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  1. February 2019 Midnight Manor Loyal worker though she was, February was not exactly Aquaria's season for outdoor work. She could stand very cold water, but air was different and it was nearly freezing out there! So instead she was working in one of the Manor's big kitchens today, cleaning the hard-to-reach areas up on top of the cabinets, and cooking up steaks as she went. The fine fat fish she'd caught earlier that year was more than half her height and thick, and had been soaking for a whole day in big pots full of delicious-smelling things. Now things were cooking on the stove, and soon there'd be enough fish for herself, Jessie, and perhaps Trevor and Erin as well! They had been content to let her salt the fish and store it in their home for a while, her apartment with Jessie lacking the kind of space one needed to store significant quantities of really good fish. She had other reasons for wanting to talk to them too, especially when Jessie wasn't around. She sang to herself as she worked, hopping from foot to foot, and opened the front of her suit to smell the good things sizzling on the stove. She was in her suit for a variety of reasons, comfort when she went outside, and also so she didn't make too much of a mess in a place where Surfacers made their food. She knew what they sometimes thought of that, even though Jessie was typically too kind to say anything. They could be so fastidious!
  2. Did I never start an OOC for this? Shame, shame! I did promise some actual numbers - so @Gizmo, let's see a Tactics check from you. @Electra, you can take Erin's Notice for Skill Mastery (which may not be high enough), or you can roll it - with the caveat that it's what _all_ the Erins will roll.
  3. July 13, 2018 Midnight Manor Even now, Midnight Manor was one of the safest places in Freedom City. "Sea Devil and Singularity have made contact with Foreshadow. The plan is in motion." Redbird had been more subdued than usual lately - hadn't they all? Even with the evacuations the dead, wounded, and missing in Freedom City were four, maybe five figures; not to mention the heroes, no, the friends they'd lost. "Good." Through his radio link to the Manor, Harrier spoke with the slow, deliberate intonations of a man whose breathing came with difficulty. "Are you prepared?" He'd done his best to help them. They had a map of their destination, a rough sketch of its likely defenses, and more besides - Steve had stayed up all night, multiple nights, dictating to Redbird when Wander and Midnight had been deployed to the action. There was very little else he could do. While the others talked, Mark studied the screens showing the continued carnage of the fight in Freedom City - maybe it was all confined to an isolated few areas this time, maybe this was just touches of Hell on Earth instead of the real thing. He closed his eyes and thought of Nina and Richie, safely away from all this - unless all this spilled out over everything, and took them just like it had taken his friends in the DuTemps Building. When we get back here - I need to fix things.
  4. August 2, 2017 Freedom Medical Center Keeping things low-profile, as was the plan, meant that any image Mark had had of landing on the rooftop were quickly stifled by the reality of the need to look like any typical expectant family and friends arriving at the hospital late at night. Redbird dropped them off at the front doors and they headed inside, where the front desk attendant quickly directed them towards the secure elevator to the maternity ward. On the sixth floor. As the elevator ascended, an ominous rumble came from somewhere in the shaft - but Mark looked up and declared out loud, “No!” And with that, they continued to their destination, where as parents in labor but not particularly active labor, Mark and Nina were immediately handed a large pile of forms. Ready to walk around instead of wait, Nina handed them quickly to Mark. By the time they were about to head for their secure room, two visitors arrived. Iyar al-Iryani was the first of the extra guests to arrive, sweeping Nina up in a careful hug briefly stymied by another contraction. But Nina seemed to appreciate the company, and Iyar took her other hand. “Just think, Nina,” said Iyar with animation on her face. “Someday this day will be a holiday.” “You’re right,” said Nina, smiling at the thought. “This will be a good day - no, a great one.” “Thank you so much for all this,” Iyar said to Trevor and Erin, her accent notably thicker than her friend’s. “You will be remembered on this day.” She knew the Liberty League well enough to know who had planned all this. Exchanging a glance with Erin Trevor suggested, “Best left out of history books, maybe.” Having a commemorative plaque in their honor in some Socotran municipal park might be tough to explain down the line. Something reminiscent of a smile pulled at the corners of his mouth all the same. “Will settle for favourite American uncle.” Erin had stationed herself at the entrance to the elevator lobby, keeping an eye on the stairs and the banks of elevators all at once. She was close enough to hear the conversation, but far enough away from the action for comfort. Part of her job in the grand scheme of things had been screening content to show to Mark to keep him grounded in the reality of normal childbirth, and it had been… educational. Now that she was married and in her twenties, the idea of wanting children wasn’t nearly as foreign to Erin as it would’ve been even five years ago, but the getting of them was still a daunting proposition. “Yeah, aunt and uncle should work just fine.” “Oh, you guys…” Mark was close to tears, maybe because the moment was so emotional, maybe from fatigue, but Nina, still walking around, was articulate enough to say, “Thank you both so much. We owe you our lives, and so does our son, as soon as he makes his way out here…” Things got a little more complicated with the arrival of Martha Lucas, carrying a grandmother’s big bag of goodies over her shoulder and looking a little out of breath. Things weren’t exactly frosty between Mark’s mother and the rest of the Liberty League, but they weren’t quite friendly either - not with the lingering memories of what she’d done to Mark when he’d been in high school just before the barely-prevented end of the multiverse. But Mark had put those memories aside and obviously wanted his friends to do the same - especially today! Luckily they had this small suite of rooms and waiting room to themselves tonight - even in Freedom City, the metahuman wing of the hospital wasn’t so crowded in the dead of night when there wasn’t a major super-battle going on. Hot on Martha’s heels came Dr. Hussein, the Iraqi-born physician who was working as Nina’s primary ob-gyn. The hijab-wearing woman was no-nonsense and intimately familiar with all sorts of metahuman health issues, particularly maternal ones - she was exactly the kind of person Mark and Nina had been hoping to find. “All right, it’s time to go to work,” she said briskly. “Mother, let’s get you in your room - Father, we’re going to need you in just a few minutes…” Mark had been sitting his mother down and making sure she had her books and her sketchpad, now with Nina heading off to the delivery room, he found another moment for Erin and Trevor. “Okay, guys - I’ll keep you updated as much as I can. In another couple of hours, you’re going to meet my son!” He hugged Erin, and he hugged Trevor, and seemed to take a moment to gather himself, pushing aside his own nerves and jangling emotions for the support role he was going to play. “I’m gonna be a dad!” And with that, he headed off to join his wife in their hospital room! Nina and Mark had discussed their birth plan with Trevor and Erin ahead of time, just to make sure everyone knew what was what. Nina had intended to use an epidural and take her chances with a possible C-section, but strong painkillers and other sorts of sedatives usually made her powers unstable. That meant a natural birth, albeit one spent mostly in the tub full of warm water that Mark had practiced making until he could practically do it in his sleep. Since this was Nina’s first pregnancy, what that really meant for the people outside the delivery room was a lot of waiting as the hours of the late morning crept by into dawn, punctuated by occasional sounds from inside the room (mostly of Nina’s music, an Eritrean pop star she found soothing) and texted updates from Mark. Hours ticked by - not enough for it to actually be light outside but it was definitely thinking about it out there . Martha Lucas set aside the drawing of Mark and Nina she was working on and immediately dozed off in her chair. Iyar talked with Trevor and Erin about the refugee resettlement service where she volunteered - and then the lights flickered, just slightly, then again. Though they came back on, the effect was unsettling, especially when Erin and Trevor’s communicators both chimed with the fuzzy, static-heavy sound of Redbird’s voice. “<empora> <ncursio> <ospita>. <eav> <nterferenc>.”
  5. January 20, 2017 Port Regal "It's beautiful," said Mark, peering at the image Nina had found. "I love the lacework on the veil - and you've always looked good in white." Perhaps white wasn't the traditional color under the circumstances - but when he'd mentioned that the other day Nina had not been terribly happy with him. "I'll take you over as soon as we're done talking to everyone." Sitting next to his fiancee on their living room couch, he tried to keep his stomach from lurching with excitement as he remembered the purpose of the planned conversation. He'd kept Nina's secret because he loved her, but it had made January one of the hardest months of his life. "It's fine enough," agreed Nina, tabbing over to the page for her personal notebook.. Looking at the dresses had been Mark's idea - having found a satisfactory one, she'd already moved to the next step. "After I wear it, I can donate it to the Women's Center - Malikah's getting married this summer and she can alter it as she sees fit." The dress would do for their civic service in Freedom City in a month. For the wedding to come in Socotra's Great Mosque, when she would be her father's...overthrower, she would need something much more elaborate than this. Mark gave no sign that he followed Nina's thoughts, instead kissing her on the cheek and rising to his feet. "Okay, it's 10:30...I should start the frittata so it'll be ready when they get here." Only an hour and a half left! Mark and Nina lived in a gated seaside development - just the place for two Freedom City residents who had wanted a house and Mark headed into the kitchen. "Everything will be okay," he said aloud, stepping around the bookcase and firing up the oven. "We'll have them over, we'll feed them, we'll tell them we're getting married in February because we're going to have a baby. It'll be a surprise - but everything will be great."
  6. December 2016 Hunter-White Mansion It was snowing outside, thick and heavy, unusually so for this part of New Jersey at this time of year. But that hadn't put Riley off - the wiry teen was working in the garage of the Hunter-White Mansion, putting in the hours for his part-time job here with classic cars. A lot of things had changed in his life and at the school in the last year - but not his job and his relationship with Erin and Trevor Hunter-White. He'd closed the garage door as he worked but left the outside door open, the direction of the wind meaning that only a small amount of snowflakes were actually blowing into the increasingly cold room. He'd turned off the room's heaters as he worked, and even his sensitive hearing could detect nothing other than the wind and the sound of his tools as he carefully tested the troublesome headlights of this 1931 Model A Ford. On and off, on and off, but he couldn't get a steady illumination despite what he knew were perfectly good bulbs. Must be the wiring, he thought as he stepped out over the running board, a fuzzy knitted hat atop his shaved head.
  7. September 2016 Lincoln Dancia had spent a week away from the office, covering a story about the new generation of West African nuns who were taking over an isolated Franciscan nunnery down on the Maurice River in southwestern New Jersey. it had been a fascinating story and a chance to meet people she might never have met, but the nunnery's remote location had left her isolated from world events. No sooner had she arrived back at the Ledger that she had a stack of urgent messages - including one from a familiar UNISON agent asking her to arrange a meeting with Triakosia at a remote cliffside lookout spot near Lonely Point. "This is an urgent meeting. Please let me know as soon as you've arranged it - and when we can see her there."
  8. December 2015 Voidrunner When the big barracuda-like ship didn't follow them, Aquaria croaked in noisy relief before settling down into her seat. As she did so, she realized just how much her relief was mixed by fear. Despite impossible odds and impossible distances, things had come through for Sea Devil and Singularity, for Aquaria and Jessie. It wouldn't be long now before they were back in the Solar System - a concept she only hazily understood but that she knew meant they were close to Earth, and close to a return to the home she and Jessie had been trying to get back to for weeks. Close to trouble. She was acutely aware, twitching in her seat, of all that had happened - of how her pride had sent them to the stars, of how her anger had gotten that Surfacer killed, and of how all the stars of space had seemed to be against them on their journey. She knew, too, that her life in Freedom City was not her own - she was a symbol of the fear and loathing that Surfacers had for her kind, and a criminal to boot. With all that she'd done, what would happen when she returned? Blackstone again? Perhaps Atlantean custody? Or maybe just exile - a banishment to the waters off Freedom's coast where she was an outcast among all who lived beneath the waves. Turning to her still night-catatonic friend, Aquaria took a long breath and released it as a deep, almost subsonic, bellow. Jessie would be home in the world of her birth, surrounded by her people, away from the world that Aquaria had thrust her into. That was what mattered. Through the blood of sacrifice, I gain power, she thought, closing her big goggle eyes. Through the blood of sacrifice, we are free. Up front, the dinky little Terran comet belt station had just hailed the Voidrunner.
  9. Spring 2016 Greenbank Warehouse District The Gaia's Liberation Front meeting was going well - the activists inside were ready to move to direct action against the corporate oppressors of the planet. All was going well, Pierre thought as he stepped out into the alley to light a cigarette. Just as his match flared to life; a hatchet appeared at his throat. "Hey, jackass," Woodsman whispered in his ear, glad that for once he'd found a criminal shorter and slighter than he was. "You say a word and you're gonna be crapping that match out your ears!" Dammit, Riley thought, embarrassed, why is it so hard when I know people are watching!? "Yeah, you heard me. Now talk. Where'd you put the goddamned dynamite? Or do I have to give you a shave first?"
  10. Early spring was a good season for the rare auto restoration and preservation business, with all the aficianados and diletantes opening their garages and sheds after a long winter's hibernation. Soon there'd be car shows and leisurely Sunday drives in the nice weather, but for now Trevor was up well past his elbows in tune-ups and body work. Even with Riley Smith-Quinn from Claremont helping out, there was more work than could be done during normal working hours. By the time Trevor came in from work on the first Friday in March, Erin was long since home from work, camped out in the living room with half-a-dozen binders spread around her. "Hey," she greeted him with a quick smile. "Grab a shower and get in here, I've ordered Chinese. We gotta get some of these wedding plans knocked out before Alex takes matters into her own hands."
  11. "Okay, so what do you think about this?" Erin rested her back against the front passenger door of the Maserati convertible and studied the binder in her lap. She addressed her question to Trevor's legs, since they were the part sticking out from under the car. "We have the wedding in May, on the grounds here, over by that pond Aquaria's been mucking out. We get a trellis and a little platform built, rent a bunch of chairs, and have a florist do up a whole pile of flowers and cattails and stuff so it looks nice out there. Then we clean out the second floor ballroom, get a serious waxing done on the floor and have the bulbs in the chandeliers replaced, and have a reception in there? Easy, and we don't even have to go anywhere."
  12. October 2015 Riley sat alone under the tree, methodically field-stripping his crossbow, his physics textbooks tucked away in the thick grass at his feet. So Headmaster Summers, after a serious conversation with him and promises of a serious conversation with his instructors, had set up a meeting with a famous superheroine. He'd heard of Erin White, of course, and the students of Young Freedom who'd helped save the world so many times. He didn't really care about most of them, half of whose names he didn't even know, but Erin White was someone whose name he knew very well. Alone in isolation in the Goodman Building, Riley ran his hands across the words carved into the bathroom wall. My name is Erin. He'd heard plenty about the dimensional refugee, or at least enough to know he wanted to learn more. But she's prolly gonna talk with me about not shooting anyone in the damn head, he decided gruffly. Like I haven't heard enough of that already. No one looked his way as he held his impervium bolthead up to the sunlight - something which didn't surprise him a bit after that damn accidental video had gotten around. Everybody knew the story. Bolt in hand, he judged the bolt by the way it reflected the light, the glow showing how unmarred the surface of the bolt was. Impervium could be a tricky thing, especially when you were working with scraps.
  13. Hunter Manor was quiet that evening, stately as ever in the waning summer light, with the sort of dignity that belied its crimefighting secret identity. The peace was marred momentarily by a rush of black inkblots appearing from nowhere, swirling into a vortex, and then disappearing, leaving behind three people on the front porch. Erin smoothed her hair as the last dots disappeared, finally used to the weird method of transport after all these years. "Come on," she urged the others. "Not likely anybody's going to notice you here, but why take chances?" She opened the front door wide and walked in, automatically checking to make sure all was well. The doors opened onto a handsome foyer, slightly dusty, with the air of a place that was pretty well cared for, but could use a housekeeper once a week. "Hey Trevor, you home?" she called into the house. "Mark and Mike are here, Mike needs a place to hide out!"
  14. July 1, 2015 Project Freedom The sunlight streaming in the window woke Ackwareeaa from dreams of the sea. Opening her eyes, Aquaria smacked her green-white lips for a moment, taking stock of the day - before she realized what day it was. "We are getting out today!" She bounded out of her tub at those words, splashing just a few drops of water on the ground as she excitedly hopped around, legs bent and palms flat against the concrete floor of her room. "Woo-hoo!" She wanted to jump into the bathroom and yell to Jessie, but she couldn't hear her friend moving around and didn't want to scare her. Jessie didn't like to be scared. Leaping up onto the wall, she padded along the walls to her closet, carefully picking her way past her many art therapy pictures still stuck to the walls. Once at her her closet, she began sorting through her very small personal wardrobe for what she was going to wear, leaning into the tiny corner with her long, long arms. She needed to look like a Surfacer if she was going to go out among them - today especially! She settled on what she usually did - a white T-shirt that hung oddly on her triangular torso, Capri pants that fit her legs, and...she looked down at the bottom of the closet, where her enemies were waiting for her. A frown crossed her muzzle as she bent down to pick them up, holding one each between fingers and a thumb. They were long by Surfacer standards and bulgy at the ends; and too dry even when she put in the special moisturizing inserts. Shoes. She didn't really understand why Jessie had dubbed these "clown shoes" - her nose was green and white, not red, and she didn't look anything like those costumed Surfacers, but the name had stuck. "I'll put you things on last," she informed the shoes before returning them to her closet corner. Opening the door to her bathroom, she checked the shared clock in there. "It's only six-thirty! Jessie's probably still sleeping," she fretted, wriggling her tongue back and forth in her mouth against all those Ss. "I will get ready first and surprise her. Okay, Aquaria, time to get ready," she told the Deep One in the mirror, experimentally flexing her throat sacs as she spoke, bulging her neck out as big as a Surfacer's closed fist. "I am a good member of society! I am first! I have a job for the Hunter family in North Bay. I am a groundskeeper! I am going to live in the DuTemps Building in Room 437 with my best friend, Jessie White." She raised two thumbs in front of the mirror, then realized her crest was sticking up! Not wanting to embarrass herself, she reached up to begin patting it down. "<I am calm. I am cool,>" she told the face in the mirror. "<I am...speaking Lemurian.>" With an effort, she forced her mouth back to the odd shape of English. "Bre-ek-ek, coax, coax...bleah. I am somebody people want to live near. I am...awesome!" She picked up a towel and wrapped it around her head. "Ooh, look at me, I'm a Surfacer!" she said in a dry, growly voice that was her best imitation of the Surfacer accent. "I wear clothes and eat plants! I My skin is made of sand, I think I need some lotion, don't you! Hee-hee!" She turned and banged on the door to the other room. "Jessie!" she called. "It's this day!"
  15. Date: Late August, 2015 "Just a minute!" Alex called out from behind her closed bedroom door and where she was eyeing the articles of clothing already discarded across her bed. "Almost ready." Now, she'd never been one to really debate a clothing choice. Alex, after all, embraced her own aesthetic with a whole hearted cheerfulness but apparently the one thing she didn't own was something fit for crime fighting in muted colors. She wasn't sure which of them had brought up the entire idea of getting 'back on the horse' so to speak of super-hero'ing but as it was a chance to spend time together with her best friend and, also, a chance to fly - passing it up had never even crossed Alex's mind. Of course she could wear her old costume. It wasn't like she'd grown much since high school, but Psyche's short skirted ensemble would probably have read very differently on a twenty-something lady. Alex really didn't need to see that appear on a magazine cover. Ever. "Okay, I think I'm ready." She stepped out after pulling the turtleneck on over her head and grabbed a light sweater, giving Erin a hesitant look. "Is this okay?" At least the jeans were dark blue but over that she'd put on a turtleneck that could most charitably be described as 'pumpkin'. The sweater was black, at least, but shot through with a sparkly silver yarn. It would have been perfect for Halloween but since it was August, it was really just Alex. "It's a black sweater!"
  16. Electra

    Midnight Elegy

    Monday, April 13, 2015 10:30 AM Earth It was a Monday morning when Erin made it back to Earth, nearly six full weeks after she'd taken off for her first space adventure since her Curator-enforced vacation. She blasted in out of a clear blue sky, her life-support suit holding in both her oxygen supply and her wildly triumphant shout as she and Redbird made their re-entry at white-hot speeds. As soon as they dropped enough altitude for there to be atmosphere, she pulled off her helmet and drew in a deep lungful of air. "God, it's so good to be home!" she crowed. "Space is nuts. Let's leave it to the aliens for awhile," she suggested to her AI companion as they arced towards the familiar skyline of Freedom City. She was half-tempted to dive off the motorcycle at twenty-thousand feet and splash down in the Great Bay, wash away the grime of a month and a half without a proper water bath. Sonic cleaners did an adequate job of keeping dirt and smell at bay, but she never truly felt clean after using one. That would wait, though. Instead, she steered the motorcycle northward, towards home. "I guess maybe we should've called ahead," she decided. "He'll probably be in school at this hour. But that just means we can surprise him when he gets back." In just a few minutes they were touching down on the smooth paved roundabout in front of Hunter Manor, which was currently picturesque with a full spread of carefully tended flowerbeds and green lawn. Erin took another moment to enjoy solid Earth beneath her feet, then vaulted the front steps to go in the front door. "Hello, I'm home!"
  17. Lor Timemark 1329.8 - March 1, 2015 Garron-9, Garron System Trooper Ekna Veiu sat strapped into the back of the transport ship between a Lor mentat clone with a lantern jaw and a member of a scale covered species he couldn't name and tried to steady his breathing. He'd never planned to be a soldier but then the Communion had ripped through the Khanate, leaving the precious few survivors to flee or be turned into monsters. The Lor loved to talk about never forgetting Lor-Van but they hadn't been the only people to lose a homeworld and they weren't the only ones who'd wanted to fight back. Ekna was seventeen stellar cycles old; that had seemed like so long sitting around on his family farm waiting for his life to start, old enough to enlist with the Coalition forces, certainly. As the ship shook from atmospheric turbulence and he clenched his grey-green hands all he think about was whether or not he'd see his eighteenth cycle celebration. There weren't any enemy ships in the skies above Garron-9, at least. There didn't need to be. What had once been a densely populated border world with almost a billion inhabitants was now a solid sphere of computronium, a planet-sized server to add to the Communion's processing power. A billion people converted into raw materials and 'antibodies', the mindless, shrieking foot soldiers of the enemy. This was only Ekna's second deployment but he'd already gotten to see those up close and personal. They'd lost that moon but he'd acquitted himself well, getting his wounded sergeant to safety. They'd given him a commendation for that. They didn't mention the rest of his squad when they shook his hand. He didn't mention the night terrors he'd had ever since. That was how he'd ended up as part of one of four squads deploying to Garron-9 with a simple mission: fight their way through and take down a communication relay, in theory briefly blinding the Communion in the adjacent sector long enough for something apparently above his pay grade. Troopers didn't need to know the big picture, he guessed. He looked up from his knees and immediately regretted it as he saw the Grue strapped in across from him scowling right at him. At least Ekna thought the Grue was scowling. It was hard to tell with no mouth. He immediately looked back down regardless. Most of the other troopers were more experienced soldiers and most of them had experience fighting against those who were suddenly their allies. Tensions were always high but the calm before the storm was always the worst. Then again, at least he knew what a Grue was. Each squad had been assigned a commander for the mission, though Ekna got the impression the rank wasn't exactly official. One of them was a stern Lor officer with no patience for excuses; he'd met a lot of those in the past months. The Zultasian told a lot of jokes and laughed loudly, all swagger and confidence. Ekna had never seen anything like the grey skinned woman with the cybernetic tail, though, and even though the forth commander didn't look all that much older than him he'd heard some of the other soldiers say she wasn't really Lor but Terran and everybody had a friend of a friend with a horror story about a Terran. Ekna risked glancing up again to the back of the transport where all four of them were standing, holding onto handing straps and conversing.
  18. Go ahead and describe how your character got to this point and what they think about the others!
  19. April 24, 2015  Lantern Hill  The McCay Bridge, one of the oldest in Freedom City and the furthest upriver, got little use by the second decade of the 21st century. The traffic that the 19th century builder had hoped to capture had gone south to Freedom City proper in the years before Lantern Hill and Freedom merged together - and even Route 6 which runs through this part of town and over the Wading had gained a real bridge back in the 1940s during its initial construction. In need of repair, the McCay had long since been closed to truck traffic and was primarily used by commuters going back and forth between Hanover and Lantern Hill.  On the night of the 24th of April, Monsoon sat on one of the brick towers of the McCay and looked out at the water below, feeling the distant pressure of its movements. She'd grown up on an island filled with water and so Freedom City's amount of rivers had been pleasantly familiar - albeit sometimes unpleasantly cold. She could stand the bottom of the sea as befit a daughter of Typhoon, but the waters around Freedom City were cool this time of year! In summer-time, when the sun's rays warmed even the bottom of the river, then things were comfortable. She checked her smartwatch, wondering if her partner for the evening was going to arrive on time or not. She'd only met Travis Hunter a few times but had respected the drive that had remained in the old man - and respected him more when she'd seen the grief his death had brought Mark. Maybe she'd never had a grandfather, but she knew the obligations that came with family - and the grief that came when it was taken away. Not for the first time that evening, she thought of Socotra. 
  20. December 25, 2014 Freedom City Midnight Manor Late in the evening on Christmas Day, a Deep One sang an eerie song in the Midnight Manor, her body silhouetted by the darkness outside. "BUT I GET UP AGAIN! YOU'RE NEVER GONNA KEEP ME DOWN! WOO!" As her song finished and the strains of Tubthumping vanished into the quiet of what was sometimes one of many front parlors in the Hunter mansion, Aquaria leaped in the air and cheered, her smooth, wet skin glistening from the exertion of the vigorous karoake number. "I am awesome!" For their part, Mark and Nina both cheered and applauded - Mark hadn't been at all sure bringing the machine along was the right idea, but luckily Jessie's amphibian friend had practically snatched the karaoke machine up with her tongue and practically begged to go first. (Jessie had, blushingly, commented that Aquaria used to do this a lot before disappearing herself) Aquaria first approached Mark and Nina, since they had been the latest to the party - only arriving after Martha Lucas had turned in early and left her son and his girlfriend free for Christmas. "You guys want a turn? C'mon, don't be chicken!" Between Nina's competitive streak and Mark's natural showmanship, it wasn't long before the couple was standing in front of the computerized board, picking out their song - 500 Miles seeming to be an early favorite. Aquaria bounded over to join Erin and Trevor to watch the show, declaring, "Surface music is great, you can yell so loud when you're singing! And nobody complains!"
  21. Earth Z-Omega-1(extinct) Earth Z-Omega-1(extinct) is the designation of a cataloged but unexplored close-offshoot reality to Earth Prime. First contact was made on October 2, 2008, when Dr. Alexander Atom of Earth Z-Omega-1(extinct) made contact with his Earth Prime counterpart by means of an experimental interdimensional communications array. During the course of the contact, Dr. Atom (Prime) was able to elicit information about the alternate universe from his counterpart, as well as arrange for the refugee transfer of one survivor from the series of disasters that rendered the world uninhabitable. The designation, which uses Freedom League Standard Notation, indicates the planet's status: Earth: This universe is a parallel Earth world and English is or was a dominant language. Z: This universe is hostile, unexplored, and uninhabitable. No further in-person research is planned. Omega: This universe is suspected to have fallen under the influence of the Terminus. 1: This is the first universe of its kind discovered. Extinct: This parallel Earth once harbored a Primelike population, but the entire population has since been wiped out. History of EZO1(e) It is difficult to pin down the first point of divergence between EZO1 and Prime, but the most likely point for major divergence occurred in the fall of 2006. What on Earth Prime was a largely overestimated outbreak of avian flu strain H5N1 through the fall and winter of 2006, on EZ01 mutated into a previously unseen and far more deadly strain of virulent influenza, dubbed “the hero flu.” The new strain was transmittable through most known vectors, and carried an extraordinarily high morbidity and mortality rate. Like H5N1, it began in Southeast Asia, but spread quickly through the entire world, often with no identifiable point of contagion. Investigation into the outbreak pattern of the disease was hampered greatly by the speed at which carriers succumbed and the rapid degradation of conditions in major universities and laboratories around the world. Researchers estimated that up to one in three human beings would die of the new strain of flu by the end of 2007 if the virus could not be contained. Unlike many strains of influenza, the young and healthy showed no more resistance to the hero flu than the infirm. Reports indicated that in fact metahumans with clearly superior immune systems were still vulnerable, and often succumbed even faster than unaugmented humans to the disease, hence the colloquial name. By March of 2007, according to survivor testimony, martial law was declared in major U.S. cities and government infrastructure began shutting down. In desperation, the CDC and WHO, in close cooperation with the Freedom League and UNISON released an experimental vaccine. No vaccine had been created that could stop the virus, instead, the vaccine was designed to augment the bodies of victims so that they could withstand the ravages of the flu long enough for its relatively brief latency to pass. In initial tests, the vaccine appeared successful, with victims recovering in controlled conditions. The vaccine entered mass emergency production worldwide, in an unprecedented effort at 100% worldwide vaccination, assisted by nearly every surviving superintellect of every affiliation. Simultaneous vaccine programs began around the world on 18 April, 2008, reaching over seven hundred fifty million people in the fourteen days following its deployment, in an effort that spanned all continents and known people groups. Initial responses to the vaccine were highly favorable, with an immediate and dramatic lowering of the death toll from the hero flu. In fact, there were no reported casualties from flu among the vaccinated population, even among those who had already been gravely ill. Some rioting was reported outside vaccination centers as families camped in lines for days to wait for doses to become available. After the fifth day of the vaccination program, irregularities were reported among the vaccinated population, brain dead patients who still exhibited substantial motor function, patients whose bodies combated the flu symptoms at the expense of higher mental functions, even several reported cases of vaccinated persons who did not contract the flu activating the vaccine's response through other, lesser calls on the immune system. Affected persons were quarantined, but the immunization program continued for another seven to nine days. On 1 May, 2007, the WHO called for an immediate halt to all vaccination programs, and for the destruction of any remaining stores of vaccine. Continued observation of vaccinated persons had proved conclusively that the vaccine was extraordinarily destructive to higher brain function, in essence preserving the body by destroying the mind. Victims of the vaccine's ill effects became zombielike, extremely strong and resilient, able to survive conditions that would normally cause death, but with no observable higher functions. They existed, in essence, merely for the sake of continued existence. They were also observed to be extremely hostile to human life, reacting with violence when faced with unaffected human beings. Despite these reports, the continued spread of the hero flu led many people to seek the vaccine anyway. Eyewitness reports of the time indicate that few vaccines were destroyed, and that most were sold on the black market before the full effects of the drugs became known. Quarantine areas for the so-called “zombies” were quickly erected, but seem to have had little effect. The vaccination program had focused heavily on health care workers, public servants, and the armed forces in many countries, leaving those individuals who were the most necessary for successful quarantine the most likely to require it themselves. Quarantine procedures rapidly broke down, and violence became widespread throughout major cities as the vaccine's victims spread out and began killing those who had not been affected. With the decline of military and police power, governmental infrastructure around the world began to collapse, along with transportation and communication. On 13 May, 2007, the Office of the President of the United States released a final press release asking for citizens to remain calm and stay in their homes if at all possible, and promising that a new vaccine would be forthcoming soon. After this point, it becomes impossible to frame a coherent timeline of world events, due to the breakdown in global communications and a lack of survivor knowledge. The lone human refugee to arrive on Earth Prime was debriefed, but due to isolation and tender years could not place dates on any events after May of 2007, but states she did not encounter any survivors after that month until the early summer of 2008, when she found a single pocket of perhaps two dozen survivors. Projections conducted by Dr. Atom EZO1 suggest the survival of perhaps as little as five thousand human survivors worldwide, probably in pockets of no more than thirty or forty individuals. The disposition of this world's nonhuman and potentially immune superheroes and supervillains could not be ascertained, but Dr. Atom theorizes that many of them left when it became obvious that there was nothing left to save. Current Status This universe is currently under strict quarantine by the Freedom League, and is not slated for any further investigation or development. All information regarding this world's existence and its history are classified. The one refugee survivor, an adolescent metahuman, was thoroughly decontaminated and debriefed, and has been assisted into a new life on Earth Prime. No sample of the pathogen which caused the hero flu was discovered on the refugee or in the air sample that arrived with her, but the continued presence of the flu in that timeline has not been ruled out. Experimentation to discover the nature of the pathogen and possible treatment has been vetoed as excessively risky, given the conditions on the world and the known deadliness of the viral strain. Dissemination of information regarding this timeline is unlikely to contribute to scientific discourse, and has been deemed very likely to contribute to public unease on Earth Prime, and so shall remain classified indefinitely. Dr. Atom EZO1 ceased communication with Earth Prime on 3 December, 2008, after conveying what information he had and ascertaining that the refugee he delivered was healthy and being cared for. His last message was an expression of remorse for his work on the vaccine project, along with a quote from John Donne. Before the cessation of contact, Atom provided his theory as to the divergence. He theorized that the hero flu was not a naturally occurring pathogenic strain, but had been introduced by an outside force looking to diminish or destroy humanity. In a communication on 28 November, 2008, Atom indicated that ships of unknown configuration were approaching Earth, but remained outside satellite communication range. Dr. Atom Prime and the Earth Prime Freedom League suspected at the time that the events on EZO1 may be directly related to the activities of Omega and the Terminus. In the spring of 2011, the members of Claremont Academy's superteam Young Freedom returned from an interdimensional mission that included a stay on EZO1(e). They reported that the world had been overrun by Omegadrones in the intervening three years and had become an outpost for Physician Friendly, who admitted to engineering the hero flu. The heroes reported that they destroyed the majority of the Terminus presence on the world, in part by sealing its Freedom City into the Zero Zone with the help of veteran hero Rick Lucas. It is unknown whether further travel to EZO1(e) would be possible now by any means, but as the world remains under strict interdiction, no investigation is planned. Related Worlds In 2010, the Young Freedom superteam, again on an interdimensional mission, encountered a dimensional doppelganger of the superheroine Wander on Earth V-Malign-1(enemy), commonly known as Anti-Earth. This doppelganger, codenamed Singularity, was found to be from a closed-loop dimensional offshoot of EZO1(e) that probably existed for only a few hours. This offshoot timeline was designated Earth-Z-Omega-2(extinct).
  22. Wander Keeley Erin White (formerly Erin Keeley White), is the civilian alter-ego of the superheroine called Wander. Born November 11, 1992, in an alternate timeline (Freedom League Designation Earth Z-Omega-1(extinct)), Erin White arrived on Earth Prime October 17, 2008. Her legal name was changed shortly thereafter, to avoid confusion with her native double. She graduated from the Claremont Academy in Freedom City in the spring of 2011. She currently works as Chief of Security at HAX, a supertech company owned by Mara Halloman. In Erin's superhero identity as Wander, she is currently a member of the Liberty League. She's a former founding member of Young Freedom and keeps in touch with most of her old teammates. Wander's powers include superhuman agility, speed and strength, as well as an enhanced constitution that protects her from disease, poison, and most physical injury. She also has the ability to heal extremely quickly from injuries. She is a seasoned fighter and an experienced hero alone or in team-ups. Timeline 2009 Spring Touching Down: Erin arrives in Freedom City from Seattle with all her worldly possessions in a duffle bag. She is met by Alex Albright (Psyche) and Mike Harris (Phalanx) who are also starting school at Claremont Academy. The trio bonds over being the same age and uncertainty about the new school, and Alex offers to tutor Erin to help her catch up before the new school year. (Un)Familiar Faces: Erin, Alex and Mike arrive at Claremont Academy and get the ten-cent tour from Mrs. Harcourt. Alex and Erin are assigned as roommates for the summer. Going Walkabout Erin explores the school grounds on her own, but finds it difficult to let go of the habits and outlook she learned in her old life. Coping Strategies: Dr. Marquez, the school psychologist, assigns Erin to the Interdimensional Student Support Group, for kids from alternate realities. She meets several other students, including her classmates Quark and Agent H, but is quickly depressed by the stories of alternate realities and frustrated by the seemingly asinine response from the psychologist. She walks out of the group and does not attend again. Notes from Therapy: Wander Erin continues in private sessions with Dr. Marquez, but is less than communicative. As a compromise, he asks her to write stories to convey her feelings about all she has been through. Summer The Sweet Science Erin and Mike help Coach Jones test some new gym equipment, and prepare for their upcoming placement tests. Placement Test: Wander: Mr. Archer, the gym teacher, gives Erin her combat assessment in the Doom Room holosimulator. After priming her adrenaline response with physical challenges and perceived threats to life and limb, he tells her to fight four simulated opponents using her normal fighting style. She frightens off one opponent, kills the next two messily, and nearly knocks herself unconscious fighting the last one before Mr. Archer ends the test. Both of them are badly shaken by the testing and what it reveals about Erin's readiness to fight for the side of good. What Dreams May Come Rattled by the combat assessment, Erin falls asleep and has a nightmare, inadvertently pulling her psychic roommate Alex along for the ride. Alex gets a look at the horrors of Erin's past and does her best to help, bringing the pair closer together. The Delicate Art of Thunder Erin goes with Mr. Archer to have specialized training from a powerhouse heroine called Thunderstanding. They get off to a rocky start when Erin finds it difficult to curb the reflexes that make her fight to kill, but eventually begins working on a number of drills to eventually make her safe for hero work. Making Schemes Erin strikes up a tentative friendship with Hope (Agent H), another dimensional refugee from a world overrun by Nazis. Making Friends Erin, Alex and Mike make the acquaintance of Eddie (Breakdown), a brash new student who is not sure whether he wants to be a hero or a famous DJ. That same afternoon they meet another student, Mark Lucas (Edge) a heroic legacy who already has a year at Claremont under his belt. They explore the library and meet Zaranna and her micro-raptor Squeaker, who once bit Mark during a sensitive moment while he and Zaranna were dating. Darian and Erin: Erin gets tutoring from Darian (Quark), who tries to teach her history with the use of a time-travel device. In the process she meets Dr. Tomorrow, gets a bit of her memory erased, and begins to wonder if Quark's fantastic devices might hold the key to going back and saving her world before it died. Darian opens a portal to her home on EZO1, but when she sees a moving humanoid shadow, she has a panic attack and makes him shut it down without going through. Out Tonight Mark wins tickets to a concert and invites his friends along, including upperclassman Chris Kenzie (Geckoman), partially due to his having a vehicle. They arrive at the concert to find Eddie already there, line-jumping and schmoozing. Chris winds up flirting with two supervillainesses, who try to put the whammy on him before Erin picks him up bodily and carries him out of danger, much to his chagrin. And Hell Came Knocking: Erin meets new classmate James Prophet (Hellion), scion of a prominent local family and possessor of an interesting set of hellfire-related powers. They arrange to play videogames together some night, as he is also of the rarely-sleeping persuasion. Take Me Out to the Ball Game: On a school outing to a Comets game, the gang arrive late due to some very unlucky traffic patterns and a wrong turn. By the time they arrive, the stadium has been taken hostage by villains Tech Kid and Mystic Force. The students work together to stop the villains and free the civilians, though once again Erin finds it extremely difficult to control her powers in the midst of a fight. At the end of the battle, Mark coins a team name, Young Freedom. Up All Night: Erin and James bond over a night of video games, two very guarded people letting their walls down just a little bit. Sweet Sixteen: Alex's sixteenth birthday party is all fun in the sun with Young Freedom until they uncover a map that leads to her mom's abandoned underground base. It's the perfect new HQ for a new team! Growing Up Claremont: Alex and Erin sign up for Driver's Ed and gossip about their male teammates. Erin asks Alex about Darian's time-travel suggestion, but Alex gently breaks the news that while going back in time might create a new and better timeline for a divergent Erin and her family, it will not bring back the family Erin lost. Erin is crushed but tries to hide it, and decides that now would be a good time to try sparring with Mike. Schoolyard Brawl Erin and Mike's sparring session leads to anger and hurt feelings when they tell each other uncomfortable truths that neither are ready to face. Alex steps in to try and smooth the ragged edges, but has a few unresolved issues of her own to deal with. The Other Goods Alex needs a dress for her first date with Mark, so she and Erin hit the mall. Erin manages to brave the crowds long enough to act like a normal teenager and is very proud of herself. Those Who Fight Monsters Erin comes across James sleeping in the library and, after nearly getting stabbed, learns about his nightly visits to hell courtesy of his demon-lord father. She tries to share with him a little about her world, but can't handle it and runs away. They reconcile later over Mario Kart and things go back to normal. Postgame Analysis After Alex returns from her date with Mark, she and Erin discuss how it went and what she ought to do next, then play a game of Life using house rules based on themselves and their teammates. Wandering Edge Erin and Mark work together in the simulator and learn that they make a formidable team. Erin manages to not botch a diplomatic situation, and Mark gets taken for a ride. Birthday at the Park: James treats all his friends to a day at Ocean Heights Amusement Park for his birthday, including food, rides and prepaid gift cards for the stores. Erin uses her card to augment her severely limited wardrobe and enjoys rides with her friends. At the end of the day, they fight some cultists and the emotion-controlling demon they summoned. A Three-Hour Tour: Erin tries to help recruit her friend Hope onto Young Freedom, but the effort is pretty much derailed by student shenanigans and a surprise trip to Erde. Morning in America: Erin, Mike, Mark and Chris wind up in Freedom City on Erde, while Alex, James, Eddie and Hope are sent to Erde's Kaiju Island. The foursome destroy a Nazi facility, where Erin scores a decisive victory against a small army of Nazi robots and disable a device that the Nazis had been using to contact other dimensions. They scavenge the pieces they need to repair the Resistance's teleporter, then head off to find their friends. Reunited and it Feels So Good: The students are teleported home from Erde, whereupon Eddie immediately says something dumb and insensitive about Nazis to Hope. Erin skips the debriefing to take her friend somewhere she can cool off. The Visit: Erin gives Dr. Haviland (Gossamer), the new chemistry teacher, a tour of the school grounds. She is mildly freaked out by the new teacher's impressive hair-based powers. Creative Destruction: Mike and Erin end up together in the Doom Room again, but this time on the same side. They patch up their differences, break the simulator, defeat a couple of villains, and cook up a plan to try simulator softball one of these days. Car Shopping: James takes Erin and Alex car shopping, theoretically for a vehicle for Young Freedom, then winds up sneakily buying Erin the blue pickup truck she's fallen in love with. Fall Training Maneuvers: Erin goes through another painful combat assessment from Mr. Archer in the Doom Room. This time she avoids killing any of her opponents, but begins to respond with lethal force to a powerful opponent. Mr. Archer gives her a real-life version of the padded bat she's been training with in the simulator. Sunny Afternoon Erin tries out her socializing ability by welcoming an uncertain new student to the school. The End of the World: Mike and Alex take Erin and Mark to the library as part of a convoluted scheme by Eddie and Chris for Mike to ask Erin on a date. Before anything can happen, Erin notices Mystic Force from the baseball stadium doing something nefarious with the library computers. It escalates into a standoff on the steps outside, one that is broken when Zoe Harris (Zephyr) comes hurtling back into the past from 30 years in the future to help her parents and their friends. Zoe spins a convoluted story to explain where she comes from, but eventually tells the truth to Erin and Headmaster Summers, asking them both to keep her secrets. Guitar Heroes: After Zoe's revelations, Erin assures her she will keep the secret, but advises Zoe that Alex will find out one way or another. She is surprised by the fact that she apparently lives another thirty years in Zoe's timeline, then clears out of the way so Zoe can go meet Eddie to join his band. Mysteries and Gossip: Back in their room, Erin and Alex discuss the day, including Mike's odd behavior and Zoe's appearance. Erin isn't exactly swept off her feet by the idea that Mike considers her “safe” to ask on a date, but doesn't rule out the possibility. She does her best to keep Alex from prying into Zoe's background, but is not terribly successful. Cool Air: Mike takes the advice of his friends and asks Erin out on a practice date, which she agrees to with some reluctance. They play simulator baseball, have a simulated brawl, share a milkshake, and fly over the lights of Freedom City at night. Erin feels awkward, but it's oddly nice. Some Girls: Despite Erin's best efforts to dissuade her, Alex runs a DNA profile on Zoe and discovers the truth about her parentage. Daisy (Student Body) overhears Alex's tearful discussion with Erin about how she isn't ready to be a mother, and gleefully spreads a mistaken conclusion all over school. Mike very nearly beats Mark to a pulp before Alex intervenes, and everyone starts to figure out what's actually going on. Alex and Mark break up, and Mike's experiment with practice girlfriends is finished. Beautiful City: Erin and Alex work together in the Doom Room for the first time, where Alex acquits herself well despite Erin's overprotective instincts. They are rewarded by additional homework from Mr. Archer. Memory: Mike stops by Erin's room for a chat on the awkward topic of breaking up a relationship that may or may not have existed. Erin insists that one outing as friends didn't mean anything more than that, but admits that maybe, if things were different, she might have liked there to be more. The Morning Of James and Erin play video games in the early morning hours of October 31. James mentions he's been having odd power spikes, and cagily mentions he has to deal with family business that evening. Erin shares that she's been confined to quarters for the evening to prevent accidents with partygoers. As he says goodbye, James tosses Erin the keys to his car, saying he won't be needing them. Erin misses the ominous overtone, too excited about the chance to go driving. Speak of the Devil: Halloween night, Erin begins to worry about James and goes to look for him. She finds a farewell note in his room and calls for her friends to help track him down before he does anything stupid. After a consultation with Phantom, the team heads out for a rescue mission. Another One Bites the Dust: Erin, Mark, Mike and Alex find James in an old cemetery, making his last stand against a small army of demons. There is a pitched battle, in which Alex and Mike both manage previously untouched levels of power, but it is not enough to keep James from being dragged off into hell. Fallen Friends: In the week after Halloween, Erin and Alex do research to try and find a way to reach and rescue James. They come up totally empty, and Erin begins to crack under the strain. Invasion:Riverside Gate: Young Freedom is called to fight a demonic Hellion and close the gate that is releasing a demon army on Freedom City. The fight seems hopeless, with far more demons than can be fought, until Psyche weaponizes the power of friendship and Erin controls her fighting instincts long enough to reach out to her lost friend. James comes back to himself and shuts the gate on his father, returning the city to pre-invasion calm. Rapproachment: Days after the end of the demonic invasion, James finds Erin exercising after dark and comes over to apologize to her. They mend fences over all that was said and unsaid, and Erin finally gets a chance to drive James' car with him in it. Giving Thanks: Acting with the very best of intentions, Mark invites Erin to his home for an awkward Thanksgiving dinner with his family. Erin appreciates the gesture and does her best, but is still drowning in grief for her own lost family. Her one saving grace is the mangy orange cat who seems to have adopted her, and who makes her feel better when she pets him. Beyond the Veil: Erin and Oliver turn out to support Mark when he learns the truth of his origins: his father is actually the son of Jimmy Lucas' genie pal rather than Jimmy Lucas himself, making Mark one-quarter djinn himself. Erin also has her first meeting with Phantom, a rather tense one until Phantom assures her that she won't be throwing Erin off Earth Prime. 2010 Winter Money for Nothing: Over Christmas Break, Alex cooks up a plan to play the stock market and build up a college fund for Zoe. She hires Erin to keep an eye on the stocks at night, and helps her out by making her a stock-owning employee of the new company and dumping a basic course in the stock market into her head. Erin is not sure about any of this working, but needs money for cat food and wants to help out anyway. It's a Jungle Out There: Young Freedom goes on their first international adventure, traveling to Dakana to fight a clone of Shadivan Steelgrave. They defeat him and save his captured proles from firey volcanic death, but during the standoff, Erin learns that the Terminus was responsible for the virus that began the apocalypse in her home dimension. Fatherly Advice: Rick Lucas makes an unusual evening visit to Erin's dorm room to say that Mark will recover from his experience in Dakana and to warn her about the perfidious evil of Shadivan Steelgrave. Gazing Into the Abyss: Erin seeks out the dimensional guardian Phantom for more information about the Terminus and the man Steelgrave called Friendly. Phantom tells her about Physician Friendly and his horrible hospital on Nihilor, and confirms that he could well have killed Erin's world, but warns her that he is too well-defended for Erin to try and fight with any hope of success. Battle of the Sexes: Erin, Alex, Mike and Mark square off in a silly girls-versus-boys match to test their new simulator. The girls defeat the boys using an amusing human-size hamster ball and flee the scene to savor their victory. It Is Well With My Soul: Erin and James hear a rumor about a real honest-to-god (so to speak) angel in Freedom City. Since they both have a bone to pick with religion, they go seek out Heyzel, who does seem to be the real deal. No productive conversation ensues, but everyone gets something to think about. Title of Show: Young Freedom's training game of Capture the Flag on campus is interrupted when Erin and Mike nearly collide at high speeds with new student Faith. Mark executes a daring last-minute save and proceeds to unleash every romantic cliche he can think of to impress the pretty new girl. Everyone else proceeds to tease Mark, who totally ignores them in favor of his new and very impressed conquest. From the Shore to the Water: Alex and Erin go swimsuit shopping after being invited to James' mid-winter pool party extravaganza. They discuss strategies for Alex's ongoing seduction of Mike, as Erin attempts to find a swimsuit that doesn't make her look like a bodybuilder. Erin is not certain whether she'll have fun at James' kind of party, but promises to at least make an appearance. Beach Party in Winter James throws a temperature-controlled beach party for all his friends, and Erin goes with some trepidation. She has fun for awhile, then is roped into an uncomfortable conversation about the inevitable implosion between Mark and his girlfriend Faith. Beyond the Door: Erin goes back to St. Stephen's for another theological discussion with Freedom Angel, this time without taking James along. She keeps her temper a little better this time, long enough to ask about how Heaven works, even if she doesn't understand the answers. Freedom Angel admits that God has not spoken to his angels in nearly 1500 years, which is sobering to them both. Spring I Don't Know Kung-Fu: Erin attempts to teach her teammate Geckoman how to fight hand-to-hand after he loses his zappers in a fight against his supervillain girlfriend. They make some progress, but are hampered by fundamental differences in approaches to combat. A Day Without Powers: Some of the kids from Young Freedom agree to wear power suppressors for a day for a school project. Erin feels weak and clumsy, but is much less affected by the suppressors than some of her more powerful classmates. Midnight Meeting: While spending yet another late night in the common room, Erin meets new student Trevor Hunter, Midnight II, who is also a night owl. She offers to show him the Doom Room, and they run through a training scenario together and are reasonably impressed by each others' abilities. Erin offers to put in a good word for him with Young Freedom if he wants a team. Enter the Squid: Erin gives new student Blake, Kid Cthulhu, a quick tour of the school after Oliver gives him the cold shoulder upon his arrival. Monsters in the Streets:Bayview: With monsters attacking all over the city, Young Freedom is called to save the Pramas bridge from a trio of giant monsters set on shaking it to bits, civilians and all! New Sound: Oliver introduces Erin to another new student. Warren, called Rift, is a sound controller who is eager to meet people and get started at Claremont. Midnight Express: Erin and Trevor meet up on another late night. He takes her for a thrilling ride on his motorcycle, including a cable jump of the Pramas Bridge. They fight a little crime and have a surprisingly easy chat over coffee and cocoa, then Trevor invites Erin to a fancy dress party in a few weeks time. House of L: A sudden alert on Memorial Day draws Erin, Trevor and some of her teammates and friends to Mark's home, where he's just fought off another Steelgrave robot. They arrive just in time for the booby-trapped chassis to explode, impaling Mark with a metal shard and killing him instantly. At the hospital, Rick Lucas has a complete meltdown in a roomful of grieving heroes, lashing out at his old comrades and vanishing most of the Freedom League before making a wish that everything would be how it was supposed to be again. House of L: Wakeup Call: Erin finds herself falling onto the lawn of Freedom Hall, where she is immediately chased across town by a doppelganger who calls her “Rednaw.” Her friends have all been dropped into new, Rick Lucas-approved lives, but Erin is a wild card for some reason. They quickly discover that not following the script can lead to people being deleted or hurt, as happens to Chris when he throws a punch at his gone-evil girlfriend. They regroup aboard James' brand new spaceship (aliens being more Lucas-approved than demons) and try to make a plan to set things right. House of L: Bringing Down the House: Now reunited, Erin and her friends set off to look for Mark, and find him trapped in a warped version of his own home, apparently for safekeeping. They break him out and go to confront Rick Lucas in Freedom Hall, trying to convince him to fix the world. Erin reminds him that he is not the only one who is desperate to change the past, but this is not the way. Eventually Rick breaks down and uses his power again, dissolving the world. House of L: The End: When the world reforms itself again, Erin and her friends are standing on Mark's lawn, along with Mark's parents and Mark himself, still alive. Rick then tells his family he can't stay, that two reality warpers of his caliber would damage the world, and tells them he loves them before vanishing. A grieving Mark asks to be left alone with his mom, so his friends slowly dispersed, having won a victory that seems somehow a little hollow. No More Good Days: Mark reaches out to Alex and Erin for help dealing with his many emotions surrounding his father's disappearance and his own temporary death. Fisticuffs 2: Opening Credits: Erin attends a citywide sparring match for superheroes, looking to meet some heroes and pick up some pointers. Instead she encounters Dead Head for the first time, which results in an embarrassing loss of composure for her and an inconvenient loss of head for him. Consolations and Remembrances: After fleeing her confrontation with Dead Head, Erin comes back to campus, where James finds her crying against a tree. She pours out the story of her powers and her dead world to him, and he does his best to comfort her, for all he has to admit that she probably didn't kill Dead Head. James promises things will get better, and she tries hard to believe him. Life Lessons: Erin meets up again with Dynamo, a speedster she met at the sparring match, when he comes to Claremont for powers testing. His intrusive questions fluster her and make her question the place she's tried so hard to achieve among her fellow students. So the Drama: Alex and Erin discuss recent events in Erin's life, especially her argument with Dynamo and the upcoming fancy-dress date with Trevor. Alex floats an idea for a junior prom, despite their concerns that some of the members of Next Gen will try to make trouble. Life's Parade of Fashion: Trevor takes Erin to meet his family tailor, an elderly but spry man named Frank who designs uniforms and formalwear for superheroes and mystery men. He decides to design Erin a red dress that she is slightly unsure about, and tells them stories of the good old days. A Simple Plan: Mike asks Erin for advice on whether he should propose to Alex even though they are still in high school, and how he should do it. She is diffident, but advises him to go ahead if he thinks he is truly ready. She also recommends keeping things very simple, no flashy stuff. He thinks this is a good call. Now What Did You Learn Dynamo brings Erin flowers and apologizes for his rude behavior on their last meeting. She accepts the apology and shows him how to use a tennis ball cannon for training. Walk Softly and Carry a Collapsible Stick: Erin meets Eve, a new student who is a mute telepathic gymnast. They work out together and have a very brief sparring session, then chat about the school. Cold Case: While out on patrol, Erin happens upon a misunderstanding-fight between Dead Head and Lady Winter. She drops in and subdues Dead Head's skeleton minions, threatens the zombie for a few minutes, then takes Lady Winter back to base so Psyche can help her find a place to live in Freedom City. Just Like Old Times: James' increasingly hectic schedule has been keeping him off campus, but he and Erin eventually find an evening to catch up. They talk about his new ship, brought over from Rick Lucas' world, and play Mario Kart. Summer Summer Job Listing: Erin answers an ad for a babysitter with combat skills and winds up interviewing with Phantom and Avenger for the job of babysitting their dhampir child. She impresses Avenger with her reflexes and hard right hook and gets the job. No Mercy: With Grue rampaging in the streets of Freedom City, Young Freedom and the Interceptors team up to protect the beleaguered Freedom Medical Center from an enormous Grue monster. Nockin' on Iron: Erin and James step in to assist a pair of new heroes who get in over their heads while trying to stop a drunk and disorderly villainess from tearing up a neighborhood. High Noon: Erin and Young Freedom work together to stop a deadly solar laser blast from incinerating large chunks of Freedom City, but although they see it is a manmade threat, they cannot find who might have done it. Could've Danced All Night: Erin and Trevor attend a fancy party as the representative of the Hunter family and his date. Trevor wins major points by letting her drive his classic limo on the way, and despite a little nervous awkwardness, they have fun dancing and socializing. By coincidence, James is also at the party, and realizes his feelings for Erin have shifted, though he does not make this known. At the end of the evening, Erin asks Trevor to the prom. Save Tonight: Erin and Trevor go to the prom Alex is putting on at the AEON building, only for the evening to be ruined by Daisy conspiring to out the truth of Zoe cheating on Eddie with James. Consternation turns to near-catastrophe when Eddie responds by driving a sports car into the ballroom, hoping to hit James, and Mike nearly causes mayhem on his own when he lets anger get the best of him. Eddie and Zoe break up, Eddie gets ejected from Young Freedom, and Trevor and Erin enjoy one quiet dance in a hallway, listening to Trevor's iPod. I See What You Did There: Young Freedom faces the music from the Headmaster after the prom disaster. Erin is surprised to be complimented on her handling of the situation. Strength to Strength: Duncan Summers lines up a new mentor for Erin: the heroine Fulcrum. After seeing Wander in action in Fisticuffs, Fulcrum is slightly ambivalent, and after losing her first mentor after a short period of time, Erin is ambivalent as well. They eventually go out for lunch and have a pleasant small-talk conversation. At The Mountains Mark brings his teammates with him on a trip to the Centurion's Sanctum to make sure things are still in good shape there. When they arrive, they find Medea and Dr. Stratos trying to release Superior from the Zero Zone. Medea mind-controls Erin to attack her friends, before James and Trevor working in concert manage to subdue her and get her back to fighting the bad guys again. Giant Dragon Bees: Erin and Jack of All Blades mend some fences while stopping some giant fire-breathing bees menacing Freedom City. MAWS Erin steps in to assist the heroine Fusion when she gets in over her head, so to speak, while fighting Megalodon and his army of shark mutates. A Clearer View: James invites Erin for a tour of his spaceship, where engine troubles and passive-aggressive AIs make the tour a little more fraught than fun. James finally confesses he has feelings for her that are more than friendly, leaving Erin very confused. Coincidences: Erin helps out a street-level hero named Drifter nap a fleeing crook, then has a talk with him about what it means to be a real hero. A Better World Erin meets a dimensionally-jumping version of herself from a universe where the vaccine that empowered her was distributed, rather than the zombie-causing vaccine. The other Erin's world now has two billion superheroes running around. She warns Erin to be on the lookout for Shadivan Steelgrave, who has attacked and hurt or killed a number of Erins along their shared universal axis, and mentions that there are Erins out there in even worse shape than Wander. Lights at His Back, Stars in His Eyes: Erin and Oliver meet the new carrier of the Beacon legacy, Erin rescues Mark from another ill-advised sky-high adventure, and Trevor has trouble with his increasingly light-sensitive eyes. Crypt Tonight: Erin is assigned to go talk with Dead Head as part of her cognitive behavioral therapy for zombies. They do not make friends, but she doesn't beat him up a third time, so it's a partial victory. Calimari on the Menu: Fusion invites Erin to her home for dinner as a thanks for her help with the giant sharks. Erin attends and manages to act normal the entire time, a significant accomplishment. Joan, a reporter in her civilian life, is very interested by Erin's lack of answers about her personal life. The Other Guys James invites Erin, Eve and Trevor to his ship to discuss the possibility of interdimensional adventures. Just Another Class Trip: Erin and Trevor go with Dark Star and some of their summer school classmates to an alien world tha is quickly invaded by the Stellar Khanate. Trevor and Erin work toghether to save their less-experienced classmates and the day as well. Rose-Tinted Glasses: Trevor's powers manifest in the form of a secondary mutation: black and red eyes. Erin, who has been getting steadily closer to Trevor, is thrown for a few minutes, but she and the rest of Trevor's friends quickly begin to adjust to the change. Midnight Oil: Erin works up her nerve and talks to Trevor about James' feelings for her, and why things have been slightly strained on the new team. She also tells him that she really likes him and wants to keep getting to know him, even though they both have issues that require care and time. She kisses him, he kisses her back, and they make plans to have dinner together later. We Can Be Like They Are: Erin has another nightmare about zombies, this one about all her friends and family as zombies, with a gleeful Dead Head reminding her that every zombie she's ever killed was a person once, part of somebody's family. Case of the Mondays: Erin drags a very reluctant Oliver off-campus for a visit with the city's only super vet. Fall A Trip Between Two Worlds: Erin, Trevor and Mark get pulled into an alternate dimension where everyone's gender is reversed. Mark and Marcie hit it off big time and Trevor and Tricia get along, but Erin's own insecurities and self-doubt lead to lots of friction with her double Aaron. A Doktor Who Makes House Calls?!: Erin's quiet night of babysitting is interrupted when Dr. Archeville comes by to give JJ a checkup, and then interrupted further when the doktor reads an eldritch tome that possesses him and releases a quintet of monsters into the city. * Outing: Erin goes to sit with Mark at the hospital while he watches over his sick grandmother. Rick Lucas drops in for a visit as well, his first since leaving the dimension, and warns them that trouble with the Terminus is coming. Mark asks Erin how her father died, and she tells him. Mind Games: Erin, Trevor, Mark, Blake and Warren are dropped into Anti-Earth by an evil version of Rick Lucas, swapped with their counterparts to see who survives better. Erin is horrified to learn that her double is a dimensional refugee like herself, driven mad and caged until needed as a weapon. Whistling in the Dark: A slow night in Southside results in a four villain pile-up for Erin, Gabriel, Momentum and Dyne. Gabriel gives the younger heroes the lowdown on Southside, while Erin gives Momentum a sobering look at what it really means to be a superhero. Meet the Interceptors: Erin's mentor, Mona, takes Erin to the Brownstone to meet her team, the Interceptors. Erin gets a tour of the house and a look at the simulator, but is a little thrown by the team's super-casual vibe. Midnight Run: Erin and Trevor take Erin's newly customized truck for a spin, and the words “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” are tried out for the first time. Chocolate pie, a discussion about evil ex-girlfriends and some very exciting kisses round out the evening. Midnight Confessions: Erin decides to tell Trevor exactly how she came to be on Earth Prime, just in time for zombies to attack Freedom City. Flouting the restriction that she is to stay on campus during any undead activity, Erin helps Mark get his mom to safety at Midnight Manor, then follows Trevor out to fight. Midnight in Her Eyes: Several days after the zombie uprising, Trevor goes to check on Erin, who's had a hard time settling down. They talk about what happened in the Manor, and start getting comfortable with one another again. The Quality of Mercy: Mark brings Erin some new clothes to replace what was recently ruined or given away, and to talk about his decision to heal his evil doppelganger. Erin admits that she was angry about that, given how Hex treated her own double, but that she was more unhappy because there was nothing she could do to help the luckless Singularity. Mark talks about UNISON, and Erin reveals she plans to stay in Freedom City after graduation for reasons. Settling In: Erin has a brief conversation with Corbin, a new student who Oliver found up in a tree. They have little in common, but the exchange is friendly enough. Absent But Not Forgotten: Erin and JJ go on a babysitting adventure to the park, where they are surprised to encounter JJ's often-absent mom Taylor. Erin tries to encourage Taylor to spend more time with JJ, but mostly just ends up annoying her employer a little. She does get permission to bring Trevor along on babysitting jobs. This Party's Better Than It Seems: Erin opens her birthday box from the White family in Seattle, while chatting about school and making friends with Jill O'Cure. She gets a new netbook, some sweaters, and an heirloom necklace that is half the set that was Erin Prime's inheritance from her grandmother. Kill A Man: The members of Young Freedom are invited by White Lion to visit Dakana for fun and education. On the way there, they take advantage of Dakana's lower drinking age, get tipsy via Alex's telepathy, and play Truth or Dare. Erin tells Trevor she loves him, and he returns the sentiment. At the reception, Hellion turns up for the first time in four months. Kill A Man: Boys Boys Boys: After the reception, Erin and Alex enjoy the plush furnishings of their room in the palace and discuss what Erin wants to do with and about Trevor. Inside Out, Upside Down: Erin goes with Avenger, Dead Head and a weird grown-up Jack Junior to rescue Phantom and JJ when an argument with Heshem leads to them being trapped inside the Void. Minions are beaten down, speeches are made, and eventually Taylor retakes her mantle and Erin gets a paycheck that will be the security deposit on her first apartment. Mind Over Matter: Erin visits The Lab on an assignment to assist a scientist and write a report about it. She tries helping Supercape with a quantum energy project, but is much more effective helping him fight off the Factor Four when they try to rob the place! He offers to show her any alternate dimension she likes, but she takes a raincheck, saying she's not ready to go to the world she wants to visit. House on the Hill: Erin brings Trevor with her to babysit JJ, but first he must pass Avenger's somewhat obnoxious idea of an entrance exam. Starve Free: Erin meets Harrier, a freed Omegadrone, when he comes to campus. She takes him to the Doom Room and has him sketch out everything he knows about Physician Friendly's Helpful Hospice, in the hopes of taking it down herself. All Your Bank Are Belong To Us: Erin takes Cobalt Templar out on training patrol, only for things to turn surprisingly dangerous when they find Pax trying to protect a bank from a crowd of robot robbers. Erin manages to keep either boy from being hurt and defeats the leader robot, but at the cost of several ribs. Back on campus, Jill finds her and cures her with trademark blunt snarkiness. Alternate Timelines and Characters 2009 Ghosts in the Shell Set in Earth C-Future-2, Zoe Harris' (Zephyr's) home timeline. Erin and Mark, middle aged and divorced in this world, search the rubble of Freedom City for Zoe after the disaster that killed Alex and Mike. Their daughter Clara shows up to help, but all the evidence points to Zoe using her super-speed to run straight towards an explosion she could not have survived. 2010 Mind Games Remix: While Wander and Young Freedom struggle to find a way home from Anti-Earth, Singularity gets an intoxicating taste of freedom as the Young Imperials try to chase her down.
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