Back in the Saddle again

“And…done,” Theodosia proclaimed triumphantly to the empty room. She’d finished her prescribed sets on the exercise equipment - not according to the countdown on the machine’s interface - but Theo was finished. She climbed off and wiped sweat from her face, sparing a suspicious glance to the corner of the empty room where she knew an inconspicuous surveillance camera to be mounted. “I’m done, Helen. All exercises completed as instructed. No need to check the machine for verification. Oops, I accidentally unplugged it.” And only afterwards did Theo reach down to unplug it.

Not that such antics were necessary; Helen had far more important things to do than spy on Theo during workouts. But it was understandable that Theo would be paranoid about such things given her complete lack of understanding of complicated computer systems and integrated Artificial Intelligences. And of course she had no inclination or capacity to learn them either. So Helen was viewed as a tolerated adversary. Unfortunately the rest of the team didn’t seem to exercise a similar amount of caution and distrust around the Compound’s ghost. And Theo generally trusted ghosts; had always been their champion during visits to the carnivals’ haunted houses and on appropriately thematic television watching. But she’d been practically raised by a ghost - she and her cousin - so that only made sense. No, Theo’s issue with Helen was that she hid in the evil computers and only seemed to pop up to tattle on Theo’s poorly thought-out activities. If only she would show herself, Theo thought. That would go a long way towards repairing this trust.

((Winters & HighRule, that’s your cue to have your characters unlock, unveil, build, etc some sort of holographic/visual component to the Compounds AI. You can do that over time, making it a project or you can say it’s been in the works for 4 months and just sort of slap it down and be done with it. I have some quick ideas I’ll send to you.))

With a towel slung around her neck, Theo collected her fancy electronic tablet from the bench and set off to find the others. Her mind now clear from her workout - her finished workout - she was ready to present her proposal to the others. Four months ago, immediately following the Banner mission, she’d bounced around the Compound like some sort of caged animal. Then she’d spent a week or so moping, mostly out of boredom. Then there came that rough patch where her medication was getting dialed in again - a fine tuning process that never seemed to stay in tune for long. And then she’d begun taking her training seriously, more or less. She and Niko had trained together since she was thirteen, but back then their idea of training involved a lot of her being tossed around, him speeding about to knock over upended trash cans, and both of them making awesome one-liners and striking heroic poses. At least that’s how it had started. When Theo’s powers became more stable she was able to start mixing those in as well, but there’s no safe way to practice magic. The concept of pulling punches isn’t quite so applicable to spells. You either do it or you don’t. She’d learned a lot since then and not all of her magic was destructive, ensemble teamwork did not come easy to her or without collateral damage. Of course, the same could be said for all of them.

With many more steps under her belt, Theo arrived at the main training gymnasium. From out in the hallway all was quiet, but the monitor on the wall showed plenty of activity underway within. And someone had taken it upon themselves to remove the sharpie scribbles someone else had written upon the monitor.

“Alright team,” Theo called out as she entered the training area and pressed a button on the panel inside the doorway. “Make a truce with your roboto sparring partners and huddle up. I think I have our next assignment and even SHIELD couldn’t object to our participation in this one.”

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