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Tiffany Korta

Meanwhile at the stately Summers Manor...

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Summers Manor, North Bay, Freedom City, New Jersey

18:00 EDT, 6th April 2020

 

Whilst Callie had mostly stayed at the Penthouse during her visits to Freedom City she had visited the manor a few times to see where her Grandparents had lived, the ones she knew about at least. Still she’s wasn’t quite ready to visit dad yet and since she was in town to visit St Thomas’s, she still wasn’t use to calling it Claremont’s, she figured she’d pop in to check out the old place.

 

Her keys even still worked, or at least they needed much better unpickable locks, and she swing the doors open hand in her leather jacket as she peered into the gloomy hallway. She was taking it all in as if this could be taken away from her at any moments, and after all nothing exciting could be going on here...

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Summers Manor, Entry Hall

 

"Alek, is that you? I thought you were in the garage?"

 

A woman walked into the hallway, wiping her hands on a towel, looking as if she'd been working in the kitchen. She was glancing at her phone, a frown on her face, when she looked up and saw Callie. In that moment, she froze, her body language showing signs of tightly-controlled panic. Her hand holding the phone slipped behind her back, out of Callie's view.

 

"Who are you, and what are you doing here?"

 

==========================================

 

Summers Manor, Garage

 

Alek put the tablet down and rubbed his eyes. Updating the software in the G-class that they were going to use when Duncan Summers wanted to move out and about had proved more frustrating than he thought. He felt more comfortable with the insides of cars and other vehicles these days, but the computer was still his "first love". Between the baseline code, the official modifications for the self-raising/lowering suspension (easier for Summers to enter and exit the vehicle), and the unofficial modifications that he'd roped Geckoman into helping him install, it was a bit of a tangle mess. At this point, he just needed to let it sit and integrate the code overnight...

 

Then his phone buzzed, in a particular pattern that had him stand bolt upright. He yanked the phone from its holster and checked the status; his mother, the entry hall, unknown individual. No time for a change, even if he was quick about it. He moved to the door into the house and kicked a spot on one of the support columns on his way. From the ceiling next to the door, a panel opened, and his hand reached out and caught the sheathed sword even as he started to run. He shoved his phone away and placed his now-free hand on the grip of the weapon, even as he neared the entryway...

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Madame Raven

The one think Callie hadn't actually been expecting was people, they’d not visited often and she’d never considered how the place stayed so dust free the few times they’d visited. Trying to play it cool sticking her hand into her jackets pockets.

 

I thought the place was still in mothballs, dad didn’t really stay here once grandfather Bruce died. I should have expect otherwise, I would have knocked obviously!” she pointed back at the still open front doors as way of explanation.

 

Oh yeah I forgot to introduce myself, I’m Callie Summers, this is my families house!”

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Summers Manor, Entry Hall

 

The older woman looked cautiously at the teenage girl. At first, her face showed confusion. Then, it shifted to guarded disbelief.

 

"Young lady, tell me who you really are. You're not Callie Summers, even if this is truly her family's home."

 

Her eyes shifted to a point behind and to the right of Callie. If the time-tossed teenager turned at the moment, she would behold a young man standing there, half in the shadows, holding a sheathed saber in his hands. He stood dangerously still; his posture was that of a snake coiled to strike. His gaze turned to the first person Callie had met here. 

 

"You okay, mom?"

 

"Yes, dear."

"Maybe you should go talk to dad and Mister Summers. In the other study."

 

The older woman's eyes widened a bit, before she nodded and began to cautiously move away. He turned back to Callie, his eyes searching, challenging.

 

"Now, 'Callie Summers', just who do you think you...wait."

He narrowed his eyes and took a single half-step forward. It was just the two of them now. When he spoke again, his voice had dropped in pitch, and there was something extra in it. 

 

"Who are you?"

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Madame Raven

Callie wasn’t concerned about not being recognised but one thing Alek’s said unnerved her to the point of outburst.

 

Dad’s here! I’d thought he’d be at the Penthouse downtown, do we still own the place because that could have been em brassing!”

 

Most thing she could deal with, even an old decrepit her, but her own father having aged that much, it was something she was trying to avoid for as long as she could. She breathed out heavily to calm herself and deal with the problem at hand.

 

Your not going to believe me so what the heck! I’m Calliope Summers from 1989, I was kidnapped by some crazy lady and found myself in 2020. And apparently even then it wasn't going to be the most momentous of sixteenth birthdays for me!

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Later

 

Ashley's motorcycle rumbled up the front pathway of the Mansion, her light cutting through the evening fog. Summons from the Raven always got her back up - what emergency was so serious that it required her to leave Judy at Claremont to come out here? (Especially when it was a summons from _both_ Ravens.) She looked at the house, cursed again, and walked right up to the front door. There was a time when she'd have entered through the old, old entrance underneath - but that was a long, long time ago. "Hello?" The door was unlocked, which was ominous, so she entered with her gun in her hand just to be on the safe side. It never hurt to be careful around here. 

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The young man holding a sword stood there for several long moments after Callie's declaration. The only signs he was alive and not a statue were slow, steady breaths, and the occasional blink of his eyes. When he finally spoke, the tone was flat with disbelief.

 

"What."

 

It was more of a statement than a question. 

 

"You're....alright. Prove it. What was your birthday present on your seventh birthday."

It was something only Duncan, Callie, and Alek knew. Mostly because it embarrassed the Headmistress these days. It wasn't something she would share, and Alek's mind was guarded enough he'd likely pick up on the signs of a telepath pulling the answer from his mind. Especially as he was rolling around the remembered conversation in coded Georgian inside of his own mind. 

 

And then Ashley walked in. Alek shifted his head slightly, keeping one eye firmly fixed on "Young Callie", but turned enough that his voice carried clearly over his shoulder.

 

"You're just in time, Ashley. Seems we have a...complicated...situation on our hands."

 

Ashley could instantly tell that Alek was using his "work voice", or at least as close as he could get outside of the suit. 

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Madame Raven

Callie had to think herself, it had been a while eve for her and a lot had happened in the intervening years. But she had a method of recalling information, apparently they called it a mind palace now, and she remembered the exact event.

 

It was a Simon, that game that you had to press the colored lights in order. And I took it apart to try and work out how it worked and maybe pre-program a sequence, didn’t work to well after that I’ve never been good at the electronics part!” she gave a little smile before adding

 

It was also a story in a tell all book from last year… sorry 1988 called the Fall of Summer, but an old servant of ours called Alf somebody or other. Pretty sure you can get a copy even in this far future of 2020.”

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"Okay, what the f*ck," declared Ashley, punctuating the moment with a hard step inside. She wasn't familiar at all to Calliope, a short, well-built Eurasian woman with bright pink hair and carrying a large pistol. "...clone?" she demanded of Alex. "Time-traveler?" She looked at Calliope and repressed a shudder. That face wasn't supposed to smile like that. 

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"Claims time-travel. Fits the scenario a bit better. Comments sound more genuine to someone expecting a different scenario."

 

His eyes narrowed slightly. 

 

"Could still be a con. Trying to ascertain information that only Callie Summers would actually be able to provide, not something in a biography from 30 years ago."

 

He gave the teenager in front of them a flat look.

 

"Any suggestions?"

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Ashley was silent for a moment as she looked at the Calliope Summers before her, then she said "I'm going to say a name. I want to see how you react. Mr. Trondheim." It was a name that Ashley knew and that Callie Summers knew, and it was a name she _never_ would have told a male sidekick. Or an author. 

 

Fifth grade, tennis whites. A male teacher who didn't understand why a twelve-year-old girl would urgently need to be excused. Who told her mother that afternoon that _she_ was the problem. 

 

 

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Madame Raven

In another unexpected reaction for a Callie she begun to blush at the memory that Ashley bought to mind.

 

I was thirteen and thought I was so cool and then… I thought I was dying there and then! Managed to make it all the way home in my tennis… well I guess you couldn’t call them whites at that point.”

 

She smiled a little wistfully at a much better memory, though tinged with a little sadness.

 

It was strange to see my mom trying to have a normal conversation, she’s was still alive when I left and I didn’t know about my ancestor.”

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"Checks out." After a moment's consideration, Ashley lowered her gun and turned to the Raven - the new one. It had taken her a while to learn to treat Alex the way she'd have treated Callie, but the truth was his competence and professionalism made that easy enough. "What the f*ck?" 

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"I'm just going to shove that part of this conversation in the farthest recesses of my memory and never recall it again."

 

His face was completely flat when he said that, but maybe it was a joke. Either way, Alek relaxed and took his hand off the hilt of the sword. 

 

"Okay, so you're who you say you are. Situation sounds like time travel. I'm guessing you aren't able to go back?"

He looked at Ashley.

 

"Who do we know that's a time traveler? Not trying to kick her out but this is a huge risk."

 

He glanced at Callie again, his eyes betraying how unnerved he was.

 

"Seriously considering asking you to help me pick out alcohol." 

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As they stood there trying to decide what to do, Alek sighed.

 

"Right, hang on. There's someone else who needs to be caught up to speed here."

 

He reached down and pulled out his phone, firing off a quick text to a young man who was downstairs in the Rookery.

 

--Charlie, could you come upstairs please? There's a situation you need briefed on.--

 

He spoke over his shoulder to Ashley.

 

"You remember Charlie, right Ashley? Figure he should be looped in."

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-- Omw --

 

It didn't take long for Charlie to get there, approaching the group in a pair of black gym shorts and a dark grey tank top. He was sweating, a short white towel around his neck as he approached.

 

"What's up, boss?" He paused when he noticed the company. The older woman was Ashley Tran, Copycat or Watchdog, depending on the time. They'd met a few times, just something brief. Introductions to the newest member of the Raven family and all that. "Oh, hey Ashley." The other one was new, though... and pretty good looking, too. He stood up just a little bit straighter, grabbed the towel around his neck with both hands and grinned at Callie. "Hey, I'm Charlie." No idea who she was, so best to stick to secrets so far, right? Even if she seemed strangely familiar, somehow.

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Madame Raven

Oh hey you’ve got yourself a sidekick!” she winced a little as she realised that might not be an appropriate thing to say.

 

Hello Callie! Sorry I have such an 80’s brain sometime, is there a preferred term for superheroes mentoring another?”

 

Figuring she might have mitigated her faux pas a little she game a little smile, the superheroing she could do easily it was the dealing with the other heroes that was the real challenge.

 

Anyway I’m Callie Summers, pleased to meet you!”

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Ashley chopped the air with her hand for emphasis. "Okay - the memories match up, but this is not how I remember Callie Summers, or how she described her teenaged self to me," she said with a distinct look in the original's direction. "So are we going to look for the clone marks, or check for dimensional displacement, or what, here?" She shot a look at Charlie, a short nod, then went back to the adult conversation. "Listen, I know you're trained in ten forms of self-defense," she added to the younger Callie, "but you were raised to be responsible, right? If there were a copy of your predecessor running around, people would want to know what the score was." 

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"Guess partner's the word, but I'm good with sidekick. At least until Alek thinks I'm ready to fly solo." He returned the smile, and then froze briefly as she introduced herself. Wait. Callie Summers? As in the previous Raven? 

 

He put his hands up, trying to pause the whole thing as he tried to get just a little bit caught up on what was happening. "Wait, wait, wait!  You are Callie Summers? This is Callie Summers?" Yeah, Ashley might have kind of shot him down with just a short look and the nod before ignoring him, but no, he needed to get in on this. Time travel, clone, dimensional displacement? Alright, Alek and Ashley had probably seen it all before, they would figure something out, but stuff like this was brand new to Charlie. If Ashley was just gonna talk past him, then at least he'd be the one to talk with Callie. He crossed his arms, grinning at the absurdity of the situation. "So, how'd you get here? I'm pretty sure you're supposed to be way older than me." She probably knew everything, right? Still, he'd let Alek decide that before he went into details.

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Madame Raven

I’ll be buggered if I know what I am, all I know is right now I’m here.”

 

She lent against the old desk she remembered from this room, feel the little grooves where she always placed her hands. At least something seemed to be like her own home.

 

One thing though. I’m not going to spill any tea on older me, but I was a couple of days a major lifestyle change. If I went through that I’d go through quite a radical personality change.”

 

She gave a little friendly smile to the newcomer

 

One thing they never say about superheroing is all the drama goings-on behind the scenes. It’s like youtube with capes.”

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