Disclaimer: If you recognize it, it belongs to someone else. I own none of the following.
Constructive criticism always welcome, flames cheerfully ignored.
The Outcasts attacked. Herculaneum threw himself in front of Willow and then charged the leader of the outcasts; keeping his body between the Outcast Boss and the red headed witch. The leader popped up into the air and fired off an electrical blast that bounced of the horned tank’s chest. Herc grunted with the impact and popped in the air himself, still protecting Willow. Pyroclastic raised his hands and shot off a fire attack at the outcast that had a torch on his chest, who returned the compliment with a similar attack. G. Angel took up position behind Pyroclastic and tripped his healing aura, every one on their side glowed green for a second. Buffy found herself facing an outcast that had a rock for his symbol, and as his fist suddenly seemed to grow rock right out of his skin she could see why. She dodged his first attack and back kicked him in the chin. He flew twenty feet down the sidewalk. Faith was tangling with a guy who was firing what looked like icicles at her, but her leather jacket seemed to be absorbing the punishment. She got inside on the guy, grabbed his t-shirt and began slamming her fist into his face. Willow stepped up besides Herc’s ankles and said, “Thicken.” When the shocker fired again at Herculaneum the electric bolt just splashed into an invisible shield just in front of him.
Willow smirked, “Let’s see how you like it buster,” as she fired off a double blast of electricity from both her hands. The shocker screamed in pain as the electricity danced all over his quivering body. When Willow stopped the fireworks he simply fell to the pavement and remained still.
Faith was done with hers too, she just released her grip and the gang-banger slid between her fingers to fall bonelessly to the pavement. Buffy was having a little more trouble with hers. It wasn’t fair; when he came back he had grown rocks all over his body for armor too. But, it didn’t help him that much, at least not when she found a concrete wall to keep kicking him against. “Yo, B. You want any help?” Faith called.
Buffy finished slamming the outcast against the wall one last time and as he slid to the ground, unconscious. “Nah, I got it,” Buffy quipped.
Pyroclastic finished his fight, taking down the outcast torch. Looking a little worse for wear, he slumped and panted. “You okay little brother?” Herc rumbled. Pyroclastic nodded. Everyone glowed green for a second as Angel helped the blaster out with some healing.
“Hey!” Willow called, as she watched the Shocker she had taken down vanish, followed quickly by the other gang members.
“Don’t worry about it,” G. Angel said, “they are just being transported to jail. They’ll fix them up, and then charge them with what ever crimes they can and throw them into the Zigg over in Brickstown.”
Buffy’s PDA thingy pinged, she grabbed it off of her belt and checked it out. “Defeated, one Outcast Crusher, Threat Lvl 9, 3000 influence, Security lvl 2 Awarded.” Looking around she saw that Willow and Faith were checking theirs out too.
“Cool,” Faith said, “That was easy.”
“Don’t let it go to your head Dark Slayer,” Pyroclastic remarked. “I have a feeling that you guys might be a little over experienced for your security clearance. I can’t think of any other Secclear 1 that would have been able to take down a chiller that easy.”
“Oh, guys?” Willow said in a small voice, “According to this, I’m Security Clearance 3.”
“That’s ‘cause you took down that boss Willow,” Herc rumbled. “I’m sorry I didn’t get to beat the guy up, but the look on his face when you pasted him made it worth missing out.”
“Come on,” G. Angel said, “I’ll show you were you get your new security clearance confirmed.”
Following him down the street toward the huge statue that dominated the area’s circle, the group went around to the front of the statue. Standing near the base of the giant statue of an unknown hero was a tall women dressed in golden armor. The armor covered her from shoulder to toe in a high-tech plate mail. Perched on her head was a gold helmet with valkyri wings on each side with a nasal ridge down the center. She was carrying a spear that was with out a traditional spear point, instead it had a rounded diamond shape for it’s head. “Hey G. Angel,” she said, “Back so soon?” She nodded at Herculaneum and Pyroclastic.
“Not for me,” Angel replied, “I’m helping some new heroes get started. We’re heading up to Icon so they can get their costumes and got jumped by some Outcasts.”
“Good thing you were with them then,” Valkyrie replied as she took Willow’s PDA from her and checking the read-out. “Wait, are you trying to tell me that a Sec 1 Defender took out a Threat Nine Outcast Leader with one shot?” Clearly not believing what she was seeing.
“These aren’t your typical newbies,” G. Angel said, then, seeing Buffy, Faith and Willow bristling hurriedly said, “Sorry, habit.” Then continuing on to Valkyri, “They came through that rift over in Atlas Park today. From where they are from they are pretty close to top of the heap. I think they are going to be under estimated a lot.”
Valkyri grunted as she authorized Willows advancement, “See about getting them advanced to where they should be, you know if Arachnos catches wind of them they are going to accuse us of slipping ringers in. We don’t need that happening.” So saying she authorized Buffy’s and Faith’s PDA’s.
“I wish you folks luck. If I can help you in any way don’t hesitate to ask. In fact, why don’t you meet me at Pocket D tonight and I’ll ask around and see if anyone can lend a hand.”
“Pocket D?” Buffy asked.
Valk nodded, “It’s a super nightclub. It has a couple of entrances, one’s over in King’s Row where you’ll probably end up staying. Its neutral ground, heroes and villains hang out there. It’s a pretty good time.”
Herc nodded, “Plus they take influence there so you can get some stuff to eat.”
“Okay, sounds good. Of course that assumes we find some place to sleep first.”
G. Angel smiled, “Relax, the city rep will find someplace.”
Buffy nodded as the group continued on to Icon. The trip was pretty much without incident, with one of the local heroes pointing out places of interest as they went. They did see another set of outcasts; they were talking with a group of oriental guys dressed in gi’s. Buffy subtly pointed them out, and asked if they were allowed to jump them, or did they need to wait until they did something. She didn’t know how influence translated in to dollars, but she figured the more the better.
“Dang,” Angel replied. “That’s bad news, when the Tsoo and the Outcasts get together and just talk, that’s trouble brewing.”
Faith shrugged, “Let’s go and beat them up then.”
“Tsoo are tough,” Pyroclastic told the dark Slayer, “Not with that Bronze Leopard leading the negotiations. After seeing what you guys did to those outcasts we might be able to take them down, but I’d prefer to just call it in to someone a little tougher than us.”
“The guy with the tats is the Bronze Leopard?” Faith asked, juices starting to flow at the possible challenge.
“The one without the hat, yeah, he could probably take Herc, Angel, and me without the sorcerer.”
“Magic user eh? That makes it tougher, what kind of spells does he have?”
“He heals like I do,” G. Angel replied, “That, and he teleports. One of the most annoying villains you are likely to meet.”
“Poly is right, we call this in and then go get you outfitted. After that we get you back to Azura and see what she has dug up,” So saying he started down the street, after a moment the Sunnydalians followed.
“Does this have something to do with us being so underrated?” Willow asked as they started walking again.
“That’s a big part of it. Angel explained, “There’s kind of an understanding between the heroes and the big villain groups. Our experienced heroes leave their small fry alone; and they don’t go out of their way to pick on ours. It doesn’t always work, but it’s usually the villains that break it. We don’t want to give them any excuses to say that we are bringing in ringers. With your abilities it won’t be long before you get to the point were you can engage people like the Tsoo or even higher level Council or Circle of Thorns and people won’t bat an eye. Until then though you need to be a little circumspect, or you can get other people killed.”
The Icon store wasn’t all that impressive on the outside. Just a grey building with ICON in bold white letters over the door, inside was even less so, two counters, one centerline of the store, with one across the back wall. Lining both walls were manikins wearing example costumes. G. Angel lead them to the back counter were an employee was just finishing up with another costumed figure. The man was tall, well over six feet, wearing an urban camouflage jump suit with a red head band tied around his close cropped brown hair. He nodded at Angel, who nodded back. He checked out the three ladies, smiled at Faith, then headed out.
“Faith,” Buffy said, “Business first, playtime later.”
“Dark Slayer, Buffy,” G. Angel chided the Slayer. “You need to get used to calling people by their identities. I know you folks don’t really care, but there are people who have civilian identities and want to keep them.”
Buffy mumbled an apology.
The employee, whose name tag proclaimed him as ‘Kevin’ asked, “What can I do for you folks today?”
Willow replied, “We need costumes made.”
“Can I see your ID?” The Icon employee requested.
Willow handed over hers, and he swiped it through the machine. He studied it for a minute and asked, “Okay, all of you need basic costumes right?”
The Sunnydalians nodded. Buffy asked, “I kinda have this blood stain on my shirt, could that be left out of the costume?”
Kevin looked at it and said, “I don’t see why not, you can make changes to your costume, but it costs a lot. Seeing as how you are new, I’ll make that change gratis.”
Buffy smiled and nodded her thanks.
Twenty minutes later the group was head out the door, everyone dressed in their new official supersuits carrying their old clothes in garment bags. For her part, Buffy was surprised how comfortable it was, she was expecting something really stiff and armorery; when Angel had said the costumes were bullet resistant, but her shirt still felt like silk, the pants might actually have been a little softer than the original leather, and the coat didn’t feel any different.
“Let’s head back to train station this way,” G. Angel suggested, “That way I can show you the magic shop.”
“What about that train station over there?” Buffy asked, pointing at a train station that was only about two blocks away, on the same level as Icon.
“That’s the Yellow Line; it doesn’t go to Atlas Park. We’ll show you it later.” Their guide responded.
“Okay, you know the area.”
A half hour later, they were waiting for the train to take them back to Atlas Park, having stopped in the magic shop, and found that 3000 influence didn’t go very far. Once the train came they piled in and returned to Atlas Park. They found a small group of costumed people standing around the bus talking to the girls. Andrew seemed to be the spokesman for the group, and he was having a blast. A quick stop showed that everything was going okay, so they left Willow there to provide some authority in the negotiations and Dark Slayer and Buffy, with G. Angel headed back into City Hall. Herc and Pyroclastic decided to wait with Willow and meet some of the other Slayers.