Spacer Turn 2
  | Asymmetry | Role-Playing | Liberty League | | Turn 2 |



"If we walk, that'll give Starbuck's time to fall." - Martian Mancer.



Turn 2

"This just in! Old Town Under Attack! We go now to our Man in The Street reporter, Dirk Manning. Dirk, what can you tell us?" Terry had been lying near a heater in the form of a cat. He was stretching as the news came on but at the news of Old Town under attack he swiftly changed form to an eagle as he watched the following scenes intently.

"Not much as of yet, Brent. Monstrous creatures virtually erupted from beneath the streets and are rampaging through Old Town. The police have stated that the attacks seem to have begun just outside the historic district at a Starbuck's grand opening on Pelham Place in the Barron Hill neighborhood of The City."

Switching again to a lion he speaks to the others.

"Can we go then?! Huh?" He strikes a fierce pose. "This looks like a job for The Lion of Mars!"

* * *

Eleanor was in the process of buttering her morning toast when out of the corner of her eye she catches sight of the news on the portable TV sitting on her worktop. Leaning forward & adjusting the volume she listens intently as the newscast continues...

"Not much as of yet, Brent. Monstrous creatures virtually erupted from beneath the streets and are rampaging through Old Town. The police have stated that the attacks seem to have begun just outside the historic district at a Starbuck's grand opening on Pelham Place in the Barron Hill neighborhood of The City."

"Damn," she thinks as she reaches for the phone, "now I won't be able to read that new journal that arrived yesterday," Carefully punching in the digits she rings the number that Gaslight gave her. "If there's no-one there, I'll just have to go on my own" she mutters as she waits for someone to pick up.

Zach, still perusing the paper and mulling over his uncles last comment (Surely his relations with Deirdre were still within the bounds of propriety? He hadn't done anything untoward, despite what Pavel had said, and damn the man for his perceptive empathy...) lazily snags the telephone with a force field and brings it to his ear.

"Liberty League, Dr. Zevon speaking."

"Morning Dr, have you seen the news?" Eleanor exclaims down the phone, glad that *someone's* there. "There's something weird going on in the Old Town that maybe we ought to check out." She pauses, waiting for his response before continuing; "I could meet you there in a few minutes unless you want to give me a ride?"

"Something weird? Could you be a little bit more precise?"

Pavel and Gaslight watched Zach's brow furrow and his expression darken as Eleanor laid out what she knew of the situation.

"Good heavens!" Zach exclaimed. "Yes, we'll have someone there to pick you up momentarily."

Hanging up the phone Eleanor is immensely relieved that she's not got to 'go it alone' just yet and grabbing her remaining piece of toast heads back to change out of her work clothes & into something for suitable. "One day I'll get used to this," she muses as she adjusts her clothing, "but I'd better hurry, I don't want to be late!"

Once ready she paces the flat, watching the TV for further developments, whilst waiting for her lift.

"Something amiss?" Mason asks. The veteran hero has doffed his mask, a wry grin still on his face as he muses over his little "Hygienist" joke. He isn't entirely certain that Jack had understood it WAS just in jest, though. Sometimes, there are drawbacks to maintaining a mysterious mien.

He hung up the phone and turned to his comrades. "Eleanor has just informed me of an attack by unknown sub-martianian entities erupting in old town. Let's gather the others and get to the Red room."

"Sub-martianian?" Mason furrows his brow. Could Z have been any more vague? His smile replaced with intense soberness, Mason slides his mask back over his face, pulls his black slouch hat back on his head, and stalks after Dr. Z.

With that Dr. Z strides purposefully towards the red, or situation, room. Along the way he passes the Blue room, where the younger members of the league were still watching the report with rapt attention. "Situation room people. Except you Jack grab a communicator and go fly some reconnaissance. Pick up miss Eleanor along the way, and do what you can to contain the damage without causing any more."

He continues his stride, entering the Red room and barking "Monitors." The screens hum to life, and a few quick commands bring up the televised images of situation downtown. Zach leaves one running while he tries to capture and amplify the image of one of the attacking creatures for identification.

"If we walk, that'll give Starbuck's time to fall." He drained his coffee as he took to the air upright (his normal flying posture), and eyed his nephew expectantly.

"You _want_ them to trash Starbucks?!" Terraform said. His form switched to an antelope with a dark star pattern on his forehead.

Zach glanced over his shoulder "Don't get upset, son. I'm sure my uncle was only using humor to lighten an otherwise tense situation. The situation there is worse than I thought. Gaslight, if you could stay here with me for a few minutes for analysis, I think we need everyone else there containing the damage."

Before his uncle can leave, Zach catches his eye, "and try and contain Jack as well. He can get a little…exuberant."

As Pavel made his way to the vehicle bay, he muttered arcane syllables and gestured with his hands, coffee mug and all. Mid-step he flashed laterally 5' without breaking stride. Pavel and Terraform broke into the expansive bay and surveyed the array of Liberty League vehicles. "How does Zach study that long, and never hear of chrome?" Pavel asked the artificial lifeform. Without pausing for an answer, he looked at his PDA for a time check, and then observed "See this is why female fire fighters are a bad idea."

* * *

First order of business for Dee at least is to put some clothes on, since it's hard to look superheroic in sweats and a t-shirt. While she's dressing a dark, narrow head eases free of the warm blankets; unblinking yellow eyes watch for a moment.

"Show time, darling." The Silver Dragon pats her shoulder in a "come here" gesture. "None of that now, there's no time," she adds, sensing reluctance to leave the cozy nest, and the dragon flits to her usual spot, head up where Dee can see it in her peripheral vision. Then it’s down to the hangar where the others are [I hope] also ready.

She can't help but smile as she enters the hangar. "That man is prodigious if nothing else" she thinks to herself. "Just look at all of this stuff. Sometime's it like living in Dexter's Laboratory around here. The guy's barely finished with one project before he's on to the next."

Her eyes glance across the launch bay taking in all of Dr. Z's vehicular genuis. To the left is an-honest to goodness Spaceship with a prototype drive system. To her right, is the Jump Plane, a large antigravity plane, kind of like a cross between a quinjet and a corporate plane. Again, not much more than what is commercially available, but with souped up engines. Zach, in an odd bit of sentiment, calls her 'Belle.'

The "cars" that get the most play on the "road" tho' are right in front of her. First the hover-bikes, more along the lines of thick-barred bicycles with pods instead of wheels instead of say, a cooler looking motorcycle design. She can remember how depressed Jack was when Zach unvieled these units. Still they are useful (as is ever the way with Zevon's designs) since they can fold up and be worn as back-packs. Directly in front of her is The Liberty Disc, heralded with fanfare from the citizenry whenever they see it take flight. This is a round, flat bottomed, walled in to the abdomen hovercar for in city work, with advanced controls and a very durable design. Terry and Pavel are already on-board.

"All set?" She glances around. "We can check the news on the way there, see if they've got a better shot of whatever-it-is...."

"Why don't you two come in low from the North. I'll quick snoop around the south end of the block, and we can improvise from there. If we need crowd control, I'll go Big."

"Sounds good. Ready bro?" she grins at Terry as they head for the disk.

"I'm ready" Terry is currently in the form of a puppy and running around chasing his tail with excitement.

"D'ya think its Martians?"

"We'll find out soon...." Seconds later the two are speeding toward the scene of the disturbance.

Terry runs about with excitement until they are on their way. As Dee watches him it is still hard to accept the way his shape changes almost without his thinking of it. It is an ideal way to monitor the way Terry is feeling and almost disturbing to see a red sandy giraffe straining its neck to get the best vantage point at the window.

He glances at Dee and gives a peeved "Whaaat?!"

"Nothing," she grins. Enthusiasm is infectious, but it's time to pay attention to her driving (don't want a repeat of that first jaunt). Obnoxious Mancer may be, but he usually knows what he's about, so as instructed they approach with some care from the north, trying to get a better view of the situation before leaping in with both feet.

"D'ya need me to do anything? I can fly down like an eagle and gobble up the robots like an aardvark!! I can! Can I do something?"

Terry is sitting still but Dee fancies she can see molecules leaping about within his body as Terry tries to stop himself morphing continually. He knows that he has to show some self control - the last time he got too excited he lost all cohesion and had to be carried around in a bucket for days until he managed to regain enough structure to walk himself.

* * *

Having finished her preparations & rapidly growing bored with pacing back & forth around her flat like a caged lion, Eleanor decides to check up on Shatterman's whereabouts. "It's about time I found out what my range is," she thought subconsciously as she began to visualise him in her mind's eye. "Where are you? How long before you get here Jack?" she sent, her brow furrowing in intense concentration as she tried to make mind-to-mind contact with her overdue friend, "Are you ok?"

In spite of the great size of New Philly, Shatterman crosses the distance to Eleanor's pad in a stunningly short period of time. He spots her apartment and notes that she has conveniently left her balcony door ajar. Hearing her voice ask if he is okay, he lands with an exaggerated thud to announce his presence, then raps twice on the door before entering. "Yeah! I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be?" he asks puzzled, absently scratching the back of his head as if to clear something from inside his brain.

When he doesn't see her immediately, he shrugs and calls out "Hey, El, where are you?"

Quickly realising that he's not actually at the main door but at the balcony she moves forward into his line of vision & grins at him, "I'm right here."

"Hey! And looking good, too!" Shatterman quips with a friendly grin. Then seeing the fierce hunger for action in her body language, he leans backward and pretends to play an exaggerated and loud riff on an air-synth, "Ready to rock 'n roll?"

Jack's musical antics bring a huge smile to Eleanor's face; "I used to love going to gigs; have you heard of an old Earth band called Rush?" she couldn't help asking before, recollecting her earlier anxiety about being late, she pulls the balcony doors to behind her & climbs in beside him.

"Rush? Oh, yeah," says Shatterman with a demure wave, "2112 is blithe. But that 'Reggy Felonious' music critic is completely wrong about the subtexture."

Looking around her, hoping that her neighbours haven't noticed her unusual exit from the block of flats, Eleanor is intensely aware that this time its for real; she's actually going on a mission with the rest of the League. Giving herself a mental shake she says. "Okay, let's go bang those heads together."

Scooping her gently into his arms, Shatterman says "Hang on!" and with a kick-off jolt launches them skyward. Once in the air, the acceleration is smooth despite the rapidity, and Shatterman's control is rock steady making the flight actually fun.

"This is cool but don't you get tired?" she asks once she's got used to her mode of transport. "Any ideas about what's happening down there?"

* * *

As the rest of the his team heads to the hanger bay, Dr. Zachary Zevon turns his attention back to the screens, trying to enhance the resolution and zoom in close enough to identify the menace. "Jack had mentioned something about Red Ants forming, but even in their most malignant state they wouldn't come this close to a city, or wreak this sort of havoc on advanced building materials. Does anything about this sort of attack remind you of anyone, Mason?"

"Chaotic screaming in the streets, poorly covered by local news organizations? Yes, it reminds me of almost every supervillain encounter I've ever had." Even through Gaslight's mask, the drollness in his voice is clearly understood. "Without amore details, I can't speculate on the nature of the emergency or who might be involved."

"I meant more the sub-martianian nature of the attack, as well as the rather conspicuous commercial target rather than the natural panicked reactions of people under unexpected assault," Zach replied with equally dry tones. "I was hoping that someone in your extended family vast files of ne'er-do-wells had similar targets or techniques. There might well be someone who has already displayed a lifelong urge to 'crush Starbucks beneath his merciless heel,' as they say in your line of work."

"There are a few villains with an affectation for what they deem simpler, less corrupt periods of western culture," Gaslight replies, still vainly studying the screen images for some details -- ANY details -- regarding the current attack, "The Victorian, Flapper, Gentleman Jack... but this doesn't really seem like their style. They disdain modern commercialism, but they aren't given to wanton terrorism or destruction."

"The 'sub-Martianian' angle suggests Burrower or the Goblin King, but Burrower had gone straight the last I heard, and the Goblin King hasn't been seen since that fiasco with Star Pharaoh."

"I'm afraid we'll need some on-site intelligence before I can comment intelligently," GL concludes, irritation at the lack of information evident in his tone.

Zach turned around, leaning against the console and chewing on his knuckle. "Hmmm. I had hoped it would be a recorded threat, but I can't get a close enough view from here to make any sort of identification. If you can't make an ID, then we'll have to work on the fly."

"Sorry about barking orders to you, old friend. It's kind of a habit to herd this group into action. O offense meant. And I would really appreciate your help on this."

"No apologies needed," Gaslight demurs. "After all, you are 'the smartest man on Mars.' You know what needs to be done."

Zach returns to the screens, fiddling with some controls. "I can't shake the feeling that this is a man made disturbance, if only for the target. I'll set this to monitor stations and record, to see if there's anything I can get from it after the fact.

His modifications complete, the Indestructible Man grabs a portable scanner/recorder and turns for the door, saying "If you'll join me in the hanger, I can…" But his words trickle off with the realization that he is alone Gaslight, the scourge of New Philadelphia criminals, was already gone.

"One day I actually expect to hear him leave the room." Zach murmurs. It was worse in their days as college roommates, where mason would soundlessly appear and disappear from their dorm room without warning. it would have played havoc on Zach's love life. It he'd had one. Much like today, except...

Shaking off those thoughts he takes the tube - an anti-gravity conveyance for those team members without natural flight or Deirdre’s spectacular leg muscles - to the hanger. "They took the Disk. Just as well," he mutters while prepping one of the hover-cycles. "It will afford them more protect if there's a combined aerial assault. Of course, with so much of the Martian sub-surface unexplored I can't rule out that this may be a natural or aboriginal incident..."

Meanwhile, a gray cargo van races through the streets of New Philadelphia, the masked scourge of criminals known as Gaslight at the wheel. The non-descript vehicle is not the sort of conveyance one would expect a night-shrouded vigilante to use, but that, of course, is precisely the point. The van's unremarkable appearance make it an ideal choice for when Gaslight wishes to avoid drawing attention to his movements (as when he slipped into Liberty League HQ for a visit earlier this morning).

Besides, one cannot judge this book by its cover, a fact punctuated by the roar of the 540 pro blown racing engine rocketing the vehicle through the streets (the newer electric and cold fusion engines may be more fuel efficient, but, for the feeling of raw power beneath the hood, they're still pale shadows of their internal combustion cousins). The Mack T, Kraft 500, and Thirty-Eight Custom were faster still, but the van would do for now.

Remarkably, the speeding vehicle encounters only green lights at every intersection as it races towards the scene of carnage downtown. This is not mere chance, but the result of signals sent out by a tiny black box installed in the electronic command console, a remarkable piece of technology based upon one of Stuntmaster's old designs.

Gaslight weaves the van through traffic with the skill of an expert race driver -- another legacy from Stuntmaster -- and gives silent thanks that the police are too busy with the happenings downtown to worry about one speeding van. He knows that he could have gone faster still had he simply accompanied Dr. Z in one of his many wondrous anti-gravity vehicles, but that would have necessitated leaving behind the van's crime analysis laboratory, arguably the finest portable set up on Mars, and that was something he had been unwilling to do.

Besides, Mason couldn't resist the opportunity to "vanish" when Z's back was turned, knowing how his disappearances flummox his inventor friend. The thought makes him smile, but his grin fades momentarily as his eyes flick over images of panicked citizens on the flatscreen dashboard television unit and his ears are filled with the frantic calls of emergency services personnel emanating from his police band tranceiver.

Gaslight pats the laser baton holstered under his coat, reassuring himself that it is there. He wonders grimly which of the super-whelps in the Liberty League will be the first to reach the scene, and hopes that they do not bungle things too badly before he arrives. The van engine roars angrily as he presses down on the gas as hard as he can...

* * *

"Hardly ever," replies Shatterman between glances at the terrain to make sure he is on course. "Sometimes I'll wear down if I spend a day flying out over the dunes. You know - outside the dome. But inside the dome it's just too small an area for me to get tired. Do let me know if the wind bothers you."

"Hang on a sec, okay?" Shatterman asks Psyche, "Lemme check in and let the boss-man know we're on the way to save the day."

"Shatterman to Doctor Zee," Shatterman says to his headset. "I've got Psyche and we're in transit. Flying over the Fred Meijer shopping center now. Do you copy?"

Already in close proximity to Shatterman, Psyche leans in toward the headset in order to hear what the good Dr says.

Dr. Zachary Zevon, better known to the populace of Mars as Dr. Z, The Indestructible Man, replies calmly, "Affirmative. The scanner's readings seem oddly familiar in some small way but I need more time to discern why. What can you tell me, Jack?"

"The bogies are on the move. El and I can see that they've cut a swath through this part of town already but still no sign of them...."

"Silver Dragon to all points. We have distant visual. We have a pack of the monsters near the Bell in Old Town. Accelarating for a closer look..."

At her side, her "brother's" mass starts swirling about himself uncontrolably and wracked with pain he drops to the floor of the Liberty Disc. Focusing all of his concentration he begins to pull himself together -- literally.

Terry screams across the comm-link, "It's ...not ...possible ...they're ME!!!"

And with that revelation the Liberty League is under siege!

...a gout of sand unexpectedly slams into the Disc, upending it and sending Terry and Deidre plummeting toward martia-firma...

...the ground erupts beneath Gaslight's van...

...and monstrous figures leap off a nearby rooftop to attack Psyche and Shatterman...

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