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Found 9 results

  1. Continued from >The End of the Beginning   Earth-M-Lucas-1 Young Freedom left the grim darkness of an Erde morning and found themselves beneath a blue, sunny sky. They were in a clean, well-maintained alley in what was clearly downtown Freedom City: the trashcans all had their lids, none of the windows were broken, and there was no sign of Nazis. Visible to their left was the Pyramid Plaza, the triple towers rising high against the clear morning sky, the American flag flying high overhead. For a moment, anyway, those of them not familiar with other dimensions could think they'd all gone home. That was, at least, until the black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am came roaring down the street opposite, and the first blasting sounds of funky disco came their way from its overpowered speakers. Outside, the streets of Freedom City looked to be pulled from the pages of the 1970s seen through a warped modern lens: men with elaborate mustaches and half-open shirts that showed off their hairy chests walked alongside ladies in brightly-colored wide-hemmed bell-bottoms, over their heads computerized billboards advertising a too-young Farrah Fawcett starring in the latest Michael Bay movie. The streets were certainly more diverse than they'd last seen, with muscular black men with magnificently coiffed hair in the company of ladies with impressive afros: indeed, from the lady speaker on the corner calling for equal rights for all men and women to the hippies playing in the park, it looked as if someone had gone around and collected as many oppressed minority groups as they could and dropped them on the funky streets of Freedom City. Suddenly, a startled exclamation came as a policeman walking by the alley spotted the quintet of dimension-lost heroes. In a hammy Irish stage accent that nonetheless sounded all too real, he exclaimed, "It's...it's...oh mother of Mary, it's Counter Freedom!" He took out his whistle and blew it as hard and loud as he could. "I knew you crazy criminals would be back one day!" he called, whipping out his gigantic belt radio as he backed away from the teens. "You just stay back! The Freedom League will set you whippersnappers right!"
  2. It was a very busy day in Gina's lab! Sure, it was almost Christmas, but crime didn't take holidays, so neither did the people who supported the crimefighters! And what was Jack of all Blades going to do if she didn't finish his electrogauntlets before Zappo, the Energy Beast from the Fifth Dimension, found his way back from the space maze he'd been thrown into? Not to mention Victory's upgraded foot servos, the ones that would let him leap tall buildings in a single bound without needing to expend energy by flying! What if Santa Claus was endangered this year and someone needed to leap to the rooftops to save him? Right now though, she was stuck on the phone with her superior at ArcheTech Labs, delaying all her work for yet another conversation on monster-proofing the labs after the last ransacking by Froggenstein. "Yes sir," she murmured into the phone, "but if it could just... yes..." Her voice got even quieter as she held onto the phone with both hands. "Yes sir, of course. It'll be done by New Year's. Yes... yes... yes, of course. I understand. Merry Christmas." She hung up the phone with a sigh, massaging her temples with her fingertips. That was the worst thing about being an engineer for heroes. Having to work with strong-willed people and never being able to stand up to them, even when they were wrong. If only she had more courage! That was a foolish hope, though. Gina wasn't a brave person, and she certainly wasn't a bold person. She couldn't even bring herself to speak to the handsomest hero, the one with the most beautiful blue eyes, the most stunning smile... Whenever he was around, her mind went blank and she could barely work, let alone socialize. It wasn't as though he'd ever noticed, anyway, she reminded herself. She was the perfect support technician, competent and as good as invisible. Heroes looked at heroines, not at plain, shy women in lab coats. And it wasn't as though she begrudged Freedom City's heroes and heroines their glory; they worked hard for it! They kept the city safe by putting themselves in harm's way, day in and day out, and they deserved the applause they got. Sometimes she just wished there might be a smidgen of a curtain call left over for others at the end of the day. Speaking of the end of the day, it had come and was long gone into the evening by the time Gina finished her work for the day. She didn't mind, work was her life after all, and there was no one waiting in her boxy little apartment for her to come home. Besides, when everyone else had gone home, she could concentrate on her own project... Slipping out of the lab, she walked down the hall to an unused storage room, one she'd secured with an unbreakable combotron lock. Opening it up, she slipped inside and turned on the lights. There, gleaming softly under the fluorescent bulbs, was the realization of all her dreams, a red, white and blue chassis with the face of a beautiful woman and the power of a superhero. Her chance to be a hero, her chance to be noticed! Working quickly, Gina tugged off her lab coat and rubber soled shoes, and climbed into the robotic suit. It was a snug fit, but in moments, she was totally covered by the suit, her own movements directing it in how to move and where to go. "Hello, world," she said experimentally, the words coming out a dulcet purr from the robotic throat. She smiled, and in the mirror on the far wall, she saw the robot suit emulating the motion. It was working! Gina Evans, mild-mannered engineer, was gone, at least for the night, and in her place was the beautiful superheroine, Miss Americana!
  3. Stepping smoothly out of the Pitchoo and onto the Claremont campus, Trevor was struck both by the genius of the airship's design and the absurdity of its aesthetics. At some point he was going to have to get Chris to introduce him to the craft's engineer, but for the time being, the brightly clad teenager seemed to be in a singular hurry, taking off again as soon as his passengers had disembarked. As the speck of green disappeared into the distance, Trevor regarded Eve out of the corner of his eye. --I believe we had a deal,-- he mentally sent to the telepath, the texture of his thoughts mild but steady.
  4. Chris had gone to the fledgling HQ he and Liz were constructing, just to make sure she was OK. But now it was evening, there were things he wanted to find out. Landing the Pitchoo in the Claremont grounds, he wandered out in his jeans and a t-shirt emblazoned with the Raven logo. He headed towards Duncan Summers' office, hoping that he was in. This is... going to be an odd conversation. But I need to get some questions answered, or I'll be kicking myself. Cautiously, he rapped on the door with his knuckles. "Sir, are you in there?"
  5. And then the kids were elsewhere. They were gone from the false reflection of Freedom Hall, standing instead on the lawn of the Lucas family house, standing among the rubble of the battlefield that had killed Mark just a few hours earlier. Except he was alive, standing there amid the group of teens, and Rick and a shell-shocked looking Martha were standing there just a few yards away. "Dad!" Mark broke from the crowd and ran to his father, just as Martha called her husband's name and ran to him. But even as they did so, the teens saw the black, inky shapes beginning to break away from Rick, flaring up into invisibility like rising soap bubbles as they left his body to flare upwards and vanish in the sky. "I'm sorry, I can't stay," he was apologizing over his family's pleas, arms around Mark and Martha both as he slowly, inexorably vanished elsewhere, some place beyond even James's dimensional vision. "The universe can't survive two reality warpers, not and let humanity keep its freedoms." He hugged Martha. "I'll see you again soon. I promise. I love you so much, heart of my heart..." He hugged Mark, his body now so thin as to be translucent. "I love you, Mark." He pulled back, on the edge of vanishing. "You've always been my hero, Mark! Always!" And with that, with a single, devastated cry from Mark's mother as she collapsed into her son's arms, Rick Lucas was gone.
  6. Flashes of ionic energy propelled the young heroes to an all-too-familiar place; the spots on the sidewalk where they'd watched Mark Lucas die just a few hours earlier. If time itself hadn't changed, that is. The Lucas house was a quiet, peaceful place in an idyllic neighborhood, just as it had always been in the real world for the heroes who'd visited there. An unfamiliar old man, looking as old as Trevor's grandfather in the real world, clad in a sweater-vest and bow-tie was trimming the hedges of the house next door, humming an amiable tune as he worked. There was no sign of the horrific events that had happened in this place earlier today, but of all the places in Freedom City, why would there be?
  7. A wall of black, whirling dots of ink exploded over everything, battering through James' dimensional barrier an instant after sweeping away the whole world around it. And then... - James Prophet woke up to the gentle beeping of his compu-alarm, the whirring of his electro-bed a gentle reminder of the very pleasant way he'd fallen asleep. He sat up wearily, listening to the hum of the stabilizers that kept his flying saucer in orbit of Earth. Rising to his feet, he caught sight of his face in a reflective surface of polished metal and paused. Wasn't that right? He was Hell-Ion, the half-blooded son of the crown prince of Lucifer-1, the biggest planet in the Antares system whose inhabitants had evolved red skin and ionic-wielding powers to protect themselves from the sun's red radiation. But he'd sided with his mother's people, not his father's, and become the guardian of the planet he'd once hoped to invade. Was that right? No. No, because when he looked in the mirror, he saw who he was. He was James Prophet, prince of Hell. This other life was patchy, with elements of his backstory hard to recall exactly, as if no one had ever bothered to write the story down completely, but he could remember his lives enough to know which one was real. - "Raven." Chris Kenzie woke up in a sitting position, peering through his mask at a very familiar face. His adopted father, Duncan Summers, was looking down at him with one of his characteristic indulgent smiles. "You fell asleep in costume again." Poking him lightly with his cane, he said, "Get upstairs and get some breakfast before your mother has my hide." The laughing acrobat was soon on his feet, running up the steps of the Ravencave to join his adopted mother, Jasmine Summers, for a hearty bacon and eggs breakfast. It was over breakfast, sitting with his new family and laughing and talking, that he caught sight of his face in one of Jasmine's highly polished plates. And the new life suddenly half-melted, as fast as it had come. He could remember patches; his adoption, his home, his family with Duncan and Jasmine, but other things were less sure, as if they'd been changed in an awfully fast hurry. He was Chris Kenzie, Geckoman, and he remembered that much with perfect clarity. - Erin fell thirty feet, landing on her feet in a lush, luxurious lawn. Coming to her senses, she realized she was standing beside the old Freedom Hall, the massive old mansion that had stood there before the Terminus Invasion and had once been the headquarters of the Freedom League. The sound of traffic was loud in her ears. Peering through the giant hedge between her and the street, she saw a scene like something out of an old movie; classic cars, men in suits, and women in needleskirts and pillbox hats that reminded her of pictures of Jackie Kennedy. But she hadn't traveled in time, she saw, not when she saw a young man walking along and listening to his iPod. The last thing she remembered was the end of everything. - Trevor Hunter woke up with a feeling of great loss, the way he always did on the anniversary of his parents' deaths. But Travis was there to comfort and steady him, as always, the greying-haired champion of justice a rock as they carried flowers to the graves of Ted Hunter and Janet Pryce-Hunter. Behind them was Margery, his grandfather's never-failing secretary, who'd stayed young and vital as long as Travis had thanks to their infusions of the Infinity Formula Midnight had taken from Wilhelm Kantor. It was raining just a little, enough that the smooth, polished marble reflected Trevor's face back at him as he and his grandfather recited the oath they'd taken to avenge any unjust killings like those that had taken his father and Travis' son. And it was then he remembered that his parents were alive. They'd abandoned him for Paris, left him in the care of an old man who lived alone, his favorite secretary long since dead. Patchy as the false life was, he could remember details of it, but there was no doubt in his mind about which story was which. He was Midnight II...but not this Midnight II. - Eve woke up as her cousin threw a pillow at her face. "Eeeeve! Wake up! Wake up you silly sleepyhead!" Faith gave her a big raspberry. "You'll be late for your recital!" "Fine, fine," grumbled Eve, who'd never been a morning person. She slid out of bed, headed for the bathroom, and started brushing her teeth. She looked in the mirror, saw the toothbrush blocking her mouth, and remembered. She was the hottest teen musician in Freedom City, she was a powerful psychic teen hero, she had a cute boyfriend with a nice smile. But that was a lie, wasn't it? She was Sage, and she remembered everything.
  8. It was a quiet Memorial Day weekend around Freedom City, one quiet enough that many of Freedom City's superheroes (including its teenage contingent) went out of town to visit their families over the weekend, or go elsewhere with their families to enjoy the long weekend. Claremont Academy was hosting a barbecue for the kids who had no place to go, but there were plenty of other things to do in and around campus. Until, that is, the emergency alert went off: it rang first for the members of Young Freedom, jangling through the communicators they all carried, but then it began beeping frantically all across campus. This was a school emergency, requiring the attention of many of the teenage heroes at Claremont who weren't affiliated with Young Freedom. The Freedom Leaguer Siren had been visiting campus for the holiday, perhaps to visit her old friend Duncan Summers, and she quickly took charge of the emergency. "Everyone who can help, follow me! If you can't get yourself quickly, find a teleporter, flier, or speedster, and follow the distress call." She took out her League transponder and fiddled with it quickly, her scientist's fingers moving fast over the hand-sized piece of high technology. "If you have to get there on your own, use League coordinates 08401-08406. That'll put you in Ashton, right at...oh, by the loa, it's Rick Lucas' house." Siren had been on the old Freedom League; the ageless beauty had been there since the 1960s. She knew Rick Lucas, the former mascot-cum-junior member of the Silver Age League, and of course his son, Claremont student Mark Lucas, very well indeed. "Quickly now!"
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