Originals and Outsiders: Assemble
The Girl In The Light
Lacie powered up her Omega Beams, firing them at such a high powered level, that the stock dummies that she was practicing on were simply incinerated.
How can he even say things like that? I have a right to know what’s already happened in a future I haven’t lived!
The stock dummies reset once again and Lacie powered up and smashed a dummy to smithereens with her fists. She moved on to her next drill, pinpoint strikes on targets placed throughout the room.
“Focus Lace! Focus! You’re destroying the targets! We just want to incapacitate them!” Her teacher called out.
The young girl screamed with rage,
How can I focus on these stupid targets when my powers are just exploding out of my body?
With a powerful blast, Lacie destroyed the last of her targets. James Frasier, her teacher, walked over to her with a grimace on his face.
“Alright kiddo, might be best to take a break.”
“I don’t want a break.” Lacie bit back with venom, “I need to learn to control this great power I’ve been given.”
Mr. Frasier frowned, “Well regardless, I just got word a little earlier that you’ll have a new training partner today.”
Lacie’s anger broke at that, her surprise evident on her face, “Oh? Who?”
“A new kid. He’s got some interesting powers, same age as you I think. We’ve got two new trainees coming in actually.”
Lacie smiled, anything was better than training alone, then at least she would not have to endure the full brunt of the watchful and critical eyes of her instructors. Mr. Frasier had told her that more students would be coming in soon, but the actual prospect of not one, but two new students was beyond amazing.
“When do they get here then?”
“Just arrived I think.” Mr. Frasier replied, “Come on then. Put on a smiling face and lets go meet them.”
Her teacher didn’t have to tell her twice, rushing out of the room at superhuman speed to meet her fellow students at the front of the school. Flying up the staircase, two steps at a time, running into the foyer, just past the ancient Greek vase on display, she stopped herself just before the heavy french double doors and quickly primped her hair and wiped any stray sweat from her brow.
Great, just great, first time I meet a boy my age in ages, I’ve been sweating profusely from running drills for over an hour. Thanks again Mr. Frasier
She frowned, glancing at a nearby mirror to check her appearance, she debated whether or not to depower, deciding it best to keep her current appearance, fussed with her golden honey blonde hair, slimmed the wrinkles in her skin tight charcoal black suit with golden accents, and readjusted “the girls” to ensure everything was in order. Taking a quick breath, she opened the doors.
There stood a familiar face with two faces unfamiliar, their Headmaster, Kyle Albinn, was there. He saw her, a rugged smile grew on his face, and he waved at her. Two boys were with him, about the same age and height, one with jet black hair, cleanly cut and styled as if he was a 20’s gentleman with dark clothing and olive skin. The other was much more energetic, enthusiastically inspecting the architecture of the school and almost seeming like he was about to bounce out of his bones the way he walked around. His messy brown hair flopped in front of his face, but he didn’t seem to mind as he kept slicking it back to talk animatedly to the other boy.
“Lacie! Come meet these two. This is Nick and this is Jason.” The Headmaster said.
Jason made an elaborate show of bowing to Lacie, taking her hand into both of his,
“Jason D’Angelo at your service.”
“Lacie Frasier.” Lacie replied, taken back slightly with the boy’s flamboyant nature. Nick, for his part, simply chuckled, and offered her a simple handshake,
“I’m Nick. A pleasure to—Gah!”
As they grasped each other’s hands, a surge of power rushed between them, like an electric shock.
“Whoa!” She cried, “What the goddess was that?”
Lacie inspected her hand carefully as if her answers were there. Nick, meanwhile, had promptly passed out and Jason scrambled to catch him.
“What did you do?!” Jason demanded, glaring at the flustered girl.
“I didn’t do anything!” Lacie exclaimed.
“Hey! Lacie!” Mr. Frasier came running out behind her, “You can’t run so fast or this old geezer won’t be able to keep up with—oh! Uh…what happened here?”
Mr. Frasier looked over at the crumpled form of Nick in Jason’s arms and his young pupil almost in a state of panic.
“Jimmy, let’s take Nick here to the infirmary.” Kyle ordered, taking control of the situation, “Jason, head over there to make sure Nick is alright. Lacie, come with me.”
Everyone nodded and began moving in earnest, Jason and Mr. Frasier taking Nick to the infirmary as Kyle walked over to Lacie.
“I—” Lacie began.
Kyle held up a hand, “I don’t think it was your fault Lacie.”
“What do you mean?” Lacie asked, confused and hopeful.
“Nick has the ability to read other people’s powers. Or at least that’s what he said. I think he’s got a little more than that. There’s a…spiritual aspect to his powers that I don’t think anyone understands yet. You were really excited, a lot of raw Omega energy coursing through you. You were happy to meet new students. I think Nick unintentionally absorbed a ton of your energy, was overloaded, and then passed out.”
Lacie nodded, eyes still downcast, “But I mean, I should have at least kept my powers in check.”
Kyle shook his head, “No. That would be like expecting a baby to walk at 2 weeks old or a college basketball player to play like Jordan. That’s an unrealistic standard for you. You have immense power at your fingertips, even a seasoned veteran would struggle to control your powers even half as well as you already do.”
He gave her a smile, “You’ve grown a lot since you’ve been here. Your precision and control of your powers has grown a ton. At this rate, we’re going to have to stop calling you Kid Omega and start just calling you Omega Girl.”
“Really?” Lacie looked at him in surprise, eyes sparkling.
She wrapped him in a big hug. His gruff and powerful frame took her slender form into his,
“Lacie, since when have I ever offered anyone unwarranted praise?” he chuckled.
The young girl giggled, “I guess thats true.”
“Care to join me for some tea?”
“Yes please.” She said enthusiastically.
He offered her the crook of his arm, and the two walked into the school together.
Memories flooded his brain, like watching a movie flashback scene with long drawn out cuts, Nick struggled to process so much information. He watched a young Lacie grow up, discovering her powers, and then a horrifying vision.
He saw her, as a young teenager, no older than 13, and he saw a crazed looking man coming for her. He had blood on his lips and a crooked grin like a scythe had replaced his mouth. He wore rags for clothes, some slightly burning or charred, but the man did not seem to care whatsoever. The house that Lacie was in was burning, and out of the corner of the vision, Nick could spy a man, Lacie’s father bleeding out on the ground, his chest ripped open, spewing blood. The crazed man was wielding a knife of sorts, golden in color. Nick could feel Lacie’s fear and her struggle, somehow this man was locking her movement in place, she couldn’t escape.
“Why so down little Lacie? Moth chewed a hole in your lining?” he cackled.
“Get away from her Conner!” A powerful voice called.
His vision turned, from Lacie’s perspective, to see Kyle emerge fully powered in a suit of power armor.
The crazed man’s smile did not change, but his eyes grew into a rage, his head twitching slightly, “Ah! Kyle! Long time no killing spree! Good to see you my friend! Care to join me for a little snack?”
Kyle raised a palm, his palm blaster warming up and charging, “No time for games Conner. Let the girl go!”
“Don’t call me that name.” The crazed man whispered, “He died so long ago.”
“Connor, I’m not going to tell you again, drop the knife and let the girl go!”
“I told you…” the man looked at Kyle, this time, his face uncannily serene, “Connor is dead, all that’s left is this scar you left me with Voxy, this smile, this grin, this Rictus on my face. Forever I shall be known as Rictus and nothing else.”
Lacie’s body was picked up by some unseen force, surrounded by an eery light as she was drawn closer to Rictus, his crooked smile growing wider, his lips cracking from the pressure of his cheshire grin. The man flipped the golden knife in between his fingers like a pencil, leaving tiny cuts on his fingers, but not seeming to notice.
“Goddamnit Conner! Let her go!”
Rictus looked at him and chuckled with joy as he was blasted away by a powerful blast of energy from Kyle’s power suit.
“I’ll see you soon Kyle. In hell or here, it makes no difference!”
Moving quickly, Kyle shielded Lacie with his body as Rictus’ body exploded, bringing the whole house down with him. Heat and rubble pelted the armor, but the two remained safe. The young Lacie broke down crying as Kyle took off his helmet and stroked her hair.
“Did he just explode?” She asked.
Kyle nodded, “It was one of his so-called Grin-Bots, highly sophisticated simulations of the real guy. To prevent capture, they usually explode like that.”
“I don’t want to ever see a guy like that ever again.” Lacie cried.
“Well…” Kyle sighed, “I can’t promise that, but don’t worry kid. I’ll take you some place safe.”
And with that, Kyle extended his arm and focused, opening a blue portal of sorts, carrying Lacie in his other arm, and stepped through the portal.
“Hey kid. You doing alright?” He heard a voice say.
Nick rubbed the weariness out of his eyes and he sat up on a medical tables of sorts, medical scanners and devices surrounding him.
“Uh yeah.” Nick nodded, scratching his head, “What happened?”
“You and Lacie shook hands and passed out and then you went into deep REM sleep like you were dreaming or something.” the older man said, “She really did a number to you huh?”
Nick shook his head, “I have no idea what happened there. But I think I saw a memory of hers. Kyle saved her from a man called Rictus.”
The older man frowned, “Rictus huh? You might want to talk to Kyle about that at some point for some answers, unless Lacie will tell you what that’s all about. You’re Nick right? You’re profile didn’t say anything about you having psychic powers.”
“I didn’t know I had them either.” Nick frowned, pausing for a second, meditating. “And I still don’t. But this is definitely an aspect of my powers that I haven’t seen ever before.”
“Well, it might be best to put that on hold.” the man said with a frown, “Lacie’s been worried sick about you, she’s refused to do anything else but sit around here for when you wake up. Hero complex or something.”
The man’s face twisted into a knowing grin, “I’m Mr. Frasier by the way.”
Nick too his hand and shook it, pausing, “Frasier? Are you Lacie’s father?”
“We’re related.” Mr. Frasier said with a big smile, “But that’s not important for now, I’ll go tell Lacie you woke up. She’ll want to see you.”
Mr. Frasier walked out of the room with a knowing grin.
“Whoa! Is this!? This is the Danger Room! Isn’t it Nolan!?” Jason exclaimed.
“Yes sir.” A synthetic South African voice replied, “In a manner of speaking. This is our holographic training room, if I assume you were referring to the comic book series known as ‘The X-men’, then this is the functional equivalent of ‘the Danger Room.”
A little floating ball of light circled around Jason’s head, a simulacrum of the AI that ran throughout and helped manage the school. Nolan was giving Jason a tour and they had just arrived in the training room.
“So I can like fight space monsters and dodge rolling boulders and like use the force in here?” Jason put his hands behind his head imaging the possibilities.
“Well sir, you can’t do anything in here that you can’t already do, but we can certainly simulate—”
“Can you simulate anyone or anything?” Jason looked up at the little holographic ball that simulated Nolan’s presence.
“It is well within the bounds of my capabilities to—”
“Nolan! Simulate my classmate Hannah Seager, but make sure she’s in her cheer outfit!”
“Yes sir, although I don’t see the training utility of—”
“Damn! I don’t get to stare at her like this so openly!”
Jason gazed in awe at the simulated form of his high school classmate, in all of her cheer uniform clad glory.
“Nolan! Make her do a cheer routine!”
“Yes sir, but sir wouldn’t you rather—”
“Oh no, no no Nolan! This is for science!”
As the simulated cheerleader went into her routine, pom-poms and high leg kicks and all, Jason felt quite proud of himself.
“Alright! I can totally get used to this school!”
“You should see the woman in the red dress.” A voice said, coming up behind Jason and putting a hand on his shoulder.
Jason looked awkwardly over his right shoulder to see an older man sitting just slightly above him on the bleacher seating in the room, his thick rimmed glasses covering a tasteful portion of his face.
“Don’t worry.” the man in the glasses cut him off, “You’re young, you probably have never even heard of the Matrix. And besides, every red blooded male does something like this with the simulation. You don’t want to know how many times or what people have done in here.”
“Oh.” Jason replied, slightly deflated.
“I’m Jason as well. But you can just call me Professor Hackett, or Hack to my friends.”
“Uh yeah, I’m Jason D’Angelo.” Jason shook the mans hand. “Did you design this place?”
Hack wiggled his hand back and forth like a see saw, “Sort of. Me and Kyle built it together. You settled in alright?”
Jason nodded, “Our rooms were sorta big actually.”
Hack smiled, “This isn’t college or anything so we actually try to give you something fairly nice.”
“Do you know if my friend is alright? Nick?”
Hack nodded, “He just woke up and appears to be fine.”
“Oh good. I was worried about him. Shakes a girl’s hand and passes out. It’s like some sort of bad anime or something.”
“Or a romantic comedy.” Hack agreed, “Well, enough watching the cheerleader do her routine.”
Hack stood, signaling that Jason should too, “You’ve got a few more students to meet who just arrived.”
“Who else is there?”
“Well you already met Lacie, her codename is Kid Omega. She’s got the power of Omega Beams, super strength, can fly, very close to invincible. Unbreakable body. You and Nick are here, and we’ve got 3 more coming in. One boy, Moses Lawrence, he’s a handful for sure. He’s the latest inheritor of the Armor Man power suit and a tech whiz kid. Then there are two other girls, Anna Bratkowski from Portland calls herself Dream Girl, a psychic of sorts, and a martial artist, Yukino Taya, I think she’s from a ninja conclave somewhere, I believe Kyle would know more, I’ve been busy working on a few upgrades for the training room.”
Hack looked at Jason with a knowing smile, “And yes, all the girls are quite beautiful.”
Jason pumped his fist, “Then what are we waiting for?”
“Uh…hi. Lacie right?” Nick stammered slightly, he wasn’t used to talking to people that much, let alone the gorgeous girl before him. She was sitting on a bench just outside the infirmary he had woken up in, doing her best to not look distraught. Her empowered blonde hair was replaced with night black and her costume replaced with a skirt and blouse, but her form was no less pleasant.
Pleasant and distracting. Nick thought to himself, shaking himself mentally to focus, this was no time for games and lust.
“Uh yeah. And you’re Nick?”
Nick nodded, him standing, her sitting. There was silence for a few moments, Nick swore the time between the rhythmic beats of the infirmary technology were slowing down.
“Uh. Can I sit?”
Lacie nodded, sliding slightly to the side to give him space and he took his seat right next to her.
“I’m sorry.” He said, finally.
She looked at him surprised, she had tilted back slightly in her seat, pressing on, he continued, “I think I passed out cuz I didn’t have control of my powers.”
He scratched his head and let out an awkward laugh, “I guess it’s a good thing I’m here to train.”
Lacie smiled slightly at that, “You shouldn’t apologize. I’m sorry I caused you so much trouble.”
He shook his head, “No. You’re totally fine. You…you’re very strong huh?”
Lacie nodded, “Yeah.”
“I could tell. I can detect and understand other people’s powers, and well I think I accidentally pulled yours. You’re…” Nick closed his eyes, “Very strong yeah.”
He meditated on her powers for a bit, his face shifting into a pensive facade,
“Is it difficult?” He asked.
Lacie looked at him again with surprise in her eyes, “Difficult?”
“Yeah, I mean with powers like that, I’d throw huge expectations on myself and try to be Omega Girl or Armor Man or something.”
He noticed her tense up a little and his last few words fell off slightly, “oh…I said something wrong didn’t I?”
She shook her head, “No. You’re exactly right.”
She looked at him with a weak smile, her eyes like the tropical sea water he had swam in on a family vacation a few short years ago. “I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone put it into words like that though. Some of the others here, the ones who’ve been here I mean, they were all older, they’d tell me how lucky was, or how cool or powerful I was. I believed them, which was sort of a good thing, but at the same time—”
She looked away, her body curling up in on itself. She hugged her knees against her thighs, pulling her legs closer to her chest.
“You don’t always feel lucky, right?” Nick offered, completing her sentence.
She shook her head.
“I don’t feel lucky, or cool, or powerful, I just feel like me. And well, “me”? That “me” is scared, and weak, and I couldn’t—I couldn’t save people when it was the most important.”
“Your dad?” Nick asked.
“How did you—”
“While I was passed out, I saw a vision, a memory of yours I think, from your perspective, I saw Kyle, erm—the Headmaster save you from a man named Rictus. I’m sorry. I couldn’t really help it when I saw it, I was passed out.”
Lacie nodded, “It’s ok. You just said it right? You don’t have control of your powers.”
“Yeah.” Nick sighed.
He looked at her, “I know it might not mean much because we just met, but well, I’m sorry about your father. And the Headmaster said he’s bringing me in to lead this whole thing—whatever this ‘thing’ is—and well…you don’t have to be anything more than yourself if your a part of my team. All my friends…well Jason I guess, and my parents, they…they always let me, and challenged me, to be myself and stay within myself. So if we’re on some sort of super team together, or even if we’re just classmates…I guess all I want is for you to be yourself. So don’t worry about expectations or your luck, or any of that other stuff. I—!”
Lacie put a finger to his lips, her soft skin brushing his lips leaving him in shock. She pulled back after a moment and she smiled at him, his whole world swirled, “Thanks.”
She stood, smoothed out her skirt, and walked down the hallway, “Come on now. I think the other students are here.”
“Oh uh, yeah sure!”