The Masks We Wear
Chapter 12: Teachers and Trainees
Sean Pendleton and Carl Fletcher walked from the gym to the main conference room together. Sean opened the door and saw Dean Blaine sitting at the head of the table with his other professors in various seats. The bar which was normally hidden in a lectern was open and several very expensive bottles of alcohol were already open and drinks were in hand.
“I wish we could bring Transport down here for this,” Fletcher observed, “no one makes a Mai Tai like he does.”
“I’m not really one for the sweet drinks,” Sean replied. “Then again I’m still getting my liver back into shape since my forced abstinence.”
“Gentlemen,” Dean Blaine interrupted, “grab a drink and grab your seats. We have a fair amount to review. Only three of the fifty were dropped in the first gym class. That’s lower than expected.”
“About average really,” Fletcher stated, “you would know better than I would considering this is only my second year. But I’ve gone over the records from the last ten years or so. The best we ever did was two years ago where we only lost one in the first class. Of course that group is damn special if you ask me.”
Murmurs of agreement came from around the room, the current third year class was definitely something the likes of which hadn’t been seen since Blaine and Sean’s own class many years before.
“Last year,” continued Fletcher, “we lost six in the first class but we also lost less right after rankings so it all balances out.”
“How many do you expect to lose over the rest of the week?” asked Blaine.
“We can never be sure of course, but probably only one or two more. These kids are actually in pretty good shape and nearly a fifth of them are physically enhanced either with speed or durability.”
“Is it going to be difficult at the end of the year?” asked Esme Stone, the elderly woman who served as the Focus instructor. “Will we have trouble cutting to twenty-eight?”
“No…” Fletcher replied with a bit of hesitance, “there are several who will likely just not make it, and a few others I think will flare and burn out.”
“Instead of throwing random questions out,” said Blaine stopping the conversation, “why don’t we sit down and go through things in an orderly manner?”
Sean glanced over at Blaine, he knew him better than anyone here despite their long separation. He was irritated, irritated and something else… interested perhaps. He was sure it had to revolve around the third year class, everything seemed to these days. The end of the last year was… well it was something out of the storybooks. What happened with Vince and Nick, those things were the stuff of comic books which popularized the heroes’ tales, they almost never happened among real life supers. But then again there were dozens of examples he could pull up related to that class that never happened in real life, not the least of which was the association with Globe and his sudden resurrection. What was the saying, ‘he’s not dead, he’s just Mar…’ Sean’s thoughts were interrupted by Blaine.
“If we aren’t disturbing you, would you please join us Professor Pendleton?” Blaine asked.
Sean shook himself out of his reverie, realizing that Fletcher had taken his seat and everyone was waiting for him. That damn third year class was going to be the death of him. “Of course Blaine.” He answered, taking his seat and pulling out a tablet for reference. Time to focus on the first years, the third years could wait.
“We’re working Professor Pendleton, Dean Blaine, if you please?”
“Of course, my dear Dean,” he responded snarkily.
“So,” started Blaine ignoring Sean’s attitude, “any specific surprises we want to discuss?”
They all looked at each other and Fletcher took the lead, “The rankings were a bit skewed from where we predicted.”
“So they were.”
“I don’t think any of us thought that Sam Fink was going to take the top spot.”
“No, but then again, we all thought he was just a modified strong man, not an adapter.” As they spoke Blaine pulled up Sam’s picture from his application as well as several stills from his ranking fights and projected them on the room’s monitors.
“Yes of course, but it’s not just that he’s an adapter. It’s the speed at which he adapts. Titan might be the strongest adapter we know and he doesn’t adapt close to that fast, he might have finished at the top of his class and become the legend he is now but he didn’t start out that way.”
“Is there anything special to make of it?”
“Not really, he will be very powerful in the end, he’s fairly powerful now, especially as freshmen go. It will be interesting to see how he deals with your power Dean Blaine. What will an adapter like him do when faced with a negator?”
“At some point we will find that out, but not today, and not this year. Anything else?”
“Well, I do have a theory about him.”
“Well, I think it’s the broad nature and speed of his adaptation that really kept anyone from noticing he wasn’t just a strong man.”
“Most of the obvious expression of his powers was the energy field itself, the strength and durability it gave him. It was pretty much expected he could potentially beat the people he fought along the way. Particularly in the ULCL, after all it is sanctioned by the SAA so he wouldn’t have been allowed to compete if he was too strong or too weak. So he fought mostly other strongmen, the matches were significantly separated in time, not one after the other, and he didn’t have to adapt to anything unusual there. He was probably using it much more frequently back when he was at Vancel Academy and fought people with different power sets in competition there. Of course they were already told he was essentially a strong man, so they weren’t really paying attention, and they aren’t the sort of trainers we are.”
Several of the professors laughed out loud, “That’s for sure,” added Blake Hall which made everyone laugh a bit more.
“Go on Professor Fletcher,” Blaine said when the laughter faded.
“Not much more to it. Once he got here he rapidly, and while under strict observation, had to fight supers with many different and unusual power sets. It became much more obvious that something was going on to give him an advantage and negate some of their powers.”
“OK so he is number one on our list of students to watch closely. Have there been any issues with his identity yet?”
“Nothing so far,” answered Esme Stone, “my scans haven’t found anyone who came away from a meeting with him suspicious. Oh one point of interest, he’s started a relationship with Jacqueline Ramos… too early to tell if it may impact on anything.”
“I haven’t found anything either,” added Sean Pendleton nodding in agreement with Esme’s comments, “there are a few clubs on campus that have taken an interest, particularly the Sports Enthusiasts Club, but nothing in a very serious way. For all the hype about SI infringements most of the average students at Lander aren’t really looking to unmask their HCP classmates.”
“What about outside groups? Humanity First, Sons of Progress, any of the other pro or anti super groups?” asked Blaine.
“Not a peep,” answered Sean. “There are a couple of betting pools in Vegas for date of unmasking and such but again there doesn’t seem to be anything sinister behind them.”
“Well, both of you keep your eyes and ears open… your mind too Professor Stone.”
“Of course,” they both replied.
“What about our women’s leader, any thoughts there?” Blaine asked as he changed the displayed images to show Kerry Powell and stills from her ranking fights.
“Not really,” Fletcher added, “she’s incredibly powerful, a ranged anti-healer who only needs line of sight as far as we can tell. We can’t even begin to understand how her power works. She has very fine control over how much damage she imparts… a bit less when facing supers with enhanced durability.”
“Wait, I don’t see that she went up against anyone with enhanced durability,” Fletcher was interrupted by Blake Hall.
“Her first opponent, Carmen Doyle, had mid-level enhanced strength and significantly enhanced durability and in some ways was her toughest battle, she had to impart significant damage to her before she passed out. I think it was a huge shock to Carmen, I don’t think she really knew what pain was till now, and all reports were that her powers had emerged quite early. Carmen quit right after the fight, I don’t think she wanted to feel pain again.”
As they spoke Blaine had pulled up the video in question and played in on the monitor built into the top of the conference table.
“Why don’t we have that video for review?” Blake asked annoyed.
“The video was filed to storage when she quit so you might have missed it, it’s a glitch in the system.” Sean answered, displaying his expertise of computer systems.
“Never mind the glitch,” said Dean Blaine, stopping the pointless discussion. “So she can affect those with high-durability, what are her limits?”
“As far as we know,” Fletcher took up the discussion again, “she can only affect one target at a time, though that may change in training, and even so, she can switch between targets very quickly.”
“Is that it?”
“Let’s see,” Fletcher considered, “pretty much, a telekinetic shield seemed to be able to deflect her power for a short time. Natasha, the telekinetic, still lost. Pam Sparks delayed her by warping her perceptions which made her unable to focus her power as well. She seemed to be able to do enough damage to her by just targeting the area but… well similarly to what happened against the enhanced durability super she hurt her a bit more than expected. Her own roommate kept her off by distracting her enough to not be able to bring her power to bear, but ultimately it didn’t last either. She has the typical sorts of weaknesses that the training will lessen, distraction, her own frailty as a non-durable super, etcetera. Oh, one other thing, she was able to target Jacqueline Ramos when she was intangible. We haven’t seen what will happen if she goes up against a shifter with a non-human, non-organic, or energy form. And of course we don’t know how Sam Fink’s power will deal with hers. If it can adapt quickly enough to block the damage he will likely be the number one rank going into next year, if it can’t then she will.”
“OK that’s the top two,” Dean Blaine said bringing that line of discussion to an end. “Are there any troublemakers in the group?”
“When aren’t there?” answered Sean.
“Who?” Blaine asked ignoring Sean’s sarcasm.
Fletcher answered, also ignoring Sean, “Hmm, on the men’s side there’s Leo Mack who is convinced of his own superiority and is prone to starting fights. He’s already not happy with Sam Fink for getting beat by him in the first round of combat. Jared Hall is a practical joker, hopefully not much of a problem but his power is to degrade inorganic matter. When he was in high school he got written up any number of times for making various articles of clothing disappear. In fact that’s how he won his first match, he degraded his opponent’s uniform and then kicked him in a very sensitive area… that opponent quit right afterwards.”
“Just as well,” added Blaine, “if he can’t stand embarrassment or getting kicked in the nuts, he has no place in this program.”
“True enough, just be aware that Jared might be one to watch for SI infractions.” Fletcher shuffled through his papers, he preferred old fashioned notes to tablets, it could be due to his age or to the fact that if he activated his power he would fry any tablet he was holding. “Clay Newton is a potential problem, I had him picked to be number one this year but he has a belief in ‘fighting fair’ which we are going to need to cure him of if he’s going to make hero.”
“We’ve dealt with that problem before,” Dean Blaine commented, “we can fix it or he won’t make it past third year. Any others?”
“Not in the men,” Sean replied taking over the conversation from Fletcher, “on the women’s side Christina Nash as similar issues to Leo Mack. She’s convinced her strength makes her superior. She didn’t get knocked out quite as early as he did, she made it to the third round and was beaten by Gloria Mason who projects water cannons, damn powerful water cannons. The bigger issue with her is that her twin sister is also in the program and is one of the lower ranks, mostly because her power is completely non-physical. Kim Nash’s power makes her unnoticeable and her sister has always dominated her because she can’t do anything directly to beat her, nothing safe anyway. Kim’s reaction has always been to hide. And since Christina knows Kim is likely to be around using her power she tends to throw things until she hits her. Their house was always a bit of a shambles from what I’ve gathered.”
“So you think Christina will cause problems with her sister?”
“I do, I doubt both can make it far in the program, the antagonistic relationship will get in the way and Kim will, by nature of her power fall behind. In the beginning of the program without a strong personality or a particularly strong power the student’s just don’t do as well, everything centers around combat.”
“What do you mean she’s unnoticeable?” asked Professor Cole.
“Just that, it’s not invisibility, people just don’t realize she’s there. She doesn’t refract or distort light or sound, she’s just not noticed, and it can be selective though that’s apparently more difficult for her.”
“In the age of electronic security that’s not much of a power, psychic invisibility.”
“Ordinarily I would agree and assume it was some form of a limited telepathy or other advanced mind power, but she also affects electronics. Robots don’t see her either, put her on camera and you still won’t notice her. But, if you print an actual hard copy of a picture of her you can see her in it. It’s a bizarre power.”
“Sounds like she’s going to be one of yours Sean, though put a good weapon in her hands and she might be even better than an invisible assassin,” commented Professor Cole whose specialty was weapons.
“Yes I would agree,” Sean replied, “if she makes it to second year, she’s a shoe in for Subtlety. More’s the pity.”
“If we are done discussing the obvious problem children…” Blaine paused to allow anyone to add more, no one did. “Let’s move one to those we think will excel and what fields we think we need to direct them towards.”
Hearing no objections, Blaine continued, “Professor Fletcher, why don’t you start with Close Combat?”
“Several good candidates there, most placed well, some might need some additional training to bring them out of their shells. Sam Fink is probably the most obvious, no real need to discuss him any further. He’s a shoe in for Close Combat.”
“Given the true nature of his power, I wouldn’t knock Focus out of the running,” added Esme.
“Or control,” added Blake.
“Alright, I can see his use for both of those subjects but the fact is, in the end he’s a brawler and Close Combat will be his major.”
“We’ll see,” Esme said sagely.
“Moving on,” Carl continued. “Marvin Brewer is another shoe in for Close Combat, he’s a monster with kinetic energy and it reinforces his body. Think what the Reynolds boy can do with it but make him unable to be damaged at the same time.” This time no one challenged him so he moved on. “Clay Newton is a possible, his ability to move in and out of pauses in time could easily be adapted to Close Combat, but I bet I’m going to get some push back here.”
“Hmm,” the sound came from Sean as he thought for a second before speaking, “offhand I would say Weapons, Control, Focus, and I would take him in Subtlety too. I don’t think he has any particular talent for ranged combat.” Nods and murmurs of agreement came from all around the table.
“Manny Sullivan is a size changer, upper limit seems to be about fifteen feet right now, lower limit about half an inch. He has some potential but would probably do better in Control or Subtlety.” Carl looked over at Professor Cole, wrapped in bandages as she always is, “You can have him in weapons if you want to teach him to swing a girder or a lamp post Sonya.”
“Pass,” replied Professor Cole.
“Number eleven, Al Stanley, has some potential but I don’t think he will make it. Leo Mack as we already discussed is good, will likely end up as a low top end strongman, but has attitude problems.” He paused and considered for a moment before going on, “I think Marc Simmons, number fourteen, will be a split with Sonya for a while and likely end up in weapons if he makes it through. His ability to turn any part of his body into a weapon kind of puts him ultimately in your domain Sonya.”
“I agree. He’s going to have to learn to use a large variety of weapons so his power becomes flexible. According to my notes he’s already trained in broadsword, staff, rapier, and several styles of bludgeoning weapon. He probably thinks he’s good with those too,” she laughed, almost no one came with any degree of training she felt was good in the beginning.
“Ted Greer is another strong man but significantly less powerful than Leo Mack so unless he either gets significantly stronger or figures out a new aspect to his powers I doubt he will make it far. That’s it on the men’s side. There are also several good candidates among the women. Natasha Hill is as good a tactile telekinetic as I’ve ever seen and she has several advanced belts in a variety of fighting styles already. Kellie Hart might be one of the greatest hand to hand fighters we’ll ever see. I’m looking forward to training her.”
“So am I Carl,” added Esme Stone, “her mind drives her fighting ability. I think Focus is more likely where she will end up.” The two of them glanced around the room looking to see if anyone else was going to claim her.
“Have you looked at what she does with thrown weapons?” Ariel Baker added. “I think Ranged Combat fits her fighting style quite well.” No one spoke up but Sean Pendleton looked at the picture of Kellie that was projected on the monitor with a considering look in his eyes.
“There are a few others with potential though none really stand out tremendously. Number seven is Dixie Marsh, she takes on the properties of whatever material she touches, that could be incredibly potent in Close Combat but the girl is a bit flakey and might do better with Control for training her power or maybe Focus for the self-discipline it gives.” He looked at both Blake Hall and Esme Stone but both were silent on the matter.
“I already mentioned Christina Nash who holds the number eight rank. She’s got decent strength and durability, about the same as Leo Mack, but she has less training and less drive I think. Close Combat is her natural fit. Jenny Parsons you should remember from last year, a speedster with the added ability to teleport short range line of sight and alter her trajectory while she does it. It’s a very potent combination. Last year she dropped out because she didn’t think she could make it. She’s found new drive and I think she might go all the way now.”
“You don’t think she will simply drop out again when the going gets tough?” asked Esme Stone. “After all, this year’s class seems a bit more powerful than last year’s class.”
“I don’t think so,” replied Fletcher, “it was never a matter of power, she needed to work out some things on her own I think. She seems more mature now.”
“Good,” Blaine said, “mature is probably more important than raw power at this point in her training.”
“Lori Wilkerson is number sixteen and a shifter who becomes an anthropomorphized dragon. She’s trained to fight in this form already but she has a long way to go. Victoria Snyder is another shifter who becomes a walking tree which is tough, but has some obvious vulnerabilities. Candace Vaugh and Tracy Webster finish out those who are likely candidates for Close Combat.”
“So that’s it, seven men and nine women who might major in Close Combat and should definitely be placed there if they make it past first year.
“Thank you Professor Fletcher,” Blaine said, “Professor Stone, why don’t you go ahead with Focus.”
“There are a few non-advanced minds who would fit into Focus well. From the men, Ralph Weber since one of his major offensive abilities is inducing fear. Doug Holt, our latest try at a technical brilliance super, and John Davis, the one healer in the class. Among the women I’ll go with Kerry Powell, the anti-healer, Kellie Hart, the enhanced brain, and Dixie Marsh who absorbs the properties of materials she touches.”
“Now then, in terms of advanced minds which are my bread and butter, we have Dennis Ford, decent telepath, not so great at the telekinesis. Natasha Hill is, as previously mentioned, a tactile telekinetic. Pam Sparks, is an offensive telepath, again not so good with telekinesis. Melanie Franklin is a focused telekinetic, she manipulates objects in her immediate vicinity only, they tend to float around her. We already mentioned Kim Nash, her power does seem to be a subtype of the advanced mind power set but it’s highly unusual.”
“No one really strong then?” asked Blake.
“Not in the classic manner, no,” she replied. “However, the last one is Gwynne Summers. She is last ranked among the women, got knocked out in her first match by Lori Wilkerson, the draconic shifter Carl told us about. She is a highly developed but highly limited advanced mind. She has a tremendous amount of finesse but almost no range. If she touches you your mind is hers, memories, will, anything really, but she needs to touch you. Same thing for her telekinesis, if she touches an item she can move it or even throw it but she needs to touch it, she can manipulate moving parts, even electronics, but it’s not tactile telekinesis like we think of it. She can’t throw things far because once the contact is broken the telekinesis fades and she can’t seem to impart a ton of force with the push, she can’t use it to amplify her strength much the way Natasha can but she can manipulate a huge number of small objects and do incredibly detailed things with them.”
“Not your typical advanced mind at all,” Blake said, “hard to make that work in a fight.”
“True but not everything we do or we train the students to do is about fighting directly.”
“Alright Professor Hall, you’re up,” Blaine said halting what was a frequent heated discussion among his staff.
“In the interest of time I’ll skip those I already commented about previously. I’ll lay claim to Dexter Richardson. That force bubble of his is going to be like a wrecking ball when he learns to control it better. Ralph Weber and his crazy monster form. Guillermo French, the aerokinetic is a good fit for control. So is Jared Hall who we are worried about turning the place into a nudist colony. And of course Tommy Moody, considering his power revolves around controlling weight and inertia, I bet I can help him a lot. On the women’s side Gloria Mason the hydrokinetic fits for me though since her power primarily manifests as water cannons I’m sure Ariel will want a shot at her too.”
“You bet I do,” Professor Baker confirmed.
“Well then I’ll finish with Jorgie Long, Sylvia Warren, Bethany Shultz, Grace Mann, and Lucy Hines. Those are my picks this year.”
“Very good,” said Blaine, “Professor Baker, who are you thinking of?”
“Well there are a few obvious ones Dan Sutton has a great deal of potential with those tar balls of his. Terrance Barber’s whole power revolves around shooting those quills he grows. And on the women’s side as I already said Kellie Hart and Gloria Mason. That’s it, those are the ones who belong with me based on their powers. I’m sure I’ll train a fair number of them in the basics of using guns but no one else will go further than second year with me this time. Not a lot of blasters in this crew.”
“No, I suppose there aren’t. That just leaves you Professor Pendleton, who do you want this year?”
“Well last but not least…” he sighed and then pulled out his tablet. “Clay Newton could be a perfect spy and assassin with his powers. Ray Rios was born for subtlety, I’m actually surprised none of you tried to claim him, he did well at hand to hand, he’s a good fit for focus, and according to his records he’s a crack shot with both pistol and rifle.”
“We knew better on that one,” said Esme, “as you said he was born for subtlety, I just hope he doesn’t make any mistakes along the way.” As she spoke, she looked at Sean with as directly penetrating a stare as he had ever seen.
“No, we all know what happens when mistakes occur, my dear Esme. Moving on, Manny Sullivan has potential especially if he can get himself even smaller. Doug Holt possibly, my current best third year is also a technical brilliance super, of course I wasn’t around when they declared it a power so my experience with them is quite limited.”
“Two references in the space of sixty seconds Professor Pendleton,” interrupted Blaine, “feeling a bit sorry for yourself today?”
“I know the danger of the path we are placing them on, it makes me nostalgic Blaine.”
“No time for nostalgia or self-deprecation Sean, keep it moving.” He answered back, not even bothering to correct him about not using his title while working.
“Hmm I suppose not, well then I’ll lay claim to Kellie Hart as well, and Jacqueline Ramos, Kim Nash, and Gwynne Summers. Her limitations are not such an issue in my line of work.”
“That still leaves a fair number no one thought to claim,” Blaine added as he glanced around the table. When no one added anything he continued, “OK then we will just see how they do over the year. We do get surprised sometimes. As I recall no one expected Cameron to make it to second year and he is still with us.” Blaine paused for a moment, checked some notes, then said “alright all, that’s it for now. We’ll meet and review how things are in a month. Before we leave does anyone have anything else to add?”
Carl stood up and looked over at the Dean and said. “Next Tuesday I plan to beat the entire freshman class. I did it last year with the sophomore class and it got them right into the place I wanted them to be. I didn’t do the same with last year’s freshmen and it took most of the year to get them there. This time I’m going to start off with a lesson in abject defeat again and see where that gets us.”
“Alright, that’s your call. I will be there to observe, I’m guessing all of us will make it our business to watch it and see how our favorites do.”
Everyone got up and started to file out leaving Blaine sitting making notes. He looked up when he realized not everyone had left and saw Sean Pendleton staring down at him. “Yes Professor Pendleton.”
“I’m done with my work day, I want to talk to Blaine not the Dean.”
“Well, as you can see, I’m clearly not done with mine. But, I suppose I can grab another glass of scotch and speak with you for a few minutes.” He stood and poured himself another drink. “What’s on your mind Sean?” he asked.
“You’re playing games and it’s going to land in my lap again, as if I didn’t have enough to deal with after you let Nick Campbell back onto campus.”
“Which game are you talking about?”
“Very good Blaine, as Nick would say, ‘Never admit to any crime until you know what you’re being charged with’, either that or you are playing so many games that you aren’t sure which one I’ve stumbled across.” He shook his head and sighed. “In this case I’m talking about Ray Rios.”
“What about him?”
“Well let’s start with the fact that despite a relatively low strength power, he’s better trained then more than ninety percent of the students who arrive here, hell he’s better trained then most of the students finishing second year. He’s using his shape shifting to look less fit then he is instead of more fit.”
“He also knows a hell of a lot more about the way this place functions than anyone who hasn’t been here, I would have guessed his parents were both Lander graduates but we both know neither of his parents are heroes.”
“Again, what makes you think I have some special knowledge about this?”
“Let’s finish with the guy is already into everything. I expect my advanced Subtlety students to try to hack the system. We leave vulnerabilities in the system just to catch them and let them have harmless data. This kid is already further into the system than anyone but Will Murray.”
“I could see where that would be a concern.”
“You are way too calm about this Blaine. Plus you specifically paired this kid up with Sam Fink. And I know all the excuses you gave but I’m sure there is more to it.”
Blaine stared Sean down and didn’t say anything.
“Blaine, the only one to come into this school this well trained, with this much background knowledge was god damned Chad Taylor and he’s Intra’s kid and your godson. So who the hell is Ray Rios, your secret love child?”
That got through the barriers Blaine put up, he was long practiced at not letting anything show but Sean was one of the all-time greats at manipulating emotions and ferreting out information. First a look of shock crossed Blaine’s face, then disbelief, and then he broke down laughing. Sean looked at him and then started laughing as well.
“My… god… Sean…” Blaine gasped, trying to catch his breath. “When do you think I had time for a love child.”
“I didn’t really, but he’s something to you. You know more than you are letting on. He’s here for a reason and I need to know what that reason is.”
“Don’t you trust me Sean?”
“There’s no such thing as one hundred percent trust Blaine. You trusted me and you had to arrest me, you trust me now but I’m sure there are contingency plans to deal with me if I abuse that trust. You trusted George, Persephone, Phil, Gerrard… there are limits to trust… people betray trust. Sometimes it’s for a good reason, or what people think is a good reason, it took you fourteen years to accept the fact that I may have had a real reason for betraying your trust. You still don’t think I took the right option back then… there are times someone needs to be your conscience. There are times you can’t trust yourself to make those decisions that you feel trapped into making. There is too much going on right now for any of us to do something without at least one other in the loop.”
“What makes you think I don’t have someone in the loop? Others know as much as you do about what’s going on with the juniors. Maybe Esme knows, or Carl, maybe I don’t want any one person knowing too much.”
“No Blaine, that won’t fly. You wouldn’t bring in a Subtlety star and tell one of the others. You had to know I would notice he was too good. Is he supposed to be some sort of test for me?”
“No, don’t be stupid.”
“Is he a plant? Is that it, someone to watch the freshman class while we deal with the issues in the junior class?”
“That’s equally asinine, putting a trained hero among the students as one of their own would only disrupt their entire education.”
“Then what is he? Blaine, you need to tell me what’s going on. I don’t like ultimatums and you could always just send me back to jail, but I can’t move forward without more information.”
“Sean, it’s not my secret to tell. I can’t share it and I can’t even ask if it would be OK to share it. I warned… well let’s say I suspected this conversation would occur. Believe me when I tell you I wish I could tell you more.”
Sean looked closely at Blaine. “Trust is a two way street Blaine, I can only give you so much as you give me.”
“I know Sean,” Blaine paused and took a large gulp from his scotch. “Watch him Sean. Watch him as closely as you need to. If you need to stop him go ahead and stop him, I won’t prevent it, and I won’t be sending you back to jail. Teach him Sean, you may have lost Nick as a prodigy but Ray will fill that gap quite well I think.”
“Those are big shoes to fill. I’ll give him enough rope to hang himself, just be sure it doesn’t hang you as well. You wouldn’t look good in prison white.”