NOTE: this started off as a tiny scene with one character commenting to another about new students and it exploded from there.  Turns out, there is a much bigger story here but I'm not sure that I want to take it on. I have enough open projects right now and …. other things to deal with. Maybe later though :)

Also, this isn't 'complete'. More like part of a thought. But I had to stop somewhere.

Michael walked into the break room, shoving his hand into his pocket in a effort to dig out the change buried there.  Withdrawing his hand he began pushing the silver coins around in his palm, counting to himself as he made his way toward the vending machines.

He slipped the coins into the slot on the machine, pushed the button for the soda he wanted. As it clanked to the bottom of the machine he turned to scan the room and say the hulking frame of Doctor Torrid sitting in one of the plastic chairs around the only table in the room. Torrid has his arms folded on the table and his head buried into his arms.

Michael bent down just slightly to see if the chair was okay, surprised that is hadn't given out under the weight of the man sitting in it. 

Torrid groaned and Michael quickly stood up again, "Angus, you okay in there?"

Doctor Angus Whitentington McTorrid raised his head and looked at Michael. After a second or exchanged stares, he straightened to his full height, which, even sitting down, still towered over most people.

"Oh, yea. I'm fine."

'That didn't look fine, "Michael said reaching into the vending slot to retrieve the can of soda. Just before opening the can he encased it in a tiny force field that only he could penetrate. Reaching in he flipped the tab on the can and watched as the shaken soda within escaped into extreme velocity and splattered on the force field he had erected.

Torrid ran his hand down his long face, "It's the new initiates."

"Worse than usual then? Causing all kinds of havoc trying to control their powers."

"Oh no, that's just it, they have almost perfect control of their gifts. But their thinking…. it's so small. And limited."

Michael cocked his head. Hearing Torrid talk about something being small was a shock. He was such an advocate for not defining things especially size. And given that he was as large as he was, it was doubly surprising.

Pulling out the seat across the table from the Doctor Michael sat the can on the table and eased himself into the plastic, unforgiving chair. Knowing that it would cause his back to act up later tonight.


"Take the blond girl, Rachel. Her power is mass-displacement but she doesn't even realize what kind of advantage that gives her, she only thinks about being able to pack lots of things for a trip."

"What's her compression rate," Michael asked taking a sip of the soda.

"I'd estimate about fifty to one."

Michael choked a little on his soda and put his hand to his mouth to prevent it from spraying across the room.

"Exactly! That's an amazing compression rate, " Torrid exclaimed as his waved his arms around, "I only know of ten others in all of recorded Supers history that had even had that power and only one came close to that kind of compression. But she is so small minded!"

"How so, "asked Michael, wiping away the soda that had dribbled down his chin.

"She did a few demonstrations of her ability for us, it was amazing. I watched that 98lb girl compress a Sherman tank to the size of a toy and put it in a shoe box. A tank! I know body size and gender don't mean anything, but damn it was impressive to watch her compress down something that was twenty times larger than herself into something she could pick up. Imagine what that could mean for some countries military! She could compress the entire army into a suitcase and carry the damn thing through customs!"

"So the problem again is?"

"When I discussed that possibility, of putting an entire army in a suitcase do you know what she said?"

Michael shook his head.

"'But won't they crumple my sun dress?'  Seriously? Honestly Mike, she doesn't need training, none of them do. They have more control over their powers and most Supers that have been training for years but the thought processes they have…. argh!"

"Did you actually just say 'argh'?"

Torrid laughed, "Yea, I guess I did. But it was warranted." Torrid pulled out the chair next to him, reached down and brought up a stack of about 20 light brown folders which Michael assumed were the files of each of Torrids initiates. Flipping through the stack Torrid slipped one free and slid it across to Michael.

"Walter Mitte. Has the ability to create 'projections' in other peoples minds. Makes them see what he wants them to see.  Uses his skill to project video games into people."

Torrid slid another file.

"Peter Jenkins. Telekinesis. Thinks his greatest achievement is being able to make himself a sandwich without having to get off the couch."

Torrid slid over another file.

"Jennifer Kugami. Anything she can imagine she can create. Permanently, no half-life. Spends her day making wooden toys. Refuses to even attempt to make a weapon. Even a knife."

Torrid slid over yet another file.

"Okay, I get the picture. What are you going to do?"

"I don't know, " replied Torrid, "that's why I'm sitting here. Trying to think.  It would be easy if they were unskilled, but they aren't. At least not in the use of their abilities. I have no idea how to get them to think bigger.  Thing is, I can't fail them. They have the skills just not the … I don't even know what to call it."

Michael leaned back in the chair, feeling a tiny twinge in his back as he did so. He felt sorry for the Doctor, but at the same time was glad he didn't have to deal with the situation.