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Mutants & Masterminds: Legacy - Issue #0 - Crisis


Joani

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Serene Dorian

The sudden and unexpected sound of her beeper brought her out of her day dream. She fumbled around for her communicator and then realized it was the other beeper… Dad’s… It hadn’t beeped for quiet a while now – not ever since…

Serene quickly searched for it and finally found it. On the display was the worried face of Allen, Da… Watchman’s faithful butler.

“Ms. Dorian?”, he waited humbly for her acknowledgment and then continued with his perfectly pitched voice and british accent. “I have just received a call from the Justice Society. They are requesting your presence at the HQ in Metrocity. It sounded very urgent. I suggest you should make haste. Do you want me to arrange for your transportation?”

Thousand questions flodded her mind but she couldn’t pick out a single one that was most important to her. She hoped her father was alright. Serene quickly opened several news-channels while she packed her stuff but there was nothing broadcasted. Azkett caught up on her agitation and gave a worried sound that was part purring and part growling.

Just when she was finished packing Allen knocked on the door. His timing was impeccable. After 20 minutes of flight she arrived at the Justice Society HQ. The place was bustling with activity and she could see some familiar faces arriving on the flight deck, too. Megagirl was impossible to overlook. After a short moment Serene realized – all the kids she knew from the Legacy League Team were present…

Megagirl

Flying was one of the things Megagirl enjoyed the most. She sometimes pitied those who couldn’t fly on their own – they were surely missing out on something great. Going to the stars was even more amazing. While she stayed on Earth her mom had given her a personal communicator to keep in touch with her – just in case. It was designed like a wrist watch and Megagirl still wasn’t sure if she liked it or not. Just as she thought about it the communicator started to beep and she wondered if she did something wrong? Did it pick up her thoughts and complained now? She looked at it and saw the icon of Matrix, the Justice Society’s Artificial Intelligence that monitored practically everything concerning the League.

“Megagirl – your presence is very much needed at the Justice Society HQ. Your communicator will guide you directly to it, just follow the instructions how to get there.”

Megagirl briefly considered not listening to it but decided against it. Maybe it was really important? Mom told her to answer any call and Matrix was nice, if not a bit strange being just a machine. Following the instructions wasn’t really difficult and once she saw the skyline of Metrocity she knew how to reach the HQ on her own. She landed gracefully on the flight deck and to her surprise she saw Serene arriving, too. What a wonderful coincidence! She waved happily at her and smiled as she approached her childhood friend.

Echo

Normally her daily routine would involve going to a public space and ‘hang out’ with some of the other students. It was basically a waste of time considering how tedious communication was with a group of teenagers that struggled to understand their own emotions. Echo knew that puberty was just part of human development. A maturation process but why did it demand to leave reason behind? Echo made mental notes for later and simply protocol what she saw and heard for later analysis.

It was the final year and the exams shouldn’t proof to be a challenge to her but having an official degree was important for her career. Echo was anxious to be done with that part of her life which, although interesting was getting tedious. She needed some change, a new challenge – and that’s when Matrix spoke directly to her.

He knew she didn’t want that because it gave her the ‘feeling’ of being watched by him. She was old enough to take care for herself and they had the agreement that he should stay out of her mind like that. Breaking that promise meant it was something really important.

“Echo – please go to the Justice Society HQ. Your presence is needed there. Thank you… and sorry for breaking my promise.”, Matrix’ voice conveyed something like compassion although it was still difficult to determine how he felt since Wire’s death.

Echo immediately changed her plans and took the next shuttle to the HQ. Even if it sounded like something bad had happened she was glad to get out of her daily routine. As soon as she disembarked from the shuttle her keen senses located several other individuals who’s presence didn’t seem like coincidence to her. There was a clear pattern to it. All children of the Legacy League were present…

Tessa and Hyp

Tessa had spent the day at the Justice Society HQ with Hyp. Both were children of the most prominent members of the Legacy League which made them something like siblings – even though they were not in any genetical way. Still both teenagers had a lot in common and that gave enough material to talk and relate to each other. When the team got called to investigate a distress call far out at the asteroid belt their parents asked them to go to the large park facility and wait there until they returned. The Park offered many different ways to spent your time and having a day off was a welcomed change for the two.

Just when they were about to plan what to do next, after spending half the day with toying around with their powers a security drone caught their attention. The virtual Holoicon of Matrix appeared and spoke to them with a somber voice. “Please come to the HQ, your presence is needed. The shortest way would be over the flight decks.”

Both Supers looked at each other and nodded and then Tessa lifted them up to the flight deck using her Telekinetic powers. Both arrived graciously on the deck and saw how Megagirl waved at someone in the crowd. This couldn’t be a coincidence, could it?

Djane

The Justice Society’s trophy room was usually a place that was heavily guarded. Security had to be reduced though on days when tourists were guided through the facility. Jane Taylor wasn’t quite aware of that fact and the whole tour wasn’t as entertaining as she hoped it was. She still had trouble to understand why she decided to take the tour in the first place but now that she was here she could at least indulge herself.

The group had already passed the last room when she saw a flash from the corner of her eye. At first she thought it was just a reflection but then she saw the flash again. She entered the room and walked towards a display that showed the painting of a 20th century Zippo with intricate details on its body. The piece of art was breathtaking and for a moment Jane felt like reaching out for it and touch it, just to see if it was real. Her hands had barely touched the glass of the display when her mind got assaulted with images making her stumble back.

A green skinned woman in typical oriental garments looked at her and there was a planet in the background which quickly got engulfed by a huge black cloud. Jane didn’t understand what was happening when she heard a voice speak to her.

“Touch the painting – please. Help us…”, the voice was getting faint. Jane felt compelled to reach out and touch the picture. She still didn’t know how to bypass the glass but that suddenly wasn’t important anymore. The glass disappeared and the Zippo looked very much like the real thing. Her fingertips just touched it when she heard an alarm go off. The voice in her head spoke to her again.

“Thank you… now tell the others we’re in great danger… the League is in great danger. The Pluto-mission has gone terribly wrong. We need your help!”, Jane heard the voice pleading and knew the Woman talking to her was the Jade Djinni – the most revered member of the Legacy League. She also knew she was dying.

The room filled with guards quickly and Jane found herself floating(?) slightly above the floor.

“Holy crap!”, was the only thing she managed to say.

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TK looked to Hype and frowned. "Something bad's happened. Especially since they're talking about shortest routes like we haven't grown up here." Inwardly the young scion of heroes hoped she was wrong, but too often her intuition had proved right.

She waved to Megagirl and smiled. "Going our way?"

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Jane knew how it would all pan out before it happened.

She knew, even before she looked down at herself, that she'd be garbed differently. She still was surprised to see the change in her clothing, garbed in revealing silks. Her proportions had filled out considerably. From behind a veil, she gasped again. "Holy crap."

She looked down even further, and saw that her lower half trailed off into a plume of smoke, and that it was attached to the zippo lighter. She knew that she had the Jade Djinni's gifts now, the magical power to do... well, just about anything, really, but magic had a cost and in this case the cost was her freedom, sine the owner of the lighter could compel her service.

She tried to fly away, even though she knew that she couldn't tug herself free from the zippo lighter unless the holder of the zippo allowed her, and trying to grab it herself would be like trying to grab sunlight. She sagged, floating in midair, still attached to it, and then she noticed the guards.

"Uh, I wasn't - stealing - uh... listen, I really really really need to speak to someone in charge. Some kind of Pluto mission - don't ask me how I know - but it went bust. I need you to bring me - " She waved towards the lighter. "To whoever calls the shots around here, okay? Frig."

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Hype walks towards the doors as TK gives her welcomes, "Come on ladies, if it's bad enough they have to call on us then we shouldn't hang about. Although why Matrix was so imprecise as to just say the HQ, rather than a room I guess we'll have to wait and see."

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Originally Posted By: Djane
She sagged, floating in midair, still attached to it, and then she noticed the guards.

"Uh, I wasn't - stealing - uh... listen, I really really really need to speak to someone in charge. Some kind of Pluto mission - don't ask me how I know - but it went bust. I need you to bring me - " She waved towards the lighter. "To whoever calls the shots around here, okay? Frig."


The guards didn't raise their weapons and remained fairly calm in the face of the odd apparition. "Ok young lady - you're going to come with us and if you don't cause any trouble there won't be any reason for us to use force. Am I clear?"

The Captain of the guard eyed her suspiciously unsure what to think of this. "Are you the Jade Djinni's sister or something like that?"

Inside Djane's head she heard the ever vanishing voice of the Jade Djinni "Quickly - I don't have much time - they must know..."

More pictures flooded her mind. The cloud of Blackness trapped the Legacy Team in some kind of stasis. The prison was breached - several ships where taking off and jumping through a warpgate she has never seen before. It was like a huge black hole at the edge of the universe... well at least it looked like that.
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"Eeeee!" Karra - The Great and Mighty MegaGirl! - squealed happily at the sight of her friend Serene. She bent over and pulled the flawless beauty up to her near nine foot height and gave her a hug. "I didn't know you were gonna be here - is this why Matrix called me on my communicator? See?"

Karra waved her leanly muscled arm at Serene, showing off her heavily constructed communicator secured to her wrist, perhaps unaware that Serene had seen many types of communication devices before. "What a wonderful surprise! Matrix is a really nice person, which weird, because he's sort of not really a person." Karra beamed at the girl she supported effortlessly with an arm, her smile bright and carefree. "Anyway, what do want to do first? We can go -"

Originally Posted By: Tesstarossa
"Going our way?"

Karra heard the call, and looked across the flight deck; her cheerful green eyes, far sharper than any hawk's, easily picked out the other two Legacy children. With a burst of inhuman speed, MegaGirl pounded across the plasteel of the flight deck, her shoulder length hair a banner of metallic fire flowing behind her. The force of her run would have been painful to the more delicate Serene, forgotten in her arms, had it lasted longer than a tiny fraction of a second.

Karra stopped in front of her other friends, towering over them by more than two feet, and closer to three. "Tessa and Hype! You're here too?" She bent at the knees, and added the other two Legacy Children to her embrace. Though she was gentle, the immense strength contained in her sinews was obvious. "Yay! What's going on? Did I forget someone's birthday again? Where are we going?"

Without wating for an answer, MegaGirl chose a direction, which to her, seemed like a good one, her long legs eating ground rapidly.

Originally Posted By: Rorx
"Come on ladies, if it's bad enough they have to call on us then we shouldn't hang about."

"Huh?... Bad?" The simple, stunning, giant-sized girl looked completely confused.

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Echo stepped out of the shuttle onto the duracrete of the shuttle pad and looked around. Almost immediately the faces of other Legacy Leaguers jumped out at her, but she completed the gesture anyway, assembling quick lists of other things she noticed along the way. Leaves on trees. Ants. People hurrying around.

Mostly though, she wondered about what sort of event would convince Matrix to get into her head like that. With less than a thought she accessed the local newsweb and isolated a random spread of forty newsfeeds to compare headlines from and look for possible connections to League activities. While she was at it she put a search daemon out to call up relevant information on each of the other Legacy League members she was approaching. It was something to do.

Halfway to them, she smiled at them and waved. Echo looked identical to how her mother had looked at this age, with the only exception that her hair was an artificial light blue shade. Slim and slight, clad in a tight jumpsuit that showed off a figure that was still kind of skinny, though far from bad looking. She was a far cry from the gorgeous, idealized bustyness of several other Leaguers, though if she continued to develop as Wire had, she'd get there eventually. At the moment, she could best be described as 'cute' or 'spritely,' with round cheeks and big blue eyes that stubbornly made her look younger than her years entitled her to.

Of course, her right arm looked different too. Three small ports were set into the appendage, each one about big enough to poke a pinky into. One at the shoulder, one at the elbow, and one at the wrist. Her jumpsuit left her arms bare, and near each port there were lines of light blue light gleaming from under her skin, hinting at some of the hardware hidden inside.

"Hi guys," she called as she joined them. "What are you all doing here?"

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This was the part she'd not grown used to. Tessa wasn't a big woman, she was of norma height annd built like a dancer. The towering Megagirl, or Karra as all the others knew her, had always been able to do this. She smiled. "No, nobody's birthday that I know of, just that Matrix wants us all at HQ fast." She allowed herself to be carried, it wasn't really like any of them could break Karra's grip once they were in it.

Upon seeing Echo she smiled. PErhaps she had a better idea of what was going on. That hope was shattered when she spoke, but now with the five of them there, she felt good they were all children of League members, and had pretty much grown up together in some fashion.

"All I know is that Matrix summoned all of us to HQ by the quickest possible route. I was kinda hoping you knew abit more."

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"Oh, I do," Echo confirmed. "Like, there's nothing on the feeds that would justify anything like this. It must be something they're keeping quiet for now."

She shrugged. "I'll let you know when it breaks. For now, we'd better get in." Each word tumbled out faster than the last as she started jogging inside. The last sentence was almost too fast to understand.

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"Is there something wrong?" Karra said, lost, her voice managing to be both deep and girlish. "I thought Matrix was just calling us together, 'cause we're friends. Mom tells me if there's trouble."

She followed Echo inside the HQ, easily keeping pace. She was almost too late to save the friends in her arms a nasty bump when she nearly forgot to duck under the doorway. When she finally noticed one of them squirming in her arms, she blushed bright red. "Sorry," she said, gently setting them back down on their feet.

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The young Supers were stopped at the main hall of the HQ by a group of security staff and some of the local Justice Society Heroes.

Samson the leader of the group, a former member of the Legacy League before he got his powers stolen by Nexus, looked at them with a worried look in his eyes. His deep baritone voice hinted at the former prowess he possessed in his prime. Samson was still a large man with a very athletic built but without his powers he was in no condition to fight against most supercriminals. At least his tactical knowledge was still one of his strong suits and that gave him a position in the local force and coordination of the Justice Society troops.

"Kids - Something happened to your parents. Please follow me, we shouldn't talk about it here."

Just before he wanted to take the lead one of the guards approached Samson and gave him a PDA to check on. He raised an eyebrow and then nodded at the man. "Take her to my office - we'll be there in 5 minutes."

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Originally Posted By: Joani
The guards didn't raise their weapons and remained fairly calm in the face of the odd apparition. "Ok young lady - you're going to come with us and if you don't cause any trouble there won't be any reason for us to use force. Am I clear?"


"I can't come with you, I'm attached to - the - thing - nnff - " Jane tugged mightily at her lower half, unable to budge the zippo an inch. "Just pick the thing up and carry it! I'll go with it. How do I know all this? Magic. No, I'm not her sister. There's a black hole at the end of the universe! This really sucks. Just grab the lighter and go get your boss, flatfoot. Aright? Aright."
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Serene was glad she'd worn her costume. She knew these other people, but was glad that her face was hidden from them for now. The dark uniform was a near-copy of her father's, and did a good job of hiding her abnormalities. Of course, most people were used to this being her public face, just as they were used to seeing Watchman in only his uniform.

She grinned as Karra picked her up, then scooped up more people in her wake. She found herself pressed to Hyperion, which brought the blood to her face. She felt IT trying to happen, the influx of blood stimulating IT, but she quelled the desire.

But she'd certainly never been pressed up against a boy like this, or a girl, as she currently was also held against Karra. With effort, she remained calm until Karra put them down.

Samson's news was like a punch in her gut. What would she do without Watchman? Allen was good, Azkatt was her best friend, but if Watchman died or was gone, all she'd have left was... was...

Mother.

"Samson? Please..." she said the moment they were in the private room. "What is going on?"

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Originally Posted By: Djane
"I can't come with you, I'm attached to - the - thing - nnff - " Jane tugged mightily at her lower half, unable to budge the zippo an inch. "Just pick the thing up and carry it! I'll go with it. How do I know all this? Magic. No, I'm not her sister. There's a black hole at the end of the universe! This really sucks. Just grab the lighter and go get your boss, flatfoot. Aright? Aright."


The Captain of the guard looked a bit flabbergasted at the Zippo and then picked it up as Djane commanded.

“Ok…ok… but if you do anything we’ll… ahm, shoot.”, he looked at the lower part of her body which was all smoke and ethereal and wasn’t sure if his threat was making any sense.

A short moment later he arrived with two guards in tow at Samson’s office, the Head of the watch.

Originally Posted By: Serene Dorian
"Samson? Please..." she said the moment they were in the private room. "What is going on?"


Samson shook his head at her, “I’m sorry kid, I can’t tell you right now. We’ll talk at my office.”

The short walk to Samson’s office was filled with awkward silence. If Samson sounded like that it meant something bad happened, really bad.

As they reached the office they found the Captain of the guard with two of his men in tow and a… Djinni? The apparition clad in see-through oriental garb like a classical Djinn had an uncanny resemblance to the Jade Djinni – except for the greenish skin, of course.

“What is going on here?”, Samson bellowed, his foul mood wasn’t improving by the sight of more complication.
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David was used to the greeting that Karra inflicted on people, but that didn't mean he particularly enjoyed it. Even less so on this occassion when it interfered with finding out what was going on. However, he accepted it with good grace and waited to be put down. Inside he itched to race to Samson's office, and had to restrain himself from doing so - it wouldn't have gained anything as he would still have to wait for Samson and the others to arrive.

Inside he was rather bemused to see the Djinn and the security escort, moreso when Samson obviously didn't know about it, but when Tk asked her question he couldn't restrain his impatience anymore as he asked his question of the Djinn.

"More to the point, does your presence have anything to do with whatever has happend to our parents?"

He managed to leave unsaid his opinion that if it didn't then they could go to hell until that had been resolved.

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Echo glanced at the djinn only passingly. Her interest was caught far more by what the creature was emanating out of. She gritted her teeth. It was a pain, and a waste of time, to narrate her thought processes, but she knew the others would take up twice as long asking questions if she didn't.

"That's Jade's lighter," she said shortly. "But you're not Jade, which means something's happened to her."

Her eyes swiveled up to the silk-clad Jane. There were many questions, but she decided to ask the most important one first.

"What happened?"

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Karra chewed on her lip, a trace of worry appearing on her innocent features. Samson made her feel a little uneasy; he had helped teach her to fight and control her incredible strength and ever since he had lost his powers, she had to remember to be very careful with him. She really hoped something like that hadn't happened to her mother... and the rest of the Legacy League, of course.

"Mom, and the others, are gonna be okay, right?" She shrugged her broad shoulders, then shook her head, dispelling the notion of Dawnstar and the rest of the League being in serious trouble. With total conviction, the gorgeous giant girl continued, "Of course they'll be fine - they're heroes - and heroes always win!"

Karra gave an uncertain smile as she looked down on the pretty, buxom genie girl in the see-through silk. She took a deep breath, straining her own revealing, black outfit, then said the first thing that came to mind.

"Um...Hi! I'm In'Karra Zurthyn, MegaGirl, but you can call me Karra if you like - What's your name? Are you the Jade De'genie's daughter? You sorta look like her, but you're not green and you're stuck to that thing - that lighter thing - and your eyes are red! Are the Jade De'genie's eyes red? Serene's eyes are red too - well sometimes red! Dawnstar's my mother - we're all the children of the Legacy League - well not Samson, and the guards of course - but the rest of us are. Serene was adopted by the Watchman, and Tessa is the daughter of Colossus and Thoughtwave, and Hyper is the son of Hyperion and Twister - he's really fast, even faster than me! - And that's Echo, Matrix is her father, but I'm not sure how, since he's a machine - a nice machine - and... How would Jade De'genie have a child? I've seen the holovids - I know how to do it - and she just has smoke for the important bits, just like you -"

Serene reached up and layed a soft hand on Karra's well-built forearm, the oversized girl's verbal onslaught subsiding with a pink blush rising to the surface of her golden-bronze skin.

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"Aright, okay. One at a time." She rubbed her temple. "Can someone give me permission to separate from the lighter? Not having legs is freaking me out. All right, look. I was in a tour group. I got separated from the tour group, I saw this painting of a zippo lighter, I touched it, I got the Jade Jamba Juice or whatever in my head and she was telling me that the Pluto mission went wrong and the Legacy League is in trouble and I saw this, this black hole that seemed to fill the edge of the universe, and when my head cleared I was attached to this stupid thing and wearing this stupid outfit and something tells me if someone makes a wish when holding it I'm gonna be snapping my fingers or wiggling my nose or something incredibly stupid. I didn't steal anything, okay? I'm Jane Taylor. Hi. I think I'm a genie now. This is so stupid."

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"Well, lets get all inside.", Samson ordered and then pointed with a finger at the Captain, "You give me that.", he took the Zippo and then glared at Djane, "And you better have a goddamn good explanation or I'll promise you, you'll be stuck for all eternity in the darkest place I can conceive."

The guards waited outside watching the young supers follow Samson inside his Office. Once the door closed shut behind them Matrix' holographic image hovered over them and spoke with a serious tone.

"Approximately 24 hours ago the Legacy Leagues' finest have investigated a distress call in the outer sector not far away from Pluto. Even though I calculated a 76.7 percent chance that this emergency call was an elaborate trap Watchmen decided to dispatch the team and go on the mission. We've lost contact with them exactly 2 hours ago. At this moment we do not know what has happened and our last resort to call back the Jade Djinni failed.", Matrix suddenly interrupted himself and looked at Djane.

"There is a 96.7 percent match between you and the Jade Djinni. Are you the new inhabitant of the Zippo?", his request seemed direct but not rude.

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"Yes."

Jane blinked. "I mean - I - it just slipped and - no! I don't want to be a - a - get me outta this thing!" She tugged again at the smoke trail that was her lower half, trying to get free. "Come ON, I got rights! You can't just stick me in a magic lamp - "

Except they could. Jane knew the rules of the lamp and its servant perfectly, as if a book had been inserted into her mind, and she knew they could do all that and more - and slowly she realized just how much trouble she was really in.

"Please, I just touched the painting. I didn't know it would do this. That's not a cri - okay, maybe it is but come on."

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Pluto.

Echo tuned out the djinn's chatter and again focused on what seemed most critical. Pluto.

"The prison," she said. "What's the status of the prison on Pluto? I don't see any feeds from there right now. Not even the specialty ones that are always on."

She refocused on this 'Jane,' and said sharply, unaware that she was getting hard to understand from how fast she was talking "You said you heardJadeinyourhead. Whatdidshesayexactly?WhataboutthemissiontoPluto?"

Her fists clenched and unclenched at her sides and sweat beaded on her temples. It was taking so LONG. By the time they learned everything they needed to know it could be too late!

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"I - okay, uh, slow down. Didn't catch your name. Uh, she said that the Legacy League was in great danger, that the Pluto mission had gone wrong... there were images too. There was this inky cloud, that froze the League... and I think..." She fell quiet.

"I think she's gone."

"And... uh, there were these ships taking off from Pluto, maybe with prisoners on board and they were going into a warpgate that looked like a black hole. Listen, all this just got shoved - schwoonk - into my head, so forgive me if I'm a bit jumbled."

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Tessa digested everything and resolved not to think the worst. "We need to reestablish contact with Pluto, even if it means we take a ship to get there. Whatever we do we need to do quickly."

The lack of all feeds bothered her, Things didn't look good.

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"Um... umm... I'm not supposed to fly near Pluto or Black Holes, Mom said not to - but Pluto s'not far, I can zoom there like that!" Karra snapped her fingers, the sound a crack louder than a gunshot.

"I can carry a shuttlecraft easily enough when flying - really it'll take me longer to get into outer space than to fly to Pluto - I - I flew there once - just to see - I didn't go close! I just gotta remember to fly the right way." She saw the looks on the face of those around her, and thought she needed to explain clearer.

"Mom explained it to me - it's because of drag and pulls and aerodammits - that's why it takes longer to fly in the air instead of the black - and if I fly the wrong way around the Earth, it pulls me back down - that's how I remember it."

MegaGirl gave everyone a bright smile, sure she had explained everything to their satisfaction.

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Samson widened his eyes and stared at the Zippo. The questions asked by the young heroes fading into the background as the words Djane just said repeated over and over in his head.

Originally Posted By: Djane
and something tells me if someone makes a wish when holding it I'm gonna be snapping my fingers or wiggling my nose or something incredibly stupid.

He stared at the Djinni and suddenly spoke holding the Zippo firmly in his large hand. “I wish my powers back.”

Djane’s ears tingled and she felt a warmth spread through her body and then she stared back at Samson and made it happen. She had no idea how or why but somehow this was wrong. Somewhere in the back of her mind she heard the voice of the Jade Djinni screaming in pain and then she was gone while she suddenly felt very drained and tired. If fulfilling wishes would always be like this her life would surely suck from now on.

Click to reveal..
GM fiat – you’re fatigued and I offer you a hero point in return. The effect is going to be permanent. You can’t use that hero point to counter the fatigue.

At the same time a golden glow engulfed Samson and he started to smile. Within seconds he started to grow until he reached his former size of nearly 9 feet. His muscles bulged and he started to laugh. “This is incredible! You made it!”

He flexed his biceps for emphasis and smiled happily at the young heroes while Matrix gave him a very disapproving look.

“Samson – we’re having a crisis and this is not the time for selfish acts. I agree with Hype and Megagirl. We need a rescue team and there are no other Legacy Members present who can deal with this.”

Matrix faced Serene and spoke to her, “You are Watchman’s daughter. I’m sure he prepared you for a crisis like this. I updated your security status to have full access to the Justice Society mainframe and grand you full authority to take command of this mission. I suggest taking the present Supers with you to increase your chances for success. God Speed.”, and with that Matrix’s face simply vanished.

Help her as good as you can, Echo. Make me proud., the words echoed faintly through Echo’s head before he cut the connection.

Samson’s embarrassment was painted on his face and he sheepishly looked to the floor. “I’m sorry… I’ll help you of course, kids. This Zippo should be given to someone more suitable than I.”

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"Ugghhfff." Jane sagged in mid-air, looking exhausted. "Fuh. I heard her, the Jade Djinni... screaming... ugh." She trembled as she absorbed just what she'd been compelled to do.

Then she looked at Hype. "Hold on, what? I'm not going out there! You can't make - "

She paused, and fell silent.

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Watchman led them. He'll expect you to do the same.

Serene reached out and took the zippo from Samson. "Agreed," she said softly, looking at the man through her goggles. "Prep the ship. We're going immediately."

She sounded like the Watchman as she said, "Those of you who don't feel up to this should bow out now." After giving anyone a chance to back out, she said, "Do any of you need special supplies before we go?" She was glad she kept her belt stocked.

Deep inside, the child that she still was had started screaming, terrified of what was happening. Serene ignored it. She had to rescue Watchman, then she could panic.

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"Wait! Wait. Uh." Jane tried to keep he voice steady. "Listen. You don't have to bring the zippo along. It didn't work that way for the Jade Djinni. You can - if you're determined to send me out there at least leave it behind. Tell me to go along. Otherwise whatever's out there might get a hold of that zippo and I would really not like it if people I've never met before had complete and total control over my every action."

The last part of her sentence was frosty enough to freeze helium.

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Serene internally cringed at her mistake - she'd known that Jade had the same ability! Outwardly, she just nodded. "I'm going to secure the zippo before we leave the HQ," she ad-libbed. "Somewhere safe. Djinni, you are free to leave your zippo to travel with us and aid us."

It felt weird to order someone around, knowing that they were once a free person. Had Jade been like that once? Was this woman's skin going to change green in time?

She shrugged away the irrelevant questions, hearing Watchman's voice lecturing, "Burn away the doss, focus on the essential." "What should we call you, ma'am?"

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Jane relaxed, disengaging from the zippo. Her lower half solidified into a pair of human legs, complete with silken translucent puffy pants and golden slippers.

"Thank you," she said with sincerity, running a shaky hand hrough her hair. "Call me Jane. Huh. No, call me Djane. Pronounced the same but with a D in front. I suppose if I'm stuck to that thing I should have the right kind of name."

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"Yay! Samson, you're you again!" Karra rushed over and gave the slightly taller Society Hero a tentative hug, and when he didn't seem inclined to go squish, her embrace tightened joyfully, exerting a force that could liquify a lesser man. "See, I told you! Heroes always win! Always!"

She put Samson down, and turned to beam a broad grin at Djane. "That was amazing! You said you only just now became a genie, and you can already do things like that. I like you, De'Jane!"

Serene began giving orders, and that made Karra feel good too. It's like I'm already a full member of the Legacy League, following Watchma - er Watchgirl into space to save themselves - their parents - whoever.

"MegaGirl ready and willing for this mission, Serene - I mean Watchman - er WatchGirl. Watchwoman? WatchGirl." Karra gave Serene a nod, then stood up straight, chest out, and gave her a salute.

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For one of the first moments in her life, Echo felt a little pressed for time. Her eyes drifted vacantly away as her attention was drawn to the other tasks she was completing. Locating a suitable ship and determining the quickest route to follow to get to it. Obtaining authorization for that ship. Getting clearance for it to take off. Continuing to monitor news feeds. Assembling data on the Pluto prison and its inmates.

Somewhere in there she found a millisecond to squeeze off a, 'Thanks' for her father.

And in the real world she hesitated...but only for a moment.

"There's a shuttle on Pad 3E at the launch port. We're cleared to use it, and to take off. We can get there in less than a minute if we sprint!"

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"Echo, wait!" Serene - Watchgirl, now perhaps, called. "We'll go soon, very soon, but first we need a few things. Samson - the rings. Watchman told me about his, and if we have to go into space, they will save our lives without relying on an encumbering suit."

Expectantly, she waited, acting like Samson would obey her without question. Inwardly, she waited to be smacked down for her impertinence.

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Samson was still too selfconscious about his impulsive behaviour earlier that he didn't object to anything Serene said. Actually he was glad that she somehow managed to take charge and 'brush' over that little incident with the new Jade Djinni.

"Of course, Serene. I'll get you the rings and we meet at the Shuttle. I'll go with you now that I'm back to my old self unless you want me to stay here. Matrix gave you full authority and I'm ok with taking your orders."

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Serene repressed a shudder of fear at the realization that the adults were going to let her boss them around. "Good. Does anyone need Samson to have anything else waiting at the ship? If you do, you need to say so now."

She wished Azkatt were here, but he was safest at home. If she could get him a Legacy collar, maybe he could come with her next time.

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