New Guardians

Issue 14 - Leftovers

When gang members get super-weapons

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Baron Mind has been out of town for the past week, booked into a brief touring magic show appearing at Midwestern casinos and colleges. While in Peoria, the Baron returns to his room one night to find his professional rival, ventriloquist Smiley Jenkins, in his hotel room. After trying to convince Jack (the Baron) that he was there inadvertently, Jenkins admits that he’s been hired to steal back the jewel that adorns the Baron’s turban (and gives him his powers). The Baron allows Smiley to leave, telling him to give his employers the message that if they want the jewel back, they can come get it themselves.

Fortress and Kid Green have been collaborating to improve her special formula; Jake works in Alyssia’s home lab while she’s at work during the day, and then works on his father’s experiments at night.

Jake goes on his first date with Amy Matsuzaka, who flirts with him quite a bit. They discuss Jake’s father’s project, and she talks a bit about the work she does for Content Not Found: dr-rupert-stewart. She leaves him with a warm, romantic kiss to end the evening.

Bantam (Dallas Dawson) is eating lunch in the cafeteria at work when he sees a breaking news report. A massive fire at the home of a Dr. Liefeldt has sent the man to the hospital with severe burns over 80% of his body. Dallas heads to the ICU at IU Med Center. Liefeldt is horribly burned and bandaged, but he manages to squeak out that he was trying to gain superpowers.

Dallas makes his way to Liefeldt’s house. Police and firemen are still on the scene. Dallas moves behind the fire engine and opens the compartment housing the backup batter, where he gets the electricity to spur his shrinking power, leaving a pile of empty clothes.

He heads inside to investigate and finds a room containing a metal medical table, wired to six car batteries. The floor is littered with broken glass from dozens of bottles, and of course the entire house is badly gutted. He calls Fortress to come take a look. While waiting for her arrival, he finds a loose floorboard in the Doctor’s bedroom. Hidden beneath it is a journal; a quick glance through it proves that Liefeldt was trying to recreate the circumstances that had transformed Dallas into Bantam: the spilled chemical and the elctrical jolt he’d received from Lightning Bolt.

When she arrives she sees two police officers talking, one holding a bundle of clothing. She speaks to the arson investigator, who leads her through the house. As they exit, still talking, Bantam grows to normal size and exits behind them. A Detective Frank Davis approaches the group with the bundle of clothes, asking if anyone’s seen a naked man running around. He displays an ID badge found with the clothes and asks if anyone knows a Dallas Dawson. Bantam admits the clothes are his. When asked why they were piled behind the fire truck he explains that he needed “some juice” from the battery. He further explains that he knows Dr. Liefeldt. Davis asks him to come downtown to answer some questions, but he begs off until the next day.

Later that evening as everyone is at home, they’ll see news reports that earlier in the day there were several robberies, all by Moongoons. Two check cashing businesses and a pawn shop were robbed by men wearing Moongoon uniforms and carrying UV rifles. All of the robberies occurred in the same general area, so Baron Mind decides to drive through the area looking for suspicious activity.

As it happens, he witnesses two Moongoons enter a liquor store. He watches as purple flashes fill the store, and the two run out moments later, one with a fistfull of cash and the other carrying a sixpack of beer. Baron uses his TK to grab the beer and cause it to shake wildly, which stops the Moongoons in their tracks. He then causes the beer to smash into the face of one of them, knocking him out. The other fires his rifle wildly before surrendering.

Under questioning the two reveal they aren’t Moongoons, just teenagers who found the uniforms and weapons in an abandoned warehouse. They said it had seen occasional activity by real Moongoons until just a few days ago, and that it was now unlocked and unguarded.

Fortress assembles the team and investigates the warehouse. They find empty and smashed crates resembling those at the airport hangar in which they found UV riles and uniforms. Baron Mind does his retrocognition thing and sees two days earlier about a dozen gang members breaking into the building and emptying the crates of rifles and uniforms. Two days before that he sees the following occur:

Moonstone and The Unicorn were arguing. The Baron’s retrocognition does not include sound, but he can read lips. Unfortunately the Unicorn wears a full-head mask, but he was able to determine that Moonstone was objecting to Unicorn’s use of the clones they had created, as well as the poor treatment her men were getting from Unicorn’s Knights. She finally stormed out of the building. After she left, The Unicorn gestured to one of her henchmen and handed him a cell phone. He placed the anonymous tip to Guardians HQ about Moonstone’s shipment at the airport that night.

The next day the team decides to hold a press conference, to warn the gang members that if they use the equipment, they could be mistaken for real Moongoons and that could get them killed. Among the reporters is Babs Bennett from television station WTHR Channel 13. She twists Fortress’ words, asking her questions like, “so even though you know they might be teenagers in those costumes, you’re still going to shoot to kill?”

Just then the Baron receives an automated alert on his Guardians signal device. At nearly the same instant nearly every reporter in the room receives a phone call as well. A bank robbery had gone bad at the National Bank of Indianapolis, on the near-East side, and had become a hostage situation. Detective Brewster called the Guardians because the perps were reportedly Moongoons.

The team made its way downtown. Bantam snuck off behind the building while Fortress, Baron Mind, and Kid Green met with Detective Brewster at the police barricade. A huge crowd of people was being held back, and news vans joined police cars at the perimeter. A SWAT van arrived and Fortress was introduced to the SWAT commander.

As Kid Green leapt to the roof carrying heroes and SWAT alike, Bantam was making his way through a back door and into a corridor. A few doors down he found the security room. Inside was a Moongoon staring at a bank of monitors. Bantam knocked him out and radioed Fortress that he could see the situation: Four Moongoons had about thirty people held at gunpoint in the lobby.

Just then Fortress’ cell phone rings. It’s her mother, desperately whispering what she thought might be her final words: she was one of the hostages and wanted to tell her daughter that she loved her.

Baron Mind decided to access air ducts and made his way into the building. Fortress, leading the SWAT team, headed into the building from the roof and down the stairs.

Bantam made his way down the corridor to a door that opened into the lobby. From there he could see the hostages, terrified. The ’goon standing over the hostages yanked an older woman to her feet, and a cell phone dropped from her hand. The ’goon said, “Reggie, this one has a phone! I should kill her, right?” Reggie said no, but that if a hostage needed killing, she would be first.

Fortress and the SWAT team approached the lobby from the other side. To their left was the vault, which stood behind the teller windows. Fortress could see one ‘goon standing at the open vault door, looking inside. She could also look through the teller cages and see the lobby. She crouched down and hurried underneath the teller’s counter unseen. From there she viewed two more ’goons inside the vault, busily stuffing bags full of the contents of safe deposit boxes.

Meanwhile, the Baron had found his way to a ceiling grate in the lobby. From there he could see everything, including one of the ‘goons who was yelling at three tellers, still behind their counter stuffing the contents of their drawers into large plastic bags. The Baron used his Mental Illusions to make the ’goon believe he had to urinate worse than he’d ever had to before. Suddenly the ‘goon contorted, nearly dropping his rifle, and started asking where the bathroom was. He did a pee-pee dance toward the end of the teller counter, to the side on which the SWAT team awaited on the other side of the door. As he passed through it, the SWAT commander was right there with his pistol ready, clamping his other hand over the ’goon’s mouth.

Fortress took this opporunity to fling herself at the ’goon in the vault doorway, her momentum carrying them both into one of the ’goons inside the vault.

Bantam made his way along the wall behind the hostages to get a good angle on the other ‘goon who was standing over them. Baron Mind unleashed an Ego Attack on the ’goon who had been threatening Fortress’ mother, causing him to drop his rifle and clutch his head in pain.

Inside the vault, Fortress glared at the one ‘goon left standing, who (hands empty because he’d been filling bags) listened very intently when she ordered him to sit down.

Bantam grabbed the ankle of his target dealing massive electrical damage, knocking him out. The Baron finished off his target with another Ego Blast, and Bantam followed by blasting Reggie into the teller cage, downing him as well.

Crisis averted, Babs Bennett was once again there on the street as the heroes emerged with the SWAT team and the hostages. “Did you shoot to kill in there?” she asked.

On the way to police HQ to give their statements, Graviton mentions that he’s been approached about a reality show about the team. The idea is not well received by anyone except Baron Mind. Graviton takes the very vocal refusals to cooperate as a “definite maybe”.

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