With my newly discovered powers, I began a search (or, rather, I became the search). My manifestation (awakening) was not as gentle as my companions, with it came a total shift in physical identity as well as a near imperative to observe and record the events of the current human calamity. This denied me the choice of engaging in my cohorts tendency towards altering human history. Once the First discovered their potential, they immediately began staging “events” to alter public perception. Eventually, this process culminated in the creation of the Academy system (among a plethora of other “things”).
By promising to reveal their true identities to elected officials of the government, the members of METRops in the beginning of the Universal Era (2019 AD), were able to gain protection and privacy for young manifesters who were willing to undergo training at an Academy. This was a system that they began discussing with me soon after we met, which they had also seen realized in the newly (re)formed Kalmar Union. The Academies hid themselves within the normal university system that already existed within the country, with each Academy containing a single program for a hundred students. Classrooms were accessible through portals hidden in teachers offices, enabling students to train in hidden training facilities built by METRops shortly after the Washington D.C. massacre.
When Adrien stepped into the SUV the two men had awaiting her outside the county jail, the world immediately snapped out of focus. A sharp vertigo swept over Adrien, as reality collapsed into an infinitesimal state. The car, as well as the occupants, were stretched out over a thousand miles of space; the world flashed by in a kaleidoscopic fashion, leaving Adrien breathless as they were all deposited in an empty parking garage.
“Neat trick, ain’t it?” the man who had done all the talking at the jail nearly spoke into Adrien’s ear, eliciting a slight jump from Adrien, who had not noticed him entering the car or sitting down, “You can call me Tactics, and the gentleman in the cab you may address as Strategy–” The driver glanced at the front man for only an instant. The man’s intent reflected off the rear view mirror, and was quickly recovered by his counterpart. “–Mr. Strategy.” He had backed away as he introduced himself, but a wry smile was on his face as he noticed the touch of crimson staining Adrien’s cheeks.
Adrien took a moment to allow the return of some composure, before replying with a somewhat skeptical tone, “So the mighty METRops, a group which is supposedly now defunct, sent two agents, who refuse to give anything remotely reassembling real names, to recruit me?” Adrien’s eyebrows were raised in sheer sardonic malevolence, “You’re bribe is a new identity, and sending me to college, and where the hell are we?”
“You don’t need to bother with the voice dear, we know who you are,” Tactics leaned into Adrien’s ear, then whispered, “Clearly.” Heart hammering, Adrien scooted away from him, far more quickly than Tactics expected (clearly) as his glasses awkwardly fell down his nose revealing ocean green eyes widened in surprise.
Seconds dragged by, faltering as if reality refused to acknowledge the current circumstances and was attempting to rewind itself, until Strategy turned around from the drivers seat, speaking for the first time, “You really shouldn’t try to seduce the help,” Mr.Strategy grabbed the slightly recovered Mr.Tactics by the shoulder, and pushed him towards the door of the SUV, “and we will be right back.”
They both opened their respective doors and stepped out without looking back, disappearing before Adrien’s eyes, who sat breathless and unbelieving.
Ah, young love, or perhaps more correctly (and perversely) in this instance, a love for the young. I always find it quite humorous, that my protege tended to derive complete disasters from all his romances and infatuations. He had the Power to defy all the Greek gods, or at least make them sweat, except for Eros- powers of the heart always wielded a cruel magical dominance over the ill-equipped, emotionally discordant, egomaniac… and with all universal balancing considered, it was only fair.
Ahsha stepped out of Sensei’s pipe, only mildly disoriented due to her frequent use of that particular method of travel. The parking garage she stepped into was lit by systems built before the reconstruction, neon luminescence invading the very air with its noxious hum. Ahsha quickly scanned the area for the exits, through force of habit more than anything, as she began to study the occupant of the SUV her mentors called their “government vehicle”. Side swept black hair framed a too-pretty face, lending her soon-to-be partner quite feminine features.
“So my new roommate is a boy?” Ahsha looked up at Elder to catch a smirk forming on his face as he pulled the ridiculous cowboy hat he had chosen to flaunt over his eyes.
“There are an uneven amount of women and men in this years class, so they’re having some students share co-ed bathrooms, but you will have separate bedrooms.” As Ahsha glanced away from Elder as he answered her question she noticed a blush, barely noticeable, staining Sensei’s cheeks.
“So you’re into college boys now, are you Sensei?” As Sensei began to stutter out a reply, the occupant of the car stepped out, an oversized leather jacket covered slender shoulders, coming down past the waist. Torn black jeans helped create the perfect image of a young runaway pretty-boy punkrocker. After glaring up at Sensei, a hand was shot forward towards Ahsha in greeting.
“Hey, my name is Adrien, I’m assuming you’re the partner that’s mentioned in this contract that they had me sign, and don’t worry about creepy over there, I’m actually 26” Ahsha felt a moment of doubt upon hearing Adrien’s voice, it was far softer with a slight nasal quality that didn’t resemble the voice of any other quarter of a century old male she’d ever met. Her eyes darted to Adrien’s neck, and settled to focus just above the elusive glint of Adrien’s titanium chain necklace and just below the shadow of a smoothly cast chin. Elder had once told her the truth always lies amidst the two; both light and shadow distort the actual, and Ahsha, though almost always preoccupied, was assuredly always absorbing, observant, and aware. Gently, a small smile began to crack through Ahsha’s distant face.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Adrien,” warmth and sincerity fell suddenly from Ahsha’s tongue, as her false persona began to envelope her, “will you be continuing this delightful little deception with our other housemates?”
“Wh..what deception?” Adrien’s eyes widened in surprise as she stuttered out her question. Ahsha just continued to smile, as she felt her astral self settle in, her vision exploding with possibilities playing out in a nearly transparent technicolor. Ahsha sifted through her new partner’s subconscious and futures, gleaning an understanding of Adrien in a matter of moments.
“No need to worry dear, lets go put on a good show for our new marks.”