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Author Topic: The First Chapter of My Story!  (Read 460 times)

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Offline Keeponkickingkid

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The First Chapter of My Story!
« on: September 18, 2017, 06:02:29 PM »
Here's the first chapter of my story which I've been dying to turn into a manga! This is, "The Third Wave | Chapter One: A Change In Routine"...

Spoiler
        A ray of light surpassed the narrow gap between Aiko's curtains, shining down upon her face and rousing her from her slumber. Her eyes fluttered for but a moment as her vision straightened out, and with a grunt, Aiko lifted her tired head, sitting at the edge of her bed. She started staring at herself in the mirror just a few feet away that she had propped right next to her door. Every morning she would gaze into the mirror, studying her face and eyes as if they were brand new, and she had done this since she was no older than five. Her mother had always told her to do so, insisting it was, 'to accept the way you look' and, 'to face yourself before you face the world'. She didn't really understand it when she was younger, and now that she was eighteen, the reasoning behind it never really mattered. All she knew was her daily routine: get up, get in the shower, get dressed, then find some shred of excitement to make the day seem less repetitive.

        Aiko sighed as she marvelled at her own face. Many had told her it was her most prominent feature, but after so many years she had almost become desensitized to it. She got her narrow blue eyes from her mother and father, the former being Japanese, the latter being of mixed Haida First Nations descent. Many had told her that her eyes were so mystifying and that they contrasted her complexion in such a beautiful way. All Aiko saw were two broad, blue eyes with epicanthic folds that made it look like she was perpetually tired. Her shoulder length ebony hair would often be brushed to the left, partially concealing that side of her face. Her chestnut skin was her father's— a mishmash of Haida and European —and its colour was so alien to her noticeably round face, which she inherited from her mother. Aiko often thought back to her birth certificate when regarding the topic of her complexion. Under the race category, it read, 'mixed', which she always thought was just the politically correct way of saying 'who the hell knows?'.

        She was not the tallest girl in the world, but Aiko— to her relief —was not too short. Aiko was around five foot nine, and she sported an hourglass build with ample hips and a generous chest; she had the women on her father's side to thank for that. Though, Aiko always believed her feet were far too large and oafish for a woman of her form; most of her shoes she bought in sizes far too small, as she wished to hide the feet she so detested.

        Aiko stretched, yawning as she grabbed the cup of water off of her nightstand. She took a long drink from the glass, relieving the harshness in her voice, then with a long groan, she walked across the hall to the bathroom where she would have her morning shower. Her shower session ranged from five to seven minutes on average, and her shorter hair was to thank for that. There was a time in her mid-teens that she would take almost twenty to get out, to which her father would often give her a lecture about saving water. It wasn't until her father actually made her pay a water bill when she was thirteen that the message really sank in.

 After drying her hair, Aiko put on her work clothes, or in her case, day-to-day clothing; a white tank top with her usual brown leather jacket overtop, coupled by a pair of dark blue jeans. It wasn't very fashionable clothing, but she always felt comfortable in it, and she had a love for aesthetic simplicity. As she sat down on her bureau, she applied a little blush and some eyeliner, leaning over to take a peek at herself in the detached mirror by her door. She was not the kind of woman who enjoyed attention from most— not because she didn't care or wasn't flattered, but because she lacked the time and patience for such trivial things like small talk. Admittedly, she was aware that notion was sort of hypocrisy in itself, as makeup is a tool often used for attention, but she didn't mind; she applied makeup simply to satisfy her need for routine. Besides, most of whom that were interested in her weren't her type anyway. Admittedly, she wasn't even certain what her type was. But if she did have a type, she definitely knew it wasn't anything like the kind of people who would pop in and out of the convenience store where she worked. 

        Checking the time on her phone, Aiko descended the spiral staircase down the hall on her right, entering her living room. It was 6:34, work wouldn't be for another hour or so. Aiko moseyed over to the kitchen, waving to her father, who was sprawled out on the couch watching the news as she poured herself some cereal.

        With a low grunt, Aiko's father lifted himself off his seat and shuffled over to the kitchen as well, setting up a toaster on the island right next to Aiko's cereal for his usual BLT. "Hey, Koko, how was your sleep?"

        Her father was the same as ever. Rain or shine he would wear the same Hawaiian shirts and tan cargo shorts as if he were some kind of beach volleyball referee. His face was taller and a little darker than Aiko's, and his nose came at more of a point than a rounded end like hers. His jaw was pronounced and his chin was somewhat broader, but his eyes were narrow, though, not quite like Aiko's. He was very large, a little more than a head taller than her, and he was well-built, getting most of his bulk from his German side. And like a vast majority with German blood in their veins, like Aiko, he had striking blue eyes. He would often call their eyes 'The Schmitt Gaze', as his father, and his father before him all shared this trait.

        "Pretty good," Aiko replied as she crunched on a spoonful of Cheerio's.

        "Any dreams?" Her father asked.

        "Nah, nothing tonight..." Aiko sighed as her eyes gravitated to the clock above the refrigerator on her right.

        "Again?" He scoffed, grabbing a tomato from the windowsill above the kitchen sink. "Man, you really need a little excitement now and then, Koko. You'll start gettin' nightmares if ya keep dancin' to the same tune all the time." Aiko silently scooped another spoonful of cereal into her mouth. "All I'm sayin', Koko, is that you need to spice it up now and then. Yeah, you're takin' this first year off to learn a little about yourself, but you can't do that if all you do is work, sleep, and eat. You can get into any university you want, but you're still undecided. Try to live a little if you want to learn somethin' about yourself."

        "So what do you want me to do?" Aiko had heard the speech hundreds of times.

        "You can't get hung up on the past, Koko. You're a grown woman, you need to let go and get out there."

        "And you know all about letting go..." Aiko muttered to herself as she averted her eyes, staring at the floorboards.

        "What was that?" He said as he raised an eyebrow at her.

        "Nothing, dad..." Aiko shook her head as she placed her bowl in the dishwasher. "Are you off work today?"

        "Yeah, they give me Saturdays off now, remember?"

        "Oh, right..." Aiko nodded as she grabbed some orange juice from the fridge and filled a short glass to the brim. As she downed the glass, her attention was grabbed by the television still yammering in the living area about the recent Mark-user incidents in Victoria.

        "Marcusologists are still baffled by the recent anomaly on Vancouver Island, and the population of Mark-users is growing at an alarming rate. In response, The League of Thirty has made their decision in Geneva to send in our own Canadian IMOP Task Force just this morning. Meeting with them will be Canada's top IMOP agent, Victoria's own Northstar." The anchorman on television reported.

        "Northstar?! Damn, this must be serious. I was still in university last I heard of an anomaly like this, but I never thought there'd be one on our own island." Aiko's father munched on his sandwich as he turned down the TV. "What do you figure, Koko?"

        "I think this recent spike in new Mark-users will bring some old ones out of the woodwork..." Aiko ruminated on the idea. "Maybe the IMOP might need some more-."

        "Oh no, don't get any ideas, Koko. We talked about this before. You aren't going to that academy. You have no Mark of your own."

        "Dad, why can't you let me go?! Mom-!"

        "Please, don't bring her into this, Koko. I know what happened to her." Aiko's father set his hands on the island to prop himself up, bowing his head as he took a deep breath. "This is what I meant by fixating on the past. You can't keep sitting in your room reading those books of yours on Mark-users like you did when you were twelve. I won't have you go to that academy. You're out of your league."

        "But I want to help people, dad!"

        "And you can do that doing some other job, Aiko! I won't lose you like I lost her!" Her father exploded, resting his head on the table as his rage fizzled. "It's-... check the time. You'll be late for work here quick."

        "Yeah. Sorry, dad..." Aiko bit down on her quivering lip as she marched over to the door, squeezing into her red runners. "I'll see you later."

****

        Aiko walked down the same path her mother always took to the city; she called it the "Sukoshi Path", after a similar road she would take to school when she was a young girl living in Okinawa. She often shared stories on their long walks down the winding road through towering spruce and arbutus trees, stories about Japan, about life before the Marks showed up. Aiko would laugh and sing with her mother as they made their way down the hill, watching as ravens flew in the treetops and deer pranced about in the thickets. She felt so much older now; it had been four years since their last walk together from the cabin. Solitude and time had whitewashed those beloved stories, and she only retained fragments of them, like loose shards of stained glass left behind after a pane had been shattered.

        Aiko eventually reached the bottom of the hill and turned onto the highway, adjusting her satchel; the added weight from the heavy books inside had dug into her shoulder, to which she would often switch shoulders to combat the discomfort. Eventually, she just gave up and held the bag in her arms, keeping it close to her chest. Since high school, she had always kept a journal and marcusology encyclopedia close at hand to study and identify all the various Mark users that popped up around Vancouver Island. She had become an expert of sorts, though, she never really shared her knowledge on the subject with anyone else besides her mother.

        Work wasn't very far at all— just some dinky convenience store just a mile down the road on the right side not too far from Port Renfrew, a fairly touristy town a few hours north of Victoria. The shop wasn't too lively in the winter; only the occasional drifter or trucker would come by, maybe for a pack smokes or some junk food, typical items one would buy at such a place. In the summer one would see more tourists than anything else; perhaps a few local hippies here and there looking for a place to rest before they headed out to China Beach for some surfing. Aiko greatly preferred winter over summer in terms of business, but in the case of weather, Aiko despised the eternal grey sky of a Vancouver Island winter.

        The exterior of the convenience store wasn't all that pleasant to look at. It was mostly made of sun-bleached wood, and the windows, though clean thanks to her diligent care, were somewhat scratchy and translucent from age. There was only one Helium 3 pump by the parking lot about the size of an air compressor— a replacement for the old gasoline pumps that had all but vanished just a few years ago. Fusion power had become all the rage since China had set up mining operations on the Moon. However, all the rage or not, with rumours of a Third Wave of Marks approaching, Marked One incidents made everything else seem like old news. What news could possibly top superpowered humans attacking a school or a governmental building?

        Aiko opened the ancient wooden door, cringing a little as it let out its horrific creak, like one of those doors you would see in a bad horror movie with exaggerated sound effects. Aiko sighed as she looked to her workspace on the right, stepping into the tiny cashier's booth. She set her satchel on the desk behind her, grabbed the large encyclopedia out of it, then sat down on her stool, placing her elbows on the front desk as she opened up the book.

        "Aiko? Are you here?" A voice called out to her a few meters away, right next to the soft drink fountain— in the right corner of the store, concealed by a shelf full of protein bars and other health food for the hippies.

        "Yeah, Sal. I'm here." Aiko replied, flipping through her encyclopedia as she checked the cash register.

        "Nice to see ya, niña. I was wonderin' when you'd show up." Sal said with a usual grumble to his tone, replenishing the shelves with new product. "How've you been?"

        Salvador was from Spain, and he bought the store off of the previous owners a few years prior, when Aiko started working. Salvador was a thin man with olive skin, and he was around an inch shorter than Aiko. He was totally bald, and he sported a clean shaven, black goatee. His usual attire consisted of mainly classic rock t-shirts or flannel button-down shirts. In this instance, he was wearing a black "Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon" shirt with the signature beam of light through the triangular prism, forming a rainbow on the other side. Along with the shirt, he wore a pair of blue jeans and red loafers. He was your average classic rock fanatic, and he would often play Led Zeppelin or Rush on the old as dirt CD player he had set up on a chair in the corner of Aiko's booth.

        "I'm alright, Sal..." Aiko nodded unconvincingly, still looking through her textbook.

        "I dunno. You're lookin' a little edgy today, eh?" Sal said, playing air guitar as his favourite riff in Kashmir came on. "C'mon, cheer up! Listen to the sweet sounds of Jimmy Page!"

        "Geez, Sal..." Aiko chuckled as she watched Sal ham it up, strolling over to the second aisle of the store, stocking the shelves with beef jerky and other road food, still strumming an imaginary guitar. "You're lucky no one is here to see that."

        "The only one who'll get embarrassed is you." Sal snickered as he ceased his miniature performance, returning to his work. "So, you've got any plans yet?"

       "I'm working on it..." Aiko shrugged her shoulders as she flipped to the section on Mark types.

        "Ah, you thinkin' of bein' a marcusologist?" Sal looked over the counter at Aiko's reading material. "You always read those books of yours."

        "Yeah, well... not really. I dunno..." Aiko shook her head as she continued reading.

        "Ah, you'll figure it out, Koko. Don't fret." Sal insisted as he turned over the 'closed' sign on the window to read 'open'. "Another day..."

        "Yep..." Aiko muttered to herself.

        After around a half hour of meagre activity, it was clear that it was going to be a very slow day. Barely any cars stopped on their way to Port Renfrew, and Salvador became anxious like he always did in the winter. He'd occupy himself with crosswords or counted the tiles on the floor to pass the time; he was somewhat like a child. Perhaps that was why she stuck with him after so many years. He knew how to let loose once in a while, and Aiko had lost that part of her. She had always been so tense and introverted, it was hard being without her high school friends, and Sal was sort of their replacement. Although, Aiko knew this little world of hers couldn't last. She was eighteen, she had a plan for the future, but it seemed so distant and impossible. Whether she had a dream or not, Aiko knew she had to leave Port Renfrew at some point. She just needed to find a way to get back up on her feet.

        "Hey, Koko. Can you pass me my water bottle? I think I left it under the desk there." Sal gestured over to Aiko's booth as he walked over, avoiding the arrangement of potato chips on the cardboard shelf by the front door— all stacked in a neat display. "Should be on the top shelf down there."

        "Huh?" It took a moment for his instructions to echo in Aiko's head. "Oh, yeah. No problem."

        Aiko got off her stool and crouched down, searching for the bottle. She leaned over a bit, going down on her knees to get more comfortable. There was a mess of other junk under the desk; CDs, cassette tapes, all old junk only Sal would have. After a minute or so of rummaging around, her hand touched something plastic. Aiko moved the old newspapers out of the way and grabbed the plastic container, placing it on the desk. However, Aiko paused before she got back on her feet.

        A subtle noise emanated from the empty space where the bottle once sat, drawing her closer. She listened carefully, perceiving them as muffled whispers of some sort. Aiko squinted, peering into the deep shelf to see what the source of the disturbance was. Hidden within the darkness was an odd symbol that shone a grey light. The symbol appeared to have two parts; the first looked a lot like a pedestrian one would see on road sign, however, behind it was the next piece— a larger, much more rigid humanoid. The whispers faded as she reached for the strange rune, and it vanished suddenly. Aiko recoiled in response, feeling a sharp sting on the back of her right hand; it felt like it had been doused in boiling water.

        "Ah!" Aiko grimaced as she inspected her hand, her eyes going wide with shock. On it was the same exact symbol she had just examined. And sure enough, as she checked underneath the desk, the symbol had disappeared.

        "What? What is it, Koko?" Sal moved closer, checking to see if she was alright.

        "N-nothing! I'm fine! I-... I just thought I saw a rat is all. Must've just been my imagination..." Aiko lied as she hid her right hand behind the desk, quickly flipping backward through her encyclopedia as she deterred Salvador from coming any closer.

        "Alright..." Sal nodded slowly as he took his water and walked to the row of coolers at the back of the store, assuming Aiko just had a moment.

        "If I'm right... then..." Aiko assessed what had just happened, recalling every detail of the experience as she came to the page in her textbook on 'Mark Acquisition'. "Here it is!"

*

CHAPTER ONE: MARK AQUISITION

        Based on information gathered from interviews with Mark-users, Marks will typically etch themselves into any conceivable surface in order to be noticed by a human. Once visual contact is established with a Mark, it will vanish from its point of origin and instantly latch itself onto the viewer's skin.(It is unknown if the area on the body in which the Mark appears contributes to the power of the Mark in any way). While the true nature of mark acquisition has yet to be revealed, marcusologists have narrowed down possible contributing factors that may lead to a person obtaining a Mark.

Factors:

#1: The parent of the new Mark-user was also a Mark-user. (This scenario has been proven to occur almost 80% of the time amongst children of Mark-users).

#2: The new Mark-user has recently experienced psychological trauma (This has been known to yield extremely powerful and volatile Marks).

#3: Danger is imminent, and the Mark appears to protect its new user.

#4: A Mark-user is in close proximity.

*

        Starting with number one on the list, Aiko began to calculate. "Alright. I know my dad isn't a Mark-user, but mom was in the IMOP, though, she didn't have one." She then came to the second bullet on the list. "No... I haven't experienced any real trauma recently. That fight with my dad wasn't anything close to a trauma." Then she moved down to the third and fourth bullet. "These two are both equally likely. Maybe it's both. If a Mark-user is close, then perhaps they're the imminent 'danger'."

        Aiko closed her book as the front door swung open, ringing the bell hanging right above it, alerting Salvador. The stranger looked homeless; he wore a torn red sweater with the hood done up, sported a shabby beard, and he seemed to drunkenly shuffle towards her booth, grabbing a pack of cigarettes from the basket on the desk. Without paying, he tore into the pack with his unusually long and sharp fingernails, dropping shreds of plastic and cardboard on the floor. Aiko spoke up after a few minutes had passed, clearly seeing the concern in Salvador's eyes. If this man was a Mark-user, she had to handle the situation herself. She couldn't let Salvador close to him. Quickly Aiko raised her hand to halt Salvador, insisting that she had the situation under control.

        "E-excuse me, sir... you haven't paid for those..." Aiko swallowed nervously, watching the shifty man snarl, gnashing a set of razor sharp canines as he tossed the cigarettes on the table. He scratched the wood countertop as a threat, indicating he had no intention of paying. "S-sir, I'll call-. Sal, no!" Aiko was too late. Before Sal could knock him on the back of the head with his elbow, he reacted, slashing Salvador across the chest with his right claw, knocking him into a nearby shelf with a savage backhand. "Sal!"

        "You should've let me have a smoke, girl! You ain't callin' the cops! I ain't goin' back!" The man's claws extended even more, and excess hair began to grow around his eyes as he took a swing at Aiko.

        "Those claws! He must be a Cellularum-type Mark of the Beast Class! " Aiko's eyes widened as she ducked, shimmying under the counter to the other side of the booth. "These guys are prone to irrational thoughts and actions! The most violent of all Mark-users! There's no way this guy can be reasoned with now that he's pissed off! I've got to deal with him now or he'll kill us both!"

        Aiko grabbed the in-case-of-emergency mace from under her desk, waiting for the right moment. Then, as the raging man sliced through a section of her desk with his claws, Aiko sprung into action. She let out a spray of burning liquid from the can of mace into the man's face as he let his guard down, blinding him.

        "Arraaghhh!" The man growled as he slashed wildly in Aiko's general direction, smashing her booth to pieces with his supernatural strength.

        Aiko vaulted over her desk before she was caught in the flurry of claws, making her way over to Sal to make sure he was still breathing. Luckily, he hadn't sustained too severe of a laceration, but he had been rendered unconscious by the beast man's brutal follow-up. Switched into survival mode, Aiko grabbed Sal and dragged him into the back room, letting the blind beast growl and roar by himself. Though she was given enough time to get Sal to safety, the homeless man began to pick up on Aiko's scent in the air, using his nose to see. Realizing this, Aiko moved away from Salvador, running into the middle aisle, right in front of the glass door of one of the various drink coolers at the back of the store.

        "C'mon! I'm right here!" Aiko shouted over to the man, a rush of adrenaline coursing through her. "Come and get me!"

        Annoyed by her confidence, the man charged forward, lunging at Aiko. But at the last second, Aiko strafed to the right, letting him run right into the glass door, shattering it to pieces. Though he was now grievously injured, the man still removed himself from the fractured remains of the cooler, his rage heightened to an even greater extent. He ran at Aiko while she was on the ground, glass lodged in face and chest, claws extended even further. This time Aiko was helpless, and in a last ditch effort, she brought her fist up, attempting to punch her attacker. To her surprise, she was not claimed by his claws. Aiko didn't feel her fist connect at all, and yet the man was thrown back with such force that he flew through two aisles, stopping only once he impacted the drink fountain, launching liquids around the room in wild, sticky geyser of browns, oranges, and reds.

         Utterly speechless, Aiko's mouth hung wide open as she found out just what had hit the beast-man. It was an arm about the size of her own, perhaps a bit larger. Its fist was clenched tightly like her own, and the whole arm appeared to be composed of the same material as the floor; tough ceramic tile and hardened grout.

        "Whaa....?" Aiko gawked as the fist retracted back into the floor, returning the ground to its normal state. The Mark on her hand flashed brightly before fading back to its more tattoo-like form, indicating its power had subsided. "That was... my Mark's ability?"
   

Offline Keeponkickingkid

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The Second Chapter of My Story!
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2017, 11:18:32 PM »

             
Spoiler
        Aiko arrived safely at home at around two in the afternoon after accompanying Salvador to the hospital via ambulance. She took a bus home— the bus stop being coincidentally located right next to her workplace —and refrained from fiddling with her newfound power. Though, admittedly, the temptation was palpable. She was mostly concerned with how to break the news to her father, as the sheer absurdity of the situation would surely hit him like a meteor. He was a short-fused man at times, but he was rational in situations like this. With how she handled the situation with the police, Aiko banked on her father's rational side, hoping it would be the first face she saw as she came through her front door. To her dismay, however, she made a poor investment.

        "You told them what?!" Aiko could see the steam shoot out of her father's ears as she finished her explanation, hissing like a boiling kettle. "Why the hell would tell the police that you have a Mark?!"

        "What? Do you think they'd believe some normie Asian kid kicked a Mark-user's ass just like that?!" Aiko huffed, crossing her arms defiantly. "Dad, I had to defend myself... and you know I'm incapable of telling a good lie."

        "Yeah... yeah, I know, Koko..." He took a couple deep breaths to regain his composure, then held her tightly in his arms. "I'm glad you're okay... though, I can't say the same for Salvador."

        "The doctors told me his wounds aren't too severe. That beast guy's claws didn't damage any internal organs, and he woke up a few hours after they treated him. Though, he'll still have to stay for quite a while..." Aiko trailed off, staring down at her feet as she took a seat at one of the stools by her kitchen island. "I wish I could've-."

        "Don't. Don't start blaming yourself, Koko. Salvador made his choice; he wanted to protect you." Aiko's father reassured her as he sat down on the nearest stool beside her own.

        "Still... what about the store? Salvador is injured, and I'm hardly qualified to run it by myself..." Aiko sighed, looking down at the Mark on her hand.

        "I'll figure something out with him, Koko. Leave that to me." Her father insisted as he took a closer look at the peculiar Mark. "So... what does it do?"

        "I'm not so sure yet. It hasn't been identified in any of my books. Although, based on what I've seen in Sal's store, I think this thing might be an Alteratio-type Mark— the ones that alter the environment but not the user. I'll have to test it out to really get to understand it." Aiko clicked her tongue as she looped around the island and grabbed a mug from her cupboard, setting it out on the island's granite countertop. "If I'm right..." Aiko tapped the countertop with her right hand, then visualized the same arm she had created out of the ceramic floor earlier. To her surprise, the granite began to spawn more of itself. At first, it formed a small bulb, then, it rapidly expanded, forming a very human-like arm entirely composed of the polished rock. "Ah-ha! So it's a Construction Class!"

        "Holy hell..." Aiko's father marvelled at the strange limb as it mimicked Aiko's moving hand, twiddling its thumb in a circular motion. "How did you figure this thing out?"

        "Well... thinking back to my encounter with the homeless guy, I had touched the floor numerous times. I just made an educated guess." Aiko then looked back down at her Mark, trying to make sense of its symbolic meaning— the larger figure standing behind the man like it was some kind of minion. "I don't think this is the extent of the Mark's power..." Aiko focused again, imagining her body emerge from a pool of water. As she did this, the arm extended until a shoulder popped out of the granite, then a face, then a torso. Slowly but surely Aiko constructed a moving, articulate statue out of the granite countertop. Yet, the counter itself didn't seem to reduce in size at all. "What-..." Aiko trailed off as the golem turned to face her. "She looks like-."

        "Jesus-..." Her father was the next to notice as he looked up at its face.

        The granite construct, while retaining Aiko's body type, was much taller and better built than Aiko herself— almost seven feet in height. It wore nothing, and though feminine in form, it lacked any detail on its breasts and was completely sexless. However, the most frightening part of the statue was its face; it was not Aiko's, but her mother's round face, similar to the one in photos Aiko had, photos of her in Okinawa when she was in university. The golem's hair was done up in a ponytail and was also made of granite, yet it flowed the same as if it were liquid— all the way down to her hips. Both Aiko and her father were rendered speechless as the eyes of the silent statue simply stared down at its master from atop the counter, awaiting her command.

        "Yumi..." Her father cupped his mouth with his right hand as the statue looked his way, copying his daughter. "Aiko... how did you-...?"

         "I-... I didn't do it on purpose, dad! I'll try and-!"

         "No, don't-..." He smiled as the statue's familiar face brought him back to his youth. "Her face looks the same as when I met her in the harbour all those years ago." He chuckled under his breath as he saw the rest of the golem's giantess body. "And the rest of her...?"

        "I don't know... maybe I don't have control over that. Maybe it's just naturally... big...?" Aiko said as she waved her hand to the side, motioning to the golem to step down from the island. It obeyed without any hesitation. "It seems to follow my commands."

        "You know what this means, right?" Her father asked as he sat back down on his stool.

        "We have to get me a registration card?" Aiko replied.

        "Most definitely. Now that the police know you've got a Mark, there'll be some registration officer phoning here any minute." He nodded, grabbing his smartphone from his pocket. "Now, where the hell is that phonebook...?" Aiko's father rummaged through a few drawers before he unknowingly bumped into the golem, who he forgot was still in the room; it was blocking the last drawer right next to the fridge. "Um... can I get through?"

        "Dad, I don't think she speaks-..." Aiko was cut off by the golem, who gave her father a nod, then took its place behind her. "Oh."

        "I'll make a call here, alright, Koko?" He said, sifting through the sea of numbers in the thick book. "Hopefully I can book you an appointment at the town office sometime tonight."

        "Um, hey, dad..." Aiko awkwardly scratched the back of her head as the hulking golem carefully followed her, making sure not to drag its abrasive feet across the wood floor. "Can I go out and-?"

        He scowled at Aiko immediately, rolling his eyes as she leaned against the golem, who stared at him with a blank, stone expression. "Aiko, you're killing me! You just got a Mark and-..." He let out a long sigh as the sound of elevator music welcomed him to the call line. "Huh... son of a gun..."

        "What?" Aiko wondered.

        "Well, I didn't think there was even a hold function on the registration line..." He said as he scratched his chin. "There must be a ton of people calling in right now."

        "So then those news reporters were right? About The Third Wave?" Aiko added.

        "For a change, yeah..." He chuckled as he stared down at the floor before looking up at Yumi's stone face.

        "Ah, go-... go outside if you want. I'll call you in once I get an answer from the office."

        "Thanks, dad..." Aiko said with a warm smile as she put her runners back on, grabbing her satchel and books. She turned to her new minion and patted her on the shoulder before opening the door. "C'mon, Yuko."

        "Yuko...?" Aiko's dad raised an eyebrow at the name.

        "Well, I figured since she looks like both mom and I, I'd combine our names...?" Aiko suggested as she walked through the doorway, waiting for Yuko to follow. Sure enough, it opened the door by itself and met her on the other side, much to her surprise. "Did you see that?!"

        Admittedly, Aiko's father was practically screaming on the inside. The angry dad side of him wanted her to stay in the house, to get rid of the silly statue. But he couldn't find it in himself to say something like that, not when he could see his wife's face just a few meters away. Aiko was the kind of girl who would walk her path alone, independent. She got that from Yumi. And now that she had a Mark of her own, he could see even more pathways open up for her. On one hand, the multitude of possibilities frightened his rational side, shaking him by the shoulders, telling him to intervene. However, on the other hand, with all the knowledge she already had, and her mother's spirit guiding her, he just couldn't step in front of Aiko. She was eighteen, and despite his best efforts to get Aiko to stray from her goal, he couldn't stop her. Just like her mother, Aiko wanted to be an International Marked-One Police officer. Like it or not, he had to face facts.

****

        Aiko's backyard was dominated mostly by the large creek that ran through it year round into a pond at the bottom of a ravine. Even in the winter, the weather would always be warm enough for her to wade in the clear stream. As a child, she would often make paper boats with her father, then race them down the stream to see who would make it down the waterfall at the end.

        "Okay, okay... let's try something here..." Aiko dunked her hand into the creek, grabbing a rock about the size of her hand. Yuko stood firm in the creek, unmoving in the currents as she watched her master juggle the rock about. Aiko held the rock up to Yuko's face, making sure she saw what she was holding. "Alright, Yuko... show me what you can do. Think fast!" Aiko tossed the rock at her stone minion's face, and as she predicted, the golem blew it away. But not only did it do that; as a showcase of its strength and precision, it flicked the rock with its index finger, smashing it to pieces. "Holy *censored*!" Aiko shielded her eyes from the flying debris as the piece exploded into a grey mist. "Damn... you're strong." In fact, the force of the impact was so great that the golem's finger had been completely blown off.

        Aiko wanted to try something else, something more intense. She grabbed a piece of white shale from the drier rocks along the banks of the creek, then followed the stream and jumped down into the ravine, marking a large boulder near the pond with a big white 'X'.

        "Smash this rock," Aiko ordered her golem, slapping the large stone before taking a good few steps back for safety.

        "Ha..." The golem muttered as it raised its left hand over the stone. "Ya!" Faster than Aiko's eye could track, the golem's hand slammed into the stone with incredible speed, smashing it like a piece of porcelain. However, it lost its left forearm in the process.

        "Huh... looks like you need some repairs..." Aiko scratched her chin for a moment as she thought, searching the banks for a larger rock. Sure enough, she found a sturdy looking black rock— polished by the gentle currents. "I wonder...?" She tapped the stone with her finger, causing her golem to morph and change. Yuko lost her grey and became obsidian black like the stone in Aiko's hand, and she took on an even more polished sheen. Her forearm and finger also regenerated as well. "So I suppose I'll have to keep switching between substances to get the most use out of you, huh?"

        "Uh." The golem nodded, standing tall and at the ready.

        "Can you speak English?" Aiko asked the giantess, to which she received no reply. "Guess not... but you seem somewhat capable of individual thought. Where do you come from exactly?"

        "Un..." The golem replied, pointing at the black stone in Aiko's hand.

        "Well, yeah, I know that..." Aiko grumbled as she tossed the stone back in the creek, running her hand through her hair, realizing how insane the whole thing was. "Oh my god, am I talking to a rock...?"

        "Uh," Yuko mumbled.

        "Well, anyways... let's try some other stuff."Aiko climbed up the hillside into her backyard, scouring the ground for any other materials. "Where was that-? Ah!" Aiko grinned as she came to her father's axe; it was embedded in a two-by-four lying on the ground. She removed the axe from the wood, placing her hand on the metal head as she watched Yuko closely. As expected, the golem's body became the steel on the edge of the axe— a little faded but still metallic. "Oh, this should be good. Let's see how fast you are now..."

        "Un." Yuko nodded, raising her fists and readying herself.

       Aiko scooped up a handful of rocks, tossing them at Yuko all at once in a grapeshot volley. "Think fast!"

        "Yaaaaaaaaaa!" Yuko screamed as she unleashed a barrage of punches, so fast in fact, that the speed of the punches kicked up wind, and her arms appeared to be simply silver streaks in the air. Each punch obliterated a stone flying at Yuko before Aiko could even gawk at the impressive feat. With a nod, Yuko ceased her flurry, her hands hot from the friction of scraping the air at such high velocities.

        "Holy hell... even when she's made of steel she's fast..." Aiko marvelled at the steam radiating from Yuko's hands. "Her hands must've been going at least six-hundred kilometres an hour!"

        "Un," Yuko grunted in her low but still feminine voice.

        "Hey, Koko! I got through to the registration office!" Aiko's father called out to her as he stuck his head out of the door.

        "What did they say?"

        "They're clogged up until tomorrow morning I'm afraid. There's a ton of new Mark-users in Port Renfrew from what I've heard." He answered, motioning to Aiko to come inside. "C'mon. Let's have a bite to eat in that case." He then stopped the door with his foot to let them both pass. "Hey, is your statue thing steaming?!"

         "Uh." Yuko groaned as she followed Aiko inside.

****

         Aiko's father served his famous grilled cheese and mushroom soup that lunch, a Rodger Schmitt trademark dish he was awfully prideful of. And truthfully, it had the taste to back such pride. Aiko and her father sat at the island like they always did, and Yuko stood in the living room, eyeing the TV like a mystified child as 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly' played on TCM.

        "Uh?" Yuko paid close attention to Clint Eastwood's character as he dispatched a multitude of cowboys with his revolver. "Un..."

        "Uh, dad... don't you think she should be watching something a little more light-hearted?" Aiko asked as she watched Yuko pace about the living room carpet, mimicking Eastwood's stoic walk.

        "Nah, she's a big girl. Besides, you've got her under control, don't ya?"

        "Well, yeah, but..." Aiko swallowed nervously as Yuko began made a fake gun with her thumb and index finger. "I'm not so sure how independent she is."

        "If she has both you and Yumi in her then she won't hurt a fly, trust me." He insisted, taking a sip of his coffee as he unfolded the newspaper, opening up to the 'world politics' section. "Ah, what the hell are the Russians up to now?"

        "What? Did they annex anybody?" Aiko inquired.

        "No, nothing like that. That didn't go over too well the first time. That Brokov is a tricky bastard, let me tell you... he's breathing down the neck of China again. The guy won't quit!"

        "Geez, are the Russians crazy? Why don't they just get him out of power?" Aiko suggested, taking a peek at her father's newspaper.

        "From what I've learned in books, those Russians like being oppressed. Besides, their president has an entourage of Mark-users around him at all times. Any assassin going after him is either a loon or has a death wish."

        "Oh yeah... doesn't Brokov have Crimson Inferno as his right-hand man? I heard that guy once melted a whole town just by walking through it." Aiko recalled her days as a high school student when news of popular IMOP agents would trickle through social media and enter the classroom. "I think he had a Productorem-type Mark."

        "He's a disgrace to the badge. He thinks he's some kind of god just because his academy won the M Games two years ago." He scoffed at the thought of him. "Most of those First Wavers are just a bunch of cocky assholes."

        "First come, first to rule I guess." Aiko shrugged her shoulders, then took a long sip from her glass of milk. Her eyes wandered, staring over towards Yuko, who was clapping her hands vigorously at the sight of Clint Eastwood with a stogie in his mouth.

        "Huh... she has good taste in movies." Aiko's father grinned as he finished off his coffee.

        "You seem fairly lax about this whole thing, dad. I mean... there's a seven foot tall, naked metal woman sitting in your living room watching old western movies, and you're not even flinching." Aiko said as she gathered all their dishes and placed them in the sink to rinse.

        "Eh, your mother told me crazier stories during her time in the IMOP. You've heard em'." He chuckled, folding up his newspaper and laying it out on that table as he tucked in his chair.

        "Not all of them." Aiko pried, wishing to unravel this side of her father.

        "There's too many to count..." He bit his tongue before his excitement got the better of him, and he tossed his coffee mug in the dishwasher, tending to the dishes in the sink that needed to be washed off.

        "You would think." Aiko backed off, realizing the package she was unwrapping.

        "Aiko? Would you toss these dishes in the washer? I'm gonna go out for a walk." Her father muttered as he shuffled past Yuko, who tugged on his pant leg curiously. But he shook her off. "It's fine."

        Yuko unfolded her legs and stood up, wandering over to Aiko, who watched as her father stormed off without a goodbye. "Uh?"

        "It's taken me four years to get that far with him... four." Aiko crossed her arms uncomfortably, glaring at the ground to vent her frustration. "I want to know what he's thinking when he's like that... just once." Aiko was met with a long silence as she sat on the edge of the kitchen sink, Yuko standing just a foot away. "Oh, what the hell am I doing? I'm talking to a giant hunk of metal now..."

        "Ko..." Yuko raised an eyebrow at Aiko as she peered into her eyes; they were the same as hers. "Ko."

        "Yeah, that's what my dad calls me. Koko." Aiko nodded, jumping off the sink.

        "Koko?" Yuko grunted as she stared down at her own hands like they were those of an alien.

Spoiler

Offline Coryn

  • Director of the MR Science Division
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Re: The First Chapter of My Story!
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2017, 11:02:09 AM »
Sorry, but please keep it to one topic per story. I've merged the first two topics, but please keep them together from now on.

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline shonengiajin

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Re: The First Chapter of My Story!
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2017, 01:09:50 PM »
I'm loving this...keep it going.

Offline Keeponkickingkid

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Re: The First Chapter of My Story!
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2017, 05:50:20 PM »
Thanks! I'll post the rest here when I have time! :)
I currently have about 43 chapters, so it might take quite a bit of reformatting to get em' up.

Offline Keeponkickingkid

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Re: The Third Chapter of My Story!
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2017, 06:01:23 PM »
And... here's the third chapter! :)

               
Spoiler
        In the morning, Aiko walked along the empty highway towards Port Renfrew with Yuko beside her, staring up at the towering cedars that cast great shadows upon them, kicking pebbles across the pavement out of boredom. Yuko didn't seem to copy Aiko, and she was quite silent along the way. She seemed lost, out of place, like some object without purpose. Perhaps this was her own self-awareness acting upon itself, or maybe she was perplexed by her own senses. Regardless of what it was, Aiko could feel the uncertainty in Yuko, as if they shared some kind of psychic link— an empathic bond.

        "Hey, Yuko... are you alright?" Aiko asked the giant metal woman, who simply looked down at the ground with a blank expression on her face.

        "Un..." Her reply was empty and without weight.

        The whole situation was so odd to Aiko. She had never felt such a deep connection to anyone before, and she had only known Yuko for less than a day. Surely this had to be an attribute of her ability, perhaps she was indeed linked to Yuko. Despite being only conceived the day before, Yuko unknowingly became accustomed to her perceptions. What were years of learning for humans appeared to be mere hours for Yuko; possibly a result of the link between her mind and Aiko.

        "Uh?" Yuko raised an eyebrow at the butterfly that landed gently on her shoulder.

        "That's a butterfly, Yuko," Aiko said as she let the tiny blue insect rest on her index finger. "There isn't too many of these on Vancouver Island, but-..." Aiko trailed off as Yuko's eyes fixated on the beat of the butterfly's wings. "My mom used to love these."

        "Ah..." Yuko nodded as she methodically examined the strange creature."Ko?"

        "What is it, Yuko?"

        "Uh?" Yuko grunted as she pointed towards the approaching city in the distance.

        "Oh, that's Port Renfrew. I used to go to school there a year ago." Aiko answered as she looked ahead at the quiet city fast approaching.

        Port Renfrew, even after years of technological development, remained a city frozen in time. The people there had grown up in this environment; a world of evergreens and ocean waves. Aiko got her sense of style from most of the locals, who grew up in the early 2000's; they wore old clothing, usually jean jackets or sweaters. The people there hadn't been swept up in the trends of the present, but perhaps that's what it would be like for every fading generation. Their era was filled with panic, disorder amongst the chaos of The First Wave, when Mark-users became known to the world in a tidal wave of fear. Many of their time had no idea what to think; all the world's problems at the time just seemed so obsolete, people forgot to look at the big picture. In the blink of an eye, humans became something far more. It was a scary thought to grasp.

        "Okay, Yuko. I need you to be quiet around others, okay? I don't want you to freak out the locals. So for all intents and purposes, you're a human Mark-user. Got it?" Aiko grumbled as she saw Yuko, still fiddling with the butterfly. "Just stay quiet, alright? And don't talk to anyone."

        "Uh." Yuko nodded, paying only half-attention.

        Aiko tried to help Yuko blend in; she gave her a tank top and sweatpants, and her father's giant rubber boots he had bought in a size far too large but kept as he was too lazy to return them. The blue tank top looked like more of a sports bra on Yuko, and it only covered up her chest area down to her lower ribs, or rather, where her ribs would've been if she was made of flesh and bone. Her black sweatpants barely fit Yuko's massive legs and waist; inheriting Aiko's figure didn't make it very easy to find proper clothing with Yuko's proportions. On top of it all, Aiko's father gave Yuko his baggy, yellow raincoat, which was more of a form-fitting jacket on Yuko. Though she did look like a simple, human Mark-user, Yuko's size and steel body still attracted the attention of every passerby they came across along the sidewalk of Main Street. Yuko, in her own oblivious fashion, simply smiled and waved to each person she met.

        "Yuko, cut it out. Be cool, okay?" Aiko demanded, sticking her hands in her jean pockets as they passed by antique shops and lodges.

        "Ah..." Yuko nodded slowly as she began to walk like Clint Eastwood in the movies, with determination and a drag in her step. Then she began to hum the classic theme song to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, narrowing her eyes like a cowboy in a showdown at high noon.

        "Please don't hum that when we get to the registration office..." Aiko laughed lightly at Yuko's innocence as she continued to play the role of the gunslinger.

        Luckily Aiko's father was worried about a lineup; they had come early in the morning. There were few people in the office at the time, and most workers had only just shown up to work. Admittedly, Aiko felt a little guilty about showing up so early, and the occasional stink-eye was given to her and Yuko as they were both directed to the empty waiting area of the lobby. Yuko kept a smile on her face, though, she found it difficult to plant her rear on the seat, as she was far too large. Frustrated and growing impatient, she bent the metal armrests of the seat so she could fit, and as she sat, the chair groaned under the immense weight of the steel woman.

        "Um, uh...!" Aiko began to panic as she watched the secretary get up out of her chair. "Yuko, maybe you should stand up?!"

        "Uh?" Yuko scratched her chin as she got out of the chair, which began to sigh as the overwhelming pressure was relieved from its frail body. "Ah."

        "Aiko Suzuki Schmitt?" The secretary asked, regaining her composure.

        "Y-yeah...?" Aiko usually was scolded after hearing her full name said aloud, and now it seemed a more likely time for that than ever.

        "The physician will see you now." The secretary said as she adjusted her glasses and fastened her blazer. "Just take the door on my right. He'll be on the other side." The specialized physical examination would come first.

        "Al-alright..." Aiko rushed over to the door with Yuko following behind, shaking the ground beneath her; perhaps steel was not the best material to utilize when around delicate objects. "Slow down, Yuko!"

        "Uh?" Yuko shrugged her shoulders as she entered the small office on the other side of the door, ducking to avoid hitting her head on the top of the doorway.

        The physician sat in a rolling office chair with an apple in hand, gawking at the titanic metal woman behind Aiko, who gave him a wave and a wide grin. "Oh, my..."

        "I-uh... how are ya, Doc?" Aiko tried to cut through the awkwardness with a smile, but hers was far too forced.

        "You're, uh... who's Aiko Schmitt out of the two of you?" The physician swallowed nervously as he tugged on his polo shirt's collar. "Are you two sisters?"

        "Um, kind of, I guess..." Aiko chuckled, sitting down on a nearby chair next to the physician's desk as she closed the door behind Yuko. She gestured with her Mark to the physician. "She's my golem, I suppose?"

        "I see..." The physician said as he brushed his well-groomed beard with his right hand, then he stuck out his left hand to shake Aiko's. "Well, My name is Doctor Raj Chopra, I specialize in physical examinations for Mark-users." The clearly Indian doctor said as he shook Aiko's hand. "I'm sorry, I don't usually have an extra seat. Your friend will have to stand."

        "That's fine, believe me. I'm pretty sure she'd crush your chairs like porcelain..." Aiko laughed nervously as she thought back to the waiting room chair. "How much does it cost to replace one of those chairs in your lobby?"

        "Not much, why do you ask?" The doctor wondered.

        "Bah, just curious!" Aiko tapped her index finger on the armrest furiously.

        "Oh, I see. We'll cover that." The doctor nodded as she stared up at Yuko, who still kept a cheerful expression on her face. "Well, anyways, let's get down to business." Doctor Chopra said as he prepared a clipboard. "So, how long have you had your Mark?"

        "Less than twenty-four hours."

        "And what is your Mark t-?"

        "Alteratio-type, Construction Class, Contact Subclass."

        "Impressive..." Doctor Chopra said as he wrote the information down on Aiko's form attached to the clipboard. "You figured this all out in less than a day?"

        "Yeah, uh... yeah." It took Aiko only a moment to realize how nerdy she sounded.

        "May I have a look at Yuko?" Doctor Chopra asked as he got out of his chair. "I'm not equipped for up-close and personal examinations, but I'm curious of her anatomy. Do you mind?"

        "Um..." Aiko looked up at Yuko, who seemed a little nervous in the doctor's presence. "Yeah. Yuko, it's okay. Just do as he asks."

        "Thank you, Aiko. Now, Yuko? Can you open your mouth for me? I'd just like to have a peek inside." Doctor Chopra requested, to which Yuko did as she was asked, opening her mouth wide for the doctor to examine. "Huh... remarkable. She appears to have a mouth and a full set of teeth with an esophagus..." The doctor examined further, tapping on various parts of Yuko's body, starting with her head. "Her skull appears solid— no brain." He tapped on her torso. "Solid. She doesn't seem to have any internal organs at all. How is she sentient, or even moving for that matter? Interesting."

        "Un?" Yuko shrugged her shoulders; not even she knew.

        "So, will she have to get a registration card too?" Aiko asked.

        "Well, she's not technically human, so I think not." Doctor Chopra answered her as she shook Yuko's hand. "Thanks for being a good sport, Yuko."

        "Ah!" Yuko giggled as she clapped her hands together.

        "Now, let's have you weighed, Aiko." Doctor Chopra said as he prepared a scale.

        Since she graduated, Aiko felt the scale to be somewhat of an enemy. Though she was not overweight by any means, Aiko was not at all skinny either. She had retained a fairly high level of physical fitness throughout high school, but once she graduated, she no longer had Phys. Ed class to keep her healthy, nor did she have time do go to the gym. So, naturally, she gained weight. And although it was only six pounds, Aiko went on a diet. Though this was not the product of any self-esteem issues, Aiko was simply a creature of habit, a prisoner of routine. Any shift in an equation and Aiko would be thrown off course, any bump in the road. Aiko couldn't handle not being the same weight and shape all her life.

        "Okay..." Aiko bit her lip as she stepped on the scale, and the doctor immediately began to adjust the various dials and measures; she could almost hear a drum roll in the back of her head.

        "One hundred and fifty-one. It has gone up three pounds from your last examination in May at the clinic. Don't worry, this is expected of a woman fresh out of high school."

        "*censored*ing hell, are you serious?! I gained three *censored*ing pounds?!" Aiko cursed her luck. "Well, at least it goes to my chest and hips..."

        "Ah, I know that look. My daughter gets that same look on her face too. Don't get worried about numbers like this, Miss Schmitt, you're sitting at a healthy weight for a girl of your proportions." Doctor Chopra tried reassuring Aiko, but she seemed to be in too much of a huff to pay attention. "Now, this isn't a real physical, so we're done here, Aiko. Your height is still five-foot-nine, correct?"

        "Yeah," Aiko replied, still hung up on the number.

        "Alright. That concludes the examination process. I'll have you talk with the secretary at the front desk. She'll give you a temporary registration card for you to have until yours comes in the mail. It shouldn't be more than a week or so." The doctor explained as he opened up his door, ushering the two outside. "Now, I'll be having many more new people coming in soon, so you best be going. Goodbye Miss Aiko, Miss Yuko."

        "Thanks, doc." Aiko gave Doctor Chopra a salute and a wink as she and Yuko left his office and walked over to the front. The stink-eye secretary forced a smile as Aiko leaned on her desk. "I'd like one temporary registration card, Miss..." Aiko tilted her head to the side to see the secretary's nametag clearer as she handed her the registration form. "Malory?"

        With a huff, the secretary read her registration form and filled out the small yellow card with all the essential information. "Here you go, Miss..."

        "Thank you kindly..." Aiko grinned as she hopped off the orderly desk, tucking the card in her jacket pocket as she stepped outside, trying her best to shake off her previously adopted dismay with a brighter face. To her surprise there were already people lining up at the entrance, each waiting for their registration card. And as Aiko descended the concrete staircase towards the sidewalk of Main Street, she could see the line extend to almost ten meters. "Damn... maybe dad had a point..."

        "Un." Yuko nodded as she turned her attention towards each person in the lineup, greeting them all with the same innocent expression as they passed the line.

        "Okay, what did dad want again...?" Aiko ruminated on the thought before taking out her smartphone, checking the list her father sent her via text. "Right, eggs." She said, tucking her phone back in her pocket as she cut through the line, taking an alleyway shortcut to get to the next street over. "C'mon, Yuko, we'll get to the grocer quicker this way."

        "Uh?" Yuko scratched her head worrisomely, following Aiko down the alleyway.

        "Oh, chill out, Yuko. I'm used to this kind of stuff." Aiko insisted as she popped a piece of bubble gum into her mouth that she had kept in the breast pocket of her jacket. "I'm not new to this."

        Aiko had traversed the alley countless times before during her trips to the local grocer, and it was the same as ever. A few dumpsters lined the brick walls confining the alley, and the occasional stray cat would often walk by, or you'd stumble across some graffiti art. But for Aiko, it was something more. To her, each pathway meant a new horizon. Her mother taught her that. All roads connected, yet they all seemed to diverge at the same time. Even an alleyway was that sort of path. And in Aiko's case, this was the path she took routinely. As a child, it was used as an escape for Aiko, a compromise to the never-changing world she grew up in. But by now, she had walked each alley, explored every inch of the silent city. What had once been adventure had been dulled to mere necessity in order to traverse Port Renfrew.

        The grocer directly adjacent to the alley's end was an organic market, typical of most towns on Vancouver Island. Even after all this time, hippies and hipsters still ran amok in Port Renfrew, and Aiko always enjoyed that down-to-earth charm of her city; it was an escape from the constant push towards the future felt in Victoria, a relief from the ever-changing world. Though, being of the newer generations, Aiko still felt trapped, caught between her own need for routine and her future.

        Grey clouds hung in the sky like any winter on the island, always waiting for the right moment to shower the land below. As a precaution, the various booths of the miniature farmer's market outside of the grocer kept tents over their heads. Yuko was intrigued by each hippie booth; some sold hand-made soaps, others sold herbal remedies and flavoured drinks, and there would even be an occasional vegetable stand run by a real farmer, riding on the coattails of the larger commercial market behind him. Aiko usually found her food here, as the prices were better and the food was far fresher.

        Her usual stop for eggs was a small booth, or rather, the back of an egg farmer's truck. The egg farmer was a jovial woman in her sixties named Peggy; a widow, though not the usual that was often stereotyped. She was far from melancholy, and her wild grey hair and hazel eyes accented her charmingly eccentric personality. She typically wore some kind of plaid vest over a dress shirt, and her farm dog, Rusty, accompanied her wherever she went. He was an old dog; deaf, a little jumpy, but he was loyal and caring like any dog would be. He was a golden retriever, chow chow cross, and he brandished a scruffy looking orange mane of fur with long ears and a broad snout. He sat on the end gate of Peggy's truck, guarding her eggs, and Peggy stood beside her lawn chair close by, tending to another customer.

        Her customer was an odd duck, more than Peggy even, which was hard to do seeing as how Peggy would often drink gin out of an empty coffee container. Her customer was not old, only in his mid-twenties or so, and he appeared to be Chinese, or perhaps only half, as his jaw was quite chiselled and his eyes were somewhat wider. He was well-built, and his windblown black hair was fairly long, about shoulder length, held back by the burgundy bowler cap atop his head. Aiko couldn't see the stranger's eyes behind his flat, rounded mirror shades, but she could see he had a thin, black goatee. His face, however,  was overshadowed by his truly odd attire. The stranger wore a t-shirt beneath his burgundy tweed coat, displaying a famous painting by Roy Lichtenstein, Drowning Girl. He also had numerous pins on the left side of his coat, the most interesting being a palm-sized button with a cartoon 'Bang!' sound effect on it in bold red letters. The stranger's dark blue jeans were paired with a custom belt; it had a buckle that read, 'JLB', which Aiko assumed were his initials. And to top it all off, he wore a pair of pointed, brown leather loafers to go along with his gloves.

        "Thank you, miss..." The odd man said with a charismatic purr to his voice as he gave Peggy a few coins extra, taking a carton of eggs from the container beside Rusty and placing them gently inside his satchel. "Nice dog."

        "Thanks..." Peggy said as she took his money, watching him walk across the parking lot with a subtle spring in his step."Oh, hey, Aiko-..." Peggy gawked as Yuko's shadow was cast down upon her. "Uh... who's your friend?"

        "Oh, um... she's my cousin?" Aiko chuckled as she patted Yuko on the back. "Say hello, Yuko."

        "Uh." Yuko waved at Peggy for but a moment before being instantly magnetized to her dog. "Ah!"

        "She, uh... doesn't talk too much," Aiko stated as Yuko began to pet the dog excitedly.

        "I see. And is she... one of those Mark-users?" Peggy inquired further.

        "Yeah. She's staying with us for a while." Aiko replied as she pointed at a carton sticking out of the open crate beside Rusty. "I'd like a carton of eggs please, Peggy. Still five bucks?"

        "You betcha!" Peggy grinned as she passed Aiko the closest container. "Here's a dozen eggs fresh from the chicken's rear."

        "Thanks, Peg," Aiko grinned as she passed her the money, but stopping the exchange abruptly as she heard a ruckus coming from the parking lot. "What the-?"

        "Hey, stop!" The odd man from before had been mugged; his phone was snatched right out of his hand by a hooded figure, who made a break for it across the street into the same long alleyway Aiko passed through.

        "Hold on a sec, Peggy! I've gotta jet here!" Aiko's legs moved on their own, and she was in hot pursuit of the thief, locked on target. "C'mon, Yuko!"

        "Ko!" Yuko clapped her hands as she patted the dog on the head one last time before racing after Aiko.

        "Mark-users, man..." Peggy groaned as she held the egg carton and money in her hands.

        Aiko had no clue what she was doing. She simply acted on instinct, springing into action without any rhyme or reason. However, she felt a sense of purpose with Yuko by her side, like this was the right course of action. And judging by the determined gaze of Yuko, she was equally determined to prove herself. They chased the thief into the alley, Yuko catching up quickly with her long legs. Using her moderate knowledge of fighting from karate classes, Aiko had Yuko kick at the back of the thief's leg, felling him. He tumbled, crashing head first into a dumpster. As Aiko approached him, he pulled out a gun, firing it at Yuko in fear of the looming giant. The bullet bounced off Yuko as if it were a tiny pebble, and she grabbed the man's wrist tightly, easily crushing it like a toothpick.

        "Gah!" The thief cried out as his bones cracked and snapped. Then, out of desperation, he outstretched his hand, creating a small opening in the air itself that shot out a putrid brown liquid at Aiko. She dodged in time, and Yuko clamped down harder on his wrist. "You *censored*in' bitch!"

        "Is that stuff sewage? What the hell kind of power is that?" Aiko plugged her nose as the brown liquid began to let off its rotten miasma. "Still... you aren't getting away from me!"

        "Go to hell!" The thief grimaced as he opened up another door in the air, this time a small, doughnut hole sized pocket that shot out a burst of compressed air that blinded Aiko and Yuko. Freed from Yuko's grasp, he reached for his pistol, but he was blocked by a sudden puff of debris kicked up in front of him by an extremely fast bullet-like projectile that cracked like a whip.

        "Alright, alright..." A voice nearby called out to Aiko. "Nice save, girly," It was the man who had his phone stolen, leaning against the brick wall of the registration building. "But I'll take it from here." He stepped in front of Yuko, reaching into the interior pocket of his coat to flash his IMOP badge. "The name's Johnny Lin Bhang of the International Marked One Police. I was hoping you'd take my phone, Rick Marshal. That is your name, right?"

        "What the hell?" The thief gawked as he clasped his broken wrist. "How did you-?"

        "I've been tracking you for around a day now, Rick." Officer Bhang said as he strut towards the thief, looming over him. "I wasn't sure if you were a Mark-user or not, but luckily this vixen here proved my theory about you. You've been committing acts of petty theft in Port Renfrew for more than a month, and you haven't ever been caught, so the Vancouver Branch sent me in to bust you a couple days ago. Now I got ya, pal, and you're facing some pretty hefty charges; theft and attempted murder... your future doesn't look too promising." Officer Bhang put a toothpick in his mouth and began to fiddle with it impatiently. "Since I'm such a great guy, I'll give you one last warning: don't get 'attempted murder of an IMOP officer' on your record."

        The thief began to sweat buckets, reaching into yet another air pocket, only to unsheath a second pistol. "Like hell, you can-! Arrggh!"

        In the blink of an eye, Officer Bhang's right forearm shot out of its socket like a bullet, slamming into the thief's face with incredible speed and force. Aiko could see the arm was still attached, though, not by flesh or bone, but by a long steel spring. His arm retracted back into his elbow quickly, and the thief was knocked out cold by the blow, his nose smashed in.

        With a long sigh, Officer Bhang turned the unconscious ruffian over onto his back and handcuffed him, lifting him onto his back with a grunt. "Jesus, he's heavy..." He shook his head in disappointment as he trudged over to Aiko and Yuko. "Thanks for the assist, girls. Which one of you is the Mark-user?"

        "I am, sir." Aiko piped up, pointing at the Mark on her right hand.

        "Ah, I see. You're a Construction Class, huh?" Officer Bhang grinned as he patted Yuko on the shoulder. "Pretty cool." With another grunt, Officer Bhang reached into his pocket and withdrew a slip of paper, using his knee as a makeshift table to write on it. "Here. You were a big help, and I think I know a place that could use a girl like yourself. Ever heard of the IMOP Academy in Victoria?"

        "Y-yes, sir!" Aiko could barely contain her excitement.

        "Yeah, that was a dumb question..." Officer Bhang chuckled as he got a better grip on the thief. "Listen, if you ever think of joining, gimme a call. I'll be here for the foreseeable future, and if you want I can give em' my recommendation. We're looking for new recruits nowadays what with all this hubbub."

        "Really?!" Aiko's face was practically glowing at this point. "T-thank you, sir!"

        "No prob, sweetheart. Actually, give me a sec here..." Officer Bhang said as he set the thief down beside a dumpster at the entrance of the alleyway, grabbing his phone and calling someone. It took a few seconds before there was an answer on the other side. "Hey, Chief? I got em'. Nah, not by myself. I actually had this Mark-user-... wait, what's your name, hun?"

        "Aiko Schmitt, sir!" She replied, containing the urge to dance around Yuko in a spastic manner.

        "Wait, Schmitt...?" Officer Bhang raised an eyebrow at the mention of her last name. "Related to Yumi Schmitt?"

        "Y-yes, she's my mom! She was an officer during The Second Wave! You knew her...?" Aiko's mother never told stories of her comrades back when she was still a part of the force.

        "Yeah, quite well actually..." Officer Bhang reminisced, leaning back against the wall as he awaited his automated car to hone in on his location. "Small world..." Officer Bhang leaped to his feet as his hovering police car pulled up to the alleyway, grabbing the criminal and tossing him in the backseat. "Listen, kid, I gotta get going. Talk the whole academy thing over with your parent or guardian, then phone in to book an appointment if you're still interested." Officer Bhang stepped into the driver's seat, closing the door behind him. "Thanks, Aiko, you were a big help."

        "You're welcome!" Aiko waved to him as he drove off, then hugged Yuko tightly, bouncing up and down like a rubber ball. "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! Yes! Oh, Yuko, you don't know how happy I am! Do you know what this means?!"

        "Uh?" Yuko shrugged.

        "It means I've almost assured a spot in the academy now!" Aiko let go of her golem, taking a moment to catch her breath. "Oh man... I have to tell dad!" Aiko began to race down the alleyway, to which Yuko tugged on her jacket, stopping her dead in her tracks. "What? What is it?"

        "Koko..." Yuko looked back at the organic market, pointing towards the tents outside.

        "Oh, *censored*, the eggs!" Aiko slammed her face into her palm, growling under her breath.   


Offline Ocky88

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Re: The Third Chapter of My Story!
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2017, 12:05:09 AM »
And... here's the third chapter! :)

Should of posted all the chapters in the first one you made.  just modify them.  I think that is what the forum moderator was trying to tell you to do.

you can take a look at mines to see what i did.  the first part of Reunion excided the 50k charactor limit they have on the forum and is the reason why I had to make another post for EMerge under it for part two. but you should get the idea

               

Offline Keeponkickingkid

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Re: The First Chapter of My Story!
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2017, 12:11:55 AM »
Actually, I believe the mod reduced my story to one topic because I had two posts going, not because I didn't post everything at once. If I continued to post individual chapters as new topics, I would have clogged up the Manga Creations forum, which I didn't think about beforehand. That's how I interpreted him.

Offline Keeponkickingkid

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Re: The Fourth Chapter of My Story!
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2017, 12:30:18 AM »

Here's the fourth chapter! :)

Spoiler
        "And this IMOP officer just... gave you his number?" Aiko's father could help but be suspicious about her whole story.

        "Yeah! Here," Aiko set the slip of paper with Officer Bhang's number on the kitchen table, sliding it over to her father. "This is it; he told me to ask you for permission before calling, so..."

        "Aiko, I-..." Her father let out an exasperated sigh, running his hand through his dark locks as he sat back in his seat to think it over. He grabbed a photo from his pocket, the one he kept of Yumi; she was dressed in full IMOP gear next to him as they sat together on their living room couch. The picture was taken before her first day on the job. "Okay, Aiko... okay..." He said with much reluctance. "I know it's different this time. I know you have a Mark and all that, but-..." He sighed again, dialling the number on his cellphone. "It's ringing." He unconsciously began tapping his index finger on the armrest of his chair. "Hello?"

        "*censored*, why do I push him all the damn time...?" Aiko thought to herself as she stood in front of Yuko by the kitchen island, seeing past her father's blank face, feeling his tidal wave of emotions. "I feel like a piece of *censored*." She had gotten so caught up in her own excitement, that she failed to recognize her father's discomfort with the whole situation. It was all bringing him back to her mother, over and over again.

        "Hey, who's this?" Officer Bhang asked on the other end of her father's call.

        "Roger Schmitt. I'm Aiko Schmitt's father, the one requesting a recommendation for the academy?" He answered, glaring down at his half-full cup of coffee set out on the table.

        "Heh, nice to hear your voice after all these years, Smitty..." Officer Bhang laughed.

        "Johnny?!" He gasped, nearly bumping his knee on the table as he got up out of his seat. "Oh my god, how long has it been?" He then held a hand over his phone to muffle his voice as he turned to Aiko. "Koko, you never told me you met Johnny Bhang!"

        "Wait, you know this guy-? Wait, that's a dumb question..." Aiko slapped herself on the forehead, realizing she had forgotten all about the minor details of her conversation with Officer Bhang in the alleyway regarding her mother.

        "Geez, where've you been, pal? It's been a long time." He seemed less tense than before, leaning up against the fridge as countless memories flooded back to him.

        "I've been workin', same as always." Officer Bhang replied. "So, your girl's a Mark-user, huh?"

        "Yeah, I'm... still trying to get used to it..." He glanced over at Yuko, who waved absentmindedly at him. "So she helped you out in the alleyway, huh...?" Officer Bhang's reply became somewhat muddled as Aiko's father turned away. "Yeah... she's always been sort of a rowdy one. Yeah, just like Yumi." He sat back down at the table, getting down to the brass tacks of the situation. "Anyways, you offered her your recommendation for the IMOP academy, right?"

        "Yeah. Based on what I've seen, she can join for the second semester, and luckily that's only two days away."

        "It wasn't like that when Yumi joined... what's the rush?" He wondered.

        "If you haven't noticed, it's getting tense out there. The Third Wave is larger than we thought. Marcusologists predict an increase of thirty million at the very least. And Vancouver Island is special, Smitty. This whole area has been marked off as an anomaly. Thousands of new Mark-users have been comin' out of the woodwork as of late around the southern regions of the island, and that includes your daughter."

        "Yeah, it doesn't look too good." He shook his head worrisomely as he took a sip of his coffee.

        "With the mettle she's already shown me, I'd be willing to fast track her into a group. The girl has spunk, she just needs the right training with Sarge." Officer Bhang paused for a moment, remembering Yumi. "Roger... it'll be different this time. The academy knows what it's doing now."

        "I know, John... I just want to be sure..." He took a deep breath, taking note of the concern on her daughter's face. "I need you to guarantee her safety, Johnny. Can you do that for me?"

        "Yeah, Smitty, don't worry. None of us will make the same mistake again. I promise." Officer Bhang's words were reassuring for Aiko's father, but Aiko's mind became an overflowing mess of chaos filled with new questions about her mother. Though, reluctantly, she bit her tongue; dropping questions like that on her father would only make it difficult. "So how about it, Roger? You wanna sign her up? I can do that for you right away, you won't have to lift a finger."

        He thought for a moment, staring over at Aiko, who he could see was teeming with determination. Out of all people, he understood such determination more than anyone. It was the same kind that Yumi expressed every day during her years as an officer. If he said no, Aiko would surely resent him. He knew it was what she wanted more than ever. He knew it was time to stop thinking with his mind— so riddled with paranoia. It was time to decide with his heart instead.

        "Yeah, Johnny. Sign her u-!" He was immediately embraced by Aiko, her warmth spreading through him. "C'mon, Koko, I'm still on the phone..." He grinned, returning the hug with his free hand.

        "Dynamite! Aiko can text me for the rest of the details. I'll give her the lowdown on everything Monday." Officer Bhang instructed.

        "Will she need books, Johnny? Binders? Loose-leaf?" He began to pace around the table, worried about the material cost.

        "You need only pay the small entrance fee of five-hundred, Smitty. Don't lose your hat. Everything is provided at the school, and most of the school funding comes out of IST's anyways." Officer Bhang insisted in a calm and collected tone. "It's a hands-on course."

        "What about residence, Johnny? Is there residence?"

        "Ah, *censored*, sorry. Yeah, there is, Smitty. Should I check with the academy and get back to you if they have availability?" Officer Bhang asked.

        "No, no... I have relatives nearby." He insisted.

        "Oh, dad, no. C'mon! I'll take residence! Officer Bhang!" Aiko objected, trying desperately to take the phone from her father's hand.

        A ruckus in the background hastened Officer Bhang's need to end the call. "Alright, Smitty. I'm a little pressed for time here. Get back to me if you have any more questions. But preferably later! See ya!"

        "Okay, Aiko. He hung up." Her father said as he held the phone up high in the air, out of her reach.

        "Damn you and your freakish arms!" Aiko groaned as she launched herself into the couch face first.

        "Koko?" Yuko tapped Aiko on the shoulder, who was breathing heavily into the couch pillow.

        "Aiko, I'm not going to pay for residence. It's too much. IST may pay for the courses but I am not paying for the rest, okay?" Sitting down beside her on the couch, he tickled her foot, rousing her from hibernation.

        "Dammit, dad! I'm ticklish there!" Aiko crossed her arms as she sat upright, trying her best to hide the grin on her face with a scowl.

        "It's just Náanaa and Opa. Besides, you can stay upstairs in that spare bedroom." Reassuring her, he reached across her shoulder and held her close. Aiko still remained unwavering in her stance on the whole situation, keeping the scowl on her face. "Yeah, I know they can be a little too much for a woman your age."

        "'Oh, you look so skinny, Koko! Eat some táana!'" Aiko imitated her grandmother as she imagined herself getting smoked salmon shoved down her throat. "I'm not exactly a bottomless pit like you, dad! I'm gonna weigh ten trillion pounds with you not there to eat the food they throw in my face. Nutritionally speaking, German and Haida food isn't the best for the arteries!"

        "Oh, you like táana, Koko. That's just a grandparent thing, trust me. It'll pass once you live with them for a little while." He assured her, patting Aiko on the head. "And you'll burn it all off at the academy, won't you?"

        "Yeah, yeah..." Aiko couldn't help but laugh. "I haven't played Opa in a game of crib for a while."

        "That's the spirit!" He chuckled along with her as he turned on the television. "Now, I'll phone Náanaa and Opa. We might leave at around noon or so, so that leaves you with about an hour to pack. Hop to it."

        "Alright, alright..." Aiko gave her father a kiss on the cheek before she raced up the spiral staircase to her room. "Don't let Yuko watch anything scary!"

        Listening carefully, he turned on the television as soon as Aiko's door shut completely, tuning into the action movie channel. "Oh, hell yeah." He stared up at Yuko, who was still standing behind the couch. "Ya like Diehard...?"

        Upstairs, Aiko messily stuffed her clothes into a duffel bag she set out on her bed, then packed her makeup into an organized plastic bag and placed it in a side pocket. Then, with no one looking, she packed the old teddy bear her mother had given her on her fifth birthday, Sunny. Sunny had seen much use in its day. It had an eye missing, a partially torn ear, even a coffee stain from when Aiko was seven; she had spilled her father's full mug on Sunny's chest. Aside from its scrapes and scratches, Sunny was your rudimentary teddy bear. However, for Aiko, Sunny was a piece of her mother's soul, and she kept Sunny next to her pillow at night wherever she went to dispel the nightmares. She knew it was childish and that she had outgrown Sunny, but she kept Sunny anyways, hiding him from even her father. Aiko kept Sunny, though, not just as a plush toy. She kept Sunny as a friend.

        Packing Sunny away in the front pouch of the bag, Aiko moved on to her toiletries, grabbing her face wash, sponge, toothbrush, any item she could fit into her two remaining Ziploc bags. She tucked the stuffed pouches into the last empty side pocket of her duffel bag, doing each zipper up one by one in a methodical fashion. With a sigh, she backed up, sitting down at the rolling chair by her desk. Her whole life she had lived there, away from all her troubles, free from worry or doubt. In her room, she felt at peace, confident and composed. Everything seemed to make sense inside. Yet, beyond her door was a whole world ahead. And although Aiko was so very fond of the room, she couldn't deny all that was behind her. With one last deep breath, Aiko slung her duffel bag over her shoulder, then stepped out into the hall, closing the door behind her.

        "See ya..." Aiko gave her bedroom door a casual salute as she began down the staircase, taking one last look before she left it for good.

****

        Collapsing his umbrella, Officer Bhang entered the retro diner on Main Street. It was a typical 50's nostalgia establishment; space age chrome and red neon adorned the outside of the shoebox-shaped diner. It was the kind of dive Bhang often enjoyed— all flashy and bright, loud and proud. He had called a friend earlier after subduing his captive thief a second time when he tried escaping. He handed criminal over to the local IMOP detachment in Port Renfrew where he would be shipped off to the IMOP Nanaimo Penitentiary.

        His friend sat at the furthest table down a long line of booths, taking a sip from her usual coffee; a double-shot of espresso and a shot of cream. Her deep brown hair wasn't in a ponytail like it usually was, but Bhang could recognize her long, wavy locks from a mile away. Her caramel complexion was the same as ever; a mixture of Ukrainian and Inuit. To conceal her identity, she wore a long red scarf around her neck, covering her chin and mouth. She sported a pair of aviator shades with blue tinted lenses to cover her bright, emerald eyes. Over her well-built, easily recognizable body, she wore a dark brown trench coat. She was looking over a menu absentmindedly, perusing through what few pages she was given.

        "Well, well... haven't I seen you before, gorgeous?" Bhang asked as he leaned up against the woman's seat, his eye wandering down towards her long legs.

        "Oh, cut it out, Johnny. This isn't a date."She scoffed at Bhang as she directed him over to the adjacent seat. "Sit down. I already know what I'm having."

        "Let me guess, Ila... a Reuben?" Bhang chuckled as he took a seat, placing his coat and cap on the hook between their booth and the neighbouring one.

        "Ah, I'm switching it up this time!" Ila insisted, turning her menu around to show Bhang her order. "A bacon cheeseburger!"

        "Okay, okay! You win, you're cultured!" Bhang joked as he sipped his glass of water through a straw, browsing the menu. "I can see it now... 'Northstar: Connoisseur of Fine Foods!'"

        "Screw off, Johnny. Everyone's got to shovel *censored* in their body once in a while to ease their giant *censored* off headache," Ila scoffed as she turned her menu over to signal the waitress. "Are you done?"

        "Yeah," Bhang replied as he set his menu down as well, removing his glasses to reveal dark brown eyes.

        It took only a few seconds for the waitress to take notice, and once she did, she immediately sprung into action. She grabbed their menus, taking out a notepad and pen. "Hello, may I take your order?"

        "Yeah, I'll have a poutine please," Bhang ordered. "Nothing on the side, though. I'll stick with water."

        "I'll have a bacon cheeseburger. Replace the fries with a Caesar salad." Ila chimed in, adjusting her glasses to remain hidden. "Oh, and I'll have an iced tea as well."

        "Alright, you two. Your orders shall arrive-..." The waitress trailed off as she took a long look at Ila. "Um... sorry, don't I know you from somewhere?"

        "Uh, no, ma'am, you must be mistaken," Ila kept her cool on the surface, but inside she was practically screaming. "My apologies."

        "Huh, alrighty then," She nodded, running off behind a back door into the kitchen.

        "Yikes... close call." Bhang snickered, leaning back in his seat, sipping down what remained of his glass of water. "And a Caesar salad? That's the equivalent of deep-fried fruit, Star."

        "Johnny, not so loud! I told you not to use that name in public!" Ila said in a muted shout.

        "Oh, relax, Ila... Port Renfrew is far from a bustling city. It's not like you'll get tackled the second they all realize you're Northstar, 'Canada's Shining Star of Justice!'" Bhang couldn't help but put a sort of heroic emphasis on the title.

        "Do you really need the hero voice?" Ila huffed, resting her right leg over her knee, unintentionally slamming her ankle into the bottom of the table. "Ah, *censored*... ouch."

        "Oh, so you can survive getting hit by a train, but you say 'ouch' when you get a boo-boo on your ankle?" Bhang chuckled at Ila's mundane injury.

        "Hey, I said I can take extreme impacts. This is just... an annoying impact." Ila sighed as she rubbed her ankle. "This is all besides the point, Johnny. Why the hell did you call me here? Did you just want an excuse to go out for dinner with me?"

        "As much as I'd like to say yes to that... no. Sadly, this meeting of ours is business related. I've got some information regarding The Kin's whereabouts." Bhang leaned to the side and reached into the inside of his coat, drawing a large file from the pocket and passing it over to Ila. "Looks like we were wrong. Based on a contact of mine, they're layin' low in Victoria— around the Saanich area."

        "Saanich? I thought they were in Vancouver..." Ila shook her head as she looked over the various criminal records and photographs of The Kin members. However, no picture of the gang leader was included in the document. "Are there any pictures of The Father?"

        "No. Only Camila Pistola and Varg Klo have turned up so far, as expected. The Sister and The Brother do most of the grunt work for The Kin. We've yet to catch a glimpse of The Father. The closest thing we've gotten to a lead on him is his first name... 'Damian'." Bhang explained as he too scoured through the photographs. "It's not a stretch to assume that The Brother and The Sister are here to stay; they only operate where The Father goes. That assumption rings true for the rest of The Kin as well."

        "Have there been task forces sent?" Ila wondered, scowling at a picture of the feral beast named Varg, his sharp teeth on display in a sickening grin.

        "No, not yet. We've yet to find their new base of operations thanks to whatever power The Uncle has. But the fact remains clear... they're Victoria's problem now. They've already killed ten members of a local gang in the Saanich area. From the looks of things, they won't be slowing down anytime soon." Bhang groaned as he laid out the rest of the photos. "God, we just need to capture Varg or Camila at the very least! Maybe then we could get one good lead!"

        "Perhaps that's why they've moved?" Ila suggested. "Maybe they recognize Victoria as an in-crisis city; the handful of IMOP detachments in Victoria are stretched thin in terms of numbers. They're blending in amidst the chaos."

        "Yeah, I thought that too..." Bhang nodded, fiddling with the hair on his chin. "Looks like we've just got to wait for their next move."

        "Damn... I hate sitting idly by while people like them just tear cities apart! To Ottawa, I'm not even an IMOP officer anymore! I'm just some figurehead!" Ila growled, failing to recognize the waitress carrying her food nearby. "Oh, sorry."

        "It'll be fine, Ila. I can handle the job with the Saanich detachment. Port Renfrew can be left alone for now. Arresting The Kin is our top priority." Bhang said as he gathered up the contents of his case file to leave room for the meal. "Don't lift a finger until you absolutely have to, okay?"

        "Alright..." Ila breathed in deeply, regaining her composure. "I just want to do my job is all."

        "We all want to, Ila. And right now, the whole island needs a shoulder to lean on. That shoulder is you, remember that." Bhang reminded her.

        "I know, Johnny, I know..." Ila rested her chin on the table, poking at her burger. "I'm just becoming more and more indispensable every day."

        "Relax, Ila... at least for now." Bhang tried soothing her nerves as he stuck a fork in his poutine. "Enjoy the delectable ethnic food laid before you, my dear!"

        "This isn't a date, Bhang..." Ila persisted with her stance on the dinner situation. "But... it is good to see you."

        "The feeling's mutual, Star..." Bhang grinned as he lifted a forkful of gravy and cheese covered fries to his mouth. "*censored*, I haven't had a poutine in weeks!" He was shaking with anticipation for but a moment before realizing he had unknowingly perpetuated a stereotype. "Jesus, how Canadian was that sentence?"

        "Very," Ila giggled as she grabbed her burger.


Offline Keeponkickingkid

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Re: The Fifth Chapter of My Story!
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2017, 12:23:29 PM »
Here's the fifth! :)


Spoiler
        Five men were lined up along the graffiti-coated brick wall of an old apartment building down in Lower Mainland Victoria, deep in the throes of night; thick cloth strips were wrapped around their eyes, blinding them. A few non-blindfolded men came by, pressing their heads against the wall, and a fourth man wielding a silenced pistol paced back and forth along the row of defendants.

        "We Paladins have a code of honour, you know? You remember? Never lie to a brother!" The gun-brandishing man came to the blindfolded man furthest to the left, tearing off the right sleeve of his shirt, revealing a Mark. "You're one of them! A Mark-user! You're scum, sub-human! And worst of all, you can't even own up to it!" Lighting a cigarette in the brisk winter air, the executioner of the urban trial cocked his pistol, firing it into the kneecap of the nearest defendant, who began wailing in agony. "Pathetic... is no one going to even attempt to defend themselves?!"

       "Marco, we just got our Marks! We had no choice! They just... attached themselves to us!" One of the defendants farthest to the right objected, capturing the executioner's attention.

        "Ah, I see... one glance, huh? Or maybe you just kept starin', because you couldn't resist it? Maybe you just had to get a taste of that power? The Devil's Power?! The kind of power we all made a vow to destroy!"

        The objector continued, shaking his head for a moment. "And so, what? Isabelle is just exempt from our rules?! She's a Mark-user!"

        "She's taken up the mantle of Mark-user to protect her brothers and sisters. She's sold her soul to shield us all from harm! Don't you get that?!" The executioner ranted on as he pressed the end of the gun against the back of the objector's skull. After a long pause, he lowered the gun, taking a moment to breathe in the smoke of his cigarette. "I'm through hearing your pleas. By the law of The Paladins, I shall send you, sinner, to hell. May you be bound and tortured for all eternity for the blasphemy of your existence." The executioner raised his gun, finishing his demented prayer. "Ame-"

        He was cut short by a gunshot from the rooftop above. The bullet tore through the executioner's skull, and he fell backward into a dumpster in a pathetic heap; half of his head had been blown off. A figure then hopped off the rooftop of the apartment building above, landing with a metal crash onto the ground, seemingly unhurt by the extreme height of the drop.

        "What in the hell is this?!" One of the gangsters remarked as he huddled together with the remaining three, guns drawn; they began to back away towards the street.

        "Guns! Well, I guess I picked the right alleyway for a skirmish..." The voice of the silhouette shrouded in shadows was feminine with a slight Spanish accent. "However, I must warn you... you are horribly outmatched in terms of firepower."

        "Yeah right!" A thug scoffed as he aimed his gun into the darkness ahead. "What could you possibly-?" He lowered his gun, nervously swallowing as the mystery woman emerged from the shadows. "Y-you're..."

        The alluring vixen that revealed herself looked as if she were in her mid-twenties; she was thin, and her skin was sun-kissed olive. Her long hair was silver and shaved on the left side of her head; the remaining locks were straightened perfectly and tossed to right like a metallic curtain. Her face was well-proportioned, with prominent cheekbones and wide, yellow eyes surging with a dangerous energy. She accented her facial features with dark orange lipstick and purple eyeshadow, and she wore the most wicked, yet most playful sneer on her face. Her attire was equally loud. She wore an orange ruffle-front shirt cut just below the ribs, and overtop of that she wore a tight, blue leather vest that behaved more like a corset; her shirt sleeves had been torn off to reveal the many floral designs tattooed on her arms. Her lower half was clothed by torn, grey booty shorts and fine fishnet stockings underneath that ran to her ankles, accenting her orange high-heels. She didn't appear to be the kind of woman keen on staying hidden.

        "That's right... say my name..." She purred, raising her hand to her ear tantalizingly.

        "C-Camila Pistola!" One thug shrieked.

        "Mmmm... I like the way you squirm at the mention of my name..." Camila let out a sensual groan as her eyes lit up. "Tell me... do you think I'm attractive?"

        "Ah-, um-, I-..." The ruffian stuttered. "Ye-!" A bullet that fired out of Camila's barrelled fingertip silenced him before he could reply, and he fell to the ground, a gaping hole where his right eye once was.

        "Wh-what's going on?!" One of the blindfolded men shouted.

        "Too slow! God, you guys are dumb," Camila giggled as her index finger morphed back to its original state. Nonchalantly, she marvelled at her long black nails as if nothing happened, moseying over towards the remaining two thugs. "Ah... sorry about that, let me start again. My name is Camila Pistola and I've come here to murder you all!" Her face contorted, revealing more of her hidden malice as her left forearm began to transform. "Nothing personal!"

        *Camila Pistola (IMOP Bounty: 2,500,000 UND) | Armoury Mark: grants Camila the ability to morph parts of her body into any handheld weapon!*

        Camila's arm turned into the threatening multi-barrelled cylinder of a gatling gun, rotating at high speeds as she opened fire, shredding the nearest gang member to ribbons in a hail of bullets. The second thug ducked behind the same dumpster where his leader was discarded, avoiding most of the gunfire, save for his leg which had been shot through the kneecap. As she ceased her barrage, the thug leaned forward, aiming right at Camila's head as she came by. However, his wrist was swiftly crushed by a massive hand that seemed to pop out of nowhere, causing him to drop his weapon. Feeling a towering presence behind him, the gangster slowly turned his head. What he saw made his heart skip a beat.

        "V-Varg..." He was so frightened that he couldn't even form a coherent sentence. "K-Kl-!" A single swipe from the hulking brute looming over him cleft his head clean off at the base of his neck, denying him any notable last words.

        "Honestly, Camila... you need to pay attention more often. I don't want you to be the next body I dump in the ocean." Varg chastised his partner in crime, waving a clawed finger at her.

        Varg Klo was certainly a force to be reckoned with. He stood at nearly six-foot-seven, sported a tanky build similar to a bodybuilder, and had a gnarly set of razor-sharp canines and claws. His facial features were sharp, and he had a long, edged nose that complimented his jutting chin and jawline. Varg had dark blue eyes and a mane of wild white hair that descended all the way down to his hips. And he also had big and bold sideburns, and at the end of his chin was a tuft of his signature white fur in the form of a goatee. Overtop of his hulking, olive toned body he wore a plain blue muscle shirt, and around his neck, he brandished a silver half-moon necklace. His black leather jeans were paired with his shoes of the same hue and material, and his socks were dark brown. Along the backs of his bulky forearms were large patches of white fur that ran from his elbow to his wrist- a result of his unique Beast Mark.

        *Varg Klo (IMOP Bounty: 5,000,000 UND) | Werewolf Mark: gives Varg the abilities and appearance of the mythical werewolf!*

        "Oh, calm down, Varg. You get so worked up over nothing. I would've blown his head off before he could even pull the trigger." Camila huffed, kicking at the thug's severed head nearby.

        "Careful. If you brag like that you could jinx it next time. We gotta be cautious. The Paladins haven't confirmed our presence on the island yet. We've got to watch our backs." Varg reminded his partner as he gathered up the dead and place them in the dumpster. "Cammy... do your magic."

        "Alright..." A nozzle poked out of Camila's left palm as she aimed it at the corpses. Then, a stream of flame shot out, dousing the remains. Varg waited for a moment, then sucked in a huge amount of air, blowing out the flames in one mighty breath. "It feels kind of pointless if you never quote The Three Little Pigs after you do that..."

        "Shut it, Cammy..." Varg grumbled as he tapped on the device in his ear, calling upon his other comrade. "Louise, give us a door to the ."

        "Oh, come on, Varg! Even you have to admit that'd be funny! 'And I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house down!'" Camila chuckled as she and Varg untied the on-trial captives. "Don't worry, you guys. You're under the protection of The Kin now. You won't have to worry about The Paladins hunting you down."

        "What luck..." One of them scoffed as Varg undid his binds. "Rescued by some lowlife Mark-users-." He was quickly shut up by Camila, who pressed his cheeks together with her hand.

        "Hey, if it weren't for us 'lowlifes' you'd be dead. And don't lump us in different categories. You're one of us now whether you like it or not." Camila snarled at him, to which Varg intervened.

        "C'mon, Cammy. Don't chastise the guy. He's got nobody right now but these other guys here..." Varg defended him, ordering Camila to stand down. "Still... you aren't in a position to complain. You're a Mark-user now, and The Paladins will hunt you to the ends of the earth to make sure you're dead."

          "Fantastic! Now we've got the cops and The Paladins to worry about!" Another unbound thug stated as he rubbed the marks along his wrists where the binds had dug in.

        "Relax. Like I said, Father will protect you guys. He'll find a place for you to live in Victoria." Camila insisted, guiding them all out into the overgrown, decrepit street. "Man... you guys pick the best places to dispose of bodies. We could learn a thing or two from these guys, Varg."

        "Yeah, yeah. Let's just go home." Varg sighed as he turned to the old apartment building on his left, climbing up a set of stairs to knock on the door.

        "Home? You live just right here?" Yet another freed thug inquired.

        "Nah, nah... you'll see..." Camila assured the gangster, giving him a wink and a nudge with her elbow.

        "The door's just arrived. Toss them in." The communicator in Varg's ear buzzed.

        "And... viola..." Varg grinned as he opened the door, revealing a totally different interior than what the gangsters were expecting; a scarcely lit, windowless chamber stocked with an ample amount of food and supplies. "Here's your humble abode for the next week or so."

        "Wait... a week?!" One of the thugs began to panic as Varg began to shut the door on them all. "What the *censored* are we supposed to do for a week?"

        "I dunno, you got Internet-- try watching some porn or something?" Camila answered him as the door shut completely.

        "Louise, get us home." Varg requested once more over his communicator.

        "Alright, give me a moment. Wait like... thirty seconds, okay?" Louise responded.

        "I don't know about you, but I'm famished..." Camila groaned as she leaned up against the door. "How about you?"

        "Meh, I haven't been all that hungry recently." Varg shrugged his shoulders as he sat down on a step. "But yeah, I could go for something."

        "Alright, Varg. I'll meet you there." Louise said over the communicator.

        "Thanks, babe. You're the best." Varg grinned as Louise began to fiddle with the doorknob.

        "For the last time..." Louise growled as she tried turning the knob on the door, growing more frustrated by the second. Finally, she managed to open it, and the old wooden door swung open with a sharp creak. "Don't call me 'babe'!"

        *Louise Chen (IMOP Bounty: 3,000,000 UND) | Doorway Mark: gives Louise the power to create portals between any doorway she has seen*

        Louise was as smartly dressed as ever. She was wearing her trademark glasses; rounded, thick lenses, with a thin frame. And Louise's black hair was cut medium length, her bangs stopping just above her brow. She sported her usual green turtleneck sweater and blue jeans. Louise wore very little makeup, believing it was a waste of time and money, and her round face and squinting black eyes contributed to her small presence. She was nearly a head shorter than Camila, which was almost two heads shorter than Varg.

        "Ah, lighten up, Lulu!" Varg chuckled as he gave Louise a kiss on the cheek, causing her to blush. "Did you and Al get some supper?"

        "Um..." Louise rubbed her cheek as she stuttered, trying to remember as blood rushed to her head. "Y-yeah, we got pad thai a half-hour ago."

        "*censored* yeah. Vegan for me, right?" Varg asked as he stepped inside, rubbing his shoes on the bristled grey carpet before walking on Damian's good velvet carpet.

        "Yeah, Varg! I got ya, mate!" A man with a thick Australian accent called from downstairs, ascending the long wooden staircase.

        The Kin's new base was as pristine and opulent as the last one, save for the patches of unfinished marble tiling and empty shelves along the walls. It was a private bomb shelter created during the Cold War era in the side of Mount Douglas, one of the highest peaks in Vancouver Island. Three months ago it was stripped to bare bones, and after arriving on the island, The Kin spent countless hours renovating the shelter with The Father's wealth; it was he who bought all the supplies needed for the project. They owned numerous sanctuaries all across British Columbia; in Vancouver, Kamloops, Revelstoke, even the remote regions up north. And with Louise's Mark, The Kin had easy access to their disposable houses, and they stored the numerous Mark-users they saved in some of them.

        Camila slipped out of her high heels and hung up her vest on the coat rack nearby, stretching off a day's work of scouting Victoria with Varg for Mark-users. "Long day..." She closed the door behind her, dissipating Louise's power.

        "Ya got that right, girly," Al answered Camila, approaching her and Varg with a tray of assorted teas. "I've got some Murchie's tea here- courtesy of Damian."

        Alistair dressed the most casual out of all The Kin. He had a plain white, untucked dress shirt on and square glasses, coupled with blue jeans and brown loafers. His hair was golden brown and messy, and his eyes were hazel.

        *Alistair Perkins (IMOP Bounty: 4,500,000 UND) | Electromagnetic Mark: Grants Alistair the ability to release EMPs!*

        "Orange pekoe?" Camila inquired, to which she received a questioning glare from Al. "Right, of course, this is Damian we're talking about..." Camila nodded as she poured herself a glass out of the kettle and plopped a teabag in, letting the aroma waft by her nose. "Ah, I need a bath. Is Reika in the bathroom?"

        "Nah, Cammy. She's playin' pool with Damian downstairs, as per usual." Alistair replied as he handed Varg a mug full of chamomile tea. "Luckily ya missed her hour long beauty bath."

        "Thankful- ouch!" Camila recoiled as she burnt the tip of her tongue on the hot beverage. "Damn."

        "Any luck with those lads at Lower Mainland? Louise didn't fill me in." Alistair wondered.

        "It went alright. Luckily none of the Mark-users got hurt." Varg said, scratching the tip of his nose as he held the cup of tea in his huge paw. "The Paladin members on the other hand..."

        "Ya went loud, didn't ya, Cammy?" Alistair scolded the brash girl, to which she pursed her lips together in embarrassment. "Dammit, Sheila."

        "Sorry! He was going to shoot those guys, I couldn't-... yeah." Camila's fist tightened for a moment as she bottled up her frustration.

        "Ah, whatever. They're history now. We should tell Damian the good news. He'll be pleased with the results regardless." Alistair shrugged off Camila's mistake, ushering them all downstairs. "Damian?"

        They descended, turning to the left down a long hallway- past their separate rooms and storage closets, and they entered the living and kitchen area. The floors were dark laminate wood, and the kitchen cupboards were all red spruce. The kitchen island had a brown granite top, and a few couches extended past the island into the section on the left where the television stood. The pool table sat in the right corner of the room- directly adjacent to the island. Playing there were the last two members of The Kin.

        "Ah, welcome back, friends," Damian said in his soft, eloquent voice as gave them a half smile, holding a pool cue in one hand. "I trust your mission was a success, yes?"

        *Damian Dreyfus (IMOP Bounty: 25,000,000 UND) | Coordinate Mark: allows Damian to manipulate the positions of objects and people within a five-meter radius!*

        Damian was always dressed to impress, and with his wealth, he certainly could impress. He always wore his dark, green velvet blazer overtop of hiss slimming grey, silk dress shirt. Damian was unmistakable in a crowd with his short, icy blue hair; it was always combed upwards into a feathered frill until it reached his hairline, where it fell forward and splayed to the right. He was albino, and thus, he applied heavy makeup to make himself appear less ghostly. Regardless, his porcelain white skin and pink eyes still stuck out like a sore thumb, and he tried to compensate for the discolouration in his lips with a pink gloss.

        "Of course it was a success!" Reika sang as she twirled around the pool table, her glimmering, platinum blonde hair frolicking about. "I expect nothing but the best from my family!"

        *Reika Taylor Haruma (IMOP Bounty: 12,500,000 UND) | Yuki-Onna Mark: gives Reika the likeness and abilities of a Yuki-Onna yokai of Japanese legend!*

         Reika was the diva of the group and a woman who took her role as 'The Mother' to heart. Although she was younger than most of the others- only twenty -she still loved and nurtured her family profusely as if she were their mother, often planting a kiss on each member's cheek whenever she felt her joy bubble up, which was quite frequent. She was undoubtedly the most beautiful of The Kin women- tall and well endowed with a flawless face akin to a Japanese love goddess. Her white dress was a hybrid of English royal grace and traditional Japanese garb, embracing both sides of her bloodline. It was laced at the cuffs and the bottom of the skirt, and sakura blossom designs adorned the sleeves red waistcloth, though, the dress was not too taxing on her movement; she could dance freely to her heart's content around the room. Her green eyes were like a still loch in fall, and her dark red lips contrasted her golden, flowing locks that cascaded down past her shoulders.

        "Oh, how are those Mark-users you rescued?" Reika inquired.

        "Fine, for now. We'll have them sorted out later." Varg insisted.

        "Excellent. Varg, Camila..." Damian nodded to them both. "You are doing professional work as always. Have the IMOP picked up on our scent yet?"

        "By now, yeah... you'd think so." Varg guessed. "Well, regardless. They can't find us here. Al can jam any signal that passes by with his Mark."

        "Very good. Then hopefully we may work in peace. There are still many more of our brothers and sisters to save from The Paladins..." Damian sighed as he took his shot, sinking a solid yellow ball into the upper left pocket. "There's a large number of homeless in Victoria with Marks."

        "Poor things... they must be scared." Reika frowned as she let Damian pass by to make his next shot.

        "Don't worry, Reika, we'll protect em'-- like we always do." Alistair insisted.

        "I've got a feeling the major jobs will call for our involvement. It's too dangerous for only you two to go out there and do the dirty work." Damian said as he sunk a solid purple ball into the top left pocket.

       "We might come under the radar of the IMOP..." Louise reminded them- ever the logical one of the bunch.

        "An acceptable price to pay, my dear. We can handle any threat that comes our way." Damian persisted. "In any case, kudos. You've all performed admirably tonight. This calls for-."

        "Pad thai." Reika interrupted him with firmness in her tone, insisting that they eat the meals they recently purchased rather than cooking new food.

        "Right... sorry." Damian chuckled as he sunk the eight ball. "I win."

        "Arrgh..." Reika pushed out her bottom lip in a huff as she swallowed defeat, wandering over to the fridge to heat up leftovers. "You guys can relax. It might take a bit."

        "That's fine." Louise smiled as her eyes met with Varg's for but a moment. "I could use some relaxation."

        "Same..." Camila yawned as she threw herself onto the couch, grabbing the remote off the coffee table. "What's on?"

        "Football." Alistair sat with his legs folded on the loveseat, watching an intense game of soccer.

        "Is football on?" Varg asked.

        "Yeah, this is football." Alistair raised an eyebrow at Varg as he gestured to the soccer game on TV.

        "Are you ever gonna call it soccer like a normal person?" Varg whined. "I want Canadian football please."

        "Why don't we all watch a movie like Gone With The Wind or Forest Gump?!" Reika suggested, her eyes sparkling like firecrackers.

        "Lame... I want something with Vin Diesel in it." Camila shot Reika down as she scooped a forkful of phad tai in her mouth.

        "Vin Diesel? That actor who just grunts all the time?" Louise scoffed.

        "How about I turn off the television if we can't decide?" Damian squashed their petty argument, causing everyone to let out a long sigh. "Thank you... we're watching Citizen Kane."

        "What?!" They all shouted in unison.


Offline Keeponkickingkid

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Re: The Sixth Chapter of My Story!
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2017, 10:16:42 PM »
And here's the sixth chapter :)

Spoiler
              Aiko rubbed the sleep from her eyes as she awoke, groaning under her breath in the tired fashion most would. She ran her hand through her dark locks, grumbling at the stiffness of it; her hair would often become oily and course upon awakening. In a corpse-like way, Aiko rolled out of bed, face-planting into something moderately soft; a book. With both arms she slowly picked herself off the ground, straining her shoulders as she came to a sitting position.

        "Uh...?" Aiko found difficulty forming coherent sentences in her drowsy state, but surprise soon snapped her out of the half-slumber. "What the-?"

        "Koko!" Yuko came out of nowhere, hugging Aiko from behind with her powerful steel grip.

        "Ah! Can't breathe, Yuko! Can't breathe!" Aiko coughed as Yuko set her down gently on the pile of books strewn about on the bedroom floor. "Geez..." Aiko arched the small of her back forward, cracking a few columns of her spine as she gained her footing. "Yuko... what are all my books doing in a pile?"

        "I read them!" Yuko's reply nearly gave Aiko a heart attack. "You have many interesting books!"

        "W-what?! When were you able to speak, like... full sentences?!" Aiko said, gobsmacked by Yuko's sudden grasp of the English language. She scoured the various titles on the ground; Green Eggs and Ham all the way to the book, 1984. "More importantly, where did you find my books? They're-."

         "In the box labelled 'Koko' in the attic." Yuko cut her off, adjusting her tight tank top with a blank expression on her face.

        "Yeah-, wait... how did you-?" Aiko found herself dumbfounded once again; she was beginning to think her link with Yuko was much more than just empathic. "I never told you that. How did you know?" Yuko replied with just a simple shrug of the shoulders. "Huh..."

        "Is this odd...?" Yuko asked, still unable to grasp norms even in her educated state. "Am I odd?"

        "N-no! Don't get me wrong! This is all happening just a little too sudden is all..." Aiko held her head in her hand, still trying to process the situation. "I never thought you could do something like this is all; I thought I had my Mark all figured out. Why did you start reading?"

        "I-... I just felt-... compelled to? I wanted to see if any of these books could tell me what I am." Yuko answered, staring down at her hands. "I still don't know."

        "Well, I have no idea... I'm sorry..." Aiko said as she noticed the dip in the surface around Yuko's feet; her weight must've been unbearable for the upper level. "*censored*!" Aiko touched the wood floor, transmuting Yuko's body to the same dark material, and the dip soon levelled itself out. "Geez... does my Grandma and Grandpa know you're up here? They'll freak-... I mean, they already did, but more than the first time they saw you."

        "I do not believe so." Yuko shook her head. "However, your father frightened me as I passed by his room; luckily he sleeps with his eyes open when he stays at his parent's house. I'm not sure why, though." Again, Yuko mustered knowledge only Aiko would've had.

        "Holy hell..." Aiko rubbed the side of her head, aching from all the information. "I need to take a shower. You... you stay here." Aiko sighed as she opened up the door. "Don't leave this room until I get back, okay?"

        "Okay! Have a good shower!" Yuko waved goodbye as Aiko closed the door on her.

        "Wow..." Aiko exhaled deeply, walking across the wide hallway into the bathroom.

        Aiko's mind wandered as she had her shower. What could her Mark represent? Surely it had something to do with a sort of guardian or protector. She knew how the Mark activated, but the nature of it just baffled her entirely. Unconsciously, Aiko pressed her hand against the shower for support as she thought of Yuko, activating her Mark unknowingly. In mere milliseconds, a ceramic Yuko without clothes sprung forth from the tiled wall of the shower, standing before Aiko.

        "Y-Yuko?! *censored*!" Aiko cursed as she covered herself up. "What are doing in here?!"

        "You called me. I assumed you needed-..." Yuko looked down, staring blankly at a naked Aiko. "Oh dear."

        "Koko? You okay in there?" Her father asked as he knocked on the bathroom door.

        "Oh my god, oh my god..." Aiko began to hyperventilate. "Are there two of you now? Please tell me there isn't."

        "No, I don't believe so," Yuko replied, inspecting Aiko curiously. "You appear in distress."

        "Clearly!" Aiko said in a muted shout. "So can you please just step out of the shower and wait until I'm done?"

        "Okay." Yuko nodded as she opened the sliding glass door of the shower, stepping outside. She then proceeded to play with the mechanism of the door, gliding it back and forth along its rail. "What fun!"

        "Aiko...? Is someone in there?" Her father asked from the other side.

        "Uh, no!" Aiko panicked. "I'm just... talking to myself is all!"

        "Um, alright..." He said, still a little suspicious. "Is it okay if I grab my shaver, Koko?"

        "No!" Aiko shook her head, trying her best to keep calm. "I mean... no. Sorry, dad. I'm trying out a new, err... beauty technique? It requires that I step in and out of the shower."

        "Alright... well, don't take too long, okay? I've got to get back to Port Renfrew by eleven, and your grandparents have almost got breakfast on the table." He informed her as he walked away; it was clear he was still sceptical, though, he respected her privacy nonetheless.

        "*censored*ing Christ..." Aiko cussed as she rinsed the shampoo from her hair and applied conditioner. "So it's activated by thought as well? Is there anything else you'd like to share with me before breakfast?"

        "I do not know what you mean by that..." Yuko scratched the top of her head, turning towards the wide mirror above the bathroom sink. She eyed herself intently, trying to make sense of her form as she ran her hand down her hip. "What is this?"

        "So you have no idea who or what you are?" Aiko asked as she scrubbed her hair.

        "I haven't the slightest clue..." Yuko replied as she took a closer look at her face, tracing her finger across the bridge of her nose down to her lips. "This is my face?"

        "Um..." Aiko found it difficult to answer as she came out of the shower, grabbing a towel to cover herself up; she joined Yuko, staring plainly into the mirror.

        "This is not mine then?" Yuko asked.

        "N-no... it's yours. You just look like-."

        "Yumi," Yuko brushed her cheek, then ran her hand down her stomach. "And you."

        "Um..." Aiko was at a loss for words. "Yeah."

        "Am I alive?" Yuko wondered, trying to feel her neck for a pulse. "I do not have a-."

        "You think and feel, Yuko... that's all that you really need to be deemed alive in my books." Aiko assured Yuko, placing a hand on her shoulder.

        "Is that what others will think of me?" Yuko wondered; her question was innocent in its sincerity.

         "It's what I think of you," Aiko answered Yuko as she turned on the blow-dryer, combing her hair with a fine brush as she did so; she didn't expect such existential questions coming from Yuko, who —the day before— couldn't form coherent sentences.

        "Do you know what others think of you?" Yuko inquired as she pinched a finger-full of Aiko's fine hair between her thumb.

        "Well, no... I'm not psychic," Aiko snorted as she put on her makeup. "And I don't really worry about stuff like that."

        "Never?" Yuko said as she inspected the blush and foundation laid out on the sink.

        "Nah. I did when I was in high school, but... not really that much anymore." Aiko opened her eyes wide as she applied a dark eyeliner. "It's different out there in the real world. Adults don't seem to care about stuff like that; they've got other things to worry about than pay attention to you." Aiko's eyes searched the countertop for her lipstick, wandering to the very edges. "Crap. Where did I put-?"

        "Here." Yuko held the tube up to Aiko. "Dark cherry red to contrast your eyes?"

        "Uh... yeah." Aiko nodded as she coated her lips with a bold red to contradict and bring out her facial features. "Thanks."

        "If you care not for what others think of you, why put on these strange substances?" Yuko said as she examined the container of blush.

        "Because I like looking good, basically," Aiko replied as she put on some foundation. "It just feels rewarding, y'know? It makes you feel complete."

        "Then doesn't that mean you do care what others think?" Yuko added, grabbing the concealer off the countertop and handing it to Aiko.

        "Well, no... not really. I'm just-... a little too used to my routine. I get a little OCD when I'm in public." Aiko pondered the idea of herself being self-conscious, but it didn't seem all that likely. "That's just me, I suppose."

        "Okay..." Yuko gave her a half-smile in the mirror as she sat down on the toilet, watching Aiko intensely as she finished off her makeup.

        "There, all done," Aiko threw her hands up in success as she turned to face Yuko, striking a model-like pose in front of her. "How do I look?"

        "Like you." Yuko grinned.

        "Good, I was worried for a second there..." Aiko laughed as she picked up her kitten pyjamas off the floor, sliding them on before opening the door.

        "Koko! Come down! Breakfast is ready!" Opa's voice called from downstairs; he always had a cheerful tone coupled with his low voice. "There's bacon!"

        "Oh, *censored*..." Aiko's stomach growled as the taste lingered on her tongue. Typically she'd hold off on the fatty foods, but seeing that she was headed off to police academy the next day, it didn't seem to matter. "Yes!"

        "What is this aroma?" Yuko stood up as she sniffed the air.

        "The greatest thing mankind has to offer, that's what." Aiko giggled like a preschooler as she took Yuko's hand and dragged her outside. "C'mon!"

        "But, I assumed you didn't want me to show my face?" Yuko raised her brow at Aiko as she was pulled onto the carpet outside the bathroom door.

        "Shhh, darling... all hardships are made up for with the promise of bacon..." Aiko made her voice sound ghostlike as if she were Jacob Marley guiding Scrooge.

        "But I don't eat," Yuko added as she followed Aiko.

        Aiko sped down the wooden steps of the staircase with Yuko tailing behind; she felt like a child again, waiting for Opa and Náanaa to make sausage and táana. Yuko ducked her head as they turned a corner, nearly smashing a chandelier as she came by. Though Yuko's courage buckled as soon as she saw Opa and Náanaa, and she hid behind Aiko as they strolled into the kitchen— like a toddler who shied away from strangers; it was clear to Aiko that this was not the same Yuko she met two days before. Yuko was going through the mental growth of a human within mere hours, and Aiko was almost certain it had something to do with their "link".

        "Ah, aren't you looking pretty, Koko— with those cat pyjamas of yours." Náanaa was bursting at the seams with joy, as per usual. "You should be a model."

        Aiko's Náanaa was Haida First Nations; she had grown up in the northern reaches of Vancouver Island, around the Nanaimo area. Aiko never met her parents, but according to Náanaa, they weren't very pleasant people. Náanaa was the outlier to the rest of her siblings, and she was perhaps the kindest person Aiko knew. Though, she did have a fiery, passive-aggressive temper when provoked. It was Opa's grounding presence that mellowed her out; he had been married to her for more than fifty years.

        Náanaa had dark eyes like coal that could see right through you, and her face was broad and tall. She was stout, with large feet like Aiko, and her wide lips were wrinkled at the edges; laugh lines would often form on her face whenever she spoke. Náanaa's long dark hair was done up in a ponytail, and her small glasses hung at the tip of her nose when she would take a glance at you. Her face was dark, much darker than Aiko's, and it had a sort of leather-like look to it. She was wearing her usual attire— jeans and a red t-shirt; she had no time to look good, not when the house needed cleaning or the garden needed her care.

        "And this is... Yuko, right?" Opa asked from the kitchen table to the left of Náanaa's island, holding the morning newspaper as he sipped on his coffee. "Let me have a look at her again, hmm?"

        Opa was from Germany, and he grew up on a farm outside Frankfurt, working with cows and sheep. He'd often talk about his days as a young man, travelling to Canada for the first time with nothing to his name but a degree in agriculture and a dream. He came to Canada after talk of profitable farmland in Victoria. Though he lacked the finances to purchase such land, and it was gobbled up before he ever had the chance. That was when he turned to working construction. And with a hard hat and his own two hands, he built up Victoria in a matter of years. He never lost his dream, but he became satisfied with the cards fate dealt him; it was Náanaa that helped him with that.

        Opa was a bulky man— around an inch taller than Aiko's father— and he was a tower of strength. Even at seventy-three he could still lift and carry objects a man half his age wouldn't dream of hauling. His hair was steel grey, but still quite thick— a mane of fine hair like Aiko's. His eyes were blue like a rough sea, and he had a tall head like Aiko's father. He would often wear a flannel shirt with the brown leather vest he kept since he was a young man— a memento of his homeland.

        "Yeah, um..." Aiko stepped aside, letting Opa take a peek at the towering wooden woman.

        "My, she's a burly one!" There were still faint tinges of his mother-tongue in Opa's accent. "She'd be a fine worker— let me tell you."

        "Hello, everyone." Yuko squeaked.

        "Aiko..." Her father sat across from Opa, speechless. "When did she start speaking English?"

        "Um, just this morning?" Aiko shrugged her shoulders, her face flushing red. "I don't know, she, um-... she read a lot of books I guess?"

        "I have a better question: why on earth is she wearing nothing?" Náanaa asked, eager to run upstairs to find some clothing.

        "She's fine, Helen," Opa insisted, quelling Náanaa's flame. "There isn't anything to cover anyways." Opa slid his chair to make room for Yuko and Aiko as they sat down at the kitchen table. "Come. You sit by me, Koko. Yuko, you sit by Roger." He always had some purpose to his tone, like he was on the job site. "Are the eggs done, Helen?"

        "Yep," She nodded, sliding the contents of the pan onto four plates to accompany each serving of bacon. "Does Yuko need a dish?"

        "Um... I don't think Yuko eats," Aiko turned to Yuko for her input, but she simply shook her head. "She's fine."

        "Really? How does a girl as big as her stay that size without eating?" Náanaa said as she set out cutlery, to which Yuko plainly shrugged in response.

        "I don't have internal organs." Yuko piped up.

        "Well then, guess you don't have to worry about stuff like us then, huh?" Opa laughed as he patted his stomach, and Yuko cracked a smile. "Now then, Aiko... you want to be part of the IMOP?"

        "Yes, I do." Aiko's braver side shone brightly when asked such a question. "More than anything."

        "You sound an awful lot like your mother..." Opa chuckled as he folded up his paper. "Do you think you're up for a challenge? They weren't easy on her when she joined the force."

        "I'm up for anything, Opa. It's what I was meant to do. And now that I have a Mark, it just feels... I feel like I can finally do it." Aiko's fist clenched as she continued. "I'll have a fighting chance."

        It was more than a labour to convince Opa; he was far too protective and stubborn. But if one were to brandish their determination in front of him, he'd often budge, and Aiko was brimming with fiery passion. She wanted so badly to become a part of the IMOP, not just for herself, but to pick up where her mother left off; Aiko knew she had to.

        "The tour of Beacon Hill Academy will be at nine o' clock. Should I be taking the transit?" Aiko asked as she shoved a forkful of bacon in her mouth.

        "Oh, Koko, no. Don't be silly— with that tunnel vision of yours. We'll take you there." Náanaa insisted.

        "Do you think the car can fit, Yuko?" Aiko asked Opa.

        "Err... we'll see," Opa grunted as he scooped up some eggs, sizing up Yuko. "It barely fits me."

        "I've got to be going here. It's nine thirty now, at this rate I'll be late." Aiko's father got out of his chair in a hurry, not even batting an eye at his daughter.

        "Wait, Dad..." Aiko held him up before he had the chance to grab his bag. "You're-... you're just leaving like that?"

        "I-, uh...." He held his breath for a moment. "It's nothing, Koko. I'm just a little overwhelmed is all." He turned, showing Aiko the glossy sheen to his eyes; he was an on the verge of crying. "This just-... this is too fast, Koko." He choked up a little, scouring through the memories of Aiko's childhood in but a fraction of a second. "It's-." He was cut off by Aiko, who gave him a warm hug.

        "You're getting emotional again, Dad." Aiko laughed as he returned the embrace.

        "That's why he chose the carpentry business— big softie." Opa sighed as he sipped his coffee once more.

        "Come now, Karl," Helen shook her head at him as she gathered the dirty dishes on the kitchen table. "They're having a moment. We've gone through this with him, remember?"

        "Yes, but I wasn't the one crying," Opa scoffed, pulling out his reading glasses as he nudged Yuko; she gave him an uncertain laugh.

        "God, I'm not good with stuff like this." Aiko's father said as he let go of her, setting both his hands on her shoulders. "Listen... I know it hasn't been easy for you since your mother passed, but... I tried to do the best I could, and... I can't believe I'm having this conversation with everyone here-."

        "Dad, you did fine," Aiko reassured him. "Now this is the moment of truth, huh? Let's hope your parenting paid off?"

        "Let's hope..." He chortled, grabbing the luggage he set just by the island. "Goodbye, Aiko."

        As he walked towards the front door, Aiko recalled the last time she saw her mother alive. She had taken a call from someone— most likely a fellow IMOP officer. The call was like any other she would get; some Mark-user had run amok causing damage, nothing new. And just like that, like any other day, she left Aiko. She left with nothing save for a "Goodbye". The memory embedded itself into her; it burrowed inside her, and it wasn't until she saw her father open the front door that it resurfaced.

        "Dad...?" Aiko's voice had become unstable.

         Yuko felt it too; the memory poured into her with ferocity. She saw Yumi's face, the front door just slightly ajar, every beat of that moment Aiko held onto. She was incapable of crying, but she did feel a pressure on her chest— a weight on her soul that seemed unshakable.

        "Ye-..." He trailed off, coming face to face with the scared child behind him, shaking and whimpering. "Koko."

        "I'm sorry, I thought-... I thought I got over that, I-..." Aiko wept, nuzzling into her father's chest as he held her tight. "Damn it."

        "It's all right, Koko... it's alright..." He comforted Aiko, standing there, with her in his arms. "This isn't an end. It's a beginning." He dropped his luggage, not minding the time any longer. "It's a beginning she would've loved to see."
 


Offline Keeponkickingkid

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Re: The Seventh Chapter of My Story!
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2017, 12:43:52 PM »
      Here's the seventh chapter!

Spoiler
        Aiko and Yuko went to grab groceries that afternoon, and they took a transit. It had been almost three years since she had taken the bus around Victoria, and she couldn't help but sightsee. The city had grown quite a lot since she had been gone; it was a far cry from what it once was. Though, Victoria still somehow retained its Victorian English lustre- a quality most cherished about the city. Victoria had been named and built in honour of the Queen of England during the 1800's, Queen Victoria, and the citizens would shake and tingle with excitement whenever the Queen made her yearly visit. For a time, only the downtown area had the English aesthetic, however, recent building projects rejuvenated the style, and the diameter of the movement stretched all the way to Saanich with the influx of new residents from Asia, who adored the designs. Aiko was not a fan of the posh elegance of the wood and brick houses; they were too snotty, too arrogant.

        Eventually, Aiko and Yuko landed at the nearest grocer- Mike's Organic Market. They hopped off the transit, relieving it of the stress brought on by Yuko's hefty body. To Yuko's dismay, the passengers gave her a subtle stink eye as the bus took off down the road, and she hid behind Aiko again, which was a fruitless effort considering her massive size compared to Aiko.

        "Oh, c'mon, Yuko," Aiko coaxed her. "You're okay. You shouldn't give a damn about what those people think. They don't know you."

        "Okay..." Yuko nodded, standing up straight beside the bus stop sign; she was a few inches taller than it. "What are we doing here again?"

        "We're getting some groceries for the next few weeks or so. I figured it'd be good to see the city again too." Aiko replied as she began down the sidewalk with Yuko next to her- toward a set of cement stairs leading into the parking lot. "I haven't been here since I was fifteen."

        Well-trimmed shrubs lined the edge of the sidewalk like a fence as Aiko strolled by, opening up like a gateway as she hopped up onto the first step of the set of stairs. Yuko waited for Aiko to reach the top- as she could skip a step with her long legs -and she cautiously made her way up, ducking her head under the welcoming steel archway that led into the paved lot. The parkade was barren, and only a few carts were docked in the small pavilions that housed them inside the lot. Only about a dozen vehicles filled the spaces closest to the entrance; the store didn't see much business in the afternoon.

        "It's quiet," Yuko stated; half to herself, half to Aiko.

        "It always is around now- I figured this would be the best time to go." Aiko said as she reached into her pocket for a dollar coin. "Let's see if I..." With a grin, she withdrew a bronze loonie from her pocket, raising it in the air triumphantly as if it were Excalibur. "Here we are!"

        "What's that for?" Yuko wondered, marveling at the engravings on the round metal coin as the grocer doors flung open for them automatically.

        "It's a Canadian coin- a loonie. It's a dollar in our currency." Aiko answered, turning towards the various carts on her left. Methodically, she slid a coin into a slot along the handle of the nearest cart. With a click, the chain attached to the cart ahead of it broke away, and the loonie locked in place.

        "Why pay for such a mundane convenience?" Yuko asked, flummoxed by the new information.

        "Oh, Yuko, you don't pay for it. The loonie is just encouragement to put the cart back once you're done with it to get the-..." Aiko trailed off, stewing on the whole idea of the cart. "Actually, I think we can manage without the cart." She pushed her cart back into the one ahead of it, attaching the chain to collect her loonie. "I'll just get a basket. Besides, I've got you to do the heavy-lifting as well."

        "Okay..." Yuko twiddled her thumbs as they passed the checkout section into the produce area, minding the occasional shopper that came by. "What are you getting?"

        "Not sure yet. Something-..." Aiko cut herself off as her eyes danced about the arrangements of fruits and vegetables. After a few seconds, she sprung to life, hurrying over to the next aisle over to grab a bag of green apples. "I think I'll stick with some simple stuff- nothing too intricate." She said as she placed the bag in her basket. "Now, where are those granola bars?"

        "What are those?" Yuko inquired.

        "Basically cereal without milk clumped together in a rectangle that acts like it's healthy, but isn't in most cases." Aiko joked as she made her way through the produce section and into the snack food aisle, her eyes wandering about the store for anything interesting. Truth be told, she got interesting. "Uh..."

        Aiko's eyes glazed over at a man near the end of the aisle wearing a ridiculous getup; it was strange, even for her decade of crazed fashion designs. The man was quite tall and in his late thirties; thin, yet athletic looking at the same time, and he wore the oddest leather jacket Aiko had ever seen. It was a dark purple, its sleeves had been torn off, and it was buttoned up about halfway. The jacket was lined with tan fur that appeared silky and smooth, and the collar wasn't a true collar, but a sewed-on boa made of the same tan fur. Beneath his jacket was a red dress shirt, and he wore navy blue jeans held in place by an expensive-looking belt with a large silver buckle akin to the kind cowboys would wear. To top the whole getup off, he wore dark red cowboy boots identical in hue to his undershirt. The boots were adorned with wave designs and silver spurs that clicked against the ground with each step.

        The features of his pale face were distinct; a chiselled jaw and chin, full lips, and a long but still proportionate nose. He wore silver, heart-shaped earrings, and concealing his eyes were a pair of red-tinted sunglasses with heart-shaped lenses. His medium-length, indigo hair was slicked to the front, a lock dangling just in front of his sunglasses that he'd sometimes brush away with his hand. He looked like a man who took good care of himself, as his face was completely devoid of any imperfections or blemishes, and his hair appeared as soft and as perfect as a rose petal. And after a minute of staring, the man turned to face Aiko, noticing her glare. With the elegance of a swan, he stood up straight with a basket in his grasp, using his free hand to slide his sunglasses down the bridge of his nose. With a mischievous grin, he gave Aiko a wink with his piercing grey eyes.

        "Who's that?" Yuko asked Aiko, who was clearly rattled by the man's gesture.

        "No clue," Aiko scoffed, brushing off the creepy vibes she got from the odd man. "But he's definitely a weirdo." Aiko shivered at the thought of his twisted smile as she returned to browsing. "Anyways... let's get back to the task at hand. What was I getting?"

        "Granola bars." Yuko reminded her.

        "Right, granola bars." Aiko nodded, rummaging through a shelf full of granola bars to find the right brand. "Ah, here we go," Aiko tossed a box into her basket. "Now I feel ten times healthier."

        "What else did we have to get?" Yuko asked, taking the basket from Aiko.

        "Hmm, let's see..." Aiko thought about it for moment. "Ah, mini-carrots! I love those things. Let's get back to the produce section."

        Aiko and Yuko approached the open-air vegetable crisper along the wall of the store, perusing for the bagged snacks. Sadly, Aiko saw no sign of any bag free for the taking. Although, upon even closer inspection, Aiko saw one last bag of mini-carrots near the edge of the crisper. She reached out to grab it, but as her right hand touched the bag, she felt another paw try to snatch the carrots. Aiko hadn't noticed the odd man from before in her peripheral vision. He pulled his slender, manicured hand back, recoiling in shock.

        "Oh, my goodness! I didn't see you dare, dawlin'. I got some tunnel vision dare foe a moment." The man had a thick, Cajun accent, and a voice as smooth as silk. "My apologies." Aiko couldn't help but notice his eyes, which became fixated on her right hand, specifically her Mark. "Take da bag, sweethawt. I got some left back at home."

        "Thanks..." Aiko said slowly, placing the bag in the basket locked in Yuko's elbow. "C'mon, Yuko, let's get going."

        "So long, gals!" The man waved, strutting over towards the dairy aisle; his walking cycle was very much like a cowboy- strutting with his pelvis forward and a hand on his belt buckle.

        "Geez, he's a creep. What the hell does he want?" Aiko whispered to Yuko as they came to the checkout section. Yuko shrugged her shoulders in response, unsure of how to react. "Well, let's just get the last crap on our list and out of here, okay?" Yuko nodded, following Aiko down a path that differed the odd cowboy. "We're not running into him again."

****

        Luckily for them, they didn't run into the strange man for the rest of their shopping excursion, and after passing through the checkout, they almost forgot about him. Aiko and Yuko eventually passed through the sliding doors of the exit, walking out into the parking lot. A low hanging fog had rolled in during their time in the grocery store, and the whole lot gave off an eerie vibe. Aiko kept her wits about her as she and Yuko walked past what few cars there were, blowing away the fog around their legs with each step. Suddenly, Aiko stopped, then checked her bag. The apples were missing, and a path had been cut in the fog jus ahead. In front of them stood the same man from before, holding the bag of apples in his right hand.

        "Hey, what the hell?! That's mine!" Aiko snarled at the man, who simply grinned, humming to himself blissfully as he inspected the apples.

        "Aw, dawlin', you weren't protectin' deese heye apples... I had ta teach you a lesson!" The sly man smirked as he swung the bag around in his hand.

        "Those are my apples, pal. Give them back or I'll take them from you!" Aiko threatened the man as she tapped on the door of the car nearest to her, transmuting Yuko's wooden body to a metal.

        "Den come on! Quit lollygaggin'." The man purred, taunting them both.

        "Take em' from me!"

        "Oh, I'll take em' from you..." Aiko scowled as Yuko sprung into action, reaching for the apples with all her enormous might.

        "Commendable, kiddo. But you gotta try hawdah den dat if ya want dis here bag..." The man chuckled as he strafed to the right of Yuko, kicking at her shin.

        In those first few seconds, Aiko believed the man was crazy. And while he was indeed insane, she soon realized that this man was not an idiot. And worst of all, this man was a Mark-user. His foot went right through Yuko's leg as if it were made of butter, and Yuko fell forward onto her face. The man had turned Yuko's leg into a molten metal soup that sizzled as it touched the ground.

        "What the hell-?!" Aiko was cut off by the man as he rammed his heel into her gut, launching her backward with tremendous force, something Aiko did not expect from a slender man like him. "Who the hell is this guy?" Coughing, she tapped on the pavement, restoring Yuko's molten limb with the new substance. With the bag of apples still in hand, the man rushed at Yuko with an outstretched leg. "Yuko!"

        Yuko threw a right cross at the man's face, but he dodged with inhuman reflexes; it was clear to Aiko that he was no ordinary man if he were able to evade a close-range punch from Yuko so deftly. As the right cross passed by the man's head, he glided his finger across Yuko's arm, melting it into sizzling magma.

        "This guy isn't just some thug who got his Mark yesterday! And he's too fast to not have a Cellularum Mark. Who is he?" Aiko cringed as she got to her feet, still feeling the sharp pain where the man's foot impacted. "I got to think. Yuko can't attack this guy. Judging by the way he tapped his finger against Yuko's arm, this dude must have a contact-activated Alteratio Mark! That much is certain!" Aiko got back up on her feet, bracing herself against a nearby car.

        "Watch out, Aiko! I can't stop him!" Yuko cried out to Aiko; the asphalt woman had her body liquefied from the waist down.

        "What is that?" Aiko gasped as the man rushed her, coating his hand in an odd water like substance that began to let off vapour as he scraped the air. "*censored*!" Aiko ducked, blocking with fists made of pavement as she tapped the ground. The fists shot upward, shielding Aiko from the palm strike. However, the poorly-made defence soon shattered like glass from whatever substance was in the man's hand. "A freezing ability?! What is this Mark?!"

        The man rushed at Aiko again, clenching his fist tightly, ready to land a punch. However, he stopped just a few metres short of Aiko; Yuko had sprouted out of the ground in front of him to defend her master.

        "Hmm... interestin' Mark," He laughed, stepping through Yuko's body whilst simultaneously liquefying her like it was nothing. "But ain't nottin' I can't handle." He outstretched his arm to grab Aiko.

        "Damn, I was careless!" Aiko closed her eyes, waiting for the killing blow. However, she felt nothing, and after a few seconds, she cracked one eye open. "Huh?" Aiko was flabbergasted to see her body in one piece and the bag of apples sitting next to her lap. "What the-?"

        "Hmm... yoe a cutie, sweethawt. Dare's no way I'd harm a belle like yoeself." The man snickered as he assisted Aiko back on her feet, dusting off her clothes before turning away. "Tata!"

         "Wait! You mean you're just... giving me these back?! And you're... not going to kill me?" Aiko shook her head, unsure how to grasp the situation.

        "Yeah. I just used dem' apples as an excuse so youz could fight me is all. And I wouldn't kill ya, doll. That'd be a waste of potential." He sneered with a hand on his hip and an apple in his free hand. "Of course, I'll be takin' dis heeya apple as a trophy."

        "W-wait! Are you an IMOP agent?" Aiko stopped him again with another question.

        "Naw, girl. I'm just a home-grown Bayou gent lookin' ta find some entatainment" The man looked back at her with a playful mug on. "Name's Azaire, dawlin'. Come back ta me when ya wanna fight some moe, m'kay? Now get goin', yoe bus is almost heeya. Layta, 'Aiko'." And with that, the man named Azaire walked off without another word.

        "Who is he...?" Yuko got back on her feet as the effects of Azaire's Mark began to wear off.

        "I have no idea..." Aiko was stunned for quite a while before she could make any real movement. However, she was soon snapped back into reality when she heard the whirring noise in the distance. "Ah, *censored*! The bus! There won't be another for thirty minutes if we don't hurry!"

        "O-okay!" Yuko nodded, racing after Aiko toward the bus stop.


Offline Keeponkickingkid

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Re: The Eighth Chapter of My Story!
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2017, 12:54:15 AM »
Here's number eight :)

       
Spoiler
         "Aiko...? Aiko?" Náanaa roused Aiko from her daydream.

        "Huh?" Aiko grunted from the backseat of the car; she had been stewing on the events of the previous day regarding that mysterious man.

        Aiko kept the incident to herself, as she wished to pass over the information to Bhang. Aiko knew her grandparents would've consulted the regular police to solve the problem; they didn't trust the IMOP as much as she did. Aiko was fully aware of the threat that such a Mark-user like Azaire posed, and she was still pondering on the thought of him being a user with more than one Mark. Such a theory didn't seem to hold much weight without any more evidence to back it up, but Aiko couldn't help to wonder how a man of Azaire's figure could generate such raw physical power. Furthermore, Azaire, from what Aiko had seen, was a wildcard. His methods and intentions remained unclear, and that made him even more of a threat. If there was anyone Aiko could trust, it had to be Bhang, given the respect he had for her mother.

        "We're here, Koko," Opa whistled as he pulled into the parking lot of the imposing building ahead. "I haven't been here in ages... I forgot just how large it was."

        Beacon Hill Academy sat at the edge of Beacon Hill Park, right on Finlayson Point, a former tourist attraction previously used for photography and sightseeing. The parking lot was massive, and it stretched for hundreds of feet until it reached Dallas Road. Willow and arbutus trees occupied edges of the boulevard that separated the lot from the garden surrounding the academy, and tons of cars and buses were flocking in for the new semester of training.

        The building itself was space age chrome, gleaming under a bright morning sun and decorated with blue banners boasting the emblem of The United Nations. While mostly metal, the building was quite open and abstract in its design— created to feel more like an embassy than a place of learning. And perhaps that grounded the building aesthetically, lessening the impact of its sheer size and grandeur on a new student. Regardless, Aiko couldn't help but feel looked down upon by the towering precipice before her as she simply stood on the sidewalk beside Yuko, gazing up at the marvellous structure. Although it was not nearly as tall as some of the other buildings in Victoria, it was definitely the most well kept, with maintenance workers on the grounds around the clock, picking up trash and raking leaves.

         "I'm sad I didn't get a chance to build this. This certainly would've been an endeavour." Opa complimented the building as he got out of the vehicle, letting it settle onto the ground as the anti-gravity stabilizers petered out. "Maybe sneak a few pictures for your dad, huh Koko?" He placed his hand on Aiko's shoulder. "I think he would've wanted to be here with you."

        "Yeah, I'm sure." Aiko smiled, beginning her trek down the long, wide sidewalk towards the academy, prompting her grandparents to follow; she didn't realize just how fast she was moving.

        "Slow down, Koko! I'm old!" Náanaa chuckled as she moved her short legs vigorously.

        "Oh, sorry..." Aiko grinned as she slowed her pace, letting her grandparents catch up. "Guess I let my excitement get the better of me."

        "Ah, so you are excited? You didn't really show it too well during the drive here..." Opa said as he walked beside Yuko.

        "Yeah, I suppose I was just suppressing it is all," Aiko nodded, crossing the boulevard onto the main pathway; the academy was now only fifty metres or so away, and the road became crowded quickly with students. "It's kinda bubbled up now that we're actually here."

        "There's so many people..." Yuko squeaked as she crossed her arms.

        "It'll be alright, Yuko," Aiko reassured her, though she didn't seem too at ease.

        Students seemed to outnumber the academy staff ten to one, and the crowd of people began to sort itself out as secretaries began to process each one of them. Aiko was a little dazed for a moment with all the people nearby; it had felt like ages the last time she was in an area with so many people her age. They all were mingling, reminiscing about the previous semester; truth be told, Aiko felt like a fish out of water. She tapped her finger against her chest as she moved through the line with Yuko and her grandparents, becoming impatient with the absence of activity.

        "Hey there, Junior," Bhang had shuffled over to her from a nearby tree he had been leaning on. "So you made it, huh?"

        "Oh, sorry... I didn't see you there," Aiko scratched the back of her head after taking a long pause. "Yeah, I made it. I'm not one for being too late."

        "Geez, you sound just like her..." Bhang mumbled, shaking his head a few times to get his thoughts back on track. He turned to Aiko's grandparents putting out his hand for a shake. "Hello, I'm Officer Johnny Lin Bhang. I'll be a part-time trainer here at the academy."

        "Nice to finally meet you, Officer Bhang. Roger had told us a lot about you when Yumi went here." Náanaa gave him a warm smile as she returned his handshake.

        "He wasn't lying about your sense of style either..." Opa muttered under his breath as he stared at the various buttons on Bhang's coat, to which Náanaa gave him a nudge with her elbow.

        "Yeah, me and Yumi go way back..." Bhang nodded, turning back to Aiko. "But this isn't about her. So, Aiko... you ready?"

        "As I'll ever be," Aiko answered with a half-confident smile. "By the way, what are you doing out here? Shouldn't you be inside with the teachers?"

        "Well, like I said, I'm not really a teacher. I'm just a trainer who pops in and out during Combat Classes. I'm not a part of the big game plan they've got cookin' in there. So I'm just hangin' out here to greet some familiar faces." As Aiko moved ahead, Bhang pointed over to one of the registration tables. "You should be in their logs, so don't worry about any hassle over there."

        "What did Aiko miss in the first semester?" Opa wondered.

        "Nothing special, really," Bhang replied, adjusting his bowler hat. "She just skipped an introductory semester— introducing marcusology, safety regulations, most stuff she can easily brush up on outside of school."

        "Safety regulations? You make it sound unimportant," Náanaa began to squirm nervously. "Are you sure she'll be okay in this semester?"

        "Positive. Like I said to Roger, she's already a natural, like her mother," Bhang said, twiddling a toothpick around in his mouth."She'll enjoy it here, trust me."

        "Well, I appreciate this anyways, Officer Bhang. Aiko couldn't have made it this far without you," Opa thanked him.

        "Roger and Yumi were good to me, and now I think it's time to return the favour," Bhang stated with a gleaming confidence to his tone.

        There was so much Aiko's mother had kept from her during her time in the IMOP. She refused to speak of her colleagues, her friends, the details of her job; she kept it all from Aiko. Was it to protect her? Aiko had no clue. What mattered now was getting to the top of the academy, becoming a police officer, and living up to her mother's legacy. And Bhang already realized her aspirations from the moment he met her in the alleyway. Though, Aiko wasn't sure what to think of Bhang; he seemed so reserved and lax, it was hard to read what he was thinking. Aiko took the opportunity to get Bhang alone with her, and turned to her grandparents.

        "I think I can handle it on my own from here, guys." Aiko insisted.

        "Are you sure, Koko?" Opa asked.

        "Yeah, I think so. I need to do this kinda stuff on my own more often anyways." Aiko answered, quelling their worries. "I'll be alright. I'm eighteen after all. I can find my way."

        "Okay, Koko. Be back before six for supper, alright? Text us if anything comes up." Náanaa gave Aiko a warm hug, as did Opa. "Good luck, Coconut. We're proud of you."

        "Thanks, grandma," Aiko patted them both on the back as she returned the hug. "I'll see you later." And with a final wave, they melded into the crowd behind her.

        "They're good folks. You're lucky to have grandparents like them." Bhang said, grabbing the toothpick between his teeth.

        "I know..." Aiko sighed, trying to remain calm.

        "Um... I don't know if I like it here..." Yuko shivered at the glaring eyes of those around her.

        "Oh, c'mon, Yuko. You're fine. These people just aren't used to seeing someone like you around. You're pretty damn tall." Aiko eased Yuko's nerves.

        "When could she speak full sentences?" Bhang inquired, caught off guard by Yuko's timid voice.

        "Yesterday. I think she's going through the shy phase of her life right now," Aiko hypothesized, patting Yuko on the back. "Not sure how long it'll last."

        "Man, Dr. Baxter would love to see Yuko. She's pretty unique," Bhang said as he gave Yuko a glance.

        "Who's he?" Aiko asked.

        "The teacher who runs Marcusology Class here at the academy. The guy's twenty-five and he's got a PHD in *censored*in' everything. The staff around here call him 'Einstein'." Bhang grinned, clearly being drawn back to an old memory at the mention of Dr. Baxter's nickname. "He's a little cranky, but he'll grown on ya."

        "Who else is teaching me this semester?" Aiko wondered, leaning up against Yuko, who stood firmly like a tree.

        "Well, there's Ms. Fawkes, she's the nurse. She hasn't got a class of her own, but she'll pop in and out of a few other's classes. She's got a thick Irish accent— ya can't mistake her in a crowd, since she's often the loudest. Then there's Ms. Steele, she's the toughest gal I know— could knock the daylights out of me in a fight; she'll be running Combat and Firearms Training. There's also Ms. Wendell, who's runs Fitness, she's a doll. A big chunk of the staff runs the last class of the day, Mark Development Class. That's where you learn how to improve upon your Mark abilities." Bhang continued, scratching his goatee. "I think you'll enjoy that class. Plus, there's also a ton of afterschool clubs you can join— those go from three-thirty to nine."

        "Geez, sounds like a boarding school," Aiko said as she digested the information, drawing nearer to the registration table.

        "Yeah, pretty much a boarding school for magic police officers," Bhang snorted. "Listen, Junior, I gotta jet. Orientation will be a few minutes from now, see ya there," Bhang informed her as he walked off the sidewalk and across the freshly cut grass. "I think you'll be hyped up when you find out who our guest of honour is!"

        "Um, yeah, see ya!" Aiko waved, taking in a deep breath as the line moved forward once again. "Hey, Bhang wait-, oof!" Aiko was cut off by a girl who passed by, ignoring the line. In a huff, Aiko grabbed the girl by the shoulder. "Hey, what the hell?! What gives?"

        The girl was a few inches taller than Aiko; slender, with a supermodel strut in her step. Her pale face was without any flaw, and her long scarlet hair was as straight as a board, with bangs that stopped just above her thin eyebrows. And the girl's full, pink lips formed a half-scowl, almost as if she were growling under her breath; her sea green eyes looked straight through Aiko, piercing her like a knife. She wore a navy blue, open, double-breasted frock coat cut at the waist with a white ruffled blouse underneath. Below her waist she wore black capri pants coupled with a pair of plain blue flats; her whole getup emitted a commanding aura, a dominating presence. Her eyes would glaze over Aiko, judging her with their every movement.

        "Hmph!" The girl scoffed, keeping a stiff upper lip as she walked past Aiko, giving her one last stink eye before cutting all the way to the registration table and handing the lady at the desk a card.

        "They're all just gonna let her pass?" Aiko muttered to Yuko, who tried her best to stray away from the tense situation.

        "Maybe we should leave her be. She didn't seem very friendly..." Yuko quivered.

        "You're lucky you caught her on a good day. She's the Victoria IMOP Chief's daughter, Maeve MacDonnell." A student behind Aiko chimed in.

        "Good day? Chief's daughter?!" Aiko's eyes went wide as she turned her head. "You gotta be kidding me."

        "Nope. On the spectrum of flavour I'd say she's ninety-nine percent bitter, one hundred percent of the time," The man behind her remarked.

        The man behind Aiko was only about an inch taller and perhaps only a year older. He had wavy green hair with a tuft of fur on his chin, and his eyes were hazel. The young man was smartly dressed, and he sported a red dress shirt with a black vest that had been done up all the way. He also wore sleek, black dress pants and dress shoes. He didn't fail when it came to boasting his wealth.

        "Name's Carlo, Carlo Catelli," The young man greeted himself as he put out a hand, which Aiko shook politely. "What's your name?"

        "Aiko Schmitt. Although, most people call me Koko," Aiko replied, stepping to the side to let Carlo see her giant friend. "And this is Yuko."

        "Huh, what a weird combination of names. I take it you're half Japanese and half German?" Carlo made the obvious guess. "But you're skin is fairly dark, so where are your-... bah, I'm at a loss."

        "Well, you're right about my main ethnicities, but I'm also partly Haida First Nations," Aiko added, tapping on Yuko's solid black stomach. "This girl originates from some pavement I touched yesterday."

        "Exotic..." Carlo chuckled, startling Yuko. "So this what your Mark can do? She's a little jumpy."

        "Yeah, she's still 'growing', I guess," Aiko shrugged her shoulders. "As far as I know this is the extent of my abilities. I just got my Mark a few days ago."

        "Just a few days ago, huh? Well, you're leaps and bounds ahead of me when I got my Mark. I'm a Second Waver." Carlo said as he continued to examine Yuko with his eyes. "I didn't see you here last semester... what's a Third Waver doing here with such a fresh Mark?"

        "Well, it's a weird story, but... I got lucky— to put it simply," Aiko let out an embarrassed laugh, realizing the absurdity of her situation.

        "Nice to meet you two. Oh!" Carlo tapped Aiko on the shoulder suddenly and pointed past her. "You're up."

        "Ah, damn. Thanks," Aiko said as she turned, filling out a registration form from the lady at the table. "Okay... there we go..." As Aiko finished, she folded the form neatly on impulse. "Oh, crap." She then unfolded it, trying her best to get rid of the crease in the paper before handing it back. "Here you go..." The lady at the table shook her head and sighed as she took the form, motioning to Aiko to gather on the grass with the others.

        "Um, see ya!" Carlo waved as Aiko walked off.

        "Yeah, see you!" Aiko shouted back to him as she stepped past a willow tree, almost bumping into Yuko on the way.

        The line thinned out in only a few minutes, and most had gathered in the field at around ten after nine. Most were shaking with excitement, eager to see just what was in store for them this semester. Aiko and Yuko were clumped into the middle of the crowd, unable to see what was going on up front— save for Yuko, whose height granted her a wide view of her surroundings.

        "Goddamn it..." Aiko jumped up and down, trying to get a better hint at what was going on. "Yuko, what's going on?"

        "Um... there's a bunch of teachers lining up, I think," Yuko guessed as she watched the teaching staff gather in front of the tidal wave of more than one-hundred students.

        "Hello, all! I hope your morning was pleasant. My name is Headmaster Clement Colter, and I am a former IMOP Officer of the Victoria detachment." The husky man with dark hair announced, pacing back and forth in front of the row of teachers. "I shall be our school's representative and leader for this semester. I won't lie, I am new to leadership roles, but I'm up to the task. It is your job as students to help guide, not just me, but the rest of the teaching staff as we move forward. I'm excited to see all the anxious expressions and eager eyes in this crowd today. You are the future, students." He paused, letting the crowd see the main teachers. "I shall begin the orientation with an introduction of our core four teachers." Headmaster Colter began with a slant man in a lab coat first. "This is Dr. Miles Baxter, our leading expert on marcusology and a Third Waver."

        "Yes, yes, hello..." Dr. Baxter grumbled into the microphone, adjusting his thick glasses. "I'm thrilled to be your teacher."

        Dr. Baxter looked like what one would think of when they thought of a mad scientist— pale, pasty, thin, unkempt, and he had a small, round head. His messy blonde hair was wild and free, and a five o' clock shadow made his face look quite rough. He wore a faded blue polo shirt under his lab coat coupled with a pair of beige pants and loafers. Quickly he tossed the microphone to the next teacher, fed up with the wave of attention he was getting.

        "Alright, onto our next main teacher, Ms. Steele, a veteran and Third Waver with a wellspring of knowledge regarding combat and weaponry." Headmaster Colter said as he passed Ms. Steele the microphone.

        "Hey, my name's Ms. Steele and I'll be your Combat and Firearms Training teacher, just like last year. I wanna tell ya noobies right off the bat that I ain't gonna be goin' easy on ya. I'm gonna work you hard, and you'll come out of my class as great fighters. Sound good? Good." Ms. Steele said bluntly with a domineering growl to her voice.

        Ms. Steele certainly fit the role of the grizzled veteran. Her long, dark brown hair was pinned back to form a mane of wild locks, and her faded green eyes appeared cold and distant. She wore minimal makeup, and despite the gloom on her face, she was in fact quite easy on the eyes; a full set of lips, a long but never jagged nose, an athletic build, and a sharp yet smooth facial structure with subtle freckles. However, her whole introverted demeanour seemed to contradict her natural good looks, as if she didn't even acknowledge it. Ms. Steele's getup was very basic: brown runners, blue jeans, and a white, buttoned dress shirt. Beneath her simple outfit, however, Yuko could see Ms. Steele's bionic arms and legs, and remnants of an old wound were present on her neck in the form of scars.

        "Next we have our Fitness teacher, Ms. May Wendell," Headmaster Colter said as he moved on.

        "Hi, hi, hi! It's great to see you all again!" Ms. Wendell greeted her students with a wide grin and a bubbly attitude. "I hope we all didn't get too out of shape after Christmas!"

        Ms. Wendell clearly had a feline Beast Mark, as her regular ears were pointed with brown tufts of fur around them, and her whole body was covered in a thin but sleek layer of tan fur. Her fingernails were sharp and much larger than the norm, as were her facial features— quite similar to the triangular shape of a cat's. Ms. Wendell also had short blonde hair and a pair of wide, green cat eyes. Granted, her face was not feline enough to be considered inhuman; she still had the body structure of a normal woman— save for her long tail that whipped about. Ms. Wendell wore a pair of black leggings and a red tank top, and she also sported some red runners to tie the outfit all together.

        "Always a pleasure, Ms. Wendell." Headmaster Colter smiled as he moved on. "Now, she may not have a class of her own, but our students and staff regard her as an essential part of our little group of teachers. May I introduce, Nurse Gin Fawkes!" He stepped aside as she handed the microphone to a stunning woman with deep amber eyes.

        "Not sure if I need the big introduction, Colter, I'm just a nurse," Her modesty was followed by a dissatisfied groan from the students. "Okay, okay... thanks."

        Ms. Fawkes was a belle for sure. Her smooth complexion and sun-kissed face were accented by her long silver hair, and her facial features were striking yet gentle as if she contained a roaring energy behind the metaphorical mask she kept on her face. Ms. Fawkes wore teal nurse's scrubs and white runners, and she somehow managed to rock the look as if it were designer.

        "Now, we shouldn't get caught up in any further introductions. You can meet the rest of our teaching staff during breakfast. For now, I think it's time we reveal a special guest. Students, allow me to introduce Canada's Defender, Northstar!" Headmaster Colter shouted, as if he were summoning some kind of incantation.

        "Wait, Northstar?!" Aiko frantically climbed Yuko to get a better view and try and find her idol in the line up, however, she was nowhere to be found. "Huh-?" Aiko was cut off by a cracking noise in the distance; Northstar had materialized out of stark nowhere in front of the headmaster with her incredible speed. "Oh, wow..."

        Northstar lived up to her reputation. She was very tall— almost six foot four —and her signature metal battle suit was decorated with the large blue star on the breastplate. The suit showed off her incredibly well-toned body, and her long brown ponytail flowed freely, coupling her dark complexion nicely. Her presence was larger than life, and her emerald eyes seemed to make every student's heart quiver n excitement. They cheered, jumped for joy, screamed. Everyone, including Aiko, was losing their minds over the icon that stood before them.

        "Northstar! Northstar! Northstar!" The students all shouted in unison.

        "Aiko... who is that?" Yuko whispered to her master, barely audible amongst the roar of the crowd.

        "That's Northstar, Canada's top IMOP agent. She's a Third Waver with one of the most powerful Cellularum Marks in existence, the Zoom Mark. She's so cool!"Aiko shrieked at the thought of Northstar using her powers.

        "Alright, everyone, alright... we all know how excited you are, but Northstar can't stay to long. She has a job to get back to after all. Northstar, take it away." Headmaster Colter handed Northstar the mic, and she brought it close to her face.

        "Hello, everyone. I'm glad I could be here with you all to bring you into the next semester of training. I know you are all eager to learn and become IMOP members, but the road ahead will be difficult. In this semester our school division has decided to raise the stakes. Throughout the previous semester, you've studied solo, learned on your own. Well, we've decided to mix it up a little." Northstar fed the crowd with her gentle yet commanding voice. "This year we shall place you all into teams of five or six of different backgrounds and with vastly different Marks— the groups have been chosen by the teaching staff. Now, each of you have a card in your right pocket that I just happen to sneak in while you weren't looking." Every student checked their pockets immediately, and to their surprise, they each did in fact have a card inside their right pocket.

        "Whoa, what...?" Aiko gasped as she pulled the card out of her pocket.

        "This card will give you your team number, team members, and the lunch table you shall sit at every day for the rest of your training. You will meet with your group in the cafeteria this morning for breakfast." The crowd was letting loose their emotions of uncertainty and excitement as Northstar continued. "Now, I know this is out of your comfort zone, but that is essentially the point of this experiment. We want to teach new recruits on the force to work together with different people, seek solutions in dire situations, and learn as a team. That's what being an IMOP member is about. Now, I'm pretty hungry! I'll see you all at the cafeteria! Onwards and upwards!" And with a powerful gust of air, Northstar sped off.

        A wave of doubt and anxiety overtook the crowd as they all moved as a unit, babbling and chattering about what the next semester had in store. Aiko simply stood still and read over her card carefully, examining each of the five names.

*

TEAM #12- LUNCH TABLE #23:

Aiko Schmitt

Jace Zambo

Mura Muranaka

Carlo Catelli

Maeve MacDonnell

*

        "Oh, *censored* me sideways..."