Legion of Lawndale Heroes Mini
Written by Brother Grimace
"Hi. I'm looking for Gilmore Hall."
"You just found it – Sloane, right? One of the Legionnaires?"
"Yeah." Tom Sloane smiled at the female cadet sitting in the large, surprisingly comfortable foyer of the ten-story dormitory, her head framed in the glowing light of the setting sun. "Nice place."
"Tell me you didn't think that the dorms were going to look like something on a military base – well, during basic, anyway?"
Tom's face answered for him. "They do let us have some individuality here, and aside from the uniforms, powers, occasional explosions and the Academy code of conduct – this is more or less just like any other college campus."
A smile went across Tom's face; the girl was cute, and sometimes, flirting was just something he did. "Tell me more about this 'code of conduct'..."
"Easy there, tiger. I have a boyfriend – so do you, from what I've read in the tabloids and gossip magazines - and besides, I don't think you want to kiss me unless I give you the 'go-ahead' first."
"What could be so dangerous about a little kiss?"
The cadet smiled sweetly at him, then turned to pick up the half-eaten popcorn ball on the end table besides her chair... and Tom felt an involuntary curdling in his stomach as the cadet blew a thin, gentle stream over the treat, and the top of the popcorn ball seemed to turn to vapor as her breath literally ate away the top, leaving a perfectly flat surface. "Since I can generate a particularly nasty molecular acid in my body – it could be bad for you."
"It doesn't hurt you?"
"I'm immune to any form of corrosive agent; I could stand in a room full of corrosive acid gas and it wouldn't bother me," she told him. "My body even generates an enzyme that protects the things I wear, even if I'm generating huge amounts of acid."
Tom's eyes widened. "Huge amounts?"
"Oh, I could probably dissolve a building this size totally in about ten or fifteen minutes," the cadet smiled sweetly. "Think 'like a fire hose'."
"Right. I'm looking for Room 397."
The cadet sat her popcorn ball down, and pointed down the hall. "Down the hall to the elevators; go up to three, then turn right and go all the way to the end of the hall. It's the room on the left-hand side of the hall, next to the window." She took a slight breath as she realized where she had directed him. "Farrington and Davers' room? You are hanging out with the stars, aren't you?"
His eyes following hers, Tom shrugged. "They just told me that I'd be staying there while we're here."
'Yeah, well, if you're bunking with them, it means-"
"Excuse me – did you say 'Farrington'?"
The way Tom said the name gave the female cadet pause. "You know him?"
"David Allen, or Colin?"
"I didn't know both of them were here," Tom said, blinking hard as an image of two identical teenage boys, laughing at him as they ran away, filled his mind. "I didn't know that either of them were here."
"Only David Allen," the cadet told him. "His twin brother doesn't have powers – he went to Cambridge! Yeah, all of you rich kids know each other, right?"
"Some of us do."
Tom opened the door slowly, and David Allen Farrington looked over from the Rubik's Cube he was manipulating with his telekinetic ability as the young man walked in.
"Hello, David Allen."
David Allen turned back to the multi-colored toy, flipping the sections with the power of his mind as Tom set the small bad he carried on the textbook perfectly made bed on the other side of the room. "There's Ultra Cola Zero And Sparkle Zero in the mini-fridge, as well as water and cran-grape juice – help yourself."
"Nice to see you, too."
Tom disappeared into the bathroom; he reappeared minutes later and went over to his bed. "So... are we going to be civil, talk, and things like that?"
David Allen waited until he had completed the yellow and red sides of the cube before he acknowledged that Tom had even spoken. "There's no reason we shouldn't be."
More silence. "You know, ever since – this – happened to me, I've been studying," Tom said. "As much as I can; I've even been studying Elite records."
David Allen's eyes flared – literally; his pupils momentarily glowed with a blazing light-blue luminescence that lit up the room for a moment, and the cube wobbled in air for a moment, but remained aloft. "You know those words are never to be spoken in public – and even with the way these rooms are built, this still qualifies," the young African-American cadet hissed, the sound seeming odd and in direct conflict with the gentle nature of his facial features. "Didn't your parents teach you better?"
He turned his back on Tom. "Besides – I heard that you weren't supposed to get powers at all."
Tom's eyes widened slightly. "I hadn't heard that."
A soft laugh. "Study more. Speaking of which – they graduated you early from Fielding, right?"
"Yeah, they did. I always wondered why your mother only sent Colin to Fielding and not you, too." Thank God, he thought, it would have been horrible if both of them had been there-
[You DO realize that I can hear what you're thinking at me, right?]
"Wait a minute," David Allen said, letting the cube drop to his desk as he suddenly turned to Tom, his eyes wide. "Do that again!"
"Do what again?"
"You just blocked me – you blocked me out totally! Very few people have blocked me out like that – Leda's the only person I've run across who has shields I can't cut through and only a few people have natural defenses that strong; I thought that you were just a Class Five physical augment!"
The cadet moved closer to Tom. "Do that again – think something at me."
You and your brother are dicks.
"If you weren't a stuck-up little prick even when you were little, you wouldn't have gotten stomped on by older kids – and since I got it when I got home for not stopping Colin throw you in the water, I don't feel a bit sorry for you."
[Unless you want me to turn you into a charcoal stain on that wall behind you, don't think about my mother like that around me - YOU JUST DID IT AGAIN!]
David Allen looked deep into Tom's eyes, and then drew back. "Daria must really like you – that's some really nice work she did with you."
"What are you talking about?"
"Earlier tonight, when I was linked with her. I could see that – there's a part of her that actually likes you... likes you a lot. You must have had somebody really able to burn neurons around if she threw up a block like that in your head-"
"Daria's never been in my head. Well, never like that."
David Allen's eyes went wide, although he mentally filed away the second part of Tom's comment. "Really?" [They left the block up in your mind? That makes no sense! The block is put in there only to lock down your powers – no block, no powers, and they gave you your powers, so why would they... oh.]
[You're Jane Lane's boyfriend – you started dating her before you got your powers, right?]
[That doesn't make sense – Tom, do you mind if I try something?]
[Like somebody was playing with your head, and I can fix it – maybe.]
Why do you care?
[I don't – about you. You're a dick and your family is all stuck-up-]
Hey – your mother Cassandra's been around acting like she's the Queen of the East Coast since I was little, and you want to talk about MY family? Not to mention your father-
[My father's a jerk – but say another word about my mother and I'll wipe you of everything but the need to crap, screw and feel a lot of pain. She just never wanted to get into all of the silly society squabbles. You want me to fix this or not?]
Like I said before – why do you care?
[I care about Daria. If somebody's messing with your head, and they did it when they let you have your powers... she could get hurt. With your powers, she could get hurt badly. I smell a rat – and it's programmed with your face, probably. I hate those people who do the 'Purloined Letter' trick...at least they taught us counters at Foundations, out in Colorado...]
Oh. I just remembered... I hate it when people-
[You mean, you're scared. I can see that memory... barely. Okay. I can let you go to sleep-]
The alarm clock's shrill ring caused Tom's eyes to snap open. "I figured that you could use the sleep," said David Allen's voice from the bathroom.
[About nine hours. I just let you sleep after I finished up in there – the less brain activity after something like that, the better. Somebody had you wired for bear, Sloane.]
[All I know is that somebody did a very nice trip job on you – if it wasn't for the fact that I've had to do a couple of those before and the disarm jobs too... man. Somebody planned on having you kick some serious tail on somebody, someday. You would have been worse than a Terminator.]
[I couldn't unlock the trip job – they have some – let's just say that I couldn't unlock the trip job.]
Tom could feel the uneasiness in David Allen's response, and decided not to go any further in asking what a 'trip job' was.
[I did an end run around it, though. I ran a bypass on the redundancies in your brain that connect the areas that block sealed off, so you should be able to access your full powers. I wouldn't do it around anyone, though – it'll tip off whoever did that to you. I wouldn't tell anyone about it, either.]
[Because somebody in The Elite turned you into a time bomb, set to go off when they give the signal. Also, that lock job is less than a year old, and you said that you got your powers last fall – that means that whoever did it probably did it then; they gave you only a partial activation and a mental flip switch that would turn your powers on fully when they turned your kill-switch to 'on'. I also bypassed the trigger; it'll go off, but it won't activate the implanted mental-control program.]
A question suddenly popped into Tom's head. "David Allen – just how powerful are you?"
The cadet stepped out of the bathroom and went to his closet. [You know how they told you about how, when you're a baby, they put mental blocks in your head to suppress your powers?]
[You ever seen that B-movie, Scanners?]
[Did you wonder why they had four telepaths there when they unbound your powers? Up until the early 1950's, they only used two – one as a backstop, incase of problems. Then, babies born with mystical and psionic started becoming very powerful, and some were manifesting at birth or within the first year. I manifested – there's still a question about that. They don't know if I manifested at birth or two weeks later, when they came to bind my powers and made my mother leave. Babies get scared easily, and without my mother around-]
The cadet sighed audibly. [To this day, I can't manifest my pyrokinetic power – not even in VR. You'll learn about that soon. I turned three of them into bubbling goo and was blowing down the fourth one's TK shields when my mother came in and just said 'stop'. I haven't used that power since. As far as The Elite's concerned – I'm a rabid dog. The only reason that they didn't try to erase the entire family is because they were able to bind Colin's power... and they knew my mom could control me.]
[In the meantime- could you hover in the air for a moment?]
Tom shrugged, then slid off the bed and did as he was asked; his feet had barely cleared the floor when an energy pulse leaped away from David Allen's forehead to strike Tom directly in the chest!
""But –but – how did I-"
"I guess somebody didn't want you to know just how powerful you really were," David Allen spoke aloud. "I didn't do this for you – I did it for Daria. You owe me now – and you can make up for it by watching out for her. If somebody shoots at her – by God in Heaven, you'd better take the bullet."
As Tom set back down on the floor, he caught a glimpse of a stylish black jacket in the closet – a jacket with a thirteen-star design on the front. "Cool jacket."
David Allen closed the closet door. [One more thing – someday, someone's going to try and hit the switch to 'turn you on'. I rewired things so that you'll know who it is that hit the switch. If it's a telepath sending you an activation signal, you'll be able to track the bastard right back to the source. Give him or her an extra slap in the mouth for me, okay?]
He headed for the door. "Turn the lights off when you leave. Oh, and try to get to one of the cafeterias early. They're having biscuits and gravy today, and it's good. People line up for extras, so they sometimes run out of gravy on these days."
Tom watched as he left, and went to the shelf for the towels, washcloths and other toiletries that someone had set out for him on the table besides the clean Legion uniform in his colors. "Yeah. Definitely nice to see you again."