|The Legal League -- Part 1|
In a once quiet wilderness, now a bustling tourist trap, stands a gleaming silver monolith stretching up towards the heavens. A long line of awed people walk by, each one stopping to touch greatness with their humble hands. For this is not just a piece of masonry, this is something used by... The Legal League!
"The Legal League!"
"Daddy is that the...?"
"Yes son, that's the ground uplink for The Legal League!"
"And this links up to The Legal League Satellite?"
"Yes son, THE Legal League. The greatest group of Superheroes in the history of humanity. Defenders of the Law, and all that is right."
"But Dad, according to the plaque it was deactivated in 1998!"
"God damn it! The Legal League probably wanted to cut back on its property taxes!"
A black silhouette of a furred vixen undulates erotically across the screen from left to right, covering the annoyed father and the glimmering silver no-longer-used structure. The only sound heard is a wolf whistle.
There were certain advantages to this method of tactical superheroing The Silver Vixen believed in. I was sitting, well floating, in the command centre of the Fox's Lair, while she drove along her patrol route. The idea was that she would lure out the villains, and then I would swoop in to take them by surprise. Given that very few supervillains seemed to actually try anything when I was visible, I could see her point. In fact, ever since my battle with Sparkler two weeks ago, everything had been utterly quiet every time I went out. It had been a good two weeks though. My courses were going well, and I was eager to show off the house my goldfish had built with the hands I'd stretched their fore-fins into.
And then the emergency call signal went off.
By the Fiery Heavens, who was that? It wasn't Saturday, so nobody should be calling us. Curious, I flicked the switch and watched the face and chest of the caller fill The Superduper Big Screen.
By the Sea of Stellar Furnaces, it couldn't be! But it was. Humanity's greatest Superhero. Founder of The Legal League. Last Son of the Doomed planet of Klapton. There on the screen he stood, all perfect six feet of him in the skin tight blue suit with crimson red cape that filled supervillains with terror everywhere.
If I'd been sitting, I'd have fallen out of my chair. As it was, my psychokinetic abilities faltered and I slammed to the floor and then leapt to my hooves and saluted.
Yes, it was... Superduperman.
"Ah Supermare," his voice boomed out, "I was hoping to reach you."
My voice squeaked, "Me?" and then I nickered in astonishment, slowly lowering my hand-hoof.
"Yes Supermare, you. I would like to extend you an offer."
I swore to myself that I would not fall down again in the presence of Superduperman. Somehow I forced myself to be calm and held myself steady, except for the excited dancing of my ears and tail, and then tried to calmly answer. "Yes...?" Unfortunately it still sounded more like a squeak than my normal voice.
"Supermare, I would like to extend you Probationary Membership in The Legal League."
So much for not falling down, I thought as I picked myself back up off the floor and kept from answering until I was once again standing and felt at least a little calm. "I'd be honoured Superduperman." Yes! Yes! Yes!
"Supermare, I will beam you up momentarily then. Superduperman out." And The Superduper Big Screen went dark.
By the Fiery Heavens, The Legal League! I couldn't believe it! But it was, it was! I started dancing around the room, my hooves making an intricate pattern of taps as I barely touched the ground. The Legal League!!
"Supermare! Come in!" The Silver Vixen called from the communicator.
I was too busy tap dancing to notice, although my ears rotated around and listened.
"It seems that your friend Black Stallion has rounded up another band of victims. I'm going to wait though as it seems they're being confronted by some kind of oriental female dragon. Be ready in case..."
I felt The Legal League transporter lock on but couldn't stop my tapping as I faded out of existence.
"...I need you. Supermare?"
A black silhouette of a furred vixen undulates erotically across the screen from left to right, covering the empty Fox's Lair control room. The only sound heard is a wolf whistle.
I KNEW that I was no longer on earth. There was artificial gravity, something brought by the Skiptracer from Saturn when he fled his dying world, but I also sensed the heightened solar radiance, and even the tender caress of the stellar radiation, and welcomed them. It seemed that I was less and less of the earth, and more and more of the heavens. Oddly though, the radiation was a lot less than I would have expected.
"Supermare, you can stand up, there is artificial gravity."
What? It was Superduperman, standing there and watching me, a slight smile on his face. It really WAS Superduperman!, and a light mental touch confirmed it.
"Supermare, it is neither polite nor legal according to UN resolution 513, to scan anybody without express permission."
He'd known! How? But then, he WAS Superduperman. But a little touch never hurt anybody and it made The Silver Vixen so much easier to get along with. "Sorry, it's just, well, you startled me."
"That's all right then. Here," and he tossed me a cell phone. "We monitored a call from The Silver Vixen just as we were beaming you out. It's already set to her frequency."
From The Silver Vixen? Then I remembered what I'd heard but not paid attention to. After successfully resisting to the urge to just scan Superduperman to find out how the phone worked, a quick check showed that there was an ON button and I pressed it. "Silver Vixen?"
"Are you all right?!"
I felt a soft, gentle, alien voice in my head, not inside my mind, but just sending a message. *Don't tell her where you are* ['*' indicates telepathic communication. Always Reminding Albert]
"I'm fine. Something important came up -- I can't tell you about it. But it is legal and on the up and up."
"Why can't you tell me?"
"Please trust me."
I heard a growl that was almost instantly cut off, "Ok. Don't worry about the latest Black Stallion incident. The newcomer took care of it and I'm checking her out now and we may have another Crusader. Let me know when you'll be back."
"Ok, and... well... thanks. For trusting me that is."
"You're a Crusader."
I pressed the off button and tossed the phone back to Superduperman who caught it and put it away. "If you'll follow me, I'll introduce you to the others."
I clomped to the ground, losing all my concentration as the truth continued to seep into my soul. The others, the rest, the members of The Legal League. By the Endless Strength of Stellar Fusion I was going to be in the presence of The Legal League! "Yes, sure." Of course my voice betrayed my nervousness as it squeaked again. Superduperman just smiled and turned and glided silently off and I followed, my hooves lightly tapping on the metal as I pranced behind. Fiery Heavens, The Legal League!
As I followed Superduperman, my ears bounced all over the place and my tail was just as bad. These had been the superheroes that I had most wanted to emulate, the superheroes of superheroes. I keep bouncing back off the walkway and having to force my powers under control to be able to walk again. Finally we arrived, at the top of the satellite in the central monitoring station where huge screens each showed sections of the earth so that the entire surface was always under surveillance. And They were there, or most of them anyway. The Chiropteran was gone, but then he rarely showed up anyway. The Amazing Amazonian II was there playing with her golden lasso. Sitting at a table playing chess were Red Rocket, the World's Fastest Man from Toronto (the TTC there had named their street cars Red Rockets after him) and Violet Lantern II with purple railway costume and gleaming power ring. And standing facing a screen monitoring the south-western section of North America was the Skiptracer from Saturn, the last alien to survive the doomed race. The only person absent was Water Boy, and I had no clue as to where the King of the Sea was.
I stopped and stared, my ears and tail still going. I was standing in the presence of The Legal League.
The Skiptracer From Saturn was the first to speak and I recognized his voice as the voice that had spoken to my mind. "Ah Supermare. It is a pleasure to meet your kind and beautiful personage in person. I had wished to offer you a new name having selected Firemane after a laborious search, but unfortunately an unlucky garbage collector in Mertoton ran into some weird radiation and became an equine speedster. Please accept my apologies."
I KNEW that left-over matter from the cherry tree would come back and bite me some day! [Supermare is referring to the left over atoms from when she condensed a cherry tree into gold and which she hid in a public waste receptacle WAY back in TSA Comics #3 - Terrifyingly Trivial Terry]
Superduperman was the next to speak, "And the rest you know I take it?"
I could only nod.
"Don't worry, eh!" called out Red Rocket. "I called the Canadian Government and A Flight/Vol d'A won't be bothering you no more, eh."
"Ah thank you."
"Do we really need her Superduperman?" the Amazing Amazonian II burst in. "She's too young and foolish for us."
I turned and just stared at her, my jaw hanging open. Why was she so hostile?
It was the Violet Lantern II who saved me. "Amazonian II, Supermare is a Crusader. That should be enough."
"A Crusader?! Hah! They were disbanded years ago."
The Violet Lantern II concentrated on his ring and a purplish hologram appeared in the middle of the monitoring room showing the original Crusaders with the original Silver Vixen. Then it showed the original Violet Lantern and others in Marrisville giving The Silver Vixen permission to recreate The Crusaders, and finally it showed The Silver Vixen welcoming me into the group. "I will vouch for her," finished The Violet Lantern II.
"I will also stand beside her and support her probationary membership as one of us," added The Skiptracer from Saturn.
"Well then," interrupted Superduperman, "I'll leave you in the hands of The Skiptracer from Saturn so that we may get a better understanding of your abilities." He turned to The Skiptracer. "Is everything ready old friend?"
"You idiots!" the Amazing Amazonian II screamed out. "If nobody else has any concerns over the expanding membership, then you're all fools! Look at her! Young, way too powerful, and she STILL has only ONE X chromosome! She'll be your downfall!" And then she turned and stalked out.
There was a long moment of silence and I just stared at the entrance through which she'd passed, not knowing what to say. It took the Red Rocket to break it: "I think it's her time of the month, eh."
At that point The Skiptracer from Saturn spoke up in his calm voice, "To answer your question Superduperman, the equipment has been ready for some time. If Supermare would be so gracious as to follow me, it's all set up just as it was on our Watchtower." [The Legal League watchtower on the moon was destroyed in an attack by Superduperman's arch enemy Emile Burbank through the use of thousands of small black projectiles he had placed in orbital paths over a number of years, all of which impacted on the Watchtower simultaneously way back in the 'Gotterdamerung' [external link] limited series! - Curiously Cultural Cubist]
I followed The Skiptracer from Saturn out, still barely touching the deck so that only a faint tapping could be heard from my hooves. His mental voice interrupted my thoughts, *It has been a long time since I've been able to enjoy the company of a telepath such as yourself whom was not trying to destroy me or the others. I pray that you don't mind my chatting this way as it awakens fond memories of the 13th and last race of my kind.*
*Eons ago my race began to genetically engineer themselves into the Ultimate Caterers. My race, the 13th, was the last race created before a tragic transtellar economic fluctuation cut short our time on the galactic stage. It has been too long since I have been able to chat like this. But, now we are here, and I must push my reminiscences aside for the moment.*
I followed him as he turned into a room that contained a series of monitoring equipment and a cylindrical transparent tank in the middle which seemed to be made out of a material at least three feet thick. All kinds of thick cables fed into the transparent material from the monitoring machines, and the thick cables split into thousands of fine threads that crisscrossed through the material. The room was brightly lit, not from the flashing lights all over the monitoring machinery, but from the various signs and ads on the various orbiting secret headquarters. I wouldn't have minded it except for the overwhelming flashing on and off and on and off the sign directing the interested to Asteroid N. The faint clicking of mechanical thought and the faint hiss of cooling fans could be barely heard over the light tapping of my hooves as The Skiptracer from Saturn moved without a sound.
*Supermare, if you will be so kind as to climb into the tank, we will start the testing. It is shielded from the artificial gravity inside but has controlled simulated gravitational forces to hold you in the middle.*
I flew up and inside and let the artificial gravity inside position me. It felt like a light pressure all around me, like the water in which I'd been born. *Ready*.
*Good. The first thing I want you to do is to try and break into my mind. Don't try to harm it, just try to read my thoughts which I will be hiding from you. You will not be able to, but the degree of effort on my part in defending my innermost self from you will provide a measurement of your abilities. Please begin.*
Looking at The Skiptracer from Saturn, I tried to read his surface thoughts, but all I could sense was a spherical wall of adamantine steel. I examined it, poking and prying, and confirmed that it was featureless and without weakness, which suggested that a subtle approach would not work. That meant it was time for raw power. I picked the point closest to where I was floating and concentrated on it, forming my mind into a cone with the point digging into his shield. At first there was nothing so I tried harder. Still nothing. I felt my corona appear around me, and still there was nothing. He knew that I wouldn't be able to, but I'd show him! I exerted myself, and felt my fire spraying out the top of the cylinder, and still I could not mark his shield. I stretched my mind, drew strength from the stellar radiation outside the station and forced it into the point on his shield. Still nothing. I stretched myself out more, sensed the heart of a sun somewhere below me, and pulled its strength into myself and glared at the shield, banged at it. I could feel it shaking, feel it wobbling, and then it shattered as though glass...
And I WAS the Skiptracer from Saturn. I had all of his memories. I remembered the Saturnine race, weird mating rituals, giving birth to the Wonder...
...Then I saw the Skiptracer from Saturn fall in the darkness that filled the station. I could hear an alarm clanging dimly in the distance, but I ignored it as I flew over to where he was drifting in free fall and caught him. *Are you all right?* Nothing. "Are you all right?" I asked again, my voice dim over the alarm, my telekinesis probing him for injury but finding none. What was wrong? And then he moaned.
"I'm here. What happened?"
"You got through. How?"
With a startling suddenness the alarms ceased and the lights flickered on as the artificial gravity was restored. I caught The Skiptracer from Saturn and held him in the air and then I answered slowly, hesitantly, "I tried with all my strength. I wouldn't have succeeded if I hadn't found an outside source of..."
"Skiptracer? What happened there?" It was Superduperman's voice over the intercom.
"I am all right Superduperman. It seems that Supermare is stronger mentally than I suspected."
"Something drained all the energy out of the fusion core and shut everything down," Superduperman continued.
"I believe it was Supermare. She needed the extra energy because I told her to try as hard as she could." *I believe I can stand now Supermare - please put me down.*
I did but waited until he was steady on his feet.
"I will warn you before the next test so that you can be there to reset it," he called out through the intercom to Superduperman.
"You're sure you're all right?"
"Yes. I will inform you of my discoveries when I have completed the testing." *Supermare, you should not have been able to break in.*
I hovered beside him, more comfortable floating than standing. *Why?*
*No one at your race's present level of development should have had the ability to break the defenses of a mind of my class. I cannot attack others, but no-one else on Earth can breach my defenses.*
*You asked me to try. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you.*
*That is understood beautiful one, and no apology is needed. Do you think you could have acquired more strength if you had needed it?*
I remembered how I'd sensed the fusion core and taken it. *Yes.*
*You must never do so. The only greater source is Sol, and that would not be as easy to restart.*
He thought I could consume the sun? Fiery Heavens, what had I become? *I will try not to, and I'm very sorry I hurt you. But may I ask something?*
*You may always ask, but I may not be able to answer.*
*Why do you have a memory of giving birth to The Wonder Twins?*
For a second he just stared at me, then his voice quietly spoke in my mind: *I was their mother. And their father.*
*They were my last attempt to recreate my race. It went...badly. I've hid from them to avoid paying child support.*
I just stared at him. The Skiptracer from Saturn was BOTH parents of the Wonder Twins?!
*I must ask you to take this secret to your grave. Much harm would occur not only to myself, but to the entire Legal League, if this information got out."
All I could do was nod.
And then he continued as though nothing had happened. *Next we need to test your physical abilities. We will scale them up by stages to the point just before you need to suck up the fusion core. That will give us a good idea of what you have to work with. If you will just go back into the tank, I will reset everything and we can proceed...*
The next four hours were a battery of tests. There were tests of how strong my telekinesis was, and it was as strong as Superduperman's strength even before I had to draw on the station's fusion core. My mental defenses were impervious to the machinery, and were more effective than The Skiptracer from Saturn's. My psychokinetic defenses approached the limits of Superduperman's strength before I needed to drain the core again. I was impressed -- it seemed that I could take on the entire Legal League all by myself if I had enough energy sources. Maybe if people shot enough plasma guns at me? By the time all the tests were done I was exhausted, and The Skiptracer from Saturn walked me to one of the quarters on the station and bid me sleep. In a second I was out like a light.
A black silhouette of a furred vixen undulates erotically across the screen from left to right, covering the sleeping flying form of Supermare. The only sound heard is a wolf whistle.
I was enjoying my first sleep without dreams in weeks when The Skiptracer from Saturn woke me up.
My eyes flashed open. "I'm up, I'm up! Oh..."
*It seems that you do have one small problem with your abilities.*
*It seems that when you sleep, your mind is as open as a morning flower, yielding a vision of peace and loveliness that is unfortunately open to even the weakest telepath. I did not pry, but I would not be surprised if others some day will.*
*Let me show you how to protect your mind when you sleep.*
And then, mind to mind, he showed me, sharing his knowledge. He was just finishing when we were suddenly interrupted by the alarm klaxon.
*Supermare, we most go to the monitoring room. Superduperman tells me that Waterboy has found what we've been looking for.*
*What was he looking for?*
*The lair of those whom we have been calling The Fiendish Fluoridators.*
Copyright 2002-2005 Michael Bard. Please send any comments to him at email@example.com