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Barnum

Trick-or-Treat!

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Summer passed, and Fall quickly descended on Freedom City, bringing with it cool rains and even cooler breezes. As October grew old and November approached, the city made ready for its annual Halloween festival, The Haunted Block Party. For 12 years running the inhabitants of the theater district turned the two city blocks of Broadway between 64th St. and the Beaudrie Opera House into a "fair, games, and scares" trick-or-treat extravaganza. Between the hours of 6 and 8 PM, Broadway. would be packed with hundreds of children of all ages and their families milling about, playing games, showing off their costumes, eating candy, and trick-or-treating for goodies at all of the shops, booths, and venders on the street. Every year Mr. Dirksen turned the bottom floor of his warehouse at the corner of 60th St. into a rather formidable haunted house. Rumor was that this year, he had outdone himself. Admission was always free, and there was never a shortage of Freedom League costumes at the festival. Occasionally, a real Leaguer even made an appearance.

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Mark walked through the crowds of the Halloween gathering, his parents following close behind. He usually thought Halloween was dumb; just an excuse for companies to sell tacky merchandise and for kids to go begging for candy that they'd eat too much of anyway. This year was different though, he needed to just interact with normal people without saving their lives or foiling their crimes. It was nice to hear people enjoying themselves, and he briefly considered tinkering with the climate just a little to turn it into the perfect cool, crisp Autumn evening. Changing his mind, he diverted his attention to one of the stalls. He'd not had a candy apple in years, and he was suddenly hit with a craving for one.

"Mom, gonna get a candy apple. You or dad want one?"

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Megan made her way though the "Haunted Block Party" in the Theater District, holding hands with her current boyfriend, Cory Wells. The blonde teen was smiling as she enjoyed the festive atmosphere. She and Cory had another party to attend later at the house of one of their friends back in North Bay, and for that they would change into costumes for that one. Megan would have worn her costume to this, but seeing as there were lots of kids present, it was probably not quite appropriate. Instead she was simply dressed in a tight pair of high end designer jeans, with a blue cashmere sweater and a light jacket, due to the crisp Autumn air.
 

"So we going to head to the haunted house first?" She asked Cory with a slight smile.

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"I know, I know, it sucks." Richard O'Connor carefully balanced his cell phone against one ear, listening to the complaints of his unhappy girlfriend. Rose had lost the draw of straws at work, and been stuck working the evening shift in the clean room at Lonely Point. "I promise to save you candy, and take lots of pictures. We'll find a cool late night party once all the kids are asleep tonight, and do our own tricking and treating." When he'd finished the conversation and soothed his unhappy girlfriend, Richard very carefully tucked the cellphone away and looked down at Freedom City, some thousand feet beneath his feet. The Freedom Eagle was in the sky tonight.

"Okay, just do what Grandpa would do. Smile and wave at the kids, throw some candy, punch any Nazis you see, and shake hands with anyone wearing a Freedom Eagle costume. Yeah, that'll work..." He circled a few more times, riding the plentiful updrafts from the city below, before he swooped down, lower and lower, over the Haunted Block Party that he and Rose had planned to attend before her work had cropped up. Richard O'Connor was spending the evening at home tonight.

But the Freedom Eagle was on patrol. He waved to the crowd below as he reached rooftop level, a geninue superhero out for the evening's festivities. Now, if he could just figure out a way to throw the candy without clocking any little kids...

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Raindance

Susan Cooper watched her son walking ahead of her. She was beaming with pride, and it was talking all of her self-control to not effuse over him. "He's still my handsome little boy! He's so smart! Any of these girls would be lucky to get him!" But she knew it would mortify both son and father, so she kept it to herself. John Cooper walk along silently, watching nothing in particular. It was nice to be with his family, but this "festival" wasn't exactly his idea of a good time.

 

Quote
"Mom, gonna get a candy apple. You or dad want one?"

"No thank you, dear," Mrs. Cooper said. "I'm watching my calories." Unconsciously, Mrs. Cooper tugged at the just-a-little-too-snug of her waistband. "But you go ahead and get you something." Mrs. Cooper began fishing around in her purse to get some money for her "little boy."

***

 

Velocity

Quote
"So we going t o head to the haunted house first?"

"Haunted house? Are you sure you won't get scared?" Cory's voice dripped with sarcasm. He didn't really think she'd be too scared, but he liked pushing her buttons a little. "Sure. We can do the haunted house first. But don't worry; if you do get scared, I'll hold your hand." He laughed at his own perceived cleverness. Megan was one of the most competent people he'd ever met. That made him more than a bit insecure, so he did what so many insecure young men did in his position. He bragged a little too much, and he teased a little too much.

 

The haunted house was about four blocks east from where they were, so Cory put his arm around "his girl" and headed them off in that direction.

***

Freedom Eagle

"Look, mommy!" Little Susie Smith stuck her finger up at the dark sky. Her mother was accustomed to not paying very close attention to Susie's outbursts. As was typical for a child of only six, the outbursts far were too numerous for that. "Look! Look! Look!" Little Susie jerked against her mothers arm, but her mother kept her death grip on her child's hand.

 

"What is it--" But before Ms. Smith could finish she caught a glimpse of the motion up in the sky. "Look at that!" she exclaimed, far louder than she intended. The crowd that was pressed around her, enjoying the festival, all looked up with her just in time to see Freedom Eagle land on the roof of a nearby building.

 

"Look, mommy! He's waving at me!" Little Susie was beside herself with glee.

 

The rest of the crowd waved and cheered. The denizens of Freedom City were, of course, very familiar with their native heroes, but they rarely saw them up close and in person . . . and usually when the citizens of Freedom City did catch sight of a hero . . . it was time to run for their lives; a deadly and evil villain usually wasn't far behind.

Surely that wouldn't happen tonight.

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Barnum said:
"Sure. We can do the haunted house first. But don't worry; if you do get scared, I'll hold your hand."

"Maybe I'll have to end up holding yours." Megan replied to Cory's teasing as she gave him a little elbow. Cory was like many of the guys Megan dated, from a well off family, good looking and athletic, which made his somewhat cocky and self assured. While those were traits that appealed to the blonde girl, save perhaps for too much cockiness, her own forceful personality and confidence often caused tension. Thankfully, Cory's response to any feelings of insecurity was relatively minor, and she was able to play along with it.

 

As he put his arm around her shoulders, Megan put her arm around his lower back as she let him pull her closer to him and they made their way through the crowds.

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Freedom Eagle

"Look, mommy!" Little Susie Smith stuck her finger up at the dark sky. Her mother was accustomed to not paying very close attention to Susie's outbursts. As was typical for a child of only six, the outbursts far were too numerous for that. "Look! Look! Look!" Little Susie jerked against her mothers arm, but her mother kept her death grip on her child's hand.

"What is it--" But before Ms. Smith could finish she caught a glimpse of the motion up in the sky. "Look at that!" she exclaimed, far louder than she intended. The crowd that was pressed around her, enjoying the festival, all looked up with her just in time to see Freedom Eagle land on the roof of a nearby building.

"Look, mommy! He's waving at me!" Little Susie was beside herself with glee.

The rest of the crowd waved and cheered. The denizens of Freedom City were, of course, very familiar with their native heroes, but they rarely saw them up close and in person . . . and usually when the citizens of Freedom City did catch sight of a hero . . . it was time to run for their lives; a deadly and evil villain usually wasn't far behind.

Surely that wouldn't happen tonight.

Feeling about ten feet tall at the admiration of the crowd, Freedom Eagle neatly leapt off the rooftop and began a "strafing" run, throwing carefully wrapped bags of candy down to the crowd below. "Happy Halloween, everybody!" comes his voice from high above as he soars above the streets, bringing candy to everyone who's keeping an eye out. It's a wonderful moment for him, reminiscent of his grandfather's stories about V-J Day and the glories of the Golden Age. It takes a palpable effort to remind himself that being a superhero isn't all fun and games. This isn't his first time out; he's run into some bad men in this job. All that aside, it is pretty fun.

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Raindance

"No thank you, dear," Mrs. Cooper said. "I'm watching my calories." Unconsciously, Mrs. Cooper tugged at the just-a-little-too-snug of her waistband. "But you go ahead and get you something." Mrs. Cooper began fishing around in her purse to get some money for her "little boy."

Mark was about to open his mouth and protest, to say It's all right, I've got it, but he changed his mind. Money was tight, and a part time job at the grocery store had been all he'd been able to fit in. The pay was bad, so if his mom was offering he wasn't going to refuse. He heard the cries of the crowd and looked up at the source of their attention.

"Wow, Freedom Eagle," he said mostly to himself. He kept his eyes on the hero just long enough for the flying man to inadvertently strike him with a piece of hard candy.

He quickly turned his head back, resolved on fetching that candy apple. Again, he muttered to himself. "Ow. Jerk."

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As they made their way along the crowded streets, Megan caught sight of Freedom Eagle as he swooped over the crowds and came down. Stopping her and Cory, she pointed over in that direction. "Look, it's the Freedom Eagle." She said.

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Freedom Eagle circles the streets a few times, waving to the crowd and enjoying the moment. Despite Richard's real joy in the pleasure of being a superhero, he's keeping an eye out for lost kids, muggers, or anything else unsavory going on in the streets below. The name and the colors meant more than just distributing free candy; they stood for truth, justice, and flying!

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Raindance

"Meh," Mrs. Cooper snorted, "Freedom Eagle is not that great." She continued looking at her handsome son, her eyes full of pride. To the mother's biased gaze, no one was as great as her son. "Besides, being a hero is dangerous . . . and foolish! If he had more sense, that bird brain would be careful and not risk his neck by showing off for the crowds. I'm sure--"

Mr. Cooper sensed that his wife was about to go into "full sermon mode" and no one wanted that. "Yes, dear," he said firmly, forcing her to stop talking momentarily. He took the money from her hand and passed it along to his son. "I'm sure he's being careful. Now let's go see what these venders are selling." He took is wife by the arm and walked her across the street to a set of booths set up to sell designer candy.

***

Velocity

The crowd stood transfixed for several minutes by the sight of the flying hero before the impressiveness of the scene began to wane. Slowly, everyone went back to their Halloween festivities, only occasionally glancing up to see if the hero was still there. Cory tried not to look too impressed when his girl pointed out the hero . . . but he was, so much so, in fact, the he didn't move from his spot the whole time Freedom Eagle was visible in the air. "Yeah, Freedom Eagle, he's pretty cool," was all he said, but his attempt to feign nonchalance was an abysmal failure. Most every guy had a little boy inside of them that wanted to jump up and down, yelling and screaming when they saw a real live superhero. Cory was having a hard time containing his, even though he wanted to keep his "cool persona" intact for Megan. If he only knew . . .

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Raindance

"Meh," Mrs. Cooper snorted, "Freedom Eagle is not that great." She continued looking at her handsome son, her eyes full of pride. To the mother's biased gaze, no one was as great as her son. "Besides, being a hero is dangerous . . . and foolish! If he had more sense, that bird brain would be careful and not risk his neck by showing off for the crowds. I'm sure--"

Mr. Cooper sensed that his wife was about to go into "full sermon mode" and no one wanted that. "Yes, dear," he said firmly, forcing her to stop talking momentarily. He took the money from her hand and passed it along to his son. "I'm sure he's being careful. Now let's go see what these venders are selling." He took is wife by the arm and walked her across the street to a set of booths set up to sell designer candy.

***

Velocity

The crowd stood transfixed for several minutes by the sight of the flying hero before the impressiveness of the scene began to wane. Slowly, everyone went back to their Halloween festivities, only occasionally glancing up to see if the hero was still there. Cory tried not to look too impressed when his girl pointed out the hero . . . but he was, so much so, in fact, the he didn't move from his spot the whole time Freedom Eagle was visible in the air. "Yeah, Freedom Eagle, he's pretty cool," was all he said, but his attempt to feign nonchalance was an abysmal failure. Most every guy had a little boy inside of them that wanted to jump up and down, yelling and screaming when they saw a real live superhero. Cory was having a hard time containing his, even though he wanted to keep his "cool persona" intact for Megan. If he only knew . . .

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Raindance

"Meh," Mrs. Cooper snorted, "Freedom Eagle is not that great." She continued looking at her handsome son, her eyes full of pride. To the mother's biased gaze, no one was as great as her son. "Besides, being a hero is dangerous . . . and foolish! If he had more sense, that bird brain would be careful and not risk his neck by showing off for the crowds. I'm sure--"

Mr. Cooper sensed that his wife was about to go into "full sermon mode" and no one wanted that. "Yes, dear," he said firmly, forcing her to stop talking momentarily. He took the money from her hand and passed it along to his son. "I'm sure he's being careful. Now let's go see what these venders are selling." He took is wife by the arm and walked her across the street to a set of booths set up to sell designer candy.

***

Velocity

The crowd stood transfixed for several minutes by the sight of the flying hero before the impressiveness of the scene began to wane. Slowly, everyone went back to their Halloween festivities, only occasionally glancing up to see if the hero was still there. Cory tried not to look too impressed when his girl pointed out the hero . . . but he was, so much so, in fact, the he didn't move from his spot the whole time Freedom Eagle was visible in the air. "Yeah, Freedom Eagle, he's pretty cool," was all he said, but his attempt to feign nonchalance was an abysmal failure. Most every guy had a little boy inside of them that wanted to jump up and down, yelling and screaming when they saw a real live superhero. Cory was having a hard time containing his, even though he wanted to keep his "cool persona" intact for Megan. If he only knew . . .

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Jackson (or Jax to his friends) looked skyward as the winged hero looped around and aerobatically impressed the crowd.

He had been dragged to the Block Party by his room-mate Chad. Well dragged wasn't quite right. Once Jax had found out one Candace Marie was going to be there as well he begrudgingly accepted playing 'wingman' to his somewhat obnoxious friend.

"Man that guy would have to be what? At least Eighty by now?" Jax said mentally doing the math in his head. "Its amazing how these guys never age." I wonder if I will age? he added privately. So many questions were unanswered about his heritage, his abilities. One thing was for sure he still felt human when he looked at Candace Marie...All to human!

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Jackson (or Jax to his friends) looked skyward as the winged hero looped around and aerobatically impressed the crowd.

He had been dragged to the Block Party by his room-mate Chad. Well dragged wasn't quite right. Once Jax had found out one Candace Marie was going to be there as well he begrudgingly accepted playing 'wingman' to his somewhat obnoxious friend.

"Man that guy would have to be what? At least Eighty by now?" Jax said mentally doing the math in his head. "Its amazing how these guys never age." I wonder if I will age? he added privately. So many questions were unanswered about his heritage, his abilities. One thing was for sure he still felt human when he looked at Candace Marie...All to human!

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Jackson (or Jax to his friends) looked skyward as the winged hero looped around and aerobatically impressed the crowd.

He had been dragged to the Block Party by his room-mate Chad. Well dragged wasn't quite right. Once Jax had found out one Candace Marie was going to be there as well he begrudgingly accepted playing 'wingman' to his somewhat obnoxious friend.

"Man that guy would have to be what? At least Eighty by now?" Jax said mentally doing the math in his head. "Its amazing how these guys never age." I wonder if I will age? he added privately. So many questions were unanswered about his heritage, his abilities. One thing was for sure he still felt human when he looked at Candace Marie...All to human!

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Megan just smiled slightly at Cory’s response and attempts to play it cool. She considered teasing him a bit about the fact they were rooted in place, but decided against it for the moment. Soon the hero was out of the air and down onto the ground.

“I wonder if any other heroes will be here?†She said, deciding to shift the subject some and possibly get them back on their way.

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Megan just smiled slightly at Cory’s response and attempts to play it cool. She considered teasing him a bit about the fact they were rooted in place, but decided against it for the moment. Soon the hero was out of the air and down onto the ground.

“I wonder if any other heroes will be here?†She said, deciding to shift the subject some and possibly get them back on their way.

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Megan just smiled slightly at Cory’s response and attempts to play it cool. She considered teasing him a bit about the fact they were rooted in place, but decided against it for the moment. Soon the hero was out of the air and down onto the ground.

“I wonder if any other heroes will be here?†She said, deciding to shift the subject some and possibly get them back on their way.

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Mark unwrapped the brightly coloured apple from its cellophane and took a large bite.

Oh yeah, he thought to himself. This is why I haven't had a candy apple in years. He pondered Freedom Eagle's appearance. Some sort of sponsorship thing, maybe? Or he could be watching for trouble; worse, he might already know that trouble is going to start and has arrived early. There was a tightening in his gut that had nothing to do with the mound of sugar that had just hit it. He was excited at the prospect of letting his powers out, but his damn parents were here. He just hoped that if something happened, they'd know enough to run for home or seek some good cover.

Munching on his apple - he didn't want to be seen throwing away something that his dad had spent good money on - he looked around for somewhere he could put his costume on if he had to. How do other heroes with a secret identity cope with this sort of thing? We can't all do a Superman-spin in a phone booth.

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Mark unwrapped the brightly coloured apple from its cellophane and took a large bite.

Oh yeah, he thought to himself. This is why I haven't had a candy apple in years. He pondered Freedom Eagle's appearance. Some sort of sponsorship thing, maybe? Or he could be watching for trouble; worse, he might already know that trouble is going to start and has arrived early. There was a tightening in his gut that had nothing to do with the mound of sugar that had just hit it. He was excited at the prospect of letting his powers out, but his damn parents were here. He just hoped that if something happened, they'd know enough to run for home or seek some good cover.

Munching on his apple - he didn't want to be seen throwing away something that his dad had spent good money on - he looked around for somewhere he could put his costume on if he had to. How do other heroes with a secret identity cope with this sort of thing? We can't all do a Superman-spin in a phone booth.

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Mark unwrapped the brightly coloured apple from its cellophane and took a large bite.

Oh yeah, he thought to himself. This is why I haven't had a candy apple in years. He pondered Freedom Eagle's appearance. Some sort of sponsorship thing, maybe? Or he could be watching for trouble; worse, he might already know that trouble is going to start and has arrived early. There was a tightening in his gut that had nothing to do with the mound of sugar that had just hit it. He was excited at the prospect of letting his powers out, but his damn parents were here. He just hoped that if something happened, they'd know enough to run for home or seek some good cover.

Munching on his apple - he didn't want to be seen throwing away something that his dad had spent good money on - he looked around for somewhere he could put his costume on if he had to. How do other heroes with a secret identity cope with this sort of thing? We can't all do a Superman-spin in a phone booth.

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Megan and Cory made their way down the street toward the Haunted House. From where they stood on Broadway, they could see the line of people forming outside the warehouse, just across 60th St. As they prepared to cross the street and get in line . . .

WOOOOOOOOSH!

From the end of the block, near 61st St., a blinding red light flashed into the dark sky, illuminating the entire block. As quickly as it appeared, the light vanished, and in its place . . . A GIANT MONSTER! The creature was several stories tall and looked to be wrapped in dense white strips of material. It was, by all appearances, a giant mummy.

The creature began lumbering forward, down the street toward the citizens of Freedom City. The reaction to the appearance of the creature was mixed. Some people screamed. Some stood transfixed. Some applauded and cheered, believing it to be some sort of Halloween "amusement."

But the creature didn't look all that amused.

block1a.jpg

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Megan and Cory made their way down the street toward the Haunted House. From where they stood on Broadway, they could see the line of people forming outside the warehouse, just across 60th St. As they prepared to cross the street and get in line . . .

WOOOOOOOOSH!

From the end of the block, near 61st St., a blinding red light flashed into the dark sky, illuminating the entire block. As quickly as it appeared, the light vanished, and in its place . . . A GIANT MONSTER! The creature was several stories tall and looked to be wrapped in dense white strips of material. It was, by all appearances, a giant mummy.

The creature began lumbering forward, down the street toward the citizens of Freedom City. The reaction to the appearance of the creature was mixed. Some people screamed. Some stood transfixed. Some applauded and cheered, believing it to be some sort of Halloween "amusement."

But the creature didn't look all that amused.

block1a.jpg

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Megan and Cory made their way down the street toward the Haunted House. From where they stood on Broadway, they could see the line of people forming outside the warehouse, just across 60th St. As they prepared to cross the street and get in line . . .

WOOOOOOOOSH!

From the end of the block, near 61st St., a blinding red light flashed into the dark sky, illuminating the entire block. As quickly as it appeared, the light vanished, and in its place . . . A GIANT MONSTER! The creature was several stories tall and looked to be wrapped in dense white strips of material. It was, by all appearances, a giant mummy.

The creature began lumbering forward, down the street toward the citizens of Freedom City. The reaction to the appearance of the creature was mixed. Some people screamed. Some stood transfixed. Some applauded and cheered, believing it to be some sort of Halloween "amusement."

But the creature didn't look all that amused.

block1a.jpg

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