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  Pride and Joy
Author : Last Modified : 6/15/2007 8:25:44 PM

Runaways (1st series) #1 - 6

The kids were brought together at one of their parents' regular get-togethers at the Wilder residence. That night, the parents made their way to the library to discuss things in private, leaving the kids to their own devices. They decided to go to the games room but had little to talk about so Alex suggested they go and spy on their parents. He used a secret passage his father had built in to the house and took the gang through it. Peering through one-way mirrors, they found their parents sat around a table. The Minoru's wore red robes, the Yorkes' were dressed like early 20th century pilots, the Hayes' had strange outfits with veils covering their faces and the Dean's appeared to be dressed in almost fetishist outfits. The Stein's don't look too out of the ordinary but had a strange device. Only the Wilder's were dressed in their normal clothes.

 

Mr. Wilder mentioned the Deans' plans for their 'off-world' enemies and made reference to them all being part of 'The Pride.' The Kids were surprised at what their 'rents got up to behind closed doors and discussed their costumes, wondering if they might be super heroes. Mr. Wilder asked for their guest of honor to be brought in and a young girl was shown in by Mrs. Wilder. Chase was impressed with her (a case of raging hormones for him) but Alex asked Karolina to take Molly back to her room, just in case she sees anything she shouldn't. Mr. Yorkes told Mr. Wilder that he thought they only handled drugs and gambling in this town but he replied that it was none of his concern. He didn't question Yorkes' activities in the fourth dimension. Things were getting interesting. The action began. The Hayes' used strange powers to restrain the girl, possibly telepathic or telekinetic and the Minoru's recited some strange words from a book. Suddenly, Mr. Wilder pulled out a knife and stabbed the girl in the chest, killing her instantly as Nico let out a scream. The parents heard this and the kids knew they're in serious trouble. The girl's murder, by the way, was later referenced in Mystique 11.

 

After hearing the scream, The Pride looked at the mirror sensing something may be wrong. The kids scarpered as Mr. Wilder told someone to dispose of the lifeless husk of the dead girl. He then commanded Frank and Leslie to sweep the catacombs for rats. Mrs. Wilder headed inside to check on the kids while the others discussed them. It was revealed that they were supposed to be protected from The Pride until they were eighteen; it's what the Abstract dictated. Mrs. Wilder found the kids playing Twister, and they put on a fine show, pretending they'd been there all along. They didn't really want to tell Molly about her parents as she was so young but they knew they must tell Karolina. They sat her down and gave her the news, as Alex said that amazingly, their parents were super-villains!

 

The Pride appeared at the bedroom door, dressed once again in their civvies and carrying a large trunk which Alex and Nico volunteered to carry to the car, despite knowing it probably contained the body of the dead girl. Later, at the Griffith Observatory, the group met up again having snuck out. Alex suggested that they call the cops but Chase and Karolina were both wary of involving them at this stage. They had no proof that their parents did anything wrong and it might ruin their careers if they were wrong. Nico had the tiebreak vote and reluctantly opted to make the call. The sergeant at the LAPD HQ dismissed Alex's claim as a joke and hung up on him after suggesting they call the Avengers or somebody like that. Nico asked where the trunk was now and Chase asked, "What trunk?" He felt he'd been left out of the loop. Gertrude said that her parents carried it inside as soon as they got home and they decided to investigate, knowing her parents should be sound asleep.

 

The gang headed along Santa Monica Freeway and arrived at Gertrude's house, heading straight into the basement which was soundproofed so Gert could play the drums without upsetting the neighbors. It was crammed with antiques and assorted junk. Karolina found a control panel and Nico, using a bit of clever detective work realized that the only smudged keys are 3, 4 and 7. Alex realized that the word Pride could be made out of this and Nico tried it. Suddenly, a section of the wall opened and out of it came the snarling, tooth-filled head of what appeared to be a small dinosaur. It looked angry.

 

Faced with a strange dinosaur-like creature, Chase tried to knock it out before Gertrude screamed at it to stop when it attacked him. To their surprise, it obeyed her. Suddenly, her parents appeared behind her in costume but only as a hologram. They told Gert that if she was watching this, then they were probably dead. They obviously expected her to watch it several years from now so she was confused when they said that before their 4-D portico was destroyed, they got the animal from the 87th century and it was an expensive purchase. It was genetically engineered to obey Gertrude's mental commands. They mentioned the Abstract, a book which she could read only when she got hold of a decoding ring from Karolina's parents when she turned eighteen. They told her she should seek out the rest of The Pride, as they were her family now (remember they thought she was over eighteen in their message). The world belonged to her.

 

Despite the raptor, the kids decided they still didn't have enough evidence to rat on their folks so they decided to head to the Dean's house and find the ring. Gertrude ordered her pet to remain in the basement, promising she'd return for it soon. Heading down Ventura Freeway, Chase told Alex that he had a hideaway where they could hang out but Alex told him that they couldn't just hide from this; they had to act themselves. Karolina told them her folks were in New York, having set off after last night's party. As the kids traveled down the highway, the dinosaur was seen watching them on their journey. At the Dean's house, they checked the place over, trying to find a secret panel or doorway but Chase hit paydirt, producing a sheet of paper including their last will and testament. It stated that Karolina would be bequeathed a picture which was a caduceus, a picture Karolina also had on her bracelet which she'd had on since she was four. Alex asked her to remove the bracelet but she was reluctant. Finally, to prove there was nothing weird about it, she broke the strap and was suddenly surrounded by rainbow colors which Chase could only describe as beautiful. They wondered if she might be a mutant or even an alien; after all, Alex's father did mention something about the Dean's dealing with 'off-world' enemies. Karolina hated it, but then she began to rise from the ground and discovered that she could fly. She smiled. Over at LAPD HQ, Lieutenant Flores asked more about the call that the cop took earlier and gave him the night off. He then called Mr. Wilder and told him they had a problem.

 

Over at the Wilder residence, Mr. Wilder approached Alex's bed with the knife he used to kill the girl behind his back. His wife asked him to put it down but he told her that he wasn't going to hurt him; he just wanted to explain that what they saw was just an illusion. They removed the covers and found a mannequin's head. He told his wife that his minion inside the LAPD had mentioned to him that the kids knew about the Pride but Wilder couldn't tell the rest of the Pride about his disappearance or it would be his own head under the covers. Eleven miles away at the Dean residence, Karolina flew around, loving her new power but she crashed into Chase who could only look at her with awe. She told Nico that it felt like having butterflies the first time you meet someone you really like, only far greater. Alex asked Karolina to put her bracelet back on to cut the lightshow as they discussed their next plan of action. Nico and Gert thought that Molly deserved to be let in on this but abducting Molly would be difficult.

 

Chase wanted to visit his place and see what kinda cool stuff his own parents had. Alex thought he was self-centered but he had a point; the more clues they could find, the easier it would be to reveal their true motives to the world. Gert suddenly felt a presence watching them but they didn't see anyone. They headed to the Stein residence, the time by now being 4:55 am. They broke into a small shed but inside it was like the TARDIS, much larger on the inside than the outside. Chase found some cool glasses which acted like x-ray specs, showing the girls in their underwear. Suddenly, the Steins entered the shed with the Minoru's. The kids were shocked but Chase was blasé about it, handling some gloves attached to the specs. His parents realized that he might figure out how to use them (they were weapons) and Mr. Stein blasted him with his watch which fired a kind of green electrical discharge at him. Alex slipped Karolina's bracelet back on and warned the others to avoid the lightshow. It temporarily blinded the parents and Mr. Minoru said, "Dammit, they know about the Dean girl." Alex told them they knew about everything but Mrs. Minoru said she highly doubts that as they decloaked into their costumes.

 

Mr. Minoru used a spell from the Abstract to create a water spout which smothered Karolina. Mr. Stein used a device attached to his arm to pin Alex to a machine, a kind of splurge gun which stuck him fast. Mrs. Minoru then attacked her own daughter with 'The Staff of One' but her body absorbed it and Nico smashed her over the head with a piece of machinery. Mr. Stein moved toward Gert but her pet dinosaur suddenly leaped in and occupied him. Nico broke her father's concentration which released Karolina who fired at Mr. Minoru and then freed Alex using her power like a lazer. The kids fled in the van, driven by Karolina and Chase woke up, still wearing the gloves and goggles. The dinosaur joined them in the van and as they headed down the San Bernardino freeway, Gert's phone rang, despite not being switched on. Her mother was on the other end and she warned them to stop playing these games, or they'd be forced to do something horrible to young Molly, whose bed they were standing over.

 

Things were building up nicely by now. The kids were fighting back against their parents, who may or may not be the evil doers their offspring might have imagined. The Hayes' and the Yorkes' stood over Molly who was asleep. Mr. Yorkes asked his wife if the kids would really fall for her bluff but she said that if Wilder was right, then they'd already seen them kill one girl. Dr. Hayes used his mutant telepathic powers to keep Molly asleep but she woke anyway and asked for her mother. She knelt beside Molly, and her eyes, which normally glowed, returned to normal as Molly explained that her body still felt strange. She had been bleeding but her mother assured her that it could be a scary time for a young woman but she should get some sleep. She had more to worry about anyway. The runaways stopped at a roadside cafe and talked about their situation further. Alex wanted to charge in and rescue Molly but the others were skeptical without powers to help them. Suddenly, the gloves that Chase was wearing discharged flames which he thought was really cool. Nico reckoned that if Chase could get a handle on the gloves and with her ability to absorb things and Karolina's flying and lazer powers, they might stand a chance. Everyone agreed; they were going to bust out Molly.

 

Over at the Hayes residence, Leslie Dean returned after leaving her husband in Manhattan trying to broker a deal with an intergalactic arms trader, a Skrull she thought. She asked Mr. Yorkes where the others were and he told her that his wife was upstairs with Molly and the Wilders were preparing a contingency plan in case the children failed to show. Mrs. Yorkes told her that the Minoru's and Stein's weren't answering their communicators and may have been attacked by the kids. Mrs. Dean thought not, as Karolina didn't have the spine for this kind of thing; besides, god help any child who was stupid enough to mess with them. She pulled on her mask. Across the street, the kids split into teams; Alex and Nico, Karolina and Chase, Gertrude and her pet. Nico confides in Alex that she spent a lot of time thinking about death and sometimes couldn't believe that she lived this long. Alex knew what she meant. He was concerned as many young people were about their peers ability to run the world properly. Nico suddenly kissed him which shocked Alex, but not in a bad way. Phase one began.

 

Alex and Nico knocked on the door and Dr. Hayes answered it, immediately putting them to their feet with his powers. He would have them snap each others necks if the others weren't forced to show themselves but Alex called for phase two and the dinosaur leaped through the window and took out the doctor. As Alex wandered through the house, he was knocked out by Mr. Yorkes wielding a large axe. Gertrude told her pet to get them but instead, it knelt and was petted by her parents. Unfortunately for Gertrude, the animal was bred to be incapable of hurting any of her immediate family too. Nico attacked Mr. Yorkes and he raised the axe in defense. It cut her arm and she suddenly talked in a different voice, saying, "When blood is shed, let the staff emerge." The staff shot from her chest and knocked Mr. Yorkes out before she froze Mrs. Yorkes where she sat. Turned out she had magical powers and could control the Staff of One. Outside, Chase and Karolina came face to face with Karolina's mom who tied up Chase in energy rings. Mrs. Dean told her daughter that their powers cancelled each other out so they couldn't hurt each other but Karolina punched her in the jaw instead, knocking her clean out. Inside, Nico entered Molly's room where her mother was singing her to sleep. She used her own mutant powers to force Nico to the floor as Molly woke up, her nose bleeding slightly. Her mother asked her what happened and Molly told her that this was what she was trying to tell her; something's wrong with her body. Her eyes began to glow. Dr. Hayes thought she couldn't be a mutant; they had her scanned for the x-gene at birth and she was negative. Nico smacked her in the face with the Staff of One and put her down but Molly suddenly leaped into the air and screamed, "Get away from my mommy!"

 

Molly was freaking out, her eyes glowing just like her parents as Nico tried to calm her down. Unfortunately, Gertrude walked through her bedroom door with her pet dinosaur which freaked Molly out even more. As Alex also entered, Molly asked what they were all doing in her house and Gertrude also tried to calm her down, assuring her that they were not going to hurt her. She told Molly that she was a mutant but Molly wasn't interested; she was more interested in the fact that Nico hit her mom in the face. Gert explained that all their parents were really bad people and Chase backed her up when he arrived with Karolina. Suddenly, Mrs. Dean exploded the bedroom wall and hovered outside, telling them that they should have killed her when they had the chance.

 

She placed Gertrude in a coil of energy, threatening to pop her like a blackhead if anyone tried anything. Molly reacted first and despite her size, she pushed Mrs. Dean out of the hole in the wall with a huge amount of force, causing her to splash down in the pool outside. The kids were shocked at her strength but the exertion made Molly tired. Karolina wanted to fish her mom out before she drowned and Alex & Nico headed down to get her out. Alex removed a ring from her finger which he figured was the decoder ring for the Abstract but suddenly, Mrs. Dean shouted at them, and grabbed Nico. Alex was forced to knock her unconscious with the Staff of One. They then all drove downtown as Alex tried to decode the Abstract.

 

His phone rang and his father was on the other end. He told Alex to put the radio on and they were shocked to find the announcer saying that he was wanted in connection with the murder of Destiny Gonzales (the girl from issue #1). On television which they saw through a shop window, they discovered they were also wanted for the abduction of Molly. Alex told his dad that he'd prove he framed them but his father asked to whom? The police and media were on his side. Chase suggested the cave he mentioned earlier and the kids drove there. Back at the Hayes residence, Mrs. Dean found a note from one of the kids saying that she needn't worry as they would be loyal to her. It seemed the runaways had a mole, but they didn't know who. Oooh! In the cave, Chase revealed that it probably used to be an old mansion that became covered in an earthquake. The kids checked the place and began to give themselves codenames. Alex didn't want a codename. He felt his parents had ruined the name and he wanted to redeem it. It appeared they might have to lay low a long time and maybe even give themselves disguises; costumes even to keep away from the law and give them time to prove themselves innocent.

 

 

The new codenames were: - Gertrude and her dinosaur (Arsenic and Old Lace), Karolina (Lucy in the Sky), Nico (Sister Grimm), Chase (Talkback) and Molly (Bruiser). Molly wanted Princess Powerful. Lucy is named after a Beatles song and Arsenic and Old Lace are named after a movie. Sister Grimm presumably comes from the Brothers Grimm.

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