adam_icon.gif gillian2_icon.gif joy_icon.gif ryans3_icon.gif squeaks4_icon.gif

Scene Title Metamorphosis
Synopsis A change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.
Date February 2 through February 14, 2020

Praxis Ziggurat

I won't just survive

Training Hall, Praxis Ziggurat

2:19 pm

February 2, 2020

Oh, you will see me thrive

Can't write my story

I'm beyond the archetype

I won't just conform

No matter how you shake my core

'Cause my roots, they run deep

Oh Oh

Bamboo rattles in protest as it's struck against an invisible force. Jac’s hands tighten in their grip around the leather-wrapped hilt until her knuckles turn white with effort to slice through the barrier that she can't see. Sweat slicks the back of her neck and plasters coppery curls to her brow and temples. Determination pulls her expression into a grimace or bared teeth and blue eyes drawn tight, narrowed.

But there's no sign of yielding.

Sweat dappled the skin of the telekinetic, Ryans was slowly wearing down. Then again, he wasn’t as young as his sparring partner. The source of her struggle, a hand held out and closed in a fist like he was holding something. In fact, he was holding the bamboo weapon in the girl’s hand. The hand trembled slightly from the exertion. “Good.” His words are gruff. Clipped like a teacher to a student. “You almost got me there.”

She was getting stronger.

Then again so was Ben.

In surprising development for the girl, the pressure simply vanishes without warning. Before Jac can even realize what is happening, he thrusts out his hand, palm towards his target. What follows is a force slamming into her, picking her up off her feet, and throwing her away from him. If she wasn’t equipt for it, Ben would never have dared.

Instinct is to fight the force and momentum of being thrown. But Jac has been practicing, spending long hours trying to train herself to maintain thought rather than give in to instance. It's been a difficult lesson, and it's one that is still far from mastered.

She twists, small frame turning from the shoulders then to hips so that she can control her landing, use the force to roll and carry her further from the old man.

The results are mixed. Jac comes to her feet with distance gained but somewhat off balance. It needs work, she knows, but the knowledge isn't daunting. The sword in her hands comes to bear again, raised horizontally at eye level, ready to drive through her opponent. She grins to show she's prepared for the next round.


The yell is the only warning that Ben gets. Jac darts forward, covering the distance between herself and the old man with quick footsteps. Her body leans to her right, with every appearance that she’s intending to run through, possibly attack from behind. But she strikes too soon, a downward slash to connect with neck and shoulder.

It hits with the sound of a solid slap. Bamboo slats rattle and clack against each other when they connect with Ryans’ shoulder. It’s going to leave quite a mark later, but it isn’t as much as it could, or should, be.

“You cheated,” Benjamin mocks the girl, with the barest lift of a mouth corner in amusement. His shoulder throbbed, but it wasn’t quite a killing blow… not yet. While she had rendered the arm he used to guide his ability, Ben still had another, allowing him to still telekinetically throw her away from him.

The girl didn’t hit the ground, Jac found herself hovering above it and upside down. A little fun on his part, as her eyes float at the level of his. “You say you’re not, but you’re still letting your emotions get the best of you,” Ryans says, though his tone is neutral and devoid of any emotion. He rolls the shoulder she tagged, fingertips tingling a little. If it had been the real thing, he would have lost an arm.

“However, that said, you took advantage of my weakness. Good, but, you should have gone in for the instant kill. It only took me seconds to push you away. It’s all the time I need for a kill, invincible or not.” Benjamin twists his wrist, righting her again. “Learn that lesson and there won’t be anymore I can teach you.”

Defiance is still defiance, even when hanging upside down. And it might be comical any other time, but a seriousness has taken root in Jac’s approach to these training sessions. She’s trying, and she's sure Ben knows it, but frustration at her own failings is still tantamount to being a teenager.

It's not like she can just shut her emotions off. But she huffs in an effort to quiet her indignant anger.

“How?” Jac shakes her head to settle the irritation she feels at her continued lack. “How do I not… feel things? Or not be controlled, like you said, by my feelings?”

“You simply don’t think,” Ryans says it so casually, like it is so easy, like breathing. Maybe for him, he is after all ancient in the eyes of one so young. “Don’t think about who I am or what I mean to you. Don’t think about emotions or connections. All of that will make you hesitate.” Squeaks can feel her feet settle on the ground, though he doesn’t let go of her yet. “Think only of the actions you need to make.”

The old man holds up the bamboo sword in his hand and looks at it, studies it. “Think of the feel of the sword in your hand,” he lifts his hand and looks at it next, “the sensation of your abilities in your body.” There is an empty and hollow look to Ryans as he points the tip of his weapon at Squeaks throat. It’s clear he’s an old pro. “Think only of what you have to do, not what it will do to me. Emotions can get you killed.”

Suddenly, just like that the emotion is back in his eyes, she can tell he doesn’t like this lesson, but… He wants her to survive. Ben sighs softly, finally letting her go, he almost seems… broken. What cost was there to what they did to stay alive? “You’ll learn, it’s the only way to survive in the end. It’s only after that you can deal with the rest of it.”

It's easier said than done, what the old man is explaining. Jac’s brow knits with argument, if she stops caring completely, then is she really better than what they're up against? Maybe it's the same question that weighs on Ben now, with that tired and defeated look. Maybe that itself is part of the lesson.


The young teen moves as her weight settles on her feet again. What she has to do, what the purpose of the whole lesson, what every lesson has been is to survive. Not just win, but survive. And to do that she needs to use everything that's ever been used against her. So she moves, even before checking her stance. Surprise is on her side.

The sword in her hands cuts audibly through the air. Jac keeps the strike low, but angled upward to take out knees and legs like stalks of bamboo.

It works, Squeaks gets the satisfaction of seeing Ben surprised as the old man is thrown off balance and - without time to even think about saving himself with his ability - Ryans is left dazed on the floor. His sword clattering away from his grip. There is a grimace of pain and his head thuds against the floor, defeated.

“Good,” Ben grunts out when he can finally form words. Levering himself up, there is a grimace, Ryans would be stopping by the medic. “Good,” he gasps out, reaching out to pat her arm. A clear indicator that the lesson for the day was over.

God, he was getting too old for all of this.

Oh ye of so little faith

Training Hall, Praxis Ziggurat

8:22 am

February 7, 2020

Don't doubt it (Don’t doubt it)

Victory is in my veins

I know it (I know it)

And I will not negotiate

I'll fight it (I’ll fight it)

I will transform

I will transform

Feet slide with the hush of cotton socks against the training room floor as Jac narrowly avoids the end of a leather-wrapped practice blade. Her own lies on the opposite side of the room, jealously guarded by the ageless, dark haired woman she faces. Blue eyes flick from Joy to the weapon just out of reach. It's the only clue offered…

…before the young teen dives, tucking her small frame into a narrow roll in order to reclaim her sword.

It vanishes from her hand, disappearing in a collapsing blur that feels like it forces her hand to close around it. In that same instant, it appears in Joy’s outstretched hand and is joined by her other practice sword. It’s not fair. It’s cheating. But this is exactly what is going to happen should Jac truly need to face down the entity — Uluru — by herself. Joy thrusts forward with one sword, then follows through with the other in an overhead chop.

Jac’s head slants to the side, eyes finding Joy now with two swords. She should move. For a split second instinct tells her — demands — she claims distance from the attacks that aren’t likely to hurt her. That could put her into a worse position. But so could not moving out of the way.

The instant passes.

She banks on skin that seems impervious to damage, dives forward to get within the twin attacks, and yells. It’s a shrill sound that pulses against auditory nerves, that physically assaults the fine bones and membranes within the ears.

It’s a winning bet. By throwing herself into harm’s way she closes the distance and gets inside of Joy’s reach almost immediately. Both practice swords connect with her, but the blows to her shoulder and collar hardly even register. The high-pitched shriek she emits sends Joy staggering back, dazed enough that she drops both of her swords and brings her hands up to her head.

Jac hesitates for less than a second, like a missed step, surprised by the effectiveness. She recovers just as quickly and shoves with both hands to knock Joy onto her back. In the next beat, the girl drops to a knee and takes a sword in each hand, fingers curled tightly around each hilt.

Keeping her eyes on Joy, Jac rises out of her kneel. The pair of swords are raised as she does, brought to readiness with one high and one low.

There’s a pause in the rhythm of the action. Joy’s shoulders rising and falling as she recuperates from the sonic attack. Her lips part in surprise, throat works up and down in a slow swallow, and her brows knit together. “I think you’re ready…” she says softly.

“…for me to not hold back.”

When the fire's

At my feet again

Executive Residential Wing, Praxis Ziggurat

1:43 pm

February 10, 2020

And the vultures, all start circling, circling

They're whispering, whispering

You're out of time

But, still I rise

This is no mistake

No accident=

When you think the final

Nail is in (Nail is in)

Think again (Think again)

“Practicing with Old Ben is good, but he holds back.” Far from a complaint, Jac states it as fact. And like she isn't guilty herself of holding back a little too. She's voiced concern over being amplified and teleporting and it's a widely known secret that she really doesn't like being mad. “I think he's afraid of what might happen to him if he hurts me.” She looks up from the half sandwich she's been picking at, face as sober as it's ever been.

But it doesn't totally hide the amusement in her blue eyes.

The girl takes an actual bite of her lunch before going on. “I think I need to try my sounds with your power.” She talks around lunch meat and cheese and bread. “Work on that more since it sometimes can distract people.”

“I’m glad he does, honestly. Even if you’re tough now, he’s been a professional something-or-other for longer than I’ve been alive.” Gillian had to admit, though she didn’t know everything about the man. She knew what he had added to the Ferry when he joined them, and what he had done for his girls, but she imagined that he saw a little of his daughters in this young one too. “You’re probably right. I wouldn’t be too nice to anyone who actually hurt you.” She even outright threatened Adam over the possibility. She wondered if that was why one of the abilities he cherry picked for her happened to be a form of invulnerability. Which she was glad for, either way.

It gave her some relief in the amount of danger the young woman was putting herself in.

“All right. Distraction is key. It’s how I was able to get Arthur to slow down long enough for us to defeat him.” She’d told the story of her many abilities a few times, how she had used them to fight someone else with even more abilities and experience. She had used a Precognitive ability to distract him, in the end, triggering it when he reached for her to drain her powers away. It had shown him his future. Or was supposed to.

She always assumed it had shown him nothing. Because he’d had no future the moment she’d activated that ability.

“Attack, defense, movement and distraction. Those are the keys you need to practice. So for distraction…” Her eyes flash with a purple glow in the hazel depths, and Squeaks can feel the energy start to heighten her abilities.

All of them.

Amplification of her abilities is not something Jac has had very much experience with. The sensation makes her pause in mid-bite, blue eyes raising and angling to look at her mom. At least she's been exposed to it, when they helped Eve from the drowning thing, and the very first time she learned about her ability. But she's still uneasy about having her own powers boosted. What if she loses control and can't stop them? She blew out the power to the whole section where her apartment is and she wasn't even boosted then. What if she accidentally hurts Gillian?

The sandwich is set down, plate eased aside. She knows that the answer is that's why they practice. But knowing the answer isn't a comfort. It's more like a bandaid.

“I don't know what it feels like,” Jac explains. She's never used her ability on herself like that. And who knows if it's even work. “But something with my sounds makes the person um… like it messes with their head I think. The sound waves.” She hesitates visibly, a false start on giving an example before she does actually demonstrate.

It's a pulsing sound. Clicks and squeaks just penetrating into Gillian’s range of hearing, causing an uncomfortable thrumming pressure within her ears. It lasts only a few seconds.

As soon as she feels it, Gillian opens her mouth as if to try and relieve pressure on her eardrums, working her jaw a little, and grimacing for a second. Then it stops and she breaths normally once again, trying her best not to look too relieved. She doesn’t want the girl to think it hurt too much— it hadn’t, either. “You might need to raise the intensity if you’re under active threat. Can you target it? Do you think you could make it so it hit a specific person? Or should I see if I can get some ear plugs and defend against it that way… It’s unpleasant, but I’m not sure it would hurt most people really. Could definitely distract a little, though.”

Her voice trails off, as she starts to think on what all that she could do. “I wonder if you can break glass. Maybe we could have you practice on trying to break one glass in a row of glasses to see if you can target it at high degrees. I can get some ear protection for myself, and I might just— bring it with me when we’re doing whatever it is we end up doing.”

Then she has another thought.

“The Lighthouse Kids taught you some of their sign language didn’t they?”

“I've only ever practiced against one person at a time.” The cloning Joy had done in one training session obviously doesn't count. Jac looks equal parts thoughtful and dubious at the idea of breaking glass with sound. “I never tried on things before. Just people. But it might work, like it did with the sound machine.”

The question prompts a quick nod. “Both kinds. Are you thinking… that maybe with earplugs we could still communicate then?” She never thought of using sign language for that. And the very idea is something she's definitely sure of.

“Well at least I could wear them. And I’m pretty sure Lene knows it too,” Gillian had a strong suspicion that part of the language had existed in the future that Lene had come from, if not almost all of it. She imagined most of the kids who had spent time around the older Lighthouse Kids had known it. “Since we’re going to be with you on this, it could allow you to let loose without worrying about hurting us.” It might not protect them completely, but it would make it easier for her to do what needed to be done.

“That way we can all still signal each other, and you can as well. When your hands aren’t taken up with that sword your father gave you at least.”

Her father. That’s the first time ever that Gillian has referred to Adam that way. But she doesn’t seem to have noticed that she even did.

Jac notices, but she doesn't point it out. Except for maybe the slightest tick of a grin, which could just be because of her sword being brought up, but she takes it silently as acceptance. “Yes. I wondered… because I don't want to hurt you or Lene, and also we don't want the enemy to know what we're saying. We should practice that.” Not specifically now, she means. Soon though.

Returning to her seat, the girl takes up her sandwich again. “I could ask Ben and Joy to help too,” she says, transitioning from practice to planning. She takes a bite from her sandwich before explaining her thoughts. “We would need obstacles, others attacking. As close to realistic as possible, so we're ready.”

“More targets would be good, yes,” GIllian responded, though she tilts her head a bit at the mention of Joy. She wished that she could sit down and talk to that woman about what had happened in the Ark, but— some topics were more difficult than others. Maybe she’ll sit down and bring it up eventually. Or maybe she won’t bring it up at all.

Most people didn’t really want to think about one of the times that they died and would have stayed dead. If there hadn’t happened to be a healer nearby. She was just glad bringing her back hadn’t seemed to have hurt the young woman who had done it.

“We can see who else we can bring in. Have people assigned to attack and assist, just as there will likely be when… when this all happens in the end.” She hated planning for battles at the end of the world, cause all the planning never seemed to amount to much in the end. The bigger the plan, the more it fell apart.

“The littlest plans that can change tend to be the ones that work.”

Rooftop Helipad, Praxis Ziggurat

5:46 pm

February 14, 2020

Don't be surprised

I will still rise

Wind off the bay carries the smell of iodine and seaweed. And something else not quite natural — the remnants of the world before the war and the rebuilding since. It tousles hair, tugs at clothes, drives away the oppressive heat that raises off the helicopter pad.

Jac stands under the blaze of sunlight, moving slow and methodical in ways that, to those unfamiliar with the practice, would appear to be feats in defiance of gravity. She mirrors the steady movements of the man beside her, anticipating each pose as it transitions smoothly into the next.

“I used to practice these forms on a beach,” Adam says quietly, widening his stance and holding his sword up over his head with both hands, the blade angled down like the beak of a crane. “Every sunrise and every sunset, to take my mind off the war.” He slowly cleaves downward, steps forward aggressively, then cleaves upward to complete a tight “V” cut. He stops after that follow-through, turns to look at Jac.

“There’s always a war.” Adam says flatly, his hair caught in the warm breeze, sun at his back. “That’s what I didn’t realize back then. What I never dreamed of when I was your age. There has always been — will always be — a war.” He lets his sword hang down limp at his side, tip of the blade nearly touching the concrete underfoot. “You have two choices; participate, or hide. Either way, there will always come a time when you need to choose the side you’re on.” Adam motions toward Jac. “Running isn’t a side. Eventually, the world will make your choice for you.”

I must stay conscious

As Adam speaks, as he relaxes out of the form, Jac continues. A flicker of her eyes toward him indicates that she’s listening, but her movements continue. The upward cut flows to a middling thrust as she slides a foot forward and sinks into a low stance. She holds in that position for a long second, eyes focused somewhere in the distance, no immediate response or question forming.

Running has always been the easiest thing to do. And hiding.

Jac straightens, slowly easing into a more natural stance, allowing the sword in her hands to rest in the cradle of her arms. She looks up at Adam, words forming but the choice to use them coming without haste. “I’m not running anymore.” If she were, she’d probably have left weeks or months ago. She probably would have never come back at the start of the year. “I know what side I’m on and I’m not hiding either.”

Through the madness and chaos

“Then here’s the follow-up,” Adam explains as he slides his sword into its scabbard. “No matter what good you try and do, no matter how pure you think your intentions are, you are always going to hurt people. It’s inevitable.” Adam leans the sword up against a concrete partition bounding off a section of the helipad. “You’re going to hurt people you care about — Gillian, your siblings, people you love. You’re not going to intend to, you’ll lie to yourself and say it’ll be different for you. But it won’t be.”

Adam can’t help but sigh, smoothing a hand down over his mouth for a moment as he starts to pace a little. “I know it sounds cynical,” he adds. “But it’s the hard truth. People who you thought cared about you will turn their backs on you when you need them, people who you thought didn’t even know you existed will show up out of the blue to lend a hand. You step into this role — someone who tries to affect change — and your world changes. A paradigm shift. Trust turns to suspicion, enemies turn to allies.”

Turning to look toward the sunset, Adam lets his shoulders slack. “I just wish I’d had someone to tell me that when I stood where you are.”

So, I call on my angels

Brows knit, and Jac looks down when the next part of the lesson is explained. Some of it sounds like betrayal, that those who she loves without question are going to put a cost on their own loyalty. It's already happening.

She trails after Adam without response, expression introspective. She hoped her friends would understand, would have been more willing… The sound of her sword clicking home in its scabbard cuts off those thoughts and the emotions that come with them. It makes sense now why Adam keeps most everyone at arm’s reach or further.

She steps closer, to stand at his side. Like Adam, Jac looks toward the sunset. “I'm not running away,” she repeats, more quietly than before but with no less conviction or certainty. She lifts her empty hand and touches Adam’s arm for a moment, like sealing a promise.

They say…

Adam’s expression should be a smile, some semblance of pride in the person Jac has become. But he had no hand in the person she is, only the weapon she was honed into. None of that brings a smile to his face. Nor does what will eventually come next. He looks away, to the setting sun with a pensive expression.

“I know,” Adam says softly.

It sounds so much like I’m sorry.

Oh ye of so little faith

Don't doubt it (Don’t doubt it)

Victory is in your veins

You know it (You know it)

And you will not negotiate

Just fight it (Just fight it)

And be transformed

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