yours, eh, I wouldn’t go all in just yet, Jim.”

Just like that it became Trevor's personal mission to absolutely stomp Team 18 in the coming trials. He learned what Team 21 was a day ago but damn it all if he wasn't going to make sure he and his teammates were the undisputed winners. He had also never even met anyone from the opposite team in his life but he didn't have to to send them packing. He had already heard talk about a hyperhuman specific sport and he aimed to make a name for himself out here. "Hey! That's Trevor, he really kicked ass during the Homecoming Trials. I want him on my team!" they'd say.

At least that was the idea.

One of his opponents snickered at Ryan's comment only to be met with a look from Trevor that simply said "you're first". His stare down was interrupted by calls to load up into the trucks and he quickly found his seat inside. Almost immediately he felt someone scoot in close to him, very close actually. Assuming she needed more room, he moved his knee over a bit so she could have space. She introduced herself right away and Trevor couldn't help but smile back. He was quite happy to meet someone so friendly, even if she didn't appear to be enthusiastic about the Homecoming trials judging by her earlier comment.

"Hey Makenna!" he replied while enthusiastically shaking her hand, "And feel free to sit wherever you like, there's plenty of room."

He thought it best to make small talk before diving head first into plotting the downfall of Team 18. Not that he didn't want to get to know his new friend, he just had that pre-game fire in him after the back and forth between the senior staff of the teams and knew it was better to reign in it.

"So, where are you from?"

Trevor couldn't have been happier when the trucks came to a stop. He absolutely loved camping and the outdoors. It had been awhile since he'd had the chance to rough it ever since his family moved to follow his dad's work promotion and give his older sister better opportunities to follow her gymnast dreams. He wasn't bitter per se but he definitely missed that time in his life where he was able to enjoy nature more often, a simpler time before he found out he was a Hype.

Looking around, he wasn't too confident in their team yet seeing as the very mention of working together had caused a bit of a stir. Maybe he just needed to change his approach. There was no way for all of them to succeed without everyone coming together. Maybe there was some kind of non-sports related activity everyone could bond over. Everyone except Calliope, at least. He hadn't given up on her yet but he also wasn't hopeful. Still, a truck moves faster if all the wheels are going in the same direction. He had hoped to talk with Makenna a bit more but she seemed eager to get her tent set up and some people didn't feel comfortable in a co-ed tent. To each their own.

He approached the biggest group he could find and gestured around to the landscape all smiles and cheer.
"Look at this place! Couldn't have picked a better spot myself."

Of course he was upselling just a bit, but he was genuinely impressed with the location. Despite the impending rainstorm just over the horizon it seemed like a great place to camp with plenty of forested area and mountains nearby Not that he expected they would get much time to spend hiking.

- -|◄ FIRST---
4x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by webboysurf
Avatar of webboysurf

webboysurf Live, Laugh, Love

Member Seen 33 min ago

Rory seemed nice. And the fact he didn't instantly act like he was talking to a convict was a good enough sign for Iñigo. It meant that details of their sudden arrival hadn't spread to the team yet. But perhaps their teammate was doing an excellent job of hiding the fact. Regardless of his intentions, his presence was quite endearing, and it would've been rude for them to leave him hanging. Something engraved by their mother at a young age and constantly brought up whenever their little brother was being a little shit at... no. Don't think about them now—not while someone's here. Iñigo shook their teammate's hand and got up from the planter. Their smile was genuine despite still bearing a headache from the inhibitor earlier (it usually lasted twelve hours in the best case).

"Sure, it isn't like I have nothing better to do. The name's Iñigo, by the way." Iñigo smirked at Rory before beginning the lengthy walk back to the dorms. They felt delighted to be walking around without being surrounded by a ten-foot barbed wire fence, having hostile guards beside them every day, or wearing that awful inhibitor. It was fucking liberating. But the awkward silence between their fellow teammate was going to kill that feeling. So to preserve it for as long as humanly possible, Iñigo decided to kick-start a conversation by throwing a seemingly harmless question at Rory (in truth, it was their clever way of learning about the others rather than going in blind and playing catch-up at the trials). "So... what are the others like? I am quite curious about our crew of misfits."

That was a fantastic question, and one Rory was definitely not qualified to answer. Even he realized any interactions he had with the others so far was pretty superficial. And half of the crew didn’t even seem to want to be there to begin with, making it hard to break the ice effectively. "Right, yeah… I mean, we've got some strong personalities. Trace swears all the time, but talks like Shrek. I think they’re pretty mad at me actually, something to do with football… Oh man, a football should work to toss around. It's way more doable than soccer…" Rory turned his gaze to Inigo, his smile fading for a moment. He had gotten distracted… again.

"Uh, right, sorry. You'll probably get a good feel on the shuttle or at camp or whatever. Banjo seemed cool, but everyone was giving him crap. And Trev… err, Trevor, he's cool. I think you'll get along with him. Then… there are Lucille and Cass, both seem a bit lonely or something. Calliope and Mackenna are pretty hot. Haleigh is hot too.. and Katja… Katja is jacked, man. She also seems real considerate and stuff. And I haven't really seen much of Axel." Rory scrunched up his nose as he took a moment to count, visibly mouthing the numbers as he counted up everyone on his fingers. "But yeah, that's pretty much the crew. We've got a big Breakfast Club vibe… except there's more of us, I guess. And there wasn't a real buff lady. And we're not in detention…" Rory let his spiraling checklist of differences trail off and just run in his head for a moment as the two approached the Intake House. Rory shot a small smile at Inigo, giving a quick pat on the shoulder. ”I’ll meet you back out here in a bit, once I finish changing and packing all my stuff.”

Location: Southern Plateau - P.R.C.U. Campus
The Homecoming Trials #1.30 : A Bad Hand

Interaction(s): @Mao Mao, @Jarl Coolgruuf, et al
Previously: A New Face

Rory dropped his heavy bag to the ground, letting it thud against the pavement as he began stretching his arms. He was sporting an old gold PT sweatshirt, a few iterations out of date at this point, matched with the standard issue running shorts and running shoes. His eyes were hid behind a fresh pair of unbranded sunglasses as he glanced over towards the other students gathered. He listened in as the faculty and student advisors made their introductions. He couldn’t help but feel his chest puff up at the sheer audacity the rival team’s student advisor had to trash talk his team. It did feel a little comforting, though, to be back in a competitive environment.

Of course, he still didn’t know anything about the team he was competing with. The opponents looked somewhat intimidating, and their faculty advisor seemed to have more of a competitive spirit than their own laid back Jim. It was clear that this was all a large contest of sorts, and all Rory could hope for was to get a chance to score points for his own team. Though, in the grand scheme, he wasn’t sure what he could contribute to… well, whatever this competition was. He could hold his own in anything athletic, but there had to be something more to this. Most likely something to do with using powers, and if that was the case… Rory would have to play things smart.

Team 21 was screwed.

As soon as Jim had delegated tasks to the group, Rory gave a slight nod. He looked towards his fellow teammates, scratching his chin for a moment. He could always offer to share a tent with Inigo, though someone like Trevor seemed more his wavelength. Though, quite frankly, who he slept next to was hardly his concern for the night. It wasn’t a big deal, all the tents would be for is to get some rest anyways. "Hey, name's Calliope. I don't suppose you would be up to sharing a tent tonight?" Rory raised an eyebrow, but simply shrugged off any suspicion. It wasn’t a big deal to share a tent with someone, after all. As long as whoever he was sleeping near didn’t make too much noise, Rory wouldn’t even mind sharing a tent with Trace.

"Look at this place! Couldn't have picked a better spot myself." Rory felt a little more at ease at the small talk. He looked out at the surroundings… and honestly, he had no idea if this was a good spot for camping. He had spent a number of nights in the summers camped out in the backyard with friends, but that seemed like a much different experience than this. Being out in nature was soothing, and the view wasn’t that bad. Rory readjusted the shoulder on his back, taking a moment to admire the view. ”We’ve got plenty of space to get a game going. I brought a football to toss around, hopefully that doesn’t upset anyone.” Rory’s eyes instinctively shot in the direction of Trace, anticipating another outburst. He pivoted the conversation quickly, looking in the direction of the tent kits. He flashed an awkward smile to the others. ”Right… uhh… guess we should do tents first.” Rory clapped his hands together, taking a cue from his former coaches to call out his next line. "Let's go, Blackjack. Faster we're set up, faster we can hang out."

- -|◄ FIRST---
4x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 6 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Hound55
Avatar of Hound55

Hound55 Create-A-Hero RPG GM, Blue Bringer of BWAHAHA!

Member Seen 6 hrs ago

A child playing with a toy car on the carpet.

"Pack your gear, kiddo. We up sticks in five to ten minutes."


A middle primary boy is working on mathematics. He hears a tapping. He looks up, and then turns and looks out the window.

"Pack your gear, kiddo. Up sticks in five to ten." The man whispers hoarsely from outside.


An older boy eats his lunch out in a school playground.

"Pack it up, kiddo. We up sticks in five to ten."


A young high schooler is hammering down the final pegs to hold down the ropes to the outer rain-cover on a tent. The sun is rapidly sinking into the horizon, casting the sky a rich red. A well dressed man approaches from that horizon.

"You have got to be fucking joking!"

"Sorry kiddo, pack your shit. I've already got your foot locker
from the campus in the car. We-- hey, literally this time--"
The man
said, pointing at the tent. "--Up sticks in five to ten."

"This isn't even my fucking tent! It's the school's! And it's shared!" He called back to the man who had already walked off in the direction of the group and the designated faculty member to inform them he'd be removing the child.

"Even better. Won't take you as long to pack your shit..." The Butler dryly said back over his shoulder.

"Not speaking to me, huh?"

Sullen silence radiated as the boy threw his pack in the back seat, before climbing in the front with the sourest of demeanours.

"I get it. It sucks. You know it's not exactly how I want to be living my life either, you know that right?"

More silent venom infected the atmosphere.

"Alright, tell you what. If you talk to me, you can pick what's on the radio."

"Gee thanks. We're miles from fucking anywhere. It's AM only out here." Banjo closed his eyes and clenched his fist in a wince, immediately regretted his reply.

"Heeeeey! There he is!" The Butler ruffled his hair roughly. "And for what it's worth. We're about to come up to Ararat in five or ten minutes, so there should be transmission. If we're lucky it should hold all the way to the next, which is some way off, so the gesture's not f'r nothing, y'know."

Banjo withdrew bitterly, still pissed that he cracked so easily.

"Ahhh cheer up, Bug-a-lugs. It may never happen." The older man said as he flicked the radio over to the FM band. Already faint transmission was coming in. "Wha'd I say, eh?"

The boy started adjusting the radio frequency, looking to find something strong enough for the radio to take a hold of.

It suddenly clicked into some 80s rock band.

"Heeeey! The Church! A classic! Looks like you're a natural, kid.

" # --it leads you here! Despite your destination... Under the Milky Way tonight. # "

The boy looked at the older man, singing along off key, but spiritedly. He stuck his tongue deep in his cheek, deeply in contemplation.

" # --Wish I knew what-- # What..? Aww, c'mon maaaate, don't be that prick!"

The boy twisted the dial and jumped the frequency forward, as the older man took one hand off the wheel to suddenly reach for it, but it was already gone.

"Oh you little bastard!"

Already the frequency had found a new destination, this time replacing The Church with literal church music. Some regional choir or other belting out a hymnal over the airwaves.

The older man looked at the younger.

"You can't really be telling me you're enjoying this more."

The younger looked back at the older, then started to bob his head out of rhythm to the music, as if dancing to chords that couldn't be heard.

"You'd really go mutual destruction over this..?" He looked at him again and saw the grin of utter determination creasing the younger one's face. "Of course you bloody would. Maaaate, c'mon now!" He said, once again extending a 'mate' over multiple syllables.

"Where are we going this time?"

The older man considered whether he should tell him. Why not? They were going there anyway, he'd find out soon enough.

"This time? Scotch College. In Melbourne."

"Why do we keep doing this?"

"Mate, you know I can't tell you that. If I could, I would have by now."

The younger didn't want to hear it. He turned away and looked out the window, at the brown sunburnt grass, and odd eucalypt whizzing past, as the car kept it's hundred plus kilometre pace tearing down the Western Highway. The Western Highway which a bunch of dickheads in suits had long tried to convince people they should be calling the A8, in an endeavour to knock all soul and spirit out of everything by reducing all highways and freeways in the country to a letter-number code. As they whizzed onwards Banjo could see some farmer was burning off the front paddock on his property, getting ready for a hot summer.

"There'll be a time I can tell you, and believe me, on that day, I'll spill my guts and come clean with you about a lot. And happily, mind you. Be a Hell of a relief off MY back, I can tell you. But for now, I can't. You've just gotta trust me on that."

"Now can you change the bloody station, I feel like I just broke under enhanced interrogation. Five more minutes and you should pass the bloody threshold for being reported to the Hague!"

The boy jumped the frequency forward again, until it settled on an older station playing music from the 60s and 70s. He was about to jump it forwards again when...

"What have you got, magic bloody Aussie pub jukebox fingers or something?! I was wrong before, you're not a natural. You're super-bloody-natural!" As the older man started slapping the steering wheel to the song.

He let it play.

Location: Pacific Royal Collegiate & University - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
The Homecoming Trials: # 1.31 Up Sticks In Five to Ten

Interaction(s): Cassander - @Lord Wraith, Luce - @Roman, Calliope - @PatientBean
Previously: Dickheads, Defectives and the Dilettante Dernier cri

Banjo had somehow managed to have snuck in unseen through the back entrance of the Intake House. He raced into his room and threw the rest of his P.E. uniform on over his speedos. He'd thank God for small miracles except what he could hear made it clear it was no miracle at all. Commotion from the front of the house. Little wonder he could sneak back in through the back unnoticed. They were all waiting for their rides to the Plateau out the front and it sounded like they were boarding now!

He scrambled out of the intake house, before catching himself, doing a tidy pirouette to re-balance himself, and slowing his pace to a walk.

"--noficially he's still as much a member of Blackjack as any of y'all."

Oh, he threw a y'all in there. How charmingly folksy. Hasn't hit his quota yet. But Banjo uncharactheristically kept this thought to himself, holding 'the Butler's' message about this situation being more permanent still in his mind and not doubling down on putting a target on his back for being late.

He quietly snuck in behind Blonde Sparky McGee and some blonde bird whose name escapes him because he didn't previously give a shit when people were doing initial introductions. Banjo was pretty sure the other guy's name wasn't Blonde Sparky McGee either, he was pretty sure that would have actually stuck if it was the case.
"Who's that guy?" He whispered to him.

No response. Is he hard of hearing too? Maybe the side effect of his powers. Chronic tinnitus. Made a sort of sense. He'd whisper louder.
"Who's that guy?"
"Shut. Up."

Well, that was less than polite... He was only asking a straightforward question.
"Who's that guy?"

Sparky McGee's teeth gritted so hard his face might spark up if his hands wouldn't first. To his right, Banjo could see one of his hands glowing. Geez, is this bloke really this tightly wound?
"Should have been here on time." he spat in a hushed tone through gritted teeth.

Banjo looked at him screwfaced. "The Hell'd I do to this guy?" He racked his brain. And whilst he did he wasn't ready for the answer to his question to come from the blonde bird next to him.


Banjo snorted. Loudly. And couldn't keep the laughter off his face after either. Tears welled in the corners of his eyes.

Big Country with his "Y'all"s glared at Banjo menacingly.

"Look what the Chancellor dragged in."

"And who's this Highway Patrol reject, while we're at it?" Which to Banjo's surprise he managed to keep to internal monologue.

"Team, this mountain of a man is Aaron Matthews, the faculty representative for your fellow new students of Team 18.”

And then a redhead alighted from one of the two vehicles. Presumably from one of the vehicles, because he couldn't see Aphrodite's clamshell anywhere. "Good Lord, do they not let in anything under an 'eight' here." He thought to himself.

Then he looked down the line at Trace. "Well... maybe they grade 'em a 'one' for each arm." Tuck that little comeback away for later... Let's face it, there will be a later.

“And this spitfire here, is Team 18’s student advisor, Ryan Clarke,” Introduced Good ol' Jim-Bob, minus the Bob. ...Regardless how well the Bob fits.

“These ones have the look of winners,” The Redheaded Ryan pronounced, declaring her opinion that Abercrombie and Fitch models are "winners".

“Yours, eh, I wouldn’t go all in just yet, Jim.”

Wait, Abercrombie and Fitch..? Banjo looked down their own line at the two "football friends" from earlier, Sparky McGee... he wasn't exactly chopped liver himself. Calliope looked like she belonged either on a catwalk somewhere or on the business end of a camera - TV or film, take your pick...

He chuckled to himself in realisation that this transparent display was just meant to spark competition...

...until he looked down the line and saw that those same "football friends" had taken that hook, the sinker, the float, the rod and half the damn boat. Goddamn. Were they REALLY this easy to manipulate?

Then she ruffled. Heh. Tad. --'s hair. “So cute.” she uttered in a demeaning way.

"No, little Banjo. She's bad for you. Stop it. You should not want that."

"Exactly, you should not. But you do. Because you are broken. And therefore clearly in need of 'Guidance'."

"No little Banjo. Bad little Banjo. You go away and think about this-- Wait, no... Don't you think about this later. I'm onto you, little Banjo..."

Ok... So yes. They really were that easy to manipulate.

“All students assigned to Team 18, you’re in the vehicle marked with an Eclipse, anyone not assigned to Team 18 can find their ride 'cause you’re not with me.” The 'super trooper' called them to fall in, and a bunch of equally hapless youths to Banjo's Blackjack Bunch bundled into their own buses and buggered off. Apparently taking their furry friend to go get flead, de-wormed and his claws clipped.

A bunch more artificial jibes, transparently designed to drum up competition, and it was their turn to get in their six wheelers and head off to the next pre-planned act of lunacy.

Banjo jumped in the back of Jim-Bob's truck before the seats were even taken - Just as he could only be a Jim-Bob (-Bob pending), the fact he WAS a Jim-Bob made it a truck. A Jim-Bob could only drive a truck - and everyone else piled in where they could. Soon enough they were off!

Banjo was bouncing around in the back, laughing his arse off at the stereotypical nature of their tour guide, his drawl, his choice of phrase and general mannerisms. Oblivious to the occasional side-eye and quizzical expression from the others his obnoxious cackling was bringing. Every aspect of this place was seemingly ridiculous to him, and his laughter even occasionally spilled into the cabin and into the background of Jim's commentary over the radio.

Until they hit the artificial cliff faces of the Southern Plateau known as the Howling Cliffs, where ironically Banjo's howls of laughter fell silent. Not because it wasn't still ridiculous to him, but rather because it was too far all over again. Back home if a Hyperhuman deigned to grace the public with such an aweinspiring display of power they'd be stuffed in a white room and stripped for parts. Probably. Banjo was never game to find out. Every time he'd used his own he'd made sure to do it in absolute privacy. And they'd always been on the run. Presumably because they'd get found out somehow and have to scarper. Purely speculation, but it made as much sense as anything.

Now he saw an entire hyperhuman-made landscape that factored in nature's acoustics in its design. It beggared belief.

Jim-Bob's truck and *Snort* Tad's car, pulled up and everyone jumped out.

Jim-Bob called to order the first business at hand. Setting up camp. Two people to a tent. No exceptions. Which didn't seem promising. Banjo thought he might be hard up to find someone who didn't seem vaguely bothered by his presence in one way or another. Maybe if he got in quick with one of the "football friends", those two seemed incredibly eager to know anybody. Nah. That's a bit dickish. Those two actually seem to get on, I'll just grab a tent, get to work and let some straggler come to me. That seemed-- "Hup... I'm getting glared at. What did I do now? Oh. Jim-Bob must have heard me laughing in the back on the way over here. I wasn't THAT loud on the way over here, was I?"

He was. Other campsites had turned to see what the commotion was at their arrival. From quite some distance away as well...

“In any capacity, while you lot do that, Tad here will get the fire going and rassle us up some grub, If ya don’t eat meat, now’s your time to speak up and Tad will get you the proper vittles, otherwise, I think we have something y’all are going to enjoy.” He Lifted his hat and smoothed his hair back before replacing the Stetson atop his head, because of course he did.

The "rassle" got another snort, and he couldn't hold back a chuckle anymore when the "vittles" sprang forth. He felt the eyes hold on him for a fraction of a beat, as they swept across all in attendance. Banjo took a deep breath and made a brief note of what was required, just to distract himself and recover his form.

"So, just... tent. Food's taken care of. Set a tent up and you're golden. Simple. Piece a piss."

“This year’s homecoming trial is centred around the massive hedge maze you see growing over yonder. Startin’ tomorrow, we’ll be sending you into the hedge and as a team, you’ll need to work together to navigate it, while also overcoming anything you encounter inside. While I can’t get into specifics with y’all, I can forewarn you that these obstacles can be anything as simple as a riddle to a trap riddle corridor to even a physical confrontation.”

"Well, shit..."

Banjo actually had a legitimate question for the matter at hand. But he could tell he'd made the man not particularly receptive to giving him an answer or... well, anything at this point. He doubted Jim-Bob would piss on him if he fell in the campfire at this point, that'd go double for Trace, and for some reason that blonde Sparky McGee kid who seemed to have his own issues with him for some reason.

Ehh... plenty of time. It's not until tomorrow. Maybe he could ferret it out of someone else, or somewhere else.

He was struggling to understand how the whole thing worked. It seemed to be at cross-purposes. They were... supposedly somehow competing with other teams... but the ultimate purpose seemed to be to divide the team into set 'houses' based on how they handled themselves. But in some way that wasn't directly related to overall aptitude. But it was a tough thing to ask even if he hadn't already pissed anyone off. This place seemed 'hyper' with the school spirit and just pointing out that it seemed cross-purposes could probably come across as if he was slagging it off. And asked from him? Only moreso. Like, was this even a thing that a set team 'won' or was it one of those 'how the game's played' things?

Then came the real horror story...

“For tonight though, y’all should try and bond as a team. Throw the old pigskin around, sing kumbaya, play truth or dare, I don’t really care so long as you actually learn about one another. Another good idea, go over your Hyper Abilities, learn your deck before you play it. Now’s the time to reveal any hidden talents.”

Team bonding and socialisation activities. Normally he wouldn't give a shit, but since his little chat with The Butler it had underlined the fact that he was going to be stuck with these people. For some time. And he hadn't exactly put up a good batting display so far. A dicey fifteen or twenty runs whilst being dropped a couple times at best. He had this horrible foreign sensation others called 'anxiety', which he was completely unfamiliar with because he usually just neglected to give a pinch of shit. He began to resent the Butler for telling him, before deciding to deal with his problems the healthy way he usually did.

By forgetting them entirely and distracting himself with something else.

He strode towards the tents with a single minded determination, before being intercepted.

"Hey, name's Calliope. I don't suppose you would be up to sharing a tent tonight?"

"Yup. Sure. All good. Just grabbing one now, if you want to find us a spot to ere-- put the thing up." He grabbed a tent and followed the slender blonde girl... to wherever on earth she planned on going, honestly.




"Hey, little Banjo--?"

"Look, just... Don't-- talk to me for a little while, mate... Just let me make sure this is all reality..."

Once Calliope had come to a stop, he swung the tent down off his back and proferred a suggestion.

"So how'd you come to this Looney Tunes Funland? Tell me 'bout yourself and I'll set this thing up. Had to do it enough back home. And it's always easier going with a distraction, where I'm not thinking too hard about the work at hand. Oh... ah... 'Banjo' if it wasn't already known." He popped his head up over the tent bag and turned to give her a grin, when it finally dawned on him to give his name in case she hadn't heard it.

"Also, truth be told, if we go through some of that here and now, we won't have to figure it all out in the 'team bonding' session they seem to have planned. Not... *huff* exactly looking forward to that." As he hauled the groundsheet and poles out of the bag.

- - -

- -|◄ FIRST---

3x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 6 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Lord Wraith
Avatar of Lord Wraith

Lord Wraith Indefinite Hiatus

Member Online

Walking away from Axel and Calliope, Cassander was stopped as a large sport utility vehicle pulled up to the fountain. Tinted windows seemingly blended into the dark graphite paint, while the monochromatic decal on the side bearing the P.R.C.U. coat of arms made it very clear this was a vehicle that belonged to the school.

Studying the darkened windows, Cassander's curiosity tried to make out the occupants to no avail. The front left side door popped open, prompting Cass to watch as the driver climbed out. The teenager found himself unable to contain his curiosity as he continued to stare while the driver walked to the rear of the vehicle and opened the second door to reveal none other than Dr. Lehrer inside.

"Ah, Mr. Charon," Straightening his lapels as he stepped out of the vehicle, Jonas paused to address Cassander, smiling towards the student while stepping out of the Manticore. Brushing his pants as he stood, Jonas motioned for Cassander to follow him before continuing to speak.

"I hoped to run into you before you were taken to the Trials. Please, step into my office."

Cassander suddenly felt his heart sink as he followed Jonas into the Administration Building. While he had heard rumours that Dr. Lehrer liked to interview all the new students, it was the way he had said 'before the trials' that led Cass to believe he was about to be sent home. They had obviously reevaluated having some of his abilities on campus, no less competing on campus and realized it was too much of a risk to take. He'd be thankfully sent back to live with Calvin and Alexis, but no doubt forced to wear an inhibitor and live the rest of his life in pain.

"Ah, Dr. Lehrer!" The woman's voice caused Cassander to break free of his thoughts.

"Miss Carlyle, always a pleasure. What can I do for you?" Jonas asked, raising a hand to silently ask Cassander to wait during the interaction. Studying the woman, Cass could see the white hairs blended throughout the perfectly maintained waterfall of golden locks. She held a posture of someone far more comfortable with who they were than Cassander could ever have hoped to be. Her ocean-like eyes smiled as she talked to Jonas, like a daughter addressing her father.

"We were supposed to be meeting," She replied, her gaze turning towards Cassander who quickly broke eye contact and pretended to tie his shoe.

"At exactly this time, you made it sound quite important. Though I was under the impression it would only be us. I didn't expect there to be a student."

Looking up through the unkempt blonde bangs that hung over his own viridian eyes, Cass watched Jonas' expression harden. His eyes almost went blank for a second, appearing almost absent before his face began to thaw and the overwhelming warm smile reappeared.

"I am so sorry my dear, it appears our appointment slipped my mind." Jonas' body language was genuinely apologetic as Cassander stood, realizing that if he feigned tying his shoe any longer he'd likely have to write an aptitude exam to prove he belonged in the school.

"I know you're a busy woman, flying out to another conference today to put out some of the H.C. fires no doubt, but Mr. Charon here is due to be taken away to the Homecoming Trials any second and I just need fifteen minutes of his time. Would you possibly be able to wait?"

Jonas asked as Summer waved a carefree hand.

"Of course, happy to do so." She replied before turning towards Cassander, "Good luck in there."

Her smile and tone felt warm and genuine, but it did little to quell the rising anxiety in Cassander as he followed Jonas out of the hallway and into the Chancellor's office.

The inside of the office stood in stark contrast to the rest of the Administration Building. Where the corridors were painted in warm tones and welcoming colours, Dr. Lehrer's office was distinguished by the exposed brick and accented studs. The colours and accents collided in a contrast of colours that were anything but eye-catching. Harsh metal supporting beams ran across the roof, evenly spaced apart leaving both the painted ductwork and conduit visible to the occupants below. Beyond the bare brick, the walls were decorated with pinned insects and animal skeletons. Diagrams of muscle and nervous systems made Cassander think he was in a medical examiner's office more than the school's chancellor's. There were no curves in sight, every wall and edge met at a sharp ninety degrees. Even the staircase to the overlooking balcony dared not bend to the shape of the room instead protruding sharply before a full right angle towards the upper mezzanine.


Inwardly cringing at the sound of his own voice, Cassander had intended to be dry, witty, perhaps even sarcastic. Instead, the word squeaked out from between his lips, betraying the calm exterior he was fighting to maintain and revealing the nervousness threatening to bubble to the surface. He clenched his hands tightly into balled fists, ignoring the familiar burning itching away the skin of his palms.

"Please," Jonas gestured towards the pair of tall, tufted, black leather armchairs opposite his desk, "Have a seat."

Choosing the one closest to him, Cassander slowly lowered himself into the chair. The sun from the window behind Jonas had warmed the leather to almost an uncomfortable temperature and Cassander was sure if he had been wearing shorts, the back of his legs would have been burned. Clenching his hands together, Cassander sat on the edge of the chair, refusing to allow himself to sink into it, lest the cold sweat currently beading across his back would cause him to become stuck to the chair.

"Tell me, Mr. Charon," Jonas leaned forward on his desk, pursing his fingers together in front of his face. His eyes narrowed to complete the contemplative look as he finished his sentence. "Do you know why wanted to see you?"

"I'm afraid I don't, sir," Cassander replied, "I had heard that you like to interview all your students, but every other member of the team was seen prior to the Kick-Off Ceremony this afternoon, whereas you're just seeing me now. I'm worried that means you're sending me home."

"Would that be the worst thing in the world?" Jonas asked, "You are a foster child, correct? Up until the age of twelve you bounced from guardian to guardian. But I'd wager, you'd never have referred to any of them as home. So could it be that some small part of you actually wants me to send you home?"

"It's not impossible," Cassander replied reluctantly.

"Why do you think you want to go home?"

Cassander hadn't expected this to be the conversation when he was called into Jonas' office. In the realm of possible outcomes that he had thought up while walking through the door, this hadn't even been remotely considered. He took a few seconds, carefully weighing his words before choosing a response.

"It'd be safer for everyone if I had to wear an inhibitor. I can't control these abilities, and they're only capable of harm. I know you look upon Hyperhuman abilities as a gift, but how can I help anyone if I'm at risk of exploding at any given moment."

"How are your hands?"

Cassander paused, as Jonas asked again.

"Right now, your hands, how are they?"

Looking down, Cassander realized he had unclenched his hands, they were gripping the arms of the chair but his palms weren't burning nor was there any sign of sparks.

"Mr. Charon, in the short time you've been at Pacific Royal, I've noticed some things about you. It was important to me to wait to have this meeting because what I have to say, you need to hear it now more than you would have a week ago." Pausing while removing his glasses, Jonas pulled a cloth from the inside pocket of his jacket before continuing.

"Stop fighting yourself." The words hung over Cassander before Jonas spoke again, "You need to stop fighting yourself. You're so worried about your powers getting away from you, that you're going to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. You second and triple guess yourself constantly, what harm would it have been back on the bleachers to offer a second set of hands to Miss. Crawford? You are in the safest place on this entire planet for a man with your abilities."

Cassander looked at his feet. His ears burned, he couldn't help but stare at his feet before slowly moving his head in a reluctant nod. Standing up from behind his desk, Jonas gestured for Cassander to do the same.

"Now there's little more to say at this time, but I do hope we can do this again after the Trials. In the meantime, try to loosen up and take some time to enjoy the school. You might find yourself a second home." Jonas added, opening the door. "And do, please send Miss Carlyle in on your way out."
Location: The Southern Plateau - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
The Homecoming Trials #1.032: Tightly Wound Fuse
Interaction(s): @Hound55 - Banjo
Previously: An Australian Kiss is a Kiss Down Under

It was suddenly Cassander's absolute mission to ensure that the next twenty or so minutes of his life weren't trapped in a six-passenger cab alongside Banjo. Despite the scramble Cassander had to make after leaving the Chancellor's office, he had still made it into the Intake House, changed and been back outside before O'Neil and Tad had arrived with the shuttles.

Cassander wouldn't say the same for Banjo who throughout the entire schpiel had badgered him with questions after coming in late. Unfortunately, Luce had ultimately indulged their class clown. The whole interaction was making it very difficult for Cassander to begin practicing Jonas' advice because at the moment it was very hard to enjoy the school.

“And this spitfire here, is Team 18’s student advisor, Ryan Clarke,”

Cassander's entire demeanour suddenly changed as the petite redhead appeared from behind the vanilla gorilla that Jim had introduced as Aaron Matthews. A small flare of sparks suddenly sprayed from either palm, causing Cass to jump before quickly burying his hands in his pockets in hopes that no one, especially not Banjo had noticed.

Every word out of Ryan's mouth was suddenly lost in a haze that came over Cassander. Was this her hyperpower? It was almost as though she moved in slow motion, he could feel his eyes glazing over before the warmth of his palms against his legs was enough to kick him back to the present.

That was embarrassingly desperate.

Giving his head a less-than-subtle shake, Cass, admittedly reluctantly, snapped free of Ryan's spell. Turning his head over towards their former housemates, Cassander just had barely taken a second to look over the opposing team before Matthews had ordered Eclipse into their shuttles. Cass had seen their faces in the hallways of the Intake House, and they had all come through the Mess Hall for food during meal times, but considering he had barely struck up any friendships among his own team, Cassander wasn't exactly on a first name basis with anyone from Team 18.

“Anyone who doesn’t get in right now is walkin'. If there are no seats left in the cab, climb in the box.”

"Is-" Cassander suddenly spoke up, sheepishly raising a hand. While his and Jonas' conversation might have been fresh in his head, Cass still didn't particularly enjoy the thought of exploding the cramped quarters of one of these 'roided-up all-terrain trucks.

"I-is riding in the box an option?"

"Whatever floats your goat, kid." Jim replied, "Now get a move on!"

"I believe that's O'Neil for yes," Tad added, reaching a hand out to offer to take Cassander's bag. "Personally, the box is better. Rougher seat sure, but the experience trumps the cab."

"I just really want the fresh air," Cassander lied, hanging back a second to watch where Banjo went before making a beeline to the opposite vehicle. Placing a hand on the edge of the box, he smoothly vaulted himself inside, before staking claim to a corner and making himself comfy amongst the luggage.

The ride across the island was spectacular. Cassander could hardly believe the variety of landscapes in such a small geographical area. But between the story about the Howling Cliffs and watching the Southern Plateau be literally transformed for the Homecoming Trials, he could begin to piece together just how much of this island had been changed by those who called it home. It must have been so amazing to have an ability that could benefit so many people. Literally creating land homes could be built on, fertile fields to grow food, regrowing deforested areas, the possibilities were nearly endless if the world would let the Hyperhumans help.

Any sense of serenity that Cassander found during the ride was rudely interrupted by the obnoxious laughter coming from the back of the leading vehicle. Clearly, Banjo had found something to entertain himself as his sounds of absolute mirth were relayed over Jim's radio, though Cass could the other teen without any assistant which had to mean that Banjo was clearly exaggerating whatever was tickling his funny bone.

The vehicle came to a stop and Jim's yelling very quickly continued as Cassander climbed out of the back of Minotaur. He couldn't say he was exactly thrilled about this latest development. Camping under the stars for some was romantic, but for Cass, when the Intake House was a ten-minute drive away, he had to question why they didn't just take their shuttles back to the main campus at the end of the day. Was this some sort of initiation test? Were they all being set up to be hazed in the middle of the night?

Hanging back, Cassander watched as the members of Blackjack slowly began pairing up. Looking over toward Katja, he briefly considered asking her if she want to share a tent before just as quickly deciding against it. Instead, he turned his gaze towards Haleigh, wondering if instead, she'd make the better tent mate. Of course, that just led to several fleeting moments of pondering how one in a wheelchair did camp out in a tent. Would someone need to lift Halleigh in and out of the chair?

Axel seemed like a safety net at this point. It seemed Calliope had picked Banjo based on her direct approach, which was somehow both a blessing and a curse to Cassander. He would have asked Calliope, he appreciated her bluntness. But she, pending Banjo's agreement, had also done everyone the favour of taking the hit of having their resident troublemaker as a bunkmate.

Cass really needed to ensure his tent was as far from theirs as possible. As Rory suddenly started barking orders to the poorly dealt hand of students; which of course, prompted a subtly raised eyebrow from Cass, a sudden violent gust of wind seemingly dropped the temperature on the Plateau, sending a shiver down his spine. For the first time since arriving on the plateau, Cassander's attention was directed upwards bringing his attention to the ominous storm clouds rolling in from over the Western Pacific. It wasn't that he was superstitious, any sense of belief in the supernatural or otherwise had been beaten out of Cassander at a young age. But even he had to admit, there was no way that the dark horizon was a good sign.

"Hey, uh, Tad?" Cassander asked, "What happens if it rains?"

Tad chortled a little before responding.

"Trials go on whether rain or shine. If you're worried about getting wet, these tents are the same issue as H.E.L.P.'s agents get. They'll survive everything sort of a nuclear blast." He nodded towards Cassander's bag, "You'll also find a jacket was included in your Physical Training uniform, plus all pieces are water proofed and quick drying, no chance of a bunch of Hyperhumans coming down with hyperthermia."

Cass could only stare at Tad as the other male delivered his joke with a straight face. A silence hung between the two for a few seconds, Cassander waited for Tad's proud face to fade before immediately retorting with a follow-up question.

"So, that storm won't change anything?"

Tad shook his head.

"Nah, Trials have never been cancelled in the school's entire history. It would take a pretty extraordinary act of God to get Dr. Lehrer to call off the trials."

Nodding in acknowledgement, Cassander took another look around the gathered team. Ultimately, the teenager decided he'd rather not be the one making the decision about a bunkmate and opted to leave it to fate. Catching another glimpse of the trial being raised in the center of the plateau, Cass took one look back to ensure no one was paying attention to him and then snuck away to get a closer look.
- -|◄ FIRST---
1x Like Like 2x Thank Thank
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by PatientBean
Avatar of PatientBean

PatientBean Hi, I'm Barbie. What's up?

Member Seen 1 hr ago

Location: Pacific Royal Collegiate & University - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
The Homecoming Trials #1.32: Maybe This Won't Be So Bad

Interaction(s): Banjo
Previously: Team Bonding Anyone?

She honestly didn't expect Banjo to take her up on her offer. Though perhaps he was the type to readily agree to share a tent with a woman and see where that led. The thought had crossed her mind, if she were being true to herself. their entire team could get it. Their personalities might be grating, but they were all hot. She could get past it if they kept their mouths shut, though the chances of that happening, given all she had seen and heard thus far, were slim to none.

Banjo was attractive, she could readily admit that. Sharing a tent with him won't be so bad. Heck, maybe one night forgetting exactly where she was and what was to come would help her for the trials. "Great. Follow me." She had never been camping before. Her family was the type to consider 'roughing it' being without electronics for more than an hour. Or if they were to go out to 'camp' it was in a log cabin with all modern amenities included.

She had to admit that this worried her. Would the team see her as a liability if she was not able to survive one night of camping? She hoped Banjo didn't mind. And, it seemed, he didn't. Banjo appeared to have a handle on setting up the tent when she found a spot. She would let him do so.

Now team bonding? That was something she could get over. After all, it wasn't like she never planned to be a part of a team. If she was going to pursue law, she would have to work together with whatever firm she was a part of, at least until she opened her own and got to make all the decisions. She wanted to make partner quickly. Partners changed things and got shit done.

She overheard one of the other guys call for them to get set up so they could throw a football around. She fought off an eye roll. What the hell was that golden retriever of a guy doing? And what was their fascination with football?

Though she supposed team bonding was called for. Wouldn't that help for the trials if they could work together?

Thankfully Banjo broke her out of her inner monologue as he asked about her. Should she be honest and open up or lie? Would lying help in this instance? She had no reason to suspect Banjo of ulterior motives. If anything, his "don't give a shit" attitude as opposed to the sunny disposition of some of their other team members made her respect him more. "Came here kind of by choice, kind of not. Home life was....testy to say the least. I mean, when you destroy your town's city center and make it look like a winter wonderland in the middle of a New Mexico summer, you tend to ruffle some feathers. Ice, in case that wasn't clear, is my power. I haven't practiced with it too much, but I imagine I can do a lot with it. I made it snow back home."

That was the most she had opened up since coming here. "What about you? Here by choice or force?" His comment about team bonding rang true for her too. Though she would suck it up, for tonight. Her mind raced back to the other team. She was competitive, she knew this. If their team could work together to show they were capable, perhaps it wouldn't be so bad to be at this school.

Though that remained to be seen, given who she was stuck working with.
3x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 6 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Hound55
Avatar of Hound55

Hound55 Create-A-Hero RPG GM, Blue Bringer of BWAHAHA!

Member Seen 6 hrs ago

One of the "football friends" Rory had brought a throwball. Because of course he had. He supposed the only surprise was that both of them hadn't. He'd seen Rory raise an eyebrow when Calliope asked if he wanted to share a tent. Banjo had wanted to mouth "I know! I have no idea either, right?" but instead he just kept on hauling the tent bag with a grin on his face. The view certainly didn't hurt in terms of keeping his behaviour in line. And he supposed the cliffs were alright too.

Location: Pacific Royal Collegiate & University - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
The Homecoming Trials: # 1.33 How to Stall Assembling a Self-Assembling Tent Because of Hotness

Interaction(s): Calliope - @PatientBean, The Ball
Previously: Upsticks In Five to Ten

Banjo was looking through the tent bag. The thing didn't look like any kind of tent he'd put up in the past, but he'd nut it out okay. How complicated could a tent be? He started digging for instructions.

"Came here kind of by choice, kind of not. Home life was....testy to say the least. I mean, when you destroy your town's city center and make it look like a winter wonderland in the middle of a New Mexico summer, you tend to ruffle some feathers. Ice, in case that wasn't clear, is my power. I haven't practiced with it too much, but I imagine I can do a lot with it. I made it snow back home."

Quite a lot to unpack there. Her speech had a clipped tone in its pattern that suggested she didn't expect any questions. Comment about her home and family suggested there was more there, but she wasn't comfortable sharing it yet. Which was fine with him. He got how family could hurt you about as well as anyone. It's why his attitude was mainly "Fuck those people" in regards to his own. He'd love to track them down just to tell them he'd never needed them and spit in their faces. But her situation sounded more complicated, and not everyone was as evolved in their "Fuck you people" thinking as he was.

He considered telling the story of when he'd killed all the toilets and plumbing in the City Center of Cobra back home, to her. But that was more an amusing anecdote and something he actually took a sick sort of sense of pride in the humour of the situation than anything... and let's face it, Cobra wasn't his home.

Cobra was a town of about a couple dozen people. They don't build Town Hall's for towns with only a couple dozen people with hundreds of acres of land on their stations. They make do. In this case the local pub.

The Butler had to leave a hefty couple of strips of rubber behind to get the pair of them out alive after Banjo had cherry bombed the toilets and the keg lines. Not out of anger or malice... he was mainly just curious to see if the explosives could still work under those conditions.

There was now about about a football team's worth of people out in rural South Australia who were in favour of corporal punishment in the case of a very specific child, who could attest to the fact that cherry bomb's do indeed work in those conditions.

So yeah, that didn't sound like the story to tell. So instead he just nodded and tried to seem understanding.

"What about you? Here by choice or force?"

He chuckled at the question. "I've never been ANYWHERE by choice. Now what I've done when I've gotten there... that's been ENTIRELY Banjo." He grabbed his chest as if to accentuate the point.

"But I've been bounced around damn near every eligible boarding school in my country growing up. I've just now heard that for whatever reason, this situation's a little more permanent than any of my previous schools." He placed the tent.

"So it looks like I've got to make THIS one count and work for me. Still, it could be worse. As far as I can tell nobody's planning any major harm to me because of what I am... Australia's not quite so progressive yet on Hyperhuman Rights. And I mean, the actual school - as far as school's go - I probably couldn't ask for anything better, even if the kids seem a bit crazy with the school pride. I mean, if I rattle out of here, I'm a known-hyperhuman - just because I actually got admitted here - whose references include DOZENS of schools over my entire education - more than half with less than sparkling things to say about my disciplinary record. What other university would accept that?"

He straightened up and thought about it all. Really let what he was saying wash over himself and take effect like he hadn't until now.

He might not be able to go back home again.

Which seems a weird thing to think for someone who doesn't have a fixed place he thinks of as "home". Just the broader concept of being able to drive the open roads and go to wherever on the Australian continent he so choose. To not be able to go back.

"Well, shit."

He popped the yurt and it gradually began to unfurl and take shape. The stray football rolled into the base of the yurt.

"But ice... That's good. That works fine with me. I'm not bothered by extreme temperatures, it's part of my whole package deal, so feel free to absolutely cut loose if it's just you and me. Also," He said, gesturing to the oncoming dark clouds. "Storm's coming, so unless this is some hyper-manmade thing they're doing now to get all low pressure regions out to ensure good weather for their trials, it looks like you're going to have plenty of moisture in the air."

Calls of "Little help!" came from behind, in regards to the lost ball. Banjo sighed.

"But as for me, mine's a little tougher to describe. I... feed, I guess... on sunlight and ambient heat. It makes me... more. Stronger. Faster. I think clearer. But it's easier to show, than tell..."

He did a quick check to make sure everyone was at a safe distance and then drank deep of the late-afternoon, early-evening sun. His breathing quickened and halted, and his body turned black. Muscles and sinew re-knitted within his flesh and his synapses flared and fired from the exquisite sensation. His body stopped seizing and he regained control after the initial change. A splendid orange corona started surrounding him, and a cool breeze seemed to exude from the windward side of him as he dropped the local temperature about a half a degree.

He pointed down to the football and then gave a thumbs-up. He powered down and picked it up.

He gestured to the further boy to get ready, waving the ball up, and kicked the ball high as he could in his direction. A booming punt. Hyperhuman strength-assisted.

"Reckon even without your help, that 'un might come down with frost on it." He said, referring to the altitude he'd put on the ball.

"So feel free to call me a dickhead for being overly forward since we've only just met, but it seems to me that if nothing else our powersets are pretty compatible. I don't know what's going to be ahead of us in the Trials... but if the group is told to split up for any reason - groups of sixes, groups of twos or threes - maybe we'd both be best off watching each other's backs?"

He gestured to the tent that was now complete.

"At least that's the way I see it."

The ball came down cold.

- - -

- -|◄ FIRST---

5x Like Like
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Zoldyck
Avatar of Zoldyck


Member Seen 1 day ago

Location: Pacific Royal Collegiate & University - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
The Homecoming Trials #1.34: Cry Of The Banshee

Interaction(s): Trace @psych0pomp, Cassander @Lord Wraith
Previously: I Want Out

Katja sheepishly entered the room after her initial wave of embarrassment subsided due to Trace’s seemingly nonchalant reaction. It’s not that she’d never seen anyone show some skin or whatever. But with all the excitement of the upcoming Trials and such, encountering Trace was just unexpected. ”Yeah, sorry for the overreaction.” Katja said with a slightly embarrassed chuckle while scratching the back of her neck as she walked over to her bunk to pick up her PT gear. ”Just had my mind on something else is all.”

She followed Trace’s example and turned her back towards them while changing her clothes. The silence in the room was a bit awkward, but Katja was used to it. Ever since her being a Hype became common knowledge at school there’d always be an awkward silence whenever she was in a room with someone else. Though this one was slightly different, less tense. So really, she didn’t mind it as much and didn’t linger on it for too long as she got out of her school uniform and into her PT gear.

Katja had just put on her running shorts when Trace walked past. Besides wishing her good luck, they had a rather peculiar request from Katja… One involving Banjo’s “crown jewels”, as they put it. Her mind conjured an image of grapes being crushed by a wrecking ball. An image that made her visibly wince for a fraction of a second. Clearing her throat, Katja put on a sheepish smile. ”I’ll euhm… I’ll see what I can do about that.” Finishing the sentence off with an awkward chuckle. “Oh, and good luck to you as well!” she called after Trace as they were just about to exit the room.

Now being alone, Katja took her time putting on her training shirt and sneakers. She quickly checked how she looked in a mirror as she put her hair in a bun. The PT gear was a bit of a tight fit in certain areas, particularly the arms and thighs, but nothing that’d be a hindrance.

After finishing up her hair and with enough time to spare, Katja casually made her way to the assembly area they were told to gather for the pick-up to the Homecoming Trials site.

It only took a couple minutes of waiting before their transport arrived, and with it came Blackjack’s faculty reps Jim and Tad. While she couldn’t really get a good read on tad yet, Jim’s lively character made her instantly like the guy.

It didn’t take long before the other team’s reps showed themselves. While Aaron, as Jim introduced him, didn’t seem too bad, Ryan looked like she could use a hand with the stick up her ass. Folding her arms, Katja listened to Ryan’s denigrating tone as she spoke about Team Blackjack. Observing Ryan messing around with Tad, Katja narrowed her eyes and slowly nodded to herself.

I can take her.

Breaking her stare at Ryan, Katja looked over at Team Eclipse. She had seen one or two of them in the dorm house before, but never struck a conversation with any of them. While she didn’t feel any animosity towards them 5 minutes ago, Ryan’s attitude changed all of that. If there’d be any direct competition with them, Katja made it her mission to grind them into the dirt. Just to wipe that smug smile from Ryan’s lips.

With introductions over, heads cooling and Jim’s instructions clear, Katja decided to ride shotgun next to the American. She liked his Southern charm, which reminded her a lot of her uncle. But, as became painfully obvious during the ride over to the campsite, some people seemed to think it was a bit much. Banjo sat in the back of the truck and was laughing his ass off at almost every word that left Jim’s lips. Katja looked down at her hand, balling it into a fist as she was reminded of Trace’s request from earlier.

Perhaps I will Trace…

Looking out of the window, the noise of the Howling Cliffs caught Katja’s attention. How couldn’t it? It was an awesome thing to experience, almost making her forget about the cackling Australian in the back. To think that someone could shape their surroundings to produce something like was amazing in and of itself, but the fact that they could openly do it without any repercussions was truly mind boggling to her.

The banshee’s scream finally drove the point home to Katja. They seemed to be truly free here. They, Hypes, could live here without fear of persecution, fear of hatred.

And if it was possible here, on some remote island, then it meant that it should be possible anywhere. As long as there was enough of a drive to accomplish it.

With those thoughts stuck in her head it took until they finally drove up the camping grounds before the approaching storm finally caught Katja’s attention. Seeing the dark rolling clouds in the distance tempered some of her excitement, as she feared that the whole thing would be called off. After hopping out of the truck, those fears were quickly quelled as Jim’s speech seemed to hold little doubt that the Trials would continue.

The prospect of food and sports games instantly motivated the young South African to get the tents set up. Getting to the back of the truck, Katja picked up one tent set and hoisted it over her shoulder as she made her way over to whatever seemed like a suitable spot for a tent.

As she walked past Tad she picked up that one of her fellow team members, Makenna if she was not mistaken, mentioned something to him about not wanting any red meat.

Well, It’d be a shame if it went to waste, right?

Not wasting a second, Katja walked up to Tad, the tent set casually resting on her shoulder. ”Hey erm, Tad?” She said to him with a slightly mischievous smirk on her lips. ”If she doesn't want any red meat, can I have it instead? I’m a growing girl after all.” Her smirk turned into a grin as she finished with a cheeky wink.

Looking over next to Tad, she saw the boy who she thought was called Cassander standing next to him. They hadn’t really been properly introduced yet. Come to think of it, she hadn’t properly introduced herself to anyone in her team yet.

And if there was ever a moment to start introductions, now would be as good as any.

Turning towards Cassander, Katja casually waved her hand to get his attention. ”Heya broer!” she said with that grin still half on her face. “If we’re going to be a solid team we should first get to properly introduce ourselves, right?” She extended her free hand towards the boy. “I’m Katja, Katja Kruger.”

Looking over and around the boy, she noticed that he seemed to be alone. “You euhm, got a tentmate yet?” shaking the tent set on her shoulder to emphasize the question.

- -|◄ FIRST---
PREV || [url]NEXT[/url] ►-
[url]LATEST[/url] ►|
3x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Roman
Avatar of Roman

Roman King of Dirt

Member Online

"How has your gardening been going this week?"

Luce looked up from her lap, her hands continuing to pick at the frayed ends of stitching on the sleeves of her jumper. It had been a hand-me-down from her brothers, and remained to this day more than a couple sizes too big for her, but she couldn't bear to pass it on. She told herself it was a living memorial, but every time she withdrew it from her closet - almost unconsciously at times - a sharper, nastier voice in the back of her head told her it was penance. To be done with it was disrespectful to her brothers. And then, in the dark as she pulled the sweater over her head, a second, far more ruinous voice would say, to be alive is disrespectful to her brothers, and she would have to reply, well, there's not much I can do about that anymore.

She'd been staring at Dr. Mercia without answering the question, lost in her thoughts.
"Okay. Tomatoes are ripening." Luce answered.
"Something on your mind, Luce?"
"No." She lied, still picking at her sleeves. Gila wanted to press the issue, but time was short, and there was more immediate concern to be addressed.

"Luce, there was something specific I wanted to address this session."
Luce didn't respond, but she did stop fiddling and lay her hands flat-palmed on her lap, all attention focused. These kinds of sentences from Dr. Mercia often didn't end well for Luce, and she had learned to brace for impact.
"P.R.C.U., as you know, maintains many long-held traditions, for students and faculty alike. The most anticipated of which begins with the opening of each new academic year: the Homecoming Trials."
Luce nearly scoffed. It sounded like the Hunger Games. Gila read the incredulity from her face easily, and smiled awkwardly with sympathy.
"In any case, I've anticipated the Trials being a potentially...fraught event for you; in that anticipation, I wanted to address what you can expect, so that we can equip you effectively." Dr. Mercia could see the beads of anxiety forming on Luce's forehead, accompanied by a slowly-furrowing brow and a tight, bitten-lipped expression. She reached out and put a gentle hand upon Luce's own. "I want you know you've made incredible strides the last few weeks, Luce - you're more than capable of doing very well."

Luce looked at Dr. Mercia's hand on her own, then drew her gaze up to make eye contact. Resolve spread across her face, replacing the fear that had settled there as an uncomfortable default.
"And if it does overwhelm you - there's something of a booster I can arrange for you."

Location: Southern Plateu - Dundas Island
The Homecoming Trials #1.35: Z-bars

Interaction(s): Mackenna (@Tackytaff)
Luce opened the bottle of the 'booster' and gently tapped the rim against her palm until a thin, white tablet tumbled out, at which point she carefully replaced the lid on the bottle and pocketed it, before swallowing the pill with a gulp of water from the bottle in her other hand. Alprazolam, AKA Xanax, prescribed as a one-off acute anti-anxiety medication; take one tablet when experiencing a high-stress situation; feel relief in 30-60 minutes.

30-60 minutes felt like a long time right now from where Luce stood, one of the first of Team Blackjack to arrive outside the intake house to await collection for the Southern Plateau. The others trickled in slowly, and she gave each a sheepish, polite nod in greeting, but as Cass filtered in line beside her any threat of having to make small talk was eliminated by the roaring engine of an approaching Minotaur, making Luce jump and her heart-rate spike; when the vehicle pulled up, emblazoned with Blackjack's team logo, and Jim stepped out - their faculty rep - it all suddenly felt very real to Luce. This was it - the Trials as Dr. Mercia had described them, as Dr. Lehrer had announced to wild applause. And it all began here and now, with a group of strangers and a bottle of xanny's.

Jim made his speech, introducing Tad at the same time, and Luce felt reassured by the presence of a direct ex-student, a living example of how the academy's programme worked; unfortunately, any solace Tad could have been able to offer was cut off two-fold; once by the appearance of Team 18's rep, Ryan Clarke, who quickly assisted the conversation in devolving into petty inter-team bravado, and then again by Blackjack's own walking disruption, Banjo, arriving late but nonetheless demanding to be up-to-speed as he whispered behind her and Cass' backs.

"Who's that guy?" Banjo hissed, to which he received only flat silence. Banjo tried again: "Who's that guy?"; and this time Luce could see in the corner of her eyes the slightest nostril flare and flexing of fingers in Cass.
"Shut. Up." Cass whispered back, and Luce felt pin-prick goosebumps across her shoulder. It was clear already that Banjo and Cass didn't find themselves compatible; she was uncomfortable with the tension and the risk of confrontation.
"Who's that guy?" Banjo asked again, and this time Luce clenched her own fists as she noticed one of Cass' hands take on the slightest glow, and his jaw tense up and set where he was gritting his teeth.
"Should have been here on time." Cass replied, practically spitting. Cass saw Banjo move to ask again, and the tension overtook her.
"Tad." She answered, quickly, and much to her relief Banjo backed down. If this was a preview of the weekend to come, Luce couldn't say she much fancied Blackjack's chances at large of surviving the next couple days, much less her own.

Regardless, intramural sniping had finally been set aside and they began to file into the Minotaurs to be taken across the island. Luce climbed into one of the vehicles, paying little attention to who she had inadvertently chosen to ride with; in truth, she barely looked up from the floor of the truck's cabin, trying to avoid looking out the windows as the university campus and its strong, safe buildings faded into the distance to be replaced by open field and the looming, ever-present treeline of the outlying forest. The xanax began to kick-in, and Luce leaned back against the seat, eyes closed and taking deep, measured breaths. From where she was sitting, 'Trials' felt like an accurate descriptor.

--- --- ---

The ride was mercifully short, Jim's voice crackling through the radio a welcome distraction to the passing scenery as he explained further about the Trials and the surrounding landscape. The vehicle came to a halt, and they were ferried out of the cabin onto the Plateau itself, shuffling toward an empty camping lot. Luce noticed that the forest was mercifully distant, and around them various clusters of domed yurts dotted the immediate area, while further off bleachers were being erected and banners unfurled for the coming event. It felt remarkably more modern than Luce had anticipated in her anxiety, and while Jim's mention of 'camping' came as a distasteful sliver of ice through her chest, the xanax soothed the buzzing fear that otherwise hummed inside her head, and the yurts - both those already setup and the ready-to-go kits that Jim gestured towards - looked sturdy and amenable, a far cry from a length of tarp draped over a handful of poles, protecting them from the elements no more so than a raincoat and vague hoping did. Even the hedge-maze felt surmountable, despite the prospect of begin enclosed by pure vegetation: of course, the dragon of terror beats its wings and sounded its roar within her, but a calmer, more rational beast allowed reason to soothe the fear. Hedges didn't fall over - or very rarely, at least - and especially not hedges grown and controlled by well-practiced hyper-humans.

All in all, Luce gripped the xanax bottle in her pocket tightly in one hand, but felt unusually in-control of herself, even allowing a wafer of pride to drip through warmly as she thought of her circumstances and the current lack of her reaction to them. So much so that when Jim announced Tad would be camp cook for the evening, she suddenly found herself famished, her hands shaking slightly from hunger as her belly yawned at the mention of food. She had neglected to eat this morning, wrapped up in her gardening, and the anxiety post-opening ceremony had filled her with a nausea that closed her stomach off to the thought of eating. Now calmer and allowed a moment of stillness, Luce realized she was hungry.

Her ruminations were interrupted by Mackenna, who had approached her quite unexpectedly; the woman had held a sense of haughty detachment around her, like the academy was simply something she was waiting to finish before returning to something else, like P.R.C.U. was the equivalent of a phone-call from a faint acquaintance in the middle of a particularly enjoyable TV show. It was not something Luce had responded well to, given her own aspirations for the transformative potential of the university; but then Luce didn't suppose she appeared all that sociable either. Perhaps this was a chance for the both of them to discard their respective shells. Luce cleared her throat, realizing she'd spoken less words today than she could count on two hands; she hoped it wasn't obvious that she was essentially warming up her vocal cords for unplanned usage.

”Hey Luce, mind pitching together?” Mackenna asked. “Think I might have spotted the one spot slightly flatter than the others.”
Luce smiled - an unpracticed expression - and nodded emphatically, trying to appear enthusiastic, but not too enthusiastic.
"Sure! Mackenna, right?" she replied, extending a hand to shake while at the same time bending over to pick up a tent bag from the ground, resulting in an unwieldy, three-pronged pose, one arm out, one arm down, and one leg backwards trying desperately to counter-balance. Somehow she managed it without toppling ass-over-tit, and she followed Mackenna to the flat spot quietly, trying to remember how to make small-talk. They had to have something in common, right?

Ah. Of course.

"So, uh...Mackenna," Luce started, kneeling as she unzipped the tent and began pulling it open, letting the yurt unfurl from the bag. "What uh...what do you...you know..." she fumbled for words, not quite sure how to put it, trying not to be impolite but also naturally, undeniably, curious.
"What do you do?"
3x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Kuro
Avatar of Kuro

Kuro "more reliable than god" - micki

Member Seen 0-24 hrs ago


If there was one word to describe Jim, it would be overwhelming. Haleigh could practically hear the words "America, fuck yeah!" scream from Jim, the faculty representative for their team. Of course, she had no idea if he was actually American. He could've been English or something. But as far as Haleigh knew, Jim was essentially the man that modern American country music sung of. His speakers blared excessively loud music with a southern twang, while Jim was busy laying down hard on the large truck's engine, over-revving it as he shifted to pull over in front of the Intake House. The only thing Jim needed was to start singing about girls and booze and he'd be as American as they came. At least, according to those country music writers. But Haleigh wasn't about to give him any ideas; it'd only just make him even more intense than he already was.

Then there was Tad. A stark contrast to Jim, Tad was apparently their student advisor; their "personal guru", as Jim put it. From what Haleigh understood, Tad was some sort of counselor of sorts. She'd have to talk to him sometime. Not unlike Dr. Lehrer, he might've not have all the answers to the questions that now tormented her headspace since her hyper-awakening. But one thing was for certain—Tad had lived experience. He'd gone through every step that they were now being put through.

Maybe, just maybe, Tad could put some her worries to rest.

Before anything else could happen, however, their "team meeting" was suddenly interrupted by the appearance of Team 18 and their representatives. Their supposed rivals, Haleigh could've sworn hearing. They certainly played the part, at least. Despite it being no more than basic trash talk and smugness, Team 18's leadership still nonetheless stung deep. Haleigh felt like she was being looked down upon. Not out of pity, like Katja and Trevor before, but that she was being considered lesser.

Haleigh bit her lip. A fire rose in her heart. Showing concern or worry was one thing. This was different. She'd have to show them. Even if her own fears had held her back, Haleigh Crawford definitely wasn't worthless as they and their smug auras thought.

Location: The Minotaur/Trial Campground - Southern Plateau, Dundas Island
The Homecoming Trials #1.36 A Camp of Questions

Interaction(s): Tad, Team 21/Everyone
Previously: The Calming Serenity of Music

The Minotaur rumbled down the path to the Southern Plateau, the place where their Trials were to be held.

Haleigh had taken a seat in the box not long after Cassander had done so. It was the easiest option for Tad, who had taken a few seconds of his time to help her onto the truck, wheelchair and all. Yet as helpful he was being, Haleigh had to fight the urge to turn down his assistance. The desire to prove that she was definitely not the liability others figured she was refused to dissipate. Even if it was as simple as climbing onto the Minotaur, Haleigh wanted to show the others that she wasn't the weakest link in Team 21 and elsewhere.

That said, when Tad presented an odd-looking device, a temple headpiece that looked like something out of a medical lab, Haleigh knew better than to try and risk her powers activating. She couldn't risk the lives of her team and others just so she could prove a point in response to Ryan's schoolyard-esque smack talk. Doing so would have been asinine—a stain on her conscience that Haleigh would have to carry forever were anyone to get hurt.

And so, Haleigh resigned herself to the device, feeling almost embarrassed to wear it. The device was goofy, and as far as Haleigh could've seen, she was the only one wearing such a device among their team. Had she been the only one on Team Blackjack with such a dangerous ability?

Regardless of that matter, Haleigh had been content with feeling embarrassed and goofy momentarily, at least long enough for the team to reach the Plateau. This device would be saving lives, Haleigh figured. Plus, with this version, she most likely wouldn't be vomiting her breakfast or withering in pain anytime soon wearing it—the main reason why she shied away from originally wearing an inhibitor. Living a life of pain and suffering over powers she never wanted in the first place didn't seem fair to Haleigh, as much she didn't want others to get hurt.

“Do you hear how the wind sounds here?”

The crackling sound of the radio caused Haleigh looked up, finally noticing the scenery around them. A large array of tents and a hedge maze was accompanied by the strong smell of cooked meat, vegetables and other such campfire foods. Meanwhile, a strange sound echoed through the air. Was that the wind?

"The edge of the Southern Plateau is known as the Howling Cliffs because an enthusiastic Elemental decided to use their abilities to shape the cliffs to perfectly accent the ocean wind in such a way that it sounds like a banshee. It’s impressive, damn eerie too."

Haleigh paused, taking a moment to listen to the wind herself. It sounded just as Jim said, but most of all, it had got her thinking. Would it be possible for her to accomplish something similar to the handiwork of this Elemental? A way to use her powers without potentially maiming or even killing people? Perhaps it was a question worth asking Dr. Lehrer or someone else about, Haleigh considered as she was helped out of the truck.

“First order of business to get our camp set up, two people to a tent, find a bunkmate. I don’t frankly care who pairs up so long as the rest of us aren’t going to hear you all night.”

Tents. Now that was something Haleigh could do. She may not have use of her legs, but that didn't change the fact that Haleigh was still quite the outsdoorwoman. The sex inference, on the other hand, she wasn't a fan of. It was awkward and cringeworthy, like the type of undelivered joke at a comedy club where the audience sits blankly in silence, the only sound being someone's cough or sniffle. In the end, though, Haleigh ultimately chose to ignore Jim's comment, letting it pass by in silence as the representative went over the rest of the details.

“For tonight though, y’all should try and bond as a team. Throw the old pigskin around, sing kumbaya, play truth or dare, I don’t really care so long as you actually learn about one another. Another good idea, go over your Hyper Abilities, learn your deck before you play it. Now’s the time to reveal any hidden talents. But first order of business, let’s get these tents up!”

From there, Team Blackjack was finally left to their own devices, being dismissed to go pitch their communal tents onto the open field. Haleigh watched from the sidelines as some of her teammates flocked to others almost instantly, and she wondered who would've been willing to partner with her, the wheelchair girl. Her gaze first fell on Cassander, him being the person she had known for the longest out of the bunch. Sure, they hadn't exactly interacted much in the past, but they had at least peeled tons of potatoes together! It could've been worth a shot asking if he wanted to bunk together for the Trials.

But alas, Haleigh realized she had been beaten to the punch. Katja, one of the few she had interacted with, even if it had been brief and was more of a "please leave me alone" conversation, was already busy asking Cassander. Well, crap. Guess that meant he was out of the question. Katja, too. Knowing her luck, she was going to be stuck with someone who probably didn't want to bunk with her for more than obvious reasons. Life seemed to have dealt her a cruel hand, so what was one more punch to the gut?

Yet this time around, Haleigh still had an ace up her sleeve.

"Uh, hi, everyone." Haleigh announced to no one in particular, her hand raised in an attempt to draw her teammates' attention. "I know... I haven't really talked talked to some of you, or well, any of you, really, but..." She continued, looking about the campsite for anyone bothering to give her the time of day.

"I guess what I'm trying to say is I used to go camping frequently, so if anyone wants to pitch a tent, I can help. I just need... well, a little help myself, that's all."
4x Like Like 2x Thank Thank
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by psych0pomp
Avatar of psych0pomp

psych0pomp DOUBT EVERYTHING / except me... i'm cool

Member Seen 2 mos ago

The flat was small and cramped, and occasionally the stout smell of coriander and anise would leak in from the flat next to them, but it was home. Trace’s father kept it militantly pristine, and there was always this lingering hint of bleach with a mixture of lemongrass and honeysuckle. They’d never figured out where it came from. The soap smelled like trees and citrus. They noted that as they scoured their hands with said soap and hot water. It was late, and the muted telly was the only light on in the combined living space. Trace had barely noticed the darkness until the overhead light popped on. Through the front door came Dad, his digits fumbling with his key as his arms were weighed down with paper sacks. Trace instinctually jogged over and grabbed the bags. They placed it on the small, linoleum island that made the kitchenette area seem nicer than it was. They peeked in to see a whole, roasted chicken.

“Dad,” they said flatly. “What is this? It’s just me and Trev and you. And Trev isn’t even here, he’s over at what’s-her-face, probably given her a good—”

“Nope,” he said, locking the door behind him. “We all know what a teenage boy is doing. There’s no need to bring it up. And, I figured that we could have a nice dinner for a change.” Thomas Whitlock consumed the small entryway. While he was a demure man with soft sensibilities and a delicate accent, he looked like you’d not want to meet him in the alley. He was tall, broad-shouldered, and all his button-up shirts fought against his barrel chest. Trace knew he’d been in the military, and knew that he was in security now. There was a tickle in the back of their mind that said that he probably knew more ways to kill a man than they knew lewd gestures. He’d even shown them a few tricks to stop anyone that tried to be aggressive with them. Not that it mattered much, now, as they were able to sprout multiple arms and flail them with the insipid rage of a drunk toddler.

“It’s 11 o’clock at night. We’ve way exceeded dinnah.”

“Oh, so you’ve eaten?”

“Fuck,” they remarked. “No, I just got in.”

“And I’m going to have a talk with Tim about having you out that late.”

“Look, Dad, it’s not his fault. I choose the extra work.” They reached into the bag and pulled out the chicken, the heat radiating from the bottom singed the tips of their fingers.

A disappointed frown appeared underneath their Dad’s mustache before he smiled. He knew why they stayed late and went in early. Few people stared at them. It was a realization he’d had a while ago. He dropped the other bags on the counter, pulling out the containers with various precooked vegetables packed into them.

“You know you look like your mother.”

Trace jerked their face over and stared at him. Their blank eyes wide and possibly insulted. “Wha? Like a black and white photo where some serial killah like scratched out the eyes? Wha the actual fuck, Dad?”

He only chuckled. Usually, he’d reprimand them for their language, but he was apparently tired. “I know you don’t really remember her, but you have her smile and her laugh. I didn’t even think it was possible. It startled me the first time I heard it.”

“Probably fittin’ that I sound like a ghost, considerin—” They waved at themselves like a gameshow host showing off the prizes. Except they were far from a prize.

Their dad stopped unpacking the food at about that time. Trace could tell he was about to go into Sad Dad mode, and they felt bad about initiating it. “I get it. You had four wankers for older brothers, a dad that was only here half the time—”

“Ah no, you were there—”

“Trace,” he said, firmly. “I’ll get to the point. You never had a chance to really meet your mum, and I hate that you couldn’t. You’ve always had to be tough. And there’s nothing wrong with that. You gotta be tough sometimes, but sometimes you—” he trailed off. “Don’t get me wrong, your mum was terrifying when she had to be. I watched her scream a fellow nearly deaf one time. It was like watching the nature channel during the big cat hour. But she didn’t let anyone put her down. She was confident in who she was. And you look so much like her—it makes me sad that you don’t have that much confidence. Because, you’re a spectacular kid, and I’m glad I did a good job on at least one of you.” He reached back into the bags and finished setting everything out. “I know it’s easy to say that considering that I’ve never gone through what you have. Just know that journey –”

“I get it, Dad, I need to stop being hard on myself."

“Right. Don’t put yourself down. Put other people down.”

“That sounds like a bloody fuckin’ motto to put on a cat poster. If the cat was covered in the blood and guts of anotha cat.”

“There’s a reason I’m not a licensed counselor.”

“No… really?” Trace’s words dripped with sarcasm.

“Now shut up and eat your dinner.” He leaned over and kissed the top of their head.

Location: The Minotaur/Trial Campground - Southern Plateau, Dundas Island
The Homecoming Trials #1.37: The "Tea" in Team Spirit

Interaction(s): Haleigh, @Kuro; Rory @webboysurf; Trevor @Jarl Coolgruuf
Previously: Icy Starfish

The bus ride over was anything but quiet, but Trace got lost in their thoughts long enough to not let it bother them. It was easier to daydream about a different time than it was to live in this one—this one which was admittedly easier than home was. There were a few things Trace missed, and it was mostly their dad. Who knew they could be homesick for a cramped flat and chicken that tasted a little off?

When Jim, their illustrious leader, remarked about the cliffs wailing like banshees—Trace snorted. “Must Ireland haunt me forevah?” They would have slithered back to daydreaming if they hadn’t come up to the campsite quickly.

As they got off the bus, Trace stretched, the dull pop of their bones only audible to those within a short proximity. “Is now a bad time to mention that I was fuckin’ too poor to camp? Not that you bloody went campin’ in London. If you wanted to piss and shit in the wilderness and get mauled by a bear, you’d just have to find the nearest Eurotrash Disco.” They realized that joke was probably lost on the lot of them, so they just sighed and continued their stretches.

They had seen “Team Eclipse,” and they paid them no mind. If football had taught them anything, it was that acknowledging competition would allow them to get under their skin. Sure, they could benefit from learning about their rivals, but they could also benefit from not getting psyched out by thinking about it. And this little trip was more about getting sorted into their corresponding house anyway. They just had to be the shiniest bitch in the dog show. Though they couldn’t help but feel some relief that there were a couple of hyper humans on the other team with physical abnormalities. They hadn’t seen a lot.

Everyone pairing off made Trace nervous. They truly didn’t want to share an enclosed space with anyone that tended to snore and fart. The dainty girls teamed up, the bougie rich girl asked Banjo, and then there was Katja who approached a dainty boy. What was left was a hodgepodge of testosterone and the girl in the wheelchair. There was no way Trace wanted to team up with her. Not due to any social stigma, but because they wouldn’t be of help to her. She’d probably end up having to carry around the small Brit. Trace approached her and patted her on the shoulder. “I’ll get you sorted.” They winked.

It was then that they made a beeline for Trevor and Rory. About that time Rory looked them square in the eye as he mentioned a football. They were aware of what the American football looked like, and they would have no part in it. Why was the ball that shape? Was it because American male footballers were grossly homophobic? They couldn’t cup anything ball-shaped and hold it close to their chest? Ugh.

They’d regret this next action. But they were two strapping young lads and they were a better fit for making sure that the girl in the wheelchair didn’t feel weird or left out. “Oye, you two.” They then pointed to the wheelchair bound girl. “One of you needs to go ovah and team up with her. The other one can stay behind and be my partnah. I don’t care which one it is, just leave your shared braincell with the one that’s stayin’ with me. Okay?”

5x Like Like 1x Laugh Laugh 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Mao Mao
Avatar of Mao Mao

Mao Mao Sheriff of Pure Hearts (They/Them)

Member Seen 0-24 hrs ago

"But yeah, that's pretty much the crew. We've got a big Breakfast Club vibe… except there's more of us, I guess. And there wasn't a real buff lady. And we're not in detention…"

Honestly, that was quite a lot of details about their teammates to process. But it was very much appreciated. Then the mind began to wander about who would become wary of a "convict" on the team. Iñigo was mentally prepared for the questions and the assumptions from... well, everyone on this island. And the amount of energy it would've taken to constantly correct everybody was not worth it. Not that they were going to try. Then a simple pat on the shoulder interrupted their train of thought. To say that Iñigo was caught off-guard would be an understatement. Their entire arm was shivering despite the warm weather and the pleasant chat with Rory. And they were subconsciously holding their breath, releasing it quite abruptly once they were alone. It was unnerving.

Location: PRCU - Western Canada
The Homecoming Trials #1.38: Settling In

Interaction(s): Haleigh Crawford @Kuro
Previously: Initiation

By the time the convoy made its presence heard, Iñigo had suppressed the unease from earlier and was more than ready for the trials. Then their mood was ruined when the team's faculty representative greeted everyone. They did not want any more reminders of the unpleasant arrival on campus. Seeing the "personal guru" didn't help whatsoever. It was just another person to lie to on an ever-growing list. Iñigo was paying little attention to the other representative and his team. But, for a brief moment, they glanced up from the ground to witness one of the team members being actively avoided. Iñigo frowned at the sight and tried to get his attention with a simple wave, but he was already gone. Then the time came to depart for the campsites, something they particularly dreaded.

Camping was something that never interested Iñigo. There just wasn't any compelling about the activity other than the scenery. But if they wanted to experience the wilderness, they would've hiked or watched a nature documentary instead. Hell, gardening was more fun than setting up a tent. Not that the tents provided were necessarily terrible; there were worst options out there. But before getting their tent up, Iñigo headed to the student advisor to request vegan for dinner. It wasn't like they didn't eat meat; they were exhausted after having to consume cold burritos and frozen sandwiches for five months straight. Tad, the student advisor, seemed all right enough to chat with relative ease. But they still planned on avoiding the counselor entirely out of an abundance of caution.

Fortunately, the girl in the wheelchair needed help getting her tent up, and it was an easier way of introducing themselves to the team. Better than awkwardly mumbling their name around the campfire late into the night. Iñigo approached her and introduced themselves with a soft smile, "I am more than willing to help you out, camarada." So much for a good first impression, imbécil! The smile faded ever so slightly at the slip-up. "Sorry... Let's just set this tent up."

- -|◄ FIRST---
4x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Tackytaff
Avatar of Tackytaff


Member Seen 12 days ago

Location: Pacific Royal Collegiate & University, - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
The Homecoming Trials #1.39: Step by Step(II)

Interaction(s):@Jarl Coolgruuf @Roman
Previously: N/A

"So, where are you from?"

Makenna made herself comfortable, tucking her skirt underneath her and a stray hair behind her ear before leaning over to place her head upon a hand as she leaned on their shared arm-rest.

“I came from out east: A nice, cozy life up in Connecticut before getting dragged out this way.” For all her bitter words, she smiled warmly at her seating partner.

“And you…” Her head tilted slightly, finger tapping her cheekbone and she surveyed him and attempted to pinpoint his accent. “I want to say lower Midwest? Nebraska maybe? I'm also wagering you're a voluntary member of our merry band of misfits.”

"What do you do?"

Makenna looked up from trying to make sense of the tent instructions. For a moment, she just stared blankly at the other girl before breaking out in a short laugh.

“Well that’s the first time anyone's asked me that way,” She grinned in reply, before throwing the package to the ground where if slowly began to unfurl and self-inflate. “Got a thing with voices,” She continued casually. Except the next time she spoke, it was Dr. Lehrer’s voice that left her mouth.

“Esoteric expulsion ability seems to have produced a malleability within the vocal cords. Paired with the student’s exceptional ear for key and tone, it creates a unique opportunity for mimicry of voices and sounds.” She decided it best to leave out the part about using HZE ions to create sonic blasts. That seemed more of a second-night together sort of thing.

Makenna began circling the tent as it took shape, kicking the corners slower to inflate. “That’s the long science bullshit version they gave me anyway. How about you?”

- -|◄ [url=First Post URL]FIRST[/url]---
◄ [url=Previous Post URL]PREV[/url] || [url=Next Post URL]NEXT[/url] ►-
[url=Latest Post URL (Edited after a subsequent post is added, can be linked to current post is current is latest)]LATEST[/url] ►|

3x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
↑ Top
© 2007-2023
BBCode Cheatsheet