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1959 Conway & 25th, Lincoln, Freedom City
7 am 18th June 2018

 

It didn't matter how quick you were breakfast was still a flurry of activity, cat and child to feed and get and superspeed couldn't make water boil any quicker or toast to brown perfectly. And of cause when Dancia was meant to have her new Intern and superhero colleague of several adventures, she was of cause running late.

 

She was quite proud that over the last couple of years that she'd earned enough cache at the Ledger that she was able to convince them to let her take on an Intern, even if it meant she'd have to do all the related work. not that she minded, in fact, she was looking forward to the challenge.

 

Even with all her enhanced senses she was distracted and didn't notice her new Intern imminent arrival, some in the house had and just before they arrive at the door it was opened.

 

"Hi there I'm Katie Melitta Devons-Leeds and I'm eight years old!"

 

With a smile, the young girl offered out a hand. She looked very much Dancia, except for a head of extremely blonde hair.

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It had taken a lot of convincing to get Casey's parents to agree to a summer sublet so she could stay in Freedom for this internship; despite the fact that she was essentially bulletproof and could lift several tons, no parent is ever 100% onboard with their only daughter spending their summer away from home. But the young heroine made a strong case by talking up how good it would look on a resume, especially since freshmen almost never get internships. At long last, her infectious enthusiasm wore them down, and her parents relented with a sigh, earning bone-creaking hugs in the process.

 

On the first day of her internship, Miracle Girl flew across the river to the Southside, her big, funky hemp bag over one shoulder. Of course, Casey had a student bus pass; every FCU freshman got one, and it was included in your tuition. But unless she was hanging out with her sorority sisters, she pretty much flew everywhere; to be honest, it was a hard habit to break. But at least she was never late!.

 

Landing a few blocks away behind an abandoned gas stationed, Casey switched into civilian identity in a swirl of wind, now sporting a photographer's vest over a short-sleeved FCU jersey, as well as a pair of cargo shorts and light hiking boots. Trotting over to Conway, she found a well-maintained house on a quiet street. She was just about to ring the bell when the door was flung open by the prettiest little girl! Interesting how she'd detected her presence; possibly another super in the family? 

 

The young journalism student flashed a pretty amazing smile of her own as she dropped down into a crouch. "Hi there, Katie! My name's Casey. Is your mommy home?"

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Triakosia

She was fast and her senses told her that her guest was on her way to the door, but her daughter has those same senses and was much closer to the door. And she had the family stubbornness that meant she wasn't going to just wait like Dancia had explained many time before. She had that moment of horror at what Katie had revealed until she could confirm that it was Casey, and she wasn't done explaining either.

 

"She not quite my mom she my Mother from Another Earth!" she explained in the seriousness that only a young child could manage. "I'm staying here whilst my mom and dad fight a massive evil!"

 

Casey could see from Dancia's face that things were a lot less rosy from her double.

 

"Please come in." Dancia waving in her young intern "Things are a little chaotic this time of morning!"

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With great effort, Casey manged to keep the smile on her face; something about the cheerful way Katie referred to 'massive evil' and the look on Dancia's face gave her a chill. Kids could take things in stride that would cripple an adult. "Well I'm glad you have a nice place to stay for now." The blonde heroine winked and tapped her lightly across the chin with her knuckles before rising to greet her mentor for the summer. "No worries! I remember how my mom struggled to get me and my brother fed and on the bus every morning." She pulled a bottled water out of her bag and took a long sip.

 

"So, what are we doing today, boss?"

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Triakosia

"You'd think it'd be so much easier with powers, but it just seems to make things more complicated!" Dancia gave a smile "She's spending a day with a friend, speaking of you better go get your stuff."

 

"Yes mom. Nice you meet you Ms Casey." Katie rushed off at super speed

 

"I'm just glad she knows not to use her powers in public! It helps I think that she has the same power set as myself, no flying yet thankfully. Talking of give me a sec."

 

In a flash, she was back with a cup of steaming coffee.

 

"We've got enough time if you want one?" she gestured to the coffee "We're starting you off with a fluff piece for the website, I'll fill you in once we get there and then you can call the shots. If the story good you can even get the byline!"

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The journalism major's eyes went wide. "An actual byline? Oh wow, that's been my dream since I was little!" Casey was so excited by this news it took a few seconds for Dancia's first question to sink in. "Oh, uh, sure; black with two sugars, thanks." Then she plopped down into a chair, eyes a bit blank.

 

"Other girls wanted to be princesses or ballerinas; even back then, I wanted to bring bad guys to justice." She looked up at the other paragon and smiled sheepishly. "My grandfather wrote for the Miami Herald for thirty-two years; I used to love to visit him at work when we were on vacation. I'll never forget the first time he took me down to the giant presses; 'the wheels of justice', he used to call them. I loved how darn noisy they were."

 

If there was ever any doubt, on the unlikely chance Casey Blankenship ever bled again, it would obviously be printer's ink.

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Triakosia

"I wanted to be a Stellanaut, but you couldn't unless you were a citizen. And that meant joining the Legion." Dancia had explained to Casey about her origins on Pax Roma when they'd met a teen version of her from another Earth "I was so determined that I worked my way up to an elite Legion, the 300th the Triakosia." she handed over the mug as she carried on talking


"The whole reporting thing was meant to be a cover, something I could do without notice, it was only the website after all. But even without my memories I was still determined to do the best job I could, and it seems that I'm a not terrible reporter..." she beamed at her own false modesty "And I get to go into space whenever I wish! There something about just floating above the planet listening to the whole world below you, if you can you should try it sometime."

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 "You know, I've never been to space? My dad has, a few times; he visited the Lor homeworld and everything. You know, before the-" 

 

Her father, Col. Steve Blankenship, aka Vigilant, had actually cried the day he heard about the planet's destruction. He hadn't been there in many years, not since he was a young hero, but as he described it, he'd spent a decent amount of time there. Casey suspected he'd left friends behind there, possibly someone more than that. His reaction made the loss of that distant planet much more real to her, and she vowed to always treat its loss with the respect it deserved. After, how sad would it be if no one mourned the Earth after it was gone?

 

Shaking her head to drive away the sudden wave of melancholy, she beamed at her new 'boss'.  "We'll have to go visit space together sometime; you can show me all the sights."

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Triakosia

"I've not often gone beyond Low Earth Orbit, so much stuff needs doing here you know." she waved her arms around in emphasis "In fact somehow I've spent more time on alternative Earths than in space, sometimes I feel like there some connections between all the alternative me!"

 

As if one cue Katie came in wearing a massive padded jacket and wearing a Miss Americana backpack.

 

"Can I go into space to Mom?" Katie asked pouring on the charm like only an eight-year-old could

 

"Let's see you can do tall buildings in a single bound first." Dancia ruffled Katie's hair "Now let see you out, I hear the car coming now." she turned to Casey adding "I'll only be a moment, watch Centurion he's a bit quick on the claws if you're not invulnerable."

 

She was talking to a large orange cat that looked at Casey somewhat banefully, he was not what you'd call a cute kitty.

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"Sure, okay," Casey replied with an absent nod as she took another sip of coffee, taking in the house with a casual sweep of her eyes; Dancia kept the place clean, one of the advantages of being a homeowner with super-speed. Casey's dorm room was almost equally spotless now that she had the room to herself.

 

Finally, her gaze landed on Centurion, and it was not a pleasant experience. Casey thought of herself as an animal lover, but had always preferred dogs and horses; she'd never quite gotten cats. They were a bit foo fussy and didn't like to roughhouse, and their litterboxes smelled awful. The staredown between human and feline lasted for several seconds before before the blonde heroine finally broke the silence.

 

"Hi, Kitty," she said in an eerie imitation Katie's voice, just to see what he would do.

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Triakosia
Centurion might be smart but he only was smart for a cat, so the now confused feline decided to use his other senses to determine this potential interlopers identity. Boldly the cat pushed it cold little nose against Casey to get a better smell of her, she must have passed some cat test as he began to rub his head against her cheek a purr loudly.

 

"Looks like he likes you, though I warn you he still will stick his claws in or give you a friendly nip." with a smile Dancia resisted the urge to take a picture of the pair

 

 

"We kind of adopted each other when I first moved in, I think he's still trying to work out why his claws don't seem to affect me."  

 

Having finished being friendly he went over to Dancia in case she might consider feeding him again.

 

"Do you want to risk traffic or should we fly there again?"

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"Well sure, but only because I tricked him." Casey petted Centurion a little, even though her heart wasn't really in it; she guessed he seemed okay for a cat. At Dancia's question, she sat up straight and looked thoughtful. "Ooh, good question! I mean, to be honest, I cpuld happily fly everywhere, because I love it so much, plus it just saves so much time. Do we need yo maintain appearances at all? If not, sure, let's fly!"

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Triakosia

"Cat can generally tell, they're like little grumpy meta's!"

 

On the question of the tripped she though before adding.

 

"The story I've got for you doesn't need us to go to the office..." she paused before adding "...unless of course you want to see how the office works, I have a cubical well away from where the important people sit!" she grinned

 

"I promise we'll have plenty of time in the office and tasting there half decent coffee, but I know the allure of that busy newsroom!"

 

She remember her first day sneaking up from the basement just to see the reporters all in action, it had some real energy of something about to happen. Even if it was just people in an office working on computer screens. Or maybe she was an old romantic.

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Casey's eyes went wide with excitement. "Do I want to see the office? Heck yeah!" She slapped her hands on her thighs so hard it made her chair jump, scarring the bejeezus out of poor Centurion, who scampred away, his tail all a-poof. "Sorry, kitty," the journalism major called after it, wincing slightly. She got to her feet and shouldered up her bag, eyes alight.

 

"So, ready when you are, boss!" Casey managed to put more joy into saying the word 'boss' than most people ever did; she was practically bouncing on her toes.

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Triakosia

Dancia couldn't help but smile at the enthusiasm of her intern, quite a pleasant change from the often cynical journalist that she dealt with. And the story would wait an hour or two if need be, sometimes it was good for people who moved so fast to slow down occasionally.

 

"Okay, then the office it is! Whilst we could drive or get a taxi I always enjoy travelling with others now and again." she checked her watch to confirm what she suspected "If we want to catch the next bus we better get a move on, you can take the mug if you want I've got plenty of them."

 

Grabbing her coat and handbag she was ready to leave, taking her time so Casey could get herself ready to go.

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"Cool, I like taking the bus sometimes, too; certainly easier to talk that way then shouting at each other while we're flying!"

 

Dancia didn't have to wait long for Casey to get ready; in a blink, she was ready to go, her coffee mug drained, washed, rinsed, dried and thoughtfully put away in a matter of moments. Then she shouldered her bag, proudly held up her FCTA Freedom Pass and grinned before raising a dramatic finger into the air.

 

"To the bus!"

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Triakosia

They, whoever they might be, often said you could tell a local Freedomite by how they reacted when a hero flew, swung, jump or however they travelled. It wasn't true for everyone though and many on the bus, not as romantic as the cities monorail but clean and efficient as they could be, who glanced out of the windows as a hero flew overhead. Dancia reaction was a little more subdued, but she was obviously still paying attention.

 

"Hmmm, I didn't know they were back in town! Have to catch up with them soon." she whispered to Casey "I like to do this and see how people really feel about this city, easy to lose track when you're up in the sky!"

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"Yeah, its true," Casey agreed with a nod. "You can start to lose perspective if you spend your whole life above it all." She frowned as a comparing occured to her. "To be honest, I think the same thing happens to rich people sometimes, especially if they're just born into money,  you know? They don't understand how hard it is for, you know, normal people." She laughed ruefully. "I guess in a way, being rich is the original superpower. Kings and queens and emperors could just wave their hand and change the world, just like that." She snapped her fingers, and then her face got a bit sad and serious as she turned to look out the window.

 

"I guess there's a lesson in there for us..."

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Triakosia

Dancia looked thoughtful for a few moments considering Casey's word before replying.

 

"The Hunter's and Fletcher's give time and money to help those in need, and for two generations the King's of Dakana have defended this planet. Remember as journalists we deal in verifiable truth, not absolutes!"

 

Dancia smiled reassuringly at her young intern and leaned in for a conspiratorial whisper

 

"Then again there are lot's that don't, and that's where we get to do the fun stuff!"

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Casey sighed and rolled her eyes, a weary grin on her lips. "I know; jeez, when did I get so cynical? Life in the big city has hardened me!"

 

It was, of course, a joke, but in all honesty life in Freedom had changed Casey, in most ways for the better, but she wasn't always sure. What would they say back at Grace and St. Stephen's Church if they knew about 'Hardcase', her criminal persona? Sure, she created her to aid in her crimefighting, but she'd committed actual crimes to maintain her cover on more than one occasion. Would Reverend Williams be disappointed?

 

The pretty young heroine furrowed her brow, deep in thought, and didn't speak again for several minutes.

Edited by Heritage

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GM Post

"It took me six months in the wilderness to properly ground myself, and I really was grounded at the time! Here's our stop!"

 

As they'd spoke they'd enter the glass and steel wonder that was Downtown Freedom City, dominated by the twisted steel of the triple skyscrapers that made up Pyramid Plaza. The Ledger Building wasn't quite as big but it was impressive in its own way an early white brick clad skyscraper of the Romanesque style. The building proudly bore the crest of the Freedom City Beaumont's, a lion rampant clutching a bundle of arrows, the original owners of the paper and building, who still kept full control of both over 150 years later.

 

Dancia pause across the road to admire the building, as she did most morning, looking at Casey she gave a smile.

 

"Trust me the building looks even more impressive on the inside!"

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