The other mutant showed up on their radar when they discovered that the son of a CAMM agent was a mutant. A lesser known newspaper had constantly toted small articles about CAMM and mutant activities alike, which was why the VI4C had subscribed to it, but the sheer scandal of this had rated it the front page of the paper.
Septi and Ferinequell began trying to find out more about this family and were surprised by what they found. The oldest son was married and involved in CAMM, while both the second son and the daughter were mutants. Apparently the girl had been in a juvenile detention center or two for arson, while there were rumors circulating about how the father had heartlessly kicked his son out.
From there Ferinequell began searching for the son, every moment that he was not at work. Finally he found him, and Septi assigned Ryan the task of getting the guy out of trouble. At least it’ll keep him busy, so he can’t mope, she reasoned. Since Val’s death he had become relatively reclusive, not to mention extremely depressed, and he was becoming quieter and quieter as a result.
The day Mikey joined the VI4C was the beginning of the many small fights and the constant trouble. Mikey and Frigid hit it off well, and they both liked causing issues within the VI4C. Raram seemed more than willing to go along with their shenanigans, and that caused a rift in her friendship with Mes, who disapproved of their behavior.
As time went on Septi began to like Frigid and Mikey less and less, and their desire for action clashed badly with their longing for peace. By time they’d been there for six months Septi felt drained and worn out. She finally had given up on trying to tell them what or what not to do, and when Frigid suggested that they attack the CAMMies, Septi decided that there was a common enemy.
9 months had passed since Val had died, and Septi still felt her stomach knot up in anger anytime she thought about the CAMMies or that night. The injustice of their prejudice was overwhelming, and Septi wanted to do something about it, even though any actions she might take would be used to show how terrible Mutants were.
You know you shouldn’t do this, Septi, she though as she began planning the attack. It was very carefully planned out, leaning nothing to chance. Septi wasn’t going to lose another friend to those idiots. Not again. No one deserved that. With a heavy heart Septi plotted out their moves.
Little did she know that while she was doing this that Frigid, Mikey, and Raram were out causing havoc and furthering CAMM’s opinion that mutants were nothing but trouble. It wasn’t until Mes came to inform her of this, and by then it was too late. Half the town was coated in ice; there were reports about unearthly creatures suddenly appearing and killing people before disappearing, and windows and walls exploding without any visible help.
Septi was waiting for the trio to return home when they walked in the door, with not an ounce of shame on a single face. On the contrary, they were talking and laughing excitedly, which ended when they spotted Septi.
“What do you think you were doing?” Septi demanded, her arms crossed. She felt like a complete pretender, like she was trying to “mom” them in some pitiful way. Mikey mocked her for this.
“Who are you, my mom?” He said, his tone scathingly mocking. “Did little miss Septi forget that Mikey already has a mommy?”
“Look, you can’t destroy the town like that,” Septi protested. “It’s like a lovely advertisement for CAMM. ‘Hey, guess what, a bunch of mutants live here and we are as evil as you all say we are!’”
“It’s not like it’s going to hurt you any,” Frigid said defiantly. “Besides, we don’t need you or your stupid VI4C anymore.”
“What are you talking about?” Septi asked, glaring at the trio.
“Mikey and I are going to make our own group,” Frigid said. “One with real villains, not like you pretenders. Villains Incorporated in 4 Countries. Don’t make me laugh.”
“Be my guest,” Septi snapped. “Just don’t endanger us in the process.”
“Fine,” Frigid sneered, pushing past Septi. “Excuse us. We need to pack. Oh, and one more thing Septi…”
“What?” Septi said angrily, turning to face Frigid.
“We’ll stay through this battle, but we’re leaving on our own,” Frigid said, a smug little smirk on her face.
“Fine,” Septi snapped, turning to Raram as Frigid and Mikey walked away. “So what about you? Are you leaving, or are you going?”
“I’m staying,” Raram said, looking upset and uncomfortable. “But don’t try to stop me from hanging out with them, ‘cus if you do, I’m leaving.” Septi sighed.
“I had no plans of doing that,” she said tiredly. “I just don’t want to lose anymore friends to death.” Raram nodded and went upstairs, leaving Septi standing alone in the hallway. Will the VI4C survive today? Septi wondered, sitting down on the stairs. If Frigid and Mikey are leaving, we’re down to me, Ferinequell, Ryan, and Gin as full-fledged members, and Kin, Kane, Mass, and Raram as junior members. That’s only eight people, and if any of them die today…
“What’s wrong, Septi?” Someone asked, and she glanced up startled. Gin stood in front of her looking slightly damp and carrying a wet surfboard.
“Nothing,” she said, forcing a smile as she stood up. “Just thinking. I assume you need me to move, right?”
“Yeah,” He said, starting up the stairs. After two or three steps, he paused and glanced back. “By the way, considering what you do, you are a terrible liar.” Septi blushed and looked down. After a few seconds she heard him jog up the stairs, leaving her alone again.
I Frigid need to let Ferinequell and Ryan know about and Mikey, she though. And probably the Saha’s and Mes. Half-heartedly she wandered through the building, looking for either Ferinequell or Ryan.
At least she found Ryan sitting alone in his room with a book open on the desk and a picture in his hand. The door had been left open so Septi tapped on the doorframe. He looked up at her and set the picture down.
“Come on in,” he said. His voice sounded odd, and his eyes were bloodshot. “That’s why I left if open.” Septi nodded and stepped just inside, leaning against the wall.
“I figured that I’d let you know,” she began. “Frigid and Mikey won’t be coming back with us after the fight tonight.” He nodded, seeming listless. “Are you okay, Ryan?” he shrugged, and Septi walked over to his side.
“Here,” he said abruptly, picking up the picture and handing it to her. Septi glanced down at it, surprised. It showed Val and Ryan, with Ryan’s arm around Val’s waist. Septi was surprised to see that both of them were in casual clothes and that neither of them seemed to be armed.
“We were supposed to go out that night,” He said closing his eyes. “We were going to go to the drive in and then out to get ice cream. When you told us that we were supposed to get ready for a fight, Val told me that we’d reschedule. Now we’ll never get that chance.”
“I’m sorry,” Septi said, beginning to make sense of some things. Val and Ryan were a couple for at least a while, she thought, looking at the photo again. The closer she looked, the better she could see that Val was wearing a delicate and simple, silver chain that dipped into the collar of her shirt. This surprised Septi greatly as she knew that Val was never fond of jewelry.
“I had that picture tucked into my pocket when I fought, as a sort of good luck charm,” he said, running a hand through his hair. “Val laughed at me and called me silly and stupid for being so sentimental. Even so, I miss her so much.
“Ryan,” Septi said hesitantly, feeling bad for him, but also curious. “Val never wore any jewelry, but in this she’s wearing a necklace. Why?”
“I had bought it for her, to put the engagement ring on. She said that she wanted to surprise everyone, but that she wanted to wear the ring still,” he said. “I had proposed to her a week before CAMM attacked, on her nineteenth birthday.”
“Oh,” Septi said quietly, looking at the picture again before handing it back to Ryan. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know.”
“There was no point in telling you after she died,” He said quietly. “I don’t even know why I’m telling you this now.”
“I’m glad you did,” Septi added quietly, leaning down and hugging Ryan. “I am so sorry.”
“It’s not your fault,” he said, looking at the photo before setting down on the desk.
“I still feel responsible,” Septi said miserably. “I’m the leader. I should protect the members of the VI4C. I feel like I failed her. Like it’s my fault.”
“Don’t,” Ryan said, smiling slightly as he looked at the photo again. “I know Val wouldn’t care. In face she’d say that you were a fool for wanting to protect her.”
“Yeah,” Septi said, laughing a little. Sadly she glanced at her watched and sighed. “Hey, I’m glad I got to talk to you, but I need to go let Ferinequell know about Frigid and Mikey before we leave.”
“Alright,” Ryan said. “Later.” Septi nodded as she left his room, heading for the office, where she knew that Ferinequell would be, most likely.
She was right. He was sitting at his desk, pouring over some kind of paperwork and was looking much older than he really was.
“Hey,” Septi said, by way of announcing her arrival.
“Hello, Septi,” he said, looking up for a couple of seconds. “What do you need?”
“Nothing, actually,” She said. “I wanted to let you know that Frigid and Mikey won’t be coming back with us after the fight.”
“Why not?” he asked, closing the folder that had been lying open on the desk.
“They’ve decided to start their own group,” Septi said. “They seem to feel that the VI4C is not villainous enough for them.”
Ferinequell snorted and shook his head in disgust. “They weren’t here when Steppe was,” he said. “They don’t know what it means to be truly ‘villainous’.” Septi sighed.
“Right,” she said, feeling slightly frustrated. “I just wanted to protect them, To protect the whole of the VI4C, from becoming like you and I, or like Ryan, or even like Val was. I didn’t want to lead them to suffering, but they rejected all of my efforts. They hate me for it.”
“You sound like a two year old, Septi,” Ferinequell commented, looking at her sadly. “Besides, you’re old enough to know that no matter what you do, no matter how good your intentions are, or how much you care, there will always be people who think you’re an idiot for trying. The only thing I can tell you is to do what you know is right, no matter how hard it is.”
“Yeah,” Septi said with a sigh. “Thanks, Ferinequell. We have an hour or so ‘till we leave, so I need to go make sure we have everything. I’ll talk to you later.” He nodded and Septi pulled the office door behind her, hearing papers rustle.
Septi slipped into her room, closing and locking the door behind her. She carefully began her preparations for the fight – sharpening her blades, reloading her gun and ammo bag, and checking the charge on her tazer – before preparing herself. Once she was ready to go she made her way down to the garage. The van they were going to use was unlocked and she took the chance to check the gas gauge, that the van was all cleaned out and that their emergency kit was fully supplied.
By the time she had finished people were beginning to trickle in, starting with the Saha family. Septi saw this as an opportunity to let them know what was going to happen. Kane’s reaction was predictable – he shrugged off the info nonchalantly – while his siblings took the news a little harder than he did. Gin seemed glad they were leaving, but also a little annoyed, and Kin instantly began demanding why, when, and where they were going to go.
Septi brushed off Kin’s questions before towards the door to see who else was there and ready to go. Gin, however, tapped on her shoulder.
“Can I have a word with you?” He asked her quietly. “In private?”
“Sure,” Septi said, surprised. “Let’s go around back. We can talk there.” He nodded and followed her.
“So what is it?” she asked noticing how anxious he looked.
“Septi, I don’t really know how to say this,” he said with a nervous chuckle. “I was wondering if you would like to go out with me sometime this week, maybe?”
Septi’s jaw dropped, and she could feel her cheeks getting warm. “I mean, if you don’t want to, that’s fine, but I was really hoping that you would want to…” Gin looked positively miserable, and Septi forced her mouth shut.
“Can I give you my answer after the fight?” she asked, fighting a rising wave of emotion. She didn’t want to meet his eye, and she didn’t know what she could or would say to him, but she knew that she had to say something.
“Yeah,” Gin said, forcing a smile. “Yeah, I guess that would work well.” Septi smiled grimly at him. “I’ll just go now.
“Ok,” she said quietly as she watched him walk away dejectedly. “If we both survive this.”