Spacer Turn 5
  | Asymmetry | Role-Playing | Liberty League | | Turn 5 |



"If you still feel the need to 'bif!' 'bam!' or 'pow!' something, I suggest that you see if your comrades need any assistance. I don't." - Gaslight to Shatterman



Turn 5

Gazing down at his fallen foe, Gaslight allows himself a brief smile, sighing, "It's a gift."

In all seriousness though, the night-clad vigilante is not entirely certain that the creature's fall had anything at all to do with his humble efforts. When it emerged from the cloud, the terramorph had seemed in quite good shape really. Had Gaslight's makeshift claymore felled it, or had some unseen external factor changed?

Putting aside his speculations for the moment, GL turns his attention back to the black fog. He listens carefully, straining his senses once again, to determine whether or not any of his sandy attackers remain a threat. Hearing nothing, Gaslight removes another micro-grenade from his coat, hurling it into the heart of the cloud.

Exploding on impact, the grenade releases an invisible vapor. The vapor carries a chemical agent that breaks down the chemicals in his bank of black fog, helping to disperse the cloud much more rapidly than it would have naturally. There is no reason to inconvenience the police and emergency services workers any longer than necessary, after all.

Reasonably sure that the threat of the terra-creatures has been ended, at least momentarily, Gaslight switches on his throat-mike transmitter. "GL to Dr. Z, over."

"This is Zach, Gaslight. Glad to hear from you. Where are you?"

"I encountered unexpected resistance enroute. The threat has been neutralized, but my transportation has been disabled. I will have to commander a vehicle or arrange pickup to join you. What is your situation? Do you require assistance? Over."

"I'm en route to HQ with Mr. Heisenberg and the body of Mr. Moonlight. You're on the way, so I can either pick you up or give you one of the bikes. I would like your help piecing this together at HQ, old friend."

"Repeat last. Did you say that you are accompanied by Heisenberg and Dr. Moonlight? They're in your custody? Over." GL can scarcely credit what he heard. Heisenberg was more of a First Flight foe than a Challengers' opponent, but, by all accounts, he was perhaps the most able villain of his time. Mr. Moonlight, while not of Heisenberg's calibre, had been quite a handful over the years. It's hard to imagine that the Liberty League could have subdued the pair so quickly.

"Custody is a rather strong term. Moonlight was in critical condition when I found him, Heisenberg is helping us with our inquiries."

"I'll be with you shortly."

"Right," Gaslight replies, still not entirely certain what to make of Z's comments, but willing to trust his judgement for the moment. "No casulaties among your comrades?"

"Not at the moment. Knock on nitinol superalloy. We'll be with you momentarily. Dr. Z out."


"Thanks for the ride, Jack," Psyche murmured into her communicator watching his departing figure. Taking in her new surroundings she couldn't help but notice the Mancer's face. "Grief! That's some abrasion you've got there big fellow - let me get you some lotion for that later?"

Pavel's grunted wince had the vibratory undertones of an earthquake. "AT MY AGE THIS PASSES FOR RUGGED GOOD LOOKS." He deposited the Mental Maiden on his shoulder then turned and scanned the street beneath him, seeing several shifting, refolding sand constructs as they massed for another attack. "Guess we'd better get on with the task at hand. Let's see what I can do."

Drawing in her thoughts, preparing her own mental barriers aware of the prospect of another attack by the mysterious controller, she begins to build a vision of the Martian wind gradually building up strength. In her mind she builds and projects the illusion of the gradual erosion of one of the sand creatures below. The wind blowing the sand away gently but uncontrovertibly rendering the creature ineffective.

Eleanor quips, "Marcel Mareceu, anyone?" as the sub-martianian struggles, almost humorously, to move against the wind like a mime. The illusion complete enough for it's small mind, at the very least it seems to be more focused on its own false plight then readying itself for another attack. "DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU GUYS, BUT THESE SAND FLEAS ARE TOO SHIFTY FOR THEIR OWN GOOD. DRAGON? I'LL SET 'EM UP IF YOU KNOCK 'EM DOWN." The Mancer flourished his hover-car-sized PDA, and time seemed to coagulate and drip to the dirt around one of the sandy creatures. Sand granules suspended in mid-cascade, if they could shrink from the impending impact, they would.

"Sure thing. And a-one, and a-two...."

Deirdre cocks her right arm back to deliver a mighty blow. It connects soundly. As the fragments rain down she can't help but recall the time she devastated a statue in Simonson Square when one of those damned Israeli Science Ninjas evaded her blow that time there was that little mix-up....

Anyone wondering what happened to Terraform will see him poking through the remains of the creature he tore apart. He has been trying to see whether there is any animation left in it and wondering about whether it was alive, like him, or only seemed to be so.

"If that wasn't alive, am i?" he murmers to himself.

He doesn't want to see the others smashed to pieces either and so tries to use his power over their areth (areth = earth; areology = geology, no??) bodies to hold it in one shape and then mould that shape to one that he desires rather than the creature.

He is essentially testing whether their control over the areth is stronger than his...which is easily not the case as Terry shifts one creature's forearms into manacles.


Leaving Dr. Z with the Liberty Disk, Shatterman shot upward toward the dome top in order to clear most of the buildings. Once he had some altitude, he started a swift spiral search pattern. His trained eyes were scanning for signs of structural damage and chaos. "Yep," he said spotting the gargantuan form of Martian Mancer, "that's our team."

Continuing on, Shatterman spotted something important and doubled back. "Ah, there it is!" he said with glee. "I knew I'd spotted the 'Almost Free Clearance Sale' sign at Audio Shack." He dropped in close to admire the sale items, floating fifteen feet in the air. "All that great stuff would fit nicely in the Purple Room. At least until the band picked it up."

"I'll have to ask Doc if I can borrow the disk again," he said, grinning to himself as he shot back into the sky. After but a moment of high speed flight, Shatterman spotted another sure sign of destruction: a broken van and a giant dragon-like creature. With only that meager glance, he instantly cork-screwed into power dive, turning 180 degrees he dropped fifty feet and turned again to his original direction.

With a burst of speed, Shatterman lunged forward eagerly prepared to slam hard into the side of the dragon at 80mph.

And naturally was quite startled when he abruptly changed course -- not entirely sure how it had happened but swearing that he felt the light touch of a gloved hand upon the back of his neck for just an instant -- and slammed face-first and startled into the pavement. Although the impact didn't hurt him physically, it was quite a blow to Shatterman's pride to find himself in the maintenance tunnels -- sewer systems had long ago been replaced by recycling facilities -- beneath the city. "THAT SUCKED!" he shouted and his voice echoed off the smooth tunnel walls. Despite the clean hygiene of modern Martian maintenance tunnels, Shatterman shook off a great deal of red dust and launched himself back up through the hole.

Primed and ready to rumble, Shatterman's hands glowed with feverish fury. "Okay, somebody is in for a world of hur--URP!" he choked as he again found himself spinning beyond his control into the pavement. Rising quickly, he froze suddenly as he faced the Dark Fury Of Gaslight!

"I don't appreciate attempts to contaminate my crime scene," the Cowled Crusader said in a grave voice.

"Uh,..." stammered Shatterman looking around frantically, hoping something like a meteor would fall from the sky and save him from the withering gaze of Gaslight "...dragon?"

"The 'dragon' is unconscious," Gaslight replied, gesturing to the massive terra-critter's still form. "Or perhaps 'inert' would be a more accurate description." The Dark Avenger knelt beside unmoving silicate body, scraping a sampling of the creature's "skin" into a glass petri dish in his left hand. "If you still feel the need to 'bif!' 'bam!' or 'pow!' something, I suggest that you see if your comrades need any assistance. I don't."

His dimissive tone of voice making it clear that he doesn't appreciate the bungled efforts of a well-meaning amateur, Gaslight sealed the skin sample, tucked away the petri dish in his utility belt, and snapping a pair of MOHS goggles in place over the lenses of his gas mask, prepared for a more thorough, microscopic examination of the terra-being.

Feeling relieved that the lashing was over, Shatterman soared back into the air. "Well, fine," he grumbled to himself. "How was I supposed to know he'd already beaten the dragon?" _Sheesh!_ Shatterman thought to himself. _Gaslight is just a normal guy without any IF powers or anything and he took down a terra-dragon!!_

The electronic cackle of radio static in Jack's earpiece did little to blunt the still-critical tone of Gaslight's voice, as the Shrouded Terror barked into his mask's mouthpiece, "And Jack, if you're going to try that dive-bomb maneuver again, wait until you're closer to the ground before you level off. You telegraphed that attack so badly a ten-year-old child could have warded it off!"

"Last word freak," Jack muttered sourly.

Watching Shatterman pierce the sky's blue veil, Mason smiled beneath his black hood. Though he would never admit it to the younger hero, Jack's youthful exhuberance reminded Mason of himself, back in those long-ago days when he wore the mantle of Night Boy. It had seemed a more carefree time then, and Mason, like Jack, had lived for the thrill of reckless adventure.

Of course, Jack's reckless enthusiasm, while infectious, made him all the more dangerous. The awesome power he wields, untempered by discipline, posed as much of a threat to innocent bystanders as to street criminals and maleficant super-villains. He beared close watching, as did all of the over-powered amateurs of the Liberty League.

Gaslight turned his attention back to the matter before him. Surveying the scene, the Dark Detective discerned no immediate pattern to the attacks. The targets of the terra-creature's rampage appeared to be entirely random. A more thorough examination of the scene might uncover relevant details, but, with Dr. Z no doubt on his way, such an examination had to be forgone.

Focusing his concentration on the carnage around him, Gaslight took a "mental snapshot" of the scene in his memory. Perhaps when he searched his memory later, he would be able to discern something he missed in the here and now, though the vigilante held out little hope for that.

Striding back over to his damaged van, Gaslight made a quick call on the secure sat phone while waiting for his pick up to arrive...

"Good morning, sir," a woman answers the phone in a business-like tone, picking up the receiver after only a single clang of the ringer.

"Expecting my call were you, Ms. Reed?"

"I have been monitoring the activity on the telly, sir, and supposed you would be involved. Satellite tracking of the mobile laboratory confirmed your position."

"I see." Gaslight smiles. Of course she would be on top of the situation. "The crime van has been damaged, and will have be recovered by a retrieval team. Use Reilly's men, municipal guises, crane to flatbed recovery. Abort if discreet retrieval is impossible; we'll recover from impound later."

"Very good, sir."

"Also, I've temporarily incapacitated four of the creatures involved in the activity here. Police should already be enroute to the area, but be sure to alert the special crimes units to the presence of super-normal threat. Use the regular channels."

"Yes, sir."

"You may suggest the confinement parameters I have developed for Terraform."

"Indeed, sir?" The barest hint of surprise in the usually unflappable woman's voice.

"Yes, the creatures carrying out the attacks appear to be physically identical." Mason is gratified to know that it is still possible to surprise his wise-beyond-her-years major-domo.

"I see." The business-like tone has resumed. "Will there be anything else, sir?"

"Pull the files on Heisenberg and Mr. Moonlight. Query the usual databases to see if there's anything new, and forward the files to Dr. Z's laboratory."

"Yes, sir."

"All right, that's all."

"Your mother, sir."


"She's called several times since the news broadcasts began. She was sure you would be involved, and is quite worried. She has asked that you return her call as soon as possible."

Mason winces. "I don't have time to assuage her fears right now. If she calls again, you can let her know that the crisis has passed, for the moment at least, and I'm all right."

"Yes, sir." A touch of disapproval echoes in Ms. Reed's voice, no doubt for Mason's 'passing of the buck' to her. "Will that be all, sir?"

"Yes, that's it. I'll be in touch shortly."


Soaring through the sky in a spiral pattern, Shatterman saw Dr. Z. and the Liberty Disk lift off and land near Gaslight. A moment - and ten blocks on Shatterman's survey for damage - they were airborne again. "Figures. Only 'real' dragon ever to attack and it goes after GL. Spooky hoop always gets the cool stuff. Maybe I should become a dark, brooding guy."

"This isn't getting me anywhere," Shatterman pouted absently to the open sky several minutes later. "I've covered a half mile radius and it looks like we've taken down all the bad guys already. Man, this is disappointing. I was feeling good until that run in with Gaslight. I need something to boost me ego." He laughed at himself.

Almost ready to give up and go home to fire up FinalMechQuakeFantasy XIV on the SNOS 4 system (hooked to the same wall size screen he was reviewing _Baywatch_ on when the call to action came that morning) Shatterman's eye caught some action along one of the trails of destruction. _Alright!_ he thought to himself as he twisted into another dive, this time looking ahead to make sure he was seeing what he thought he was seeing.

"Do those belong to you?" a voice asked Donny Parrel as he carried a computer and peripherals from a damaged storefront out to his idling car. Donny stopped dead and looked up. "Yeah...," he lied uncertainly to the crimson clad figure hovering over his car. "Sure," he lied again.

"Dude! This was serious good fortune finding this store broken open and everyone run off! We'll be rich when we fence this stuff!" laughed Mikey Borrello as he bumped into Donny. Electronic equipment and a bag full of cash spilled on the ground. "Why the heck did you stop!?"

"Yep, thought so," said Shatterman to the two would-be robbers. "I'll make you a deal. You put all that stuff back and I won't do to you what I'm about to do to your car." Shatterman shook his arms and a SHATTERBOLT (TM) poured down from each hand crushing the rusty vehicle with the shearing and tearing sound of a car in a trash compacter. The engine sputtered valiantly a few times then fell silent.

The two crooks dropped what they were holding and ran, and ran and ran. "I'm going straight!" Donny yelled to Mikey. With a satisfied chuckle, Shatterman flew onward to continue his reconnonoiter.


Gaslight remained standing as the Liberty Disk soared through the Martian skies. His posture conveyed a feeling of unalarmed wariness, an almost casual disinterest combined with the taut alertness of a predator ready to spring upon its foe at the slightest hint of danger. "So, Heisenberg," Gaslight addressed the elegantly dressed man across from him, "I cannot say it is a pleasure to meet you, but it is an honor. Your reputation precedes you."

He nods, graciously accepting the compliment. "The pleasure is all mine, to be sure. In my circle, rumor has it that you have something of the old ways about you. It's a delight to see that is the case."

"Thank you," Gaslight replies with equal graciousness. "If it comes down to gratuitous violence, I'll consider it a high mark of my career to have clashed swords with you. Assuming I win, of course -- normally a given, but not necessarily so against a man of your unique talents and experience." The admission is a rare one -- Dr. Z, at least, has never before heard GL admit the possibility of a foe he could not defeat.

"Careful. It's been a herculean task to stay politely retired these last few years. Talk like that can very tempting to a man such as myself." Out of this strange admiration Heisenberg deftly avoids stating what he sees would be the inevitable outcome of such a confrontation, epic though it may be.

The Hooded Prowler leans down to examine the other super-villain, lying stricken on the floor of the disk. "Moonlight... I'd rather hoped you'd given up your antics by now. Look where they've led you." Doing what very little he can to stabilize the veteran criminal's condition using a combination of atemi healing techniques and basic paramedical training, Gaslight says to Heisenberg, "I am sure you've already been asked this question by my colleague, but for my own edification: what role did you play in today's chaos, and how did your fellow rogue come to this state of affairs?"

"None whatsoever, I'll say proudly. Firstly, because if it was one of my bygone escapades there would easily be more direction and class to the affair. And of course, secondly, I am trying despretely to remain a generally law-abiding citizen in my twilight years."

"Moonlight, on the other hand, seems to have had one last banal plot up his sleeve. No doubt, something he concocted while passing the days in Defalco. I can't recall he sent him their last, those TEENAGEnts or that Noir fellow... but I digress. These creatures are not doing his bidding either. The Grim Guardian finds himself staring at the prone body at his feet. Any number of the TEENAGEnts case's where they opposed him could be flashing across his mind's eye but oddly enough the one playing back in his memory right now is the time Mr. Moonlight had hypnotized Kid Carapace into attacking the team. Anthem had almost blasted KC's shell asunder until Night Boy and Fantasti-Girl managed to figure out the command phrase and shock the Kid back to his senses.

Heisenberg smiles, "It's fortunate your group responded to the crisis and not that Banner fellow. I'm sure it would have been much harder to convice him to come to Moonlight's aid. They have... a history, you know."

"I didn't, in fact," Gaslight lies blandly, not fooling Heisenberg and not really trying to anyway. For the moment, GL accepts the master criminal's story at face value -- he doesn't trust Heisenberg, but he does believe him. Gaslight does have *some* skill at reading people, after all, and besides this crude debacle isn't the sort of scheme the genteel villain would concoct (not enough panache!). "Do you have any theories regarding who might be responsible? This seems a rather improbable situation, and you are the Master of Improbability. Your insight might be valuable -- if it doesn't violate the 'Master Villain Code of Ethics' to share it with The Indestructible Man and myself?"

"Theories? I've always wandered what things might be like of this side of an event. Hmmmm. You'll have to forgive if I dwell on the "eruption of underground creatures" angle but what about that Goblin King fellow? No... no... that brutish Star Pharaoh - or whatever his name is this week - "mummified" him, as I recall. He keeps him stashed in his private gulag, pardon me - Pulsar Pyramid - as some sick trophy, if his boasts in the press are to believed. You really should do something about that fellow. It's ilk of his sort that actually make matter worse for everyone."

"It could be The Burrower but he not only "saw the light" but actually moved back to Earth. I believe he's a landscaper in Montana now." Both "Earth" and "Montana" are uttered with some small amount of disdain. "It's one thing to live your life in peace, as I have done, but it's another to abandon this beautiful frontier... even if the bastards are turning it into a strip mall."

Seemingly still absorbed in piloting the ship and going over the reading from his scanner, Dr. Z chimes in. "Much as we're all against the idea of Dome Sprawl, hopefully we can all find more civilized methods at voicing our opposition."

He flicks one more switch then turns around, leaning against the control board. "We're on automatic landing procedures into the Liberty Lair, eta 15 seconds. The readings I picked up at the contact point are interesting but hardly illuminating. Hopefully we can find more."

Dr. Z touches a control on his sleeve, turning on his communcations gear "Dee, have you managed to confine one without destroying it?"

"Not exactly confined, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere just now," she tells him.

"One of you bring the captive here for analysis - Psyche, I'd appreciate your presence as well - while the rest of you continue cleanup and monitoring the area. When clean-up's complete, rejoin us at the base."

The disk lands smoothly, and Zach effortlessly lifts the unconscious Mr. Moonlight and strides purposfully towards the medical center, trusting gaslight to both follow and keep watch on Heisenberg. "None of the people you mentioned seems a lifely candidate for these events, sir. I know how creatures like this are created, but not many do. perhaps I can approach things from that angle, Gaslight, while you look into past threats."

He lays the uncoscious man down on the medical table and engages his AI assistant NuRSE, (Nanite Reconstruction Surgical Equipment) to aid him as he does what he can to restore the aging super-criminal to health.


Terry walks round the captured sand creature.

"Dee? Is it alive?" Terry's voice quavers slightly. He is looking around at the devastation his family have caused to what seems might be his extended family...

"Good question." She joins him in looking over the critter, somewhat more warily, and glancing around to see if the others show any sign of reforming. "But we're going to find out." A mental call brings Rajni back to her shoulder, to try making contact the way she once had with Terry. _Wow, that seems like a long time ago._ She gives her adoptive brother a fond and somewhat worried look.

Much to Dee's shock, Ranji defiantly refuses to attempt contact. She hesitantly writhes about Dee's legs in an attempt to distract the Silver Dragon. When prodded further empathically, The "dragon" shakes it's head and hisses at her "owner."

Aware of Dee's shock Psyche refrains from commentening on Ranji's reaction, relationships were complicated enough without someone sticking their nose into them.

"Where did they come from? Are they martians??" Terry asks feverishly.

Dee replies, "Beats me but I'm sure the good Doctor will turn his famous brain to the question of where it came from...."

Terraform begins to take in the remaining terrys nearby.

He runs to the nearest and begins to manipulate its areth into some form of restraint. He will elongate arms and wrap them around to prevent them moving or cause appendages to merge into their bodies so that they cannot be moved. As Terraform runs around looking at the piles of sand that were the sand creatures there is a spray of fine sand coming from his body. Dee calls these sprays tears as they appear whenever Terry becomes stressed or upset. It has been speculated that under stressful conditions Terry loses some of his fine control over his bodily cohesion and the finer grains of sand fly from the central body and thus generate 'tears of sand'.

The controlled aggression he feels and sees coming from his family has upset him when he associates that with the destruction of the sand creatures.

"Dee, don't let them kill any more! It'd be murder...." There is an uncomfortable silence following Terry's empassioned outburst, fueled by emotions ranging from eye-rolling skepticism to horrified 'what-if's.

Terry frantically scans for others...but they are all rendered immoble or worse. Only the hazy dust that will take long minutes to completely settle back remains of the battle scene. That and the wreckage of a probably redundant commercial development.

"WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT CIVVIES?" thundered the giant Martian Mancer, as he carefully lifted his trellis-sized legs into a lotus position, hovering above the wracked city block. "SEE, THIS IS WHY I DON'T WEAR A KILT," he murmured to Psyche so as not to blast her eardrums with direct conversation.

Dee cooly stares at her "pet","Back when she was behaving Ranji found a few nearby and went for the EMT. She thinks there may be more but she's freaking out too much to be off any help. "Good thing you're along for the ride this time, P" she nods to Psyche.

"I'm sure Ranji'll be just fine when we get back to base," Psyche says trying to be reassuring, "In the meantme, I expect I'll be able to locate anyone's who's stuck in the rubble."

As Terry played jailer/worried mother to the captured sand constructs, Psyche guided the Mancer and Dragon to trapped morning shoppers, located by their piteous mental anguish. Between Dee's awesome strength and Mancer's leverage advantage they quickly freed those Psyche could find, and turned them over to the arriving EMTs.

Once their usefulness dwindeled, Mancer thundered into his comm, "MID-TOWN'S ABOUT WRAPPED UP, ZACH. WE'RE INBOUND AND BRINGING SOME PISSED-OFF BUCKETS OF SAND." To his companions, "ALL ABOARD THAT'S COMING ABOARD." Mancer assisted Dee onto his vacant shoulder while Terry, still fretful, seemed to prefer riding on the backside of the PDA/platform with the captured constructs. With a giant thumb, Mancer casually engaged the password protection, just in case.

As Mancer slowly negotiated the airspace between New Philadelphia's skyline and the not-so-distant dome, Psyche spoke into the Mancer's ear from her vantage point on his shoulder, "now then, let's take care of your, umm,, blast damage shall we? I'm not sure if I can cope with the pain proportional to your current size,"she pauses for a moment to contemplate the task ahead, "and I'll probably be more effective if you're your usual size so maybe you should shrink down to normal before I attempt this. Good idea if we go somewhere safe as I may be in need of some TLC myself after it. ...."


"It's what I'm here for tho' and anyway it does have it's up points - helping people you care about," Psyche said trying to sound reassuring, and pointedly ignoring the wisecrack.

Once the high-rises tapered off, Pavel was able to kick progress into high gear. His massive shadow zipped over morning commuters and outlying businesses, finally rejoining Mancer's feet as he lit on the HQ's landscaped front lawn, leaving two giant footprints worth of work for the grounds crew. Once the team was dismounted, Pavel shrank to his normal 5'10" height.

Psyche placed her hands on either side of Pavel's face. "Just hold still now." He winces a bit as her hands make contact with his raw flesh. Psyche concentrates hard & attempts to heal the damage inflicted on him by the sand creatures. As she does so she tries to maintain awareness of just how much of his damage she can realistically absorb herself but is prepared to put his well being ahead of her own....

Pavel feels a warmth wash over him. Not unlike a tender embrace from a long-lost friend. It builds in intensity turning into a sensation like the hot breath of a loved one whispered into your ear. He can feel his own injuries melting away easily and effortlessly.

Feeling remarkably better than he has in ages he quips, "This is great. Better 'en my last two marriages combined. You can ease up now tho' doll."

He still feels her hands against his skin. The warmth building higher.

"...kid? Ya can let go now..." Pavel opens his eyes and sees not only his pain transfered mirror-like to her face but that she is giving more of herself than either of them had wanted. Before the situation gets any worse, Pavel, shoves her to the ground to break the circuit their life forces had created.


From his vantage point high above everything, Shatterman could see the giant form of the Martian Mancer heading back to base. By now, the Liberty Disk would already be at the Liberty Lair. This meant the team would be converging back at the office shortly. Well, since no one had called him, that meant there was no immediate need for him to hurry back. "They'll call if they need me,"

Shatterman said with a sly grin, "that gives me a extra couple minutes to swing by the Audio Shack and place an order for delivery later today. I love being able to fly really fast!"

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