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“Give me your phone, I’ll put it in there.” While they fussed, I checked and fixed the remainder of the straps. The straps served to let me hold the box without actually holding it. He pushed himself to his feet, shifting his footing to make sure he wouldn’t slide down the hill. “Byron, you want to help with demonstrations today, or do you want to be left alone? “I’ll do the quick swaps if you need them.” The water was still spraying when Byron blurred, features distorting and smearing together, the two lighted eyes peering through the shadows between folds and smears, going from blue to orange-red. “For the record,” Tristan said, “If it’s my two hours and I ask you a question and then pass the baton, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t take up extra time and use it to try and sabotage me.” “I did say hi to him,” I said. He whines about the circumstances but he won’t attend the therapy and he doesn’t want to work on figuring out better courses of action. She seized the wheel that Byron had left embedded in the earth, and pulled herself to it.
“You can use me if you need to clean up, Tristan,” Byron said. Then, as he changed the angle of his head a little, I saw his face. He’s quick to say there’s a problem but he doesn’t suggest alternatives. power changed to match.” “That’s really interesting,” I said. She twisted around, pointed a hand, and used tendrils to push her fist out.
I paid more attention to her fashion choice because so much about it seemed deliberate, from color scheme to running theme. He still had that tone, which came across curt, inflexible. I sighted the others, sitting on the rocks and talking. “If I had to guess, maybe three hundred and fifty pounds? A series of bags and boxes were unloaded, all packed together. A bit of a shame, but I could understand the need for a quick and easy label. Chris, wearing his headphones again, was wearing what looked like the same shorts as he had worn at the meeting, and a different t-shirt. Some bits were already fastened into place on his arms and legs, over a bodysuit that seemed designed to go between him and his armor. “I really like this.” It seemed Kenzie could be counted on to be positive. Does anyone else need to explain their powers or cover anything before we get into it? “…and less responsive in hand-eye coordination to go with it. Large legs, large around the middle, large hands, all with coarse hair. I could have left things at this, with powers explained and demonstrated in brief, and then I could have taken a few days to think.
More boxes were sitting at either side of the van, with straps to keep them flush against the wall, but they weren’t any larger than a backpack or suitcase. “If it wasn’t this, she would be doing something else. One of the straps, I realized, had been damaged and patched, but her hair masked much of it. Three claws, extending from around a circular lens with a pupil. “The forms tend to come with pretty heavy weakness. He positioned them so there was one on either side of him, then clenched his fist. Tricky, that kind of negativity sitting just under the surface. She moved it, tendrils bending, flinging her hand and the attached segment of arm out fifty feet. It was v-shaped, covering the nose, ears, and eyes, leaving just a hint of her eyebrows visible above. And for the record, since you’re going to ask…” He showed me his power. He drew them in the air, two expanding, abstract shapes, not closed like Tristan’s had been. A few words from his brother and he was upset enough that it showed in his tone and the direction of what he was talking about. “I’m guessing you’ve worked on control enough that you feel okay letting loose in limited ways? Ten or so tendrils extended between elbow and forearm, like a muscle with gaps between strands. I saw Chris as the giant, properly smiling for the first time since I’d met him, as he looked back over one shoulder, lumbering away. The more I saw, the less sure I was that these guys were equipped to handle even a friendly contest. Above all else, the ones with the power seemed least suited to wield it. Previous Chapter Next Chapter “Hey, Victoria, you’re strong right? “I totaled the last car I lifted.” “I brought things, and I thought maybe Chris could lift some or Tristan could, but Tristan doesn’t think he’s strong enough and Chris doesn’t want to.” She turned stick out her tongue at Chris. “My dad gave me a ride today, because he needs to buy a suit and more work clothes,” Kenzie said. The back door of the van popped open, and Kenzie’s father stepped out, walking around the van to the sidewalk. ” “Realty.” “Dad only got into realty a year and a half ago, but he’s really good at both the buying and selling sides of things. Even with the care I was taking, it made a noise on landing. He had a bag with him, a travelers’ backpack that was packed full, but he’d put it down. It struck a balance between function and appearance, but it looked like it was a pretty good quality. As each one moved through the air, it left a trail behind it, like the afterimage of a sparkler waved through the darkness. “We’ll see you in action when we have our competition, then. He says he can’t tap those emotions he’s not using, he can’t think as clearly, his thoughts go in circles.” “Lose-lose,” I said. His hair, wild before, was just a bit longer than it had been. “I’d be worried about breaking whatever it is I’m handling.” “It’s pretty durable.” I thought about my forcefield. During the last meeting it had been a star on her dress, partially on her shirt, and in her hair. Very very little.” “I guess we’ll find out soon.” “Sveta could have helped too, we think, she’s really strong if she uses her real body, but it would have meant dragging it and that would have hurt the grass.” “How big is this thing? She sprinted the last little way to the sleek van that was parked on the street in front of the library, hopping up to the passenger side window, clinging to the bottom edge of the open window so she could stick her head in. I dropped low, and I set the box down on the ground. ” “I can see why she has a hard time moving those things around.” “She described them as being bigger,” Chris said. I think they start at that size and get larger.” “Did her dad leave? He was examining the box, while keeping at least two feet away from it at all times. He held up his hand, and produced three motes of orange-red light. I know what Ashley can do, unless something’s changed.” Ashley shook her head. He tries to balance, but lately it’s been getting worse.” “What happens if he doesn’t change? “He doesn’t change physically.” “Which is good.” “But he doesn’t change mentally either. The sound of branches breaking underfoot, the rustling of under- and over-growth. He’d shucked off his clothes and he’d donned what looked like an oversized pair of shorts in a coarse cloth. His shoulders seemed somewhat narrow, his neck long, his head only a little larger than normal, with faintly pronounced tusks. I needed a few days to think, so feelings wouldn’t be hurt, damage wouldn’t be done. I’d lose too much stock with these guys if I changed my mind.