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May 21th, 2012. 15:35.

*"This is Nathan Thompson, and we are live at the Eastern Seaboard Bank in 46th Avenue and Foster, Midtown, reporting for WNTW Channel 3 news. It's been almost 5 hours since a group of eight masked unidentified individuals, probably male, entered the bank and staged a robbery. The robbers are still holed up inside the building, after taking 12 hostages.

"The negotiations for the hostages had been progressing successfully, for the most part. It seemed like the situation would resolve without further episodes, but the robbers are turning uncooperative in releashing the last couple of hostages. Detective Andrea Holdden, who is heading the operation, has commented that the police are trying their best to put an end to the situation as peacefully as possible..."*

As the reporter continued to relay the news on the camera, the onlookers were shuffling around, trying to get a better look at the building. The police had their hands full with trying to keep the civilians at bay. The Paramedics were at the scene, providing assistance and first aid to the released hostages. The scene had been playing over and over for the most part of the incident.

One of the police officers, a man named Adam Jennings, approached the detective, who was examining the building schematics with a few other cops, with his report. "All the snipers have taken position on buildings over one and a half yard, as per your instructions, ma'am. If they spot the robbers making a run for it, they will put a stop to their getaway."

"Hopefully, it won't have to come to this, Jennings." Detective Holdden replied. "Have we ascertained the location of the remainning hostages?"

"Affirmative, we picked the heat signature of two unarmed people in the vault. Most of the robbers seem to have barricaded themselves up on the 1st floor. Only three armed people are on the basement, and they are nowhere near the back, were the vault is."

"Presumably, they have locked up the hostages there. They are most probably planning an alternate escape route, while the three on the basement floor are on watchout duty." Another police officer who was near, supplied.

"So all the demands were diversionary technics and stalling on their part, just as much as on our side? I would say that I have to hand it to them, but I'm realy not in the mood of letting the robbers go. What about explosives?"

"We weren't able to pick up anything." The cop said, scratching his head. "I think that if we were to move fast, we would be able to take down the three robbers on the basement, secure the hostages, and proceed to arrest the rest of the gang on the first floor without a hitch."

"...Hmmm" Holdden didn't say a word, as she kept assessing the situation, while another cop responded "No way, Dave! We can't possibly cross the lobby in time to keep the robbers from going for the hostages!"

"We can't risk throwing gas at them, either. It may not hinder them long enough."

"An aerial assault is out of the question... Tch! Seems that we are at an impass, here. If we don't find a way to secure the hostages, our hands are tied."

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There was a reason Zeke spent a lot of his time in the downtown area on his busking runs. Well, multiple ones. First one was that he lived Downtown. Second one was that there was plenty of action in the downtown area. A bank robbery! He'd always wanted to bust up a bank robbery - that was like superhero 101! There was busting up the museum robbery with the ninjas, of course, but this was way more classic. The medium-sized musician on the nearby street corner resisted the urge to do a happy dance.

Instead, he quietly slung his saxophone case over his shoulder, and quite calmly and relaxedly ambled into a nearby alleyway.

About two seconds later, a literal blur came bolting out of that alleyway, straight through the police lines before anyone could blink, the doors to the bank burst open, and a huge rush of wind kicked up in the first floor lobby. Papers and bills flew all over the place as that blur raced faster than the eye could see, bounded down several sets of stairs, through the basement corridors, and into the vault - the two hostages sitting there had about one second to register this sudden rush of wind before the found themselves rather unceremoniously picked up and placed on the shoulders of a man in a black and gold bodysuit, with a headmask, and what looked like a big ol' grin underneath the fabric.

The police then had about one second to register the sudden appearance of that man in the black and gold bodysuit (the gold being from a lightning bolt down his chest), a pair of metal gauntlets and boots, along with the two hostages from the bank basement. Overclock put the two down gently beside a police car, and sketched a sloppy salute to Jennings and Holden. "Ladies and gentlemen, here for one day only, the Fastest Fighter Alive, Overclock! Thrills, chills, spills, specializing in high-quality entertainment, hostage rescue, and demookification of any and all seized banks, museums, or other civil buildings."

Arrogance, thy name was Ezekiel Irons.

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The crowd... was certainly stunned. A few police officers who had the presence of mind went for their weapons, initially unsure of what to make of this situation. The fact that the hostages started screaming as their high-speed rescue began to catch up to them, probably didn't help matters either. The paramedics leapt to action immediately, in order to check the hostages' health. "They're in shock, but their vitals appear to be normal." One of them remarked to the police officers. "They should recover with no problem."

Nodding, detective Holdenn motioned to the paramedics to get working on the hostages, and provide them the necessary first aid treatment, and then ordered her officers to stand down. "Lower your weapons, people. It's alright." The officers followed suit, and, as if on cue, the crowd burst out in cheers over the hero before them. "That was quite a feat you pulled there, partner. Me and my squad are in your debt, not to mention the two people you just saved. Thanks to you, we can now enter the building and arrest the criminals."

On Holdenn's words, the rest of the squad started mobilizing. "You heard the detective! Everyone buckle up. Jennings, radio the snipers. Tell them to be ready to provide cover. The rest of you. Team G-1 will enter from the left and Team G-2 from the right. Secure the first floor, and then go for the second. Move out, people!"


Somewhere, in Freedom City

A man in a full-body armor suit entered a room. A complex of flat screens on the wall displayed the bank heist in 46th Avenue and Foster, from several different angles. The focus on the screens was given to one man with a black and yellow bodysuit. The man who entered the room carried a file with him, and delivered it to one of the five people there. As the others watched the screen intently, the man who was now reading the file said "... Fascinating."


Inside the Eastern Seaboard Bank Building, 1st floor.

"We forced the old elevator open!" One of the robbers exclaimed.

"About time. Doug, go and get the others from the floor bellow. The rest of you, help me get the bags and throw them down here. We climb down the empty shaft, and make our way to the sewers. The getaway trucks are already in place. You know the plan. When the last one boards the truck, they detonate the bomb behind them to cover our tracks."

"What about the hostages?"

"Meh, leave them. The cops can rescue them after we've been long gone. We don't have much time to dilly-dally. Let's g-..." The leader of the group stopped as the sounds from outside grew louder and louder. One of the robbers who was near the window, came running to the group, and shouted

"A Super! There's a superhero outside! The hostages! He..."

"...Christ." It didn't take a college decree for the leader to put two and two together. "Change of plans. Elena, go ahead and get the truck ready. Throw all bags in the water, but one. If we do not follow in two minutes, blow the tunnel and leave. GO!" The robber named Elena nodded without a word, and went on to do as instructed. The rest of the gang primed their guns. "Now remember everyone. Shoot to injure, not to kill. The last thing we need is the Superhero community coming down on us like the wrath of god. With a little luck, some of us may even make it out of here and spring the rest of us from jail. Or you, Bob."

"Funny." Bob responded monotonously, as the robbers took position.

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"Keep your people back for a sec, Detective. The thugs're armed. And I think I can scrap that danger in about...hang on." The cops could see a big ol' grin through that mask, and the Fastest Fighter Alive just vanished. Running at top speed, a blur went through the doors and up the stairs; he focused his memory on where the police had said the thugs were...ah, there they were. He closed fast.

One second, A Thug Named Bob was looking out the window, the next he found himself doing a slow-motion corkscrew spin in midair, his head feeling like a ton of bricks had just clocked him in the jaw. Overclock grinned, following through on a pretty standard mook-sweeping routine; clothesline to one thug, leg sweep to the next, straight right to the head on the last one, and a thunderous side kick straight to the gut of a very leader-looking like fellow.

The hero in black and gold stopped, and all of the thugs hit the ground in various states of pain at once. He nodded with some satisfaction, poking his head out a window and giving a thumbs-up to the police - then Zeke turned his head as he noted the open elevator doors behind them. And the shaft going down. Rather conspicuous, actually. Stepping over the bodies, he poked his head through the doors and squinted down at the female thug climbing down the ropes. Weird. Where was the elevator car? He logged that away as inconsequential at the moment.

"Uh...hey?" Elena heard a voice from above - if she looked up, the masked hero they'd spotted outside gave a friendly wave. A distinct question of how he got up there so quickly likely entered her mind. He cocked his head to the side. Voice was terribly friendly. "Whatcha doin'?"

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"Tha's the one, Cap'n Silvia," grumbles a large, heavily-muscled sailor. He'd come up to the weatherdeck after 'uncoveringing valuable information' about Earth. Which is to say he was watching television on duty and came across the news; a bank robbery in progress. A standoff, with hostages. Things had been getting boring.

Between the buildings, the flying galleon Ages Lost soars, turning corners as easily as a truck. And as soon as the ship arrives, a soot-stained woman with corn rows dashes up to the deck, remote control still in hand, and announces, "Cape on the scene, Captain! Hostages out, most of the thugs're down."

The captain strokes her chin as information comes by, a stoic figure seemingly unphased by the wind, blonde hair and green cape fluttering in the wind. "Unfortunate. And here I thought we had made good time," she says calmly, then closes her eyes and goes quiet for a moment, listening in a way most humans can't imagine. Subtle vibrations in the wind give her a read on the entire area. "They have a getaway vehicle. Can the police handle the remnants, Miss Alexia?"

"Yes'm. Hostages were the only problem."

"Very well. Mister Bosque," she turns to her gunner's mate. "Ready the cannons, if you please."

The gunner, a swarthy man with a red, robotic eye, grunts in affirmation before the helmsman asks, "Are we going in, mam?"

"No," the captain answers. "There is no glory here; this situation is taken care of. I have a better idea."

She waves aside her helmsman who steps aside without pause, then takes control herself, still listening. Sewers are designed to move sewage, not people, and especially not cargo vehicles. There aren't many ways a van could go down there, which means it should be easy to funnel where she wants. The ship flies away from the bank a distance before she's satisfied, floating low.

Finally, she opens her eyes and resumes calling out orders. "Mister Bosque, take aim; the van will have to go past that manhole and soon, if ever. You three," she calls out to the nearest set of deckhands, "Get to the streets, remove the cover."

With a quick, 'aye aye,' the trio grabs some ropes from the deck and starts sliding down, as ordered while the ship sets its ambush.

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Her pupils widening at the sight of the hero, Elena unconsciously decided to jump now, while she still had time, without stopping to think how the hero managed to scale the building in such short notice, until it was very late. A mere instant before she hit the ground, realisation dawned on her, as she uttered "Crap!" A moment's hesitation led to her misstep. On top of spraining her ankle, she was unable to properly absorb the shock of the fall, and the pain hit her so hard and fast that she rolled a few feet ahead of there, while losing consiousness.

Outside the building, the crowd was starring, mouths wide open, at the huge starship that had arrived. Detective Holdden had taken a megaphone, and addressed the thugs inside the building. "Attention, criminals! You have no more hostages to hide behind. You are completely surrounded. Throw your weapons now, and come out, your hands behind your head. Do NOT make any sudden movements! Failure to comply will be met with extreme force. This is your ONLY WARNING!"

Back inside the building, at the ground floor, one of the three remaining thugs was readying his weapons, while the other asked him "And what the hell do you think you're doing."

"Don't worry, I'll cover your backs. You go ahead and leave like we've planned, and I'll be right behind y-eouch! Why'dyoudothatfor?" the thug protested as one of his teammates slapped him in the back of his head.

"And go where exactly, genius? In case you haven't realized what's going on, a superhero just made us look like total chumps, run past us twice, he's probably beaten the rest of the gang, too, and by now, he's probably taking a lunchbreak in Venice or something, before returning to finish us off. And the cops are out there, their snipers having their guns primed and ready with our names written in their bullets, and you wanna go guns ablazin? Resist arrest now, and you'll rot in prison, if you're lucky."

The third thug had slid his gun across the floor, and was moving towards the exit, hands in his back. "I'm surrendering! Please, don't shoot!"

Getting up, the other thug also followed his lead, saying to the first one. "Don't be an idiot, Eric. Quit while you still have a head."

The last remainning thug sighed, and he followed suite.


Somewhere, in Freedom City

"...And our agent is on his way?"

"Yes sir. He's been deployed, already. Estimated ETA less than a minute. We also have a in the area, ready to attack on your orders."

"Good. So this is our target? This... Overclock?"

"Yes... We've been following his exploits for quite some time, and he meets our criteria. He has great power, but he's still very inexperienced, making him a great target."

"Well then. It will certainly be a good field test for Agent DuskWyrm."

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