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Even as the tension left by the HATERS gathering in Liberty Park slowly died down, for the time being, at least, and the heroes of Freedom City were all going about their daily lives and stopping threats to innocent people as they came, another event was already being set up. Ads were placed on what seemed to be every single bus stop and lamppost in the city, with each one having phone number tear-off tags for people to take. If one were to take the time to read one of the ads, it would read, in a psychedelic font...

 

We are living in a New Age of Gods and Monsters!

So are you prepared to be enlightened on the divinity of the superhuman?

If so, the Super Freaks and Pinnacle Path invite you to hear the message of the Creator and reconnect with the self and nature in a gathering that will be as far out as Nirvana itself! All people are welcome, regardless of whether or not you have powers! We will also be answering any questions you might have, so ask away!

We will also be recruiting, for any who are interested in joining us!

Notable guests will include the famous hero the Third Eye and our newest addition to the collective serving the Creator's will, the Hypno-Hippie.

Admission is only $4 for adults 18 and up, $2 for children 4-17, and completely free of charge for children 3 and under. All proceeds will go directly to Greenpeace.

Saturday, May the 12th at 1:00 PM at Liberty Park in Freedom City, New Jersey

There will be music, too

Free food and alcohol will be provided

Call 555-108-SUPER for more information, or take a tear-off below

 

As the days passed, tents, as well as a small stage, complete with speakers and a microphone, were all being set up. Rumors as to just what this "message" of these "Super Freaks" was were all over the place, and concerns that this might be the beginning of a violent cult, but since this was a charity event, and actual agents from the Greenpeace fund came by and confirmed their connections to this event, the Freedom City government let it pass. Comrade Frost, Thoughtspeed, and the third Scarab, as well as typical guards, had all been hired by the city government as security detail, to keep an eye on not only this Super Freaks religious movement and see what they make of it, but also to make sure the event goes as smoothly as possible, as the agents of Freedom City's government who hired them to do so realized that some people might not take too kindly to the idea of superpowered beings being worshipped as gods. Which leads us to the day of the actual gathering.

 

May 12th, 2018

12:20 PM

Liberty Park

Grand Lawn

 

Like the lovechild of Woodstock and an outdoor religious sermon, the lush, green fields were dotted with folding tents whose canopies had a tie-dye design on them, folding tables underneath them filled with fruits, vegetables, alcohol, but no meat. The stage overlooking it all had the Super Freaks logo and font on its background, and immediately preceding the stage, rows and of folding chairs were arranged in a very neat, orderly fashion, with a few spaces in between each section so people could get in and find their own chairs. Quite a few of the seats had been filled already. Several visitors had blatant mutations or "tells" that marked them as Terminus babies, mutants, magical beings, or what have you, though most of them were outwardly human. It is apparent that visitors from all ages and walks of life were anything from curious, to hopeful, to apprehensive, to something else entirely depending on the person you asked, as to just what this message of "the divinity of the superhuman" even was. The city had seen its fair share of self-styled gods with superpowers, as well as actual divine beings, more than a few of them supervillains and superheroes, so some people didn't know what to expect. In this town, you had to be prepared for anything. Even so, no one has actually started anything disruptive, yet at least. Many of them are currently waiting patiently, or perhaps impatiently, for the speakers to show themselves and make this whole thing worth their while. The entire event was fenced off, like a concert, from the rest of the park, though several openings in the fences were there, for some members of the staff to take admission money as more and more people waited in line to get in.

 

The staff in question would be by far the most eye-catching of them all. Identified by their stereotypical hippie clothing, these were apparently members of the Super Freaks association, and some of them had blatant outward differences from the normal human form as well, like how one had butterfly wings, and how another looked like a giant horned humanoid tiger. Many of them were catering, setting up equipment, handing out flyers and schedules, or playing music on their instruments to entertain some of the bored children.

 

With forty minutes until the start of the actual sermon, the heroes have some time to kill...

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Grumpily, Comrade Frost lit a cigarette and studied the brochures he'd picked up from the smiling Super Friends staff, having parked himself on a bench beneath a statue of some dead American general so he could both see and be seen during the event. Hadn't they been just delighted to see a member of the Freedom League Auxiliary here! He did his best to remind himself that by all account these people were simply well-meaning believers with a strong desire to do good for their community and the world around them. It was all very nice except that Dimitri had plenty of experience with well-meaning believers who wanted to make the world better for everyone else and who accomplished their great works with piles and piles of corpses. It wasn't that he expected the Super Freak movement to turn on itself and on the world around it - but then one never did expect that until it was too late. So he smoked his cigarette and kept his distance, glad that the smell of cheap tobacco was enough to make most of the would-be do-gooders give him a noticeable distance. Perhaps they would like it better if I smoked reefer! Ah well.. 

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The Scarab III

This was not Kamala's kind of place at all, her entire worldview was just at odds with what these people were like. Normally she would have avoided such a gathering, there were always business deals to do or work to do on the Scarab armor, but she could see that trouble could easily happen here. In fact, she'd been having strange almost prophetic dreams that suggested to her that something was about to happen.

 

With a little research and shopping around she'd gathered a costume that allowed her, she hoped, to fit in among the others gathered here. Then she waited for trouble to start, or maybe even what they had to say but she doubted that she'd be interested in the pitch.

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Thoughtspeed kept his helmet closed and his body near-visibly charged with kinetic energy. This event looked like a big hippiefest his folks would probably love, at least on the surface. But between all the powered folks wandering around, the super-lax security (his mom could slip in in her sleep, literally), and the fact that the whole premise of this event was the sort of thing to set basically everyone else on edge...

 

He saw a few Freedom City based heroes. He'd heard his dad talk about that Frost character a few times, so he just gave him a silent nod from a couple dozen feet away. But then he spotted her.

 

Scarab would hear a slight whoosh of air, and then, bam, there was a young man in a black bodysuit with glowing green lines and a dark helmet that retracted to show a smiling face, handsomely messy hair, a big domino-style mask, all atop a figure striking a rather blatantly flirty pose. 

 

"Hey there! I'm Thoughtspeed. Nice to meetcha!"

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The crowd was getting a bit more packed now, and the seats were continuing to fill up. So far, no incidents. The Super Freaks staff were almost done making final preparations. In 35 minutes, the sermon would officially begin.

 

Backstage, one member of the Super Freaks, dressed in a slightly more elaborate psychedelic getup would have felt the weight of the world on her shoulders. This was it. The chance to make or break the entire movement for Freedom City, one of the superhuman capitals of the world. Slowly, shyly, she peaked through the door that leads from the backstage room to the stage, all too aware of the anticipation, and tension, in the air. With her was the hero known as the Third Eye, one of the more well-known associates of the Super Freaks association, as well as higher-ranking member of the association, who was older than the both of them and looked eerily similar to the dread Cthulhu, portly frame, wings, tentacle-mouth and all, wearing nothing but a form-fitting robe. The three were alone in this room, debating on what was about to happen. And the lone woman, one of those planned to speak, could not be any more nervous, despite her faith in their mission. She wasn't usually this nervous. Even so, she had to give credence to the concerns of the people. Gods who who give no regard for the thoughts, feelings, and well being of their charges are little better than tyrants, after all. That was why she planned to speak today. Not only to spread the message of the divinity of the superhuman, but to answer any questions the citizens had. That, and she felt she had to prove herself to be considered a worthy Super Freak. She had only recently gained her powers, after all. Not that she liked to think about the circumstances too much. And she figured they had a lot of them. They had been over this at length.And all the while, the woman, who goes by Hypno-Hippie when in her "work outfit" for her "other job," took this time to gather her courage and collect her thoughts. Deep breaths, Lucy. You rehearsed this.

 

The Cthulhu-like member, Eldritch, finally broke the silence, a deep, garbled sound, mouth-tentacles flapping all the while, "I still think this whole gathering is a waste of time. This soft gesture isn't actually going to change hearts and minds. No real displays of strength, no true displays of our divine glory. I mean, LOOK at them! They're like sheep, really. They'll follow anyone with the strength to lead them. We need to be able to enlighten as many as possible, and make them give us our due. Their consent is irrelevant. All we have to do is demonstrate our power and we'll become the shepherds as we were meant to be. We deserve nothing less--"

 

Hypno-Hippie wasn't her usual mellow self, not helped by Eldritch's outspoken opinions on many of the visitors making her a little... uncomfortable, so she finally got sick of hearing Eldritch monologue, and interrupted him "You mean with actual superheroes like Comrade Frost here? I'm sorry, but I don't know how you were elected alongside me or Third Eye to be one of the event organizers in the first place. This supposed is a charity effort, remember? You know, to lend our aid to Mother Earth? And I am NOT going to have your militancy ruin it for us, OR them. I don't have any doubt that ours is the quickest path to enlightenment, but if we want to break into the mainstream, we have to convince people we're right. We can't force people to accept our will. That's not how things work in the modern era." Despite her soft, not-too-forceful tone of voice, it is clear that she found the prospect of being acting like violent cultists some like to paint them as to be distasteful. She was a lover, not a fighter.

 

Eldritch raised an eyebrow, unimpressed, "Is that why you insisted on us NOT bringing our physically stronger members to act as security?"

 

Hypno-Hippie responded, pleading, "I just don't want them to get the impression that we're all spoiling for a fight," and then she shot Eldritch a look, in a deadpan voice,  "Despite what some of us might say."

 

"You've only recently gotten your abilities and ascended. How could you know anything about what we want?"

 

"Because you're the only member I know who would actually say these things. Not to mention how I've seen some of the others get a little uncomfortable when you go on your rants. I know I'm new, but I only want what's best for us, AND the people who are supposed to be worshipping us. What about you, Third Eye? You haven't said much. What do you think?"

Edited by Sylinator
Clarification

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"You gotta mellow out, brother," said Third Eye to Eldritch, putting an arm around Eldritch's shoulders. He'd privately confided to Hypno-Hippie that he was worried about Eldritch, who'd transcended the human frame but not the human soul - a way the group talked about beings who had left behind traditional human appearances but not quite traditional human foibles. Third Eye himself was an older man these days, though by all account his power was still the same. With his bandanna, greying-white ponytails, and tie-dyed fashion sense, he looked a little bit like his favorite musician, Willy Nelson, albeit with a few more tattoos.

 

"Doing our thing in Freedom City's like trying to bribe your kids with candy when they eat honey at every meal. This city's a place where gods walk the street and monsters shop at the grocery store. The people here are gonna need a little more than just a song and dance from some groovy out-of-towners before they open their eyes." He pointed to the mystic tattoo over his brow chakra, the one that (when he concentrated) allowed him access to tremendous power. "Think of it like Jesus or the Centurion, man. They didn't just go out and say 'Look at me, I'm better than everyone else,' they went out and did things for other people. And that's what you gotta do, man, you gotta do things for other people besides just laying down some righteous justice on people trying to cancel our good vibes. I know you're a true believer, big guy, but you gotta think like the wise ones. Anybody can fight for herself or her best buddy, but it takes someone with real dharmic enlightenment to go out there and fight for their enemy."

 

"We used to have a really great free clinic in this city, but the Man came in and shut it down about thirty years ago and nobody's ever had the right alignment to come in and fix it back up." This was not the first time either of them had heard this story. He sighed. "Maybe we'll get some new members today, and that's cool if we do, man, but this isn't, like, where we end. This is where we _begin_, man, and we're gonna be planting the seeds of something really beautiful." He smiled warmly, then added wryly "But I'm just some old guy with, like, opinions. You guys are the generation that's gonna see those flowers grow. I'm a little envious." 

 

-


Outside, Comrade Frost had joined the third Scarab and the young speedster he didn't know, having extinguished his cigarette on his palm after reading some of the brochures. "Quite a show, eh?" he commented cheerfully, a chilly presence on the warm spring day. "Comrade Frost, a pleasure to know you both. I wonder if they will be looking for any heretics in the audience!" 

 

"

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The Scarab III

It was probably lucky that her goggles hid her raised eyebrow at the sudden arrival of Thoughspeed, it was lucky that her first thought was to see who it was rather than just blast them with her sonic blasts, though she did arm the device with an almost imperceivable whine just in case. And to be fair he was much nicer than some of the idiots she'd have to deal with in the past, and it was important to make contacts among her fellow heroes.

 

"Pleased to meet you I'm The Scarab." she offered her gloved hand her forearm clad in a beautiful Egyptian vambrace, the one that wasn't a sonic projector

 

"I assume this is all rather mundane to someone of your experience." she was always after new intel and flattery was always a good way to gather such things.

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Thoughtspeed managed not to show his inner thoughts when Comrade Frost completely killed the mood. Best to press on. He shook the pretty lady's hand with a big grin on his face.

 

"Scarab, huh? Well, glad to see you're back out and about on the streets."

 

He didn't fully understand how the red-and-gold hero's shtick worked but his folks spoke words that were fairly positive about the hero...at least in the past. His grandmother, too, once you decoded it. Comrade Frost, on the other hand, had been one of the sources of some of the more interesting words he'd learned from his grandmother. 

 

"I'm Thoughtspeed. Nice to make your acquaintance. As for the...proceedings...it's certainly interesting, if nothing else."

 

His body language, previously casual and a bit flirty, is now noticeably more alert. He didn't visibly scan the crowd, at least to the average eye, though the two heroes looking right at him might notice a few moments of blurring around his person before he resumed.

 

"Does feel a bit like it could turn bad if something goes wrong, though."

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"Mm," said Frost, keeping his eyes on the new Scarab and the young speedster both. "League is not too worried," he reassured them. "Am mostly here on own behalf." He slipped his hands into his pockets and commented, "Have met this group before, but that was forty-no, fifty years ago now, so whole new leadership these days." They had turned out to not be interested in Communist subversion at all, but instead in lots of sermonizing he had personally found rather tedious. Still, it didn't do to say that in front of so many nice people. "Generally harmless, after the arrests, of course." 

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The Scarab III

Kamala had been practising for a while on how to answer this one but despite that, she still felt guilty when the questions came up. It wasn't often that she felt nervous about anything but for once she did, though as usual, she didn't shy away from the question. Still, it was something that needed to be answered so best now whilst in friendly company.

 

"Actually I'm new to the Scarab title. I thought it a fitting tribute to the others that came before."

 

Looking around at the assembled people, and wanting to change the subject she added.

 

 

"It seems to me that it would be foolish to try and start trouble tonight, so let us hope there are no fools around with such ideas!"

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"We haven't gotten worshippers their way before and I doubt that we'll be able to do it now. The only reason I'm going along with this is that to be everything we can be, we need more converts. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to... make sure everything's in place." Eldritch said as he left the backstage area, and back into a particularly dense area of the crowd.

 

Lucy had gotten some bad vibes about Eldritch, but she had to remember that he was an older, higher-ranking, more experienced member of the Super Freaks. It's not like she could just demand they toss him out unless he gave them a real reason for it, despite everyone's concerns about him. But then the possibility dawned upon her. But what if he's, like, totally serious? What if he IS planning somethi--

 

No. Chill out. Deep breaths. I can't get more stressed out than I already am. This sermon is too big for that. I have to look cool, approachable. How else are people going to believe in such an unorthodox ideology?

 

With that, Lucy took out her script. I need to get this right. I have to. For enlightenment. She turned towards the Third Eye, "Okay, so, can you help me go over the script one last time? I know I already rehearsed, but we have some time to kill until this whole shindig starts for real, and I want to make sure I'm preaching it right."

 

--

 

From out of the crowd, a Super Freak staff member whose skin looked like solid gold but acted like reinforced titanium, whose eyes were decorated with what looked like an engraved version of ancient Egyptian makeup done in the style of the Eye of Horus, approached the gathered trio. "Enjoying the pre-sermon party, I hope? I hope I'm not intruding..." he said as he turned to Scarab III, "...but I've been wanting to speak with you for a while. I'm Nebu. I was a Professor of Egyptology before I ascended,  but since I became a member of the Super Freaks, well." A short pause. "I've seen you in action on TV, and I couldn't help but notice a certain pair of gauntlets that's been the subject of quite a few of my studies. Might you be interested in knowing a bit more about them? Because I have a few theories regarding their true nature and thought I might be of service."

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Thoughtspeed had the decency to look a bit embarrassed at Scarab's clarification. He regained his footing quickly enough, even with Mister Mood Freezer standing about.

 

"Well. Um. Still, I can appreciate someone taking up a legacy like that! That's one of the great things about us super-types, that sense of...continuity, I guess?"

 

Then a statue-looking guy walked up and...was apparently interested in Scarab's gloves? Thoughtspeed glanced between the other two heroes, his eyebrow raised. He'd let them take the lead on this one. No skin off his back! More time to watch the crowd, too, which he did with his typical alacrity, his body blurring a couple of times as he made quick circuits of the area. 

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"Yes," said Frost neutrally, considering how to respond to the new Scarab - and what sort of conversation he should have with Talya afterwards. "I am sure you tell them great things." He studied the new arrival carefully as the Egyptian-themed fellow spoke, considering what either of the Horuses would have to say about the impersonation. "Quite a look you have, young fellow," he commented finally, hands in his pockets as he looked him up and down. 

 

"Worshippers?-" Third Eye looked profoundly disappointed as he watched Eldritch go, then turned to Lucy. "You get that he's not mellow, right? It's not just an old guy's bad vibes here? Talkin' about worshippers like we 're sitting on a throne instead of the top of a ladder, with our hand down to the next seeker," He shook his head sorrowfully, and added in a soft murmur, "When today is done, I'll send him back to Oregon. Maybe I'll get bad karma for it, but I just don't want him representing us out here any longer than he has to. I just think we should handle it quietly. " 

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The Scarab III

"This is all still new to me but I'd like to get to connect with more heroes if I can, and if need be I can always come up with another name!" she smiled and hope they were fine with her adoption of the name.

 

As for the "expert", she had to reign in her dislike of such people. Her family coming from Egypt they'd often had to deal with experts who'd come in and tried to tell them about their ancient culture when they knew perfectly well about such things. Still, if he knew about the vambraces history it was worth taking a chance, though she wasn't going to make it easy for him.

 

"When my family left Egypt for Freedom City they bought this with them, is an Ancient Egyptian artefact that's been handed down from generation to generation."

 

She held up, however, the fake that she'd carefully crafted herself to be as accurate as she could, but a keen eye would be able to tell that it was a fake.

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