The door to the Wards' common room opened. I looked up from the terminal I was filling paperwork out on, glad to have a break. (I'd been wondering if supervillains had to do paperwork…) Several other kids, mostly older ones, had come in.
"Ruby?" a tall, tan-skinned boy asked.
"That's me! Are you the other Wards?"
"Yeah. I'm Carlos. Guys? Introduce yourselves?"
"I'm Dennis," said a red-haired boy. "Most people call me Clockblocker, though."
"Melissa," said a girl who looked younger than Ruby. "Everyone calls me Missy, though. Or Vista."
"Chris," said a brown-haired boy just a bit older than Missy. "Kid Win in costume."
"My name is Dean," a nice-looking guy said. "My codename's Gallant."
"I'm Richard," the last guy said.
After a moment, Carlos added, "His codename's Browbeat. He doesn't talk much. My codename's Aegis. That just leaves Sophia, and she—"
"—is a bitch," Dennis explained.
I glared at him. "That's not very nice to say!"
"What I was going to say is that she goes to Winslow instead of Arcadia, so she only just finished her last class."
"Arcadia starts earlier," Dean added, "but it gets out earlier, too."
"It makes scheduling things with the whole team a pain," Carlos said.
"Meaning we need to leave her out of stuff," Dennis continued. "But there's a downside, too."
Carlos glared at Dennis.
"He doesn't like Sophia?" I guessed.
"No one likes Sophia," Dennis said. "Although it's true I tolerate her less than most."
"You shouldn't bias Ruby's opinion of Sophia before they even meet," Richard said.
"You're right, I should let Sophia do that."
"What's wrong with Sophia?" I asked.
"She's…" Dean paused, searching for the right word. "Abrasive. And aloof."
She sounds kinda like Weiss. No one liked her at first, either.
"I look forward to meeting her!" I said.
Dean smiled. "That's the spirit! I hope you're as eager to get to know the rest of us."
"I am!" I should say I am, at least. Look on the bright side, Ruby, it's like the first couple weeks at Beacon all over again!
Except that I don't know anyone…I miss Yang and Weiss and Blake and Jaune and…
Dean smiled. "Don't feel down. We're here for you, okay?"
Dean slapped his face. "Right, sorry, I forgot. I meant to tell you, I can sense emotions. It's part of my powers. I try to tell new Wards as soon as possible, since some people find it…creepy."
"I don't find it creepy," I said.
"Really?" Dennis asked. "Think for a second—"
Carlos sighed. "Dennis…."
"—it's basically telepathy," Dennis finished.
"Not really," I retorted. "And if it was, it wouldn't be very good telepathy. Is that your only power, Dean? It would be kind of sad if it was."
Dean smiled. "No, no it isn't. Well, that's a relief."
Ruby shrugged. "I don't get why people wouldn't like you. You seem nice."
"Thank you, Ruby. I'm glad you"
"Now that we know each other a bit," Dennis said, "is there anything you're having trouble with?"
"Paperwork," I moaned.
"I hear ya," Dennis said. "But hey, eventually you'll get to go on patrols, where you get to run around for a while and then do paperwork!"
I groaned. "I hate paperwork…why does it have to be so hard? Back home I didn't need to fill out a zillion pages of stuff before I could beat up bad guys!"
"That was in, um…" Carlos tapped his foot twice. "Remnant, right?"
"Yeah! How'd you know?"
"Armsmaster prepared a file. It mentioned…your past as a Huntress."
"Huntress-in-training. Good, I was afraid no one would believe me. Hey, does that mean I get to skip training?"
Carlos sighed. "I'm afraid not. Um—"
"You didn't do much paperwork as a Huntress-in-training?" Dennis asked.
"A lot of what we learn here is basically learning how to do paperwork," he explained. "Well, and how to avoid making too much in the first place."
Carlos nodded. "Thank you, Dennis."
"Oh. But I won't need to learn how to fight again?"
"You'll go through a quick test," Dean said, "but if what your file said about you and Lung is true, I don't think you'll have any problems there."
"I've heard a bit about these tests…what are they like?"
"Don't worry," Richard said. "Some of it's psychological, seeing what you can handle and be trusted with."
"I can handle any of it!" I said.
"I—I'm sure you can. Um, they'll be seeing how well you handle yourself in a fight, and trying to figure out how your powers work."
My eyes widened in shock. "They're going to experiment on me? I thought they were the good guys!"
"Uh—yes, but—" Richard stammered.
"Not really," Chris said quickly. "I mean, they're not really going to experiment on you, not that they're not really good guys. They're just going to figure out what your power does, so they can use it best. You have super-speed and some defensive ability? They'll probably want to figure out how fast and far you can run, and if you can punch harder or see faster or anything like that—"
"—and how tough you are, too. It's not like they're going to try and…what were you imagining, exactly? Sticking you with syringes and trying to replicate your power or something?"
I shrugged. "I dunno. I mean, I guess they'd want to know more about Aura. I'm pretty sure no one else here has awakened Auras. Well, except Miss Militia, but only because I did it for her."
Carlos and Dennis glanced at each other, briefly.
"Just trying to think of if we missed anything, can you think of anything?" Dennis asked. "Anything we didn't make clear, anything you had questions about?"
"Um…what are all your powers again? I remember that Gallant and Kid Win have cool armor, and Aegis and Browbeat beat people up, and Vista…something about outer space?"
Missy shook her head. "I control space, not outer space. That means I can make things closer or farther away, or curve straight lines."
"That doesn't sound very useful," I said. "Um, I'm not saying that you're useless or anything, but—"
"I understand…it's not easy to explain. I've been finding a lot of ways to use my power."
"She's one of our most powerful heroes," Dennis said. "I'm the other."
"What can you do?"
"Can I show you?"
"She said sure." Dennis put his hand on my shoulder, and suddenly everyone moved.
Carlos was talking. "—sorah thing—"
"What just happened?"
"He can freeze things in time," Carlos said. "You were asking about our powers when Dennis—"
"—when I clockblocked you," Dennis finished.
"Oh! I get your name now! Cool! I wondered why—uh, I was asking about that. Missy and Dennis told me theirs."
Carlos nodded. "Everyone thinks my powers are super-strength, super-durability, and flight, but it's a little more complicated than that. My organs and tissues can adapt to deal with damage, which means that wounds don't affect me much and I can constantly hit full force without worrying about tearing my muscles or breaking bones. I don't get tired, either."
"How do you fly?" I asked.
"I have a bit of autokinesis. It's enough to let me keep moving even if my muscles get really damaged, and it lets me fly."
"Your power is…neat." I was actually thinking something more like gross, but I wanted to be polite.
"I've got some super-strength, too," Richard said, "but it works differently. I have biokinesis—that's control over my metabolism, anatomy, and so on—that lets me shape my body to be more muscular and durable, and point-blank telekinesis that augments my strength. I've been working to block attacks with my teke, too."
"Short for telekinesis. T-E-K-E."
"Oh! That makes sense. Kid Win has technology-ey stuff?"
"That's me," Kid Win said. "I'm a tinker. I make some laser guns and power armor, nothing special."
"You make lasers?"
The door opened. A pretty dark-skinned girl walked in and looked at me.
Carlos quickly stepped in. "Ruby, this is Sophia. Sophia, this is Ruby. We're talking about our powers."
Sophia frowned. "I can walk through things." She turned away from us and started to walk away.
"Don't you want to talk to Ruby?" Carlos asked.
"I want to talk to you!" I said. I dashed over to her using my power. "Hi! I'm Ruby Rose. I was training to be a Huntress on Remnant—"
"I know. Shoo."
"We're supposed to be a team!"
"Doesn't that mean we should…try to get along?"
"You're not even going to try?"
"No. You're not getting off on a good foot with me, you know."
"So? Wei—my best friend back home and me got off on the wrong feet, but we're best friends now! Well, she's home now, so we can't—but we'd still be friends if she was here, too!"
"I'm sure. Go away. Maybe if you leave me alone for a while I'll be able to open up."
"Sure! And then you'll get a pony."
"Really? I always wanted a—"
"Are you familiar with sarcasm?" Sophia sighed and flopped down on a couch, muttering something about brain damage.
I turned to the others. "Does leaving her alone work?"
"No," Missy said.
Carlos rubbed his temples. "Sophia is…problematic."
"I can hear you, dick!"
"Good!" Dennis said.
Carlos ignored them. "Just…accept her as she is for now. If she picks on you, let me or someone in the PRT or the Protectorate know. Dean didn't tell you about his power yet, would you like to—"
"Not really," I said, glancing at Sophia. I guess I'll just do everything I did with Weiss? Maybe more of it?
"Would you like to tell us about your powers?" Dean asked.
"I can run really fast."
"You have that…scythe-gun," Dean said. "Did someone make it for you, like Kid Win made my armor?"
I bristled. "I made Crescent Rose myself."
Dean smiled. "Really? It looks really complicated."
I shrugged. "It's nothing special. Most of it's just standard sniper-scythe parts I put together."
"I never would have guessed that."
"Well…I kinda mixed parts from the Weizen Double-Blade Folding Shotscythe and their Multi-Range Sniper Pike, and a generic Tetsuhando receiver and Dust-clip adaptor, and a few parts I designed myself."
"I—it's not as hard as it sounds. But thanks."
"Out of curiosity, could you make something like that without parts from the wizen—without all of those parts, just with parts you machined?"
I thought for a moment. "Probably. Do you have Dust?"
"Um, maybe? I don't understand most technical terms, you'd have to ask Chris about that sort of thing."
"I don't even know what she's talking about," Chris said.
"Huh. Well, I'm sure you could work with Chris on something. He'd probably share his workshop, right?" Dean looked at Chris.
"…If she's careful with my stuff."
"I can be careful!" I said.
"You won't be able to do anything in Chris's workshop until you've filled out some—" Chris paused, realizing I had already dashed back to the terminal to fill out some more paperwork. He walked over towards me. "There are some other forms you'll need to fill out before you could use Chris's workshop, but then you might get some workshop space of your own. Once we have some space for you."
I spun around in my chair. "I'm not a tinker, though. Crescent Rose is cool and all, but it's not that awesome."
Carlos shrugged. "I'll leave you to your paperwork, then. Welcome to the Wards."
I stopped spinning once I was pointing at the terminal again and tried to get back to work. I kept thinking about the other Wards, though.
They seemed nice…most of them. Dean's really great, and Richard reminds me of Blake. Carlos's a little like Yang, he's taking care of everyone. Missy seemed sad, I wonder why. Sophia's all mean on the outside, but Weiss was too…
I probably shouldn't ask about painting our nails, trying on clothes, or talking about cute boys, it sounded like Weiss didn't like that kind of stuff. Fine by me. Other than that, what did I do with Weiss? Let's see…I fought by her side, cheered her on when she fought that boarbatusk, and then she was nice to me. So maybe if I go on patrol with her…Ruby, you're a genius! I smiled and began plotting how I would make Sophia get along with me.