Featuring Tempest, Jadestorm, Bluestreak, and Flashpoint

Guest Star: Desmond Reach

May 26, 2000, 8:00 am. The Duke's Bridge

The morning of May 26th was beautiful, only a slight breeze rolled off the Pacific Ocean as commuters began the trek across The Duke's Bridge, the longest bridge in New London at over one mile. About half way across the cars on both sides started to slow and then pull to a stop. Irritated commuters started to honk their horns and get out of their cars almost immediately.

High over the bridge, a lone figure flew with the eddies of the wind. Her white cloak that wrapped her body from head to toe, gave her excellent camouflage against the early morning sky. She called herself Tempest, and it was a good morning to fly. The sunrise had been spectacular. After the night before with all the seedy customers the young exotic dancer needed this. She had taken to flying at this time of day because the "Eye in the Sky" chopper always flew a similar pattern and the police helicopters went in for maintenance. This gave her some freedom to fly as she wished. Hearing the horns, she glanced down and as she banked on the air currents, she noticed that traffic had stopped moving. She also noticed barricades at either end, several men with Uzis and several costumed individuals, one with a PA System.

Isn't it a little early for posturing and extortion...? Damned thugs, way to ruin a good morning, Slight anger coloured her thoughts as she flew closer to bridge. Tempest made sure that the rising sun was to her back as she assessed the situation.

Meanwhile, on The Duke's Bridge

University student Alex Trevant glanced around as his taxi pulled to a stop. Near the front of line, computer entrepreneur Akemi Rhodes pulled her car to a stop. She noticed that cars all along both sides of the bridge were doing the same thing. What now? she thought to herself. If I'm late for that meeting…

"I want all of you to listen very carefully," a voice boomed along the bridge. "My name is Top Hat. My companions are Fahrenheit, Touchpoint, Blade Angle and Fuji. And this, folks, is now a toll station. The toll is one thousand dollars a vehicle, credit cards and jewellery will be accepted. Please do not try anything foolish."

Akemi took a deep breath, and tried to stay calm while her mind raced. What makes them think that anyone here will have anything worth that much in the middle of rush hour on a Friday morning? I give them credit for balls, if not brains. Which is a dangerous combination, especially since they seem to have firepower enough to hurt an awful lot of people.

Akemi frowned in frustration. There's too many of them, and they're all spread out, she thought. Even if I were to take the chance of the confusion being sufficient that no one would see me, here in the open, in broad daylight, and go ahead and transform, all I would end up doing is increasing the threat to these people. I'll have to get closer and find an opening, try to take them off-guard.

Akemi, who had taken the name of Jadestorm, paused as a slow smile spread over her face. And I think I know how to do just that. With this thought, she opened the top two buttons of her blouse, enough to expose the top of her cleavage, and hiked the left side of her skirt part way up her thigh. She then shut off the car's audio system, took the wheel in her hands, and fixed her gaze on the enemy she was approaching.

Two cars ahead of her the driver panicked and gunned his engine. Suddenly, one of the costumed villains was on the move. An Oriental gentleman dressed in a red one piece costume jumped on the hood and slapped his hands down. A smile crossed his face. The hood began to smoulder and warp where his hands lay.

"My foolish young man," Top Hat barked through the loudspeaker, flourishing his arm as if on stage, "You now have about 10 seconds to make an egress."

The young man wasted no time in scrambling out of his vehicle as the engine caught fire. The red-dressed man flipped off the car as the hood exploded upward. He landed with ease and rose to his feet, his eyes, in which fires smouldered, never left the man who was now crawling across the pavement in a desperate attempt to get away from the thing before him.

Top Hat turned off his mike and hissed desperately at the pair, "Fahrenheit! What do you think you are doing?"

The man replied with studied insolence, "Look around you, Top Hat, an example must be made…"

"Wait." The word was soft, pitched to carry, and it carried with it the snap of command. Everyone within ear shot stopped and stared at the speaker.

Akemi started as she realized that she was now half way out of her car. Her eyes fastened on the man who had spoke. He was tall, with wavy black hair, a wiry build and an air of confidence that spoke of one used to command. And he was the most gorgeous man Akemi had ever laid eyes upon.

He walked past her, his attention on the tableau in front of him, when he spoke, Akemi detected an European accent. "There is no need for this, I will pay this man's toll."

All eyes followed the man. Wait a moment, Akemi shook herself. All eyes are on him! With a quick look around, Akemi ducked behind a girder. The flash of jade green energy was lost in the brilliance of the morning. The energy enveloped Akemi's entire body and caused it to collapse inward on itself. As always, Akemi seemed to hover above her body watching the incredible transformation but not a part of it. And as always her mind turned to the events that had made her what she was. In the space of a second the process reversed itself and a new being stood where Akemi had been.

It was as if a master sculptor or artisan had fashioned his life's masterpiece from a single piece of flawless jade. Even her hair had turned the same colour and consistency, every strand distinct. But for whatever reason, he had decided to leave his creation's face in the abstract, perhaps because of the stark contrast to the deliberate, painstaking reality and anatomical correctness of the rest of her.

Her body appeared to be covered in a sheath of jade, perfectly fitted, the proverbial second skin, no portion exposed. Her hair streamed out and back, away from her face. Her face had no real features, only depressions where eye sockets would be, and an upswept hint of a nose. There was no mouth visible. As she stood there watching the gorgeous man help the other to his feet, occasional, seemingly random flickers of some sort of dark green energy flashed here and there on her body.

Meanwhile, several cars away, the woman who called herself Flashpoint, put the last piece of her colourful costume on. She crawled out from under the bus she had used as a change room. She jumped as the front end of the car exploded.

Oh shit! her mind screamed. I hope nobody was in that thing when it went up. With that thought she took a breath and reached out with an inborn sense to the heat around her. With little effort she matched her body heat to the surroundings and she seemed to become one with the shimmering heat of the day. Someday, she thought ruefully, I'll figure out just how I do that.

Using heat currents, Flashpoint glided towards the burning car, the heat from the car aiding immensely in her bid for invisibility. She paused over the car, taking a moment to look the situation over.

Now, how to deal with them... Flashpoint grined suddenly. If I pull this off correctly, I'll look like I came right out of the fire. She landed as close as possible to the car without setting herself on fire. She then gradually turned herself visible again, gathering the heat from the burning vehicle around her as a shield.

At the Barkley end of the bridge, Alex wasted no time. With blinding speed he was out the door. As the gunmen straightened from their task of moving road blocks into place, a blue streak of air flew past them.

Bluestreak reached out as he flew past them, grabbing Uzis and weapons belts from the startled goons. While they stared in disbelief at their empty hands, Bluestreak spun around the group, making short work of tying the villains up with their own belts. As he slowed to a stop to view his handiwork, he felt his arm brush against a body and with a scream someone toppled off the bridge.

Bluestreak stopped and looked over the side of the bridge to see what had happened with a sudden, sickening feeling of panic… and fear! A woman in a leather jacket was barely hanging on to the bottom edge. The water shimmered a very long way down. She looked up at him.

"For the love of God help me!"

Bluestreak realized that to help the woman, he would have to climb over the railing...

Tempest flew under the bridge, and proceeded towards the explosion. What the hell… who are these people… what am I going to do on my own… gotta come up with some sort of plan… think… think… she thought frantically to herself.

As Tempest tried to get a good look at what was going on, she noticed someone hanging from the bottom of the bridge near the other end of the bridge.

Without thought Tempest sped towards the woman. "Hang on, lass, I'll help ya back onto solid ground."

As she watched, a streak of blue trailed down the side of the bridge and materialized into a man wearing a royal blue bodysuit, apparently made out of spandex, with matching boots going half way up his lower leg. On his chest was a yellow circle outlined in black with a blue lightning bolt over top.

The woman hanging from the bridge reached up and grabbed him, pulling him with surprising strength into a very thorough kiss. As they kissed, she pushed them out and away from the bridge with tremendous force. She then pushed away from him and he found himself in open sky, hundreds off the water.

The leather-clad woman threw back her head and laughed. "Silly man… poor, stupid hero." She shrugged and her jacket ripped as wings of metal sprouted from her back.

Tempest cursed to herself and turned on more speed. With a practised swoop, she snagged the man in blue, placing her arms under his legs and around his back. The two dipped as his weight was suddenly added and Tempest quickly compensated. With a thought, she reached out the morning moisture and enveloped the winged woman in a mass of dark fog.

Bluestreak looked down at the water and then at the woman who caught him. "Thanks… but can I get off this carnival ride now?"

Without answering, Tempest spun in place and watched as the winged woman came out the bottom of the fog. Tempest again reached out to the air around her. Throwing her head back in the pure ecstasy of electric friction around her she grabbed and moulded that electricity to her desire. Flinging the arm that held the man's legs out towards the winged woman, she directed the energy with her will.

Out of the clear morning sky lightning flashed and homed unerringly toward the metal-winged woman. A look of horror flashed on her face as she tried desperately to avoid the strike. The lightning struck, and the woman screamed as she was held motionless in the sky by the electricity.

Tempest glided back to the bridge and set Bluestreak down. Hope the guy in blue is on my side, she thought as she turned her attention back to the metal-winged woman, and I hope he can deal with the thugs on the ground.

"Help the folks on the ground… I'll be back after I deal with this one…" she yelled back to the blue-costumed man.

"Thanks for the lift… uh… who are you? I'm Bluestreak!" he shouted back. He felt a little woozy from the flying ordeal. Glad to be on the ground, he ran towards where Top Hat had spoken.