Mazing Girl could do some spectacular things - toss ships around a harbor, travel across the city in a blink, fight a hundred people in a minute (and win).
But there was plenty she could do, but didn't. Steal the US mint and give to poor people; Build peoples skyscrapers in days(she assumed); or sometimes...sometimes get cats from trees. There really wasn't much of a point in that last one, but she could do it - by the standard, you know, of just picking up the tree and tossing it into the stratesphere. That would get rid of the cat's trouble pretty quick.
But she never did stuff like that. That wouldn't be right.
This was different.
Sarah was sitting at a Warhammer 40k painting party - which was something that totally happened, and i am not just making up - when a guy across from her, Eric Shandler, a man she kind of knew and kind of liked as a friend - yes, yes he was a friend casually mentioned something.
"I have a fan script for the seventh District. I was wondering if you could pass it along to the producers."
This amazed 'Mazing Girl. Someone cared enough about Seventh District to make a fan script.
To her, it was that weird amazement. Yes her parents watched the show, some people she knew because who she was, but when she met people who actually watched the show...that kind of threw her at points.
"Because I think its got potential."
She looked at Eric. He was a nice enough guy. Mid 40's, the kind of nerd who maybe at one point had been attractive. He worked in healthcare management.
"Well, I can show it...maybe read it. But unless your part of the writers guild..."
"I am!" said Eric. "About 20 years ago one of my novels got optioned for a movie. They made me join because I wrote a draft. It never went anywhere. Thank you 20th Century Fox...but yeah, I am a member. But I don't have an agent."
Wow. He wrote a novel?
This was not something she normally did, despite what you may think.
Fighting someone in the air.
But here she was...trading blows with someone in the middle of the sky.
Glider lived in town, but she never actually fought him - they never had classic two heros meet and fight before becoming allies. Which was good, as no one should fight him. He was a city treasure.
She in general to avoid fighting other superheros. Unless it was traiing. Or they were really jerky. And she would never do it in the air. That was gauche. So she really hoped the guy who was now 5000 feet up, throwing a ball of energy (fire/sonic, some combination) at her, was not a superhero. For his sake.
Because when it connected with her lower leg causing her to fling around a bit in the air shaking, it hurt quite a bit.
Eric, she discovered checking online databases, wrote several novels. There was a genre popular in the 90s: Cyberpunk! But with elves. She sorta knew there was something called Shadowrun, and that the premise of it was cyberpunk with elves. This was not that. From what she could see from online descriptions, it was in fact a fairly different stories - the one that aparently had been optioned involved elves trying to build an elvish kingdom in the middle of america in the 21st century. He had written five of them.
15 years ago.
That must have been hard.
She ordered one of them through Amazon, and hoped that in some small way that the residuals for that would help. It was the weird thing about books. We think of them as these deep eternal stories of life, trapped on the page forever. But like all things most flitter on the page and disappear in the ether like some vaguely erotic fictional fantasy, figure books where not like the elves of Tolkien. They were not immortal. Also, books did not have pointy ears.
But today she had his fan script. She had agreed to read it and give it to the producer, if she felt it was good. She liked Eric, simultaneously too much, and yet not enough to pass on crap, so reading it was a necessary step.
And she entered in the world of Seventh District.
It was a world, weirdly enough, she was seldom in. She read all the scripts of course - and had been on the set when they filmed it all. But when she read a script she read it in terms of props. Plots were largely something she ignored. To actually think about the world where two Detectives in an unnamed American city investigated crimes while bickering with each other, was to enter a strange and different - a world she was always in, but never quite all the way. She remembered the star of the show telling her that the reason he took the roll was that in most cop shows the two partners pretend not to like each other, but secretly do. He took it becuse the two cops genuinely hated each other. (also he had just had a kid, and could use income)
This episode got that idea - as most of the plot revolved around the two detectives working at cross purposes through a murder. When the chief calls one of the detectives out at the third act break, it felt less like a normal cop show and more like "wow this cop is legitmeatly hurting the case for personal reasons, and in a normal envorment he whould maybe get fired." She liked that. Reading it, actually yes, this was goof. She didn't really watch cop shows, or even really like them, (which may have tainted her opinion of all of this for the least couple of years) but yeah, if this was on she would have been glad she sat through it.
She could bring this to a producers attention.
But it filled her with...fear was the wrong word, as she wasn't ever really scared. But she didn't want to. There were writing room politics involved somewhere, she heard in whispers, and she didn't want to get involved in that. The head writer, Carlos, was an asshole. She doubted he cared enough to get to mad or had the pull to fire her - unless he really got mad. But that was unlikely. And yet still...it was unpleasantness. Not fear.
'Mazing Girl hit a rock. It was hard. Usually when you see super fights in comics the mighty boulder would smash from the forces that were placed agianst it. This one, on the edge of the San Gabriel Mountains over Pasadena just stood there. It would be just fine. Sarah made a real sickening thud as she hit, landing with an out of control smash, bouncing once then falling, maybe 40 feet down, then rolling 20 more.
It was the bad thing about not being able to actually fly. She didn't have a lot of control in the air, or in this case, ground control. Once she hit something, she was kind of at the mercy of gravity and inertia until it all went away.
She closed her eyes for a second and thought about what she had done.
She didn't, however, have any real clever insights.
She felt punched. Her left foot...hurt. She grabbed it. It hurt, in a non-specific way. Her costume looked very dirty and tangled, as did she. The rest of her body could use a bath for the warming ache curing qualities.
But she got up.
Only to see her foe land.
And, for the first time, Sarah got a look at...her.
It was a girl.
And by a girl, she meant a girl. 14-ish, 5'4 feet tall. Yet as she looked at her she compared her to her 'Friend' and fellow superhero, the Flame, and this girl was already a tad more devoloped. Yeah actually about 16. an akward 16. She was wearing a costume that one could only describe as Anime-influenced. Lots of strong colors, and lines that emphasised her big hair, hair that was a color that may not actually exist in nature. She looked kind of silly, but the kind of silly that in real life flying in the hills of southern california you could kind of respect.
She was liking her already.
Sarah talked on the phone. "So why Seventh district? "
"I like to write," said Eric. "I was a big fan of Firefly and I wanted to watch him agian. After a couple of seasons it started to grow on me. It's not great television, but there's something about it."
"It's kind of generic" Sarah noted.
"I like the props," said Eric. "It's not gritty, persay. The show isn't gritty or all that realistic. But there's a sense that realism and grittiness could break out any minute. The props work for that even when they're like in ren fair land. That's maybe, I guess the lighting, but it's there."
Sarah felt a bit embarassed. She had gotten praise for her stuff before - the first season when there was little bit of critical buzz for the show (the Onion Avclub listed the show as "promising" in an article) but when it did it made her feel a tad of almost shame. The show regularly got about 1.5 million viewers these days. Someone must see the props. This was buttering her up, but...
"I could give you the email of an agent if you just want to work in television."
"I never worked in TV" said Eric. "I Had several meetings at Fox, got day-passes, they even valeted my car. I liked it, but I know how that goes. I have no illusions. But it's...it's just that you want to see something on the screen. You want to feel that magic. I think can write pretty well. There was, for a bit, a publisher who thought the same. Now...I just want to feel that agian. Even if it is a basic cable show. I want to feel that magic. It's small and pathetic, but..."
The phone conversation pettered out. She needed time to think. She put on her supersuit and went on patrol, and got away from the small problems of her life and went to the big world of the city. It had a way of making her troubles seem a million miles away, as if the little dramas of Sarah Jennings were an insignificant bug.
Then someone shot what felt like a laser at her head.
"'Amazing Girl! I will defeat you and take your place as the greatest hero in the land!" Sarah's new nemesis declared, standing on the side of the mountain.
"Why?" Sarah asked.
"Because I, Fantasy Star, deserve your place!"
Sarah shook her head.
Wait a second...Fantasy Star...that was a video game right? No it was spelled differently. Wait, how would she know it was spelled differently? In any case, that wasn't a good argument.
"Your just a kid!" Sarah pointed out.
"Okay, you can fly. You can shoot those energy bolts. Do it again."
A mighty energy bolt flew out of Fantasy Stars hand - it looked really like something from a video game. Not 'Phantasy Star', more like Street-fighter - but the point stood.
And when it hit Sarah a second latter - absolutely nothing happened. She was ready for it, and while she did feel it, she had enough control not to express it. She doubted, doing an internal judgement, it could actually kill anyone. It felt a bit like a shock of electricity.
"Okay." said Sarah.
"What?" Fantasy was surprised.
"I remember what it was like to be a kid with superpowers. Wow...it was just mazing. The freedom! Do the kids pick on you at school?"
"That's patronizing!" Fantasy observed.
"Okay, you have a point. But the real point is, being a superhero is all about the responsibilty. With great powers come great responsibility - and I will admit my ankle's kind of hurting, so I don't have the energy to come up with a wittier, more original way of saying that."
Fantasy sighed. "I know."
"I have a very boring job," 'Mazing Girl told her. "For every minute we do this, there's probably...200 hours maybe of nothing. It's a lot patrolling on cold nights. This isn't about the glory, the shinny awards. It's about wanting to help people."
"Can I just try punching you?"
'Mazing Girl sighed. "Like a free shot?"
"Just to see if this works at all. No backies."
'Mazing Girl stood her ground. Fantasy Star walked over and hit her chin.
'Mazing Girl turned her cheek.
Then Fantasy hit agian.
And the cheek turned the other way.
"I said one," said 'Mazing Girl.
The punch was pretty strong maybe three times a normal adult's. Hard to say. Fantasy Star could be something. And while she had done enough to go to jail, 'Mazing Girl felt that might be a bad idea. It was one of the tricks about the trade you don't get always. Yes, she could take her to jail, and they would spend millions trying to lock her up - only to legally have to release her when she turned 18. And then she would probably turn from on-the-fence about things to hardened super criminal.
But at the same time, she was clearly a jerk.
It was one of the tricks of power. 'Mazing girl was, in someways, Superman (except her penis was very small and was in fact a clitoris. Unlike Brandon Routh's. That man had a snouzer on him. Which is one of the reasons she was a fan of Superman Returns. That and the airplane scene. That was cool. And the scene with the weird thug at the end. Yeah, mini-kid superman was kind of silly, but Kevin Spacey was a memorable Luthor. Unlike Kal Penn, who was in that movie for some reason). Okay the point of it was that 'Mazing Girl was in someways Superman - but the power of superman to be a functional adult, not obsessed with trivia and penis size, was sometimes lost to her. But she had to do it, even if she didn't want to.
"I want you to go to school, for at least two more years. Go to Red Cross, learn first aid. Go to karate lessons, learn that. I did. It pays for itself.," advised 'Mazing Girl.
"Or what?" Fantasy Star demanded "Take me to Juvie?"
"Don't use the word: juvie," said 'Mazing Girl. "You say it stupid. And another thing: Make a friend. A little cripple friend. Learn some humility, for fuck sake."
Fantasy Star sighed.
"Was that 'I am an asshole teenager who thinks I'm a crappy adult', or an 'I am an asshole teenager who knows I'm right?" asked 'Mazing Girl.
Wow, did she just say fuck a second ago? 'Mazing Girl generally made it a point not to do that. Ah well. It was moments like this that made her realise: She was the same person. 'Mazing Girl really was a kind of lacsidical nerd, with a steady job...who was rather cowardly, wasn't she? She didn't want to make waves. No one would think Sarah would jump up into the sky. Maybe spend some money on a poster or make a cool prop for fun. But really stick her neck out? Even just a little bit to forward an email? That wasn't Sarah.
And whoever Fantasy Star was, or is, she seemed that way. Even as she shook her head, there was energy.
Sarah slapped her.
"What?" said Fantasy Star.
"You have a passion about you. You feel. You care. You want. That is power. That is strength. My shit, that's just weird super-genetics. You got that too, but that first stuff: Use that. Maybe they beat you down. Maybe it's cold and it hurts, maybe, you say...no no no...maybe you save the world."
And 'Mazing Girl flew off into the night.
"Its a pretty good script" Sarah told Carlos. She probably could have emailed him, but she wanted to do this in person "I really like the third act."
Carlos nodded, in a manner that didn't indicate instant death. "Send it over."
And she did. And Carlos apparently liked it as well. It was a little to late for the third season, but he and Eric had a good meeting, and it was provisionally slotted for the fourth with a rewrite. It all went pretty smoothly, actually. And carlos wasn't an ashole. He seemed like a pretty cool guy. Which made Sarah feel a bit of an asshole for being hesitant.
But that was life.
It was one thing about her existence: 'Mazing Girl could do spectacular things - but somehow when plain little Sarah did the small ones...that felt just as good.