Manhattan Isle, smallest of the five boroughs amalgamated into the city of New
York, boasts the largest concentration of superheroes and metamutants found on
the planet since World War II. Heroes like Spider-Boy, the Challengers of the
Fantastic, X-Patrol, Teen Warriors, Peter Cannon's Thunderbolts, Hellbuster,
and many others all call Manhattan home.
And until recently, so did the Judgement League Avengers. Now based on
the Earth's moon, the JLA once maintained their headquarters, the Mansion of
Justice, in Central Park. It still stands as a monument to the team's
illustrious history, even if they have undergone a few changes since moving
out. Statues of all the members past and present ordain the yard around it,
attracting school outings and tour groups year round.
Today three very special young people are taking an extensive tour of
the facilities. Jubilation Lee, Pete Ross, and Pietro Allen meet inside,
seemingly for the first time. In a sense, it IS the first time they've met;
all previous encounters have been with their costumed alter egos; Sparrow,
Spider-Boy, and Mercury. "So, is this the first meeting of the Junior League
Avengers, or what?" Jubilation asks, breaking the silence.
"Not yet it isn't," Pete Ross answers," we're still waiting for our
fourth member. He said he'd be here. And I'm not too fond of that team
name. We deserve better than 'Junior'. Fifteen years from now, people will
remember our exploits as the adventures of the next generation of Justice
League Avengers when they were young." Pete came up with the 'Junior League'
name when most of Earth's teen heroes gathered on the moon to deal with the
World Without Adult Heroes crisis. At the time he meant it as a joke,
pointing out the number of copycat heroes whose powers or costumes so closely
resemble their adult counterparts.
“Thanks for not starting without me,” says Snapper Jones from the
doorway. Pietro hotfoots it to the entrance and helps him inside. Since the
World Without Adult Heroes he’s been confined to a wheelchair, and is still
getting used to the reduced mobility.
“How could we?” Spider-Boy explains. “You’re the only one with the
access codes to bring this place on-line.”
“Well…” comments Sparrow while typing on a security console keyboard,
“I got the codes a couple weeks ago while Dark Claw was out of the Burrow.”
Interior lights flicker on and panels glow with life to show off her success.
“I could have activated the mansion sooner, but I didn’t want to be rude.
Let’s see here, security clearance for Spider-Boy and Mercury… done. How high
a security level should we have?”
Suddenly the screen goes dark and her keyboard freezes up. “Hey! I
haven’t saved yet!”
“Why don’t you let ME handle the security around here?” Snapper says
from his wheelchair, clicking away on his IBMac laptop. “This building does
still belong to Stark Aircraft, and the lease specifies the Judgement league
Avengers as proprietors. That would be me.”
“Once we get established, that’ll be us, too.” Spider-Boy is excited
by the prospect. Although he has been reluctant to work with teams in the
past (the New Ravers were more of a club than a superteam) he has been
looking forward to this meeting ever since leaving the Moon. Most of the
teen heroes who helped out were already associated with one group or another,
but a few who weren’t agreed then that they should establish a smaller, more
organized team, just in case something like that ever happens again.
Mercury, meanwhile, has been exploring every square foot of the
Mansion, and returns to the lobby to make a report. “Check it out, there’s a
VR-Deck downstairs just like on Trek Wars! How cool is that? Live-Action
video games!!” Off he speeds before the others can respond.
“Of course,” continues Spider-Boy, “this COULD just be a temporary gig
“What,” questions Sparrow, using his own words against him, “you don’t
want to be part of the ‘Young Justice League Avengers’ Next Generation?”
Snapper Jones quietly rakes all this in, wondering if he made a
mistake by agreeing to supervise the ‘Junior League’ team. He proved his
leadership abilities by coordinating events last June, and earned the respect
of the elder heroes, but at the cost of his legs and his musical career with
the Traveling Crows. He also just turned seventeen this Summer, but somehow
feels a lot maturer than those he is called upon to lead. Maybe they only
take things seriously in a crisis.
Once he enables the safety protocols in the Holo-Grid (so Mercury
doesn’t accidentally kill himself playing Eternal Kombat) Snapper runs a full
diagnostic of the Mansion of Justice to see what he has to work with. Most of
the offensive systems have been removed or completely disabled. “Did anyone
invite a fifth member and not tell me?”
Pete Ross and Jubilation Lee stop prattling and respond, “No.”
“Then you better get into your union suits. We have an unidentified
energy field closing in on Manhattan at an erratic rate. The computer can’t
get a fix on it, but it’s coming this way!”
Mercury shows back up, already in costume, before the Jones finishes
speaking. “Blitz-Maze-War-Gone-Alarm-Reading-Whatz-Up?” is the most anybody
can make out from his hurried speech.
“Go check out a fluctuating energy pattern south of here,” Sparrow orders him,
despite Snapper’s statement of being in charge. Pete Ross mumbles something
about her thinking she’s Dark Claw as he peels off his civvies, revealing the
familiar blue & red costume of Spider-Boy underneath.
Mercury takes off and returns a second later. “It’s a big glowing
ball, and it’s bouncing this way. Can I finish my game now?”
Spider-Boy, Snapper, and Sparrow scramble over computer files
attempting to guess who is responsible. “Parkade?” “The Toyminator?” “Mad
Capper?” “Willow the Wisp?”
Pietro doesn’t bother with speculation. He returns to the orb and asks
some questions of his own. “Morning, orb.”
WHUMP! Goes the ball as it impacts the street and rebounds skyward. “Hi,” it
responds on the upward thrust.
He zips over to its next point of impact. “What’s up?”
WHUMP! “Me, mostly.”
“Where you headed?”
WHUMP! “Central Park.”
“That’s great!” Before the ball returns to Earth again mercury runs
back to the mansion, scrawls a note on the wall at hyper-speed to let the
others know it’s coming, and returns to the streets. As the glowing sphere
drops this time he begins running in a circle directly beneath it, creating a
cushion of air to slow its decent.
It doesn’t work. Instead, Mercury is unexpectedly flattened against
the ground by the ball, and becomes partially embedded in the energy shell
around it. When it bounces away, Pietro Allen is carried along with it.
“Sorry,” it tells him.
Spider-Boy and Sparrow read the poorly-penned note and prepare for
the ball. Clinging to the side of one of the apartments lining the Upper
West Side, Spider-Boy gets visual confirmation of the orb, and fires his
Web-Shooter at it as soon as it is in range.
“Whoa!” It pulls effortlessly past him, threatening to yank him right
off the wall. When he intensifies the strength of his personal gravity, the
Web-Line snaps. “This I need like another clone saga,” he says and leaps at
the ball, colliding with it in mid-air.
Rather than knocking it off course, he finds himself immobilized
against the surface of the sphere. Even with his strength and personal
gravity, Spidey is only able to barely lift his head. He turns to the left
and sees Mercury similarly confined. It’s sticky,” Pietro informs him.
Sparrow waits atop the Mansion of Justice. When the Judgement League
Avengers had their headquarters here, they utilized energized Inertron pylons
to reduce kinetic motion. This made landing a shuttle on the roof much more
possible than otherwise could be expected. Jubilation Lee positions herself
in the middle of the Heli-Pad, with all six Inertron pylons on-line,
vibrating a counter-inertia field directly overhead.
The ball arrives, not slowed at all by the pylons. Sparrow crouches
down to one knee and lets fly a pyrotechnic blast that has no effect on the
surface of the globe, but does seem to bother Spider-Boy. “Whose side are you
on?” he asks indignantly as his eyebrows sizzle from the explosives.
She dives to the edge of the rooftop just in time to avoid being hit, and
observes that the sphere, roughly seven-foot in diameter, leaves no mark on
the roof as it rebounds skyward. Playing on the fact that at least two
people are stuck to it, but inorganic structures seem to repel it, Sparrow
throws a capsule coated with organic material. It adheres to the ball, then
explodes in a tightly held white cloud. The cloud remains with the ball,
becoming a foam bonding agent coating the orb.
When next the ball lands, the white foam coating shatters and breaks
off. Spider-Boy and Mercury fall off with it. “Now what do we do?”
Spider-Boy wonders aloud.
“Maybe SHE can help,” suggests Mercury, indicating a new player on the
The buzzing sound tells the Arach-Kid exactly who the newcomer is.
“Insect Queen!” he shouts. The flying female heads straight for the ball and
fires an electric taser-line built into her costume.
When it hits, the energy shell quickly dissipates, leaving a rather
portly young man not at all equipped for flight. Mary Jane Watson grabs him
before he falls and lowers him to ground on fluttering wings. The youth
stares for a second and says, “Lady Bug?” before passing out. The four
heroes bring him inside the Mansion and heft him onto a table.
“That was great! What did you do to stop him?” Sparrow has to know;
hoping to convince herself it wasn’t something she should have come up with on
“Uncle Otto thought you could use a hand, so he fitted me with this bio-
electric disbursal thing. I don’t really know what it does, but Drs. Pym and
Palmer were awfully proud of it.”
“How did Doc Octopus know we needed help?” Spider-Boy is a little
angry that Insect Queen showed up to save the day, but tries his best not to
“I put out an emergency call,” Jones tells them. “I was expecting them
to send the Challengers of the Fantastic, but Cadmus obviously had a better
idea. Glad they did, too. I’d like to invite you to join the team, Queen.”
“No way,” Spider-Boy blurts out. “She didn’t even help out when the
grown ups disappeared! Besides, Project Cadmus would never let her. I had
enough trouble getting permission!”
Sparrow eyes her companion and asks, “What’s with you? I thought you
two were an item. They even televised the wedding!”
“It’s a long story,” Insect Queen tells her. “One I’ll be more than
happy to share at our next meeting. Rex Leech wants me to take a more active
role in things publicly, especially since he has a toy contract lined up for
me. Uncle Otto isn’t too fond of the idea, but he’ll come around.”
“Speaking of coming around, it looks like our friend is waking up.”
Snapper Jones wheels around the table to be near the boy’s head. Easily
weighing three hundred pounds, the stranger looks like an amalgam between Trek
Wars’ Jabba the Mudd and a giant Weeble. His skin-tight blue and orange
costume does not flatter him.
“I remember him, he’s one of the Legion of Galactic Guardians from the
year 2099!” Spider-Boy realizes. “He must have been left behind when we sent
all the others back to the future.”
“Not exactly. I’m Chuck Baldwin, better known as Bouncing Ball in my
time. I was there when Spider-Boy was brought to the LGG club house, but as
soon as we tried to send him back to his own time, some kind of chronal shift
wiped out everything. My bubble shielded me from the temporal energy, but it
propelled me backward in time through the quantum field. As I traveled into
the past, I could see the world around me, and it wasn’t the same one I left.
My entire life had been erased, along with those of many of my friends in the
Legion. Most of the other Galactic Guardians changed drastically. I kept
going backwards through time until I came to the point that the world split,
taking all the adults to another dimension. I intersected the cosmic rift
and was spat out of the time stream. I’ve been fully powered up ever since,
unable to shut down my bubble until you guys showed up.”
Spider-Boy knows about the reboot of 2099; he’s partially responsible
for it! But mentioning that right now would be like adding insult to injury.
Mercury makes a different observation. “If you had to make a pinhole
in the space-time continuum to reenter real-time, that would explain all the
temporal anomalies we experienced back then. Your quantum bubble was
responsible for tearing apart reality and almost dooming 1998 to
“I’m real sorry about all that, and if I can ever return home I’ll get
the Science Police to see about stabilizing this era to prevent chronal
rippling. Do any of you have a Time Square handy?”
“Not as such. But you’re welcome to stick around with us for a
while, no pun intended.” Snapper extends the invitation he gave Insect Queen
to Bouncing Ball as well. “We don’t have a name yet, but the roster’s
filling out nicely.”
“Sure we do,” Sparrow says smugly, throwing a mischievous grin Spidey’s
way. “We’re the Young Justice League Avengers: The Next Generation!”
THERE CAME A TIME WHEN THE OLD GODS... CHANGED!
-- THORION AND THE NEW ASGODS #1
-----== Posted via Deja News, The Leader in Internet Discussion ==-----
http://www.dejanews.com/rg_mkgrp.xp Create Your Own Free Member Forum