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Avenger Assembled

Out Tonight

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It was a lazy Saturday afternoon when Mike came back just in time to see his new roommate on the phone. With the exception of his interest in Alex, Mark was certainly a model roommate by most standards. He'd filled his desktop bookshelf with books that on closer inspection turned out to be the assigned and suggested reading for the summer history classes as well as various other books on the history of Freedom City's superheroes, and usually left his top-of-the-line laptop sitting on his desk when he wasn't out doing things. His half of the walls had a couple of posters up, a retro B&W shot of the old Liberty League and a more recent Alex Ross painting of the League active in the late 1960s.

As Mike came in, Mark was sitting in his desk chair, flipping a silver dollar over and over again as he listened intently to whoever he was talking to on his cell. "Yes! Yes, I am here!" Just as he started speaking, a white-toothed grin on his handsome face, the coin he'd been flipping landed perfectly on its edge dead center of his desk. "Yes! All right, I'll print the tickets off pronto. And I love The Entity for all my alternative rock! Woo!" Grinning, he hung up the phone and jumped up, grabbing the coin off his desk and slipping it into his pocket. "Hey Mike, guess what?" He grinned at his roommate, who he'd started treating as his best buddy the minute he walked in. "I was caller number eleven at WNTT, and so I got six free tickets to the Madman Finale concert tonight at FCU! You want to go rock out with the college kids? It'll be great!"

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Mike rolled his eyes at yet more evidence of his roomates uncanny luck. Things just didn't wrong in Edge-land, it would be really frustrating if not for the genuine generosity with which he treated his windfalls.

Mike made a couple non-commital noises but couldn't really come up with a good reason not to go and he did like the moody college tunes of the Madmen. "Hey why not, who we gonna hit up for a ride though?" It of course never occurs to Mike that he could easily carry at least Alex, Erin, and Mark himself and fly there. He tossed his bag on the bed and slumped in his chair waiting for someone with a car to show up at the door as would be the standard of living with Mark.

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"Sweet!" Mark clapped him on the shoulder, before pausing to briefly consider his good pal's thought. "A ride? Huh. Yeah, that's the thing if we're coming back late." He thought for a minute. "I've got it! You know Chris Kenzie, right? Dude's got this sweet flying ride he can take in and out of wherever he wants. We'll get him to take us out there, park it somewhere out of the way, and it'll be great." Not pausing to consider even for a moment that Geckoman might be busy or not interested, much less formulate an alternate plan, Mark stopped to put on his Claremont jacket. "I'll go down and invite Alex and Erin along. Guys and girls night out, best way to be, right?"

He headed out the door without a backwards look, walking downstairs and humming a jaunty Madman Finale tune as he headed for Alex and Erin's door. He found it half-closed, and gave a firm rap on the door frame. "Hey guys! Guess what I've got!" he called through the door.

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Erin, whose desk was nearest the door, looked up when she heard Edge's voice outside. She paused for just a moment, briefly considering her options. "He better not be naked," she muttered, just loud enough for Alex to hear, then reached out with a leg and toed the door open. "What have you got?"

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"Hey, Erin," said Edge, smiling at her. He knew Erin came from circumstances and had had a pretty hard time of it, if not the specifics. Surely a good time out would be just the thing for her. "And hey, Alex," he added, looking past Erin's shoulder. "I scored six free tickets to the Madman Finale concert at FCU; they're a kick-ass alternative rock band that's really popular in college. You guys want to come out to the concert tonight? It starts at seven. Mike says he's up for it, and we need to fill up our set."

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Alex looked up from her studies with a confused expression. Her hair was pulled back and clipped with a baby-blue sparkly flower. It clashed spectacularly with the watermelon print shirt she was wearing. Who even knows where Alex found a shirt that was red with big black seeds, and the arms stripped in green. One had to wonder if she had custom-made clashing shirts sometimes. She looked at Erin with a question, "Why would he be- OH!"

Alex's face was almost a brighter red than her hair as Erin opened the door having worked out WHY Erin was concerned about Mark being dressed. She averted her eyes from his face and squeaked out, "Uh, HI! Oh, a concert? I've never been to a concert."

She rebounded quickly, although her cheeks were still bright as she glanced curiously from Mark to Erin.

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Erin shrugged, looking down at her hated English Literature homework. She wasn't as far behind in that as she was in some of her other subjects, and she couldn't think of anything she'd like more than to blow it off. Still... "I don't know," she said dubiously. "Is it going to be really crowded? I know some of those concerts get kind of crazy, with people dancing and slamming around and stuff."

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Mike shrugged and followed Mark downstairs a few paces back. He caught up just after Erin opened the door and gave Alex an odd look at her reaction but shook his head resolving that it must be some kind of girl thing.

"Yea the Madmen are pretty good, a break from the school might be nice." Mike said "Mark even thinks he can score us a ride." He added with somewhat false enthusiasm for his roomates endless lucky streak.

"I wouldn't worry about it Erin," He added "They're a pretty mellow group." Mike offered her a supportive smile understanding better than most her concern.

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"Never been to a concert, eh? Well, then I guess I'm not the only lucky one today." Mark laughed. "Madman Finale's pretty kicking; they're like Weezer for the new generation. Their concerts are a lot of fun, and there are always interesting people there." To soothe Erin's worries, he added, "Nah, it's not that crazy mosh-pit stuff. Some of their music's fast and dancy, but for the most part it's just fun listening and singing-along stuff. It's in a cafe down by FCU, so it's not going to get filled up and crazy anyway. I figure afterwards we can hang out, maybe see what there is to do around the university before we get back? It should be pretty fun."

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"Oh, if you're not comfortable, Erin, I'll stay here with you. I don't mind!" Alex glanced at her roommate, loyalty stoutly outweighing the desire to go see a concert for the first time. "I'm sure we'll have other chances to check out the university and stuff."

Alex had already thumped closed the book she was reading but she looked up at Erin, her smile self-depricating. "'Sides, I'll wouldn't even know what to wear."

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For all Erin didn't know what to make of Mike half the time, when he said it would be an okay environment, she trusted him more than she would have anyone else there. They were in the same boat, or close enough, when it came to their powers that she knew he had the same thing in mind that she did when it came to a safe place to visit. So she summoned up a smile that was maybe three-quarters real and said, "No, it sounds like fun. If it's not going to be full of obnoxious people, we should have a good time. And if it's a concert, it'll be dark on the audience anyway. Who cares what we wear?" That was Erin's attitude towards clothing in general, really. "I'll just wear what I've got on now." Her blue jeans and lavender blouse were already showing a little of the wear of frequent washing, but they'd at least be inconspicuous just about anywhere.

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Mike turned to Mark, "Looks like we have a group then." Mike looked down at his own basic clothing and shrugged "I dunno are we spossed to dress up for this kinda thing? I thought concerts were usually just a jeans and a t-shirt deal. I mean unless its like classical or something."

Mike's woefull lack of socialization showed through at times it was hard growing up a lab rat. He looked to Makr ast he rignleader of the endevor and asked incredulously "Should we change?"

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"Sweet!" said Mark, well-pleased. He turned and clapped Mike on the shoulder. "You see? I knew these fine ladies would be up for a little adventure." Back to Erin and Alex, he added, "And I think you both look great, by the way. I like your flower," he told Alex with a warm smile. "It's cute. And you've got a good thing going on too, Erin," he went on, not wanting to seem impolite. "If you've got pocket money, we can get cafe food there, or brownbag something from the cafe if that would work better. Y'know, whichever." He shrugged.

He looked genuinely baffled by Mike's question for a minute, scratching his chin. "I dunno, I usually don't think about stuff like that. I don't think anyone's going to notice how we're dressed; I mean, there will be a decent amount of people there, and it'll be dark when they're playing. I'm just going to wear what I've got." Mark, as it happened, was in something close to his school uniform, all blues and golds, an outfit that had obviously been treated with love. "I don't think it's that big a deal."

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Alex blushed again, but this time with a cheerful smile.

"Thank you!" She beamed at Mark before bouncing off of her chair to find her shoes and wallet, before looking for a jacket. "Do we need to let anyone know where we're going? Probably not since it's summer, hunh?"

Alex answered her own question as she pulled on a pair of tennis shoes that had clearly been the victims of a be-dazzler at some point. Tucking her wallet into her back pocket, Alex clutched a light zippered hoodie to her chest as she faced the boys and Erin. "I have pocket money! Actually, my mom sent it in her most recent care-package for some social event like this. She'll be so pleased to hear it went to that rather than more books."

Alex's mom had actually sent a card with the cash, reminding her daughter to enjoy sunlight sometime other than to and from the library.

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Erin dug her shoes out from under her bunk, and at the same time pulled out a cardboard box and fished a couple of granola bars out of it, sticking them in her pocket. Nudging the box back under the bed, she carefully unlaced and put on her shoes, then tied them again. "You said you've got tickets, right?" she asked Mark. "So we don't have to pay or show ID just to get into the show or anything?" Since she didn't have either, that would've put a quick end to her evening, but hopefully Edge's luck would at least get them that far. Erin didn't bother with a jacket, but ran a brush through her hair a couple times before fastening it back up into its usual summer ponytail. That seemed like sufficient preparation for a night out.

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A glimmer of a fown flickered across Mikes face at Marks complement but was gone almost as fast as it was there. Why should he care if Mark was nice to Alex, she was a great person and deserved people being nice to her.

"Yea I figure you're right," He said to Mark, "We should all be fine as is, I doubt they'll need ID alot of the college crowd's underage too." Mike checked his pockets quickly for his wallet and satisfied he was prepared continued "Alright lets go find this Kenzie guy then."

With that Mike turned expectantly to Mark to lead the way.

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"We don't need to pay," said Mark agreeably, "the tickets I got will get us right in the door. And we shouldn't need ID unless we're trying to buy beer or something, and I don't think we're gonna do that. We don't wanna be like the Danger party." All the Claremont kids had heard about the fallout from that little incident, and no one wanted to be like those kids. "All right, I'm gonna run upstairs, print off the tickets, and give Chris Kenzie a call. See you in a few." With that he turned and headed upstairs, running right back up and giving everyone's favorite airship pilot a call.

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Chris lay back in nothing but his jeans, a Geckoman costume torn off on the floor before him. Thankfully, he kept weirding out room-mates enough that his wasn't here right now. A good thing indeed, as a foiled robbery earlier that day had led to him having his hand cut off with an absurdly large knife. So, for about an hour now, he'd been sat holding it on and watching re-runs of the Gilmore Girls. Then the phone rang. Chris glanced down. Most of the muscles had knitted back together, as had the bone. However, the skin was still a work in progress. "Eeeeew... veiny."

He grabbed his cellphone with his good hand. "Hi, Chris here. Can I give you a han... wait, no... can I help you?"

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"Hey Chris, it's Mark Mason," said Mark cheerfully, trusting that his reputation would precede him. He did tend to cut a fairly memorable figure around campus, after all, and he'd been there for a while. "Listen, I scored these great free tickets to the Madman Finale show at FCU tonight. So far it's me, Mike Harris, Erin White, and Alex Albright, but we need a couple others. We could really use a wheel, er, sky-man on this one, man, plus we need some of that Gecko action. Anyone you want to bring along, we can slip in under the door. S'at seven, so we want to get there early to get good seats."

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There was a bizarre tearing noise as some skin started congealing together on his wrist. Oh god, I think I'm going to be sick. And that's not due to blood loss. "Ooooh, Madman Finale? How'd you get tickets, I couldn't manage. Yeah, I'll fire up the Pitchoo. I'll meet you out inthe parking lot in ten-" Something pink fell out of his wrist and splatted on the carpet. "Make that fifteen minutes."

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"Sweet," said Mark, who hadn't doubted Chris for a moment. "We'll be down there. Peace out, Chris." Luckily, he'd been dressed up enough for the concert even before he'd won the tickets. He took a minute to print off the tickets from WNTT's website using the password they'd given him, pleased at how well Claremont's sometimes-balky Internet connection worked for him. After that, there was nothing to do but head downstairs and give his friends the good news. "All right, Kenzie's in and he's bringing his ride! You guys got anyone else in mind, or should we stick this last one up on the big board if anyone wants it?"

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Mike thought of who else he knew around here and other than the RAs it was pretty much this group here. He supposed Eddie might have been interested but he was still living with his folks and he had no idea where that was.

He gave a light shrug of his shoulders and replied "This is pretty much my social circle, I can't think of anyone, you think your friend has anyone in mind?"

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Alex shook her head, "Nope, no one I know of, I think. There's Eddie but he's living with his folks until the fall. He does love music though."

She beamed up at Mike, jostling him once with her elbow. She didn't send anything accross their mental link but her face was easy enough to read that she thought he ought cheer up and enjoy the evening out.

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"Might as well put it up and see if anyone wants it, I guess," Erin suggested. "I can't think of anyone else." There was Hope, she supposed, or Quark, but the latter was probably too young and the former too angry to really enjoy a concert. The very last thing in the entire world she wanted was for there to be any kind of a fight on her first real outing into the city. "We can hold a seat if anyone does show up, and then they can join us. Other than that, I think we're ready here."

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When the time for their rendezvous with the airship came, Mark had led his three friends out to the grassy lot behind the dormitories where they'd be meeting with Geckoman and his airship. Mark was excited, both for the concert and his chance to ride in an airship for the first time, and the smile on his face radiated warmly to his friends. "This is going to be great," he predicted with perfect confidence. "We'll cruise out there in style, party with the college kids, and be back here in plenty of time."

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