Posts Tagged ‘Pivot’

Waiting was boring.  Screw that, waiting is boring.  I’ve been waiting for hours, tense as all hell.  War is going on out there, and we are supposed to just sit?  I groaned in frustration audibly.

“Christ, this is awful,”  said Stacker, still watching the news broadcasts as helicopters filmed the fights and newscasters pointed at diagrams of how the war is going.  The invasion was actually going nowhere, and Mexico was losing territory, fast.  “I don’t think there was a kingmaker war this bad before.”

“The first few were the worst,”  said Pivot, tinkering with a small thing made of metal, held together with a single metal wire.  “Especially Asia.”

I heard about it in World Politics. From the upper half of Australia to the southern Mongolian border was the largest, most dangerous Kingmaker nation ever.  When the Emperor of Asia was finally killed, many nations were irreparably altered.  Japan got it the worst.

“Ugh,”  said Unperson, figiting in her seat.  “Not a good thing to think about.”

Alliance was knocked off a Tower in the middle of nowhere.  A large wall constructed itself, leading to another tower that was being built nearby.

“Looks like the Texan capes are powerful,”  said Maxwell.  “What is that, it looks like that guy can make buildings out of nothing.”

Event Horizon sighed deeply.  The camera cut to another helicopter over the coastline.  A single Texan cape was holding back many others.  Jesus, these guys were stronger than I thought.

“So why are we even dressed up anyway,”  I finally asked, leaning back in my seat.

“The Seniors for the Oklahoma team are busy with the war effort,”  explained Event Horizon.  “Most capes are.”

“Doesn’t answer my question.”

“You think crime stops when the big guns go away? We are waiting for the first case of looting or whatever.”

“Shouldn’t we be patrolling at least?”  asked Unperson, mirroring my thoughts.

“It’s not just that. We are also reserves.  If too many capes die initially th-”

“They send us in as fodder, right?”  Latency said bluntly.

“Shit.  Yes,”  sighed Event Horizon, getting up.  “It’s fucking boring, but that’s the thing; we are too young and weak to be on the front lines.  Fuck, we are too weak to even be in this damn building.”

She paced across the room.  “God dammit, this is the worst.”

Pivot got up.  “If it’s about,”  she paused.  “Well, she’s okay.  Look.”  She showed Event Horizon the thing she was tinkering with.  It was a monitor, for a camera.  I thought about getting up to see what she was on about.

“She’s nowhere near the fight, see?”

“Family?”  asked Latency, getting up to see what they were crowding around.

“Yeah, I’m worried about her,”  replied Event Horizon, weaving her hands through her hair.  She quickly took a look at Pivot.  “Where is she, anyway?”

“She’s in the city, setting up barricades.”

“Why?”  asked Unperson.

“One of the Texan capes is coming towards us.”

Latency was shocked.  “And we are still dicking around in here? How the fuck would you know?”

“Cameras and news,” she replied, pointing at the screen.  A large bridge formed itself bit by bit as a single man ran across, carrying a metal spear in one hand.

The alerts turned on yet again.  “Attention all capable Junior Group members,”  the announcement began,  “The front-lines now cover Oklahoma City. You must aid in the evacuation and protection of the citizens of Oklahoma City at all costs.”

“Time to go,”  said Event Horizon.

 

***

 

We spread out throughout the town, directing civilians away from the fighting as it drew nearer.  The sound of rumbling was faint, but audible from the suburbs I stood in.

“Everyone head up north to the southwest expressway, then keep going.  There will be buses and other vehicles to help if you do not own a car,” I said, speaking into a megaphone.  A child tugged on my trousers.  “Who left the blonde haired boy with the green T-shirt and blue jeans?”

His mother ran across the street and picked him up in a single swoop, before apologizing and backing away slowly.   I felt a buzz in my ear from the earpieces Pivot gave us.

“Yeah?”  I asked, pressing it on.

“It’s me, E-H.  How’s the progress?”

“Not bad, a few more families to go.  This place is run down badly,”  I said, making sure the megaphone is off.

“Don’t whine about that.  Good luck, we’ll be done in an hour with the police helping us.”

“Ok, see ya.”  I said, letting the earpiece go.

I walked to the next area, a few streets away.  Run down buildings were guarded by unmown lawns.  A bike cassi lay in the middle of the street.  I couldn’t see many families, but so-

Ellen crossed the street in front of me.  Why was she here?  I walked up to her, reaching out instinctively.

“E-Ellen?”

She gave an aside glance, turning away and speeding up.  I followed her, my pace matching hers.  She quickly broke into a run and darted down an alley, myself following.

“Ellen, wait!”  I yelled.  She hopped over a garden fence, and another.  I ran round the other side of the alley.  There was a front door open in a nearby house, I charged into it hoping to cut Ellen off.  I burst through the door and saw Ellen perched on the fence.  She looked terrified.

“El-”

“Don’t follow me!”  she yelled.  I didn’t listen, reaching out to pull her down.  She jumped into the alley at the other side of the fence and broke into a run.  I climbed the fence, falling over into the alley before picking myself up.  I lost the earpiece, but it didn’t matter.  I could see Ellen again.

I ran in her direction, looking around.  The streets were all abandoned, the rumbling from the combat with Texas even louder than it was before.  A front door swung.  I ran into the house.  The back door was locked.

“Ellen!?”

A crashing sound upstairs.  I charged into the hallway, tripping over a wire for a plugged in lamp.

“Fuck,”  I muttered, picking myself up quickly and racing up the stairs.  I entered the main bedroom and began pulling open the cupboards.  She wasn’t there.  Why was she hiding?  I could help.  I could help her easy.  I wouldn’t let her go into the Cit-

The pitter patter of feet racing down the stairs.  I looked out the window and saw her running onto the road.

“Ellen!”  I screamed out the window.  “I can help!”

 

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Honestly, I found today the most relaxing in recent weeks.  I guess that’s the irony in this whole situation, with everyone tense enough as it is.

“One ham and cheese toastie, one 5 peice breakfast and one soup of the day,”  said the waiter.  I thanked him with a nod as he placed the food on the table where I, Maxine and Derek sat.

“Kinda miffed we can’t eat with the others outside,”  said Derek, blowing his spoonful of soup.  “I like Maxwell, he’s a cool dude.”

“It’s to be expected, seeing as how well we are known,”  Maxine replied.  I made a small glance and saw that attention was slightly directed towards us from a few random tables.  “I mean, all of the people like us are.  You know, people who were caught by the Hu-”

“Anyway let’s change the subject,”  I interrupted a little louder than I should.  Maxine gave me a glance and I noticed I put too much pressure on my toastie, crushing it a little.  I wiped my hands on a napkin that wrapped my cutlery.  “We should maybe try and call Micheal and Ricky.  They’d like that, and they haven’t talked to us at all yet.”

Maxine and Derek relaxed a little.  I stopped tensing up.

“I mean,”  I continued,  “I’m pretty curious to as how they are doing right now, aren’t you?”

Derek swallowed a spoonful of soup and put the spoon down, before pointing at me.  “You know, you are right about this.  I’m actually missing Ricky.”

“They might get homesick, or we might get homesick,”  said Maxine, interjecting as she cut a fried egg open.  “I’d check up on the news, first.”

“You know where they are stationed?”  I asked.

“They fucking told us you moron,”  said Derek, kicking my shin from under the table.  “They are in New York, how’d you forget that?”

I thought for a moment in between chews of ham and cheese.  “Fuck me,”  I said.  “I actually forgot.”

We continued talking about irrelevant things, both to distract ourselves and because we hadn’t done so properly in a long time.

“So, about what happens soon,”  said Maxine, interrupting my daze.  “I mean, The Holidays ends in a week, what do you think?”

“Maybe we have a deal cut in with a nearby school?”  Suggested Derek with a little too much optimism for my tastes.

“I don’t think so,”  said Maxine.  “I’m thinking private tutoring, if we are lucky.”

“I don’t think we will stay here actually,”  I said.  “I mean, Pivot said to me we were only here because of the kingmaker thing. Once this blows over, We’ll all go home.”

Derek took a last spoonful of soup.  It was cold by now.  “Most of us.”

Right.  I forgot.  Ellen.

“Let’s check up on Ricky and Micheal,” said Maxine.  We paid, tipped and left.

 

***

 

“Bullshit,”  I said to everyone.  “This is bullshit.”

“Relax Ryan, you are too stressed lat-”

I interjected, louder.  “That’s total fucking BS, what the fuck!”

“Don’t swear so much, you sound like a thug,”  said Maxine.

“Yeah, but it’s totally unfair!”  I said again, pointing at the screen.

“That’s how things go,”  said Derek, trying to keep a grin hidden away behind his hand.

“Fuck that! Gimmie a phone or something!”  I looked around the desk for a mobile, tossing papers aside from the desk.  They looked like blueprints from Pivot.

“Hey!”  called out Maxine, bending over to pick them up.

I walked into my room, remembering my old cellphone.  I found it in a drawer, untouched.  I rummaged through the contacts list and put it on speakerphone.  Ricky answered as I walked back to Maxine and Derek, who has keeled over laughing by the time I got back.

“Hey there, Captain Cockblock!”  said Ricky in a rehearsed deadpan.

“Fuck you man,”  I replied, trying to hold in my own laughter.  “I could have lost an arm, and all you do is give me a shit name!”

Laughing occurred in the background.  Micheal was there.

“And fuck Micheal too.  Take turns, go fuck each other.”

“Dammit Ryan, let me speak,”  said Derek, taking the cellphone and placing it down.  “Sup, Maxine’s here too by the way.”

“Hey there!”  Maxine said.

“Sup Maxie.  How are you all anyway?”

“Blocker is mad cause he tried to block a car last month, Maxine’s alright and I’m fine.”  replied Derek, before grunting as I jabbed him in the side with an elbow.

“How are you guys doing?”  interrupted Maxine, pushing in between me and Derek.

“Hey darlings!”  yelled Micheal over the phone.  “I’m fantastic!  They have this amazing Pizza place three blocks away, and a cinema!”

I was great to hear them, I was right.  “We miss you all,”  said Ricky, quieter than before.  “Visit us soon.”

“We will.”

“Goodby,”  said Micheal.  “Thing came up.  Some cape thing.”

“See ya,”  replied Derek.

“Visit soon,”  I said.

The phone turned off.  I picked it up and turned it off, turning to Maxine and Derek.

“That was great,”  I said, smiling while shaking my head.  “Remind me to punch that asshole.”

“Remind me to give him a hi-five,”  replied Maxine.

A siren interrupted our fun.

“God damn it,”  I said, heading to my room to put the phone away.  I tossed it in the drawer, opening my closet and taking my costume out.  It was new, the old one was ripped when my arm broke.  After putting it on, returned to see Unperson and Latency sitting in chairs, already dressed.  Pivot and Stacker had entered in the meantime while I and the others changed.  Maxwell walked out of his room, fully geared.  Event Horizon entered last of all.

“It’s Texas.  The borders have opened,”  she said grimly.  “We are at war.”

“So we do what?”  asked Stacker, before Unperson could raise her hand.

Event Horizon pointed at one of the walls in the room.  It was actually a screen, embedded and hidden away so that it did not distract people, I assumed.  The contents were more important than what was used to create and embed a screen behind the wall.  We saw the view of the Texan army, descending on Mexico.  Capes and soldiers clashed on the battlefield in a flurry of fire and many other colours and shapes.

“We do nothing, Mexico is the country in trouble,”  said Event Horizon.

“What about them?”  asked Unperson.

“The NHN is already en-route.  They’ll attack from behind with the aid of a few other factions in an attempt to assist Mexico.”

And take whatever technology they can find, I thought to myself.

 

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4 | 2 : Problems

Posted: 07/20/2014 in Problems
Tags: , , , ,

I sat down next to pivot and watched as Gunsmith continued his lecture with Maxine and Derek.  I wasn’t really invested in what they were doing, as I knew they’d be fine.  I’m the one who finds it hard to learn, not them.

“So, Pivot,” I began, passing time.

“Yeah?”

“We still actually don’t know much about this whole Oklahoma thing.  I mean, there’s us, the rioters, there is that issue with Texas and that’s it.  What else is there?”

Pivot thought for a second, glancing at Gunsmith and Maxine.  They were busy talking about Actives.

“There isn’t much,”

I looked dumbfounded.  “Not much? Like just us and the rioters?”

“Yeah.  There are three more minor gangs laying around that’s it for the big groups.  Most people moved out since there are more capes working for companies and such here, and a few UN capes too, because of Texas,”  she said, shifting in her seat.

“Why?”

“Kingmaker’s powers have a weird timer for each war.  Three weeks from now, and the borders open.  We’ve basically been conscripted for a war against the king of Texas,”  she looked down while saying it, avoiding eye contact.  There was no doubt in my mind that this was the reason as to why there were recent openings in the junior group roster.

“Damn,”  I said to myself.  “Are we the front lines or is it not that bad?”

Pivot looked up at me.  “If the borders open, they’ll open everywhere. Mexico, USA, plenty of companies and whoelse will probably be involved.  It’s not like a real war in that regard,”  she explained.

“Not like a real war?”

“Well, the Kingmaker nations that have opened up and got ‘conquered’ for lack of a better term had a lot of interesting technology and other things inside.  It seems to be a passive effect of the borders, because everything gets mucked up like ecology, and stuff like special strains of crops and such are made to fix those issues,”  she took a pause, calmer now.  “They say a Kingmaker war could end world hunger, if it wasn’t for all the politics with the EU, UN and other groups trying to take it all for themselves.  It’s sad, really.  There is a lot of good that could happen but politicians still want everything the can get.”

She looked a little tense.  I decided to interrupt and cut the conversation down before anything happens.  That and she was beginning to distract Derek, who was glancing at us with Event Horizon.

“So it’s a scramble, then?”  I asked.

“Yeah, it is.”

I got up.  “I’m going to get a drink, Maxine and Derek can handle themselves better than me to be honest,”  I said.  Pivot relaxed even more.

“Yeah, whatever.  Do what you want.”  she said.

Honestly, Oklahoma seemed boring.  I wondered how Micheal and Ricky were doing.  I also wondered about Ellen.

 

***

 

“Ryan,”  said a voice.

“Yeah?”  I replied.

What was this dream again?

“You didn’t have to give me your jacket,”  said Ellen, standing beside me.

Oh, now I remember.

“It’s raining though, You’d not want to catch a cold.”

Ha ha, how stupid of me to forget this.  This was a year ago.  My stupid mistake.  Honestly, I couldn’t remember what I said at the time, mostly out of sheer embarrassment.  At least it didn’t ruin my friendship with her, I think.

There was a pause, a long heart rendering pause in time between us.

“You like me, don’t you?”  she said.

I looked at her and saw Sacrifice, wearing my jacket.  She was naked, smiling up at me through the mask she had made of Ellen’s face.  Blood trickled down her neck and over her breasts. I took a step back and she approached me at the same pace.

“Don’t lie, Ryan.  I like you too.”  she said.

I woke up in a sweat, wiping my forehead with my arm while contemplating seeing a shrink.  It was 6 AM.  Too early.  I looked around and the room I was given was bare as it was the day I got here.  I’m starting to hate Oklahoma.

I got up and walked over to the desk next to my bed, picking up my toothbrush and toothpaste.  I walked over to the bathroom in a sleep deprived daze.  Three knocks, no response.  I opened the door and walked over to the sink, splashing my face in cold water and beginning to brush my teeth.

God, I really hate mornings.

Once I was done, I put everything back in my room and looked about for a towel of some sort, and walked to the male shower room once I found one.  Stacker was busy in there.

“Hey, Blocker,”  he joked, massaging his golden, curly hair.

“Don’t call me that, I have enough problems as it is,”  I replied with a yawn.

“Yeah, but still.  I’m sure people warned you.”

I smiled at that.  I hadn’t smiled in a while at anything, really.

“Yeah, they did.  Better than what I could ever come up with,”  I said, starting to wash my hair.

“What would you have chosen?”

“I don’t know, Equalizer?  I’m sure most of the good names are taken anyway.”

“Yeah, that was taken.  Us poor newbies have to deal with legacy names or shit,”  Stacker said, turning off his shower.  “See you later.”

I think I forgot that guy’s actual name.

 

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3 | 4 : Press

Posted: 06/23/2014 in Press
Tags: , , , ,

“What the fuck,”  said Derek.  “What the fuck was that about?”

I had no patience.

“What happened was Ellen joined that fucking bitch and her fucking posse, D!”  I snapped back at him.  Ellen joined the Hunting Party. Why?  Why the fuck would she do that?  My head was racing.

“Ryan, calm down,”  said Derek, interrupting my thoughts.  “I get it, I know how you feel.  Please think before you act.”

“Why?  Why the fuck should I?”

“You’ll get yourself killed, or worse.”

I took a moment to think.  Derek was right, there was nothing I could do.  It would take a month to heal my arm properly, and even then my powers are useless in certain situations.  I haven’t even one a single fight.

“Fine,”  I said, still bitter.  I took a second to exhale.  “Fuck.”

The door opened slowly after what felt like an eternal silence.  It wasn’t Maxine and any medical staff, but Event Horizon.  She stood there, looking as concerned as she could.

“I heard about the news,”  she said.  “I know you two and the other one were close.”

“Yeah,”  sighed Derek.  He got up to leave.

“I was going to visit today to see about your arm, Ry.  I guess these things happen.”

I looked at her, much calmer than before.  I took a moment to realize she was still in costume.  A pink mask over her head, with a green triangle on the center of it, covering her nose and her top lip.  Odd choice.  Derek closed the door behind him.

“I’m actually not good at this, and I feel I’ve come too early, but I’m there for you and your friends.  Maxwell is there too,”  she said.  “Don’t let this be about yourselves, Ry.   You, Unpe- Maxine and Derek are pert of the team now.  You are part of my team.  I want to see you at your best or at least make sure you feel better than before you joined.”

It was awkward, slow, she tripped up once and there was a hint of selfishness to it, but I needed it.

“Thanks.  I’ll tell the others when I see them.”

She got up to leave and ran into Maxine.  There was a nurse with her.

“He broke his arm again,”  the nurse said to Event Horizon.

“I see.  I’ll talk to you later, ”  she said to Maxine, walking out the room.

 

***

 

It’s been a week since my accident.  I’m healing faster than usual, and I’m up and about now.

“Hey you three, what’s up?”

It was Pivot.  Event Horizon was behind her.  She was relatively normal as far as most brain type supers went.  Her specialty was on making machines with a central component, that both allowed for easy rebuilding but also left her creations with a glowing weakness;  everything is built around a single, central component.

She wore a slightly modified labcoat.  A single steel wire held it together, and allowed it to provide maneuverability and protection.

“Not much,”  replied Maxine, eating a sandwich from the cafeteria.  Derek was already finished and I was busy enjoying a surprisingly not terrible soup.

“We need to talk,”  Pivot said, pausing for a moment.  “Not about what happened, it’s more about the actives thing before the bank heist incident.”

“Oh, that,”  I said.  “What was it about again?”

“Druggie’s formula and powers.”

“Really?”  I said.  I wasn’t in the mood for it.

“You’ll need to hear this, so listen up,”  said Event Horizon, reading my expression.  She and Pivot sat down next to either side of Derek.

“I figure you know the gist of what Druggie does, right?”  asked Pivot.

“Chemical based hero, creates tons of powerful formulas and drugs,”  said Maxine.

“Yeah.  Anyway, you all got injected with his ‘Awakening’ formula.  This is different, and it works off of regular awakenings.”

Derek shifted to slightly, a little worried.  I’d be concerned about this too if I was in his shoes.  Or Maxine’s.

“Awakenings are caused moments of extremity.  Winning a Drag Race, being in a fight, surviving a disaster… all of those can cause a power to erupt,”  lectured Pivot.  “Druggie’s formula forces this, causing a random ambient power.  There is a passive effect and an active.  You guys need to know about your ‘actives’ and how to use them.”

This actually isn’t as bad as I thought.  Derek relaxed a little.

“It’s easier if we learn about these powers and stuff in a controlled environment than in the middle of a fight or something, right?”  asked Maxine.

“Yeah,”  replied Event Horizon.  “That’s why we are telling you now.  You know us, there isn’t much going on at this very moment and you guys may be out of action for a while anyway.”

“Figures,”  Derek said, looking up at Event Horizon as she walked over to Pivot.

“We’ll do this in the training room,”  said Event Horizon, standing from her seat.  “Gunsmith has to watch over us, for supervision purposes.”

Pivot got up from her seat.  “You all coming?  No time like right now.”

We all looked at each other and got up at the same time.  We all finished our meals anyway.

“Okay,”  I said.  “I think it’s unanimous.”

Event Horizon walked off.  “I’ll go get Gunsmith, you guys follow Pivot.”

Pivot led the way as Maxine walked next to her, with me and Derek close behind them.  I noticed that Pivot’s labcoat was a little larger than she was, reaching down to her ankles.

“Hey Pivot,”  said Maxine.

“Yeah?”  Pivot continued walking down the hall.

“So why were there only four of you guys before we joined?”

Pivot took a moment to think.

“One guy moved to another group, the other guy cou-”  she began, before stopping abruptly.  “yeah, sometimes people leave the team.”

“Oh,”  said Maxine, trying to segway the bitter feeling in the air.  “let’s talk about something else.  What’s up with the guys we fought a week ago?”

“The North side Rioters?”

“Yeah, them!”  Maxine exclaimed.

“They all sorta awakened during a riot that happened last year.  We didn’t catch up to them and by the time we knew about them they’d already been causing crimes.”

“I see,”  I said.

“It’s a combination of bad luck and opportunity for them, really.”  Pivot stated.  “They were mostly poor kids before the riot, then they got hit by the worst of it and became looters, then muggers, then…  well, this,”  she gestured to the air.

“Oh, we’re here.  let’s wait for Gunsmith and Event Horizon.”

 

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Event Horizon, as far as I could tell, was the leader of the whole team for the Oklahoma City Group.  We were driving to the bank being robbed by the North Side Rioters, and everyone apart from Pivot was being debriefed by Event Horizon.

“Normally, we’d have Maxwell and one of Pivot’s toys run in and wreck face,”  she began.  “However we got three newbies who can actually take out fighters easy.”

She wrote down a small sentence on her arm;  Unperson is hiding Latency.

“Unperson, do your thing to Latency.  Latency, tag as many people as you can.  Ryan, you’ll be in the front.  How far does your field go?”  Her orders were quickfire.  She knew what to do.

“Three meters I think.”  I replied.

“Stay ten meters away from us, try and get in the midst of them.  Also, choose a callsign for god’s sake.  Pivot’s going easy this time because of that fight with Killstreak last week.  I’ll be in the front with Maxwell.  Stacker, stack Latency.”

“Hey, what’s that do?”  asked Latency.

“It’s a luck thing,”  said Stacker.  “If you do well, it like carries over… bu-”

“If you fuck up it’ll get bad quickly,”  shot Maxwell.  “I’ve been stacked plenty of times. You’ll feel it on you.”

“Speaking of which,”  interjected Pivot from the driver’s seat,  “You guys know what your actives are right?”

“Actives?”  Unperson asked.

“I see,”  said Pivot coyly.  “We’ll talk about this later.”

We got out the van with Maxwell, Event Horizon and myself standing in the front, everyone else at the back.  We were facing the bank, a few blocks away.  It was go time.

Maxwell and Event horizon ran ahead, meeting two of the robbers who had come out of the bank.  They both wore hockey masks and paint smeared clothes.  One of them, wearing a red painted mask and blue denim dungarees shot out a glowing something, knocking Maxwell back into the road.  I walked up to the group from the side.  He turned to me and shot another ball.  It disappeared five meters away from me.

“The fuck?”  he said.

“Plasmic, I’ll deal with this bitch,”  said the other, hopping and jumping away from Event Horizon with finesse.  He muttered something unintelligible as she chased him with relentless fury, closing the distance more and more each second.  Deep down I felt as though there was no esc-

Suddenly, I was on fire.  I panicked and put out the flames as hard as I can, tossing my shield and performing a stop drop and roll.  Awareness based power nullification.  How annoying.

I got up and saw the next fireball.  It vanished right before my eyes.  I picked up my riot shield and held it before me.  Maxwell was charging who I think was called Plasmic and Event Horizon had gotten deathly close.  As much as she was able to close the gap, he was way to tricky to catch.  What the hell was his power?

I heard screaming from within the bank.  It looped.  Somebody stood out, a cape in a morph suit.  He surrendered.  Unperson suddenly tapped me on the shoulder from behind and I remembered it was Latency as I turned around in surprise.  She gave a thumbs up and Latency ran to where Plasmic and Maxwell were, tagging them both.  Maxwell was freezing the air around Plasmic. Plasmic was charging a shot.  Plasmic was charging a shot.  Plasmic was charging a shot.

The last remaining robber ducked from under one of Event Horizon’s grabs and ran for Latency.  I charged after him.

“Latency, look out!”  I yelled.  He reached him and…

He did a backflip over Latency.  I reached Latency too quickly to stop and everyone went back to normal.  Shit, I thought to myself, turning to face Plasmic as he fired another shot that dissipated in my aura.  Latency ran back into the building as Maxwell struck Plasmic in the back of the head, knocking him out and onto the ground.

The second robber struck my in the gut from nowhere.  I felt all the wind in me leave and I nearly threw up.  Then I saw more of the North Side Rioters.

A young girl stood in a finely laced dress, wearing a mask normally worn in a masquerade ball.  Beside her, a taller man wearing a formless mask and a formal suit.

“Servant, throw Maxwell into that building over there.”  the young girl spoke.

the young man dashed over to Maxwell with insane speed and grabbed Maxwell’s arm.  Maxwell instinctively froze his formal suit and arm with his powers as the Servant threw Maxwell across the street.  His frostbitten fingers and frozen sleeves still clung to Maxwell as he crashed through the window panes of a bakery.

“Servant, your lack of clothing and fingers are disgusting.  How will you serve me with no hands?”

The servant boy kneeled in front of the girl.  “Yes, my lady.  Forgive me, my lady.”

“Grow your fingers and clothing back, now!”  she fumed theatrically, like a small child throwing a tantrum.  His fingers and bones popped and cracked disgustingly as his hands regrew, the frostbitten flesh disappearing slowly.

She pointed at me.  “Blast that man in the riot gear with your eye lasers!”

He turned and his eyes began glowing.  I charged him, closing the distance as he fired of a shot that did nothing.  I eventually reached him and tackled him to the ground with a bask of my shield.

“Fight back! Fight back!”

The servant boy scrambled to get back up on his feet as I remembered about my stun baton.  I unsheathed it, kicking the assailant in the stomach.  He didn’t even scream as the shock pulsed through his back, knocking him out with spasms.

I turned around and Event Horizon had caught the villain she’d been chasing the whole fight.  He was already in cuffs.  She looked over to me and her face turned white.

“Ryan, Servant isn’t the one with the powers!  You have to stop Tiny Tyrant!”

I pondered exactly what sort of name Tiny Tyrant was, when the flying car tire smacked me into the parked car next to me.

 

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I stood there side by side with Latency and Unperson.  They are still known to me as Derek and Maxine.  Ricky – or Plural as he is now calling himself – is in the New York Juniors team along with Micheal, who rechristened himself Beacon.  Ellen was taken from us, the only casualty of the attack on Norfolk.

We were waiting, overhearing Gunsmith talk into the camera.

“…e here at the NHN will finally introduce the three new members to the Oklahoma City’s very own National Heroes Network Junior Group!  Unperson, Latency and Ryan!”

We walked onto the stage from the left.  Both I and Unperson were heavily armored.  Unperson’s mask was a face-plate covering her eyes but still giving her sight.  The Goggles she wore earlier worked by making her see through an instant camera feed.  It wasn’t efficient, but the technical guy behind it made an improved version for her.

I wore clothing suspiciously similar to riot gear.  It was painted white, to my approval.  The facemask was clear as I didn’t feel the need to hide my face.  They all knew who I was anyway.

Derek was the only one of us not adorned with bullet proofing of any sort.  I guess he felt he didn’t need it, due to his ability to not get shot.  As much as his bravery entertained me, watching him go out in a silver morph suit was rather embarrassing.  Seriously, what the fuck.

It was a small press release, mainly to justify the sudden growth of the Oklahoma City Juniors.  They are now seven members on this team, making out group the fifth largest NHN Junior Group in the USA.  Unperson and I waved.

The crowd was justifiably nervous.  When people are asked about Incontinents, they don’t think about potential superheroes.

They think of Biohazard, who turned his hometown into a desolate wasteland where even rocks are rotting away.  They think of Japan, a country that was turned into a jungle state where every animal has sentience.  President Inugami is currently trying to reapply Japan for the UN at the moment, but he’s having issues. Apparently there is new legislation about UN memberships, and ‘nations who have undergone severe demographic, military and/or governmental restructuring due to the influence of superpowers are no longer allowed access to the UN’.  I can see why, with all the Kingmaker states and the one or two islands run my maniacs with hypnotism and god knows what else.  They think about Nightmare.

I decided to finally break the silence.  “Hello, I’m Ryan.  The girl to my left is Unperson,”  I said, gesturing.  “And the person to my right is Latency.”

“We’ll ask any questions the best we can as members of the NHN Junior Group first, and as individuals second,” I finished, stepping back.

The first hand shot up, a petite girl.  I pointed to her and she immediately looked at her question on the notepad.  “Why are you called Ryan?”

“It’s my name,”  I said.  “You know me anyway,”  A second person raised their hand once I was done with her, and I pointed at them.

“Do you think you’ll be a good addition to the Oklahoma team?”

This was a question we were all prepared for.  A big thing that recently has been making the rounds is the idea of team synergy.  We’d been told about our companions from Gunsmith;  Pivot, Event Horizon, Stacker and Maxwell.  We also were told about the current Oklahoma situation.

Unperson answered this question.  “Yes.  Both us and the NHN believe we are capable and suited to working in Oklahoma city with the current team situated there.”

Gunsmith walked up and gestured us off before any more questions occurred. It was time to meet the Oklahoma Juniors.

 

***

 

“So you three are the new guys, huh?”  asked a green hooded figure in the Junior Group living quarters.  It looked less like a dormitory and more like a storage closet, with boxes everywhere.  Me, Unperson and Latency were standing at the door with our luggage;  some clothes and toiletries.

A blue skinned figure  walked out from where I assumed the toilets were, wearing a bathrobe.  “Quiet, Stacker,”  he said.

“I’m Maxwell, nice to meet you.”  he stuck out a hand and it tuned to normal, surprising him slightly.  He took a step back, reeling his hand away.

“Sorry,”  I shrugged.  “Can’t really turn it off.”

“It’s okay, I’m almost in the same boat.”

Latency walked out of my radius and turned to his glitchy, lagging self.  Stacker raised an eyebrow.

“Shit, you guys really are Incontinents,”  he smirked.

“And?” asked Unperson.  Latency Blinked into a glare at Stacker.

“Never seen one apart from Maxwell, but he’s not like you guys.”

“Not ‘like us’ how?”  I asked.  I was having my patience wear thin and having my curiosity piqued at the same time.

“Well, for a start, Maxwell is a hero along the lines of ‘Internally Incontinent’ which means his powers don’t really affect others.  His skin tuns blue, but he has other powers,”  began Stacker.  “Most thinking types are also like that, Powers are always working, but they don’t affect others like yours do unless they act on it.”

“I see,”  I said.  I’ve been cursing my lack of knowledge in super-culture for a while.  Hell, I feel like I’m going to be cursing a lack of knowledge in everything for years to come.

“Well, looks like the newbies are here,”  said a young girl as she walked in from behind.  She held out a hand to me.  “I’m Pivot.”

“Ryan,” I responded.

“Huh?  No alias?”  she cocked her head.

“It’s not like I can hide my identity,”  I smiled at her, shaking her hand.

“I see.”

She sat down on one of the several couches scattered around the room.  Maxwell had already went to his room to dry off.  Latency and Unperson both looked for their rooms to change.

The alarms blared just as Unperson found her room.

“A metahuman robbery at West Bank is being conducted by the north side rioters. NHN Juniors Group has been assigned to deal with the threat.”

Pivot ran to her room to get her stuff.  Maxwell walked out of his, and whom I could only guess was Event Horizon walked out of hers.

“Okay newbies,”  said Event Horizon.  “Time to shine.”

 

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