The Legends

At some point last year, I started writing about the DC game in story format. Not the correct format for the game itself, as it’s supposed to be comic book format and I am in no way capable of making a comic book (an artist I am not).  But, because there are people who read this blog and have communcated wanting to read this. And I just don’t want to share the document it’s on over and over and over and over again. Here it is.

 

And to make it clear – I in no way own any part of this story that super obviously belongs to DC Comics.

 

The Legends

Inspired by DC Comics, Marvel Comics and J. Rosenburg

 

The sun started to shine bright down on Victory City in the quiet haze of the early July morning. The people bustled to their jobs or school, going about their lives. The calm is disrupted when there is a loud zapping noise, and on the empty lot in downtown had a living room set, two adult women, and a small girl suddenly filled the space.

***

Erin Stinson looked around at her surroundings. A minute ago, she, her wife Alicia, and younger sister Emily had been sitting in their condo in New York City. Now their couch, end tables, coffee table and rug were in a lot in some unknown town. Erin pulled out her cell phone and glared down at it. There was no signal for the phone to reach. She lifted the phone and turned in a slow circle, still searching before she gave up and threw the phone as far as she could. Emily got up and walked towards Erin as the phone disappeared from view.

        “Where are we?  Where’s mom and dad?”

 Erin shrugged, and sagged back down on her couch. She leaned forward and opened up the coffee table. The Reality Gem she had been placed in charge of still sat in the compartment in the center of the table. She grabbed it quickly  and shoved it in her jeans, before leaning back and cradling her head in her hands as a cluster of news crews began pulling up nearby.

***

Diane Taylor drove the Action News!!! van as rapidly towards downtown as she could manage. The two men who comprised the film crew sent with her clutched to the sides of their seat and film equipment to keep them under some semblance of safety. Every news office was heading towards the noise that shook their city, and Diane knew she had to get there first.

“It’d be great if Britney Bright were there,” one of them muttered wistfully as the van pulled to a harrowing stop in front of the lot.

“You know she won’t be. At least, not as herself. Especially with Taylor here. Be better chances if we had Barbara with us.”

Diane gave a wry grin as she adjusted her bangs and bun, “Sorry to disappoint you boys. Maybe she’ll make an appearance later today? Sides, she’s not the story right now. Whoever the people who appeared out of thin air are.”

She strode over, nervously patting the small notebook and pen she kept in her coat pocket. Her coworkers were right – the psychic hero Britney Bright was present, just not in her cape. She used her telepathic powers to shut out the excitement and curiosity that was bubbling around the area and focused in on the three strangers to her city. The quick probe showed anger, confusion, sadness, power… and resistance swirling around the three. Putting on her friendliest smile, she walked to them, ignoring the other reporters that had started to cluster over who went first.

“Hello, I’m Diane Taylor from Action News!!! Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?” she said as she offered the woman still standing her hand.

“Alicia… and we need answers first,” came the cool reply.

“Certainly! I’m more than happy to help. Would it be okay if I gave the small girl a cookie? I have one that I made for lunch, but given the shock your sudden appearance here must have caused. She clearly needs something sweet more than I do.”

Alicia looked over at Erin, who grunted acquiescence without raising her head.

“Where are we?” Emily questioned as she took the offered cookie.

“Victory City, Texas.”

Erin looked up at Diane. “You have a way to contact New York? The Avengers at all?”

Diane blinked at Erin. “I’m sorry. I don’t know where New York is… or the Avengers.”

“Why didn’t my cell phone work?” Erin asked.

“Cell… phone? There’s a pay phone over there,” Diane said pointing around the corner before adding,” It should be working, but if it isn’t there is another not to far away.”

“What’s the date?”

“July 21, 1978.”

Alicia, Emily and Erin stared blankly at Diane. The silence stretched for a few minutes before a Green Lantern landed softly next to the group of women.

“Hi! I’m Green Lantern,” he grinned at them. Arctic and Alicia stared at him nonplussed. Diane examined his face closely.

“You aren’t one of the two Lantern that have been around for a while. You’re new,” she mused.

“Uhh, yes ma’am. New member of the Green Lantern Corps. My ring let me know that there was a temporal disturbance here, so. I’m here to investigate! Part of the new job description.”

“Your ring told you?” Emily asked, glancing up at the Lantern.

“That’s right! So, what’s your intention here in Victory City. You aren’t planning on blowing it up or anything, right?” Green Lantern asked crossing his arms.

      Erin stared at the Green Lantern like he was stupid.

     “No. We don’t know what happened or where we are really,” Alicia answered.

        “Huh,” Green Lantern touched the end of nose, thinking. A new onslaught of vans poured into the streets, stopping suddenly with sirens blazing. STAR Labs was printed on each van’s side, and as the armored men poured out of them Diane stepped in front of the three Stinson women and the Green Lantern.

They are going to try and take you. Diane’s voice filled Erin and Alicia’s heads as a swarm of troops poured out of the vans. I’m also a superhero to this city, and you are under my protection. They are going to take you and do experiments on all of you. They’ll say it’s to figure out where you came from, but I don’t know that STAR can be trusted. I won’t let them take you, but I will need your cooperation. I know it’s a lot to ask, but please. Trust me.

          “What business does STAR Labs have here,” Diane queried the approaching troops.

“This is a restricted zone. These people are coming with us,” one of the men answered.

“Under who’s authority? They haven’t done anything to anyone,” Diane countered.

“Mine,” a short, wide woman answered as she walked towards the small group. She offered her hand out towards Diane.

          “Amanda Waller, STAR Labs.”

          “Diane Taylor, Action 13 News!!! These people are no danger to anyone. They need the comfort of a warm home, not a lab facility or cell,” Diane said shaking the offered hand.

          Waller lifted an eyebrow, “You hardly have any authority over this matter Ms. Taylor.”

          “But I do! Green Lantern Corps are like cops. These people are not a threat to anyone,” the Green Lantern puffed his chest proudly.

          “Where will they stay? And what,” Waller stared into the Lantern’s eyes, “if you are wrong?”

          “They can stay with me. I have the space for them in my apartment,” Diane declared, “and I will accept any responsibility for the actions they take.”

          “As will I,” Green Lantern said.

          Amanda Waller narrowed her eyes, “They will still need to come in for questioning. They did appear out of nowhere.”

          “That is agreeable, thank you,” Alicia answered. Erin grunted agreement.

          “Very well. I will see the three of you within the next week. Ms. Taylor, Green Lantern,” Amanda said with a nod of her head. She lifted her hand up and waved at the men surrounding them. The STAR team left the lot, and Green Lantern looked around.

          “We should get your things loaded up and taken to Diane’s place.”

          And the three of us should talk, Diane said through the psychic link she’d opened between Erin and the Green Lantern.

You have powers?! Neat! The Lantern’s grin widened as he created a construct of a moving van. Erin helped load the glowing green van with the help of the two-man film crew that Diane had brought with them.

          “No story today boys,” Diane told them as she helped Emily get into the Lantern’s construct. “Not with STAR’s involvement. Boss will have to understand. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

          Erin lifted Emily onto her shoulders and flew above the van. Diane, Alicia and Green Lantern sat in the back on the couch, and Diane directed them to her apartment building. The Lantern had gorilla constructs carry the pieces of furniture and broken television, and they entered the bright and cheery living room.

          “Oh.. that’s. That’s a lot of yellow,” Green Lantern said, looking around the walls in the living room.

          “It is. It’s such a warm, happy color. It makes me happy,” Diane smiled. “Now, I only have a double bed in my guest room, but I don’t mind sleeping on the couch so you all have a bed.”

         Erin put her hand up, “One of us can sleep on the couch. It’s fine.”

          “If you’re sure. I really don’t mind my couch. It is very comfy.”

          “So. You said we need to talk?” Green Lantern asked.

          “Yes! One second,” Diane closed her eyes and focused a psychic bubble around the living room. Satisfied no one could hear any conversation that happened, she pulled her hair out of the tight bun and removed her glasses.

          “I’m Britney Bright,” she said simply. Arctic lifted an eyebrow.

          “I’ve been protecting Victory City for the past six years. I’m a psychic, and telepathic. Which, I’m sure you’ve figured out,” Diane continued. “We don’t get a lot of major happenings, like the Flash deals with or what Batman handles. But it’s my city, and I’m proud of it.” She looked over at the Green Lantern. “You aren’t the Lantern from Los Angeles or Detroit. Where are you normally located?”

          The Lantern pulled on his left ear for a minute and the domino mask that covered his face.

          “Gil Broome. I live here in Victory City. I work for the Special Effects studio not too far from Downtown.”

          “Erin. Alicia. Emily.” Erin said, pointing at herself, wife and sister in turn. “Now we all know each other’s name. Great.”

          “I will see if I can get in contact with the Justice League about where you came from, and getting you home,” Diane said before biting her lower lip. “Erin, do you not have a secret identity?”

          “No.”

          “Oh.”

          “She goes by Arctic, back home,” Emily said.

          “I can check with the Lantern Corps,” Gil said, “to see if we can get you guys to where home is.”

          Diane rubbed her forehead slightly, as the thoughts of the people around her pounded around in her head. With effort, she shut everyone out.

         “You can fly, Erin. Are they any other powers you have? Alicia, do you have any powers? Or does Emily?” she asked.

          “Yes,” Erin answered.

          “Emily can teleport. I don’t have any powers,” Alicia answered.

          “What is the League?” Erin asked.

          “The Justice League? They are the main group of heroes defending the Earth,” Diane answered.

          “You a member?” Erin looked over at Diane, who turned a light pink.

          “No. I believe they are very selective about who becomes a member and who doesn’t. I don’t think I’ve dealt with enough to be considered for membership.”  

          “You?” Erin looked at Gil.

          “Nope! I’m still learning all the things my ring can do. Only been a Lantern for a few weeks,” he said.

          “Well, if either of you wants to help me protect the city while you’re here or have the time. I would gladly accept the help,” Diane said.

          “A’ight,” Erin said.

***

The next week was an eventful one. Erin had started to patrol the streets of Victory City the way she used to do to Central Park. The name Arctic became one spoken among the citizens with equal parts respect and fear.  She soon discovered that her AMEX card worked still, for some reason, so they had begun to look for a home they could stay in while they were trapped in Texas. Emily was enrolled at the local elementary school. The week passed without incident until the earthquake hit.

The city rolled as the earth moved. Diane quickly suited up as Britney Bright and flew around town assisting anyone who needed the help. Arctic checked that Alicia and Emily were safe before doing the same. Neither of them noticed the streak of green that flew from home to home.

After an hour of helping citizens, Britney Bright flew close to Arctic, her golden cape whipping around her as the wind rushed past them. “I think this section is okay. We should move to another part of town. I’ll check the shops in the outskirts of Downtown and yo—” she was cut off as the loud, hungry cry of baby shook the nearby windows. Arctic and Britney Bright flew higher up and saw a one-hundred-foot baby crawling towards the city through the part with small curio shops, sobbing loudly.

“What. The. Fuck.” Arctic muttered. Britney Bright shot Arctic a sidelong glance.

“That baby could do a lot of damage… we need to do something.”

“Looks like someone else beat us to it.”

“What?!”

The baby was suddenly bathed in a bright green light, which only made it cry harder and pound its large hands into the nearby buildings. Arctic and Britney Bright glanced at each other before flying as quickly as they could towards the baby.

***

Akamanto kept the curio shop he ran a tight ship. His time serving in the Japanese Imperial Army and League of Assassins helped him keep any thieves or vagrants away from him store, and keep him hidden away from any divorce attorneys. Or worse yet, his ex-wife seeking more alimony payments. He finished making a poultice to heal light wounds when a large infantile fist punched through the shop’s window. It took all of a second before a deep-seated anger settled in his belly.

“Dishonor… this brings great dishonour,” he muttered as he armed himself with two swords. Slipping into the shadows, he appeared outside in the alley and faced Big Baby. Drawing his blades, he moved towards the giant infant. The infant was swatting at a glowing green rattle floating just out of its reach. Twenty feet in front of it stood the Green Lantern, his fist raised and pointing at the rattle.

“Nice giant baby… look at the shiny rattle,” the Lantern said, making the rattle shake slightly as he waved his arm around. “Shiny, shiny rattle. What am I supposed to do with a giant? This wasn’t in the job description.” He started walking slowly towards the outskirts of the city, where the baby had come from. The Green Lantern didn’t notice as Akamanto leapt out of a shadow and sank a sword into the large ankle. The effect was immediate – Big Baby scrunched up his face and let out a wail of shock and pain. Green Lantern put a shield construct around the baby while shouting his own surprise.

“WHY DID YOU STAB THE BABY?!?”

Akamanto stood back, one hand twirling his reedy moustache before declaring “Vengeance for shop.”

“He’s hungry!” Britney Bright shouted as she and Arctic flew above the street. She immediately flew into a store, psychically pulling every bottle of formula and large jugs of water towards her and out the store. Green Lantern dropped the shield and created a construct of a giant bottle. Between Britney and the Lantern made the bottle and got Big Baby fed.

“The baby needs to get out of the city,” Arctic said as the baby finished the bottle. It blinked up at Britney Bright and the Green Lantern and fussed up its face.  Diane looked at the baby with panic stricken eyes.

“What’s wrong? Why is it crying?” she called looking over at Arctic.

“You never been around a baby before?” Arctic answered. Britney Bright shook her head violently.

“A’ight,” Arctic muttered as she flew behind the baby. She reached back and began patting Big Baby’s back. After four pats, Big Baby’s face changed from upset to worried.

“Is the baby going to…” Britney Bright began.

“I think so,” Green Lantern said, raising his ring and creating a giant bag construct in front of Big Baby’s mouth just in time for a giant stream of vomit to hit the bag. As the baby finished the final part of burping, Green Lantern lifted his hand above his head and shot the bag full of vomit into space. Big Baby giggled softly, then farted. The force knocked over the trees and cars, and the very distinct smell of a dirty diaper hung in the air.

Akamanto spit on the floor, “Diaper need changing.”

There is a circus in town. One of the tents they use may be big enough. Diane focused the communication between the Green Lantern and Arctic.

On it. Green Lantern replied as he flew over to where Ringling Bros Circus tents were set up. He returned with a tent and used his constructs to lift and changed the diaper. When he finished, he threw it into space as well.

Britney Bright looked at the baby, who blinked at them sleepily.

“Does anyone know any nursery rhymes?” she asked.

Akamanto climbed the baby to stand on near the baby’s ear.

“Sreep baby, sreep. Do not bring more dishonour to your famiry,” he crooned into the baby’s ear. The baby’s eyes drooped heavily, and the infant curled up in the street and began snoring softly. Arctic, Britney Bright and the Green Lantern landed on the street near the baby.

“What do we do with him?” Britney Bright asked.

“League?” Arctic responded.

“Reague of assassin’s bad place for baby,” Akamanto said with a nod.

They all turned to the Green Lantern, who was looking at his ring with a small frown on his face. He lit up with a grin after a minute.

“Don’t worry about it! Someone on the Green Lantern Corps is on the way to help with this,” he grinned at them. Britney turned to look for Akamanto. He was nowhere to be seen. A quick probe of the area found him in a shop a mile down the road. She turned to Green Lantern and Arctic, with a soft sigh of relief.

“How long we have to wait?” Arctic asked.

“Shouldn’t be long now,” Gil responded. The sky darkened, and a green beam shot down and surrounded Big Baby as the sleeping infant was slowly lifted into the air. The three heroes looked up to see a planet with a green band bearing the Green Lantern symbol.

We should have a name for our team, Green Lantern thought to Britney Bright and Arctic. What about the Avengers?

There is already an Avengers, Arctic glared.

The Legends? Green Lantern tried.

“No,” Arctic said firmly.

“But we need a name!”

Britney Bright placed a hand on Green Lantern’s shoulder and smiled warmly at him.

“Don’t worry about it.”

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Anxiety, Role Playing and me

My anxiety isn’t something that I hide. For one, I just can’t. For another, when I try it gets a lot worse. A few years ago I couldn’t manage it without the help of a lot of anti-anxiety pills and straight out avoiding leaving my apartment often. Which… in turn didn’t help anything because on top of being anxious and depressed, I was incredibly lonely and missed my friends.

Around the end of 2014, I got an email from one of my friends. He was starting a new campaign for a game called Assholes in Space, and he wanted to know if I was interested in playing. I’ve never played a table top game. I had no experience with character creation or role playing. The only experience I had pretending to be anyone but myself was four years of Theater in High School, followed by two years in college. This was fine. He’d help me through the process, and explain any rules that I had to know.

The character I had for that game was a Yellow Space Babe named Mina. She was klutzy, energetic and barred from ever returning to her home planet. And she was fun. With Mina, I got to pretend to be more intimidating than a puffed up chipmunk. I fought and protected people while being a bit of a dick to a lot of people. But I made a difference. My character mattered. It was a new and rather unsettling experience.

That game lasted about a year – just until the GM got kind of tired of running it. He wanted to run a different type of game. One that was a bit more serious in tone and nature, with a decent, solid committed group of players with knowledge of how to play Dungeons and Dragons. I wasn’t sure of how often I could commit to being there, and again faced the issue of never having played D&D. So I opted to sit out of this game and go observe some sessions on occasion while I read the Player’s Handbook. I missed the first session. I was informed in between the first and second that they are making a Bard for me, and I would, in fact, be in the game. Come up with a backstory, and the character sheet will be made at the start of the next session.

So I made Caelynn Nialo. A wood elf bard who ran away with a gnome she was in love with, and then witnessed his death at the hands of a dwarf. So she hated all dwarves and went with the party in order to have a better chance at exacting revenge. At the start of this year, another friend – one who was in Assholes in Space and currently in D&D – decided he wanted to run a superhero game based on and in the DC Universe. Thus, Britney Bright, also known as Diane Taylor, was born. A psychic who never learned to use her powers, with abusive parents she wants to confront, and a deep passion for protecting people.

And I’ve noticed something, as these games have progressed. I don’t feel as anxious anymore. It’s still there. I will still have panic attacks and need a day to rest and regain a level head. But I focus on looking forward to those games, how I want my character to grow and how they react to the different storylines we’ve been in. Each character has an aspect of me in them. Mina wanted to do the right thing, and often falls down and bumped into things and was just all about clumsy. Caelynn’s experiences left her with PTSD, and she works through it with the party she travels with and has overcome at least a small aspect of it. Enough to where it doesn’t eat at her. Britney Bright wants to protect people. She wants to make sure children are safe and happy and has a deep rooted belief that everyone is, deep down, a good person.

Every session gives me a chance to be someone else. To have powers. To make a noticeable difference in the universes the characters are in. As every one of them, I protected innocents. I took down great evils. I forged relationships and had to use my head in ways that I really just never have. And they’ve been a better form of therapy for the anxiety I have than anything else. It’s been a great peace of mind – even though sometimes the characters go through some more traumatic experiences. But as they grow, I have too. I grow, I have fun, and I spend more time with my friends.

And really, I can’t ask for anything more than that.