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Found 7 results

  1. May 1, 2013  Midtown Cafe    "It's okay, Mom, she'll be here," said Mark reassuringly, watching his mother nervously sketch human figures on the napkin. Even with a ballpoint pen on a cafe paper napkin, his mother's talent came through as Martha made the figures seem to dance and pace on the paper before her. "You know Erin, she's a very good friend, and she's always been there for me." The good cheer wasn't entirely false, but Mark was nervous, albeit not as nervous as his mother. When she'd called him and told him her work had put her on psychiatric leave, he'd heard the raw edge of tears in her voice, and even now that she'd calmed her voice and wiped her eyes, she was clearly pulled tight as a wire. When she'd told him _why_ she'd gone on leave, he'd gotten pretty tense too.    "...still can't believe they put me on leave after all the years I've given that company," Martha muttered in reply, her flowery sundress looking out of place in the Midtown cafe full of urban professionals. But then, his mom had always been a little out of place in the real world, embracing a lifestyle of the generation before her upon marrying her older husband. "Just because I criticized their golden boy, suddenly it's 'you need a break, Martha,' 'you need a vacation, Mrs. Lucas,' blah blah blah bunch of old hippies in their tie-dyed..." She made a hard scratch with the pen that actually tore the paper, then sighed, setting it down with an unhappy look before looking back at her son. "At least there's somebody in the world who still believes in me." They embraced over the table, and Mark said the only thing he could.    "I always believe in you, Mom." And he did. 
  2. Ashton June 7, 2011 A couple of days after the Claremont kids finally had their graduation, the general word went out in the superheroic community that Richard Milhouse Lucas, the long-time sidekick to the Freedom League back in the 1960s and 1970s, had perished in the line of duty. Rick had been a difficult man for many of his old friends to get along with in the last few years as his bitterness towards the current generation of superheroes grew, but he'd stayed in touch with everyone and always been there when they needed help. He'd regularly played host to various parties and fundraisers for that generation of heroes as they got older, using the celebrity he'd gained from his time with the League and his best-selling series of 'men's super-adventure novels' to help his old friends who'd never gotten a dime from their work stay financially comfortable even in retirement. He'd gone into seclusion some months earlier, and hadn't been seen much sense. Only a select few heroes personally associated with the Freedom League and the upper tier at Claremont knew about Rick's descent into madness after his son's short-lived death; what he'd done to rewrite the world and how he'd nearly abandoned it in disgust before giving his life to keep Omega from attacking it again. All superheroes invited to the service were invited to come in full costume, while in lieu of flowers Rick's testament asked that they donate to his son's alma mater: Claremont Academy. And now that a long life had come to an end, if too early for those who'd loved him, it was a time for the memorial service Rick had requested: a memorial service was all they could have, since his body was now somewhere beneath what had once been another version of Freedom City cast deep into the Zero Zone. At the Lucas house, Mark was studying himself in his bedroom mirror as he adjusted his suit and tie, trying to keep his emotions in check. Downstairs, his mom was entertaining Duncan Summers and his daughter Jasmine, the headmaster and his daughter being the first to show up for the service despite it being some time away. For Mark's part, after some consideration, he'd sent invitations out to all his schoolfriends, even those who he knew had had little use for his father while he was alive. If they didn't show, that was fine: he trusted them enough to know they wouldn't disrupt what the moment was about. It was about family...and when he thought about Young Freedom, he decided with a nod to his reflection, that meant they belonged there too.
  3. Continued from >There Won't Be A Next Time June 1st, 2011. 8:05 AM   Young Freedom missed graduation, but then again, so did everyone else. The ceremony had been postponed the minute the five young heroes had disappeared from view, for all that they'd reappeared only five minutes later on the other side of town with the broken chestplate of Omega's armor and a wild story to tell. There were debriefings to come, no doubt extensive ones that would exhaustively pour over every detail of the fight at the end of reality and all that had come before it: the death of the multiverse, the trip to four worlds, the appearance and disappearance of Rick Lucas, and finally the seeming destruction of the Lord of Entropy himself. But first, Bolt's speedy trip back to Freedom Hall after the reappearance of Travis, Martha, and Erin's cat on the Claremont lawn had meant the League teleporters were already working. By the time the Young Freedom kids had given their hasty explanations to the startled Captain Thunder and headed inside for their debriefing, their missing loved ones, even Quo-Dis who was holding a very familiar orange cat, were waiting for them inside. For their part, Mark and Martha took a look at each other, Mark's look confirming what Martha had already known, and they simply embraced, the moment too sharp, too painful, coming after too much overwhelming emotion even for weeping. "I'm proud of you, Mark," Martha whispered fiercely. "So very proud."
  4. Continued from >Noise of Thunder   Mark felt first a whiteness, pure and all-embracing, then terrible, all-encompassing blackness, as if a quiet non-existence had been replaced with the certain knowledge of absolute destruction. And then he was waking up, his face pressed to an unfamiliar wooden surface that it took him a bizarre second to recognize: he was pressed against not the floor, but the far wall of his mother's art studio, surrounded by the furniture, art supplies, and his mother's scattered colored pencils that had all evidently taken a hard spin to the left at some point when the local gravity had taken a hard turn in the wrong direction. Pulling himself to his feet, he gazed around a room cast sideways and lit with an eerie red glow from outside. He counted off with his eyes: Wander, Midnight, Cobalt Templar, Sage, Trevor's grandfather, even his mother, all of them cast askew by the warped gravity just as the room's contents had been. Ignoring the shuttered window for a moment, not to mention of seeing the whole world swept away into nothingness, Mark focused right on Martha. "Mom? Are you all right? What happened?" He couldn't quite keep the judgement out of his voice; he'd had good reason to be angry with his parents for a long time now! For her part, Martha was dusting herself off. "Oh, Mark..." She embraced him. "I'm so sorry it happened like this, and that I left the way I did...but I saw you'd be all right and I had to spend what time I could with your father. I don't know if you can forgive me...but because we're all here, it was for a good cause." She let out a breath. "Your father is waiting for us in the study. For all of us. He'll explain everything."
  5. As the sun began creeping over the horizon, Trevor Hunter was balanced on the gymnastic equipment on the Claremont campus, one booted foot perched on a balance beam while the other hovered in the air. His shirt hung nearby on a sawhorse next to an empty mug and his fedora as he remained perfectly still for a long moment before abruptly swinging down so that he was hanging upside down on by the same foot, hands shooting forward to grasp the next bean and vault him into an aerial somersault. Inwardly, he kept his mind studiously blank, concentrating solely on the exercise, the sheer physicality helping him achieve a crystalline clarity.
  6. 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.
  7. 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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