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Forum: Character/Story Workshop
 Topic: Victor
Victor [message #94719] Thu, 23 October 2014 12:28
Malagua is currently online  Malagua
Messages: 7
Registered: October 2014

Heya. I've been told i should share my ideas here. And this is kinda new to me ^^; So help and guidance is appreciated. One issue, though. I am fairly bad at giving names, so if you have suggestions for, specially the codename, it would be welcome. Please, let me know what you think and if there are details im overlooking.

Victor (Whateley Class - Male) -- TK 3(-5) RG 1(-7) WZ 2(-4)*
Name: Victor*
Height: 1.78 meters
Weight: 82 kilos
Age (Date of birth): 16
Hair: Black
Eyes: Turquoise
Build/body type: Averagely lean and rather toned but nowhere close to being an exemplar
Race/Ethnicity/Religion: Caucasian, a quarter Latin
Place Of Birth: Los Angeles, California

Assoc: (I dont really know where to classify him. And im a bit new about how the north american education system works since where i one ends school at age 16) Presumably would be a sophomore or a freshman, but due to circumstances would enter the academy about a month later or so. Originally though, he is put in a guys cabin before the nature of his powers is discovered.

Appearance: A rather lean if not athletic character that often works out to keep himself on par with his life. Strangely enough, he looks oddly youthful, and could easily pass as a 14 or 15 year old. Favors jackets, coats Tshirts and often comfortable clothes. He has shortblack hair, and turquoise eyes. Since he has been forced to fend himself he has been forced to mature quickly, giving himself a sort of direction and a path. In such case he tries to plan ahead, having the makings of a good tactician. When a plan breaks he tries to scavenge the best of what is left of the things he has. As a result, he has a deficient interpersonal development. He has issues relying on others, often trying to be his own rock. He struggles to come to terms with his past (and the things he does in the story) that easily and as such tends to ostracise his new family and friends.

General Description
: Born of a very peculiar Avatar to a female water spirit. Victor, or Vic, for friends lived a rather happy childhood with her and his father (Adrian), who, despite living apart, became a part of his life.

By age 10, his father married Lara, who came along with her two kids, Oliver (Age 12) and Veronica (Age 14).
By age 12, his mother died strange means. As per her will and due to his father's compassion, he was taken in by his father and his step-family. He and Oliver began to get along like brothers while the relationship with his stepmother were rather forced.
A year later, Oliver underwent his mutation in a year long event. After threats, dangers and burnouts, Oliver changed into a full fledged hero in a matter of time. As that happened Victor was dealing with problems of his own at the time, innevitably getting wrapped in the problem along with the rest of the family. Luckily they all managed to make it through safely.
Eventually, the step mother's dislike became apparent as Victor overheard her and his father talking about him, refering to him as a sort of burden. Encouraged by his friend Josh (Codename: Dr Invento, later changed it to "McGyver") the two decided to flee from their homes and make it on their own, opting to leave his father's new family and not be a burden.
It is during that time later that his mutation manifested, but he is yet to do his power checking.
Regardless of his precarious situation (about four-five months in), he has forced himself to push through. Making up his studies through self education, resorting to, along with his friend to minor theft to gather up capital in order to get to a good study institute.

Things begin to go down a downward spiral and he finds himself in bad companies and as part of a plan that begins to break chaos into the city. During an operation, he is captured by the MCO as he refuses to carry on with the plan and opts to protect the civilians. Despite that he is taken into custody where he is saved by his step-sister and he begins to make a run for it.

(That is as much as i got of this segment)

Eventually, he recieves a proper power testing, learning the potential of his abilities and tries to make it to whateley where he thinks he'll be safe.

Powers: Victor is a hydrokinetic as a result of his heritage has the following power set:
Regeneration: 1 which can be upgraded to 7 for a moment
TK: (Hydrokinetic) 3 which can be upgraded to 5 for a moment,
Wiz: 1 or 2 which can be upgraded to 4 for a moment.

Variable Power level: Victor has varying abilities depending on what stage of power he is in.

Stage 1: The one he got used to at first and he trained with. Its basic tactile TK. He touches the water and is able to control it, able to carry it on his arms and body. From that point he is able to extend their reach as tentacles, increase the density and pressure on his them to use them as sort of boxing gloves and with more effort use them for more careful jobs.

Stage 2: His body absorbs enough water to envelop himself in an armor of liquid and use it as a more combative version of Stage one, using water as protection as well as offensive weapon. Despite that, the body can still be pierced by bullets and blades and electric attacks of any kind are lethal. His body does gain a sort of protective "tk shell" that makes his body transparent, allowing him to hide in the larger golem body. By the time he undergoes Stage 2, his body was already starting to change, allowing him to breath underwater and afterwards, he learns to summon the tk shell out of stage 2.

Stage 3: By this point the shell that holds the water in begins to contract and concentrate further and further around Victor's body until it remolds into that of a female figure. Victor's body dissolves, becoming essentially, "Living water". The body becomes an extension of his abilities, allowing him to desolve and reform. Taking in injuries are instantly regenerated. The body can shift into any figure her desires and as big as the water allows it, but this doesnt alter the effects of the TK shell. It grants her a power boost in the magic area and removes the restrain to have to be touching water to control it, and instead can handle it at a close distance.

He can only hold this stage for a limited time, depending on the strain excercised on it. Of course, the time is extended the more he practices with it.

Victor eventually learns that he has a case MATD everytime he undergoes the TK shell coating. Both, lightly on stage 2, and in stage 3. The more he uses it, the more he begins to change into a half aquatic female creatures. With dark blue scales, fins and a tail (while keeping her legs) The body has the necessary aquatic adaption while at the same time remaining comfortable on land. When Victor is diagnosed with this, he becomes traumatized by the changes to the point he begins to hold back stage 3, despite the power boost it grants.

He can also handle freezing or boiling the water he touches. But since he is having contact with the substance, he gets the frostbite or scorch. This backlash is dampened as his physical changes progress, making him resistant to temperature changes.


Weaknesses:

Electricity: Victor is severely vulnerable to electricity at all stages. Although by stage 3 he is able to redirect it without risking death. It is still painful then.

Timer on Stage 3: Victor can't stay long in the last mode as it will eventually lead to exhaustion or burnout, in the worst case.

Lack of water or dryness: If caught in his human form and prevented from casting a spell, he wont be able to gather enoguh water to enter stage 3. If caught already in stage 3, the timer will run out faster.

Freezing: Victor is vulnerable to freezing in all stages and often risks being frozen solid in his own water, during stage 3 he will enter a stasis.

Low offensive capabilities: While having some offensive capabilities, they are below par when compared to her defense and regeneration at stage 3.

[Updated on: Thu, 23 October 2014 12:38]

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Forum: Questions and Answers
 Topic: Space elevators... and other Future Tech?
Space elevators... and other Future Tech? [message #94716] Thu, 23 October 2014 12:05
Malandy is currently offline  Malandy
Messages: 33
Registered: August 2014
Does the Whateley Universe have a Space Elevator somewhere? Or are all space installations Moon Bases and Geostationary Satellites?

Also, what other future tech is and isn't there?


Lazy, Intermittent Writer: https://www.fanfiction.net/u/5642027/
 Topic: Loose Ends?
Loose Ends? [message #94506] Mon, 20 October 2014 10:45
JohnB is currently offline  JohnB
Messages: 2
Registered: October 2014
It's probably just another loose end (an accidental one rather than a Noodle Incident), but who are the "Beth and Daisy" that Ayla mentions in "Welcome to Poe"? Presumably only ScramblerJ knows, because Diane Castle doesn't mention them in Ayla #1. The simplest explanation is that they are a mistake (uncorrected first version) for "Tiffany and Amy" who are correctly named later on. Does anybody have any idea?
Forum: Fan Fiction
 Topic: I, monster.
I, monster. [message #94595] Tue, 21 October 2014 17:42
Nagrij is currently offline  Nagrij
Messages: 25
Registered: September 2014
Been procrastinating a bit; that ends today. This one is a Halloween themed post, enjoy.



An interesting thing about life; no one get's out of it alive. People get shot, stabbed, thrown off cliffs, poisoned, and all manner of things involving a lack of morality each day. Yet one of the most surprising things about life is, what ends it the most often.

You hear plenty of people picketing and protesting, wanting to ban guns, nuclear weapons, and cigarettes. Guess what device being banned would save the most lives? The bathtub.

That's right folks, more than guns, more than car accidents, more than all the nuclear weapons ever used combined, baths are lethal. It isn't even close. But you never see grungy people protesting the leading cause of death multiple years in a row. Come to think of it, a bunch of Charlie Brown pig pen like people waving signs outside a capitol would be rather amusing.

You never hear of anyone asking to ban what killed me either; the internal combustion engine driven demon commonly known as the car. A Gremlin in my case, of all things. There I was, walking home from the movie theater with my best friend Reg.

Reg (or Reginald, though it meant a fight if you called him that) had been my friend since kindergarten. Maybe even since preschool, though my memory didn't go back that far. We had just gone to see the movie monster marathon at the Globe, an old time theater. It was October 29th, 1976 in Silo, Iowa.

Yes, they named the town Silo, I swear, I can't make this stuff up.

Silo was the typical two horse town; a small strip of suburbia placed in the middle of farms, large or small. Corn had more of a presence in the region than people. We had a small grocery store, a small hardware store, and a small theater that was among the oldest in the state. It was falling apart of course, but it still made money. Where that money went no one could say, cause it almost never showed new movies, instead showing grainy insect eaten copies of the classics.

It was also the only source of urban amusement for anyone living in the town. Next closest thing was one of the new malls in Bufordsville, a good thirty miles away. Kids like us could only reach it by parents, or by bike. And biking there on the interstate took way too long in my opinion.

Thad swore my dad was the best amusement in town. My dad was a mutant. A so called "gadgeteer" to be precise, he made strange hi-tech toys for kids. That's right, no cool robots or ray guns or futuristic appliances; dad (Dr. Wexler, or Paul to his friends) was a toy maker.

The toy that most people loved, that was even manufactured by Hasbro, was a walking talking cyborg guy with a light up eyes and a kung-fu grip called Commander Zap. Which was a stupid name, but nobody asked me. It paid the bills anyway, and I had the full line for free. I didn't see the allure though. I was more a fan of simple toys; model planes or trains, things like that.

The unspeakable things he did to my model train set still haunts me.

These wandering thoughts and memories were beneficial; they took me, for a brief time, away from the fact that I lay dying. But again I remembered, the panic setting in this time to stay, the dream of past fun times now tinged with the knowledge of approaching mortality like blood pouring from a wound.

Possibly even from my wounds, though I wasn't really capable of checking that.

We had just gotten out of the theater, after the marathon, the last of which had been "Bride of Frankenstein", a pretty awesome movie by 1930's standards, and were filing out into the street with the crowd, when the truck came. A semi without a trailer, driving down the interstate in what for us, was a late hour. It also seemed the driver had never been here before, as he missed the weather-beaten but still bright red stop sign at the intersection before the crosswalk. The crosswalk a good 10 of us were on. The crosswalk the Gremlin was just now passing.

I had looked up from some comment on how hot the actress was, even with stitches, to my friend Thad (who was a bit of a horndog) to see a puke green monstrosity coming at me, seeming to be at least five times larger than it likely was.

And then the sensation of flying; no pain, no impacts with either the truck or the ground. Just flying. My best friend's face swam into vision, sparking off a thousand memories of disjointed moments; stealing cookies from the cookie jar then running when my father saw us, laughing. Playing hide and seek in the woods with other kids. Lying in the warm sun, just soaking it up, next to the creek where we used to launch boats of our own making.

This mixed with a thousand other such moments, all sparkling crystals shining in the river of blood surging out of me with every beat of my overactive heart. Asking Julie Devries to the freshman dance, and her laughter. Actually going with Betty McCallister, and the great time we had, discoing away till our parents broke us up.

Playing baseball with Doug McCallister, her brother, and winning the little league regional that year. My father, on my tenth birthday, handing me the wrapped package that turned out to be the train set he later butchered. My mother, her face more clear than it had been in years, staring up at me with a smile I could only classify as melancholy.

More faces, names, dates, and blurs, all circling in and crowding me as my friend's face began to dim; there was no sound save the roar of my blood in my ears, and no sensation other than the creeping cold stealing it's way into me like a thief after my most valuable possession.

And then nothing at all.

This wasn't how I expected death to be. Where were the angels, the pearly gates, the past relatives my grandparents had told me about? For that matter where were my grandparents themselves? They had both died before this I was sure, I could remember being young and going to the funeral home for Grandma's, though I couldn't seem to picture her face anymore.

There we no devils either, no lake of fire and brimstone, no screams of the tortured sinners to serenade me.

There was only blackness, pure and total. No sensation, no pain, no sound, no sights. Nothing. I was all there was. The only thing that existed, though I could only prove I existed by chasing my increasingly muddled thoughts around, as a dog would chase it's own tail. Soon even that started to fade, and I simply was. I was trapped, with only myself to console me.

I made games to pass the time, relived memories till they began to fray around the edges. And still, there was naught but darkness.

Then there was light. It wasn't a clear break of day, the pure light of truth, or a magical epiphany of the hoped for variety. Instead it started out as an ever so perceptible dimming of the pure darkness I was enclosed in. The next thing noticed was sensation. The heat and cold I'd almost forgotten existed impinged upon all that I was, enlarging it.

Almost at the same time another increase in all that I was came to me. Sound. I remembered this from the dances and films that endlessly replayed themselves in myself. But this music was different; new. I had heard some of it before, the classics they were called. Some were remembered clearly from those very movies I could still remember.

But some, and these were the most important by far, were songs I had never heard before, for all that they involved the same old themes of love, loss and bragging. Some voices I even fancied I recognized, like the one that made me dream of meat. To my near endless frustration, I could not understand them. The dulcet tones nor gravelly baritones alike. I knew I should be able to, but I couldn't. The language seemed hauntingly familiar. Perhaps I had lost more of myself than I thought to the darkness?

I mourned, despairing that I would ever know such understanding again.

That led to my next discovery; I 'mourned'! I felt 'despair'! I could feel! All that I was had expanded! But I could not move. I was still trapped, even with the new/old/half remembered stimuli.

There were other voices too, that did not belong to the music, that spoke in soft gentle tones of almost reverence. I had the feeling they were speaking to me, but I couldn't understand them, and couldn't respond. I didn't even know how to. They came and went, unknowing of my plight.

Then my vision began to clear. I knew then, I had to have eyes! And to hear, I had to have ears! To feel cold, I had to have a body! I remembered bodies. Everyone had them, even I had once. But somehow I had one again?

The moon, that was the source of the light. It was almost painfully bright and oh so beautiful; a pure white like the light in my dreams had been. It was a friend, that light, and I embraced it as utterly as one can when one cannot move.

The heights of joy, to have a friend again! A dim memory of a face, almost lost, faded to a complete lack of recognition, surfaced. That was a puzzle; one I could not solve and that made me feel bad somehow. But the moon could be my new best friend, and I would love it utterly! It even had a face too!

A small part of me whispered that the moon would be a very poor friend, having no self to speak of, but I ignored that part of me. I was big enough now that I could ignore the parts of I that I did not like, and that one was a jerk.

And then greater despair; the moon left me. It stole itself away from my new vision, and I was alone again. How dare it move when I could not! I hated it!

Maybe the music would be my friend? It had not left me since I regained my hearing. Maybe it would stay? I listened intently, mourning the loss of the traitorous moon, but while the music itself was pure, and understandable, the words in some of it were gibberish, illusive. But some were beginning to make sense, as if I had heard them before.

The ones made by the meat guy were especially soothing. Something familiar somehow, even when it wasn't. More light came, this time tinged golden, and I expanded again. Memories of sunshine came back, of a thousand days spent in it's warmth. My vision was somehow drawn to it, a lodestone even brighter than the moon. I remembered now, the two chased each other around the sky. One meant the other would be gone or hiding... most of the time.

The rules of existence began to reassert themselves. My vision moved, which meant I had to have eyes. Hearing indicated ears. Feeling indicated a body. When I focused, I could blink... eyelids? Muscles with movement in them. My eyes did not like it, at first. But the pain, the beautiful wonderful pain which made me feel alive, eased.

Even better, my vision began to clear more. I began to make out the details of my new existence; a set of three walls of bare rough cut stone, with large wall hangings on them (I should know that word, I knew I should! Beautiful frustration!) with pictures of animals and things. Mixed with these were posters from movies that I had only a little trouble recognizing, and posters of... boys?

There were shelves lines floor to ceiling with stuffed animals and dolls too; a few of the other things I recognized as having been made by my... father! I had a father! I remembered him, a kooky man who made toys! More emotion; love so deep it swallowed me utterly, mixed with something else, something darker. I did not recognize the stuffed things, or the dolls, except as what they were.

I knew the Commander Zap action figure intimately; I just knew it was mine, the one I'd been gifted with at some point in life. The dolls, the stuffed things, did not have that recognition in their favor; they clearly did not belong, somehow.

Something else intruded on my awareness. Smell. The room smelled musty, of dust and other things not so definable to me. It felt like a tomb, or an unused shrine. How I knew that, I did not know. Maybe I had extensive knowledge of such things?

There was a big fireplace inset in the wall opposite me, and to the side of that closest to the window (a large thing with an arch at the top, all clear glass so clean I could barely tell the glass was there at all) The item on the other side, closest to the door and in it's own cabinet, looked kind of like a stereo system. Though I didn't see any spot to put the 8 tracks in, nor any records.

I was pretty sure it wasn't playing a radio station, as I heard no DJ. It was while pondering this mystery that I was dragged back into the all consuming darkness. I did not wish to go, but the pull was simply too strong. Had I ever sensed those things that were? Or had I simply made them up? Yet again, I despaired.

The jolt shook me awake though. Somehow I was in another place, a place of whiteness, and every nerve (?) I had was tingly and screaming at me. Blue arcs of electricity was arcing across my vision, and there was movement. I wasn't controlling it, but it was movement all the same!

When the arcs of blue stopped, the movement did too. The white settled in around me. Voices began, and understanding followed.

"No response, doctor. Monitors all report no change."

"Damn, I was sure I'd gotten the mixture right this time!"

"You say that every time, doctor."

I could do that. Why couldn't I do that? I tried but no sound came.
"Doctor, do you really think this will...? I mean, after so long...?"

"Yes nurse, I really do. Now remove the sheet, I want to check for burns."

The white came off, and I saw.

I was in a large room, lit by rods of white so intense they seemed pieces of the moon itself, brought to me. There were large, ancient machines of arcane purpose scattered around me; I recognized one as a dynamo, and another as a very large plasma orb, something I was sure was only around for looks. Electricity was arcing along the various massive cables leading from machine to machine; Sure enough, two of those cabled ended above me with giant clips. Electricity then, was the source of the blue I had seen.

Of far more importance than the appearance of the massive room, its play of light and shadow in the dark corners and unease generated by the smell of blood, the fact that I could now feel alternately rough wood upon my back and a sheet upon my front, were the room's occupants.

The one staring at me in shock and alarm, I assumed was the 'nurse'. She was honey blonde, with muted gray eyes set in a pleasant face, clear and unlined. She was quite possibly the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen in my life. I knew she was female because she had breasts; big ones that bounced in a hypnotic way as she jumped away from me, taking the sheet with her.

"Doctor, her eyes are open!"

I tried to speak, to reach out, anything to stop this beautiful creature, this other I, from leaving me. The horror, the sheer stark terror she had at seeing me seared me with cold fire to my core. She took a deep breath, hand over her mouth as she scooted away from me.

My desperation peaked and my hand twitched, reaching towards the beautiful creature as the 'doctor' turned. Breathing! That was what I forgot! A gust of air rushed into me at my request, and the smells assaulting my nose increased tenfold. I idly noted that the chest expansion also affecting my own breasts.

The 'doctor was more lined than the 'nurse', having light brown hair streaked with gray and startling blue eyes. He was still fit, I noted, having an almost gaunt form encased in a white lab coat darkened with stains, and old ratty brown pants, and a gray shirt which might have once been white. I dubbed him beautiful creature number two... and then I recognized him, or thought I did. That faded image that haunted me so, of my best friend's face pulled itself into my surface thoughts in an instant, the gaps filled by the face before me.

My fumbling uncoordinated efforts finally bore fruit; I managed to grab the 'nurse's' arm, and she screamed.

Boy, could she scream! The delightful sensation of my eardrums almost bursting under the assault excited me, and I pushed forward with my attempt to communicate, to show that I was no threat to them, that to the contrary, I loved them and all they represented. But the efforts combined with my flash of recognition and the results got all jumbled.

"Pl...ple...Reg?"

The nurse dropped like a bird felled by a shot, taking me with her, as I would have sooner lost the arm I just found out I possessed than let her go again. Something that seemed a possibility, as it seemed very thin and only held on by a series of fine dark stitches, twined around it's width; the 'nurse's' weight nearly pulled my shoulder and arm off. The pain was exquisite.

The feel of her, the smell of her, was more so. She smelled of lavender soap and a slightly cloying perfume, with just a hint of sweat. She was wearing a spotless silk blouse and a denim skirt that did not quite reach her knees. She was soft and warm, and very inviting. I was concerned that she was lost to the self eating darkness, but she came back almost immediately, squirming briefly under me, then stilling.

The 'doctor' was still standing but motionless, his mouth open so far I could count his teeth. There were 14 in the upper jaw and 12 in the lower. There was something in his gaze that I was not sure I liked as he watched me nestle my head on the 'nurse's' breasts to better drink in their appealing softness, but I loved him anyway. Then he spoke, and something that was missing seemed to snap into place, like a puzzle's final piece.

"They called me mad! Mad! Was it mad to wish to try and reach beyond the veil of death, to pluck the very souls at will from that hungry embrace! And now look! Success! IT'S ALIVE... ALIVE!"

As he laughed, I stared into the face of the 'nurse' and smiled. I wanted to laugh with the 'doctor, but I did not know how. So instead I smiled, feeling the pulling of my cheeks as the nurse stared back with... fear?
 Topic: Painful Divergence
Painful Divergence [message #94370] Sun, 19 October 2014 00:18
NeoMagus is currently offline  NeoMagus
Messages: 26
Registered: October 2014
Location: Somewhere in the USA
(Please note that this is my very first Whateley fanfic, and only my third serious attempt at creative writing period.)


Painful Divergence


A Whateley Academy Fanfic - Second Generation


Chapter One
Santa Monica, California - September 5, 2015

My heart was beating rapidly as I ran down the crowded sidewalk, dodging my fellow pedestrians left and right as I skillfully wove my way through them. I usually tried to avoid the more crowded streets, specifically to avoid the indignant glares and angry shouts that I was currently receiving, but Kenji had forced my hand this time. The brat had darted off a second early in our little race, meaning that he got to choose our general route, at least until I could manage to over take him. Which I was really close to doing by the way, with him likewise weaving through the crowd only a few feet ahead of me.

My name is Kaito Mizashi. I'm a parkour-loving, martial arts training, 14-year-old Japanese-American who lives less than two miles from the beach in sunny California. Kenji is my identical twin brother, the younger of us by two minutes. I suppose it would be fair to call us a couple of troublemakers, if only because we're really competitive with each other and like to push the boundaries of civilized society ever so slightly. Like free-running down crowded streets in the middle of the day, that's a pretty good example.

Thankfully for everyone around us, I knew that wouldn't last much longer, as I watched Kenji dash to the right towards the next alleyway, roughly spinning around a tall man in a business suit in the process. I followed right behind him, dodging around the man somewhat more gracefully and closing another foot of distance. As I rounded the corner, I saw why Kenji had chosen to shift our track this way. There was a seven foot tall chain-link fence just up ahead, which he was obviously hoping to use to increase his lead. I grinned as he shifted slightly left while I went more to the right.

Using a set of pipes in the concrete wall as a step, I managed to get up onto the closed dumpster right next to the fence. From there it was an easy two-handed flip over the top of the fence, which I immediately turned into a forward roll as I hit the ground on the other side, allowing me to come up running again with little lost momentum. As I sped back up again I was pleased to note that Kenji was only just hitting the ground, having had a harder time clearing the obstacle. My bold move with the pipes had managed to reverse our positions, so now I was the one a few feet ahead.

While it wasn't easy, I managed to hold that lead for the next ten minutes, right up until I passed the street sign for Royal Avenue, our designated finish line. I gave a triumphant shout as I started slowing down, pumping my fist in the air as Kenji ran up beside me.

"Not fair, bro!" he said to me after taking a few deep breaths, "that move with the pipes was cheap, and you know it!" An uninformed observer might have guessed that he was really angry at me, but I knew him well enough to catch the impressed grin on his face as he said it.

"You're just mad that you didn't think of it yourself, you little brat." I chuckled a bit as the two of us continued to walk side-by-side down the block, heading for the low building on the next corner. "And what gives you the right to calls fouls, anyways, after that false start back at the park?"

"Preemptive action creates tactical advantage, my friend," he replied smugly, kicking a small pebble out into the empty street as he did so, "I can't help that I want to win more than you."

"Right. Says the guy who just lost." With that I reached out and tousled his already messy black hair, one of the many ways we tended to mess with each other. He tried to retaliate in kind with an exaggerated growl, but I was expecting it and ducked away too quickly. "Too slow," I taunted him as I reached the door of the building and opened it for us to step inside. The sign next to the door read Kenning Dojo of Martial Arts.

The dojo wasn't anything fancy, but we'd certainly grown to like it over the past three years that we'd been coming. It mainly consisted of a large, open room with mirrored walls, where all of the lessons, sparring, and kata practices took place. There were two changing rooms off to one side and a couple of storage rooms in the back, while the entryway/waiting area was in the front, right next to the small office.

As we stepped inside, a tall man who was leisurely sweeping up a pile of dust in the waiting room turned to greet us. Jonathan Kenning had become a rather easy-going fellow, apparently a pretty radical change since the six years he served in the Navy, and he always had a warm smile for his regular students, of which my brother and I were two of the longest-running.

"Good afternoon, boys," he said, his bright green eyes only showing the slightest embarrassment at being caught still cleaning up. "You guys are a bit early today. Class doesn't start for another thirty minutes." He motioned to the clock on the wall to prove his point. Kenji and I both glanced at it, seeing that it was only just now 3:00 on the dot.

"Sorry, Sensei..." Kenji and I both started to reply, in unison no less, which caused all three of us to chuckle. Kenji and I tended to do that from time to time, though it was seldom something we intentionally planned, so it was always amusing whenever it happened. I was the first to stop chuckling so I continued, "we decided to race on our way here today. We ran all the way here from South Street Park." Kenji nodded his agreement with a proud smile on his face. Sensei Kenning looked impressed.

"Not bad," he replied, as he stroked his red goatee thoughtfully. "It seems like you two have already had quite the workout, then. Are you both sure you're not going to pass out on me during class today?" He grinned at his own joke. Sensei knew full well just how much the two of us had taken to parkour, since it was him who had introduced us to the sport just over a year ago. He knew we had more stamina than that.

"Well, now that you mention it," Kenji replied, his grey eyes flashing just a hint of mischief, "I have been feeling somewhat faint this afternoon." He let out an exaggerated sigh as he touched the back of his hand to his forehead. "Maybe I'm coming down with something?" To put some more emphasis on the joke, he dropped his hand to his mouth and gave a single obviously fake cough. Sensei and I both shook our heads at that and smiled.

"Right..." was all Sensei could say in response to that. "Anyways, why don't the two of you go ahead and get changed, then you can meet Izumi out on the floor and go through some extra forms while we wait on the rest of the class to get here."

"Sure thing, Sensei," I replied, just as Kenji did the same. We looked at each other and busted out laughing as we made our way over to the boys' changing room. Sensei just shook his head again with an amused sigh.

A few minutes later, after we had both changed into our gis, we met Izumi Sensei out in the middle of the floor. Izumi Kenning was Jonathan's wife, whom he had met and married while stationed at Yokosuka City in Japan. The thirty-two year old woman was actually a couple of years older than her husband, but you couldn't tell just by looking at the two of them. Izumi was 5'5" and looked to be in her early twenties at most, while Jonathan stood at 6'1" and looked every bit of his thirty years. I'd even heard from some of the other students my age that some people thought Izumi Sensei might actually be a mutant with a low level Exemplar trait. While I had to admit that such a situation would explain her youthful appearance, I'd never seen any proof of that claim in the three years I'd known her, so I was rather doubtful.

"Greetings, Izumi Sensei," I offered respectfully as Kenji and I both took our places and offered our customary bows, which she returned in kind with a warm smile.

"Greetings, boys," she replied as she flipped her long black Chinese braid back behind her shoulder. "I hear you two have already had a bit of excitement this afternoon. Was it a good run?"

"Yes, Izumi Sensei," Kenji replied, taking his turn since I had offered our greetings, "it was very enjoyable."

"Good," she replied simply with another easy smile, "then you both should be well warmed up and ready for today's lesson. Let's go ahead and start our forms, shall we?"

With that, she started leading us through some basic Tai Chi forms, which is how she usually liked to both start and end every class session. I was glad for it. Though I would never admit it to either Kenji or Sensei Jonathan, Kenji's joke earlier had in fact been somewhat accurate. I had been feeling somewhat under the weather for most of the day, and that race had taken more out of me than usual. Going through forms with Izumi Sensei gave me the perfect opportunity to relax and get settled for the class session. And it didn't hurt that doing forms had always been one of my favorite parts of the class anyways.

Thirty minutes later, at exactly 3:40, Izumi Sensei brought the forms to a close and bowed to the assembled class. After we all bowed in return and took our usual kneeling positions, I took a moment to glance around and see who all was here today. There were twelve of us total. Chris and Mark were 17 and 16 respectively, while Rachel and Cameron were the same age as me and Kenji. The rest of the group was all younger, ranging from ages 8 to 12. I was personally pleased that Derek, one of the newer members of the dojo and somewhat of a show-off, was not present. I focused my eyes back to the front as Sensei Jonathan stepped forward to address the whole class.

It turned out that Sensei Jonathan and Izumi Sensei had an easy session planned for that night. We spent most of the class time on unarmed free sparring, which basically meant we could pair up how we wanted and help each other practice, leaving our instructors free to wander around and give personal attention to those who needed or desired it. I paired up with Rachel like I usually did, since the two of had an understanding to not go too easy or too hard on each other. She'd only been coming to the dojo for about seven months now, and though she'd been progressing pretty quickly, she was still somewhat uncomfortable sparring with any of the other boys. I don't know why, but she seemed to trust me more than the rest of them, including Kenji.

At ten minutes after five, Sensei Jonathan called us all back together, and I was pretty sure I knew what he had in mind. Sure enough, he dismissed the majority of the class to begin cool down forms with Izumi Sensei, but asked the senior members, meaning Chris, Mark, Kenji, and me, to stay with him for a bit more sparring. He paired us up, Kenji with Mark and me with Chris, and told us to spar one match for each group while he observed.

I have to admit that I was a bit intimidated as I faced off with Chris. The guy was a star athlete at the local high school, standing at 5'11" and weighing in at 185 lbs. of lean muscle. I on the other hand stood at only 5'3" and only 120 lbs, not even having entered the ninth grade yet. And I was getting tired, more so than I usually did. Even so, I managed to fight him to the final point, with him just beating me out at the last minute by taking me down and locking my right arm behind my back. His extra reach and my abnormal weariness had made all of the difference.

"Are you okay, Kaito?" the older boy asked as he helped me to my feet, his voice tinged with mild concern. "You seemed a bit sluggish today. Not your usual decisive self."

"Yeah, I'm alright," I replied rather non-committally, keeping my head down a bit out of embarrassment at being beaten, "just getting tired. I guess that run I had earlier wore me out more than I thought."

"Kaito-san!"

Chris and I both started when Sensei Jonathan called out my name in such a way. Our teacher seldom used honorifics, and almost never spoke so sharply, two details which both of us noted immediately. When I turned to face him, I could have sworn that I saw a strange look of worried recognition flash briefly across his face as his eyes met mine. Then he practically stormed over to where we were standing.

"Chris, go ahead and get changed out, I need to talk to Kaito for a moment." Sensei's tone was firm, and broached no argument. I didn't bother looking as Chris turned to do as told. Then Sensei turned his attention back to me and I almost flinched. I'd never seen the man this on-edge before, not in the entire three years that I'd known him.

"I've just sent Kenji to the storage room," he told me rather brusquely, motioning with his arm to indicate the corner room where all of the dojo's protective gear was stored. "I want you to go meet him and the two of you are to wait there. Izumi and I will be in there shortly to speak with you. Go now."

"Yes, Sensei," I replied almost automatically, more than a little stunned. As I followed his orders and headed straight for the storage room door, I couldn't help but wonder what was going on. Why was he so on edge?

As I opened the door and walked inside I saw that Kenji was indeed already there, examining a box filled sparring chest-pads. He turned to face me as I shut the door behind me.

A startled gasp escaped my mouth as our gazes met. His eyes had changed! Just this morning his eyes had been their usual dark grey color, but as we both stared wide-eyed at each other in that moment, I could see that his eyes were now a startling electric blue. And that scared me, because I could only think of one reason for it. Normal human eyes don't just spontaneously change like that, especially not to such an unusual, almost glowing color. Those had to be mutant eyes. And judging from the way that Kenji was staring at me, I had a feeling that he wasn't the only one who'd suddenly acquired a set.

"Oh shit," he spat out, confirming that fear.

"Me too, huh?" was all I could say, spoken with a forced but worried grin. "Electric blue?" Kenji looked confused at that for a moment before his eyes widened even further when he realized what I was implying.

"You're kidding!" he exclaimed, hurriedly rubbing his eyes with his hands as if that would confirm the change. "Both of us at the same time? No wonder Sensei went so strange all of a sudden." There was a worried timbre to his voice as he stared at me once again. "How is this even possible?"

"It's not all that strange if you think about it," I replied back, trying to sound calm but unable to hide my own worry. "We're identical twins, and mutations are supposed to be at least somewhat based on genetics, so it makes some sense that we'd both manifest at the same time if either of us were going to." Even as I said it my words sounded hollow. It was relatively common knowledge that psychological and environmental factors also played key roles in the manifestation of mutant powers, so the odds of even identical twins manifesting at the same time still had to be pretty long.

"Sure, I guess that makes some sense."

I could tell that he didn't believe it any more than I did. We were obviously both really worried about what was happening to us. I sat down against the wall to do some breathing exercises Izumi Sensei had taught me a long time ago. Kenji started pacing back and forth.

"You don't think they would try to do something to us, do you?" he finally asked me after what was probably less than a minute, obviously referring to Jonathan and Izumi. "You know, like turn us over to the MCO or something?" He visibly gulped at that, having never been very fond of the MCO and the rumors that circulated about it. I thought about it for a few seconds before shrugging my shoulders. I had no idea what Sensei Jonathan was up to.

"What about Dad?"

That question sent a chill down my spine. How would Dad react to this? Not just one but both of his kids turning out to be mutants? And at the same time, no less? There were always plenty of stories about kids getting kicked out by their families when they manifested, what if Dad did something like that? I pushed that thought from my mind, not wanting to think about such a possibility.

"I...I don't know," I replied slowly, my voice shaking despite my best efforts to remain calm. The thought that I didn't even know how my dad would react scared the hell out of me, but I couldn't let Kenji see that. I shook my head and forced back the tears that I felt beginning to form. I was not going to cry over this. I had to stay tough for both of us.

Kenji kicked the box of pads as he growled in frustration. "Why does this have to happen to us?" I was about to express my agreement with that sentiment when the door of the room started to open.

As our two instructors came in and shut the door behind them, I stood up and went to stand next to Kenji, who had stopped his pacing rather abruptly. Both of us eyed the two of them warily, a detail that Jonathan didn't fail to notice.

"You can relax, boys," he said to us calmly, as he put his arm around Izumi's shoulders, "we just want to talk. We've just called your father and he is on his way here." Considering what Kenji and I had just been thinking about, that's wasn't a very comforting comment.

"Why should we trust you?" my brother demanded, perhaps a little more harshly than I felt the situation called for. "How do we know you haven't called the MCO to come take us in? And why did you send us both in here while you dismissed the rest of the class?"

Both Izumi and Jonathan were startled by that response, and I thought that Izumi in particular actually looked hurt by the accusation. She turned a questioning glance to her husband, who met her gaze with a subtle nod. She nodded once in return before turning back to face us and lifting her hands to her eyes. She removed a pair of contact lenses that I'd never known she wore.

Kenji and I both gasped.

Her eyes were not the beautiful crystal blue we'd always known. Rather, her irises were a mysterious pale grey, almost white in fact, and showed no visible pupils. They were somewhat eerie to look at, and they were definitely not the eyes of a baseline human. I knew we didn't have to worry anymore. There was no way she'd have called the MCO on two of her own kind.

"You're a mutant?" Kenji asked unnecessarily from beside me, his tone indicating that the question was more out of shock than doubt. Izumi nodded with a sheepish smile, prompting Kenji to turn his focus on Jonathan. "And you?"

"No, not me," the older man replied quickly, holding up his hands defensively, "I'm just a regular old baseline." Then he also gave us a sheepish grin as he ran a nervous hand through his short red hair. "I just know better than to be cruel and unjust to people who have no choice about being different. The only reason I told the two of you to come in here and wait was to reduce the chances the other students noticing."

Thinking about it, I decided that was probably a good idea. While I didn't think any of the others would have maliciously tried to hurt us or anything, it was probably best if they didn't find out anyways. Where mutants are concerned, staying hidden is generally the best first line of defense.

"So..." Jonathan continued, a look of worry mixed in with the sheepishness as he rubbed the back of his neck, "do you trust us now?" He and Izumi both looked at the two of us, half worried and half hopeful about what our response would be.

As a way of answering, Kenji suddenly darted forward and wrapped them both in a hug, startling them briefly and causing me just to shake my head. That was Kenji for you, always wearing his heart on his sleeve. I generally tried to be a bit more reserved, though I had to admit, at that moment I was really tempted to join in. They'd just been watching out for us, and here we were thinking they might have actually tried to hurt us in some way.

"Yeah, we trust you," I stated unnecessarily as I walked more slowly toward them. "We were just worried, but now we can tell you were just looking out for us."

Jonathan caught my gaze as I approached, and raised his arm toward me. I saw the invitation for what it was and threw my caution to the wind, joining in the group hug. It felt good knowing that someone was watching out for me and my brother, even when I didn't know it. I didn't even complain when he tousled my hair, much as I'd done to Kenji earlier. I was just glad we were going to be okay.

When the group hug finally broke up a few moments later, Izumi shifted past Kenji to hug me more directly, even while Kenji did the same with Jonathan. It was comforting but brief, after which Izumi stepped back and laid a hand on my shoulder as well as Kenji's. I could see a faint glistening in the corners of her unusual eyes.

"You're both good kids," she said to us before fighting back an emotional sniffle rather unsuccessfully. "There's no way we would ever turn you two in."

"Yeah, and besides," Jonathan added with a dramatic grin, "you guys are two of the best students I've ever taught. I don't know what I'd do if the MCO made you both disappear. We'll do whatever we can to help you guys out." With that he reached out and ruffled both Kenji's hair and my own, and we reflexively pushed him away, sporting wide grins of our own. Izumi chuckled softly at that, before clearing her throat to speak.

"Well, now that the mood in here has brightened up a bit, why don't we all go wait in the lobby until your dad gets here?" Even as she said it she was putting her contacts back in her eyes. Once finished she flashed her familiar blue-eyed smile. "Heaven knows we don't have to stay all cramped up in a storage closet."

I felt a lead wait settle on the bottom of my stomach. Glancing over at Kenji, I saw that he looked worried as well. We still didn't know how our father was going to react to his. The thought of what he might yet say weighed heavily on my mind as we all headed back out onto the dojo floor.

Forum: The Crystal Hall
 Topic: Fred Perry is a god among artists
Fred Perry is a god among artists [message #94712] Thu, 23 October 2014 11:16
thtiger is currently offline  thtiger
Messages: 343
Registered: June 2007
Like the subject line says. Fred Perry is a god, and he is a kind and beneficent god. He has gone and put the first 199 volumes of Gold Digger online.

The place I got this link asked that we not go crazy and download the entire archive in one go and bring down the server with the bandwidth.

http://antarcticpresslibrary.com/?cat=1

There is also a donation button. I'm cheap, I admit, but I gave a twentyfive dollar donation without a thought, this sort of behavior has to be encouraged.
Forum: Administrative Notes
 Topic: Check Dr Bender's story page
Check Dr Bender's story page [message #94374] Sun, 19 October 2014 00:35
Cryptic is currently offline  Cryptic
Messages: 1517
Registered: June 2012
Location: PA
Not sure if it's my browser being wacky or a stray fragment of code that effects everyone, but if you mouse over the blurb for Boston Brawl and Insanity there's a faint underlining. Not really doing any harm, just seems weird. Also not sure if it's on other story pages or not.

Just keep the caffeine flowing, and the bad ideas will be kept to a minimum... Step away from the Caffeine and no one will get hurt. I am one of the Caffeine Heathens who prefers Dew over Coffee. Beware my Muse: She wants to Break the Writer
 Topic: The Wayback Machine *did* crawl the forum messages in 2010
The Wayback Machine *did* crawl the forum messages in 2010 [message #94368] Sat, 18 October 2014 23:23
JonLennox is currently offline  JonLennox
Messages: 14
Registered: October 2014
Location: New Jersey
While poking around on the Wayback Machine, I discovered, somewhat by accident, that they *did* crawl at least some of the messages in the Crystal Hall forums in 2010 -- mostly, it looks like, in June and September.

Unfortunately, it's pretty sporadic, and they didn't do so in a way that makes it easily possible to browse the forums, but if you have direct links to specific pages, you can see them -- for instance, https://web.archive.org/web/20100919222442/http://crystalhal l.org/chboards3/index.php?t=msg&th=3096&start=0&.

A complete list of the URLs of everything that was archived between May of 2009 and May of 2011 can be seen here, using Wayback's scriptable CDX search.

I've also grabbed everything on that list to my local disk, if there are specific things people would like me to look for.



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