Of Masks and Marvels (Part 8)
Of Masks and Marvels
By Bek D Corbin
Ilena Reyes checked her watch nervously. Maxham and Power Woman had gone in there over ten minutes ago, and there was no sign of either of them. It was only a matter of time before the other news crews got here, and she'd have to share the story with them. She looked over at Eli Maxham. Eli was nervously turning his tweed cap in his hands. He was worried. But then, Eli tended to worry about his brother. Not that he ever let Maxham see it, of course.
Then Eli caught sight of something. He snapped his cap back on his head and shouldered his field camera, pointing it up toward the sky.
Reyes followed the line of his lens. Up, about twenty feet above the nearest rooftop, a pair of white-caped figures were descending. "Schroeder? There's a new development! Get ready to record!"
"This is Ilena Reyes, live a D_____ and E_____. Ten minutes ago, Lady Lightning and Power Woman went into the building behind me, apparently in pursuit of the vicious Berserker. Now, Power Woman is returning to the scene, with Justiciar. There is no sign of either Lady Lightning or Berserker. I will try to ask for the reasons for this unforeseen development."
"Power Woman! Ilena Reyes, Channel __ News! Why did you leave the scene and return with Justiciar? What happened with Berserker? Where is Lady Lightning?"
The statuesque blonde fixed at her with a 'what the hell are you babbling about?' look. "We came to investigate an unauthorized broadcast, using my name. We ha-"
Justiciar cut in smoothly. "We have reason to believe that Lady Lightning may be the victim of an ambush. Why did you say that Power Woman returned, Ms, Reyes?"
Reyes covered Eli's lens with her hand and said into her mike, "Channel __, I'm afraid that we will have to wait for further developments. Back to you, Brianna."
"Aaand- cut!" Eli tilted the camera up. "We're clear! Justiciar, we saw Lady Lightning AND Power Woman trade a few chops with Berserker, and then go into that building. That was about ten minutes ago. Until she showed up with you, we've heard absolutely bupkiss since then. Waitaminnit, lemme show you..." Eli rewound, and flipped out the review plate.
The two veteran superheroes watched as Lady Lightning 'saved' what was in all appearances was Power Woman from Berserker, and then together slip past him into the building. "Hmmph! Just the kind of set-up that a Rookie would fall for!" Power Woman chided in clear contralto trumpet tones, "What she should have-"
Justiciar interrupted. "Yes, she should have radioed AEGIS HQ and asked for confirmation- But she would have had to wade through all our anti-crank measures, and they made sure to make it sound like a screaming emergency, so she couldn't afford to waste time. Besides, you have to admit that is a primo impersonation job, whoever's doing it."
Power Woman sighed. "Well, I suppose we have to go in and get her!"
Justicia gave her a 'ladies first' bow, "It would be best, seeing as how she put herself on the line for you!"
The two white-caped vigilantes advanced on the security door. Power Woman tapped at the door, tracing a finger over a component-concealing plate. "Hmmm...Doctor Daedalus has set up shop in town-"
Justiciar manifested his glowing energy sword and gave the door a couple of well-placed swipes. With the ease of long acquaintance, Power Woman anticipated this and easily caught the several ton security door, setting it against the nearest piece of stable masonry. Justiciar bowed her through first, and followed.
Unseen by either of them, Eli carefully advanced through the wreckage. Reyes tried to hiss him back towards safety, but the younger Maxham brother wasn't having any of it. Cautiously, Eli poked his head through the door, slung the camera onto his shoulder, and went in.
It was a trifle obvious which way that Lady Lightning and the impostor had gone- all you had to do was follow the trail of wreckage.
The Potent Pair (plus one) strode down the corridor, taking note of the measures taken. As she examined the ruined security robot, Power Woman sniffed, "Octo-bot. She apparently dragged it in here and let the electric trap take care of it. Well, I suppose that is one way of handling it."† Justiciar just gave her a wry aside glance.
As they came to the main assembly area, they heard a strange hissing sound. The hissing sound became louder as they entered the room, but there was still no obvious source of the sound. Hanging back a bit, Eli swept the ill-lit assembly room with his camera. No sign of Dan.
Then there was a sharp explosion! A segmented plate on the floor burst open, one half of the hatch torn off and thrown clear by the force, and a short-lived fireball erupted upwards. A split second later, Lady Lightning shot up out of the pit, a corona of electricity ablaze around her.
"OOOhhh, Yeah!" Eli crooned. "Money Shot!"
I was wet, I was cold and I was PISSED. The big electrical display was a power-hog, but it dried me off quick and warmed me a little. Okay, nobody was shooting at me, so far so good. I just hoped the bitch hadn't gotten whatever we wanted and split before I could give her a little concussive plastic surgery. Hell, I just hope that this isn't where Ashe, Bishop and Elgyn decided to relocate! Turning around, I spotted what looked like Justiciar and Power Woman. Oh, riiight, like I'm falling for that again!
As I powered up a particularly nasty lightning bolt, it struck me that while two were probably She-Devil and Berserker using their symbiots as a disguise, the way my luck had been running, they could also be exactly who they appeared to be. Not needing any more egg on my face, I snarled "Speak Up and be recognized!"
Justiciar advanced a step and called out "Lady Lightning! Are you alright? What's going on here?"
Recognizing his clear baritone, I dropped to the floor, but didn't power down the jolt. I pointed at 'Power Woman'. "And what about You? Justiciar, did she come with you, or did you meet her here?"
"What are you talking about?", she demanded in trumpet-like tones that suggested Boston, or at least an Ivy League education. The trailing You Idiot was left unspoken, but clearly understood.
I held up a hand. "Never mind. There's no way that She-Devil could cover up that Hungarian accent. She would use it at all, unless she didn't have any choice."
"She-Devil?" They said in unison, their body language changing drastically.
"Yeah. She used her dermal symbiot to disguise herself as you, Power Woman, and created an excuse to not talk until-" I took in their expression. "You guys didn't know that she could disguise herself?" They shook their heads. I brightened. "Gee! I don't feel anywhere near as stupid, now!"
"Anyway, she suckered me in here, probably to help her take out the defense systems. When I shut the main power down, Berserker blindsided me and then chucked me into that water trap. I just hope that they haven't found whatever they were looking for..." I flew over the assembly area and went through the broken window into the control booth.
Justiciar and Power Woman were close behind. I approached the main power panel. Power Woman grasped me by the shoulder- Man! She is Strong!- and said "And before we let you touch anything technical, How do we know that You aren't She-Devil, trying to pull a fast one?"
I looked through that stupid helmet's eyeholes straight into her baby-blues and said, "Because, IF I were, I wouldn't Tell you that She-Devil can disguise herself, now would I? I'd come off all wounded-like, make excuses for not talking, and set you up for Berserker to take out, like she did me!"
Power Woman didn't like it, but couldn't find the flaw in my logic.
I powered up the system, and turned on the security systems. I paused to 'warm' myself by placing my hand on the CRT. A gentle, nurturing current of power flowed up my arm and into my body. Just the thing to warm my bones! As I tried to be granted SysOp status by the system, I asked, "By the way, any idea of who this place belongs to?"
Power Woman answered as she was checking over the equipment, like she knew what she was doing, "It looks like Doctor Daedalus' style."
"Doctor Daedalus? Who's He?"
Power Woman just gave me a cold glare. Justiciar answered, "Your basic 'Mad Scientist'-slash-gadgeteer in power armor."
"Never heard of him. A mad world-conqueror?"
"No, more of a sociopathic 'Science for Science's sake' type. Funds his researches by selling bleeding edge technology to various criminal types."
"Oh. I wondered where a yutz like Gunhawk got his hands on that kind of Uber-Tech. Lemme guess- it's all 'this-hasn't-really-been-tested' Beta stuff that he peddles, right? He lets his customers do the field testing themselves?"
"Hmmm...That would explain the performance on some of the stuff that hits the street. Though, I'd love to see a bunch of supervillains take him to court over it."
"Heh! He must be heavy into hardware, 'cause his on-line security is strictly kindergarten! Aaannnddd, I'm In! Okay, check for lifesigns, Mr. Sulu! And we have six heat signatures, us three, two moving through this corridor and one right outside the assembly area. The twosome is pretty obvious, so let's see if the camera in that part of that corridor didn't get smashed, and see who the new player in the game is."
The camera in that part of the access corridor switched on, and I almost switched off when I recognized Eli. What the fuck was he doing here? Trying to sound a lot more detached than I felt, I asked Justiciar and his girl-friend, "So, you recognize him?"
"Camera hound for Channel __. He was very helpful, filling us in when we got here."
"Yeah, well, we don't need a Jimmy Olsen wannabee getting underfoot. Power Woman, why don't you go and persuade him to evacuate?'
She gave me a sour look. "And why me?"
I gave her a wide smile and said, "Look at him! Your basic skinny little horn-dog! A big-name Uber-blonde tells him to get moving, and he'll trip over his tongue getting as much mileage as he can to oblige you!"
She looked like she was trying to decide whether I was joking or not, when I noticed something. The two not-identified-but-it-didn't-take-Sherlock-Holmes-to-figure-it-out heat signatures were moving. And their trajectory would have them running right over Eli. He was either a quickie hostage, or he was road-kill. With a quick "Handle the hostiles!" over my shoulder, I thunder-charged out of the control booth and down the hall.
I was almost too late. Eli was between Berserker and She-Devil and the exit. It looked like the Diabolical Duo had just stumbled over him, and were putting their one working synapse each together to figure out what to do with him. Big Red was already half-way there, with an extra long sword-hand forming on the end of his arm. Eli was just standing there, looking at She-Devil with that weird deer-in-the-headlights look that people seem to get around her.
I thunder-charged into Berserker, knocking him into She-Bimbo, and almost smashing her through the wall. I caromed off the B-guy, ducked, rolled and scooped up a still-awestruck Eli, all in one smooth move. Damn, I hope that somebody got that on film. If nothing, I want it to use the next time that Eli and I get in an argument. Another thunder-charge, and we were outta there!
Once outside, I put Eli down. I pointed a stern finger at him and said, "Sit! Stay! Good Dog!" Then, I flew just as quickly back inside.
When I got back inside, Berserker was blunting his sword-hand on Power Woman's breast-plate. In retaliation, she tried to do a WWF-style pile-driver, but it didn't come off right.
Justiciar was just standing there, stock still, with She-Devil wrapped around him in a lip-lock. She was clinging to him so hard that it looked like she was trying to physically merge with him. But then, maybe she was! She had one leg hooked playfully around his opposite leg, and that tail of hers wrapped possessively around the other.
Well, there's no accounting for taste!
Berserker formed big squarish mallets on the ends of his hands and tried to sucker her into dodging into his right with a feint from his left. P.W. took the lesser blow, swung in close and pounded the Red Menace right in the space between his oversized choppers.
Which gave me an idea. I flew past them both, back to the control booth. With my security panel clearance, I accessed the fire control panel. Yeppers, the foam nozzles that squirted the faux-Power Woman were part of the fire control system. So, lets see how she likes another taste of the stuff!
I designated She-Devil as a dangerous heat source, and sure enough, it sprayed her head-to-toe with the fire-smothering foam. Then a set of ceiling-mounted rail-running waldoes lifted her up and deposited her in the same water trap that she'd had Big Red stuff me in. Having fun, I took direct control of the nozzle, and managed to squirt a nasty glob of the foam right in Berserker's maw. He began to choke, and Power Woman took advantage of it to drag him out into the open, where her flight gave her the advantage.
Okay I admit it, I'm publicity conscious. Hey, It's My Job! If I don't get a few good action shots in with every appearance, then my TV quota goes down, sales of my posters go down, and its all downhill from there. So, I hadda get in a couple of really photogenic shots pounding Berserker!
Checking on She-Devil as she splashed around in the water, I couldn't help myself: "Hold on, Dahlink! I'll go get Mr. Haney and Mr. Drucker and Ahnold Zif-fel, ahnd we'll gechew owt!" Yes, I can be a bit of bitch- it goes with the uniform.
When I got there, Justiciar was still standing there in a daze. I lifted off his helmet and slapped him a few times. "Hey, Loverboy! Snap Out Of It! She's Gone!" He finally started to react to normal reality. What does that broad have, and how can I avoid it?
I flew out of the building, and found Power Woman and Lumpy were doing the toe-to-toe tango. With an effort, I picked up a nice sized I-beam and braced with it. "Hey, Power Woman! Batter's Up!"
P.W. picked up on the suggestion, and turned Big Red's next swipe into a grapple and pitched him at me. Berserker's much larger than a regulation baseball, so I connected easily. And my Little League coach said that I'd never make the Majors!
Power Woman went wide and intercepted my pop fly with a haymaker, sending Clayboy right back at me. I connected again, but this time, I trashed my bat. Awww, and I just got it!
As Berkerserk went flying, and Blondie flew to intercept, Justiciar came staggering out. "Hey, Pee- Dubya! New Batter!"
With a minxish look that was out of keeping with her normal attitude, Power Woman gave Berserker a spinning kick that sent him straight at our resident Sir Galahad. I chanted "Heeey, Batta, batta!", alerting the Big J that something was up. He managed to get his energy sword up just in time to catch Lumpy right in the mid-section. Berserker folded and slumped to the ground.
Power Woman and I descended and stood over the soggifiying form. I looked at P.W.with a mournful look, "Awww, Maaan! Our Ball's busted!"
She shook her head and Tsked, as if they just didn't make supervillains like they used to.
I tapped her on the shoulder and said, "I left the Playboy Playmate from Perdition in that water trap. Wanna go see if she's Bimbo Soup yet?"
We turned and casually strolled into the complex together. Once we were safely out of camera and shotgun mike range, I asked, "What's the deal with Justiciar and She-Devil? I mean, I thought the man had better taste than that! Aren't you and he supposed to be like the Head Cheerleader and Captain of the Football Team and here on the Super-Campus?"
Apparently, this was not a good question to ask. The minx that had come out during our 'baseball game' skittered back inside the crab's shell, and we walked back to the water trap in strained silence. (Memo to self: file that under 'Ask Somebody Else'.)
When we got to the water-trap, it was empty, with no signs as to how she got out. Shit! Maybe she's smarter than she comes across- Naaahhh!
We made our excuses to the cops, and fielded questions from the Press. Power Woman was stiff, and her responses sounded a little too 'year-book response' to come off well on the Air. It's the helmet, I tell you, it's gotta be the helmet. Justiciar took my advice and pulled his off before making his comments, and came off much better. Still as corny as Kansas in Summer, but then, he can pull that kind of thing off. I made my thanks to P.W. and Justiciar for the save. Then I reminded the Press that while Terrorists and Third World rebels might honor the 'neutrality' of the Forth Estate, to a supervillain, they're just more hostages. I gave Eli a stern 'don't make me have to talk to you again, young man' look. With that, I lifted off, and headed obliquely to my pickup point.
As I was waiting for Reyes and Eli to pick me up, I half-expected Justiciar to follow after me again. He didn't. I'm not sure why I was disappointed.
When they picked me up, Reyes put her hand on Eli shoulder, looked at me, and said with a smirk, "Ward, I'm worried about the Beaver."
"Dammit, Dan, what did you think you were doing?"
"Yeah, Maxham, you embarrassed him in front of all the other kids." Reyes was taking way too much pleasure from this. "Now they're gonna pick on him and take his lunch money..."
I pulled off the mask and wig, and tried to look as much like his older brother as I could in a stuffed bra and high heels. I looked him straight in the eye. "Eli, what you did was brave, but it was also very stupid! You coulda gotten killed! Those two goons were making up their alleged minds whether to take you as a hostage, or just gut you like a fish right then and there!"
"Yeah, but you-"
"Eli, I am super-strong, I have force fields, and during my usual work outs at the old assembly plant, I shrug off damage that would put a normal guy in the hospital for months. Even then, I'm wearing as much protective armor as I can! What do you have to protect you, Eli? A camera and a canvas vest! Eli..." I searched for the words, but they wouldn't come out right. "Eli, I understand that you want to be a part of this- maybe more a part than you are now. But I don't know how to give you the Power- Nobody does. Please, don't make me have to tell Ma that I let another one of her sons die."
Eli wilted with that. I didn't like having to do it, but sometimes you gotta fight dirty.
It was getting a little maudlin, so Reyes tried to lighten things up a little. "So, Maxham, what was all that business with the explosion about?" I explained the nature of the ambush and the water trap. "So? Don't just leave it there! I mean, there you are, trapped in pit of freezing water with a shatter resistant, non-magnetizable hatch and no leverage to break your way out! This is the part of the movie where the Credulous Sidekick asks 'Oh, How Ever did you escape?' " She punched Eli in the shoulder. "So, Credulous Sidekick, Ask him how he got out!"
"I thought that you were the Credulous Sidekick!"
"No, You are the Credulous Sidekick! I am the savvy Journalist Ally, who keeps the big goof from making a fool of himself!" Since When?
Trying mightily- if not successfully- to quash a smug look on my face, I accommodated my Credulous Sidekick. "Okay, there I am, treading water and courting hypothermia- not only that, but my air is beginning to go stale. It occurs to me that I can electrolysize the water into oxygen and hydrogen, to stretch out my air supply. It takes me a bit, but I get the proper technique down. After a minute or two of this, I notice that the air pressure has changed. Bingo! I realize that if I can split enough water into hydrogen and oxygen, that I'll have a very combustible mixture under high pressure. So, I busily split water into gases for a while, then duck under the water, poke the tips of two fingers out and run a spark between them. BOOM! The water cushions all but my pinkies (*Owie! Owie! Owie!*) from the force of the blow-"
"But wouldn't being underwater next to an explosion make the damage worse? Something called hydrosonic shock-"
"Hydro-Static shock. That would have occurred IF the explosion had taken place IN the water. But it didn't, and kinetic shock doesn't transition well from a lighter to a denser medium, which is why speakers are more efficient than microphones. So, the water was actually the safest place to be when the blast went off."
Reyes smirked, and I manfully braced myself for what was coming. "So, Maxham, basically you escaped from the death-trap by giving it the finger." (Insert Rimshot Here)
Thunderbolt. I still think that it's a great Superhero name.
We were just out of the Station, heading for a two-alarm fire, when something juicier came through over the police bands. "All Units, be on the lookout for a costumed extremist, wearing a blue and yellow outfit. Last reported hopping west on rooftops along D_____. Believed to be armed with extraordinary technology. Suspect is wanted for Breaking & Entering, Assault, and Grand Larceny. Use caution."
I did my Flying Dismount number at the first opportunity, and headed at top speed for D____. It must have been a slow superhero day, 'cause another hero beat me there. Her name is Sapphire, and she's one of the reasons that guys like looking at Superheroines. She's tall for a woman, though kinda short for a superheroine, about 5' 8" or so, and she has all the right curves, if not as front-heavy as She-Devil. She packages these curves in a sleeveless dark blue bodystocking with a glassy finish to it, and a star-burst in a circle design on the chest. She wears white boots and gauntlet gloves, with a wide white belt with a large star-sapphire buckle. She has a long Carly Simon-kind of face with that wonderful expressive mouth. Instead of a mask, she wears a mirrored wrap-around visor that covers her face from cheek to brow, and she has long flame-red that falls about to the middle of her back when she isn't moving, which isn't often. She is what we in the 'Biz call an 'Energy Projector'- flight, force fields, energy blasts, like that. She can also form things out of energy in a way that caused some talk a few years back about a lawsuit from DC Comics for infringing on Green Lanternís act. Nothing came of it.
And not much was coming of Sapphire's attempts to snag Mister Blue and Yellow Badguy. Actually, she was doing very well- he bounce up and she'd wrap him up in one of her blue energy bubbles, no problem. But then he'd just sort of slip out, and try to get away. And he was making sure to keep well inside the IBEZ (Innocent Bystander Endangerment Zone), so Sapphire couldn't just blast him. Bastard.
I flew up to her. "Slippery little booger, isn't he?"
"Oh, Hi. Lady Lightning, isn't it? Do you mind? I'm a tad busy right now."
"So, I noticed. Could I offer a helping hand?"
"Thanks, but I should be able to handle him by myself, once I figure how he's getting out of my force-gems."
Mister B&YBG hopped onto the top of a building and shot a fireball at us. Sapphire erected a force-shield, but the fireball did weird melt-y things to it. Still, the shield did deflect the fireball. But I really don't like fire, so if Sapphire says that she has this under wraps...
Mister B&YBG copped a pose. He was wearing a blue union suit, with yellow hood, gloves, boots and trunks, and there where all kinds of tacky lightning bolts all over his union suit. And believe me, when it comes to lightning bolts, I know tacky. Designing a tasteful super-suit is harder than it looks. He was wearing a yellow backpack of some sort, that was attached by cables to brace-looking things on his lower legs and forearms. He had a couple of canvas bags clipped to his belt that I assume carry his swag. "Foolish women! Try all you want, you will never stop the unstoppable THUNDERBOLT!", and started to natter on about how powerful he was.
THUNDERBOLT? Did He Just Call Himself Thunderbolt?
Without really thinking about it, I thundercharged down to him, spun him upside down, and started pounding his little pin head into the roof. Other than that stupid yellow hood, the idiot didn't have any real head protection, so he was out for the count by the fifth tap.
Then I noticed that being next to him was doing strange things to my force field. I flipped him over and checked out his backpack unit. The 'cables' leading to the hand and foot units were actually thick hoses. Oh, Nobody could be that stupid! I found the field maintenance latch and opened the unit. Oh, God he was that stupid! The dreaded Radiation Hazard symbol looked out at me like an absurdist skull. The numbskull had somehow not only built a hideously compact nuclear fission plant, but had hitched it up to a pneumatic drive to power his jumping jack boots and other equipment. The Atomic Pile must have been leaking Hard Radiation, which was what was screwing up Sapphire's energy powers.
I started to unbuckle Thunder-dolt's harness, and then felt Sapphire's energy signature getting closer. I called over my shoulder, "_Don't_ Come_ Any_ Closer_! He's leaking Hard Rads! Can you wrap one of your force gems around the unit to contain the radiation?"
She nodded, and as soon as the unit was clear from his back, she had it encased in a shell of crystal blue. The shell melted from the Rads, but she kept re-configuring it, to prevent any leakage.
I tucked Dunderhead under my arm and dropped down to street level. I quickly flagged down a black-and-white unit. Sticking my head in the window, I told the cop in a level yet urgent voice. "Listen up, we have a Situation. Get Lieutenant Hesczeck at Central on the horn for me, this is an emergency. As soon as possible, we need an evacuation of that building-" I indicated the building that Sapphire was still on top of, containing the mini-Atomic Pile, "-and a police cordon until the appropriate people can get here. When you can, get this man-" I piled Thunder-for-Brains in the back of the car, "- to a hospital to be treated for head trauma and radiation poisoning." The cop reacted to the mention of radiation. "Yes, Radiation Poisoning. Keep it as discreet as possible, we don't want a panic."
I filled in Hesczeck was quickly as I could, and a NEST (Nuclear Emergency Search Team) [Author's Note: These people really exist!] unit and additional blues were dispatched. I flew back up to the roof to spell Sapphire for a while. We traded off keeping the unit contained until the NEST guys showed up three hours later, keeping each other entertained by guessing at Dunder-dolt's mental and sexual short-comings. When the NEST guys got there, we were both pretty beat.
As we were being checked to see if we had been contaminated by radiation, Hesczeck dropped by. "I thought that you'd like to know, 'Thunderbolt'-"
"DUNDERHEAD, more like it!"
"-whatever, the shithead got to the hospital in time. He's gonna be okay- if he don't develop cancer, oh, say thirty years down the line. He should still be in Jail; besides Breaking & Entering, Assault, and Grand Larceny, we got him on Possession of Dangerous and Restricted Materials, Mass Reckless Endangerment and a couple of hundred safety violations."
"I have another one for you, Hesczeck- I want him brought up on charges of Felony Stupidity."
"Stupidity isn't a crime, let alone a felony."
"It should be."
"If we arrest him on those charges, by logical extenuation, we'd have to bust four-fifths of the Human Race, including (hell, especially!) the President!"
"I don't expect the charge to stick- I just want this schmuck stuck with a record of being charged with Felony Stupidity! Reason obviously doesn't work with these guys, force is expected, and they arent' really afraid of jail, so I say hit them with what really hurts- ridicule! By the time that the other animals in the zoo get through heckling him, nobody will ever even think of using stolen atomic fuel again!"
Hesczeck grinned wolfishly. "Felony Stupidity, hunh? Well, if nothing else, it'll make for an interesting precedent!" He walked away chuckling.
The medics got through checking us out, we both flew off. To my surprise, Sapphire didn't fly off in her own direction. I paused in mid-air.
"Ah, Lady Lightning? You got awful upset when that idiot called himself Thunderbolt, and you can't bring yourself to call him that. Am I wrong in guessing that you originally wanted to call yourself Ms. Thunderbolt, or something like that, and got stuck with 'Lady Lightning'?"
"Uhm, something like that."
"'Cause, if you want, we can always make a point of calling you by your preferred name! I mean, superheroes change their noms de guerre all the time! We-"
"That's very sweet of you, Sapphire, but I've gotten used to 'Lady Lightning'. Besides, it's on all my stationary, and the towels are being embroidered..."
Not only did Dunderhead get booked on charges of Felony Stupidity, but they stuck until the very end. My guess is that the D.A. and the Judge in charge of the case felt that they needed a bit of humor. Dunderhead went through about 12 different lawyers. They kept quitting, because they didn't want to go down in legal history as defending a man on charges of Felony Stupidity. They finally got dropped, but it was said that no man was ever so happy to be found guilty of only Grand Larceny.
Damn! I still say that Thunderbolt would make a great superhero name!
Find out in the next chapter of "Of Masks and Marvels" Chapter 9