justinq719: 1. The Hadoken? Really?
2. What did Carolina do to Virgil?!

Re: 1. It was a "fireball", not a "beam", so the [Hadoken] was more-appropriate. Also, it was one of those things that just "slipped out"; like when you say something incredibly stupid and wish you could take it back as soon as you hear it. In Virgil's case, the roaring of the fireball smothered the noise.
2. Back before Halloween, Carolina beat the shit out of him because he got the Nanosuit instead of her. It's a big story though, so I can understand that slipping to the wayside.

superpierce: Oh good lord what the heck did they do to him. Also who is team 7 and are they from DC.

Re: Literally spelled that out in no uncertain terms. As for the latter, that's the name of the A.R.G.U.S. Strike Force led by Steven Trevor in DC's "Prime Earth", only in Earth-16H, this Team 7 is led by Steven Trevor III instead of Steven Trevor I~

Kalbario: ? What's going on with our boy?
More secret mind altering drugs!?
In the words of the great Sheldon Cooper
'I don't need sleep, I need answers!
On another note, you are really good at writing chapter!
Intrigue, discovery, secrecy and more! Its like reading SplinterCell or other works by Tom Clancy.
Just a question though. Since you have already mentioned supers in the past and other countries, does that mean OPM and BNHA have the possibility of being canon?
I can't wait for the next chapter! Just hoping for one before the year ends but you do you. Art must not be rushed.

Re: ~ I literally spelled that out in no uncertain terms~
Oh, love that line. I'll have to borrow from BBT some more~
As for me being good at this, the Tom Clancy comparison is really flattering; thank you~ As for why I have so many secrets in the story, as was said by Kelsier in the Mistborn series…
"There's always another secret."
As for OPM and MHA, unfortunately not. OPM takes place on a version of Earth with a Pangea-like supercontinent, and MHA would likely take place in "22XX" or so given how-long a "generation" in Hero terms lasts, multiplied by 8.
And you're right, art "can't be rushed". It's why I have my stories on Fixed Rotation so they all get a little love. Another Hero Academia: Out of Time is the only exception to that rule as it's my own little side-project more-for-me than for-the-readers.

Blaze1992: Wait WHAT?
Is this turning into a Waller event where foxhound put a bomb in him?
Also since the US is making a mage corp makes me wonder if we will see some characters or gear from saga of Tanya the evil.

Re: Where the heck'd you get "bomb" from "Transcription Factor"?
Also, I feel like Tanya the Evil and her crew would be Russian if anything… Possibly German.

*FETCH QUEST*

"Owww… Sonuva…"

Blinking his eyes blearily only to find more darkness surrounding him, Virgil took stock of his surroundings.

He was in a dark place, yet he could still see. What could he 'still see'? He was dangling from some unseen ceiling by metal cables encircling his limbs and body like a marionette. His eyes adjusting to the non-light, it took him a moment to realize his body was horribly bruised underneath, rings of horrid black and purple encircling him like shackles.

Oh, and he was stark naked.

"Oh what fresh hell is this…?"

The non-light giving way to a non-mist that slowly cleared, all around him Virgil found himself surrounded by countless young men and women in exacting similar straits. Some of them looked like him, as though they were his brothers and sisters. Others, looked more like their fathers than a single shared mother. Unlike him however, they all had dead, lifeless looks in their eyes, uncaring of how they dangled about, as equally bruised as he.

"Well… That's totally not-creepy at all."

Putting up a token resistance to free himself, the cables groaning, but not giving, he noticed near-invisible wires protruding from his chest and connecting him to the chests of the three nearest doppelgangers; two boys, and one girl. The scent of burning meat hitting his nostrils, he turned his eyes away from them into the middle distance to see that the dangling bodies were on fire!

"Ohhhhhh FUCK!"

Swearing up a storm, a deluge of obscenities leaving his lips, Virgil frantically struggled against the bonds that held him as the bodies furthest from him began to burn, the fire spreading at concentric rings toward a middle he swiftly realized he hung from. Blood and ooze and puss spattering the lines that bound him as he struggled to free himself with increasing vigour, soon he was surrounded by burning marionettes, his female doppelganger off to the side the last to be burned. The flames consuming her spreading toward him through the near-invisible wires connecting them, all of a sudden there was a loud *SNAP!* of cables breaking, his stomach leaping into his throat as he suddenly fell downward.

"AHHHHHHH!" Virgil cried as the darkness rose up to consume him.

*Thump*

" . . . Ow," Virgil groaned into the floor that'd shot up to meet him, his sheets in a tangle around him after falling out of his bed. " . . . Damn aspirin…"

*FETCH QUEST*

A.R.G.U.S. Headquarters
December 2

Good news; most of the lingering headache from yesterday had vanished.

Bad news; more lecturing on applied science and magical theory.

Not that I didn't like adding to my War Chest, the white walls and linoleum tiles stopped it from feeling too much like Hogwarts, but at the end of the day, school is still "school". However, since I didn't want the Capes' runoff to bury me alive the next time they let some random asshole get away instead of beating him senseless like Batman used to do, I just sucked it up and put my nose to the grindstone.

Day 3, Sebastian and I went over the basics of Earth Magic. While I suspected Argus was going to have me learn the Cardinal Elements while under quasi-scientific observation, I saved the breath it would've taken to ask because even if they refused to answer, their plans would make themselves known anyway.

Mind you, I had no intention of becoming "all-powerful" or anything, but even David could defeat Goliath with a well-slung rock from a well-aimed sling. Since I didn't come from a "magical bloodline", I figured my "glass ceiling" wasn't all that far up from ground level, but it wasn't like I had to be as strong as the Justice League to get stuff done. Helping to stop an evil Speedster from the future was proof-enough that, even in the age of superpowers, a Goliath could still be bested by a David.

Earth Magic was exactly what it sounded like; the ability to manipulate the minerals that made up the world itself. Save for extenuating circumstances like being up in the clouds or on the high seas, and Earth Magic was quite literally "a stone's throw away"; sinkholes, avalanches, mudslides, and that was just the big stuff. Throw a little Fire Magic into the mix and you could make volcanoes erupt; a bit of Water Magic and you could sink an island like what happened to Atlantis. Earth Magic being concerned with solid matter consumed the least energy to maintain compared to the other Cardinal Elements, and branched out into more-specific forms of Earth Magic manipulating things like clay, crystal, dust, glass, metal, sand, minerals, and even plants; though the latter could still be done with a mix of Earth and Water Magic, it wasn't exclusive to the mix like most fictional media would have you believe.

I'll say this much. Though it isn't flashy like the other Cardinal Elements, the ability to literally mold the world around me like clay is pretty damn appealing~

Sebastian did go on a tangent about how Earth Magic connected one to Gaea, that 'Gaea', and how that in-turn connected Earth Magic-users to something called 'The Melt' and 'The Parliament of Stones', but I just passed that off as more metaphor than actual fact.

*FETCH QUEST*

A.R.G.U.S. Headquarters: The Spirit and Earth Room
December 2, 14:03 EST

" . . . Okay I'm just going to come out and ask; what the fuck is with this name?" Virgil asked as he was guided to an even lower level of Argus HQ, his eyes looking at a non-standard sign before a bulkhead.

"Some of the 'nerds' as the jarheads call them came up with the name after seeing it for the first time," Sebastian answered.

"Seeing-what the hell…?!" he gawped incredulously as the doors open and admitted them to a catwalk. Down below was a massive space resembling an outdoor park with grass, hills, trees, a pond, and so-on with the walls painted blue with white clouds and softer artificial lighting than in the rest of the base. Place was easily as big as a football field and smelled like freshly-cut grass.

"The 'Spirit and Earth Room' as it's now called, was made for magic users to practice in the use of Earth Magic away from prying eyes, albeit with limitations," Sebastian answered as 'Will' followed him down the catwalk which overlooked the 'park'. "Originally, it was budgeted to stop people from going stir-crazy for being underground for so long. Has its own dedicated fresh-air supply, and they even have cookouts on occasion~" he chuckled as he eyed a small group, out-of-uniform, having a legit picnic on a blanket with a basket and a portable grill. "While only intended as a live exercise range, it took on a life of its own."

"And the 'nerds' won't mind me tearing up their nice little park?" Virgil hummed, figuring out why they were there.

"Don't worry, Doctor Mist can always landscape," the man hummed with a wave of his hand.

"Hey, it's your money," Virgil shrugged. "So what do you want me to do? Roll around in the mud? Make mud pies?"

"Hmmm… Something like that~"

*FETCH QUEST*

" . . . Really?"

"As the young folk say, 'really, really'."

"Slapping 'as the young folk say' in front of something doesn't magically make it cool," Virgil said flatly as he stared at a line of mud baths inside the literal health spa at the far end of the underground enclosure; some of which were occupied. "How'd you even get green lit for all this? Aren't government stooges anally retentive about where their funding goes? Like into blackjack? Or hookers?"

"You'd be amazed what you can hide in 'line items' under the guise of 'employee welfare', blackjack and/or hookers notwithstanding," Sebastian shrugged as he grabbed a hot towel from the nearby hot box. "Ahhhhh~ That's the stuff~"

"So what, you want me to climb in there and see if I can move it with my mind?"

"In as many words. It's also to see if you have an affinity for Earth Magic. Earth is a rather stubborn element, so it's sometimes the most-difficult to raise your affinity with."

"And how do I go about testing that?"

"Do what comes naturally. There are magical reagents thrown in the mix as well, so the reaction will be more-pronounced than with an ordinary mud bath."

"And what, pray tell, is in this one…?" he asked looking at the dark brown slurry. "Smells kinda funky."

"Volcanic ash, hot spring water, Canadian peat, and a few other miscellaneous additives," Sebastian answered before turning him toward a sign on the wall. "The health benefits are as follows."

" . . . Do I at least get a swimsuit?"

"Most patients tend to go in au naturale."

"Of course they do…"

*FETCH QUEST*

" . . . Are the cucumber slices really necessary?" Virgil asked a while later as he reclined up to his neck in the heated mud bath.

"Most people have to pay extra for that, you know."

"And why does it feel like I'm being watched?"

"Um, well…" Sebastian hummed awkwardly, Willian's bath presently surrounded by scientists and recording instruments seeking out any paranormal activity, all of them staring in hushed silence with rapt attention. "You should probably keep the cucumber slices where they are."

"Oh god damnit…" he groaned dipping his chin into the bath.

"Hey there kiddo~ How's the mud bath~?"

"And what fresh hell is this?" he groaned, feeling Carolina standing behind him.

"How you feel about those recreational drugs now?" she questioned, and he could just feel her wagging that damn electric cigar his way.

"If I take a hit, will you quit bugging me about it?"

"I make no promises."

" . . . Fine, gimme the damn thing. Need something to distract me from all the damn voyeurs."

"We prefer the term 'enthusiasts'!" one of them corrected matter-of-factly.

Carolina leaning down and pressing the end of the Phantom Cigar to his lips, the 'Louisianna native' took a heavy drag of Wormwood and other additives. He felt a looseness overcoming him as he exhaled the smoke in a long plume, but not so-loose he slipped completely into the mud. Since his eyes were closed behind those damned cucumber slices, he wasn't made to "wig out" like the last time Carolina convinced him to try this.

And he'd never say this to her aloud, but it was kind of relaxing…

*FETCH QUEST*

William Descartes for all the world looked completely serene in his earthen bath, hardly like someone tripping out on 'herbal relaxants'. A little more of his chin had dipped into the mud, but there wasn't yet any immediate risk of him drowning, so Sebastian let him be.

Which was good because if he'd chosen to interrupt, he might've interfered with what came next

"W-What are those Ripples?!" a scientist gasped. "The way they're moving is totally unnatural!"

Sebastian blinking his eyes, his brows shot up when he beheld five sets of rippling patterns in the mud bath, their mineral content glittering like stardust as they flared out from his body like flower petals. It vaguely resembled something from one of the comic books he confiscated off a budding magi-scholar whom he'd caught goofing off, but for the life of him he couldn't remember the name.

Also, he felt like the others were in on a joke that he wasn't privy to, because they were snickering good-naturedly at the previously-spoken comment…

*FETCH QUEST*

I feel like I'm falling. Falling. Falling.

But not through the sky. Instead I'm falling through the Earth.

Opening my eyes, I find myself in a cavern so-vast, there's little difference between it and the open sky.

The ground pulsing at my feet, writhing like something alive, out in the vast distance is a massive explosion of stone and dirt, countless massive forms rising into view.

The first, a gigantic humanoid hewn from volcanic rock, a spiderweb of cracks illuminated by roiling magma. Its youthful eyes were filled with a fiery yellow light, the entity moving with barely-suppressed energy, its eager footsteps sending tremors up my legs and into my chest.

The second, a giant animal like a whale hewn of blue-green stone, encrusted with mountain ranges of iridescent crystal and ancient coral. It looks like something that has traveled the world's oceans, covered in swirling patterns of glowing turquoise like ocean currents. It doesn't walk, instead swimming through the earth like something primal.

The third, a giant humanoid of rock and mineral, its lower legs covered in mud, its pointed head covered in thick snow and ice. The cold coating its body resembles hair and a beard, its movements slow but sure, dwarfing the other giants around it.

The fourth, a towering being composed of sand and small stones. An ancient being, upon its face was a mask of sandstone and lapis resembling those of ancient kings, its body flowing across the ground as if following a phantom wind.

The final giant, differing from the others, looks like carved earth, its body covered in tool marks. Clearly humanoid, more-so than the others, neither male nor female, instead a statue of humanity lacking a true face, its body was a mixture of glass and metal in many colors, like a living facsimile of the modern world.

Before them I feel completely insignificant like a grain of sand upon an endless beach, and yet at the same time, like I'm indelibly connected to them with a bond that can never be broken.

*FETCH QUEST*

" . . . Well this is boring," one scientist hummed once the novelty wore off.

"And you're ruining his meditation."

"He isn't meditating, he's napping, I know the difference."

"To be fair, if he's in a magically-induced trance, it would technically be both, and I would warn you against disturbing him…" Sebastian hummed. There was nothing wrong with leaving him in the mud bath for an extended period since, unlike all-water baths, osmosis doesn't occur due to the mixture of water and earth being more-balanced toward the body in the mud. "Also, I'd avoid getting too close to him if I were-"

*SNORT!*

Suddenly, the mineral content of the mud bath shot up in crystalline patterns like the spines of a pissed-off porcupine, perforating several data-collecting instruments and cutting more than a few cheeks. As quickly as the mineral spines manifested, they quickly lost cohesion and dissolved like sand, William letting out a jaw-cracking yawn as he sat up, rolling his neck and seemingly unaware of what had transpired.

"Well now…" Sebastian said as one of the researchers who'd gotten his nose hairs trimmed fainted. "I think it's pretty safe to say that Earth, is your primary element…"

"Oh, really? What'd I miss?" William asked as he got up and began sloughing mud off himself.

*FETCH QUEST*

A.R.G.U.S. Headquarters: The Spirit and Earth Room
December 2, 17:01 EST

Once Vincent got cleaned off and removed the mud from all the places he "didn't know mud could get", he found himself back in the "park" which had been swiftly vacated, his feet bare on the warm earth and grass as he stood across from a few men in armor with riot shotguns, boxes of beanbag rounds at their feet.

"Remind me again why I agreed to this?"

"Because you want to give your time and magic for your country."

" . . . Okay remind me why I'm doing this specifically," he reiterated pointing to the men with the shotguns.

"Typically, Earth Mages are more robust than their peers and can take a hit, even while-casting, so this is an excellent, and relatively safe, opportunity to see what kind of Earth Mage you can become," Sebastian answered. "Don't worry, they're low-velocity rounds. They won't bruise that much."

"This is gonna be a pain in the ass, I just know it…"

"Only if you get hit~" Carolina taunted. "LET 'ER RIP, BOYS!"

"YOU BITCH!" Virgil cried as he proceeded to run for his life.

"So, is this a normal sort of live-fire exercise or what?" Carolina hummed aloud as 'Will' proceeded to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge out of the way of the low-velocity bags.

" . . . It's not something you think about, it's something you don't think about," Sebastian responded, seemingly staring off into space. "It's a moment of clarity when everything is pushed away, and all you feel is the Earth and yourself; a moment of silence, before the meld. There is no separating the two; you are the Earth, and the Earth is you. You mesh together like clockwork gears, and as you move, Earth moves with you."

" . . . That doesn't really answer my question, but okayyy…"

"YOU'RE LUCKY I'M FRENCH, OTHERWISE I'D GIVE YOU A MAAAJOR ASS-KICKINNNNNG!" William yelled furiously as he swung his ring-bearing hand around. "Htrae Llaw!"

*FETCH QUEST*

A.R.G.U.S. Headquarters: Cafeteria
December 2, 18:32 EST

"Hey, Sebastian."

"Yes?" the man replied as they ate.

"I want to ask you something, but I don't want to offend you."

"It'd take a great deal to offend me. Speak your mind."

"Your surname, Faust. You wouldn't happen to be related to Felix Faust, would you?"

"What did he do this time…?" Sebastian groaned tiredly.

"Nothing to me, and nothing I'd hold against you, but… I guess I'm just curious how that guy's kid became a government agent," 'Will' shrugged. Sebastian sounded like he gave voice to like inquiries in the past. "I can only assume after the apple fell from the tree it rolled downhill into greener pastures."

"Hah, first time I heard it coined that way~" Sebastian chuckled stroking his chin. "It's no huge secret, but I only answer to those who directly ask. Long story short, he's my father and I hate him with every fiber of my being."

"Short story long?"

" . . . My father sold his soul to a Demon for power, but that deal came with an expiration date, so when the power-up he got from selling his soul was almost all gone, he tried to sell my soul for more. Unfortunately for my father, Nebiros was a crafty one and pulled a fast one on him, giving the 'power' to me since Felix didn't specify who the power would go to, merely assuming that the conditions of the previous agreement would still apply."

"Wait, hold on…" Virgil said rolling over to face him. "If you and your father's souls are literally gone, how the hell are you still alive?" he asked incredulously, reaching over and giving him a poke like Egon Spengler.

"Sure, if you want to call it 'alive'," Sebastian shrugged, lightly slapping away the intruding finger. " . . . The soul is the 'soil' from which the spirit 'grows'. Think of it like… a plant that's had its potting soil taken away."

"I only understood, like… half of that…" Virgil hummed. "So it's one of those 'alive but not' situations?"

"In a nutshell."

"What's Nebiros want with your Soul anyway? Did he eat it?"

"No, no. From what I understand, Human souls are basically like currency down in Hell. They can be bought, sold, used in spells, turned into furniture-"

"Okay now I know you're shitting with me."

"I'm really not."

"And like that, my romanticized view of Hell is ruined," Virgil said with a roll of his eyes. "Well… tell you what," he said getting to his feet. "I've got an 'in' with the Justice League's resident magician, so if I can ever get him to owe me another favor, I'll ask him to help you get your soul back. How's that sound?"

"You don't know what you're offering."

"Oh fuck that noise, I'm not offering my aid," he immediately dismissed. "I'm offering someone else's since this sounds way out of my ballpark. And since two of Giovanni's buddies have big freakin' clubs that kick in magic's teeth…"

"If they could help… I'd be eternally grateful."

"Yes, well, just don't bank on that favor coming up any time soon. After that last shitstorm, I'll be amazed if he lets his daughter out of his sight before she's thirty."

"So what is the story between you and the Zatara heir?" Sebastian asked curiously.

"That… is a story for another day~"

*FETCH QUEST*

A.R.G.U.S. Headquarters: Library
December 2, 19:36 EST

This late in the evening, there were a few stragglers left in the library. 'Will' didn't pay them much mind, instead choosing to look into something he'd always been curious about, even before he himself could use magic. That Argus had both reference materials he was looking for happened to be a nice bonus.

"Hmmmmm…" the white-haired teen hummed as he looked between the two books, a piece of scratch paper with notes in shorthand between them. One was a modern-day print, the other a reproduction for research purposes since the original was too-valuable to be handled carelessly.

"Golems? Oh, that's an exciting venue of research," one of the researchers mused once his presence was noticed. "Although… Why do you have books on computer coding next to the copied tome?"

"Well the way I see it, golem 'Cores' and computer hard drives are really one in the same; both are just rocks we 'taught to think'," William mused aloud. "The only difference is computer hard drives can be manufactured by the thousands, while golem cores have to be carved by hand, but you have a lot more freedom with what 'hardware' you can slot them into since with rock or clay you don't have to worry about forward/reverse compatibility."

"I think you're taking this too literally…" a second researcher hummed.

"Or…!" a third spoke up with a raised finger. "Is he taking it 'literally enough'…?"

" . . . "

" . . . "

" . . . "

The next moment a half-dozen magical researchers scrambled over one another to leave the library so as to jockey for new research grants.

"Ha. Nerds," Willian grinned as he got back to work.

*FETCH QUEST*

A.R.G.U.S. Headquarters
December 3

I felt like I was getting some sort of crash course for Elemental Magic, but I didn't really mind. The headache from before was completely gone, other than a tail-end twinge of that annoying pain, and I was picking up on it a fair bit. Maybe me getting used to using magic was the reason, like how it gets easier to type on a keyboard the more you do it?

Anyway, the next day Sebastian and I went over Water Magic; chemical science, the water cycle, hydrodynamics, so on and so forth. Like had been said to death in fantasy stories, water was 'the element of life and change, able to take on any shape and form'.

It was one thing to hear that said in cartoons or video games, but to have someone say that in real life, with a completely straight face, was something I was still getting used to…

In some cases, the magic expelled by a Magi replicated the appearance and properties of water and was more like a construct that disappeared when the spell expired. The more-scientific form of it was condensing water moisture from the surrounding air into liquid form, but that in itself had greater limitations on use. The hardcore form of Water Magic summoned it through micro-portals, exchanging a volume of air with a volume of water, or converted matter from another dimension, like ectoplasm, into water in this universe.

Water Magic definitely had possibilities, though as a novice the most I could expect was being able to use it on a humid day, or when there was a load of it nearby. Compared to my apparent Earth affinity, my Water affinity was rather weak.

*FETCH QUEST*

A.R.G.U.S. Headquarters
December 4

Wind Magic was probably the Cardinal Element I was the least interested in. Sure, fantasy games make it into something really cool-looking with its cutting blades and its cyclones, but to me it just sounds like "collateral damage" that everyone will bitch at you for later. Sure, Storm and Red Tornado make it look easy, but one wrong move and some hillbilly loses their trailer park.

I supposed I could whip up a spell to circulate the air around me like a fan… but then again I could just use a fan to do that… Flying was a distinct possibility, but like any sensible person, I preferred to keep my feet on the ground like the good lord intended.

Just because I'm good at flying with mech suits doesn't mean I enjoyed it…

Although… if I could pull a 'Guile' from Street Fighter, that might make all the effort worth it, if only to see the look on some poor sap's face when I whip out a [Sonic Boom] or a [Sonic Hurricane]~

What? I am still an excitable sixteen year-old boy after all. I fantasize about rocket cars. I fire off Kamehameha waves when I think no-one's looking. The fact that I can still find joy in "the little things" gives me hope I won't roll so far down the rabbit hole, that I have to go into rehab for six months because they found me in a destroyed village somewhere with a necklace of human ears hanging from my neck.

*FETCH QUEST*

"What's all the commotion?" 'Will' asked as everyone started pouring out the cafeteria en masse. "What, did someone bring the spaghetti to life?"

"No, that line of research has been sufficiently banned," Sebastian answered causing 'Will's' jaw to drop incredulously. "Her royal highness has arrived, and like usual, everyone wants to get a look at her."

"Who? The Queen of England?"

"No, Wonder Woman."

"I've seen her poster. She can't be that gorgeous," 'Will' said with an eye roll. 'Oh shit, did that break my cover?'

"Prepare to be pleasantly surprised~"

*FETCH QUEST*

"Okay… I'll be the first to admit… I am pleasantly surprised," 'Will' hummed aloud as everyone made a path for Themyscira's UN Representative, Justice League founder, and arguably the strongest woman on Earth.

Wonder Woman was a noticeably tall woman with fair skin, waist-length hair that flowed like water at midnight, gorgeous blue eyes like the seas, and was built like a classical Greek statue like one of the heroes of yore; ageless and gorgeous sporting a frame that was both slender and athletic, and far more-beautiful in person than any photographic media could hope to capture.

That of course was ruined by her choice of attire which as usual made her look like a very patriotic stripper. Although… the sword and the shield she carried was an interesting addition to her ensemble. He could only assume she never carried them in her promotional materials because it would "send the wrong message" to young fans.

Which was complete and total horseshit because Hawkman and Hawkwoman never had to "do without"! That and there was no fucking way underwear on the outside of your pants didn't also send "the wrong message".

Talk about your double-standards…

"She's something of a celebrity here," Sebastian whispered as Diana greeted familiar faces, shook hands, and so-on. "When she came back in the 2000s, she met Steve at his grandfather's grave after fighting those aliens, and since then she's been helping out at Argus from time to time."

"Carolina!" Wonder Woman's powerful voice, filled with presence, announced as she walked hurriedly toward the red-head. "It's such a surprise to see you again! How have you been?"

"I've been fine," Carolina replied as she and Diana clasped wrists. "So, still trying to save the free world?"

"It's a never-ending battle," she hummed somberly. "To what do I owe the pleasure of your presence?"

"I'm actually here as a chaperone."

'Crapcrapcrap!'

"This is William, an acquaintance of mine. He's here to help Argus with its 'Mage Corps' program or whatever they want to call it when they get enough funding," she said dragging Virgil to stand before her. "Of course, you might already know him by his hero name, Wildcard~"

"Ah! You are the one who saved Zatara's daughter," Diana nodded as she took hold of his hands and shook firmly, grip like a vise. "I've heard great things about you."

"It was purely coincidence I was there when Zatanna needed me…"

"Coincidence is but the gods pointing you to the place you're needed most."

"Yeah, sorry to burst your bubble and all, but I'm not exactly in the mood to convert to the Pantheon of Immortal Sex Predators," 'Will' returned frankly, the hallway going so-quiet you could hear a pin drop. "What? Not subtle enough for your tastes?" he asked seeing everyone gawp at him with wide eyes.

"To be fair, your assessment of my deities in of itself is still probably 'too subtle'," Diana conceded good-naturedly, awkwardly scratching her cheek.

"Ah, so you aren't cool with the majority your male Gods hunting down poor village girls while disguised as farm animals with raging foot-long erections. Good to know."

"I'm mature-enough to admit that compared to the dying Pagan faith, more conventional deities might be the preferred venue of worship," Diana hummed before clapping a hand on his shoulder. "I'll admit, I'm impressed. It's rather rare to see someone so-young so willing to speak frankly of religion. Normally everyone walks on eggshells around me, though I can't rightly imagine why…"

"Probably because you could crush my shoulder blade to fine powder if I pissed you off."

-is what Virgil was smart enough not to say out loud. Instead, he replied with-

"I'm not the sort to lie out of convenience when I think something needs to be said aloud. Nor am I one to hesitate killing an animal if I think it's Zeus in disguise hunting his 'pussy of the day'."

"This much honesty without the Lasso of Truth…? Carolina, I believe William will grow into quite the fine adult," Diana smiled turning Carolina's way. "Were he born a woman, he would be welcome on Themyscira!"

"Oh he'll grow into something alright…" Carolina returned, fighting to keep a straight face as she contemplated the size, and composition, of the male genitalia he possessed to be able to say such things to Wonder Woman of all people with a completely straight face.

Either he had more faith in her ability to protect him from harm than she first realized… or those Transcription Factors were having some unintended side-effects…

'I should probably call this in.'

"Ah, but you shouldn't worry yourself over it that much," Diana said turning her attention back to 'William'. "Zeus' strength has waned considerably since the fall of the Greek and Roman empires, so his ability to galivant in the mortal world for his 'pussy of the day' as you so-eloquently ascribed it, is diminished well within the ability for Hera to stop pre-emptively."

"I temper my sense of decency in expectation."

"Ha! Well-spoken!" she replied heartily, slapping him upon the back and inadvertently flinging him into a nearby wall. " . . . Oops."

" . . . Owwwwwww…!" Virgil groaned as he slid to the floor, those nearby wincing sympathetically.

*FETCH QUEST*

A.R.G.U.S. Headquarters: Danger Room
December 4, 14:27 EST

I have little to no care for the opinions of most people, let alone the superhero community, yet feeling Wonder Woman's eyes upon me, I can't help but give it my all as I weave the air around me with spoken words and incanted thought. I'd heard the stories of how her mother, Hippolyta, formed her from clay before the gods gave her life, and at the very least she's old-enough to have been alive during the second World War. The eyes I feel on me now feel like those of one who has seen a great many things in their life.

While Snake, whom I got the same feeling from, was only as-old as he looked because of a bad mesh of accelerated aging and nanomachines, the life that he had led, while comparatively short, was filled with action and adventure few would believe, let alone endure. I'm not sure how-comfortable I am having someone so young-looking evoke that same kind of feeling of awe and respect.

Hell, I don't even know the first thing about her beyond the hype, and yet I find myself wanting to impress her. Maybe it's the fact that I'm dipping my feet into the supernatural, and am thus becoming more-aware of the wider world around me? Maybe I'm beginning to overcome some of my "prejudices" because I've actually met some of the Capes & Undies club in-person?

I just hope her otherworldly beauty doesn't cause a "boner in gym class" moment…

Not that I ever had one of those moments! I've always been thankful I was watching from the outside, but it was the principle of the thing.

That, and if Carolina ever took it back to the Bunker, I'd never hear the end of it…

*FETCH QUEST*

"Cinos Moob!"

"Cinos Kaerb!"

"Cinos Ssorc!"

"Cinos Enacirruh!"

"Conis Tsepmet!"

"My, my, his command over Wind Magic is quite impressive," Diana hummed as she and Carolina watched him train from off too the side.

"Meh, call me old-fashioned, but I honestly think a good old-fashioned fireball would cause more damage," Carolina hummed idly.

"Sometimes, you've just gotta go for style points," one of the researchers said aloud.

"Maybe, but I feel like I've seen these moves somewhere before…" Diana mused as she tapped her chin.

"Well, Sebastian did say having a clear image of what you want your magic to do in your head would make forming it easier," Carolina shrugged. "You could always ask him."

"Really? Are you sure it wouldn't be unwanted?" Diana asked. "From what I've heard, he isn't the League's biggest fan."

"To be fair, there is a difference between being a critic of an institution, and outright hating it," Carolina shrugged. "Of course, it would probably help if you went 'business casual' instead of... well..."

Telling someone who can bend steel I-beams with their bare hands they dress "like a patriotic stripper", isn't the wisest thing for any gender...

"Instead of what?" Diana asked with a tilt of her head.

Carolina for her part, couldn't tell if this naiveté was a front, or if she was legitimately unaware of how some people saw her.

*FETCH QUEST*

AN:
First Update of the New Year, which is good because catching Covid on the tail end of 2021, I
needed a bit of a pick-me-up.

On another note, my Beta, Spaceman, has come out with a Young Justice FanFic of his own; Young Justice: Doom and Rebirth. He and I have been working together on my own works for a long time, and I've been helping him with his to return the favor. His work is still a little rough around the edges, though his ideas are phenomenal, so if you could give him a little constructive criticism, it helps any writer improve as long as we're willing to listen.

Anyway, I hope to continue writing for you all and hearing your input throughout the new year. See you next time!