Sarah Zane Willis
A privileged girl from a privileged home, Sarah Z. Willis ("Zane" to her friends) was a shy and unimposing child.
She expressed herself through art and poetry. A good bit of it was rather dark. She had "concerned" parents. A psychologist, and a college professor who are worried
about her black clothes and "antisocial ways".
In truth, she was just shy. Another suburban girl who liked the color black and bad poetry. There was nothing really wrong with that. Try telling that to all the do-gooder adults who made it their business to "help" the "troubled girl".
It was they, with their constant pestering who drove her to truly seek out a "bad crowd" in school. If only to justify their annoyance. Her wardrobe became even more extreme, as did her aversion to most social contact, and reliance on 'comfort food'.
Then came the day that she began seeing things out of the corner of her eye. Objects would twitch and move of their own accord. Convinced that there was a ghost in her home, she told her parents, which only caused them to worry about her more. She was assigned to a therapist.
(Which, considering the alternative: Her parents wanting, reluctantly to have her committed
, wasn't so bad.).
She explains her travails to her therapist, Dr. Charlotte Murphy, week after week, and, aside from the "ghost" problem, her doctor saw her as nothing but a normal teenage girl. One week, after her usual therapy session, she was loath to go straight home to her parents' tender loving care
. She took the long way around. Wandering through downtown Liberty City, she window shopped for clothing and listened to the music eminating from the record shop. It was just after she grabbed a hotdog from a corner stand that she noticed the smoke in the distance. Thick, black smoke rising from the west side... close to her home. She dropped her hotdog and ran. It wasn't far. She could already hear the sirens of the fire trucks rising in the distance. She just wanted to make sure that her parents were safe. It was then that she heard the explosion that rocked the downtown area. It came from across town. The east. She had no idea what it was, but she noted that the fire sirens had gone silent. To the west, she could see that the smoke had grown thicker. So much so, that the orange glow of a blazing inferno could be seen reflected in the smoke itself, and it did look to be coming from the outskirts of her own suburban neighborhood.
She ran until her lungs burned and her legs ached. She wanted to go faster. The harder she ran, the more she seemed to be slowing down. He head was swimming. Sounds, voices all around her seemed to amplify and distort. Her head pounded. Before she knew it, she found herself rising from the ground. She felt a warm sheath around her. Was her ghost helping her fly? It didn't matter. As she rose above the rooftops at the edge of town she saw it. The blaze wasn't her own home, but it was that of a nearby apartment building. There were people trapped on the 8th floor. The entire lobby was a hellish inferno, and it didn't take an architect to know that these older buildings here on the edge of the historical district wouldn't be able to hold up under such conditions.
Instantly forgetting her own problems, she tried to make herself lower her flight path. The invisible force obeyed her. If this was all the doings of some kind of ghost, then it could read her mind. She swooped in, and flew through one of the few open windows that wasn't ablaze. In her mind she shouted commands, like: "Open door", "Tear down Wall", and "Remove Window" in order to reach the imperiled victims of the fire, and whatever force was doing all this reacted in perfect sync, as though she was using her own hands.
Just as she thought, no fire trucks were going to arrive on the scene. She flew the people to safety using the strange force, and got the last ones out only seconds before the building collapsed and was eaten by flame.
She felt that it would be a bad idea to stick around and answer questions, so, she took off into the sky. She was close to home, heck, she could literally see her house from there, but anyone watching would probably track her straight there. She instead, flew back into the city, and set down behind the library. She ducked in for a drink of water, a trip to the bathroom, and then plopped herself down in the reference section.
"What the hell just happened?", she asked herself mentally. She was physically shaken and she didn't know what to make of any of the things that had happened in the last hour. A cheeseburger and a glass of milk would really hit the spot right now.
"You must be really confused", a voice said, seemingly coming from nowhere. Confused was the least of her emotions at that moment. She looked around. None of the people in the library seemed to be looking at her or saying anything, but she could hear the voice as clear as day.
"Don't be frightened", the voice said, "Look to your left. All the way down the aisle."
Doing as she was told, Sarah saw her. A very beautiful young woman, who didn't look quite right. Though she was sitting, she looked rather tall. She was dressed in an all white pantsuit with a black, wide-collared blouse and a pair of black leather gloves.
"Nod if you can hear me", the mysterious woman said.
"Good. What you are experiencing is called telepathy. YOU are it's source. I know that for a while now, you've been thinking that there was some supernatural origin to the weird things that have been going on with you, but, I assure you, it's more scientific than anything."
"How do I know you're
not a ghost or something?", Sarah whispered, still not grasping that this conversation was taking place in her head.
"Hey, kiddo, whatever you wanna believe. I just think that knowing the truth makes your powers easier to control. If you wanna place 'em all on the shoulders of some imaginary boogen, then that's your biz. By the way, My name is 'Delphi'. You, I presume, are Sarah Zane Willis? Just 'Zane
' to your friends, eh? I'd like to be your friend, Zane."
Sarah let out an audible yelp. It seemed to echo through the quiet library, but in truth, the few who even heard it barely paid it notice. Zane got up from her seat and went over to the table of the white-clad beauty.
"Who ARE you? How do you know me?", Zane demanded in a coarse whisper.
"You may want to keep this little con-fab of ours in your head, hon. What I have to tell you is top secret. Even whispering it may put it in the wrong ears."
'Delphi' went on to tell Zane of her own powers. The powers of clairvoyance and precognition. At first, Zane disbelieved her. About ALL of it. Despite the fact that she was having a conversation telepathically, and, even though she didn't consciously realize it, could sense, mentally, that Delphi was speaking the truth. Then it hit her. The reason Delphi seemed "not quite right" when she first noticed her. She could smell alcohol on her mysterious new friend's breath.
Delphi continued to tell Zane how she could see the past by touching objects, See the present through the eyes of others that she'd come in contact with by concentrating on their whereabouts, and see the future and its' many threads of probability through water. She also told the young telepath how the end of the world was near. VERY near. She showed her this in the running of the library ladies' bathroom sink.
Zane coudn't believe what she was seeing.
Delphi told her of the mad demigod, Ragnarok's previous attempts at world domination.
His first strike happened years ago in the city of Fort Riker, Missouri, where he and his augmented metahuman army killed many superheroes. 2 of the heroes, Class 20 powerhouses Captain Star, and Adam Alpha, would have eventually gained enough power (Class 25. 'Godlike') to have stopped him permanently. He succeeded in killing them, along with dozens of others, which weakened the planets' defenses considerably. (This also exposes Earth to the possibility of other extraterrestrial and/or interdimensional attacks that, without Captain Star and Adam Alpha, we may not be able to fully defend against.)
Ragnarok's second salvo happened about 4 years later, when he and his generals nearly destroyed Xailenrath City, Connecticut. The Thrillseekers died in this battle, as did other metahumans. In many a possible future, Delphi forsaw that, had they lived, The teen heroes, The Thrillseekers would have grown into being some of the most powerful and effective superheroes in history. Given time, they would even have ended up fostering true and lasting world peace near the end of their careers.
Ragnarok, having killed them all, save UberWoman, moved on to New York City, where he raised the crashed galactic warship of the defeated alien hybrid warlord called Tyrannis Max. Ragnarok was defeated by the combined effort of ALL of New York's heroes, and even some of its villains, plus military intervention, but even then, only just barely, and not before Ragnarok resuscitated and augmented the already powerful Tyrannis Max, and enthralled him into the demigod's service.
The clone of Adam Alpha was able to exile Ragnarok, T-Max and the warship into a pocket dimension, though the clone had to sacrifice himself to do it.
Zane coudn't believe what she was seeing. She asked if possibly Delphi's vision was being distorted by the alcohol she'd obviously been drinking. Delphi laughed. No. The alcohol was to take the edge off. When one sees the doom of the world on a fairly regular basis, it begins to take it's toll. The vision never changes. It remains clear as day, despite what Delphi's 'real world/here-and-now' perceptions may be. Alcohol simply dulls the fear and pain of some truly horrific visions.
Changing the subject, Delphi told Zane that she was an instrument of destiny, created to help steer the course of history. She was to join a group of superheroes and help them prepare to stop the looming apocalypse. Unfortunately, she would be forbidden to tell them about the details, as it would cloud their judgements, cause dissention in the ranks and one of them to abandon the rest, and set them on a course of utter failure that could doom the world.
Someday soon, Ragnarok is slated to escape his pocket dimensional prison, and return in full force for an all-out invasion of earth. He has his already extremely dangerous metahuman generals (Cataclysm, Defcon, Sapphion, Menagerie, Coalmine and Gremlynn), The new and improved Tyrannis Max, who had been biogenetically reengineered and brainwashed to serve Ragnarok, as well as the clone of Adam Alpha, who also had been "reimagined" and enthralled, now calling himself "Andronicus Omega".
Besides that, Ragnarok now helms Tyrannis Max's extremely powerful warship which has been upgraded with Ragnarok's own celestial/supernatural technology, and the band of world-killers have captured, enslaved and transformed the simple natives of that realm into a vast army of cyborg killing machines.
Delphi tells Zane that she and her future team of heroes will have to stop Ragnarok and company from breaching their way back into this plane of existance.
After seeing the visions of what Ragnarok will someday do to the planet, Zane agrees to what Delphi instructs her to do. She and Delphi spend the next two months discussing plans and events, practicing with what she now knows are her own powers of telepathy and telekinesis. Zane even continues to visit her therapist, telling Dr. Murphy everything, and showing her powers, with the doctor's promise of professional confidentiality.
(Of course, knowing that the dreadful and fantastic things that Zane is telling her are all true, she, too seems to have developed a drinking problem.)
Soon, the day comes, and Zane is right where Delphi instructed her to be:
Just down the street from the Bank of the Midwest during a robbery perpetrated by 3 metahuman monsters.
the hulking Landshark, geokinetic Seismo and the Canadian fugitive, Electric Eel had just stolen millions. The only members of the (New) Thrillseekers (UberWoman
) were en route to engage them. By the time the superhero trio arrived, they saw a tiny telekine girl in a very gothy home-made costume very deteminedly holding her own against a tidal wave of dirt and concrete made by seismo, dodging attacks by Landshark, and the Electric Eel already unconscious. At the end of the short battle, UberWoman invited the young girl to be part of the Thrillseekers.
She gladly accepted, just as was Delphi's plan.