Thursday, September 13, 2007

Infinity Storm #1 - Lightning Crashes

Previously in the pages of ... Infinity Storm

We were introduced to a new generation of heroes in Freedom City, including the rock-like Gray, the Goth teen Spirit of Youth, the pizza-delivering speedster Turbo, the techno-knight Paladin and the man out of time, Dragoon.

The heroes saved jumbojet from certain destruction after one of its engines caught on fire, rescued two children from a burning inferno that consumed an abandoned warehouse and defeated two members of the Factor Four -- Granite and Sylph. The former was knocked unconscious and taken into custody by the city's STAR Squad; the other escaped into the depths of the wharf district.

And now ... Issue #1: Lightning Crashes

It has been a troubling week in the City of Heroes. The proto-heatwave of late June has transformed into the real thing, sending temperatures into the low 100s and straining the city's power grid to the breaking point. Rolling blackouts are commonplace, and there is no relief in sight, despite nightly thunderstorms that have shaken the city to its bedrock.

As the sun dawns on July 5, Granite remains in Blackstone Prison. No one has seen his three Factor Four cohorts, but speculation is high that they are somewhere in the city. A rash of locked-room burglaries -- in which jewelry is stolen without the locks on their stores being broken, their alarms being triggered, or their cameras caching sight of anything -- have people speculating that the villain Downtime might be back in the city.

But it's the heat that's on everyone's mind. It's the heat that has tempers short. And it's the heat that may be the city's greatest enemy this summer.

Our Heroes

Flynn, the Master of Arrows
Dragoon, the Man out of Time
The Indomitable Gray
Paladin, the Technoknight


• Power points earned: 1

A Quiet Week in the Country
June 30, 2:00 p.m.

Meanwhile Bobby Phoenix, a.k.a. Dragoon, has been inspired by recent events to return to his country home to finish work on his sky bike, a contraption from the future which will allow him to quickly move around the city and keep up with his fast-moving new friends.

Trouble in High Places
July 3, 2007 10:05 a.m.

In the wake of the near-crash of the 747 and the subsequent assault by the Factor Four, Paladin makes an effort to follow up with his contacts in FEMA, NTSB and Homeland Security. At the last, he finds unexpected resistance from the agency's higher echelon; despite having designed the well-respected Paladin-class army he's found himself locked out of the leadership's offices.

Why, his lower level contacts don't know but some think he's proving to be too successful in his private endeavors ... or perhaps a rival contractor has been talking down his work in an effort to get their own product purchased by the government.

July 3, 2007 9:00 p.m.

After his battle with Granite, Grayson (a.k.a the Indomitable Gray) was eager to further hone his fighting skills with his next bout in Freedom City's semi-pro boxing circuit. Going under the name "Slugger" Fraiser, Grayson's opponent was "Thunderstrike" Collins, a brute of a man renowned for his no-holds-barred, all-out attack style of boxing.

The fight was an intense one, with Thunderstrike landing blow after stunning blow and Grayson taking every hit. Bloodied and battered, the hero was almost out of the fight when he landed a tremendous counterblow that knocked out his opponent and won him the fight.

It also earned him the scorn of some dapper-looking criminal-types who'd been watching the fight in the audience and clearly had bet against them. They left, clearly disgusted ... and cursing his victory.

Unauthorized Withdrawal
July 4, 2007 9:00 p.m.

The next night, as Fourth of July fireworks exploded overhead, the city met its newest hero: Flynn. The young master bowman, who had recently saved a young girl from mugging, had taken to patrolling the city in search of other criminals.

He found them at an Eastern Seaboard Bank (E-Sea Bank) in Southside where a group of burglars had decided to take advantage of a brownout to make an unauthorized withdrawal. He snuck up on the burglars, incapacitating one with a stun arrow, snatching up a radio he'd been using and then telling to the others to look outside the bank's front window.

They did so, and seeing the masked bowman they fired their pistols at him. Flynn deftly avoided the hail of bullets, firing a barrage of his own arrows that incapacitated most of the villains, and sent one running outside.

At the same time, Paladin was intently working in his Greenbank lab when he heard the police band squawk about a burglary in progress, and immediately leapt into action, zooming across the city at breakneck speeds and arriving just in time to see one of the crooks fleeing from the bank. He stopped the man in his tracks with repulsar blasts, then paused to talk with the hero who’d broken up the robbery.

Impressed by Flynn, and respectful of the young hero’s hope not to get tangled up in police inquires, Paladin agreed to stay and deal with the cops while the archer melted back into the night. Before he did so though, Paladin gave him a communicator with which to contact him, just in case.

The Storm
July 6, 2007 8:30 p.m.

As night fell, a terrible storm built over Freedom city. The clouds stacked miles high, looming like a giant over the metropolis.
Dragoon, his bike fixed and cloaked to look like a Japanese-style motorcycle, arrived back in the city just as the front overtook him, sending torrents of rain cascading from the sky … and bringing a brutal barrage of lightning with it.

The powerful bolts struck from the sky in unnatural surges, and as Dragoon watched, he could see the strikes seem to coalesce around three points in the city. These points, in Hanover Park, Southside, and Downtown, glowed with a terrible power that cut through the dark rain. As he watched, he could see that power suddenly arc skyward, striking a central point roughly over downtown Freedom City.

The point expanded to become a radiant sphere … and the sphere began moving out to sea.

The Golden Peril
July 6, 2007 8:35 p.m.

Meanwhile, the rest of the city’s defenders were not caught unaware. Paladin, monitoring radio traffic in the city while subconsciously scanning a dozen web sites, noted the coming storm and the sudden appearance of the lightning bolt foci. He leapt into action, contacting the rookie hero Flynn for assistance.

He met the hero, flew him to Southside, and together the investigated one of the lightning focal points. They found a strange weather machine atop the Golden Calf Casino, the selfsame building Paladin had damaged two weeks earlier saving an airliner from certain doom.

Flynn volunteered to deal with the construct and disable the device while Paladin flew skyward to investigate the glowing sphere moving over the city.

“Dr. Stratos, I presume?”
July 6, 2007 8:37 p.m.

As Paladin approached the orb, he discovered there was a person in the middle of it. A quick scan of his personal law enforcement database quickly identified the individual as Dr. Stratos, master of weather and leader of the Crime League. The caped villain flew serenely over the city, caring little for the destruction the storm was causing around him.

Paladin streaked toward him, and demanded that the villain stand down. Dr. Stratos merely turned his head to the hero, smirked, and then watched as a lightning strike came down near the heart of downtown … and the bullet train line. Frantic radio traffic from the Freedom City Transportation Authority quickly confirmed the worst: the train had lost power and was in danger of careening out of control. Forced to choose between fighting the villain and saving innocents, Paladan made the only choice he could make: he dove for the train.

As Dr. Stratos continued out to see, Paladin fought to bring the train under control. By the time he wrestled it to a stop, the villain was long gone.

Triple Threat
July 6, 2007 8:45 p.m.

With Paladin struggling with the bullet train, it fell to the other heroes to deal with the weather control devices no doubt deployed by Dr. Stratos. Flynn continued his fight against the android protecting the device at the Golden Calf, eventually disabling it with nullification arrows that drained its power and allowed him to use kinetic arrow heads to destroy the device.

Gray arrived downtown and determined that a second of the devices was located on top of the Federal Building. When his attempts to talk his way into the building failed, he decided to travel underground and swim in through the basement. He then pounded his way up to the roof, where he found another android and device. The pitched fight which followed drew the attention of the Feds, who rushed to the roof.

They arrived just as the hero destroyed the device by throwing the android into it. They demanded that he stop immediately, but Gray ignored them and instead dove off the building, plummeting 50 stories to the ground. Rather than smashing into the pavement however, he “dove” into the ground, plunging through it like an Olympic diver.

Finally, Dragoon flew across the city to the Promenade Park in Hanover, where he found another of the devices that had – until recently – been thought to be a Hanover Institute of Technology science experiment. After making several strafing attacks from his rocket bike, Dragoon leaped into melee with the device’s android guardian, destroyed it, and then smashed the machine itself.

Blackstone Down
July 6, 2007 8:50 p.m.

Disabling the devices caused the streams of electrical power and caused the super storm to immediately fall back to more normal levels. It wasn’t enough though. Dr. Stratos, supercharged by the devices, unleashed a catastrophic blast against Blackstone Penitentiary. The explosion was seen -- and felt -- throughout the mainland city.

To be continued in Issue #2: Reign of Chaos!

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