Second String Supers: Freshman Intrigue: Chapter 6

Chapter 6:
The Shortest Long Weekend

Iris Todd helped the last of her new dorm-mates transfer in the final box of the girl’s belongings before making her way to the common room to collapse on the well worn sofa. The tall blonde girl had been somewhat sad to see her roommates wash out of the program. All of them had seemed like genuinely nice people for the brief period that she’d known them, but there had been a guilty undercurrent of celebration to her feelings as she had found herself the sole tenant of an entire townhouse dormitory. Then came the unexpected call at 8am on Sunday morning. Why the hell was anyone in an office anywhere at 8am on a Sunday morning anyways? University policy requires that the townhouse dorms have a minimum of three occupants, and in order to keep HCP students rooming with other HCP students that meant that girls in the residence hall with newly single occupancy rooms were being offered the opportunity to move into vacancies in the townhouse dorms. Iris had been yanked violently from a wonderfully pleasant sleep after having lost the first day of the three day weekend to hours of grueling combat matches. Now, feeling she had to make a good impression, she had lost all of her sleeping in time and half of her Sunday helping three new roommates invade the space she had briefly thought would be her own private fortress. Oh well. Some dreams are simply not meant to be.

It didn’t take long for the other three girls to gravitate towards the common room as proper introductions had been put off to expedite the move-in. Iris managed to pull herself up to a proper sitting position in time to launch the conversation.

“Welcome all to my lovely home away from home,” she gestured expansively at the well worn furniture and cheap carpeting that were near universal dorm staples. “I’m Iris, please don’t steal my food! I’m a speedster, and if you steal my calories I may have to eat my roommates in order to survive!” She smiled as she provoked a few giggles from the new arrivals.

“It’s a lovely place you have here Iris. I’m Wilma Perez, and I will endeavor not to eat your food,” the speaker was the young woman to Iris’ left, a rather buxom hispanic woman sporting a pixie cut and a Cowboys jersey. “However should you find your calories vanishing, eat the white girls first. I would probably give you indigestion.” Wilma trailed a finger along the end table next to her chair accompanied by a brief sizzling sound as something on her finger scored a few new grooves into the heavily scarred wood.

“Tara Warren here,” the next speaker was to Wilma’s left as the introductions continued around the room, the somewhat plump redhead with freckles and gold wire frame glasses waved as she introduced herself. “Since it doesn’t look like anyone has a car, can I take over most of the garage? My ability is classed under the new ‘Abnormal Technological Brilliance’ category, I’m a mad-Chemist.” The other three girls found themselves briefly picturing the redhead cackling maniacally with a hunch backed assistant trailing behind her. It was a surprisingly easy image to conjure of the overly cheerful redhead.

“I have no objections to you taking over the garage as long as you’re not going to do anything illegal or noxious in there,” the last speaker was another blonde, slightly taller than Iris with very plain features save for her startlingly bright purple eyes. “I’m Gretchen, please don’t try to abbreviate it. It’s a terrible name but all the nicknames are worse, trust me. And it’s somewhat ironic to be rooming with a speedster as my ability is creating partial stasis fields. Or in simpler terms, I slow things down.”

“Well now that we all know each other, let’s order some celebratory takeout for surviving the first week and look forward to an almost normal length weekend with the holiday tomorrow!” Gretchen and Wilma nodded their assent, but the strange expression on Tara’s face forced a pause to the planning of the impromptu celebration.

“Did you guys not see the posting after the combat trials yesterday? We’re supposed to report to the HCP Physical Fitness Center as 10am to review our rankings. It had a four hour block marked out so I assume they’re going to have our Gym class on Monday as well.”

Iris’ expression was almost comically depressed as she processed the information. “So we’re going to get less weekend on our three day weekend than we get on a normal one?”

Beulah Abbot had the look of someone marching to their execution as she rode down the elevator to the HCP sections with her petite roommate. “I’m going to be in dead last rank Alex.”

Alexandra Andrews found herself fidgeting nervously as she was in the unfamiliar position of trying to console someone else for their failings instead of being on the receiving end of such consolations. “I’m sure it won’t be that bad, and Coach Rachd told us that it won’t matter who’s first and last today, because the rankings can change. I’m sure by the end of the semester you’ll be one of the top students in the class Be, you’ve been training your whole life to do this!” Alexandra hoped her speech sounded less awkward to her friend than it did to her.

“It will be an embarrassment to be last place. I can’t believe I was so stupid. I forgot to take off my jewelry and then I fight a magnetic controller. Then I tried to launch a surprise attack on an opponent without any information and I find myself struck unconscious by a single punch from a telepathic girl. If my parents learn that I performed so poorly they will pull me from the program. Mother will probably demand that I move with her back to Israel. I will never be a Hero.”

Alexandra tried to find more words to reassure the depressed girl, but this situation was entirely outside of her expertise. Beulah had been so collected and composed the entire week, not even phased by the hellish physical training that the coaches had subjected the class to. Alexandra only made it through by borrowing abilities from the physically enhanced students to keep her own endurance from running out. Before she could think of something new, the elevator doors opened as they arrived in the underground complex. Beulah resumed her trudging walk towards what she seemed to very much expect to be her own doom.

“At the very least Be, I don’t think they send home progress reports in college. I’m sure you’ll be able to improve your ranking before your parents get a chance to find out, and even if they don’t you’re eighteen, you can just stay anyways!” Beulah spared a brief smile for her smaller friend as they continued walking.

“I suppose we’ll find out if that will be possible or not, huh,” the two entered the Physical Fitness Center nexus room to find it empty. “I didn’t think we were that early.”

“The screen Be,” Alexandra pointed at the large display that two days ago had shown the students their matchups. The brief message on the display read simply: ‘Report to CR 1-A for rankings and today’s instructions.’

“If they were going to just send us to a combat room why did the notice say that the meeting was here?” Beulah extended her hand to her roommate. “Come, let us take the shortcut. I don’t wish to be late for my own demise.”

Alexandra took her roommate’s hand somewhat tentatively. Teleporting still creeped her out a little bit, but there was just a brief moment of disorientation as the world around them seemed to shatter and reform almost instantly, and they were in a different room containing a large crowd of students. Alexandra promptly fell as she appeared slightly off the floor as Beulah had appeared right at the edge of what appeared to be a large crater in the floor.

“Eeep!” the small girl let out an involuntary shout as she stumbled, but her roommate’s grip and quick reflexes kept her from going all the way down.

“Dear God, what happened in this room?” Beulah’s tone held only wonder and disbelief with no trace of her earlier depression, and as Alexandra opened her eyes she realized why. The combat room, composed of specially reinforced and hardened concrete and plasticrete, was torn apart. The crater she had nearly fallen into was probably eight feet across, though on closer inspection appeared to be more of a semi-circular section of pulverized floor than the blast crater the small girl had originally thought it was. In addition there were gouges all throughout the room’s floor and walls, some of the ones in the walls had to be at least a foot deep and several feet across.

“Maybe some of the students have a highly explosive power? Or maybe the instructors had a fight in here?” Alexandra couldn’t believe how damaged the room was, a point driven home even further when she realized that there were metal support braces along the wall behind her that seemed to have been brought in to prevent it from collapsing further. Probably half the length of the wall between the floor and about six feet up showed massive cracks or more rents in the material where sections were just missing. She also noted that a tall girl with light pink hair standing nearby seemed to be giggling in response to her suppositions, and the slightly taller girl with the braid next to her was blushing for some reason.

“Be, do you know who those two are?” the shorter girl tried to subtly direct her roommate’s attention to the two tall girls.

“I didn’t have a match with either, and I don’t think I have any normal classes with either. I know they are both in very good condition as neither has shown real signs of exertion in training last week.”

Before Alexandra could ponder the mystery further, her train of thought was derailed by the sudden appearance of Coach Martinez in the midst of the crowd, and the booming voice of Coach Rachd from the nearer entryway.

“Welcome to your second week in the HCP kids, and I would like to sincerely congratulate all of you that are still here. We are going to lose some more of you by the end of the year, have no doubt, but those of you that have made it this far have demonstrated that you do have what it takes to do this. It might not be in the four years you planned on, but if you truly get into it and work harder than you ever thought possible you will graduate from this program someday.” the Coach’s speech was perhaps the nicest, most sincere tone that any of the students could remember hearing from the man. Alexandra felt her jaw drop open and repressed the urge to squee in delight.

“I’m sure a lot of you are wondering what the hell happened to the room we are all standing in, and the answer to that question is a simple one. Two students had their match in here on Saturday.” He looked around the room to see several expressions of surprise as he confirmed that the damage had been done by the freshman class. “All of the Instructors thought that this room in its current state would make a very good visual reminder of exactly the sort of thing you have signed yourselves up for. Consider carefully, a freshman student in the HCP did this. If you graduate you will be expected to go out and take on criminal Supers that will actually be trying to kill you. This room is simply the result of a ‘friendly’ match.” There were a few more nervous looks around the room. Who could possibly have done that kind of damage in a friendly match?

“Now, without further delay, I present to the surviving freshman, your current combat ranking.” Coach Rachd reached into a pocket and produced a small remote, clicking on a projector that displayed a huge list across the least damaged wall in the room. Most of the students immediately noticed two things: The list only showed 41 students remaining in the program, and the first, second, and third rank slots held no names at present.

“Well at least I’m not in last place,” Alexandra heard her roommate mutter quietly and the short brunette absently noted that her roommate currently occupied rank 39. She was somewhat pleased to note her own rank of 31st, in spite of winning only one of the three matches she had been in yesterday.

“And now for some special introductions, Casse, Gauge, Jacobson, get your asses up front with me NOW!” the crowd of students parted where needed to allow the three called out to move forward to assemble between the two coaches, Alexandra noted that the two tall girls she’d seen earlier were among those moving forward. “This man here is one Collin Gauge. He is a Shifter, his alternate form being a very large rock monster of some kind.” the male student frowned a bit at the description of his power but didn’t interrupt the coach. “He is currently ranked third in this class. In order to secure that rank during his last match against another student, he literally tore his own arm off to use it as a club and extend his reach enough to surprise his opponent. Are any of you willing to go that far?” the question met a wall of shock and silence, and left Collin turning an interesting shade of red with the embarrassment of being put on the spot.

“The shorter of these two women is one Erin Casse. She’s above human average strength, and she bends light. With nothing but abilities generally considered to be non-combative and some obviously extensive training, she has earned the second highest rank in your class. Of the opponent’s she faced on Saturday, every single one of them is ranked in the top fifteen in the class, so the few of you in the back thinking it must have been a fluke for her to climb so high need to stop being damned idiots right now. This room is where she fought the strongest person in the class to try and claim that title for herself.” There was another pause as the assembled students again looked around the room. Alexandra definitely saw the destruction in a new light. If the Coach’s description of Erin’s abilities was an accurate one, then all of the damage to the room had been done by her opponent, meaning she had lasted a very long time against an obviously superior power.

“And lastly I present one Amelia Jacobson. Many of you remember Jacobson from the very first day of class as she was the only one in the room with the balls to step up and call me out for being an asshole. She is the top ranked student in your class, and everyone who matched up with her other than Casse can attest that she beat them with virtually no effort in spite of the fact that she has absolutely no combat training.” Alexandra noted that there were a few students nodding sullenly at the Coach’s last declaration. “Right now these three students are nearly as far beyond the rest of you as the Instructors are beyond them. That is why they have to stand up here and let everyone memorize their faces. In spite of the gulf between all of you and them, if you make it to the end of this program you will have far surpassed the level they occupy now.” The quiet in the room had taken on a more contemplative feel than it held a moment ago. “And now on to one of my favorite things. Elena, if you would do the honors.”

“Thank you James. LISTEN UP!” Several of the students jumped a bit at the smaller Coach’s sudden shout. Rachd yelling was a near constant occurrence, Elena rarely did more than pitch her voice up just to the level needed to be heard. “You all have your ranks. Some of you are happy with those ranks, some of you are not. Some of you think you deserve better. Well I have good news for those of you who feel that way: You get a chance to prove it. All year long.” Elena Martinez definitely had the absolute attention of every student in the room at this point.

“The system is relatively simple. If you want a better rank, you challenge the person who has that rank and attempt to take it from them. You can only challenge another student up to five ranks higher than you unless they are currently ranked in the single digits, in which case you can only challenge a student three ranks higher than you. ONLY the second ranked student can challenge the top ranked student. You can only issue or defend one challenge each week. Higher rank gets priority on issuing challenges, but you cannot challenge to improve your rank on consecutive weeks. Lastly if you lose two challenges you’ve issued seeking a higher rank, you cannot issue another challenge until the next semester, so choose wisely when you challenge someone. You will receive extra credit to your overall HCP grade for successfully improving or defending your rank. Questions?” Coach Martinez looked around the room carefully for signs of inquiry from the students, but she saw mostly comprehension or calculation in their expressions. Both were good signs in the opinion of both coaches.

“The final bit, is when you issue your challenges,” Coach Rachd reentered the discussion as the students were still processing all the information Coach Martinez had just inundated them with. “Every Monday at the beginning of our Gym class we will walk through the rankings from top to bottom to determine who will be calling out who each week. The matches themselves will be scheduled at the end of the class period the same day, and all will occur over the weekend so as not to interfere with your normal classes and SI requirements. So, with that said, CASSE!” the second ranked girl turned towards the Coach. “You challenging Jacobson for her spot this week?”

“No Coach,” there was a surprised murmur through the crowd at the refusal.

“And why the hell not?”

“Because nothing’s changed since Saturday. I only have two chances to move up, I’m not going to waste one of them before I’m ready.”

Rachd let out a genuine laugh at Erin’s response. “Well at least that actually makes sense. Gauge! You challenging Casse for her spot?”

“Not this week Coach,” the surprise was a bit more muted this time, and Rachd simply moved on down the list instead of questioning Collin for his refusal as well.

Alexandra settled in next to her roommate, Beulah was nearly vibrating with excitement at the prospect of being able to advance her rank so quickly. Alexandra sighed and wondered if she should try to challenge herself or wait out the first week and see if she could hold her position. Fortunately she had at least a few minutes to figure it out.

“Gerard my friend, you need to stop glaring at our friend Kyle, you are making the restaurant people nervous,” Ramón leaned in to stage whisper to the blonde man as the four roommates occupied a booth at a steak house just off campus. Ostensibly the group had all agreed to the dinner outing to celebrate their survival of the first week in the HCP, and the two residents of their dorm holding top five rankings. Gerard, however, seemed unable to move past his ire at being surpassed by one of his roommates.

“I still can’t believe you’re ranked above me and you STILL won’t tell me wha-” Gerard’s rant was cut off as Antoin ‘accidentally’ knocked his glass off the table with a clumsy gesture, the sudden motion and noise causing him, and most of the other nearby diners, to start involuntarily. Ramón leaned in close again, but this time the whisper was pitched low enough to be intended for Gerard only, and did not contain the humor that was generally omnipresent in the large Mexican’s tone.

“Gerard, if you keep this stupid shit up and get any or all of us outed on an SI infraction, all three of us are going to beat you in the parking lot until you cannot walk and leave you out in the desert somewhere. Shut the fuck up and eat your dinner, you can angst when we’re not in a public place.” Gerard glanced at the normally cheerful man with a surprised expression, but Ramón had already reverted to his normal carefree expression and tone as he began ribbing Antoin for his ‘clumsiness’ in breaking his glass.

Gerard sat back in the booth and allowed the little scene to play out as waitstaff arrived to clean up the mess, Antoin apologized profusely while Ramón continued to tease the Canadian, with Kyle joining in by making very dramatic movements to protect his own drink and plate whenever Antoin’s arms moved. Letting out a deep breath he hadn’t realized he was holding as the waitress finally delivered a new drink to Antoin and moved off to another table, Gerard spoke again. “I apologize for not being in a very good mood. You are right Ramón, it was a stupid thing to bring up at our celebration dinner,” he stood and fished out his wallet as he continued, “I don’t think I’ll be good company for the rest of the night, so I’m going to head back early. Kyle, I would appreciate a word when you get back.” Then leaving several bills on the table to cover quite a bit more than his portion of the check, the tall blonde man strode out of the restaurant.

“That man is way too tightly wound.” Kyle and Ramón both nodded in agreement with Antoin’s assessment.

“I didn’t even realize he hadn’t figured it out at this point. I might have to apologize for that bit,” considering that nearly everyone had seemed to know who he was at the ranking announcement Kyle hadn’t considered that the most straight-laced of his three roommates wouldn’t also have learned his ‘secret’ by that point. Kyle was forced to wonder if the angry glares had been motivated more by the perceived continuation of being slighted in not sharing his ability or if his original assumption had been correct and it had been simply motivated by the fact that he outranked his blonde roommate.

“I do not believe that will be required my friend. Let Gerard have his time to cool down, have your discussion with him when we return, and we will hope that he grows more relaxed in time. Or at least less stupid.” Ramón sifted quickly through the small stack of bills left behind by their roommate. “Ah, but good news! Gerard has apparently offered to purchase desserts for all of us as way of apology!”

“A hell of a lot nicer than the dorm room isn’t it Barry?” Barry Jeung turned his attention from the window he had been staring blankly out of towards his roommate, now housemate he supposed, pausing a moment before answering.

“I think it will be nice to have more space and less sharing of the facilities. But moving here also saddens me Matt.”

“Why’s that?”

“The only reason you and I had an opportunity to move here, and why Aaron and Miguel could also move here with us, is that all four of the house’s previous tenants are no longer in the program with us,” the lanky Korean youth stood and gestured at the room around them. “It will be far more comfortable for us, but at the same time it will be a constant reminder of how easy it is to fail in our chosen endeavor.”

Matt Jason, the stocky brown haired man who had initiated the conversation looked around the new living space with a slightly different expression before shrugging and turning back to his friend.

“If you’re going to be all depressing about getting a bigger place why did you decide to move in the first place?”

Barry smiled as he answered his roommate, “For the same reason an eighteen year old man does almost anything Matt. Because I am far more likely to get a woman to come back with me to a house than to a small dorm room.”

James Rachd’s face showed an expression that would have shocked and possibly terrified his students had any been present to see it. As he walked briskly up the short path to a moderate sized ranch-style house just off campus, he wore a deeply unsettled, nervous look. Bordering on genuine fear. He hated having to bring work into someone’s personal residence. He knew how much he despised it when others couldn’t keep work matters focused at work, but some things were too important to be left for office hours. The muscular man arrived at the front door and knocked sharply three times, then waited impatiently, the large bag he carried with him shuffled from hand to hand as he tried to school his expression into something more neutral. Not that there was a lot of benefit to controlling what he looked like he was feeling in this case.

The door opened in front of him with no one present on the other side. James strode through without hesitation, then turned and closed the door carefully behind him. “I’m in the kitchen James, and if I disagree with what you’re thinking about the importance of this matter I am going to float you up to roof level and leave you out there all night,” the voice of Kathryn Jilles contained a decent amount of irritation, but the Dean seemed more amicable than James assumed he would be in the reversed circumstances.

Making his way into the kitchen he found the Dean of Overton’s HCP cleaning up the remnants of her evening meal. Carefully setting the bag he carried on the floor next to the nearest chair, he waited for his host to indicate if he should be seated or not.

“Yes James, you can sit down, and while I appreciate the bottle of Trago Añejo you brought me you really do need to get to the point of your coming to see me in my home QUICKLY.” Kathryn turned away from washing plates and strode across the room to sit across from her Close Combat Instructor.

“Ever since the ranking matches we’ve had Raines going off about how Jacobson has to be a ringer we brought in to make our program look better,” Rachd steeled his expression to look his boss directly in the eye. “I need to know if he’s actually managed to be right for once.”

Kathryn rocked back in her chair a bit. She had not expected James Rachd to be listening to the ranting of the annoying career politician their program had been saddled with for potentially the next four years. That stopped her train of thought. There was no way the man sitting in front of her would possibly believe that Raines had a point on his own. She also recalled the extracurricular events that were suppose to take place today for the physically enhanced students after the rankings were revealed. “What happened when you tested Ms Jacobson?” To have Rachd coming to her home in the late evening instead of waiting til the next morning it had to have been something significant.

“As you know we decided to figure out where our current crop of Super physical students stand in terms of their present limits today. Most of them came in about where we would expect, Owens is a hell of a lot stronger than we thought she was from watching her matches, but other than that about what you’d expect. Pelley and Gauge are pretty impressive for never having had proper equipment, both can press almost two full tons. Carerra’s only about half that but you know he can do a one minute mile? Todd’s 6 second mile is a little more impressive but that girl can barely lift her own body weight, so there’s apparently some trade off.” James reached down into the bag next to him as he spoke and slid the expensive bottle of tequila, a short glass, and even a bottle of Kathryn’s favorite lime chaser across the table. Kathryn accepted each item as it arrived in front of her. It was unusual for James to be so indirect in approaching something, usually the man felt no need to work up to any sort of big reveal.

“And you know that I like to keep the ‘Jaws of Life challenge’ alive from back in my days in Basic, when my first drill instructor had all us newbie Super soldiers try it out. It went about as expected too. Pretty much all the strength powers thought they’d be able to easily hold the little thing closed, and found out that eight tons of spreading force is quite a bit. It’s good to try and keep them a little bit humble sometimes. One of the students almost managed it, she came so close to pulling it off that she burned out the entire hydraulic pump. I’m out about five grand to get it replaced now.” Rachd reached again into his bag and produced the remains of the hydraulic spreader, holding it towards the Dean until he felt it plucked from his hand by her telekinesis so she could examine it. “The interesting bit is, that student didn’t quite do the test the way all the others assumed it was done. She didn’t clasp the spreading plates between both hands and push.” Kathryn gasped and almost lost her mental grip on the tool as she saw the marks on the outer plates and realized what the Coach’s long winded reveal was just before he said it aloud. “She gripped the plates together with one hand and tried to squeeze it shut with just her fingers. I see you’ve already noticed that between her grip and the Jaws’ spreading she left her fingerprints perfectly preserved in a hardened steel plate. I can also tell you that same student was tested on those wonderful new machines that Riley donated to our program. I must say, the man has taste. Pinnacle Hydraulics makes some excellent equipment. And with a twenty five ton maxout for the press and squat exercises, it’s got almost twice the capacity of those old piece of shit Hi-Mags we got rid of. But do you know what’s funny Kathryn? I cannot tell you what Amelia Jacobson’s maximum weight limit on any of the exercises we performed today is. Because she maxed the entire stack on day one. Now please tell me Kathy, is the girl that you and Janette Walker went on a special field trip to make a special exemption for entrance to the HCP on the last possible day to do such a thing a genuine student, or is she a ringer?”

Kathryn sighed at the question. She could definitely understand where James’ doubts were coming from. She had known the girl was far stronger than most HCP freshman students after everything she’d been through, but it hadn’t occurred to her that she might be THAT strong. “Did you read Amelia’s file James?”

“I read through all the files before the year begins so that I can participate in accepting or rejecting students applying to the HCP. Since Jacobson got to skip the review portion I just read the summary on her powers and family history.”

“You should read the whole file James. The girl isn’t a ringer. Her life from age four up through a few weeks ago was pretty much a living hell though. You remember the news a while back about some kind of scandal at Powered Havens?”

“Some shit about the guy in charge embezzling a bunch of money and trying to run off or something like that right?”

“That too. The director of that agency wasn’t just embezzling money, he was targeting wealthy families that had young children demonstrate dangerous abilities and convincing them that only his clinics could possibly keep their precious child from harming themselves or others.”

“And how does some asshole fucking over a bunch of Powereds that might not all have needed the whole lockdown thing affe-… Wait. Oh fuck no. No one could fall for that.” Rachd’s expression showed his dawning realization, and absolute disbelief in where that realization had led him.

“The man was a gifted con artist James. He used combinations of drugs, corrupt psychiatrists, and an apparent natural gift for theatricality to con a lot of people. Amelia was actually the victim of those talents that finally pulled the whole thing crashing down on top of him.” Seeing the somewhat predatory smirk on the Combat Instructor’s face she continued quickly, “Not literally James. She got to one of the counselors that was actually there to do his job, demonstrated genuine control, then got out to her sister who was an assistant DA in the same city as the institute she’d been stuck in for twelve years. A lot of people are in jail now, she didn’t actually kill anyone.”

“That would explain how the girl has the guts to stand up and take on the instructor on day one, but how the hell does that equate to having abilities at the level she does already?”

“If you’d looked through the file I suspect you would already have the answer to that question. After her parents died in a car wreck when she was nine, there was no reason to try and pretty up her cage quite so much. That girl spent seven years wearing the kind of restraints they would strap someone with your ability set into when they got shipped off to Sanderson for an extended visit. Waking and sleeping for all those years, that girl was wearing probably four to five thousand pounds of high density restraints. Instead of just locking her down though hers were attached to movement restrictors since unlike an actual prisoner she’s supposed to have some freedom to move around her own room. All the technical specs were shredded when the whistle was blown, and Amelia personally ripped her restraints to pieces in order to get out of that cell, but I would conservatively estimate that every time she wanted to move into something other than the fetal position she was pushing against six tons of counter force.” Rachd was staring blankly at a point on the wall behind the Dean at this point, trying to process the absurd and horrific situation the top ranked student had lived through before entering the HCP. “To be honest I thought she would be about as strong as you are after all of that. For her to be that much stronger as a freshman, if she improves as much as most students do…”

“That girl is either close to the limit of what her ability can do after that many years of some truly hellish endurance training. Or she’s going to be among the most physically powerful Supers in the world when we’re done with her.” James frowned again as something else occurred to him. “I almost wish she was a ringer now Kathy. That history also explains why that girl has no idea how to properly move or stretch herself. And why she has no clue how to fight. Now I have to figure out how to train her without getting any of the other students killed by her learning curve.”

“You’ve got some time to work with there James. She’ll be here for four years. Meanwhile I’m going to have to rummage through the discretionary fund to get some extremely custom training equipment ordered.”

Second String Supers: Freshman Intrigue: Chapter 5
Second String Supers: Freshman Intrigue: Meet The Freshman Class

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