Chapter 6: A New Dawn, a New Day, a New Life
Temp was awoken by a pillow being thrown at his face. After a good deal of flailing, he realized he wasn't being attacked and sat up, casting an accusing glance at Benji. "What the hell, man?"
His roommate shrugged. After he'd shown Temp where to find their dorm room, Temp had practically collapsed on the free bed and passed out. The exhaustion of the previous days had finally caught up with him, along with the strenuous usage of his power. "Thought you'd slept long enough. We've got our first class in, like, an hour."
Grumbling, he rolled off the bed, lying practically still on the floor. "Then I'm not getting up for like… fifty minutes. That's the first good sleep I've gotten in forever."
Ben huffed, standing and searching his bag- which Darian had retrieved for him the previous day- for presentable clothes. "What, two days isn't enough for you, Sleeping Beauty?"
After a moment, Temp lifted his head, scowling. "No way that was two days."
This time, Ben just rolled his eyes, pulling on a clean shirt and peering down at his schedule which lay on his bed. "It was. Hm, our first class doesn't have a name."
"I don't really care," Temp muttered, managing to drag himself to his feet. The previous day's enthusiasm- rather, from two days ago- had completely worn off. "Let's hope we don't get lost in this damn place."
The lunch room- breakfast room? Heck if I know- was large, but relatively quiet, filled with sleepy teenagers and somewhat grumpy faculty. Temp took three steps toward an empty table close by before being practically dragged by the collar of his shirt by Benji. "Oh no you don't, you antisocial grump. You are sitting with our friends."
"Friends? What friends?"
"…that was just sad, man." Still half-dragging Temp, he waved to a table where Sam, Darcy, and three other people sat. "Unlike you, I spent my time exploring while you were in your coma. That Sam guy is completely cool and actually knows how to not get lost here. And I met the lovely Darcy yesterday when she stole my hamburger." They had reached the group's hearing range, and Darcy stuck out her tongue. Benji winked back. "The rest of these nerds, I dunno about."
Temp pulled away from Ben and straightened the collar of his shirt. "Never again," he muttered, then turned to everyone else, who were staring at the pair in amusement. "Um… hey."
Sam saved him from embarrassment. "Guys, this is Temp. I think I mentioned him the other day. Temp, this is Astrid-" He pointed to a chubby brown-haired girl, who waved sleepily and pushed around her cereal with disinterest. "-and Phil-" A tall boy with dark skin and square glasses. "-and Roman." A slightly shorter boy with dark curly hair and an easy smile.
Temp nodded to them and sat down beside Roman. Ben sat on the other side of Sam.
"So," Phil began, smoothing out a sheet of paper, "do any of you have the Amazing Disappearing Class this semester too?"
Everyone around the table nodded, and Darcy grinned. "First period? Then we all have it together."
Temp yawned, glancing around and trying to figure out where to get food. "All the other classes seem pretty normal. What if it's a misprint?"
"Wow," Darcy teased, "way to put a damper on things, Not-Sparky."
"He could be right, though," Astrid volunteered quietly, stifling a yawn.
Roman shrugged. "Let's just assume it's something cool, and if it turns out to be, like, World History, we get Astrid to teleport us outta there."
"You teleport stuff?" Benji asked, grabbing an apple from Sam's tray and biting into it before he could protest.
"Yep." Astrid grinned. "Stuff, people, myself. People's vital organs…"
"Sorry," Phil said quickly, elbowing the girl lightly. "She's kind of messed up early in the morning. She'll seem less like a serial killer once she's more awake."
Astrid huffed and pushed her cereal away. "Don't apologize for me. Anyone want that? I didn't have any."
Temp accepted the Lucky Charms and glanced around at everyone. "So, what all can you guys do?"
"I," Ben proclaimed proudly, pointing to himself, "can fly."
"No shit, Superman, everyone knows that after Orientation." Sam shoved him, and he almost toppled over.
"Is that so? Then what can you do?" Ben asked, sitting back up.
Suddenly less talkative, Sam shrugged. "I can sometimes read minds. Beyond that, who knows?" Obviously avoiding the subject, he nudged Roman. "What do you do, man?"
Roman sighed. "Dunno. They just came up and said, 'hey kid, you can do something useful'. Guess I'll find out eventually."
Before Phil could speak up, Astrid put an arm around his shoulders. "This guy has a super-memory and can make gravity go all loopy."
Phil's face turned red. "Erm, yeah. Sometimes."
"That's pretty cool," Temp offered, noticing his discomfort.
"And what do you do, Temp?" Roman asked, glancing over at him.
Temp opened his mouth to respond, when a bell rang out, startling everyone.
Sam stood up, slinging his backpack over his shoulder. "First period. Let's go."
The group, along with almost everyone else from the lunchroom, found themselves in a gymnasium-like room, with high ceilings and a wide open space. The floor was covered in sparring mats, and punching bags hung from the ceiling on the other side of the area.
A short man in a cheap suit leaned against the wall, staring intently at a clipboard. "Form a line, tallest to shortest," he called out without looking up.
A few looks were exchanged, and the students made a line. Inevitably, Temp was near the end, with only two other kids being taller than him. Ben was a few down from him, then Phil, then Roman, then Sam and Darcy. Astrid was the shortest. Temp crossed his arms, not happy with being separated from his few allies.
The man finally set the clip board on the floor and strode forward, glancing at each of them in order. "Some of you," he began, his voice deep and growling, "may have experienced some confusion with your schedules. The blank space was not a mistake."
Darcy leaned out of the line and flashed everyone a cheesy smile.
With a glare at her, the man continued. "Usually, PROSPECT begins actual training after students have full control of their abilities. This is not an option anymore, so we'll be starting today. Any returning students, you may go across the gym and do solitary work with the punching bags. New students, team up with someone close to your height and weight."
An alarmed look on his face, Sam moved across the gym with a small group of kids. Ben, the only one of his friends close to his height, was immediately dragged away by the girl beside him. Admittedly, Ben didn't seem too upset.
Temp scowled, then turned to the boy beside him. "Are we supposed to fight or something?"
The boy glanced at Temp, taking in his irritated and disheveled expression. "I really hope not."
"Anyone here have fighting experience?" the man inquired.
Temp was the only one who raised his hand. The boy beside him seemed resigned to fail.
"Great. Help out your partner if he needs it. Now then, I'm your teacher, Mr. Baker. I've been teaching here for almost ten years and have never had an incident, so for goodness sake, don't use your powers on the first day. If you feel reiteration coming on, leave. It's that simple. Every pair, take a mat. Now, this is your first day, so just make an attempt to get the feel of fighting. Try to pin your opponent. Go on."
The boy beside him sighed and turned to face him. "Well… what do I do?"
Temp hesitated. "Well, uh… just take a swing at me, I guess. I can show you how to counter, if you want."
"Really? Okay, sure." The boy stepped back and swung his fist half-heartedly.
Temp frowned, redirecting the attack with a light shove to his arm. "Are you serious, or…? Okay, fine, I'll go first, then you copy me."
On the first day of training- if you could even call it that- Mr. Baker saw exactly what he expected from his new recruits; lazy strikes, kids tackling each other, and several poorly replicated kung fu stances that made him cringe. One boy was doing somersaults in the air above his opponent, and the girl was sat in the middle of the mat, glaring up at him.
Everything was to be expected. He sighed, absently scratching a few notes on his clipboard. The only one who showed any real promise was the one with the weird-ass name who was making an attempt to help his opponent instead of beating the crap out of him. And the other boy- Marcus- was actually learning from him, Baker noted, seeing his corrected stance and his strikes contain some semblance of technique.
Of course, Baker would rather the students learn something that wasn't 'street fighting', but he had to admit it was practical.
This isn't too bad, Ellis thought to himself, smiling as Induction showed him the area around the Syndicate's headquarters. The last few days had become a blur of questioning and jokes and rushed explanations, but there was something about the whole ordeal that was appealing. He'd had no word from his uncle, but Induction assured him that she had informed his guardian of what had happened.
She paused by what appeared to be a rundown garage, the shingles falling off and the paint peeling. It looked about the same as the whole house did from the outside, but, like the mansion, it was very different inside. "What do you think so far, kid?"
"This is great," Ellis replied, and meant it, gazing around. "Seriously, nothing like this's ever really happened before. Can't believe I'm, like, a superhero."
Induction smirked, moving away some ivy on the garage to reveal a keypad. "Easy there, grasshopper, you ain't graduated the Badass Academy just yet. Your codename could be the Sophomore and it'd be accurate." She entered a seven digit code and the keypad flashed. With a creek, the garage door raised up. "Keep up, Ellis. You seen X-Men?"
"Seen the movies, read the comics. I was Quicksilver last year for Halloween." He peered around her, but it appeared to be grimy and dark inside the garage, like any ancient place ought to be.
"Fascinating. This is kinda like the entrance to those top secret lower levels. Xavier had a sweet elevator, we got this place." Seeing the question on his face, she moved inside, kicking the side of a decaying workbench with a look of disgust. "It's concealed. The entrance is…" She spied a shelf with tools on it, reached up, and tugged on a wrench.
With a metallic groan, the ancient car in the center of the garage shuddered and lowered into the ground, to be replaced with a set of stairs, lit underneath with a blue light.
Ellis whistled, starting down the steps beside Induction. "Woah."
"An understatement." She smiled nonetheless.
The hallway was lit blue and lined with countless doors. Induction ignored them all, striding confidently down to the end, where a tall dark wooden door was.
She paused, turning to Ellis. "This's the Planning Room. We plan all our operations here. Infect messaged me earlier and said that he, Hurricane, Nocturne, and Dynamus are already in there, and they want you present."
"Really? Why?" Ellis, though excited to take the next step to truly joining the Syndicate, wondered why they would want him in a meeting after he'd only been an apprentice for two, maybe three days.
"Call it 'on the job training'." Induction raised her hand and knocked twice on the doorframe.
The doors swung open.
Hi everyone! I want to start off by saying that last chapter was meant to be labeled as Chapter 5, not another Chapter 4. My bad.
Secondly, I realize that I have been gone for a while, and I'm sorry I haven't updated for so long. For personal reasons combined with writer's block, I took a break from this website and this story, but I'm back now. I hope to get back in the swing of things on here, and I thank you for sticking around. Next chapter; the plot actually advances!
I've gotten lots of kind messages and reviews, and seriously, you guys are amazing. Thanks.