New Guardians

New Guardians Issue 20
Wanted

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Ultra-Girl upset at The Raven’s non-urgency to find the Guardians she flees the crash pad and leaps away. Upset and trying to leap away from the emotions swelling in her mind Ultra-Girl bounds across the city. Before she realizes it she is at Malcolm Merlyn’s Penthouse balcony. As she is debating leaving, figuring he is likely not home anyways she hears his soothing voice, “Ultra-Girl, are you alright?” MM.jpg

Ultra-Girl apologizes for just showing up, but she didn’t know where else to go, he welcomes her always and she hugs him. Once inside she tells Malcolm all about The Raven having found a hidden space station which has something to do with The Guardian’s disappearance a year ago. Ultra-Girl is upset that The Raven wants to just wait and gather more information. Malcolm appears surprised as all of this news. He asks a few questions about the mysterious space station and The Raven’s involvement with the New Guardians. Ultra-Girl talks about how it was the Raven who initially gathered the New Guardians together and has been mentoring them, but she doesn’t feel it’s very successful. Iron Tiger left, Overburn was in, then out and now back in. They speak about Lex Price and how Ultra-Girl was hurt by the rude comments he made to the press about her and the New Guardians. Malcolm shares some wisdom of how to filter out the negative comments from strangers trying to make a splash in the news.

Once everything is shared Ultra-Girl tells Malcolm that he can’t tell anyone about what she has shared, it’s a secret. Malcolm promises to keep it of course. Malcolm points out that he has to agree with the Raven he doesn’t want Ultra-Girl to rush into an unknown danger, especially one that was able to stop the original Guardians, but he’ll use his satellites and resources to try and find out more. He continues to encourage her to be a symbol that the city can rally behind, something the world hasn’t had since The Guardians’ disappearance. Grateful Ultra-Girl pledges to help him if ever he should need it. Hearing a police siren in the distance she excuses herself. Once Ultra-Girl leaps away Malcolm is deep in thought, then smiles as an idea comes to him.

The next day Ultra-Girl returns to the Crash Pad to get a new communicator after destroying the last one during the argument with The Raven. Jaeger.jpg The Jaeger watches her cautious return hoping to avoid the Raven. He assures her that The Raven went back to Moonhaven. Ultra-Girl is relieved. Jaeger tries to talk to her about the fight, but they don’t discuss details just how frustrating The Raven can be with all his secrets. He says he is impressed of how well she and The Spider handle the pressure of being heroes at a young age. Ultra-Girl still down on herself and doesn’t receive the compliments very well and continues to insist that she is a useless member of the team and how much Dynamo is better than she is. Jaegers’ lack of experience dealing with teenager girl self-esteem issues shows, but he does his best. This only results in annoying Ultra-Girl. She does ask him if his powers can stop her from having terrible dreams. Reluctant to use his new powers in this way he recommends she read some books on how to decipher the meaning of dreams.

Scene changes to Derek Drake in the Empire High quad speaking to Xander Samuels the first time since the night of the party. Derek.Drake.jpg When asked how is dad took it Xander says, better then he thought since it was hushed up and no one was hurt, but Xander has been placed on “temporary company restricted access”. Derek jokes about a fancy word for being grounded. Xander asks how did the machine turned on? Derek says I don’t know and trails off in thought.

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That night The Spider sneaks into the OmniCorp Heavy Ion Collider, which now has increased security. The Spider is crawling along the ceiling and replaying the events of the night in his head. He reaches control room and is hanging upside down on a web slowly spinning and talking to himself. “Think Derek, you were in the control room with Xander, Stephanie, Alex & her two friends, no one activated the startup sequence, so then what initiated it?”

Derek continues to re-live the scene, the danger to the racers, the steps he took to power it down. Speaking to himself, “The Collider was powered down, but parts of it are slaved to activate when sequences are met…like a high influx of protons.” He moves over to another console with gas gauges. “The protons for the collider would come from hydrogen gases and detected her when enough protons where reached. But I looked at the hydrogen gas levels, it was empty”.

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The Spider begins taking apart a portion of the console, finds what he is looking for, a grey-green solar panel looking piece and says, “Unless it wasn’t protons from gas, but…Free Protons.”

Scene changes back to the crash pad. The Spider is there with his mask off in the science lab with the piece of the collider panel connected to a computer. Providence Pope is there too and they are in the middle of a conversation.

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After Providence leaves, Derek speaks to the main computer. Run a search for all files on known meta-humans with measurable proton signatures. After a few seconds 1 match pops up on the terminal, but reads restricted access. Derek still upset at almost killing a classmate, begins to hack passed the restriction.

A few minutes later he opens the report and is shocked to read who the subject is. Derek reads aloud. Guardian 001, Centurion. The file is an almost 12 year old report made by The Raven regarding if the Free Protons radiating off of Centurion is dangerous to humans. A single cell sample donated by Centurion himself revealed 3013 Protons per nucleus. Derek continues to talk to himself, “That’s an atomic number way off of the charts, no wonder he physiological is so different then use mere mortals.”

The report continues noting the Free protons bleeding off of Centurion, which normally would be dangerous to those around him from chronic exposure, but the report’s findings show that the high energy and high velocity free proton once separated from its origin point become a lower velocity free proton which are absorbed by neutrons and become non-harmful.

The door opens and Ezekiel walks in. EZ.jpg Derek apologies, but had to know. Then he starts putting all of the pieces together of that night in his head, while Ezekiel is rattling off the importance of having restrictions to information. Then to himself, but aloud Derek says “How did I not see this months ago!”

The next day. A room full of uniformed analysts in large control room with a giant screen on the wall. The tab on the panel reads NORAD. A tech calls over his LT showing a UFO over the Indian Ocean. It then separates into seven smaller objects and traveling quickly in different directions. Following protocol they start contacting other nations to see if they are testing out any new low orbit aircraft. NORAD.bmp

Some time advances as one of the shapes which comes blipping in and out of radar from time to time gets nearer and nearer to the USA east coast. The officer in charge gives the order to scramble two birds from Andrews Air Force Base. The corporal says, “it’s too fast for a tomcat to catch it.”

The readers see a grey flying sphere with a green ring of energy around its middle section and three sphere shaped divots in the lower half flying over the east coast. The metal portion looks to have some type of light filigree on it. It’s making a scanning sound.

Meanwhile at Price Park Stadium, home to the baseball team The Grand City Grizzlies it’s a filled stadium just finishing the national anthem. Once finished the visitors, Bay City Hornets are wished good luck as the home team takes the field. The PA announces a special treat, throwing out todays first pitch is Ultra-Girl. The crowd cheers for her as she steps out from the dugout. She continues to wave at the fans until the cheers quiet and then without ceremony or skill she tosses out a 121 mph pitch across home plate stinging the catcher’s hand. The crowd’s cheers turn to a roar.

High in the skies the sphere stops and sits still for several moments. The F15s race towards it. NORAD is awaiting confirmation from The Reach ambassador that it is not one of theirs. From the top of the sphere shots out a green beam and a swirling dark green worm hole opens. Sounds emit from the sphere and disappear into the worm hole.

As the F15 pilots are waiting for the green light, thousands of small black flies spill from its divots and stream down. NORAD gives the green light and the F15 fire a payload of rockets filling the panel with smoke.

At the stadium Ultra-Girl hears the swarming of flies first. Then a shadow is cast over the stadium. People panic as a million tiny flies fill the stands. sflies.jpg Ultra-Girl seeing that the flies aren’t harming anyone, but the panic will, moves over to a microphone and tells everyone to try and remain calm. Eventually the swarm ascends once again and Ultra-Girl attempts to catch a hand full of the flies. The readers see the swarm return to the sphere, which is undamaged by the missile strike. Then it takes off and recombines with the other six sections in Space and takes off.

Back at the Crash pad is Ultra-Girl, Jaeger, the Spider and Ezekiel. The spider seems to reacts a little strangely to Ultra-Girl when she enters the room.

Ezekiel’s systems detected the same objects and movement as NORAD. The house sized object separated into 7 car sized spheres and spread out among the globe. After the events of the Stadium all of the spheres stopped and left orbit. Ezekiel’s satellites show it reforming in space and is quickly moving away and then gone. The heroes inquire more and bases on the information surmise that the spheres were searching from something, but once stopped in Grand City all the other seekers stopped as well.

Ultra-Girl presents a few of the flies which were smashed but recovered. Unlike any known species of flies these have sixteen legs, two sets of wings and are mechanical. Their purpose is unknown Ezekiel will examine them in more depth, but based on the metal they are made of they appear to be of unknown alien origin.

A little time later The Spider speaks with Ultra-Girl in private and asks if she trusts him. She answers of course. Spider reveals that he knows she is Centurions daughter. It was so obvious, the strength, neigh-invulnerability, super senses, even her leaping defies known physics. She is shocked and halfheartedly denying it when he bluntly calls out her amazon intuition as N-ray vision. She concedes. Worried she hasn’t been hiding it very well Derek explains it was her Proton signature that gave it away. Derek says it’s like standing before superhero royalty and he doesn’t understand why she is keeping it a secret and he’d have t-shirts made if he was the son of Centurion.

Ultra-Girl says it not like that, she has never met her father and that he abandoned her, likely too busy being a hero to be a father. Furthermore she was left at an orphanage. Derek feels terrible for her and is crushed to learn that his hero is such a terrible person. She asks about Derek’s mother and father who have passed on. Derek promises not to tell anyone else about her secret, it’s up to her to tell them when she chooses.

The next night Ultra-Girl is leaping through the city while on patrol when she spots Jaeger on a roof top. She softly lands to say hello. Jaeger is looking down from the corner of the building to the street. Lights of cars driving by. When Ultra-Girl looks, it doesn’t seem to be anything special, just an intersection. The Jaeger was looking down on the spot where he shot the mind siphon and everything changed for him. Ultra-Girl asks how he is doing and about trying to reconnect with his family. He explains that being around them causes he mind to reel at identifying the last memories and is traumatic for him.

Landing hard on the roof in perfect unison are four 10-foot tall “things” Arborgs.bmp. Followed by a man sized humanoid hovering 4-hexes up. After a few seconds it makes some modem like sounds and they all attack Ultra-Girl. Jaeger hits one of the big robots with a telekinetic blast, which has little effect on it, but does get it’s an attention. If fires deadly beam at the Jaeger, different then the shots being fired at Ultra-Girl. Ultra-Girl manages to tear apart two of the robots while Jaeger goes after the man sized android, but the repeated shots from their arm cannons knocks Ultra-Girl off the seven story building and she goes unconscious. The Jaeger teleports away with Ultra-Girl, but the robots are quick on their trail. Calling for back up Dynamo arrives on his new bike and using the mounted cannon takes out a robot buying time for Jaeger to get Ultra-Girl back to the crash pad.

Dynamo takes out the last tall robot and the man-sized on flees. The readers know that while flying over a scrapyard the android sounds off another dial up modem sound and then collapses. Across the city the damaged robots also fall apart.

Back at the crash pad Jaeger and Ultra-Girl try to figure out what that was all about, but don’t have the answers. Ultra-Girl gives her thanks to Dynamo for the assist.

The next day Ultra-Girl and Jaeger have just finished chasing a stolen armored car through the city controlled by Joyride. Ultra-Girl had braced in front of the armored car creating a spectacular crash. With the vehicle ruined Joyride leaps into a nearby car, but as she tries to race off she discovers that Jaeger using telekinetic force has smashed the wheels. She transfers into another car, but Jaeger has done the same. This pattern continues following a half circle of cars across the intersection. Fatigued she slows down and is finally too exhausted to keep possessing new cars. Too tired to move, Joyride calls for a time out.

Just as the heroes are about to arrest her they hear screams from the gathered crowd. Turning around they see a motley collection of strange aliens with alien weaponry. xeno.squad.jpg
The small one has little tricorder device, pointing at Ultra-Girl and then looks to his companions and nods. They open fire.

Kig-Yar, the hairless jackal looking alien speaks through a garbled voice box translator for “it” to surrender. The red armored Septoid reptilian alien hits a switch on his pulse pistol which changes the lower barrel to the top and shots Ultra-Girl with an electrical web beam that sends all of her muscles into uncontrolled spasms. This makes her an easy target for the large shaved ape alien War’ok to unload his pulse rifle. The Jaeger gets the attention of the Feljurian with a TK blast. It returns fire, but when passively reading it’s aggressive thoughts The Jaegers sees it’s twisted mind wanting to grapple him with his arm tentacle, then next its face tentacles around Jaegers head and then enjoy eating his face off.

Finally breaking from of the entangle Ultra-Girl flees for cover in a nearby construction site. The four aliens are relentless in their pursuit. Ultra-Girl managed to tear the alien gun away from the reptilian. Jaeger blasts back the tentacle faced Feljuian who lands next to a hiding civilian, it gets up and wanting a snack grabs the poor man wrapping it’s tentacles around his face. Jaeger manages to teleport the man out of the monsters’ clutches before his face could be eaten. Ultra-Girl grabs tentacle face and leaps him away from the crowd and into an office building. They battle with each other has Jaeger keeps the others busy.

Now rested Joyride exits the damaged car and tells Jaeger goodbye, he asks for her help. She thinks about it and floats off. Ultra-Girl and the Feljuian return to the street. The strange alien grabs ahold of UG and gets his face tentacles wrapped around her head. With a circular mouth of razor sharp teeth it begins trying to consume her face. Kig-Yar shouts for his companion not to eat the bounty. Jaeger teleports her out of its clutches. She is disgusted.

UG continues to be hit by the powerful pulse rifle wielded by War’ok. Set for another blast that could finish Ultra-Girl a bulldozer from the construction site slams into War’ok. Jaeger and Ultra-Girl look to see no one in the drivers’ seat. It crackles with blue energy and they see Joyride float out of it and looking at Jaeger she playfully says, ”Remember you owe me one” and takes off.

This proves to be a tide turner for the heroes. UG not wanted to get near the Feljuian begins throwing cars at it. Once by they drop the alien bounty hunters. The small one Kig-Yar attempts to escape but is captured by Ultra-Girl. She questions him, but translating through the vox on his belt he invokes some strange intergalactic bounty hunter rights and then shuts up. The Jaeger and Ultra-Girl examine the device it was pointing at UG before the fight when Argus troopers arrive.

Amanda Waller arrives in a second helicopter with a hazmat team where she takes over custody and says unidentified aliens go somewhere else. When asked where she says it’s classified. She asks UG and Jaeger if they communicated with the aliens. Jaeger shares that they seem to be bounty hunters after Ultra-Girl. Waller says if they are sentient enough to communicate then she has ways of making anything talk. Ultra-Girl palms the tricorder device before Waller kicks them out of this now quarantined crime scene.

Back at the Crash Pad Ezekiel examines the device and learns it’s a tracker that works with a transceiver that the mechanical flies can implant. He finds the tracker inside of UG’s left ear and extracts it.

Without knowing why bounty hunters are after UG, but believing more will come Ezekiel suggests she stay at the Crash Pad, at least till The Raven can be reached for advice. The Jaeger agrees and she relents. Ezekiel loves the company but after only a day she is going stir crazy. Ezekiel reports some meta-human disturbance at the Twin Pines Mall. Reports of assault on mall security officers. GCPD has been dispatched. He pauses for a moment and brings up a news report.

From The Daily Sun Digital there are posted cell phone footage from people inside the mall with some bad audio. Several strange figures moving about in the background, one in the foreground is humanoid with pointy ears, a shaved head minus a long pony tail and parts of his body replaced with cybernetics. One hand has a sword another has a 3D hologram of Ultra-Girl from the baseball game and he is screaming at patrons asking where is the one you call Ultra-Girl.

It looked like at least a half dozen figures; one looked like a blob monster, another was a blue female then in one frame was a winged something swooping overhead. Ultra-Girl says she is going, Ezekiel doesn’t argue be summons thee whole team.

Scene for the readers before the heroes arrive. Inside the mall, people are panicked and Raze is frustrated. Looking at a blue skinned shaved head women he says, “Galaxta is there still nothing from that tracker?” she says, “No still nothing Raze.”

He looks over at a slim green alien female with twin antenna and says, “Nihla, tell me again why we are looking for our bounty in this market place?” [Nihla says] “Well when you sent me out to scout I found a group of young adults and asked them where do young earth females congregate. At first they didn’t answer and asked me about Cosplay, whatever that is, but eventually directed me to the mall. “

The five heroes arrive at the mall shortly before the police. Many of the mall patrons have dropped prone and are too afraid to move. The bounty hunters are still asking about UG. Leading the charge she says you’ve found me, now what. Raze tells her to surrender quietly and it won’t be so painful for her.

Unimpressed by Raze she declines. He introduces himself as Raze ”leader of The Reavers, the best mercenaries and bounty hunters in the galaxy!” Nihla chimes in, “Um Raze not to correct you or anything, but isn’t Key loc still the best bounty hunter or did he retire or something?” Rolling his eye and trying to stay calm, “I meant as teams go we are the best, the best team of hunters.” She says, “Oh, alright great, sorry I said anything.”

Raze makes introduction of his team:

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pointing at a pink winged avian alien named Fletcha. Then a orange skinned alien with one eye called Cy. A slender green skinned girl with twin antenna called Nihla. Next to her is a red/orange blob named Slug. Next a large grey furred alien who is the 9 circuit champion Roarstarr. Followed by a six armed women with six swords named Hex. Then lastly his right hand woman Galaxta who has blue skin and cybernetics. Raze orders her to get the ship ready, as this won’t take long.

She leaves and the fighting begins. Overburn squares off against the winged alien Fletcha. Dynamo squares off with Cy, Ultra-Girl with Roarstarr, Slug and Nihla. The spider faces down Hex and Raze. Nihla says, “She likes Ultra-Girl’s garment.” Surprised she says thanks. The Jaeger fires a ego blast at Nihla which gets her and Slug’s attention. Cy seeming pleasant enough gives Dynamo the chance to retreat, they only want Ultra-Girl. Dynamo itching for a fight declines.

The spider quickly traps Hex in a web and then keeps Raze busy. Nihla’s strange alien martial arts quickly gets Jaeger on the ropes and he is forced to keep moving. The Slug travels by a hover disc and keeps pace with him. After taking a few blows Overburn takes out Flectcha which gets the ire of her previously calm boyfriend Cy. Ultra-Girl in a stalemate with Roarstarr throws him through a wall into the dressing room of a Hawaiian shirt store and gives him over to Dynamo while she helps Overburn with the flying brick Cy.

Dynamo pounds Roarstarr a few times before he even gets up, but when he does he grabs Dynamo and uses him as a battering ram through several different storefront walls and pillars. The Spider dispatches Raze and when he goes down hard, he instantly teleports away. Slug finally gets a hold of Jaeger and toxins from his touch starts putting Jaeger to sleep. Fletcha gets back up and seeing UG about to land a haymaker on Cy attempts a grab by, but UG holds her ground. Overburn shoots her out of the sky once again and UG finishes Cy hard and he auto teleports away.

Nihla squares off against UG. She asks why they want her. Nihla doesn’t know, Raze handles the business, but she does know she is worth 24 Fire Stones alive. Nihla assumes UG must be some kind of dangerous criminal to be worth so much. UG is surprised at Nihla’s kindly demeanor compared to some of the other Reavers. Without malice Nihla says that she has never lost a one on one fight so don’t feel bad when I defeat you, and then attacks.

On the other side Roarstarr throws Dynamo across the mall through a wall and into a greeting cards store. Hex finally breaks out and causes The Spider to go on the defense. Overburn targets Slug giving Jaeger time to catch his breath. UG not wanting to hurt Nihla tears a chunk of a pillar and raises it over her head trying to scare Nihla into backing off. Nihla giggles at this threat and then apologizes not wanting to be rude. UG says she’ll toss this pillar on her. Nihla leaps up and shatters the pillar into dust before landing again.

Nihla uses some advance pressure point jabs to weaken UG. Having enough she punches Nilha sending her stunned and flying. Before she can get up again Overburn switches targets and blasts Nihla while still on her back. UG scoops her up to protect her from any further Overburn attacks.

As Nihla comes around again UG comments that even though defeated her record still holds, since she wasn’t defeated in single combat. Nihla thanks her for that. Shortly after the Spider knocks out Hex and she auto teleports away. Galaxta from their ship sees they won’t win the fight and starts to teleport the rest of the team one by one. UG says how she likes Nihla’s green skin and lets her in on a secret, UG’s skin used to be blue. Nihla asks what is she, but is then teleported away.

With the The Reavers gone, they still don’t know why someone has a bounty on Ultra-Girl, but she is over hiding in the Crash Pad.

The next day while UG is on patrol she catches Jaeger following her. Just as she is confronting him a lone bounty hunter steps from the shadows. Key_loc.jpg The Jaeger accurately guesses this is the famous Key’loc. They battle with the bounty hunter who uses an assortment of key weapons from explosion keys to trapping them in energy cages that Jaeger can’t teleport out of him. Finally having both temporary trapped he teleports the heroes away in to hardened energy cages in his ship. The cells fill with gas knocking them out before UG can break free.

They awake manacled with inhibiter collars that drains their powers. Six 9’ tall robots with two arms, but their legs end atop a single sphere. Along with Key’loc they are being marched down a corridor of a dark grey metal walls lined with ornate filigree. They enter a large throne room with grand windows showing they are in deep space.

Six more robots flank a large humanoid man in ornate blue armor and a purple cape. Xonerax.jpg He looks mostly human except his oversized brow and white orbed eyes. In a deep voice he gives thanks to Key’loc and presents payment. A robot opens a case of large diamond like stones that burn with fire inside.

“Well deserved after so many others had failed and she is unarmed, good because I want to kill her myself.”

Looking at Ultra-Girl he introduces himself, “My name is Xonerax, the last of the Xengarians and you are on board my ship The Equinox. I have gone through great lengths to find you Ta’karian and today will be my first step for vengeance!”

UG asks why does he want to kill her, what has she done? Furious that she would say that he explains that his people where near immortals that lived for thousands of years. A peaceful people who had evolved past war and conflict several millennia ago. Until the Terminus came and wiped them all out. Not just their home world, but entire solar systems and then the dimension itself. Xonerax used to be a trans-dimensional explorer seeking out knowledge and true understanding of the multiverse in his ship the Equinox. After a 200 year journey he attempted to return home and found the entire dimension destroyed and consumed by Lord Omega and The Terminus.

All the rage thought bred out of his people was merely only suppressed and it had boiled to the surface and erupted like a great volcano. He tried a direct assault on Lord Omega’s floating home Abolition, but never got close to the destroyer of worlds. Xonerax had since spent centuries looking for a way to exact retribution. He attempted to track The Terminus invasions and spy for a moment when Lord Omega would reveal himself or even his daughter Ledra. Over the centuries he even tried a few times to save the doomed people, but Omega’s war machine is limitless.

Recently while exploring a dimension under attack Xonerax learned that Lord Omega had a granddaughter and that she did not reside under the protection of Abolition. “I’ve searched the last three years for you, scanning worlds upon worlds for Ta’karian DNA and now I have you. Know when I kill you Lord Omega will finally feel a fraction of the pain I have endured.”

Ultra-Girl is truly saddened to hear what befell his people, but tells him that Lord Omega wants her dead, she was on Earth in hiding from him. Xonerax refuses to believe it, and asks why Omega would want his own heir dead. UG explains that Lord Omega only wants a male heir. One of his Xonobots confirms through its advance sensors that she is speaking the truth. Upon hearing this Xonerax loses it, smashing pillars and firing a gauntlet laser beam destroying a favored relic. He storms up to Ultra-Girl and wraps his hand around her throat, lifting her off the ground and squeezing. She is too though for her neck to break, but she could be killed by suffocation. Realizing that killing her would be doing Lord Omega a favor he releases her. Exhausted from disappointment he lumbers back to his throne.

From there he pays Key’loc another fire stone to take them both back to earth. Key’loc anxious to be away takes them to his ship and separates from the Equinox. Once away from Xonerax Key’loc takes off their chains and the three of them ride six hours back in silence.

Back in Grand City Key’loc having heard who she is says the should be glad that Lord Omega isn’t in the habit of hiring bounty hunters, less she have to see him again. Jaeger and Ultra-Girl are teleported back to the roof top they were captured on.

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New Guardians Issue 19
Amazing Adatoids

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Issue Cover: TBD
Issue Title: Amazing Adatoids

View
New Guardians Issue 17
Crime Wave, part II

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The comic open to just outside of the Federal Gold Reserve in Grand City. The background shows the City-Master APC turned over with Ultra-Girl dragging out injured Intergang members. The Jaeger teleports down to street level while Overburn has called for Price techs to come and pick up the six defeated Guardsmen suits. The Jaeger reads the minds of a few Intergangers and finds one that knows more than most. Reading the mind of a squad leader Greg Santinni reveals the leader of this branch of Intergang is Tobias Whale, but he isn’t currently calling all the shots. Some wiry man they call The Wizard has been handling the logistics. He is a tech genius and the reason why even the former inner circle of Whale’s crew has been kept in the loop on everything.

Santinni isn’t supposed to know this, but he overheard that right after this gold heist the shipment is supposed met up with all the other stolen goods so far and get shipped out of Grand City on the Monorail today during rush hour (which is right about now). This appears to be another genius plan because some cars will have the loot and others will be hostages in waiting should anyone try and stop them. Santinni doesn’t know which train and there are over 50 possible or which station it’ll leave from.

The Spider returns and says the second City-Master got away, but he placed a Spider-Tracer on it and can track it within 50 miles. Ultra-Girl is impressed by The Spiders’ gadgets and intelligence which seems to upset Overburn. The tracer shows the City-Master has stopped at a monorail maintenance station. With Price techs now on site handling the Guardsmen suits the group takes off.

The heroes arrive to a maintenance station for the blue line Monorail. Inside they find a few injured and unconscious guards and transit employees. The City Master is parked and empty. Heightened senses reveal signs of large and heavy items been loaded/unloaded. While checking on the injured a transit employee Sam Rogan comes around and tells the heroes that Intergang broke in and told them all to get on the floor, but their leader dressed in a suit with greased back hair said they don’t have time for this and told his men to open fire.

Mr. Rogen looks at the Blue track system. He says Blue-3 left with eight cars 7-minutes ago. He tries to power it down, but the system has been hacked. It’s already stopped twice to pick up passengers at stations 32 & 49. But now it’s off course, it should have stopped at station 61, but it’s vanished, no readings coming from the blue line. Sam can’t track it on the computer, but the track power grid is showing power to an old Inter-city track. It’s an old line that leaves the city to an outdated network of hubs that were supposed to connect to other cities, but it was never successful so it was taken off line more than a decade ago. It’s over a hundred miles to the hub, but there are lot of places that it could stop to unload.

The four heroes race through the city and follow the only track leaving out of the city. With Ultra-Girl and The Jaeger far ahead the Spider runs out of tall buildings latch on and swing. He sees Overburn rocketing overhead and has a split second to lash on to him for a free ride. Overburn looks down and see what the spider is doing. Thinking about Ultra-Girl’s early praises to The Spider he decides to reveal the limitations of the Spider’s powers and shoots the webbing telling The Spider no free rides. The Spider falls and webs to the elevated track avoiding becoming a wet spot on the ground, but his comlink is damaged in the fall. Without tall buildings The Spider can’t swing fast enough to catch a speeding train. Leaving only three heroes to tackle the challenge ahead.

The three reach the speeding monorail train and look around. The eight cars are sequenced between a car full of loot and Intergangers and then one full of passengers. The heroes are spotted and 20 Intergangers spill through the top hatches including a few with energy cannons. The Jaeger not caring that knocking an Interganger off of the train would be fatal to them he unleashes a blast of pure kinetic energy at a cannon wielder. The ganger is KO’d and in a moment will slide off of the speeding train elevated 10 stories off of the ground. Ultra-Girl yells at The Jaeger to be careful and grabs the unconscious thug leaving her wide open to attacks. The Intergangers attack back and Ultra-Girl is struck dozens of times, The Jaeger is clipped by an energy blast, and is knocked off of the train. Overburn flying alongside the train uses evasive maneuvers, but is left far behind as the train moves.

Jaeger teleports to the track before hitting the dirt, but now can’t catch up to it. Overburn spends his time catching back up to the train leaving 18 gangers with only one target, Ultra-Girl. She stands her ground for several seconds, but is finally taken out by an energy cannon and falls unconscious on the tracks. The Jaeger stops to help her while Overburn works on a plan to stop the train.

He flies up to the front of the train and begins laser torch cutting the car connectors to separate the lead engine from the rest of the train. A young boy sees this out the window, but keeps quiet so the Intergangers aren’t alerted, Overburn gives the kid a thumbs up. Overburn has to reach the other side of the train, but to remain out of sight of the very alert gangers, he has to match speed with the train and fly under the elevated track. While doing so he shows amazing flight control having to avoid the cross bars under the bridge at nearly 400 miles per hour. He reaches the other side finishing the wielding. Then with this suits’ strength separates the engine from the eight cars. It takes ten miles, before it finally stops.

Overburn keeps the Intergangers busy while Ultra-Girl and The Jaeger catch up, but the three heroes are too greatly out number and hails of blaster fire takes out Overburn and Ultra-Girl. The Jaeger alone knows he can’t win, but attempts to rescue his teammates. He performs a daring rescue of Ultra-Girl by teleporting in the car she is lying in and using telekinesis to bar most of the gangers out. Max pushes his combat teleport further then he has ever before to get him and UG from the car to ten stories done under the elevated track before the Intergangers bust in. He next teleports UG to safety far away and comes back to do the same for Overburn. Once they are safely back at the crash pad he teleports back under the stopped train and begins reading the Intergangers minds looking for their leader.

He finds Romeo Rubissi’s mind who is a very sadistic and vein man. He is a member of Whale’s inner circle. Jaeger learns that Romero is rerouting stolen giant military helicopters to pick up the stolen goods. Max does learn that they don’t have a need to take or harm the hostages. He digs deeper in his mind to gleam the Guardsmen suits are not on the train, but are being kept at an old warehouse in Steel Park where Intergang members are being trained in using the suits. Once trained they’ll own the city. Both Whale and The Wizard are there as well. The Jaeger teleports back to a Crashpad node.

The Jaeger begins to fill in Overburn and Ultra-Girl on what he learned when The Spider arrives furious at Overburn and sits down rubbing his swore feet. The two argue over what Overburn did and how the villains got away and with over 300 million in loot because of Overburn’s attitude and hot-headedness. Ultra-Girl is feeling depressed at her failure, but everyone is relieved to learn from The Jaeger that the hostages are safe. The Jaeger explains about the location of the suits and Mr. Whale and that this bickering should be shelved for another time. Overburn suggests he can handle this himself, but the others refuse to let him go alone, since they’re all invested in stopping Intergang.

On a roof top across from the warehouse in Steel Park the four heroes survey the scene. Ultra-Girl announces through her amazon intuition that Whale, The Wizard and the suits are inside. The Guardsmen suits are training, shooting up cars and concrete blocks.

Lex Price knows that his personal fail safe overrides for the suits have been disabled by whoever is Intergang’s tech genius, but by patching into the suits auto-syncing soft-ware which allows their targeting computers to work with one another he can hack back in and insert a virus to destroy the firewall and shut the suits down. One drawback is that he needs to be within 60 meters so that the suits will read it as another Guardsmen suit trying to sync up. Should take less than a minute once he finishes writing the virus and initiates it. Overburn tells them the plan that he can have all the suits shut down in a minute, then they can go in and mop up the other two dozen Intergangers inside.

Unknown to Lex once he starts the process, Damian Shutter gets an alert on his computer because he is running suit diagnostics on the Guardsmen tech. Shutter tells Mr. Whale. Whale starts to call for an evacuation, but The Wizard says he can handle this. The heroes see two sets of roll up doors open and 22 Guardsmen suits take flight towards them, with Shutter tracking the syncing signal. The Spider gulps at the vast number of armored suits coming their way.

Through a PA system on each suit speaks “Well, well if it isn’t the famous Overburn. Nice try with using the targeting sync to hack into Mr. Prices suits. It’s a shame your hacking skills are not as good as mine, because you’ll be dead before your little virus can temporary shutdown the suits. This will be another win for The Wizard.”

Overburn tells Ultra-Girl, Jaeger and The Spider that the virus only has 13 more seconds, but if his suit is shut down then so will the connection and syncing, they have to protect him at all cost for 13 seconds. Overburn backs up and Jaeger takes his side. Ultra-Girl leaps through the middle of them and get six of their attentions. The Spider leads another six on a chase through a neighboring building leaving Jaeger and Overburn to deal with 10 of them. The pilots barely know what they are doing often times activating the wrong function when trying to shoot, but when the get it right it’s devastating as Ultra-Girl quickly found out taking a massive wide-beam blast dazing her for a second. The sheer numbers are overwhelming. The Jaeger takes one down while trying to avoid exploding beams. Overburn uses his greater skill and flight power to lead them on a chase so that they can only use lesser attacks against him.

Meanwhile The Wizard begins to move the Guardsmen suits around like chess pieces having them fight more efficiently. As only a few seconds remain The Wizard gets frantic and orders all of them to converge on Overburn. Using evasive maneuvers he survives a large volley, but is literally cornered. Jaeger, The Spider and Ultra-Girl are just a little too far away to help now, but just as they are about to light Overburn up, the virus drops the fire wall and Lex gives the personal override command to shut down the suits. As Overburn lands with a Clink on the ground the 22 suits shut down in a wave of dominos trapping the gangers inside. The other heroes are impressed and Overburn even provides a compliment to the others for taking some of the heat of him, but the good nature quickly turns back to infighting.

Inside the warehouse The Wizard is shocked and turns to Tobias Whale, but he is already gone apparently not trusting that Shutter could stop the New Guardians. The heroes bust in and mop up the remaining Intergangers. Ultra-Girl sees a sub-basement lift that Whale must have escaped through and it’s protected by a force wall. She hits it and discovers it’s a Reflective Energy Field and an equal amount of force is shocked back into her hand sending her flying into a wall.

Overburn catches The Wizard trying to sneak out. Damien try to touch Overburn with some hi-tech stun device, but his reflexes are too slow and Overburn squeezes his wrist forcing him to drop it. Shutter says he got lucky this time. Overburn replies this is proof that Lex Price is smarter than him or he won’t need to steal Price’s work. Shutter explains that he only had the tech for a few days and almost did better with the systems then the man who designed it. Overburn gets pissed at this and slams Shutter a little too hard and he goes unconscious. The other heroes meet up and reveal that Mr. Whale got away. Overburn does a count and no more suits are here, meaning two are still missing.

They wake up Damien and question him. In a gloating manner he reveals his name is Damien Shutter and that he’d never betray Intergang because they saw potential in him and paid for his schooling. He would rat out Whale, but he doesn’t know where he has gone. He also says that Intergang will find a way to get him out, he is too valuable because of his intelligence. Overburn lets it slip that it was actually he that wrote the virus on the spot and it wasn’t a team of techs at Price like he said before. Revealing to the other heroes that he isn’t just some pilot.

The Jaeger tries to read Shutter’s mind, but he knew it was coming and is strong willed enough to resist him going deeper then surface thoughts. Overburn threatens to throw him into hot sleep at Argus, but The Spider and Ultra-Girl protest. Overburn says then he’ll lock him up in a cell in Price Tower till he reveals the locations of the two missing suits and because he is too dangerous. Again UG and The Spider protest and accuse him off blowing this all way out of proportion, he is doesn’t even have super powers and we aren’t taking vigilante justice here. The Jaeger takes a middle ground and agrees he needs to be well secured, but just in a cell far away from tech, and not at Price towers. The Police arrive and to Overburn’s distaste they cart away Damien Shutter.

The page turns to the next night Lex Price is arm-in-arm Catarina Bulvosky, the current Prima Ballerina of the Moscow Ballet, walking down the red carpet of a charity event to save the Elephants in Africa. A man in a dark trench coat hops over the little barricade and walks intently straight for Lex with a dead pan expression. When only a few steps away he reaches into his coat…then draws a set of folded blue papers places it in Lex’s breast pocket while saying. “Mr. Price, you’ve been served”.

The document is an official notice of Inheritance dispute for the estate of Gabriel Price. Filed by the law firm Toalson Addler on behalf of Client Maria Anderson. The document claims Sophia Anderson is the solo living child of Gabriel Price. A second document is an immediate Cease and Desist order removing Alexander Price from acting President and Board Chair of Price Industries until the matter of inheritance is resolved. Signed by Judge Horatio Alger. Lex recalls hearing the last name of the Judge before. He recalls very briefly dating a Samantha Alger once, on a spur of the moment trip to Italy where Lex met a super model and ditched Alger with a first class plane ticket home.

End of Issue #17

View
New Guardians Issue 16
Crime Wave

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View
New Guardians Issue 15
Scene Test

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First panel opens to a flash back to just days after stopping Gorbok The Overmind. About two weeks before the end of issue #14]

Lex Price is just finishing getting dressed from clothes laid out by Ian, for a night out on the town. Lex finishing the last button feels a draft from an open window, assuming it Ian opening the window Lex says, “How do I look?” The Raven steps out of the shadows and says, “I can think of a suit you look better in.”

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The Raven has a one on one talk with Lex. He notes that his brother Gabriel Price is a pompous ass and one of the most arrogant men he has ever known, but after being inspired by Centurion he out grew his selfishness and knew what it meant to have responsibilities, even if he didn’t like it. What kind of man will Lex be? Lex says he doesn’t want to be a leader, but he also isn’t a follower.

The Raven says, Lex’s attitude the last time was unbecoming and a bad influence on the other members, but helping save the city from Bockhurst has earned him a second chance and a fresh start. If he wants it. If yes then join us at the Crash pad tonight. As Lex is thinking about it The Raven tells Lex he missed a button and when Lex looks up again The Raven is gone.

Later that night The Spider and Ultra-Girl are in the crash pad talking about their experience in the Fable reality when Providence Pope walks up to them and gives apologies about UG’s hair.

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A few minutes later they hear the teleporter activate announcing New Guardian designation 002. Both heroes are shocked when Overburn enters. He claims that The Raven begged him to come back and lets UG get the impression that he is the new team leader. OB finally notices the teenage girl in pig tails and introductions are made. OB makes a joke that she is a new member of the team. The Spider and UG tell him about her realty powers, but OB doesn’t believe it and ends up hurting the young girl’s feelings. She storms off to cry.

The Raven arrives and says that he has found someone who can help watch over Ms. Pope and teach her to control her powers. He directs The Spider, UG and Overburn to escort Ms. Pope there as Priest will be able to track here outside of the Crash Pad. Until concealed she is in danger of abduction again.

The Raven merely gives them an address 771 Greenwich Street, Empyrial Heights. SanctumSanctorum.jpg They teleport as close to the address as possible and arrive for an old stately mansion. The door is answered by an Egyptian manservant named Sallah who notes they are expected and gives them permission to enter. When he does each of the heroes feels the hairs on the back of their neck rise.

The entry way consist of beautiful old wood work that has been expertly cared for, but never updated. Expensive vases, but with lifeless flower stalks. As they move in deeper they see old portraits of a distinguished man dressed in clothes of eras long ago and paintings of Egypt. They experience a very strange walk through parts of the house. Gaining vertigo while looking down a hallway a mile long and then shrinking back to a normal size. At one point they near a door that bows out and creeks then a cascade of blood oozes down it. The heroes freak and ask Sallah what is that. He turns to look and is surprised. He issues a command in some ancient tongue and the door settles back to normal. He gives a quizzical look to Providence and ushers them into a very large study.

The room’s walls are mostly covered by book shelves atop small draw cabinets. A spire wrought iron stair case goes up to a second floor where a circular seven point star stain glass window resides. The room is filled with small oddities, from mummy hands to an old rotary telephone displayed on a pedestal. Sitting before a fire place is a man deep in thought who lifts an empty wine goblet to his mouth. As he moves a bottle of wine magically floats up and pours wine into the goblet.

Sallah makes introductions of the heroes to Dr. Adrian Eldrich. Doctor Eldrich seems very distracted and un-interested at the costumed heroes must to Overburn’s dismay. Eldrich.png The Doctor looks at a stopped clock on the mantle and seems reminded of the meeting. Ultra-Girl mentions that they are superheroes sent by the Raven. He is unimpressed by super heroes and appears to have some distaste for The Raven, which shocks everyone. He does seem to take an interest in Ms. Pope. He asks here who her parents are. She replies “Harold and Mary Pope, sir”. This means nothing to him. He asks UG and The Spider of what powers they witnessed.

The explain and Dr. Eldrich agrees it was wise for The Raven to send her here. He agrees to teacher her to control her powers, if she proves she can learn. UG and The Spider don’t feel safe leaving her here in this strange house with this this jerkish doctor. UG asks why they should trust him to protect Providence.

With a small laugh he explains that unlike superheroes who focus protecting only the material plain he protects all aspects of this dimension and its realms from constant dangers. He first gives an analogy of a spider’s web interconnecting and the lone spider having to repair breaks, but when The Spider puffs up his chest so Eldrich changes it to an example of a string of pearls.

Joking around The Spider goes to pick up the receiver on the old rotary phone, but just before he touches it Eldrich sounds a booming voice of authority to stop. The Spider does and Eldrich explains if he would have raised that to his ear a powerful poltergeist would have killed him instantly.

Ultra-Girl asks how long would Providence have to stay here? Eldrich says it could take her 10 years not to be a danger to herself and that’s if he wasn’t already spending that kind of time in his busy schedule saving the world from things The Raven wouldn’t understand. Everyone except Overburn objects. Eldrich is rooting around in several drawers and pulls out an old necklace and says, “but with the aid of the Amulet of Ka’arven-nah her raw powers can be greatly dampened. Perhaps a week or two of testing and study and with the amulet she can be allowed to leave, but she must return on a daily basis for training.”

Dr. Eldrich suggests they give if they want to exit this house in Grand City, they should do so now. In two minutes they’ll be stepping out in London. The group is confused so the doctor explains this house is built atop a nexus, a confluence of dimensional barriers and magical energies. The houses wards contain the nexus. It also exists in multiple places at different times. Should they leave in 14 minutes they would really not like it. Overburn asks if it’s Jersey, which cracks up The Spider.

They say their goodbyes to Providence and exit while still in Grand City. Once outside the three stand cautious back and watch the house, but once the two minutes is up nothing happens. A old man walking a dog is staring at the strange sight of New Guardians standing in the street gawking. UG ask if he knows who lives here and the old man says no one, the building is condemned.

The readers get a panel view of what the old man sees, which is just a boarded up version of the 771 Greenwhich St. Mansion.

The next page in the comic takes the readers back to current timeline and exactly where Issue #14 ended.

The Raven speaks with UG and Overburn about ex-State Police Criminal Investigation Division Det. Wolfgang Maximilian Schaefer and explain why they brought him to the Crash Pad. The Raven looks up his record. He received several commendations working vice in Grandbay. He should have been promoted to a captain by now, but turned down the promotions before moving to CID. He checks sealed internal affairs files and there are no valid complaints, just some rough handling of a serial rapist. The Raven notes he is a rare clean cop.

Ezekiel has Max sedated and monitored. He is having terrible dreams and muttering germen in his sleep. Ezekiel translates, it’s an old German folk lore called Jäger und das Biest. It’s a tale about a shadowy monster that plagues the forests corrupting the forest animals into violent blood thirsty beasts that kills villagers and spreads to other animals. Eventually a brave hunter, a Jäger goes after das Biest. It takes more than a year, but the Jäger tracks it down and slays it, upon death the shadowy beast transfers into a sickly bear and the Jäger realizes something awful corrupted it. It’s not the end of the Jäger’s journey only the beginning. The morale is that evil all ways lurks around the next corner.

Sometime later Ezekiel’s scans reports normal brain activity from Max, The Raven gives the order to have him woken up. Max awakes up in a strange place, but his severe headaches are gone. He only has fragmented memories of the battle. He mostly remembers hearing the thoughts of so many terrible people. And then dreamed about an old German Folktale that his mother used to read to him every night, which is the first personal memory he has.

They explain what he did with his powers, it seems surreal to Max. He is asked to try and move a cup sitting on a tray with TK. On the second attempt, concentrating Max’s face begins to shadow over and his blue eyes glow, then a blast of force is unleashed and the entire tray is thrown across the room and into the wall. He starts to hear voices from the PC’s surface thoughts and then from minds further and further way until it becomes unbearable. Max starts to lose control, a tempest fills the room, and then The Raven judo chops Max into unconsciousness.

Ezekiel shows the brain activity scans of Max from moments ago and it is nearly off of the charts. Rating at Lady Azure level power and it was still climbing. The Raven says this is extremely dangerous to have power even close to Lady Azures without her life time of training and physiology. Ultra-Girls asks what can they do for him, he is a hero cop and doesn’t deserve to be locked away.

Next scene is of The Raven with Max sitting down in a small room, dim lighting. The Raven explains that the psychic power with in Max is not constantly active, it’s dormant and appears to be residing in a tree root like system throughout the brain. The inactivity is close to the brains’ electrical signals that diminish in some parts of the brain while asleep and other parts awaken while dreaming. The Raven continues. ”This is at best a fringe science and one which I’m not an expert at, but I believe you have the ability to turn it on and off, which takes self-control and that is something I’m an expert at”.

Over a montage period The Raven teaches Max some ancient centering and focus techniques. In some scenes we see the walls come down and are in the hazard room w/ Max losing control and having to be sedated. Other scenes he loses control, but calms himself before having to be KO’d.

Eventually The Raven is satisfied enough to have Max practice with OB and UG. OB doesn’t waste any time and attacks. Max is not nearly has powerful as the first time they fought since he has to keep his powers in a controllable range so not to lose control. UG is just sparring with Max, but OB is really egging him on. Finely OB uses an exploding beam to knock Max down and then delivers a punishing cheap shot. Max maintains control and The Raven calls the fight. He is proud of Max’s progress and gives him permission to leave. He does warn Max from trying to read the minds of the New Guardians. Upon parting The Raven asks Max to think about what he wants to do with his new life.

A scene just for the readers:

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Tobias Whale is before a table of his intergang thugs and is furious. “Losing the occasional score and soldiers to some mask is always the price of business and factored into the business model, but these so called New Guardians are causing too much loss. Especially that despicable Spider. He ruined our shipment of new test weapons, which would have brought this city to its knees.”

Some thug chimes in saying, “Yah and he disrespected you by calling you all those names and stuff.”

Mr. Whale grins and punches him through a brick wall before continuing “As I was saying this can’t stand I want those masks dead, each and every last one, but bring The Spider to me alive.” His men say “We’ll get him for you mister Whale.” Whale replies, “Don’t be fools I’m bringing in some specialists.”

The next day Max is on the street and hears a nearby banks alarms go off and spots an armored vehicle in front that he recognizes as an Intergang Rover. Intergang_Rover.jpg Not a police officer any more he pauses unsure what to do. Meanwhile Ultra-Girl and Overburn are on patrol and respond to the alarm. UG walks up to the doors and shouts to release the hostages and take her instead. Their reply is a volley of laser blasts.

UG and OB storm in to find eight Intergang thugs holding up the place. Max awakens his mental powers and moves in closer for a better look. UG gets blasted out of the bank and sees Max there. The three heroes makes short work of the hi-tech thugs. Just then Supervillains Inferno and TIN-Man exit the vault with another four thugs to ambush the heroes.

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They are disappointed that The Spider isn’t there, because he is worth double, but 8 million each will still do for Overburn and Ultra-Girl. TIN-Man and Overburn square off determined to see who has the best armored suit, while UG tries to lure Inferno way from the hostages. Max gives Inferno an egoblast and in return gets blasted out of the building and loses consciousness. Inferno is just about to kill Max when UG distracts him by throwing the Rover at him. Overburn trades blow for blow with TIN-Man, but with the squad of thugs still shooting Overburn is taken out. UG haymakers TIN-Man finishing off Overburns work, but Inferno escapes.

The media arrives and they want to know who is the mysterious new hero with shadows for a face. Not sure what to do Max introduces himself as The Jäger and teleports away.

The next day Alex is given another chance to hang with her old crew. They have been excluding her a lot in the evenings, and/or ditching her late at night. Tonight Alex and Marcie meet Lainie and Becca in an alley, which is a short cut for a lot of the bronze pin students of Empire High. Lainie and Becca are on top of a rusty old fire escape. Lainie is standing on a long plank of would that extends well past the end of the fire escape. Becca is out on the plank spray painting the top part of that strange symbol onto the brick wall.

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The fire escape jerks, pulling bolts out of the wall, there is only a brief second before it all collapses down and on top of Alex and Marcie and likely killing all of her friends. Alex has to think fast on who to save them without blowing her secret ID. Alex quick slides a dumpster underneath a falling Becca, this places Marice between the other wall and the dumpster giving her a pocket of safety from the soon to be falling debris and Alex shouts to Lainie to jump into the dumpster. She does and Alex shuts the lid as a thousand pounds of iron collapses on her.

Alex fakes like she was lucky and just pinned. Strangers come to help and free Alex. As soon as they hear sirens Alex suggests they run since tagging is illegal. Alex breaks a lock to the back of a hardware store and they hide out. After talking about how lucky they all were Alex asks why there where tagging that wall with that symbol. The girls hush up, but decide to trust her since she kind of saved their lives.

They explain that the symbol originally is supposed to be placed in covert places where only likeminded people would see it, and special people would look at it and feel drawn to it. Alex feigns likes she feels something when she looks at it. They continue it to keep people curious. Alex asks why? Lainie says a few weeks ago they went to this secret little meeting they heard from some college kids. They went as a joke, but it was kind of interesting and went back again for the free coffee and realized it was kind of cool. They’ve been to five meetings now and spreading the symbol around town. Lainie says maybe they’ll invite Alex to the next meeting, if she posts a bunch of stickers.

A few days later The Raven leaves a note in Max’s apartment summoning him to a dead end alley. This teleports him into the Crash Pad where he speaks with UG till The Raven calls them into the control room.

The Raven gives an assignment to Ultra-Girl and The Jäger. Next Halloween will be the 25th anniversary of the classic horror film The Terror. The studio Mountain Peak is going to try and capitalize on this and do a reboot of the movie. A second attempt at a reboot is more accurate. The first one failed ten years ago when the original star Basil Carlyle got jealous that he wasn’t cast to play the Terror in the reboot. He used an experimental make up from The Chameleon to disguise himself and went mad killing the actors in order of their death in the original film. The medial named him TerrorFirma and he was stopped by Raven-Girl and Lady Azure.

Carlyle was one of the escapes from Argus, and he got away from UG and The Spider several weeks ago. The new director, Sam Keen wants it filmed at the original studio 14 on Mountain Peak’s old lot, filming started last week and on the first day a practical effect air canister was filled with nails and killed an actor named Nick White. The film is back in production tomorrow. The Raven believes Carlyle is at his own tricks again, he just can’t help himself.

Max and UG go to the studio lot that night undercover to scope it out. Max uses his old badge to get in. Once inside UG gets excited to learn that Michael Hamm the heartthrob is one of the stars. She goes to his dressing room and steals a piece of paper with his costume measurements. Max checks the scene of the death, which is right next to a fake lake scene used in the finale of the film. He finds a clog of dirt which stands out since the tuff is all artificial.

They comeback the next day in costumes. And meet the producer Kevin McDowell and Director Sam Keen. Keen immediately locks onto Ultra-Girl covering her in compliments and how she has that old Hollywood look. He explains his vision for this move, which is to renew the original director Daniel Inman’s masterpiece. The only reason he is doing a remake is because he bought the old script from Inman’s estate and found a version of the script that was better than the original and the reason why Inman changed the ending at the last minute, but it’s a secret. Max grows impatient and reads Keen’s surface thoughts. He learns that Inman although married fell in love his male lead and changed the ending to leave the character live. Sam Keen feels the intrusion in his mind and freaks out demanding Jäger be thrown off set and storms off.

The heroes explain to the Producer that they believe Carlyle killed the first actor and will kill more. Kevin tells them in what order the new cast will die in and next is Rufus Grant. Max goes and checks on Grant while UG has a in-depth artiest talk with Sam Keen, who gets himself inspired and continues the shooting for the day.

Both of the heroes are watching the movie magic happen. They are filming a scene where the young heroine Teresa Young played by Amy Andrews invites her boyfriend Donovan, played by the dreamy Michael Hamm and their friends to her mother’s lake cabin for the weekend. Then a overhead light breaks and molten metal rains down onto Rufus’ Grants mark. He isn’t there because UG swooped in and moved him in the nick of time. Max mentally scans the panicked crowd of 30 extras in the courtyard and finds one mind that isn’t scared, but anger. Max follows the young man, but then he vanishes. A young woman walks up to see if Rufus is alright, but UG spots the arm behind her back is a dirt spike and interposes. The young woman speaks in a gravelly voice that they will all know the true meaning of Terror! And transforms into TerrorFirma. TerrorFirma.jpg

The cast scatters and Ultra-Girl shouts for Michael Hamm, he turns around and she makes a “Call Me” motions before belting TerrorFirma in the face. Max’s mental attacks seem to affect the monster only partially, his mind is so fluid and changing. Both the heroes trade blow for blow with the beast. He turns from more solid soil into lose mud, but no matter how hard they hit him he just keeps on getting up. Finally they heroes realize they can beat him into stopping and have to find another way.

Ultra-Girl remembers the lake set and grabs TerrorFirma running him across set while his oversized fists pound on her. She is forced to dive into the lake with him before he can break out of her grip. Max hears the splash. TerrorFirma begins to separate into a muddy film atop the dark waters, while UG sinks.

Max runs over and waits for one or both to come up. After a while he gets concerned for UG and dives in. Max can barely see underwater and doesn’t know if he is swimming towards UG or The Terror. He takes a risk and grabs a dark shape, its UG and she screams underwater ”I can’t swim” Max grabs her, but she panics and brings them both deeper down this fake lake. Max discovering he can’t teleport underwater finds himself on the verge of dying unable to break her grip and enters her mind. He dives deeper than her surface panic to reach her reason. He calms her enough to let him drag her to the surface. Once on the banks of the lake UG thanks Max for saving her life.

TerrorFirma’s bits are trying to reform, but they are too wet to do so and it’s a concrete lake so he has no soil to escape through. Argus agents arrive and using pool skimmers collect him into eight clear plastic containers.

Ultra-Girl speaks to the media and plugs the movie for Sam Keen and gives a shout out to Michael Hamm with a wink.

View
New Guardians Issue 14
The Awakening

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Young Alex Flynn continues to suffer nightmares of her alter ego Ultra-Girl preforming terrible violent acts of violence and assassination against evil political figures. Other unusual dreams contain a reoccurring figure of a man in horn-rim glasses, but these dreams are never violent and always leave Alex with a feeling of love and devotion.

Alex walking with Marcie Carter to school spots Lainie Park’s car at the Gas-in-Sip. Upon entering they see Lainie & Becca inside. Becca Tress is teasing the 21 year old nerdy cashier by seductively sucking on a lollypop while Lainie is stealing some beer. Before leaving Alex spots Becca placing a sticker with a strange symbol under the counter. TYS_sticker.png Outside Lainie is still peeved at Alex’s absence from hanging out with the gang. Alex apologizes, but its not received well by Becca who suggests Alex proves herself by stealing a pack of cigarettes or hard liquor, both are located behind the counter. Marcie tries to Alex out of it, that’s impossible, but Alex agrees. Inside Alex uses the restroom and using super-strength tears off the cold water handle of the sink causing a jet stream of water pour out. While the pimp-faces cashier runs over to try and stop the water, Alex calmly slides over the counter and takes a pack of smokes and bottle of booze then walks out. The girls are impressed, even Becca.

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Earlier that morning State Police Criminal Investigation Division Detective Wolfgang Maximilian Schaefer gets a call early in the morning 5:20 am from Captain Gregson. Something about a fatal traffic incident vs. a pedestrian on interstate 12 in Hagerstown. The responding state trooper can’t get ahold of the local sheriff and says the witnesses are acting strange. The trooper seems shaken up.

Max is 46 years 6’4” slender with Piercing blue eyes. And lond hair, grown long-ish and saggy for a policeman. He passes on shaving that morning leaving blond stubble. Max says good bye to the wife Nancy, who calls him Wolfy and tells him to come home safe.

The sleepy community of Hagerstown (population 803) is a real one horse town 50 miles from Grand City. It used to be just a road side town supporting motorists, but is now supported by a Price Industries smelting plant. Most of the town works at the plant in some capacity.

Arriving on scene Max meet with Trooper Gary Moore and dairy truck driver Milt Johns. Milt states that a woman in a house coat just walked in front of his rig. The driver is devastated. Now Max can see the inhabitants are afflicted with some kind of stupor or brain damage, shambling purposelessly around the streets, mumbling incoherently, or staring uncomprehendingly at door knobs.

Seeing the ENTIRE town is affected Max calls for back up worrying that it could be an airborne contagion or some kind of chemical leak. State authorities mobilized a massive emergency medical response. Emergency responders take every precaution, wearing full hazmat suits, quarantining the area.

Later that morning Alex is ditching third period to meet the gang at Lainie’s beat up old ford sedan spray painted black with bits of primers grey showing through when she gets a phone call from Malcolm Merlyn. He asks if she has time to meet. She happily agrees. Before she can change into Ultra-Girl and leap away Alex runs into Becca who gets pissed that Alex isn’t coming with her right now. Once Alex is gone, Marcie attempts to defend Alex’s absence yet once again.

Ultra-Girl arrives at Malcom’s penthouse where he presents her with a new costume built out of the material invented by The Raven. It contains the black and grey of her old costume, but now with color of red made popular by the superhero Centurion. Alex loves it including the cape. Malcom shows Alex the news reports about a panic regarding Hagerstown and suggests the people need to be reassured that everything will be alright and Ultra-Girl give that to the people.

Elsewhere in the city Lex Price is woken up apologetically by his assistant Ian Thomas and helps two girls find their shoes and way out. Ian says that Steven Pratt PR director for Price Industries Steven_Pratt.jpg is here and urgently needs to talk. Steven explains to Lex that his brother’s donations of resources to the Guardians was a great marking tool for the company and Afterburn being a member of the Guardians as well. If Lex’s personal bodyguard Overburn could make more of a showing it would go a long way to help the company. Especially since the MTF fiasco last month has caused the Guardsmen contract to go under review by Homeland security. Pratt explains about the plant in Hagerstown and the fear the media is spinning about it being a result of toxic waste by Price Industries, , Megan Childs of channel 52 news is particularly harsh. Lex wonders if he should by that news station, while putting on the Overburn armor.

At Hagerstown Det. Max Schaefer is meeting with CDC Agent Lydia Barnes, EPA agent Ethan Cormick, Medical Examiner Raul Santilla and State Police CID Captain William Gregson. When Overburn arrives. He battles a barrage of questions about the Price plant and he tells them that Price complies with all EPA guidelines and that it’s a company you can trust your household to, while plugging a few new price products. Ultra-Girl arrives, but is not recognized with the new costume and blond hair. She introduces herself and Overburn interrupts telling the media that The New Guardians are here to say the day.

The two heroes are briefed on the situation. Initial testing has been done on the water, air and the victims. No pollutants, and the results are uninformative: there are no physiological symptoms or signs of foreign agents. The only quantifiable data comes from laboratory scans that show unusually low activity in the brain, but no hint why. The superheroes offer to go into the town and help with the searching all the homes. Capt. Gregson orders Max to go as well since it maybe a crime scene within.

The three enter, but Overburn refuses to just walk in at Max’s pace, goes straight to the Price Smelting Plant. Ultra-Girl and Max finds more brainless victims and turn off a stove before it can burn a house down. All signs point to a single event occurring in the middle of the night. Lex looks around the plant hoping to find no evidence that this was Price Industries fault, and everything appears in order. Ultra-Girl and Max arrive and have a lot two. Max is called back by his captain who has a chip on his shoulder towards Max and sends him on a low priority call to check out an abandoned van 8 miles down the highway. UG and OB stay to help with the search and rescue.

Max gets the van stuck in a ditch alongside the main road leaving town. Running the plates reveals that the van was reported stolen from the Solomon Center, a medical research facility six days ago. Nothing else was reported stolen and according to the responding officer he felt like they didn’t much care that the van was gone. Max finds tracks of something heavy being dragged from the van to the road, but that tracks end there. The van is empty, but something large was bolted down once inside.

The Solomon Center is medical research company Grand City. Max flashes his badge and is met by HR Director Danielle York and Medical Director Dr. Thomas Land. They confirm that a van was stolen, one of eight. Nothing else was disturbed, likely street punks taking it for a joyride. During this talk Max notices a young employee who is nervously watching them. The young man goes to a smoking patio and Max follows. He questions the chain smoking young man Charles Wright. Charles is resistant to talk, but Max suggests this may be connect to the horrible events in Hagerstown and if he knows something it’s the right thing to talk. Charles says that some things did go missing that night besides the van. Plans and prototypes for a next‑generation brain scanner, a high-current neurological probe and some research papers on cerebral growth hormones for stroke victims. Just before calming up he tells Max to look into an ex-employee named Gordon Bockhurst.

Max speaks to the HR director again and asked specifically about Gordon Bockhurst. She explains that he had stolen a sabotaged a colleagues work and tried to pass it off as his own. This event brought past complaints about similar acts going back to college. He was fired and now his reputation is ruined. The HR Director still refuses to admit anything was stolen and that the companies Chief of Security Terrance Bulvard is currently not available.

Max decides to drive to Mr. Bockhurst’s apartment. The reader knows that two men are already watching Bockhursts apartment and see Max go into the building. Max knocks, but with no answer he picks the lock. He quickly finds stolen plans and schematics to build something, but it’s all way over Max’s head. While checking the bath room Max is attacked by man who seems to know Max is a cop, but says’ her shouldn’t have come inside. Max knows from a DMV photo this is not Gordon Bockhurst.

The mysterious man shoots at Max and he returns fire dropping the man, who is injured, but the bullet proof vest he is wearing saved his life. While questioning the man Max notices a strange device over his left ear and removes it, which makes the man very nervous. The perp is stubborn and refuses to talk, then a horrible wave of pain hits them both like a black hole forming in their skulls. The man begs for the earpiece, but Max puts it on himself, which cuts the pain to a headache, while he watches the pain stop on the wounded man, but then his intelligence is drained from him. Max hears car crashes outside and goes to a window and sees that the entire block is affected like Hagerstown.

Meanwhile UG and OB are arguing about how best to clear the houses. OB kicks down doors and flies through walls. Then police signals and 911 calls light up the switch boards. UG calls Ezekiel and they learn that the same event that devastated Hagerstown is now in Mid-Town Grand City. They rush to that zone. Back at the apartment Max calls in his address and reports what he found. Ezekiel’s tells UG that only one radio transmission left the affected area after the event, UG decides to go there first. Max knowing that the device must be large goes to the parking lot to see if Gordon has a vehicle parked in his assigned spot. He finds a Price Industries pickup truck stolen from Hagerstown, but it’s now empty.

OB is carefully flying around the circumference of the affected area, but notices it increasing in size, the police at the barricades are going brainless. UG leaps down in front of Gordon’s apartment where Max’s last radio call came from. In mid leap she is hit by the brain drain and crashes to the ground in horrible pain and moments away from becoming too mindless to leap away. Max runs over and gives her his earpiece. He goes into terrible pain and she leaps them both away. Once out of the zone Max feels better. OB meets up with them and Max fills them in on his investigation. OB takes apart the earpiece and learns it’s an EMF filter set to specific frequency. He programs his suit to mimic it and tinkers with UG’s comlink to do the same. Max is given back the original ear piece. The two Heroes head to the epicenter leaving Max behind who can at least go into the area and help people from hurting themselves.

Property is getting destroyed, and people are getting hurt. OB sees a teenaged boy loses his footing and falls to the ground, and a heel comes down on his hand before he can get up. His cries go unheard as the pressing crowd closes over him. OB swoops down and flies way with the boy only to drop him into a dumpster for his own protection. UG sees a mindless crowd tip over a car that is leaking gasoline. She tosses the car away before it can catch on fire.

As the heroes are making their way through the chaos on the streets a ghostly image of an enormous brain fades into view, hanging in the air above them. A booming voice speaks directly into their minds. “Intruders? There is no eluding me. I smell your ripe sentience creeping through my domain. Your consciousness will be another morsel feeding my appetite.”

When the heroes address him as Bockhurst he says, “Gordon Bockhurst is no more. I am Gorbok. I am the Overmind.” When questioned why he is doing this he explains that his colleagues thought they were always smarter them him, that he lacked the genius spark, but now that he drained the intelligence from everyone in Hagerstown he is the smartest man alive, but after having a taste he is hungry for more. He’ll consume the collective intelligence of the world and become a god.

Bockhurst then uses his mental powers to turn the sapped citizens into a raving mob, determined to tear the heroes to shreds with their bare hands. Drunk with power he controls more and more innocent civilians, turning the city into a howling pit of madness, turning their induced rage against the heroes.

The hordes prove no risk to UG or OB, but Max is forced to run for his life. While doing so he spots a man unaffected by the mindlessness and goes to investigate, running behind a Water and Power truck to try and lose the crazed mob.

In front of the two superheroes Gorbok manifests a green crystal of pure thought that drops into the asphalt, it shatters into five fractals of psychic force that transforms into humanoid shapes breaking apart limbs of sharp sword or razor claws.

The fractals prove to be more than a challenge for the two heroes, not only are they physically powerful, but when struck by their forms the heroes mind is attacked as well. All the while Overmind is pushing harder and harder to overcome their EMF protection, they can feel his progress, it won’t be long till they are mindless as well. Max follows the figure into a parking garage and discovers it not Gorbok, but another armed man dressed like the one in Bockhursts’ apartment. The man confirms this by pointing out that Max stole his man’s earpiece. Max proposes a truce and the man agrees stating he is going to stop this by putting a bullet in Gordon’s brain. This man has a tracking device on Gordon’s belt and he is down one floor. Meanwhile the horde is chasing after them. They reach the bottom level, but only find a pile of street clothes and some utilities workers’ clothes. The man is pissed because Gordon’s belt his here, but no Gordon. Max using deduction realizes that Gordon must be in that Water and Power truck outside that he ran passed earlier. Dodging the mob Max races out and into the street.

Overburn gets taken down by a torrent of shattered psychic shards and Ultra-Girl is surrounded and barely standing. Max opens the back of the truck. Overmind is gaining so much more power that he breaks the inhibitor devices protecting the heroes. Max is in terrible pain, but in a heroic and desperate moment Max shoots the Mind Siphon causing terrible feedback to Gorbok and a psychic wave pulses out tearing the top of the truck off and knocks Max back and on his head going unconscious. The psychic fractals shatter and UG hears Max’s head crunch on the street. She leaps over to him, but stops seeing a man with a pistol about to shot a suffering Gordon Bockhurst. She knocks away his gun, he looks furious, but without options he storms off. Gordon is alive, but covered in green fluid and shards of glass, his forehead with throbbing and larger then a normal mans’. Max is alive, but unconscious.

Now that it is safe emergency services enter this portion of the city. UG runs into The Spider who has just arrived and she tells him what happened. He comments on her new costume and the cape. They both are kept busy helping put things right. A few days later scientists learn that since the people were not fully drained by the Mind Siphon that in a week or so they’ll make a full recovery.

Bockhurst goes to Argus, but even without the Mind Siphon, the biological changes set in motion continue to transform his body in the weeks that follow. His head enlarges to a freakish size, his limbs and torso swelling like a grotesque over‑sized dwarf. His ties with humanity fully severed, he is now only Gorbok the Overmind

Gorbok.jpg

Max is taken to the hospital. He is in a coma for 3 days. When he awakes he doesn’t have memories of his loved ones or personal life. Including his wife of 15 years, or six siblings & parents. He can recall his colleagues, but not personal details of say past BBQs with them. The doctors are baffled and hope it will recover in time. His wife Nancy and youngest brother Johann (a firefighter) spend lots of time around Max.

His old mentor and Homicide Captain Lambert stops by. Max has vague memories of working with him. Meanwhile Max develops severe anxiety around his loved ones. He is supposed to know them, but it’s like a stranger telling him to love a random person. Like their memories of him are fake. He is discharged from his job as a CID Detective due to a brain injury and loss of function. He has terrible headaches and heavy drinking is the only thing that seems to help. Doctors and therapist think that the pressure of trying to remember his loved ones is only making it worse. He needs time to let his brain heal. So he moves out from the suburbs of Fairview and into Grandbay, where he used to be a vice cop, but the headaches are only getting worse.

It’s been two weeks since the head injury and Max is living in his own dingy apartment. Today he is suffering from the worst headache yet. Max is in a fog of pain at a liquor store in Grandbay. He begins to hear voices. Turns to look and ask what, but a middle age woman looks confused and moves away from him.

At the counter he buys a bottle of bourbon when he hears one guy talking plain as day that he is going to wait till the wino at the counter leaves and then he is going to shoot the clerk and empty the register. Max confronts the man who pulls a gun. Max not really caring if he lives tells the punk to pull the trigger. The thug tires to shoot Max, but his instinct kicks in and deflects the bullet and then using telekinesis throws the guy out of the glass plate window into the street. Confused Max stumbles out…woman on the street are terrified when looking at him. The pain is so much, time goes fuzzy.

Next The Spider shows up and the reader sees Max standing in the street with people running, and Max’s face is covered in an unnatural shadows for this time of day, plus his eyes are glowing bright blue. The Spider looking at his face says, “Now that’s one heck of a five-o-clock shadow your sporting there pal”

Uncontrollable Max causes several cars in the area to lift 10-feet off of the ground, some with people inside. He can’t speak coherently because a 1000 voices are going off at once in his skull. The Spider says, “Now now Captain Weirdo, put the several tons of metal and people down and no one has to get hurt.” The cars drop all at once, The Spider’s instant webs catches three cars, lets the fourth empty car cash and catches the fifth from underneath. Straining underneath the weight The Spider says, “I should really be more careful what I wish for.” Meanwhile UG and Overburn are nearly there and can see this with their enhanced vision.

The Spider is just about to put the car down when Max screams from the terrible pain and unleashes a pulse of TK energy throwing the preoccupied Spider through a brick wall. The other heroes arrive and see The Spider doesn’t get up. Now Max is hearing terrible thoughts of rapist and murderers which sends him into a fury of uncontrolled power and he can’t be reasoned with. Overburn starts attacking. Ultra-Girl tries to talk to the shadow faced villain, but he only mutters words in German. She grabs him, but then he places a black hole of pain into her mind, which scares her into thinking he may be related to Overmind. Max proves to be a powerful opponent nearly defeating both heroes at once, but Overburn shots him off a roof top and UG hits him with a car while he is falling.

Standing over him the face shadows are gone and they realize its Det. Schafer. UG guesses that the blast wave that occurred after he shot the Mind Siphon must have given him powers. OB suggests taking him to Argus or Price Industries for study, but Max saved Ultra-Girl twice in a one day, she would take him to the Crash pad for The Raven to help. Overburn goes to check on The Spider and finds that he is seriously injured. In a rare moment Overburn should some compassion to The Spider and takes him back to the crash pad.

UG fills in Ezekiel and they place Max in the infirmary where he can be kept sedated. The Spider is placed there also and x-rays shows The Spider suffered a broken right arm and five broken ribs. Due to the Spider’s unusual DNA Ezekiel is curious to discover how rapidly he’ll heal.

The Raven arrives and UG and OB step out of the infirmary to explain why they brought someone so dangerous back to the base.

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New Guardians Issue 13
Fable Part 2

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Issue Cover: Large transparent image of a robed girl, with a medieval styled Spider and Ultra-Girl.
Issue Title: Fable part 2
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Background and Time Line

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New Guardians Issue 12
Out of the Shadows

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Issue Cover: The Spider grappled by the coils of Dr. Armand Psykes
Issue Title: Out of the Shadows
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Background and Time Line

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New Guardians Issue 11
Bug Hunt

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Issue Cover: The Spider crouching by a corrugated wall with senses tingling. Doctor Fenris leaping down from above and behind him while Orion the Hunter takes aim from a rooftop.
Issue Title: Bug Hunt
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Background and Time Line

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New Guardians Issue 10
Fable Part 1

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Issue Cover: Large transparent image of a robed girl, with a medieval styled Spider and Ultra-Girl.
Issue Title: Fable
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Background and Time Line

See New Guardians Issue 13 for full rap.

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