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Geez3r

Something Old and Something New (IC)

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April 16th, 2011. Sometime after midnight.

Eli stepped out of the portal, landing back into Freedom City in the year 2011, exactly as he left it. Well not quite as he left it, it was much further on in the day. The important bit was that he was back where he belonged. Maybe if he kept telling himself that, he'd believe it.

Catching himself in the reflection of a store front window, he realized he now had a new issue to deal with: he looked radically different now than he did this morning, in this time line at least. His family would be the easiest to convince as they hadn't seen him face to face in months, the Interceptors would probably need to get used to it, but would adapt quickly as they were used to certain oddities. No what was bothering him was how to convince his class mates that he was still Eli, even though he looked dramatically different.

But right now, the highest priority was glomping the Interceptors. Making his way over the Brownstone, which was a mixed bag now that he didn't leave traces of lightning everywhere, but he was also so much slower, Eli found himself standing before the front door he hadn't opened in three years, and also the same one he left when he got up this morning. He messed with his hair to look a little more presentable, and fumbled with the keys (which Mercury had thankfully reminded him to take) he opened the door cautiously "Hello? Is anyone home?" he called out tentatively, trying desperately to stop his voice from cracking.

Dynamo's new description so you don't have to go looking for it.

Dynamo's time in the future has changed his physique rather radically. He put on nearly 20 pounds of muscle his time there. He now looks like a well honed martial artist. He's still wiry, but people aren't too surprised if they see him lift a rather heavy weight. He wears his gray blond hair streaked back, and shorn close on his sides. He has a gray streak running through the sides on his head. He has rather strong, angular features and relatively high cheek bones. His bright blue eyes have dulled somewhat, now having a resemblance to the ocean. To anyone that knows him however, the biggest change is to his posture. He used to be very animated, with lots of exaggerated motions, or even quick hints of motions. Now he seems slower and methodical, as if he was contemplating every action.

And if you're really observant, you'll notice he's got a plain silver ring on his right ring finger.

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At his words, Fulcrum looked up from her seat at the kitchen table. A cup of lukewarm coffee sat next to her, and fatigue lined her face. For a moment the voice didn't register, but finally she quirked an eyebrow and called out, "Eli, that you? I'm in the kitchen."

Dynamo's first sight of her suggested she'd had a bad day. Her costume was caked with brine and slashed in two wide bands across her back. The smell of seawater added to the waterborne theme. A small, gold pendant on a chain rested on the table next to her cup.

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Eli tried to say something back to Fulcrum, but found his voice to be caught in his throat. He merely nodded in acknowledgement, forgetting Fulcrum couldn't see him. He closed the door softly behind him with a click. Depositing his keys back into his pocket, Eli made his way over to kitchen, suddenly feeling as if his shoes were made of lead, as his heart pounded in his ears.

Rounding the corner, Eli let out a long sigh of relief "I'm back." When he saw Fulcrum however, he realized that many of the others may have gotten caught up in the time disturbance. "Time portals got you too, huh?" he quickly surmised. He was about to ask where she got shunted off to, but he couldn't hold it back any longer. He stepped in unceremoniously and gave her a hug "Its good to see you again."

I'm really back. Truly back. thought Eli, both elated and sad.

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"Not all of us." Colt replied as he came through the door, fumbling with some rags in his hands. He quickly brushed past Eli on his way to hand them to Fulcrum so should begin cleaning up. "Ya git sucked through one'a them life changin' innerdimensional portals'n, when yer 'bout't go'n git married, ya'unsurprisingly learn't avoid the thin..." Colt halted, his arm outstretched, toward Fulcrum and looked up at Eli over his shoulder.

The eagle eyes of the gunman missed no small details. And certainly not the big ones. Though in his passive, cryptic way, he wasn't prone to come right out and say anything, "That'a new ring'ya got'there, Eli?" He asked after a knowing look into Eli's eyes. He was different, but Colt would be damned if he'd be the one to say it. Like any poker player, he liked holding his cards until he was ready to use them.

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Eli's ears perked up as he heard Colt coming up the stairs. He stood up a little more properly to get a good look at Colt, which cooincidentally gave Colt a better look at him.

He smirked as Colt danced around the 800 pound gorilla in the room (pun not intended), before going in for another hug. It was going to be hugs all around today. "You don't miss much do ya there Colt?" said Eli as he pulled back from Colt to get another good look at him. "Yeah, its a new one alright. Going to be wearing it for a while." he replied as he absent mindedly spun it on his finger. "And good to know one of us has the sense to stay out of rifts in space time."

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A soft thump above them signaled light footsteps on the roof over their heads, followed by a window sliding shut as Jack of all Blades returned from his patrol. That his teammates in the kitchen heard him arrive at all suggested he was moving hastily, and indeed it was only moments before he was jogging down the stairs "So, the good news is I didn't get sent to another Lord of the Rings knockoff," Erik called ahead of him, rounding the corner with his bandanna mask in hand, having left his greatcoat and black wig upstairs. "The bad news- oh. So, not just me then?" he finished, nonplussed as he got a look at Eli and Mona.

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Fulcrum tensed suddenly as the strange hero addressed and, moreover, hugged her. Couldn't be Eli could it? Almost immediately though she realized this was indeed him and gave Sparky a big ol' hug back. "Yup. Good to see you too, Eli. You okay?" she asked with obvious concern in her voice.

For all the problems she had with her time portal experience, she could imagine that others may have had much worse. After all a permanent vacation on an enchanted island came to quick and abrupt end thanks to outside forces. Considering his earnest response, sounded as if Dynamo had a much worse time of it. Not to mention he looked, well, buff. Hunky buff!

She started to ask him about his experiences when Colt entered. Taking the rags, she sat on them, "Thanks, Colt. I mopped up most of it already and the costume is totaled." While Eli moved on to Colt for hugs, she chuckled, "You always had a good head on your shoulders, Billy."

By the time Erik arrived, Mona sipped her coffee and nodded to him, "Three out of four, Erik. The luck of the cowboy held out another day. What's the bad news?"

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Fulcrum tensed suddenly as the strange hero addressed and, moreover, hugged her. Couldn't be Eli could it? Almost immediately though she realized this was indeed him and gave Sparky a big ol' hug back. "Yup. Good to see you too, Eli. You okay?" she asked with obvious concern in her voice.

"That which does not kill you makes you stronger right?" replied Eli, avoiding directly answering the question with a weak smile and a half shrug. In truth, he didn't know if he had an answer to the question. Things were different, but better or worse, he couldn't tell. Things were happening too fast. Not more than 10 minutes ago, he was saying goodbye to friends and family, he could still feel their warmth on his hands when they shook his. And now, he was with his other family, saying hello again.

Speaking of family, Eli rather unceremoniously pulled Erik into a hug as soon as he stepped into the room. "Nope, not just you." replied Dynamo, echoing Fulcrum's words. "It's good to see you again Erik." said Eli keeping up the weirdness by calling Jack by his proper name. "I was going to make some tea, want any?" he asked Erik and the others as he pulled back from the impromptu hug, and put some water on the stove at a thoroughly mundane speed. He wanted to put off explaining things until everyone was in the room. Firstly because he just wanted to stall and secondly, he wanted to make sure everyone made it back okay.

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The large monitor set in the wall flickered on, showing a very high tech lab in a very dire situation. Smoke covered the left half, alarms were sounding, and Germanic cursing and the sounds of a fire extinguisher could be heard from off-camera.

Stupid fire! Stay out!

"Interceptors!," Archeville shouted as he slowly backed into the camera's view. He discharged the last of the extinguisher to something near his feet before turning to the group. His face and hands were smudged with soot, as were the blue silk pajamas he was wearing. "Are you all okay?," he coughed out, "What is going on out there?"

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A strange thing happened shortly after Jack entered the room. After Eli's hug, he found himself standing right next to Colt. It was a position the two had been in many times before, including when they were both brought onto the team in the first place. Colt and Jack exchanged looks. Colt knew something was up, and he was more than sure Jack did as well.

Colt's suspicions were interrupted by the fire in Dr. Archeville's lab. "Reckon we're fine here, Doc. Couple little worse fer wear on'a count'a them portals'n'all. But we're arright. Colt moved to stand before the video screen so he could see more of the damage around the Doctor. "Recon't looks like you't we'd aught'a be worryin' 'bout. Your lab ok? Y'all need some backup? Reckon Mona could us'a rest, but I'm lock stock." Colt patted the pistol hanging by his side, indicating he was ready to respond should Dr. Archeville need assistance.

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"No, no, things are getting under control here," he coughed out. "The surge took out several primary systems, but the secondaries and tertiaries are kicking in, and-"

Waaaitasecond...

He dropped the emptied fire extinguisher, "portals?" He turned to whatever smoking things were off camera, then back to the monitor, "what portals? What has- wait..." He looked down, and his jaw dropped, "that time, that date... it- I had just gone to bed, and..." His voice trailed off as he looked off camera again. "What happened here?" he muttered, barely audible to the team.

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A sleepy-looking Grimalkin padded into the kitchen, wearing a pair of white socks and an oversized T-shirt depicting Princess Jasmine from Disney's Aladdin. Rubbing sleep from her eyes and sporting some truly impressive bed hair, she blearily spoke.

"Colt honey, I thought you were gonna come right back to bed..."

Noticing pretty much the whole team present, including a firefighting Dok A live via satellite, she stopped dead in her tracks, suddenly very much awake.

"Oh, uh, hi guys; what's up?"

Then she got a good look at Eli, who pretty much smelled the same but was otherwise almost unrecognizable, and her eyebrows shot up.

"Whoa! What the f@#% happened to you, dude!"

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If Grim was confused before, getting glomped by Eli probably didn't help matters. "Heya Grim, great to see you again." he said as he accidentally pulled the petite pixie off the ground slightly. Setting Grim back down, Eli took a position towards the back of the kitchen so he could address everyone easier. "Well to bring you up to speed, there have been several massive temporal anomalies throughout the day. Namely, this has presented itself in the form of portals which seemed to either bring objects, people or other entities from their own time period to modern Freedom City, or to send those items into some other random time period." reported Eli, finally saying the speech he had practiced more than a few times.

"In addition to that, one of the more popular conjectures is that these portals did not send travelers to alternate time lines, but rather different points in our own continuous time line. Due to a lack of detailed and confirmed stories from those affected and the fact that history naturally muddles details, said conjecture will remain a conjecture. Furthermore, those that were sent through the portals were sent back to their own time; those of us that have been removed from this time period returned here, within the past half hour?" he asked the assembled group to see if there was an outlier from his guess.

"Although we have yet to check stories, myself, Erik and Mona all experienced this temporal shift first hand. The time spent on "the other side" as it were also seems to be highly variable. Again, without checking our stories I would surmmise that Erik and Mona spent a relatively short amount of time in the other time period. You have likely deduced that it was not the case for my own travel, and you would be correct. From my perspective, it has been over 3 years since I had breakfast here this morning." finished Eli quietly as he dropped the bomb.

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"Colt honey, I thought you were gonna come right back to bed..."

"Well to bring you up to speed ... it has been over 3 years since I had breakfast here this morning."

"In short," Colt looked sideways as Grim entered the room. He was all business, as was his wont in times of crisis. "Somethin's come up, Dearrrrr...years?!" That was until the magnitude of what Eli had said finally set in. He rounded on the team's speedster, "Reckon I could see somethin' wus'off, but I didn't guess't was mor'n aesthetic! Years? I..." Colt was getting ahead of himself. He calmed down and ended with, "Blast't, Eli, what'cha gon'n done now?" He wasn't demanding, just sympathetic. Clearly there was something very strange going on with these portals, and the sooner they had the full story, the better.

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"I'm okay. We're okay. Just been a long day," answered Fulcrum to Billy more than Viktor. Glancing again to Eli, she said, "Yeah, I'll take some tea please."

Giving Viktor the cold shoulder was wrong. She knew that. She also knew she should hear his side of the story before passing judgment. After what she, and apparently others, had gone through though, irked didn't really do justice to her feelings at the moment. Him building an unstable time machine just sounded like something he'd do. She just loved him to pieces, could be with him forever, but sometimes his enthusiasm overrode his common sense!

Instead she focused on group conversation when Grim finally shot the 800 lb elephant in the room. To whit, once Elie dropped the bombshell, she stood up and gave him another big hug. Smiling warmly, she said, "Really good to see you again. Well...how was it? Your journey?"

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Eli let out a deep long sigh and closed his eyes now that he had gotten the truth out of the way. He opened and saw his friends, his family painted with shock and concern. He knew they would react like that, but damn if it still didn't tug on his heart strings. When Mona gave him a new hug, he mysteriously had something caught in his eye, and needed a moment to contemplate his shoes.

With a little sniff and his eyes a little redder, he lifted his head up to look at the group again. "I'm - I'm good." replied Eli stumbling with his words a little bit. "The journey was - is.... life changing. It's the only word that does it justice." he said after a moment's contemplation. "It shaped who I'm going to be. Who I want to be. But uh... it feels weird talking about it. It wasn't an hour ago to me..."

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"I reckon y'all don't need't talk 'bout't." Colt smiled and clapped Eli on the arm after Mona disengaged him. "Y'd have't be blind not t'see yer'a differn't person just by lookin' atch'a." Colt gave Eli a square look up and down, and a nod of his head too. "Change's good. I like't." He smiled.

"Vince!" Colt called out, "If'n there's trouble'n Doc's lab, there may be troubl'n th'rest'a th'city. C'n ya do'a quick scan fer'us?" He looked down at Eli once more, "Don't mean't draw no attention away, ol' buddy, but y'know how th'job's."

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Erik let out a low whistle as Eli elaborated on the situation in more methodical detail than he was used to hearing from the young speedster. Well. Not so young any more. Dios. The fencer rubbed the back of his neck and leaned heavily against the refrigerator door. "Well, damn, and here I was all excited about being gone all of five minutes. That's some heavy stuff." It wasn't just a matter of the change in Eli's physique and demeanor; three years was long enough to build a new life, make friends and find a place. Hell, he was in the future longer than I've known him in the present.

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Lynn happily squealed when Eli hugged her, but her expression soon darkened.

"I'm - I'm good." replied Eli stumbling with his words a little bit. "The journey was - is.... life changing. It's the only word that does it justice." he said after a moment's contemplation. "It shaped who I'm going to be. Who I want to be. But uh... it feels weird talking about it. It wasn't an hour ago to me..."

As Eli described is amazing voyage through time, Grim slowly cocked her head from side to side, occasionally sniffing the air; her eyes narrowed. "Did you meet someone in the future? A female someone?" Perhaps she was wrong, but Lynn's hunches were ususally pretty good; she stepped over to the transformed speedster, pulled him into a powerful hug, and kissed him on the cheek. "It's good to have you back, Eli."

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"It's fine Colt, don't worry about it." replied Eli comfortingly. "We've got a job to do after all."

To Jack he replied "Time doesn't mean anything until you spend it. It's all relative." he said with a shrug. Truth be told, he was annoyed that Erik came bounding in all excited about spending 5 minutes elsewhere, but he was withholding his final judgement until he learned the details of the endeavor.

In regards to Grim, Eli's cheeks noticeably darkened a few shades as he gets caught. "Uhhh.... well yeah... kinda. I mean I was there a while.... and I had the time to uh.... yeah..." stumbled Eli suddenly feeling like a kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar, before coughing into his fist, trying to regain his composure. Grim's kiss however quickly stomped that out as he turns a rather brilliant shade of crimson. "It's true, girls are only interested in you once you're in another relationship." he muttered with mock resentment. "Not that I'm complaining mind you." he assured. "But seriously, thank Grim. And everyone. But I'm okay. We should be focusing on the city." said Eli, trying to keep up a brave front.

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Archeville turned back to the monitor and studied the assembled heroes. "What?" He took an especially long look at Eli. "What?"

His face! His hair! His ring!

The Doktor sighed heavily, and rubbed his temples. "It seems I should be added to the list of those who have experienced temporal anomalies: I usually have a decent sense of time, but according to my chronometers here, it is a day later than it should be. I went to sleep in my bedroom on the second floor, and woke up on the medbay in my sub-basement, with large sections of the place on fire, shrapnel in my chest, and my arms feeling like noodles." His hands tapdanced over the keyboard just below the monitor, "but it seems like I am the only one to experience memory loss, right? You all remember your trips?"

Did one of my robutlers bump into something, set the Time Gate off? A power surge? Inherently unpredictable nature of the Terminus energy-infused Daka crystals incorporated into it? Aaah!

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"It seems I should be added to the list of those who have experienced temporal anomalies: I usually have a decent sense of time, but according to my chronometers here, it is a day later than it should be. I went to sleep in my bedroom on the second floor, and woke up on the medbay in my sub-basement, with large sections of the place on fire, shrapnel in my chest, and my arms feeling like noodles." His hands tapdanced over the keyboard just below the monitor, "but it seems like I am the only one to experience memory loss, right? You all remember your trips?"

Lynn scratched her head. "Well me and Colt didn't end up anywhere, which now makes me feel kinda left out. How 'bout the rest of you guys?" She headed over the the coffee maker and started fixing a pot; it sounded like they might be up for a while.

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"I went to the future!" Erik intoned dramatically, spreading his fingers before him. "Near future, anyway. Mostly like now but with bigger buildings and more guys with robot arms. Which is pretty much how I figured it would be." He rubbed his jawline roughly with one hand, a touch of concern in his eyes as he glanced toward Eli ruining the attempt at distracting levity. "Got caught in the middle of a gang fight, I think, but like I said, it was in and out, really quick. One of them said something, but... well, nevermind." He shook his head dismissively. "Sounds like I barely had a blip, comparatively."

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"See? Now that there's exactly why I been avoidin' all these portals'n all." Colt reasoned, "Reckon the last one I got sent through still ain't sent be back. Though't this rate, I'm hopin' it never does." He smiled at Grim, his number one reason for staying in this reality.

"Point is, Doc, when yer dealin' wit things's fickle's time'n portals'n such, ya cain't never be sure where yer gon' end up. Poor Eli here's had't go'n build'a whole new life, only't be forced't leave it." He cast a sympathetic gaze toward Eli, and clapped him on the shoulder, "Ya got my sympathies, partner. Heavens know I ain't no stranger't dealin't wit' what yer goin' through."

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Eli took a spot at the table, this was going to take some time. "My case is a bit different actually." began Eli speaking primarily to Colt, though also to the room as a whole. "When I was on patrol earlier on today, a portal opened up beneath me, and I fell through. I wound up in the year 3025. As I already mentioned, I made my way to 26, 27 and 28 the traditional way. But from the snippets of history I was able to glean, I knew I was going to eventually come back to this time. And before you ask, I didn't pry to much into their past or our present. A thousand years does much to distort the truth and hide details; their account of the Terminus Invasion was enough to prove that point for me." explained Eli. Truth be told, the main thing that was holding him back was the fear that he would run across his profile or one of his teammates and see their date of death well before their retirement years.

"Now you all noticed my altered appearance. What you probably didn't gather however is that many of these changes were wrought on the first day I was in the future. I met up with the Freedom Legion, the Freedom League of their time. A villain of their time utilized a doomsday weapon that created a chain reaction that would eventually destroy gravity itself throughout the universe. The "gravity hole" however was in its infantile stages, and if it were to consume too much at once, it would collapse in on itself. As Dr. Archeville can attest to, near lightspeed movement has a rather pronounced effect on gravity and time." he continued with a a small wave in Archeville's direction.

"As you may have already surmised, I ran straight into that gravity hole at my maximum velocity. I cancelled out the gravity sink, just as it canceled out my speed. For the first 5 months of my stay, I was outright slower than a normal human, as if I was out of synch with the normal passage of time, which I do believe was the case. I am slowly, but steadily increasing my speed, but I am no where near as fast as I used to be, and I am unlikely to reach that point again. So, I trained other areas." he finished with a shrug. He hadn't said anything about the people he had met, those details were going to come, but he wanted to give a context to the scenario he found himself in.

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