Squadron: Birmingham 2019 Rejected/accepted

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In the early hours of the morning of Friday 3rd May 2019, a squad of the Birmingham Police - led by Senior Sergeant MacMillan - arrived at a small retail complex in the Shirley suburb of Birmingham. They found a ruined illegal laboratory containing all manner of animals and beasts - both normal and mutated. Scariest of these was the corpse of a dinosaur sized hound. Second scariest was a huge silverback gorilla - wearing a fetching red dress - willing to turn “State’s evidence”. And third on the list was a cluster of would-be Superheroes - breathless from their first victory but weeping over the loss of their android companion - torn in two by the huge mutant dog.

The area was secured and statements taken. Then the five surviving Heroes made their way home to rest and recuperate before their evening appointment.

Much recovered, later that night they made their way to the Stratford Road. Electro again prevailed upon her parents to allow Agony Aunt to chaperone her. She was worried about her father’s reaction to the “cheerleader” theme of her costume. Steel, not for the first time, missed the appointment.

The Tailor was extremely grateful for the neophyte team’s intervention. After listening to the story of their adventures, he undertook to inform all of the nearby traders and said they’d probably never have to pay for anything from those stores ever again.

Costumes were revealed. They all exceeded their wearers’ expectations. The piece de resistance was Agony Aunt’s outfit - grown from her own stem cells - which could grow with her without stretching and going baggy at the knees and elbows like her current suits. The group took Steel’s costume with them in case they ever bumped into him again. Magnatron also took Steel Reign’s outfit but refused to be drawn as to why.

In the following week, the new group trained together - Steel again declining to attend - but failed to run across crimes to combat. Agony Aunt helped an old lady who’d gotten into some personal difficulty, but nothing illegal was involved. She also synthesised a serum to reverse Beastlord’s and start to return Gorilla Girl to her normal self. Electron’s disagreements with her family led to their hotel having its electric shorted out. Deacon was ensconced in The Birmingham University Library. And Magnatron was busy on a personal project.

On Thursday morning, 9th May, they all - minus Steel - arrived bright and early for their appointment with Squadron: Birmingham. Everyone was surprised to find Magnatron accompanied by a newly rebuilt Steel Reign. After verification with the - justifiably cautious - receptionist, they were allowed access to the Squadron’s secure lift. Though it appeared to go up, the sharper team members noticed the elevator was actually going down below the Rotunda to a huge hidden complex.

The team were separated and subjected to batteries of tests - Physical, Intellectual, Psychological, Powers-based etc. And individual interviews with the three remaining members of Sq:B. Techknight was friendly and supportive. Miasma, after an initial warning about her psychic abilities and undertaking not to use them unless it proved necessary - “A mind is a powerful but fragile thing” - was enigmatic and hard to read. Warrior did not seem to wish to take part in the interviews and seemed to take delight in ambushing the interviewees with harsh and impossible scenarios with the intent of bringing the sessions to an early close. This seemed strangely at odds with his charismatic public persona.

Despite everything, including Steel Reign’s attempts to charm them with his newly enhanced cocktail list - scanning residue of the Squadrons’ hands to detect their favourite drink (the only drink he produced was a single malt whiskey for Miasma which she denied was her choice) - they all failed in their interviews.

Most of the Heroes took a “take one take all” approach to their application and taking on six new members when the extant team only contained three would lead to a numerical imbalance. The general lack of experience was also an issue - Sq:B desperately needed effective new members and didn’t have time to train an academy of newbies. Steel’s absence and unreliability also counted against them.

The applicants were wished well in their endeavours, and warned to be careful not to disrupt the city or Sq:B’s activities, then sent on their way.

Slighted, the team decided to prove themselves by tracking the escaped Beastlord. Returned to his wrecked headquarters, they sneaked past the two Police on guard and found the remnants of a hard-drive missed by the Police SoCO’s. Magnatron determined that this contained details of several of Beastlord’s resource stocks and alternative bases of operations.

The second one of these they searched - on the 13th floor of Centre Point in Birmingham - had an active electrical signal according to Electro’s senses. Beastlord was home! But was he alone?

The two fliers - Magnatron and Deacon - flew up to create a distraction whilst Agony Aunt, Steel Reign and Electro climbed the fire escape. The good news was that Beastlord was alone. The bad news that - lacking Steel’s armoured hide - Magnatron was hit and injected by a cloud of syringes and mutated into a terrible beast like creature.

Whilst Deacon tried to subdue his altered colleague, Beastlord tried to escape again. He was caught by an electrical blast from Electro and a flying Steel Reign, thrown by Agony Aunt.

The villain was placed in Police custody and the Heroes claimed his base for their own centre of operations.

The following week brought more success as the Heroes were active against street crimes - muggers and their ilk - and rescuing people from burning buildings. TV news was full of stories about Sq:B’s new recruit - an electrically powered young man known as Dynamo. This both annoyed and intrigued Electro. He had clearly taken her place but.... he was so hot!

Then on Thursday 16th May, a panicked and, frankly, terrified Senior Sergeant MacMillan contacted Agony Aunt. Timelord was returning! One of his time portals was opening in central Birmingham. Not only was this far earlier than expected, but Squadron Birmingham - who usually dealt with his attacks - weren’t replying to calls. Given that the last time this Temporal Terorrist had attacked, Spearhead had been torn apart by a horde of raptors, the situation looked grim......

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