Cassie: As much as I’d like to stay here with my Mom for a minute or two longer, we can’t afford it. I know that. So I go through the doorway without another word, and set straight to clearing the path for everyone else. Moving what little debris is blocking the area that we’re exiting into. I don’t stay on the ground for long, though. Leaving the rubble behind, if only for a dozen feet or so, in order to get a better view.
“…seeing this in pictures and seeing it in person is…”
This kind of thing can’t happen again. The sheer amount of area that had been destroyed. All the lives, human and otherwise. My forehead wrinkles, distressed, and then angry, but I can’t let this be the focus either. I have an all too clear of that coming storm after all. Weather patterns don’t naturally move that fast, so that leaves us to assume who is coming. Which is good. Mission accomplished, right? Now we just have to deal with her.
“Incoming at three o’clock, gentlemen.”
Freddy: I thought about what Ms. Sandsmark said and knew that he had been putting a lot of thought into things lately. Sometimes you had to lead with your heart. The head was there to help balance it out. When we stepped out into the wasteland that was once Coast City he glanced around watching as Wonder Woman took to the sky.
I took this brief and I do mean brief moment to calm my mind. I needed it to settle and my heart it needed to be steady. They couldn’t afford them to pull me in opposite directions. Instead I needed to be focused, because when Cassie spotted the approaching storm that was Isis I knew that she wasn’t going to take no for an answer.
Wally: Wally really hadn’t a clue what was going on between … well, all of this. And he wasn’t talking about what happened to Coast City and the lead up that made Luthor President. It only happening three years ago meant Wally didn’t understand most of what was going on in the political climate, and school mostly just gleamed over the facts as they couldn’t really go into too much detail about. But, that was fine. Wally … well, he didn’t even bother to look it up outside of school, even though his mentor, his Uncle was directly affected by this.
So, once they stepped through the doorway and Wonder Woman took to the sky, he looked to Freddy, then back to the oncoming storm. What was he doing here? He had no idea. But, he sure as hell wasn’t about Isis win. Because it sounded like she was bad news and bad news needed to be taken down. To bad they couldn’t search the Vault more. Surly one of the many things that Wally saw in there could be used. Though, he got the feeling they were all ‘Off-Limits’
“So, what’s the game plan?”
ST: Stepping through that set of double vault doors, opens in to what was likely once upon a time the sub-basement of Coast City’s Museum of Science and Industry. MOSI, was once filled with children laughing, playing and learning. It is now little more than a husk, a shell of remains that have only recently begun to be cleared away. Leaving the bulk of that work for Wonder Woman to do right now with brute force. The assistance of the Flash and Shazam’s would-be Champion will certainly help, but the effort to get through to the surface are going to take a little bit of time.
During which time, all the way across the country in that terrible farm town of Metropolis, Isis has been punishing the Museum there. Her agent had been downed, felled and perhaps captured. Yet that hadn’t stopped the spell he cast, which animated the museum’s undead exhibits. They were simply running amok. Attacking anything and anyone in their path. Which included Isis, for about a half-second, it took for them to be shattered to dust beneath her terrible power.
Once the Trio of Heroes emerged from the Vault though, her assault on Metropolis came to a very abrupt end. That single-minded pursuit of the Amulet that Freddy had gotten away from Fawcett City with, driving her to abandon the attack on the Vault-door in Metropolis. If only Cassie had her Cellphone, she would receive the phone calls telling her all about the excitement she’s missing by her boyfriend. Or the concerned requests for updates from Timothy Drake.
Those few moments the Trio have to breathe? Are just about -all- the time they get. No sooner do they dig themselves out from beneath the rubble of Coast City’s Museum than Cassie begins getting that eerie feel down her spine again. Freddy gets something even more. That same sense he got when he first opened the door to the Wizard’s sanctum, from that basement in Fawcett City. When he first put eyes upon…
“Ignorant Child! Do you even know what you’re doing?”
His words begin before their eyes even clear of the brilliant flash of light, explosive lightning that seemingly brought him to this place instantly. It was merely hours ago that Freddy saw him, at the Wizard’s Sanctum. Then beneath the school tearing in to the mostly helpless Crocodile Men.
He sure seems a lot more angry now than then, and he wasn’t exactly level headed then either. Was he?
“She is coming, boy and if she takes the Gods from you, she will raise this entire world.”
Cassie: Throwing an arm up over my eyes is not nearly enough to protect them from the sudden, unexpected flash of lightning. You’d think I should be getting used to that sort of thing. It’s been happening an awful lot lately. I’m still seeing spots, dancing across the dark and my vision, as I lower it and focus on who or what’s just appeared in front of me. I don’t need to be able to see though. That’s a voice that’s been burned into my brain, even if I know now it wasn’t really him. Teth Adam. Black Adam.
Part of me wants to say that no, we probably don’t know what we’re doing. And yet, here we are doing it anyway.
“She already came for it once. Better here than all of Metropolis going with it.”
I’m not sure we need to justify ourselves to him. I’m still not sure he’s entirely blameless in this situation, but I drop abruptly out of the sky, landing with a soft whump in front of Adam. Not close in front of him though, with narrowed blue eyes.
“Raze it? Or raise it?”
Wally: There’s a flash of lightning and Wally is surprised just how bright it is, and then the voice that comes from behind when his vision gets caught up to his brain. Rubbing his eyes.
“Insolent child? Who speaks like that today? Aren’t there better words? If you need a thesaurus for Christmas, you can count on me…Mr… Shazam?” asking as he finished rubbing his eyes seeing the big guy in black with a white lightening bolt across his chest.
“Buddy of yours? You guys could be twins. Though, I think he’d look better in red.”
Obviously Wally didn’t know really what was going on.
Freddy: I’m pretty sure we know what’s headed our way. I don’t answer Wally just yet, because I have a feeling. “Well, if things go as well as they have been for like the last several hours of so.” You know terrible. “Isis is going to be just one half of the problem, because I’m pretty sure Murphy’s Law is about to kick…” Before I can get it out there he is ready to punish me with insults and threatening glares…again. I shield my eyes for a moment before turning back towards everyone’s favorite Kahndaqian.
Can’t we put a pin him for like I don’t know at least a week?
“Homonyms gotta love them and Wonder Woman makes a fair point. Communication is key.” Yeah I know stir him up. “I mean you are the unmitigated ruler of Kahndaq and such and the US isn’t on great terms with the country. Wouldn’t you being here be considered an Act of War or something” I can’t help myself I should stop.
“But seriously if you’re here to tell me I’m a foolish child, threaten me and shake me until I give you the blessings. It’s not going to happen. Just like I told your possessed wife it’s not going to happen. Honestly, this is your fault, her fault and anyone that decide to play fast and loose with the rules. Now we have to clean it up. I have to clean it up. If anything, you’re really pissing me off because you couldn’t for a moment think, “Oh that might be a bad idea.” Even more the fact that you accepted something you knew wasn’t right. So, I don’t know who’s the more foolish here. Me because I want to fix this or you because you won’t take yourself of repeat. Sad fact is that the same choices keep being made and things just go from bad to worse.”
That said. “I’ll take us both out before I let any of the powers of Shazam be twisted into something they weren’t meant to be so huff and puff and blow me down, get out of my way or do something that could be considered I don’t know. Useful for once since you woke up and decided to start this vicious cycle over again.”
Adam: Cassie receives little more than silence. At first. Because the hooded figure of Black Adam is utterly zero’d in on Freddy Freeman. There is a sort of stone cold look in his eyes as he beholds the Challenger for the power of Shazam. “The Fate of the World dangles in the balance and you speak to me of meaningless politics, Challenger? Has the Wizard fallen so far, that he must recruit challengers from the ilk of Cowards now? The politics of this country are meaningless to me, when the entire world is at stake.”
When Freddy speaks. And speaks. And speaks some more. It merits a reaction. In that Black Adam slowly, especially for people like Wally West, raises his hands in order to pull the hood back. There is a long, measuring look from Freddy, to Wally, then Cassie. It doesn’t take Batman to realize he is considering them for threat levels. So then, what does it actually mean when he tilts his head in the direction of the Flash?
“Isis is even now riding the winds here. She chases that Amulet, in order to restore the soul it holds to life. She is seeks to use the power of the Gods to tame Death itself. You have brought her to one of the largest masse graves in the world. Since it is clear to me that the would be Champion and this Demigoddess are insane. Surely at least you, Speedster, have the ability to process this quickly. She is going to raise this City, to get that Amulet. Think quickly. How many Meta-Humans died here? How many can the three of you fight, before she takes his power -and- the Amulet?”
Cassie: I would probably find Wally’s running dialogue actually really funny at virtually any other moment, but right now I’m a little concerned with what’s going on around us.
“I wouldn’t call him that, Flash.”
Freddy himself says a lot of what I couldn’t help thinking myself. Black Adam is probably more powerful than any of the rest of us, maybe all of us, put together at the moment. I’m not sure I appreciate the way we’re being looked at either. I don’t wince at what he says, but my mouth does pull sharply to the side in displeasure. How was I supposed to know that? How would any of us know that and where else were we supposed to take this? I suppose the answer becomes nowhere, really, so much as a matter of speed for finishing it.
“And what if the Amulet’s no longer there to be taken? What happens if it’s destroyed?”
Something no one else has wanted to give me a straight answer, or any answer on. Third time’s a charm. It’s clear Isis will follow the thing anywhere. It wasn’t even safe in my Mother’s magic vault. Leaving us two options. Well. Three I suppose. Running with it forever. Letting her have it, or…
Wally: Listening to Freddy, and then Black Adam, Wally stroked his chin for a moment. Then looked to Wonder Girl, and turned to look at Freddy.
“We keep running, and she finds it. Like Wonder Woman said. ”
“Or, we destroy it. Or.. I don’t know… throw it into orbit. If I angle it right, and really push myself… I think I can launch it into sub-orbital around the planet. Let her chase it. Or maybe we can get someone like Superman to take it into orbit and launch it into the Sun. Unless you can?” asking as he glanced to Cass.
“I don’t really know what’s going on. But it seems that amulet is her homing beacon. And if she needs to be stopped..” trailing off as he gestures to the amulet that Freddy holds.
“If he” gesturing to Adam “Iis right. We’re nowhere near strong enough to take on a city full of dead people.”
Freddy: “Raise then” Adam isn’t the one to make a mistake, but you know sometimes you have to know, because really razing a wasteland doesn’t do much to help it. Raising the dead. Different story.
“I’m going to need that amulet.” That’s been running through my mind all day.” Two thoughts that I’ve tossed around. I didn’t get an answer from the question that I asked. I didn’t ask about destroying the amulet, because when you think about it what happens to what’s contained within. Cassie asked point blank if the essence of Osiris float away or something else. There was no answer, no real acknowledgement.
Here we are again.
“I have an idea.” Choice it’s always been about choice. Push it all away. The threats. The comparisons. Wondering whether or not you were the right person. If you can do it. I’ll do what I need to do, but I can’t ask anyone else to do it.
“She won’t listen. She won’t stop. She has a one track mind.” So why not? “I need you to trust me.” He said with nod before turning towards Adam.
“I need you all to trust me.”
Adam: For the first time Cassie has said something that merits Black Adam’s attention. It’s as if she said the strangest thing too, because he looks at her like she has grown a third eye. “Others have tried to destroy it. It contains the entirety of a God’s essence. The Wizard himself, the one that this Challenger seeks the approval of, created it to house the essence of a mad God. It is strong enough to do so for thousands of years. It’s destruction is nearly impossible, but only nearly.”
“My question to you, Child, would be whether you’d actually kill one of your own in order to destroy it. And what happens to the one who does so? Surely it would not be further ‘Blessings’ from the Gods, if you were a God-Killer.”
Now Freddy is done with insults and asking for trust? There’s little of that in the air. Zehuti isn’t needed to know that the three of them do not trust him. Nor does he trust a Challenger, who’s so clearly failed in his duty to be a Champion. Admittedly, Freddy isn’t the only failed Champion in attendance, but you won’t hear Black Adam make that statement out loud.
“I could kill the three of you and take the Amulet, but that would take time we no longer have,” pointing past Cassandra in to the distance, at the storm that now spans the entire line of sight in the distance. “Since it is clear you will no do as I say, nor do I have the time now to force your hands. I will give you, the three of you, this opportunity.”
Two massive arms cross over barrel chest, in acceptance. “Let it be known, if you fail. That it is on your conscience.”
Cassie: “No. We’re not enough for that. Not to mention the… wound that would probably rip open.”
Not just from the inevitable weirdness that’s going to come from more risen dead, but the world itself. If the media were to roll up and show us fighting people’s departed loved ones, no matter the actual reason. I actually rather like Wally’s plan about orbit, I mean. That might work, or at least take her off world to find it. It doesn’t really eliminate the problem, but maybe at least delays it a little. Delaying the problem won’t help Freddy finish his trials, such as they are, however. I shake my head at his question, though.
“I’m not sure that I could. I’ve never flown that high, and I still have to breathe… I could still try though.”
I’m willing to try despite that, but Freddy apparently has a plan. Trust him? That I already do. He’s already proven far more insightful than anyone else I know, the things he picks up and the knowledge he has of all this that I don’t means I’m down to continuing to trust him, or trusting… Black Adam who likes to point out he can kill people apparently.
“I think if you were going to do that, you would have opened with it, Adam.”
He gets an almost withering look for saying that failure would be on anyone’s conscience. It already would have been. But that’s the key difference between the three of us and him, I think. Producing the amulet, it’s offered out to Freddy without me taking my eyes away from Adam, or the storm. Once he takes it, unless Freddy’s plan requires my presence right here, I’m taking to the air again. Maybe I can make a distraction of myself enough to slow her down, though I doubt it’ll be terribly effective. She’s here for the Amulet.
Wally: “Nearly, not impossible. If this were at the heart of the sun. She won’t survive.”
Pausing a moment, then looking at Cass and Freddy
“…Right? I mean, the pressure and heat alone…” sighing, he didn’t want to know if she would live or not. She probably would, knowing the way this was going.
“Right. Well, you do you, Freddy. We’ll hold her back as best we can.” what was he going to do? Well, he was going to do what he did best, and that was going to be run.
Wally could only think of one thing right now, and maybe that a little wind resistance would stop her. If anything slow her down. So, when he feels that he’s ahead of Wonder Girl, and infont of Isis, he’d start running in a circle. Trying to create a tornado vortex, pushing himself harder and faster. Wanting to push himself to that edge, wanting to keep his new found friends alive.
Hopefully Wonder Woman remembered this last tactic, except they weren’t on a roof top and he was going a whole hell of a lot faster.
Freddy: “What are you talking about. Anything’s possible when we put our minds to it. I believe in you Cassie. I believe you can do anything you put your mind to. ” I take the amulet from her hand gripping it tightly. “Were the line that stands between Order and Chaos. The Fellowship stands upon the edge.” Right here. Right now. “You didn’t make a bad choice. You made the right now. The one that protected Metropolis.”
He glanced towards Flash. “Believe in yourself, Flash. Believe the impossible is possible. Believe you swifter than the wind itself. You can catch light and hold in your hand. Believe that see it. Make it happen. Never stop running. We can do this. ” I might be leaning on Achilles with this. To bolster them. Cassie doesn’t need it really, but every bit helps.
“Remember who you are. I know what you did Adam. Thank you. You know, you never told me your wife’s name. Then again, I never asked. I know who you are, Adam.” He pushed off the ground floating into air. “We always have a choice. Don’t forget that. No one ever forget that. Keep them safe. Contender to Champion. Be the Champion one more time. The true one, not the false one. I may get one shot maybe two. I don’t know. Too much death. Too many bending to wills. Whether you want my trust or my obedience I don’t know Adam. One is earned, the second gets us known where. But let me try to save your wife” I look towards the approaching storm.
Isis was locked away in an amulet. Destroying an amulet. Destroys the god. I’m not giving anyone anything to feast upon. No more death. Do the right thing. Why can’t people talk to one another without talking down to one another? I said I would rather lose the powers of Shazam rather than have them fall into the hands of another, but she won’t stop until she gets what she wants, until she raises her husband.
I continue moving higher into the air remembering what Isis said if I die she will come for the power. The power of gods can be used for more than championing. She told me. She’ll burn them down like a candle he told me. Once extinguish they’l be gone.
“I can’t do it alone.” I say almost in a silent prayer. “I know you’re there watching waiting to see what I’ll do. What hand I’ll play. Everything has been about force about power destroying or trying to be a wall, but I’m a gnat. I’m in this. I’m not trying to prove myself to anyone. I’m trying to protect worlds. If it means I fail. I fail. I won’t let her take one more life or bend one more to her will. All I ask is a chance to try to end this. I am a contender not a champion, but I will not give up and don’t think I’m giving up now. Solomon. Mercury. Achilles. I need you now. You trusted me with your blessings. I need you to help me keep balance.
“Isis is the goddess of Life and Magic, elements sway to her, but dead…the afterlife. She reaches further than she should, because that belongs to someone else. I wish to end to talk to your wife to end this never ending storm. I need your aid.” If I become a Godkiller to protect them all i will, but I have to try. Holding onto the amulet I take a deep breath and lean on the three blessings to help me. Solomon I can’t flee not any more. I have to stand my ground. Achilles will help us. I need to be me. My strength of will to guide me through.
Adam: “Hold her back?” Sigh. “This isn’t something that can…”
There goes the Flash. Even Black Adam is a little surprised at the man’s speed. It isn’t the first time that he’s seen someone be so fast, but it might be the first time it was someone that didn’t have the blessings of a God doing so. A pity, Adam thinks, that he left so quickly that he won’t hear the warning.
“…you can hold back.”
Because it simply isn’t. There is no stopping Isis. Not empowered as she is. Black Adam himself stands there, cape flapping in the wind, as silent witness to what he has to assume is going to be the death of these children. The sole thing that impresses him? Is their friendship. Perhaps even a slight bit the bravery, though ill-placed as it seems to be. It is enough, on it’s own, to move him. Bring himself in to the air near Wonder Woman.
“The woman beneath the power of Isis is a good person. This is not her, that does this. The Gods are not always there to aide us.”
For now he watches. Seeing the way the Flash moves. The wind he kicks up. That tornado effect that he brings in to motion. There is a wince on Black Adam’s face though. Clearly he does not believe this will work. He says as much to Wonder Woman. “The Speedster creates a tornado, to slow down a being who commands the very air he’s whipping in to a frenzy. Did someone forget to tell him who he was fighting?”
Adam falls silent though as Freeman ascends in to the air. His silence allows the rest of them to hear Freeman’s words. Word, actually. For the first time Black Adam smiles.
ST: Adam smiles because he knows what Freeman has done. He’s said the God’s name, while holding the Amulet in his hands. The clues were always there. Right in front of them. Isis had taken a second hostage. Minerva had been her host, to try sneaking beyond the sorcery of the Wizard in Fawcett City’s Bank. The other Hostage, the forgotten one? Had been intended to House the spirit of the God, Osiris. Isis, the Goddess, needed a Host for her Husband.
Freddy connected the dots finally. In the vault. Perhaps realizing why Black Adam had demanded the Amulet and his powers. He needed them if he was to restore his wife. Unlike Cassandra or Freddy, destroying a life, even that of a God was not unthinkable to him if it brought his wife back to him. Whether that be through killing Osiris, bannishing Isis back to her Amulet. Or becoming Osiris himself? He was clearly willing to accept those outcomes.
Freddy made the choice for him. For all of them. Though little does he realize, he needed far less power to free to Osiris than he thought. Osiris wants to be free, after all. What he does with it now that he has it? That is the question.
The storm front has reached them. True to Adam’s words the Cityscape of Coast City is changing. Each drop of water from the rain, blooms a flower. Life is emerging from the rain. Which the flash only helps by whipping the water far and wide with his tornado. With life comes rebirth… and with that….
Comes the raising of the formerly dead Citizens of the Husk of Coast City. At the eye of storm is Isis.
Cassie: “I guess I have to be Legolas. Closest to a female character I’ve got.”
I’m not actually certain how much an issue most of what Isis might raise from Coast City would be for any of us. Two of us are in the air. Wally is faster than.. everything. I really have nothing else to compare it to. I don’t have the senses necessary to pick up exactly how fast he’s going, outside of ‘faster than I can believe.’ The effects are immediate. Much like the ones that comes with Isis’ arrival. The metas though, that may be another story and what we will really have to worry about and contain if she manages to get to any of them. Or at the very least to keep them off of Freddy.
“And yet, here we are. Just the same.”
I only spare a glance at Adam himself as he rises near me. I still don’t understand his game entirely. Maybe a little, down at the core, but what’s boiled out from there. What would I do, or wouldn’t I do, for Conner?
“What did you put in Minerva’s pocket. In Fawcett. Because I’m thinking this is as much your fault as anyone else’s. So is there a good reason you’re not putting a stop to it? If, like you said, this isn’t her? Then maybe she needs a jolt. Again. Who’s she going to take that better from? I’d sure want someone who loved me to stop me from doing something I couldn’t take back.”
Wally’s doing what he knows how to do. So I’m not going to answer that criticism. I am however, moving a hand to my belt, the loops uncoiling like I bid them, glowing and glimmering with the threads that made it. And energy. It’s not the only thing crackling though. The thick gold bracelet around my wrist, last bangle from my return trip to the Subway that I hadn’t taken off. I’ve got my own power, and I”ve got tools that I’ve been given. It had been a matter of will, and mentally entitled bossiness to get it to take that shape in the first place. It should work the same way in reverse again but for now, I’ll settle for the lasso. Wally may not slow her, but he can distract from my flyby that seeks to snare her in its loops.
Freddy: I spoke the name. I turned the key and I returned him to the land of the living yet he was within me. I could feel him, coursing through my veins. I tell myself that I must remain as I am. Frederick Christopher Freeman. I stand here between worlds. I can lose myself to this, but I choose not to, because I know who I am. I think of my parents. Gramps. I share with the god of the afterlife all that there is to know of me and the world I seek to protect. I hover in the air and share with Osiris all that has happened, all that I know.
“Peace. I wish to bring her peace, bring them all peace.” I whisper. “Help me.” I know gods are not kind and benevolent, but how much longer can this go on.
I focus on everything that is within my grasp as I come down to see the storm before me. He fights for control, to reach the surface, but it is not that I want to keep him at bay. I want to keep in control. I want to remain who I am. Freddy Freeman. I cannot lose this fight.
I feel my lungs with air so he can feel it. He lives again, but this. Look at this. I need him to see his wife, to see what she has become. How, far her madness has taken her.
I need to distract her. I reach out with the power of that I hold. I am the lord of the dead right now and they will not attack my friends. They will not hurt them. I will hold them at bay while using one of them or many of them to whisper to the Flash as he zips by. Amulet. They must retrieve her amulet. Take it. Release Adam’s wife from the prison she’s in.
I come into view for Isis to see. She needs to see and sense that Osiris is among them again. Draw her attention so she will not see what comes for her. Focus. No more fighting this city has seen enough death. Isis will not allow herself to be reasoned with.
“Isis…” I call to her to draw her attention away from my allies, my friends and Adam. Maybe if we make it through this I’ll get him a copy of Gran Torino. Seems like something he’d like. “Enough death.” I tell her. There has been enough death. Let them believe again. “Live again.” She wants death, but Osiris is not only the god of the dead, but of resurrection. Take this chance. I hope they got the message. Isis will be distracted on several levels. Cassie knows if we fight her head on she will burn through the powers she’s gathered. If I distracted it may be what we need.
ST: “Eh? What are you talking about, Woman. I wasn’t in Fawcett City, until Freeman released me from the Wizard’s Sanctum. Ask him yourself, he unlocked the door. I’d been there long enough to read most the Wizard’s Library. By the time I escaped, she had already come and gone from that retched place.”
Black Adam might be someone that Cassie loathes, but he doesn’t sound like the sort to be such an open liar. What would he have to gain by lying about it, especially right this second? There’s no doubt that he might lie, but why would he do so for such a trivial thing. By all views he seems to be literally crackling with energy, ready to do battle with the woman he calls Wife. There’s this low grumbling noise from him though as Cassie speaks of jolting Isis, bringing out Adrianna from the haze of Isis’ powers.
As Black Adam watches The Flash simply runs in circles. While his airflow is not encumbering Isis in her approach, is it is doing something impressive. At first it was sending the rain in all directions, but as he has gotten control of it (dice!) the vortex he is forming has begun to whirlpool the rain in to the funnel. Keeping it from going everywhere. Though some might think the life-giving rain of Isis would be something good for Coast City, those first few wretched hands that raise from the ground? Suggest something different entirely. Though, Cassie is correct for now. There is really no one around for those few Zombies that rose to get at. Yet.
Of course, Kyle Rayner might think differently a few blocks from the Battle. Born on Monday. Christened on Tuesday. Married on Wednesday….
The efforts of Shazam‘s hopeful Champion are having an effect as well. Though perhaps not immediately the one that he was hoping for. As he gives Osiris breathe, the old God struggles for freedom that much harder. Freddy can feel it. The confinement has done much the same to Osiris that it did to Isis. Seemingly it has made the old God almost mad in it’s thirst for Life. Though even as Freddy struggles with keeping himself from losing control to the God of Death, he can also feel how the words take hold on him. Osiris does look upon Isis. Takes stock of her. Sees what she is become, how she is behaving.
Unfortunately for Freddy Freeman? Osiris does not care that Isis is perverting her power for him. Or rather he cares more about his freedom than he does for Isis. It is undoubtedly a strange recognition for Freddy. He thought to use the Old God’s love to stir something. To kindle some feeling that would have Osiris join in the effort to soothe Isis. But what he finds? Is that Osiris cares not if Isis is burnt out entirely in this endeavor. Whatever it takes, he will be free.
It is only Wonder Woman that takes a more direct physical approach. Her lasso, made from a literal weave of the Golden Fleece, is put to work. Thrown out, guided and commanded by the divinity inside of her. It rarely misses it’s target, unless she is thrown off by something struggling against her control. This is no different. As he lasso finds itself at home around Isis? Cassie might well recognize immediately the problem with her plan. The lasso responds to Divinity and while she, Cassie, is descended from Zeus? She is but half the Goddess that Isis is. Even as it encloses on Isis, true lightning channels up the rope from Isis and in to Cassie. A distinct opposite reaction from what normally happens.
Of course. Freddy was trying to reach someone. It just so happens, that it isn’t Osiris that sees what he’s doing. The angle he’s going for. It’s Black Adam. Hovering there. Ready to fight for the world, even as he’s seemingly accepted the fate of his loved one. His Adrianna Tomaz. Unmoved by Cassie’s arguments at first, he sees what Freddy is doing. Who he’s trying to reach. Freddy pleads with an unhearing God for aid, but it isn’t a God who answers him. It’s the hands of Black Adam. Moving in as Wonder Woman distracts Isis. With Freeman holding one Amulet, Adam seizes the one dangling from Isis’ throat.
He’s no sooner touched it, than he says a single word: “Shazam!”
More lightning. Only this is not a bolt from Cassandra’s father. It springs from the Rock of Eternity. Striking down upon Adam, upon Freddy and Isis. Both amulets. Filling the sky with a hint of Ozone. It also leaves the all-too human forms of Teth-Adam, Adrianna Tomaz and Freddy Freeman plummeting out of the sky. With no powers to save them.
Cassie: But I saw you, is of course the immediate thought. Tim had shown me the traffic camera footage, and especially seeing him now in person? I’d say there was no mistaking what I saw. I’ve had a whole lot of lessons lately, though, in how things aren’t exactly what they look like, sound like, or walk like. And I don’t think he was lying. He seems confused that I would have even asked. Which means someone else put that Amulet in Minerva’s pocket? While looking like Adam. Then there’d been the Adam in my dreams which I already know was not really him. Not a hard conclusion to jump to right there.
What Wally does? Is really impressive. Adam might have scorned him for what he was doing, but it wasn’t just an attempt to slow her. He’s sparing us a lot of the zombies, just by redirecting the rain. Saving us an awful lot of additional trouble. We’ve all got different strengths. Weaknesses that are offset by each other. Maybe this really can work… all in all? He’s a whole lot more successful than I am.
I wasn’t trying to take Isis down. Even out. I just wanted to do my attempt, useless or not, to slow her. Make her listen at best, the way I’d been able to command Grunge. Turns out it doesn’t work nearly so well. Quite the opposite in fact. Muscles tense as I’m the one that gets that jolt instead. Normally your hand recoils from heat, or pain, but when you’re electrocuted it’s the opposite. Fortunately, controlling the lariat is in large part a mental exercise. Which means that I don’t continue to get those god-volts on…and on… I’m tumbling out of the sky, body still not any more obedient to what I want it to do.
If I were thinking clearly, it probably wouldn’t have worried me as much. Hitting the ground doesn’t do a whole lot to me anymore. Especially not a normal falling speed. I make a decent crater but that’s about it. In a way, it might have been a bit of a blessing, because I’m face down and groaning when lightning fills the sky again, if my hair weren’t already on end it probably would be now. There’s still a bright, blinding after image though. And I’m barely making out the falling shapes in the sky.
Forcing myself up fortunately doesn’t really require getting my limbs working. It’s not my most graceful, or enjoyable, flight upwards to try to snag them all, tempting as it honestly is to only save Freddy and I’m immediately ashamed tha tthe thought actually occurs to me. That’s not like me.
Wally: Wally has a unique view of the world. When he’s running, everything slows down around him. Nearly coming to a standstill. So when he finally gets the rain in a giant twister and holds it there. He’s stunned by the sheer brilliance of the lightning. But he see’s it traveling down. Yes. Down. Not up. This wasn’t normal lighting, obviously. He watches it strike Adam, then Isis, and finally Freddy Freeman. It was an incredible sight. But, then they were no longer their superhuman selves. Breaking away from the vortex, he speeds towards where everyone is falling. Through all this, he can see Wonder Woman, second by second try and catch the three.
So, Wally decides to make a vortex *here* to try and bring them all down safely. Or at least slow their descent enough for Wonder Woman to catch them. Hopefully there’s enough time for him to do this.
Also, that rain? Hopefully it’s not magiked anymore or Wally’s running isn’t going to be done any time soon.
Because Zombies are bad, Mmmkay?
Freddy: I could feel it. I could sense it. It seemed that Isis’s made desire to resurrect Osiris was matched by Osiris desire to live again. He did not care. Perhaps afterwards he would, but in this moment he could give a damn. How would she feel about that? It didn’t matter, because it all came to an abrupt end the moment Adam was able to undo what he had done. He brought down the lighting and it was broken the cycle of the moment was disrupted and Freddy found himself falling.
ST: The three of them begin to tumble. As if someone had flipped off a light switch, Black Adam & Shazam were no more. So too was Osiris gone, Isis as well. All three beings now completely human, utterly normal and frail. The two amulets literally thrum with power. All of these things drop out of the sky. Plucked from the heavens with a single word. Spoken with equal parts love for his wife and anger at what had become of her. In doing so, Black Adam made use of Freeman’s gamble. Perhaps not exactly what Freddy and Solomon had planned, but how could they have counted upon Teth-Adam doing something such as this? Him being moved by Cassandra’s words of love and what she would hope for from those she cares about.
On the ground, the Flash is ever in movement. His efforts had stopped most of the rain. Keeping it bound to a single area of the city. Then keeping the Zombies it created bound with the air flows of the vortex he created. With Isis once more restrained within the Amulet, he moves yet more. Taking his tornado with him in an effort to offer a buffet of air that would blunt the fall of the three humans. Giving Wonder Woman a chance to ‘make the save.’ With the only choice she has left, being who or what she’ll rescue. She simply lacks the appendages needed to grab all three people and both amulets.
Ah, but that is not all that has changed. Though it is unseen? As the three fall to the ground? Freddy Freeman is quite more than just unconscious. He’s there. In the Rock of Eternity. Where the Wizard awaits him. Though it is perhaps not the Wizard he knew. The young man, a boy really, awaits. His eyes still full of life and wonder. With a voice that sounds as if he were about to ask Freddy to come outside and play.
“You have many questions, Freddy, but now is not the time for you to have all of the answers. There is something greater at work here than just your Trial. This world is ‘Broken,’ so too are the Trials. They are broken, because we must have a Champion that understands not everything is as it seems. Hercules has given you his Blessing, because now you understand that Strength is not always the power to punch through walls. There is no greater strength than love, Freddy.”
“The Old Wizard is gone, for now. The way to the Sanctum, along with the door to the Rock of Eternity are closed. So they must remain for now. You’ll understand why soon enough. For now, Freddy Freeman. Awaken and say your name.”
Cassie; Fortunately I don’t really need extra appendages to catch all of them, though I could probably have done this a lot more neatly with them. Without Wally’s help, it likely still wouldn’t have been possible because I’m definitely not at my best in this moment. My muscles are slow to respond, and the result is something more like a bull rush than the gentle scooping out of the air I would have normally tried otherwise. Using my momentum to move bodies forward, rather than down, an arm snatched here that’s probably going to result in a pulled shoulder joint for Black Adam, a very sore knee and hip for Isis’ shell when I grab an ankle and maybe a bruise from my own shoulder for Freddy’s abdomen. I’m sure they’ll forgive me when they’re not crushed instead from impact with the ground.
I don’t even try to grab the Amulets as they tumble to the ground. People first. Things later. Even impossibly powerful things. Trusting to Wally’s continued currents to help get me and the rest of them to the ground a little more gently than I might otherwise manage right now. Panting for air, more thanks to the electrocuting that’s left me short of breath than any real exertion, I struggle back up again once I’ve put them down. To look for more threats whether it’s in the form of still risen zombies or…
I’m not discounting anything right now, honest.
Freddy: My eyes opened and I found myself no longer in the company of friends. “Eternity.” I had been brought here once to begin the Trials. To be deemed worthy. Worthy to begin, to be blessed by the six gods. Looking around I expect something anything perhaps a lecture, but instead I get a bright eyed kid who feels familiar, but I’m pretty sure I don’t know him. Or did I? My lips part to say something anything, but instead he’s talking like the Wizard if the Wizard was one fur coat shy of sounding like a Care Bear.
“Hercules.” This was his trial. Shutting my eyes I make a soft sound. Never stop trusting your gut. I did have questions and I wanted answers, but it’s not the first time that I heard that there was something greater at work than just my trial. For the first time in a long time I listen. I don’t say anything meaning I don’t ask questions or start letting my mind go. Instead I absorb what was shared including the fact that the Old Wizard is gone…for now. Does this mean he’s the new Wizard? The substitute Wizard?
The way to the Sanctum and the Rock of Eternity have been closed. The must remain close. Must. I focus on that, but I also focus on what he says next and I do just that opening my eyes. “SHAZAM!”
Adam: The word from Freddy’s lips is enough to rouse not just the power of Shazam, but also Adam. Though not the man that either of the two of them have seen before. Standing, albeit not as steady as he otherwise might, is not Black Adam. Nor Teth-Adam. Even like this, he still dwarfs Freddy Freeman. Theo Adam has been a worker, a soldier and a slave. He’s no mere twig of a man. Nor does he share the face of the man in the Video from the Bank. He is someone else, someone different.
With a grunt, that becomes a sickening crunch, the man forces his own shoulder back in to joint. Even as he is doing this, it’s quite clear that his eyes have begun to dart around to look at the placement of the amulets. Though the reason for that, too, might surprise the two of them. “…my thanks, for finding a way to undo what you believed that I did. Know this, though. Adam sought the Wizard’s Blessing for giving her the power of Isis.”
“With your permission, I shall take Adrianna back to our homeland. I know that you will not trust me to take both her and the amulets back to Kahndaq, so I offer you this. When you realize that you cannot keep them, but you cannot destroy them? Bring them to Kahndaq. I know how to insure they’re never misused again.”
Cassie: Freddy’s once again sudden transformation makes me stiffen in alarm, a reaction I can’t help and that makes my whole body groan at the sudden movements. It isn’t just him that’s changed, though. Adam has as well. I actually look apologetic over his shoulder, even with who he is. So it would seem the strange impulse to just let him fall hasn’t continued on to being okay with hurting him, even accidentally.
“I think that’s probably best.”
I don’t think we can really even detain him. And I don’t mean physically, either. Whether or not I trust him to make sure they’re not used poorly is up for debate, but the fact that he’s willing to not fight us for them currently? Says something.
“When we discover who has been posing as you, I will let you know as well.”
My own bit of goodwill. Mostly, though, I would want the same courtesy if someone was masquerading as me.
Freddy: Gone was the familiar and now there was…the desolate. At least that was one way of looking at it. There was promise here in Coast City. In the distance you could see the structure that was being built not to far away, but if that was a startling sight then there was who was Black Adam, but no more. He was quite different, still taller and bigger, but there was something less Adam about him. The arrogance and threatening demeanor was gone. When he spoke he sounded very different from the man who threatened my life on more than one occasion.
Not everything is as it seems. It rung in the back of my mind. Glancing towards Wonder Woman when he spoke of the amulets. I rather be rid of them, but for the moment I think we should do as he says. Something tells me that we need to just take it a step at a time. I know I needed to regroup. With our permission?
“The let this be the end of it for now. Return home. See to Adrianna. She’s been through a lot. You both have. When the time comes we will come to Kahndaq.” The amulets were still a danger. Right now I rather not tempt fate if I could manage it. “Safe journey.” Masquerading as him, that was different, but it does track with a few things. Right now I could go for a burger.
Adam: “He was not lying when said they can be destroyed, with great effort. Should they be? The Gods are important. Even if people in this age don’t understand the way they once did. Though those two may be broken, they are ageless. Who is to say they cannot be healed?”
There is no more to be said about though. While he could surely transform and renew the battle for the Amulets, there is little to be gained in doing so. He no longer seeks them for their power, no longer believes they would be what is best for Adrianna or her brother. At least, not right now. Not yet. Perhaps in the future, when the Gods within are more… sane. Which means that there is nothing to be gained, when time can be given to these two in order to earn their trust perhaps. Or at least their respect.
Even with the injured shoulder and lacking the power of the Gods, Theo is able to scoop the limp form of Adrianna up off the ground as if she weighed no more than a child. As he does, he takes a moment to acknowledge what Cassie has said. “I would appreciate that. Strange powers are at work. This Country’s problems have begun a domino effect all over the world. This clandestine group, that killed the former Champion. They left the world of Magic unprotected.”
“Some might think that merely happenstance, but neither I, nor Black Adam believe in coincidence. Be on your Guard and know that all three of you are equally welcome in Kahndaq. You will find sanctuary there, should you need it.”
A final nod of the head to the would be Champion and the Demigoddess. Much like before, he takes only a moment more to look over the Speedster, almost as if he wants to say something more to him specifically. Then with a whispered ‘Shazam’, the more feeble Theo is gone once more. Replaced by a figure that doesn’t even deign to look at them, before taking to the air and heading away at a speed that isn’t much slower than the Flash.
Cassie: I don’t know that they should be destroyed. It was only really even a question I’d posed because there had seemed to be limited options at the time, and I was fishing for an answer. Destroying a God is… not something you’d think you should be able to do. Not to mention that power has to go somewhere. The resulting potential for disaster? World destroying when you’re talking two of them. And for the moment, it’s no longer needed. I’m not a destroyer. I’m a hero.
“I’m starting to feel much the same way. Thank you for the offer.”
Once Black Adam’s out of sight? I let my knees go. Which drops me rather unceremoniously on my spangly ass in the rubble around us. Everything still feels like not fully solidified jell-o right now. They say you should experience a taser, before you attempt to apply it to anyone else. Well. Now I know, I suppose. Finally catching my breath, or at least making an attempt at it.
“Your face… looks like what I’m thinking. I need a milkshake. Before we do that, I think we should make a trip back to Metropolis. All of us.”
Because people will want to know what happened. And the answers are going to not just come from Wonder Woman this time.
Freddy: I meant what I said and what I thought. I did not want to see them destroyed. I rather try to find a way to help,. Right now as they are I think they’re driven by instinct more than anything. Osiris could care less if Isis survived or not. He wanted freedom more than anything just as Isis wanted him back more than anything.
I don’t know what’s more scary the fact that this guy is likable more so than Black Adam or the fact that I said almost the same thing to Conner and Cassie in the library. That when Billy Batson died that threw everything out of order. I had so many questions, but I knew answers weren’t coming not by a long shot, but it was obvious someone was taking advantage of the fact that there was no Champion and that magic was broken. It almost made me wonder if they didn’t have a hand in setting it all in motion.
“Will do and you do the same.” I’m sure he will, but it still needed to be said. “Thank you for the invitation.” Khandaq. That would be different.
Returning the nod I watch as Theo transforms to everyone’s “lovable” ready to murder you superhuman. I didn’t expect anything from him, but the fact that he didn’t call me a foolish child, shake me like a rag doll or threaten to murder me…..let’s call that progress for about five minutes.
“Milkshake and burger, but you’re right. We need to let everyone know we’re ok. See how bad the damage is and compare notes.” I know always with the comparing of notes.
Cassie: “More than that. I mean. Yes, we need to let them know we’re okay, but we need to let everyone know what we did tonight. Together. So, gentlemen, you have until we get back to Metropolis, because I’m nicer than Superman. And I’m not going to put you on the spot, on camera, and make you pick your name in three seconds.”
I think Flash has his picked, but I don’t know for sure what Freddy wants to be called. And I have until we all get there to decide what, and how, I’m going to say it.
Good thing I’m the slow one, here.
Freddy: “Oh..” That part. I thought we were supposed to be doing this together. Helping each other out. Arching my brow I nodded. “Alright. Until we get back to Metropolis.” Though I was pretty sure I had name. At least that’s what the substitute Wizard said. Yes, that’s what I was going to call him. I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t all in my head and even if it was I’m still going with that.
“You wanted to be called something other than Wonder Woman?” I glance over at Cassie considering that. “What would you have picked?” Oh yeah she was probably going to get peppered with questions from both me and Wally.
Batman: “Alternatively. You can take the Invisible Jet.”
When did Batman get here? It’s best if you don’t ask that question. Or even think about it. Just accept the cellphones that are being offered and load in to the plane that you can’t really see. Other than the open-door and Alfred Pennyworth waving everyone up the marginally visible ramp.
Cassie: “…I dunno. Actually. My choice started with things that I didn’t want to be called, and then went from there. It’s. Kind of grown on me now, though.”
“…Batman. Thanks for bring th…my jet.”
When did Batman get here? I’m not going to ask that, I know better. Also I’m actually incredibly happy for both the phone, and the ride. And the time that’s going to allow for speech prep. He’s still getting some side-eye as I go up the ramp though.
There is an age old saying, ‘Bad things happen in threes.’ One of the many aspects of Murphy’s Law. Anything and everything that can go wrong, probably will. Today has been a pretty rough day for our Heroine. She woke up this morning and went to school. About half-way through the school day she received a call from Freddy Freeman. Racing to the Metro Public Library, she’d found her friend seeking safe harbor after a tremendous disaster in Fawcett City. He had brought with him an amulet, that he turned over to Superboy for safe-keeping. Cassie and Conner took that Amulet to her Mother. Helena Sandsmark, whom Cassie had only recently discovered, was far more than meets the eye. She was someone that the Kids believed would be able to sage-guard the Amulet, allowing them to continue moving about their average day. While Conner and Helena were securing the Amulet? Cassie snuck away. Looking in to clues she’d discovered that took her deep in to the bowels of Metropolis. There she found a sealed battleground, protected from the elements and left almost perfectly in tact. A single lightening bolt was discovered. The remnants of some battle she knew had happened between Agents of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and the man she also knows as Black Adam. She road the lightning to Olympus, where she met her father for the first time. Not just any Father, but the God of Gods. Zeus. Only to return home where she had a very lengthy, touching, and dramatic confrontation with her boyfriend. Following the Wisdom of Solomon, the two were able to work out their differences just in time for Cassie to get a strange call. Off she went to a meeting with Wally West, aka the Flash. All of this is a day in the life of Cassandra Sandsmark, but it’s not quite over yet.
Helena was due home after work. Even accounting for being the normal amount of late, she was starting to out strip even that. Of course, it’s difficult for Cassie to even know that. Given that she isn’t at home like she should be. Nor is she carrying her Cell Phone, to be called remotely. Alas this means that it isn’t until Cassie returns to Casa Del Sandsmark, that she’ll see the blinking lights on the old fashioned answering machine.
BEEP: Hi, baby. I’m going to be late coming home. Finishing up that project for Conner. Your boy said he was handling Dinner. Love you.
BEEP: Hey, sweetheart. I’m still at the museum. Have you noticed anything strange with Krypto? He’s been acting weird for the last half hour. Can.. uh … we even take him to the Vet? Call me when you get this.
BEEP: Cassandra. It’s nearly 9 o’clock on a school night. Why aren’t you picking up your cell phone? Why aren’t you at home to pick that one up? Call me as soon as you get this. Something is really bothering Krypto. Did Conner let him eat the neighbor’s cat again?
BEEP: ….(glass breaks)… Cass… where are you… something.. something is wrong. I thought Krypto was sick but… (growling)… he’s really angry. I think something is really wrong… He won’t let me leave the office… please baby, send Conner as soon as you can.
BEEP: … what the hell was that? Stay with me, boy… we’ve got to get to the vault… Cassie. Someone is here. Krypto… he’s very angry… did you know your dog gets angry? I think they’re here for the vault… I don’t know what’s going on, but I need to know you’re okay… (loud barking, growling, growing more and more savage)…
The phone line abruptly goes dead. There are no other messages. The last one was almost ten minutes ago.
Cassie: I can’t help but wonder if this is how my life is going to be from now on. This busy. I’m not always going to have things like cropped up today. Am I? I mean, there’s only going to be one first meeting with your father, and he’s not exactly someone I have to drop in and visit now and again. It’s going to take some doing to get back there ever. Until, I guess, I’m ready to decide that’s where I want to be or something drastically changes in the Earth/GodLand relationship. I didn’t even do half of the things that Cassie Sandsmark was supposed to do today. Like most of my classes, or cheerleading.
Coming back home, there’s a few things noticeably different than what I actually expected. For one, my Mother’s car isn’t in the garage. Second, there’s no Conner, or Superman, waiting for and there’s absolutely no way it’s taken him this long to go to France and then come back. That means he got sidetracked by something, and since I haven’t noticed him shooting around the Metropolis skyline that means it’s not around here. In a way, that’s good and bad all at once. I don’t have to explain why I didn’t call him, though this time it really isn’t my fault, but now I’m left wondering what’s going on.
I never realized how dependent I was on my cell phone, especially since I’m not really a play games on it kind of gal, until tonight. Even though I hadn’t actually missedit for the first four hours or so that it was gone and destroyed . I should probably call Tim the old fashioned way and let him know I’m going to need a replacement. And apologize. I may not have noticed the flashing of the answer machine if I hadn’t been going to do that in the first place. Everyone just uses their cells. I don’t even know when the last time this thing had any pertinent calls on it…
The first message isn’t alarming. She’s late, she’s securing the amulet. Conner had indeed handled dinner, which he and I had already eaten and cleaned up by now. Leftovers for her in the fridge, though. The second one? Well. Yes. I’ve noticed a lot of things strange with Krypto, he’s not a normal dog. The third is much the same, but I start to get worried. Alien dog he may be, but usually he hides it. If something is bothering him that much, something must be wrong. And I can’t send Conner because he’s not here. I don’t actually make it all the way through the fifth message before I’m back out the garage’s side door and rocketing up into the sky.
I’m very aware of the whipcrack of noise my path makes in the air, but I don’t actually care. I’ve not really had reason to push myself to move this quickly before, and push it I do. I’m sure they’ll forgive me my complete lack of a subtle entrance, because unless there’s an immediately accessible and open door, which is highly unlikely at this time of night when the place is closed to guests, I’m going in through a window with a crash of broken glass. Down to the basement, where I know that vault is located. At least roughly.
ST: It doesn’t take Cassie long in the air to notice some none-to-subtle differences from only a few moments ago. The air is thick. A roll of thunder crackles the night sky. Clouds are rolling in over Metropolis. Though they’re all too strangely concentrated around the Metropolis Museum of Science and History. In a city like Metropolis with it’s Sky-Rail and it’s towering SkyScrapers, the Museum actually stands apart as a thing of genuine History. Three dual pillars that extend from floor to roof mark it as old, but it’s the large stain glass windows that truly mark it as a marvel of History.
It isn’t overly hard to find an entrance as Wonder Woman arrives on the scene. A large whole is already torn through one of the enormous double doors in the very front of the Museum. From the air she can see flickers of red light, washing through the windows here and there. Along with the terrible sounds of screaming, that accompanies equally loud roars so savage she might not even associate them with Conner’s pet. Once she makes her way through the melted front window? Cassie is bound to see, instantly, that the Museum she has considered a second home is in shambles. Claw marks litter the walls. Scorch marks score exhibits. Splashes of blood line the floor.
Curiously there appears to be no damage from the outside. No visible signs that someone broke -in- to the Museum.
It won’t take long for Cassie to understand why either. Orienting herself toward one of four different stair cases or two different elevators (one of which is a freight elevator). All of those signs of battle begin at the Khandaq Exhibit. She’s been here before. Not so long ago in fact. When Tim Drake took her on a holographic tour of this very place. Showing her the sights, sounds and wonders of a land she’s never been too. Now though it takes her little time noticing the difference. The Holographic displays, showing all of the cultural information is left undisturbed, but the actual physical exhibits? Every single one of them is trashed. Sarcophagus overturned. Urns upended. A perfectly outlined form of a body, forever burned in to the wall as if something flash-fired a body out of existence.
There’s far more signs of this very thing littered through out the museum, but Cassie seems to be in a hurry. Nothing stops her from quickly descending the first flight of stairs down in to the “Science” portion of the museum. The damage there is more the same, but far less spread out. More of a path, spreading from a ruined civilian elevator down towards a stairwell. She won’t encounter any resistance down those stairs either, though she’s going to see signs of battle growing more congested as she goes. A shattered skeleton, who’s limbs still reach for her. What looks like a host of carrion beetles all scorched in to dust that crumbles when the breezes past in flight.
It isn’t until she reaches the next level that she even encounters what might be considered resistance. As she clears the stairs leading beyond the Historical Archive, where books, texts and tomes are kept? She flies right in to what can only be compared to a scene from the Walking Dead or the Mummy. As every undead corpse in the Museum has congregated in the stairwells. All forcing their way down to where Cassie seeks to get too.
She might try another way down. Perhaps the last functional elevator. She could. That is. If it were not for the fact that she has apparently picked the one staircase with a reincarnated trio of Velociraptors. We’ve all seen the movies. The way the wicked little menaces catch a scent. Their nearly feathered carcasses turning in her direction…. and then like a pack of wolves rushing her. They sure don’t move like Zombie Dinosaurs. Chomp Chomp.
Cassie: That’s the entrance, right through the double doors and their gaping hole. Collateral damage may be about the least of my concerns right now, but most of the time I do at least stop to think about it. This is clearly a disaster already in progress, which is exactly the sort of thing Wonder Woman is supposed to move in and stop. Or Superman. Equal opportunity city. But they’re blown out. Not in. So was it something already inside, or something that got in another way? Questions that only barely scratch my awareness, because there’s other things to focus on.
The blood. The claws. Where things were clearly melted or roasted. So was that Krypto’s doing, or someone or something else? What is he fighting? It’s not hard to figure out where the carnage spreads out from though. Khandaq. Damnit The newest exhibit, arranged by my friend through an intermediary, where I’d been getting my personal history lessons on the foes I might have to face. I don’t hang around long to agonize over the what and why, again, because there’s still screaming. The roars. That means there’s still people to save, and that they’re also still in danger.
“What the ….?!”
We’ve all seen night at the museum. It’s a funny little thing, that couldn’t possibly be true but what if, right? Well. It seems to have managed it. For whatever reason. On the night that the Amulet from Fawcett was brought in for safe keeping. Not a fact I glaze over in my rush. I ‘skid’ to a halt, if you can really skid in mid-air when your feet have nothing to stop and skid upon, just in time to see the zombie raptors turn and face me. There’s a moment of wide eyed concern, before it turns into narrow-eyed anger and annoyance. There’s no herky-jerky motions like you would expect from something that shouldn’t have had any proper sinews or connective tissues. No. They’re moving like I’d imagine a real predator like that might. But that still doesn’t make them as fast as me.
I give them a second to begin to rush, but I’ve learned from my recent encounters with giant, sentient reptile men. Then I’m rocketing away, a punch of air in my wake as I zip towards the freight elevator. It requires a keycard, if I remember correctly. I don’t have one of those. I do have super strength though, and it’s highly unlikely that an elevator door is going to stop me. With any luck, it won’t even be on this floor, because I’m not looking for the car. I’m just going to fly down the shaft.
St: There’s simply nothing for the Raptors to pounce upon. Cassie is gone so quickly that they can’t catch up. Though they move with the speed they would have had in life, despite obviously not being alive, they don’t move with any sort of preternatural super-speed. Leaving them in the dust isn’t difficult. Though the skittering, whistling cries of the Raptors suggest that they haven’t given up the hunt just because she outran them.
Cassie knows her way about the Museum. She’s been there a multitude of times. She even interned with her Mom their first year in Metropolis. Getting around is not a problem. Doing so quickly isn’t a problem. At the Freight Elevator there’s only a handful of shambling Mummies awaiting her. Almost stationed like sentries, there is very little difficulty avoiding them all together if she wished. Though, let’s face it. Those elevator doors that she rips off their hinges have to go somewhere right?
Then she ‘steps’ in to the elevator. It’s just her luck that the freight elevator is not on this floor. Allowing her to hover right in to the shaft, then drop down past the archival floor and the restoration floor. At the lowest level of the Museum is a sub-basement, which is where they normally store specific antiquities that are rare but no longer on display. Sometimes those are being stored to be sent elsewhere, other times they’re interred for storing until they can be put back on display. As Cassie just learned this morning, there’s another floor beneath that. One that isn’t on any map and it isn’t on the elevator’s selector for floors. You ordinarily would have to have a special key, as she saw in the hands of her mother earlier. Which overrides the normal controls and allows you to take the car down that last floor.
Cassie’s trek down the shaft comes to an end there. One floor up from where she wishes to be. The floor beneath her feels solid. During her trip to the vault with Conner and her Mom earlier, her Mom told her all about the layered defenses the vault had. Someone has triggered those. An enormous bulkhead has come in to play. Strong. Durable. Heavy. She could pound her way through it, given time. But that is all too suddenly in short supply.
Because the freight elevator car is now on it’s way down. This isn’t a controlled descend. Someone or something. Has cut the cables. Those twitter whistles suggest perhaps the Raptors did it.
Freddy: What sucks about not being able to get back into the Sanctum? Freddy actually have to leave the library. Can’t hide away in the archives they actually do sweeps when the library starts to close down. Good thing about the library it stays open later than most cities, but it simply means he was going to have to book a motel room for the night. That was going to be the plan until he stepped outside. There was something in the air, literally.
There were a few people that were gathering at the corner of the street pointing in the direction that wasn’t too far off. Being the curious person he was Freddy walked in that direction only to see something that looked all too familiar.
“Crap on a cracker.” This was not happening. That’s what was going through Freddy’s mind as he stared in the direction of the of the museum.
It was all that he said as he pulled himself towards the nearest alley because there was only one thing to do right now. It wasn’t that Freddy was unsure, he was curious as to how things might change now that he had three of the six. Either way he needed to get there fast, faster than his feet would carry. “SHAZHAM!”….
And just like that Freddy Freeman is…well not quite Shazam, but not quite Freddy. He was a touch taller and why in the world was his hair black? He didn’t even know where to begin with that, but there was definitely something there was a little bit of different. He felt different. He didn’t have the strength of Hercules that might he knew but there was an aura, Achilles. Chief Callahan. Whatever needed to be done he knew he was needed and he knew where he had to go.
Thankfully Solomon was there to balance it all, but there was something else. His clothing changed. He had a suit. Didn’t have a mask to cover his face, but his face well it wasn’t exactly his face. He looked in the reflection of the glass and paused for a moment his lips parting, but there was no time. Instead there was unnatural storm to see about and just like that Freddy was gone his feet carrying him quickly down the street as he poured it on moving in and around people and cars that might make people think he was the Central City streak or whatever they were calling him the days. He doubted he was that fast, but he was fast enough to get him from point A to B while keeping his eyes on those clouds as he arrived at his destination.
The museum. Wait.
Cassie’s mom works at one. She’s an archaeology brat. Crap on a cracker squared.
Freddy takes a moment to scan the entire area to look for anything that looks out of the place beyond the obvious clouds. Anyone or anything that could be responsible or associated with the current gathering micro storm that’s centered around this area. Remember how things were at the bank. Things went sideways inside, but right now he had to use the precious moment his speed could by him to do a quick run of the perimeter to find the easiest way because something told him.
Museum of antiquities + amulet arrival in the city + unnatural looking storm = trouble.
Cassie: That definitely seems like a suitable place to send the elevator doors, doesn’t it? There’s no real room for a good wind up and Frisbee sort of maneuver, but I don’t need a lot of speed or accuracy. Brute force and the weight of the metal will make up for that. I don’t actually stick around long enough to see how successful I am, because they’re a secondary concern to my getting where I needed to be. Down. Down and down. Which is precisely where I go. Keeping track of the openings in the shaft alongside me so that I know exactly how far down I am. It should be three…but I come up short at two. There’s a brief moment of confusion until I remember what my mother had said.
About the time I’m rearing back to start trying to punch my way through the barrier? I hear the sound. It’s not something that my ears immediately would have recognized, how many people know what a plummeting elevator car sounds like when you’re below it? I didn’t until right now. With a hiss of surprise and annoyance, blue eyes whirl around me, falling on the currently closed door panels that would have allowed for entry, or exit, from the elevator. I don’t really want to see if it will hurt at that speed, and while I could rise up to meet it and then slow its decent?
A considering look is spared for the barrier again, before I throw myself through the doors leading out, instead of down. Maybe the crash will net me a two birds, one elevator result.
ST: Cassie gets nadda. Unless what she was hoping for was an elevator crashing down upon a sealed bulkhead. Completely littering it with debris that she would now have to clear, just to start punching her way through. On the good side of things, plowing through those double doors created a compressed expulsion of them. Sending them careening through the little vault area. Leaving her, ultimately, free to move along. Where ever it is that she might be headed. The flip-side to this is that Mr. Freeman now has -no- clear way to follow. Leaving him three zombie filled stairways and two remaining elevator doors. Neither of which actually go down in to the subbasements without key-cards.
While this may seem to be a moment to take a breathe? Another scream rings out for Cassie. This one is much closer. It won’t take her long to find the cause of it. Members of the Night Staff, Curators, Janitors…etc. have barricaded themselves in to the commodities cages and air-tight vacuum sealed rooms. Even now they’re being harassed by yet more undead creatures that have risen from their various states of eternal slumber. Not all of these creatures are entirely whole. A hand recovered from the Tar Pits, tries to attack the curator that had been attempting to carbon date it. A pair of enormous teeth, that look as though they came from a meglodon shark, snap at a pair of curators who had been trying to store it away. A pair of janitors duel with two skeleton armored up in what looks like armor from the crusade’s period.
All around them. History has risen up to fight back.
None of which, likely, matters one tenth as much as the flash of red light in the staff-only stairwell. A rolling growl, that sounds the part of a lion until it ends in an ear-shattering bark, signals that Cassie has found Krypto. Though getting to him is another story. While she circumvented that stairwell for two stories? She now is faced with a veritable horde of Zombie creatures. All fighting not just Krypto, but themselves, to get down in to that final area. And this is a fight that audibly, Krypto is actually losing if only by weight of the sheer numbers at work here.
Outside, Freddy is in place to see the change as it begins to happen. The clouds which were centralized upon the Museum begin to crackle with lightening and roll with thunder more by the moment. Someone up there is angry. Very angry. With a crackle of electricity. A strike of lightning hits the ground outside of the Library. Melting the pavement. Setting off car alarms for blocks. Dampening the electricity for more than a mile in all directions. From the crater of melted asphalt steps a single being.
A woman. The Goddess; Isis has come to Metropolis and she isn’t a little old lady anymore.
Cassie: It was worth a shot. On the upside, I’ve not been smashed in, but clearly neither has the opening that I would have liked to get through. I don’t stick around to mope over the lack of success however. Who knows how long anyone can afford for me to do so. And who knows how many people were still here when this started. The after hours crew varied, depending upon what was going on. With a new exhibit? I’m better there was a lot more than usual here. And soon enough I find them. They seem terrified, obviously, but…managing. Breaking in to ‘rescue’ them might only result in my allowing even more of the risen exhibits to join them.
And someone else looks like he needs my help.
“Krypto! I’m here! Coming in!”
A warning, mostly because I’d like to avoid getting eye-lasered for a moment. Which. Yes. Our family ‘pet’ is capable of doing. This time, I don’t try to avoid the zombies in order to get to him, though I still move at much the same speed I did before. This time, however, it’s with a lowered shoulder as I plow my way through the horde, knocking over or splattering as many as I can on the way.
Freddy: All Freddy could think of was those times when people said that the clouds look angry. That was an angry storm. No that wasn’t an angry storm that was descending upon the area, it was a furious storm. Summoning all the presence that he could at the moment he watched as the leader line came down. that faint flash that occurred before lightning traveled down along it branching out but this one didn’t terminate before it touched the ground it hit and it hit hard.
The wrath of a god has been felt by everyone within the immediate area. Still Freddy did what he needed to do. “Clear the area people. Let’s go!” He said. “Nothing to be afraid of. Just back away from the area. He moves out in front of the people to get their attention. “We have a dangerous storm in the area. Get inside and stay inside until it passes.”
He saw who emerged out of the lightning. Hopefully he could draw by standers attention away from that and get them headed where they neeaded to, because he could only focus on that for a moment, because the kind of sort question that he and Cassie wanted and answer too had just answered itself.
Isis had arrive in quite the fit of rage. Freddy didn’t rush in, he kept his distance. As much as he could while making sure any and ,everyone, that might be lingering were plucked away with the speed he possessed. He needed to clear the area, because, honestly, he didn’t know what was about to happen, but he was going to need everything he had to try and slow Isis down it was a matter of how, but first thing all the innocents needed to be removed and taken at out of the area.
Compartmentalize, Freddy. Theorize.
One. I saw Sobek. Sobek saw me. He may have seen what Callaghan did.
Two. He told Isis.
Three. Isis may have tracked the amulet or me to Metropolis. More than likely the amulet.
Four. Isis is super pissed and I’m the last person she wants to see. Another brick in the wall to be ripped out and shattered.
“ISIS! WIFE OF TETH ADAM! MOTHER OF OSIRIS!”
Plan A. Death. No. No not death. She’s in there somewhere. Damn it. He wanted to know where she was. She’s here so fallen champion I need you to run interference. Follow the lightning. Fight for her.
If he could pinch the bridge of his nose Solomon probably would, but hey there are no handbooks on this and it’s definitely not something you can punch your way through.
St: It doesn’t take a -lot- of speed, added to strength, to hit the skeletons from behind and plow through them. These aren’t full mass bodies here. What she’s seeing aren’t even really Zombies, but more like truly animated skeletons. Just in time for halloween. Whoever has clean up duty at the Museum is going to hate her though. Because when she hits the group with blunt force the majority of the faster skeletons, had managed to get to the front of the line. Those who got too close to the entry had met with a disastrous mauling at the paws of Krypto the Wonder Dog.
Krypto happens to look anything but wonderful right now. His features are drawn back, revealing a savage beast beneath the normally playful creature. He actually seems to be looming, making him look visually larger. Though he hasn’t come through all of this unscathed. Normally pure white fur actually has scores of cuts and lines of missing fur. Something had managed to actually puncture his skin and strip away entire gouges of fur. Though it doesn’t take much to see that the alien canine is positively slobbering with the taste of battle. Eyes glowing and venting heat. There’s a quite little ‘muur’ of acknowledgement when Cassie bursts through the doorway.
That is when Cassie gets to see what had actually damaged her Dog. At first it might seem like one of the Crocodile Men, but a second look will tell her that something -in- here. In the ‘Super Secret Vault Room’ had actually attacked them upon arrival. Leading her to realize that while her Mother had come here to protect the Vault, the Vault itself had then attacked them. And Cassie, no sooner beyond the doorway than Krypto launches back in to the fray. His eyes lancing the downed Skeletons with full fury heat-vision that turns them to little more than fire and ashes. Just fire and ashes that are none-the-less still animated and coming. As Cassie has seen even dismembered bits of the dead animate in to motion.
Outside young Freddy Freeman has seen the arrival of Isis. In all of her Glory. Gone are the trappings of Minerva, the elderly woman from Fawcett City. In it’s place are the shapely curves of an Khandaqian Princess. Adrianna Tomaz is a striking figure all on her own, but when empowered by the Goddess she is quite literally difficult to look away from. Her beauty is quite literally the thing of myth and mystery. Only the courageousness of Achillies allows Freddy to not fall under her spell. More importantly, his Presence in the field mutes the effect she has upon the average person. Emergency Workers, Onlookers. All take heed from him and move to give the Hero some distance to face off against this unknown threat.
It takes only a split-second for Isis to take notice of Shazam. Though Freddie had sought to slow her, he perhaps did not think to do so quite as literally as it happens. Her firsts crackle with electricity. A gesture at Freddy with one hand sends a gust of wind at his back. Like the actual air around him begins to solidify in an effort take hold of him and carry him to her.
“… when last we spoke, I gave you a choice … now I will make that choice for you.”
Cassie: Knowing what Krypto was supposedly capable of, and seeing it in action are two totally different things. Conner and I are usually in the city, and he’s pretty on top of keeping track of the people who are important to him with x-ray vision, but the family ‘pet’ was a contingency. He follows my Mother to work. Tails her wherever she goes more or less. And now we get to see what would have happened to anyone stupid enough to try and mess with Helena Sandsmark. My snuggly white shepherd doesn’t look nearly so snuggly right now. I want to help him, but after that moment of watching him slag them and…still have them get back up again?
That tells me that nothing is going to stop them, until whatever is causing this is stopped. They’re all plainly trying to get down here.
There’s a set of slagged doors, and then… something beyond them. Whatever had attacked Krypto and done this damage. I still haven’t seen my mother, and that’s worrisome on its own, but Krypto is clearly still holding them off the doorway as best he can. Hopefully because she’s still in, and whatever got the giant dog? Hasn’t gotten my Mother, as well. Picking up speed once more, I kick into flight through the first set of already opened doors, and plow into the second set. Trying to force my way into one of the only places in the museum that I’ve never set foot, and frankly didn’t know existed until today.
I’m ready for a fight. I may not know what kind or what against, but anything that moves that isn’t Helena Sandsmark is going to get punched.
Freddy: Freddy meant to draw her attention away from what she was going to do, but he also hoped that it wouldn’t come to something like this. You know him being pushed towards her like he was about to be served up like a Christmas ham. This is definitely not what he wanted. Plan A wasn’t looking good right about now. He needed a little guidance on this. He needed to figure this out. There were ways that this that this could end, ways this could go.
She was going to suck him dry which would only serve to make a bad situation worse. Rather than propel himself forward instead he chose to go up. He was pushed towards her, but unless that was strapping him down up was always an option as he moved to the air, because well, it was something he was capable off. He flew as high as it took to keep his distance. He wasn’t about to give her what she wanted.
“You don’t understand Isis. You got it wrong. I’m giving you a choice. I’m giving you a chance to show not just me, but the world around you that you’re capable of so much more than this. That you are still the goddess magic and life. That you are an honorable being. You have a choice. To be who you were and abandon this before you lose everything.”
Wally: Well. When, you see flashes, and hear screaming coming from a museum. Things can’t be going well. This so wasn’t Wally’s deal. But, while he was in Metropolis, figure he’d check it out and see if he could help. Zooming towards the museum, he figured it was probably some villain trying to make a name for himself. Because that’s what newbie… villains….do….? This is new. Is she the bad guy? Or the good guy? Who’s the dude in red? And there’s screaming inside…which he… should take care of? He had no idea. But it looked like the dude in red had it.
(Great color choice, by the way).
The dude was talking with her, so he’d run in only to be met by a Velociraptor skeleton. Wait. Why was it running at him?!!? WHY WAS IT ATTACKING HIM!!?!?! He needed to talk to Wonder Woman and her choice of villains. But first, he needed to make sure he wasn’t going to become a skeletal snack first.
ST: This is one of those moments that is very surreal. The first set of doors would normally be a simple security check. Those doors are actually melted slags, puddling on the floor in to molten metal heaps. Followed by a second set that don’t actually yield immediately beneath the brute force approach that has gotten Cassie this far. In fact, the moment she comes in to contact with them? Their hue changes to a golden glow and it feels as though they actually grow warmer to the touch instantly. As she applies more and more force, they hold steady. Even though they too have taken the brunt of something powerful, they manage to hold against her might.
It isn’t until Cassie truly exerts herself, that she gets even the slightest give in the doors. But even then it is not Brute Force that sees her through. Much like she recently discovered with her suit and the Lasso of Fleece, the doors only begin to give way because Cassie’s divine right is employed to make her Worthy of Entrance. Even still the doors seem to -fight- her. Because she is seeking entry for the wrong reasons. Those doors are damaged. Their structural integrity challenged. They can’t actually hold against her. Not when she is so motivated to get to what lays beyond. As they crumple inward, she’ll begin to see through the opening crease to what lays beyond. Then she has to re-think everything she ever knew about the word surreal.
Beyond the doors is a sprawling cavern. Bigger on the inside, that it is on the outside. It might well be taken from the pages of Warehouse Thirteen. With it’s sweeping isle upon isle of items thought lost to the Ages. Not your average trifles. These are the thing of LEGEND. The Ark of Covenant. Excalibur. The actual, legitimate, Dead Sea Scrolls. And one Helena Sandsmark. Adorned in full Roman Legionaire’s armor, sword and shield. Bouncing from floor, to shelves. Perhaps lacking in the strength her daughter has, but moving with a quickness that seems entirely out of place. Hacking, slashing with sword and bashing with shield. Within the vault itself were many a great thing. Some of them now animated themselves. Helena does not appear to be retreating at this point. If anything she seems to be steadily advancing, cutting her way through animated creatures and corpses. Towards a being that stands just inside those doors, nearer to Cassie than her mother. Swathed in white robes, with a long bearded face and balding head. His hands gesturing like a puppeteer.
All the while outside things have gone from surreal to horrific. Though Freddy’s gambit works. Carrying him up, up and away. It does not take him to safety. Because his foe is not playing nicely. No longer bound to the form of an elder old hag, Isis is actually unbound. Untethered and apparently uncaring for Freddy’s attempts at negotiation. What’s even worse is that she doesn’t seem to be playing at all.
You dare tell a Goddess what she does not understand? You are not even a Champion yet… feel what it means to bring upon you the wrath of a God, Child.
Up, up and Away. Does not take you out of Isis’ grasp. Not when you’re her sole focus. Though he has begun to gain the blessings of his Gods, Freddy still requires air to breathe. Air which fills his lungs and gives the breathe with which to speak in such an insolent tongue to Isis. Air which she was commanding to bring him close, but now… with a wrenching of her talon like nails… she calls all the air from around Freddy back to her. Creating a vacuum, not just around him but inside of him.
Perhaps Poseidon blessed you with gills, Pretender?
The Flash, much like Cassie, is going to have a series of choices. Three sets of ‘Zombie Chow’ filled stairways. One still functioning elevator. He’s already seen the three Velociraptor-skeletons. Oh and their pal. The enormous skeletal Tyrannosaurus Rex. Good thing he’s fast. That might help him not get eaten.
Cassie: They have to know who or what they’re supposed to let in. That doesn’t happen to be me, right now. I assume it’s only a matter of permission, maybe some enchantment or other, and not because of my motivation to get into the room. I only really want two things. To help my Mom, and also the other people inside, and to stop all of the rest of this. The latter should, in theory, lead to the former.
If I weren’t gritting my teeth as I try to get my way through the first door that’s been able to stop me since my powers kicked in? I’d probably be whistling a swear word or two right now. This would be maybe a little more unbelievable to me if the rest of my day had gone differently. If I hadn’t been to Olympus, from the bowels of the subway. If I didn’t know first hand that gods and magic, and imbuements and blessings were… well. Things.
I’ve always known my mother was a badass. I knew it when I was five years old and the opinion didn’t change as I got old older. What I see through that widening crack as I push, and push with a building desperation? Tells me that I had no idea. I should probably be oogling the Ark. Which is clearly real. Excalibur. All of these things that shouldn’t be real but are… or even the fact that there’s a whole cavern underneath the museum. Or not actually underneath the museum and this is just another door that leads somewhere else. For the moment I’m not sure that distinction matters.
She’s trying to fight towards me. No, not towards me, towards the man in front of me. I’m coming, Mom. Digging in with my shoulder, I try to wedge myself between the two sides of the opening, so that I can use my feet to push opposite my back and free up a hand. Fingertips brushing the tendrils of my belt, which is really the Fleece born lasso. It answers my wants, like always, uncoiling so that I can snap it towards the man, aiming to take his feet out from under him. Or give him a buzz. Both would be great.
Freddy: Up and away was good, but now she was pretty much trying to suck the air out of his lungs which was starting to burn. He could definitely use Solomon’s aid in this, but at the moment he was the focus, he was the one that she was intent on ripping to pieces not heading towards anyone else, but how long could he keep it up that was a difficult one to say. He didn’t have the strength, but he had the speed, but he also had Achilles.
Courage. Yes he was known for his courage and his martial prowess, but direct combat? That was something Freddy didn’t want to lean into not yet. But Achilles was the fabled to be son of Zeus depending on who’s account you followed but he was invulnerable except the tell tale spot if you believe it, but different accounts son of Zeus, dipped in the River of Styx. It didn’t make him immortal or allow him to heal, but it could work in his face, but at the moment he needed something right now, because he dared.
“I DARE!” He said as he began to rotate his body in opposition to her. Slowly but hoping to gain enough speed to draw the air in direction the faster he spun. “I DARE!” He stated again. One does not tell themselves they are the champion they either are or they aren’t and it’s not for Freddy to state it’s for Freddy to show.
“Not another life. Not another god. Your prize is denied.” He would do whatever it took whatever was in his power. “I swore before them to protect this world from danger whether it be mundane or not. You’re a danger so here I am. Standing in your way. ” Spin, Freddy spin. He needed to get his breath back. Anything Solomon wanted to share he could at this time. What was he missing? He wanted a peaceful resolution, but sometimes sacrifices are necessary. Sometimes they had to be done, but had it come to that? No way back?
Wally: Great. Juuuust great.
Wally LOVES museums and the one in Metropolis is one of best in the country. The amount of history on hand is amazing. But, generally…history doesn’t come back to try and eat, or kill you. While he’s able to plow through them easily, it doesn’t mean a few get some lucky strikes in. The Roman Legionnaires are some of the most accomplished soldiers in history, and when they set their mind… or whatever they have now, to it? They’re damn near impossible. Wally’s able to avoid most of their blows and steal their skulls at the same time.
Their short swords slice him on the arm, and along his side. It hurts like a son of a bitch. But luckily they’re not able to stab him in time. He’s just too fast for them to keep up. Once he’s done with his stairway of horrors, he looks himself over with an armfull of skulls. If they can’t see, they can’t attack…right?
Why couldn’t history be just a little less violent?
ST: Alas poor Cassie. You hath been denied. Because while you do not realize that your motivation matters? It actually does. though saving your mother might seem noble, it comes at the price of intent to do violence. Which is what Cassie acts upon at the first chance she has. Utilizing an item that no doubt actually belongs in this vault, to lash out towards the man her mother so valiantly fights to approach as well. In every other case, her Lasso has obeyed her demands. Perhaps it does this time too, but she she all not know of the results as the moment she lashes out? The doors -push- back. Turning her struggle from one she was winning, to one she is losing all too quickly. Who would have thought, that in a fight with animated skeletons, the real struggle would be with a door?
Beyond which she can perhaps make out that she had succeeded. At least in part. Her lasso had managed to entangle the sorcerer. Though it hadn’t wrenched him off his feet. The doorway denying Cassie also seemed to be denying her the ability to control her Lasso. It loops around the man, but is more inconvenience than actually stopping him. It does one thing though. It interrupts his control of the things that attack her Mother. Leaving Helena free to toss a shield careening through the terracotta warriors she’s been harassing for gods know how long.
If Cassie listens, she can hear her Mother questioning ‘Amentep,’ as to why he would side with Isis. She could probably make out that the older man’s answer was something akin to ‘Having no choice.’ Because he motions with that little scepter in his hand towards Cassie’s mother and entire Museum seems to gain new furor in it’s attempt get to Helena Sandsmark.
Hey. Flash. Meet Krypto. The wonder dog. He’s the giant Wolf-like dog with the flamey eyes that pounces you. Right before the skulls in your hands tear you to pieces with their teeth. What’s a couple bites between Roman Friends, right? At least you’ve come to the right place.
Outside is not getting any better for Freddy. Who’s right not getting what amounts to Solomon’s version of Gandolf’s vaunted, ‘Run you fool.’ Because Isis is only getting angrier by the second. If something can be said for Freddy’s stance? It’s that he’s definitely keeping Isis from making it to the Vault where Cassie, Wally and Helena are fighting Ibis the Invincible.
Isis does not just control air. Not electicity. She has dominion over each of the elements and it would seem her intent is to try using each one until she finds one that Shazam isn’t apt at foiling. Next is heat. Which Freddy is helping with by spinning. Friction creates it. Which then brings forth sweat, moisture. Water, another thing at her bidding. And bid she does. Commanding it to leave Freddy, to evaporate away. Clearly she understands that Freddy has been blessed with Speed, with Courage and Will, to go with Wisdom. None of it matters to her, as she works to break his down element by element.
You are a fool. If you die here, now, I can still harvest the essence from your corpse and use it to bring back my beloved Osris.
What changed? I didn’t get weaker, but all the sudden the door started fighting me that much harder. It can’t just be a matter of permission, because I have to assume the man in front of me wasn’t just allowed in. Unless he was a traitor of some sort. I could feel it though. The way it was responding to me, not a whole lot differently than the trident had. The way the lariat that’s even now hanging like a noodle over/roughly around this Amentap. Blowing out a frustrated breath that ruffles the hair in my face, I close my eyes and focus on what I’m doing. Why I’m actually here. With everything that happened today. Everything my Mother had told me this week, or that my Father had today.
“There is always a choice.”
Maybe I shouldn’t know that so well as I do at seventeen, but I do know it. Sometimes it’s a choice between two crummy choices, but it’s still there just the same. I focus on my need to get in there. The urge to protect. But more than that? I focus up my right to be in there. That’s my Mother. These are the things she protects. And while she hasn’t exactly been able to be totally forthcoming (…like about how she’s even more of a badass than I thought, for example), I think they’re mine, too. Hadn’t Zeus more or less said as much? Twice?
Really? Well, thankfully for the giant dog because when he pounces onto Wally, the skulls go clattering onto the ground. Their jaws snapping to try and bite something. But to no avail. So, now his problem is a giant dog that was currently keeping him pinned to the ground.
“…Oh, hey…” check “…Boy. Don’t suppose you know what’s going on?” asking as he looked up into the giant face of a big white dog. First. Dinosaur Skeletons. Second. Roman Legionaries Skeletons. And now? A Giant dog. “Good..boy?” Wally wasn’t going to move an inch while this giant dog was on top of him.
Freddy: Freddy felt that he was retreating each time he encounter Isis. He had a thought, but given the previous encounter that was not the route to go. Instead he pulled back he put distance between the two of them. He withdrew pulling himself back as quickly as he flight and speed could. He considered what would happen if he did die she would take more and everything would be loss and she would be triumphant. Would it be a bad thing if he failed? If he died?
If it all ended perhaps…perhaps because he would have did what was required of him to protect the world and people in but, this right now, no. If there was no way to ensure that Isis would not continue to move forward that was not an option. It was not a choice to make. There was always a choice. She would not listen to reason and it seemed that the woman within was not strong enough to take action. She was not blessed she was cursed and possessed.
The potential of losing Hercules and Atlas….but would it stop Isis? She wished to restore herself and Osiris, but could they truly be restored or would this be their new life sucking power from other divine beings. The gods weren’t batteries for them to use. There had to be a way. Instead of rushing towards her Freddy fled, he fled into the museum with only a question Freddy could ask.
Would he be strong enough to hold the spirit of Osiris at bay? He had the blessing of three gods. Would he be overwhelmed. Did he possess the strength of will to take on Osiris to bargain to perhaps put an end to this. He didn’t know, but he knew that the museum was going to e ripped apart, because Isis would only be here for one reason and one reason alone.
Destroying the amulet was a possibility, but was it the right choice? If that could have been done it would have, but you know wrath of a goddess, but was there a potential in that possibility. Would she risk that if it could be done?
Crazy Freddy idea 265.
ST: There it is. It takes a moment. More than just one. Cassie is getting it. Starting to understand. Working her way through the problem, to the solution. The door is not a puzzle to be riddled out. Nor is it some impediment that she can simply push past. To go within, to the chamber beyond, Cassie must accept that which she is even now recognizing. The Vault was her’s. She has every right to it. Divine Right, in fact. As she comes to think this the resistance slackens. In fully accepting it, the door begins to give way.
In the time it takes Cassie to come to that, no more than a handful of seconds tick past. It might seem like a short span, but ask Wally what can happen in those seconds. Cassie is unable to participate, forced instead to give witness through the ever widening crease between the double doors. The moment she bought Helena, when the animated warriors hesitated because their master was shrugging off the lasso, was enough for the elder Sandsmark to gain headway. No longer forced to hedge between trying to make headway, while not being overwhelmed, Helena was able to take the complete offensive. Leaping over Warriors, slicing through others. The shield that she was using to keep them at bay only heart beats before, is now being throw with such force and accuracy that terracotta warriors are broken to pieces in it’s assault.
Cassie might notice, as Helena draws close, she had freed up her hand by using the shield as a discus. Then she takes up one of the long staves from a fallen warrior. It takes Helena a mere step to unleash the stave as well. The accuracy with which she throws it is miraculous. Truly Olympian, given the way it strikes firm in to the hand of Amentap. Forcing him to lose his grip on the scepter he’d been using to animate all of the skeletons with.
Giant Dog?! Krypto the Wonder Dog is more than merely giant. He’s actually an intelligent alien species of canine, hailing from Krypton! Though Cassie might call him Conner’s, the Pup actually belonged to the original Superman. When Kal-El left, the pup took up residence with the only Kryptonian it could find to protect. He only has one job! And he does it very well! Such as the way he licks Wally’s face graciously for all the bone presents the speedster brought him. Which… Wally gets a very close view of the Dog eye-lasering them to cinders one at a time. Until there is nothing left to bite the Crimson Speedster. Krypto pats Wally, when it’s safe to get up.
Freddy’s ‘escape’ from Isis is terribly easy in comparison to what had awaited Wally and Cassie before him. By the time Freddy finally enters the Museum, Helena Sandsmark has disrupted the control of the animated skeletons. Leaving the workers within faced with the uneviable position of having to clean up this titanic mess. Freddy is as fast as greased lightening. Allowing him to skim down the stairs and find himself before the door to the vault, that Cassie is even now just finally pushing open.
He and Wally might both get a moment to see the withering husk of Amentap as it withers upon the pike that dislodged him from the Ibis-stick. Freddy knows what is coming. Who is coming. Between the Wisdom of Solomon -and- his own intuition, he knows exactly what the Goddess is there for as well. But before he has time to actually tell any of them?
Bring your friends in, quickly, Cassandra. Then shut the door.
Freddy has felt something like this before. Wally has probably never seen or heard of anything like this at all, but is he really going to argue with Cassie’s hot mother in Roman Legionnaire’s armor? Once the door shuts, the Vault seals. Locking them in. Not exactly the best solution one might think.
She’s not worthy. So she can’t come in, but she’ll probably destroy everything trying to. Helena takes charge -quickly-, like she was born to it. Let me explain to you all quickly. Keep up, don’t dawdle. One vault. Many doors. Each exits in a different place. That creature calling herself Isis isn’t going to stop. As long as she’s in Metropolis, she’s going to put everyone there in Danger. Take the Amulet. Pick a door. Lead her away from the City.
Cassie: We’re safe, here in this Vault, which is all well and good but no one else is. Metropolis is my home, at least for now it is, the most permanent place I’ve ever had in my life that I can remember. Technically I lived in Gateway City longer than I have here, but I was a toddler at the time and I’m not sure it technically counts. I don’t want her to have any excuse to wreak further havoc on it, nor do I want anymore of the museum’s collection to be destroyed. That’s secondary to the risk to lives. We have to lead her away from here, to somewhere that she’s not going to cause an equal amount of damage just to a different set of the population.
Freddy’s got questions for my Mother, though I haven’t actually introduced her as such to Wally. I suppose it’s not exactly hard to pick up on my very obvious relief that she’s okay though. I really only have one question for her, and that’s a matter of the doors. There’s so many of them. I don’t want to pick one that’s going to be just as bad as the others.
“Show me where the Coast City door is.”
The place is already destroyed. There’s no one there to hurt. It will give us a battleground with no civilians. My friends have no ‘right’ to any of the treasures inside here. I do, but I’m not going to exercise that right now. Not only would it potentially be telling, but I don’t want to push too far into the side of ‘doing it for him,’ either. Tilting my blonde head slightly to the side, I look at my two companions. Two… Krypto… my mouth purses in a bit of a frown but I can’t go back out for him. All the more reason to give Isis a better reason to vacate the city.
“Unless either of you has a better idea. I think it’s the best option though. If all the doors open to museums, those are almost all connected to cultural meccas and that means…people.”
Flash: “….I have no idea what the hell is happening, who the Roman Legionaire is” gesturing to Helena “Or who this guy is.” gesturing to Freddy “Or where we are!” gesturing all around in a bit of a flailing moment, Pulling his mask down, he looks around at Wonder Woman, then to Helena, and then finally to Freddy, again.
“Why am I the only one FREAKING OUT!?!”
Putting his hands onto his knee, he bends over slightly as if to catch his breath.
“And what was that massive dog?!” flailing once again. It was completely clear this was out of his element. “Did I miss something on the contract signing to be a superhero? Because i’m starting I missed like, an entire chapter.”
Freddy: Holding the Amulet in my hand I shake my head. “Not at present. Getting her away from a populated area is best. At the moment she’s still leaning on the power gained from Atlas and Hercules. If she burns through it it’s gone.” That much Solomon has told me. There’s a choice there to be made one, several actually, but it also makes me me consider another thought. The power of gods themselves. It can be used more than just blessing. If she runs out of the power then she will seek out more.
Looking at the amulet for a moment I still consider the thought I had. I consider everything I’ve been ruminating over lately. I wish there was a to reason with Isis to get through.
“She’s not going to stop until she gets what she wants. She’ll do her best to go through everyone until she gets what she wants and when she gets what she wants she’ll need more power to restore Osiris.” Freddy was listening to everything that was happening around him.
“Her name is Helena Sandsmark. She’s Cassie’s mother, archaeologist, sage, and a quite capable warrior. My name is Freddy Freeman. The Contender to some. Pretender to others. Either way the one of the ones standing in the way of goddess who’s determined to get what she wants, break the rules and up end the status quo. I can either give in and give her or Adam what they want or I can continued to keep it out of their reaches, deny them.” Or….I look at the amulet. Put the final pieces of the puzzle together.
What if they are the trial? It’s a question. It was not a statement, but a question to make me think. “However, Cassie’s right. We need to get Isis out of the area. She’s going to continued to try and rip her way in her and when she can’t get in she’s going to try and draw us out. Either way people are danger.
“Unpopulated is best.” He considered it for a second. ” I consider the possibility of Khandaq itself. Would she threaten it? Would it give her pause? would it wake up the woman within to bring in end to the single minded impulse. What if there was nothing to gain? No Osris. No Shazam. Nothing for her to gain. It crosses my mind as a possibility. Both she and Adam demanded that I give up my blessings to them.
ST: “Coast City? This way.”
No argument from the armor clad Archaeologist. Suggesting that Cassie’s suggestion makes sense and her mother agrees. It doesn’t take a lot to do the Math here. Coast City is mostly abandoned. There aren’t many metropolitan areas where you could go that wouldn’t just be another place with a huge population. Coast City is the home of a fairly recent major disaster. Abandoned until recently. The tie to it’s museum still exists, although it’s little more than rubble at this point.
The trek through the Reliquary isn’t a quick one. Not even for Wally. They have to traverse the interior which looks more like a Warehouse than an Ancient structure built by the Greek Gods. Especially not the portions of it that the group is going to get to see. Essentially making their way from one Modern City to another, even if the secondary one was slightly less modernized when it existed. No real opportunity to take in the true spectacle of the Reliquary’s age. It’s during this trek from the point they enter, to the point they’ll exit that Helena Sandsmark makes an effort to answer any question she can or will.
“No, not gone. She’s not burning through the power of the actual God, Freddy. Just the power the people before you were blessed with. The only way the power is gone for good, is if she kills the actual God associated with it.” Helena’s correction is soft, but firm, as if this is something that she knows for absolute certain. “The Blessings given to the Wizard to create a champion is but a fraction of the actual God’s Divinity. That’s most likely why you Foe needs more of it.”
“I’m the Curator of the Metropolis Museum,” she fills in for the Flash, though she seems to understand his plight. “Don’t worry, Flash. You don’t need to understand everything you’re seeing right now. Just follow your heart. You’re a good man.”
The doorway they’re looking for isn’t anything like the one from Metropolis. Obviously it’s linked to a City that no longer exists. As such the door itself has been blocked off. Literally. Bricked up. Though that’s unlikely to be a problem for these particular individuals. While they worry about the door, Helena continues to speak to the three of them.
“You’re right about the Amulet, she can feel it. She’s connected to it. Isis herself was contained in an Amulet like this once upon a time. The man you spoke of, Black Adam, discovered the Amulet in the Vault of Abu Simbel. He gifted the Amulet of Isis to a woman. We have almost no information on the woman, because she was nothing. A slave of no note or name, until she got the Amulet of Isis. After that, we know that she was consumed by the same desires that got Isis locked away, by the Wizard. She longs for the restoration of her Brother, just as Isis longs for the restoration of Osiris.”
“Before you ask, I only even know this much because the theft of the Vault in Abu Simbel. So I’m not going to be much help in telling you how to deal with this woman, other than to caution you that dark forces are at work here, Mr. Freeman. You’re being tested differently than any Champion before you.”
Cassie: Part of me really wants to reassure Wally, because I sure don’t feel like I know what’s going on either lately, and I’m a whole lot more in the know than he is. And Wonder Woman probably should know what’s going on, and act like she does, in order to inspire some confidence in those around her. So I’m trying to put on a rather stoic face, despite the fact that the last few minutes of my life have been a frantic mish-mash of trying to get to my mother, and fighting off reanimated museum props. Finding a pocket dimension beneath the place. It’s been a day. At this point? I’m just rolling with it. What other choice do I have?
“Flash. Calm down. We are safe for the moment, but we have to go. The woman attacking Metropolis will continue to do so, until we lead her away. We hid something that she wants here today, and she clearly knows that we did. And the dog was Krypto. He’s Superman’s…well. Dog is underselling what Krypto is, but will have to work for now. If you don’t want to stay, you’re free to leave from there, though I appreciate your help so far.”
I leave the introductions to be made by Freddy, because while I know who he is I don’t know if he wants to share. Turns out he does. And shares a bit more than just hisname in the process. Oh well. It’s easy enough to let slide and move on, especially because my Mother’s said something interesting when she corrected Freddy about what happens to the power itself if Isis uses it up. In essence, it would be like destroying what I’m packing around with me even now. Or that divine spark I was born with, maybe. Portions of power that the Gods themselves were willing to part with, even if they’re not handing it out like popcorn.
And the bricked off doorway? Well. I guess that falls to me. Freddy’s gifts don’t currently involve strength, and I don’t want Wally to break his hand again. Brute force is apparently the lady in this group’s forte. With a little input between battering through the bricks.
“So the things that were bad in her, were made even worse in the process. And if the amulet were to be destroyed, that means Osiris’ release, I assume? To…what.. float into the ether until he finds someone he wants to inhabit, to just be back or is this just a portion?”
Flash: “Sorry.” apologizing to Wonder Woman, and then to Helena, nodding to Freddy “I’m Flash. Fastest Man Alive.” offering back, taking a deep breath, he lets it out of his nose slowly. Apparently his life was easy compared to the insanity that was going on here. But seeing Wonder Woman being stoic, he straightens his shoulders and smiles at Helena. “Thank you.” saying as he pulled his mask back on.
“No. I’m not leaving you, Wonder Woman. Besides, we’re friends and teammates now.” offering as he finishes pulling the mask on. “What are friends for, After all?” smiling
“Wait. All we need to do is swipe the amulet?” asking looking at all of them. “I’m fast. I can probably grab the amulet and be halfway across the country before she even realizes it. Then you two can just give her the thuggy beatdown.” offering his own advice. “Does she have any kinds of shields or anything? I’m a little late to the magic party, so forgive me for sounding unknowlegeable.
I guess the question Is…. Is it even possible?” Judging from Wonder Woman’s face the other day when he was running around, he assumed she’d never seen anyone so fast. “Because I have a feeling a Infinite Mass Punch won’t work on her, no matter how hard I hit her.”
Freddy: “Please call me, Freddy,” Freddy offers. No need to rest on formality with him. It just may be her way which he understood, but he could offer.
“She was someone to him. I do not know her name, but I know who she is, this woman that Isis has taken possession of. She is the reincarnated wife of Teth-Adahm. That is why he gave her the amulet that held Isis. Agreed about the things that were bad in her were made worse. There was some kind of intense synergy between her and Isis. Their obsession and grief have been magnified. Isis may have overwhelmed her. It appears that way given Black Adam’s behavior. “ I consider that obsession and what they were after.
“Restoring Osiris has been a thred that links them both and if there’s a possibility that he’s the reincarnated son of Teth-Adahm and his wife who was named Isis then there’s another connection that compounds the need. It sounds complicated I know but it’s what drives and motivates them.” Among other things which makes me think back to our encounter in Fawcett City.
“Aw geez..” I almost want to slap my forehead.
“When Wonder Woman and I encountered Isis as Aunt Minerva in Fawcett City she spoke of there being two hostages taken.” I hadn’t thought about until now stopping in my movements briefly.
“We never saw the second person. If Isis as Aunty Minerva had succeeded she would have simply let Osiris take hold of the second person, but who was that second person? I didn’t see him.” He also thought about the books that he had saw in the Sanctum. It was about resurrection. Could have been Adam or had she been there already. I consider it for a moment.
“The supposed second hostage was never identified. There was an assumption that the crocmaggia and hostages were going to get away. Either she had the body she wanted or she wanted to temporarily stash Osiris in the body until she acquired the body that she really wanted him to reside in. The woman’s brother who if dead would need to be restored, resurrected.” If he hadn’t been already.
There was a question that no one could answer because we didn’t have the information, but it was something to consider.
“Thank you.” For all that she could share, because I know that there are rules that there are thing that I can be aided with and things I can’t. Darker forces. “Like the ones that made Adam fall?” Not truly a direct question, but something to consider. A champion has fallen before and as Ms. Sandsmark stated before I am a Contender. Adam possessed all the abilities of the Champion and he fell. It starts with a choice and that choice slowly or quickly ripples across every aspect of your life consuming you if you allow it. I can’t allow that to consume me, I can remind myself of that often, but I can’t start second guessing myself.
“At one point I wasn’t close enough to see, but then I was a little to close which would have been bad, but I didn’t spot an amulet. She didn’t give me a lot time to look her over. Isis has sway of the elements and she is the Egyptian goddess of life and magic. I’ll say anything is possible at the moment, but with the strength of Hercules and stamina of Atlas she’s upped her game. This is my trial. I have to figure out a way to stop her. Solomon’s been quiet about the amulet.” I had to prove myself worthy of the responsibility and the power.
“Also we need to know what we’re up against. She recruited Sobek and others to aid her not always willingly from what we saw of the crocmaggia. Who was leading the assault in the museum?”
ST: “Okay, let me give you a crash course in Kahndaq’s History. Long ago, before the ‘Kingdoms’ of Egypt united, they were mostly little fiefdoms controlled by Warlords that styled themselves as Kings. Just like every other major culture’s beginnings. One of those was ruled by a Pharaoh of some note, Ramses the second. He was a believer in the Occult, this Ramses, except in that Age it was less occult and more reality than it is now. Ramses employed a High Priest, by the name of Shazam. Shazam was a somewhat ageless Wizard, Sorcerer or Warlock. He’d been imbued as a boy with the Blessings of six Gods, from the Greek Pantheon. As the Shazam got older, he sought to pass his powers along to a worthy successor. He picked the Pharaoh’s son, Teth.”
“The problem is that Shazam’s daughter wished to be the successor and as such she took umbridge with the selection. So she sought to interfere in the transfer of Power,” Helena’s recounting of History is given while she stands aside and allows Cassie to work on the doorway. It’s more for Wally than anything, anyway. “Shazam’s daughter, along with a young woman Teth was in love with, somehow managed to stop Shazam from imbuing Teth with his powers. Instead he received similar powers from the Egyptian Pantheon.”
“Teth served as a successful Champion for decades, but at some point he was drawn away from his Homeland. During that time away his wife, Shiruta, and his two sons were killed. Teth went on a bit of murderous spree of Revenge, which drew notice of the now advanced aged Shazam. He believed that his own daughter had perhaps corrupted Teth with her actions. So he banished Teth, to a scarab just like the Freddy holds now. Teth-Adam was buried and lost for years, until the parents of Mr. Freeman’s successor uncovered him in the tomb of Ramseses.”
“Being a Champion is not the same as being an actual God or even a demi-God. You garner a single aspect of the God you’re imbued with. It then augments that portion of yourself,” Helena actually makes gesture to Freddy then. “As he gains the blessings of the Gods, his own natural charisma, courage, athleticism is enhanced. The same is said for this woman, that Adam gifted the power of Isis. She is now consumed with Loss and is seeking to restore her Family.”
“His name was Ibis, the Invincible. He’s also a reincarnated Egyptian Prince, Amentep. The staff he was using is called the Ibistick. It’s an ancient Totem, of nearly limitless power. Amentep isn’t actually a bad being normally, but his wife’s soul belongs to Osiris. Which I’ve got to assume, Isis promised to free if he assisted in getting her the Amulet you’re holding, Freddy.”
Once Cassie has finished uncovering the doorway, Helena is moving aside. “Beyond this door is the ruins of Coast City. There’s no longer a museum on the other side of this. Once you’re out there, I can’t keep this door open. It’ll have to be shut once more and barricaded again. Worse. Now that people know about this door and the one in Metropolis, we’ll have to sever the connections permanently.”
Cassie: “You don’t need to apologize. It is a lot.”
Wally’s given a warm smile, and a grateful one at that, before I continue with doing what I do best. Smash. Another momentary interruption as I shake brick dust off my knuckles, and look with wide blue eyes at Freddy. I hadn’t made that connection, because I thought either the hostage had been eaten, or maybe someone had misspoken. It would of course make sense that she’d need to have someone there to give that power to, if she wasn’t intending to have it for herself. So who was the person? There hadn’t been anyone else that I could see there in the bank.
“No one else was down there, other than the Crocodile that took off like his tail was on fire before the lightning. I don’t know that anyone would have survived down there. Adam was in Fawcett, too.”
That couldn’t be what she intended, was it? I still can’t quite understand their interplay and the angles they’re working. Why do whatever he’d done to Minerva, when he’d put something in her pocket… but then, people do really stupid things for the ones they love sometimes. With the door cleared again, I nod simply, pausing for a moment before…finally giving in to the urge I’ve been having since I got here. Yanking Helena in for a hug.
“I understand. We can get back from there. I’ll hold the Amulet.”
I wonder if they’ll have to sever all of them, too. Or move them. It’s not that hard to make the connection, though now I’m definitely glad I chose somewhere in this time. It’s a rough enough day without some decade displacement going on. Then I’m going through, without much more said or done on the matter.
Freddy: “Right. I suspect she was going to take a hostage and give them the amulet. If you had been separated from the most important person in your life you wouldn’t want to wait another moment. However, I don’t think that was the person’s final resting spot. I think it was a temporary body. It’s a guess at this point, but one that makes sense given the shared grief and longing that both Isis and the woman feels also there were books on resurrection, Osiris and Hades that had been gathered and consulted in the Wizard’s sanctum. I don’t know if it was Adam or Isis.”
I keep walking, but pause for a moment before we start to step through understanding everything Helena said. The same thing happened with the Wizard’s sanctum and being able to return to Fawcett City. It’s no longer possible. It’s closed off. Sealed away. I stop upon hearing Cassie’s remark.
“I have one last question, Ms. Sandsmark. Not sure if you can or are able to answer it and it’s going to sound weird which is hard to imagine given everything we’ve seen. However, with these amulets. The Amulet of Isis…” That’s what i was going to call it. “…was given to the reincarnated wife of Adam and they began their actions. If that’s true can that be passed to another person like it was to Aunty Minerva? I mean can it be shared between two people?” Because that was something I hadn’t quite figured it yet how that happened. I ask, because the woman outside the library was not Minerva. Maybe it was something to lean on Solomon about.
It was odd that she ended up in Minerva started out in the woman Adam called his wife, but then he was searching for her and he fought the crocs. The way someone would think it would add up isn’t adding up. I set that aside to gather what information I can mentally about Ibis, Prince Amentep.
ST: “I’m not sure, Freddy, but it would make sense that she could. I’ve read that previous Champions have done as much. Shared their power with their loved ones. The Gods themselves ‘share’ their power with their family, children… and champions like you seek to be.” She makes a little gesture of her hand towards ‘Wonder Woman.’ “According to the Legends, Isis is not merely a portion of a Goddess but the whole thing. It would therefor make sense that Isis could do the same. Imbue fragments of her power in to others.”
“Freddy, I can’t help you directly, but I can give you some advice. Being blessed with the Wisdom of Solomon doesn’t mean you have to over-think everything. Take a page from your friend, Flash here. Follow your heart. Isn’t that what these Trials are really measuring in the end?”
The hug she’d shared with Cassie felt a little more like ‘Goodbye’ than ‘See you Later.’ Though it passes without any further comment, for now. Once Cassie is through the door in to Coast City? Helena’s gaze affixes first upon the Flash and then Freeman. Clearly expecting the two of them to follow.
That doorway? ‘Magically’ opened in to the former basement of the Museum of Science and Industry, in Coast City. Cassie had to push some rubble out of their way to get out. But for the most part the Wayne Foundation has excavated this area a little more than most, in recent days. Leaving the three of them standing in the center of a Ghost City. Not that far away from where Kyle Rayner and Conner Luthor are having their first meeting.
In the distance a storm is already taking shape. Though it doesn’t quite move with the speed of the Flash, it is coming. Quickly.
ST: Now it’s time to Run.
Wally West has never been more right in his entire young life. It’s time to run. The moment that ‘it’ happened, he was on the run. Whether he knew it or not. The Speed Force isn’t just any form of energy, it has the potential to alter time and space. It has been known, in the past, to be the flow that turns the tide. The United States created Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E to monitor ‘potential.’ At first it was simply potential threats, but eventually it simply became potential. Potential Threat that they could deal with or Raw Potential that they could utilize. Then Lex Luthor became President and the word Potential was once more redefined.
More aptly. Potential Threat was redefined. Rewritten. No one denies that this world has been turned upon it’s head. Bruce Wayne, dead. Clark Kent is gone. Arthur Curry deposed. Hal Jordan disgraced. Lex Luthor lauded as the greatest hero in the world, that the world has ever known. While President Luthor monitors all threats to his life and legacy, there is but one threat he cannot ‘forsee’ because it has already happened. Changing the Past is the greatest threat to Lex Luthor, to N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and the world they’ve created.
He doesn’t even know it, but the moment that Wally West started to run? He could never again stop.
His name is Percival Change, but his friends call him well.. nothing, because he doesn’t really have any friends. Mostly he’s called Agent Grunge. Today he has shown up at the Central City Police Department with all the credentials needed cut through the red tape in getting a tour of the Precinct of the Crime Lab. It’s during this tour that Percival is able to stage a meeting with one Wally West. Central City’s ‘best and brightest’ in the field. They Police Chief sends Wally up to the Roof for a ‘Photo Op’ with the DC Guy, while mournfully hoping they don’t lose Wally to that big Task Force….
“Mr. West. It’s a pleasure to meet you, we’ve been looking for a guy just like you for our team….”
Just as he reaches for Wally’s hand, the most incredible thing happens. A batarang from out of nowhere (pun intended) sinks about three inches deep in to Agent Grunge’s hand. Don’t ask how or why the Batman is there. Focus instead on the Woman above him. She’s the scary one.
Cassie: Scary. Honestly. Up until a a few months ago I don’t believe that’s a word that’s ever been used to refer to me. The people that knew I had powers certainly weren’t afraid of me, but then one of them is my Mother, the other’s probably my best friend, and the third and original? The only person that I know that actually outclasses me, and has a moral code or lack thereof that actually does make him scary. Scary also isn’t a word you would normally apply to someone that let out the entirely undignified squeak that I did about fifteen minutes ago on board a private jet when I found myself faced quite suddenly with a looming Batman over my shoulder.
Scary might have been the point where I nearly punched the looming Batman through the side of the jet, but I’d managed to rein that impulse in. It’s not a good idea to interrupt any girl’s watching Pretty Little Liars, let alone to sneak up on her like that. Especially when she’s Wonder Woman. Tempted as I had been to fly myself the rest of the way (and get there faster), I had to change still. Suiting up into the spangly red, with bits of armored gold that right now I suppose might look pretty menacing. No one wants to have a woman glaring down her nose at them with hands on hips. Especially not one who’s hovering in midair and apparently brought Batman with her.
“I would not touch him, Mr. West. Agent Grunge here was about to make you an offer you wouldn’t have the opportunity to refuse.”
Wally: When the batarang seemed to come out of nowhere and strike the hand of one Agent Grunge, it was like time stopped. Wally could see everything. But it was just for an instant. So, when the batarang finally struck and sank into the hand of Agent Grunge, Wally was already on the move. Becoming nothing but a blur of lightning. That lightning would go down the stairs, come back up, circle the Agent a few times before coming to a skidding stop. In that short few seconds, Grunge would be tied up with tactical assault rope and hands cuffed.
Though, now his clothes were slightly singed and smoking. His favorite pair of shoes now much less whole than they were. Turning to face Batman, then to Wonder Woman, he backs up a moment. “What’s going on?” Wally asked, lightning dancing out of his eyes as he stood his ground. “Don’t you two have like, world saving things to do?” Wally was fast. And had the potential to be faster. But, right now. Two costumes just stopped a dude in a suit who was supposedly about this new task force.
The problem with Wally at the moment is that he’s still learning to control his speed. More often than not putting everything into full speed rather than slowing down and learning. It’s caused quite a few spectacular high speed crashes. Wally joined the CCPD to make a difference, to see if he could figure out who drove Barry into the speed force, and control the information that goes out into the public about Flash.
ST: I’ve seen a Superman fight. I’ve seen the Woman above me throw down in full ultra high definition. I’ve read the notes. I’ve studied the files of my ‘Father.’ Not one of those things prepares me for what I am witnessing. Or rather, the complete lack of what I’m witnessing. Wally West is fast, I knew that coming in. Fast is an understatement. Only the fact that I’m wearing a Wayne Tech enhanced suit allows me to track the after-image of the Flash as he momentarily disappears, only to re-emerge with the trappings needed to secure Grunge.
“We are saving the world. Right now. Agent Grunge works for a secret government agency that catalogs Meta-Human abilities. He’s here to collect your’s. Or collect you. Either way.”
Wonder Woman was completely correct. It was going to be an opportunity that Wally wouldn’t be able to refuse. One way or the other. A fact which begins to become utterly clear as the Agent chuckles over the histrionics. He doesn’t even have the humility of letting the tactical rope hold him. One of his arms begins to shift, to change… literally becoming tactical rope itself. The other arm begins to shift as well, becoming even more dense and bladed. Akin to the metal of the handcuffs, which snap only seconds later.
It only takes the detective in me a glance to know what’s going on from the files. “He can bond with any element he touches. When he does he picks up all of the properties of it.”
But neither the Flash or Wonder Woman need me to tell them that at this point. Not when they can see the guy morphing in to a mish-mash of Tactical Rope and Titanium Alloy. Wally is fast, but what even I’m not seeing? Is the fact that the Grunge is also bonding to the roof. As he does so, he controls it while he’s in contact. Sending it up at Wally’s feet in an effort to slow him down.
Sorry, Kid. Nothing personal. You probably don’t even know how dangerous you are.
Cassie: Holymoley. ‘Batman’ over there is fast. For a normal person. That’s not meant to be condescending but as much of an exemplar of human capabilities as my friend is, he’s that. A normal human. I’m fast, and getting faster as I push and test my limits. Comparing me to to Superman, or to Freddy Freeman is about like comparing myself and my caped friend here in a footrace. They’re super fast. Then there’s what I just witnessed, or partially witnessed. More like didn’t witness. Wally West is like if you take all the degrees of the rest of us, multiply that together and then square it. It’s incredible. Not just the obvious effects on his clothing. It’s like the world around me skipped a beat, and something wasn’t, and then was, in short order.
The Speedster’s question gets a short, almost amused snort of laughter out of me, and Batman answers with what I was about to say while I’m doing so. We are saving the world. I already believed that I was, and that coming out here and talking to this guy would be important to do so. Now? Yikes. As much as I still try to not have some sort of agenda that I’m corralling people into, because I’m not NOWHERE. This is and should be about free will., but… I cannot let them get their hands on him. They get to Wally, convince him, turn him, coerce him or force him? Use this power in some way? No one else is going to have a prayer. No matter how hard I fight.
So I just get to look all… I don’t know. Regal. And incline my head in agreement with Gotham’s hero. An expression which turns into concern as I watch what Grunge is doing. Well. That’s…great. And getting greater by the second as the very roof under us (well, under them) starts to shift and alter. So, a fight it’s going to be. I’m sensing a building trend here.
Punching titanium, even if it is lower density than a lot of things, may not be the best idea. Neither do I want to batter up and hit him with anything else he can absorb (though I think he’s already probably gotten hold of about the worst thing he could up here). It takes no wind up for me to accelerate forward with a whipcrack of air behind me, driving my shoulder into the rope shifted arm, hopefully coming in at an awkward angle for him to take any sort of bladed swipe at me.
Wally: Wally watches with a look of amazement and horror as Grunge takes on the material of the cuffs and rope until he’s fully change. “Amazing!” saying as he speeds out of the way of his grasp. Fighting on a rooftop wasn’t really ideal. “Sorry. I suppose I shouldn’t gush how amazing the bad guy’s power is.” zooming away from Wonder Woman’s “Um. We should probably move this off the top of a roof! Pretty sure the whole CCPD isn’t going to be happy with us fighting a supervillain here.” explaining, as gestured.
“Don’t you have some kind of bat-bad guy-spray, or something?” asking as he looked to Batman while he watched Wonder Woman fight the big bad guy. “Argh!” getting fed up with at the speed this fight is going, Wally starts running circles around Grunge. Every pass Batman would see that his clothes were shredding, but something replaced them. A dark red costume would be seen, even if it’s just an after image. The roof isn’t designed for this kind of speed, and it was clear Wally hadn’t even reached his peak.
The air around Grunge started to shift, slow at first then building until Wonder Woman would start having problems flying against it. Almost like flight right into a headwind, or a tornado. First, rocks and little bits of debris start slowly lifting into the vortex, then parts of the actual concrete starts giving way and going into the vortex. All the while, Wally keeps running in circles, picking up speed.
“The roof is giving way!” shouting to his new allies “Supergirl I need you to move him to the new location! If you hit him at a ninety degree angle, your mass and speed should be enough to knock him into the abandoned building, where Batman can use his Bat powers to do … whatever it is he does!”
ST: Nothing at all stops Wonder Woman from doing exactly what she wants. Nothing. Because it’s exactly what Grunge was hoping for. One of the Heroes to actually come in close to duke it out. Wally gave him such a wonderful weapon to use against such a tactic. That winding tactical rope that works now like an extension of Grunge’s physical self. She lowers her shoulder. He accepts the impact. Grunts. But only part of him ‘gives.’ The part that is now more or less all tactical rope. It encircles and encompasses Wonder Woman.
Heh. I’ve been thinking ’bout all the fun we could have with you tied up for a couple years now. Tell ya what, you stay right there and we’ll play when I’m through talkin to Officer West here.
Whether he’s sporting the Cape and Cowl of Batman or the facemask of Red Robin, he’s no idiot. Putting himself right in to the fray is a quick way to end up dead. So he’s up, quick, on to the air conditioning unit for the building. Covering his movements with that long, flowing cape. It may be perfectly day light, but it affords it’s own concealment. Allowing him to dig in to his veritable bag of tricks.
The Flash is making more than one really good point. Not only is it probably bad to be fighting up on the roof of CCPD, but there’s also the question of what Grunge’s machinations are doing to the structural integrity of the entire roof as he uses it against the Heroes. Well. Less heroes plural and more, just the Flash himself. Neither the Batman -or- Grunge actually realized just how fast Wally is though. Turning the roof in to a tar-pit doesn’t do much. When the guy can run to fast to sink in to it.
To Wally’s credit? Batman isn’t arguing with the plan of action. His only addition to the action? Is the small pellet that he throws out when Flash begins to move. Only this isn’t a smoke bomb for Batman to ninja-vanish with. It’s liquid nitrogen. Which instantly reacts to the fluidity of the roof to temporarily render it frozen at the point where Grunge is in contact with the roof. With Wally’s efforts and Grunge’s connection to the roof brittle… if Wonder Woman actually does what the Flash suggests, it just might work.
Cassie: “If you can talk and fight at the same time, then by all means. Gush away.”
I have a feeling as fast as he’s moving he can do both, and play a game of chess the next state over, stop for a snack and do a few other things that strike his fancy in between. He’s also not wrong about the location of the fight. The rooftop isn’t great. Anywhere with a population or bystanders to get crushed in the fallout is definitely less than ideal, injuring officers looks even worse for the ‘good’ guys. I’m not exactly here to prove NOWHERE right for their tactics, or aims. Quite the opposite.
There’s no satisfying thud, no collision that moves him though in part I expected that, connected to the rooftop as he seems to be.
“As much as I’d love to hang around and beat those inappropriate fantasies out of you again later…”
Eugh. Really. Any other situation and I would probably have been already shuddering in disgust. Somehow I don’t even entirely doubt that it’s something he’s conjured up to throw me in the moment. I have been a known entity that’s equally off limits almost since the moment my powers turned on. But only because it worked for them. Timothy Drake can handle himself, human or not, and Wally has clearly not been actually bogged down by Grunge’s efforts.
The gritted teeth is more for what I’m dealing with than Wally getting my name wrong. But really. Supergirl was something I specifically avoided. Sidekick connotations, or even some sort of familiar connection to the Superman something I’d been trying to not call up. Restricted or not, it doesn’t actually stop me from flight, which means that I can still maneuver just with a tether. The pellet, the shouted plan, it all sounds like it’s got a reasonably good chance for success to me. The frozen and brittle structure of the connection, the amount of force I can generate. Whether it counts as shouldering him again, or just going airborn is debatable. Either way I’m moving and taking Grunge along with me, angling for what will probably not be the most graceful of landings on the abandoned structure. Possibly into it.
Wally: When Wonder Woman shoulders into Grunge and goes with him, Wally skids to a stop ontop of the roof as he looks down and sighs. “The Chief is going to kill me!” shaking his head, he turns to Batman. “Sup-er, Wonder Woman can handle Agent Grunge for a minute. You have some explaining to do.” pointing a scarlet clad finger at the man dressed in a bat outfit. “What the HELL is going on?!” asking as he starts zooming around the roof doing his best to put things back where they are while continuing the conversation with Batman.
“Can you super people schedule appointments like regular people?! I’ve got a Meta i’m dealing with here who can infect computers with his brain.” explaining as he continues zooming about the roof. The conversation taking all but a couple minutes. “Alright. Time to go! I’ll fix this later. If I can. I think.” zooming over to Batman, he picks him up with ease and then travels over the side of the building. But they don’t fall, they stay stuck to the roof as he hauls down the roof and onto the street. Paper and garbage whipping behind them, Car Alarms going off as they run past them.
Batman wouldn’t feel anything, except being carried. The world around him would seem like a blur. Just streaks of colors as they arrive at the block in just under a minute. Running into the building, he’s able to open the door, go through it and close it behind them. Seeing a giant hole in the ground, he skids to a stop, smoke coming up from under his feet. Putting Batman down he lifts a brow.
“Wait, This isn’t that weird group that keeps trying to tag me, is it?” asking, curious.
ST: Crouched there on the air conditioning unit, ‘Batman’ listens to the Flash as he holds most of a conversation with himself in the speed with which he’s talking. Good thing the two ‘supers’ came here prepared because otherwise this would be a whirlwind in more ways than one. As it stands the truth is, Tim Drake was prepared for Fast, but this is actually ridiculous. The man’s living in the span of a rabbit’s heart beat, if it was even possible to keep up with him what would even be the point?
“Cliff Notes: Grunge works for a government sanctioned group that ‘tags’ people with extraordinary powers. Those they deem to be a risk to society are dealt with. Those they deem safe are either recruited or monitored.”
Keeping it short and sweet is the only real way to give the guy any sort of information. Trying to give a more complete explanation right now would require him to slow down to a crawl, by his standards. Which is not the goal of this endeavor. Batman doesn’t want the Flash to slow down, he wants him to speed up. So that he won’t get caught. The problem is. How do you explain that in as quickly a manner as possible? You don’t. Not when ‘as quick as possible’ is still a snails pace for this guy.
Could Batman stop himself from being absconded with? There’s a good chance we’ll never know because he actually doesn’t even try. That’s far less important than explaining two other small points. “…. technically… Grunge is not a Super Villain. We. You, Wonder Woman and I, are the ones breaking the law here. And. For the record. She can handle almost anything. But. She can’t handle him.”
All that Batman hopes is that Wally got all that while he was being carried over to the abandoned building. The sheer vertigo of spacial displacement? Results in a very. Very. Un-Batmanly reaction. He’ll rejoin the fray a few moments later, when he’s done barfing and thanking the Ancient Greek Gods that Damien isn’t here to see -that-.
Why can’t Wonder Woman handle Grunge? It’s actually real simple. You see she let him keep hold of her. Tactical rope and titanium hadn’t done a whole lot of good. But that Golden Armor all over her? Well. Part of him is touching that. It’s all wrapped around her. She’s using it as a tether to pull him along. On to, even in to the building. Good plan. Civilians are safe. Cops are safe. Wonder Woman, is not safe. At one point she’s slamming him through walls, duracrete, steel beams, concrete slabs.
Then. Her tether tenses. Well. Actually it changes, getting more dense. Stronger. Heavier. Until he’s more anchor than passenger and her momentum forward is all too suddenly turned against her. Tether becoming fishing hook. With Grunge as the one at the end of the line who pulls her back. She’s been bit before. Bruised. Punched with Brute Force of a Superman. This is different. This is ancient warriors metal, that has helped her blunt those blows before being turned against her. Pulling her in. Releasing her…. just as she’s punched with every ounce of force mustered by the density strength of her own armor. Like lobbing a softball up to hit it with a bat.
Don’t worry, Wonderbabe, we’ll talk about those fantasies later. You ain’t who I’m here for.
Cassie: It’s impossible to keep a firm handle on what everyone else is doing here. Teamwork is something I’ve been trying to work on, but the truth is I don’t have an awful lot of field experience despite my title and public status. My resume is getting better, and I’m still training with Conner but that’s working with someone with similar, just stronger abilities than mine and a few extra on top. Wally’s far faster than me, reaction time better, and Tim’s loaded for bear with all the Batman things that make him a veritable toolbox for any and every situation. I’ve got brute, blunt force, and the ability to take a hit a whole lot better than either of them is going to. Which is important given the state of our opponent just now.
Which just got worse. Blue eyes widen as I get hauled back in towards Agent Grunge, and then sent sailing. Not just sailing. That simplifies things and makes them sound a lot less painful than what actually just happened. Taste of my own medicine I guess you’d call it, and it sends me careening through the parts of the building I hadn’t already crashed through with a ‘oooomph’ of air getting knocked out of me. Tumbling and bouncing end over end until I collect myself enough to do something about it. At the speed I’m going? That’s a fair distance, honestly, and I right myself with another whipcrack of speed and sound up into the sky.
Saying that smarted was an understatement, but adrenaline blunts it to a degree. It’s definitely not enough to stop me from flying back into the fray again. Fine. You want to use my gear against me? Two can play that game. Only one of us can play it a whole lot better than the other.
In theory anyway. NOWHERE had made that weapon in the first place. They had all kinds of theories about what it could be used to do. None of which seemed to actually have been workable for them. I’m assuming because they were lacking one important part of the equation. Divinity, or the blessings of it. I’m like a Grunge seeking missile on the way back in. A touch of my hand all it takes to uncoil my own ‘taser wire’ as Conner had called it. It’s more backup than main plan. Just in case Grunge shifts into something besides the sparkling material that had originally made up the legendary Golden Fleece.
I aim my anger and frustration crackling through it, into him but that’s more distraction in the sparks. I don’t think it’s going to actually hurt him. Not when he’s apparently made up of it. I’m not actually trying to electrocute so much as control.
Wally: Things were going from bad to worse as Wally see’s Wonder Woman just completely clocked by Grunge and sent sailing. But, then she’s back and with some kind of electrical rope. Wally didn’t believe much in religion, in gods or what have you. He was a man of science, like his Uncle Barry. Science was what made this world go round. It’s what gave Barry his powers and access to the enigmatic speed force.
Wally’s running around making sure the entire building doesn’t just collapse under all of them. He could probably get most of them out, but that wasn’t the point of this. The point is to put Grunge down. “Hold him! I think I have an idea!” yelling out before running out of the building in an instant. Wally isn’t running away, he’s reading an attack. Something he’s only used a few times to beat enemies that normal hitting methods didn’t work. Running out of the city, he circles around and charges back towards the building. There’d be a loud crash as he breaks the sound barrier.
All of Tim’s readings on Wally would start sky rocketing as he continues gaining speed. You see, Newton came up with a series of laws that’s used to govern physics. And so far? Newton hasn’t been wrong at all.
‘The net force on an object is equal to the mass of the object multiplied by the acceleration of the object.’
What does that mean in laymans terms? When Wally runs back into the abandoned building, It means when Wally punches Agent Grunge. He’s packing enough force behind the punch that it’s on equivalent of Superman’s (not Conner) punch completely letting go and not holding back. The actual science behind it is amazing…but right now, that’s not the point of all this. The point is to knock Grunge out before getting stronger. Wally wasn’t sure all what he could absorb. But, he was pretty sure pure force wasn’t going to be something he can absorb.
ST: What’s a matter baby, you need a safe word?
Grunge isn’t just a Meta-Human. He’s a prime. One of the few that are considered equally useful, destructive and unstoppable. Not to mention trained to fight. Taught for decades to use his powers in combat. One on one he’d take any of the three. Maybe even if this was the real Batman. In his mind there’s no question. This is something that sets him apart. On the surface his actions are those of a ‘Super-Villain’, but what puts him even further in to a unique space? He doesn’t think that. He’s not out for World Domination. He’s not motivated by Greed. There’s no thirst for Vengeance or desperate Need for overcoming his opposition.
Put simply? Grunge thinks he’s the Hero. He believes that he’s the one doing the Good Work. Saving the world from people just like these three. He’s willing to fight. Even die for his belief. If his unique power set and augmentation didn’t set him above the normal bar, then his beliefs would. He’s willing to put Cassie down to save the world from the Speed Demon and he’s winding up to do just that… when the most peculiar thing happens. He stops. Stops cold in fact. The moment that her taser line makes contact with him.
‘Wonder Woman’ made a bold gamble, but it pays off. Grunge is by far stronger and more durable than most anything in the world right now. This fight was about to go a very bad way. If only he had known, that he was absorbing the strongest material on the planet. Which obeys the will of the Gods. In the absence of a full-blooded one, it would seem that Cassie’s got the divine spirit enough to make him pause. In any other time, any other place, that might not be enough to stop her from being yanked in again and punched out of the state.
But. This time she’s working with someone that just wound up like Babe Ruth and called his shot from the opposite side of Central City. Grunge’s jaw almost swivels off of his face from the unmitigated force of the blow. So much in fact, is the impact, that only Cassie’s command to ‘Stop’ keeps Grunge from sailing in to the air himself.
… and perhaps for the first time in Wally’s life. He’s going to find out how quickly his body can repair shattered bone. Because his knuckles just collided with a mystical metal that had been commanded to a full stop. Agent Grunge is down. Down and out. Left laying. His unconscious form reverting to it’s human state. Just in time for the three darts to hit his bare chest.
“Well done, you two. With Grunge off-line they’ll send a retrieval team. We cannot be here when they arrive and you both need medical attention.” Where -was- the Batman during all of this. Wally brought him along, but he seemed to take little or no part in the entire battle. “Mr. West, we’re here to help you but you’re under no obligation to come with us. If you do I can get your arm treated and she can give you answers.”
“Either way. You’ve got to make a choice quickly. Because the people who come after Grunge? We’re not ready for. Yet.”
Cassie: “Nope, and I’m not giving you one.”
I don’t know if I’m amazed that it actually worked, or if I find the situation just a little bit funny altogether. I mean, it would be comical to the audience if this was a movie. Big bad cocky bad guy, who’s only the bad guy because we, the protagonists of this little hypothetical movie, are acting in opposition to him. Not only is he being a Grade A pain in the butt, he’s sexually harassing our heroine. In a way that I don’t doubt would be followed through given opportunity. But things that had been passed off as myths before clearly actually are more than that. At least where I’m concerned. He tries to move, only his body which is currently made up of Fleece, as well as wrapped in it, obeys me. Not him. It’s likely a very good thing that I’ve got only the best of motivations or that might be a highly dangerous toy to play with. As it is, I think it’s not something that ought to be highly publicized with the other things roaming the world right now or threatening to. It may not only be me that can wield it.
In a way, it all works even better than I might have hoped. Grunge is stopped, and out of literally nowhere comes Wally. I maybe get an instant more warning than Grunge does, and after that? Grunge isn’t seeing stars even, I don’t think he had a chance. He’s just a dead weight crumpling heap in the same instant that I’m cringing from the sound of breaking bones that makes me suck in air.
Oh. There’s Tim. Tranqs I assume, to make sure he stays down now that he’s there. Before Batman even has a chance to issue his warning though, my brain was processing the ‘we need to get the heck out of here asap’ instinct. Because this just isn’t going to fly for any number of reasons. NOWHERE doesn’t like being thwarted, they just haven’t had enough experience with it to get USED to the feeling. I, and Batman, have also just acted in direct and public opposition to one of their agents. I’m not sure how much success my goodwill is going get me in spinning this. There’s a look of concern on my face as I step over Grunge’s form towards Wally, but also urgency.
“This isn’t something either one of us wanted to force you to decide on quickly, but then Grunge beat us here. And he’s right. We’re not ready.”
I actually have a red and rapidly swelling eye, something that the image alteration built into my costume doesn’t actually hide. Not that I’m looking at my reflection to realize it. I just know I’m only really seeing well out of one side of my vision just now. Secondary and really minor concern in the grand scheme of things. I’m also aware of how ominous it probably makes a situation sound to say that Wonder Woman and Batman are ready to get the heck out of dodge because this is bigger than them.
Wally: Bones shatter like glass dropping on the ground. Wally’s never felt it before and happens so that not even his nerves have time to register the pain. Or, if it did, it was so that that even he couldn’t keep up with it. “I can feel the bones coming back into place already.” saying as he zipped around the abandoned building, making a makeshift splint and sling. It’d do, his bones will heal in a few hours. Or, at least, that’s his theory. Most of what he’s doing is based on the laws of physics. No matter how absurd they seem.
But, Wally listens to Tim and gives a nod.
“I’m in. Though, first. I’ve got my own problems to deal with. There’s a man terrorizing the city with some kind of tech based power. He’s able to override and control it. Like, a sort of technopathy.” looking at Grunge for a moment, then back to Batman. “I’m the only thing this city has that can stop him. Help me, and i’ll help you two.” offering a trade. “I can’t let him continue to terrorize my city. Your Batman. I’m sure you have a gadget, or a theory of how to do this.” explaining. Normally, Wally would start nerding out. But, at the moment, he couldn’t go with them.
“If you can find him. I can take him out, or Wonder Woman here.” thumbing over to Cassie. “His name is Kilgore. Take him out, and he’ll be locked away in Iron Heights for the rest of his life.” Kilgore had a vendetta against the city, they hired him to make their infrastructure, but canned him before the project could be finished. And then, he got super powers. “He’s already killed at least two people, and more if we continue, or rather, I, continue to do nothing.”
ST: It must seem like an eternity. The time spent with me looking from Grunge to Wonder Woman and then back finally to the Flash. I always feel about ten steps ahead of everyone else, so I can’t imagine how it feels to actually -be- ten steps ahead of everyone else. The literal physics verses the metaphysical psychology of it taxes my understanding of how the world works. Once more I’m struck by how Bruce prepared me for this moment by introducing me to the world of Meta-Humans by having me meet them outside of their costumes first. That is really the only thing that humanizes them for me as I’m struck once again by how very not-human each new one seems.
“Localized electro-magnetic pulse, in tandem with a synaptic inhibitor,” he’s right, I do know how to handle the power assortment that he’s describing. “I have the components in with me, but you’ve got the order of priority here backwards… we need to go… or you won’t be around to use the tech against Kilgore.”
A finger points in to the direction of the sedated Grunge, to keep Wally focused upon what is actually important here and now. “I won’t hide while innocents are hurt, we’ll help you. But. None of us are going to be here to help anyone if we’re here when Superboy and his team arrive.”
The Flash and Wonder Woman can continue having their discussion if they want, but those are the last words I’m going to speak until I’m out of this building and safely inside the lead-lined Jet, with a cloak. Their last sight of me will be the swish of black cape before I disappear in to the shadows, in order to make my way to a roof where the Invisible Jet can swoop in to pick me up. When we started this endeavor, I knew Cassie could fly but the rest of us? We need a mobile manner of staying off the grid. I also needed a way to keep it off the corporate radar, so I put it in the only name I could think of that has absolutely no sane reason to such a thing.
Cassandra Sandsmark, the Wonder Woman. Owns an invisible Jet.
Cassie: We already knew he’d been out protecting his city. That’s also how NOWHERE knew to come looking, after a sufficient number of blips on their radar. That’s exactly the kind of person that I want to help, too. I mean. That’s kind of the entire point in what I’m doing. Well. The ultimate point. The more immediate one has a lot more to do with why Batman and I want to get this show on the road as quickly as possible, especially with how this has just played out. I know how fast I could have gotten here from Metropolis. Which means I also know exactly how quickly the ‘Advance Guard’ could show up. Wally’s incredibly fast, but you have to know something’s coming to avoid it.
I hadn’t really come here intending to ask for his help, just to make sure Wally West was aware of and protected from NOWHERE. As much as he could be. But since ultimately I would have asked for that help? I’ll take it. I would want to help even without that but now? Just is not the time.
“We will help you.”
Even if it’s just a gadget that Batman’s able to lend or deploy, and me playing the muscle but I’d rather let Wally do the legwork himself. Not because I don’t want to go to the effort but. It’s his city. His people to protect. I’m not trying to be the biggest kid in the sandbox stepping on people’s toes. A flick of a finger points at the cowled man beside me as he supplies the ‘how’ to solve the Flash’s current problem.
“I can’t beat… Superboy.” Yeah, sure we’ll keep that old distinction to separate him from Superman. As if they’re different people entirely, and not admitting openly that Superman is ‘on the payroll’ so to speak. “And it won’t just be Superboy after that. We probably won’t even get to make the attempt before we’re dealt with.”
Yup. As ominous as it sounds. If I weren’t trying to impress the seriousness of the situation on him, I’d probably try to lighten it a little by mimicking a sound and gesture that Tim had made to me once, what feels like a very, very long time ago but was really only just a couple months ago. Fwaaaaaaaash. The sound effect that goes with Conner’s eye lasers.
“Only until they’ve finished sweeping the area and left. Then we can take care of this Kilgore. If we do it now? It’s only that much more likely he’s just going to get added to NOWHERE’s roster to be used against you. And in the meantime, we can make a plan and answer any questions.”
A fact that will probably happen regardless but we can only hope on the timing. Feet leaving the floor, I start to extend a hand to him, only to switch which one to the side of my field of view that hasn’t just finished swelling shut. Great. That’ll be fun to try and explain at school in the morning. Rogue cheerleader’s high kick maybe. Offering him a proverbial ‘lift’ to safety.
Wally: There’s a pause as he considers it.
“Deal.” saying as he listened to the pair.
Wally had already considered all the options, and with the seriousness of what they said? It was probably a good idea to vamoose while ahead. “We’re just leaving him?” asking as he looks over at Grunge. “Maybe once he realizes that he’s working for the bad guys, he’ll turn around.” saying, though he follows the rest up to the top of the abandoned building where… there is nothing.
While Wally didn’t like hiding, it sounded like that was the best option for now. “I expect details.” saying when he looked to Wonder Woman, who was housing a nice looking black eye. “Alright. Let’s go. So long as we stop Kilgore soon. I can wait.” it wasn’t something he *wanted* to do. There was a lot to think about right now, this new organization, Superboy, it was just so much.
“What’s on the agenda next? Just sit and wait with our thumbs twiddling?” asking, lifting a brow. Whatever it was, he knew it wasn’t much of a choice. But it was the right choice to make.
ST: The ‘Invisible Jet’ is actually just what it sounds like. A personal jet, built for luxury. One of the Wayne Corp type with the sleek wing style, forward cabin type. Seating for six in the mid-cabin. With a small facility that was once a bar, that is now outfitted for medical care. Then a bunk-room, which was formerly the ‘Captain’s Cabin.’ Aka the rich owner’s bed room. It’s still a bedroom, but where it was opulent before it is now a little more utilitarian. There are all the comforts of home or rather a small mobile base, without the lavish extravagance. Unless you count the equipment. Like the light refracting system that effectively renders the plane invisible. The lead lined alloy keeps it not just off the radar but out of the line of vision from prying eyes. Let’s not ask what function this was going to serve originally.
Once Wally has joined he’ll meet the Pilot. Because Alfred Pennyworth also doubles his pilot duty with field medic. Despite having the knowledge myself, I’m not even close to Alfred’s skill. “This is Penny-One. He’s part of the ‘team,’ so to speak. He knows more about … well, everything honestly, that all three of us combined.”
Really, sir. You needn’t really buoy my ego.
Draped behind that long cloak allows me to properly ‘loom’ while keeping out of Alfred’s way as he tends to first Wally’s arm, then Cassie’s eye. Though Alfred won’t force assistance upon either of them he has a certain way with the Wayne medical tools. He can at least assist the two of them with pain relief. In the mean time it gives me opportunity to put to work the brief ‘Power Point’ display on holographic displays for the Flash to listen to. He said he wanted information? That’s my half of this discussion.
“Agent Grunge, I use the term Agent lightly, is a member of a clandestine government agency that is employed and empowered by President Lex Luthor. Like I said before, they are lawfully charged with the duty of keeping track of Meta-Humans, Aliens and Extraordinary Technological Advancements. They were originally sanctioned shortly after World War II to catalog ‘Mystery Men.’ Over the intervening years their charter has expanded.”
“Following the Parallax Event, they were given the duty of protecting the planet from…” For the first time since meeting Wally there is actually a fractional hesitation, before I actually point at him and Cassie. “… people like you and her. This measure passed through the Congress and Senate, thanks to Luthor’s broad discretionary powers because the world believed that Heroes caused as much collateral damage as the Villains did intentional damage.”
“They’re indiscriminate Mr. West. They’re as likely to imprison you as someone like this Kilgor you spoke of. Simply because of the potential danger you pose. Even if you’ve never committed a crime yourself. What’s more is that they’ll go farther than imprisoning innocent people. As you’ve just seen yourself. People who manage to get themselves deemed a exceptionally potential threat are either recruited for their ranks, cataloged for further study and/or get …. retired.”
This is where I take the moment to gesture for Wally to look at one of the displays. I assume he can read the files I’m displaying there as quickly as he does everything else. Which means he’ll have the opportunity to read Bruce Wayne’s file on Barry Allen. The Fastest Man alive. Until the fallout from the Parallax Event, when Luthor feared Barry might do something stupid. Like go back in time to ‘fix things.’ Suddenly N.O.W.H.E.R.E. was given the green light to recruit or neutralize Barry Allen.
“The original Batman was resourceful. He had contacts and connections everywhere. One of them is inside of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and has been secretly supplying me with information on their targets. That’s why we’re here Mr. West. To save your life and in doing so. I believe if Agent Grunge had actually managed to make contact with you? He would have been able to bond with the Speed Force itself. At which point, if you had declined their offer… you would have been expendable. Just like this man, Barry Allen.”
“There’s your information, you can look through the file and confirm that it’s the truth.” Pointing to Cassie, with what can only be described as a half-smirk. “Let me introduce you officially to … Wonder Woman. She just saved your life. It’s what she does.”
Three years ago..
It was raining the day they buried my uncle, Barry, in an empty casket. Nobody knows what happened to him, but I do. I know he was facing a new villain, and in order to live, or trap him. Barry had to run into the speed force. Barry left so he could save the world, and well. He’s gone. I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again. I stayed behind as the grave diggers started throwing dirt over casket. It was a strange secret to have. Barry was my hero, he was the father that I never had.
Why did he have to do this?
Why did he have to go away?
“Wallace West. It is time for you to become my herald”
The voice was all around me, but nowhere in front of me. By now, even the grave diggers had left to go bury another. In the distance, I can hear the thunder rolling through the clouds. Slowly getting louder and louder. Soon, the sound is thundering in my ears and brings me down onto my knees. My knees sinking into the damp Earth under me. Covering my ears, I can feel my eardrums pop. The sound is so loud that I can’t even hear my own thoughts.
Then… then the impossible happened.
The rain around me just stopped. The clouds in the sky stopped, the thundering in my ears is now just a dull roar. I have no idea what’s going on? Coming to a stand, I poke at one of the raindrops as my curiosity gets the best of me…Seeing a reflection of light, I look up in time to see a bolt of light race across the sky in a jagged formation before stopping above me, then coming down and striking me where I stand.
The flash was so bright. It was so hot, I can feel it melting my skin. I feel the light blinding me. But… then the most incredible thing happened. It was like… every single fiber of my being just ignited. Infused with a new kind of energy. I’ve never felt this way before in my life. Never been so alive. It’s then I realize that this bolt of lightning is the same that struck my Uncle all those years ago.
I feel so alive.
I’ve never felt so alive.
When I was struck, it’s like… a spark opened in my mind. So many things made so much more sense, I had an understanding and channeled the Speed Force in another way than my Uncle did. He was always afraid of running too fast…
My Uncle used the Speed Force as a tool. As a way to save people and the city.
Me? I tend to use it as a weapon. As a force that this world has never seen.
And now it’s time to run.