Quicker than the eye could follow — even Wake's speedster eyes — Laser flashed down from his perch and rematerialized at ground level. There now seemed to be a red halo around him. He glared evilly at Havok, the Scientist, Blue Shooter, and Brick One, and said "Now, I shall destroy you all!"
From far above, Mauler watched with alarm. This looked bad. He targeted this new threat, and fired at full power, fully discharging his batteries. The narrow-beam weapon connected with Laser, making a frightening impact . . . but Laser just stood there with his fists on his hips, and laughed an evil laugh. "You fools!" he reiterated. "My laser force field can withstand any energy blast!" He pointed at Havok. "Including yours!"
Havok raised his eyebrows underneath his black mask.
Laser sneered, "Too bad I can't say the same for you!", and fired a laser blast at Havok with his left hand.
The red beam slammed into Havok's own force field. It didn't fully penetrate, but the shock of the impact was so severe that Havok lost consciousness. With his consciousness gone, his force field shut down with it. The blast sent his limp, unconsicous, unprotected body flying off Turbine One, smacking into the pavement a full 10 meters behind it.
The Scientist shook his head in disbelief. "How in heck does a laser beam knock someone back?!"
"When it comes from Laser!", Laser gloated.
Blue Shooter frowned. "Jesus, how do we stop this guy?"
Brick One jumped into the air, his nearly half-ton body propelled skyward by his incredibly strong (if short and stubby) legs, and landed right on top of Laser. He punched Laser with his full strength, once. Laser groaned "Oof!", stiffened, and fell to the ground unconscious.
Brick One blinked. "Huh. I'll be darned. That force field of his worked great against energy blasts, but not so great against punches."
Blue Shooter shook his head. "That's it? He's down already?" He folded his arms. "That was . . . rather anticlimactic."
"All right," the Scientist said, "Let's get aboard MACRON One!"
"Not so fast!" came a voice over a megaphone. It came from the top side of the giant robot. A handful of MACRON agents had scurried out and were standing exposed on top of their base. The one with the megaphone was Agent 456, and he spoke in calm earnest. "Laser, our forward flak guns, and our MALAVs aren't the only weapons in our arsenal. You're facing MACRON! The Meaningless Acronym Containing, Really, One Name!"
The League of 250 Point Characters stood dumbfounded. Keybounce muttered, "That's what MACRON stands for?!"
"Um, boss?" an agent next to Agent 456 tugged at his armored sleeve. "I thought it stood for Meaningless Acronym Containing, Really, Only Nonsense."
Oh great, Keybounce thought. Even MACRON doesn't know what MACRON stands for.
"Regardless!" Agent 456 continued. "We may not know what MACRON stands for, but we know what MACRON stands for! You've foiled our bank robberies, you've messed up our weapons drops, you've mangled our molybdenum acquisitions, and you've ruined my — our — one and only shot at the Altar of the Chosen Seven."
Seven? Keybounce thought. He counted his teammates in his head.
"But you'd better think twice before you try and interfere again," Agent 456 went on, "Or else she might get caught in the crossfire!"
Accompanied by two other agents, a young woman wearing a long white robe stepped out onto the top of MACRON one. They marched her over to Agent 456's side. She looked down from her high perch to see the Scientist . . . her father.
The Scientists recognized her instantly. "Great Einstein!" he exclaimed.
"Great Beethoven!" exclaimed Mauler.
"Great Ken Thompson!" exclaimed Keybounce.
Havok didn't exclaim anything, since he was still passed out on the concrete.
"Great Lawrence Livermore!" exclaimed Brick One.
"Great Holless Wilbur Allen!" exclaimed Blue Shooter.
"By the wings of Mercury!" exclaimed Wake.
Blue Shooter looked up at where Wake was hovering. "SuperFriends?"
Agent 456 continued his threat. "Here she is, Scientist. Your young, beautiful . . . daughter."
The missing word echoed like thunder.
The Scientist's eyes went wide in anger and disbelief. "You miserable wretches!" he screamed. "You dirty, no-good —"
"Relax, daddy," the young woman said. "It was my idea."
The Scientist stood there, dumbstruck, with his mouth open in mid-sentence.
The Scientist's young, beautiful daughter huffed. "You're always going on and on about me being —" she mocked his voice: "My young, beautiful, virgin daughter!" She rolled her eyes. "As though that's all I am. You don't even call me by my name! For God's sake! You've had me locked up in an ivory tower while the world's been passing me by! I've been looking all over for a way out. And then . . ." She gazed upon Agent 456 and a smile spread across her face. ". . . He came along."
She pressed up next to Agent 456, and put one arm around his waist. "Have you seen how hot he looks under his body armor?" She made a wide-eyed panting gesture, verging on drooling.
Mauler frowned. "You sure you're not suffering from Stockholme s—"
"Are you kidding?" the Scientist's young, beautiful daughter interrupted. "I had to turn on all my feminine charms just to get this guy's attention!" She glared at her father. "Not that I've had much opportunity to practice said charms."
She took a breath, then said, "Even getting 'kidnapped' was my idea." Another glance at Agent 456. "It gave me a better shot at getting his attention."
Down on the ground, Blue Shooter nocked up an arrow and pointed it at Agent 456 in one fluid motion. He lined his target up in his bow's telescopic sight. "Forget using her as a human shield," he said loudly enough for Agent 456 to hear. "I can shoot your nose hairs off from here!"
"I wouldn't recommend shooting me," Agent 456 said. He grabbed the Scientist's young, beautiful daughter suddenly and forcefully, then held her, squirming, at arm's length — out over the edge of MACRON One. She glanced down and froze. "If you make me fall," he said, "She falls!"
"Great Curie!" exclaimed the Scientist.
"Great Treaty of Algeron!" exclaimed Mauler.
"Great Zilog!" exclaimed Keybounce.
"Great Lloyd's of London!" exclaimed Brick One.
"Great William Malcolm!" exclaimed Blue Shooter.
"Great Jay Garrick!" exclaimed Wake.
Keybounce tried to get a magnetic lock on the Scientist's young, beautiful daughter, but she wasn't carrying a gram of ferrous metal anywhere on her person.
The Scientist looked to Havok. His weak telekinetic power might have been able to lower his young, beautiful daughter safely to the ground — if Havok weren't still unconscious. He looked frantically through the spare parts he'd brought with him to see if he could re-create that STR 15 TK gun he'd used on Keybounce a couple days ago.
"What the hell are you doing?!" the Scientist's young, beautiful daughter screamed at Agent 456. "I thought we had a connection!"
"We did," Agent 456 said, still holding her over the precipice, "And it was beautiful. But MACRON comes first."
She glared at him, levelly, a tightening rage boiling in her countenance. "Why you dirty little scumbucket." She inhaled a sharp breath through her nose, and then, as though an angry god had just revealed itself, an impossible blue halo burst forth from her head in all directions. She willed the blue energy to reach forward, surround Agent 456, and clamp him in an unbreakable vise.
Agent 456 stiffened in alarm. "What the — I — I can't move!" Against his will, his arms let go of her — while she was still out over the ledge — and snapped rigidly to his sides. But she didn't fall. A blue mist emanated from her feet, suspending her in midair. She drifted slowly away from Agent 456 and then, with one hand, she reached up and threw off her loose-fitting white robe, revealing a skin-tight red-and-blue costume beneath it.
Her blue halo lifted Agent 456 a few feet above the upper surface of MACRON One. She sneered, "And to think, I was actually hot for you."
Down below, Havok opened his eyes, still groggy and in pain. "Ooh," he groaned, "Did anyone get the license number of that tr—" he finally focused on the action overhead "— What the?!"
Agent 456 glanced over his shoulder at the other agents, as best he could. "Don't just stand there gawking," he ordered, "Get her!"
They opened up with bursts of automatic fire from their uzis, and carefully aimed shots from their sidearms. The bullets connected with the woman in red-and-blue, but incredibly, they just bounced off her as though she were made of solid steel.
"I wouldn't recommend shooting me," she said, mocking Agent 456's earlier words. She moved the blue beam linking her head with Agent 456, and the agent swung outward until he was no longer over MACRON One. He dangled, terrified, over the abyss. "If you make me fall," she said, "He falls!"
"How," Agent 456 tried to find the words, "How long have you been hiding these powers?!"
"Not long at all," she said. "Do you remember where you kidnapped me?"
"Yes, of course," Agent 456 said, "At the old outdoor Santa Monica mall, near the —" He gasped, and his eyes went wide in sudden understanding.
"Right," she said, "Near the Altar of the Chosen Seven." She looked down at the ground and addressed her father. "You made me a competent normal based on 50 points, right daddy?"
"Yes, I did!" the Scientist replied from below. "I wanted you to be able to protect yourself, so I made sure you had an 18 CON, 14 DEX, 5 PD, 5 ED — all the minimal stats you'd need to help you survive in a hostile world."
"Well," she said, "Now I'm based on two hundred points! I gave myself flight, telekinesis, bulletproof skin, and —" She smiled broadly "— for 15 of those points, I made myself a billionaire. So I won't have to live under your roof by your rules any more."
Blue Shooter blinked. "Wait. That's all it takes to be filthy rich? Fifteen lousy points? Why the hell am I still working as an underpaid photographer?!"
Brick One looked at Blue Shooter and furrowed his brow. "Is that what you do in your secret identity?"
"Shhh," Blue Shooter stammered, "You're not supposed to know about that."
"So you were the seventh!" Keybounce said. "And now, you can project vast telekinetic powers with your mind! You've become . . ." he searched for a suitable super-hero name ". . . Mental Girl!"
The Scientist's young, beautiful daughter scowled, and glared at Keybounce balefully. "Mental Girl?!"
"Uh . . ." Keybounce said.
She released her hold on Agent 456, and glommed onto Keybounce hard enough that his steel harness creaked. "Don't you dare call me 'mental'!"
Agent 456 plummeted toward the Earth, screaming. Havok gasped. He pointed a finger at the falling figure, and unleashed a fuzzy yellow beam at him, cradling him with weak telekinetic force. The beam couldn't halt his descent completely, but it slowed him down enough that when he hit the ground, he was only stunned, not killed.
The new super-heroine relaxed her telekinetic grip on Keybounce. Slightly. "If you're going to call me something," she said, "Call me . . . Tsybd."
"Tsybd?" Keybounce tried to pronounce the hurricane of consonants.
"Yes," she said, releasing him at last, "Tsybd."
Hovering next to Keybounce, Wake snapped his fingers in realization. "The Scientist's Young, Beautiful Daughter. T.S.Y.B.D.."
Down on the ground, Havok, Blue Shooter, and The Scientist surrounded Agent 456. The agent sat up, and said, "Bad move, rescuing me like that. You should have killed me when you had the chance."
As if to emphasize the point, Laser regained consciousness at that moment. "Ooh," he groaned, "Did anyone get the license number of that tr—"
Brick One bopped him on top of the head. Laser slumped back down like a sack of potatoes. "Stay down," Brick One said.
"Face it," Havok said to Agent 456, "It's over. MACRON's lost."
Agend 456 glanced at Laser, sprawled on the ground, and smirked. "Did you really think this two-bit supervillain was the best ally MACRON could come up with?" He looked back up at MACRON One, still hovering high overhead. "You really underestimate our reach."
"What are you —" the Scientist began, then stopped. Someone new had just stepped up to the edge atop MACRON One. Someone who wasn't wearing an agent's body armor, but either spandex or a Jedi's robes — it was impossible to tell.
The someone spoke, in a voice none of them could ignore:
"Look upon your future and despair. For everything and everyone I have ever faced, and ever will face; everything the universe could possibly throw at me, I have already conquered!"
He went on: "I was born the mutant child of impoverished Romanian gypsies."
Havok scratched his head. "Don't they prefer to be called Roma?"
The stranger's voice flared in anger. "Don't erase my history! We called ourselves gypsies then, and I call myself that now! My band taught me the mystic arts of the occult by the time I was five years old, but then my parents grew too poor to feed and clothe me, so they left me on the doorstep of the local Shao-Lin temple. There, I trained feverishly in the martial arts. Every day, I could see the Soviet oppression of Romania right outside my window. Finally, when I turned fifteen, I set out to find my parents, only to discover that they'd been wiped out by a green glowing radioactive meteor. I managed to recover a book of magic spells from the remains of their caravan, and used it to become a master sorcerer.
"Then, thanks to my dislike of the Soviets, I joined the U.S. Special Forces, where they gave me an experimental super-soldier serum. Then I became a lab scientist thanks to a correspondence course in subatomic physics, got bitten by a radioactive spider, was exposed to a lethal dose of gamma rays, built a portal to Hell to rescue my parents from Mephistopheles — only to miscalibrate it so I wound up on Dagobah instead of Hell and learned the Jedi arts from Yoda — discovered I was both the son of Darth Vader and the Kwisatz Haderach, was bombarded by cosmic rays while flying back to Earth in my X-Wing fighter, and most recently, got hit by a lightning bolt after it struck a cabinet of chemicals.
"For you see, my mutant super-power is not the ability to fly, or bounce bullets off my chest, or anything so mundane. I have the power to absorb origin stories! You've heard that when creating a super-powered character's origin, you should be careful not to overdo it? Well, I am . . . The OverDone!!"
AUTHOR'S NOTES FROM 2022:
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