The Aftermath Academy - CH28 (Pyrrha)

“Seriously, how did you kill me?” Emilio demanded of Blue. “I had my barrier up the whole time. No entiendo. Stopping time shouldn’t make you strong enough to have killed me.”

“Guess it doesn’t hurt to explain a little better,” Blue says as he hooks his poleaxe onto his bedframe. “Since Mohinder opened his big mouth. In honesty, I was going to tell you guys anyways. I would have sooner, but you might have pre-empted me and ruined the big reveal.”

“Meaning you couldn’t trust us not to out-cheat you?” Genevieve said, still annoyed at being beaten by the last ranked kid in class. Or maybe her annoyance is solely at having dropped to third, regardless of Blue’s previous rank. Her resistance makes it hard to tell, but I’m starting to lean towards the second one. Still not sure what her deal with is about being ranked. Personally, I’m happy to be displaced by someone and am hoping more of my classmates rise to the challenge.

“Exactly,” Blue says, totally unabashed. “Any of you can beat me if you hit me before I activate my power. Hell, a few of you wouldn’t even need your powers to kick my ass if you sucker punched me. I’m sure Pyrrha and Ray can both drop me in one hit with a normal punch to the throat or something. But to answer your question Emilio, let me ask you one instead. If I hit you a thousand times, would it do anything to your barrier?”

“No,” Emilio says. “Not even if you hit me ten thousand. It doesn’t get any weaker with repeated hits.”

“But if I hit you once, with ten thousand blows of force?” Blue asks him.

Emilio takes his time to answer, “Would probably get through. But did you really sit around hitting me ten thousand times?”

“No, but I looped something crazy like that into one hit. I don’t have to actually repeat a motion; I just tell the world the motion happened for a certain amount of time in exchange for my time.”

“Your time?” Mary asks, fascinated. She doesn’t know why her power won’t tell her about Blue’s abilities, in the same way it has a blind spot regarding expanding her own powers, but learning what Blue can do is resolving one of her greatest mysteries for the past few weeks.

“Yeah, I trade time. If I do this-“ he blinks across the room, then freezes for a couple of seconds. “I can do it by trading the time immediately following for a one to one conversion ratio. But that leaves me vulnerable if I fail. Or I can trade for more off the back of my life, or even more by not paying any attention to lessons that don’t apply to me and storing the time up.”

That explains why his mind keeps going blank in class. He doesn’t care about the Rules of Engagement because the entire point of us learning them is to know what to do when some asshole breaks them and gets in our way. No one can get in Blue’s way.

“If it you lose time off the back of your life though, then that means…” Mary trails off, horrified at the implications.

“That he dies if it’s used that way too often,” Ray completes for her. “He has the exact opposite problem of me. I use my power in a public place, mass collateral damage. He uses his, it kills him. But that’s mostly against high level defense right? If you strike someone with high offense but no defensive skills, you could execute them with little risk to yourself or others with very little time spent on your part.”

“Which hopefully is how they plan to use me. Fighting someone like the three juggernauts here could leave me dead in days. But between Mohinder’s teleportation and my time stacking we could contain or prevent something like ninety percent of catastrophe class gifted with ease, and the rest of you would go in knowing as a fact the opponent has defensive abilities.” Three juggernauts? I haven’t heard that one before.

“I’m sure they’ll make sure to use you in an appropriate manner,” I say encouragingly. “They’ve, unfortunately, been doing this for quite a while.”

He appreciates my encouragement, but isn’t overly concerned that they would misuse him. His reasoning though is occluded by the mind block and it reminds me that Blue is not completely out of secrets.