{PotGA} B & B: Chapter 9

Chapter 9


Dean Jackson watched carefully as the students maneuvered to find their seats. At the top of the auditorium, the seniors in their pristinely white uniforms were relaxed yet vigilant. Several of them were RAs this year, and so were still watching the younger students with a careful eye. 

Below them, the grey uniforms depicting juniors and sophomores covered the middle seats. Many of these students were just as excited for the new year as the freshmen but contained it with an appropriate amount of wariness. They knew to expect the unexpected. Today being just one example.

Lastly, the new students covered the remaining seats in a field of black uniforms. Apprehension and energy in equal parts could be literally felt emanating from this section of the room.

How many years had he stood in this spot, and how many times had he seen this sight? And yet, Herbert Jackson knew that no orientation could ever quite give as much information as it should. How can one describe the sense of pride at seeing so much potential before them, yet feel such fear that these faces would disappear before they were ready?

The old Ghost of the Battlefield felt his ridiculous nickname was all the more appropriate today. He could truly imagine the years creeping upon him. Maybe a decade more, maybe less, before he hung up his hat. Sighing, he turned his mind from such thoughts and refocused on the task at hand.

Time would move on, and life would continue to happen. In a program called the HCP, young men and women would find out who they truly were, and the price their dreams would cost.




Ethan stared around him at the mass of students. At first glance, there had to be anywhere from 50 to 70 freshmen sitting in the seats nearby. It was a tad overwhelming, if only because of how many fewer upperclassmen were also in the room. Around 15 seniors? That was insane! The drop out rate… he shook his head in worry. As he pondered this new information Ethan settled into his preselected spot, feeling the cold wood of the seat against his back. Barely a moment passed before he caught a quiet cough near him. Turning, his eyebrows raised in surprise as a very familiar figure settled into the seat beside him. 

Laughing softly, the exotic girl from the day before gave him a grin. “Honestly, your face looks hilarious that way.” She paused to copy his expression. Head crooked to one side, eyebrows raised high, tongue slightly out and a vague stare upon her features. She was absolutely adorable.

That same feeling of breathlessness hit Ethan in the chest, his heart speeding up and his skin flushing in embarrassment. He visibly shrugged and gave her a small smile in return, but the only thought currently running through his head was… “This is the most gorgeous creature I have ever seen. Why… why did she have to be in the HCP?!?”

Brushing her snowy braid over a shoulder, the girl held out a hand. “So, Mr. Impatient. We have not officially met. My name is Rachelle.”

Returning her handshake, Ethan finally felt his mind jumping back on track. “Eh, right. Sorry, I honestly didn’t expect to see you here. I’m Ethan.”

“A pleasure Ethan. And honestly, I’m a little disappointed you didn’t guess that I was a super. Most people do, you know, because of the…” Her hand motioned towards her eyes, which were once again in a state of subtle fluctuating colors.

Ethan shrugged again. “I don’t like to presume. I’ve met a lot of people who just like to appear unusual for the sake of it.”

Rachelle seemed to ponder that, before nodding. “It does seem fairly common here at the university, doesn’t it. Ah well, that much easier for me to blend in.” She opened her mouth to speak again but was interrupted by a powerful voice from the front of the classroom. 

“Welcome Students of Sizemore Tech! For those of you wondering why we’ve required all students to be here today, it’s just a bit of housekeeping. Don’t get too worried. Yet.” His opening statement was met with a flurry of worried murmuring from the freshmen, curious glances from the sophomore and junior classes, and several open grins from the seniors. 

“Now, as many of you might know Sizemore Tech was recently granted the appropriate grants and funding to increase the size of their on-campus dorms. Those staying in the Stangel and Randolph Hall dorm buildings are the first to do so, and I hope the improved conditions show the school’s desire to correct the issues the facilities have had in previous years. That being said, these new renovations have also provided the HCP with an excellent opportunity to change up transportation from the aboveground campus to the HCP below. The details can be found in the packets in front of you.”

Dean Jackson paused for a moment as the sound of people pulling out papers carried across the auditorium. “Later, I expect you to read such details on your OWN time.” The sounds froze, as people looked guiltily in his direction. “For the moment, I simply want the Senior RAs to raise their hands.” 

Ten white-uniformed students raised their hands at top of the seats. “Please take notice of these individuals. For the first year of our new accommodations, they have been approved to watch over separate floors. They should have led you here this morning. If you have any immediate questions concerning your housing situation, or if any emergencies might arise, they are your first point of contact.”

“For those of you still in separate dorms or townhouses, please understand that more student flats are being built but for now the top five floors of both buildings are all the HCP has.” He held up a key badge and ID. “Please keep in mind that all our students and faculty are still required to carry a combination biometric pass key and enhanced Sizemore ID badge at all times in order to access the underground facilities. A variety of elevators are situated throughout the campus for your use, but since last year it has been deemed necessary to change the locations of several of these. You’ll find the details in the packets as stated before.”

He glanced around the room, making sure to make eye contact with many of the students. “If any other pertinent details arrive on this situation you will be notified accordingly.” Clapping his hands together, he hid a grin as several of the students jumped at the sudden noise.

“With that being done, all upperclassmen are dismissed to their appropriate positions. If you happen to have the rest of the day off, I would enjoy it if possible. Your new classes start tomorrow.”

He nodded as all the other students filed out, and once the door had finally closed on the last one, he turned back to the wide-eyed freshmen. 

“And now ladies and gentlemen, allow me to welcome you officially into the Sizemore HCP program. I am Dean Jackson, head of the faculty and your professor of Ethics this year.”

It was at this point that something almost imperceptible began to emanate from the square-shouldered dean on stage. To the advanced minds in the class, any stray thoughts they had might have picked up on faded into a dense silence. The entire class felt themselves being weighed and judged, and most couldn’t help but feel as if they fell short. 

His voice filled the room, a gravelly roll that seemed deep and unstoppable. “You, the freshmen class of Sizemore’s Hero Certification Program, are about to be tested. I admire your dedication to a goal that will likely kill you.” 

Silence reigned.

The dean continued. “Do not mistake my words. Your time here at Sizemore will be far more challenging than you expect. Those more astute might have noticed the size difference of continuing classes. Each year, there will be fewer spots open in each class, and by graduation, only ten of you will remain.”

Gasps emanated from many of the students as they turned to look at the seventy-odd people surrounding them. Dean Jackson was pleased to see a few faces unmoved by his declaration. They were the ones he would keep an eye on.

“The statistics say that once graduated, at least one of you will die on the job in the first two years. Less than half of those ten will survive to retirement.” By now most of the freshmen looked sick, and that was the point. He hated seeing a person struggle for years to accomplish something they didn’t really want in the first place. Better they dropped out now and succeeded in a career they could make mean something. 

But he wasn’t finished. “For those few of you that remain, dedicated to your dreams of being a hero, let me warn you now. This journey will consume you. Everything you are will be dedicated to this life, and the gratitude of the masses might not be enough to cover the pain. But that’s not the point, is it?”

He breathed deeply, allowing a moment of respite from his overwhelming presence. 

“You see… if this seems to be an effort on my part to discourage you, well… you’re not wrong. But now let me tell you why I’m here. During my third year as a hero, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and so saved a number of lives from a collapsing building. Many of the rescuees thanked me that day, but the one I remember most was a young boy. He wasn’t crying, though his parents were among the dead. He wasn’t mad, though his life was forever changed. No, he simply walked up, shook my hand, looked me in the eye, and said, ‘“Thank you for saving me.”’ That’s it. That’s why I’m still a hero.”

Looking down at the crowd of freshmen, many with a tear in their eye, Dean Jackson nodded solemnly. Now they understood.

“If you decide to remain, it must be for more than just fame and fortune. Find something deep within yourselves that calls for a better world, and then make that come to pass.”




Rubin was amazed. In just a few short sentences, the dean had torn down the freshmen’s expectations and then reconfirmed why many of them were here in the first place. No wonder his dad had demanded he attend Sizemore. Dean Jackson was a legend for a reason, and Rubin couldn’t wait to find out what awaited him this year. 

Thankfully, he didn’t have to wait long. As the Dean’s short speech wrapped up, he made a rapping motion on the podium, and two people wearing gym clothes entered from the side door near the stage. They both moved up to stand beside the dean and remained there with solemn expressions. 

On the right stood a tall and well-built man, with a shock of blond hair excellently styled. His blue eyes covered the students in front of him, and Rubin felt he could feel a twinkle of humor emanating from the man’s visage.

To the left was an equally tall woman, auburn hair wrapped in a tight bun behind her head. She was extremely athletic, amazonian even, with curves in all the right places and lightly tanned skin. As Rubin scanned her form, he almost shivered. Yep, no humor there. She was all business. 

Dean Jackson motioned towards both of them. “Freshman. Along with myself, these two individuals will be your 1st-year instructors here at Sizemore. I will allow them to introduce themselves.”

He stepped back, and the blond-haired man stepped forward. “Greetings students. My name is Adrian Steels. You can call me Coach Steels. I will be your alternate instructor this year. For those of you wondering what that means, allow me to explain. I’m sure there are a few of you whose abilities are less conducive to pure combat. You’ll be working with me to explore how those powers might be better used in a hero capacity. More will be explained when the time comes.”

Adrian then stepped back and the woman took his place at the podium. Her voice was steel wrapped in silk, sultry and predatory all at once. “You will call me Coach Langston. I will be your Close Combat instructor. While Coach Steels will teach you how to think with your power, I will teach you how to beat up other people with it. Our goal will be to tear you down physically, then build you back from the ground up. For most of you, we will not succeed. For some, we might just make Heros out of you.”



{BtHE} The Journey Begins: Chapter 1

Chapter 1 – The Last Giraffe


Every journey begins with the first step… unless you step into oblivion.

Then your journey becomes quite short and manageable.

Until oblivion spits you back out.


“Come on JD! I want to see the giraffes!”

The little girl continued to tug on the coat sleeve of a young man, beautiful amber puppy eyes doing their best to control the willpower of anyone within a five-foot radius. The individual in question sighed, before rolling his own eyes in exhaustion.

“Julia, I’ve told you before. We already promised to meet mom and dad at the main gates. We don’t have time to go look at anything else.”

“Please! Pretty please! Just a quick look, then we can go!” The little girl smiled her best and most adorable smile, all while pretending not to notice the “aww”s from any nearby passerby’s.

At first, it seemed if all her hard work was for naught; but then her older brother grinned.

“Ugh, fine. I suppose one look won’t hurt.” He scooped her up as she cheered in happiness, landing her atop his broad shoulders. “Come on little sis. You gotta be higher if you want any of the giraffes to notice you!”

Taking a quick turn at the next corner, he continued to follow the posted signs leading to the proper animal enclosure. “And here we are! Current home of the..” He squinted at the sign in front of the fence. “Cervus Camelopardalis? Ehh, or the giraffe, as it’s most commonly known. Say hi sis.”

The little girl gleefully obliged, waving both hands erratically in the hopes of gaining the attention of some of the nearby long-necked creatures. After a few minutes, it seemed to work, and one of the animals stretched forth its head towards the duo in the hopes of obtaining some food these weird two-legged creatures always seemed to bring. The little girl gasped as a rough tongue licked over her fingers, and quickly jerked back her hands against her chest, though she couldn’t stop giggling at the proximity of one of her favorite animals.

After several minutes had passed, the young man jerked and pulled his phone out of his pocket. “Alright Julia, time to say goodbye. Mom and dad are waiting for us.”

“Awww…” a drawn-out sigh was her first response, but she quickly brightened up and began to wave a farewell towards her new friend. “Bye buddy! Have fun eating trees!”

Her brother set her down on the ground with a laugh. “I’m sure that’s all he does here. Eat and eat and eat till he pops!” He gave her stomach a quick tickle and grinned as she squealed and tried to escape.

“Alright, come on. We’re really late now, and I’m definitely getting in trouble. We need to hurry, ok?”

The little girl nodded happily, and together they began to move quickly along the winding paths of the zoo. The young man was fairly sure of a great shortcut through the bird compound that would cut off a few minutes, and so took his little sister’s hand and directed her through the expansive glass ceiling enclosure. The cacophony of noise in the building was weirdly pleasing to the ears, though it did restrict the senses quite a bit. Keeping a tight hold on his little sister, the young man began to speed quickly through the maze-like jungle interior. There were only a few people in the building, probably because of it being so late in the day, and so close to closing time.

On the one hand, this was great because it allowed a fast pace while traversing the bamboo covered pathways, but on the other hand, it was hard to tell where people were exiting. Somehow, he misjudged a turn, and together they found themselves in a dead-end facing a large bamboo wall. “Well shoot. Gotta backtrack a bit. Wonder where I went wrong?” The young man murmured to himself as the little girl watched. Turning around they began to head back towards the center of the building… until they were jerked to a stop.

“What the h…” the young stopped speaking as he glanced towards his sister. “Sorry, sis. Uh, can you walk at all?”

She shook her head, muscles in her legs straining to take a step, but unable to.

“What’s happening JD?”

Frowning, the young man tried everything possible, but it was as if his legs were glued to the floor. An icy itching sensation began to climb its way up his feet, quickly winding it’s way to his waist and continuing higher. The little girl was crying at this point, but neither one would let go of each other.

It was then that he noticed the lack of sound around them. Where once birds had called incessantly, now only a soft murmur could be heard.

“It’s going to be alright Julia. Just hang on ok?”

His encouragement sounded fake even to his own ears as he desperately tried to pull his phone out of his pocket. Every muscle in his body felt heavy and unresponsive and he started to hear a crackling sound that seemed to fill his consciousness. “Come on!” He finally managed to grasp his phone and yank it free, but by this point, his chest and shoulders were also feeling that freezing itch that had spread so quickly. With his right hand grasping his sister, he fumbled with his left thumb quickly trying to dial 911 on the device. A moment passed and the call was initiated, but only a few seconds later the freezing itch reached his hand and to his terror, the phone slipped out of his grasp and rebounded off the floor.

“Aargh! Just hang on Julia, I know it hurts but just hang on!”

At this point, tears were streaming down the little girl’s cheek, and her large eyes were completely focused on her brother. In agony, he stretched his head to look at her; quickly noticing their surroundings. A light was beginning to seep through the ground, and small motes of azure energy began to crawl across the branches of the trees around them. An intense motion had began to circulate, centered on the two of them. Crackling electricity and waves of light began to dance in an ever-building crescendo of power and momentum, following a beat of unknown potential that contained a rushing, tearing force of the universe behind it. It demanded attention, it declared its intensity through laws written in time. A vortex… that slowly began to revolve with profound presence.

This feeling could not be described, for it wasn’t purely pain. It was both destruction and rebuilding, a separation of atoms and a combination of something else. In that singular moment, the young man realized that death had called… and he could do nothing to prevent it.

With eyes wide open, he could only watch as the building energy spiraled around them, collecting every particle in the nearby area. Another few seconds passed as the buildup increased… and then, the crescendo. Both the young man and the little girl disappeared in a flash of powerful energy and a void of space, leaving behind the only world they had ever known.

A few minutes more passed and gradually, the birds began to resume their songs.



{BtHE} The Journey Begins: Prologue



DATE: ????-???-??//# 13 Sols AFC [AFTER FLUX CAUSALITY]

LOCATION: Inner Core of the Planetary Space Station “Grand Haven”…



With a nearly silent hiss, the hatchway swung open into a pitch-black corridor. Two figures crouched behind the lip of the opening, staring warily forward.

“You know Ben, the last time one of our family decided this was a good idea, the Grand Council was formed.”

Ben smiled and stepped into the corridor, shaking his finger back and forth. “Now now brother. No dissing Echo Squad. They had reasons for it, just the same as us.” Pausing, he looked back over his shoulder. “Seriously though Daniel, I can’t think of any other way to help the Travelers. At least not within the timeframe we have.”

Daniel gingerly stepped through the hatchway and nodded somberly. “I know man. I know. It just feels a little sacrilegious.”

Ben huffed and started walking again. “It’s only sacrilegious if you don’t know the truth. And lucky us, we happen to be one of the only families alive who are aware of that fact. And now we’re going to use that knowledge to help others. It all comes full circle if you ask me.”

“Too bad no one asked you,” Daniel grumbled.

“Besides,” Ben stopped in front of a massive symbol imprinted against the inner wall. “Dad said I could do this. Practically commanded me to, remember?” He pricked his palm quickly, then pressed it against the middle formation.

Daniel leaned, arms crossed, against the opposite wall. “Yep. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.”

“It’ll be over in a minute anyway. Now keep a lookout. I doubt they can find us down here, but I’d rather not risk it.” The formation surged inwards, the wall collapsing on itself as it broke down and scurried backward. Ben paused once again and looked towards his brother, who nodded worriedly, though a little relieved.

Pushing himself upright, Daniel proceeded back the way they came. Faintly, Ben just could make out his brother’s whisper. “Don’t lose yourself in there. I need you.”

Grinning at his brother’s confession, Ben touched a hand into the broken formation. He felt no resistance. Carefully as to not disturb the still fluctuating edges, he crawled into the hole. For several feet, he could feel nothing more than solid metal beneath his palms, but that quickly began to change to a much more rubbery and skin-like texture. A dull glow began to emanate from somewhere in front, though he couldn’t tell from what exactly. Finally, he felt the floor drop out into emptiness. Taking this as his cue, he lept down. It was a good ten feet, but the surface bowed beneath him, taking virtually all the force of his fall away.

Spinning in place, Ben noticed once again the historical oddity of this place. It appeared to be a circular room containing broken machines and equipment from pre and post-colonial days, odd wires leading to nowhere and plugged into nothing, and several small (and ancient) spacesuits hanging respectfully in place between two giant consoles.

The consoles were covered in early Norkishian writing, a pre-galactic standard that had long faded into obscurity. Multiple lights blinked off and on in a slow rhythm, a pattern that if watched very closely, seemed almost reminiscent of a heartbeat.

Ben watched the lights for a moment but heard nothing more than the beat of his own heart. Still, he had been allowed this far. Solemnly, he bowed to the lights.

“Greetings once again. I come before you as a descendant of my ancestors, a remnant of the ones you hold dear. I have both a boon to request and an explanation to give.” He held his breath this time. Long enough apparently, as a clear and sonorous voice sounded in the room simultaneously as a bright pulse was emitted from the right console.

“Speak clearly, young one.”

“Of course elder.” Ben straightened and continued. “13 sols ago, my father and his team unveiled the results of the Great Experiment. You might recall he came to discuss this topic with you several years ago.”

“Of course. His solution to the greater expansion and discovery of our universe.”

“Preciously. The initial test, however, proved something… else.”

“We felt it. A disturbance in all reality. A ripple of time and space that could not be contained.”

“Not just our reality elder. All realities. Ad infinitum.”

“His theory proved correct then? Why the worry in your voice? Ah, nevermind, we see it recorded in your second-mind.”

Though he tried not to think about it, Ben couldn’t help acknowledging his discomfort with being laid so bare. To think his second-mind so easily revealed was disconcerting, and why he hadn’t forced his brother to accompany him. Daniel had always liked his secrets. Still, it did prove a much faster means of communication, as evidenced by the next words spoken.

“Why would the Grand Council demand such a thing?! Do they not see the potential of such individuals?”

To Ben’s surprise, a much gentler voice echoed in time from the left console.

“Patience dear one. You know how short-sighted such people can be. They do not think beyond, only remaining worried and fearful of the present.”

“It does not excuse their negligence, nor their lack of aptitude. If we had been more aware of how low the Council has fallen…”

“We would not have interfered. Our rules are set for a reason. We can help to grow but never destroy. Their mistakes are their own. They must learn from such events to progress.

A heavy sigh emanated from the right console. Ben shivered as he felt ripples move over his skin.

“You are right, of course. Still, they move too far in this. Young one, you have come to us for a boon and an explanation. We have heard the latter, now let us hear the former.”

Ben recovered from his lapse quickly, and once more assumed his humble stance. “My father has been left to blame for this… accident. At his own insistence. My brother and I escaped with his help and now plan to enter the Void first before any others might lay claim. Our goal will be observation, exploration, and detailed recording of all we experience and learn. We also hope to find and prepare any other Travelers, enabling them to hide if possible or resist should they be forced. It is the most honorable solution we can achieve.”


“It is to this nature I have come to you, in the hope that I might ask for something you might very well deny. Elders, these individuals will be lost and alone in unfamiliar worlds. They might be injured, both in mind and body. Though they cannot truly die, they can suffer. And of course, be more easily found by the NCF.”

Here, Ben paused for a moment. After taking a breath and gathering his thoughts, he plunged forward. “Elders… would you grant me the ability to offer them a second-mind?”

Sweat trickled down his brow as he waited, seconds passing with no response. Would they cast him out for such a request? Perhaps forcefully remove his own second-mind? And what of his brother, waiting impatiently above?

The lights pulsed.

“If we were to agree to this request, such individuals would become Norkishian in all but blood and origin.”

“They would remember their origins, yet no longer be able to return. Their home reality would be forever cut off, and they would live immortal for tens of millennium. Longer, if what your father theorized remains true.”

“You and your brother would become caretakers for a multiverse so old, so unimaginably vast, you will never truly see it all.”

“Yet you must watch over all, to help where you can, protect those who require it, and record every second, every sol of this continued Existence till Time breathes its last breath, and Space collapses into nothing. And you will record even that.”

“Can you accept this price? Will you accept this responsibility?

In that moment, Ben felt time stop and await his answer. Whatever he decided, he could never return from that choice. But it wasn’t just up to him. Quietly, he brushed the communicator on his wrist.

“Daniel, I need you here.”

The response was immediate. “I’m on my way.”

Less than a minute later, Daniel dropped down beside him, observing all with a quick eye.

Ben nodded to the lights once more. “Will you please repeat your request, so that we might both decide?”

And so they did.

Once the final word was spoken again, Ben looked over at his brother. He loved Daniel as only a sibling could. A love so strong, so boundless; it could only be compared to the universe they might soon enter. His question did not need to be asked.

Daniel looked back, dark eyes grim. Slowly, but surely… a smile began to form. He started to laugh then, a quiet huff that made the universe a little brighter for it.

“Well,” Daniel said, shrugging his shoulders, “We always did want to see the end of time. Might as well get a start on it.”

To all others, Daniel might be overly dismissive, but Ben knew better. It was just his way of seeing things.

Turning to face the consoles, he knew his answer. “My choice is made as well.”

“Very well.”

Together the echoing voices spoke, the room vibrating with the contained sound.

“Benjamin and Daniel Kragrinur. You have now been tasked with entering other realities, henceforth known as strings of time and space, to gather any and all information available to you. You will be a force of honor and trust throughout all these universes so that any who might hear the name Norki will know only respect. You will help those who require it, protect those who need it, and destroy those who deserve it. You will endure any pain, any hardship, any trial, to see your work complete. By this agreement you will be allowed to offer individuals taken from their natural reality, henceforth known as Travelers, a boon; evidenced in the form of a second-mind. Do you both understand and accept this responsibility and the responsibility of all who might abuse such power as provided by this boon?

The brothers bowed and in unison answered. “We accept, and will endure.”

“So be it.”



{TDA} First Steps: Chapter 2

Chapter 2


1st Private Jenzen Varsios was not happy.

His hand wavered over the control panel, his eyes glued to the array before him. If he was tracking this right, and he was fairly certain in his skills to do just that, he had just found yet another complication in the 98th Fleet’s ongoing objective. Finally, with a sigh of exasperation, he lifted his finger and notified his superior.

“Excuse me, sir, I think we might have an issue.”

The response came back instantly, and not a little perturbed.

“What is it now? You know we’re busy in Sector O8, so whatever you’re bothering me with better be at least a Priority V.”

“I know that sir. That’s why I contacted you.”

The voice was silent for a moment, and when the response did return the difference was marked.

“What is the issue?”

“I caught a primary source entering voidspace from String O3. Identity confirmed to be a non-issue, but somehow they got caught up in the tail of a voidstorm, and bypassed restrictive zone Alpha.”

“Where are they now?”

“They just breached String O1-C and sir… they retained equipment.”

“That sounds impossible.”

“Improbable sir, but not impossible. I have a theory, but you’re not going to like what means sir.”

“No need, I can hazard a guess. Somehow Prisoner K got a message out, and they naturally figured out a loophole.”

“It is the most likely probability, sir.”

“What’s the sources’ name?”

“Jacob Taferin. Below two decades String O3 time. No prior history of Traveling or inclination via family influence. Complete non-entity sir.”

“Likely not for long if they already reached him. Still, this isn’t as bad as it seems.”

“How so sir?”

“The whole purpose of O1-C is reintegration. If he is starting with a clean slate, he might be the perfect control group to observe.”

“But Prisoner K sir…”

“Is already interred. If this is a rescue attempt, it’s virtually pointless. Which means it’s not. More likely, this is a means of contact, or simply a message to us.”

“A message sir? Saying what?”

“That “They” could retrieve Prisoner K at any time desired. Since they haven’t, it means he was serious about his claim. I’ll send this up the chain, but in all likelihood, the order will be to observe and not interfere. Actually, belay that. Send in a care package, something he could attune to. And set up a basic translation protocol for a level H class. That should keep him alive for now. We’ll wait for further instructions beyond that.”

“Yes, sir. It will take a few minutes O1-C Time to engage.”

“That’s fine. Keep an eye on both him and Prisoner K for now. Contact me again if something develops.”

“Understood sir.”

The holo fell silent, and Jenzen looked ruthfully at his screen. “Well, my young friend, let’s see just how well you can climb.”



{PotGA} B & B: Chapter 8

Chapter 8


The combat cell shuddered, concrete flying in every direction as a body made impact with the wall. 

Harmony shook her hand, trying to remove the tingle still present from hitting something that you really shouldn’t. Grinning, she kept her eyes on Adrian as he climbed out of the indentation, shaking his head to remove bits of wall clinging to him.

“Hmph. Lucky shot.” He grinned back. Slowly circling each other, they gaged the distance and carefully watched each other’s movements.

A burst of air to her right was the only warning she had. Smashing down in a vicious elbow strike, she used the sudden turn to carry her momentum into a side flip but still wasn’t fast enough. 

Adrian slipped her elbow and grabbed her waist in an arm lock before directing her energy towards the floor, adding his own boost for good measure. 

She hit hard, gasping as the air was compressed from her lungs. Dancing back, it was Adrian’s turn to smile as his opponent pulled herself from a hole in the floor.

“So…” He paused to readjust the sparing wraps around his fists. “How do you want to handle the freshies?” 

Resting on her knee for a moment, Harmony considered the question. “Well, last year we did the good cop, bad cop routine. It kinda worked. Got any better ideas?” She jumped back to her feet, stretching just a bit to relieve the pressure of a bruised rib. 

“Yep.” The conversation paused for a moment, until the next impact reverberated throughout the entire underground level of the HCP faculty. “I was thinking of shock and awe. Heard through the grapevine that a couple of the other 1st year professors were doing something similar. Might as well try and see if it works.” 

Pausing as he adjusted to the stove sized fist flying at his head, Adrian missed the much smaller foot descending from above. For a minute afterward, everything was stars and pink ponies. 

Finally shaking off the concussion, he saw Harmony’s outstretched hand above. Grasping it, he was quickly leveraged to his feet. 

“So what, we fight each other in front of the whole class?” She shook her head. “I doubt they’d appreciate that until 2nd Year at best.” 

“Nah, I was thinking we’d split them up, and each takes half. Really put the fear of God into their freshmen hearts. Maybe you take the boys, and I take the girls? Ha! I can see their faces now!” 

Adrian’s infectious laughter caused Harmony to join in, and only after a  few minutes did they regain their breath long enough to start walking towards the showers.




Dean Jackson paused in the middle of his signature, reaching out to steady a pile of paperwork that had been edging towards the side of his desk.

It was pure insanity that he could be feeling the repercussions of the friendly sparring match between two of his instructors, but such was the nature of teaching in the HCP. Hell, he was just as bad before the years of being a dean had caught up to him. Now, he much preferred to let his reputation speak first. Saved more paperwork too.

Nonetheless, the small earthquakes had their reasons. Adrian’s sparring sessions were just one of the ways the faculty relieved stress and got back into the proper mindset for the upcoming year. Just that fact that Adrian was versatile enough to go up against all of them was impressive, not to mention the fact that he usually won. Secretly, the first year after Jackson had hired the slick-talking and charismatic hero Revert; they’d had a match themselves. The Dean won but it had been a lot closer than he would ever admit.

He’d been lucky with picking up Adrian. Really, it was all about timing. There had been a serious incident involving a lawsuit, and though Revert had been absolved of all charges, the stain of such a public event didn’t go away easily. Jackson’s offer of an HCP instructor position gave the Hero the perfect excuse to lie low for a while, and he really was an excellent teacher. The last two years had proven that.

Shaking his head from the contemplation he found himself in, Jackson returned to the pile of paperwork. It would be another late night. At least he wouldn’t have to do much with the students tomorrow. He’d been through so many orientations he could probably say them in his sleep. 

Still, he did enjoy seeing so many bright eyes focused on becoming a hero. Inevitably most would fail in that goal. Some would return to try again, but there was always something fascinating about looking out over a sea of fresh faces and wondering which Ten would be graduating four years later.

Herbert Jackson had been many things over the course of his life, but there was a reason he had remained as the dean of Sizemore Tech for so long. His fellow instructors and many of the senior students were aware, but eventually, even the younger classes would find out just how passionate their intimidating Dean could be.

When it came to being a Hero, Dean Jackson would accept nothing but the best. And he would do everything in his power to make sure that goal was accomplished.




The morning of orientation arrived far too early for Casey’s liking. Stumbling to the bathroom, he joined Travis as they brushed their teeth and brushed their hair loosely into place. 

Guzzling down a redbull as they awaited the clock to hit 7:30, Casey slouched on the couch watching his roommate and best friend pound out another dozen pushups. “You really think they’ll make us fight the first day?”

“It will be either combat rankings or pt.” Travis didn’t pause in his motions, steadily rising and falling as he responded. “Of all the advice I got from Terraform, one or the other is for sure on the first day.”

“Ya, but, like dude. Terraform is what, sixty? Surely they’ve changed things over the years”

“I don’t see why they should. I mean, it makes sense to weed out the uncertains right from the beginning, and both of those events will definitely cause a few to quit.”

“Really?” Casey looked a bit taken aback. “You honestly think people are that weak, just to give up on the first day?”

Travis stood up, shrugging as he plopped down on the couch. “Probably. This isn’t going to be easy man. You need to know that.”

“Ya ya. You know I ain’t about quitting. Only way you’re getting rid of me is if you jump out first, and we both know that ain’t about to happen.” Casey quickly finished the rest of his drink, and after crumpling the can down gave it a half-hearted toss towards the trash bin. 

It missed and rolled to the side of the kitchen, where it rested quite comfortably. 

Travis grinned and slapped his best friend on the shoulder. “I know that. I also know I’m going to physically drag you across the graduation stage if I have to. So why not save me some trouble, and get down and give me fifty.” He punctuated his statement with a shove, laughing as Casey grumbled from the floor. 

Only halfway through his set, the doorbell for the flat rang, causing both friends to jerk a bit. “I got it.” Travis walked over to the front door and opened it after peering through the peephole. 

A young man with a mane of red hair and a wide grin sauntered in, laughing as he took in the state of Casey just getting off the floor. “Well, that has to be a first. You guys legacy or something?”

Travis shrugged. “Nah. Just tried to research what we were getting into, ya know?”

The red-haired man laughed again, before holding out his hand to shake. “The name’s Kyiv. I’m your dorm RA and guide to the HCP facility today. If you’re ready to go, let’s head to the elevators. Yours was the last room, so everyone else is waiting in the lobby.”

Nodding in conformation, both boys scooped up their book bags and followed Kyiv towards the large double door elevators located in the middle of the 29 story dorm buildings. 

Turning the corner, they were confronted with a rather large group of about thirty-two other college-age students, both boys and girls excitedly discussing the day ahead. 

A sharp whistle pierced through the air, causing all noise to cease and all eyes to turn towards Kyiv’s tall form. He seemed perfectly relaxed, motioning for everyone to pay attention. 

“Alright folks, I believe that’s everyone accounted for on my floor, so listen up. I’m not going to repeat myself. First, we’re going to get on the elevators, and yes, they will fit all of us. Then, I want everyone to pay attention to the combination I punch into the floor numbers. That combination can only be used by someone from this floor, which you’ll all be biometrically keyed for some time this next week. For now, I’m your chauffeur, so don’t miss the scheduled lift times.”

He paused here, making sure everyone was paying attention. “Cool. Now, once we get down to the HCP level, we’ll be heading straight to the lockers. You’ll find a personal uniform there, and are required to change into it immediately. After which, we head to the auditorium. You can’t miss it, cause it’s immediately to the left of the lobby area. Find your seats towards the front of the room, they should have your name on them. Today is orientation for all you freshies, so pay attention and don’t screw around. Dean Jackson is a good man, but he isn’t really known for having an unlimited amount of patience. Alright, any questions before we get going? No? Excellent.” 

Kyiv called the elevators, which seemed to be waiting for that precise moment. As everyone began to move to follow him on, Kyiv turned to give a theatrical bow. “Join me, my fresh and delicious meat. Today, we descend to your destinies.” He then cackled as the students trooped on with quite the variety of expressions on their faces.