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Summer Vacation


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Megan Howell was with her parents just before the security checkpoint in Jordan International Airport. The blonde teenager had a small shoulder bag, her ticket and passport, and was ready to go. Her mother looked a bit nervous, but was smiling, her dad was smiling as well, and likely just doing a better job of hiding any nervousness at the fact that his youngest daughter was getting ready to head to Europe for a couple of months with two of her high school friends.

“You girls be sure to watch out for each other.†Erin Howell said as she gave Megan a hug.

“Don’t worry mom, we will.†Megan replied as she hugged her mother back.

Nearby, her friends, Janet and Lisa, were having similar goodbyes with their parents. Their parents seemed to have some similar concerns about three girls in their late teens running around Europe together, but seemed resigned to the fact that they had agreed to let them go on this post-graduation trip.

After a farewell hug with her father and a promise to send some emails and call from time to time, Megan headed over towards the security line, meeting up with Janet and Lisa as she did.

Excitement was clear on both the other two girls’ faces as they got in line with Megan, giving their parents yet another goodbye wave. “This is going to be so awesome!†Lisa exclaimed. “I know that flying overnight so we got to London in the morning seemed like a good idea a few months ago, but right now I am so excited I don’t know if I will be able to sleep!â€Â

Megan smiled at the other girl. “It might be easier than you think. But if you can’t, we have the first day there to rest and recover anyway, so no big deal. After that though, we will be moving at pretty high gear.â€Â

“I am looking forward to it.†Janet added.

The security line seemed to take forever, as they often did. Megan tried not to think too much about the possibility of them finding her Velocity costume. Deadalus had provided her a means of camouflaging it so that she could get it through security, just in case she needed it. The blonde teen really hoped she would not, but she had been a hero for too long to not be prepared, just in case things did not go as planned.

Once they were finally through security, the three girls made their way towards the most expensive restaurant in the terminal for dinner. A few hours later, they were seated in the first class section of a British Airways 747.

As she sat back in the soft leather chair, Megan glanced over at Lisa, who did seem to almost be bouncing in her seat. The blonde smiled, hoping her friend was able to get some sleep tonight. Though they could take things easy tomorrow some, there was no sense in wasting a day if they could avoided it. Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the captain announcing they were done with boarding and the plane began to pull away from the gate.

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Megan was awoken from her sleep by the feeling of the plane starting to descend as it began its approach to Heathrow. Yawning slightly as she looked about, she noticed that despite her claims of being unable to sleep, Lisa was still dozing in her seat nearby. Janet looked like she had just woken up as well, and looked over at Megan with a small smile.

It was not too much longer before the plane had touched down and they had arrived at the gate. The three girls were among the first ones off the plane, glad to have a chance to stretch their legs some as they made their way through the terminal. After a quick stop in one of the restrooms to freshen up some, they made their way to the baggage claim to get their checked bags and clear customs.

Once through customs, they made their way out towards the pick up area to meet the car that was supposed to be waiting for them.

“That took forever.†Janet complained, meaning the time it had taken for them to get through customs.

“They just have to be through.†Megan replied with a shrug, the process having taken about as long as she had expected.

“Yeah, we’re done now, and in England.†Lisa offered. “Even if I am rather tired. What time is it?â€Â

Megan checked her cellphone. “About half past seven.â€Â

“Way too early.†Janet replied as the three girls made their way outside.

“Geeze it’s cold.†Lisa complained, shivering slightly in the cool morning air.

“It should be warmer in a couple of hours.†Megan replied with a smile as she looked around for someone that might be their driver. It took her a moment before she spotted the tall man holding a sign with their three last names. “There’s our driver.†She said to the others, as she started over towards him, wheeling her bags with her.

“Can we go get something to eat now? I’m starving.†Janet said.

“We can, or we can wait till we get to Bath.†Megan said with a shrug, though she was feeling a bit hungry as well.

“I can wait till we get to Bath.†Lisa replied. Janet did not seem to want to press the matter, and simply stayed quite as they continued towards the driver.

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Megan had dozed for much of the drive through the English countryside. By the time they were getting close to Bath, she was wide awake however. Janet and Lisa were also awake by then, looking out the windows as they drew near Bath. The small city (very small to the three girls from Freedom City) was situated along the River Avon, and seemed very charming and quaint among the green of the country side. Not a single skyscraper was visible, or a even a building over five stories tall for that mater, other than the tall spires of churches here and there.

The architecture of the city was very classical, dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The car crossed the River Avon over Pulteney Bridge and into the heart of the city. As they drove through the center of town, Bath Abby stood out as the most prominent building in the city.

They continued through the town and towards the Northeastern end, where Royal Victoria Park spread out in fields of green grass and trees. Sitting slightly above the park, looking out over it was a long, curved row of buildings that were of the same classical Georgian design as most of the rest of the city.

“That’s where our hotel is right?†Lisa asked as she saw the building.

“Yep. That’s the Royal Crescent.†Megan replied with a smile.

The car pulled up into the road that led around the arching crescent shaped row of buildings, right to the center. There, located at 15 and 16 Royal Crescent, was the Royal Crescent Hotel.

“Wow.†Janet said as she looked up at the building. “This looks awesome!â€Â

“Yeah, there is a private garden in the back, with a sap-bath house as well.†Megan said as the car came to a stop.

The girls climbed out of the car as the driver started unloading their luggage. “This is going to be so cool.†Lisa commented as they made their way inside to check in.

A short while later Megan was in her room on the third floor of hotel. Sunlight poured in through the windows into the lightly colored room which was beautifully decorated and had a large king sized bed. Smiling as she looked around at the room that she would be staying in for the next couple of days, Megan quickly changed, putting on some new clothes she had bought for the trip. While stylish, these were not nearly as fancy or expensive as what she normally wore. Her and the other girls had bought quite a few outfits of more “normal†clothes, so as to not stand out too much when they were sightseeing.

Once she was changed, Megan grabbed her purse and room key, and headed out into the hallway to go check on Lisa and Janet so they could head out and get something to eat and start seeing some of the town.

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“Hey Lisa, it’s me.†Megan called out as she knocked on the door to the other girl’s room. There was a somewhat muffled reply and some movement inside before Lisa opened up the door.

“These rooms are soooo awesome!†Was the very first thing she said as she let Megan into the room. Like Megan, Lisa was now wearing clothing that was less expensive than what she typically wore.

“Yeah, they are amazing. Almost makes it hard to leave. But only almost.†Megan replied with a smile as she glanced around Lisa’s room before focusing on her. “We should go get Janet and get something to eat. I’m starving now, so she is likely ready to pass out.â€Â

A short while later the three girls made their way out of the hotel, stepping out into the now warm morning air. The temperature was comfortable, and there was little in the way of humidity, unlike Freedom City in the Summer.

They had gotten a suggestion for a place to eat from the desk clerk, and started off along the sidewalk that ran in front of the row of buildings that was the Royal Crescent.

Janet looked up at the buildings that they were passing by, slightly in awe. “Its hard to believe that these were made around the time of the Revolution.†She said.

“Most of this town was built by then.†Lisa replied. “We’re going to be seeing a lot of that, and older, during this trip.â€Â

“Some a LOT older.†Megan added with a smile.

The three girls walked along the edge of part of Royal Victoria Park as they headed towards the suggested restaurant. Their path took them down Brock Street a few blocks, which lead to an area called the “Circusâ€Â, which was a circular area of the city around a park in the middle of a traffic circle. The buildings around the Circus consisted of three equal length curved rows of townhomes that looked almost identical to those in the Royal Crescent.

The girls stopped to take a few pictures of the buildings before they headed down another street and a couple of more blocks to the restaurant.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After finishing their rather late breakfast, Megan and her friends started making their way through more of downtown Bath, orienting themselves to the area and seeing some of the sites. By this time the streets were starting to get a bit more crowded, as more of the tourists visiting the city were starting to make their way to various sites.

Their path first took them over near Pulteney Bridge, taking some time to look at some of the shops on the bridge and the nearby area. Megan was not overly interested in the shops that they had, looking more forward to some of the shopping opportunities they would have later in the trip (such as in London, Paris and Milan), but she looked around some, spotting a few little souvenirs she would consider coming back for later.

The girls then continued back towards the center of the city, heading more South towards the ever visible spires of Bath Abbey. Many would think that for someone like Megan, who could easily cross the small city in less than a second, the rather slow pace of her two friends would be maddingly so, but she was actually enjoying the chance to relax and just move at a more normal pace for awhile.

The trio’s path winded its way towards Bath Abbey, and it was not too long before they arrived at the courtyard that was located in front of the abbey. There they found a crowd of at least a hundred people gathered around a street performer.

“Hey, let’s check this guy out for awhile!†Lisa commented as she started to try to move more forward in the crowd to where she might be able to see a bit better.

“Okay, but don’t forget we have an appointment soon.†Megan commented as she followed along with Janet.

The performer seemed to be about halfway through his show, so it was not too long before the show came to an end and the crowd that had gathered began to disperse, most of them stopping to drop some money into a collection box the performer had set out. Megan was sure to swing by it and drop some money in before they moved down the square to the Roman Baths.

Megan looked up at the building that stood where there had once been a Roman public bath. “Wow, we will have to be sure to come back here tomorrow for this place.†She said. After another moment, she looked at the other two girls, a broad grin coming to her face. “But in the meantime, you two ready to relax and recover from our flight?â€Â

“You know it!†Janet said in reply with a smile of her own. Lisa voiced similar agreement as they turned away from the baths and headed just a few blocks away.

There they came to a building that was in stark contrast to the majority of buildings they had seen so far. Instead of being more than two hundred years old, this building was an sleek, modern building of glass and steel, looking much like a glass cube.

It was the Thermae Bath Spa, a new spa that used the same natural hot springs that had led the Roman’s to build a bath house in this part of the city.

“Wow.†Lisa commented as she looked at the building. Megan could only agree as she looked over at her friend. “From what I saw online, the inside is even more impressive. Now lets go get some royal treatment!â€Â

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Later that evening, the three girls were back in Megan’s room in their hotel up at the Royal Crescent.

“I feel soooo much better after the afternoon at the spa.†Lisa was saying with a contented smile as she leaned back in the chair she was sitting in.

“Yeah, that was a good idea to do right after our flight last night.†Janet added as she selected another channel on the TV they had on in the room.

“With a good night’s sleep tonight, we will be ready for some serious sight seeing for the next two days.†Megan said with a grin.

“Where should we start tomorrow?†Asked Janet.

“I say we start at the museum for the Roman baths that was near the abbey.†Lisa said.

“Yeah, that’s probably a good choice.†Megan said in agreement. “If we go there in the morning, we can go the Costume Museum up near here in the afternoon.â€Â

“I’m really looking forward to the tour in two days to the countryside.†Janet commented, flipping the channel again.

“That should be a lot of fun as well.†Lisa replied, nodding her heard.

Megan yawned slightly. “We have a busy next few days, and things will get even more hectic in three days when we get to London. We should probably get some sleep so we can be up and off early tomorrow.â€Â

“Yeah, there is nothing but weird stuff on the TV here.†Janet commented, switching off the TV and setting the remote on Megan’s night stand.

“Well I don’t think I’ll have any trouble getting to sleep tonight.†Lisa said as she got up to head to her room.

With a bit of reluctance, Megan stood up to follow the two girls to the door so she could lock it behind them. They made last minute plans on when to meet for breakfast, and then Janet and Lisa were off to their rooms and Megan looked back around her now empty room.

She glanced over at her suitcase for a moment, thinking about her Velocity costume that was hidden inside. It seemed like it would be a nice night to head out and see some more of the country at high speed. But after the nice relaxing time at the spa, the thought of running around the country for an hour of so at supersonic speeds just seemed to defeat the purpose of having gone to the spa to relax some.

I’ll take some time to run around some tomorrow sometime. She decided as she turned off the light and then made her way into the large king sized bed to go to sleep.

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The next morning Megan and the others were off just after breakfast, making their way back into the center of town and to the Roman Baths museum. They got there before the major crowds, so were able to get in pretty quickly.

The tour route started up on a balcony over the great bath, and from there they could see other parts of the city, the nearby abbey one of the more prominent sights. Following the balcony around, they made their way downstairs to the area around the great bath. Megan was sure to snap several pictures as they went with her digital camera.

Of course, the area around the great bath was a reconstruction of what the Roman Baths might have looked at, but off of the area was the museum area, where there was excavation of the remains of the original Roman buildings. There were mosaics that had been recovered and restored, even some grave markers that had been unearthed. And a model of what the site might have once looked like.

The three girls stopped at a point where they were on a platform looking down into a room that had dozens of small columns of tiles that were stacked on top of one another.

“What was this for?†Janet asked as she looked down into the room.

Lisa looked over at a small sign that was on the railing of the platform as she quickly read it over. “According to this, this was a changing room, and there used to be a floor over all those tiles, leaving open space underneath into which the Roman’s forced air from the warm springs into to keep the floors heated.â€Â

Janet chuckled slightly and smiled. “That’s really cool. My mom should do that for our bathrooms.â€Â

“The Romans really knew a good spot for a spa when they found it didn’t they?†Megan stated with a grin as she continued on through the tour.

The girls spent much of the rest of the morning going through the museum, and then spending a bit of time in the gift shop picking up a few souvenirs. After lunch at the restaurant connected to the museum, they made their way back up to the Fashion Museum, which was located up near the Royal Crescent.

After going through the Fashion Museum, the girls went and spent some time exploring Royal Victoria Park. Later that evening found them at dinner at an Indian Restaurant located not far from the Royal Crescent.

“I am soooo glad I picked up some extra memory cards for my digital camera.†Said Janet. “The rate I’m going I’ll have used up the one I have in the camera well before we are done in London.â€Â

“You could always get some disposable cameras, though, dragging too many of those around would be a pain.†Megan commented.

“Why do we have to get up so early for the tour tomorrow?†Lisa asked, clearly not looking forward to having to wake up so early.

“The tour company wants to get us to Stonehenge before the real crowds start showing up.†Janet said with a shrug. “We can always nap on the bus on the way out there.â€Â

“Yeah, just think of how early were up last Summer at cheerleading camp.†Megan added with a smile.

“I didn’t like that either.†Lisa replied. “Tomorrow just seems like its going to be a long day.â€Â

“It should be fun. It will be nice to see some of the countryside, and not have to worry about driving ourselves around.†Said Megan.

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The early morning found Megan, Lisa and Janet making their way towards the center of town after an early breakfast at the restaurant of their hotel.

“I am still not fully adjusted to the time here.†Lisa commented as she yawned slightly.

“Well, that was the point of coming out here where we could take things more slowly, instead of going into London first.†Megan commented. “Once we get there, things will be picking up quite a bit.â€Â

“Yeah, but I am sooooo looking forward to that.†Lisa replied.

“I can’t wait till we head to France.†Janet commented.

“Yeah, that is going to be great, particularly the French Rivera.†Lisa said in agreement.

“There is lots to look forward to.†Megan agreed as well. “But lets not get so focused on what is to come that we don’t appreciate where we are. Otherwise, why bother with this at all?â€Â

“Yeah, you’re right Meg.†Lisa replied with a nod.

The three girls soon arrived at the courtyard near the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey, the area much more deserted at this time of day than when they had been here before. It was just a bit before half past eight, so there were very few tourists out so far.

They stopped in the courtyard, and started to look around to get their bearings. “Where is the meeting place again?†Lisa asked.

Janet looked at the map she had printed out and the back up. “Should just be on the other side of the abbey.â€Â

The three girls started to make their way around the outside of the abbey, taking the opportunity to get a few pictures of the building from up close and at some different angles.

Soon they had made their way around to the front of the abbey, where there was another large courtyard area. Janet looked around the area a bit, and then pointed across it to some buildings with shops. “There it is, the Glass House Shop.â€Â

The three girls started across the courtyard as Lisa asked, “What was the name of this tour company again?â€Â

“Max Max Tours.†Janet replied with a bit of a smile.

“And why did we pick them again?â€Â

“Because they have smaller tours, only up to sixteen people, and are well recommended.†Janet quickly answered.

“Sounds like it should be good then.†Megan said with a nod, looking around as they approached the meeting place. There were already a couple of people there. A couple that looked in their early to mid forties, also a mom and dad with two children, a ten or so year old daughter and a boy that looked about fourteen or fifteen. The approach of the three attractive older teenage girls had not gone unnoticed by him. Megan gave a slight inward sigh. This really will be a drag if he just gawks at us the entire time.

The girls stopped near the front of the shop, as Lisa looked at her watch. “We’ve got about fifteen minutes, maybe we could go look for a place to get some more coffee?â€Â

Megan and Janet both laughed. “You had two cups during breakfast, you have anymore, you won’t be able to sit still.†Janet replied.

“Yeah, you can take a little nap on the bus if your still tired.†Megan added. “Better to just wait and not miss the trip.†She then said, as she sat down the bag she had over her shoulder. All three of the girls were carrying larger bags than they normally carried around town. In them they had water bottles, some snacks, their cameras and iPods and cellphones, as well as some light sweaters, just in case.

Janet set her bag down as well, while Lisa looked slightly disappointed at the though of no more coffee, before setting her bag down as well.

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Megan was looking out the window at the passing countryside as the small tour bus they were on made its way towards Stonehenge. Lisa was napping still beside her, and Janet was across the isle in another seat. The bus was almost nearly full, with a few couples and two small families. Janet was sitting next to the daughter of one of the families, who was twelve.

The green countryside was relaxing and seemed very tranquil. While she loved Freedom City, and all the excitement and energy that was part of the city, it was nice to get away from all the glass, steel and concrete. There were going to be other locations they would visit on this trip that were more exotic, but Megan was still enjoying the scenic countryside that they were driving through.

Soon they were pulling up to the parking area near Stonehenge. As they had turned down the road towards it, Megan had nudged Lisa awake. There were already a few tour buses there, but it was not too crowded, yet.

After the tour bus parked, the driver gave them a time to try to be back by so they could continue on to their next stop after they spent some time around the site. He then led them over to purchase their tickets.

Megan made her way along with her two friends as they made their way through the tunnel under the road towards the side where the ancient ring of monoliths stood. Their driver went with them, talking about the site and various interesting facts about it.

Megan followed along, taking pictures as she went, but while she listened, she wondered about the site, and if it might have some sort of magical importance. While not anything close to an expert on magic, she had tussled with a magic wielding opponent over the last few years, and had met a few magic wielding heroes. This place just seemed to strike her as the type of place that could be of magical importance. But of course, there was no way she could really tell or not, not with a hundred percent certainty that was sure.

“Hey Megan, what’s the matter?†She heard Lisa ask, and the blonde teen realized she was starting to fall a bit behind.

“Oh, nothing, just sort of lost in the wonder of the place.†Megan said with a smile as she quickened her pace slightly and caught back up with her two friends.

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After the group had finished at Stonehenge, they made their way back to the tour bus, and started off towards their next destination. Lisa was fully awake now, and talking none stop with Megan as they went, pointing out various sights as they went by and taking pictures of them, of Megan and of Janet. The tour guide continued to point out things as they passed by.

Some time later, they were approaching a small little village in the countryside. Along the road towards the village were several large stones that seemed to be purposely arranged along the open grassy areas outside the village. In addition, there were more stones that were clearly arranged in circles in other parts of the area around the village.

The tour bus parked in the village, and their driver led them out towards the fields where the massive stones were arranged. As they went he explained that they were in the village of Avebury, which is the site of henge far larger and older than that of Stonehenge, with several small circles within the larger henge.

“Starting back in about the Fourteenth Century, many of the stones were destroyed by locals to be used as building materials. There was also a fear of persecution from the church for allowing what was viewed a heathen site to be around the village, so many of the other stones were tiled over into holes dug near them and buried.†The guide said.

“There are concrete markers where stones used to stand, but are now gone.†He then continued. “Many of the stones you see are ones that have been dug up and set back upright. There are a few that are replacements however. Many believe there could be more stones still buried.â€Â

“Quite a few pegan and Wiccan festivals are now held here throughout the year, the coming Summer Solstice being a particularly large affair.â€Â

The driver then left the passengers to wonder around through the stones some, telling them to meet back within the hour.

The three girls started off towards more of the stones, most of which completely dwarfed them. Megan was just taking a picture of some when Janet leaned over towards her and Lisa. “Don’t look now, but the hormonal kid is gawking at us again.†She said quietly.

Megan finished taking her picture and then lowered her camera, but not looking over in the direction Janet had just glanced. “Well, I’d say it isn’t a big surprise. Besides, you’d probably feel insulted if he didn’t keep looking.â€Â

Lisa and Janet both giggled slightly at the comment as they continued through the stone ring they were looking over.

“Well, that may be true.†Janet commented. “But I am looking forward to getting to meet some cute guys that are at least our age soon.â€Â

“Yeah, the night life in Bath is pretty lacking.†Lisa commented.

“We didn’t come to Bath for the night life.†Megan observed. “Besides, I am sure there is some somewhere, we just haven’t looked hard enough.â€Â

Janet laughed again. “Maybe. At least there will be a lot more in London.â€Â

“That’s for sure.†Lisa said in agreement.

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After the tour left Avebury, they stopped for lunch at a pub in the countryside that according to the tour bus driver had held a liquor license from the crown since the 14th Century.

From there the tour had continued on to first stop at Lacock Village, a small village that looked like you were stepping back into the 18th Century, as none of the builds were more modern than that. The site had in fact been used as the set for numerous period movies, and had also been used in the Harry Potter films.

The last stop of the day was in another village, Castle Combe. The tour bus parked up near the Market Cross, the center of the village that dated back to the Fourteenth Century. Megan and the others spent the time they had walking through the small town and taking some pictures of the area.

Later that evening, they were back in bath, and the three girls were having dinner at a small Indian restaurant near their hotel.

“Well, tomorrow we are off for London.†Janet said excitedly.

“Yeah, I think I’ve had enough relaxing in the countryside.†Lisa replied. “How long is the train ride?â€Â

“Not much more than an hour and a half.†Megan replied. “You guys thought about what we might want to do that afternoon after checking in at our hotel?â€Â

“Yeah, how about we try to get one of the stops at an art gallery out of the way?†Janet replied. “Maybe the National Gallery?â€Â

“Yeah, that would be a good one to do.†Megan nodded in agreement. “It’s not too far from our hotel either.â€Â

“We can try to do a bit of shopping as well.†Lisa added.

“Well, we are going to need some outfits for one of our nightlife outings in London.†Megan replied with a smile.

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Later that evening, Megan made her way out of her room and down the hall to the stairs that led to the private gardens that the hotel had access to behind the Royal Crescent. Lisa and Janet had long since gone to sleep, resting up for their day of traveling tomorrow. But the blonde teen had adjusted to the time difference within a day of their arrival, and was feeling rather well rested, after all, she had a far better constitution than people would expect.

Tonight she had decided to get out a bit in costume and see a bit more of the Southern parts of England. Thought it would not be the same as seeing it all by the day, it would still be nice to “stretch her legs†a bit.

Moving back to a shadowy area of the gardens, the teen took out the small container that Deadalus had given her to help hide her costume in. Holding it up, she triggered the device, releasing her costume. In a blur of motion the human eye could not follow, she was changed into her Velocity costume, her normal clothes put into a small backpack she had on her back.

Megan stretched slightly, feeling the movements of the morphic molecule costume follow her every movement. It was odd, but in the last few years since she had obtained her powers and this costume from the Atom’s family, it had been rare for her to go more than a day or two without putting it on.

Pushing the though aside, the young speedster took of in a blur of motion, passing through the wall of the gardens as she headed out into the night.

She first headed South, where she made her way to the town of Salisbury. As she went through the town, she was sure to slow down to below the speed of sound, so as to not create any inadvertent sonic booms. In such a small town, they would likely attract far more attention than they would in Freedom City. Her first stop was to get a look around Salisbury Cathedral. It was a rather impressive structure, and Megan hoped that by the end of the trip seeing places like this would not start becoming so common as to be uninteresting.

She continued through the town, getting a look at the market square, which she was sure would be a lot more interesting during the day when it was active and other parts of the town. Continuing on, she continued to head South, heading for the Southern Coast of England.

There she reached the town of Bournemouth. This town was much larger than either Bath or Salisbury, probably more than both combined. It also had a lot of interesting sights, including a long stretch of beach[/ur]. Megan stopped near the beach to look out at the ocean, the sounds of the water hitting the shore in the darkness somewhat soothing. She had tried to convince Janet and Lisa that they should stop by here for a bit, but had been outvoted. Though the blonde teen could not help but agree that the beaches they would be visiting later would be much warmer.

Continuing on, she went to several other locations in the Southwester part of the England. She visited the ruins of Sandsfoot Castle in Weymouth and then visited Parliament Street, the narrowest street in the world, located in Exeter, before heading on to stop in the small town of St. Ives, located out on the western tip of the England. Megan wished she had more time to see many of these places, but there just seemed to be too much to see, or at least see and really enjoy. She could easily spend the rest of the summer here, but that would prevent her from getting to any of the other exciting places her and her friends had on their itinerary.

Sighing slightly as she turned away from the waterfront of St. Ives, she promised herself that someday she would come back and see more of these places. She then began her trip back to Bath to get some sleep for their trip to London in the morning.

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The next morning the girls had been up early and eaten, then taken a taxi over to the train station. After boarding their train, they found some good seats where they could sit across from each other and look outside at the countryside they passed by.

The train ride took about two hours, with the girls taking short naps, or just talking about ideas on how to begin their visit to London after they checked in to their hotel. For Megan the trip seemed to take a lot longer than it should. The fact that last night she had covered far more ground in less time, with stops, likely played a big part. But for course, even though she could travel around far faster, she could not do that with her friends, nor could she carry much in the way of luggage with her either. She would just have to be used to more normal modes of transportation for much of this trip.

Finally they reached London, the train pulling into London Paddington Station. Gathering their bags from where they had stowed them in overhead racks, the girls debarked, and started making their way through the busy train station, looking around at the sights as the did.

“Hey there is the way down to the ‘Tube.†Lisa stated as she pointed off towards one section of the large station.

Megan looked over in that direction and then back at the others. “You know, we could try taking the underground. There is a station only a few blocks from our hotel.â€Â

“No, not now.†Janet complained. “I don’t want to have to lug this luggage onto a subway. Lets just take a cab for now. I am sure we’ll have plenty of chances to ride the underground over the next few days.â€Â

Megan reluctantly nodded, knowing Janet was likely right on how much trouble it could be, it still would be interesting to give it a try she thought. But she followed along with her friends as they made their way out of the station and managed to flag down a cab.

After loading all their things into the trunk and climbing into the back, Lisa gave the driver their destination. “The Park Lane hotel please.†With that they were off into the busy streets of London.

“Wow, I’m so glad we aren’t doing any driving ourselves, I couldn’t get used to this driving on the opposite side of the road.†Janet commented as she looked out the window at the traffic filled streets.

“I bet it is not so bad.†Lisa said with a smile. “Particularly when it’s busy like this, you just have to follow along after everyone else. If there were less cars it would likely be easier to forget which side your supposed to be on.â€Â

“Maybe, I still wouldn’t want to give it a try.†Janet replied.

“To bad they don’t have those double decker buses in use anymore.†Megan commented as she looked out the window at the traffic. “Doesn’t quite feel like London without seeing those everywhere.â€Â

The cab continued through the streets of the city, the girls looking about at places they passed as Lisa tried to figure out where various things were on the map so they might be able to come back to them later if they wanted to. Eventually they pulled onto a street that ran along a large park. This was when the driver slowed down and then pulled up to a large white building that spread along the block and looked out towards the park.

Janet looked out the window at the hotel as the pulled in front of it and commented, “This place looks a bit stuffy.â€Â

“I’m sure its fine.†Megan commented “It is a five star hotel.â€Â

“And it is perfectly located.†Lisa added. “That is Green Park across the street. Buckingham Palace is just on the other side of that. And just down this street is Piccadilly Circus, where there is tons of shopping. And near that is Leicester Square and the National Gallery.â€Â

“Okay, I get the point.†Janet replied with a smile. “Well, lets go get checked in and get our things together so we can get out there and start seeing some of those sights.â€Â

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  • 2 weeks later...

Megan, Janet and Lisa headed away from their hotel, making their way down Piccadilly towards its intersection with several other major streets. The trio were busy looking at the buildings along the way, which was much like Bath, with much of the architecture being a hundred years old or more. As they went, the passed by St. James’ Church, and stopped briefly to take some pictures.

A short while later, they reached Piccadilly Circus. The girls stopped as they reached the traffic turnaround, looking about at the area that was something like a miniature Times Square. To the North end of the circus, were six large neon signs mounted on the building located there.

“Well, where to next?†Megan asked. “We can hit Regent Street for some shopping, or head over to Leicester Square and see about getting some tickets for a show sometime later this week.â€Â

Lisa had out her map and was studying it, she then replied, “How about we head up Regent Street, then cross over at Oxford Street, and from there can make our way back down to Leicester Square?â€Â

“Sounds good to me.†Janet replied. Megan nodded in agreement as well and the three girls started on their way.

Like much of the streets in London and Bath, the buildings all seemed to blur into each other and stretch on for long distances.

The girls did not go far before hitting the first of their stops. It was the flagship store for the well know London clothing store, Aquascutum. From there they went on to other stores, stopping at Benetton, Burberry, Jaeger, Karen Millen, and Oasis. They even stopped at Andrews Ties London to look for some possible gifts for their fathers.

Soon the girls were carrying a number of bags from various stores as they reached the end of Regent Street as in intersected with Oxford Street at Oxford Circus.

“This is the one problem with taking this route.†Megan said with a smile. “We have to carry all this stuff all the way back around.â€Â

“Yeah, hadn’t really thought that through.†Lisa admitted with a grin. “We can always just cut through Soho and get back to the hotel to drop things off. Or take the tube back. Then we can head out to Leicester Square without any of this to slow us down.â€Â

“Sounds like a plan to me.†Janet replied, shifting her bags slightly to rebalance the weight.

The girls turned right and started down that section of Oxford Street, find scores of more stores awaiting them.

By the time the girls reached the end of the section of Oxford Street than ran along the Northern end of Soho, they had added a few more bags to their collection and found they had spent almost all the afternoon on their little shopping spree, leaving little time to visit any of the nearby museums. Taking the underground back to the Green Park station a few blocks from their hotel, they dropped off all their bags in their rooms and set off once more to stop by Leicester Square and then to get some dinner in Soho.

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While Megan and her friends were busy checking out the shopping of London, not too far from where they were trying on various outfits, a man with a very different objective was busy.

Sean Riley was standing at the corner of Whitehall and the Mall, looking across Trafalger Square at the National Gallery at the other end. Traffic passed through the busy intersection of more than four streets, making it rather chaotic. People were making their way along the sidewalks and filled the square and the area in front of the National Gallery.

The dark haired man frowned. The crowds could possible be an advantage, or it could cause more problems than they needed. Glancing towards the East, he noticed a parked police car, with several armed police officers nearby. That could be a problem if they were there tomorrow. A larger armed force was likely not far away.

Taking one last look around, Sean started towards the Charing Cross Underground Station, nodding to his fellow Overthrow members that were also looking over the area. They started to follow after him. Tomorrow they would strike a blow towards the birth of a new order.

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While his focus remained on Freedom City overall, the Emissary was an ambassador of his people to an entire wider world, and sometimes other parts of that world would have an interest in chatting him up. This time particularly, he was scheduled to deliver a talk on Utopian ideals before a group of curious members of parliament. Truth be told, ever since he had managed to push up his flight speed some, he had been looking for excuses of any sort to test it out.

A day then of pure flight over the Atlantic had been fun of itself, save for that one storm where he found himself outright ludicrously conductive, and he was eager to take in the sights of one of the world's great older cities (and his body had long since stopped sparking).

He found the hotel suite he was put up in to be a bit of a shame, as the bed in it looked so very comfortable, but he would likely collapse it just to lie down. So instead it was that he spent the few days before his lecture travelling the city, mostly in the skies overhead, so as to avoid any gawking, but ocassionally walking through the streets and just taking in any attention to him as congenially as he could.

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After dropping their bags off in their hotel rooms, the girls were back out into the city, heading into the Green Park underground station and taking a quick rider over the to Leicester Square station. Taking the long escalator ride up from the deep underground station, the soon emerged out on the busy London Streets and crossed over to the bustling Leicester Square.

The square was the home of several of London’s movie theaters, as well as numerous vendors for discount tickets to theater shows at the dozens of theaters that were located in London. At this time in the late after noon, the discount ticket vendors were still busy with customers as the three girls made their way through, looking for deals on a theater show that they might like to see.

“What about this one?†Lisa asked, holding up one of the many small fliers for theater shows.

“Nah, that one doesn’t look too interesting.†Janet replied with a shake of her head.

Megan just shrugged as Lisa put the flier back down. The process continued, with several other choices being rejected. Finally the trio agreed on Les Miserables, getting tickets for the next evening.

“I’m glad that is finally done.†Janet said as they purchased their tickets and headed further into the square. “Now lets go get something to eat!â€Â

“Alright, just this way.†Lisa replied as they headed towards the Northeast corner of the square and then entered into Soho.

The area was filled with clubs, bars, coffee shops and restaurants, as well as seemed to be a residential neighborhood, with the several very trendy looking condos visible from the street. At this time of the day, the sidewalks were starting to get pretty busy,

“Wow, this place is pretty cool.†Janet replied.

“Yeah, its pretty busy, lots of these places stay open pretty late, so we can spend a good bit of time here if we want.†Lisa replied.

The girls continued on until they reached a restaurant called Yo! Sushi. Making their way inside, the found it was a large open room, with booths and tables gathered around a central space that had the chefs preparing the various dishes, which where then placed in clear top containers and on a conveyer belt which took them around where customers could pick the items they wanted. A small multi-wheeled robot, looking a lot like one of the Mars landers, with a tray holding drinks on top, was moving around to booths delivering customers’ drinks.

“This place looks pretty good.†Megan replied with a smile as she took in the scene.

“Yeah, it does.†Janet agreed, as the three made their way in to find themselves a table.

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The Emissary had wholly embraced a role as gawking tourist, and as such inevitably ended up in Madame Tussaud's museum of waxworks.

Wherein the staff proceeded to assure him several times that no, there were no people trapped inside the statues however much they appreciated his offer to make sure, that no, the waxworks did not come alive at night (he found that sort of sad), and no, none of the still living subjects of a wax effigy were in any danger of the effigies being used as massive voodoo doll equivalents, as they were fairly certain that had never happened before.

They were perhaps a bit relieved when he moved on to the British Museum.

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After some pestering, the curators at the British Museum did have to admit that yes, sometimes the mummies have come alive. This lead to a few minutes of the Emissary fake casually turning his back to those on exhibit, then quickly turning around hoping to catch some movement. Sadly, he was unsuccessful.

Time passed, and the next morning was spent in an early meeting with one of the MPs hoping to speak with him. To the Emissary's dissapointment, it was, as often the case, a thinly veiled effort to ask him about Utopian technology, and the prospects of export. Still, it had been over a year of such things, and the smiling deferring statements that meant nothing at all came easier to him now. Which was outright depressing in and of itself.

He took a long walk afterwards just to clear his head, ambling in no particular direction and eventually finding himself approaching Trafalgar Square.

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The three girls spent several more hours in Soho after eating, visiting some of the coffee shops and getting a bit of a feel for some of the night life of the area. After deciding to come back the next night after going to the theater, they returned to their hotel to get some sleep as they planned to start off early the next day.

The following morning had the three girls up right with the rising sun. After grabbing a quick breakfast, they were on the tube and made their way to the Tower of London, arriving before the famous fortress opened for the day. This allowed them to get in right as the doors opened and make their way quickly to the section of the Tower known as the “Jewel House†so they could be among the first in line to see the Crown Jewels before the lines got insanely long.

After making their way through that exhibit, the girls made their way back to the entrance to the Tower to join one of the guided tour groups that formed there. That had them spending much of the morning in the tour and then just wondering though some of the other parts of the Tower. Finally, they left and made their way back towards Trafalgar Square, planning to find a place to eat and then pay a visit to the National Gallery.

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It was approaching noon, and so the streets were a bit more full, which generally meant more gawkers, who being honest, the Emissary didn't really feeling like dealing with right now. And so after a quick duck down a side street, he was back in the skies, following out a path that still took him over the square, just keeping high enough for him to take it in with the extended range of his sight.

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Trafalgar Square was filled with traffic at this time of day, passing around the intersection towards various parts of the city. A black car was heading up Whitehall Road towards the square, having left the area down near the House of Parliament just a few moments ago. As the vehicle approached the square, a man walking along Whitehall opened his cellphone to place a call to others waiting up at the square.

The black car reached the square and started off towards the right to make its’ way around the Eastern side of the square. As it pulled up into the traffic, just ahead of it, a garbage can that was by the side of the road suddenly exploded, the force of the blast knocking over a taxi cab and blocking the street. The cars that had been moving around the Eastern side of the square all slammed on their brakes, several slamming into the backs of others as traffic came to a very sudden halt.

Near the entrance to the Charing Cross Tube Station, Sean Riley pulled a submachine gun from a backpack he had in his hands. “Move in now.†He said into an earpiece he was wearing as he started moving towards the stopped traffic, his primary focus the black car while he kept a look out for any police. Other members of Overthrow near him also drew weapons and started forward, as did others that were over in the square.

Down Northumberland Avenue, Megan, Lisa and Janet were making their way towards Trafalgar Square from the Embankment Tube station when they heard the loud boom up ahead and saw smoke starting to rise in the air.

“What was that?†Lisa asked, nervousness in her voice as other people on the streets began to start reacting to the explosion as well.

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The Emissary had let his mind wander some, thoughts drifting out towards idle matters as he sought distance from the morning's frustrations.

With a single devastating boom, he found himself jarred back into focus almost painfully, without hesitation hurtling through the air in a silver streak towards the smoke and fire of the explosion.

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Focusing on the direction the explosion had echoed from, Emissary quickly spotted the smoke as he flew towards the commotion. His keen eyes were able to spot the blackened area where the explosion had gone off. The traffic around the square had halted, as Emissary could see a flipped over taxi.

There was all sorts of commotion in the area, but the silver hero noted something else, several groups of men, all apparently armed, were moving towards the explosions, and seemed to be focused on a black car that was among the halted traffic. Two of the men in the nearest group aimed assault rifles at the car and opened fire, the bullets slamming into the car. But the car was apparently for someone important, as the bullets were halted by bulletproof windows and reinforced doors. But the impacts were chipping away at the protection.


As the gunfire sounded ahead of them, more of the people on the sidewalk began to run away from the sound, causing a wave of people rushing into Megan and the others. The blonde teen took advantage of the sudden press of people as Janet and Lisa were pushed along with the crowd, allowing herself to be separated from her friends and be lost in the crowd.

Once out of sight of her friends, the blonde was gone in an instant, moving away from the crowd far faster than most people could even notice. Megan sped down the street and moved away from the commotion. A few seconds later, she was on a rooftop and changed into her costume. Dropping off her backpack with her other clothes on the roof, the yellow clad speedster was ready to make her way towards the sounds of gunfire to see if she could be of assistance.

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The Emissary's focus narrowed towards the sight of the gunfire. There were many things he wanted to tend to, but the lead group became his first priority. The overturned cab, the fire, the smoke, it pained him to set aside, but he used that pain, channeled that frustration into force and speed, swooping down from the sky overhead as a silver bolt of lightning in the thundering boom of his approach. He tucked his body into a ball in the final moments of his descent, spinning then end over end, a living wrecking ball to impact into the first group of attackers en masse and hopefully scatter them like tenpins.

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