Salamander 2 part 10

by EMW

Thursday, 6th of December, 2035

(Mandy)



Thursday came to call and the usual morning scramble took place. I nearly forgot my PE kit which wouldn't have amused D or Miss Adams, but Gwen handily reminded me. I packed a towel but I suspected I could do without again, feeling confident I had the drying trick down now.

 

After a hurried breakfast eaten only because Gwen insisted that it was the most important meal of the day, I met D and headed to school.

 

On the way D checked that I had my Gym kit, which made me smile a bit. Other than that we had a fairly quiet walk. We met with Jane at the gate and headed to our classroom for registration. It was a fairly subdued morning, I guess it was the point when the week was the most tiring with the weekend still a full day away. I was pretty happy that I had computers which was rapidly becoming my favourite class in the afternoon, of course I had to go through PE one of my least favourite to get to it. Today even that was diminished since I got to finally find out about the mysterious club that D had been teasing me about for days now.

 

First up was German, I was beginning to get to grips with some of it. I still had a very long way to go until I was at the same level as most of the class because of their massive head start. English literature was reading so I had a good time in there. I had to take my turn reading before the class but I found I was getting more used to speaking in front of people so some of my nerves had left me.


Then came the break and we headed over to the library. As we walked we were chatting away about this and that.

 

D and I were walking along next to each other chatting about some TV program that we had watched last night and explaining the plot to Jane who hadn't. We were just telling her with much giggling about the ridiculous wig the main lead had been wearing, when without warning D swung her arm out, smashing me in the face with her elbow knocking me across the corridor into some lockers.

 

It really hurt and I looked up in horror clutching my bloody nose. I was probably more hurt emotionally by D doing this to me than the physical damage. I looked up at her fighting back tears trying to think what I had said to upset her. She was staring back at me with probably an identical shocked expression on her face. Using my empathic senses I could tell she was completely horrified at what she had just done and in addition I sensed something else behind us, someone who was very amused. It wasn't hard to recognise the signature of the person and anger surged in me. Some of this must have shown in my face as D flinched back and held her hands up as if trying to explain. She didn't need to, I knew who was to blame and I swung round to see Trisha and her gang who burst into fits of laughter at my bloody face.

 

I was absolutely furious, the constant barrage of bullying coupled with the fact that she was hurting my friend this time caused something in me to snap. The pain of the hit to my face was forgotten and red fringed my vision. A very cold and dangerous part of my mind that was normally silent whispered to me in a calm almost detached voice, “you're not going to take that”. I leapt to my feet and charged at Trisha angrier than I had ever been before, I could have cooked her from the inside out but I wanted to do this up close and personal. Some of her hench girls tried to stop me but in my anger I threw them out of my way without a thought. Trisha was too consumed with laughing at her own cleverness to see me coming. It was only when my hands closed round her scrawny little neck and started to choke the life out of her that she realised the danger she was in. 


I was completely furious that someone would hurt my friend like that. Invade their mind and hurt them by making them hurt others. Letting out a roar of fury I head butted Trisha her blood mingling with mine. Her amusement had completely gone now and cold terror flowed off her in waves which only seemed to fuel my rage further. Picking her up I threw her down the corridor like a rag doll. She stared back in horror from the floor, trying to scrabble away from me as I stalked after her. As I made my way forward I reached out my hand and dragged my talons along the metal surface of the lockers to make a terrifying grating sound. Her hench girls tried to block my path slowing me slightly but they were mostly too shocked to do much and afraid themselves. My anger had completely consumed me by this point. I leapt at Trisha landing on her pinning her on the ground. She screamed in terror seeing that it was very probable that death in the form of an enraged hybrid had come for her.

I held her down with one hand and prepared to strike her with  the talons of the other. I curled my free hand so my talons formed a slashing claw and went in for the kill not even really realising that's what I was doing due to being so befuddled by rage. The red haze made me totally without reason and filled my veins with relentless fire. Some of her hench girls pulled me off the terrified Trisha before I could make contact with her flesh. She was a gibbering wreak, screaming and crying as I roared with anger. Gone was the quiet shy girl she could push around, this was the dark monster that lurked in everyone and emerged if you pushed them too far.


It took her whole gang to pull me off her and stop me from slashing her with my talons. She ran screaming down the corridor most of her gang in tow almost as scared of me as she was. I would have gone after her had I not been restrained. I rounded on the person holding me keen to take my vengeance out on them so I could get my enemy.

 

“Tish!” said D, “Please, she's not worth it.”

 

I could see the fear and my own face distorted by rage face in her eyes. All of a sudden the terrible burning rage left me. I realised what I had almost done and the horror at what had happened inside me overwhelmed me and I collapsed against D sobbing. She relaxed and held me gently.

 

She led me into the library crying like a fountain, the darkness I had seen inside myself had terrified me. I had been close to seriously hurting maybe even killing Trisha. While I didn't like her in the least that wasn't the point, that I could snap so completely was terrifying.


Miss Gordon saw me bleeding profusely from my nose and came running over.

 

“What is it! Was Amanda attacked again?” she asked.


“She got into a little fight with Trisha Jackson,” said Jane shakily, “Trisha used her powers to make D hit her in the face.”

 

“She controlled another student!” said Miss Gordon in horror.


“Yeah, she made me elbow Tish in the face by tricking my subconscious,” said D gently stroking my hair, “Then Tish kinda lost it and went after her.”


“This is very serious, a telepath using her power to influence others is a huge violation,” said Miss Gordon, “I'll have to report her to the authorities.”

 

“I nearly killed her,” I wailed.


“There there Tish, it's not your fault she hurt you and then gloated, you just lost it. I've done it myself before, I got so angry I couldn't control it. It's scary I know,” she paused and looked away, “I'm so sorry I hit you, I know it was Trisha that made me do it but still. I felt the sudden impulse to swing my arm, I just didn't realise... I was distracted I should have fought it. I'm so sorry Tish!”


She had tears in her eyes as she looked at me her face begging me to forgive her, “You're my best friend, we're practically sisters, of course I forgive you,” I sniffled.

 

D pulled me into an even tighter hug and we cried together for a bit seeking comfort in each other. I vaguely noticed Miss Gordon on the phone at her desk talking in an angry voice to someone but I was too busy hugging D, comforting her and letting out the terror at my own loss of control. Even Jane got in on the hugging putting an arm around my shoulder causing me and D to shift to include her in the three way hugging action.

 

We must have looked a right state with my nose bleeding and D and me bawling like babies.


Still after a period of emotional release I felt a lot better and eventually we dried our eyes and went to the ladies loo to begin cleaning ourselves up. My nose stopped bleeding a while and much paper tissues later. D's shirt now had a blood stain on the shoulder where I had been sobbing but she managed to get most of it out. I apologised profusely for ruining her shirt which nearly set us off crying again but we managed to keep our self restraint.

 

We emerged probably still looking a right state but at least we weren’t too bloody or sobbing anymore.

 

Kitty and Clare had arrived in our absence and at our appearance rushed over demanding to know what was wrong. Eventually we told them I had been in a fight with Trisha and that she had used D to hurt me which caused the two little tykes to hug me and then also D much to her surprise. I guess they had enough experience of what it was like to be Trisha's plaything to know what D felt.

 

I slowly began to feel more like myself again, the horror of losing control so completely was still there but I was more myself.


We didn't get any homework done, we just sat there talking and recovering our calm, when the bell rang the three of us were almost back to our usual selves.

 

“Come on Tish,” said Jane putting an arm around me, “Let's get P.E. out the way. It's lunch after that, you’ll feel better after a nice meal.”


“We have the club before that,” said D.


“Oh yes, your big dιbut Tish. You'll enjoy that, I'll see if I can sit in to watch and cheer you on,” said Jane trying to cheer me up.

 

As we were leaving Miss Gordon waved us to her, “Girls,” she said, “I've talked with a contact in the ruling body for telepaths empaths and telesensors, I forgot the acronym, they enforce a sort of code. If a young MORFS survivor uses his ability irresponsibly they step in with training and enforcement to stop him from hurting people. They are going to start an investigation into Trisha, you girls will likely need to speak to them as they take this sort of thing very seriously, they already had her flagged as someone who looked dangerous so that coupled with this incident is enough to trigger a full investigation.”

 

“What about the fight, will Tish get into trouble?” asked Jane.


“I don't think so, I spoke to Mrs Thomas and she felt it was not worth punishing either party given the circumstances, better to leave it and let this outfit investigate,” said Miss Gordon.


I wasn't sure whether to be relieved at that or not, part of me felt I should be punished for my actions.

 

“What will happen to Trisha if she's found guilty?” asked D.


“Likely she’ll be put in a facility for retraining and if she learns from it she'll be back in school again eventually with regular monitoring. If not then they will escalate things, they have more permanent solutions if she still won't cooperate,” said Miss Gordon shuddering at the end. “Anyway don't you worry, Trisha Jackson won't be a bother again.”


“YAY,” squealed Clare who had been listening in.

 

“Nasty mean red eyes will be taken away and locked in a cage! No more pain and badness!” said Kitty clasping her friend’s hands and they danced round a table much to the amusement of all present, I think even I managed a half hearted smile.


“Hmm well ... yes ... run along now girls,” said Miss Gordon.

 

We headed off to P.E. followed by Kitty and Clare who were skipping hand in hand behind us feeling on top of the world. They waved us goodbye as they reached the English block and ran off.

 

When the three of us entered the girls’ changing room several of the girls were staring at me, I saw a few of Trisha's hench girls whispering to some of the others and I felt fear from a few of them. It was a new sensation and not something I liked any more than the hate I had gotten before. I guess they had been telling the story of what I had done to their boss and I suppose this time they probably hadn't needed to exaggerate it much, I tried my best to ignore it. We got changed and headed out the gym, with the others. There was definitely the same exclusion zone around me as last time though it was fear that motivated it this time.


Miss Adams turned up all attitude in a track suit, she glared at me with simmering annoyance which was for some reason vaguely reassuring. We were soon running about, doing exercises and I did my best not to annoy her too much. We did some gymnastics this time jumping on boxes via spring boards then landing on crash mats and the like which was quite enjoyable.


By the end of the lesson I was feeling a bit icky from the exertion, all sweaty and looking forward to my shower. I was heading over to the exit to get changed when D stopped me.

 

“Going somewhere?” she asked with a slightly raised eyebrow.


It took me a while to realise that we had the club thing now, “Oh, guess not,” I replied.

 

“Come on you two, out!” shouted Miss Adams with a scowl.

 

“We have a club now Miss with Mr Roberts,” said D.

 

Miss Adams scowl intensified but she turned and left us to it. We went and sat on some benches on the side and soon a few people came down into the gym in tracksuits or school gym clothes, most of them seemed older than me. A few gave D a wave as they came in and started doing stretches or chatting with other people, I got one or two curious glances. A few of them seemed to be MORFS survivors maybe as much as half of the group. At some point a red headed very athletic looking girl who had orange fur, whiskers, black eyes, slightly protruding front teeth, and pink ears on the top of her head walked in and looked around. After a second or two I realised she was a hamster hybrid. Still she wasn’t remotely hamster-like instead she was very toned and muscular with a very nice figure. She seemed to carry a sense of power as she moved, she was graceful and poised but looked like she was not to be trifled with.


“Hey, Hannah,” called D.

 

“Who's this?” she said coming over.

 

“This is Mandy my friend, she's new here and Mr Roberts wants to try her out,” D said.

“Hmm,” Hannah said and looked me up and down, “So you're the mysterious new applicant. Well I guess you likely know as little about this club as I do about you and your abilities. Mr Roberts does like his little jokes. I'm Hannah the team captain and I look forward to the show.”


“Pleased to meet you ... what show?” I asked nervously.


“Ah, that would be telling,” Hannah said with a grin and wandered off to talk to some of the other members.

 

“Why does it all have to be so mysterious,” I complained.


D grinned but said nothing. I went back to watching my shoes when I felt someone approaching who's smug self importance and arrogance instantly identified him. I looked up to see Winston approach with a sly smile on his green features.


“So I see you do join some of the good clubs,” he said, “Excellent we can get rid of some of the mundanes now that we have another super to fill a spot on the team.”


“She hasn’t joined yet Winston,” said D annoyed at his attitude.


“She will, I look forward to seeing you in action later,” he said then stalked off to talk to some of the MORFS people staring disdainfully at the normal people about.


Mr Roberts and the other Gym teacher Miss Barton came hurrying in, “OK people we only have a short session so let's get set up, chop chop I want standard end run today.”


People began scurrying about moving things, “Come on help me with this,” said D grabbing one end of the bench.


We moved it over to the centre of the room and then moved a few mats around it. Several people were rolling big cube like arrangements out of the storage area next to the Gym and a few more were moving some climbing bars off the side wall. The cubes opened out into a big structure forming a few levels and combined with the bars and the benches they formed a closed off room with a tunnel leading to it. I wondered what it was.

 

“Now Amanda here is trying out so we need some volunteers to test her and show her how the game is played,” several people put their hands up and then Hannah selected a few who rushed into the structure taking up positions at various points inside.

 

“Good luck Tish I know you'll do great,” grinned D putting a hand on my shoulder.

 

Mr Roberts walked me over to the start of the run. It went the length of the gym with several levels and sections marked in different colours. Each of these had someone in them. One girl was floating in the middle of her section looking smugly at me. Others were excited as if they were happy that I was trying out this game whatever it was.


“Now Amanda what I want you to do is to get past these guys without getting tagged, if you get tagged you return to the nearest white square, defenders can't move outside the area of their colour but anywhere in there is fair game. You have to get to this,” he said holding up a multicoloured staff ball thing, “Which will be in the pole thing at the end there.”

 

The last room had a sort of stand in the middle with two of the defenders standing around. He threw the “ball” to one of them who slotted it into the hole.

 

“This isn't the full thing just a sort of test set-up to try out some of the settings. You have to physically take the target with your body and hold it so no Telekinesis. If you can go insubstantial contact still counts as a tag and you have to remain within the game area or you are automatically disqualified. No offensive use of powers please, other than that it's fair game, try to think outside the box and use your abilities creatively. Off you go.”

 

I dashed to the start white square and looked into the strange maze arrangement at the first person. Figuring I had best just get on with it  I ran straight in. The first guy was ready to grab me so I tried to dodge him at speed but he moved like a blur a look of amusement on his face tagging me before I got one step past him. I went back to the start point and tried again with the same result. He was laughing at me openly now which wasn't very nice. I examined the entrance and this time decided to try a more circuitous route I climbed the side of the structure and then along the top of the highest platform of his area, his smile turned to a frown as he tried jumping at me but couldn't quite reach me. I was soon past him on to the next one. This time the defender was a girl, her section was a three level box with her standing on the middle one. I made a dash for the bottom but  somehow she dropped straight through the floor landing in front of me ready to tag me, I leapt back and using my grip ran up the wall. The girl was pulling herself through the floor/ceiling to get back to the first level it was taking her some time so I leapt up to the top level and dashed across before she could make it.


I was on to the flying girl now and she looked at me with a haughty grin, "You got some neat tricks girl but you're too slow to get past me, specially seeing as you have to climb down."


I looked down at the area, it was more or less open but with a fairly random assortment of angled panels making up the structure and it gave me an idea. To the girl’s surprise I leapt off the ledge at a tangent using my forward momentum and gravity to carry me to the wall. I used my grip to stop briefly then kicked off as hard as I could. The flying girl was after me but my rapid change of direction caused the girl to miss me so she was forced to stop and change direction. With the walls absorbing a load of my momentum I could stop quicker and leap off before the girl could get to me. I bounced my way across the walls using gravity as much as I could but occasionally changing tracks when the girl tried to anticipate my path. For the final stretch I just let go and dropped head first catching the wall as I neared the floor to flip and roll out the section. I got a big cheer from the people watching.

I took a brief break to regain my breath, I watched the flying girl land and lie down seemingly as worn out as I was. Once I was feeling better I carried on to the final section. This one had two people in it, they stood on either side of the ball staff thing I had to retrieve.

 

“You won't get past us you wall walking human bouncing ball,” shouted one of them.

 

I moved carefully into the room to see what their powers were. Unlike the previous times where my opponents had rushed at me these two were standing near the ball and didn't move to get me. As I moved into the room the eyes of the one closer to me glowed an electric blue and I found myself suddenly lifted off the ground. He laughed floating me up in the air so I couldn't touch the ground. I assumed he was removing the gravity or something like that so I did the only thing I could think of, I took off my shoe and threw it away from me. The ensuring reaction got me moving towards the ground again as my shoe sailed through the air at greater speed. I used my now bare foot to anchor myself down.

 

“Nice thinking newbie, paid attention in science have we?” said the boy with glowing blue eyes.

 

“Actually I saw it in a movie,” I grinned sheepishly, which caused him to roar with laughter.

 

I assessed my chances, if were to take off my other shoe I could walk over to them but with the kid fooling with the gravity I would be easy to knock over. I had a thought, Mr Roberts said I had to physically touch the pole but nothing about using my hands. Slipping off my other shoe so I would be able to make good my escape, I took another step forward to give me a better shot. Pausing briefly to take aim I readied myself, then in one fluid move braced myself and opened my mouth shooting out my tongue. It shot like a rocket at the target thing grabbed it and started to retract. I didn't wait but ran in the opposite direction and was out of the room before I had the thing gripped in my teeth. I ran back the way I came leaping over a startled flying girl and under the insubstantial girl running up and over the fast guy in one fluid corkscrew movement. Leaping from the roof and landing safely on the crash mats at the start.

 

“Yay Tish, you go girl!” cheered Jane from the side lines.

 

“Well ...” said Mr Roberts looking a little surprised, “That was a little unexpected I was thinking you'd use the other ability you showed me but that was certainly creative”


“Not to mention probably the fastest test run of any new recruit we have had,” said Hannah with a smile.

 

D came over and gave me a hug, “I knew you'd be awesome at this, well done Tish!”


I now had most of the people crowding around me grinning like idiots so I guess I had done really well.


I handed the ball thing back to Mr Roberts, “So now that I've passed this test thingy is anyone going to explain what this club is all about?”


Miss Barton giggled, “Why don't you fill her in I'll get the others to try and learn something from this performance.”

 

“Right ho Nancy, Amanda come, take a seat and I will tell you everything,” said Mr Roberts.

 

“Come on you lot, let's get some practice in,” said Miss Barton.


The crowd wandered off, various people giving me nice comments or pats on the back, even the people I had beaten seemed in good spirits about it. I retrieved my shoes the followed Mr Roberts.

 

Winston gave me a sort of salute, “Once again you show your greatness, as I knew you would. You are a God among insects.”

 

Jane gave him a sour look then came over and gave me a hug before going back to the sidelines to let Mr Roberts talk.

 

“This club is relatively new, Hannah was one of the founding members back when she was a first year. We play a sport called cubes, the name comes from the cube like structures that you see makes up the play area. We don't have enough room inside the gym for the full set up, which is usually three by three cubes stacked together with a goal area on either end allowing for more paths throughout the game. It also has the nickname MORFS rules football which is down to the way it started as well as the high prevalence of gifted MORFS survivors playing.

Basically back in the day, no-one is quite sure when since it is more legend than established fact, a load of MORFS survivor friends who were into sport and disliked the restrictions on powers, began to add their own rules on top of a football game to make it more interesting. They kept changing their version of football to include new challenges and took out a load of the original stuff, playing in adventure playgrounds rather than on a pitch, changing it from kicking the ball into the goal to taking the ball from a set place and returning it to a starting position. It gradually evolved taking on parts of other sports the ability to pick the ball up and even throw it to other players. It changed to the point it was no longer the same sport, people began to come to watch them play and try to join in themselves, even people who didn't have powers liked playing it.

Some of them began to design a proper court to play it on and formalised the rules, their engineering knowledge and access to proper building materials was slight so they used what they had, nailing simple wood planks together to make the cubes and lining them with impact absorbing foam and crash mat floors to make it nice and safe. They also made it a game of attack and defence refining the rules of tagging and how it affected the game.

Pretty soon the local youth club was running a little tournament with it then a local PE teacher saw it and thought it was a an excellent fun sport for his pupils to play. He had some more of the cubes made up added some refinements to the rules and started using it as an alternative sport for kids to try. It caught the eye of one of the parents who had a small engineering firm and together with the teacher and a few of the kids they designed a proper version of the cubes much like the ones we have today. He sold them to other schools and soon the idea spread and before you knew it there were clubs springing up all over the place.

There is even a league now with a prize funded by the company that makes the cubes. They are talking about going professional even broadcasting it on TV,” he looked away, “It's a great and fun sport, I wish it was around when I was younger. Still maybe they'll be an adult league someday.”

 

“So what are the rules?” I asked.


“Well you have three types of players, attackers who get the cake ...”


“Cake?”

 

“It's what we call the ball. I think it was some joke the original inventors made but it seems to have stuck so cake it is.”

 

“Hmmm.”

 

“Anyway, the attackers have to get to the end room and retrieve the cake, if they are tagged by a defender when they are in one of the cubes they have to move back to the previous section, if they are tagged once they get the cake they have to go back to the home cube and the cake returns to the opponents home cube. Once a team has the cake it's attackers can't be tagged by defenders unless they have the cake. When they are untaggable they can't obstruct the defenders but they can distract them. Once their side has the cake they usually work cooperatively passing the cake between them and distracting opposition players to get the cake home and score. If the cake is lost and they are not carrying it they have to go to the nearest white connection space between cubes. Attackers are also able to tag the opponents attackers but only if the opponent is carrying their cake and in the opponents home cube. With me so far?”


“I think so.”


“OK Defenders can only move about the cube they are assigned to so there are nine defenders on each side. Defenders can tag opposition attackers if they don't have the cake or the one with the cake once the attackers have it. They can't tag or even come into contact with an opposition defender in the same cube but they are allowed to block them or distract them with powers or otherwise as long as they don't touch them.”

 

“So in that test game thing I was sort of an attacker and the people in the cubes were defenders?”

 

“Right on, so the third type are the goalies, two on each side they are basically like defenders except they are in charge of guarding the cake.”

 

“OK.”

 

“So you score by getting the cake and bringing it to your home goal. But there is one final rule if both cakes are in play you can't score, you have to have your own cake at your home cube to score.”


“I see.”


“There is talk of introducing a fourth type of player to do some sort of out of game coaching using telepathy e.g. to spy on opponents plans or the like but we aren’t sure how that will play out so we don't use that here. There are a couple of restrictions on powers, telekinetics are usually out unless they don't use that ability which tends to put them off from joining. Still they are usually allowed to use their ability on themselves assuming they can, similarly teleporters and telepaths are out unless they agree to not use their abilities. Time powers are generally seen as too much of an advantage and even some of the more powerful speed enhancements are frowned upon since normal people play and it's just impossible for them to compete with someone that can run at supersonic speeds. Oh, and of course the offensive powers are banned unless they aren’t used offensively, there are occasional exemptions especially if it is a creative use of power but it is subject to a judge ruling. Oh and if the cake is dropped or thrown and not caught then it goes back to the opponents home cube but attackers only go to the nearest white box rather than the beginning. Gamesmanship is allowed, creativity and misdirection are encouraged.”


“Right, sounds like an interesting game.”

 

“Interesting she says,” he said with a raised eyebrow, “try to tell me that wasn't the most fun you ever had playing a game ever!”

 

I blushed and looked away with a smile, it was true I had never had as much fun as that while playing any game. Then again my upbringing being what it was my experience was limited.

 

“So you want to join the team and have another go?” he asked with a grin.


I thought for a minute then said, “OK.”


“Everyone!” he called out causing the training to come to a stop, “I want you to welcome the newest member of our team Amanda, I'm sure you'll all make her feel welcome and show her the ropes.”


There was a big cheer and I was swiftly surrounded by the team, there was lots of patting on the back. I was then taken by them and told to be an attacker again.


The four attackers all stood together to plan motioning me into a huddle, one was Winston but the others I didn't know.

 

“OK,” said one of the girls, “thinking outside the box everyone is going to be focused on Amanda so we use you as a distraction to get the win!”

 

“Good plan,” said Winston.


We broke up and then prepared to go, there was a whistle and we all spread out, and sure enough the first defender was focused exclusively on me. My team mates raced around as I dodged his attacks letting him catch me and only then moving on to catch up to my teammates, the plan worked pretty well till the final cube where although we got the cake my team kept getting tagged with it sending them back to the start so I ended up one cube away from the goal with the flying girl between me and it. I was tempted to head back but I didn't think I was allowed to do that until my side had the cake.

 

“I know your tricks now,” grinned the flying girl.

 

I smiled back, “You don't know all my tricks,” and I vanished.

 

The girl gasped and I quietly and slowly crawled my way over the ceiling keeping an eye on my opponent, who quickly got over her shock and was waving her arms around trying to find me, I crawled down the far wall and into the final room across the ceiling.

 

“Where is she?” shouted the goalie with blue glowing eyes.

 

“I should be able to sense her emotions but there is nothing there!” said the second one. I guess he was an empath so I focused on stealthing my mind just in case he’d be able to pick me up as I got close.

 

“Fan out that way she can't sneak past us!” said the first guy.

 

The two of them stood arms wide waving about trying to feel me. Of course I was on the ceiling. I clambered over and down the back wall. I carefully approached the cake making sure neither one was looking in my direction and then nabbed it.


I was about to make my way out the way I came in but the flying girl squealed, “She's got the cake!” and the two goalies swung round. I knew I couldn't move out the way fast enough for them not to encounter me. But I saw my team racing up past the defences now that they couldn't be tagged.


Winston was at the head of the pack so I took aim and shouted, “Catch Winston,” and hurled the cake dropping my invisibility. He was a little startled but caught it and began running back tossing the cake to one of the others and then they tossed it to the final person who scored the point.


“How did you get past us, are you insubstantial?” asked the blue eyed goalie.

 

“No, I went over the ceiling, I can't do insubstantial,” I grinned back.

 

The two of them laughed at that, which struck me as odd till the second goalie said, “Our opposition aren't going to stand a chance this year!”


“Excellent assist Amanda,” said Miss Barton, “Good to see you using team work.”


“Well I couldn't have done it by myself,” I said.


“Oh I think you could have,” winked Miss Barton.


I suppose I might have been able to crawl my way out of there but it wouldn't have won me many points with my fellow attackers and this was supposed to be a game that was fun for everyone.


We regrouped and Winston was the first to congratulate me.


“You are a crafty as you are beautiful,” he said with a sort of mock bow.

 

The rest of the team gave more conventional congratulations, after that was done we came up with a new plan.


“OK now I've got an idea,” said Winston. “You guys get close while me and Amanda will hang back, stay clear of the path between me and the cake.”


“Oh going to try the rocket ship special?” smirked the girl, “They always see that coming.”

 

“Not this time, when I give the signal keep them occupied and out of the line of fire,” grinned Winston.


“OK let's do it,” she said and we broke up.

 

“Stay close to me Amanda you're going to go on a ride,” Winston said with a wink.

 

I glanced at him wondering what he was up to but then the whistle blew and I was focused on the game. This time me and Winston held back moving slowly up behind the others till one of the other two was nearly at the cake.


Winston put a hand on my shoulder and whispered to me, “When I shout now go stealth and brace yourself.”


He turned keeping a hand on my shoulder and shouted “NOW!”


I went stealth while the two other attackers made a move distracting their defenders and goalie. I was a bit surprised when Winston picked me up, I was even more surprised when he threw me like a spear I realised the other attackers were actually clearing me a path. I shot  across the room like a missile trying not to scream as I went flying through each of the defenders areas and into the goal area heading straight for the cake. Both goalies were nowhere near it so as I passed I grabbed the thing and curling myself up as best I could as I hit the floor and bounced a bit before hitting the wall where I spun and hurled the cake at my team mate who grabbed it and began running back. I picked myself up and dashed past the stunned goalies to help with the scoring.

 

I couldn't resist saying, “Sorry for dropping in like that boys,” on my way out leaving them gaping.

 

I raced on with my teammates catching up to them, they passed the first couple of rooms without the need for my help but when we got to the final room the girl got nearly tagged before throwing the cake at the last moment. I happened to be in the right place to intercept it and surprisingly managed to catch the thing, usually I would drop things thrown at me. My improved grip helped a bit on that score.


I pelted for the score area before the defender could get his act together scoring a point.

 

After that I went to sit down for a bit so someone else could have a go. I sat next to Jane and watched getting to see a bunch of other people normal and powered play the game. Everyone seemed to have their own tactics exploiting their advantages, one boy was really good at jumping so would bounce around not unlike my tactic from earlier, another girl would make a load of illusory copies run across the cube varying the one that was her. I could always tell thanks to my empathy so against the second goalie she couldn't use that trick but instead cloaked one of her team mates in her illusions while she distracted the empath allowing them to get the cake and escape.


It was all great fun to watch with lots of powers and tactics employed and physical feats from all. I was getting really into it and cheering along with the rest of the watchers so was a little surprised when Mr Roberts blew the whistle during one of the games.

 

“Sorry chaps and gals time’s up I'm afraid, hit the showers and go get yourselves some lunch. Next meeting is Monday evening as usual we'll have the full time then,” he said.

 

We all began moving to the changing rooms, for a nice hot shower and then lunch. The exercise had made me quite hungry and it was only now when I wasn't occupied with the game that I realised it.


It was very different showering with the club than it was with my normal PE class. There were less people for a start and there were a lot more MORFS survivors with different bodies so there was none of the staring. Though the showers were not full I wasn't spurned by the other members like my class normally did it. Everyone was friendly and welcoming.


It was a nice feeling to belong.

 

I walked out clean and on my way back to my locker carefully caused my body to heat up just to the point that steam began to rise off me, careful not to go as hot as I had before. I got a few raised eyebrows as I walked back to my stuff.


“Damn girl I knew you were hot stuff at the game today, but that's ridiculous!” said the flying girl defender.


It caused a round of giggles from the rest of the girls, I smiled and began drying my hair using a focused blast of heat from my hand to act as a hair dryer. I was soon dressed dry and ready for lunch waiting for D.


“Damn that is a neat trick,” said Hannah adding ruefully, “That'd be handy with all this fur. You a water elemental or something?”

 

I held up my hand and sparked a flame on my finger tip, “Fire.”


“You have all the best toys, I got nothing but short fur whiskers and a silly tail from my MORFS. Didn't even get the muscles,” she said, “I had to work for them.”

 

“Well they say it's better to earn something than have it handed to you,” I said.

 

“There is something to that,” grinned Hannah. “I have to say I probably wouldn't be the girl I am today if not for MORFS.”


“Me either, but I guess not quite the same way you think,” I replied.

 

“It wasn't like you got your abilities at no cost Tish, I'd say you paid for them and then some,” D said with a lopsided smile.


“I guess that's true I wouldn't be playing this sport if it weren't for my abilities,” I said stroking my left hand absently.


“I'm sure we'd have found a place for you, and you could have always done things the hard way like me,” she grinned.


I smiled back, “Maybe” not really wanting to go into the why of it.

 

"Damn I wish I'd remembered my hair dryer, has anyone got one I can borrow?" asked Hannah to general shaking of heads.

 

D started giggling, "She is a hair dryer,” pointing at me.

 

"I could try I can dry myself OK, but I'm fireproof I might hurt someone else," I said nervously.


"You're getting pretty good at control these days," said D, "You haven't set your clothes on fire in ages."


"OK but shout if it's too warm," I said.

 

"I'll do you one better I'll scream," grinned Hannah.


I decided to try something a bit different, almost like I had tried back when I first discovered my fire powers but this time I tried to be a bit less destructive. I focused on the air in front of me and began heating it, as it expanded and moved I carefully managed the pattern of heat to encourage air to start flowing and soon I had a nice warm breeze blowing in Hannah's direction, I slowly increased the temperature till it was hot but not too hot.


She dried herself off fairly swiftly with a combination of the hot air and a towel. She ran her hand over her fur and smiled, “Dry as bone and toasty warm, much obliged.”

 

I was about to stop but D called out, "My turn!" and began drying her hair. Soon I had a queue of girls wanting to try out Mandy the human hair dryer. Once they were all done I was feeling worn out I had done lots of physical activity, used my powers, and after half a day of school and I was ready for lunch.

 

As we left the changing room we passed Miss Barton on her way in I guess to check on us. “Blimey it's like a sauna in here!” she exclaimed, “I'll have to have a word with the maintenance people about the heat of those showers.”

 

This caused a chorus of giggles from all the girls as we wandered out of the changing room. Once we got out of the gym Hannah took my arm on one side and the flying girl, who introduced herself as Melissa, took the other. They led me at the head of the gang of girls to lunch. We all joined the queue and grabbed our lunches then sat down together with Hannah and Melissa on either side of me, D and Jane opposite. I chomped down my lunch ravenous from all the exercise and power usage and, much to everyone's amusement, immediately went for seconds.


“What? ... I'm hungry,” I said defensively when I sat down.


“You're always hungry,” said Jane which brought some laughs.

 

“Well I did get lots of exercise,” I said with a smile, “Plus I have my job this evening so I need to keep my strength up.”


“With all that lot you should be able to bench press a truck,” grinned Melissa.


I smiled a little bemused by all this seemingly good natured joking.


“So you work in the evenings, what day's is it? You know the club is on Monday evenings right?” Asked Hannah.

 

“I load dishwashers at a restaurant in the evenings after school, I already checked if it was alright if I didn't work Mondays so I could come to the club,” I said.

 

“Dishwashers eh, sounds like hard work, where's that,” asked Melissa.


“The place is called The Bistro, it’s over on South street near a supermarket,” I said.


“Oh I've been there it's fabulous,” said Hannah.

 

“I've not eaten there I just work in the back, originally I think the manager wanted me to work out front but the head waiter has a thing against hybrids,” I said.


Hannah stiffened, “Really ... guess I won't be going there again.”


“Well, the manager Angela and most of the other staff have been really nice to me so I think it's just this head waiter it sounded like she wants to fire him but can't for some reason,” I explained, “Besides in some ways I was relieved, I wasn't sure I wanted to be out in the restaurant with all those strange people.”

 

“Little shy huh,” said Melissa, I nodded, “Not to worry nothing like being in a team to boost your confidence. It’s done wonders for mine.”

 

“I think it's boosted yours too much Melissa, you're over confident now judging by how easily Mandy dodged you,” jibbed Hannah to which Melissa stuck her tongue out at her.

 

I finished off my second lunch and while I was wondering about getting a third listened to the general chat with the girls from the club enjoying the feeling of being one of the group. At the end of lunch we parted ways with a friendly wave and I found myself already looking forward to next Monday when we would all meet again.

 

We headed over to the library to get ready for computer studies, we got there just as the bell went and shared a quick hello with Kitty and Clare as they left for their lessons. We were still in fairly early and took up some good seats. I was soon engrossed in the lesson finishing my assigned task quickly and going on to figure out some more stuff on my own.

 

I left school very happy, not even the few hours of physical labour I had coming up dimmed my mood.


I said goodbye to D at the gate and then walked with Jane for a bit walking over to my job.


“I'm glad to see you've perked up,” observed Jane, “I guess you really enjoyed the club, I'm a little jealous that I can't join.”


“They take people without powers,” I said.


“Yeah but only if they're like super fit, just look at Hannah I don't think she has powers but she's some sort of martial arts expert, she's got muscles all over the shop. Me I can barely fight my way out of wet paper bag,” mused Jane. “It be nice to be that strong and graceful like she is, plus all the boys drool over her, even some of the anti-MORFS ones. Maybe that's down to the shape she has and that didn't come from hitting things.”


“She is very pretty,” I said absently. “Seems like a nice person as well.”


“I don't know her that well, but yeah she seems nice,” Jane said. “Anyway, I don't think I'll ever get to be a member of the team so I'll just have to cheer you and D on in your matches.”


“You could be the president of our fan club,” I said with a smile.


“Who else would be in there though?” she asked.

 

“Kitty and Clare might well join you,” I grinned.

 

“Sure they'd make great fan girls,” Jane said.

 

“Don't think of them as fan girls think of them as your loyal minions in your fan organisation,” I giggled.

 

“Hmm I suppose I could probably have them do my bidding saying it was at your behest,” she mused.


We laughed a bit and continued on our way.

 

Jane's mood turned a bit darker, “I'm a bit worried about these telepath enforcers,” she said, “Sure Trisha needs to go down but it all sounds a bit like some sort of secret police taking someone away in the middle of the night never to be seen again.”


“I know what you mean, that other bit was a bit ominous too.”

 

“That bit about permanent solutions?” I nodded and she continued, “Yeah that gave me the chills.” She shuddered and we walked on.


“I hate to think what Winston and that lot will think of me when he finds out Trisha is getting collared due to me.”

 

“Hey don't worry it wasn't like she was a goodie two shoes, she made D hit you in the face, plus torturing or blackmailing countless other people myself included. She needed to be taken down if it hadn't been you she would have done something even worse and been caught. She was slowly escalating and sooner or later someone would have noticed but maybe the damage would have been worse by then. Who knows where Kitty and Clare would be.”


“I guess.”

 

“Come on gloomy guts cheer up, you're the star of cubes club the latest athletic phenomenon. One of your enemies is expelled and the other is about to be lobotomised by a gang of ruthless government telepaths. Things couldn't be better.”

 

I smiled at least I could rely on my friends to try and cheer me up. I gave Jane a hug and we walked on.

 

We reached the point where our paths diverged shared one last hug and wished each other goodbye. I was running a little late so I picked up the pace over to the restaurant, I arrived with minutes to spare. I got cleaned and into my gear and then was off and running. I was once again on my own with the dishes but I knew what to do now so I just got on with it.

 

I felt the chef’s eyes on me now and then, it felt like she approved of me and was happy with my hard work, which made me feel good. She was somewhat a strange woman a bit firm but quite fair if you worked hard. She wasn't the forgiving type, I saw a couple of incidents where someone screwed up whatever they were supposed to do and she was suddenly in an almost deadly calm. Everything would stop as if waiting for some sort of explosion. I kept working knowing that she wouldn't want me just staring gormlessly at what was going on but my other senses stayed alert. She didn't seem the type to explode in ranting fits of anger when she got angry she got quiet and still. It was a bit scary really at least yelling and throwing things was easier to understand. I had seen some new people miss the warning signs, think the quiet was her being weak or in some way submissive. They tried to bluster their way out, maybe used to more vitriolic or explosive temperaments, and soon found themselves out on the street. It only underlined my impression of the woman that you were fine unless you let her down and she had no time for people that didn't give their all.


I worked my butt off loading the washers and eventually I got a tap on the shoulder from Chef.

 

At first I was a bit scared she was upset with me, “Go on scram kid it's home time,” she said then as I began to leave she went on, “Wish more of my lot showed that kind of dedication. I swear you put in more effort in a few hours than most of those lazy buggers put in all day.”


I smiled and replied, “Thank you Chef.”

 

“Go on now away with you, can't have you working more hours than you're allowed, however much I'd like that,” she said shooing me out of the kitchen with a very slight smile.

 

I dashed off and got changed, I headed home this time uneventfully which was a relief. It was dark and after last night’s excitement I was a little jumpy. Arriving home unscathed was good, even if I did have a near panic attack on the way home when a strange form came racing out of an alleyway at me, it took me a moment of frenzied running before I realised it had been a plastic bag caught on the wind.

 

Once I was back home I relaxed and told Gwen all about my day including the downs with the ups. She held me when I told her about my rage triggered attack as I sobbed again. She congratulated me on my successes in the club and seemed very happy that it would likely gain me some new friends.

 

We had dinner and then curled up on the sofa together, watching some old film. I was out like a light the exertions of the day taking their toll. I was pretty happy when sleep claimed me I focused on the high points of the day and tried to ignore the lows or at least mitigate them. Tomorrow was another day and I was sure it would be a good one.



The entire MORFS  Universe can be found at http://morfs.nowhere2go.org/

 


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