Chronicles of Time: Starting Over





Justin Bartow (mutant, human form)
Hght: 5'9'
Wght: 159 (just over slim)
Brown short hair. Trim/neat goatee. Wears a brown leather trenchcoat with jeans. White, VERY slightly glowing eyes.

Libby Bartow (mutant, human form)
Hght: 5'5' (5'8' in heeled boots)
Wght: She says "As if!"
Dirty Blonde, short cropped hair. Very hourglass figure.

He watched her run over, frozen stiff with panic. The bombs were dropping down in droves, the earthshaking booms all around disorienting him. He couldnt move! His wife however was already in action, she was always the brave one, the fighter. She had seen the ship coming overhead and watched the crowd of pedestrians break for cover now that the fear had taken over for curiosity and shock. Libby Bartow, calling herself Fulminatory now, was rushing for a young boy who had been seperated almost instantly when the panic hit the civilians. Alone, the boy stood on the streetcorner, gaping at the sky with his mouth open, a tear coming down his cheek. Everyone knew what was happening, most had seen something similar not but a few years ago. The Rikti were invading Earth once more. It wasnt the time to think of "Hows" or "Whys", it was pure survival all over again. Retreat, regroup, take away their advantage of surprise as quickly as possible. Justin Bartow snapped back into the moment (How long had he been daydreaming? Was he panicking like the rest?) and looked away from the sky and the ship flying overhead back down to his wife. It had only been a second he noticed, but why did it feel like forever. He realized too late his beautiful wifes urgent dash for the boy. She grabbed the child and knelt down, her back towards the street. At that moment the bomb landed. He watched, dumbstruck, through the green glow of the blast and saw the love of his life, a neon X-ray of her and the young boy, and then the shockwave of the blast rolling over him. She was gone. She never activated her powers, there was no time... she was just gone, a large black smudge on the street and curb was all that was left besides the dark smoke pluming all around. Justin fell to his knees, bruising them with the fall. He began to scream....
... at his dark filled apartment bedroom in Atlas Park. He felt his wife roll over in the bed quickly and turn on the table lamp.
"Hon?! Whats wrong?! Are you alright?"
Justin stared at her for a moment in the soft light. She was everything to him, everything normal he had ever wanted in his life. Things were changing though. Justin was a mutant with what amounted to non-existant powers. One of the "Lucky" ones with the odd colored, slightly glowing white eyes but no real abilities. His wife however, had recently had her mutant genes awakened in her. She had been mugged a few weeks earlier and boy had those goons gotten more then they bargained for. She found that she could make herself quite impervious when she wanted as well as control gouts of fire from her body and hands. Since the incident, she had been doing her best to register herself into Hero Status. She quit her job at the diner and worked full time on getting registered. Taking the tests, the physicals... everything that needed to be done before one could just "Run the streets of Paragon" as a hero.
"I... I'm fine Lib... it was a bad dream. A freaking nightmare to be exact."
"Honey, I'll be fine. The mugging left me off better then I was before and I think I will be able to handle myself pretty well out in the city. You dont have to kill yourself over worrying about me y..."
"I know. I know. This one just kind of came out of left field... heck... the park itself. I just need a drink... are you good?"
"Yeah, just tired. Get your drink and get some sleep, you have to work tomorrow." She was asleep almost as soon as her head laid down. She was so exhausted from the training she had to go through. Justin got up and went into the bathroom, turning on the sink and splashing water over his face. The details of the dream were already slipping away. He sat down on the edge of the bathtub and sighed. He pulled his hands from his knees, noticing something damp. Blood? How had he scraped his knees? When had that happened he thought?
The next day was much like the many in the last couple of Justin's 25 years of life. He got up, kissed his wife goodbye, and went to work. He had overslept a bit and was sure he would be late. The tram came on time, a bit early actually it seemed, and he found himself at work right on time, as always. His perfect attendance record wouldnt be lost just yet it seemed. Sometimes he thought it never would. Even when he felt there was no way he could get to work on time, he did. He had a warehouse job pushing furniture for a large company based in Paragon. It was all he ever wanted really. Growing up an obvious mutant, but having no real powers was a pain. Justin hated the attention, good or bad, that he got from folks. Hated more the questions. What do you do? Whats your power? The reply was puncuality and an unwavering amount of good luck. He never really thought on that much either. He had just always wished to be a normal Joe. He had never been mugged, or seen one for that matter, regardless of the cities obvious crime rate. He had narrowly avoided some pretty bad accidents too in his life. He had decided that was just his power. Some had super reflexes or super strong skin. He had SUPER LUCK! Man was he cheesy... and he wasnt even a cape he thought. That always gave him a chuckle.
Work went by as it tends to for him, quickly, and he was out and walking to the tram to head home. His Wifes encounter a few weeks ago worried him though, even more now that she was trying to be a Super. His thoughts strayed and on the way to the tram he walked into a narrow back alley. He only realized what was going on when he heard the yelp of pain and grunt of a woman falling to the ground.
Looking up, he saw a Skull standing over a woman! He had her purse and was pointing a gun at her.
"Dont move lady and dont make a sound! This is mine now and dont act like this is the first time for you! Ye know the drill!"
The woman was frozen with fear, staring into the barrel of the gun as the man upended her purse and dropped its contents. Mugging was obviously overrated in this city though, most folks knew not to carry obvious amounts of valuables on them. He must have been having a dry spell today too, cause he was overly ticked off about the shallow score, cursing and shaking the gun at her aggressively.
"You know what, I have had it up to..." the Skull balked when he noticed Justin not ten feet away down the alley staring wide eyed at the situation. Justin had been standing still, as terrified of the presence of the Skull as the woman being mugged herself. He was waiting for a Super to swoop in and save the day, for cryin out loud they ALWAYS did! This time things didnt work out like they always do, or so he thought for a long time after.
The Skull was instantly spooked at seeing Justin standing there and pulled the trigger of his gun. It was pointing right at the lady who shrieked at the resounding boom of the pistol! Justin had flinched at the sound, he wasnt use to gunfire, and squinted his eyes open back into the alley, afraid of the outcome of such a scene. The lady was still on the ground, breathing so heavy that she might go into convulsions soon. She was staring at what Justin thought was a pebble. He tilted his head and furrowed his brow in wonder as he walked over. The lady barely registered him, her wonderment fixated solely on the bullet floating in front of her. Justin too was transfixed on the bullet, that is, until he realized he was standing chum-buddy distance from the man holding the gun. Justin jumped in surprise at the masked skull face before him and delivered a fear stricken right cross to the mans jaw. It really didnt land too sqaure, but even still, the skull didnt even yelp, let alone avoid the blow. Justin waited for the Skull to turn the pistol his way... when he noticed the man wasnt even looking at him at all, or moving for that matter. His curiosity was broken by the woman laying on the ground.
"What did you do to him?"
"I punched him in the face..."
"No, I mean, what did you DO to him? And how did you stop the bullet like that?"
"I didnt... I just... Umm..." Justin looked up and down, left and right, searching for the hidden hero of the moment. When he realized they were alone with this frozen stiff Skull, Justin found a good reason to be off. He quickly collected the womans belongings and helped her up, shuffling her out of the alley and about a block away. She used her cellphone to call the cops, and they arrived only a minute or so later. The cops took down her report, as well as Justin's, but the goon had broken free of his hold and booked it. The cops began questioning Justin about his "abilities" not long after he told his story and it made him uncomfortable. The sun was down when Justin finally got home, and his wife was already asleep in bed. He was tired himself too, having such an odd day. He fell asleep early as well and had a dreamless, peaceful nights sleep.
"..ney," Justin heard through his muffled sleep. He woke up to bright morning sunshine and the smell of a well cooked breakfast. He stretched out and yawned.
"What was that Lib?"
"Breakfast is ready, come and get it! And check this out!"
Justin waltzed into the next room over which served as their dining room/living room and saw his wife cooking. It was a neat trick too he thought, her flipping pancakes in the skillet with one hand, the other held underneath it, a small spout of fire coming from her palm and heating the skillet.
"I guess the training is paying off huh? Your learning to control it really well."
"Thanks hon, and yeah, it is. No more burnt bedsheets for us! And look, we can save money on the electric bill now!" She said this while pulling two slices of bread out of a bag, and placing them gently onto a plate, already toasted from the short moment in her hands. She smiled winningly, loving showing off for her man. She turned around and danced slightly back and forth as she resumed her cooking. Justin took the toast and nodded his approval, they werent even singed.
"So, I had a uh... wierd day yesterday."
"Oh? How was work?"
"Fine. Work wasnt it. I helped a lady from being mugged."
"You did what?! And here I thought I was going to be the Cape! Thats great hon, how did you do it?" It was funny to him that he worried so much over her, and even though she had the great powers, she still saw him as her "Hero". Boy how he loved her.
"Well... I dont know actually. I got there just in time... dont give me that look, I'm not being punny, and I guess I spooked the goon. The gun went off right at the lady. The bullet though, it just... stopped! Midair. Goon too. Frozen like a block of ice."
"Was he actually frozen?!" He saw her getting excited now. He began to not like where this was going.
"Umm... no... just... like... when you hit the pause button on a DVD. Just stopped. I slugged him in the jaw too. Didnt even flinch."
"Oh wow hon! Maybe you have, well, time powers or something!"
Justin chuckled at that. Almost nobody had control over time, at least it was almost rediculously rare.
"Lib, I think I control my bladder and thats about it."
"Well did it happen when you were scared? Shocked?"
"Whatever it was, yeah, it hap WHOA!"
Justin had his hands in front of his face, waiting to deflect the orange his wife had just pitched at him. Granted, she did it quite slowly, but still! He looked past his hands, thinking she must have missed him. The orange was stuck in the air, right in front of his hands.
"Wow hon! Now thats nifty! Can you do it again?" She was already reaching for another orange.
"HEY! I am not playing target practice with you here, especially if the bullseye is on my forehead!"
"Can you bring the orange down? Move it?"
Justin reached out, tentatively, and grabbed the orange. It didnt budge at all. He pulled hard, grabbing with both hands and it yanked free suddenly. He was going down backwards in his chair hard, he heard his wife yelp, and then he just stopped. He was sitting at an unreal tilt in his chair, teetering on what should have been a downed seat.
"Now that is cool Love!"
"I dont even know whats going on... I dont know how I am even doin... what? What are you looking at me like that fo UMPFH!!" The chair had finally given way to gravity and toppled him over. His wife chuckled softly in the kitchen.
"We have to get you registered! You can come to my training session today and..."
He cut her off. "NO! I dont even know what I am doing, whats going on! I am just reacting when scared like a bunny would!"
"But there are lots of capes out there that are married! We could be a dynamic duo!" He already knew she wouldnt drop this now that she was into it and knew he had some powers. Justin loved her enthusiasm and courage to do the right things, to make the world better if she could.
--It cant happen again--I wont lose her--
"Honey? You ok?"
Justin's eyes were wide open, a slightly shocked look on his face as a bright green image filled his sight and that voice, his voice.
"What? Yeah... no, I am fine, just hurt my ego was all..." What was that he thought.
A few days passed and Justin did indeed go with his wife to her training sessions, even got some lessons himself even if he did perplex everyone trying to figure out what it was he did. They rationalized that it was some form of manipulation of time, but they couldnt chart or direct it, even feel it with magical powers. It was such a rare power, almost unheard of. This left him agitated at times too. He wasnt even sure why, he really didnt want to be a hero anyhow. Why was all this bothering him so much, and why, if he was so reluctant, was he suddenly trying so hard? The days passed and both of the Bartow's went home to pass out and sleep the evenings away.
A few weeks later, they were registered. His wife got them their very own com links to the hero network and dragged him to get their I.D.'s made. His receptionist asked him how he became a super hero when she realized he didnt have much to say and that was what she put in his Bio category. Then the stumper...
"What would you like to be called sir?"
"Yes sir. What is your Hero name?"
"Umm... I havent thought of o..."
"JUSTIN TIME!" his wife rang out behind him.
He turned around. "Lib, that is so cheesy..."
"True, but your cheesy even without the super hero status!" she giggled at that.
"Name is taken sir, maam."
"Drat! Foiled!" Libby said.
"Well, guess we have to..." Justin could barely get a word out with his wifes enthusiasm on high.
"How about Justin-Time? With the hyphen in it?"
"That will work. Welcome to Paragon, Justin-Time."
"Oy vei..." Justin smiled as he ran his hand over his face and was quickly dragged off to go super shopping.
His wife, now Fulminatory, had just picked up her new super outfit up from Icon with him in Steel Canyon. She loved the colors, the feel, and the sexy look it gave her. She hadnt put on her eyewear and mask yet, and they walked hand in hand, her blonde, short cropped hair shining in the sun. Sun... that was strange, Justin thought. Getting awfully dark all of a sudden...
"You know, you could have found a better outfit then that?! I mean... its a T-shirt with a Sand Clock on it. At least you have some sense of style still but thats mostly due to my good ta...ste... hon?" She noticed his face first, then the darkening sky. The cities weather was almost constant year round, going from cool to warm but never this, especially not in Steel Canyon.
"Honey, the War Walls... whats going on?" she asked, looking about quickly as everyone walking the streets began to notice the sky as well, a few even realized the War Walls dropping their fields.
Two folks down the street bolted into the air, one jumping away quickly, another flying fast, both heading to the southwest. Justin realized they were supers just walking about when something alterted them. His wife was already putting her com link in her ear when the warning system went off.
The warning sirens were at full blaze. To the southwest came the first booms. Explosions, something which sounded like a lazer or beam cannon. Folks around them began to whisper and talk, panick rising. Most were mentioning Rikti. It hit Justin hard and fast, the realization. This had happened before when the Rikti invaded years ago. It was happening again! He grabbed Fulminatory and pulled her close to a building, and at the best moment. Curiosity had held the crowds in the streets and sidewalks but now panick and realization got them moving, quickly and not too coordinated.
A detonation from maybe a block away, screams and chants of Rikti, Airship. People were deserting the streets, taking shelter wherever they could. Justin heard, or more over FELT the airship fly from over the rooftops, passing by barely above the roofs and less then a block away from them. Justin watched as something dropped from both sides of the ships middle, then was distracted by the super flying towards the ship, lazer beams shooting forth from his eyes. They had no effect that Justin could see, and the ship responded in kind, two large beams slamming into the hero. Justin watched as the hero flew out of sight lazily over the rooftops, sure hurting from the blow. It was at this moment, when he moved his head back down that time seemed to slow...
His wife was no longer near him. She had sprinted down the block towards where the ship was hovering overhead. Justin noticed the boy standing there, staring up at the ship.
--She dies--
She reached out for the boy, something screeching as it made its way towards earth near them both. She fell over the boy, almost throwing him into a ball under her and kneeling over him, her back to the street.
--Not again. Dont lose her again--
Justin was up, but disoriented. This had happened before... maybe a couple times? He was confused, moving so slowly, everything was so slow. He had heard of bullet time type reactions before, but never been in one. He saw the bomb, feet from the ground. His wife kneeling over the young boy.
Justin was moving a bit faster, almost normal speed now. Everything else was still so slow though. He saw the bomb moving into the ground, slower then ever...
He watched as it bore into the ground, its hull began to warp outwards.
"No... No..."
A green glow was coming forth from the hull of the misshapen bomb now, extended outwards.
--Too late. Too late to save her--

Fulminatory didnt know what else to do. She just reacted. It was the Super side of her taking over. She had a moment to realize she hadnt activated her powers, wasnt shielding herself or the boy with anything other then her body. She wanted to say goodbye to Justin, see him smile once more. She felt the shock of the bomb meeting ground.
This is it, she thought. Then the burp noise.
"... what...?"
She looked behind her. The bomb must have been a dud. She felt it land in the ground not feet away. Oh, it was there alright, and it wasnt a dud. The green glow was all around the hull of the bomb, the flames already spouting out from it. The whole thing was shaking violently. Fulminatory felt some sort of distortion, thats all she could think of it at the time, coming from the bomb. Then she quickly flashed a glance at her husband...
Justin was standing firm, his hands held forward with their fingers bent out and down as to almost be breaking. A grimace of such pain shrouding his face. His mouth was wide open in a snarl the likes she had never seen, his teeth clenched together tight enough to break them. She noticed this all in passing. It was his eyes that had her attention. What looked like white, smoky fire was pulsing from her husbands beautiful eyes. They had always had the faintest glow to them, and always pure white, but this.... this was amazing.
She recovered quickly, realizing the situation and picked the child up, dashing back towards her husband, blue fire erupting from all around her as she put up her defenses to guard her and the boy. Justin was shaking almost as violently as the stilled bomb blast, sweat pouring out of him all over. She watched as the light in his eyes winked out, he buckled quickly and his knees gave way, falling onto them then face first into the street. Suddenly it felt like a large hand had slapped her across the back and she was flying forward, the boom resonating what seemed like a lifetime after the push. She landed on her side, sliding a good seven or ten yards. The boy she held was crying, but alright. She turned off the flames and told him to run into the nearest building. Some people were gesturing at the open door for him to hurry and oh how he did.
Fulminatory got up and ran over to her fallen husband. He was pale and not moving. She had just reached him when she heard the portals all around open. Before she turned her powers to their max, she had a moment to think, staring at the Rikti.
They look different... and then it was on!

Justin groaned, a hand rolling to his forehead lazily, feeling almost detatched from his body. He opened his eyes and was staring up into a sky that was quickly brightening from dark green to blue. Capes and bodies moved all about him, the colors were a bit disorienting. Then she was there. Her face was cut in several places, once across the top of her forehead which looked like it might need stitches... or good healing powers, and a blast stain across her right shoulder, which she seemed to be nursing. He heard a familiar voice, Ms. Liberty, barking orders, rallying the heros nearby to her, never wavering from her post under the Atlas Statue.
Justin wondered for a moment how they had gotten there. They had just been in Steel Canyon when the Rikti began their invasion.
He groaned "... Ohh.. Honey.. I... I tried to stop it... the green fire... it..."
She put a finger over his lips, lulling him to hush.
"You did it honey, you saved us... you saved me. You really are my Hero Honey..." A tear was rolling across her cheek, smudging with the blood and dirt already there.
"I guess... I was just... in... time..." He heard her sweet laughter and her saying how cheesy he was after all, then slight panic as he rolled back into sleep again.
Justin was unconcious for a few hours after the first wave of Rikti hit. With a bit of help at the local Atlas hospital, he was out and about though, helping where he could with what he could, his wife leading the way and doing more, always more. Justin didnt mind though. He liked watching her run ahead of him, always had. He thought he could get the hang of this super hero stuff...

Mostly though, he just wanted to see her alive.

Justin Bartow A.K.A. Justin-Time
Libby Bartow A.K.A. Fulminatory A.K.A. "Hotpants"
Infinity Server