Part 1: Preparation
Professor Atom lifted his welding mask and looked around his lab, noting the papers and light objects that had suddenly been displaced. As the waiting servo-bots whirred into action he felt a sudden rush of air and, sure enough, he caught sight of Silver Streak leaning casually against the wall pretending that he’s been there all along. The white laboratory lights reflected brightly on the liquid metal skin that covered Silver Streak’s body, making him easy to notice.
Noticing that he now had Professor Atom’s attention, Silver Streak approached at what must have seemed a snail’s pace to him. “How’s the temporal dampener coming along?” the speedster asked, after getting close enough to look at the contraption in the professor’s hands.
“It’s pretty much right to go. I can’t guarantee that the circuits will hold up in the long run, so you wont be able to field test this before deployment.”
“It’ll work though, right?” Professor Atom didn’t both to dignify this with a reply, just a look. “Yeah, sorry. Of course it will work.” Picking up the small device, Silver Streak turned it over in his hands before continuing. “Are you still planning on joining us tomorrow?”
“Yes,” Professor Atom replied. “I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve, just in case The Chrononaut tries anything unexpected.”
“Good. The more the merrier,” Silver Streak replied before leaving in a sudden rush, moving faster than Professor Atom can follow, even with his enhanced eyes. Once again papers and light objects get blown around the lab before being gathered up by servo-bots and put back in there proper place. With a sigh Professor Atom moves over to his lab computer bank to check the readings that were just gathered about Silver Streak. At least now he has more data for his speed dampening field research project…
Part 2: Confrontation
It was a quiet morning in Riverside, particularly around the Meta-Human Research Institute. Though a cool morning, the sky was clear and it looked like it was going to be a good day. A very sharp-eyed observer might have noticed the slight shimmer of an energy field in place around the Meta-Human Research Institute, though it would have been more clearly seen in dim lighting, however this almost invisible field seemed to have no effect on the numerous people passing through it as they went about their morning routines.
This serene morning was then suddenly shattered as The Chrononaut appeared out of thin air in the middle of the sidewalk. Gathered around him were the mercenaries Bramble and Deadeye, as well as two dozen Chronobots, and they were all looking momentarily confused (except for the robots; they tend to conceal their emotions well). Into this confusion the Stirling City Irregulars sprang from their various hiding places, which had been scattered around the institute as they were unsure as to which direction the villains would be approaching from.
The hulking ice giants, Sveln and Njordos, moved to engage the villains head on, as was their preference. Making use of the giants as a distraction, The Black Ghost circled the fight, looking for a way to get close to The Chrononaut, although he was easily spotted by Deadeye and was thus engaged by that mercenary instead. Meanwhile, Lightning Hachi and Silver Streak began carrying away civilians at super speed, while Solrac the Summoner created protective stone walls to shield whole sections of the street from the battle that was already breaking out. Lastly, Professor Atom acted as a foil to the bow-wielding mercenary Bramble, who would otherwise have skewered Solrac with little effort.
Over the crash of ice giants flattening Chronobots, Deadeye called out to The Chrononaut, who was yet to engage the heroes in any way: “Why are you just standing there? Use your powers!”
“Somethings wrong!” he cried back, “Hang on…” and then a look of extreme concentration and effort came over his face. He had no way of knowing that all of his temporal abilities were being dampened by Professor Atom’s hastily constructed device; all that he knew was that his powers had suddenly failed leaving them exposed and vulnerable. Normally his “chrono-suit” enabled him to tap into the latent temporal energy that surrounded all things. He knew how it worked and he knew it should have worked. So, with an extreme effort, he reached down deep into his own previously untapped powers (perhaps powers that had been masked by the use of the “chrono-suit” all along) and reached for elusive powers of the time stream.
Then, in a blinding flash of white light, all of the heroes and villains (and a small number of civilians who were yet to be evacuated) disappeared.
“Heroes Lost!” “Battle at the MHRI!” “Who is The Chrononaut?”
News crews arrived at the scene almost as quickly as the police. Both groups found a scene of confusion. Civilians were wandering around, trying to figure out what had just happened. Everyone told the same story though, The Stirling City Irregulars had intercepted The Chrononaut and then everyone disappeared. The only sign that something had indeed taken place (aside from the security camera footage that would soon be played almost non-stop on all of the local stations) were ten disabled Chronobots and a magically summoned stone wall (that dissipated after a half an hour anyway).
Despite how bad things looked right then and there, everyone kind of expected the Stirling City Irregulars to reappear at any moment. They kept on thinking that for two weeks.
Now, some still hold out hope that they will all just come back; most believe that they all died on that morning in May. On the 18th they even held a memorial service for all of those who went missing in the incident, “The Incident” as some refer to it as.
Ever since that morning, super-crime rates in the city have been on the rise. Heroes such as Scarlet Streak, Water Sprite and Night-Ward are still doing their best, but they have other responsibilities as well and they cannot protect people to the same extent as the Stirling City Irregulars.