Location: Stark Academy, Faculty Offices
Timeline: 11.25.2011, 0448PM
Maus had dragged Brann and the girls with him to the Headmaster's office, which is where she was the day after Thanksgiving, handling some final business before the faculty got set free for the holiday as well. It was later in the day, towards the end, after grades were tabulated and entered and signed off on electronically in preparation for the emails to go out to the parents for this term and the ongoing for those with history.
Maus opened the door, Bubbles working at her screens as she moved through them with her hands, using the touch-screens to highlight and move data and her touch-screen like wireless keyboard/tablet to type on and enter data, she was speaking into her headset.
"Of COURSE Mrs. Georgetown and as you know such a highly respected institution as Stark Academy with the exclusive clientele it has maintains the HIGHEST level of discretion," the tiniest bit patronizing note was barely perceptible but the tone was friendly, the orphans picking up on it because in their word, subtlety was often the coin and trade of conversation.
Jericho was in her office doorway, her finger to her lips to tell them to shush and waving at them to hold it and listen. Bubbles glanced at the kids, rolled her eyes and went back to her screen.
"Yes, definitely you can call me 'Bubbles', Denise," Bubbles nodded as she spoke, sounded very serious. "Certainly we respect that you've paid a great deal of money to have your child attend this Academy where we accept and train the minds and manners of the youth of today. Please open the email I show you just received, yes, and then click on the file mh hmm, yes." Bubbles started to smile wickedly, "Unfortunately, yes, the red circle does show Michael's face clearly in the video. And yes, as you can see, yes I'm sorry Denise but that IS him urinating on that orphan child's bed and clothes that, as you just saw, he cut with that illegal-sized knife he had with him." She winced slightly at what she heard and touched something to the side, likely the volume control, and then waited, typing now and again as she waited.
Apparently Denise got tired after a few minutes and Bubbles was waiting for it, "Yes Denise and I'm terribly sorry that this happened but Stark Academy is, clearly, the victim here. As per the contractual agreement that you and Mister Georgetown signed when Michael was admitted, we specifically pointed out to you that in addition to any tuitions normally associated with his attendance, if he harmed any of the personnel or facilities and properties of Stark Academy and it's holdings, you would be billed for those. As the residential students are wards of Stark Academy, in legal effect, the Academy owns the residential students and all of their clothing, furniture and possessions are in fact owned by Stark Academy. Michael unfortunately destroyed several thousand dollars worth of Stark property, which is being added to his tuition bill for the semester. Of course we would prefer to handle all of these situations as discreetly and privately as possible, which you can tell from the video Michael was not the only person though evidence does suggest he was central to the group, we would be simply aghast were any formalized paperwork be required in order to maintain our contractual obligation in both directions. I'm sure you can appreciate the positions we find ourselves in," she paused only the slightest bit, "Denise."
Apparently Denise DID understand what Bubbles had said, without actually coming out and saying it or threatening her with it.
Bubbles nodded, "Of course we will. Mh hmm, yes ma'am. A full itemization with receipts was included on pages twenty through thirty five and you know, you can always write it off right?"
Apparently Denise didn't know that.
"Children's tuition expenses," she said vaguely. "I've referred the pertinent information to your accountant who tagged me back this morning that, yes, that would be easily handled. Pattie said she'd call you on Monday. Mhh," she nodded, "and as part of the services we'll continue to work with Michael and try to help him become the man we all know he can be." She paused again and smiled broadly and nodded twice, "Exactly. Yes, then we'll see him next semester and I'll be available should you or Pattie need me the two weeks prior to the next term. Yes, you too, very well, have a wonderful holiday Denise."
And then she stabbed the keyboard with a single finger and smiled at Jericho as she guzzled the rest of her coffee drink in one gigantic draw.
"I have no idea how you can manage that," Jericho said with a small smile of admiration.
Bubbles waved at the console nonchalantly, "Heh," she snorted, "apparently you forgot that I was the premier republican national convention donor sales agent for ten years in a row. I'm used to 'contractual obligations', 'thinly veiled threats disguised as discretionary tactics' and 'outright extortion'. These people are sheep compared to the sharks I've been swimming with."
Jericho chuckled, actually amused and looked over at Maus and the others. "This doesn't appear to be a social visit."
"Its winter break," Maus said pointedly. "Officially."
"Maus," Jericho stared at him.
"Remember my 'why-stage'?" he asked and both Jericho and Bubbles rolled their eyes and looked exasperated. "I see you do." He stared up at her defiantly.
Angel just crossed her arms and gave Jericho the same look.
"Fine," Jericho sighed and turned and motioned them to enter her office. Bubbles hopped up and came around her desk like a cowboy jumping the bar in a saloon. "What are you doing?"
"You think I'm going to miss you explaining this to them?" Bubbles demanded, "You are out of your overly-severe bun-head."
Jericho opened her mouth to argue and Bubbles made a gesture with her finger pointing upward and gave her a 'WTF' look which made Jericho sighed again. Speaking as if to herself she muttered as she made small but theatrically dramatic hand gestures, "I knew this day would come but somehow, I thought it'd be noble and majestic. I never foresaw myself being cornered in my office by a small group of teenagers threatening me, ME, with bad behavior and my secretary foisting herself into it."
"Executive Assistant," Bubbles corrected her instantly and continued, "and I don't know why you're surprised; reality has a way of intruding into your unrealistic delusions."
"There are days I hate you," Jericho glowered at Bubbles.
"Those are the days I'm sure you've caught 'stupid' from Kyort," Bubbles replied with all the charm and smiles of Summer in full swing.
Angel cocked her head in confusion for a moment but shrugged it off as an inside joke she just didn't get in deference to the bigger issue.
Jericho gave her a look that said that she had a response to her comment that the younger ears here weren't prepared to hear.
Bubbles shrugged and silently gestured her into her office.
"Sit," she ordered the kids and Bubbles, there being just enough places in her spacious office to do so. Jericho's office was under her apartment in one of the towers. The administrative offices were on the primary level of the castle along the northeastern wall facing out to sea and Jericho's office was on the northern tower with her apartments being the top three levels of the tower. A spiral staircase of antique wood and iron twined down from the upper level to the office in an alcove in the wall. The room was surrounded by bookshelves with books and knickknacks from all over the world, some of them foreign and ancient and some of them rather kooky and odd. A circa 1920's filing cabinet made of wood stood in one corner, a glasses cabinet with blackened glass stood in one spot and two high windows with benches in them flanked the rather austere and perfectly clean desk.
Jericho leaned against her large solid dark oak desk and looked at the group for a moment before she began to speak. "You've all seen some rather odd things of late, things that the rational mind, the modern mind, say couldn't be real and yet.." she paused dramatically, ".. and yet.. So you know you've had these experiences, you've seen, felt or even smelled or tasted things that were just beyond your ability to understand them and yet, somehow, you feel you should, isn't that so?"
"Yes ma'am." Cat said looking at Jericho. "Hulga showed and told me that she wasn't human." She was brutally honest as was her tendency. "Like we've been told so many times over the last week, you would explain things over winter break. I would like to know what is going on."
She looked at Maus and snorted, then at Brann and Angel to see what they had to say or what their faces and eyes told her.
"Yes, ma'am," Brann sat attentively when he felt the weight of Jericho's attention. "I saw a face in the reflection of Maus' monitor in our room. It was a woman looking over my shoulder. I saw her and she bolted. I turned around and she was gone. There was no way she could have gotten in or out without my knowing it. Later, at the forge after Cat told us what happened to her I tried meditation like Hanza Sensei taught me. I saw..." He paused to find words. "It looked like a painting on top of the whole world. I saw pictures of Maus, Cat, and Angel on top of them but I could see things behind them. Angel distracted me and I lost it." He glared playfully at Angel. "I couldn't get it back."
He sat up excitedly, adding, "Oh, and I forgot! I tried to peel the picture back to see what was underneath. I touched it, ma'am." He leveled a certain gaze on Jericho. "I touched... something. I don't know what but something was definitely there."
Jericho looked at Angel expectantly.
"He tried to poke me in the eye," Angel said defensively, "I want to know what's going on, but... experimenting without some direction... seems impetuous." She sounded like that word wasn't exactly what she was looking for as though the connotations weren't exactly right.
"Impetuous," Brann laughed, "We have to push limits sometimes. How else are we gonna learn?"
Silently Jericho turned and went to the blacked-glass cabinet and made a circular gesture with one finger, clockwise, before inserting her hand through the glass. It rippled like water as her hand penetrated it and then as she withdrew it, holding a bronze and glass device of some sort. She turned towards them, the glass seeming to return to normal reflective black as she did. The device she held in her left hand looked like a witches ball of clear glass resting on a bronze pedestal and thought here was no obvious method, they appeared attached.
Brann caught when she pushed her hand through the black glass with eyes wide with astonishment. He watched in silent anticipation as Jericho approached with the strange device.
Cat looked at the the ball and pedestal, her head cocked to the side as she tried to figure out how they were connected. "Ma'am? What is that?" She asked after a moment of contemplation.
Jericho raised a finger to Cat asking her silently to bide a then spoke, "Adjudicator."
"Yes princess," came a voice from the glass sphere, which seemed to vibrate and the vibrations produced the man's rather deep voice.
"I need a localized distortion, in my office only, bring the limiter to level 1," she ordered. It wasn't a request, she was serious and whomever was on the other end seemed to expect to hear it like that.
"Confirm, localized on you, six cubit radius, four level reduction in the limiter to minimum," he stated back to her and then, "falling, one level every ten ticks."
"Thank you Adjudicator," she replied. "Be ready for a release on my mark, pend and hold please."
"Understood princess," he replied and she set the device on the desk next to her and crossed her arms.
"You're going to begin to notice strange things happening around you," she explained. "Subtle at first, things you might blow off as never really noticing before will be important because these are things you weren't allowed to see before. Look around you, look at one another, look at me and describe to each other what you see because you're each at different levels of the process."
Cat cocked her head to the side and focused on Jericho first, really looking at her. Like Brann had recommended she was trying to push the preconceptions of what she expected to see and really look at what is really in front of her. She stared at Jericho for a moment and then looked around the office, taking care to look at each object and really seeing what it looked like. Then she turned her attention on her siblings and gave them the same amount of attention.
Brann found the more he practiced meditation, the easier he could drop into it. He sat back in his chair and fixed his gaze on the crystal. He allowed his vision to relax. He cleared his mind of distracting thoughts and focused instead on what he saw.
Angel settled back into her chair, her feet coming up so she could sit cross legged in her chair her hands relaxed, palms open on her knees, she took deep even breaths and cleared her mind deciding to look at her tech mentor and settled her amethyst eyes on Maus.
Subtle small things altered around them. The dimensions of the room changed slightly, the glass witch globe on the bronze pedestal filled with slowly swirling iridescent light, the bookshelf gained an hand-made look and looked more sturdy, with engraving scroll-work and roses carved in it. The panes of the windows looked more primitive, rounded edges instead of squared, a small fireplace set to one side was not currently lit but looked as if it got some use. And each of them noticed different types of things.
Angel began noticing the changes in the room but some of what she was seeing wasn't there the same way the the rest of it was. It was like she could reach out and touch some things but others were behind a transparent wall, one she knew was there and could feel, in her head and just barely sort of see with her eyes.
She blinked and focused on Maus his ears were pointed short and seemed almost like webbed fins, his hair was huge and shaggy like a mane almost snapped with sparks of electricity running through it. And where he looked a boy before now with this new sight was a full grown man. His body half naked and half covered in metal armor with hoses and tubes and vents and glowing lights and tiny lightning crawling all over his body while a breeze not present in the room seems to keep his hair in constant motion.
From him she looked at her best friend, Cat's hair held smoldering embers and tiny sparks, like those cast from a wood fire. Her eyes were luminous, her skin shone with a faintly metallic hue and her ears too were long, but unlike Maus swept back from her face and seemed almost to merge into her hair. Cat's eyebrows were long as well and like her long pointed ears, seemed to merge with her hair.
Brann looked much the same except his body was like the wall separated her from pieces of the room, except his body was real and there was something inside of him, something brilliant and shining that was "elsewhere." She couldn't quite see it yet but she knew it was there. She could feel a tug towards the otherness inside him, as if there was something similar but also different inside her.
Finally she looked down at herself, her hands and arms, delicate and beautiful in a way they'd never been. Her fingers were long and elegant and as she moved and flexed them she looked at the back of her hands where intricate markings, like tattoos but she knew they weren't like the marks on her back, she'd had them since birth, part of her Birthright. And unlike the others she felt sunlight shining down on her and her alone.
Cat looked around her and saw how everything was interlinked she could see the cogs and how they linked together with the sprockets that everyone was. She saw the connection between Brann and Maus, saw the strength of their relationship in the steel and blue hot fire that seemed to surround them. Looking at Angel she saw something very similar with Angel, the flame of their friendship burned brightly between them along a tempered steel chain. She could see that everything was connected, how everything fit together and was part of a larger machine. She could see that they all were part of, not just part of but an important part of the survival of that same machine too. Everyone at Stark, and even Stark itself was extremely important to it's survival.
Brann looked around at his friends and sensed things beyond what he expected. He saw flames in Cat's hair and metallic skin but he saw deeper. He knew her on a level he never understood before but now, with hindsight, it made perfect sense.
Cat embodied lust and materialism. Combined they formed the passion of creation, including reproduction. Sadly Payer boys sensed only the "lust" part and the more Cat resisted, the harder they pushed to have what they could not possess -- the dark side of materialism... greed. As Brann thought on it he realized they gave into their drive to breed. What little self-control they had flew out the window along with that empty box called 'scruples.' Brann turned his attention next to Angel.
He saw sunlight bathing Angel's hair and shoulders as before but as with Cat, he sensed something deeper about her. He felt a strong connection with her, as if he was her big brother. He could tell there was more behind her but the bright light obscured everything in the back in shadows. He turned his attention back to what he knew strongly.
He knew beyond a doubt that Angel operated based on smart compassion. This made sense in how she played to her strength and compensated for her weaknesses. She could turn away from helping others but instead she offered herself as a shield against pain and suffering. Brann reflected on this a moment and it seemed right. Angel was the cheerful, charismatic one. She was quick to fix a boo-boo or put an arrow in a foot to keep it from getting one inch closer to her charge. The more he thought about Angel, the more he felt proud to have a connection with her. He moved on from her to Maus.
He looked on his young lover and saw the spark of lightning in Maus' eyes but little else. What made Maus special ran deep below the surface. Mercurial flashes of inspiration drove him to create in a similar way to Cat but the quick flitting, restless quality of the lightning inside him drove him to test the limits of everything from Jericho's patience to the law. Brann smiled, as his sense confirmed what he always knew. Maus was a rapscallion, a rogue and devil-may-care but in the lull between the lightning flashes he skulked in the shadows of guile and subtlety. Something in his nature drove him toward helping others. Though he would insist on the right approach and woe until anyone who pointed out his generosity. Maus could come up with endless ways to excuse his warm heart and Brann looked forward to hearing them all. Last, but certainly not least Brann turned his attention to Jericho and a chill shot down his spine.
Over everything else his senses screamed "danger." Once, long ago Jericho might have been human but Brann now sensed a mind driven to sew pointless chaos and boundless destruction. She somehow wove cables of adamantine determination and clarity of thought around this maelstrom of madness and rose above her urges. Now she existed as something unique, apart, and completely beyond Brann's comprehension.
Cat looked at Jericho and saw something else. Something angry and full of hate and terror, unfocused bloodthirsty destruction, something that terrified her and yet it sang to her. She felt drawn to it, some part of her spirit responded to it this thing that Jericho had tamed. She owned it, made it bend to her will, heel to her command. Jericho held it's chain and knew it's Name and she controlled it. Cat felt her respect for the headmistress grow even more. Then she saw the flash of something, two scars over her eyes that tracked down her cheeks and looked like lightening bolts, and just that fast they were gone. Cat cocked her head and knew that Jericho herself was hiding those marks. Above all she knew that whatever it was that Jericho had mastered it was dangerous above all.
Only once she had absorbed everything else she had seen did Angel turn to face their sometimes aloof and almost always intimidating headmistress. In her she saw a person with a dark and tortured origin and a climb into the light that cost her dearly in pain and love. She could see that it had slipped her control too many times so that she'd been forced to learn an unyielding hold on whatever it was within her. That thing that was within her, that thing she was now, it defied Angel's understanding of what she had seen in the others. Jericho, if she was elemental, was an elemental of death and existed in a semblance of life, something that wore a human skin but was not. Silent tears began sliding down Angel's cheeks as she realized how harshly she had judged their headmistress for so long, that her cool almost detached presence wasn't because she wanted to be apart from them but because she had to keep her very nature in check.
"Now now Angel," Jericho chided her softly, "no tears for me, alright? They're best saved for those who will need them far worse than I."
Angel pulled a tissue from her pocket and dabbed her eyes but she shook her head, "I have tears aplenty." She'd always been the weepy one of the group, and accepted her place in that role, as such she could cry for Jericho and still have more then enough for anyone else that needed her tears.
"It is said," Bubbles spoke from behind them where she had remained out of sight, "'tears of an angel heal any wound, even the most grave'."
Brann chuckled and turned in his chair to face Bubbles. "You haven't seen Angel when... she... has a... paper... cut?"
His words trailed off until he stared in speechless awe. The woman he knew as Bubbles met his gaze with eyes the color of amber and with slit pupils like a cat. Her lips beckoned to be kissed, her skin ached to be caressed, and the soft curls of her hair drew the fingers to get lost in their silky softness. Brann felt this though distantly and perhaps the small black horns curving back over her head distracted him. Like the others, he saw beneath the surface and read Bubble's true nature.
Like Cat, Bubbles oozed sexuality but unlike Cat's force of creation, Bubbles' lust led to destruction. She was the ultimate kiss before stepping off the cliff of doom. She was the unattainable fantasy, the will 'o wisp of desire that mesmerized her prey to their lasting fate. Like Jericho, however she binds her negativity with steely threads of positivity and determination. Bubbles turned her nature to a constructive purpose through sheer force of will. Brann cleared his throat and smiled, "I think I see where 'charm offensive' came from."
Angel turned to smile at Bubbles, curious if her tears could actually heal some wound, hell with everything else that was happening it wouldn't surprise her. To her Bubbles looked like a fiery woman with short pointed ears, small curling black horns peeking out from her forehead. Her hair was the familiar thick wavy curls but her eyes had become luminous amber with slit pupils. But she could see beyond the physical to something underneath, that despite her demonic appearance she was, at heart, a good person. She and Cat were so very similar but Bubbles was of the demonic variety whereas Cat seemed pure elemental.
Cat saw Bubbles and almost gasped the horns rising from her forehead and the pointed ears brought to mind fire and heat. Suddenly it clicked, almost like Cat was looking at a mirror, Bubbles and she were both creatures of fire, passion and lust on one side and the potential destruction on the other. There was the small burn or the giant explosion. At the same time there was a scent that Cat couldn't remember having ever smelled before but that was calling to her, something that was alluring. "Wow." She said softly. "What are we?" She asked suddenly. Everything was so different from how it had always seemed and there was something in Cat that wanted to know why. Why had everything suddenly changed.
"Similar," Bubble said with a voice that beckoned, "but different. You're the original type, a primal. I'm an off-shoot newer version silly people made to explain their guilt when they lost their piety, a conceptual."
"A primal?" Cat asked not quite understanding what Bubbles was talking about. She knew that her and Bubbles were similar, but not the same. She looked into the amber slit pupil eyes of Jericho's assistant.
"We're both elemental creatures of Flame Cat," Bubbles explained, "but I'm what a lot of people call a Demon. My kind is relatively new, only a couple thousand years old. Your kind has been around much longer."
"You're a Demon?" Cat said tipping her head to the side as she looked at Bubbles and the pieces of the machine made a bit more sense but not really a lot more. "So if you're a Demon, what am I?"
"Wait, I think I get it, like in chemistry class," Brann looked at Cat. "You are a base element -- fire -- a 'primal.' Bubbles is a molecule, humanity added some stupid-- likely Catholic-- guilt about sex to the mix and twisted her nature." He paused, "Sorry, Bubbles."
"Its what I am," she shrugged, "so I can't be angry about it."
"What about Kyort?" Angel asked, turning back to Jericho.
"He'll reveal himself when he's ready," Jericho replied, "but every member of the faculty is one of us and skilled. Olathe, Eileen and Diego are the youngest of us."
'He has no problem revealing himself most of the time,' Angel thought but kept this thought to herself as the conversation moved past this comment.
"I'm not THAT old," Bubbles chided her with a snort.
"No but why aren't you still in politics?" Jericho asked her, crossing her arms and looking superior.
"Damned straight," Bubbles tossed her fiery tresses and sat up straighter, making her breasts stand up inhumanly. "I'm not going to hag myself just so the sheeple feel better."
"Sheeple, I like that." Cat grinned widely.
"They may be sheep..," Jericho chided Bubbles.
Bubbles rolled her eyes and sighed dramatically, "But we protected them and teach their kids and they support us."
"I urge the four of you to discuss what you've seen today amongst yourselves and keep watch for anyone else that begins to see the True World," Jericho cautioned them softly. "Your perceptions are only just now expanding and so it's still too early to begin instruction into these matters. You should understand that of the orphans, sooner or later, I expect all of you to become able to perceive things as they really are and then, begin to manifest what you are yourselves."
"Ma'am," Brann picked up. "That begs an obvious question." He gestured around between her. Bubbles, and his friends. "What are we? I can see things. I get a strong feeling like I know you deep down but I still don't know what you are or what I am." he paused, seemingly at a loss. "I get a strong feeling none of us are human. Am I going to start craving blood and souls? Not that it bothers me but if I need to set up a quiet supply I might have to work out a deal with Kyort."
"That was entirely too timely Brann," Bubbles chuckled as Jericho frowned.
"None of you should begin to crave anything odd in your diets. Impulses are another thing entirely," Jericho held up a finger, "and should you get really angry, try to restrain yourselves and get away from whatever it is that's making you feel that way. Especially Brann and Cat," she added.
"Why especially us?" Cat asked looking between Brann and the other two.
"Because both of you have the potential to cause a great deal of destruction and to lose yourselves in your passions," she explained, "more so than the either Angel or..." she seemed about to reconsider and stressed, "probably Maus."
"And that's because?" Cat prompted.
"Duh," Brann nudged her. "You're fire. I can see it. You have metallic skin and flames in your hair. You get pissed and it's gonna be like a napalm bomb went off. Can you say, 'crispy Payer corpses on the 11 o'clock news?" He paused, growing thoughtful. "I'm not sure about me. I can't see myself. I assume she's warning me for the same reason but honestly, I don't recall ever feeling that mad."
"There's mad," Bubbles piped up, "and then there's psychotic rage. Your particular brand typically doesn't go THAT apeshit unless you run across your ancient enemy and if one of those is around, we'll be dealing with it and you'll be.. um, elsewhere."
"So there's none of these ancient enemy mixed in here right?" She asked, wondering if there was a chance that any of them would go that far off the reservation.
"We'd have killed those off years ago," Jericho replied completely seriously, "or there'd be a smoking crater where this island used to be."
"Wait," Brann perked up. "What 'ancient enemies'? Bubbles, what is my 'brand'?" He cast a searching gaze around the room. "Angel... feels... like my little sister and given the way light shines down on her I'd say she really was an angel if she wasn't such a brat."
"Angel is such a loaded word Brann," Bubbles chided him. "Angel is a Celestial-type and you," she glanced at Jericho and when the other woman didn't stop her she said, "and you're a Guardian. Technically, we all guard and protect humans," she made a disgusted face at that, "but as a Guardian it's sort of your specific role, in the cosmic plan or something," she gave hoo-doo fingers. "The Higher Beings, who created Guardians and Celestials did so to form their armies against the ancient foe of all life, the Ur Lords. The Guardians are like special warrior and the Celestials form the ranks and the generals. Sometimes a Guardian becomes a General but only if they achieve a certain level of development. Guardians come in three types: Armor, Shield and Weapon. Celestials come in Four types: Protecting, Healing, Avenging and the super-rare Heraldic. We're unsure what type either one of you are yet."
"So, I'm like a commando for God or whatever these 'Higher Beings' are." Brann took in the news. "I'm so taking down the Pope for being gay enough to wear gold and white together."
"Gods might be more accurate Brann," Jericho winced. "I was raised Roman Catholic so that whole thing was quite an adjustment for me."
"She was also one of the few of us raised to be what she is and still missed intrinsic parts of 'how to be a monster 101'," Bubbles snarked.
"I misunderstood," Jericho replied tartly. "I was a foolish child, as many are and I had the fantastical ideas about how the world worked, like most Mortals. I never quite understood what my nanny was trying to teach me."
"You still don't," Bubbles snorted a giggle.
"Since we're clearing the air and setting a kind of ground work for how to proceed," Brann looked to Jericho, "Ma'am, what are you?"
"Zumbe," Jericho replied softly.
"And I'm a primal fire? What about Maus?" Cat turned and looked at the smallest of their company. "Why is he less dangerous than Brann or me?"
"See we're not entirely sure about that," Bubbles replied curiously. "Maus is invulnerable to the cold, for the most part, even in his Mortal Guise and that's a pretty powerful ability, just like Cat isn't bothered but that's because she's fire and it doesn't bother Angel that much because like Maus, she's from the same uhm, 'region'. So Maus is a Sky Primal, all about Inspiration and Invention and Potential. But in the mortal world, depending on where he is and how mad he get's, he might be able to shut down an entire city's power grid or worse, hit a single spot with it."
Maus, who had been fairly relaxed with all of this despite what he was seeing (and not sharing, by the way) got a little wide-eyed and seemed borderline upset already. "You mean I could eMP my computer?"
"And the entire island," Jericho added laconically. "Which is why when you did last year's upgrades we hardened and insulated and double-ground everything just in case," she added pointedly.
"Oh," that stopped him. "That makes sense."
Then he stopped again. "You said all of the orphans are probably going to be monsters too right?"
Jericho rolled her eyes at the word but smirked, trust Maus to find the word that the Shade-People were sensitive about and use it. "Yes," she said.
"What's Zach?" Maus asked giving her a very serious look.
"Potentially a very big problem," Jericho replied seriously and returned his look.
"How so?" Cat asked looking between the two of them. "I mean Zach can be a little violent but he's a good kid and he tries to keep himself under control. Why would he be a problem?"
"You do not truly know someone until you fight them," Brann quoted one of his favorite movie lines under his breath. He flicked his blue gaze to the others. "Zach is a weapon with nobody wielding him. He struggles for control. If he loses it he won't stop until he's dead. Remember that time at the forge, when we were kids?"
"I remember, I formed the piece of metal that I had been messing around with before it happened into a shield for him. He saved me from the Payers that day." Cat looked over at Brann and cocked her head to the side. "I've never seen Zach attack without provocation, and hell I've seen him put up with a lot of that too."
"I train with Zach every day, Cat," Brann cast a serious look. "Zach chooses to focus his training in a constructive way but there's a point where he loses control. When that happens..." he combed his fingers back through his hair. "Let's just say Zach won't let it happen if he can help it but he can't always help it. I watch him and it's like energy builds up inside him and he reaches a point where he stops or explodes."
Both faculty nodded. "This is a part of the problem with Zach," Bubbles explained. "Just so you know, we've been talking about magic right? So none of you think you're some sort of weird mutant and this is just how the culture has chosen to represent itself. Everything we do is magic."
"Riiiiggghhht," Maus sounded out, not derisively but like he was trying to connect some dots and his mind really, really didn't like where it was headed.
"So we think Zach is, well, you guys'd call him a wizard," Bubbles replied, "though all the shade-kids I know call 'em "'Potters"."
"As in Harry?" Cat asked, she loved fantasy novels and devoured any that she could that had a good story mixed with magic and mayhem.
"Brooms are for sweeping up what's left of idiots who think wizards need wands." Brann crossed his arms and snorted derisively.
"For flying? Gods and Garters," Bubbles snorted scornfully, "if you suggest that to a Mystic most've 'em turn you into something crispy."
Cat rolled her eyes at Brann. "Yeah we're just in a secret school full of magical creatures. Really nothing at all fantastical here." Her tone was drier than the Sahara. She cocked her head to the side as something else they said sparked an idea in her mind. "What about bleeding off the energy? Like some kind of energy sink, would that work to keep Zach from going nuclear and maybe give him a slightly easier time focusing?"
"Already in place and working overtime," Bubbles replied.
"Ma'me," Angel asked in a soft voice, she'd been sitting and observing for the most part and now spoke up with a question, "Why am I less dangerous then any of them?" She had a thought that it might simply be her personality, she was slower to anger and tended to have a more subtle touch when she finally did lose her temper, but she needed to know.
"Well while not all Celestials are particularly 'nice' people," Jericho allowed, "they don't abuse Mortals. Most Celestial abilities manifest towards defensive and protection and healing towards Mortals, even when they're being terrible and deserve a good Judgement or two. But until they break a Covenant or get Marked by one of the Ur Lords, we don't really have to worry about you accidentally leveling the castle because a Payer felt you up."
"I hear a lot of "most" and "maybe" and not enough "all" and "definite"," Maus commented pointedly.
"Can I eat him?" Jericho asked Bubbles, casually flicking a finger at Maus.
"No," Bubbles told her flatly. "He's still too small, you have to throw those back."
"Waiting," Maus reminded them, unfazed.
"Fine," Jericho gave him a good "dunked cat" expression. "IF Angel ends up being one of the extremely rare types of Celestials that can manifest outside of the Covenant," she paused and collected herself, "and if she does so spontaneously, then that makes her either at least a Seraphim or she's one of the Heraldic Host. Either way, there's nothing any of us could do to stop her."
"And that would be because...?" Maus was just not going to let it go.
Jericho looked pained but she continued to answer his questions. "If she's one of the Seraphim, then she's a future General in the Armies of the Celestials. If she's a Heraldic," she paused and seemed to grope for a familiar term or comparison. "Do you remember how you used to tell me GI Joe was 'cool' because of their tech?"
"Well yeah," he blushed a little, "when I was a kid."
"Right. And you remember when we had a discussion about monsters and how Godzilla trumps GI Joe?" she asked.
"You means Angel could be Godzilla?" Maus asked softly. The question, it seemed, was rhetorical.