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Hero Service

Portland, Oregon


a part of Hero Service, by blondehaired.


blondehaired holds sovereignty over Portland, Oregon, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

719 readers have been here.


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Portland, Oregon is a part of Hero Service.

14 Characters Here

Leonida Armel [6] 'Curious, different, and hard to miss. Just how I like it.'
Sunhi Na [5] 'The secrets inside her mind are like flowers in a garden at night-time, filling the darkness with perfume.'
Katherine Mac Niadh [5] I am who I am. I am not yours.
Lucas Halloh [5] Stepping out of the shadows into a world of heroes without a true identity.
Lorenzo de la Riva [4] 'His cheeks are dusted with gold from the kisses of Gods. He was always Apollo's favorite.'
Riley Schofield [3] "When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow."
Jordan Reyes [3] "this is the light of the mind, cold and planetary."
Carter Evans [1] the one who acts like an animal

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The rain pounded on the rooftop louder than any alarm could have blared. Agent Angel Alvarez had been up long before the wretched alarm clock finally spurred to life with a jovial voice wishing him good morning over and over until it was turned off.

The training agent usually clung to every precious moment of sleep, and weaponized himself with caffeine throughout the day, but today’s morning hours beckoned him to leave his dreamland to roam his thoughts. Today would be a day that determined the path of the next four years for his newest team of Hero Service trainees. His team of hopeful field agents had survived their first month strictly in the training facility; today would show their promise out in the field, where it was more than holographic enemies and do-over battles.

Agent Alvarez finally gained the approval of the Department of Superhuman Affairs to authorize Hero Team Zeta 422 for Portland Hero patrols.

The patrols of East and West Portland traded shifts at noon. A usual day in the training facility began at 5:00am, when Agent Alvarez finally dragged himself from the biting air of a Portland morning and into the climate controlled facility building to wake up his teenage protégées. That proved to be a challenge for some on the team, who clung to their pillows even through screaming alarm clocks. Others were already dressed once he knocked on their door.

Agent Alvarez certainly wasn’t their father, he wasn’t even old enough for that to be possible, but they knew the consequences if they weren’t in the control room for the start of the day. Any consequences given for tardiness, foul play during training, even pointless arguing between teammates, were strictly enforced so that every team member had no choice but to follow the rules.

This was how they separated the heroes from those who only joined to keep their ability. There was a duty, an obligation, to those who keep their chaos within them to serve. To avoid returning to the times before regulation, every Hero Serviceman and woman had to make it through the mandated four years in a team under a training agent. Would everyone from this team make it to the end? Even staying alive was still a question he couldn’t answer.

Fluorescent lights blinked on once Agent Alvarez’s eye scan granted him access to the entrance of the facility. It was a short elevator ride from the underground parking garage to the main control room. A few groundlings were already there, new agents of the Department who handled the video and audio feeds all over the facility. He didn’t know any of their names, nor did he care to find out. He was here for the budding heroes that would one day learn that justice can call at any hour.

”All members of Hero Team Zeta 422 will be in the control room at 5:30 sharp, full gear required.” Agent Alvarez spoke into the watch on his arm and his voice boomed around the facility.

He wasn’t going to play any games today. The two heroes his trainees would be accompanying were two of the first heroes he met in Portland. He’d met with Echo over overpriced coffee just last week, expressing his concerns for if the patrols were approved and supplying the intel he’d gathered so far on his young trainees. She supplied him with new information on the West Portland Warrior, a younger hero that joined her patrols just a few years ago. These would be the two people he would trust to help him with the team’s training, and only they would be able to keep them safe while he stayed at the facility.

Echo warned of increased criminal activity in her area of the city that she was still trying to figure out the cause. That meant that there was a higher chance that today’s patrol would have its trials. They carefully selected which heroes would join Echo’s patrol team and who would join the West Portland Warrior, based on each unique skill set. And once the team met in the control room, Agent Alvarez would assign roles and get them out into chilly downtown Portland.

Agent Alvarez made his rounds to every room, even after his booming announcement, because he knew he would still find some of them adding five more minutes to their sleep schedule instead of their morning routines. There was no time for delays as they had much to do before they would even step foot in the patrol pathways.

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sunhi Na Character Portrait: Lorenzo de la Riva
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#, as written by Layla

xxxxxxxSunhi was awake, if only because she had yet to sleep. Night had trailed its fingers across her skin, beckoning her to sink into slumber, but Sunhi had shaken its grasp as if it were no more than a pesky fly. There were too many things to be done and too many thoughts to be thunk to waste a third of her life in unconsciousness.
xxxxxxxSparks zig-zagged from her fingertips to embed themselves in the small machine sitting atop her crossed legs. She murmured soothingly to it as if speaking to a beloved pet or small child. The metal plates squealed like an injured animal.
xxxxxxx'There, there,' whispered Sunhi, as she wiggled her fingers between a narrow gap at its side. 'Got it!' Sunhi grinned, yanking a smoking piece of debris from the depths of the broken machine. She lifted it triumphantly in the air, before screaming and dropping the flaming piece of metal, that proceeded to explode at her feet. The shard was small, but no less scathing to the touch. Sunhi tucked her burned fingers to her chest, which were already beginning to blister.
xxxxxxxThe machine she'd been fixing leapt to its feet, wobbling around on unsteady wheels. It rotated its round head to look up at her, the glass panel across its face showing a series of decimals and punctuation marks that resembled a smiling face. It spun on its wheels and released a happy whirring noise.
xxxxxxx'Aww, don't mention it, Kibble!' The small round robot nudged the side of her thigh. 'Mmm, let's see what I have.'
xxxxxxxSunhi dug through the pouch at her side, pulling out a small screw. She held it out to Kibble, who proceeded to gobble up the little bit of metal into the latch at its midsection. The small creature was the first robot Sunhi had ever made. She'd been only seven at the time, and yet to come into her powers. That meant Kibble wasn't the smartest of all AI, but Sunhi loved her little robotic friend all the same.
xxxxxxx'Burnt toast?' a familiar voice asked from behind her. Sunhi turned to find Enzo waving at the smoke that had filled her room.
xxxxxxxEnzo raised a brow and leaned against the frame of her bedroom door, his arms folded over his chest. 'Oh? That's certainly not the usual reaction I get. The "oh's" I receive are usually much more enthusiastic.' Enzo smirked. 'Or breathless.'
xxxxxxx'You're not Kat,' Sunhi said bluntly.
xxxxxxx'Some would argue I'm better.'
xxxxxxxSunhi tilted her head, eyes glazing over with code as she searched the web. The silver faded back to a warm brown. 'No,' she replied matter-of-factly. 'Literally nobody has ever said that.'
xxxxxxxEnzo laughed. 'You're hilarious, little cyborg girl.'
xxxxxxxSunhi frowned. She hadn't realised she'd made a joke.
xxxxxxx'Sunhi,' Enzo continued. 'Sweetheart.'
xxxxxxxSunhi blushed. No one had ever called her sweetheart. Not even her parents. What did this mean? Was he-
xxxxxxxSunhi covered her body with her arms. Her eyes darted to the left and she grabbed a pencil, wielding it with shaky hands. 'I'm not- We will not engage in sexual relations!'
xxxxxxxEnzo pushed from the door and rubbed his palm over Sunhi's head. Her dark hair tumbled over her face, blinding her. She squeaked. 'Don't worry, darling. You're not exactly girlfriend material. More puppy or goldfish.'
xxxxxxx'I love goldfish.'
xxxxxxx'Good for y-' Enzo jumped back. 'What on earth is that?'
xxxxxxxKibble had rolled its away over to Enzo and bumped against his shin. The little robot spun, cycling back and forth as if unsure what was in its way.
xxxxxxxSunhi reached over and lifted the machine, holding it lovingly against her arms. 'His name is Kibble and he's my friend.'
xxxxxxxEnzo said nothing for a few moments, before nodding, as if everything suddenly made sense. 'Of course he is, little cyborg girl.' Enzo held out his hand. 'Come on, we have to be at the control room.'
xxxxxxxSunhi watched him warily, clutching Kibble against her chest. She grabbed a tissue from nearby and placing it in Enzo's hand, slowly grasped it.
xxxxxxx'Wow, I swear I've bathed in the last year,' Enzo said sarcastically.
xxxxxxx'Human hands have five million strains of bacteria.'

xxxxxxxEnzo was about to step into the control room when Sunhi tugged at his dark shirt. He turned around and looked down, further down, and farther down, before his gaze rested on the little cyborg girl. Interconnected lines decorated one side of her body, giving her the appearance of a computer that had been shaped into the form of a girl.
xxxxxxx'Yes?' Enzo mused.
xxxxxxx'It's 5:27,' she said, as if that told him everything he needed to know. He waited and she continued, 'We were told to be there at 5:30 sharp.'
xxxxxxxEnzo took her wrist and adjusted the watch she wore so it read 5:30. 'And now it's 5:30.'
xxxxxxxSunhi frowned. 'I have access to all the world clocks in my hea- Kibble!'
xxxxxxxKibble had rolled forward without them, spinning itself into the control room and bumping into a fellow member of Hero Team Zelta. Sunhi rushed over, somehow managing to trip over flat ground.
xxxxxxxEnzo looked on and yelled out, 'Don't fall! There's bacteria on the ground!'

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leonida Armel Character Portrait: Lucas Halloh
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codename QUANTUM, controller of kinetic energy

An alarm sounded: it was a few rapid tones followed by a pause. After the pause, the tones repeated, this time louder. After a few repeats, the alarm was almost comically loud for the small room that it inhabited. A few feet away, a pile of blankets on a full-sized bed shuddered as its owner moved about. A muffled groan could barely be heard under the blaring alarm and layers of cloth. Suddenly, Leo sat up in their bed, all of the blankets falling off of them in one fell swoop. The alarm clock was across the room to force them out of bed; if it had been on their nightstand, the urge to just hit snooze and fall back asleep would be too strong. Leo dragged themselves out of the bed. They looked as disheveled as one possibly could be with their hair sticking this way and that and their pajamas basically falling off.

With the alarm turned off, Leo went to begin their early morning routine. They combed through their hair with their fingers before tying it up in a small, tight ponytail. If they were meant to train, their hair needed to be out of their face. They prefered box braiding their hair, but they didn’t have the time for it this morning. Then, they peeled off their comfy, fluffy pajamas and pulled out their uniform. And while it was decently comfortable, it wasn’t nearly as nice as their pjs. Begrudgingly, they slipped into their armored pants, buckling up the secure belt. Then came the layers. It was cold out in Portland. They put on their undershirt, regular black shirt, and then the armored over-shirt. As if to test that armor and wake themselves up a bit, Leo tapped the center of their stomach with their fist, and it bounced off as it always does. Then, they clipped on their utility belt, not bothering to check the pouches. They had been fully stocked last night so of course they’d be fully stocked in the morning. They put on their boots, making sure to lace them up tight but not too tight. Their mask came last, which they let hang around their neck as they went about the rest of their morning.

It had only taken a little while to get ready, so Leo was still extremely groggy as they stumbled into the small cafeteria. They surveyed their surroundings, looking between the few breakfast food options, and yet barely took any of the information in. They already knew what that wanted to eat, and stumbled up to the table. They picked up two sandwiches, packed with eggs, bacon, and cheese, and a large carton of chocolate milk. They checked their watch, seeing how little time they had left, and began their routine of scarfing the food down. In less than two minutes, their plate was clear and their milk was gone. After checking their watch again, Leo shot up, darting over to put their tray into the return pile. There was something about eating that filled Leo with energy. Hmm, perhaps it was the calories? Life is a mystery.

Alvarez’s booming voice echoed through their head. They weren’t even close to late, but Leo hated being anything short of comfortably early. And, unsurprisingly, Leo was one of the first to arrive in the control room. They sauntered in, more than 10 minutes early, with hands behind their head, and smiled at the few occupants in the room. Agent Alvarez was there, of course, and Lucas, of course. They walked up to the two, transferring their hands to their hips. “Sup, boss!” They beamed with a playful salute. Leo’s mood had done an impossible 180 in the last 15 minutes. The magic of food. After greeting Alvarez, they shifted their gaze to Lucas. “And you! How do you always manage to be the first one to the party? Do you sleep in here?” They joked. Leo stood next to him, but that didn’t stop them from glancing behind their shoulder at the door, as if waiting for someone to arrive.

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Character Portrait: Riley Schofield
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| Oryx | Shadow Manipulation | Combat Suit | #063A67

Riley had been awake far too long already as knocking and voices from outside of her room echoed down the hall. It would be on their early assignments, and from what they were told in preparation days earlier, was that they would need to be awake bright and early as well as in tip-top shape. And as such she was already wide awake in her room busy at work. She as well as a few of the others had a strict schedule and regime to stick to. Riley had been busy working on more of the design and customization for her suit as she heard the knock on the door, alerting everyone to having to be up and ready in the Control Room as soon as possible. Riley quickly changed into sweatpants and a sweatshirt as she ran down the hallway and took an elevator down to where she needed to go, she hadn't realized what time it was, and knew she was going to be late. If only by a few minutes, but nonetheless late. Once the soft chime echoed from the elevator she bolted out the door and ran down the hallway, her footsteps echoing as she turned down a few other corridors, and finally saw the door down the long hallway that she needed to get to. As she closed in the door it opened with a metallic and airy whoosh as it slid open. The other side of the room was filled with otherwise blinding lights, pure white metal walls, glass windows, and other objects as well as a few desks and tubes and capsules that aligned the wall.

What had caught her attention were the people in coats crowded around something that was hidden from her current view, but as she neared closer the people turned and looked at her as others continued their work. "Good-morning, Ms. Schofield." one of them said. It was a taller, gray-haired man with large glasses and a kind smile as he shook Riley's hand and patted her on the back as he welcomed her in. "Good-morning, Patterson. How's it coming along?" Riley asked rather inquisitively as she eyed the object that the workers were fixated on. The old man smiled as the others simply either gave Riley a small nod and smile or simply a roll of their eyes at her presence. To say that Riley wasn't exactly a fan favorite around the Department wouldn't be far from the truth. Not many people had been rather fond of her or even really cared much or paid her any mind, and it didn't bother her as much as others would have thought. Patterson smiled and gestured to the large metal table in the center of the lab workers who's focus was fully on their work, not the others around them, "It's almost finished, a little more work on the helmet and some patchwork here and there. But, it is more or less done, Ms. Riley. I hope it is finally to your liking? We did get the update from you on some of your preferences, and they will be adjusted as soon as possible." he said with a small smile as the two looked on the helmet that was positioned on the table and under construction as metal grating and smoke rose as engravings were added into the center of the helmer above the brows. "It's perfect. Do you think it's fine for being taken out today? I do have to be back at the Command Room in a few minutes as well." she said with a bit of excitement and impatience in her tone. Patterson smiled and patted her shoulder gently, "It is capable of being used out in the field, but be sure to not be so rough with it just yet, okay? It still is rather in its early phases of completion." he said with a smile as he turned back to the see the others had finished up the engravings on the helmet, handing it over to the man that dusted off the visor and handed it over to the girl. "I hope it serves you well my dear. You already have the rest of the suit in your room, so let us know how it feels and serves you as your on the field, as we did implement a speaking feature in it just like you asked."

A large smile crossed her face as she felt the material touch her fingertips, and then finally fully in her hands as she looked at the helmet, slightly hoisting it up in the air as the lighting in the room glistened off of the otherwise blackened visor. "It's perfect. Thank you so much! I will definitely let you all know how it works out and will be back with it later!" she said with a smile as she gave a small bow and wave as she turned and ran out of the room. Patterson and the others gave her a small smile and wave as they watched her runoff, and as her form disappeared into the hallway Patterson turned to the others and gave them a nod. His once friendly and soft looking expression on his face slowly turned into one that was colder and emotionless as they went about discussing certain matters amongst themselves. A few short minutes later Riley had already gotten back to her room and changed into her full combat suit, looking into the mirror one last time as he held the helmet in the crook of her arm as she held it firmly. "You got this..." she muttered to herself and took a deep breath as she turned and left her room, seeing a few of the others walk into the control room she sighed, she knew she was going to be a bit late, but from the looks of it, she wasn't the last one, thankfully. One of the things she hadn't been expecting was how heavy sounding the boots were as they thudded down the hallway, that was something she'd need to get adjusted next time the suit was sent back in. Awkwardly and silently she walked into the Control Room, seeing that Agent Alteraz was there, as well as Lucas, of course he'd be there, why wouldn't he be? And thankfully one face she didn't exactly mind seeing, if not looked forward to seeing was Leo. She gave them all a small wave, and gave Agent Alteraz a small nod, "Sorry for being late. I'll try to make sure it doesn't happen again."

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Character Portrait: Jordan Reyes Character Portrait: Leonida Armel
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biological manipulation - antigen - #794044

this is the light of the mind, cold and planetary
the trees of the mind are black. the light is blue.
the grasses unload their griefs on my feet as if i were God
prickling my ankles and murmuring of their humility
fumy, spiritous mists inhabit this place.


Jordan had never been a morning person, and the few months in the service hadn't changed that. If he was being perfectly honest with himself, the only reason he reported in on time every morning was because he'd made the mistake of sleeping in one morning and skipping breakfast. Training on an empty stomach had really not been pleasant. And so he dragged himself out of bed at the persistent, overly cheery chirping of his alarm. He ran a hairbrush through his hair, made sure to apply his usual moisturiser and SPF, and got changed into his uniform. On days like this, he left it until the last thing he did before leaving. Left it so that only a brief glance in the mirror would suffice. He could feel the dissatisfaction at the close fitting clothing, his discomfort with his own body, starting to sneak in. He belted the trench coat around him and headed out in search of breakfast.

Yet another problem with these early mornings was that Jordan was never hungry. Not yet. But he needed to get something to eat, and he spent far too long perusing his options. It was also partially a tactic to avoid having to talk to his fellow heroes, because god knows he still wasn't awake enough for that. Eventually, as his time became scarce enough to force him in to a decision, he grabbed some fresh fruit and a chocolate pastry of some kind, eating them on his way to the control room. He wasn't the first there, but he also wasn't the last. He sidled up to Leo and rested his head on their shoulder.

"Leeeeooooo it's too early for this," he groaned, wrapping his arms around them in a hug. Leo always had so much energy in the mornings. Jordan hoped that one day it would somehow magically pass between them and he'd magically become a morning person. One day. Maybe.

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sunhi Na Character Portrait: Lorenzo de la Riva Character Portrait: Kieran Mac Niadh
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#, as written by Cloud
A snort left Kip's mouth, the sound slightly muffled against the mattress of his bed. He groaned, shifted and cracked his eyes open, blearily staring at the white colour of his sheets. He closed his mouth, and groaned in protest again, wishing he could block out the noises indicating it was time to get up and start the day.

"Too… early" he complained to himself, curling momentarily back under the blankets. His feet twitched and in his head, Kip knew he should get up. His body, however desired a few more hours of rest. The body, as always, won out and it didn't take long before Kip was once again drifting off to sleep.

He jerked awake only moments later… or perhaps ten minutes later. He wasn't sure. Though Kip knew by the booming of his alarm that he was well overdue to get up and leave. He looked at the time.


With a start, Kip jumped out of bed, flinging the blankets aside as he did. They joined the pile of clothing on the ground, among which his uniform was stored… somewhere.

"Shit.. Shit…" Kip groaned again, flinging off his pyjama shirt and kneeling down to quickly search the pile of discarded clothing for his uniform. He found the pants, what he assumed to be a fresh pair of underwear and socks… "Where is the shirt?"

Kip kicked aside more piles of clothing as he simultaneously started to change into his uniform. He had a foot in the leg when he found the top of his uniform and rather than waste time changing in his room, Kip instead, with clothes on his arms and hopping on one foot to fully pull his pants on, left towards the control room.

He arrived almost dressed. There was a sock trailing behind him and his shirt was only attached by one arm. It was also inside-out. Kip glanced around, attempting to slink in without being noticed as he righted his shirt.

"I'm on time! I'm perfectly on time" he announced once the shirt was on… only then realising that he had forgotten his shoes. "...shit."

A quick retreat was made, with Kip racing through the corridors, skidding in his socks as he rounded the corners. One shoe was beneath the bed, the other was hidden beneath a poster of Goldmine. Kip grabbed both and pushed the poster carefully beneath the bed, he didn't want anyone to know he was deeply obsessed with Lucas's older brothers.

He made it to the control room again in record time, jumping on one foot as he pulled his shoe on. Glancing around, Kip hopped over towards Enzo. "I'm not late, am I? Alveraz isn't here yet, is he?" Kip looked down at Sunhi, noting the slightly red impression of floor on her face. Had she fallen again?

"Maybe you could do your computer beep Boop thing to make the time go back so I'm not late anymore." Kip asked Sunhi, unaware of her and Enzo's previous encounter.

5 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leonida Armel Character Portrait: Sunhi Na Character Portrait: Lucas Halloh Character Portrait: Katherine Mac Niadh Character Portrait: Kieran Mac Niadh
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Kat’s body hit the ground with a dull thud, drowned out by the taunting voices in front of her. “I didn’t push you that hard! Get up, freak, I’m not done with you.”

”Get up.” Lucas stood above Kat, both slightly panting as she offered her hand for him to help her up. Lucas looks at the hand, then back at her as he folds his arms over his chest. Kat huffs, pulling herself to her feet and charging at him for another attack.

Kat holds her shaking fists in front of her face, wide eyes moving frantically to each of her classmates surrounding her. Their laughter was cruel and deafening. “You’re not gonna use that little ghost of yours, Katherine? You’re too weak to fight us alone.”

”Use your abilities. I want you to fight me at full strength,” Lucas barks as he catches her fist, only letting go when she made the spirit’s armor cover her fists and it burned him. He pulls back, and waits for her next attack towards the edge of the training room. She’d made the first move for most of their training this morning, and would wait for him to strike first.

The teachers never stepped in. Her other classmates never stepped in. The torture never ended until she couldn’t get back up. She curled into a ball, shaking as the bullies surrounded her. “Maybe if we hurt the freak enough those powers will go away-“

”Alright Lucas, Jesus!” Kat finally spits out when he has her pinned to the floor, her stomach pushed into the mat as he held her armor-covered arm behind her. The energy faded once her arm dropped to the mat and she pulls herself up into a seated position. ”Would you stop kicking my ass please?” Kat grumbles as she rubs her arm that he was just holding behind her.

Lucas scoffs, holding out his own arm this time to help her from the floor. ”When you stop making it so easy,” Lucas replies, earning himself a deadly glare from his fellow teammate.

Sometimes Kat didn’t know why she wanted to train with Lucas so much, he only gave her negative criticism and she hadn’t won a training match against him so far. But when she woke up around 3:30AM, drenched in sweat from a never ending nightmare, she needed a good sparring partner that would go back to sleep the moment she woke them up. That didn’t mean she would take his comments lightly.

”Okay hotshot, you’ve been training with two professional heroes. Cut me some slack,” Kat grumbles, grabbing a little towel to throw around her neck so she can wipe the sweat from her face. Lucas rolled his eyes as he walked out the door, calling behind him, ”No villain will cut you slack and neither willI.”

He was not too thrilled when he heard the incessant knocking at his door, waking him up from much needed sleep. The offer of training was never one he gave up, so he dragged himself out of bed without Kat having to ask twice.

The training session didn’t last as long as he thought and Lucas had plenty of time to ready himself for the day. Standing in a steaming shower, he closed his eyes and tilted his head for the hot water to hit the sensitive skin on his face. One month of the Hero Service and he’d been pushed harder than he ever thought he would. Kat was right, he’d been training with his brothers Dom and Rory since he could hold up his fists, but even those on the team without a hint of training before now were giving him a challenge.

He was out of the shower and almost pulling on his usual training clothes when Alvarez’s voice boomed throughout the facility. His uniform had been neatly kept on a special rack in the corner of his room, his mask laying over his boots. The only thing that was slightly disheveled was the bandages he just used in training, thrown on top of the rack before his shower.

Lucas ended up being the first person in the room, even Agent Alvarez came in just moments after him. ”Do you even sleep, kid?” The older man chuckles, tipping his coffee at the young trainee. Lucas smirks back in reply, folding his hands behind him in a proper stance to greet his superior.

The next to come was Leo, who made their place beside Lucas and made a comment similar to the one from the agent. ”I just plan accordingly. I even trained with Kat and got here before you,” Lucas answers matter-of-factly, slipping his mask off once he started speaking with Leo.

He felt a bump at his legs that threw him off balance, stepping one foot back as he looked down. Kibble, little machine that ate sharp objects to give to Lucas as gifts during his boarding school days, was still alive and rolling around as usual. And just behind the little machine, its maker had tripped over her own feet and hit the ground before he could try and catch her fall. ”Sunhi, there wasn’t anything for you to trip on, how did you do that?” Lucas asks in a scolding tone, helping her back onto her feet.

”Chill, Mr. Perfectionist, Sunhi’s a brainiac. So what if she gets a little clumsy?” Kat strolls into the room in full uniform as she speaks, grinning at Sunhi as she makes her way towards the pair.

Kat laid on her bed for a while before she finally pulled herself up for a shower, but there was only about half the team there when she arrived in her own full gear. She notices Leo’s already made it in, and waves as her fellow teammate with a shy smile. The two were already becoming close in this short month, and just being around Leo made Kat more confident overall.

Jordan and Riley were already here too. She was friendlier with Jordan, but smiled towards them when she took her place in the control room. It was no surprise that Kip hadn’t made it yet, sometimes he would sleep through half of their morning briefing before finally gracing everyone with his presence. It was a surprise that he’d made it before their mandatory 5:30, but that quickly changed when Kip came in barefoot.

The second appearance wasn’t much better, considering his shirt was inside out and his clothes looked like they’d been left on the floor. Kat butted in before Lucas could make any sort of comment, ”Hey Kippy, your tag is showing. Did you even put your shirt on right?”

These kids amused Agent Alvarez. All of them had a unique personality and powers that influenced how they interacted with their other teammates. Some looked like they’d been dragged out of bed, namely Kip, but others looked like they’d already been up for hours, like Lucas. Some could brighten up after a few minutes, like Kat and Leo, while some would gripe at the early hours, like Jordan. Either way, they managed to report mostly on time and respected him as their instructor. This team was greatly different from his previous teams, but there was something special about these kids that would set them apart from the rest of the heroes.

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Halloh Character Portrait: Willow Forst Character Portrait: Kieran Mac Niadh
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#, as written by Cloud
The sound of knocking roused Will from her sleep, though it had only been a light slumber after a night of restless stirring and bad dreams. As she dutifully pulled herself from bed, Will caught the occasional sounds of others waking coming from the rooms either side of her. Alveraz's booming voice rarely failed to wake her peers.

A quick shower took less than two minutes and Will was smoothly pulling her uniform on over skin smelling faintly of citrus. Her hair was wet, but all it took was a moment of flame - her hair turning into a Medusa's nest of flicking flames - and it was dry. The elastic around her wrist made quick work of tying the shoulder-length strands up, now back to her normal dark brown. Grabbing up her leather jacket, Will headed out.

She stretched as she walked, hands above her head and pulled straight up, arching backwards ever so slightly. Some mornings Will woke up 30 min early so she could do a proper stretch routine before the training day properly started. It helped settle her mind for the day and keep her from feeling stiff. This morning the yoga had been skipped in favour of a little extra sleep.

As Will entered the control room she gazed at those who had arrived before her, nodding towards those she was on good terms with and giving only a polite smile to the others. Will came to stand beside Lucas, a warmer smile sent his way even if she didn't feel the need to start idle chit-chat. Will may be able to get up early enough, but it took her slightly longer to feel like talking.

Kip stumbled into the room looking frazzled and only partially dressed. He darted back out and reappeared a moment later with the previously missing shoes, making some comment to Sunhi and Enzo about being late and Alveraz. Will had the distinct impression that in his haste, Kip had missed the fact that the agent was standing with them in the room, perhaps partially blocked by other team members, but very clearly there.

Will cleared her throat and turned to the agent, saying clearly "Good morning, agent Alveraz." It was loud enough for Kip to hear and Will watched from the corner of her eye as the boy froze partway through righting his previously inside-out shirt, having realised his mistake.

Kip pulled his shirt on correctly and turned to their instructor, an easy smile plastered on his face. "Alveraz...Al.. Nice to see you. I was just joking about the beep boop thing. I'm actually, like, perfectly on time." The boy ran a hand through his hair, a tell of his true nerves that only those who knew him well might catch.

Will just rolled her eyes and settled back to wait for the meeting to begin.

9 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anouk Vervloet Character Portrait: Leonida Armel Character Portrait: Riley Schofield Character Portrait: Sunhi Na Character Portrait: Lucas Halloh Character Portrait: Lorenzo de la Riva Character Portrait: Katherine Mac Niadh Character Portrait: Willow Forst Character Portrait: Kieran Mac Niadh
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”All members of Hero Team Zeta 422 will be in the control room at 5:30 sharp, full gear required."

From the comfort of a bed never made, Anouk groaned and rolled onto her other side. Now awake, she was instantly bitter, having been plucked from a lucid dream. She had spent most of it flying, and, to her delight, she had neither required wings to do so, nor experienced any such pain in the process. Suffice to say, she was far from eager to return to consciousness, where both factors were quite the opposite.

After several minutes of lying in tired reluctance, she clamoured out of bed, dropping her pyjamas to the floor in what had now become an act of lazy routine. For a brief moment, she stood naked in front of her mirror, face sleepy and sheepish. Then, she sighed, and with a grimace, put on her 'uniform'.

It never didn't hurt, but she had grown used to the pain of the scales by this point. They emerged, piercing and sharp, from beneath her skin, and folded to tuck flat against her body. Dark like deep water, they interlocked into what looked like a catsuit of navy crocodile skin. It kept the warmth in, for the most past, but nonetheless she threw on a hoodie before wandering down to the control room, as the morning chill lingered a touch too heavily. Her feet walked bare and scaled across the polished floors, and she winced at the cold, and then winced further, as she allowed the scales on her soles to thicken.

she arrived just in time to hear Kip offering what was, undoubtedly, something both insincere and unconvincing. She smiled at the first, and potentially last, amusing moment of the morning, before sidling over to Kip. In the midst of a stifled yawn, she nodded at Alvarez, concurring with Kip.

"Me too, Al. I've been up hours. 'Rise and grind' and all that."

5 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jordan Reyes Character Portrait: Leonida Armel Character Portrait: Lucas Halloh Character Portrait: Katherine Mac Niadh Character Portrait: Kieran Mac Niadh
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#FFD201 || #794044

“I just plan accordingly. I even trained with Kat and got here before you,” Lucas’ response was curt, as it usually is, and he said it with a twinge of boastfulness. Although Leo didn’t appreciate that, that wasn’t what their attention was drawn to. For a moment, something flashed in Leo’s eyes as they looked, no, glared as they met Lucas’ gaze. Leo likes to be aware of what they feel; it helps them keep control of their emotions and appear more calm and pleasant in general. But for a second there, they had no idea what had happened. They had no idea what they were feeling. They blinked, and their stare was reverted, returning to the usual relaxed smile with a mischievous gleam in their eyes.

“Damn! Without me?” They chuffed, putting on a fake and exaggerated pout. “Invite me to the party next time.” The pout faded back in a wide grin.

Before seeing what Lucas would say in response, Jordan entered the room, and all of their attention went to him. He closed the distance between the two of them quickly, resting his head on their shoulder before whining, “Leeeeooooo it's too early for this,” and pulling them into a hug.

Without hesitation, Leo wrapped their arms around Jordan and hugged him back. “I know, I know, mon coeur.” They cooed, stroking the back of his head with one of their hands. Leo cared greatly for their friends, and Jordan was one of the closest and most precious to them. There was something about seeing their friends in distress that brought out their inner guardian. “Did you get enough sleep? Did you make sure to eat breakfast?” They asked, their voice full of genuine concern.

There was something about Leo’s presence that always instantly made Jordan feel better. Or maybe it was just their amazing hugs, the type that were the closest thing you could get to hugging sunshine. They were the perfect thing for a too early morning and Jordan felt better the moment Leo wrapped their arms around him, let alone stroked his hair.

“Mm. Never enough sleep, Leo. But I ate breakfast,” he mumbled back in response. “They had those nice chocolate pastries.” He straightened up and released Leo just in time to see Kat come in and returned a lazy smile at her. Kip’s arrival, followed by his departure, followed by his return managed to lure a laugh from Jordan’s lips despite the early morning. “Long night, Kip?” He quipped with a smirk.

Leo’s smile became more warm as they heard about Jordan’s morning. “I know it can be hard, but you need to try and go to sleep earlier. But it is good that you ate breakfast!” They chirped as Jordan pulled back, scanning his face with the usual gentle gaze.

People started to enter the room, including Kat, who immediately caught Leo’s attention. She waved and smiled at them, a simple act that made Leo’s chest feel light. Without hesitation, they beamed right back at her, giving her a small, playful salute. After doing that, Leo couldn’t stop their stare from lingering on her for an almost awkward amount of time. After several seconds, they blinked, realized what they were doing, and tried to act nonchalantly about the fact that they were staring at Kat.

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When Alvarez’s announcement boomed through her room, Bronwyn swore, along with all four of her clones who were currently engaged in curling her hair and doing her makeup. Bronwyn had been up for a good hour already, an hour she had spent eating oats with skim milk and selecting the perfect shade of pink for her nails. However, when Alvarez followed up his visit with a knock on her door, she realised she was quickly running out of time, like usual, as every morning she pushed the boundaries of tardiness trying to get that extra bit of primping in.

When the clock hit 5:25, she tapped all her clones on their shoulders to dispel them, before whipping on her uniform and running to the control room. Well, not running exactly, more of a hasty stroll, she couldn’t risk upsetting her curled hair while it was still setting.

She arrived to witness to an intense glaring session between everyone’s favourite uptight leader and Leo. It was over as soon as it started but that didn’t stop Bronwyn from strutting up to Lucas and inserting herself. “Your social skills are as effective as ever.” She motioned to where Leo was with no subtlety. “What dick-ish thing did you say this time?” It was easy to assume that Lucas was the one at fault, while Bronwyn herself didn’t get the appeal most people tended to find Leo pleasing enough to be around. She wasn’t going to sugar coat her comments to Lucas either, she was pretty sure the only reason they got along was that he bore her blunt nature, and she accepted his criticisms.

She turned to Will with a smile, “Morning.” Anything else that could be said was killed by Kip’s reappearance with an inside out t-shirt. Bronwyn and Kip were friends, but even if they weren’t a fashion mistake like that couldn’t be allowed to go on. Luckily he fixed it up before Bronwyn had to send a clone over there to do it for him. She looked back at Lucas and Will, with a heavy sigh, “He is such a walking disaster.” The words weren’t particularly nice, but she didn’t say them with malice. One of the appeals of Kip was his goofier side.

Carter was awake for Alavarez’s announcement, he was lying in bed watching his clock tick down to doomsday, well, 5:30, but Carter was happy to treat it like a ticking bomb. Carter didn’t do anything without some degree of competition, and this morning he was planning on beating his record. He cracked all the knuckles in his left hand before moving to his right as he waited in anticipation. "5, 4, 3…“ He murmured a count down with his clock and on one, he jack-knifed out of bed.

Carter launched across his room, tore out his uniform and was slinking in to it while also pouring himself some cereal or breakfast. Not saving time for a spoon, he brought the bowl to his lips eating the cereal as if it were a smoothie, while also sprinting down the hallways. Once he’d down his breakfast, he dropped the bowl on a window ledge and activated his powers, borrowing the likeness of a cheetah for speed.

He arrived at the control room with a burst of energy and speed, only slowing once he’d entered the room. He checked his watch and let out a booming, “Yes!” He’d made the trek from bed to training in 1 minute and 12 seconds, beating his previous record, though he was still aiming to break the 1 minute line, hence he was all of 12 seconds late. “One minute, twelve. I crushed it.” Carter said the words to the Mac Naidh sibling group that he was bounding over to, but his voice had a tendency to boom all over the place in his easy excitement.

“You’re such an idiot,” He said with a good natured laugh as he wrapped an arm around Kip’s neck. Though quickly Carter attempted to turn the friendly gesture into a headlock, trying to give his friend’s hair a playful ruffling. Upon releasing Kip he gave the rest of the group his attention and let out a grin, “Morning all. Let’s get this thing started.”

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This newest group of trainees was… nothing like the past two sets of teams Agent Alvarez has trained into the Hero Service.

The biggest difference was their original testing scores. He’d originally been placed with mid-tier teams, most of whom would not be plastered on the front pages of newspapers nationwide very often. Honestly, he’d thought it a mistake when he opened his files for the first time and saw the scores. These were the next top heroes, the ones that kids across the country would hang posters of. Agent Alvarez knew better than anyone the importance of those in the Hero Service who had more mundane roles, but he also felt the sparks of excitement having a top tier team geared towards field work.

With the excitement came a new anxiety, especially as he prepared for their first time out on patrols. There would be more field missions, meaning more risk of running into any criminals and more risk of his trainees getting hurt. He was thankful that a healer had been put on the team, but Jordan is a trainee just as much as the rest of them and he had no way of knowing how any of their missions would go.

Echo had originally warned him of increased criminal activity but now assured him that Portland had been quiet the last few days, making it a perfect time for them to go out. He wouldn’t have time today to reprimand the late comers, though almost all the team was there before the mandated 5:30 arrival. Their morning banter was a common occurrence, especially now that more of them were adjusting to the early start time.

”You’ve all been approved to start field work, so I have two heroes on the Portland patrol team that will be training you today on the proper conduct around civilians,” Agent Alvarez’s voice booms out to his team of powerful young adults, demanding their attention at the start of his speech.This time they could not afford to play around and joke with each other with the odds of a criminal coming into play still an unknown. You will be split up into two teams and work with your assigned hero.”

Agent Alvarez steps from the front of the control room and roots himself in the middle of his team, Team Echo, following professional servicewoman Echo in East Portland, will consist of Prodigy, Apollo, Avalanche, Blink, Undine, Proteus, and Wild Thing.

“Team Warrior, following professions serviceman West Portland Warrior in West Portland, will be Quantum, Artemis, Cyborg, Copycat, Oryx, Antigen, and Trigger. Remember, treat these heroes how you would treat me, they are your commander on the field today. I will be in the control room watching as much as I can.”

Following the announcement, the teams were sent on two different routes to the patrol meeting point for East and West. The teams were strategically chosen by Agent Alvarez as well as the two heroes that would be joining them. Ideally, this would be a simple first field mission where the team could get used to being seen by civilians and understand the importance of the patrol team. Echo had already prepared her patrol team to be aware of the new trainees coming to the field, as did the West Portland Warrior. They each met their designated team at the patrol center, in their professional uniforms ready to mentor the budding heroes.

Both teams were given a similar speech: ”Today you will be patrolling with the Portland Patrol Teams for the duration of the Day Shift. There are four quadrants based on the cardinal directions. Your duties will include monitoring the streets of your designated area, checking on any disturbances, and making your presence known so that the civilians in the area can feel safe. Do not interact with any criminals unless authorization has been given by your patrol mentor.”

7 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Carter Evans Character Portrait: Lorenzo de la Riva Character Portrait: Naia Luo Character Portrait: Katherine Mac Niadh Character Portrait: Willow Forst Character Portrait: Kieran Mac Niadh Character Portrait: Bronwyn Lapointe
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#, as written by Cloud
It was definitely not Kip's coolest entry, but as he corrected his shirt and grinned at those around him, he shrugged off the potential embarrassment easily. Instead, he sent a wink at Bronwyn, having heard her words.

"Maybe you should lend me a few clones each morning so I can look as gorgeous as you." he suggested with a grin before blowing a kiss at his teammate. It was then that an arm wrapped around his neck and Kip found himself fighting for his dignity again as Carter attempted to ruin Kip's carefully crafted bed head.

"Carter!" Kip complained, trying to push the other boy off. He was a second away from viciously going for a nipple twist when he was released. Kip gave a laugh and elbowed Carter back before running hasty fingers through his hair to straighten it. "I'll get you back for that." he promised before turning his attention to the Agent addressing them.

Kip listened intently all the way up to 'field work', where he let out a cheer and pumped his fist in the air. He was ready to prove his stuff out of the training room and, if he was being honest, he was ready for the attention heroes could get from the public. Dreams of being showered in love letters and signing posters of himself looking heroic filled his head, and we're only broken when he realised that his twin sister had been placed on the other team from him.

Kip pulled a face and glanced at Kat, knowing that he would worry about her more if he wasn't with her. It was stupid, since he knew that she was fully capable of taking care of herself, but the twins were also stronger when fighting side by side. He had no time to complain though, merely having to mouth "good luck" at his sister before leaving with his team.

With a grin, Kip walked up to Lucas and clapped him on the back. "Lucky you, Lu, you've got me on your team to show you how to fight." He laughed and glanced at the others walking with him to the meeting point, "if anyone wants pointers, just watch me in battle. I'll teach you a few things."

Kip's self-confidence was usually what propelled him to push himself, but also got him in trouble more often than not. He wasn't the best fighter in the team, but he acted like it often enough. Regardless, when they arrived to hear their duties for the patrol, he had enough sense to listen attentively, even if he occasionally elbowed Enzo in excitement.

Will, standing behind Kip, had to marvel at his unprofessionalism. She knew he was a decent fighter, otherwise he would have been kicked out long ago, but the boy had a mouth that wouldn't stop. She didn't necessarily dislike him, but she didn't particularly like him either. Whenever something idiotic came out of his mouth, it made Will wonder how two twins could be so different.

The speeches were given and the Echo team were split further. Will moved to stand beside Naia, a friendly now directed at the other girl. She was relieved with her pairing, Naia was more than capable and Will could now look forward to what she hoped would be a smooth patrol.

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Character Portrait: Leonida Armel Character Portrait: Sunhi Na Character Portrait: Katherine Mac Niadh
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#FFD201 || #E2A76F
|| #E77471

As the room started to fill with the rest of the team, Kat tuned out the bickering between the teammates and joined the company of her thoughts. Something big was happening, considering they were in full gear and Agent Alvarez had been mentioning the start of field work coming soon. Being out there, where no one knows them other than another uniform trying to protect them, it was nerve-wracking and unbelievably exciting at the same time.

The moment Agent Alvarez mentioned that Kip was on another team, it made Kat worried. As much as she trained to be her own hero, she worked best when Kip was by her side. Even if he could be a bit bratty at times, he was her rock and she wanted nothing more than to be on the same team. But this is how it would be and she wouldn’t always have Kip with her.

She noticed him mouthing at her as they left, wishing her good luck. She mouthed the same back, smiling and winking back at him as they parted ways.

That didn’t mean she was disappointed in the team by any means. The full team covering the West Portland area were people she got along with well, and once they were separated further, the two she was paired with were the greatest luck she could have.

Kat and Sunhi hit it off from the start. The technology girl had taken a liking to her and was an adventure just to be around. She was chatty and clumsy, but also impossibly intelligent and a brilliant strategist that gave Kat tips to improve her combat. Kat found herself protective of the other girl, especially now when there was a chance of enemy attack at any moment. And Leo… well, she couldn’t lie at the fact of being almost alone with her teammate made her heart skip a beat. Leo was someone she looked up to, and wanted to be around all the time. Kat didn’t know the words to describe how she felt about them, but the appropriate actions were usually a blush and giggle when anyone asked, not actual words.

If she was going to brave her first mission without Kip by her side, Leo and Sunhi were the best partners she could have asked for.

Leo’s eyes couldn’t be pulled off of Alvarez if someone tried. The words coming out of his mouth were like music to their ears. It took all of their willpower to not react like Kip, bursting with joy. Instead, they did their best to contain it, rerouting their happiness into a wide grin and bouncing on their heels. They did want to at least try and be professional in front of these professional heroes. I’ll be there one day. The possible visions of their future were positive and exciting just to think about. And today would be the first step of many, many steps.

As Alvarez kept talking, Leo kept getting more and more drawn in and excited. The people on their team were awesome, and they’d heard a few good things about the West Portland Warrior. And now, they’d be able to train under him, a professional hero, with some really cool people on their team! But Alvarez continued to talk, and things just kept getting better. They would be split into small groups, and who was in Leo’s group?

Sunhi and… Kitty? Leo’s heart jumped into their throat. It was so suddenly pounding in their ears, they were sure people could see their eyes as wide as saucers. But they shook their head, pushing past it. Leo glanced over at Kat, almost suspiciously, before realizing that looking away suddenly would have been even more suspicious. So instead they smiled at her, giving her a short playful salute. Smooth, tiger.

Sunhi’s eyes darted between Kat and Leo. Leo was looking at Kat with the sort of intensity Sunhi had only ever seen in movies. Sunhi herself had never looked at anyone so closely, partly because staring was rude, but mostly because eye contact was a skill she’d never mastered.

Sunhi wiggled her way between Kat and Leo, wrapping her arms around Kat’s elbow. She stuck her chin up, and gazed at Leo with what she hoped was a look of defiant suspicion. Sunhi was unsure why Leo was smiling at her best friend, but she had read in a book of animal psychology that predators often bared their teeth before striking. Sunhi would not allow them to coax Kat into a state of false comfort.

Though Leo was as extraordinary as everyone else, Sunhi would not let her respect and awe of them to shake her guard. Though Leo’s face was awfully symmetrical.

Sunhi would have glared at Leo for longer, but she needed to blink, and the eye contact was getting uncomfortable. Her eyes watered with the intensity with which she was staring at Leo, and a tear trickled down her cheek. Sunhi blinked rapidly, and looked away with a huff.

The first person Kat caught eyes with was Leo. Her teammate smiled at her, sending a salute in her direction. It made her giggle, waving shyly back at Leo. Then she felt hands latch around her arm, and looked slightly down to see Sunhi at her side and smiled. ”Don’t worry, Sun. Leo and I are good fighters, so you won’t need to throw any punches,” Kat reassures her, believing her teammate’s sudden attachment to be caused by nervousness toward being out in the field.

And if Kat was honest, she was terrified. More of the citizens rather than the criminals. Miami had been a lot kinder, but she still worried of what people would think when they saw her in uniform. When they saw what she could do.

She was thankful that at least Leo and Sunhi were by her side, if she couldn’t be with Kip. So she put on as much of a brave face as she could muster as they made their way to West Portland. It would be her first time meeting a professional hero, and the first time they’d really be able to wander out Portland, even on professional business. Portland was a tundra compared to Miami, and she activated the internal heaters inside her uniform’s hoodie and boots. ”Man, I don’t know how I’m supposed to kick some criminal ass when I can feel my hands?” Kat makes the joke toward her two teammates as they hit the streets in their few blocks of patrol.

Kat responded to Leo’s little salute with an adorable wave, and it made Leo’s smile only grow wider. As they approached her, Sunhi inched in between them. Her expression made Leo stop on their tracks. She seemed almost… defensive. Is she crying? What in the world? Leo retained their smile, not wanting to upset Sunhi further, but their eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

As they were all wrangled up and shoved out the doors, Leo’s whole body buzzed with excitement. They pushed their mask up over their nose, covering their eyes but highlighting their golden-brown irises. The sharp, cold air bit at their cheeks. The first few minutes in the cold were the worst, but Leo entertained themselves by puffing clouds of steam from their nose as they walked down the street. Although their high-tech heavy boots and padded armor kept their feet and body warm enough, their hands were left to fend for themselves. However, the possibility of needing to react quickly kept Leo from following the instincts to put their hands in their pockets. Instead they balled their hands into fists, hoping people wouldn’t perceive them as angry.

As if she was reading their mind, Kat made a comment about the cold and their hands. Leo let out a curt laugh, turning their head to look at her as they walked. “Hey, that can be a good thing though! If you can’t feel your hands, you can hit harder, right?” They joked, keeping their eyes on Kat as they continued down the street.

Sunhi didn’t like the cold. She also didn’t like the heat. She liked eight days of the year, when the air straddled the narrow sliver between cool and warm. She breathed into her gloved hands, a fog of condensation wafting from her lips.

“You could try head-butting them,” Sunhi told Kat seriously. The hyperbole had flown right over her head. “Low temperatures actually cause your artilleries to narrow, which would reduce the force of your strikes.”

Sunhi rummaged through the giant backpack she carried on her and extracted bottles for each of the trainees on her team. The bottle was small and slick, and filled with a violently green liquid that no doubt tasted awful. “Here, they’re edible nanobots that will warm you from the inside. They’re also full of electrolytes and essential vitamins. I flavoured them with apple extract.” She sniffed the bottle and wrinkled her nose. “I think.”

Sunhi tapped the circular disk at her temple and a hologram floated over her right eye. Her eyes darted across the map. The faint lines that peppered nearly half her body began to glow and shift, like a living tattoo. Sunhi read their assignment on the screen. Her eyes widened. This definitely didn’t seem very safe.

Kat giggled again at Leo’s comment, wanting to kick herself for acting like a school girl any time Leo was around. She was about to reply back when Sunhi suggested other means of attack, which made her laugh louder. ”Sun, I’d get a concussion by the second hit. But the logistics team made me these cool gauntlets so I’ll be fine,” Kat replies proudly, pulling the gauntlets from her pockets and striking a pose with them before they continued to move down the street.

Sunhi still produced two vials from her backpack, offering them to Kat and Leo. Kat took one of the bottles, sniffing it at the same time Sunhi did. ”This smells like death. Are you sure this is edible?” It was partially a joke, but the horrid smell made her wonder how much Sunhi had actually tested it.

She didn’t get the time to ask. They stepped past an alleyway and a man shot out at Kat, knocking her to the ground. ”What the-“ Her exclamation was cut off by a hard punch to the jaw. He gave her no choice but to spit at him, flipping him off of her and scooting back enough that she can hop back up to her feet. ”You’re some of those hero kids, aren’t you? I need the insignia on your uniforms.” The man growls at Kat and her two teammates, getting back on his feet as well.

Kat held her fists in front of her face, ready to fight and forgetting their protocol to notify their team and request back up. Her fear was consuming her, causing her fists to shake and her thoughts to cloud her from proper judgment. ”That’s right, so you better back off! Kat cries out, her voice laced with uncertainty that this would end in their favor.

Leo took the vial that Sunhi handed them, hesitantly putting it up to their nose. It smelled pretty dreadful. However, being the idiot they are, they went to take a small sip before being rudely interrupted. A thug shoved Kat onto the ground, striking her, and immediately pointing out their outfits.

In moments of combat, it’s hard to keep control of emotions. Rage bubbled up, mixing with excitement, adding a dash of nervousness. Leo was waiting for this, waiting to try and stop the bad guys and help people, and the first one that pops up roundhoused the girl they like. They furrowed their brows, lowering their stance to enhance balance. The vial of strange liquid had fallen from their hands the moment Kat had been struck; they would need to apologize to Sunhi for that later.

They took a few steps to the side, flanking him slightly, using movement to draw his attention to them. Leo was sizing him up; he wasn’t dreadfully tall or well built, perhaps even a bit smaller than them. “You got a problem, buddy?” Leo asked loudly, their tone firm and steady. They maintained eye contact with him, as if daring him to try anything. Right on cue, he swung at them again, but Leo was ready. They caught his fist in their palm, absorbing all of that lovely energy, and grabbed his wrist. They redirected his momentum, sending him stumbling past them with a turn of their torso. This only seemed to make him more mad, and that was exactly what Leo wanted. “Oh, good try! You almost had me with that one. Wanna try again?” They taunted him, allowing a devilish smirk to crease their lips.

With a grunt, he charged them again with a flurry of attacks. A few punches and some knees, all of which Leo blocked with their hands and forearms. It’s coincidental that someone so cocky had to spend some much combat time playing defensively. They let him do this, charging over and over, and Leo danced with him, utterly relaxed and comfortable. This wasn’t even a fight.

After about sixty seconds of attacks, the man stepped back, out of breath and confused about what was happening. “God damn it, hit me you pussy!” He exclaimed, clearly frustrated.

“Are you sure that’s what you want? Think you can handle it?” Leo almost laughed, their grin never fading. Their whole body felt warm and light; that’s what happens when enough energy is stored within them. He charged again, fist wound up for a wide swing. Instead of redirecting it, Leo ducked, and his fist swung right over their head. With their stance even lower and his middle exposed, Leo planted their own fist right into the center mass of his torso. They stood as they striked, releasing all of the stored energy into that one attack. By the time their arm straightened, he had been launched a few feet into the air. He came crashing down moments later, landing on his stomach on the cold sidewalk. He was coughing, the wind clearly knocked out of him. He tried to get to his feet, but before he got far, Leo grabbed him by the shoulders and lifted him off his feet. They threw him against the nearest wall, their forearm against his throat. “Get lost, and don’t make me say it again.” Their voice had shifted from that playful, almost taunting tone to an intense, vicious one. They let him go, and he stumbled at first but eventually scrambled away.

Leo watched as he disappeared down the street, metaphorical tail tucked between his legs. They turned back to their team, their eyes full of worry and concern now. Leo approached Kat, “Are you alright?” They asked, looking over her face where she had been struck. They placed their fingers gently under her chin, tilting her head up slightly to look over the side of her face. Leo waited a few seconds before tearing their gaze off of Kat and looking at Sunhi. “You too, Sunhi. Did he hit you, are you-” They didn’t even get to finish asking the question before their stomach growled loudly. Boy, were they hungry already. Instinctively, they reached toward their belt and into one of the pouches. Generally, their snack bars were in there. But, as of right now, it was empty. They blinked a few times, puzzled, and reached around in the empty pouch as if maybe it was hiding in there somewhere. It was empty. “Ah, fuck. I thought I put more in there yesterday...”

Another side of Leo came out when Kat was attacked, and she was almost relieved when Leo took care of the attacker. She was frozen, trying to convince herself that she didn’t move for Sunhi’s safety, but she couldn’t make herself join the fight. She was glued to Leo’s movements up until her teammate came up to her and made sure she was okay. She nodded, more for herself than for Leo. She was highly aware of Leo’s hand against her face, her eyes meeting with Leo’s for a moment, and only looked away when they checked on Sunhi.

Kat had put a snack bar into her hoodie pocket, which she remembered at the perfect time. ”Oh here,” Kat rummages in her pocket, pulling out the bar, ”I packed one just in case you needed it- and thank you, for saving me.”

The tightness in Leo’s chest dissipated when Kat nodded. They were so glad that she was ok. But they hesitated to take their hand away from her face. “It doesn’t look too bad. I can ice it when we get back, that should help a bit, alright?” Their voice was gentle, kind, revealing just how much they cared about Kat’s well-being. Their doting was interrupted by Kat holding out a snack bar. Leo stood there, blinking in surprise, before finally saying, “Oh! Oh, thank you, thank you so much.” They took the bar, immediately tearing it open and biting into it. They had eaten more than half of it in a few seconds. They started walking down the street again, waving at their teammates. “Cmon, let’s get going! We’ve got a lot more area to patrol. More baddies to beat up.” They smiled widely, pleased with the food in their mouth and the friends they were with.

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jordan Reyes Character Portrait: Riley Schofield
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|| Jordan Reyes || Antigen || Riley Schofield || Oryx ||

The morning banter was interrupted by Alvarez. At least Alvarez didn't waste time yelling at the latecomers, considering that they were only a minute or two late. And he was gracious enough to not cut any of their usual banter off, instead choosing his moment to interject and remind them all of why they were really there. Proper conduct around civilians seemed straightforward, but Jordan also knew that it was too easy to get caught up in the moment and do or say something you shouldn't. So perhaps it was a good idea to teach them this before things got too serious. He nodded as he was assigned to Team Warrior, glad that he was at least still with Leo. That feeling, however, didn't last long as they were further divided, and he was assigned to be with Riley. He looked at her and smiled a little. There were worse people he could be with. His optimism went crashing through the floor as he stepped outside and straight into the cold. "Holy moth-" he started, before remembering that they were, after all, supposed to be conducting themselves professionally. He pulled his trench coat tighter around him, buttoning it up as far as it would go, and stuffing his hands into the pockets. "Nope. I'm sorry, how does anyone look professional in this freezing weather?"

Riley had stood patiently and silently as the rest of the others slowly filed in and listened to their morning banter. It was the same every morning, constant poking fun at one and then the others soon followed. If they weren't meant to act professionally, Riley would have found herself joining in on the senseless banter. Her attention was cut short from the others as Alvarez spoke up once more, silencing the others as they finally gave him their attention. Riley's optimism for being paired up with someone she could tolerate was low, as Alvarez had a tendency to pair her up with someone she wasn't exactly the closest to, especially to give her that edge of learning someone knew and how they fought. This time though, she was put into a group of people she didn't entirely hate, and didn't mind it. It was only then that they were separated even further that her expression changed, from a faint look of relief to a mild case of disappointment until she shook her head. It could have been much, much worse. She gave Jordan a small smile and nod as the large entry doors were opened and they were let out into the cold. It was a nice change of pace and environment as she had grown up on the East Coast, as well as the northern area so she was adjusted to cold weather, but the same couldn't have been said about the others. They were already struggling with the cold and it was mere seconds since they had walked outdoors. Riley rolled her eyes as her footsteps lightly thudded against the metal of the outer platform, holding her helmet in the crook of her arm as she looked at Jordan as he shuddered from the cold, "Don't worry, the more you move you'll warm up. Just give it time."

Riley looked around as the groups slowly separated into their own groups of two and three and left, leaving only a few of them alone. Feeling the cold air finally breeze past her, she decided it was a good time to finally test out the main part of her armor, she felt a slight pinch as it encapsulated her entire head, slight claustrophobia set in for a moment as she slowly grew used to the dark of the helmet. Finally as light poured in as the helmet came to life as her vision cleared she spoke, noticing her voice had sounded a bit different due to the electronic components in the gear she was given for her suit. "Alright, ready for this, bud?"

Jordan just shoved his hands deeper into his pockets as Riley told him just to keep moving. He'd lived in Los Angeles his entire life. He'd never had to deal with these bitter colds. He didn't know how anyone endured them year after year. He would have added a request for gloves to his uniform, except he always found it easier to heal if he was making direct contact with somebody. Maybe he'd just ask for a warmer t-shirt or coat or something.

He pulled on his own mask, a simple black eye mask, as Riley put on her helmet. Riley's uniform was considerably more elaborate than his uniform, but at least he still felt like himself in his, and he had more potential to make it more or less androgynous as he needed. His point about feeling like himself was confirmed when Riley's voice came out different when she spoke. "Sure. Let's do this." He replied.

Riley looked around with the view of the helmet, it didn't exactly change things or her field of view, simply gave her a clearer look as well as a few screens that could pop up at will if she wanted them to. In a sense, it was sort of an artificial sixth sense curtesy of the Hero Service and their scientists. Something Riley couldn't argue with, but the slight clunkiness that came with the suit was something she'd need to work out and perhaps change some things. For now it was strictly recon, or so that was their orders. "Let me guess, not used to the cold, huh?" she asked, trying to break the seemingly never-ending and awkward silence between the two. Riley never cared much for Jordan, but in the best way. He kept to himself and didn't bother her, and she didn't bother him unless she really wanted to, or was told to interact with him. Guess now was a good time to get to know him better due to them being stuck with each other on this mission, wherever it would take them that is.

Jordan was glad that their orders were just recon because being aware of his surroundings and trying to keep warm was taking up all of his concentration. Riley remarked that he wasn't used to the cold, but not in a harsh way. An observation, a way to start a conversation. "Born and raised in Los Angeles. Sure. we got cold weather, but never this bitter, harsh cold. I was meant to live in somewhere warm," he explained. "Let me guess, you are used to this type of cold?" He said, raising an eyebrow with a small smirk as he looked back at her. They had to work together, and awkwardly wandering around the city in silence wouldn't get them very far.

Riley chuckled and nodded at his comment of being used to the warm weather, and that he was never somewhere this bitter. Nodding solemnly she spoke, her voice coming out from behind the mouthpiece of the helmet made it sound just slightly robotic and metallic in nature. "So you really aren't a snow-bird after all? I knew it. Leo owes me now." she said with a slight chuckle but regained her composure as he asked her about her adjusting to this hellish weather. "I guess you could say that I'm nowhere near home. Sent all the way from Coast to Coast. If I wasn't used to this weather, I think I'd be a disappointment to all East Coast people." she said with a slight chuckle. "How about this, after this mission and we get back, I'll owe you a coffee or some tea to warm back up, sound fair?"

He smirked as she made a comment about Leo owing her money. She'd traveled across the entire country to get her, which was... a lot. It may have felt like a whole other world to Jordan, but it had to feel even different to her. He shrugged with a smirk as she offered him tea or coffee. "I don't know what I did for you to owe me one, but hey, I'm not going to argue." They walked in silence for a few more seconds before Jordan broke the silence again. "That helmet thing of yours is kinda cool. Not my thing, but it looks cool." He said, shrugging. His ability spoke for itself, and he knew that as destructive as his power was, it's real value was in healing, and so getting directly involved in the action wasn't always the right thing. So being able to move as quickly as possible was his first priority. Get in and out of the action as needed, and don't cause trouble.

Riley chuckled at his comment of not knowing what he did to deserve her offer for a free drink, "Well, seeing that your not a snow-bird like me, I know from experience that later after this mission is over you'd something to help you unthaw." she chuckled a bit. She didn't realize how heavy the suit was exactly at first, but the longer she was in it and walked around, it was rather clunky and restrictive. Something she'd have to let the boys back at the Department know. Her attention was taken back after a bit of being in her head as Jordan spoke back up, something about the helmet being cool, she could tell he still wasn't one for conversation and in all fairness, she wasn't either. "Heh, thanks. It's probably the best thing about this damn thing. I already have seen some issues with it, gonna have to get them worked out. But it's pretty rad, even with it still being in its early phases of being done." she said rather factly. It was true, the whole suit was still a work in progress, and nothing more would help her know what needed to be worked on more than a simple recon mission, or at least was supposed to be one if it all went smoothly. She turned her head slightly to look at Antigen one more time as they continued patrolling the streets, giving the passing people a small nod and wave every now and then. "So, how long do you think it'll take until some shit goes down? I doubt everything will go as smoothly as planned." she said with a slight chuckle.

Jordan nodded as she explained there were still some issues. Another reason he was glad his suit was mostly tech-free. Nothing could go wrong with it. Well, besides the armoring possibly giving way at an inconvenient moment. Huh. That was a thought that hadn't occurred to him before. But he couldn't afford to think like that, so he didn't. And besides, his rapid healing rate would probably mean it wouldn't be that bad. Probably. He smirked as she asked when he thought things were going to go wrong. "Frankly, part of me's surprised that everything already seems calm. But don't you worry, we'll be the first to hear about it when someone screws up and needs healing sooner rather than later. Perks of working with a healer, we're always the first to hear about the drama because usually, we need to fix it." he joked. He knew that their supervising heroes were eager not to put him under too much pressure, but sometimes they needed somebody healed, and they needed it fast. And Jordan was the only person who could help in that scenario.

Riley chuckled as he explained his thoughts on when things would go south, and how fast it would happen. He had a good point, and it made sense. He was the only real healer they had in their group of trainees. It was the only real logical conclusion to come to if she was being entirely honest with herself. And maybe it was a good idea that she was paired up with him, if anything did happen, they'd be able to have someone like him there. "Ya know, I didn't know that recon missions were going to be this boring, but I guess it really is all part of the job, huh? As well as being more preferable than someone starting some shit." she said with a chuckle as the two continued patrolling the streets.