The Mastermind Files: Notes From a Freedomverse

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Space Oddity
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The Mastermind Files: Notes From a Freedomverse

Post by Space Oddity » Sun Jun 23, 2019 12:56 am


It had been one of those adventures, the ones where the Freedom League joined forces with the Sentinels, the Freedom Legion, and any other heavy-hitters they could rustle up, and now that the battle was won, they'd gone back to the Lighthouse for a celebration. Gimmick had been enjoying herself, but as these things often did, the party had gone a little long. Which lead to her mind to wandering, which lead her to noticing Black Flag was missing. Which lead her to trying to figure out where Black Flag was, partially out of a desire for her company, and partially to make sure she hadn't done something monumentally stupid.

Thankfully, Black Flag was in the first place Gimmick looked, perched on an oversized chair fiddling with one of the archives. "Hey, Gimmick," said Black Flag. "How's the shindig going?"

Gimmick shrugged. "The usual," she noted.

"Yeah, that's what I figured," muttered Black Flag. "I don't know about you, but I had enough of that $#!% back in my misspent youth. After about an hour, one part of me starts muttering about how I need to watch my sobriety, another starts muttering how f#*&ing lame this all is, and how I should show these @$$*!%$ how to f#*&ing party." She shrugged. "Which leads to stuff like this."

Gimmick nodded. "Ahh."

"Ehh, it's not a big deal," said Black Flag. "I don't come up here very often, so it's nice to be able to play with things when I am." She smiled at Gimmick. "I'm making another movie."

"Oh, God, I should never have shown you how to do that on these," muttered Gimmick with a chuckle.

"Yeah, your f#*&ing hubris has been your f#*&ing undoing," said Black Flag, clicking the switch. "Now, watch this. You'll like it."

"So is it the stunning sequel of "Black Flag Punches Nazi Supervillains'?" Gimmick asked as she took a seat.

Black Flag gave a dismissive wave. "Nah. Even I'm pretty f#*&ing tired of that one. And you know how much I love punching Nazi @$$*!%$. So nearly had a... what do you call it... existential crisis two months after it went viral, and yes, Trixie, I know it was you who put it on the series of tubes."

Gimmick crossed her arms. "No, you don't. Not really."

"Sure, sure," said Black Flag with a roll of her eyes. "Now watch. It's starting."

On the screen a massive war machine was raising from the waters of what looked to be the Freedom Harbor of over half a century ago. Gimmick blinked. "Wait a minute, I know what this..."

"Hail, Plebeians," came a familiar booming voice. "Know now that your lives are under my rule! You may call me Mastermind, if you find it too difficult to call me master! MuahahahahahhahahaHA!"

"I knew it," laughed Gimmick, as the footage sped up to an almost ridiculous extent to show the Freedom League defeat the engine. "This is Mastermind's first modern appearance, back in..."

"1963," said Black Flag. "See. Did my homework."

On the screen, the Mastermind was floating away from the wreckage. "Very well, 'heroes'," he declared grandly. "You win this round! But the next time I will not be so easily defeated!" He then vanished in a flash of light as several League members attempted to rush him. The video suddenly flashed forward to Mastermind fleeing another bunch of flaming wreckage. "Enjoy your victory, 'heroes'! Next time!" And then flashed to Mastermind fleeing a sinking ship . "Next time!"

Gimmick laughed. "Oh, you're right. This is great."

"The best parts are coming up," noted Black Flag with a chuckle.

"So, Freedom Fools," declared Mastermind in his most stately pose, "behold my latest creation!" A giant monkey loped into view. "The Mega-Monkey! Destined make monkeys out of all of you! MuahahahahahhahahaHA!"

Another flash. "Behold, my death laser! MuahahahahahhahahaHA!"

Another flash. "The Battlebot shall defeat you! MuahahahahahhahahaHA!"

Another flash. "Behold my army of Mecha-Mega-Monkeys, each equipped with a deadly laser! MuahahahahahhahahaHA!"

Another flash. The Mastermind stood before a crowd laughing hysterically. "With my new Laughing Gas, you will all be so paralyzed with amusement that you will be unable to resist me! MuahahahahahhahahaHA!"

Another flash. The Mastermind stood before a giant clock tower. "Can you defeat the chimes of my DOOMSDAY CLOCK? MuahahahahahhahahaHA!"

Another flash. "So, Sentinels, I see you are finding this amusement park less than amusing and more deadly! But rest assured, Mastermind is amused! Muahahahahahhahaha!"

Another flash. The Freedom League stood in the middle of a massive discotheque, the opening chords of ABBA's Dancing Queen playing. The Mastermind strode down a stairway in the back, flanked by robots all of them moving in rhythm. "Welcome, 'heroes' to my DISCOTHEQUE OF DOOM, where you shall have to dance to survive!" He did an elaborate fingersnap that Gimmick felt certain the supervillain had to have been practiced. "Pony or perish, Freedom Fools! Pony or PERISH! MuahahahahahhahahaHA!"

Another flash. The Mastermind stood before the Freedom League, waving a strange device that had apparently left the entire team stuck upside down on the ceiling. "Victory is mine, 'heroes'! Now, nothing shall prevent me from seizing the world's entire supply of Tastee Pies! MuahahahahahhahahaHA!"

There was another flash. Mastermind stood before what looked like a warhead. "My demands are a billion dollars, payable in either gold and silver bullion, or Tastee Pies. I leave the choice of payment to you, gentlemen."

Another flash. The Mastermind had raised his mask to reveal his mouth and was chewing a Tastee Pie. "Mmm... Tastee Pies. So Good. Mmmmmm...." He took another bite, and shook his head in satisfaction.

Gimmick wiped a tear from her eye. "Oh, man, he used to be so, so GOOFY!"

Black Flag nodded. "Yeah. Almost takes the sting out of the fact that he's now in the outer reaches of the Solar system with an ancient f#*&ing intergalactic war machine that can blow up planets. That we pretty much f#*&ing helped him get."

Gimmick frowned. "Oh, way to be a killjoy, Mol."

"Can't help it," answered Black Flag. "It's muh nature." She stared at the screen. "Yeah, I look at this, and I think about that, and I try to square it all and I just can't exactly..."

"Well, nobody really knows how Eldar's life preservation technology works," suggested Gimmick. "Hell, sometimes I think he doesn't really. Maybe it does things to his brainwaves, so sometimes he's a dangerous maniac, like the present, and other times he's a weird goofball who loves Tastee Pies, like back in the 20th century."

Black Flag nodded. "Yeah, maybe," she said. "Or maybe... and this is just me spinning my wheels--it's all a game to him, and all these battles aren't really about conquering the world. At least not the way he says they are. Maybe it's all just him amusing himself as he puts the pieces in place to pull off the important jobs. Like... you know, seizing the Battlesphere. Because when you put it all together, it stops seeming like him being odd, and starts seeming like an act."

Gimmick stared at her for a moment. "And all this because you decided to fiddle with the videos here."

"You know me," said Black Flag, spreading her hands. "Devil's own luck. Literally. Thing's just sort of fall into place sometimes." She shrugged. "I mean, really I'm not expecting to do much with this myself. Outside my usual pay grade."


On the edges of the solar system, Eldar of Earth chuckled as he watched the two heroines discussing him on the Lighthouse. "Aleph, pull out the files on "Hero" Designate "Black Flag"," he said. "I see I have some catching up to do."

"Certainly, Master," came the AI's voice. "Do you desire some music as you read?"

"That would be nice," said Eldar as he scanned the file before him. As the sounds of Take a Chance on Me filled the air, he leaned back and took a big bite out of a Tastee Pie.

Hello, there folks. Some of the old guard will remember me as Rhialto back on the Atomic Think Tank. I started posting this there, but after some *ahem* difficulties with the forum, I've decided to post it here as well. I hope you all enjoy it.

Space Oddity
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue May 28, 2019 4:19 pm

The Mastermind Files: Table of Contents

Post by Space Oddity » Sun Jun 23, 2019 3:02 am

A Placeholder for the Table of Contents, because this time, I don't want to fall behind on that.

Space Oddity
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Joined: Tue May 28, 2019 4:19 pm

The Mastermind Files: "Hero" Designate "Black Flag"

Post by Space Oddity » Sun Jun 23, 2019 4:54 pm


Molly Duncan "Villain" Designate "Chokechain" circa 2001

Molly Duncan "Hero" Designate "Black Flag" at the present date

Right, let's start this one from the top. Molly Duncan. Early part, Cliff Notes version. Had a hard luck life. Foster kid. Ran away young. Fell in with a lot of self-described anarchists, and soaked up their beliefs like a sponge, largely because she was a clever kid, but also a scared angry kid looking for direction and something to believe in. Joined an anarchist/ecoterrorist group, formed a punk band, and started dyeing her hair purple all the time, because f#*& why not just go with the stupid. Went to the WTO meeting in Seattle to protest, which involved smashing shit up, and pretty much made a deal with Mr. Infamy, aka I Can't Believe It's Not Satan, because again, she was hellbent on going with the stupid. Then came that stupid stunt at an Arby's involving spraying people with cow's blood that was supposed to prove... look, these days if asked to explain half her actions during this time, she answers "I was a stupid, angry, self-righteous punk who was also, yeah, frequently smashed. My thought processes were... below average most of the time." Things went bad. Cops were called. A couple of low level rookie superheroes also got involved. A few people wound up shot. Molly blamed everyone but herself, because that was her deal at that time. She went to jail. That deal with Mr. Infamy suddenly activated, Molly got superpowers, and busted the hell out. She worked out that she had super-strength, super endurance, and that she could send waves of pain through metal. And so she rechristened herself CHOKECHAIN.

Yes, f#*&ing Chokechain. That is what she decided to call herself. And she really doubled down on the purple hair, because clearly, She Was PROVING THINGS.

So, Molly was a supervillain, but that was COOL and IRONIC, because SUPERHEROES were all FASCIST JOKES, and yes, she spoke and thought in capital letters on those subjects. The point was, the people who said she was a criminal were THE REAL CRIMINALS and she was THE REAL HERO, because clearly, she was good, and people who didn't agree with her were bad. And that was what fueled her, in her battles with superteams, and also, in her music, because yes, she stayed in her underground punk band, they were called the Sissy-Cysts, and do not f#*&ing listen to them if you want to spare your eardrums, because their two defining traits were "loud" and "really not very good, at all". She joined a group called the Crime Union, which was IRONIC, and all about SHOWING THOSE SELL-OUTS what a bunch of FASCIST NAZIS they were. She fought for the sort of justice she believed, which seemed to involve smashing shit up more than it involved helping people. And she dyed and styled her hair religiously, with stuff that she stole, because F#*& CAPITALISM, and clearly that was the best way to do that, stealing hair products from Walmarts, so she could maintain the look that told everyone what an EDGY REBEL she was.

She fought the heroes a lot, and used her powers on them a lot, especially Lady Liberty, who was of course the perfect symbol of the UNITED TYRANNY OF AMERIKKKA and thus had it coming, in battles that frequently wound up feeling like they were some sort of weird BDSM scenarios, what with the chains, and tying, and the shouting, and which Molly found a little uncomfortable at the time, because she wasn't into that. At least, not then, but... well, you spend half a decade putting attractive men and women in costumes in chains and ordering them to submit, and you pretty much wind up with itches that need to get scratched every now and then. Look, you can't make her feel ashamed about that. She has better things to be ashamed of. Like her band. Or her hair back then. As you are probably realizing.

So that was her life. Smashing shit up and fighting superheroes in the name of SOCIAL JUSTICE. Oh, and one time, she tangled with that Neo-Nazi b!#*# Blitz when both their bands got booked to the same music festival. And then the heroes came, and they decided that Molly was clearly the lesser evil to Ms. "Heil The Fourth Reich!", so they pretty much teamed up with her to put the b!#*# down. Fun times.

But yeah, aside from that, it was pretty much fight with the heroes while shouting at them how they were all NAZI SELLOUTS, when Molly went through a series of events that lead her to a moment of clarity. First up, the Crime Union joined the Crime League, who were very much not IRONIC about being supercriminals--but then, by that time Molly had cottoned to the fact that most of her fellow members weren't very ironic criminals either, including the one who she kinda liked and thought was all dark and edgy and making a Point. So she left. Cut her ties, and let them get involved in the plans to seize the powers of the gods and carve their faces on the moon and all that. She didn't need them. Unfortunately, in a demonstration of just how very not ironic they were, they went after her bandmates to "send a message". This involved killing said bandmates--or rather, killing the ones who hadn't already died of assorted life-related problems. Molly got the message--the Crime Union were a bunch of awful douches and it had been a mistake to get involved with them. This wasn't quite the message they had imagined they were sending, but that's how things roll sometimes. So, Molly was out of a band and out of a criminal group. But f@*& that. She didn't need either of them. She had her old pals in the anarchist community, who were increasingly tied to OVERTHROW which could be a bit hard-edged, but were clearly fighting THE SYSTEM, and...

Yeah, turned out OVERTHROW was pretty much a front for a bunch of Nazis. Actual, for-real motherf#*&ing Nazis. Which resulted in her helping put down their latest scheme alongside those CORPORATE NAZI SELLOUT heroes who she'd been denouncing. So, that was another set of connections burned... and, it got Molly thinking. She'd been yelling at the heroes for being CORPORATE NAZI SELLOUTS, while she'd been working for Nazis, and several corrupt CEOs... Well, it was part of a pattern, and as her former drummer Reggie had said, in the days when he wasn't a former living person, "If you meet a jerk every now and then, well, that's life--if pretty much everybody you meet is a jerk, no, you're the jerk." Only Reggie didn't say jerk. And the point was--if Molly kept calling everyone else a sellout and a Nazi while being in the employ of rich crooks and Nazis...

Well, the kindest interpretation was that she was a f@*&ing hypocritical moron. The less kind interpretations started there and went further. This was a lot for Molly to process, so she did what came naturally at this point--first, she took a a shitload of drugs, because, as it kind of got lost in describing all the other idiocy, her drug habit had by this time expanded into new and frightening directions based on the fact that she now needed enough drugs to kill a horse if she wanted to feel a buzz, something that Molly had convinced herself was FINE, JUST FINE, and NOT A PROBLEM, because SHE WAS NOT A SELLOUT TOOL. Then, having gotten herself into the right state of addled, she went looking for some new bunch of people STICKING IT TO THE MAN, and signed up with an exciting new revolutionary ecoterrorist group, which was a recruiting tool for the Green Man, because of course it was, and half the kids she signed up with wound up brainwashed tree monsters, with the other half winding up dead. Nathan Grovermont is not exactly overly sentimental about his "meat" subordinates. Molly did not get transformed because she was pretty much immune to such things, and anyway, the Green Man saw her as a fellow traveler, so instead she got to serve as one of his little go-go girls. Though he did try to brainwash her first, because again, Grovermont really doesn't have much attachment to the meat. Lucky for Molly it didn't take, which let her break free and go to the only people she actually trusted to take care of things, the Freedom League, because by this point, Molly was finally starting to admit to herself that calling them a bunch of CORPORATE NAZI SELLOUTS was, perhaps just a bit unfair. So, Molly and the team took care of the Green Man's latest plot--it was something about blowing up power plants--look, the Green Man's plans usually don't make much sense--and then... well, Molly was about to skedaddle, and probably just repeat her grand old cycle of convincing herself that, no, no, none of this was her fault, and she was completely and utterly FINE, and also RIGHT, when Elizabeth Walton-Wright , the then Lady Liberty, saw Molly edging away, looking at heart like the confused, messed-up kid she pretty much was, and extended her an offer to meet sometime, not as supers, but just people, and have a bite to eat, and talk.

Molly after a token effort to refuse, did her version of grabbing at it with both hands, because by this time, she was pretty much aware she was f@*&ing drowning here. And so, a few weeks later, they met, with Molly for the first time in years not trying to look like the Ultimate Punk, which included not dyeing her hair, which was actually a pretty damn pleasant experience after so long. So, she came to the little cafe, sat down with Beth, Beth said something about liking her hair, Molly interpreted that as a joke, even though it probably wasn't meant as one, and laughed, and then burst into tears. And then it all came out--she poured her heart out to Beth about how it was all falling apart, how she'd gotten a bunch of people she liked killed, how she'd wound up working with psychopaths and nutjobs and f@*&ing Nazis, and, oh, yeah, taking enough drugs on her lonesome to have supplied a largish rock band for a decade, including said band's entourage and groupies, all while living on the run, and accomplishing jackshit for her supposed goals of THE REVOLUTION as far as she could tell, except again, smashing things. And then she threw up on Beth's shoes.

Beth responded by getting Molly away to a secure location to detox, and working to free her of the rather hefty set of charges she'd acquired over the years. These are some of the reasons why Molly would to this day take a bullet for Beth--and not just a normal bullet, but the sort of bullet that could actually hurt her. Molly officially retired her Chokechain persona (and there was much rejoicing), and to try and help get those various remaining charges dismissed, started doing the hero thing, eventually taking up the moniker 'Black Flag'. She made some friends who weren't psychopaths, saved some people, and punched some Nazis.

Actually, she punched a LOT of Nazis. A F@*&ING LOT of them. It was pretty great. Oh, and she also discovered that she had a few other powers that she hadn't realized about, including flight. That was also pretty f@*&ing great. Flying rules.

So, yeah. Molly got her life on track, including receiving quite a few very nice pardons. She never joined any of the big teams, but she worked alongside them, including quite a bit 'off-the-books' work for the Freedom League during the Grant years. She's pretty much that rarest of creatures now, a street-level hero by choice, who has the raw power to take part in the big fights when they happen. Like a few years back when Lady Anarchy crossed over as she is rather alarmingly capable of doing at times, and began her usual shenanigans. During the resulting confrontation, Lady Anarchy hinted at some strange sort of connection between Molly's powers and Lady Liberty's. That and some other things that Molly had noticed over the years lead the pair going on a bit of road trip to figure out just how they were connected to each other.

That resulted in a visit to the mental hospital where an all-but-forgotten Golden Age supervillainess was detained, which lead to more discoveries...

Space Oddity
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Mastermind Files: Interlude--Outside Elysian Fields

Post by Space Oddity » Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:05 pm


--Eight years ago--

Molly's fingers tapped on the wheel as she sang along with the song playing over the speakers. "Let it burn! Wanna let it burn! Wanna let it burn! Wanna wanna let it burn!" Beth stared as Molly began to headbang along to the tune. "Riots on the streets of Miami! Riots on the streets of Chicago! Riots on the streets of--!"

Beth coughed. "We're... uh, here."

"Cool!" declared Molly, as she parked the car. "Oh, and thanks again for coming." The pair exited the car. "I know it sounds weird, but I really think having you along will help things. And not just because I didn't want to do this alone..." She shrugged. "Seven thinks there might be some sort of weirdass mystic reverberation that will help us with the other weird mystic..." She blinked, then gestured at the decrepit sign before them. "Whoa. Jesus, look at this $#!%."

Elysian Fields, it read in fading letters. A home for pleasant rest and relaxation to heal overstressed nerves.

Molly glanced at it, looked at the asylum and then shook her head. "Yeah, when I first read about this, I thought it was just daddy making sure his little criminal darling didn't have to spend time in a prison, but looking at this..." She stuck her hands in her pockets and nodded at the crumbling building. "Well, I was being too generous to the dead f@*&*r. This is a f@*&ing oubliette." She gave a shudder.

Beth nodded in agreement. "Are you sure she's... well, even alive?"

"Apparently," said Molly. "From what I can tell, she's pretty much the only person they're keeping there now. Yeah, the creepiness of it just gets worse, and worse."

"It's just--I've heard of Ms. Hellion," muttered Beth. "She was... well, just this sad, crazy lady who pretty much stalked Donna Mason on and off."

Molly frowned. "That's how everybody remembers it now," she said. "Sort of like how most people have pretty vague memories of Donna Mason's Lady Liberty. They didn't use to. Back when she was active, Angela Fell was a big deal. You wouldn't believe how many times I found articles calling her "Lady Liberty's greatest foe"."

Beth stared at Molly, skeptical "But if there are records, how did everyone..."

"You regularly read seventy year old newspapers to see if people's memories have been tampered with?" asked Molly. "Cuz, not many people do. And that's the simple part. You wouldn't believe what it took to find those stories. The number of times I'd read about some vague reference to something happening a while back and then find that the newspaper with that story was missing... well, it got pretty f@*&ing suspicious. I wound up having to do stuff like hunt down reprinted stories in smaller newspapers..."

"A cover-up," muttered Beth.

"That's what I thought at first and it might have been part of it, but..." Molly shrugged. "Ehh, it's just all so weird. Anyway, I was looking for a... sort of early edition of me, and Ms. Hellion seemed to fit the bill. So, I figure we just check it out..." The pair walked on in silence for a moment, and then Molly coughed. "Oh, and we might need a bit of a bribe, so, I'd appreciate if you'd... you know. Pay it."

Beth considered things. "I get to choose the music on the way back."

"For one album and/or playlist that cannot exceed eighty minutes or so of play," replied Molly.


Space Oddity
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Re: The Mastermind Files: "Villain" Designate "Miss Hellion (I)" (Inactive)

Post by Space Oddity » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:25 pm

Angela Fell ("Villain" Designate "Miss Hellion (I)") circa 1943

Growing up in Richmond's upper crust, the daughter of one of Virginia's wealthiest men, Angela Fell lived her entire youth under her father's strict eye. When Angela would misbehave, Alexander Fell would declare grandly "You are not my daughter, you are a some hellion that's taken her place!" In later years, dealing with her career as a supervillain, a few psychiatrists argued that this had created a split personality for young Angela, who created a figure, "Miss Hellion" on who she projected all her rebellious impulses.

This was, simply put, a grotesque exaggeration. Angela may have idly dreamed of being someone who didn't have to put up with her often bullying father, may have even occasionally wished she actually was "a Hellion" who wasn't Alexander Fell's daughter, but this was hardly an advanced delusion, just the simple desire to escape most anyone in her situation would have had. But as we shall see, people have rather frequently attached ideas of what turned Angela into Miss Hellion that gave them the illusion that they understood what had produced the supervillain.

Angela's rather severe childhood left her a rather retreating woman in public with few friends. Her dearest was Donna Mason, like her a child of the Virginian upper crust. Angela doted on Donna, hanging on her stories of working as a secretary at the FBI, the sort of freedom her father would never allow her. Angela's life was neatly mapped out for her--she would make her social debut, marry an acceptable young man, and hopefully have children. Needless to say, this did not occur. Indeed, it went off course at the very first step--the cotillion that Angela was debuting at was invaded by a group of fifth columnists fleeing the failure of their latest plan, and Angela was taken hostage by one of them. Fortunately for her, the reason those saboteurs were on the run arrived--Lady Liberty. She swiftly dispatched them and saved Angela, to the latter's boundless admiration. Indeed, Angela would still be talking of her savior for a week later, including to an amused Donna Mason, Lady Liberty's civilian persona.

Wanting another encounter with Lady Liberty, Angela hit upon the idea of putting on a costume herself and acting in a conspicuous manner to attract the heroine's attention--thus for about a week "Miss Hellion" ran around Washington, DC vandalizing monuments. While this did eventually attract Lady Liberty's notice, it got little more than an angry lecture during which she noted that Angela was wasting her time, something the heroine did not appreciate at all. Angela was crushed, and when a handsome man clad in black appeared and told her that what she really wanted was not to simply admire Lady Liberty but to be like her, something he could do for her, if she'd let him... Angela had never read much on deals with the devil, and thus took him up on his offer. And the rest was history.

Ms. Hellion's would bedevil Lady Liberty off and on for nearly three decades, with her often erratic powers finally deserting her in 1970. Over that time, she would fight Lady Liberty in a large variety of glamorous, impractical outfits that never seemed to cause her any difficulty. And she would tie Lady Liberty up. A lot. And yet no matter how well she fought, Ms. Hellion always seemed to make some mistake that would result in Lady Liberty freeing herself, then defeating Ms. Hellion in battle. At which point Ms. Hellion would turn back into Angela, and insist she had no idea what was going on. Of course, the longer this went on, the more radical the split between her lives as a supervillain and a regular woman became. As Ms. Hellion she associated with the Crime League, and even formed friendships and deep relations with a few, most notably Marionette and Dr. Zero. As Angela Fell, she was increasingly treated as an ill person by her father, who used his daughter's criminal alter ego as an excuse to essentially imprison her. It was perhaps inevitable that eventually Angela would eventually all but abandon her civilian identity--it would be her learning of the murder of Marionette that would precipitate that break.

For the remainder of her career in the 1950s and 60s Ms. Hellion would be an increasingly strident figure, denouncing Lady Liberty and American hypocrisy. No longer would she turn meekly back into Angela after a battle--indeed, she only turned back under mystical compulsion. And her battles with Lady Liberty were growing increasingly fraught, with the heroine finding it harder and harder to defeat her foe. Indeed, in her final fight with Lady Liberty, Ms. Hellion had her at her mercy, only to suddenly realize she was fighting Donna Mason. Angela stared at her old friend, and then all at once, gave up. Sitting down, she noted that she never meant for any of this to go so far... And then it happened. There was a bright flash, and then her powers were gone. Angela was taken back into custody. And that was that. With astonishing rapidity, the world all but forgot about Ms. Hellion, with most of those that did recall her remembering her as a minor joke of a villain. (One of the few exceptions was Angela's niece Celeste, who became the new Ms. Hellion, who was indisputably a minor joke of a villain.) This effect got worse when Donna Mason's powers faded and she likewise began to fade from people's memories...


Beth sat sipping her coffee, as Angela finished her tale. "So...," said Molly. "That's all you can tell us."

Angela shrugged. "I'm afraid so. I was never analytical about my powers, I'm afraid. I preferred to feel my way through, so to speak." She glanced at Beth. "Enjoying your coffee, dear?"

Beth nodded. "It's surprisingly good..."

"I have them get the whole beans, and grind it here." She shrugged. "A bit pricey, but hell, I'm paying for all of this."

Beth stared at her sympathetically. "Have you ever thought of... leaving?"

Angela rose and went to the window. "What for?" she said staring out of it mournfully. "There's nobody out there for me. Except maybe Donna, and frankly, I suspect she'd rather not see me... so... why bother?"

Molly blinked. "Donna Mason's still alive?"

"Oh, she's definitely not dead," said Angela with a smile. "Believe me, I'd know." That smile vanished. "Sometimes, I wonder if she ever thinks of me. Even for a moment."

The little room fell into an uncomfortable silence.

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