Of Masks and Marvels (Part 26)
Of Masks and MarvelsBy Bek D Corbin
edited by Steve Zink
Chapter Twenty Six
As weird as it sounds, what was going through my mind was a version of one of those old 'True Romance' comics, with Ted and Della smootching in the background. In the foreground was a Roy Lichtenstein version of me biting my knuckle as a tear drops artistically from my masked eye. In the thought bubble was, "Oh, Ted! How could you? *Sob!*" Yeah, I know there usually is more, hinting at the plot (such as it was) of the story inside, but hey, gimme a break! I was upset!
I was upset.
Oh God, I AM turning into a woman. I think that being upset is a valid reason for turning my brain off.
But, on that note, let me say that being upset as a woman is vastly different from being upset as a man. When a guy gets pissed, his world narrows down to this thin little window that's filled with what he's pissed at or about. When a woman gets pissed, it's almost exactly the opposite; everything happens, all at once. I was pissed at Ted, jealous of Della, angry at being played for a fool, embarrassed, disappointed, insulted and a whole tossed salad of other stuff. I was going in all different directions at once, but not going anywhere at all, and wearing myself out in the process.
I wanted to do so many things! I wanted to throw myself at Ted and beg him not to leave me! I wanted to throw myself at Della and rip her a new one, for coming between Ted and me. I wanted to break down and cry. I wanted to lay the entire resort to waste, and kill everyone. I wanted to run away, and crawl under my bed with my wubbie.
Instead, I just stood there.
Man, being this emotional is exhausting!
I watched them for a minute that seemed like an eternity.
Della pulled herself away from Ted, turned and walked a few paces. She spread the rig on her back, which acted as some sort of framework for the iridescent 'wings' that formed, and she flew off in the general direction of the hotel.
I steeled myself, then marched up to the green. "Okay, Lover-boy, exactly what the HELL was THAT?" I folded my arms across my chest and glowered at him.
Ted started, and pointed confusedly at where the Blue Angel had been. "That?" He collected his composure a bit, and shrugged. "I guess you could say that it was rozbiluto."
"Roz Billuto? I thought that her name was Della."
"Rozbiluto," Ted said with an amused look that was really ticking me off, "is a Russian word. There isn't really an equivalent for it in English. It isn't love, but it's sort of what's left, after love has faded. It's the ember that warms, but doesn't have the real fire of love. It's an echo that has the sound, but none of the meaning of the word. It's what you feel for an old girlfriend, when you've both moved on."
"Oh? Am I supposed to believe that- *mrmphf!*" Ted cut me off in mid-bitch by sweeping me up in his arms and kissing me deeply. I struggled briefly, but gave up and snuggled into the kiss. I mean, he was kissing me, not Della, so who was I to complain?
I mean, if nothing else, it kept me from going off in all directions. Unfortunately, the direction that it was sweeping me to was flat on my back, with Ted right on top of me. And I only say 'unfortunate', because I was seriously NOT in the frame of mind to be thinking about a certain *ahem!* 'physical condition' - such as my technical maleness - and the very embarrassing repercussions of where we were headed.
Ted was kissing me, and he had his gloves off. He was running his bare hands all over me, and I was digging it with everything that I had. He slipped a hand under my bodice cup and was cradling my breast with a gentle grip. I've pleasured myself many times since I've grown them, fondling my own breasts, but having another hand on them is so much better.
I ran a loving hand down Ted's flank and felt the hardness between his legs.
And the Size.
Wow! I knew that the body shaping aspect of The Power wasn't just limited to growing big muscles, but... Wow!
Oh God, I wanted Ted so badly just then! I wanted him inside me...
Only I didn't have any real place to put him. I had nowhere up front, and the back door just wasn't ready for something of that size. I'd been so busy carefully NOT thinking about it, that I'd never really prepared myself for it. And to finesse something like that inside, would take a LOT of preparation.
Dammit, I had to break this off, before it got Film Noir. But I couldn't just leave Ted hanging. Hell, I would have a hard enough time forgiving myself for leaving ME hanging!
I pulled my mouth from Ted's and said, "Ted! Ted, before we go any further." He mashed his mouth against mine again. 'Ted! This is important! While I can still control myself!"
He pulled back, panting heavily. "What? I'm not going-"
I shushed him with on fingertip on his lips. "No, You're not. God, I want you so badly. But I can't give myself to you." He started, and I shushed him again. "And NO, it's not you. It's Me. I'm ready and willing, but I'm not able. You see-"
Okay, Maxine, think quick! You're supposed to be able to think clearly in a crisis! Come up with something!
"Well, Ted, you know how some women when they climax, they cry, or scream, or break into song, or even spurt milk?"
He nodded, heroically listening, despite his hormones.
I ran an electrical spark across two fingers. "Jolt."
"Especially there. You would not believe the number of *ahem!* 'vibrators' that I've ruined."
I felt him start to wilt. Hey, the prospect of having your tube steak grilled will do that to a guy! "But don't worry, there's no way that I'm going to just send you home." I kissed him deeply and stroked him. It took a bit - remember, 'jolt?' - but he responded.
I pulled his trunks down and let him free. As I stroked his increasingly hard member, I pulled my mouth free. "Do you know how wonderful you are, Ted?" I whispered huskily. "You are so strong, so powerful, so passionate. I know you want to take me, and you're strong enough to do that, but you were willing to wait. God, that is SO sexy! I want you so much, I can only imagine how much you want me. I'm working on a solution..." I kept on working his member, as I alternated kissing him deeply, rubbing myself against him, and telling him how wonderful he was - which, I admit was getting ME as worked up as it was him! The better part of an hour later, he ejaculated onto my gloved hand. Which may not have been a testament for my technique, but definitely promised great things for after I got my *ahem!* 'problem' taken care of.
We got up, and as Ted pulled up his pants, I stammered a few apologies about 'second best'. Ted just pulled the half-mask that he wears under his helmet down, and reached over to pull mine off. I released the electromagnetic bond, letting him take my mask off. It was a surprisingly intimate gesture. He gave me an amused look, and picked me up in his arms. Without a word, he shot straight up, until we were well over the clouds. We shared looking at the tops of the moonlit clouds for a moment, and then Ted looked at me, cradled in his arms. "You know something, Max? You try too hard. You want to give everything that you possibly can. And that's a good thing. But you don't appreciate all that you already do," he ran a finger across my cheek, "you're worth waiting for, Max. The best things in life always are."
Now, I ask you - how could you NOT throw your arms around him and kiss him within an inch of his life?
We floated there, locked in each other's arms, dancing over the tops of the clouds, for I don't know how long. Finally, regretfully, we said 'I love you' to each other, separated and dropped down through the clouds on our own. It was such a good exit that I didn't have the heart to ruin it by looking for Ted on the way down to the hotel.
I didn't need electromagnetics to float down the hall, as I returned to our room. If this is what being in love is like for women, then I gotta invest in Romance Novels. In a lovely rose-tinted emotional haze, I stripped out of my costume and headed for the shower. The shower took on a whole new aspect, as I soaped myself up, imagining that my hands were Ted's hands, roving all over me.
Unfortunately, there was a downside to all of this emotional euphoria. I'd made sure of Ted's physical needs, but I wasn't really in a position to do anything about mine. My body was all revved up, with nowhere to go. As I settled into my bed, I felt something under my pillow. I reached under the pillow and pulled out a lumpy manila envelope marked 'Max'.
I opened the envelope and inside where a large plastic vibrator, a tube of lubricant and a note. The note said, "I figured that you were finally ready, and might need this before the night was out. (signed) Amy."
I held up the large plastic cylinder and mentally compared it to Ted. Well, it was a step in the right direction!
Y'know, to this day, I have NO IDEA of when Hex put that there?
I woke up the next morning to the sound of the shower. I was just getting the covers off and getting the sand out of my eyes, when Amy came out of the bathroom. "Good Morning!" she sang at me. "Well, you look like YOU had a good night last night!"
"And you're looking pretty chipper yourself!" I shot back.
"Yeah, well, I know that at least _I_ got my ashes hauled. But from the smile that was on your face..."
"Your present was vastly appreciated."
Amy settled on her bed and leered at me. "And how did the rest of the evening go?"
Oh, she wanted details. And I was feeling so good, that I gave them to her. In graphic detail. Amy grinned. "ooohhh! And Ted?"
I held up the dildo. " 'Big Chuck' here is a pale comparison." I gave her a wry glance. Hey, two could play at this game. "And, so, how was the Thaumaturge?"
Amy shot me a wicked grin. "Oh, it was just...magical..."
I swatted her with a pillow in retaliation, and we got into a Class A pillow fight. After we vented for a bit, the fight dissolved in a flurry of giggles. That out of the way, Hex called down for a breakfast from Room Service. Then she asked me to tell her all about it, from the very beginning.
I did, and included the parts about TurboCharger and the Blue Angel. She was appreciative about TC - she said that it never hurt to have a 'wide range of interests' - but her good mood seemed to fade a bit when I told her about Della.
"Oh. Yeah. Yeah, that's something that Della would do."
"Talk with Ted, and see if there's any sparks left?"
Amy sighed. "Oh, that too. But I was talking more about meeting him on the golf course, when she had to know that he was going to be meeting with you."
"What?" I raised an eyebrow. "You mean, she was trying to come between Ted and me? Why? She-"
Amy gave a rueful laugh. "Oh, not that. Max, Della has a lot of absolutely sterling qualities, but she is an utter, unrepentant drama queen!"
"Max, while all say that we do the whole superhero thing out of a love of Justice, the truth is we all have our ulterior motives - you do it to compensate for that inferiority complex of yours. I do it as a way of balancing out my way of making my living. Ted does it seeking redemption. Twist does it out of a love of danger. Diego does it because he has a triple scoop of the 'big kid' in him. God alone knows what goes through Brenda's head. And Della? She thrives on the drama of it all."
"So, you think that she deliberately-"
"Deliberately? No, not in the usual sense of the word. I doubt that Della consciously thinks these things out. As a matter of fact, I know that when she thinks about it, she wonders why all the melodrama keeps coming up to slap her in the face. But, she keeps doing things in such a way that creates tense situations. When she was with us, we kept getting in loggerhead situations with the Cops. She started up that weird three-way situation with Ted and Brenda, despite the fact that Ted and Brenda were trying to sort out how they felt about each other. And, she handled it in such a way that neither Ted nor Brenda could really get a clear idea of what she was about. And then, Jack came along, and she had TWO romantic triangles going at once. And when the stress of all this got too much for her, she left in the most dramatic way possible, which almost demanded that one of them follow her to Seattle."
"That sounds pretty-" I tried to get in edgewise.
"Premeditated? Calculated? Not really." Amy was on a roll, and there was no stopping her. "The Unconscious doesn't really work that way. No, Della dealt with the situation in the way that she felt best, as she saw the way things were. The thing is, the Unconscious doesn't spell things out - you, of all people, should know that. Instead, it colors how you see things, how you feel about situations and people, and it highlights certain options, while blinding you to others. The Unconscious is like a stage magician, guiding what you see and when you see it. But, like a stage magician, once you know its tricks, and what it's trying to pull, you can see the cards up its sleeves and the trap door."
"And Amy's 'stage magician' wants to create all those 'High Drama' situations?"
Amy shrugged. "My guess is that it's some kind of validation. Past that, it isn't really any of my business."
"Well then, what was that business on the golf course all about, then?"
Amy put off answering as the breakfasts came, but continued over French Toast. "I don't really know. Maybe she feels that she's fading into the background, with all these superheroes around. Or, maybe she's worried that Jack feels too secure, and wants to scare up a little interest. Or, maybe she just wants a quick, no-frills drama fix, and she's expecting you to confront her today, so there'll be a big scene, complete with passionate reconciliation."
I shook my head, trying to clear my mind of all this nonsense. Then I looked Heavenward. "When did my life become a Soap Opera?"
Amy grinned. "Hey, don't sweat it! If you make your bones on a soap, eventually they give you a tryout on a SitCom or Cop Show!"
"So, do you think that she'll try anything, if I don't rise to her bait?"
"I doubt it - but make sure that you stay away from Jack. He's not averse to a little High Drama himself."
"And, it would give her an excuse to stir something up." I gave out a gusty sigh. Then I looked at Amy. "Well, enough about me." I gave her a big grin. "So, tell me about YOUR night!"
She leaned back and grinned. "It was just what the doctor ordered. One of the downsides of being a telepath is that even when you don't want to, you tend to know more about your romantic partners than is really healthy. Unless it's True Love, too much information can be HELL on an affair. But, like this, I can get the lovin' I need, without all the entanglements." She snapped her fingers. "That reminds me! I have to arrange an appointment with The Doctor!"
"No, he got canceled, years ago. Finally."
"Very funny; now, who are you talking about?"
"The Doctor. The Word is that he's a *ahem!* 'retired' superhero who's a licensed physician. He's one of the foremost experts in The Power and how it affects our bodies. And, more to the point, how it can screw up our bodies. He comes to all the Cons, in case anyone needs an examination or a preliminary medical opinion, without dragging a doctor who isn't 'in the loop' unnecessarily. I want him to take a look at you, and see what he can do about finishing up your journey to the Pink Side." Amy screwed up her face dramatically and said in a 'Darth Vader' voice, "Come over to the Pink Side, Max. It is your destiny!"
"Is this the point where you tell me that you're my mother?"
Amy clocked me with a pillow, and we went at another round of it.
We passed the next few hours in pleasant girl talk. The workshops wouldn't start until nearly Ten. Amy and I weren't the only ones who'd had late nights. Apparently the hallways between Five and Seven in the morning were a caped version of the 'French Bedroom Farce Sneak'.
I went downstairs at about Nine. This was the part of the day when there wasn't anything scheduled. Those who needed the extra sleep could get it, and the others could mix freely. It was strictly civvies, and no masks. Any of the hotel staff who was carrying a camera did so at the risk of their own lives. Since it was casual, I was wearing a denim skirt and a white polo shirt.
Do NOT ask me why I thought that that was worth mentioning.
I got a cup of coffee and wandered around for a bit. Except for the fact that everyone there was suspiciously trim and athletic, it could have been any other group of conventioneers. Still, there was a definite air of authority and dynamism that sort of dispelled the possibility that it might be some sort of casting call for a soap opera.
I was walking around, looking to get into one of the conversations, but most of the people there already seemed to know each other. Sort of defeats the whole idea of getting together to get to know new people, if you ask me.
I was listening in on a group talking about carnivorous sewer blobs, when I heard, "Hey! L.L.!'
Well, unless Lois Lane is doing a special guest appearance - hey, at this Con, it could happen! - I guessed that someone was looking for me. I turned around and looked for the caller.
I spotted a rather nice looking guy who was looking over the lobby, so I went up to him. "Yes? You want something?"
"You called for me? 'L.L.'? Lady Lightning, that's me."
"Oh, I'm sorry, I meant Lady LIBERTY!" He pointed at the tall woman with long curling black hair, who'd come up on my blind side.
Okay, I admit it - I'm not proud of it, but I admit it - I did a total fan-nerd geek-out. But gimme a break, Lady Liberty is HUGE - and I don't mean that she grows to ten stories possibly, with proportionate strength! Though, she does that, too. She's one of the major heroes in America's first city. Heck, she not only has an action figure, but one with a Kung Fu grip!
I don't have an action figure. I don't even have a line of crummy Tee-shirts!
I totally spazzed out. Lady Liberty was looking at me like 'where's Security?' I realized what I was doing, and I made it even worse. I desperately tried to get my foot out of my mouth and make a good impression, but Lady Liberty was obviously looking for a way to disengage herself from a drooling fan-geek. I started blithering. I don't really remember exactly what I said-
-no, I remember, I'm just working very hard at forgetting it.
Then the guy who called Lady Liberty seemed to recognize my name. "Excuse me, did you say, 'Lady Lightning'?"
"ah, Yeah - it wasn't MY idea, the newspapers seem to be really big on the whole 'LL' thing - Lady Liberty, Lady Lightning, Lois Lane, Lex Luth-"
"Aren't you the Lady Lightning with AEGIS?"
"ah, Yeah. I'm the rookie member." I gave a rueful look at Lady Liberty. "As is all too obvious. Hey, I'm sorry about the whole-"
"Aren't you the one who's been dealing with the Symbiont Syndicate for the last few months?"
I raised both eyebrows. "You mean that name TOOK? Geez, alliteration really is all the rage!"
"Yeah, so what?" Lady Liberty snorted. "The Syndicate has been making strikes all over the country-"
"Libby," the guy cut in, "this is the Lady Lightning that the boards say is the one who's been kicking the ass of a certain flaming pain in the ass from Hungary."
Libby stopped dead in her tracks and looked at me incredulously. "What? You mean that YOU have fought She-Devil?"
"More often that I personally care to think about," I returned, not knowing where this was going.
"You fought her and WON?"
It was my turn to give her a look. "You make it sound like that's hard. Okay, she's tough, but someone like you, your only problem would be scraping her off the bottom of your boots."
"You've beaten her?" Lady Liberty took me by the shoulders and shook me. "HOW?"
I looked at the guy. "I take it that you two have crossed paths with the Pest from Budapest?"
The guy - I found out later that he was Reverb, without the speaker costume - nodded. "Yeah. She, Berserker and that Nazghul character blew into the Big Apple, and kinda handed us our asses."
I barely restrained a grimace. <eeewwwÖ> "Nazghul, now, HE'S nasty! But She-Devil?"
"HOW DID YOU BEAT HER?" Lady Liberty grated.
"I just punched her. Okay, I usually go for the face shots with ol' Shiela - besides being the most lightly armored spot on her body, it has the added advantage of shutting her up! God, does that woman ever STOP TALKING?"
"You PUNCHED her?" Libby was aghast. "You went up against THAT and PUNCHED it?"
Lady Liberty was still scraping her jaw off the carpet when Amy walked up and told me that I had an appointment with The Doctor.
Amy pulled me away from a still croggled Lady Liberty and took me up to one of the Hospitality Suites. The suite was full of top of the line equipment - hey, I pride myself on being a Tech Geek, and I could identify half of that stuff! But even with all the technological glory crammed into that room, The Doctor himself sort of dominated it. Under the lab coat, he had a professional wrestler's build, and there was something about his face that suggested that here was a man who was used to using his brain more than his brawn. I wondered which hero he'd been, and why he retired. And then I saw the cybernetic hand. Then I noticed that he favored his right foot, and took a wild guess as to why he had to retire.
He gave me a comforting look. "Okay, just to get it out of the way, Amy told me about your condition. You're the first case of Male-to-Female transformation that I've dealt with, but if it means anything to you, now that I think about it, I wouldn't be at all surprised if you weren't the first one."
"Oh?" I sat down on the examination table. "Any clues, or would that be violating Patient Confidentiality?"
"More to the point, it would be wild guesses. Still, these persons did go on to lead long and useful careers - well, at least the heroic ones did."
I looked at him quizzically. "Supervillain sex changes?"
"Think about some of the supervillainesses down the years - red hot super-babes who really seemed to have a grudge against guys at the beginning, and eventually became real man-eaters as they got used to it. So, Maxine, how do you feel about your rather radical change in physique?"
I took a long breath. "Okay, it was hard at first, and I spent a lot of time in denial. But, I had a lot of support and I managed to come around."
"So, you're looking forward to becoming female?"
I shrugged. "It's not that I'm glad that I'm no longer male, it's more like I realize that there are a lot of good things about being female, and I wanna be able to enjoy them."
"So, you got someone in mind?"
I paused, looked at him, and decided to chuck that last little bit of Male Ego. "Yep. I got a guy who makes me wanna do all the stuff that guys aren't supposed to do with other guys. And I'm tired of giving him phony excuses." I looked at The Doctor, and he looked at me, and the roof didn't cave in. There! That feels a lot better!
"And exactly what do you want from me?"
"Well, I guess, I want to know what's going on with my body! It's changing, I know that. But, how far will it change? Will I become a fully functioning woman, all on my own, or will I have to have some kind of surgery to make it happen? Is having children an issue? How fast is this going to happen? Are there things that I should or shouldn't do? Doc, I've been stumbling through all of this pretty much in the dark, largely because I didn't have anyone to ask - I'd like to make some informed decisions for a change!"
He nodded, and began asking a lot of rather disjointed questions. I told him about my over-taxing my powers and recharging by hugging electrical appliances, about bleeding pink after a really bad fight, and about Amy's little trip to the High School inside my head.
He asked me to undress. "I have a nurse, if you want..."
"No! No, I'm fine as is..." Y'know, undressing in front of a stranger is even weirder as a girl than as it is as a guy?
Then he had me lay down, and ran a series of sensor suites over me. He conducted a more 'hands on' examination with that cybernetic hand of his, which he used to probe my mouth, nose, and *ahem!* 'other' orifices.
When that was over, he had me dress. "Okay, Max, I can't give you anything major, right off the bat, but I can make a few educated guesses.
"First and foremost, my guess is that you ARE turning into a woman. I took several cell samples, and I'm betting that while a few of them still have XY chromosomes, there are a bunch of XX in there as well. The sonogram indicates that there's a viable development in your abdominal cavity that's the right shape and placement for a developing uterus."
"Really?" I asked brightly. Y'know, a year ago, if you had told me that I'd be ecstatic about growing a uterus, I'd have said that you were crazy. "How far along is it? How soon?"
"Patience, patience. It's still developing. Indeed, it's remarkable that it's as large as it is. While we all have vestigal traces of the primary sex organs of the opposite gender, they're usually very small - half of a pea small. And we're not talking about a big pea, either. So, the fact that it's as big as it is, and apparently viable, is very encouraging."
That 'apparently viable' bit worried me. "You ARE sure that it's viable, aren't you? It's not something --cancerous, is it?"
"Oh, I'm sure that it's not cancerous - cancer tissue has a very unique sonogram signature."
"So, by 'viable', do you mean that I have visits from 'Cousin Flo' in my future?"
"And...eventually...?" I mimed cradling a baby in my arms.
"Too soon to be sure."
"So...is there any way that I can speed this up, or slow it down, or whatever?"
"Well, I don't have all the numbers from the tests crunched yet, but I'd say there's one way to speed it up - but I wouldn't recommend it."
I urged him to say it with my expression.
"You can get the crap kicked out of you."
"Well, this is just an educated guess, but the 'pink' in your urine that you describe sounds a lot like blood - laced with a LOT of white blood cells. My guess is that every time that you take a pounding, your body heals itself, following the pattern set by that template inside your head. Your body is healing itself in that direction constantly, but at a slower rate. Ironically, the more damage that you take, the healthier you'll get, since from what you tell me, your image of this 'perfect woman' includes that she's absolutely glowing with health. Oh, and one more little thing - how tall were you when all of this started?"
"ah, I was five-eight and change."
"How short did you get when you were 'contracting'?"
"And how tall are you now?"
"While this is from data that I haven't correlated with the other information that I got from my tests, what I'm seeing is that while your bones have indeed gotten denser, they're still growing, like the bones of an eight-year-old."
"Well, that explains my sudden urge to climb trees and go skateboarding. And where, pray tell, is this going?"
He sighed. People do that a lot when I try to get all 'Gilmore Girls'. I gotta start watching more 'Desperate Housewives'. Or would that only make things worse? "I think you're going to grow at least another inch and a half, maybe three inches."
Six foot one? I've always wanted to be tall and imposing - but wouldn't that mean that I couldn't wear all my heels? And why does that upset me? "Does getting tall happen a lot in your line of work?"
"As a matter of fact, yes! As you look around at this convention, I think you'll find that by and large, the people here are either tall or short, but not 'average'. There is some thought that The Power does run along archetypal lines, making the person's body what they think it should be like - which would explain the Neanderthal appearance of some bricks."
"Thought?" I cocked an eyebrow. "You mean that there are people out there researching The Power?"
"Oh Yes, most definitely!" He gave me a reassuring look. "And some of them are even doing it in legal and ethical ways."
Eeewww... "Which implies that most of them are doing it in illegal and unethical ways, which sounds way too much like people that I already know."
He nodded sagely. "Oh Yes, I'm afraid that most of the more vicious members of the Criminal Scientist community are very committed to finding the secret of The Power."
"As opposed to just being committed, like all the other froot-loops?"
"Oh, 'Mad Scientists' may seem comical at times, but they can be utterly ruthless, Maxine. You have to understand, that the lower they sink in order to do their sick experiments, the more they NEED to find the secret of The Power, in order to justify their crimes. In their minds, the secret of what we do will vindicate everything they do; if they stop after causing so much pain and misery, after finding nothing, THEN they are damned. As long as there's a chance of finding the secret, they have a chance at redemption."
"Oooggg...obsessive nutjobs with high tech. There's an uplifting notion to start the day with."
"Just something to remind you of exactly WHY we put on the silly suits in the first place." Then there was a knock at the door, and The Doctor let Amy in, who was wearing her Ms. Hex togs and carrying a clothes bag.
"So!" she said cheerfully as she handed me the clothes bag, "What's the prognosis? Everything working okay?"
"Yeah," I grumped, "everything's fine and The Doctor prescribed getting the crap beaten out of me once a day, twice on Sunday."
"Talk to Brenda - she could stand to vent some of that hostility," Amy said as she helped me get dressed in my 'Lady Lightning' outfit.
I grimaced. "Well, you know what they say - no pain, no gain! Still, patience IS a virtue..."
As I finished up, The Doctor came in. "Ah, good, Ms. Hex, we need to set up an appointment for her next examination."
"Of course! You will of course be vitally interested in the progress that your body is making, and you'll want to discuss the results of your tests, once all the data's been thrown in a pot and boiled. And, I confess, I'm more that a trifle interested in seeing where all this is going. You're the first complete Male to Female sex transformation resulting from the influence of The Power that I've even heard of, so I'm going to want to make several, very thorough examinations of you over a long period of time. If nothing else, if anything does go wrong, we'll want to spot it as soon as possible, so that we'll have time to figure out a treatment. And, what the hell, it's not like looking at you naked is a chore..."
I gave him a friendly swat on the shoulder, and gave him a thank-you kiss on the cheek. As we walked out, I checked Amy out in her Ms. Hex kit. "So, casual dress time is over?"
"Well, more to the point, this is the time in the schedule when the workshops start, and unless you want to go spreading your secret ID all over the place, it's best if we do those in our 'professional' personas. So, just in case someone wants to find you, what are your plans?"
I pulled out my agenda. "Well, first of all, there's the Electromagnetics workshop."
"What, didn't you get enough of those people last night?"
I pulled myself up into a proper huff. "THAT was just polite socializing. THIS is heavy-duty, brass knuckles, don't-leave-home-without-your-calculator PHYSICS!" By the time I was finished, I'd worked myself up into a bit of a lather. Hey, high-frequency computations do that to some girls.
Amy shook her head. "Gawd, you are SUCH a geek!"
"I notice you never say that when the lights go out, all of a sudden."
"Of course not! At least not to your face."
I gave her a warning look. "Then lunch and some more socializing, and then the Villain Forum from One to Five. Then, I'm open for anything."
Hex gave me one of those smiles. "Nice of you to put it that way! At Six, there's a workshop that you might want to drop in on." She pointed at the schedule.
"'Super-Romance Workshop with Doctor Afrodite'?" I read. For lack of anything more sensical, I said, "Isn't 'Aphrodite' spelled with a Pee-Aitch, not an Ef?"
"Not the way she does it." Hex patted me on the shoulder. "Just do yourself a favor, pull your head out of the circuit boards, and check this out." Humpf! Humanities Major...
I parted company with Hex, and went off to join my fellow Tech Ne --- er... Technology Enthusiasts.
I stepped into an empty elevator, when suddenly, it wasn't empty anymore. Suddenly, there was Fast Track gazing at me intently. At least, I think it was intently - hard to tell through that windshield faceplate of his. "So, do you know what happened last night?"
"It got dark?" I said ingenuously.
"No, Della snuck out without telling me. I think she arranged to meet with Ted."
"Oh, I know that they did," I replied, my arms folded across my chest.
"Simple, I saw them."
"HAH! I KNEW there was something going on there!"
"er, Jack, is it? Jack, even _I_ knew that there was something going on, and I'm not exactly famed far and wide for my keep perception in personal matters."
Jack paced across the elevator at the sedate rate of maybe 150 MPH. "So, do you have any idea of where they went, what they did?"
"ah, Yeah - Ninth Green of the golf course."
"How can you be so sure?"
"Simple - I was there."
"You were THERE?"
"Ya. Ted and I had a date to meet on the green for a little nunna yer damm bizness, and Del beat me there."
"Hah! So she WAS sniffing around after that big dumb-"
"Y'know, twinkletoes, you ARE talking about my main squeeze here."
"I can just imagine-"
"Hey, dude, I was THERE, it was-"
"If that refugee from a King Arthur movie thinks that I'm gonna-"
"There is NO WAY that I'm just gonna stand still and-" the elevator doors opened, and he shot out into the hall.
Well, THAT was surreal! I pulled my cape around me and headed off for my Electromagnetics workshop. But, as I was checking my schedule, I heard from one of the conference rooms, "Excuse me! Miss? You in the black cape!"
Black Cape? I stopped and blinked in confusion into the room. There were about twelve or so Supers in tastefully coordinated outfits, seated in chairs facing several easels with rough drawings. "Yes?" I asked, making no secret of my confusion.
"I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about your outfit." The speaker was a trim man wearing an open black frock coat over a swirling, polychromatic bodysuit with a half mask and visor that showed off a stiff brush of fair hair.
"Tell me, why did you choose to include a cape in the design of your costume?"
"Well, to be honest, my first version didn't have a cape; it was sort of forced on me."
"Hah!" Frock Coat gloated triumphantly. "In other words, you just tacked that thing on, because it was EXPECTED of you, no matter how much the fool thing got in the way, or how much of a danger it put you in!"
I looked at the lobby card beside the door: 'Costume Design Forum'. Oh god, I've fallen into the hands of the Fashion Nazis! I noticed that Frock Coat was gloating almost directly at a distinct minority of Supers who were sort of off by them selves, and rather pointedly wearing capes. My guess was that I'd stumbled into the middle of an on-going Cape/No Cape debate. Well, since I'd put my foot in it anyway, I might as well do it right. "Let me guess - you all saw 'The Incredibles'? Well, there IS something that Edna Mole overlooked-" I held out my cape, "-this cape has saved my life on more than one occasion. It's lined with alloy steel chainmail, which not only provided the protection that kept my spine from getting sliced open once, but it helps me recharge my energy from ambient radio waves, and it helps me fly. The exterior is flame retardant, and the interior is heat reflective. And, since I'm rather susceptible to extreme heat, which by some perverse whim of the Universe, happens to be the main weapon of my Arch-Nemesis, She-Devil, I NEED all that protection. So, while I prefer to stay out of fashion debates, on this one, Lady Lightning has to vote a big YES on capes." I flourished my cape and went into a stylish pose. "Capes - Functional AND Stylish." And with that, I got while the getting was good.
The Electromagnetics workshop was the sort of thing that I came here for in the first place. There were about eleven others, all of us able to project electricity, or magnetism, or both. Most of us had some form of formal training in Electrical Engineering, but the really interesting ones were the ones that did it entirely intuitively. I mean, the things that you can do when you don't know that you can't do it! I picked up a lot of really good tricks: how to charge a cloud of sedative gas and disperse it, how to tell the difference between grades of iron and steel from their magnetic resonance, how to rust steel by charging it so that it oxidizes more quickly, and stuff like that. I showed off the 'foxfire' trick that I used to drop Berserker that first time, and the 'exploding water' trick that I used to get out of that water trap that She-Devil stuck me in. I paid a lot of attention to Override as she demonstrated her computer control, but I just don't have the exact feel or the fine touch for controlling electrical devices. Bummer. Still, I did learn how to confuse most commercial computer chips with overlapping fields of magnetism, that's got to be good for something. But, with my luck, I'll just screw up the TV with it.
After this, the software types started nattering about 'digital /synaptic correspondences' that I just had no background for understanding. I mean, I could hold my own in computer programming, but these guys were talking stuff that was WAY beyond C++. Seeing that this was pretty much what they were gonna be talking about from this point on, I eased out of the door. It was a little early for Lunch, but getting in line early seemed like a good idea - the image of squabbling with a half-ton man-shaped mass of granite over the last piece of lemon sponge cake popped into my head.
Then, as I was out the door, suddenly an arm came from behind me and pulled me along. "oooh! Ted! What are you up t- TurboCharger!"
He grinned at me, his visor pulled up. "So, ah, how did your date last night turn out?"
"Quite nicely!" I said firmly as I disentangled myself from his grip. "And yourself? Was she game? What did you set? Was it a match?"
The smile never left his face. "It was all right, but I'm afraid that she suffered from invidious comparison with my previous encounter."
Y'know, there is something very...exhilarating...about having that much appreciative male attention directed right at you? But, hey, I'd made a commitment of sorts last night, and I sure as hell wasn't going to muck it up by cheating on Ted already. "Hey, TC? Remember last night? I told you that I was already involved with someone? Nothing's changed in the last twelve hours."
"Oh, that's what YOU think!" he smirked back at me. "The Word is, that before you showed up for your rendezvous last night, the guy that you're being oh-so-loyal to had a nice little preliminary bout with an old girlfriend."
Hunh! Who'da thunk superheroes were such gossips? I looked right back at him. "I know all about it. Blue Angel met Justiciar on the ninth green. They resolved a few old issues, and that was that."
"Oh?" The smirk didn't go away. "Is that what happened? Is that what really happened?"
"How do you know?" The smirk was beginning to piss me off.
"I know, because I was there. I SAW what happened, and we talked about it."
TC leaned in, and wrapped an arm around me. "Maybe. But I still think that a woman as beautiful as you shouldn't have to put up with crap like that. Does Justiciar really appreciate what he has? Such beauty? Such Grace? Such loyalty?"
"Hey," I chuckled, "this is a superhero convention! The place is crawling with beautiful women!" I gave him a knowing grin. "Why don't you try this on Override? You seemed to like the way her baud downloaded, last night. If you hurry, you might catch her before they really get into a closed loop about security protocols. Or are you afraid that she'll kick your ascii?"
The smirk didn't go away. TurboCharger ran an appreciative finger across my cheek. "Oh yes, there are a lot of very attractive women here - but you? You have something special. It's like you don't really understand how magnificent you are, and you don't expect anything for it."
Y'know something? I didn't get the impression that he was trying to zoom me. He really meant it. He was willing to risk getting his ass whupped by Ted, in order to get close to me. I wavered for a second. "Gee, thanks, TC...but I'm gonna pass." Still, I gave him a kiss on the cheek before I walked away.
Am I really THAT good looking? I don't know HOW to be beautiful! I mean, I know that I'm good looking...but beautiful?
I went up to the room, to change for lunch, and found Amy changing. "What's this? Is the Thaumaturge coming back for seconds?"
"Nope, just changing for a dip in the pool before lunch."
Don't ask me why, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I changed into the one-piece that Amy had gotten for me. It was black, with a single arcing yellow lightning bolt across the chest. Yep, Hex was right - an obvious 'nah, we're not infringing any copyrights!' job.
We pulled on bathrobes and headed down to the pool. The pool was a scene out of a 1950's movie, with a bunch of extremely healthy, very attractive men and women frolicking decorously in and around the water. About ten feet away from the pool, I just hadda make an entrance, so I shed my robe and slippers, ran ten steps and made an electro-charged high jump into the air. I arced about ten feet over the pool, and came down in a perfect dive into the pool.
Or, at least I WOULD have.
There was shriek and a loud "Oh My GOD!" Out of pure reflex, I broke out of my dive and glanced around to see what was going on. Unfortunately, I was still coming down, and there was nothing to magnetically repel against, so I hit the water hard.
I came back to the surface, and looked around hurriedly. But all the people around the pool were gawking at me with looks of horror. Confused, I checked myself, and nothing was wrong.
Then it hit me - water and electricity. "Oh, GIVE ME A BREAK!" I snarled at them, "How do you think I take a BATH?"
There was a generalized, "D'oh!" Then poolside frolics resumed as before. As the 'new kid', there was some good natured kidding about my 'face fault' into the water, which I returned with a few deft prods at their collective spazz-out. There was some horseplay, and I noticed that instead of doing the simple 'shove into the water' bit, that the guys were going out of their way to do the 'pick up and toss into the water' bit.
Gee, y'think that maybe TurboCharger wasn't just buttering me up?
After about an hour or so of this, Hex waved to me from the poolside tables. Lunch time! I climbed out of the water, and accepted a towel - and a touch of drying off assistance - from a guy whose name I didn't catch. Then, towel draped around my waist like a long skirt, I made my way over to the table.
As I walked up, Amy was giving me this semi-surprised look. "What's up, Hex?" I asked.
"You were doing the Pussycat Strut!"
"The Pussycat Strut?"
"Sure, you know-" she pointed at a bikini'd blonde who was walking past a row of guys, her head high, back arched, in that sort of trot that she knew that the guys were watching, and she was working it a little. "The prance that women do, when they've just had their sense of their own beauty confirmed. Honey, if you had a tail, it would be up in the air a mile now!"
"You're not weirded out by that?" Amy asked, one eyebrow high.
"No, and as a matter of fact, I'm sort of digging on the fact that I'm not beating myself up over it!"
"Good Girl!" With that, we dug into our lunches. One of the great things about Superhero conventions is that it's generally understood that we all have pretty high caloric requirements, to power all those superpowers, so there's no shame in really digging in. Thank god, none of that 'pick at a salad like a bird' nonsense.
"Still, this does open up a new kettle of fish."
"Nah, I ordered the chicken."
"I mean, that while it is all for the best that you've wrapped your head around the fact that you are not only female but a looker, you are not used to being attractive. From what I gather from your general sense of yourself, I'll bet that you weren't exactly ugly, but probably the type that sort of blends into the background. Now, when a woman goes from ugly duckling to swan, it can play some nasty games with her head."
"And since I'm still getting used to the fact that I'm suddenly as good as female-"
"It could be harder for you realize that you're going overboard, because you don't really know all the female stuff. You're a great girl, Max, and I don't want you to go all 'Neon Swan'."
"Neon Swan?" I racked my memory. "I don't recall any 'Neon Swan' - did she operate in Europe or South America?"
Amy gave a martyred sigh. "No, 'neon swan' wasn't a person, it's a head-trip. There's the 'neon swan' trip, and the 'bitter swan' trip. The 'neon swan' trip is the bit where a plain girl either suddenly grows up from the dumpy little Middle Schooler to the hot little Teen Queen, or loses about eighty pounds, or gets a boob job or a nose bob, or what-ever. Anyway, she suddenly goes from yesterday's lunch to the main entrÈe, and suddenly, it's all about HER. She stops thinking about people, and starts doing all sorts of brain-dead things, just because she can. It's one thing to enjoy being beautiful, but it's another to think that being beautiful is an excuse for everything."
"Oh, c'mon, Amy! Okay, I admit, I put a little more swing on the back porch than I usually do, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to go all Paris Hilton!"
Amy shrugged. "Maybe. But a Stitch in Time, and all that. If you know that it could happen, then you're that much less likely to fall into it."
I chewed that over. "Fair enough. Warning noted and filed. I mean, it could happen. What's the 'bitter swan' trip?"
"Oh, that's the trip where the girl was some kind of outcast, or was teased or like that. Then she grows up, and now the shoe is on the other foot, and she's gonna be one of the kickers instead of the kicked." Amy paused. "I knew one girl as a kid; sweet kid, but she got picked on something fierce. Then, when she was 16, she grew into her weight and grew a nice set of boobs, and Mandy suddenly became a carbon copy of Linda Sutton, the local bitch-queen."
Now that one hit too close to home. I told Amy about what had happened when that punk Baumgartner jumped me in the bar. She chewed it over, looked at me and said, "Okay, you're sitting there, crying your eyes out. Then what?"
"Then my brother Eli comes along, talks me out of my funk, and together we set up the punk to take a fall in a drinking contest."
Amy bowed and said in a Yoda voice, "Dark Side, the Anger of, you have turned from, young one. Good, this is."
"aaahhh...Shaddap, or I'll sick Miss Piggy on you!"
Amy gave me a goofy smile back. "Okay, since you finally seem to be getting with the program, femininity-wise, when are you going to give up the charade of your male identity?"
I explained about my little realization, and the arrangement that we'd banged out. "You're going to try to be in two places at once? Be careful, or you'll have some s'plain'n to do, Lucy."
I gave her my best pussycat smile. "Not to worry, Ethel. It's only going to be for a couple of months, and I have a plan."
At the sound of 'I have a plan' Amy just gave me a long-suffering look and said, "So, I'm going to the 'Super Teams and the Federal Government' symposium next; what about you?"
"Oh, I thought that I'd geek out in the Tech Room, see what people are working on. I promised Tech Support that I'd take photographs."
"Whatever blows your skirt up. Oh, and don't get upset if anyone asks you about what happened last night on the golf course."
"What? Is everyone at this convention nattering about my love life?"
"What can I say? Superheroes love soap operas! Just go to your tech show and enjoy yourself."
The tech show was a blast. Cyberhawk hadn't come this time, but he sent a pair of his wings as an exhibit. Eli will plotz! Most of the more current stuff falls into one of three categories - the bleeding tech don't-try-to-photograph-it-cause-its-guarded stuff, the yeah-it-works-but-who'd-try- to-mass-market-it? stuff, and the Schimmelhorn stuff. I got dragged into a very animated discussion as to whether Schimmelhorn Devices should be presented in a technical display. Me, I come down on the side that says it's a technical showplace, a place where tech-heads come to swap ideas and techniques, not a brag-show. I mean, the idea is to help other heroes by letting them in on your bag of tricks, right? Then what's the point of showing off stuff that you've captured from Schimmelhorn Engineers? You can't copy any of that!
Then the Villain Forum started. The Forum was sort of THE event at the Con. All the other workshops and symposiums shut down, and everyone was there - even the Fashion Fiends. I made a point of sitting between Ted and Tigress. My electromagnetic field has a tendency to interfere with complex electronics like PDA and laptops if they're too close, so I had to make do with a notebook and pencil. I didn't want anyone from the tech symposium to see my shame.
We only had four hours, so the forum thumbnails were kept to a five minute maximum. So each 'expert' had to keep it to the really juicy bits. I made a note to get in touch with some of these guys; I had a distinct impression that they had a lot more to say on their topics, and 'just the highlights' just doesn't cover it with guys who are living fusion reactors.
For some reason, The Egg was listed along with the rest of the Symbiont Syndicate, which was at least three hours in, so I was able to forget about any stage fright, and concentrate on taking notes. But Dr. Paragon, who was Em-Cee-ing, caught me by surprise when Prince Fear came up, and he called on me. "Lady Lightning, Prince Fear drastically changed his M.O. after going up against you. Would you care to share what happened, that changed the way that he operates?"
I stood up. "Are you telling me that Prince Fear is still out there, committing crimes?"
Dr. P. looked at his notes a tad flustered. "Well, that's sort of the problem - you see, he's been spotted in several states, and he seems to be moving across national borders with ease, but we don't really know what he's up to. We were hoping that you'd fill us in on what happened when you faced off against him."
I took a deep breath and spelled out what happened, how his powers had undermined his sense of reality, the complex scam that he'd been sucked into, and the rather dramatic 'redemption' that he attempted, saving the children's lives. "To be honest, I don't have the slightest idea of what he's up to. The part of him that's still Henri-Paul DeVille may be trying to pull some elaborate play for redemption. Maybe whatever personal demon he's got is still pushing his 'Prince Fear' buttons. But I will say this - if you do catch up with him, let him talk. God's Teeth, you may have to hit him over the head with a chair to get him to stop talking afterwards, but give him a chance. The Diminished Capacity plea was invented for people like DeVille. And, there is one thing that I'm sure of - there's still some part of him that really wants to make up for what he did under St. Leovrice's influence. Give him an opening for that, and run with it."
There were a few questions on a more tactical level, which I fielded, and sat down, glad to have it over with. Then, eventually, there was my bit on the Symbiont Syndicate, which I shared with Power Woman and Tigs. It was going along nicely, until I mentioned the number of times that I sent She-Devil packing. Suddenly, the auditorium went stone silent; half of the audience was staring at me with stunned awe, and the other half were looking at the ones who where staring at me, baffled as to what was so big. Then there was that bizarre 'YOU took on She-Devil and WON?' bit again. Interestingly, the half that agreed with me that She-Devil was annoying, even dangerous, but not that big a deal, were the one's that had never actually faced her in person.
Will someone please tell me what that bimbo has that's so incredible?
Even after the forum was over, there were people giving me odd looks. At an early dinner with Ted, Sherry (that would be Tigress, people), Iron John and Amy, I pointed out something that was bugging me. "Nine o'clock is slated for something called a 'Closing Ceremony' - are we really gonna havta sit through some boring speech?"
"It's not a speech, Max," John corrected me, "it's something else."
"Oh? What is it then?"
"Dunno. It's different every year. But every year, someone comes up with a capper, that's supposed to be memorable."
Normally, I avoid 'relationship' things like those 'Call-In Love Advice' shows. I personally prefer things that are more predictable and reliable, like electrical circuitry. But I'm going into a relationship with Ted, and Amy seems to think that the 'Super- Romance Workshop with Dr. Afrodite' might be of some help. What the hell, these 'romance workshops' are pretty much chick-stuff, and I'm a chick now, so I might as well get with the program. Maybe I'll start to see what the deal about fluffy slippers is.
There were about twenty supers, all in costume at the workshop, with roughly a 3 to 7 male to female ratio. And the guys looked really stressed.
The 'workshop' started with an off-stage announcer saying, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Heroes and Heroines, here she is, the solution to all your super-heartbreaks, Doctor Afrodite, the GOLDEN VENUS!" She appeared in a shower of golden glitter, to the muted chorus of 'Doctor Afrodite, Doctor Afrodite, Doctor Afrodite, THE GOLDEN VENUS!' She was a tall and very well built African American woman in a blonde wig, wearing a skin-tight body stocking that really showed off her dynamite figure.
She struck a pose, one hand against her temple, in the classic 'psychic seeking the right frequency' bit. "I sense that there is heartbreak. I feel the torment of a brave heart that cannot open to the one that it NEEDS to beat as one with. I sense that there is trouble, of the sort that only DOCTOR AFRODITE, the Golden Venus, can set aright! Well, it's all right. It doesn't matter if you can lift a beer truck with one hand, if you can't get that special someone to be near..."
From there, she went on to give a lot of good rule of thumb advice, backed up by some telepathic insight as to what they were REALLY worried about. A lot of it was superheroines in relationships with normals; I mean, how DO you convince a regular everyday guy that he's more of a Man to you than the seven-foot tall muscle bender who's in your team?
The guys in the audience seemed to have more of a problem in that, while they were in relationships with normal women, there was that nagging attraction to the dynamite chick in the red-white-and-blue bikini on their team. Dr. A didn't condemn the guys for their wandering eye, but rather gave them an imaginary tour of what would happen if they dumped their girlfriend for the teammate.
I was geared up to raise my hand to get a complete outsider's view of the little romantic polyhedron that I'd suddenly found myself tangled up in, when someone else beat me to the punch. Della, in her 'Blue Angel' rig, got up, tears in her eyes, and said, "Doctor Afrodite, I came to this Convention, hoping to resolve feelings for an old teammate. We'd been involved in a nasty tangle that threatened to tear our team apart. In order to avoid that, I left the team and was followed by one of the men involved, and I thought that that settled it. But today, I learned that the woman who's already involved with the man that I left is trying to destroy the happiness that I have with the man who came with me! She's been following my lover, trying to set him against me, because she thinks that I'm trying to start up again with her lover!"
In retrospect, I can see where this was just Della, being a Drama Queen. But at the moment, I was just so shocked that she'd SAY something like that, that my reaction was, "SAY WHAT?" I bolted up out of my seat. "What the FUCK are you talking about? I never even came NEAR that speed freak of yours! He came to ME, talking all sorts of junk, and wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise!"
"You're just being spiteful, because you heard that I met Justiciar on the golf course last night!"
"I didn't HEAR about it, bitch, I SAW it! I was THERE, remember? Of course, you KNEW that I'd be there, didn't you?"
We were real close now, and Dr. A was trying to smooth things over, but BA wasn't having any of it. "What do you mean, I 'knew' that you'd be there? How could I?"
"Because the entire reason that Justiciar was THERE in the first place, was to meet with ME!" I shot back, with Facts and Logic on my side
"No, he was there to see ME, and you came along, hoping to catch us together!" she said, with Fantasy and Volume on her side.
"I DID catch you two together, and I know that there was nothing! And that's what's really got you pissed! You were hoping to start up all that 'romantic triangle' shit again, and it ain't happening! So, you started spreading it around that something DID happen, so that that Fast Track yutz would hear about it, and maybe try something with me, in 'revenge'. But guess what? Nothing happened! He caught up with me in an elevator and wouldn't stop TALKING long enough for anything TO happen! So, that tanked too, and now you're pulling THIS, to get your fucking Drama Fix!"
I must have hit way too close to home, 'cause Della fired on me. And DO mean fired. Her light bolt knocked me across the room and into the wall.
Okay, now I officially do not like this bitch.
I decided to forego a blast battle, and took it hand to hand with a thunderleap right on top of her. I will give her this - for all her 'delicate angel of light' crud, she's a scrappy little head case.
You can tell that the guys at the workshop were real heroes, bold and true, 'cause they had the guts to pull us apart. Doctor Afrodite wasn't happy. "This is a workshop on LOVE, not WAR!"
"There's a difference?" I snapped.
"This is a CONFERENCE of HEROES," Dr. A yelled, "NOT the Jerry Springer - hold on..." She turned to one of the guys helping her. "Go find Dr. Paragon, and tell him that I think we have our 'Closing Ceremony' extravaganza."
"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN," Doctor Paragon boomed into his microphone, "Heroes and Heroines, welcome to this year's Closing Ceremonies! This year, we have a new way of resolving a nasty little conflict that's arisen between two respected colleagues! These two ladies need a way of getting through their dispute, in a way that won't encourage this sort of nonsense in the future. So, without further ado, we present the FIRST ANNUAL SUPERHEROINE JELLO WRESTLING MATCH!"
Where in the world they got that much Lemon Jello on such short notice, I'll never know.
I stood in my bathing suit on one side of a king-sized inflatable pool filled with jello, and Della was on the other side, wearing a string bikini.
"Very well, ladies," Dr. P continued, "we want a nice clean match, with no punching, no gouging and no super powers!"
With a blast of a whistle, we went at it.
Well, I'd love to give you the blow-by-blow description, but there are DVDs of it, so it's not really necessary. Let's just say that I am the reigning Superhero Convention Superheroine Jello Wrestling Champion, and I have the string bikini top to prove it.
Continuted in Part 27...