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Breed: Twenty-five


  02:59:00 am, by Nic Wilson   , 1025 words  
Categories: Breed

Breed: Twenty-five

?I'm glad everyone could make it today. I wouldn't have blamed anybody if they stayed home, or-?
?I didn't realize staying home was an option,? Drake said, and disappeared. He reappeared beside Mikaeala an instant later. ?Kidding.?
?If that's all of the interruptions-?
?Wait,? Ben said, ?I, I thought I had one. But it was just gas.?
?Tso,? Rox said sternly.
?I know she sounds mad, but she loves it. Well, not, like, the smell so much as the dance.?
?I will cork you, Tso. And you're a big boy, so I'd need a big cork. Say, one of those trees over there.?
Ben turned in the direction Linc was looking, and said trees dwarfed even the tallest of the school's buildings. ?I honestly wasn't sure which end he meant to cork, but with one of those I think he'd be corking both, anyway.?
?You'd be spit-roasted,? Sonya said.
?Mmm, spit-roasting,? Cristobal said.
?Focus,? Linc said. ?I know humor can be helpful in dealing with trauma, and what happened yesterday was some scary stuff. That's why I want to step things up. I think everybody here already has at least a basic grasp of using- or not using, as the case may be- their abilities in a controlled, safe way. But I want us to try going on the offensive. I need a volunteer.?
The group exchanged a tense glance. ?Look, I'm your opponent, a lowly human for the purposes of this exercise. And I won't be using force back. If I 'tag' you, which is to say, make any contact whatsoever, I win, you lose. Takers??
?How do we win?? Drake asked.
?Hit me with your powers.?
Drake teleported behind him. ?What if that requires touching you?? he asked.
?I'm not sure how this harms me,? Linc said. Then disappeared with Drake. They reappeared an instant later about a foot in the air, and fell to the ground in a pile. Demi ran to them and helped them up.
?How far up were we?? Linc asked, trying to catch his breath.
?Few hundred feet. Couldn't stay long, or the acceleration-?
?Would have made it too dangerous to land at all. Point Drake.?
?Next volunteer?? Linc asked.
Rox and Mikaela shared a glance, and Rox ran at him. Linc spun, pulling a pistol from his waistband and aiming it over her shoulder. She stopped, just far enough away that she couldn't touch him. ?You're dead,? he said.
?You didn't say anything about a gun.?
?I cheated. They will, too. It isn't loaded; and it's pointed over your shoulder, into the dirt behind you as a backstop, if I was somehow wrong about that. I want to get you all a little time on our range. Some of you have powers with offensive capability. But most would benefit from also have training and ability with firearms. I know that all of you probably have your own feelings about guns, and I'm all for the regulation of a militia, but that's what we need to be: a well-regulated militia. Sorry about the gotcha,? he said, and put the pistol back in his waistband. ?Next."
?I don't know how I feel about this,? Mikaela said.
?I can take it. And if I can't, so long as you don't murder me, I can reset my day and make sure I don't get seriously injured.?
?No. Fighting fire with fire. This is a civil rights movement, not an insurgency.?
?I'm not suggesting we abandon peaceful demonstration, just acknowledging that we can't trust that the other side will hold to our principals.?
?And what about them?? she asked, nodding in the direction of Rox and her friends. ?They're children.?
?They're minors. But if a war broke out in Eastern Europe, they'd be drafted into it as soon as they reached adulthood. And I'm saying it makes sense to prepare them for war, now. Sometimes preparation is the best prevention. I can't imagine how many wars the US prevented just by carrying its big stick. Refusing to take up the sword doesn't mean a world without warfare- just that you're ill-prepared to fight when war comes to your doorstep.?
?Spoken like a true warrior.?
?I am damned proud of my service.?
?And everything you did in its execution?? His eyes flicked unconsciously to Mayumi.
?I am.?
?And would you be, if you didn't have the power of the do-over??
?I don't know. War's hell. Over there, they'd pay kids to set IEDs, or lob grenades at soldiers, or even into crowds. Anything you think is sacred, even the life of a child, is something that will be used to hurt people.?
?So you're saying that to beat monsters, we have to become them??
?No. Because even where you may, on occasion, have to adopt tactics you hate, you don't do it for glory, or power, or even respect. You do it to help those who couldn't help themselves, you try to preserve human life and human dignity.?
?And you think we need paramilitary tactics and training to deal with rednecks, or even the cops??
?But we aren't just talking about hillbillies, or even SWAT. Some transhumans will fight for our government, others will rally under other banners.?
?Terrorists?? Ben asked.
?I've heard of one, already. Worked with the real IRA a dozen years ago. They caught him a half dozen times, no explosives on him, now residue, nothing to convict with. Then they caught him on tape. He was the explosive. He's rotting in an Irish prison, though who knows if they'll ever be able to make any of it stick. The world is a dangerous place. I think all of you need to be trained up to handle it. Then we spread it, like outreach, to the rest of the campus.?
?Even to minors?? Mikaela asked. ?What happened to Keen??
?On this, we don't see eye to eye.?
?I don't, either. And I'm not going to stand by and let it happen.?
Mikaela walked away. Drake and Demi peeled off with her. Mayumi glanced back at Linc, then jogged to catch up.
?We're with you,? Rox said. ?Let's get started.?

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