G.I.R.L always promises a safe testing environment

April 07, 2019:

After the big party at Titans Tower Nadia Van Dyne offers to run some tests on Katsumi Oshiro back at G.I.R.L HQ with some unexpected results.

Sound Stage A - Somewhere Out There

A sleek, white box of a room, with shiny floor and polished ceiling, ultra-smooth walls, and bright omnidirectional lighting that evokes the feel of a futuristic clean-room… or an Apple Store. Holographic controls sit in one corner, waiting to be activated.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Fairchild, Spider-Man

Plot:

Mood Music: Portal - Still Alive


Fade In…

With the meet and greet at Titans Tower over Nadia Van Dyne has returned to the Genius in Action Research Lab or GIRL for short. The limo drops her off outside a rather upscale looking office building with the Pym Industries logo on the side. Inside the building, most of which seems to contain divisions of Pym Industries, she makes her way up to the main elevator and swipes a card.

Up in the lab itself it's quite a sight. Equal parts teenagers hangout spot, high end research lab and dorm room. Most of the equipment here is experimental and even the walls are covered in half finished mathematical proofs on big whiteboards. At least where they aren't covered in posters or sparkly stickers.

As she skips into her home away from home Nadia throws the helmet from her costume onto a desk and half dives into a couch. "If you can recall any of the details about how you manifested your powers that would be a big help. Were you anywhere unusual? Been in contact with ancient or experimental items? Any alien abductions? Pains or weird dreams."

*

A limo! Katsumi Oshiro, the Punk Princess, may have fame and a degree of status where she's from, but she'd never ridden a limo! Even with her wealthy adoptive parents! Whether it's a company lease or a privately-owned vehicle makes no difference to her, limousines are a social statement! From the moment she saw the vehicle to the moment they've pulled up at their destination, Katsumi has been all wide-eyed and smiles, excitedly staring out the window and taking in the ritzy internal decor.

And yet, even that didn't prepare her for the base she'd walked into. In fact, she wasn't sure if this is a base, a headquarters, a hideout… it doesn't fit any stereotypes she had in her mind, and was definitely different from the Tower. "Holy s&@*…," she murmurs to herself as she takes it in. Is it a hangout? A nerd convention? What even!

As she follows Nadia, Katsumi spins on heel to walk backwards a few paces, staring at a math'd out board, then rotates again to look at some lab equipment, and then squint at a unicorn sticker attached thereupon. This place is too much.

At last, they seem to've come to a halt. Katsumi refocuses on Nadia - and blinks. "Whoa, wait. You're young," she immediately observes. She wasn't sure what she was expecting, but the girl before her looks like a.. well, teen. "How the-.." She again looks off to the side to take in the scope of high-end equipment before returning a confused look back to Nadia. "Sorry, hang on, how is this possible?"

*

"We're a non-profit subsidiary of Pym Industries," Nadia explains, gesturing up at the sign. "That aims to encourage more young women into science. Every member is either a proven inventor or scientist or has a high enough IQ to qualify for groups like Mensa." She shrugs. "I might be young but.. is that really important? I could teach.. perhaps five fields at an advanced college level." She sprawls out on the couch and motions for Katsumi to take a seat. "It also helps that my.. I guess my mentor is the right term.. anyway she is very wealthy."

*

Katsumi Oshiro turns to sit almost robotically when bid, but she doesn't sprawl back. She's hunched forward, elbows on knees, and staring a hole through the girl beside her. "Godda-.." She halts herself abruptly and dips her head, as if quickly rebooting her brain. Her head lifts again to look at Nadia with something approaching an apologetic uplidding of her eyes. "-dang. You've got everything figured out, and you're.. how old even ARE you?"

*

"Eighteen but I had a very…. unusual upbringing," Nadia explains with a sad smile. "Besides I haven't figured /everything/ out. I am still working on a solution to the P versus NP problem." She opens her mouth as if to explain, then laughs. "But that isn't why you came here is it? You had short lived super powers and they faded." Her fingers tap away at a keypad on her costumes wrist armour and a couple of microdrones lift up off a desk, fly over and then start scanning Katsumi. "No unusual levels of radiation that I can pick up. But I'm sure if that'd been the case the Titans building systems would have detected it."

She starts kicking off the more uncomfortably armored parts of her costume. "Maybe I should set up one of the rooms to talk you through the self testing procedure? An automated system will talk you through each procedure, what it's for and how it'll be taken, you then confirm you consent and it'll talk you through what you need to do." She nods towards what seems like the door to a perfectly normal bathroom. "If you need to skip anything for whatever reason that's okay. But it's mostly just the same sort of tests you'd have when visiting a hospital. I would understand if you have reservations about telling personal information to a relative stranger, let alone providing some of the samples it'll ask you for."

*

Katsumi Oshiro is still trying to wrap her head around the fact that Nadia is an eighteen-year-old with all of this going for her. So as she talks, her gaze begins traveling the span of the lab once again; only this time, with a renewed level of interest and different frame of mind.

"Not faded. Vanished. I think." Katsumi looks back to Nadia, then blinks. "Wait, is this a probe thing? Is it gonna probe me? I don't know how the doctors in America do things, and- and what kind of samples are we talking about?" There's some growing nervousness in her voice. "You asked me questions earlier and I was totally spaced out! What were you wanting to know?" Maybe a little diversion will help.

*

"Probe you?" Nadia wonders, her head tilting. "Why would you need that? I grew up in a.. it's hard to explain really but… an isolated part of Siberia. So if this is a pop culture joke I might be missing it?" She finally gets the boots off her armour and slips into some fuzzy bunny slippers. "Perhaps it would be best if you tried to explain what sort of powers you did have?"

"And then covered any unusual events that might have give you abilities. Strange dreams, contact with unusual items or substances, drugs or steroids, contact with aliens or mutagenic compounds. I even read a very interesting research paper in which a pregnancy induced short lived super powers." She gets up and wanders over to the little bathroom and swipes a panel with a keycard that makes a red light go on above the door. "The most invasive test would be the needle for the blood sample. But if while you're in there you want to change into a hospital style gown I can borrow an MRI machine for a bit. Maybe some X-rays too." She pauses, then adds "Unless you have any metal implanted in your body?"

*

And she's from Siberia. Super genius teenager from Siberia. Of course she is. Why is that an 'of course'? Because it just is. Katsumi couldn't tell you why it makes sense, it just does. Pop culture osmosis, maybe. But she has nothing to say to that, other than to look a mixture between sympathetic and confused. And then that seems to fade a bit when she sees the bunny slippers. Somehow that makes it better - an easier pill to swallow.

"Okay, to start?," Katsumi begins as she lifts to her feet to follow. "I had a lot've extra strength. I don't know how much more, but it seemed like a lot. Way more than someone like me should have. And nothing was really phasing me. It happened in the middle of a match, and haters gonna hate, but you get beat up in the ring no matter what. That night? Not even a little. Felt perfectly fine. Felt like I could've gone for hours. Maybe all night. But I dropkicked the other girl crazy hard, it broke the ring, she got injured, and they called the match."

Katsumi isn't sure Nadia even knows what her profession is. Did anyone tell her? If not, this description might come across bizarre.

Either way, the girl moves up to the side of the door to prop her shoulder. Her gaze lowers, brow knitting in thought as she retraces her week. "I didn't fondle anything radioactive, I don't think. Dreams? Uh.. not-.. maybe? I had a weird dream when I fainted before coming to America, but that was probably like some heatstroke or something. I don't remember anything about it. I'm pretty sure I've not made out with any aliens lately…"

She meant the last part as a joke. But it somehow feeds into the startled look she takes when she examines her midsection through the fishnet top. "Ah! I am NOT pregnant! Do I look pregnant to you!? Geeze, girl!"

She shuffles into the opened room, expecting that's what she's meant to do. "Let's do the full thing. Whatever that means. I wanna know what's up with me. And if I'm a mutant."

*

"Probably heatstroke? Hmm. Well that could be nothing, but it would be bad science to rule anything out at this point." Nadia muses, her foot tapping and making a little squeeky noise. "As to if you look pregnant… I don't /think/ so. But as I said it's bad practice to simply assume. If you had been intimately involved with a disguised alien the lifecycle of a hybrid offspring would be almost impossible to predict without studying the other genetic donor."

"Just do not be alarmed if you need to 'go' and the toilet asks for your permission to run tests before it flushes," Nadia says, perfectly earnestly and as if it was a perfectly normal thing to need to say to someone and not incredibly weird. "And I'll go set up the rest of the equipment. There should be a locker in there you can leave your things in and a selection of MRI suitable gowns."

By the time Katsumi is done with her tests a full hospital size MRI machine will have mysteriously replaced one of the couches along with a walk through X-ray machine that looks a lot like the futuristic version of an airport scanner. There's also the smell of freshly made coffee and popcorn coming over from a little kitchen alcove.

*

Katsumi Oshiro blanches at the idea of being secretly pregnant. "I've not—," blink, "I'm not pregnant! Okay?" A little self-censorship, and a whole world of embarrassment. Alas, it's not coming to an end any time soon when Nadia suggests she may have to 'go'. "Ah! You're not gonna be watching anything like that, are you!?"

Katsumi does, however, go through the tests. All of them. Because at the end of the day, she wants to know what's going on with her mysterious, vanishing powers, and because, quite frankly, she wants to rule out the possibility that she's a mutant. Her mind isn't even on the possibility of nefarious cloning or results being shipped to any governments. She's not nearly that cynical. At least not yet.

Oddly enough, a perfectly serviceable needle broke against her skin during the blood sample test. It took a few tries to puncture her to get the result, resulting in one remarkably confused Katsumi. She's superhumanly durable - beyond just 'above human', she's insanely tough. Those tests would find that. The rest, however? The bloodwork itself? Everything would come back perfectly nominal, save for an odd genetic anomaly in her eye pigmentation. She's supposed to be green-eyed, but her eyes are most assuredly not that.

The girl steps out, wearing a hospital gown and hunching her shoulders.

*

"I'll just be seeing the results," Nadia offers in response to the comment about watching. "And the room is as surveillance proof as I can make it. You shouldn't even be able to use the camera on your phone inside."

Nadia's attention when Katsumi comes out is almost completely taken up by a sheet of paper unrolled across a table by the new lab equipment. "Well this is… interesting. If you just walk through the X-ray machine, the one like a doorframe, and then… before you get in the MRI could you try pick up some of those weights on the table? And there's a grip checker too, try apply as much forces as you can. Don't worry about breaking anything. It's all rated for use by metahumans." She makes another hrmmmm. "Did put on coloured contact lenses as part of your outfit for tonight?"

*

Katsumi Oshiro was shuffling towards the frame already when something Nadia says gives her pause. "Interesting?," she asks, voice low enough to be meant only for herself. But as bid, she moves on through the frame, letting it scan her.

The results? Perfectly healthy, athletic girl.

Katsumi continues to follow instruction, bypassing the MRI machine for now. She starts with the smallest weight, easily lifting it. It's set back down. It takes several weights before Katsumi slows her heft of the object, and by the time she reaches the last one, there's a little effort behind it. Her arm flexes, and she hefts the weight to shoulder-height with one hand. She then eases it back down into its place in the row.

Katsumi moves on to the next object, the thing meant to test her grip strength. She sets her hand on the grip, and once it seems to be engaged, begins squeezing. The readout is profound and crystal clear, possibly with added testimony in the form of creaks and groans in the machinery as the grip intensifies. She's clearly pouring her full strength into it, and as far as metahumans go, Katsumi is rapidly registering in the upper-echelons.

The readout is completed, and she releases the device. "People asked me that that night, too. No, my eyes are supposed to be green. They've been this… I dunno, red-purple since then."

*

"So. If you lay down for the MRI and try stay still," Nadia says, keeping her voice entirely even and her expression blank. From the moment Katsumi starts off by casually lifting something that should have taken both her arms and a lot of effort to move until all the tests are done. Thankfully the grip strength machine was the one made to resist fifty tons of force or else she'd have a lot of paperwork to do about now. "So, have you had any thoughts on what course of action you wish to take once the tests are done? Are you wanting the abilities back? Or had you not thought that far ahead?"

As soon as Katsumi is ready the MRI will start the scanning process and then, twenty minutes of relaxing headphone music later, the tray will roll her back out the machine. "Because I already have… well some good news and some news you will probably wish to remain laying down for.?" She bites her lip. "My tests so far have confirmed you're perfectly fit and healthy, but also capable of lifting at least ten tons with some effort. As you didn't seem to notice just how heavy those weights are I would /strongly/ recommend refraining from any physical contact sports of any kind in the near future. There is a very significant chance you could accidentally kill someone. Even the strongest bone in the human body would break at about… a tenth of your current physical potential."

*

Katsumi Oshiro lies in the machine as bid. The question gets a furrow of her brow as she stares up at the ceiling. "It's.. complicated." It's all she can say until the testing is finished.

Twenty minutes is a long time to be alone with her thoughts. Despite her demeanor, she's not stupid. The needle breaking against her meant something. That's never happened before. And her eyes are still a different color. Is that just residual, or indicative of something else? She never gave thought to her fainting before in the woods, and now it has her desperately wishing she could remember her dream. She remembers it was scary, though. More like a nightmare. She can't admit that, can she?

She's rolled out, and the punkette turns to quickly get to her feet, despite the pseudo-warning. When the news is given, Katsumi exhales a long, slow sigh and brings her hands to her face. "How is that possible?," she asks between her palms. "I'm telling you, it was all totally gone earlier! I got booked to do a match, and I was gonna use it to really train myself on being.. like.. GENTLE. But she started out wiping the floor with me! I was back to.. to normal-Kat." Her hands lower again, her expression drawn. "Just with weird eyes."

*

"Everything is complicated if you think about it hard enough," Nadia muses, more to herself than anything else. "How? Well, there is no sign of anything unusual genetically or biochemically. You have perfectly normal levels of radiation, no signs of drugs or toxins, nothing I'd want to consult a xenobiologist about…"

Her bunny slippers make several more squeeky noises as she taps her feet. "From what you have told me there are only two data points to work with, which I would not wish to make any firm conclusions about, but the incidents of increased physical abilities haven't manifested in the daytime, no? So it is not implausible they are linked to something environmental. The cycle of day and night or the phases of the moon. Or in response to strong emotions, thrill from the performance, embarrassment or nerves from the tests."

She spins her chair back to study the results. "It's also possible there is something less.. scientific at work. If there is no physical cause then you may need to seek out more… esoteric.. or arcane… What I mean is you may need a wizard." She can't help but sigh with dismay at the very word wizard.

*

Katsumi Oshiro has given Nadia her rapt attention, obviously hanging on her every word. "Yeah. No drugs. No booze. That's how I roll." She doesn't know why she felt the need to specify that in this situation. "Has it only been in the daytime?"

On the flip side, when has she manifested powers? At least that she's noticed. Tonight, and the night it happened. That does seem like an emerging pattern. "Emotions? What if I'm really chill or something? Can we do a test for that? Wait, no, I was performing earlier in the ring, too. Nothing happened. I-.. ugh."

Stress levels are starting to rise as she struggles to put it all together. Her fingers close over her eyes, shutting out the light of the lab for a moment.

At the word 'esoteric', the fingers split to let her peek out.

At the word 'arcane', her hands lower from her face.

At the word 'wizard', Katsumi's expression flattens.

"Alright, fine, whatever. Which one of these girls is a Harry Potter?"

*

"The MRI didn't show anything dramatic in your brain activity. You aren't manifesting any mental powers unless they are totally beyond my ability to test for them. Which is still possible," Nadia explains as Katsumi mentions her emotional state. "There are ways to check if emotional state influences physical capability. But they wouldn't be very enjoyable. You'd need to be made deliberately distressed in some way."

With a motion towards the grip strength machine, on the off chance Katsumi really wants to try check if emotional state matters, then she continues "No-one here is magically gifted. At least. If they are they haven't shared it with me and I would not wish to pry by asking… You would need to speak to.. Perhaps one of Caitlins friends at the Titans or maybe an Avenger? I've only ever met magically capable entities in very brief situations. Never socially."

*

Katsumi Oshiro folds her arms tight beneath her bust and lets her gaze drop to Nadia's bunny slippers. "I just wanna know what's going on with me. You- you checked for the mutant thing, right? Anything like that? Any CHANCE that could be it?"

*

"Not that I can see. It's not an area of genetics I'm an expert in, but your DNA looks perfectly normal. I mean I wouldn't call any DNA /normal/ but there is nothing I can see here which would make me feel the need to consult any reference material," Nadia skins the results again. "You have markers that could indicate a slight food intolerance? That's technically a slight mutation, but not the kind which makes you what the media call a 'mutant'."

*

Katsumi Oshiro takes in a slow breath, and breathes it out in what is painfully obviously a relieved sigh. Caitlin insisted not all mutants are bad. Katsumi's yet to see the evidence. Being one would've been a horrifying turn of events for her.

"Okay."

She stands in tense silence for a couple seconds, then lifts her head again. "So, what's next? What should I do, Doc?" She isn't sure the teenager before her is technically a doctor, but there's a strong risk she's just gotten a nickname.

*

Nadia Van Dyne furrows her brow. "I'm not actually a doctor you know," she points out. She leaves out that she hasn't even been to anything that Katsumi would recognise as a proper school. "So I can't offer you any medication or treatment options. Not that there seems to be anything to treat." She shrugs. "I can offer some advice though. No strenuous physical activity when you think your abilities might be enhanced. Not until you've learnt how to control yourself… Caitlin will have some good tips on how to do that. I'm fairly sure she could walk through a building without noticing." She sighs. "But if it /is/ magic you'll need to find an expert."

Her hand drums against the desk. "I've got access to some equipment you can use to train. And I could probably come up with some combination of chemicals that /might/ suppress the effect. But I'd have very strong ethical objections to doing so unless you became a risk to yourself or other people."

*

Katsumi Oshiro purses her lips. "I've been a total nuisance to her already," she murmurs. "I'll figure something out. I wanna get it under control. If I have it now and it actually sticks, or- or IS related to the sun, or my mood, or whatever, then I need to be able to handle it. I can't go breaking people if I give'em a hug." Beat. "Not that I'm a hugger."

She still has an image to maintain.

"No drugs! No chemicals!," Katsumi quickly redirects, her hands raising to halt the idea short. "I've always been clean! This is just more training, and I'm cool with that! I don't want anything like that going on."

It does leave her in a bit of a bind, however. If it's magic - which she has plenty of opinions on already - she'll need someone who actually knows something about it. In Nadia's terms, an 'expert'. "So, what, should I call Miss Cleo?" It's an attempt at humor.

*

"Oh she won't mind helping," Nadia assures. Then with a hint of a smile she adds "You'll also need to ask her where she buys her pants from. Because I do not know if what is enhancing your strength and durability will in any way extend to your outfit." She offers a re-assuring smile. "The Avengers or Titans might know someone. Otherwise you may have to consult… local occult bookstores? I've never really made any real study of magic but.. you should be careful because there have been many accounts of magical supervillains. So it's undoubtedly a dangerous thing to investigate seriously."

*

Katsumi Oshiro blinks. "I-.. I think I'm gonna stay girl-sized..," Katsumi says, lacking the actual certainty of her words. But she desperately hope she keeps her shape. She likes her shape. Her shape gets her paid. Yes, she knows a part of her in-ring appeal is her looks. She's made peace with that. Hell, she flourishes with it. She's one confident gal. But make her all huge, and that might be more than she can handle.

"I don't know where to even start with that crap. I wouldn't even believe any of it's true. I'm not sure I do even now! It's just so, SO weird." She ruffles her silky mane in helpless frustration. "Are you sure magic's a thing? Because you realize I'm like a walking anime if it is."

*

"I don't mean you're going to change shape to be more like her," Nadia clarifies. "I mean you are so strong that you could accidentally tear them like paper." She tears the edge of the print out with her fingers to demonstrate. "It's the tensile strength of the material which is important. You could also see if that Spider themed hero could weave you something? Some form of spider silk should be tough enough." She shrugs. "I know it's real. I saw a women turn into the form of.. I am not really an expert but I think some kind of sun goddess. Perhaps Japanese? Anthropology is also not something I've looked into." The mention of anime though. That gets a blank look. "Walking is a type of motion and I suppose you could describe it as animation of your physical form. I'm not sure I understand what relevance that has though."

*

Katsumi Oshiro's face pales at the idea of destroying her own clothing. "Ohmigod," she manages before her fingers cover her mouth. She hadn't even thought of that. She'll have to be extra, ultra careful! She's a wrestler, she knows how finicky clothing can be, and how easily wardrobe malfunctions can occur! This news by itself may as well have been a horror story told 'round a campfire.

She shakes her head and tries to focus past it. Thankfully, Nadia provides her with something to work with. Her eyes narrow and her lips purse.

"Okay, hold on." She holds her hand out, presumably for the paper containing her readout. The other hand is also held out. "Pencil!"

*

"On the plus side you've been hugging yourself without tearing the gown," Nadia re-assures. "So you must have some degree of subconscious control. That's a very good sign. Means you're unlikely to try shake someones hand and crush it." At the request for a pencil she glances down at the desk. "Lets see.." A few moments searching later she procures one pencil with a sparkly pink feathery plume on the end. The sheet on the desk is pretty substantial so Nadia simply leans back so Katsumi can gather it all up.

*

Katsumi Oshiro takes the pencil and a segment of the paper. She doesn't need it all! But she places the paper against the desk and the pencil against the paper. "Alright, now-" Snap! The pencil is broken in two. Katsumi looks immediately horrified and shoots an apologetic glance to Nadia. "I am so sorry! I'll get you another!" And just when she was lauding her latent self-control, too! "I managed to text without breaking my phone! I can pencil!" Pencil is a verb.

Using the half of the pencil with the lead, Katsumi painstakingly carefully begins writing something. And then she's offering all three components back to Nadia; the paper and both halves of the pencil. Her cheeks are rouged in embarrassment.

Upon that paper are two titles written: Full Metal Panic and My Hero Academia.

"Learn you some anime, Doc." Granted, neither of those fulfill the 'magical girl' trope.

*

Nadia Van Dyne doesn't seem especially bothered about the pencil. She's got a whole box of them somewhere. "You might want to…" She manages to say before Katsumi is leaning over to write something out. "…get changed into your things first?" She picks up the scrap of paper and stares at it intently. "I'll add it to the list. I've got so many things on my to-do list now that I'm free." Thankfully G.I.R.L is pretty much empty at this time of night. Except for a few people sleeping after late evenings in the lab. Or else there'd be a risk of an impromptu movie night or at the very least some questions about why there was a wrestler in a hospital gown and several hundred thousand dollars worth of medical equipment set up.

*

Not to mention.. well, Nadia said it herself. Katsumi looks confused at first. "What're you- EEK!" The girl shoots ramrod upright, cheeks blazing pink in embarrassment. She had completely forgotten herself. "Oh my god, I am SO changing right now," she flounders. With hands firmly slapped to either side of the gown, she awkwardly ambles in the direction of her clothing - never not facing Nadia. And once she's gotten to her clothing, she'll disappear to wherever is available to change back into them.

"Um! Let's never speak of that to anyone, okay, sweetie~?," she calls sing-songishly from her hidey-hole.

*

Nadia Van Dyne very deliberately turns to check something on the computer. "It doesn't really bother me," she admits while doing the equivalent of a 'what is anime' search on her web browsers search engine. "I once had to inject myself into a person before. /That/ was a little strange afterwards. Hello Sir I'm the woman who just floated around inside your blood performing emergency surgery. It even /sounds/ odd."

"Speak about what? The tests? I did say they'd be confidential right?" She offers a shrug. "Not that anyone I know would care. Of course you don't get an MRI in regular street clothing. The zips and buttons would be dangerous! Now /that/ is the sort of bad practice I'd feel the need to keep quiet about. Not that I'd ever do something so careless."

*

She's doing that just to be nice and pretend nothing happened, right? It's so convincing that Katsumi isn't really sure she understands why she'd ask to keep things quiet. But rather than sound dumb, she doesn't question it.

Katsumi emerges decked out in her punkishly-skimpy fishnet attire, unabashed, hands linking together behind her neck. "Okay! All better now."

*

"Out of curiosity are you at a comfortable temperature?" Nadia wonders, already moving on to the next thought. "Compared to Russia this feels nice to me but.. Your costume doesn't look like it's intended to keep someone warm in New York at this time of year. I guess what I am saying is I don't know if your abilities have any degree of tolerance to extreme climates, but if they do not I could turn up the heating."

*

Katsumi Oshiro looks, once again, confused at first. But she catches on quickly with a bright peal of giggles. "This isn't a costume! This is just one of the ways I dress! And trust me, if I can wear this in Tokyo and be fine, I'm good here," she chimes. "You don't have to mess with any settings for me!"

Though it does raise a good question, in retrospect.

"I'm pretty sure this.. whatever-it-is, has made me tougher, after breaking your needles. So I have to wonder what all it does effect, other than just brute strength. Might be important to figure out, huh?"

*

Nadia Van Dyne nods. "There are plenty of things to test. Tolerance to temperature extremes, jumping heights and reaction speeds. You /might/ also be bullet resistant. But please do not /ever/ try test this yourself. You could draw police attention, kill yourself or ricochet the bullet into someone else. And even if you proved you could resist one kind of bullet that doesn't guarantee you'd resist them all. For all we know your durability ends at the skin and any bullets that do break past might bounce around inside you. Unable to get out again and causing all kinds of damage."

*

Katsumi Oshiro looks, once again, horrified at Nadia's theorizing. "Let's just not test that at all, o-okay?" She falters back a step and slips her hands together before her chest, nearly wringing. "Jumping's based on strength, right? Pretty sure I can manage that. Dunno anything about reaction time…"

*

Nadia Van Dyne supplies a very crude reactions test by unexpectedly throwing half of the pencil at Katsumi. At an angle that'd be very hard to catch for a normal person. "Just don't try super jump inside," she points out. "There's a lot of very expensive things on the floor above us. Some of which might also be very dangerous if you suddenly put your head through into them."

*

The half of the pencil sails in, and Katsumi's gaze focuses instantly on its trajectory. Her upper-body twists back and to the side at an angle usually reserved for yoga masters without adjusting her stance, and her right hand snaps up to catch it in her grip. Not as flash or precise as finger-catching, but that's a testament in and of itself.

"Holy s#@&!"

Blink.

"I-I mean, crap. Holy crap."

She straightens her posture, shoulders hunching inwards with a sheepish smile offered Nadia. She moves in close to Nadia again to offer the half of the pencil in penitent silence.

*

Nadia Van Dyne can't help but giggle. "I can curse in seven languages. One of which is Russian which is /very good/ for cursing in. I don't really mind if you want to say rude words. You've certainly had the sort of day which justifies them. And they won't upset me… Although… It /was/ rude of me to try that test on you without warning."

*

Katsumi Oshiro passes the pencil half along to her, or simply sets it on the desk. Either way, once it's out of her hand, she steps back. "I'm not salty. You tested my reactions. And that was so freaking cool." She's easing back into a wide grin. "Anyway, I try not to be so.. uh.. ME.. around some people." She doesn't know how to put it without coming across condescending. Not a lot matters to her, in terms of decorum. But this does. She wants to model good behavior for younger people. And to her, Nadia is a younger person! Even if she's wildly successful and makes her question what the Hell she's been doing with her life.

"Is there anything I can train with to try to not kill someone? I'd really like to avoid that. And if I can get a handle on it, I might be able to keep working…"

*

"It seems… bad to not wish to be yourself around people? At least I think that's something the therapist I've been speaking to would say." Nadia muses, twisting in the chair and swinging her legs. The bunny slippers probably don't make her seem more mature. "You'd need to be able to maintain control of your physical strength while in a stressful situation. Have you got access to punching bags which record the force you have struck with?"

"If so then try limit your punching force to a level you've previously displayed but, and this is the tricky part, you'll also need to get yourself into a strong emotional state. Find something to make you angry as possible, then try to hit things without destroying them." Nadia frowns, then chews at the pencil half as if unsure if she really wants to bring up the thought or not. Eventually caution wins out over her own idea of decorum. "I don't want to pry into your personal life either but.. Perhaps do not get romantically involved until you've got things under control."

*

"Nadia!," balks Katsumi, immediately knowing what the girl is driving at. She doesn't like the idea of the teenager thinking about her banging some dude! Nor the notions of death by snu-snu! "I'm not- I mean, I didn't- I haven't- Nadia!" Her cheeks have taken a deep, dark dusting of red. The normally unflappable Katsumi has been undone by a teenager implying she might go heels-to-Jesus. And now her arms fold self-consciously over her midsection.

"I," she pauses to clear her throat, "I don't have any punching bags like that, no. I'd have to go to a gym."

*

"You asked for my advice," Nadia points out matter-of-factly. "And it's important to know the risks your abilities create for you. Would you rather I didn't say anything and then you met someone nice, fell in love and put that person in hospital?"

"I might have some I use to train when I'm sort of giant sized in storage. They might be awkward to get home, especially if you don't drive, but it's more discreet than training a super power in a public place."

*

Katsumi Oshiro's lips pout into a moue as Nadia insists on defending her caution. She didn't want to hear this! She doesn't even want to think about it! There's too much going on in her life! But it's nice that Nadia put it that way and less in the sense of just blowing off steam. Nadia is a good girl.

And that's why Katsumi won't swear in front of her.

"Okay. Bring'em on. I'm used to people staring at me, I can deal."

*

"Bring what on? The punching bag I've got in storage? Or people in a public gym?" Nadia asks, earnest confusion in her tone. "If you allow the public to see your abilities you won't be able to keep them a secret. That could mean the end of your sporting career." She shakes her head. "You might even be mistaken for a mutant. And, while I don't agree with the idea that mutants are innately bad, there are many people who do."

*

Katsumi Oshiro blinks, then looks off to the side. "Yeah, my career's in a bad place already. When my powers manifested, I- did you see? It's gotta be on Youtube by now. I have no idea how anyone's gonna be able to look at it and say it's anything but exactly what it looked like. Caitlin TRIED, but my general manager looked at'er like she was an idiot. Right now, the word 'negligent' is getting tossed around a lot. And I was supposed to be on a plane heading back to Japan days ago while they do an official investigation and either decide that, that it was exactly that, or if I was on something at the time. Either one's gonna get me fired. And since I'm AWOL, well…"

Katsumi unfolds her arms and rakes her hands through her hair.

"The thing I went to more recently wasn't through my actual federation. A promoter caught me and just asked me to do it."

*

"If you need someone to act as an expert witness to confirm you weren't on any banned substances or anything of that nature I could," Nadia offers tentatively. "But if I did so then I'd also have to explain my findings. Which is some sort of magical phenomenon is taking place. I don't believe many sports would allow your involvement, no more than if you were a cyborg, mutant or metahuman."

"To be honest I only really watch the funny animal videos on social media. Have you ever seen a cat climbing a ladder? It's adorable."

*

Katsumi Oshiro nods weakly to what she's saying. There really is no light at the end of the tunnel here. She's different. Unfairly different. Dangerously different. "That's why I wanna get this under control. Maybe, maybe prove I'm not a threat to anyone. I gave up SO MUCH to be what I am. Everything." Her hands move to her face again, palms rubbing pre-emptively against her eyes before abruptly turning to Nadia with a labored smile. "None of that's your problem. Shutting up about it. So how about you just let me know when and where I can pick the stuff up, okay? Or do I need to just punch the stuff in your storage?"

*

"I can't really imagine what you're going through," Nadia admits sadly. "I was lucky enough to leave a bad situation and end up in a much better one." She looks around the lab and can't help but smile. "There should be one in the basement. You can take it with you when you leave, but I'll only be able to shrink it for a few minutes while you get outside. After that it'll be… a good twelve foot tall… Would it fit in your apartment? Or do you have a hotel? If you're staying in a hotel just come back here and I'll have someone prepare a keycard for you. It'll only let you into the staff gym though."

*

Katsumi Oshiro's smile softens a little at the sympathetic effort, appreciative. She bobs her left shoulder in a half-shrug. "Thanks. But, ah- don't worry about it. I'll figure this all out. Or not. Just-" Her attempt at passing this off is quickly turning into word soup, she realizes. She lifts a hand to cut herself off. "I'll do whatever you think is best. The place I'm staying at is borrowed. Nothing special, not huge or anything And you've been at this way, way longer than me. I've not even STARTED yet, I don't think."

*

"I'll speak with security then," Nadia decides after doing some rough calculations on the average living space available in New York. And how hard it'd be for someone to bring a huge punching bag up the stairs of an apartment building. "You'll be able to swing by during office hours. Train in the gym without worrying about anyone watching. People here won't find it even the slightest bit unusual. I might not be around all the time though. Sometimes I work from home in my… other lab." She seems a touch embarrassed about the excess of having multiple science labs.

*

Katsumi Oshiro considers, then nods. Seems the most logical. Except one thing: "What's office hours? If I only have powers during the day, or night, or when there's a full moon, we might have an issue."

*

Nadia Van Dyne blinks a few times. "Good point," she admits. "There /is/ a night shift too. There has to be in case any of my team decide they need to stay late. Someone from the security team would probably have to escort you to and from the gym in that case though. I also can't guarantee the showers would be working at that time."

*

o/` Smelly Kat~ o/`
o/` Smel-lee Kat~ o/`

"I'll take whatever I can get," Katsumi submits in earnest. "I can't be a risk to everyone. And I've gotta be able to test it out, to find out what exactly's going on. So if it means stinking up the joint and having to be escorted around by a guy wearing a noseplug, fine. Seems more like his problem, anyway."

*

"Oh I don't think anyone here will mind. If it's not a toxic chemical spill or interdimensional breach no-one on the night shift would bat an eye. You can probably also find suitable equipment at the Titans building," Nadia points out with a laugh. "It's just you might want to avoid getting public transport on the way home."

*

"I don't think I'm allowed in there on my own yet. Not even probationary. It's.. I dunno what's going on." Katsumi tosses her hands in an hapless shrug. "Just doing whatever I can, right?"

She glances at their surroundings, then back to her. "I've taken up your whole night. I should let you do your thing. But I'm coming tomorrow! Okay? Gonna get some licks in and get this this under control!"

*

"Oh I'd have been up this late anyway," Nadia promises, gesturing at all the boards covered in formulae. "I'm trying to fix the entire world after all. Can't do that without putting in some late nights." She does however seem to remember how late it is and stifles a yawn. "And I only need to walk a short way to my room so.." She points to a door that has her name on it. The row of bedrooms still seeming ever so slightly out of place next to all the science equipment. "Will you be okay getting back? I can have someone call a cab if you want."

*

Katsumi Oshiro peers towards the row of doors in question, noting them. This really is a bizarre and kind of amazing place Nadia has. She then quickly shakes her head at the girl, scattering her hair in the process. "No," she answers with pawing back a few tresses. "I'm good. The air might make me feel better. Besides, I'm dressed to be seen, right? Why waste it?"

*

"Isn't that true of all clothing though?" Nadia points out. "Except for outfits designed for stealth. Even those hospital gowns were designed with the intent that someone will have to see you in it. It's just the context which changes. And I suppose which parts that you wish to draw attention to." Another shrug. "Personally I prefer frilly dresses. Or at the least something with better pockets.. But anyway, it's late like you said. I'd best show you the way out?"

*

Katsumi Oshiro gives her a bemused look. "That's not exactly what I meant. But okay." Such an odd girl at times, that Nadia. But she's content in the knowledge that she left her with anime; one popular with people today, and one a little less known. Personally, she thinks the popular one's protagonist is a f#&*ing crybaby, but whatever.

"Let's go," she nods.

And somewhere in Sudan, an excessively woolly calico cat has snuck aboard a train heading north.

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