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In Ju-V 1 mo ago Forum: Advanced Roleplay
Page 3 is a beautiful thing to see.
In Ju-V 1 mo ago Forum: Advanced Roleplay
I'll sit here and watch this until a post is up.
In Ju-V 2 mos ago Forum: Advanced Roleplay

"I know all about
Your motives inside

Walking home in the late evening hours, a woman hummed softly to herself. Her date, the first of many, she hoped, had gone well. After a stressful week, it had been exactly what she had needed.

The dark figure lurking in the alleyway tensed. He could hear the clicking of heels on pavement as his prey neared. After a stressful week, this would be exactly what he needed.

The woman didn’t notice the man until he was already upon her. A hand muffled her panicked shrieks, and a metal object jammed into her ribs robbed her of any fight she may have had. His vile words left her paralyzed. Threats and promises flowed from his lips like raw sewage. The man grew excited by the woman’s tears. He pulled his hand from her mouth, lowered his pistol, and haltingly undid his belt. The man wanted to make this last.

The man didn’t notice the pounding footfalls until it was too late. A heavy force drove into him from behind, knocking him away from the woman and causing his forehead to collide with the alley wall. He cursed, spun, and drew his pistol to waist level as the man faced down his assailant.

The newcomer was slightly smaller and obscured in a hoodie. They had positioned themselves between the man and his prize. The snarl had barely crossed his lips before the man was pulling the trigger. The hooded individual took a step back as the bullet struck them in the gut. Then they took a step forward, and the man heard the dulled clink as the projectile tumbled harmlessly to the street.

They advanced with surprising quickness, and before the man could get off another shot, his arm was being wrenched to the side. Now that they were closer, the man could see the shadowed visage from under the hood. Youthful features and violet eyes that radiated disgust.

The last thing the man heard before his frightened screams took over the night was the sound of rhythmic percussion.

* * *

Wes idly toyed his finger through the hole in the front pocket of his hoodie. A souvenir of that night five months ago and a constant reminder of the dangers lurking within every shadow. Shadows that the teenaged metahuman was now recognizing crept within the walls of Aegis. Weston's belief in the place as a beacon of justice and righteousness was fading as cracks began to show.

The near-riot in the sports court had just been the first sign of things to come. The remnants of that assault still burned his eyes, and it took considerable willpower not to wipe away the tears that continued to well up. Wes sympathized for the girl in green who suffered the worst of the chemical violation and still wheezed with nearly every breath. The response from the facility guards had been unwarranted as far as he was concerned. The director’s scathing rebuttal had been reassuring, but Weston believed that such an incident wouldn’t remain isolated for long.

The personnel escorting them through the complex had led them to a locked door, revealing other program attendees locked inside. Inmates. Wes had to remind himself of that. They were inmates here at Aegis. A fact that, somehow, had eluded him until just moments ago. Unlike him, the others hadn’t volunteered. This was the second sign of the murkiness within.

The last fracture of the Aegis fantasy, though, was the one that had Weston rigid as he worked to restrain himself. When the group entered the recreation room, there had been one individual who immediately stood out to him. A man who carried himself with lordly weight sat in the corner where the entire space could easily be looked over. Older than any of them, this man scanned the newcomers with practiced efficiency, his eyes drinking in every vulnerability. Weston had seen it before. That hunger. That belief that anything was ripe for the taking. He hadn’t liked it then, and he didn’t like it now.

Billy Isaacs. That was the name offered to him by the small, pig-tailed girl who acted as their tour guide. Billy Isaacs. He wouldn’t forget it. Nor would he forget the rapacious grin that split Billy’s lips when the man laid eyes on the redheaded girl. Weston saw it all. The way Billy’s eyes scoured over her form, stopping briefly at chest level. The way his eyes shone with predatory hunger, similar to what Weston had witnessed in another mere months ago.

Danger. That’s what Billy Isaacs was. Except this danger didn’t bother to hide in shadows. This danger was confident.

Weston’s eyes remained on the man as he approached the girl who no longer wore the nice earphones. Weston remained composed despite his urge to intervene. He knew better than to act haphazardly. And, he told himself, this wasn’t Philadelphia. These people around him weren’t helpless would-be victims. Each of them had their own capabilities. For all he knew, the redhead could eviscerate the man and all his lustful desires with a thought. After all, looks were deceiving. Haven had shown him that much.

His gaze flickered to the brunette as she wandered away from the group. She was faster than appearances would suggest. When that middle-aged boy had attacked her, the quickness Haven displayed in her retaliation had been remarkable even by Wes’ standards. With her facing away from him, Weston could see why. Underneath Haven’s tank top, her back rippled with muscle that was at odds with her slim frame. Her body had adapted to those wings, he noted, and it was evident that, while she may not bench half a ton, there was strength brimming inside.

Wondering just what else she was capable of, Weston let his eyes fall further down her figure. Haven had a runner’s build, he realized. Like all the track athletes from his old high school, she carried a lot of power in her lower body. Now that he looked more closely, the black pants the young woman wore did little to conceal how strong her legs appeared to be. He respected that athleticism. When the chance inevitably arose to train their abilities, Weston knew he’d have to ask to get a workout in together.

She seemed very capable.

That was when he realized Haven was looking his way. She nodded as their eyes met, signaling him to take a seat at her table. Weston chose a spot that allowed him to keep watch on the redhead and her big, bad wolf. Just because he thought the girl likely could defend herself didn’t mean he trusted things to remain civilized.

Still, he allowed himself to keep his focus on the brunette next to him. “Does it hurt?”

Haven seemed to notice the position he took. Her eyes squinted a moment in response to his question as she pieced together the implications behind it.

“No. Not anymore,” she murmured. Haven stared at him. “Your eyes? I’m surprised you got hit.”

Weston’s right hand was almost brushing against the puffy, red skin around his eye before he caught himself. He offered a slight, reassuring smile to Haven in answer to her first question. Then added, “I didn’t. I ran into it after the guard was already spraying.”

It surprised Haven how casual the words sounded. She blinked. “It wasn’t the first time, either?”

“First time with that stuff. Usually, it’s knives or guns. One time this guy had a taser he tried to use. Just things like that.”

Weston failed to consider that, unlike him, Haven might not have had any experience as a vigilante. Neither did he notice the expression on Haven’s face change as he spoke, instead turning his attention to his hoodie.

His nose still burned from the chemicals, and the mention of the pepper spray had made the boy realize traces of it probably remained in his clothing. He frowned a bit at that. Before departing for San Francisco, Wes and the community back home had scrounged up enough quarters to give his limited wardrobe a thorough wash. Now, they’d have to be cleaned again.

As Haven started to respond, Weston rose from his seat. He didn’t want to continue breathing in the lingering chemicals, and he worried that he now smelled of whatever had been in the spray. The teenager stripped the damaged hoodie from his body, leaving him in a white, simple t-shirt underneath that looked almost one size too small on his frame. It had been difficult to find an intact shirt without stains or tears. Though it fit a little too snug for his comfort, especially across his chest, Wes was just grateful to have found something presentable.

Sitting back down across from Haven, Weston realized he had something else to be grateful for. The teen had volunteered for this program for two reasons. First, to train his abilities and skills so that he could better put them to use helping others. That, he knew, would take time. The second was something he had hoped for, but wasn’t sure was achievable, let alone accomplishable so soon.

A smile played across his features as he listened to the feathered girl speak, and the recognition within him grew.

Weston had found a friend.
In Ju-V 2 mos ago Forum: Advanced Roleplay

This post opens with a scene that touches upon sexual assault. The scene in question does not go into detail and is brief. It is important insight into Weston's characterization, however it can be skipped. If you wish to skip it, scroll past the three asterisks (* * *) six paragraphs down.
In Ju-V 2 mos ago Forum: Advanced Roleplay
Post incoming tomorrow. That's American tomorrow, not upside-down-land tomorrow.
In Ju-V 2 mos ago Forum: Advanced Roleplay
@Retired happy to be here :) I'll join the discord once I'm home from work

Enjoy your last few hours of sanity, then.
In Ju-V 2 mos ago Forum: Advanced Roleplay
Welcome to the Thunderdome.
In Ju-V 2 mos ago Forum: Advanced Roleplay

"Was this over before
Before it ever began?

The conversation with Haven ended, and the two teens spent the remainder of their journey in silence. Weston left his hoodie down, enjoying the breeze tickling his short auburn hair. He did his best not to give the slim brunette next to him any further glances. Now that he realized how uncomfortable he had made her, Wes didn't want to repeat that mistake. Wes wasn't sure what he'd have done if Haven hadn't been as understanding.

Slipping his headphones back on, Wes thumbed the play button after lowering the volume to a whisper. He wasn't expecting any danger now that they were close to Aegis Center. The heavy instrumentals swelled as he allowed his thoughts to turn toward what was about to become his new home.

Wes had heard of Alcatraz Island at some point. The name was familiar, and he was vaguely aware that it was once a prison. Anything more than that was a mystery to the young man. Despite its appearance, isolated and foreboding as it may be, Wes saw the complex built upon the island in a positive light. Four walls and a roof; reliable electricity and running water; a space to safely explore his abilities. Weston hadn't exaggerated when he told Haven it was like a castle.

His years without a home, spent in a community of those in similar situations, was not something he'd ever bemoan. On the contrary, Wes' time with the same community his grandfather had once dedicated his life to supporting had been very encouraging. While everyday life had been full of trials, and for most, just scraping by was a struggle, Wes had still been surrounded by those who cared for him. Who loved him. When they learned of his metahuman nature, they uplifted him instead of fearing him. They encouraged the young man to be his most authentic self. For that, Wes would always be eternally grateful.

However, this was a new chapter of his life, and the teenager was excited about all it offered. Weston had volunteered for the Juvenile Vigilante program to learn the skills necessary to use his abilities better. To better help those in need who couldn't support themselves. Though he had spent considerable time doing his own vigilante work, having been entirely self-trained, he was rough around the edges. Wes understood that. He also knew that there was much he didn't understand, like the full extent of his power. Aegis offered the chance to change that.

The fact that he'd be around others his age, to learn and grow with them, and to be able to socialize with another young adult for the first time since his grandfather had passed away, didn't hurt either. It was an incentive he had undoubtedly considered when contacting the program.

Weston's eyes briefly shifted to the girl beside him, her feathers ruffling slightly as the ferry chugged toward their destination. It was a nice incentive.

Once docked, Wes took the time to look over the rest of his fellows. He wasn't sure how, but he had entirely missed the hulking figure with stone-like skin. He looked like one of those marble statues shown in Wes' sophomore year Ancient History course. Weston wondered if the giant boy could feel anything through the hard exterior. Now that he paid mind, Weston could hear the subtle grinding of granite whenever the teenage behemoth moved his substantial frame and hoped that the grating caused no pain.

The girl in green, who looked comically short next to the granite giant, was just as energetic as she had been when he'd first laid eyes on her. Her eyes never seemed to stop darting from one figure or structure to the next. Weston realized that, like him, she might be new to this experience. Perhaps to her, too, the Aegis Center seemed like the start of a new, exciting chapter and not something to dread as so many others from the bus had appeared to do.

The one from the back of the bus was also there, with Aegis guard never too far behind. Wes found it interesting that they seemed more wary of the leaner boy with overly styled hair than the goliath, whose fists looked like they could shatter concrete. Not that he believed appearance equated to power, Wes, of all people, knew that wasn't true, but it did suggest there was a history there. Perhaps, unlike Weston, the boy had done something egregious to earn his place here. Regardless, Weston positioned himself to see the guard's hands and security belt while they waited for the second load of teenagers to arrive.

Then, there was the otter. Weston would have to apologize for writing them off as a pet one day. There was a clear intelligence present, and while Wes couldn't understand them, they were no doubt attempting to communicate. If he had thought his own experience had isolated him from socializing with others his age, Wes couldn't begin to imagine how isolating it must feel for them to be surrounded by people but utterly incapable of enjoying even the most straightforward conversations. A human being born an otter, while certainly a visual oddity, must also have presented many other issues for them growing up. Not the least of which was ignorant people such as himself dismissing them as an animal or novelty.

The rumbling of the ferry dismissed Wes from his reverie. The new arrivals had barely set foot off the boat before the guards began herding the collective group toward a set of gates. Urged into two lines, the Aegis personnel went to each teenager. Wes watched from his position toward the end of one line as the metahumans were stripped of their material items. Bags were removed and checked, and personal effects were confiscated. The red-haired girl had her fancy earphones and the device they came with taken.

Weston considered the items he'd brought. A plastic grocery bag tucked into his hoodie pocket that was stuffed with a couple of changes of underwear and socks; a single deodorant stick, toothbrush, and half-used tube of toothpaste; his MP3 player and headphones.

Wes turned off the device and removed the headphones as his time came. He carefully rolled up the cord to not further cause the exposed wire to poke through. Stepping up to the guard doing the inspections, he willingly handed the headphones over, then removed the rolled-up plastic bag from his hoodie and offered that as well. However, Weston held a firm grip when the man reached for the MP3 player. The older man nearly stumbled forward as he tugged on the gadget, while Wes didn't so much as wobble.

"I get this back, right?" He asked softly.

"What?" The guard grunted. "Kid, just let it go."

"You'll give it back to me soon. Won't you?"

The man tugged again. Harder. He planted his foot firmly behind him and leaned his body weight away while maintaining his grasp on the tiny MP3 player. "Yes. Just... let... go!"

Wes released his hold, and the guard tumbled nearly head over keister, landing roughly on the concrete.

"Okay," he said. "Just take good care of it, please."

Weston stepped past the guard to join the Ju-V members waiting for their final numbers to clear the security checkpoint. The group was escorted through the outer facility once the last of the teens had gathered together. The area they were led to, marked as the Recreation Wing's sports court, was much larger than the gymnasium at his former high school. It was expansive and seemed to be well-funded.

Approaching the nearly twenty youths, an older gentleman announced himself as the facility's director. Virgil Rowell had at least four decades on the oldest of the group and stood with the most precise posture Weston had ever witnessed. He wasn't sure if it were possible to be more upright.

Weston stood far off to one side of the gathered teens, only half-listening to the man's greeting speech. The young man's attention was more captivated by the immaculate facility they stood within. He imagined himself spending a good deal of time within the Recreation Wing. Maybe the one with stone skin would be willing to spar with Weston one day. He'd never been able to test his body's limits against another metahuman before, and Wes was curious just how capable he truly was.

Just then, a startled cry pulled Weston's attention to the rear of the crowd. A haggard man, caught between youth and middle age, gaunt and covered with tattoos and scars, held a blade vaguely pointed toward Haven. It clicked for Wes later than it should: it wasn't a blade he brandished but one of Haven's feathers. A feather that had just been ripped from her wing.

Weston stepped forward, about to sprint at the assailant in world record-shattering time, but another had already moved to strike. Haven was quick. She pulled back her fist with a swiftness that impressed him, and Wes had no doubt a punch from her would be enough to knock down her scrawny attacker. She hesitated, though, and, in that moment, several security guards pounced. Well-placed stun guns brought the aggressor writhing to the ground.

Wes watched as the guards spun toward Haven, who hurriedly brought her arms up placatingly. Thankfully, they lowered their tasers, choosing to focus on the actual perpetrator. Haven stepped forward, recollecting her poached feather, then towered over the frail boy as he was subdued on the ground. She looked over him momentarily, then, without a word, she brought her palm down against the back of his head. Weston thought it less than he deserved.

Turning on her heel, Haven marched back toward the group. Weston noted her face was firm as she moved past him, and something burned behind her eyes. He opened his mouth to ask if she was alright, but just as he did, the tension between Aegis personnel and Ju-V inductees that had persisted since stepping foot on the bus broke spectacularly.

"She's vanishing!" A voice called out.

Spinning in that direction, Wes caught the last fleeting image of the green-clothed girl as she faded into nothingness. The guards had also seen as much and unclipped the canisters of pepper spray from their belts. This time, Weston was already moving when the chemicals were unloaded toward where the disappearing girl had once stood. Wes was nearly fifty feet from the girl's spot when he began moving. He covered more than two-thirds of that distance in just over one and a half seconds. Weston could feel the burning of the pepper spray as the chemicals entered his lungs, realizing too late that he'd not thought to hold his breath. His eyes were already watering. Wes tried to lock his gaze on the offending canister through his blurry vision. In just another second, he'd be on the guard and able to restrain the man before more harm could be done.

Director Rowell had other thoughts on the matter. "Hold!"

The order rumbled throughout the space like the roar of thunder. Weston planted his foot solidly in front of him and kicked off, pushing himself back and to the side before skittering to a stop. He didn't turn towards the director, who continued to give orders, instead keeping his eyes, now puffy and red, on the overzealous guard responsible.

The onslaught of chemicals had ceased, but the still-invisible girl was hacking and wheezing somewhere between Weston and the guard. The boy couldn't hold back his coughing for long, either, eventually forced to break eye contact as he gave in to the relentless fire growing within his throat.

When he decided to come to San Francisco to enroll in this Ju-V program, Weston had thought he'd pause his vigilante activities while he learned, studied, and trained. The countless nights in Philadelphia spent on alert, continually monitoring for threats to his city and community, would be in his past, at least momentarily. It dawned on the young man now, after witnessing two attacks on innocents from both within the program's attendees and without, that that would not be the case.

This place was a powder keg ready to blow, and Weston would need to be as vigilant as ever to keep it contained.
In Ju-V 2 mos ago Forum: Advanced Roleplay
Alright, blame @Skai and @Roman because after reading both of their posts I'm going to have to write another Wes post tomorrow. Too much happened after boarding the ferry.

EDIT: Extended ETA of my post by 24 hours. IC happenings require me to rethink things and wait for answers.
In Ju-V 2 mos ago Forum: Advanced Roleplay
I expect half-a-dozen more posts to read by the time I wake up. Let the hype and copious amounts of caffeine fuel you.
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