Under 30: Part 21

“Doing about it?” Jaclyn said. “We were working on a plan to stop them, but we can go to the riot.”

The Marvelous X shook his head. “Please don’t. We’ve reason to believe a villain named Evil Beatnik is involved. You’ve likely never heard of him because he hasn’t been seen in years, but he can influence young people. We’ve organized a number of heroes that are too old for him to control. They’ll take care of him soon enough.”

“You’re sure about that?”

He frowned. “Do you know something we don’t?”

“Nothing, I’m sure. It seems like he’s got a lot of people working for him.”

“Yes, but he always does. Once our people immobilize his followers we’ll release his identity to the world, and he’ll disappear again.”

He seemed to be following the same plan the original League used. He’d probably been active back when they were using it, so no surprise.

He signed off, and I turned off the phone program’s display.

Minimizing the call transcript, I opened up a window to News 10’s website. They were covering the riot. From the pictures coming across the screen, riot seemed like an overstatement. Maybe to the Marvelous X it seemed like a riot, but he was old.

The picture showed Riverside Park, a park that ran alongside the Black River. The Ice Twins, Mr. Madness, and Dixie Supergirl stood on a hill, shouting toward the crowd. Filling the lawn between Grand Lake University buildings and the water, it reminded me more of a rock concert than anything else.

Destruction Boy lay on the ground halfway up the hill. Bongo Boy sat near him, playing his drums.

Two monkeys chased each other, jumping over Destruction Boy, and dancing in front of the bongos.

Evil Beatnik and Mr. Beacham’s girlfriend (whose name I was beginning to think might be Amy) stood at the bottom of the hill.

The crowd wasn’t burning anything, but were shouting on cue, many red-faced and shaking their fists.

So maybe it wasn’t really a riot, but it looked like it might become one soon.

I kept the sound off, but it didn’t matter. News 10 was reporting from the helicopter.

Vaughn watched the screen like the rest of us. “So, are we waiting for the MHA guys to arrive before going in? I’m sure they won’t be able to stop us once they get into the middle of things.”

“No, I was thinking we’d actually listen to him.” Jaclyn raised an eyebrow as she talked.

Kayla nodded. “It sounds like they can handle it without you.”

“Are you kidding?” Vaughn asked. “They’ll need people for crowd control at the very least, and that’s without considering Dixie Supergirl and the rest. Bet you twenty bucks, somebody’ll get thrown through a wall.”

“I’m not taking that bet,” Jaclyn said.

Meanwhile, Rachel stared at the screen. “Okay,” she said. “There are even more monkeys now. What’s going on with that?”

She pointed, and I noticed a few more riding on the shoulders of people in the crowd.

Vaughn laughed. “Oh man, that is weird. Beware the Monkeypocalypse!”

Marcus shook his head. “It’s in the reports.”

“I didn’t read all the reports,” Vaughn said.

“Neither did I, but this was in one of the last ones. Either Bongo Boy’s drums summon monkeys, or he’s the mortal son of a monkey god. The original League never knew for sure.”

“Great,” Rachel said. “Either way he’s got mystical monkey control powers. Jaclyn, we’re going to need to at least think about what we’ll do if we have to go in.”

“How are we going to do that without joining him?” Jaclyn asked.

I didn’t know, and I didn’t say anything, but we had to act.

What could we do from a distance, and still stay out of range? I knew he had a range (whatever it was). I suspected that it grew with the amount of chaos and disorder around him. If so, he’d gained power when Dixie Supergirl trashed the county jail.

And what was he planning to do with the crowd? He couldn’t have gathered that many people for fun.

Movement on the screen pulled me out of my thoughts. The News 10 Choppercam stopped pointing at the people, and pointed into the air. Floating toward them, I saw most of Justice Fist, all in street clothes.

I half expected them to attack, but they didn’t. They landed in the front, and started shouting with the rest of the crowd.

“The Michigan Heroes Alliance is screwed,” Rachel said, pointing at them. “There’s Julie. She’s not limited to controlling people under thirty.”

14 thoughts on “Under 30: Part 21”

  1. The grand confrontation, perhaps? A chance to kick Justice Fist’s butt so hard that, after the dust is settled and video and photographs are compared, they’ll still have difficulty determining if there ever was a butt present?

    Also, why didn’t Beatnik just possess Julie in the first place?

    1. PG: An unmentioned preference for possessing males is mostly it–plus Julie’s power has more limits than his in that it’s got a shorter range and effect, and takes more work in phrasing what you want to happen.

      Plus it’s more easily defeated.

  2. well Nick didn’t think of sonic shielding everyone isnt that the other sonic gadget he has? But then they dont have Daniel to telepathically link them I forgot. Never mind.

  3. We don’t know how EB’s powers work, it might be auditory based or it might be magic. Its iffy to stake your freedom on a guess.

  4. 1) Load Jaclyn with flashbangs. Fifty or so of them, chained to go off at once after a half-second.
    2) Also give her a sleepy-gas bomb.
    3) And a tazer.
    4) Have her run into the crowd at the speed of sound, activate the flashbang pack and the sleepy-gas bomb, and tazer the Beatnik’s host. Then leave before the flashbangs and sleepy-gas bomb explodes.
    5) As soon as the attack knocks his followers out, publish the Beatnik’s identity.
    6) If the attack doesn’t work, have Rachel shoot the Beatnik’s host with a couple sleepy darts delivered through a long-range rifle.
    7) Have Nick use the sonics on him modified to cover his voice.
    8) Then have whoever is available beat him up till he’s unconscious.

    That would be my plan anyway.

  5. I’m rather disinclined to believe Evil Beanik’s power to be sound-based like Julie’s. It’s probably just all majik since that’d explain stuff like it working even when he’s nothing but the ring and the weird age limitation.
    Of course, that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work better when delivered with a speech and a phat bongo beat…

  6. A late post, plus I haven’t read the other comments. (I’m re-reading the entire series because once I caught up, I got too impatient and turned to other interests)

    I’ll point out that the spell was broken once the video was turned off and even when they looked back at the footage without the sound on, they were fine. So… I don’t see the problem here.

    Either use freaking earplugs or have Nick come up with something more sophisticated. That seems so fucking obvious that their inability to think of such a simple solution must be because of their idiocy or the hippy’s influence,

    Either way, it pisses me off that the idea doesn’t even cross their mind in this update.

    (It says a lot about me that I get this worked up while re-reading old material, fully being aware of the outcome. I stopped checking for updates somewhere around the end of Rachael’s field trip.)

    1. There’s another possibility… As someone who worked a couple jobs where earplugs were required (mowing lawns, a summer job working with a machine that crushed engine blocks), I found that they let a lot of noise through–human voices, for example. Thus it didn’t occur to me that they’d be the obvious next step here.

      It could easily be that my experiences were with crappy earplugs though.

  7. Fair enough on the earplug front, but I did also mention that they have a tinker on the team.

    Even without one… Here’s a genius idea. Headphones with loud music playing? That would certainly work. More than once my family has found me in my room, dead to the world, not having left the comfort of my bed for hours at a time…. while they were having a party downstairs. Without me even noticing.

    Ah, books and loud music. An awesomepants combination.

    1. Honestly, it is something I’ll have to fix on revision. What follows in the story wouldn’t be too different with earplugs–which is one of the reasons I didn’t bother to include them.

      That said, it’s probably a better argument for including them. You’re not the first commenter to essentially say, “WTF? No earplugs?”

  8. If you’re considering revisions, one thing that caught me by surprise was Nick’s remark about Beacham’s girlfriend “(whose name I was beginning to think might be Amy)”. Because I’d noticed an “Amy” in the site tag cloud, and here thought ‘Huh, THAT’S an odd character to eventually keep around’. Except, having read ahead – and barring any peculiarities with the universe – different Amy. And this is the only part where Beacham’s girlfriend gets the name shout out. Granted, it’s possible that I’ve stumbled on some big four-years-away plot twist, but I think it more likely you like the name “Amy”.

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