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The Sensational Six #142

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NMUSpidey

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DefendersHQ.jpg

In the Defenders' HQ...

Carlos.jpg Carlos: So basically, we just need to know if you're on island or off island.

The Defenders' legal VP said with a friendly smile to finish his lengthy description of the legal issues facing them given their situation. Many countries Port Matthew had relations with required documentation of super-powered beings, but in cases such as Kari's where there was a desire to remain a civilian for the time being, there were loopholes the Defenders' lawyers were happy to exploit.

Karis%20dad_zps4c22d530.jpg Kari's Dad: You won't need her address or anything?

Carlos.jpg Carlos: No, Professor Wilson. This is a very delicate business we're in, so delicate, in fact, that we receive state funding to kelp keep us in the black.* As such, we need to keep paperwork and on-site digital information at the absolute minimum. Occasionally, this puts us at a military disadvantage, but it protects more or less defenseless civilians, so we accept that.

Kari-5.jpg Kari: You're not upset that we won't join?

Fearless.jpg Fearless: While in time we believe you could become a great asset to us, especially if we can teach you to control your ability, you are also just a teenage girl who doesn't play sports and who doesn't have a military background. You need to make your own choices in life. Something this important and this dangerous cannot be forced upon someone who is unwilling or unable to devote themselves completely to it. We are committed to defending PMers' freedom, and if we don't protect it amongst ourselves, what does that say to everyone else?

Drsomething.jpg Dr. Brooks: Of course, should you change your mind we will do our best to find you a place with us.

Kari-5.jpg Kari: Hehe, well, I suppose I'll keep it in mind.

Carlos.jpg Carlos: Now Kari, whenever you renew your passport, ID cards, change your name, or get married, you must come here to file your paperwork. This is very important. Your personal information will have a special status and cannot be processed normally. Your friend's parents have the same status. Your parents, however, will not be subect to the same requirements. I would also advise you to keep the secret of your abilities to yourself. I would advise against establishing permanent residency off-island, as many nations would require full disclosure of super-powered beings living within their borders.

Kari-5.jpg Kari: So I can't travel abroad or go sightseeing?

Carlos.jpg Carlos: Friendly countries do not require travel visas, so you would not have to reveal yourself. Living off-island, however, even as a student, would require public disclosure of your gift.

Kari-5.jpg Kari: Okay...

Drsomething.jpg Dr. Brooks: Thank you for allowing us to run our assessments today, Kari.

Fearless.jpg Fearless: Yes, it is a shame we can't add you to our roster today, Kari. But we understand the circumstances. Good luck with school.

Kari and her parents exchanged good byes with the Defenders' leader and officials and were led away to meet Nina.

***

Nina took a moment to take in her surroundings, marveling at where she was.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: This is totally amazing. They're going to give me the food they eat, too! It's like I'm a Defender, too!

Eikyou motioned at a chair near the window looking out the floor-to-ceiling windows at East Bank.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: Nina, please sit here. I'll be back in a moment with something to eat.

Nina smiled and nodded and then lowered herself painfully into the chair. She closed her eyes and sighed, then took a glance at East Bank. She closed her eyes once again, surprised at how good it felt to rest them. She laid her head back gently, deciding to take a momentary rest before the refreshments arrived. Consciousness quickly faded, though, and she was soon floating weightlessly in the void...

Victory.jpg Victory: So that's Professor Stark's daughter?

Victory stood with Pierce behind Eikyou who was setting a tray down on the small table in front of where Nina had fallen asleep.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: Yes, it was her school that was attacked, and her friend talking with Fearless and Carlos right now.

The three of them looked at her for a moment, all painfully aware that that was not the face of a peaceful sleep.

Pierce.jpg Pierce: *sits on couch* She's hurt worse than she lets on. She's gotta be pretty tough, huh?

Victory.jpg Victory: *sits next to Pierce* I think she knows something about Hoshi-Hime, too. She was pretty agitated after this girl seemed to recognize her.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: They dated the same boy.

After the funny looks from her teammates she felt it necessary to defend herself.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: They're teenage girls, and when Kari, the blonde girl, is near me I can hear EVERYTHING.

Victory.jpg Victory: Should we wake her up?

Victory leaned forward to analyze the pained expression on Nina's face.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: She needs rest. I'll wake her in a few minutes.

Pierce.jpg Pierce: Why did Professor Stark even let her come out here in the first place if she's injured this badly?

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: I do not think that anyone but Nina and maybe her doctors know. Any other girl her age would probably still be in the hospital right now, but she is certainly tough.

Pierce.jpg Pierce: She was in that accident last year, right?

Victory.jpg Victory: You remember that??

Pierce.jpg Pierce: *overly defensive* I'm a sensitive [expletive], Legs, I remember these things.

Victory.jpg Victory: Right, I am sure it had nothing to do with Professor Stark being rushed out of our meeting and his presentation being canceled.

Pierce.jpg Pierce: *shrugs* Coincidence.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: Now try to be nice, I am going to try to wake her.

Pierce.jpg Pierce: *mumbles* Yeah, Legs, try to be nice.

Victory.jpg Victory: *mumbles back* I think she was talking to you.

Pierce.jpg Pierce: This is what I'm talking about, you getting all accusatory towards me, a perfect gentleman-

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: Both of you, hush!

Eikyou shot them a glare and they both quieted down, although still maintained dirty looks at each other. Eikyou rolled her eyes and looked over at Nina. She concentrated for a moment and suddenly Nina woke with a start, blinking at the light pouring in through the window.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: *CAREFULLY leans forward* Oh, wow! I love mugi-cha! And Chex Mix!

Pierce.jpg Pierce: It's like we have the power to read your mind.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: Oh!

Nina's pain prevented her from jumping up in surprise, but she pulled herself back slightly as Pierce and Victory stepped towards her.

Victory.jpg Victory: I'm Victory and this is Pierce.

Victory extended her hand towards Nina. Nina braced herself to stand up, but felt Pierce's hands on her shoulders and heard his warm laughter.

Pierce.jpg Pierce: Hahaha! No need to stand up for us!

He waited for a moment for Nina to shake Victory's hand then took his turn.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: I'm, uh, Nina.

Pierce.jpg Pierce: *casually* That was a pretty awesome battle at your school the other day, wasn't it?

Victory.jpg Victory: Shut up, Pierce, you weren't even there!

Pierce.jpg Pierce: I was there in spirit.

His reply was mumbled around the mouthful of Chex Mix he had tossed into his mouth.

Victory.jpg Victory: You were lounging on some beach in Thailand on some ridiculous “bodyguard” duty for Juri!

Pierce.jpg Pierce: Hey, running security for that traveling circus is grueling work!

Victory.jpg Victory: Yeah, I'll bet it's so difficult to sit on a chair drinking muay thais all day long!

Nina-7.jpg Nina: Are- uh...

Nina suddenly faltered as the three heroes' attention suddenlly fell upon her.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: *kind smile* Go ahead. We don't bite.

Pierce.jpg Pierce: Hard.

Pierce grinned the sound of disgust that came from Victory.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: *quietly* Are they, uh, like, uh, always like this?

Pierce roared with laughter at the question and Victory launched into her well-rehearsed favorite speech with which she always used to scold Pierce.

Victory.jpg Victory: See?! This is the kind of impression you make, Pierce! Aren't you embarrassed? Even a little? You act like such a child that even children are surprised and disappointed! You should be ashamed of yourself, Pierce! *crosses her arms, looks away*

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: Everyday, Nina.

Eikyou was delighted to see a real smile lighting up the girl's face.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: She has that speech memorized perfectly.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: She, um, she said you were doing security for Juri's tour, right Mr. Pierce?

Pierce.jpg Pierce: Hah! Yeah, you can just call me Pierce. But yeah, I do that when PM VIPs go off-island. Makes the process smoother and more official when we're involved.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: So you know her? What's she like?

Nina was suddenly excited. Erisa had teased her for it, but she couldn't help liking the cheesy pop idol's “music.” Pierce decided to give his answer some real thought (for once).

Pierce.jpg Pierce: She's nice enough, I guess. She's pretty professional and she sings well enough. She doesn't joke around a whole lot, doesn't really attend any after-parties, doesn't drink, doesn't smoke. She puts her fans above everything else and it really makes my job tough because we have to watch all the fans all the time.

Victory.jpg Victory: You mean, you have your people watching everything.

Pierce.jpg Pierce: You're coming with me next month, Legs. Then we can fix that image of me you have in your head!

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: So Nina, tell me why you haven't told anyone how badly you're hurt.

Eikyou was quiet as Pierce and Victory continued their customary verbal sparring.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: I'm not hurt that badly.

Nina avoided Eikyou's eyes and fidgeted with her shirt.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: Nina, I know you can handle it, there's nobody who would say otherwise. Especially given your experiences over the last year. That doesn't mean it gives you license to block everyone else out and do it all on your own.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: *sighs* I know, I know my friends and family care.

Pierce.jpg Pierce: Besides, look who you're talking to. We've all been battered and beaten to within inches of our lives. No shame in telling us your injuries.

Victory.jpg Victory: It's very brave of you to try and protect your friend, too.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: What, Kari? I just wanted to-

Nina looked confused. Kari was the one with the powers, after all. She just felt as though she was along for the ride.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: No, in the gym. We're veterans, we see it all.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: Oh, you mean, Ayumi?

Nina was surprised anyone could see anything in the chaos of the gym that day.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: In battle, we have to see everything. So we notice things. Anyways, the original question remains as yet unanswered.

Nina looked at each of them. She saw concern on Victory's face, empathy on Eikyou's, and (predictably) amusement on Pierce's. She sighed and thought for a moment how to answer.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: I already went through the whole terrible injury thing last year. I don't need people to worry about me like that. Everybody thinks I'm a drama queen anyways, and I don't wanna add to that reputation anymore.

Pierce.jpg Pierce: Pff, all girls are drama queens.

Pierce laughed. At a look from Eikyou he leaned forward very seriously and said:

Pierce.jpg Pierce: Continue.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: So, okay, we're all like, drama queens, but whatever.

Nina sighed and looked at East Bank again and thought about last summer, compared it to this week.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: I lost someone I loved very deeply last summer. That hurt like, way worse than any of my injuries. I didn't lose anyone this time, it's just physical pain, and that'll like, go away. It did last year.

Pierce.jpg Pierce: I was right, you are one tough chick.

Pierce smiled at her, earning a bright one from her in return.

Pierce.jpg Pierce: You'd make a kick-ass Defender.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: *big smile* Oo, you think so?

Nina's eyes sparkled with happiness.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: Stop thinking about Titus' armor, Nina.

Victory.jpg Victory: *sighs* You should be glad to have your teenage years free from all this chaos and nonsense, though. There's something to be said for normalcy, or at least what passes for it.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: I don't know, I think I'd be totally willing to trade into it.

Nina's imagination was alight with the possibilities of powers.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: *half to herself* Everyone wants what everyone else has.

Her face went blank for a moment, and she looked over to Nina as she stood.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: The meeting is over, Nina. We will go now and meet them in the lobby.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: Oh, already?

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: Sorry, Nina. Fearless' orders.

Victory.jpg Victory: It was fun, Miss Stark.

Victory and Pierce helped her to her feet and settled her on her crutches.

Pierce.jpg Pierce: Definitely. Tell your dad we said hello and to try to keep his next speech or presentation down around like two to three minutes or so- OW!

Victory had clubbed him across the back of his head.

Victory.jpg Victory: That was incredibly rude, Pierce!

Pierce.jpg Pierce: So was that, Miss Manners!

Nina-7.jpg Nina: Uh, it was like, nice to meet you, too.

Nina looked up at them timidly as they eyed each other hatefully over her head.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: This way please.

Eikyou swept Nina towards the exit and they could hear the pair continue their argument behind them. They stepped into the elevator and waited for the doors to close before speaking again.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: *mumbles without thinking about it* They should just like, sleep together and like, get it over with.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: You think so, too, eh?

Eikyou surprised Nina with her comment.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: Oh no, I said that out loud, didn't I?!

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: Hahaha, do not worry, Nina. Titus and Cosmette have a running bet about it. It is just part of the team's dynamic. I can tell your group has had plenty of that go on as well.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: Yeah, I suppose...

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: Now from here on, are you going to be alright?

Nina-7.jpg Nina: Of course I am, I get better every day.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: Not just your body, but your stress as well.

Nina-7.jpg Nina: Yeah...

Nina didn't want to think about how difficult the past year had been and considered her weekend with Kana and Ayumi instead. It wasn't in her nature to be mopey and depressed all the time. She knew, however, that she would have to make a conscious effort to stay optimistic for a while, given her recent luck.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: Well, if you need it, have your father schedule an appointment with me and I can help you. Defenders take care of their own.

Nina smiled happily at Eikyou as she stepped off the elevator and the doors closed, removing Eikyou from sight. The answer to Nina's question felt beamed directly into her ears.

Eikyou.jpg Eikyou: Fearless ordered me to keep distance between me and your friend. I'll see you again someday! Gambatte!

Nina found her way back to the lobby and allowed herself to be carefully placed in the back of Kari's dad's Alfa Romeo sedan to re-join her family and their friends for home-made pizza dinner.

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emperordaniel: Since Nina's dad does a lot of consulting for the Defenders, he is considered a member of their "extended family," and given who Nina is and her relationship to both her dad and her best friend Kari who we just saw was offered a roster spot, she gets added into their "extended family," too. That she's pretty tough and knows how to handle her injuries earned her some respect, too (let's not forget her experience the previous summer). Nice for her, eh?

Schulmanator: Yeah, it goes a pretty long way to making your future easier. Although on the other hand, you do have to deal with super-powered crazy people trying to murder you all the time.

10000000000000: You got it. They're always a focus of speculation pieces in the tabloids, too.

hammysonata: Haha, no powers, she's just an above-average high school girl who can deal with pain because of her car accident the previous summer (#49-#51).

So, we have a couple issues to kind of serve as a denouement before we move into the final act, not just of The Battle for Mt. Plains High School, but for the series as a whole. Yes, that's right, I do have an actual ending in place for this. You didn't think I was gonna drag this out forever and ever, did you? ;) Anyways, stick around! We may not have super-powered excitement coming at us anymore, but that doesn't mean that some old enemies can't wreak some interesting havoc in our heroes' lives!

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