Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Infinity Storm #3: Downtime

Previously in the pages of ... Infinity Storm
Blackstone Penitentiary is in ruins, its defenses smashed by the electrical fury of Dr. Stratos, Master of Weather in an attempt to free his Crime League associate Devil Ray. Several of the new heroes of Freedom City – Dragoon, Gray, Paladin and Lilly Tombs – responded to the disaster and managed to subdue two of the prison's many freed supervillains: the duplicitous Mirror Man and hulking Brickbrack.

With the assistance of super-guard Strafe, they were also able to quell the ongoing riot by the mundane prisoners. They weren't able to prevent everyone from escaping though. Several supervillains are unaccounted for, including the Ecstasy addicts Rant and Rave, the racist hatemonger White Knight, the master thief Magpie and the rock monster and Factor Four cohort Granite. Some are believed to have fled the island and the city, but at least one took a boat to the mainland.

And now ... Issue #3: Downtime

The heat wave that blanketed Freedom City for most of June and early July has finally broken with the passing of Dr. Stratos and his superstorm. The heroes have returned the city and are trying to go about their normal lives while simultaneously searching for signs of the escaped villains.

Our Heroes

Paladin, the Techno-Knight
Dragoon, the Man out of Time


• Power points earned: 1

Blazing Arrows
7/7/2007, 7:20 a.m.

Flynn's awakened from a deep sleep by the ringing of the phone. He groggily picked up his phone to discover Saul Thompason, his agent, on the other end. He learns that he's just been hired as a stunt man on a new action series code named “Freedom Vice” that's shooting down at the docks. And that he's late.

He heads out on his bike, has a hellish time navigating traffic, ultimately blowing out his rear tire as he flies down Greely Street toward Riverside and Route 4. He expertly (far more expertly then earlier in his drive) wrestles it to a stop.

He calls Paladin (calling him Guardian) by mistake “It's an emergency ... the Arrow Bike got a flat tire!” Paladin sighs and says “I only said call me if there's an emergency and hangs up ”.

With no help from Paladin coming, Flynn ducks into a side alley, scrambles to get into his uniform, and then uses his sling and grapple arrows to swing out across the building tops in order to get to the docks on time. Arriving there he meets up with Saul, who informs him that he's got a role as a minor actor as well as acting as a body double for the star. His immediate job is to pilot a speed boat to intercept a second craft, jump to the second boat, deliver a line, mock knock out two bad guys and then seize control of the ship.

Blue Man Reclining
7/7/2007, 7:45 a.m.

Dragoon awakes and feels awful, with a bounding headache. He argues with himself about going into work on a Saturday, but ultimately decides he doesn't have to. Instead, he sits in his recliner, watching TV and is nearly overwhelmed by the sensation that his skin is going to explode. He fights the feeling, and it passes ... but the experience freaks him out.

Paladin at Work
7/7/2007, 7:54 a.m.

Paladin writes a series of programs to monitor events and activities in the city. After repairing two of his Sherlocks, he dispatches them to start patrolling Freedom City looking for escaped prisoners.

When he gets Flynn's call for help at the docks, he decides to dispatch the droid Ovid to help him. The robot radios to Flynn declaring “inbound ... refrain from stupidity until I arrive”.

Arrow at Sea
7/7/2007, 8:15 a.m.

Meanwhile, things are moving too quickly for Flynn who finds himself suddenly on a cigarette-style racing boat before Ovid's arrival. “Oh well, hopefully he can resuscitate me when I drown...” He drives the boat out to sea, catches up with the other stunt craft and – as the chase helicopter catches the whole thing on film – makes a spectacular jump to the other boat. He then knocks out the pilot, backhands the other unconscious, delivers his line, and seizes control of the boat.

He's the hero of the cast for getting the scene off in one take, and he celebrates by going out drinking with the cast.

Power Surges
7/7/2007, 11:30 a.m.

Back at his apartment, Dragoon nearly succumbs to erratic power surge that strikes him as he stumbles to his bathroom. He takes one of his pills designed to hide his native blue skin color from the natives, but it doesn't work. He takes another, and decides to head to Freedom City Library to do some research.

At the library, and covered up in an overlarge hoodie t-shirt to hide his blue skin, he hits Google and does a search on “earth diseases 21st century skin

“Crap,” he thinks, scanning the results, “none of this is about blue skin”.

Then he does a search on “headache body reaction”:

He sees an item in the results about “emotional reaction.” “I don't think I had an emotional reaction,” he muttered to himself. He then switched gears and decided to do a search on “freedom city genetic research”

His search turns up two noted genetic researchers in Freedom City:

Dr. Emily Tanner, Freedom Medical Center: Brilliant doctor obsessed with understanding the physiology of mutants. She's the first result he finds, and subsequent searches turn up articles on her research in the American medical association journal as well as NATURE describing her work on various projects on DNA, opinion piece on future of humanity's evolution, blogs and forums complaining about her obsession, her interest in the Atoms, etc.

The other notable result is Dr. Langston Albright, Albright Institute. He's a former hero – Beacon of the Liberty League – who now researches superhuman powers and might be able to help. His office is located in Hanover.

While at the library, Dragon headache grows, made worse by an annoying kid. He can't take it any more, and finally turns and focuses ... and the kid drops unconscious. Mother comes over and says “Timmy ... what's wrong Timmy?”

Disturbed, he asks librarian to help with kid. Then Dragoon calls Paladin on the sly, and reports emergency. explains he had a headache and knocked kid unconscious. Paladin conferences in Flynn, who gives background on Albright. He decides to go to the Institute to speak with the esteemed scientist.

Knock First, Ask Questions Later
7/7/2007, 12:40 p.m.

He goes there, and tries to talk his way into seeing Albright. They make him wait for a few hours, at which point he gets angry and demands to see the doctor. This has the inadvertent side effect of triggering one of his episodes. This time, he hulks out, growing in size and strength and triggering the Institute's defenses, which quickly subdue him.

No Rest in Dreamland
7/7/2007, 11:47 a.m.

While Dragoon is at the Langstrom Institute, Ovid evaluates the kid (over the protests of his distraught mother) finds that he's in a coma and that he can't revive him. Also determines that the individual was the victim of a telepath attacks. Ovid's logic circuits are confused; the droid is a brilliant doctor, and should be able to determine why the child can't come out of the coma. And yet he can't. He reports his progress (or lack of it) to Paladin, then heads over to the

It's Not Easy Being Blue
7/7/2007, 1:20 p.m.

Back at the institute, Paladin responds to the call about Dragoon hulking out. He arrives just in time t help and convince the institute that Big Blue really is a good guy. He teleconferences with a holographic Dr. Langston Albright (presently in Boston for a conference) and with the help of Ovid's incredibly advanced medical scanners, they determine that Dragoon is in a state of cellular flux. Later that night, they are able to determine the problem is caused by Dragoon's alien DNA interacting with the neutrino's from Earth's sun, which in turn is causing an unexpected mutation.

Albright gives Dragoon some pills to help him control his power, but warns that there will still be surges; they'll just be less frequent.

It's Not That Easy Being Gray Either
7/7/2007, 5:07 p.m.

That night, D.C. Stranton, Agent of AEGIS, shows up at Paladin's headquarters and demands to know everything about Gray, whom he believes is a criminal who assaulted a prison guard and broke into a secure federal facility. He's not allayed by Paladin's claims that Gray is a good guy and that it's all a misunderstanding; instead he makes veiled threats about his ability to use his government power to get Paladin's government contracts pulled and generally make the Techno-Knight's life a living hell. Paladin gives the agent as few details as possible, and essentially tells him to go ahead and try.

When he leaves, Paladin crafts a device to nullify paralysis and telepathic probes and makes plans to get it to Gray, just in case AEGIS decides to try and take the fledgling hero down. He also does some research on Stranton, and discovers the man is the AEGIS assistant bureau chief in Freedom City, and has powerful, anti-meta allies in Washington.

Atlas Rising
7/8/2007, 9:20 a..m.

The next day, Paladin has a far more cordial visit from Freeman, the CEO of FreeSpace and the costumed hero known as Atlas. The CEO of Earth's leading private suborbital and orbital launch firm informs him of his plans to build a space station in low-earth orbit, and his need for space suits with offensive/defensive capabilities not unlike those of the Paladin armor. He asks Paladin to submit a proposal and bid for the project, informing him that he's been very impressed by what he's seen so far.

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