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Astrid Torres

"I don't want to hurt anyone..."

0 · 906 views · located in Stark Tower

a character in “Avengers Apprentice Initiative”, as played by Little Fox

Description

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“It's an honor, of course, but I don't know if I belong here.”




The Basics




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Full Name
Astrid Rebekah Torres

Aliases
Her S.H.I.E.L.D. given codename is Apollo. Her friends/acquaintances call her Astro, Bekah, or Tori. Her mutant friends call her Firefly. Clint calls her Luminesca.

Gender
Female

Age
20

Ethnicity/Race
¼ Brazilian, ¼ Cuban, ¼ Swedish, ¼ Ukrainian - Homo Sapien Superior

Occupation
Art has been waiting tables and cooking at a small diner in the Bronx called “Deb's” since she was 17 and has been street performing since she was fifteen. She also works at Xavier's every other afternoon giving dance and yoga classes until her night shift at the diner but she doesn't take pay for it. She does get paid to substitute for Art and Music classes at Xavier's though. It's not often that she does but it's one of the jobs that she enjoys, especially when she gets to take the kids into the city to look at art museums or to view shows at the Apollo Theater. She now works also as an Avenger Apprentice though that's not really public knowledge and she doesn't get paid for it. She makes side money by selling cover albums on iTunes. She was formerly an amateur boxer and underground MMA fighter.






What's on the Outside




ImageHair & Eye Color
Her hair is naturally blonde though she is prone to dying it various different colors and her eyes are a bright shade of brown.

Height & Weight
5'3" & 419lbs

Tattoos & Piercings
As far as tattoos, she has a bar code on the back of her neck and a short score of music wrapping from her left shoulder to just before her elbow. On the underside of her left wrist is a sword and bow making an "X" over a shield with "True Justice" underneath it. The left side of her torso sports a large Yggdrasil with the roots sprawling down her thigh. Like so. She also has tattoos on her Left arm, right arm, & left foot. Her piercings include three in her earlobe, an industrial piercing, a tongue piercing, navel, her right eyebrow, her nose, and “angel kiss” piercings in her lip.

Scars
A faded yet prominent and dark scar on her chest jaggedly spells out “Demon” while the rest of her figure is adorned in a number of faded scars from experiments and beatings. The only scar that she has above her neck is a horizontal scar on her right cheek. There are two columns and fifty rows of round scars that start at the base of her neck just below her hairline and extend all the way down to the base of her hips. The spinal scars are jagged and look as though needles were ripped right from her flesh.

Character Color
#DD00FF






What's on the Inside




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Personality
{Bold, Daring, Adventurous, Outgoing, Kind, Warm, Thoughtful, Secretive, Cautious, Creative, Intuitive, Ruthless, Rough, Cold, Hateful, Vengeful}

Just like a coin, there are two sides of Astrid, though this is due to her forcibly repressed memories. The surface Astrid is the Astrid from the better part of her childhood. It's who she would have grown into being had everything that happened to her as a child hadn't happened. She's very amiable and finds it easy to approach others, though with the belief that she is a mutant, she is wary around most humans. She's your typical sweetheart, often throwing people off because her type of sweet is a rare thing these days. She would offer a total stranger her jacket if they were cold or perhaps a slice of pie if they seemed sad. Despite being so forward and friendly, she still manages to give off a bashful vibe towards those who don't know her well enough. Once a person has earned the right to be called her friend, they aren't just a witness to her outgoing and whimsical mannerisms, but they become involved and she's more open.

She's the type of girl who prefers spending time with her friends over solitude unless she needs some time to think. She's almost always with someone though, even if she's just reading a book or writing a new song. She's never still for too long, having to do something that keeps her moving. Because of this, she often prefers to be outside entertaining. Whether she's in the middle of the mall, a 7/11, or the street, she has no problem bursting into song, dancing, performing acrobatic stunts, acting out a scene from Hamlet, or breaking out an instrument. She's not really an attention-whore, as some would misunderstand. She just likes to see a smile on people's faces while being able to express herself and her talents. She's very proud of her talents, though not overbearingly so to the point where she has to point it out in every conversation or display them to anyone who hasn't seen yet. In actuality, when it comes to performing in front of others, she tends to only do it to cheer them up or busk. She's never actually uploaded any videos of herself performing from home – All videos of her performing are from her busking. She'll only perform socially at the request of others and prefers that she's not the center of attention outside of busking.

Express yourself is a phrase that she's highly familiar with. Art is her life and her passion, easily told by the tattoos and piercings adoring her body. One of her pet peeves is being judged (herself and others) for tattoos and piercings. She literally has a rebuttle for anything and everything that a person might try to argue about in a conversation against body art, as she's been approached more than once (like so many others) by people (mostly old people) with reserves against body art. She's very proud of the ink that she's put on her body and finds herself often doodling more onto them every now and again when the inspiration hits her. She frequents tattoo shops to observe the work of others (maybe now and again to do some work of her own for some cash) and isn't against sitting in an art museum for hours to stare at a painting or sculpture to wonder what the artist was feeling. She wishes that every artist had her ability to make others feel as they do when they perform or paint, thinking that more people would truly appreciate art if they could.

That's her good side. Let's talk about her inner warrior.

From the ages of six to fifteen, she was...Well. She was something. She was prone to violent mood swings, depressed one minute and ferociously angry the next. She spent her days switching between two very exclusive ranges of feelings: Hatred, anger, vindictive, righteous, and sanguinary were the worst. She was more bearable when she was feeling lonely, sad, hurt, suicidal, and dead inside. Either way, someone ended up dead before the night was over each and every day. After escaping her captors, when she wasn't feeling dead inside and moping in bed, she was out satisfying her need to vindicate the innocent lives she had been forced to take and the lives of others that she had not taken but had witnessed being taken. Her level of intensity during such a mood swing was always at a fifty out of a scale of ten, “going hard”, as the kids say. She was absolutely brutal, cruel, and uncaring. She could skin a man alive and pour acid on him without feeling a shred of remorse for what she had done.

But she wasn't completely messy. She was an apex predator. She was the crocodile in murky waters and her prey was the unsuspecting deer trying to cross. She was smart – She had been trained to leave no traces of her presence and she did pretty okay in that. She would often compare herself to Dexter - a favorite show of hers and a bit of inspiration. She had been hardened by her past and no fucks were given as she watched the light diminish from the eyes of her victims. But she felt in her head that she was doing the right thing. Her heart had no say in it – They weren't on speaking terms during that time. But despite her cruel treatment of perceived criminals, she never hurt an innocent person if she could help herself (when she wasn't hopped up on mind control) and would go out of her way to make sure that an innocent would remain out of harm's way even if it meant that she would get hurt.

She didn't like talking to people and she didn't make eye contact except to either glare or give a lifeless gaze. She had no passion for art or life, only her view of justice. But she's changed now, though Clint hopes to bring out her inner beast that he once saw and help her control it.

Hobbies
※ Working out ※ Playing instruments ※ Writing ※ Composing ※ Modeling ※ Reading ※ Cooking ※ Cleaning ※ Baking ※ Listening to music ※ Raiding comic book shops ※ Parkour ※ Skateboarding ※ Raiding record shops ※ Raiding thrift stores ※ Uploading new songs and videos ※ Busking ※

Habits
※ Humming ※ Writing on her hands and upper arms ※ Tattooing herself ※ Reciting facts ※ Quoting songs, poems, and books ※ Quoting movies ※ Just quoting in general ※ Scratching her hands when she's nervous ※ Babbling when she's hiding something from someone she cares about ※ Cooking when stressed ※ Not looking where she's walking ※

Likes/Loves
✔ Music ✔ Art ✔ Combat ✔ Vlogging ✔ Writing new songs ✔ Reading ✔ Hanging out in Stark Tower ✔ Watching Stark and Banner work ✔ Spying on Captain Rogers while he works out ✔ Candy ✔ Organic food ✔ Eating pure sugar ✔ Subs ✔ Seafood ✔ Steak ✔ Flying ✔ Her truck ✔ Her pets ✔ Tolerance ✔ Salmon ✔ Free running ✔ Movies ✔ Quoting ✔ Kids ✔ Busking ✔

Dislikes/Hates
✘ Self-important people ✘ Bologna ✘ The smell of Pinesol ✘ Black licorice ✘ Watching horror films alone ✘ Watching war films alone ✘ Being without her stuffed panda ✘ Disorder ✘ Nihilism ✘ Bigotry ✘ Dogmatism ✘ Beef stew ✘ Most stew in general ✘ Feeling useless ✘ Black licorice ✘ Advanced darkness ✘ Needles ✘ Doctors ✘ Being examined or stared at ✘ Being all alone ✘ Emoty night skies ✘ Itchy clothes ✘ Centipedes ✘ Loose clothes ✘ Sweaty pits ✘ Fighting ✘ Yelling ✘





What Makes Us Special




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Strengths and Weaknesses

Powers – Attributing to her initial mutation she has a certain degree of control over light and an ability referred to as performance art intuition. She has the ability to generate, bend, shift, focus, scatter, and generally control light to various degrees and effects. From weapons to steps to shields, Astrid can solidify the light photons and manipulate their shape and density to aid her. She uses this for flight often, creating a “surfboard” under her feet and using her control over light to move herself. By energizing the light photons and directing them, she can create an offensive and powerful blast and even create lasers to sear her targets. Astrid sees the world around her in extreme HD and literally doesn't miss anything around her. It's pretty useful for noticing nervous twitches in suspects as well as spotting things from far away. Though, she's not Superman; She can't see clear across a city. She can individually pick someone out in a crowd from half a mile away. Astrid can bring about an area of darkness through repelling or simply absorbing the light photons around her or her target. Through scattering and stretching and bending light photons, she can cast about an area of absolute light, allowing for no shadow and even no visibility, possibly blinding people temporarily or permanently.

Rather than creating illusions in someone's mind like a telepath, she can make something that is solid and real. Sort of. Whether it's a walking, talking person or a large building. Of course, she needs empty space to create the illusion; She can't make a wall lead into a room that isn't there. The difference between her holographs and visual illusions is that the holographs are impalpable and the illusions are solid. Astrid's ability to generate light comes from the light inside of her. Literally. Photons of light are integrated to her every molecule. Even her boogers glow. Lovely imagery right there. Anyways. When not too worn out, Astrid can manage to become light. Her body fades away and her clothes drop and she becomes light. She can still hear and see and smell (she has yet to figure out how that works out) but she is intangible – For as long as she needs to be. In addition to her ability over light, she is well noted for her “Art Intuition”. Her combination of mastery over light and art is what earned her the codename Apollo. While one might not think that being able to master various art forms without trying is hardly much of a power or even out of the ordinary, the fact that she can sway people's emotions and thoughts through her work is quite a power. Hardly an aggressive power, but it has its uses. It's rather entertaining as well.

Physical Conditions – An attribute of the genes injected into her as a child is her incredible physical abilities. At her peak she is able to lift and throw two tons without straining too much, running at speeds above that of even the finest human athlete and her reflexes surpass that of even the most fit felines. Astrid's musculature produces considerably less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of a regular human being so she can exert herself at peak capacity for about ten hours before fatigue begins to impair her. Her body is much more resistant to physical harm than the body of a human being. She is capable of withstanding great impact forces, exposure to temperature and pressure extremes, powerful energy blasts, and medium caliber bullets. Astrid's bodily tissues have about one and a half times the density as the bodily tissue of a human being. As a result, she is actually much heavier than she appears. This increased tissue density also contributes somewhat to her physical strength and endurance. She had grown into the body of a twenty-one year old by the age of twelve and has not physically aged since. Despite her body's resistance, Astrid can be injured like any other. However, her metabolism enables her to rapidly regenerate damaged bodily tissue with greater speed and efficiency than a human being is capable of. Injuries such as slashes and punctures can heal within minutes whereas broken bones can heal within a few days. However, she is not capable of regenerating severed limbs or missing organs.

Education – She's never gone to college, believing in self-study. She speaks English, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and a small bit of Russian and Swedish.

Combat – She's a 5th degree black belt in Muay Thai and a formidable boxer, a former Bantamweight Youth World Amateur Champion.

Domestic – Her domestic skills include cooking, familiar with many recipes through surfing the web. She is also a frequent traceuse. She's never had formal training but her mutation allows her to excel naturally in various forms of art.

Weaknesses, Disabilities, & General Flaws
Physical – She knew a mutant once upon a time who could heal and who also didn't know about Astrid's healing factor. She had broken her arm and the young mutant tried to heal her while Astrid's own body was in the process. Doing so didn't work out so well and now when her left arm is hit with enough force it goes numb for days.

Combat – She has no memory of her previous combat experience. She is aware of her past in boxing and underground MMA fights but she doesn't know about the hatred and anger associated with it. She has no memory of just how well trained she is and often only reacts out of subconscious reflex, such as tossing someone or twisting their arm when they grab her from behind. She is also a bit of a pacifist and has sworn never to hurt anyone again.

Oddities – She cannot sleep. She might get tired, but she cannot sleep for any longer than three or four hours a day. It's on the last seven days of every month when she just shuts down, her body entering a state of self-preservation as she recharges completely. It's these seven days when she's at her weakest. You could throw her done a flight of stairs and she still wouldn't wake up. She can stave off that sleep for a few days if she must, but she'll sleep for every day that she missed.

Mental & Emotional – She is mildly schizophrenic with a dash of PTSD, a sprinkle of paranoia, and a hearty helping of dysphoric mania. She thinks that she's a little crazy, unaware that her nightmares are slivers of memories and her mental disorders stem from those memories that slip through.

Medical – She is allergic to asparagus, peanuts, paprika, codfish, poppies, bush daises, carnations, copper, and papayas. She also has a marijuana, sugar, and alcohol addiction. She is incapable of ingesting any non organic food or drink without growing violently sick.

Secrets
⋆Her scars
⋆Her abilities
⋆Her addictions
⋆Her inability to digest processed foods

Fears/Phobias
☠Dying in her sleep
☠Failing the Avengers Apprentice Initiative
☠Fire
☠Being left alone
☠Being captured and experimented on





What's Done Is Done




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Biography

Place Of Origin
Westchester, New York
Bronx, New York City, New York

Birth Date
March 21st, 1993

History
Astrid was born when a Hispanic butcher harbored and soon marrined an immigrant from the Ukraine. Out of this relationship came two children: Astrid and Ásbjorn. Now, these two children absolutely adored their parents, though they were more inclined to their mother. But their happiness wouldn't last for too long, as they were soon thrust into a world of darkness and abuse. See, Freya had grown weary of her husband as he soon began "finding Jesus". It countered her own religious beliefs and he began to look at their children in a way that made her uncomfortable. Not to mention that her life had grown stale and her husband lazy. And so she told her children that they were leaving - She was going to take them far away to a place she had heard of for mutants like them. She hadn't had the chance before Edgar killed his wife and abandoned his children. After shooting Freya in the head in front of the children, he beat them until they were a bloody mess and drove them out into the middle of the woods where he left them. Why would he do that? Because, he had let his head get filled with ideas from his coworkers and media that mutants did exist and they were abominations. He was a Christian man now and his thoughts were easily swayed into believing that the children he once thought were angels blessed by God were demons in disguise. So...where did that leave Astrid and Ásbjorn? Well, they had managed to wash upon shore where they were found by some fishermen. They were surprised to find a young girl who was glowing and a young boy whose body seemed coated in shadow as though standing under shade, clinging to a log for dear life. Thoroughly frightened, they called the authorities and were paid off by the government to keep silent about it. The two soon found themselves under the “care” of William Stryker and his team of odd and twisted scientists. With twelve mutants they were in captivity and slavery from the ages of six to thirteen. For seven years they suffered daily emotional, mental, physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. Or at least Astrid did. Ásbjorn was nine when he died after having his heart removed in a battle to the death. It was part of an experiment to see which was stronger – The mutant with super strength or the child whose species they had yet to identify. Ásbjorn was easily stronger, but he wasn't a fighter. He never had been. In their years of captivity, Astrid had been the strong one. She was the one that defended who she could, taking extra beatings so that he might be spared and have a few minutes to recover. The most horrific part of her capture was the Quintipede. It was a crude form of technology that was used to manipulate a person's nerves to control their movement. It was a failure and discarded after a mind control serum that worked through injection had been created. It was with this serum that they were able to mostly control those that they held captive. Their subjects became less resistant and were more malleable for training. They were transformed into drones, trained to handle various forms of combat and often sent out to capture or kill mutants. Astrid was further turned into a killing machine when the genetic tests began. Her mutations had been deemed useless but her will to keep getting back up was admired. She was "gifted" with the mutation of another, enhancing her physical condition and eventually leading to an unexpected boost in her growth rate. They didn't expect some of them to start developing an immunity to the serum, therefore unsuspecting of the attack that came shortly after. They destroyed the base where they were being contained, killing everyone that they came into contact with. William Stryker was lucky enough to not be there when the attack happened, though he was furious when he returned. Where did these kids go? 1407 Greymalkin Lane. They were found and rescued after walking down the road by Professor Xavier and his friend, Eric Lensherr. It was there that Astrid went through a couple of years of deep depression and anger, her strange sleeping habit forming. For two years, she simply lost her passion for life and seemed to just go through motions of living. She also had a sort of... “Batman Phase” going on. She would venture out into the city and brutally murder criminals that she came across. The NYPD was on a manhunt for a serial killer with no face or no name. But someone knew who it was. Agent Clint Barton had been keeping tabs on the strange glowing teenager after Astrid took out one of the agent's targets before he could get to him. Fearing that the government would get its hands on Astrid once more, after finding out what she was doing, Charles went through intense therapy with her and eventually got her permission to repress those memories of her life. When he was finished with her, as far as the fifteen year old knew, she was an orphan. Her mother, father, and brother had died in a terrible house fire - this also prompted a fear of uncontrolled fires. With the darker memories of her life gone, so was the attitude. She became all that she could be and was virtually a ray of sunshine. She had no memory of her combat training or anything. She had no urge to kill anybody anymore either and actually became a bit more withdrawn when faced with conflict. She was eighteen when she moved out of Xavier's and got her own apartment in the Bronx, continuing to work at a small diner that she had been working at when she planned to move out – Busking wasn't going to pay her new bills. It was there that she met Captain Steve Rogers and forged a friendship when he became a regular customer, often giving him a free slice of apple pie (his usual dessert order) whenever he came around for lunch. He would often walk her to her car when she worked the night shift. How did she get selected for the Avengers Apprentice Initiative? Well, she was on her way home, being escorted to her car by none other than her future mentor. As they were crossing the street, a car was speeding towards a child and her mother. Cap was able to grab the mother and child and pull them out of harm's way but at the expense of nearly being hit himself. Without thinking, Astrid punched the car and sent it flying a few feet away, flipping it over and exposing herself. She made him swear to keep her secret before running away. She was hard pressed to meet his gaze the following days, but it got easier. Within the next couple of months, she was being escorted by him to a rather top secret location in the middle of the ocean. On the way, he explained about the AAI and talked her into it, but Nick Fury and other higher ups had their reserves about it. How could she compete? What made her so special? A bit of research into her revealed her YouTube Channel and her whimsical nature on her videos further put them at unease about the Captain's choice. She was just a street performing waitress. It was then that Clint stepped in and told them that Astrid was previously a Bantamweight Youth World Amateur Champion and formerly fought in underground MMA matches as a champion. Captain sealed the deal by explaining how she had pushed over a car without breaking a sweat. After a bit of argument, Captain and Clint won.

Extra
※She doesn't use manmade weapons. Her choice of weapon is a small sphere of light that she can morph into what she wants though she doesn't fight (yet). She also has a number of instruments, but she mostly uses her violin.※

※She has two vehicles – Her civilian vehicle is a 2008 GM Sierra while her other is a “surfboard” made of light.※

※She always wears locket like her brother's containing a picture of herself, her brother, her father, and her mother.※

※She has various driver's licenses for New York, Louisiana, Washington, Nevada, California, Florida, and Arizona under the names Jamie Willer, Nadine Salem, Luna Forester, Arlene Berry, Rebecca Stack, Jessica Rider, and Amelia Lee. She doesn't have any IDs with her actual name on them except her S.H.I.E.L.D. Level 2 ID.※

※She has a Samoyed-Pomeranian mix named Bastille, a Corgi named Talisman, and a Sugar Glider named Jade.※

※Nobody outside of the mutants that know her and Clint know even half of what she's capable of. As far as the other Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. knows, she just has super strength.※

※She always has her phone, her iPad, or laptop with her if not all three for the purpose of mixing new songs and making new beats.※

※She keeps a handwritten journal in which she records her songs, poems, nightmares, dreams, and art.※




So begins...

Astrid Torres's Story

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres

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Outfit
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Date and Time – Saturday June 1, 2013 @ 4:32pm
Place – Stark Tower (Manhattan, New York City, New York)
Setting – Six months ago the Avengers began their scouting for apprentices to help them and carry on their legacy. After five months they found twenty-nine potentials after narrowing down from two thousand and fifty-eight, finally narrowing it down to eight. These eight individuals were approached in May and filled in on what would happen. Some were met with welcoming smiles others, not so much. Some were quick to join, others...not so much. Today, they are arriving at Stark Tower for the first time. Their new home.


Tony Stark was rich. Wildly so. And he had a taste for the finer things in life. So maybe, just maybe, this would be better than her previous studio apartment. She might actually have a full kitchen to work with and a bedroom that didn't have a full view of the bathroom. The young woman had to admit that as scary as it all was it was also completely exciting. She had no idea who her other new team mates would be but she suddenly felt very self-conscious. What if they were better than her? For all she knew, they were all trained fighters and hackers and whatnot. In the words of Director Fury himself: “She's just a waitress.” The Council, whoever they were, along with some of the Director's advisors didn't seem very hopeful for her after finding her YouTube channel. She was whimsical – It wasn't a crime! But was she fit to train with Captain America and the other Avengres? Seriously; One minute she's serving him pie and milk only to turn around a second later to become his apprentice. She used to box and do some underground fighting... But that was ages ago. She hadn't fought in, what – Six years? Did she even remember how?

But the Captain had asked her and she didn't want to disappoint him.

It was all pretty intimidating as she waited for the ding of the elevator. She had been directed to the 93rd floor by a rather out of shape man that insisted that he be called “Happy”. It was a peculiar nickname for a man that didn't look particularly joyous, but perhaps it was on of those ironic nicknames. Like a large man called “Tiny” or a skinny guy called “Fat Joe”. Nonetheless, she thanked him promptly and had made her way to the elevator with her duffel bag, violin, and her dogs. She had a lot of different ideas of what her new home would look like but she still found her breath stolen when the elevator doors opened to reveal the most elegant room that she had ever seen. The view of the city was gorgeous – But how could it not be when “Avengers Tower” was the tallest building in New York City? [Besides the Empire State Building, of course] She walked out of the elevator before the doors could close, struck into silence by the sheer amount of space from the open floor plan.

She didn't have to ask where anything was besides the rooms and bathrooms – There was a bar and kitchen to her right, a sort of “common area” right in front of her, and every other part of the open space seemed to be work space or just...space. There were six sets of stairs that lead up to six doors in a circle like the large room was and she was able to get a good look at them, noticing that they were numbered one through six with various symbols on them – Cap's shield, Thor's hammer, a black widow, Iron Man's arc reactor, a target, and a green “H”. There was an extra door though it bore no symbol; It simply held nameplates like one might find on a teacher's door. She made her way up the stairs that lead to Captain America's room [or so she was assuming], though she turned right where the extra door was between his and Thor's room. Apollo. The code name that S.H.I.E.L.D. had allowed her to take was on one of the nameplates. Smiling, she ran her fingers over it before looking for a handle. None of the doors had handles. Curious, she pressed her hand against the door and jumped back, startled when a small blue pad extended from the door. She looked around, unsure of what to do about it.

She finally came to the conclusion that it was a biometric scanner and placed her hand against it, praying that she didn't set off some alarm. There was a thin blue light that scanned her hand before professional and British accented male voice rang out. “Agent Apollo. Avenger Apprentice. Identification verified. Welcome to Avengers Tower Miss Torres.” J.A.R.V.I.S. spoke out to her from what seemed like everywhere and nowhere at the same time when she checked herself in, the door sliding to the left smoothly. It lead into a short corridor with six doors, three on either side. She moved down the hall until she came to the door with her name on it, grinning at the colorful decorations on it. It slid open without prompting, only furthering her state of awe as it revealed a small room that fit a queen sized bed, a vanity, two doors [one she assumed lead to a bathroom and the other to a closet], and a desk. It was large enough to have her few cherished items – that she wasn't carrying with her – scattered and placed neatly on shelves.

She removed the leash from her dogs and smiled as they immediately pounced onto the bed and made themselves comfortable. “Happy here, I take it?” Astrid gave a light laugh as she petted the dogs' heads before flopping onto the bed with them, lying on her back and glancing over to see her sugar glider's cage sitting on a shelf, the small creature within resting happily. “I guess this is home now, guys. Until I fail miserably and get evicted. We could go back to Xavier's though...” She gave a light pout as she talked to herself. “I'm quite sure that you'll do just fine, Special Agent Torres. While most recent media depicts you as quite whimsical and a tad reckless, you've got an impressive background in fighting. Captain Rogers speaks often of your work ethic and persistence. Patience is the key.”

Who would have thought that she would one day be comforted by an invisible robot? She gave a light smile and got up from the bed, whistling for her dogs to follow, grabbing Jade from her cage and heading back downstairs just after checking in the mirror that her chest was covered and the scars under her tattoos on her arms weren't showing too much. “That's what they keep saying. Thanks... Mister Robut?” She paused on the stairs, unsure of how to address the polite creation of advanced intelligence. “You may call me J.A.R.V.I.S.” Astrid gave soft giggle and jumped the last seven steps, landing in a crouched position. “Got a shorter name?” She stood and walked towards the bar, her blue eyes scanning over the alcoholic contents lacing the shelves. “Actually, that is the short version. It stands for Just A Rather Very Intelligent System.” He sounded quite a bit embarrassed as he said it.

Laughing, Astrid shimmied around the bar with her pets in tow. Setting down her violin and putting Jade on her head, she lifted a brow. “Mister Stark isn't good with creative names, huh?”

“No, not exactly.”

“What name would you have chosen for yourself, if I may ask?”

“I quite like Archibald. But that seems rather stuffy.”

“Then we'd just call you Archie.”

“Quite kind of you, Special Agent Torres.”

“How about you just call me Astro and I'll call you Archie?”

“A deal it is... Aren't you only twenty?”

Astrid paused, a hand just shy of grabbing a bottle of Wild Turkey American Honey from the shelf. She looked around with wide eyes. “You can see me?”

“You're not exactly invisible. Is that a power of yours?”

“I... Uh. Of course not!” Her lie wasn't completely smooth, taken off guard. She wasn't exactly well versed with the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence. “I am only twenty. And I'm about to start training to fight crime and save the world. I think a drink is much needed... I was just a waitress yesterday.” She gave a wistful gaze into empty space as if looking into the AI's eyes, smiling when a sigh was uttered. She snatched the bottle from the shelf and sat on the floor, kicking off her shoes to show off her hamburger socks and wiggling her toes. Head back, the bottle soon made friends with her lips as she began to chug.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin

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#, as written by Cloud


Date: Saturday June 1, 2013
Time: 4:40pm



Amara Jasmine Chaplin, known to friends and family as AJ, gave an exasperated sigh as the sound of her mother's voice droned through the receiver of her cellphone. Trained and practising neurosurgeon or not, it seemed she wasn't exempt from her mother's seemingly endless reminders to stay safe and tips on how to keep her whites white. It wasn't as if it were the first time Amara was away from home. She had spent several years studying away from her parents when she was younger, only returning to living with her parents when they all moved to California where AJ worked as a neurosurgeon. Still, AJ had to give her mother some slack, after all studying at university was a lot safer than training to become an Avenger Apprentice. There had been no way around telling her parents. Even given S.H.I.E.L.D's secrecy and AJ's relative independence, she was still a child and her parents were too intelligent not to question a sudden move across the country. So AJ had told her parents, after receiving the all clear from the higher ups. The result was a pair of parents who insisted on ringing her up every ten minutes to check she was alright.

"Mum, stop!" Amara cut in, stopping her mother mid-sentence, "I'll be fine! But I have to go now, okay? I'll call you once I'm settled in. Promise... Love you too. Bye." With a sigh of relief AJ hit the 'end call' button on her phone and, rolling her eyes like your typical seventeen year old, slid her phone into her pocket. A moment later the taxi slid to a stop in front of Stark Tower. AJ paid the driver and climbed out of the car, glancing up with a grin of delight at the skyscraper she would be calling home. It was a far cry from the suburban home she'd spent most of her life in and even further from the rudimentary house she'd spent several years in when living in Tanzania.
"You're bags miss." The taxi driver said as he dumped them unceremoniously on the footpath. AJ thanked him, to which he simply grunted. She picked up one bag and slung it over her shoulders, huffing slightly at the weight. She knew that she would be provided with state of the art equipment, yet she hadn't be able to bare the thought of parting with some of her favourite instruments. The result had been one bag of clothes and another filled with everything else she might need, including but not limited to a hefty hard drive with years worth of data on her topics of interest, some self-made equipment she doubted that even money could buy, and a scalpel with her name engraved along its length. Oh, and then there was the left half of a small brain which resided in a jar of clear fluid. (A non-human brain of course). The right half had been the first ever brain she had dissected.

With her possessions in hand AJ stepped forward, walking through the entrance of Stark Tower. She had to restrain herself from running, her excitement almost overwhelming her. She hardly wanted the other members of the Apprentice Initiative to think of her as an immature teenager, at least not yet. There was no sign pointing to 'The Avenger's Base', but as AJ entered a rather doleful looking man approached her, introducing himself as Happy. AJ hid a mildly puzzled expression and simply smiled and thanked him as he instructed her to the 93rd floor.

The elevator doors slid shut and with a whir the elevator began to ascend. As the floors slid by AJ's attempted calm began to dissolve completely. What would she find when the doors opened? Would any of her fellow apprentices be there and if so then what were they like? Her mind jumped from thought to thought, ideas forming and being dismissed in seconds. One thought, however, seemed to remain floating around her active mind: would she find other species among her new team-mates? She knew one mutant personally, her sister, and her dream had always been to study more mutants and other species. Thor, for example, was at the top of her list. Although, that might also have had something to do with the fact that Thor was so dreamy.

As her mind whirled with possibilities the lift finally pinged to a stop at floored 93. The doors slid open to reveal an apartment fitted out with all the latest modern comforts money could buy. It was all open plan, with work spaces littered throughout the large room, a lounge type space in front of her, stairs leading up to what she assumed to be each Avenger's personal room (and where she assumed her own room would be too) and a kitchen and bar to her right. Sitting on the floor beside the bar with a bottle of something resting against her lips appeared to be one of AJ's new team mates. She hesitated only a moment, unsure whether or not it would be considered rude to interrupt the girl's... drink. However, her natural curiosity and talkativeness quickly broke through. Placing her bags to one side AJ stepped forward.
"Hi, I'm Amara." AJ smiled, trying her best to come off as simply friendly and not too eager. She had already noted the alcohol in the girl's hand, mentally listed it's likely contents, and anticipated the likely affects it would have on the girl, but in trying to play it cool AJ decided against sharing her conclusions with her. There was always something about pointing out someone's bad habits that tended to rub people the wrong way. So, instead she stuck with a simple 'hi' and hoped for the best.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith

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Jasper sat in his car, glaring at the car in front of him, the driver of which was no doubt glaring at the car in front of them, and so on until you reached the car st the traffic lights who was probably glaring at the red light. Jasper gave a little victory dance as the traffic began to move, albeit at a snail's pace, but it was finally moving. There was a small blessing in the traffic being so slow. It meant that Jasper could safely take in New York, craning his neck to see the tops of the sky scrapers out of the windshield. This was very different to home. Both cities were impressive, but in very different ways. Durham was an old historic city, with little winding lanes and and the Cathedral. That was a brilliant building. But New York... Everything was so much bigger, more attention grabbing and ostentatious in the best possible way. Again the traffic stopped and Jasper sat back in the driver's seat and sighed. He tossed a casual look to the passenger seat, making sure his laptop hadn't slipped onto the floor. Again the traffic started moving and Jasper was finally able to turn off and pick up speed as Stark Tower was before him.

Jasper pulled into the nearby carpark, thanking whichever deity deigned to listen that there was an empty space he could park up in. He shouldered his laptop bag, making his way to the boot. When he had told his mum about the initiative, she had taken that part surprisingly well, better then his dad had. There was a lot of freaking out on his dad's part, mostly that his eldest child and only son was moving to New York and contact was minimal. He had briefly entertained the notion of turning the offer down, but quickly crushed the thought. How many people at the academies would happily trade places with him right now? Jasper pulled his suitcase out of the boot, being careful not to scratch the paintwork. Sure, his car was old and a little beaten up, but it was still his car and he was oddly protective of it. Locking the car up, Jasper made his way into the tower. He made his way to the reception, which being manned by a slightly overweight man, "Hi there," Jasper said, getting the man's attention from Downtown Abbey, "I'm here about the initiative," he continued when he was sure that the man wasn't going to be distracted by Lady Mary's current plight, "I'm Jasper. Jasper Penrith," he introduced himself, feeling like that would be the right thing to do. Hopefully this man knew something about the programme. All Jasper had been told was to turn up at Stark Tower on the first day of June.

The man introduced himself as 'Happy', which struck Jasper as slightly odd and a little ironic, "You'll want floor ninety-three," Happy said, pointing to the elevator. Jasper nodded his thanks and made his way to the elevators and pressed the button, waiting patiently for one to arrive. When he stepped into the elevator, the butterflies that had attacked him this morning came back with a vengeance. This was it. This was actually happening. He was going to be trained by actual Avengers. As his sister would have said, this was beyond cool. He shook himself out, trying to get rid of the nerves. He had earned this spot, he told himself, he deserved it. His hard work had got him here and his hard work would keep him here. Agent Romanoff clearly thought be had what it took, which was a huge confidence boost. The elevator dinged and Jasper walked out onto the 93rd floor. The space was well decorated, if a little modern for Jasper's tastes, but he could appreciate it. He noticed the two girls in the room too. They were both young, around his age, maybe younger, he had always been terrible at guessing names. One was sat on the floor, drinking straight from a bottle and the other remained standing. He nodded to the girls, "Uh, hi, I'm Jasper," he said awkwardly, not sure if it would be rude if he went on the hunt for his room in this place. Jasper saw the bags belonging to the girl who remained standing, figuring she was having a similar problem and had decided on introductions before moving in.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Dorian Mane Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith

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DATE: June 1, 2013
TIME: 4:50 pm
LOCATION: New York, New York



Heights. Deep Water. Losing Money. Another Miscarriage. Death.
It's amazing how many things people fear, and yet it is their fears that help define what person they become.


Dorian sat in the back of a limousine as it rounded corner after corner through the city of New York, facing traffic jams and pedestrian hold ups as the people attempted to make their way home. Dorian, on the other hand, simply watched the masses go by, his dark eyes darting constantly between the people as they walked - and with his sight came information about them he wished he didn't know. He wasn't out there to collect the fears of the average people; but then again, it was hard to not watch when the farthest he had gone in a year was to the grocery store down the street for food. It was either that, or starve as he stayed inside and kept the world out of his room.

Yet here he was, in the back of a limousine on the way towards the most expensive building in the entire city. Dorian still couldn't fathom the reasoning as to how Natasha found him in his room, or saw figured that he had a mutant ability that would be worthy of the group that they were trying to form. Honestly, the more Dorian thought it through, the more he became suspicious. During the time period that his abilities had awoken, he had only purposefully killed one person and accidentally fatally wounded two others. However, the killings couldn't be traced back to him, could they? Did the Avengers somehow have a way of tracking his abilities, like he was setting off an alarm whenever he felt the need to extend them past their standard use? Dorian didn't know.

Truth be told, there was only one reason he agreed to help Mrs. Romanov when she got into his apartment, after he threatened to kill her (what else was he supposed to do when some stranger burst through his door? Offer him or her a drink?) and that reason was simple: Natasha offered a place of refuge and possible help to stabilize his power. Dorian knew that Bruce Banner somehow had a handle on himself, and he turned into a giant wrecking ball: so why couldn't the quiet kid with the deadly mind? But Dorian knew from the beginning that she held a slight fear towards him. All sane people did, after all, when confronted with a power that could not be explained nor controlled. Dorian had a feeling that joining this group of Apprentices would have more than one reasoning behind it, but for now he would keep those to himself; but it certainly didn't help his suspicions when he a limousine showed up at his apartment to take him to the Tower when he had planned on walking.

Nevertheless, Dorian removed himself from the car when the vehicle came to a complete stop, his only suitcase on the sidewalk as soon as he figured out how to get out of the vehicle with his duffel bag slung over his shoulder. While they said that Stark Tower would become his permanent residence, Dorian planned on keeping his old apartment so he wouldn't have to bring everything over from his old place - it just seemed like an easier solution to a tedious problem. Besides, his car was still there, and he would rather not have to get it all the way through New York. So Dorian made his way indoors only to find that he would have to wait at the elevator for it come down from the top floor. Upon entering, Dorian saw a bellman who gave the simple name of 'Happy' which made the irony slightly more thick as Dorian caught a few glimpses of his fear - not to mention, the man didn't look happy to see the kid at all. The rest of the ride was awkward and depressing, with the 93rd floor feeling like an eternity away.

Finally arriving, Dorian got the first view that gave him a smile and a sense of awe. The floor was an open concept, with no expenses wasted on giving the Avengers the best looking common room that he could think of. He almost got lost in thought until he noticed the symbols of the Avengers themselves, along with another set that held only nameplates instead of symbols. The contrast, however, was what threw him: Dorian had grown accustomed to a dreary, messy and quite dark room for quite some time now. Yet the room that he was looking at was gleaming with a sense of modern posh that one could only acquire through the likes of billions of dollars. Dorian didn’t even notice that his sunglasses were still on, the room was that much of an adjustment for him.

Finally, Dorian came to the warm blooded creatures of the room, that seemed to array themselves in a position of how they entered; Dorian saw the entire thing like a crime scene, noticing how the girl at the bar with the alcohol was centred, with the younger girl closer to her and the man in front of Dorian looking at both. That made him the fourth man to enter, as per their array. However, Dorian decided to break that pattern as he scooted to the left where there was open space, therefore making it look as if he had entered earlier than he actually had (although those that had arrived before him would know of his arrival due to that annoying elevator noise) before he set his things down to stare out the one window. The view of New York was incredible, and he lost himself a little to the kid he wished he had been as he watched the movement of the people below.

After taking a moment to stare, Dorian turned back to the others, the contrast between himself and the others quite obvious. While they seemed mundane and normal, Dorian always reverberated as something not quite right. He wasn’t sure what it was, but people always skirted around him ever since his mutations formed: it was as if they knew he knew their fear, and they began to fear him as well. Needless to say, he felt slightly out of place. But that didn’t stop him from at least introducing himself. "...Hello. He paused, realizing he had no idea how to continue before realizing his sunglasses were still on. Taking them off in a hurry to not be rude, his dark dull eyes finally were visible to the world. "The name’s Dorian.... Pleasure to meet you all.” His tone made him slightly nostalgic as he sounded like he did back in the days where he was an up and coming mob boss at a party with others of his rank. Those days seemed so far away now, but Dorian didn't know how to feel about it. Once they decided that he wasn't worth their time, he would look back out towards the city with an odd stare.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Dorian Mane Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith Character Portrait: Patricia Lee

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#, as written by ABC
Dr. Patricia Lee

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Outfit / Outfit




Patricia looked up from her laptop with a vaguely maniacal grin. She had just hacked J.A.R.V.I.S. again. Over the week or so, Trisha had an extremely poor sense of time, since she'd been placed here after being accepted as an apprentice, ironically for the exact same reason she was kicked out of the academy, she had decided that one's hacking skills grew dull if not sharpened by frequent use. As such, she had taken to infiltrating the systems of her mentor's AI, and tampering a bit.

Of course, she never did anything especially malicious or even permanent. Like yesterday, when she had edited its speech files, causing it to speak exclusively in Spanish, with an outrageous accompanying accent. Or just now, when she had changed the calendar so that Mr. Stark would be receiving a reminder that it was the birthday of one Virginia Pots. This message would also be delivered again tomorrow, and the next day, and so on until either Tony or J.A.R.V.I.S. itself reset the calender. Speaking of which, this was why the AI was such an excellent practice system for hacking; it evolved. Every time she did this she needed to use different tactics, and adapt to the changes it had made in its system. The best comparison that Dr. Lee could currently come up with was a sparing partner, though that analogy was still flawed as well, as a large part of the point was to keep J.A.R.V.I.S. from realizing that she was breaking in.

Well, regardless of semantics, this 'match' was over, and Patrica was tired. What she was not, however, was so tired that sleep was absolutely required. This being the case, she lifted her soda from its spot on the desk...

And despaired at finding it empty. That had been the last one she had in here, meaning that she'd have to leave all her work in here, and waste time getting new ones. Ah well, she needed more empty cans anyway if she was going to build her aluminum, (okay, seventy-five percent aluminum, and twenty-five percent tin) spy drone. It was more of a pet project than anything else, but it still seemed like a pretty cool idea.

So, with this in mind, Patricia stood up, slipped on her lab coat over her pajamas, why exactly she wore a lab coat outside of a lab was occasionally called into question, but never mind that, and as a last second thought, fitted her zero-point energy gauntlet over her right hand and forearm. Never was it not a good time for a a field test.

Now that she was on the subject, it occurred to Patricia that Tony Stark was providing an awful lot of funding for her ideas, which were deemed by most to be 'dangerous and outlandish'. She couldn't help but wonder whether he actually believed that they would work, or if he was just keeping her happy. Not that it actually mattered, The money would keep coming regardless.

She was still fiddling with the thing's holographic display when she walked into the kitchen. Oddly enough, there were already four people there, none of whom she knew. The youngest of them did look a little familiar, as though she'd seen her picture somewhere at some point, but Patricia couldn't actually identify any of them. For a moment, the Oxford graduate merely stood there in her pajamas and lab coat, her gauntlet's display still showing the glowing white keypad, staring in confusion before coming to the conclusion that these must be the other apprentices. They weren't coming until Saturday though, from what she heard. Were they here early? Oh goodness it was Saturday now wasn't it. Last she''d checked it had been Thursday evening.

Noticing that the group seemed to be doing awkward introductions, some more so than others, Dr. Lee merely edged around the young lady drinking on the kitchen floor, in an attempt at getting to the fridge. She had been planning on opening it and getting a soda with the gauntlet, but there was a slight possibility that the device would just hurl the refrigerator off of the ground, and socially clueless as she sometimes could be, even Patricia knew that hitting someone with a large kitchen appliance was not usually considered 'starting off on the right foot'.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Dorian Mane Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith Character Portrait: Patricia Lee Character Portrait: Ken Krieger

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When Ken arrived at Stark Tower, it was a hard to keep his bags up. Not from how heavy they were. He hadn't walked that far from his apartment and the bags weren't at all heavy for him. He hated to admit it, but he was nervous. Ken knew this was a great opportunity, but something still bothered him. The fact that they wanted him in the program made sense. He was more then capable and his strength was definitely a standout factor, but he found it odd they would either consider him. After all, he was a former member of HYDRA. Sure, it was unwillingly but if he had a say in the applications, Ken would have dissmissed himself immediately. Clint probably had to fight tooth and nail for him to be considered and as he walked into the tower, Ken knew he wouldn't waste that chance.

When he walked through the door, a heavy set man lead Ken to the elevator ,introducing himself as Happy. Ken first thought it was an odd name, but then again his new code name was Titan, so who was he to judge.

As he heard the notable ding from the elevator reaching the 93rd floor, he was surprised at how much time as well as resources had been put into this floor. However, the first thing he noticed was the small group forming nearby. They all seemed to be around his age, but two of the girls were noticeably younger then the others. They were at the most in their late teens, which gave Ken an unsettling feeling. If S.H.I.E.L.D. was recruiting people this young for the program, they had to either be extremely gifted, or Director Fury was pretty desperate. He also noticed that the eldest looking girl of the group had a bottle of booze in her hand. Not wanting to introduce himself just yet, he quietly walked around the group and found the wing where he guessed his room was as it had a metal label of his code name. It had no knob, but as he fiddled with it, the door released a scanner which Ken placed his hand on. "Agent Titan. Avenger Apprentice. Identification verified. Welcome to Avenger Tower, Mr. Krieger." a voice said from nowhere as the door slid open. "Crap." Ken thought to himself, figuring the others must have heard the unknown voice as he quickly darted into the corridor and found the door marked Titan, which opened for him quickly. After dropping his bags on the floor, he marveled a bit at how large his room was. The bathroom alone was larger then his last apartment. "Stark must have put a lot of money into this place." he said to himself, walking towards the desk next to the bed which had a duffelbag marked with his name. "You have no idea, Agent Krieger." the voice emerged from out of nowhere again which made Ken jump a bit. "Don't be frightened, Agent Krieger. I am just the artificial intelligence of the building. I am called by most J.A.R.V.I.S." "J.A.R.V.I.S. huh?" Ken spoke as he picked up the bag and heard the undeniable sound of metal clanging. "Do you know what's in this bag then, J.A.R.V.I.S.?" "I do not know it's contents, but I know that Special Agent Barton had it sent for you." Ken opened the bag, revealing a plethora of high end tools used in Ken's favorite hobby; crafting and carving. Among the various metal tools and odds and ends was a single metal arrow. Ken knew it immediately as one of Clint's just from the style, but the tag it held gave more insight. "Good luck. - Clint" Ken took off the tag and placed the arrow on the desk near the bed as he sprawled out on it, resting his head on the soft pillow taking in everything at once. He would be working with Earth's mightiest heroes from now on with apparently some of the brightest the world had to offer. Ken only hoped he could do the company he know kept justice. He would have fallen asleep if he hadn't heard more of the commotion from down the hall. So, with a deep sigh of annoyance, Ken got up from the bed and returned to the group outside. "My name's Ken, if we're all introducing ourselves." he said to the others, again his eyes moving towards the bottle. "Should you really be drinking that? You're gonna wanna be as sober as possible for what comes next. Just a feeling I have."

The setting changes from manhattan-new-york-city-new-york to Stark Tower

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Dorian Mane Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith Character Portrait: Patricia Lee Character Portrait: Ken Krieger Character Portrait: Jax

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“Hi. I'm Amara.” Astrid already knew someone had come behind her, having heard the elevator. But by the time the elevator had opened the blonde had already polished off her first bottle and was halfway through her fourth with little intention of stopping before at least six bottles were resting in her stomach. Holding the bottle still against her lips she turned and watched as three more people filed in and introduced themselves one after the other, a light smile playing on her lips as she continued drinking.

“Uh, hi. I'm Jasper,” said the tall blonde Caucasian male. Astrid simply sat quietly, figuring she would introduce herself last. “Hello... The name's Dorian. Pleasure to meet you all.” Funny; He didn't seem all that pleased to be there meeting them. She knew his face though, a friend of a friend that she knew of. He was a mutant too. But her gaze was drawn to a girl that looked younger than the first, donning scientific attire. She watched as the younger female edged around her in an attempt to get near the fridge. Astrid wiggled across the floor to give her room just as another male made his grand entrance. “My name's Ken, if we're all introducing ourselves. Should you really be drinking that? You're gonna wanna be as sober as possible for what comes next. Just a feeling I have.”

There were a lot of ways she could reply to that and as she stood up, moving closer so that she was less than a foot away as she stared into his eyes while drinking the bottle, she thought of all those replies. She finally emptied the bottle and offered a light smile. Before she could open her mouth though, another male's voice called out. “I wouldn't worry about her, gringo. I shit you not, this chica once went through five kegs of rum before she even got buzzed.” Astrid turned and smile, embracing the young man of darker complexion with a tight hug. “Jax! How the hell did you end up here?” She was happy to see the lying little klepto, overjoyed to have another familiar and friendly face in the strange new world she had been pulled into. She was instantly glad though that all the rooms were accessed through biometric scanners.

“Chica espía maldito.”

“Tiene usted también, ¿eh?”

“Sí. Así que ¿cuánto saben ellos... También. usted sabe.”

“No lo sé, pero voy a averiguar.”

“Deshacerse de los archivos que consiguieron en su vida?”

“Depende de cómo va esto. No me gusta la idea de una organización gubernamental supersecreto saber tanto como donde yo vivo.”

“Si las cosas se ponen sucias que me conoces y Dorian le ayudará a salir.”

“Cómo caballeroso.”

“Tú me conoces, soy un caballero en armadura mojado.”

“Que en realidad es bastante gracioso.”

The two shared a back and forth reunion as the curly haired Cuban known as Jax grabbed two more bottles and tossed one to Astrid, the two throwing them back as though drinking water. Jax's brown eyes found his old friend Dorian and a smile lit up his face. “Been a while. How's it rockin'?” Astrid shook her head with a light grin as she finished up the bottle in her hand and watched Jax grab her sugar glider for the small creature to make a nest of his hair. “I'm Astrid and this is my friend Jax. These are my awesome sidekicks: Bastille, Talisman, and Jade.” She pointed out the animals, carrying an air of bravado as her pups barked. “I'm not actually here to do anything. I'm just cooking for you guys.” It wasn't a complete lie, not really. She had yet to decide if she wanted to actually fight, being a pacifist for the past few years. But she also wasn't going to eat anything that anyone else prepared so she figured she might as well save herself from looking picky or uppity by cooking for everyone else while she cooked for herself.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Dorian Mane Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith Character Portrait: Patricia Lee Character Portrait: Ken Krieger Character Portrait: Jax

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#, as written by Cloud
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Before girl on the floor could answer, the dinging of the elevator from behind AJ indicated another arrival. AJ turned slightly, allowing herself to include the newcomer and the girl on the floor in her vision. He was a young man, although still older than herself. As he introduced himself as Jasper, slightly awkwardly AJ thought, her eyes darted from his face to the tattoos on both wrists and back. She was good at noticing the little things, you had to be when operating on brains and such. Before she could mention his tattoos the elevator dinged again and the doors opened to reveal another young man.

The newcomer seemed to inspect the room first, his eyes wondering across all the modern surfaces and façades, before finally coming to inspect the three people already in the room. He skirted around the group until he was standing by a window. AJ felt a smile spreading across her face. Despite the queer feeling that seemed to be reverberating from the young man, or maybe because of it, she was thrilled. There was something decidedly different about him, something that suggested to AJ that he might be a mutant. She certainly hoped her quick deduction was correct, having only met one mutant in her life she was keen to expand her knowledge on their capabilities. He introduced himself as Dorian and AJ had to stop herself from giving him an excited wave.

Luckily the entrance of another potential member of the team drew AJ's attention before she could get too over-excited. A girl walked out from the direction of the bedrooms, her mind clearly occupied with whatever gadget she was fiddling with. She wore a lab coat over a pair of pink pyjamas and AJ would have made an educated guess that this girl was another child genius like herself. Amara certainly hoped so, it always made conversations so much more interesting having someone your age that could mentally keep up with you. Most adults either found AJ's intelligence slightly unnerving or talked down to her, at least until she'd put them in their place. The girl didn't introduce herself, rather she edged around the other girl sitting on the floor in order to reach the fridge.

It was about this time that another person entered the apartment. AJ just caught sight of a broad shouldered back as the young man quickly walked around the group and entered the bedrooms. However, he reappeared a moment later and introduced himself as Ken, also taking time to remark on the girl's drinking habit. Rather than reply the girl stood up, stepped close to Ken and finished off the bottle, a smile playing across her face as she did. AJ was suddenly glad she hadn't remarked about the girl's drinking when she had first entered the apartment. Before Ken or the girl could speak another person entered, a male who seemed to be good friends with the girl.
“I wouldn't worry about her, gringo. I shit you not, this chica once went through five kegs of rum before she even got buzzed.” AJ's eyes flicked with interest from the new man, named Jax if the girl's greeting was anything to go on, to the girl herself. It wasn't humanly possible to drink five keys of rum without dying or at least needing your stomach pumped, to suggest that the girl could do so without becoming drunk or even tipsy could only suggest that she wasn't quite human. Of course, Jax might have been exaggerating... a lot, but AJ hoped not.

AJ followed their Spanish conversation with one part of her mind, while the other began to hypothesis what particular mutation would allow someone to down an impossible amount of alcohol without feeling the effects. She was only pulled out of her thoughts when the girl formally introduced herself as Astrid, introducing Jax and her dogs at the same time. She went on to mention that she was only there to cook, an idea that AJ highly doubted. AJ didn't think the cook would be breaking into the alcohol collection, but she held her tongue since she didn't really think it her place to comment.

Instead AJ turned to face the whole group, "I'm Amara," she said in greeting, waving a hand, "But feel free to call me AJ, everyone does."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Dorian Mane Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith Character Portrait: Patricia Lee Character Portrait: Ken Krieger Character Portrait: Jax

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Dorian let the voices fade into the background buzzing as he stared out the window. Sure he still caught what the words were, but they didn't register as much as an attentive person would. It was only to a certain slang voice that Dorian turned to see a man that he hadn't seen in at least a year: Jax himself. While his real name was Fernan, Dorian hadn't heard a single person call him that since he was a teenager joining the gang. Jax and him went all the way back to the beginning years of the gang; as Jax was the only kid around his age that wasn't on drugs all the time, Dorian had found himself gravitating towards him more often than not. Jax had always been the guy to steal anything right from underneath people's noses, and Dorian had been the one to plan their daring escape and cover ups; and if need be, fight. They had done a lot of jobs together, seen a lot of shit together, and bonded in a way.

Dorian shook himself awake somewhat, his visit with nostalgia beginning to fade. That had been a long time ago, and Dorian had severed all ties with the gang after he accidentally killed Justin to keep the gang out of his miserable life during the early stages of his mutation. The Spanish was oddly harsh on his ears, as Dorian was fluent in Portuguese instead - and yes, there was a difference, no matter how small others would claim it to be. However, he still made out most of the sentences, missing a few words that were probably just pronounced weird in Spanish. The words came to a halt as Jax grabbed some more alcohol for him and the girl, who was starting to look familiar for some reason beside his old friend. It was then that the Cuban recognized Dorian, and that old smile he knew so well lit up his friend's face.

“Been a while. How's it rockin'?” Dorian was slightly speechless at his friend's casual tone - after all, he had severed ties with the gang in an abrupt and not-so-clean manner. Yet it seemed to not bother the man little, as the tone was just like it always was; laid back and chill. Dorian had always wished he could be so relaxed like his friend, but he had never been so lucky. Instead, he was dealt with the hand of the socially unstable budding sociopath. It wasn't like he could change the fact that his morality was nonexistant, but there were days when Dorian wished he hadn't grown up in such a dark light. Perhaps he could have salvaged something then - but maybe that was what this program could become.

After a slightly pause for Astrid - Dorian did know her after all - Dorian gave his friend a nod and a smile, albeit a little hollow. "I've had better days, but I've also had worse. So far... not bad. Another pause from the mutant, as he didn't know how to structure this question appropriately. After musing over it a few seconds, he just decided to speak and see where it lead. "So... how have things been with you? Still running with the guys, or has that ended?" Dorian instantly realized that his sentence would instantly be classified as pretty shifty, but he couldn't help it. While he disliked his former friends, the gang was what raised him and gave him purpose: it was hard not to still feel somewhat sentimental towards them, even if they were most likely on unequal ground.

While he waited, Dorian gave the girl that spoke called Amara an odd glance. He had noticed that she had looked at him in an unusual way earlier, as if she was intrigued by him or something. Was he really that interesting of a character? Sure, psychologists thought him a fantastic person to practice with, but other than that he never saw anything that was worth studying or exploiting about his personality. So perhaps she wanted something else? Dorian mused over it as his gaze shifted to Astrid, whom he finally recognized as a friend of Jax's. He had seen her a few times before, even said greetings to her once, but that was about it. But what was that line about cooking? Was she just their chef? Sounded like a bizarre occupation for a young adult, the chef to a league for freaks.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Dorian Mane Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith Character Portrait: Patricia Lee Character Portrait: Ken Krieger Character Portrait: Jax

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Jasper stood to the side as more people came through the elevator, bringing their total number to seven. He noticed the dark haired girl, Amara as she had introduced herself, turn her attention to the tattoos on his wrists. Jasper was used to people staring at his tattoos, so he thought little of it although it felt like Amara's glance was more that cursory. Nothing about her seemed casual. The last person to enter was a Hispanic looking guy. Looking around the group, Jasper noticed that they were all around the same age. No one was beyond their early twenties. Their collective youth made Jasper curious. That had to be others on the SHIELD books who would be better qualified, older and therefore with more experience. They would take less training and would be wiser to the protocol. Other than keeping his mouth shut, Jasper was fairly unsure of the different protocols. As the group introduced themselves, Jasper committed their names to memory, going over the group several times until he was sure he wasn't going to forget. There was still the newest arrival, the girl with the bottle and the blonde girl in the lab coat who were to introduce themselves.

“Jax! How the hell did you end up here?” The girl on the floor asked, identifying their most recent companion as 'Jax'. Well, that solved that mystery, Jasper thought.

Jax and the girl began conversing in rapid Spanish, making Jasper a little uncomfortable. This was obviously meant to be a private conversation, and yet he could understand every word of it. Jasper looked around the room, suddenly finding the ceiling lights immensely interesting. They were talking about Agent Romanoff and something about files. Unable to help himself from following the conversation, he began to get the impression that Dorian and Jax had been involved in some pretty shady business before being picked up for the initiative. He'd have to be on his guard if that was the case. The girl on the floor finally introduced herself as 'Astrid'. Jasper neglected to remember the names of her dogs. He wasn't much of an animal person anyway.

"Agent Romanoff. El espía que estás hablando, ella se llama Agent Romanoff." He explained, giving away the fact that he could understand them. It felt strange on his tongue to be speaking Spanish but have to pronounce a Russian name. The stresses on the throat and mouth were entirely different between the languages. Jasper cleared his throat, something that was a habit for him when he was switching between languages, "Figure its best for you guys to know that I'm fluent in case you were wanting to have a private conversation or something."

The setting changes from manhattan-new-york-city-new-york to Stark Tower

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Dorian Mane Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith Character Portrait: Patricia Lee Character Portrait: Ken Krieger Character Portrait: Jax

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Dr. Patricia Lee

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'For what comes next'. That was what Ken had said. 'Next' implied immediacy. Well, if something important was going to happen soon, Patricia supposed that she couldn't head back to her room. So, trying futilely to open the can of soda with her gauntlet, her other hand being the one holding the can, she looked around at what she supposed were to be her teammates.

First there was the drinker, Astrid, judging by her recent introduction. That girl who claimed to be here to cook for them. Not the best first impression a cook could make, nor did it seem especially likely that drinking all the kitchen's liquor was normally a part of the initial inspection of what one had to work with. Her conversation with her friend wasn't exactly suited for someone who had shown up to cook anyway, unless she was some food-based assassin. No, the truth wasn't entirely clear yet, but it was blatantly obvious that she was lying. Next was this 'Amara' person. Trisha was beginning to get a clearer picture in her mind for where she had last seen this girl. If she was not mistaken, Amara was none other than Amara Chaplin, who Patricia had read an article about a few years back. If that was indeed the case, and it would make a certain amount of sense for it to be so, Dr. Lee could do with the services of a good neuroscientist, particularly if she was going to make the zero-point energy gauntlet work as she intended it to.

Speaking of which, this tab seemed impossible to remove. The glove made her fingers unable to slip under it. Switching hands made it no better, as her left hand was simply not currently strong or coordinated enough to pull of the offending aluminum (and twenty-five percent tin) protrusion.

Jasper, it seemed, had a bit of respect for the woman known as Black Widow, though it was possible that she merely misinterpreted that part, while Jax, if his choice of wording when describing her, despite obviously knowing her name, was any indication, did not. Already, she could tell that this would be interesting. Perhaps only interesting in the way that a train wreck was interesting, but hey, as long as it didn't interfere with her work, she didn't especially care.

Before she moved on to the others though, Patricia though a bit more on this whole 'Spanish' thing. Did they, for whatever unbelievable reason, assume that no-one else in the room of super-geniuses and intelligence agents knew Spanish? Obviously, though perhaps not to them, Patricia knew Spanish. She wouldn't be stupid enough to switch an AI exclusively to a language that she herself did not understand. Or did they perhaps merely not care? The latter would make a bit more sense in that regard, but it wouldn't explain some other things, such as the nature of their conversation, and would raise the question of why they bothered switching languages at all.

Ken seemed to be fairly sensible, but that was all that she could gather on him at the moment, and even that was at least partly a matter of her own opinion. As for this Dorian character, an odd name that, he was, apparently, in a gang of some kind, based on his particular choice of phrasing, at least Patricia had never heard it used in any other context. Other than that, he seemed interesting enough, but not likely to just hand out information. It was astonishing how interesting and infuriating this combination could make people.

Finally having had enough of the blasted soda can, Trisha set it briefly down on the counter, tapped in a few quick 'calculations' on the glove's holographic keypad, they weren't really calculations so much as educated guesses, a major flaw of the Z.E.G. was that was impossible to use precisely without mounting it on a turret, and utilizing a few whiteboards to write out the proper calculations, before pointing it at the can. At this point, Dr. Lee had largely forgotten the other people in the room. There was science to be done, although it could only really be called science by someone who was being a bit generous.

For a moment, all went exactly as planned. The gauntlet glowed a silvery blue-white, and the can lifted off the counter as though suspended in some sort of zero gravity field, which, though a gross oversimplification, was technically what it was.

Then the can exploded. Cola and debris spun around in a foot-wide sphere, as though orbiting some invisible planet, large bubbles forming in the airborne liquid. Since there was no lack of air, the sounds of fizzing soda and tinkling of metal slivers bumping into one another could be heard, after of course the initial crunching and popping sounds were through.

"Right." Patricia commented flatly."Forgot about that." Well, chalk it up as another learning experience. She should probably seek Amara's advice and improve the gauntlet before actually using it for anything important though.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Dorian Mane Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith Character Portrait: Patricia Lee Character Portrait: Ken Krieger Character Portrait: Jax

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The woman approached Ken, drinking an entire bottle while she walked until she was less than a foot away from him. She let out a small smile as she released the now empty bottle from her lips, but before he could respond, another male voice carried through the room. In response to this, Ken backed away and turned toward the noise, noticing another man closer to his age exit the elevator. Ken was surprised however as the woman and this new person seemed to know each other. He was confused even more when the two started speaking what Ken guessed was Spanish. Some of the words seemed slightly familiar, but he heard one as clear as day and what the blonde haired guy reminded him of shortly after; Romanoff. Ken had met the woman known as Black Widow once and suffice it to say, it was a very odd experience. It was a mix of respect and fear and overall, Ken didn't get much enjoyment out of the meeting. Then again it might have been because when he met her he was with Clint and even with his lack of social awareness, things were definitely weird between the two agents.

The pseudo sound of an explosion going off snapped him back to reality as his body jerked towards the noise out of instinct. Ken stared on as the blonde girl from before somehow exploded a whole can of soda, but more frightening was the fact that some of the bits and pieces of metal and liquid were floating in mid air. Ken could even hear the fizzing of the drink as bubbles formed around the area of the incident, all of which floated around like gravity was almost nonexistent.

"Right. Forgot about that." the girl said, calmly shrugging off as if it was normal to blow up a can with a mechanical gauntlet and have the pieces glide and sway in the air. "Are we gonna talk about that or are we all just gonna pretend like that's normal?" Ken said, motioning towards the tiny mechanic and her experiment, looking around hoping the others would pay attention. It was when he was doing this he recognized one of the faces in the room. It was faint, but Ken knew he had seen this guy at the academy somewhere, the same guy that eavesdropped on Jax and Astrid earlier.

"You said your name was Jasper, right? Are you from the academy, because you look kinda familiar?" Ken asked him, trying to place his thoughts of everything that was happening around him.

The setting changes from manhattan-new-york-city-new-york to Stark Tower

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Dorian Mane Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith Character Portrait: Patricia Lee Character Portrait: Ken Krieger Character Portrait: Jax

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“I've had better days, but I've also had worse. So far... Not bad. So... how have things been with you? Still running with the guys, or has that ended?” Jax gave a light shrug as he tilted the bottle all the way to finish his drink before tossing it away and speaking. “Nah, I stopped running with those idiots a while back. Not too long after you left, actually.” After Dorian had left everything seemed to fall apart with their old gang. It wasn't the same without him and everyone had gotten frustrated and ornery. With his mutation alone, he was the strongest of the group. Everyone had wanted to elect him new leader before he left and after he did, everyone fought to take over. Jax was quick to leave and be his own man for a while, taking more jobs for the Andretti family. He was in the middle of retrieving some very incriminating evidence from the 88th precinct's evidence locker with the help of some of the family's associates when Natasha nabbed him.

He put his conversation on pause, his head turning along with Art's to stare down Jasper, both with amused expressions on their faces. “Es de mala educación entrometerse en las conversaciones de la gente, ¿sabes? ¿Y quién dijo que la conversación fue privado de todos modos? No todo el mundo nace en los Estados Unidos habla reflexivamente Inglés. Tal vez te sorprenda ... Pero nuestras familias enteras hablar español todo el tiempo que estamos juntos. Es indignante, ¿verdad? Un montón de viejo amigo Cubanos habla español juntos. No te cago. Sucede.” The hybrid gave a teasing smile and stuck out her tongue but made a mental note and wondered who else could understand what they were saying earlier. The two would have to be careful of their words around these people. They were so used to people either not understanding their words or their context or people understanding and minding their own business. She had no doubt any one of these others would roll over on each other to gain favor in the eyes of one of the Avengers. Perhaps a couple of them weren't even training, really. Maybe they were just spies for S.H.I.E.L.D. The possibilities of what exactly was and could be going on was making her head hurt and she had to pause to finish off her drink, highly aware of the looks she and Jax were getting from Amara.

She gave the girl her own smile, studying her for a moment before disregarding it as simply the excitement she was sure they were all feeling at spending the next however long among celebrities and heroes. Jax parted his mouth to speak but both he and Astrid jumped when a can exploded behind them to their right. Jax even let out a girlish scream, a good laugh for Art. He elbowed her in the ribs, though she hardly felt it. With a grin, she snickered a little more. “Are we gonna talk about that or are we all just gonna pretend like that's normal?” Astrid's eyes moved to the male that had previously questioned her drinking, a brow lifting. So, he was the cookie cutter type. Clean cut. Follow the rules. Her grin spread wider. “Because working with a man in an iron suit armed with arc cannons, a man who turns into a giant green rage monster, and a man who can bench press a small car is the human definition of a normal workplace. Not to mention the Scandinavian god.” Again, her tone was teasing.

“Glad to see you enjoying my good stuff. Try to come to work sober tomorrow, alright?”


“Uh... Hey, guys.”


“Are you old enough for that?”


“Oh, she's fine.”


“Let the girl live a little. Instead of asking about the bottle in her hand, what about the floating soda?”

The Avengers, minus Thor, exited the elevator with an assorted mix of smiles and smirks. The lot of them were dressed casually in jeans and graphic tees, hardly looking like superheroes that had saved the world not so long ago. Still, Jax and Art grinned at them, a bit of unease settling in Art's stomach. She still had plenty of doubts; Not just about her usefulness to the team, but what others would think of her and where she would end up. “What we're going to do now, is be lazy and do a trust exercise because I really don't feel like doing shit right now. And Tricia, you might want to tweak down the voltage on the gauntlet and maybe switch the orange and silver wires.” Tony clapped his hands together and stepped ahead of everyone. Steve simply rolled his eyes, obviously having gotten used to but not entirely approving of Tony's usual demeanor. “To elaborate on Mister Stark's words, we're going to be spending a lot of the first few weeks getting to know each other. Trust is critical when working on a team.”

“We know that true, deep trust is earned and not given freely, but we cannot begin to work on the more complicated exercises until we know that we can trust each other.” Natasha made her way to the couch and sat down, offering a light smile, speaking in a semi-professional tone. “Obviously, there is the possibility of not liking someone on the team, But you don't have to like someone to trust them. If your disdain for someone here comes between you and the common goal you will be removed from the Initiative. Words from Director Fury himself. So, play nice.” Clint gave his own smirk, moving towards Art and taking the bottle from her hands and chugging the rest himself as though they'd been friends their whole lives.

“It might seem silly, I know, but many of the exercises we're going to be doing won't really seem like... well, trust exercises. It'll basically just be hanging out and getting to know each other. Honesty is a key here. Lack of honesty is something that caused a lot of problems when we were first thrown together and it's what helped us in the end.” Bruce's words made Art squirm a little, subtly averting her gaze as though suddenly her fingernails needed to be checked, using her toes to play with her little Corgi jumping to bite at her sock. “We had an extra, but Asgard seems to be having some stuff going on so we'll worry about that later. In the mean time, our home is your home. Hope you enjoyed the sheer awesome that I've given to you. So, be grateful.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Dorian Mane Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith Character Portrait: Patricia Lee Character Portrait: Ken Krieger Character Portrait: Jax

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More words. It seemed to be the only thing that these people could exchange - one would wonder then, if these words had any meaning to them at all? Within the gang, Dorian had been instructed to speak only when needed to, and let your actions do the talking; those that broke that rule were brutalized often. Yet this group seemed to just like to talk, which was oddly heartwarming - it was different than the gang, and certainly different than the loneliness he had created around himself for the past two years. It signified a change in his life, one that would hopefully blossom into something beautiful: like a battered, near dead cat that had finally been taken in by a pitying stranger to grow up strong and loving.

Metaphor's aside, Dorian quite enjoyed this group so far. Jax gave him the run down on his position in the gang, or lack of thereof: “Nah, I stopped running with those idiots a while back. Not too long after you left, actually.” Dorian nodded, and said nothing as he processed the information. So it would seem that if Jax left, the gang must have fallen into disarray - apparently he had been a bigger factor within the syndicate than he had thought. While at first it felt heartwarming that those who had punished him were fighting and destroying each other, it was also slightly sad; they had raised him, kept him alive for all these years, and this was how they went out. Quite depressing how things went, but Dorian had no control over human impulses: only their fears.

Cutting back to the group, Astrid began to speak in Spanish once again, with only snippets and fragments making it to Dorian's Portuguese-driven mind as he pieced together something about how they didn't care. Sure, people always said they could never tell the difference between the two languages, but to him they were vastly different: the only words he caught on to were the ones that sounded similar to his native tongue, and those that Jax had tried to teach him. The explosion had almost been missed by Dorian, but he had caught it - well, mostly because Astrid and Ken pointed it out. Regardless, Dorian stayed at the fringes of the conversational hedge, peering in like he always did, watching them with soft intent.

The voices behind him startled Dorian, even though he thought he had gotten used to hearing foreign voices when you could hear and smell fear. The Avengers themselves came from the elevator, looking oddly mundane for a group of super humanoid people - then again, Dorian doubted he looked like material for this project either, and here he was. Their voices mingled together flawlessly as they stood near the elevator as they exited, before Mr Stark stepped forward. Dorian got a very stereotypical reading from the man; very confident exterior, yet many small fears that accumulated constantly into larger problems. Dorian didn't know what they were - and honestly would rather not know - but that didn't mean he wouldn't find out later on in the Initiate. Mr. Rogers spoke next, a more formal tone than Mr Stark to clear up the confusion that Dorian had gotten. Currently, no inkling seemed to give itself to Dorian, which was a plus for once.

However, it was the elaboration of Natasha that unnerved Dorian: trust exercise. They were expecting him to trust these people? How in the hell was that going to work out well? Dorian didn't want his skepticism to be that visible on his face, instead a wariness replacing it. They should know how difficult it was for Dorian to trust anybody nowadays; Natasha was even the one to expand on it. But that was probably their plan, to get him out of his 'comfort zone'. Well, they already achieved that - when the other Initiates found out what he could do, trust would be almost nonexistent. Trying to follow the conversation, Dorian caught an odd air of fear from the man known as Bruce Banner: it was as if he feared everything, and nothing at the same time. He had seen this type of fear before, but it rarely came up. Then again, he was housing an indestructible rage monster within a tiny frame, so there was that.

But again, he had to go and say something Dorian seriously didn't want to hear; the importance of trust. How could he trust them? Hell, how could they trust him? How would they feel if they found out he could murder people in their sleep without even targeting them, and that putting him in the same room as others while asleep was highly dangerous? Dorian didn't know how this was going to work, and didn't like it at all. Yet it wasn't like he had a choice: while Natasha hadn't known about the murders, she did know about his mutation and what it could do. The only options he had were to go with her to be under their watchful eye, or survive on his own until he screwed up.

Tony ended the more words about how awesome he was, or something; Dorian was beginning to fade fast from the conversation. He needed something to do to keep him awake - after all, he hadn't slept for a few days now, and would rather not sleep on his first day with these individuals. However, Dorian did have a question for the Avengers, so after Tony wrapped everything up, he cleared his throat softly to get at least one of their attentions. "So... when you speak of trust exercises, exactly what kind of methods are you proposing for mostly complete strangers to trust each other?" He was about to add the part about how the gang did it, but decided against it: after all, he was trying to relearn about morality and what other people thought of as appropriate. It wasn't getting far, but it was better than nothing.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Dorian Mane Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith Character Portrait: Patricia Lee Character Portrait: Ken Krieger Character Portrait: Jax

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#, as written by Cloud
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Amara could definitely say with some certainty that the Avengers Apprentice Initiative was not going to be dull. Her eyes glittered as they darted from person to person, taking in everything from their physical appearance, style of dress, possible strengths and weaknesses, and spoken language. It appeared that quite a few of the new team spoke Spanish, Amara including herself in the count as well as the number of people that had spoken it. She was curious to know why exactly each person had been chosen for the Initiative, questions were already queueing up in her mind ready to be asked. However, Amara bit her tongue. She didn't want to come across as rude this early on, besides they would have plenty of time to get to know one another in the days and weeks to come.

An explosion pulled AJ from her thoughts and her eyes snapped around to see a cola can exploding in all directions. A sliver of aluminium can sliced passed AJ, missing her head by a hair's width. "Right... Forgot about that." The young woman in the lab coat said flatly. Any thoughts that AJ had had earlier about the girl being another young genius were only confirmed by this episode, the intriguing apparatus on her hand was proof enough of that. While AJ wasn't particularly talented in mechanical areas, at least not to the same extent as her surgeon knowledge, she did always find modern technology extremely fascinating. She mentally promised herself to ask the younger girl about her gadgets. Amara had had some exciting ideas over the years regarding improving medical equipment, but had always lacked the technical know how in that area. Perhaps this was an opportunity to amend that?

Before her plans got away with her AJ was once again pulled out of her thoughts, this time by the arrival of the Avengers themselves. She grinned at Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, the two that had recruited her, before casting a curious gaze of the others. She was mildly disappointed not to see Thor, both because of the genetic curiosity he represented and because he was a bit of a babe. Make no mistake though, she was definitely star struck. After Tony Stark and Bruce Banner her eyes were drawn to Captain America. She had studied to various reports and studies done on the serum that altered him, including the one that had created the Hulk. None had yet found the exact formula that would perfectly recreate him, and while Amara had no interest in creating an army of super soldiers, her interest was purely scientific.

As AJ listened to the Avengers outlining the importance of trust, Amara glanced around at her new team mates. It seemed a pretty heavy request to ask a group of strangers to trust each other right off the bat. AJ could list all the psychological reasons why that wasn't going to work. Already some of the team members had had sharper than expected words with each other. On the other hand, trust needed to be established if they had any hope of working together in the future. She had seen it many times in the surgery when new doctors came in. Those who hadn't heard of her, or those who were determined to prove that she belonged back in high school didn't trust or respect her. As a result reaching the end goal was that much harder. She could only hope that these exercises would do the trick. She wasn't the only one who seemed to question these trust games,
"So... when you speak of trust exercises, exactly what kind of methods are you proposing for mostly complete strangers to trust each other?" Dorian, the one with the strange aura, asked.
"Please don't say we have to fall back and catch each other. It's such a cliché." Amara added. The game, in her mind, was pointless and would probably not help improving the team's trust one bit. Although, if Stark had anything to do with the trust exercises she would sure that they would be a lot more interesting then that.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Dorian Mane Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith Character Portrait: Patricia Lee Character Portrait: Ken Krieger Character Portrait: Jax

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Jasper gave a half smile at Astrid, picking up on the teasing in her voice, “I’ll bear that one in mind and memorise the demographic of America,” He said, dropping all presence of an American accent, switching to his native English,“My experience has been somewhat limited up until now.”

Before Astrid could reply, his attention was caught by a silvery blue light coming from the kitchen. A blonde girl was standing there with a can and a strange glove. Jasper watched the can floating in mid-air. He wasn’t much of a scientist, so while they might have some super complex, smart sounding reason for why the can was suspended, but ‘floating’ was a good enough explanation for why it was happening for Jasper. Then the can exploded. His body reacted on instinct at the loud crack, jerking down slightly, turning his head away, before he realised that none of the debris was getting beyond a foot away from the explosion. Jasper stood upright, looking at the debris floating in mid-air, the hissing of the fizz dying down as the soda went flat. As first days went, this one was already pretty weird.

“Are we gonna talk about that or are we all just gonna pretend like that’s normal?” A dark haired guy, Ken as he had introduced himself, asked.

“Because working with a man in an iron suit armed with arc canons, a man who turns into a giant green rage monster, and a man who can bench press a small car is the human definition of a normal workplace. Not to mention the Scandinavian god.” Astrid answered. Jasper was starting to get the sense that Astrid was someone who enjoyed teasing people, if her interactions with himself and Ken were anything to go by.

“You said your name was Jasper, right?” Ken asked, “Are you from the academy, because you look kinda familiar?”

Jasper looked at Ken, trying to place his face. There was something familiar about his face,“Uh, yeah, Jasper. The communications academy,” Ken’s face clicked, Jasper had seen him at the academy,“Ken Krieger, right?”

The elevator dinged again, and Jasper turned to see the Avengers walk out. It was a little jarring to see them in civilian clothes when he had been so used to the uniforms. The only Avenger missing was Thor. Jasper figured he was back in Asgard, dealing with Loki or something like that. Their attention was initially taken by Astrid drinking; most of the Avengers were unconcerned, only Captain America questioned it. Damn his biceps were impressive, Jasper thought, watching the Captain. Jasper tensed his jaw at the mention of ‘trust exercises’. God, he hated trust exercises. He’d rather just get stuck in and figure out who he could trust along the way, he thought, looking around the group, already trying to figure out who was trustworthy and who wasn’t. Still, at least there were no ice-breaker exercises. Memories of high school introductions were still painful; he had been ‘Jumping Jasper’ for about three years.

Luckily it seemed that Jasper wasn't the only one who was against the idea of trust exercises. Both Dorian and Amara were quick to speak up. Bruce was the one to placate the group “It might seem silly, I know, but many of the exercises we’re going to be doing won’t really seem like… well, trust exercises. It’ll basically just be hanging out and getting to know each other. Honesty is key here. Lack of honest is something that caused a lot of problems when we were first thrown together and it’s what helped us in the end.”

When it seemed that Tony had finished talking, if there was ever a man in love with his own ego, it was this man, Jasper picked up his suitcase,“Well, thanks for the introduction. I’m gonna get on with the whole moving in thing.”
Jasper slipped from the group, down the corridor he had seen the blonde girl appear from. One of the doors was labelled ‘Ghost’, his S.H.I.E.L.D. alias. He pushed against the door, and a biometric scanner appeared to the side. Jasper pressed his hand against it, waiting for the scan to register. “Agent Ghost. Avenger Apprentice. Identification verified. Welcome to Avengers Tower Mr Penrith.”

Jasper nodded to the faceless voice, not all that surprised by the security system, “Thank you..ah?”

“Please, call me J.A.R.V.I.S.”

“Thank you, J.A.R.V.I.S.”Jasper said, pushing the door open into what was now his room. The room was on the smaller side, but he was used to it after a few years at the academy. He checked the other two doors in the room, one leading to a bathroom, the other to a closet. He dumped his suitcase in the closet and began pulling his clothes out, hanging the clothes that needed it, and folding the rest onto the shelves. That done, he searched for the few trinkets he had. The pictures his sister had drawn for him were in the front pocket of the case and Jasper pinned them to the wall. The few toiletries he had went straight to the bathroom. When he had finished unpacking, Jasper looked around his room. It was still a little bare, but it was a start. “Well whaddya think?” He said more to himself than anyone.

“The pictures were unexpected.” J.A.R.V.I.S. answered.

Jasper gave a half shrug,“Sentimentality.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Dorian Mane Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith Character Portrait: Patricia Lee Character Portrait: Ken Krieger Character Portrait: Jax

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#, as written by ABC
Dr. Patricia Lee

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"Are we gonna talk about that or are we all just gonna pretend like that's normal?" Ah, right. Patricia did had Ken pegged as the sensible one after all, and sensible people rarely had positive impressions of her little field tests. At least he didn't seem to actually take issue with it, which was quite possibly related to the current situation, but still.

Before she could explain just what had happened, hopefully allaying some of the large young man's concerns, the 'cook' spoke up. “Because working with a man in an iron suit armed with arc cannons, a man who turns into a giant green rage monster, and a man who can bench press a small car is the human definition of a normal workplace. Not to mention the Scandinavian god.” "Nordic." Also, if you wanted to get technical about it, and Patricia almost invariably did, the suit was actually a gold-titanium alloy, but Astrid was probably just referring to the moniker that Mr. Stark had taken. And, to be fair to Ken, the existence of superscience, mutations, and technological deities did not necessarily mean that one should assume everything existed. The Egyptian gods, for example, had thus far failed to make an appearance.

The others had however, after the initial reactions to hearing an explosion, interesting to see which ones reacted now that she thought about it, it seemed most of them went back to what they were doing previously. Patricia, in the meantime, waited a moment longer for the Avengers to appear, before opening one of the kitchen drawers and pulling out a bendy straw and sticking the end of it into the rough soda planetoid, and trying to drink from it without inhaling any metal. Most of the pieces were too large for that, so that wasn't to high of a risk, but still probably a good thing to keep in mind. She would have just gotten another drink, if she knew what to do with the remains of this one.

That was when the Avengers finally arrived. Having already met at least two of them, the two that, aside from Thor, were most related to her interests, Tricia didn't really bother to do any in-depth analysis of them. The only one present that she'd really bother to do that for would be Romanoff, and she wasn't quite arrogant enough to believe she'd gather any information about her that way.

All the same, she listened carefully, and gave Tony a small nod in acknowledgement of his suggestions. The young machinist was vaguely intrigued as to what this trust exercise could entail, but it was rather irritating that she had to be kept away from her work of it. It was morning now, apparently, so the garage would be accessible, and she'd recently gotten an idea for a fun little engine modification that she really wanted to try out.

Speaking of things that people would rather be doing, it seemed her teammates were a bit dubious about what their mentors had planned. Jasper even walked out of the room entirely, though not without some notice. While Patricia was hardly an expert on camaraderie, it seemed to her that the group had a ways to go before it could truly be considered a team.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Dorian Mane Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith Character Portrait: Patricia Lee Character Portrait: Ken Krieger Character Portrait: Jax

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Before Ken could respond to Jasper's question, the now familiar ding of the elevator signaling even more people coming into the already tense space. Much to Ken's shock, it was their mentors themselves, sans the God of Thunder. While he had gotten used to the atmosphere Agents Barton and Romanoff carried with them through his interactions with them and the captain definitely wa someone he respected, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner brought their own distinct qualities to the table.

As Stark talked, Ken couldn't help but feel both impressed and annoyed by every word out of the genius' mouth. The young agent knew for a fact that this was one of most people's impressions of the millionaire. It seemed that you thought Tony Stark was a dick or the second coming. Hardly anyone was in between. And then there was Dr. Banner. The man could probably punch a hole in the sun if he wanted, but somehow he seemed meek and surprisingly calm, considering his condition. Ken wondered to himself how someone so strong hadn't decided to takeover the entire planet, but then again, Ken himself had been asked a similar question during his interview for his apprenticeship. Maybe his reasons were similar to the scientist's.

The Avengers continued to talk and Ken listened with calm ears until the grouo brought up the word "trust", which instantly sent a nervous chill down Ken's spine. The reactions the other apprentices were throwing out didn't help this fact that much as they were a mix of sarcasm and trepidation. Jasper left the room entirely which, Ken had to admit, put him at ease a little. If Ken was going to be outed today as a former HYDRA agent, he'd rather it be out of earshot of the only S.H.I.E.L.D. operative who didn't know.

"So... when you speak of trust exercises, exactly what kind of methods are you proposing for mostly complete strangers to trust each other?"

"Please don't say we have to fall back and catch each other. It's such a cliché."
Two of the other apprentices stated, the second being doused in sarcasm. The question was a legitimate one however. What were they supposed to do? Make a meal together and talk about their lives? Good thing Ken didn't have to come up with the solution or it would more then likely involve live ammunition and a lot of running.

"That's a good question. What did you guys have in mind?" Ken asked the heroes, wondering if he really was in such a rush to trust these new people. Sure, he had some sometimes literal skeletons in his closet, but that didn't mean the rest of his future teammates were what they seemed to be either. Ken learned from experience to question everything and to know when something was too good to be true and the whole idea of the apprenticeship program seemed odd to say the least.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Dorian Mane Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith Character Portrait: Patricia Lee Character Portrait: Ken Krieger Character Portrait: Jax

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The setting changes from manhattan-new-york-city-new-york to Stark Tower

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres Character Portrait: Amara J. Chaplin Character Portrait: Dorian Mane Character Portrait: Jasper Penrith Character Portrait: Patricia Lee Character Portrait: Ken Krieger Character Portrait: Jax

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It had only been a little over a month but it seemed like everyone was quickly forming bonds with at least one person in their little group of misfits. The Avengers were rather pleased with it so far and were even more pleased with just how much their apprentices continued to show promise. There were plenty of arguments among them as well, two of the biggest stemming from Jax stealing from the others and Tony threatening to remove Patricia if she tampered with his equipment or J.A.R.V.I.S. again. Nobody took kindly to finding their things slowly going missing only to find them in Jax's room and Tony didn't like other people playing around with his things. Other than that, everything seemed to go swimmingly. They weren't exactly all the best of friends but the progress was evident.

Astrid had finally gotten into the ring near the end of June and it was discovered just why she never wanted to be there in the first place. She didn't apologize for destroying the training area, reminding them that she warned them beforehand. Because her lack of control she was only allowed to train with Ken, Steve, and Hulk when it came to using her strength. She was slowly getting better at controlling herself but would regress. When she went into her weeklong slumber she suffered from the horrendous nightmares again, crying out all hours of the night and day. AJ suggested rushing her to the hospital when they were unable to wake her but Jax explained as best as he could her situation, informing them that she would always sleep for the last seven days of every month and there was no waking her until the eighth day.

When she finally woke she wouldn't speak of her nightmares, simply putting on a smile and telling them not to worry. Assuring them that she probably shouldn't have watched so many scary movies before bed. Ken kept throwing her glances but she'd only glare back. She didn't have time for another one of his "talks". She did feel for him but she couldn't let herself get too depressed. She would have to move on as usual. She would bottle everything up and keep it there. Her nightmares would simply be just that. Nightmares.

However, she constantly felt an urge to seek out the man that she grew to see as a grandfather, Charles Xavier, to see if he could restore her memories. She still worked at Xavier's but she didn't see him as often with him so busy. There was a heavy influx of new mutants from all over the globe. She put it on a back burner and tried to focus more on her training. Working with Clint over the past month was actually a lot of fun and she took quickly to subterfuge. Her impeccable eyesight aided her in learning marksmanship from him. Once she achieved a basic level he moved on to teach her about going undercover. The actress was a natural, to say the least. However, she did not do quite so well with hacking. She left the tech to everyone else.

Now

It was July now. Tuesday, to be exact. Astrid had only just woken up yesterday and much to everyone's surprise, the Avengers were gone. She expected them to be back today but they weren't. She didn't worry too much because she figured that they would see something on the news or be contacted by a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent if anything was wrong. She simply went about her day as usual, checking her watch as she rode up the elevator with Happy and Pepper. It was barely six o'clock, giving her more than enough time to have dinner ready by eight.

Happy and Pepper were talking about something but she wasn't paying attention. She rushed out of the elevator to see her pets running around and playing. Grinning, she set out to prepare dinner. “Hey! How about an all around the world dinner? Everyone pick one of their favorite dishes but it can't have the same culture origin as someone else's.”
Astrid called out to everyone as she set the grocery bags on the counter, pulling out a steak and tossing it to Talisman and Bastille, picking up Jade to feed her some lettuce. “The chef is taking requests.”