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Avenger Assembled

The Story Of Tonight (IC)

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"An old villain. One of my parents' third string foe and my second stringer. She uses all kinds of drones. She's unstable, sometimes she's just chaos and sometimes shes a mastermind. She likes to run a kind of protection and insurance fraud." Hyperactive replied as Dr. Van Raalte spoke.

 

"An unpleasant lesson? I take it he didn't stay? What did he take from Vision and from CRC?" He asked Van Raalte before turning to Mannequin. "Does that name ring a bell to any of your friends Mannequin?" 

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Mannequin shook his head "Don't know much about the insides of Vision Inc. I usually keep to myself and not worry about all the drama." Mannequin turned back to Raalte. ""Only visual and audio? That's...disappointing to hear. If you can figure out how to provide a full range of sense then you could help several handicapped live again. I should know; my work does the very same." 

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"Well, we are only human - ah, no offense, Mr. Mannequin," said the scientist apologetically. Van Raalte told the trio of heroes a story of industrial espionage - how CRC had 'poached' away from Vision a sharp, charismatic man named Ray Kano, an engineer and electronics designer who came with a reputation that he'd sworn had been blackened by jealous rivals at his former employer. "Our mistake. He turned out to be everything Vision had tried to warn us about - he stole a whole year's worth of data and a few of our prototypes, then was gone by the time the police arrived. It was very embarrassing. Next time when I hear a man cannot be trusted, I will listen." 

 

"You have any idea where Kano is now?" asked Woodsman, eying the robot scientist suspiciously. 

 

"No, but I doubt he's in this jurisidiction. A smart thief would never come to Freedom City, not where the tech companies are run by much sterner stuff than the likes of me!" 

 

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"Only human?" Mannequin raised his shoulders up and down and chuckled. "Its bad taste for a scientist to make judgement without study first especially when dealing with other's work. With the way technology has gone in the last decade anything is possible and nothing is ever what it seems. I know I may not look like you but I am more human than that remote control drone you are using right now."

 

"I don't think it would be wise to cross off Ray Kano so soon. The securities of the city's tech companies are irrelevant because he has proven to have already stolen from companies like Vision in the past. If they did it once they can do it again. We should look more into this."

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The words only human left a poor taste in the speedster's mouth. He hated being called only human, and felt guilty about hating that. He shook his head. The team still had work to do. 

 

"I agree, Kano is a lead, though he hardly sounds like our Visionary. I think Mannequin is right, he may start to steal in other ways." He nodded at Mannequin.

 

"Dr. Van Raalte, did anyone else know you would be using the telepresence device?" He asked, his mind already going to a dark place. "And if so how secure is your home?"

 

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Van Raalte admitted that it was just himself and his wife in the house - though the latter had already called the Grand Rapids police. "How long would it take you to get here, meester Hyperactive?" he inquired, Dutch accent thickening under stress. "I saw on the news that the Barnstormers are on a mission in St. Louis - and are beyond my reach in any case." His eyes were beginning to widen in alarm as he considered the possibilities. 

 

"Yeah, okay, I see the play," said Woodsman, nodding as he took in what he guessed was Hyperactive's implication. "Think you're right we shouldn't write Kano off, Mannequin, but maybe he's not stealing. Can you take passengers?" he asked. He knew some speedsters, like Fast-Forward, could - others could not. In the stress of the moment, he'd even managed to overcome his back-of-the-mind worries about having his flesh picked off his bones by a super-fast cannibal. He'd never actually been to Grand Rapids, but it sounded like it was within reach of a really fast guy. 

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"Under ten minutes I think." Hyperactive responded. This was a trap or an ambush, and Hyperactive had very little interest in diving full speed into it. He saw little choice though. "I can take passengers, I'll be pulling you along in the vacuum I generate when I run. This will be loud though, and wet. We can run over the Great Lakes instead of around them."

 

Hyperactive looked over at Mannequin. "That won't be an issue right?" He asked as the thought of dropping a phone in water came to mind and he pushed it out, it felt a little too disrespectful. 

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"I see no reason why it would be. I'm built to handle all kinds of hazardous conditions after all." Mannequin said while giving a clanky thud on his chest piece. "If there are no other concerns then we best make haste before something...dire happens. Oh and Dr Raatle, it would be wise to stop using the android now and focus on your own person." 

 

Truthfully thought Mannequin wasn't quite sure how well his form would hold up to the sheer velocity and impact of the water hitting him. He was built to go upwards of 250MPH but anything beyond that wasn't tested. In addition to that when you are going at speeds that high the surface tension making hitting water like running into solid concrete and upwards of 10 minutes of constant pounding might be a concern...Regardless risks need to be taken from time to time if you were ever going to be a great superhero.

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"Alright we're on our way." Hyperactive nodded before locking his face shield in place. With a burst of speed he raced around his two companions. The air swirled and both of them lifted off the ground. Then he took off, straight out of the building making sure that the whirlwind and it's passengers were still with him. 

 

The speedster boomed out of freedom in an instant heading straight towards Grand Rapids at break neck speed.

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The ride was rough - and entirely a new experience for Woodsman. Jesus Christ why the hell did I think this was a good idea!? he thought somewhere near Ohio. He had the idea that Hyperactive didn't actually have the shared speed that he'd seen speedsters have on television - and a ride inside a tornado wasn't easy for someone with no powers other than muscle, bone, and bow. But he didn't start puking the minute his boots hit the dirt in Grand Rapids and he didn't cry out - both of which small mercies for which he was profoundly grateful. Their destination, a grand old Victorian home that towered a good three stories high above their heads, stood open before the evening; its lights blazing bright, its doors and windows open. With a single hm, he drew his bow and went into a crouch, opening his ears against the sound of the night. "Block's quiet," he commented. "Looks like all the old people 'r sleepin'. 'Cept here." 

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"That looks like a trap." Sighed Hyperactive. He wasn't sure, but it looked like they were too late. "How much do you want to bet that our Amish friends are here?" Hyperactive said before taking a lap around the house. He left his after-image standing there, so as to potentially appease Mannequin. 

He looked around at the outside for any kind of security systems, functional or otherwise, and for any kind of people in the house. Every other step hurt as he made his laps around the house invisibly. The wounds would just completely tear open if he wasn't too careful, Emily was gonna kill him over getting so badly beat up. And then for diving straight into another fight. 

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A quick search of the house revealed signs of a struggle - but no Dr. Van Raalte and family either. The other two were just about to head inside to join the speedster for the search when suddenly a voice came at them from underneath a nearby parked car. "I have an anti-material rifle pointed at the freak," came a low female contralto that unquestionably belonged to the woman who they'd fought back in Freedom a few minutes. How the hell did she get here so fast? For his part, Woodsman had dropped behind cover the minute the voice had spoken, so maybe she didn't mean him. Of course, an anti-material rifle could shoot him even through the engine block of this car. "You know, I was expecting the Barnstormers, not Slow Johnny Rocket, Ugly Citizen, and Smelly Bowman." Hey! said Woodsman's silent expression. "You boys are making powerful enemies." 

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Well then slow Johnny Rocket is still far faster than you. Hyperactive thought. They'd delayed too long. Their new enemies probably had some kind of teleport. 

"Well then. Why don't we try to talk through this one?" Hyperactive asked as he let a displacement image join Mannequin. He was going to stay a top speed moving target as long as he could. "Your colleague was a little rattled when we got to him, he made it seem like you were a bunch of chumps. So why should we back down from that?"

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Mannequin would act surprised if he still had the face for it, regardless he was prepared for an obvious trap and as soon as the sniper's voice was heard he dove with Woodsman behind cover. "Scans are picking up a lot of movement. Seems like they are using some kind of cloaking....You have any way to see them? Regardless I need you to keep the sniper preoccupied while I stop secure the captives. Sound like a plan?"

 

Suppressing a sigh Mannequin doubted Hyperactive's approach. We just talked about how we are dealing with crazy Amish cultists, I highly doubt that they are at all willing to make things peaceful during a kidnapping... Gotta give him credit for giving them an out at least. Just hope she doesn't reply by shooting him he's already been banged up as it is.

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Hyperactive found himself the single exposed member of the group. He stayed exposed, there was no way that Mannequin would get out and in the way of an anti material rifle. Nor did he blame him, he'd seen what those things could do. Distraction? That I can do. Hyperactive smiled behind his face mask. He let his every atom vibrate until he was in multiple places at once, and at the same time nowhere. If she decided to shoot him now, baring a perfectly tuned bullet, it would go straight through him. 

 

If they were invisible well they might be making enough noise to find that way. "Come on, he said you're in this for the money? What are you getting paid to kidnap an old man? Is it really worth it to work with these guys?" 

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"It's more money than you'll get for saving an old man, that's for sure," taunted the sniper, her amplified voice sounding very pleased with herself. "Look at you, hero, what are you running on, Red Bull and painkillers? What do you think you're wasting your time on?" Despite her words, Hyperactive had a pretty good idea of exactly where his targets were between his own very sharp gaze and Mannequin's indication, but how to actually hit them? 


At the news of invisible, silent enemies nearby, Woodsman had gone dead quiet, crouching perfectly still in his shelter behind the engine block. Wait a second, he thought, thinking this over. Neither of the adult heroes were looking at him, but something about this whole situation was starting to feel very funny. Why wouldn't she just- He made a snap decision and worked his bow, jerking the handle back and forth and rotating a new bolt into place, and fired a shot in the direction Mannequin was indicating. 

 

A cloud of smoke arose from where the arrow landed, a cloud so thick that it clearly indicated the 'null' space occupied by a large passenger van - one that suddenly flickered into view all the way, as if its cloaking device had been disabled or otherwise foiled. Inside the van, two muscular-looking types in dark suits were just giving up efforts to drive away - and were instead going for weapons in the front seats! There were other figures in the back, perhaps Dr. Van Raalte and his wife, but the ones in front seemed like the biggest threat, at least to Riley's eyes. 

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Hyperactive collected himself at super speed. He wasn't too sure what was going on, but if the doctor and his wife were still alive they would be in that car. Then at hyper speed he charged straight forward. Hopefully there would be a bit of shock in their eyes at the pulsating green streak of Speedster and energy hurtling at the car at blinding speed. An instant later, Hyperactive impacted.

 

Except he didn't.

 

Instead, his body (still being everywhere and nowhere at once) slipped right through the metal of the van by the two figures behind. If it was Dr. Van Raalte, he could grab him and make him intangible too. If not he could simply keep running, and set up to fight on the next pass. 

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As Hyperactive blurred his way through the train, Woodsman worked his magazine lever and fired a bolt through the windshield of the van - the shaft sinking through the shoulder of one of the thugs inside. The man gave out an alarming cry and immediately slumped over, Riley nodding in satisfaction at the rapid effect of the chemical he'd soaked the bolt in. Since his enemies already knew where he was (safely behind the car's engine block), he called, "Just gonna keep shootin' till you quit!" Of course, the guys inside _could_ leave the van and rush him. With that thought in mind, Woodsman lay his razor-sharp hatchet on the grass beside him. 

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Well so much for following my idea of having them distract while I secure the hostages. Nevertheless when plans change you have to change with them or fail. If I cannot solve this with guile and tactics then I shall do so with overwhelming force and perseverance.

 

With that Mannequin stayed low to the ground diving and sliding under cars without losing any speed until he was close enough to lung towards a hapless thug. With a sense of urgency Mannequin raised one arm in the air above the thug and brought the blade down like a guillotine aiming for the left shoulder blade.

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Hyperactive wasn't ever sure what other people saw or felt when he saved them. In this case it was probably little more than a blur and a blast of air as Hyperactive hefted the doctor onto his shoulder and then let his momentum and vibrations suffuse the man. The two of them passed out the other side of the van and Hyperactive deposited the doctor safely behind a van and reabsorbed the kinetic energy, making Van Raalte tangible again. 

 

"Stay put." He said. He doubted the doctor would go towards the fighting, but he needed to make sure he didn't run away either. God, please don't let them shoot his wife. Hyperactive prayed silently before getting ready to rush back towards the chaos to save Dr. Van Raalte's wife.

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In the end, it wound up being quite a smooth operation. While Woodsman and Mannequin took out two of the thugs still in the van, Hyperactive rescued the two hostages inside the van, the elderly, shaken, but nonetheless grateful van Raaltes. The thugs, one who'd knocked himself out dodging Mannequin and the other still drugged by Woodman's poisoned bolt, had rather different emotions. "Dammit, take them out!" one of the still-conscious ones was yelling at no one in particular. "You have a clear shot!" 

 

"Wrong, dumbass!" declared a cheerful Woodsman, who despite his own pounding nerves was feeling pretty good right now - even if he wasn't yet willing to break cover himself to test his theory. But nobody was shooting at Hyperactive or Mannequin, who looked much faster and much tougher than him, respectively. "If your sniper lady was actually here, she could have taken us out no problem the minute we showed up! She fooled you stupid bastards too, huh? Now come out of there or I'll shoot you somewhere it'll hurt real bad!" 

 

Cursing and calling out to their evidently-absent ally, the thugs surrendered to the heroes - big, beefy muscle-for-hire types, they didn't look inclined to do much talking. 

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Hyperactive brought the very scared Van Raalte's back into their house. "Just wait here, I'll be back." He said before running back out. First thing first. He searched every inch of the block. The Sniper was watching in all likelihood. So he was going to see how she was doing it. 

 

"Hey guys. So I've got a couple of questions. Now let me make something clear. I'm not too keen on excessive violence. Believe me I'd like to let you guys off easy, by which I mean unfortunately prison." He said letting the words sink in. "These guys aren't that nice."

 

"Now why don't you let me know who you work for? Or if you're part of this cult of the eye?" 

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After a surprisingly quick battle Mannequin made sure he didn't do any serious harm to the thug. Sure he was a criminal but Mannequin was anything but a killer. Satisfied that the thug will live He watched and waited as the Speedster tried the talking approach for about the dozen'd time; not that Mannequin could complain over someone trying to talk things out but these are cultists here, they arn't quite known for their honesty. Deciding to do something better with his time he went over towards the laptop they managed to dig up. If anyone can crack information out of this it would be Mannequin. In but mere minutes Mannequin suppressed a sigh as he was quickly coming to the conclusion that he was just wasting his time looking for any real information. Whoever was covering their tracks was good.

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"What do you think Mannequin?" Hyperactive asked. The computer was more or less beyond him. He tried to look over the shoulder of the bot, and instead settled on looking around him. "I don't think these guys are gonna talk, if you want to you know do that whole scary thing." 

 

Hyperactive flashed a smile. Geez the guy was terrifying. He wasn't sure where to go from here. "Think we can try to find that guy from vision? It seems odd, why go after Van Raalte? Why take them alive? Why not kill them?" He asked letting the smile turn to a frown as his voice sped up. He kept talking for what felt like a minute to him, and would have been five seconds of unintelligible garble to anyone without super speed. He stopped and paused. "Hey Woodsman, what do you think, love to hear your input. Also..." he frowned. "Why are you here? What put you on this trail?"

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"Lady on the roof had a gun, I hadda bow," said Woodsman with a cryptic shrug. "She and whats-his-face were expectin' somebody to see 'em from the ground - not to be on the roof w'them." He frowned, considering the case as he'd heard it. "Does seem weird," he admitted. "If they just wanted to kill van Raalte, why not blow up the house or somethin'? And if they wanted to kidnap him, why go through all that stuff back in Freedom? They coulda hit this place and dragged him out, and nobody would have been able to do a damn thing about it. We got their guy from the cult and we got their goons here, who yer damn right I'm gonna interrogate -" he said with a hard glare over in their direction. "so I say we squeeze 'em and see what falls out." 

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