ST: Located in the central mid-west of the United States of America, Fawcett City is known more for it’s down home country style than it’s criminal element. It is the place where it’s corn-fed farmers go to peddle their wares and buy a few of their own. Akin more to Andy Griffith’s Mayberry than Batman’s Gotham, there’s rarely a day that goes by without the local barber weaving some tale of suspense to the kids on the corner. Nor a chance for those same kids to miss Granny Smith’s fresh apple pies. Baked right there in Granny’s Kitchen. It, like much of the Town, has stood the test of time. This is where the ‘core values’ of America were born, raised and have yet to die.

Crime? Feh. Young men fall over themselves to walk an old lady across the street. Doors are held for women of all types. Men tip their hats to one another when passing in the streets. Race? Color? Creed? The people here wear blinders to that sort of thing. Preferring to live their simple lives, in a simple way. Coming in to town is a trip. An adventure. Something to be looked forward too. Not something that is a chore. Nothing politicized. The solitary blight upon the city? Once upon a time there was a notion to modernize the pore downtrodden yokels of Fawcett City. Walden thought to put his latest Wal-Mart up. To this day it remains a standing lot of emptiness. A sign that this is a people not to be disturbed, to be put upon, by the ways of the world beyond their simple day.

So then. It should come as no small surprise, that such a place would call to such people as Cassie Sandsmark or Freddie Freeman. Yet, through a miracle of fate or happenstance. This is where our intrepid heroes have found themselves. One brought here by the drawing of a strange lure perhaps. Unknowing, truly, why he was even at such a strange place in the middle of the States. Another sent here directly by ominous watching friend who happens to style himself more oracle than bird these days.

So then what are the chances of each of them being in that town. That exact moment. When that hayseed town experiences something most peculiar. It starts with nothing so convoluted as a swirling storm. Rolling in like a texas twister. The sky darkens in moments, perhaps in spite of weather men’s most assured predictions to the contrary. Amidst the sky-gazing denizens, rushing about their business. Each scurrying for a shop, a restaurant, a bank, whatever they’ve come to town for without their umbrellas, comes a single thing more shocking than the surprise storm of the century.

Lightning crackles the sky. Yet, it is no thunder strike that sends alert sirens in to the air. That’s the sound of the explosion at the Fawcett City Bank.

Cassie: I’ve been a lot of places in my seventeen years, in a lot of different countries, on nearly every continent, civilized cities, and forgotten ruins. I think I can pretty safely say that I’ve never, ever been to Fawcett City. Not even on the Fabulous Summer College Scouting Road Trip because lets face it, the place isn’t exactly known for what I’m looking for in higher education and it’s absolutely everything that Conner Luthor’s not going to want to be around. No experiences to experience or I guess more correctly none he hasn’t already had psi-jacked into his head thanks to the clowns that were responsible for his ‘formative years.’ I have a lot of things I might like to say to them at some point, but I guess he also wouldn’t be the same Conner I’ve got now without them. That could be a good or bad thing but either way, he’s not the point right now.

He’s not with me. As a matter of fact, I’ve snuck off without him quite on purpose and it didn’t exactly require Tim’s advice for me to see why that might be the best way to go about this. He’d organized the diversion and I hadn’t asked, but I have to assume that it’s worked. I made it all the way here without a speeding blur overtaking me brimming with curiosity about what the hell I thought I was doing. I actually feel a little guilty about the whole thing, to be honest, especially since I haven’t brought my phone with me either. You don’t need super-vision to use a ‘find my iPhone’ function.

Not guilty enough to stop or turn back though. In fact, I’m feeling pretty damn determined today, thanks in no small part to the way life’s been going lately. Not bad. Just. Not quite what I want, either. So. Here we are. Fawcett City. I’m glad I wore jeans and a teeshirt or I might really stick out. More than a new face is always going to stick out. The krakoom of an explosion makes me pause in my rather aimless ambling down the walk, though. That sound means trouble, and I don’t need my little bird chirping in my ear to tell me that’s probably where I need to go. So I put tennis shoes into high gear, still on the ground at least for the moment, and aim for the sound.

Freddy: Exactly why had Freddy come? He was here to visit his grandfather. Fawcetty City was a second home to him. A place he could come to escape the madness of the world and the journey that he had been set upon. His world had been turned upside down some time ago, but it was finally beginning to right itself. Less topsy-turvy and more pear shape.

Whether or not one knew which was easier to handle Freddy decided that it was pear shape. Topsy-turv was terrible time for him. It was the dark period where down was up and left was right. Nothing made sense as he stood in the hallway remembering the words of the doctor as he was told that his grandfather was no longer with them. He had passed on to a better place.

What better place was there Fawcett City. That is what his grandfather would say more often than not, but at the time, at that point in his life Fawcett City had lost its shine. It dimmed a bit through no fault of its own. All that was left in his life had been taken away.

Bitter and angry. Those were words that had never entered is mind. He was the typical All-American kid, star player on the baseball team. Things were supposed to get better. This wasn’t supposed to happen, but that’s life. It knocks you down not with a push but with a punch to the gut and then it’s up to you to get up and keep going or wallow there in the dirt as everyone walks on by.

Never for a million years did he think that he would be where he was. Yet, he made a promise, to his grandfather and to himself. He needed a moment to steady himself. He was so close the trials. He had been so consumed with them, but as he was reaching the end he knew that he needed to talk to his grandfather. He needed to focus himself. He also needed to talk to the only person he knew that would keep his secret which truly gave a morbid spin to the, Two can keep a secret if one of them are dead.” adage.

Still, that’s exactly what he had done. He been speaking with his grandfather for almost an hour. He needed to catch up he needed something that was a steady in his life. Talking to his grandfather was probably the one constant that had not changed it just took him a while that’s all.

He was still going over what he shared with his grandfather while he headed down the main thoroughfare in the city. It’s not that Fawcett City was small, but it wasn’t huge. Depending on where you were headed you could usually get there by foot and if need be by bus. He hadn’t gone to the house instead he decided to stay in a hotel which is where he was on his way too when the storm system began to develop.

True twisters did seem to come together quickly, but there was nothing in the forecast about it. That was rather odd, but what bothered him more was the sound of an explosion that came from the direction of the bank. Explosion. Fawcett City? Before he knew it he was taking off as quickly as he could to see what happened. He already felt his heart pounding in his chest. Adrenalin. Still explosion things like that happen in Fawcett City.

It was like Riverdale. Obviously Freddy had not watched TV in the last year.

ST: It is a stark contrast. The way in which Heroes such as Cassie and Freddie rush towards danger. While those of a far more average ilk rush away from it. There is never a more pronounced sense of just that as now. When the average every day citizen of Fawcett City would look to keep themselves and those they love safe. Not to say that they’re cowards! There is, even if in small amounts, Heroism in the way that Father’s rush their sons in to the truck. Or how mothers scurry their daughters in to the relative safety of the General Store. But there is a very noticeable lack of people, rushing toward the bank other than Cassie, Freddy and the piercing siren of FCPD.

As the Heroes approach the site of the explosion the sight before them is nothing too shocking at first. Fawcett City’s bank is smoldering. Smoke swirls out of the shattered windows. A cordon of police have begun to blockade the building. A light rain keeps the embers of fire from lighting neighboring buildings ablaze, but the fire crew is on standby none the less. A particularly barrel chested man, who wears a slightly fancier uniform and carries a megaphone, is even then barking orders to the others.

‘Everyone back behind the lines.’
‘Stay calm. We’re dealing with the situation.’
‘Get the wounded in to the General Store, we’ll set up an infirmary until the ambulance get here.’

His commanding presence seems to bring calm to those in the area. As if this is a man who has ‘seen it all,’ so he doesn’t crack under pressure. But while the average Fawcett City citizen might take a good deal of hope from his display? The trained eye can tell that even the Chief is rattled. He’s not sure what they’re dealing with here. This is Fawcett City, stuff like this just doesn’t happen here.

The relative calm is soon broken, when the otherwise shattered front door opens to allow a single disheveled older woman to exit. Her hands are bound behind her. A single tether of rope, like a leash, allows her no more than a few feet of space out the door before she is stopped. Despite obviously having been in there, where the explosion happened, the woman remains remarkably calm.

“They say they’re not going to hurt us. They’re only here for the money. If we let them leave, they won’t hurt-… they won’t eat… anyone else.”

And that, my friends. Is the exact moment when the look on the Police Chief’s face says he has never dealt with anything like this.

Cassie: There’s a pretty big difference in the reactions of the people to what I’m used to. No, it’s not totally different from the way it goes in Metropolis. Anytime there’s some sort of disaster, or crime in progress, you can generally count on people to do exactly what I’m seeing the citizens here doing. Getting to safety, getting out of the way. Seeing to their family or to self-interest. Maybe I notice it more now that I’m involved, but lately? In Metropolis it seems like there’s more people moving towards the scene of whatever is happening. At first I thought it might be to help, and sometimes it is in fact that. First responders that can and will step in to help. But more and more, now that ‘Superman’ and ‘Wonder Woman’ have been stepping in? They gather to gawk as well.

I don’t know Fawcett City. I mean. I was provided with a map, because the TImBirdy is nothing if not excruciatingly thorough, but I don’t exactly need it. There’s only so many places to go, and the sound had been guidance enough. It means that at some point along the trip there? I catch sight of another blonde head moving towards the noise. He stands out because like me? We’re trout moving upstream. But it’s also a face I’ve seen a picture of, and the whole reason that I’m here. As I arrive at the bank itself, and the smoke, I take in what’s going on. Robbery? Accident? The latter might seem more likely since the whole thing’s a bit dramatic for a place this size but… even Metropolis’ police force who are a lot more used to dealing with weird don’t really know what to do with it.

This guy sure doesn’t. And when the door opens, I shade my eyes from the rain to squint inwards. She’s ruffled but… too calm. I’ve got super powers and I would probably be freaking out a bit more than she is. Especially when she finishes the message with the correction of whomever’s in there not eating anyone. Eating? Well. That’s never good. Edging my way back a bit from my viewing spot, I start to circle around. They can probably only cover so much area, and I make a point to take my path past Freddy. To bump shoulders with him and mutter a ‘Sorry, excuse me’ as I go to find another way in.

If I can’t find another one already available? Well. It’s probably even easier to find an angle without as many eyes and to make one. Whether that’s yanked open door, or a dislodged window. Last resort would be a Cassie sized hole in the wall, but I’d prefer stealth over loud People Eating Triggering Ruckus.

Freddy: As he reached the bank he saw the perimeter being established. Emergency services had already arrived. When little happens in a town they were pretty Johnny on the spot. Police, firemen and the EMTs were already doing what they were trained to do. They were handling it.

The chief was there with his megaphone keeping the crowd clam. He projected the air of calm that everyone needed at the moment as Freddy took everything in from a slight distance. He didn’t want to rush head on only to find himself detained by the first responders. He needed to get a handle on what was happening around him, but he also needed to help.
Everything seemed by the book at least with how the emergency services were handling everything. Still the storm the explosion it all seemed to come together out of nowhere. Freddy gave it a bit more thought, but he was broken from that thought when the old woman came out of the bank with a tether of some kind.

Moving a little closer Freddy wanted to hear what she said and in the beginning it sounded like something out of a cop show or movie right up until it went all Walking Dead. Eat them? Nothing good could come of that. Nothing at all.

This couldn’t be a coincidence could it? Eating people? The same time he came to visit his grandfather’s grave? Things like this didn’t happen in Fawcett City. He didn’t know if something like that didn’t happen anywhere. Either way he doubted that they would be ordering up pizzas given the fact that they snacked on or devoured a hostage.

Freddy told himself to keep calm and focus. The last thing anyone could afford was for him to get too hyper or to panic. What was it that he had been told?

Charging in never a good idea. Instead he had to go for an alternate route. The blonde stepped back and ducked down the alley as he began to make his way to the back of the bank. How was he going to get in? Who he had to think of something right?

Of course he couldn’t do this as Freddy he needed an assist. As much as of an assist as he was going to get. When he was far enough away from the crowds he used what he had to help him.

“Shazam!” He called out and just like that it was still Freddy Freeman running, but he was moving far faster than he was before. He had two trials down. Wisdom and Speed. That he had on his side. Wisdom had to be the first. Gods suffered no fools so to speak. It was like unlocking the trials. Pass it and then you showed potential fail it then they would wait for another.

Speed proved useful, because it allowed him to do more than to move swiftly, but it did give him an idea, but he couldn’t remember if the bank had a sky light or an access point from the roof, but he could try to enter from the back. Back entrance then roof. That’s what he was working with for the moment. Hopefully he would make Solomon and Mercury proud. Sailor Mercury jokes aside. Though he couldn’t help it when he met the god himself. It just popped in his head.

ST: The bank is large, for Fawcett City. Being also the only bank in the City, because somehow the place has managed to avoid all of the incorporated points of interest that every other major destination has. Come to think of it, did anyone see an ATM machine around anywhere? And is that guy over there, using an actual telephone booth to call in the news story as it unfolds? Needless to say finding a ‘back door’ in to the Bank isn’t terribly difficult. Finding one that isn’t, at this point, at least marginally being monitored by the local constables? That’s a far tougher problem. While the Fawcett City PD might be a bunch of rubes when it comes to things like crooks who ‘Eat people’? They’re not new to their jobs and they seemingly do them fairly well.

What they can’t do, is cover the windows above their heads. No need to pull one out even. The explosion took care of that for the most part. Might not even need to fly, Cassie. Since there’s a fire escape leading right up to one. Just got to get past a couple of Deputies, who are watching it for potential escape efforts.

Of course. One moving at such high speeds isn’t going to have the trouble that Cassie has, in being unseen. Though it’s probably a good thing Solomon was on his side. As that would certainly tip off Freddy not to open that door on the roof. Not once he catches the sight of a small zip-line on the interior. Another Bomb. Rigged to blow in the even that the Police sent a team in that way. Leaving Freddy, much like Cassie, with only a couple real obvious hopes for entrance. That fire escape or the windows.

In the mean time the scene up front is not getting any better. The captive is giving off a list of demands. Not all of which are exactly out of the ordinary, but some….

‘They say, they want a Van. They want you to move the line back a thousand feet. No snipers on the roof. If they see even one they’ll eat… er.. kill a Hostage. Park the van up front. They’re taking two hostages with them. They’ll release those when they’re out of the City.’

Once inside the Bank? Well the scenery is quite different from the docile tones of the rest of Mayberry. With only three floors above ground, they all show signs of damage from the explosion. The top-most floor has the least, but it’s still obviously disturbed. Whether by those who caused all this or the effort to evacuate after the initial explosion. The second floor is more obvious in it’s damage. With the central floor collapsed, walls separating offices have caved in. Desks and debris little everywhere. Here there are signs of life though. In the form of near-horror story amounts of gore. Blood from injuries… or perhaps from people being eaten… is visible at nearly every turn. All signs point to the people on the second floor, those not caught in the explosion, being rounded up. Taken downstairs.

Visible through the enormous hole in the second floor is the lobby. Where debris causes a lot of hurtles in making out exactly what is visible. Still it’s not impossible to make out the Hostages. They’ve all been rounded up in the Bank’s main lobby. There too the floor has collapsed downwards, in to a basement. The Hostages show all the signs of visible duress. They’ve been through an explosion. Now they’re being held hostage. Some have seen their friends, co-workers, actually eaten by….

You actually have to see it to believe it. There’s four of them visible. Each standing at least seven feet in height. Their elongated snouts, long slooping tails. The clown mask disguises do —nothing— to conseal the fact that these men. These Crocodile Men. With their tommy guns and their mafia-style suits. Are terrorizing these people. At least one more is out of sight, most likely holding the tether of the Hostage that’s being used as a mouth piece. With yet more beneath, in the basement level where they’re no doubt raiding the vault.

Cassie: Getting past the deputies? Not really that hard, I don’t think. They’re watching for people coming out, not stopping other people from going in. Because really. Who in their right mind goes into a partially blown up building, with a hostage talking about demands of criminals that are apparently willing to eat you. Heroes and crazy people that’s who. Is this cannibals? Or something else? I actually hope it’s the ‘something else’ option because somehow that’s less creepy. Overall, it’s a mental picture I’m trying to dwell a whole lot less on.

While I’m not as fast as some other metas out there, I’m still fast. Getting faster, too. My powers may have triggered when I turned sixteen, but they clearly hadn’t shown up full force all at once. Probably a really good thing for me and everyone around me. So I bypass the fire escape, or at least most of it, by starting a little further down the alley. Running start that isn’t strictly necessary for me to scrabble up a nearby wall and then launch myself over, tucking my head to go in through the blown out remains of a window more for less impact noise than any real need of preserving myself. Acutely aware of the rustle of momentum that makes hair blow the way it shouldn’t. Most people probably wouldn’t know what that means. Most people don’t have superspeedy boyfriends that delight in using said powers. Someone faster than me just went past, and boy. I’m hoping it’s my new potential friend here.

The gore? The blood? That takes me from that little pre-action stage of antsy and determined, to angry and determined, and that’s a whole different side of Action Cassie. First though, is searching briefly and visually for anyone who hasn’t already been found by…

What the actual fuuuuuuu.… Yeah. Well. That’s a thing. Apparently. Gun wielding reptiles. Anyone close to me that can be ushered to safety? All I can really do for the moment is try to beckon them to a mostly safe corner of the place until I can come back. Sending them out the fire escape might get them shot. Down gets them eaten. And if there’s no one to immediately save? Then I guess there’s someTHING to fight. I’ll start up here on the second floor. Picking out a target away from the others if I can manage it to introduce to an over the head blow with some superspeed momentum behind it.

Freddy:Upon seeing that the back was being covered by the police Freddy backed himself away and quickly got out of sight moving as swiftly as the speed he had been endowed with allowed him. He also used it to give him the edge he needed to get to the roof. Whether it was a leap or flight he wouldn’t tell. He didn’t land hard, touching down light as a feather. Scanning the area which did have an access route, but nothing he wanted to tamper with. He saw the zipline. He seemed to be moving faster than normal even here as there was a chance that the police could be watching the roof for signs of movement. That’s the last thing he wanted. With that in mind he continued move quickly trying be as much of a blur as he could.

That might what he might need to do to keep people from seeing or recognizing him. Freddy never pushed himself to see how fast he could go, but right now he was about to try and see while he decided that he would enter via a different route. Windows here he comes. He slipped off the edge disappearing to land gently on the fire escape. It was right at this point that he thought he might need a mask of some kind, but that was neither here or there at the moment as he slipped through the window of the third floor.

Once inside Freddy took a moment. He couldn’t let the adrenalin get the better of him. He paused briefly to take in the surroundings. No real damage, structural or otherwise. He moved to the stairs pausing as he heard voices below him more like people nervous and upset and probably hurt obviously. He waited until the voices were fair enough away before he made his way down the stairs so he could get a read on the second floor which was none too good.

A bomb. Someone set off a bomb. Seriously wasn’t that a bit of overkill there? Why a bomb? He moved down the stairs quickly making sure not to disturb anything as the huge gaping hole that was once part of the floor gave him the line of sight he needed. He paused to take in what he was looking at while trying to keep out of sight.

Given what he had been told and shown gun toting reptiles weren’t too out of order, but it didn’t make sense. They had guns. Also, why the clown masks? It’s not like there’s a lot of croc men walking around. He didn’t even want to get into the fact that they were eating people. You had to remove the mask for that.

Still he waited, but he saw that he wasn’t alone. He could try to get her attention, but with the hole the crocpeople down below might see. Think Freddy. There was a possibility that there could be another bomb. That’s always a possibility. Not to mention that they had hostages. They made for easy targets. Not like Freddy was super-durable. Not there yet.

What he wouldn’t give for a distraction.

ST: There’s not a lot left of the second floor by the time our heroes arrive. Those too injured to be scuttled downstairs were among those whom got… well.. eaten. Those who weren’t eaten or hustled downstairs? Are more or less scared completely shitless. Putting her at risk of discovery, more so than of any real aide. In fact it’s at the point when she’s trying to cajole the first person she’s found, when one of the would-be captors comes looming ’round a corner. Snout up, extended, tracking like a predator in the wild.

Someone hasn’t watched Crocodile Hunters. The precision needed to strike a crocodile and knock them out is one that takes years to learn. Oh, Cassie has the raw strength in spades. Certainly enough she makes a resounding thud upon the skull of the suit-wearing, tommy gun toting, mobster of a Crocodile. But instead of the resounding victory that she thought perhaps to engender? Well. Her surprised captive goes from shocked, to hurt, to angry all in the span of her single punch. There’s good news at least. At least he didn’t reflexively squeeze the trigger and alert the others. On the flip-side, there’s a little bad news. Call being bitch-slapped by a Crocodile Man’s tail.

Which apparently packs a pretty good punch. Not a Superman level punch, but the sort of punch that leaves Cassie more offended than injured. Because. Frankly. She just got bitch-slapped by a tommygun toting crocodile man. The real threat comes only heart-beats later, when those long, strong, jaws open to bite her.

Hey, Freddy wanted a distraction? Well he gets one in spades then. Because those wide opening jaws looking to take a bite out of Cassie? Sets off the young woman she’d been trying to rescue. Who needs a gun to go off when you’ve got the Kim Basinger-type of wail of a scared young woman. ‘He’s going to eat you!‘ It’s more screech than scream. And well. So much for the element of surprise now, Cassie Sandsmark. Now it’s a lot more about the NOM NOM of Crocodile Men.

‘Great. Sylvester’s eating another one! Aunty Minerva’s gonna be pissed.’

Cassie : Someone doesn’t watch reality television, no. Or much television at all, really. Someone spent enough time in areas with regular reptiles to know to be wary of where they might be lurking, what they do to you when they strike and where to actually aim for if you’ve got the peace of mind to do so once you’ve gotten yourself chomped. Of course, I’m not exactly sure here how many of those characteristics and tactics I ought to count on being in play just now. Because these are … I don’t even know what these are. We’re sticking with Crocomaggia for the time being. My punch is less effective than I might actually like it to be.

Not a position I’m used to being in anymore, actually. And if that hadn’t put me a little off balance along with the whole walking talking Reptar thing? Then I might have better anticipated getting tail slapped. My chain of reactions isn’t all that different from what his had been. Shocked. Irritated. More angry than I had been already. Flinching slightly over the screeching of the hostage, I don’t have the time to shush her. I probably shouldn’t bother anyway. If they think he’s just eating another helpless person then it seems, from the blood and the talk, that they’re probably not going to bother interrupting.

Auntie Minerva? Weird as all this is I’m not going to call that a coincidence. It’s just a detail that’s less important at the moment than the jaws and teeth coming at me. So I lunge inwards, their height difference from mine giving me room under the jaws to throw my arms around in the best choke hold I can muster. If all else fails? It gets my hands a whole lot closer to where I can gouge at one of the very few weak parts on this kind of critter in the ‘real’ world. The eyes. It’s also a whole lot harder to get bitten or tail slapped from this vantage. One hopes, at least.

Freddy:Eyes are the vulnerable points. It could cause more problems than solve to get in the middle of the commotion and it could cause more problems, but at the moment it seemed that they had their distraction, but he was aiming for something that would allow him to get the other hostages out free and clear. There were a few ways that they could go about this, but at the moment it seemed that they had their hands full on the second floor here.

Screaming woman. Another who seemed to be able to take a hit and give them all the same. Things were getting dicey there needed to be a way they to round up the crocodile men without causing more damage. There was the hole in the floor, the first floor. That’s when Freddy moved into action. Don’t fail him now Mercury. He moved as fast as he could pushing himself. Fast like lightning? They were going to put that to the test.

“Go for his eyes.” He told the blonde girl..young woman. No time to be PC! He burst into action moving as quickly as he could to pull the gun from the Sylvester is? Hoping that Cassie’s attack would cause him not to grip the gun tighter. He might not be able to snatch. He needed the gun out of the way, because if she did go for the eyes that might cause him to react with a spray of bullets.

Also, who uses Tommy Guns? What movie did they walk out of? Still he had to see if the speed would let him move quick enough not only to snatch the gun and allow the young woman to get a few blows in he hoped to get the screaming woman out of the line of fire and out on the fire escape and then they could decide what to do about the other crocs.

ST: The creature that Cassie has engaged is not all that different than the creatures Cassie has a bit of experience with. Though she was never the one actually putting the skills to use of fighting off a crocodile. There’s certainly small differences. Like the longer bipedal legs that carry these creatures around. Leaving short, stubby arms, which carry the signature weapon of choice. Which is either by design or luck, still not going off. Even when Cassie lunges in close, ducking inside like a prized boxer to get under the natural defense of the larger creature seeking to bite her. A choke hold isn’t all that difficult to lock in to place either.

It’s really what happens -after- that, which is important. First is that Cassie realizes why the gun hasn’t gone off. The way it shatters in to a thousand little plastic pieces after Sylvester cracks her on the skull with it? Speaks to it being nothing more than a prop or a toy. That’s what Freddy confirms moments later when he takes that gun away from the creature.

Then there’s the density of the throat she seeks to choke out. Oh, she’ll win that fight. But before she does? She and Sylvester are going for a ride. Because in order to clamp down her godly strengthened arms, she’s got to be close. Too close to stop his tail from curling around her as well. And then… well you probably guessed it.

Gator Roll.

Well. Freddy wanted a distraction. Right? Nothing more distracting than two fully grown people, one of which is a seven foot tall crocodile man, wrastling on the floor. Rolling around. Crashing through desks, debris… she’s heeding the advice of Solomon though. They eyes happen to be a very prime choice. One that makes someone new howl in pain. Sylvester himself. So much for the others thinking this was a harmless snack. Apparently Sylverster picked a snack that fights back.

Between the gouging of the eyes, which forces Sylvester to defend his eyes with those short little stubby arms. And the fact that he’s unable to keep rolling. It leads to Cassie’s original plan working a lot better. Slowly choking the Crocodile Man down. All the while Freddy follows through getting the one captive out the fire escape window. Causing a commotion outside when the Police officers take notice of the terrified woman. In turn. This changes everything.

The jig is up boys. They’re on to us. Time for plan B. Kill the Hostages.’

Cassie: There’s a grunt from up under the GatorMan’s jaws that could be an affirmative. It could also be something a lot ruder than that, but the truth is I’m kind of occupied and don’t want to untuck my head long enough to answer clearly. A head that’s a whole heck of a lot harder than the plastic toy that breaks on it instead of the other way around. It’s something I’ve experienced before, though the last time it was cruel torturous teenage girls and not …these things. Of course, in that case? I had to pretend it hurt and I also couldn’t throttle them in return. This time I don’t have to be effected at all, and my fingers can rake and claw.

And. Then we’re rolling. This part I at least expected but after getting tail pimp slapped it’s a whole lot less startling, and a little rolling and wrestling I can manage. I don’t have enough of a peripheral view to really even get dizzy from the tumbling or the smashing. It’s not the cat fight that someone might have fantatsized about between me and my high school nemesii but then… we’re all girls at St. Mary’s. At least. Far as anyone knows. This I can do all day. The only really dismaying thing, as the thrashing slows and I clench my arms harder, is the call I can hear from downstairs. The racket outside. We’ve got to get those people out and now. Before anyone else gets eaten.

The pause that I take before extricating myself from Sylvester, and from the latest pile of debris that we’d rolled into, is to call out to Freddy. As well as to reach under the neckline of my teeshirt and press a fingerprint to the ‘bauble’ I wear there. Activating not only my custom designed and technologically crafted ‘costume,’ but the facial alteration as well.

“Keep getting them out!”

Now’s the time to be a whole lot less sneaky. That ship’s definitely sailed anyway so there’s really zero subtlety in the way I descend to the first floor, and a whole lot more dropping my weight, backing the falling up with flying, so that I thunk into the floor crouched and ready to move. If Conner were here? I’d definitely not be doing this. He’d probably claim it’s his pose, the Superman Landing but… he’s not and while I’d never say it to his face he’s right. It’s definitely impressive. And I need to get all the attention that I can right now. All attention on the sudden descent of Wonder Woman is not on chomping hostages.

Now that I know I don’t have to be concerned about the guns, and what they might do to other people?

“Which one of you amphibians is next?”

I know they’re not amphibians. In fact, my brainy brain is cringing over even uttering those words.

Freddy:The gun cracking and shattering was unexpected, but it explained a lot. As did the clown masks to a point. It was unexpected, but it drew together a few things in his mind. When he got his hands on the gun he looked it over dropping it so he could get the woman out. There were the other hostages, out. Was he that fast? Was there another bomb?

The bomb was a distraction? Perhaps it was the blood and guts that caused them to eat the hostages. Much like blood in the water for a shark they couldn’t resist. They can’t kill them with the guns so eating them was always the fall back plan. Still how many were there? He didn’t now.

Getting the woman out was a gamble. He didn’t suspect that the police would make a big to do about. It could have been a quiet affair. However, it was more like the gator roll which may have happened regardless.

If he had the strength he might have used Sylvester in hammer toss towards his brothers? Cousins? Other Crocthugs? Cassie was already making an entrance which could work to his advantage as he moved as quickly as he could making his way down to the floor deciding to remain grounded but using the speed to begin moving the hostages out of the area going for the closest exit whether it be backdoor, window or possible whole. If Cassie kept the attention on her then maybe they wouldn’t notice the hostages being moved out of danger.

Sadly this meant that Cassie was crocbait, but it also meant that she was currently the star of the show. Worst show ever, but still.

ST: “Amphibians! Who are you calling Amphibians!?”

Apparently one of the group is smart enough to know the difference. That also happens to be the one holding the ‘leash’ for the Hostage that had been outside. Playing the part of mouth piece for the group. What’s more impressive than Wonder Woman’s landing? Is that it actually doesn’t strike fear in to the hearts of Men. Not even Crocodile Men. They’re not even phased by her arrival. In a way it’s a little insulting, because they actually seem more concerned about the Barney Fife squad outside than the honest to goodness super-heroine that just landed in their midst.

Or perhaps they’re just a little more concerned about something else. Something other than Superheroes or Cops. That it keeps them on point. Pushes them forward. In any case, Cassie’s landing has one of the desired results. The remaining four Crocs aren’t making a move on the Hostages. Instead they’re forming a kill circle around her. While their ‘Boss’ heads for the basement, his singular hostage in tow. Leaving Mr. Freeman all the time in the world (or at least as much as Cassie could buy him) to extradite the Hostages at a super-fast pace.

How long he’d have to make that effort? Well that entirely depends on how long Cassie can square off against four full-sized Crocodile Men.

“Is he dead?”
“I think he pulled his barmy eye out!”
“Shouldna oughta done that miss.”
“Yaaah. Now weze gotta eat youse.”

Cassie: “That doesn’t seem like a very fair trade-off.”

I’m not about to let them eat me, of course. I don’t even want to risk letting one bite me, because there’s a downside to being smart enough to put two and two together on things like this. It means that I’ve taken what it felt like to get tail whipped by the first I ran into, and I’ve started to calculate the force that a regular crocodile’s bite would muster and multiply it by…whatever these things are. I feel like maybe my good buddy Red Robin should have prepped me for clown mask wearing, man-crocs with toy Tommy Guns but lets face it. I wouldn’t have believed him. I have a feeling that if I get home and decide to tell Conner about it? He won’t either. But being able to wing it in the ‘field’ is a big part of this job. I’m not always going to have a dossier of facts and tidbits, and I’m not always going to be in a place like this on purpose. Sometimes it’s just going to happen.

The important thing is as long as I’m distracting them? They’re not eating civilians, or interfering with Freddie getting them out. There’s just the one being led to the basement that I’ve got more pressing concerns about. Eyeballing the circling Crocs, I’m waiting for them to make a move, for even one of them to move in towards me, then I can drop my shoulder like I”m falling to the floor, I just never quite hit it so much as take off from that vantage. Aiming to take my opponent out at his very low knees and carry on through. There’s got to be a desk or a downed bit of architecture I can use for a baseball bat. Unless they all move at once, then it’s just straight up and out of the way. At least until what goes up comes down again right on top of them.

Freddie: Freddy moves as quickly as his feet will carry him. He moves through the lobby making sure that he can get his hand on every hostage that was in there while remaining alert. He said nothing as he went about this. There was one hostage that wasn’t gathered by the others. The hostage that was sent out to speak for the crocs was missing. He wanted to snip the line do whatever, but she was gone.

He was worried. Why was he pulling her away? Freddy had to prioritize. The others came first and if he was fast enough he would follow the other down into the pit. He didn’t like it, but he would take the moment to push himself even faster if that was possible to grab what he thought could be helpful from the walls. He grabbed the fire extinguishers. This was Fawcett City. Sure, they probably had a sprinkler system, but they probably had extinguishers. Not one of those dinky extinguishers either. Time stopped here why would they start thinking about getting little ones. Besides in times like this you use what you could and it wasn’t like he could lift a vault and drop it on anyone…yet, that would take too much time. Use what you got and those are the things that caught his eye.

“Catch!” He called out tossing one of the extinguishers to Cassie while he used one he still had to try and take one of the crocs on his way towards the stairs. Moving as fast as he was he wasn’t going to try to punch him He didn’t want to know what might happen but he would swing and hit as he moved as fast as he could, hoping that he would leave Wonder Woman (ok so he watched some TV) with one less Croc to worry about.

Of course, this was all depending on if he didn’t get tripped up and could be a be as helpful as he could be. Save hostages, take a croc and try to intercept another before whatever plan B was initiated. Sure he could do that maybe.

ST: What Cassie finds out soon enough is that this is one of those rare situations where the ‘Bad Guys’ aren’t actually as dumb as they look. Or rather, that they’re not quite as unschooled as they look. It might not even be that they’re smart, but it should be readily apparent that these guys have hunted in a ‘Pack’ of sorts before. Cassie is waiting on them, but they’re not attacking. Not yet. They circle. During which, Freddy is surely all but ignored. But when they circle, it’s more like organized chaos than just chaos. A trained eye might even take note of the way they clue in to one another. With the main hunter among them giving non-verbal cues. A snuffle, a jerk of the head, a little twitching of the tail. One by one the Crocodile Men fall in to place.

When it happens? It’s sudden. It’s no singular attack either. More like a layering of attacks that come all at once. One goes in, low and teeth first. While another flicks it’s tail in to the air high to deny her leaping out of the way. Those two attacks happen at once, but as soon as Cassie moves (tipping her hand), two more join the fray. Each one picking a different angle. These guys are trained and clearly of a predatory variety of villain. They don’t hold back, suggesting that they don’t have any compulsion against murder in the most bloody forms. By the time all Six have attacked, Cassie is going to be all but dogpiled by snapping jaws, teeth, claws and tails.

But there is definitively good news in all of this for Cassie. Freddy was very helpful. His tossed fire extenguisher is snatched out of the air by a set of jaws that rip is asunder. Spraying high-density, fire extinguishing and oxygen eliminating foam all over the lot of them. By which means that I hope Cassie can hold her breathe. Y’know. Longer than your average Crocodile.

Meanwhile, Freddy’s only real hurdle in all of this? Happens to be that ‘snatching’ one of the Crocodile Men, even at high speeds, is a little like grabbing a brick wall at a few hundred miles an hour. Sure, you might take the Croc with you when you go. But boy are you going to feel that in the morning, with the whole lack of super-strength to compensate. But, it’ll work. Even disorient the Crocodile Man enough to not instantly surge in to attacking.

For the time being neither Cassie, nor Freddy are really able to get a free trip down in to the basement to follow the last remaining hostage. Speaking of! With Freddy having saved most of them, the Cops outside no longer have any reason not to intrude upon the bank itself. As if being in a bank with a tremendous amount of structural damage wasn’t bad enough? The lights go out and the interior of the bank is bathed in spot-lights. You know the type that blind perps right before a tactical team breaches…

Cassie: I’m not used to fighting like this. I’m not ashamed to say it. I don’t have any reason to have learned to do so, because most of my training so far has come from sparring against my boyfriend, and that’s a one on one sort of situation. He’s much faster than me, so sometimes it can feel like more than one. But it’s not like there’s a contingent of practice dummies up in Canada where we go to throw punches at one another, not that can come back at me in any sort of tactical way. But it’s not that hard to figure out what’s going on here. Especially not if you’ve seen pack animals at any point in your life. That’s just not behavior you normally attribute to a crocodile.

I’d thank God (a God) that I’m as sturdy as I am, except we’re not really on speaking terms right now. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here but…just the same. The only advantage possibly to being dogpiled is that it makes it that much harder for them to get me instead of one of their own. Where I don’t have to worry about who I’m kneeing, punching, or clawing at. It’s mostly a lot of kicking. Trying to get some room, gouging if it feels like I’ve got hold of anything soft. The help from the other blonde sails my way but I have no chance to grab it before it’s chomped, and then the world goes white and thick. Fortunately I can hold my breath a very long time, but there’s still a sense of panic that kicks in if you’re not prepared. I haven’t had my powers long enough for them to become entirely natural to me.

Unfortunately? I bet I can’t hold it as long as a Crocodile can. They’re designed for that kind of thing, and that means that my kicking and wriggling my way free of the pile on takes on that much more of a sense of urgency. No longer just fighting to be a distraction, but digging a bit deeper because I don’t especially want to die today.

Freddy: The explosion from those crocman jaws. That was unexpected perhaps at another time it might be comical. He didn’t wince, no time for wincing. When a crocodile, saltwater crocodile bite they slam their jaws shut with 3700 pounds per square inch or 16,460 newtons. So, they were more than capable of doing just that. He was just trying to give Cassie something to use a bludgeon the crocs with.

When hit the croc. He felt it. He knew he felt it. Thank God for adenalin maybe. He took a moment to use his extinguisher while the croc was disoriented. He could spray a little in its eyes blind it. It can’t be fun can it? Just get it out of the mix. He kept going to try and evade become croc chow. He had to deal with that, but there was the fact that two things happened as he made his round again to put some distance between him and disoriented croc.

His fellow blonde in arms was being crocpiled. “Wiggle free!” He called out. They were covered in extinguisher foam. Maybe it was you know slippery. Like that foam party he went to in New York. He didn’t add that part, because no one needed to know about that. However they were all wiggling about he might be able to work her way free.

Second thing. Lights went out. Crap. He knew what that meant. Power was cut. They were ready to rush in and do whatever and he still didn’t know what that other croc up to. Plan B. Possibly bomb! His mind went there. There was a hole in the floor. Easy access right? But into what? Possible getting dinged on the way down, but he didn’t want to abandon the other especially if the cops were about to come in like gangbusters.

“Coming in hot!” was what he got in as he used the speed to launch the second extinguisher as hard as he could. He was going to be out of it tomorrow and the next. She was underneath she was protected, but whoever was on top?

This was a total Hail Mary, Jesus and Joseph on Freddy’s part as he continued to road runner his way through this. He couldn’t get to close, because he saw what happened with the first extinguisher. He didn’t want to get snapped in half. Also please let his am be true. Croc not blonde. Croc not blonde.

ST: When you’re surrounded by five different people and they’re all trying to kill you? It’s easy to hit one of the bad guys. Finding something soft though? Is an effort in futility, when you’ve got very little time to actually make your strikes. If only you were the one blessed by the God of Speed, Cassie. Alas, wrong baby daddy. All you’ve got is immense power, strength and ….



That crunchy sound brings, if only momentarily, everything to a halt. Crocodile Men looking for some sense of satisfaction. Cassie looking for a missing limb, where her arm hands out of a Crocodile Man’s mouth. None of them finding what they want. Because apparently her arm is more dense than Crocodile Man teeth. Not so dense as to not -already- be bruising from the force of the attack, but enough so that one of the Men is stumbling back and away holding his jaw. Cracked teeth and more than a little blood covers Cassie’s arm. Whether Luck or Favor from the Gods, it’s not her own. Yet.

You might think that was enough to actually put a spark of fear in to the hearts of Crocodile Men. Though, you’d be wrong. They don’t exactly see this as a failure on their part. It’s not the broken teeth, jaw or pain in their comrade that gets in to their minds. It’s the fact that the force of one bite bruised the Heroine almost immediately. So that means enough bites just might make it through! It’s all but a feeding frenzy then. Of them taking, soaking Cassie’s punches, her kids. Wrestling with her. Because each time she has her focus on one, even two of them, there’s -three- more to bite her somewhere. Over and over.

Correction. Two more. Since Freddy’s aim is definitely true. Call it the ‘Luck’ of Solomon this time. But there happens to be one stationary Croc in the midst of all of this. The one with the broken Jaw. He takes the vaulted extinguisher right to the side of the face, sending him sprawling away. His other comrade is thrashing about, raking at his eyes from Freddy’s quick thinking too. Leaving Cassie with a mere four Crocodile Men and one large opening chance to ‘escape.’ If that was her goal.

This is the end of our good news Champions. Because this, is also, when the first of the smoke bombs comes careening through the front windows in to the bank. As if the Cop’s thought, ‘Let’s add some fun tear gas to the mix of fire repellent, explosions and crocodiles.’

Cassie: “….huh.”

It’s a thought, more than a spoken word or syllable. Maybe a grunt of pain because it did actually hurt, more than the tail smack in the face had for sure, but a wiggle of my fingers shows that it’s clearly still attached, and I’m fairly sure that all that blood? Is not mine. I’m not going to bank on that happening every time, if I had faith in that scenario it’d make this a whole lot easier because I’m betting I could find all sorts of tender parts down past the jaws and into those giant maws of theirs. The whole thing would probably be fairly comical if it weren’t me right in the middle of it, and the rest of them didn’t seem to think it was an excellent time to redouble their biting efforts instead of being a little more wary about the whole thing.

The blinding lights were an issue, though not as much of an issue as they might have been if I needed to aim my attacks. The bounces of the grenades coming in? That’s another story. Part of me is actually very concerned for the armed men outside, more than I am for myself really, but I’d have to hope they just won’t get close enough to get bitten. This also isn’t over, so while I’m ‘escaping’ it’s not to retreat so much as to move onto a smaller fight. Wiping at my face with the bloodied arm, if no other reason than it’s had most of the retardant chomped off it with crocodile slobber, I rocket upwards again through the hole into the second floor, but that’s only to get a better angle to twist and shoot back down again. This time angling for the entrance to the basement.

I’d cart Freddy with me but honestly he could probably get there way before me.

Freddy:Thankfully it landed. He didn’t know if it was luck or all the years of baseball perhaps a little of both. However, it was the first time that he actually had to launch an extinguisher like that. Bright lights meant razzle dazzle. They meant to daze and confuse. Lights out then emergency lights on then the the sounds of grenades coming in releasing tear gas. If this was all for him he would have done a funneling technique of some kind, but this was for the crocs and they could have it.

He had no idea how they would react it to it, but it was best to disengage now, and trust that the cops got the 411 from the hostages and didn’t think that they were simply hysterical on wacky weed talking about crocodile men.

“Right behind you.” He called out as he careened around heading towards the basement stairs. Whatever was waiting down there for them they would have to deal with it, because it was about to get ugly on the first floor.

Just keep going beat the gas and down the stairs. Hopefully, the Wonder Woman would be able to give him a heads up if they were heading in to trouble you know beyond the obvious trouble that they knew was waiting down there for them.

ST: Cassie’s escape in to the air casts all eyes upwards in time to see the smoke grenades coming in. In turn that keeps them from restoring their focus upon her, so there’s no immediate pursuit or efforts to stop that escape. However, there’s a bit of stroke to the bad luck for the first time then. As Freddy, Cassie -and- the Crocodile Men all start at the hole at the same time. Now, this might otherwise be a humorous little clusterfuck, but in this instance both of our heroes make use of the one true edge they have upon the Crocs. Speed.

Behind them a grotesque glut of Crocs all hit the blown out hole all at once. Four of them. Leaving a slightly humorous sight of the four crashing in to the same point, then finding themselves mostly caught there by their own mutual girth. As humorous as that might be, moments later the Police storm the building behind them. And frankly, they’re rather lucky only to have one functional, though blooded and jaw-broken, Crocodile Man to deal with.

Beneath the surface of the Bank, it is almost exactly what you might imagine. The first basement is mostly security, but beneath that is the vault. Which is where the explosion has actually come from. If they stop to ponder that, they might wonder exactly why the explosion comes from inside the Vault. If the Crocodile Men were here to break in, to simply steal something, then wouldn’t they have been trying to break in to the vault? Curious, though nothing that either of the intrepid Heroes can hope to follow up on. Not when they finally catch up to the ‘Leader’ and his lone Hostage.

Except. That’s kind of when things take yet another sideways turn. Because it’s the ‘Hostage’ who’s rifling through safety deposit boxes. While the ‘Leader’ of the Crocodile Men keeps watch. Translating in to the final Crocodile Man seeing the Heroes coming. If anything else about anything in Fawcett City made a lick of sense, then it would probably be funny to see the Crocodile lifting the massive, unhinged vault door. Not to throw it or fight with it. But to pull it back in to place, in an effort to once more block the vault off.

Cassie: A couple things become immediately clear. That they’re not about to just let us run down here, which says that they really were a distraction upstairs as much as keeping everyone else outside out, with the flesh and bone shield of hostages. With the hostages gone, and the police coming in, they follow us down. Because either we’re the bigger threat? Except they never seemed particularly threatened by me. Irritated maybe, but not threatened. Or…

The ‘or’ solidifies as the real reasoning. The shape of the place says that this is where the bomb came from, and that means someone had to plant it here. Someone also would have hadto see these clowns coming in. Unless they didn’t come in off the street. My assumption is sewer. They are crocodiles after all, and there’s bound to be an access point. Maybe that’s what they blew up in the first place, or maybe it was the vault. Maybe both, really, because as I arrive I can see that it is, in fact, where the explosion originated.

It takes about half a second to look at the no longer tied hostage, who is also not eaten despite what went on upstairs for little or no reason, to the other crocodile, and then to narrow my eyes and move.

“Stop her.”

Throwing myself forward, I don’t go directly for the crocodile man. Not at first anyway. I go for the door in an attempt to yank it out of his grip. Perfect world? I can chuck it myself and very temporarily block the entrance to the basement, or at least bludgeon the hell out of the bottlenecked bad guys (since c’mon, clearly they can lift the thing). Worst case I can maybe keep him from getting it in place long enough for Freddy to grab the woman.

Freddy:As Freddy’s eyes took in the entire scene he started to try and formulate a potential hypothesis mind you all of this was happening while his feet moved across the ground making use of the superspeed he currently had his disposal as Freddy’s mind was going a mile a second at this point. Obviously from the look of things she was an inside man someone that could be used by the crocodile men to deliver what was possibly her message and be the innocent party if anyone ever caught up with her or herpes she never turned up because they wanted to use her a snack. If she wasn’t the only inside man so to speak.

Freddy recalled the message she relayed. ”… They’re taking two hostages with them. They’ll release those when they’re out of the City.” They could be taking her and someone else. That someone else could be in on or just to make it look good if something went bad and they thought the woman died or was still being held…probably the later.

Then there was the Aunty Minvera. Freddy assumed that she was waiting somewhere perhaps, but perhaps she was right here all along making sure everything went according to plan. Then there was the fact that the blast wasn’t end to the vault, but appeared to be within.

Blow the vault from within. Perhaps from a bomb that had been planted in something that the woman possibly placed in a safe deposit box. The vault was probably difficult to break into so why break in which would take time potential and require particular sets of equipment when you could blow it out from within while placing something in a box perhaps?

Too many Mystery Woman movies with gramps when he was alive, but regardless that’s what his brain fired off as he moved attempting to intercept the woman and rather than have her do something if he was lucky he moved swiftly to keep her off balance which could result in upchuck or her blacking out.

He was coming to save what he thought was a hostage, but she wasn’t a hostage. Innocent people were hurt. She was in on it. Freddy might be a little perturbed. Just a smidge.

ST: Cassie is good. She’s had a bad night, to be sure, but she’s good. Trained in how to use her powers by someone that knows a little too well. She’s quick, strong, but then you add in her brains. Don’t say this to her boyfriend, but it’s that combination which makes her actually dangerous. Maybe the Most Dangerous of the folks she’s set forth to bring together. All too quickly she’s getting the right of it. Seeing things for what they are. But then, she’d had an inkling at the very moment she saw the woman that first time didn’t she?

Getting to the broad vault’s door isn’t the problem. Over-powering the Crocodile Man to take it from him? Not the problem. What she does with it? Isn’t even the problem. The problem is when Freddy Freemen touches the woman. The Hostage. The petite little creature who had stood outside doting their demands. It’s at the very moment that he touches her, that Freddy realizes just how right he was. How right Cassandra was. Freddy learns a lesson that Solomon is even now whispering in his ear, Your speed isn’t always a weapon, sometimes it can be a weakness. Don’t act faster than you think. Take stock of the area. Use your speed to never get outflanked, not merely to race to the heart of a problem.

Because as his hand lays upon the woman, seeking to disrupt her. Seeking to disorient her. Seeking to do what has worked every other time to this point. This time? It goes horribly, terribly wrong. As the woman. Frail as she may seem. Doesn’t move. Doesn’t budge. Doesn’t so much as flinch when Freddy touches her. In fact, it’s Freddy who will find himself unable to move the woman. Like she’s rooted to the ground.

That? Is when Cassie problem knows shit is about to get real, because the Crocodile Man? Squeaks, before surrendering the vault door in an effort to escape in to the sewers. Like. Making with such haste, his little Clown Mask hits the ground before his squeak even clears the air.

Now. You might wonder what could scare a Crocodile Man so much? What could resist the speed of Mercury? Shazam? No, no. Not spoken like a command. Nor a trigger word. This sounds more like a Question. ‘Are you Shazam?’ Except that the answer is immaterial because Freddy is then introduced to the Strength of Hercules. When he is thrownback at Cassie with the force a kryptonian’s wet dream.

Cassie: You know what’s never going to be a good thing? When they run. I may not have the most practical experience, but I’ve seen enough movies and I have enough common sense to know that when you’re outnumbered by someone, or something, and they turn tail and bolt? It means something worse is coming, or in this case already there. Like little children skedaddling to the other end of the house when Mom or Dad’s found something they know they won’t like. It might be one on one, between me and the Crocodile Man right now, but that could change at any moment. I know it’s not me they’re worried about.

I sail backwards a bit in the air, because I was prepared to tug the door and I no longer need to. Pulling against nothing sets me back, before I turn the momentum into swinging that door into the other four before they join the fray in order to escape, or maybe to take the opportunity to get a little more bitey all over again. Either way, they’re not my problem any longer clearly. Not right now. What is? Is Freddy flying at me. Him hitting me? Isn’t going to do a hell of a lot to me, but me hitting him is going to be a little worse than splatting into a wall. So I catch him, doing my best to move with the force and cushion him a bit.

“Shazam? Is there more than one of you?”

Freddy: Freddy had it all worked out in his mind, but that’s when it all went sideways and upside down. One moment he’s trying to pull at her to do what needs to be done, but then she’s still there. Planted like a redwood. Then the all-important question. His eyes widening. He already knows the answer to everything before the question is fully formed in his mind.

“Oh shit!” He was hurled towards Wonder Woman with as much strength that Superman possesses. No if he had to think about it. Hercules. Strength, but if she had strength what else. He had Speed and wisdom, but she had strength. She could have any the others. When he was caught by Wonder Woman he offered a smile.

“Rival it seems or perhaps not.” He answered while he got down to the ground. This is… It was the first thing that he considered before he was set on his feet.

“Yes. I’m Shazam” He thought about launching himself at her, but at the moment he decided to err on caution, curiosity and a good deal of wisdom which as served him well for the moment.

“Keep one eye on the croc,” He told Cassie as Freddy listened to the voice that was quietly whispering in the back of his mind.

“Who are you?” This couldn’t be? Could it? Strength. She couldn’t be? She could be a rival. However, there was another possibility. “Hercules?” Not as in the strength of Hercules as in was he in there somewhere? Freddy mind wanted to wrap itself around that one, but he had to remain focused.

She didn’t speak the word to call upon the power there was no flash or anything. Freddy couldn’t afford to be confused. What he required right now was confirmation rival or Lord of Magic and if it was the latter what the hell was he doing breaking into a vault? All he knew was that the old woman was connected to the powers of Shazam of Captain Marvel, but how?

ST: Keep an eye on the Croc, really losea a lot of meaning when the ‘Leader’ of them is plunging through the hole that was punched by the original blast. Down in to the sewers, just as Cassie had surmised. Then there’s the others. Whom she threw the vault door at, but they’re currently dealing with the vault door itself. Which caused more of a physical hurdle than anything. Behind them? If one was to listen real hard, are the sounds of a near-militarily efficient tactical group moving in. The skirmish above is a short one, but that only means they move on to neutralizing the other Crocodile Men from behind. As they work to dislodge the door. Maybe they would have moved a bit more hastily, if they’d only know what was going on below.

You see, the Wisdom is Solomon is indeed correct. All is not as it appears. This petite, frail, woman, hadn’t actually called upon Shazam to empower. It had questioned Freddy. Before she then forced him to unhand her. No sooner had Freddy been discarded than the woman went back to it’s search. Pilfering through each of the little boxes, slowly. Time consuming, but it would seem the woman thinks herself to have all the time in the world in spite of what goes on all around her.

Perhaps this is just another part of the Trial then? His questions fall upon deaf ears. Or perhaps it is less that the woman is deaf and more than he’s said nothing of merit. Nothing worthy of a response. It would seem that she is quite consumed with her search.

What is far more important to Freddy, is not what the woman asks for. It is what his own inner voices begin to whisper. That she is familiar. That there is something about her that it recognizes. Her features are chiseled, her frame is slight. She seems elderly, but that in itself only makes her seem different. When looked at through the eyes of Solomon, she might seem younger. Far more beautiful. Egyptian, not sun battered. Ancient, not elderly. Much as Cassie had observed right from the start, this woman stands out as a misnomer. She appears to be elder, slight and was at one point a ‘Hostage.’ Yet from the beginning she seemed far too ‘in control.’ Then there’s the final clue. Which Freddy had remembered without Solomon’s help. They’d said two hostages. Not one.

“Ahh. Here it is,” having apparently just found what she was looking for. “Osiris! I’ve found you.”

Cassie: That Croc? He’s gone. And I am not about to chase him into the sewers where I’d be at a definite disadvantage. Fighting them on dry land had proved to be enough of a challenge for me. We haven’t exactly tested whether or not I can be drowned, and I don’t particularly want to find out today. Especially not in a sewer.

“A rival? Huh.”

I hadn’t had to fight anyone for my powers, but then there weren’t any trials, I was more or less ‘born’ this way. Something or someone just kept me from knowing it was all waiting until the ‘right’ moment. Once I’ve let him down, I hang back by the vault door almost absently leaning into the obstacle with one hand while blue eyes watch the woman askance, and Freddy from my peripheral vision. I don’t entirely know what’s going on. I had enough background intel to make me uncertain though. One assumes that if there’s a trial, that means a test and what happens if I interfere more with that? Or if I’m the one that does it. Does that matter? Or will that stop him from doing what he needs to do?

“Do I punch? Or not punch? Trying to take my cues from you now. I assume that her finding a God of the Dead is never going to be great for anyone concerned though…”

Not theA. But I also have zero doubt they’re just as real. Look at me and where I came from.

Freddy: Freddy wasn’t sure what she might do, but the strength she possessed he was no match for and this was not something that would be settled through blows. He considered the possibilities as the woman seemed to forget him as soon as he appeared. The crocodile men. There had been a fleeting thought about them. Children of Sobek?

He looked upon the woman Solomon revealing to him things that he should have already known, but still the strength. She was a part of the power. He could feel it. It was one of those like recognizes like, but when she claimed her prize the realizations spilled upon his features.

“Isis.” He said the name loud enough for her to hear to draw her attention from her prize. Less he was completely off about this she has seemingly retrieved her husband. In Fawcett City? Daughter of Geb and Nut. Wife of Osiris. Mother of Horus.

“Not punch. I think she’s probably capable of going toe to toe with you. Actually I know she is. She possess the strength of Hercules.” Was it stolen to achieve this goal? Freddy didn’t run he walked over towards the woman. If he was right she found her husband.

Isis had done much to be reuniting with her husband, but this felt all wrong something was amiss to a degree ok several. “You’ve found him, but what of all the damage you’ve done. The crocs?” He wasn’t on top of her but close enough for him to notice and if she was going to lash out he was going to evade. He considered snatching up what she had in her hand, but if he could talk he would talk. The police were on their way a tactical team no doubt.

“You meant to escape with him. To release him from whatever prison he was placed in.” She knew who he was. Do they have to be enemies?

ST: Wisdom of Solomon indeed. It materializes in Freddy’s mind with such clarity. He is so very, very right. This woman, seemingly frail enough to break in a light breeze, is imbued with the power of Hercules. How that has come to pass is not immediately clear, but Solomon has put him upon the right path. There’s no denying the reaction Freddy gets from his line of questioning. She hasn’t already struck at him again, so she is either at ease with his presence or considers him a gnat to be swatted at leisure, as opposed to a threat to be worried about.

Once close enough, Freddy can see the pendant. A red jewel, encrusted in gold. Woven in to the shape of a Death Mask, for the God of same name. There is no mistaking it, actually. Especially not if you’ve half the knowledge of such things as Solomon or Cassandra Sandsmark. The elderly woman cradles it, bringing it closer to her breast.

Freddy’s question brings the first actual response to his presence, since she threw him like a paper airplane. “The Power of the Gods can be used for more than Championing. I need them. To bring him back. To bring me back.”

Not your normal sort of villainous monologue, actually. Though as the woman says this to Freddy, she also begins to turn. To finally take more stock of him. That is no doubt when Cassie, even faster than Solomon, gets a little tingle along her spine. There’s something more. Something Familiar about this woman, that she hadn’t felt before. Something a little closer to home than she’s ever felt before. Call it women’s intuition, call it a hunch, but Cassie can very much feel a presence that she is far more familiar with than she even knows.

“You. Have their powers. Yes. Come boy. Take my hand. Say his name. Call forth the Lightning.”

In this small chamber. A small vault in some city in the middle of no where. A place where nothing special ever happens. Stands the Speed of Mercury, the Wisdom of Solomon, in Freddy. The Strength of Hercules, in the creature Freddy has named Isis. If by chance then, she has one more of those powers, then what does Cassie’s presence here represent? Why have they all been called here, today, amidst the thunderstorm outside?

Cassie: “Hercules, huh? I’ve heard of him.”

He’s apparently my half-brother and all. I maintain my place, and my eagle eyed watch on the pair of them. I’m waiting for an excuse to do something else besides watch the door, but maybe I don’t need to do more than that. Gives me a little time to think over exactly what I’m seeing here, and what they’re saying. He’s calling her Isis. Is she really? And if she is, and I’m assuming he means she has the literal strength of Hercules, not just strength like Hercules… given that the figure in question had heritage not really any different than mine does that mean someday someone will have the Flight of Cassie?

…can’t say it’s really got the same ring to it. They’d probably insist on my full name for regality. The entire thing is pretty damn silly though, even in my own head, and so doesn’t take much thought or attention. Which leaves me squinting at the pair of them. What she actually has. Blue eyes widen, and then narrow all over again.

“Is that what I think it is? Why is it here of all places?”

None of this makes sense. But then, when you think about it, in traditional terms almost zero in my life does anyway. Then you add in crocomaggia, people invoking powers that weren’t necessarily theirs by birthright. Gods. Monsters. In the middle of Fawcett City. I can’t decide if I should ignore what he says and strike or not. But there’s something tickling at me, like I know her, but I have no reason to know her. Unless, maybe I’ve met her before and didn’t know it. Or maybe that’s just some sort of higher recognition. Divine calling to divine.

Freddy: Freddy was ordinarily the helpful sort, but something about this felt off. He hadn’t written her off as a rival, but this was completely unexpected. He took a few steps away from her quick steps denying her his hand. She could grip it and break every bone in his body until she got what she wanted.

“I don’t think it’s a call I should make. How about you do it yourself. Intermediaries are so impersonal.” He said still taking quick steps back probably faster than he needed, but enough to put some space between them until he was near Cassie once again.

“Gods aren’t imprisoned for no reason.” Unless there was a bit of business going on with the Egyptian Pantheon, but that was neither here or there. “What have you done with Hercules?” He asked. He would not freely give her the power. It doesn’t feel right. She powered her way into this place.

Isis brought her husband back from the dead once, but now she wished to do it again. Freddy was getting a bad, bad feeling about this. If she had Hercules’s power who else’s did she possess.

All he got was bad vibes from all of this. She’s made requests and requests from gods usually mean demands. “What I have was entrusted to me. Not only to use to protect, but protect.” Freddy took a moment. Either through magic or death power can be taken. “Where is Hercules?” Why was the question so important? Freddy was adamant about it. He wanted an answer, because it would give him the insight he needed. The answer would prevent him from jumping to conclusions. He needed to hear it to let himself judge to use Wisdom that had empowered with to make the right decision. He wanted to believe that this could be settled without things getting anywhere than they were, but even without Solomon he had to look at the facts.

She had Hercules strength. She also ran with crocodile men who would probably serve Sobek first before they would serve her. Innocent people had been harmed. She sought this to retrieve Osiris and now there was a gathering storm. She knew who Freddy was almost like she was checking him off a shopping list. Freddy’s mind could run with this, but he wouldn’t allow himself too. He also realized that he was putting himself in between her and Cassie despite the fact that she possessed more power than he did, but something or someone told him that it’s the right thing to do.

Love makes people do extraordinary things. Extraordinarily good and Extraordinarily bad.

ST: The answer to Freddy’s question comes a little more quickly than even his evasion skills. A veritable crack-a-thoom of thunder, to go with the lightning that neither of them can see at this point. Yet, somehow lightning flashes none-the-less. In a heartbeat there is a shaking, tremor, that precedes the sudden understanding of just what destroyed the vault. Exactly what had caused the destruction of several levels of the bank.

Isis explodes. Crackling with lightning that sweeps across entire vault floor, racing for Freddy and Cassie. Now they know why the Crocodile Man, the leader, had ran away. Just as Solomon had given Freddy certain glimmers of Sobek and the Crocodiles of the Nile. It now bestows upon Freddy a certain inescapable knowledge. Run, fool. It’s Zeus.

Except that there’s no longer a route -up-, Cassie blocked that with the Vault door. There is only one way out of here and the Crocodile Man showed it too them.

Cassie: I’m a little surprised at his back pedaling, to be completely honest. I assume there’s something going on that he understands and I don’t entirely, but there must have been some queue that the woman had given that made him think cooperating wasn’t a great idea. It turns out to be fortunate that he had, though. It means that he’s close enough to me that I don’t have to go terribly far to grab him by the back of his shirt and yank him up off of the floor. Ideally he’s not going to resist, but if he does? I’m still not leaving him to get electrocuted, it’ll just be a bit more of a forceful move on my part.

“I think that’s our cue.”

The hairs on my arms and the back of my neck feel like they’re all standing up and at attention and I don’t actually think it’s because of the electricity. That is what I was feeling, and I don’t need anymore questions for the light bulb to click on in my head. It makes me…angry actually, in a way that surprises me a little bit, but I focus that energy on something else. Namely getting us out of here. Up would be an option if I were by myself, going through the ceiling would be easy. I’m carting Freddy though, and that means going the way the Crocodile Man had. Great.

“Arms in, head down, knees up.”

Not that he has to, I’m rocketing through the opening just the same. Into the sewers, and then hunting the first way up I can find.

Freddy: Freddy had wanted to hear it from the woman’s mouth. He wanted to know what she had done and how far it went. Unfortunately he wasn’t given the chance. The storm that had been gathering and swept into town had struck again and it was in that moment a few more things clicked beyond the fact that he was getting ready to get out of dodge.

It appears he wasn’t the only one that was aware of Isis’s activities. This didn’t bode well not at all. Wonder Woman was free to pull him out of the basement and into the sewers of Fawcett City. Probably the last place he wanted to be. The whispers came through loud and clear. “Zeus.” It was a whisper. That right there was old school smiting.

Confusion spread across his features as they traveled away from the lightning strike that sought to harm anyone its path luckily they were already gone. He needed answers, because he needed to know what this meant for him and for all of the divine.

“She stole Hercules power. She meant to take the power that resides within me. “ She could have had others. “Zeus intervened…” Indiscriminately. Was it over? Couldn’t be. The trials were challenging enough and now they had become complicated, because he didn’t think this was the end of it.

ST: When the ‘dust’ clears the Cops will have six very feisty Crocodile Men in their custody. Although they’ve got no clue what to do with them. The Police Chief won’t allow the normal people of the City to know that. He’ll continue to demonstrate unwavering courage and spirit in the face of this entire fiasco, even as he struggles to find a way to explain what has happened or deal with the after-math.

Our Heroes escape. Though they do so without knowing what happened with Isis for certain. Was she smote as Freddy seems to believe? Was she channeling Zeus’ power, like Cassie a little jealously thought? What happened with the Mask of Osiris? The only thing we know for certain, is that those answers and more will come to us in the next issue. Until then all signs point to Fawcett City.