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Brave Enough to Burn [IC] (Open to FL Auxiliary Members)


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Date: April 1, 2016

Location: Hilo, Hawaii


It being April 1st, the early reports of 'nightmare creatures disgorged from the seabed' were assumed to be prank calls especially since these particular calls came from a less populous corner. It was only when the wedding party showed up for their sunset pictures that the panic truly started. While most of the white sand remained lovely and pristine, close to the water's edge it began to blacken, smoldering in the heat. At first glance it seemed that an odd fissure had opened up in the beach, disgorging lava from some previously unknown magma tunnel - boiling the water that touched the edges of the disturbance and sending plumes of smoke into the air.


It was only when the lava groaned and then rolled over that true hysteria set in. 


Across the country, the Freedom League's headquarters lit up with alarms and reports of monsters and nightmares and living lava from panicked officials that were not sure exactly what governmental service one called for that sort of thing. Thankfully, there was always the Freedom League standing ready.


Of course as the panic was happening in the late evening in Hawaii, the League got the alerts a little before 4AM by Freedom City's clock. A hero's work was never done!

Edited by alderwitch
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As it happened, it was Comrade Frost on duty at 4 AM that morning. After all, he had no family to go home to - and no need to sleep. He let the League's automatic alert call the other League members to Freedom Hall, assuming that Fleur de Joie would provide the eventual transportation once they all got there for the full briefing. By the time the others had arrived, he was dressed in parka and uniform, ready for deployment - and also provided (thanks to a generous tip to the building's staff from his rarely-spent salary) their collective breakfasts. He had had a lot of night shifts lately - and had had plenty of chances to figure out what the rest of the League liked with their breakfasts. Around the briefing table by their usual seats sat Tarrant's bowl of hot oatmeal stood alongside Tiamat's pancakes and bacon, and across from that the chocolate chip pancakes that both Stesha and her daughter liked best. The latter two, wrapped up in aluminum foil, could even be eaten on the go - or put into a pocket, with a minimum of fuss. 


All he had was an extremely hot cup of coffee - well, not that he was drinking much of it, anyway. It was starting to freeze over at this point anyway. "Hello, all. Big excitement from Hawaii, eh? I have told them to expect our visit within meenutes." 

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Stesha was the first besides Dmitri into the briefing room, having already been awake and with little travel time to worry about. She only slept or ate socially anymore, and had been putting a quiet evening to use by working her way through a small mountain of paperwork. When she'd come to Freedom City seven years ago, she'd had all kinds of career plans, each more heady than the last, but somehow de facto governor of an isolated micronation had never made the list. Weird. But it hadn't taken long to toss on her uniform and teleport in the on-call babysitter, then send herself flying through the green to Earth Prime. 


"Did you set all this up?" she asked, looking at the breakfasts around the table. "Thank you, Mitya, that was very thoughtful." Stesha gave Dmitri a rare, if quick, smile as she went to her place. "Now these reports we're getting, they said creatures from nightmares are cropping up?" 

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"'Living lava', I think," Tarrant offered, shuffling in only just after Stesha - he unfortunately lacked her immunity to the siren call of a comfortable bed, but he was no stranger to morning emergencies or late nights grading papers, and it gave him a certain cheerful resignation in the face of the early hour.


He did, though, have to admit that he wished the morning emergencies didn't always follow the late nights. It was with a grateful nod that he helped himself to a quick spoonful of oatmeal and a generous mug of coffee. "Hopefully it's just a natural occurrence - that whole place sits on a hotspot, wouldn't be the first time some magma made its way up where we didn't want it. But we're never that lucky, are we?"


Teagan, for her part, looked even worse off than her compatriot; she stared bleary-eyed at the table, sliding her gaze from the pancakes to the heat vampire and back again before growling something Draconic and grabbing a fistful of bacon. "'Monster' means a lot of things," she muttered around a mouthful of meat, "Kinda hope they're right. Too early to be awake and not punching something."

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Wakaya Island, Fiji
Saturday April 2, 2016, 8 PM local time 

Megan Howell had only recently returned from a long trip into the Infraverse as Velocity.  She was with her son and fiancé on the property they owned in Fiji when she got the Freedom League alert on her communicator.   

A split second costume change later and she was in the main house's study, activating the concealed communications equipment that connected her to Freedom Hall.  "Morning everyone.  Velocity here."  She replied as she came onto the screen in the briefing room.  "I am already in Fiji, so I can easily be in Hawaii in a few seconds."

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"Yes, well..." Luckily, the call from Velocity saved Dimitri from having to respond to the thanks from his teammates. "Call says nightmare creatures in Hawaii, all bubbling up from volcano below," he said, tapping a few buttons to show his teammates what little footage had been taken of the strange events on the other side of the Earth. " Is wrong time of year and wrong continental shelf for teepical Ignean uprising, so I thought I call you in for suggestions before we depart for sunnier shores. Appears to be today emergency but not right this second emergency," he went on with a slight shrug. Truthfully, he had seen quite a lot of those in his time. 

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"Hmm." Stesha rolled one of her pancakes into a tube and nibbled on it while shoving the rest of her breakfast into a flower for later. "I actually might know a guy who can help us out with this. He pretty much specializes in nightmare creatures, and dreams in general. He works nights too, so it shouldn't take him long to moblize. Let me give him a call." When nobody jumped in to gainsay this idea, she pulled out her phone and pressed one of the speed dial buttons. "Hey, it's me, er, Fleur de Joie," she corrected hastily. "I could use a consultation on some nightmare creatures we're looking at dealing with. Are you free?" 

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Ellis was just putting his final post op notes in on the late night transplant he'd been called in for when his phone rang.  Seeing the caller ID he made his last signature and called for the resident to call him if there was anything else and took the first turn into a more private corner of the hospital, "Hey I'm-"  he broke off and nodded into the phone as it was business not pleasure, "Yes of course, Freedom hall?"  he inquired as he headed for the lockers hoping the early hour between shifts kept them empty enough that his change would go unnoticed.   


In a flash of light his clothes were replaced by the blue and white hooded uniform of Sandman and with but a moments concentration he joined the group in the hall the short jaunt through the dreamlands passing between the ticks of the clock.  "I'm Sandman."  he introduced to those he hadn't met, "Ste- Fluer mentioned nightmare creatures?"

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"Oh, hello," said Comrade Frost, looking over the new fellow with great interest animating his face, almost alarming given the usual look of dry skepticism he had when speaking of League matters outside of the most urgent combat. "Yes, I know you, I have seen you in League writeup. Which I believe Fleur de Joie was kind enough to give us." He smiled with delight, red eyes flaring wide, and reached out to shake Sandman's hand with a firm grip inside his cold gloves. "So happy to have you on team for special mission. Yes, some sort of nightmare creatures from dreams of luau attacking Hawaii. But we'll set it right, eh?" He winked at Sandman, then stepped back against the wall. 

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"The ghoul embellishes," Tiamat growled, looking somewhat more awake as she finished off her approximation of breakfast. "Civilians saw something that scared them, but everything scares them. It is more than likely a subterranean beast or villain's plot or terrorist act than an actual nightmare."


"But that doesn't mean it isn't," countered Gaian Knight, smiling tiredly from his bowl of oatmeal and coffee cup. "Better safe than sorry, as they say - and the more the merrier. Though, speaking of monsters and terror, we should probably get a move on regardless if we have everyone we need - no sense in letting the people panic more than we can help. Everyone ready?"

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With the powers that the League had at their respective disposal, traveling halfway across the globe was trivial. They emerged not far from the disturbance. Local police had cordoned off the area swiftly but there were the assembled press of humanity one expected with a spectacle. Especially when that spectacle happened in an area rife with tourists and their cameras. Vegetation spat them out right at the line where greenery gave way to sand. It was towards the edge of the lovely beach and it was easy to see its location beyond the press of humanity as whatever was burning did so brightly enough to push back the night time shadows. 


Past the cordoned off area and the frankly on edge cops was the area where sand had begun to fuse to glass and beyond where it was still molten. At the center of the burning stretch of beach was a gash carved in the sand although close examination would make it clear that there was no crevasse below it... for it was at least humanoid in nature as another almost-groan rattled out of what could have been a chest and the figure dragged itself up to first four limbs before staggering up to two. As it moved, and air brushed over the surface of its limbs, the burning bright molten rock began to coalesce into the shiny black of obsidian plates. "Mrrghhaaaah....!" It managed, lifting its arms up, "....mrrh?!"


There were shrieks then as it began to stagger forward - and flashes from cameras, "...Augh!?" The creature roared, sounding both annoyed... and maybe a little frightened? It was harder to tell when the voice was distinctly non-human.

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Stesha gave Ellis a quick squeeze on the arm and a smile as he got acquainted with her teammates. "Thanks for coming," she murmured in his ear, "I know you were supposed to get a break sometime tonight." In a louder voice, she addressed him and the rest of the team at once. "Whatever the creatures are, we won't know till we get a look, so we may as well head out." As they prepared to transit, she did think to pull a pancake out of one of her marigolds and offer it to Ellis, who had not gotten any breakfast. 


Upon arrival at the scene of the incident, it was easy enough to see why people were talking about nightmares and hellscapes. Stesha took a few steps towards the sand before hesitating, trying to get a bead on the thing they were facing. "That... is that thing alive?" she asked uncertainly. "Or maybe some kind of lava golem?" 


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Sandman nodded impassively to growly womans comments, "It is unlikely to be true creatures of hte nightmare realms."  he agreed, "I would not wish to intru-" at the others assurances however he smiled slightly and thanked Fluer quietly for the food, "If I had known earlier a nightmare incursion was all it took to get you to call."  he teased before they were whisked off to the not so sunny beaches of hawaii.


Closing his eyes and extending a hand he shook his head, "As you suspected ma'am no true nightmares."  he actually sounded relieved as an incursion of that nature could well portend far worse.  Listening to the incoherent grunts and growls he shook his head, "It is no sentient tongue, elemental or otherwise."  he explained with a nod.  He looked to the crowd and the angered creature and shot a questioning look to the other heroes, "Perhaps defenses are in order?"  he suggested and with a gesture conjured a wall of ephemeral sand blocking the creature from reaching the bystanders.

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"Very nice to meet you Sandman."  Velocity had stated with a warm smile when hero had introduced himself after Stesha had called him.   

Once the decision had been made for the group to head to Hawaii, Velocity had zipped back out to the main house's living room to say goodnight to Lawrence (in case she was not back before he went to bed) and then was off in a blur of yellow.  The trip to Hilo too the speedster only a couple of seconds, and it took a fraction of that time to find the source of the problems. 

When the other League members and Sandman arrived, Velocity zipped over next to them, skidding to a halt in the sand.  "Well it just appears to be by itself, not part of some lava men invasion."  She commented while Sandman put up a barrier between the crowd and the creature.

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Comrade Frost stared at the creature for a long moment as the others went about their work, watching the almost-blinding white heat patterns intently with his bright red eyes. "All right," he said out loud distinctly, "Okay." And with that, he walked past the police and their barricade, directly onto the lava-scorched beach.


"Hello," he said warmly, giving the creature a little wave as he approached with the air of someone greeting an old friend. "I am Comrade Frost of the American Freedom League. Welcome to party beach, friend! Pardon my English but my Ignean, it is so rusty, you see?" He smiled, pulling back his parka, as he walked directly onto the molten sand. His boots were smoldering now - and he could feel the infernal heat all around them right through his parka. It was really quite pleasant. "I don't suppose you speak Russian, eh?...Damn.


When he was right in front of the creature, occupying all its attention, he gestured around the beach. The molten sand, and other things, at his feet was noticeably beginning to turn to glass - his footprints having turned into islands as he walked. The extra energy had given Dimitri's pale features an almost ruddy glow. "I love what you've done with place, but really, locals might object - they got things to do here, you know?"

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The chill from Frost hitting the air was enough to finish whatever fell transformation had begun. The creature's 'skin' turned solid and glossy black, its features taking on an angular almost feminine cast. It - SHE - blinked those obsidian lids once at the hand that waved towards the beach. 


"AUGH!" The lava monster said, its eyes going wide and round and then, almost absurdly, but at least in a gravelly version of English, "The commies are attacking!"


She pinwheeled her arms, and the ground reacted to her palpable distress with a rumble that shook the sand under her feet. This, naturally, distressed those that had gathered to rubberneck although the Sandman's barrier kept them well back from the little bursts of flame. 

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"Frost, get back here!" Fleur yelled, even as she lifted herself with a foot-thick vine and moved out onto the beach herself. "Listen," she told the obsidian girl in her best placating voice (and it really was very good), "nobody here is going to hurt you. Nobody here is a communist. You're in America, in Hilo, Hawaii, and I'm Fleur de Joie with the Freedom League Auxilary." Her vine transport stopped just a few yards away from the distraught lava person, close enough that the flowers in her hair wilted a little bit from the heat. "Can you tell us who you are and what you're doing here?" 

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Their crazed magma creature - woman - was confused but Fleur was just so easy to trust. It paused, even the earth halting in its shaking as she cocked her head at Fleur. A small frown flickered across her features as she started to get her bearings. "Leilani.... Leilani Ali'i. Where else would I be?" She said and then added, "Did you save me from drowning?"


She looked down then, noticing for the first time the rock and lava that snaked up her arms and legs - and more that she couldn't see. "-My hands?? WHAT HAPPENED TO ME?"

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Seventy-five years earlier, Dimitri Peshkov looked down at his ice-covered hands and screamed aloud at the realization he would never, never, never feel warm again. 


"You were changed, child," said Dimitri reassuringly, stepping to one side of Fleur. "But you are still the woman you were - and we will do everything we can to help you. This is the Freedom League - and nothing is beyond their reach." He thought fast, his mind spinning through what Leilani had just said. Time travel. Or suspended animation. He wondered how long she had been imprisoned - would the name of the Freedom League mean anything to her? He spoke, his demeanor noticeably softer, and his English far better than he usually was when working with the League. "I am sorry I frightened you. I am a friend to America today." He looked her up and down, studying the heat patterns over her body that burned hotter than an oven's. "You should be careful of what you touch for now, until you can master what has happened." He shot a glance at Fleur and almost imperceptibly shook his head. Don't touch this one. "But you are safe - and no one will be hurt by you." He extended his hand to her and said, "If you take my hand, I may be able to help cool you down." 



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"Might want to be pretty careful there, Frost," Gaian Knight observed. Tiamat had stepped back a bit to make sure the crowd didn't do anything stupid, sand barrier or no sand barrier, but her geokinetic partner had opted to let the diplomats be...well, diplomatic. Unseen, his power flowed out through the ground, gently holding it in place; whoever this girl was, she seemed to share some of his tricks and he'd just have to hope that if worst came to worst he could control the damage.


"Near as I can tell, miss, you're mostly rock and lava right now, all the way through. Cooling off might not be a bad idea, but without knowing exactly what's happened you're going to want to do it slowly - if at all - until you've got a better handle on what you can do."

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Leilani had been staring at her hands, flexing them to watch the rock like skin crack to reveal the lava below in fascinated horror. It looked like it should be hurting but she didn't feel anything. Was it shock? She hadn't a clue. Leilani glanced up as Frost's hand extended into her vision and she reached out automatically for the promise of safety and security that it offered only to flinch away at Gaian Knight's voice.


"I don't want to hurt you! I don't want to hurt anyone!" Leilani said, clenching her hands into fists. Gaian Knight was well able to contain her fledgling powers but his senses would feel the lurch of the earth below in attempt to respond to the Hawiian's distress. Leilani for her part, was well aware of just how dangerous the volcanos were when they burned. Looking down at her clenched fists, did she even really want to live if she was a risk to everyone and everything around her. She thrust out her hand then to take what Frost offered almost defiantly. He sounded confident and she knew he was strong. She'd seen the television clips, after all. Her chin tipped up, "It's fine," she said, firmly, the fatalism clear even in her altered voice. Maybe that would be better really. How much could cracking apart hurt? For how long? "It'll be safer for everyone else right?"


She asked as she reached out a hand that burned, literally, for Frost's.

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Sandman wasn't entirely sure what to do though at least the bystanders were cleared off by his barricade while the league went to work on containing or, talking to?  the crisis.  At Stesha's protest his brow furrowed and he took a half step forward but really knew better than to think he had  a better chance of stopping Frost than her, or the rest of the league for that matter, with powers or persuasion and stopped at the gesture.  


"We can help."  he assured her and winced slightly as she reached for Frosts hand unsure what the meeting of such elemental forces might result n he strengthened his barrier in case the result was as explosive as Gian knight had suggested. "I might have a safer-" he tried to warn.

Edited by angrydurf
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While Velocity was not too bad at diplomacy, she was not nearly as good at it as Stesha.  In any event, the speedster was not able to get as close to the girl as some of her other teammates and attempts at diplomacy tended to be rather less effective if you were having to shout.  

So, the yellow clad speedster zipped over to the other side of Sandman's barrier along with Tiamat, to try to help keep the crowds back at a safe distance.  "Okay everyone, it looks like everything is getting under control, but please keep your distance until we are sure it is completely safe."

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Fleur hastily moved to interpose herself between Frost and the lava girl, concern writ large across her features. "Not that I don't appreciate the idea," she told Dmitri, "but if our resident geologist is saying this could be dangerous, we might want to at least move to more controlled circumstances. If she doesn't know where her powers are from, there could be lots of different potential interactions." With Comrade Frost being some kind of minor avatar of the Norse pantheon himself, Stesha suspected it might not be wise to go experimenting hither and yon with something that looked decidedly more supernatural than scientific.


She turned back to the lava girl. "All right, Leilani, I know this is really scary and upsetting, and I understand you must be terrified of what's happening to you. But you're not alone, and we want to help you. Frost is exactly right, you're safe now and we're going to make sure that you don't accidentally hurt anybody. It's going to be okay. I'm Fleur de Joie," she said again, her voice as soothing as she could make it, "and this is Comrade Frost, and over there are Gaian Knight, Tiamat, Velocity, and Sandman." She gestured to the rest of the team all in turn. "Now you said something about the last thing you remember is being close to drowning?" 

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Dimitri hesitated a barely perceptible moment, then smiled his Freedom League smile. "Of course. But since her temperature has not dropped below 450 degrees Celsius since our arrival, suggesting she is a continually active heat source rather than a warmed object that can be cooled by outside forces, porheps you will let me lower the ambient temperature around her so that she does not melt through the floors of your Freedom League facilities, or set Sanctuary on fire." He spread his hands out with a look of casual ease, then gestured to Leilani. "Let us get you to a safer location, and we can talk more there, hmm? Fewer worries about volcano if there is less magma below, eh?" 

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