297/A new Challenger appears

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A new Challenger appears
Date of Scene: 05 March 2020
Location: Happy Harbor Waterfront
Synopsis: Happy Harbor students share lunch and opinions.
Cast of Characters: Alexander Aaron, Samuel Morgan, Christine Lake, Alton Schmidt

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    The clock is ever Nemesis to Alexander's hubris. It stands solemn sentinel above the archway with its smug hands and barely ticking seconds. It probably thinks it's so big and the boss of everyone. Stupid Chronos. Wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for Time. Existing and junk.
    Alexander Aaron sits in third period Social Studies, listening to a detailed explanation about the battle of Gettysburg even as he just stares at the clock with a willful abandon, hazel eyes narrowed and barely paying attention to what's going on in class. Eventually it will succumb, oh yes.
    But for now it must be endured as he considers the room around him. Happy Harbor's classes are filling out. Not a huge amount of students by any stretch of the mind, but it presents the veneer of a high school experience. Yet for now, the youth eases deeper into his seat, grimacing and slouching as if trying to hide behind the desk itself. Even as the instructor lifts his voice.
    "So who can tell me what happened with Pickett's Charge? Anyone? Pickett's Charge."
    One teen in a backwards baseball cap raises his hand. "It didn't work."
    "That's true, Tyler. It didn't work, but why?"

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    "The same reason Field Marshall Haigh's plan failed." Sam murmurs from his desk in the back, having drawn a full map of the final day of the battle of Gettysburg from memory, and is currently sketching out the area west of the cemetery, including Pickett's nine brigades and the defensive positions held by the Union army. "You can't advance over open terrain against superior firepower to assault an entrenched and protected position."

    It's anyone's guess why he's there. Possibly he just wants to hear what other students think of military history. Bear, his ever faithful companion, lays placidly next to his desk, in nobody's way, but nevertheless taking up space.

Christine Lake has posed:
The discussion in the classroom is interrupted by a knock at the door. One of the administrative assistants for the school peeks her head in and then looks around. "My appologies for the interruption," she says to the teacher, "But there's a new student here at the school and she's been placed in this class..." the door opens wider, and the assistant enters along with a pretty reddish-blonde girl dressed in a blouse, skinny jeans, and black calf-high booties. "Class, this is Christine Lake. She's a new student from San Francisco, so I hope you'll all make her feel welcome..." As the teacher and the assistant have a quick discussion, Christine goes to sit at one of the open desks, around the middle of the room. She smiles and returns greetings and waves that are offered from the other students.

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    The instructor nods pleasantly, "Exactly, Mr. Morgan." He goes over to the white-board and draws a large arrow connecting one side to the other, "Pickett was tasked with crossing this open field under heavy rifle and cannon fire, with no support. It was a madhouse. The fighting on that day was not as bad as Antietam, mind you..."
    But then the tall pale learned man pauses his presentation. Once the introduction is done, he nods. "Thank you, Miss Cane." To the assistant and smiles, then gestures for Christine please come in.
    "Welcome, Christine. We're almost finished here if you'd like to..." He doesn't finish the sentence as she makes her way, then he turns to one of the students near to her, "Mr. Evans, would you do me a favor and let Christine read off of your book while we go on? We'll get you a text of your own soon enough, Miss Lake."
    As for Alexander he does spare a glance for Christine, head tilting slightly but then his gaze slipping off and back toward the clock. A half-grin and look is spared for Sam as he leeeeans over and extends a hand with fingers splayed as he mouths the word, 'five minutes.' to the guy. As if he couldn't see the clock.

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    There is a nod as if Sam has acknowledged the recognition of his teacher, and then he critiques his own work against that on the white-board. Granted, he's had far more time to get in the detail, so he lets it pass as good enough. On the whole, he's quite satisfied with the level of education being offered here.

    He can't help but look towards the door when people enter, and he files away details like names, facial features, height, gait, hair color and other distinctive features, giving Christine what amounts to a risk assessment. Not the friendliest of students, then.

    Next to him, however, the German Shepherd that had been laying down sits up, perking his ears up and forward as if eager to get to know someone new. The dog is currently wearing the distinctive hi-vis vest of a service animal though.
    Five minutes. It also gets a nod, and a raised eyebrow. Technically Sam can do something about that...

Christine Lake has posed:
Christine scoots her desk over to read off the book of the boy next to her. She gives him a friendly smile and a cheerful 'Hi' before starting to read. Five minutes left in the class? Well, the admittance paperwork did take a while to get reviewed and finalized today. Still, Christine is just happy to be back in a classroom with kids her own age; even if it is on the other side of the continent from her old friends.

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    Once matters are settled, the older gentleman begins to elaborate on Pickett's charge and the angles that the Roundtops had upon the engagement, giving a rather elaborate explanation for the situation and also speaking a bit toward how the battle would impact Lincoln in the aftermath. Yet it doesn't take long, for in truth despite Alexander's feelings, five minutes is not a horribly long time.
    And once that time passes, the bell above the door rings, a quick series of electronic chirps that trigger the end of third period, the beginning of the first lunch period, and the seventeen minutes allowed for transition from one class to another.
    "Please be so kind as to read chapter sixteen in your texts for tomorrow, we have a lot of ground to make up. Have a good day, ladies and gentlemen! Miss Lake, if you'll bide a moment I'll get you set up with your text." The instructor calls out as he starts to wipe the board clean.
    This, however, does leave Alexander in there as he'll await Sam and the filing out of the various students. Important to let the first mad rush of humanity to go on by. But once things have settled Alex turns in his seat to look at Sam and then offers a boneless shrug. Now that the class is over... that sense of urgency is gone.

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    Sam is never the first to the door. Crowds... he doesn't do crowds. It's more usual to see him already in his seat before class begins, and still be there when everyone has gone. There's some speculation that he's actually a sentient hologram, although some believe he can teleport. The usual high school gossip.

    "I would also have touched on Longtree's refusal to give the verbal order to advance, knowing the attack was doomed, and perhaps juxtaposed it against the collective loyalty towards Lee which made them agree to the plan regardless. It's something that would be repeated in history quite often, and usually with the same result. Although it's hard to deny that Gettysburg was truly the turning point of the war, and the political situation changed drastically." Of course Sam waits until everyone but himself, Christine and Alexander have left the room. It doesn't do to critique a tutor in public.

    Having said his piece, he smiles to Alexander. "What's for lunch today? Didn't check the menu before I came up."

Christine Lake has posed:
Once the bell rings, Christine heads up to the teacher's desk, as requested. She watches the rest of the class leave while she waits for her textbook. Seeing Alexander and Sam still hanging around, she gives them both a friendly wave before taking the assigned book. "Thank you, sir," she says, then wanders ovr to the two boy. "Hi!" She's definately one of the happy ones, all right. "Your dog is really nice looking," she says to Sam. With the service vest on, she knows better than to directly engage Bear, she just lets Sam do the introductions. "So, I'm Christine. The new girl..."

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    Spraaawling in his chair, Alexander answers in that chipper voice, "Sloppy Joes." As he streeeetches a bit and then finally decides it's time to get a move on, once everyone has wandered off and through the door. The instructor is kind enough to get Christine her own text, signs a list, asks her to sign it, and then it's all hers, free to put a book cover on it as she likes.
    But that leaves the three of them as the young Olympian rolls to his feet, scooping up his backpack and slinging it over his shoulder. Today the subject of his t-shirt is a Kitten dangling from a cliff face with one paw and the caption is something about Hang In There! But the rest of what he wears is of little remark. Jeans, Chuck Taylors, and a grey hoodie. He does, however, have a bit of a black eye still from the last day and some.
    "Hey Christine," He greets her with a wave, "I'm Alexander," He gestures to make the needed introductions, "This is Sam, and Bear." A pause then he adds. "We're not so new?" He spares a glance back toward Sam and then shrugs.
    That having been said he starts to the door, for Sloppy Joes wait for no man.

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    Standing, Sam gives a friendly nod to Christine, reaching down to scratch Bear between the ears. It's hard to imagine a happier dog, as if meeting someone new has been the highlight of his day. "Pleasure to meet you. In case it wasn't clear, he's Bear, I'm Sam." I mean, one of them is helpfully tagged and everything.

    He tilts his head slightly. "West coast? You don't sound like a native, if you don't mind me saying so." But indeed, Sloppy Joes wait for nobody. And knowing the voracious appetite of the student body, they might be all gone before they get there unless they get a move on. "If you haven't been shown the cafeteria yet, would you care to join us? And if you have, would you care to join us anyway?"

Christine Lake has posed:
Christine smiles at the boys. "Nice to meet you both." She looks down at the dog and gives him a smile as well. "You too, Bear." Straightening abck up and clutching the textbook to her chest, she nods at the offer of lunch. "Yeah, I'ts my lunch period too. So I'd be happy to join you two. Although, are there any other options to Sloppy Joes?" She leaves with Alex, Sma, and Bear, letting them lead her to the cafeteria.

"Yeah, I'm from San Francisco," she tells the boys. She knows that not every student here is 'special' like her, so she skips certain details as she talks. "My parents thought I could be doing better, so they shipped me off to here." She doesn't sound angry or bitter about it. "Kind of exciting, rally. I went to New York for the first time. Getting to experience life in another part of the country. So, it's not so bad, I guess."

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    Hands into his pockets, the tow-headed youth wanders along, leaning back into the door and opening it with his shoulder while still managing to slouch somehow. He holds it for the other and then murmurs. "S'ok, if they run out you get double fruit cup and fries." His eyebrows lift a bit as if that weren't much of a consolation. But still.
    Once out into the hallway, Alexander adjusts the hang of his backpack and slides his hands deep into the pockets of his jeans. He strolls along carefree as usual and runs a bit of vanguard just in case for whatever reason.
    Over his shoulder he tells Christine, "New York can be fun, just don't walk around with your head in the air. Instant tourist vibe, then you get your wallet stolen or whatever." That said he continues on the stroll. And once they reach the stairs leading down he'll hold the door.

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    "On the other hand, less chance of getting into gang trouble if they think you're just visiting." Yeah, Sam is just a fountain of joyful conversation. Bear has decided to walk next to him rather than in front, since Alexander seems to be on point. The teenage must have some issues with personal space. He doesn't seem to walk as much as stride, or possibly march. There's a certain rhythm to his steps that is just a bit too regular, a bit too regimented to be entirely natural.

    Bear is the first through the door to the stairwell, leading the way.

    "It's an experience alright."

Christine Lake has posed:
"Well, it was really exciting," Christine says. "I was in Central Park, and I met this woman that turned out to be an Asgardian! There was a car wreck nearby and she totally turned this delivery truck that crashed off it's side and back upright! Totally awesome!" She doesn't mention her little role in the rescue of the driver...Christine is smiling wide and looking excited as they walk. "I mean...seeing superheros in action isn't something you see everyday, right? Even in New York?" She gets in line with the boys as they enter the cafeteria, grabbing a tray. "So...do they have any salads?" she asks as she looks down the serving line.

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    Alexander's response, even as he follows after the pup, might well be curious. "Asgardians," His nose crinkles with distaste as he takes the steps two at a time and hops down to the last landing, then strolls over to the railing of the next flight of steps and sliiiiides down the banister. All before he imparts his final condemnation of them, "Bah."
    Dismissive, may be, but no further insight is given into his argument pro or con Asgard. That said he reaches the bottom stairs and will hold the door again, letting the pup wander on through as he likes. "Though superheroes," He starts off and then smiles a little wistfully, "They are pretty keen."
    Once they're through he will reply, "Salads, think so." Though the way he eyes Christine sidelong might make her think he now considers her a crazy person.

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    "Near Central Park? Sounds like it might have been Heidi, daughter of Inger." Because yes, of course he remembered that name. It's hard to forget something like that, especially when it involved meeting an actual pegasus in the bargain. New York, it has everything.

    Grabbing his own tray, Sam joins the line. Patiently. Bear even sits next to him as he waits. And yet for some reason the nearest few students start looking a bit nervous, glancing from time to time. There's been so many rumors... He smiles to Christine, and nods. "There's always salad. There's something for everyone, because humans are omnivores. Even those who aren't human." But, clearly, Sam is an unashamed carnivore, although he's getting a portion of everything. Literally. All squared neatly on his tray.

Christine Lake has posed:
"Yes! That was her," Christine confirms to Sam. "She tried to downplay it, but...lifting a whole delivery truck? Amazing!" When they do get to the salad portion of the lunch line, Christine sighs happily and fills her tray with caesar salad and some grilled chicken. Alexander's side glance get a smirk. "Hey, I did the whole New York food tourist thing yesterday. Bagel & cream cheese for breakfast, hot dog from a street cart, that foldy-flappy stuff New Yorkers call pizza. I even had some Chinesse food. And by the way, San Francisco's Chinatown is *way* better, along with the food." Regional bias, anyone? "So, I'm going to need to eat like a rabbit if I want to keep in shape to try out for the cheer squad." Because of course, she's a cheerleader.

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    "East coast is best coast." Alexander says from his place in the line though he stops for a bare second and frowns. "Now I want pizza." But it's only a brief instance of annoyance before he's heading along to collect his duly designated sloppy joe, sliding it onto his tray and then sliding on down the way.
    Of course the further praise of Asgardians does annoy him as he grimaces, "Most of them are chuckleheads." Those Asgardians. He glances sidelong toward Sam and Christine, then shrugs a little. "All thees and thous and prithee m'lud and crap. When they're just renaissance faire rejects. Which, to be fair, only good thing about them are the turkey legs."
    That said, and with perhaps the strongest opinion anyone has heard come from the youth, Alex gets to the cashier and pays before moseying on.

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    "I think you must have run into a different Asgardian than I did. Heidi spoke as normal as Christine and I." Yup. Shots fired. Sam, not a native of New York, can let the whole which coast is best coast slide by him, but messing with his ... friends? Acquaintances? Fellow students? Anyway, it's fair game.

    When his turn comes to pay, he balances the tray on one hand, reaches into his pocket, brings out something cupped in his hand, quickly slaps it onto the reader until it beeps, and then puts it away again. Some first class prestidigitation there... but he must have paid right? The machine said so.

    Bear has taken it upon himself to reserve a table.

Alton Schmidt has posed:
And along comes another kid...who is both by himself...and not. He'd be welcome anywhere he wanted to go, in theory...in practice, however, he heard a more interesting conversation than most...somebody talking about Asgardians? That sounds like the kind of people it might be fun to hang out with.

So, Alton heads over to the kids talking about Asgard and, "...However they talk, they're pretty badass. It'd be fun to see them in action someday..." Alton would also like to fight beside one someday, but he's supposed to be blending in, so he leaves that part out.

"Thor in particular is awesome. If a god decides to be an Avenger, that's good for them and the world."

Pause..."Mind if I sit down?" He apparently got his food already...

Christine Lake has posed:
Christine looks at Alex. Then to Sam. Then back to Alex. "Jeeze, Alex...did Thor like summon a rainstorm on your birthday party or something?" The guy does seem to have something against Asgardians...

Christine pays for her meal with a debt card, then joins the others. "Yeah, Sam. Heidi spoke totally normal. I mean, maybe the way Thor talks is like Royal Asgardian, or something." She smiles and shrugs, opening her can of Diet Soder Cola and staring in on her salad."

Whn Alton appears, Christine gives him a friendly wave. "Hi. I'm Christine Lake. I just started here today. Nice to meet you. And I don't mind you joining us." She looks to Alex and Sam for their opinion of the new arrival joining them.

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    "You mean as normally?" There's a twist of Alexander's smile, wry then he shoots a grin Samuel's way even as he then offers, "Yet, anecdotal evidence is anecdotal. Though..." He crinkles his nose and offers a middle ground, "I am willing to accept the premise of a possible edge case of a non-chucklehead Asgardian, so long as we maintain that the overwhelming majority of them remain and shell ever be." A dramatic pause. "Chuckleheads."
    That said, the youth settles into his seat and pulls open the plastic package holding his knife and fork and napkin, drawing it free and settling the paper bit into his lap. He takes up the plastic utensils and starts to... cut his sloppy joe? Madness.
    Of course that's when Alton wanders around and Alex's response is a genial, "Hey sure thing." Gesturing him toward the seat opposite.

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    "See, you're starting to be a bad influence on me." Sam mentions to Alexander with a pointed look as he sits down, although his smile robs it of any sting it might have had. As rigid and disciplined as he might be in class, among friends Sam is a lot more sociable. Or so it appears.

    Case in point, the almost frosty look Alton gets before it too dissolves into a smile, and a friendly gesture towards an empty seat. "Sure thing, the more the merrier. And don't mind Alex there, he's just jealous that he's never actually met an Asgardian before. If he had, he wouldn't be talking this kind of nonsense."

    "B'sides, Thor might be powerful but he's not a God. Just the next best thing, an Avenger."

Christine Lake has posed:
Christine is eating, but she does manage to catch the brief look that Sam gives Alton. She files it away in the social index system in her mind, and continues on eating. she listens to the chatter for a while, something gnawing in the back of her mind. "Okay, we get it, Alex. You don't like Asgardians." She takes a few more bites then drinks some of her soda. "But I mean...how about mutants? Any opinions on them?" She's keeping her tone non-committal, not indicating if she approves or disaproves of them herself.

Alton Schmidt has posed:
Alton doesn't seem to like the whole 'down with Asgardians things.' And he's willing to argue.

"...Well, he has the title 'God of Thunder.' It's possible he's not a god at all, and he's just a really powerful hero. Who would've been able to distinguish Superman from a god, while he lived? Who can distinguish Wonder Woman from a goddess? And yet, they all help, or helped, the world. So let's respect what they choose to do with all that power, ya know?"

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    "I'll agree with that, Thor is definitely not a god." Says the Olympian. His head bobs a little, lips twitching a touch. Then, his eyes distance for a moment and he offers this insight at least, "Though..." He looks askance toward Sam and then in turn to Christine, "Lady Sif is rather cute." He nods sagely at this solemnly imparted bit of advice.
    Then he gives a look toward Christine, "Well..." He says lightly, casually, "Mutants are great." Then his brow furrows, "Wait. Are they Renfest mutants? Renfest taints all it touches." That said he bobs his head sagely, knowingly, posessed of such a weighty belief. His lip twitches a little as he shrugs at Alton, "Totally agreed. But the sub class of hero does not entirely preclude the subclass of Chucklehead."
    And with that he stabs his fork into the sloppy joe and starts eating it, a slice of bun at a time.

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    "If you will permit me, I'd go so far as to say that there are no gods." Sam posits, nodding to Alton. "Just individuals which were very powerful, and which our ancestors seemed to believe were somehow divine. These days, we know better. But I'm very glad you approve of mutants, Alex." Yeah, he'd been paying attention to that answer. Where do people stand on mutants? There has been a surprisingly high ratio of slightly damaged Pro Humanis supporters in the area. Almost as if someone were hunting them.

    Whatever else he'd like to say, or whatever else he'd like to eat, it'll have to wait. Sam's phone starts to ring, and it's in his hand almost as quick as that card was. "Yes? That's unfortunate. Today? Right..." As Sam stands, he mouths a quick 'I've gotta take this' to the rest of the table and starts to walk away, leaving his food behind. Whatever the call, must be important to make a teenager abandon his food...

Alton Schmidt has posed:
Alton shrugs, "Maybe so. Maybe Asgard is no different than Krypton. Maybe they're all just aliens of different breeds. All the same, though, I'm glad they're on our side...and on the side of this world. Somebody has to protect it...there's so many people trying to break it, seemingly all the time..."

But, back to the rest of the table, "So, what classes are you guys in?"

Christine Lake has posed:
Christine hs a thoughtful look on her face as Alton talks about so many people tryin to break the world. She slowly nods in agreement. "I mean, we all have to do what we can to hlp outhers out and make the world a better place, right? Powers or no powers. That car crash? Heidi di the super stuf, but it was a normal man that jumped up there first to rescue the driver from the crash. You don't have to have powers to be a hero." She smiles and shrugs. "Of course, it couldn't hurt, either."

When Alton asks about schedules, Christine starts listing hers off. "Let's see...History, Trig, Chemistry, French, English, PE, and Home Ec."

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    "Well," Alexander looks thoughtful, eyes lifting upwards as he drums fingertips, "I've given a lot of thought to the matter." As well he should, even as Alexander leeeeans to the side as Samuel runs off and he'll take the remaining food as his own, particularly the fries adding them to his plate. "And there is the thought that humanity as a species have a latent mental resonance that in great enough numbers and intensity creates a manifestation of the zeitgeist, in essence creating what gods there have been."
    He chews on a piece of french fry and waves after Samuel's retreating back, but then turns his attention on the others at the table. "So sort of us, but not us." His lip curls a little.
    "Though if you're talking about the beings or being that created the universe, I think that goes into the architects and all and while sorta being as strong as gods, aren't gods. Then who made them and all that?" Even as Alexander explores the nature of Celestials he shrugs.
    "Oh hey, anyways my name is Alexander." He waves to Alton. "I'm a senior." As if that answered his question.

Alton Schmidt has posed:
Alton extends a hand, "Alton. I'm a junior. Man...not much left of the school year, is there?" When Christine lists off classes, "...I think I have you in Trig...meh, math. I like Science better."

On the metaphysical subject of a prime mover, "Well...In theory, if you go back far enough, there was a first Asgardian King...before Thor was Odin, before Odin was Bor, and before Bor...I forget...somebody though..."

Christine Lake has posed:
"Christine," the girl says as she shakes Alton's hand. "Well, that's good that we have a class together, then." She smiles, then finishes off her salad."And I'm a Junior too. Yeah, only a few more months left in the school year. Looks like I mostly got here just in time for the Spring Formal." She laughs a bit, eyes sparkling. "Or is that not a thing here?"

All of the metaphysical talk from Alex goes over her head, and Christine shakes her head in confusion. "You know, I'm just gonna agree that I don't know or care who or what a god is. I don't care if they're 'real' gods in the divine sense or aliens or...Melvin from down the block that got zapped by some strange ray and now hurls lightning and calls himself Zeus. I'm just glad that they seem to be on the side of humanity, regardless."

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    A proper handshake, three pumps release, then Alexander goes back to consuming large quantities, "I know Zeus apparently manifested around... seven thousand years ago, roughly?" A tilt of his head is given as he murmurs, "But the way he talks he tries to give this impression of being older and eternal, and I imagine you get that from any head of a Pantheon." His expression shifts a little sour as he takes another bite of sloppy joe.
    But when Christine speaks and gives her insight he sort of nods along a little bit. One hand lifts to the back of his neck as he looks around the room, and murmurs a little quieter. "Yeah, that's sorta the thing, right? A lot of them aren't."
    That said he perks up and adds, "But it's nice you feel that way though."

Alton Schmidt has posed:
Alton chuckles, "Yes, Prom is a thing here. A very big thing, in fact. There's only 2 of them over your schooling career...Junior and Senior Prom. So choose your date carefully, you'll still remember who it was when you're 30. Probably."

But then Lunch is ending, and the woe that is class is starting again soon. "Well, perhaps I'll see you after school at some point..."

Christine Lake has posed:
Christine gathers up her tray as lunch ends and nods to the boys. "Sure!," she replies to Anton. "Hope I see both of you around here. I mean, besides in class. So far, being the new girl here isn't so bad." With a cheery smile and a wave to them, Christine busses her tray and heads of to her next class. She's happy to be making friends, but part of her wonders how they would really feel if they knew the truth about what she was and what she can do...