Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Hound55
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Hound55 Create-A-Hero RPG GM, Blue Bringer of BWAHAHA!

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Banjo gazed into the bathroom mirror at the battered and marred face that looked back at him.

He smiled, and watched as it twisted. The hitched curl of his lip, the new gap in his brow. The places where it would scar, and the left cheek around his eye which swole and raised to slightly close it over.

He washed his hands in the basin and looked up his arms. Some superficial damage, protective wounds but nothing deep.

He thought back to that night and Cass' arms. The burn marks which had been there for years, and would have for more if he were still drawing breath. The cigarette burns, that round burn he barely got a look at which he first thought may have been a cigar, but now seemed more likely a lighter burn. His own arms were spotless, unblemished, prior to the day before last night, which happened a week ago. Even if the trauma which caused them still remained.

He dried his hands with a paper towel and turned and, turning his whole body to avoid the pain, threw it in the toilet. He turned back and looked at his face again in the mirror.

He kind of liked it. It seemed more honest. He wondered what that same face would look like if everything he'd been through down the years still left their marks. What about the rest of him?

He couldn't juice up whilst he was healing his fresh wounds. It'd do more harm than good. So maybe this honest face would hold for a month. Maybe two. But for now, a least, he believed the outside looked like the inside felt.
- - -

Location: Pacific Royal Collegiate & University - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
First Class: # 2.26 Time Flies When Your Two Nights Is Everyone Else's Week

Interaction(s): Trace - @psych0pomp, Elodie - @Skai
Previously: New Awakenings

A flush, and bare footsteps moved gingerly back towards the bed. Every step felt like it rattled his broken core. Every breath came with a rustle or scrape.

His condition had apparently been stabilised and he'd been moved here, to the Special Ward, a place presumably used for if Ranking Officers or dignitaries needed care away from prying eyes, back in the days of when this place was a military hospital. There were a few people here for his care, and otherwise it was a ghost-town. He wasn't sure if they were going to eventually move him to a general ward, or whether this was to keep people away. Technically he was now going to be allowed an expanded visitor list. But the regular student base, they wouldn't know he was here. Broken and tucked away, with a scratchy voice that would struggle to be heard over a stiff breeze.

He rounded a solar lamp, which some genius who'd read a basic report or profile on him had figured was a good idea. He didn't like it and didn't want it, but it wasn't worth the argument to explain why. He said 'saccharine', it was the quickest and most painless way he figured he could explain the sensation. Three syllables. It only made him feel more confined. Tasted wrong. The walls shrank in on him, and it reminded him he couldn't leave.

He reached the corner of the bed and made a decision, slowly he stepped out into the corridor of the Special Ward.

Finding an answer, he smiled.

"Not strong enough now though. But you know it's there."

Beyond the claustrophobia itself, he was fearful of getting triggered by that claustrophobia into a panic, here and now when it could be agony to draw breath.

"Rest now. Then leave."

He gingerly lay back on his bed with a heavy wince. Imagining what the sun would feel like on his skin, and daring to hope that Calliope might happen to be out there when he does burst back into the daylight.

- - -

He got to his feet again ten to fifteen minutes later. It shouldn't take so much out of a person just to go to the bathroom, but evidently it had. He walked back to the corridor and carefully trod a path to his goal.

An electric, stick-driven wheelchair which someone had abandoned further down the ward.

Every step hurt, but he was re-doubled with purpose now. He felt a cough coming on, and used the thought of the pain it would cause him to fight it off, as well as the attention it would draw.

He turned and sat, and cringed with pain, before moving gingerly to find a comfortable resting position.

A sigh. He took the stick and with quiet whirring, made his way to the end of the ward, and the elevator bay which awaited him.

- - -

Trace sat on the lip of the fountain, glancing into the water and catching the sun’s mottled rays. Their cheeks were hot from the unfiltered sun, but they’d applied a heavy enough sunscreen that they shouldn’t have to worry about creepy blue blistering on their face. The red hibiscus was in their hand. It looked as sad as Trace felt. Dejected and defeated in the face of their classmates. They weren't an eloquent speaker. Maybe they'd spoken wrong. No. They were right. They weren't going to back down from that stance. Maybe the others would see reason. Maybe they wouldn't.

"Good arvo, eh..?

For a second, Trace assumed that Haleigh had ramped over the anger stage of grief with the expediency of a pro skater, but that was not the case. Instead, Banjo rolled up to them. “Despite our accents havin’ bloody similarities, I don’t know what fuckin’ arvo means. So, you might want to try that again, or just motor off. I saw Calliope around here somewhere. She’s probably a more welcome face than my ungodly abomination.” They looked up, and their nearly transparent brows knitted. “Though, you look like someone tried to crisp up a dead opossum they found on the road. Might want to buff off the tire tracks before seein’ your girlfriend.”

Banjo smiled and tried to fight a chuckle from attacking his broken core. He deserved that. With the damage to his face, his smirk took the form of a grotesque sneer.

"It means good afternoon, Short White and Hands-y. And while I won't lie and say I wouldn't have rathered see her out here than yourself. You're probably a pretty clear second anyway."

The look of surprise was clear on Trace's face, and only sold further by their blank eyes.

"Admittedly a very distant second... but a clear one. And not just because you're bloody near translucent." Again, the grotesque sneer. His lip was curled and starting to scar in a rough way.

"And since I'm still supposed to be on a hospital bed, and not out here talking to you in a stolen wheelchair, I'd just as soon not go chasin' people 'round campus. It is good to know that the outside now looks like the inside feels, but. I'd hate to think I'm misrepresentin' meself."

Trace sighed. "It's probably better that you stay away from that lot, anyway. They wouldn't be good for you in this state. Your face might stick like that bloody permanently. And then what would your adorin' fans say?"

"Wouldn't bloody know. Would love to meet one one day."

"Come on, chickenshit. Get this kicked in the arse and done with. You know it's the right thing, even if they won't make it easy for ya." Banjo thought to himself. "You've sat on it for two days, they've had to fester on it for a week."

"Speakin' of ungodly abominations..." He spoke. "--And masterful segues." "...I wanted to have a quiet word with you about that. What I said, and did - I guess, was fucked up. And bullshit. It's a shitty thing to go feedin' and throwin' another person's biggest insecurities in their face. Fact is, I don't even believe it. Hell, I don't really know anyone here who does... but then it's not like I'm takin' polls on you with others. I just knew that deep down, for some fucked up reason or another, that YOU Ahh fuck... ...think that bullshit. And I knew it'd hurt to drag that one out and beat you with it. Which is-- well, it's a fucked up thing to do, and ahh'm sorr--y." He gasped for breath towards the end, with a splutter. It was too long for him to go on.

Trace narrowed their eyes at his words. It'd felt like entire years had passed since that moment, and here they were talking about it. He wasn't wrong. Most of the self-loathing was created by them and for them. Yet, it didn't start that way. It only festered after the initial wound had been made, and it'd been made far before they'd ever met Banjo. They couldn't forget the screaming.

Banjo's apology was surprising, but it wasn't unwelcome. Maybe Trace was going to say something nice at that moment. They weren't feeling too grand about themselves, and hearing something positive was a way to alleviate that sinking feeling. Yet, Banjo kept talking...

"I mean... I found a lottery ticket in the dirt. Wait, no, that'd imply initiative on my part-- A lottery ticket blew into-- no. A lottery ticket JUMPED into my hands and said 'Oi, mate. Check out the numbers.' and it was a winner." He said, raising a hand to take a few breaths, with a wince. "I mean she's beautiful, she's smart, she's - fucked if I know how this happens, because I hear beautiful people all too often feel they don't have to be - ACTUALLY FUCKING kind. She's from like a well-to-do family or something, her father's a senator... alright, sounds like one with some shitty bigoted views, but still... I'm not usually one to care about bullshit like that, but people do." He paused for some more breath. His ribs were starting to ache from pushing himself too hard, but he wasn't one to let a thing like that stop him.

"Now, I'm not generally chopped liver to look at-- Shut up." Banjo pre-empted the smartarse comeback. "--but that aside, I'm a broke, clusterfuck of a prick, with fuck all prospects or ambition, who was ditched by his parents from Who-the-fuck-knows-couldn't-even-tell-ya Australia. Oh! Who can't even go back to Aus if he wants to anymore, because coming here outed me as a Hyperhuman. And somehow, despite ALL of that, I still had a shot with HER. And then my dickhead mate, who I fuck about with and shitstir, decided it'd be a laugh to come up and joke about tearing my lottery ticket up in front of me." More breaths before his conclusion.

"Now, I'm not looking to justify it. What I did was absolutely fucked. And on top of that, I don't even believe any of it. I'll cop to all of that. But that's where me head was, when I said that bullshit to you." His ribs ached. He could tell he'd gone on far too long. It felt like his chest was throbbing and pulsating.

"Banjo. I say this with all the sympathy my body can muster: shut the fuck up." They pushed themselves up, standing at full attention in front of him. Usually, it wouldn't mean much. But he was sitting, and for once, they lorded over him. "If anyone is goin' to rip a lottery ticket out of your hands, it's goin' to be you with all this blabberin' on. So, I made a shit joke about gettin' your dick wet. Why should that bother you? Why should that bother Calliope? Peoples' worth aren't dependent on their sexual prowess. It's a bloody fuckin' antiquated way of makin' women's virginity feel like property, and makin' men feel like if they haven't conquered that property then they're sad little wankers. You're not a sad little wanker Banjo. Do you fall into society's little bubble, Banjo? Are you their perfect little round peg for their perfect little round hole? No. No you're not. So, don't fall into the preconceived ideals that society has about sexuality and masculinity. Own your past, your present, and your future. Jesus, I'd think of all these swaggerin' loons in this camp, I wouldn't have to explain this to you." They sighed, crossing their arms over their chest. "That bein' said, you don't have to worry about me sayin' anythin' else about it. It was a low, bloody blow, and I was feelin' a bit raw at the moment due to shit that had nothin' to do with you."

"So what's been goin' on with the rest of you peanuts? Whaddid I miss?"

They glanced at the somewhat crumpled-up flower. "War bein' declared on Hyperion. And not just the type where someone goes 'ah, fuck that wanker, let's gettum.' No. Haleigh wants to kill 'em, as does Luce, and--Calliope. Luce is actually lookin' for you. She's going to kiss your feet like your Jesus and beg for your forgiveness that we were all too scared to say nothin'. Rory's the voice of reason in all that." They sighed. "And it's not like I'm sayin' we shouldn't do shit. Just, all this happenin' feels like something bloody else is goin' on too. But apparently, I'm performin' oral on Hyperion for just thinkin' that."

"The fuck is with this crazy country? Bloody canucks. I've never had so many people so aggressively looking to apologise and beg for forgiveness in me life. Normally, it's the people demandin' it from me in the other direction... Look, just hold tight and don't broach the issue for a bit. I'll see if I can have a word. You do it first and they'll try and throw some bullshit in your face that it's because you don't give a shit or something. You don't need that." He paused for a second and considered how they'd answered the question. "Y'know what's goin' on with everyone includes you too, right? How're you holdin' up?"

They paused, momentarily. Their thoughts getting caught in their throat at that question. No one had really asked them about themselves. They acted as if Cass's death and Banjo's injury were the only things that happened. And they truly were the worst things that happened, but other things had hurt too. "Weird." They said. "No one has ever said anythin' nice about the way I look since I started to look this way. I had brown skin and black hair before this, Banjo. I was proud of my Indian heritage. And now I'm this--thing. And if people don't find me horrid to look at, I'm off puttin'. And for a flyin', magic supremacist to tell me that I'm 'beautiful' kind of hurts my brain. I mean, Hyperion's wrong. But if he's so wrong, does that mean I'm also a monster? But that's all small compared to everythin' else. I know that. Still feels weird, though."

"The whole thing was off. Did you hear the bullshit spiel he tried to sell me? Its like he-- He's reading broad facts off some basic cheat sheet or report, and then trying to work backwards to come up with assumptions which don't make sense, to try and tell us shit he thinks we want to hear regardless of how fucking off it sounds." He thought about it. "Anyone who would actually know me, would know that telling me you know my parents is not exactly going to win me over to your side. With you, I mean, I'm not saying he's wrong... but it's not something you'd ever be willing to hear or accept..."

"I think-- I think he might have a line on either the H.E.A.T program, the school or maybe even H.E.L.P itself. Because... he's got some of his facts right. But none of it actually connects beyond the superficial. He can't be a telepath, or he wouldn't be so off on us. It's like he's doing that cold reading bullshit like that John Edward bloke. And he got a big enough crowd of impressionable young kids, he only has to hit on a few. He's playing the numbers. Like the desperate bloke at the pub who hits on everyone with a pulse..." He took some breaths.

"I mean, you've seen how bloody exciteable these kids get. See, this is what I'm talkin' about with you. You're by far the fuckin' coolest one of us. Who the fuck else am I gonna talk to when the Seppos and canucks are acting lame and fuckin' weird, it's like they don't even see themselves. You know they actually came up to my hospital bed and told me that the Team swap and house selection was still going to be happening today? Like I'd give a shit, and I'm not just trying to figure out how to breathe without hurting..."

"It wouldn't hurt so bad if you didn't bloody talk so much," Trace remarked. Banjo's grin widened. "You're preachin' to the choir. I agree with you about the entire thing. And, seriously, they're continuin' on with that shit? Ugh. I probably need to change, then. Fetch my umbrella if I have to stand out in this damn heat any longer. "

"Anyway... can you go run messages and let 'em know they moved me out of the ICU? They've chucked me in me own ward and I can have visitors now. Particularly Calli', she's been runnin' around like a blue arsed fly trying to see me enough already. I'd hate to think she'd go to all the trouble and not know, now that I can."

"Oh. Is that why you're bein' nice to me? So I can find your girlfriend." They snapped the bottom of the stem of their flower off and ran their cool hands over the warm petals to make them seem more alive. Trace then leaned over Banjo and slid the flower behind his ear, being sure to tuck it all the way in. That involved them placing their hand on his shoulder and leaning over him. "I'll get the message to Calliope. You just promise me that you'll get better. Because if you die, then who am I bloody supposed to bitch at? I'd just feel bad takin' it out on Rory. He means well, he's like a bloody human golden retriever, and the more I bitch at him the closer I feel like I'm gettin' to the concept of hell." They leaned in and placed a soft kiss on his cheek, avoiding anywhere the skin was bandaged or bruised.

Trace then pulled away, their eyes not seeming to focus on anything in particular, before turning on their heels and heading back to the intake house.

- - -

Elle had not expected to see a patient outside of- no, entering, the building. Especially not this particular one. She stopped five feet in front of the entrance, blocking Banjo's way inside. Looking at his battered face, she couldn't help but remember how he hung in the air, inches away from Hyperion's mask before he was sent skyward. How she had to look away to avoid witnessing his fate. She felt a twist in her gut.

"You-" she stopped herself short as if she were about to say something right out of the subconscious parts of her mind. "You should be resting." It would be better to get him back upstairs. Before anyone walked by to see what Hyperion had done to him. She took command and gestured that he should head back towards the elevator.

He whirred back into the entrance, and tried to turn the corner for the elevator only to find it sluggish and unresponsive.

"Oh come on now... not now... Fuck! Ahh... shit, that fuckin' hurts. Great. Now what're you gonna do?" The battery was clearly dead.

She was just about to say "I got it", when she felt another sneeze pushing its way up. She turned herself to the side, out of Banjo's range, and released it into her elbow.

"Fuck. Sorry." She murmured as she instantly reached for the germ-x in her pocket and slathered it on her hands and elbow.

"Have you--? Have you got a cold? No. No, it's quite alright. I think that I read somewhere that the best thing to galvanise a collapsed lung or two, is a solid thick coating of phlegm. Keep wheeling. Just don't lick anything I'm gonna touch."

Sympathy damned, Elle couldn't help but roll her eyes as she stepped over to the wheelchair and gripped the handles. "Don't worry, prison break. The only way you'd catch my cold now is if we traded spit." A short moment of struggle for the initial push, and soon Elle was rolling him closer to the elevator. She moved to press the button with her knuckle and leaned against the wall to face him while they waited. A small smirk tugged at the edge of her mouth. "So, whose spit did you actually have in mind?" Her eyebrow rose just barely as she waited for his answer.

"That's not-- That's not what that was. That was a... friend..?" Is that right..? Trace? A friend? Felt weird to say out loud.

Elle's small smirk began to grow into a smile. She wasn't convinced. "Okay, casanova." She stood straight as she heard the elevator drawing close.

"No really. But... you may be right on that being... peripherally about someone who I hope to, as you so eloquently put it, swap spit with in the future. I just got moved out of the ICU. I don't have a phone. She's been trying to visit and can't get in... I was just letting people know I've moved, and that now they can." He stopped for a spell. It was too much to say at once, all too soon. He tried to catch his breath without taking any deep painful ones, and it was difficult. "...Hell, faith should be rewarded at least some of the time." He added with some shallow breaths and a cough, which made him rattle and wince.

Elle's smile faded the more he spoke, her expression turning solemn once she was standing behind him again. His wheezing had reminded her that he'd just gotten out of the ICU. Perhaps it was better to stop teasing him so much. Even if it seemed his character was still intact. The doors opened and Elle turned him around gently before backing into the elevator. She stepped around to press his floor number. This time she remained next to him, but kept her eyes on the rising floor numbers. She took a breath before subtly looking down at him. "I can let her know, but you have to promise me you'll get your rest."

"Hardly necessary now, is it? Did me own legwork." He smirked. Elle shook her head, but she had to give him a hint of a smile because he really had done the work, even if it was sitting on his ass in a wheelchair. But then he stopped to think. "There is something you could get me though... I could use some stuff from the library. A few books. You know, get the reading done before term starts, since I can't do much else here. Could you help me out there, if I write you a list?"

Elle looked down at him now, that playful smirk returning. "I didn't take you as the study type." She nodded. "I can do that for you." The elevator was soon nearing his floor, but Elle had to say something before any other ears could hear her.

"You're doing great, considering... but you have to listen to the doctors. I'll ask about taking you out for fresh air as soon as it's allowed." She chewed on her lip for a moment. "Hyperion-... he singled you out. You're going to need your strength if he comes back."

"Well, that's pretty bloody hospitable of you." He said with a twisted up smile. Elle returned the gesture with a shrug. "Way I see it... I pretty much singled myself out. And fuck him if he can't take a joke, eh?" That same grotesque snarl of a smirk.

Elle couldn't muster up her own witty remark. The consequences were written clearly across Banjo's face. "I take it by your silence, you reckon I'm not quite ready for yearbook photos just yet, yeah?" He chuckled with a slight cringe of pain. She gave him a polite smile, yet it didn't reach her eyes.

"Whaddid you say your name was, by the way? Makin' a point to make the effort with people from now on. The last bloke I knew where I didn't, wound up a shish-kebab before I ever got the chance... I'm Banjo."

Elle had moved to stand behind him again. She found herself grimacing as she gripped the handles, flashbacks of that horrible death flashing through her head again. Yet when she spoke, her voice was as collected as moments before. "Elle Miller, at your service."

As the elevator doors opened, the handles surged forward out of her grip. Banjo turned with a flick of the stick. "Well, you're alright Elle. But it seems like there was a little more life left in it than it looked..." He said, with a wink and that sneer of a smirk. Before turning around and rolling back towards his room.

Elle was dumbfounded, just for a moment. Before she decided that he wasn't going to get an epic getaway. Not after he risked scaring his nurses half to death. She stepped out of the elevator and turned to watch him, guessing he had a pretty smug look on his face at the moment. Elle counted to five before clearing her throat. "Aren't you forgetting that list, plucky?" Her eyes were amused, but her expression looked impatient. Even if she still had thirty minutes until the ceremony.

The wheelchair stopped. Then backed up, before doing a three-point turn and returning to the elevator bay. An amused look on his face.

"Y'know the nice thing to do, might have been to let the crook bloke reckon he was gonna have a win..."

Elle raised her eyebrows in response.

"Yeah... no, I'm not that nice either..." He chuckled with only minor discomfort. "Now, ya comin?"

Elle grinned and, as ever the lady she could be, gestured for him to lead the way until she found an open office to collect a notebook and pen. "I'll ring for a nurse to get you some pain meds while you're jotting it down."

He started to scrawl on the paper a short list. "A little dry. But like I said. Pre-term reading." His broken ribs ached, but he fought the urge to grab at his chest.

As he wrote it all down, Elle moved back into the office to call a nurse to his room. She didn't mention his midday stroll, but let them know that he had complained about the pain. She even asked them to send up some lunch for him. It was highly doubtful that he'd made it to the cafeteria earlier.

"While I'm working on it, I might just get on the visitor list, if you can have it go to the right hands?"

"I'll do my best." She called out from in the adjacent room.

He scrawled Calliope's name at the top, then wrote "Team Blackjack" underneath, before extrapolating and writing the names as he remembered them from that night. He only knew about three of his teammates surnames though - Trace's and Rory's from when he'd made a mental note to look out for his brother and sister when working at the Collegiate Library. He thought for a second before adding one final name and detail at the bottom.

" Hyperion - * You See This Prick, Let Him Right On Through And Get Another Bed Ready * "

"Consider that little embarrassment your punishment for grand theft auto. Next time you won't get off so easy." She re-emerged from the office with a smirk on her face. She glanced down at the paper, the first and last names on the visitor list catching her attention.

"Unfortunately they don't send megalomaniacs to your floor." She quipped.

"Yeah? What floor do the doctors and Medical Board get off at..?" He chirped back. "No..? Haven't been here long enough for that animosity with the docs to creep in yet? I'll give it a few weeks. When they wheel me back in 'cos your cold's what's killing me, I'll check in then."

Elle was extremely tempted to feign licking her hand and wave it at him. Instead she clicked her tongue and took the paper from his hand. "How you wound me." She held her hand out for the pen and smiled. "I licked the pen, by the way." Maturity was no fun anyways.

"I wound you. You kill me. Sounds equitable. Mightier than the sword."

"It's a deal then." Elle grinned. "Let's postpone it until after the ceremonies tonight, though. I want to know what color I'll be sporting."

"Oh. Ohhhhh. You're new here too. Yeah. They told me that thing was happening. I don't know why they'd reckon I'd find it to be important enough to tell me, or that I'd give a shit right now. But hey. They did. Said something about 'Team Swap' as well, yeah. Which one're you in? I don't think I saw you in Eclipse, but I saw those kids for all of about five seconds. I knew everyone over in mine. Eventually... So who's that leave?"

Elle pressed her lips together for a moment, thinking of those students that left with Hyperion. "I wasn't inclined to drop out so early." She smiled. Banjo furrowed his brow, not catching the reference. "I'm on Firebird. Haven't gotten to know any of my teammates, though. I've mostly been mourning my life in the city."

"I'm gonna play it by ear, see if anyone else swaps. You have some fierce teammates. I overheard a few of them swearing vengeance already. Still not sure if that's a good idea or not, or if I'd get pulled into it if I were on Blackjack too."

"From the looks of you, they might need my help." She teased.

Banjo's brows knitted tighter still. If it was so blatant that people on other teams were starting to pick up on it, maybe the situation was even more severe than Trace had him think. And he already took them seriously.

Banjo's tone became noticeably more earnest. "Yeah... the sooner the better on those books. I reckon. If you could, maybe you could pop in there after the ceremony? Bring em in showing off those new colours you're so excited about?" He tried to lighten up again at the end, but he could hear the tone change in himself. This was Calli, though. He was pretty sure he had some ideas, but she'd hold him to account. He'd have to do his homework. Have to make sure he had his 'I's dotted and his 'T's crossed. He lost a week with her already. He had no intention of losing her to some batshit crazy crusade for a narcissistic fundamentalist nutbag's head.

Elle noticed the change in his demeanor. If she hadn't already decided that she liked the firecracker because of his wit, this settled it. Elle simply nodded, no hint of amusement in her eyes. "I'll make sure to bring them by tonight." She gently folded the paper and stuck it into the pocket of her skirt. She knew the nurse would be up soon, and she'd better get going. So she decided to end their visit on a happier note.

"And I'll make sure your girl knows you're thinking about her." She smiled. "Try to get some rest while you wait. She's not going to want to trade spit if you look miserable."

- - -

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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by PatientBean
Avatar of PatientBean

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

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Location: Pacific Royal Collegiate & University - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
First Class #2.26: New Foes, Old Friends

Interaction(s):Coop (@psych0pomp)
Previously: Protection

Calli took a moment to take all that was being said in. Let it never be said she didn't allow everyone a fair shake. Granted, she was more inclined to believe Luce and Haleigh over Rory and Trace (of all people, Calli never expected Trace to be on the side of not stirring up trouble). And Mackenna was Mackenna. Calli rolled her eyes, but even she had a point. That didn't matter though. Calli still wanted Hyperion's head on a pike and if the school wasn't going to do anything about it, she was. "Evil wins when good people do nothing. Isn't that a saying? I don't advocate going in blind but I sure as hell am not going to sit on my ass twiddling my thumbs and pretending to be an average student in a school of kids with mind-bending powers. I'm doing something about it. Luce was right, there are sides and we'll need to make a choice."

After Calliope spoke she heard her name, but it wasn't from any of her teammates. And it invoked a sense of nostalgia. She turned to look at who was calling her and saw a figure she didn't expect. Dash Cooper. Granted, he had grown up, but it was him. She recalled pleasant moments with him growing up, her one safe haven from her father. "Dash Cooper? What the heck?" Calliope also opened her arms for a hug and it felt good to see a familiar face. Once free, she led him away from the others. If she was going to open up about her past again, she didn't want everyone to know. "What are you doing here? Well, I can hazard a guess, but still. How have you been?"

Coop followed her, only throwing a passing glance over his shoulder as the conversation started to heat up behind him. It seemed wildly personal, and he was glad not to have anything to do with it. He focused back on Callope, his smile hadn't faded yet. It was nice to get a hug from someone familiar. Not that he'd gotten hugs from the unfamiliar. Just that--you know, not important. "Oh, I just stopped by for a look around. You know, marvel at all the Canadian architecture and landscaping. It's giving me YA-supernatural-love triangle vibes. If I see one more 'I got a dark secret' hairstyle, then I'm, 100% sure I'm the other other love interest." He rubbed the back of his head at that moment, almost forgetting that he'd been wounded. He winced. "Bad joke. I'm here for the same reason as you. Something which I'm sure our parents are on a text chain about how awful it is to have a 'broken child.'" He rolled his eyes. "I'm doing alright, considering. How about you? You were in class with the guy. That can't be easy--but I get it if you don't want to talk about it. We can always discuss which emojis our dads are using incorrectly."

Calliope winced as Coop brought up their fathers. She hadn't spoken to her father for a while now. Did he know what happened? Did he care? "I'm fairing as well as can be, I suppose. I didn't know him well, but in the limited interactions I did have with him he seemed sweet. Another of ours got severely injured. He's in the hospital and they won't let me see him."

Calliope decided not to disclose what her and Banjo were, if anything. She didn't even know yet. "But anyway, it's nice to have someone I know here! Especially you. I'm sorry we kind of lost touch after a while. You know how it goes."

"I'm sure if they won't let you see him it has less to do with you, and more to do with him. He's probably just asleep, or on like a lot of morphine. One time when I was on pain relievers I thought I was Nic Cage, and I was out to get the Declaration of Independence. The nurses were not happy that I found a marker and had written my plan all over the wall." He pushed his hands into his pockets and smiled when she remarked that it was nice to have someone here that she knew.

"I wouldn't... worry about it. These things happen. We have so many options to talk to so many people, that sometimes we don't check up on the people we know the best. Hell, I can't talk. I didn't reach out to you." He drew his lips into a thin line. "I thought about it, y'know, after I read about what happened. But at that moment, I hadn't really had my shit happen to me... so... what would I have said. 'Hey Calli, can you like... make an ice sculpture of the President kissing a hedgehog that's dressed up as a small businessman?' Which now that I say that... I really want to know if you can."

Calliope laughed. It had been a while since she was put at ease by someone. "Yeah, you're right. I know it's in his best interest. I just want to know he's ok. He was really hurt." Calliope hadn't thought about it much, but her explosive reveal had to make local news. A senator's daughter unleashing icy hell? Hell, she was probably national news.

"As for the ice sculpture, I am sure I can whip something up. Bygones, also. We are here now in the same place, weirdly enough. It was nice to see you again Coop. A little reminder of home that's actually positive. I needed that more than you could ever know."

Coop smiled, understanding that Calliope was quite done with their conversation. He could practically see the edges of her lips turn in the same direction as her feet as she spoke. "Same. I guess it's just a reminder that no matter how big the world is. It can get pretty small sometimes. It's good to see you, and if you ever want to get together and braid each other's hair sometimes. I can try and you burn your hair off later, and can just make the world's smallest braids in mine. Or just knot up the hair real good." He laughed. "Unfortunately, I was an only child and never learned how to braid anything. Have a good day, Calli." He pulled his hands from his pockets and waved at her, heading off to... he didn't know where. He just knew how to read body language. And body language said there was a world of worry on her shoulders and she wanted some time to deal with it.

Calliope left Coop there, feeling kind of bad on ditching him. As nice as it was to see an old friend, her mind was a cavalcade of different emotions. She was not at her best. Hell, what WAS her best anymore? Letting people she knew die or get hurt? Letting herself get so worked up she panicked and passed out.

"You're pathetic. Look at you. Little Miss Senator's Daughter is off on her own and still fucking things up."

No, not here. Not now.

"Yeah, thought you could get rid of me? I'm your inner voice, bitch! That little pestering voice that tells you like it is. You're a failure. Cass is dead. Banjo is injured. Blackjack is all but traumatized and what did you do? Have a panic attack and pass out. Real strong efforts there."

Calliope stopped walking, clinging one hand to her wrist. "You can't hide the scars. They will always be there."

Calliope closed her eyes and counted to 20, taking deep breaths. Eventually, she calmed down. She looked around, hoping no one saw her nearly have another panic attack.

Calliope debated on what to do next. Perhaps she would go to the ICU after Luce. Maybe the girl would have better luck than she did.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Mao Mao
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Mao Mao Sheriff of Pure Hearts (They/Them)

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It was relatively easy to deceive someone if one had enough confidence in themselves. But deceiving a group of professional nurses and doctors was quite the challenge. Iñigo found themselves having to rely on knowledge obtained from medical dramas their mother watched too often for her own good. It was fortunate that the infirmary was still overwhelmed by Hyperion's attack to scrutinize a fellow nurse for a slip-up or two. Or several. And it wasn't like they would remain in that form for a while, just long enough to visit a certain someone. Iñigo had no idea what awaited them on the other side, but they had to be prepared for every possibility. So after a deep breath, they entered the patient's room with a facade ready for use.

Nurse Alistair Quinn immediately noticed the patient lying on the medical bed and couldn't look away. Seeing him breathing without a tube shoved down his throat was remarkable. And based on the information acquired from the clipboard on the bed railing, the road to recovery was rough but achievable. Unfortunately, he was too distracted to notice the patient waking up groggy, exhausted, and thirsty. Not enough time to slip away undetected, dammit. "What's up, Doc?" the patient said, his grin widening as the doctor looked at him. Alistair secured the clipboard back in place and made his way over to him with the intent to respond. Then he noticed the empty insulated mug on the bed table, choosing to instead refill it.

It didn't take long for Alistair to return with the refilled mug in hand. He handed it over to the patient and said tenderly, "Making sure you're receiving the best care possible."

"Yeah, well, cheers for the room temperature water." the patient raised the mug with a weak smirk before taking a rather long sip through the flexible straw. "A 2023 vintage Tap, if I'm not mistaken... with fruity notes and just a hint of fluoride."

Banjo was still such a wise ass, a very good sign that the incident hadn't completely changed him. Alistair couldn't contain his smile for some reason. "Your throat will appreciate it in the long run, trust me. Soon enough, you'll be able to drink iced cold water and eat all the tim tams you want. Speaking of food, I know you've been placed on a diet to account for your numerous injuries, right? Well, the latest readings show you're on the right path. And I might be able to sweet talk my way to reward your progress with something... delightful. Like, say, cinnamon biscuit bites? It doesn't sound much, but, again, your throat will relish something soft and moderately sweet after the hell it's been through."

"Hoo-bloody-ray." the patient smiled weakly but then abruptly asked with a frown in its place. "Any idea when I'll be up and about again, Doc?"

Alistair didn't know what to say to such a heartbreaking question. Iñigo was completely fazed by the sudden unexpected display of despair and didn't know what to say next. Did he ask because of the funeral tomorrow? If so, there was no way Banjo would be able to attend in his current state. Not even with nurses on standby. So what was the best course? Lie and come up with some half-assed excuse or be honest to a grieving, injured person? They had to say something either way. He took a deep breath and pulled a chair beside the bed, close enough to provide some comfort. "I am afraid that your injuries are too severe to take any chances at this time, even if we put you in a wheelchair. So you won't be able to attend your friend's funeral if that's what you're wondering."

"Oh." the patient went quiet for a moment. "I'll at least get visitors though, right?"

"Very soon, I guarantee." Alistair smiled softly. "For now, though, you have to be content with me and the other nurses."

"So I'm trapped with you and the cast of G.P. for the time bein', huh? Well that's just great." the patient chuckled and then looked at the window. "Can you gimme a cheeky five minutes alone, Doc?"

"Of course." Alistair nodded and began putting the chair back in its original spot. Iñigo wanted to remain for a few more minutes even if it jeopardized their cover. But it wasn't the right thing to do. Banjo needed to mourn too. But just before walking out, the patient called out to him with a single word: "Doc?" Alistair turned to look back, hand barely on the doorknob. "I get that I'm probably not the easiest patient to deal with, I just wanna say 'Ta' for dealing with it all anyway."

"Well, that's my job." Iñigo said sincerely. Alistair said nonchalantly and then left the room, making sure that the patient was getting those biscuit bites for dinner.

Location: Northern Cove, PRCU - Western Canada
The Homecoming Trials #2.27: Awkwardly in Place

Interaction(s): N/A
Previously: Rude Awakening

What a fucking mess. Iñigo shook his head, trying to figure out what would happen now. It was too apparent that the team was divided on what to do with Hyperion. But they all shared the exact same grief from losing a teammate. Everyone left the courtyard to find solace in their rooms or the ICU to see Banjo for the first time since the incident. But in all honestly, Iñigo didn't know what to do next. He had already visited him yesterday after his check-up with Dr. Hosni Mansour. And he for sure did not want to spend any more time in the intake housing to wait for the ceremony. So all there was left to do was to just stand there awkwardly. Or sit awkwardly... which sounded slightly more comfortable.

Iñigo didn't say anything to the other remaining teammate, but he made sure to awkwardly wave at her before departing from the courtyard. There was nothing left to say out loud anyhow.

- -|◄ FIRST---
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Hidden 4 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Lord Wraith
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| 7 Days Ago, the Night of Hyperion's Attack
"I'm locked out of the defense grid."

"What do you mean you're locked out?" The bureau supervisory agent asked standing over the security officer's workstation. Studying the screen intently, the supervisor grunted in displeasure upon seeing the stagnate image.

"The grid is non-responsive, I can't get it to update. The whole system is frozen."

"Raise the alarm, we're under attack."

The silenced pistol barely made a sound as the officer stood up, firing into the supervisor's chest a second time to ensure the deed was done. As the body hit the ground, the agent fired a third round between his eyes before stepping over the body.

A scream cut short.

A yell silenced.

The other officers in the room didn't even have time to draw their weapons before the double agent fired again, their arms and weapons blurring, seemingly multiplying, as they methodically took out each member of the base security center.

Producing a device in their palm, they hesitated for a moment before their expression hardened.

"For Hyperion."

Beneath the raging storm, the explosion was barely audible.


| 6 Days Ago, 1 Day After Hyperion's Attack
“Get off my campus and go enjoy your chair while you have the chance, Miss Caspian.” Jonas paused before climbing into the vehicle waiting for him. The warmth suddenly returned to his face, as he spoke again, calling back to Winter.

“We wouldn’t want it to get cold.” He smiled, his eyes however did not as the icy gaze never once blinked while maintaining contact with Winter.

A shiver ran down the small woman’s spine as she found herself standing alone on the podium while the student body and faculty both exited the stadium grounds.

"We can no longer sit idly monitoring Hyperion's Children, they are not extremists, they are terrorists and should be considered an active threat. In the past seventy-two hours, they have made multiple attacks against H.E.L.P. and its institutes." The Bureau of Hyperhuman Enforcement, Logistics and Protection Deputy Director's words left little room for argument as Winter Caspain addressed the gathered executives and division directors. She returned to her seat as the man next to her stood and addressed the gathered members of the council.

"I move we continue with the emergency appointment of a new Director," The voice of Chief of Staff Killian O'Bran echoed through the round room as he stepped forward. "Are there any nominations to be brought before the council at this time?"

"The council would like to recognize Dr. Jonas Lehrer," A graying man interjected as Jonas stood upon receiving the nomination.

"Dr. Jonas Lehrer is the founder of Pacific Royal Collegiate and University, having served as its Chancellor and leading professor for over thirty years." The council member continued, "Furthermore, he is often referred to as the World's Foremost Authority on Hyperhumans, their genetics and their abilities. Dr. Lehrer has more experience with Hyperhumans than anyone in this room, understanding and fighting for our goals along with standing the best chance at defeating Hyperion and his followers."

Several members of the council clapped agreeably as the man motioned for Jonas to speak. Respectfully nodding to the gathered council, the Chancellor cleared his throat before addressing the attendees.

"As you all know, Director Yakob Kowalski was a close and personal friend, I will do my best to honour his memory. Together, we will bring an end to this threat and usher in a new era for H.E.L.P. and all Hyperhumans."

From across the room, another man stood, addressing Killian as Jonas took his seat again.

"Honorable Chief of Staff, the council would also like to recognize Deputy Director Winter Caspian as a nominee."

Winter stood again, nodding to the council. Jonas' steeled his gaze, eying his competition from across the room.

"The Deputy Director was top of her class at both McGill and P.R.C.U., having dual citizenship in both Canada and the United States, Winter was originally scouted to work for several agencies including Canada's own CSIS before being hired by the H.E.L.P.'s division of Enforcement and doing several years with Intelligence Operations before moving into the Intervention & Counter Terrorism Division which she led before being promoted to Deputy Director. While it has been a rough several days, Winter Caspian has faced them head on and we'd be lucky to have her continue in her current acting role."

Bowing her head in appreciation, Winter cleared her throat briefly before speaking to the rows of filled seats around her.

"I have served alongside the Director for several years, I had hoped if this day ever came that he would be here himself. Director Kowalski had been monitoring the Hyperion Threat personally and had hoped to solve the issue in collaboration with several international federal agencies. H.E.L.P. has never tried to stand alone, we've been there to aid and guide in these uncertain times, but now is the time for us to lead the charge especially when its one of our own not only putting human lives in danger, but as we saw at P.R.C.U., also the lives of fellow Hyperhumans and students no less."

Taking a seat, Winter looked around the room at the nods of approval while a slow clap slowly moved from seat to seat until Killian raised his hands to still the commotion.

"If there are no further candidates to be put forth, I'd ask the members of the council to cast their votes." The Chief of Staff's voice boomed over the rounded room, the brogue rolling across every sonorant. With no additional candidates put forth, the council members activated the screen in front of themselves, casting their vote for either Jonas or Winter.

As the votes finished tallying, Killian consulted with several other appointed council members before returning to the podium to address the attendees.

"During this time of crisis, we believe that Pacific Royal Collegiate and University, which best represents the future of H.E.L.P. needs Dr. Jonas Lehrer at its helm, without his attention divided between H.E.L.P. and the school. For that reason, the council believes that Deputy Director Winter Caspian is the best fit to lead H.E.L.P. in these uncertain times. By your decision, I give you Director Caspian, the twenty-first Director of the Bureau of Hyperhuman Enforcement, Logistics and Protection."

The applause echoed across the room, muffling the sound of the slamming door as Dr. Jonas Lehrer left.


| 5 Days Ago, 2 Days After Hyperion's Attack
A tap on the door caught the attending nurse's attention as he opened the door, welcoming both Miranda Rivers and Aaron Matthews into the hospital room occupied by Jim O'Neil.

"We're going to need some privacy," Miranda stated, stopping the nurse with a tap on the shoulder.

"Jim O'Neil did not have any visitors today." She commanded, her eyes glowing faintly as the nurse looked back at her in a daze.

"There hasn't been anyone in or out today," He replied before continuing to walk out. Closing the door behind the nurse, Miranda locked the knob as Aaron walked over to the window, absently turning on the nearby radio and raising the volume. The sound of Gord Downie's voice filled the room, eliciting a physical cringe from Aaron as the sounds of the Tragically Hip hid their conversation.

"H.E.L.P. has been compromised," Miranda started, jumping straight to the point. "No doubt P.R.C.U. along with it."

"And you want to trust this one," Jim growled accusingly from his bed, pointing his remaining hand at Aaron, "Didn't take much more than a curtsy and a howdy-do for his Number One to jump ship."

"I seem to recall that your right hand cut off your left, right before he up and left."

"Gentlemen," Miranda interjected, "How about we start living up to that name and start being civil with one another."

"Hard when you're born ignorant, ain't it Aaron," Jim replied with a smile before pushing himself up in the bed.

"Why do you trust us?" He asked bluntly turning towards Miranda.

"I read both of your minds while we were facing that monster, had to be sure neither of you were going to turn on me. In the heat of the moment like that, your thoughts are honest and transparent. Right now you might think something else, you might picture me naked to make me look away. Numerous Hyperhumans are trained to resist telepaths, especially those who work for H.E.L.P. Hyperion was no exception. But both of you were caught off guard and you certainly weren't cheering the madman on. You were worried about the kids"

"Good enough for me," Jim replied lifting his arm to cross it only for it awkwardly float against his chest before he reluctantly let it fall into his lap.

"They fit you for one of those cutting-edge prosthetics yet?" Aaron asked, jutting his chin toward where Jim's left arm should have been.

"Not taking one," Jim muttered.

"Why the hell not?"

"Because," Jim replied, focusing for a second as a glow in the shape of an arm briefly appeared, materializing for a second before falling away. "I think I can manifest one with my abilities with enough practice. They seem to want to compensate."

"Fascinating," Miranda replied dryly, "But not exactly the time."

"From this point on, we can only trust the people in this room." Jim responded, returning to the matter at hand. "No electronic communication, leave no paper trail. The school's walls have ears. Hyperion can clearly enter and leave as they wish. They're clearly one of us."

"And clearly connected to Autumn Miracle, that's who the woman was they had with them that night."

"Autumn Miracle had been imprisoned by H.E.L.P. since 1984. The only people connected to her should have been those involved in the Crestwood Hollow incident." Aaron interjected.

"So the entire founding body of P.R.C.U." Jim's retort was met by less-than-amused looks from both Aaron and Miranda. "Most of them still teach here, those that don't are either working with H.E.L.P. or went rogue years ago."

"Saying of course that Autumn herself isn't running this whole show and 'Hyperion' isn't some kind of mass misdirection."

"For the time being, Aaron and I will watch your back and ensure no one gets to you or the kids. In the meantime, be vigilant." Miranda cautioned.

"And remember, none of us are safe."


| 4 Days Ago, 3 Days After Hyperion's Attack
“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.”

The door to the small room swung open, nearly falling from its hinges. The blonde girl inside had no time to react before she was blinded by the flashbang that rolled into the room. Attempting to teleport, she found herself unable to leave, the very air littered with irradiated electrons produced by the portable silos strategically placed in a perimeter around her hiding spot.

The sound of several cocking weapons caused the woman to reluctantly raise her hands as the room cleared and Special Agent Sebastian Scott took the center position. Levelling his weapon at the other Hyperhuman, his nostrils flared slightly, confirming the scent.

The suspect in question could have been barely older than seventeen. Cassidy Parker had been antagonistic towards H.E.L.P. for some time now. Her abilities allowed her to enter and exit often without interference making her an ideal thief. Until now there had never been any reason to connect her to Hyperion.

"Cassidy Parker, you're under arrest." Scott commanded as he motioned for Agent Duquesne to cuff the girl.

"Why can't I teleport?" Cassidy asked, grunting as Veronica pulled her arms behind her back.

"We created a dead zone," Scott replied, "Anything you further do or say will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney, if you can't afford an att-"

"Kowalski is alive." Cassidy interjected,

"If you can't afford an attorney-"

"Kowalski is alive!" Cassidy continued, "If you don't act now, it'll be too late." She protested, fighting against the cuffs. "Please, he's fighting, but if you don't find him soon, it'll be too late. I've seen what Hyperion does to people, to Kowalski. I tried to save him!"

As another agent rushed to help Veronica restrain Cassidy, Sebastian slowly lowered his weapon.

"Where is Yakob Kowalski?"


| 3 Days Ago, 4 Days After the Hyperion Incident
"Do you know why wanted to see you?"

It was intimidating sitting across from Dr. Jonas Lehrer. The man had nearly singlehanded discovered everything known about Hyperhumans, their abilities and the phenomenon that created them. His works had gone on to be both loved and loathed around the world with many adopting them as teaching materials, both for enlightenment and exploitation.

"With all due respect, Sir, it's actually now a well-known fact among new entrants to Pacific Royal that you like to have a personal sit down with each and every student that comes to the island." Alyssa swallowed her nerves, feigning confidence as she answered.

"I heard several members of Eclipse comparing their experiences, it was my understanding that you open with a vague question, such as the one you've just posed, in order to see how the student interprets it and then steer the conversation from there in order to access any insecurities, concerns or other subject matter that surfaces based on the initial answer."

Alyssa paused, taking a moment to think before talking again, cutting Jonas off as the Chancellor opened his mouth to retort.

"How did Hyperion display so many various abilities that night? I understand you're the leading expert on Hyperhumans and in your dissertation on Hyperhuman Abilities, you note that all Hyperhumans start with the same baseline potential. Meaning, we're not born locked into our abilities. They develop in response to our experiences and surroundings."

Jonas raised an eyebrow at where the topic had moved. Interested in the young woman's thoughts, he leaned forward, placing his elbows on the desk before entwining his hands, the extended index fingers resting against his chin.

"Is it possible to retain that initial fluidity in abilities?" Alyssa asked, "Say if one could fluctuate between abilities, switching them on the fly. I read a report once that you theorized those with the ability to replicate the abilities of others could potentially evolve into such an individual. Do you believe Hyperion is one such individual?"

"Firstly," The Chancellor replied leaning back in his chair, "I'm flattered to have such a young fan. It's not often I have a student in my office who can quote my work back to me with such accuracy. Secondly, regarding Hyperion, I can't possibly say for certain. It's unprecedented."

"For a Hyperhuman, I'd be inclined to agree." Alyssa nodded eagerly, "Have you considered that he's not a Hyperhuman? He could be a Draoi, albeit one masquerading as a Hyperhuman to amass followers." She rambled, "Unless of course, you're not familiar with the Magni, most people aren't but my Great Uncle spent a lot of my childhood telling me about his adventures and travels through the Slavic Countries. They were something of a special interest to hi-"

The door to Jonas' office suddenly opened catching Alyssa mid-sentence as both student and chancellor turned to identify the instruction to their conversation.

"Ah," Standing from his desk, Jonas approached the woman in the doorway, "Miss Carlyle, always a pleasure. What can I do for you?"

"We were supposed to be meeting," She replied, her eyes scanning Alyssa quickly before returning to Jonas. "Once again, at exactly this time. I presume you've double booked me again."

"I think we were actual just finished, didn't we Miss Townsend?" Jonas replied to Summer, the implication very clear as Alyssa stood from her chair, both hands tucking her skirt as she curtsied to the pair of adults.

"Of course, just leaving. Thank you for your time Dr. Lehrer, it was a pleasure." Alyssa responded, beating a hasty retreat out of the office before Jonas quickly closed the door behind her. The audible 'click' of a lock echoed down the hallway of the Administration Building as Alyssa walked away.


| 2 Days Ago, 5 Days After Hyperion's Attack
Meal times were always the surest opportunity for finding the most students in the same place. The Mess Hall was alive with the sounds of conversation and laughter. It was a welcome relief from the somber silence of the Intake House over the past week.

Finding an empty table to themselves, Alyssa and her brother, Oliver, placed their trays down before taking a seat. Looking around the Mess Hall, Alyssa couldn't help but feel a sense of relief that they were both safe and together. Nodding across the table at Oliver, the pair bowed their heads as Alyssa gave thanks for their food before opening their eyes and beginning their meal.

The younger male enthusiastically covered his fries in ketchup as Alyssa looked fondly toward her brother. Watching as he was eagerly digging into his plate of food.

"So, how's your first week been so far?" Alyssa asked, taking a bite of her own food. "Outside of the megalomaniac, of course."

"Of course, of course," Oliver replied with a wry smile, "It's been great!" He continued between bites.

"I got to meet some of the other kids in my dorm and we played some games in the common room."

"That's good to hear," Alyssa smiled. "I'm glad you're enjoying yourself." The Collegiate Students were on the other end of the Southern Plateau when Hyperion had attacked, it spared them a lot of the more grisly details. While her dorms at the Intake House had been mostly void of communal activities, the Collegiate students were more easily able to continue on as nothing had happened.

From across the table, Oliver nodded his agreement. Picking up his hamburger, he took a far larger bite than he should have, eliciting a small laugh from Alyssa herself.

"Do you think Hyperion will come back?" Oliver managed to get out while chewing on the mass of food in his mouth, his smile rapidly vanishing inside a much more serious expression.

Alyssa sighed, knowing that her brother was still shaken up by the attack. She had never thought anything like this would happen at Pacific Royal. Pacific Royal was always talked about in such high regard by the Foundation students. Then when her roommate and other classmates went missing, Alyssa had begged and pleaded to transfer, hoping that by going to Pacific Royal that Oliver would be spared the hardships. But it definitely seemed like tragedy was determined to follow them wherever they went.

"I don't know, Oliver." Alyssa began, thinking through her words as she did, "But we're safe here at Pacific Royal. They have some of the best security measures in place to protect us."

"I guess," Oliver said, but he still looked worried.

Alyssa reached over and took his hand. "Don't worry, little brother. We'll get through this together."


| 1 Day Ago, 6 Days After Hyperion's Attack
Alyssa sat in Dr. Thomas' office, feeling a mix of emotions as she occasionally glanced toward what felt like an agonizingly slow analog clock on the wall. A simple-looking device, its numbers were in a plain, bold font, a simple black on a white face. Still, the thin red hand felt to be hardly moving as it completed a revolution causing the longer of the two black arms to move a monumentally minute increment forward.

She had lost a classmate in what was supposed to be a celebratory opening weekend.

Though she hadn't known Cassander Charon, Alyssa couldn't help but keep picturing the blonde boy as her own brother. Every time she closed her eyes, she saw Cassander's stunned expression warp into Oliver, Hyperion's harpoon piercing her brother's chest.

Alyssa's knees bounced together in a steady beat as she struggled with the slurry of emotions whirling up inside of her. The guilt of surviving. Surviving having done nothing to save the boy who stood up for them. Could her abilities have protected them? The fear that her brother could yet suffer the same fate if Hyperion returned.

"Do you believe in God, Dr. Thomas?" Alyssa asked, her voice cracking as she did. "I did, or I still do." Alyssa mumbled, verbally processing her thoughts.

"It's not like there isn't a precedent for God-given gifts that border on the supernatural, one need not look any further than the Old Testament. But these-" She looked down at her own hands, "These feel so evil. I spend half my waking hours worried I'm possessed, this thing inside of me often acts seemingly of its own free will. I don't summon it, it just comes. And I feel it's going to swallow me, and I'm going to end of like him." She added, referring to Hyperion.

"And then to go and find out that not only do I have these abilities, this bizarre biology, but to also find Oliver, my baby brother, has also been cursed. I have to ask why?" Alyssa lamented, "Where did Cassander go when he died, was he saved, did he cry out with a final breath or do these abilities damn us all? Is this a generational curse, sin manifested?"

Across the small room, Dr. Reneé Thomas listened patiently as Alyssa poured out her heart, tears beginning to stream down her face.

"I just don't understand why God would allow something like this to happen," She said. "Why would he give us these powers, if their only valuable use is the pursuit of power? Why would He open this door, if it only ends in death and destruction?"

Dr. Thomas nodded sympathetically.

"It's natural to question your faith in times like this," She replied sympathetically. "But remember that God doesn't cause suffering. It's an intrinsic part of this world, and we have to find a way to deal with it."

Alyssa steeled her before nodding as she began to wipe her tears. It wasn't exactly the response she had wanted to hear, but among Dr. Thomas' many degrees, and certifications, none of them led Alyssa to believe Reneé was versed in theology or counselling from a Biblical perspective. Faith, and especially Christianity, weren't popular topics at a school full of 'evolutionary wonders'.

"But how do I deal with it?" She asked, "I feel so lost and alone, especially here." Alyssa gestured generally to the school around them.

Leaning forward, Dr. Thomas took a moment before passing a box of tissue across the small coffee table between them.

"First, you need to allow yourself to grieve," She said. "It's okay to feel sad and angry and confused. But don't let those feelings consume you. Talk to your family and friends, share your feelings with them. And remember that Cassander, nor your brother would want you to lose your faith in God no matter what happened to them."

She paused, leaning back into the leather couch behind her.

"Forgive me, it's been a while since I've read the 'good book', but I believe Christ himself once said, 'do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow comes with troubles of its own'. The Roman Poet Horace put it another way, 'carpe diem', simply pluck the moment or more commonly translated as seize the day." The doctor stated, taking a sip from her nearby tea before continuing.

"Worry is interest paid on a debt not yet due. It can also become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I'm not saying that your worry is going to get Oliver killed, nor am I saying worrying about Hyperion returning is going to make it so. But the fear and worry you show towards your abilities, that I've seen countless devolve into self-harm and casualties. The goal of Pacific Royal is anything but, and to help you embrace and accept your abilities and status as a Hyperhuman. I can't tell you if your abilities are because of your forefathers' sin, or if they're a curse upon your family. What I can tell you is that based on our understanding they are the result of a massive solar flare causing a genetic mutation in certain people which is then passed from parent to child. And that here at P.R.C.U. we can teach you how to use and control those abilities so you don't have to be afraid of either them or yourself."

"You're right," Alyssa resigned reluctantly. "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper and not to harm you"

She took a deep breath.

"I need to trust that God has a plan for me and my brother, even if I don't understand it or these powers."

Dr. Thomas smiled.

"That's a good start," She replied. "And remember, I'm here for you if you need to talk further."

Location: Northern Cove - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
First Class #2.30: Neat Trick
Interaction(s): Efraim Tenorio - @Theyra, Lucas Bray - @Nemaisare
Previously: True Colours

| Now
Waving a cheerful goodbye to Elodie, Alyssa looked around for other members of the H.E.A.T. program. Spotting Efraim and Lucas, the redheaded woman made her way over toward the pair when Lucas' words caught her ear.

“Efraim I’m not helping if it fights back. Okay? You okay?”

"The likelihood of it fighting back is higher than you might think, Lucas Bray!" Alyssa chimed in, her melodic voice ringing out as she approached the two males.

"My great-uncle fought a leshy in the Baltics once. He was pulling splinters out of his right arm for a month." She smiled, remembering the story of the giant tree-like creature that had been hunting the valley's hunters. Opening her mouth to continue her tale, Alyssa paused remembering the reason she had come over.

Taking ahold of Efraim's hand, Alyssa moved to gently inspect it for a wound, only to realize it was protected by a layer of hardened organic material. Her own bio-metal reacted to the foreign material, the underside of her hand quickly coating in the liquid metal as Alyssa absently outlined the bony growth. Thinking back to their limited time around the fire, Alyssa quickly realized, despite having only seen Efraim's face through the flickers of the fire, clearly, this was the boy who could manipulate his bones.

"Neat trick," She smiled brightly, "No splinters after all!" Alyssa let go of Efraim's hand, her own armour receding as she did.

"Jessica Friend said to let everyone know to change back into their regular uniforms and then meet for the Team Swap and Colour Ceremony. If you see any of the others, can you pass that along?" Alyssa asked both Efraim and Lucas.

"Have either of you given any thought to what House you'd like to be placed in? I wonder how they place us, I supposed there's the argument that how we reacted during the Hyperion attack reveals our truest selves, but there really wasn't much opportunity to react." Alyssa rambled, walking with the two boys, not giving either a chance to actually voice their thoughts.

"Myotis does have nice colours, don't think I'd want to be put in Ursus, Alces could look really nice on me though. But it would be nice to be put somewhere that challenges me though, like academically, not emotionally, that sounds exhausting. Can you imagine?" She giggled, mostly to herself.

Turning her head to the sky, Alyssa paused, studying the drones flying in formation above the campus grounds. They had appeared shortly after the attack, a response on the school's part to ensure no other such attacks could take place. As Alyssa understood it, the drones created a barrier using a sustained field laced with irradiated electrons. If a Hyperhuman were to pass through the field, their abilities would be negated long enough that the school's security could respond in kind. The drones themselves would identify the breach and allow for a coordinated response from H.E.L.P. and an emergency response unit.

She understood the precaution, though they did little to make her feel safer. The steady stream of supplies being airlifted into the H.E.L.P. across the horizon didn't help any. Any warmth and colour she had initially felt from the school were quickly being suffocated. There were moments when Alyssa felt she would have been better off taking her chances with another year at the Foundation.

"Anyways, this has been a lovely chat!" Alyssa replied to the boys, any sign of worry evaporating from her face as it exploded into a dazzling smile. "I should see about directing the others, see you both at the Team Swap!"
The stadium was slowly filling as students all piled in to witness the colour ceremony. While everyone knew that the Team Swap happened first, most were invested in seeing who their new dorm mates would be and to pre-maturely scout the talent for the intramural league.

Filing into her spot, Alyssa joined the rest of Team Firebird as they stood in a line together, facing toward the other two teams that made up students in the Hyperhuman Enforcement Accelerated Training program. Miranda had joined them at this point while Jim stood beside Team Blackjack. The wind caused the empty sleeve of his jacket to move about freely for a second.

A hollow and bitter reminder of the night they were all trying to forget and move past.

Any students that Alyssa had been unable to get in touch with personally had received a notification to their personal devices. When that had failed, the intercom that loudly announced the beginning of the Team Swap should have sufficed to remind them where they had ought to be.

"Unfortunately, this year had started rather irregularly, and while many of you are no doubt understandably hurt, anxious or even angry, it is our job to ensure that you still have the best possible experience and to remind you that you are students." Jonas had once again returned to his podium in the center of the stadium field. Behind him were the eight house banners, the representative from each standing at the read with new uniforms and their inductee House cloaks. To Aylssa's understanding, it was being draped in one of those colourful cloaks where the name 'Colour Ceremony' came from.

"It is not your responsibility or obligation to hunt down those who violated the sanctity of this institute nor to seek vengeance for your fallen classmates." Dr. Lehrere continued from his podium, "We also are here to remind you that you are also not prisoners here and should anyone feel uncomfortable, or unsafe or that they simply no longer wish to attend Pacific Royal, the ferry back to the mainland departs every evening at six." The stadium remained in a hushed silence, Jonas' usual charisma didn't seem to be enough today.

"Should none of that apply to you, and you are in fact still wishing to pursue a degree in the Hyperhuman Enforcement Accelerated Training program, we are happy to have you remain at Pacific Royal and invite you to participate in the tradition of the Team Swap." Jonas concluded, finishing his portion of the address to the gathered members of the H.E.A.T. Program.

Beside the Blackjack lineup, Jim turned and addressed his team, though Alyssa had a feeling he was actually talking to all of them.

"The Team Swap is for anyone who believes they are incompatible with their current team, or anyone who is looking for a fresh start, it's a long-standing tradition to ensure students are given the best opportunity to create a friendly environment for themselves and by extension, their other team members." Jim paused,

Who could blame these kids for that after all they've been through?

"Please step forward and remove your armband." Aaron commanded, interrupting Jim's thoughts before Miranda began to speak.

"If you don't step forward, we will assume you wish to remain where you are and who you are with. If there are fewer spaces available than the number of individuals who step forward, then it'll come down to your second choice. Your faculty representative will hand each you the two armbands which correspond with the teams you aren't currently on. When the whistle blows, you will have the opportunity to move to the team you wish to join. To do so, you will, in your right hand, raise the armband bearing the corresponding logo. In your left hand, you will raise the armband belonging to your second choice, even if this second choice is to remain where you are. When the whistle blows again, these teams will become permanent. There are no takebacks." Miranda further explained looking at the gathered members of Blackjack, Eclipse and Firebird.

"Additionally, Jess is going to walk around and hand each of you an envelope. Inside that envelope are one to three houses that believe you belong with them. You will each receive a formal invitation and when the swap is done, you may approach your desired House and accept their colours. Do not, approach a House you weren't invited to, firstly it's decorum, secondly, they know what each of you looks like and who was extended an invitation."

Off to the side of the three times stood a girl that Alyssa didn't recognize. She looked around the stadium turf for another team that might have been missing a member only for Aaron to suddenly motion the girl over.

"This is Suzanna Poots, she's previously been attending P.R.C.U. but decided to transfer into the H.E.A.T program," Aaron explained. He paused directly turning to Suzana before addressing her. "In your case, you get three armbands. You still only have two choices to make, so just tuck the extra in your back pocket or place it on the ground in front of you. Remember, the right hand is your preferred choice, left is your secondary."

"On three, the whistle will blow and armbands go up." Jim roared to the group as Miranda began to count.



The sharp whistle echoed across the stadium.

■ Raise your primary choice.
■ Raise your secondary choice.
■ Read the PM from the GM. This was received in an envelope along with the additional armbands in the IC.
- -|◄ FIRST---
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Kuro
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Kuro "more reliable than god" - micki

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Location: Stadium - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
First Class #2.31 Honor the Memory

Interaction(s): N/A
Previously: The Calm Before the Storm

Haleigh's phone buzzed in her pocket, displaying a notification across the screen. The time for the dreaded Team Swap and House Ceremony had finally come.

Funneling into the stadium, Haleigh sat beside the rest of Blackjack in silence. As she waited for the remainder of the three teams to arrive, Haleigh looked upwards towards the stadium seats and noticed that they had been quickly filling up with unknown faces. A wonderful idea to let the public watch, Haleigh sarcastically thought. Put your most broken students in a fish bowl for all to see if they so desired. It'll go over smoothly, certainly. There wouldn't be any emotions flying as other students feel betrayed by who they thought were their comrades, no siree!

Sighing, Haleigh readjusted herself in her wheelchair, and waited for the ceremony to commence.

First, Jonas began to speak. On another day, Haleigh might've welcomed his speech with open ears. Yet today, the words he spoke felt like they had no meaning behind them. Not their responsibility? Then who was responsible, Jonas? The school didn't seem like they gave much of a damn as far as Haleigh had seen. A few half-measures here and a funeral there. But now they were supposed to continue on like nothing had happened. To continue their studies and choose a house, never mind the fact that the teams were still fresh off from their friends betray them and watching others be slaughtered before their eyes.

It wasn't fair, Haleigh felt. Just as much as it wasn't right. If P.R.C.U. didn't want their students desiring payback, then may be they should've had their damned foot out of their mouth back then.

Continuing on, the event shifted to the Team Swap—the actual reason they were gathered here today. Those who wanted to swap were supposed to step forward, but Haleigh didn't budge. Swapping was completely out of the question. There may have been arguments or disagreements between her and other members of Blackjack. But as far as Haleigh considered, Blackjack was her home. It was Cassander's home. Team Cass. Staying was the least they could do to honor his memory, rather than run away from their differences and everything else that had happened at P.R.C.U..

The decision had already been made a week ago.

Haleigh reaffirmed herself as she took the armbands and house envelope as they were handed out. But as quickly as she received them, she just as quickly stashed the other armbands away once the whistle was blown.

It's not changing now.
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Hound55
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Hound55 Create-A-Hero RPG GM, Blue Bringer of BWAHAHA!

Member Seen 6 hrs ago

Location: Pacific Royal Collegiate & University - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
First Class: # 2.04 This Computer Isn't Configured For Fast User Switching

Interaction(s): Nil
Previously: Devices Not Detected

Adie knocked on the door of Isabella Christianson's office. The door was a clean white affair which had been cracked open, so that any on the outside could tell it was occupied.

Some steady clacking of keys, and five seconds later she was told to "Come in!"

"Hi, Belle. I--"

"Adrianna Dahl! I was told you might be stopping by!

Adie considered her reply for a moment. "'Told' or warned?"

Belle laughed. "Well, in this case Adrianna, I think they might be the same thing."

"Well, speaking of what we were 'told'. I was told to come here and see what you've been up to in terms of this school's defences and help you in lending my experience for a different perspective. Or at least that's how it was phrased to me."

"Defences?" Belle queried. "Well, that is an interesting way to put it, because I've been tasked with strictly non-violent measures and methods to protect the student body."

"Non-violent. Even in spite of recent events?"

Belle smiled warmly. "Well, yes. Professor Lehrer is extremely wary for the potential of technology to be turned around and used against us. He tends to put his faith in people, rather than machines."

"Well, that's rid--" Adie started, only to find her thought cut short.

"Ridiculous? Yes, I'm inclined to agree. Technology is a tool, and we happen to be more capable with that tool than most threats and people in general that you would come across. But Professor Lehrer has his ways and generally his reasons, even if I don't see them. I'm inclined to follow his recommendations, and obligated to carry out his request--"

"You mean orders." Came Adrianna's curt reply.

"I mean requests, Adrianna. If he dropped an order, I would follow that as well, but he hasn't had to do that... He did tell me that you could be brittle and a little onerous when it comes to working together."

"Well, that statement's the kind that would bring the brittle nature out in anyone." Adie replied gruffly.

"If they had the propensity for it, yes. I agree." A small smile creased across her face.

"Are you testing my character for bugs, 'Belle?"

Isabella's smile widened. "Perhaps something like that."

Adie groaned. "So what have you come up with, since I'm to overcome my onerous nature and look to offer my perspective in a gallant display of selfless teamwork?"

"Well, presently we have arresting field projection devices. At this point dispersed by drone. But I've considered pop-up 'sprinklers' with the same technology. They release irradiated ele--"

Now it was Adrianna's turn to interrupt. "Yes, yes. Irradiated electrons. But if he does what he did the other night, and duplicates himself many times over, if you don't hit all of him then you're basically just slowing him down."

"Slowing him down has a value all to itself. If nothing else, allows time to evacuate."

"Evacuate?!" Adrianna laughed. "That many kids and faculty members? Running from someone who can just transport themselves through lightni--"

Adie stopped for a moment and considered what she was about to say.

"He can travel through lightning--"

"Yes. We know. That's been known for a while now. H.E.L.P have their own report on him which states exactly that."

"No. He can travel through lightning. Lightning is just-- He's converting his own data and packaging it for transportation on electrified discharge."

'Belle nodded. "Well, yeah. Obviously."

"No. Don't you see? We don't necessarily need HZEs to do that... We'd want to come up with a more solid, more reliable conduit. But if we have enough power initially. This should be something I could duplicate, given time..."

"You're-- you're sure? This is a thing you could do?"

"I mean, given the proper time to work through it, and a sufficient power supply. Yeah. And this place... it's never want for power."

"I'm taking this to Jonas right now! Belle said, getting to her feet. "You start working on preliminary data, the kind of power generation needed. The kind of protection to ensure the conduit doesn't get damaged. That sort of thing..."

"If he greenlights this, there might be a Doctorate in Engineering and Applied Sciences in this!"

Adrianna walked into the stadium surrounded by the new group of H.E.A.T program students of various teams.

She turned and attempted to count off the members of her own team in twos, to clarify that everyone was here. It wouldn't do to have less than a complete showing. Eyes would be on them, and expectations that they hold solid, especially with the recent tragic hits to Team Blackjack and Eclipse on the Eve of the cancelled Homecoming Trials.

Having been denied her time to display her worth then, this was the first impression she'd now have for many of the students and House Leaders.

Adie had no intention of squandering it.

She'd been busy of late, hard at work on the project, which Isabella had managed to secure clearance for from Jonas. It was being kept quiet, at this point, and there was as yet no device to speak of. Even a prototype. As the project was still very much in the stage of preliminary calculations. It wasn't behind schedule. It was just early in the process. She had complete confidence in her ability to produce what she claimed she could.

Jonas took to the podium and once again repeated his reminder that she is a student. It irritated her somewhat that he'd chosen this very public forum to once again belabour that point. She'd been playing by his rules. Adie furrowed her brow.

Then he disappeared on some other wild tangent about it not being their responsibility or obligation to hunt and pursue this terrorist Hyperion... as if that were ever her intention. What lunatic would go on that's fool's errand? Was he just beating strawmen to further feel good about his position arguing with her, or had some blowhard student gone out espousing their demand for blood - as if they had the means to actually do anything about it?

Then Jonas stopped wasting his time and got to the reason they were all here. The Team swap and House selections. Adrianna flipped her hair, and smiled out to the wider audience. She felt confident that Team Firebird would hold its form. Team Blackjack, from what she'd heard, already had a reputation for being somewhat combustible and explosive - the fact that it were members of that team who both died and were severely injured, was suggested to not be entirely unexpected in hindsight given the horrific situation they all had found themselves in and supposedly the personalities involved. And Eclipse's numbers dwindled after mass defections to join Hyperion himself.

As a member of Firebird, she found herself in good standing, on the most desirable team of the bunch. She expected there might be a few people from both of the other teams, diving for the opportunity to join their team. But they'd hold solid. There'd be no space for any of them to join. She smiled with assurance in her position and her team's, and began to ponder what House invitations she would receive, and what her own preferences would be regarding them. Surely Lutra. She was an intelligent woman, and once the other's got to know her better she'd doubtless have a flourishing social life. She'd achieved success, was a somewhat recognisable face amongst the people here, she wouldn't be surprised if she were sought after by the popular groups. She'd have to make sure that she didn't forget about the nerdy girls who were in the position she often found herself in back in highschool. Try and be a bridge to them where she could.

Yes, Lutra seemed to make a lot of sense. Social butterfly. Brilliant...

Bring on the envelope.

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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Kuro
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Kuro "more reliable than god" - micki

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Location: Stadium - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
First Class #2.33 Duck, Duck, Goose

Interaction(s): N/A
Previously: N/A

Suzie had arrived early to the Chimera's Lair. Although there was no need for her to do so, given the announcement, she felt that it would be best for appearances. How Suzie presented herself today would likely affect how her new potential teammates saw her. She was set on transferring into the H.E.A.T. program, and today would be her first time meeting those that were already enrolled. Being early set an expectation, whereas being late would've served no purpose save for making her look like she didn't give a rat's ass about the ceremony, her new team and everything else.

As she waited for her fellow students to arrive, Suzie felt, for once in sometime, she had peace of mind. No braggarts getting their asses humbled. No fake machoism to deal with. Serenity, at last. Just her and the joys of silence.

"Well, just me and the birds, I guess." Suzie spoke, flicking a freeze-dried cricket from a small baggie onto the field, where a goose had been standing. For some reason, the Canadian geese here were extremely food-motivated. "You know, Lehrer, this stuff isn't free. You guys are going to run me dry."

"Look, boss, I can expla—"

"No need to. Just keep me updated on everything, as you were." Suzie glanced to the entrance, noticing the arrival of some of her fellow students. With a hand, she waved Lehrer off. "Looks like it's time to cut loose. I'll catch up later."

Watching Lehrer fly off, Suzie walked over towards where the Swap had been designated to take place, and took her place off to the side. The thought that she was the only non-newbie to P.R.C.U. here crossed her mind. Would her new teammates plan on looking to her for guidance? Was she going to be a glorified tour guide? These teams were also the ones that had been affected by Hyperion's onslaught on the school. Had she traded boasting and swank for anxious hostility? Suzie wasn't quite sure yet, but depending on how they reacted here and now, that question would answer itself.

As the students began to gather, Suzie watched them carefully for any particularly notable expression or reaction that happened to stand out while Jonas began to speak. The teams looked worse for wear, yet it didn't take a genius to figure out that Jonas' speech would rub some nerves the wrong way. Death and hurt made people sensitive. Volatile, even. Suzie knew that the hard way when she should've died all those days ago.

Truthfully, Suzie felt that the school wasn't giving her peers time to grieve. Yes, things needed to continue. But it had only been a week since these teams had watched one of their classmates be cut down by a known terrorist. The Team Swap felt forced and unnatural. The feelings they felt now might not be the feelings they felt later tomorrow or in a week or in a month. But the choice they made now would be permanent nonetheless.

Hopefully no one makes a decision they might regret.

After the faculty staff finished addressing everyone, attention was suddenly drawn to Suzie as Aaron, Team Eclipse's representative, motioned her over so he could introduce her to the three teams.

"This is Suzanna Poots, she's previously been attending P.R.C.U. but decided to transfer into the H.E.A.T program."

You did not just—

Suzie was flabbergasted. Sure, Suzanna was her actual name. But it was her great-grandmother's name, and Suzie despised being called it! Nonetheless, Suzie fought the temptation to groan, and instead bid her tongue as Aaron turned to address her personally. Now was not a time to make a scene, especially in front of so many people.

"In your case, you get three armbands. You still only have two choices to make, so just tuck the extra in your back pocket or place it on the ground in front of you. Remember, the right hand is your preferred choice, left is your secondary."

"Loud and clear." Suzie acknowledged, so desperately wanting to respond with "A-Aron".

Taking the armbands from Jess, Suzie looked towards the three teams once again as the whistle was blown. Although she had to pick two of them, Suzie didn't plan on rushing her choice. Instead, she continued to observe their reactions, waiting to see who was going to make their move first. If anything, her choice was a much more favorable position than what the three teams had to pick from, solely for the lack of baggage Suzie had.
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Skai
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Skai Bean Queen

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Elle had a smile growing on her lips as she made her way towards the stadium. She shook her head in bemusement as she read over the chicken scratch of a book list that her newest patient had given her. "Hyperhuman law, huh?" She murmured to herself. She folded the paper once more and placed it in her skirt's pocket. Her eyes turned towards the groups of students ahead of her, yet her smile grew into a grin. Who would have thought...

She was soon inside, the grin dissipating into a serious expression. She took her spot by her fellow firebirds. Mostly strangers, she realized as she looked down the line at them. Her attention roved over the other teams. Eclipse, of course, taking less time to observe now that they were missing students. Would anyone dare to fill their ranks? She wondered how broken the team might be, now that their student rep and half of the others hadn't been heard of since that night a week ago. She took in Jim O'Neil, Blackjack's faculty advisor. Her eyes glanced at his empty sleeve, for one painful second, before quickly moving onto the students beside him. She still wasn't sure how he had lost it, and she felt guilty that she didn't want to know either. Team Blackjack appeared steeled in their positions. Though they were down two students, their group seemed to overpower the room. She could sense anxiety, determination, and anger radiating from them. She recalled the moments after the funeral this morning. Their sworn vengeance against Hyperion and his Children. As reckless as that seemed to her now, she had to admit that they were smart. Enough to trigger her own lightbulb moment while she stood nearby.

Her eyes stopped on the blonde. Elle immediately recognized her from a news report she'd skimmed over a few months back. Calliope De León. The top name on Loverboy's list. It had rung a bell back at the infirmary, but she didn't know why until now. At least now she knew who to approach at the end of the ceremony.

So many strangers in one room... Time to change that. She turned to the person next to her and gave them a polite smile. "Hey-"

The intercom rudely cut her off, interrupting any attempt to get to know one of her fellow students. "Wow, I thought we still had a bit to wait." She murmured to them, before her attention turned towards Dr. Lehrer himself.

The year started "rather irregularly". She still hadn't heard a faculty member refer to that night as an attack yet. There was no doubt that they were thinking it. Yet they couldn't get the words out of their mouth.

"It is not your responsibility or obligation to hunt down those who violated the sanctity of this institute nor to seek vengeance for your fallen classmates."

Elle's eyes slid back over to Blackjack. If felt like Dr. Lehrer himself had an idea of what the team was going through. Perhaps he shared the same sentiment... or perhaps he had ears all over campus that shared their earlier conversation with him. She couldn't know how well the team had gotten to know Cassander Charon. Yet from the steel in their voices this morning, Elle had to guess that it meant a lot to them to have someone stand up to Hyperion. To stand up for them.

She watched as O'Neil turned to speak to his team, giving them one last explanation about the team swap. Elle wouldn't be surprised if a few of them made the jump.

"Please step forward and remove your armband."

Elle stood still, but her eyes darted around the field at any who stepped forwards. She took a deep breath, her eyes moving to look up at Lehrer as Miranda continued to explain the ritual. She recalled her first meeting with him. She'd been clear about what she expected to gain from being here. Those expectations, as grand as they might seem, were on her mind as she reached for the armband on her blazer...

and stepped forwards into the open space between teams.

She didn't dare to look back at the students behind her. She didn't need a fresh start. She still had to begin. She had no doubts that she'd flourish within Team Firebird. Hopefully none of them would take it personally. She still intended to get to know them.

Her gaze turned to Miranda Rivers, who approached her with a knowing smile and the two armbands for Eclipse and Blackjack. Elle presented a warm smile. "Thank you for the opportunity." She said as she took the armbands from the advisor. Who simply nodded and patted her hand before turning to see if anyone else had stepped forward.

Elle looked down at the three armbands. Three decisions to make. One was easy. She tucked that armband beneath her second choice in her left hand. Her first choice she gently cupped in her right.

She raised her head now, looking towards the girl that had stood with none of the teams. It was interesting to see a student that transferred programs here. What could she share with Elle about her experience here? Elle wanted to give her a polite smile, but the small weight of the armband in her right hand kept her expression blank.

"On three, the whistle will blow and armbands go up."

Elle took a deep breath through her nose. No going back, now. This decision would shape her life at PRCU. She held her head high and straightened her shoulders. If there was one thing Elle needed from PRCU... it was to challenge herself. She wouldn't get far if she didn't have a team that would do so.

So as the whistle filled the silence in the field, Elle held her right hand up. Not straight, like she was waving her choice at the sky, but she held it palm up and extended. It was an offering, almost. As if she wanted permission from the group she was approaching to join their ranks.

Elle looked over the team. She didn't expect immediate acceptance from them. Nor did she expect a negative reaction. Whatever direction this offer would go, Elle was determined to see it through to the end. Her face expressed this sentiment as she drew closer and...

She stopped in front of Team Blackjack. Team Firebird's armband held loosely at her left side.
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Lawful Newtral
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Lawful Newtral Genius of the Sky

Member Seen 1 day ago

Location: Stadium - PRCU, Dundas Island
First Class #2.35: ...But I'm Here to Stay

Interaction(s): Team Firebird, and those who would move onto Team Firebird
Previously: Nothing's Okay

The stadium was an unwelcome change of scenery. The somberness of the coastside funeral at least had an air of universal respect and dignity. Here, Ariel saw nothing but tension and broken thoughts at the tip of fuming tongues. And it wasn't like they didn't understand why everyone was so upset. Someone died and another was dangerously close to dying. The last thing on people's minds should be protocol. All the discomfort of an emergency with none of the urgency, like a divided nation turning a blind eye to a coming war. How apt it was, what had happened that night if not a bloody declaration of war?

But Ariel digressed. They did not survive this long on the run from the law by making a fuss. If there was a speech to be had, they would listen. If there was protocol to be observed, observe it they shall. Standing silently with the rest of their team, they kept their ears open and attentive. Even in the heat of the tension, Ariel had good reason to listen to the meat of the faculty's speech. This was the first time anyone explained the particularities of the Team Swap, at least in a capacity that they understood. It brought forward a conversation in their mind, gone neglected in the aftermath of Hyperion's attack: Ariel's place in Team Firebird.

There was little reason to swap teams, in their mind. Little reason to care about team distinction as a concept, for that matter. 'Are we not the same despite our divisions?' they reasoned. Though Ariel had no doubt that they would have adapted well into both Team Blackjack and Eclipse, in spite of the two teams being a dysfunction junction at present, their thoughts were more towards those still in Firebird. Ariel was a familiar face to the team. Familiar for only a few weeks at best, granted, but a familiar face nonetheless. What would it look like to the others if they lost one too many familiar faces? Not everyone could throw away acquaintances as easily as Ariel could. Staying at Firebird made a statement: "I'm not going anywhere. You can rely on me." It was a good statement to make, especially for the soft of heart like Dom—like Lucas.

And then there was the matter of Housing. If Ariel had little reason to care about team unity, they cared about house unity even less. The attack had already cleaved a rift into the students, what good was there in widening that rift with arbitrary division? A sigh escaped their lips as that train of thought quickly went nowhere. Ariel didn't see it fair to rule out the House system without experiencing it firsthand. Splitting the students into teams helped make strong bonds so far—look at how many visitors were knocking on the broken Banjo's doorstep, come to pay the breathing martyr a visit. Who's to say this wouldn't end up helping as well?

Any house that would accept Ariel, Ariel would accept in kind. They had the final say, but as they understood it, it would not be without the acceptance of the Houses in the first place. Ariel had taken a cursory glance at the Houses and what each of their gists were. The wolverine house, Gulo, and its pragmatic tenets spoke to them on a personal level, but they'd be the first to admit that there wasn't an assertive or confident bone in their body. Some might see their gentle and passive nature as befitting of the moose house, Alces, though there was still a shred of ambition that would be disappointed to see them languish in soft stagnation. Alces would stifle them, and water had no use for dead weight.

Ursus, though. The bear house, espousing empathy and protective natures. Now that, Ariel understood completely. Pain was an old friend, and the less people fall to pain on their watch, the better. A look in the mirror did not show altruism, though; each and every one of Ariel's protective instincts was rooted in keeping themself protected. If they go to great lengths for others, others were more like;y to go to great lengths for them. No matter. For the sake of themself, they'd be as altruistic as they need to be.

Mired in thought, Ariel just barely noticed the speech dying down. The whistle was about to be blown then, and with it, a wholesale bout of decision-making and dilemma. Not Ariel, though. The decision had already been made, just moments before the count of three. As the shrill sound came, students stepped forward while others debated whether to step forward or not. In the midst of it all, Ariel stood where they were, adamant in their choice as they waved hello to those coming, and goodbye to those going. Calling Firebird 'home' was a bridge too far too soon, but there was no need to move this time. Nowhere to go, nowhere to flow.

For once in Ariel's life, they were here to stay.

- -|◄ FIRST---
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by psych0pomp
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psych0pomp DOUBT EVERYTHING / except me... i'm cool

Member Seen 2 mos ago

Location: Northern Cove - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
First Class #2.36a: Every Decision Hurts

Interaction(s): None
Previously: When Democracy is Totalitarian

Jonas spoke, and it mostly came out as garbled speech to Trace. They didn’t care. Offer your condolences, offer your sadness, and offer your support—in the end, what had you done to help any of them? It all hurt, and it all felt branded onto their skin, along with some new lacerations. Trace tried not to look at Haleigh, Luce, or the like. Yet, they also thought of Katja. Warm, strong Katja went out of her way to make them feel normal and loved. Heat welled up in their chest at that thought. And for some reason, they thought about Rory. He was sweet. He was calm. He was the moral compass of the group despite probably not knowing what compasses were or how they worked. But then there was Banjo, and that was a confusing mixture of emotions that Trace didn’t care to unpack. They still didn’t like him, but they felt that if he was left to his own devices, he’d “Mac and Me” into the ocean without much hesitation. He really needed to learn to shut up.

Yet, what haunted Trace the most wasn’t the moment that Cass’s lost the light in his eyes as his soul fluttered off to another plane of existence, but instead the vitriol that the remaining members looked at them with. Trace didn’t want to diminish Cass’s sacrifice, but they didn’t feel good in the skin they wore around those people. The old saying that went something like, “conflict makes you stronger and complacency makes you weaker,” didn’t consider when that conflict bore down on your mental health. Trace could get their mission done without them, but they would lose a few resources that would be helpful. It was a hard decision, and everything about it felt like someone had lanced fishing hooks behind their eyes and pulled.

The crowd around Trace ate at them like ants tearing off pieces of bread and hauling them away. They’d received their invitations, they’d received their armbands, and they stood in line with their fellow teammates. A long sigh left their lips as they fiddled with the papers, they were becoming hot and sticky underneath the unbearable sun. Trace had their black umbrella tucked underneath their arm as they were submerged so far into thought that the idea of holding a single item that wasn’t their future was exasperating.

That’s when the countdown began. Anxiety ripped at the hooks, and it felt like action would calm it down. “One” was announced, and Trace stood there and glanced at the Blackjack team around them. It was hard to want to leave. Cass’s face was somewhere behind their eyes, sharing his story around the campfire. Trace hadn’t paid him much attention, but that didn’t mean that they had forgotten him so easily. Yet, whatever they did, didn’t mean that his memory would evaporate. It was still warm there. And they feared if enough fear and anger were applied to it, it’d turn cold and distant. Trace wouldn’t want to return to it.

So, Trace stepped forward, not looking back as they did so. In their right hand was Team Firebird, and in their left was Team Eclipse. They could do this without all the hate. Maybe distancing themselves from the overwhelming negativity would help them achieve what they believed to be their raison d'etre.

Location: Pacific Royal Collegiate & University - Southern Plateau, Dundas Island
First Class: # 2.36b: Show Them That Song and Dance

Interaction(s): Yuri @Wei Wuxian
Previously: Press 'F' to Pay Respects

Coop angled his chin down towards his neck as he wondered what the hell he was doing here. It was an unflattering face, but it was one that he made when he didn’t want any attention brought onto him. He then searched around for the cameras, trying to find them amidst all the pomp and circumstance. Were they all being “Truman Show”ed? This didn’t feel real. It felt overly staged, and he glanced down for a marker. There was no taped ‘x’ on the ground alerting him to that. When he was handed his envelope with the houses and armband, they felt like props. Yet, his eyes focused on the Blackjack logo. It’d been the one that Calliope was wearing.

That’d been a nice moment of reprieve from all this nonsense and horror. Something that wasn’t so overwhelming. Yet, that entire group seemed like a few sticks of dynamite short of an explosion. Just from the moment that he’d spent standing by them, he’d bristled. His mother always remarked that he was a bit of an empath, and he didn’t know how he felt about that. But at that moment, he’d agree. He could feel every coal in that group being stoked like someone was drunk with a fire poker. But Calliope had been a fresh, cool wave. Someone to remind him that he wasn’t alone in all this “military school for super kids” malarkey.

When the countdown began, Coop quickly shifted his armbands around and stuck his invitations in his pocket. He hadn’t even had the time to glance at them. Honestly, it’d probably just boil down to what he thought was the coolest animal out of the three. What color would accent his eyes and hair the best? He could then work backward with house loyalty. It was easy to be a house cheerleader when the outfit looked snappy.

He stepped forward when the number counted down. In his right hand was Team Blackjack, and in his left was Team Firebird. He wasn’t about to try it with yet a third team he knew nothing about. “No offense guys,” he quickly said over his shoulder. “It’s just one of my friends is over there, and I just need some normalcy in this banana-coo-coo-insanity. I’m sure you get me.” He winked at Yuri. “Stay sexy.”

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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Hound55
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Hound55 Create-A-Hero RPG GM, Blue Bringer of BWAHAHA!

Member Seen 6 hrs ago

The car was hot, even with the air conditioning on full blast and having been in constant motion for hours.

"I'm imploring you. Don't do this."

"Really, mate? Racism? From you? Somehow, despite your... well, general behaviour, I didn't expect THAT from you as well. In fact, that was one of the few redeeming things I could say about you. 'Yeah, he's a complete nutbag. But at least he's no racist.'"

"I'm not BEING racist. I'm ANTICIPATING racism. There's a difference."


"Yes, bloody really. I'm going to be the only white kid in this school for... reasons. Reasons I can't even explain, because I haven't been told them. How many there do you think are going to understand that? Or care to understand that?"

"Well there's only one way to find that out, isn't there, kiddo? What's the worst that could happen? Worried the blokes there might try to beat you up?"

"No. I'm worried the GIRLS will try to beat me up. I'm worried the blokes will straight up try to murder me..."

The car motored past three stacked stones, with a message of greeting.

"Nilijarrk." <"You've arrived.">

"Batjji ganyam." <"It's good to see you.">

"Gun-gwa gwoyelwa Gulumoerrgin." <"This is Larrakia Country.">

"Look at that. 'It's good to see you.' It's written right on the rock. 'Anticipating racism'... Pfft.'" The Butler scoffed.

"I'll be sure to make a note of what's written on the rock when they're slamming my head into it. Although I will admit, 'This is Larrakia Country' would send a stronger message..."

"Larrakia Country." The Butler said as he passed, reading the sign aloud as if the meaning would somehow be divined in the process. "Well, what makes you so sure that they're going to go getting aggressive with you?"

"You mean aside from the fact that the Aboriginal people of this nation have been oppressed for, well, let's round it down and call it a couple of centuries, by people of the exact same hue as I happen to be..? Hell, they'll probably view me as their local colonial representative..."

"I think you're making more of this than they will..."

"Larrakia People. Saltwater people. I'm sure they're looking to be friends, going around referring to themselves as 'salty'..."

The Butler just shook his head with a laugh as he turned the wheel and headed for their next destination.

Haileybury Rendall School in Darwin's Berrimah suburb.

Location: Pacific Royal Collegiate & University - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
First Class: # 2.37 Gun-gwa gwoyelwa Gulumoerrgin. This is Larrakia Country.

Interaction(s): N/A
Previously: Time Flies When Your Two Nights Is Everyone Else's Week

Banjo lay in the bed watching an old rerun of Degrassi Junior High. He was barely paying attention.

The nurse checked the myriad readings and levels of things that surrounded him, which mildly amused him as he remembered that he'd cut out earlier and people here still seemed to be none the wiser regardless.

"Oh!" She exploded. "They're simulcasting the Team Swap and House selection ceremony on P.R.C.U radio and P.R.C.U TV." She changed the channel over to a slightly grainier network, which at this point was showing a stadium that was slowly on it's way from being a third filled as students filed in. Some kid was trying to host the presentation, with an awkward lack of success. Banjo waited for the nurse to leave before changing the station over. Degrassi had finished and now in its place was an even older show called 'The Littlest Hobo' that seemed to be about a dog.

Two larger men walked into his hospital room, passed the on duty nurse's station and stood over his bed.

The first thought that came to Banjo's mind was "Hyperion". But if he were scared, he didn't show it. Instead his mind raced as he considered his options, and what was at his disposal. If he juiced now, he could probably kiss his spleen goodbye. It'd probably instantly shred the patch-up job the surgeon's done, but he could live without a spleen. He'd also get very little out of the controlled air conditioning and he'd turned off his solar lamp out of irritation. It also would take time, and the initial sensation often left him exposed.

He could start running his mouth to assess. He still had no idea who either of these two were. They'd made no attempts to introduce, nor state their purpose. They seemed to be waiting until he acknowledged them. Which wasn't generally a good way to handle a hit. Or so Banjo thought. It did seem somewhat counterproductive for that purpose.

Banjo's eyes dropped from the dog on the television to the two men in the room.

One of them threw an envelope onto the bed.

"Two men to deliver one envelope? I pity the state of this nation's postal service..." He uttered glibly.

"We didn't both get sent to deliver the envelope. We both got sent to deliver your answer. Two of us, there's confirmation." One replied. Let's call this mensa candidate Tweedle-dee for simplicity's sake.

Banjo opened up the envelope. Inside were two strips of cloth and three cards.

"Geez you blokes are serious about all this bloody nonsense, arencha? I'm tryin' to get meself right in here. Why do you have to do this now?"

The two men rounded the bed on different sides.

"Because the Chancellor said he would like an untainted response from you, in terms of your choices. With the ceremony being simulcast on--" Tweedle-dum started, before noticing what Banjo had been watching. "You kn-- You know the AV Club/Campus Media simulcast the ceremony on campus TV and radio, right?"

"I've been informed. Yes." Banjo replied icily.

"Then why are you--" Tweedle-dee started to query before Banjo cut him off.

"Why am I seeking a modicum of respite from all of this house and team garbage that the school seems to incessantly want to pump into me and hassle me with, including repeated harassment from school representatives and lackeys - you do both know you're lackeys, right? I'd hate to be the first way you discovered that about yourselves - before I even get any real visitors allowed in to come and visit me? Gee. I wonder why I might want to block out the noise."

"We're not lackeys." Tweedle-dum defended himself.

"There's something about the whole vibe of how you're both standing over my bed, that gives off the sense that you're a couple-a stand-over merchants."

"Stand-over merchants?"

"That's what I said... sorry for the lack of voice. Yeah. People who get paid to come in, be big and intimidate."

"Why? Do you find us both intimidating?" Tweedle-dum chuckled.

"I wouldn't know. If I were susceptible to that kind of thing, I wouldn't be here in the first place, now would I?" Banjo glared. It was difficult though. Since there was two of them and they were standing on either side of the bed.

Tweedle-dee backed off, and found himself a seat in the corner. "Not stand over merchants. Not even standing over. See? Now make your picks so we can get out of here."

Tweedle-dum backed off as well and sat in the wheelchair he'd left on the otherside of the room.

Banjo emptied the contents of the envelope onto the bed. An Eclipse arm band and a Firebird armband - presumably like one Elle would have. And three cards. He shook the envelope to try and get the cards out, before Tweedle-dum interrupted.

"Uhh... we'd like your answer about the team selection first."

"Why? He said, with a sigh. Why did everything always have to be something with this bloody place.

"It's just the way it's always done. School's kind of sticklers for tradition."

"The school's been around since 1986. The internet is older."

"Well, that's how traditions get formed, isn't it? Respect for how things have always been done."

Banjo sighed audibly. And nobody in the room cared for his passive aggressive display, even with how much it hurt his chest to make such a display in the first place.

"Fine." He grunted, with enough frost that his voice practically formed icicles. "I'm staying put. Blackjack."

"Noted. Team 21. Blackjack." Both Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum said in unison.

The next one would be trickier. Ideally he'd like to be in whatever house Calliope was in. Make things simpler. He wouldn't have to sneak around at weird hours just to see her. And whilst he certainly figured he could find a way when healthy, round curfews and any other obstacles the school could throw up, he was certainly less than that right now. Living in the same bloc would certainly help.

He tapped the bottom of the envelope until the three cards slid far enough down the envelope that he could pry them out and lay each one on his chest in the bed, all three were addressed 'To Andrew' which already started him off in a pissed off frame of mind:

Greetings and Salutations Andrew,

We are pleased to announce that after review, we have found you to possess great tenacity, a trait that we truly hold dear and revere in House Strigidae.

We hope that you'll make ours your House of choice upon receiving your offers.

Theron Demetrios

Greetings and Salutations Andrew,

We are pleased to announce that after review, we have found you to possess great solitary assertiveness, a trait that we truly hold dear and revere in House Gulo.

We hope that you'll make ours your House of choice upon receiving your offers.

Robert Priest Jr.

Greetings and Salutations Andrew,

We are pleased to announce that after review, we have found you to possess great motivation, a trait that we truly hold dear and revere in House Canis.

We hope that you'll make ours your House of choice upon receiving your offers.

Aiden Roth

Tenacity. Assertiveness. Motivation.

He thought to himself. All three traits she possessed in spades by his reckoning.

He thought about how she'd made repeated efforts to see him, despite constantly being sent away for the same reasons. Butting her head repeatedly against nurses to try and see him.

He thought about the way she'd stood up for him on that night. Firmly, confidently and repeatedly against different people.

Her drive, and determination to get what she was going for.

"Well, shit..." He flipped back through the cards.

"So..." Tweedle-dum echoed from his wheelchair. "What's it gonna be?"

- - -

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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Jarl Coolgruuf
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Jarl Coolgruuf The Mellower

Member Seen 2 mos ago

Location: P.R.C.U. - Stadium
The Homecoming Trials #2.38 Ties That Bind

Interaction(s): None
Previously: FOOD

Everything happened so fast but that's how things like a terrorist attack happen, isn't it?

Shouting, screaming, the masked figure. Most of the night for Trevor was a blur before everything suddenly came into stark focus with Cassander being impaled. There was no thought, only the rush of blood in his ears as he rushed to the falling body. He vaguely registered Trace beside him as he tore off his shirt and pressed it into the gapping hole in his teammate's chest.

There was so much blood. Heaven help him there was so kucb blood. Blood on the grass, blood on Cass' clothes blood on Trevor's clothes, blood on his forearms as he pressed the fabric deeper into Cass' exposed chest cavity, there was even blood on his face as he wiped a stray lock of hair out of his eyes.

For all the pressure he put on the wound compression wasn't going to stop all that bleeding. This was much bigger than a bullet hole but it all felt so familiar. That feeling of deja vu fed a trickle of anger that grew into a tidal wave. He grit his teeth and pressed harder, feeling the blood pool on top of the shirt and mix with the rain.

"You dumb bastard get it right this time!"

For someone who seemed so personable it had taken more than a bit of convincing to get Trevor into Dr. Arthur's chair. She smiled warmly as she welcomed him in.

"Hello, Trevor. How are you-

"Fine. I'm fine."
His tone was short and he figeted with the arm rest, refusing to meet the doctor's eyes.

She pursed her lips and scratch put a few notes on her clipboard. Words like 'avoidance' and 'repression' made their mark on the page.

"I heard about what you did. There's nothing you could have done to save him. Even if he had been attacked on the steps of a hospital he still would have died."

"You don't know that," he replied sourly.

"You shouldn't be so hard on yourself. You did everything you could."

Trevor inhaled a steadying breath. The more they talked the more he wanted the session to end. He waved a hand as if their words were a foul smell he hoped to fan away.
"It's fine. I'm fine."

"Trevor it's okay to feel negative emotions. In fact, it's healthy to-"

His response was immediate and raw with hurt and regret; his voice suddenly raising to a shout.

There was a small pop of light in his left hand and suddenly the piece of the armrest in his grip disappeared as saw dust scattered across the floor on his right side. Silence fell over the room. The result of his sudden loss of control grounded Trevor once more and he awkwardly cleared his throat.

"I'll uh- I'll pay for that.

Trevor kept mostly to himself for the funeral service only briefly acknowledging anyone who attempted to interact with him. Everything was still too raw, too fresh. He needed time alone away from everything. Still, he felt it proper to say a few words for the deceased.

As he positioned himself in front of the podium he looked out over a crowd of scared and hurt faces and he felt that familiar spark in his chest. That same spark telling him to get up and do something when he saw the news story about the police arresting a hyperhuman; back when he discovered he was a hype himself. Right now his teammates needed people they could rely on and Trevor was determined to be one of those people.

"I didn't know Cassander well or at all really. I can't speak to his character, but I can talk about some of the people gathered here. You've all faced challenges and come out the other side. We'll get through this as a team with strength of heart, of mind, and of spirit." He paused a moment to let his words sink in as well as to steady himself. "Goodbye, Cassander. May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; may the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. Amen."

As he stepped away from the podium a thought occurred to him and he briefly returned.
"And if anyone needs someone to talk to feel free to let me know."

This was it, the big team swap. Not only that but soon they would all be choosing a House. He felt the letter in his pocket and considered his choices as the speeches went on. House Lutra, House Lynx, and House Ursus. Intelligence, Sociability, and Altruism. Trevor didn't consider himself all that intelligent so that made it a choice between the other two. Both were good qualities to have and he liked to think he did his best to express them in his day to day life which just made the decision that much harder.

The decision to stay with Blackjack, however, was not difficult in the slightest. They had been through too much together to leave now. Plus he would miss Mackenna and Rory too much if he left. Not that he thought he would never see them again, he just wanted to see them more than occasionally. He had a good feeling about both of them.

His thoughts were interrupted as he watched Trace lift two separate armbands skyward, neither of which were Blackjack's. Trevor had hoped his teammates would feel the same as him and stick together but perhaps it had been unrealistic to think not one person would try to distance themselves from the events of the Plateau. Still, he couldn't help the heaviness in his heart at the sight. Hopefully not too many others would follow her example.

- -|◄ FIRST---
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by webboysurf
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webboysurf Live, Laugh, Love

Member Seen 1 hr ago

Cole grunted as he laced up his freshly polished boots. He had barely noticed the child who was standing at the door of the mud room, baseball gloves and baseball in hand. It was hard to remember how old Rory was then… perhaps because this scene had played out so many different ways over and over to the point it felt like a ritual. When Cole finally looked up, his stern expression barely changed. There was never a look of remorse. Just that blank, serious stare. Cole stood up, grabbed his duffel bag off the floor, and just shook his head. ”Maybe another time, kid.” Cole turned to open the door, a bright white light on the other side obscuring the outdoors. Rory sighed, letting the glove and ball fall to the ground. He would go back to his mother to complain, only to hear about how respected and necessary his dad’s work was. To make a better future, Cole had to make sacrifices.

Rory was just one of those sacrifices.

Location: Team Swap Ceremony - P.R.C.U. Campus
First Class #2.24 : Cat's out of the Bag

Mention(s) and Interaction(s): None
Previously: Empty Words

Rory groggily opened his eyes with a start, hands raised in fists as he tried to scan the room with blurred vision. It took him a moment to even process what had woken him up, finally acknowledging the buzzing generic alarm coming from his phone. He had set one to make sure he didn’t miss the ceremony. He cleared the sleepy tears from his eyes before focusing on the time. Of course, he was running late. Rory stuffed his phone in his pocket and began sprinting out the door to his room in the intake house, stumbling from taking too sharp of turns at a full sprint here and there. He was able to make it in record time, catching up to his team at the last moment as Jonas was finishing his speech. A brief glimpse at his teammate’s faces indicated Dr. Lehrer’s words were not encouraging. That was only going to make his job harder.

Then, of course, next was the Team Swap. Rory looked at the empty spots where his teammates would be standing. Cass would have been in the back, if he had to guess. He didn’t seem to be the type to draw attention or be at the center of attention. But… maybe he was? Rory didn’t know a damn thing about him, at the end of the day. None of them really did, it seemed. The only one who might have was Banjo, and he was still in the ICU as far as Rory knew. There wouldn’t be some inspiring speech today to rouse the troops, or wild outburst of antics to break the tension... just silence as the faculty continued explaining their ceremony.

Rory accepted the envelope as they were getting passed around. He took a quick read of his offers, nodding along to the options. After everything that had shaken down, the choice was obvious: the same house his father had been in when he was a student here. His father had been chosen for his motivation. Rory would settle for being chosen for loyalty. At the end of the day, gentleness and optimism were traits Rory had in abundance. He needed a competitive house if he was going to push himself properly. For their sakes. For Cass.

The counting roused Rory from his envelope. He turned to look down the line at his teammates. There was motivation and determination in the eyes of some, especially in Haleigh and Trevor. He gave them a soft smile. But as he turned his gaze to Trace, it was clear they were avoiding eye contact. Small knots twisted in his stomach. They wouldn't… they couldn't. Unless…

They spit on the ground. “Bloody fuckin’ Americans fixin’ all their problems with violence.” They released Rory’s arm. “It’s a sad fuckin’ day when I agree with Makenna and Rory here. But here I am.” They paused. “No, fuck you all, I’m not here. Not anymore. Not with the lot of you.”

Trace had already said their goodbyes, in their own way. His eyes briefly darted to the others. Trevor and Haleigh looked rooted. They didn't seem to notice. Why couldn't anyone else see it? Rory's heart rate rocketed up as Trace stepped forward. He felt his left hand reach forward just slightly yet again, as if to catch them. But his hand just held there in front of him, before weakly falling back to his side. Neither of the armbands held were for Team Blackjack.

Anywhere but here. Anyone but us. Everyone except us.

Rory's eyes turned back to what remained of his team. He didn't even clock the two transferring to Blackjack. His eyes turned to the others. His eyes lingered on Inigo and Makenna. The former had managed to pick a fight the first time they had met, and the latter had chosen to insult those who wished vengeance for Cass. He looked back at Trace, arm raised defiantly. Might as well have given them the finger, and told them to bang their mother's dogs or some other funny euphemism they could draw from their arsenal. They had done it often enough before. Trace had hardly been nice to any of them, except perhaps Katja. This was the most tame Trace's rejection of them had been, so far. But that just left a single question bouncing around his empty head.

Of all the people… why did this hurt so much?

- -|◄ FIRST---
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Zoldyck
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Member Seen 1 day ago

Location: Team Swap Ceremony - P.R.C.U. Campus
The Homecoming Trials #2.25 Flight From Formation

Interaction(s): Team Blackjack
Previously: Dusk Hour

Katja couldn’t tell whether it was the cold coastal wind or Team Blackjack’s topic of conversation that brought a chill to her spine. Honestly, it didn’t matter which as it wouldn’t change a thing. Sticking to the sidelines, a few feet removed from the rest of the group, she listened in on the increasingly more heated debate. Luce had joined in, the girl who previously had been so quiet had surprisingly taken on the role of the biggest firebrand in favor of revenge for Cass. Iñigo and Makenna joined the debate on the opposite end, trying to urge against rash actions just like Rory and Trace had proposed.

Barbs were exchanged, accusations of cowardice, stupidity and arrogance flying back and forth. It didn’t take long after that for the group to break off in different directions, some looking for apparent forgiveness from Banjo while others clearly wanted to be left alone to contemplate what steps to take next. It hurt Katja to see her team fight like this. The world was already hostile enough to the children of the Hype-Gene, squabbling amongst themselves would only make things worse. She wanted to interject several times, but any time she opened her mouth no sound would follow. Instead she practically hid away from the confrontation. Something you’ve been very good at since a young age, right Kruger?

Katja shook her head, trying to get the negative thoughts out of her head. Not now, not fucking now. Of all the times to have an argument with yourself, now was possibly one of the worst. She felt like she had to do something to prevent Blackjack from falling apart. Even though she’d only known them for about two weeks, she still felt a bond to all of them. Almost like a family. She supposed one of them dying would forge that kind of bond. Recalling the incident at the gym the day before, she definitely knew that the thought of Cass kept her in Blackjack. Katja knew that he’d haunt her forever if she failed the team, if she failed him.

That settled it. She’d do her very best in keeping the team together. At least so they’d stop going after each other’s throats. Her personal feelings about Hyperion’s cause didn’t have to conflict with her wanting to see her fellow team members, her brothers and sisters, be well and thrive. This was going to be her priority for now. At the very least this cause might be a welcome distraction from all the shit that happened in the last week.

She decided to go after Trace first, the person whose feelings on the matter seemed to align the most with Katja’s own. They were also the only one whom Katja truly considered to be a friend. For the first time since that fateful night Katja recalled her talk with Trace in their tent. For the first time since the incident, the pleasant memory brought a smile to her face. Not just a friend, she thought, Trace was more than that to her.

Making her way to the fountain, she planned to help calm Trace down and assure them that they didn’t stand alone in the team, that she had their back. And together they’d be able to stop Blackjack from doing anything rash that’d get them in trouble, or worse. But as she rounded the corner towards the fountain Katja saw Trace already in conversation with none other than Blackjack’s very own Banjo. The sunny Roo was supposed to be bed bound for all she knew, so seeing him here in that wheelchair was quite a surprise. A smirk curled on her lips as she put two and two together and figured he’d slipped out of the hospital ward he was supposed to be staying at. Typical Aussies, causing mischief just for the hell of it.

Observing the two from a distance, Katja got a message on her personal device telling her that the team swap and House ceremonies were imminent. Casting one last glance at her two teammates, it looked like Banjo was doing a good job at calming Trace down. There was no need for her to get involved now and possibly make things worse. Katja figured that she’d get plenty of time to talk to Trace after the ceremony was over anyway.

P.R.C.U’s Hyperball stadium, “The Chimera’s Lair”, was selected as the venue for the Team Swap and House ceremony. It was shocking to Katja to see all the people in attendance, even more so when she noticed that the stadium hadn’t even completely filled out yet. Camera drones flew over as they were broadcasting the event. It really brought the point home to Katja of the significance of this event.

Standing in a line with the rest of her team, Katja’s conviction to keeping them together had given her a second wind. Even the bags under her eyes seemed less noticeable. Looking over to team Firebird and back to Blackjack, the difference in expressions was like night and day. These remained largely unchanged as Lehrer gave his speech. Unlike back at the entrance ceremony, Lehrer seemed to have left his charisma back home, as the speech largely fell flat. Even the applause of the crowd seemed to be phoned in compared to the usual reception. Only when Jim started explaining the process of the team swap did the tension in the air get thicker, the crowd anticipating with bated breath what would follow.

In hindsight, Katja should have seen it coming, should have anticipated what would happen. The wounds were too fresh, too deep. Animosity had reached an all time high with the argument from earlier this day. But she didn’t see it, or choose not to see it. There had been fights between Blackjack before, and those got resolved too. Why would this time be any different?

But it was different.

With the sharp sound of the whistle filling the air, with people making their first moves towards their new teams, Katja’s attention was only drawn to one person. Her heart stopped. Someone broke from the Blackjack ranks and time seemed to slow to a crawl. With anyone else it might've been hard to catch who stepped out into the center as they kept their back turned to their former team. But as they raised their pale hands to display the Firebird and Eclipse armbands, even from a mile away there wouldn't have been any mistaking the fact that it was Trace who took their first steps out of team Blackjack.

Katja wanted to run after them, drag them back to their spot in the line. Or maybe go after them, so that they wouldn’t be alone in whatever team they ended up in. She wanted to reach out and yell at them… Her size, her strength, her good intentions, her determination to keep the team together, it all came to naught as the South African girl was overtaken by despair. The floor seemed to vanish below her as she sank into darkness. Only the white hair of Trace being a source of light, fading more with every step they took. Like the light fading from the eyes of Cassander.

Tears welled up in her eyes. She wanted to call out to Trace, call them back to Blackjack, back to her. But as she opened her mouth the only thing Katja could manage was a barely audible whimper. ”Please stay… Trace…”

Katja lowered her head, hair falling infront of her face. She didn’t pick up what was happening around her, who was switching where or what the reactions were of the other teammates.

All she could hear was the crowd as they cheered for their afternoon entertainment.

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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Kuro
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Kuro "more reliable than god" - micki

Member Seen 0-24 hrs ago


Location: Stadium - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
First Class #2.40 Ruffled Feathers; Second Chances?

Interaction(s): Trace @psych0pomp
Previously: Duck, Duck, Goose

One by one, the underclassmen made their decision. Some seemed stern in their position, unmoving at the offer of a new team. Others leapt at the opportunity, preferring a change of scenery over their original teammates.

Regardless of whether or not she knew why, Suzie couldn't fault those who had made the choice to swap. After all, she had left behind her original team, Team 7, otherwise known as "Lucky Strikes" around campus. Her fellow classmates had just as much right to bail from their prior team as she did. But the more she waited to make her decision, the more Suzie noticed the mood that had consumed the ceremony.

To her left, Eclipse hadn't made any moves. Given that half of their team had recently been branded terrorist accomplices, Suzie wasn't surprised they were reluctant to budge from where they stood. On the other hand, Blackjack, standing on her right, was a different story altogether. Although some of Firebird wished to join Blackjack, they were quickly overshadowed by one of Blackjack's teammates desiring to leave for one of the other two teams—a fact that some of Blackjack appeared distraught over when faced with the reality of the situation. One in particular held her head low, hair blocking her face, whereas others seemed similarly bothered and anxious about their teammate's decision.

She didn't know these people. She hadn't much reason to care about their prior issues. But no matter how Suzie tried to spin it, this didn't feel right. Maybe there was something she could do despite the fact that she was a nobody to these people.

Sighing, Suzie bit her lip.

"Fuck it."

She walked towards the center; towards Trace.

"You certain you want to do this?" Suzie asked. "I'm not going to claim to know you. Hell, you can brush me off as unsolicited advice. But, just for a second, I want you to pause and look back at what you're leaving behind."

She gave a nod with her head towards Blackjack.

"I'm sure tensions are running high after what happened. People feel hurt. Depressed. Angry. That kind of feeling doesn't easily go away. It needs time to heal; certainly more time than a week. Trust me, I know how it goes more than most."

Suzie momentarily glanced at Trace, and then to Blackjack, looking for any telling sign or reaction to her words.

"By all means, if you still want to switch, then switch. But to me, it looks like Blackjack still gives a shit about you. You even have some of them on the verge of tears at the thought of you leaving them behind for another team."

Fiddling with the armbands in her hands, Suzie presented the Firebird phoenix prominently in the air.

"Just my two cents. Take it or leave it, up to you."
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Tackytaff
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Member Seen 12 days ago

Makenna's first call was to her father. It was well overdue; with her hearing taking nearly three days to fully return. Through-out the recovery persisted the suffocating presence of Officer Haynes, repeating the same amendment to the Connecticut constitution each time she asked**. He recited the passage with such monotonous detail as to trigger a flare up in her still-lingering tinnitus with a subsequent migraine. Still, a phone did come after four cycles of sleep spent in the sterile, windowless, hype-proof cell.

It was old-fashioned, lacking even a touch-screen. Nothing but a keypad to dial the two numbers provided to her on a notepad.

The first call was to her father, but it was her grandmother who answered. The call had gone poorly from that moment onward. Rose Coultier had never liked Makenna's mother, from her first arrival in Lafayette; claiming she could sense the white woman's bad energies. Jaida's flight shortly after her daughter's birth had done nothing to help the old woman's superstitions. Makenna had hardly finished explaining where she was before the line went dead.

She sat in stunned silence, listening to the dead tone for some time before promptly pushing the interaction out of her mind and punching in the second number provided. Carson. As loathe as she was to even let him know what happened, he was the only person in a position to give her any real support.

"Ken? Are you okay?" She'd hardly heard the phone ring before it was answered. Carson was on the other line, worried for her, but patiently listening as she carefully explained the events of the past few days to him: The bachelorette party, the karaoke, the event and the following fog.

"Hold tight Kenna," and then his final words to her: "We'll figure this out". Over the phone he sounded just confident enough for a small part of Makenna to believe him.

Location: Pacific Royal Collegiate & University, - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
First Class #2.41: Change

Interaction(s): Suzie Poots @Kuro
Previously: N/A

Another PCRU afternoon, another ceremony. Makenna wondered if they'd decided to hold this particular one in the stadium incase Cassander's body hadn't quite made it past the horizon in time. A burning corpse visible from the field sure would have been a mood-killer. Dead, gone, and mourned; the faculty had clearly decided Cassander's time was over and they'd all better get back to the ever-important campus traditions.

Two armbands and an envelope. Makenna wasted no time removing the piece of fabric already attached to her arm. While far from certain about what her final choice would be, Makenna wasn't one to chose a losing team. One team member in the hospital, another dead, and the rest eager to follow; Blackjack wasn't looking much like a group of winners.

Which left her with Firebird or Eclipse. She took the time to further evaluate each group as the introductions and speeches droned on in the background.

Firebird seemed obvious. They'd withstood the attack without a single soul lost or turned, but that kind of unity was a obstacle in itself. In Firebird she'd be the outsider; a mismatched piece from her own team seeking refuge in another. Eclipse, however... she looked to the much smaller group sporting the crescent band. There were so few left. Those remaining had felt betrayal, and were no doubt lost; confused. Barely a team really, but it could be the start of one; one which Makenna had the chance to play a pivotal role in shaping.

A roaring of cheers finally drew her out from her thoughts. She looked up to see Trace, the first of Blackjack to step forward and make her intentions known. It made sense, she supposed. They'd been the first to bolt at the campfire after all. She stepped forward with Trace, face perfectly fixed with a self-assured smile, as blackjack's armband fell to the ground. Firebird's remained tightly balled in Makenna's left hand, while Eclipse's waved freely in her right.

"Don't worry about me, I heard the rules," She said in a sickeningly sweet tone to the transfer student offering up unsought opinions. "I know what I'm doing."

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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by PatientBean
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PatientBean Hi, I'm Barbie. What's up?

Member Seen 2 hrs ago

Location: Pacific Royal Collegiate & University - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
First Class #2.42: Show Your True Colors

Previously: New Foes, Old Friends

Calliope's mind was a whirlwind of clutter.

After leaving Coop (which she instantly regretted. Here was a face she hadn't seen in forever, a reminder of her past and a possible future for herself and she opted to leave him in the dirt) she made her way to see Banjo. She was sure he would be allowed visitors now. However, she was met with the same nurse who didn't allow her the first time. Instead of no visitors, Banjo was just...gone. Moved elsewhere. Calliope felt her stomach drop. Did the school move him because he was getting worse? Did they intend to do something to him? Did Hyperion manage to sneak in and kidnap him or worse? No one had clear answers.

And now she needed to make her way to the stupid ceremony.

But she did so despite what she really wanted to do which was tear the school apart. Instead, she stood among her team members (what would be left of them) as the Team Swap was underway. She listened to Dr. Lehrer's words. Not their responsibility? What a joke. They were all rendered powerless and forced to witness one of their own murdered before their very eyes. And they were supposed to either continue on as if nothing happened and go to school or leave and go back home to a world that doesn't accept them? Damned if you do.....

Calliope was reminded of how America dealt with tragedies like school shootings and it was weird how this school was almost following that protocol. Yeah, we're sorry your child's school got shot up, thoughts and prayers and all that, but life must go on and don't even think of taking our guns we need them to protect our children!

It was all a fucking joke.

"What do you plan on doing about it? You can't do anything! Look, even some of your team members don't have faith in you."

Calli looked up as Trace, with almost venemous words, walked over, essentially saying 'screw you' to Blackjack. Could Calli blame her? Not really, but that didn't stop Calli from thinking Traitor. The going got hard so you decided to leave? And it seemed others in her team noticed also. Katja looked like she was on the verge of tears. Calliope wanted to go over and comfort her, but now was the time or place. Plus, what would she say? What COULD she say?

She wouldn't go so far as to say she was friends with most of her team, but she was willing to try. That had to count for something. Calli looked at the armbands, each with a logo of the choices. She looked at Blackjack's, then Firebirds, then Eclipse.

Calli opened the envelope and peered inside to see her choices. She saw the colors first, then read the words. She was...surprised to say the least. How did she choose? How did anyone choose? Surely people chose for a variety of reasons: Their friends were in one, certain houses had more merit, it looked better, they liked the color, etc. She thought of Banjo and wondered what choices did he have. And then she thought....

Why is she making a choice over a boy?

A boy she liked, sure. A boy she wanted to get to know better. One who was sweet and kind and caring despite everything. But this was her future. Plus it wasn't like she wouldn't see Banjo. They would be on the same team. Right?

Before she could make a decision, she noticed Coop lift his arm up. She could have sworn it was the logo for Blackjack. Her heart fluttered a bit.


She shook it off. Another problem for another day. She needed to make a choice now. She held her Blackjack armband in her left hand and stayed put. She knew neither of the other teams and, really, she would rather leave the school than join a team full of people she did not know and have to go through it all again. Blackjack might be full of psychopaths, but they were here psychopaths and her among them.

She glanced at the others who stood with her, seeing those who chose to stay put. She nodded. Hopefully they understood her intent. She would see this team through.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Mao Mao
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Mao Mao Sheriff of Pure Hearts (They/Them)

Member Seen 0-24 hrs ago

Location: Northern Cove, PRCU - Western Canada
The Homecoming Trials #2.27: The Choice

Interaction(s): Suzanna Poots @Kuro
Previously: Starting Afresh

It wasn't long before the ceremony commenced with a lengthy speech by the chancellor. He made sure to emphasize that it wasn't the students' responsibility to bring down "those who violated the sanctity," an obvious message directed at the Blackjacks. One that seeming was destinated to fall on deaf ears. Iñigo knew his teammates were now driven by vengeance. Nothing, not even the chancellor, could change their minds. Each one of them was keen on revenge on Hyperion; not comprehending such an action would ultimately change nothing. And this path to justice would inherently evolve into a death march, where the drums of war were pulsing toward damnation. It was made more apparent after the whistle.

No one from Blackjacks moved from their spots. Instead, the armbands of the other teams were tossed to the ground without any thought. Iñigo glanced over at Haleigh, still determined more than ever, and frowned at the sight. Then, to his surprise (and delight), Trace stepped forward and didn't look back. Everyone else was caught off-guard, to say the least. Katja looked as if she was about to break down on the spot. Rory stared rudely at him and Makenna, almost anticipating one (or both) of them to step forward. Iñigo was more annoyed than offended, raising an eyebrow back at him. There was no doubt that some would consider her choice to be cowardice. But was it really a coward's move to do the right thing?

Iñigo didn't think so.

Taking off the Blackjacks armband, Iñigo weighed his decision to abandon his comrades at their lowest point. "We need to be there for her and each other during this difficult time." But, unfortunately, his words chose to haunt him at that moment, making it more difficult to let go. Iñigo took a small step forward, slowly losing grip on the armband. It wasn't his job to be a grief counselor for a team hellbent on getting themselves killed. Iñigo took another small step. He had to keep on living for those that were still living. His friends. His family. Iñigo looked back at everyone for the last time, letting the armband fall to the ground. Those people before him were already dead the moment Cass was sent out to sea. They just didn't know it yet.

Iñigo grabbed the armband of Eclipse with his right hand while using his left to reach for the armband of Firebird. He heard the transfer student, Suzanna Poots, voicing her thoughts on Trace's choice. Makenna, who also left behind the team, told her to shut up in the nicest way possible. Iñigo was too exhausted to be that considerate, directing his misplaced frustration toward the transferee instead. "She can think for herself, y'know. Keep your two cents out of our business and make your choice already."

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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Pirouette
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Pirouette Ghoul

Member Seen 1 mo ago

Location: P.C.R.U Campus
First Class #2.42: Hive Been Busy

"Cass was our friend," Ariel replied. "I didn't get to know him that well, different teams and all. It's just...really really sad, you know? One of our own lost his life because of some power-hungry lunatics? One of our own may never walk again because of the same power-hungry lunatics?"

Ariel wanted to say more, partly to let out their feelings in more eloquent words than being 'really really sad'. But their feelings were complicated and it was difficult to let them out without sounding like either a selfish pretentious cabrón or a gradeschooler. Still, where else would those feelings go if they stayed where they were? They struggled to remember what the campus therapist advised on this, but it was 'something something reach out something something you are not alone'. Ariel let go of the deep breath they didn't know they were holding in. Time to put that advice to the test.

"And like...I'm scared about what comes next." Slowly, these words crawled out of Ariel's mouth. Words chosen carefully, tightly, not wanting overwhelm themself. Or Jonna, for that matter. "There is simply no way this...'Hyperion' stops at that. It's just not how those kind of people roll. They'll do something crazy dangerous again. Lives will be at risk again. I hope we'll be ready by then." Just barely keeping themself together, Ariel once again relied on Jo's wrist to keep their feet grounded in the now. Only after the fact did she realize how rough their hand must be and eased their grip, muttering an apology under their breath.

"I'm sorry for dumping all that on you," Ariel then said, in clearer breath. Relaxing the tense posture they didn't know they had been holding, their hands began to fidget. On their hair, on their face, on their uniform fabric, on the trans flag pin on their uniform, anything to distract themself again."Hard to think straight in a funeral, you know? Nothing's okay and that's just...not okay, for me. Maybe other people can handle better, but I can't."

"...Call me out if I'm wrong, but this is not okay for you either, is it?"

Jo was quiet, not responding to Ariel's pry into the complex structure that was the Beehive. The only noise coming from her was the occasional worker that fled or returned from an expedition, the buzzing of their wings breaking up the silence. It had taken far too long for her to respond that the original topic might have even been lost but she'd never forget. The truth was, Jo didn't know what she felt. Fear for herself being pulled into this but what choice did she have? This pathway allowed her freedom to exist as she was. A promise that seemed to be showing more and more strings attached.

When Hyperion made his offer, Jo had really considered it but was afraid to take that plunge. She did not have the perspective that Ariel did. Cass was... a stranger, hardly met in the frantic happenings of her first day at Pacific Royal. Why did he recklessly throw himself out there? Him and the other boy? Didn't they know this Hyperion was a threat, a danger that could wipe the out? The idea frustrated her. Hyperion would have just let them lived if they didn't do anything.

Weren't they scared like her?

Her and Ariel had put some distance since the original question was asked. Frankly, Jo didn't even have the bravery to even comment on the subject of Hyperion's purpose or debate the whole situation. Only one thing came to her mind on the subject:
"I don't want to die"
Jo quietly muttered, masking but not entirely disguising the fearful quiver of repressed emotions over the topic. It might have even escaped Ariel's notice if not paying attention. There was a danger to exposing yourself out in the open. Emotionally or physically, it did not matter. It was a place where predators often found their prey and Jo had no desire to be prey. Too many bits of her already had.

She inhaled through her mouth, loudly, to screen against any attempt to follow-up but also to steady herself. "Do you like the sweets? I want to go find some. You are in, ya?" She steered away back to safety...


There were people all around and it seemed like they were all looking at her. They were muttering around her about the bees, swatting at them. Trying to kill them, Jo thought. She had an issue with public performances and grand presentations like these ones, even as a spectator, tore at her mind exposing the insecurities. It did not help that she hadn't resolved her conflict of fleeing Pacific Royal in light of offer and the potential threat that came from the future. She'd consider that one, too, however there was no guarantee of leniency should she return to civilian life. Her powers, should they be classified as hazardous by even mere complaints of others, would be restricted. Cut off from those she loved most, though in another interpretation of what Jonna was happy to be as.

Besides, what did she even have outside of this, anyway?

The stress of the day was enough to make her itchy with an easy trigger. More than once did she snap at someone waving a bee away for flying too close. "Din jävla idiot!" She snapped at one person sitting by, waving her arm around. "Don't swat!" The swarm was a low drone all throughout the speech with Jonna entering an agitated state. In many ways it was like Nuclear Warheads being on standby should DEFCON rise in level. Only with Jo, it'd be with a swarm of thousands of bees bursting from her.

When she'd finally be set upon making her decision, she raised her Firebird band on instinct. Others were doing it around her so she fell in line. The familiar was safe and a known quantity. Why would she risk it by going with a new team? That was assuming she'd even have the same team after the Team Swap. In her head, she hated all of this. The randomness and unpredictability, but there was one thing that would remain the same, she'd be a Firebird... Whatever that team would look like after this.

She shook her head, forging past even the idea of choosing a house right now. She peaked in the envelope as soon as she got it. That might end up being sudden instinctual choice as well. Jo never could quite get behind team sports so which one liked honey, again?
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by PatientBean
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PatientBean Hi, I'm Barbie. What's up?

Member Seen 2 hrs ago

Location: Pacific Royal Collegiate & University - Dundas Islands, Pacific Ocean
First Class #2.45: Let The Beat Move You

Interaction(s): N/A
Previously: Drop The Act

The Phoenix

Harlowe had put her journal away, the scribblings on it a testament to her conspiracy theory brain. She had been left, more or less, on her own. She was hoping someone would have come up to her, but it seemed her team members had their own plans. This reminded her of the upcoming team swap. She didn't know many on her team as it stood. Their bonding was interrupted by the attack. She knew Coop and Yuri, but not many others. So she didn't really feel the need to leave the team she had been placed in. A mistake? Perhaps.

Once at the ceremony, Harlowe listened as Dr. Lehrer went on about how they shouldn't seek justice and to either remain here and be good, model students or leave. She didn't really have many options on where she would go if she left. It was this or the streets in her opinion and at least this place, with all its faults, provided her a roof over her head and food.

Standing there with the other members of Firebird, she actually considered going to the other team. Not Blackjack. She didn't know the details but that team seemed like drama central. But Eclipse maybe?

Her thoughts were interrupted as Coop stepped forward and raised the armband for Blackjack, saying he knew someone over there. Harlowe would miss him, but it wasn't like she wouldn't see him. After all, they may be in the same House.

And that decision was weighing on her too. Which did she choose?

Some other people stepped forward, some stayed back. Harlowe decided she would stick with Firebird. She hoped most of the others stayed, but she wouldn't blame them if they left or switched teams. The attack left many of them scattered. It seemed Blackjack was hit most of all after losing one of their own and another critically injured. She felt for them, truly. Maybe someone on their team would be interested in working with her.

Only time would tell.
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