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June 18, 2016

169. ENCORE

BIRTH NAME:

Sasha Paris

ALIASES:

Encore

BIRTH DETAILS:

Englewood, Chicago, IL, USA, Earth (Core Reality); Late 21st Century

SPECIES:

Hyper-human; female

Intelligence

Mental Powers

Strength

Speed

Energy Projection

Tactical Skill

Durability

Agility

Power Rating: 1 – 100

POWERS, ABILITIES, WEAPONS & TOOLS

Encore has the ability to teleport from one point to another instantly as long as it is in her line of sight. She is trained in Muy Thai kickboxing, Jiu Jitsu and weapons combat. Specializes in using knives with brass knuckle handles.

THE STORY

While the super soldier Lt. Rashard Bonds was growing up in the mean streets of the Englewood neighborhood on the southside of Chicago, he made sure to focus on school and sports to stay out of trouble. Sasha, his close friend who grew up down the block from him, did the exact opposite. She LOVED to hustle.

From as early as 6, Sasha was on the block with her older teenage brothers, Walker and Joe, while they sold drugs. As deplorable as it sounds, there really was no other choice. Their parents were deceased, and they were living with their drug addicted uncle and aunt who only took them in for the checks they received from the government. It actually was better for Sasha to be on the corner with her brothers than at home with her aunt and uncle. They kept her close, made sure she had somewhere to sit to do her homework in peace, and always listened to her impromptu concerts as she loved singing and dancing. Her interests and hobbies were always encouraged by her brothers, and they actually bank rolled her participation in extracurricular activities and sports leagues – often forging the signatures of their mostly absentee guardians on forms and permission slips. Thus, she grew up with a healthy sense of family through the overwhelming sibling love she shared with Walker and Joe, and from knowing what love wasn’t in seeing her aunt and uncle. Sasha also was protected by her brothers’ close friends that they hustled with, as they saw her as their little sister. Thus, she had her extended family in them.

HEIGHT: 5’7″
WEIGHT: 127 lbs.
SKIN: Brown
HAIR: Black
EYES: Brown

As the years passed, Sasha’s grades remained solid through junior high. She also excelled in track and basketball. Her favorite extracurricular activity however was Muy Thai kickboxing, which she took alongside a young Lou. They trained together whenever they had a session, increasing their already tight bond. The two also grew close through playing sports at the same school. However, that is also the same time the street life took ahold of Sasha.

Joe was arrested on trumped up resisting arrest charges after being pulled over one day a block from their house. He was not speeding, nor did he have any illegal paraphernalia on him. His paperwork was in order and his car was functioning just fine. The officers however were determined to book him, as they had been focusing on arresting members of his crew all month. So they claimed people in the neighborhood had made several complaints about his car stereo being too loud. Normally, a few days inside wouldn’t be a problem. But Joe and Walker were on a strict deadline to sell the rest of their drugs so they could pay back the supplier that had loaned them the stash on consignment. The rest of the crew was either locked up or too scared to hustle, so Sasha picked up the slack despite Walker’s objection. He did not want her messed up in the game, but his life was on the line and the drugs had to be moved.

Over the next couple of weeks, Sasha employed all the years of hustling knowledge she gained from being around her brothers. She took to the game like a fish to water, and soon began outselling Walker. They made the money to pay back their supplier just in time, but instead of waiting until the rest of the crew was free to buy more drugs to sell, Sasha pushed to re-up right away. Walker advised against it, but there was no stopping Sasha. She made more money in a couple of weeks than she did all her life, and she had no intentions of stopping the money train.

Over the next few years throughout high school, Sasha began caring less and less about her grades and sports, and more about hustling. One thing she never gave up on was Muy Thai though, as she saw it necessary to be able to defend herself in the streets. Meanwhile, Lou continued to excel in academics and athletics, and routinely tried to talk her out of selling dope. Sasha never listened though, and by junior year of high school she grew into a legit drug dealer surpassing Walker and Joe, who now worked for her. This further separated the two friends. By the time Lou left for the military, their paths had definitively gone separate ways.

Several years later, however, their paths would cross again. After establishing himself as one of the greatest soldiers in the history of America, and one of the greatest superheroes in the history of the world, Lt. Rashard Bonds had found himself in the position to build a team of superheroes to fight against the established yet continuously growing threat that was Edgar Lockhart. After obtaining a list of hyper-powered beings from files that had been stolen from Mr. Lockhart, Lou decided to target these individuals as potential recruits for his squad. He was beyond shocked to find Sasha’s name on the list. He never knew she had a special ability, but according to the file, Sasha could teleport anywhere within her field of vision. This particular gift would serve Lou’s team well, as their first mission would be to free London Lockhart (Edgar’s sister, and presumably only weakness), from inside of a containment unit that was virtually impossible to break into. Sasha could potentially teleport herself into the unit to get London and bring them both out. Therefore, it was an easy call for Lou to make. He had to go back home to Chicago.

When he arrived, Lou began asking around for Sasha’s whereabouts. Naturally, nobody with any information was willing to give up her location. So, he decided to pick an addict and follow him one night. This of course led him straight to a drug dealer, who Lou aggressively interrogated before leaving him with a busted nose, a bloody lip, a couple of broken bones and message for his boss – that Lou was coming!

For the next few nights, Lou continued to rough up dealers all over Chicago. Then, on the fourth night he found himself being followed by three men. He realized he finally got the attention of a higher up in Sasha’s organization. So, he laid another trap. He lured the men into an alley, and just when the men thought they had Lou cornered, he unleashed Hell and beat them all down! That is when he noticed the leader of this particular group was none other than Joe, Sasha’s older brother. As he was on the ground writhing in pain, Joe recognized Lou and asked why he was messing with their business. Lou said he needed to find Sasha ASAP. Considering the fact that Lou and Sasha were old friends, Joe agreed to tell him how to find her.

The intel led Lou to a very nice condo building in the Gold Coast neighborhood near downtown Chicago. The doorman was reluctant to let him in, but once Lou flashed his massive custom Colt Python revolver, the doorman allowed him to pass. As he rode the elevator up to the penthouse, the super soldier was sure Joe and the guy at the front desk had called their boss to warn her he was coming. Therefore, Lt. Bonds prepared himself for battle, knowing that Sasha was always the type to shoot first and ask questions later… even if it was an old friend; and especially if she knew this old friend was working for the government.

When the elevator doors opened into the condo, however, there were no bodyguards or goons waiting. There were no guard dogs or security of any type. The place in fact seemed empty. He walked around with his gun drawn and carefully checked the condo, which is when Sasha appeared out of thin air and attacked!

She immediately went into a full onslaught of Muy Thai strikes. Lou’s gun was knocked from his hand as he was forced to defend himself. He expertly checked her kicks with his shins by raising his legs, as well as blocked all of her elbows. Then, as soon as he had an opening, he grabbed Sasha behind her neck from the front in a Muy Thai clinch, to use his size and strength advantage. He fired vicious knees to her body, but she lowered her forearms to block them. However, the super soldier’s enhanced strength and speed was too much, as well as was his polycarbonate reinforced bones: they felt like steel rods against her body. So, Sasha teleported out of the clinch to save herself.

Lou turned around to find Sasha standing there shaking her arms trying to rid them of the pain. He dropped his defenses and looked at his old friend as she joked how their sparring wasn’t quite how she remembered. Lou calmed himself before speaking, and when he was relaxed, he asked her how she was doing. Sasha replied it was funny he inquired about her well-being since he had not checked in on her once since he left Englewood after high school. The two exchanged quips before Lou eventually apologized and said it was just good to see her again. She returned the sentiments, and motioned for him to sit down so they could talk.

Sasha filled Lou in on her life over the years since he left Chicago for the military. She was now known throughout the streets as ‘Encore’ as she gained the reputation for doing everything twice as good; twice as big; and twice as ruthless as any of her would-be competitors. Lou was both surprised, but also not, that she had become one of the biggest drug dealers, not just in Chicago, but in the entire country. She even had a pipeline into Platinum City through Knig Projects drug mogul Priceless ‘Spliff’ Perrineau. But she wasn’t just street savvy, she was also book smart – she told him she even was able to pay some of the top Platinum City University deans under the table to allow her to study and obtain her Bachelor’s degree in Economics while being completely home schooled on her own schedule. It took 6 years, but she got it done and passed with good grades. She also never stopped training in Muy Thai and went on to to become master in Jiu Jitsu as well. In actuality none of this surprised Lou. He did have one pressing question though, and that was was why she never told Lou she was a teleporter.

Encore explained she did not find out until after he left. One day while she was running from the police, she trapped herself on a rooftop. So, she began jumping from building to building before a misstep saw her plummeting to her death. As she flailed wildly in attempt to move her body in mid-air so she could land in the dumpster filled with trash bags instead of the concrete in the middle of the alley, she felt a strange spark inside her core. That’s when she suddenly teleported herself into the position to fall right into the dumpster and thus survive the fall. After that, she incessantly honed her skills until she had maximized her powers.

Lou was astonished, and while taking in all of Encore’s story, he became increasingly impressed by her. Though her profession was illegal, Sasha – the intelligent, hard working, athletic and charismatic girl he was good friends with – had not died amidst Encore’s rise to power. Thus, he felt compelled to ask her to leave her life of crime and join his team of heroes. At first, Encore was silent. Then, she burst into laughter. Yet, when she saw he was not joking, she grew silent again. Although Lou had not kept track of her progress, she had indeed followed his life – from military trainee to decorated soldier to White House regular. She knew he was a real life hero, but never imagined he would one day come back to resume their childhood and teenage conversations in which he constantly begged her to quit hustling. The moment was surreal.

Lou detailed how he underwent the enhancements with the nanotechnology procedure, polycarbonate reinforcement surgery, and anatomical psionic energy infusion in order to become a super soldier that could help protect the world from evil in ways that most men and women could never dream of. He spoke about the people he had already recruited – Musashi, Interface, Black Jag and Orenda – and how her addition would make the team even more incredible. But alas, his words fell on deaf ears. Encore was still not willing to give up the money and the lifestyle to which she’d grown accustom.

However, her interest was suddenly piqued when he mentioned her powers would be especially useful in an upcoming mission to free a woman named London Lockhart from captivity. She asked if by chance London was of relation to THE Edgar Lockhart. Lou informed her they were siblings. At that moment, Encore paused and then looked Lou dead in the eye before telling him to sign her up for the team and that she was all in.

The super soldier was surprised and confused all at once, and asked why that particular bit of information changed her mind. She said Edgar was actually one of her biggest rivals in the drug game, and for years he had continually disrupted her operations in a number of ways, including sending members of his various hyper-goon squads to intimidate, attack and even kill dozens of her employees, associates and business partners across the country. Lockhart was also the primary reason she was not able to expand internationally.

Encore said she didn’t care what Lou’s team was being put together for, as long as part of the plan was to bring down Edgar Lockhart. And with that, Lou and his long time friend were reunited, this time on the right side of the law.