Squadron: Birmingham 2019 In two minds and in two pieces.

Thursday 9th May 2019. 9pm. Agony Aunt and Electro - Jamie Pryde's new Superhero name - sat in the group's hired van on the Stratford Road on Stake-out. At Jamie's behest, they'd left her parents at their new - slightly more salubrious - hotel and Agony Aunt had been allowed to babysit their daughter. The past few days had seen the group spend a bit of time training together in an abandoned warehouse the group had found in Digbeth. Apart from that, Agony Aunt had been concentrating on her media presence - YouTube money was beginning to trickle in - and helping people in small ways - rather than as a Hero. This was partially due to the wait on her new costume but mainly to research for a puff piece for her channel. Jamie's time had been spent mediating between her parents. Her mother had taken a job in a shop to help fund their current excursion but her father had so far been unable to find a job. Magnatron, Deacon and Steel Reign were waiting on shops overlooking the street. The two scientists had spent the week settling in at Birmingham University - Magnatron on a temporary contract swung by The Institute. Steel Reign had been wandering the streets in his leather coat - observing society and learning. Where Steel was, no-one knew. He'd turned up to the training sessions and been made fully aware of the stake out but where he went to in between sessions was a mystery. Eventually, a car full of young street toughs, some of them moving suspiciously gracefully or sporting shiny fangs, arrived and began drifting from shop to shop. They were laughing, grabbing whatever they wanted. They stopped occasionally to drop things into their car and carried on. Aware - through various meta-normal means - of the van full of a larger group of the thugs parked secretly at the end of the street, the group of wannabe Heroes debated their course of action over their mobile phones as the teenage hoodlums continued their raids. Eventually, as they reached the Sari shop which Steel Reign has chosen to protect, he elected to initiate matters by leaping down to scatter them - just as Steel chose to arrive in a Taxi. In the flurry of fists and energy blasts that followed, the dozen or so physically enhanced ne'er do wells were rapidly dispatched. There was some slightly collateral damage to the local area, but you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs. One by one the unconscious criminals were dragged to the closed down pet shop and placed in cages. One of the lesser damaged thugs recovered and was able to make a break for it. He drove off in the thugs' van. At this point, Deacon - who'd taken no part in the conflict - took to the air to follow him silently. The Heroes' plan was working! The rest of the group called the Police to report the outcome of their vigilantism. (Discuss.) The senior officer attending - Sergeant MacMillan - demanded that the Heroes accompany the police to their station to give immediate and full statements,regarding their actions. He even threatened to proffer charges of "actions likely to lead to a breach of the peace". Deacon followed the fleeing thug to a famous farm shop in the green belt around Birmingham. The adjacent furniture warehouse was apparently closed down. Everything was closed for the night, but the escaping rogue was allowed to enter the warehouse. Shortly afterwards, Deacon saw two huge Falcons leave the warehouse to fly off into the night. The enigma that is Steel, turned out to have a more than reasonable working knowledge of The Law and argued that no one could be required to give a statement, promising that the group would return in 24 hours to give one. They were allowed to leave. No one noticed the Falcons overhead. Deacon saw the birds return to the Warehouse and half a dozen thugs with large - huge - dogs emerge to conceal themselves in nearby hedges. Because he could, Magnatron flew ahead of the group to rendezvous with Deacon on top of the warehouse. When the rest of the team arrived he ignited a nearby rubbish bin as a flaming beacon. Possibly he was trying to flush out the hidden villains to attack his team-mates whilst him and Deacon entered the warehouse. The first part of his plan worked, the hidden thugs and their hounds rushed from hiding to attack Electro, Steel, Reign and "AA". Unfortunately, Magnatron's plasma blasts aren't invisible. They were tracked back to the roof and hatches opened to allow two huge Falcons to attack him and Deacon. The flapping wings and caws obviously put Magnatron off, but Deacon was able to summon a kind of blunted trident from a nether dimension to render the birds unconscious. (Apparently he is a vegetarian). A quick scout inside revealed a huge beast-like man, with wings, sitting atop a makeshift throne, surrounded by cages, equipment, enhanced thugs and stroking a huge gorilla which was wearing a fetching dress. Fully a third of the warehouse was walled off in separate chamber sealed by huge doors. Rather than tackle all of this, the two heroes exited and Magnatron tried to blast the roof in. Lacking the power to demolish the whole thing, he managed to blast a hole and - in the heroes first killer tactic of the fight - collapsed rubble onto the villains and the majority of the thugs. Outside, the other team had dispatched the dogs. After much debate they convinced Steel to smash through the doors. (The metallic monolith had been planning to climb the walls and enter through the roof!) In the second killer tactic of the fight, he burst through, releasing a trap. Scores of flying syringes - presumably containing serums designed to incapacitate or mutate their targets - bounced harmlessly off his steely hide. Electro easily blasted the remaining thugs. Pulling himself out of the rubble, "Beastlord" announced himself and launched into a monologue, ordering "Gorilla Girl" to release his most prized creation - a hound the size of a dinosaur! In the ensuing fight, Deacon and Magnatron were engaged with Beastlord. Steel threw Gorilla Girl at the flying villain, missing him but still hurting her, causing her to attack him. The other three heroes tackled the huge dog. It was relentlessly pounded and seemed indefatigable. Its huge jaws dealt terrible damage to Agony Aunt but her enlarged form was able to absorb it. However, when its attack sent her flying, it turned its attentions to Steel Reign and tore the heroic android into two pieces with a single bite! Agony Aunt managed to convince Gorilla Girl - who, it turned out, was a victim of Beastlord - to help them. The monstrous dog was defeated but Beastlord managed to fly away.

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