JUSTICE LEAGUE

3

The Bank Robbery and Isomorphix Underground
 

The Violet Princess eyed her opponent suspiciously; he stared back, his face solemn and serious. "Iso, got any fours?" the girl asked and held out one hand.

"Go. Fish." He responded, his stone face now smiling.

"Ech, I have like a bazillion cards!"

"You have ten..."

"Close enough, your turn."

"Okay, Violet, do you have any," he paused for effect, "threes."

"If I say no, will you believe me?"

"No."

"Darn, here," she sighed and handed her friend three threes.

The twosome was supposed to be watching the crime monitor, but they found Go Fish much more invigorating.

Buzzz!!!! A red flashing light suddenly went off, interrupting the game. The two superheroes stood up, confused.

"Whatever it was, I didn't do it!" Violet exclaimed.

"Relax, I think the crime monitor is going off-- "

"Oh," Violet shrugged and used her majik abilities to make a pair of purple earmuffs appear. She took them and put them over her ears. "So, Iso, got any fours yet?"

Iso rolled his eyes and began to say something when the other team members burst into the room having heard the alarm sound.

Isomorphix threw his cards away and looked at the monitor as the others arrived.

"3221 Main Street... the 3rd National Bank." he replied coolly. "That's the fourth time the National Banks have been robbed; theyíve never found the culprits."

"Okay everyone," Studmuffin started, "letís organize people into groups to counter them..."

Stud's voice grew faint as Isomorphix had already left.

Useless teamwork garbage. Time to find out what's under this... my way. Isomorphix thought sliding his katana into place on his belt.

The night was dark as Isomorphix approached the scene of the crime from the alleys. The others wouldn't be too far behind, so he needn't worry about the details of the robbery. They could handle that useless information... the goal was to not lose track of the robbers.

Isomorphix looked about and noticed the bullet holes in the glass. Approaching carefully, he took a casing from the floor and examined it.

Submachine gun ammunition, Isomorphix thought as he looked down on the empty shell. The casing gleamed against the streetlight illumination. He held the gaze for a moment, and then flicked it away.

This wasn't an ordinary robbery. More and more the word on the street grows of a bigger organized crime ring... something different.

Isomorphix gazed across the street hearing sirens in the distance.

Time to visit the underworld, he thought. Isomorphix's black trench coat faded into the shadows just as JL members arrived and the sound of the sirens grew louder.

***

"Damn detective-boy hid the four of hearts,Ē Violet muttered as she raced after him. The other superheroes were inside forming a plan, something involving rubber cement, Violet thought she heard, but more important matters concerned her: Iso cheated playing cards.

Once outside, she raced after the trenchcoat-clad boy. She figured she'd give him a Pinocchio nose for a day or so; that'd teach him for cheating!

Suddenly, Iso stopped and leaned down to look at something. Violet stepped to the side, concealing herself behind a corner. Intuition told her that Iso was going to go someplace dark and dangerous, and meet up with one of the most ingenious criminals the Justice League would ever encounter. Fun, Violet thought, and decided she'd tag along. Iso probably wouldn't need any help, but Violet had the feeling that the most ingenious criminal was pretty good looking, too. With a shrug, she trotted after him as the other Justice League members arrived at the robbed bank. With a flick of her fingers, she threw on a shield that would, hopefully, make her unnoticeable to her fellow heroes.

***

The club's lights were bright and varying and the music nearly deafening. Crowds of people were dancing on the floor and some were just having drinks by the bar. A few people noticed Iso walk in, but didn't pay him any heed. Those who did, however, knew who they were looking for.

Two burly men approached him as he made is way through the thicket of people.

"You weren't supposed to come back here,Ē one of them nearly grunted.

"You're coming with us,Ē the other one said in an equally gruff voice.

Isomorphix gave him a cold glare that didn't seem to affect the man, but allowed himself to be lead. He knew where they were going.

In through the employee's only door behind the bar, to the left, and down a series of stairs. It took a while, but it was all familiar to Isomorphix.

One of the men moved the bookshelf aside in the small room where they had appeared and went through, the other forced Isomorphix to follow.

"Ah, Iso, Iso... I knew you'd be back." The chubby mobster said.

"Fat Tony." Isomorphix said monotonously.

The man was big, but not fat. His graying hair showed early signs of aging and he sat on his chair with two bodyguards at his side, smoking his cigar.

"Iso, my friend, compadre, you know I'm not in that business anymore... yet why must you come back here, eh?" Fat Tony asked in a friendly manner.

"Just a few questions, that'll be all." Isomorphix replied. "But, then again, I could always go ahead and go about last time's train of events..." Isomorphix let it hang.

Isomorphix had his... dealings... in the underworld.

"3221 Main Street. 3rd National. Stats. Now." Isomorphix said.

"I dunno what you're talkiní about..." Fat Tony started.

Isomorphix narrowed his eyes.

"Uh, really, I'm serious! That sorta thing..." Fat Tony seemed to catch himself.

Isomorphix's hand reached for his katana.

"Alright, Alright! We don't know much about it, okay? There's a new man around recently. The Big Cheese. We don't know him personally... I'm too low to know much... all I know is yous gotta go to the East Dock down by the river, that's all, I swear!"

Shortly after, Isomorphix found himself in the alley behind the club.

East Dock... hmmm... Isomorphix thought, then stopped. Sight wasn't necessary; hearing did just as well. And if sight was the issue...

"You might as well come out, Violet." Isomorphix said.

***

Crystal was in a group with Pinzz, Twisk, and herself. Twisk had a nice power, but unlike Crystal, she could only control water, not produce it. You could only do so much. But she had an interesting personality.

"Donít you have an outfit? Costume?" Pinzz asked Twisk.

She shook her head. "Usually, I wear bubbles. You know. The bubble molds to my figure, but thatís really uncomfortable. I donít have one." She said. Shrugged.

"You need one. Whatís in the backpack?" Pinzz asked. Twisk had a backpack hanging over one shoulder. It was the kind that came down to your hip, slinging over one shoulder.

"Water. I canít produce it; always good to have water bottles on hand. I have about ten." She patted her pack.

"Good idea. But you still need a costume. We are coming up on the site of the crime." Pinzz said.

They were assigned to come slowly around to the back of the bank, making sure no one was getting away. Pinzz took the bandana off Twiskís head, cut two eyeholes with her pocket knife, and handed it back to Twisk, who pulled it down around her head.

"What am I? A teenage mutant ninja turtle?" She asked.

Pinzz was soon in her own costume. Shiny blue liquid.

"Letís go." she said. She started running, and then flipped to the top off the building, to get a better view. A huge bubble came out of Twiskís mouth. She directed it to come down over her head, overtaking her. She was inside the unbreakable bubble. It carried her up as she surveyed the place.

"Pinzz! Crystal! Everyone! The burglars are there! By the red mustang!" She yelled. Crystal took off running. Pinzz hopped from wall to tree to lamppost and shot her fingers just in time and caught one of them. She jerked him back. She soon had him and punched him.

"There were three! Two got away!" Twisk yelled.

"Iso will get them. He can take care of them." Pinzz said.

The trio went over to the police officers. The others were helping to deal with distraught witnesses. Answering questions. Studmuffin was signing an autograph. Scarlett Fyre and X-Raytor brought in another criminal. There were obviously four, who had split up.

"There were four. Isomorphix has the other two. We hope." Pinzz said.

***

After the bank fiasco, Scarlett's shift ended. She came by the Justice League to get Hamlet, her black cat, and left.

Normally, she'd take a nap so she'd be ready for her nighttime shift, but today she stopped by a local coffee shop, the Coffee Filter. It was under new management, but that hadn't changed the quality as far as she could tell.

She ordered a double espresso with whipped cream and drank it slowly to feel its full effect. Hamlet had a raspberry Italian cream soda with extra whipped cream. Hamlet had a thing for whipped cream.

When they had both finished, they left.

She was a free woman now. Her name had been cleared, thanks to Midnight Chatter. But she had decided she would continue to use her alias--her old name, Lori Dixon, just had too many memories associated with it.

With all the control issues and possible power struggles the Justice League was inevitably going to face, she thought maybe it was time she started looking for a place of her own. She could fight crime on her own; she certainly didn't need Pinzz and Crystal Freeze telling her what to do. They ignored the members of the Justice League with less obvious superpowers, and because of that, several missions had been pretty botched up lately.

Besides, Pinzz was allergic to Hamlet, and so he was confined to one room, and neither Hamlet nor Scarlett like that.

Scarlett went inside a phone booth and pulled a slip of paper out from one of the hidden pockets in her dress. "Phabio: 555-7399," was written on the piece of paper.

Scarlett dialed the number. "Hello, may I please speak to Phabio? This is Scarlett Fyre."

"Ah, Scarlett. Doing research phor the Justice League?"

"No, actually I was wondering if you could help me and Hamlet find a house, Phabio. You're the best real estate agent I know."

"Well, being Fabio's phavorite cousin does give you access to certain places that ordinary real estate agents just can't get. What time would you like to start looking? My schedule is phree."

"How about right now?"

"Great. I'll meet you in phive minutes at the Coffee Philter. I know some great places we can check out."

"Hamlet and I will be there." She hung up the phone, and she and Hamlet returned to the Coffee Filter. Phabio, who actually looked a heck of a lot better than Fabio, had already arrived, and so they set off in search of a house.

The first place they came to was a huge apartment complex.

"This is really state-oph-the-art, Scarlett. An indoor pool, two tennis courts, a laundry room, a gym, and a video rental store are all contained on the 2nd and 3rd phloors. Each apartment comes phully phurnished with 3 bedrooms, a spacious kitchen, a living room, and two bathrooms. Phor a little extra, you can have a decent-sized balcony and maid service once a week."

"That sounds good. It's certainly more space than we have at the Hall of Justice."

"There is one problem, though. The owner oph the apartment complex is Bo Powers."

"Well, I guess that rules that out, then. Got anything else, Phabio, preferably not under Bo Power's control?"

"To be honest, Bo owns most oph the available real estate in this city. The next best thing I can ophpher is a cottage that recently went up phor sale. Some guy, I think his name was the Magic Phinger or something like that, his plane crashed out in the ocean, and his body hasn't been recovered yet. So his relatives have decided to sell the cottage."

"Did you say the Magic Finger? He's dead?"

"No, the Magic Phinger. Oph course, I could be wrong."

Scarlett shrugged. "Well, let's go see it."

"Phollow me," said Phabio.

When they reached the cottage, Scarlett could tell it was the perfect place for her and Hamlet. "I'll take it!"

"But you haven't even looked inside yet."

"Oh. Right. Well, let's go inside."

After looking around from a few minutes, Scarlett was happy.

"So do you still like it, Miss Phyre?"

"Are you kidding? This place has 3 gorgeously furnished bedrooms, 2 and half bathrooms, an awesome living room with all the latest in stereo, TV, and digital equipment, and a great kitchen. And the backyard has a river with a pier leading out to a gazebo, and it even has a gondola next to it!"

"I couldn't have phrased it better myself. So you'll take it?"

"So long as I can afford it."

"That shouldn't be a problem. Let me make a brieph call to the phamily that's got it up phor sale." They negotiated everything and the cost of the cottage didn't even take a quarter of Scarlett's savings.

The relatives came by and signed on the dotted lines and furnished the title, and then Scartlett signed and paid them.

Hamlet, being far more than an ordinary cat, was also a notary, so he notarized it and made everything official. Scarlett and Hamlet now owned one amazingly cool cottage.

"Why don't you stay here and watch things, Hamlet? I think I'll stay with the Justice League for a little while longer. It won't kill me, and besides, you'll need time to decorate everything the way we like it."

Hamlet agreed, so Scarlett morphed a condor and flew back to the Justice League.

***

It was coming again. And it knew his name.

X-Raytor sat bolt upright, scrambled, and clutched at his naked face. Where was his mask? Where the hell was his mask?!

He rolled, fell, hit the floor, and carried the bed covers with him. He stumbled around blindly. Couldn't open his eyes, couldn't expose her to the radiation, couldn't see-

"Wait a second. I have x-ray vision. Duh." He said, in a surprising moment of logical thinking. X-Raytor peered through his eyelids, found his mask and slipped it over his head, felt the protective aluminum eye covers slip into place. He opened his eyes.

It was the same as it had been the night before. An empty, sparse room. Some adult... um... literary magazines. Yeah. A stack of videos containing... documentaries on... um... anatomy. And hand lotion. For his hands. They chafed under spandex.

No Green Penguin. No Ebony. Alone, safe.

"I need a snack," he said, standing up shakily, clothing his manly, chiseled... shrimpy... body, and headed down to the kitchen.

***

Everyone had gone off to do their own thing. Some were sleeping. Some were fighting criminals, such as Isomorphix. He hadnít come back. But Twisk and Pinzz were up. They were watching a movie. Austin Powers.

"So, Twisk. What happened to your family?" Pinzz asked.

She shrugged. It didnít seem like a touchy subject for her. "My mom was really... upsetÖthat I had powers. So, long story short, she kicked me out."

"Ah. So, what are your powers, again?"

"Well, I have the bubble power. You know." She produced some bubbles out of her mouth to show me. "Then the water thing. I can control it. But not produce it. I am quick. Not that quick, but by human standards, pretty damn fast. Oh, and I can do this," she melted. Turned into water.

"Whoa. Nice." Pinzz said, as Twisk changed back. "Cool powers. I have good powers too. Others not so much."

"How so?" Twisk asked.

"Some have pretty bad powers. But, I think I have been concentrating on that too much. See, before, I was sort of the leader. But I put the team into two groups. Based on powers. Not a good idea."

"People donít seem to like that one girl." Twisk said.

"Crystal? Yeah. She is pretty...unlikable. But she is powerful."

Just then, a angry Isomorphix burst in. He had a cut on his cheek.

"Rambo has entered the building." Pinzz muttered.

Isomorphix gave her a sidelong glance and brushed by.

It had been a long night. Shortly after Violet revealed herself from behind the magic cloak she had created, the robbers had driven by in their red car. Isomorphix decided to hitch a ride and interestingly enough, they had gone to the East Dock.

The rest got...messy. And some of the people involved got injured...others...well, worse. But Isomorphix had gotten the information he needed. All he had to do now was cross-reference it with the computers they had at the Justice League.

The answers were coming... a little too slowly for Isomorphix's taste, but they were coming.

***

A few moments later, Violet opened the front door and walked through the room. She found her way to Isomorphix's room and approached him, a sly smile on her face.

"Iso, sweetie," she tapped his shoulder. "You forgot something."

Iso turned around, looking a bit peeved for being interrupted. Without a second glance, Violet slapped him across that face.

"That was for cheating at cards."

She paused, and slapped him with her other hand.

"And that was for leaving me behind. To make up for it, take me with you the next time you decide to go gallivanting, got me?"

Iso moaned and glared at Violet. A slow hand reach to his cheek, were blood from his cut had been smeared. Seeing the wound, Violet squealed and grabbed a tissue off a nearby table. Her motherly action lasted for only a second, for as soon as his face had been cleaned, her tone turned cold. "Well?"

"Do whatever you want."

"You know you love me," Violet spoke nonchalantly before dropping onto the bed on the other side of the room and picking up the magazine from the mattress. Iso only looked at back at her for a moment and continued his work.