"So yeah Tyson. Long story short: We've been through a lot of shit in the past few years, so reacting on impulse'll be second nature for the lot of us. We aren't used to talking things out, because evil won't talk things out. They'll just start shooting, and try to kill you. People are crazy like that. Now can we please wrap this up? Not trying to sound like a whiny bitch, but I really want to get in the pool now." Jason said quickly, simply, and yet tiredly, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly.
"They were doing so well. Why did this one guy (out of the whole bunch) have to test our morals?" He thought.
Tyson took the slap as he was expecting far worse. No one likes tests. Everyone hates test they don't understand. Even more so if its a test that forms an opinion about them. Tyson responded to Alex, "If I had no clue who the person is then I would go on gut feeling or assume. However if the person removed my close friend from a giant mechasnake while he was getting electrocuted to death. I would give them some liberty. If the person wasn't even aiming at anyone and would harm no one if they shot I'd leave them alone if they said they weren't going to do anything because even if they shoot it doesn't kill anyone. You don't try to see through the gray and only want black or white answers. Life isn't like that and I need to know who I can trust to see through the gray when needed. If my mental health was in question I would have kindly submitted to psych evaluation before joining. I'm still open to one now if you would like."
Tyson turned his attention to Richard and started going at him "News flash! I'm not huge on the whole trust thing either. You had an unknown turn on you. I had the government I swore to protect. You have just as much to prove to me as I have to prove to you. Additionally, the only person who I put in danger was myself. Even if the snake started up again I would draw it's attention while Taryn shut it down with an override code or the group of you seniors would step in and take it down. And if you want bullshit, I'll tell you bullshit. You were born with a diamond covered gold spoon in your mouth and apparently another one up your ass. You act high and mighty but where are you without your armor? Where would you be if your father wasn't rich?"
Finally Tyson turned to Jason and spoke, "It was the fact that questions weren't asked and answers were assumed. Paying attention and thinking about what is happening will prevent more problems than it will cause."
Levi considered Taryn's question momentarily. "I'm pretty sure we could get her powered up and ready to go within a few minutes," he said, turning to face Taryn. "But of course, I'll need my copilot," he added, flashing a grin. "The sooner we get back, the sooner we can celebrate. Let's get the ship started". With that, Levi headed for the Merriweather and ascended the boarding ramp. Making his way to the cockpit, he took his place at pilot's chair and started with the preflight diagnostics. They weren't completely necessary right now, but better safe than sorry. In any case, they weren't in any kind of rush to get back.
Taryn smiled and followed Levi as he walked toward the ship. As she stepped inside and approached the cargo area Taryn put her computer back into her inner jacket pocket. She zipped the jacket partway closed before stepping into the cockpit. Taryn noticed that Levi had already begun the flight preparations so she sat down in the co-pilot's seat. She spun the chair slowly in a complete circle. Then deciding to be somewhat productive Taryn leaned forward to check the dials and readouts on her own console.
Patriot was about to ask what was going on for the fortieth time but Garrus simply told him no and to carry the snake back to the Promenade.
"Carry the snake. Not throw," Garrus said, hoping Patriot would get it.
"Not carry, throw it! Gotcha!" Patriot replied as he walked over to the tail of the snake.
"No! CARRY. As in you hold onto it all the way to the Promenade and drop it off gently where you found it in the garage!" Garrus shouted, Patriot getting a sad look as he waved goodbye and floated away with the snake, no spring in his flying step.
Garrus called out to everyone else that they'd be leaving in five minutes before heading over and into the Merriweather. "You guys can meet that five minute deadline right?" he asked with a slight chuckle.
After about a minute of stabilizing, the readouts and gauges began to fall within the green zones; the Merriweather was prepped for launch. Levi fed a bit of power into her engines, getting them ready to propel the ship back to the Promenade. He hoped that the sound of the engines powering up would catch the others' attention. His job done for now, Levi leaned back a bit and faced Taryn. "Now we play the waiting game..." he said as he made eye contact. A couple of silent seconds passed before Garrus entered the Merriweather asking about the deadline Levi had given him. He resisted the urge to let out an irritated sigh. Levi hadn't really had any time with Taryn in nearly a week due to the project to rebuild the MechaSnake. Perhaps after this they could get some alone time.
Levi kept his slight irritation hidden as he replied to Garrus. "Actually, she's ready to go right now. Just had to re-run some diagnostics. Never can be too careful, you know".
"You think I don't know that? I wasn't seeing you as good or evil, just stupid. For all the sense you make, your actions were still the wrong ones to make. You know nothing about that snake, and yet you still stupidly ventured around and even if you climbed inside you would know nothing as to what would happen. For all you knew the snake would reactivate, for all you knew it may have exploded. You showed no caution and in a real world situation that can and often will cost lives. You need to treat every training situation as you would a real world situation, and you should damn well know this. If I need to beat you into coming up with your own tests that do not involve training tools I damn well will. I have no problem with the idea of your test, it is the execution which both worries me and pisses me right the hell off." Richard replied.
"Yeah, I'll do that. Maybe there is something on board that can burn the taste out of my mouth," Brian wondered out loud. He followed after Garrus and made his way towards the ship. Man, I sure could go for a Keith's right now.
Alex's eyes flamed some as steam came out of her ears as she punched him in the gut. "He does more then you know and has more then earned your respect. He's not the snob you play him out as and before you start laying into me about being rich try this one on for size, I was raised in Snake Alley. Look at who I am now? I grew from issues and I don't let them define my trust in the Society. WE'RE THE FUCKING SOCIETY OF JUSTICE!! We have done great things and you damn well know it. We wouldn't be were we are now if trust in us was misplaced at all." Alex said.
Looking through the Merriweather's viewport, Levi saw as Alex savagely punched Tyson in the gut. His jaw practically dropped at the unwarranted display of violence. He rested his forehead on his palm and grunted with disapproval. "What the hell is she doing?" he said aloud, gesturing angrily with his left hand. "Punching a new recruit? Really?" he exclaimed, completely dismayed. I better not see gray light...
After Alex made her brash movement, Jason thoughtfully threw up his hands.
"Well fuck this. I'm gonna get on the ship now." He thought in frustration.
"Dude, just back away slowly." Erebus suggested. Jason nodded in compliance before making his way towards the Merriweather. Getting on the ship, Jason overheard Levi's remarks.
"Y'know, this is Alex we're referring to here. You know how she is..." He told him with a sigh.
"Last year flashbacks, anyone?" Taryn commented as she followed Levi's gesture and looked outside. She heard footsteps and spun her chair around to see Brian and Jason entering the ship. "Looks like we're slowing getting the full crew." she added after Jason made his comment. Taryn spun her chair back around in a smooth motion allowing herself a brief moment of childish thrill at the movement. Then she focused back on the viewport.
Tommy boarded into the Merriweather right after Jason did, " Yep, she gets angry and hits people," Tommy replied to Jason's comment about Alex, not realizing it was to Erebus.
"A little bit Taryn, exept it's Alex punching people in gut instead of the other way around." He said to Taryn as he found a seat and buckled in, " Actually come to think of it, there is one test I want Tyson to take, gun safety, isn't the first rule of that don't point a gun at something your not gonna shoot at?"
Not even bothering to get herself involved - she had hardly understood the explanation of Tyson's events, and the subsequent actions of Richard and Alex thereafter - Katie snapped her fingers once to remove the plant matter from the trigger mechanism of Tyson's rifle, spun on one heel and hurried back to the Merriweather. They could sort out whatever the hell was going on themselves.
She passed Rowan on the way, who was standing a distance away from the feuding supers scratching his head, and said, "Best to just stay out of it, Rowan. Let the others handle it; let's go."
"I suppose you're right. Besides, I think Garrus mentioned something about a pool party, and I'm definitely up for that," the shapeshifter answered as he turned and followed Katie into the Merriweather's interior. Considering that the engines were running, evidently those who were already on board wanted to get going sooner rather than later. Both of the supers buckled themselves into seats in the same general area, and Rowan immediately began talking to Jason.
"So, um... what exactly do you do? I don't recall hearing or seeing anything in regards to your abilities. The armour looks cool and all; do you change into it in your room at the Promenade, or is it triggered by an item you carry around or something?"
"So... If they get in a full on fight," Tommy said gesturing to Alex and Tyson. "Do we gotta break it up? Or can we just leave 'em and go to the pool. 'Cause honestly I'm hoping it's the second one, I want to get back before the cooler runs out of ice." Tommy was already moving past what had happened, now choosing to focus on the upcoming pool party.
"Yeah, I'm with my man over there," Brian agreed. "I need some beer. Bad. I think I can still taste acid." He buckled into his seat, hoping to expedite the departure process.
Tyson took the punch and smiled as his armor took most of the hit. "You look like a cartoon character Little Miss Princess Snake Alley. I'll take you up on that fight test tomorrow. Richard hasn't earned any respect from me no matter how much you have for him. I've heard that same speech from a person far greater than you'll ever be. He pulled it off better too, but that doesn't mean that his claims weren't wrong in the end." Tyson's voice turn cold as winter with the last sentence before he walked past Alex and Richard, grabbing his rifle, and taking a seat in the cargo bay far away from the group.
Jason agreed with both Tommy and Brian, hoping that the three could end their little argument soon. Finding a seat near Rowan, Jason saw that he was being addressed about his powers. Starting out with a long "Ummm...", Jason thought of how to explain his situation to the newcomer.
"This armor is the result of The Key: a energy signature found in certain humans. The armor is nigh-invincible, and conjures spikes in many different ways. I can shoot spikes from my wrists, or I can make a barrage of spikes spring from anything that i'm psychically in contact with." He stated informatively, showing Rowan the spikes that grow from his wrists. He continued with the explanation as the spikes slunk back down into his arm.
"How do I change into it? Ummm...it kinda just...forms and spreads. Since it's bonded to my DNA through family ties, it's more organic than anything else. Also, I would've asked if you've heard of The Key Corps, but they're kind of a 'hush, hush, behind closed doors' type of organization. If you were to see one running around that wasn't me, then something would be very wrong." Jason told him as he buckled himself in. He then leaned closer to Rowan.
"Also...you might find this question a bit strange...but if you were to shapeshift into a girl, and get 'sexually assaulted', would you get pregnant if you change back to your regular form?" He asked, intrigued in the limitations and the anatomy of Rowan's transforming prowess.
Alex knew it was best to just let him go but she wasn't going to stand for someone disrespecting her husband, the insults he threw at her was nothing compared to the insult of Richard.
"I'll show you the might the Society has and how all of us should have your respect regardless of your past." Alex said watching him walk away and bored the ship then looked at Richard.
"He won't get away with this, just like Ivan he needs to learn his place." Alex said to Richard.
Eric sighed already on the ship. "Great another fight we have to deal with." he said shaking his head.
"Let's at least try the diplomatic approach now that he isn't about to do something imminently stupid and possibly life threatening." Richard said as he went back and looked over the screen that had been used to control the snake, already going through and reviewing the code.
"For now I'm more concerned about making sure the snake not only did not reach a point where it could kill anyone in this simulation, but also to see if I can't perhaps streamline the code a bit to make sure it doesn't if it can. Not to mention I need to see if I can't streamline the code to make it shut down quicker." He said as he walked back onto the airship.
Rowan burst out laughing for a few seconds at Jason's question, getting a look from Katie before calming down. "Sorry. I always find this topic amusing, my ex-girlfriend and I had a lot of discussion about my shapeshifting. Anyways, in answer to your question... no, I don't believe that that would the case. My status and psychic bolt aside, if I were to assume the form of a woman or a girl and then get under the covers with someone - forcibly or otherwise - I don't think I would get pregnant. Any changes to my body are reversed and neutralised when I change into a different form."
"I shall try but if it fails then I will kick his ass." Alex said walking on to the ship and sat down playing with some water as she sat next to Richard. "So about this pool party planing on going with anyone Richard?" Alex flirted.
With everyone on the Merriweather, Levi made the final preparations for takeoff. "Alright, everyone. We're heading back to the Promenade, ETA fifteen minutes" he said as he pulled back on the yoke and took the Merriweather up into a climb, leaving the battle-scarred clearing behind.
After about fifteen minutes of relatively uneventful travel, the Merriweather touched down in the hangar of the Promenade and lowered its boarding ramp. "If you guys aren't used to it yet, you will be eventually," he said with a laugh. "Everyone is free to leave now, and I believe the pool is done with its self-cleaning. The chlorine should be well within human tolerance levels by now," he added, enjoying his newfound pilot role.
"Well I think I'll head to our room and change into my bikini." Alex said softly into Richard's ear. "Care to watch?" she flirted then got up heading to their room. Once she got in there she was met by a hungry Sam meowing at her and pawing at her leg.
"Seems someones hungry." Alex said giving same some food and petted her taking off her boots, gloves and gourds.
"Thank goodness we're back," Garrus said with joy as he unbuckled his and Renton's seat belts, picking up the child and the now empty picnic basket and heading down the ramp. He noticed that the Promenade's garage wasn't destroyed so Patriot must have put the snake back in with little damage.
'Finally got it through his head,' he thought as he rolled his eyes and headed inside the Promenade. As he opened the door to the lounge he heard a loud voice coming from kitchen...along with some beeps. "Had a feeling you'd be here by the time we got back," Garrus told Leland and Requiem as he entered the kitchen, both men giving a quick wave.
"Well of course we would have joined all of you over at the testing grounds but we truthfully only got here a few minutes ago. Ethan here decided he wanted to look nice for a certain someone but since he grew a foot last night he needed all of his clothes tailored by me, and even with magic that takes some time with someone as picky as him," Leland replied back, pointing at Ethan's snazzy beige leather jacket, light blue button-up shirt, and dark blue pants, "Now I just went for the simple dark blue and green polo shirt and white pants, but Mr. Picky here took two hours just to figure out what he wanted to wear."
"Not important, but an interesting excuse for your lack of being here," Garrus replied as he put down the empty basket and handed the excited Renton to Leland so that he can start getting , "So we're having a pool party over at...the pool. You guys are invited of course."
Requiem beeped in reply as he looked over at the baby, Leland explaining that Requiem shouldn't go in the water 'just in case'. Renton looked over to see who his uncle was talking to, his smile fading as he looked at the cyborg. Requiem raised his hand in greeting and Renton started to cry immediately, Leland getting up with the child and walking around the kitchen with him.
"He's just not used to you Ethan, that's all. Can you help carry some of this?" Garrus asked his younger brother, Requiem getting up and grabbing two ice chests to help Garrus out.
"Yea sure. Need to change myself anyway." Richard said with a laugh as he followed in behind her, leaving the display on the Meriwether for a later time. Richard took off his coat and placed it on the nearby hanger where it belonged.
"Garrus, I'd like to go change. Take care of Renton and make sure Patriot doesn't get with in an arm's length of him." Lillian said to Garrus before walking off to her own room.
Alex took off her belt and placed it on her dresser. "So what do you feel like doing other then me?" Alex joked taking off the top of the suit and hung it on it's rightful place on the manikin for her hero suit. After searching through her dresser she found the bikini she wanted to wear.
Eric walked back into the Promenade and smiled seeing Leland. "Hey Leland." Eric said giving him a wave and walked over to see him and Ethan. "Looks like you brought Ethan with you as well." he added.
Levi and Taryn made sure that the Merriweather was completely shut down and secure before descending the boarding ramp and meeting up with the others. He wasn't partial to the idea of a pool party himself, but he wouldn't let his opinion put a damper on everyone else's fun. As the group began to disperse, Levi looked at Taryn for a moment. He was sure that she wasn't necessarily enthused about the pool party either. Being electricity based superheroes, socializing in a pool full of water wasn't the best idea. "So...did you want to go to the pool party?" he asked her, wanting to make sure sure his assumption was correct.
"Yeah! Damn straight!" Brian rushed into the Promenade and made a beeline for his room. After all that mess, he was looking forward to some chilling in the pool with a nice cold beverage.
He got to his quarters and slammed the door behind him. Like a tornado, the clothes came off and just as quickly his Dominican print swimming shorts came on. The remnants of the whirlwind were now strewn across his room. "Whatever, I'll clean it up later." He grabbed a towel out of the pile in his bag and returned to the lobby. "All right, so where's the pool? I'm ready, I'm thirsty, let's do it."
Taryn shook her head and grimaced. "No." she replied quietly. "I generally steer clear of large, medium, and small bodies of water. Electrocuting myself in the shower is one thing, I'd rather not find out what happens in a pool." She sighed quietly and leaned her head to one side, putting a hand to the back of her neck. "I'd really like to just...relax for a bit." Taryn continued. After a few seconds she straightened and looked toward the pool. "Preferably without the risk factor." 'The last thing I need is one of the recruits, or worse, angry at me...' she thought.
Tommy made a beeline out of the Merriweather like it was going out of style. He ran right through the lounge, past Garrus, Requim, and even Leland. When he was in the hall he suddenly started thinking. Garrus, Requim and Leland are in the lounge so they're going to be... Leland, HOLY SHIT LELAND IS HERE! Tommy let out a girly squee and jumped for joy, so powerfully that he went straight through the roof of the Promenade, and flew in such an arc that he then broke through again and was deposited in the lounge.
"Leland your back! How was your tour! Was it awesome! I bet it was!" Tommy squelled as he picked up Leland in a grand bear-hug.
Jason got off the ship with the rest of his team, giving his greeting to Leland and Ethan before retreating to his room. Using his large universal remote, Jason's wall-sized flat screened monitor faded on. Changing to a music channel, Jason let his loud, obscure, taste in music blare through his crystal clear surround sound system as he made his way to the bathroom, armor slowly receding and dissipating from his uncovered body. After a quick shower, Jason went to his dresser drawer, looking through them until he came across a pair of blue and black swimming trunks, a pair of tinted matching goggles in one of the pockets. Nodding in self-discovery, he put the article of clothing on, putting the goggles over his head, and letting them fall to his neck. Afterwards, he turned off his TV and left the room, making his way towards the pool.
Levi grinned and laughed a bit. "I thought as much...just making sure," he replied. "I'm not too big on that idea myself. Never was one for swimming, even before I got my powers". He liked Taryn's suggestion to relax, as that was something the two of them haven't been able to do for at least a week. "Uh, where do you wanna go then? Somewhere quiet?" he asked.
"Hmm Patriot didn't stay did he?" Garrus asked as Leland greeted Eric and Jason before Tommy came in and bear-hugged him (Leland thankfully getting the now full-grown Talbot to carry Renton as soon as he saw Tommy running towards him), getting a reply back that Patriot was too afraid of the Doctor to come inside, "Figures as much."
"Heya Tommy you silly guy! My tour's been over for a month now other than that small show a few weeks back. I've just been at the Lodge making my newest record~!" Leland replied back cheerfully as his best friend let him go, following along after his brother as they headed off to the pool.
Garrus led the way through the double doors and took a right down the living area hallway, opening the large doors to the indoor pool. He had Ethan drop off the coolers over to the side of the double Olympic-sized pool (with added jacuzzi, water slide, and diving board), and grabbed Renton from Leland who had gone from wearing a polo shirt and khakis into red swim briefs in less than a second.
"Seriously you're going to wear that?" Garrus asked with a raised eyebrow, Leland materializing some swim goggles onto his forehead as Talbot found a comfy spot to stay at near the coolers. Leland just smiled back before diving into the water and swimming around.
"Figures," Garrus muttered as he turned to go and get himself and his son changed, only to wind up face to face with the Doctor. He mentioned something about if there were any patients that needed healing, to which Garrus replied that they had all been healed by Brian. The Doctor was silent as he stared at Garrus before walking over to the jacuzzi and going into it stating he needed some time to think through this 'betrayal'. Garrus shrugged and walked out, shaking his head at the craziness of it all.
Taryn winced as someone or something made a sound somewhat akin to a squeal. "Somewhere quiet would be very nice." she replied, with a slow smile. She blinked as Leland suddenly arrive at the pool area. 'When did he get back?' she wondered.
She knew there were a few places they could go. Though with the new recruits places like the lounge might be occupied. Taryn was silent for a moment. Then she grinned. There was an easy way to solve this dilemma. "You want to lead the way?" she asked. Taryn stepped closer to Levi.