Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Giving Thanks To Alien Nation

Thanksgiving was an autumnal holiday.

The one quality one could ascribe to Los Angeles was it did not really have an autumn - or a fall. It did have seasons; about six of them. However, the season that late November fell (the transition between the muggy months after summer and early winter) was not what one would call 'time to bring in the harvest'. This is not to say that southern California didn't have harvest - there was still smidges of agriculture here and there - but most of the crops that LA had, oranges, strawberries, stone fruit, lemons - got picked earlier in the year and...

Well not a lot happened in November. But still, the calendar said thanksgiving. And there was still expectation.

Which Sarah found tricky.

The show she worked on gave her two days for thanksgiving, same as a legal holiday. Two weeks for Christmas. Series television was not a job that gave a lot of time off so, well she was glad for what she got. Some shows gave you a full week - but glad for what she got.

Which meant in her case, going to her parents in Florida was out of the question and having them over would be tricky. The first year she had worked on the show they did, to their credit come out to LA, but, well...they all got on each others nerves.

She was also romantically alone - but thanksgiving was a holiday that was not designed around being with a significant other. Actually, in her second year on the set, she had been with someone who was similarly alone in LA without family and that, if anything, made it more awkward.


Sarah found herself alone on thanksgiving not quite sure what to do.

Well, technically speaking it was the Wednesday before thanksgiving, at around5:00 PM, and the day was almost over when she wasn't quite sure what to do.

Well, there was a theatre in West LA that may or may not be owned by Quentin Tarrantino (she had heard conflicting reports on that...maybe he was a minority owner) was doing a screening of Alien Nation and she was tempted to go. She wondered if any of her friends from her ‘hey, let’s watch movies made when she was an infant, and didn't quite live up to their interesting premise’ rolodex would come with. Maybe they could get pizza before hand...

She texted some people, and the answer appeared to be no. It was either Holiday plans or ‘hey, this was super last minute, why don't you plan ahead, no-one mentioned Alien Nation with James Caan and Mandy Patkin as the alien, you vicious monster, why didn't you tell me about this earlier?"

So she decided to pass. Which was a shame, as she just had a long conversation about if after watching Elysium (whose director previously made District 9), about District 9, which was basically a remake of Alien Nation, and wanted to catch up on it (this particular friend believed she was monster). She had recently used a reference to Alien Nation in her other job as ‘Mazing Girl.

‘Mazing girl.

Yeah, that was a good thing to do. Better then watching a movie she had already seen.

Besides, Alien Nation could never quite figure out a plot to go with it’s interesting characters and cool concept, even if it was ultimately a more humanistic take on the concept. It was better to save the world then see it again.

And if the gods in answer to her, as she got to her car in soundstage parking her cellphone beeped.

Code Red.


And Sarah smiled as she drove her car out of the parking lot, drove three blocks away to an alley she knew...and...

45 seconds later ‘Mazing Girl soared into the darkening sky.


In 20 minutes Sarah was in Valencia, a small city at the north of LA

Her old town actually. She used to live here in college. She shopped at the Ralph’s she just jumped over. Weird place to get nostalgic, as Valencia was as soulless a pre-planned zombie suburb as you got in Southern California, but there you go.

However...no time for that. She landed in a parking lot at the  forest service.

Lots of fire trucks were there.

Lots of them.

"Mazing girl! I am so glad you could come," said a fire captain, walking over. "We really need you."

"Of course, how can I help?" said Sarah, in a voice she often was surprised had come out of her mouth. ‘Mazing Girl was - or could be - so fucking damm professional sounding. A do-gooder who cared, and helped people. A paragon of truth and justice. And that was her. And she could say that. Ahh, well. Fuck.

"Hey Bill can you get the map...hey! Don't you come here..."

"Don't have one," said Bill

The problem with exposition in real life was it took longer then you thought it would - or simply to setup - I am not going to bore you with the about five minutes it took for Sarah to get to a map. But they did. And it was just a map. Nothing fancy, though it did have those weird lines that declared the elevation, lines that Sarah never quite figured out how to read. 

And she saw Angeles National Forest. Angeles National Forest was a large...well, forest was a bit of a stretch, it was in fact occasionally wooded scrubland north of LA. It was about half the size of a US State, But the US contained Rhode Island, and California was a state designed to have things that were bigger then Rhode Island. And it was November, and LA hadn't had a real good drop of rain in a long time, so...

"The fire started earlier this morning. Its not super big...about 100 acres. But it’s formed a distinct circle around **** Mount St. Cian in the east of the park.  St.   Ciarn  is more alpine so its not quite as flammable – however, there’s a backpacking site on the slope of it...we have report about 20 people are inside there right now.”

Sarah wanted to say 'Fuck', however ‘Mazing Girl (at least around fire brigaders who could be so very serious) wasn't about to say that.

"We normally would send in smoke jumpers...and may...but honestly, we don't think the mount ion is saveable...so..."

Sarah nodded. She suspected if she didn't exist that, yeah, there would be a scenario here where they would probably risk a lot more lives to save people. But she was here, so she was a hero.

"I am going to need a clear start and stop point, easy to spot, there’s going to be a lot of smoke."

Sarah looked at the map. If this had beencool and a movie she would see a 3d presentation of how this all worked. But no. Just a paper map on a white board.

The captain nodded. "We’re building up Setters Point; it’s a hill on the edge we’re using as a waypoint. Got crews there, can get ambulances in."

Sarah considered. "Oxygen masks...tanks. Give me a gross in, like, a bag...don't worry about the weight. Also, an electric lantern and water."

Wow. She was sounding professional today. For someone who was 10 minutes ago, while travelling through the Sepulveda Pass, was trying to remember what the alien nation was called in...Alien Nation.

"Lt. Haskins is there. We will radio to get read for you...how fast can you get there?”

"Where is here?" asked Sarah, breaking the spell a bit about her professionalism.

(And it was the Newcomers)

"Here. It’s okay...it’s about 30 miles away."

"15 minutes."

"We’ll be ready...get going. I think we have maybe 45."

Sarah nodded.

And leapt up into the night sky.

Professionally. Very professionally. Certainly not thinking about the various logical holes in the plot of District 9. That would be silly in a crisis.


Sarah stood at the edge of a mountain. Behind her were dozens of firemen who gave the distinct impression were looking to her. Watching her, expecting her to be the great hero. And hopefully not just staring at her ass.

(Ahh she wondered. Her ass was quite good, so well...she wondered)

In front of Sarah was a gigantic inferno.

It helped to think of her ass as it helped with any residual fear she might have, as she was 100 percent fireproof.

She did, however, have an oxygen mask on because she wasn't quite smoke proof. And smoke is what really killed you in a fire.

The fires were huge - there was something about giant fires in the middle of the night - and this was *big* it filled the entire horizon except a small island of a mountain in the middle - it looked like something out of a fancy novel, an ocean of flames. It was quite beautiful in a freaky way.. from a distance .

Ahh, well...

Sarah leaned down, bending her legs...and jumped.

And then she was in the sky. Flying through extremely thick smoke.

And then, she hit the mountain...with a clumsy landing. Flying through a tree –literally: she hit a pine tree and knocked it over – Sarah hit her head and flopped, barely getting her feet and having to take several steps. Not a good landing. If she was going to carry people she would have to do better.

And where were the people?

"HELLO!" ‘Mazing Girl shouted. "THIS IS ‘MAZING GIRL! I'M HERE TO HELP!!"

She tuned her ears.

And heard nothing.


She still had her big box – and, well...

She figured there was about 3 square miles on the mountain that were above the fire line.

And she had about maybe an hour before the smoke got too thick...

And, well...

This was going to be tricky.

Still, she got out her cellphone (which had a built in GPS unlike the fire department) and saw she was about a quarter mile away from the camp, which was a good place to start to look for stuff.


"So, do not panic, do not fight to go first. I am going to take 2 at a time and we should be able to evacuate in an orderly manner.”


Sarah was standing in front of about 15 people who were in the camp. Two families, a couple of hippies and 5 people who looked like they might be homeless.  The fire department had dropped a beacon telling them to stay where they were, that help was on the way...but an hour ago. Yet they had stayed.

"Take the oxygen - you guys help your kids.”

"Take them first," pleaded a mother.

There were three children.

"Okay. I’m not going to fight you."

"No! Take Frank!" begged the other mother.

One family had two kids, the other had one.

"We’re not having a fight."

She picked up the first mother’s kids. The way to divide up Solomon’s baby was to go to the one who spoke up first. Tough, but fair.

And Sarah jumped up before there was any room to argue...

Landing back at the fire department.

And then she jumped back...

...and hit another tree.


It took about 30 minutes to get everyone to the base. Thankfully it was smoke-free on the way back and she avoided foliage. The last one - the mother who asked first, who she suspected had a martyr complex (wow, a superhero...what would they know about a martyr complex?) went last.

"There was this group of like three...they were staying there. When the fire started they ran up the mountain."

That was really dumb. Like in a horror movie, when some fool goes up the stairs. Running out of the park before the fire, that made sense. But up the mountain? Was there a scene like that in Alien nation?

(No...but she remembered that the climax took place at the docks where the aliens [who dissolve in salt water] thought was a good place to setup a drug deal)

((And why Drugs? She knew that the aliens where kind of a metaphor for Latinos -but alien super drugs? At least it was cool that it turned out to be detergent.))

Sarah returned to the backpacking camp - what were they doing there the day before Thanksgiving? Didn't they have places to be?


And she started to climb.

The good thing about the mountain was that it was steep - so if you were a normal human there were only so many routes. Of course Sarah didn't have a lot of experience mountaineering, or knowing what normal humans could do, so this particular insight wasn't that useful to her. And it was now approaching 11pm, and was very dark and smoky.

And well, she hoped they had doubled back down the mountain, and somehow got out of here because she wasn't feeling very optimistic.

She remembered the president had once called her "A shinning hope...a beacon".

Well live up, Live up.

There was the chance that the fire just couldn't climb this High, but hope wasn't always a useful thing.

She stood on a rock outcropping.


She realized she should jump back and get a megaphone...

...and then the rocks underneath her slid out.


It was the start of a definite rockslide. On a mountain, right into the fire.

Sarah jumped off the rock landing awkwardly on the ground - and a big rock rolled over on top of her and stoped.


She punched the rock, more out of frustration then anything, and heard it turn to pebbles. Loudly.


She started to hit the ground rhythmically with her foot - and more rocks fell. It would be nice to say she didn't quite know it, or remember it, but she was actually doing a vague impression of the theme music from the Alien Nation credits (which was very good).

But it was actually more like Polly-Waddle-Doodle.

And with her incredible power it was loud.

She heard a voice.


Very weak.

Very distant.

But well, she was ‘Mazing Girl.


Sarah sat in the fire department base, half asleep.

It was 1am.

She didn't realize how singed her costume was - so smoky and dirty. Her knee seemed twisted from the big rock in a way that would hurt later. On Saturday she had thought about going to a Warhammer painting club...but well, she hurt.

Everyone else seemed to be okay. One of the assholes at the top of the mountain was apparently being treated for hypothermia the weirdo. But, everyone would be okay.

Well, everyone she could figure was, at least. 

She just hurt.

This was part of the job that was the reward - the knowledge of a job well done.


"you did excellent work."

Sarah knew that voice.

A fire department official took off her mask - her oxygen mask at least - to reveal The Flame.

"You work here?"

"it’s not quite the MO,  but I like to help the fire department when i can. i can control fire you see. not one this big, but well....i keep it more anonymous."
Sarah grunted. "Must be easy in a time like this to put on a fire fighters suspenders and..."

"harder then it used to be, but your point stands." Flame nodded, and sat next to Sarah. She looked at the fire, it was still beautiful. Sarah looked at her companion - she had seen her when she was just wearing normal clothing, but never seen her sweaty tired, her face, like Sarah’s own, covered with soot. Even with the sing-song voice there was a touch of humanity in her face - not doubt or fear, but humanity. She wondered if Flame wondered, she wondered if all of this was worthwhile and the pain and the suffering mean anything. "If you really were fire-fighter, that would..."

"I cleared 150g last year," said a random fighter. "And the dental plan..."

"you can see the fire lines all around the blaze now," observed Flame. "they did a good job of catching it...no homes, not the highway...10 hours maybe before it’s contained."

Sarah nodded wearily.

"your knee?" inquired The Flame.

Sarah moved it over, closer to The Flame.

"that’s wasn’t telepathy...just observation,
" said Flame.

"Don't care. Hurts" 

Pain, as has been observed, was bad. It overwhelmed whatever fear she had of her companion.

Flame started to rub it. "light ligament damage. this is a good sprain. Iill see what I can do."

Sarah closed her eyes as the Flame rubbed her wounded knee. "That feels good. Sometimes...it’s just nice."

Flame looked over. "i had my own adventures this evening."

Sarah looked over. "anything I can do?"

Flame shook her head. "Not really."

Sarah absently grabbed Flames small elbow and started to work even as she did. The superheroes were grooming each other. Wonder if she would find any ticks...

This lasted a moment...a long moment. 

"What do you think of that movie Alien Nation?" asked Sarah.

"what?" said The Flame.

"Its a movie from 1987, with Mandy Patkin and James Caan,,,”

"he was The Godfather, right?"

"No thats was Marlon Brando, or Al Pacino. He was his brother...”

"i didn't see Alien Nation
," said Flame.

There was an awkward pause.

"i am aware of The Godfather, but I’m not sure I saw that either."

Sarah was not sure if she believed that. There was an otherworldliness to The Flames mind that...

"Are we friends?" Sarah asked.

"i suppose," said flame.

"Well, that’s something to be thankful for," noted Sarah.

Flame smiled very slightly. But it was certainly a smile, and something of it touched Sarah’s heart. Of all the good deeds she had done that night, the things in this world somehow that gave her the most reward was just to give a little happiness to someone.

Sarah looked around.

"does anyone have any food?"

The same officer who talked earlier reached over and tossed her a candy bar. "Dental plan."

Sarah took the snickers bar and broke it in half.


The Flame clearly did not carbo-load a lot, but she took it without comment.

"Happy thanksgiving, my friend," said Sarah.

"to you as well," responded Flame, toasting theire little bars of nougat.

As they watched Los Angeles (the forest) burn.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Tale of a Particulary Cute Kitten

Sarah smiled. She didn't quite expect to think that smiling was a good thing. But this was important. This was a kitten.

"So yeah I work as a prop master and I just...” 

"So what kind of hours do you work?” the woman across the table inquired, with more force and sense of incrimination then Sarah had seen detectives employ. Considerably more.

"It’s not set hours - it varies, day to do."

"That’s what I was afraid of," the woman noted. "You do know that cats need to have someone present at least once every 24 hours or more."

"Oh, of course!" Sarah assured her. That was 90 percent of the time true. Occasionally ‘Mazing business cropped up, or boyfriends, or...well, she could make it a hundred. "It tends to be 10 to 12 hours, but the start times vary.”

"Are you *sure* you have enough time to devote to this animal?"

"Certainly," said Sarah, "She’s going to be super-loved."

Sarah went back and forth on using the ‘S’ word. She tended to either use it a lot in bursts, or just never say it as corny. It was, but, well... she had a bureaucrat to impress and needed a superlative. 

"The adoption is free, of course, but there’re fees totalling 125 dollars.”

Sarah paused. Okay, yeah...she could pay that.

"Plus mandatory sterilization fees of 120."

"Mandatory?" Sarah asked, concerned. "But what if I want her to have kittens of her own? They’re so ....."

"Its part of combating the plague of feral and stray animals in the city," said the woman who looked as you might expect an axe murderer would. "And it’s not like it’s a purebred, or anything."

Purebred. Huh.


"So this will be 25 dollars for the cat, 15 for the litter box, 3 bucks for the litter," the clerk at the pet store informed her.

"Is this cat in anyway a purebred?" Sarah asked, holding up a little grey and brown kitten.

The clerk smiled at her, in the ‘I am uneducated but I want to help’ kind of ways of quality clerk" no ma’am, it looks just to be a randomy kind of tabby."

"And she is so adorable" said Sarah.

"Yeah. Super-cute," agreed the clerk.

Super? Really?


Sarah was delighted to bring her home. Sarah put her little kitten in the big apartment and showed her everything...the kitchen, the bedroom...the bathroom – yep, that pretty much it. Sarah hadn't had a real pet until she was about 10. And this completely excited her.

"Meow," said the little one.

She clapped her hands with joy.

It walked around the apartment curiously. Sarah smiled. As she watched it explore things.

For about five minutes.

"Awwwwww," She said as it got under the chair and batted at it.

Then she got a flash. There was going to be a rockslide in Reseda.

And ‘Mazing Girl left.


It was about three hours latter before she got back. There was a robbery at a produce factory that demanded her attention.

The little kitten (she hadn't decided the perfect geek name) was sleeping on her couch. Awwww...

She watched it for a few minutes and felt guilty. Kittens only have one real time to be in your house the first time. She would have to move if she wanted to do that, and she still hadn't paid off the mortgage on it. And now she tuckered out. She had missed it.

Ahh well...she setup the littler box, and went to the bedroom of her own she watched a little TV before going to bed.

When the cat started meowing around 2 AM

She ran out to see it at the water bowl she had put up but had spilled everywhere.

She refilled it.

The cat started to drink, so she pet it.

The cat looked up at her curiously. It meowed.


"It meows a lot," Sarah told her friend Janey, the fantastic Knife Girl, on the phone.

"Cats tend to," said Janey, "Actually that’s just hearsay, I never had a cat."

"Really?" asked Sarah.

"Never really had a childhood," said Janey. "I entered the army when I was 9, before that I was way too poor for pets. Even cats. Since then, I guess I would worry too much that I won't come back"

"What do you mean?"

"The life I lead - I mean one day I am going to die. There is so much damm risk involved in doing this. Live by the knife; die by the knife. I'm okay with that - but what about what I leave behind - when is someone going to come into my house next? It could be weeks. I feel guilty about my boyfriend, though I suppose theoretically he could go to the store himself - but well. He'll cry. a cat can't.”

Sarah paused. She hadn't thought of that.

"Plus, I am not big animal person" admitted Janey.


Sarah lived in a condo which meant she didn't have a superintendent as such. She also didn't really know her neighbours super well (again!). This wasn't New York where you could live years in an apartment and never meet the person 3 feet from you. But neither Mr. Wilkers, a computer something, and Mr and Ms Lister, a couple who she strongly suspected did stuff involving S&M a lot (‘which is the dom?/Which is the sub?’ was a game she played whenever she saw them - 84% of the time she suspected Mr. lister was the latter) she really trusted to come into her apartment. And what would she say? "If I don't come home after a couple of days, I am dead – or check local radio reports to see if ‘Mazing Girl is eaten or something like that"

Plus she wasn't absolutely sure if anyone she knew was worth giving unfettered access to her apartment, and its secrets. Namely, her ‘Mazing Girl costume: which actually wasn't that unusual given the world of cosplay she lived in. She could just say that it was something she wore to a con. Sure, it was a very good ‘Mazing Girl costume...but she had seen better.

But she did have a 3D printer, which was kind of pricey. And an Xbox, though they were coming out with a new one. But the TV was expensive.

She petted her kitten.

She still hadn't named it, but she was learning about it. It was a very alert cat. It wasn't scared but had a way of looking around as if it was taking in everything, and everything was a bit strange to it. It wasn't friendly or standoffish, just observant.

This was a personality.

It was a cute personality, in the way fear was cute.

Sarah petted it. It didn't meow at her. That was a minor victory.

But after a week she wasn't spending all that much time with it. Sarah knew abstractly that with work, superheroing, and the occasional geekish activity – well, there was only 24 hours a day. She didn't spend a whole lot of time at home, which suited her. She hadn't gone to any movies or games, but she still had work to do. As for Mazing Girl - it would be kind of negligent to cut down on patrolling and saving the city because she had a cat. It was, no matter how she loved it, a cat.

There was an old joke that most American cats are better treated then children in Uganda, and while this was abstractly a stereotype that either way you look at it was post colonialist nonsense, there was a vague truth to it, which could be abstracted to her, being the worlds strongest and most powerful person - kinda. To split hairs too much on that...

She also realized that cats don't necessarily need huge amount of human contact, but food and occasional litterboxing.


She hugged it gently.

It purred.

She wondered what would happen when she got a man. Would that be the same? Just as long as she occasionally fed and litterboxed him.

No wait...she didn't need to do the last one.

The kitten snuggled into her leg a bit as she petted it and started to kneed Sarah with her claws. Designed to somehow give it milk. She looked down. Nope...not today.

The claws where sharp, especially on a young animal, it would have been quite painful.

However, Sarah’s invulnerable skin was immune!!

Yes: she was the perfect cat person.

Then the solution came to her. Well, to one of her problems.


The woman was walking to her car that night when it happened. Quickly, surely, the man came behind her and pressed her head into the car and wanted, demanded, her money, the car, her...who could say?

‘Mazing girl knew abstractly that it would happen, but it was still a shock to watch just how fast it was. She wasn't telepathic, but she could see the fear in her eyes.

It was time for ‘Mazing Girl to move.

She decided to be impressive, to make him think twice about ever doing it again.

She moved from a shadow...and grabbed him.

Then Sarah tossed him up into the air.

50 feet, 100.

She jumped up after him, smiling as she did.

She waved to him. you would think he would scream, but there was something eerie in how silent he was.

She grabbed his body and turned him upside down.

And put his head between her legs. Forward. Like the Undertaker did it. she wanted to make him see the city. This was a classic move in wrestling called the piledriver - and what was being driven was his head.

And they started to fall. Down, down, down...

He still wasn't screaming. Breathing, but not screaming.

Wrestlers don't do pile drivers from 200 feet up. Interesting to see.

As they got about 20 feet to ground the screaming started. But it was almost too late to get his throat.

They hit the ground in a mighty smash. the hard concrete of the parking lot stunning even ‘Mazing Girl’s awesome thighs a bit.

And she let him go.

He was fine, because a wrestling piledriver doesn't really hurt at all. The thighs really absorb all the force.

Of course, he didn't know it, and he fainted somewhere along the way and collapsed on the ground.

The woman came up to her.

"God...thank you! Thank you! I don't know how I can ever repay you"

"I do," said ‘Mazing, dusting herself off. Her butt actually looked a little dirty. Ahh well. But she wasn't going to ask her to kiss her ass, that would serve no purpose.

Well not much of one, and besides she was a hero and didn't do that sort of thing. This wasn't really professional wrestling.

‘Mazing Girl reached to her back pocket and pulled out a small standard brown key

"This is a key" said ‘Mazing. "Wait a second. Do you have a phone?"

"Of course," said the woman.

"I should have asked that before. And a name?"


"Alright, Angie," said ‘Mazing Girl "Take this key. Someday - and this day may never come, you will get a phone call. It will tell you of a door to unlock. Behind it is something really very precious. You must guard it protect it with all costs. At all costs."

"Wow," breathed Angie.

"I’m going to need your number," said Sarah. She took out her phone. There were probably cooler ways of doing this, like getting it in blood, but it was convenient and let her save lists.

"Oh, of course," said the woman. "Is it the source of your power. Am i going to be the new ‘Mazing Girl...is it..."

"It is your destiny."

The girl took the key

"This is an awesome responsibility. You look young...well I did once too. And callow. This will teach you much about the world and how it works."

"Wow...I don't know what to say."

Mazing girl looked at her and jumped into the air.

for nothing more needed to be said.


Sarah sat at home on the patio playing with her cat. She liked playing with it a lot, it’s amazing how much fun you can have with a cat and a piece of string..

She was starting to feel good about this.

She had five keys made - she only had the phone number, and people change numbers often in the digital age. Plus they, may loose the key, be an asshole - five was a good number, and she had given out two. Well three more to go. Her mom had agreed to call them if anything happened to her - which well, which may or may not happen.

But until that time, until that day, she had a friend.

And She would name her Super Skittles.

Wait...did something like that happen with the Fantastic Four?

I mean name your family member after the one you most despise?

And what the fuck was going on with Sue Storms breasts in the most recent costume? With the cut out four in her cleavage? She had, like, two children, not that that made any difference, but do you want to look like a slut to them? Yeah slut shaming, not a good thing, sex passivity, but some abstract standards.

Anyway: Super Skittles.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Foriegn Adventure Fun Goodness

“So, America needs your help,” Mr. Black told her.

He smiled.

It was a perfectly nice smile.

Now, when people think spooks, they think big intimidating men in black - Sarah had never encountered that in her business – because, well, what the fuck? Do you think that was going to work on her? It was stupid to send an ex football player with a big gun to shake her down. That would only piss her off.

Mr. Black wore a polo shirt. A blue one. He was a well built, very nice man who, if he where to tell you about the wonderful flooring options available for your house, you would ask him nicely. He was a sweet guy.

He also worked for the CIA, in some capacity. Sarah wasn’t quite sure exactly how.

She sat in the office of her agent and listened to him.

“Yeah...I mean, this is a real mess,” said Mr. Black. “Just a mess. .and it’s our fault. I mean that.”

Sarah listened on. Now, if you read comicbooks from, say, 1976 (and why not? The seventies were a grossly underrated time in comics – a mix of grit and sixties weirdness) you would see concepts the like of “Ms Britain” or “Mr France”, typically with bagget inspired costumes and a beret. The national hero working for there government as a champion of a justice. 

The practice, however, had never taken off. Lots of cold war stuff. It seemed a tad fascist. Also the superheroes were mostly traditional - the main superman of France -was named Super Mec - which translated to “super man”, he wore a red and orange costume and was reportedly active in Liberal causes. Why be a stereotype? The same was true for her. She was the superhero of Los Angeles. What was she going to wear? Poofy directors pants or something?

Which meant, before we got slightly sidetracked, was that there were no government heroes. As for super secret agents...Sarah had always gotten the impression the answer was currently no. It was how the government operated. They invested a lot in technology - often before it was ready or useful. The cynic would say that paying corporations for new computers was more back-scratchy then paying her salary. But maybe just that a lot of pencil-neck geeks were in charge. It was a lot like her arch-nemesis, Deca, who despite wearing steel body armour with the simulated strength of hundreds, or perhaps because of it, loved machines more than people and didn't really have any henchmen perse. Computers and robots could do all of that stuff for him. Sarah had met people in the government like that, albeit less obvious sociopathic. It was true if you needed to know something, with satellites, bugs, drones – well, you could know it.

However, what to do with it?

"This is, of course, top secret," Black was saying. "You’re not going to tell anyone are you?”

"Oh, no," Sarah assuring him. She occasionally wondered if the government at some level knew that her real name was Sarah Jennings. If they did, they did a pretty good job of not letting on. Of course, again, she was not someone you wanted to piss off like that, or piss off society by revealing her secret.

He opened a laptop and pressed some buttons. A very high tech presentation, that was somewhere between the stuff you see in movies, when the government is acting cool, and PowerPoint booted up 70-30.

"This is Madeyine. It’s one of the Grand Turks, in the Caribbean. It’s a very small island...more mountainous then you might think, like most of the Caribbean. It hasn't had a real population since the 19th century...there’s no port, no good water, not a lot of arable land. However, we developed it as a kind listening station/secret base during the war on drugs in 70’s, and it was never decommissioned.”

Sarah looked at the pictures. It looked remarkably like a small island in the Caribbean.  With some sort of military style installation in the centre. She was enthused. She hadn't been to the Caribbean since she was a teenager - her parents took her on a couple of trips when she was a kid - this looked a bit like a paradise. And even though she suspected this trip would involve lots of fighting, possibly hurting (possibly herself), and general mayhem and excitement - hey the Caribbean took her back to her childhood. It was fun too.

"Soo..." said Sarah.

"Last year, an agency of some kind...we have a report on it, s redacted, let’s just call it an agency of some kind...found technology...well again, I think where they found it from is redacted, not aliens. That’s not suspiciously direct denial, just, you know, I hate when people say it’s aliens."

"So do I," agreed the Superman-like ‘Mazing Girl. It was annoying, like being the last daughter of some planet was her story. Did they realize how unlikely that an alien would look exactly like a pretty but unconventional model-gorgeous, woman.

"Well, they had been working on a breed of super-predator, an animal...they never used the term guard dogs, but that’s in effect what they are. The biggest most vicious, most frightening animals you can imagine...they used lots of wolf DNA, bears too. They barely resemble, I think, dogs. They were designed to be guard animals, and we took them out there to test...and well, dot-dot-dot."

He actually said dot-dot-dot.

"So three weeks ago the five animals escaped. We sent a team of agents to go after them and it did not go well. Two of them are dead, two more are really badly injured. We evacuated the island before it turned into something like a monster movie."

Sarah nodded.

"So you want me to come in and...”

"We don't want to nuke it from orbit, draw too much attention...well actually we don't want to draw any attention at all, that’s the thing. This is technically not on US soil. Every year we get quite a few looky-loos from yachts in the harbour or people going for hikes. Harmless for us. It’s not the season for it, but eventually people are going to go there. And what’s worse, there isn't a lot of native fauna...if you get my drift."

"No, I’m not sure I do," said Sarah.

"Oh, well sorry then. Food. They'll eat all of it. We’re about 25 nautical mile from anything, but, well...read the report. Dogs can't swim that far...but dot-dot-dot."

She liked a guy who said dot-dot-dot.


Sarah worked in an industry that was legitimately hard to get time off from work. They gave you plenty of vacation time, but could be very particular about when you took it. And despite being one of the most powerful beings on the planet she didn't want to give the impression of someone who asked for it. She could have asked the CIA to intervene somehow, but somehow she didn't want them to get involved to much in USA business (this being the cable channel, the USA network).

So that Friday night she got off an hour or so early from shenanigans in a fake cop interrogation room she had helped build, to go to a real airport and get a real super-fast plane. She wondered, as she often did as she was with quite a few spooks and real military personal, what was the relative budget here? Was this costing into the millions? Ahh...that would drive her crazy.

The idea was that she would leave LA late Friday afternoon, get to an airport, then a boat for the final leg. She would reach the island by Saturday morning, deal with it quickly, and hopefully be back to LA by late Sunday evening. It was a ridiculous schedule, to be a super-spy for 48 hours, but what are you going to do? Her cover story (which she came up herself), if anyone asked, was that she went to Santa Barbara to sample wine.

When she told Mr Black, and two people who were on the plane with him, they found that funny.

"I do a lot of golfing," said a woman named Richards. "Maybe someday I should actually pick up a club." The remarkable thing about her was how unremarkable she looked. Ahh well.

"I just stay home," said the man who’d introduced himself as Bill "I like to catch up on movies." Bill was probably the closest to a G-man type she had ever seen .He looked very military, and walked with the kind of sway that suggested he used to be one fairly recently. A big hulking guy, even as he wore a very unthreatening suit.

‘Mazing Girl got to LAX, got on a plane that looked fairly ordinary from the outside, and more or less from the inside, and she was. Two rows of seats windows. No in-flight magazines. Off it was a 6 hour flight...

This was one of the more awkward parts of her job. She didn't want to take her costume off in front of the people, but at the same time she always looked very silly in her costume. She did, of course, do it occasionally. Her agent had seen her without her mask, as had a couple of doctors and a few other superheros. But something about the CIA didn't make her add them to that list. She occasionally put on normal clothing and just left the mask on, but she didn't want to do that with the CIA for some reason and had only packed a costume. So the next couple of days would be awkward. She didn't want to borrow, like, a frogman suit or anything either, as that would somehow make this all too much like espionage, which was a no go. Maybe the entire thing should have been a no go, but as long as they had to deal with a brightly dressed superhero things could never get too dark.

But if that was the cause she would have to face the consequence - which is that she looked weird. Well, she should be used to it by now. But it did mean no eating Caribbean food at restaurants, which was pretty good stuff. When she get back she would have to go to one in LA. Ahh well.

The plane didn't have a drink cart, but they did have a little kitchen where she got a Sprite.

They gave her a folder, and she started reading it. It was around 50 pages about the island, the animals (they were never referred to as dogs) and the incident. Some of it had black lines, but very little as it had only been done for readability. The animals...you could see perhaps why they weren’t called dogs -they looked more like something out of a Lord of the Rings movie with long faces and horrible teeth, a creature that didn't look like it belonged in this dimension. They were about a year old, after about 10 years of cross-breading to create them - and this batch, for whatever reason, had grown extremely violent, unable to be handled long after puppyhood. Pretty much any animal, if you handle it enough when its a baby, won't kill you when its an adult (even crocodiles, though sharks were a little dumb for it). They had a handler (name redacted) that they tolerated but after one of them bit him he left the program...and two weeks ago they had escaped when techs had been in the process of cleaning their cages.

This was fascinating stuff.

Sarah finished reading it in about an hour and a half.

It was only 50 pages, and a lot of it was double spaced. Sarah was used to reading quickly in entertainment.

She looked around. She hadn't brought a book and there was, of course, no in-flight movie.

So, being a dutiful American, Sarah read it again, got halfway through, and went to sleep.


Late that night they transferred to a small airplane, and a little later they took her in by car to a boat. The details on this she was a bit fuzzy - which was less because they weren’t forthcoming but again it was the middle of the night. They got her a bed on the boat at least, which she was grateful for because  she really hadn't slept well.

It was around 5am when in LA you could get to a small island in the Caribbean - which was pretty good. She didn't want a chopper, as that was useless (well not useless, but unnecessary) - and the CIA was just as glad for that.  The boat was smallish, and looked like something you would fish from - she suspected it either had taken it fishing, either regularly or occasionally. Pretty nice. Sarah liked boats. It had a jaunty white paint job and looked very ship-shape.

They were about a quarter mile away from the island - a good distance for her. She could probably have just jumped from the more populated Turk, but she didn't like jumping when she couldn't see land. It was easy to make a mistake - not that being 20 miles out in the ocean was life or death for her, but it was awkward.

They gave her a glass of orange juice, a map of the island, and a large backpack full of stuff...and well, told her the boat would be waiting, and to use the radio when she had gotten all five animals - and...

"You know, really...good luck out there," said Richards. "You’re really helping us out here."

"Yeah," Black agreed firmly. "A real solid".

And a CIA agent used the term "a solid". Well...such is life.

She nodded. Sarah leaned down on the top of the deck. And jumped.

And 10 seconds later she landed on a beach, kicking up sand. Sarah could be fairly quiet, but she actually angled the jump as one would a cannonball - to make a big as splash as possible. It was her strategy. These were blood-thirsty killing machines. If she looked for them they might hide. Why not have them look for her? After all, they had superior sense of sight and smell - she had by now a reasonably clean pair of panties at best. She had worn them for about 24 hours and should probably have thought about that...

She dusted herself off, opened the backpack and pulled out a breakfast bar and started to casually walk inland. She threw the plastic wrapper, whilst enjoying the sweet strawberry flavour.

The island was pretty. Not quite as lush as you might think, but with a small forest in the centre over what wasn't really a mountain, but rather a large hill, albeit a good sized one. The Caribbean islands were often more mountainous then you might think.  Sarah walked forward. She knew that about a half mile into the forest there was a small military base, where everything was. Meanwhile there wasn't really and paths per say, but she was making her way in as non aggressive a manner as she could.

In her bag was a series of tranquilizer darts. She had asked for them, and gotten them - not a gun, just the darts. She wondered a little why she had bothered. This wasn't redacted, this wasn't top secret - they were planning to kill these animals when she got them. That wasn't a secret. She didn't kill, of course, as a superhero or as a spy, or well...even as just a woman on the street. But then she ate meat, so there was that. She had even done a little bit of hunting and fishing as a kid, before all outdoor activities lost any interest to her. She wasn't a wimp...but...

These creatures weren't sentient, which was the kind of unofficial rule there - unofficial in the sense that’s kind of what superman did in the comics and it worked well enough...


Sarah had thought this would be interesting - spend a couple of days in the Caribbean, enjoy the tropical island, help her country...but she was increasingly feeling misgivings about this entire enterprise. One of the big themes of Superman (again), at least when he was intelligently written and not just an excuse for whatever weird art style was popular with DC at the time, was the concept of what should a superman do and what should he leave to humanity. Yes, he could build a city in an hour, develop new technology, fly planes across the Atlantic, and do elaborate puppet shows for Lois Lane when she was temporally blind - but should he? (The answer, as proven for the last time in a late sixties comic, was no).  He could do everything. But would the world become dependent on him"? Demand him? Loose its vital spark...because of him?

Sarah was - lets face it - the worlds version of Superman. A little less powerful, but same basic idea. She couldn't build a city, invent new things, fly across the Atlantic or even the Caribbean - but she could do a lot. And she could, thanks to her elaborate training at Cal Arts, do puppet shows with the best of them. That one was less of a grey area. And she was better, because she studied with one of the original guys from the Muppets. She was good at smashing things – however, the world rarely needed smashing. However the world in this case needed a version of it. There was a situation where lives were in danger and Sarah, being practically invulnerable and something of a badass, was probably the woman to call. If they hadn't this would have worked out - make no mistake - but Sarah’s presence made things infinitely easier.

Should it have?

Should they have cleaned up there own mess?

Should this perhaps be made public?  And the weird super science failures of government made light - this had cost probably in the multi-multi-millions... should it?

Well, she was here now. She decided not to dwell on it.

She paused to look around at the ocean - the island really was beautiful.

And just as this thought entered her mind, a giant wolf monster jumped up and bit her shoulder with it gaping maw. Teeth... so many teeth.


Sarah screamed. She probably wouldn't have in a setting with humans, but it was startling, scary even...slightly - until she realized that the animal didn't break her skin - it welted it, yeah - this hurt - but it didn't draw blood. Not that this was always a perfect measure of her safety. Life was occasionally weird on whether something would break it - but...

She pushed the wolf away


Another wolf grabbed her leg, the shock forced her to the ground, startling her.

There were four of them now. Ugly things...the pictures didn't do them justice, not really showing how ugly they were in the flesh. Hideous monsters from some half-baked nightmare wafting across her consciousness.

It hurt. It...

She reached an arm and grabbed it, and smashed it across its mate. She used her improvised weapon and went for another on her leg. Letting it go, the final thing looked up at her. For a second she saw eyes of hatred, of anger, filled with a desire to consume her...but then, half a quarter second of fear itself.

And the improvised club hit it, and it was no more.

Sarah looked up at what she had done. Three creatures were dead around her, small piles of where something used to - not even a carcass, but almost atomized meat sacks. A fine mind, a better scientist, could tell where its head was, and where its tail had been - but to her...it was gone.

The forth in her hand she dropped. It was no better, just a bloody backbone after the smashing she had given it.

She was covered in blood. None of it was her own.

And Sarah sat up.

And she wept.


A half hour later she was at the ocean. She washed herself in the warm water of the Caribbean, removing the blood and guts that covered her with the water and sand. Fish swam over to her curiously - she wasn't used to water where you could see fish - the Pacific Ocean was not suited for it, with its big waves but little fish came up to her here...and nibbled at floating pieces of mutant dog.

She cried some more. She did.

This had been the worst mini-vacation ever for her.

At least she went swimming.

She got out.

And she knew.

4 animals were dead.

There was still one more.

She pulled the blow-dart out of her bag.


She pulled out the radio

"This is ‘Mazing Girl. New deal Black. I killed four of them. I’m only doing your dirty business if you let the fifth one live."

There was a pause

"On a radio you should end every transmission with the phrase: Over. Over," Black’s crackly voice informed her.

"That’s not funny...this is not," said Sarah, "Over."

"We can do that. We wanted to do more studies to see where this goes, more environmental tests...see how they behave out of a pack. Capture or kill was your directive, and we can follow on our end, over."

Sarah paused.

Somehow that made her feel slightly worse.

But she had a job to do.

She looked around. She knew the last one had to responses. Rage or terror. Since it had been a good half hour since the attack, she was guessing terror. Which was bad, because there were a dozen places, if not hundreds, where it could hide. She had to start.

Sarah walked into the forest, dragging her foot slightly - it was a trick to appear she had been hurt. It probably wouldn't work, but what could you do? The beast cold be anywhere. Anywhere.

And then she realized. It was watching her.

How she realized that she didn't quite know - it wasn't what she saw or heard or smelled...but...

She closed her eyes.

She got down on the ground, completely prone.

She sat there for a couple of minutes, thinking of the world. Of life, of who she was and what she was doing. And could she get back in town for Game of Thrones? It was good in a moment of a crisis to be dumb like that. It helped her stay sane.

She rolled up into a ball for a second...then heard it.



She opened her eyes, looked, and saw.

It was big. Bigger then the others. Probably some version of an alpha. Large, black fur, huge lips, bigger eyes - a monster of incredible proportions - just looking at her...growling. Ready to face its foe, its own monster. And Sarah, in the beasts eyes, was probably just that.

Huge ears darted back.

And Sarah lifted up the dart...and waited for the lunge...

And then it came.

But this time she was ready.

She felt the creatures lips on her throat, feeling it attempt to strangle her, if nothing else to pull her neck aside and snap.

Sarah calmly injected the creature in the side with the tranquilizer

And grabbed it.

And held it.

Sarah stroked it - as it struggled against her - but she was stronger, much, much, stronger...and the beast couldn't move.

It struggled, but as whatever drugs went through it, the creature struggled less.

"There, there," she said, tears in her eyes. "It’s alright, it’s alright."

She had no idea if Mr Black’s promise was real or not - she didn't even know if thinking they were real held much promise. This may be the creatures last thought, its last comfort was her, and she wanted to comfort it, make it feel at ease. To feel.,.

And at last it was asleep, in some dreamless slumber she could only speculate.


Sarah landed on the boat creating waves.

She put the creature down, and wrapped it in a towel.

"Take me home, take it somewhere."

No one spoke.

Not for a long time.

"It’s an ugly mother," observed Richards. "I never saw it, but...phew."

Sarah looked at him coldly.

And the boat left.


This entire enterprise, Sarah didn't realize, only took about 4 hours. She wanted to get home as soon as they got back to the island, and they obliged her, though they did give her an island drink which she drank solemnly. But still. They were back in LA by 10:00 PM Saturday. A little over 24 hours.

She went home. She was very tired again. And slept.

She looked to an empty bed. She wanted, more then usual, someone there to hold her like she held it - someone to tell her that she wasn't a monster, Because God knows she had her doubts. (Unless she was a god herself, which yeah, she had thought about) She wanted someone to tell her that she had done a good thing, and to throw in other comforting lies.  She wanted to be comforted, to be told ‘there, there,’ to be stroked and loved. But no one was forthcoming.

So Sarah decided to get a cat.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

X of the Week

"Today we have a special treat: With us in studio - Amazing Girl!" Brian declared. There were two problems with this, thought Sarah the fantastic ‘Mazing Girl. 1) She never pronounced the ‘A’, it was implied. And 2) this wasn't a studio. It was a living room, albeit a very nice one by most standards.

"Hi!" said ‘Mazing Girl. She waved. To no-one, as she had specifically requested that this not be filmed. She was wearing her costume, but hadn't bothered with makeup, and ‘Mazing Girl did require a lot of makeup to look ‘mazing. She was actually looking a bit like she just got out of bed. Which was at 10:00 on a Saturday not completely true, but more true then not. This was her.

"Wow you look amazing,” complimented Joe, Brian’s co-host. Both were superhero nerds - fans of the different heroes in the world if such a thing exists. Actually they did, as Sarah had been one such nerd growing up, but kind of grew out of it a bit as she had grown in. But even their enthusiasm was enthusiastic.

They had a podcast called "Superhero Adventure Hour" where they talked about superhero business, developments around the world, and interviewed people from the superhero world (yes mainly fans, but also agents, government officials and a very interesting podcast about someone who made Steamer’s suit). And yes, occasionally they interviewed people like Sarah. She liked the show. She listened to it now and then. They made a request through her agent, Carl, and she saw it on a list of media requests - and why not? What the hell... It looked fun.

Sarah had done a bit of media work before. Joe her agent had been big on that, when she first hired him.  It was okay. Some superheroes, the aforementioned Steamer for example, did a lot of PR through the media. He was a regular on the Letterman show, and did silly skits. Magica in New York had done some movies, and had posed for some pictures in Vogue that were *not* tasteful. She kept it cool.

She wasn't trying to sell herself as anything other then a helpful presence, and she tried to show she was not scary despite the fact that she could crush you like a gnat with just her toe. Not her big toe, mind you, her little bitty one - she could push it against your chest, feel your rib bones crack, your lungs explode, listen to you gasping on your last breath until there was nothing left, nothing left for you to breath until you look out and see her, and see her smile - and know that she....

Well, actually she had never done anything like that. God...that was horrible. Why was she thinking about that, when she was looking at Brian, who was a handsome looking young man with glasses. He had an “I am a nerd, and I’m not actually in any form of the word ‘cool’, but I am kind of geeky-handsome and probably very nice” air about him, an air that Sarah found attractive sometimes. And the fact that he was worshipful toward her...well, yeah - she was thinking things. She made it a point as ‘Mazing Girl never to act on things, because that could hurt her rep *a lot* if it got out, and because it may explode the little guys soul. She didn't want that, or the lung thingy.

But she had done media: She had done a couple of magazines, including Superheroes Quarterly, Newsweek and the LA Times on multiple occasions (the latter was very good at doing phone-ins that didn't make her sound like a nincompoop). She had done the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien which was a good way of focusing on the exact moment she had appeared. That had been a good time. She always was afraid, that unless one got into nuts and bolts, there wasn't a whole lot to what she did that she could reasonably talk about - but Conan was a trooper. And, yes, he did ask her to bend a steel bar.

It broke about halfway, as steel bars tended to do when you bent them too quickly. Then she had taken both ends and pushed them together so hard they literally melted into a new bar - I mean it glowed 8000 degrees.

She put it down afterward and told Conan: “Don't touch it as it may hot”.

She still thought that was the funniest gag she maybe ever did in her life. Which was a shame, as it was a visual joke and thus does not translate well here.

However, Conan got fired a couple of months later, and she didn't want to do Leno, didn't want to fly to New York to do press so...for the last couple of years she didn't do all that much.


"So you have been doing this for about five years now," Brian began. "How has it changed your view of Los Angeles?"

Sarah paused. Podcasts were weird. There was an expectation of doing something slightly serious, and ask intelligent questions, but also to be kind of funny. It was a weird mix.

"LA is an easy city - and you both live here, so I guess you know what I mean - but LA is an easy city to be in one neighbourhood, to have one experience, and forget 100 feet down the road someone else is leading a totally different life, and I enter it, and...”

"Toss cars around."

"Less then you might think," said Sarah.

 "So what do you do?"

“I wander the streets, looking for problems as they come. It’s a hard job, but...”

"No wait,” Joe interrupted. “How often do you toss cars around?"

Sarah shrugged. "Cars specifically? Once a month...maybe a little more frequently. It’s rarely one of those dramatic things but just, like, car accidents. I do general superstrength stuff, well, just about every day. ‘Couple times a week. You’d be surprised what needs lifting."

"And what was the weirdest thing that needed lifting?"

"Oh come on," groaned Brian. "You have one of the most powerful women in the entire world and your asking her that? What is this? Morning radio?"

Sarah, who did not have the superpower to distinguish between podcasts and morning talk radio, this was lost upon.

"I lifted a kangaroo once. The funny thing is there was nothing funny about it. It made perfectly logical sense at the time. Completely."

"Oh, come on!" said Joe. "You got to tell us what happened."

"No," observed ‘Mazing Girl. "I don’t."


And so they talked for about 40 minutes. The conversation got a tad more personal then Sarah would have liked - even though she made it a ground rule that, like comedian Paula Poundstone or Bill Murray, you did not talk about her personal life.

Unlike Ms. Poundstone it wasn't because she didn't have one, just...well the questions weren't precisely about her homelife, or even if the question she got occasionally, if she was 'happy', but rather the delved into the depths her fears, and prodded her vital essence.

Actually, it was a pretty good conversation. And Brian was cute. Really cute, and intelligent, and sensitive. And if his wall was any indication, a fan of 70s DC comics.

Sarah had the feeling - perhaps it was the setting, perhaps it was the fact that he did offer her a glass of wine,

Perhaps, perhaps. Sarah made it a rule not to date any one as ‘Mazing Girl.

Joe left for home.

She drank a glass of wine. They were talking but she only heard the music.

And then fell over unconscious.


And woke up in what looked to be a dungeon.

The wine was still in her head. Whatever knocked her out wasn't.

She was wrapped in large metal chains, huge chunks of steel that wrapped all over her body.

And then she wasn't.

They took all of about a second to pull apart link by link. She felt the pressure expand against her superpowered muscles as they themselves grew, pushing against her costume, swelling into rippling steel cords of their own – only far more powerful ones. The chains broke and shattered against the room, flying into pieces. Her left arm, her right arm, her leg. A large band in the centre cracked like a walnut shell in the hut sun, turning into so much scrap metal. But then again, it took like a second.

She also realized she was laying down on a bed. It was acceptable that she didn't realize that before, as again this all took like a second. She got up, stretched a bit.

She could tell from the coldness of floor that this was reality, but it did have a feel of an honest to goodness dungeon - not some kind of fake set, or faker reality. This was real stone on the floor. It actually looked kind of cool. Everything was grey and black stone constructed of uneven tiles. There was some kind of vaguely purplish light somewhere that lit it. There was dankness, wetness, the sound of water dripping - but it was not unattractive. It felt and looked like a deep dark dungeon - but yeah, if you ever actually where in one you would say that was neat.

Which Sarah, literally, did.

"This is neat."

Sarah actually wasn't, in the scheme of things, all that pissed off. For someone who spent a lot of time dealing with depressing crack addicts, this did have the feel of honest adventure. Perfect stuff for discussing on a podcast.

She got up.

There was darkness after about 20 feet, but she went forward into it, walking down the space which seemed like a wetter version of a video game - or like about 2010, in video games where the trick was to make everything shiny and wet, and vaguely gross - but as mentioned it was actually kind of neat. Sarah didn't know what was at the end. Which felt almost a shame really. There would be an end and there would undoubtedly be a battle, but this sense of mystery would leave, and the mystery was kind of fun.

"Ohhhhh" said a voice. She recognized it.

It was Brian. She looked down to see him on the floor - just on the floor.

"I don't feel so good," he confessed.

Sarah picked him. He must have been drugged a little more then she was. Humans with their weaknesses...

He felt like a feather, but it was a good weight. Not a bad one. Just the slightest of strain as she held him in her hands. She looked into his eyes.

"Don't worry. We’ll get through this. We’ll get out of this."

He had beautiful eyes. Sweet ones. Gentle ones.

Sarah put him over her shoulder.

She walked.

This dungeon was pretty long actually, all things considered.


"So you’re into DC comics?" Sarah asked.

"The modern stuff...the new 52. I get the idea. It doesn't work" said Brian.

"Yeah," agreed Sarah "Clark Kent looks way too attractive."

There was a gurgle on her shoulder of acknowledgement. "But it had some fun stuff. You know, people say Superman is just this cold unrelatable hero...like that line in Kill Bill when they critiqued him...but really they have done a lot of weird fun stuff. Specially in the Perez...”

And then Brian vomited down her back.

Sarah looked on. She was walking fairly slowly by her standards, or any others. Her vision was dark, this was a strange hallway. She had been in mazes before - and going too quickly could set off horribleness. Not to her. She wasn't worried for her own safety, but she wasn't alone. She had Brian.

And she didn't want to loose him.

But vomit and all that...

But she kept still. Vomit could be a method to get her to move faster, or just an upset stomach. When people vomited, that was usually in fact a good sign.

She shook her head.

"So...you married?" Brian asked.

"No," admitted ‘Mazing Girl.

"Seeing anyone?" Brian pressed.



"Of course" said ‘Mazing Girl.

"You wonder, you deal with the stuff I do, maybe you guys are robots or something...I don' know," said Brian "you think things. Now I’m Lois Lane."

"Don't have the gams for it," ‘Mazing Girl coolly informed him.

"No...seriously. Maybe why I did this...did all of this. You know...get rescued, be next to you...and now I feel like crap. Just crap. You don't think about vomiting all over your cape."

"It’s okay."

"No. You’re probably going to have to get a new cape. Seriously will...all this vomit...you don’t...”

And then he started to cry.

And Sarah brought him over her head and held him in her arm, kneeling down for a second.

"There, there. It’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay. Shhhh."

"I am so scared right now...so scared...you...you do this all the time...”

"I’m not scared at all," said Sarah. "Except scared that your scared, or afraid your afraid...wait a second. Does that make any sense what-so-ever?"

"yeah" said Brain.

"We’ll be okay, I am Amazing Girl," vowed ‘Mazing Girl, pronouncing the A. "I am the greatest hero in the land, and I’m your shining knight, or princess or...”

And then she leaned in and kissed him. Kissed him deeply, kissed him strongly, with a kiss like she had never really meant in a long, long, time. It felt on her lips like honeysuckle and dandelions and pure joy as she kissed him.

And then he threw up in her mouth.

She coughed it out.

"God," muttered Brian.

And she breathed.

"Let’s do this quick.”

She picked Brian up in her arms....and then embracing the person who was increasingly the most precious thing in the world to her,  she ran. Ran as fast as her legs could carry her, hoping whatever traps that caught her were at least a little time- based. Hoping...

And about 20 feet later there was a left turn and she was outside.

She looked around.

It was a park.

She didn't recognize it, but it had the quality of trees, grass, one expected in a park.

It was dark - maybe midnight - but clearly a park.

And she jumped.


She needed to take Brian to a hospital, that much was clear. But where was she? What hospital? Where was this the right place to go?

She jumped a few minutes


The park was Elysium Park - near the police academy actually. That was good. County USC was nearby. That was good. That was...a pretty crappy hospital in the scheme of things...but it would do.


And then she felt something. Or not.

Brian was unconscious.


Sarah kicked open the door to the ER, hard enough that one of the doors shattered on impact.

"I NEED HELP IMEDIATLTY!!" declared Sarah, screaming to no one in particular.

A bright Hispanic doctor came forward.

"What’s wrong?”

"He’s been...drugged...or something. Help, please help.”

The doctor looked at Brian as she put him down on a bed. He was unconscious now. Fading.

"Let’s get him into the ER. Any idea what did this?" the doctor asked.

Sarah closed her eyes. "No."

"Nurse, let’s get some saline...it looks some kind of strong alkaloid...”

And Sarah was lost in the words.


45 minutes later Sarah was sitting in the waiting room.

People where around her.

People you see in a county hospital at 1am. Not good people, but people.

They had a fairly nice fish tank. She was surprised. Not just goldfish, but clownfish like from Finding Nemo. She watched it

and thought about her Brian.

Her wonderful Brian, who had a last name, and probably a real job.


She shook her head, she took of her cape as it was bothering her...sitting it next to a homeless man beside her. She ignored him it was covered with vomit. Brian was right, she would probably throw it away. Or make her wedding dress out of it. Or...

There was a note attached to it.

Oh fuck. She read it. It was typed in Arial font. Which was a classy but cold font, and not her favourite. She was more of a Verdana gal.

She noted it was typed all in capitals.



Sarah had to stop reading as a nurse came forward. County hospitals could be cold bouts of no emotion - but her...wow this was

"I'm sorry...I am so sorry, I know you were waiting for the guy...but I am so, so, sorry...but...Mr. Fallsen is dead. He died five minutes ago. We don't know what of, but when he got in he was already suffering heaving organ failure and he....”

And the nurse started to cry.

This was not helping Sarah one bit. One iota. Tears came to her face. She cried.

And then she cried.


It was only two hours latter that she got back to the note still sitting in the room with the clown fish. but she looked and




SEE YOU SOON - deca"

Sarah crumpled up the note.

Now Deca left out that the drug wasn't that powerful in the scheme of things and that the emotions it produced tended to be short lived. But at that momment it didn't matter, she didn't care and even if she lived for a thousand years it shouldn't matter.

She walked out of the hospital.

She didn't say that it was now personal, as she had no one to say it to really.

Not even Brian.

Beautiful wonderful Brian.