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Freedom League Special Circumstances Housing


Electra

Freedom League Special Circumstances Housing (or FLSCH) is in the Cline Building, a sixteen-story Art Deco-style apartment tower located in Lincoln in south Freedom City. Originally built as a hotel during a brief regional economic boom in the 1920s, the brick and terracotta structure had the great misfortune to open its doors in October of 1929 just before the Great Crash. Nearly abandoned by lawful tenets, what had been hoped to be a temple to commerce and capitalism in Freedom's biggest African-American neighborhood became a white elephant occupied by numbers rackets, unemployed squatters, and other desperate people during a very desperate time. Hope appeared in 1940, when Katharine Cline, the building's original architect (and the heroine Sea Hawk), used her family's wealth to buy the building, planning to begin its restoration. Though Cline's disappearance in 1941 meant the building's renaissance was short-lived, her detailed last will and testament (executed after she was declared legally dead in 1948) meant that a trust kept the property intact throughout the postwar boom of the 1940s and beyond.

However, the Cline Trust was in trouble: the rise of the postwar economy supplanted the Cline shipyards now that Katharine was no longer there to watch them, and sometimes big chunks of the building lay vacant, ripe for occupation by everyone from the Tick-Tock Doc to a Terminus cult just before the invasion of '65. When the Cline Trust went bankrupt in the early 1970s after its investments were destroyed in the wake of the Grue Invasion of '68, the decaying building was donated to the Freedom League, a common fate for abandoned property in Freedom City. It might simply have been torn down to make way for new housing complexes (the fate of many old buildings in Lincoln), but intervention by the local heroes on the Freedom League, especially the Black Avenger, raised enough money to keep the grand old Cline intact, and even to rebuild it to some shadow of its former glory.

But the Cline's troubles weren't over. The building's turbulent history began its biggest downturn in the 1980s when the building was seized (through some shady legal dealings by a corrupt city official) and sold to a coalition of Jersey City businessmen who had plans for the property: the Cline became a center of organized crime once again, this time renting rooms to out-of-town supervillains and major figures in organized crime who had an interest in the free-and-easy (if you greased the right palms) life in Moore-era Freedom City, no questions asked. The building was the scene of several major super-battles between FORCE OPS andR.I.O.T., and by 1993 when the Terminus Invasion of 1993 swept through the area it was once again abandoned and actually slated for demolition even before groundquakes shook it to its foundations and Omegadrones tore through the building.

Once again, a hero came to the building's aid: the newly-awakened Dr. Metropolis took a special interest in the Cline and used his powers to rebuild it entirely, restoring it not to its original state, but to the apartment complex it had once been in the late 1940s when it had been full of eager young veterans and their families; as Metropolis put it “When the building itself was happiest.” With a little help from the Raven (who tracked down the building's sole surviving owner and made sure that he transferred title back to the Freedom Leagueas part of a larger deal to avoid prosecution), the Cline's future looked assured: the problem was, no one wanted to live there. The people of Lincoln were busy rebuilding their own homes and lives, and an old building with a reputation for bad luck and secret criminal lairs wasn't terribly attractive to normal tenants.

The first tenants to stay in the new Cline Building were the Kirlees, a family of refugees from the Terminus Invasion, prole escapees from Nihilor who had nowhere to go now that the doorway to their home was closed forever. Originally put there on an emergency basis, the Kirlees were joined a few months later by the crew of a Lor scouting craft, put up in temporary Earth accommodations while they waited for pickup from home. By the mid-1990s, what had begun as an ad hoc shelter for refugees had become a permanent project for theFreedom League, a place to put castaways in time, space, and dimension who had no one to take them in even in the bright and shining world of Freedom City. Most people in the neighborhood are aware that the Cline has special tenants, but despite some outrageous incidents over the years, they keep the area fairly crime-free and the stipend from the Freedom League means the FLSCH cases always have money to spend at nearby businesses. By the mid 2010s, things are looking pretty good for the hard-luck apartments in the sky.

11 of the Cline's sixteen stories are currently in use by the League for housing; the first floor belongs to the anchor businesses like Harry's Barbershop and Rick Fox's small Internet cafe, the third and fifth floors are given over to power systems and other super-climate controls intended to keep visitors from more exotic places healthy and happy, while the top two floors remain largely unoccupied and are kept open on a semi-permanent basis for emergency housing in serious crises. New arrivals can expect to be assigned anything from studio apartments to three-bedroom family suites based on their needs, as well as a small stipend from the League to help pay for necessities and to get them back on their feet while they take life skills classes also offered by the League. Cline residents are not required to work (some of them lack the mental or physical ability to hold down a job among mundanes) but the League does offer a variety of night classes and takes pains to maximize the quality of life for residents.

Several hundred people currently live in the Cline, some having been there since the early 90s and others new arrivals. Families have begun there; children have been born and raised there to people born a thousand years and million miles apart. The League does their best to separate people with incompatible backgrounds as much as space inside the building allows; keeping apart free Grue and Lor refugees, Terminus refugees and their free Omegadrone, castdown Olympians and their victims. Sometimes, as with Heliopolitans and their minders, they make sure that particular individuals stay close together. Unaccompanied juveniles are housed on the Claremont campus rather than at the Cline.

The Cline has a small lending library on the first floor, a barbershop, a Goodwill store, an interfaith chapel, a laundromat, and several other small businesses; there are also several small commercial areas in the neighborhood outside catering to both locals and the Cline population. The heroes Set and Sekhmet, among others, currently live in FLSCH.




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