Jump to content

Whirlwind New Year's (IC)


Recommended Posts

Kiritimati (Christmas Island), Republic of Kiribati [11]

The bright moon shown down on the waters around the north shore of Kiritimati, or Christmas Island, as they gently lapped onto the long stretch of beach. The generally tranquil sounds of the still night air were briefly interrupted by a loud *WOOOSH*, as a yellow blur came ashore and skidded to a halt on the beach.

Megan took a couple of deep breaths as she looked around the deserted beach. Wow, kinda warm here. The young speedster noted as she unzipped the front of her costume slightly to cool down a bit. Thought it was past eleven at night, it was still over seventy degrees.

Though the small island atoll only had a population of about 5,600, it was one of the first inhabited locations to see the start of the New Year, so Megan had decided it would be a logical starting point. Her route from Freedom City had gone across the United States, through San Francisco, and then out across the ocean to Hawaii, from where she had headed south.

Well, might as well take a bit of time to look around and see if there is anything going on as far as celebrations. The speedster thought before she started off at the rather more leisurely pace of a couple hundred miles an hour to loop around the perimeter of the island.

A few minutes later she was running along a stretch of beach on the southwestern section of the island on which a small campfire was visible towards midway down. Thanks to the technology in the goggles she wore as Velocity, Megan could see about seven figures gathered around the campfire, the faint sound of music echoing up the beach. She could also see a ridged-hulled inflatable boat that had been pulled up onto the beach nearby.

Well, this might be a good place to start. Megan thought to herself as she headed towards the campfire. She came to a sudden halt just inside the light of the campfire, between it and the ocean. She could now see that the group consisted of four men and three women who all appeared to be in their mid-late twenties. "Hey there, I’m Velocity." The speedster said with a small wave and a wide smile, hoping they spoke English.

There was an initial moment of surprise to her sudden appearance, but then one of the men spoke up. "You’re that speedy girl who was with the Freedom League for awhile right?"

"Yep, that's me. I'm currently on the reserve list." Velocity replied. "So, are you all from the States?"

"Yeah, San Diego." Another of the men replied. "Here on a little surfing vacation." He added, indicating the boards they had lying nearby.

"What are you doing way out here?" One of the women asked. "There isn't something going on around here is there?"

"No, nothing bad going on at all." Velocity replied with a dismissive wave of her hand. "It's just New Year's eve, and this is one of the first places that will be seeing the start of the New Year. So, here I am." She added with a smile.

Her response got some chuckles from the group as the invited her to join them. Megan took a seat near the fire, but politely declined an offered beer, sticking with one of the bottles of water she had brought with her.

Talking with the group, Megan learned that they all worked at various tech companies in the San Deigo area. They talked about some of the surfing trips they had made as a group, the present one being the most adventurous. Megan for her part told them a couple of stories of adventures she had had as part of the Freedom League (ones that she was allowed to talk about) and answered some of their questions about what it was like being able to move so fast.

Even though Megan at times felt as if life dragged on at an incredibly slow pace, she found the present circumstances so very relaxing. It was just a group of friends hanging out on a beach in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, waiting to greet the start of a New Year. It was easy to just relax and get lost in the moment.

Eventually midnight drew near, and Megan joined the others as they gathered together to watch the last moments of 2012 tick away. They all called the countdown of the last ten seconds of 2012, and Megan joined the joyous cries of "Happy New Year" as the last second ticked off. She joined in hugging the other women present, and kissing the men (very quick kisses, as she had gotten the distinct impression that there were at least two couples in the group). She then thanked the group for allowing her to join them in greeting the New Year, and promised to try to look them up sometime in La Jolla.

With that, she was off, speeding up the beach away from the campfire. Once she had put a fair distance between her and the group, she made a sharp left turn towards the water and accelerated. There was a loud *CRACK*, followed by a faint *BOOM* which echoed across the beach as she broke the sound barrier, running across the surface of the water towards her next destination.

Link to comment

Auckland, New Zealand [11]

Megan made her approach towards downtown Auckland from the entrance to Waitemata Harbour, the lights of the skyline glowing like a beacon in the darkness. Dominating that skyline was Sky Tower, the tallest free standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere.

Auckland was certainly living up to its nickname as the "City of Sails," as the speedster weaved around a few of the hundreds of yachts and sail boats that dotted the harbor on her way towards the city's waterfront. Moments later Megan arrived at the Auckland Waterfront, and what appeared to be ground zero for the city's New Year's celebrations.

Though it was Summer currently in this part of the world, the night air was considerably cooler than it had been on Kiritimati. But that did not stop the tens of thousands of people who were gathered along the waterfront ready to welcome the New Year.

More than a few of the nearby crowd jumped back slightly as Megan seemed to almost appear out of nowhere as she came to a halt up on the boardwalk. The young speedster just gave a warm smile and a wave as she started off at a normal pace, moving further into the crowd. The general atmosphere was one giant street party, and as Megan started off down a street, she saw jugglers, people walking around on stilts, and other carnival style attractions. Music was playing and in several places groups of revelers had taken over parts of the streets as dance floors.

As Megan made her way through the crowds, she received more than a few stares. A number of people stopped her to confirm she was a superhero, a few even recognized her. Several asked to have their pictures taken with her. The young woman took it all in stride, a wide smile on her face. A couple of times she joined in the impromptu dance parties, but never for very long, as she wanted to try to take in as many of the sights as possible.

As midnight approached, Megan had worked her way back towards the waterfront, the crowds there having grown as the end of 2012 drew near. When the final seconds began to tick away, Megan joined the massive chorus of voices in counting them down. The cries of "HAPPY NEW YEAR!!" were almost deafening, followed by cheers and shouts. Out in the harbor, many of the gathered boats sounded off fog horns.

Then, practically on cue, the sound of fireworks launching into the air could be heard over the crowd. The spire atop Sky Tower served as the launch platform for the city's fireworks display, and soon the sky above the city was erupting with exploding fireworks, enticing more cheers and shouts from the crowds.

The fireworks display lasted more than ten minutes, the crowds continuing to cheer throughout. When it finally ended, the street party atmosphere resumed. Megan glanced down at her watch, realizing it was likely time to be moving on once again. In a flash of movement, she was gone, weaving between people with ease and soon running across the surface of Waitemata Harbour. She waited until she had cleared the harbor before she accelerated once again to supersonic speed.

Link to comment

Marjuo, Marshall Islands [11]

Megan came skidding to a halt along a narrow strip of beach at the southeastern corner of Marjuo, one of the many coral atolls in the Marshall Islands. Whew, pretty warm again. The speedster thought as she fanned herself slightly in the warm tropical air and took a bite of an energy bar she had brought with her.

The beach she had arrived at was deserted, but Megan was sure there was bound to be some form of celebration elsewhere on the island. With a population of about 30,000, Majuro was both the largest city and capital of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. It also had a number of hotels for a rather steady flow of tourists.

Finishing her energy bar, Megan stuffed the empty wrapper back into her backpack and then started off at a couple hundred miles an hour to look around some of the other parts of the atoll. It took very little time for her to locate a beach party being held next to the Marshall Island's Resort. Though the average age of the tourists gathered there looked to be at least a good twenty years older than Megan, it still seemed to be a lively gathering with people dancing to music from a live band.

Once again, the sudden appearance of the speedy superheroine nearby caused a bit of a stir. But Megan just flashed a friendly smile and began to mingle as if everything was perfectly normal. Eventually things calmed down some, as some of those gathered returned to dancing, while others came over to meet the clearly superpowered young woman.

It turned out that quite a few of the tourists were from the US or Canada, though there were also a number of Australians and a few Europeans. After spending a little time talking and answering some questions of those who had come over to speak with her, Megan made her way out to join those dancing to the live music.

As was often the case, dancing helped make the time seem to go by at a more normal pace for Megan. It did not seem too long before the band stopped playing so that the countdown of the final seconds of 2012 could take place. Everyone gathered on the beach gathered towards the stage as the countdown began. Once again Megan joined in the chorus of voices during the final countdown and the cries of "HAPPY NEW YEAR!"

Just as the crowd was cheering, a small fireworks display arranged by the resort began, the first of the fireworks shooting up out over the water near the beach. The crowd cheered as the fireworks exploded across the night sky, the BANGS and BOOMS of the explosion echoing across the beach.

The display was somewhat brief, and after the final explosion, there were some more cheers and then the band began playing once again. As much of the crowd began dancing, Megan began making her way through, saying some goodbyes to some of the couples she had talked with earlier. Once near the edge, she started off again in a blur, running off down the beach a good distance before heading back out across the surface of the water and accelerating once again towards her next destination.

Link to comment

Sydney, Australia [11]

Megan was able to spot to glow of Sydney from several miles out thanks to the technology in her goggles. At the speed she was traveling, it was only a few moments later than she was making her way into Sydney Harbour, slowing down some as she came into the congested area and zipping between boats and yachts.

Up ahead, Megan could see the Harbour Bridge, the focal point of Sydney's New Year's celebration. This was going to be the first truly major celebration Megan would visit, regularly drawing a million people to watch the midnight fireworks display, and with close to a billion others watching the event on TV throughout the world.

As Megan headed towards the bridge, the Sydney Opera House was visible on her left. She had decided to try to join the crowds in the Circular Quay, the section of the city just at the northern end of the central business district, located between the opera house and the Harbour Bridge. Passing the opera house, Megan steered left, speeding in towards the bright glow of central business district and the ferry wharf in the Circular Quay.

The waterfronts all around the harbor and the bridge were crowded with people, but the Circular Quay seemed even more so. Megan ran up towards one of the ferry wharfs, up onto a dock and then up a ramp towards the crowded street above. As had been the case elsewhere, there was a small commotion caused by the sudden appearance of the yellow clad speedster in the midst of the revelers. But it was not long before Megan was mingling with the crowd, talking with people, signing the occasional autograph and otherwise enjoying the festive atmosphere.

Though the night air was cooler here than it had been in the Marshall Islands, it certainly did not feel it among the crowd that was gathered. There was music playing at various points along the quay, with Megan stopping a couple of times to dance for a little while. With the energy and excitement that seemed to fill the air, it was easy for time to just slip by, and before Megan knew it, the music stopped and the crowds all turned to look towards the Harbour Bridge as the final countdown towards the New Year began to be displayed on the pylons of the bridge. The countdown from the crowd was almost deafening, with Megan barely able to hear her own voice as she joined in.

But the noise of the countdown was quickly eclipsed by the cries of "HAPPY NEW YEAR" that sounded out as the countdown reached zero, along with the sound of fog horns echoing from boats out in the harbor. It was just at that moment, that the spectacular opening of the midnight fireworks show erupted from the Harbour Bridge and several barges out in the harbor, lighting up the night sky. Megan joined the cheers from the crowd as she watched the exploding fireworks, which continued on for another ten minutes or so.

Eventually, the show came to its end, and the last echo of exploding fireworks died away. There were final cheers from the crowds, which appeared more than ready to continue the celebration for hours to come. But Megan was already off away from the crowds, running across the surface of the harbor once more as she headed out to sea. The fireworks celebration had lasted a good while, and she had a long leg ahead of her before her next stop, and did not want to delay too much more. As soon as she cleared the harbor, she accelerated to supersonic speeds once more.

Link to comment

Guam [11]

More than three thousand miles later, Megan arrived at the southern end of Guam, running up ashore and quickly heading towards the western side of the island before turning north. Yet again she found herself in rather warm and humid tropical conditions. Her path took her up through Guam's capital, Hagatna and past Tumon Bay, with it row of large hotel resorts crowded with Japanese tourists. While the hotel row at Tumon Bay looked to be set for a large New Year's celebration, Megan had another destination in mind for this stop, and continued past.

When Megan had thought up with her plan for this New Year's and begun researching places to visit around the world, there were a few time zones that had proven difficult to come up with good destinations. That was until she had realized that there were US military installations in many of those time zones. So she had spoke with Captain Thunder, and he had helped her get authorization from the Pentagon for a few stops, the first one being here on Guam.

A very short while later, she had arrived at the far northeastern corner of the island and Andersen Air Force Base. Megan took a few moments to stop in a woman’s restroom in one of the administration buildings to change into a clean costume and freshen up a bit. Then she was off again, and, in a matter of seconds, arrived at the base’s enlisted club.

The club was crowded with US airmen and women dancing and socializing as they waited for the arrival of the New Year. Velocity's arrival in the club caused something of a stir, and she was soon facing a crowd of service men and women who had come over for the chance to meet her and maybe have their picture taken with her. Megan maintained a wide smile as she greeted each of the men and women who come over to meet her, posing for the pictures for those that wanted one, and being sure to thank each and every one of them for their service. She politely declined offers to buy her a drink, but did take a bottle of water.

Meeting with the service men and women present took some time, but eventually everyone that was interested in meeting the superheroine had made their way over, and Megan was able to get out onto the dance floor as they waited for the New Year to arrive. Among the songs played before midnight was the somewhat obligatory, 1999 by Prince. The remaining time passed quickly, and soon the DJ stopped the music in the club to lead those gathered in the final countdown for the arrival of 2013.

"HAPPY NEW YEAR!" Megan shouted along with the crowd of airmen and women, turning to kiss or hug those nearby. After a few moments, the music started up again, and Megan joined the crowd as they returned to dancing. Among the first songs the DJ played once things started up again was Gangnam Style by Psy.

After about a quarter of an hour, Megan started towards the exit, saying goodbye to many as she went and once again thanking them for their service. A short while later she was outside and heading off towards the nearest beach located on the base. It was only moments later that she was speeding off across the water towards her next stop.

Link to comment

Tokyo, Japan [11]

People were bundled from the cold as they made their way down the sidewalks of Minato, one of the special wards of Tokyo. Though the hour was late, the sidewalks were filled with people, making their way towards some gathering or another to greet the coming of the New Year. Suddenly, a yellow streak sped by, zipping down the street with a *WOOOSH* and a gust of wind in its wake.

Megan came to a halt at an intersection within sight of the imposing Tokyo Tower. Her sudden appearance caused a bit of a stir among those making their way along the sidewalk, but she just gave them a small smile and a wave before focusing back on the massive structure. Generally resembling the Eiffel Tower, the structure was illuminated with orange lights that made the tower stand out in the dark night air, appearing almost to be a massive column of flame.

Megan's breath hung in the cold night air as she pulled a yellow micro-fleece jacket from her backpack and put it on. Directly ahead of her, lying within the shadow of Tokyo Tower, was Zojo-ji Temple, the destination of many of those who had been making their way down the sidewalks, and Megan's as well. Megan could make out the main gate to the temple a couple of blocks away. With a quick burst of speed, Megan closed the distance to the main gate, slowing down and joining the crowd of people making their way into the temple complex.

The temple's main gate was a large, several story wooden structure of traditional Japanese design with peaked roofs. Megan glanced at some information she had printed off about Zojo-ji Temple. The gate had a long Japanese name that she could not pronounce, but it translated as "Three Release Gate," as it was believed that all who passed through would be relieved from three human faults: greed, anger and stupidity. Megan passed through one of the three openings in the gate along with the crowd and into the sprawling compound beyond.

The central grounds of the temple were lit by strings of lanterns had been hung throughout the compound, along with other temporary lighting. Just beyond the main gate, rows of food stalls had been set up, where all manner of traditional Japanese foods was being prepared. While the smell of the various foods cooking was certainly inviting, Megan choose to avoid the crowds that were gathered around them, instead making her way off to one side of the main path through the temple complex.

The little detour Megan had chosen took her past the temple's cemetery. This section of the temple grounds was much darker than the main paths that had been provided additional lighting for the night's events, leaving the walkways and grounds cast in a shadowy orange light, with Tokyo Tower shinning against the night sky above.

Megan's path took her past a section of the cemetery that she stopped at, looking out at rows of hundreds of small, child sized statutes. This was the jizo garden, something she had read about online when she had researched the temple as a potential stop for New Year's. Each of the small jizo statutes represented a child lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, or even abortion. Parents were able to choose one of the statutes in the garden, decorating it with small clothing, such as a hat or a bib. Many included toys as well, with quite a few having small pinwheels, which turned slowly in the gentle breeze blowing through the temple compound. The sounds of the crowds along the main walkways seemed so distantly faint in the still, tranquil air of the garden. The sight of all the rows of decorated statutes could not but help remind Megan that for all her powers allowed her to do as Velocity, there was still many things beyond her ability to help.

After a few moments, the young woman started off once again along the walkway that went by the solemn rows of small statues. As she went, she reached up under her goggles to brush away the wetness that had been forming in her eyes.

Megan's route soon reconnected with the more crowded main walkways, with her arriving near the temple’s massive, 15 ton bell. The balcony around the bell had been decorated for the evening's ceremony. Megan knew from her research that at midnight, the bell would be rung 108 times in order to "purify" those listening of their 108 mortal sins.

Megan continued past the bell, soon reaching the edge of the large courtyard in front of the Daiden, the main hall of Zojo-ji. Thousands of people were gathered in the courtyards, many of them holding small helium balloons. Megan had read that these balloons contained New Year's wishes, and at midnight, they would be released into the sky as part of the celebration. Glancing at one of the clocks that had been set up in the courtyard, Megan saw there was less than ten minutes left until midnight, so she decided her present spot was likely a good one to wait for the final countdown.

Those final minutes seemed to inch by for Megan, particularly given the cold of the night air. But eventually, the final countdown began, in Japanese of course, and though audible, it was not were near as loud as had been the case in most of Megan's previous stops. As the final second of 2012 was counted off, there were cheers and a loud "WOOO" from the crowd, though again, not nearly as deafening as had been the case in Auckland or Sydney. Like thousands of giant soap bubbles, the balloons soared up into the night air, swirling around in the wind before vanishing into the darkness.

The first *GONG* of the temple bell sounded over the cheers of the crowd, hushing some of those gathered as the second followed soon after. Most of the orange lights on Tokyo Tower had been turned off, and in their place were rows of white lights, and 2013 along the midpoint of the tower.

The temple bell continued to ring, as the crowd in the courtyard began to settle down as they prepared to make their way into the Daiden. Megan had read about this Japanese tradition online as well, the hatsumode, or first temple or shire visit of the year. While Megan was interested in seeing the inside of the Daiden, the crowd to get in was massive, and she had a lot more stops planned. She did wait until the final ringing of the temple bell, a process which took about ten minutes or so.

Megan took a few more moments to look out over the crowd as they began their wait to get into the temple for their first temple visit of 2013. Zojo-ji Temple had been considerably more laid back than most of her prior stops (and many of the ones she had yet to make), but it had been a nice change of pace, and Megan was glad she had chosen to come to here as opposed to some of the other choices she had considered around Tokyo. After allowing herself a few moments, the young woman was off in a blur of movement, moving along the edges of the crowd as she made her way towards a side exit from the temple. Soon she was accelerating through the streets of Tokyo, waving easily through traffic that seemed almost to be standing still.

Link to comment

Hong Kong [11]

A short while later, Megan was skimming across the surface of the South China Sea, rapidly approaching the southern shore of Hong Kong Island. Making landfall, the speedster first made her way towards the western end of the island, coming to a halt at the top of Victoria Peak.

Down below her was the impressive spectacle of Hong Kong's skyline. Nearest to Megan were the massive skyscrapers that made up the Hong Kong Island side of the city, stretching along much of the northern shore of the island. Then there was the dark waters of Victoria Harbour, stretching from east to west like a black ribbon, occasionally spotted with the lights of boats and ferries plying its waters. Then, on the opposite shore, were the lights and buildings of Kowloon, the northern half of Hong Kong located on the mainland.

Megan took a couple of deep breaths as she took in the sights below her as she took a drink from one of the bottles of water she had brought along. Though cooler than some of the places she had stopped thus far, at about sixty degrees, it was considerably warmer than Tokyo had been, and her micro-fleece jacket was already stored once again in the small backpack she was wearing.

After a minute or so, she knew it was likely time to be moving on to where she wanted to try to watch the New Year's festivities. Speeding off, Megan first headed down towards the Hong Kong Island side of the harbor, taking a few minutes to take in some of the sites of that part of the city. Among those was Hong Kong's Times Square shopping centre, located in Causeway Bay, a shopping district of the city that was known for having the highest rental prices for retail space in the world. Following its namesake, the Times Square shopping centre used its front plaza to host a midnight countdown.

While Megan might normally be inclined to stop where there was the potential for some shopping, she had selected what she believed to be a far better location to witness the most spectacular New Year’s celebration in Hong Kong. Continuing on, the young woman soon reached the waterfront, where thousands of people were gathered. A few moments later, she was running across the water of the harbor, making her way over towards the Kowloon side.

Once ashore in Kowloon, it only took Megan a few moments to find the location she was looking for, Hong Kong's Avenue of Stars. Patterned after the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Avenue of the Stars was a promenade running along part of the Kowloon side of the harbor with a number of attractions honoring the celebrities of the Hong Kong film industry. It also happened to be directly across from the central business district on Hong Kong Island, making it the perfect place to watch the New Year's celebration that would be taking place.

While the promenade was rather crowded, Megan was able to slip in, as she began making her way along the promenade, looking for a good place to watch the celebration and looking at some of the attractions along the way. Among those was a long reflecting pool and the Tsim Sha Tusi Clock Tower, a nearly 100 year old structure that was the only remaining part of the original Kowloon Station along the Kowloon-Canton Railway. While there were far too many people for Megan to have a chance to look at any of the plaques along the promenade in honor of the Hong Kong film industry celebrities, she did have a chance to see the two and a half meter tall bronze statue of Bruce Lee.

Eventually Megan reached a point along the promenade which appeared to be a good spot from which to watch the New Year’s celebration. She was almost directly across from her stood Tower 2 of the International Financial Centre, the second tallest building in Hong Kong, and the focal point of the largest New Year's celebration in the city. The young woman turned to regard some of the crowd around her, flashing a warm smile as a few of those nearby took her picture.

Eventually, it was almost midnight, and the noise of the crowd began to die down as an LED lights 60-second numerical countdown began to be displayed on the façade of Two International Financial Centre. A few voices in the crowd could be heard joining the start of the countdown, and the number grew as it go closer and closer to zero. By the time the final ten seconds of 2012 began to tick away, the entire crowd around Megan, and Megan herself, had joined the countdown. As the countdown reached zero, cheers of "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" sounded, both in English and Chinese. The face of Two International Financial Center displayed "2013" in LED lights, as fireworks began launching from the sides and top of the building, as well as some of the neighboring buildings.

The crowds were cheering as the fireworks display continued for a short while. Then, as soon as it ended, Hong Kong's Symphony of Lights began. With some 44 buildings, on both sides of the harbor, participating, the Symphony of Lights was a dazzling, ten minute multimedia display, involving LED and other projection lighting displays on the faces of many of the buildings;, searchlights and lasers; and music and narration which played from speakers on both sides of the harbor. Fireworks launching from the roofs of some of the buildings were also included in the show. Megan joined the crowd around her in cheering during parts of the show.

As the last of the fireworks faded, the lights of the show dimming, and the music ended, many in the crowds began to start dispersing, while others remained where they were, not yet ready for the celebrations to end. For Megan, it was time to be on the way to her next stop. Zipping away from the crowds, she ran out onto one of the ferry piers and then out over the surface of the harbor, as she continued to accelerate in speed, heading for the western end of the harbor in order to start out to sea once again.

Link to comment

Bangkok, Thailand [11]

After leaving Hong Kong, Megan had headed south along the surface of the South China Sea, making her way around the southern tip of Vietnam. From there she turned north into the Gulf of Thailand, making her way towards the northwestern tip of the gulf, known as the Bay (or Bight) of Bangkok. From there, she followed the Chao Phraya River upstream, only having to go a short distance before she reached the city of Bangkok.

With a population of over eight million, Bangkok was some forty times larger than the next largest city in Thailand. Naturally, there were a number of options throughout the city that Megan had considered on where to go to see the arrival of the New Year. Having a bit of time before midnight, Megan decided to stop by to see one of the other locations that she had considered.

That location was CentralWorld, Bangkok's largest shopping complex (and the third largest shopping complex in the world). Some 200,000 people were packed into the plaza in front of the mall, enjoying a music and light show. Megan stuck to the edges of the crowd, taking some time to listen to the music and enjoy the light show.

After about a quarter of an hour at CentralWorld, Megan moved on to where she intended to be for the arrival of the New Year, Sanam Luang in the old city. A large open field and public square next to Wat Phra Kaew temple and the Grand Palace, Sanam Luang was one of the major focal points for the New Year’s celebrations in Bangkok. Spaced throughout the square were multiple stages, featuring Thai dance performances, traditional and contemporary music shows.

Naturally, the square was packed with hundreds of thousands of people, but Megan could not help but smile at the energy the festive environment generated. Slipping into the crowd, she began making her way around to several of the stages to get a chance to view some of the performances as she waited for the arrival of the New Year. As had been the case at so many other stops, Megan presence the crowd attracted some attention, but though some occasionally snapped a picture of the young speedster, most left her be as she took in the performances.

By the time the final minutes of 2012 arrived, Megan had managed to make her way over towards the banks of the Chao Phraya and the edge of the crowds. The excitement in the crowd had increased as midnight drew near, and before too long the various music performances had stopped. Somewhere in the square, an announcer began leading the crowd in a countdown, which of course was in Thai, so Megan was not able to quite follow where they were in the countdown, but she did her best to try to follow along with what everyone around her was chanting. It was easy to tell when they had reached the end of the countdown, as the cheers and yells that erupted from the crowd far overshadowed the countdown.

Moments later the fireworks display began, with cheers from the crowd as the bright explosions erupted over Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace. However, the fireworks display was not even half over when Megan was off again, running out over the surface of the Chao Phraya as she headed south back towards the Gulf of Thailand. As she passed through the other parts of the city, fireworks erupted above her as part of other displays. While Megan would have liked to stay a little longer, the next leg of her trip was a long one, and she wanted to get to her next destination with as much time before midnight as possible.

Link to comment

Diego Garcia [11]

Megan had been running across the surface of the Indian Ocean for several minutes, moving at many times the speed of sound. Finally, her destination came into sight, and she slowed down slightly as the approached a footprint shaped coral atoll. As had been the case in Guam, Velocity's visit to the US Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia had been arranged with the Pentagon by Captain Thunder. Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, almost a thousand miles south of India, the remote atoll was home to several thousand US Navy and Air Force personnel. Megan figured that stopping by to help them greet the New Year was the least she could do.

Making landfall, the young speedster was soon zipping along the service roads that connected the various military installations on the island on her way to the main base for the Navy support facility. Sitting only a little above the equator, the night air was very warm and humid. I really need to talk to Dr Atom about getting a morphic molecule bikini. The speedster thought to herself. Or at least a bike short and sports bra version of my costume.

It took only moments before Megan reached the main part of the Navy support facility. She could see lights and hear the sound of music coming from a large stretch of beach at this part of the island, but first she had a small stop to make that had also been prearranged. Continuing on, she came to one of the barracks on the base, spotting a woman about her age waiting out in front.

Skidding to a halt a short way from the woman, Megan called out a greeting. "Evening. Petty Officer Harris I presume?"

The young woman jumped slightly at the speedster’s sudden appearance, but then recovered as she nodded. "Yes. Wow, it is really you, I was still having trouble believing that you would make it out here."

"I wouldn't have missed it." Megan replied with a smile. "But we should get moving so we can get to the party." She then added.

"Right, of course." Petty Officer Harris replied, leading the superheroine into the women's barracks. The Petty Officer guided Megan to a currently unused room that had its own bathroom and shower. As the other young woman waited out in the hallway, Megan took the opportunity to take a very quick shower and then change into another clean costume. Within five minutes, she and Petty Officer Harris were back outside and on their way towards the New Year's party taking place on the nearby beach.

As they made their way to the party, Megan learned that Petty Officer Harris had actually grown up in Hanover, and admitted to having seen the young superheroine there before. Megan made sure that she thanked the young woman for her service.

When they arrived at the long stretch of beach, Megan found it crowded with military personnel. Flood lights had been set up along the edge of the beach and a sound system had been set up as well. There was a bar and Megan could smell barbeques cooking from somewhere as well.

Megan met with the base commander and several of the officers first, who thanked her for taking the time to stop by to meet the personnel stationed on the island. While Petty Officer Harris went to get Megan a coffee and some food, she began greeting the first crowd of service men and women made their way over to her. She shook hands, signed autographs and posed for pictures. As she had when visiting the military personnel on Guam, Megan made sure that she thanked each and every person she spoke with for their service to the country.

Time seemed to fly for Megan as she meet with all the gathered military personnel , or at least those interested in meeting the superheroine. During the process, the young woman somehow managed to eat the plate of food Petty Officer Harris had brought her, and drink a couple of cups of coffee. It was not long after she had posed for her last photograph with some sailors that the music stopped and people began to gather together to countdown the final moments of 2012 in this part of the world.

As the cries of "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" rang out across the beach, Megan found herself in the middle of the crowd of service men and women gathered there. The young speedster kissed several of the service men nearby, and hugged a number of the women as a small fireworks display began from further down the beach. When the music started again, Megan was more than happy to join with the part of the gathered crowd that began dancing.

Finally, after having been at the beach celebration for a little more than an hour, Megan started to work her way out of the crowd of military personnel. As she went, she said farewells and again was thanking those she spoke with for their service, but generally moved a little quicker as she went. After stopping to say goodbye to the base commander, who again thanked the young superheroine for making an appearance, Megan then made sure to say goodbye to Petty Officer Harris.

Then, in a blur of movement, the speedster was off down the beach, sand kicking up behind her as she sped by. She traveled a little ways up the beach from the gathering before turning towards the water and accelerating with a loud *CRACK* followed by a rumbling *BOOM.* There were some cheers from among the crowd gathered on the beach at the display of her powers, but Megan never heard them, as she was already far out to sea, and moving several times the speed of sound.

Link to comment

Kuda Huraa, the Republic of Maldives [11]

Megan streaked across the surface of the Indian Ocean as she ran past the southern atolls of the Maldives, each consisting of dozens of small islands. The country was made up of almost 1,200 islands, gathered into a number of atolls that stretched over 500 miles from North to South. The young woman knew from experience that during the day and from the air, the lush islands looked like small emeralds spread out across an azure field.

Almost nine months ago, she had been here on vacation during Easter Holiday with Robert, the son of an English Earl she had dated while studying at Cambridge. That trip had been part of the reason she had thought to stop here tonight to see the arrival of the New Year in this time zone. But now that she was here, and memories of that trip (and their subsequent breakup only a little more than a month after) were coming back more vividly, Megan was regretting her decision. A part of her wanted to keep on going and pass this stop by, but Megan resisted that urge as she arrived at the location she had planned to visit.

The young speedster came to a halt along a stretch of beach on the island of Kuda Huraa. Up ahead of her, further down the beach, could be seen the dark shapes of the thatched roofs of the Four Seasons Resort. This resort had been where Megan had spent the first half of her vacation with Robert, with the second half being at the resort's sister property on Landaa Giraavaru. Megan could hear music and voices from one of the resort’s beach bars, likely where it was holding its New Year’s celebration for its guests.

The young woman stood there a few moments, looking at the lights of the resort. She had intended to join the celebration being hosted but the resort, but now, she was not certain she was up to socializing at the moment. And why should I have to? Megan thought to herself. I’ve been on the go for over nine hours, seen the arrival of the New Year in nine other time zones already, and I am not even halfway done! I think I deserve a little time to myself for this turn of the New Year.

Turning away from the resort, Megan faced the opposite direction on the beach. A quick scan of the area with the nightvision technology in her goggles satisfied Megan that the beach was deserted. Reaching up with one hand, she removed her mask, goggles and brunette wig, shaking out her long blonde hair as it came free. She also removed her boots and socks, and then started off down the beach, walking along the water's edge, the waves gently washing up to her bare feet from time to time.

As she walked, Megan could not help but have her thoughts drift back to Robert. Even eight months and a couple of less serious relationships later, her break up with Robert still generated a lot of raw emotion for the young woman. The six months Megan had been with Robert qualified as one of her longer romantic relationships. While such a poor relationship record normally might be something Megan should be concerned about, she also knew that root cause of the relationship problems was anything but normal.

I'm a superhero. She thought, as she glanced down at the mask, goggles and wig in her right hand. And the desire to keep that identity a secret tended to result in Megan being secretive with boyfriends, and often having to lie about her whereabouts at times, which caused trust problems with some of those past boyfriends, Robert included. Many times Megan wondered if telling someone, like Robert, about her identity as Velocity would have helped deal with those trust problems. But she had never been able to quite figure out at what point she could trust someone enough with a secret that she had kept from even her parents for the last six years.

And therein lies the Catch 22. She thought to herself, as she came to a stop out on a sand bar she had followed off the main beach. How do you keep a relationship going long enough to feel you can trust someone with a secret without them deciding they can’t trust you because of the secret and the lies you tell to keep it. Turning back to face the direction of the resort, she sat down in the sand.

As if trying to find the answer to that problem was not difficult enough, it was further complicated by what had led to a number of her other relationships ending quickly. On the occasions where her boyfriends were either oblivious to, or just did not care about, Megan's secrecy and lies, the young blonde had found herself growing bored with the relationship, and ended things herself. A number of times Megan's boredom had been for the best, as the boyfriends in question made it rather inevitable that the relationship would not last. But in a few cases, the boyfriends in question had been perfectly nice guys. This had Megan occasionally wondering whether the same sort of feeling might eventually set in even with guys she really liked, such as Robert.

Yeah, wouldn't that just be great, the young woman thought to herself, I decide to tell a guy my secret identity in order to save the relationship, only to later get bored and break up anyway. She let out a small sigh as she blew a lock of blonde hair out of her face.

Of course, the seemingly simple solution would be to give up being Velocity and just try to lead a normal life. But Megan had tried that during her second year at Yale, and it had only lasted a few months. While the attempt had been while she was in her longest relationship to date, Megan had also felt as if she was going to go crazy from boredom and lack of activity. No amount of exercising, partying or spending time with her boyfriend had been able to fully alleviate the restless feelings. Megan may not have ever needed to use her powers to be a superhero, but now, whether it was because using her powers was addictive, or just something natural like breathing, being Velocity was part of who she was.

Looking at her watch to see how close it was to midnight, Megan was surprised to see it was still twenty minutes till. The blonde young woman let out a sigh as she rolled her eyes. Figures! I can't even soul search at a normal speed. Looking back across the water towards the resort, she could still hear the faint sounds of music drifting down the beach. Well, I’m here, and there is still time till midnight. Might as well join the party. She thought, and in a flash, she was back on her feet, her mask, goggles, wig and boots all back on.

"Okay, I’m here to have fun, so forget about Robert and all that other stuff." She said to herself. "After all, it’s the start of a New Year, so who knows what can happen!" Taking a deep breath, the speedster zipped back up the beach and towards the resort.

Drawing on skill she had perfected as a cheerleader, Megan had a smile on her face and a bubbly attitude as she joined the part being held at the resort's Reef Club. Her cheerful attitude, fake though it was, quickly overcame the surprise caused by her sudden appearance, as she chatted with revelers, posed for some pictures and then joined those dancing to the live music. The festive atmosphere was rather contagious, and it was not long before Megan was not having to fake her smile. The memories of Robert, and the painful emotions associated with them, receded into the background, and the young woman began to feel excited again about the prospects of the New Year.

It was not long before Megan was once again counting down the final moments of 2012 and joining the resort guests in shouting "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" After watching the brief fireworks display put on by the resort, the speedster was off again, ready to continue on to her next destination in order to welcome the arrival of the New Year yet again.

Link to comment

Dubai, United Arab Emirates [11]

Megan was skimming across the surface of the Persian Gulf, following along its southwestern coastline. Up ahead she could make out her destination. Dubai appeared as a glowing oasis of light against the empty darkness of the desert around it. Glancing down at her watch, she saw she had a considerable amount of time before midnight, so she could do a little bit of sightseeing at a rather leisurely pace of a couple hundred miles an hour before stopping to watch a celebration.

Her first stop in the city was, perhaps unsurprisingly, Burj Khalifa. Looking up at the towering building that reached over 2,700 feet into the air, the young speedster could not help but feel a sense of awe. "Wow!" She muttered quietly as she stared up at the tallest building in the world. For a brief moment she considered zipping up the side of the building to see what the view was like from up by the base of the building's spire.

But Megan resisted that urge, knowing that one of Dubai’s major fireworks displays centered around Burj Khalifa, and a number of fireworks launchers had been affixed to the outside of the building. The last thing she wanted to do was to accidently do anything that would mess up the display, let alone cause a possible fire hazard. So, she satisfied herself with zipping around the base of the massive building, viewing it from several different angles. After spending a few minutes marveling at the massive skyscraper, the yellow clad speedster was then off once again, a blur speeding down the streets of Dubai.

Megan next stop was the Khalid bin Al Waleed Station for the Dubai Metro rail line, located next to BurJuman shopping mall. The interior of the station was very sleek, with lots of reflective surfaces and neon lighting that made Megan feel as if she was in a nightclub instead of a rail station.

As Megan was making her way through the extravagant metro station, she happened upon a directory for the BurJuman mall and decided to take a glance. Her mouth dropped open slightly as she saw the extensive list of high end women’s fashion stores. Channel, Dior, Prada, Versace, and many, many more. They even have a Valege lingerie store! She noted. Why don't I just come here to shop? There is pretty much everything I might want to look at! Managing to pull herself away from the directory, the young woman zipped out of the rail station and back into the city for a little more sightseeing.

Her next stop was the Palm Jumeirah, the first artificial archipelago created along the Dubai coastline. Speeding along the central tree truck of the palm tree design for the archipelago, Megan reached "crown", which consisted of 16 "fronds", each covered with large villas and exclusive apartment complexes. Though quite a few of the villas seemed to be hosting large parties, Megan continued by, coming to a stop at the top of the crown and looking across to the center of the large, central crescent island which capped the palm tree design.

Situated in the middle of the crescent was the Atlantis Palm Resort. Though Megan did not doubt that there would be some sort of New Year's celebration at the Atlantis Palm, she had a different venue in mind for watching the celebrations in Dubai. Turning to retrace her steps back to the main coastline, Megan then turned west, following the coastline. Her route took her past the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, which was located next to a water park.

It was only a short ways further down the coastline that Megan reached her destination, the private curved bridge that connected the Dubai mainland with the artificial island on which stood the Burj Al Arab. The towering luxury hotel with its curved exterior, built to resemble the sail of a dhow, was quite impressive. Thousands of people were lined up on the bridge leading out to the hotel, waiting for the fireworks display that would come with the arrival of midnight. Thousands more were lining the coastline. Megan joined that later group, taking a positing near the beginning of the bridge. One of the advantages of the location, was that in addition to the Burj Al Arab, the technology in her goggles also allowed Megan to see the not too distant Burj Khalifa as well.

It was not too long after Megan had found her spot that the final moments of 2012 began to tick away. The young woman joined the chanting of the crowd as they counted down the final seconds. As the cheers and cries for the New Year sounded out, the fireworks displays began around the city. The Burj Al Arab's included a laser light show on its "sail," along with fireworks launching all around the building. Meanwhile, at the Burj Khalifa, the massive tower itself was used as a launch platform for horizontal fireworks along with vertical launches from areas around its base. There were a number of other fireworks displays around the city, but Megan did not focus on them much.

The displays lasted for about ten minutes or so, before the final fireworks exploded, the night sky darkening once again to the faint orange glow generated by the city's lights. As the cheers died down and the crowds began to disperse, Megan knew it was time to move on to her next stop. With a burst of speed, she weaved through the crowd and down to the nearby beach and out over the waters of the Persian Gulf. Accelerating as she pulled away from the coastline, she headed back towards the east, to make her way out of the gulf.

Link to comment

The Gulf of Aden [11]

Megan streaked across the surface of the Gulf of Aden, which she had been searching for about the last three minutes. Once again, Captain Thunder had helped to arrange this stop with the Pentagon, and while Megan had been provided the general area where she would be able to find the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson at this time tonight, it was still a rather large area to search. But finally she had spotted the dark form of the Nimitz class supercarrier.

With a crew of over 6,000 sailors and Marines, the Carl Vinson was like a miniature floating city, and Megan would be on hand as they welcomed the New Year in this part of the world. Speeding over to the carrier, the speedster slowed some before running up the side of the ship in a blink of an eye, weaved across the flight deck and then over to the central tower and up to the bridge. The yellow clad speedster’s sudden appearance on the bridge cause a number of the sailors there to start slightly with surprise.

Focusing on a junior officer in his mid-twenties who appeared to be the officer on duty, Megan flashed a wide smile and gave a small salute. "Velocity requesting permission to come aboard sir."

The young officer recovered his composure as he returned the salute. "Permission granted."

With the formality out of the way, Megan turned to regard the various sailors currently stationed on the bridge. Zipping over to the nearest, she greeted him, shaking his hand and thanking him for his service before moving on to the next. It did not take long before she had spoken with all the sailors on the bridge. At that point, the junior officer led her off the bridge and down into the lower levels of the carrier, taking her to the ship's captain.

The captain was in his quarters, finishing up some of the endless paperwork that went with operating the massive carrier. The captain was a rather unassuming man in his early fifties, and he thanked the young superheroine for taking the time to visit with some of his crew. After sending the junior officer back to the bridge, the captain led Megan the rest of the way to where the ship would be having its New Year's celebration.

The word of Velocity's arrival had apparently spread from the bridge, as they found a number of sailors gathered in doorways and side passages along their route to catch a glimpse of the superheroine. Soon they arrived at the hanger beneath the carrier's flight deck. A section of the hanger had been cleared and turned into an impromptu dance floor. At least a thousand men and women, sailors and Marines, were gathered there. Some were dancing to music being played by a crewmember on a small stage who was acting as the DJ. Others were clustered in groups around those dancing, chatting or enjoying some of the food that was set up along one of the walls.

As the captain led Megan around the periphery of the crowd, many of those near the edges noted their passage and turned to tell others near them. By the time the captain and Megan had reached the stage, the DJ had stopped the music and now everyone gathered in the hanger was focused on the captain and the yellow clad speedster.

Taking a microphone from the DJ, the captain walked out to the center of the small stage, as Megan stopped next to the DJ's table. Already flashes were going off among the crowd as some of those gathered took pictures with cameras or phones. The captain greeted the gathered crew members, who responded with cheers, and then introduced the yellow clad speedster. Stepping back towards the DJ's table, he held out the microphone for Megan as more cheers and applause erupted from the crowd.

Great, no one said anything about having to give a speech! Megan thought as she took the microphone, managing to keep a broad smile on her face. Okay, just relax, it can’t be any harder than cheerleading. The young woman thought as she made her way to the middle of the stage. As the cheers subsided there were more than a few wolf-whistles, which caused a round of laughter among the gathered crew.

Megan played along with the mood, striking a sexy pose for a moment, which generated more cheers and whistles. When the crowd finally calmed back down, she took a deep breath. "Thank you everyone for the warm welcome. I want to say that I am honored at this opportunity to be able to get to met so many brave service men and women and spend a bit of time with all of you. Every day, each of you, along with a million other members of our armed forces around the world, put your lives at risk for all of us back home. Even us superheroes." Megan paused for a moment as cheers came from the crowd.

"You do so without superpowers, without the ability to pick up a bus, or run faster than a bullet. You do so only with your courage, and your skill, and the courage and skill of those beside you. That you continue to do so, regardless of the odds, day in and day out is awe inspiring." There was some more cheering, and applause, and then the superheroine continued, "I know Captain Thunder, Lady Liberty and the rest of the Freedom League would all agree as I say thank you for your service to our great country!" More cheers and applause erupted from the crowd, and Megan had to wait a few moments for it to subside some, but then yelled out over the noise, "now I am going to do my best to try and met each and every one of you, but in the meantime, I have a question. Are you all ready to welcome 2013?"

The cheers in the affirmative were almost deafening, the sound echoing within the massive hanger. Megan pointed over to the DJ, who began the music once again. As many in the crowd began dancing once again, Megan dropped the microphone off with the DJ before exiting the small stage to one side, immediately to be greeted by the nearest members of the crowd. From then on everything seemed to be something of a blur of activity, as Megan shook hands, signed autographs and posed for pictures. Someone brought her a cup of coffee and a plate of food, which the young speedster somehow managed to eat while making her way through the crowd.

By the time music stopped again for the arrival of midnight, Megan was in the middle of the crowd on the improvised dance floor. Energetically joining the countdown of the final seconds of the year, her voice was lost among the rest of the crowd as everyone gathered down in the hanger yelled "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" when the last second ticked away. Megan hugged the nearby service women, and kissed several of the male sailors and Marines who were around her, allowing her kiss with one particularly cute Marine to last a second or so longer than the others.

Soon the music started up again, and Megan and the crowd around her resumed dancing once again. Megan allowed herself to spend another quarter of an hour dancing with the sailors and Marines gathered in the Carl Vinson's hanger. Then she began to make her way out of the crowd, saying goodbye to the service men and women as she went. Stopping by briefly to say goodbye to the captain, who once again thanked her for making the appearance, the speedster was then off, zipping back up to the flight deck of the carrier and then down its side and back across the surface of the water.

Link to comment

Athens, Greece [11]

After leaving the Carl Vinson, Megan's route had taken her up through the Red Sea, then across the Sinai Peninsula. She had then crossed the eastern end of the Mediterranean, making landfall in Greece not far from Athens.

Her first stop in the city was Klafthmonos Square, where an open air concert by several classical ensembles was already underway. Tens of thousands were gathered in the square, braving the cold night air to attend the concert and be on hand to welcome in a New Year. Megan stayed along the edges of the crowd, as she intended to move to another location in the city just before the arrival of midnight and the New Year. The classical music provided a nice change of pace from several of Megan’s more recent stops, allowing her to relax for a little while.

Megan allowed herself to spend about a quarter of an hour listening to the performance, drinking one of the bottled waters she had brought with her as she did. Then she was off again, zipping down the streets of the city, making her way towards her final stop before the arrival of midnight. It did not take her long, even at only a couple of hundred miles an hour, before she had joined a crowd of people gathered at a small city square that had a clear view of the Acropolis. Atop the summit of the Acropolis, glowing orange in the artificial lighting, stood the Parthenon. Scaffolding was visible around its exterior, a sign of the massive restoration efforts to reverse more than two thousand years of damage to the structure.

It was not long after Megan had found a suitable vantage point when the crowd around her and elsewhere around the base of the Acropolis began the countdown to the New Year. At least, Megan thought it was the countdown, as it was in Greek, but it certainly had the rhythm of a countdown. Soon the crowd appeared to reach the end, as they began cheering and shouting (again in Greek). The dull BOOM of firework explosions echoed over the cheers of the crowd, as the night sky above the Parthenon was lit up by the exploding fireworks. Megan joined the cheering of the crowd around her as she watched the fireworks display above the ancient building.

When it finally came to an end, the speedster slipped away from the crowd and began speeding off down the streets of Athens to start her trip towards her next destination.

Link to comment

Krakow, Poland [11]

The calm night air was just below freezing in the city of Krakow. But despite the cold, close to two hundred thousand people were gathered in the Main Market Square in the center of the city, enjoying an open air concert as they waited for the arrival of the New Year.

A streak of yellow appeared along one of the edges of the square, as Megan came to a halt near the massive crowd of people. After leaving Athens, Megan had not taken the most direct route to Krakow, instead making a few stops along the way. First she had gone through Budapest, Hungry to see where some of the New Year's gatherings in the city. Then she had made a wider detour, stopping in Prague, the Czech Republic, where the fireworks shows had started before noon and had been steadily increasing as midnight drew closer.

Once again she had on her yellow micro-fleece to help with the cold night air. Smiling at some of the nearby crowd who notice her sudden appearance, Megan gave a small wave as a couple of people took her picture. She then started off along the edge of the square, moving in among the crowd as she listened to the music that filed the square. While Megan did not recognize the singer who was currently performing, she sounded pretty good. The people in the crowd certainly seemed to be enjoying the performance, which helped Megan appreciate the experience as well.

The young speedster's passage through the crowd often resulted in stares, but for the most part those she went by simply focused back on enjoying the concert and waiting for midnight to arrive. Occasionally some in the crowd came over to confirm, often in halting English, that she was a superhero. Megan posed for a few pictures with some of the crowd, but for the most part she was able to just make her way along the square without much trouble.

Before too long it was almost midnight, and the music stopped as several of the performers gathered on the stage to prepare to lead the crowd in counting down the last moments of 2012. While Megan could not understand the crowd, the numbers that flashed up by the stage were easy enough to recognize, and she joined in the countdown in English. As they reached the end of the countdown, Megan joined the crowd in cheering the arrival of 2013.

The cheers continued as several loud bangs echoed over the square and fireworks began to lite up the night sky over St. Mary's Basilica at one end of the square. The display lasted for several minutes, the crowd continuing to cheer and shout throughout. Once the display was over, the concert resumed, with the crowd showing little sign of being ready to call it a night.

But Megan began working her way back towards the edge of the crowd so she could start towards her next stop. Soon she was moving quicker, zipping through the thinner parts of the crowd and then out into one of the streets leading from the square. As she got further from the square, the speedster continued to accelerate, until she was barely even a blur as she raced along the roads from the city towards western Europe.

Link to comment

London, England [11]

Megan was speeding across the surface of the River Thames, rapidly drawing closer to London. After leaving Karkow, the speedster had stopped by Berlin to see the revelers still gathered at the Brandenburg Gate. She had then continued on into France, and the across the Strait of Dover and up the eastern shore of England until she reached the mouth of the Thames.

It was only moments before she reached the City of London, its distinct skyscrapers appearing along the northern bank of the river. Up ahead was Tower Bridge, and not far beyond was the City of Westminster. As had been the case in the Maldives, the familiar sights of London served to stir up memories of Robert and trips she had made to the city with him. But Megan did her best to push aside those thoughts, focusing instead on enjoying herself as she once again greeted the New Year.

Passing the Tower of London, Megan ran up onto one of the docks along the waterfront and was soon up on street level. Dodging around the crowds that were gathered for the midnight fireworks celebrations, Megan was soon speeding down the streets of the city. She weaved around traffic and through the streets, until she reached Soho, and was soon at her favorite coffee shop in the city. Having been active in England and Europe only six months earlier, Megan found herself having to shake hands, sign autographs and pose for pictures as she tried to get to the counter to order her coffee.

As short while later, coffee cup in hand, Megan was speeding down the city streets once more, making her way towards Westminster bridge and what would be one of the major locations for greeting the New Year in London. She passed by Trafalgar Square, where thousands were gathered, but continued on towards the banks of the Thames, and a more unobstructed view of the London Eye. Reaching the banks of the river near Westminster Bridge, Megan found the area to be crowded with people, but was still able to find a place among the crowd where she could await for the arrival of midnight.

She could hear music echoing across the water, and crowd certainly seemed in a festive mood. Once again Megan had to deal with people stopping to talk with her, get an autograph, and perhaps have a picture taken alongside the attractive superheroine. Megan took it all in stride, glad to have the distraction to keep her mind from trying to delve into memories of Robert.

Between the people stopping to met her and all the other activity around her, time seemed to slip by for Megan, and before she knew it the final countdown had begun. The speedster joined the crowd in counting down those last few seconds of 2012. Though she shouted out as loud as she could, Megan's voice was all but lost amongst the cries of "HAPPY NEW YEAR!"

As the crowds cheered the New Year, the fireworks displays began around the city. The London Eye served as the focal point for one show, with dazzling fireworks flashing all around the massive Ferris wheel. On Megan’s side of the river, Elizabeth Tower was thelaunch platform for more fireworks, which exploded in the air around the tower and over parliament. Back down the Thames, fireworks were erupting over the Tower Bridge.

Megan cheered along with the crowd around her as she watched the spectacular displays. After about eight minutes, the fireworks finally stopped, and the cheering began to die down. Though some of the crowd began to disperse, there were still many who appeared ready to continue on celebrating until the later hours of the morning, be it on the streets or in a pub. But for Megan, it was time to be moving on, and she was soon speeding off down the streets, heading away from the city and towards the southwestern corner of the island.

Link to comment

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [10]

Megan skid to a halt at the peak of a mountain along the southern coast of Brazil. Off to the west were more mountains and hills, rising up like dark spires. Running between them, like a river of light, was the city of Rio de Janeiro.

After leaving England, Megan had set out across the Atlantic. She had made a brief stop in the Azores, where she had stopped to rest a bit and eat another energy bar and drink one of her water bottles. She then started off once again on the longer leg of her journey to the coast Brazil. She had skipped over a time zone between London and Rio, but from what she understood, the scope of the celebration here would warrant the extra time she had before midnight arrived.

Excitement was building in Megan as she focused in on a particular section of the coastline below her. Copacabana Beach was world famous, and it was one of the most popular sites the city for New Year's celebrations. Though she could hardly wait to get down to the beach, Megan had one small stop to make first. Zipping off, she found herself a public restroom where she stopped to change into the last clean costume she had brought with her. In addition, Megan put a white V neck T-shirt on over her costume, as she had read it was tradition for revelers in Rio to wear white to bring good luck in the New Year.

Satisfied that she was ready, the speedster was off once again, and within a minute arrived at the north end of the beach. The crescent shaped beach stretched for more than four kilometers, and was lit up by street lights and other temporary lighting. There were a number of stages set up along the beach, and hundreds of small pavilions. At the south end of the beach, by Forte de Copacabana, a giant Ferris wheel had been set up, with digital effects in the center and a massive screen showing images of Rio. Everywhere, like a sea of white, was a crowd that number as many as two and a half million people. Out in the water, no more than a hundred meters from the beach, were about a dozen barges, from which the fireworks would be launched at midnight. Further out to sea, a number of large cruise liners were moored, providing their passengers with a different view of the city’s festivities.

Wow. That is some party. Megan thought to herself as she looked out over the beach and the crowd. Music filled the air, along with the sounds of the crowd, which combined to make a festive atmosphere that was almost euphoric. A wide grin on her face, the speedster zipped closer to the edge of the beach, eager to begin mingling with the crowd down on the beach.

On her way, Megan stopped by a small street vendor set up near the beach to purchase some flowers. With her flowers in hand, she zipped over to the edge of the crowd at the beach’s promenade. As had often been the case elsewhere, the sudden appearance of someone who clearly had superpowers caused a bit of a stir with the immediate crowd. Many took pictures of the young speedster, while others came over to talk with her, though more than a few only spoke Portuguese. Megan maintained a friendly smile, as she spoke briefly with those she could and began making her way out onto the beach and into the thick of the crowd. Soon she had moved far enough in that she was getting little more than stares as she passed by.

The diversity of the crowd certainly impressed Megan, it seemed to truly be a party for everyone in the city. Among the crowd she saw teenagers and seniors, and every age group in between. There were people who clearly were financially well off, and many who were obviously less so. But they were all out on the beach together, mingling and enjoying the various styles of music being performed at the many stages set up around the beach. And everyone of them were in white.

Once among the crowds on the beach, Megan’s first destination was the edge of the water. The trip took a bit of time, given the number of people out on the beach, but soon she had joined hundreds of other revelers down by the surf. Like the others around her, Megan cast the flowers she had bought out into water, an offering to Yemanja, the deity of the seas. There were thousands of flowers out in the surf near Megan, and hundreds of other people were making their way towards the water’s edge up and down the beach to throw in more.

With that local tradition taken care of, Megan then headed back up onto the beach to taken in some of the various performances taking place. Her first stop was a stage where traditional Carnival music was being performed, along with dancers dressed in colorful and elaborate costumes. Megan stopped there for awhile to enjoy some of the performances.

Eventually, the speedster had to move on, as she wanted to see more of the celebrations. The scale of the celebrations was overwhelming. While Megan could likely see everything there was to see in about ten minutes if she wanted, that would hardly be very satisfactory. She would see as much as she could, while taking the time to actually enjoy and appreciate what she was able to see.

Megan stopped to watch performances of traditional African folk music and dancing, Latin music and even rock and roll. Along the way she talked with dozens of other revelers, posed for the occasional photograph, and even stopped a couple of pickpockets.

Eventually Megan ended up in the crowd near where pop/dance music was playing, with the beach serving as the dance floor. She was generally dancing with a large group of twenty-something revelers who included some pretty amazing dancers. While there was certainly no shortage of beautiful people on the beach, this group seemed to have a greater than average ratio. Of particular interest to Megan was a really cute guy who had been dancing not too far from her for a little while. Megan had thought she had seen him looking her direction a number of times and had just been planning to work her way over closer when the music suddenly stopped.

Glancing down at her watch, Megan realized it was almost midnight. Most everyone on the beach had turned to look towards the giant Ferris wheel set up at the south end of the beach. A sixty second countdown had begun on the giant screen in the center of the wheel. Many in the crowd were getting out bottles of champagne for the arrival of midnight. As the countdown passed thirty seconds, someone handed Megan a glass of champagne and she noticed everyone else around had a glass as well.

Soon the final 10 seconds of 2012 began to tick away, the crowd spread out on the four kilometers of beach counting off each second. Megan joined the countdown in English, though she could barely hear herself over all the other voices. Finally the countdown reached zero, and the cheers and shouts of the crowd were deafening as Megan’s cry of "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" was lost amongst all the other cries.

Megan toasted her glass with several of the crowd around her and took a drink. Bottles of champagne were being opened everywhere, with the people holding the bottle spraying them all around them. Out on the water, the barges began the fireworks display, which only lead to more cheers and shouts from those gathered out on the beach. Megan turned away from a nearby spray of champagne only to find herself face to face with the really cute guy she had been watching while dancing.

He was looking down at her and Megan suddenly found herself lost in his dark eyes. Megan was about to try to say something when he leaned down slightly and kissed her. As their lips met, Megan's sense of time was completely thrown off. She had a faint sense that the fireworks show was still going on, and people were still spraying champagne around as part of the celebration. But right now all of that was the last thing on her mind. She was returning the kiss, reaching her hands up behind the cute guy's neck and could feel his hands around her waist.

When their lips finally came back apart, Megan was not exactly sure how much time had passed. The fireworks display was still going on, so that was at least a good sign that it had not been too long. Looking back into the dark eyes above her, Megan could see that he was interested in continuing, and perhaps more. She was tempted herself, the kiss had been very nice, and he certainly had a great body, but she had more stops planned and had not really been looking for anything like that.

Slipping free from his embrace, she gave him a smile as her hands came down to take his. "That was really nice, but I am afraid I can't stay." She said. "I know you probably don't know what I'm saying, but maybe I'll see you again sometime." Stepping in again, she gave him a quick kiss and then was off in a blur, managing to slip among the crowd that was watching the fireworks display.

Megan stopped again more than a kilometer down the beach, finding a place near the edge of the crowds. Leaning up against a palm tree, she took a deep breath as she watched the rest of the fireworks display, reassuring herself that she had made the right decision. When the fireworks display finally came to an end, Megan glanced at her watch and saw it was nearly twenty minutes past midnight.

As the crowds continued cheering and the musical performances started up once again, Megan was speeding along the city streets away from the beach. I think I might need to come back down here sometime soon. Megan thought as she weaved amongst the traffic. Maybe during Carnival.

Link to comment

Valparaiso, Chile [11]

Megan skidded to a halt along a street on one of the hills overlooking Valparaiso, Chile. The air here was cooler than it had been in Rio, but not so cool that Megan needed her micro-fleece. Her white T-shirt, which smelled of champagne now, was back in her backpack. Taking out the last of the bottled waters she had brought with her, Megan took a drink as she looked out over the city below.

From what Megan had read about the city when she had researched it, over a hundred years ago it had been a major stopping point for ships traveling between the Atlantic and the Pacific by way of the Straights of Magellan. It had nicknames such as "Little San Francisco" and "The Jewel of the Pacific," but had long since been eclipsed by its nearby neighbor to the south, Santiago. But, despite that, it was known for one of the larger New Year's celebrations in Chile. Though its population was only around a quarter of a million, the New Year’s celebration along Valparaiso's waterfront attracted more than a million people from around the country.

Well, add one more from even further away. Megan thought with a small smile before she started off again to make her way down into the city and to the waterfront.

As Megan made her way down, she passed near one of Valparaiso's funicular, a cable rail car designed to operate on steep slopes. From what Megan had read, the city had about a dozen of them still in operation, providing rail service into the hills surrounding the city.

The people in the city had certainly used the space they had available, as Megan passed more than a few houses that were built directly up to the edges of steep cliffs. And in many places the old buildings had been painted bright colors, giving the town something of a festive appearance. In fact, the entire city had been declared a UNESCO world heritage site almost ten years ago in part because of its unique architecture and unusual urban design.

With a bit of time before midnight, Megan took a little time to zip around the city and visit some of its landmarks. The first was Iglesia de La Matriz, a church that stood where the first chapel in Valparaiso was built in 1559. She also stopped by the Plaza Sotomayor, and thru the Concepcion and Alegre Historic District.

Eventually, Megan made her way down to the waterfront, where the streets and beaches were crowded with people. Even after the massive crowd in Rio, the crowd that had gathered her was still quite impressive. This time, Megan stuck towards the edges of the crowd, which helped her avoid too much attention.

Soon enough, the final countdown had begun, this time in Spanish. Megan once again joined in the countdown and soon was yelling "HAPPY NEW YEAR" along with the million other people gathered along Valparaiso’s waterfront. It was only moments later that the fireworks display began, the crowd cheering as the sky flashed with the explosions.

The display, lasted for about ten minutes. As soon as it ended, Megan was off, speeding down the waterfront until she was able to find a ramp down to a dock and head out onto the water. She had a good bit of distance to cover before her next stop, almost all of it traveling north.

Link to comment

San Juan, Puerto Rico [11]

Megan sped along the surface of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico just coming into view ahead of her. After leaving the celebration in Valparaiso. She had run north across the Pacific, following the western shoreline of South America. Once she had reached the top of South America, she had turned east, following the Panama Canal to the Gulf of Mexico and the on to the Caribbean.

It felt a bit odd to be back tracking like she to see the New Year arrive again. But, with so many places in the Southern Hemisphere observing daylight savings time, including Valparaiso, the time zones were not lined up like normal. So as odd as it seemed, it helped increase the number of options Megan had when she had been selecting her stops.

Moments later the yellow clad speedster was slowing down as she approached San Juan. Megan approached the city through the Port of San Juan, one of the busiest ports in the Western Hemisphere. Once in the bay, Megan made her way towards the massive cruise ships that were docked along north side of the bay, near Old San Juan, and Megan's ultimate destination here.

Running up ashore at the docks used by the massive cruise lines, Megan came to a halt along the waterfront, looking up at one of the massive ships a she took out a bottle of water to drink. Though it was not long until midnight, it was over seventy degrees. Glancing at her watch, the young woman decided she had a little bit of time to do a little bit of sightseeing in the old city, and was then off again.

Her first stop was Fort San Felipe del Morro, the sixteenth century citadel that had been built to guard the entrance to San Juan Bay. From there, Megan ran along the outside of the old, 42-foot wall that surrounds Old San Juan, before making her way back into the neighborhood through the City Gate. Once back inside the city proper, Megan made her way around in a zig-zagging pattern, taking in some of the old, traditional architecture, and being sure to take some of the traditional stepped alleys that crisscrossed this part of the city. Of course, a majority of the attractions that drew tourists to this part of the city, the shops, museums, open-air cafes and restaurants, were closed. As she made her way around some of the old city, Megan could hear several small gatherings in many of the gracious homes that were located there.

After taking in a few of the sights, Megan headed off towards the focal point of the city’s New Year's celebration. Moments later she arrived at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, a graceful, modern building that was the heart of the city’s Puerto Rico Convention Center District. The grounds around the building were filled with tens of thousands of people, with Latin music playing from a couple of different stages with people dancing nearby. A number of food stalls were set up around the area as well, generating a delicious aroma which filled the air.

Megan smiled at the sight around the convention center, and wasted little time before zipping over to start mingling with the crowd. Once again the speedster found herself signing a few autographs and posing for some pictures, but for the most part she received some stares, but was otherwise not bothered. Megan made her way around the grounds for a little while, before stopping near one of the stages to join the members of the crowd who were dancing.

Just before midnight, the music stopped, and everyone turned their attention towards the convention center. Though the countdown of the final seconds of 2012 was in Spanish, Megan was able to follow along in English, joining the cries of "HAPPY NEW YEAR" as they reached zero. Cheers erupted from the crowd as the fireworks display then began over the convention center, while a Spanish version of Auld Lang Syne played over the speakers set up around the grounds.

Once the fireworks display came to an end, the cheers from the crowd began to subside, while the music began to play once again and people returned to dancing and otherwise celebrating the New Year. Megan slipped her way through the crowd, and was soon speeding off towards San Juan Bay and then her next destination.

Link to comment

New York City, New York [11]

How could Megan pass up seeing the ball drop in Times Square? Even with all the places she had been thus far, the New Year's celebration in Times Square was one of the most widely viewed events around the world. Leaving off a stop at Times Square just did not seem right.

So Megan was speeding along the busy streets of downtown Manhattan, easily weaving through traffic that seemed to be standing still to her. She knew New York almost as well as she knew Freedom City, so it felt comfortable to be back in a familiar place. On the way up from San Juan, Megan had made a brief stop at her apartment in Freedom City, where she had taken a quick shower and changed into a clean costume once again.

Moments later, she came to a halt at the edge of the crowd of the million or so people gathered at Times Square. All the neon and LED lights throughout the square, advertising musicals, plays, movies, TV shows and more was almost overwhelming. Though the night air was close to freezing (Megan once again had her yellow micro-fleece jacket on over her costume), there was excitement and energy in the air. Several large screens in the square were showing news real highlights of some of the major events of 2012, put together by the Associated Press.

While Velocity's arrival in many of the other places she had visited thus far had usually attracted some attention, Megan was now in the city she had been centering much of her activity around for the last few years. There were cheers from the section of the crowd she had stopped near, and soon Megan found herself surrounded by people looking for autographs and wanting to have their picture taken with the superheroine. The reaction was not unanticipated, and Megan simply smiled warmly and greeted those that came over to her, while trying to slowly work her way into the edge of the square where she would have a view of the ball being lowered.

It took a little while, but eventually Megan had managed to move to a satisfactory spot at the edge of the square where she could see One Times Square, the building on which the Waterford crystal ball was located. The numbers of people approaching her had begun to slow, so she was able to relax a bit and just enjoy the festivities. Well, at least I didn't completely lie to mom. The speedster thought to herself as she looked around, smiling slightly. She was in Times Square for New Year's, just not with any friends from Yale.

Megan had just settled into her spot when Taylor Swift took the stage as part of the New Year's Rockin' Eve and began performing a medley of her songs I Knew You Were Trouble and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. The singer's appearance, and the ever closer approach of midnight, helped to distract the crowd away from the superheroine, allowing her to pretty much just be part of the crowd.

Once Taylor Swift's performance ended, there was still fourteen minutes until midnight. The noise of the crowd once again filled the air, as the excitement of the approach of the end of 2012 grew. Megan signed a few more autographs, and posed for a few more pictures, and then, about four minutes to midnight, a special performance of John Lennon's Imagine, performed by Train, began, marking the approach of the final sixty-second countdown.

The excitement was building in the crowd though the performance, and as soon as it ended, everyone’s attention shifted to the stage in the center of the square. Mayor Bloomberg and several members of the Rockettes made their way out onto the stage to press the button that would start the ball drop and sixty second countdown. There was a brief hush as they gathered around the button, and then cheers erupted from the crowd as it was pushed, and the large Waterford crystal ball on the top of One Times Square began its descent, the large screen on the face of the building starting the sixty second countdown.

The gaze of everyone in the square was on that giant screen as they watched the countdown, the excitement building with each second that ticked off. As the last ten seconds started to tick away, the crowd started to call out each one, some fireworks began launching from the sides of One Times Square. Megan joined with those around her in counting out the last ten seconds of 2012, and when they reached zero, the crowd erupted into cheers and shouts of "HAPPY NEW YEAR" as more fireworks launched from the sides of One Times Square. 2013 flashed onto the screens around the square, and the air was filled with virtual blizzard falling confetti as the fireworks display continued. Auld Lang Syne began playing over the speakers in the square, followed by Frank Sinatra’s recording of New York, New York.

Throughout the square, people were continuing to cheer, others were kissing, but no one seemed ready to leave just yet. Megan stayed where she was for a little while, soaking in the excitement and celebration around her. Then, she was off in a blur, speeding down the streets of Manhattan on the way to her next stop.

Link to comment

New Orleans , Louisiana [11]

Megan was racing across the long bridge that carried Interstate 10 over Lake Pontchartrain on its way to New Orleans. After the arrival of the New Year in Times Square, Megan had had little trouble making her way out of Manhattan, despite the amount of traffic. She had then headed south along the eastern seaboard until she reached Virginia, and then had generally followed the interstates in a southwestern direction through the south until she had reached Interstate 10.

Up ahead, she could already make out the glow of New Orleans' lights. While Megan did not expect anywhere near as many people as there had been in Times Square, she still had little doubt that the city would still have quite a party. After all, New Orleans was rather famous (or infamous depending on who you asked) for its parties, particularly Mardi Gras.

Moments later, the speedster was across the lake, and the raise freeway was passing over a section of swamp before it came to the outskirts of the city. Interstate 10 took Megan through the eastern part of the city, before she turned off on a sharper southeaster angle, taking her near the banks of the Mississippi River, and the French Quarter. If any part of New Orleans would be having a large New Year's celebration, it would be the French Quarter.

That was quickly confirmed when Megan reached the edge of the historic section of the city. The streets of the quarter were filled with people, particularly along Bourbon Street. The city's lax open container laws allowed revelers to take their drinks from the many nightclubs, strip clubs and bars located in the area out into the streets, creating what was essentially one massive block party. Megan slipped into the crowds at normal speed, as she started to work her way towards Jackson Square, which would be the focal point of the celebrations.

While Megan certainly got some looks from some of those in the crowd, it was not uncommon for there to be people out in the quarter in costumes. While Megan was free from being bothered for autographs, she still had to deal with guys occasionally hitting on her and people that wanted to have their picture taken with "the girl in the Velocity costume." Megan took it all in stride: smiling as she posed for the pictures; and rebuffing the advances in a good natured way, something she had a good bit of experience with.

Eventually, Megan had made her way to the edge of Jackson Square, where thousands of people were gathering for the Fleur de Lis drop at Jax Brewery Condominiums at the edge of the square. Megan looked up at the rooftop of the Jax Brewery building, where the large Fleur de Lis was waiting to be dropped. On another corner of the rooftop she could see the famous, six foot tall "Baby New Year," wearing a purple and gold diaper and a New Orleans Saints helmet. It was flanked on either side by an LSU flag and a New Orleans Hornets flag.

The crowd down in the square was rather lively, with jazz musicians playing in one corner of the square, a variety of performers moving about the crowd, and plenty of people drinking as they waited for midnight to arrive. Megan started to make her way over towards where the jazz musicians were playing, being stopped a couple of times by some of the crowd to pose for photographs. Eventually she reached a spot nearby, and was able to enjoy some of the music before the arrival of midnight.

But inevitably, midnight drew near and the music stop and all eyes turned towards the Jax Brewery building. The lights on the Fleur de Lis were lit up, and soon everyone gathered in the square, and on nearby streets, where counting down the last ten seconds of 2012, with Megan joining the countdown. When the countdown reached zero, the Fleur de Lis dropped down the pool it was mounted on, with flares shooting out from its sides. Everywhere there were cries of "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" with people toasting and cheering.

It was then that the fireworks display began out over the Mississippi from barges on the river. Like most in the square, Megan turned towards the river to watch the display, which exploded over the French Quarter. Cheers could be heard from around the square and the nearby streets. The show went on for more than fifteen minutes, people cheering throughout, while others were toasting the New Year. As the echoes of the final fireworks faded, Megan decided it was time for her to be moving on to her next destination. In a blur of movement, she maneuvered thru the crowd and off towards a less crowded side street where she was able to further accelerate as she made her way out of the city.

Link to comment

Yuma, Arizona [11]

After leaving New Orleans, Megan headed west, crossing the southern part of the United States until she reached Arizona. Her destination was in the southwestern corner of the state, not far from California.

It was not long before she had arrived at the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. This was the last of the destinations that Captain Thunder had helped arrange with the Pentagon. While located near the town of Yuma, the air station was otherwise rather isolated. Because of this, the Marine Corps had arranged for a New Year's celebration for the base personnel and their families, along with personnel from the nearby US Army Yuma Proving Ground.

Megan had originally considered making Aspen her stop in the Mountain time zone. She had been there once before with her family for New Year's, and it was a regular destination for celebrities. But when she had talked with Captain Thunder about her plans and enlisted his aid in clearing her stops at US military installations, he had suggested stopping at a military base in the southwest instead of Aspen. Megan knew the suggestion had been somewhat personal for him, as he had been a test pilot in this part of the country before gaining his powers and, after gaining his powers, had operated in the southwest for a number of years prior to relocating to Freedom City.

As such, it had been hard for Megan to ignore the suggestion. She certainly was not regretting selecting the air station, particularly after the warm welcome she had received at the other military installations she had stopped at so far. There would always be other chances to visit places frequented by the rich and famous. It was less often that Megan had the chance to spend time with military personnel and their families to try to offer some small thanks for their service and sacrifice.

Once on the base, it only took Megan a few moments to locate the gymnasium where the New Year’s celebration was being held. Outside the gymnasium, standing in the cool night air stood a Marine officer, apparently awaiting the speedster’s arrival. The young speedster came skidding to a halt a short distance away from him.

"Hi, hope you haven't been waiting too long." She said with a small smile.

The young officer was slightly surprised by her sudden appearance, but recovered quickly, returning a smile of his own. "Actually, I was just sent out to wait for you."

The officer then led Megan into the gym building. Just inside was a small reception area and lounge area, with a desk and some chairs arranged around a television set. Hallways led off from the room, and Megan could hear music echoing from the one straight ahead. Waiting inside the room were a couple of other officers, including the air station commander, a colonel in his mid-forties. As had been the case at her other stops with the military, the colonel thanked the young superheroine for taking the time to stop by.

The colonel and the other officers then led Megan down the hallway from which the music was coming and into the main gymnasium. The large space was rather dimly lit, with some strobe lights and other dance club lighting set up at the far end, which was being used as a dance floor. The front half of the gym was set up with tables and space for people to congregate, and was where food and refreshments had been set up to one side. The gym was packed with hundreds of service men and women, many with their significant others.

The colonel and Megan made their way into the middle of the gym, stopping by the DJ table where the colonel picked up a microphone. With the music stopped now, all attention in the room was on the base commander, and the yellow clad speedster, as the colonel made his way into a space that had opened in the middle of the gym floor.

After a few opening remarks, the senior officer introduced Velocity, handing the microphone off to Megan. This time the young speedster was a bit more prepared, repeating the speech she had given on the Carl Vinson, with a few additions to mention the sacrifices of the families and loved ones of the service members.

As the cheers following her speech began to die down, the DJ started the music once again, and Megan moved off towards one side of the gym to greet the large number of service members and guests that made their way over to meet the superheroine. Once again Megan was shaking hands, signing autographs and posing for pictures, all the while sure to thank each person she met for their service. As had been the case at her other stops on military installations, someone brought her a plate of food and some coffee, which she managed to consume while meeting with the crowd.

All of this took right up until the final countdown for 2012, and Megan joined those gathered as they counted off the final seconds of the year and cheered the arrival of 2013. The music started up once again, and after a few final autographs and pictures, Megan was able to make her way out onto the dance floor for a little while.

At about twenty minutes past midnight, she began saying some goodbyes as she made her way off the dance floor. A few minutes later, she was outside in the cool night air once again, speeding off across the desert towards the north/northwest.

Link to comment

Vancouver, British Columbia [11]

Megan skimmed across the surface of the Strait of Georgia as she approached Vancouver, British Columbia. Soon she was passing through English Bay on her way to False Creek, the inlet right next to downtown Vancouver. That was where she would find the Granville Entertainment District, and her destination for this stop.

Megan had initially struggled a bit when she had tried to decide where to stop here in the West Coast time zone. There had been a number of choices, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle and Los Vegas. But Megan had really wanted to visit at least one place in Canada, and this was her last chance for that, so it had not been hard to settle on Vancouver, BC. But then the question had been where to go in the city. There had been a number of choices there as well, but then Megan had happened upon the Republic Nightclub's Masked New Year's Eve event. And that ended any uncertainty about where to go to ring in the New Year.

Speeding through the streets of downtown Vancouver, the young speedster soon arrived at the Granville Entertainment District, the seven square block section of Granville Mall that was known for its bars and nightclubs. As Megan came to a halt in front of the Republic, she could hear music echoing from inside the club. Luckily the event required tickets, or Megan would likely have found a line to get into the popular nightclub. Her ticket had been rather reasonable, even though she was only going to be here about an hour.

The main floor of the club was a large room with soaring ceilings, a large dance floor and a bar that ran almost the entire length of the room. Megan smiled slightly at the sight of all masked revelers who were crowding the areas around the bar, or packed together on the dance floor. Up on the second floor was the lounge area on balconies overlooking the main floor. Megan had read that there was also a glass enclosed patio overlooking the street on the upper level that had its own dance floor, bar and DJ.

After taking a moment to take in the venue, Megan moved her way into the crowd, barely getting a second look from the other masked revelers she passed. It was not long before she was out on the crowded dance floor. As tired as Megan had been starting to feel, the energy of the club helped reinvigorate her, as her movements quickly matched the music's rhythm. Time slipped by for Megan as she let the music guide her, and forgot most everything else. Before she knew it, the DJ had stopped the music as glasses of champagne were being passed to toast the rapidly approaching New Year.

Megan took one of the glasses, as she waited for the start of the final countdown. She did not have long to wait, for soon the DJ was leading the club in counting off the final moments of 2012. Megan yelled out each of the final ten seconds, her voice lost among the hundreds of others in the room. As they reached zero, the crowd yelled out "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" and the room was filled with confetti and a laser light show began as the DJ started the music back up once again.

Out on the dance floor, Megan joined those around her in downing her glass of champagne. She was then dancing once again, ready to spend a bit more time in the festive atmosphere of the club. However, she was a bit more careful to keep an eye on the time, as she did not want to stay so long as she would miss the arrival of the New Year in the next time zone. At about thirty minutes past midnight, the speedster reluctantly maneuvered herself off the dance floor and began making her way towards the exit so she could continue on to her next stop.

Link to comment

Anchorage, Alaska [11]

Megan had on her yellow micro-fleece once again as she approached the town of Anchorage. This stop had proven something of a challenge as well. Anchorage was really the only option in the time zone, but the real problem had been in finding a place to greet the New Year at midnight. The city annually hosted the Fire and Ice celebration, with ice skating, music and fireworks. But its fireworks display was held at 8 PM, not midnight, most likely because at midnight the temperature would be well below freezing, close to being in the single digits.

So with options for outdoor celebrations, Megan had been left looking for something at a bar or nightclub. Given that Anchorage had a population of a little under 300,000, it did not have quite as many choices as she might have liked. But after a little looking Megan had found Mad Myrna's , a gay bar/nightclub in the city. The reviews Megan had read made it sound like it was a pretty fun place, she had had gay friends over the years (not the least of whom was Johnny Rocket), and been to a few gay clubs in the past, so she figured it seemed like a good choice.

A few moments later, Megan was speeding through downtown Anchorage. The streets were rather deserted, so the speedster had little to worry about as she zipped towards her destination. In little time, she arrived at her destination.

From the outside, Mad Myrna's did not look like much, but Megan could hear the faint base of music from inside. Well, I'm already here, and don't really want to look for an alternative. The speedster thought as she made her way over towards the nightclub.

The interior of the club had a somewhat cramped feeling given its low ceilings. The first large room Megan entered had the main bar, some seating areas, and a number of pool tables. Music was playing in her from a jukebox, and there was an open doorway in the middle of the far wall, which lead to another room from which the sound of cheering and singing could be heard.

The appearance of the yellow clad speedster drew a fair bit of attention in the first room, with people looking up from their drinks or pool games to regard her. Some of those in the room were pretty clearly part of the LGBT community, others it was not so easy to tell, and yet others were clearly not LGBT, but all were mixed together, and seemed to be having a good time.

After a brief moment, several of those in the room came over to talk with the superheroine.

"Your that speedy girl that was Johnny Rocket's sidekick right?" Asked a twenty-something man with a slightly affected tone.

"Umm, well we were teammates for awhile." Megan replied with a warm smile. "Johnny and I got along great though." She then added. "We used to regularly compare notes on new hair products. Believe me, running around at supersonic speeds can really cause a mess of tangles and split ends."

Megan received a few laughs in response as people began introducing themselves, a few asking for her autograph, and others just wanting to hear more about being a superhero and Johnny Rocket. Megan began answering the questions, politely turning down an offer for a drink but instead getting some bottled water. It was not long before the group of people led her into the next room, which was much darker than the first one.

Inside Megan found one of nightclub's drag shows underway, with a very lively crowd of spectators. The performers were all dressed in rather outrageous costumes, and lip singing their chosen songs and very entertaining to watch. With everyone focused on the performances, not many noticed the speedster, and the few who did remained where there were for the show.

When the show came to an end, another man in drag made his way on the stage, and began to lead the nightclub in the final countdown for the New Year. Megan joined in, though she could hardly hear herself over all the other voices in the room. Soon, everyone was crying out "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" as some were blowing party horns. The DJ played Auld Lang Syne, and people were hugging and some kissing.

After the song ended and a few minutes of celebrating, the MC was able to get the crowd somewhat quitted down once more. It was then that he announced a special guest who would start off the karaoke and a spotlight shone on Megan.

Megan reluctantly let herself be guided up onto the stage, taking the microphone from the MC. Singing certainly was not Megan's strong point, but she performed an at least bearable rendition of Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe. While not much of a singer, Megan was a great dancer, and she was able to make the performance more entertaining by dancing while she tried to sing. The crowd cheered at the end of her song, and Megan handed the microphone back to the MC as she made her way back off the stage to a number of people who had come forward to meet her.

While the next person began their karaoke performance, Megan was signing some autographs and posing for pictures. But it was not long before she was able to just focus on listening to some of the other members of the crowd as they took the stage to perform a song, cheering them on along with the rest of the crowd.

At about twenty minutes past midnight, the speedster started to make her way back towards the first room with the bar and pool tables to get on her way. She said several goodbyes to people she passed, hugging a few. A few minutes later, she was back outside, and speeding off down the mostly empty streets, ready to make her way to her last stop for the New Year.

Link to comment

Honolulu, Hawaii [11]

Megan was glad to be back into the warmer weather around Hawaii after the cold in Alaska. She was also looking forward to her last stop to see in the New Year. As she approached the island of Oahu, the young woman could not help but remember how she had started this New Year’s journey, just over twenty four hours ago. She thought about the group of friends she had met on Kiritimati, a little over 1,300 miles almost due South of Hawaii, wondering what they were doing. Probably sleeping after a long day of surfing. The young speedster thought with a small smile. It was still somewhat hard to believe that she had been at this for more than twenty four hours. She was certainly starting to feel tired and ready to head home to get some sleep. But she had planned this one last stop, and did not want to quite when she was so close to being done.

After making landfall on Oahu, Megan quickly made her way towards Honolulu. Quite the opposite of Anchorage, Honolulu offered countless choices for where to stop for New Year's. But while there were certainly a number of posh nightclubs in the city, the nice weather and pleasant temperature left little reason not to choose an outdoor venue. So Megan had easily decided on Waikiki Beach.

Megan arrived near the beach to find a large crowd gathered out on the sand and the streets along the beach. While not nearly as large as the crowds she had seen on the beaches in Rio or Valparaiso, it was still a lot of people.

Once again, the sudden appearance of the yellow clad speedster attracted the attention of some of the revelers, and Megan soon found herself surrounded by a small crowd of people seeking autographs or wanting their picture taken with her. Though she was starting to really feel tired, Megan managed to keep a wide smile on her face as she went about signing and posing for pictures.

Eventually the crowd seeking autographs and pictures died down, and Megan was able to make it out onto the beach and just mingle with the crowd. There were people dancing in a number of places to some live music. Others were just standing around in groups, talking and waiting for the arrival of midnight.

Megan made her way along the beach for awhile, being stopped occasionally for more autographs or pictures. Not long after posing for another picture, Megan heard the various music around the beach stop, and people began to be focused towards the water where the fireworks show would be. Soon, the final countdown of the last ten seconds of 2012 began. Tired as she was, Megan was excited, this was her twenty fourth, and last, time greeting 2013. She joined the crowd in counting off the seconds, and they screamed the final (at least for another year) "HAPPY NEW YEAR" as loud as she could.

Moments later, the fireworks display over the water began, the crowd cheering with each explosion. Megan stayed for the entire fireworks display, and as the echo of the last firework died away, the crowd began to disperse somewhat. Some stayed on the beach to continue dancing as some of the live performances resumed, but a majority of the crowd made their way off the beach, to return to some nightclub or some other destination.

Beginning to feel very tired, Megan wasted little time before she was speeding off across the water to make her return trip to Freedom City.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...