James Parker started his life a regular kid in a regular family in a regular city. Kansas City wasn't like Freedom City; they had no resident supers, hero or villain. Oh, some might pass through on occasion, but none stayed. All the action was out on the East Coast, really. So for a time, his adventurer's spirit was partially sated by joining the military. But then the Terminus came, and burned through the skies, and it was only his incredible luck that helped James stay alive. He took his honorable discharge soon afterwards, and moved back to Kansas City to run a restaurant with his family.
Of course, James Parker's mother did not raise a fool, and he started to realize they were almost *too* lucky in their business. He wasn't complaining, mind you, but he felt like there was something simmering in the background. Finally, one night when he was leaving the restaurant, he was mugged. Except that everything went wrong for the mugger, and he ended up knocked out and tied up, while James had nary a scratch. That was when he made a couple discrete calls with some Army buddies and got some tests done.
Turned out, he had the power to drastically alter probability, borderline reality-warping. That was something that took him by surprise, though he chalked it up to the insanity of the ˜93 Invasion, combined with, perhaps, a bit of Providence. Of course, now that he knew he had such a talent, he just needed to figure out how to utilize it...
A month later, he was (by some stroke of luck!) in contact with Thresher from Omaha. It didn't take long before the costumed adventurer had helped James get a hold of some gear to fight crime (as one does when they discover they have probability-controlling powers in a world like this one), and the two of them struck up a fast friendship and solid crime-fighting partnership. It was ultimately Maverick (as James had taken to being called) who proposed the idea of the Barnstormers.
Today, Maverick is the leader of the Midwest's only Hero Team, and something of an "elder statesmen" for the small but now-thriving hero community in the great swath of the middle of the country. Striking a dashing figure in his dark blue armored suit with white gloves and boots, Maverick protects his identity with a set of stylish goggle-shades and a heavy-duty ball cap that is itself lightly armored. The bit of hair peeking out from under his hat is starting to go gray, but there's nearly always a smile on his face. Aside from his cunning leadership and incredible power over Lady Luck, Maverick sports a high-tech energy pistol that he tends to twirl around like a cowboy. He doesn't make a big deal of being a high-profile African-American hero, but neither does he try to downplay it. For him, and his team, it isn't really a big deal, and the most important thing is the great work they do together. But he also recognizes the honor and responsibility such a thing brings. He's something of an uncle figure for much of the team, who are (except for Thresher) 15 or more years younger than him.
Richard Blake's family owns majority stock in probably a third of all food growing and production in most all of the "flyover" sections of the country. From Montana to Ohio and from Minnesota to Texa. Corn, grain, beef, fish, they're involved in almost all of it somewhere and somehow. They directly own and run a couple of large companies based in Omaha. For all of that, they are probably some of the most unassuming rich people most folks may well ever meet. Richard himself inevitably had a bit of arrogance around himself while growing up. Any child in his life probably would. But for all that, his parents made sure he was instilled with a strong sense of stewardship and responsibility. At the same time, they did all they could to encourage him to pursue his dreams. Nevertheless, he ultimately wanted to try and follow in their footsteps and oversee the food industry.
With that said, Richard had a mind that latched onto science as well as business, including biology. When he was in college, he occasionally did amateur research into potential "super-foods", both natural and artificial, that could help encourage incredible health in the human body. As he progressed to his Master's, this research further rabbit-trailed into ways to increase human potential via both supplement pills and, potentially, retrovirus treatments. His work crossed over with a few other aspiring scientists, and it seemed like it wasn't long before they had a half-dozen potential formulas to study further! But then, Richard was in the lab one night when a lightning strike hit the building and sent a surge in through several electrical devices in the building. Said surges ended up driving him back-first into a table with several beakers of some formula samples. He lay there, near-comatose, for nearly an hour, before he sat right up and suddenly felt perfectly fine. He cleaned up the mess and quietly threw his coat away, and chalked himself up as lucky. After all, there wasn't a mark on him, so nothing to worry about, right?
A week later he was in a wooded bit of property his parents owned, trying to get a handle on the incredible physical powers that had inserted themselves into his life. He took a year-long hiatus from school to give himself time to cope, citing "personal issues". College (even graduate-level) being what it was, rumors flew about the cause. Wild partying? Trouble because of indiscretions? No one could pin down a cause, so of course the invented reasons kept getting more fantastic. And were it just a minor health issue or the like, Richard would have worked to correct the rumors. Instead, he let them grow and fester. He told his parents what had happened, swearing them to secrecy; they knew the rumors that would fly were false, but of course their worry would be of a different sort.
After a year of cautious practice, the Blake heir returned to school to finish his Master's in Biochemical Engineering, picking up an MBA on the side, along with a couple of basic criminal justice courses "because SWAT teams are cool!". He graduated with good grades, but not the top of his class, and went home to his family and their company.
It took him a couple more years of careful travels and studies to start molding himself into a hero (which was, to him, the obvious next step). Of course, when your body was as unnaturally tough as Richard's was, you had room for mistakes. And now that he's been fighting crime for around 15 years, Richard's quite good at it.
Thresher's costume tends toward urban camouflage when he's working in The City (Omaha); the main armored bodysuit is a grayish-blue, while the cape, gloves, boots, belt, and scalp-hugging cowl are all a dark navy blue. When working with the other Barnstormers in their base or somewhere private, Thresher often pushes the cowl back, revealing the more basic domino mask underneath. While he employs a variety of useful gadgets, Thresher's signature weapon is a three-section staff of high-quality metal. He tends to be the scout and surveillance specialist of the group, and is often the "straight man" in jokes made by Maverik.
Janet Herrington dreamed of touching the sky from the time she was 5 years old. Her parents mostly just chuckled about it, but when she showed a natural talent taking some lessons in high school, they realized she could make a career from her dream. After all, it's not like women pilots were *that* strange of an idea. So they did what they could to help her get into a flight program at a university. But ultimately, she signed up with the Air Force ROTC, quoting a "need for speed" that civilian piloting couldn't quite fulfill. She made excellent marks in college before earning her degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Once she had graduated and was in the USAF as a pilot, it wasn't long before she managed to get in the piloting program for the new F-22 planes. She enjoyed the rush of their speed and handling, and was regarded as one of the more talented pilots for the cutting-edge planes. Of course, it was that same talent that led to her awakening her powers.
One day on maneuvers with her squadron out over the East Coast, a freak storm boiled up almost on top of them, quickly forcing them to head back to base. On the way, Janet's instruments ceased working, and she became separated from the group, her radio barely functioning. Despite the plane's now-erratic steering, she kept it under control, but had little in the way of navigational aides. Just as her guidance systems started to work, her plane was struck by lightning; not once, not twice, but three times in rapid succession. The engines died, the electronics fried, and for several terrifying moments, Janet couldn't even eject. Finally the system managed to blow off the canopy and shoot out the seat...only for winds to hit her so viciously she was moved in a straight line to one side. The sheer adrenaline from the experience finally fully triggered her latent meta gene, and suddenly Janet Herrington could feel the storm around her, could influence it, guide it, direct it. Within moments, the storm was effectively gone. Of course, despite somehow just hovering there in the air, Janet still didn't have a good idea of where she was, and her jet was by this point a spread of expensive wreckage.
The weeks of debriefings and hearings afterwards were troublesome, but not as bad as they could have been. The armed forces were somewhat accustomed to the occasional metahuman manifestation with its soldiers, so they had some procedures in place. Ultimately, she was found to have no fault in the incident, as the USAF meteorologists explained the freak storm was actually natural, just unusually aggressive; any part influenced by Janet's metagene was extremely unconscious and fairly minimal (at most, serving as a "lightning rod" when the plane was struck, which certainly wasn't her actual fault). Nevertheless, she ultimately took an honorable discharge and returned home to reconsider her life path. For a few weeks, she struggled to determine where to work and how to learn to really control what she could do. Until she received a call from a man who said he was the hero Thresher (she didn't believe him at first). He offered her a job at a small private flight company on the outskirts of Oklahoma City, as well as the chance to not only learn to control her powers, but also to join a team of other super-powered individuals trying to do right by the Midwest.
Janet has been Stormchaser for a few years now. She's probably one of the most outgoing members of the group, often serving as another face for the team alongside Maverick. While he tends towards a more laid-back good-old-boy approach, Stormchaser can sometimes come off as someone who's had one too many cups of coffee. But for all that, she's really friendly, and fantastic with children. Of course, at times that cheerfulness is a bit of a mask. After all, for all her power over the weather, Janet is not omnipotent, and she has to sleep. Further, she knows she must be cautious in the changes she makes to weather patterns, for fear of creating a cascade that threatens a whole continent with drought or storms or freak blizzards. Which means there are times she cannot stop tragedies. Every missed storm is like a knife to her heart, even if she never admits it to the rest of the team.
Her powers themselves are nothing short of incredible; not only can she call down lightning, winds, and ice from the skies to batter her foes, she can use her speed to deliver a flurry of blows to multiple opponents, striking them quickly with electrically-charged fists. Her reach into weather systems can reach for miles around. The speed lent her by her powers not only lets her fly fast, but also allows her to think and perform tasks at much greater speed. That speed is the key to her "ace in the hole", a maneuver wherein she moves very fast to generate a near-explosion of light and sound; due to light refraction off of the water vapor that collects in her wake, a short-lived rainbow flashes into existence for miles around her, even as the winds blow over anyone unlucky enough to be nearby, and the sound of her passage assaults their ears. Her normal flight is itself fast, able to exceed the speeds of the fastest jets, at heights she could barely reach in her top-of-the-line fighter. One interesting manifestation of her abilities is that, when flying at higher speeds, ethereal wings that seem to be made of water vapor give the image of multicolored wings stretching from her back.
While not incredibly colorful, Stormchaser's outfit still manages to have its own brand of flair. The base suit is padded and reinforced morphic molecules (vaguely resembling a motorcyclist's suit) colored a dark blue; it has shimmering lightning bolt highlights that start at the shoulders and meet at the navel and small of her back. The heavy-duty boots are firmly strapped on, and themselves sport small lightning bolts at the ankles. Her head is protected by a cowl (which covers her entire head bar her mouth/cheeks, and has a small opening in the back for her short ponytail) done up to resemble an old-time aviator's cap, complete with reflective goggles; her lower face can be protected by a morphic molecule white scarf that she can pull up to meet the cowl's lines. Her arms are left bare (as her "melee attack" power manifestation was found to shred sleeves anyways), with only fingerless gloves to give her knuckles protection.
Dusty Clayton was going to go pro. He knew it, his friends knew it, his parents knew it. Everyone knew it. At 15 he was already a rising star in his high school football program. Sure, he wanted to do more than just go pro, but hey, the NFL paid good money, and he could run a business or something later on, right? That was before he had a flare-up of his powers the night before the final game of the season. He woke up in a bed smoldering in dark red fires...which were almost immediately drawn into his body when he desperately wished it would stop burning! His frightened cries drew his parents, who were a bit unsettled, but figured he was another kid with powers waking up (the news made it sound like they were all the rage these days). Of course, what to do? Where to go? Luckily, they didn't have to do much searching; somehow, their clumsily-worded Google searches tripped some filters at Claremont, and Headmaster Summers called the Clayton family up. He helped calm their fears, and it wasn't long before the respectable-looking headmaster with his fancy cane was sitting down across from the family, explaining a couple of options.
Football wasn't going to happen, but Dusty would certainly still have the chance for a quality education. Mrs. Clayton was enthusiastic about the scholastic opportunities, while Mr. Clayton was relieved his son would be able to go someplace he could fit in and not worry about burning down. So Dusty went to Claremont and slowly learned his powers, inside and out. He discovered that fire, lightning, indeed quite a few forms of energy soon could barely touch him. He could drink them in, though fire was the easiest by far. And then, he could turn it into those red-black flames. The ones that sometimes haunted his dreams, though he never again burnt up a bed.
It was only his senior year that he discovered he was touched by Entropy, and his powers marked him as a Terminus Child, a T-Baby. This caused him a small emotional crisis; he remembered the stories his parents told of their trip to shining Freedom City, right as the Terminus Invasion struck. They saw the terrible battle in the sky where the Centurion fought Omega. Their lives were spared, but both had a few scars, both physical and mental, from the ordeal. Now he was a freak, a constant reminder of that trauma. A visit from his parents and a heartfelt, tear-soaked talk with them washed that notion away.
When he graduated Claremont, Dusty was unsure of what to do long-term, so he decided to put his fire-based powers to good use. He went home and joined the city fire department; he worked out a deal with the Fire Chief wherein he work a hybrid uniform-costume that marked him as an official firefighter, but also as a powered individual. While he couldn't put out every fire in a city at once, he was an incredible asset, especially in the larger blazes. He was kept busy, but Dusty found himself enjoying the work. It was hard work, but he knew he was helping people, saving lives, and it kept him busy. Of course, when Maverick approached him to join the Barnstormers, the young adult barely had to think before saying "Yes!".
Today, Brand's outfit is a bit more fanciful than his initial getup with the Dallas Fire Department. A full body suit of rugged unstable molecules in a few layers helps keep him comfortable in most environments, even if he doesn't need it; the suit is primarily a deep red, with dark orange accents, going for an obvious fire motif (complete with stylized flames). His face bears a half-mask covering his nose and throat ("Smoke still stinks and tastes terrible even if I can breathe it!"), and goggles cover his eyes ("Feels gritty, don't like that!"). He's one of the two "artillery" members of the group, his ability to absorb and expel energy making him a valuable asset on the battlefield. That he can often help combat the worst wildfires that sweep the Midwest and its neighboring areas only helps his reputation and that of the team, and gives him one more thing he enjoys doing, almost as much as he enjoys tussling with the occasional bad guy.
Jessie Peak came from a mixed heritage; her father was a descendant of Swiss clock-makers who had migrated to the United States a few generations ago, while her mother was a second-generation Japanese-American who had a sharp business mind. The Peaks ran a successful technology business, Mr. Peak being something of an inventor himself. They were a happy family, though Jessie grew up wanting to get beyond the Mile High City and see more of the world, or at least the country; they never seemed to have time for big family vacations.
When a temper tantrum at age 14 inadvertently powdered a boulder in their backyard, it wasn't long before Mrs. Peak called up that nice Summers man running a school in Claremont that she'd heard rumors about. Rumors that ultimately didn't quite cover the full scope of the truth. While the whole situation had rocked the heretofore steady world of the family, they adapted surprisingly well. Though Jessie experienced times of teenage rebellion while several states away, family bonds were ultimately too strong. And though part of her enjoyed her time learning to use her powers at Claremont, the shakeup of moving to the East Coast also made her actually appreciate schooling. Enough that she decided she wanted to be a teacher.
So after graduating from Claremont, she went on to attend the University of Denver and achieved a Masters in Primary Education. After getting her degree and certification, she went on to become a 1st-grade teacher at a public school in Boulder, living in an apartment not too terribly far from her parents' home. But while she dearly loved her job and enjoyed teaching children, part of her couldn't truly resist the siren song of the power singing in her veins, her legacy from the earth-mages of the ancient Alps.
So it wasn't long before Stanchion debuted in Colorado, fighting crime and helping out in disasters out on the mountains. And it wasn't long after that that the burgeoning team for the Midwest contacted her. Maverick and Thresher helped her smooth out her methods for keeping identities separate and such.
Today, she still teaches at the same school; her dedication to teaching means she doesn't run off for a super-fight at the drop of a hat; most mundane crime during the day doesn't get her attention. The occasional genuine metahuman (or tech-using human) attack might draw her wrath, though. And she's a fearsome opponent for foes the Barnstormers face on the Great Plains! Her ability to move and mold dirt and rock mean she's a good hand in rescue situations, as well as forming firebreaks or new channels for irrigation and water movement. Stanchion wears a loose outfit, layered earth tones with dashes of dark green thrown in. Her hands bear padded gauntlets, while more nimble "ninja style" boots make sure her steps are light but sure. A bandanna-style mask covers the bottom half of her face, her hair bound up in a tight braid down the back, while a dome-shaped hat keeps her face shadowed enough to make photos indistinct.
Tina Evans never thought that the Polish heritage on her mother's side included more than one Sidhe. Of course, it's not like anyone at the family reunions had pointy ears or anything, so it wasn't obvious. And for most of her life it didn't matter or manifest! Until the night in her senior year in high school that she was about to get mugged in an alley after taking a few wrong turns after a concert. When she summoned up a blast of water that tossed the thugs to the opposite end of the alley, it was a big surprise for her! Bigger even than Thresher (boy was he far from home) suddenly dropping onto the thugs and quickly restraining them. Apparently he'd been tracking the gang these guys were in over half the Midwest. He'd seen what Tina had done, and was impressed. He gave her some numbers to contact if she wanted to at all pursue this new chapter in her life. After he politely escorted her to a bus station, of course; he was nothing if not a gentleman.
After getting home and going through some emotional aftershocks of the near-mugging, the Evans family (mother, father, Tina, and her younger-by-a-year brother) sat down to talk about things. None of them knew how the powers had come up (that discovery came later), but her parents were firm she at least ought to learn to control them, even if she didn't end up a hero. After all, it was the same as someone getting lessons in driving a car; it would be irresponsible to not practice with something that had that kind of potential danger! So extracurricular lessons with a Claremont graduate got arranged, and Tina graduated high school near the top of her class and with some pretty cool powers to boot. But what to do now? Then she was approached for a special "learn as you go" business internship at Blake Foods. The program helped promising students work part time and take accelerated college courses, earning a degree in 3-5 years while also keeping down their debt and building up experience in the business world. Tina, with aspirations of going into accounting and eventually becoming an actuary, jumped at the chance.
It was only after getting set up at the St. Louis office and enrolling at Saint Louis University's business program that Thresher contacted her again, asking her if she wanted to do some hero work on the side. He explained that with her powers, she didn't have to fight villains, either; being able to call to water would be enormously useful in the breadbasket of the United States! Tina thought for a bit, and finally agreed. Now, 3 years later, she already has her Bachelor's and is working on her Master's alongside her Actuary license, all while spending a fair bit of time fighting both crime and drought as Aquifer, the aquatic avenger of justice!
Aquifer's powers are fairly potent; she can attack with water in a variety of ways, and even cause it to freeze, at least to a limited degree. She can generate some on her own (faerie magic), but works best when there are sources nearby. She's taken to the martial arts training alongside Granary pretty well. Both young women prove themselves more formidable than one might initially think, a mistake that's laid out more than a few enemies of justice! Her outfit bears a few layers of unstable molecules (even if cold doesn't really bother her), and has a few handy pockets, as well as some decorative padding on her shoulders (to broaden her silhouette a bit). Her twin braids flow out through special holes in her full-head mask that otherwise covers everything but her mouth, smooth reflective lenses over her eyes still somehow giving off a friendly air. The whole thing is decorated in various shades of blue.
Sarah Cassidy was a quiet girl growing up. Not necessarily unpopular, neither had she been one of the infamous "popular girls". Instead, she just sort of...drifted. College helped, especially because it let her really focus on her love of science, specifically cutting-edge botanical genetic engineering. Even in college, she was beginning to break ground in developing new strains of plants, primarily hardier and more efficient food crops. Each change was incremental, but measurable. When she graduated, it was perhaps a foregone conclusion she would end up at a high-end biological research facility run by Martel Enterprises focused on plants. She was a valued but quiet member of the team, never really making any waves as she continued to dive into her research. Her biggest "secret" was probably how much she admired the superheroes of the world, especially the plant controllers, and especially the Freedom League member Fleur de Joie, the mighty but humble plant controller! Truly, there was someone who understood the importance of the botanical world. Sarah's research, somewhat unconsciously echoing this desire, started to include potential ways to incorporate aspects of plants into the human genome. Primarily, she sought ways to incorporate some of the unique resilience of plants, and perhaps ways to use photosynthesis to sustain and heal the human body. It was bleeding edge, but it was something her supervisors were leery of, so she was asked to keep it as a heavily-monitored side project.
When agents of the Labyrinth attacked the lab, seeking the results of another sub-section that had been developing less-than-lethal agents based on plants for use by police forces (presumably to make them very-lethal), Sarah was trapped in her private lab. Even though part of her wanted to try and do something, she hid, knowing she couldn't do anything against the strange bio-engineered troops marching through the halls. Until a couple of them burst into the room, frightening her and causing her to dash across the room...right to where she had the secured cabinet with several of the human/plant hybrid formulas. Just as she reached it, one of the invaders hit her with a high energy stun ray. Normally this would have just knocked her out, but as she slammed into and through the glass of the cabinet, and the shot from the second invader smashed several of the formula vials, that extra energy helped start a unique reaction...
Sarah Cassidy's unconscious, bleeding form was dragged to one of the waiting helicopters outside the facility, the first of the prisoners the Labyrinth goons had gotten their hands on. Everyone else was in a secured shelter room (somewhat standard for high-end research facilities on Earth Prime). They hadn't counted on the young scientist subtly healing up, nor her hair slowly shifting color...or that, when she woke up, the grass all around them would spontaneously shoot up into entangling vines that left them completely tied down. Somehow, she instinctively grasped control of her strange new powers, and quickly wrecked the various helicopters. Before long, the rest of the Labyrinth troops were restrained outside, and Sarah was left standing there in a near-panic, before suddenly she was standing next to the potted plant in her apartment, trying to figure out what was going on.
Several sick days and a few panicked calls later, Sarah was taking a nice separation package from Martel and being relocated to the Barnstormers base, where she serves as the team's medic and bioscientist, as well as doing freelance research on the side.
Granary (as she's chosen to call herself) is not as powerful or versatile as Fleur de Joie, but is perhaps a bit tougher, as well as being unusually stealthy (both from her powers, and extensive training from Thresher). Often, she and Thresher will sneak in around behind an enemy and use surprise to bind them and deliver the knockout blow. She's proving herself quite the martial artist, even as she's able to create and manipulate large swathes of plant matter. A power that's appreciated during times of drought or plague, for sure.
Her outfit is a mix of green shades, with a few highlights of rose red mixed in (to keep from being confused with Fleur too much). A basic, rugged bodysuit of unstable molecules is the core, with plenty of pockets on the belt and legs for samples or first aid supplies or whatnot. Sturdy boots and gloves round out the base layer. On top of that, she wears a dark green Inverness-style coat with an added hood, while a large domino-style mask covers the upper half of her face (but narrows down and slides under her hair on the sides and back). Her pixie-cut hair is no one color, as it seems to shift between various flower shades that are connected to her mood; usually it's a fairly mellow color, but in the occasional fight it might end up a brighter shade.
These heroes sometimes fight alongside the other Barnstormers, but are a bit more independent, and don't necessarily make a habit of making it to team meetings or all the fights. Thus, Maverick and Thresher have classified them as "Reserve" members, though none among the Core members question the power or heroism of these fine people!
Sidewinder bears a sleek battlesuit in his fight against the forces of evil, moving across the skies at incredible speeds! He calls Wichita, Kansas his home, though he's just as often patrolling the state's capital of Topeka.
Casey Jones is a man built like a truck and stronger than a train, his powers making him a paragon not unlike the legendary Centurion. The hero dressed in a fanciful version of a train engineer's outfit of old makes his home in Illinois, though he tends to be seen more in Springfield, as Chicago typically has a hero or two focusing just on its defense.
Mantis is a polite woman who happens to bear the ability to call forth swarms of insects virtually anywhere; she uses these powers to help stem damage from locust hordes and other similar troubles across the Midwest. Of course, she's often fighting crime in Little Rock, Rogers, or one of the other scattered cities of any notable size in Arknsas.
Captain Dakota flies about North and South Dakota fighting against evil with his mighty strength and his shining light-based powers. His colorful costume and shiny powers hide his shame at being a second-generation demon who decided to fight on the side of angels, stealing an ancient, hellish artifact in the process of fleeing to a remote section of the USA.
Shieldmaiden is the daughter of one of the eldest Valkyries, long ago frozen into stasis in a grand battle, and now revived to fight the forces of chaos and Ragnarok here on Midgard! This lady weapons master makes her home in Minnesota, among the descendants of the Vikings she once fought beside.
Base, Mission, Purpose
Base of Operations
Some would say the base for the Barnstormers is more befitting a random mad scientist than a team of superheroes. Others would say it's oddly isolated. Thresher says it's conveniently located, and they don't have to worry about weather chipping the paint. Most missile silos are further west and north, but there are a few a bit closer to the heart of America. In this case, it was a facility designed to launch a series of successively more advanced missiles whose purpose would primarily be the temporary disabling of the high-end USSR supers who would be flying to intercept it. The missile itself was dismantled in the late 80's due to the changing times, and the silo was cleared out, leaving a metal-and-concrete husk behind.
Years later, Thresher, as Richard Blake, purchased it and began renovating on the sly, with a few tips from Raven and Daedelus in the Freedom League. Slowly it transformed into an elaborate operating base. It has living quarters for about 20 people long-term, with short-term shelter options for a couple hundred (one never knew when you'd need a tornado shelter in the Midwest), as well as plenty of cooking, relaxation, and entertainment space. There is a standard gym, one equipped with high-powered equipment to challenge those with superhuman strength, and even a primitive simulation room for basic team exercises. The whole place is fully wired with an incredibly secure bank of servers giving them more processing power than they need (and constantly updated, approximately every 3 years, by Thresher and Sidewinder). A meeting room gives the team a place to plan how they'll tackle a problem, doubling as a place to easily communicate with groups like the Freedom League and various state authorities. A few prep rooms give the team a place to change into costumes, or repair/replace them, before a mission. And the central shaft houses the launch elevator for the team's high-end jet (practically a requirement for super-teams these days).
All in all, it's remote enough to avoid trouble, but close enough to a couple of cities to keep the team well-connected. And it's well-stocked enough some of them live there part-time.
Team Origins and Mission
The team began with a partnership between Maverick and Thresher to bring down a particularly nasty gang, but the idea for it to be more than just a dynamic duo was all Maverick. He realized that the morale of the Midwestern supers needed the boost that a high-profile hero team could provide. It was time the Flyover States showed they could produce heroes of the same caliber as the Coasts. It was all friendly, of course, and Maverick still has only the highest of respect for both the League and the Champions (not that he doesn't engage in some good-natured ribbing now and again).
Stormchaser and Stanchion were the next two recruits, with Brand coming about a year after that, and Granary and Aquifer coming on at about the same time (and thus ending up training together). The various Reserve members trickled in over the years, with Captain Dakota being the newest recruit, and (on the flip side) Sidewinder nominally having joined before Brand (and having helped construct their base).
These days, the Core members are almost always active on missions, though rarely are all 7 of them at one site, either because there are multiple disasters, or they have other obligations. The Reserve members typically attach themselves if either their specific skills/powers are needed, or the issue is near their "turf".
All in all, the Barnstormers are a successful, respected group of crime-fighters who get even more practice dealing with disaster relief and mitigation, enough that they sometimes work with UNISON on projects outside the US borders, though typically not for long. All of them love their homes, and the greater area they protect. For some it's Flyover Country, but for them, there's just No Place Like Home.
Concept and Purpose
This team was conceived (way back when) out of a desire to see more heroes not only from, but in, the Midwestern United States of America. I wanted to make a cool, competent team that could handle both super-crime and natural disasters. Most of them are elementals for this very reason. They can calm storms, reduce the impact of droughts, beat back wildfires, that sort of thing. They're not perfect, and there's not an infinite number of them. Bad things still happen. But they're heroes, they're there to help, and it helps.
Thresher is because every team needs a Cowl.
Maverick's sort of inspired by the mayor of my hometown (Kansas City, at least at the timethis team was thought up), primarily my thought that if nothing else he has an awesome voice and I'd totally love a hero with that voice leading a team. Also the name Maverick is awesome, and a smiling, savvy luck controller leader is a nice touch. He doesn't have Edge's crazy reality-warping, so he can play things smart. He's the guy who nudges the metaphorical (and literal) dice in your favor, all while having a crazy plan that's just so crazy it might work.
This team is meant to be used by anyone, so feel free! Don't job them or fridge them, but otherwise feel free to use one, some, or all of them. They're all supposed to be PL10, because they're covering something like half the USA by area (even if some of the big cities have a couple heroes lounging around in them). These folks know what they're doing, but they're all open and friendly and ready and willing to help. Y'all come back 'round these parts, y' hear?
Suggested Builds (With Tweak Suggestions)
Maverick: AA's Luck Controller With A Gun, albeit with some heavy tweaks. No autofire on the gun, drop leaping entirely, speed down to 1, and use the freed-up points to buy stuff like Inspire and such.
Thresher: AA's Costumed Detective, no tweaks needed.
Stormchaser: Gizmo's Rainbow Dash build. No tweaks.
Brand: AA's Fireman build, no real tweaks.
Stanchion: AA's Terrakinetic build, no real tweaks.
Aquifer: AA's build for Nina; drop the Vampiric attack and make that a Move Object: Water power with as much range as possible (to pull water up from underground).
Granary: AA's build for Walkabout, no real tweaks needed.
Sidewinder: AA's build for Avro Arrow, maybe a few tweaks to make him smarter, but otherwise fine.
Casey Jones: AA's Regenerating Paragon build, no real tweaks.
Mantis: Trollthumper's Animal Controller, but focused on insects and arachnids, not birds.
Captain Dakota: AA's Demon with a Power Ring build, no real tweaks needed.
Shieldmaiden: AA's Zorro build, but if possible shifted to no tradeoffs on Attack/Damage, since she's more about power. Heck, no Defense/Toughness tradeoff either, but with some of the Toughness and Defense tied up in 1-2 devices for "shield and armor".