Stepping Up - the N.M.A.O.A.

OOC: Joint Post Turk, Blitzen, Winters

If Sam wasn't ready to step up and be the leader? Niko was no stranger to having responsibility thrust on him. He wasn't convinced he was the right person for the job, but in the heat of the moment? He was convinced he was currently the ONLY person for the job. Well, if that were the case, he would try his damndest to make sure the team was prepared for anything. " HELEN…" he whispered while the others slept soundly in beds once occupied by their parents. "I need to run some exercise… uh…. Drills. You know. Practice." HELEN was helpful, but gave way too many options, and the speedster midway through grew impatient and just advised her to select things at random.

With the exception of his cousin, he worried the most about two people. Foster Thorson, and Ghost Spider Girl. That’s why at 3 am, he called them outside to the training field. And called is kind of a subjective term. Especially with Gwen, he was lucky he moved fast. Erik woke a little more graciously. "Welcome to the Nikolai Maximoff Academy of Awesome. That’s what it’s called. You are here because right now, you are not especially awesome. You, Kvedjesa are far too overconfident and too undertrained, especially for someone who hasn’t gone up against a single murderbot. And you…” he pointed to Erik. “Are far too underconfident and undertrained. So, you have a unique opportunity. Go back inside and go to sleep and dream that you somehow get better -- or you stay here and make it happen. Just kidding. You have no choice. You’re both in danger of hurting someone or yourselves. Ghost Spider Girl? It’s here or riding the bench from here on out. Oh! Sad face!” He quickly took a photo. “And Foster? I promised you upstate you’d find the weight to train so you wouldn’t have to try so hard to not break shit. I don’t have 1500 years, but I have 1500 pounds of robot, it’s got your name all over it. Also? The first rule of Nikolai Maximoff Academy of Awesome is, you do not talk about the Nikolai Maximoff Academy of Awesome. I may perhaps not have got this sanctioned."

Erik rubbed at his right shoulder, still incredibly sore, and let his eyes wander down to the floor toward the hammer. It might have seemed like a godsend at the time, but he knew what it really was, just another thing he had to control and keep track of when he fought. He had hurt his own team fighting so wildly with it, and it had nearly gotten him killed, to put it simply in his mind this hammer could not be trusted beyond a last resort. He looked back to Niko, “So is this some kind of punishment or something because I am really sorry about everything, I didn’t know Thunderstrike was going to be here and I kinda...lost control. So...yeah….sorry for everything.”

Niko rolled his eyes. “If you want to think of it as punishment, I can’t stop you. And if you want to walk away — “ he thought for a second “you are built like a tank, I probably couldn’t stop that either. Seriously, you’re like a wall, I physically can’t stop you. But I’m hoping you don’t. The best way to not lose control as you said is to help you be in control in the first place. If I didn’t think I could help with that? I’d be halfway back from Buffalo with a bucket of wings by now. I’m asking you to trust me.”

Relenting in the way of Niko's stern reply “I do trust you it's just... nevermind. Let's do this.” He didn't yet move to pick up Thunderstrike but he widened his stance to a more readied posture and looked over to Gwen briefly before rolling his shoulders again and awaiting further instructions.

“Overconfident?” Gwen deflated a bit. “Wait! I actually didn't see much combat! Remember?!” She accused Niko. “The whole laser grid," Gwen said staring up all the non-combat things she had been relegated to do during combat. “...Oh and if you had just listened when I tried to tell-” she started.

“I’m also not listening now,” Niko interrupted. “Honestly, Ghost Spider Girl, if you don’t think this will be of use, go run along and play. You’re confident you can handle anything thrown at you?”

Gwen deflated into teenage angst. “Phh I’m confident I’ll never see a lick of combat so long as you live. You let Theo n’ everyone else crack robotic skulls …” She mumbled childishly crossing her arms. Gwen doubted Spider-Man had these kinds of problems with the Avengers.

“Okay, first? I was not even the one who made the call to get you inside the facility. I was just the one fast enough to get you past the robots. Don’t shoot the delivery boy. Second? You get your chance tonight to crack robot skulls. Here’s the plan. Foster Thorson? Sit.” Niko blinked and came back with a pair of tennis shoes and a box of laces. “You are going to take these, lace them up, put them on and tie them without breaking the shoe strings. Don’t worry, they are your size. If you break a shoestring? You start over from the beginning. And, on the same field, Ghost Spider Girl will be trying to not be beaten to a pulp by a robot. Ghost Spider Girl? Do not let the Robot hit Foster Thorson. Everybody good? Great.”

Erik looked down at the box and shoes and greatly relaxed his stance, now leaning on his back foot, mouth slightly agape in a mix of confusion and thought. This should be easy right? Then why was he so worried? “So….I'm not allowed to defend myself at all?” His eyes continued to move between Niko and the shoes. This should be easy.

“No. Your job is to lace those shoes. That’s it. No breaking the shoelaces. Ghost Spider Girl’s job is to defend you.”

“Okay..." Gwen said rocking on her heel uncomfortably. There was no way this could go bad. Dammit … this was going to be awful? “…I can handle that,” she said, trying to put up a brave confident face.

Niko blinked out of sight, returning with an apple to crunch on in the sidelines, as the first robot lumbered into sight.

“Oh … we are starting!” Gwen perked clearing her throat.

Niko made a talk-talk-talk puppet hand bringing his thumb to his forefingers as he leaned back and bit into the apple. “Best get working on that, Foster Thorson.” He called, spraying bits of apple as he spoke.

Erik looked one last time to Gwen, he didn’t doubt the girl, obviously, she had powers, but there was definitely some worry about her getting hurt for his sake that he couldn’t abide. But shit, Niko was making the rules here, and if the teacher sets the goal you just have to ask how high. As the robots began approaching, Erik quickly went to the ground and popped off his own boots and sliding on the unlaced tennis shoes. ‘Don’t fuck this up, don’t fuck this up, don’t fuck this up,’ he thought as he reached into the laces.

Technology wasn’t Niko’s forte. He had little time for anything electronic that didn’t play music. But thinking a step ahead was. He’d asked HELEN for assistance in making sure no spiders or Demigods were hurt or killed during this training.

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