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Avenger Assembled

Godwin's Law

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Freedom City University 

January 4, 2014 

 

It was late on the night of January 4th when the alarm began ringing at Freedom City University's Physics Building; the clang-a-lang-a-lang of the old brass striker in the big red alarms located high above each of the building's original entrances. The campus was mostly quiet right now; classes weren't back in session and most students were still away lingering over the holidays with their families, and it was late enough that most of the people who used the campus for other purposes were home. Under dark, cloudy skies and a mostly empty, snow-covered campus, lit only by the ever-present glow of security lights, the alarms rang again and again - while dark deeds were carried out in the shadowed Physics building and a man's life lay in the balance. 

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It had been a wonderful few days for Hronos, or at least, wonderfully quiet days. Whether it was due to the holidays, or mere happenstance, Hronos could count in his hands the number of incidents that had occured this month, and he was ever so thankful for it. Even with the Essence of Time itself on his side, it seemed that as of late, Hronos found less and less opportunities to simply relax and enjoy Earth's civilization. The blue-plated mechanical being floated above his favorite spot, Liberty Park, content on observing the passing people and their cars, reading the giant advertisement boards, and enjoying the performances of various street artists and their audience.

 

It was thus that the ringing of the alarms brought Hronos forcibly out of his tranquil state. Even though the alarms registered just barely, it didn't take long for the Mechanodynamis to locate the source of the commotion, and even less to realise that trouble was abrewing. Whatever is this sound, it would be best for me to go and investigate it. he thought to himself, as he flew towards Wading Street. A few seconds in, the Freedom City University came to full view, and Hronos could now hear the alarms loud and clear enough, and he proceeded to scan the perimeter for the exact trigger of the commotion.

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Elanor looked up from her paperwork in surprise as she heard the distant clanging of old-fashioned alarms.  She’d only returned to Freedom City from visiting her family yesterday, and she'd chosen to spend the evening in her office on campus to make a few last minute adjustments to her syllabus for the upcoming semester instead of her usual nocturnal activities as Shadowblade.  Fortunately, though, the gym bag with her gear lay under her desk.  She stood and looked out her tiny window; the commotion seemed to be coming from the physics building.  She frowned in thought - the campus was quiet and sleepy in the midst of the holiday lull, and campus security might well be slower than normal in responding.  A swift smile flashed across her face; apparently, Shadowblade would be venturing out into the night, after all.

She hastily closed the blinds, crossed to door, and locked it.  She grabbed the big, black gym bag from under her desk and pulled out her gear.  She donned her gear as quickly as possible; she tied her hair back into a braid with ruthless haste and hurriedly removed the contacts from her eyes.  Finally, she buckled her sword belt about her waist and moved back to the window.  She peeked out of the blinds and then shadow-jumped out into the night towards the sound of the ringing alarms.  As she drew closer, she slowed her headlong pace and began to look for the cause of the commotion.

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Inside his makeshift workshop, Kyle was busy building more things. Ever the workaholic inventor, pieces were thrown haphazardly around the workshop. Perhaps pieces for a new and upgraded armor? So early in his career and already the Silver Magus felt his armor may not be enough to keep up with threats. His phone rang for a good minute before he finally felt bothered to answer. Exchanging a few words his friend miss Darcie, Kyle reluctantly left his work behind. There was something going on at the Freedom City University.

 

After suiting up, the Silver Magus incanted to mystically travel. Assuming he wouldn’t be able to reach the place with his teleportation, the rest of it would be travelled by the air.

Edited by RobRX

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It was easy enough for the heroes to find the source of the commotion, an attempted burglary at the Physics Building, and to take note of both the pried-open main doors and the short trail of blood that led a few feet outside. Inside the Physics Building, the heroes found a grim scene, just as they might have expected from the clues outside. Just inside the main doors, a campus cop lay sprawled on the floor, bleeding out from a deep stab wound to his back. The cop lay in front of a locked lab door as if he'd been trying to protect it before his attack, his cuffs and gun scattered on the tile floor in front of him. He was an older man with a greying mustache, looking a bit like a retired cop. He pulled the first hero close with the last of his strength, which in this case happened to be Hronos. "Officer Rich Daley, reporting in...Came up behind me when I was...cuffing the other guy...never heard a thing...funny thing, if Bob had shown up, it'd be him instead of me..." And with that, his final report given, the old officer slumped into a cold, still unconsciousness. 

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Hronos regarded the man for a brief moment. While he was no expert in making medical diagnoses, he could tell that the man had been gravely wounded, perhaps even killed. He had no way to make sure, and more pressingly, no time either. Looking at the two other heroes, Hronos said to them "I have to apologize, but we should postpone introductions for now." His chestplate opened to reveal a purple-colored spherical energy spark, roughly the size of one and a half human heads. The energy started resonating at an accelerated rate, and electricity flew towards the Mechanodynamis' hands, which were positioned in front of the sphere, as if to control it.

 

"You may feel a mild uncomfort, but I assure you that what I am about to do is harmless." With those comforting words, Hronos unleashed the energy that he had been building up. The energy rapidly expanded, covering the entire campus, and causing a temporal paradox that affected everything it engulfed. While leaving the mental experiences of everything it touched unharmed, it deccelerated their temporal velocity, to the point of reversing it, and causing it to revert back in time, seconds first, and then minutes. Hronos kept concentrating, as he tried to undo the guard's untimely fate, but even he knew that he could not bring the guard back to life, if he's already dead.

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“Well, this is certainly interesting. Most interesting.†said the Silver Magus as he watched Hrono’s chest plate open, revealing the crackling purple sphere that the machine seemingly could manipulate and unleash the power. As the energy engulfed the campus, the armored sorcerer raised one arm in defense, as if expecting something harmful. A plate slid off the armor and an hexagonal shield of energy formed.

 

Realizing nothing harmful was happening and he looked probably like a fool, he lowered his arm and disengaged the shield. “Well, I can’t be too careful. Now you…†he said to the machine. “You are one amazing construct, you have no idea how much I wish I could see what makes you tick!†Realizing his manic glee was probably unsettling, the man took a moment to calm down. “With your expressed permission only, of course.â€

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Shadowblade looked on with interest as the robotic hero opened his chest plate and emanated the arcs of purple energy.  She looked back at the wounded guard who'd bravely stood his ground and hoped that, whatever the purple-skinned hero was attempting, it would work quickly.  She had no particular skill at healing, but even to her untrained eye, his wounds looked serious.  She murmured a quick prayer for the guard - and that the automaton was right in that it wouldn't be harmful to others.

 

Suddenly, the guard's breathing eased, and Shadowblade breathed a sigh of relief.  The guard's sense of duty wouldn't cost him his life, thankfully.  She listened with half an ear to the other hero - a man wearing powered armor in bright silvers and whites with a red cape - enthusiastically peppered the other hero with questions and a desire to examine him; instead, she swept her gaze about the hallway, looking for any hints as to the man' assailants.  She glanced down at her own dark clothing and tactical harness and half-smiled as she reflected on the constrast with the bright and colorful armor the other two responders wore.  When the silver-armored man paused, she added, "Tis glad tidings indeed that the constable shalt not perish, but mayhap this fancy canst be postponed betime.  Some foul mischief is afoot."

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To everyone's surprise, the purple radiation triggered by the time-spinning robot had an immediate effect on their surroundings! The sealed doors to the physics lab suddenly slid open on their tracks as if struck by a cattle prod, a new alarm blaring in counterpoint to the already-blasting security alarm. Inside the ransacked lab, a green light blared on and off while a recorded voice said, "TEMPORAL ANOMALY DETECTED! PLEASE EVACUATE THE BUILDING." It took Hronos, with his knowledge of science and temporal science in particular, only a moment or two to recognize the contents of the lab as the (heavily worked-over) remains of a laboratory engaged in temporal science! 

 

This late the building was empty, though, and there was no one to evacuate but the heroes themselves. "Oh jeez, we gotta get out of here!" said Daley, pale but game as he leaned against Hronos - evidently the old cop was no stranger to Freedom City's weirder side. "The doors'll slam shut and lock us all in!" Outside, several marked FBI cars were just pulling into the lot, tires squealing, the cars themselves wobbling slightly on the icy asphalt. The first agent out called "Special Agent Harold Vardalos! Who's in charge here?" he demanded of the mismatched trio of heroes. "What are you doing in a top secret installation after hours?" 

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“Well.†said the Silver Magus as he lifted himself a few feet off the ground. “It seems we’re now involved in a most peculiar situation†One look at the lab had been enough for Kyle to assess what could have happened there.

 

“Who's in charge, you ask? Well, see that’s a very good question you see. No, actually I don’t have an answer to that, no one precisely is in charge. We aren’t affiliated, we just happened to all get here. A meeting of circumstances, if you will. The real question is; what is this dangerous equipment doing here?â€

Edited by RobRX

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"We must needs move with alacrity, lest we be trapped within."  Shadowblade said tersely.  She turned toward the purple-skinned automaton and the wounded Officer Daly.  "My thanks to you, friends, for your actions.  If thou wilt permit, Constable, I shall transport thee outside forthwith and save thy injured frame."  Officer Daly looked a bit confused at her archaic speech pattern but gamely gave her an uncertain nod.  She stepped forward quickly and took a firm but gentle hold on the wounded man.  With a soft popping sound and a puff of smoke, Shadowblade and the officer vanished.

 

They reappeared an instant later outside, and Shadowblade used all her skill and strength to make the landing as smooth as possible to avoid straining the injured officer.  Daly grunted and swayed for a moment, leaning against her, but with her help he steadied himself once more.  As soon as she was certain Daly was safe and secure, she turned to the responding FBI agents.  "The silver armored one hast the right of it, officers.  I, at least, merely heard the klaxons and but respond.  I fear I have no knowledge of this laboratory."

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Not having enough time to sigh in relief that the officer was back on his feet, Hronos was momentarily taken by surprise from Silver Magus' forthcoming inquiries about himself. After taking a moment, really examining the crimson-caped, armor-clad sorcerer, he could clearly sense that while the man had a thirst for knowledge was unparalleled to any other being the Mechanodynamis might have met, his heart was in the right place. Or, at the very least, no ulterior motive presented itself other than pure scientific pursuit. "That is understood." Hronos finally replied, over the sounding alarms. "I have no express objection to your inquiries. I could also grant you access to the schematics of my constructed stature, if that would also help your inquir-" Hronos was cut off by Harold Vardalos arrival. "-ies... Unfortunately, it would appear that we are currently otherwise preoccupied."

 

Turning at the agent, Hronos added after Shadowblade. "This holds true for myself, as well, Special Agent Harold Vardalos. I am called Hronos. I am a Mechanodynamis and the Holder of the Essence of Time. This man known as Officer Rich Daley suffered a fatal wound prior to our arrival. It is my surmise that I was the one who triggered the latest Temporal Anomaly alarm, as a direct result of my efforts to save the life of Officer Rich Daley." He explained.

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Also teleporting (albeit by presumably different means), Silver Magus joined up with Shadowblade and the FBI agents. A short gust of wind lifted up and in an instant, the armored sorcerer appeared out of thin air. With a thud, he landed, the suit faintly whirring as he regained his balance.

 

“I suppose it is possibly classified but could someone explain me what such dangerous equipment is even doing here? Playing with time itself is dangerous. The damage it could do could very much be unmeasurable.â€

 

He then stopped talking, realizing he was probably rambling. “But I suppose I shouldn’t be the one asking questions or presuming that you may be involved in this. It could very well be some hapless fool toying with forces he doesn’t understand.â€

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The agent glared at the heroes for a moment before he took a slow, deep breath and relaxed, his stiff spine bending. "I'm...not authorized to discuss this operation with outsiders. 'Holder of the Essence of Time' or not. I'm grateful for what you did for this officer," he went on, indicating Daley, "but I'll need to consult my superiors before I can divulge any information about this project." He looked reluctant, but determined to project his agency's secrets. "If you three can leave your contact information with me, I'll see about speaking to my superiors and..." 

"Can't somebody speak to me!?" The dreadlocked guy in the sweater and jeans had been arguing with one of the agents on the perimeter, but now practically skated across the ice to the heroes. "I was in the library for like twenty minutes, doing stuff...and somebody just jacked my ride, man! How could somebody jack a car right here on campus with all these suits _and_ these superheroes around!" 

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“Well, car thievery. It happens.†says Silver Magus, approaching the man, red cape trailing behind him as the armored sorcerer lifted off in the air very faintly to approach the victim of the car thief.

 

“Still, just to be sure; did you happen to see the person who stole your car? It is possible this person was trying to escape this area.†Silver Magus had a hunch that this was no mere coincidence. Unless, somehow, a car thief REALLY did use this occasion to just snatch a car. Which was within the realm of possibilities.

Edited by RobRX

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Shadowblade took careful note of what Hronos had said - temporal energy and a mechanodynamis sounded very intriguing - but that would keep for now.  She looked at Officer Daly and asked, "Can thou stand on thy own, friend?"  When the officer gave her a nod, she gently released him and, once she was sure Daly truly could stand on his own, she moved over to FBI agents to give over the contact information she'd set up for her public identity as Shadowblade, but she looked up when the civilian bystander broke through the cordon.  She frowned as he started describing how his car was stolen and felt a slight twinge of guilt when he asked how such a thing could happen with so many heroes around.

 

The silver-armored hero flew over to the man and asked him for more detail - clearly, the man was thinking along similar lines to her own.  Coincidence exists, certainly, but the timing of this particular incident seemed to stretch the bounds of plausibility.  She listened for how the man would respond to the silvered flyer's questions.

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While Shadowblade and the Silver Magus addressed the car-jacked man's issue, Hronos decided that he should further press the agent. "I understand your reservations, Special Agent Harold Vardalos. I trust that your organization has taken proper precautions for the tests that it is conducting, and I have no objections on that matter. However, and regardless of all other circumstances here, there was an attempted murder in these premises. I will have to insist on having your full cooperation in further investigating this incident, and if that requires premission from your superiors, then I would ask that you bring me in contact with them post haste." His tone was even throughout the conversation with Vardalos, but his stance on the matter was clear. The attempted murder may have been an unrelated happenstance to the temporal experiments conducted in this allegedly secret facility, but Hronos would rather err on the side of caution and investigate a random murder, rather than leave a plot that could directly affect the integrity of the space-time continuum.

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Up close, the man's bloodshot eyes and slightly erratic demeanor offered some evidence for why the agents hadn't taken his concerns particularly seriously. Wasn't it a little cold for this kind of thing? "Yeah, it was the craziest thing! It was some Amish guy, or rabbi guy or something! He had a big bushy beard and one of those little black hats! It happened, I swear!" he said to the agents, who were looking decidedly unimpressed with this fellow. "He even broke my rear window and tossed something in. I've got a lojack on my car, maybe you can trace it?" he hopefully asked Silver Magus, the more technically-minded looking of the heroes dealing with him. "Just don't look in the trunk!"

 

"We're talking about a prototype working time machine," said Agent Vardalos, giving Hronos an intense look. "You can understand why I'm reluctant to share information with anyone without full authorization." He stepped aside and raised a communicator to his lips, beginning an intense conversation in code with a distant superior. 

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With a soft whirr, Silver Magus turned to the man. "Checking people's trunks for illegal substances isn't really my priority. Now, tell me; you said some amish or rabbi? Interesting; neither really quite fit the general pattern and stereotypes of car thieves. Althought, I suppose, a car-stealing rabbi is not the strangest this city would have seen." He wasn't quite sure what to make of the amish or rabbi story but it oddly felt like a lead. A very, very odd lead.

 

A metallic hand reach out to tap the side of the helmet a few times as the armored sorcerer just...stands there, for a moment, likely doing something with his armor. Likely tracking down the car. "Now, let's see if I can find out runaway rabbi. Assuming it is a rabbi."

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Shadowblade blinked.  The idea of car-jacking Amish seemed ludicrous, and the thought of a rabbi doing the same was only slightly less ridiculous to her.  And, given the man's apparent state, he was less than a spectacularly reliable eyewitness.  Still, she had to admit stranger things had happened, especially in this city.  She watched as the silver-armored hero reached up and fiddled with his helmet, and her eyebrows rose.  If he could track a stolen car with his suit's devices, clearly he truly had prepared for anything, and that sort of foresight impressed her.

 

She turned back to Hronos as Agent Vardalos began his coded conversation with his superiors.  She was certain they would need what the agent knew to get to the bottom of whatever was going on here - a working time machine seemed almost too fantastic to be believed.  Yet there seemed nothing to do at the moment but wait for Vardalos to get authorization.  So, she waited, feeling slightly embarrassed to be of no use and hoped that whatever the silver-armored man was up to, it would work.

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Hronos slumped his shoulders, as he let a sigh escape him. The agent was just doing his job, but Hronos hoped that it wouldn't turn into a handful. At the very least, he'd prefer it if Vardalos' superiors would be willing to cooperate with him; if not, he'd still have to investigate, but that would mean that he may have to immobilize the agent, so that he wouldn't interfere. At any rate, while the agent appeared to be communicating with his superiors, Hronos decided to inquire about the car thief. After all, the case might very well be related to the attempted murder, even if only tangentially. Turning at Shadowblade, Hronos said. "As you can see, Special Agent Harold Vardalos is currently in communication with his superiors. Hopefully, he will be willing to cooperate afterwards. Have you aqcuired any information of interest in regards to the car thief?" the Mechanodynamis asked.

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Shadowblade looked over at Hronos as the mechanodynamis asked about the car thief.  "I fear that that we know but a little.  The one accosted hath claimed his assailant to be one of the Amish or mayhap a rabbi, who then took to the roads with all haste.  The Silver Magus yonder appears to be essaying a tracking of some sort."  She gave the purple automaton a frank look, "Betwixt us, I have some doubt 'bout the verity of the witness.  He has all the appearance of one whose judgment hath been compromised."  She tossed a nod toward the agent.  "Thinkest thou that the constable will be able to share more of what transpired here?"

Edited by Corsecjedi

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Whirr. Click. The armor's helmet piece make a few more soft noises. "There, I have him. He is moving south, toward the airport. One moment, please." Inside the armor, Kyle loaded up the data on his mystic sight spell. The perks of mixing magic and technology; one has a direct acces to entire spellbooks.

 

"Eye in the night give me sight. Let me see what see what is unseen. Reveal a thousand truth and thousand lies." Incanted the armored sorcerer, shaking subtly as if entering a trance. In a flash, his vision blurred as he found himself propelled ahead, the haze clearing, showing him the car driving away from the scene. Blinking, his senses were back in his body once more. "I have him. I can attempt to intercept."

Edited by RobRX

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Shadowblade moved over to the Silver Magus and clapped him on his armored shoulder.  "Bravely done, friend Magus, bravely done indeed!"  She turned back to Hronos and asked, "As the honorable Vardalos remaineth in conference with his absent superiors, I propose that we give chase to this villain and then return as speedily as we may."  She looked at the silver-armored man once more.  "I observed that thou hath the ability to fly.  I fear that I cannot, but if thou should but fly low, I shall follow thy course with all the speed I possess."

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The heroes followed the trail of the missing car to a nearby residential neighborhood near the airport; a district of cheap, nearly identical row houses where airport maintenance staff, junior flight attendants, and others without the time or money to make a more lasting investment in the city. It was easy enough to find the missing car, buried as it was against a telephone pole. From all the ice on the unshoveled sidewalks beneath their feet, it wasn't hard to guess that the car had skidded and had a one-car accident. Luckily no one was hurt - or so it appeared. Tracks in the snow led towards a nearby house, one whose shuttered, barred windows and dark exterior lights failed to match the swinging open front door.  The tracks led right up the porch steps, across the porch itself, and into the one-story building itself. 

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