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"Okay, I'm a, hoo, big enough man to admit that, huff, we may need a new plan," Jack of all Blades panted out with some difficulty, disengaging his grappling line and coming to a stop on a rooftop in the West End. Supporting one hand atop his knee, he wiped sweat from the gab between his royal blue bandanna mask and the edge of his black wig. "Take five, team," he told the rest of the Interceptors as he straightened and considered their options.

Over the past couple of weeks there had been increasing chatter on the street about a new supplier for some variation of the drug commonly know as 'zoom', a potent concoction that overclocked the user's entire body, providing effective superspeed for as long as the high lasted but coming with the heavy risk of everything from heart attacks to paralysis.

At first the Interceptors had had little trouble quashing the new variant, with Vince directing them to the most likely spots for drug deals in the neighbourhood before they could even happen. Unfortunately they'd had little success tracking down the actual supplier and in the past days the new zoom had flooded the West End, leading to a rash of superspeed B&Es and other crimes.

This time they'd gotten enough warning to make it to the scene while a corner convenience store was being burgled but the thieves, still in the throes of the drug, had rapidly eluded the team as they sped off. Jack knew it was only a matter of time before they started running across the burnt out bodies of stupid kids who's luck had run out, assuming one of their petty robberies didn't go horribly wrong before that. It was time to call in the cavalry.

"Hey, long time. It's your favourite swashbuckling pretty boy," he greeted into his phone once he had his breath back. "You got your sneakers handy? 'Cause I need a favour."

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Megan Howell was just finishing warming up and stretching on the barre in the large mirrored room of a dance studio in Riverside when she heard the familiar chime of a cellphone from inside her bag.  It was not her normal cellphone, the one she used as Megan Howell, but the one that she used as the superheroine Velocity. 

 

Moving quickly, perhaps a bit quicker than she intended, Megan snatched up her bag and dug the phone out so she could glance at who might be calling her.  Looking at the screen, it took the blonde young woman a moment to remember the number.  It had been some time since he had called her.

 

Glancing over to the instructor, who was about to begin the class, she gave an apologetic smile.  "I need to take this, might not be able to stay tonight."  She said, before walking quickly out into the luckily deserted hallway.

 

Answering the call, the young woman put the phone up to her ear, the speed and tone of her voice changing as she answered.  "Hello Jack, it has been awhile."  Velocity then paused a moment as she listened to her former teammates questions, a smile coming to her face that was evident in her voice when she replied.  "Handy is something of a relevant term for me you know.  How can I help you?"

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The Pitchoo's engine screeched as the ship accelerated up the length of the street with a pt-chooooooo emitting from the antigravs. The ship was fast, but the blurring forms below made it look slow and clunky. "Dammit, dammit, dammit," said Geckoman swiftly, as the shapes suddenly split up at the crossroads, going in three separate directions. "Snap decision!

 

He twisted the egg-like craft sharply to the left, missing the corner building by scant inches. "Gotcha!" he yelled... and immediately realised they'd doubled back on him and left him flying off in the wrong direction. He pushed open the bottom hatch, and lowered himself out to watch the speeding forms vanish away into the distance, planting his feet and hands in an upside-down crouch. "Aw, baby, it's not your fault you're not as fast as drugs." He patted his ship gently.

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The Guardian Willow landed on the rooftop a few moments after Jack of all Blades, barefoot as usual. There was a pleasant, if stiff, breeze from this vantage point and it caused her mane of exceedingly long white hair to flow behind her. She wasn't breathing as heavy as her leader, teammate, lover and husband, in fact she wasn't breathing at all, but her pensive expression spoke enough for the two of them.

"Someone that can help?" she asked, her contralto almost plaintive. The dryad wasn't born yesterday, and she was quite familiar with all manner of substances humanity has made recreational use of over its history, but this new creation worried her. So much young life was running itself to death before it ever truly got started, and she was determined to see that trend end.

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"Airship licenses need to become a thing so yours can be revoked!" Jill O'Cure shouted out the opened hatch from the right seat at the front of the Pitchoo's cockpit, white knuckles slowly unclenching now that they'd come to a stop. In fairness, chasing the zoomers in the aircraft had been a sound plan and she'd volunteered to ride shotgun but fairness was somewhat drowned out by the sound of her racing heartbeat in her ears. "No good, hermana," she reported through the ship's comms, Willow's communicator crackling to life while Jack was otherwise occupied. "They got away. Again. We'll circle around."

Jack gave his wife a grin that radiated confident reassurance along with a strong desire to sit down for a few weeks. "Some idiota whipped up a new style of zoom and it's potent as a kick in the teeth, checkered chica," he continued over the phone. "Heard you got mixed up with something similar not too far back. Either way, we could use a little of the ol' greased lightning and my usual guy's retired for the thrilling life of the academic. You available?"

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Megan had made her way out of the building as she listened to Jack explain the reason for his call.  "A new type of Zoom?"  She stated in a rather terse tone.  "I have had my run ins with all sorts using Zoom over the years, the most recent was some Asian gang members back at the start of the year."

 

Talking about that incident brought back memories of her first encounter with Siphon, and the related thoughts and feelings of Kyle.  Though Megan was for the most part happy with her decision to renew her relationship with Robert, there was a part of her that felt she had not handled things all that well with Kyle.

 

Realizing she did not have time to be dwelling on issue in her personal life right now, even if she was able to do so in factions of a second, the blonde young woman quickly glanced around to be sure no one was nearby.  Satisfied that the coast was clear, she was gone in a blur of speed, stopping less than a second later on a rooftop a few blocks away in costume. 

"But yeah, I'm available and happy to help you out Jack.  Where do you need me?"

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"Airship licenses need to become a thing so yours can be revoked!" Jill O'Cure shouted out the opened hatch from the right seat at the front of the Pitchoo's cockpit, white knuckles slowly unclenching now that they'd come to a stop. In fairness, chasing the zoomers in the aircraft had been a sound plan and she'd volunteered to ride shotgun but fairness was somewhat drowned out by the sound of her racing heartbeat in her ears. "No good, hermana," she reported through the ship's comms, Willow's communicator crackling to life while Jack was otherwise occupied. "They got away. Again. We'll circle around."

"Pshaw," snorted Chris, swinging back up into the Pitchoo. "They wouldn't be able to find someone good enough to test me. I only just found out the other week that the heavy end of the throttle, something I've been using every day, apparently doesn't exist." He shrugged incredulously. "Physics, huh?" He swiveled a few levers and twisted some dials, the ship corkscrewing up slowly.

 

"We'll head back in and consult with Jacko, see what's going on hereabouts."

 

The Pitchoo whirred along at a conspicuously slower rate to lower itself down onto the rooftop Erik and Min were standing on. The big side door folded down to form a ramp, with a high-pitched whirrr. 

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"Thought that might grab your attention. Thanks, 'City Girl, you're a lifesaver." Giving Megan the intersection of streets they were overlooking, the fencer ended the call and turned back to his reassembled team. "Alright, lords and ladies, you know how much I love asking for help but I'm calling in the cavalry on this one anyway. Velocity was one of the original Interceptors for all of like five minutes and she mostly works with the Freedom League these days so unlike the rest of that bunch she actually turned out all respectable and such."

That was something of a double-edged sword coming from Jack and the slight quirk of a smile underlined it. In terms of international respect, public exposure and professionalism, Velocity had clearly been the most successful of any of the seven who had been invited to the brownstone just a few years before. The group the swashbuckler in the royal blue greatcoat had gathered around him just knew that he still considered himself the most fortunate, even if he'd never have put it that way. "Point being, let's pull out the good china for company, yeah?"

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"Okay, got it, be there shortly."  Velocity replied before Jack hung up.  As soon as the line went dead, the yellow clad speedster was off, zipping back down the side of the building and onto the street where she was weaving in and out of cars faster than most could follow.  It was only moments later that she had reached her apartment in the Wading Way to drop off her bag and was then off again.

 

It was only a short run from there to the location Jack had indicated in the West End. 

 

Velocity soon skidded to a halt down at the intersection, but her stop was just long enough for her to scan the area around her for a sign of her former teammate and the new Interceptors.  The high-tech goggles that were part of her costume made the task much easier, with their enhancement features and three hundred and sixty degree feed of images, not to mention thermal and infravision.  It only took the speedster a fraction of a second to spot the large egg shaped vehicle that was up on a nearby rooftop. 

 

The speedster was then moving again, racing across the intersection and the up the side of the building to come skidding to a halt near the gathered Interceptors.  "Sorry that took so long, had to drop something off at home."  She said with a smile as she came to a halt, the long brown wig she wore in costume swishing to one side from the sudden stop before settling back down.

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Geckoman smiled and stepped forward to greet Velocity. Grrr, stupid buttface. As if we wouldn't be nice. "Hiii! Velocity, right?" He extended one gloved hand to shake. "You're in the Freedom League, right? That must be awesome. What's Daedalus like?"

 

The green detective gestured vaguely at the city. "Anyway, I guess Jackie boy told you, we've got a bunch of guys running around jacked up on a ton of Zoom, and even my baby," he gestured back at the big egg-shaped craft he so very much loved, "Well, she's not fast enough to catch them. I mean, what they're doing's illegal, buuuuut... it'll very likely kill them if we can't get them before the Zoom gets there first. What do you recommend?" He paused, seemingly oblivious to his verbal diarrhea. 

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"Vel, meet Geckoman. His main superpowers are being green and making me look laconic," Jack introduced with a light clearing on his throat. "He's also the best pilot you've ever seen so when he says he couldn't catch these rubes he's not blowing smoke." Indicating the young woman exiting the Pitchoo, the fencer continued, "Mi hermana, Jill. Medic and all around smartypants sass machine."

The younger sibling gave the speedster a brief half-wave as she hopped off of the the craft's ramp, the crimson bandana mask covering the top half of her face doing little to hide the contemplative look she was giving Velocity. "Hey. We never got a chance to meet, back then. Thanks for showing up."

"And this would be Willow, my considerably better half," Jack finished, taking a step closer to the dryad. "Plant control and thunderous ass-kickery."

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Velocity gave a wide smile to Geckoman as he came forward to greet her and was introduced by Jack.  "Nice to meet you Geckoman."  She replied, taking his offered hand.  "Yeah, I've generally enjoyed my time with the League, though I only got more active again back at the start of the year.  As for Daedalus, he's pretty cool.  Sometimes he can get a bit carried away on the science stuff and be hard to follow, but we have had some interesting conversations about macro economics while on monitor duty on the Lighthouse."

 

The speedster then turned her attention to Jill as Jack introduced his sister, giving the other girl a wave and a smile.  "No problem Jill, anything to give Jack a hand, it's good to meet you finally.  My stint with the Interceptors was way too short as I decided to focus on some out-of-costume things.  Not one of my better ideas."

 

She then turned to give Willow the same friendly smile as the others as Jack saved her introduction for last.  "It is wonderful to meet you as well Willow."

 

With the introductions complete, she turned back to Geckoman's comments about the Zoom users they were trying to deal with.  "Yeah, Zoom can be pretty bad for some of those that use it.  I had hardly started as Velocity back as a teenager before I first encountered some Zoom users, and have dealt with that drug a number of times since." 

 

"In the past, I usually would try to subdue them and get medical assistance on the scene as quickly as possible.  But it sounds as if this latest variant might be a bit different than the norm?"

Edited by Thevshi

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"It's a pleasure, Velocity," the tall white-haired woman said with an easy smile that was very similar to one her husband frequently employed. The welcoming smile faded, and the dryad became serious. "Too many are running themselves to death. We've made some headway against the dealers, but despite our efforts we haven't been able to determine the supplier."

"I'm not certain how you factor into locating the suppliers, but I welcome an extra set of eyes on this problem nonetheless." Willow shrugged, "I'm not overly concerned with the loss or damage to property, these are simply things that can be replaced. The further shortening of already brief lives is my concern."

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"My thinking is Vel ought to be able to run down one of these kids before they burn out so we can get some better information and turn them over to a science muckity muck to figure out a cure or antidote or whatever," Jack elaborated, running one hand over the light stubble on his chin as he looked pensively down at the streets. "All the vials we've confiscated so far have been duds."

"Inert," Jill clarified, cutting in. "There's a catalyst or new method of injecting to this batch that we haven't figured out. Technically the inert version isn't even a controlled substance; the police had trouble sticking charges to some of the pushers who weren't holding anything else."

The expression on Jack's masked face made it clear just how happy he was about that. "We're missing puzzle pieces and if we can keep one of them still long enough to point out that they're dying we might be able to fill them in."
 
"Well keep hope alive, fearless leader!" a chipper voice called over the Pitchoo's loudspeaker, drawing the group's attention to the windows looking into the craft's cockpit. A broadly grinning man in an outrageously bright green three piece suit sat at the help with his feet up on the control panel, waving down at them. Those standing closer to the sides could see that he was in fact an image being expertly projected on the windows themselves to create the illusion. "Hey hey Ms. One Woman Track Team! You never call, you never write! Aw, I forgive you anyway!" Vince laughed, speaking in his habitual melodic rapid fire. "Speaking of calls, though, those young guns that got away from you must have gotten a second wind 'cause I've got alarms a-ringin' aplenty! Hop to it, defenders of truth and kittens!" A map blinked into being on the window next to the AI, a flashing red dot indicating the spot of trouble.

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Velocity frowned slightly at the changes to the usual Zoom mixture that were described by Jack and his sister.  It certainly was an unusual step to have an inert portion of the drug that had to be combined with some additional catalyst.  But before she could ponder the problem too much more, Vince "appeared" inside the Pitchoo.

 

"Good to see you as well Vince."  The yellow clad speedster replied with a smile as she then listened to what else the AI had to say.  She glanced at the map a few moments, her mind now kicking into full speed as she considered a number of options in mere fractions of a second.

 

"That is not too far."  She said aloud.  "I can be there in less than a second, or a bit slower if preferred.  Perhaps I can flush them towards the rest of you so we can subdue them.  If any get away, I can try to follow and see where they might lead us."

 

 

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