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History, Part One: 


Some heroes are self-made creatures, men and women whose histories begin and end with themselves regardless of the circumstances in which they find themselves. Other heroes, though, are created by the world around them, brought up in a legacy and culture that shapes them as surely as the trellis shapes the young seedling. Hologram, being solidly in the latter category, has a history that begins many years before her birth, with a father whose name is infamous throughout the world.

Artur Zion emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1939, a very smart move for a young Jewish man at that time. It was almost too bad, really, since he agreed with the Nazis in many of their ideas on eugenics and the creation of the super race, but their insistence that Artur and his people were not part of that race put paid to what might have been a very productive alliance. Instead, he moved to New York City and took up the name Parker Psion, the better to insulate himself from antisemitic sentiments, and began to make his way in the world. He did well for quite awhile as a “mad scientist,†creating weapons and armor for those who would pay him, and eventually moved to Freedom City, which was clearly becoming the hotspot for metahuman activity on the Eastern seaboard.
Through his continuing work on eugenics, he became convinced that he could harness the metahuman potential in baseline humans and make it manifest, in effect creating superpowers. The effect, while striking in lab animals, was much less successful in humans. Seeking to avoid a number of disappointed and deformed clients, Psion used the procedure on himself in 1952, achieving his first success with the technology. It was clear to him that his superior genetics had provided the key. Only those who were genetically destined for power could benefit from his process. He realized that the only way to acquire the perfect genetic specimens for his needs was to create them himself. After a great deal of surreptitious genetic testing, he found a suitable match in a young woman named Margaret Watson, a debutante from a good family who proved easy to seduce with a combination of psychic power and the promise of a comfortable, well-moneyed life. They were married in 1954, and in 1955 he fulfilled his end of the bargain with the building of Psion Manor, a sprawling estate hidden amidst the outskirts of Wharton Forest, and lacking in no amenities or comforts. A year later, she fulfilled her end of the bargain by becoming pregnant.
Genetic legacy was everything to Parker Psion, and for him, the securing of his legacy began the day his wife missed her monthly cycle. If he could've taken the embryo from her womb and supervised its development in his lab, he most certainly would've done so. As it was, he did everything possible to perfect the developing fetus, from vitamin injections to controlling everything Margaret ate, to playing audio recordings of scientific theories and works of literature loudly against her stomach. And of course there was the procedure. Done before birth, when body and brain were still mercurial and barely formed, Psion's metahuman augmentation was not only effective, but startlingly so. The day Parker Psion, Jr. was born, he opened his infant slate-blue eyes, looked around calmly, and psychically informed his parents that he was uncomfortable and required attention. He then levitated himself out of the doctor's arms and was only narrowly caught before escaping the birthing room entirely. Margaret screamed and passed out (she was already a bit muddle-headed from the scientifically applied doses of morphine and scopolamine, of course), but Dr. Psion could not have been a prouder father.
Over the next three years, two more Psion children were produced, first Patrick in 1959, then Paulette a mere eighteen months later in 1960. The same process was followed for both of them, with excellent results. Both children were tested as intellectually gifted and with strong metahuman powers from birth. Margaret had a difficult time carrying Paulette, however, experiencing high blood pressure and dizzy spells that culminated in an emergency cesarian section and a warning against future children. That was fine with Dr. Psion, he had his three perfect genetic test cases and didn't really care to go through the whole business yet again. It also seemed fine with Margaret, who spent little time with the children she had and always seemed uneasy around them. Their care and training was left to their father and his hand-picked team of doctors, nurses, and tutors. Dr. Psion found he quickly tired of the minutiae of dealing with staff matters, so he hired an accountant to handle the payroll and taxes. He'd planned to hire someone experienced and not averse to working on the shadowy side of the law, perhaps poach a man from one of his colleagues' enterprises. Instead he found Elizabeth (Bitsy to her friends) Channing, a newly-minted CPA who was both sharp as a tack and apparently the reason that miniskirts and scoop-neck tops were currently so popular. There were a few whispers among the staff when he hired her, but nobody gossips long or loud around a family of powerful psychics, and anyway, she did her job efficiently and well.
Not for long, though. Miss Channing had been around less than a year before she disappeared without warning, giving no notice to anyone and without even the grace to cut the week's checks first. Dr. Psion was livid at this betrayal, and if some of that was embarrassment or even concern, not even his children wanted to get close enough to try and discern it. Miss Channing was quickly replaced by a middle-aged male accountant who made no waves and caused no gossip of any sort. Six months later, the household was greatly surprised when Margaret, who had not been seen much lately, came back from a weeklong trip with her husband with a newborn babe in arms. No one had even known Margaret was pregnant, and certainly Dr. Psion hadn't been attending this pregnancy with his normal care and scientific documentation! When asked, Dr. Psion curtly informed the staff that every experiment required a control to be valid. The newborn, called Paige, was unceremoniously placed into the care of the nanny, who was given instructions not to bother Dr. Psion with any unnecessary progress reports on this decidedly unremarkable child. Some time afterwards, Margaret disappeared as well, though because she was so rarely seen already, no one was quite sure when exactly she stopped being around. Her absence did not make much of a ripple.

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History Part Two: 


Paige grew up at Psion Manor, tended by the staff and ignored by her father and older siblings. When she was five years old, she innocently listened in on and responded to a psychic conversation between Dr. Psion and Patrick, giving the first hint that the Psion family legacy had passed to her as well, despite the lack of early intervention. It was enough to make the patriarch take a second look at his second daughter, and to begin overseeing her instruction and training himself. Paige seemed a weak copy of her older siblings, clever but not a genius, sturdy but no physical wonder, psychic, but without the telekinesis and mind control that would've made her a formidable foe. Her talents lay mostly in the area of illusion, fooling the weak-minded and inattentive into seeing what wasn't there, or ignoring what was in front of them. Although Psion assigned her exercises and periodically audited her skills, she made little progress in developing useful powers during her first decade.
In 1975, Paige made the acquaintance of Richard Cline, the twelve-year-old son of the villainess Clock Queen and the villain Doc Holiday. Calling in a marker on the Psion family, Clock Queen left her son in the care of Dr. Psion for the summer while she shook off the pursuit from a heist gone wrong. This was a momentous occasion for Paige, since she almost never left the compound and had never spent time with children besides her own self-involved older siblings. Richard was different from anyone she'd ever met, worldly and impertinent to grownups, unapologetically rude and with huge gaps in his education, but also fun-loving and possessed of a surprising capacity for kindness and generosity. The two struck up a friendship rooted in mild rebellion, and for one summer Paige was able to go to movies, go shopping, read trashy magazines, and experiment with makeup just as though she weren't a Psion at all. She was bereft when Richard's mother collected him at the end of the summer, taking him off to the ends of the earth for yet another caper. They kept in touch sporadically by postcards, but it wasn't close to the same.
In 1976, the Psion family was deeply affected by the addition of Mentac to the family of their hated rivals, the Atoms. Parker Jr, Patrick and Paulette had already been assisting their father in skirmishes against the do-gooders for several years, but now the Atoms had a psychic on their side. Enraged, Dr. Psion pushed his children harder and faster, even bringing Paige along on a few operations, mostly as a distraction. She was no fighter, and she'd certainly never developed the vicious psychic blade her older sister wielded with deadly precision, but Paige was able to hold her own. A lifetime of sneaking around had helped her develop an aura of invisibility, not the powerful true invisibility, but a projected sense that she was not someone who needed any of the viewer's attention. 
Being part of the family business didn't bring Paige any closer to the super-enhanced older siblings who looked down on her, or earn her any more approval from her father, but it was nice to get out of the house sometimes. As she moved into adolescence, her powers began to shift subtly as well, in ways that weren't always comfortable. When she concentrated really hard, she began to be able to affect technology, but the heavy, nearly oily feeling in her mind afterwards made it a talent she wasn't keen to use. The telekinesis was even worse, manifesting as visible black tentacles that set the alarms in the Psion lab to chirping frantically. Dr. Psion forbade her from using that power anymore, and for once she wasn't inclined to argue, even in her head. She wasn't sure what was causing this, but she overheard talk about Terminus energy, and the possibility of alterations in the womb. She remembered learning about the Terminus invasion that took place just before she was born, and wondered. Those were uneasy thoughts, though, and she tried to shove them aside for the most part.
It was 1979 before Paige saw Richard again, and even that was just an accident. Members of the Crime League weren't exactly loyal to each other, but they did work together enough to generally stay out of each other's way during capers. It was quite a surprise, then, when the Psion Family outing to collect a bit of nuclear material from some two-bit reactor outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was interrupted by Clock Queen and her sidekick, Tempus Fugitive. While the villains blustered at each other and the older Psion children doggedly went on with the mission, Paige and Richard slipped aside for just a few minutes to talk. Richard was sixteen now, taller and more muscular than he'd been that summer, and though his let's-be-bad grin was the same as she remembered, it made her heart race in an entirely different way. He could drive now, he told her, and he and his mom were planning a round-the-world crime spree, just for the hell of it. He obviously loved villain work, and working with his mom, and Paige felt terribly envious. It sounded so much fun, nothing like what her father ever wanted to do. The conversation was cut short as ominous hooting sirens began to blare, and suddenly villains and civilians alike were booking it in every direction. With a quick hug, the friends parted again.

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History Part Three: 


Seeing Richard again stirred the dormant embers of rebelliousness in Paige, just enough to get her causing a little trouble. Stretching her invisibility aura, she learned to sneak off the property and hitchhike her way into town for a little fun and shopping. Eventually she whined and bribed the gardener into teaching her to drive, though she didn't exactly get good at it, what with hardly ever getting a chance to sneak out with something as big as one of the family cars.  Her older siblings all had cars, but Paige didn't envy them the fact. As the main subjects of Dr. Psion's lifelong research project, their lives were even more circumscribed and scrutinized than her own. Even though Parker Jr and Patrick were grown men, they had never gone to college or, as far as Paige knew, ever even gone to a movie. When they dated, it was with women that Father had chosen and vetted. Once, just once, she remembered Patrick talking about a young woman he'd met on his own, at some Crime League function. Dr. Psion had shut that down hard, fast, and mercilessly, and it had never been spoken of again. Paulette, though younger, was headed in the same direction, but could be counted on for the occasional alliance with her ugly-duckling sister. The bribe of ice cream and forbidden books bought Paige access to the car more than once. For the most part, the sum total of each of the older Psion siblings' ambitions was to impress their father enough to be named his successor and become the leader of the team and the family enterprise.

Parker Psion knew of and encouraged this competitive spirit, of course. He was not a man to parcel out any sort of praise or reward lightly, which just made it more valuable. After one particularly difficult battle against the Atoms, in which Parker Jr. and Paulette both received serious injuries, Dr. Psion elected to take the entire family to Capetown to a world villainy expo. It was a somewhat shocking move on his part, especially for sixteen-year-old Paige, but she wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth. She never got to go anywhere! As it turned out, the expo was mostly a trap for villains to turn against each other in a million plots and schemes and double-crosses that left half the conference center on fire after the third day, but Paige didn't care. She met up with Richard again while dodging a genetically modified reptile monster in the exhibit hall, and it was like they'd never been parted. They snuck away and talked all night. Well, there was some talking, and some smoking of substances Paige had heard about but never seen, and some sleeping as well, but it was the best night of her life. Clock Queen had gotten Richard his own room in the fanciest nearby hotel, and it was fascinating to just browse through the wet bar and try the jacuzzi settings on the tub. He told her amazing stories of all the places he'd been and things he'd done, all over the world. As the sun was rising, they retired to the bed and he showed her how to do some of the things he'd learned, and that was very good too. She had to do some fast talking when she reunited with her family about where she'd been for the past twenty-four hours, but the chaos around them made her absence plausible enough that she received only cursory scolding.
After the Capetown adventure, Paige's life seemed even more boring, her outdoor adventures a little bit less satisfying. She wanted more, much more, than she had in the stultifying safety of the Psion manor. There was so much world to see! She thought about somehow getting as far as Freedom City to see Richard, but before she could make even the vaguest of plans, she read in the paper how he and his mother had both been captured during a heist. It was a relief to see that Richard had gotten juvenile detention (though she knew he would hate it at least as much as prison), but his mother had attacked a police officer and been sentenced to twenty-five years. She'd be out sooner, of course, things being what they were in Freedom City, but it was still a hard blow. Paige sent Richard a note, but she wasn't sure how to address things that went to detention centers, and didn't know if he actually got it.
As though Clock Queen's fall had been some kind of signal, things began to change rapidly in the metahuman world. Less than a year later, a horrific battle in the streets of Freedom City led to the deaths of two superheroes, and suddenly the Freedom League was dissolving, its members scattering into retirement or solo work or just disappearing. Paige had expected her father to celebrate at the news, but instead he closeted himself in his study for two days, muttering balefully about changing times and disrespect for the delicate balance between villainy and anarchy. When he finally emerged from his study, he looked older and grimmer. The Psions no longer went into Freedom City for battles with the Atoms. Parker Jr. and his wife moved into a house on the property, while Patrick's girlfriend and Paulette's fiance started spending a lot more time with the family.  It was a tense, strange time, but with so much else for her father to focus on, Paige had never had more autonomy. It still wasn't much, but she liked it.
The end of the Freedom League brought the expected chaos to Freedom City over the next year, culminating in a bloody prison riot and breakout in Blackstone Prison. Paige was no hero fan, but even she was shocked at how quickly the mood of the populace turned against their protectors. The Moore Act, which would've seemed insane even two years ago, had a great deal of public support, and even before its passage, metahumans were leaving town in droves. She was even more shocked to hear that her family was leaving as well. Parker Psion was ready to move on to the next step of his great eugenics experiment, somewhere far away and much safer than Freedom City. A little eavesdropping and a lifetime's worth of experience with her father's schemes was enough to let Paige realize she wasn't at all interested in participating in this experiment, where her role would consist mainly in providing a second generation of control subjects. When she heard her father casting around for a suitable male subject also infected with Terminus energies, she was most definitely finished. She had little time to plan an escape, knowing her father would inevitably sense her disloyalty the next time he focused his attention on her. With a few pawnable items, a few sandwiches, and several changes of clothes, Paige ran away to Freedom  City, thumbing rides with the help of her mind control powers and trying not to look over her shoulder.

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History Part Four: 

Running away was complicated by the fact that Paige had no real life skills and had never cooked a meal for herself, much less survived on her own in a large city. She wound up homeless in the Freedom City Mall for a little while, sleeping on display sofas and stealing food, not exactly a brilliant career in villainy. It was mostly by chance that she met Richard again, this time mid-crime, and managed to get his attention. He was fresh out of juvie and back in the villain game, this time as Fast-Forward, a newer, cooler villain for the gritty world they were all living in now. But he was still Richard, her friend, and he was kind to her, took her in and helped her get back on her feet. They struck up a partnership, with her as the mind-controlling illusionist Hologram, and then quickly a romance as well. She moved in with him unofficially in 1985, and just never moved out, though it would be almost a decade before they formalized the relationship.

Even with the extreme risks of villainy in Iron Age Freedom City, Paige had never had more fun. It was exhilarating to finally get a chance to thumb her nose at authority, even if it was just the dumbass cops that Richard literally ran rings around. FORCE Ops was a considerably more potent opponent, but Archer and his merry men didn't get after them that often. Paige wasn't quite sure what the understanding was between Richard and Archer, except for Richard's casual mention that he'd been recruited for the team once and turned it down. In any case, there were far more dangerous bad guys for FORCE Ops to be spending their meager resources in stopping than a couple of madcap villains using their powers for financial gain and their own amusement. Richard thought up the strangest capers, from stealing a single VCR from every store in town, to hijacking a truckload of spraypaint and decorating the city's bridges, to robbing the coffers of the biggest anti-supers group in town. With their combined speed and stealth, they rarely got in fights and almost never had any contact with civilains. Good, clean villainous fun, really.
Paige set herself up with a new name and identity to avoid her family, but every so often she heard from them anyway. Paulette's psychic link to her had always been the strongest, and once in awhile they would chat, each carefully shielding from one another while they caught up. Paige learned of the slew of nieces and nephews her siblings were churning out, one or two a year and all under Grandfather's supervision. Paige was creeped out, and she could feel that even Paulette was uneasy, but there was no turning back now, not with her own enhanced little girl Frances to worry about. Tension within the family was growing on the compound in Colorado, with both Parker Jr. and Patrick vying for the title of successor and Paulette trying to hold her own, with the spouses and grandchildren dragged into the mix as well. If something wasn't done, it looked like the Psion family would split up for good. The idea was a great relief to Paige.
Things came to a head in 1989, when Parker Psion called a meeting of the entire second generation, including Paige and Richard, much to Paige's shock and chagrin. They debated going (including Richard's half-humorous insistence that it was obviously a trap), but after five years away from home, Paige was so much stronger than she'd been before, so much braver. She just had to prove it. In classic villainous fashion, the meeting was set in a giant cave in the middle of the Rockies, where Dr. Psion had set up an underground base. The elder Psions and their spouses, well-accustomed to taking orders, were all punctual and already squabbling by the time Paige and Richard approached the base. Despite her resolve, Paige found herself dithering in the tunnel outside the base, shielded and silent, listening to the familiar-stranger voices of her grown-up siblings. Paulette noticed her despite the shielding, linked up with her and let her feel the exasperation and cautious almost-affection she felt for her odd younger sister. It was enough to make Paige swallow her nerves and head towards the door, till her father's voice came booming over hidden speakers in the walls. He spoke of his disappointment in them all, how despite a promising start they were all flawed, how he would start again with the next generation, molded in his image.
Blast doors came down all around the base, sealing Paige and Richard out before she realized what was happening. At the same time, Paulette's mental link snapped fully into place, the four-way communication they'd used instinctively for years during battle and on missions. Paige dimly felt Richard grabbing hold of her, racing away from the base as the mountain began to shake, but her mind was inside the vaulted room with her doomed family. She tasted the bitterness of their panic and fear, arched with the mental effort of holding the cavern walls in place even as the ceiling fell in, bled when the shared and rebounded pain of it made her bite through her lip, but it was all over so quickly. She lost consciousness when the mental link snapped, and didn't wake again till they were back in Freedom City. It was two days before she could speak again, but even when her voice came back, she never spoke of that day again. She changed her name again after that, and they went to Europe for two years, exploring and committing petty larceny while listening to the grapevine, but Dr. Psion did not try for her again. Either he thought she'd been in the base with the others, or he just didn't care enough to clean up loose ends. Eventually Paige bricked up the empty socket in the corner of her mind and went on, not letting herself wonder about Frances and her other nieces and nephews. They were way out of her reach.

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History Part Five: 


In 1992, a new mayor was elected in Freedom City, and his promises of a new day for the city were enough to draw back a number of expatriate metahumans. Paige enjoyed Europe, but she was getting tired of the wandering life, and ready for some familiar places. At 27 she was hardly old, and her body was certainly holding up well, but she wasn't a punk teenager anymore, either. She and Richard had been talking about grown-up things, maybe marriage, maybe even kids, but she was vacillating. True, they'd been living on their investments and Richard's barely-illegal courier work for the past couple of years, committing crimes only to stave off boredom, but they were still villains, and that was a chancy line of work. Richard, of all people, understood what it could mean to be the child of a villain who got caught in the act. His mom was still in prison, his father still institutionalized. And her own family... She wasn't going to do that to a kid. But they went back to Freedom City anyway, just to see how things went.

As it turned out, things went straight to hell. Paige wasn't even done unpacking her suitcase when the apocalypse came to town, in the form of a Terminus invasion that made the one she'd been born after look like a Welcome Wagon visit. Her first impulse was that they should just pick their suitcases right back up and head much further west, possibly off the edge of the planet, but they didn't. Fast-Forward and Hologram had never had any qualms about running from a fight, but this particular fight would not allow for running. If Omega won, there would be no safe places to run to. And in a city that was very short on heroes, somebody had to save the day. Almost in spite of themselves, Paige and Richard found themselves doing the work of heroes, sneaking civilians past Omegadrone patrols, evacuating endangered neighborhoods at near-lightspeed, pinpointing victims buried in crushed buildings. It was terrifying, heart-wrenching, backbreaking work, but it was also weirdly fulfilling. Crime was fun, but helping people... it really felt good. And it felt good to work alongside the white hats, felt just for a little while like being part of a team again. And maybe it gave her heart a twist to hear Dr. Atom or other voices from past battles, but that life was long gone anyway. After all this time, none of the heroes and villains of Freedom recognized Parker Psion's forgettable youngster. She was just Hologram, and today she was helping.
The cost of repelling the Terminus was brutal. FORCE Ops was destroyed, the ragtag bunch of vigilantes now dead or, in Archer's case, hospitalized for months. It was ironic, Paige thought, that the one group of heroes who'd kept the faith had not lived to see it returned to them. And of course the Centurion, who no one had thought would ever die, gone forever. Even for a villain, the losses were numbing. Maybe that was why, when Lady Liberty visited them after the battle and thanked them for their help, offered them amnesty from past crimes in exchange for their retirement or commitment to hero work, they took her up on it. They were ready for a little peace and quiet. And for a little happiness. They married in the fall of 1993, at the tackiest wedding chapel they could find on the Las Vegas Strip, by a man who looked like Elvis but inflated with a bicycle pump. It seemed to set the right tone for them.
Retirement was interesting, in an extremely boring sort of way. Richard did more courier work, Paige took classes at the University and took a stab at writing her memoirs. They tried to have a baby, which was fun, but did not work. Richard theorized that his sperm were just too fast to realize it when they passed the egg, while Paige worried privately that the Terminus energies she'd been exposed to twice now had left her infertile. Consulting with a doctor would require revealing much more of her medical history than she was comfortable with, so she put it off. Persistence eventually did the job anyway, and in 1996 she gave birth to William, healthy and nearly ten pounds and totally free of t-energy. Paige was very happy with her son, and very, very happy to be done with ovulation calenders and puffy ankles and twenty-three hours of labor. Only children were happy children! Will didn't manifest any powers at birth, thank goodness, so caring for him was no more arduous than any other baby, and Richard proved a dab hand at changing diapers. Things bumped along very nicely for them.
The whole “settled down and retired†business lasted about eight years before Richard's feet started itching, which was about four years longer than Paige had thought it would. Despite being an execrable driver, he went out and bought a giant RV and outfitted it for permanent habitation with all the comforts of home. Paige picked up a shelf full of homeschooling curriculum for young children, and the day after Y2K, they hit the road heading nowhere. They traveled for two years that first time, drove all the way across the country and back, saw all the places she'd read about as a kid and never gotten to visit. They did a little hero work here and there, and occasionally gigged for money when the RV needed repairs, but in general it was a happy vagrant lifestyle.
Returning to Freedom City was supposed to be a temporary thing as well, rebuilding the nest egg, seeing old friends, maybe hanging around for six months before taking off again. That plan was scotched immediately when Paige came up pregnant again, without them even trying for it this time. Paige was... conflicted about this turn of events. It wasn't as though she had anything against kids, or being pregnant, she'd done it all before. But she was thirty-nine years old, she had a seven year old son, and she was retired, dammit. Her fears were not assuaged at all when during the last months of her pregnancy, she started getting phone calls and letters from her father, all from untraceable sources, asking pointedly after her health. She knew he'd returned to the Psion family manor, knew that he'd brought the grandchildren with him, but had refused to let herself think about it. He had what he wanted. There was no reason for him to want hers. She burned the letters, told him off on the phone, and defiantly went back to using her own first name. Even so, by the time Holly was born, she was a nervous wreck. Ten days after the birth, they were back on the road again, this time just heading away.
They drove straight across the country, stopping for a few days here and there to rest or get the baby a checkup, but they didn't stop moving till the land gave way to the Pacific Ocean and Paige had put a continent between herself and her nightmares. They were safe here, Dr. Psion had no reason to extend himself so far for such a small payoff.  And California was nice, and ripe for metahumans looking for a new lease on life. They settled down in LA and went to work, doing the same sort of things they'd always done, though not exactly. Without much in the way of secret identities to keep, Richard couriered everything from important mail to celebrities with his unbeatable speed. Turns out there were plenty of people who would pay for a colorful vagabond to give them a whirlwind tour from LA to New York or Chicago or Paris and back, far faster than a plane could fly.
Paige thought about staying home, but the idea was unendurably boring after so much retirement already. She enrolled William in school, quite proud at how far ahead he was of the other second-graders, and tried her hand at a little busking. Illusion powers and nimble hands made her a solid street magician, and the sight of her working her blocks with an infant on her back made her memorable. A producer working on a “secrets of magic, revealed!†program brought her in for a consultation, whereupon she admitted, a bit shamefacedly, that it was actually magic (or close enough for Hollywood, anyway) and not skill that powered her tricks. Since this was Los Angeles and not Freedom City, he found that pretty fascinating as well, and she wound up telling him a few of her more colorful, less liability-laden adventures from her days as Hologram. Before she knew it, he was setting her and Richard up to meet with some people about a different kind of special entirely.

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History Part Six: 


Paige felt weird about doing television at first, but she warmed to it quickly. She'd been trained in public speaking since childhood, since Dr. Psion abhorred a villain who couldn't make herself understood, and the camera was just another kind of audience. Richard helped too, he was a natural in front of the cameras, goofy and off-the-cuff, balancing her more straightforward approach. The first program was really just interviews, talking about their lives, doing a few dramatic reenactments of their capers, talking to people who'd seen them in action. It was a modest success, enough to lead to a follow-up, considerably more heavily dramatized documentary miniseries. It embarrassed Paige a little, but the money was good and she was able to edit out all the things she didn't want to talk about. Paige Psion was not what the audience wanted to see, they wanted Hologram, in all her punk princess glory. The miniseries led to another offer in 2008, this time for something potentially longer-term. The Discovery Channel wanted a series on superheroes and supervillains, their capers and adventures, how they did what they did, and what the narrow escapes really looked like. They wanted real metahumans to host, and Paige and Richard were right there and ready to work. Their show, SuperCrime! became a modest success, as all Discovery Channel successes are, and they had themselves a gig.

It was fun, Paige discovered, to become a minor television personality. There was the thrill of signing autographs without the crush of paparazzi everywhere, and the money wasn't bad either. Having well-known parents gave Will a little more cachet with his friends at school. And in her heart of hearts, Paige hoped that a measure of fame would be enough to protect her family from her intensely private father. She'd kept his name and his crimes out of her revelations so far, but that would change if it had to, and she was sure he knew that. Her contacts in Freedom City told her that the Psion kids were wreaking havoc for a new generation, opposed by another generation of Atom children. The thought made her want to weep. Would this never end? She saw television footage of Frances, now called Ember, and wondered how she could still be the spitting image of her mother after so many years apart. She looked at the girl and saw Paulette, right down to the icy superiority (mixed with her own burning rage) with which she handled her opponents in combat. Grandfather Psion had trained her well. Paige wondered which of the Psion grandchildren slept in her old room. But there was nothing, she reminded herself sternly, that she could do for them.
Years passed and LA became home, even more so than Freedom City had ever been. They had work and friends, favorite grocery stores and salons and mechanics. In the summer rerun season, they would all get in the RV and tour the country, sometimes on an itinerary, sometimes just looking around. Once they went all the way to Florida to visit Grandmother Anne, the only grandparent the kids were ever told about. She was sallow from years in prison, but still spry, and obviously enjoying the condo her son helped to fund for her. During the school year, the kids attended private school and made occasional guest spots on the show, wearing little custom-made masks in a tongue-in-cheek nod to their secret identities. As he moved through adolescence, William began to come into his powers, an interesting blend of both his parents that leaned heavily towards the super-speed. Richard gleefully began to train him in the evening and on weekends, and it all seemed to go very well. Superpowers were a tricky thing, but with two experienced veteran parents, surely it wouldn't be a problem.
That pretty illusion was shattered nicely in 2013, when eight year old Holly had what could be charitably termed a precocious eruption of powers. An escaped convict from the jail near Holly's school led to a campus-wide lockdown on the third day of school. Holly, a voracious reader with a taste for material above her comprehension level, panicked at the thought there was a criminal actually in the school, and began acting on instinct. Paige was on camera at work when she heard the cry for help, first from Holly's mind, then from a hundred minds, two hundred minds, all calling “Mommy, Mommy!†The effect was rather stunning, but she recovered enough to grab Richard and race to the school. By the time they arrived, the place was madness. Police and fire trucks from three different boroughs were on site, all called in simultaneously on their radios by no one that anyone could identify. They'd pulled the principal out of the school, but all he would do was call for his mother, while inside, the students and staff lined the windows and stared out as though standing guard.
It was a lucky accident that Paige and Richard were both in costume from filming, it was enough to get them access to the school while the first responders were still trying to sort out what was happening. As they approached, the children and adults began chanting “mommy, daddy, mommy, daddy,†in voices that sent shivers down Paige's spine. Following her own mental senses, Paige sorted through the startling web of power that had descended on the school, tracing it back into the library where they found Holly, hiding under a table with her face against her knees, mumbling right along with the other students. The moment Richard picked her up, the spell was broken, but the damage couldn't be undone. Holly was a powerful psychic, more powerful than her mother had ever been, and she needed training right away. This had been a strident wake-up call, next time something much worse could happen.
Paige and Richard immediately began tapping all their contacts, looking for someone who could help them help their little girl. The options quickly narrowed down to one, the Nicholson School in Freedom City. Nicholson could give Holly the training and structure she needed to master her powers without inadvertently possessing any more of her classmates, and it was a top-tier school academically as well. She'd be happy there, Paige and Richard told each other. They'd all be happy there, living in the family village and commuting to work via speedster-power. Will was too old for Nicholson, but there was a place for him at the Claremont Academy. It meant leaving his friends in LA, but he could learn here to be a superhero, and wasn't that an ironic twist in lives already full of them? Paige wouldn't have worried so much about schools or living arrangements or commuting, but the whole city still carried one big question mark. With her father and all her nieces and nephews in town, would the past finally catch up to her? 

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The Psion-Cline Family Timeline


1939: Young Parker Psion Sr. emigrates to America as a mad scientist

1952: Parker Psion Sr. develops psychic powers, debuts as a real supervillain

1953: Calendar Girl (aka Anne Cline) debuts

1955: The Liberty League dissolves

1954: Parker Psion Sr. marries twenty-year-old Margaret Watson

1955: Psion Mansion is built outside Freedom City

1957: Parker Psion Jr. is born

1959: Patrick Psion is born

1959: Andrea Atom is born

1959: Calendar Girl evades the cops by jumping three years into the future.

1960: Paulette Psion is born

1961: Hades invades

1961: The Silver Age Freedom League forms

1962: Doc Holiday (aka Bryant Haliday) debuts

1962: Calendar Girl reappears in the ‘modern’ era. She hooks up with Doc Holiday.

1963: Richard Cline is born to Calendar Girl and Doc Holiday, who soon moves on to other affairs.

1964: Calendar Girl reappears as Clock Queen, the sultry mistress of time and crime.

1965: The first Terminus invasion.

1965: Paige Psion is born

1965: Margaret Psion disappears, officially listed as Terminus casualty

1968: Summer of Love/Grue Invasion/Tick-Tock Doc debuts

1970: Doc Holiday retires to Providence Asylum. In later years, he will only meet with his son and his family on Christmas and Grandparents Day.

1972: Wail debuts

1974: Watergate

1975: 1-800-JUSTICE forms

1975: Richard and Paige meet while he’s being temporarily fostered by the Psions

1976: Mentac joins the Atom Family

1977: Star Wars debuts

1978: The alcoholic Bowman retires

1978: Richard Cline debuts as Tempus Fugitive, the villanous teen sidekick to Clock Queen. Clock Queen and Tempus Fugitive are often discussed as the “last of their breedâ€: fun-loving 50s and 60s style super-criminals who are in the business of crime to make a dishonest dollar without targeting innocents.  

1978: The Scarab and Brainstorm die thanks to the machinations of the Scions of Sobek

1979: In a Crime League mixup, Clock Queen and Tempus Fugitive arrive at Three Mile Island to steal its atomic clock simultaneously with the Psions’ arrival to steal nuclear material for use in their father’s experiments. Richard and Paige hang out together for a while, but are interrupted by the near meltdown.

1981: Richard and Paige encounter each other again at a supervillain convention in Capetown.

1981: Clock Queen and Tempus Fugitive are caught stealing the world’s most valuable clock from the Freedom City Museum by Evening and Eye of Justice. Anne Cline takes full responsibility for the crime (as well as her decades-long career) and receives a 20 year sentence: her son Richard, arrested two days before his 18th birthday, is sentenced to a juvenile facility until the age of 21.

1981: The Silver Age Freedom League dissolves after the murders of Tectonic and Halogen at the hands of rampaging Katananarchists.

1983: Blackstone Prison Riot: A major super-riot at Blackstone Prison kills dozens of prisoners and guards, including the warden himself. The carnage is blamed by the government on inaction by local superheroes.

1984: Andrea Atom and Mentac get married

1984: Parker Psion moves his family to the Colorado breeding compound

1984: Richard Cline finishes his juvenile sentence and is released.

1984: Paige Psion strikes out on her own as Hologram.

1984: The Moore Act passes; law-abiding superheroes leave.

1985: Archer forms FORCE Ops

1985: Disgusted by the darkening of Freedom City and determined to inspire the citizens to embrace a new generation of heroes (as well as get rich or die trying) Richard Cline debuts as Fast-Forward, simultaneously robbing every electronics store in the city.

1985: Richard and Paige meet up in Freedom City and move in together

1985: Juliette (Empath) Psion is born to Patrick Psion and his wife Joyce

1986: Frances (Ember) Psion is born to Paulette Psion and her husband Frank

1988: Joshua (Jump) Psion is born to Patrick Psion and his wife Joyce

1988: Gwen (Aura) and Carolyn (Argent) Psion are born to Parker Psion Jr. and his wife Karen

1989: The three eldest Psion children and their spouses are killed in an avalanche

1989: Fast Forward and Hologram take an extended European vacation and begin easing away from the life of crime

1991: POF-SWAT kills Captain Blood, nearly causing an LA-style riot in the Southside

1992: Michael O’Connor is elected Mayor of Freedom City

1992: Hologram and Fast-Forward move back to Freedom City

1993: The second Terminus invasion. The Centurion dies. The Iron Age ends

1993: Richard and Paige receive amnesty for their crimes and retire, get married

1997: After a great deal of trying, Fast-Forward and Hologram have a child, William

2000: The First Cline Family RV excursion begins, lasting three years

2004: Richard and Paige have a surprise second baby, Holly, and immediately flee Freedom City for the West Coast

2005: Fast Forward and Hologram have their first television appearances

2006: Anne Cline is released from prison and retires to south Florida.

2006: Juliette, eldest of the Psion grandchildren, turns 21

2013: Twentieth anniversary of the Second Terminus Invasion

2013: Richard and Paige celebrate their 20th anniversary

2013: Holly Cline manifests precocious psychic ability, leading the Cline family to return to Freedom City. Holly and William are enrolled in the Nicholson School and Claremont Academy

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