Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The first mission of the Ubergirls


He wasn't wearing a wedding ring. Still that didn't mean much.

It was the kind of observation that indicated one was thinking a certain way. When Sarah, after a second, realized she shouldn't. Nighthawk looked a lot like Batman from the comics. Huge muscles, a huge football players body to house them, thick black hair, and a face that suggested it may have been scarred at some point. In a comic it would look cool and brooding. In a pie restaurant at 2:00 AM it looked kind of sad...and a tad creepy.

There were about six superheroes in Los Angeles. Well...define Los Angeles. Orange County was kind of its own thing and there where two people there. There also was Eagleman, who protected only Eagle Rock (a very small suburb) so he didn't quite count. So there were maybe about 6 people with costumes, 4 others who weren't heroes perse...but when things got heavy did stuff with their God-given super-might. One of them, Bill Roberts, could stretch his arms about 10 or so feet. Kind of fun. He painted houses.

Los Angeles was a big city...second biggest in the country. And Sarah was probably the most powerful hero in it. She was extremely strong, faster then a speeding Ferrari and able to jump over tall buildings in a single bound (actually she had jumped over the Bank One tower downtown, the tallest building west of the Mississippi, a couple of weeks ago...just for the thrill). Her powers, her skill...it kind of made her embarrassed to be honest.  It was a lot of responsibility for someone who liked to occasionally lie at home and watch marathons of Doctor Who and eat tacos.

But with great power comes great responsibility.

And this was really cutting into her lounging around time.

If she was the city’s Superman, Nighthawk was its batman. The powerful mysterious figure who stalked the mean streets of LA. In his brooding black bodysuit and bird-like mask (which was very good, a much better costume then Sarah’s own) he looked mysterious and frightening. Even to her. There was something about the fake dead eyes of the bird that made it look horrible.

But now he was wearing a business suit that looked to be worth more than her condo.

One occasionally saw a comic scene where two superheroes met at a bar (stop me if you heard this one) or a restaurant (like the rotating pie restaurant they were in) and talk while wearing their ridiculous costumes. They had done that scene in Iron Man 2 at a donut shop. In reality when superheroes did this they normally changed to what ever normal clothing they had and that was that. Even the superheroes who didn't have a secret identity as such usually had a set of chinos they could squeeze into. It made things less awkward.

Sarah sat across from the guy, wearing an old T shirt with a picture of the smurfs, and a skirt that she had bought for maybe 10 dollars some place with her Mary-Janes. Her glasses were pinched up to her shoulder length red hair. She looked, well...she looked like a nerd. Which was fine. But a p0ur nerd. Maybe a hipster nerd. But in truth poor was a more accurate description.

He obviously wasn't poor.

He didn't give a name, she didn't give a real name, but she could tell this man had millions with a 'M'. Maybe even more zeros. It made sense...Nighthawk didn't boast fancy cars or helicopters but it didn't mean they didn't exist. Batman had a mint behind him. Crime fighting with cash.

She tried to place him. Producer? Possibly, but a little too sure of himself. She knew some producers working in the entertainment industry. Lawyer? Business Exec? Couldn’t work, but still looked a little manicured.  Trust-fund kid? A possibility...a strong possibility. She looked at his hands again.  Did he mani-pedi?

"We already have an informal network going," Nighthawk said. "I want to make it more...official. I have connections with the police. Whenever there’s trouble I want a good team ready to meet the threat."

Even out of his uniform he sounded in charge. 

"So you, me...obviously," she said trying to duplicate her ‘Mazing girl voice. Poorly really. "The Flame, Glider...Knife Girl..."

"Not her. She’s a loose canon. A rogue. We can't depend on her."

Knife Girl was a woman who was kind of like Green Arrow, who threw knives at people. Mostly she did it so the knives hit their clothing or something (she had, she suspected, some form of superpower to aim them). Occasionally they hit someone’s arms. She hurt people. Criminals, mostly...but she kind of broke the unwritten rule of superheroics (and of wrestling) regarding edged weapons. She was also a lot of fun when she was drunk, and Sarah’s best friend of all the superheroes. Her real name was Jamey. She was an actress who did commercials and guest-starred as teenagers in sitcoms (she looked younger then she really was but that wasn't a power perse).

Sarah pondered this. Mainly she pondered if Nighthawk was going to pick up the costs of the pie she was eating. It was a German apple and really good.  He obviously could afford it. She hadn't ordered a beverage.

"How elaborate is this? Do you want, like, a base, an office...support staff?" Sarah looked; he was drinking an orange juice.

A couple of months ago she read an online magazine about the super-world (Yes superheroes read magazines about themselves (So do most famous people)). She learned the Justice Lords of Chicago had an annual budget of nearly 50 million dollars. Base security, team monitoring, IT, PR, business taxes...  And they didn't actually pay their members. Sarah who was on hiatus from her role as a prop master for a TV show, thought about that one. She did a little work on the side working on Indie films, but the union would frown upon that.

"Nothing like that" Nighthawk informed her. "Maybe just phones with a pager app to let us each know. I have some people who can put it together...anonymously of course.  When the police or anyone else needs us, we respond. I already do this personally. Secretly...as to them I am a menace...but..."

She nodded. Knife Girl; She was her friend.

"If Knife Girl is out, I'm not doing it. She’s not that bad really."

"I'm sorry you feel that way," said Nighthawk.

"I mean...that would just isolate her, hurt her feelings. Like I said, she’s got a good head on her shoulders for small group tactics. Whenever we team-up she knows how to take ’em on. Ten men at once...power-suit guys. For the heavy hitters." She didn't mention late night karaoke sessions. She really didn't mention that one awkward time they had kissed in a bar. When the guys had egged them on (which was just as well as Jamey was engaged to a handsome fellow).

"Whenever we get together, it’s just oil and water, Nighthawk remarked, “She can't follow my direction, she doesn't know the proper protocols...

Sarah nodded. Lead. Protocols. It sounded like a team needed a leader, and that’s clearly what he wanted to be. Of course, they weren't in the field, but the more she talked to him in person the more she doubted that this would work well.

She then made a bigger realization. She was ‘Mazing girl.

"And if I, ‘Mazing Girl, isn't in...it’s probably not worth bother of doing."

She was the most well known (currently: in 2013) and most powerful (actually pretty much ever) hero in LA. And now she was also acting a bit like a bitch. Oh well.

Nighthawk shook his head. "I'll think about it," he said, exactly like a producer would say. He stood up. "Separate cheques...I got an orange juice.”

The bastard.

*****

"You didn't have to do that" Said Knife Girl. It was the next night and they where sitting on a rooftop overlooking south downtown LA.

Sarah wore her ‘Mazing woman costume and looked a’Mazing: red pants, red tank, black domino mask matched with her blue ‘Mazing symbol. Knife Girl wore a black cape with knives inside down one side of her body over pants and a white shirt that the cape covered most of. This was a shame, because Knife Girl had really great abs.

Sarah smiled "You’re the best tactician in the city. We need you."

I mean exceptional abs. Grate things and such.

"The thing of it is," said Knife Girl, "Is that every time I am together with Nighthawk we seem to get along okay. I mean he doesn't knife people, but we’re civil. I wouldn't call him a...friend..." 

Sarah smiled. "Nuts to him. He’s a crypto fascist type anyway. Maybe we should start are own team. An all-girl team...no icky boys allowed."

"So you, me, um, the flame?" Knife Girl said.

the flame(always spelled with a lower case)  was a psychic who could read minds and set fires. She was kind of creepy too; in her gingham dresses that made her look 12 (the fact that she was flat as a pancake didn't help). She had a way of looking at you that made Sarah feel weird at times. Like she knew your deepest thoughts. And your weaknesses.  She wasn't against her...girl power and all, but...

"Maybe not."

"Fair enough," said Knife.  

This made Sarah feel bad. It had to be tough to be psychic hero. She wondered if Flame had a nice homelife. Someone to come home to. Sarah didn't. She had felt judgey the last couple of days.

"You know what? It’s not a bad idea. Let’s do it. The Ubergirls."

Maybe they could get Lavender from Orange County. Despite the name she was kind of a ninja...albeit one who wore purple, and who did a lot of good stuff with computers and infiltration. Lavender also made her sound less Vietnamese. Maybe The Black Dancer...who was either a street performance artist in South Central or a superhero, or maybe just walked the uncomfortable line of someone who spent a lot of time on anti gang initiatives.  

They both discussed it some more and then realized that the phone setup, and other things, would probably cost at least 50k, neither of which they had. They could setup a 501c but that never worked out as well as you hoped. It wasn't a bad idea, but...

She felt it run down her spine.

"Something up?" asked Knife Girl, adjusting her suit a bit as she jumped up.

"Something about three blocks away. East." Her vague power to detect crime and evil were, well...very vague, but when she worked she could get there.

"There’s a loading dock there," Knife Girl remembered.

‘Mazing girl nodded. "Want a lift?"

Knife Girl nodded back and ‘Mazing girl put a hand behind her waist, and jumped.

Three blocks worked out about half a mile, which wasn't hard by any means. Still, it was dark and hard to judge plus she was holding someone, who was not of the mind to be merely impressed. She jumped and landed on a small building...and hoped she hadn’t made too much noise.

Knife Girl ran to the edge. She had better eyes the Sarah did. Maybe it was a power...maybe it wasn't.

"Three trucks being robbed. Five guys are unloading, with two guys watching the three drivers. Looks gang related. I'll take out the guys holding up the drivers: they have got guns. You handle the loading guys. I'll come in support if I see an opening. Simultaneous.”

‘Mazing girl noted. "On three...one...two...three.”

‘Mazing girl jumped in the air. She could see two knives flying through the air even as she did so. She landed on top one of the thugs, and it looked like she knocked him out. Also possibly broke his leg.

She looked around. Fighting five guys was tricky. They had two more likely strategies.  Either they all attacked her together, which confused her a bit before she beat them up, or they ran away, which was probably the better strategy for their part (some of them would get away) and less painful for her, as it looked like some of them had weapons of some kind. But mostly better for them. She turned around...it looked like they we’re going for option 1.

Fine.

They came at her. She knocked one of them out against a van with a quick hit. Normal thugs weren't much of a threat to her, but just to add a little fear to the event, one of them managed to come behind her and hit her with a length of two-by-four. She would feel that at some point. She extended her arm to grab it, but missed, feeling a bit woozy. His next attack didn't have the element of surprise so she was able to dodge it and move in to knock him out. The forth guy was a lot larger then the others. He came at her a massive arm swing she came in with a punch to the gut. Hers was better.

Sarah turned to see the fifth guy to draw a gun at her. She didn't like guns on a personal level. She was more or less bulletproof, but the “less” got to her. And her costume wasn't at all. Just then however a knife went to the guys throat.

"Drop it, Mister, before I drop you." Behind him, Knife Girl was standing and holding her blade fairly close to his femoral artery. Her favourite artery.
He dropped his gun.

"Good work."

Just then Sarah heard a noise from the back of the truck "Did I miss-count?" asked Knife Girl.

"Nope," said the thug.

For out of the top of the cab, breaking through the roof, sprang to life a giant metal monster. 15 feet tall on its spindly legs. He had giant giant guns attached to him, but no arms. Just guns. Machine guns. Out of the top of it was the barest glimmer of a small cabin. It looked a lot like a walker from Star Wars except you could see a lot of the machinery that made it work and it lacked a cool white paint job. It was more gunmetal.

"Shit," said Knife Girl. She dropped the thug and ran, ducking as gunfire came at her.

"Oh shit!" went ’Mazing girl.  She covered her face with her hands and ducked as bullets pelted her. They hurt. She ran backwards behind a cab for cover.

The machine started to walk out, making scary noises.

Knife Girl had found cover too, and tossed a knife at an exposed wire. If it did something important it didn't look like it. The machine turned, however, and shot at her position.

"Not good."

‘Mazing Girl considered her position. The legs were an obvious target. However, there were still thugs lying on the ground and people about and she didn't want to knock it over hurting them with the guns. A powerful punch? Not a lot of great options.

"Not good."

Instead Sarah ran over to Knife Girl, standing behind her. "Any teamwork solution I’m missing?"

"Not seeing one."

It was then they noticed that the machine had circled around in behind them. It was quicker then they assumed. It lowered its guns at them, and prepared to shoot. ‘Mazing girl moved her body to cover the more  vulnerable Knife Girl but wasn't sure how well that would work.

When she heard the sound of hissing...

‘Mazing Girl turned to look, to see that the mech was stoping. It looked as if its engine was on fire, and experiencing the kind of pain a mechanic knew all too well. It shot its guns for a moment in panic, however it just burned up the gun barrels making mini explosions. It looked to be on fire...then it fell down. The glass broke as it did, revealing a small panic-stricken guy, obviously trapped.

Behind the fallen mech stood the Eternal Flame.  Well, it was obviously her. But instead of her gingham dress she was wearing a nice-ish evening gown with a small jacket. As she was maybe five feet tall the emphasis was on small.

The flame walked round.

"it was mainly hydraulics, you see. and that can't stand too much heat. easy to overload the motivators on its legs. as for the guns, well you have seen me do it."

"What are you doing here?" said Sarah. 

"i was going to an art opening of a friend downtown. i heard the commotion and came over."


Sarah felt very bad right now for saying such bad things earlier. Still, there was a small almost palatable sense that somewhere “Ring Around the Rosey” was playing in an extremely minor key. Still...

"You know" said Knife Girl, "We were just thinking about you."

And so they went to an all-night donut place (which the painfully thin flame abstained from) and talked about the future of the Ubergirls.

This ended up, for a variety of reasons, never actually happening...but a fun evening was had by all.