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Dorian Mane

"If you cannot understand fear, you cannot understand strength."

0 · 578 views · located in Stark Tower

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

Description

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║Full Name║
It was the name given to me at birth, yet I feel nothing towards it.
Dorian Arthur Mane

║Aliases║
I am he who instills fear, no matter what I seem to do.
Phobos is his code name. Nobody really wants to call him much of anything else, but nicknames are created for a reason. Amongst his gang members, he was 'DAM' and 'Snake'. Amongst his mutant friends, he has been called Dori. Dorian isn't much of a name for nicknames.

║Birthday & Age║
Beware the Ides of March, I guess.
March 15, 1993

║Ethnicity║
Not going to lie, I'm not certain why that makes me any different.
50% Native American, 50% Portuguese

║Species║
Mutant

║Gender║
Male

║Occupation║
Not very pleasant, that's certain.
Interrogation and Torture Specialist. Criminal Investigator Extraordinaire.

║Hometown║
Good ole bootlegger city.
Born in Chicago, Illinois.
Lived most of his life in 16th section of the Bronx, NYC


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║Physical Description║
Dorian, if not for his gang affiliations, could have turned out to be a handsome man. After all, he stands at a comfortable 5'11 and clocks in at about 175 pounds, making him thin, yet still wiry enough to pack a punch or outrun the cops. His dark black hair is parted down the middle, and hangs down to his chin to give him that rugged sexy man look. His eyes are a deep brown, which at first glance look quite inviting and soft, but contain a dullness to them not often found in a man of such a young age. A soft stubble has formed around his upper and lower lip, as well as along the jaw - yet it doesn't seem to want to grow on the sides of his face. For proportions, his hands and feet aren't anything that would get people to stare.

Underneath his clothing, however, are where the truth of Dorian really shows. Being in a gang meant learning to fight for yourself, to which Dorian had to learn at the lovely age of 14. There are your standard culprits of cuts, scrapes and that odd bruise that has left a mark; there are other marks, however, that could not be overlooked or erased. In his lower abdomen is a stab wound scar, still annoyingly visible, which limits his abilities to move and twist through his abdomen muscles. His right ear lob has been cut and stitched back together after his piercing got ripped out in a fight, and his left ear flap (the top part) has a vertical cut in it due to a knife fight.

As mentioned earlier, Dorian used to have piercings - used to being the key word, for they are gone now. After the one was ripped out, Dorian decided to take all of the piercings out of his face, which were numerous back in his gang days: he still has a small scar for the snake bites that were on his lower lip. Oddly enough, however, Dorian has yet to remove his tattoos; perhaps because they are much too numerous to remove within a single sitting. The largest would be on his back, but there are also his upper right arm and upper left arm among many others.

║Likes║
✔ People
✔ Facts
✔ Blood
✔ Problem Solving
✔ Reading
✔ Escapism
✔ Smiles
✔ His Job
✔ Studying
✔ Painting

║Dislikes║
✘ Disobedience/Breaking trust
✘ Sleep
✘ Loneliness
✘ Drugs/Alcohol
✘ Meat
✘ Himself
✘ Guns
✘ Simplicity
✘ Boring Criminals
✘ Harsh Music

║Secrets║
Many, many, many of these will never be discovered. I plan to keep it that way.
Sexual Harassment - For some reason, Mrs. Edwards' body had no trace of any sexual intercourse. At all. Dorian isn't sure how, but that means that the rape is silent, and he wants it to stay that way forever.
Murderer - Dorian has only killed one person on purpose, but has also killed roughly 3-4 others by accident due to his vivid nightmares dragging their conscious' in. Since it is nearly impossible to trace, it is a secret
Daddy? - Dorian is a father. Yeah - after a weird and crazy night when he was 17, he accidentally got a girl pregnant. Thing was, she wants nothing to do with him - after all, he was a gang member at the time, and she was a student who had an actual intellectual future. So he never saw her again, though Dorian was actually quite sad to see her leave him; he was just starting to fall for her.
The Plot Twist - Unbeknownst to Dorian, the girl - her name was Martha - whom he got pregnant aborted the child three weeks later. She claimed that she did not want a parasite dragging her down, but never told Dorian as she felt he had no right to know. If Dorian ever found out, he would be mortified as he would see that as just another life that he has ruined.

║Personality║
Cold | Subtle | Stoic | Emotionally Unstable | Observant | Critical | Confused | Morally Defunct | Super Vindictive | Mature | Desensitized | Overzealous | Loyal

Dorian is essentially a 35 year old working class man stuck inside of a 21 year old. His harsh upbringing has caused him to age well past his prime, and develop traits not normally found in a kid that just became old enough to buy booze.

To begin with, Dorian is a little socially inept. Years of taking orders without question and fighting will do that to a kid - especially when you contain a mutation that basically makes you cozy with everybody’s fears. His ability to speak and communicate are existent, but the ability to connect simply isn’t there yet, hence why Dorian appears cold, distant and withdrawn. He will always been on the sidelines of a group or event, watching from afar, wishing to join them but being utterly helpless as to make a move. Years of watching - even within the gang - have lead to him theoretically understanding and being able to predict and critique outcomes of certain conversations, causing Dorian to be very critical about his thoughts and motions. This withdrawn nature has also been confused with the possibility that Dorian is much more mature than other men; this is only half true, in the case that Dorian will think as rationally as possible while in control of himself.

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As you may have guessed by the last statement, Dorian has a bit of a moody, unstable streak that appears every once in a while. He actually has an interesting form of suppressed bi-polar, as he will only unwind and come loose at random, yet infrequent, intervals. When he does, the Dorian that the gang members remember resurfaces in all of his crazy, mixed up glory. Morality holds no bounds for him, as he grew up with the concept that nothing was untouchable and everything was allowed as long as you didn’t screw with the gang boss. Dorian’s desensitized brain certainly doesn’t help this, as he is used to seeing unspeakable horrors on daily basis and had begun to enjoy them before being stolen for this program.

Yet there is a softer, warmer side to Dorian that has begun to emerge since he was ‘stolen’ by Natasha, wishing to break free. This side contains his undying loyalty to whomever he feels deserves his trust and gratitude, which has been known to change. Break this trust, however, and Dorian will feel no pain nor misery in causing it to you. He is highly vindictive to the core, and has exacted revenge on numerous occasions either for the gang or for himself. The gang also has taught Dorian to be resourceful and crafty, always on the lookout and never trusting anyone. Sure, this has begun to break with the AA group but one does not simply break old habits of smuggling and deceit.

Overall, Dorian has the brain of a weary adult, yet the experience of a child - he just needs to even those two personality sets out.

║Powers, Skills, & Talents║
[+]Powers – Fear and Dream Manipulation

Dorian isn’t called Phobos by S.H.I.E.L.D for nothing. While his powers are intertwined, they each have their own categories.

Dorian can smell fear; while not entirely literal, it is true. Dorian’s ability to control fear allows him to be able to simply be around people to know what they fear. Well, not quite: he gets glimpses at what they fear, little snippets. Only by touching them can he truly understand what they fear. To use this fear, Dorian can create illusions while awake, illusions of the fear they so desire to hide. If the illusion is strong enough, it can cause a panic attack and even heart failure to those targeted - however, this usually requires a touch from Dorian to create an illusion strong enough.

His ability to warp dreams is almost entirely different, yet is linked at the same time. If his target is asleep, Dorian can enter their mind through his mutation and alter their dream to whatever he pleases - even if no dream existed in the first place, he can create one. Just like Freddy Krueger, if the victim dies in their dream, they die in real life in the exact same manner he killed them in. Day dreaming does not count - while the body is in a state of ‘sleep’, it is not technically sleeping. Forced sleeping, such as through the use of drugs or alcohol, does work.

Dorian’s powers, as you can see, mesh together nicely: find their fear, and exploit their fear while they sleep to either get information or to torture them. Yet there is a part of his power that is so far unable to be controlled: when Dorian sleeps himself. When Dorian sleeps, his ability to sense fear is heightened, and he is plagued with horrific nightmares. Worse is the fact that there is a chance that if somebody dies in his dream, they die in real life as well. People have stated that while Dorian has slept, fear almost emanates from his body, like it has become a beacon of fear.

[+]Education – Dorian barely has his high school education, let alone a college degree. Besides, the last time he went to college, somebody died.


[+]Combat – Dorian has no formal combat training whatsoever. However, do not mistaken him for some pushover or lightweight. Dorian is a ‘professional’ ring fighter, specializing in knives and dirty combat. Dorian can also shoot a gun, which is more than most of the AA group can, and knows how to clean and fix weaponry.


[+]Domestic – Dorian can live on his own; an achievement not many guys his age can say. He can cook if he is forced to, but that is about it. Well, not entirely: Dorian is a masterful tailor, having to sew his own clothing back together for years after fights.


║Weaknesses, Disabilities, & General Flaws║
[-]Physical – As stated earlier, Dorian has a knife wound within his lower abdomen, making twisting and core muscle exercises difficult and a little painful. His scars still hurt a little, but his body is still able to move properly for the most part.


[-]Oddities – Enough is weird about this guy, as described below.


[-]Mental and/or Emotional – Dorian is a forced insomniac due to his mutations heightened abilities while asleep: he can and will sleep, but only after exhausting himself to the point of no return. Yet he will still sleep within normal hours like any other person. He also is still slightly bi-polar, so mood swings aren’t entirely off the table - they have just become even more infrequent and random.


[-]Medical – Dorian has hemophilia in both senses of the word. He is a hemophiliac: Dorian’s blood does not clot as well as most, which causes it to run for much longer periods - his experiences with blood loss are numerous, to say the least. The literal meaning of hemophilia, however, is greek meaning ‘ Blood Love’, to which Dorian has as well. While it isn’t a fetish of his, Dorian does have a slight obsession with blood - probably why he does the investigating of the group.


║Equipment║
※Weapons – Dorian really has no need for weapons - Fear is his weapon. But he carries around two boot knives, each attached to his boot (go figure) and a pistol; a Springfield Armory 5’ Tactical XD.


※Vehicles – To be honest, Dorian didn’t get his full driver’s license until last year. Sure, most people got their license by 18, but Dorian did not apply - he doesn’t actually enjoy driving that much, preferring public transit or walking. However, he now owns a little Mazda M3 for the occasional time he needs to drive.


※Sentimental Items – A bullet casing is one of his few items of sentiment, and he has been carrying it since he was 15. The two knives he carries as well were given to him by the gang for ‘courage’. The only reminder of his parents is a small photo of a baby being held by a mother and a father, to which he isn’t totally sure is him. There is also a neclace that he wears all the time, only he has no idea why. Some say that it was given to him by his Chippewa mother; yet Dorian doesn’t see it, and believes it to be a fake (when it is in fact real).


※Gadgets – Nothing is really needed for Dorian, really. Sure, he carries a super phone that S.H.I.E.L.D has tampered with to make it cool, but he doesn’t care much for the little handheld gadgets that people carrying around nowadays.


※IDs – Just his New York driver’s licence and his S.H.I.E.L.D ID. As a gangster, most of the work he did had no need for identification, so he never got any.

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║History║
Dorian’s life is an odd thing, one beginning with an awkward conception and continuing down a dark path of violence and sadness. So let’s get started!

Dorian was actually born with two names: the one his father gave him, Dorian Arthur Mane, and his Chippewa name, Hesutu. See, Dorian’s mother is from a Chippewa tribe that lived within Illinois - his father was a Portuguese accountant from NYC, who had been on a business trip to Chicago. He met her at a bar - cheesy, but hey, that is sometimes how things roll - and they decided to take their little attraction one step further. His father saw it as a one night stand, possibly maybe a few more if she was willing, while she saw him as a way out of her poverty stricken lands. Needless to say, they hooked up again, and since they were silly enough not to use protection, she became pregnant. His father had no idea what to do, as he had no plans of settling down in Chicago or taking a wife - so he ran back to NYC leaving her to deal with the little runt growing in her belly.

Dorian was born in the Chicago hospital: now, he would have been born on the native reserve, but a certain man showed back up in his mother’s life who insisted that she go to a hospital. Yep, the man who impregnated her had a change of heart and decided that he would at least be a father figure to the little guy. The only problem was what would come after. His mother - who was extremely ill after giving birth - wanted to move to NYC with Francisco. He, however, had different ideas - he gave his address to her, and left, stating that if they wanted to visit and spend time, his door would be open. Yeah, he hadn’t planned on sticking around, only being available to the little guy.

Life wasn’t good for Dorian after that. His mother had contracted some infection after having him, and could barely move. They had to live back in the native reserve, growing up where alcohol was a painkiller and money was scarce. Knowing that Fransisco would give her son a better life, she used all the money she had to send her 7 year old son on a train to New York City with specific directions and a cell phone in case he was attacked. She died a few weeks later of Ovarian cancer, but Dorian would never know.

Somehow, the kid made it to his father’s house in the big city: only to find out that Francisco wasn’t as successful as he had made it out to be. Living in the 16th district of the Bronx, money was tight as soon as the kid walked in the door. Sure, Francisco welcomed his own flesh and blood, but that didn’t mean that he liked him that much. So instead, he ignored the boy for the most part. Dorian had to live by himself while another man and a woman - Dorian couldn’t remember her name - lived in the same house as he did.

By 14, without any real leadership or guidance growing up, Dorian joined the local gang. Not the smartest move for a youngster, but he was sick and tired of being alone and having no money: the local gang offered camaraderie and cash, so he accepted to be an underling, a busboy and overall lackey. Dorian’s grades began to actually rise somewhat after that: before, with no motivation to do anything, Dorian cared little for class. The gang told him to keep up an act of caring and understanding, making him a better sneak. By 15, they felt him ready to move up the ranks, and gave him a gun. By the end of that year, Dorian had already fired it twice; nobody died, but he did injure a runner.

Life continued on with Dorian as a gangster: friends were made, blood was spilt, accusations caused infighting, leadership changed hands. Dorian quickly rose the ranks, earning himself two ‘ceremonial’ knives in the gang, as well as harboring many tattoos. Many felt that he should just drop out of school to focus on making the gang money and keeping the other gangs at bay, but Dorian felt that he was beginning to enjoy school for its artistic merits. After all, his dad had planned on helping him fund his college tuition once he noticed that his son was top of his class in art and drama. But that didn’t mean he would throw away his gang: as much as he disliked running in a criminal syndicate, the years began to warp him into actually enjoying it. So with that set and promising to still be a prominent man in the gang, Dorian went off to university: Juilliard, to be exact. Acceptance was difficult, which made the victory ever so sweeter.

Until he met his sculpting teacher, Mrs. Edwards. She was a pretty thing at the fairly young age of 40ish, making her the muse and sexual object of many sculpting students. Dorian personally didn’t like sculpting too much, but he thought Mrs. E was a good teacher. Until he started hearing some rumblings through the grapevine about her less-than-honorable tendencies. Dorian had overheard from a group of guys that if Mrs. Edwards ever approached you with her blouse open, she was feeling loose and wanted you - apparently if you were good enough in bed, your mark would go up. Dorian dismissed it as rumors, until she came to assess his one statue with her top two buttons undone. Now, Dorian wasn’t - and still isn’t - gay; he isn’t even bi-curious. But Dorian was in no way interested in having sex with someone twice his age, it somewhat creeped him out. But this continued for most of the year, with the other guys jealous that their muse was attempting to fondle someone other than themselves. It got worse for him though - she would linger when she touched his shoulder, visiting him more frequently as time went on. Another button would be off, and then another - Dorian swore that by the end of the year, she would simply throw her breasts at him. He began to fail sculpting on purpose in the hopes to be dropped from the course, but to no avail.

It all culminated to one day when he brought in a sculpture he hoped would fail him for sure - to him, it looked like someone had taken a dump on his title block, and then added sprinkles. When he got up to present, he simply stated that it represented this class, even adding a douchebag like smirk for good measure. Instead of yelling at him to leave, Mrs. Edwards smirked and stated that it looked more like his sex life. Dorian was stunned into silence as the whole class shook with laughter - but Mrs. Edwards didn’t stop there. She continued to berate him, stating that his sculpture was really his subconscious mind telling him he was a piece of shit, that he couldn’t please a woman at all. Dorian stood there as she dismissed class, pointing threateningly at Dorian and told him to stay at the front. After the whole class left, her demeanor changed, and a snarl was plastered on her face as she got up and began to walk towards him. Her tone was instantly aggressive and demeaning, almost yelling at him for bringing this garbage to class and calling it art. She continued by stating that if he had simply taken her as a muse, he would be a wonderful sculptor, but he seemed to be too stubborn. Dorian could only shrink in fear as she seemingly grew in presence, grabbing him by the arm and hair and throwing him to the floor. She kept yelling at him, calling him a useless student who couldn’t take a hint, and that she would show him what art should look like. Mrs. Edwards proceeded to take off her blouse, and forced off Dorian’s clothes.

The rest bit is a blur for Dorian; he can’t remember much, only his own stunned expression as she stared down at him. He felt nothing as his arms were pinned down by hers; she didn’t seem to ever stop, and it seemed to go on for hours. Dorian only returned to his senses when Mrs. Edwards got off of him and began to button up her blouse again, stating that if he did not return to her office by 4 pm tomorrow, he would be reported for sexual harassment and rape. Dorian was being blackmailed into being her sextoy - the irony would have been funny, if Dorian even knew how to laugh at that moment. All he did was collect his things and go back to his dorm, his mind numb.

That night he couldn’t sleep. The events kept rolling through his head, like a horrific storm at sea. When sleep came, it was through rage; how dare she force him to do such vile deeds? What kind of sick woman would stoop so low as to pin a man to the floor so that her desires could be fulfilled? His dreams were vivid and violent; he saw Mrs Edwards before him, naked and waist deep in a whole full of dirt. She was screaming at him to stop as he grabbed the shovel beside him and began to fill in the rest of the whole, the dirt clinging to her flesh until only her head remained. Kneeling down, Dorian stared at her hard, biting out words of venom as he stated that this was what it felt like to be restrained. Grabbing her hair and a fist full of dirt, he rammed the dirt into her face and into her mouth, silencing her as he filled in the rest of the whole.

Dorian awoke to the sounds of NYC, sweat dripping from his body and a scream still lingering from his lips. Five days later, they found Mrs. Edwards’ body in her house, naked and caked in dirt. Dorian only found out after rumors began to circulate, and a police report was filed to state that they were looking for the original crime scene. Dorian had no idea what had happened, but he had just killed a woman with his mind; and that scared him.

He began to notice that he could hear whisperings from people, even when their lips never moved. He could hear terrifying things, things that people feared, and he couldn’t understand what was going on. Worse was that falling asleep only lead to more nightmares, and to him trying to keep whoever was sucked into his dream alive from the machinations of his imagination and dark desires. He was basically fighting himself; his bi-polarism began to return after a little, and the world began to descend into a dark place. The gang got wind that Dorian was starting to crack, and stated that if they couldn’t convince him to join the gang and get the hell out of art school - they figured that was what was causing the problems - Dorian would have to be silenced. Insane people spoke, and the gang didn’t want that. Those that talked to him reported back they saw him as being cold and haunting; the next day, the one died. The gang left him alone.

Dorian lived for two years like this; learning about his mutant status and trying to control his fear and dream controlling urges and powers. It wasn’t easy, but he took those years and made the most of them; granted, he rarely left the apartment for fear of meeting someone who could end up in his dream, but it didn’t matter once he stopped sleeping. The toll it took on his body was taxing, but he figured it was a small price to pay for not having the blood of innocents on his hands.

After two years, a certain agent of S.H.I.E.L.D ‘rescued’ him. She stated that she had connections that could hopefully help him control his own mind. Natasha never mentioned she was spying on him, nor that there would be others in this initiation program. When he arrived in his trench coat, S.H.I.E.L.D was wary of him: after all, what they knew about him was that he could kill people mentally, and was unstable. That waryness turned to fear, and that fear made its way to Dorian, where the true nature of this facility began to somewhat piece itself together. They didn't want him to fix him; he was there to be tested, to become stable. To them, he was a volatile nuclear bomb of death, and they wanted to contain him. Dorian understood their intentions, but it still hurt when the first bits of fear began to circulate through the rooms as he entered. It didn't matter, though, that Natasha had lied to his face: Dorian Mane was at S.H.I.E.L.D, and the only way out would probably be a bullet to the face.

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║Extra║
-Dorian is hoping to go back to school to study Criminology, hopefully becoming a Forensic Analyst as his fascination of blood and investigations has become a thing for him.
-There was no report of sexual abuse on Mrs. Edwards body, so the sexual harassment and rape was never discovered - and to Dorian, it never will be.
-No deaths have been linked to him so far, even though he knows he has done them.


So begins...

Dorian Mane's Story

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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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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#, as written by ABC
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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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

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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.”