The Freedom Five

Letters from Asgard

Kennedy stood stock-still, staring at the parchment in her hands, her building anger – no, scratch that, her building fury – making the paper tremble in her grip as she read through the words again.

“What in the hell is this?” Her voice sounded cold, even to her.

Magni unfolded his form from the couch he’d been sitting after handing her the note. “Tis a missive from my father. Obviously.”

“Obviously.” She echoed that, then stared at her fiancée. “And you’re going to go along with all of this, without my say so in when or where I want to get married?”

Magni flinched slightly beneath her gaze. “He is my father. And, as the note states, we will get married here, following the local customs, after we return.”

She growled, the letter crumpling slightly in her grip. “So we are being told, willy nilly, that we’re having an engagement party in two weeks, getting married two months after that, and we, I, have no say? ”

Magni straightened. “Thor Odinson and his wife, my lady-mother Sif, have spoken and I am bound to obey.”

“Your father is great dunderhead. Does he not realize that the reason the wedding gets pushed back all the time is that I keep on having to save the world, again and again? That every time I get pulled into the Imaginarium that I never know how long it will be? Or did you forget that in your letters back home?”

“I have told them.”

She snorted in derision. “He obviously either doesn’t care or it somehow goes over his head. Add in the fact that my mother insists on a Christian wedding – she’s going to have a nervous meltdown when she learns this. She still doesn’t believe that Asgard exists and now you want me to tell her, my parents, that we’re all going there for a big old party and that we’re getting married by, who exactly? Odin himself?”

“Most likely.”

“Another dunderhead.”

Magni’s face darkened and he drew himself up to his full height. “You will show respect to my family.”

Kennedy took two strides, poking her finger into his broad chest. “Why? There’s none shown to mine. I am being told that we’re having a party, that I meet your mother and grandmother to hammer out the details of my wedding, but no indication is given that my mother is to be there. I may not get along all the time with my mother, but she is still my mother.”

“You do not understand.” Magni started.

“Damn straight I don’t understand. I don’t understand the Aesir ways, customs and it’s evident that you don’t understand mine.” She spat, color high in her cheeks. “I suggest going online and figuring it out, Magni Thorson.” She backed away, then spun on her heel, going to the door and opening it.

“Where are you going?”

She paused, looking at him over her shoulder. “Magni, I love you but I don’t like you very much at the moment. I’m going to go and try to cool down. I’ve had a long day, the coming days seem to be hinting at being longer and I don’t feel like dealing with overbearing gods at the moment. You included.”

Then she was gone.

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SHOPPING FOR A GOD SUCKS

Eric got up Saturday morning determined to get one thing done that day. One of the most difficult, hellish tasks known to manl at least in his opinion, getting someone a present. In this case a wedding present, for a Demi-god no less. This mental torture he could do without, but the amount of guilt he felt when he did not get a gift was even worse. Damn upbringing! He hated this societal custom!

Getting in his car he drove over to the local mall and started looking around for inspiration. Diamonds? Hah! Magni could probably squeeze his ass checks and plop out Hope diamonds every time he had to defecate. Precious metals were not so precious when you lived on Asgard.

How about a vacation? Three days and four nights on a beach! To a pair of beings that could fly anywhere in the world and one that could go anywhere in the cosmos! Maybe a cruise? Kennedy does not have a ship and Magni may not own one. Hmmm. No wait the last time Kennedy and Magni were on a boat was Eric’s yacht and that did not turn out so well. Magni took it ok but Kennedy swore she would never get on a boat again. (Sighs)

Clothes? Nope, Eric would not trust himself to get anything they would like. Music, nope Magni plays the sax very well and Eric did not know what either of them liked listening to. Electronic game?, nope. Eric knew Magni liked playing some of the games, he was a male after all, but Eric did not think Kennedy would like it and he did not think it would be appropriate for a wedding present. Victoria’s secret? Hell no.

Furniture? No, Kitchen ware? Hmmm that might be promising can either cook? Yes, Eric remembered Kennedy brought something to the last office potluck they had. Some noodle dish that was pretty good, maybe a new set of cookware for their palatial mansion on Asgard and their cooking staff to use. Dinnerware? No. (double sigh).

Give something from the heart they say. Make it something that is special to that person, they say. Eric liked Magni and Kennedy a lot, but he did not pay that much attention to them. They were there, they did their thing, and Eric did his, and they intersected at certain points, mainly with playing music in the bar, drinking in the bar and working to save the world or the bar from time to time. Something for the bar would be too impersonal and Eric thought bringing a villein to the wedding would not be appreciated in the spirit it was meant and he figured there would be one or two that would show up on their own anyway.

Eric looked around at all the advertisements showing smiling faces. Hmmm maybe that would work. Eric pulled out his cell phone and started going through his pictures. A lot of selfies of course and Juanita and himself, but there in some of the early photos he had taken with his phone were some pictures of Magni and the bar, and there was a picture of Kennedy looking at Magni while he was laughing at something said as everyone sat around a table. Oh yes and Kennedy singing one night as Magni and Eric were playing behind her, cannot forget that one. Heh.

This idea might work, gods above and below, Eric hated shopping for presents, but maybe this time he came up with something he could make work and stomach giving them. He bought a large picture frame and glass for it and backing and took it home to make a mosaic of pictures of his friends that he had taken of them over the past couple of years.

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Eric and new friend.
Eric swept his leg across in front of him trying to take out his opponent’s legs that were also in front of him, while firmly holding their Gee. The little rat bastard jumped over his leg sweep and then cocked his hip under Eric and with a small heave pulled Eric over his hip and slammed him to the mat.

Bastard, Eric thought as he slapped his hand down hard on the mat to spread out the impact of the fall, as his body came down with a thump. Little, acne covered,fucker. I’m go’na to murderize him. Rolling back up to his feet. He and his nemesis carefully grabbed each other in the beginning Judo position. Left and right hand each grasping the others open gee with a closed fist. Then the awkward dance began again, around and around each moved trying to destabilize the Other until one of the combatants shifted his stance and leg sweep his opponent or hip throw him or even shoulder throw him. One of the basic moves that the two had been taught over the past three weeks.

Eric is a head taller than his opponent, out weights him by ten pounds and has ten years of experience on him. He has faced bad guys in life or death situations that this nerd could not even imagine. He is handsome, rich, and clever. His opponent is a thirteen year old, acne scared, hormonal mess, with all the suave and sophistication of a Spider monkey. Here on the mat though it made no difference as the said spider monkey deftly pulled Eric toward him as he fell back, planted his foot in Eric’s stomach and with sickening ease flipped Eric over his head to crash again into the Mat.

Damn fucker! How does he make it look so easy! Just give me back my powers and I will lay waste to his life, his home, his obviously genetically manipulating parents and, and, his dog! That would show him! And that caused Eric to pause.

He stood up bowed to his opponent, and then his teacher, then went to sit down against one of the walls of the Dojo lost in thought. Is that what this anger is all about, because that alien guy drained a lot of my power and now I feel worthless? I have not had this kind of power for most of my life, if it went away I could go back to what I was before, couldn’t I? Ok so OMHA may not want me anymore but I could go back to selling houses in a flash!
A persuasive voice came from the back of Eric’s mind. “Could you? Were you really that good at selling houses or was it just because you were the great-grandson of Ebby? Always getting by with what others gave you, never having to earn anything on your own. Your powers, your money, your fiance even? They just fell into your lap because of circumstances. Your just a taker Eric. A fucking little tick on the world’s backside.”

…….

I do not know who you are asshole but I wish you would get the hell out of my head. A little heavy-handed with the Freud bullshit. Eric shock his head trying to clear it. The others were awake now and it was time to get back to work. Ironhide needed a cure, and these God/alien things needed to be put in their place. I need to get my powers back as well and if they do not return, then get out of the others way.

Getting up Eric quickly left the Dojo to start his day at OMHA. Watching him his opponent smiled maliciously and then went back to listening to the teacher.

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The Unseen Stalker
Fowl Ball!

Somebody’s Watching Me. – “At first, you catch a glimpse of something out of the corner of your eye. Just as you turn your head, it’s gone. But the feeling of being watched now becomes evident… maybe even overwhelming.” -Unknown Author

Kirt in the aftermath of what can only be described as a comedy of errors… Out to lunch with Eric driving along a service road an overwhelming sense of him being watched hits him. This is not the first, and not the first this week. Earlier while at work with his “self-booting” PC, after a successful shut down several times, end result he had to simply unplug the thing.

However this extends way beyond that, months ago. Strange things, feelings, noises, that hairs standing on the back of your neck, uncanny, spider-sense that you are being watched, stalked… A heavy sense of paranoia overcoming him, a fear, a sense of urgency to protect his family and himself.

This coupled with his growing addiction to always being connected to the Internet has been clouding his judgment. Spending more and more time as his intangible alter ego self The Wire has left him somewhat cold., but this is all part of a buildup of what happened…

While going to lunch that feeling hit, and from the corner of his eye Kirt spied something, a bird with an unusual trajectory path, weaving in and out, following him. Eric, quite oblivious to the whole thing after Kirt with the use of his powers detected the bird, not to be a bird at all, just in shape and design, but a cleverly disguised mechanical menace. Failing the attempt to control the bird, and without much hesitation utilizing his other powers as not to lose the bird as it took off into a flock that was flying by he commanded it to explode, and explode it did. A fury of fluffy feathers burst everywhere as it caught other drivers off guard, startling them and causing an accident, a multi-car pileup.

With what had just happened Kirt jumped into medic mode, his training a nurse came back into play, a profession that one day would have made him a doctor, but the superhero gig took preference, and with all that has happened, that dream was placed on indefinite hold.

Bits and pieces of the bird were found, a very grotesque mixture of machine and bird. Who could have done such a thing, or why? One thing that is assured now though… We now have physical evidence there is something, rather someone behind all of this. Now to find out who it is.

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What's been going on with Rampart

After the Freedom Five apprehended a vigilante named Gallant, Rampart has been assigned as her training and handler. Kennedy was not very happy about this but she other issues distracting her. Her ongoing engagement with Magni Thorson was causing concern from those around her. Why had they waited so long? Was the wedding to be held on Earth or in Asgard? If it was in Asgard, were friends going to be invited? Perhaps they would have the ceremony on Asgard and a reception on Earth?

All of these questions were then even further complicated by the arrival of Karya, a Valkyrie warrior claiming to have been sent to aid Magni and Rampart so that they can focus on the impending wedding, but Karya’s behavior suggests that she might have other plans for Magni.

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What’s been happening with The Wire:

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you”

- Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Someone has been following Kirt. He has heard strange murmurs when he thought he was alone. He has seen movement out of the corner of his eye. He stopped a stranger that was following him in his car but the man was either innocent or a practiced liar. Luckily, Kirt can better defend himself now that his technologically advanced tike, Hope, has given him an upgrade that allows him to attack electronics instead of just controlling them.

Why are they following him?
What are they after?
Could they bring harm to his family?

Whoever is stalking him should fear the ire of The Wire!

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Who protects the city when the Freedom Five are down?

Introducing: The Sentinels of Freedom!

Karya – Valkyrie warrior
Cleric – Cybernetic Hero with advanced polymer armor, but a heart of gold.
Portal – Master of teleportation.
Sparrowhawk – Trained as a ninja assassin, but has dedicated her life to protecting freedom.
Magni – Norse God of strength, heir to the Asgardian Throne, and leader of the Sentinels of Freedom
. . . and, aiding the Sentinels is Vanz Hendrix – Master spy with luck on his side.

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What's been happening with Neutrino

The heroes needed an invitation to the Freedom City Valentines Gala for The Children. Knowing his family was on the board for the charity, Eric turned to his mother for help. She agreed to get him two invitations, each with a “plus one,” but only if he and a partner appeared as official representatives of the Freedom Five, and if Eric proposed to his girlfriend, Juanita Vatos. “I need grandchildren,” she exclaimed! After the recent assassination attempts by the mysterious Orion the Hunter, Eric was a little reticent, for fear that he would be putting others at risk, but he agreed.

Now this is when things get blurry so regardless of what actually happened, here’s what I have decided happened next:

After a nice evening of great music, dancing, wonderful food and drinks, Eric and Alex were called to the podium to address the attendees. Alex gave a terrific speech importance of recognizing and rewarding civic responsibility as part our daily lives, afterwards Eric used this moment to ask Juanita for her hand in marriage. She was stunned, but happily accepted. After the party, Eric, Juanita, Alex, and Elizabeth took Eric’s limousine back to the Plaza hotel. Juanita, exhausted from dancing, went up to her room to change into more comfortable shoes. A few minutes later, Eric received a text “Neutrino – if you ever wish to see Juanita alive again you had better come rescue her.”

He knew it was a trap, but he didn’t care. He ran out the front door of the building and as soon as he he felt the freezing starlit air, he activated his powers and flew up the side of building, shattering countless windows with an unintentional sonic boom, and flew through the window into his lover’s room. Suddenly heavy walls slammed down around the room, trapping him, and separating him from the very person he came to rescue. He tried to blast through the walls, but his powers didn’t seem to harm them. In fact they seemed to be absorbing his blasts. He then tried to smash through the walls by slamming at his top flight speed, thinking he would either break through the wall or shatter his own bones; instead he just lost all acceleration as he reached the wall. It was as though it absorbed the kinetic energy of the impact. He tried again, this time slamming into the floor. The result was much the same. He tried over and over again, until he noticed that his speed seemed to be diminishing. The walls weren’t just absorbing his kinetic energy, it was absorbing his powers. He also noticed that instead of his usual 12 inch height, he was almost 2 feet tall. Worried that he would continue to lose his powers, he returned to his normal form of Eric Halliday.

The walls began to glow with the image of a strange plum colored man. He began to monologue about the true origin of Neutrino’s powers. This man was an extra-terrestrial scientist, sent to perform tests on our sun. After completing 15 years of work in our solar system, he ship experienced a systems failure and crash landed on Earth at the French Swiss border. His ship needed major repairs, but earth lacked the materials needed so, disguised as a human, he manipulated humans into building the Large Hadron Collider which would allow him to re-energize his ships power core. Unfortunately, because of Eric’s meddling, instead of re-energizing his ship, it transformed Eric into Neutrino. Now he must take back that energy so that he can return to his home world. “I will have to succeed where that mercenary failed. It’s just unfortunate that the power can’t be separated from you… without killing you.”

A few moments later he threw his hands to his ears as in a pointless attempt to protect himself from the loudest sound he had ever experienced. It was the sound of Ironhide repeatedly punching the walls of the reverberating metal box. Eventually he was able to break his way through, but not before rupturing one of Eric’s eardrums. The alien escaped in his spacecraft, though still unable to escape earth’s gravity. Juanita was safe, but they both needed medical attention.

Eric could feel that his powers were slowly returning to him, but he also knew that somewhere out there, the strange alien was just waiting to try again.

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What’s been happening with Ironhide?

After the Freedom Five spent time in a shrunken form in search of a seed of Viracocha, the Inca God of creation, the nanobots that maintain and repair Alex Irons body are malfunctioning. His body is not repairing damage as quickly, and his enhanced abilities have become inconsistent.

His sister, Jessica Irons and Professor Banner, the head of O.M.H.A’s sciences department have determined that the nanobots have developed a flaw in their programming that can only be corrected by locating a copy of their original base code. Jessica has developed an injection that is delaying his complete systems failure (her polite way of saying death), but they will have to find a sample of the original nanobots, or their creator to cure him.

They know that the nanobots were based on similar machines created by the brilliant but insane former owner of Fun-time Toys Desmond Lettam, now known as the supervillain Toy Boy, but questioning him determined that the illegal experiments that gave Ironhide his powers were performed by an unknown third party. Lettam suggests that Ironhide look into someone called Taurus.

Taurus’ existence is shrouded in rumor and myth. O.H.M.A. cannot confirm his existence, but they believe him to be the head of an underground crime organization possibly known as the Labyrinth. The only lead on Labyrinth is a criminal meta-human known as Rant. He once claimed to work for the Labyrinth, but has since denied this, claiming that his statement had been coerced by cops. After arranging for Rant’s sister Rave’s impending death sentence to be commuted, he revealed that he reported to Jonathan Grant of Grant Conglomerates and once overheard him on a conference call with someone called Taurus, but he refused to testify as such for fear of his life.

Unfortunately, this is where my notes get fuzzy. I remember you meeting Mr. Grant at the Valentine’s Day Gala, but I can’t remember what information you got from him. If you remember, please let me know.

All I remember about the Gala is that you met 4 interesting guests, Rex Roman, Beatrice Wyrd, Jonathan Grant, and Nicholas Diavolo.

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The Chase Continues

The Red Raven’s trail disappeared into an icy canyon some twenty feet across. The rift overhead revealed only gray clouds. What light filters through the ice gives everything it touches a blue cast. A sudden gust of wind came down the tunnel, causing open flames to sputter. Up ahead, a strange glyph appeared carved into the glacial wall. As you paused to study it you were attacked by an Ice Mephit and an Air Mephit (small devil-like elemental creatures). Their bodies ceased to exist once you had defeated them. After the fight your wizard detected a slight magical glow of conjuration around the glyph, but was not able to determine anything more about it so your journeyed on. As the adventurers approached an intersection, a shadowy figure draped in a tattered red cloak dashed quickly around a corner away from them.

And this is where our next adventure will begin…

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