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Sunday February 18, 2024

Late afternoon


After over a day and a half of fun in the water and sun at the Harrow estate on Wakaya Island, Fiji (in addition to some more serious topics), it was unfortunately time for the Claremont Academy students to return back to Freedom City for the start of the next school week. After about an hour or so of chaos, everyone was eventually gathered back on the large deck at the back of the main house for Lawrence Harrow to teleport them all back to campus.


As the group of teens stepped into the temporal portal Lawrence created once again, they initially felt a similar sensation to what they had the day before when transported to the South Pacific. But suddenly, rather than stepping out the other side of the portal back at the Main Quad at Claremont, the teens felt as if something tugged on them, causing each to stumble forward and as the world reformed around them and they were not at Claremont Academy.


Lawrence Harrow, Parker Powers, Mizuki Iwasaki, Baltazar Botez, Consuelo Nunez, Ryan Jacobs, Vueriz, and Michael Adon all found themselves in a dead end alleyway between a pair of three story buildings. Out past the open end, they could see and hear a large crowd of people gathered, though none seemed to notice the sudden appearance of the teens. The weather was cool, but much warmer than the February cold they had expected. The teens were still in the clothes they had been wearing, and Vueriz had her skyboard, but all the rest of their bags and other things were nowhere to be seen.


Wearing a pair of jeans and a red Arsenal hoody, Lawrence looked about the alleyway, a concerned expression on his face before he seemed to focus on something distant and out of view. "This is not right." He simply stated, a hint of concern evident in his refined British accent.

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Consuelo had done her best to enjoy Fiji. She did get back out into the water again, although she was much more careful after the experience with the dolphin. And the place was so beautiful . . . And there was a really good setup for video games in the basement.


But, despite that, she felt like there was a tension hanging over the group ever since Lawrence had made his speech at the beach fire. But who can blame anyone for that? That was weird.


Speaking of weird, Lawrence had apparently teleported them to the wrong place, and now seemed stressed out about it. "Hey, don't worry about it, L-Dog. At least you didn't teleport us all into a mountain or something. Just try again."

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A wonderful, beautiful vacation had ended far too soon for Michael's hopes. He had a great time with Carmen, and had a great time at the home in general, but now it was back to the grindstone. He had a lot of work to do, but a chance to unwind was always welcome. He had probably spent way too much time napping than was healthy, and not having to use his superpowers at all had been extraordinarily restful. But when he got back to Claremont, and when they started doing their Study Group stuff again, he'd have to go back to running around full speed. So he was enjoying his very last moments of leeping his brain very slow.


Then they ended up somewhere else, with no bags, and missing a bunch of people.


"...Where are our bags?" Michael asked Lawrence as he looked around. He was still in Vacation Mode, so he assumed it was a prank by Lawrence, he still had a bright smile on his face. Then as he looked around, he had to stop and his face took on a neutral look. He was assuming it was still a joke, but it was a bit past it being funny at that point. "Where even are we? Do you usually miss teleportation spots? Sending a bunch of us outside Claremont with no explanation could be bothersome..." And a third problem. One that wiped the smile from his face entirely. "We're missing people." 


He took a quick headcount once, then twice, before he finally frowned. He had quit being in vacation mode once he realized that people were missing, and Lawrence's statement made him grasp that quickly. He was in Leader Mode now. He nodded along as Consuelo spoke.


"Consuelo's right, just try again. Everyone else, pick a buddy and stay close to them, so we don't lose anyone else right now. No reason to be concerned."

Edited by Poncho
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Ryan blinked. Something was wrong, very wrong. He had no idea what was happening.  "Good idea, buddy system." Ryan said, looking around. He was alert, and very confused. He could still feel his sword in it's pocket dimension, which was good. It seemed to follow him to Fiji before, and it followed him here, wherever here was. That was good, too.


He had no idea where it actually was, just that he was aware that it was still with him. Somehow. One day he'd have to sit down with someone who might be able to explain that to him.


For now, though, he was in a weird, unfamiliar place with a bunch of kids he barely knew.


"I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto..."

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The vacation had been nice, despite Lawrence's revelations. Staying away from everything, without the whole city around and everything was good. The sky, the weather... Parker had enjoyed it, but of course they had to head home. As they prepare to head through the portal, Parker is wearing a pair of jeans and an open black winter jacket with white fur trim over a black t-shirt.


Stepping through Lawrence's portal had been instant the last time. One moment in one place, the next in another, with all the different sensations instantly flooding Parker's senses, feeling everything around him on both ends of the portal, but this time, it is different. There is a tug. Something pulling, and then, they are not at Claremont, and about half are missing. They just disappeared, he can't feel them there anymore, not even through the portal before it closes. It is an unsettling feeling to have someone just disappear like that. 


Lawrence is confused, Consuelo tries to reassure him and try again, Michael wants the to buddy up and try again, and Ryan just seems confused. 


"We're in the Freedom City," Parker finally says, looking up towards the sky. "It feels like the Theater District. We've..." He stops. A nagging sensation, something he didn't notice at first. "Look at the kids. They're all in costumes." He stops again. Some of the adults and the nearby teens are dressed up as well. Monsters, super heroes, and... "Lawrence, I don't think you should try again right away. I'm pretty sure it's Halloween right now."

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Gamma Buzz


Baltazar drummed his fingers together, surveying the bamboozling scene. "We seem a bit off target...?"


His antennae pricked up, quivering with the felt vibrations of footsteps. 


"Although with all these costumes, even I can fit in..."


Could he persuade the others to go for a night on the town? It was tempting... very tempting. He would probably get lots of compliments about his costume. Which would be cool, but also... painful. 


"Look, we realy shouldn't be here, right? Shall we just make our way back on foot? Seems like something is disturbing the quantum flux of space time, or... ah... something like that. I mean, disturbing the quantum flux of space time sounds cool, right? So it must be something like that?"

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Torpedo Lass II


Mizuki was already in costume... she had decided to leave her beach stuff back at the resort, she planned on meeting up with Lawrence again there, and she was still waking up from a early wake up call. Her night patrol in the Fiji area didn't leave much time for sleep, nor packing.


"Well this is interesting... but this seems off... way off." She said, stifling a yawn. "I got a bad feeling about this... If we go ANYWHERE we go together."



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Blue Bolt


Vueriz was still wearing her shorts and crop top with her control gloves on to direct her board without riding it, although she had boots on rather than the bare feet she'd had for most of the holiday, and in preparation for classes had her belt with her gadgets. Her own mind was on the potential design of the spaceship she'd promised to build. She was gonna make the coolest spaceship anyone's ever seen-


They weren't at the school. Immediately she went to reach for her bag, finding it missing as well as half the other students. Quickly she ascertained that her board was still present, jumping upon it's back to prevent another incident from separating her from it. She didn't know of this Hallowed Eve that the others were talking about, but could gather that it was not when they were supposed to be.


She nods at Baz's theory about the flow of space-time being effected by something. If Lawrence's powers didn't account for such things interfering then his accuracy could be fouled in such a way. "That is a good theory, Baz. Or maybe a tachyonic field is interfering with his accuracy? Regardless if we do not know the source of the effect that caused our travel to be scrambled I don't think it would be safe to try leaving again. We don't want to get further seperated."

Edited by Kaede Kimura
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Lawrence was listening to the others while he continued to focus on…seemingly nothing, his eyes going completely blue as they seemed to glow with energy. "We should try to determine where the others are before we try to teleport away again, but I don't think that will be that easy in any event." He stated.


After a moment, his eyes returned to normal as he turned to regard the others. "Close," he said to Parker who mentioned it possibly being Halloween, "it is October 27, 2007." He paused a moment and added. "But something is…not right about it. For starters, there is some sort of temporal barrier around the city."


He suddenly looked toward the entrance to the alleyway, where the sound of children laughing could be heard from the crowd gathered out there. "Wait a moment." He said as he headed towards the entrance to the alleyway and stepped out into the crowded sidewalk beyond. Those following him found themselves at the edge of a large crowd which filled not only the sidewalk but stretched into the street and to the sidewalk beyond in both directions to either side. As Parker had said, the crowd was filled with children (all of whom were dressed in Halloween costumes), as well as parents, teens and young adults (some of whom were in costume), in addition as various booths and vendors set up along the streets.


Longtime residents of Freedom City were able to immediately recognize the Theater District, with the famous Beaudrie Opera House down a block to their left. It was also obvious that this was The Haunted Block Party, an annual Halloween festival put on in the district for over 25 years, which closed down several city blocks for the event.


Lawrence was scanning the crowds, clearly looking for something, or someone. After a few moments, he stopped, his gaze focused across the street. Those that followed his gaze, found he was looking at a very attractive blonde seventeen-year-old girl dressed in a pair of high-end designer jeans, a blue cashmere sweater and a light jacket. She was walking with a teenage boy about the same age who had his arm around her shoulders.


It took a moment, but those who had been at the Freedom League Holiday Party back in December, realized that the teenage girl was Lawrence's mother, Megan Howell, also known as the speedster Velocity.


"I've heard this story before." Lawrence said as he watched his teenage mother walk down the far sidewalk.

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Gamma Buzz


"Holy Mary, check out the babe over there, she is one hot..."


At the last moment, Baz caught himself. His eyes flicked to Lawrence and his antannea glowed red. "I mean, that woman over there, that respectable, fine woman who will surely be a very good mother one day has a... has a.... she has a thermal signature that is entirely hot, as has all other human beings in this area. That is what I meant."


"Wait, these are human beings aren't they? Not zombies or cyborgs? Or even better, cyborg zombies?"


"After all this is 2007 and Halloween, and spooky things might happen!" he added, his antennae quivering. 


"And how are we going to get back to 2024? I mean, retro has its place, but its not cool. Not cool at all. I mean, people had to sing in these days. No auto tune! Can you imagine!"

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"Hey uh, if this is 2007, I can think of quite a few people I probably shouldn't meet." Michael whispered to Lawrence with a growing concern. "People who could be in this general area." He glanced around.


"This also doesn't explain where everyone else went. Are they somewhere else in the city?" He pasued and rubbed his temples.


"We need a plan, don't we. What do you suggest?"

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Torpedo Lass II


"My parents met a few months ago... Long story."


She smiled for a sec. "Also I think my predecessor arrived in the modern era around this year."


She turned to the rest of the group. "As far as we are concerned, follow the Temporal Prime Directive... I know it's a work of fiction but it seems a smart thing to employ here. Do not contact anyone here, don't influence the timeline."


"And if someone is looking to alter it... stop them."


She clenched her fist for a moment. "Lawrence... you don't think..."

Edited by The Sailor
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Consuelo holds up two fingers then puts them down. Then she holds did the same thing again. Then she holds up all ten. Then she shakes her head and sits the whole process over.


"Uh . . . I think I'll be born in, like four months? But, hey Lawrence, what if this is like people from the Collapse cult trying to kidnap you? Maybe you should, like, stick in the middle of the group, so it's, like, easier to protect you, you know?"


Consuelo looks around the group for approval. "Maybe a couple of our fast flyers could scout around a little, unless we have a reason to all move out together.  . . ."

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2007. They've time traveled, and it doesn't seem like it was something that Lawrence had planned to do. His eyes glow, like they're brimming with energy. That's the first time Parker has seen him do that, but Parker's attention is drawn elsewhere before he can comment on it.


"Nobody knows who you are here, Michael," he says, smiling lightly. "Were you even born at this point?" There is nothing condescending about his tone or anything like that, if anything, it sounds more like Parker is trying to lighten the situation just a little bit.


And then... Velocity. So much younger than when Parker and the rest of them saw her at the christmas party. 


"Consuelo got a point, but I don't know if we should be flying around. How many people with powers were around back... well... now, I guess? Mizuki's got a good point about sticking together, especially with that barrier you say are out there." He looks at Lawrence as he says the last bit. "We should get out of here, before we get into any trouble, but Lawrence? Your eyes were glowing just before."

Edited by RocketLord
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Blue Bolt


Vueriz hadn't been able to nail down her birthdate with the significant difference between Zirtimzar and Earth years and her inability to read English making it significantly more time consuming to calculate. She decided to stay quiet on that front, focusing instead on their predicament. Temporal barriers were something she was more familiar with than actual time travel. The chances of this being naturally occurring? Infinitesimal. That means that something was creating the barrier.


So what were the options? Someone trying to trap time travellers? Wait for them to turn up, spring the trap, profit? Or maybe it was to prevent entry so that the person behind it could alter the timeline without time travellers coming to rectify the change. Perhaps the slipped in through a fluke or weakness in the barrier.


Of course, the simplest solution was that the cosmic entity Lawrence had mentioned was out to get them, and was using its singularity to create the barrier...


What was her life coming to that that was the simplest solution?


Still, two of the three likely options were with direct hostile intent, while the third would probably still be hostile to avoid being disturbed. "If something has made a barrier against time travel, I think it isn't safe to split up. Is the barrier just around the city or is it broader? We could try escape its radius." 

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Lawrence looked over to Consulo as her comment about the "Collapse cult" with a light frown. "First off, they are not a cult, but more importantly, they have no reason to try to kidnap me, as I have been back to the Null Time a few times since I left. In any event, this is not the Null Time." He responded.


The blond teen then focused on Mizuki, Michael, Parker and Vueriz, who were all firing off questions at him. "It does not quite work that way Mizuki, usually, if one tries to alter the timeline, it simply leads to a new, alternate timeline coming into existence, rather than actually changing the original. There are entities capable of changing the timeline without that happening, such as Quirk. But one of our bigger problems is, someone has already altered the timeline, I am just not certain how yet."


Glancing to Parker's observation about his eyes, Lawrence responded, "something I have been practicing since Quirk's last visit, trying to sense when cosmic energies are active." He glanced to Vueriz, "that is how I was able to sense the barrier. It is big enough to cover the entire city and the major suburbs. How strong it is, or if we could physically pass through it, I cannot tell from here."


Lawrence then looked back out at the crowd and briefly towards his mother before looking back at the others. "My mother's here, so unless this is what has been changed, there is going to be an incident that my mother and other nearby heroes are going to respond to. We should probably not interfere, but maybe stay in the area just in case something is not right." He paused a moment, then added, "if we wanted a couple of people to go fly around to see if they can possibly spot the others, that might be a good idea, but we need to make a plan to meet back up, as our cellphones won’t work here so we have no way to communicate."


Just as Lawrence finished speaking, there was a giant WOOOOSH!


Aa a blinding red light flashed through the darkening sky, illuminating the entire block. As quickly as it appeared, the light vanished, and in its place, at an empty intersection a couple of blocks away was a giant figure standing several stories tall and looked to be wrapped in dense tan strips of material. It was, by all appearances, a giant mummy.


The reaction to the mummy's sudden appearance was mixed, some people screamed, other stood transfixed, but others began to applaud and cheer, believing it some sort of special effect for the festival.

"And there it is." Lawrence added, looking down the street at the giant mummy. The giant mummy took a couple steps forward, slamming one massive foot down to crush a parked car.


At which point the crowd went into a panic…..

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"Um . . . what? You were the one that told me these guys were trying to kidnap you. You literally make no sense, Lawrence." And Consuelo rolls her eyes. 


"And also, if changing the past just creates a new time-line but doesn't erase the old one, why does it, like, matter if we interfere or not? But whatever. I can lie low. But if King Kong-Tut peeks into this alley, I'm disintegrating his Ace-bandage-wrapped behind!"

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The crowd had started to panic, some people freezing in place, others starting to run away from the giant mummy. But before the mummy could get very far, there was a *WOOSH* of air as a yellow blur began zigzagging through the crowd (even running up along the side of a building for a bit to get past a particularly packed part of the sidewalk) before speeding over towards the giant mummy.


The yellow blur ran a wide circle around the massive creature, five rapid sounds of something small breaking the sound barrier with a *CRACK*, as multiple high speed projectiles slammed the giant mummy, and exploded into pieces with seemingly no effect on the creature. The yellow blur finished its circle around the mummy and speed further down the street away from the crowd, skidding to a halt a couple blocks away.


"Hey! Big dumb and ugly! Over here!" Yelled out a teenage Velocity, causing the creature to turn its attention away from the crowd.

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Sever considered his options. He could put his mask on, but he was a two week old infant at this point in history. There wasn't any point in it. He watched the big mummy move, and watched carefully.


There, a little girl. He spotted her running after her parents, who had just turned around to notice that she wasn't there with them. He could easily see where she belonged. The mummy was right next to her, too.


His feet were moving before he realized it. The sword had given him several gifts. One of which was a truly breakneck running speed.


He ran forward and snatched the little girl up off the ground. He barely gave the mummy a glance as he took off running for her parents.


"You're okay." he whispered to her as he ran through the crowd. He managed to get to her parents. He dropped her off safely, and then took off running towards his friends again, not wanting to interfere too much.


As he got there, he realized he may have just screwed up the timeline. He might have rescued a little girl who was supposed to die here. 


"Oh...#@%$" He muttered.

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Lawrence gave Consuelo a slightly confused look as she mentioned people trying to kidnap him. "I think you might have misunderstood, I said there was a cosmic entity that had previously tried to kidnap me." He stated. "Anyway, no time to go into that now, but as far new timelines, actions have consequences. Allowing new timelines to form is not something that should be done lightly."

"Do you have the ability to determine all the possible downstream consequences of even small changes that forms a new timeline? How many people might die, or never be born as a result?"


The blond teen looked over at Ryan as he ran out and helped a little girl get to her parents and then come back to the group, suddenly seeming to have realized he might have changed something. "My mom told me about how she and some other heroes, one of whom would later join the Freedom League around the same time she did, fought this giant robot mummy, keeping its attention on them so the crowd was able to get away to safety and no one was hurt. Helping get them clear shouldn’t be changing anything that did not already happen."

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Gamma Buzz


Gamma Buzz wriggles his fingers, processing what Lawrence had said. 


"Something somethig blah blah preserve timelines something freedom league blah-dy blah something rescue the crowd..."


He straightened his fingers and widened is eyes. "Thats right, isnt it?" he asked Lawrence. "It sounds right, anyway, and thats the important thing."


Without waiting for further debate, and with a "Gamma Buzz, baby!" yell, he leaped into the crowd, scooping one in each mighty cockroach arm, and jumped away. 


He was pretty sure that rescuing the crowd and not punching the mummy was the right thing to blah blah something timelines. Lawrence had said so, and Lawrence was pretty good at knowing these things!

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Torpedo Lass II


"Keep an eye out for discrepancies, Doctor Who... I like our time line as it is... warts and all." Mizuki said, readying herself if some debris falls to intercept with leaping strikes to either deflect or smash rubble away from bystanders. "And yes, they use both names." She said with a grin.

Edited by The Sailor
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The giant mummy began moving toward Velocity and away from the Claremont teens and the crowd. After moving forward half a block, the massive creature raised one hand and some of the tan wrapping shot out towards the yellow clad speedster. But in a blur of motion, Velocity easily side stepped the attack, seemingly feigning boredom as she seemed to study the fingers on one hand a moment before looking back up.

"That the best you got?" The teen called out with a grin.


The crowd was more than happy to have the giant mummy's attention turned elsewhere, many following directives of the Claremont students or receiving direct help from them as they began moving further away from the creature.

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Michael wanted to punch that giant mummy so bad. He wanted to know where Carmen and Bernie and the other students were, he wanted to go home, he wanted to finish his homework, he wanted to study for a test. He wanted to do all of those things, and that giant mummy was right there, ready to be punched, doing massive destruction to the area, endangering people, being a big, giant target. 


But Lawerence told him not to. Not to create timelines, not to endanger causality, whatever. His face had a nasty expression on it as he looked towards Lawrence- not at Lawrence but at the situation-, his lip turned down and frustration in his eyes.


"Fine. But if it looks like your mom can't handle that thing or it starts hurting civilians I'm going to start punching it. Any action can change the timeline, and that means us being here might mean the fight isn't going to go her way, and if that's the case I'm not going to stay out of the way; because that means it's already gone off the rails." He said definitively before rushing off to help people get out of the way of the ongoing fight, acting like a normal, regular-but helpful- civilian instead of a superhero.

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