A large crowd has gathered early morning at the San Jose NASA’s Ames Research Center. Thanks to Firework and the assistance of AEGIS, NASA was able to build a rocket that would use the barest minimum of rocket fuel to get both astronauts and supplies up to the International Space Station.
It’s taken months (though Firework could’ve done it faster, he thinks) to get this operation off the ground, so to speak, but the day has arrived. With Firework’s help, NASA may be able to start lifting up sending up space shuttles more often, and more cheaply, thanks to Firework literally sending them flying off into space. If this test goes off without a hitch, they could begin to look at going back to the moon, and beyond.
Scientists, news reporters, groupies and space geeks huddle around the stage, with the space shuttle in the background. Bouncer came with Firework to help show AEGIS’ support, as well as for added security.
The head of the program does a little speech, followed by Bouncer. The countdown begins, and everyone gets excited.
A little too excited.
Bouncer catches some teenage boys trying to sneak past the guard rails and run towards the rocket. They don’t seem to mean any harm, just want to be closer, “just in case.” Bouncer has read about these kinds of people. Power Chasers.
Power Chasers are people who believe that if they put themselves into a dangerous situation, or they are exposed to dangerous elements, they may break out. The fact that most Breakouts occur in times of high stress seem to corroborate this theory. However, there have been no known reportings of this technique actually working. There have been Power Chaser parties thrown in major cities, with people intentionally leaping into danger (or off buildings) with predictable results. This hasn’t stopped people from trying.
At the end of the countdown, a swarm of rainbow sparks surrounds the space shuttle. With a bit of help from the boosters, Firework lifts the shuttle off the ground, and into space. It takes several hours, but eventually Firework is able to safely dock the shuttle to the ISS.
Down below, the people cheer and begin to disperse. Bouncer is about to head out when he overhears one of the scientists, a woman with a serious look on her face, say, “And so ends the age of humanity, and the Paranormal era begins.” Bouncer shakes his head and goes, “Drama queen.”
Wildheart brings Juanito home. After introducing him to Johnny (and Johnny’s defenses) he leaves them both to settle in and play video games. Using his gateway key to The Lair, Wildheart goes to visit The Caretaker in the Nevernever.
Wildheart steps into the team’s “room” and heads out. He finds The Caretaker and Dr. Brennan in a 60s style “room” with Dr. Brennan making breakfast. Wildheart has never seen Dr. Brennan look so relaxed and content.
Sipping coffee and eating pancakes, Wildheart asks Caretaker for help. He wants Caretaker to help train Juanito, in The Nevernever, so that he can learn how to use his powers. Caretaker goes, “So you want me to play babysitter to Kyle’s new baby sis, and your new what, sidekick? What am I, running a daycare here?”
“Course I will. Someone’s gotta teach these kids the meaning of power and responsibility and all that.”
Wildheart thanks him and then moves on to his next favor. He wants Caretaker to manipulate time in one of the rooms so he can speed up (in the real world at least) his training on certain new skills and abilities. He figures 4 years or so should do it.
Dr. Brennan showcases some concerns, saying that 4 years away from his teammates, even though to them it may just be a few days, will be taxing to say the least. Wildheart wants to better himself, he says, and by undertaking this training he hopes to do just that. Caretaker says it’ll take some jiggery pokery, but it should be doable. Wildheart says he’ll be ready whenever its ready.
Back in the city, 3 Power Corp members are hovering in front of a hole they blasted in the wall. War and Rosa, War’s crazy ex girlfriend and ex member of the Power Corp, have taken cover. Rosa tells War to buy her a minute. War does so.
Shooting a smoke arrow, he leaps into action. One of the Corp member, #3, flies in through the smoke, and hunts for War and Rosa. Rosa has sneaked over to her Power suit and has begun pressing buttons.
War distracts #3 with arrows and quips, dodging his blasts. #4 stands outside the hole and begins to blow away the smoke.
War is able to distract #3 long enough for Rosa to finish her task. With one final button push, the suit flies off the bed, the pieces swirling around her in a tornado fashion, and the assembles itself, lifting her off the ground. She shoots at #3, smashing him into the wall, grabs onto War, and zips out the hole, shoving #4 out of the way.
Rosa, #7, flies full throttle, dragging War behind. She says, “Any ideas, lover?” War goes, “Yeah, just give you to them. But since you probably wouldn’t go for it, head over to AEGIS HQ.” She shakes her head, “No way! I am not going to jail and…” A laser blast just misses her head, cutting her off. “Okay. Maybe not the worst idea ever.”
She starts to fly towards AEGIS HQ. Behind them, #5 has gone straight up into the air, a large flash flaring out from her upthrust hands.
Rosa says, “Look, if you can talk to AEGIS, get me a pardon, I can tell you all about the suits, how they work, what they can do. But I want amnesty.” War says, “I think I know just the woman to talk to.”
Rosa dodges another blast. “Don’t you have a team you can call for backup!?” As War signals to his team that he’s requesting assistance, two more Power Corp members, #1 & #2 fly up just behind them. #1 blasts Rosa, knocking out her rocket boot, causing them to spin out of control and start crashing into Golden Gate Park.
War releases himself from Rosa’s grasp, and floats down toward the ground using his Glider. He hopes that his call for help has been received.
Back at home, Johnny’s alarms start going off. He says he is getting a distress call from War. Melody, who had been busy upgrading Johnny 5’s systems, comes rushing out and almost runs into Juanito.
“Who are you?!”
“Who are YOU!?”
Wildheart shows up and does his introductions. He tells Juanito, who can fly, to head to Golden Gate Park so Wildheart can teleport once he gets there. Melody wants to help, to go to War, but Wildheart says she’ll just get in the way, and that she should stay here. She huff and goes, “Fine!” and runs back into the command room.Firework calls in, saying he won’t be able to make it for a few hours, since he’s up in space. Wildheart says, “Hold on.” He concentrates, teleports to the ISS, grabs Firework, and teleports to Juanito.
Back in San Jose…
Aurum and Jesuit have infiltrated The Church of Jesus Christ, Paranormal. Inside they find a community center turned into a large space filled with various religious affiliations. There’s crucifixes, stars of davids, statues of Mary, buddhas, and other religious iconography. Hundreds of folding chairs are lined up, with a walkway in the middle leading to a stage, with a large curtain concealing the back entrance, a podium, but no mic.
The church quiets down as the lights flicker, and from behind the curtain steps out Archbishop Theodosius, and older man dressed in religious garb holding a staff with a insert icon on top. He places the staff upright on the floor, and takes the pulpit.
Even though he has no mic, and he is soft spoken, the Archbishop’s voice carries throughout the church. He speaks about how God has blessed this world, and is helping to enlighten and lift up the masses. He talks about how those who are blessed with Paranormal abilities can use those abilities to better the world, and to get closer to god. He brings up various pieces of other religions, all that Jesuit recognizes, and talks about combining them, merging them, in order to gain true enlightenment. And he says that those who believe, those are are true and faithful, that they too can be blessed with abilities.
He continues saying that there are those who are corrupted, those who want to use this blessing for evil, that evil is still out there. He suspects that such evil caused The Breaking, that it upset the balance. Beelzebub, Abaddon, Cain, Hundun, and other malevolent beings continue tempt mortals, and to lead them astray, perhaps were even behind The Breaking. But by staying true to God, to the church’s teachings, they can fight back against the temptations.
Jesuit and Aurum stiffen at the mention of Cain, ignoring the other evil beings that were named with him. That’s when Aurum lifts himself into the sky, spazzing out for a minute acting as if he’s possessed, and then lowers himself to the floor, in front of the Archbishop.
He demands answers, demands to know what he is up to, and to know why he’s trying to trick these poor hopeless saps. He wants to know what the Archbishop is up to, and doesn’t care that anyone knows.
People rise from their seats, voices start to rise, but they all calm down with a wave from the Archbishop. The Archbishop invites Aurum to the stage, and calls upon a few people from the front row of the audience.
He says that these believers were blessed by God, inspired by their faith, and have been using their gifts to better the world. He asks them to give a demonstration. Which is when Aurum casts nullify on their powers, preventing them from showing anything.
Jesuit stands at that moment and walks to the stage. Archbishop Theodosius recognizes Jesuit and invites him on stage as well. They begin a philosophical debate about how could this be God’s will, who can say who will get “chosen” and why does a new religion need to come of this?
At that point, a call for help comes from War. Aurum says, “My job is done” and vanishes. Immediately the Paranormals on the stage’s powers activate. Jesuit asks for permission to activate his powers, and Theodosius says “By all means.”
Jesuit’s Angel Eye cans the Archbishop. He gets nothing but faith, spirituality, peace, and kindness from the man. He truly believes what he is saying, truly believes that Jesus was a Paranormal, and believes that by becoming closer to God, one can become blessed as well. The Archbishop is also filled with what looks like Nevernever energy, though it’s…different, somehow. Tainted, is the word he’d used, but not by anything malevolent, just a different type of energy. Spiritual energy, perhaps.
Jesuit asks that they continue the discussion in private, which Theodosius agrees to. He asks that he be allowed to finish mass. Jesuit steps aside, and watches.
The people line up down the aisle, and all walk towards the Archbishop. The Archbishop says a small blessing and taps the people on the forehead. The person smiles and walks away. Halfway down the procession, an elderly woman walks up to the Archbishop. He does what he does, and as he touches her, she hunches over, almost in pain. Her back starts to controt and collapse, but then reconstructs itself as a pair of giant white wings sprouts through her clothes. She flies into the air and hovers over the crowd, as everyone says out loud, “Amen!” or “Hallelujah!” or other religious exclamations.
Theodosius smiles, motions to the woman to fly back down, and to join his other blessed children. She does so, filled with energy and vitality.
Jesuit watched all this, through his Angel Eye. He saw the faith, the spiritual energy of the woman connect with Theodosius’, watched them merge, and then she broke out. Jesuit realizes what the Archbishop actually is.
He’s a walking, living Breaking.
Back in Golden Gate Park, the team squares off against the Power Corp. War gets surrounded by blast fire when Firework & Wildheart teleport in. Firework looks after the civilians, getting them out of the way, while WIldheart throws a rock at the Corp.
- broadcasts that if they let them have #7, they’ll leave peacefully.
War yells out to protect Rosa, the fallen member of the Corp. WIldheart deliberates, yelling back why should they? He yells at War that he doesn’t trust him and that she’s a bad guy! While they argue, #1 gets tired of waiting and blasts Wildheart, knocking him to the ground.
The blasts continue but Juanito jumps in the way, creating an force field made of light. He strains under the attack, not able to withstand the barrage for much longer. However it buys War and Wildheart the time they needed to get back on track.
As the Power Corp maneuvers and works together as a team, through the Golden Gate Guardians communicators, they begin to be able to hear into the Power Corps private communications. They don’t know how, but they can hear how the Corp is strategizing, allowing them the chance to outthink them.
Together, the team is able to hold off the Corp. War is able to crack one of the face plates, while Firework barrages them. Just as the Corp begins to reassemble, Arum comes flying in, inside a golden airplane. He flies over Bouncer, who was heading to battle on his bike, ties golden tethers of magic around him, and slams Bouncer into a member of the Power Corp, taking them down.
- calls for a tactical retreat, and the remaining Corp members pick up their fallen comrades and blast off. War hits them with an EMP Arrow, which causes them to slow down and slowly descend.
They fly off over the ocean, and the team is able to hear them request an evacuation. As they begin to teleport, Aurum casts one last nullify spell. He is able to prevent one member of the Power Corp from being teleported, but the rest vanish from view.
In the vast emptiness of Space, past Saturn, a ship travels through void. A voice breaks through the silence, an alien garble that sounds nothing like human speech. “Captain, we’re picking up up odd energy readings coming from the third planet from the local star.”
A gruff voice responds, “Earth? That’s odd. That’s a primitive planet by our standards, not usually worth noticing. Bring it up on the view screen.”
The front of the ship lights up as a view of a giant swarm of rainbow lights carrying a shuttle of some kind and docking with a substandard space station.
“Hmm..” replies the unseen Captain. “Set a course for Earth. Looks like it may be worth looking into after all.”
The Power Corp materializes inside of a giant warehouse, a warehouse filled to the brim with ACME devices. Various weapons, armor, vehicles, gadgets and gizmos aplenty.
A metallic voice rings out through the warehouse. “DID YOU BRING #7 BACK!?”
- takes off his helmet, revealing an older, rough looking man. “No. And we lost #3. We weren’t prepared. They had a magic user with them.”
The voice responds, “MAGIC? BAH, PARLOR TRICKS. WE SHALL PLAN ACCORDINGLY FOR NEXT TIME. NOW THEN, FOR MY PAYMENT…”
- flinches, “We…we don’t have it. #7 cleaned us out. But we’ll get another job, a score, and pay you back. We just need to get patched up and…”
“SILENCE. YOU COME TO ME, BEGGING FOR HELP, BUT WITH NO MEANS TO PAY?” A platform descends from the ceiling. On it stands a man in a lab coat and slacks. The man, though, is more than just. His skin is covered in a metallic shell, bolts sticking out from his head, yellow illuminated eyes scanning the Power Corp.
“I SHALL JUST HAVE TO RECEIVE MY PAYMENT IN…ANOTHER FASHION. I HAVE A JOB FOR YOU…”