JUSTICE LEAGUE
12
The Social, Part Two


Oreo Avenger poked herself gingerly. Yep, she was back to normal again. She looked down her toga. Good, she didn't have any...extra parts.

Note to self: she wrote in the little notebook she kept in her Oreo satchel, Never, EVER conjure up extra Oreos ever again.

Glaring at the party, she walked into the garden. The air whooshed around her as she took off. Quickly, she flew to the Hall of Justice. It was still a gutted nightmare. Worse still, all the computers were disconnected. Something about exposed wires and dangerous electricity. Not even the kitchen could be a refuge. It was a mess. Oreo Avenger sighed and flew into the city.

Where were the criminals when you needed someone to pummel? Apparently, Thursday really was the Day of No Criminal Activity. Oreo Avenger's mouth stretched into a yawn. She really should go to sleep. Multiple transformations are tiring.

She landed in the park and, behind a handy group of trees, stuffed her cape into her Oreo satchel. Now she just looked like a normal girl with a giant O on her t-shirt. The Hall of Justice was just too creepy to sleep in alone, and she couldn't go back to Scarlett's.

There was one last place she could go. Almost collapsing from exhaustion, she walked into one of the more disreputable parts of town. Fortunately, no one bothered her. Thursday: the day of rest.

Oreo Avenger nodded at the security guard as she let herself in to an apartment building. She got on the elevator and traveled up to her apartment. It was small, but it was just hers. A place to be alone. None of the other Justice League members knew about her sanctuary. With a happy sigh, she fell on to the bed and fell to sleep.

***

Mouthless voices whisper across the ether.

The one known as Oreo Avenger has departed the Beginning.

What does this mean to our plans?

She's unimportant. Not the one we seek. She will be dealt with in another manner.

The powerless one is still occupied.

Such a weak creature.

Not compared to the untastefuls. I felt their minds snap away.

I am having difficulties with the One.

I felt the minds of those around the One. It will be fine.

And the Seekers?

Three are awaiting the awakening, and one is standing by to initiate it.

Are those foolish politicians still making their own plans?

Yes, we must act fast, or everything we have ever worked for will be lost.

The voices fade, and another night passes.

***

Neary and James returned to the party.

It was wild. People were being rolled up in rugs. Mountain Dew was splashed on the floors. People ran around with lampshades on their heads. Someone was trying to juggle butcher knives. Also, there were people in the kitchen. There was a vague sound of the blender.

"HEY! Pinzz, buddy! Want a drink?" Superdude said.

It smelled like a strawberry drink so she accepted and went out in the living room where she found a big block of ice. There was a 20-dollar bill in the middle. Several people were trying to melt the huge ice block as quickly as possible. It was amusing. Crystal, and some of the girls stood back, laughing.

X-Raytor now had plungers on his hands and feet, and was scaling the wall. Neary regarded her drink and placed it on the nearest table. Someone turned up the music.

It was getting really cold outside, and there was a general consensus to move the party outside for a bonfire. Once lit, they dragged a few couches and end tables out.

"Hey, Scarlett, kudos on the umbrella straws!" Raven yelled.

Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, Eric climbed on the roof.

"I am gonna jump! I will!" he yelled. Then he jumped and ended up in a big nasty vat of oatmeal. Someone had placed it there for the sole purpose of jumping into. So he stood up, the oatmeal dried, and he could barely move.

Eventually, getting cold, the girls moved inside, while all the boys made a bet: (and the pot was 46 dollars) who could stay outside the longest. So just for kicks, the girls sprayed them with ice-cold water. Or Twisk did. And Crystal froze up the ground.

The girls danced around inside, singing various songs. At least until Raven stubbed her toe on a table leg and they decided it wasn’t for the best. The boys came in one by one, and Llama Boy won because he had fur.

***

By the time Xiao stumbled in, the party was almost over. She flopped onto a couch Superdude and X-Raytor were trying to shove back into a certain position.

"Hey, where've you been?" Superdude asked.

"Yeah, you missed a great party," X-Raytor said, glancing at Neary/Pinzz.

"Ergh.." She grumbled. "Migraine...banish...slaves..."

Superdude shrugged as she began exiling him in Babylonian to the Underworld, as she had had Fred do many time earlier that night.

"You sound pretty messed up," Crystal observed. "But then again, you always are."

Xiao sat up, eyes wide and glassy. She stared hard at Crystal until she looked away. "I thought as much." Xiao said, standing up, and walking out of the cottage, heading for the Hall of Justice.

***

"Wait!" yelled Scarlett.

"What?"

"Don't you remember? The party's until Sunday! I managed to convince the police to actually do something on their own for once. Besides, Studmuffin and Iso are still out there fighting crime. I guess."

"Really? You mean the party's not over?"

"Nope." Scarlett yawned. "Oh, and if ya'll want to catch some Z's, the guy's room is past the study, and the two girl's rooms are over near the kitchen."

So the girls headed to their room to get some sleep. Scarlett took the secret entrance in the study that no one else knew about to her bedroom, but instead of crashing on the bed in her bedroom, she walked into her huge walk-in closet and crashed on the bed in there.

The guys, meanwhile, decided to do a little exploring of their own. They were in the kitchen when Pinzz got in the shower.

"Dude! Check it out! That window looks into the shower! And someone's in there!" yelled Eric gleefully.

"Who's in there?" asked Omega, staring into the foggy window.

"It's Pinzz!" cried Eric.

"You know, I think maybe we should go into another room or something. Pinzz probably wouldn't appreciate us--" Midnight Chatter started to say, but X-Raytor jumped in front of the window suddenly.

"Hey, this is my sweetie pie! No one but me gets gawking privileges."

"No fair!" cried Superdude.

"Hey, I'll let you guys know if Oreo or one of the others gets in, okay? Then you can gawk all you want," X-Raytor said, ushering them away from the window.

"Cool!" said Eric. The guys wandered around for a bit more, but eventually they crashed in their room in a strangely calm sleep (Hamlet had drugged their last round of raspberry margaritas with Tylenol PM), except for Midnight, who decided to get a book from the study to read until he fell asleep (he had only drunk half of his margarita).

He just happened to pick the book that was really the lever for the opening to the secret entrance. Curious, he slid down the pole, went down the hallway, and lo and behold, discovered Scarlett's room. He glanced over at her bed, but it was made up, so he figured she must have been rooming with the girls during the party.

Then he realized something. He couldn't climb back up the pole! He would have to find another entrance upstairs. So he started poking around her bedroom and bathroom, trying to figure out just where Scarlett might have hidden another entrance, and he eventually came to her walk-in closet.

By this time, the Tylenol PM had really started to kick in, and he was yawning fiercely, trying to stay awake enough to make it upstairs somehow. When he saw the bed in the walk-in closet, he was too tired to notice Scarlett was in it on one side.

I'll just take a quick nap before I go upstairs, he thought to himself as he climbed into the bed. He was in a deep sleep as his head hit the pillow, but just before he fell asleep, he wondered briefly if the others would come looking for him...

***

Click!

Snap.

SnapSnap.

SnapSnapSnapSnapSnap.

Isomorphix squinted his eyes as they readjusted to the light. Shutting the circuit breaker, Isomorphix looked around at what the many florescent tube lights lining the ceiling had revealed.

The warehouse was positively huge. Automated robot-arms lined rails that spanned from the front of the warehouse to the rear, positioned over conveyer belts that seemed to be just as long.

An assembly line, Isomorphix thought, walking alongside the centered structure.

To the right side there were large metallic tanks that seemed to be boilers; a dozen of them at least. They seemed to be given feeding tubes and electrical supply from the maze of wires and pipes that ran along the wall right behind.

Rusted... these haven't been used for a long time, Isomorphix ran a finger along an oxidized metal pipe.

His boots made distinct echoing sounds as he walked further down the vast cavernous construct. Suddenly, he stopped.

A large steel frame structure caught his eye. It was located in the far corner, behind quarantine glass that isolated it from the rest of the building. There were a number of consoles and controls directly interfaced with the complex, a series of pipes and wires feeding it as well.

But that is not what particularly piqued his interest. Walking closer, Isomorphix walked right up to the glass, peering through.

There was no doubt about it... he recognized the frame. It was the same mainframe structure that was used to contain Radioactive Bubba when he escaped from his unidentified captors. There had been a picture in the newspaper.

But... this makes no sense. I simply followed the people who had been following me... How can they have any ties with the ones who tried to confine the Green Penguin? Perhaps these people were his unidentified captors to begin with? Isomorphix thought.

It seemed that the trail was getting warmer yet again. Looking around, Isomorphix located an office-like area with a number of organized desks and file cabinets on the left side of the warehouse.

Walking across the assembly line structure that ran down the middle, Isomorphix approached the desks and began sifting through papers that were still there.

A letter to a spouse.

Useless.

A scribbled quote.

Useless.

He sifted through a few more papers.

Useless.

Useless.

Useless.

Oh? Here's something, Isomorphix thought as he began to skim it for details.

The blue sheet was an inventory of relevant supplies for the warehouse. It seemed to contain the names of various chemical agents and dates of purchase.

Hmmm... no merchant listed. There are a few addresses, however, Isomorphix noticed as he pocketed the paper.

He sifted through a few more, tossing the majority of the papers onto the floor. He paused as another interesting piece came up.

This one also had chemical names on it, except it seemed to be compounds of the former. There were test dates written as well, but it was mostly smudged, making it illegible.

Isomorphix could only discern three rows: trials 8, 26, and 31. The reactions all seemed to be exothermic... extremely exothermic.

Skimming further down, Isomorphix paused for a second, and then narrowed his eyes.

Radium... two million times more radioactive than Uranium... thermal output... Isomorphix paused.

Radium experiments? This was getting far deeper than Isomorphix had originally anticipated.

Pocketing that paper as well, Isomorphix shifted through the rest, and, determining nothing else of value, continued down the left side of the warehouse. He passed test chambers, consoles, heat gauges, mixers... all rusted and with the look of disuse. Most likely unusable and beyond repair.

Finally, he returned to the spot where he had knocked the thug he was following unconscious after questioning him. He was still sleeping soundly, his ankles and wrists tied behind him.

Didn't get much out of him... other than this factory he lead me to. Isomorphix recalled. I suppose I should head back to JL HQ and try to cross-reference this information. I might get a new lead...

Isomorphix paused.

"Lead..." he said aloud, the sound echoing off the walls of the silent warehouse.

A lead to what, exactly? He had merely followed people who had begun to follow him... yes, had begun to follow him when he was going to see where Studmuffin was off to!

How does this have anything to do with... Isomorphix began to logically think.

Just as he was beginning to doubt himself, suddenly he remembered!

Of course! The Bubba restraint! That's the connection. Isomorphix thought, as if the idea had just come to him.

Although I shouldn't throw any other relevant links such as Studmuffin away just yet, Isomorphix seemed to add as an afterthought.

But it didn't matter. He had his lead. Studmuffin was probably just another random error in statistics. The chance of him representing a link was negligible.

Dialing 911 from the cell phone he had found on the thug, he dropped it into the trash can outside the warehouse and left the sleeping criminal bound inside. The police would find him.

But that didn't matter. His gut told him he had found his link. This could be the very thing that could give him his inside on the rumored underground empire. Almost eagerly, Isomorphix began his trek back to the Hall.

***

Xiao awoke from a couch in the middle of the ruined Hall of Justice. She felt great, although she couldn't remember anything that had happened the day before. Her headache was gone, and she decided to find out where everyone was when she remembered the party. Maybe they were still there.

It was worth a shot, and when she made it over, everyone was awake, more or less. Togas were still being worn, and Xiao realized she was still wearing hers. Funny, she didn't remember putting it on yesterday. As a matter of fact, she.... What had she done yesterday?

She must've binged on too much punch, or something, she decided. But why was she at the Hall then? It seemed strange, since the cottage was a fair distance from the place. It wasn't within stumbling, drunk-on-punch distance; that was for sure. So why... Blinking, she realized Eric was trying to engage her in conversation.

"Hey, yeah, you missed a great party yesterday," he said. "Anyway, I hope they don't get hold of any more Oreos."

"Er...yeah.." Xiao said, confused.

"Have your shadow do some tricks for us!" Eric urged. Fred, hearing himself mentioned, appeared suddenly, but when he realized what Eric and some of the other superheroes wanted, he retreated sullenly, although Xiao knew he was happy for the attention anyhow.

"Sorry, he doesn't know how to do simple magic tricks. I know some, though." Xiao found a pack of cards, and began doing some tricks for Eric, who hung around for a while, but left for some punch and didn't come back. Frowning slightly, Xiao took the time alone to think about yesterday. Why couldn't she remember anything? Where had she been?

"Fred?" she asked. He appeared, and, thinking she wanted him to perform, threw out some angry comments. After explaining, he calmed down.

"Why, you went to the zoo. Remember?" Fred said, soothingly. "And then got a drink at StarBucks." He didn't mention that at the zoo and coffee store she had drained several innocents of their life force. Or that she had actually been arrested for a short time, until escaping, and she was now wanted for murder, larceny, and several minor felonies.

"Really? The zoo? I must've had fun, then," Xiao said, remembering the last time she'd been to the zoo (that she could remember). "Well, thanks Fred, for clearing *that* up."

Fred disappeared, and then Xiao went off to mingle with the others, who were playing a rather twisted game of "Pin the Tail on the Llama-boy".

***

A commotion of disembodied voices echo across the ether once again.

The Possessed One has returned to the Beginning.

She was not supposed to do that!

This could jeopardize everything.

The other mind within tastes foul.

It is incorporeal.

The Possessed One holds the highest risk to the Seekers.

The two minds conflict. We could use this.

But how?

By offering the tainted mind something it desires deeply.

And you have discovered what this is?

Yes. And we can provide it.

Then we must set things in motion before the One has Awakened.

The voices dissolve into the ambience, daylight waning away.

***

Upstairs, the party had reached full swing again now that the Justice Leaguers were well-rested and had fresh togas on.

Downstairs, Scarlett and Midnight were asleep on Scarlett's walk-in closet bed, each still unaware of the other's presence. Midnight was still asleep in a Tylenol PM induced slumber, and Scarlett had spent the entire day running to and fro making sure everything was ready for the party, and she would sleep until she was well-rested.

Hamlet sauntered in with a lovely breakfast tray of sliced fruit and grape juice for Scarlett with cream on the side for himself, but then he noticed Midnight was on the other side of the bed. Very discreetly, Hamlet left the breakfast tray on Scarlett's nightstand and quietly exited the walk-in closet.

A small tear escaped his eyes as he ran to the study to lose himself in RPGs, in an attempt to forget what he'd just seen.

Meanwhile, X-Raytor and Pinzz decided they'd had enough of "Pin the Tail on Llama-Boy" for the moment. They started to go back to the first secret passage they had discovered, but in a fit of adventure decided to do something else.

"Let's trash Scarlett's room!" Pinzz suggested. X-Raytor grinned at the suggestion. Trashing Scarlett's room might be a little mean, but it would definitely be fun.

The only problem was that no one had any idea where on earth Scarlett's room was. She had wisely not included it in the tour of the grounds. "We'll just have to find it," X-Raytor said.

After nearly two hours of searching, X-Raytor and Pinzz had pretty much given up hope. "Let's have a snack or something before we look anywhere else," Pinzz suggested. So she and X-Raytor made their way over to the pantry and walked inside. For some reason, the walls were made of stainless steel.

X-Raytor noticed a pack of Twizzlers lying on the bottom shelf, and he tried to grab them, but they were stuck to the shelf. Suddenly, door to the pantry swung shut, then he and Pinzz felt a dropping sensation. When it stopped, they opened the door and entered a large, stone and silver-inlaid bathroom.

"Eureka!" They exclaimed. "This must be close to her room!" They spent a few minutes poking around her bathroom, which was so messy they didn't feel any need to ransack it, and then they started opening doors.

***

Scarlett stretched out her arms and began to yawn, but suddenly noticed her right arm had hit something in the bed.

"Ouch!" cried Midnight Chatter, suddenly awake and alert.

"Ouch? What do you mean, ouch? What are you doing down here? Why are you in my bed..." Scarlett trailed off, worried. "I didn't drink any of that spiked punch on accident, did I? Oh, my go..."

Midnight Chatter was a little worried. How had he ended up here? In Scarlett's walk-in closet bed?

And had anything happened between the two of them last night that they were too punch-drunk to remember?

Slowly but surely, as their two panic-stricken minds began to clear from the haze of sleep, Scarlett remembered that she had come down alone, and Midnight remembered getting a book and stumbling in here by himself. They told each other what they remembered, and concluded that it had just been some kind of weird coincidence.

That issue settled, they decided they might as well enjoy the breakfast Hamlet had left, so they started to eat.

"Man, what would the rest of them say if they knew?" Midnight wondered.

"We'd never hear the end of it, I'm sure," Scarlett assured him.

At the same time, after going through several different rooms of the bathroom area, Pinzz and X-Raytor finally discovered a door that didn't lead into another stone and silver room. This door opened into a room full of twists and turns, with wall-to-wall clothing rods. They decided this was just as likely as any to continue the search for Scarlett's room, and so they started wandering through it.

Twenty minutes later, Scarlett and Midnight were on their second glasses of grape juice, feeding each other grapes when they heard someone exclaim, "OH MY----What were the two of you up to last night?! NEARY, sweetheart, come here QUICK!"

"Uh-oh," said Midnight. Scarlett smiled.

"Don't you think it would be kind of fun to play it out?" she suggested in a whisper.

"What?"

"Just follow my lead," she said as X-Raytor, now accompanied by Pinzz, approached...

***

News spread fast. How could it not, with X-Raytor and Pinzz spreading it? Soon, everyone at the social was crowding around Scarlett and Midnight Chatter, demanding details.

"Why didn't you tell us you two were a couple?" Demanded Oreo Avenger, who was back from her secluded apartment for day two of the social.

Midnight Chatter answered. "Well, um, we didn't know ourselves! But then, we saw each other across the room at a party, even though I wasn't supposed to be there, since it was a Capulet party, and-"

"I have to go to the bathroom." X-Raytor said, forcing himself away from his Neary.

"Did he talk through the whole thing?" Crystal asked.

"Er, no. He was very- he was too enraptured for words!"

People began murmuring and giggling, and SuperDude called out: "Does Scarlett have any sort of weird tattoos?"

Midnight Chatter nodded sagely. "She has one."

"Where?"

Midnight grinned. "That's for me to know, and you to wonder about."

A new song was starting, opening with a low bass. Scarlett nodded her head to the music. She knew this song. She turned back to the conversation.

Scarlett's eyes popped open. "Oh Christ..."

Raven looked at her oddly as she reached into her toga and pulled out a blindfold.

"Uh... Scarlett? Wha are you doing?"

"Nothing, nothing at all. Just ignore me."

The song had begun:

I took her out
It was Friday night
I wore cologne
To get the feeling right
We started making out
And she took off my pants
But then I turned on the TV...

Suddenly, the front door bust opened and X-Raytor ran into the living room. Completely, totally, 110 % butt naked. No clothes. At all. He was streaking!

And that's about the time
That she walked away from me!
Nobody likes you when you're 23!
And are still more amused by TV shows
What the hell is ADD?
My friends say I should act my age
What's my age again?
What's my age again?

X-Raytor ran around the room, whooping at the top of his lungs. Just about everyone else was staring in shocked silence. Even Violet seemed shaken out of her brooding.

"Sweet... merciful... Christ..." Rosma said.

Neary shrugged. "Nothing new."

Oreo Avenger almost hurled at that thought.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Raven cried, falling to the ground. "MY EYES!!!!!!!! THEY BURN!!!!!!!!! THEY BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRN!!!!!!!!!!"

Then later on,
On the drive home
I called her mom
From a pay phone
I said I was the cops
And your husband's in jail
This state looks down on sodomy

And that's about the time
That bitch hung up on me!
Nobody likes you when your 23!
And are still more amused by prank phone calls
What the hell is caller ID?
My friends say I should act my age
What's my age again?
What's my age again?

"YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!" X-Raytor cried, shaking what his Momma gave him.

"Finally! They have seen the Light!!!!" Eric cried, throwing off his toga and beginning to dance on a table. The girls ran up and started shoving dollar bills in the rim of his socks.

Hamlet tore his eyes away from the RPG, let out a high-pitched shriek and scampered under a couch.

And Raven continued to roll around on the floor, moaning and praying that the horrible, horrible image would leave her mind.

"How is it?" Scarlett asked Midnight Chatter.

"See for yourself!" He said, grinning, and tore her blindfold off. Scarlett caught a flash of X-Raytor, but quickly hid her eyes. She reattached her blindfold.

"You better be glad that image is fading." She muttered. Midnight grinned, and hoped that X-Raytor would run into the punch bowl.

And that's about the time
She walked away from me!
Nobody likes you when your 23!
And you still act like you're in Freshman year
What the hell is wrong with me?
My friends say I should act my age
What's my age again?
What's my age again?

"This is actually more fun than it should be!" Rosma said to Oreo Avenger, as Eric started belly dancing.

It was then that X-Raytor said: "Time for naked Twister!!!!"

Rosma frowned. "Okay, I guess we should end this now."

"I've got a plan." Oreo said, grinning. She grabbed Eric and shoved an Oreo down his throat. He turned into a large net, with weights at the end.

Together, the two threw the net/Eric over X-Raytor, trapping him.

With the help of a few other super heroes, they managed to force him back into his toga.

"Boooooo!" Neary said, when he was fully clothed.

Eric, after being transformed back into himself, shuddered. "EWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!! You made me TOUCH him!!!!! EWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!"

"Oh, just shut up and put your toga on!" Twisk said, throwing the toga at him.

"Is it over yet? Is the horror over yet?" Raven whimpered.

Dragon Girl nodded. "It's over. It's over."

Raven immediately stood up. "Good. Now, X-Raytor, I think there's something I need to remove from your body before it causes any more trouble..."

She brandished her knife-which she called the Neuterator.

X-Raytor yelped and then said. "Uh, Neary? I think now would be a good time for us to go look at the garden!"

They escaped out the door, with Raven behind them, waving the knife.

That's about the time
She broke up with me!
No one should take themselves so seriously!
With many years ahead to fall in line
Why would you wish that on me?
I never want to act my age!
What's my age again?
What's my age again?

***

Oreo Avenger glanced around nervously. Twisk and Crystal were . . . looking at her. Oreo Avenger knew that Crystal was the one her pinched her bum when she transformed into Kerr Smith. It's a good thing she left all those extra Oreos at home. She edged away from the girls and ran into someone.

"Superdude!" she said, grabbing on to his arm. "My date!"

Superdude gave her a blank look before he remembered. "Oh yeah!"

Twisk and Crystal walked towards her. Great. Crystal pinches hard.

Oreo Avenger dragged Superdude into the kitchen and closed one of the doors. She pulled him down with her behind the counter as the door opened and a couple heads peeked around. Seeing nothing, they closed the door behind them.

"So, what are we doing in the kitchen?" Superdude asked suggestively. He put his arm around her waist. "You thought we needed some . . . alone time?"

Oreo Avenger brushed his hand away and stood up. "No, of course not. I felt the need to bake." Seeing Superdude's deflated look, she quickly added, "And I knew you'd be the best to help me."

"So what's my job?"

"Guinea pig," she muttered.

"What?"

"Um...special assistant. So, could you find me eggs, flour, light corn syrup . . . " Superdude zipped around the kitchen, finding each ingredient almost as soon as Oreo Avenger named them off until a pile was heaped on the counter. She'd a great idea while hiding behind the counter. The enemies they were going to face, judging by Jarhead, were going to be stronger than ever. Studmuffin almost died in his fight. What could be better than an Oreo to enhance a person's natural abilities? If he was super fast, then after taking the Oreo, he would be super super fast. She told Superdude the idea.

". . . and I don't want to try just conjuring the Oreos up. It always helps me if I can bake them out for real first. So are you going to help?"

Superdude looked at the door. A scream of laughter cut through the music. He sighed. "Fine."

"Great!" She gave him a big mixing bowl with some stuff already in it. She put some ingredients in as she explained things to Superdude. Carefully drawing out a small vial from her satchel, she set it on the counter. Two drops went into the mixture.

She gave him a spoon. "Could you stir that slowly for five minutes. I'm going to work on the filling."

Superdude got to work as Oreo Avenger took a few more bottles out of her satchel. The filling was really very simple to make. Light corn syrup, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a few drops here and there of liquids from mysterious bottles. The tricky part was getting the desired result.

A soft whirring noise made its way to Oreo Avenger's ears. She glanced over at Superdude.

"No!" she yelled running over, "You're stirring too fast!"

"I'm going slow," he pointed out. The batter started to glow.

"Duck and cover!" she yelled, dragging him to the floor. Moments later, and explosion rocked the kitchen, sending thick brown goo splattering everywhere. Oreo Avenger looked around.

"I hope she uses a cleaning service."

***

After Oreo and Superdude finished cleaning up the mess in Scarlett’s kitchen, most of the guys sauntered off to the garden to do whatever it is guys do when they’re in groups by themselves.

X-Raytor and Pinzz decided to take a romantic twilight gondola ride with Guido Ravioli, the gondola man who lived under the pier, so Pinzz went to make the arrangements while X-Raytor was with the guys.

Meanwhile, inside the cottage, Violet was in an even more depressed mood than she’d been in earlier. The girls were trying to cheer her up, but they had been unsuccessful thus far.

“I mean, I don’t even get to dance! And I can dance!” Violet cried, sinking onto the couch and bursting into another round of tears.

Dragon Girl whispered something to Scarlett, who nodded affirmatively and grabbed a remote from a nearby drawer. After pressing several buttons, music started to slowly filter in…at first there were no lyrics, but as it grew louder, the superheroines started singing to Violet. Disco lights came down, and the living room floor was suddenly lighted squares…

Ooo…you can dance…you can jive,
Having the time of your life, ooo see that girl,
Watch that scene…the dancing queen!

The spotlight fell on Dragon Girl, who started singing while the others danced in the background:

Friday night and the lights are low…
Looking out for a place to go…

Then Twisk walked up to sing, and Dragon Girl took Twisk’s spot:

Anybody could be that guy…
The night is young and the music’s hiiiighhh..
You’re in the mood for dance…

Now it was Raven’s turn to sing:

And when you get the chance…You are the Dancing Queen,
Young and Sweet, only 17!
Dancing Queen, feel the beat from the tambourine, oh yeah…

Everyone joined in for the chorus.

Ooo…you can dance…you can jive,
Having the time of your life, ooo see that girl,
Watch that scene…the dancing queen!

Then Violet finally jumped up from the couch, and started dancing. Then she started singing…

I can dance…I can jive,
Having the time of my life, ooo see this girl,
Watch that scene…I am the dancing queen!

All the girls started dancing and running around the living room, with the music blaring. The commotion was enough to scare Hamlet away from his RPG and escape to the garden to hang out with the guys.

They had begun to argue about who was the coolest male superhero. Finally, X-Raytor spoke up. “Look, guys, we’re not going to solve this question by just arguing. We have to do something.”

Eric scratched his head, puzzled. “Do what?”

X-Raytor smiled, pulling a large stereo system from his back pocket, and cutting it on. He jumped into the middle of the garden walkway as a familiar song came on…he started singing. And strutting his stuff.

I’m too sexy for my love, too sexy for my love, love’s going to leave me..
I’m too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt, so sexy it hurts!

He tore off his toga shirt, continuing to sing and strut.

And I’m too sexy for Milan, too sexy for Milan, New York and Japan..
And I’m too sexy for your party, too sexy for your party, no way I’m disco-dancing!

X-Raytor then began disco-dancing. And singing. And strutting his stuff.

I’m a model, you know what I mean, and I do my little turn on the cat walk..
Yeah, on the cat walk, on the cat walk, yeah, I do my little turn on the cat walk…

X-Raytor began twisting and turning in a rather bizarre, epileptic fashion. Then he kept singing and strutting.

I’m too sexy for my car, too sexy for my car, too sexy by far..

At this point, Midnight leaned over and said to Omega, “but he doesn’t have car! All he’s got is a hot pink moped!” X-Raytor continued strutting and singing..

I’m too sexy for my hat, too sexy for my hat, what’dja think about that?

X-Raytor threw an imaginary hat off to the side. Superdude pretended to catch it.

Finally, Eric had had enough. He pulled out the CD X-Raytor had in the stereo and put in one of his own. A new song started playing, and Eric pushed X-Raytor out of the way. X-Raytor ran off, realizing Pinzz and Guido Ravioli the gondola man were probably waiting for him.

Meanwhile, Eric was frolicking throughout the garden, carrying the stereo, and the other superheroes were trying to keep up with him. He started singing:

The hills are alive…with the sound of music!
With songs they have sung for a thousand years!
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music!
My heart wants to sing every song it hears!

Meanwhile, back in the cottage the girls were still trying to cheer up Violet. “You aren’t still upset over Iso, are you?” asked Scarlett.

Violet sighed. “Uh-huh.”

“Face it honey, he’s a dog,” said Raven.

“And what he’s got, no flea collar is gonna fix,” chimed in Crystal.

Violet sighed. “I know… He’s a tramp, but they love him,
Breaks a new heart everyday. He’s a tramp; they adore him.
And I only hope he’ll stay that way.


He’s a tramp! sang Rosma.

He’s a scoundrel! agreed Oreo.

He’s a rounder! Raven added.

He’s a cad! Twisk sang.

Violet nodded. He’s a tramp but I love him!
Yes, even I have got it really bad!


***

As Pinzz and X-Raytor shared a spaghetti dinner, Guido sang for them, “This is the night, it’s a beautiful night, and we call it Bella Notte. Look at the skies, they have stars in their eyes on this lovely Bella Notte.”

There was only one meatball left on the plate. X-Raytor looked at Pinzz. Pinzz looked at X-Raytor expectantly. X-Raytor swallowed the meatball in one gulp, and ate the rest of the spaghetti too.

Side by side with your loved one
You’ll find enchantment here,
The night will weave its magic spell
When the one you love is near…

For this is the night,
And the heavens are right,
On this lovely Bella Notte.


***

Superdude pulled out a fiddle and began to play:

“The devil went down to Georgia,
He was looking for a soul to steal
He was in a bind ‘cause he was way behind
And he was willing to make a deal…

Then he came across this young man
Sawing on a fiddle and playing it hot
And then the devil jumped on a hickory stump
And he said ‘Boy let me tell you what,’

‘I guess you didn’t know it,
But I’m a fiddle player too,
And if you care to take a dare,
I’ll make a bet with you,

Now you play pretty good fiddle boy,
But give the devil his due,
I’ll bet a fiddle of gold against your soul
‘cause I think I’m better than you!’

The boy said, ‘my name’s Johnny, and it might be a sin,
But I’ll take your bet and you’re gonna regret, ‘cause I’m the best that’s ever been!’ ”

Superdude continued to fiddle furiously, as if to show that fiddle-playin’ made him the coolest superhero…

***

Violet was slowly starting to feel better about the whole Iso-not-showing-up thing as they continued to sing a mix of girl power songs. Suddenly, after having disappeared during the last song, Crystal and Twisk burst into the kitchen where the others were, decked out in cowgirl outfits. The music changed appropriately.

I'm going out tonight - I'm feeling all right
Gonna let it all hang out
Wanna make some noise - really raise my voice
Yeah, I wanna scream and shout

No inhibitions - make no conditions
Get a little out of line
I ain't gonna act politically correct
I only wanna have a good time!


The others joined them in the song.

The best thing about being a woman
Is the prerogative to have a little fun and...

Oh, oh, oh, go totally crazy - forget I'm a lady
Men's shirts - short skirts
Oh, oh, oh, really go wild - yeah, doin' it in style
Oh, oh, oh, get in the action - feel the attraction
Colour my hair - do what I dare
Oh, oh, oh, I wanna be free - yeah, to feel the way I feel
Man! I feel like a woman!

Violet needs a break - tonight we're gonna take
The chance to get out on the town
We don't need romance - we only wanna dance
We're gonna let our hair hang down…

Though they didn’t leave the cottage, they did run through the guy’s room and destroy stuff, except for X-Raytor and Omega’s diaries. They kept those to read through later for fun.

***

In the garden, Hamlet was dancing. With his front two feet, he was doing Riverdance. The back feet were doing a Lord of the Dance impersonation. It was quite impressive, actually, and something the other guys simply were not equipped to do.

But Midnight had an idea…

Midnight looked at the others, a slightly crazed look on his face. Drool was dripping out of one side of his mouth uncontrollably.

It was time for the coolest thing he had ever learned to do. It was time for him to sing…and dance…

The Macarena!

***

X-Raytor looked at Pinzz.

Pinzz stared into X-Raytor’s eyes. “Oh, James,” she said.

“Oh, Neary!”

“Oh, James!”

“Oh, Neary..”

“Oh, James!”

“Oh, Neary..”

“Oh, James!”

“Oh, Neary..” X-Raytor put his finger over her lips before she could say “Oh, James” again. “I want to sing something for you,” he told her.

At the other end of the gondola, Guido rolled his eyes. This dude is going to sing?he laughed to himself. He put in some earplugs.

X-Raytor, oblivious of Guido’s thoughts, began his song.

“Would you dance
If I asked you to dance
Would you run
And never look back?
Would you cry
If you saw me cryin'
Would you save my soul tonight?

Would you tremble
If I touched your lips
Would you laugh?
Oh, please tell me this…
Now would you die
For the one you love
Hold me in your arms tonight

I can be your hero baby
I can kiss away the pain
I would stand by you forever
You can take my breath away.”


Guido unplugged his ears briefly, then put them back in once he heard X-Raytor start into the next stanza.

”Would you swear
That you'll always be mine
Would you lie?
Would you run and hide?
Am I in too deep
Have I lost my mind
I don't care:
You're here tonight

I can be your hero baby
I can kiss away the pain
I would stand by you forever
You can take my breath away.”


Suddenly, Guido noticed the river water was much faster than it had been a few moments ago. He looked back. They had missed the turn! X-Raytor continued to sing to a near-swooning Pinzz.

”I just wanna hold you...
I just wanna hold you(oh yeah)...
Am I in too deep
Have I lost my mind
I don't care your here tonight

I can be your hero baby
I can kiss away the pain
I would stand by you forever
You can take my breath away.”


By this time, Guido was certain that what he feared was true: they were heading for the white water rapids of the Ohnoee River! He tried to get X-Raytor and Pinzz’s attention, but the only English he knew was the lyrics to Bella Notte and That’s Amore, so X-Raytor continued his song…

”I can be your hero
I can kiss away the pain
I would stand by you forever
You can take my breath away
You can take my breath away
I can be your hero... “

Up ahead, the rapids were fast approaching…

***

By this time, the girls had finally gotten Violet’s mind off of Iso. They took a brief respite to let their vocal cords rest, and spent a little while doing that make-over thing.

Once Violet had a new look (it really wasn’t much, just a trim and some new lavender nail polish) , the girls thought it was time for the final step in their “song-therapy” session for Violet. Scarlett turned the music on once again, and the others began to sing…

Lucy Liu... with my girl, Drew... Cameron D. and Destiny
Charlie's Angels, Come on
Uh uh uh

Question: Tell me what you think about me
I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings
Only ring your cell-y when I'm feelin lonely
When it's all over please get up and leave
Question: Tell me how you feel about this
Try to control me boy you get dismissed
Pay my own fun, oh and I pay my own bills
Always 50/50 in relationships

The shoes on my feet
I've bought it
The clothes I'm wearing
I've bought it
The rock I'm rockin'
'Cause I depend on me
If I wanted the watch you're wearin'
I'll buy it
The house I live in
I've bought it
The car I'm driving
I've bought it
I depend on me
(I depend on me)

All the women who are independent
Throw your hands up at me
All the honeys who makin' money
Throw your hands up at me
All the mommas who profit dollas
Throw your hands up at me
All the ladies who truly feel me
Throw your hands up at me

Girl I didn't know you could get down like that
Charlie, how your Angels get down like that
Girl I didn't know you could get down like that
Charlie, how your Angels get down like that

Tell me how you feel about this
Who would I want if I would wanna live
I worked hard and sacrificed to get what I get
Ladies, it ain't easy bein' independent
Question: How'd you like this knowledge that I brought
Braggin' on that cash that he gave you is to front
If you're gonna brag make sure it's your money you flaunt
Depend on noone else to give you what you want

The shoes on my feet
I've bought it
The clothes I'm wearing
I've bought it
The rock I'm rockin'
'Cause I depend on me
If I wanted the watch you're wearin'
I'll buy it
The house I live in
I've bought it
The car I'm driving
I've bought it
I depend on me
(I depend on me)

All the women who are independent
Throw your hands up at me
All the honeys who makin' money
Throw your hands up at me
All the mommas who profit dollas
Throw your hands up at me
All the ladies who truly feel me
Throw your hands up at me

Girl I didn't know you could get down like that
Charlie, how your Angels get down like that
Girl I didn't know you could get down like that
Charlie, how your Angels get down like that

Destiny's Child
Wassup?
You in the house?
Sure 'nuff
We'll break these people off Angel style

Child of Destiny
Independent beauty
Noone else can scare me
Charlie's Angels

Woah
All the women who are independent
Throw your hands up at me
All the honeys who makin' money
Throw your hands up at me
All the mommas who profit dollas
Throw your hands up at me
All the ladies who truly feel me
Throw your hands up at me

Girl I didn't know you could get down like that
Charlie, how your Angels get down like that


***

Pinzz and X-Raytor slowly noticed that the gondola was moving much faster, despite Guido’s efforts to slow it down. He couldn’t make the gondola go back to shore, the current was too strong and going in the wrong direction…eventually, now that X-Raytor and Pinzz were aware of the problem, Guido was at least able to alert them to the danger they would soon face.

Pinzz looked at X-Raytor. “I’ve got this urge to sing a song that reminds me of this---”

X-Raytor cut her off. “Urge?” Music started playing in the background, though he had no idea where from. “I’ve got the Urge…I’ve got the Urge to Herbal..”

Pinzz chimed in. “He’s got the Urge to Herbal…He likes to Herbal in the shower…for another half and hour…He’s got the Urge…”

“Natural Botanical!” added Guido.

***

The duel was nearly over. Only Omega had yet to do something to participate in the contest.

Seeing as it was supposed to be a duel of sorts, he considered fencing or jousting or something like that. The only problem was none of the others knew how to do any of that, and besides, he didn’t have any swords handy.

So he took his second option. He put a CD into the stereo, and started dancing. He started with the funky chicken…

Once I was a boogie singer
Playing in a rock n' roll band
I never had no problems, yeah
Running down in one night stands

Now everything around me
Got to start to feeling so low
And I decided quickly, yes I did
To disco down and shake out the show

And there was dancing and singing
And movin' to the groovin'
And just when it hit me
Somebody turned around and shouted

"Play that funky music, white boy
Play that funky music right!
Play that funky music, white boy
Lay down in boogie and play that funky music 'til you die!"

Now Omega began to do the worm…

So play that funky music baby, play it, play it right
You know we got it going on
We'll funk it up all night
So shake me crazy, honey, you know you really gotta
So play that funky music
Everybody's gonna be alright (Hugh)

At first it wasn't easy
Changing rock n' roll in mind
Things were getting shaky
I thought I'd have to leave it behind

And next, the twist…

But now it's so much better, it's so much better
I'm funking out in every way
But I'll never lose that feeling, no I won't
Of how I learned my lesson that day

And there was dancing and singing
And movin' to the groovin'
And just when it hit me
Somebody turned around and shouted

Omega started the discombobulator…

"Play that funky music, white boy
Play that funky music right!
Play that funky music, white boy
Lay down in boogie and play that funky music 'til you die!"

***

Even though the scheme had worked and Violet was back to her cheery self, Scarlett was a little depressed.

She loved to sing, but her stupid power was keeping her from joining in on the fun.

Suddenly, an idea came to her, and she couldn’t understand why she hadn’t thought of it before.

She started to sing, very softly, so soft the others didn’t hear her at first. But Oreo noticed something odd about the candles in the room. They were slowly lighting up, one by one. She glanced at Scarlett, and noticed Scarlett’s mouth moving.

“SCARLETT! Don’t sing! You’ll burn your cottage to the ground!” Oreo cried in a sudden panic.

Scarlett looked over at her, grinning. “It’s okay. I’ve finally discovered a way to sing for fun without destroying things. I just have to focus on something that’s okay to burn. Like candles.” With that, she turned, glanced at the fireplace, and then pushed another button on her stereo remote control.

Music started…slowly. They each started swaying to the beat…the song was familiar…somehow…then Scarlett started singing.

“I know I may be young
But, I've got feelings too
And I need to do
What I feel like doin'
So let me go
And just listen
All you people
Look at me like
I'm a little girl
Well did you ever think
It be OK for me to
Step into this world?
Always saying
"Little girl don't step
Into the glow
Well I'm just trying
To find out why
'Cause dancing's
What I love
Yeah

This was not something Scarlett normally listened to. But somehow, she still knew all the words. And the dance moves…

Get it, get it Get it, get it
Get it, get it. Get it, get it
Get it, get it Get it, get it

I know I may come off
May come off shy
But I feel like talking
Feel like dancing
When I see this guy
What's practical
What's logical
What the heck
Who cares
All I know is that
I'm so happy when
You're dancing there

I'm a slave for you
I cannot hold it
I cannot control it
I'm a slave for you
I won't deny it
I'm not trying to hide it“

***

Pinzz and X-Raytor held each other tightly as the white water rapids approached. Pinzz decided, heck, she was the only one in the entire post who hadn’t sung yet, and she had this stupid song stuck in her head, so she started singing angrily, mostly to Guido.

Don't go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that
You're used to
I know that your gonna have it your way
Or nothing at all
But I think your'e moving too fast
Don't go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that
You're used to
I know that your gonna have it your way
Or nothing at all
But I think your'e moving too fast

I seen a rainbow yesterday
But too many storms have come and gone
Leavin' a trace of not one God given ray
Is it because my life is ten shades of gray
I pray all ten fade away
Seldom praise Him for the sunny days
And like his promise is true
Only my faith can undo
The many chances I blew
To bring my life to anew
Clear blue and unconditional skies
Have dried the tears from my eyes
No more lonely cries
My only bleedin' hope
Is for the folk who can't cope
Wit such an endurin' pain
That it keeps em' in the pourin' rain
Who's to blame
For tootin' caine into your own vein
What a shame
You shoot and aim for someone else's brain
You claim the insane
And name this day in time
For fallin' prey to crime
I say the system got you victim to your own mind
Dreams and hopeless aspirations
In hopes of comin' true
Believe in yourself
The rest is up to me and you

Don't go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that
You're used to
I know that your gonna have it your way
Or nothing at all
But I think your'e moving too fast
Don't go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that
You're used to
I know that your gonna have it your way
Or nothing at all
But I think you're moving too fast…

Pinzz trailed off as they reached the first part of the white water rapids of the Ohnoee River.

"Er, this may not be good..." X-Raytor said. Neary nodded. Guido gulped as he looked over the edge of the way-too-close-waterfall.

"Lei due sono degli eroi super, sì?" Guido asked.

X-Raytor and Neary stared at him.

Guido sighed. "Gli eroi super. Lei ha dei poteri incredibili, oltre quelli di uomini mortali."

X-Raytor nodded patronizingly. "Yes, Guido! Incredibili!"

"Anglos stupido! Lei pensa che sia stupido giusto perché sono italiano? Potrei portare il suo obiettivo di punk GIÙ in un anyday di ciotola accademico!" Guido raged. He took a breath, and said, "L'uso giusto i suoi poteri, per favore?"

"We're getting awfully close to the edge..." Neary said.

"Per favore?"

"What can we do?" X-Raytor asked, trying not to panic.

"Per favore?!"

"Wait! I know!" Neary said, eyes widening. We're super heroes! We have powers beyond those of mortal men! I'll just use mine to save us!"

Guido sighed and buried his face in his hands.

Neary tapped the place behind her ear and her blue suit covered her. Looking around, she spotted a tree on the passing river bank.

"Okay, I'm going to try to get that tree..." She reached out and her fingers stretched, wrapping around the tree and holding.

Just as X-Raytor was thinking about how that particular power could be used in other ways, he felt a jolt. For a second he was confused, but then the boat that he was standing on became the boat hanging next to him, vertically.

They had gone over the waterfall.

With a shrill cry, X-Raytor latched on to Neary, and Guido grabbed his legs. Neary, still holding the tree, grunted with the effort of holding the two up.

Below, the gondola plummeted onto the rocks below.

"Maybe I should have secured myself to the boat first..." Neary said.

"Well, we're okay now, and you saved us, love muffin!" X-Raytor said.

Guido muttered something in Italian that sounded like "Anglos stupido."

It was then that the tree snapped.

For a second they hung suspended in air, and then they were falling, falling the very, very long way down.

"OOOOOOOOOOOOOH CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP!!!!!!!" X-Raytor exclaimed as he fell.

Neary desperately looked for something to hold on to, but there was nothing. The rocks below rushed up to meet them.

A pillar of water exploded from below them, caught the three and lifted them up in the air. Up on top of the waterfall, on the riverbank, Twisk nodded smugly.

"Told you it was a good idea to take a walk to clear your mind."

Violet shrugged.

"Well, at least we're alive!" Neary said.

"And all thanks to you, darling." X-Raytor said.

They started to make out again, but then the piece of the tree that Neary had still been holding on to came down and clonked them both over the head. Much to Guido's joy, they were unconscious for the ride up.