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August 20, 2019

A barrier island off the coast of Freedom City

6:00 AM

 

This was it, the fateful hour. The morning fog rolled over the barrier island, the waves calm. Rising up from the island’s rocky surface was the vessel that would take the fateful group up to the Moon: The Peregrine. Standing tall as a building, it looked like a rocket ship out of Buck Rogers, tall and thin and cast in chrome. An extendable stairway lead into its interior, inviting the people on the surface to step inside. In front, a crowd of heroes had gathered, dressed in space-suits.

 

Rachel stood out front of the Peregrine, dressed in a labcoat and holding a datapad that she was going over intently. She paced, occasionally looking at the heroes, then at the rocketship. She sighed sharply through her nose, then nodded to herself. Stowing the datapad, she clapped her hands together.

 

“Alright! So, I’ve quintuple checked everything, and it looks like we’re cleared to go. Just some things to cover. Flight up to orbit is going to take 3 hours, then making it to the Moon will take another hour You won’t have to do anything for the first bit, I’ve installed a guidance system. One reinforced against psychic interference, this time. However, our pilot,” she said, looking over to Black Mamba, “will have to guide it down to the surface. I’ve deliberately made the controls easy and familiar, so you shouldn’t have any problems. If you’re attacked, I’ve installed Photon Cannons. However, I would be careful, if you fire them in our atmosphere you could cause a fireball. The firing mechanism is very clearly labeled.”

 

She gestured at their space-suits, red ones that were similarly retro. “Your space-suits are state-of-the-art and tailored to what I know about your powers so you can use them. For example, Fast-Forward’s suit has been implanted with a reactive graviton array that will allow him to use his speed powers as though he was in normal gravity. Similarly, I’ve developed a field generator that should allow Archer to use his bow and arrows effectively. The same goes for the rest of you. I’ve tried to account for everything. More than that, your suits have a nano-array that should allow them to quickly seal if you’re hit, so no worries about suffocation. There are limits, though. Take too much damage and the nano-array won’t have enough material to repair. Life support is good for 72 hours, so if for some reason you get blown away into space, we have time to retrieve you,” she said.

 

“I will not be joining you up there, sadly. But I have an FTL-communication device set up that should mean I will be able to communicate with you instantaneously with you wherever you are, as long as you don’t all decide to like… visit Mars or something. Please don’t do that.”

 

She paused, and then tilted her head. “Alright. Any questions?”

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Oh God this is gonna suuuuck thought Richard. What he said was "Thanks, looks like a great ship!" It wasn't that he was ungrateful but being cooped up made him stir-crazy, especially if he was in a moving vehicle that was going so much slower than his own running speed. He zipped around helping make sure the ship was packed and everyone's supplies were geared up, and meanwhile he thought to his wife. 

 

Everybody's still secure. He'd zipped over back home during the briefing just to make sure; figuring correctly that she'd keep sending him all the pertinent information. He didn't need to tell her that if things came down to it up on the Moon, he'd back her play versus the one who'd threatened their kids, and f*ck whatever the others thought about it - she already knew that. 

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The Moon. He was actually gonna go to the freakin' Moon. 

 

Connor zoned out a bit, just staring at the spaceship as Rachel explained. He caught the gist of it, at least. Some kinda thing that'd let him use his bow and arrow up there, despite the lesser gravity. Suits should be able to take a hit. Good enough for him. He'd insisted on stowing an extra bow and extra arrows in the supplies. Something to fall back on, if he ended up losing his current gear. He shook his head and slowly stepped closer to the spaceship, holding his bow in one hand, before he turned back to the others, a genuine grin spread over his lips.

 

"C'mon, I can't be the only one here that's excited about going to the Moon," he asked. Stuff like that might be normal, every day events to everyone else, but not to him. Going into space, shooting arrows at bad guys on the Moon. Yeah, not really what he had expected when he signed up to help Corona, but he wasn't complaining.

Edited by RocketLord

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Where the f### did Serena get a moon rocket? Did she have one lying around, or did Rachel throw it together in three days? And of those options, which one was the more frightening?

 

"Yeah, the Moon's pretty cool," Grimalkin stated matter-of-factly as she tugged at the collar of her pressure suit; she wasn't used to wearing clothing she hadn't made herself, and it felt disturbingly like being wrapped in dead skin. "Hey, quick show of hands if you've ever done any sort of space travel before," the changeling asked as she held up her gloved hand and looked around. "I mean, I make no claims of expertise, but I do have some experience. No judgement or anything, just wondering what our baseline is here."

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Facsimile examined the material of his suit, running the thick coarse fingers of the hand not currently grasping kaboola's chain along the stitching.

 

He'd had bad experiences with nanotechnology and programmable matter before, not something he wanted to mimic lest he himself become reprogrammable.

 

"Been to space twice." He spoke up as he rolled his shoulders around testing the flexibility of the suit a little bit more.

 

"Accidentally shot myself through that wormhole near the lighthouse one time when I turned into light." He elaborated as he rubbed his chin.

 

"Then went to go fight dark star with some friends after his goons crashed a science thing we were helping with, good times." He smiled broadly.

 

"Never the moon though to be fair, maybe I should grab a rock whilst I'm there incase I run into lycanthropes again." He half joked. As he hefted kaboola from the ground and began to coil the chain around his arm.

 

 "Changes In gravity are rough, worth taking time to get yourself acclimated to it before trying anything fancy." He offered by way of advice.

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Paige double-checked her gear with cool efficiency, not exactly a fan of the red color but able to appreciate the engineering under the fire-engine aesthetic. "We've been to space a few times, but not particularly recently. Richard's not a huge fan." I've got Drammamine for you and I've downloaded the entire run of I Love the Eighties to play at 3x speed, she sent Richard. You'll be fine. 

 

"I assume our ship is outfitted with some sort of technology that will give us a shot at landing undetected?" Paige asked Rachel. "Otherwise we may not make it as far as the moon."

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Black Mamba had taken the suit and came back with it a few minutes later, the helmet tinted and the suit filled with someone with certainly more feminine curves than he and his battlesuit could brag of,"This is our pilot, she will be making sure we get in safe and sound."

 

Akhona, rolling her eyes behind her tinted window sighed,"If it doesn't I'm fairly sure we can rig a stealth field if need be."

 

Black Mamba started checking both their gear, ready to get them out of here and take care of this threat to their family.

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GM

 

Rachel nodded at Hologram. "She runs cold so no one will be picking up any heat signatures, and I've taken what I know about Heather's powers and integrated defences into the hull so she won't be picking up your minds, which means the two most obvious modes of detection aren't going to happen. The Peregrine can't turn invisible, but it'd be pretty hard to see you flying anyway unless they knew where to look in the first place. She's sturdy, too, so if they see you, you should be able to land unless they are packing some serious artillery," she said, patting the ship on the side.

 

Looking over at Akhona, Rachel held out her hand in greeting. "As for you, some important details. She has a landing computer to help guide you down, which should be helpful given the condition of the moon's surface. There's an emergency separator on the ship, if the engine gets hit and looks like it will blow, you can pull a lever and separate her and the front portion of the ship. There'll be enough fuel and a small engine in front, enough for an emergency atmospheric re-entry. Oh, and if you need to take off really quickly, there is a by-pass for the start-up procedures but you should only use that if you really need to skedaddle since it's really hard on the engine. Clearly labelled on the dashboard. There's also a digital manual in the computer and dead tree manual under your seat."

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Corona

 

Serena felt sick. Her stomach had been doing loop-de-loops since she woke up that morning, and she didn't expect it to stop any time soon. She had only ever been outside of the United States once in her life, and now she was about to leave the atmosphere of the only planet she had ever known. She felt as though she should be more eager than she was, but the sheer number of things that could go wrong in space kept weighing on her mind. 

 

Of course, there was another reason for her nervousness too. She was going to see Heather and Wu for the first time in decades and do battle with them. She had hoped, when this had started, that somehow she could redeem Heather, but the woman had threatened two families. She didn't know if there was any walking back from that. Her eyes drifted over Richard and Paige, then Black Mamba and his wife. She wondered what they were planning. Despite it all, she hoped it wasn't anything lethal, but she didn't believe she had any right to stop them if it was. After all, what would she do if Heather had threatened Mia?

 

At least Archer was excited. She sighed, craning her neck backwards, then looked over at the group.

 

"Uh, if I can just... Look. Thank you, all of you. You came to help me when you didn't need to and I don't think I could do this without you. And to Fast-Forward, Hologram, Black Mamba and Akhona... I am sorry. If I had known she was going to threaten your families, I would have never gotten you involved. She might have been my friend once, but it's clear she's become someone very different and I am not going to let old feelings get in the way of you protecting your kids. I am hoping it doesn't come to that. But I understand. As for the rest... This is going to be really dangerous. Heather's a real powerful psychic and Wu is one of the smartest human beings on the planet. I don't know what we're going to find out there, but if any of you want to back out, I understand."

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Merge Trois

Merge was fashionably late as should be expected for one such as her, and already it seemed that there were two of them the second with her helmet down and ready already. In fact it was Nicki something the two of them had thought about for a bit as even with the increase in her telepathic power the moon was definitely a little to far for the two of them to coordinate. It meant a rare day off from the Bookshops, but it was worth the sacrifice and besides she had plenty of holidays tucked away.

 

Sorry I’m a little late, it hell to get a spacesuit at this time of year!”

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Connor's excitement died out a bit when Corona held her speech. He crossed his arms, looking around at the rest of the crew. Alright, most of them sounded like they had been to space before, so of course he was the odd man out again. Alright, fine. He was starting to get used to being the newbie here, so fine, he could deal with that.

 

He had his own plans for dealing with Heather. He kind of doubted it would work, but the old man had given him some old arrows that he'd once used to take on some psychics. Might work, might not. Otherwise, he had other things, or he could at least run interference for the others.

 

Connor remained silent. It would be a matter of time, now, then they were off.

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"Just living in freedom city Is dangerous, Corona." Facsimile chimed up as he tossed the heavy head of his meteor hammer in his hand like a soft ball.

 

"As one of southsides's few resident heroes I refuse to be daunted by crooks no matter how grandiose their pettiness is...Wu's a scummy thug, he's just been too successful for too long, time to see him sent to blackstone."

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"Let's do this," said Richard, not wanting to dwell on how he'd been going into space since he was ten (mostly for his ma's work) and it had never been his favorite place. "We've done this dance before, and we've taken  down what's her name too." He shrugged. "We'll play it your way when we're up there," he said, finishing his move behind Paige, though he seemed to direct his words to their guides. 

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Black Mamba clenched his fist, metal fingers grinding together,"No one tries to endanger my family...they will be stopped and neutralized. You have nothing to worry about, Corona, we will get this done!"

 

Akhona, her identity covered  by the helmet nodded to the instructions that Rachel gave her,"I'll be fine, I can handle it. Thank you for the ship, it is amazing..we should talk afterwards. I can always use more technological geniuses." She glanced over at Mamba for a moment, she knew she wouldn't be around forever and someone would have to keep his suit running after she was gone...so she kept looking for potential people to help him out when she got too old.

 

She moved next to the black and gold of the Black Mamba battlesuit, touching it's shoulder as she nodded to Corona,"Yes, we are in this till the end. We'll help you!"

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"No need to apologize," Grim said with a shake of her head. "Outrageous ####head threats come with the territory. Let's get to the Moon and shut these losers up."

 

Lynn was glad to be going on this mission; not only would she be an incredible asset on the battlefield, but as a friend, she could be there to support Serena, who was clearly going through a lot right now. She rolled her shoulders and waggled her butt; Lynn hated wearing 'real' clothing. She was so used to conjuring everything she wore, which meant it was basically made out of the same glamour as she was, and therefore more or less felt like wearing nothing at all ("Stupid sexy Flanders!").

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GM

 

Now that the matter was settled, the group was ushered onto the spaceship. While the exterior was very much Buck Rogers, the interior was definitely state of the art, with modern screens and devices staring back at the heroes. Their seats were reinforced to stand the intense force of leaving the atmosphere, and had thick straps to keep them in their seat while they were still going up. Breathing masks hung in reach in case anyone needed them, connected to tubes going up into the ceiling.

 

"Alright, you're ready for blast-off," Rachel's voice crackled over the communicator.

 

The takeoff process was rough. It felt like the Earth itself was trying to crush them, one last desperate attempt to keep the heroes from leaving her surface. Then they rose up, and surged up into the air, rocketing towards the void. That portion lasted hours, until they finally broke free of the atmosphere, drifting amongst the stars, the Earth below them shining blue in infinite black. Suddenly, everyone felt weightless in their seats.

 

"Alright! I just got notified you're up in orbit. Now all you need to do is have Akhona take over and bring you to the point I've showed you here," Rachel's voice crackled as a screen showed their destination. "Then you'll be able to fly over to the Moon. Not detecting any weird activity on the surface, which I hope means your landing should be pretty easy."

 

Then, the artificial gravity engaged, bringing them all back to their normal weights.

 

"With the artificial gravity on, you can walk around now, use the bathroom, stuff like that. Anyway, good luck everyone."

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Corona

 

Serena felt exhausted. Her body was sore and tired from the pressure exerted on her by the take-off, while the magnitude of what she had just done still weighed heavily on her mind. She looked down at the blue orb beneath them, though, and felt a sense of wonder she hadn't felt in ages.

 

And nausea. Terrible nausea. She reached under her seat to produce a brown paper bag, held it open up to her face, and let go. She took a moment to look inside, cursed herself for doing so, and then dropped it down a chute to the ship's disposal.

 

"Uagh," she said, still sounding queasy. "We're actually in space. How am I going to explain this to Mia? To my dad?"

 

She looked down at the Earth again and for a moment was filled with that wonder again. "God, that's our home," she said. "Gorgeous. Really gorgeous and --hurk" she said as she reached for another bag.

 

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The pressure was extreme. It was exhausting, just staying upright in the seat as they rocketed through the atmosphere. The others might be handling it better, or they might not, but Connor stayed silent in his seat, just staring ahead. They had powers. They could handle it, right? He had been flying around in state of the art machines before, but not like this, nothing where he had actually left the planet. No pressure quite like this.

 

It felt like forever. When they finally hit space and the artificial gravity kicked in, Connor let out a deep breath. He felt weird, nauseous, but he didn't really care. They were in space. This was incredible. Just incredible

 

He stayed strapped in for now, staying silent, just watching out, only barely noticing that Corona was going through paper bags.

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Akhona's fingers flickered out, hitting buttons as Rachel handed over control to her,"Thank you, Rachel, I'm at the helm we are moving." She was getting to old for this, blast off into space, fighting bad guys? That was John's thing, she just wanted to run her company and look after her children. Sighing softly she guided the plan towards their destination, tapping a button and speaking softly,"Turning off the seatbelt signs, we don't have anyone to bring you snacks so you'll have to help yourselves. Remember even superheros have to hydrate properly in long distance flights." She smirked as she turned off the speaker for now, her own eyes widening as she looked down at the Earth passing below them, space was still a forigen place to all but the most powerful hero's especially at this distance and they were going one further.

 

To the moon!

 

Black Mamba was much less impressed, particularly since he had managed to land the seat next to Corona who had not only filled her air sickness bag, but had just reached out and grabbed his. Shaking his head he selected to have the smell not penetrate his helmet as he let out a low sigh,"Does any one have any kind of anti-nauesea pills or something.....this girl looks like she's going to run out of bags before she runs out of stomach content."

 

Even the hardened mercenary would have been impressed by the planet going by, if he wasn't looking around for bags for Corona to fill as they traveled towards their destination.

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Merge Trois

Being in actual space going to the moon was actually something pretty cool, and not something a girl from Lincoln would ever expect they would achieve. But with a reputation to help maintain she couldn’t allow herself to come across as to awestruck at it all, it didn’t help that she could feel the nerves of Nicki who wasn’t use to being this close to the danger. Merge could understand, obviously being part of the same person, she would just spring back if something happened when it was much harder for Nicki if something happened…

 

So are we there yet? I’m hoping to get back in time for the Real Heroines of Freedom City!”

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Alex took a moment to just relax and let the feeling of the rattling hull and sounds if conversation fade away leaving nothing but the feeling of speed and inertia as the ship hurtled through space towards the moon.

 

It would take a few hours for the most advanced of nasa's space shuttles to get to the moon, perhaps slightly under an hour for one of the Freedom leagues pegasus transports.

 

Either way it was time available to him to prepare for what he was sure would be a knock down drag out brawl at the heart of Wu's darkness.

 

Once he felt somewhat centered he returned to the here and now.

 

"So chief what's the plan of attack?"

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Corona

 

Serena finally managed to get control of herself after two bags, taking deep breaths to ensure she was fine. Then, she looked over at Facsimile, giving him a weak smile. "Uh, well, Akhona is going to have to go ahead and land us in a few hours, but unfortunately, we don't really know what's down there. I'm gonna go ahead and assume Wu's got guys who'll be there to meet us at the landing site, which means, uh... Probably should... Urp... I'm fine, just gimme a second... Okay. We're going to want our sturdier people leaving the ship first, and then squishier people firing from behind," she said.

 

"So that'd probably be me... you, Facs... and Black Mamba? I can soak some pretty heavy damage, part of my whole... It's so my powers don't turn me into a hunka carbon every time I use them. And Facs, well we all know your whole shtick here, while uh... Well Mamba's got power armour. Right? That's power armour."

 

She leaned back in her chair. "Once we're in, we're gonna try to neutralize Heather and Wu. Gonna hafta be careful. I'm pretty sure she's gonna try and mind control one of us into fighting the others."

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Archer II

 

Corona was the one to spill her lunch in the paper bags? Connor hadn't seen that coming, to be honest. He thought it'd be him doing that... maybe Merge. Or Facs, though his powers probably helped there. Not Corona. She was too bad ass for that, wasn't she? 

 

The plan was reasonable. Defenders in front, attackers in the back. He reached for an arrow, just to check if it was still there.

 

"I might have something that can help with that mind control," he added, after waiting a moment. "Got some of the old man's old arrows. Some of them can throw psychics for a loop, but it all depends on how she does her thing. Might turn out to be a dud."

 

If not... well, he'd go anyway. Find a way to get through this.

 

"I'll keep the specifics to myself, if you don't mind. Figure there's no reason to give Heather a chance to find out what it is ahead of time."

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Black Mamba looked at the girl, if he could have raised an eyebrow on his armor he would have but it didn't work, with a slow nod he chuckled,"Yes, yes it's power armor and yes I'll go in front. I can even walk if it's necessary."

 

Akhona smirked and nodded,"Finest grade armor money could buy, he can literally take a tank shell to the chest and keep right on trucking...so don't let his surly attitude sour you, he'll go in front and he can take the shots if needed."

 

A sigh echoed over Black Mamba's speakers as he shrugged his metal shoulders,"So yes, I'll go in front and get hit...if that's the plan, but yeah, we might want a plan for if one of the tough people in the front gets taken over....also, do you all have some way of communicating if we get separated, I doubt we have cell signal on the moon."

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Merge Trois

Merge listened to the plots and plan being made as she though about herself, well not Merge but Nicki who might be the smartest person in the room right now. Besides even Merge knew a frontal assault was a pretty risky, best to be a little on the sneaky side.

 

If I could suggest something?” she didn’t pause to check anyway just ploughing on

 

Why don’t some of use more squishy ones get dropped off some distance and try and sneak out way in. Y’know whilst the tough ones create a distraction out front.”

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