The Evil Grocery Store Manager

The mission had succeeded, and Bo was where he belonged: a super-ultra-maximum security prison in the Sierra Desert. The weary group of superheroes trudged back to headquarters mid-afternoon, after a press conference and giving the details of the incident to the police. They'd been given the usual worthless medals and hollow promises of the city's support, and now they just wanted to have a little down time before night fell and they would once again defend the world from evildoers.

Plus, they were hungry.

Oreo Avenger opened the fridge when they got back. "Hey, what happened to all the food? The only stuff left in here is lime juice and sour cream."

Midnight Chatter started making remorseful mumbling sounds out from underneath the duct tape that had been placed on his mouth.

"Somebody take the duct tape off of him and let him talk," said Rosma. Studmuffin reached over and tore off the duct tape.



"It's okay. It's happened before. And besides, it's not as painful as-"

"Where'd the food go, Midnight?" Oreo Avenger demanded. She needed ingredients if she was going to make Oreos, so this was a serious crisis. To her, at least.

"Well, the thing is, before the big battle today I got hungry, so I decided it wouldn't hurt to have a little snack to fortify myself, but everything looked so good I couldn't decide what to eat, so I thought it'd be okay if I-"

"Alright, we get the picture. Duct tape him back up, Studmuffin," said Eric.

"So who wants to go grocery shopping with me?" asked Oreo.

Crystal Freeze and Pinzz passed up the outing, mumbling something about security and secret plans before exiting the kitchen. Raven, Xiao, Omega, the Violet Princess, and Rosma had fallen fast asleep before Isomorphix had come up with the idea of using duct tape on Midnight Chatter, but they looked so peaceful no one wanted to bother them. That left Studmuffin, Isomorphix, Eric, SuperDude, Dragon Girl, X-Raytor, Scarlett, and Midnight Chatter to help Oreo Avenger with the grocery shopping. They promptly set out for the store.


Bo Powers shook the hand of the warden as he stepped from the jail cell.

"Thank you for the pardon, warden. I'm glad we can have all of this unpleasantness behind us."

The warden smiled and nodded. "Well, mistakes happen, Bo. The Justice League seems to think you did something, but without evidence, I don't see any reason to keep you here. Besides, a man who's contributed as much to business as you? Be a criminal? Well, I guess this is just one of those stories we'll laugh about later."

The warden took the wad of hundreds from Bo's hand as he shook it, and quietly slid it into his pocket.

"And also, I thank you for pledging such a generous donation for our barracks restoration project."

Bo smiled knowingly and nodded, stepping past the warden and out of the row of cells. His lackeys, also pardoned for lack of any incriminating evidence, were waiting for him. The Ferret looked like he wanted to gnaw on someone's kneecaps.

Bo brushed by them and towards the transport dock.

"So what do we do now?" Johnny asked, coming up beside his boss.

"First, we destroy that cabin. Have all of the hardware moved to Delta Base, and have our new associate brought there as well. He should be ready to begin his training soon."

Bo and his henchmen stepped onto the airplane, and headed back to the East Coast.


Raven read the evening newspaper’s headline out loud:


She sighed. "Oh, and there's a note here that he's abandoning his cabin, and moving back to the city full time. He had it knocked down, apparently, and the timber dedicated to the lumber company- helping them and the hardcore ecologists, by recycling the timber instead of letting them cut down some new trees."

"Looks like we didn't exactly think that one all the way through," Rosma said, flopping down on the couch.

Pinzz leaned over Raven's shoulder and scanned the article. "Lack of incriminating evidence? Everyone knows he's a crime lord, why doesn't anyone ever do anything about him?"

"Because he knows how to play the angles," OMEGA said. "He knows PR and politics, and we don't focus on those things much."

"Until we catch him red handed and have some documented proof, he's untouchable." Xiao said somberly.

Crystal Freeze stood. "Well then let's go look over his mansion and his office buildings, see if we can find something."

Violet Princess shook her head. "He didn't become as powerful as he is by being stupid. Let him go for a while. We've got other problems. Look at the next article. There’s a giant green penguin running around somewhere. Sound familiar?"

"Plus, didn't Oreo Avenger and X-Raytor bring back a new super villain of sorts? Last time they went nighthawking?" Crystal asked.

"Yeah," Raven said. "Some sort of cross dresser named She-Man. Got a bunch of makeup tools that are really weapons. He seems to be working alone, though. Me and Violet Princess interrogated him and he came across as a normal robber. However, he does have some high-tech hardware, so we're keeping in our super villain category until we can find out exactly what's going on."

"So..." Violet Princess said. "What do we do now?"

OMEGA shrugged. "Wanna watch TV?"


"I want to watch the Tenth Kingdom!" Xiao said.

"So do I!" Raven shouted.

"But you guys have watched it ten freakin' times!" Crystal said.

"It's either that or Studmuffin's home videos!"

"Okay, fine, the Tenth Kingdom... again..."

"Mffmmfr! Mmmmfffr mrmfmfmr mfmfmmfff fffrrm-rmmf mrrrr?" Midnight Chatter said. This translated to: "Hey! How about un-taping me?"


"I hate that movie, I mean Camryn Manhiem is no Snow White." Studmuffin said, having arrived in the common room for the second half of the movie.

Pinzz rolled her eyes. "I am freaking hungry. You guys want something? I think I will order a pizza. What should we put on it?"





Pinzz rolled her eyes again and picked up the phone. "Hi. We will have.. two large pizzas, one with pepperoni, olives, cheese, bell peppers, chicken, and... mushroom. Stuffed crust. Make the other a meat lovers."

"No pineapple?" Violet asked.

"You’re a weirdo. Why not have a strawberry pizza?" Xiao said.

"Hey, let’s watch the Brave Little toaster!" Midnight said.

"How did you get your tape off?" Pinzz asked.

"Well, first, I just opened my mouth a little, then I pushed my tongue out, but it hurt, because I bit my tongue when I was eating toast, but it was burnt-" He was stopped by Crystal slapping the tape back on.

The pizza arrived soon and Pinzz opened the box. There, in the middle, spelled out in olives, was
........('(...´...´.... ¯~/'...')
..........''...\.......... _.·´

After glancing at the message, the superheroes (and heroines) shrugged, and resumed eating their pizza, discussing what it could mean and who had sent it.

"Maybe it's Bo's work." Midnight Chatter said. Everyone glanced over, alarmed that once again he had escaped from his tape. Crystal Freeze sealed his mouth shut with a layer of ice, and they all breathed easily once more.

"I don't think he'd do something so...stupid." Xiao said, cramming a fourth slice in. "I mean, he is a crime lord. It'd be more evil to egg or toilet paper our headquarters than send us a pizza with a nasty message, wouldn't it?"

"Personally, I think it's a warning from the pizza delivery place since we haven't paid our bill in a year or so." Studmuffin observed, his mouth full. Oreo kicked him so he'd shut his mouth and he spat out some of his food, to their disgust.

"Well, I don't think we're going to get this, so, I'm going to sleep." Crystal Freeze said, stretching. "I mean, it's not like the finger is a strange symbol with a secret meaning. Anyone could've done this; some stupid pizza guys even."

Most of the group agreed, although Pinzz insisted it was important. While the others got headed to their rooms, she dragged Isomorphix, OMEGA, and Oreo Avenger into another room to discuss what "sinister plot this could represent."


As Omega, Oreo Avenger, Isomorphix, and Pinzz discussed the not-so-cryptic olive message, Scarlett jerked upright in her bed and promptly fell to the ground, since she was in a hammock (with two new members in one night, the Justice League was short on beds). "Oh, suck!" she exclaimed, and headed for the living room where most of the League was sprawled across the couches. “Hey!”

"What?" X-Raytor asked, mostly asleep.

"I just remembered--we never actually bought any groceries."

"I was wondering who carried them home," said Studmuffin.

"How'd you guys forget them?" asked the Violet Princess.

"I think Midnight Chatter got the duct tape off right as we were leaving the cashier...I guess we were caught off guard, and by the time we got the tape back on him, we forgot all about the groceries," Scarlett said.

"Well, I guess this means you guys have to get dressed and go get the groceries we left," Eric said.

"Why can't you get dressed and come with us, too?" asked Dragon Girl.

"I'll come, but have you forgotten my superpower?" Eric replied.

"Oh. Right."

"You know, maybe we should go to a different grocery store. They didn't seem to happy about your appearance, Eric."

"Hey, I can't help it if my power only works in restaurants."

In a few minutes, the members of the grocery shopping expedition had put their superhero clothes back on, except for Eric, since his only superhero clothing was a pair of socks, and he was already wearing that to sleep in.

Isomorphix and Midnight Chatter opted out of the expedition, which meant that Dragon Girl, Eric, X-Raytor, Superdude, Scarlett Fyre, Oreo Avenger, and Omega trudged off to the grocery store yet again. Only this time they went to a different store.


By the time the grocery hunters made it to the supermarket, it was about 11:30 at night. "Hey, when does the supermarket close?" asked Superdude.

"I think it's open 24 hours."

"Oh. Good."

When they got there, they split up into groups of two and three to get everything.

"Who gets stuck with X-Raytor?" asked Dragon Girl.

"What's up with the hostility, people?" X-Raytor asked. "Can I help I was gifted with the ability to enjoy everyone's hidden physique?"

Oreo Avenger coughed and said something that sounded a lot like "cross-dressers".

They finally did paper rocks scissors to decide. Omega, Superdude, and Eric were the group of three, while Oreo Avenger and Dragon Girl got paired up, which meant Scarlett Fire was with X-Raytor.

"Why me?" Scarlett said, raising her hands to God. "Why me?"

Oreo looked at Scarlett with pity. "I guess that's just the way the cookie crumbles."

"But I got paired with him the first time we went grocery shopping too!"

"Hey, better you than me."

"Fine, fine. But I'm not getting paired with him again anytime soon, okay?"

They split up the grocery list and trudged off to fill their shopping carts. Scarlett and X-Raytor had the produce, meat and pet food sections, Oreo and Dragon Girl had the baking goods, cereal, and dairy sections, while the other three had the frozen foods, canned foods, and cleaning supplies sections.


Pinzz woke up shortly after midnight. The grocery store shoppers were still gone. Crystal Freeze, who was currently sharing her room, had noticed this, too.

"What should we do?" she asked, sounding uncaring, really.

"They’re big kids. Probably went for a slurpee or something. It’s hot." Pinzz settled back into her bed, but didn’t go to sleep. She kept thinking about the pizza message. Then it came to her. "The Magic Finger,” she whispered.

Crystal Freeze obviously hadn’t fallen asleep. "What?"

"One of our very first supervillains. The first, if I remember. That was his sign. It has to be him. He must have gotten out of the chains hanging above the well of sharks we put him in that deserted place in South America." I said.

"What’s his power? Is he strong?" Crystal asked.

"He has fingers that can shoot bullets. And yes, he is very strong. But we’re stronger."

Crystal nodded. "I hope.”


Magic Finger sucked in water, tasted the salt burn the back of his throat and suddenly-

Air. Wonderful, fresh air. Magic Finger found himself floating in the ocean, next to his downed plane, whose life raft was inflated and deployed.

"Now how the heck did that happen?" Magic Finger wondered.

"Because," Said the almost omnipotent moderator. "Things get boring if we only have one or two super villains. Note how many there are in any given comic series."

Magic Finger nodded. "So... I can go take over the world now?"

"Actually, first you must wash up on a desert island, so that you cannot interfere with the plot at hand. But afterwards...”

"Hello! Like, what about us?" A group of model-like woman spoke from the safety raft. "Like, what do we do?"

"Er.." the almost omnipotent moderator pondered. "I suppose you can rescue and heal Magic Finger, who looks slightly like a gnome, while he plans his devious plot on that desert island."

"Oh." one of the girls shrugged. "Can we go shopping, too?"

The almost omnipotent moderator looked at Magic Finger, who also shrugged. "If you can find a mall..."

"Hurray!" The girls exclaimed and rowed over to Magic Finger.


Oreo Avenger threw another brick of cheese into the cart.

"That's the eighth one," Dragon Girl pointed out.

"Yes, but we don't want to run out of cheese. With great power comes great...um...need for cheese. And besides, where is macaroni and cheese without the cheese?"

Dragon Girl continued to push the cart as Oreo Avenger rambled on about the merits of cheese. Midnight Chatter wasn't the only one who could ramble incessantly about nothing.

Slowly they gathered their supplies. Soy milk, cheese, cow milk, eggs, cheese, butter, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy stuff that start with "ch" and end with "eese". Oreo Avenger dropped off the dairy cart by a checkout and got another one for cereal and baking stuff.

Five carts later, Oreo Avenger and Dragon Girl were done with their part of the shopping.

Dragon Girl looked at their groceries. "That should last about a week."

"I think we need a truck," Oreo Avenger said.


"Hey, do you mind looking the other way?" Scarlett asked X-Raytor, smacking him on the head for leering at her.


"Go get me a plastic bag to put these tomatoes in."

"Will you quit hitting me?"

"Will you stop looking through my clothes?"

X-Raytor shook his head. Scarlett slapped him. "Go get a freaking plastic bag, sicko!"

X-Raytor went and got the plastic bag, mumbling something about "crazy modest girls".


Meanwhile, Omega, Superdude, and Eric were wandering through the cleaning supplies aisle.

"What were we supposed to get, anyways?" asked Superdude.

"Stuff to put in the dishwasher, stuff to clean clothes, soap.." Omega rattled off the list.

As Eric picked up a box of dishwashing detergent, he glanced over at Superdude. "Hey, 'Dude, I'll give you five bucks if you swallow a cup of this stuff."

"Five bucks?" Omega said, thinking surely Superdude would have sense enough not to do something that stupid for so little money.

"Five bucks!" Superdude shouted. "What'll you give me if I swallow all of it?"

Eric shrugged. “Twenty."

"Hand it over!" and with that, Superdude started chugging the dishwashing detergent.


Over in the pet food aisle, Scarlett was agonizing over which brand of premium cat food to buy for her cat, Hamlet.

"Okay, X-Raytor, check this can for ground up cat parts. I'd feel awful if Hamlet became a cannibal because I was too cheap to buy him decent cat food."

"This can checks out okay."

"Good. Let's fill the cart then."

"How much does that cat eat?"

"He's got an overactive metabolism," Scarlett explained. "Plus, he runs that cat food soup kitchen for homeless cats during the weekends. He's got to have food to feed them with, doesn't he?"


By now, Superdude had finished chugging the dishwashing detergent and had moved on to a challenge from Omega, while they were in the canned food aisle.

"Swallow this huge can of candied yams, and follow it with the huge can of turnip greens, and I'll give you another $20," Omega told him.

Superdude opened the cans with the swiss army knife can opener he had with him, and began chugging/chewing the contents of the candied yam can. Yam syrup oozed down his chin.


X-Raytor and Scarlett Fyre were almost done shopping. They just had to get finished with the meat area.

"$8.99 a pound for some lousy filet mignon? What kind of store are they running?" X-Raytor asked indignantly.


Meanwhile, now that Superdude had earned $40, the trio of superheroes made their way through the frozen foods section.

"You know, sometimes wearing nothing is not as fun as it should be," Eric said, shivering. "The cold makes certain things...you know...shrink."

The two accompanying superheroes glanced down at Eric and laughed.
Suddenly, a random stranger dressed in a blue pinstriped suit walked up, holding a huge watermelon slushie. "I'll give you $100 if you can drink this whole thing in under a minute," he told Superdude.

"Wait!" cried Omega, but it was too late. Superdude yanked off the top of the slushie and dumped the entire contents into his mouth.

Seconds later, after he had collected his $100 and the random stranger in a blue pinstriped suit had left, Superdude started moaning. "Owwww...ohhhh..ohohohohoh!"

"What's wrong with him?"

"I tried to warn him," Omega said. "He forgot his weakness is slushies...they give him brainfreeze."


"You're telling me. That was a set-up. Come on, let's hurry up with the grocery shopping and join the others."


The others were already waiting on them. Oreo and Dragon Girl had been finished for a long time, and were amusing themselves by playing Twist 'N Dare Oreos, a game Scarlett had invented a long time ago. It went a lot like the Oreo commercials: Dragon Girl had one side of the Oreo, while Oreo had the other side of the Oreo. They each named a dare that the other would have to do if the cream was on their side. So, for example, if the cream was on Dragon girl's side and she had dared Oreo to kiss the cashier, then Oreo would have to kiss the cashier. If the cream was on both sides, the dares were nullified.

X-Raytor and Scarlett arrived right before Omega, Eric, and the now brain-frozen Superdude. They had a total of 7 shopping carts. 3 of the carts were entirely full of cheese. Cheddar, Mozzarella, Brie, Camembert, Chevre, Munster, Swiss, Gouda, you name it, it was there.

"Did you buy enough cheese, Oreo?"

"Well, you never know when inflation might make the prices for cheese go sky high."

They had just finished loading all the food onto the checkout counter when the cashier narrowed his eyes.

"You wouldn't happen to be members of the Justice League, would you?"

"Why yes, we are. Do we get a discount or something?" asked Dragon Girl.

"You definitely get something," said the cashier. The cashier picked up his phone and called the manager.

Seconds later, the random stranger in the blue pinstriped suit walked up to the counter, this time sporting a badge labeled "Evil Manager."

"Come with me, members of the Justice League," he said. They followed him to the back of the grocery store.

"You don't think his label looks a little suspicious, do you?" asked X-Raytor.

"Nah, he probably just has it to scare the employees," said Eric.

"Ohhhhohohohohoh," moaned Superdude.

They finally came into a room. It was small, with thick steel-enforced plastic walls.

"You know, I didn't think it would be so easy," said the Evil Manager.

"What do you mean?" asked Oreo Avenger.

"We're holding you six for ransom."

"Six? There are seven of us," Omega pointed out.

"Yes, well, Miss Scarlett Fyre over there is still wanted for manslaughter. We'll be turning her over to the authorities tomorrow morning."

Scarlett paled. "It was an accident!"

"That's why it's only manslaughter, my dear. Don't worry, I'm sure you won't get more than 10 years." With that, the Evil Manager left, laughing maliciously.

"I told you that guy was suspicious," X-Raytor said.

"It was that stupid cashier," said Eric.

"I can't BELIEVE you dared me to kiss him, Dragon Girl," said Oreo Avenger.

"Ohohohohohohohohoh," moaned Superdude.


It was about four thirty in the morning. Pinzz had told the others to go to sleep, but Raven, Violet, Crystal were still awake.

"I wonder what’s taking them so long?" Raven asked.

Crystal shook her head. "It’s not that question anymore, Raven, it’s who’s captured them,” she said coldly. Raven blinked.

"I want to go check it out, but where would we check out? I mean, where did they go?" Pinzz asked. "Think, everyone, where would Oreo and everyone go...?"

"Well, Oreo likes cheese.” Violet said. "Doesn’t that grocery store a few blocks over specialize in cheese?

"Yeah. Maybe we should check it out, but under the guise of regular people for safety... they were obviously captured because their part of the Justice League." Pinzz said.

Crystal nodded. "Half of us should go as humans, the other half as ourselves. Bad superheroes."

They decided that Pinzz and Crystal would go as humans, and Raven and Violet would go as superheroes. They would be obvious about it. After waking up Rosma and telling her what they were doing, the four girls headed for the store.

Raven and Violet entered the open 24-hour grocery store exclaiming loudly. "We’re superheroes, so we better get a discount!"

Pinzz and Crystal entered and went straight to the cheese aisle. No Oreo. Raven and Violet went up to the register with two apples and a bag of Cheez-its.

"We’re superheroes. Hi." Raven said. The cashier narrowed his eyes.

"I will go get my manager." he said.

The manager came out wearing a weird smile. "Please, come this way," he said, and they headed to the employees only door.

Raven and Violet hesitated when they heard cries coming from behind the door.

"What the heck?" Raven asked right when two men came out and grabbed them.

"Duck!" Violet yelled, using her intuition skills. They did, just as two fists went over their heads. Raven shimmered and disappeared into the floor, coming back up behind a soda display. Crystal Freeze walked up, oblivious to the fight. She put a hand on one man’s shoulder.

"Do you know where I can find some ice?" she said. From her fingers came a sheet of cold, cold ice, and overtook the man. He was an ice cube.

"Crystal, we’re supposed to be innocent bystanders!" Pinzz yelled. She clicked her ear and her blue suit oozed from her fingertips overtaking her body as two more men appeared. They quickly defeated those but three more guys came out of the back room.

"Jesus, how many people are in there?” Pinzz yelled. She shot her fingers up to the ceiling, and they stuck and pulled her up. She dropped down on top of one of the guys and kicked him in the head twice. He was down. One of the guys was in a fresh ice cube, thanks to Crystal, and Raven took out the last one with her dazzling powers.

"Find the others!" Pinzz yelled. "They have to be in there!" she pointed to the employee’s only room. Eight more guys piled out.

"Bail!" she changed her mind. “Back to the Hall!”


"We need a plan. Not a retarded one either. We need to think on this one, guys. Seriously." Pinzz plopped on the couch. "We need a distraction. Or a decoy. We need someone in there with a weapon, or a walkie talkie so we can get some information."

Xiao said, "That would be pretty stupid, right? I mean, we don’t need another person in there, really."

"I don’t see YOU coming up with any GOOD IDEAS!" Pinzz exploded. "Jesus Christ, guys, we have to think."

Xiao was a little taken back. "Okay, Pinzz, sheesh." she said. She slumped in her seat. She seemed mad, but didn’t want to show it much. She frowned. Narrowed her eyes.

"I think Pinzz had the right idea. We should try it. Anyone else got any ideas? No, then we can all stop bitching. Okay? Lets put the plan into action. Who’s the decoy?" Crystal said.

"We should vote, really. I mean--” Rosma started.

"No. I'll be the decoy. Okay? You all really have bunk powers anyway." Crystal said.


Crystal waltzed into the store. Walked right up to the buff men in black.

"Hi, I am in the Justice League. I was wondering where I could find the Crisco?" she said.

One of the men reached out and tried to grab her hand. She jerked it back.

"You broke my nail!" she said.

"Well, you need to be introduced to the world of pain." he said smugly.

"I think I need to introduce my foot up your ass!" she yelled. In a few seconds, he was just a huge hunk of ice. "Hey, guys? I took out one, and I am heading in, quietly."

She crept up to the door. Opened it. There stood eight burly men. And the rest of the Justice League. She froze four as they came at her, but there were just too many. She was tied up along with the others.


Xiao slumped in her seat. She was seriously tired of being treated second-rate just because she didn't have a cool superpower, or instant, life-saving plans. "This sucks. A grocery store has taken half of us out like nothing, and they don't even have any friggen powers!"

"Shut up, Xiao," Pinzz said, looking at the walkie-talkie in her hand intently, as if doing that would make Crystal call.

"Blah blah blah. Shut up, Xiao," Xiao repeated, pouting. Sliding out of the chair completely, she stalked off, muttering something about getting a snack.

"What kind of bogus crap is this, Fred?" She asked openly, reaching into the fridge, searching for munchies.

"Eh?" Fred appeared slowly. "Oh. It's you. Wake me up if something important happe-"

"Don't even think it, Fred. I'm talking to you, and you are friggen going to listen." Xiao restrained herself from throwing anything, knowing he would merely become her shadow again.

"Oh, alright. If I have to, slave." He waved a hand impatiently.

"What's Pinzz's deal anyhow? And don't get me started on Crystal Freeze. They both act like they're hot stuff, just because of their powers. Especially Crystal. Look at how she flaunts it. Why do we take crap from them?" She turned her head to look at Fred's reaction. "Crystal freezes people and does whatever she wants, Pinzz yells at us and acts like she has ADHD, while the others bicker about who gets stuck with who on the shopping trip!"

"I think you're just jealous," Fred commented, looking at his non-existent nails. "Rant all you like, slave. I'm going back to sleep."

Fred dissolved into darkness, and then coalesced back into her normal shadow. Sighing, Xiao grabbed some milk, poured herself a glass, and chugged it. Shoving the milk back into the fridge, and putting the glass into the sink, she wiped her mouth and looked into a mirror that hung over the sink. Her hair hung around her face, and her hazel eyes were narrowed with anger and irritation, and her face was pinched into a frown. Sighing, she tried to relax herself before anyone came after her. Turning, walked out of the kitchen, but not before she made a promise to herself: She'd prove to the others she was useful. And...she'd teach them a lesson.


"Were not getting a good reading." Rosma said.

"Thanks Sherlock." Pinzz spat "We are so going down there. Everyone. Come on."

Not everyone followed. "Fine, you losers stay here, go ahead!" she yelled.

She led them straight into the store and marched towards the back room. They took out a good twenty guys, but there were still more in the room. Impossible.

"Guys, it’s a hologram." Pinzz said. "There’s no way there’s twenty more guys in that room."

"Why don’t you go take a look. Oh great leader?" Xiao said sarcastically.

"Oh, now I'm the leader? You guys suck." Pinzz said. But she stormed into the room and shot out her fingers, which went right through the guards. Hologram.

"Don’t move closer!" Crystal Freeze whispered. She was tied in the corner. "There are motion sensors!"

Pinzz ducked back into the grocery store. “Crap.”


"Bunk powers? Bunk powers? Where does Miss New Superhero get off telling us we have bunk powers?" Raven fumed. The superheroes had just returned to headquarters to plan another surprise attack.

"She wasn't very tactful, was she?" Isomorphix added.

"She's right though...kinda. We don't do so well in open combat...stealth, however is our specialty," Raven said. "I was going to suggest that Rosma and Xiao go, but she left before I could say anything. And then our attack wasn't very successful, either.”

Suddenly the phone rang.

The Violet Princess picked it up. "Hello, Justice League Headquarters, The Violet Princess speaking."

"Jhhhhnnnn..." rasped a familiar sounding voice.

"Who the heck is this?"

Studmuffin reached over and took the phone from her. "Probably a prank phone call. My specialty." He put the phone to his ear, but the line was dead. He dialed *69 to get the phone number, then called it, putting the phone on speaker.

"Hello, this is the local 24 hour grocery story, the Evil Manager speaking."

"This is Studmuffin of the Justice League. Someone just called from that number."

"The Justice League? Someone called there? Hang on a second, will you?"

"Sure." Studmuffin listened as the Evil Manager berated a cashier for not watching "the penguin." The cashier had apparently been distracted by a group of supermodel clones.

"Sorry about that," the Evil Manager apologized when he got back on the phone. Even though he was evil, the Evil Manager was always polite.

"I am glad you called, though," the Evil Manager went on. "I was going to call the Justice League soon, anyway. I thought you would like to know officially that we are holding 7 of your members for ransom: Oreo Avenger, Eric, Superdude, Dragon Girl, X-Raytor, Omega, and Crystal Freeze, who we just captured about ten minutes ago. We're asking the city to come up with 2,736,455,463 dollars and 72 cents for their safe return."

The remaining superheroes gasped. Well, except for Midnight Chatter. He still had duct tape over his mouth.

"Wait a second! What about Scarlett Fyre?" asked Isomorphix, using his powers of intuitive thinking to realize she hadn't been listed.

"Ah, yes. Miss Fyre, or should I say Miss Dixon, will be handed over to the authorities to face the manslaughter charges she has avoided for so long, as well as for a case of arson when you superheroes burned down Bo's cabin."

"But, but her boyfriend's death...it wasn't her fault. And the cabin was the base of operations for Bo's sinister plots," Xiao explained.

"The courts will make that decision. And I forgot to mention that the city has 2 days in which to come up with the 2,736,455,463 dollars and 72 cents to save the ransomed Justice League members. You might want to help them. It's just 390,922,209 dollars and 10 cents or so per superhero. Have a nice day." The Evil Manager hung up.

"Mmmpffff!" mumbled Midnight Chatter.

"What are we going to do?" said Raven. "We can't take them out with brute force, and they're expecting us now, plus there are motion sensors, so surprise is out of the question."

"I've got an idea," said Studmuffin. He picked up the phone again and dialed. "Hello, may I please speak to Sally?"


This was certainly the worst thing that could happen to a super hero, X-Raytor realized.

Seven members of the Justice League, seven humans with superhuman powers had been led into a trap by a grocery store manager- albeit an evil one- but a normal one as well.

The only credit he did get was that he wasn't stupid. He had restrained the Justice League members in cells, each designed to play upon their weaknesses.

Oreo Avenger was locked in a room full of fluffy pillows and mattresses, which periodically was introduced to sleeping gas. She was out like a light. Eric was suspended over numerous strategically placed sharp objects, some even resting against very important parts of his anatomy, making movement impossible. Superdude was kept drugged with a constant supply of slushies. If he could stay conscious for the next six minutes, it would be a miracle. Dragon Girl was being physically restrained by a giant gorilla. OMEGA's cell was laced with brain matter from the late, great, Molesto Manifesto, psychic extraordinaire- nullifying his telekinesis. Scarlett Fyre was kept under a salvaged anti-morphing ray, and every time it seemed that she was about to heat up, she was either serenaded by a handsome Spanish man, or forced to watch any of various romantic comedies. Crystal Freeze was kept in a furnace of sorts, kept just a few degrees under incinerating her.

And as for X-Raytor, they had him tied to a chair, watching porno after porno on an IMAX screen.

X-Raytor made a mental note to thank God every day that his weakness was his insatiable sexual appetite.

The only real problem was that he couldn't even look away from the screen, try to focus on a wall and either burn it down or at least determine how many guards he'd have to face. He should turn his head away, should turn his head awa-

Whoa! The red head was bringing in a stuffed llama and a electronic screwdriver!! Now what was that naughty, naughty girl going to do with those?

A door opened behind him and the evil manager walked in. He looked up at the screen and winced.

"You get off on this, don't you?"

X-Raytor managed to drool out "Go to hell."

"You know, you're a sick little man. I don't even know why they'd want to ransom you. Of course, they won't. They'll come in here, guns blazing and pull off a great rescue." The manager leaned closer. "But that wouldn't be a good idea, would it?"

X-Raytor tried to say, "Will you shut up? Her roommate just walked in and she's going to join in the fun!" It came out as: "Gaaaaaaaaah!"

"Enjoy it while you can, because if your friends try to break in here, each and everyone of you is going to be immediately killed. You most grotesquely of all," He sneered. "We have something special in mind for you.

X-Raytor said something to the effect of "Fugghg ogfff!", still drooling.

The evil manager shook his head. "Your guest will be arriving in a few seconds. If need be, he'll be the one carrying out your excruciating end." And then he left.

Suddenly, "Lonely Sex Kittens" was turned off and X-Raytor's concentration immediately returned. Using his feet, he spun the chair around and aimed his eyes, which he powered up to "zap" mode at the manager.

But he was no longer there.

In his place stood the Green Penguin.


"Oh crap..."

"Nyrrrrrr..." It growled again, taking a step forwards. The door closed behind it and he and X-Raytor were locked in together.

"Hey, listen, I know you're pissed off and all, but don't worry- there will be an Even Stevens movie before the show goes off the air!" X-Raytor said.

The Green Penguin grabbed him and lifted him up so that they were at face level. X-Raytor felt his eyes warming up.

"Oooh, bad choice there, Big Bird, because you're about to be Kentucky Fried-"


X-Raytor's eyes widened beneath his mask and he immediately forgot about the laser blast he had been forming. The Green Penguin had said his real name. "What the-"


"Who are you?" X-Raytor said, his voice barely rising above a whisper.

"JHHHHHHHN!!" The Green Penguin tossed him across the room, and X-Raytor felt the chair shatter beneath him. He got up as fast as possible, shaking off the ropes and getting ready to-

A giant snowball, faintly glowing green was in his face. X-Raytor ducked at the last moment and dodged to the other side of the room.

"Whoa! Didn't your mother ever tell you not to throw snow in the house?!" X-Raytor powered his eyes up again as he spoke and fired two red beams at the Green Penguin.

The antagonistical avian leapt over the beams, using its wings to gain lift. Then it dropped to the ground and slid on its belly-


The Green Penguin caught X-Raytor in his mid-section and knocked him back, into the wall.

"JHHHHHHHHN!!!" The Green Penguin roared.

"Why do you keep saying my name?! Who are you?!" X-Raytor raged.

The only answer the Penguin gave was to throw another snowball, pinning him to the wall.

"That's enough." The evil manager said, walking in. "We can't have you killing him until we get the ransom. Now, please go back to Mr. Powers and thank him for me for the use of your services."

The Green Penguin growled and, with a final glare at John with his yellow eyes, left.

"Now, have a good time!" The manager said to X-Raytor and slammed the door again.

"Gah! This stuff is strong!" X-Raytor said to himself, struggling against the snowball. "Maybe if I use my laser vision to-"

Just then "Lonely Sex Kittens" came back on, and he was trapped once again. Oh, and, uh, not liking it! Of course not!


Someone woke Pinzz up.

"Pinzz, were worried. We need to do something." Raven said. "I cant believe you actually slept."

Pinzz checked the clock. It was about 9 o’clock in the morning. She was only asleep about two hours. She trudged out into the living room. Plopped down on a beanbag chair. Everyone was quiet.

"What are we going to do now?" Xiao asked.

"Anyone have any extraordinary plans?" Pinzz asked. No one said anything. "No? Then we do nothing. Its about all we can do."

"Don’t you care?" Rosma said, a little angrily.

"Not really." she said.

"How could you not? They’re probably being tortured." She said.

"How could I not? Easily. No one in here is my family. I don’t love anyone in here. So why should I care? I should just go get an apartment somewhere, and change my name to Sarah Smith or something. I am sort of sick of all this."

Silence for a minute. "Sick of all what?" Xiao asked.

"Sick of you losers." I said. "Now, lets just sit back-" Xiao cut me off.

"Who put you IN CHARGE!" She yelled. A little mad.

"Who didn’t?! YOU LOSERS just sit back AND WAIT FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO MAKE THE DECISION! Someone needs to be in charge!" Pinzz yelled right back.

She got up from her chair and stormed out. Soon, she was at the grocery store. Without her super suit. But she did know great karate. She picked up a golf club, went to the three men in black standing outside the door, and knocked each one on the head. They were down. The employee’s only door was open.

She tugged on her ear, activating her suit. Pinzz crept in. Empty. There were rows of doors. She opened one and there was Superdude, eating grape slushies. He was guarded by four large men. She jumped and stuck to the wall. Pinzz waited until the men were right below her and she jumped. She kicked one in the head, flipped, and landed on the ground behind him.

She drove a flying kick to his back, and he was down. She ducked while one tried to kick her in the back of the head. She then knelt down and tripped him. Finally, she punched him in the face, twice. He would be out for a while.

The other two guys were armed with bats. Pinzz dodged the first swing, kicked him in the chest, jumped in the air, flipped, landed gracefully, jumped again, stuck to the wall, blended in, crawled to the ceiling, and dropped onto his back. She delivered a karate chop to the back of the neck and he was down.

Pinzz stretched out her fingers to take care of the final guy. She wrapped them around his neck and squeezed. She didn’t kill him, but he passed out and she let him drop.

Pinzz slung Superdude over her shoulder and ran out the door. Back at the Hall, she dropped him and ignored the stares from everyone.

"We are gonna have to take this one a time guys."


It was 9 o'clock. Scarlett Fyre was in an isolated cell, watching the first half of Life is Beautiful for the third time. The Evil Manager walked into the room. Scarlett tried to focus on what was going on around her, but Guido was about to say "Buon Giorno, Principessa!" for the 56th time...

"What is it with superheroes and movies?" the Evil Manager wondered aloud. "Anyways, Miss Fyre/Dixon, it's time for you to be put under police custody. Your trial begins in one hour."

The Evil Manager turned off the video.

"Hey! Guido was about to roll out the red carpet!" Scarlett exclaimed, and then she realized she could think clearly again. She was about to break into song and incinerate the Evil Manager when a very hot Scottish guy began serenading her. It was a beautiful song about some loch in Scotland, and...

By the time they had made it to the courtroom, Scarlett was pretty much ready to run away to Scotland and spend her life looking for the Loch Ness monster with the hot Scottish guy. Obviously, the Hot Scottish Guy didn't work for the Evil Manager. He was a captive, too, but no one had ever ransomed him, and he could either sing or starve to death.

Before the trial started, however, they let Scarlett name her lawyer. In a sudden moment of brilliance, she said "Midnight Chatter," knowing his rambling would make everyone fall asleep, and then she could escape.

Yes, Midnight Chatter had the perfect superpowers for something like this...


The Oreo Avenger snuggled into the pillows. It was so nice here. No one to wake her up by freezing her blankets, no one to make her wake up and pay attention in class. Just the fuzzy warmth and time to sleep. Lots and lots of sleep. In fact, a little too much sleep.

Oreo Avenger sat up. She wasn't supposed to be here! Someone did something evil to her, and she had to shove an Oreo down his throat! Oreo Avenger shakily got to her feet before another spray of sleeping gas filled the room. Well, she'd do it after this nap.

Sometime later, a loud crashing noise woke Oreo Avenger up. "Unnnnng!" she yelled at the wall, trying to make it be quiet. Her dream was interrupted. She was dreaming that, armed with only an electronic screwdriver and a stuffed llama, she fought off the Evil Manager, and then she woke up.

Time to get back to sleep. Oreo Avenger closed her eyes and waited for unconsciousness to come, but nothing happened. She blinked and tried again, with the same result. The impossible had occurred; she finally had enough sleep.

Oreo Avenger yawned and stretched. Time to save her compatriots! The hiss of the sleeping gas tubes caught her attention. It was time for drastic action. She couldn't be caught in the sleep cycle again. Reaching into her Oreo satchel, she conjured up two Oreos. One to change her, and the other to change her back. She had to turn into the most insomniac of all creatures.

Quickly, before she could change her mind, Oreo Avenger ate the Oreo. It was delicious. And...strange. Rumblings through her body indicated the Oreo was working. Finally, her transformation was complete. She breathed in a lungful of sleeping gas, secure in the knowledge it wouldn't hurt her. She was . . . a Morphz boardie!

Unfortunately, there were side effects to being a Morphz boardie.

"Watch out for the chickens," Oreo Avenger whispered to a pillow. Somehow, a Nintendo gun appeared in her hand. She shot it at the door and the door blew up. "Here I come!"

Running out of the room, she ate the second Oreo. Back to normal. Now, time to free the others!


Back at the Hall of Justice, the phone rang. It was Scarlett Fyre. Apparently she was going on trial, and needed a lawyer. When she said she wanted Midnight Chatter to be her lawyer, everybody started cracking up. When they realized she was being serious, they were all very confused.

Midnight Chatter, too, was confused. He rushed over to the phone and said, "Mmphnrg phunga mrgrt..." then somebody ripped off the tape, "Owww...now, what I was trying to say was, why do you want me to be your lawyer? I don’t know anything about being a lawyer. The only thing I do know, I learned from watching The Practice. I mean what-"

Scarlett interrupted him,"-that’s okay! You don’t need to know anything. I can’t explain over the phone. These guards are watching me. Just meet me at the courthouse. Okay? Bye."

He hung up the phone, and everybody was staring at him in confusion.

"Why would she want YOU of all people to defend her?" Rosma spoke up.

"I don’t know, I guess she just trusts my talents." MC replied, in which case everybody started cracking up again, "Fine, I will just go then. I've got a client to help." MC charged out the door, and made his way to the courthouse.

When he arrived, there were reporters and cameramen everywhere. Apparently a superhero on trial was a big deal. Especially one involved with the Justice League.

"Excuse me, sir. Is it true that you are actually going to be defending Scarlett Fyre?" A reporter asked MC.

"Of course it is. I mean, who better for the job than-" Before he could finish speaking all of the reporters started cracking up.

"So you’re seriously going to be her lawyer?" Another asked incredulously.

"Yes, I seriously am...is there something wrong-" At this point almost all of the reporters were rolling on the ground laughing.

"Man, screw you guys." MC turned around and walked up the courthouse steps into the courtroom, where he met up with Scarlett Fyre.

"Oh, good you're here. Well, are you ready?" she asked him.

"Not really. I don’t know anything about being a lawyer. What am I supposed to do? Should I-" he started.

"Just talk. That’s all you have to do. Okay?"

"I guess so. But what if-"

"Nnononono. Just. Talk."

"Uh, okay."


Despite everyone's lack of confidence in Midnight Chatter, Scarlett Fyre smiled. Things were going well. Everyone would be taken by surprise. Maybe Midnight Chatter would even surprise himself.

Then Gregor Rhubarb walked in. A German prosecutor-Nazi who was known as one of Bo Power's confidantes, and on top of that, he had a good poker face. Rumors around town whispered that he'd never lost a game of strip poker. There was a collective gasp in the courtroom.

"Are you sure about this, Scarlett? Don't you think you should get someone else? Maybe that guy who defended-"

"No. You. Just talk, it's all I want you to do. If it makes you feel better, through in some words like 'injustice' and 'unavoidable accident' and 'acquittal.' Basically, I need you to use your rambling power to make them sleepy enough to dismiss all charges."

Midnight Chatter nodded.

"All rise," said the bailiff. "The honorable Judge Sally presiding," he said, walking to an open door, picking up a plastic blow-up doll with a black judge robe on, and placing it in the judge's seat.

"So THAT's who Studmuffin called," Midnight Chatter said.

Scarlett looked over at the jury. Among the normal people there was a dead rabbit.

"What is that doing over there?" she asked Midnight Chatter.

"I don't know. Maybe it's someone's lunch or something. Not something I would eat, even if-"

The bailiff cut Midnight Chatter off briefly. "Would the prosecutor please step forward and name the charges?"

Gregor Rhubarb stood up, raising his hand in a signature Nazi salute. The judge stared him down, and he slowly lowered his arm.

"Your honor, I am representing the state today in its case against Miss Lori Dixon, alias Miss Scarlett Fyre. We intend to prove that the defendant not only killed her firefighting boyfriend by singing to him in such a manner that he spontaneously combusted, but that she is also guilty of arson, conspiracy, and not only that, her actions against one Bo Powers are evidence that she is a traitor of the worst kind, and a threat to society as we know it.

"This, your honor, is why we are asking that the death penalty be considered as an option WHEN she is convicted." With that, Gregor Rhubarb sat down, smiling confidently.

"Would the defendant please address these charges and plead either guilty or innocent?" said the bailiff.

"Your honor, my client Miss Scarlett Fyre pleads innocent. She has made errors in her life, but has never intentionally harmed any innocent person. You see your honor, my client has a dream. That one day, a day that will live in infamy, four-score and seven years ago when in the course of human events, we choose to go to the moon.

"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are created equal. We, the people of friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. Crikey! I love the smell of napalm in the East, and Juliet is the sun.

"Arise, fair lord what fools these mortals be though I walk through the valley of the force will be with you reach, look as good you will take the ring, though I do not know the greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in great power comes great responsibility.

"This is my gift and my curse. I am Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to make you an offer you can't die. You're the first alien ever to come to beam me up Scotty as you wish upon a star, makes no difference who I want to take me home, take me home...every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end-" rambled Midnight Chatter.

Needless to say, by the time he got to the second paragraph, pretty much everyone was asleep. Judge Sally the Blow-up Doll looked at the sleepy jury.

"Not guilty by reason of insanity, evidenced by her choice in a lawyer," said the one jury member who was still awake.

Judge Sally banged her gavel and dismissed the court.

Scarlett Fyre hugged Midnight Chatter with glee.

"I'm free! I'm free!"


Charlie slammed the door.

"Charlotte Fyre, don’t you slam that door in my face!" Her mother said. She slurred her words. She had about three beers already. Charlie began blowing bubbles out of her mouth, one of her powers, something she did often to piss off her mother.

Her mom stormed in. "Charlie, don’t blow bubbles in the house, it ruins the furnture."

"Don’t you mean furniture? Not furnture?" Charlie asked, smirking.

"I said furniture." She slurred out.

Charlie blew a bubble, knowing it would make her mother mad. Her mother started towards the bed. Immediately, Charlie became a puddle of water. Her mother groaned and just walked out. Charlie slowly took shape again and started blowing bubbles.

A few minutes later, Charlie was called down for dinner. Old salad. It wasn’t good the first time, and the first time it wasn’t rotten.

"Mom, I am gonna go to Taco Bell. I want some tacos." Charlie got up.

"Why? Can’t you eat my food?"

"Its rotten, it stinks, and even a dog would think it’s gross."

"Get back here, and eat that food!" she yelled.

Quickly, Charlie walked to the table, picked up her plate, threw the food into the trash, and washed it in about six seconds. Her mom shrieked.

"That’s it! Get out! You freak!" she yelled.

Charlie went to her room, got a backpack, put some clothes in it, and was out the door. She walked and walked until she found herself in front a big building.

She walked up, and knocked on the door.


Studmuffin opened the door. "I'm sorry, we already bought our Girl Scout cookies for this month-"

"No!" Twisk said. "I'm a super hero! I want to join the Justice League!"

Rosma appeared behind Studmuffin. "Just let her in, Chi-boy. Will someone brief, um..."

"Twisk." Twisk supplied.

"Twisk. Okay, can someone brief Twisk on the situation?"

Isomorphix stood. "The long and short of it: eight of our members have been captured, and we are trying to rescue them. Also, Midnight Chatter seems to be missing..."

Midnight Chatter immediately ran through the door, tripped over his own feet and fell down. Twisk jumped back, startled to see him land at her feet.

"I won!" Midnight Chatter said, looking up at her and grinning like an idiot. "I just talked and talked and talked and I won! See, I told you my basic power was worth something!"

Scarlett Fyre walked in behind him. She looked around. "Where are Crystal and Pinzz?" There was the slightest tint of suspicion in her voice.

"Crystal was captured and we don’t know where Pinzz is. She went back to the grocery store again and she’s probably in some trouble." Raven said.

"Which brings me to the main point," Isomorphix said. "We need to find a way to get in there without them discovering us. Obviously, some of their forces are concentrated on battling Pinzz, but the motion sensors can lure in others."

Twisk's ears perked up. "Motion sensors? As in, electronic motion sensors?"

Isomorphix nodded.

"Well, I think I can help with that."

"How?" Xiao asked, while Fred danced around behind her.

"My powers, of course! You see, I can control water, so I can easily transfer some water into the circuitry without getting too close, therefore shorting the motion sensors out." She nodded.


"Wow." Rosma said. "For once, we don't have someone calling the shots, and we actually come up with a good plan!"

"An even better plan is to get moving before they kill the others." Scarlett said. "Now, come on!"

And off they went, into the night!


The remaining superheroes jumped into the Magistrate Minivan. They decided to be a little less obvious then just barging into the grocery store and demanding satisfaction. Every time they did that, more people were captured.

"Now," said Isomorphix, "the guards and grocery clerks are definitely going to be keeping their eyes open for us. I’m sure there will be several, too. So we need somebody to distract them. We can’t all charge in yelling a battle cry. We need to be discreet. Who wants this job?"

Midnight Chatter's hand shot straight up. Everybody looked at him suspiciously. They were not used to him volunteering for this kind of thing. Usually he would request to stay in the van or somewhere out of danger. Alas, Midnight Chatter had discovered confidence since winning his court case. He felt like he could take on anything now. No more cowardice for him.

"Uh, are you sure about this, Midnight Chatter?" Xiao asked warily.

"Definitely! I am the man for the job. Once I start talking, there is no way they will be able to watch for you guys. Trust me," he explained.

"Okay," everybody agreed.

They hopped out of the van, which was parked across the street from the grocery store. They were all wearing normal clothes. They didn’t want the guards to automatically see them and throw them in the back.

"You guys figure out what you are going to do," MC continued, "I’m gonna go in and create a distraction. Good luck, guys."

Midnight Chatter, or Topher, now that he was in normal clothes, ran across the street when no cars were coming. He looked behind him at the rest of the group, gave a thumbs-up sign, and walked through the automatic doors.


Pinzz saw Midnight Chatter. That was a good sign. The bad sign was there were no others.

"They’re bringing in Midnight Chatter. For a distraction, I think." Pinzz told the others, making sure no guards heard. Everyone was grumbling. They were very uncomfortable, being crowded into one corner. Oreo had, in fact, freed them from their cells, but they had been caught again by the motion detectors and tied up.

"My bum hurts." someone said.

"My nose itches. And I think I have a booger, which I will definitely have to pick when I get out of here."

"Eeeew! Pinzz!" Someone squeaked.

Midnight Chatter rambled on to the guards. The others snuck in.

"Were bustin’ ya out, Jack." An unfamiliar girl said. "Twisk’s the name, and water’s my game, stand back, guys."

"Twisk can generate water." Isomorphix explained.

Twisk opened a water bottle and poured it all over the ground. She pushed the water toward the outlet. Frowned. Out of her mouth came a large bubble. It landed on top of the water, sucking it up. The bubble floated up, obviously under her control, and toward the outlet. It popped. Water, poured out. Crackled, sparks, the whole deal. The motion sensors flickered out.

"Sweet deal, Twisk." Pinzz said. "Let’s get the others."

Twisk rushed over, and untied everyone.

They walked over to Midnight Chatter. "So, when I went to school with Chicken Little, she was real paranoid, talking about the skies-"


Each superhero carried a bag of groceries home. The store kindly gave the food to them and asked that they please not sue the store, and oh look, here's a certificate for free groceries for a month! A person could buy a lot of cheese in that time.

Oreo Avenger introduced herself to the new girl as soon as they got back to The Hall of Justice. "Hi, you can call me Oreo Avenger," she said, holding out her hand. "I conjure Oreos that do many strange and wonderful things."

The other girl looked at Oreo Avenger's hand suspiciously, but finally shook it. "I'm known as Twisk. I blow bubbles, among other things."

"Twisk," Oreo Avenger said, testing the name out. "That has a nice sound to it. Twisk." She led Twisk deeper into the Hall. "Are you going to be living here most of the time?" At Twisk's nod, Oreo Avenger led her to an empty room.

"You can set up your stuff here. We usually try to sleep in shifts, so that the city is protected at all times, but recently that's been disrupted. The kitchen is over there." Oreo Avenger pointed in the kitchen’s general direction. "We usually take turns cooking meals. Any questions?"