Paradigm High

Issue 7: Allies and Adversaries

The Saturday after getting hit by a nuke, Bombshell meets with Gabriel Lightstone, a.k.a. Seraph, for coffee. They talk, and Gabe lets Roxie get a few things off her chest. She learns a little about him as well. Out of the blue, he asks her to the dance next Friday. Though he is kind, genuine, and very attractive, Bombshell has to put him on hold until she figures out what’s going on between Stormcrow and her.

A new PC approaches! Maximillian, the discus master, arrives in New York City and taxis to Paradigm, where he finds the dorm that will be his home. After unpacking his bags and lining his walls with pro- and super-sports stars, Max heads out to the stadium behind the school for some light training. It’s there that he meets Gwendolyn Norling, a Junior girl who operates under the name Majestica. She chats with him for a while and seems impressed with his amazing discus skills, though she isn’t sure whether he’s simply confident in his abilities or he’s arrogant.

Sunday, Bombshell meets with Stormcrow after he returns from his trip back home to Iowa. They both agree that their personal issues are interfering, and it’d be best to break things off. Stormcrow flies off, leaving a bitter wind in his wake.

At Actioneering class on Monday, the heroes are surprised to learn that Gomer has left for good! However, the new student, Max, will be joining their team in Gomer’s place. Unfortunately, things start out rough between Maximillian and the others, as he tries to do a team-coordinated strike exercise himself – and fails! Bombshell is upset by his actions, and the two exchange nasty words until Bombshell clocks Max upside the head with her staff, knocking him unconscious. Spence takes Max to the nurse’s office, and Mrs. Knight marches Bombshell to the principal. Principal DuMont explains to Bombshell that Max comes from the Exemplar Academy, which has very different views about excellence and methods of education. Namely, each student there is competing to prove him or herself. Principal DuMont expects that Bombshell will keep Max’s background in mind, as she herself has had to deal with her own past to fit in at Paradigm.

Later, Spence gets a text from Davie, who is trapped in his locker. Spence gets out of class to free his friend, but he finds out the situation is a lot worse than a simple pranking. Davie’s ironlung, the device that keeps his respiratory system functioning normally, has been taken, leaving Davie weak and wheezy! Spence hefts his buddy up and portals him into the nurse’s office, where Nurse Bonnie gets Davie situated into a large, stationary device reminiscent of an honest-to-goodness ironlung in order to stabilize the poor boy. Davie tells Spence that Amp and Tank took it, of course. In a rage, Spence stomps over to the Science room, where the pair are currently in class. He whips up a powerful electromagnet that he intends to use on Tank, but before he enters the room, he masters his emotions and decides to handle the situation properly. Spence reports the incident to Dr. Vori, and she takes them to the principal. Nobody sees them after that. Davie, exhausted and weak, heads home for the day. Later, Scarlet and Spence check in on him, and when they leave, Davie’s mom gives Spence a heartfelt hug for taking care of her son.

After her breakup with Stormcrow, Bombshell lets Gabe know that she’d like to go to the dance with him. Bombshell’s friends are quite impressed. The other heroes are making their dance plans as well – Spence and Juke are going in formal chinese wear, and Scarlet and Davie are going in red, of course.

Gwen speaks with Max after his altercation with Bombshell, but Max is arrogant and defensive. Gwen deals him a deep blow when she tells him she had thought that he was different from some of the others at Paradigm. This gets Max to thinking – and cooking, which he does quite well. As he prepares his lunch for the next day, he realizes that he needs to square things away with Bombshell, though he doesn’t feel particularly motivated to try to be her friend or anything. During their next Actioneering class, as they fight a big scorpiobot, Max demonstrates his capacity to work with the team by severing the bot’s claws while Bombshell takes off its tail. He also recognizes Bombshell’s skill, and the two of them seem to develop a truce for now.

After school that day, Maximillian gets a text from Dwight Pembleton, an old acquaintance from Exemplar who goes by the handle “The Alchemist.” He wants to meet with Max and his new team at an empty lot in Paradigm City. As the heroes arrive, Max notices one of the Alchemist’s signature transmutation circles covering the ground of the lot. He advises his new allies to avoid it, and since the trap is now ruined, the Alchemist emerges from the shadows. He accuses the heroes of capturing other Exemplars – Roman Malcolm, the psychokinetic boy, Weapon XX, the human weapon, and Meltdown, the radioactive girl. The heroes deny having any part in their disappearance – in fact, they didn’t even know they were missing. Another Exemplar, a girl named Sumner, steps from the shadows as well, and her brief conversation with the Alchemist reveals that it is uncharacteristic for Malcolm to be gone for so long without reporting in. They fear that Meltdown may have gone rogue, whatever they mean by that. At that, they depart. Maybe our heroes can get to the bottom of this mess before something crazy happens. Find out soon – at Paradigm High!

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