Written by Brother Grimace
[[TheSecretSharer]] [[If the only two superteams that ever exist are having it out, then the winner will lord it over the loser for years. Either the Legion gets humiliated, or the Academy Cadets get humiliated. I wonder if this can end well...]]
[[Staren]] [[Oh come on. You know the cadets are going to fall into tactical patterns that a five year old could spot a mile off, and then are going to get beat like a rented mule. It's what the FC live for. They've just been doing it in a social context up to now. ]]
[[CaptainMarbles]] [[Now all we need is to have Nick Diamond, Johnny Gomez, and Stone Cold Steve Austin narrate and comment on this fight scene.]]
-text from USAES intranet online chat posted before Legion virtual combat simulation
"All right, everybody – let's get started."
The noise levels in the small classroom dropped as Rafael 'Roman' Vargas – (also known as 'Fortune' – the team leader of the Alliance) stood up in front of the wall-mounted computer screen. "The way it seems, the Legionnaires will run a VR team combat simulation within the next forty-eight hours. They'll probably ask for volunteers, so, let's beat them to the punch."
"Oh, they'll be going up against us," said Julia Carlyle ('Star Angel' – the Alliance's deputy leader), leaning back in her chair and brushing a heavy lock of dark scarlet hair from her face. "I was down in Zero Area to see what that little bitch Morgendorffer could do. Nobody else around here is ready to go up against them as a team like we are."
"You're just wanting to get the carrot-top back for embarrassing you in front of those little kids, aren't you?"
The classically beautiful young woman turned, her huge jade eyes locking on the smirking face of E. Jeffrey Brace (also known as 'Windburn' - the team's resident speedster). "Shut up, Jeffrey."
"What happened – the Duchess can't handle another Queen Bee showing up on her turf? Oh, and by the way... move the wings. Can't you shrink those back during meetings?"
Julia tossed him a dismissive glance as she turned back, and instead of shrinking her full, silken wings back into her body, folded them so that they were flat against her back. "Roman, whenever you're ready."
The handsome Latino cadet picked up a remote control, and then pointed at the screen. "Okay, everyone – threat- and power levels on the Legionnaires. Alpha to Delta threats– Alpha's the highest; Class One to Five – anything Three or higher is classified as a tactical asset."
A photo of Tiffany appeared on the screen, with the caption underneath reading 'Department of Extranormal Affairs (DEXA) Archive File Legion-00005/Blum-Deckler, T.' "Blum-Deckler, Tiffany. Sixteen years old, Chinese background, adopted."
An attractive Black girl in a seat close to the screen looked over at Roman. "Power ranking?"
"Class Three – phasing. She can do it on molecular and interdimensional levels."
"Great," sighed Carolyn Field (code-named 'Shocklash'), shifting in her seat. "Looks like you've got your first target, David Allen. No one else will be able to touch her."
"It's worse than that," Roman told her. "Because of her psych profile, she's been - Zoey, you'd better listen before one of the preps zeroes you down."
"Psych profile?" David Allen Farrington asked, and everyone turned to the Black cadet seated in the middle of the room. "We've got their psych profiles? How?"
"DEXA approved an information exchange with the Legion training cadre," Roman said. "We've got access to their files, and the government gave them access to the Academy for specialized research and testing procedures. If they wanted to read up on us while they're in-house, they've got clearance."
"But they won't."
Roman looked back at the lanky young woman in the back of the room he had directed his earlier comment towards. "You don't know that, Zoey. Colonel Armalin's been teaching them, and Sergeant Nemec is his lead NCO. He'll have them prepped."
Zoey Robertson (also known as
'Victory'- the team's aquatic specialist) yawned, stretching long, pale-brown
arms into the air before she turned her large, wet, sea-green eyes towards the
others. "You're taking this far too seriously, Roman. The Legionnaires are
jokes. If they could actually do something worthwhile with their powers, then
they'd be here."
"Don't be so sure – they'll probably be counting on the fact that we're supposed to think of them as beneath us, and use that to jam right into our faces," said the slender Japanese student sitting next to Jeffrey. "I'm not getting embarrassed by these guys – you know that they managed to survive that 'Black Majesty' guy, not to mention a few other attacks by Class Threes and higher. They're not the jokes people want to think they are."
"Roger that, Ian," Jeffrey echoed, and the short cadet with the frame of a weightlifter 'high-fived' Fabian Nogura (code-named 'Typhoon' for his weather-control powers). "We have to do these guys hard and fast. No personal stuff, no showboating – just business. You saw what Quinn Morgendorffer did – do not let that Heather draw down on you."
A cough from Carolyn drew everyone's attention to the front of the room. "Oh. Yeah. Well, you handle the carrot-top, and that Lane chick, too."
Carolyn, wearing the night-black uniform of a Phantom Eagle – but with a Canadian flag on her right arm instead of the U.S. flag most of the others wore, or the Japanese flag on Fabian's arm - held no emotion on her face as she spoke. "I'll take care of them both."
"As I was saying – David Allen, it might be a good idea for you to psi-blast Blum-Deckler right away. Her psych profile shows she's got very little problem against using force – even lethal force –that's why DEXA has her tagged as a Beta. First chance anyone gets - put her down."
A photo of Brittany appeared. "Taylor, Brittany. Class Two on powers – Invisibility. Do not let looks deceive, people; she has fighting skills equal to anyone here – even you, Zoey, or you, Carolyn – and no compunction about using them. In the Legion action report dealing with her recruitment, it's noted that she nearly took out half their actives before they broke the hypnotic control over her. Alpha-level threat. In the first strike, take her down - if we don't, we're going to lose people."
A murmur of agreement went through the room as Brittany's face disappeared and was replaced by Quinn's face. "The only Alpha-level threat the Legion has in terms of power levels," Roman told the gathered members of The Alliance. "Quinn Morgendorffer. Carolyn, you're a Class Three – she's a Class Five."
Maryann Lyter (also known as 'Tempest') leaned forward. "Wait a minute, Roman – I read the briefs on them before you and me went with the Admiral to Legion Tower! She's a Three – a solid Class Three, but still -!"
"Blame that on Sherrie," Zoey said, causing everyone in the room to groan. "Apparently, she felt sorry for the nitwit, so she figured that she'd give her a little help. You know how she is about runty animals."
"Oh, that's just great," Jeffrey said, rolling his eyes. "She won't boost anyone else's powers around here, no matter how much people beg, plead or promise her great sex anytime she wants it and for as long as she can stand it, but the prom queen shows up and Sherrie turns her into the Lithium version of the Energizer Bunny! Jeez! What does she want – to get into the girl's pants, Passion Cove-style?"
The room went graveyard quiet; wincing, Jeffrey turned to see the skinny, blonde-haired young woman who was sitting off to the side of Zoey, her face mixing sadness and resignation. "Kelly – I'm sorry. I wasn't talking about you-"
The resident 'tank' of the Alliance, Kelly Springer (code-named 'Monolith'), refused to even turn her forest-green eyes in his direction. "You always apologize – and then, you make slimy comments like that all over again."
"You're an ass," Carolyn snarled; even after all their years together and knowing each other's secrets – like Kelly's sexual orientation and the fact that she could only stay in the military by staying 'in the closet' – Jeffrey still hadn't learned how to be tactful around her.
The young woman shifted in her seat. "I have to put up with comments like that all the time just so I get the government to train me how to fly planes – so I wish you'd stop with the lesbian jokes, at least around me."
"She should throw you all the way to the moon – and you know that she could," Julia laughed. "If I was as strong as she was, I'd have tossed you up in the air and hit for distance long ago."
"C'mon, Duchess – be honest," Jeffrey smirked, tossing a very quick glance at David Allen before focusing on Julia. "Ever since we turned thirteen, everybody knows that you want to use my Johnson as a perch."
"If you touch him, you give me a thousand," Roman barked, catching Julia in mid-fling as she rocketed out of her chair and lunged for Jeffrey's face. "Sit down and act your age, Carlyle. Jeffrey – shut up. You don't get to talk anymore today."
The two cadets actually pouted as they sat back in their chairs, and Roman shook his head before continuing. "As I was saying – she's a strong Class Five now. Carolyn, drain her if you can, and Lindy – make sure you stick close to Carolyn. Give Heather Number One a big surprise."
The girl who sat across the room from Julia nodded as she looked up from her notepad, pushing her glasses back up on her nose before raising her head to reveal her 'girl-next-door' good looks. "Oh, yeah – message from the Admiral. You're on stand-down from POGO Group Seven – they got another female trooper and they're heading out soon – so in his exact words, 'Get rid of all of the bikinis, and do something with your damn hair. This isn't Laguna, and you're not a 'beach bunny.'"
Lindy Lomard (code-named 'Backtrack' because of her force-field that reflected attacks back onto the attacker) grinned sheepishly at Roman. She sat up in her chair and brushed back her thick, shaggy masses of butter-blonde hair, set in a stylish manner that perfectly enhanced her features. "But people like the look – did you see the way those Fashion Club Legionnaires were staring at me today?"
"They were just staring at you because we weren't there," Fabian told him, leaning over as he pointed between himself and Jeffrey. "No offense, Kelly – but what hot young thing in his OR her right mind would take a Coney Island hot dog like you-"
Lindy's face flushed red as she looked away; she wasn't fond of anyone making fun of her hometown. "-When she can have a prime cut of Kobe beef-"
"Or a Chicago-style pizza!" Jeffrey howled in unison.
Carolyn turned to face her fellow cadet. "A what?"
Jeffrey stood up and made a pose more suited for a wrestling arena than a classroom, showing off his well-defined biceps. "Just like the ladies want it – hot, fresh and ready to go, any way they want it, with anything they want on top!"
Carolyn turned away from the two snickering cadets. "I can't believe that the three of us are all going to be Marine officers."
"I know, Carolyn - but don't sell yourself short!" Jeffrey said, easing his chair up to hers as he sat back down. "You'll be a great officer in the Corps, and I'd be proud to serve under you- WHOA!"
The young man's eyes went wide as an explosion of light just behind the Black cadet's right wrist exploded into the form of a searing, solid lash of pure electromagnetic force! "As an officer- a fellow officer! Ease it down, already! I didn't mean anything!"
The lash disappeared, and Jeffrey, his eyes still wide, turned to Roman. "Dude-!"
"Keep running your mouth, and I'll let her castrate you, send you to the hospital wing and write it up as a 'training accident... 'Ezekiel'." Jeffrey shrank back as he saw the coldness in the eyes of the Alliance's team leader. "You've played enough for today. You too, 'Fabian'."
The room grew quiet. "Jane Lane. Class Four magnetic manipulation – shields, flight, and detection of magnetic lines of force. She's at the same level as Cadet First Year Cockrum, but no energy projection or antimatter containment."
Roman turned to the other cadets. "She's classified at Beta threat levels. She's got a knack for surviving and she will fight back – but the way to take her down is to go after Morgendorffer... the older one. Make Lane focus on protecting her, and take her out – right, David Allen?"
The cadets turned to David Allen. "Right," he replied.
Something about the way he held himself gave Roman pause. "You're holding out on us, David Allen. What is it?"
"You've always been a horrible liar, David Allen," Julia said, turning to face him. "You know that you're going to tell me sooner or later; you might as well do it now."
All of the other cadets conveniently overlooked the use of the word 'me' as David Allen faced Julia. "Sloane," he finally said. "He's hot for her. He doesn't exactly realize it yet, but he's more interested in her than he is in Lane."
Julia's eyes glittered as if she were a cat that had just spotted a particularly plump mouse in the middle of a basketball court, with no place to hide. "Oh?"
Zoey leaned forward to grasp David Allen's shoulder, the same predatory gleam in her eyes. "Are you sure about that? Really, really sure – 'checked with your empathy' sure?"
"Yes. He dreams about her." David Allen felt marginally ashamed of telling the others in his cadre about what saw in Tom Sloane's dreams – but didn't think that they needed to know anything more than that little part from the night before.
They don't need to know that Daria really doesn't have the problems with Sloane that she carries on about - which doesn't say much for her taste in men, as far as I'm concerned – or that she's had a couple of dreams about her friend Jane that would make both Taz and Ian's pants blow open... the pigs. She's not gay by any means, but she's got a powerful connection with Jane that could have easily been romantic, in a different world and setting. Right now, they're just two very, very close friends... and that's how we take them both down.
"I'm sure. Go after Morgendorffer, and you should get a clear shot at both Lane and Sloane."
"We'll talk about him next." Roman used his remote, and Tom's face appeared. "Sloane. Maryann, he's like you - a low-end Class Five, but they rated him as a Gamma threat. He's not much of a fighter, and his psych profile shows that he's not predisposed to physical encounters, anyway. Another example of the bluebloods raising their young to fight in the boardroom instead of Thunderdome."
"Three differences," Maryann interjected. "One - my heat-vision's much stronger. Two - I can see things in color with my X-ray vision while he can't with his 'shape-vision,' but I can't see through lead. He can. Three – my 'true vision' lets me see people who are invisible, cloaked in some manner or shifted into another form. Sloane doesn't have that."
"Easy fix, then," Julia said. "Make him use any of his other powers besides invulnerability, and nail him."
"Griffin," Roman said, and everyone went quiet as Sandi's image appeared. "Class Four self-duplication, with a side-effect of permanent mental and physical upgrades to her main form inherent on the base number of duplicates she can produce – the researchers think that she should be able to create eight of them. She just doesn't know how yet. She's THE number one Alpha threat on their side. We hit her first. If she doesn't go down in the first thirty seconds, someone's screwed up. Anyone who ever gets a clear shot at Griffin – you take her out, even if you have someone else on the ropes and you have to let them go."
"I hate 'geekspeak' - but you all know she's Colonel Armalin's 'padawan,'" Zoey said, flexing her fingers with anticipation as she looked at Sandi's image on the screen. "I've heard a lot about Griffin this year. She's all mine."
There was a unanimous murmuring of approval. "They have two wild cards. Rowe and Ruttheimer-"
"I'll take Ruttheimer," Julia said, idly tossing her hand upwards. "I've got a plan for him."
"I've got a plan for Rowe, too," Lindy said. "Julia, I'll need your help, though. You too, David Allen."
"Work it out," Roman spoke up. "Then there's Mackenzie. He's a newbie – no training, no combat or training experience except the couple of days here. He'll either be the least of our worries or the biggest problem we'll have. Julia, blast him as soon as we make contact; I don't feel like having to deal with an unknown variable."
"What about Morgendorffer?"
Everyone turned to look back at Kelly. "She's a psi – from what the reports say, she's a Class Five like David Allen. He can counter her telepathically and overwhelm her with his telekinesis and other physical powers – along those lines, why aren't you the one to take Ruttheimer, because you and him-"
David Allen glanced in her direction. "Julia said that she can take him – so I assume she's got something evil in mind."
"Exactly," Julia replied, favoring David Allen with a smile. "They're expecting teams of soldiers or Federal officers. I think they're in for a surprise."
Kelly stood up; she was easily as tall and slender as Zoey, and was the only female cadet in the room to wear a skirt, whish showcased her incredible legs. "Still, David Allen's the only one of us that can reliably defend against Daria's powers – Carolyn, you can jam her, but you know that if she really pushes, she'll probably push through, and with her domination ability-"
Roman broke in mid-sentence as Kelly looked up to him, her eyes pleading. "Okay, Kelly – you're off the hook. Julia-"
"I know, I know – use my sonic powers to stun her and keep her unfocused so she can't focus to lock onto any of us. You know, if you want, I could just take them on by myself – but all of you do need a workout every now and then."
"You'll get a workout if she figures out how to work in VR," Kelly continued, trying not to roll her eyes. "Just saying that she's probably more dangerous than we expect."
"No – she's not," David Allen spoke up. "As she is, she's a weak person inside, with not much fight or backbone. We all know that it's the person that makes the powers, not the other way around. Daria's a Gamma threat-level at best."
He turned to Kelly. "That will change – but right now, her first instinct will be to run – she's classic 'fight or flight'. Keep her on the run, give her plenty of 'shock and awe', don't let her see anyone take out her sister or Lane – or then, you WILL have problems - and you should have no trouble in running her to ground. Just take her from a distance and don't go after her alone."
Julia stood up, and Roman nodded to her. "Anything else? Okay, Alliance – that's it. Work on your individual drills and team maneuvers. We'll do Blue and Gold Team test runs in 'the bathroom' immediately after lunch. Roman, I'll take Gold Team and run a simulation first - and afterwards, go make the offer to the Legionnaires. You take Blue Team and practice until it's time."
Roman looked around the room. "That's a plan, Carlyle. Let's get to work."