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Tiffany Korta

Freedom City's Finest: Whatever happened to the Mysterious Madam Radium?

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Downtown Freedom City
10 am, 3rd July 2018


Someone had dug up an empty lot in Downtown Freedom, not in itself a strange occurrence and most paid it no heed. After all, eventually Doctor Metropolis would fix the damage and everything would be as it was before. But for some reason they hadn't so eventually the FCPD reluctantly investigated, in the full glare of the local media as things were fairly quiet today.

 

Down in the hole, they found an old abandoned base of some sort of technological hero or villain, with technology that suggested that it hadn't been touched since the 1950's. But why had the base been uncovered now?

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Normally, Terrifica wouldn’t be in Freedom at this hour. She had a day job, a family, and a style preference to uphold. Her students needed her. She was a night time hero, with sidelines in evening and occasionally late afternoon. However, one of her contacts in the FCPD had called. Her help with a few other cases was well remembered, it seemed, and they needed a smartie to help with a problem. She had needed to drop her son off at Nicholsen, anyway. Summer classes, to see if he enjoyed it. Kindergarten had been as unchallenging for him as she had expected, and…she didn’t want him to go through what she had in her school days. First grade was coming, and genius can only be hidden but so well. Especially when one was young.

 

At any rate, she was here. She ought to be able to wrap this up in time to get in for afternoon classes. She stood at the top of the hole and looked down. An old base. Well. Now she was curious. And the media crowding around explained why her contact called. She supposed she’d go in, disable any still functioning traps and/or minions, and report back. That said, she should be ready for anything. In the past, techies had come up with the strangest ideas.

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Triakosia

With the help of her very useful intern, Dancia had been doing pieces on forgotten heroes and villains of yesteryear, maybe feeling a little nostalgic for heroes long past. She'd opened with the classic "Whatever happened to Calendar Girl" and the other members of Troublemakers, Inc though almost all of them being lost to the ages.

 

Right now she was investigating the mostly forgotten Freedom Brigade having tracked down Sara Hendricks the granddaughter of James Hendricks and Samantha Luck, two of the Brigades members Commander USA and the Mysterious Madame Radium. The young African-American woman was friendly and cheerful, and with her Rockabilly styling wouldn't have looked out of place with her ancestors, but the interview was fairly by the numbers until she dropped this bombshell.

 

"You do know that my Great-Grandmother just upped and disappeared a few decades ago?"

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GM Post

There were two things you looked for when examining a scene. Those obvious things that were here, vacuum tubes and bakelite that suggested the place was last active in the 40's and 50's, and the more interesting things that weren't here. In this case, there were in the dusty conditions of the base a few places that looked suspiciously clean. Along a rack on one wall was a series of spherical shapes on the wall, but more alarmingly was a suspiciously large humanoid shape that suggested that someone had removed some device from that era. Alas, many such devices still seemed dangerous even after all these decades.

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Terrifica examined the scene. The tech here was as expected. Several generations behind, but with some surprising and offbeat innovations. It was quite frankly astonishing what past minds could do with vacuum tubes, Bakelite, and a little ingenuity. With that said, everything here was ten time larger than it needed to be these days, and the safety precautions were quite frankly appalling. She sighed, and found the nearest police officer. “Can you find out if anything has been removed since this place was discovered? She pointed to the wall of spheres, specifically the large empty spot. “There seems to be something missing.” The police department could be exceedingly useful for legwork on some cases, after all. If they could track the missing item down, it would save significant time for Terrifica in wrapping up this case.

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GM Post
The detective was very efficient and quickly went to work directing the CSI and officers to gather information about the scene. They had found anything in the base itself, whoever had taken the objects had been careful to leave nothing behind, and similarly the traffic camera's show nothing around the time just before the hole was reported. Such efficiency did sometimes lead to some overconfidence, and luckily for them, they'd gotten lucky this time.


Just before the cameras went dead there was a large panel van parked near where the hole had appeared, one large enough to take the largest of the missing items. On the side of the van was a brand or company name, DeConlectoribus.

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Triakosia
Dancia was many things but the one that she'd grown into was that of an investigative reporter, she actually enjoyed the fluff of the web content but it was still nice to get published in the main paper (even if it was mostly done online now, it was still special in its own way.)

 

So with this one clue, she set to work looking at what had happened to Samantha Luck-Hendricks, despite her advanced age she'd been in the very good health and had been going to a clinic to check on her health one that had suddenly closed not long after her disappearance. If that wasn't enough there was something that caught her attention, the name of the clinic was the DeConlectoribus, the Collectors.

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DeConlectoribus.  It shouldn’t be that hard to find. Terrifica would like to say she worked an array of subtle clues only she could determine the true meaning of. But honestly? She googled them. While having a cup of herbal tea at a nearby coffeehouse. Her suit needed the wifi. After she finished her tea, she hopped on the Terrifi-cycle and rode away. With anything approaching luck, she could have this wrapped up inside the hour. Just…don’t be overconfident. Words to live by.

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DeConlectoribus Building, Hanover


GM Post
It didn't take long to track down the address of this mysterious company, they didn't even seem to be hiding their location at all. Which was, in this case, suspicious in itself.


The building in their name was a low lying building of mostly metal, with no windows except for the small reception at one end of the building, which was dark and appeared to be closed. It looked more like a warehouse than anything else, the kind of place you would store a collection maybe?

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Triakosia
When looking for a potential missing person a place like this was definitely not what Dancia had expected, though nothing so far made a lot of sense in this little mystery. But then again that was really the point in this kind of story.


For now, she was pursuing the story, and the mystery, as Dancia still as whilst it was strange it wasn't the kind of problem that needed a hero like Triakosia to turn up, but that could easily change and it didn't stop her from taking a look inside with her x-ray vision.


Indeed she was standing across the street from the building ready to do just that.

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By the time Dancia Devons arrived, Terrifica was already inside. The door had been, of course, locked, and there was no one readily apparent in the reception area. It didn’t matter. In fact, it made things a bit easier. She had, of course, locked the door behind herself as she began to snoop around, looking for clues. Since it was dark, she decided to go with the low light flashlight from her utility belt. The lenses on her cowl would compensate for any lack of light on that end. Having a perfect memory, she knew the precise dimensions of the missing object. How hard could it possibly be to find in here?

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Triakosia

With her x-ray vision, Dancia could see the same as Terrifica inside, that the warehouse was just what it appeared full of boxes of fairly innocuous stuff. But her vision could beyond that at the true places hidden within, but first, she had a meeting with the interloper.

 

The first that Terrifica knew about this was a shape hovering above her a cape flapping around the figure, her torch glinting off her bronzed breastplate.

 

"Hello, there I'm Triakosia! I think we can help each other here if you're happy to talk."

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Terrifica eyed the newcomer. She was…skeptical of anyone with such a naturally sunny disposition, but why not. Two hands made less work. Her attempt at a disarming smile was a bit smirk-like. “Oh, you know us sneaky types. We just love to chat.” Dry sarcasm? Really, Samantha? She shook her head. “Sorry, you surprised me. I’m looking for something. It was stolen from an old supervillain lair and take somewhere that is mostly likely here.” She gave the dimensions of the object. “If you help me find it, I can go home earlier than usual today.” She stuck out a hand. “Terrifica. I’m sure you’ve heard…things.”

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Triakosia

It was true that Dancia had heard somethings, Superhero gossip was almost as efficient as journalists though it involved more rooftops and fewer bars. She didn't have any real problems however, she was a live and let live kind of person.

 

"Strange I was investigating a missing former hero." as she spoke she gently touched down in front of Terrifica "It looks like we might have a collector on our hand!"

 

Collectors of super paraphernalia was a massive thing, especially in Freedom City, she'd done a story on it around Centurion not so long ago. The official Centurion #1 went for an insane amount of money. Some, however, went well beyond that to actually collect items related to the actual heroes.

 

"I think this warehouse is just a cover, I think I see an entrance to the real collection below."

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Terrifica raised an eyebrow under her mask, intrigued. “Really?” She pulled out a small visor from her utilty belt and used it to glance down. “Well, that’s certainly unexpected. I wouldn’t have checked the foundation until after coming up empty on the ground floor.” Her mind worked for a instant. “I suppose I can also come back up. Shall we?” Without waiting for an answer, Terrifica went hunting for the way down. She had her staff and thus could blast her way down, but honestly? Property damage was wrong, even if one was impatient.

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GM Post
Between the keen mind of Terrifica and the super senses of Triakosia, they were quickly able to discover the secret entrance to the basement.


Compared to the warehouse above thing were very different, there were a hum and hiss of various devices that kept this hidden from most senses. It was also kept cold, probably to keep the collection preserved through at one end there appeared to be something looking like '50's cryo chambers.


The rest of the room was a cornucopia of various things that had been collected from various locations of super conflicts, one or two even looked familiar to the two heroes themselves. And this was only a small section, more was unseen in the twists and turns of the shelving.

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“Yes, wonderful things!” Terrifica quoted Howard Carter under her breath. There was a king’s ransom in here. There would murders done over who would take custody of everything in here. Literal murders, which she would have to investigate. Perhaps she was being too cynical, but with this much value in one place, she did not trust that the darker side of human nature wouldn’t emerge in quantity. “Well, I suppose we know where most of the super battle debris has been going. Let’s see what we can find that shouldn’t be here.” Stolen items, in addition to the object they had entered the basement in search of.

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Triakosia

Dancia went over to the cryopod to answer her curiosity, she'd seen collections like this before being the custodian of Sanctum. This felt far like a collection of things because they were important, there was no sense of the stories behind these things. She cleared the glass of the ancient cryopod to look at the face of its occupant. It looked just like the original images she'd seen of Madame Radium and she'd apparently not aged a day since the original 40's picture.

 

"Looks like someone graduated from collecting things to people! At least she seems to be the only one so far."

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“Yes, I do agree. I suspect that is your missing heroine.” Terrifica frowned, not liking how easy this was. “Though I’m suspicious. We haven’t been the most circumspect about our infiltration, yet we have not been greeted. By a security system, the owner of this facility, or whatever else.” She put a hand on her hip. “If nothing else, it’s a little rude.” She shrugged. “At any rate, let me see if I can get this safely open.” She pulled out a pair of items from her utility belt (the X-Ray Visor long having been replaced in it) and set to work.

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GM Post

As if in answer to the question there was the sounds of clanking as masses of steam as from one end of the row appeared and massive suit of power armour, looking to all the world like it had been build in the 40's. Which it probably had been as it was most likely been what had been stolen from the cache Terrifca had investigated only a few hours before.

 

"Obviously someone couldn't wait to play with their toys?" Triakosia joked at his arrival "I'll keep him busy whilst you get her out. I don't want to dwell too long in case he has some other surprises up his sleeve."

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Terrifica nodded. “I’m relying on you.” Then she really set to work. The thing about this old tech is that it was temperamental. Tech from this era could be said to have a mind of its own. It tended to lack the built in safeties and redundant systems of later on. These inventors were truly braving new frontiers of science. Terrifica applauded their courage, but deplored their safety standards. She had to do this just right, or the person in there would die never knowing a thing. It was a hefty responsibility, and Terrifica hoped she was up to the task. She examined the cryo tank carefully. Ah, good. A sensible configuration. She twisted knobs, pressed buttons, and the temperature inside the tank began to rise slowly as she intended. She turned her head to what Triakosia was up to. “I’ve started the procedure. I’ll need to monitor it, as the temperature cannot rise too quickly. If it does there’ll be severe, fatal tissue damage. I won’t be able to tell if that happen initially for some time. Honestly, cryogenics is one of the least effective methods of life extension. It’s more likely to kill than save. But I suppose it’s by far the easiest and least expensive.”

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GM Post
The clanking came from a bulky set of power armour, obviously built in the 40's and what had been stolen earlier from the underground laboratory. Clunking to a halt it struck a pose the pilot behaving to a certain set of opinions of his or her place in this event.

 

"Well look here a Centurion tie-in figure, and still in pristine condition. Surrender and I'll make things painless for you!"

 

Meanwhile, the Cyro-capsule was remarkably easy to operate, and quite robust in construction probably it would outlast the less solid modern devices. The controls began to show that its occupant began to defrost, and things were so far going well.

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Triakosia

She wasn't intimidated by the clanking suit, even if it could be a challenge. After all, after you fought yourself what was left to worry about? Floating just a few feet from the ground she bunched her fists ready for action but wasn't yet ready to fight.

 

"Right now you've done nothing serious, surrender and we can do this all peacefully."

 

Through the frame that made up the armour the man behind this collection smiled, obviously, he was enjoying the entire thing. That meant he'd want the classic hero-villain fight.

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GM Post
The machinery began to cycle like clockwork, and the device was probably operating just so, and the seal broke as the air was allowed to enter the chamber. As it did something strange began to happen a slightly sickly looking blue-green glow began to filter out of the observation window of the capsule and the smoke took on a similar glow.

 

As the door began to rumble upwards it was obvious that the occupant would fall out of the capsule and onto the hard floor. But was it worth the risk to stop her tumbling out?

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Away with the gear, and out with the Cold Shield. Quickly, Samantha. Now catch this person. “You know what I find insulting?” Nice catch, now let’s hope you haven’t done something gloriously stupid in the name of good and right. “The fact that you haven’t even noticed I’m here. True, I’m not a Centurion tie-in, but I’m far from chopped liver. I’ll echo my associate. Surrender, and no one has to get hurt.” Now, to put this person down and stand up. There’s likely a fight ahead and she ought to be ready.

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