Paradigm High

Issue 8: Fallout

Paradigm High’s Winter Masquerade Ball has finally arrived! Scarlet is going with Ironlung, Max with Gwendolyn, Spence with Juke, and Bombshell with Seraph. Spence hacks the DJ’s rig and takes over, adding some good music to the dance. During a slow song, Juke tries to kiss Spence, but he dodges her lips! Embarrassed, Juke slips off and finds a seat. Spence consults Ironlung and Max for advice, and Max informs him that he’d be stupid not to go for her. Even though Spence doesn’t feel that way about Juke (or anyone, really) he goes back to her and briefly returns the kiss. Then Spence’s mask (with built in eye lasers!) malfunctions, firing deadly beams at random. Juke kicks them off his face, and Spence orders his robot to disable the mask. Confused, Juke asks Spence to take her home.

The night is interrupted by a surprise visit from the Alchemist. He has slipped into the dance with a tux and mask of his own. He informs Bombshell that he needs to speak with her and her team. Bombshell gathers her teammates, and they meet the Alchemist outside. He tells them that Meltdown has indeed gone rogue, and she’s heading to the prison – to break out her father, Warbringer! Warbringer is a nuclear supervillain who once nearly bested the entire Vanguard!

The heroes call the tip into the cops as they rush to the prison, but they are too late. They’re knocked down by a shockwave, and then they witness a mushroom cloud rising in the distance. When they reach the prison, they see rubble. Dazed prisoners stumble out, some of them heading for freedom. Suddenly, a blazing blue portal opens in the sky, and the Vanguard pour out! Their leader, Thunder, orders our heroes to take out a pair of would-be escapees. The heroes take down Crush and Disruptor. After, they relay what they know about Meltdown and Warbringer to Chrome. Spence and Chrome scan Warbringer’s radiation signature and link it through the Vanguard’s satellites. They use it to narrow his location down to somewhere in the lower half of Manhattan Island. Spence creates more finely-tuned locators, which he and the team use to track Warbringer to a building at the center of Lower Manhattan.

The heroes bust in to find Warbringer and Meltdown charging up for a full-scale nuclear blast in the center of New York City! Bombshell, Replica (having copied Bombshell’s powers), and Spence (with a special gravity invention) stay ready to neutralize Warbringer’s blast. Red and Maximillian take the fight to Meltdown. The pair of heroes knocks Meltdown out just before Warbringer unleashes 65 megatons. There’s a flash and a roar that blocks out all else. Bombshell, Replica, and Spence struggle to keep the blast contained. Then, it fades. Warbringer falls, exhausted. The heroes save the day.

Stay tuned to see what happens next year – at Paradigm High!

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