a Whateley Universe vignette
by Diane Castle
Thursday, December 14, 2006
“All right Greasy, let’s see who’s next. Maybe an Exemplar? That last battle needed cleavage, cleavage, and more cleavage!”
“Oh, we have an Exemplar, but it’s…”
"The next Combat Final is… Phase…"
His MID appeared up on the board. He hated that picture. He looked revoltingly cute in it. Heart-shaped face, big green eyes, black hair in a spiky new-wave style. Ugh. He looked like one of the Venus Inc. babes instead of a guy.
|Ratings:||Exemplar – 3 / Warper – 4|
|Techniques:||Physical attack, Density change, Contact disintegration, Physical disruption, Various holdouts|
|Weak vs.:||Strong magic, Strong Psi, Force fields|
|Backup/Team Affiliation:||Team Kimba|
He smiled to himself at the display. His ‘techniques’ were technically correct but vague enough to be intimidating. No one wanted to face things like contact disintegration and physical disruption. And there was no telling what was actually meant by ‘various holdouts’. Then his listed weaknesses weren’t really as helpful as they appeared. Everyone was weak against sufficiently powerful magic, even Fey. Everyone was weak against sufficiently powerful Psi, except possibly Tennyo. Anyone could be stopped by sufficiently strong force fields. The really useful details on stopping his power set weren’t listed up there.
Well, at least he was as ready as he was likely to be. He walked down the steps in his version of the Whateley uniform: girls' blouse and blazer, boys' pants tailored for a girl's build, and the black boots that went with his costume.
“She’s probably going to go with a full-body uniform and a headmask. She may not show an inch of skin.”
“Well boo! Doesn’t she know she needs to show off that bod and that face, if she wants to get the audience on her side? If you’re a supervillainess, you have an obligation to show as much cleavage as you’ve got! Or even get more. Didn’t Cruella get a boob job every couple years? Phase could do that.”
“I don’t think she’s a supervillain-”
“Oh come on, we ALL know she’s a supervillain! It’s just a surprise she’s not running the Bad Seeds by now.”
Ayla looked up at the board. He knew who Belphegor was, and what the fat toad did. However, the MID still made him snort in laughter.
A sneering face (which looked far too pudgy and unattractive for the sneer) glared out over the ratings:
|Ratings:||Devisor – 2, undoubtedly other powers not yet discovered|
|Techniques:||Unstoppable devises, Unbeatable weapons, Unbreachable force fields|
|Weak vs.:||Absolutely nothing|
|Backup/Team Affiliation:||None needed|
He smirked under his breath, "The lady dost protest too much, methinks."
“Ugh. Well, we’re going to need a lot of sexy outfits to make up for having to look at him. On the other hand, Phase won’t have to do much to get the crowd on her side. Breathing would probably be enough to do it.”
“Actually Peeper, we won’t have to look at him too much. He’s bound to be sitting in his anti-grav system, and he’ll probably be in his usual clothes.”
“Thank heaven for small favors. Maybe he’ll wear a huge mask over his face too.”
Ayla Goodkind reached the opening in the force fields and stepped through into the Arena. As soon as the fields closed up behind him, he lifted his left hand up and threw something to the ground between his feet. A smoke cloud billowed up, perhaps ten feet across and ten feet high.
Phase strode out the front of the cloud. There wasn't an inch of human that showed. The skin-tight bodysuit was black at the forearms and lower legs, and it gradually lightened through a deep bluish-gray to a sharp edge of color at the torso. From there, the torso was in graduated shades of gray until it became nearly an off-white at the waist. A white utility belt sat around the small waist, with minute, flat pouches at the back which looked unable to hold more than a matchbox. Black boots and gloves matched the bodysuit. He wore a spidey-style headmask that came down over the neck of the bodysuit and blended into the near-black of the suit's neck. The headmask was black, except for a roughly heart-shaped gray area for the face. There was no nose or mouth opening, and the eyes were reflective black lenses in feminine teardrop shapes.
He broke into a sprint for the spindle, not bothering to follow the streets. He went light and cut right through the buildings.
“Hmm, nice costume change, with a smoke cloud for that aura of threatening mystery. Plus, it’s skintight! And look at those buns! Great legs, too. If only she had more up top…”
“She is only a freshman, Peeper.”
“Hey! That didn’t stop Fey, so why should it stop anyone else? I still say implants are the way to go here.”
Belphegor floated in through the opening in the force field and slipped a small domino mask over his upper face. As if HE needed the feeble protection of a mask. Still, they had been most insistent, and there was little point in arguing with inferiors who resorted to physical means at the least opportunity.
He launched his first rocket, with his newly-adapted force-field system. He launched his second rocket, with his ingeniously-integrated sound weapon and anti-personnel devise. He opened his case, and his recently-created spider robots leapt out to serve as his personal vanguard. He turned on his personal force field and floated down the street in his brilliantly designed chair.
“At least we don’t have to look at Belphegor in a skintight uniform. Blech! Bad enough we have to look at the food stains on his shirt. Does he eat his food, or just wallow in it?”
“It appears that he’s already on the offensive. He’s launched two rocket systems, and he’s unleashing a protective force to go with the armaments he already has on his chair.”
“Offensive is the watchword here, Greasy. Now let’s see if Phase has what it takes to handle some jet-propelled devises. Maybe we’ll get lucky, and one of them will tear her uniform off. We haven’t had a good wardrobe malfunction in hours!”
Jericho smirked, “Easy win for Phase. Just lure Bel-foghorn away from the spindle with a trail of Hot Pockets.”
He watched as the first rocket landed at the spindle, and a thin, articulated robot leapt over the door of the spindle. A flat, disk-shaped force field flared into life from the heavy pack in the center of the robot. Oh no. He recognized that design. Belph couldn’t be that stupid…
"YOU FILTH! I'LL DESTROY YOU! I, THE GREAT MEGA-DEATH WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS THEFT!"
Jericho winced as Harvey 'dricked out. Harvey H. Calloway, alias Mega-Death, was one of the school's most notorious Diedrick's Syndrome cases. And that probably was one of Harvey's devises, stolen from one of the labs. Bel-fatso had really done it this time.
“I’LL DESTROY YOU ALL! I’LL Dee…” Mega-Death keeled over onto the seat in front of him, the dart in his butt sticking up for all to see.
Jobe slid his sleeve back down to cover his wrist-mounted dart launcher. “Don’t worry, it’s harmless. He’ll be fine in an hour and twenty-five minutes. As fine as he ever gets.” Jobe looked at the unconscious body and corrected himself, “Make that an hour twenty-eight. He needs to be eating more.”
Jericho shook his head sadly, as the second rocket tore toward Phase. He wondered whose gear Belphegor had stolen and mutated for this one. Then he saw what Belphegor had marching in front of his stupid floating chair.
"You creep! I'll kick your sorry ass! If I can find it! Those are MY spider-bots!"
Jobe sneered, “Even you should be able to find that ass, given that it’s roughly the size of Dunwich. I can’t believe you let him steal your little toys, given Bel-fatso is wider than your lab doorway.” He turned away from his fellow deviser and cheered, “Come on, Phase! Give him the Fireball treatment! It’s bound to improve his appearance no matter what!”
“It looks like Belphegor is making a strategic maneuver to block Phase from the spindle.”
“Oh, please. She’s undoubtedly carrying enough gear to blast that force field into… whatever force fields break down into.”
“In this case, probably photons.”
“Shut up, Greasy. No one really cares.”
“Let me re-phrase that. No one important cares.”
Phase saw the rocket homing in on his position, and he ran across the street to a brick wall, where he could duck through the wall if Belphegor’s weaponry posed a real threat. The rocket popped open with what looked like speakers, and fired a sonic blast at him.
He snorted in derision. He'd learned his lesson at Halloween. He'd put a set of Bunny's protective earplugs inside the headmask.
The rocket fired a mesh net designed to entangle an opponent. He went light and let the net pass through him.
The rocket finished by opening up into a mechanical grapple. He went heavy and leapt forward, punching it in the hinge before it could attack him. The grapple broke apart into scrap, and the remnants of the rocket crashed to the ground.
He went light again and ran through the building.
“Ooh! Sonics! Banned everywhere, so naturally Belphegor is using them. And… It’s a swing and a miss! Phase is just standing there ignoring the attack!”
“Since Halloween, there have been a lot of people adopting anti-sonic measures.”
“And… a mesh net. Absolutely useless against an opponent who can walk through walls. What’s next? Chewing gum? Some of the really old french fries down on the floor of his egg-chair?”
“Umm, actually, that attack would work if Phase was at normal density or if she had increased her density to deal with the sonic attack.”
“Shut up, Greasy. The only dense one around here is you. Ooh, and a grappling attack, which… Phase smashes into splinters. Belphegor isn’t looking too brilliant right this moment.”
Belphegor frowned. His attack rocket appeared to have been defeated. Impossible! The girl must have cheated. People were always cheating around him, making his life unfairly difficult, and treating him as if he were not the great Belphegor! No problem. She was weak to force fields, according to her MID. He had plenty of them.
“It looks like Belphegor is relying on his more passive techniques now.”
“Yeah, like smelling really bad. But at least we get to look at Phase’s buns and legs while she moves to the spindle. Yowsers! If only she’d go for some serious high heeled boots too…”
“That’s pretty unlikely, Peeper, since she only wears flats, even under normal circumstances.”
“Don’t these girls know that sex sells?”
“Umm, I think it’s more that these girls don’t see themselves as mere bodies to be objectified, and as such…”
“Shut up, minion, or YOU’RE going to be objectified.”
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
“What it means, Greaseball, is only sissies quote ‘The Princess Bride’ at other guys! Now shut up!”
Phase reached the spindle, to find a force field attached over the door. It looked like a single large square of force. He could beat that.
Then he heard the snicking sounds approaching from down the street. If he needed a minimum of thirty seconds to enter codes, he had better take care of whatever detritus that steatopygian loser was sending his way. He ran down the street and ducked through the wall of another building.
“Oh wait, is she blocked out of the spindle? Maybe Belphegor is finally getting onto the scoreboard. Wait, what’s she up to?”
“She’s moving toward Belphegor’s position, so perhaps she’s going to attack him directly.”
“Punching Belphegor out? NOW we’re talking!”
Phase floated up through a building to get to the rooftop. Peering around an air-conditioning unit, he looked down the street at the floating chair preceded by a handful of octopedal robots.
He pulled out a miniature telescope and studied his opponent. The guy was stuffing his fat face from a Burger King bag. How old was that food? He knew there wasn’t a Burger King in Dunwich, so there couldn’t be one for miles around. Could that food be days old? Weeks old? He suddenly felt nauseous.
Ugh. That ‘burger’ was dribbling some sort of putrid collation of sauces down Bel-fatso’s chin, onto his shirt.
Phase made up his mind. There was no way he was going to confront Belphegor face to face, and risk having to punch that mess. He didn’t want to have to look at it. Given what Belphegor was supposed to represent in demonology, it was pretty revolting how close to that this slob managed to come.
A better approach occurred to him. He retreated and moved to a new position.
Belphegor rode down the empty street, his spider robots marching ahead of him, all armed and ready for the first sign of the girl. He had his personal force field mounted to protect his front from any attacks. He was ready for anything! Nothing would go wrong this time!
Then his entire flight control system shorted out.
Phase came up through the street underneath the floating chair. The anti-gravity devise, or whatever it was, pushed against him with little effect when he was this light. He rose up behind the chair, passing his hand through the back of it while going just heavy enough to get that tingle. He knew that at that density, his touch would disrupt every electronic widget he encountered. He just hoped he didn’t hit a large enough electrical charge.
“Whoa! Tubby didn’t see that one coming! And frankly, neither did I! A beautiful ambush. I didn’t know Phase had it in her. I was just figuring she’d hold up a bar of soap and scare him away.”
“She timed it perfectly. She must have been watching from one of the windows, or from under that manhole cover, because she timed it so the spider-bots and the main mass of the chair were already past her position before she made her move.”
“And what a move it was, Greaseball. Her disruption attack is supposed to be capable of shredding heavy-duty power armor, so Belphegor’s Throne Of Pukey-ness didn’t stand a chance. It looks like Belph isn’t enjoying this one!”
Belphegor screamed like a little girl as his floating chair suddenly shot up thirty feet, then bolted madly toward one of the buildings. His chair smashed into the building, shorting out the protective force field. The chair leapt upward another ten feet, and he squealed for help. He pressed the emergency safety devise, to eject him and float him down to the ground.
Black smoke jetted into his face, and he got an electrical shock from his keyboard that caused him to lose control of his sphincters.
He screeched as the chair jerked sideways another twenty feet, right into the side of another building.
“He seems to have lost flight control and directional stability, Peeper. He’s bouncing off one wall… Ouch! There he goes across the street and off the opposite wall. That’s gotta hurt. Ooh, and back to the first wall.”
“You know, faithful minion, I have a sudden urge to get out your old video games and play Pong.”
Phase watched as Belphegor's chair bounced back and forth against the sides of the buildings. The robot spiders that were still working were looking in the other direction, so he went heavy and stepped on them. They smashed with a satisfying crackly crunch. He trotted back toward the spindle.
“Ooh, those robo-spiders didn’t stand up to a solid stomp, did they?”
“Phase, at her highest density, is supposed to weigh over a ton.”
“Wow, that sounds like a girl that needs to meet Jenny Craig.”
“Heh. Pretty funny there, Peeper. At any rate, one ton applied directly to the center of one of those robots, will easily overwhelm the durability of their leg structures. And without Belphegor’s control systems, they don’t appear to have a reliable attack system.”
“There are only about six of them. You’d think a good spider robot swarm would need a couple hundred of the little suckers.”
The flat force field was still active when he returned to the spindle. Phase went light and walked through the side of the spindle, since the force field was only screening the front. Was this guy as big a moron as he acted?
It took Phase just under thirty seconds to enter his code and answer all the questions.
The booming tone sounded, and the announcer called out, "Winner: Phase!"
“Aaaaand… that was about as anti-climactic as Bunker vs. Glass. No punches to the face, no desperate battles, no back-and-forth struggles, and worst of all, no T-and-A! What is wrong with today’s young female supervillains? Have they no sense of style? No sense of tradition?”
“On the other hand, Peeper, I hear that Attributes has a new costume that has a ‘V’ neckline that goes all the way down to… here.”
“Holy cleavage-clamoring, barf-man! Really? Does she have to give herself a Brazilian to wear it? Tell me more! No, pictures! I need pictures! I need streaming video!”
Grabby turned to her friends and said, "I don't care that she's one of the pretties, or that she's a Goodkind. I'm sending her a box of chocolates for that one!"
Stormwolf was already suited up in case of problems like this, but he still needed the time to grab the new jetpack Thunderfox had designed, and strap himself into it.
But before he could give Bob an order, the two of them were mobbed by a dozen devisers and gadgeteers.
“He’s one of us! We should be the ones who rescue him!”
“Yeah! Look all I have to do is aim this at his chair and…”
A distant scream echoed off several Arena ’99 buildings, as the chair suddenly flipped sideways and began shaking.
“You made things worse! Lemme try this.”
The screaming rose in pitch about three notes, as the chair began to wobble alarmingly.
“Dude! No way! Watch what this does.”
The screaming began to achieve a Doppler effect as the chair began jumping back and forth in mid-air.
“Hey! My turn now!”
Stormwolf staunchly insisted, “No! Stop right there. This is a job for the Wild Pack!” He slapped his jetpack’s on-switch and lifted into the air to effect the rescue.
Firecat, right beside him under his own power, said over their comm system, "It's Belphegor. Do we have to rescue him right away? Maybe we could wait until his chair runs out of power."
"Firecat!" Adam wished that his teammate wasn't always so flippant.
"I'm sure it'll run out any hour now. Sunday at the latest."