Full summary: A new international concern is on the rise in the form of an increasing number of individuals who have had their latent powers, which reside in all people, unleashed. These powers and the people that held them were interchangably referred to as Numina by more poetic sociologists; there is a schism between those who hide their abilities for fear of persecution, and those who embrace their powers in their day to day lives. As increasingly paranoid governments put more pressure on Numina to register with various agencies and try to instill more control into their lives, small rebellions start cropping up, bringing violence and threats of super-powered terrorism to the front of everyone's minds. "Normal" people came to fear and threaten those that displayed their power. Then there are those people, Numina and otherwise, caught in the middle, who only want to live their lives...
Chapter 1: Numina
Faye ducked quickly, barely avoiding the fist-sized stone that zipped by overhead. She stood back up cautiously, smoothing out her skirt, and ready to retreat from the small, mob-reminiscent group at a moment's notice. Her eyes were wide as several of them scooped up rocks of varying sizes and sharpness, but no words came from her slightly parted lips.
Seconds later, however, a small gasp escaped her mouth as three members of the group flung their small but dangerous projectiles at her. The first lacked much accuracy; it missed her by about a foot. The second, she was able to step hurriedly out of the way of. Unfortunately, this put her directly in the path of the third, which was heading for her face. She watched it approach, almost in slow-motion, but she couldn't move fast enough to avoid it. Faye grit her teeth and closed her eyes, preparing to take the blow... but it never came.
It passed cleanly through her head.
Her group of assailants immediately erupted into chaotic and anxious shouts as the rock clattered across the sidewalk behind her: "See, I told you!"
"It went right through her freakin' head!"
"She's one of them!"
The energetic yells were interrupted by the raised voice of a slightly older boy across the street, "Hey, what's going on?" He was standing with his arms crossed over a dark button down shirt, fairly relaxed compared to everyone else in the vicinity.
The first of the group to speak, who seemed to be something of a leader, turned to face the newcomer, although most of his cohorts couldn't, or didn't, take their eyes from Faye. "She's one of those Numen freaks, man! I just saw her walk through a wall!"
The boy walked casually toward the group, seemingly unperturbed by this piece of information. "So? Why are you trying to stone her for that?"
Indignant and immediately defensive, the leader reached for another rock and looked threateningly at the boy, "What, you one of them, too? Stay out of our way!"
"Calm down, kid. Nobody needs to get hurt over this." The boy continued across the street toward them, letting his arms drop down to his sides.
The lead boy growled, hurling his rock vehemently at the newcomer, "I told you to stay out of it!"
If the group was stunned by Faye's seeming intangibility, a few of their jaws literally dropped when the older boy's hand came casually up, and the rock halted in midair, inches from his face. He dropped his arm again, and the stone fell to the ground and bounced away. He picked up his pace, heading for Faye, who had been standing watching the whole scene curiously.
When the group of teens regained their bearings again, though, their collective angry noises drew both Faye's and the newcomer's attention. Everyone that had been holding a rock drew back to throw it, but found their projectiles ripped from their hands and hovering over their heads. With a gesture, the older boy let the stones fall amongst the group, lightly battering a few of them.
Lowering his hand again, he narrowed his eyes. "I said nobody needs to get hurt over this. Now get out of here before I decide to start using real rocks." Though he didn't drop his glare or even move, everyone present noticed a torso-sized stone in a nearby yard's landscaping wiggle ominously.
The lead boy looked angry again, but decided his apprehension was well founded and jerked his head back the way they had come. "We're outclassed here, guys... another time, freaks," he added, with a contempt filled look at the pair. At that, the group left, muttering darkly amongst themselves.
Faye turned to face her helper with barely masked surprise. "Um… thanks for the help. If you don't mind me asking, who are you?"
He looked back, grinning slightly at her. "Don't worry about it. My name's Nicolas, you can call me Nic for short, if you want..." He gave her a small shrug, and glanced around the block. "I was just walking back from getting some food and saw all that going on, that's about it. You just looked like you could use some help."
Smiling back at him, she saw someone who was finally like her, and nodded, "Yeah... those guys are really intolerant of anyone different.. but then, the media kind of has everyone turned against Numina, don't they?"
"Yeah, looks like it. Not many people realize that anyone can potentially be one, they just assume that we're all freaks of nature who are born with it. I think they're jealous, honestly." Nic smiled slightly at her again, but let his grin drop when he saw her look of confusion. "What?"
Faye look up at him, brows furrowing. "So... you mean we aren't born with it?"
Nic was caught slightly off guard, and blinked blankly at her before answering. "No... you didn't know? Don't you remember getting your Numen awakened?"
She shook her head, nervously letting her eyes grow wider again, "No.. am I supposed to?"
With a quiet chuckle, he then shook his head. "Don't worry, I guess you don't really need to know. It just seems kind of weird to me that you don't, when I know how the whole thing works.." He trailed off thoughtfully, considering her situation.
After a moment's pause, however, she grabbed his attention back, "Well.. if you have time, would you mind explaining all this?" Her excitement at finding another Numen slowly melted away; apparently she wasn't as well informed as she thought.
Flipping his phone out of his pocket to check the time, Nic replied, "I don't really have time now; I'm supposed to meet someone at my apartment in a few minutes. You can come along if you want, though.. he'll probably be able to help me explain, anyway."
Silently sizing him up for a split second—he had just saved her from a mob of angry teens; she had no reason to not trust him, after all—Faye nodded and replied, "Sure. Where do you live?"
Gesturing behind himself to where he had been standing a few minutes ago, he said, "Just a few streets over, on Whitley Court. Behind the high school's gym, actually."
"That's pretty close to where I live."
"Good, it won't take you long to get back, then. Come on, Shadow's probably already there waiting." He set off across the street again at a brisk pace, with Faye in tow close behind.
"Shadow? Is that a nickname?"
"No, it's his real name. You can ask him about it later, if you want."
"Is he.. er, is he awakened too?" Faye was painfully aware of her ignorance of a subject she previously thought she knew plenty about, now unsure of what terminology to use. Nic didn't seem to mind, though.
"Yeah. His Numen is darkness."
"Fits his name, I guess," she mused, "And yours.. you can move things without touching them?"
He laughed softly. "You ask a lot of questions, don't you?" When he saw her eyes go down quickly and a small blush tint her cheeks, however, he added, "It's fine, don't worry about it. Yeah, my Numen is telekinesis. Yours is intangibility, right?"
Nodding, she offered no other reply or conversation until they came to a three story apartment building on the slightly run-down Whitley Court. As per Nic's prediction, a boy around his same age, who she assumed was Shadow, sat waiting on the front steps. He was staring across the street, watching some toddlers play ball, while tying back mid-back length dark hair. As they came closer, Nic greeted him.
"Yo. Sorry I'm late."
Looking up at them, Shadow replied, "No big... I'm assuming it's her fault?"
Nic nodded. "Yeah, I helped her with a mob situation."
"Hm. How so?"
"We'll tell you later; let's go on up for now. Oh, this is Shadow," he added to Faye, "And she's..."
Laughing, Faye finished his trailing-off introduction. "Faye. Sorry, guess I forgot to introduce myself.. I was a little off after that situation."
"That's okay. It probably doesn't happen to you very much," joked Nic, as he pushed open the building's main door and led them up the stairs.
Reaching the third floor, he unlocked the door to his apartment, number 17, and held the door open as Faye and Shadow slid in behind him. The latter immediately settled on a nearby couch, obviously used to being here. Faye, however, stood near the doorway, feeling slightly out of place, until Nic pushed a chair towards her.
"Here, sit down. You want anything to eat or drink?", he asked.
Shaking her head, Faye took the offered chair. "No, I'm fine. Thanks."
Gesturing to Shadow and then to a video game console set up in the front of the room, by a small television, Nic continued, "We usually just play games, so we can talk first if you don't want to do that."
"That works. I'll just go early and won't be bothering you while you play."
Shrugging, Nic replied, "Whatever you want. It's fine with me if you want to stay and play or watch a movie or something."
When neither of the two said anything for a few moments after that, Shadow interrupted the silence, "So what were you saying about a mob situation?"
Nic turned to face him, recalling the incident, "Yeah, that's how I met Faye earlier. Apparently some guy saw her walk through a wall, and he got a group together to try and stone her."
With a derisive snort, Shadow replied, "Stone her? They think she's an escapee from the witch trials or something?
Laughing briefly, Nic went on. "Maybe. After that I basically just stole their rocks and got them to leave. Nothing spectacular. There were some things she wanted to ask us about, though. She doesn't remember getting her Numen awakened, for one."
Pausing for a moment, Shadow observed her quietly. Faye was a little uncomfortable under the scrutiny, but said nothing. A few seconds later, Shadow replied, "That's interesting. How does that work?"
With another shrug, Nic said, "Don't know." Turning to Faye, he prompted her, "Anything specific you want to ask first? And don't worry about not knowing anything; it's not a subject many people know a lot about."
With a shrug of her own, Faye replied, "In that case, why are you guys local authorities?"
"Heh, we're not, really. Most of the obscure stuff we know we learned from our instructor, Mark."
"Yeah, our martial arts teacher, Marcus Kindle. That's how we ended up meeting, in his class."
"Speaking of which," interjected Shadow, "You might want to consider trying it out. He could teach you more about Numina than we could, plus you could learn how to take care of yourself in case any more idiots decide to come after you.."
Faye gave that a moment's consideration; it did sound like a good idea, but she wasn't much of a person to start new things, especially things involving people. "I actually might.. I don't know. Let's come back to that. So.. how are Numina awakened instead of being inherent?"
Nic spoke up, "Different groups have different ideas of the why. As for the act itself, it basically involves someone who has mastered their Numen breaking down the restraints that separate normal people from theirs. It's more complicated than that, but that's the gist of it."
Taking up where Nic left off, Shadow added, "The government doesn't really approve of everyone's Numina getting freed; hence, the fact that they promote the idea that it's a birth-thing. It some regards it's not a bad idea to exercise some restraints on people running around with "supernatural" powers, obviously.. but they can't do much to stop the spread of it on a large scale."
"Which," began Nic, "Is basically where the Registration Act and the TenPin come from."
Now assaulted with another new term, Faye blinked at him. "TenPin?"
Nodding, Nic answered, "Tactical Numina Police Network. It's not very well known, but people aware of it shortened it to TNPN, or TenPin, and made a lot of bowling jokes about it. The only reason we've heard of it is from a few people we know in law enforcement."
Shadow spoke again, "Outside the media bias, there's actually a fair bit of discrimination against Numina among the higher ups. A society where instability and chaos have the potential to run wild is popping up with the spread of people capable of awakening others. And they're afraid of that. So, they make legislation and propaganda to control the Numen population. It's not really evident outside of the strictly pro-Numen groups, though, because everyone else has similar biases ground into them. It's starting to look like a new civil rights movement. There have even been rumors of underground Numen revolutionary groups."
Shrugging, Nic concluded, "Anyway, yeah, someone else has to awaken your Numen, usually in deep concentration right next to you, while you sit still till they're done. So that's why we thought it was weird that you didn't know about it. Sorry, we kind of ran away with the question." He laughed quietly.
Shaking her head, Faye replied, "No, it was all interesting. I had no clue all this ran so deep. All I've had to go by was the media's word, since I was the only Numen I knew of around here.."
Nic sat on the couch next to Shadow; a small ottoman, looking like it was pulled by invisible string, slid over to him. He rested his legs on it, replying, "Well.. you know at least two more now. Anything else you wondered about?"
Faye was starting to get more comfortable; these two Numina obviously understood more than any of her peers at school. She leaned back in the chair, thinking. "I guess I'll catch up to most of the concepts eventually. Um.. I don't know. How did you get your Numina awakened, then?"
Nic and Shadow glanced at each other, exchanging a shrug. The former decided to go first, replying, "Mark awakened mine a few years after I stated training with him. In some traditional martial art schools, it's kind of a tradition.. he also helps us refine our Numen to use more effectively, and work as a part of our overall training." He glanced to Shadow, waiting for his story.
Shifting on the couch to find a more comfortable position, Shadow shrugged again. "Mm.. my dad awakened mine when I was born. That's where my name comes from." Holding up a finger, he simply glanced at Faye as the shadows in the room were drawn to his hand as though caught in a whirlpool, coming together to form a solid ball of darkness. He tossed it to her, and she caught it.
Turning the ball around in her hands, she was startled a little bit as it abruptly broke into several shady tendrils that swirled around her, before dissipating. Glancing back at Shadow, who wore a small smirk, she said, "That's.. something. Weird, neat, I don't know." She looked around the room; the various shadows that had formed the ball were back in their original places, between the lamp's light and the solid objects, as one would expect. Turning her attention to Shadow again, she shrugged his odd power off, and said, "I would show you what I can do, but I can't always get it to work." Pausing again as she considered the aforementioned offer of Mark's class, she added, "I think I'll look into that class after all. Where is it?"
Nic answered, gesturing with his thumb over his shoulder, "Just across town, near the bowling alley."
Shrugging, she replied, "I don't know where that is. I just moved here earlier this year."
"I can give you a ride there tomorrow, if you want."
She nodded; that sounded agreeable, but she also recalled something from earlier. "Sure. I should go ahead and go, though.. I told Lily I would help her clean tonight. I forgot about it in all that mess.. I guess I'll just meet you here tomorrow.. what time?"
"Class is at six, so be here around five-thirty."
"Okay." Standing up, Faye smiled and turned to the door. "Thanks for all the info; it's been nice meeting you two."
As Nic stood to lock the door behind her, he nodded, "You too. See you tomorrow."
With a wave, Shadow added, "Later. Guess I'll see you in class."
Faye moved to open the door, but her hand phased through the knob. Blinking and pulling it back, she grasped it firmly on her second try. A slightly embarrassed look coming over her features, and she laughed quietly, "I need to learn to control that..." With no response other than a nonchalant grin from Nic, she was out the door and gone.
A/N: This probably leaves something to be desired, but I wanted to go ahead and get it up so I would (hopefully) have incentive to be more regular with it. It will also get more clear as time goes on.