With yet another defeat wrought from the jaws of victory, the Heroes looked around their recent battleground. Checking their fallen foes they found that, luckily, none of the brainwashed or misinformed Police Officers present had been killed in the crossfire. In fact, the only opponents who had been permanently dispatched were The Eternal Cossack (nee Warrior) and Cyberlord (nee Toymaster). Everyone agreed that the death of The Cossack was a clear case of self defence and that Cyberlord’s death was sad but unintentional. (If anyone had seen that Electro was the first to check the body, they said nothing.)
The Police officers were awoken, told the Heroes’ side of events and urged to leave with their injured comrades. They fled in fear.
The unconscious bodies of the fallen villains were piled into their own SquadJet - just as soon as Magnetron had disabled its traps and self destructs and over-ridden its controls. But there was nothing anyone could do to avoid the simple fact that their opponents’ optical specialist, and the man responsible for the false news images which had plagued them for weeks, had used his invisibility to escape. Doctored images of what should have been the final, heroic battle with their nemeses - what should have been their vindication - were already being broadcast to a shocked city.
And Squadron: London were already en-route -
Megastar - the original British Super-soldier of WW2 who had been through many changes. They now had the powers of a God.
Shadow - the most powerful whisper in history. Never seen, but often felt.
Britannia - with her sword, shield and leonine mount.
Merlyn - latest of a long line of Sorcerers.
Aerial - Queen of Atlantis, alleged to be the origin of Hans Christian Anderson’s tale.
Quickstep - a Speedster.
Quickly our Heroes rushed to the erstwhile Squadron Birmingham’s temporary headquarters, BeastLord’s old hideout in Centre Point in the city - only to find its computers stripped of all information - defying even Magnetron’s attempts to recover it. All they found was a single telephone number.
A quick call confirmed that at the other end was “Stockade” - the invisible man and the cause of all their miseries. He gave them another number, which he told them to call later. Magnetron was, of course, unable to trace the call.
The team fled the City and sought a hideout in nearby Coventry. As the media was flooded with images of Squadron: London’s arrival in Birmingham, they set to dress their wounds - physical, emotional and mental. As the enhanced being Megastar flew across the city using their heightened senses to seek them out, the team worked with Miasma to get her soul back into her own body. After several attempts and the use of some clever questioning this was achieved. The newly restored heroine seemed appalled at the misuse of her body and disappeared. She returned later to dump what appeared to be several earrings in the trash. Electro asked Agony Aunt why Miasma was so upset and was told it would all be explained later.
They opened negotiations with Stockade - hampered by the fact that he kept changing his number every couple of minutes. The Villain explained that his invisibility was permanent - the result of an accident. All he wanted was to be seen again. When his research grants, personal funds and Government backing (both above board and on black books) ran out, he’d had no option but to turn to crime. Whilst technically accessory to some murders, he’d never personally killed anyone and a case could be made that he’d had no choice but to follow the orders of much more powerful Supervillains. He further pointed out that, had he followed PsiClone’s orders - to target and kill Deacon - the Occult Hero would now be dead.
All he wanted was immunity from prosecution and sufficient funds to research into reversing his optical state.
In return he offered the full, original and undoctored tapes of the Heroes “training sessions” and subsequent adventures.
After much negotiation the team contacted Steel - who was a lawyer and had missed the final showdown in order to be with and protect his family. A mutually agreeable contract was drafted and signed.
Agony Aunt grabbed the downloaded images and crafted a full documentary film giving the Heroes’ - true - side of events. This was broadcast across every available Social Media channel, trending and being recopied faster than the authorities could take it down. Hoping against hope that it would be enough - the team flew back to Birmingham to meet Squadron: London in Victoria Square.
Landing their Jet, they emerged, trying to look as inoffensive as possible. From the line of four Heroes ranged against them (Shadow and Quickstep not being visible) - Merlyn floated forward.
“There is only one way to be sure,” she said “Who will give me their mind?”
“I will” said Deacon.
The sorceress pressed her hands to his temple and after a few seconds began to weep.
“Oh, how you’ve suffered!” she cried, throwing her arms around Deacon.
“I......don’t like to be touched” he said.
“Neither do I,” she whispered in his ear, clutching him ever tighter.
Crowds cheered. Hearings were held. TV channels were flooded with programmes about and featuring Birmingham’s true Heroes. Awards and Medals were issued.
STEEL - having developed the ability to hide his metal skin and assume the form of an ordinary man - chose to give up the life of a Superhero and spend more time with his family.
ELECTRO admitted to the murder of Cyberlord - the man who’d killed her parents. Her trial was held in secret. She was found guilty of unlawful killing whilst the balance of her mind was disturbed, given a suspended sentenced and placed under the Parole of Agony Aunt.
Agony Aunt, worked to reverse the effects of Beastlord’s experimentation on victims such as Gorilla Girl. However, she chose to retain the genetic scars and abilities she’d inflicted on herself during her trials. As the only member of the team to choose freely to continue fighting crime, she formed the basis of a new Squadron: Birmingham under the name CHIMERA.
MAGNETRON and DEACON each returned to their interrupted researches.
STEEL REIGN travelled to the Lickey Hills to live with the troubled, hermit, psychic Alma McMartin to keep her company for the rest of her days.