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The Time Bomb (IC)

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The distortion in time and space sent out all sorts of strange energy signatures that Supercape could easily detect and quantify with his amazing super-senses.

He didn't need any of them, of course. The sound was pretty distinctive.

He swooped down from the top of the Lab, where he was setting up an finely tuned neutrino detector, without any real hope that it would be of much worth, and set off in the direction of the event, which was only a few blocks away.

The strange distortion appeared to have occurred on the top of a rather unremarkable building. A pretzel bakery, from what he could tell. A more bland and uninteresting piece of architecture he would struggle to name. The hole in space and time that had appeared above it was far more interesting, however.

Four men dressed in pink overalls and dark goggles, holding some weapons that looked half futuristic, half musket, danced away.

"Yeah! We did it! We set off the Time Bomb!"

"Go us! The Time Anarchists Rule!"

They yelled.

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And what was meant to happen, happened

Vanguard was going down the street. As a hero, he wasn´t exactly Captain Thunder or (God bless him) Centurion. His work began almost by accident, and his uniform was the result more of which was available than rooting from a deep fervor. And even with all that, he couldn´t stop. People was starting to look at him at a hero; he wasn´t very sure if that was accurate, but damn! People well need every hero they could find, after the disaster! Now... now he was now growing, evolving within the uniform. He, who had assumed an identity because everyone in the business had one, but wasn´t really hiding his face behind a mask or a cowl. What started as a simple nom-de-guerre, a code for sure communication, now had a life of his own.



Before the sound ended, he was here. Lansbury´s Pretzels? Seriously? No problem with the enter, it went smoothly and in a moment he was inside the place, trying not to bring much attention to himself until he knew what he faced. Facing that turned out to be a bunch of pinkies with bizarre weapons and who called themselves "Time Anarchists". Geez, I´m not gonna say anything about that... we´ve had evil shark-men and haldberdier gorillas. Why not Questionable Fashion Kiddo today.

-Good evening, gentlemen.

Time for sneak ended. Vanguard wore a brown trenchcoat with the armor beneath, only a patch of blue armor and white star showing. He spoke in a calm, convincing voice, as he were sure how to handle the scene.

-You know how it works: put down the weapons and there will be no problem at all. Let´s solve this in the best way for all of us, right?

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As Supercape swooped down, he saw Vanguard reach the rooftop and face off the pink lunatics.

He took a deep influx of breath.

"Drop your wea..." he started, intent on starting a long monologue on the nature of justice, fair play, and a jolly good cup of tea, until he was distracted by the distortion left by the time bomb.

"Oh dear..." he mumbled.

Supercape may not have had the superhuman intellect of Doctor Archeville or some of the other metahumans of Freedom City, but he was still a genius by regular standards. And had decades of study in physics under his belt. Combine that with a mind that could outperform most, if not all, scientific apparatus for detecting electromagnetic spectrum fluctuations, and there was not much that got past him when it came to odd time, space, and quantum phenomena.

Including this.

The Time Bomb was causing fractal fractures in the multiverse. It wouldn't exactly destroy it. Not at all. But it would be pretty chaotic, the shrapnel of distortions spreading out and causing havoc, things happening at the wrong times, places and people jumping from one time to another. And spreading - not indefinitely - but expanding to make things worse.

Unless he stopped it.

"Err... can you deal with this..." he mumbled at Vanguard, as leapt into the Distortion and started working out which subatomic particles to push where.

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You know how it works: put down the weapons and there will be no problem at all. Let´s solve this in the best way for all of us, right?

The four time anarchists looked at each other uncertainly. Sure they had set off the time bomb. Sure that was a whole load of fun...

But they hadn't counted on some masked hero stepping into arrest them... or whatever this century did to anarchists.

"Hey, sunshine!" mumbled one, unsure of himself "we jest set orf the trokkin' Time Bomb!"

"Yeah!" agreed the other, gulping. "We ain't gonna' be sorting that one out!"

"Lets zook him!" yelled the other, gathering his rattled nerved.

Without warning, the four men raised their rifles and unleashed a volley of energy blasts at Vanguard...

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There was no mask that would hide the face of Manuel from anyone. He had a secret identity because that was what had everyone in the business, because it was what he had to do; was actually the code name for the group. A group that nowadays had to cope with things like the "hello and goodbye" from the hero a moment ago.

-Yeah, sure, why not... -mumbled Vanguard, a little confused.

-we jest set orf the trokkin' Time Bomb!

The what? "Madre mía, como para entenderlo", thought Vanguard while trying to understand something wit that funny accent the guy had. He had other things to take charge, like the fact that these people seemed to have a little hurry... was used to negotiation attempts that ended in failure after some pointless stop-here-kid, not that people give you a shot for good! It was a decision that Manuel would have to pay and the price was be caught without notice...


Vanguard gritted his teeth and let the body supports most of the shot. Between the body armor and his own sturdiness the laser hit his stomach without much effect.

-All right... kid... drop the gun. NOW. You have until I get you.

And he ran. In just a moment was there, which was impressive by the standards of a non-meta. No-goal that was now in front of the guy who had taken the lead in shooting him with a shield in hand. Not that he really needed it for get rid of the punk, if thedifference of phisiques didn´t lie.

-Told ya. Now, drop it!

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The four Time anarchists kept on firing as Vanguard sped into them, his shield colliding with one after the other, knocking the wind out of their chests and the feet from under them. They clearly had some paramilitary training, but were no match for the speed and skill of Vanguard. In the blink of an eye, all four were on the floor, groaning, semi-conscious or out cold, with their blaster rifles efficiently disarmed.

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No way they could take him flat-footed for a second time. This time he went to them in a second. In the next second every war cry the guy could have screamed transformed in an "Oooof" as the iron shield strike his stomach, render him speechless. All the rest was a matter of moving the shield, reacting at therir own movements and reactions. In the next few seconds they were all in the floor, with no serious damage but tecnically useless. Now their weapons weren´t a menace for anyone.

"Damn, I´m gettin pretty good at this"

Doc was right, the more you training the easier it becomes. And man, was he training at the time! Muscular memory was really a must-be. Those people were ex-soldiers or had some kind of paramilitar training, and they fell so easy... I have met enough people who could take better hits during my life. Truly, I'm not exactly a wimp to say. Heh, still got it. Well, time to take this guys on hands of the boys, and next to the police.

-Hey 3rd Base! Got a few heavy-armed punks in Lansbury´s. Bring the handcuffs and call de cops, please? Right, right, tonight´s mine. Geez, what a dick.

Communication cut, he took the guys outta the place. In a few minutes (not more than three) the boys will be there. But he had to search the surroundings about the... ¿Time Bomb? No idea what they meant with that, but "bomb" sounded seriously enough for him.

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Supercape was pretty distracted with the Time Bomb's damage, but was still able to witness Vanguards rather impressive disposal of the four Time Anarchists.

"Jolly good show! Bravo!" he applauded, or rather mumbled, as he furiously nudged subatomic wave-strings this way and that.

Damn with was complicated...

"The m-brane fractal damage is pretty severe... I am trying a quasi-Heseinberg-Hawkins elastic distortion workaround of the non-linear vaccuum collapse but it seems that..." he shouted out to Vanguard

"....the damage is rather..."

"...oh dear..." he muttered...

Space and time seemed to expand, contract, and melt, all at once, and Vanguard and Supercape were thrown through the gaping hole in the universe that the Time Bomb had split apart...

...to land in another time, another place...

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Vanguard took just a moment to get off the place and back up, now free from the so-called "Time Anarchists". The emergency stairs were climbed in a hurry, considerably fast, by a man who had both the strenght and the agility. The only thing that would have been even better... have some kind of knack for detect bombs.

"The m-brane fractal damage is pretty severe... I am trying a quasi-Heseinberg-Hawkins elastic distortion workaround of the non-linear vaccuum collapse but it seems that..."

-Sorry, no idea what you´re talking about! Gonna look fer that bomb!

And even took a while to find something that might resemble a bomb.When he found it, smiled... only to feel the same smile dyng in the mouth as the place was trying to devour and burping itself simultaneously. One second, one pop, and half the place including him was eroded from existance in that plane.

"...oh dear..."

-Oh Chr-

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Supercape took a look around to try and reorientate himself.

He really had no idea.

It looked like a city - Freedom City, he guessed. But he had only been in America a year or two. It was unfamiliar somehow. And they werent even on the same street. The adverts were all wrong, the cars looked old and out of date, and even his untrained eye could tell the style of the place was just a bit odd.

"Welcome to the past..." he said to Vanguard.

"Oh, Supercape by the way, on account of the, err, Super...cape" he said, pointing to his cape. "How long have you lived in Freedom? Because I think you may end up bumping into yourself if we aren't careful..."

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Vanguard arose slowly, carefully, after the crash. He had broken the barrier of time and space and probably a few ribs... no, lucky time. That was falling with style, after the bomb... the time bomb?

"Welcome to the past..."

-We´re talking about "the past" like in past, past? -he inquired, a little confused.

It could not be ... and yet it was. Recognize the place after a look was like a Nostalgia St´walk down. He could see the old marvel which was the Tucker Tornado of the samely old Martin. Ye Olde Ice Cream Shoppe (I didn´t make it, they really uste that name!), the Texaco gas station and... ehr...

-Well then, Supercape -he said, holding out his hand- Name´s Manuel Rubio, codename Vanguard... you know, a nom-de-guerre is mandatory or something like that -he shrugged, not worrying about that. His grip was strong, firm and friendly- Nice to meet you, sir. I must admit, I´m new in the business... specially in the Back to the Future business. So... what would happen if I see my former self? We both explode, or...?

Time travel. Man, that was weird. And a man that a week ago fought a sharkmen army knows a little about weirdness.

-How long... about five, six years.

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"Not exactly explode" replied Supercape, carefully not to start a full blown lecture. "More cause a distortion in the fabric of the omniverse leading to splitting into parallel realities. You see, by causing a feedback causal loop in 11 dimensional curvature of the..."



"Anyway, it wouldn't be a good idea. Because basically you have no idea what will happen to you, and our chances of getting back to where we came from will start to evaporate. And I for one intend to get back home. Now normally I could just pop us home by entangling to points in the space-time continuum, but I am afraid our little time anarchists and the four dimensional shrapnel of their time bomb has made that...problematic at best. There is a lot of damage to repair, and then a complex navigation back to our reality..."

He scratched his head.

"In the meantime, do you know when the hell we are?"

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An, of course, Manuel had no idea of what Supercape was talking about. And it doesn´t matter, really. He was listening with great interest, with that kind of silent admiration a man has for those that are obviously way more intelligent that him. Eleven-dimensional curvature? Whoah, man. And he thought the income statement was a real challenging moment in the life. Feel like an amateur child.

-Well, I was going to ask if they really did a time bomb, but the question now sounds a little unnecessary -he sighed- Then we need to fix the botch in the time wall, the go home, but being extra-careful about our former selves?

He looked from side to side, checking the place. Apparently he saw nothing worthing an alarm.

-Hey, mister, no need for such language -he explained, calmly- There could be kids near... we do not want them to catch bad habits, aren´t we?

It was his neigbourhood after all (well, before all).

-Anyway, relax, mister. That´s not a hard one. Only need to pick a newspaper.

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"Good Idea, good idea" nodded Supercape, but we have to be as quiet as possible about it.." he was still studying the fragments in time that the Timb Bomb had left here.

"And in addition, be careful. There are lots of localised time distortions here. So, in a sense, there may be lots of times here... which makes things even more complicated. There may, to use your words, be more than one newspaper..."

"I suggest we go as incognito as possible. If we are recognised, more chance of dangerous collisions. Have you anything less, err, colourful to wear?"

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Be quiet to pick up a newspaper... well, wasn´t the most awkward thing that has happened in the last weeks. A little down-the-earth, for sure. So... uh... we put our fake moustaches or something? ´Cos I have not one of those. I´m no Raven, I´m not "crazy prepared". Geez, I´m not even "moderately decent prepared".

-A lot of times...? You can feel that? Well, then you should see what one should I pick. You´ll now which one is the correct for this timeline, aren´t you.

Apártate que me tiznas, thought Vanguard in his old tongue with a smile.

-Well, I have a trenchcoat, night guards in winter are cold. It covers pretty well the armor. But I have this uniform... how much, one month or two? So I don´t think anyone recognize it. And you, mister, you said that have not been here that long. So I do not see why anyone would recognize us.

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-Well, I have a trenchcoat, night guards in winter are cold. It covers pretty well the armor. But I have this uniform... how much, one month or two? So I don´t think anyone recognize it. And you, mister, you said that have not been here that long. So I do not see why anyone would recognize us.

"Its not just recognise us, but they might remember us..."

In a little twinkle of light, Supercape's costume changed to a completely featureless grey suit and fedora.

"I trust if you recognise me back in our time, don't reveal my Identity?" he asked politely, as a pair of dark glasses appeared on his eyes.

"As for this, I hope I now count as completely unremarkable..." he added, examining himself. And yes, he had succeeded in making himself as bland as possible.

"Even if they don't recognise us here, if we are too outlandish, they might remember us. And then, when the real us come along years later, they will be remembering us when they should not be remembering us... does that make any sense?" he add, scratching his head. It confused him sometimes. In all honesty, it was all rather complicated and theoretical. All he knew was he wanted to take as few risks as possible with the whole thing.

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He must admit it... that was pretty impressing. While he was putting on the trenchcoat, Supercape had only to wish it and BRIGHT!

-Nice trick!

"I trust if you recognise me back in our time, don't reveal my Identity?"

-Why, that hurts. But of course!

The problem, for his part, was that he had no way of disguising his face. No mask, no cowl, no shade-projecting fedora, not even a balaclava. Would have to trust that no one recognized him... by the way, he wasn´t exactly the same guy that years ago.

-I´m not a scientist, I´m afraid. Perhaps it´ll be enough if nobody sees us too closely... I mean, this is Freedom City. Colored-suit guys on incognito? Sounds pretty plausible without think "time paradox!".

We should start moving, mister... that time eff is not going to repair itself.

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"Yes indeed. The less time we spend here, the less chance we have of causing any hiccups in history, so to speak..."

Supercape dusted off his suit. Well, he would have, except it didn't really need dusting.

"I can repair the local damage here, but there is some shrapnel from the bomb all over the place, that's the real problem. A newspaper is actually an excellent idea. See if there is any local disturbance, oddities, that kind of thing. In any case, it should not be too far, spatially speaking, from ground zero, which is here. "

As he spoke, he reached into the air and made a folding motion with his hand. He didn't actually need to, it just helped him concentrate.

"That should seal up the major tear..." he said with some satisfaction.

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"Hiccups in history" ought to be one of the best time-paradox synonymous ever. Problem was, that thing was (incredible but true!) real, not some Futurama episode. Knowing that in the year 1.000.000 and 1/2 humankind will be enslaved by giraffe wasn´t going to be a great help.


That was way over his league, the only way that he could help was with sensible ideas like take a newspaper and perhaps buy a pair of pears to check if the time rifts rot the fruit. Besides that, no one that he could ask about the whole thing, nothing he could really do with his own hands, and he was not Stephen Hawking. Or Supercape for that matter.

-Alright. Here in a sec!

A few quarters less and a paper more, Vanguard exit the store with the item. He waited until SC ended his timefixin´ power application to open it and take a good look. And the news said...

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March 6th, 2007

"Not too far then..." noted Supercape "which is probably a good thing. The nearer we are the point of departure, from our own relativistic perspective, the lest chance of ripples, so to speak. Ripples that become tsunami's..."

He snapped shut the newspaper.

"But the thing is, we just have no idea what the cause and effect of this all is. And we may never know. We could have already gone further back in time, be interacting with ourselves. We could even have caused the detonation of the time bomb ourselves..."

"Damn, its frustrating. But we just have to make the best of it. First things first, the local distortion seems clear. Lets get off this building and try and find some of the other shrapnel in time and space eh? but remember, incognito..."

He peered off the building edge.

"That means no flying, for starters..."

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March 6th, 2007

March 6th, 2007

March 6th, 2007

No way. No way that could be that day, that month, that year. There was only a more cruel date the fate could have slapped him which. It was simply something that could not be. He remained as stalled.

-Yeah, yeah... -he nodded absently- No worries, I don´t fly. Have no powers, in fact.

I must insist, NO WAY! No, you must, repeat, must repair this time accident! Anything you do here will have a print in the very fabric of the reality! You´ll be toying with the universe!

"Who cares, really? I need to see her..."

-Listen, Supercape, I think we should... uh... I know a good zone where look for the shraphnels.

If he could go there normally, and watch her without causing any damage... If he could go there normally, and watch it without causing any damage ... had to be some way to do so. He had to be any, just, sure there should be. And I could slide a warning about the convenience of not leaving the house in certain day. Such a detail can´t be a time flux, it´s simply a friendly warbning, a suggerence, an advice. Not like he were revealing what were gonna happen.

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-Listen, Supercape, I think we should... uh... I know a good zone where look for the shraphnels.

"You do? excellent!" replied Supercape, rolling up the newspaper and stuffing it under his arm. He walked to the fire escape of the building and started making his way down the iron stairway to the ground.

"Thank goodness I was propelled to this time with somebody who knows a little bit more about Freedom City and its history than I do. I was stuck in a laboratory in England. All jolly good fun at the time, of course. But it means I know diddly squat about what has happened in Freedom City over the past few years. Or at all, come to that. I have brushed up on the really big events, of course - but if you have a bit of local know how, then its a stroke of fortune. "

Reaching the bottom, he gave a short jump to the alleyway.

"Now, where do you suspect there might be some disturbance?"

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Vanguard was a little uncomfortable with that. Yes he knew the most likely places where the shraphnels might have ended, but it was still true that his main concern right now was another. Not that he didn´t want to save time, please! But, you know, the powerful allure of returning home and give you a hug, Katherine...

-So, you´re British, doctor? Funny how Freedom City attracts people from around the world ... I myself am Spanish -he shrugged, wit a little smile- But hey, I've lived here long enough to be my home, so if there are significant changes I should realize ...

He shook his head as if to shake a bad thought before continuing. He seemed calm and upbeat, but a good observer could see the lines of tension in his face, a tension that he was trying to hide.

-Follow me, Supercape. Let´s find it together.

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And theeeeere they go!!!

Go straight, turn left, turn left again but this time right the window with flowers, please be careful with the pots in the higher houses as Vanguard said, take the Third Boulevard all around... the native and the notoriously british did everything and more. As he said, a little more by foot and they would be in Mott with Grande. And indeed, after a very uphill and very badly paved road that could made SC wonder if flying was such a terrible idea after all, they were in the place.


Large blocks of buildings rose on either side of the road, the day was superb and people leaning out windows, talking to each other on the sidewalk or hanging clothes on the ropes. It was the very picture of a traditional ethnic neighborhood in the United States. The sidewalks were perhaps a little larger than normal, and the atmosphere had a few things that were not associated with the modern city that was Freedom City, but alas, it was Freedom City for a few years in the past, and time can do lots of things in a neighborhood, even one that you can say "it´s like the first day!". Some of the buildings were somewhat older and were chipped, but the place was clean and honest in general. And not frequented by people like the main streets so that were a problem for both time travelers.

-Well, mister, hope you like the place! Everything looks like it´s in his place and time.

Yeah, about that. It was clear as water which building or place they should inspect the first. From his non-objective point of view, at least.

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-Well, mister, hope you like the place! Everything looks like it´s in his place and time.

"It does indeed" replied Supercape, peering around, somewhat more nervous than Vanguard. This was, in his opinion, a highly precarious and delicate matter.

"But appearances can, of course, be deceptive. I suggest being on your guard..."

Supercape strained with all his might to detect any disturbance. He couldn't. But then again, that may well mean nothing, he conceded to himself. If the time-shrapnel had already worked itself into this time-space reality then...

Stop it...I'm going crazy with all this speculation. Just do what you can...

"So, any suggestions where to go?"

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