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Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Runaways

With Avengers Academy anticipating an enrollment influx, our therapist helps Hank Pym gather data on potential new students

By Tim Stevens

Dear Dr. Pym,

As requested, here are my notes on the so-called “runaways” you asked me to profile. I must stress to you again that having never met the subjects in question and certainly never performed therapy with them, the information below is, at most, a series of best guesses based on the articles, eye witness accounts, and affidavits from Tandy Bowen (Dagger), Tyrone Johnson (Cloak), and Steven Rogers (Captain America) that you sent to me. I would also warn you, with all due respect intended, that given one of the members’ connections to you and Ultron, that if you are to encounter this group it may prove more emotionally difficult for you than you might anticipate.

The group in general: As is extensively chronicled throughout nearly all the materials on this group of teenagers, the majority of them are the children of a super villain conglomerate that controlled West Coast crime for many years called the Pride. In contrast to most such groups of criminals, the Pride remained anonymous for most of its existence, more known as urban legend or tall tale than confirmed criminal enterprise. Even now, information on them is quite scarce.

Given this, it is almost impossible to calculate how close they were to their children, their children’s relationship to them, and so on. Given that the children all appear to have rejected those family bonds and, in fact, opposed the Pride’s final criminal acts, it would seem they similarly reject the Pride’s legacy. However, it bears consideration that these acts of rebellion might in fact be part of a long con of sorts done in collaboration with their parents or simply a power grab by a set of adolescents who inherited sociopathic tendencies and had no sense of loyalty to their families.

The teens favor street clothes over costumes and do not seem to “patrol” or take on missions so much as stumble on to situations and not ignore them. Due to this, they should not be expected to be as easy to find as many of their loudly dressed, “highly motivated” peers.

Nico Minoru: Minoru, briefly known as Sister Grimm, appears to be the de facto leader of the group although, given their age and temperament, this does not seem to be a static position and her guidance is not necessarily appreciated or listened to all, or even nearly all, of the time. While she appears reasonable, the last information on her would suggest a significant measure of anger and resentment towards Captain America for his decision to place her in a group home. This may be transferable to all costumed types and make her highly resistant to any gestures of inclusion or invitations to join the Academy.

Her abilities appear to be tied towards acts of self mutilation, but it is unclear if this is a result of a previous history of self harm or something she simply realized she had to do to access her “gift” of sorcery at some point

Chase Stein: Despite being the child of two highly intelligent inventors, Stein appears to favor athletic ability over intellect. His does wield his father’s creations and appear to be quite adept in doing so. However, I see no indication of a drive to follow in those footsteps or even an ability to do so. Perhaps he is a tinkerer behind the scenes, but has no inventions yet to show for it?

For a time, the subject was rumored to have a telepathic connection to what appears, in blurry photos and eye witness descriptions, to be a carnivorous dinosaur. The dinosaur has since been documented as deceased. There is no information on what, if any, effect this has had on Stein, but it is worthy of consideration. The severing of a psychic bond is nearly always somewhat traumatic, and to have it occur by the death of one of those linked is a particular shock to the system.

There was an errant, quickly closed report filed with the Child and Family Services Division stemming from injuries the subject had as a child, but it is unclear whether the report was obviously inaccurate or the Pride wielded their power to have the investigation ended prematurely. If the latter, Stein could be a survivor of longtime child abuse.

Karolina Dean: The subject is the progeny of two aliens who masqueraded in plain sight as movie stars. She, for a time, was reported by several eye witnesses to appear to be romantically involved with another member of the group, a known Skrull. That member has since disappeared although there is no information or even rumors as to why. Given both her heritage and her involvement with a Skrull, she may very well have designs on ruling this planet or preparing it for more like her to invade. The writer stresses though that this is merely conjecture. She may be nothing more than an Earth born alien who has had some bad fortune with parents and intimate partners.

Given the seemingly abrupt disappearance of the Skrull, Dean may also be a very fragile place emotionally, depending on how and why they left.

Molly Hayes: The youngest member of the group, Hayes is almost assuredly the strongest physically. That said, she also appears to be the most affected by her abilities, often appearing sluggish or exhausted to those who have witnessed her do things like lift heavy machinery or punch Wolverine in the face. Given her age, she may be the easiest of the group to reach and/or the most in need of guidance and a “stable” home.

Victor Mancha: A fan and watcher of super heroes throughout his life, Mancha only recently learned he was, in large part, an invention of the killer android Ultron. His mother was killed soon after this revelation and the subject has been on the run since, perhaps unable to truly allow himself to mourn his loss.

What is known is that he is highly interested in all aspects of his ancestry. He has been caught on several library security cameras throughout the country and invariably records at those facilities indicate internet searches for terms like “Dr. Pym,” “Giant Man,” “Ant Man,” “Ultron,” “Alkhema,” and “Jocasta.”

Klara Prast: This writer was unable to find nearly any useable data on the subject. Prast does not even have a social security number or documentation of immigrant status. All I could present is that she appears to have some ability to control plant life and those close enough to see or hear her have claimed she dresses in what appear to be clothes based on early 20th Century designs—and those of lower socioeconomic status at that—and her English is spoken with an accent and oddly stilted.

This writer suggests following up with Doctors Christos Gage and Sean Chen for further information on this group of runaways. They will have brand new report available on March 7 called AVENGERS ACADEMY #27.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Practicum Trainee at a community mental health clinic.

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