TBD: Part 5

Stepping a little faster, I said, “Just a second, I feel like I should say something to her.”

Behind me (by then), Daniel said, “I don’t know. She seems kind of worked up—”

Okay, I heard that, but I didn’t really hear it. So when I tapped her on the shoulder and said, “Hey, we met this summer. I’m the Rocket—”

I didn’t get to finish my sentence.

As someone with a suit of powered armor that could hit speeds faster than three hundred miles per hour, and a “jet” fast enough to fly into space, I had an idea of what speed felt like, and this felt fast.

She grabbed me, and the hall turned into a blur of beige carpet, and white walls.

When I could see details again, I found myself stumbling to find my footing in a conference room—not a big conference room either. We stood in one of the normal sized ones—a room just large enough to hold a table with twelve chairs.

She let go of me, and we looked at each other.

Whatever part of my brain should have been handling possible threats hadn’t yet engaged. The part of my brain assigned to figuring out how the world worked, however, found it interesting that the speed hadn’t ripped my flesh from my bones, and argued that her toughness might be the result of force fields instead of being physically tough (and that the field extended to protect people she was carrying). Depending on the properties of the field, that could explain her ability to amplify sound.

“How did you recognize me?”

I couldn’t decide at first whether the emotion in Izzy’s voice sounded more like fear or anger. I hoped for fear because if she were angry she could kill me without thinking.

“When you were all with Evil Beatnik, I tracked you back to the apartment. Sorry. You were after us. That’s how I handle things like that.”

She didn’t say anything, frowning. Then she said, “This never ends.”

I tried to think about how to respond. She was obviously upset, and it didn’t take much to guess that being mind controlled by Evil Beatnik last summer might have been traumatic. Being influenced to break things and hurt people on his behalf, and knowing that if he ever showed up, you’d do it all over again couldn’t leave a person happy.

It made me wish I knew what my dad would do. His skills as a therapist seemed more relevant to the situation than anything I knew about being a superhero.

The next thing she said sounded calmer, but only by a little. “Please don’t tell anybody. I know what I said to Bullet back there, but as long as I’m doing something I can respect, I want to be here.”

“I don’t think anyone can hold being influenced by Evil Beatnik against you. It’s not your fault at all. Not even legally, I’m pretty sure.”

“I don’t care about that. You know what my grandfather was. I don’t ever want to be associated with him. He was horrible.”

I had the feeling that if I pushed there might be a story behind what she’d said, but it didn’t seem like the right time.

“I won’t tell anybody. The Heroes League knows, of course, but we keep secrets.” I thought about that for a second. “I’d give you examples, but kind of goes against the whole point, I guess. No, wait. We also know the identities of everyone else on the team, but we haven’t mentioned them to anyone because it’s not their fault either.”

She’d smiled a little when I said the bit about examples, and said, “I haven’t seen any of them since then. When we were free, I flew away. I keep expecting to see one of them on the news, and not in a good way. They’re psychotic.”

Daniel’s voice sounded in my mind, It sounds like you’re wrapping up in there. Agent Lim wants to talk to you so you’ll probably want to hurry.

“Do you think we ought to go?” I asked.

Izzy nodded. “Yes. I still haven’t gotten my room key. Oh, and I’m sorry about dragging you away like that. I was still freaking out after everything, then out of nowhere here comes the worst experience of my life back all over again.”

“No problem. I didn’t know it was that bad.”

“No,” she said, “you wouldn’t.”

She opened the door.

“’I wouldn’t’ why?”

“You’re the League. You were protected against him somehow.”

“No. We had records about him, but mostly I got lucky.”

I followed her out, reminded of how much taller she was. When I was in the Rocket suit, she stood a little taller than I did. Without it, I was probably six inches shorter.

She got one step out of the door, and stopped. When I stepped around her, I saw Isaac Lim walking down the hall with Daniel, Cassie, Jaclyn, and Vaughn.

Even though none of them were in costume, it felt official. It might have been Lim’s blue suit.

“Everybody,” he said, “let’s step back into the conference room.”

“You too,” he told Izzy.

18 thoughts on “TBD: Part 5”

  1. Oh this looks bad. At least it would look bad from Izzy’s point of view. And she could do a lot of damage if she panics.

  2. Yep, I guess that secret identities are overrated. Perhaps a really strong mind-scrub is in everyone’s future?

  3. Evil Twin: Secret identities are for the masses, and are less about keeping secrets than about giving the supers a modicum (or at least illusion) of privacy. Lim already knows who they all are, and being a Rocket fanboy doesn’t mean he’s going to skip filing his reports. So, anyone with a the right Security Clearance likely has access to the ‘secret’ identity of any hero who plays nice with the Feds.

    And not playing nice with the Feds rarely ends well in the highly public field of super-heroing. It’s hard to lay low while flying around in spandex and a cape.

    Now, how does this effect Izzy?

    Since she’s basicly a Government sponsored super at this point, they’re going to want to shield her from bad publicity. Acknowledging her relation to Dixie Superman is a lose/lose for her public image, and could couse friction between her and any supers who have a grudge against her old man.

    The best thing to do is to get her out there, let her build a reputation. If people can judge her by her actions, there will be fewer issues should the connection every (dramatically) come out. Folks who would turn their noses up at help from Dixie Supergirl might not have a problem with Brick Chick, savior of New York, New Hampshire, and New Brunswick (PS: also happens to be the daughter of Dixie Superman).

    So, who better to team her with than a group of established heroes who already know who she is, have never fought her father, and both know and understand her brief stint as a supervillain was the result of mind-control?

    Everybody meet the new probational member of the Heroes League!

  4. Fishface/Evil Twin/Luke: I’d comment except for totally blowing a few things that are coming up.

    Hg: I’d be afraid for the cage in that match, and possibly the building containing the cage.

  5. Luke: Considering the fallout of Chris’ and Kayla’s inductions, I doubt anyone is getting into the Legion without the whole roster being present to vote on it, even in a probational capacity. I don’t doubt that Lim plans to group them together for the duration, though.

  6. I think Luke nailed most of it. The league would make sense to pair her up with. They’re established, they know her and the League has alot of experience of making sure work and private life don’t collide ( too much )

  7. when someone grabs you like that and drags you into an empty room it is usually to make out. note that for next time brick chick (like it or not Jim that is now her name)

  8. I’ve always maintained that Superman’s power is an energy manipulation (like a tactile telekinesis) because changing the wavelength of light (red sun versus yellow) wouldn’t do anything. Brick Girl’s powers being a force field makes sense.

  9. G.S., they’ve often gone with tactile telekinesis like that. It explains why his costume doesn’t get messed up and why he doesn’t break people’s backs when he saves them from falling. They explicitly used that term when talking about his clone, Superboy, who could use it to start taking apart Alex Luthor’s massive, dimension-altering machine in Infinite Crisis.

    I also personally enjoyed Marvel’s take on it with their original take on Superman, Gladiator. In his case, it’s like really strong psychic powers that let him do everything. Super speed, strength, flight, laser beam eyes. Part of that is that if he feels he can’t do it for some reason, then it can’t. It’s based on his own self confidence like that. Which is why he was once disabled by Rocket Raccoon using a mop while Rachel Grey projected images of some race’s anti-Gladiator gun on him. Or when the Fantastic Four and Captain America went up against him and someone put an illusion on Cap to make him look like Reed Richards. Gladiator used his heat vision, which Cap blocked with his shield. It seemed to do nothing, so he thought something was up with his powers, allowing Cap to knock him out. Mr. Fantastic had figured out that such powers had to be telekinetic, and thus psychic, in some way because he was capable of lifting entire buildings and cars instead of tearing through them with all the weight resting on the relatively small points of two humanoid-sized hands.

    I haven’t seen it yet, unfortunately, but it looks like the guys from Chronicle wind up with most of this stuff too. Due to exposure to some weird meteorite thingy, they all get telekinesis that isn’t limited to just what they touch, later figuring out how to fly with it and how to put up a field around themselves so that they stop whatever gets thrown at them.

    It’s nice to think up ways such powers could be used that would be unconventional, like a telekinetic sleeper hold. Not the first superpowers in wrestling, what with “Hulk” Hogan and his Atomic Leg Drop. You hear me, Hogan, I’m coming for you, this Sunday, at Crater Colosseum on the Moon. Oooh, yeah, Hogan, I’m gonna snap you like a Slim Jim, because I am the Lord and Master of the ring.

    And Brick Chick just isn’t going to cut it as a name. We can do better than this. She needs a theme to really narrow one down, otherwise you have to go for some vague terms or something. Considering her past, though, how about Rebel for a supername?

  10. Man it’s nice to have a site where you can truly geek out and not get funny stares.

    You can thank John Byrne’s rewriting of Superman for his abilities being tactile telekinesis. He was influenced by Larry Niven’s Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex article and answered a lot of the questions raised in that article by suggesting that while very strong physically, he did in fact use his flying powers on other people objects to move them around without breaking them. Also by having his powers gradually appear as he entered puberty there were much fewer problems with raising him. Think of disciplining someone who can’t even feel your strongest blows to their fanny and to whom the most visually substantial items are made from lead and have the consistency of Play-Do.

    The “Superboy clone” is in fact not an actual clone of Superman. They never succeeded in penetrating his forcefield to get a tissue sample so built one from other genetic sources and modified him to have telekinesis. That’s why he was susceptible to energy damage such as fire, lasers, etc…

  11. Yes, super strength and durability of the “Men of Steel, Women of Kleenex” variety raises all kinds of problems if you think about it. How strong you think a guy’s gotta be to pop Supergirl’s cherry? It better be consentual, or those kegel muscles are gonna pop you. Or what if Superman liked a little anal. It’d be tough getting past a super strong sphincter. Since he supposedly shaves with his heat vision, how painful is it for him to handle a little manscaping? Could someone theoretically find his baby teeth and sharpen them to use against him? Will he ever get a green card? Are his sperm too strong for a condom?

    What stops him from hearing the screams for his help from all around the world, given his super hearing? How can he sleep knowing that as the world’s greatest hero, the man who can do anything, he still can’t save them all? Every second of sleep, more people die in some preventable manner. How many of them call out for Superman, that he can hear, and he’s instead sitting behind a desk or taking an elevator up to his office? Will he keep up his life as a hero into his old age, forever at the beck and call of people, perhaps being the very reason they don’t take more caution? Will he have children knowing they’ll inherit that life? Can he even have children, him being a different species from his wife, and what are his thoughts on beastiality? How does he justify taking time for a love life when others are losing their husbands and wives and he could save them? If he can hear so much, why did he do nothing about the Catholic molestations? Does he feel any guilt for being the main distraction that keeps as great a mind as Lex Luthor’s from perhaps being able to solve the world’s problems so they don’t need a Superman, as has been seen in Superman: Red Son?

    If he goes crazy then will you still call him Superman? If he’s alive and well will you be there, holding his hand?

  12. PG: I always kinda figured Superman took care of that particular problem for Supergirl (and probably Wonder Woman and Powergirl, too). I mean, they’re first cousins less than half the time, depending where you are in the retcon cycle. They were even married and had a daughter at one point. @_@

  13. There was one comic one time where Superman pretty much said that if she were older, he’d tap that, albeit in a dignifed, charming, Superman-esque way. And Powergirl is Supergirl from another dimension. Or something. They keep changing that. I think he did have a daughter with Wonder Woman in this one series where all but technological and natural heroes lost their powers (though there was a lot of inconsistency, such as the Green Lantern rings no longer working either), but it sounds like that What If story is one people would prefer to bury under 1.78 tons of manure.

    No matter what, still doesn’t get stranger than Meloni Thawne, daughter-in-law to Barry Allen, aka The Flash, and mother to Bart Allen, aka The Flash, who had a child with Digger Harkness, aka Captain Boomerang.

    And from the little research I’ve done on it, doesn’t sound like first cousins is really that big a deal. I think I read the chance for a birth defect in that situation is the same as a woman over 40 in an unrelated couple having a baby. The acceptability of such pairings varies from place to place, same as step-siblings, though I hear European royalty was big on it. Didn’t want to mix with any commoners, you know.

    Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

  14. Also, DW, good thinking, reminds me of a connection.

    As you all surely know, there are multiple depictions in ancient Sumerian artwork of a mortal, a great king of the time, coming before the gods to receive a plant, usually with water being poured into it. This is the tree of life, and the waters of life. Just some higher being coming to Earth to give the leader of a group of people in ancient times something that signifies the power of that king.

    Furthermore, you couldn’t just go up to the gods. You had to climb a big ziggurat in the middle of a walled city, then go to a private little room that no one was really allowed into.

    There were also depictions of a hero that predate the Epic of Gilgamesh. The imagery was repeatedly used throughout the ages with some changes, but you consistently get a hero, thought to be a noble or king, who is naked except for a belt, yet frequently is depicted either slaying lots of lions with arrows, or wrestling with them.

    A similar image could probably be found in the later myth of Heracles who fought the Nemean Lion, a fierce lion with skin that couldn’t be pierced. He was victorious by either shooting an arrow down it’s throat to choke it, or by strangling it. Heracles wasn’t exactly dressed a whole lot all the time anyways.

    Mythology is indeed ripe for references to aliens giving people superpowers if you choose to see it that way.

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