If you recognize it, I don’t own it. I make no profit from the following.
G. Angel cleared the wall with an easy bound and was heading for the Yellow Line Train Station in Atlas Park; to head home after a busy day of superheroing. He had just started up the hill when he noticed a glowing purple dot appear at the top of it. He hadn’t been a hero long, but he knew a portal opening when he saw one. Getting on his cell he hit the broadcast button to sound a warning to the other heroes that were in the Atlas Park area of Paragon City. He never got the chance though, with unbelievable speed the portal opened and a school bus thundered out of the glowing circle!
Angel threw himself to the side of the road, barely in time to avoid the careening yellow bus. It fishtailed before it hit the bottom of the hill and for an instant Angel thought it would roll the rest of the way down the hill. By either really good driving, or some higher power intervening, it stayed upright. Angel bounded down to where it came to rest and pulled the emergency door open. Inside he found a group of teenagers, mostly female, their eyes wide with shock. Angel realized that most of them were hurt in someway, some very seriously. A pretty redhead dragged herself off the floor and grabbed an African-American girl by the shoulders and called, “Rona? Are you still with us?”
An older man, who was straitening his glasses, was the first to notice him, opened his mouth to say something, but before he could Angel concentrated and a green glow filled the bus. Cuts healed, blood disappeared, and every one looked a little better.
The bus driver, a good-looking black guy, muttered something about making it when he collapsed back in his seat. “Wood!” A rather intense looking brunette screamed as she went toward him. Angel pointed at him and the green glow returned, this time centered on Wood. At the same time wounds that mimicked Wood’s appeared on Angel’s body. He grunted as the pain hit him. The eyes of the older man went wide as he saw what the stranger had done.
“Rona!” The redhead cried as she started feeling for a pulse. Angel turned, he made a lifting gesture with his arms and Rona lifted out of the seat, a sparkling glow surrounding her , her arms and legs spread wide, a look of almost ecstasy on her face. As the glow faded she floated back down to the floor of the bus and stood there fully healed.
“Is anyone else hurt?” G. Angel asked the bus.
“Who are you?” A tired voice asked from behind him.
Turning he saw a short, blonde haired young woman standing in the emergency entrance of the bus. She was wearing a white blouse and black leather pants. He could see she had been hurt as well; there was a large bloody hole in her shirt on the lower left of her abdomen.
He tripped his transfusion power again in case she needed any healing and everyone glowed green for an instant.
“Would you stop doing that and answer my question?” She demanded, shifting the pole arm she carried into a two handed grip.
“Hey baby, need some help?” a voice said from down the hill.
Angel looked up as the blonde turned around. Coming up the other side of the hill was a group of Hellions. A street gang that haunted Atlas Park and made everyone’s life a little harder, the speaker was a lieutenant in the gang, known as a Fallen, the shotgun he was toting made him of the Buckshot variety. He was wearing the standard uniform of a Hellion, a pair of blue jeans, an orange vest and a demon mask. Mystical tattoos could be seen peeking out from under the vest. Angel was pretty sure it was a mask, with some of the leaders of the gang it was actually fused to their face, but this one looked a little junior for that.
“I so don’t need anymore of this today,” the blonde muttered as she jumped down and kicked him.
Angel was starting to get out of the bus to confront the gang members, but was forced to stand there in the doorway and watch as the Fallen performed a graceful arc that ended in the pond that bordered the hill, at least ten meters away.
“What’s going on here?” The question came from above and behind the bus, and then it was Buffy’s turn to stare. Hovering above the bus was a man in a red and blue costume, with silver stars running up both sides of his body. The costume was complete with a Greek style helmet and red cape fluttering in the wind. He was large, well over six feet and was in perfect condition, his costume left no room for doubt. Blue eyes looked out over them from deep in the helmet.
“Statesman!” G. Angel said in awe.
The blonde just blinked, while everyone in the bus crowded the windows to get a closer look at the powerful figure.
Unnoticed by anyone, the remaining Hellions had taken to their heels as soon as the caped figure had made himself known.
“Is everyone alright G. Angel?” Statesmen asked. Since everyone ignored his first question.
Angel shook himself and said, “Er, yes. I think so. Anyone else hurt?” He called into the bus.
“I don’t think so…” came the distracted reply from the older man with the glasses.
“Good,” Statesman landed in front of Buffy. “That’s a pretty nice kick you got there Miss, good elevation and distance.”
Buffy shrugged, “It’s been a long day and I didn’t need the hassle.”
“No problem seeing as you just got here, but if you are planning on staying you, and any of your companions who could have performed a similar kick, are going to need to get registered.” Statesman turned to Angel, “Would you be willing to do that?”
Angel nodded, “Sure, be happy too.” Statesman nodded his thanks and flew up and away.
“Registered?” Buffy asked suspiciously.
Angel nodded, “In Paragon City,” Waving a hand around to indicate the city they were in, “If you are going to operate as a superhero you have to be registered with the city. You get a communication device,” he raised up what looked like a cross between a cell-phone and a PDA, “and your costume is registered. Anytime you take down a bad guy it gets recorded and you get credit toward higher security clearances and you get paid a stipend based on how dangerous the bad guy was you took down.”
“You mean you guys are bounty-hunters?” A geeky looking blonde kid asked, disappointment showing on his face.
“Not exactly,” Angel replied, “It’s more that we are independent contractors and that’s how we get paid.”
Buffy looked around the area; these people had a fetish for huge statues she saw, with numerous thirty and forty foot statues of assorted people in costumes. A couple of blocks away she spotted a towering wall topped by what looked like some kind of force field, following the field around she realized that it completely surrounded where they were. “What’s with the glowing walls?”
Angel glanced at what Buffy was looking at, “Those are our Battle Walls. We were invaded a couple of years back and the walls helped to contain the Rikkiti, the aliens who invaded us. Now it helps us segregate the bad guys.”
Buffy nodded, “What happens if we don’t register?”
Angel shrugged, “As long as you don’t operate as a super? Nothing, if you do use your powers then you can get arrested and sent to the Ziggurat over in Brickstown. That’s a prison designed to hold supers, at least that’s what it’s supposed to do. Bad guys I arrest never seem to have a problem getting out though.”
Buffy considered for a moment, “We are going to need a place to stay, will getting registered help with that?”
Angel nodded, “While you are doing the paper work, I’ll talk to the City Rep and see what she can do for you.”
Reaching a decision she looked over the Sunnydale survivors and said, “Willow, Faith, you’re with me. We’ll get registered and see what we need to do to get housing. Xander, you and Kennedy are in charge here. Keep everyone with the bus, and keep Andrew from wandering in front of a car while he’s checking out the superheroes. Giles? It would probably be best if you came with us.”
The five people started across the parking lot to a large white marble building. “Is that Superhero Headquarters?” She asked.
Angel shrugged, “Sort of. It’s City Hall, but they have a lot of the super support structure here. Freedom Corp. HQ is over in the Galaxy City section, but Freedom Corp keeps trainer’s here full time, and Ms. Liberty is stationed out front to verify your advancement to new security levels. Speaking of which, do all of you have the same powers?”
Buffy shook her head, “Faith does, but Willow is a Wicca.”
“What kind of spells do you do?”
“General spells, I can put up a force field, I can fly, fire electrical bolts.”
Angel nodded, “Okay, when they ask you for the type of superhero you are Buffy, Faith, you are scrappers. Willow, you are a defender.
“One other thing Willow, you aren’t allowed to fly until you hit Security Level 14.”
“That’s stupid,” Willow stated.
“Maybe, but those are the rules.”
As the group walked toward the steps leading up to the building Buffy noticed that there were several … things, floating next to the steps. As they walked past them she asked, “What are those?” Pointing at the thing that looked like a light bar from a police car with a gun barrel sticking out from underneath it.
“They’re Police Drones. They don’t have a lot of them so they place them around important areas. Train stations, public buildings, and entrances to different areas usually get them,” he explained.
“What do they do?”
“If a bad guy comes within their protection zone they zap him with a teleporter beam right to jail.”
“They ever make mistakes?”
“Not so far.”
Buffy frowned, less than convinced.
G. Angel lead them around the building, the statue that was at the front of the building took their breath away, it was easily on the same scale as the Statue of Liberty, well, at least from the pictures she’d seen of it, but instead of a lady holding up a torch, this was of a powerful man holding up the world across his back. Angel noticed them stop and was about to ask them what the hold up was when he saw what had drawn their attention.
“That’s Atlas, he was a hero back in the thirties and forties. That statue is life size by the way.”
The three newcomers to Paragon City stared at the hero, then back at the statue. “He was killed on December 7, 1941 over in the Independence Port section of the city stopping a bunch of Nazi’s from storming the City.”
Giles looked surprised, “Germany attacked the US in 1941 here?”
Angel nodded, “What happened in your world?”
“The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.”
“They tried, but there was a couple of heroes in and around Hawaii. One was a fire controller, the other a storm controller. They kind of swatted the attack force, and then nailed the fleet with a hurricane. Attack didn’t come off and without their carriers they sued for peace fairly quick.”
Gesturing with his arm he led the four Sunnydalians into City Hall for Paragon City. He walked up to a pretty young woman dressed in a suit who was standing in the center of the rotunda. “Hey Kathy, these people, and about a dozen or so more are currently without lodging; they kind of dropped in on us from another dimension.”
Kathy nodded like she got this kind of a problem dropped into her lap everyday. “Are they supers?” Seeing Angel’s expression she said, “Of course they are, silly question. You get them registered and I’ll see what I can dig up.”
The registration process was surprisingly painless, Angel explained their arrival and the clerk at the counter accepted their California Drivers licenses for ID, well Willow’s and Buffy’s; Faith actually lacked anything like a photo ID. The Clerk had no problem though, she had Faith stand in front of a camera after filling out a set of forms, Buffy found out Faith’s last name was Lehane, and two minutes later she was handed a brand new photo-id. She then asked for their names, Buffy told the clerk hers, thinking that she might be a little retarded as she had just seen her license. The Clerk then motioned for Buffy to stand in front of the same camera that Faith had and took her picture. Two minutes later she handed Buffy an ID card, and one of the PDAs like G.Angel had. “Next?” she called, and Willow went up to the counter.
Buffy examined the ID card. It was similar to a driver’s license, except that it was a full body picture. The info on it stated: Name: Buffy Summers, Identity: Buffy Summers, Address: Transient, Group Affiliation: None, Status: Active.
“Wait! This is my superhero ID?” Buffy exclaimed.
“Yes,” the Clerk responded, pointing up to the sign over the desk that said, “Hero Registration.”
“I didn’t want my name to be my name,” Buffy stated, though thinking about it, she wasn’t sure what she wanted her name to be.
The Clerk shrugged, “Too late, you are in the system.”
Faith laughed as Buffy fumed.
The Clerk looked at Willow, “What about you, do you want a different name besides ‘Willow Rosenberg?”
Willow thought about it for a couple of seconds and asked, “Could we just shorten it to Willow?” The Clerk hit the delete keys a couple of times.
“And is that the costume you want to wear?”
“Costume?” Willow asked, “These are just my regular clothes.”
“Do you want to take the time to change?”
“Don’t really have anything else, so no, lets get it over with.”
Buffy turned to Angel and asked, “What’s the big deal with the clothes?”
“That’s your costume until you hit security level 20, then they let you have an alternative costume.”
Buffy looked down at what she was wearing, she didn’t have a problem with it, except, “You mean I have to wear this anytime I’m out super heroing?”
Angel nodded. Buffy glared, she had been denied critical need to know information.
Willow was finished and Faith stepped up to the counter. “Name?” The Clerk asked again.
“Dark Slayer,” Faith replied, winking at Buffy who scowled back at her Sister Slayer. “And do you have some kind of a mask back there?” The Clerk nodded and handed her a domino mask, which she put on before she stood in front of the camera again.
Giles was frowning, “Faith do you think you are taking this seriously enough?”
“Hey G-Man, we’re stuck in a comic book, we might as well try and fit in. Besides, who’d ever figure me for a Superhero?”
G. Angel let them finish their paperwork then said, “How about I introduce you to Azuria, then we’ll head over to Icon and see about getting your clothes turned into some costumes?”
G. Angel waved the others toward an entranceway that had “New Hero Assignments” over it. Going down a set of stairs they found themselves in a wide hallway. There were five doorways, one straight ahead and two on each wall. Each had a title over them. The one G. lead them to was titled ‘Modern Arcane Guild and Investigation’.
Buffy looked around, the room was an odd mix of high tech and magic, sort of like the Initiative and the Magic Box had gotten smushed together. A young woman sat behind a desk to the left of the entranceway talking on a phone. Seeing she had visitors she quickly finished what ever she was working on and stood up smiling. “Angel, back so soon? Can’t stay away, ay?”
“Never, Azuria, but, I’m on a mission from Statesman here,” he replied in a teasing tone.
“Statesman? Well we can’t hold that up.”
“Did you feel a disturbance about a half an hour ago?” G. Asked. When she nodded he went on, “These people were part of it. The got dropped here from another dimension, Buffy and Dark Slayer here are scrappers, and Willow is a defender. I want to get them over to Icon so they can get uniformed up. Could you see if there is anything available for when we get back?”
Azuria frowned, “Not a whole lot going on right now. I’ll ask around and see if anyone else has anything extra.”
“Thanks,” he told her, “People? Let’s go and get you some costumes.”
Buffy held up a hand, “I though you said we had to wear this,” she said pointing at her current outfit.
“You do,” Angel explained, “But the tailor at Icon will make it out of a special fabric that will help turn bullets and such. Doesn’t do much for impact, but it keeps you from leaking.”
“I’m always in favor of that,” Faith said, “Lead on G.,” she said as she started for the door.
“I think I’ll remain here and talk with Azuira,” Giles said, “I should be safe in City Hall.” Buffy was clearly unhappy with splitting up, but saw that Giles had a point; after all, he didn’t need a super-suit.
“I’ll send Vi over to keep you company,” Buffy said as she was led out of MAGI’s office.
After a brief stop back at the bus, which had been pushed into City Hall’s parking lot by a passing hero, she sent Vi to look after Giles, then G. Angel lead them up the hill to the train station. The station itself wasn’t much to look at, a white building with blue highlights. The main part of the building was up off of the ground with elevated rails leading into and out of it. It had a single ramp in the front of the building, instead of going straight up, it split with new ramps going to each corner of the entrance to the building. At the base of the ramp there were two more police drones. Inside the building Buffy found a large map of the city. She saw that there were more than a dozen zones around Atlas Park, which the sign indicated was where they were. Angel pointed at one of the zones just north of Atlas Park. “This is where we are going; Icon Tailors are at the north end of the zone.”
“Where does the station let out?” She asked.
Angel tapped the south end of the map, “Right here. We could have walked there, and ended up at the same place, but the train was closer.”
Faith nodded and the four heroes walked into the station. They only had to wait a couple of minutes when a small rail car pulled into the station. The quartet walked in and Angel turned to his right. Buffy noticed three ordinarily dressed people in the front part of the car. The two in the back were not so normally dressed. Both were purple skined, with ram horns curling around their long blond hair. They wore similar outfits, light blue t-shirts, red leather pants with blue flames around their lower legs, work boots. There the similarities ended, one was huge, seven foot easy, with a powerful muscular, physique. The other was about Faith’s size, with a thin stature and a red scarf with the same kind of blue flame motif his pants had. The two groups were studiously ignoring each other.
The big one glanced over at the new passengers and catching sight of Angel said, “Dude!”
“Herculeneum, just the guy I was looking for. How’s it going Pyroclastic?” Angel asked the other.
“Pretty good, still looking for some place to call home though,” the smaller one stated.
“I wish I had more than a one room apartment guys,” Angel said.
Buffy looked both of the purple people over, she wasn’t getting any demon vibes from either one, glancing over Willow and Faith she could see they didn’t either.
“What happened?” Willow asked, “That is if you don’t mind my asking.”
Pyroclastic shook his head to indicate he didn’t, “The Circle of Thorns moved into Kings Row a couple of months ago, it’s getting pretty hairy and they summon demons sometimes. People don’t care that my brother and I are mutants. They see the skin color and horns and scream demon! Our landlord didn’t have much choice, either he kicked us out, or all his other tenants were leaving.”
Willow looked indignant, “That’s horrible! Buffy, we have to help them!”
“Uh, Willow? We don’t have a place to stay either.”
“Oh, yeah,” Willow replied glumly.
“We’re hold up at an abandoned warehouse in King’s Row, there’s plenty of room, and even running water,” Herculeneum offered.
“The City Rep is looking to see if she can find them someplace to stay,” G. Angel told him.
“You could stay with us then,” Willow offered.
Buffy winced, “Willow, we don’t even know if they will be able to find something for us!”
“That’s okay dudettes,” Herculenenum rumbled, “We understand.”
Then Buffy felt bad, after all, Herc had offered them room.
“If there is room Herculenenum, you and your brother are welcomed,” Buffy told them.
“Cool!” Herc said, holding up a thumb. Pyroclastic nodded.
As the tram stopped G. Angel turned to Herculenenum, and Pyroclastic and asked, “Are you guys doing anything right now?"
Pyroclastic shook his head, “Nah, we’re just riding the tram seeing if we can spot anything going on.”
“Could you help me escort them,” nodding to the Sunnydalians, “Up to Icon? They need to get suited up.”
“Lead on healer dude!” Herculenenum said as he followed them out of the car.
The Steel Canyon Zone of Paragon City was a lot different from Atlas Park. It reminded her of downtown Los Angeles with tall buildings everywhere. G. Angel lead them down the sidewalk. A couple of blocks down the road they came to a stairway leading down. Angel pointed at a glass fronted building across the way, Buffy assumed it was called ‘Wentworths’ because that’s what the large gold sign said in front of it. Buffy assumed it was important, as there were police drones at both entrances. Seeing her interest G. Angel explained, “That’s the auction house, there are a couple of more scattered around the city. Occasionally bad guys drop stuff. At the University, which we will be going by, they offer courses and have workstations that will let you take some of this salvage and turn it into things.”
“What kind of things?” Willow asked.
“Different stuff. Here,” he said as he pulled a silver eye shaped amulet out from under his shirt, “I made this last week. It helps me target my sleep power.” The others looked the amulet over making appreciative noises.
“How much does it cost?” Faith asked, wondering if she could get something for her favorite axe.
“The basic course is free, as long as you have a Level Ten Security Clearance, materials and time on the work bench can be pretty expensive though. But as long as you are reasonably active, you shouldn’t have too much trouble affording stuff.
“Anyway, the instruction on how to make stuff is called a recipe, and if you don’t have all of the proper ingredients you can usually find it at the auction house. If you find yourself in need of cash quick you can put stuff you have up for auction too. They take a fee, but it’s not too bad.”
G. Angel led them down a set of stairs and started leading them south. They’d gone maybe a block and a half when a voice called, “Hey! This is our street and you have to pay a toll if you want to use it.”
Buffy turned, pushing Pyroclastic behind her. The establish superhero let out a yelp of outrage. She saw the speaker; he was a guy wearing a t-shirt with a torch on it. He had three friends with him, also wearing different color shirts with different symbols, and glaring at the group.
G. Angel spoke for the group, “Beat it. We aren’t in the mood.”
“You shouldn’t be escorting a couple of newbies through Outcast territory then,” The bad guy replied, leering at Willow.
She rolled her eyes and said, “Bored now,” she waved her hands and a bubble of force appeared around the group.
“She shouldn’t be able to do that,” one of the bad guys said.
“Nail ‘em,” The leader called and his gang leapt to the attack.
AN: For those of you who might not be familiar with City of Heroes I’m going to try and explain things as I go. Don’t completely judge the game by what I write though, because while I will be borrowing story arcs and the like, a lot of the mechanics of the game will be a bit different. No regenerating mobs on the street corners for instance, though there will be random encounters. I will also mostly be using my own heroes and game heroes. If anyone has a hero (or villain) they would like me to add to the story drop me an e-mail with a description of the character and I’ll see what I can work in.