JUSTICE LEAGUE

1

How Much Is that Penguin in the Window?

Pinzz hopped from wall to wall. She was on a mission, and she was sure the other superheroes were waiting restlessly back at the hall. Pinzz shot her finger onto a tree branch, and swung off of it. She faded into the tree with her superpowers. She spotted her target, dropped from the tree, and pressed an activator behind her ear. The shiny, blue liquid that covered her body in a metallic skin sucked in from her fingertips. 

Without her suit, Pinzz had no super powers, save grace and speed. She bounded to the 7-11, dodging cars, and went in. When Pinzz finally reemerged, she had three large grocery bags in her hands. She headed back to the mansion and kicked open the front door. The other heroes, who had been watching a baseball game on television, looked only mildly surprised. 

"Cheetos for everyone!" she announced and tossed the bags to her fellow justice leaguers. 

"Thanks, Pinzz," Superdude said, hoping over the arm of the couch and swiping a bag that had landed on the coffee table.

Oreo raised one eyebrow. "Weíre having dinner in half an hour."

"Yea. Thanks, Mom." Pinzz rolled her eyes.

Isomorphix said something from his spot at the corner of the room where he was working on his laptop. He tapped away furiously at the keys. Rosma Galek walked over and looked at the screen.

"Studmuffin, come here," she called. When the superhero had reached her side, she pointed to the screen. "Bo Powers is holding a meeting tonight with some very interesting people."

Bo Powers, a well-known billionaire, had previous run-ins with the Justice League. Of course, with a few carefully placed payments, he always managed to weasel out of trouble, but the superheroes kept an eye on him regardless. Recently, Powers had invested in an up-and-coming genetic research company.

"Should we check it out?" Xiao asked.

Isomorphix nodded. 

"All right," Rosma said. "When and where is the meeting?"

Iso hit a few keys and the screen changed. "Itís at his timeshare outside the national park. The cabin, 7:30."

Pinzz, suddenly no longer amused by laughing at the baseball players and making fun of the team, slipped next to Studmuffin and offered her opinion. "No doubt henchman are gonna be there. Thereís what, fourteen of us? I think only five should go, the rest hold down the fort, go nighthawking." 

"I agree," Isomorphix said. "Powers knows weíre keeping tabs on him."

"Whoís going?" Superdude asked. 

"Not you. Isomorphix, upload a map off there so we can find our way. Make it big," Pinzz snarked. She a keypad on the wall and a projector screen dropped from the ceiling by the far wall. The light in the room flickered and a projection of the map appeared on the screen. Iso got up, and pointed the way. It went off. 

"Iíll go," Studmuffin announced. He disappeared down a corridor.

"Well?" Pinzz said impatiently after several more minutes had passed. In the past few months, Powers had made cryptic threats to the team, warning about projects he was working on. He had more or less said in an interview after a charity event that several of the heroes were completely powerless against him after the development of several new weapons, and now that the millionaire had toned down his nefarious ways, the heroes werenít in that big of a hurry to face him or his henchmen. 

Pinzz scoffed. "Babies."

"Wait, Iíll go," Xiao said. She grabbed her short trench coat from its place slung over a chair and wrapped it around her body.

"Iíll stay," Eric called from his seat in his chair. He was in boxer shorts and tube socks, and the team unanimously agreed that Eric was best suited to keep an eye on the mansion.

"This is ridiculous! What are we, ten? Rosma and Raven, youíre coming with Studmuffin, Xiao and I. The rest of you: Keep an eye on the city. Think you can manage that?"

"Maybe your memory fails you, Pinzz," Rosma said softly as she passed the blue-suited superhero, "but we canít exactly charge in there. Powers has been quiet, and for all we know this meeting could be about building an orphanage. I agree we need to check it out, but this is reconnaissance only. Keep your temper, and Iíll keep mine."

Pinzz didnít make any sign of answering. She pressed a spot behind her ear and blue liquid poured from her fingertips, enveloping her body. Studmuffin returned to the common room with a pack of blurbs and ear-radios. Blurbs were a piece of technology given to the Justice League by a superhero team in Japan. They were tiny devices that attached to the heroesí feet and allowed the wearer to run on air for a period of 15 to 20 minutes until they needed to be recharged. As only two of the heroes could actually fly, the blurbs often came in handy.

"Ready?" Xiao asked, and the group of five slipped out the back door and into the night.

There was a knock on the front door. When no one else moved, the Violet Princess stood up and reached to open in. Suddenly, the door crashed open and in the entryway stood a red-haired boy with a towel for a cape. 

"Hello, fellow superheroes! I am Midnight Chatter what chats at midnight! I uphold the law, strive for peace, squash evil and other stuff that sounds good! I have come to join your band of heroes so that I may help you bring justice to this cruel world. I like long walks on the beach, ice cream on a warm day, reading books by the fireplace, and puppy-dogs. I am a Pisces. I donít eat much, and I am housebroken! I get along with people very well...at least I think so. I canít really tell you if other people like me, but I think they do...I don't know though. Maybe-" Topher continued to ramble. When he stopped he looked around the room. All of the superheroes had fallen asleep. Topher wasnít surprised, in fact he was relieved. Usually when he rambled, things exploded, even on occasion people's heads exploded. Falling asleep was minor in comparison to some of his other experiences. 

Suddenly somebody stepped out of a shadowy corner. He was wearing a trench coat, and had a very ominous feel about him. 

"Oh, I didnít see you there...Well, hello! I am Midnight Chatter what chats at midnight. I uphold the law, strive for-" Topher began.

The guy interrupted, "I heard you the first time. I am Isomorphix."

Topher scanned the room again, looking at the sleeping bodies, one of which was half-naked for some reason. 

"Oh, well, donít worry; they will wake up in a few minutes. It happens all the time when I start to ramble. Itís just that I start to get off topic for some reason. Like this one time-"

"Stop! What are you doing here?" Iso interrupted again.

"Aw... Well see, I would like to join the Justice League. Although, I thought there were a bit more of you. I mean this is enough, but I had heard you had around 14, and judging from the sleeping people I count that there are about five or so missing. But maybe-"

"No, you are correct. Five of our associates are currently engaged."

"Oh, I see. Well, do you think it would be possible for me to join your group of do-gooders here?"

Waking up from a rather uncomfortable position leaning against the wall, Oreo rubbed her eyes. "Let him in, Iso, if he promises to shut up. Iíll go run the background check."

Soon, the rest of the league stirred

"She always does that! Every freakin' time!" X-Raytor exclaimed, pacing back and forth in the Justice League common room.

"Gee! I wonder why?" Violet Princess mumbled sarcastically.

"Who did what to whom?" Midnight Chatter asked, sitting on one of the couches, his thumb pressed against the scanner in Oreoís hands.

Dragon Girl explained. "Every time we have a mission that one of the girls assigns--especially Pinzz--he always gets left behind because, well, we don't like him looking through our clothes."

"Damn right we don't!" Violet Princess said, whacking X-Raytor upside the head.

"Ow! What? I wasn't peeking!"

"Oh, yeah, you were just looking there for no reason, huh?"

"I was, um, looking at the sequins! On your dress!"

"I don't have any sequins!"

"Well, it all depends on what sequins you me- OW!"

"Um, excuse me?" Isomorphix said, closing his laptop. "Aren't we supposed to be Nighthawking?"

Oreo Avenger nodded. "Okay, people, you know the routine. Teams of two, scour the city for any form of crime." There was a brief pause. "Oh, yeah, I forgot. Who's going to risk going with X-Raytor?"

X-Raytor leered at Violet Princess, Dragon Girl and Scarlett Fire.

"Me and Dragon Girl will go together!" Scarlett Fire called. Violet Princess winced.

"Um, I'll go with... Superdude!" Violet Princess said, since Super Dude was the nearest to her.

"Well, that's all the girls covered," Oreo Avenger said. "Isomorphix, why don't you go with him?"

"Um, I should, uh, go with Midnight Chatter to, um, show him the ropes."

"Oh... okay. How about you, Eric?"

Eric's eyes widened. "I don't want him looking through my clothes!"

"He wouldn't look through another guy's clothes! Besides... you're naked!" Oreo Avenger said.

"You bet I am!"

"So you can go with him."

"No I can't. He'll look through my clothes."

"But..."

OMEGA stepped forwards. "Eric can come with me. That leaves you, Oreo Avenger."

Oreo Avenger blinked. "You guys suck."

"Oh, come on!" Super Dude said. "You know you're the only one who can control him!"

"Yeah! He's got that deathly fear of Oreos!" Scarlett Fire said.

Oreo Avenger sighed. "Okay, fine. X-Raytor, come with me, we're going to monitor the outskirts of the city. The rest of you, you know what to do." She waited until X-Raytor was standing next to her, and then hissed. "And if I even THINK you're looking through my costume, you won't have to look at us to see female body parts, if you know what I mean."

X-Raytor gulped and nodded. "Okay! Okay! Let's just go- I have a feeling that evil's afoot!"

"You said that when we were doing security for that *NSYNC concert."

"And I was right, wasn't I?"

"The crowd didn't get out of hand at all!"

"I wasn't talking about the crowd..."

* * *

The government facility was located in the middle of nowhere, Dakota. North? South? Does it matter? It's all empty space to me...

Anyway, the scientists and guards had never seen it coming, had never noticed that the lock on the cage was rusty. Had they noticed, the horrors of the next few days would never have taken place.

Sgt. Walters had heard the screams and thudding coming from holding area 51, but when he arrived, he found all of the scientists dead, their mangled bodies scattered all over the room, but all of the specimens back in their cages. No, wait, not all...

One cage had been forced open from the inside, obviously by something very big, and very, very strong. Walters looked at the laminated tag hanging from the side of the cage. It read:

"Subject 24601
Genetic Mutant- Rad. OD
Form. Bubba"

It took Walters a second to register it. "Rad. OD"- Radiation Overdose. Whatever this thing was, this man formerly known as "Bubba" they had mutated from some sort of freak nuclear accident or something of the sort. Those sorts of accidents didn't produce pretty children.

Suddenly, he heard a noise and whirled around, lifting his flashlight. Walters screamed louder than he ever had. Well, maybe a little quieter than that time he'd been attacked by rabid squirrel worshippers- but that was beside the point!

Walters stared up at what seemed to be a giant Penguin. A giant Emperor Penguin. A giant, green Emperor Penguin. Yep.

"QUAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!" It roared.

"AIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" Walters responded, dropping his gun and flashlight and running as fast as he could for the door.

Suddenly, the giant penguin was upon him! He gave Walter a hug, a giant hug, a hug that was much too huggy! His relatives remembered it from family reunions, where they called it the "Bubba Bad Touch." Finally, Walter couldn't take it anymore, and collapsed, lifeless.

The creature formerly known as Bubba quacked- it was a penguin laugh. For he was a penguin now- the Green Penguin! But how- how had he gotten this way?

The Green Penguin scanned his memory, and finally recalled a scrap of information, a line of conversation he'd heard while lying on a hospital bed:

"...Radiation sickness... genes are mutating... they think his nephew... something to do with it..."

He snapped back to the present. Yes, his nephew. As Bubba, he remembered, he'd only had one nephew. That was who he would find, and that was who he'd exact revenge on. But what was his name? Oh yes...

"Jhhhhnnnnnn..." The Green Penguin hissed with his beak. "Jhhhhnnnnnn..." 

* * *

The superheroes tumbled through the city, Pinzz hopping from treetop to roof and Studmuffin flying while the rest used their blurbs. Soon they were at the cabin. 

Rosma whispered, "We need to get to the roof. Weíll listen in." 

Pinzz and the others nodded.

"Wait, Rosma, can you get over the fence and sneak inside? Iíd go too, but the dogs--"

Suddenly, Xiao was at the edge of the fence whispering something in a strange language. The others couldnít understand what she was saying, but the guard dogs whimpered and lay down.

Raven took Rosmaís hand and pushed her through the fence. Pinzz crouched on a low hanging branch and whispered, "You two wait here," she said to the younger heroes. "Weíll call you if we need to rumble." Raven slipped back through the fence and sat next to Xiao.

"I really, really donít like her," Xiao said once the blue-skinned girl was gone.

"I donít think anyone does. But she knows what sheís doing." Raven paused. "What did you say to the Dobermans?"

Xiao shrugged. "Itís not important."

Go on, slave, tell her, Fred cackled. Tell her and I will quash your mind and your body will be mine!

Pinzz looked over her shoulder at the girls. They were whispering. Aggravated, Pinzz focused her attention on Powers. She swung off a branch and landed on the roof with a light thud. She swung down next to a window and motioned for Rosma to sneak around to the side door. It was open, and a low-level henchman stood outside, a cigarette balanced lazily in one hand. Invisible, Rosma slipped behind him. Pinzz followed, camouflaged against the wall.

Inside, Powers was talking. "Thereís a monster...facility. Crazy...nephew of...league. Insane... strong."

"Monster facility?" Pinzz and Rosma heard Studmuffin over the radio. He was above the cabin, waiting.

"I heard his name... Penguin... Deadly," Powers continued. Rosma crept closer to the conference room. Suddenly, she slipped, and her fist slapped against the wall.

"What was that? Johnny, get out there!" He sent one of his henchmen to check it out. Obviously a henchman named Johnny. Johnny ran into the corridor. Rosma ran, still invisible, but Pinzzís camouflage flickered as she swung out the doorway. Johnny saw her and ran after her, waving a gun in his hand and shouting. 

Rosma turned visible and followed them towards the woods. A second henchman appeared in the doorway. He looked to find the cause of Johnny's shouting, but saw Xiao and Raven crouched on the opposite side of the fence instead. He headed in their direction.

"Xiao, Raven, watch out!" Pinzz yelled.

Rosma raced after Johnny, but he was closing in on Pinzz and taking aim. His finger was pulling the trigger as Studmuffin swooped down from the sky and landed a fist to the side of his head.

"Get out of here, now," he said before rising back into the sky, presumably to find Xiao and Raven.

Pinzz turned to Rosma, who was watching the unconscious henchman. "Hear anything useful inside?"

She shook her head.

"Well, we can get it out of this guy." Pinzz spoke into her radio, "Send someone with more Blurbs. Pronto. We have a hostage."

* * *

BAM! The burglar was down. The lady took her purse and ran, but the burglar got up and started to chase the woman. Crystal Freeze took her hand, placed it on the concrete, and a full sheet of ice followed him up the sidewalk, caught him, and wrapped around his feet. 

"Don't touch me, freak!" he yelled, sputtering. Crystal swaggered over. 

"I wonít." She took a hand and blew on it, as if blowing him a kiss. A soft wind came from it, very cold soft wind that got colder and surrounded the man's head. When it left he had frost on his eyebrows and beard. He was chattering, and lips were turning light blue. She kicked the ice out from under him, freeing him. He ran away, slowly. Crystal sighed. 

Out from behind a corner, she spotted a girl and a guy. They stepped in front of her. She adopted a fighting stance. "Donít come near me. I can do it again!"

The strangers looked at each other.

"Whatís your name?" the girl asked.

"Why?"

"Do you want to do that full-time?" she nodded at the melting ice.

Crystal shrugged. "Whatís it to you?"

"Weíre the Justice League. We can help you."

"How do I know youíre not..."

The boy stepped into the light, his costume fully recognizable. X-Raytor. "I guess youíll have to trust us."

"Well, I am kind of my own hero, so..." Crystal started to go to her motorcycle, her pride and joy. She caressed the seat lovingly.

"This oneís cold as ice," X-Raytor mumbled to Oreo. The heroine elbowed him. Hard.

Then, the boyís hand went to his ear. "Pinzz is in trouble. They need the blurbs," he said to Oreo. She nodded and looked at Crystal.

"Come with us," she said. The younger woman shrugged, but the heroes were in a hurry. They had already started leaving. Crystal swung one leg over her motorcycle and revved the engine, following the white X as it raced ahead.

Moments later, the new girl joined X-Raytor and the Oreo Avenger as they left the mansion with a new set of blurbs to help the others.

* * *

Xiao leapt into action. Well, out of the shadows at any rate, which brought forth the malevolent power of Fred. Okay, he didn't look that scary, more like an evil stickman.

Fred, babbling about his great evilness and how this worthless henchman should bow before him and all, only managed to get the guy angry and pull a gun. Or maybe he decided he'd rather just shoot at them instead of chasing after them. After all, they were younger than him. Well, except Fred, but he didn't count and-

Xiao's thoughts were disturbed by Fred, who ordered her to "follow and subdue this guy so that Fred could drain his energy and become even more powerful and evil." Or something like that. Meanwhile Raven was doing all the work. Xiao had no idea where Rosma and Pinzz were. Probably still taking care of Johnny. 

Raven was goading the thug after her, leading him deeper into the forest, calling him extremely rude things.

"Come get me, you son of a motherless goat!"

Raven appeared to have some sort of plan, but Xiao had no idea what. She turned her attention back to the building, where several more thugs were coming out to check on the commotion. Slipping near one, she laid a hand on his shoulder. The guy twisted, and tried to hit her with the butt of his gun, but Fred was too fast. The man collapsed to the ground, as Fred drained him of his life-force, or something equally mystical. The other guy had obviously heard the phrase "Idle hands are the devil's workshop" because he was loading his weapon quickly. He dropped unconscious as Rosma appeared behind him, used an attack on him that looked like the Vulcan Death Grip, having been invisible. Looking around, Xiao saw that Pinzz was still guarding "Johnny" and Raven was re-emerging from the woods, alone. Fred changed to the shape of her regular shadow, just as reinforcements arrived: X-Raytor, Oreo Avenger, and someone she'd never seen before.

And there were still guys in the building. 

* * *

"...and so I said to him 'Hey, that's not my mattress.í And he just stared at me, and started to crack up. I mean, can you believe-"

"Please stop talking..." Isomorphix pleaded. They were nighthawking, but Midnight Chatter wouldn't stop talking.

"Oh, right. Sorry. Sometime I go off on a topic, and you just have to say 'Midnight Chatter, shut up.í Otherwise I could just continue until your head ex-"

"-Midnight Chatter," Isomorphix interrupted, "shut up."

"Can do." 

Isomorphix and Midnight Chatter continued to walk down the street in silence looking for a sign of danger, until they finally ended their section. 

"Well, it seems tonight is pretty quiet. Letís go back to the Headquarters." Isomorphix stated.

When they arrived, several of the other Justice Leaguers were already there. Midnight Chatter noticed a woman in all red talking into a radio as she pounded away at a keyboard. A girl who looked like she was wearing a purple ice skating costume stood behind her, pointing out things on the screen.

"This is sooo boring...cant we go do something?" Eric complained.

"Studmuffin is relaying information about Powers to us, and the others are fighting. We need to stay here," the ice-skating costume girl said. "Besides," she laughed cruelly, "Pinzz would be furious if we left." 

"And who exactly made her the boss?" Scarlett Fyre added. She looked at the girl beside her. "Studmuffin is going to send an audio file. Whatever Rosmaís radio picked up, and itís not much, heís sending it." 

"Pinzz is..." Superdude began.

"No, honestly. Arenít we supposed to be a team? We all make decisions together. We are all equals. I tell you, it really kinda annoys me every time she starts ordering us around." Scarlett continued, "Once this file downloads, I say we go help the others out, just to piss her off. X-Y and Oreo are already on their way, anyway." 

"They need assistance regardless of your personal vendettas," Isomorphix said. "But..."

"Alright, everybody get some Blurbs. Let's go!" Dragon Girl interrupted.

Midnight Chatter looked around at the superheroes. It seemed like this feud had been longstanding, and on his first day, he really didnít want to get involved. "Maybe I should stay here and make sure nobody tries to break in or anything. We really shouldnít just leave the place vulnerable to attack. Did you know that in 1911, a cat burglar broke into twenty houses before he was captured? I always wondered why they called them cat burg..."

"MC, Shh!" Violet put her finger to her lips. "Stay with Eric and keep an eye on the mansion."

"Right!"

The others, each grabbing re-charged blurbs, headed out the door.

Minutes later, Midnight heard a weird noise coming from outside. It was steadily growing, but he still couldn't tell what it was. Finally, it was loud enough for him to hear what it sounded like.

"Quuuuuuuuuuuuuuuaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkk...." Suddenly a big, green penguin burst through the door and landed in front of Midnight Chatter.

"A PENGUIN!" Midnight Chatter cheered in excitement. He had always loved penguins for some reason. They were his favorite animals. 

The penguin however did not feel the same way about Midnight Chatter. It jumped in the air and skidded across the wooden floor to the computer station. With its beak, it pecked against the keyboard.

"Wait! You know, Iíve always liked penguins. Youíre one of the few birds that donít fly, and yet youíre like a fish in water! Several scientists have commented on..."

The computer fan began to hum and the penguin spoke again.

"JHHHHHHHHHHHHHHNNNNNNNNNNNN...POOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWRRRRRRRRSSSSSSSSSS..." it squawked and left the mansion as quickly as it had entered. Eric walked into the room from the kitchen, looked at the mess and then looked at Midnight.

"Dude, I was just getting some leftover pizza," the now naked man said. Midnight averted his eyes.

"A giant penguin infiltrated the mansion. Iíve never seen a penguin so large. It slid across the floor and pecked at the computer. Did you know penguins could peck at keys? This one did, and I think itís going after the others!"

"Whoa, what?" Eric ran to the computer and looked at the screen.

File transfer aborted.
Access tacking system: Location/JL/X-Raytor
File Loading...Complete!


Beneath the text, a map appeared with a red dot over a black square marked "Powers Cabin." Eric paled.

* * *

The group arrived at the cabin with little trouble only moments after X-Y, Oreo and Crystal.

Pinzz, naturally, was angry to see them arrive. Powers was gone, as were most of his henchmen. The cabin was empty and the battle done.

"What the heck are you doing here? Who's watching the headquarters?"

Oreo looked equally worried.

"Midnight Chatter and Eric are there," said Dragon Girl. 

"I wonder if he can talk himself to sleep?" Superdude wondered aloud.

The others looked at each other. 

"Uh-oh," The Violet Princess said. 

"Whose genius idea was it to leave the headquarters in the care of a rambling new guy and a man who walks around NAKED?!" Pinzz demanded. The other superheroes stared at the ground. 

"Me," Scarlett Fyre spoke up. "There's not any real danger at the headquarters, anyway. I mean, sure it's possible that a crazy mutated green penguin might storm into it at random and scare Midnight Chatter senseless, but what are the odds of that? We're a team of superheroes, not house-sitters. We're supposed to be out fighting crime. And I think maybe from now on we should vote when it comes to decisions about who does what."

"Why you little--" Pinzz started to reply, but stopped when they heard a loud crashing sound in the forest, accompanied by mumbling. 

"Jhhhhnnnn."

The Justice League went into action--Scarlett Fyre melted the ice off of X-Raytor's eyes carefully (it had been put there when he'd confessed to looking through her clothes), and he was then able to look through the cabin walls and trees to see that the approaching creature was a giant, green penguin.

"Huh," Scarlett said. "I thought I made that up. It's possible that the penguin would be accompanied by a cute Scottish guy with a great singing voice."

Everyone turned to look at her.

"What?"

"Set up a defense!" said Isomorphix, as the penguin took out everything in its path and barrelled straight for them. 

The various superheroes got into their usual positions: Omega, Dragon Girl, Pinzz, Studmuffin, X-Raytor, Isomorphix, and the Violet Princess took front positions--they would be the first wave of the battle. Scarlett Fyre, Oreo Avenger, Raven, Raven, Xiao, Rosma and Superdude took their usual back-up positions, joined by Crystal Freeze, so they could bail the others out if they needed it.

Much to the superheroes' chagrin, Bubba fell flat on his face before they could do anything. The superheroes approached cautiously, seeing that Bubba was still breathing in faint gasps. Scarlett Fyre reached her hand out and acquired Bubba--a deadly green penguin morph might come in handy some day.

"Should we leave him here?" asked Raven. 

"I don't know. I'm not a vet," Superdude replied. 

"He's as good as dead. Let's leave him," said Omega. The others looked at him in slight disgust, but being from another dimension, earth mores didnít exactly apply to him.

After a brief conversation and a simple vote (like Scarlett Fyre had suggested), the Justice League decided the best thing to do would be to leave the giant penguin in a more secluded area of the national forest and head back to headquarters. Isomorphix informed them that Powers had probably already begun a cover-up of the events, but there was a level of reproach in Iso's tone.

And so, the intrepid heroes worked their way back to the Hall of Justice. They broke into their nighthawking pairs, to get in one last patrol before retiring. Most groups made it back without incident. However, one pair was delayed...

"You should have gone before you left," Oreo Avenger said, looking around the public bathroom.

"Sometimes you just have to go," X-Raytor said reasonably.

Oreo Avenger tapped her foot impatiently. "How much longer are you going to take?!"

"Spandex isn't exactly the easiest material to get out of."

Oreo Avenger sighed. She took a book from one of her pockets and started to read. She may as well get something productive done.

The door opened, and a man walked in. He looked at Oreo Avenger, looked at the urinals on the far wall, and looked back at Oreo Avenger again. "Um, isn't this the Men's bathroom?"

"No, this is the superhero's bathroom. Are you a superhero?" The man shook his head no. "Then get out of here!" Oreo Avenger yelled. The night was not going well.

A zipper being zipped echoed through the bathroom. X-Raytor emerged from the stall and struck a heroic pose. "I have finished!" he declared.

"Good," Oreo Avenger said, putting her book away. "Now wash your hands and let's get back."

Moments later, they exited the bathroom. Oreo Avenger quickly glanced around and, seeing no crimes in progress, took off into the sky. X-Raytor stayed on the ground, staring into the distance.

Oreo Avenger landed. "Do you see something suspicious?"

X-Raytor was still staring. "That woman has one of the nicest bottoms I've ever seen."

Oreo Avenger looked to where X-Raytor was staring. Indeed, there was a woman walking away from them. "She's a cross-dresser. Now let's go!"

The cross dresser checked something in his/her purse. Something metallic glinted. He/she headed into the nearest store-a jewlery store.

"Okay, that's gonna be trouble," X-Raytor said.

"You think?" Oreo Avenger sighed. "I'll go through the ceiling, you go in the front door?"

X-Raytor nodded and watched her fly to the roof. He made his way down the sidewalk towards the shop. People turned to give him odd looks as he moved through the crowd. Sheesh! he thought. A guy can't even run around in his underwear making a spectacle of himself anymore without everyone acting like he's a guy running around in his underwear making a spectacle of himself!

Upon arriving at the store, X-Raytor noticed that the door was locked and the shades were down. He quickly turned his X-ray vision up a few notches (to "zap" mode) and burned the lock off the door. Heroically, he kicked in the door and burst inside. Immediately, the cross-dresser turned from the clerk and pointed a pink lipstick tube at him. X-Raytor had the sense to duck as the lipstick tube actually fired bullets at him. He rolled behind the nearest counter.

Two seconds later, a ticking, open compact mirror joined him. "Gah!" he said, and crawled across the store as fast as he possibly could, making sure to stay behind the counter. "It just doesn't get better. Killed by a cross-dresser's makeup kit."

"Is that right?" the cross-dresser, who X-Raytor was now thinking of as "She-Man," yanked him to his feet and shoved him into a display case. Near the door, the compact grenade finally detonated, spraying everyone inside with glass.

"Lucky I have a full body suit, really," X-Raytor commented.

"Shut up," She-Man pointed the lipstick tube at his head. Just then, Oreo Avenger dropped from the ceiling and tossed a handful of cookies at the criminal. This distracted him long enough for her to knock the purse full of weapons out of his grip. The makeup containers scattered across the floor.

She-Man dove towards them and managed to grab a second compact mirror grenade. He turned to Oreo Avenger, opened it, and drew his arm back to throw it. X-Raytor stood up behind him and whacked him over the head, knocking him out. Oreo carefully closed the compact before turned back to X-Raytor.

"What is that?"

"What?"

"What did you hit him with?"

"Oh," he held up a mannequin's head, once used for displaying jewelry. "This."

"I see."

"It was the closest thing. Anyway, it was good a thing I was here, wasn't it? I totally saved all of you! I kick butt!" he started a victory dance.

Oreo held up a hand. "And I suppose I did nothing?"

"Um..."

"And I also suppose you'll be the one dragging him back to the holding cell? Since you are responsible for all of this, of course. See you there!" She crunched over the broken glass, picking up the purse and weapons, and then leapt into the sky.

X-Raytor looked at the unconscious man and considered how far away the Hall of Justice was. He looked out the window. "Maybe you helped a little!"

***

While she slept, mist came out through her lips. She was a restless sleeper, so at about 6:00 Crystal Freeze awoke. The sun was barely coming up; no one else was awake. 

She tiptoed out of her new room. She hadnít really a chance to look around the Hall of Justice. It was really sort of a big house, a mansion with enough bedrooms for everyone and a combination hangar/garage attached to the back. She walked to the kitchen, where there was a sink, stove, fridge, and other stuff such as blenders, toasters, and microwaves. She opened the fridge and grabbed some ice cubes. She always ate them, like candy. She popped a few in her mouth. She wandered into the living room, dropped on a beanbag, and started touching her fingers together, freezing them each a little each time. She always did this, when she was bored. 

Crystal got up about five minutes later and went to each personís room, to see if they were up. Everyone was already awake, except for Oreo and Studmuffin. She went to each of them and turned their blankets into a thick sheet of ice. This technique got them up rather quickly. 

"Why are we up?" X-Raytor asked. He got some orange juice and drank it. Scarlett Fyre started making toast. Everyone else gathered around the large living space. "And whoís making breakfast? I made it yesterday. I want an omelet." 

"Its either SuperDude or Raven. They havenít made it for a long time. Guys, pick a number between one and ten." Pinzz said. Raven picked four and SuperDude chose nine. Raven lost. 

"Hey, Raven, donít burn the toast this time." X-Raytor said.

After a while, everyone was eating soggy scrambled eggs. 

"My milkís warm." Xiao announced. 

"Give it here." Crystal said. She took the glass, and sent a powerful chill on the outside and inside of the glass. It quickly faded, but the milk was ice cold. "Here." 

She handed it back to Xiao, who almost dropped it. "Thatís cold! And good!" 

After everyone was finished eating, Pinzz gathered the league together. "Okay. As you all know, we do need to stake out Bo's cabin again today. Just to see what he's up to. There are only about seven of us that have good combat powers. Those people will be going into the cabin. The rest will be staked out around the cabin, keeping watch. For combat, Studmuffin, Violet Princess, Myself, Dragon Girl, Scarlett Fyre, Crystal Freeze, and Xiao. The rest, you guys will be strategically placed around the cabin. Everyone, suit up!"

***

X-Raytor grumbled as he walked down the corridor. "Can you believe this! Again, they overlook the obvious potential that my eyes in "zap" mode have for combat. Darn it, haven't they ever hear of Cyclops? Or seen Super Man melt things with super-charged x-ray vision? Itís a conspiracy, I swear!"

Oreo Avenger shrugged. "Hey, they overlook the powers my Oreos hold as well."

"Yeah, but that's probably a big mistake," Rosma commented. "After what you did to the human peepshow, over there, I'd think they'd have more respect."

X-Raytor shuddered. "Could we please NOT talk about the time I was turned into a woman? And by the way, Rosma, they seem to overlook your talents as well. Obviously invisibility can be used in combat, since if the enemy can't see you, how do they hit you?"

"I don't know, he might be right about a conspiracy," OMEGA said. "I've got the whole strong telekinesis thing going on, but instead they choose Chi-boy as having better powers."

"Well, at least we don't have to deal with Mudstuffin's ego," Raven said, stepping through a wall and becoming solid.

"The point is," X-Raytor said, "that we have great super powers--SUPER super powers, but we're always treated like we're second rate."

"No, you're always treated like you're second rate," Isomorphix said. "Besides, powers aren't everything- I don't have any, but my knowledge and intuition make up for that ten-fold."

"I think he's just angry because none of the girls like him," Raven teased.

"Yeah, keep telling yourselves that! Try to ignore my extreme animal magnetism!" X-Raytor grumbled.

"Sure thing." Rosma said.

"Maybe they don't like you because you've got the cross dresser fetish..." Oreo Avenger said, innocently.

"How many times do I have to say I don't have a cross dresser fetish! I thought he was a girl!"

"He had a mustache!"

"I couldn't see that!"

"He was hairy all over!"

"So? There's nothing wrong with hairy girls, in fac-"

"Um, ok, end of conversation," Rosma said, wincing.

"Seriously though, the reason they act like you're second rate is because you have no self control." Isomorphix said.

"I do too!" X-Raytor snapped.

"Which is why you're looking through Rosma's outfit right now?"

Rosma glared.

"Er, no! I was, uh, looking at... your unique costume design!"

"You used that one last week."

"See what I mean?" Isomorphix said. "You make excuses, and then, when a problem comes along, you back up and let everyone else handle it. With great power-"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Comes great responsibility, I know, I know. I wasn't exactly responsible when I mutated most of my family, now, was I?" X-Raytor sighed. "I think that as long as I'm not hurting anyone, I should be allowed to use these powers as I please. Heck, why shouldn't I get a little for myself? I didn't ask for these powers, you know, so I'm going to make the best of them, one way or another. But either way, it's my choice."

"You know, while we're talking, we should be setting up around Bo's cabin." Rosma said. "Let's just get into one of the vehicles as fast as we can."

"Oooooh! Can we take the Justice Jet?" Oreo Avenger asked.

"If Violet Princess hasn't already taken it..."

"But if she has... doesn't that mean that it's going to crash and burn?"

"Only if she's driving..."

X-Raytor had tuned everything out and was brooding internally. Responsibility. Ha! I'll show them responsibility! I'll be so responsible, they'll change my name to...uh... Responsible Man! Yeah! Hey... look at Raven's butt!

And so, the Justice League was on its way to Bo's cabin.

***

As the Justice League arrived at Bo's cabin, they silently took their places. X-Raytorís group covered every end of the cabin, hidden, but still able to see in the event of trouble. 

"Ok. Scarlett, why donít you morph into something useful?" Pinzz asked.

"Like an elephant?" She seemed too eager. 

"Uh, no, like a bird or something...take to the skies. See if you can see anything." Pinzz turned on her walkie-talkie. "X-Raytor, we are going in. Each person in your group should pick someone in my group and be our guide."

Getting a positive reply from X-Raytor, they paired up, and went in different angles toward the cabin. 

< Uhhh, Pinzz? You guys are way outnumbered. > Scarlett said. 

Pinzz looked at the sky and mouthed ĎHow many?í

< About three on each person.> she answered. 

Pinzz considered and motioned for her to stay in the air. 

"Pinzz, someoneís coming up right behind that big tree. I canít see you very good from this angle. Turn to your right, and backtrack a few feet; youíll see him," X-Raytor cackled into her earphone. 

She turned and went back a few feet. There was an ugly, burly man. He lunged; she jumped into the air, grabbed a tree limb, caught a tree branch, swung, flipped in the air, and kicked him in the head. Fancy, she knew, but it worked and he was down. She continued towards the cabin. 

Suddenly, she heard "Pinzz, behind-" before something smashed her into the ground. 

"Oof." 

"Hey there, ya freak." The guy said. 

"Get off me." she yelled. 

From where she was on the ground, she stuck out her finger, and caught him in the eye. Probably blinded him. Then she caught him with a powerful kick in the chest. He flew back a few feet. Pinzz got up, jumped straight in the air, and landed on his chest. 

After making sure he was unconscious, she noticed her shoulder was badly injured. Most likely broken. 

"Pinzz!" she heard and turned to see Oreo. 

"What?" 

"All of Boís people are in the cabin. They locked themselves in. Guards and everything. How do we get them out?" she asked. 

Pinzz sighed. Thatís why there were no guards outside. "Give me a blurb. We need to get back to HQ. We need a plan. And my arm needs some first aid." 

***

A little while later, the Justice League was back at the cabin, yet again. This time, they had a new plan. 

"Okay, Crystal Freeze, go." Pinzz said. 

Very quickly and elegantly, she snuck up to the cabin and placed two hands on the wall. Slowly, a thick layer of ice spread out over the huge cabin. The whole cabin was covered. She kept going until it got thicker and thicker and thicker. They heard yelling from inside. 

"Ok, Scarlett, we canít understand them, so morph, and thought speak communicate. X-Raytor, you see through those walls. Scarlett, tell them we will let them all freeze to death if they donít give us what we want." 

< What exactly do we want? > she asked. 

"Information! Details!" I said. "What are they up to out here?"

< Okay. But they canít respond to me. > 

"Tell them to write it on a piece of paper, and hold it up. X-Raytor, you go up closer and read what it says." Pinzz motioned for X-Raytor to move. 

X-Raytor turned and called, "They said they can hold out. As long as it... takes. They are more... uhh... Hey guys, whatís the word spelled p-o-w-e-r-f-u-l?" 

"POWERFUL! Weíve got an illiterate reading for us," Pinzz mumbled

"They are more powerful than you think." X-Raytor finished. 

"So we wait," Pinzz nodded. 

They waited for about 40 minutes until X- Raytor reported. "They are cold and shivering. One has passed out. They want out." 

Pinzz grinned. "Scarlett! Demorph, sing, and burn down the ice!" 

She slowly turned human, then burst into a song with horrible lyrics. Gradually, a hole appeared in the ice.

"Everybody, IN!" Pinzz yelled. "Get BO! Get BO! And hold him, someone!" 

Ten minutes later, it was over, with minor injuries on both sides. But the best part was Bo, in the middle of the room. In a block of ice. And Crystal Freeze standing by him, looking smug.