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Avenger Assembled

Morning in America (IC)

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A flash of light erupted from the cafeteria ceiling, bathing the Claremont students in a wash of pure energy as they were pulled away from their seats into another place. Erin, Mike, Mark, and Chris landed on their feet, nearly falling over as the chairs beneath them vanished and they landed with a hard impact on a solid surface a few feet beneath them. They were in a small, battered room stuffed practically to the gills with glowing super-science equipment, a man and a woman standing at a panel on the wall pulling back their goggles with shocked looks on their faces. "Oh, Lord, we got the wrong ones!" called the dark-haired woman. "Ted, quick, reverse it!"

"I...I can't!" he called back, a shocked look on his face as the Claremont kids gathered their wits. "Taking this many burned out the dimensional modulator! We're going to have to get another one!"

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Chris rolled to his feet, his zappers unfurling around his hands. "What the hell? You ruined my pizza!" He pointed the metal barrel at the man. "Tell us what the hell just happened or I swear I will shoot you and steal your ridiculously nice goggles."

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Mike surged to his feet placing himself between the be-goggled apparent kidnappers and his freinds.

"Whats going on here?" He asked his voice low.

While he waited on a respose he reached out to Alex over their link 'Are you ok? Mark, Erin, Chris and I are in some wierd little room with a couple people I think they are responsible for this.'

To those that knew him it was clear from the somewhat strained look on his face that he was trying to converse with Alex.

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Erin stayed on the floor a moment and looked around, eyes wide, face going paler. Pushing herself to a crouch, she scanned the tiny room for traps and exits. They weren't where they'd been, and she didn't know where they were. But she knew what had just happened. "This isn't the dimension we were in," she told the others. "Something shifted us, and this is a different world." It wasn't her world, she knew that much. There were live people, and the air smelled different. But that didn't mean it wasn't dangerous. She braced, ready to attack or defend herself if the need arose.

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Edge shook himself, dusting the cobwebs out of his brain as he said a silent prayer of thanks that he'd remembered to wear his vest that day. He shot a quick look at Wander, glad to see she was watchful, glanced at Phalanx to make sure he was reaching out to Psyche, and then joined Geckoman in jumping off the platform to speak to the technician. "Who are you people?" he asked firmly. "Where are we?"

"Take it easy," Ted was saying, but his dark-haired colleague was evidently in charge. She was, at least, considerably less alarmed by this. Both Ted and his colleague were in faded fatigues that looked like they'd seen a lot of use, some of them even patched together from multiple outfits. On the wall was an American flag, where the sharp-eyed could make out there were only forty-eight stars.

"Are you students from Claremont Academy?" she asked the four kids. "Do you know Hope Rogers?" On closer inspection, both she and Ted were armed, though Ted hadn't gone for the .45 strapped to his waist and she hadn't reached back for the M-1 Garand over her shoulder. Their weapons looked as used as they did, and on closer inspection all the science equipment around them looked battered and used too, almost as if it had all been scavenged together from multiple sources.

"She's a friend of ours." Edge stared at the woman, trying to sort out what she was saying. "She was with us when this happened...and so were a lot of other people!"

"There was another signal cross-hatched with ours!" said Ted, looking appalled. "It must have taken them, fractured the beam, um...they would have appeared together at the antipode! At the teleporter nearest the opposite side of the Earth from here! Oh, Lord..."

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"Ok, so we at least know they're on this world," mused Chris. "Good to know, but we still can't ascertain what state they're in. M-man, you got contact with them through your weird link?"

He turned back to Ted. "Ok, since we're here, I suppose you better tell us where 'here' is."

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Mike relaxed slightly at recieving Alexs response. He maitained his very physical presence between the others and the two armed scientists or whatever they were however.

"Yea Psyche says Hope, Hellion, and Breakdown are with her." He responded using their codenames just in case, "Somewhere by Japan, Kaiju Island." He didn't recognize the name but it didn't sound good.

His next transmision to Psyche seemed to take less effort though he still seemed somewhat distracted for the moment.

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With the urgent questions already being asked, Erin went and tried the single door to the crowded room. If they were locked in here, it was better to know now, before these strangers could distract them with some kind of story on why they were here. She gave it a gentle pull first, willing to pull much harder if it proved recalcitrant.

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The door opened immediately for Erin, showing her a dark cinderblock-built corridor with a guard at the end of it. At the sight of an unfamiliar face, the guard yelled, "Hey! We've got company!" going for the Garand at his back. Fearlessly, the dark-haired woman pushed past Erin, calling out, "Jim! It's okay! They're friendlies from Freedom Earth!" She stepped back into the room as the guard settled down, and introduced herself to the teens for the first time.

"My name is Lilith. The four of you are in the Science bunker of the Army of the Free United States of America. The Resistance." She looked from one to the other. "You're a couple of miles and a whole dimension from where you started out. We're underground where Freedom Hall used to stand, and where it still stands on your world. This city is, and always shall be now, Freedom City."

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"Resistance? The wrong ones?" Geckoman quickly did some basis mental maths and came to a conclusion. "Ah, you wanted help from our dimension! I'm guessing someone more powerful, like the Freedom League." Weeee, we're going to die if that's the level of power they needed. "Ok, what did you need so bad that you wrenched me away from a rather delicious pizza?"

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"It's Erde," Wander blurted suddenly, a horrified look on her face. "That's why they wanted Hope, she comes from here. She told me about it. This is the world where the Nazis won World War II and everything went to hell." She shot a glance over at their hosts and grimaced apologetically. "But look, their flag looks funny because there aren't enough stars on it, because we didn't get the last two until after the war." Still keeping an eye on the guard with the gun, she asked Lilith, "What were you trying to do?"

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Mike spun to look at Erin, "The Nazis won?" He asked incredulously.

He paused then as if listening to a far off voice no one else could hear, "They're in danger." There was no need for him to explain who he was talking about to his friends here and he turned to the ones who had brought them here, "We have to get them, can you pull them here with this thing?" He asked as he gestured to the various gizmos spread about the room.

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"We wanted Hope," said Lilith honestly. "When the Nazis took over, they murdered almost every American metahuman, and forced the rest to work as their slaves." She sighed. "Before she went to your universe for training, Agent H was one of only a handful of people with powers in the Resistance. Our big guns are the Freedom Brigade, and right now they're tied up in New England dealing with Overman's butchers. 'Scuse me, I need to light up or I'm going to explode." She took time out to light up a cigarette, smoking with the easy grace of someone with the values of a different world.

"A couple of, um, months ago," piped up Ted, "the Nazis launched a counterattack against Freedom City. We've stalled them in the old Wharton State Forest, but they have us outnumbered again."

"When Dr. Tomorrow came to help us," said Lilith, "he gave us a weapon against the Nazi cybertanks that we can use to bring down most of the Reich's biggest guns. But the Krauts are smart, see, and they upgraded. They've taken the brains out of their machinery and switched to robots. I don't know how they did it, captured Sternjuden technology most likely..."

"I'm sorry, what did you say?" asked Edge, giving the woman a baffled look at the unfamiliar German word.

"It's German," said Lilith with a hard-edged smile. "The aliens showed up just as the first war was ending back in the late 40s. Some of the mystery men back then thought they'd come to help us, but they just wanted to take advantage of other people's suffering. They call themselves the Unity, I think."

"Anyway," said Ted, "the, uh, the Germans are testing their robot soldiers out on Freedom City. This has always been a center of resistance. That's why they tried to burn it down after the war. If they win here, they'll move up to full industrial production. They'll bury America beneath a tide of steel and swastikas. That's why we wanted Agent H, because she has anti-technology powers. We need someone to get into the robot plant out at Lonely Point and break it up. Smash their army, show them that robots don't work as well as they think, and they'll go back to the cyber-tanks."

"And that's how we get your friends, and get you home." Lilith finished. "It took most of a raiding party to get the last dimensional modulator out of Nazi hands. Good men and women died doing it. But if you have powers the way Agent H did, you can get in there without any of our people dying. Break the factory, get the technology, and we can pick up your friends and send you home."

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Geckoman ripped off his shirt and jeans, revealing his costume underneath as he flicked his hood and goggles up, leaving him stood in his full Geckoman costume. "Go to factory, blow up Nazi technology, go home. We have a plan."

He made sure his belt was affixed tightly, and slipped off his shoes to let the thinner-soled 'boots' he wore underneath make contact with the floor. He felt the familiar static charge affix him to the floor.

"And how do I just know I'm going to get shot?" he added as an aside to his posturing.

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Mike was clearly not happy with their answer, his friends were in danger and the solution they gave was to raid some Nazi robot factory.

He looked to Lilith and asked, "And once we get this tele-whatever we can get the others?"

While he waited for her response he concentrated on sending a message to Psyche.

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"It sounds like our best chance to get out of here," Erin pointed out, "and something we should do anyway. They need our help," she told Mike, hoping he was listening through his mental communications. "And it's robots. No one needs to get hurt. I think we should help them shut down the factory."

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"We'll do our best," agreed Lilith. "If we get the equipment we need, we should be able to find them from here."

Face pale as Lilith described the horrors of the world they were facing, Edge was quick to agree with the others. "I agree, we'll be happy to help you. Anything that stops the Nazis, rescues our friends, and gets us home is the right thing to do," he said with great assurance. Looking back at the others, particularly at the doubtful Mike, he gave them an encouraging look. "We've been in rough spots before."

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Mike tuned back in, "Yea we'll help I just wnated to make sure thats all they'll need to get the others." he said though still not sold on any idea other than going to get the others right then.

"Psyche checked out the Island theres a base with a plane and teleporter of some kind," He relayed what had been sent to him, "And a dinosaur with some kinda control collar. The base defenses are pretty light personelwise though."

Mike was hopeing the would jus lie low but he was fairly certain that wasn't in the cards.

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"What's the best way to get out to Lonely Point without being seen?" Erin asked Lilith. "And what kind of defenses can we expect when we get there? Are there going to be a lot of humans or metas out there, or is it mostly automated? Do you know how many robots there are and what they can do? And what's the weapon that can take out their older equipment?" She bounced lightly on the balls of her feet, mentally readying for the fight, even as she tried to make sure they were all ready for what was coming.

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"I'll take you to our base down on the river," Lilith told Erin, "That'll start you where you need to go. As for defenses, you should expect robotic infantry armed with anti-personnel rifles and light artillery, together with refit tanks and a few of their heavier models. They've got some surprises there; we know that; they're waiting to get us on the run before they send in the harvesters. If you get in there quickly and quietly enough, you should have to face only a few dozen small robots and a handful of the larger models. The older models can be controlled by a chemical substance, one that gives the user a limited form of telepathy. Our supplies of that are strictly rationed, as you can imagine; we have only a few chemists who can make it."

think it's time we let our new friends see the world." Lilith took the four teenagers up and out of the bunker, the rusting old iron steps beneath their feet creaking ominously as they walked up out of their deep confinement into light, noise, and war. The city around them was a strange combination of desolation and frantic activity, people in tattered uniforms and civilian garb moving quickly back and forth between buildings in various combinations of poor repair. American flags, usually bullet-shot ones, were hanging from many buildings, and others showed where swastikas had been blasted or chipped away. The distant sounds of concussions and gunfire were clear in everyone's ears. This was a city at war, and the war wasn't far away.

"We took the city back only a few years ago," Lilith told the kids as they went, sticking to the shadows of large, unfamiliar buildings as they cut their way through the streets. "We haven't had time to make a lot of repairs. I'm sorry if the streets are unfamiliar. When the Nazis came the first time, they burned the city to the ground as a lesson to the world and built it again in their own image. We've reshaped it." The Claremont kids could see a wild melange of vehicles on the streets; Mercedes trucks, civilian cars of unfamiliar vintage, all of them with American markings and all of them battered and just hanging together. There were limos acting as troop transports; trucks carrying heavily-guarded shipments of foods. The people around them were thin and battered, but their eyes were bright as they went about their daily activity. Their lives were hard, but they weren't despairing of them. "If we can't stop the robots," said Lilith quietly, "all we've built here may fall. And the Nazis will have the East Coast again."

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As they walked up the stairs in to the light Mike winced and cursed quietly under his breath. Moving in closer to the other teens he told them in a low voice, "The others are makeing a move on the base there gonna try and use the teleporter to get here."

As they emerged fromt he bunker Mike looked around the battered city, it wasn't freedom as he knew it but he could make out little details that were familiar. It was hard to believe that these people kept up such moral under these conditions but then again what choice did they have. He was resolved to help them then, if they could still keep up the fight despite everything that had happened the least he and the others could do was help out while they were here.

He looked to his friends and then to Lilith, "What kind of air cover do they have?"

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Erin nodded at Mike's words, most of her attention still on the activity in the city. A lot of people here moved like she did, with one eye and one eat open all the time, alert for trouble. It was hard to think that wasn't justified. "Tell them to be careful," she murmured to Mike. "There's no point in them killing themselves when we can get the parts we need here to bring them back. None of them can take a hit like you or I can, so if they've got robots and tanks on that base..." She trailed off, looking nervous. "What's the fastest way to the river?" she asked Lilith.

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"This is the fastest safe way," said Lilith to Erin, nodding a little at her question. "I don't know if any of you have any super-abilities, but the last thing we need is to attract an air raid here. Resistance super-humans will bring down every Ubersoldaten in the state down on you if you're not fast enough. We're only another ten blocks or so from the base." Quickly and quietly, she led the kids through the crowded streets, interrogating them politely on their superhuman abilities to get a better grasp of what they could bring to a fight.

"I don't suppose any of you kids know how to fly, do you?" she asked as they reached what looked like an abandoned, long-burned out warehouse on the edge of the Wading River; a river now visibly crowded with wrecked ships and the occasional landmine. "A friend of mine left us one of her machines, but we don't have anyone with the nerve to take it out."

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"I've got an airship back home, I can probably fly your 'machine'," said Geckoman, "What is it? Fighter jet? Bomber? Helicopter? Gyroscope? I can give it a go either way."

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Lilith led the kids right to the edge of the water, where the burnt-out old hulk of a freighter stood. "This way," she said without hesitation, leading the kids into the interior of the half-sunk rustbucket. With something of a shrug, Edge led the way after her, where just inside the "freighter" they all made the discovery of a lifetime! The boat itself was an entire Resistance base, hollowed out from the inside. While Lilith gave the counter-sign to the troops inside to allow them all in, the kids had a chance to look over a very strange craft: what looked for all the world like a battered old World War II-era submarine with the single exception that on both sides of the craft jutted two large propellered wings.

"This is the Sea Hawk," said Lilith as she rejoined the kids for the walk inside. "Named after its inventor, a friend of mine." Inside the submarine, a bizarre fusion of the old and the new revealed a vehicle at once submarine and airplane, fitted out with heavy weapons and armored against the pressures of the deep and machine gun bullets in the air. "She's as fast as a battleship under water, and faster than some planes in the air. If you can fly it." She walked Geckoman and the others into a room once cockpit and conning tower. "Can you fly this?"

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