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Barnum

Training in progress. Do not Disturb.

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Deep inside the heart of Freedom Hall the Wreck Room was warming up. The soft computer voice read off the checklist of systems as they came on line.

Structural integrity fields . . . activated.

Safety protocols . . . on line.

Fire suppression systems . . . ready.

"Doors!" The main doors to the Wreck Room slowly opened at Lady Liberty's verbal commands. "Lights!" With an electronic hum, the lights flickered and began to warm up in the high-tech gymnasium. Lady Liberty strode into the arena and began a visual inspection. She was always meticulous about the Room before a training session, even more-so today when the guests were so special. She didn't want any problems with the Wreck Room. Superhero training was dangerous enough all by itself.

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Deep inside the heart of Freedom Hall the Wreck Room was warming up. The soft computer voice read off the checklist of systems as they came on line.

Structural integrity fields . . . activated.

Safety protocols . . . on line.

Fire suppression systems . . . ready.

"Doors!" The main doors to the Wreck Room slowly opened at Lady Liberty's verbal commands. "Lights!" With an electronic hum, the lights flickered and began to warm up in the high-tech gymnasium. Lady Liberty strode into the arena and began a visual inspection. She was always meticulous about the Room before a training session, even more-so today when the guests were so special. She didn't want any problems with the Wreck Room. Superhero training was dangerous enough all by itself.

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Deep inside the heart of Freedom Hall the Wreck Room was warming up. The soft computer voice read off the checklist of systems as they came on line.

Structural integrity fields . . . activated.

Safety protocols . . . on line.

Fire suppression systems . . . ready.

"Doors!" The main doors to the Wreck Room slowly opened at Lady Liberty's verbal commands. "Lights!" With an electronic hum, the lights flickered and began to warm up in the high-tech gymnasium. Lady Liberty strode into the arena and began a visual inspection. She was always meticulous about the Room before a training session, even more-so today when the guests were so special. She didn't want any problems with the Wreck Room. Superhero training was dangerous enough all by itself.

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Agnes awoke early in a strange bed. She sat up looked around the room, trying to remember where she was. When she saw the "FL" etched in thin, delicate lines on the large mirror above the vanity, it all came back to her. Agnes climbed out of bed and headed for the bathroom, her mind flooded with memories of recent events.

It was just a few days before that Lady Liberty had returned to St. Sebastian's with an invitation. Lady Liberty and the rest of the League wanted Agnes to come to Freedom Hall in a few days, take a tour, spend the night, and then train in the Wreck Room the following morning. The star-spangled heroine was as statuesque and as beautiful as Agnes had remembered. Agnes felt small and ugly beside her, and found it difficult to talk. Nevertheless, Agnes managed to accept the invitation.

Much to Agnes' relief (she was just too nervous), the dinner and the tour never happened. By the time Agnes arrived last night and Lady Liberty had shown the girl to her room, all of the League got called away on a mission. Agnes found her way to the kitchen and made herself a salad before going to bed early. Early to bed, early to rise. Now Agnes was wide awake at 5:40 AM and wasn't due in the Wreck Room until 8:00.

Agnes passed the hours getting ready and eating a little breakfast, but mostly she spent the early morning praying. This was a big day, and she wanted things to go well. Getting dressed for the event was no problem. The League had provided her with a complete set of clothes to train in: sweats, a warm-up suit emblazoned with the Freedom League logo, cross-trainers, and even a sports bra (a fact that Agnes found terribly embarrassing). Everything was very high quality and fit perfectly, and Agnes was honored to put it all on.

Just before eight, Agnes made her way to the Wreck Room. The big metal doors were closed, so she knocked. The sound her knuckles made against the thick metal portal was so small, she felt silly for even bothering, but her attempt was successful. The doors opened and she walked into the world famous Wreck Room.

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Agnes awoke early in a strange bed. She sat up looked around the room, trying to remember where she was. When she saw the "FL" etched in thin, delicate lines on the large mirror above the vanity, it all came back to her. Agnes climbed out of bed and headed for the bathroom, her mind flooded with memories of recent events.

It was just a few days before that Lady Liberty had returned to St. Sebastian's with an invitation. Lady Liberty and the rest of the League wanted Agnes to come to Freedom Hall in a few days, take a tour, spend the night, and then train in the Wreck Room the following morning. The star-spangled heroine was as statuesque and as beautiful as Agnes had remembered. Agnes felt small and ugly beside her, and found it difficult to talk. Nevertheless, Agnes managed to accept the invitation.

Much to Agnes' relief (she was just too nervous), the dinner and the tour never happened. By the time Agnes arrived last night and Lady Liberty had shown the girl to her room, all of the League got called away on a mission. Agnes found her way to the kitchen and made herself a salad before going to bed early. Early to bed, early to rise. Now Agnes was wide awake at 5:40 AM and wasn't due in the Wreck Room until 8:00.

Agnes passed the hours getting ready and eating a little breakfast, but mostly she spent the early morning praying. This was a big day, and she wanted things to go well. Getting dressed for the event was no problem. The League had provided her with a complete set of clothes to train in: sweats, a warm-up suit emblazoned with the Freedom League logo, cross-trainers, and even a sports bra (a fact that Agnes found terribly embarrassing). Everything was very high quality and fit perfectly, and Agnes was honored to put it all on.

Just before eight, Agnes made her way to the Wreck Room. The big metal doors were closed, so she knocked. The sound her knuckles made against the thick metal portal was so small, she felt silly for even bothering, but her attempt was successful. The doors opened and she walked into the world famous Wreck Room.

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Agnes awoke early in a strange bed. She sat up looked around the room, trying to remember where she was. When she saw the "FL" etched in thin, delicate lines on the large mirror above the vanity, it all came back to her. Agnes climbed out of bed and headed for the bathroom, her mind flooded with memories of recent events.

It was just a few days before that Lady Liberty had returned to St. Sebastian's with an invitation. Lady Liberty and the rest of the League wanted Agnes to come to Freedom Hall in a few days, take a tour, spend the night, and then train in the Wreck Room the following morning. The star-spangled heroine was as statuesque and as beautiful as Agnes had remembered. Agnes felt small and ugly beside her, and found it difficult to talk. Nevertheless, Agnes managed to accept the invitation.

Much to Agnes' relief (she was just too nervous), the dinner and the tour never happened. By the time Agnes arrived last night and Lady Liberty had shown the girl to her room, all of the League got called away on a mission. Agnes found her way to the kitchen and made herself a salad before going to bed early. Early to bed, early to rise. Now Agnes was wide awake at 5:40 AM and wasn't due in the Wreck Room until 8:00.

Agnes passed the hours getting ready and eating a little breakfast, but mostly she spent the early morning praying. This was a big day, and she wanted things to go well. Getting dressed for the event was no problem. The League had provided her with a complete set of clothes to train in: sweats, a warm-up suit emblazoned with the Freedom League logo, cross-trainers, and even a sports bra (a fact that Agnes found terribly embarrassing). Everything was very high quality and fit perfectly, and Agnes was honored to put it all on.

Just before eight, Agnes made her way to the Wreck Room. The big metal doors were closed, so she knocked. The sound her knuckles made against the thick metal portal was so small, she felt silly for even bothering, but her attempt was successful. The doors opened and she walked into the world famous Wreck Room.

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To his near delight, a request for a more indepth tour of Freedom Hall had become an outright invitation to train within the facility. He floated on through the corridors, his gaze shifting back and forth as images of his father's tales of the Liberty League swirled in his head. The acuity of his thoughts letting him already race mentally forwards to the proposal he was putting together for why it would in fact further his mission in the wider world of humanity to join the Freedom League. He looked forward to the training session, curiosity taking him on who else might be there.

He waved with a smile to Lady Liberty and Agnes both when he entered the arena proper, taking notice of the former's examination of the grounds.

"Everything is in order, I hope?"

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To his near delight, a request for a more indepth tour of Freedom Hall had become an outright invitation to train within the facility. He floated on through the corridors, his gaze shifting back and forth as images of his father's tales of the Liberty League swirled in his head. The acuity of his thoughts letting him already race mentally forwards to the proposal he was putting together for why it would in fact further his mission in the wider world of humanity to join the Freedom League. He looked forward to the training session, curiosity taking him on who else might be there.

He waved with a smile to Lady Liberty and Agnes both when he entered the arena proper, taking notice of the former's examination of the grounds.

"Everything is in order, I hope?"

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To his near delight, a request for a more indepth tour of Freedom Hall had become an outright invitation to train within the facility. He floated on through the corridors, his gaze shifting back and forth as images of his father's tales of the Liberty League swirled in his head. The acuity of his thoughts letting him already race mentally forwards to the proposal he was putting together for why it would in fact further his mission in the wider world of humanity to join the Freedom League. He looked forward to the training session, curiosity taking him on who else might be there.

He waved with a smile to Lady Liberty and Agnes both when he entered the arena proper, taking notice of the former's examination of the grounds.

"Everything is in order, I hope?"

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Lady Liberty waved to Agnes as she came in, but she was in the middle of inspecting the upper blast panels and kept at her work until it was done. While Lady Liberty labored high above the floor of the Wreck Room, the Emissary entered the room.

"Everything is in order, I hope?"

"It is," she yelled back. "I was just finishing my inspection." Lady Liberty zoomed down to the floor, landing beside Agnes. She walked over and put her arm around the girl's shoulders. "Agnes, this is the Emissary. Emissary, this is Agnes. Welcome to Freedom Hall, both of you. This is going to be a simple training scenario. Mostly we are just interested in seeing you in action, measuring your power outputs, stuff like that. I figured we could start with a few tests and then let you two brawl a little. Is that okay?" Lady Liberty gave Agnes a reassuring little squeeze as she asked.

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Lady Liberty waved to Agnes as she came in, but she was in the middle of inspecting the upper blast panels and kept at her work until it was done. While Lady Liberty labored high above the floor of the Wreck Room, the Emissary entered the room.

"Everything is in order, I hope?"

"It is," she yelled back. "I was just finishing my inspection." Lady Liberty zoomed down to the floor, landing beside Agnes. She walked over and put her arm around the girl's shoulders. "Agnes, this is the Emissary. Emissary, this is Agnes. Welcome to Freedom Hall, both of you. This is going to be a simple training scenario. Mostly we are just interested in seeing you in action, measuring your power outputs, stuff like that. I figured we could start with a few tests and then let you two brawl a little. Is that okay?" Lady Liberty gave Agnes a reassuring little squeeze as she asked.

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Lady Liberty waved to Agnes as she came in, but she was in the middle of inspecting the upper blast panels and kept at her work until it was done. While Lady Liberty labored high above the floor of the Wreck Room, the Emissary entered the room.

"Everything is in order, I hope?"

"It is," she yelled back. "I was just finishing my inspection." Lady Liberty zoomed down to the floor, landing beside Agnes. She walked over and put her arm around the girl's shoulders. "Agnes, this is the Emissary. Emissary, this is Agnes. Welcome to Freedom Hall, both of you. This is going to be a simple training scenario. Mostly we are just interested in seeing you in action, measuring your power outputs, stuff like that. I figured we could start with a few tests and then let you two brawl a little. Is that okay?" Lady Liberty gave Agnes a reassuring little squeeze as she asked.

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His smile remains warmly amiable as he nods to them both during the brief introductions.

"That stands well with me, certainly."

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His smile remains warmly amiable as he nods to them both during the brief introductions.

"That stands well with me, certainly."

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His smile remains warmly amiable as he nods to them both during the brief introductions.

"That stands well with me, certainly."

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Agnes didn't relax as intended when Lady Liberty put her arm around her shoulders. Rather, the gesture made her even more nervous. Her stomach churned, and she took a deep breath to swallow back the nausea.

"It's nice to meet you," she said to the strange looking hero as she gave him an awkward little wave.

"That stands well with me, certainly."

"That would be fine with me too," she said without looking up a Lady Liberty.

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Agnes didn't relax as intended when Lady Liberty put her arm around her shoulders. Rather, the gesture made her even more nervous. Her stomach churned, and she took a deep breath to swallow back the nausea.

"It's nice to meet you," she said to the strange looking hero as she gave him an awkward little wave.

"That stands well with me, certainly."

"That would be fine with me too," she said without looking up a Lady Liberty.

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Agnes didn't relax as intended when Lady Liberty put her arm around her shoulders. Rather, the gesture made her even more nervous. Her stomach churned, and she took a deep breath to swallow back the nausea.

"It's nice to meet you," she said to the strange looking hero as she gave him an awkward little wave.

"That stands well with me, certainly."

"That would be fine with me too," she said without looking up a Lady Liberty.

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He looked thoughtful for a moment, then looked to Agnes.

"Initially after my birth, it fell to my father to take charge of my training. I was very new to even the most basic of my capacity, and by new, I mean, I went poorly with it, but I was still so very eager to explore it. Unfortunately, when one can fly, but does not fully comprehend the weight of one's own body, nor has really developed the grace of it, yet one is intent on.. ahm... "

"My memories are fortunately a bit fuzzy, but they consist of a cry of 'look how high I can fly father!' a sundering impact with the city's security field, a fall, a rolling tumble down a hill through a city councillor's carefully arranged thorn maze, and coming to my feet amidst the garden party within, having plowed through the refreshment table, and the state of my clothing at that point, well, shredded enough not to be serving the traditional role of clothing."

He rubbed the back of his head.

"I mean, our public nudity taboos are far less than in your world, but as it turns out, we certainly still have a few, which I learned in a very direct way."

He coughs.

"What I mean is.. since then I have not worried as much about nervousness or embarassment or the like. And that if I can hold my head high and look people in the eye despite it, I can almost always do so. Whatever happens, it can hardly ever be worse than that. I offer the story as an example. I think that we are both here this day makes for a high unlikelyhood of anything but a performance on your part worth being here this day. For my part.. well, I do not particularly see any thorn bushes about, so I think I should do alright. Though, for all I know, some may perhaps be conjured up.."

He pauses, then smiles.

"Still, if that does not reassure, I have many more awkward stories of the first year of my existance which I remember in better detail. Only.. ten percent of them.. involve scandalous public disrobement of some sort!"

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He looked thoughtful for a moment, then looked to Agnes.

"Initially after my birth, it fell to my father to take charge of my training. I was very new to even the most basic of my capacity, and by new, I mean, I went poorly with it, but I was still so very eager to explore it. Unfortunately, when one can fly, but does not fully comprehend the weight of one's own body, nor has really developed the grace of it, yet one is intent on.. ahm... "

"My memories are fortunately a bit fuzzy, but they consist of a cry of 'look how high I can fly father!' a sundering impact with the city's security field, a fall, a rolling tumble down a hill through a city councillor's carefully arranged thorn maze, and coming to my feet amidst the garden party within, having plowed through the refreshment table, and the state of my clothing at that point, well, shredded enough not to be serving the traditional role of clothing."

He rubbed the back of his head.

"I mean, our public nudity taboos are far less than in your world, but as it turns out, we certainly still have a few, which I learned in a very direct way."

He coughs.

"What I mean is.. since then I have not worried as much about nervousness or embarassment or the like. And that if I can hold my head high and look people in the eye despite it, I can almost always do so. Whatever happens, it can hardly ever be worse than that. I offer the story as an example. I think that we are both here this day makes for a high unlikelyhood of anything but a performance on your part worth being here this day. For my part.. well, I do not particularly see any thorn bushes about, so I think I should do alright. Though, for all I know, some may perhaps be conjured up.."

He pauses, then smiles.

"Still, if that does not reassure, I have many more awkward stories of the first year of my existance which I remember in better detail. Only.. ten percent of them.. involve scandalous public disrobement of some sort!"

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He looked thoughtful for a moment, then looked to Agnes.

"Initially after my birth, it fell to my father to take charge of my training. I was very new to even the most basic of my capacity, and by new, I mean, I went poorly with it, but I was still so very eager to explore it. Unfortunately, when one can fly, but does not fully comprehend the weight of one's own body, nor has really developed the grace of it, yet one is intent on.. ahm... "

"My memories are fortunately a bit fuzzy, but they consist of a cry of 'look how high I can fly father!' a sundering impact with the city's security field, a fall, a rolling tumble down a hill through a city councillor's carefully arranged thorn maze, and coming to my feet amidst the garden party within, having plowed through the refreshment table, and the state of my clothing at that point, well, shredded enough not to be serving the traditional role of clothing."

He rubbed the back of his head.

"I mean, our public nudity taboos are far less than in your world, but as it turns out, we certainly still have a few, which I learned in a very direct way."

He coughs.

"What I mean is.. since then I have not worried as much about nervousness or embarassment or the like. And that if I can hold my head high and look people in the eye despite it, I can almost always do so. Whatever happens, it can hardly ever be worse than that. I offer the story as an example. I think that we are both here this day makes for a high unlikelyhood of anything but a performance on your part worth being here this day. For my part.. well, I do not particularly see any thorn bushes about, so I think I should do alright. Though, for all I know, some may perhaps be conjured up.."

He pauses, then smiles.

"Still, if that does not reassure, I have many more awkward stories of the first year of my existance which I remember in better detail. Only.. ten percent of them.. involve scandalous public disrobement of some sort!"

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Agnes didn't look much relieved. In fact her face looked more and more distressed as the Emissary told his story. She was clearly empathizing strongly with his plight in the tale, and when he got to the "public nudity" part, her eyes got even wider.

"Whatever happens, it can hardly ever be worse than that."

Agnes turned white as a sheet. She pulled away from Lady Liberty and turned away from the Emissary with her hand over her mouth.

"Don’t get sick; don’t get sick; don’t get sick," she thought. She took another deep breath and swallowed hard.

She turned back to the two heroes. "Thank you," she said to both.

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Agnes didn't look much relieved. In fact her face looked more and more distressed as the Emissary told his story. She was clearly empathizing strongly with his plight in the tale, and when he got to the "public nudity" part, her eyes got even wider.

"Whatever happens, it can hardly ever be worse than that."

Agnes turned white as a sheet. She pulled away from Lady Liberty and turned away from the Emissary with her hand over her mouth.

"Don’t get sick; don’t get sick; don’t get sick," she thought. She took another deep breath and swallowed hard.

She turned back to the two heroes. "Thank you," she said to both.

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Agnes didn't look much relieved. In fact her face looked more and more distressed as the Emissary told his story. She was clearly empathizing strongly with his plight in the tale, and when he got to the "public nudity" part, her eyes got even wider.

"Whatever happens, it can hardly ever be worse than that."

Agnes turned white as a sheet. She pulled away from Lady Liberty and turned away from the Emissary with her hand over her mouth.

"Don’t get sick; don’t get sick; don’t get sick," she thought. She took another deep breath and swallowed hard.

She turned back to the two heroes. "Thank you," she said to both.

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He sighs softly.

"There is no need to thank me. Clearly my efforts only made things worse. I apologize. I remain certain however, that the caliber of your performance will dispell your anxieties."

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