Hey friends and fans! Kairomaru is bringing you another chapter of Collector Hero: Synthesis! The Practical Exams are coming to a close! We've had quite a few passes this time around! Amazing what small changes can build up to over time, huh? How will the last few students fare against their teachers? Will everyone get to go to the Summer Training Camp? Does anyone fail and get remedial summer school with Aizawa?
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Chapter 37 – Overwhelming: Volume and Range
-Forest Training Field ~ Jiro and Koda Exam-
"COME OOOONNNN! I'M GETTING BOOORRRREEEED!" The air shook from Present Mic's voice, a nearly visible wave of sound blasting through the forest. The sheer volume had long since scared off all the animals, and the range of the man's Quirk covered the entire training field. "Man, this is why I'm a city guy." Present Mic sighed, shooing away a bug that was flying around his head as he stood in front of the gate. No way was he walking through the forest to track the two students down. "Feels weird to be in costume without my gear." He touched his neck, the lack of his directional speaker gear being the only thing different about his costume.
But limits and handicaps were needed.
Deeper in the forest, both Koda and Jiro grimaced as the sound died down again; removing their hands from their ears.
"Damn… And that's without his gear?" Jiro grimaced at the volume that Present Mic could manage with just his Quirk alone.
Koda nodded in agreement; the perpetually shy teen rarely spoke at all…except to animals.
"Hey, can't you tell some animals to go attack him?" Jiro questioned curiously of her partner. "We're not getting anywhere like this."
Koda made a few motions with his hands, pantomiming his explanation as to why he couldn't do that right now. "His voice is so loud that all of the animals have already run away."
"Damn…" Jiro tsked but couldn't say that she was surprised. Her hearing was super-sensitive and Present Mic's voice alone was nearly rattling their bones, even from this distance and with a forest separating them to absorb a lot of the sound. "He's going to run out our time at this rate."
"HELLOOOOOOOO?!" The distortion of air from the soundwave was even stronger this time.
"Gah! FUCK!" Jiro clapped her hands over her ears again, along with Koda. "Gotta…drown him…out!" Her jacks quickly attached to her new speaker gear on the back of her hands. The two speakers detached and Jiro used her Quirk's ability to lengthen her lobes to set her speakers just above the canopy so that her sound wouldn't be weakened by the forest as much.
A loud guitar riff from one of Jiro's favorite bands was amplified by her Quirk and passed through her gear. The air distorted to the powerful vibrations and blasted across the training field, briefly overpowering Present Mic's voice.
At the gate, Present Mic let the sound (less than half of what it had been when Jiro had unleashed it) wash over him. "Hmm, could use a better amp. Maybe a subwoofer for more bass?" He critiqued Jiro's new gear after experiencing it firsthand. "The decibels are passable at least." He chuckled while giving the two students time to collect themselves before he blasted them again.
Jiro rubbed her ears for a moment as she sat behind a large mound of dirt with Koda. "Shit…" She grumbled, hearing a ringing in her ears still. "He's going to deafen us for real if this keeps up." Having studied her own Quirk and the science of sound, at both Izuku and Momo's recommendation, Jiro knew just how dangerous sonic weapons could be. Present Mic was practically a walking death amp! "Koda, do you have a plan?" She looked at the Anivoice user hopefully.
Koda shook his head and clenched his fists. He was feeling useless right now. "Without any animals around, my Quirk isn't going to be able to help." He pantomimed to Jiro apologetically.
"LET'S MAKE SOME NOOOOIIIISSSEEE!" Present Mic's voice tore through the forest again, making Koda and Jiro cover their ears in pain.
Koda felt nauseous, like his insides were vibrating from the volume of Present Mic's Quirk. He leaned against the mound of dirt to try and let the nausea pass, but saw something on the dirt mound that made his eyes widen. "AIIIEEE!" Koda screeched, louder than any of his classmates had ever heard him vocalize before. He scrambled away from the dirt mound in a panic.
"What's wrong?!" Jiro looked at Koda in confusion. Koda pointed at the dirt mound where he'd been sitting, making Jiro curious. "An ant?" She looked at the small black insect. "You don't like bugs, huh?" Jiro looked at Koda, getting a rapid nod of confirmation from the boy. Seeing other ants crawling around on the dirt mound, Jiro had a brainwave. "Hey… They're not running." She turned back to Koda. "Can you talk to bugs? We might be able to use that!"
Koda was now farther away from her and the dirt mound, hiding behind a tree.
"COME OOOOOUUUUUTTTTT!" Present Mic bellowed, shaking the entire forest in the process. Every time he used his Quirk, he was steadily increasing the volume, making the test harder for the two students as the time ticked down and the intensity of his attacks picked up.
"SHUT UP!" Jiro roared out, raising her speakers above the canopy again, switching the audio on one of her watches, she passed the sound through her system and blasted it out through her gear.
The vocalization of a blue whale, one of the loudest sounds on the planet, was blasted out from the support gear. The massively amplified sound overwhelmed the teacher's voice and cleared the air. The two jacks slumped afterwards as Jiro fell on her butt and cradled her ears.
"Fuck…" Jiro grimaced, knowing from the muffled everything that she'd taken real damage to her hearing. She felt warm blood on her fingers and was certain that her eardrums were at least torn now. "Koda…" Jiro looked over at the boy covering his ears and looking lost. When he looked back at her, she gave him a reassuring smile. "I know you're scared; everyone has things they're not good with, but you want to be a Hero, right?"
Koda nodded, remembering how proud his mother had been when he'd gotten his acceptance to U.A. and how proud he'd been of himself for getting into the Hero Course. He knew he wasn't the most reliable person. He was shy, had some social anxiety, and often preferred the company of animals to people. But he really did want to help others and be a Hero! He noticed that Jiro's ears were bleeding and nearly cried at seeing how much worse this test was for her. 'She had to fight because I ran away…' He'd been a terrible partner so far, but he was going to make up for it now!
"Then I need you to help me." Jiro locked eyes with Koda. "Can you talk to bugs?"
Koda clenched his fist tightly and gave her a firm nod.
"Great! Let's use that then!" Jiro smiled at her partner. "I've got an idea."
"Woo~ Those were some crazy decibels she hit." Present Mic lightly cleaned out one of his ears with his pinky finger after being blasted from across the training field with whale song. "I knew she had all sorts of audio stored in those watches, but damn…" Even his ears could be overloaded if the sound was loud enough.
"Eh?" Mic grimaced and shooed away the flying insect. "Seriously, can we finish this set already?" He really wasn't a fan of the wild outdoors. "Some people may have arbor ardor, but I'm not one of them!"
Multiple buzzing insects were now flying around Present Mic, making the Pro Hero wave his arms around.
"What the hell?! Go away! Shoo! Shoo!" Present Mic tried to scare off the bugs.
"Aaaahhh!" Present Mic ran from the gate, not too far, of course, but still ran as he tried to get the sudden swarm to leave him alone. "Go away! Go away!" He ran back and forth in front of the gate, annoyed and freaked out by the persistent pursuit of the flying bugs. "BACK OOOOOFFFFF!" He unleashed his Quirk on the swarm and watched them scatter from the way the air distorted from his sound. "Hah…hah… Damn bugs…" Mic was not, had never been, and would never be a fan of bugs.
"Heartbeat Distortion!" Jiro yelled as she burst through the tree line, being helped along by Koda as her damaged ears messed with her balance. She slammed her twin amplifiers onto the ground and unleashed a massive shockwave of sound into the dirt.
The dirt exploded upwards, the soil coming apart as the powerful soundwaves traveled through it, hitting resonant frequencies with multiple materials within the dirt. This Super Move was the result of her studies into sound and how it affected matter: whether it was solid, liquid, or gas.
'Got to remember to thank Midoriya and Yaomomo for the help later.' Jiro thought to herself as Koda took over for the next part of their strategy.
"Go on, tiny ones, hear my call! It's time to take out the man making all this terrible noise! Swarm, crawl, you can do it!" Koda belted out rapidly, surprising everyone that was watching the test.
-Recovery Girl's Onsite Medical Tent-
"HE CAN TALK?!" Momo, Camie, and Izuku all exclaimed in unison. They'd never heard Koda speak before! It was one of the reasons that Izuku hadn't been able to help his classmate, simply because he wasn't asked and Koda's Quirk was still mostly a mystery to him.
"Of course he can talk, why wouldn't he be able to?" Recovery Girl looked at the three of them like they were odd.
-Jiro and Koda-
From the shattered dirt, a wave of crawling bugs emerged. The softened soil making it all too easy for them to swarm and surround Present Mic.
"Hey, hey, hey! That's not cool!" Mic cried out as he flailed and tried to keep his feet off the ground, stepping around the swarming bugs as best as he could. This only delayed the inevitable as the swarm of flying insects returned a moment later.
"This is why I HATE the woods!" Present Mic cried out in panic as he waved his arms around to try and keep the flying bugs away, while crickets, centipedes, and beetles all started crawling up his legs. "AAAIIIEEE!" His eyes rolled up and he collapsed to the ground, the panic having gotten to him.
Koda helped Jiro as they both ran over to the downed Present Mic, Jiro pulling out the cuffs they'd been given even as she stumbled a bit from her loss of balance. With Koda there to help keep her steady, she could still move this much at least.
The cuffs were latched onto the insensate teacher's wrists.
The sign above switched over from 'Do your best!' to 'Congratulations!' as both students relaxed and let the tension fall off their shoulders. Jiro sank to the ground in relief while Koda spoke to the swarming bugs, telling them to return to where they'd been before he'd called on them.
"Team Koda and Jiro have passed the exam via capturing their instructor!" Blared throughout the area over the loudspeakers.
-Recovery Girl's Onsite Medical Tent-
"They did it!" Izuku smiled happily for the success of another pair from their class.
Recovery Girl looked annoyed. "He lost to some bugs?! Pitiful!" The old woman scoffed at how Present Mic had been taken out. "And he injured the poor girl's ears. I'll swat his shins for that!" She raised her syringe-themed cane into the air threateningly.
"Damn…that's one way to win, I guess?" Camie shivered slightly after seeing all of those bugs crawling on Present Mic.
Momo rubbed her arms in phantom discomfort. "Yes, a valid strategy, but still unsettling."
"Harsh move, Koda." Izuku wrote down what he'd seen in the notebook that Momo had made for him. He'd share his thoughts and ideas with Jiro and Koda later.
-Toru and Shoji vs Snipe-
Bang Bang Bang Bang
Four rounds were fired in a quick burst.
"Damn…" Shoji cursed as the concrete pillar he and Toru were using for cover began to shatter. "I can't get closer like this." His job was to stall Snipe and let Toru head for the gate with her new costume's ability to go fully invisible.
Unfortunately for the two students, Snipe had been prepared for that. The masked, cowboy-themed Hero had tossed smoke grenades all over the testing area. Toru may be invisible, but she was still tangible and her movements made the smoke move as she passed through it. She'd taken a shot already and was holding her left arm with her right, a purple bruise on her left bicep where the rubber round had slammed into her thanks to their teacher's Homing Quirk.
"What's his range, anyway?" Toru asked with a pained hiss as she gently held her injured arm.
"I think it's like six-hundred meters or something." Shoji grimaced, knowing that encompassed the majority of their test area.
Bang Bang Bang
The concrete pillar broke away further, and Shoji could barely shelter behind it now. Toru was behind him, the larger student putting himself between their teacher and his partner.
"You're running out of space and time, partners." Snipe drawled out, a gun in each hand. One loaded with rubber rounds, the other with half-rounds that he'd personally modified to be weaker than a normal round. However, even they could break concrete with enough concentrated fire.
"If the smoke wasn't in the way, I could try to blind him with a refraction." Toru looked up at the lights on the incredibly high ceiling. A thick haze of smoke hung in the air between her and the lights, meaning her refraction wouldn't work.
"His mask also has tinted lenses." Shoji reminded Toru with a sigh. "It seems like he was fully prepared for you, specifically, Hagakure."
"What?" Toru blinked, though Shoji couldn't see it. "Does he really see me as the bigger threat?"
Bang Bang Bang Bang
The concrete pillar broke more, almost leaving Shoji exposed.
"Wouldn't you?" Shoji looked at his invisible classmate. "For most people an invisible opponent is a nightmare. Humans are a sight-based species and when we can't see something we have a greatly reduced ability to react to it."
"Well, I guess I'm flattered; but that doesn't help us much here." Toru felt good at being taken seriously by Snipe, but that was severely hampering their ability to pass the exam.
"If he focused so heavily on your abilities, then I doubt he's as fully prepared for mine." Shoji smiled at Toru from behind his mask. "Stay here and run towards the gate when you see an opening."
"Got it." Toru nodded, still unseen, but Shoji understood just from her tone of voice.
"Gonna really have to thank Midoriya for the help with my Quirk and studying anatomy and biology." Shoji flexed his multiple arms and before Toru's eyes did something none of his class (outside of Izuku) had ever seen before.
Dulpi-Arms was a Mutant Quirk with incredibly strong Transformation subset abilities that allowed Shoji to grow and shape any body part from them in mere seconds. That included both internal and external features, like a diaphragm so that his extra mouths could speak, optic nerves so that formed eyes could see and transmit their vision to his brain, and even ear canals to capture sounds and let Shoji comprehend them.
With help from Izuku putting him on the right path, and occasionally working on some ideas together, Shoji had realized that for his entire life, he'd barely been scratching the surface of his Quirk's abilities. His eyes had been opened by a simple question too…one so simple that Shoji had never thought to ask it himself.
"Can you do separate parts of your biological structure?"
It was a question that on the surface seemed odd. But had almost limitless possibilities if one thought about it. Dupli-Arms could automatically form any biological structure that was present on Shoji's body, even complex structures like mouths with fully formed teeth, tongues, and diaphragms; multiple tissue types all in one and done with barely more than a thought on Shoji's part. So, breaking down those individual tissue types and focusing on them consciously allowed Shoji to transform his Dupli-Arms in new ways!
"Dupli-Bone Shield!" Shoji's three left arms (and the membrane between them) shivered before transforming. White growths formed at first, before lengthening and widening into overlapping plates. In a couple of seconds, Shoji now had a large shield of incredibly thick and dense bones on his left side.
"Holy shit…" Toru gasped in surprise at the new ability and move that Shoji had come up with.
"Dupli-Muscle Whip!" Shoji's three right arms all lengthened considerably as he focused on the parts and tissues that he wanted to replicate. Learning about the anatomy of flexibility had led him to discover just why and how joints moved and what made muscles flexible. He created new joints and replicated them over and over, but with more synovial membranes and articular cartilage than normal, allowing for much greater flexibility in the new limbs' range of motion. He now had three 'tentacles' on his right side, all much longer than his normal arms.
Bang Bang Bang
The concrete pillar cracked and then shattered under its own weight, collapsing to the floor in a rain of large chunks.
Toru went right, heading further away from where Snipe was.
Shoji went straight ahead, towards the cowboy-themed Hero.
"Don't be rash, kiddo." Snipe fired eight rubber rounds in rapid succession right where he could see Shoji's silhouette charging towards him through the smoke.
Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang
What he didn't expect was for his shots to hit, but do absolutely nothing to the charging student.
"Huh?!" Shoji emerged from the smoke and Snipe could finally see just what Shoji had done with his Quirk. "What in tarnation?!" He'd never heard about this student being able to make a shield out of his Quirk!
"Yah!" Shoji lashed his tentacles at Snipe, trying to ensnare the Pro Hero.
Bang Bang Bang
Snipe's trigger finger was faster though, and he nailed a rubber round into each of the lashing tentacles, briefly stalling them as Shoji felt the sharp pain through his transformed limbs. "Nice try, you surprised me, partner!" Snipe complimented Shoji as he leapt backwards to make some distance.
Bang Bang Bang
Another burst of three rounds were fired at Shoji, but he easily guarded against them with his bone shield.
"Dupli-Muscle Whip: Thrashing!" Shoji, from behind the safety of his shield, launched his three tentacles forward again, but this time he activated the fast-twitch nerves and muscles, sending the long limbs into wild spasms that changed the direction of all three.
"Well, damn…" Snipe backpedaled further to dodged the first, had to drop into a crouch to avoid the second that swung wide when he was certain that a split-second ago it was heading straight. The third knocked his cowboy hat off his head as it jerked upwards after hitting the ground; Snipe barely had time to jerk his head back to not take an uppercut from the tentacle.
Shoji looked down at his feet to see another smoke grenade. "Shit!" He jumped back just as it detonated, blasting a large cloud of thick smoke nearly into his face.
Snipe fired again, but not at Shoji. In fact, the man was facing the opposite direction entirely. What he'd shot at was made abundantly clear a second later.
"OW!" Toru's loud yelp filled the air from near the gate.
Snipe was a Pro Hero, even being surprised by Shoji's new display, he wasn't about to lose focus on the gate that he was supposed to be guarding. Having seen the thin smoke moving oddly, he'd locked onto the person moving through it and fired, letting his Quirk lock-on and ensure the hit.
What DID shatter his focus was what Toru said next.
"My butt!" Toru cried out in a mix of pain and anger. "Mr. Snipe! You pervert! You shot me right in my butt!"
"What?! No! I couldn't see you! My Quirk doesn't work like that! I swear!" Snipe denied that he'd intentionally shot the female student in the butt.
-Recovery Girl's Onsite Medical Tent-
Jiro, Camie, and Momo all deadpanned at the screen where Snipe was quickly trying to explain how his Quirk worked to an angry Toru from across the large space between them.
"Huh…so that's how Snipe's Homing Quirk works." Izuku wrote it down, both out of his normal Quirk fascination and from his embarrassment at the situation that was happening on the screen right now.
"That fool…" Recovery Girl sighed, having just finished healing Jiro's ears. "He knows his Quirk doesn't land on any specific spot on the target, just that it hits the target." There was a low chance of the rubber round hitting anywhere debilitating or 'inappropriate', but that chance was never zero. With Toru having been running for the gate (meaning that her back was to Snipe) the chance of her being hit in the bottom was greatly increased.
-Toru and Shoji's Exam-
"Gah?!" Snipe, having been in the middle of trying to explain to Toru that his Quirk only hit the target and not specifically any part of the target, was suddenly grabbed from behind by Shoji's three transformed tentacles.
"I've got him!" Shoji lifted the teacher off the ground, preventing him from running away. "Does this count as a capture?"
"Not quite, partner." Snipe's guns were still in his hands, and with his Quirk, he didn't really HAVE to aim.
Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang
The rubber rounds left the gun, flew straight for a short time, and then curved around to all fly at Shoji.
"Nnnrrrnnn." Shoji raised his bone shield to block the incoming rounds as best as he could. But multiple of them continued to drill into his legs and a few even went around his shield to slam into his sides. "Toru! Go!" He yelled out to his partner.
Toru had already been heading for the gate, but now she was hobbling forward with a limp from the bruise she could already feel forming on her butt. "I'm almost there!" She staggered forward as fast as the pain would allow, her leg locking up as the muscle in her buttock had nearly seized up from the impact.
"Will you let go?!" Snipe fired more rounds, letting his Quirk take over and have each one land somewhere on Shoji's body. He tried to turn his head, needing to see his target and lock his Quirk onto them before he fired so that he was guaranteed a hit. But with the way Shoji was holding him off the ground with his tentacles, he couldn't turn his head enough to see where the invisible Toru was moving through the smoke close to the gate.
Shoji wouldn't let go though. Even as his legs, sides, and even his three tentacles themselves took shot after shot from the hail of rubber rounds. He could feel the bruises forming and was extremely glad that he had his bone shield, otherwise his entire body would already be riddled with bruises from the hail of gunfire.
"Team Hagakure and Shoji have passed the exam via escaping the test site!" Was announced over the speakers, bringing an end to the exam.
Shoji set Snipe back on his feet and lightly hissed as he returned his Dupli-Arms to normal. "Ow, ow, ow…" The bruises stung like hell.
"You alright, partner?" Snipe checked on the student first and foremost.
"I'll be okay, sir." Shoji nodded as he straightened up to his full height. "I can feel the bruises forming."
"Yeah, rubber rounds will do that." Snipe walked with the boy as they made their way towards the gate. "I'm gonna need to write Miss Hagakure a formal apology." The Pro Hero sighed at the accident that had happened. "Hopefully she forgives me."
"I might." Toru huffed, having been in hearing range as the two men approached the gate. There was clearly a pout on her face, given the girl's tone. "Shoji, I hate to ask, but could you carry me to Recovery Girl? My leg is almost locked up from that hit."
Snipe could feel the glare directed at him. "Sorry… You'll have my written apology tomorrow." He bowed to the seemingly empty costume of the invisible girl.
"Piggyback or princess carry?" Shoji asked Hagakure how she wanted to be carried.
"Princess carry," Toru chose as Shoji carefully picked her up. "Not sure my bottom would be okay with piggyback right now."
The three headed for Recovery Girl's tent to get Toru and Shoji some treatment for their injuries.
The beeping of medical devices was heard as the person hooked up to them laid back and searched for those adequate enough to gently guide Shigaraki's way.
"No… No… Potentially…" All for One looked through the database of Villains that were currently on the run, listed as 'Whereabouts Unknown', or were currently skulking about in the underground, looking for 'jobs' to make ends meet for themselves. With his Electric Imaging Quirk, he could 'see' the monitor in front of him, even without eyes. "He'll need people that he can hope to control and work with, so there are some that can't be guided in Tomura's general direction." While he was all for letting Tomura develop on his own and lead the League of Villains as he saw fit, there were limits to how much he could be so hands-off with his successor.
"Serial Killers, huh?" All for One looked at two profiles in particular. "Death Row for one, the other still on the run." He moved those two to the list of Villains that he'd ensure headed towards the League.
Having gotten a report from Kurogiri about Tomura's less than proper meeting with the first two potential recruits for the League of Villains; All for One had decided to be slightly more direct (if still subtle) in making sure that his protégé got some true firepower on his side. If left purely up to the young man, only a handful of people would join up, and the quality of their Quirks would be questionable at best.
"Having lost four Nomu now, I'll refrain from giving him any more until after he matures a bit." All for One knew that Garaki was angry, even if the old doctor didn't directly express it. The man saw the Nomu as his masterpieces, and the loss of them, especially the two Near-High Ends, had upset the doctor. "This will be a good test for you, Shigaraki Tomura." The old Villain grinned at the upper-lefthand corner of the screen where the pictures of Tomura and Izuku were. "Nature or Nurture? Science or Natural Development? Which path is the correct one for Quirks and the future?"
All for One was very much looking forward to seeing the results.
Alright! Jiro and Koda passed slightly differently from Canon thanks to some earlier development by Jiro!
Toru and Shoji passed thanks to Shoji's own interactions with Izuku and the Class Rep's questions and theories about his Quirk!
I hope you all enjoyed how I've developed Shoji! His Quirk, if you just watch what it does, is fucking crazy! Freely molding his cells into so many different tissues and functions with barely a thought! Which got me thinking: "What if he DID put in some thought and knowledge?" That led to Shoji learning both biology and anatomy with some help from Izuku and the study group! When you learn about the body and the various different parts and functions, you realize how crazy the ability to freely shift and mold your cells into different forms can truly be; even when they're still just human cellular structures alone! Unlike Tamaki, who can incorporate the entire Animal Kingdom into his Quirk; Shoji will make the absolute most of the individual parts of human anatomy, combining them into the best tools for being a Hero!
Only two teams left to pass or fail now!
Both teams include one of Izuku's girlfriends too!
How will Tsuyu and Ochako fair?
Keep reading to find out!
Until I get your reviews, later!