Date/Time: November 11th, 2022. 5:55 PM.
Location(s): Redline PRT Headquarters
Will stood outside the PRT Headquarters, leaning against the side of the building. He had been there for about 10 minutes, alternating between fidgeting with his tie, playing on his phone, and anxiously pacing. He'd been there before around a week ago - he received a tour, went through an hour or two of them testing his power, and had an extended talk with the PR team and Fashonista about his cape persona and costume. The HR head refused, like, 10 of Will's ideas before they finally compromised on 'Faeble', which Will was still somewhat annoyed about.
Will looked at the entrance to the building, working up the courage to step inside. He thought about leaving now while he still could - it'd be easy to steal a car with his power. He could be in Portland before anyone noticed, and after hopping on a plane, Will could go wherever he wanted.
He knew that, really, there was no choice in the matter. He'd be sacrificing his life, his identity, if he fled the country. All things considered, his brother scored him a pretty sweet deal. Only three years with the Wards, and he'd be scot-free. Three years risking his life, alongside other teens, like some kind of YA-novel or some shit.
Will started messing with his tie, straightening it for the umpteenth time.
If he walked in there, he'd basically be signing his life away. All it would take is a guy with a gun and some earplugs, and Will would be worse than powerless. There are powerless people who know how to throw a punch, after all - and don't have to deal with the stigma being a Master brought with it.
Oh god, he forgot about that. The tie dug a bit deeper into his neck as Will tightened it even further. Most capes were traumatized crazy people with emotional issues - combined with teenage hormones, Will was probably going to have to worry about getting his ass kicked by his own team when they learned about his power.
Hell, after the stunt he pulled with the coffee last week, who knows if the staff here would even help him. He could leave right now, just walk a couple blocks before finessing a car off of someone, it would be so easy-
He was overthinking things, getting worked up for no reason. His counselor at school said the same thing, Will just gets anxious. Is it a superhero team where he's going to have to fight against criminals? Sure. Does he lack any actual ability to fight - both in terms of powers and actual physical ability? Of course.
But that didn't mean he was actually a big deal.
Will stopped fidgeting with his tie as he calmed himself. Yeah, this wasn't anything big - the Wards would probably be just like Mascots or something, maybe go against C-listers alongside a dozen cops just for publicity. Hell, with how corrupt the internet made the PRT out to be, maybe they'd purposefully pay off Jobbers to lose to a bunch of caped teens. Despite how much he argued to the contrary, Will was still just a child. imagine if a child got fucking shot , and it was the government's fault? Even if his brother didn't care, the public would lose their shit.
A slight smirk crossed the boy's face as he entered the PRT Headquarters, much calmer with his reasoning. Hell, today was probably just going to be a tour of the building, maybe some team-building exercises or a patrol at worst. If he had the time to talk and build a relationship, he could at least have a rapport with the team before the inevitable 'I can brainwash you' talk. Just the bare minimum exposure, some pictures and cute showings to the press for the next 3 years, then he was out and could live his fucking life.
'Everything will be okay.'
Date/Time: November 11th, 2022. 7:02 PM.
Location(s): Convoy 1, En-route to the Museum of Parahuman History
Everything was not okay.
Not only did Will grossly underestimate the intensity of their first day of work, but his power was outed to the rest of his team by the director about 5 minutes into meeting them. Will was really hoping he could have kept the 'Hey, I brainwash people on accident constantly' thing under wraps for a little bit, but that apparently wasn't in the cards.
He could feel eyes on him as the convoy drove down the road - well, he thought he did at least. He's always been pretty good at reading body language and faces, but it was hard to really tell when most of the people in the convoy were wearing helmets and were fearing for their lives.
There 4 other Wards in this convoy, along with the armored PRT members in the front that were driving the vehicle. Will eyed the others carefully, trying to get a read on them that he couldn't in the last hour. One girl was either a tinker, or put a lot more thought into her costume than Will did - it was some cyberpunk-esque skinsuit, with all kinds of glowing lights and gadgets. Another boy in the convoy kept to a similar theme, with a mask and glowing highlights to his costume, and a star-studded cape. There were two other girls, one with a welder-esque mask and costume, while the other wore little more than a basic mask to conceal her identity. That last one made Will feel more positive about his choice in costume, but not by much.
'Think positive, asshole. There'll be at least two Guardians, and who knows how many cops. I'll probably be stationed behind the lines along with that 13-year-old kid. Plus there's a lot of people here - statistically speaking, I probably won't get shot!'
Will nearly flunked Statistics, so that was more wishful thinking than anything else.
'What else... Oh, new costume! Probably bulletproof.'
The only thing that led Will to believe that was the fact this suit was made by a Tinker. And as someone who knew the bare minimum about capes, for all Will knew, he could be shooting lasers out of his cufflinks to melt through steel bars or some shit.
Will looked down, using the excuse of checking out his costume again to have something distract his thoughts. It was a very simple outfit, at least compared to the skin-tight jumpsuits and medieval armor that capes seemed to love. A simple suit and tie combo, with a black motorcycle helmet that didn't hinder his vision in the slightest. Other than the padded gloves on his hands and the boots on his feet, he wouldn't be out of place at a prom or court hearing. Patting his pockets, he could feel several items through the soft fabric - pepper spray, a boxcutter, his wallet ('why fuck did I bring my ID with me, god fucking damn it'), his phone, and a pen that was prominently displayed in his coat pocket.
And of course, the earpieces that fit snugly into his ears. He initially thought about leaving them behind while changing into his costume out of principle. It felt... targeted. Everyone got protection against his power, but if a brute got roid rage and wanted to bash his face in, he was out of luck?
Of course, it wasn't the same - Will had to actively focus to avoid mind-controlling someone, while another team member would have to deliberately target him. Not to mention, his power was probably a lot easier to prevent, while other team members could be punished later for friendly fire.
This was just to stop him from having an accident. 'And they can't trust me, of course.' Will thought to himself, still bitter despite the logic behind the device. The main reason he was wearing the things instead of throwing a hissy fit was that they were useful in communicating discreetly, and almost certainly had a tracker in case he got kidnapped or something.
Fashonista took some liberties, but that was to be expected when his request was 'something formal that blends in with a crowd.' A gun would have been really useful, but there was no way in hell Will would succeed in bringing one to the PRT Headquarters, and he'd probably have a panic attack the second he fired it anyways.
With his loadout confirmed, the young boy took out his pen and began to twirl the implement between his fingers, a desperate ploy to keep his hands busy.
"Anyway, any of you played Dungeons and Dragons? Or, I guess, any RPG game with class roles in it? Just think of me as your party Rogue. If you let me, I'll do my best to ensure the path is clear before you dive in, scout things out and see about lessening the number of surprises we have to deal with. I can get in and out undetected. Better still, I can transmit pertinent information back to you in real-time."
"In general? I'm yer' gal for information gathering. That's what I bring to the table..."
Will paused his pen twirling and gave a long whistle as the girl in the Cyberpunk-style costume, Wattson, finished speaking. If she could find any hostages quick, Will would have even fewer reasons to enter the museum. Fantastic news.
"Nice - I mean, the last part we can kind of do with these handy-dandy earpieces-"
Will tapped the side of his helmet with his pen, roughly in the area his ear should be.
"But finding what's in the next room is pretty useful. Could probably find any hostages pretty quick, then maybe the Police will come in and we get to clock out early."
Anything sneaky was the best type of power, in Will's opinion. Back when he was a kid, he always thought invisibility or super speed would be the best powers to trigger with - though he imagined the less legal applications of things, so maybe that was why he gravitated towards those easily exploitable abilities.
"I don't know if it fits. But I play... Eh... League of Legends,"
"I... blow up stuff. And melt stuff down. I make these little spheres of plasma, which I guess you can call miniature stars. Anyways, you lot can just call me Alman. 'Astromancer' might be a mouthful to say after all."
Will learned a little about people's powers an hour ago - mostly the ratings that he still couldn't remember, despite the cute little nursery rhyme it had. But now that Alman was explaining his directly, it made Will start to wonder why he was really brought on this team. After all, shooting mini-stars at people seemed a little bit more useful than a power that could be blocked by covering your ears and yelling nonsense.
Was it really just to keep him from becoming a villain when he got out of juvie? Will wasn't sure if he should feel inadequate or relieved.
"You got a Star Trek-style 'Set Phasers to Stun' mode? Cause if these bad guys can tank mini-stars, we'll probably need a few more Guardians, heh..."
Will closed his eyes when the comment didn't get any laughs, but kept pushing forwards, glad he didn't have to avoid cringing when his face was covered.
"Still neat though. Lotta problems can be solved with enough fire. You cool with nicknames? I got Al, Astroy-Boy - we can workshop some later if needed."
Will would have appreciated the unintentional namedrop of another Ward, if he knew her name. Instead, he leaned back, tapping his fingers on his legs to keep his hands busy.
"You guys probably know my power already, and if you want to know specifics, the people that tested us probably know more than I do. Just think of me like a really good liar, that's all I really got going on."
"Oh, uh, I dunno if I missed intros, but I'm Will. Faeble, if we're using our weird made-up names."
Will was starting to relax - talking helped distract him, and by talking about the mission, he could at least feel a little more in control of the situation.
"We have any plans so far? Getting possible hostages out is priority uno, so I think having Wattson scope the place out and then we rush in for anyone is probably the smartest plan."
'And it's the only plan I can think of where I'm useful but still not in danger of getting shot,' Will thought.
"We good with that? I'm open to suggestions, cause it's pretty barebones, but we only got-" Will checked his phone. "Like 7 or 8 minutes till we arrive."