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Heridfel

Stat Yourself [Elseworlds/What If?] [IC]

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James sat up straight in the car, ready for the ride to start. The teenaged attendants had come by and made sure that he knew how to put a lap bar down, and he had heard an "all-clear" over the intercom. He wondered for a second exactly who they were talking to, then felt the roller coaster move.

It was the first weekend after New Year's, and his job had sponsored a company outing to the Freedom City theme park. Since he didn't have anything better to do, he decided he'd show up... but he was just about the only one who did. Still, a free day on the roller coasters isn't anything to complain about, especially with the cloudy weather keeping the lines short. He'd already been on the Raven Thrill Ride, the Siren Splash, and the Pseudo Bumper Cars, and now he had made his way to the Captain Thunder Comet. It was supposed to be the highest drop in the state, and he had been looking forward to it since he got there.

"The climb on a roller coaster is always the worst part," he thought to himself, "At least the rest of it, you know you're going to fall forward." He grinned. They had one of those cameras during the big climb, and another one during one of the drops, and he intended to not look as bad as he usually did when he got photographed by surprise. The first step in doing that - not looking like he was about to go in for a root canal.

Then the climb was finally over, and he leaned forward in his seat. The rest of the cars still had to go over the crest, but he could stare down the drop. He took a deep breath and let the butterflies do their thing. The anticipation is always the best part, pins and needles as you look down on a lethal fall while knowing that you'll be safe. Finally, the last car went over, and the ride really began.

It was everything he had hoped for. The ride went through four quick corkscrews after the big drop, then inside a building that was just barely lit to make the twists and turns more exciting because they can't be predicted. There's a few bright flashes of light as "Captain Thunder" throws some lightning bolts, and James closes his eyes reflexively. Then something weird happened. He had never actually gotten nauseous on a roller coaster before, but it felt like the whole car just dropped down a couple of feet. He closed his mouth and swallowed back the bile that was rising. He could feel the car moving, more slowly, returning to its starting position.

When he was sure that he had everything under control, he opened his eyes, took a deep breath, and waited for the bar to lift before stepping out. He stood to one side of the exit to let everyone else get out before him. He squinted as they went past. Something felt... different. He looked up, and gaped. Out over the horizon, the whole landscape had changed. The park was about the only thing that had remained constant. He could see a bridge a couple of miles away, and it looked like the ocean in the distance. There definitely shouldn't be an ocean there.

He walked down to the photo booth while trying to puzzle over what is going on - beginning with whether he's just gone crazy. "Well, if I'm crazy, it's an organized sort of crazy," he mutters to himself. He looks up to the screen, picking out his picture. He squints up at the video monitor. It looks like there's something wrong with his picture. It's just about to go off the screen, and he hurries over to the counter to buy a print of it to look at it.

When the picture is printed up, James can see what was different. The second picture looks right, with his eyes closed and trying not to throw up. But the first one - yeah, that's his stupid grin there, but he doesn't have his beard. It looks like he grew it somewhere in the middle, and he gives it a tug to make sure that it really is still there.

Before he could think any further, he heard the park-wide intercom, "Would James..." and then the pause that always came as someone tried to figure out how to pronounce his last name, followed by the usual butchering, "please report to the ticket office?"

Whatever had happened, his name was still his name, and he began to head to the park exit. As he made his way through the park, he caught sight of one of the signs. Instead of Freedom City - Great Adventure, it was Ocean Heights Amusement Park. Something about that name tugged at his memory, but he just kept going. He definitely wasn't in Virginia anymore - that much was certain.

He came up to the ticket office, then knocked on the door. It took a couple of seconds for it to be answered by a teenager who looked annoyed at having to come back.

"Yes?" the teen asked.

"I was just paged to come here. James..." James said before getting cut off

"You want to go over there if someone paged you," he replied. He then shut the door in James' face.

Gritting his teeth in annoyance at the rudeness, James went to the other building. The customer service representative there was more helpful, and gave him a phone with a call waiting on the line. He scarcely had time to say "Hello..." before the man on the other end began to speak.

"James, did you witness anything there? We just got a report of a surge near Ocean Heights, and Susan reminded me that you said you were going to be there today," he said, sounding oddly excited about something.

"A what now? I'm sorry, who is this?" James managed to get out. The man breathed out slowly, trying to calm himself. He still sounds excited, but there's a touch of annoyance in his voice as he repeats himself more slowly.

"This is Dr. Clarence Macleod. Your boss here at ASTRO Labs. The scanner picked up a possible incursion near Ocean Heights Amusement Park, and I wanted to know if you saw anything."

As soon as the words "ASTRO Labs" were said, James only half-listened to the rest of it. Now he remembered where he had heard Ocean Heights before. That was the name of the amusement park in Freedom City Comics. ASTRO Labs... Realizing that he needed to say something, he spoke quickly.

"No, I was on a ride just before you paged me. All I saw was the inside of a roller coaster building," he said.

Dr. Macleod harrumphs on the other side, like he can't imagine why someone would get on a roller coaster at an amusement park.

"Drat. I had hoped we had something there," he said. Then there's a sound of someone speaking on the other end, and Dr. Macleod spoke up again.

"We just had another possible spike. It's close to your position; I'm sending you the coordinates on your phone. Get there, and see if you can get any witnesses. I'll stay here and... what, another one?" he said in reply to the unheard person on the other end. "We're getting a lot of them. This could be very bad - I'm going to contact the Freedom League as well. Get there fast." And the line went dead.

"I... I think I need to go," James said to the customer service representative, who seemed wholly uninterested in what she just heard. He reached down to his pocket, only to find that 'his phone' wasn't the one that he had when he got on the ride. It looked like a PDA instead, and it beeped with a street address corresponding to the GPS coordinates that Dr. Macleod sent. He checked his wallet on a hunch. It was the same wallet, and the same amount of cash (as far as he remembered), but the driver's license was for Freedom City, not Virginia. He took a deep breath and headed to where he left his car, hoping that his counterpart did the same thing.

Thankfully, he found it there, and began to drive. He doesn't know how it happened, but it seems like he's in Freedom City, and the spike that Dr. Macleod spotted probably was his arrival. If there are other spikes, then it could be other people arriving like he did. He had to get there to find out.

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James sat up straight in the car, ready for the ride to start. The teenaged attendants had come by and made sure that he knew how to put a lap bar down, and he had heard an "all-clear" over the intercom. He wondered for a second exactly who they were talking to, then felt the roller coaster move.

It was the first weekend after New Year's, and his job had sponsored a company outing to the Freedom City theme park. Since he didn't have anything better to do, he decided he'd show up... but he was just about the only one who did. Still, a free day on the roller coasters isn't anything to complain about, especially with the cloudy weather keeping the lines short. He'd already been on the Raven Thrill Ride, the Siren Splash, and the Pseudo Bumper Cars, and now he had made his way to the Captain Thunder Comet. It was supposed to be the highest drop in the state, and he had been looking forward to it since he got there.

"The climb on a roller coaster is always the worst part," he thought to himself, "At least the rest of it, you know you're going to fall forward." He grinned. They had one of those cameras during the big climb, and another one during one of the drops, and he intended to not look as bad as he usually did when he got photographed by surprise. The first step in doing that - not looking like he was about to go in for a root canal.

Then the climb was finally over, and he leaned forward in his seat. The rest of the cars still had to go over the crest, but he could stare down the drop. He took a deep breath and let the butterflies do their thing. The anticipation is always the best part, pins and needles as you look down on a lethal fall while knowing that you'll be safe. Finally, the last car went over, and the ride really began.

It was everything he had hoped for. The ride went through four quick corkscrews after the big drop, then inside a building that was just barely lit to make the twists and turns more exciting because they can't be predicted. There's a few bright flashes of light as "Captain Thunder" throws some lightning bolts, and James closes his eyes reflexively. Then something weird happened. He had never actually gotten nauseous on a roller coaster before, but it felt like the whole car just dropped down a couple of feet. He closed his mouth and swallowed back the bile that was rising. He could feel the car moving, more slowly, returning to its starting position.

When he was sure that he had everything under control, he opened his eyes, took a deep breath, and waited for the bar to lift before stepping out. He stood to one side of the exit to let everyone else get out before him. He squinted as they went past. Something felt... different. He looked up, and gaped. Out over the horizon, the whole landscape had changed. The park was about the only thing that had remained constant. He could see a bridge a couple of miles away, and it looked like the ocean in the distance. There definitely shouldn't be an ocean there.

He walked down to the photo booth while trying to puzzle over what is going on - beginning with whether he's just gone crazy. "Well, if I'm crazy, it's an organized sort of crazy," he mutters to himself. He looks up to the screen, picking out his picture. He squints up at the video monitor. It looks like there's something wrong with his picture. It's just about to go off the screen, and he hurries over to the counter to buy a print of it to look at it.

When the picture is printed up, James can see what was different. The second picture looks right, with his eyes closed and trying not to throw up. But the first one - yeah, that's his stupid grin there, but he doesn't have his beard. It looks like he grew it somewhere in the middle, and he gives it a tug to make sure that it really is still there.

Before he could think any further, he heard the park-wide intercom, "Would James..." and then the pause that always came as someone tried to figure out how to pronounce his last name, followed by the usual butchering, "please report to the ticket office?"

Whatever had happened, his name was still his name, and he began to head to the park exit. As he made his way through the park, he caught sight of one of the signs. Instead of Freedom City - Great Adventure, it was Ocean Heights Amusement Park. Something about that name tugged at his memory, but he just kept going. He definitely wasn't in Virginia anymore - that much was certain.

He came up to the ticket office, then knocked on the door. It took a couple of seconds for it to be answered by a teenager who looked annoyed at having to come back.

"Yes?" the teen asked.

"I was just paged to come here. James..." James said before getting cut off

"You want to go over there if someone paged you," he replied. He then shut the door in James' face.

Gritting his teeth in annoyance at the rudeness, James went to the other building. The customer service representative there was more helpful, and gave him a phone with a call waiting on the line. He scarcely had time to say "Hello..." before the man on the other end began to speak.

"James, did you witness anything there? We just got a report of a surge near Ocean Heights, and Susan reminded me that you said you were going to be there today," he said, sounding oddly excited about something.

"A what now? I'm sorry, who is this?" James managed to get out. The man breathed out slowly, trying to calm himself. He still sounds excited, but there's a touch of annoyance in his voice as he repeats himself more slowly.

"This is Dr. Clarence Macleod. Your boss here at ASTRO Labs. The scanner picked up a possible incursion near Ocean Heights Amusement Park, and I wanted to know if you saw anything."

As soon as the words "ASTRO Labs" were said, James only half-listened to the rest of it. Now he remembered where he had heard Ocean Heights before. That was the name of the amusement park in Freedom City Comics. ASTRO Labs... Realizing that he needed to say something, he spoke quickly.

"No, I was on a ride just before you paged me. All I saw was the inside of a roller coaster building," he said.

Dr. Macleod harrumphs on the other side, like he can't imagine why someone would get on a roller coaster at an amusement park.

"Drat. I had hoped we had something there," he said. Then there's a sound of someone speaking on the other end, and Dr. Macleod spoke up again.

"We just had another possible spike. It's close to your position; I'm sending you the coordinates on your phone. Get there, and see if you can get any witnesses. I'll stay here and... what, another one?" he said in reply to the unheard person on the other end. "We're getting a lot of them. This could be very bad - I'm going to contact the Freedom League as well. Get there fast." And the line went dead.

"I... I think I need to go," James said to the customer service representative, who seemed wholly uninterested in what she just heard. He reached down to his pocket, only to find that 'his phone' wasn't the one that he had when he got on the ride. It looked like a PDA instead, and it beeped with a street address corresponding to the GPS coordinates that Dr. Macleod sent. He checked his wallet on a hunch. It was the same wallet, and the same amount of cash (as far as he remembered), but the driver's license was for Freedom City, not Virginia. He took a deep breath and headed to where he left his car, hoping that his counterpart did the same thing.

Thankfully, he found it there, and began to drive. He doesn't know how it happened, but it seems like he's in Freedom City, and the spike that Dr. Macleod spotted probably was his arrival. If there are other spikes, then it could be other people arriving like he did. He had to get there to find out.

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James sat up straight in the car, ready for the ride to start. The teenaged attendants had come by and made sure that he knew how to put a lap bar down, and he had heard an "all-clear" over the intercom. He wondered for a second exactly who they were talking to, then felt the roller coaster move.

It was the first weekend after New Year's, and his job had sponsored a company outing to the Freedom City theme park. Since he didn't have anything better to do, he decided he'd show up... but he was just about the only one who did. Still, a free day on the roller coasters isn't anything to complain about, especially with the cloudy weather keeping the lines short. He'd already been on the Raven Thrill Ride, the Siren Splash, and the Pseudo Bumper Cars, and now he had made his way to the Captain Thunder Comet. It was supposed to be the highest drop in the state, and he had been looking forward to it since he got there.

"The climb on a roller coaster is always the worst part," he thought to himself, "At least the rest of it, you know you're going to fall forward." He grinned. They had one of those cameras during the big climb, and another one during one of the drops, and he intended to not look as bad as he usually did when he got photographed by surprise. The first step in doing that - not looking like he was about to go in for a root canal.

Then the climb was finally over, and he leaned forward in his seat. The rest of the cars still had to go over the crest, but he could stare down the drop. He took a deep breath and let the butterflies do their thing. The anticipation is always the best part, pins and needles as you look down on a lethal fall while knowing that you'll be safe. Finally, the last car went over, and the ride really began.

It was everything he had hoped for. The ride went through four quick corkscrews after the big drop, then inside a building that was just barely lit to make the twists and turns more exciting because they can't be predicted. There's a few bright flashes of light as "Captain Thunder" throws some lightning bolts, and James closes his eyes reflexively. Then something weird happened. He had never actually gotten nauseous on a roller coaster before, but it felt like the whole car just dropped down a couple of feet. He closed his mouth and swallowed back the bile that was rising. He could feel the car moving, more slowly, returning to its starting position.

When he was sure that he had everything under control, he opened his eyes, took a deep breath, and waited for the bar to lift before stepping out. He stood to one side of the exit to let everyone else get out before him. He squinted as they went past. Something felt... different. He looked up, and gaped. Out over the horizon, the whole landscape had changed. The park was about the only thing that had remained constant. He could see a bridge a couple of miles away, and it looked like the ocean in the distance. There definitely shouldn't be an ocean there.

He walked down to the photo booth while trying to puzzle over what is going on - beginning with whether he's just gone crazy. "Well, if I'm crazy, it's an organized sort of crazy," he mutters to himself. He looks up to the screen, picking out his picture. He squints up at the video monitor. It looks like there's something wrong with his picture. It's just about to go off the screen, and he hurries over to the counter to buy a print of it to look at it.

When the picture is printed up, James can see what was different. The second picture looks right, with his eyes closed and trying not to throw up. But the first one - yeah, that's his stupid grin there, but he doesn't have his beard. It looks like he grew it somewhere in the middle, and he gives it a tug to make sure that it really is still there.

Before he could think any further, he heard the park-wide intercom, "Would James..." and then the pause that always came as someone tried to figure out how to pronounce his last name, followed by the usual butchering, "please report to the ticket office?"

Whatever had happened, his name was still his name, and he began to head to the park exit. As he made his way through the park, he caught sight of one of the signs. Instead of Freedom City - Great Adventure, it was Ocean Heights Amusement Park. Something about that name tugged at his memory, but he just kept going. He definitely wasn't in Virginia anymore - that much was certain.

He came up to the ticket office, then knocked on the door. It took a couple of seconds for it to be answered by a teenager who looked annoyed at having to come back.

"Yes?" the teen asked.

"I was just paged to come here. James..." James said before getting cut off

"You want to go over there if someone paged you," he replied. He then shut the door in James' face.

Gritting his teeth in annoyance at the rudeness, James went to the other building. The customer service representative there was more helpful, and gave him a phone with a call waiting on the line. He scarcely had time to say "Hello..." before the man on the other end began to speak.

"James, did you witness anything there? We just got a report of a surge near Ocean Heights, and Susan reminded me that you said you were going to be there today," he said, sounding oddly excited about something.

"A what now? I'm sorry, who is this?" James managed to get out. The man breathed out slowly, trying to calm himself. He still sounds excited, but there's a touch of annoyance in his voice as he repeats himself more slowly.

"This is Dr. Clarence Macleod. Your boss here at ASTRO Labs. The scanner picked up a possible incursion near Ocean Heights Amusement Park, and I wanted to know if you saw anything."

As soon as the words "ASTRO Labs" were said, James only half-listened to the rest of it. Now he remembered where he had heard Ocean Heights before. That was the name of the amusement park in Freedom City Comics. ASTRO Labs... Realizing that he needed to say something, he spoke quickly.

"No, I was on a ride just before you paged me. All I saw was the inside of a roller coaster building," he said.

Dr. Macleod harrumphs on the other side, like he can't imagine why someone would get on a roller coaster at an amusement park.

"Drat. I had hoped we had something there," he said. Then there's a sound of someone speaking on the other end, and Dr. Macleod spoke up again.

"We just had another possible spike. It's close to your position; I'm sending you the coordinates on your phone. Get there, and see if you can get any witnesses. I'll stay here and... what, another one?" he said in reply to the unheard person on the other end. "We're getting a lot of them. This could be very bad - I'm going to contact the Freedom League as well. Get there fast." And the line went dead.

"I... I think I need to go," James said to the customer service representative, who seemed wholly uninterested in what she just heard. He reached down to his pocket, only to find that 'his phone' wasn't the one that he had when he got on the ride. It looked like a PDA instead, and it beeped with a street address corresponding to the GPS coordinates that Dr. Macleod sent. He checked his wallet on a hunch. It was the same wallet, and the same amount of cash (as far as he remembered), but the driver's license was for Freedom City, not Virginia. He took a deep breath and headed to where he left his car, hoping that his counterpart did the same thing.

Thankfully, he found it there, and began to drive. He doesn't know how it happened, but it seems like he's in Freedom City, and the spike that Dr. Macleod spotted probably was his arrival. If there are other spikes, then it could be other people arriving like he did. He had to get there to find out.

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Joe hated these trips. Driving to New York by yourself was never fun, and it stank a whole lot more when your iPod has decided to freeze and the traffic is moving just enough to prevent you from doing a reset. New Jersey radio was utterly horrible, and he still couldn't find the local NPR affiliate. Plus all this driving was giving him these weird headaches. No, no quite headaches, it feels more like his equilibrium is jumping around. 'Must be the air.' Joe drives awhile longer, then does a double take. Had that sign said Freedom City? No, he was just tired from the drive and going crazy from lack of decent music.

There it is again. Freedom City. Once was weird, twice was bothersome. 'Well, it's finally happened. I've gone off the deep end. Odd, I always though that would happen while still in Delaware.' Spotting a sign for the Marie Severin, '...', rest stop, Joe pulls off the road and into the parking lot. This is wrong. He knows this is supposed to be the Clara Barton rest stop. Something just isn't right.

Going inside the rest stop just makes things more confusing. He can smell Cinnabun, but the store is calling itself Cinnaroll. Why did no one else seem to think this was all crazy? Were they just holding it in too? Frantically, but not too frantically, Joe finds a newspaper. The headline doesn't seem to make anything better, but it at least stays with the current delusion he's assuming he's under. "Capt. Thunder saves East Coast from Tsunami Machine." 'Wait a minute. I just read that. But that's a comic book. I must be dreaming. Don't know how, seeing as I was driving. Oh great. I'm probably lying in a ditch somewhere, dying, and this is just the last desperate dream of a brain shutting down. Hard to believe this is the best my sub-conscience could come up with. Lazy brain.'

Joe sits down at a table and waits for awhile. Just sitting, people watching, waiting for oblivion. Not much else to do when your dying. Minutes pass. Then ten minutes. Then twenty. Finally Joe grows bored with waiting. 'Well, as long as I'm in a comic book, might as well go see the city. Gotta be better then the rest stops.'

Leaving the Marie Severin rest stop and heading back to his truck, Joe gets in line for gas. 'You'd have thought you'd get free gas inside your own mind. I need to read more.' After what seems an eternity waiting for gas, Joe gets back on the road, which for ease of reference he will continue to call the New Jersey Turnpike, 'but really, who knows at this point,' and continues on his way to Freedom City. Or is that starts? Good god, this is going to get confusing.

A short while later, Joe follows the exit to route 6 and finds himself near the boardwalk. 'What the hey, seems like a good enough place to stop. I do love the water.'

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Joe hated these trips. Driving to New York by yourself was never fun, and it stank a whole lot more when your iPod has decided to freeze and the traffic is moving just enough to prevent you from doing a reset. New Jersey radio was utterly horrible, and he still couldn't find the local NPR affiliate. Plus all this driving was giving him these weird headaches. No, no quite headaches, it feels more like his equilibrium is jumping around. 'Must be the air.' Joe drives awhile longer, then does a double take. Had that sign said Freedom City? No, he was just tired from the drive and going crazy from lack of decent music.

There it is again. Freedom City. Once was weird, twice was bothersome. 'Well, it's finally happened. I've gone off the deep end. Odd, I always though that would happen while still in Delaware.' Spotting a sign for the Marie Severin, '...', rest stop, Joe pulls off the road and into the parking lot. This is wrong. He knows this is supposed to be the Clara Barton rest stop. Something just isn't right.

Going inside the rest stop just makes things more confusing. He can smell Cinnabun, but the store is calling itself Cinnaroll. Why did no one else seem to think this was all crazy? Were they just holding it in too? Frantically, but not too frantically, Joe finds a newspaper. The headline doesn't seem to make anything better, but it at least stays with the current delusion he's assuming he's under. "Capt. Thunder saves East Coast from Tsunami Machine." 'Wait a minute. I just read that. But that's a comic book. I must be dreaming. Don't know how, seeing as I was driving. Oh great. I'm probably lying in a ditch somewhere, dying, and this is just the last desperate dream of a brain shutting down. Hard to believe this is the best my sub-conscience could come up with. Lazy brain.'

Joe sits down at a table and waits for awhile. Just sitting, people watching, waiting for oblivion. Not much else to do when your dying. Minutes pass. Then ten minutes. Then twenty. Finally Joe grows bored with waiting. 'Well, as long as I'm in a comic book, might as well go see the city. Gotta be better then the rest stops.'

Leaving the Marie Severin rest stop and heading back to his truck, Joe gets in line for gas. 'You'd have thought you'd get free gas inside your own mind. I need to read more.' After what seems an eternity waiting for gas, Joe gets back on the road, which for ease of reference he will continue to call the New Jersey Turnpike, 'but really, who knows at this point,' and continues on his way to Freedom City. Or is that starts? Good god, this is going to get confusing.

A short while later, Joe follows the exit to route 6 and finds himself near the boardwalk. 'What the hey, seems like a good enough place to stop. I do love the water.'

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Joe hated these trips. Driving to New York by yourself was never fun, and it stank a whole lot more when your iPod has decided to freeze and the traffic is moving just enough to prevent you from doing a reset. New Jersey radio was utterly horrible, and he still couldn't find the local NPR affiliate. Plus all this driving was giving him these weird headaches. No, no quite headaches, it feels more like his equilibrium is jumping around. 'Must be the air.' Joe drives awhile longer, then does a double take. Had that sign said Freedom City? No, he was just tired from the drive and going crazy from lack of decent music.

There it is again. Freedom City. Once was weird, twice was bothersome. 'Well, it's finally happened. I've gone off the deep end. Odd, I always though that would happen while still in Delaware.' Spotting a sign for the Marie Severin, '...', rest stop, Joe pulls off the road and into the parking lot. This is wrong. He knows this is supposed to be the Clara Barton rest stop. Something just isn't right.

Going inside the rest stop just makes things more confusing. He can smell Cinnabun, but the store is calling itself Cinnaroll. Why did no one else seem to think this was all crazy? Were they just holding it in too? Frantically, but not too frantically, Joe finds a newspaper. The headline doesn't seem to make anything better, but it at least stays with the current delusion he's assuming he's under. "Capt. Thunder saves East Coast from Tsunami Machine." 'Wait a minute. I just read that. But that's a comic book. I must be dreaming. Don't know how, seeing as I was driving. Oh great. I'm probably lying in a ditch somewhere, dying, and this is just the last desperate dream of a brain shutting down. Hard to believe this is the best my sub-conscience could come up with. Lazy brain.'

Joe sits down at a table and waits for awhile. Just sitting, people watching, waiting for oblivion. Not much else to do when your dying. Minutes pass. Then ten minutes. Then twenty. Finally Joe grows bored with waiting. 'Well, as long as I'm in a comic book, might as well go see the city. Gotta be better then the rest stops.'

Leaving the Marie Severin rest stop and heading back to his truck, Joe gets in line for gas. 'You'd have thought you'd get free gas inside your own mind. I need to read more.' After what seems an eternity waiting for gas, Joe gets back on the road, which for ease of reference he will continue to call the New Jersey Turnpike, 'but really, who knows at this point,' and continues on his way to Freedom City. Or is that starts? Good god, this is going to get confusing.

A short while later, Joe follows the exit to route 6 and finds himself near the boardwalk. 'What the hey, seems like a good enough place to stop. I do love the water.'

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The weekend after New Year's, before classes were back in full swing, Bailey and Dylan decided to take a road trip to visit one of their online friends, Lila. It was about a two hour drive up to Richmond, and the trip was pretty uneventful. Shortly before lunch the pair had made it into the city, found a place to park, and begun walking the two blocks to the outdoor cafe where Lila was supposed to be waiting for them. The weather was warm for January, and it was a clear day, so the walk wasn't bad at all. But in typical fashion, Dylan complained most of the way.

When they reached the cafe, Lila was waiting for them at one of the tables and had brought Sam with her. The gang greeted one another in the typical fashion. There were many "hellos," a few squeals, and lots of hugs and kisses. Dylan, of course, made an obscene remark in short order, and Bailey swatted her in the head . . . hard. Very soon the girls were all seated around the table, waiting for their coffee, and they began catching up.

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The weekend after New Year's, before classes were back in full swing, Bailey and Dylan decided to take a road trip to visit one of their online friends, Lila. It was about a two hour drive up to Richmond, and the trip was pretty uneventful. Shortly before lunch the pair had made it into the city, found a place to park, and begun walking the two blocks to the outdoor cafe where Lila was supposed to be waiting for them. The weather was warm for January, and it was a clear day, so the walk wasn't bad at all. But in typical fashion, Dylan complained most of the way.

When they reached the cafe, Lila was waiting for them at one of the tables and had brought Sam with her. The gang greeted one another in the typical fashion. There were many "hellos," a few squeals, and lots of hugs and kisses. Dylan, of course, made an obscene remark in short order, and Bailey swatted her in the head . . . hard. Very soon the girls were all seated around the table, waiting for their coffee, and they began catching up.

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The weekend after New Year's, before classes were back in full swing, Bailey and Dylan decided to take a road trip to visit one of their online friends, Lila. It was about a two hour drive up to Richmond, and the trip was pretty uneventful. Shortly before lunch the pair had made it into the city, found a place to park, and begun walking the two blocks to the outdoor cafe where Lila was supposed to be waiting for them. The weather was warm for January, and it was a clear day, so the walk wasn't bad at all. But in typical fashion, Dylan complained most of the way.

When they reached the cafe, Lila was waiting for them at one of the tables and had brought Sam with her. The gang greeted one another in the typical fashion. There were many "hellos," a few squeals, and lots of hugs and kisses. Dylan, of course, made an obscene remark in short order, and Bailey swatted her in the head . . . hard. Very soon the girls were all seated around the table, waiting for their coffee, and they began catching up.

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Deep within the stygian darkness of the alley, a figure stirs. Slowly the form staggers upright, right arm reaching out wall to keep from falling...

Grrroann...Wha tha hell...God my head hurts. Slowly the darkness recedes, bathing the alley in bright sunshine. The form is revealed to be a man dressed in black pants and a black hoodie. Shaking his head, the man takes a few more steps and straightens himself. Hands upon his head, the man pulls back his hood and runs his hand through his shaggy uncombed hair. The car...where is my car?

Dropping to one knee, the figure bends his head over. For a moment, it appears that he is being sick, his head shaking back and forth. Where am I? The snowstorm...where is all of the snow? I...I was driving. That storm...not right. I remember...Thunder...in a snowstorm?!?

Once again, the figure, a man, stands. This time there is a warriness to his posture that wasn't there before. Slowly he turns his head from side to side, glancing up each end of the alley. I am in an alley. No Car. Tall buildings. A Monorail? Damn...I'm not in Kansas anymore Toto.

Walking to the mouth of the alley, He stand there for a moment, watching the street beyond his temporary haven. With a deliberate slowness, he squats into a crouch. Slowly, the darkness began creeping back in again, filling in the corners and cracks like water. OK Tony, this is...different. Where am I and what did I get myself into?

Pulling his hood back up, and thrusting his cold hands into his pockets, Tony stands up and walks from the mouth of the alley, picking a direction at random. As he walks away from the alley, the darkness once again recedes...following a confused figure as he walks down the wide walkway.

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Deep within the stygian darkness of the alley, a figure stirs. Slowly the form staggers upright, right arm reaching out wall to keep from falling...

Grrroann...Wha tha hell...God my head hurts. Slowly the darkness recedes, bathing the alley in bright sunshine. The form is revealed to be a man dressed in black pants and a black hoodie. Shaking his head, the man takes a few more steps and straightens himself. Hands upon his head, the man pulls back his hood and runs his hand through his shaggy uncombed hair. The car...where is my car?

Dropping to one knee, the figure bends his head over. For a moment, it appears that he is being sick, his head shaking back and forth. Where am I? The snowstorm...where is all of the snow? I...I was driving. That storm...not right. I remember...Thunder...in a snowstorm?!?

Once again, the figure, a man, stands. This time there is a warriness to his posture that wasn't there before. Slowly he turns his head from side to side, glancing up each end of the alley. I am in an alley. No Car. Tall buildings. A Monorail? Damn...I'm not in Kansas anymore Toto.

Walking to the mouth of the alley, He stand there for a moment, watching the street beyond his temporary haven. With a deliberate slowness, he squats into a crouch. Slowly, the darkness began creeping back in again, filling in the corners and cracks like water. OK Tony, this is...different. Where am I and what did I get myself into?

Pulling his hood back up, and thrusting his cold hands into his pockets, Tony stands up and walks from the mouth of the alley, picking a direction at random. As he walks away from the alley, the darkness once again recedes...following a confused figure as he walks down the wide walkway.

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Deep within the stygian darkness of the alley, a figure stirs. Slowly the form staggers upright, right arm reaching out wall to keep from falling...

Grrroann...Wha tha hell...God my head hurts. Slowly the darkness recedes, bathing the alley in bright sunshine. The form is revealed to be a man dressed in black pants and a black hoodie. Shaking his head, the man takes a few more steps and straightens himself. Hands upon his head, the man pulls back his hood and runs his hand through his shaggy uncombed hair. The car...where is my car?

Dropping to one knee, the figure bends his head over. For a moment, it appears that he is being sick, his head shaking back and forth. Where am I? The snowstorm...where is all of the snow? I...I was driving. That storm...not right. I remember...Thunder...in a snowstorm?!?

Once again, the figure, a man, stands. This time there is a warriness to his posture that wasn't there before. Slowly he turns his head from side to side, glancing up each end of the alley. I am in an alley. No Car. Tall buildings. A Monorail? Damn...I'm not in Kansas anymore Toto.

Walking to the mouth of the alley, He stand there for a moment, watching the street beyond his temporary haven. With a deliberate slowness, he squats into a crouch. Slowly, the darkness began creeping back in again, filling in the corners and cracks like water. OK Tony, this is...different. Where am I and what did I get myself into?

Pulling his hood back up, and thrusting his cold hands into his pockets, Tony stands up and walks from the mouth of the alley, picking a direction at random. As he walks away from the alley, the darkness once again recedes...following a confused figure as he walks down the wide walkway.

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Very soon the girls were all seated around the table, waiting for their coffee, and they began catching up.

The girls chatted and drank their coffee for about a half hour, before being suddenly interrupted. In a matter of minutes the sky went from clear and bright to dark and foreboding. A cold wind started blowing, and there was a rumbling of thunder off in the distance. Before the friends could get their things gathered to head inside, the winds had reached near hurricane status and the sky was almost completely black.

Chaos had erupted on the street. People were running for cover. The outdoor furniture of the shops was flying freely down the streets, carried along by the wind. The gang ran for the nearest shop with the wind at their back. The gusts were so strong that they sent Lila tumbling head over heals more than once. Finally the group managed to duck into a comic book shop and slam the door behind them. At that moment there was a deafening clap of thunder and all the lights went out. With the door shut and the power off, it was pitch black inside the shop.

Lila felt around for Sam's hand but couldn't find it.

"Where are you guys?"

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Very soon the girls were all seated around the table, waiting for their coffee, and they began catching up.

The girls chatted and drank their coffee for about a half hour, before being suddenly interrupted. In a matter of minutes the sky went from clear and bright to dark and foreboding. A cold wind started blowing, and there was a rumbling of thunder off in the distance. Before the friends could get their things gathered to head inside, the winds had reached near hurricane status and the sky was almost completely black.

Chaos had erupted on the street. People were running for cover. The outdoor furniture of the shops was flying freely down the streets, carried along by the wind. The gang ran for the nearest shop with the wind at their back. The gusts were so strong that they sent Lila tumbling head over heals more than once. Finally the group managed to duck into a comic book shop and slam the door behind them. At that moment there was a deafening clap of thunder and all the lights went out. With the door shut and the power off, it was pitch black inside the shop.

Lila felt around for Sam's hand but couldn't find it.

"Where are you guys?"

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Very soon the girls were all seated around the table, waiting for their coffee, and they began catching up.

The girls chatted and drank their coffee for about a half hour, before being suddenly interrupted. In a matter of minutes the sky went from clear and bright to dark and foreboding. A cold wind started blowing, and there was a rumbling of thunder off in the distance. Before the friends could get their things gathered to head inside, the winds had reached near hurricane status and the sky was almost completely black.

Chaos had erupted on the street. People were running for cover. The outdoor furniture of the shops was flying freely down the streets, carried along by the wind. The gang ran for the nearest shop with the wind at their back. The gusts were so strong that they sent Lila tumbling head over heals more than once. Finally the group managed to duck into a comic book shop and slam the door behind them. At that moment there was a deafening clap of thunder and all the lights went out. With the door shut and the power off, it was pitch black inside the shop.

Lila felt around for Sam's hand but couldn't find it.

"Where are you guys?"

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"Where are you guys?"

"I'm here," Bailey called out. She took a step toward Lila's voice and tripped over a box of $0.25 comics. On her way to the floor, she reached out to grab Dylan's arm, but there was no arm there. She tumbled ungracefully toward the door and crashed into Lila's legs. From her new vantage point on the floor she could see through the part of the glass door that wasn't covered by posters of World War Hulk.

"The storm has stopped!"

And before the words passed her lips . . . the lights came back on.

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"Where are you guys?"

"I'm here," Bailey called out. She took a step toward Lila's voice and tripped over a box of $0.25 comics. On her way to the floor, she reached out to grab Dylan's arm, but there was no arm there. She tumbled ungracefully toward the door and crashed into Lila's legs. From her new vantage point on the floor she could see through the part of the glass door that wasn't covered by posters of World War Hulk.

"The storm has stopped!"

And before the words passed her lips . . . the lights came back on.

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"Where are you guys?"

"I'm here," Bailey called out. She took a step toward Lila's voice and tripped over a box of $0.25 comics. On her way to the floor, she reached out to grab Dylan's arm, but there was no arm there. She tumbled ungracefully toward the door and crashed into Lila's legs. From her new vantage point on the floor she could see through the part of the glass door that wasn't covered by posters of World War Hulk.

"The storm has stopped!"

And before the words passed her lips . . . the lights came back on.

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Walking for three blocks with his head bowed, Tony never noticed the darkening clouds. It was only when the hurricane force winds nearly knocked him flat that he realized that the weather had turned nasty. Gritting his teeth,Tony kneels next to a car and braces himself against the wind.

C'mon man...haven't I been through enough?

While kneeled, Tony feels a wave of thunder wash across him. The rippling vibrations pulse and throw Tony across the sidewalk and up against a storefront, causing him to lose his breath for a moment.

Grunting with effort, both to reclaim his breath and to stand, Tony stands as the skies clear again, the silence after the storm now broken by the cries of various car alarms. Once again, Tony pulls his hood back, Tony runs his hand through his now wet hair, looking back at the store whose glass front stopped him short.

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Walking for three blocks with his head bowed, Tony never noticed the darkening clouds. It was only when the hurricane force winds nearly knocked him flat that he realized that the weather had turned nasty. Gritting his teeth,Tony kneels next to a car and braces himself against the wind.

C'mon man...haven't I been through enough?

While kneeled, Tony feels a wave of thunder wash across him. The rippling vibrations pulse and throw Tony across the sidewalk and up against a storefront, causing him to lose his breath for a moment.

Grunting with effort, both to reclaim his breath and to stand, Tony stands as the skies clear again, the silence after the storm now broken by the cries of various car alarms. Once again, Tony pulls his hood back, Tony runs his hand through his now wet hair, looking back at the store whose glass front stopped him short.

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Walking for three blocks with his head bowed, Tony never noticed the darkening clouds. It was only when the hurricane force winds nearly knocked him flat that he realized that the weather had turned nasty. Gritting his teeth,Tony kneels next to a car and braces himself against the wind.

C'mon man...haven't I been through enough?

While kneeled, Tony feels a wave of thunder wash across him. The rippling vibrations pulse and throw Tony across the sidewalk and up against a storefront, causing him to lose his breath for a moment.

Grunting with effort, both to reclaim his breath and to stand, Tony stands as the skies clear again, the silence after the storm now broken by the cries of various car alarms. Once again, Tony pulls his hood back, Tony runs his hand through his now wet hair, looking back at the store whose glass front stopped him short.

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As the light comes back on in the comic store, Bailey and Lila can see a few big differences in the decor. Gone are the entreaties to "Make Mine Marvel!" and to follow the latest mega-storyline in DC Comics. Instead, there are a lot of unfamiliar faces on the walls.

There's a poster of woman in deep red (and the requisite superheroine cleavage) with the name Red Phantom underneath. Across from her, there's a moldcast sculpture of a man in what appears to be a bee suit, with a card beneath that notes that it was signed by the original Beekeeper. They might be comforted by the fact that there's still a Freedom City section, though it appears to be much larger than usual for a comics store - and apparently has a lot more signatures by the artists, judging from all the comics kept behind locked glass.

Behind the register, a man is heading towards them with all deliberate haste, making sure he doesn't step on any of the comics that were knocked onto the floor. He is wearing a name badge that says "I am JERRY" on it, with the name "Millennium Comics" underneath it.

"Are you ok?" he asks. "Are the comics ok?" He breathes a sigh of relief as he sees that they ran into the $0.25 comics, rather than anything more expensive.

"If you had to fall into something, that's probably the best it could be," he says. A man with shoulder-length hair, a doo rag, and more than a couple rings on his fingers laughs at him.

"Jerry, you'd probably make them pay for it if you could," he says. Jerry glowers at him. "I'm a little better than that, Darren. I'd just make you sign some more of the work to pay it off. Probably should anyway, the way you use this place as your second studio."

The two of them begin to bicker in a way that Bailey and Lila can tell is friendly and familiar, two friends giving one another a hard time. The two girls in the store seem to have been forgotten for the most part.


James glances down at the phone/GPS. He smiles to himself, thanking God that his analog was even more of a tech geek than he is. He'd have no way to know how to get to... well, wherever it is that he's going, without the directions he's getting. As he sits at a traffic light, he takes a closer look at the orange circle surrounding the pushpin that represents his final destination. The text is small, but he can make out "Superheroics in progress - detour recommended."

"Crap," he says. Whatever's going on there, the coordinates are dead center. That doesn't bode well for being able to detour around it. The light finally turns green, and he drives into the orange zone. Overall, it seems ordinary. Either other people aren't paying attention to the warning that he got, or they haven't heard it. He almost goes to turn on the radio, but decides to keep focused on the road. That pays off as a light pole falls just in front of him. He screeches to a stop inches from the pole, and parks his car, turning on the hazard lights. He can feel the wind shakes the car, but he still has to find what he was sent here for. He grabs the phone from its cradle and gets out of the car, fighting against the eighty-miles-per-hour winds. It's hard to move, and he gets knocked down by a particularly strong gust.

Someone else was even worse off, flying into a plate glass window. Thankfully for him, it holds, though there are a few cracks in it. The winds slow down appreciably, and James gets up and runs over to him.

"Are you ok?" he asks him. He sees something in the sky, out of the corner of his eye, and can't help but look up in the sky. A small blue and white dot is flying up into the storm, and all of the lightning is arcing directly towards him. "Captain Thunder..." he whispers to himself, loud in the silence after the storm.

About four feet from them, a figure appears. It's the color of old pavement, clad in a green cloak. He looks at them and says in a deep rumbly voice, "It is still dangerous here. You should head indoors." He turns to where the telephone pole had fallen and lifts it back up, putting it into place. He holds up his hand towards James and the other man, and they turn just in time to see the window's cracks mend themselves. Dr. Metropolis puts his hand to his ear and a voice begins to speak. It's got a Texas twang to it, and is higher-pitched than what James expected, given its identity.

"I've got the lightning bottled up here. How does it look on the ground?"

"Minor property damage, no casualties to report. We are fortunate."

"We're not fortunate yet. Dr. Macleod said that this isn't the only place. Head down by the Fens next."

"Understood. I am already there," Dr. Metropolis says as he melds with the ground, disappearing from sight once again.

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As the light comes back on in the comic store, Bailey and Lila can see a few big differences in the decor. Gone are the entreaties to "Make Mine Marvel!" and to follow the latest mega-storyline in DC Comics. Instead, there are a lot of unfamiliar faces on the walls.

There's a poster of woman in deep red (and the requisite superheroine cleavage) with the name Red Phantom underneath. Across from her, there's a moldcast sculpture of a man in what appears to be a bee suit, with a card beneath that notes that it was signed by the original Beekeeper. They might be comforted by the fact that there's still a Freedom City section, though it appears to be much larger than usual for a comics store - and apparently has a lot more signatures by the artists, judging from all the comics kept behind locked glass.

Behind the register, a man is heading towards them with all deliberate haste, making sure he doesn't step on any of the comics that were knocked onto the floor. He is wearing a name badge that says "I am JERRY" on it, with the name "Millennium Comics" underneath it.

"Are you ok?" he asks. "Are the comics ok?" He breathes a sigh of relief as he sees that they ran into the $0.25 comics, rather than anything more expensive.

"If you had to fall into something, that's probably the best it could be," he says. A man with shoulder-length hair, a doo rag, and more than a couple rings on his fingers laughs at him.

"Jerry, you'd probably make them pay for it if you could," he says. Jerry glowers at him. "I'm a little better than that, Darren. I'd just make you sign some more of the work to pay it off. Probably should anyway, the way you use this place as your second studio."

The two of them begin to bicker in a way that Bailey and Lila can tell is friendly and familiar, two friends giving one another a hard time. The two girls in the store seem to have been forgotten for the most part.


James glances down at the phone/GPS. He smiles to himself, thanking God that his analog was even more of a tech geek than he is. He'd have no way to know how to get to... well, wherever it is that he's going, without the directions he's getting. As he sits at a traffic light, he takes a closer look at the orange circle surrounding the pushpin that represents his final destination. The text is small, but he can make out "Superheroics in progress - detour recommended."

"Crap," he says. Whatever's going on there, the coordinates are dead center. That doesn't bode well for being able to detour around it. The light finally turns green, and he drives into the orange zone. Overall, it seems ordinary. Either other people aren't paying attention to the warning that he got, or they haven't heard it. He almost goes to turn on the radio, but decides to keep focused on the road. That pays off as a light pole falls just in front of him. He screeches to a stop inches from the pole, and parks his car, turning on the hazard lights. He can feel the wind shakes the car, but he still has to find what he was sent here for. He grabs the phone from its cradle and gets out of the car, fighting against the eighty-miles-per-hour winds. It's hard to move, and he gets knocked down by a particularly strong gust.

Someone else was even worse off, flying into a plate glass window. Thankfully for him, it holds, though there are a few cracks in it. The winds slow down appreciably, and James gets up and runs over to him.

"Are you ok?" he asks him. He sees something in the sky, out of the corner of his eye, and can't help but look up in the sky. A small blue and white dot is flying up into the storm, and all of the lightning is arcing directly towards him. "Captain Thunder..." he whispers to himself, loud in the silence after the storm.

About four feet from them, a figure appears. It's the color of old pavement, clad in a green cloak. He looks at them and says in a deep rumbly voice, "It is still dangerous here. You should head indoors." He turns to where the telephone pole had fallen and lifts it back up, putting it into place. He holds up his hand towards James and the other man, and they turn just in time to see the window's cracks mend themselves. Dr. Metropolis puts his hand to his ear and a voice begins to speak. It's got a Texas twang to it, and is higher-pitched than what James expected, given its identity.

"I've got the lightning bottled up here. How does it look on the ground?"

"Minor property damage, no casualties to report. We are fortunate."

"We're not fortunate yet. Dr. Macleod said that this isn't the only place. Head down by the Fens next."

"Understood. I am already there," Dr. Metropolis says as he melds with the ground, disappearing from sight once again.

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As the light comes back on in the comic store, Bailey and Lila can see a few big differences in the decor. Gone are the entreaties to "Make Mine Marvel!" and to follow the latest mega-storyline in DC Comics. Instead, there are a lot of unfamiliar faces on the walls.

There's a poster of woman in deep red (and the requisite superheroine cleavage) with the name Red Phantom underneath. Across from her, there's a moldcast sculpture of a man in what appears to be a bee suit, with a card beneath that notes that it was signed by the original Beekeeper. They might be comforted by the fact that there's still a Freedom City section, though it appears to be much larger than usual for a comics store - and apparently has a lot more signatures by the artists, judging from all the comics kept behind locked glass.

Behind the register, a man is heading towards them with all deliberate haste, making sure he doesn't step on any of the comics that were knocked onto the floor. He is wearing a name badge that says "I am JERRY" on it, with the name "Millennium Comics" underneath it.

"Are you ok?" he asks. "Are the comics ok?" He breathes a sigh of relief as he sees that they ran into the $0.25 comics, rather than anything more expensive.

"If you had to fall into something, that's probably the best it could be," he says. A man with shoulder-length hair, a doo rag, and more than a couple rings on his fingers laughs at him.

"Jerry, you'd probably make them pay for it if you could," he says. Jerry glowers at him. "I'm a little better than that, Darren. I'd just make you sign some more of the work to pay it off. Probably should anyway, the way you use this place as your second studio."

The two of them begin to bicker in a way that Bailey and Lila can tell is friendly and familiar, two friends giving one another a hard time. The two girls in the store seem to have been forgotten for the most part.


James glances down at the phone/GPS. He smiles to himself, thanking God that his analog was even more of a tech geek than he is. He'd have no way to know how to get to... well, wherever it is that he's going, without the directions he's getting. As he sits at a traffic light, he takes a closer look at the orange circle surrounding the pushpin that represents his final destination. The text is small, but he can make out "Superheroics in progress - detour recommended."

"Crap," he says. Whatever's going on there, the coordinates are dead center. That doesn't bode well for being able to detour around it. The light finally turns green, and he drives into the orange zone. Overall, it seems ordinary. Either other people aren't paying attention to the warning that he got, or they haven't heard it. He almost goes to turn on the radio, but decides to keep focused on the road. That pays off as a light pole falls just in front of him. He screeches to a stop inches from the pole, and parks his car, turning on the hazard lights. He can feel the wind shakes the car, but he still has to find what he was sent here for. He grabs the phone from its cradle and gets out of the car, fighting against the eighty-miles-per-hour winds. It's hard to move, and he gets knocked down by a particularly strong gust.

Someone else was even worse off, flying into a plate glass window. Thankfully for him, it holds, though there are a few cracks in it. The winds slow down appreciably, and James gets up and runs over to him.

"Are you ok?" he asks him. He sees something in the sky, out of the corner of his eye, and can't help but look up in the sky. A small blue and white dot is flying up into the storm, and all of the lightning is arcing directly towards him. "Captain Thunder..." he whispers to himself, loud in the silence after the storm.

About four feet from them, a figure appears. It's the color of old pavement, clad in a green cloak. He looks at them and says in a deep rumbly voice, "It is still dangerous here. You should head indoors." He turns to where the telephone pole had fallen and lifts it back up, putting it into place. He holds up his hand towards James and the other man, and they turn just in time to see the window's cracks mend themselves. Dr. Metropolis puts his hand to his ear and a voice begins to speak. It's got a Texas twang to it, and is higher-pitched than what James expected, given its identity.

"I've got the lightning bottled up here. How does it look on the ground?"

"Minor property damage, no casualties to report. We are fortunate."

"We're not fortunate yet. Dr. Macleod said that this isn't the only place. Head down by the Fens next."

"Understood. I am already there," Dr. Metropolis says as he melds with the ground, disappearing from sight once again.

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The surrealness of the situation was not lost on Tony. For the last thirty minutes he had been walking in a living nightmare. Lost and confused, he had jus picked a direction and started heading that way. Better to actually do something than wallow in self doubt.

However, there was only just so much a person can take before he just looks at the sky and scream. And that is exactly what Tony does...a long and inarticulate scream vented at the top of his lungs aimed skyward.

As his voice winds down, Tony notices a man running towards him.

"Are you ok?"
asks the man. Tony just stares at him for a moment, unsure how to answer, when he hears him mutter,
"Captain Thunder..."
and glances up, to where the stranger is looking...in time to see a blue speck move by at high speed...a human shaped speck.

"No...can't be...Tony whispers himself, a sudden realization dawning up him. Before he can say another word, Tony witnesses something so startling that his eyes nearly pop from his head. Flowing up from the sidewalk, a being of concrete and glass forms. Dr. Metropolis has arrived in his peculiar and signature way. The stranger had his back to the arrival...but he turned at teh sound of the gravelly voice,

"It is still dangerous here. You should head indoors."
.

Both watch as Dr. Metropolis repairs the damages...picking up the streetlight and placing it back upright...the cracks in the glass mending themselves. Mumbling to himslef, getting louder with each syllable, "Freedom City....I am in Freedom City."

Turning towards the young stranger Tony looks him in the eye, "I am In Freedom City?"Shaking his head, Tony thrusts a hand out to the young man, "My Name is Tony....Tony Peters. And I beleive that I am very...very lost."

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