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Heidi Williams



Location: Outside Avalon.
Interacting With: Ayel @Dezuel; Jason @Eric Horst; Aya @c3p-0h






Heidi looked back and forth as Ayel and Jason spoke to each other, taking everything in, as well as digesting what had already been said. Jason's reasoning was sound, and Ayel being the mutant who'd sent the message was the most likely single possibility, it was less likely that everything else combined. As such, Heidi didn't want to jump to conclusions and keep an open mind, while also remaining suspicious of Ayel. Another thing from earlier that had given her a lot to think about was the last thing that Ayel had said to her before Jason arrived. For who and for what did she intend to use her powers?

Before the attack, Heidi tried to make plans combining pro-registration ideals with her own compassion. With her new mutation, that was a lot easier to do, though still tool a lot of time. She thought about it a lot in her free time, keeping the thought process running in the background. One day, she'd have the means at her disposal to carry out her plan. By then, it would be bulletproof.

It was lucky for Jason that Heidi was looking in the other direction when he hit himself in the face with a stone. It was also lucky for Heidi, who didn't miss Aya's awakening. Every moment, from the coughing to the shaking to the sweat, to the pain, was recorded. As well as the words 'Nocturn' and 'Uná'. Heidi made several assumptions from this; Aya knew that Uná was at Nocturn. Aya's mutation allowed her to track Uná. To achieve this, she had to be unconscious. Deduction? Aya's mutation is astral projection or something very similar.

Heidi didn't know if Aya said anything else, as Jason went over to check on her, obscuring both of their mouths. When he turned back to her, it was to ask her who or what Nocturn is. She'd seen that before. It was a place. She saw it on a map. Her brain scanned every single map of this city she'd ever seen online or otherwise and found the one she was looking for. Google Maps showed Nocturn as a location. This memory also gave her the exact location of Nocturn. She cross-referenced that memory with the memory of looking at a different map showing this club, that she had looked at earlier today. Now she knew how to get to Nocturn from here, or indeed, anywhere else in the city.

"Yes," she replied. "It's a place and I know exactly where it is."
Maeda Hitomi




Location
Infirmary
@Zeroth@Conscripts@liferusher




"Nobody else got hurt in the fight between Jett and Roy, if that's what you're asking. I'm going to the infirmary because Acion took some nasty hits sparring with Dulga just before the fight started and I want to make sure he's okay. What happened as far as can tell is that Jett and Roy started arguing. They were arguing about pretty much nothing, but very aggressively. I think they both just wanted a scrap. Then they started fighting, and it was quite brutal. They were actually trying to really hurt each other, so I went to get a teacher. When I came back, Roy had a light arrow pointed at Jett's heart and the girls were stepping in between them to break the fight up."

The two of them reached the infirmary just in time to see Tomoe resting on Action's lap. Even though Hitomi knew Tomoe well enough to know this was just her thing, and even though Acion looked very uncomfortable about it, Hitomi could feel a pang of jealousy. Actually pang was far too weak a word. 'Knife to the chest and twist' of jealously. Hitomi cleared her throat, angrier than she meant to. Luckily she could reel herself in when it came time to speak, even if it was taking her obvious effort to keep her voice in check that she was almost speaking through gritted teeth. She hadn't crossed the line in the sand with her roommate's crush, but Tomoe had certainly stepped on it.

"Tomoe, we had a conversation about this. Get off him."




Mako Akane




Location
Staff Room - Front Desk
@Aerandir




Mako looked out of the one-way glass behind the front desk, and not only surprised to see who it was, but once again couldn't get over how much Mia Haven looked like her mother back in the day. She slipped her hip flask back into her jacket and wiped her mouth, before emerging from the door that connected the secretary's office to the front desk.

"So sorry if I kept you waiting!" she chimed in her trademark saccharine voice, her closed eyes and her constant smile. "if it isn't all three Haven sisters? What brings you here today? If you're looking for your brother, you'll find him in the training room unless he left. When you see him, ask him what he did today." Mako opened her eyes to look into Mia's, and she'd see a mischievous twinkle in them.


Heidi Williams



Location: Outside Avalon.
Interacting With: Ayel @Dezuel; Jason @Eric Horst; Aya @c3p-0h






"Actually," started Heidi, not being able to help herself in her drunken state, "the concept of mutants and mutations was scientific fact long before the X-gene, which itself does fit the scientific definition of a mutation. So it's not inaccurate. I do get your point though. Calling us 'gifted' is a lot more positive and humanising, if a little patronising. And yes, the possibilities of what could have happened to Aya had we not been there for her don't bear thinking about, even if I can't help it. The last thing I'd want is for her to get blamed for the monster. Even if I can't deny that her actually being the cause of the monster is a possibility, I don't believe it.

And the police can no longer deal with all crimes and disturbances. That's why we need superheroes, and the X-men. Monsters, supervillians, the supernatural and magical...the ordinary policeman cannot do anything to stop them. And yes, I'm better off out here, where I'm not getting in the way. My mutation can't help me fight monsters. I'm a Delta Class. If you're asking about my powers, my quick mind *is* my power. My brain can process things many times faster than normal, and I have a perfectly photographic memory. I'm basically a supercomputer. Sorry, I don't usually talk this much. I think it's the alcohol. I can't stop my thoughts from coming out."


She had been talking increasingly faster and faster, but now stopped herself, and took a few deep breaths. She looked back up at Ayal, but noticed that his eyes were looking past her, at somebody behind her. Not wanting to give away her biggest weakness, she maintained the charade that she could hear, and turned to face the new arrival, hoping that Ayel didn't say anything while her back was turned.

Though Heidi missed Jason's first line, she still blushed a little upon seeing her 'date' for the night finally show up. Not even Ayel kissing Heidi's hand, or calling her beautiful, had elicited this reaction. She read his lips, her version of 'listening' to him, and he immediately brought up a good point. Heidi didn't know Ayel's powers, he wasn't from the school, and thought of mutants as discriminated 'gifted'. Though it was not certain, it was looking more and more likely that Ayel was the voice that every mutant in the club had heard. All the pieces fit so far. Even so, there were too many other possibilities in Heidi's head for her to make the assumption. She may be a little too smart.

"Hey, Jason," she greeted sheepishly, hopefully lessening the tension and mediating a civil conversation as she turned back to Ayel to read his reply. If it came to it, she could stop them both herself and break them up, but she prayed a fight wouldn't start in the first place.


Heidi Williams



Location: Outside Avalon.
Interacting With: Ayel @Dezuel; Aya @c3p-0h






Maybe it was the alcohol. Maybe it was just her brain rationalising the situation. But Heidi didn't blush or feel at all bashful when her hand was kissed. Part of her knew that she should. That wold have been her definite reaction to this before her mutation developed, especially considering he was a pretty boy. But this person seemed like a naturally dramatic person. He made exaggerated gestures, and spoke like a Shakespeare character. Of course he'd kiss her hand. It didn't seem strange, or rather, everything about this boy seemed so strange that it didn't stand out.

Ayel would notice that despite his attempts to look her in the eyes, her eyes moved around a lot, except when he talked, in which case they focused on his mouth. Not that she believed he was a gardener anyway, but she did a quick check and discerned that he did not have gardener's hands, did not smell of grass or soil, and did not have traces of grass or soil on his clothes or shoes. Why did he play this character? Was this a choice? Did he believe this had a purpose? Or was he just suffering from delusions?

She was about to answer him by giving an account of the night, and the monster, when he also asked if they were schoolmates, and if so, what were they doing out here. She hid it from him, but her mind was ringing with alarm bells. He was not a student of the Ashford Institute for the Gifted. He had no knowledge of the group that came here for the party. So, he was here by mere chance, or here was here for a reason other than that he was a fellow student. Heidi had to find out as quickly as possible what his purpose in being here was.

If he wasn't a mutant, Heidi could probably take him in a fight at this range. If he was a mutant, however, it would be a good idea to disclose that Aya and herself were mutants as the Ashford Institute. Maybe he'd be interested in signing up. The more unchecked mutants that were taken in to structured environments where they could be taught safety and restraint, the better. Thus, she had everything to gain, and nothing to lose from telling him. If she was wrong, she could knock him out in over a hundred different ways with no danger to herself or Aya. She did, however, decide to leave out any details of Uná or Lex, just in case he was connected to Lex.

"Aya and myself are from the Ashford Institute for the Gifted. It's a special school for mutants. We were here for a night out, but some kind of monster appeared in the club. The rest of our group's in there dealing with it, but I wouldn't have been much help, so I evacuated. As for Aya, I'm not exactly sure, but I'm presuming it's related to her mutation."


Heidi Williams



Location: Outside Avalon.
Interacting With: Ayel @Dezuel; Aya @c3p-0h






Heidi was grateful that none of the people who were leaving the club were paying Aya any mind, given the unnatural color of her eyes. The last thing Heidi wanted was for anybody to think that Aya was controlling the monster. If anyone ever broke from the pack to enquire about the two girls, Heidi would intercept them and explain that they were fine, and were just waiting for their friends to make it. In fact it was during one of these instances when, mere feet behind her, Ayel had approached Aya. Then man she was talking to drew her attention to this, and Heidi turned round to see a man carrying Aya on his back. It seemed he had given her his jacket, too. Heidi removed all surprise from her face before she turned back to the good Samaritan.

"Yes, that's him. I gotta go. Thank you anyway!"

Waving goodbye, she sped off across the street, and followed. She thought it very unlikely that he was a kidnapper, or an individual with otherwise nefarious purposes. They tend not to be that brazen or bold. The most likely explanation was that he was a fellow student at the school, who recognised Aya. Though he wasn't dressed for a party. Perhaps he didn't get an invitation, so was just watching. Either way, Heidi thought it safe to make the assumption that he knew Aya.

Once all three of them were in the alleyway, and Ayel turned to see Heidi, Heidi herself turned to make sure nobody else was close by, before confirming that the coast was clear and turning back to the two.

"The coast looks clear. I'm Heidi. Aya's schoolmate." she spoke calmly, offering her hand to him. Being slightly drunk was helping her to speak in a more natural and relaxed manner, now that she wasn't overthinking things. "Thanks for getting her somewhere a bit safer."
Mako Akane




Location
Training Room
@pkken@Aerandir




"How do the proper teachers do this for a living?" Mako muttered to herself as she dropped the smile and her voice was no longer fake and saccharine, but unusually yet naturally deeper. She pinched her nose and sighed. "Alright, I can see trying to get you to make up isn't going to work. You've convinced yourself the other one doesn't truly understand, and you're not going to change your minds about that. Maybe neither of you do understand each other after all. All I know is I tried getting you to hug it out through my own efforts. Still, I can't just walk away and let you hold grudges against each other. I need to do something before you avoid each other, and the resentment turns to real hate. So, you two have detention. Together. Every day after school. Might give you two a chance to actually open up and tell each other your secrets instead of having a meaningless contest about who can scream 'You just don't get it!' the loudest, not realising that how can the other person get it when you don't talk about it?"

Mako left them both there, and turned away, heading out of the training room. She needed a drink.

Natalie Ellis



Location: Freckles', Argyle Boulevard - Scrapyard, Industrial District
Time of Day: Late Afternoon
Collab With: @Lord Wraith

Upon leaving the staff door and walking out into the parking lot, Natalie saw exactly what she was expecting. All the goons she had seen inside the restaurant, plus a few more, and a hastily parked car with an open boot. On one hand, Nat had no intention of letting herself get tied up and thrown in a truck. If they had a boss, getting taken there in this car would help her find out who it was, and put a stop to this. But that was too risky. They didn’t seem to be too well-armed right now but at their lair, they might have heftier weaponry. Even so, Natalie knew, though they might not, that she held the cards here. This group had no idea what Natalie was protecting them from.

”I guess this means we can stop pretending we don’t recognize each other, huh?” She asked the crowd in front of her, frowning.

Vinnie’s jaw dropped as Monty lifted a hand, placing it against his forehead with a loud ‘smack’ that echoed across the parking lot before he hung his head in frustration. From behind the pair, Bianca tried to stifle her laughter as she placed a hand against her own mouth and turned her back towards Natalie.

“You knew it was us that whole time?” Vinnie asked in disbelief as Monty could only shake his head, failing to stop the younger man from babbling on further.

“Why you have to hurt me like that, dollface? I thought we had a connection, we weren’t going to kill you or anything? Maybe just rough you up some, find out where the liz-”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP, VINNIE!” Monty interjected as he motioned towards two of the larger men. “Don’t just stand there, grab her before she screams!”

Moving towards Natalie, the two men each took a hold of one of her arms before they tried to move the girl towards the awaiting car.

“Hurry up, she’s just a little girl, shouldn’t be taking this long!” Monty snapped.

Natalie was about to fight back but stopped. Before he got cut off, Vinnie was definitely about to say ‘lizard’. They wanted Archie too. That made sense. He’d also hurt them, and had done much more damage than Natalie had. He was probably their main target. She’d have to warn him when she got the chance. But if they had a boss, and he was making moves against Archie, she’d have to stop him. Her dilemma was now solved. She’d let herself get captured and hopefully taken to their boss.

She willingly and without screaming walked with them to the trunk of the car. Although, her own time in a criminal gang gave her a sense of professional unsatisfaction what it came to the competence of this motley crew. She couldn’t let it go any longer.

”You know, if you didn’t want me to scream, you should probably have gagged me. Also not have screamed yourself if you didn’t want to attract attention to a blatant kidnapping. At least tell me you’re going to tie my wrists and ankles before you stuff me in a boot, or have gangs really gotten that bad in just two years?”

Bianca smiled giving Natalie a subtle thumbs up and a wink before turning to watch as Vinnie turned towards Monty.

“Why didn’t you think of that, boss?” He asked as Monty shot him a look that would freeze molten lava.

“Because, moron!” Monty hissed, “This was all your hairbrained idea and you’ve gone and fucked it harder than the whatever inbred hick did your mom when she conceived you!” Looking around, Monty threw a hand up in frustration as he leaned heavily on his crutches.

“You heard the little lady, she wants to be gagged, so please, someone fuckin’ gag her!” Monty ordered before lifting a crutch as he delivered a quick blow to Vinnie’s crotch as the later began to reach for the zipper on his pants.

“Not like that!”

Natalie shook her head, walked straight past both men and climbed into the boot herself, berating them further as she did so. ”This is just painful. You’ve already fucked this up enough. Shut me in and get in the car before somebody calls the cops. I’m starting to regret sparing and saving your lives, respectively.”

Natalie looked around for the woman. She actually seemed to have sense. It was the same position Natalie herself used to be in; the single woman in a gang of petty crooks, and at times, she felt like the only intelligent member. The voice of reason. The difference was that even Natalie’s gang, even her goofy bonehead of a boyfriend, weren’t as pitifully pathetic as these two clowns.

Closing the trunk, Bianca locked it before climbing into the driver’s seat as Monty and Vinnie both followed suit. Starting the car, the women drove out of the Freckles parking lot, turning in the opposite direction from where the trio had come as Monty looked at her in confusion.

“Where are we going?” He asked as Bianca nodded towards him.

“You’ll see.” She replied as she spun the wheel, taking a sharp corner as she began to drive towards the North East side of the city. Driving along the freeway, Bianca took an exit for towards the city’s industrial district. Slowing, the car, drove over a large pothole as the woman guided it into a local scrapyard, which got a large and irritated ‘Ow!’ from their passenger.

“What do you have in mind?” Vinnie asked as he leaned in between the front seats from the back.

“We’re going to squeeze the information out of her.” Bianca replied with a smile as she parked the car. Waving towards a member of their gang, he signalled back as he climbed into the seat of a front end loader and started the engine.

“Monty, can you work the crusher?” Bianca asked as Vinnie scurried around beside her and rubbed his hands together eagerly.

“Yeah, I think I can figure it out.” Monty replied as he hobbled over to the controls. With Monty out of the way, the front ender loader approached the car, placing its forks under the vehicle as it began to lift it into the crusher, Natalie still inside.

Natalie considered all of her other options. Was there any other way, any at all, where she didn’t have to risk hurting anyone? No. She’d have to escape this car before they crushed her, and even her bones wouldn’t be able to cope with the force of an industrial crusher. But doing so would expose her powers, and they’d probably then resort to shooting her, and then….then she didn’t know if she could stay in control. But there was literally nothing that could be gained from staying in the trunk. She had not been taken to their lair. For all she knew, they didn’t have one. Bianca might even be their actual boss. She had to get out.

Forcing the trunk open with a snap, breaking the lock in the process, Natalie emerged from the car, then quickly rushed free of the crusher. She looked around, trying to gauge, how many men there were, how well armed they were, and how many knew, or suspected, she had powers and wasn’t just good at escaping from trunks?

“I thought you locked the fuckin’ trunk!” Vinnie asked Bianca in disbelief as Natalie suddenly jumped free, the front end loader coming to a sudden stop as the woman appeared on the ground beside the aloft vehicle.

“I did.” Bianca replied with a snarl as she reached to the back of her pants and pulled out a gun, releasing the safety as she trained it on Natalie.

“Look, sweetheart, we only want your lizard friend but I have no regrets about putting a bullet in each of your legs to keep you here if that’s what it takes. So why don’t you just take out that lovely cellphone of yours I let you keep and give your scaly pet a call?” Binaca ordered while keeping the gun pointed on the other woman.

Natalie’s courage completely deserts her when she sees the gun. For all her powers, getting shot in the leg would still injure and immobilise her, and one shot to the chest would kill her. She puts one arm up in the air, and reaches for her phone with the other, pulling it out and holding it so that Bianca could see it.

”First of all, he’s not my pet. We met for the first time yesterday. Second of all, I don’t even have his number, not unless-”

Her eyes widened and a slight blush showed on her cheeks as she hurriedly checked her phone’s messages. There was a new one. She opened it and read it.

7:35 pm
Archie: Would you like to grab lunch sometime?

She didn’t allow herself a smile, even if she wanted to. She didn’t want to give away that she liked the ‘scaly pet’, and give her captors any more leverage than they already had. With as straight face as she could manage, she looked right at Bianca, as she pressed the buttons that allowed her to dial her apartment's phone number. Ellara shouldn’t be in. She works at this time of night.

”I have his number,” she told Bianca. ”It’s ringing now.”

The reason for this deception was that Natalie, though she did want to ring Archie, didn’t want to get him involved in this. She didn’t want to put him in any danger of harm or discovery. She could handle this herself. All she had to do was get Bianca to let her guard down for just a second.

With a motion of her head, Bianca nodded towards Vinnie.

“Get the phone,” She ordered as Vinnie quickly walked towards Natalie, reaching out as he moved to take the device from her hands, Bianca all the while keeping the weapon firmly pointed towards the other woman.

Natalie handed the phone over to Vinnie. When he put it to his ear, he’d hear Natalie’s own voice in what was clearly an answer machine’s recorded message. She had rung her own house.

“She called her fuckin’ self-”

Before anybody else could make a move, Natalie got Vinnie in a headlock from behind and grabbed the back of his head with her other hand. ”Nobody shoot or I snap his neck!” she yelled out. ”Everyone drop your weapons and kick them away!”

Bianca smirked, the girl had balls, she had to give it to her.

“I like you,” Bianca called, “Which kind of fucking sucks that I have to do this next part.” She added, squeezing the trigger as she shot Vinnie, the bullet passing through the man’s shoulder and hitting Natalie.

She looked down, and took her hand away from Vinnie’s neck to feel the wound. The bullet was still lodged in Natalie’s wound. Bianca had shot her in the sternum, and after passing through Vinnie’s shoulder, the bullet couldn’t penetrate Natalie’s super-tough bones. She had got very lucky, but the pain and the blood, and the panic were spreading. Oh no. Nonononono…

Natalie looked straight at Bianca, and her eyes wide and wild, like those of a deer in the headlights. Then they changed. Natalie’s face contorted into one of confusion and malice, and she threw the injured Vinnie aside, sending him flying across the room in a feat of blatant super strength.

Then she sprinted towards Bianca.

“You shot me!” Vinnie cried while rolling around on the ground in agony as Bianca smiled, holding her ground as she fired three more shots towards Natalie before suddenly dropped the gun. Her skin began to change as a metal like plating engulfed her body, a layer of steel-like dermal armour covering her as she stood her ground ready for the woman while still barking orders.

“Suck it up and get the phone the fuck out of here!” She ordered as Monty hobbled over to where Vinnie was now laying on the ground after being thrown. Throwing a wide hook, Bianca attempted to sucker punch the approaching girl as the two superhumans faced off.

Natalie was not skilled enough of a fighter to intercept or avoid the punch, though this metal punch, that should have turned the head of such a frail woman into paste, merely caused Natalie to stagger backwards and suck air through her teeth, as she came at Bianca with her own wild punch. Two tons of force were being hurtled towards the metal woman’s head. She was too far gone into her ‘episode’ to even comprehend that she needed to stop Vinnie.

Tossed backwards, Bianca felt the force of the blow even behind her own armour. Nonetheless, she stood again watching with smug satisfaction as Monty and Vinnie managed to pile into another car, escaping to fuck up another day but at least they had the girl’s phone. Now all that was left was for Bianca herself to survive.

The girl seemed to have given in to her anger, there was no reason behind her attacks only an intent to harm or even kill. Bianca, on the other hand, was still in control of her emotions as she avoided another blow and delivered a fist of her own towards the girl’s lower torso, targeting her kidney’s.

Natalie recoiled sharply from that blow, backing away and holding her side with both hands. There weren’t as many bones protecting her midriff, although her ribcage did protect her kidneys from that punch. Even so, that one rational worry that went through her mind was enough to snap her out of it. She came back to herself, and far too late looked back for her phone. They took it, and they were gone. And they now had the perfect means to bait Archie into a trap. And it was all her fault because she lost control again…

Natalie looked up at Bianca from where she was crouched, and already looked defeated, in her eyes.

”What are you going to do to him?” she asked her. ”What are you going to do to me?”

“You’ll see,” Bianca responded before delivering a final blow to Natalie as the other girl fell unconscious.


Heidi Williams



Location: Avalon.
Interacting With: Uná @Almalthia; Aya @c3p-0h






Looking around the club whilst waiting for drinks, she sees that everybody is dancing and having a good time. Also, a good deal of the people in the club didn't look of age either, so at least their group wasn't too conspicuous. Although Heidi couldn't hear the music, she could roughly estimate the tempo of the music from the way people were dancing, and to not look like a statue and possibly give away to strangers that she was deaf, Heidi gently bobbed her head to what she calculated was the beat.

After a short while, drinks arrive. Heidi takes a sip of the margarita, and visibly scrunches up her face. It was very sweet, but also very, very bitter. After a few smacks of her lips, Heidi takes another sip, and seems more prepared for the taste this time. It was strong certainly, but it was admittedly tasty. Due to not having to take breaks to talk much, Heidi was the first girl at the table (who didn't just down the whole glass) to finish.

Almost immediately, she notices the effects. While her brain was still far, far faster and more powerful than she was quite used to, it had almost halved it's speed. Things felt a little more cloudy, and she found she could actually think in a manner more similar to how she used her brain before her mutation developed. She no longer felt like a computer. She felt like a very intelligent human. It was a nice feeling!

Just as she was about to try her luck at joining in, when something terrifying happened. Possibly the most unsettling thing that could happen to a deaf person. She heard a voice. Just a voice. No other sounds. But the voice was clear as day and it sounded like somebody was speaking very close to both her ears at the same time. She deduced that they must be talking inside her head. There was a telepath. Quickly, Heidi began sending her brain into overdrive, thinking of as many pointless topics as possible while she simultaneously mulled over the words in her head. She took this measure so that if a telepathy was indeed here, and they tried to read her mind, they wouldn't be able to keep up with the flurry of irrelevant information in order to find anything useful. She was essentially scrambling her own brain.

"To the lonely souls lost in the world, to the forsaken and depressed. Do not be afraid, there is no need to cry, no more need to run away or hide. I am one of you, you not alone. We are the chosen ones, the ones whom are currently being oppressed. Where we are forced to hide from sight, where we are called freaks and monsters. We are not monsters my brothers and sisters, we are a different branch of mankind. So I urge you to leave where you are hiding, find others like yourselves out there. Tommorrow I will guide you to where we can all meet. Under a new light. A beacon to guide us to the future which is waiting for us. Seek love and passion, and go forth... with my prayer."

It sounded very much like a call to arms, which was concerning. Heidi couln't deny that mutants were outcasts from society, but to draw so much attention that almost made this sound like Brotherhood propaganda. Mutants are feared and mistrusted partly out of prejudice, but partly because most of them are untrained and unchecked, and these very logical, rational fears feed into the prejudice. Before her own mutation developed, Heidi read a lot of anti-mutant literature, but even then, was intelligent enough to sort the bigotry from the alarming truths. There were too many stories of Alpha Class mutant schoolchildren in regular schools either accidentally losing control of their powers, or deliberately harnessing them, and harming others. The only difference in those cases to school shooters is that school shooters aren't born with the gun.

Looking around, she not only saw that there was no obvious indication of the telepath, and they could be anyone, but also that the mutants from the school had clearly heard the same thing in their own heads. Heidi saw Uná and Nik, but she couldn't get a good enough look at their mouths so couldn't catch what they were talking about. Heidi kept scanning the room for the telepath, occasionally looking back to the table to make sure nobody was talking to her while she wasn't looking. The next time she spotted Uná, she was with a man in a white suite, with white hair. Everything about him seemed powerful and dangerous, and she had a really bad feeling about him. That the two of them were sitting so near to them were watching the man closely didn't help. Unfortunately, the crowd swelled in size, and obscured her view of them from where she was sitting.

Heidi then turned her attention to the balconies. They would be a good vantage point, albeit remote. Perhaps the telepath's powers are longer range than she'd though. But as she looked, she suddenly noticed that people were pointing and silently screaming, so she followed her eye to see a monster, some kind of apparition, in the club. Heidi didn't believe in ghosts, or monsters. This was most likely a result of a mutation. Either way it looked too large and powerful for Heidi to be able to help much besides figuring out its exact nature. But before she could do that, she saw Lex's table open fire of this monster, with actual guns, and Lex carry an unconcious Uná off. This was something she could help with, and was quite a pressing concern, not to undermine a giant monster in a club. A classmate getting kidnapped wasn't exactly trivial either.

Heidi got up, and began to follow them out of the club. On the way, one of the men she had seen sitting near the white haired man approached her, holding out his hand and telling her that she couldn't go this way. Without hesitation, she ducked under his left side, slipped past him, and began running. Once she made it outside, she saw the briefest of glimpses of a car speeding round a corner, rather fast, and there was no other sign of Uná or the man anywhere. They must have been in the car. Despite seeing it at a distance for less than two seconds, from an angle, she focused hard on that memory, long enough to interpret the make, model and color of the car, as well as the licence plate.

With that committed to memory, she spotted Aya nearby, standing dead still against the outside wall. Heidi approached her, and kept guard until she came back to her senses.

Natalie Ellis



Location: Freckles', Argyle Boulevard
Time of Day: Late Afternoon

'Charming' was the opposite of the word that Natalie would have used to describe Vinnie. Luckily, he got called away before she had to go through the trial of turning him down carefully. She gave a pained, clearly irritated fake smile-grimace at being called 'dollface'. Natalie didn't even know there were still men left who talked like that. At least he rightly got chewed out by his friend, and the girl who Natalie didn't know by sight. She wasn't at the house yesterday, at any rate. After a brief conversation that they couldn't hear, everybody bar Vinnie left the restaurant, and he returned to pick up his order, as well as ask her if she could get out early. Without the context of last night, if she was being hit on by this creep, she'd have told him where to stick it, but as she knew that this wasn't a coincidence, or even if it was, there were still sinister schemes at work, she decided to spring the trap.

"It's pretty dead right now, so I don't see why not," she sighed. All the acting in the world couldn't let her muster enthusiasm for Vinnie's sake. "I'll be waiting at the staff door."

Once Vinnie left, Natalie told her coworkers that she was heading out early and for them to cover for her, and slipped into the changing room. She didn't carry a change of clothes unlike some other staff members. She was more the type to keep her uniform at home and travel to and from work in it, though wearing it under a coat. As she slipped her coat on, she felt a buzzing in the pocket, telling her that she had a text message. Her heart skipped a beat when she wondered if it was from Archie. Of course she wanted to talk with him in general, but more than that, she wanted to tell him about today, about seeing those two men again at Freckles'.

But no, the text was from Ellara. Natalie was initially disappointed, until she realised that Ellara texting her was quite rare. It was probably going to be asking her to pik up something. Speaking of which, Natalie made a fresh mental note to pick up some coffee on her way home, as she opened the text.


______________________

7:24 pm
Me: Hey, if u r home 2nite, can I get ur help with sumthing?

______________________


Natalie typed a reply and sent it back.

______________________

7:27 pm
Nellis: I might get tied up at work, but if I make it back at a reasonable time, sure!

______________________


With that taken care of, Natalie hesitated, then took a deep breath and headed out the staff door, without a hint of fear. Just nerves.

Time to face the music.

@Lord Wraith


Ruby Mamoru




Kasuke Mina





After such an eventful past few days, it felt good to get back into the usual rhythm of things. There was a small mental fight in her own mind which Ruby had to fight, as she felt disappointed in herself that she wasn’t there to protect her friends when they needed it the most. For an aspiring hero it wasn’t the most uncommon of feelings to have, however, that didn’t undermine how much it could impact someone. Especially Ruby, with such a defensive quirk which she regularly used offensively because she never had the chance to protect anyone, it was a heavy blow. Though, due to her usual outward demeanour, it wasn’t exactly someone one would spot instantly when looking at her, as the neutral expression had become a signature feature on the catlady’s face, one that should not be misinterpreted as apathy, even if it was ever so easy.

Due to the injuries she had sustained against the small spar with Amane, Ruby didn’t train much for the past few days. Not her hands anyways, as she had preferred to focus on her legs for a while as they are just as, if not more important as/than her arms and hands. There was no way she’d be falling behind anytime soon.

For now the catgirl could be seen roaming through the halls of the schools with an unlabelled book in her hand. No that is not correct, on closer inspection it became clear that it was just a cover for the book, one which hid the identity and content of the literature beneath. With her golden eyes sunk deeply between the pages she treated carefully through the long corridors, her goal were the dorms.

Another girl heading to the dorms right now was Kasuke Mina, who after the sparring session with Jett, was still a little red in the face, although no longer angry. She spotted Ruby also returning to the dorms, and walked alongside her. ”Good morning, Mamoru-san,” she greeted casually, in contrast to the last time they met, when Mina seemed cross about something, and was grilling her about Amane.

As it was usual for her, Ruby was mostly lost in her thoughts. Additionally, she wasn’t exactly used to walking together with other people through the school building so it was a surprise for her to see Mina, or rather, hear her walk alongside her and greet her in such a casual way. The neko kept up her pace as she was walking alongside Mina now but turned her head for a short moment to inspect her, before resuming her focus on the path ahead.
“Good morning, Mina-san” She replied back softly and politely.

”Kasuke-san” Mina corrected promptly, causing a brief and awkward moment of silence. She cleared her throat. ”Anyway, I was actually hoping I’d see you at some point. I wanted to apologize for the last time we spoke. I was rather highly strung at the time. I admit, I am still curious about your spar with Amane. Just one more question, and I promise I won’t mention it again. Who won?”

The reminder to call Mina by her proper last name caught Ruby only somewhat off guard. It was a really easy stop to the conversation dynamic so quickly into it, but from what she had seen from Mina this far it wasn’t exactly uncharacteristic. Though to be fair, the catgirl really hadn’t had many interactions with her anyways so she could be wrong regarding that. In any case, Ruby broke the awkward silence for a quick.“...Right, I apologize.” Before Mina resumed the conversation. Though the topic was basically as expected…
They took a turn to the right to head outside of the building, still on their way to the dorms. It seemed as though Ruby was right with her judgement that Mina seemed a little too obsessed with what had happened, at least she gave that impression to the blackhaired one.
Honestly, Ruby wasn’t even sure how to reply.

“No need to apologize, Kasuke-san, I can understand. And don’t worry about that, it was just a spar, we really didn’t go all out.” That was only a half-truth as they did get quite invested into it, however, Ruby just tried to downplay the event without revealing who actually won as she attempted to help Mina’s psyche out here.

Mina smiled a sad, wistful smile, though her eyes looked as if she’d just been punched in the gut. Ruby hadn’t told her she’d beaten Amane. Ruby didn’t have to. If it was a tie, or if Amane won, she’d had told Mina by now, just to get her to shut up. The fact that she was keeping it such a secret was basically an admission. Mina nodded, and tried to push her growing yet illogical and unwanted resentment towards Ruby away.

”You’re right. I should just let it go. It won’t help me. It’s just that I’ve never been beaten like that. It was the most humiliating, one-sided defeat I’ve ever experienced. I should expect as much from the big leagues. A place where the some of the best Heroes in the world are made. But a life of being the best wherever I went hasn’t prepared me for being such a small fish in such a big pond.”

Due to Ruby’s social inept personality and complete lack of skills in that department, she actually did not correctly interpret Mina’s expression and didn’t draw the conclusion that Mina had seen straight through her. Instead, the catgirl interpreted the sad expression in her eyes as a result of what was said afterwards. The neko could fully understand Mina’s sentiments though. She herself after all had to fight her way up from general studies after failing the initial entrance exam due to her quirk being utterly useless in that scenario. She felt blessed that she was allowed to prove herself on such a level. She felt like Mina could use the same thing.

“Mi-... Kasuke-san. I can completely understand those feelings, really. But I don’t think you can set Amane as the standard here. He is… way above most other students from our year, it is almost scary.”

They had by now finally left the building and were walking through the fresh air which caused Ruby to take a deep breath, her golden eyes gazing towards the sky.

“I don’t think comparing yourself to others is a good thing. In this world, not everyone is created equal. So if you want to compare yourself to someone else, at least compare yourself to someone who does not have a quirk which even pro heroes would be jealous of.”

Ruby replied, trying to cheer Mina up by putting things into perspective.

Unfortunately, it had the exact opposite effect. Mina’s resentment boiled up again, and her exterior froze over. ”It must be so much easier to say that about Amane for you. We both know that you won that sparring match. But you are right. We’re not all created equal. My quirk isn’t worth spit compared to my mom’s. ‘Seductress’. Sometimes I think I’d have been happier if I was born quirkless. Then I’d have given up on my dreams when I was five years old, and I could have gotten on with my life, being an exceptional, straight A’s student who could have gone into any career she chose.

But no. I was encouraged to follow my dreams, and to fight for them. I put my all into becoming a Hero to the point where it is now my sole reason for living. But I’m stuck under my mom’s shadow. It. Is. Suffocating. And the only way I am *ever* going to get out from under it is to surpass her. She graduated from UA the number two student of her whole year, so I need to graduate as the number one student in Komei academy. To achieve less isn’t an option for me.

So yes, I will compare myself to anybody who may prevent me from standing at the top. And who stands over Amane?”
Mina turned to face Ruby now, with challenge in her eyes.

They had stopped walking by now. It really was quite the eruption Mina had there, Ruby must’ve really hit a nerve there, is what the neko thought to herself. Her feline ears lower themselves to lay flat on her head to reflect her mood.

But in a way, Ruby could understand Mina’s sentiments. Despite her not having asked for Mina’s entire life story, the catgirl could at least somewhat relate, though in a different way. While Ruby tried to be friendly towards Mina, her face was rather neutral as always which was kind of contradictory, but certainly didn’t help the current situation.

“I don’t stand anywhere over Amane. I won a sparring match where we both did not use our quirks. You could easily beat a quirkless Amane.”

Ruby shrugged.

“Don’t try to pull yourself on my level, I am sure you are already above me by default, seeing how passionate you are.”

She added a pause to think but would keep on talking before Mina had a chance to reply.

“If you are that passionate about it then who am I to stop you. If you want to, I can teach you about Amane’s fighting-style, at least when he is not using his quirk.”

While Ruby wasn’t exactly interested in having a fullblown sparring match with Mina, all that desperation mixed with even more prevalent determination and passion was enough to get her fired up too, wanting to at least offer her assistance as a sign of peace.

Mina shook her head, a lot calmer after having vented half her biography. It really made you wonder whether she has anybody at this school with whom she ever complained about anything with. Did she just...bottle it all up? And if so, for how long had she been doing that?

“The Training Room is too busy, and even if it wasn’t, I….don’t want to go back there right now.” She flushed and grimaced, making a ‘tch’ sound as she remembered the wet willy. “But I would like to spar with you eventually. With our quirks. I’m going to accept your offer but save it for another day.”

Ruby’s posture was rather stiff as she shook her head quietly.
”I think you misunderstood. I didn’t offer to spar with you, I offered to show you how Amane fights from what I’ve seen at least. But I agree, let us do that another time, my hands still aren’t fully healed anyways.”

It was surprising to what extend Mina had opened up to Ruby, someone who was almost a stranger to her. Though maybe the bottled up emotions were just too much and Ruby, a rather quiet personality who didn’t talk much, was just the perfect listener for that? Though admittedly, Ruby was kind of interested in the obviously annoyed implications concerning who was in the training room. Asking right now seemed like a bad idea though…
Ruby turned her body to face the way ahead of them again. Honestly, being approached by someone like that made her excited, even if it wasn’t for the most… friendly reasons. But who knows, maybe they could become friends one day?, instead of falling into some rivalry because of Mina’s damaged ego? It would be the much preferred outcome for the catgirl at least.

“I don’t really care about how Amane fights, or anyone for that matter. In a no-holds-barred fight where both parties can use their quirks, I’m never going to lose because the other person was better at martial arts. I’m good enough that I could beat any student in this school in a contest of martial arts if I get lucky, but I don’t want to be a great martial artist. I want to be a great Hero.” Mina explained, before looking over at Ruby and raising her eyebrow. “There’s something you clearly want to say, or ask. I’m listening.”

” That’s quite the confidence you got there.”
Ruby replied to Mina’s statement regarding how she could beat anyone in this school in martial arts. It was a very bold statement to make and did say a lot about how Mina viewed herself, but Ruby didn’t really get held up by something like that, even if she disagreed.
The girl took a step forward, making sure Mina would continue walking alongside her before shrugging. “There’s nothing I want to say really. I just hope you don’t feel any resentment towards me for beating Amane, because I kind of like your determination so it’d be a shame.”
She said casually, even though on the inside Ruby was practically exploding. It was a similar feeling to when she talked to some of the other classmates she had made friends with, it was just so new for her. Never having had any friends just made it all the more exciting to actually potentially have some, yet it was difficult for her to express that emotion properly on the outside so she just came across as neutral and potentially cold, even if her voice showed no sign of hostility or negative emotions, moreso a lack thereof.

Mina’s response to getting called overconfident was simply to smile, and to let it slide. She knew, or at least genuinely believed, that she wasn’t overconfidence. She just knew exactly what she could do and believed that every claim she made, she could back up. What did get Mina’s attention, however, was Ruby saying that she liked Mina’s determination. Mina was not used to compliments, so it caught her off guard. She stared for a minute, before visibly smiling, with a softness to her features which is only ever there when she talks to Jett, or Donny.

“I’ll try not to, but thank you. This may be surprising if you think I’m overconfident but I am not used to compliments. I don’t really know how to process them. My determination, huh? Is that special? Everyone here is incredibly determined in their own ways.”

Seeing Mina smile was a welcome change. It made Ruby wonder whether people would think the same thing about her if she smiled more herself? Not that it mattered at the moment anyways. After all, Mina was more dumbfounded by a compliment than expecting it, at least for a few short moments. Maybe they weren’t so different after all.

”I can understand that. The whole not being able to process compliments.” Ruby admitted. Then she proceeded to say more with a slightly softer voice herself, clearly appreciating the change away from the rather tense feeling Mina gave off before.

”I don’t know if it is special. What I know is that my motivations just feel quite lackluster compared to some of the stories I’ve heard so far, and yours is certainly among them. Honestly?” Ruby turned her head to face Mina. ”I almost envy such a drive.” afterwards, she turned her head away and scratched the back of her head. With Mina seemingly more friendly towards Ruby, the neko had dropped her cold and neutral facade to make way for a slightly warmer and softer vibe herself. “Although I cannot envy anyone who had to face many issues growing up.”

By now, the two of them had arrived in the common room of the girl’s dorms. Mina took a seat on the couch as she looked up at Ruby to answer her. “Well, you used to be in the General Studies class, and with your quirk and fighting skill, if you were truly driven to be a Hero then you’d have made it into the Hero course easily. So I had a feeling you didn’t have a particularly crazy story. But that’s a good thing. Trust me, you don’t want one. That said, what are your motivations? What are your goals?”

The blackhaired one sat down next to Mina on the same couch and replied herself. “That’s quite the assumption to make. It’s not that I didn’t have the drive to make it, it is more like my quirk was quite useless in the entrance exam which is why I failed that physical examination. But oh well…”
She was sitting relatively stiff with her back in a straight position and her hands on both of her legs in a proper position.
”Don’t get me wrong I do have a drive to become a hero. I want to help people, be useful for society and most importantly make my parents proud and happy in becoming the hero they never could. Nothing dramatic though-”

Mina tutted, and appeared to back to her old icy countenance, but there was still a warmth to her, like she was enjoying herself. “First off, somebody who could best Amane in a quirkless spar can’t claim that they’re at a disadvantage when they can’t rely solely on their quirk. Second,” Mina paused as she held up her hand and made it glow. ”Your quirk is a lot more useful than mine in the first place. The desperation that I fought with in that entrance exam. The motivation that if I failed, I genuinely didn’t know how I could move on from there. The need with every fiber of my being to pass even if it killed me. That’s what I meant by the drive you lacked. Without that, I’d have probably got the lowest scores in the school. I’m a lightbulb, Ruby. You can freeze things in place with a touch. If anything, I should be envying you.”

While her stare was as deadpan as always, Ruby actually had to hold back a laughter when Mina mentioned being a lightbulb. It made a funny image appear in the neko’s head, one of Ruby with a lightbulb where her head would normally be but she quickly threw away that thought to focus on the conversation at hand.

”While I won’t deny that my quirk might be more useful at face value, I suppose both of our quirks are similar in the way that we need to be quite creative to get a good use out of them. I’ve got techniques that I developed which make my quirk quite good.” She said confidently. ”Considering the fact that you are here I can imagine that it is the same for you, Kasuke-san. Admittedly, having a quirk which looks very one-dimensional on the surface and developing moves and skills that surprise everyone is kind of fun for me, I wonder if you think the same way. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious about what you thought of.” The last two sentences almost sounded like Ruby intended to just think them but they slipped out accidentally.

Mina sat back, and smiled again. “I don’t want to give away any of my fighting techniques in case we ever have to face each other in an exercise, or in the tournament. But I can tell you a few of them. Like, I could emit UV light if I was at a crime scene, for example. Also, though I can’t do it yet, with practice I hope that one day I can emit microwaves that could scramble radio frequencies.”

Mina was about to ask Ruby what applications she’d though of, when she heard a clatter of multiple footsteps making their way towards the girl’s dorm common room. Mina turned to face the noise as Dulga burst in, followed by Kaida and Yukari. They sat together at the other side of the room, and though Mina couldn’t hear everything that they were talking about, Dulga seemed quite mellow, and the smaller, sweeter-looking girl was getting quite worked up. Mina could hear a few curses. Just what had Mina missed that could bring about a switch like that?
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