The League of 250 Point Characters

by

Roger M. Wilcox

Copyright © 1987, 2022 by Roger M. Wilcox. All rights reserved.
(Writing on this story began on 4-January-1987.)


chapter 1 | chapter 2 | chapter 3 | chapter 4
chapter 5 | chapter 6 | chapter 7 | chapter 8
chapter 9 | chapter 10 | chapter 11





— Chapter four —


The foyer to the Scientist's base was as spacious and opulent as the Xavier mansion's from the comics. A winding staircase led to an open second floor; there was no ramp, as one might expect in a household with a wheelchair-bound occupant. Havok had left Turbine One parked in the base's underground high-security garage, because of course the Scientist's base had an underground high-security garage. The Scientist rolled in on his wheelchair from an adjoining ready-room and spread his arms wide. "Welcome to my combination mansion, lab, and base of operations!"

"It, uh," Keybounce said, "It looks nice."

"Uh, yeah," Havok agreed, "It's nice."

"Ah," the Scientist said, "But this is only a reception area. Come, let me show you the real base."

And so saying, he . . . stood up. He stood up and walked calmly over to a door set flush in one wall, like a man who'd been walking all his life.

Havok did a double-take. "Y-you can walk!"

The Scientist shrugged. "Sure I can."

"Then," Havok stuttered, "Then why the wheelchair?!"

"It lets me get around faster," the Scientist said. "Besides, it helps with the whole Charles Xavier image."

"Uh", Havok scratched uncomfortably at the white plastic loops on his costume's head, "You know, the folks who have to use a wheelchair might take that as an insult."

The Scientist paused, said "Maybe they might," then resumed opening the door as though nothing had been said. The door clanked and ground open, far wider and heavier than it looked from the outside. Beyond lay a branching hallway lit by no-nonsense fluorescent ceiling lamps.

"This way," the Scientist said, and led them off to the right. As they walked, muffled shouts and bangs got progressively louder and louder. Finally, they reached a heavy metal door labelled "Danger Room, Lower Level", with a red light illuminated above the doorway. The Scientist was just about to press a big red button next to the door, when the red light went out. "Ah," he said, "It's safe to go in now," and so saying he flung the door outward.

Inside, it was a disaster zone. Humanoid robots, boulders, and various mangled vehicles lay scattered about, some of which were on fire. One smashed robot was being straddled by a man-sized brick with stubby arms, legs, and a head adorned with a crash helmet. A man hovered in mid-air, relaxing his still-red-hot hands; he sported a black-and-white costume that resembled a Star Fleet Battles SSD. An archer clad in blue crouched atop one of the boulders, lowering a bow that had five arrows nocked up in it at the same time. Above it all, a wide panel of one-way-mirror windows offered a bird's-eye view to whoever was behind it, monitoring the action.

A feminine voice came over the intercom: "Good session, guys; but Mauler, I think you went too hard too fast. You don't need a full battery discharge to take out a single target, even one in armor."

"Sorry," the hovering man replied. "I didn't know how tough they'd be this time, and I panicked."

"Holy cats," Havok said in a hushed voice, "That's Mauler! He's the one who saved the Earth from the mutant space aliens with the black phasers!"

"And unless I miss my guess," Keybounce whispered, "The other two are Blue Shooter and Brick One!"

"Ooh, yeah!" Havok whispered back. "I read about that brutal takedown of the Mob by Blue Shooter a while back. But who's Brick One?"

"Team," the Scientist said, stepping into the Danger Room, "I'd like you to meet our two newest additions." Keybounce and Havok took his cue and stepped into the room. "This is Keybounce, the Electromagnetic God, and Havok."

"Like Havok from the X-Men comics?" Blue Shooter asked.

"Not exactly," Havok began, "But he inspired my —"

An arrow with a boxing glove on its tip flew from Blue Shooter's bow and hit Havok squarely. It made a "ding!" sound like a fighting-match bell. Havok fell over and landed on his butt.

"Ow!" Havok complained. "What'd you do that for?!"

Blue Shooter said, "You've gotta be quick when MACRON shoots at you." In the blink of an eye, he nocked up another Knockout Arrow and let fly at Havok again.

Havok popped on his force field before the arrow arrived. This time, it dinged harmlessly off the barrier.

"Nice!" Blue Shooter said. "So you can defend yourself!"

Havok got to his feet, his force field still pulsing. He thought briefly about testing Blue Shooter with one of his blasts.

"He did the same thing to me when we first met," Mauler said, still in mid-air. He turned on his own deflector shields to emphasize the point. "Don't worry, he won't shoot you again. Much."

Keybounce studied Havok. "You know," he said, "Now that I look more closely, your force field looks an awful lot like the one your ship gets in the video arcade game Phoenix. Kinda sounds like it, too."

Blue Shooter fired a Knockout Arrow at Keybounce, but the Electromagnetic God was ready for him. He switched on his own forcefield at the speed of thought. As with Havok, the boxing glove slammed into the barrier, made its trademark "ding!" sound, and careened harmlessly to one side.

Havok squinted at Keybounce. "And your force field kinda reminds me of that vector graphics game Major Havoc."

At that moment, a new set of footsteps approached the open door, and in stepped a pretty young woman — or girl, she couldn't have been older than college age. "Thought I'd come join you down here," she said. Hers was the same voice they'd heard over the intercom a moment ago.

"Havok and Keybounce," the Scientist said, "May I present to you my young, beautiful, virgin daughter!"

The girl briefly put her palm over her face. "Daddy, I have a name, you know."

"Yes," the Scientist agreed, "My young, beautiful, virgin daughter!"

She groaned. It was no use. Better to get back to business. "So, you two call yourselves Keybounce and Havok?"

Keybounce and Havok nodded. "Yep, pretty much."

"Okay, uh," she picked one of them, "Havok, can you show me what you can do?"

"Uh, sure," Havok said. "D'you have something I can blast?"

She pointed across the room. "How about that boulder near the far wall?"

"Okay," Havok said. He flexed his elbows, then pointed both fists at the boulder and let loose. Yellow beams surrounded by white rings traced out along his arms and shot forward, smashing into the boulder and enveloping it in a two-meter-wide burst of light and sound and fire. When the blast faded a second later, the top half of the boulder was a puddle of lava and the bottom half glowed with heat.

"Damn," Brick One piped in, "You melted that boulder!"

"If I could make this stronger," Havok said, patting the target on his chest, "I could vaporize boulders."

Brick One shuddered slightly.

"Pretty impressive," the Scientist's young, beautiful, virgin daughter said. "Is your power always that destructive?"

"Well, no," Havok said, "I can turn it down, too." He picked another boulder, pointed only his right arm at it, and let fly with a weaker blast. It still made the same two-meter-diameter fireball, it was still bright and hot and boomy, but this time, the rock was only singed. There was a six-sided blast pattern on the floor around it.

"Only odd thing," Havok said, "Is that my blasts are always shaped like a two-meter-wide hexagon. Oh! And I almost forgot, I think I can also move small objects at a distance, too." He pointed a finger at a smaller boulder, and a yellow beam — with no white rings around it this time — filled the space between himself and the rock. The beam flickered slightly, and had a fuzzy border, like the telekinesis effects for the Krypton Criminals in Superman II. The tiny boulder teetered a bit, then rose uneasily into the air before falling back to the ground. "Huh!" he said, eyebrows raised. "I'll be darned, it worked!"

"One thing I don't get," Keybounce said, "How do your powers actually work?"

"Oh, I use orgone energy," Havok said. "This target on my chest acts like a big cosmic orgone energy battery. My body acts as part of an orgone accumulator circuit."

The Scientist folded his arms and looked at Havok askance. "Orgone energy?"

"Sure!" Havok said. "It's real, you know. Wilhelm Reich's experiments proved it."

The Scientist sighed. "Wilhelm Reich wouldn't know the scientific method if it bit him in the derriere."

"You're totally wrong about that!" Havok said. "Wilhelm Reich was a great scientist! You should read The Cancer Biopathy."

"I have," the Scientist said. "He used no control groups, imposed selection criteria that were anything but random, and never once conducted a blinded trial — let alone a double-blinded one. What did he even use as a placebo for his accumulator boxes?"

Havok put his hands over his ears and sang, "La la la la la, I'm not listening!"

The Scientist's young, beautiful, virgin daughter held up a young, beautiful, virgin hand. "Keybounce, how about your capabilities?"

"Oh!" Keybounce said. For effect, he hoisted himself a few feet off the ground. "I can move objects made of ferrous metals, weighing up to a ton-and-a-half." He stretched out one hand, and the mangled heap of robotic parts that Brick One had pounded on rose into the air. "I can also zap," he said, and fired a lightning burst at the dismantled robot while it was still airborne. Sparks flew from one robotic component to another, and a vague odor of charred electronics wafted through the room.

"So," Blue Shooter interrupted, "Mauler's got a force field and and energy blast, Havok's got a force field and an energy blast, and Keybounce has a force field and an energy blast." He shook his head. "Sounds awfully redundant."

"We'd all three have telekinesis, too," Mauler muttered, "If the Romulans had thought to put a tractor beam on the War Falcon class."

The Scientist's young, beautiful, virgin daughter shrugged. "Multiple energy projectors with forcefields might let us take down multiple targets more quickly, without having to worry about protecting each other quite so much."

"Thank goodness we've got me and a brick," Blue Shooter grumbled, "Or it'd get awfully monotonous around here."

The Scientist grew serious, and gestured for everyone's attention. "We all know why we're here. It's not to brag about our powers, or have fun in the Danger Room. No. We're here to stop M.A.C.R.O.N, the Malicious And Criminal Really Ornery Nasty people!"

Keybounce scratched his head. "I thought MACRON stood for the Mean Antagonistic Creepy Raiders Of Nations."

"No no," Havok piped in, "I heard it was the Murderous Anti-Civil Rebels Out of your Nightmares."

"Guys, guys," the Scientist's young, beautiful, virgin daughter interjected. "Only MACRON knows what MACRON stands for, and they're not telling anybody."

"My young, beautiful, virgin daughter is right," the Scientist said. "We may not know what MACRON stands for, but we know what MACRON stands for. They stand for nothing short of world domination. They're going to strike again, and it's going to be soon. We need to be ready for them. Even combined, we may not be strong enough to defeat them entirely, but by the Beard of Sir Isaac Newton, we're going to push them back!"

"Did Newton have a beard?" Havok whispered.

"Shhh," Keybounce shushed him.

The Scientist went on, "You two newcomers are going to have to start training with the rest of us in the Danger Room. I know the Danger Room rules in Champions II only give you a bonus with coordinating attacks — if they even use the Coordinating Attacks rule — but we're going to have to work out new tactics, and integrate the two of you into our existing tactics, until all six of us can act as a single unit."

"All right!" Havok said. "I'm ready!"

"Me too!" Keybounce said.

"So," Havok added, "So what's our super-hero team called?"

The Scientist puzzled. "I hadn't really thought about a name."

"Well, you've gotta have a name!" Havok said. "I mean, what if you want to print up some business cards?"

"Hmm," the Scientist mused, "How about The Justice League?"

Everyone gave the Scientist the side-eye. Brick One said, "I think that's taken."

"How about the Super-Hero League?" the Scientist offered. "That's not taken."

"There's a reason it's not taken," Blue Shooter quipped.

The Scientist sighed. "You're all such characters." Then, he snapped his fingers. "That's it! We'll call ourselves . . . The League of Characters!"

Mauler groaned. "Well," he pointed at the Scientist, "You always did say you worked slowly and methodically, instead of having a quick wit."

"The League of Characters it is, then!" the Scientist announced.

"Oh come on, daddy," the Scientist's young, beautiful, virgin daughter said. "That name doesn't even imply that you're super-heroes."

"Well, we're all standard superheroic characters built around 100 base points," the Scientist reasoned. "We could be the League of 100 Point Characters."

"This is getting worse by the moment," Blue Shooter grumbled.

"Well, whatever you call yourselves," the Scientist's young, beautiful, virgin daughter said, "Let's get to Danger Room training with all of you. You too, daddy." She looked at her wrist-display and smirked. "A little Scenario 47B outght to jump-start the newbies. See you in the control room!"

And with that, she walked out, shutting the thick steel door behind her.






The League of 250 Point Characters is continued in chapter 5.

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