Avengers Apprentice Initiative

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

marvel.com

Introduction

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Read This After Reading Plot

As the centuries have gone by humans have sworn that they were the only intelligent beings in the world. Deities, werewolves, vampires, dragons. They were all just things made up to scare children into going to bed early. Aliens were made up by crazy people who had spent too much time in the desert drinking their own piss. God was a maybe. Only humans and the animals existed in life. They thought that superhumans were just seen in comics, never something that could be real. Well, that was until the early 1940s when Captain America came around. But after he crashed and disappeared there was thought that he was one of a kind. Never would humans be capable of doing what he did. He was the world's first (public) superhero.

Until the 1960s.

The American government the Soviet Union became highly aware that humans weren't the only ones on the planet when mutants became involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis. You would think that something like that would immediately hit the papers and fill the news, but it didn't. After everyone parted their ways the mutants went silent and the government chose to ignore their existence when they couldn't be found. No need to send the world into a state of mass hysteria for hopefully no reason. And so, mutants had become only speculation. Sure, mutants popped up here and there all over, but most people were too ashamed or scared to admit that there was an “abomination” in their family. It went mostly unnoticed when mutants were snatched away for experimentation or ran away.

But the entire human race became highly aware that humans weren't the only things walking the earth. Or at least that all people weren't exactly normal. In the year 2007, famed scientist Bruce Banner underwent a painful incident that turned him into The Hulk, evading the United States military for a few years before 2010 when he tore through New York and “broke Harlem” in a battle for the ages against the twisted Abomination before disappearing. Shortly after, Tony Stark returned from his kidnapping and soon debuted himself as Iron Man, the world's newest superhero and “privatizing world peace”, as he puts it. So, people had somewhat adjusted to the idea that maybe every now and again strange things would happen. But it all came from earth. Nothing they couldn't handle.

It was in July of 2011 when the Asgardian crown prince (Thor) had made his first appearance on our little rock. At first, people just thought he was a crazy man who had been wandering drunkenly around the desert. Until Sif, Volstagg, Hogun, and Fandral (Also known as The Warriors Three) showed up, followed by The Destroyer. Loki's grudge match with his brother leveled a small town in New Mexico before Thor disappeared with the Destroyer and his companions, promising to return when he was needed. People were somewhat okay with what happened – Thor and his friends saved people. But knowing that there were other things out there (And that the Scandinavians apparently weren't crazy) frightened them. But their minds were put at ease in 2012 when Loki attacked with his Chitauri army, only to be thwarted by the Avengers, comprised of Captain America (who had been thawed out months before the attack), Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Iron Man. After the Battle of New York City the Avengers went their own separate ways until they would be needed again.

But Director Fury had another idea.

He began to pull up files from S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Intelligence and Operations academies for their brightest and most promising future agents as well as files from their watch list of gifted people who were a bit more than what they appeared to be. After a discussion with the heroes they decided that they would take a group of children and young adults with promise under their wings and mentor them to be future Avengers. After all, only two of the Avengers would last forever. No time better than the present to start bringing in more.




( ║ Name ║ Alias ║ Age ║ Previous Occupation ║ Species ║ Specialization ║ )

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Astrid Torres ║ Apollo ║ 20 ║ Waitress/Busker ║ Mutant ║ Espionage & Hand-to-hand ║ Written by Little Fox ║
✩ Picked by Steve Rogers and Clint Barton after multiple displays of abnormality and good intentions ✩
✩ Was experimented on as a child by William Stryker; Mutation deemed useless, she developed peak human condition ✩
✩ Is highly secretive about her past and herself in general ✩
✩ Has to sleep straight through the last seven days of every month and is incapable of eating non-organic food ✩

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Jasper Penrith ║ Ghost ║ 22 ║ Student ║ Human ║ Espionage & Hacking ║ Written by phoenixheart ║
✩ Picked by Natasha Romanoff and Tony Stark from S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy of Communications ✩
✩ Son of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and top of his class ✩
✩ Fluent in over four languages and a professionally trained actor before working for S.H.I.E.L.D. ✩
✩ Was trained by Natasha Romanoff for a short time ✩

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Dr. Patricia Lee ║ Greaser ║ 14 ║ Student ║ Human ║ Hacking & Quantum Mechanics ║ Written by ABC ║
✩ Picked by Bruce Banner and Tony Stark from S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Academy of Science and Technology ✩
✩ Highly advanced for her age, she was speaking, writing, reading, and walking by 10 months ✩
✩ Graduated high school at 8 and finished Oxford with PhDs in Quantum Physics and Computer Sciences at 12 ✩
✩ Obsessed with vehicles and building hidden weapons into them ✩

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Ken Krieger ║ Titan ║ 23 ║ Student ║ Superhuman ║ Marksmanship & Hand-to-hand ║ Written by GreenPegg ║
✩ Picked by Clint Barton and Steve Rogers from S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Academy of Operations ✩
✩ Formerly experimented on by HYDRA ✩
✩ Capable of lifting up to 10 metric tons with little straining ✩
✩ Clint Barton was formerly his legal guardian, though only Level 9 and above know this ✩

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Dr. Amara Chaplin ║ Bones ║ 17 ║ Doctor ║ Human ║ Molecular genetics & Biochemistry ║ Written by Cloud ║
✩Picked by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner from S.H.I.E.L.D.'s watch list of gifted individuals ✩
✩ Formerly worked at a hospital in California as a neurosurgeon ✩
✩ Deeply wants to study various species up close ✩
✩ Graduated from Johns Hopkins at the age of 14 ✩

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Dorian Mane ║ Phobos ║ 21 ║ Gangster/Thief ║ Mutant ║ Investigation & Torture ║ Written by JokerofSpades ║
✩Picked by Natasha Romanoff after years of studying him in secret ✩
✩ Has been taking care of himself in a gang since he was 14 ✩
✩ His mutation isn't unlike that of Freddy Kreugar's ✩
✩ He was formerly a student at Juilliard before his mutation manifested and he accidentally killed a teacher for sexual harassment. Police found her dead with dirt in her mouth and all over her body as though she had been buried alive though she hadn't left her house and nobody had come in ✩

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║ *Elle Fanning* ║ Majesty ║ 22 ║ Stablegirl ║ Vanir ║ Tanking & Defense ║ Pending Applicant - BleedingLover
✩Picked by Thor to be a younger ambassador for the Asgard - Midgard relations ✩
✩ An orphan who was picked up by Thor years ago and allowed to live in the palace so long as she groomed Thor's steed ✩
✩ Due to her young age she isn't as strong as an adult Aesir or Vanir but her power is just below that of Steve Rogers and she was taught Seidr by her mother' (Aesir and Vanir ability references)
✩ Has an obsession with military tactics and stories from different cultures - Her grandfather was part of the Berserker army ✩

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║ Fernán-Desiderio Rodriguez ║ Jax ║ 19 ║ Thief ║ Human ║ Stealing & Recon ║ Pending Applicant - Little Fox
✩Picked by Natasha Romanoff after being busted by her after robbing a police evidence locker ✩
✩ Formerly a member of the same gang as Phobos ✩
✩ Is called Jax because of his kleptomania ✩
✩ A high school drop out but more intelligent than most people give him credit for ✩




Code: Select all
[img]Character Image[/img]
║Full Name║
First. Middle. Last.

║Aliases║

║Birthday & Age║
Month Date, Year (Age) Subtract age from 2013

║Ethnicity║

║Species║

║Gender║

║Occupation║

║Hometown║

║Physical Description║
Please include height, weight, scars, tattoos, piercings, eye color, etc etc.

║Likes║
✔ (five)

║Dislikes║
✘ (five)

║Personality║
I know that this tends to be the hardest part of creating a character, so I'm willing to let you slide by with one or two paragraphs so you can further flesh out your character IC. Only if you absolutely cannot bring yourself to a thorough personality description.

║Powers, Skills, & Talents║
[+]Powers – Disregard and remove for humans


[+]Education –


[+]Combat – If applicable


[+]Domestic –


║Weaknesses, Disabilities, & General Flaws║
[-]Physical –


[-]Oddities – Weird weaknesses


[-]Mental and/or Emotional –


[-]Medical  – Addictions included


║Equipment║
※Weapons –


※Vehicles –


※Sentimental Items –


※Gadgets –


※IDs –


║History║
From birth to now, what's happened? Please include how they were approached and chosen by whichever Avenger.

║Extra║
Anything that didn't fit into the above categories.

**You can dress up your character sheet however you like so long as all the required information is there.

Toggle Rules

The GM of this roleplay hasn't created any rules! You can do whatever you like!

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 6 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No, not exactly.”

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

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

“Then we'd just call you Archie.”

“Quite kind of you, Special Agent Torres.”

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

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

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

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

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

Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Cloud


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



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

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

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

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

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

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

Characters Present

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Characters Present

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

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#, as written by ABC
Dr. Patricia Lee

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Outfit / Outfit




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

“Chica espía maldito.”

“Tiene usted también, ¿eh?”

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

“No lo sé, pero voy a averiguar.”

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

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

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

“Cómo caballeroso.”

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

“Que en realidad es bastante gracioso.”

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

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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Tony and Clint looked to one another In silence. It didn't seem like much but Tasha was no idiot. She was among the best at reading body language. She caught the sly looks in their eyes and gave them both a look of question. They ignored her and instead took a stand. Clint frowned as Jasper left before hearing the rest but he kept himself focused and instead motioned for the other young adults to move towards the balcony. Tony and he walked behind them, the doors sliding shut behind them. Steve wasn't far behind but the door shut in his face and locked loudly. “Sorry, Cap. But we need a heart-to-heart talk with these kids. About righteousness, courage, and responsibilities. You understand, right?” Steve's expression was half between a glare and confusion as he watched them all move towards the divider that kept them from walking off the edge.

Astrid watched uneasily as Tony draped an arm over Amara's shoulder while Clint did the same to Dorian. “Look at all of that. New York City is a huge place. It's almost its own state. And there's a lot of people living here. Innocent people. Criminals too. And the fact of the matter is that since that day... A lot of things have been coming out of the woodwork. A bank was robbed two days ago by a man who was walking through walls. The police can't handle it. We can't handle it all either. Tony's got a company. Natasha and I have missions. Thor has eight other worlds to look out for. Bruce and Steve are the only ones that don't really have a full schedule. But that's where you guys come in. We're going to prepare you to handle the new things out there there as best as we can. Things that the police can't handle. But before you can save other people you've got to show us that you can save yourselves.”

And then Astrid saw it. As if in slow motion she watched Tony and Clint's muscles moving beneath their too tight tees, arms moving back and then extending forward. As real time hit her again she could hear Amara's screams of fright and Dorian shouting in confusion. Neither Avenger seemed to be willing to move, watching them instead.

Amara was pleasantly surprised to find herself being taken, literally, under Tony's wing. She probably would have started hyperventilating from excitement if not for the possibility of Tony realizing how much she fangirled over him. As it was she managed to keep herself nodding along happily, her gaze fixed on the city heights. For all the smarts she possessed, she didn't anticipate what happened next. With a gentle, but strong push, Tony sent her flying over the balcony. Her arms pinwheeled, but it was no use, gravity took effect and she began to fall. Obscenities flew from her mouth, aimed at the man who had pushed her. It was rare for AJ to swear, when she did it was when she was either really pissed off or falling from a skyscraper.

Dorian was quite bewildered by Mr. Barton and his forwardness: most people barely liked to interact with him, let alone drape their arm over his shoulder like a lost friend. Yet here he found himself, another man on his shoulder as he overlooked New York City on the balcony. Dorian was quite lucky that he was still wearing his coat, or else Clint wouldn't have the view as much as he seemed to. Truthfully, he didn't entirely enjoy the city very much: after all, as Clint began to speak of what was out there in the big NYC, all Dorian could think of were all the places he had either shot somebody, beat up a civilian or stole. Not the kind of things that Clint was probably wanting him to envision with his whole speech, but it would have to do. Dorian then refocused on Mr. Barton's words, perplexed by the last sentence and its wording: save himself? How in the world was he to save himself? To Dorian, he saw himself as basically a lost cause.

Clint must have thought the same thing, for Dorian felt the man's muscles begin to tense behind him and just shove Dorian hard enough for him to fall over the balcony ledge. He blinked twice, absolutely bewildered at the circumstances: was Clint attempting to kill him? Well, he wouldn't be the first, but a curse from his side showed that Tony had also pushed Amara. With the confusion now too much, Dorian shouted out his confusion: "I don't understand!" The sentence, naturally, didn't entirely make sense, and felt out of place, but it conveyed his message enough: Dorian was falling to his death, and he didn't know why.

Ken was of course shocked by Clint and Stark pushing the two apprentices off the balcony. Usually, he'd berate Clint for being a complete idiot, but there wasn't any time to think. As adrenaline began to pump through his body, everything began to slow down around him. It was slow enough that Ken had enough time to think of an idea. An incredibly stupid idea. So, he quickly gave a knowing look to Astrid, figuring there was a reason they didn't get pushed as well. The second the pair broke eye contact, Ken leaped from the balcony and took a diving position, hoping to speed himself up to catch Amara. It felt like hours, but in reality it took only a few seconds to catch up with the small teen. When she was within arms reach, Ken wrapped his arms around the girl and turned his back towards the ground as to absorb most of the impact. He didn't know for sure if he'd survive the fall, but he figured it was worth a shot.

Ken had only one thought on his mind before he hit the ground. God, this is gonna hurt. By the time the adrenaline and pain rush had left his head enough to regain consciousness, Ken blinked his eyes, looking around at the small crater in the side walk he was now the center of.

Astrid had likewise launched herself over the side, bulleting towards Dorian. Her eyes somewhat stung with the wind hitting them but it didn't bother her enough to close them. She caught Dorian just as Ken caught Amara. As soon as her arms wrapped around the man she recoiled and released him, fear rushing through her. She managed to grab him again, tears in her eyes as she held him and fought the urge to shove him away. With the ground moving towards them fast, she straightened herself out and held Dorian bridal style.

She could feel the impact ringing through her joints as her feet smacked into the ground, driving two feet under the surface as she crouched a little. Shaken, she immediately dropped Dorian and began to take steps backwards, looking around. It was dark and nobody was there but the other three. “Nice save, Boy Scout.” Astrid offered a shaky grin to Ken though she made no move to help any of them up, barely able to grasp that two heroes had just pushed two kids from a 100 floor building.

Patricia too had foolishly followed their mentors out to the balcony, they had all been motioned to do so, after all, and Patricia too was pushed off of the building. The primary difference in her situation, besides her initial surprise resulting in silence on her part, as opposed to the others' shocked yells, was that nobody jumped after her.

Surprising as it might be, Dr. Lee actually didn't take any offense to this fact. Astrid and Ken could only go after one person each, and Jax, if he had even followed them onto the balcony, honestly Patricia had sort of lost track of him, and she suspected that a number of other people had as well, most likely didn't have any ability to save her. She obviously took issue with Clint and Tony, especially Tony, but that was, for the moment, as secondary concern.

What was a primary concern, was that she was soon to be a corpse on the pavement, and, while it would likely cause Stark, a public figure, some serious PR problems when a dead fourteen-year-old girl was found dead in her pajamas at the base of his building, clearly pushed from the top, she wouldn't be alive to laugh at his self-inflicted suffering. Ironically, this actually irritated her more than the fact that she was about to die at all. Well, at least she had been around, however briefly, to see the orb of soda and broken canister splash onto Clint when she was first pushed.

Amara knew the impact would kill her, it didn't take a genius to figure that one out though. However, hope was quickly restored at the sight of Ken and then Astrid diving off the balcony after their falling team mates. Despite the fear of imminent death her mind was still working clearly. It took note of what was happening around her with its usual logical analysis, storing away anything interesting for a later time when she might be able to pay it full attention, provided there was a later time to do so. She could only assume that both Astrid and Ken weren't suicidal, but were instead leaping to the rescue. As Ken caught up with her, wrapping his arms around her, AJ closed her eyes and waited for the impact.

When it came, the force knocked the wind out of her and sent a reverberating shock echoing throughout her body. Her mind was ringing, one half was shouting that she should be dead from the impact, the other part already curious at how Ken had done it. With a groan and shaking arms AJ pushed herself off Ken, taking a quick inventory of her mental and physical health. Apart from what she put down to as shock and the large bruise she knew would develop, AJ was remarkably well for having fallen so far, no doubt thanks to her savior. "Thank you." She said, feeling like those two words were not enough to convey her gratitude.

Still thinking about how the situation would look when her body was discovered, assuming the next trust exercise didn't involve burying the bodies of those who had failed the previous one, it occurred to Patricia that she was technically wearing a bit more than her pajamas. She also had her lab coat, though she wasn't sure how much better that would make things look, and her gauntlet, which would almost certainly be destroyed on impact, leaving a strange shattered mess next to her.

...Ah. Right.

Lacking the time to slap herself on the forehead, Tricia temporarily abstained from doing so, even though she had certainly taken long enough to figure this out to deserve it. Nary a moment to spare, the young machinist brought the Z.E.G. up to where she could see it, frantically tapped at its holographic pad while trying to keep it steady, and directed the now brightly glowing device in the direction she estimated the ground to be.

To say that Patricia stopped falling would be woefully inaccurate. Instead, her decent was now more horizontal than vertical. The momentum from her fall up till now kept her headed for the pavement for a few moments, but she leveled out about three feet above it, before bobbing away. Her speed, however, was not reduced by much, as she shot down the street, away from Stark Tower. Unfortunately, the artificial gravity created by the gauntlet was also projected by it, more specifically by the palm of the glove, and any change in positioning, of which there was plenty, resulted in another change in direction. The result was Patricia spun out of control in circles and loops like an astronaut who'd decided to play with a fire extinguisher in space.

The pain didn't hit him until Amara got up. After that, his mind immediately went to violent thoughts toward Tony and Clint, this urge stemming from the current ringing and shooting pain going throughout his whole body. As he slowly dusted himself off, he limped over to a nearby fire hydrant. Motioning for the other three on the street to hide under the awning. As soon as they were clear of the street, Ken grabbed hold of the hydrant with one arm and pulled it out from the ground. He then changed his stance and with both hands hurled the piece of red metal at the balcony which got lodged in the base.

"DICKS!" Ken screamed at the two so called heroes on the balcony as the three apprentices looked on from across the street. He gathered his composure and with a noticeable limp he walked back into Stark Tower, intent on getting checked out by a doctor for the aches filling his body at the moment.

"You shouldn't have done that..." Dorian whispered after he was dropped, his eyes wide with anxiety. Dorian naturally assumed that he would have been dropped from the skyscraper for his evil deeds, and then it would have ended in a brutal fashion: he could even picture how he would look, but decided against voicing it. Yet mid-flight a pair of hands grabbed his body, and his fear level spiked instantly. Whose hands were they that seemingly came from nowhere? As expected, the spike in fear caused the hands to release him, and Dorian caught a glimpse at his would be rescuer: Astrid. His mind clouded with doubt and confusion, Astrid grabbed him again, straightened herself out, and they collided with the ground.

The impact jarred his mouth. That was all he could think of after he landed: not that his body was ringing, but that his jaw felt funny. The pain was evident, but nothing he hadn't felt before - at least, until he was dropped quite randomly onto the ground as his savior took three steps back. The three others thanked each other, yelled at the sky, made comments; Dorian instead was huddled to the ground, regaining his heart rate and blood pressure so that the city block didn't have nightmares tonight. It was after Ken began to leave that Dorian spoke his first sentence, which was followed by a pause before he concluded. "But I thank you for not fulfilling my.. well, death." He quieted himself back down again before watching as everybody left in silence.

Jasper had come out of his room as the members of the team were thrown or jumped off the balcony. His suspicions about trust exercises had just exploded. The next time superheroes mentioned team building exercises, he was definitely running for the hills. "And that's a trust exercise?" He asked Clint and Tony, "Because I don't tend to trust people who throw me off balconies. If anything it has quite the opposite effect." Jasper grabbed a soda and sat himself down on the couch, keeping a close eye on the heroes around him in case any of them got some weird ideas about throwing his ass overboard or something equally horrible.

Tony and Clint had crossed their arms, hardly flinching as Ken yelled and hurled a fire hydrant up through the balcony. He was going to repair that later. The two Avengers held satisfied smirks as J.A.R.V.I.S. unlocked the doors. The doors slid open only for Steve and Bruce to rush out ahead of Natasha, glimpsing over the side of the building to see water soaking the pavement while the four shaken young adults talked amongst themselves below.

Natasha said nothing as Jasper spoke up, lifting a brow. Tony only scoffed as Clint spoke in a reprimanding tone. “Well, if you actually manage to stick around until dismissed next time you'd know what's going on.”





Wednesday June 5th, 2013 @ 11:13am


The shock of being thrown off Stark Tower had quickly worn off. While the exercise may have increased her trust in her teammates, Ken at least had become her white knight, her trust in Tony Stark had fallen drastically. However, Mr Stark was not the mentor that she was currently visiting, that honour was held by Bruce Banner. As the doors opened AJ felt her heart skip a beat. Before her lay what she could only describe as heaven. A pristine lab, equipped with the most recent technology, some she had only even read about. A wall of books and scientific journals lined one wall, while a 3-D projector created a version of Bruce's current project in the middle of the room. Amara took a deep breath, a wild grin on her face. This was what home smelled like.

"You can come in Amara." Bruce Banner called out from his desk. The man stood up, removing and folding his glasses as he stepped forward.

"This is amazing." AJ said, stepping slowly inside the lab. She was almost speechless with excitement. Ideas, experiments, and more was already racing through her brain. What could she accomplish with equipment like this? AJ's eyes came to rest on the 3-D projection, her professional eye quickly distinguishing what it was. She felt her jaw drop.

"No way. Is that what I think it is?" AJ asked, her feet quickly pulling her towards the projection. She circled it twice, her eyes taking everything in. The 3-D image was a perfect replicate of a brain, but no human brain. AJ could only assume that it belonged to one of the aliens that had terrorised New York.

"This one is called D-3, It's rather astounding, isn't it?" He said, coming over to join the young girl by the holographic brain.

"Here, let me..." Bruce made two dragging movements with his hands through the projection and the image grew so that now AJ was looking at a 3-D image that was larger than she was.

"We were lucky to get one still intact." Bruce explained. Bruce had read all about Amara Chaplin, even before the Apprentice Initiative the girl had been one to watch. Upon first meeting her he hadn't been disappointed. Her intelligence had not been exaggerated by anything he'd heard and her personable manner was a nice contrast to some other geniuses he knew, Tony Stark coming quickly to mind. Yet, he was still curious as to the range of her brilliance. "Tell me what you think about D-3. Analyse it for me."

AJ glanced from the brain to Bruce, excitement mixed with nervousness. She had already silently listed the major differences in the brains, but she was anxious not to disappoint Bruce. This was clearly a test. What if she made an incorrect assumption? Or failed to notice a key element in the brain? He gave her an encouraging smile. AJ took a calming breath and turned her mind to the task at hand.

"Well, the most obvious difference are the shape of the cerebral hemispheres. I would almost want to call them anterior and posterior rather than left and right as humans. What I assume to be the motor and somatosensory cortices seem to be comparatively large, and the cerebellum appears almost swollen." AJ glanced at Bruce who gave a nod and a wave of the hand to continue. AJ grinned and, mimicking the movement Bruce had made earlier, enlarged the brain until she was quite literally standing in the middle of the projection. She pointed to a particular section, "I would compare this to the limbic system in humans, but it seems to lack some of the key components..."

AJ's analysis continued. She pulled the projection of the brain apart, burying herself in the image. Everything she saw struck at her curiosity and it was with regret that she shrunk the image and took a step back.

"What conclusions do you make?" Bruce asked.

"It's strikingly similar to our brains in many ways, which is amazing in itself. It's convergent evolution at it' best. Yet the differences between the brains are what's really startling. I would say that the owner had an increased physical capacity, perhaps enhanced senses, but also less emotional control particularly when angry." Amara paused, pleased to see a smile on Bruce's face. "I don't suppose you have the body that goes with the brain?" AJ asked, trying her luck.

Mr Banner gave a chuckle and clapped the young girl on the back, "Maybe next time." He replied.

AJ shrugged, it had been worth a try. But she would hold Bruce to that. While she could have happily stayed in the lab all day her stomach was already complaining about a lack of fuel. With a regrettable sigh and a last look around the scientific sanctuary, AJ said farewell to her mentor and left. Her mind was already coming up with experiments she could do in the lab, even as she contemplated what she was going to have for lunch.





Wednesday June, 5th, 2013 @ 5:25pm


Patricia on the floor in the center of her room, surrounded by the soda cans, seemingly discarded but also clearly arranged so to emulate Stonehenge, glaring at the pair of gauntlets before her. The first of which, the larger, more mechanical, and one whose silvery blue-white glow was slightly fainter, was the original zero-point energy gauntlet, the one that she been able to use a few days prior to prevent her death.

Patricia still planned on getting back at Tony Stark for that. Actually, if all had went well with the code she had slipped into J.A.R.V.I.S.'s system, the next time he reached a certain elevation in his Iron Man suit, the AI would put the suit into emergency shutdown mode, leaving the superhero to figure out for himself how to avoid plummeting to his death. Meanwhile, J.A.R.V.I.S. would provide the helpful explanation, "Trust exercise, initiated."

Dangerous? Perhaps. Childish? Almost certainly, but Mr. Stark was a smart man, he'd figure out something.

But back to the matter at hand. The other, noticeably lighter gauntlet, more of a glove really, glowed brighter and lacked many of the mechanical components its twin sported. This was the left-handed prototype created to assist in flight. For the moment, it was also more powerful than its predecessor, though it lacked any sort of external controls. As a result, it was impossible to actually utilize for its intended purpose, or for much of anything aside from being the most expensive fashion choice in the world.

Her current frustration with the devices stemmed from the amount of preparation it took to get them to perform a simple task with any degree of accuracy or delicacy. Manipulation of artificial gravity fields was a complicated matter, and extremely difficult to preform off-hand. It also wasn't something that one could trust to an automated system, any more than AI's should be entrusted with nuclear launch codes.

As a solution to this problem, Patricia had been trying to figure out a way to manipulate the devices directly, without imputing commands. Bioelectricity, she thought, might be the solution, to manipulate her machines like the muscles of her body. This would also allay her other concern of a thought-broadcasting system, which might be tapped into, allowing her thoughts to be read and possibly controlled. Problematically, however, while computer engineering was certainly something that Dr. Lee could do, neuroscience was not her area of expertise. Oh sure, she recognized terms, had a general idea of where the various parts of the brain were as well as their functions, but that didn't mean that she was qualified to preform brain surgery on herself, if that was even possible.

The kitchen was empty, apart from a famished Amara Jasmine Chaplin who was in the midst of creating a sandwich masterpiece. She had it down to a fine art. With practiced hands she placed strips of chicken on the bread, followed by lettuce, tomato, and beetroot. A dollop of sauce and her creation was complete. AJ picked the sandwich up, both hands were needed to ensure minimal dropping of the contents. With a satisfied sigh AJ took a large bite of her creation, closing her eyes to fully enjoy the flavours playing on her tongue.

"That's a nice looking sandwich. Wanna make me one?" Tony Stark's voice startled AJ, although not enough to drop her precious meal. AJ' snapped her eyes open to find the Avenger leaning on the kitchen counter, the usual cocky smile playing on his lips. The 'trust exercise' was still fairly raw, and AJ hadn't managed to forgive Tony for his part in it.

"Make your own." AJ's reply came out muffled thanks to the mouthful of food. Placing her remaining sandwich on a plate AJ flicked her hair over her shoulder and strutted out of the kitchen without a word to Mr Stark. She could hear him chuckling behind her as she crossed into the hallway leading to her bedroom.

AJ took another angry bite of her sandwich, before stopping outside Patricia's door. She could hear the younger girl inside, no doubt working on one project or another. Her curiosity had been peaked the first day they had met, but so far AJ hadn't had much of a chance to sooth that curiosity. Swallowing the mouthful of food AJ gave a quick knock on Patricia's door, waited a moment, and then entered.

It was no surprise to AJ to see the girl surrounded by devices... and soda cans? AJ wouldn't pretend to know much about mechanical engineering, aside from the usual terms one picked up from scientific readings and such. It wasn't just the technology Patricia was working on that grabbed AJ's attention, but also the girl herself. AJ was curious about the level of intelligence the girl clearly showed and wouldn't mind picking her brains.

"What are you working on?" Amara asked, hovering in the doorway in case Patricia wasn't after company.

So intent was Patricia's focus on the problem before her, that she didn't notice the first knock at her door. She only became aware of Amara's presence when the door opened, allowing the light from outside to illuminate the dimly lit room.

Briefly, Tricia questioned how the older girl had gotten in. Not that she had been attempting to keep her, or anyone else for that matter, out, but the doors did lock automatically when closed. Had the hand-print scanners perhaps been set to allow them entry regardless of whose room they were trying to enter? Perhaps for the purpose of eliminating boundaries between them? Did this policy apply to apprentices of opposite genders? Not that Patricia herself actually cared, she had no interest in such things, but the matter was often a concern for whatever group happened to be in charge, Oxford had been a prime example of this.

But, more to the point, Amara had asked a question, hadn't she? "A set of zero-point energy devices designed primarily for the purpose of creating and manipulating artificial pseudo-gravity fields through a combination of magnetism and some of the principles proposed in string theory."

Realizing that Amara might still be standing in the doorway, she didn't know, she hadn't turned around to face her yet, the young scientist waved her in. She still hadn't turned to face her. Social nuances such as that were usually either ignored as an unnecessary energy expenditure, or, more often, failed to enter her mind at all. She did, however, move to attend to the soda cans. She didn't dispose of them just yet though. Instead she expanded the circle, making it big enough for a second person.

"Actually, if you are who I believe you to be," Patricia never had introduced herself, and Amara had never actually given her last name as far as she'd heard, "I might be able to use your assistance, Dr. Chaplin. How much experience do you have with experimental neurosurgery?" No sense wasting time, and Dr. Lee never was one for idle conversation.

Amara made her way into the room, settling beside Patricia within the circle of soda cans. She eyed Patricia’s invention curiously. AJ couldn’t claim to be an expert on the string theory, or magnetism. Yes, she had a fundamental understanding of the ideas, but where others took the path of physics and so forth, AJ had turned the other way and focused on biology and the human brain. Which of course made her more than capable of answering Patricia’s question with a positive, ”Rather experienced.” AJ replied, a casual shrug accompanying the statement. She wasn’t one for bragging, but there was no denying that she could handle herself in a surgery. She had also spent a large amount of time researching conditions related to the brain, helping to add to the growing collection of cures for diseases and issues that stemmed from the important organ.

AJ glanced from Patricia’s invention and back to the inventor herself, AJ’s mind quickly forming conclusions. Well, based on Patricia’s description of the device and her questions AJ could only assume what Patricia was getting at. Of course, the other girl could very well have another project entirely that required AJ’s expertise. Or Patricia could simply be being friendly. Whatever the answer, AJ was curious and didn’t hesitated to ask, ”Are you after a way to remotely access your invention?”

Her mind was already racing with ideas. She had been following with great excitement a project involving a ‘Neurobridge’, which enabled a signal to skip the spinal cord and stimulate the movement of muscles in a quadriplegic’s arm and hand. A chip had to be placed in the exact spot needed for the appropriate signal to be sent. It had its similarities with Patricia’s project, if indeed that was what Patricia was after. AJ had to mentally restrain herself from launching into a premature brainstorm, instead she made herself wait for Patricia to confirm AJ’s assumption.

At Amara's confirmation of her suspicions, Patricia's eyes lit up with a glee normally known only to mad scientists. Though, was that not what she was? ...The younger doctor actually had to think about this for a moment, which probably said something about her. Regardless, she decided that, while perhaps eccentric, she was not mad, and she didn't particularly care to investigate what that moment of doubt might indicate at this time.

"Perfect. To answer your question, Dr. Chaplin, yes. And, no." Patricia stood and began pacing her side of the circle, clearly looking for the words to articulate what she meant. Either she was extremely lucky, had memorized the pattern of the cans, or had arranged them perfectly, because, despite not once looking to see where they were, she moved without so much as brushing against one.

Seeming to come to a conclusion, the girl stopped and snapped her fingers. "Ah, I had almost forgotten; I am Doctor Patricia Lee. To elaborate on my previous answer, the Z.E.G. is capable of far more than I can currently coax from it, the primary reason behind it being that even the simplest action, as you've seen yourself the two occasions I've used it in your presence, must either be fully calculated and executed under completely controlled conditions. This makes it largely useless aside from some experiments with particle physics, and other such boring laboratory experiments."

She paused again. While her expression didn't change, she was musing now. "Or... possibly... cold... fusion..." Throughout this last comment, the girl in the lab coat began to slump a bit, her speech slowing a bit, and her eyes closing for longer periods with each blink.

Suddenly Patricia jerked upright, shaking her head and making her way over to her desk, where she proceeded to grab what seemed to be the only soda can in the room that wasn't empty, opening and downing it quickly. Was caffeine an addictive substance, most assuredly, but it was the only legal way Trisha currently had to keep herself awake. Besides, she knew she had the metal fortitude to go without it if necessary.

"Anyway, for it to be truly useful in any situation we might be facing, it needs to respond immediately and naturally. Ideally, I was thinking this could be accomplished by tying in into the user's motor functions, so it could respond just as a muscle."

This final time that Patricia paused, it was less because she wasn't sure how to say what was next, and more that she didn't quite want to admit it. "But that's not my field, and I... don't know how to do that yet."

AJ followed Dr Lee's movements with her eyes, listening intently to the younger girl's explanation. Her interest had been peaked and her attention was absorbed with the idea that Patricia was suggesting.

Amara may have subconsciously noticed Patricia's momentary slump, but it wasn't until Patricia jerked upright that AJ fully realised what had happened. She felt her brow wrinkle slightly as she watched her teammate down another can of soda. She mentally listed all the health problems that might arise from the increased sugar consumption. However, it wasn't AJ's place to tell Patricia what she should and shouldn't ingest, despite the professional urge she felt to do otherwise. AJ just had to content herself with the belief that Patricia was smart enough to understand what she was doing.

Of Patricia's intelligence AJ had no doubt. It was thrilling to speak with someone young with such intelligence. Their fields may have been different, but that didn't mean that they couldn't work together on projects such as this. AJ nodded along as Patricia suggested something tied into the motor functions.

"You'd need some way of connecting the device with the brain, or would you have it activated by the muscles in the hand? Wireless would be better, stimulating it whenever it's needed... Motor cortex definitely, and would you need something connected to the somatosensory? No, maybe not." Amara spoke slowly, bouncing the odd thought off Patricia rather than setting down a definite plan.

AJ closed her eyes, mentally bringing up a picture of a human brain and zooming in on the motor cortex. Undoubtedly something would need to be placed in this section, which transmitted messages throughout the body. Yet, those same messages first needed to be organised in another part of the brain. Would you need to insert something in the parietal cortex to help organise commands for the device?
Realising she hadn't spoken for a few minutes AJ opened her eyes,

"It's definitely possible. It would be delicate work, but I would be more than capable of performing the surgery." AJ said. Her assurance that she could complete the operation wasn't misplaced cockiness, or bragging, it was simply a fact. "In terms of what is going in the brain it would require some more investigation to ensure we get it right."

AJ smiled, her excitement at the thought of the challenging project clearly showing on her face. She was sure the girls could ask Tony Stark or Bruce Banner for advice, but Mr Stark wasn't in her good books at the moment and AJ thought that she'd like to tackle the task before asking for outside help. Of course, this was Patricia's project, so AJ would follow her lead.

Patricia nodded emphatically. "Indeed. Pure neurological control would be ideal, as it would be best if the user could make a fist or other such hand gesture without having to concern themselves whether that will crush their own hand and consequently the device itself, possibly causing a reaction from the other device and creating a hyper-dense sphere of magnetism mimicking a black hole in the space between them... "

The blonde trailed off for a moment, not because she was losing consciousness, but because she genuinely didn't know why she hadn't thought to construct a black hole projector. Sure it would be impractical, but it would be cool, darn it!

Ah, but she was getting sidetracked again, wasn't she? Patricia did have habit of doing that. Turning back to the surgeon, she addressed a matter that would prove important if they intended to get anywhere with this scheme. "Well, you're free to analyze the devices themselves if it will help. They're somewhere on the floor near you. I wouldn't advise playing with the core though. I assume we'll also need some equipment as well, so do you want to head down to the med lab, or shall I start stealing Tony's kitchen appliances?"

"Well, unless you'd like to be cut open by a kitchen knife I would definitely suggest the med lab." AJ replied, a wary smile on her face as she pictured attempting brain surgery with a butcher's knife. She shuddered at the idea, her professional side rejecting even the thought of such a horror. Of course, there were items in any kitchen that would make rudimentary instruments, but there was no need for that now.

"Anyway, I've got a few pieces with me and I know where we can get them from the med lab." AJ added. She had in fact brought a few of her favourite pieces, the ones that she couldn't bare the thought of passing on to some ham-handed intern or leaving behind at home. She had also already done a thorough inspection of the medical lab and found the environment much to her liking. In fact she had been positively jumping with joy at it, thanks mostly to Tony Stark's generous budget and the many high-tech toys that graced the room.

Patricia nodded. "Indeed. Anesthesia would also be ideal, when the time comes. I merely wasn't sure whether or not you had the access codes yet." They could break in of course, but she wasn't sure Amara would approve of the idea. It was due to a similar concern that she hadn't informed the slightly older prodigy of her plan to get even with her mentor.





Tuesday June 4th, 2013 @ 2:12pm


It had been a few days since the incident on balcony and Ken was still aching from the fall. Suffice it to say, Ken still had some pent up anger towards the two responsible, especially Clint. He knew that Clint knew he would survive, but still playing so loose with peoples lives, in Amara and Patricia's case, ones so young bothered him quite a bit. So Ken was taking out his aggression in his favorite way; training. With every jump and hurdle the world seemed a whole lot simpler to Ken. With his abilities kicking in, each kick and punch came more easily to him as his reflexes sharpened along with his focus. It was like this for more than an hour before he was interrupted by a familiar pair of clacking boots. Ken could tell when Clint was coming from a mile away. He stopped in front of the speed bag he was pounding and turned to the source of noise slowly, unwrapping the white bandages from around his hands. He was surprised to see Steve Rogers was next to him, looking at Clint like a father looks at a disappointed child. "What's going on?"

"Clint has something he wants to say to you," Steve said with his hand gripping Clint's shoulder tightly. "He's not going to accept it," Clint said, quickly brushing Cap's hand off his shoulder and rubbing it from the pain of Steve's super soldier grip. Ken didn't know if Rogers was stronger than himself but he did know that he was definitely strong. "He's right, you know. Clint and I have a certain way we apologize. You know what you gotta do." Ken slowly walked over to the storage locker as he spoke, pulling out a bow and quiver not too different from Hawkeye's. Steve couldn't help but give a confused look as Barton walked across the room, shoulders slightly slumped as he put his back against the wall and watched Ken return to Steve.

"What are you doing?"

"Accepting his apology," Ken said with a small smirk on his face as he aimed his bow at Barton.

"Aren't you forgetting something?" Ken questioned his former guardian as he gave a disappointing sigh and took off his left boot, placing it on top of his head. "That's better."

"Are you even listening to me anymore?"

Ken focused on the shoe as he pulled the string of the bow back with quite a bit of force. Of course he couldn't use all of his strength, as he would snap the bow's string and maybe even the bow itself, but as he released the notch Ken had a feeling his shot was a good one. This hunch was proven correct as the arrow cut through the air at an alarming speed and passed over Barton's unflinching grimaced face as it nailed the boot that had been on his head.

As Clint walked away from the wall, the boot still held in the air due to the arrow still lodged in the rubber matted wall, Ken looked the bow up and down while admiring the curves and craftsmanship of the S.H.I.E.L.D. made weapon. He had to admit, bows were growing on him more and more on him each day. With a jolt of his arm sideways, the bow snapped back to it's more compact form. "Man, that never gets old." Ken said as he returned the collapsed bow to it's place in the locker. "Apology accepted. Just don't throw anymore people off buildings than you have to, alright?" Ken joked, giving Clint a good slap on the shoulder as he left the training area to shower, Steve still very much confused by what he just witnessed and Clint looking a bit saddened at his bootless left foot.





Thursday June 6th, 2013 @ 4:15am


Dorian hadn't expected to sleep, but it had come anyway: after all, it had been almost a week with only an hour of sleep (to avoid that nasty REM phase). He had been reading a novel in his undershirt , and suddenly he wasn't reading anymore. Dorian had no idea where he was, but it wasn't in his own room anymore. Instead, he was in a single lit room with a few others in white and a child on a table. Needles seemed to be everywhere as they injected him with something, only for the dream to whisk instantly to something else: it was like Dorian had no control over this dream, only his own eyesight. Constantly, he was bombarded with this twelve year old as he grew up and slaughtered people, was given a substance that Dorian wasn't familiar with, and attempted numerous escapes. None of it made any sense, but all of it was starting to wear thin on Dorian's conscious. He needed out of this dream: the excessive violence for a single substance, dark thoughts only rivaled by his own. They weren't something he needed, so Dorian performed what he called the escape method: he chomped on his own hand.

Dorian was flung awake, sweat glistening his body as he attempted to control his own heart rate to a lower level so he wouldn't cause more fear to flow from his body. A trickle of blood came from his hand as his canine had struck blood: it was necessary for him to break free from the dream. Before, it would only require a little prick, or a bite that simply hurt. However, over time, he grew accustomed to it; it barely hurt. So he needed another method. Stopping himself from shaking, however, would take time.

Ken's head was throbbing when he woke up from the nightmare. He didn't have time to worry about it however as he was still fuming from what had just occurred. Ken was used to these kind of nightmares; flashes of various rifle sights, blood splatters, and screams. What he wasn't used to was someone else taking a peek inside his head while he slept and whether it was an accident or not, Ken wasn't going to let it slide. As he looked in Dorian's open door, he saw the man drenched in sweat and visibly shaking. It was then Ken realized that not everyone had known the exact details of his former life and decided to calm down before entering the room. After a few deep breaths, Ken slowly walked in to the dimly lit room, making sure to keep his steps and voice as quiet as possible. "How much did you see?" Ken asked, slowly taking a sit on the floor next to the mutant's bed. "I imagine it must have been a lot, all things considered." he spoke as he clenched his fist in silence. He couldn't help but still be at least a little angry at Dorian. Ken knew he probably didn't mean to take a peek into his mind, that it was probably an accident, but his patience for telepaths and similar people had run out years before.

The calm voice nearly made him jump from his bed, as his visibly startled body instantly attempted to find the source of the voice. When he realized that his door was open - probably of his own accord - he calmed himself down a little and found Ken not far from him, asking about how much he had seen. The man sat down next to his bed as Dorian calmed himself down, and began to notice that Ken seemed to be pretty pissed off at him - Dorian didn't blame him. What he had seen probably was something he wanted to keep from the rest of them, as the past was not something many liked to bring up. Nevertheless, Dorian answered.

"I... I s-saw enough." The queasiness began to settle in as it did with dreams he forced himself out of. Hopefully he didn't have to throw up, as that wasn't really needed at this time. "An-And I apologize. That wasn't meant for my eyes, nor was it my intention to pry. I have no need for your past experiences anyway." Another prime example of Dorian not really getting how to socially interact, putting a seemingly back handed insult into an apology.

"Just don't let it happen again. I don't like it when people go messing around in my head." Ken said as he turned to face Dorian. It was an odd experience to say the least, especially since Ken couldn't help but notice an aura of dread surrounding the young mutant. It was like he was drenched in liquid fear. "What you saw...What you saw was what I used to do. I grew up in a bad place with very bad people. They made me the way I am now with the strength and all and this group, well let's just say doesn't have the best reputation." each word slipped from Ken's mouth like a shuttering stream.

"They had me kill people. I didn't want to and tried to escape. A lot. They had people like you try and burrow into my head and make me do what they wanted and when that didn't work, they tried something else..." Ken's words drifted as did his thoughts as a tingle ran up his spine at remembering the drug and the sensation it brought; a warmness he would never forget.

"How does this stuff happen anyway? With the dreams and whatnot?" Ken said, trying to change the subject away from HYDRA as fast as he could.

Dorian simply nodded as Ken seemed to relive his entire life for Dorian, even if he already knew most of it: it was nice, however, to hear it from the source instead of being privy to the information beforehand due to his powers. Dorian didn't know of many others like him though; he had thought he was the only one with his mental condition. But from Ken's description, they were more like a variant of him. Nevertheless, Dorian listened to the man as he seemed to drift off, then change the subject to him. Dorian had a feeling that he knew what Ken was leaving out, but decided that it could probably wait: unless his lack of morality and social judgement kicked in and he just spitted it out anyway.

"Donno. I only got these powers a few years ago, during college." Dorian wanted to cut off the history lesson, but he figured that he should at least give a little more than that. "Had a bad experience, and that didn't stop as soon as I fell asleep: basically I killed somebody by dreaming." The end was more of a mutter, but Dorian didn't care a shrug appeared. "Ever since, sleeping makes me enter people's minds that I just met, create lucid dreams and then they have bad experiences. So I stopped leaving the house, and stopped sleeping. Seems to work most of the time anyway. Your dreams though, were controlled: I didn't have any control, which was different."

Ken had an idea why Dorian didn't have control. Besides his natural stubbornness, questionable mental status, and the advantages of Project Krieger, Dorian was new to his powers, seeming more afraid of them then anything else. It was hard for Ken to realize that sometimes these type of things showed up in people. People with powers were becoming more and more commonly known by the day.

"Honestly, who hasn't killed someone these days, am I right?" Ken paused in awkward horror at his own joke and quickly continued."Anyway, I know what it's like to not be in control of yourself. You know that for a fact. But, the thing is with some help, I took control. No one is going to control me but me ever again and honestly, I'm not sure that's a good thing. But at least it's my choice" Ken's tone changed to a more gentle one as he continued, motioning in the air with each word to keep himself awake.

"This thing, whatever you want to call it, is a part of you. It's not a gift or a curse, it's just a function of your body and your brain and like any function, it can be controlled. You just have to bury your feet in the sand and not let it move you an inch." Ken wasn't sure if his words were falling on deft ears or not, but he knew he didn't want this to happen again.

Dorian cocked his head at the odd metaphors and confusing speech pattern that Ken decided to roll with. What was this about digging into the sand? Was that supposed to be stable? Dorian thought he had the idea that Ken was going for, but he may have been wrong. Nevertheless, Dorian was pretty sure he understand the concept: but that didn't mean he knew how to implement it.

"Hence my reason to no sleep." Dorian said flatly, his tone not really carrying very well any real message or subtle meaning. "In your scenario, you broke the bonds that had been formed either through an addiction or through whatever you call that training thing. I get what you are saying, but from what I can tell, there isn't much to control." A shrug graced his shoulders before his tone softened. "You should be grateful: most don't survive the little invasion, so my ability to invade your head through my sleep usually disappears completely." Dorian paused, his eyes distant as he looked past Ken.

"If there was a way, I would do it: so far, the only methods I can think of are not to sleep or to cut my own head off. Both aren't appealing, but one of them must be done until I can figure out how to shut off my subconscious."

Ken was getting more frustrated by the moment. So when Dorian said he should be grateful to survive, the former assassin was a little less then pleased with the situation. "You know what I can do, right? The strength thing? Yeah, that didn't just come prepared for me to use in a nice bright bow." Ken said in an obviously annoyed tone as he stood up and began to pace the room to calm down. After a few seconds however, he was back to his calm self.

"Believe it or not, I know a little bit about this kind of stuff and for me, it was tied to my emotions. Maybe it's time to start facing your own fears so they don't lash out at others." he stated dryly, not wanting to beat around the bush any longer. No more metaphors or stories. Just an attempt at a helping hand.

Dorian watched as Ken got irritated with his answers, and then calmed himself down. Dorian couldn't help but expect that Ken would get frustrated at him for not being able to understand, but there wasn't much Dorian could do. After all, Dorian didn't think that hard work and training were the kinds of methods to control his form of mutation. Dorian continued to listen from his bed as Ken decided to stop trying metaphors and get straight to the point, a point that Dorian had only briefly thought about before: what if it was his emotions? Dorian thought about it for a while as Ken made some slight jab at his own fears. Dorian knew that his heart rate was a trigger for his ability to emit fear, but could his emotional state when he goes to sleep be really that important?

"Never really gave much thought about emotional states." Dorian paused, his head nodding as he thought about it. "Perhaps if I try..." His mind wandered off, and he didn't speak again.

After a few silent moments, Ken walked out of the room, closing the door behind himself. He wasn't sure if he'd helped Dorian or just made things worse, but at least he did something. This thought wasn't comfort enough for Ken however as he found himself incapable of sleep, the visions of his nightmares still flashing through his vision. So instead, Ken moved over to his desk and began to draw, letting his mind go blank as he did so.

Dorian was still silent as Ken left, pondering how he could take this idea to the next level. Did he have to calm himself emotionally before sleeping? Was he ever really that emotionally unstable? Or maybe there was something else that he was missing, some tidbit about his mutation that wasn't known to him? Dorian crawled out of bed to sit on the window sill to stare outside: he was so used to feeling the fear of others that it was usually where he found himself most at home. As the night continued to pass, his thoughts kept circling, hoping to find an answer.





Saturday June 8th, 2013 @ 3:21am


Sleep? Astrid didn't know what it was. Metaphorically speaking, anyways. Up all day and up all night without ever growing tired she participated in the various activities of trust brought to them by the Avengers. Luckily, they weren't pushing anybody from the 100th floor anymore. They hung out a lot and watched movies and talked and... They just acted like a family. Astrid still didn't really trust any of them except Clint and Steve and Jax and Dorian. Patricia freaked her out and Amara kept staring at her like she was about to lick her face and she had only been there for three days now.

So, what did that leave her to do in the early hours of the morning? Sometimes she'd leave and go pig out. Tony wasn't shy with his credit cards. Which really, really surprised her. She wasn't going to complain though. She still tried to be considerate and had taken to buying groceries, keeping her word that she'd cook for the team. She hadn't participated in any of the training with the others and she wasn't forced to. She had done the exercises – push ups, crunches, running laps – but she didn't get in the ring. She got a dark feeling every time she saw the ring.

This particular morning she had decided to walk her dogs and take Jade out for some fresh air. With her small sugar glider perched atop her head – her once blonde locks now waves of cerulean and violet – and her canines on leashes, she headed down the street at a jog. She certainly was dressed for a workout, donning white and black Underarmor apparel as she laughed her way down the sidewalks and across the streets. She could feel Jade's tiny claws clinging to her hair as she bounced, people staring at the strange young woman with the tiny creature peeking out from under her beanie.

Ken couldn't sleep. This wasn't exactly a recent development, but ever since he moved into Stark Tower, the nightmares seemed to be happening less and less. While Ken was instantly suspicious of Dorian, he decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Instead as he left his room for a glass of water, he heard the familiar and faint ding of the elevator. Someone was sneaking out and Ken wanted to know who, as he had not much else to do.

By the time he reached the first floor, Ken could see who the escapee was, instantly given away by the tiny animals in front of her. Astrid was an odd case in Ken's mind to say the least. She was as durable as he was and could probably do a whole lot more, but she never stepped into one combat training session. Even Amara had a few classes so she wouldn't be totally helpless. So, Ken followed her for a bit, almost absentmindedly so as he kept pace with her a few feet behind and hid when he needed to. She just seemed to be walking her dogs, but still, why was it this early? Needing some answers, Ken sped up until he was right beside her as she jogged.

"Why are you walking your dogs this early?" Astrid nearly jumped out of her skin at the sound of Ken's voice, giving a small yelp and letting one hand fly to her mouth while the other went to her chest where her heart was racing. “Dios mio! Why are you following me?” She shot the dark haired male an accusatory glare as she made a left turn, slightly increasing her jogging pace. She resisted taking off full speed; Poor Talisman's short legs wouldn't be able to keep up with her and Bastille. "I don't sleep about two or three days out of the week, so I have to stay busy." Ken said, following the left turn into a more shady part of the city. It seemed like every building they passed was abandoned or in the process of being abandoned. It certainly wouldn't be a place for someone like Astrid to wander around this late at night, but Ken knew Astrid wasn't dumb and knew what she was doing. "You do this often? The whole not sleeping thing, I mean."

As they entered the familiar territory of decrepit buildings she released her dogs, tucking their leashes away under their halter collars. Ken obviously wasn't going anywhere so she simply uttered a sigh, reaching underneath her black beanie, pulling out her smallest companion. Holding Jade in one hand while stroking the top of her head with the other she remained silent. Her initial thought was that this was a trap and Ken was about to knock her out or something. After a few minutes of walking nowhere in particular, she finally decided that she was being stupid. “I... I don't sleep. Ever.” She pursed her lips, staring down at Jade's large eyes.

"You sleep some. You just don't sleep that much. If you didn't sleep, you'd go nuts. Unless, that's part of your thing," Ken stated plainly, trying not to rouse any aggression. Astrid seemed overly suspicious of him already and didn't want to start and argument. "Like I have my strength and Dorian has his dream stuff, but ever since that day on the balcony...you haven't said a word about what you can do and you've avoided the combat training like the plague." Ken's curiousness about Astrid was showing more and more as he stopped in front of her with a knowing look in his eye. “An hour a day. Two at the most. Last seven days of every month. That's when I sleep. You happy?” Astrid answered him as he stepped in front of her, taking a step back and somewhat frowning as her heart began to race again. She didn't like this. She could feel herself freaking out, biting the inside of her cheeks as she prepared to run.

"It's been my experience that there are two types of people who avoid fighting; cowards and people who are hiding from something. Cowards don't jump off of balconies to save someone's life. What exactly are you running from here?"

Again, everything slowed down. It was like one of her nightmares coming to life. “Get away from me!” Without warning, Astrid's fist went flying, connecting with Ken's face and sending him flying. She whistled for her dogs who came running, barking up a storm as she turned and ran as well, tucking Jade back under her beanie and taking off into one of the nearby buildings, an old storage space.

Ken dusted himself off from the side of the building Astrid had sent him, a bit surprised that she could do such a thing. He quickly regained his concentration and noticed her run off into a nearby storage space. He broke into a full run to follow her and as she fell into his sight, he realized he didn't have to worry about hurting her. This thought in mind, Ken mustered up his strength and speed and tackled the young mutant from behind sending them both through a nearby wall. In mid air, he noticed Astrid's sugar glider which he had been calling "rat-thing" ever since he saw it flying through the air from her beanie. He quickly grabbed for it and shielded it using his body Ken opened his hands after impact and, seeing that the rat-thing was fine, let out a sigh of relief.

She hadn't expected Ken to catch up to her so quickly, not used to such things. She certainly wasn't prepared to be tackled through the wall. As bright rainbow colored light flashed all around them, echoing her terror, her thoughts immediately went to her animals, Jade especially as her beanie flew from her head. “What did you do?! You monster!” Caring little for her own self and more about her animals, she searched for them with tears in her eyes, the flashes of light disappearing.

Talisman and Bastille were whining near the wreckage but not hurt, simply dusted with debris. Seeing Jade in Ken's hands she immediately snatched her away from him and tucked her down her shirt. “What do you want from me?” She was sure that he wanted to kill her. Or cart her off to a lab. She didn't stand a chance unless she pulled out the big guns. But they'd be a last resort.

"You're hiding from yourself, Astrid! I know, because I tried to do the same thing." Ken walked over and slumped over onto a nearby wall, sliding down until he was completely still against the wall. "I don't know what fucked you up so bad, but trust me, you can't hide forever. You can't even hide at all. It's always there, eating your opportunities and your life, like a snake swallowing them whole. And the only way to kill the snake is to face it head on." Ken laughed a little after he talked. "If you cut off the head, two more grow in its place. That's the only thing HYDRA taught me that I don't regret knowing and it's the one thing I don't wanna forget. No quick solutions..No easy ways out. It's either that, or the snake takes everything and you realize you never really had a life at all."

Astrid had no idea what Ken was babbling about, backing away with her dogs quickly with wide eyes, fear filling them. What the hell kind of psychopaths were they letting on this team? She was backed against a wall opposite of him, her pups poised in a crouching position as they growled at him. “Nothing happened to me... What are you talking about? Do I need to call Clint? Do you need medicine? You're on meds, right? ...Or is this drug induced?” The young woman shook her head quickly and clenched her fists. “And hydras don't exist. Maybe. Could just be Greek myths... But the Nords were right so...” Trapped in a falling apart building with a babbling man who had super strength. Not an ideal morning for her. "Then why did you punch me back there?" Ken asked, feeling he already knew the answer. "Because your instincts told you to. Instincts don't lie, Astrid. Why do you think they tell you to stay away from the ring? You won't get hurt. We just shattered that theory like we did that wall just now. So what do you think it is?" Ken finished, teetering on the brink of emotional exhaustion and sleep deprivation.

“I've heard stories about what happens to people like me. Mutants. I know people that survived experimenting... I don't trust S.H.I.E.L.D. and I don't trust you and I don't trust Amara. You and Amara stare too much... And I don't like fighting. I don't believe in resorting to violence unless you have to. That's not who I am anymore.”

"You don't trust me? I can say the same for you. You're fast, you're strong, and that light stuff back there? When were you going to tell all of us about that? We're supposed to be a team at some point." Ken finally realized what was wrong. Astrid needed to understand where Ken came from. Maybe this would start to build trust between them. Even if it didn't, it was a chance. "What do you think I did before all this... before the program?"

“I was never going to tell any of you. Whether I trust any of you or not, how am I supposed to know that any of you will be there to help me when someone comes to cart me off to a lab?” She crossed her arms over her chest defensively, her eyes darkening as flashes of her nightmares entered her head. She could almost feel knives and needles cutting her flesh, leather and metal restraining her from moving. She couldn't breathe. “I don't know what you did. But if you tell anyone about me, I will kill you. You didn't grow up where I did. You didn't see and hear the things I did. I won't let those things happen to me. I can't count on humans to protect me.”

Ken couldn't help but chuckle when Astrid brought up her past. Sure, from what Ken could tell she was messed up, but she didn't know Ken and she was about to. "I don't even know what I am anymore. I know I'm not human. Killed too many people for that. I was pushed so far off the human track before I turned fifteen, you wouldn't believe it." Ken didn't care anymore. He was a bit out of it from the fight and remembering his past like this wasn't helping. "I was an experiment for them. They wanted another crack at the world's greatest soldier and they took it with me. Never met my parents. Grew up with HYDRA. They taught me how to kill and they gave me the training and the tools to do it for them and for years, I did. Hell, I was even good at it. But they couldn't control me. The telepaths didn't work and the thing on my spine didn't work, so they drugged me. Gave me it until I got so hooked, I would kill a nun for a fix. Then S.H.I.E.L.D. saved my life and offered me a new one. A chance to redeem myself. So when you say I have no idea what it's like to go through that hell, take solace in the fact that you aren't alone and when you threaten to kill me, be rest assured that I've already thought of three different ways to kill you."

Astrid was a bleeding heart. Growing up in Xavier's with so many orphaned, abandoned, and abused mutants could do that to a person. She never felt she could sympathize with them, but she could offer them empathy and comfort. She didn't know why Ken was telling her this but she was pretty sure that he didn't go around pouring out his soul to everyone. She was used to people telling her secrets but this wasn't usually the process for it. He did manage to make her feel like a raging bitch. Her speech about refusing to be an experiment to him now seemed incredibly insensitive and she wanted to cry for being so stupid. She let his words soak in before narrowing her eyes at him, nostrils flaring. “What... Thing on your spine?”

"The doctors called it one of those bug names. Quintipede or something like that. Attach it to your spine and messes with the nerves and such. Didn't work on me though. The serum made sure of that. Why do you ask?"

“Metal. Fifty needles. Twenty-five on each side. Right side needles filled with a cocktail of drugs and the right miniature tasers. AI chip at the base of the neck.” She immediately slapped a hand over her mouth with watery eyes before taking a step forward and moving her hand. “T-take off your shirt and turn around,” she ordered. Ken obliged, realizing she was starting to remember something, but before he showed her the scar he said one sentence simply. "No matter what happens next, just remember you aren't alone." His tone was one of understanding as he removed his shirt and showed the girl the long scar that covered the middle of his back.

Astrid couldn't even enjoy the fact that he had beast muscles. No. As soon as his shirt lifted and he turned she dropped to her knees and dissolved into tears. Her dogs had gone silent as she laid down on the dirty floor and curled into a fetal position, sobbing and damn near screaming uncontrollably. It wasn't like anyone was going to hear her besides Ken. She just couldn't process what was happening. She had only seen the Quintipede put on her in a recent nightmare. She just thought it was her mind's weird way of explaining the weird scar on her back. Boxing and MMA fights didn't do that. She just refused to see her nightmares as memories. They couldn't be because she had memories of her at those ages. She was with her aunt and then Xavier's. But Ken's scar confirmed something. She just wasn't sure what. Ken slowly got up and walked over to Astrid, unsure exactly of what to do in this situation as he wasn't the best at comforting people. But, he thought back to the fact that he wanted someone when he was going through his struggles and sat down next to her, wrapping his arms around her as she sobbed with her head to his chest. He said the only think that made sense at the moment. "It's okay. You'll get through this. It's okay..."





Monday June 17th, 2013 @ 7:19am


It had been over a week since she had exposed herself, something that was not part of her plan. She had no intentions of exposing herself to Captain Rogers and had intended on denying him when he made the offer while she was at work but when he had dropped the hint that his friend, Clint, knew a bit more about her than was comfortable for her, she had to say yes. She wanted to simply stick around and snoop long enough to see what they knew. It wasn't a completely thought out plan; She would have played dumb in front of the others as though she were an ordinary human - Captain and Clint promised that they hadn't told the others much about her other than her superhuman strength - and then she would have taken whatever data they had stored on her and left. Fled the country. She had friends who were good with computers. However, once she exposed herself as more than humans to the others only moments after declaring herself just the humble chef, she exposed more than she'd have liked to with Ken. She was about as far from human as it got and he knew. He kept his mouth shut though. Ideas of fleeing the country became a no go when she found out just how deep and wide S.H.I.E.L.D. went.

Per usual, she wasn't sleeping when the others were. It was six in the morning, the sun was on the rise, and she had just lifted herself up from Downward Dog with her own dogs watching her with wagging tails. Jade was soundly sleeping in her cage back in the room with a nice cup of yogurt waiting for her. Astrid's blonde locks had gone through a variety of colors over the past few weeks; Blonde to blue and purple to a dash of green, and finally now with a few hints of crimson. It had nearly become a full fledged rainbow at this point. She had made her way into the kitchen, which now had a new refrigerator solely for the groceries she bought, separate from everyone else's junk food, thanks to Tony. He had declared it "The Chef's Fridge" and even put a biometric scanner on it when she voiced her dislike for people touching her ingredients after spotting Happy digging through her carrots. She assured him that it was nothing personal and she meant no offense to him - She was just a dictator in the kitchen. On the downside, Tony had put a limit on how much alcohol she could consume until she decided she wanted to "play with the big kids".

Humming to herself, she twirled around the kitchen and began preparing food. Her every movement was fluid, flawlessly executed as she prepared the meal of the morning. As far as she was concerned, life was a stage and everyone was the star of their own story. Her story? It was obviously a musical. She hadn't yet determined whether it was enough to be classified as a tragedy just yet. But, come what may, she was determined to dance and sing her way through her life until the day that she died. Quite literally. She hadn't noticed Clint or Steve coming downstairs, both men wearing sweatpants and white t-shirts. She didn't pause when she finally did see them, not even when the two sat on the opposite side of the counter. “You're not eating until everything's ready. Not from my fridge,” she warned them with a look not unlike that of a mother warning a child to slowly back away from the cookies. The two chuckled, holding their hands up in mock surrender as she began to set apart everyone's individual foods.

“Actually - We wanted to talk to you about training.”

“Are you cutting me from the program because I won't fight?”

Steve and Clint exchanged glances, grimacing before looking back at her. She definitely paused now, lifting a brow.

“You're an amazing fighter, Astrid. We know this for a fact. You're also strong and brave. You can really do some good in this world.”

“Director Fury has given direct orders that if we can't get you into that ring within the next week, you're to be removed from the program and stripped of your S.H.I.E.L.D. ID and placed on a watch list.”

Well - This was certainly a bind she had gotten herself into. Her hands went to her face, fingers rubbing against her forehead as she thought. On one hand, she could just tell them to forget it and leave. Leave behind Dorian and Jax to who knows what might be in store for them. Leave behind the life of luxury. Leave behind possibly etching her name into history as more than just an artist. Leave behind the chance to help people without having cops called on her. Leave and have S.H.I.E.L.D. watch her for the rest of her life. On the other hand, she could stay. Risk being sent to a lab, a constant fear that would never subside. Expose herself and risk being probed and interrogated. Stay where meals and money were guaranteed every day and night. Stay without worrying about past due rent and bills. Stay and help people and make connections - And not the emotional kind. The things she could do with having - Yeah... She was going to stay. She gave a light smile and went back to preparing breakfast. “I'll see you boys in the ring later, then.”

Understandingly, the two nodded with smiles of relief and appreciation before heading into the elevator. Time seemed to fly by and she had soon set the table with a most delicious and nutritious meal. She had outdone herself and she was quite proud; Steak omelets, blackberry muffins, fresh Colombian coffee, fresh whole milk, flaky biscuits, fresh fruit, and piping hot sausage links. She cleaned up fairly quickly and made her way out to the balcony with her plate, taking a seat and looking out over the city as it came to life with the sound of cars and people below. Talisman and Bastille sat at her feet, gnawing on their own chunks of steak as she slowly forked omelet into her mouth.

Amara wholeheartedly believed that everyone needed a full 8 hours sleep each night, and yet having gone to sleep late and woken at 5.00am, AJ was breaking her own rule. Of course, she would have been sleeping had it not been for the video chat scheduled for that morning. You didn't say no when the most recent recipient of the Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine wanted to have a talk, even if it meant waking up at a ridiculous hour.

Having showered and dressed quickly AJ now sat in front of her computer, an excited flutter in her stomach as she waited for the call to connect. Several seconds later a middle-aged Japanese man appeared on screen.

"Konbanwa Dr. Kato, O-genki desu ka?" AJ greeted the man, using the Japanese word for 'Good Evening' rather than morning as it was early evening in Japan. Mr Kato smiled at AJ and, replying in Japanese, answered her question and returned similar pleasantries. With the necessary polite greetings aside, including a heartfelt congratulations on AJ's side at the others win of the Nobel Prize, the two launched into the real reason for their call: Neuroscience.

Their video call went on for over an hour, the two switching alternatively between English and Japanese as they spoke. Their topics ranged from research techniques, neurological diseases and Mr Kato's now famed studies, to AJ's own published papers. At one point Dr Kato paused their talk to play AJ a video, demonstrating the effects of a recent discovery on the brain. Finally, as light finally started to filter through AJ's windows, their conversation came to a stop. Regretfully AJ said goodbye, although a promise from Dr Kato to speak again gave her something to look forward to. It wasn't often that she found older intellectuals like Dr Kato that treated her as an equal, rather than a teenage girl. She was already looking forward to their next chat.

As she closed her laptop screen AJ's stomach gave a growl, indicating that it was high time she ingested some food. Standing slowly and stretching out her muscles, AJ grabbed her iPod and plugged her headphones in. Turning it on shuffle she pushed open her door and made her way towards the kitchen, quietly singing along to the song. As she entered the main room her eyes caught sight of Astrid on the balcony sitting down to consume her own meal. AJ gave the older girl a happy wave, "Morning Astrid!" She greeted, slightly louder than a normal speaking voice thanks to the loud music emanating from her iPod. Realising that she had probably shouted her greeting, AJ took out one ear and added in a much more normal level, "You're up early."

About to walk into the kitchen to prepare some toast, AJ noticed the large amount of food already there. She could only assume that Astrid had prepared it. "Is this for everyone?" AJ called out to Astrid even as she grabbed a plate and began to load up. The chance of AJ burning on poisoning the food rose exponentially with the number of steps and ingredients required. No matter how hard she tried she rarely ended with an edible product when cooking. So she usually stuck to the basics, which only made this delicious spread even more enjoyable.

Astrid was quite content with eating alone, figuring that she'd be finished before anyone else got up and she could then avoid them by moving herself from the balcony back to her room until called for. It wasn't that she didn't like the others, because she really did actually like them. It was more so that she was bracing herself for everything that was coming next. She didn't want to expose herself but she knew that she'd have to. Besides, she could really do some good with it, right? And she could definitely handle herself. After she dealt with the mental breakdown that had come after her little revelation and cry sesh with Ken only days earlier. She sighed and tapped her fork against her chin, hearing Amara call out about the food, half tempted to answer with something snarky, suggesting that she had prepared the morning meal for J.A.R.V.I.S., whom she liked the most. “Yeah. It's for everyone,” she replied cooly, opting for a more respectful response.

With her plate full AJ made her way out to the balcony, carefully balancing her plate to ensure nothing fell off. "You mind if I join you?" AJ asked Astrid, perhaps slightly too eagerly. She'd been itching to talk to the older girl for a time now, especially after witnessing what Astrid could do. Without waiting for a reply AJ took a seat beside Astrid, placing her plate on the table. AJ flashed Astrid a smile.

Astrid was about to say yes but Amara seemed to either have read or mind or simply wouldn't have much cared if the answer had been no anyways. She observed Amara, letting her bright brown eyes study the younger girl closely, tilting her head to the side. “You've got something to ask - or say - you should probably go ahead and do so now. I know you've been wanting to for a while now.” Amara's smile was bigger than normal and everything about her body language practically screamed “I want to say something”. At least to Astrid's exceptional eyes. She let her brow lift, placing her fork down and turning her body to indicate that the young doctor had her undivided attention.

AJ's smile widened at Astrid's words, her excitment becoming visible. She wasn't one to hide her emotions, and she probably wouldn't have been able to even if she'd tried. Putting her knife and fork down AJ turned to Astrid, attempting to sort through the many questions that had been bouncing around her mind for the past few days. If she wasn't careful they would all come out at once. AJ didn't want to scare Astrid away with her one hundred and one questions. "So, are you a mutant or something else? What powers do you have? Did you have any injuries after jumping from the tower?" She had to stop herself from continuing with more questions. She had to give Astrid a chance to reply after all.

How did she not see that one coming.

Okay, so she did, in fact, know that Amara was going to ask such questions. The corners of her lips twitched into a smile as she thought of her first day at Xavier's Institute for Gifted Youngsters and how she stood at the front of the class and announced herself. Right now, she folded her hands in front of her, sliding her plate across the table with her arm. Giving her most polite smile, she spoke as though being interviewed - Or as though addressing a class. “My name is Astrid Rebekah Torres. Everyone calls me Art though. Or Apollo. I am a proud Homo Sapien Superior. No, I did not evolve later in life as many do. I was born with an active X-Gene.” She took a moment to pause, letting Amara soak in her first statement as well as recalling the words of her friend Orfelina.

AJ nodded happily along, her mind already buzzing with new questions. Yet, somehow she managed to keep calm and let Astrid continue her explanation.

“One hundred percent of my physical being is light. That is to say, every single one of the atoms that makes up me is bonded to photons of light that I am constantly absorbing and renewing. I glow.” She paused again, this time longer than the first pause. Her jaw tightened as she reluctantly closed her eyes. For as long as she could remember she had spent much of her ability to control light to suppress her natural glow. And now... She simply let go. Astrid's body lit up like a Christmas tree with a rainbow of colors as though someone had flipped a switch inside of her and turned on a million little light bulbs. From her hair to her nails to her eyes to her skin. There was light. It was almost angelic.

Amara's eyes widened slightly as Astrid's body lit up, both because the effect looked beautiful and because even more questions had exploded in her mind. There was a professional gleam in her eyes as she studied Astrid, her mind already thinking of all the possibilities a body made from light could present. AJ had hoped to find mutants and other species when joining the initiative, and she hadn't been disappointed.

“Obviously, I can generate light. Visible light only. I can manipulate it into anything and everything that I want to. I can change the texture so that it's soft as a pillow or hard as a rock. I can energize light and become a giant walking laser, so to speak. There's nothing you can think of that I can't do with light. Things like cars and planes are harder to do. I can do a base skeleton of them. But they're so big. Takes a lot of energy.” It felt a lot better to actually be talking to a human about this. She almost felt as though she were bragging. Her smile became a little bit of a grin and she relaxed a little more. She gave a small demonstration by unclasping her hands and holding them out in front of Amara.

Light collected in her palms and began to move and take shape and color until five small butterflies of blue, gold, purple, green, and pink fluttered into Amara's face, their bodies holding intricate detail as though they were truly real butterflies.

“And... Then there's this trick.” Astrid's entire body took on a solid glow to the point that all she was...was light taking shape. That solid shape began to grow a bit fuzzy until it completely dispersed and became more of a cloud of light, much like something you see when an artist depicts a far off galaxy. The light swirled around in the air as Astrid's clothes fell into the chair before sliding back into the clothes. In the same way that the butterflies had manifested, Astrid did too. “Questions, comments, or concerns so far?”

AJ's eyes followed the butterflies, her mind momentarily ceasing its constant thinking as she simply enjoyed the pretty patterns of light that played on their wings. Then as Astrid literally disappeared into a cloud of light AJ's her attention turned back to the growing list of questions she had.

"You said you can only generate visible light, I assume that means that x-rays, ultraviolet and other light undetectable to the human eye aren't within your abilities?"

“I can see them. I see... Everything. In HiDef. I can pick you out of a crowd of twenty-thousand with a single glance in under five seconds from about five miles away. I can't manipulate other wavelengths of light though. No. Anything else?”

AJ almost laughed at Astrid's 'Anything else?', if AJ asked every question she had the two would likely still be here by nightfall.

"I have a million and one questions, but I'll try and stick to the bigger ones." AJ admitted, "Is your light still restricted to the same laws as regular light? For example, would it bounce back from a relfective surface? Although I suppose if you solidified the light the results might differ..." The last part of AJ's question was more a muttered comment to herself. "And your molecular physiology, when you're not in your light form are your organs and such biological or light? If you can change the density of light itself, you can change your own tissue density, correct? And I assume you would also travel slower in denser materials too..." It appeared that despite her best efforts the floodgates had opened and AJ was having trouble reining in her questions.

Finally, with an effort she closed her mouth and gave Astrid a sheepish smile, "Sorry. Too many questions. You should have seen me when we found out my sister was a mutant. I think my mum made me write out a list of questions for her so we could all get some peace and quiet." AJ laughed quietly, remembering the hours of endless impatience as she'd waited for her younger sister to answer all the questions she could. "I don't know if you know her, she's been at Xavier's for sometime now." AJ added.

Wow. This girl. Could really talk. Astrid was patient and waited with a smile for Amara to stop talking. She was interested to find out that Amara's sister was a mutant and even more so to find out that her sister went to Xavier's. She immediately racked her brain to see if she had met her... Amara's last name was Chaplin, right...? She closed her eyes for a moment and snapped them open with a wider smile. “Holy shit. You're Sammie's sister.” It was more stated as a fact than a question and her tension visibly completely disappeared and her features softened. From this fact alone she felt that she could trust Amara.

“Yeah. She's a really good kid. I see her every other day when I go to teach dance and yoga there. I actually grew up there and graduated from there. I also substitute the art and music classes.”

She was ready to get lost in casual conversation but realized that she had answers to give. “My light and any light that I get under my control isn't completely held by the normal laws of science. I mean, normally you'd need a mirror to get light to bend at an angle and light normally just goes on forever but -” She paused to demonstrate, generating an "L" shape of green light in her hand. Unlike if she were to be shining a flashlight, the light came to an abrupt halt around the shape and only gave off a glow.

“It does, however, reflect off of surfaces if it isn't first solidified. I can't take on an intangible light form while underwater because it scatters me and I could end up drowning myself that way.”

A grin split AJ's face as soon as she heard Sammie's name. She enjoyed the idea that Astrid knew her little sister and the fact that Astrid subbed for the art class meant that the two would have met quite regularly. She would have to tell Sammie the next time she wrote that she'd met Astrid.

As Astrid launched into her explanations AJ nodded along, taking in the answers and storing them safely in her mind. While she listened she also took the chance to take a bite of the breakfast she had so far ignored in favour of talking with Astrid.

“Second question... I can show you better than I can tell you.” She stood up and peeked behind them to see if anyone was there or if any of the doors were opening. Nothing. They were still alone. Taking a breath, she stood in front of Amara. “Remember when I said before that every one of my molecules also consisted of light?”

AJ nodded as she munched on a piece of bread. She assumed that that would make Astrid immune to most diseases that harmed a human's physical body. Would that also mean that Astrid could also possibly live forever? Light after all didn't 'die' as biological bodies did.

“Keep in mind: There's nothing that I can't do with light.” With this, she closed her eyes and repeated the same process as before. Her body became a form of solid light before dispersing into a cloud of glowing colors. “Eyes on me. Watch closely.” Her voice came from the cloud that suddenly hit the concrete of the balcony, wavering there. In something that you might see only on the SciFi channel, she began to take shape again. This time it was much slower and far more graphic. The light began to take the form of Astrid's skeleton, short as it was. More light attached to the skeleton as the layers began to slowly fall into place, Astrid allowing Amara to witness her very organs forming within her from light along with all her muscles and tendons and everything else until finally her skin and hair were the last to form.

“Before you ask - I suppose, in a sense, I can manipulate my own physiology. I haven't really tried it yet.” Astrid stood in front of the teen now, about as naked as a person could get, baring all her scars and tattoos.

"Dude, that was cool." AJ announced. It was like one of those medical videos where the body was recreated for the viewer, only this was real. AJ hardly seemed to notice that Astrid was naked either. Where a normal teenager might blush or glance away, AJ merely looked at Astrid the same as if the girl had been clothed. AJ had seen plenty of nudity in the time she'd worked in hospitals after all. Besides, AJ thought the human - or mutant - body was beautiful.

“Yeah... Pretty epic. Haven't figured out how the tattoos remain though.” Astrid noticed in an instant that she was naked. Being naked in front of people was a total non-issue with her. She was a free spirit. She didn't like showing her scars though, the main reason why she tended to wear clothes and makeup that covered them all up. Faster than she had the previous two times, she dispersed into light and reformed, this time sliding into her clothes as she did.

“Trust me. That's not even half of what I'm capable of.” Her smile was friendly as she sat back down, taking a bite out of her muffin. Her poor little critters had fallen asleep.“If you're so into mutants, why don't you ask Charlie... Uh, Professor Xavier or Professor McCoy or Professor Grey to help with your research? I'm assuming you're doing some sort of research.”

"I'm always doing research." AJ replied with a laugh, "I actually published a paper on genetics some years ago. I would love to do some more work on genetic mutations in the future, perhaps I will ask them." AJ could only imagine the many insights either professor could give her on the subject.

“I know a girl - woman, really. You might have heard of her. Orfelina Howlett. She looks like - and says - she's only twenty-something but she's like forty. Crazy genius. Had like four PhDs before she was twenty. Spent like twenty years in the Marines. But, yeah. She's my friend Logan's daughter and she's actually an expert with Homo Sapien Superior Genetics and she can tell you anything you want to know. She teaches at Xavier's sometimes. She teaches the kids how to control their abilities and use them.”

AJ laughed, a wide smile remaining on her face as she considered just how small the world was. "I actually spoke with Dr Howlett at a genetics conference a few years ago, only a few months after I'd published my paper. She had some wonderful insights into it."

AJ bit her lip, while she could have talked about Orfelina's famed work for hours another question had been itching at the back of her mind since Astrid's latest demonstration. She found herself unable to ignore it and so decided to relieve the itching curiosity by asking it, "You said you can manipulate your own physiology, so if you tried you could become a male, or another type of animal? Could you change your physical appearance? I suppose you could alter your perceived appearance by projecting a light illusions... and a crowd of solid light bodies..." AJ trailed off, once again lost in all the possibilities Astrid's mutation presented.

Amara couldn't remember the last time she'd had this much fun. First the labs and stunning equipment, then Dr Lee's project, and now Astrid. The Avengers initiative was turning out to be even better than she had expected. AJ nodded excitedly, as usual her mind racing at high speed as ideas appeared.

Clint. Steve. Jax. Dorian. Tony. Bruce. And now Amara.

Astrid was quickly finding herself putting her trust in the people she lived with now. She felt a little bad now for having avoided Amara so much and given her such a cold shoulder before now when the teenager tried striking casual conversation with her. Amara really did seem sweet and knowing that she and her parents didn't simply toss out Sammie made her feel a lot better. She continued to smile as she ate a little until the sound of her phone ringing brought her back to attention. “Sorry, we may have to pick this up some other time. I haven't uploaded a video or song in ages. Fans are antsy. Any last questions?”

AJ shrugged, "Questions aplenty, but they can wait." AJ replied. She always had questions, but she was happy to let Astrid go. They lived together now after all, it wasn't like she couldn't find her later with the list of questions she would undoubtedly have.

Astrid smiled and grabbed her plate, clicking her tongue to summon her canines. As she walked by, she stooped to give the younger girl a hug. “You know where to find me if you need anything. Don't be afraid to ask. And later, I'll show you why they really call me Apollo.” She took on a matronly tone and gaze before offering a grin with her last promise.

AJ grinned up at the older girl, pleased with their new found friendship, "Oh, I won't be. I can't wait!" She replied, knowing that once the invitation to ask questions had been given, AJ would be anything but shy.




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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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.”

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Character Portrait: Astrid Torres
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18 sightings Jasper Penrith played by phoenixheart
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing

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Ken Krieger

"If you cut off a head, two arise in it's place...that's why you burn the neck at the stump. Make sure nothing comes back."

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Patricia Lee

"Sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science."

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Dorian Mane

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

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Astrid Torres

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

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Character Portrait: Astrid Torres
Astrid Torres

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

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Dorian Mane

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

Character Portrait: Ken Krieger
Ken Krieger

"If you cut off a head, two arise in it's place...that's why you burn the neck at the stump. Make sure nothing comes back."

Character Portrait: Patricia Lee
Patricia Lee

"Sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science."

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Character Portrait: Patricia Lee
Patricia Lee

"Sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science."

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Ken Krieger

"If you cut off a head, two arise in it's place...that's why you burn the neck at the stump. Make sure nothing comes back."

Character Portrait: Astrid Torres
Astrid Torres

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

Character Portrait: Dorian Mane
Dorian Mane

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


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