If you would like to participate in this RP, please DO NOT post here. Post in Kids Who Become Heroes (Coming back soon. Planning Thread). Thanks!
1. All players must read and obey the rules.
2. This RP is Loosely Literate. You must be as literate as you possibly can. Typos are accepted, but we need to be able to understand your posts.
3. No one-liners. There must be a minimum of three lines per character. Any one-liner posts are to be ignored and replaced ASAP.
4. This RP is Dedicated. You must post at least once daily. A warning is required if you will be absent for more than a day. Before your absence you must assign someone to powerplay your character, preferrably someone in the RP. If you assign someone outside of the RP, they must be familiar with current events, rules, and the plot. If you will be gone an extended amount of time, you may request the RP to be put on hold for you. If you disappear there will be a 3 day period in which your character will be openly powerplayed. If you do not return by the end of day 3, you will be kicked from the RP. You will only be allowed one unwarned disappearance before being kicked.
5. No power-playing without permission. This isn't just taking over a character. Even simple things such as assuming the other characters' reactions and writing them is forbidden. Things such as 'they all gasped' or 'he nodded' when referring to people not your character(s) is completely not allowed.
6. NPC characters should not be allowed to have too much involvement or effect in the story. The acception to this is if I introduce or approve the character. Making an NPC character that gets too involved is the equivalent of making another character without permission. The focus needs to be on our heroes and their enemy/his henchmen, not the nobodies around them. Also, no introducing/playing Thanatos' henchmen without permission.
7. There is one character per person. Any additional characters should be requested.
8. As the maker and controller of this RP, I may sometimes allow myself to ignore the rules.
9. You may not post more than two times a day. If you have a second character you may post three times a day. Acceptions may be made for me, for RP control reasons.
10. No 1x1-ing. When you post, you must wait for two other people to post. Example: iluvnacho posts. PrincessCharming posts. iluvnacho would have to wait for another person to post before she (assuming gender) could post again.
11. Keep an eye out for and read all posts starting with a title like ~This~.
12. Have fun.
Players, do not post anything in this thread until further notice. Further detail in the planning thread.
They all started out seeming pretty ordinary, like any other kids. But it was already in their DNA. One day they'd be differnet. Evolved humans, or mutants, are not anything new. They've existed for quite some time, only they were quite very rare. But then, as time went on, they grew more and more common. about 10% of the U.S. population is likely mutant. The last count, by a mutant gifted in detecting other mutants, estimated nearly 31,400,000 mutants in the U.S. alone.
There exists and Organization known as G.H.O.S.T. commonly called Ghost. The name was created to represent the following phrase: Gathering Heroes Organization to Stop Thanatos. Ghost is run by a man named Allen Steel, and funded by the government as a secret organization.
Ghost was formed 20 years ago, and was put into action just one year later. Allen Steel, along with ten other mutants, were banded together as teenagers and brought against a man named Darius Thanatos. Thanatos, taking inspiration from the old cliche, wanted to take over the world with his powers. What were his powers, you ask? He could take away powers from other mutants, and give them to himself. He seemingly had no limitation to his power, although Allen and the others did find certain weaknesses. It wasn't enough though. Five heroes died (One not at the time of Thanatos but some time after his capture), some of them losing their powers before then, three lost their powers to Thanatos but survived, and two narrowly escaped with their powers, but were forever damaged, one never to walk, and one slowly dying over the years to an uncurable disease.
The survivors of Thanatos took over Ghost, although for a long time they only watched the world for the rise of a new evil that never came. With no evil, the government wouldn't give them much funding, and they couldn't go looking for new heroes. But then, Thanatos escaped. Funding suddenly came in, and The Heroes Project began. 24 potentials were found, and contacted. How many will actually become involved is yet to be certain, but it is obvious not all of them will accept.
When the RP starts, everyone who accepted or is going to accept and is still contemplating it, will arrive at the first meeting in the Ghost building. More information on the Heroes Project to be given.
~The Heroes Project~
For centuries the existence of gifted humans has been a secretly known thing. For 20 long years, an organization has existed to monitor the world of mutants. G.H.O.S.T. was created to take down a mutant that had risen in an attempt to control the world with his power. His name was Thanatos, and he was captured and imprisoned. But now he has escaped.
The original Heroes Project, launched by Ghost, was meant to gather up a number of mutant teens -since the teen years are the best to perfect one's abilities- to come up against Thanatos, and afterward be ready to defeat any other foe to rise. They were successful, but that team could not remain in the Project due to great loss, and with no enemy rising up, Ghost hadn't the funds to restart the Project.
However, with Thanatos escaped and soon to try again with his plan, it is a necessity to bring up the Project again and once more gather mutants. With the old members of the Project to teach them, our hopes if that they- you- will be able to stop Thanatos for good.
This comes with great risk, but you will be given a large sum of money should you succeed, and should you die in the attempt, your family would receive the funds to support them comfortably without work for the rest of their lives. If this Project does not succeed, it will truly be the end of the world you know, and a start of world-wide slavery.
You will be required to leave your home and come live in the building, with minimal or no visits to your family or friends. No one is allowed to know of this Project. We will deal with a cover for your family to keep them from knowing. You will be trained to use your ability to its full potential, and trained in all of Thanatos' weaknesses and what to avoid in his strengths.
If is completely your choice. Should you choose to join us, or if you would like to learn more, call the number at the bottom. And should you choose not to participate, you are to effectively dispose of this file, and we will know if you don't and take action against you. You will not be bothered again so long as you do not use your powers against another human being without good reason. And as long as you tell no one about any of this, and your power remains secret from the world.
Name: Allen Steel
Appearance: Allen is average height, with broad shoulders and a healthy body, although he's not overly fit. He has sandy blond hair and gray eyes with skin on the paler side. He has a straight white smile and a likable aura about him, no matter what he does that might contradict that aura. He wears expensive suits, often notable for looking as nice and expensive as they are. His favorite color to wear is black.
Personality: Allen is a hard character to describe in depth, although there are the layers there. He can be calm and collected, and copes pretty well with any challenge thrown at him. He cares a lot about Rachel, his niece, and would do anything for her. He can become tense and sometimes lose his cool, calm side, but usually he holds it together. He forces himself to seem professional and business-like, but in reality, he's a more casual guy. He has a history of being manipulative, but since the loss of his power he's grown used to the fact that people have their own free will and should only be pushed so far with persuasion.
Bio: From the day his power first surfaced, Allen used it to get what he wanted. He used it for things he isn't proud of, from getting money off of people to getting women in bed with him. Allen and his brother were recruited by the first Heroes Project, he was just 19 then, his brother was 21. Allen hadn't wanted to do it, but it was either Heroes Project or prison for him. After the Project, Allen took over Ghost with his brother new sister-in-law at his side. Allen had lost his power, and was adjusting slowly. His niece, Rachel, was born, and when her parents died, Allen was made her guardian. Her power had surfaced early, and he did his best to take care of her and teach her. He always wanted to get new members for a new Heroes Project, but the government never approved, until now.
Mutations: Allen has an aura that makes people like him. This is sort of more of a mutation.
Abilities: He used to have the ability to make people do what he wanted with words alone. It wasn't quite to the extent of 'go jump off a cliff' and you'd do it, but he could talk you into it pretty quick and easy, and you'd want to do it full-heartedly.
Weaknesses: He could never fully control himself. He had to be careful what he said and did, not to make people do things he didn't intend, or control the people he didn't intend to control.
Involvement: Previous project member.
Name: Rachel Steel.
Appearance: Rachel is short and petite, standing at less than 5' and weighing under 100 lbs. She has straight, chin length black hair with blonde highlight. Her eyes are dark brown, sometimes seeming almost black. Her face is oval, and her eyes are almond shaped. Her skin is pale with light freckles over her cheek bones and nose. She has a straight, white smile, with delicate grace of a musician and dancer. Her size and aura of being delicate and graceful do not at all match her personality. On her arms and on her right calf, she has scars from the crash.
Clothing: Ray always wears jeans, no matter the weather or where she's going. Her favorite clothes are a mix of simple t-shirts, halter tops, and turtlenecks. She has a very large collection of fedoras both old and new, and wears a different one almost every day. Due to really bad eye-sight, she wears glasses, black square-framed glasses almost all the time.
Personality: Rachel is a little ball of fire when she wants to be. She doesn't take being talked down to or disrespected. She acts strong and stubborn, although she is slightly insecure. She has a certain level of pride and independence that can get her into trouble. She can be patient and friendly at times. She hates controlling people with her ability, and she loves music and animals. In most cases when she's too far out of her comfort zone, she tends to show her nervousness and insecurity.
Bio: Rachel grew up with her parents, a loving mother, and a hard-working father. Her entire family was always extremely protective of her. This meant she rarely had friends, and did all her schooling at home. She never really was bothered by not having any friends or general social life, taking up music and dancing. At age 12, her and her parents were in a terrible car crash. Her parents died, and Ray discovered her power then. From that point forward, she suffered severe migraines, depression, and random violent outbursts.
Her uncle, Allen Steel, took her in, her legal guardian. He went ahead and started to prepare her in the case of needing a new heroes project. Rachel cleaned up eventually, getting things under control. She promised Allen she'd use her powers to help, even if she hated using them.
Abilities: Rachel has a form of telepathy, able to communicate mentally with others, as well as hear stray thoughts from the people around her. It is still developing, but she can affect the minds of others, placing thoughts in their minds and making them think it was their own thoughts. Perfected, this could become close to mind control.
Weaknesses: Like a jedi mind trick, the stronger minded are more immune to her persuasive ability. She has to hear a person talk, or hear a good sample of their thoughts before she's able to affect them. Also, if her mind becomes crowded, or someone else tries to read/affect her mind, she will get a terrible pain in her head, and sometimes pass out.
Other: She has a pet cat, named Boot. She got it after her parents died. Also, she has absolutely no dating experience, and may be known to latch on to the first mildly attractive boy she sees.
Name: Jamie White.
Appearance: Jamie is on the short side, standing at only 5' and is built proportionate to his height at a pretty average, healthy level. His skin is a bit on the pale side, giving him a nerdy look and his eyes and hair are a matching chocolaty brown. He has that old Justin Bieber hair with long bangs hanging in his eyes, although he didn't take the style off the singer. His smiles and grins are his signature, crooked with dimples. He's normally got a serious expression.
Clothing: At the start of the RP, Jamie is wearing his usual ratty jeans and a baggy hoodie. He wears clothes that cover as much skin as possible, wearing even gloves, mostly finger-less, most the time.
Personality: Jamie doesn't do well in social situations. He often feels awkward and ends up keeping his mouth shut for lack of knowing what to say, when to say it. Sometimes he can pull off seeming calm and sometimes he can't help being jumpy and nervous. He has a habit of always looking over his shoulder and always being suspicious that someone is following or watching him. He's a fearful little guy, but he can become quite fearless if he truly desires. He'll try to get along with anyone, but it takes a lot to get him to talk much.
Bio: Jamie has grown up with two older brothers and a single, working mother who works, usually, two or three jobs at a time. With his mom always away at work or asleep, Jamie was always left to the mercy of his bully brothers, who always insisted on giving him a really hard time. When Jamie discovered his ability, he nearly ended up using it brutally on his two brothers, but refrained. He's only used his ability against a person once, in a fight at school.
Mutations: When there's a lot of fear going on around him, and when his ability is in use, depending on the fear, his eyes will change color and remain changed for anywhere from a few seconds to a few days.
Abilities: Jamie can tap into your fears. He can sense fear to an extent, and find out your worst fear. If he knows your fear, he can use it against you, making you live it out. He can also use his ability to turn off his own fear, sometimes completely.
Weaknesses: As long as his ability isn't in use, the fears of those around him will rub off on him, which is what causes him to be so nervous and jumpy. He has to live out your worse fear too when he makes you experience it, although it's not as real or strong for him.
Position: Curious but uncertain about taking part in things.
Other: Jamie suffers from terrible nightmares whenever he sleeps.
First Name: Jamie
Last Name: White
Grade: 9th. Was held back the year his power surfaced.
Height: 5 feet, 0 inches
Weight: 102 lbs
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Brown
Hair Length: Long enough to hang in his eyes.
Hair Type: Thick and wavy, with an old Justin Bieber cut.
Family: Lives with his mother, Joyce with whom he has little to do with. Older twin brothers of 18, Zack and Curtis, who have been known to bully him constantly. Father, David, who left before his birth and has had no contact with him whatsoever.
Records: Grades in school have been of near failing level since his ability surfaced. 2 fights in school, one of which had him suspended. Has scattered events of minor pick-pocketing and shoplifting, none of which has been caught.
Control Notes: Contact with subject's father, David White, can be made. Financial help and stability can be provided for family. Video evidence of shoplifting is obtained and can be used against subject. Use of ability against humans or any animals would be considered illegal without government permission.
Mutations: Eyes will often change color during power use.
Abilities: Can sense and cause people or animals to experience their worst fears.
Weaknesses: Suffers from experiencing the fears of others, especially when power is used against someone.
Ryker was being followed.
It was a distinct feeling, mostly because it was one he didn't know well. Most people steered quite wide of Ryker, including on the sidewalk; he still remembered that poor woman who'd nearly gotten herself run over trying to avoid breathing his same air.
Might as well see if they have the guts to admit to tracking me down like a hound.
At the next crosswalk, Ryker leaned up against the pole with the figure that was currently flashing for people to walk. He stayed behind, along with the woman he'd noticed ten minutes ago - she was petite and slender, the exact opposite of Ryker, with black hair cropped at her chin that had highlights, a style that reminded Ryker vaguely of what his sister wanted to do with her own hair.
"Soooo..." he dragged the word out, leaving it hanging in the air.
She'd been following him a while, trying to work up the courage to actually approach this kid. Her uncle had given protest to her being involved in the recruiting, but Rachel insisted on helping, not wanting her uncle to have to track all these potentials down. She'd already met two kids, and it really hadn't gone well. She hoped this time would go right, otherwise she'd be letting uncle Allen down.
When Ryker stopped, it made her all the more nervous and tense. She stopped a few paces away, thinking a moment and listening to the thoughts around them, just to see who was paying attention. Ryker drew attention, but it wasn't likely anyone would listen to any conversation he was having with some girl. She swallowed and finished walking up to the crosswalk.
Rachel grimaced, standing near him but out of the way of passer-by's. "Ryker Pierce, right?" She asked, holding his file sealed in an envelope a bit too tightly in hand. "Well, that question is a bit pointless, I suppose, since I already know who you are for certain." She tapped her temple in hint. "Well...um...can I talk to you?"
Ryker watched in amusement as the woman addressed him, clutching a file in her hand much too tightly, giving away her nerves. He stayed leaned against the pole, arms crossed in a casual pose.
Ryker tapped his temple, mimicking her. "What, does this mean you're smart or something? Subtle hints...they aren't my thing."
He smirked, taking her appearance in without shame. She was a little pale, a little small, and a little nervous - like she had something to prove - but she wasn't unlikable. Ryker folded his impression of her away, stamping it with a mental image of her face to remember.
"And you're already talking to me. I haven't bolted yet, and my day has been pretty unfulfilling, so do try to spice it up a little." He made a vague gesture with his large hands, signaling for the strange girl to continue with whatever it was she had to say - which, since she somehow knew his name, he was sure had to be pretty good.
Rachel sighed. "Well beating around the bush doesn't seem to work out well for me at all, so let me jump straight to the point. You can turn anything with eyes to stone and I can hear thoughts and gather information through a telepathic field."
She paused, only for a moment. "Now that's out of the way, we can get on to why I'm here and everything, right?"
Well. That was subtle. Like a freight train.
Ryker couldn't help his eyebrow shooting up, though he had to give himself credit for keeping a neutral expression. It wasn't everyday a woman he could hold in the palm of his hand followed him and proclaimed she knew his deepest of secrets - literally, if her mind-read ability turned out to be true. But telepathy...that was the thing of myths. Movies.
And you, Ryker? You turn things to stone. Last time I checked, that wasn't something you just inherit through good genes.
"Well," he started slowly, reaching up to rub absently at the edge of his scar, just above his lip. Half of the time he forgot it was there...and then someone would look at him in horror. That was always fun. "Sure. Go on, then. Might as well."
Rachel grimaced, looking down, slightly ashamed. "My uncle tried teaching me how to ease people into these things, but that's just not what I'm good at. And actually you did get your ability through genetics, although probably a lot more subtle than mine. Both my parents had abilities."
She shook her head, trying to focus on recruiting this guy. "Right, um...The government tracks people with abilities to make sure they don't use those abilities for crime. The more people to use their abilities for crime, the closer it is to all of us being punished. But that's not really the point here. The point is..." She rubbed her temples. "Oh my god, I can't think straight. Is it too much trouble to go somewhere a little less crowded?"
Ryker, even with his head spinning - the girl could definitely read minds, that was for sure - couldn't help but grin. This woman was in more of a state than he was, even with all of the power in this particular situation. She was all a-flutter, clearly bothered by the people still streaming by.
"Sure, Miss Telepath." He shrugged off of the pole. "Though knowing your name would help. Then we won't be strangers, and I won't feel guilty for following you around like a lost puppy."
He pointed down the street. "Blue's Cafe is down there. Nice and quiet." He looked her up and down. "I think you need some of that."
Rachel nodded. "Rachel Steel..." She mumbled, still rubbing her temples. "This is what I get for trying to read minds." She added in a mutter. She looked up at him, feeling a bit foggy still. "Lead the way?"
Ryker shrugged and nonchalantly began down the street; at his side, Rachel - it was a fitting name for such a small, nervous woman - did little to prevent his natural ability to repel people. For a while Ryker had wondered if that was an actual ability, one that wasn't quite natural, one that he, along with his deadly vision, had gained through genes. But he quickly realized it was more of his aura, and later his clothes and scars, that pushed people away. Confidence was something he had in abundance, and paired with a sassy smile, more than a few thought he was up to no good.
Half of the time that was true. Or it had been.
Blue's Cafe was, indeed, quiet - and shabby. But it was cheap and sparse, with soothing music and kind waiters, even if the menu was limited to beverages and snack food. Ryker led Rachel to the back of the room, ignoring the suspicious stares of the three men at the bar, no doubt wondering if Ryker had taken Rachel against her will. Typical stereotype, and one he expected.
"Better?" he asked as they sat, even as he tried to ignore the frilly table cloth. The place was too frou-frou for his tastes, but if it would stop Rachel from having a seizure - did reading minds hurt? - then it was fine with him. Especially since he wanted to know more about who she was, why she knew his name and, more importantly, how many people exactly were unusual, considering she had two "gifted" parents.
I'm not alone, he thought, somewhat bemused and relieved.
Rachel sighed in relief and rested her head on the table a moment. "Thanks..." She mumbled. "And actually people with abilities aren't that uncommon. Odds are at least one person you know either has an ability or will have a child with an ability." She lifted her head and looked at Ryker. "I don't remember where I was in explaining, so I guess I'll try starting over.
"Ghost is a secret government-funded organization run by my uncle. Originally it was formed with a specific goal of stopping a specific 'gifted' man, but after Thanatos was put away, uncle Allen and my dad decided to keep Ghost going, to monitor people with abilities and keep them from being treated worse than others just because of their genetics and stuff. Usually it's just been watching the crime rate and inventing new ways or imprisoning gifted criminals, but Thanatos has escaped, and it took a whole team of gifteds to bring him in the first time -most them are dead, lost their ability, or dying."
She tried to push thoughts of her parents out of her head. "Right now, I'm helping to recruit potentials for a new team. Get them interested enough to come to the meeting at H.Q., where my uncle can explain things in more detail and answer any and all questions. Things like reward and protection and all of that will be covered then. Subjects are permitted to walk away at any time, until they sign the contract binding them to serve ghost until Thanatos is put away."
"See, now that hurts my head." Ryker tapped his temple, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms across a broad chest. "That...answering questions I asked to no one in my head thing. It gives me a headache, which is probably why you have one."
He lifted his shoulders, stretching them, as he listened to the rest of her explanation. Ghost. Thanatos. What a name - the god of death, which didn't bode well if this guy had abilities. And the fact that these people had let him get away was disturbing, even though keeping in a guy named after a god didn't seem so very easy in the first place.
A psychopath is on the loose...and they want teenagers to round him up, he thought. And by the way, Rachel, miss-intrusion-of-all-things-thoughts, just...ignore me, when I go on these rants. They happen a lot.
Hoping she'd gotten the message, he sighed, unfolding his arms. He leaned forward and rested his elbows on the table, waving off the waitress that had headed their way. She frowned and rolled her eyes but headed back behind the counter.
Ryker cleared his throat, putting his hands together as if in prayer. "So. Crazy guy on the loose. Program that wants to put him away...again, by using gifted people." His fingers danced together as he thought. "Interesting. I'm a bored fellow, but even I couldn't think of that gem. So I'll assume you're telling the truth and not just messing with my head because you can, since you have my name and that fancy file in your hands, which, when the two are combined, automatically means you know what's going on. Or so the movies say."
Ryker rubbed a hand down his face, running over his ruined nose in the process. "Hmm. Alright, then. I'll come to this special-kid-pow-wow. Might as well...don't have anything better to do with my time." He leaned forward, giving her a sarcastic smile. "But you knew that already, didn't you?"
Rachel rolled her eyes. "I turned off my listening the moment you told me to ignore your thoughts." She mumbled. She gave him the file, inwardly wincing at the marks where she'd been gripping it so tightly. "The reason for kids is that it's a whole lot easier to harness and strengthen abilities from the time they surface to age 19. Any older and it gets quite difficult. So really you'd be wise to do this thing if you ever want to have any chance of controlling your ability. It's possible, I'm sure, and that means no more wearing sunglasses all the time."
She heard her phone buzz and assumed it was her uncle checking up on her, so she ignored it. "So I suppose that's it. I can go now, right?"
Ryker took the file, raising his brows at the indents that her fingers had left. He was mildly disappointed - only mildly - at the thought that she might have been scared of him. But then again, could he blame her? Ryker wasn't exactly...a soft man.
"My life just got interesting," he mumbled, still staring at the file.
When he opened it, it was to find his own profile. He frowned at the accounts of every minor criminal act he'd ever carried out, and he quickly shut it, glancing back up at Rachel.
"Er...am I keeping you here?" He couldn't help but smirk. "Sure, go. I don't like this place, anyway." He raised a hand at a waiter that sent him a nasty glare at his proclamation. "Just kidding."
The folder was clutched loosely in his hand, and he quickly tucked it inside his leather jacket. The same men at the bar kept a close eye on him, as if he had just finished a sketchy deal.
"Well. I suppose we're done here...see you at the super-secret-mutant-kid meeting." He gave her one more once-over, waiting for her to stand before leaving. Who knew? Maybe she had some last, cryptic words to give him before they parted.
Wouldn't that just be comical.
Rachel sighed, getting up and shaking her head. "I have to admit, Ryker. You're an intimidating guy, especially to someone small like me. But..." She couldn't help but grin. "A glimpse into your head sort of says it all. You're not really what you look like. You wouldn't hurt me, at least not without a reason to start with. I kind of like you. I think you'd do well in Ghost." With that, she turned and made for the door, opening her mind back up reluctantly, knowing she'd be flooded with thoughts that weren't hers.
"You did that thought-thing again!" he called after her as she left. Shaking his head, he watched her go, a bemused expression on his face.
Touching the folder through his jacket, he let out a breath and started out of the cafe, giving the men at the bar a nod. They looked away quickly, as if guilty they'd thought badly of him - or afraid that, now that the nice girl was gone, he'd blow up on them for staring the entire time - but he ignored the instinctive reaction and kept on.
Ghost...I suppose we'll see how this goes, he thought. But I swear, if I join this and we catch that Thanatos freak and they let him escape again, I'll turn them all to stone and add them to our garden.
And so concludes Ryker and Rachel.
Keisha sat on the granite steps leading up to New York City Hall, her boots resting two steps down so that her lap was flat enough to place the papers and tablet she was working with on. She didn't pay much mind to the whether and general state of nature around her, other than to note the lack of energy in the air that would declare rain. It was a bit too sunny for Keisha though, she could just feel the cancer cells forming as her body was pounded with solar radiation, so she pulled her turtleneck shirt up a little higher and slipped the shades resting on top of her hair over her eyes.
Keisha was about to return to her task at hand: collecting statistics for her father's newest product, when her cell rang. Reaching her hand over to the little gadget beside her that was often annoying, she flipped it open and pressed the audio-caller-ID.
"It's your father," the little electronic rendition of her own voice chirped back at her.
Keisha brought the phone to rest against the side of her face and sandwiched it there with a shoulder so she'd have her hands free to continue scrawling notes regarding the news feeds running across her tablet screen, one of the few things that didn't require too much trouble for her to read. "Dad?" she asked.
"You know that one product we just got patented?" his baritone voice came across. "The Chameleon picture manipulator add-on for the iPhone—well, sales have dropped again. They got to pick up, though. I mean, it's this amazing new gadget for an ever expanding electronic-oriented teenage culture. Just let me know what you've got so far.”
"It's not going to work," Keisha told him. "Kids are attached to no-work. They get a phone so they can keep in contact with their friends and look cool. The picture editor is...geeky. It actually has substance and that just isn't cool. You don't get something because you need it, you get something because you want it. It was a good idea, but your audience just isn't interested. It doesn't flash out at them. Besides, the method of delivery is faulty. It'd probably be a good idea if you had it designed for the iPad instead. Kids actually use those things for something.”
“Alright, alright. I get the point,” Keisha heard a car door shut and an engine start through the phone. “You almost done with those stats?"
“Not quite, but almost.”
“Where are you now?”
“City Hall. Don't pick me up for a half hour, okay?”
“Alright, I'll come then.” He sighed. “I really wish we could get the learning to drive thing underway. Maybe I should hire a private driving instructor instead of having you run through the school program? I wonder if they even have private instructors. You should have lessons after your studies with Mrs. Carter.”
“For enough money, Dad, you can get pretty much anything. Hire the same instructor that teaches the school program. He'll probably do it. But hey, I thought I was doing this after my studies? You suddenly don't want my help anymore?”
“No, no. We'll talk about it later. I've gotta go. See ya, darling.” The phone clicked on the other end.
Keisha flipped the cell shut and set it beside her on the cold granite. She let her mind wander for a moment to watch the people passing by her as they entered and exited the City Hall. She didn't want to drive. No, that was an understatement by far. Keisha knew she couldn't drive, even if she tried. Her dad still didn't get it, but the only way she could possibly explain it to him was by telling him she could only “see” about ten feet around her. Not much sense that would make. Keisha shrugged her shoulders in non-committal and turned back to her work on finishing drawing up the statistics in sales for her dad's last venture: the Chameleon Picture Editor.
Allen sat beside her, after having stood out of her range for some time watching her. "Tell me, with a limited eye-sight like yours, how hard is it to read?" He asked, making sure to keep a fair space between him, but he was close enough to talk without drawing too much attention. "Keisha- Is it alright is I call you Keisha?"
He'd studied her file extensively. What her power was, was very hard to grasp. Even now, they had difficulty knowing exactly what she saw. He didn't know if her power could be used for a weapon.
Even so, with all this knowledge lacking, Allen wanted this girl to at least show the slightest interest in the project. Even if only for the fact it might give her purpose besides protecting her father. Then again, she may only become involved with Ghost for the sake of her father.
Keisha's eyes widened in shock behind the sunglasses, her pencil in mid-sentence. She wasn't sure whether to get up immediately and walk away, or stay and see what the stalker had to say. Who was he anyway?
Name. Name. Why would he know my name? Okay, rehashing what he just said.
So he knew her name and difficulties with seeing. That didn't mean much. Most stalker's knew things like that. Maybe he wanted to help? Or more likely exploit. Too many assumptions. She needed more information.
“Miss Wonder will be fine,” Keisha said calmly, drawing back into herself as she set her pencil on the paper. She scooted a fraction of a centimeter away from him—just enough for him to get the message that she didn't intend to become entangled in conversation (certainly not now, since her father would be arriving in a half hour), but was willing to talk for a moment, if only to gauge why he was fallowing her and what she could do about it.
Keisha decided that walking away probably wouldn't be a good idea anyway, especially if this guy was of the disreputable type. Besides, she had a mind that he'd just follow her. “What can I do for you?” she asked, sure that his original inquiries had only been his customary form of saying 'hello'.
Allen sighed, dropping her file on the steps between them. "Miss Wonder then. I like sticking to last names but sometimes that just makes people bolt, you know? Of course, being approached by a person who knows about your ability can be scary. I'd know." He eyed her a moment. "I'm Allen Steel. I'm with a government funded organization known as Ghost. Any information on it you'll find is just a cover. We're the gathering and training of people with special abilities to help protect the public from those who use their abilities against others. Now usually, I'll prove how much I know about a person by naming off what their ability is, but you..."
He paused, waiting for a particularly quiet person to pass. "You are hard to pin down. The best description we've come up with is x-ray vision. You can see even though technically you're blind. It's because of your ability, whatever it is. This file," He slid the file over to her. "Is a break down of what we know about you. It'll tell you everything we can tell you about Ghost without you being involved in it. If you're not interested, destroy the file and we'll never mess with you again so long as you are a law-abiding citizen."
Keisha wasn't sure what to think. So many paths of reasoning and outbursts of emotion contorted within her mind, that she just gave up with trying to figure out what the man was trying to tell her and so she merely listened in passive disbelief. She was baffled to put it in an honest, plain sense. Keisha didn't notice the folder on the step until he slid it over. She sat quietly for another few moments, letting her mind wander to their surroundings. More people passed by. Some birds chirped, the most noticeable nose that could be heard for ambiance. Then she reached over and picked up the file.
“Hmm,” was all she could say after flipping through the pages, her mind catching only catching obvious words like her name and others that were commonly used, but she thought she got the gist of what it was saying. Keisha sat quietly for another couple of minutes, mulling over the information that had been unexpectedly dumped into her brain.
A government funded organization. People with abilities trying to stop other people with abilities. Something called Ghost. A Mr. Allen Steel. X-ray vision. Herself being spied on. What her father would say. But out of everything her mind ran through, it all wandered back to how in the world did she have anything to do with all this? Ah yes, sooner or later someone—that someone being this 'Ghost'—was going to need more people with abilities to stop the other people with abilities when they ran out. But why choose a child, of all the people?
Mr. Allen Steel was not making sense. Keisha had loads of questions, she just didn't have enough information. The file would undoubtedly provide the answers to most of them though, and of course it would also include, logically, a way of contacting this Ghost. She couldn't really see any particular reason she should investigate this venture apposed to any other, though. Keisha closed the file with a sort of finality and tapped it with one finger. She still didn't know what to think about the sanity of it, but assuming it was all very good and everything, she did want to know one thing the file wouldn't be able to tell her.
“Why should I care?” she asked Mr. Allen Steel.
Allen sat quietly, allowing her all the time she needed. He contemplated leaving, letting her curiosity lead her back to Ghost. But then he decided he didn't have her quite interested enough, and wanted to take an extra step to bring her in.
Her question led Allen to take a bit to think of how to answer honestly and without being the man threatening her. "Because if we can't stop abilities from destroying everything, it will affect you, and your family. We work partly to keep the government from taking extreme measures and having everyone with abilities put away or have their abilities taken from them. Someone like you relies on your ability to see."
He looked down, thinking of Rachel and what would happen to her if she had her ability taken, or if she was imprisoned just for having it. "On top of that, we're not exactly past bribes, Miss Wonder. We- I have connections. I can make your father's business rise or fall with little more than a phone call. I could bring sales up on that app of his, just to prove it."
Keisha gave a sardonic laugh. And this guy was supposed to know a lot about her. “That's all very noble, Mr. Allen Steel,” she said. “But I don't see much of a point in most things...anymore. Even if you win this good vs evil today, there'll still be more baddies to slay tomorrow.” Her voice changed to a more cynical note. “Don't you find it in the least bit...futile? Monotonous. Repetitive? And now that you mention it, I'm shocked the government hasn't already done something so drastic as that. Or at least run us through some sort of conditioning program. Who knows, it might actually do some good.”
Keisha turned back to the file and thought about her father and his business for a moment. Mr. Allen Steel was probably telling the truth about how he could affect things. She sighed. If it would make the man happy...not much harm it would do. That and this Ghost thingwas something new and unexplored. Who knew, maybe it would give her something to do other than scribble away at statistics all day. “I'll have a longer look at the file,” she conceded, gathering her papers and tablet in one arm with the file in the other and standing up. “But why me though? Of all the people, why a teenager with depression problems that doesn't even take her medications? Aren't there other people, much older and mature ones you could contact? You know, it'd really be helpful if I knew what sort of ground I'm currently resting on.”
Allen stood. "Well, Miss Wonder, to start with, years ago, this was gathering adults. But...it's much harder to develop powers to their peak after about age 20. I know it's repetitive, and there's always more trouble, but I want to hold that trouble at bay as long as I can. As for the government stepping in...I have a niece to protect. I care about her well being as you care for your father's. If the government messed with her because of her power, it would have a very bad effect on her."
He looked around and sighed, offering a hand to her to shake. "Think on it. As I said, if you have no interest in it, just destroy the file and we'll take you out of the system. We'll stop following you, just keep an eye on criminal activity to make sure you don't use your abilities for illegal acts."
“Let's leave tomorrow's bad guys for tomorrow's good guys, eh?” Keisha said, more for him than herself really. Maybe it was just her, but her mood seemed to be brushing off on him. Sliding all her things into one arm, she grasped Mr. Allen Steel's hand firmly. “I might get back to you late, or possibly never. I have no particular reason to get involved with Ghost, but then, I don't have one not to. Pleasant meeting you, Mr. Steel.” Keisha smiled with a slight touch of humor that wasn't sarcastic. “And to answer your first question, yes, it is hard to read.”
Allen nodded. "I guess I might see you around then, miss Wonder." He said, stepping back. "Have a nice day." And with that, he disappeared, off to get the next file and go looking for the next kid.
Keisha watched Mr. Allen Steel go. She frowned slightly. What an odd day. Shuffling through her notes again, she slid the file between a couple papers and turned to wander across the square in the opposite direction. Only after several hundred paces did she remember her dad was coming to pick her up in about twenty minutes. Keisha's cell started chiming again, much to her annoyance. She would get rid of the thing, but her dad didn't like the idea. Especially with her "condition"...or "ability" as Mr. Allen Steel called it. What an odd day.
Keisha again sat on the City Hall steps after ending a rather strained conversation with her mother about going to a formal birthday party for some older lady that she didn't even know. Tired, she picked up her graphite pencil and started scratching away at paper again, just like she had before Mr. Allen Steel had disrupted the natural flow of her day.
When her father arrived to pick her up, she was completely finished, but barely on time to the schedule she would have preferred. However, all annoyance of having her equilibrium unbalanced left her head when Mr. Wonder started talking about her actually attending the birthday party her mother had been talking about. If not for her sake, then for her mother's, was how he put it. Keisha eventually caved in and let the matter drop.
Mr. Wonder had to take care of a few things in the lobby and so she was left to take the elevator up by herself. Keisha crossed her ankles and leaned against the rail that was provided for when the ride might be unstable, thinking about what other things were required of her to do that day. There wasn't much. Just her required presence for dinner and finishing up with piano practice. That meant that maybe she could just crash. Yawning, Keisha found the thought appealing.
Stepping out of the lift onto the top floor which was the Wonder's penthouse, Keisha searched the immediate vicinity with her ears and awareness for any sign of her mother. Nothing stirred, other than the cat running up to her and rubbing her legs. Keisha was all about to head to her dad's office and plop the work on his desk when her mother's voice cut through the air from her parent’s bedroom down the hallway.
“I'm going to the party!” Keisha called before her mother had a chance to open her mouth any further. She held up a hand behind her as if to ward off all attacks as she headed in the opposite direction. “I'm going,” she repeated, just in case Mrs. Wonder decided to argue. Her mother was so obsessed with vain things.
Entering her dad's office, Keisha threw the papers on his desk, keeping her tablet and pencil, but stopped short of leaving when she remembered the file. Noticing it slide from the pile of papers, she immediately saw the responsibility of actually having to look into it further looming somewhere on the horizon. Sliding the smooth textured folder from the glass desk, Keisha let her hand rest on it a moment.
Burn it. Don't open it. Trouble, that's all that you'll find inside.
Keisha frowned. She almost did just that. But she'd never been one for spontaneous decisions, so after another moment of contemplation, she decided to leave further thought for tomorrow, a time when her brain was working more properly. Picking up the 8.5” by 11” inch folder, she swept out of the office and to her room, the cat following her all the way.
Keisha flopped down at her desk and pulled out the top drawer, shoving the folder into it. Sighing, she hit the hard wood with her head and let her arms fall at her sides. Her puffy hair fell beside her face like a mop. Relaxation felt good, but she could feel a headache coming on. To he.ll with the headaches! After a moment she found enough energy to lift up an arm and throw it over the edge of the desk to land on top of the p.ill bottle that was her medication. Grasping it tightly in the palm of her hand, she sat up straighter in her chair and examined it for a moment.
The bottle was a common plastic container and when she shook it the p.ills rattled inside. Setting it down on the smooth ceder without a sound—she knew the moment the molecules in the bottle made contact with those of the wood—Keisha sat back and focused her entire mind on the container and it's contents. Sometimes she wished she could focus hard enough to split the atoms of an object, particularly the one in front of her, instead of merely being able to watch them. On a snap note, She shoved the medications across the desk with a hand and over the side into the trash bin nearby. She then pulled the file out of the drawer and set it where the bottle had been, perfectly perpendicular to the edge of the desk—down to the atom. Some people wondered how she could be so meticulous with the perfect arrangement of things. They had no idea.
Keisha was more depressed than normal and she disliked the fact that she'd lost sight of the target. She usually tried not to think about things--just did them, but for some reason Allen Steel had got her mind running. Opening the folder to the first page, she started at the top. The ink staining the paper's fibers spelled out her name. She scanned down the page a little further until she got past the part about her. Ghost of course would know almost everything about her, and she didn't need to waste brain power rereading her own life—Keisha thought she knew it pretty well. When she got down to the part about Thanatos and Ghost's history, she tried a little harder. Honestly, it was giving her more of a headache.
Save it for tomorrow, the tired side of her brain prompted her, but Keisha knew it was better for her to do it now so she sat back and slogged through the words. Really, couldn't it have been printed with graphite or something else? Reading ink was like trying to understand someone's bad handwriting.
So, some dude named Thanatos created a whole bunch of havoc a while back and then the government decided to go about it incognito instead of letting the media get on top of it and then using the whole snafu as an excuse to do some terribly nefarious thing. And then they had to lock him up—a confinement that obviously wasn't good enough.
Why couldn't they have just sh.ot the guy or something if he's as bad as it says?
Okay, great risk. Keisha got that. What else was she supposed to expect. Oh, now Ghost was prophesying world wide slavery? Fascinating. “And I thought I was supposed to be the cynical one,” she muttered. “I see I'll have to leave home to live with this Ghost thing. Not that it's terribly important to me anyways. Ha!”
Keisha perked up when she came across the part about learning to use her ability to it's full potential. She had to stop a moment and think about that. She got up suddenly and started mechanically pacing her room, a routine that regularly cleared her head. Back and forth, back and forth. Okay, so why would she join this Anti-Thanatos Ghost Group?
She had no reason to join. No reason at all. Why would she not join? Keisha frowned. The promised enhancement of her ability was tempting. Ha! What a selfish and pointless idea. Her family? Hmm. If Thanatos was as bad as the file said, then he'd not likely stop at much. Besides, people with abilities would be his first target. He had to get rid of competition, right? So people with abilities—no. The families of those with abilities would be his first target. That way he could systematically detract those with abilities while he attacked their families, and with their attention drawn away, he could enact the world-wide slavery thing. But if that was the case, then it would be completely useless and self-defeating to join Ghost for the sake of her family. To join Ghost to fight against a guy that was going to go after her family if she joined Ghost in the first place? But then, he'd come after them anyways when he was done with Ghost.
Keisha's feet weren't the only things going in circles. She stopped and sat down again. Something Allen Steel had said came back to her mind.
We aren't exactly past bribes, Miss Wonder...
Neither was she. Scanning toward the bottom of the page, she saw the number at the bottom. I wonder how many people have dialed a wrong number and gotten Ghost instead, Keisha thought as she fished her cell out of a pocket. “Time to give these maniacs a call.”
Marie, as usual, answered after the first ring with her usual phrase. "Hello, Ghostbusters. This is Marie, how may I help you?" As she said this, she was straightening her desk and working through files. Keeping up with emails that went on between all the people of Ghost. She was a busy woman with all this preparation for the Heroes Project.
Ghostbusters? Bizarre people. Keisha was suddenly not sure what to say. “Ahem,” she cleared her throat. “Uh...hi.” After another moment of composing her lines, she continued. “I'm calling this number at the recommendation of a certain Mr. Allen Steel,” then remembering her manners, she added, “Name's Miss Wonder.”
Gah! How she hated phone conversations.
"Miss Keisha Wonder, correct?" Marie pulled up her information in the computer system. "My apologies. Anyone unfamiliar with Ghost usually hangs up as soon as they hear the 'ghostbusters' thing. It makes my job easier. How may I help you miss Wonder?"
Oh. Well that made sense. Keisha started fiddling aimlessly with the pencil on her desk. She reached out with her mind behind her to make sure no one was listening in. There wasn't anybody...except the cat, that is.
“Okay, so let's say—theoretically—that I'd want to get involved with you guys. How pray tell, am I going to do that? Where would I go? When would I go? What would I take, blah-blah-blah? What kind of cover do you plan on giving in case my parents might have the wit's to ask questions or the state suddenly stopped getting education advancement reports from my tutor? And most important of all, where in the world are you guys stationed anyway? Jamaica? Or are you just here in New York? Sorry I'm a bit terse...but you'll get used to it—assuming that is, if I get involved with you guys.”
"Well, miss Wonder, a lot of those questions are going to be answered at the upcoming meeting." Marie informed her. "We are currently stationed in New York, but there are monitoring bases scattered over every continent. Any further information on such things is a bit irrelevant at the moment.
"Anyone interested in taking part in the project will be given the address to our headquarters and given the date and time of the meeting. Everyone will be able to meet each other then. It is...a risky procedure, bringing so many people with abilities together in this type of situation, but Mr. Steel insists it's the best. If, once you've attended the meeting, you decide you don't want to be involved, you can still step out. But after that, you are bound to serve Ghost. We have people that are paid specifically for keeping our covers and such. They will be charged with giving you a cover for your parents. They haven't failed in 20 years, so I'd trust them. Your education can be continued or legally put on hold. The choice will be up to you."
"My parent's would sue you if they knew you'd let me decide to quit school," Keisha mumbled, setting the pencil down and cocking her head slightly when she heard the elevator come up in the outer room. "So when is this date of doom?"
Marie told Keisha the date, time and the address. "It's alright to come early, but we'll only wait so long on people to show up before starting." She told her. "So should I put you down as someone we can expect?"
Keisha heard her father and mother talking quietly and then her name was called a moment later. “Yeah, you can expect me,” she told Marie on the other end. “Thank you for your time, and one more thing, may I have your name?” Covering the speaker on the cell, she called over her shoulder to her parents, “Coming!”
"I said it at the very beginning, didn't I?" Marie asked. "I usually say something like 'this is Marie' after the ghostbusters thing... But anyway, it's Marie."
I guess I'm not the only one that's testy today, Keisha thought. She shrugged her shoulders.Must have forgotten it then, no harm in reminding me. “Sorry,” Keisha said. “You can expect me, so yeah. Bye.”
She flipped the cell shut and slipped it into the deep pocket of her gi pants. The alteration of adding pockets to the commercial gi pants for her special use was more beneficial than she originally thought. Keisha was still skeptical. Going to the meeting was more of a followup mandatory thing for her, not actually a commitment. Something that was required of her, so to speak. Now, it was time to finish her piano practice and get ready for this party she was going to.
And so concludes Keisha and Allen.
Sam was in a rather uncharacteristically good mood. He had just gotten back from used bookstore he lived near, after a particularly precious find of a weathered copy of Othello from 1914. The name scrawled on the inside cover with an ink pen was pretty illegible, as were the notes recorded in the margins, but nonetheless, Sam enjoyed thinking of all of the hands that the small book had passed down.
The book had successfully put him in so good a mood that it didn't bother him that he was positively affecting his surroundings. Not that there was much to affect, sitting on the rather secluded park bench as he was. This particular section of the park was one of his favorite places to read, partially since few people wandered in that direction, and partially because it was conveniently close to where he lived- traveling beyond a three block radius around his house being somewhat undesirable for him.
He slouched on the bench seat and smoothed open the first page, already knowing the opening act word for word but still enjoying the old book, the familiar lines. Sam was hardly into Roderigo and Iago's first lines when a flicker of movement attracted his eye. He glanced up, noticing the familiar dark-haired individual, familiar, because Sam was sure he had seen the man near the bookstore as well.
Allen decided it was time to move in, walking up and sitting on the other end of the bench from Sam. He'd spent a while watching Sam, like everyone else he approached. "Othello..." He mumbled, looking at the book. "What's more interesting? The book or its history?" He questioned, before turning his gray eyes on Sam.
"Is it alright if I call you Sam? Or should it be Samuel?"
Sam was slightly annoyed that the man had decided to sit down on the one bench that he was seated at- because there were other benches that were vacant in the area. But the question he asked was a good one, and Sam couldn't resist answering. He closed the book with a short snap.
"Well, sir," he began deliberately, rubbing the corner of the old book, "Probably the history. Shakespeare borrowed the tragedy from Cinthio, and it's somewhat 'horribly stuff'd with bombast circumstance'. If you think about it, this book has been passed down by enough people with stories to make their own plays."
At the mention of his name, however, he glanced sharply at the man. "Yes. Uh, excuse me, do I know you, sir?" he asked cautiously, feeling more curious than alarmed. Sam had faith in his ability- at least- enough faith to assure him that he wasn't going to get harmed or anything. Not that this man, with his impeccable suit serious demeanor looked like he was going to mug anyone anytime soon.
Allen shook his head. "No, we haven't met. Excuse my manners. I'm Allen Steel. I own an organization funded by the government to keep people with abilities in line. That includes recording every person with abilities in the U.S. Their name, their ability, their family, their social security number..."
He felt like he was getting off topic and re-aligned himself. "Anyway, Mr. Dresin, I'm aware of your ability to manipulate, well, luck. I've come to speak with you about possibly using that ability in something more than everyday life. We may be able to assist you in gaining more control over it as well. This does come with a catch, however, but all the information to provide at the moment is in here." He set the file between them, in reach.
A government funded organization? Sam's first thought was that this was some sort of elaborate joke or scam, but this Mr. Steel knew about his power, which was pretty convincing. After all, his ability was something that he tried to keep with utmost secrecy.
But using my ability? If there was one thing that would be very nice, it'd be learning how to not use it. Sam refrained from asking any questions- he never liked asking any if there was a way to find them out otherwise. So he reached for the file and flipped it open and skimmed through, his dark eyebrows scrunched in thoughtf.
Bits and phrases particularly jumped out at him. 'Mutant teens,' 'great risk...' Being trained. It was like the science fiction books Sam particularly disliked. "So, let me get this straight," he said after a short while, "You're sending kids out against this mega mutant- this Thanatos?"
The whole idea seemed...violent. But appealing, he thought as he flexed his fingers, thinking about the training this 'Ghost' organization promised. Sam. Stared off into the trees. "'Outvillained villainy'," he murmured. Sending kids out to fight a battle. Those sorts of things, they only happened in books.
"How many teenagers are you approaching with this? Or if you're doing it selectively, why me? As of late, I seem to be doing more harm than good with my. . . ability."
Allen shrugged, sitting back and looking up at the sky. "Honestly? We're approaching doezens of kids. But I have doubts we'll get a whole lot. It is...slightly selective. I chose you because, well partly because without learning some control, you could cause some serious damage and get in trouble with the governent. I'd like to offer you a chance to possibly get control."
He paused, only for a moment. "I also want to know if we need to find a way to remove the ability completely, if there's no way of controlling it. The government is currently revising their earlier decisions concerning my funds, and if I need to research power removal, I'll need that money. I'll need a report and all that junk." He looked at Sam. "Do you want your ability gone?"
Sam gave a short unamused laugh. Things had already crossed the 'serious damage' line for Sam, but he could see what Allen was talking about. He wouldn't want himself walking around wreaking havoc on the world either. The control that Allen was talking about sounded like a way out, finally.
When Allen mentioned removing abilities, Sam finally showed some alertness, and looked at the man. "Yes," he said without thinking. It sounded too good to be true, finally being free from unconsciously manipulating the world around him. A feeling kindled inside of him, and he wasn't sure if it was hope, or something more similar to fear.
There's an alternative, though. Sounds too good to be true, anyways. 'Dreams begot of vain fantasies,' and all that.
"Maybe," he amended, "I don't know." Sam looked at the book in his hands, and smoothed his thumb over the cover, imagining that the person who owned it before him did the same thing. "Will anything happen to me- or my parents- if I decide to refuse? Both offers?"
Allen grimaced. "Considering the things your ability has caused...it's likely we wouldn't be able to leave you alone forever. The government may decide to press charges, and we may be forced to take action to remove you from the public. I don't know about you, but I'd very much like to avoid that." He explained.
"Samuel, if it can be avoided, I don't want to have to remove anyone's powers. It's a terrible feeling. Willing or not. It's like having your soul ripped out of you and then all your blood being sucked out through a straw." Allen shook his head. "And adjusting afterward...it's been...a very long time- years- and I still feel that empty space that aches and can never be filled or soothed. To put it short, you should try to learn control. Whether it's on your own or coming to us for help. If you can control it, you're safe. You and your family should be safe."
Sam nodded, his mouth twisted downwards, any remnants of his good mood from earlier dissipating completely. He shouldn't have had to ask for an answer; it was pretty obvious. He was a danger to those around him, and he knew it. Sam closed his eyes for a second, willing away negative feelings stirring in his gut.
Sam wanted to think that he was willing to do anything to rid himself of his ability, but Allen's description sounded like an even worse trial. "You...had an ability? And had it removed?" Sam asked, mostly to distract himself, lest some random passerby experience odd bouts of misfortune.
Control by himself wasn't an option. That had turned out so horrible for him in the past- he wasn't exactly willing to try again. Not without help. But neither did he want to fight. So, what if this Thanatos wanted to take over the world? Allen said others were being approached. They could handle it.
Was the alternative for him any better? Being 'forcibly removed' from the public. Sam's memory recalled something from a Carlyle book he had recently read. Isolation is the sum-total of wretchedness to a man... Joining Ghost seemed to be the lesser of evils every passing moment.
Allen sighed, his expression showing pain, and a bit of sadness. "I had an ability...and..." He shook his head. "I don't like talking about it. Long story short, I gave it up willingly, but the circumstances were...complicated."
Sam mentally winced. I remember now, there's a reason why I don't usually speak with people. Because he found that even though there were obvious clues in the conversation, he never realized them until it was to late. Like, it was obvious that he shouldn't have broached the topic of Allen's previous power.
Because it was obviously a painful experience, the way he described it. So, Sam kept any more questions relating to the subject inside his head. "Okay," was all he said in response, his dark eyes thoughtful. "Suppose I...Suppose I decide to join this Ghost organization. To get better control. What do I have to do?"
If his only choices were a painful removal of his ability (which, even after Allen's description, still seemed appealing), being removed from the public, or joining Ghost to fight a dangerous villain, Sam figured he might as get the information for the organization. Either way, his future didn't look the greatest.
Maybe everything's just catching up with me now.
Allen was silent a moment, thinking of how to answer. "Well...everyone involved in Ghost will need to come live in the main building. Training will be a daily activity. Everyone will have a choice betweein continuing schooling with private tudors provided by us, or putting school on hold completely, legally. The goal currently would be for us to keep an eye on things going on in the world of gifteds. We'll spend as much time as we can preparing you guys, but if Thanatos starts causing too much trouble, we'll have to put you in the field."
Allen paused. "Anything further I'll be going over in the meeting."
Sam scuffed the ground with his dirty sneakers, moving around leaves and small scattered bits of trash. Being in the same building with everyone else sounded kind of like a problem. After all, he avoided being home as much as possible, and look how well that turned out for his family. But he supposed. If he were there getting a hang of his ability...
Putting a hold on school sounded extremely attractive, Sam thought guiltily of his horrible grades in math and science. He looked down at his copy of Othello and sighed. 'Tis within ourselves...' "'That we are thus or thus'," he muttered out loud. Why use your own words when there were people who already penned down the best ways to say things?
"Thank you, Mr. Steel. I don't particularly want to be put in the position to fight. . . But I'll come to this meeting, at least," he said, making up his mind.
Allen nodded. "With your ability...you likely will only be taught fighting for the sake of your defense. You'll be there for the luck of the team." He stood, brushing off his suit. "I suppose that's it then. It was nice meeting you Samuel." He held his hand out.
Sam automatically stood when Allen did. 'You'll be there for the luck of the team...' Allen seemed really positive that Sam would be able to get control over his abilities with Ghost, and he allowed himself to be hopeful for a moment.
"It was nice meeting you too, sir," he said, shaking Allen's proffered hand and quickly letting go. "And," he added after hesitating a bit, "Thank you again."
Allen nodded. "No trouble." And with that, he left Sam there, heading on to whatever he had to do next.
And so concludes Samuel and Allen.
Alex slammed the ball into the basket again, dropping back to his feet and grabbing the bouncing orange ball from the air. His "friends" had bailed on him again at the last minute to do who-knew-what without him, but complaints were far from his mind as he continued his solo game on the all but empty basketball court.
He circled around the court dipping and dodging as imaginary players tried to steal the ball. After scoring again, he let the ball bobble over to the edge of the court, where he rested one leg on a worm-eaten wooden bench and leaned on his knee as he shot a jet of water to his mouth from his black sports bottle.
Rachel watched for some time from outside the court, absently wondering why the kid was alone. She shook it off, refusing to tap into his thoughts. Looking down at his file in her hand, she took a deep breath and walked in, going right up to him. "Hey..." She said, brushing a few strands of her black hair behind her ear.
He looked up as a small girl approached him, not that she looked exceptionally young, but short and petite.
"Hey," he responded with a nod. "If you're looking for the court, I'm pretty much done." He wondered after he'd said it if someone so short would play basketball, but then reprimanded himself for the thought. "Actually," he amended, "I wouldn't mind playing one on one."
Rachel shook her head. "I don't really have the coordination. I've never even tried anyway, and that's not what I'm here about. You're Alexander, right?" She slowly opened her mind to him, starting to receive his thoughts.
Alex raised an eyebrow and studied the small, freckled face harder. "Yeah," he answered slowly. Had she called him Alex he would have assumed that they knew each other from somewhere, but no one ever called him by his full name. "Sorry, do we know each other?"
"No, not really." Rachel told him, shaking her head again. "I mean, I know about you. I know who you are and what you can do. You can increase and decrease your molecular density, correct?"
Alex dropped his bottle back to the bench. He did consider denying it, but the mere fact that she pinned him convinced him that she probably knew even more than that. "Yes, and you are?" He picked up his basketball and let it hop from one hand to the next as he continued to take her appearance in.
"Rachel Steel." She sat on the bench, watching him. "I can hear thoughts and send them as well. My ability goes further than that, but I don't use it beyond what I've told you."
"A mind reader, huh?" he grinned. "Well that's pretty cool. Does that mean you can tell me what I'm thinking now?" he wondered aloud. Just in case, he quickly pictured his "lucky" card, the queen of hearts.
Rachel winced. "I have a lot of trouble with pictures, sorry..." She told him. "I don't see. I hear. Trying to see usually gives me really bad headaches and stuff."
His look of mock suspicion lasted only for seconds. A laugh came out to match the smile in his eyes. "So you're from around here?" He guessed.
So she'd seen him around and read his mind. Maybe that meant that he'd seen her too. At the very least, it meant that he'd have someone to talk to who would understand what it was like to be so different from everyone else.
"Generally, yes." Rachel mumbled. "But I'm here about something a little more specific than our abilities." She handed him his file. "I'm recruiting. Well, I'm helping to recruit, at least. That's how I know about you. I've really just avoided reading your thoughts so far. I know what I do from what I've read and been told."
He accepted the folder and hesitated slightly before opening it. "So you're like a secret agent or something?" he joked as he looked through the file's contents. Honestly, he was surprised by how intimidated he now felt by a girl he towered over. "Who are you?" he asked before he could stop himself.
"I told you. Rachel Steel. Allen Steel is my uncle and the guy in charge of all this. I'm just as normal as you." Rachel shrugged. "I don't know what else to tell you really."
Alex nodded, taking in the information. His gaze landed on a phone number at the bottom of a page in the file. "So how exactly does this recruiting thing work? I have to sign up for something?"
He couldn't help but think of Natalia. "What about my sister? I mean, will this affect her? All this government stuff? It won't put her in any danger?"
"If you expose us, your family is at risk. There's a chance of Thanatos targeting your family, but they're in danger either way. In the case of you not doing this,I think he'd go after the families of any gifteds before going after the gifteds themselves. Your ability would be useful to him, so he'd take out your family and then go after you. In the case of you joining, you'd force him to focus on you and forget about your family for the time being." Rachel bit her lip. "None of that made sense, did it?"
"I think it did," he answered after a second. So he could do this to protect Natalia, but in doing so put himself in danger? Wasn't that worth it? As an added bonus, he'd be able to learn about this ability of his. "Okay. So what do I have to do?"
"Call the number. Marie will give you a time, place, and date for the meeting. You'll meet all the others. After the meeting in which my uncle will explain everything and answer every question, you can decide after that if you really want to do this or not."
Alex nodded at her, still looking through the papers. "Okay. I guess I'll see you around," he shrugged with a smile.
He tucked the basketball under his arm and closed the file, the phone number running through his head. It sounded to him that all he had to do was go to this meeting. And that was a commitment that he could make. The real decision could wait until afterwards.
Rachel nodded and left him, seeing it as her work being done. She was kind of relieved really. Alex seemed like a pretty easy kid to get, unlike some of the people she'd dealt with.
And so concludes Alexander and Rachel.
Reve did not notice the man at first. Maybe it was because he was not very observant when it came to obvious things like that. It had been an ordinary day so far, anyways. Reve had just finished his daily run throughout the busy streets of New York, music pumping through his ears. It was the normal thing to duck into his favorite nearby cafe, The Wilted Loop, and buy his coffee (lots of cream, no sugar). A thin sheen of sweat coated his body, though somehow, he didn't look entirely disgusting. Just...tired.
He took a seat down in the corner, away from most of the occupied seats. It was Reve's favorite seat in the entire place, mostly because it had a large window beside him where he could people watch. Because really, people were so interesting. Reve leisurely took a sip of coffee, his green eyes focusing in on a slant of sunlight shining through the window.
Now look how pretty that looks. He thought to himself, caught in the unexpected beauty of the golden slice of light. It landed on the table in a way that tossed all the colors around, mixing it into a kaleidoscope of different colors. Wow. Maybe I should try to take a picture. Reve smiled to himself, before he began to take out his battered iPhone.
Allen watched Reve for quite some time, waiting for the time to move in, if today was right at all. He noticed the kid sitting down and becoming interested in the way the light hit the table, or something along those lines. He saw his opportunity, and took it.
Allen could be sort of stealthy, sometimes it wasn't good, because he'd sneak up on kids and scare them off. He slipped into the seat across from Reve. looking at the light he had been focused on. "That's interesting." He murmured. "I don't see that often."
It took a lot to scare Reve. So when an average looking man slid across the table from him, Reve merely blinked at him, his iPhone balanced precariously between his index finger and other fingers. The perfect sliver of light seemed to vanish momentarily; a brief glance outside revealed a bus parked, blocking the sunlight from entering.
"Me either."Reve replied, with a sort of grin like a seven year old marveling at an unexpected gift."I was going to take a picture, but," He shrugged, slipping the gadget back in his pocket as he took another sip of his coffee."There will be other times." Reve paused, gazing at the man. He was neatly dressed, in a nice black suit. "My name is Reve." He finally said, holding out a hand.
Allen nodded. "Reve Banet, age 17. Can control sleep, and maybe do even more with that." He sipped on his own coffee. "Allen Steel, old enough not to want to give away my age and used to have an ability but not anymore." He set his coffee down. "I've looked over dozens of files just today, and yours sticks out to me Reve. You know why?"
He leaned back, glancing out the window. "Honestly, any kid with a power we don't know everything about tends to intrigue me. But then, there's also the fact of your family, which is...interesting." Allen looked back at him. "Freaked out or just curious?"
"Your pronounced my last name right." Were the first words out of Reve's mouth. His lips quirked upwards as he let his unshaken hand fall back against the table. This man--Allen Steel--had a nice aura around him. Even as he rattled off information about Reve himself, he was not alarmed. No, Allen was right. He was curious."You didn't even include the hard 't' that most people mistake in doing." He added with a broad grin, before straightening.
"You used to have an ability? What was it?" He questioned quizzically, before having enough grace to look sheepish. Maybe he shouldn't have started out with such a personal question. Reve's brow raised as he mentioned his family."Hm. I guess you can say my family is interesting. And that you probably know more than half of them don't live in America." Reve took another sip of his coffee, regarding him with interested green eyes. In the lighting, the golden ring around his pupil seemed to shine all the more brilliantly.
"My power,"Again, he grinned broadly,"I don't call it my 'ability', but it is kind of all over the place. Would you like a nap or what?" Reve asked, genuinely offering, if a bit dubiously.
Allen chuckled softly. "I don't need a nap, I've got too much work to do." He told him, relaxing and letting his business side, which was actually forced, fall. "If you must know, I used to have this...persuasion thing. I could get people to do pretty much anything, with nothing but the words from my mouth. If you want to put cheesy in there and say I had a superhero name, it was silvertongue. I don't have it anymore, now all my persuasion is no better than any ordinary non-gifted person can get."
He pushed back old memories and focused on the present. "Anyway, back to point, ability is the chosen term, or gift. we don't say power, that implies you being stronger than others. I have an organization, called Ghost." He slid the file across the table to Reve. "Right now, I'm recruiting gifted kids like yourself. The details are in that file there. It also includes a break-down of what we know about you. "
"Hopefully that name wasn't literal." Reve added, seeming honestly alarmed as he caught a flicker of his tongue. It was it's normal color, and as he listened to Allen continue to speak, he became more cuious and more curious. The file slid across the table--no more breathtaking slant of light--he looked at it inquisitively. It was a professional file, no doubt, and he held it as if it were an experiment, before his green eyes flickered back to Allen.
"Hm. I guess I'll call it a Gift, then." He grinned aloofly, setting his file--Reve couldn't believe he had a file--before he spoke again."Before I open this, I just want to make sure of one thing." He hesitated, and for the first time, looked troubled. An odd expression for Reve, who looked like he was in his own world most of the time."You said you know about my family. You won't...harm them, will you?"
Allen sighed. "Well, that's not fully my call. There's no intention to cause harm to your family, so long as you don't use your ability for illegal use. The thing is, we work to protect the people with abilities, and their families. But the government would like to punish everyone. All they're waiting for is a number in that crime rate to jump up, and everyone with abilities gets put through he.ll just to be treated like normal citizens."
He shook his head. "But really, don't do anything illegal -mainly concerning your ability- and don't do anything to expose Ghost, and you and your family should be left alone, completely. If you choose to join in our current efforts, you and your family would actually become a priority in protection."
After Allen was done speaking, that's when Reve couldn't help himself. He flipped the file open eagerly, his green eyes scanning over the contents efficiently. The information being given was well, a lot. A whole organization called GHOST, a complete government file on him(and even more creepy, his family) complete with a phone number. Reve set it down on the table softly, the information slowly processing, before how gaze snapped back to Allen curiously.
"I'm definitely interested." Reve replied enthusiastically, nodding with a smile. "You see, I believe this 'GHOST' could help me a lot, especially with my mother." Reve thought of his mother coming home from double shifts, sighing into her hands at the stack of bills piled before her. Even interesting enough, GHOST didn't seem to know about his ability to watch dreams, let alone enter them...Reve decided to keep that to himself, for now. It was advice Juliet has given him; don't say more than you need too. It was a thing Reve had a hard time doing, since he was so open and honest about practically everything."Do I just call this number then, Allen?"
"Yeah, pretty much, just not right away, she's probably busy right now." Allen replied. "Marie can give you any further information you need as well as a meeting date and a location- The location of our head quarters." He stood, offering his hand. "It was nice meeting you, Reve. I hope we see each other again soon."
Reve watched as Allen stood up; he was average height, he noticed. He then smiled,gladly shaking his hand.
"I sure hope so, too, Allen."
As soon as Allen left, Reve didn't call the number at the bottom first. No, he finished his coffee easily, before he took his sweet time walking to a park. The cafe would be too crowded to talk about something as important as this, and when he reached the familiar red bench in front of the playground, he took a seat.
Slipping out his battered iPhone, he dialed the number, waiting patiently for someone to pick up. This ought to be interesting...
Marie was quick to answer after the first ring. "Hello Ghostbusters, this is Marie, how may I help you?" That's how she always answered the phone, until she knew for sure the person calling knew about Ghost.