|The Legal League - Part 2|
When last we left the intrepid Supermare, she was on The Legal League Satellite having been invited to join the mighty Legal League as a probationary member. After meeting the others, she was led off by The Skiptracer from Saturn where her powers were tested. She was able to break even his unbreakable mental defenses and learn a horrible secret from The Skiptracer from Saturn's past. She and The Skiptracer had just been informed that Waterboy had found the lair of the Supervillain group known as The Fiendish Fluoridators...
As The Skiptracer from Saturn led me out and back towards the monitoring room, I asked him, *Who are The Fiendish Fluoridators? I thought that name was trademarked by Steve Jackson Games.* ['*' indicates telephathic communication. Beratingly Bothersome Bert]
*The Fiendish Fluoridators are the codename we have given to an unknown group who have been secretly tampering with the water supply of the western United States. We have not been able to determine who they are, why they are fluorinating the water, or where they were based.*
*And Waterboy was looking for them?*
*The last place he was going to search was the Grand Hoover Dam, which suggests that that is where the villains are hiding. We will know more once we arrive at the monitoring room.*
Fluorinating the water? Who'd do such a vile thing? Fluoridation had been outlawed ever since the 70s, the law forced through by the parents of The Five Cavities, a group of supervillains which had been formed out of children given an Origin by drinking fluorinated water. I'd gotten some from the black market, but it hadn't affected me.
*We are almost there. It would most likely be more friendly if you walked rather than floated. The Amazing Amazonian II does not like those who show off their abilities.*
*Sorry. I think it's the artificial gravity that's confusing me.* With a mental effort I stopped flying and walked the rest of the way behind the Skiptracer, my hooves lightly tapping the metal deck. As we entered the monitoring room I heard a light irish tune playing. It almost made me want to tap dance.
"Don't you be using yer hands, eh?"
What? I stopped and stared at Red Rocket's grin but then as Superduperman turned to face me the grin vanished and the music suddenly went silent.
"Good morning Supermare, I trust your sleep was restful? Unfortunately The Amazing Amazonian II was called away on a personal matter so it's just the rest of us." He turned around to face The Superduper Big Screen. "Red Rocket, if you would be so kind as to play the last message we received from Waterboy?"
The Superduper Big Screen flickered and then displayed Waterboy talking into his wrist communicator. "Legal League, I've found something near the bottom of the reservoir along the south-east shore. It is not natural, and is not an installation which is supposed to be there. I suggest..." Then a human-like ray, dressed in black and white, entered the picture and attacked Waterboy , viciously clawing him. The Superduper Big Screen flickered and went dark.
I was just getting out my copy of Classic Enemies when a mugshot of the villain appeared on The Superduper Big Screen. Red Rocket's voice described it. "I've identified the villain as Ray. He was created during US Government atomic blast survival tests, along with a group of others which he often operates with. Ray is fully aquatic but can survive on land needing only occasional wettings and is a physical martial artist, almost more savage than human. It is known that he is susceptible to fire attacks. The nominal leader of the group is known as Sunburst." The picture changed to show a tall man in a gold suit with red trim and a white star chest emblem. "He is the most powerful and was directly affected by the atomic blast which game him powers which are sun and light based, and he acts as a powerful flying blaster. A lot like you Supermare. Unfortunately he has no known weaknesses. The third member is known as Radium." The picture changed again, this time showing a human figure in a bright yellow radiation suit. The faceplate showed only a glowing energy, also yellow. "Radium was bonded to his survival suit by the blast and transformed into a creature of living radiation. He is a ground-bound energy blaster with some telepathic ability, primarily communication. Radium needs the suit to survive and takes damage if it is punctured. The final member is Armadillo." The picture changed to show a silver-gray armoured suit with two large red eyes and gold-coloured gauntlets, belt and joint plates. "He was apparently not affected by the blast, but proved the only person capable of operating the armoured suit created by the US Government Man Amplifier Program. He is the group's brick, although he does have an energy blast and can also tunnel. Usually he acts as a tactical reserve tunneling into an advantageous position and blasting the enemy from surprise and from cover. Armadillo is known to be sensitive to sonic and mental attacks. Collectively the group is known as Project Sunburst after the project that created them, eh." The Superduper Big Screen went dark.
Everybody turned to look at Superduperman who was staring at The Superduper Big Screen. "It seems that we finally have a target. Red Rocket, has there been any sign of Waterboy since his last message?"
"No. I took a quick run by the dam last night after beating Firemane -- he can barely reach 2/3s my speed -- but found no sign of Waterboy. However, I did pass a large group of dolphins and other cetaceans making their way up to the reservoir via the Colorado River, eh."
"Then, without the presence of The Chiropteran, we shall have to attack frontally. Supermare, your target will be Radium; Violet Lantern II you can deal with Sunburst; Skiptracer you can handle Ray; and I'll take out Armadillo. Red Rocket, you should try and find a surface entrance and break in and rescue Waterboy whilst we distract them."
Were we going to go underwater...? I remembered the coldness of New York Harbour. "Superduperman...?"
He turned his All American Boy look on me. "Yes."
"Will we be going in the water?"
I could feel his belief looking at me, pushing me to try, but I had to warn The Legal League just in case. "I don't know if I can. It was not pleasant in New York harbour and I haven't had a chance to test my abilities in such an environment since."
Superduperman frowned, and I felt like the kid who'd just flubbed the class pizza order. He turned to The Skiptracer from Saturn. "Skiptracer, what do your tests show?"
"Supermare should be fine. Her powers are telekinetic and telepathic, the fiery corona seems to be just a visual affect. There is the possibility of some problems though."
"The water didn't hurt me, or cause pain, it just felt cold."
"Do you think you can handle it then Supermare?"
"I think so. I'll do my best."
"That is all that anyone can do. Violet Lantern II, keep her in a bubble of air as long as you can. Let us go then and take them out. For Truth, Justice, and an End to Legally Actionable Offenses!"
With the others I shouted back, "For Truth, Justice, and an End to Legally Actionable Offenses!!" Then we all followed Superduperman to the teleportation room, picking up breathing masks along the way. Red Rocket locked the beam onto the last known co-ordinates of Waterboy, and on the shore for himself, and we all stood up and Violet Lantern II surrounded us all in a purple sphere as Red Rocket vanished and appeared at the controls and activated the system, and then vanished and reappeared on his pad as we all faded out.
A black silhouette of a furred vixen undulates erotically across the screen from left to right, covering the empty teleportation room on The Legal League Satellite. The only sound heard is a wolf whistle.
And then we were bobbing in the depths of the reservoir. The water was cold, but with the mask I could breathe easily. Then there was a tingling and a purple haze appeared around me, pressing the water away and I summoned a little fire to warm the bubble up a bit. We were all floating maybe fifty feet down, about fifty feet away from the bottom. The water was a blackish-blue and I realized that it was early evening. Dimly I could hear the sound of a boat motor form somewhere on the surface.
The Skiptracer from Saturn spoke in my head: *Red Rocket is scouting the shore for a land based entrance. I can detect nobody nearby. Supermare, you have a longer range...*
I reached out with my mind, finding no problem with searching either through the purple bubble, or through the water. As I searched I spoke into everybody's mind: "Nothing nearby, some fish, crustaceans...below and to the right -- three minds!*
Superduperman's voice came through the breathing mask speaker: "You all know who to engage...AHHHHHHHHHHH...!" Safety systems in the communication net cut the link before my hearing could be damaged and I spun around inside the bubble and just stared at Superduperman who was doubled over in pain.
Before I could begin to panic The Skiptracer's calm voice filled my head, *It seems that we were expected. Remember that we are only to keep them busy whilst the Red Rocket searches and rescues Waterboy whose aquatic denizens should be in the reservoir any time now.*
Calmed I turned back and watched a golden glow now visible below us grow brighter, and watched see Superduperman starting to sink to the bottom. I reached out and held him. The glow got closer and then Violet Lantern II burst out: "Guardians but they were expecting us!"
I could now see the three clearly and they were not costumed as they normally were. Instead, two were wearing bright yellow wetsuits and breathing gear with yellow tinted lenses; Ray was wearing some kind of yellow latex. All three had a glowing green stone hanging around their necks, the stone held in some kind of yellow-tinted container.
*It seems Supermare that Project Sunburst is extremely well informed about The Legal League. From Superduperman's reaction I would surmise that each of them is wearing Klaptonite around their necks.*[Klaptonite: Glowing Paisley rocks that are almost instant death to Superduperman. They are fragments of his home planet destroyed during a hideous war with the neighbouring world of Da'Bie-Tehlz. Unfortunately Salt'n'Pepaland was not able to prevent this war due to concurrent problems between Eminem and Vandross - Harmoniously Helpful Harry]
*It is Superduperman's one weakness. I expect that he either knew about this, or suspected it, and that is why he invited you along. Also, Violet Lantern II cannot affect anything that is yellow. I find it very disturb...*
The three forms stopped just opposite us, hovering in the water and The Soliloquays began before The Skiptracer could continue. "So this is the mighty Legal League which would dare interfere in my plans."
A quick check of the threesome showed that Radium, Ray, and Sunburst were the only ones present. *Where's Armadillo?*
The Skiptracer called out to them, "By the powers granted us by the United Nations, and under the laws of the United States of America, we are here to arrest you for violating the Water Purity Act of 1972."
Sunburst laughed, his voice high-pitched and muffled through his mask. "Water Purity Act? They had no idea what horrors they unleashed by forbidding fluoridation. I, Sunburst, shall purify society. I shall root out disease and bring health and happiness to the citizens!"
"The people and their government have decided that what you are doing is against the laws of this nation. It is the right and power of the legal government to change the law if the people desire. Not you."
"The people? Don't make me laugh. The people are fools; their government more so. Only I, Sunburst, have the intelligence to know what is right for them!"
"Then you will not come with us peacefully?"
"Because I understand that you serve the state that I am trying to help, I will allow you to leave now, alive."
"We can't do that."
"So be it. Let that be written on your tombstone as you join the rest of your race."
Where had they gotten the Klaptonite from. I burst out and asked, "Out of curiosity, where did you get the Klaptonite from?"
"From boB's Supervillain Warhouse -- $19.99."
I'd never heard of it. "Bob's Supervillain Warhouse?"
"No, b o B ' s."
"Never heard of it."
"You must have heard of it! It's in The Legal League Computer."
"It is?" I'd have to check.
"Please excuse her ignorance -- she's a bit new to all this," the Skiptracer from Saturn said. "Perhaps you could assist us in completing our files on the Warhouse; for example, what sort of return policy does it have?"
"Well, it's really quite generous. In fact they only take the proceeds the last robbery."
"I thought you said it was generous!" I burst out.
"It is, compared to others anyway. In fact if you succeed in overthrowing the Government, they actually start paying bribes to YOU."
I blinked. "That makes sense I guess."
"It does. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a business that'll give a supervillain even THAT much consideration? In fact..." -- wait a minute!" Sunburst said, interrupting himself. "Enough of these pointless delays!"
Somehow I knew that that ended The Soliloquies, and indeed it did as the three supervillains immediately moved to the attack. Ray moved to engage The Skiptracer from Saturn; Sunburst struck at Violet Lantern II with a yellow beam; and Radium moved against me. At first Radium's attack was stopped by the Violet Lantern II's bubble, but then it vanished and I could see that Violet Lantern II was struggling to defend himself against Sunburst, apparently by manipulating the water molecules to diffract the attack away from him. Radiums initial attack was easy to hold off, at least until the water flowed against my body.
It was cold, grasping, stealing away my energy, fighting against my will. What shields I had gotten up fell as I panicked, and Radium's attack blew the mask off of me and flung me back into the depths of the reservoir. Was water my secret weakness? I sank deeper into the cold, grasping, wet depths...
It was The Skiptracer's calm voice that called me back from the abyss. Stop. Think. Why was I going to drown? Because I was in water. But fish could breathe water, my goldfish could breathe water. In transforming them I'd memorized their entire genetic structure, their biological makeup. Their gills. Radium broke off his attack on me as I sank. First step, breathing. I pictured in my mind the gill structure of the goldfish and made the changes to the front of my chest, changing my lungs into air bladders and sealing them off from my trachea. I double-checked the changes, keeping my mouth shut, and then triple checked. It should work, it had to work. I forced myself to open my mouth, ignored the fear as the air trickled out, and then swallowed the water. I felt it fall down my throat and then ooze out my gills -- and it all worked! Then some more telekinetic manipulations, some more adaptations, and the first problem was taken care of. I guess water isn't my secret weakness -- of course Ladybug had punched me, not drenched me in water, but I'd have to worry about that later.
Next, why did my powers not work in water? According to The Skiptracer they were psychic in nature, although I did take power from the fusion reactor on The Legal League Satellite. The reactor burned hydrogen. What was water? Oxygen and hydrogen. Hydrogen was what made the sun burn, was what apparently made ME burn. So why was I afraid of it? I heard The Skiptracer beginning to choke as Ray ripped his mask off. They were all counting on me. I could not fail them; I would not fail them! Second step look for energy -- there was a very bright source nearby and I grabbed it and sucked it into me. A distant part of me heard Sunburst scream. Third step, apply that energy to the water, break the water apart into what I needed. I focused my will on the water around me the same way I focused it when I changed clothing by modifying the atomic structure. Around me the water burst into bubbles and burst into flame, but then went out as the hydrogen was consumed. I could feel Sunburst struggling but I tapped him ruthlessly and focused my will on the water around me, no below me! Change that and let it flow around me and then I could use it. Another burst of fire, a burst of bubbles, and this time I was ready and made more. And it burned, and I made more. I couldn't breathe the water anymore, but I didn't need to, the fusion was all I needed. I could feel Sunfire fighting me, so I pulled off some hydrogen before it was burned and squeezed it with my mind until it became a sun, hot, bright, a source of power held between my hoof-hands with only my will. Around me the water boiled, roaring to the surface and I sank, almost touching the bottom as the local density decreased. Sunfire broke loose but I didn't care!
I could dimly hear him telling them all to attack me. Opening my mind, I felt that Superduperman had sank to the bottom, unconscious. The Skiptracer from Saturn was struggling to the surface pulling Violet Lantern II up with him. Grouped above me were the members of Project Sunburst and both Sunburst and Radium threw their beams at me but I let Sunburst's into me and used its energy to throw Radium's disdainfully off. Ray swam up behind me but I ignored him as he swiped his claws against my telekinetic shields, scalding his hands on the vapourizing water. I opened my mind wider and felt the reservoir full of life. It seemed that Waterboy's denizens, dolphins, killer whales, all had finally arrived and I felt the pain in their flesh from the fresh water, and the love for their... By the Fiery Heavens it WAS love. Stretching further I found that Red Rocket had found Waterboy and was even now fighting Armadillo and would so be victorious. I passed on to the cetaceans that Waterboy would soon be free and called them this way towards the underwater entrance to the base.
Then I turned to Project Sunburst. *YOU WOULD DARE TO HURT ME?!*
Sunburst responded, his voice muffled through the water, "You are indeed fortunate. Those who oppose me do not live long enough to regret it."
I neighed in laughter, ignoring Ray as he suddenly swam off to engage the cetaceans. My only concern was Sunburst, he who had dared to use the powers of the Sun against me! *SUNBURST, YOU ARE A FOOL! YOU MAY USE THE SUN, BUT I *AM* THE SUN!*
"Supermare, join me! Together we can bring morality to this sorry nation! You must know this, together we are above the petty rules of law, for we are both of the heavens."
I flew up until I was just opposite Sunburst. *YOU ARE NOTHING!* I reached out with my right hoof-hand and grabbed him about his waist and squeezed. With my left hand-hoof I manipulated my fusion bubble to let more hydrogen in to continue the reaction. I could see Radium frantically firing everything he had at me, radiation from all across the spectrum, but I ignored him, my eyes focused only on Sunburst as I squeezed. His shields flared, red, yellow, blue, violet, ultraviolet, and then they were gone. I melted the mask off his face and ripped his suit off.
He screamed in pain as my fire burned his flesh, the air bubbling out of his lungs.
*YOU WISH TO USE THE SUN? THEN EMBRACE ITS FIRE!* I played my fusion born energies over him, caressing his skin, scalding his flesh just enough for him to feel it, but not enough to actually burn him.
And then from within Sunburst's mind I heard a familiar voice: *Ah my filly, we meet again.* It was Black Stallion.
*Feel his glorious pain, the pleasure of his destruction at your will.*
What was I doing?
*Show him the true joy of the sun my filly, my sprouting egg. Destroy him!*
I glared at Sunburst's form, holding him lightly, letting his skin only singe, not burn. But with my telepathy I dug into his mind, ripped through his mental defenses, chased after Black Stallion. This time I had Black Stallion, I held his mind in my hoof-hand. This time he wouldn't...
*Supermare! It is over!*
Who would dare?! I spun my head around and there was The Skiptracer from Saturn, breathing mask back in place, arms crossed, looking at me with his ancient wisdom. Then I felt others. Waterboy was swimming with the cetaceans and Ray was out cold; Violet Lantern II had managed to transmute the water around Superduperman into lead, and Superduperman had ripped the yellow suit off Radium and cracked open the yellow Klatonite containers so that Violet Lantern could transmute the mineral into a harmless pumice which now floated on the surface.
And in that second of distraction Black Stallion vanished. NO! Fiery Heavens NO!!!
But he was gone.
I loosened my grip on Sunburst and began to dampen my fusion bubble, slowly expanding it to stop the reaction while I bled out the energy into my corona. With that energy I flew to the surface, carrying everybody up and onto the main dam where Red Rocket was waiting, and then focusing the energy into a ruby laser that shot up and into the heavens, momentarily dimming the electric lights around us, narrowly avoiding all the headquarters and hideouts that were floating in orbit, and 'completely accidentally' cracking the neon-filled tube that made up the sign pointing to Asteroid N.
And, as the fire faded, I found I couldn't breathe. I remembered the gills, looked down at the water dribbling out of them, and then telekinetically moved my cells back the way they were, pulling the water in my lungs out, and then began to breathe normally again.
It was over.
Superduperman, the colour rapidly flowing back into his cheeks, looked around at The Legal League standing on the dam, the villains out cold on the cement, and the squeaking and clicking cetaceans in the water. "Is everybody all right?"
There were nods and acknowledgements.
Then Waterboy spoke up, "Thank you for rescuing me, though my subjects would have been here and done it regardless."
Subjects? Did he not know the truth? I let my mind flow over the minds of the cetaceans in the dam. They'd never told him. They were afraid to tell him. They were desperate, but afraid. I turned to Waterboy and asked, "Do you know why all of the watery denizens help you?"
"Of course I know -- it's because I'm their King."
Scanning the minds of the cetaceans again, I sensed their collective need for me to tell him the truth. Not only was it their need, but it was the need of every creature that lived in the seven seas. They had all been getting more and more desperate for years, and the pain of the fresh water had finally convinced the cetaceans here that hiding it for too long might lose them the opportunity forever. "It's because they love you."
"Of course they love me, they love me because I am their KING!"
Squeaks, clicks, chirps, buzzes, and all kinds of other sounds greeted that remark, and their collective desperation almost overwhelmed me.
"See, they're saluting me!"
I forced the clamoring hoards from my mind and stepped over next to him. "No Waterboy, they don't love you as a ruler, they LOVE you -- your manly body, your boyish innocence, your..."
"You're wrong! I'm their king, their..."
I don't know if it was me, or the collective desperation of all the creatures swimming in the painful freshwater of the damn, but I pushed Waterboy into the water. Immediately, the pent up sexual desire of years overwhelmed him and a sea of desperate bodies pushed him under, leaving only a churning pool on the surface. It wasn't a pretty sight visually, but emotionally -- WOW!
Superduperman walked over to the edge and looked down. "That was the real reason?"
I nodded but I don't think he saw me.
He continued as though he had. "Hmmm. Perhaps it's time to rename him WaterMAN."
Red Rocket just snickered.
(1) The 'Classic Enemies' Supervillain resource was originally published in 1989 by Hero Games.
(2) The article on Ray was written by Glenn Thainn
(3) The article on Sunburst was written by Glenn Thainn
(4) The article on Radium was written by Glenn Thainn
(5) The article on Armadillo was written by Glenn Thainn
(6) The article on Project Sunburst was written by Glenn Thainn
Copyright 2002-2005 Michael Bard. Please send any comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org