Jan 22, 2019 11:29 AM
Jonathan in the Whateleyverse
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"Ouch."

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"Yeah, pretty much," Arjun says.

There's something of an awkward silence.

Isaac clears his throat. "Nothing like Fucking Detroit to kill a conversation, huh."

"What would you like to talk about, Isaac?" Arjun asks, sighing.

"Girls," Isaac replies immediately. "Or boys, I'm not picky."

Arjun brings his upper right hand to his face.

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This seems like a time for listening.

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"I'll start," Isaac says cheerfully. "Top girl on campus: Vanir, AKA Helga Sørenssen. Cow tail aside, have you seen the woman. She is mathematically perfect."

"Of course you picked a white girl," Arjun says, rolling his eyes.

"Well, who's your pick?"

"It's an inherently objectifying question. We're in a high school, not a meat market. That said, Salome."

"Isn't she on the villain track?" Isaac asks, intrigued. "More interesting than I would have expected. Come on, Josh, your turn."

Josh gets something of a deer-in-headlights look. "I. Um. ...Carnifex," he admits.

"You're shitting me," Arjun gasps. "She's a dragon! A humanoid one, sure, but she breathes fire!"

"Zabcik, you minx," Isaac says with obvious approval. "Chase your fucking truth, my man."

Arjun nods slowly. "You're right. It's impenetrable to me, but we're sitting with Isaac for god's sake, a lot of things are impenetrable to me."

Not in unison, but in quick succession, three faces turn to Jonathan.

"So!" Isaac starts. "Have you met any girls - or boys, we're inclusive - who you particularly like?"

"Don't feel pressured," Arjun reassures him. "That'd be shitty."

"Although I did just admit that I have a crush on a dragon-woman," Josh points out. "So, there's nowhere to go from here but up."

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Um.

 


“Um. I've hardly met anyone yet, and otherwise there's just — so much, um, flesh, around here.”

Aaaaaaahhhhhh.

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Josh nods sympathetically. "There is a lot of flesh."

"Of many varieties!" Isaac adds. "Exemplars have this tendency to get hot, and about a third of all mutants are exemplars in addition to whatever other tricks they've got. So it can take a while to adjust to the new baseline."

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“...I'm an Exemplar.”

And hadn't really thought about that part.

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"Something to look forward to," Isaac says. "You should make one of those height things on our wall, you're probably going to get taller. Might want to make one for-"

Arjun gestures sharply, and Isaac's mouth stops making sounds. "You're a disgrace to this institution, Biely. Jonathan, ignore him."

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“Considering he's my roommate…”

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"Just do your best."

Eventually, Arjun is induced to remove the ward of silence from Isaac. The meal concludes, and the four of them head back to Twain.

Once again, Isaac transforms during the night and leaps out into the woods, then returns in the early hours of the morning. They have breakfast, then it's time for class.

Physics and precalc are kind of stultifying, though possibly less so than they might have been a few weeks ago. Powers Lab, on the other hand, seems like it might be interesting.

"Can you fly?" is the first question the TA asks after being apprised of Jonathan's power.

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“Not directly. I have to push something so I could have something sitting on the ground to lift me up against. I also thought of making wings."

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The TA nods. "Well, this is the class where we test our powers, so how about you try it out? Do you need extra materials of any kind?"

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“I'd need the wings built for me because I'm not good enough at making shapes yet, but I suppose I could try a really lumpy version to see how it works at all. I'd need some more for that. Glass is good, plastic, metal, anything that hasn't got, like, structure or grain." He pulls some lumps out of his pockets. "This should be enough to try just going up.”

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"Alright. For making wings you'd want to check out the Workshop, see if anybody could tool some for you out of plastic or metal or maybe glass. But I do think you should try the lumpy version too. If you need any more raw material, we've got these blocks of plastic that are nominally for Sirens, but we don't have any Sirens today so you can mess up a couple of them."

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Then he will go poke one of the plastic blocks, then lay out some of his glass blobs out around the room, stand on a mat, and — rise into the air. It's a wobbly business, and some of the glass makes scraping noises against the floor, but he does not appear to be in danger of falling.

He makes some faces and says, “Feels like I'm falling.”

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"Hm," the TA says. “That doesn’t sound pleasant, but you might get used to it with some practice. How about a couple of minutes of hovering around?”

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He can do that. He can get better at that fairly quickly, actually. At first trying to make any sudden motion causes more scraping noises, but then they stop and he seems a lot more stable. “I can use the floor directly!"

"Or the ceiling!” he calls out, said ceiling being in reach to poke — well, lay hands on for a few seconds — now.

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"Great work!" the TA calls back, grinning. "Kind of sounds like you can fly now!"

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“Yeah!"

He heads down to a more reasonable conversational distance.

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“But I'm still — anchored here so I'd be moving around relative to the floor here and I imagine if I tried to go a long way it'd rip up the floor and ceiling from the leverage.”

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He nods. "There isn't some kind of - limit to how much you can claim, though? So if you predict you'll need to fly soon, you can claim an area around you and have flight there. Heck, as long as you're at Whateley you could probably claim most of the campus. Who's going to stop you?"

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“It seems like I have to — pay attention to everything, or be really familiar with it or something, or it goes away. I'm not sure exactly how that works. But maybe a few anchor points all over, yeah.”

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"Aha. Well, for those times when you don't have the time to stake your claim, let's try the lumpy wings. Without cheating, obviously. Unless you're falling, then you can cheat."

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Then he will pull the block of plastic off the ground and out of its original shape and into very lumpy wide flat shapes that maybe aren't sure whether they allegedly belong to a bird or an airplane. And learn many fun aerodynamic facts, such as that wings don't work very well when if the air isn't moving (relatively), and that flapping is hard. He doesn't crash into any walls, though.

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"Obviously that's going to take some work," the TA says when he lands. "And we're just about out of time. But fortunately, you've got a leg up on most people with wings in that as long as you claim a patch of ground beforehand, you can let yourself down gently instead of crashing if you make a mistake. I'd like you to try to practice flying before Tuesday, if you can find the time."

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