It seems that the robin had actually been a poor victim caught in a trap that The Wren had tried to diffuse and that had resulted in her transformation into the local songbird superhero The Red Robin. At that point I decided that I would save her. I am a Superhero after all. The how was easy -- just use my telekinesis to modify her body back to her human form in the same way as I modified the cherry tree into gold. Of course, as I'd learned with the door, I had to know how to make something before I could shape it. Thus the next day I went down and registered for two night courses: one in basic carpentry, and one in advanced genetic engineering (create a family pet in your own bath tub!). Ever since the explosion of enhanced individuals, the US education system had greatly widened its curriculum. After that I'd made my way downtown, staying on hoof and wearing normal clothes for the novelty of it, grabbed a large salad lunch, and then stepped into a bird store to pick up a deluxe three story fully wired birdhouse for the robin. It even came with a free 3 month hook up to DirectVu Satellite TV. I'd just gotten it boxed in a fireproof container for ease of transport in case of emergencies, when the shopkeeper screamed and fled, and I spun around.
The sidewalk exploded, scattering gravel and dirt all around, some even getting caught in my mane, and then a short hairy hunched figure leaped out, followed by others. The first was an Inuit shaman with a snowy owl on her shoulder, followed by two purple twins, and finally a gleaming figure in a red and white skin-tight suit surrounded by a glowing amber force field.
By the Fiery Heavens, who were these people? I transmuted my clothes back into my own superhero skintight costume and turned on my telekinetic forcefield. In the distance I could dimly hear the siren signifying an immanent superhero battle. I carefully set my package down and faced them, my fore-hooves touching each side of my waist and my tail flicking nervously.
I winced and flicked my ears.
"...we are A-Flight/Vol d'A. We're here take you back to Canada."
"Canada?!" Sure, I'd been born there, but I'd moved to New York almost 10 years ago -- I'd even gotten my citizenship. "Are you sure you aren't looking for Leopard Girl? I think she's just gotten herself a work visa..."
"She's our four o'clock. Supermare, we're here for you. I am Guardian/Gardien;" he pointed to the groundhog, "this is Wyarton Willie/Willie de Wyarton;" and then he pointed to the purple twins, "These are the Wonder Twins/Jumeaux de Merveille;..."
I grabbed my 'Classic Enemies' and started searching.
Finally he pointed to the inuit shaman, "...and this is Shaman/Shaman."
I found the Wonder Twins quickly -- apparently their true names were Jan and Zayna and they'd been deported due to the incredibly stupid uses they made of their powers. I couldn't find any of the rest. Then I had a horrible thought and flicked to the copyright at the beginning and saw that it did indeed say 'American Edition'. In fine print I read that the Canadian Appendix could be purchased from Bob's Superhero Warehouse for the 'low, low price of $15CDN (only 1 pound of gold for YOU Supermare)' I slammed the guide shut and glared at Guardian/Gardien. "You want to take me back to Canada?"
"Yes Supermare, as a Canadian citizen you belong in the service of your home and native land, not in the service of the rebellious yanks."
I sent a mental call to the Silver Vixen for help -- she was overseeing the construction workers sent by Bob's Superhero Warehouse to work on the Vixen Lair.
"No, no, no! The embossed vixen head on the entrance has to be silver! Super..."
*Don't say it.* [Phrases surrounded by '*' indicate mental speech. Linguistically lazy Larry]
*What's going on?*
*You and Red Kit get down to Mary-Anne's Birdhouse. I'm about to be kidnapped by a bunch of Canadians.*
*Canadians? You've told them you aren't Leopard Girl?*
*Yes. Just get down here.*
*We're on our way! "Red Kit...To the Silver Cycle!"
I guess Guardian/Gardien got tired of waiting, "Do you mind, we're trying to talk to you here?"
I crossed my forearms, ignoring the pinch of flesh between my hoof-hands. "I'm not going."
"You don't have a choice. A-Flight/Vol d'A ATTACK!"
I didn't have time to react before an energy blast from Guardian/Gardien impacted against my shields, bending them, and forcing me a few feet back. I tried to leap up into the air but Shaman/Shaman had done something and a pine tree sprung into existence around me, entangling me in its roots and its sweet smelling needles. Wyarton Willie/Willie de Wyarton had vanished from sight and the Wonder Twins/Jumeaux de Merveille had cried out "Wonder Twin Powers Activate...Form of an Ice Pillow, Shape of a Giant Catapult!"
A black silhouette of a furred vixen undulates erotically across the screen from left to right, covering the heroic superbattle with The Silver Vixen and Red Kit standing by a heavy construction site. The only sound heard is a wolf whistle.
"Red Kit...To the Silver Cycle!" Silver Vixen didn't have to change as she had been overseeing the Bob's Superhero Warehouse construction team in her superhero identity.
"What's up Silver Vixen?" Red Kit asked as she leaped into the side car.
"It's Supermare -- she's under attack by Canadians!"
"Canadians? But there aren't any Baldwins here! Who are they after?"
"Apparently Supermare!" With a foxy grin, The Silver Vixen kick started the Silver Cycle which purred into action, "Silver Vixen AWAY!" and then the heroic pair roared off!
A black silhouette of a furred vixen undulates erotically across the screen from left to right, covering the cloud of dust left behind as The Silver Vixen and Red Kit roar off. The only sound heard is a wolf whistle.
I grabbed the handle of the bag containing the birdhouse in one hoof-hand and pushed myself to my feet, straining with all my powers against the magnetic force beam thrown at me by Guardian/Gardian. I pulled my sheath of fire up and around me and turned the entangling pine to ash. The Ice Pillow that was catapulted missed me and shattered against the wall behind me. And then, just as I was about to leap into the air to get some room, the ground shook beneath me and a pair of hairy arms grabbed my left leg. That was enough of a distraction for Guardian/Gardian to break through my defenses and throw me against the back of the store, scattering wooden bird houses all around.
Silence fell, broken only by the intermittent rain of pieces of wood on the floor.
Guardian/Gardian strode into the sunlight shining through the broken front window until I could see him only as a black silhouette. "Supermare, this is your last chance to come peacefully."
I wanted to leap up and get some altitude but as this was an Official Soliloquy I could take no action to give me an advantage. "I won't go, and I will give you one chance to leave before I take you in as an illegal immigrant." I glanced down from the corner of my eye and confirmed that the birdhouse I'd bought was still intact. It was.
"Supermare, we come with the official permission of NORAD."
"I repeat. Surrender and come peacefully, or face the consequences."
I nickered. "Your graves it is then, because I won't come."
This time I was ready, and leapt into the air, summoning my fiery nimbus. The roof collapsed around me, but as A-Flight/Vol d'A had already trashed the place I didn't care.
Once again, a magnetic force beam from Guardian/Gardian impacted on my shields, but for now I ignored it. Tactically it's always best to get rid of the weaker opponents. There was no sign of Wyarton Willie/Willie de Wyarton and the Wonder Twins/Jumeaux de Merveille could safely be ignored, so the obvious soft target was Shaman/Shaman. She was already pulling something out of her pouch, but I instead blasted her with a breath of psycho-kinetically generated fire from my mouth that flung her back, across the street, and into a lamp post that bent and then snapped, landing on the emptied street with a crash and rattle. A light mental scan confirmed that she was out.
"For that you'll die Supermare!" Guardian/Gardian leaned forward, redoubling his attacks, and I began to sweat at the mental effort to hold him off. I tried to reach him telekinetically but his magnetic defenses easily held off all the energy I could muster. It seemed that his battlesuit was overheating, but then I was weakening also, and even if I won I'd be too weak to hold off the rest.
And then I heard a rapidly approaching engine purr... "A Fligh/Vol d'A, now meet the rest of the Crusaders!"
I don't think Guardian/Gardian heard me, but then I heard The Silver Vixen as she leapt from the Silver Cycle. "Vulpine Kick!" Her strike threw Guardian/Gardian to the ground, and the magnetic force beam he was throwing at me suddenly flicked off.
"Get the others! I'll finish off Guardian/Gardian!" Now I could strike back. As Guardian/Gardian staggered to his feet I reached down with my left forehoof, the one not holding the shopping bag, and telekinetically grabbed him and squeezed. His suit's shield flared up but I could sense that it was weakening.
In the background I watched Red Kit take out the Wonder Twins/Jumeaux de Merveille as they struggled to touch each other and The Silver Vixen was performing her Fox Double Jump towards Shaman/Shaman. Then I noticed the ground just in front of the Silver Vixen start to crack.
"Silver Vixen, look...!" but I was too late as Wyarton Willie/Willie de Wyarton burst out of the ground in front of The Silver Vixen and grabbed her leg and spun her towards the ground...
Amazingly, The Silver Vixen shouted out, "Vulpine Flip!" spun around, and landed on her feet and turned to deal with Wyarton Willie/Willie de Wyarton.
I turned my attention back to Guardian/Gardian and squeezed harder.
And that was when Shaman/Shaman made her move. She had only faked unconsciousness and suddenly a flock of thousands of Canada Geese burst out of her pouch and flung themselves at my face. With almost all of my will concentrating on breaking Guardian/Gardian, my defenses fell quickly to the hundreds of impacts that blinded me and made me lose my grip. I intensified my defenses and roasted all the birds but by the time I'd dealt with them, Guardian/Gardian was on the offense again and I was again slowly pushed back.
Then a new voice was heard: "Supermare's coming back with me!"
What the? We all stopped and stared at the newcomer. It was somebody in golden armour, hovering above the battle.
"Supermare is a hero, not a villain like you Ladybug!"
Ladybug? I pulled out my Classic Enemies in hopes that I'd get lucky while the Soliloquies continued. And I found her!
"Don't you know it's bad luck to try to crush a Ladybug Guardian/Gardian? Guess you don't"
Let's see... University of Toronto, Battlesuit as graduate project, didn't go well, robs banks to pay for suit...
"A-Flight/Vol d'A well get to you soon enough villainess!"
...often performs robberies in the US. So that was why she was in my guide. Powers are through suit and include flight and damage defenses. Interesting, no ranged attacks. "I won't go with you either Ladybug! My place is here with the Crusaders!"
"You tell them Supermare!" Red Kit called out having finished with the Wonder Twins. I'd have to talk to her about using my name in public.
That ended the Official Soliloquies as Guardian/Gardian opened up on me again. I was barely able to put Classic Enemies away and hold him off. The Silver Vixen went after Wyarton Willie/Willie de Wyarton with Red Kit's help and the sounds of her attacks echoed through the street. "Vulpine Elastic Collusion!" "Vulpine Kick!" "Vixen Strike!" "Hormone Monsoon!" "Fox Double Jump!" "Vixen Quickie!" "Silver Claw Spin!" "Bouncy Bouncy Fox!" That did nothing to help me against Guardian/Gardian and Shaman/Shaman. I was almost desperate enough to drop my package when Ladybug swooped down on Shaman/Shaman and started laying into him with might blows, each one of which shook the streets. That gave me the will to hold on.
And then all of A-Flight/Vol d'A were out except Guardian/Gardian.
I couldn't spare the energy to react, but Ladybug did for me: "It's over Guardian/Gardian! You've lost!"
"Only this time Crusaders! We'll be back Supermare! You have my word!" There was a blinding flash, and by the time my eyes cleared, all of A-Flight/Vol d'A were gone leaving only us and Ladybug.
I looked at her. "Ladybug, I'm not going to go with you either. Do you want to make an issue of it?"
She rose up off the ground until she was hovering opposite me. "Wouldn't it be wonderful to help me push the Canadian government into doing something right? We'd be great together!"
"Sorry Ladybug, but my place is here, with The Silver Vixen."
There was a TWANG and an explosion as one of The Silver Vixen's Fox Claws impacted on Ladybugs armour, staggering her.
"Silver Vixen, do you mind?!"
"She's a SUPERVILLAIN! She should be apprehended."
Bloody hell. *Ladybug, slug me and I'll pretend to be knocked out so you can escape. Guardian/Gardian is going after Leopard Girl at four.*
*Great idea.* And then she haymakered me, the impact throwing me across the street and into the next building and through two more interior walls. As I shook my head to clear it, I heard more exploding Fox Claws outside and by the time I was able to stagger to the hole to look out, still clinging to my shopping bag, Ladybug was rocketing off into the distance.
The Silver Vixen was already leaping onto her Silver Cycle. "Come on Supermare! We can still catch her!"
I was still woozy, Ladybug must have hit me harder than I'd thought. Still, she had saved me... I leapt out of the hole, turned on my corona, and then promptly let myself slam into the ground.
Almost immediately The Silver Vixen was beside me. "Supermare? Are you all right?"
"I...I...think so." I closed my eyes to rest.
The last thing I remember hearing was The Silver Vixen: "We'd better get her back to the lair -- and don't forget her package Red Kit, whatever it is, it must be awfully important as she protected it through the whole battle."
I hope The Silver Vixen won't be too angry when she finds out it's just a birdhouse...
(1) The 'Classic Enemies' Supervillain resource was originally published in 1989 by Hero Games.
(2) Leopard Girl was created by Bryan Derksen
(3) The article on LadyBug was written by Glenn Thain
Copyright 2002-2005 Michael Bard. Please send any comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org