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Found 9 results

  1. Fall 2018 The morning after Things were...tense in the steel mill, or maybe it was Anna's imagination. She certainly felt tense - which wasn't the usual way she felt the morning after. She was in the Christmas fuzzy pajamas that she'd brought with her, a gift from her grandkids at the end of the last year. They were full-length and covered her from neck to ankle, but she'd already shown Nicola how quickly she could be out of them if so inclined. She curled her hands around her morning tea and commented quietly, "So...I suppose yer wonderin' who Bryant is." Bryant's name had come up the night before - in a context when if she'd been saying anyone's name, it really should have been Nicola's. "
  2. Fall 2018 The invasion was over, Freedom City was rebuilding and moving on with its life - even if most people had thought that life was going to come to an end. High Steaks had taken some minor structural damage during the fracas, not enough to shut the place down, but enough that keeping a regular movement of engineers, construction workers, and their equipment away from the tourists was just one of the many bits of sleight of hand that made life at the High Steaks interesting. At least until today. "Peter broke through with his pickax," commented Miranda, the tall, rangy Italian-American woman wearing the same orange hardhat and safety gear as the rest of her men. "If he hadn't had his line on him, he'd have fallen in-" She and Diamondlight were standing together at the edge of the substantial sinkhole that had once been the bottom of his lowest underground parking garage, her headlamp only partially illuminating the substantial cavern that the collapse had uncovered. Down below, they could make out other stonework that looked manmade - and definitely something more glittering than stone. Going down there would be quite a gamble. "You want me to call the Freedom League, boss?" - It took Baxter some time to realize that the music was coming from the armor, still tucked away where he'd put it. He recognized the sound; the old Nokia that his uncle had wired into the suit a lifetime ago still worked and the suit probably still had enough power to make it work. But why would anyone be calling it? It had _not_ been part of the numbers he'd given out - but then, he hadn't always been the one in the suit...
  3. August 1, 2016 Port Regal The Cline Residence Waiting had been the hardest part. The cancer, slowly eating away at the elderly Bryant Haliday, occasional moments of lucidity amid pain and fatigue. For the decades they'd spent apart, this last gasp of mortality had swept all the Clines together for the last few months of Bryant Haliday's life. Even Anna Cline, who'd spent fifty years angry at the man who had impregnated her, abandoned her, and then escaped into madness, had reconciled with Bryant at the end. She was with him on the last night, a night when Richard, Paige, and Will were home in bed with their memories. When the house phone rang, Richard and Paige woke up almost simultaneously. Richard rolled over and picked it up, guessing correctly who was on the line - and why she was calling. He reached over and squeezed Paige's hand as he heard his mother's voice - but she felt confusion from him like a backwash of the growing wave of grief, the two emotions mixing together. "He...what? Ma, you're not making sense, what-" He hung up the phone, blinking back sleep, and rolled out of bed for his clothes. "Something happened there, with Bryant. I gotta go."
  4. Thanksgiving 2015 Freedom City Things were changing in the Cline household. Will was dating a nice girl out in California, a very pretty UCLA cheerleader and aspiring athletic trainer named Stormy Allen. The Clines had met the Allens, a lovely couple who worked in the back office of the Los Angeles Clippers, a few weeks earlier and it had been a very pleasant conversation. Stormy came from a big family, with three older brothers and two younger sisters, and so she'd invited Will to her traditional family Thanksgiving. He'd said yes - a big moment for Will and his relationship with this girl! This meant it was the first Thanksgiving for the Clines without the company of their oldest son. It was hard - but one thing about having a lot of hero friends was that they never had to be entirely without company. Richard was up first, as usual, especially thanks to all the work Paige had been doing the night before. His morning run took him around eastern New Jersey and almost to Baltimore before he came jogging back with coffee and doughnuts, about the time he saw the light coming on in Holly's room from outside. Holly had been getting up earlier too lately - just like her dad.
  5. Criminal Carter Bay, Florida, Terra One week before the Battle of Kesteven 79; Lor Timemark 1329.7 "Whaddya mean what do I want you to do with 'em?! They came to my son's house!" Anna knew she was screaming, and she knew she sounded like an old woman when she screamed, but for once in her life she didn't care. She'd tried for weeks to reach Basil after the fighting in Freedom City during the Communion incursion; and only now, pacing back and forth so fast she was burning through yet another bedroom rug, had she finally gotten ahold of her old friend. "They tried to kill my grandson! They tried to put their filthy stinking hands on my little baby granddaughter! I want them dead! I want their whole goddamned organization dead and buried in a goddamned hole in the ground!" Basil let her rant, like a good friend should, knowing what Clock Queen was like in a righteous temper. When she was finished, Basil broke in gently. "I'll do whatever is in my power to help you, my dear Anna." His voice was warm and soothing, the perfect veteran musician's calm, even tones. "I am not soley responsible for composing their fate, but I think I can persuade even their backers to dance to my tune for a while. But the question remains, Anna, what will you do for me in return?" His tone was serious, but almost apologetic, the same way he might have asked for repayment on money she'd borrowed from him back in the day - which now that she thought about it had happened more than once. "Certain things have never been tolerated in our organization - but of course we're talking about a third party. If I'm to move against them, I need to be sure that you can move with me the next time I need a favor." Anna put her head against the wall, palm flat against the bright green wallpaper of her retirement bungalow, and thought about her old friend's words, even as not for the first time recently she felt a great wave of unaccustomed fatigue. "Listen, Basil, I...I promised my boy I wouldn't get back in the League, and I meant it. It's important to him - and you know nothing's more important to me than family." She opened her eyes and caught sight of herself in the mirror across the hall. Jeez - look at me! Eighty years old, and she looked like a healthy woman in her fifties - a woman who was going to spend a long, long life right here in this bungalow if she chased Basil away right now. He'd better be right about the white noise blocking the line here. "But a deal's a deal. If you need a favor, a real favor...gimmie a call. I'm yours."
  6. Clock Queen Clock Queen, aka Anna Cline, was a notorious criminal in Freedom City from the mid-1950s through the early 1980s. A founding member of the Crime League that bedeviled the first incarnation of the Freedom League, Clock Queen evolved from spunky teenage thief to veteran super-criminal (with her own legacy in her teenage partner Tempus Fugitive, now the hero Fast-Forward) before going away for twenty years in the wake of a failed theft and battle with the Freedom City police in 1981. Long retired from crime, her powers have kept her healthy (if not young) and she has retired to Bowlegs Bay, a south Florida community that has sheltered many retired super-criminals. History Anna Cline's brush with history began when she was just a little girl, child of a German-American family living in Hanover. At six years old, she was too young to really understand Pearl Harbor was, only that her parents were very sad and her older brother Charlie was talking about enlisting in the service, and he was fighting with Mama and Papa about that. When she ran outside to get away from the arguments, she ran straight into a glowing flash of light and a man who appeared out of nowhere (who immediately rocketed into the air and away) that she later learned was Dr. Tomorrow's time machine. The collision with the time machine (so small that Tomorrow himself never noticed) irradiated the little girl, infusing her growing body with chroniton particles. But it was years before she learned that, years before her powers manifested. Those were bad years. Charlie died at Guadalcanal and her parents never got over it - her father disappeared into his work and her mother disappeared into the bottle. While the other little girls grew up listening to the Lady Liberty Hour or wearing homemade Siren costumes, Anna found herself coming to resent the shining beacons of morality that everyone loved who hadn't been able to save her brother from death or her family from loss. She cut school and she smoked, and got into fights with other girls, and wound up in reform school from fourteen to sixteen. She got herself out by hard work, though, and by the time she was sixteen things were starting to get better at home. Until her powers developed. Anna tried petty theft at first, feeling guilty until she realized just how free she really was. No more worrying about the look on Papa's lined face or the stink of the bottle on Mama! After a few misadventures, she joined up with Troublemakers, Inc - the last great supervillain team of the 1950s, where she learned about how to pull a real heist with class and panache, how to fight with swords and humiliate the cops and what few supers were still around before running away, laughing. She became Calendar Girl - pretty, young, and in love with the fun of crime. She didn't laugh when she met Midnight for the first time, though, the terrifying figure looming up at her in the shadows one night - instead she ran away at her maximum speed, terrified of the grim costumed avenger! Suddenly this didn't seem fun anymore. She ran faster than she knew - so fast that she skipped nearly a half-decade, vanishing from the mid-1950s and reappearing in the early 1960s. It was a new era now, and she was going to make a new life for herself. Once she figured out exactly what had happened, she ran home - only to find a crater there. In the recently ended invasion, a giant monster, something called a Skolopendra, had stepped on her parents house and killed them both instantly. The heroes hadn't quite stopped it in time. She ran into the night, but this time found a friend; her old friend Brian Nisbet was still active as the Bee-Keeper, still in his old lair, and delighted to see the girl he'd given up for dead or straight! She pulled a few jobs here and there, coming to the attention of August Roman and the new Crime League, but she found a partner for the first time in Bryant Halliday, a friend of Brian's who shared her amused contempt for superheroes and who was also very rich, and very handsome. Calendar Girl and Doc Holiday partnered up for a few months and everything was going swimmingly. Right up until she got pregnant; and Bryant ran out on her. After all, as he told her in the note he left behind, it wasn't Father's Day - how could he possibly be the father? She seriously thought about tracking Bryant down and maybe ripping something off him, but she was no killer; and doing wouldn't help the baby anyway. She pulled a few jobs, did a few favors for friends, and Calendar Girl disappeared for a while. About a year later, Clock Queen reappeared - Anna had traded her bathing suit costume for something more suitable to royalty, and somebody was watching her kid while she worked. She was a working mom now! Clock Queen was, by her own lights, a good mom. She was always there to help her boy when she needed it and she did anything for him, making sure he had a roof over his head, someone feeding him and taking care of him, always cheering him on whenever he tried anything. And she took him under her wing, making sure he grew up with the skills he needed to make it in the world. And she had to make sacrifices, too; sometimes partnering up guys who could help put a roof over the head meant partnering up with them in more ways than one. It was all for her little boy, even as he started to grow up into a man. She even made sure, thanks to frequent exposure to her, that he got powers! So what if little Dickie didn't go to school and didn't have anyone to tell him no? So what if she was teaching him how cool and glamorous it was to be a criminal and how you could only look out for yourself? And so what if he was getting high before he was fifteen; that stuff never really hurt anybody. She made sure he wasn't gonna get a girl pregnant by talking with him about using a rubber; she was pretty sure with their powers that was all she had to worry about. When he was old enough, a nice healthy fourteen, he joined his ma on the warpath as Tempus Fugitive to her Clock Queen. They had, by her reckoning, some damn good years. In 1981, after a disastrous battle in South Africa between the Crime League and the Jet Patrol, Clock Queen and Tempus Fugitive retreated back to Freedom City for a big score. Anna was getting older now, even if her powers kept her looking younger than forty-six, and she was thinking about settling down. If she got out of the game, Dickie could go be his own man, maybe try and impress that Psion girl's dad, start a real dynasty maybe! But it didn't work out that way - a battle with the increasingly violent Freedom City police ended when her son was shot in the stomach and held hostage in front of her, forcing her to surrender so they'd take him to the doctor. They both went to jail - Dickie, still a juvenile and a sad case with his bullet wound, got a couple years in juvie, but Anna herself got hard time, twenty years in lockup, and with no more Crime League to bail her out. She did every one of those twenty years. She got through twenty years of hard time in jail in the 80s and 90s by watching her back, making friends, and when push came to shove showing the new girls and the guards alike that she wasn't some street punk - she was a QUEEN. She thought about trying to bust out a few times, but honestly the world outside seemed pretty grim. Even the heroes were killers now and the crooks, well, they didn't even bear mentioning. Her boy and his girl were different, though, and she watched their adventures with a smile on her face. She escaped in 1993 during the Terminus Invasion (hiding in a bolthole of hers near Scotland) and tracked them down afterwards, only to find (to her disgust) that the experience had changed them. Her boy and his girl had gone straight now! Disgusted, she turned herself back in, but now found she was getting tired of jail. Good behavior got the escape penalty taken off her sentence, and when she heard she had a grandkid she decided it was time to go back to school. When she left jail in 2001, she had a GED and an associate's degree - and no idea what to do with herself. Luckily her boy intervened at this point; Richard helped her find a job with a company that hired ex-supervillains looking to go straight and for a few years she played it cool, making quick deliveries for big companies and also finding the occasional stash she'd hidden back in decades past, letting herself build up a tidy retirement sum. Back in 2010, she moved down to Florida to a little planned community in the Keys called Bowlegs Bay, a place of peace and quiet, where she can live in a cozy bungalow, visit her grandkids whenever her do-gooder daughter-in-law doesn't turn up her nose at the sight of her, and make passes at the handsome young men working at the pool or the tennis courts. It was a good life...but she's starting to get bored. Anna is 80 but looks like a healthy fifty. She's not worried about dying so much as she is about growing old, and she can't lie, that's happening now. She doesn't want to mess with the good thing her family and her grandkids have - but maybe there's room for one more big score. Powers In her day, Anna Cline was the fastest being on Earth - easily outpacing anyone on the Silver Age Freedom League. The fact that she was a pretty good, albeit self-taught swordsman, made her even more dangerous. She only rarely used her time-controlling powers as such, instead preferring to rely on raw speed and hilarious taunts aimed at the opposition. Luckily for the world, the time-traveling super-thief never really had a lot of ambition except to steal and have pretty things. She's lost a lot of speed in the intervening years, but she can still break the sound barrier pretty easily. Allies She loves her son and her grandkids - and even her daughter-in-law, Paige Cline. Her closest allies, though, are probably some of the old lags from the Crime League - some of whom have retired, others who are immortal, and a whole bunch who remember her with fondness from back in the day. She was particularly close to Maestro, now the "conductor" of the New Crime League. Timeline January 2014 Double Dutch Clock Queen pays a visit to Freedom City to help out after the 'murder' of Professor Psion - and takes the occasion to get to know the brand-new and much more attractive Set. June 2014: Can't Change Time - Rampart, Errant, and Clock Queen's grandson Thoughtspeed travel back to June 1981 and encounter Clock Queen just before the infamous Battle of Capetown.
  7. June 19, 2014  Waterfront, Freedom City   The evening patrol for the three young heroes had gone well - very well indeed. They were all on the rooftop of a closed fish market, watching down below as a small group of gangsters smoked cigarettes, cursed, and waited for their rendezvous. Word on the street was that a big player, maybe even a Crime League member, was going to arrive on the docks tonight to meet with the triad leaders below to discuss an upcoming deal - that meant that a savvy trio of young crime fighters could potentially catch some big fish tonight. Of course, that assumed everyone was going to show up.    It was a warm evening, at least by the standards of a New Jersey summer, with a warm breeze blowing in from the sea that made the air humid and slick against spandex uniforms. In their suits and ties below, the triad men didn't seem very happy either - one older man with a short white beard kept looking at his watch, while another with a shaved head was reassuring the others in a voice loud enough to carry up to the roof that "He'll be on time, don't worry, don't worry!", something that he seemed to find quite amusing. It wasn't a normal patrol, that was for sure; the air seemed pregnant with anticipation as dark clouds billowed in the eastern sky, as if a real storm was coming. Of course, if that happened their targets just might get back in their sports cars and head home. 
  8. GM January 19th, 2014 Freedom City   Fingers fly over a keyboard faster than the eye can see.    "Dear Set II? Set Jr?    This is Clock Queen, and it's high TIME we got together and talked about your old man. I'm in Freedom City right now and it's gloomsville around here. If you remember where the old Set put his stuff, you should meet me tonight at eight in the warehouse where the old Set kept that helicopter with the giant snake face. He really dug those snakes, hah-hah. Don't keep me waiting!   Your good friend, Clock Queen.    PS: Is it true you're just seventeen? BUMMER."    With the email message set, Anne Cline sat back in her son's house and sighed. She'd been in this house nearly a week now; Paige was grieving her father, Dickie was helping Paige, and the kids knew their parents were going ape without hardly knowing the reasons why. She'd come up immediately from Florida when she'd heard they needed help, and was glad to do it.    But it was sooooooo booooorrrriiiinnngggg. 
  9. A DC 20 Bluff check reveals that's not Samedi at all, but an imposter.   Initiative time!        Richard goes on 15+27=42       Samedi goes on 21        Clock Queen goes on 23+12=35
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