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The Big Guns

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Billy tore along the pathway of the Hyperspace Transport Tunnel in his Stellar Cycle. It had been smooth sailing all the way from one of Jupiter's moons, and he would be reaching Earth within minutes. The day's events played through his head just as they always did after he brought down a mark...

"I reckon you best give it up, Gillman. Y'ain't gon' be hijackin' no stellar freighters while I'm in town." *wzzz-click* Colt slapped Jericho's moon clip closed, another 8 bullets ready to be fired. "That's fer certain."

"Damn you, Colt!" The inter-space pirate sat back on his haunches. "I swear on ma pappy's life. If'n I ever get outta the joint, I'm comin fer ya. An you best not be hidin' either. If'n I cain't find you, I'm comin fer yer fam'ly."

"Reckon I ain't much worried, Gillman. There ain't no parole where I'm sendin' ya. An' yer lucky the Confrance of Moons is takin' ya." Colt holstered Jericho on his right thigh, and pulled Marlin out of the holster that was slung over his back. "T'was up ta me? I'd let ya hang faster'n I c'n reload--" With a single circular motion, he cocked the lever forward, and swung the gun in an underhanded motion. It completed a full circle, and the butt of the rifle slapped back into his hand, closing the lever and completeing the reload all at once. One lone spent shell landed on the ground, smoking. "An I reload right fast." Colt planted the but of the rifle against his shoulder and pointed the barrel straight down at Gillman's nose. "Now up ya git!"

A blaring alarm jolted him back to his senses. "Report!" he commanded the cycle's on board computer.

"Hyperspace Transport Tunnel malfunction imminent! Pilot is to be advised! Hyperspace Transport Tunnel mal....."

"Well that ain't no good now in'nit?" A sudden bright flash of light nearly blinded him, followed by the worst turbulence he had ever felt in one of the tubes. Something was very wrong. *CLANK* His cycle felt lighter somehow... "What was that?"

"Hyperspace module malfunction...Hyperspace module malfunction. Brace for impact, T minus 5 seconds."

"Oh lord..."

It was the craft's violent shaking that woke him up. According to the life support systems (which also seemed to be failing) he had passed out when he made impact with the side of the Tunnel. Suddenly he noticed how hot it was..."Oh fer the love a' PETE!" He yelled once he pieced together what was going on. He appeared to be entering earth's atmosphere. The hard way!

"Reckon this'll be quite a story if'n I don't BURN UP'n re-entry!" Colt started pounding buttons on the dashboard frantically. He desperately tried to right the cycle and stabilize it's flight pattern so that it would sustain as little damage as possible, and more importantly - not incinerate him! After a few seconds of heart pounding navigation, the cycle righted itself and he was able to pass through the atmosphere in one piece.

"Initiate landin' proceedure! Status and Damages report!"

"Multiple system wide malfunctions! Landing gear malfunction!"

"I reck...What?...No!...Damn hunk'a'junk! How'm I 'sposed ta land this damn crate wit'out wheels!?" Colt pulled up on the controls but it was no use. At this point he was careening so fast towards earth's surface he would be lucky if he didn't plow straight into the surface of the planet.

"Initiatiing emergency landing procedure! Ejecting pilot in 5...--"

"Damnit! No! Cancel! Damn crate's on'y thing a got. I'll land ya baby, you'll see." He lovingly patted the dashboard of the Stellar Cycle, the machine had gotten him through so many scrapes... "Jus' don' quit me yet!"

After getting most of the malfunctions cleared out, Colt steered the cycle towards the nearest city. It was huge and he hadn't remembered ever seeing it before. "How damn far you throw me off course, huh?" He slammed the computer console "Las' time I let'm install a computer in ma cycle! If'n you don't land this thing..." He shook his finger at the computer, "I'm tearin' ya'out first chance I get. An' so help me, I'm usin' a hammer ta do't!"

"Beep...." Colt had the impression that if the computer had a face it might be blinking at him in disbelief. "Initiating landing proceedure! Landing gear deployed!"

"That's a mite better!"

Colt barely managed to slip between two of the skyscrapers before he found a long straight street. He landed on the street in an attempt to lower the speed of the craft. It worked... but only for a split second. He had to lift off again just to avoid a traffic blockage - and nearly took out a traffic light in the process! He touched down again, and hammered the breaks. He threw the jet boosters into reverse and he could feel the engine begin to forcefully drag the craft to a stop. But it was going to be a close call. Colt could see a large obstruction at the end of his makeshift runway! An enormous traffic circle was at the end of this street, supplanted right in the middle of the traffic circle was a fountain!

Colt quickly dropped the canopy of the Stellar Cycle. In a second, the air was rushing past his face. It tore at his hair, and harassed the goggles that were keeping his eyes safe. His large brown trench coat billowed out behind him, as he stood up in the seat. He was going to need as much drag as possible to slow this thing down in time!

A hundred feet away from the fountain, he slammed his foot down on the manual brake, tore up on the handbrake with his right hand, and put all his weight quickly to the left. The cycle's wheels locked up, and the rear of the vehicle was thrown out behind him. He was still careening towards the fountain, but now he was doing it sideways!.

Three heart pounding seconds later he finally ground to a stop, no more than a foot away from the edge of the fountain. Colt shifted the cycle into park and stepped down off it. "I reckon thats a job well done, baby." he patted the cycle lovingly. He stooped down and pressed a button on the dash. A panel on the side of the cycle opened up and revealed a hat. Colt deposited the well worn brown hat on his head, then stood to look around at his surroundings. "Now where in tarnation am I?"

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Should the US government had helped the city in the reparation of the city's infrastructure during the Omega Crisis? If not, should they haveblahblahblahblahblahblah.....

Yuki hated Civics, this was made evident as she nearly dozed off again. Here she was, perched on the side of one of Freedom's tallest skyscrapers, and instead of pulling three sixty degree deadman drops towards the ground, she was stuck doing book work. She so hated school.

Yuki ignored the gathering crowd in the windows across from her gapping at the costumed super heroine doing homework and continued to scribble in her notes. Said thing is that even when she finished, she still had to enter it into her comp at home and print it out. Her evening was all but taken up. When she could be busting up more of those drug dealings, she is stuck home doing work she may never see again...

:!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!:

Colt barely managed to slip between two of the skyscrapers before he found a long straight street.

:!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!:

Even with her Spider Senses blaring, she was still stunned with what she saw. It was like a meteorite headed right for her. She barely leapt out of the way, and even then her note book and text book was dropped twenty stories below, papers ans notes fluttering...

NONONONONONONONONON!!!

She was about to cry here, as she knew that the work was as good as lost on the virtue that the flaming something was about to crash into a busy street. With a sigh, she sliped her backpack onto her back (atleast that wasn't lost), and swung after it...

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Erik Espadas' first though upon seeing the shape whistling towards the ground was a panicked, Gah! followed by the slightly more coherrant, Some idiot with super strength has tossed a motorcycle though the air! As the vehicle sped closer, however, he made out what looked like wings and reflected wryly that that would have been much too straightforward. Deciding that his errands in Riverside would have to wait, Erik quickly locked up his bicycle and ducked into an empty alley. In his place emerged Jack of all Blades, who hastily made his way to the fountain where the strange craft had landed, greatcoat flaring out behind him.

He found what could only reasonably be described as a cowboy waiting for him when he arrived. From his leather boots to his theme-appropriate hat, the downed vehicle's pilot looked every bit like a contemporary of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. As he approached, ambling casually toward the man with one hand in his pocket, Jack noted the cowboy's weapons warily. The young swashbuckler didn't form an energy sword, but he palmed his lighter in his concealed hand just in case. Freedom City history suggested that there was about even odds of the new arrival declaring his intent to rule the planet at any moment, but Jack was inclined to give the stranger the benefit of the doubt. He was, after all, wearing a pretty nice coat.

Jack stopped a several meters away from the cowboy and cleared his throat, though he knew he stood out from the bystanders without attracting any addition attention. "Engine trouble?" he drawled dryly just as a woman in a bright red jumpsuit swung in on some sort of line. Jack expected it was only a matter of time before the square was crawling with super-folk.

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"Well now, I reckon it ain't just the engine I'm havin' trouble with. Seems ta me like this ain't no city I ever seen afore." Colt stared up at the large buildings. They had skyscrapers back home, but none this big. They didn't need to be. No one liked being that high up anyways...

Colt looked down at the two that had greeted him. Everyone else around seemed to be shying away. The flames on the cycle had long gone out, and he hadn't made that bad of a landing..."How yall doin'? Folks back home call me Colt." He stepped forward to shake Jack's hand. "Nice coat, partner." and with his left hand he briefly tipped his hat in the direction of the woman in the red tights. Mighty close fitting suit she's got there. he thought to himself. "Ma'am". was all he said when he addressed her.

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What, did Wyat Earp return from the grave?

Yuki looked at the monstrosity that caused her to lose an hour and a half's worth of homework. It wasn't a meteor as she feared, but...

"Whaty is that... looks weird..."

Says the Teenager who was dressed like a spider and hanging upside down from a webline.

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Jack accepted Colt's offered hand and shook it firmly. "Jack. Jack of all Blades if you're feeling formal. Welcome to Freedom City." The swashbuckler straightened his greatcoat a bit when the cowboy mentioned it. "Ditto. I'm not as big a fan of the guns, though," he said frankly, crossing his arms. "Doesn't sound like you were planning on starting anything, so just, y'know, don't." Jack's tone was cordial, but firm. As far as the swordsman was concerned, there was no such thing as a good gun, no matter who was wielding it.

Looking from Colt to the crashed cycle, Jack leaned on the fountain and scratched his chin. "Well, you're pretty human-looking to be from space and a little, uh... eclectic for time travel. Alternate dimension?" He craned his neck to regard the young woman hanging upside down. "Thoughts?"

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Colt nodded at Jack's guess, "Leastways that's what I'm fixin' ta think, partner." Colt turned and began to walk around his cycle. "Ain't no need to be worryin' 'bout ma makin' trouble fer ya. Reckon I don't start fights." He fixed Jack with his gaze, "I finish 'em." His tone was forceful, yet calm.

To the strange woman hanging from a street lamp he said, "Yall got an eye fer somethin' mighty fine if'n ya spotted this." Colt gave the cycle a cursory examination. It didn't look that broken. It survived re-entry better than he had hoped. "This here's ma Stellar Cycle. Latest in interstellar personal transport." He lifted up a flap on one of the side panels. "Reckon that's the bit that flew off on ma way down then." He closed the flap and looked back up at the two. "Beginnin' ta look like I'm stuck in this here town."

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"Oh! You're from space. Why not, I've seen stranger. Just the other day I began shooting webs out of my butt."

Silence.

"...I was joking?"

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Jack cocked a eyebrow and grinned as Colt locked eyes with him. "Ha! Fair enough." The swashbuckler listened to the newcomer describe his vehicle. "Stellar Cycle, huh? Well, I guess it'd pretty much have to be." Jack let out a long breath. "Replacement parts are going to be an issue. The good news is that you're in the right place for it; Freedom's lousy with technical geniuses, mad scientists, that sort of thing."

He looked up when the red-suited teenager spoke. "Girl, don't joke. The number of accidental mutations we get around here, that sort of thing's just a matter of time." Jack shrugged. "Besides, space cowboy's not so weird. I mean, we're like a block away from where the living city and the Voodoo ocean goddess hang out. Besides, he's not the one walking around in a stylish bodysuit and mask, right?" He gestured to the young woman's costume, then his own. "S'all relative, I figure."

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Colt put on a strange expression at the girls comment. "Reckon I never heard no ladies talkin' like that where I come from. This here sure is a strange place."

He listened attentively to everything Jack had to offer. He took in all the details, and though much still did not make sense, he decided that he would just have to spend some time getting adjusted. Good listening and observation skills were almost as good as a thousand questions, and they didn't take as long either.

"Well now, that's just dandy now in'nit." He turned and addressed the motorcycle, patting it as he spoke, "Hear that baby, we're gon' get ya fixed up right pretty now."

Then Jack made a comment about the costumes. "Well now, this here ain't no normal clothing either, reckon yall get a kick outta this." Colt held out the edge of his coat away from himself. He slowly drew the revolver from his side, and pointed it at the exposed piece of clothing. "This here's another piece a' techno-mumbo-jumbo from where I come from. Believin' they call it Reflex Fabric o' some such." Without hesitating he fired a bullet into the fabric. The bullet created no holes. In fact, the bullet was completely compacted when it fell to the ground at Colt's feet. He stooped to pick it up. He handed the spent cartridge to Jack. "Protects the wearer from all sort'sa nasty things. You c'n keep that if'n you'd like." He opened up the chamber on the revolver, replaced the spent bullet, and slapped the moon clip back into the gun. Giving it a spin around his finger a few times he re-holstered the weapon at his hip.

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Jack started when Colt pulled out his revolver, but the demonstration was over before he could protest. "Huh. Good coat," he commented as the cowboy handed him the flattened bullet. He examined it for a moment before tossing it up to the spider-themed heroine as Colt showily holstered his weapon. "Regular Alex J. Murphy over here. Just watch it, alright? Not everybody's bulletproof. Mostly we're, y'know, whatever the opposite of bulletproof is."

Leaning back against the fountain, Jack placed his hands behind his head and considered. "Come to think of it, there's probably something set up for this kinda thing. Like, an orientation, 'welcome to the dimension' sort of deal. It happens enough, like even with the big guy." They were close enough to the water front that the massive Sentry Statue was visible over the tops of the nearby buildings. For someone who revered Golden Age heroes as much as Jack, mentioning the Centurion by name felt vaguely taboo.

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Yuki caught the object. It was... flat. Cool.

Yukilooked back at the way he came then back at him.

"...Colt, was it? What are you going to do now? I mean, crash landing into Freedom isn't exactly ging to land you first class accomadations..."

It took all of Yuki's strength to not blame the man for her lost homework. It wasn't his fault... he had to do what he must to survive, right? "I suggest you stick here and wait for the inevitable. Cops are going to arrive trhinking you are causing trouble... but we can vouch for you. Maybe they'll help?"

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At the mention of "the big guy" Colt looked intrigued. "Sorry partner, seems I don't know who yer talkin' bout.

At that moment, three police cars rolled up into the traffic circle. Colt looked up at the woman on the lamp post. "That seems like a mighty fine idea right about's now. I'd sure appreciate yer kind words."

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Jack hesitated as the police arrived. "So, uh, maybe not a great time to bring this up, but my PR's really not everything it could be." He gave the others a weak shrug. "What can I say, I'm just more of a night person." Strictly speaking, Jack was an unlawful vigilante, and he'd kept a low enough profile that it wasn't likely he'd be recognized by the authorities on sight, let alone trusted, particularly outside of the West End. Still, he couldn't very well leave Colt to fend for himself. "Good thing I'm so naturally charming, huh?" he smirked, turning to face the approaching officers.

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"You're kidding? Charm is all you need... the other day I offered another cop a box of donuts. He gave me a free pass." The masked teen shrugged. "Besides, it's not like they could catch us. If you can give me a police officer who can shoot, climb and swing on webbing... I'd still be poor."

Which was a shame... cause she'd buy another chance to get her homework. Sigh.

Yuki turned to an officer who was looking at her (and the others) very strangely. "...uhm, officer... I like to report a pot hole in the intersection of %th avenue. I keep writng to the government about it and I get nada. NOW SEE WHAT HAPPENED!?"

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The cop looked quite taken aback. But Yuki could see the cowboy smile beneath his hat. It seemed he appreciated a good bit of humor, though he continued to remain silent.

The police officer was confused. He had two men in coats just looking at him, and a strange girl dressed in tights, hanging from a lamp post trying to be funny. He did know that one of the men was obviously armed. He drew his pistol, but kept it pointed at the ground. "I don't know who you three are, but you're caused enough trouble as it is already. You almost caused a pile up with that wreck you've got there." He eyes strayed to the girl on the lamp post. "And this is no time to be making jokes."

Nearby, other police officers had exited their cars, and were covering behind their open car doors, some were drawing weapons, others were simply crouching and making themselves harder to hit. They were quite obviously getting the wrong impression. Fast.

"Sir!" The officer spoke once more, "I am going to have to ask you to place your weapons on the ground, and put your hands where I can see them."

Colt slowly shook his head. "Reckon you c'n see ma hands just fine where they are." They were in fact in the open, down by his sides. But anyone who had ever seen a western movie could easily assume that he could draw that pistol in a blink of an eye. "'Friad I can't my guns down either. At least not while you've got yours pointed in this direction. I haven't threatened you by drawing a weapon yet, you could show me the same courtesy." His eyes strayed to Jack and to the spider girl who had yet to mention her name. If'n yer gonna say something, now's the time.

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Jack raised a placating hand. "Easy, Tex." The swashbuckler knew Colt was in need of accommodations, but he doubted a jail cell or a hospital bed was what the cowboy had in mind. He turned to the police officer and crossed his arms in fashion that made it clear his hands were empty. "Man, what are you thinking? The guy heroically turns an uncontrolled crash from orbit into something Doc Metropolis could fix by sneezing, and you're giving him the third degree? Orbit! I'm talking about space here. The least you could do is call a paramedic for the man. You know the laws for dealing with off-worlders?" Jack spread his hands. "I know I don't, but I'm betting there's more 'giving the clubhouse of super-folks over there a call' and less 'go all O.K. Corral', amirite?" The hero glanced up at Tarantula. "As for web-for-brains up there, she's like thirteen, cut her some slack."

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Yuki nodded at the officer. "Joking? If I were joking, I would say that a cowboy went up to a horse and ask, 'Hey Fella, why the long face?' But did I say that? Nope."

Yuki took offense to Jack of All Blades comment. "First off, the name's Tarantula... and I'm turning Thirteen next month, thank you very much."

So far Yuki was calm. VERY calm. None of the people there knew it, but Yuki had an inside edge of knowing that the cops, behind all their bravado, had no intention of firing on them yet. This edge was called 'Spider-Senses'. She felt nothing. No danger, whatsoever.

"Any way, officers, this is merely a traffic accident. Just call AAA, ask for Colt's AARP card for his insurance, and we'll be good as rain. I mean, Damage control has to do something with the Tax-payer's money, right?"

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Colt still hadn't moved. His subtle, relaxed, concentration was almost scary. The police officer on the other hand blushed a deep red at Jack's words. When Tarantula spoke, he shot her another glance.

"Johansen!" the officer called, and one of his subordinates responded. The two conferred in hushed tones before the new officer ran back to one of the cruisers. The trio of heroes could see him accessing the radio. Likely it was a private conversation with the dispatcher.

"In light of ... uh... this new information, the FCPD would like to apologize for it's earlier harsh treatment." The police offer holstered his sidearm. He turned to face the assembled force of police officers. "Stand down men!" The collective assembly of officers all holstered any weapons that had been drawn. However they maintained their defensive positioning.

Colt visibly relaxed and breathed a sigh of relief. Def'nitely NOT on the same earth that I know.

The police officer cautiously approached Colt and extended a hand in greeting. Colt shook it warily saying, "Yall really gotta work on yer manners!"

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The police officers talked to the dispatchers, who called their superiors, who called the Freedom League. Colt was escorted to Freedom Hall, where he was introduced to Daniel Dædalus. Dædalus gave him a full medical examination and briefly inspected his gear, in order to verify that nothing about Colt presented an obvious danger to the people or ecosystem of Freedom City or Earth in general. He also interviewed Colt about his world of origin, asking for as much information as Colt was willing to provide, in the interests of scientific curiosity. He was more than willing to answer any questions Colt may have had about the differences between his world and Earth-Prime.

Once safety and intellectual curiosity were satisfied, Dædalus made a couple of phonecalls, and supplied Colt with a few government forms, pertaining specifically to extraterrestrial refugees in Colt's situation (or something similar). He then sent Colt to the Freedom City branch of the Immigration & Naturalization Service, where Colt found that the forms Dædalus had signed off on expedited the process significantly. He had to visit a few more offices, wait in a few more lines, and fill out a few more forms, but by the end of the day, he was a legal resident of the United States of America. Not yet a full citizen - that process would take longer, assuming Colt decided to pursue it. But for the time being, he was officially "on the grid."

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What a day. Reckon tomorrow outta be better...

Colt strolled out of the Freedom City headquarters, removed his hat, and stowed it away on his cycle. Pulling his goggles up over his eyes, he swung a leg over the seat. He revved the engine once, and a threw the clutch into position. The large cycle roared off down one of the busy city streets. Colt looked ahead, towards where he was headed, and saw the sun beginning to set on the horizon.

Better'n deed...

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