JUSTICE LEAGUE

36

SOS: Reality TV!
 

"Ow! Netic, you shocked me!" Drew pulled her hand away from the levitating coin.

"No I didn't." She let the coin fall onto the deck floor. "It feels really sticky out. It won't rain, will it?" Flashes of every scary movie involving rain and boats flashed across Netic's mind. She stepped as far away from the guardrail as she could, her hydrophobia apparent in full force. Drew stood up.

"The sky's still clear, I don't think it will. Do you want to go back to the dance?" Netic nodded.

***

A salsa beat began to play in the background. Right Wing Man held out his hand for Oreo to take.

Suddenly, another hand knocked reached for Oreo’s other hand. “Will you dance with me, Oreo?” Midnight Chatter asked. “I’ve always liked this song, and it-“

A tug of war ensued, though Right Wing Man was careful to restrain himself from using his powers fully, as that might have had dire consequences for Oreo’s left arm, though Right Wing Man remarked to himself that removing Oreo Avenger’s left arm would be symbolic of his desire to remove the liberal streak that seemed to run through most of the women in this particular group, even Oreo Avenger. He began to question how he was able to keep from performing this symbolic action which would so easily, though not without a great deal of pain on the part of Oreo Avenger, make clear his stand on these issues, and again recalled that acting up on this desire would likely cause Oreo Avenger to-

“Ahhh!” Midnight Chatter yelled in frustration as he continued tugging, disrupting Right Wing Man’s inner debate.

Finally, Oreo Avenger let go of both of their hands, and both Right Wing Man and Midnight Chatter tumbled to the floor. Midnight Chatter was the first back on his feet, and he started doing the Funky Chicken. Right Wing Man quickly countered with the Worm, the perfect dance to display Right Wing Man’s love of the soil, corresponding to the color brown, the color Oreo Avenger most obviously loved the most given her choice in costume garb. It was also a dance he had mastered in earlier years and felt with some confidence that he could pull off rather well for a crowd.

This continued for quite a while, Midnight Chatter doing the Funky Chicken like a chicken with its head cut off and Right Wing Man doing the Worm ceaselessly.

If either of them had known any other dances, the dance-off for Oreo Avenger might have been more interesting, but unfortunately, their limited experiences, well, limited them. Eventually, they both couldn’t continue anymore, and they sunk to the ground, exhausted, looking up at Oreo expectantly.

“So…who wins?” Midnight Chatter asked.

“You’re both idiots,” Oreo finally declared, looking around. She hoped Scarlett had heard that and would get it through her thick skull that Oreo didn’t want any part of this…but Scarlett was nowhere to be found.

Neither, for that matter, was X-Raytor. No way, she thought in disbelief. Ewww.

A few minutes prior…

After several dances, Scarlett and X-Raytor stopped by the punchbowl. When they realized that neither of them really wanted any of the punch, they went back onto the dance floor. X-Raytor wasn’t sure if Scarlett was preoccupied with the Oreo situation or if she was just being generous, but whatever the reason, she was only smacking him half the time his hands wandered. And he wasn’t about to give up the one good thing he had going for him at the social.

Then the dance-off had started.

“I need to get out of here,” Scarlett told X-Raytor. “You can stay if you want, but I need to leave.”

“Where are you going?”

“I don’t know. My room. The galley. One of the pools. Somewhere, just not here.”

X-Raytor looked at Scarlett with what he hoped-what he knew-was a suave look. “Sure. Let’s go.”

They left.


Now

“Hey, what was that?” Scarlett asked as they passed near Rosma and Oreo’s cabin.

“What?”

“That sound.”

“What sound?”

“That one!” Scarlett said. “Like, a shriek or something. Kind of faint, though.”

X-Raytor shrugged. “Baygulls?”

“Here? In the middle of the ocean?”

“Look! A seagull!” X-Raytor pointed at the railing at the front of the boat. Sure enough, there rested a seagull.

“Huh. That must have been it.”

“Yeah, because all seagulls sound like someone shrieking while they get it o-“

“It doesn’t matter to me if you’ve got the Super Mario Brothers for passengers, I’m commandeering this ship!” a sexy, maybe stoned voice said.

Scarlett and X-Raytor exchanged glances.

“Commandeering?”

“Who uses words like that nowadays?”

“IT’S CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW!” shouted Drew and Netic from somewhere above where X-Raytor and Scarlett were standing. There was a series of thumps and crashes and the sound of coins falling to the floor as Drew and Nectic scrambled to where Captain Davy Seeeeeeabiscuit and apparently, Captain Jack Sparrow, were.

Naturally, Scarlett and X-y hurried up to the bridge/cockpit/whatever the heck you call the place where they steer the yacht too.

“What’s going on here?” Scarlett asked. Captain Jack Sparrow was sprawled on the ground, with Drew working to lash his left wrist to hers, and Netic examining the detail on the hilt of his sword, which she had taken from its scabbard.

“Yo, ho!” cried Captain Jack Sparrow in greeting as Scarlett approached.

“WHAT did you call me?”

“Nothing, Miss--?”

“Fyre.”

“I’m commandeering this ship, Miss Fyre,” Captain Jack Sparrow said rather calmly, considering two superheroines had just tackled him.

“Really?”

“Yes. Just as soon as I get my effects back.”

“Auch, ah don’t think so, laddie!” cried a voice from behind Scarlett. A Scottish voice. “Ah’m commandeering this ship!”

Suddenly, Scarlett felt a little whoozy. “Who..who are you?”

“Ah’m Kilt Lad, lassie. Would yeh like me teh sing yeh a song? How do yeh like Loch Lomond?” Kilt Lad started to tune his bagpipes, getting ready for a song.

X-Raytor looked over at Scarlett, whose eyes were starting to glaze over. “Scarlett! Go get the others!”

“But..”

“Go! You can’t stay, he might sing!”

“Gah!” Scarlett left reluctantly but quickly to go get the others.

“Now see here, Mr. Kilt Lad, no one is going to commandeer this ship,” Captain Seabiscuit said. “I am the capt-aaahhh!” he cried, covering his ears as Kilt Lad played the first note on his bagpipes.

“Aaahhh!” everyone shouted, falling to the ground in pain as Kilt Lad began to play Loch Lomond.

Very badly.

This, of course, was the opportune moment for someone to knock Kilt Lad unconscious. No one did. However, a tiny brown critter did come from out of nowhere and bite Kilt Lad on the toe. “Stop that!” it squeaked in a high-pitched voice. It chuckled manically.

“What in…what’s that?” Netic asked.

The tiny brown critter looked at her as if she had just asked the most ridiculous question in the world. “Why, I’m the Avenging Chipmunk, who else?!”

“Oh, right. Of course,” Netic said, nodding.

The Avenging Chipmunk continued in his high-pitched voice. “This pathetic excuse for fellow criminal refuse stole my helium tank to blow up balloons for his Highland Games party! I’ve been tracking him for over a year now! I have you now, you whiskey-drinking golf-playing haggis-eating pile of-“

“Auch, noaw, ah told yeh already, tha’ wasn’t me, yeh wee beastie!”

“It wasn’t!” cried another new voice, this one female. “It’s all here in his memoir, Underneath the Kilt.

“And who are you?” Davy Seeeabiscuit asked. All of these unexpected passengers were starting to worry him. Were there enough lifeboats for all these people?

The strong African-American sistah smiled. “Just call me Oprah Girl!”

Every single person there blinked. “You’re joking, right?”

“I’m as serious as Dr. Phil’s latest self-help book, 7 Keys to Being Just As Pompous As Dr. Phil!” She pulled a book out of a large purse and held it up with both hands, cocking her head to the side and smiling widely. “I want to challenge you in a way you’ve never been challenged before. In this book, I will give you the real tools to change your life and its quality. The 7 Keys that are in this book will open new doors for yo-“

“AHHH!”

“Not Dr. Phil! Anyone but him!”

“You evil, evil woman!”

“Who needs self-help when you can just watch my latest video?!” An energetic middle-aged man with an afro and a blue sparkly shirt jumped from out of nowhere and pushed Oprah Girl aside.

“It’s F***ing Richard Simmons Man!” X-Raytor cried.

“It could be worse,” Captain Jack Sparrow said.

“Worse how? It’s F***ing Richard Simmons Man!”

“Good point.”

Back at the Semi-Annual Justice League Sadie Hawkins Social Costume Party

“Hey!”

“Heeeeeeeeeyah! Heeeeeeeeeeyah!” the music blared from the speakers, drowning out Scarlett as she ran into the ballroom. She went over to where Typho was now DJing and pulled the plug.

“Yo, man! What’s the deal?!”

“Guys, we’ve got a situation! There’s a seagull making strange noises, Drew and Netic tackled Captain Jack Sparrow who’s trying to commandeer the yacht, and this guy in kilt is trying to steal it, too!”

“She’s finally cracked,” Eric told Llama Boy. The llama nodded, still tipsy.

“Scarlett? How much punch did you drink?” Raven asked.

“None! I’m serious! We’ve got to get back and help X-Raytor and Drew and Netic!”

Pinzz shrugged. “Whatever.”

“Psycho,” muttered Crystal from Ax’s rear end.

Scarlett looked at everyone, furious. “Someone get up to the bridge…cockpit…whatever you call the place where they steer the yacht, and see if I’m crazy! ”

“Whoa, Scarlett, calm down,” said Twisk.

“Do it! Or I swear I’ll make the whole boat go down in flames! I am not crazy!”

Right-Wing Man leaned over and whispered something to Raven. After a few minutes, Raven stepped back from him. “Okay, okay! I get the idea already! I’ll go!” She took off out the door.

***

Raven quickly made her way to the bridge/cockpit/whatever you call the area where they steer the yacht and found X-Raytor and the others. X-Raytor quickly filled her in.

“They’re who? What, we’ve suddenly become a tacky 1960’s TV series?” Raven asked.

“Were we ever really that far away from it?”

But before she could reply, a loud sound filled the air. Wind rushed past, and crossing the moon in a rather E.T.-like manner, she saw a helicopter…no…

She saw a Batcopter approaching. She watched, speechless as it neared the deck of the much-larger-than-average Justice Yacht. It was only as it was about 20 yards away that Raven noticed there was a rope ladder hanging from it, and hanging onto the rope ladder a figure wearing a purpley-black outfit with a shark holding onto him with its teeth. Just before the Batcopter started the descent to land on the yacht, the purpley-black clad figure kicked the shark free of his leg and scrambled back up to his seat in the Batcopter.

It landed in a matter of moments, and two figures stepped out onto the deck.

“Just as I surmised, Robin..”

“A yacht full of superheroes holding a dance to forget all their worries?”

“No, Robin, something much more insipid…A yacht full of superheroes and superheroines holding a dance to forget all their worries…and it would seem that our cowardly foes have stumbled onto it!”

“Holy Toga Party, Batman!” Robin said.

“I’m going to get the others,” Raven told X-Raytor. She quickly ran back to the social.

“Scarlett’s telling the truth! And Batman and Robin are here, too!”

“Batman and Robin?”

“Yes!”

Scarlett looked at Raven. “Raven? How much punch did you drink?”

“None! I’m serious! We’ve got to get back there!”

Pinzz shrugged. “Whatever.”

“Psycho,” muttered Crystal from Ax’s rear end.

Raven and Scarlett exchanged glances. “Okay, that’s it! Social’s over!” Scarlett said.

“You can’t do that!” protested Ari/Xiao.

“Yes, I can! It’s over! Now, everyone’s going to come to the bridge/cockpit/whatever you call the area where they steer the yacht, and that’s that!”

Back at the bridge

“I’m commandeering this ship, lads, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Savvy?”

“Auch, noaw, don’ yeh want teh hear a wee bit of-“

“I need my helium back! How else can I beat the Scourging Squirrel in our deadly war to take over humanki-“

“And then, of course, there’s always Maya Angelou’s book, The Heart of a Woman where she exposes a turbulent period of her life as she struggles to raise a child, fulfill her goals as a writer, and fight for civil rights! Or ther-“

“I think that it's time for you to become a full-fledged member of my Cruise to Lose Family of Fitness! After all, you've got nothing to lose but those extra pounds!”

“Now, you devils, come here! Robin, take the Bat Transpositioningstationaryzapperthingamabob and immobilize them!”

X-Raytor rolled his eyes as the argument continued. Well, it can’t get any worse. This has to be the bottom of the barrel. A bunch of tacky villains, a pirate, and two old superheroes arguing for control of a yacht captained by a man whose very name evoked connotations of evil?

“Professor! Look! A boat!”

“I see it, Gilligan! No, wait-ahh!” There was a splash near the starboard side of the yacht. A couple of minutes later, a rope swung onto the deck and hooked onto a conveniently placed door handle. X-Raytor watched, mildly amused.

Just then, the rest of the Justice League, minus Rosma, Studmuffin, and Isomorphix appeared. Oreo Avenger looked out over the starboard side of the boat.

“Hey! It’s the people from Gilligan’s island!”

“Really?”

“Cool!” Shouts rang out from the Justice Leaguers and they hurried to help them onto the yacht.

“Oh, heavens, we’re finally off that island! Forty years, the longest three hour tour of my life.”

“I told you I’d get us off of the island someday, Lovie, darling. I didn’t make all of that money for nothing.” Thurston Howell the Third gave the yacht a once over. “Rather small for a yacht, isn’t it?”

“Have you heard of me?” Ginger asked no one in particular. “I’m a famous actress.”

“Who would have guessed that the Professor would be able to lash Mr. Howell’s suitcases of cash together with Mary Ann’s hair ribbons and Ginger’s scarves to build a make-shift raft complete with a radio receiver made from coconut shells and one of Gilligan’s shoes?” asked the Skipper.

“Or that we’d find this yacht full of people who-hey, what’s that?” asked Gilligan.

“What’s what?”

“That! Over there!”

“Why…it’s looks like it’s…yes, it’s a submarine!” cried Netic.

“And not just any submarine. I’ve never seen a submarine made like that before…there’s only one submarine I know of that it could possibly be.”

“Which submarine, Professor?” Scarlett asked. The Justice Leaguers gave her a strange look. “What? I’ve always wanted to ask the real Professor a question.”

“Well, if my calculations are correct, that submarine, the one that’s submerging even as we speak, can only be the Nautilus, built by Captain Nemo.”

“What’s it doing over here, Professor?” asked Mary Ann, who glared at Scarlett in a very un-Mary Ann-like fashion.

“I may be wrong, but it might be in congruence with our being in an area of the Caribbean used by large production companies to film television and movies.”

“You don’t mean..” Scarlett began to ask.

“I’m afraid so.”

“No! I won’t stand for it! There will not be another LXG movie!”

In the distance, a thump sounded, and something came rushing towards the yacht from just underneath the water.

“TORPEDO APPROACHING!” shrieked Captain Davy Seeeeabiscuit. The Skipper looked at him.

“How’d you know that?”

“There have been a lot of advances in underwater torpedo detection in the last forty years.”

“Not to fear, loyal citizens! I’ll just get my handy Bat Transponder and jam the tracing signal!” Batman fiddled with his Bat Utility Belt for a few frantic moments, making everyone present extremely nervous, especially the Justice Leaguers, considering recent events and past social “surprises.”

Finally, however, Batman sighed with frustration. “Could you give me a hand with this, Boy Wonder? You’re better at getting it off than I am.”

Twisk nudged Oreo. “Did he just say-“

“Yep.”

Robin handed Batman the Bat Transponder. “Confound it! The batteries are dead!” Batman cried after a couple of seconds.

“What are we going to do?”

******Commercial Break******

Will the Justice Yacht get torpedoed into oblivion? What is “Underneath the Kilt,” anyways? Where are Rosma and Studmuffin? These questions and more answered after our brief commercial break!

“Hey! Despite appearances, this isn’t a cheesy superhero sitcom! We don’t need commercials!” Scarlett protested.

“Wait a second, fellow Justice League member-it’s not?” Batman asked. He was obviously confused.

Drew shook her head. “No. You must have the wrong Justice League.”

“Holy Crime Fighting Confusion!”

“You guys?” Gilligan asked. “The torpedo’s still about to hit!”

“Ahhhh!” they all shouted, and everyone dashed to the side of the yacht to see if it really was still coming at them. It was…

KABOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!

Nothing. Not a scratch to the yacht.

“Gosh, Batman. The ability of the almost human porpoise,” Robin said in disbelief.

“What?” asked Ginger, who had been busy staring at herself in the mirror the entire time.

“True, Robin, it was noble of that animal to hurl himself in the path of that harm-seeking torpedo. He gave his life to save ours.”

Eric nudged Scarlett. “That’s got to be the best deus ex machina I’ve ever seen.”

“I don’t know. I heard about this one novel with this goat-“

Batman cleared his throat and tried to look heroic. “Kilt Lad, Avenging Chipmunk, Oprah Girl, and F***ing Richard Simmons Man? My partner and I will now safely convey you to the correct production studio via the Batcopter, and we can leave these fine citizens and my fellow crime-fighters to continue…whatever it was they were doing.”

The rag-tag bunch of tacky villains grumbled, but after a few minutes of smooth-talking and the promise of another chance at taking over a small sea-going vessel, Batman and Robin convinced them to come along. The group left-inconspicuously-in the Batcopter.

“That was some whack s***, yo!”

WHUUUUUUMP!!! Everyone fell to their knees as the boat hit the shore of a tiny island no one had seen. No one, that is, except for the Gilligan’s Island people.

“Gilligan!” yelled the Skipper.

“It wasn’t my fault this time! It was that guy!” Gilligan cried, pointing at Captain Jack Sparrow, who had knocked out Captain Davy Seeeeeabiscuit and taken over the helm in the middle of the confusion.

“You ran us aground!” yelled Pinzz.

“You seem familiar. Have I threatened you before?”

“That line seems familiar. Have you used it before?” Pinzz countered.

“Where’s the rum? Savy? Savy? But you have heard of me! You’ll remember this as the dayyoualmostcaughtCaptainJackSparrow!I’mcommandeeringthisship!Butwhyistherumgoooooooooooooooooooone?!” Captain Jack Sparrow’s head began spinning around and around rapidly, and smoke poured out of his ears. Finally, he just fell to the deck, motionless. Drew walked over to him and pressed a spot behind his ear. Nothing happened.

“Huh. I could have sworn that’s worked before to reveal a robot body.”

“Is that what he was?” asked Captain Davy Seeeeeeabiscuit.

“I think so.”

A look of relief appeared on the captain’s face. “Good. Now I can get this ship back on cours-“

“Aaaaaahhhhhhheeeeeeeeeee!” came a multitude of cries from the Gilligan’s Island people as they swarmed the Justice League, taking them by surprise and literally throwing them overboard into the shallows below.

“What are you doing?!?” yelled various Justice Leaguers.

“We’re not letting you strand us back on this God-forsaken island!”

“Captain Seeeeeabiscuit! Stop them!”

“Hey, so long as I stay on the ship, I don’t have any problems with them,” he hollered from the helm as Lovie and Ginger threw Crystal and Pinzz overboard in their Ax costume. Even Iso, Rosma and Studmuffin were dragged away from wherever they had been sequestered and tossed out into the ocean. Before the Justice League knew what had happened, the Justice Yacht was gone, and they were all treading water just offshore Gilligan’s Island.

“Where’d the llama go?” shrieked Scarlett, suddenly panicked. “Can llamas swim? I wouldn’t have let him morph it if I thought he’d die!”

“Actually, I think they’re keeping him,” Xiao/Ari said.

Further off, there was suddenly the unmistakable sound of a llama being thrown into the ocean. Owedfslk!

“Or not.”

“He’ll swim to shore, just like we should be doing,” Oreo said. “Come on. Let’s go.”

So the superheroes turned and swam to the shore of Gilligan’s island. Before they had time to even start looking for the remnants of the production set, however, a large balding man approached them.

“Ah, you’ve finally come to fix the problems you’ve caused me, Justice League,” he said, twirling his moustache.

“Excuse me?” asked Right Wing Man.

“Welcome to the set of my next award-winning reality TV show.”

“What?”

“Welcome to SOS: Superheroes or Survivors?

***

"S... O...” X-Raytor said.

“You see,” the balding, mustached man said. “The era of reality TV is ending. Most of the early shows died a while ago, and who even cares about the rest? Seriously, when was the last time any of you watched the Real World or Road Rules?”

Silence.

“Thought so,” he said. “The only one that’s still around, and doing admittedly well, is Survivor. And then there’s the last, dying breath of the reality TV epoch- celebrity shows. The Osbournes, The Simple Life, Rich Girls. People pour over these things- they love them. Love. There’s nothing more entertaining, or empowering, than watching people who are infinitely more well-off than you make fools of themselves. And, at the same time, it allows you to fantasize a bit- what you would do, and how you would be in that situation. And, of course, at least ninety percent of our viewers believe that they would be doing infinitely better.

“So, in our search for an original, successful show amid this dying breed, we decided to combine these two successful formulas- survival, and celebrities. They’ll eat it up like- like that.” He snapped his fingers.

“You know, there was already a show like that,” Drew said. “Pretty much celebrities on Survivor.”

“Yeah, yeah,” the man said. “But they weren’t super heroes. And I doubt any of them were half as controversial as you guys.”

“Wait, who are you, anyway?” Rosma asked.

“I’m the producer,” he said. “That’s all you need to know.”

“Nice mustache,” X-Raytor said. “But, just so you know, it just draws more attention to the bald spot.”

“Who says we’re even going to be on your show, anyway?” Rosma asked. “You said we’re controversial- in case you couldn’t tell, that’s not something we like. And I don’t think that being on a reality TV show is going to help that too much.”

“Oh, and going on a cruise is?” The producer- who most of the Justice League members were now thinking of as the Evil TV Producer- asked, raising an eyebrow. “You really should watch the news. They’ve been running a story for the past three days, about this guy whose pops was killed by a mugger. He’s thinking of suing you.”

“I’m not seeing your point.” Rosma said.

“What was your last televised appearance?” The Evil TV Producer asked. When no one answered, he said, “That’s right, the Oscars. You came off looking like heroes, sure, but it was hardly the best for your image. With this, we’ll be filming you on a more personal level, trying to show the men- and ladies- behind the masks, so to speak. Really bring you eye-to-eye with Joe America.”

“No way,” X-Raytor said. “Some guy got killed because we weren’t around to do our jobs? Then we need to get back there. Besides, by doing this, we’d be entering the same category as Anna Nichole Smith and Paris Hilton, and there’s just nothing cool about that. And for all of you waiting for me to make a ‘Paris Hilton is hot’ joke, don’t hold your breath, because she’s seriously not.”

“Thanks for clearing that up, X-y,” Raven said.

“No problem,” X-Raytor said. “And don’t call me X-y.”

“Just look at the interactions here!” The Evil TV Producer said. “It’s a crime that you people don’t have a regular TV spot yet.”

“Now, hey, listen, let’s not throw this out just yet,” Midnight Chatter said. “I mean, maybe this would be good- get people to see that we’re just like them.”

“F*** you,” X-Raytor said. “We’re not doing anyone any good here.”

“Are we doing anyone any good anywhere?” Studmuffin asked sullenly.

X-Raytor glanced back at him. “Want to add another ‘any’ to that?”

“Listen, I think we all know what’s going to happen here,” said the Evil TV Producer. “You’re going to have a vote. Might as well do it now.”

“Oh, come on!!” X-Raytor said. “Whose going to vote for this crap?!”

“Well, listen for a second,” the Evil TV Producer said. “Doing this will seriously help your public image. I mean, sure, it may seem more important for you all to run back and do your jobs, but how long until everyone gets sick of you being high and mighty and decides to tear you down? You have to know that by now- you’ll never be able to escape the jealousy of those who don’t have powers, who weren’t blessed.”

“And along with all of this,” X-Raytor said. “You get killer ratings and a ton of money.”

“Well, that will be a pleasant little side thingy, yeah,” he said, and grinned. “So, what do you say?”

After some discussion, and a string of naughty words from X-Raytor, they put it to a vote. By one vote, they decided to stay on the island.

“Screw this!” X-Raytor said. “You guys have been totally spoiled by living in that stupid f***ing mansion. When we get back, you’re all spending a year in an empty warehouse, like I did at the beginning of my career!!”

“So, are we ready to go?” Crystal asked.

“There is one condition,” the Evil TV Producer said. “In order to participate in this show- the opportunity to improve your image, I might add- you must agree to not use your powers in any of the challenges.”

“No powers?!” Right Wing Man demanded. “Then what’s the point in-“

“If you want to appeal to the everyman of the nation, you can’t be flying around shooting fireballs out of your eyes,” the Evil TV Producer said.

“But we aren’t everymen.” Right Wing Man said, and X-Raytor detected an annoyed edge in his voice. “Ordinary men are meant to be jealous of us and our gifts, it’s the way it has to be. The natural order of…”

“Let’s just go with it,” Rosma said wearily. “I just want to get some sleep.”

“Then we’re good to go!” The Evil TV Producer said. A film crew rushed out from the surrounding trees, bright lights causing spots to appear in X-Raytor’s vision. “Then lights… camera…”

***

"@#%$ Captain Seabiscuit." groused Raven, trying to dry off in the sun.

"What are you talking about? You voted to do this!" snapped Drew.

"What else were we supposed to do? Swim all the way back?" Raven wrung out her hair.

"@#%$ Seabiscuit. We don't have a boat, we don't have any of our stuff, we're stuck on an island filming a reality show...he gets what he deserves, ferrying the Gilligan's Island loonies back."

"When you're all quite finished," said the Irritated Evil Producer, gazing along the beach of wet superheroes. "The tribes are posted right on that tree."

***

"Wait! Wait!" Drew called after the producer. "You said no superpowers, what about electronics?"

The producer turned to face the girl and held out his hand, expectantly. Drew looked at it.

"I never said I had...."

"Ahem."

"Damnit." Raven laughed as Drew pulled the GPS out of her back pocket and handed it to the producer, waiting to hear an outcry from Netic about cheating.

There wasn't one.

Rather, Netic sat with her arms around her knees beneath a tree. She was soaked through, her face hidden beneath a curtain of dark hair. She was silent, save the soft sound of chattering teeth.

***

“CUT!”

Isomorphix’s voice rang out clearly, stopping the Evil TV Producer short of his signal to roll film.

Using his left hand to grip the base of the scabbard near the hilt, Iso walked forward menacingly.

“You will not so much as touch that camera,” the swordsman spoke in tones of ice whilst he shot daggers into the nearest cameraman with his gaze.

Iso took extreme precaution to avoid media contact as much as possible. It was a rare occurrence that his image was ever recorded at all. Even when it was, few people would be able to compare the anonymous stranger between two photographs. The vigilante intended on keeping it that way.

“And just who are you?” asked the Evil TV Producer, irritated that he’d been interrupted. “Are you a part of the Justice League?”

All of a sudden, the twisted marketer’s face brightened.

“You must be that rumored member that no one’s quite sure of, aren’t you? Ooh, this’ll be an even bigger hit than I thought!” he cackled with glee.

Isomorphix’s eyebrow twitched.

“The entire Justice League… the superstar Studmuffin, the brand-new Right-Wing Man announced on The Sentinel, and now the mystery member, too! I’ll have you all on camera!”

Some of the Leaguers visibly frowned at the producer’s enthusiasm, and X-Raytor was positively scowling.

Normally, Iso would have simply walked away without even bringing any attention to himself. Maybe he’d slip into the trees somewhere until he could figure a way off the island, wait the ordeal out, or get to the bottom of the Evil TV Producer’s scheme. However, Iso was not in the best of moods at the moment. Which was saying a lot, as he normally kept an air of detachment.

Maybe it was the disturbing encounter with the mind-reading Jinni. Maybe it was the fact that the supernatural being had vanished without a trace. Or just maybe it was that as soon as Isomorphix had regained his bearings, the ship had lurched forward and a pair of hands had shoved him overboard and now he was wet, soggy, and stuck on an island with an Evil TV Producer bent on getting him on national television. Well, he could certainly fix that…

Isomorphix took a few powerful strides forward, heading straight for the demented filmmaker. His free right hand crossed over, fingers wrapping around the hilt of his katana, and -

Someone’s hand grabbed Iso’s wrist, stopping him short of unsheathing his blade. The swordsman glared out of the corner of his eye. A purple eye mask looked back. Oreo Avenger.

“Hey, listen… going berserk and threatening this guy isn’t going to help any. I don’t like this any more than you do, but we don’t have any way off this island. This guy’s our only ticket.”

“Hah! Say what you want, but Survivor’s waayyy better than that dumb party,” Pinzz countered from behind.

Twisk and Crystal murmured in agreement. Scarlett glowered.

Naive fools! Iso thought.

Those three were among the ones who had voted to stay on the isle. Oreo kept looking back at him, slowly loosening her grip on his arm. Reluctantly, Iso lowered his hand and subsequently turned his back on the producer.

Oreo breathed a sigh of relief.

For a moment nervous when Iso had made his advance, the mustached villain-wannabe reverted to his ever-pompous self:

“So this is what some of you are really like ‘behind the mask,’ huh?” he said with a slight hint of contempt.

Suddenly - before Oreo Avenger could notice, much less stop him - Isomorphix whirled about and drew his sword from the scabbard at an amazing speed. The blade unsheathed in a long arc, cleanly cutting through the nearest camera and stopping a millimeter from the Evil TV Producer’s neck. The swordsman grabbed the wide-eyed man’s collar with his left hand, bringing the producer so close that they were face-to-face. The katana now graced the skin over his jugular vein.

“You have no idea what I’m really like,” Isomorphix growled.

There were a few gasps, but mostly a hushed silence.

“Someone do something!” Rosma whispered.

But it didn’t have to resort to intervention. Recollecting himself, Iso released the bald man and resheathed the sword.

“I don’t care what the rest of you do, but I’m not taking part in this. And Oreo? You can fly.”

With that, he began to walk away from the set and down the beach.

“Who woke Oscar the Grouch up on the wrong side of the trashcan this morning?” Twisk asked.

“Psycho,” Crystal agreed.

***

"Okay, then," the Evil TV Producer said, touching his neck gingerly.

X-Raytor had almost hoped that Iso would shish-kabob the guy. There was something going on here that he didn't like.

Well, being forced to do a reality show, of course, but aside from that...

"Your camp's going to be on the opposite side of the island," the Evil TV Producer said. "You'll have to build a shelter, of course, but we can provide some instruction there. From what I hear, they give them survival handbooks to read before they go on Survivor, and since you guys won't be getting that, we could..."

Something about what Oreo Avenger had said...

"We don't have a way off this island"...

No way? Oreo Avenger could fly. She, more than anyone, had a way off. And with her Oreos, she could give them all a way off. And that wasn't even counting Studmuffin, Twisk, and, if you got creative, Crystal Freeze. There was, exactly, squat keeping them on this island.

So why had she said that? Did Oreo, of all people, want to be on this stupid show?

Or was there something else?

They were walking down the beach now, the Evil TV Producer talking, the camera crew following, lighting their way. A guy with a clipboard was on a large cell phone, telling someone to come by the pier. Isomorphix remained where he was. X-Raytor considered trying to talk to him, but immediately dismissed the idea. There was no reasoning with Iso, ever.

Dude's like Batman,
X-Raytor thought. Speaking of that, what was with that loser dressed up as Batman on the boat? And which Robin was that? I guess Dick Grayson, since the show was based on the original comics. Wouldn't be Jason Todd, or he'd be more of a yutz. Maybe Tim Drake. That could work, though why they'd do Dick Grayson over Tim Drake is beyond me. And it couldn't be Carrie Kelley... unless that was a chick...

Oh, right. Oreo's weird comment. Right.

Mind control, maybe? Nah, X-Raytor thought. If he, or anyone here, could control our minds, they would have done it to make us do the show. No, these are just your regular, run-of-the-mill show biz schmucks.

They reached a gray, wooden pier on the beach, just as a white motor boat pulled up.

"We'll film you arriving at your camp on the Adventure, and the concept is that you've just arrived. And don't worry about the wet costumes, our people can get you dried up as we go around. Hey, and think about that- this could even be the excuse for that cruise you all went on!"

The Justice League members began to board the boat. Iso was a dark form down the beach.

X-Raytor was about to board when the Evil TV Producer held him back. "Hey, guy, can I talk to you for a second?"

"Don't touch me." X-Raytor said.

"Okay, listen," the Evil TV Producer said. "I'm sure all of you- or, well, most of you- are social people. I mean, you can't be shy if you're running around in costumes, right? But, thig is, a lot of your teammates are not, shall we say, 'Hollywood.'"

"And let me guess," X-Raytor said. "I am."

"You're a personality," the Evil TV Producer said. "You're different from the rest, you've got... I don't know, pizzazz. I mean, you've already done some endorsement work, right? You were in that EconoCleaner commercial last year..."

X-Raytor brightened. "Ah, you saw that little thing? Well..."

"And my good friend Martin Tessmacher gave me a preview of your Gluxitol commerical for the Super Bowl..."

**********************************************

X-Raytor stands in a dark alley. Two costumed thugs come after him, and he defeats them quickly, blasting the last one with his laser vision. He turns to the camera.

"Saving the world is a tough job, especially when you have gastrointestinal discomfort! So when I need fast, fast, fast relief from cramping, burning, itching I always reach for Gluxitol!"

X-Raytor holds up a box of Gluxitol, and gives a thumbs-up.


**********************************************

"Well, I see you know my work," X-Raytor said.

"Of course!" The Evil TV Producer said. "And that's why I think you should be sort of a foreman here. I mean, you're not the star- you don't get stars on reality TV. Unless you win, of course, but that's another story. Thing is- you watch Survivor, right? Good. Well, you know how they film the players talking about the game, what's going on, yadda yadda yadda? We'll be doing that too. And we'd like to get opinions from you on, well, everything. Make it funny, joke around or whatever. Say what you really feel about the others. That sort of thing."

"Well, I guess I could," X-Raytor said. "I can make people laugh, of course. Being me. Um, but I still hate this and I hate you and, uh, this show is stupid."

"Of course," the Evil TV Producer said, and grinned.

***

When they reached the other area of the island, Scarlett stepped off the boat and tripped face first in the ankle deep water.

"I ha-hate this bloody island!" she sputtered as she picked herself up, now soaking wet all over again. "Bloody reality shows and stupid, FAT Evil TV Producers!"

Rosma raised an eyebrow. "Who are you, a Brit or Smeagol?"

"I'll use whatever bloody language I darn well please!" Scarlett snapped back. She winced. "Sorry, Rosma. Just a little frustrated."

"You're not the only one."

"Yeah," Scarlett said. She made it another three steps on the sandy beach before she tripped again.

Great. Now she was wet AND covered in gritty sand. "That's it," Scarlett announced to no one in particular. "The high heels are coming off." She kicked the shoe on her left foot off into the ocean, and then the one on her right.

Scarlett wiggled her toes in the sand...it was a strange feeling. She hadn't gone barefoot except to change into another pair of shoes in...well, a really long time. Probably years.

It was a little strange. But nice.

***

“Hey guys!” The team was met with an athletic, orange-tanned, bleach-blond man who seemed way too perky for his own good. He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a pair of shorts, and carried with him a large tote bag. “I’m Ryan Seabeast, the host of Superhero Survivor!” Ryan turned and smiled at the camera.

“Are you ready for your first challenge?”

There were several “No”s, and at least one explicit. Ryan frowned. “Come on, guys, this game is about teamwork. You should all be great at that!”

Ryan waited for an answer. Hearing none, he resumed his speech.

“This first challenge is going to test how well you guys trust each other. Now, you’ve been divided into two teams. Later, you’ll decide on your team names, but for now you can identify yourselves with these.” He pulled a handful of bandanas out of the tote bag and passed them around the group. “Members of team one should take the red scarves, team two the yellow.”

Wrapping a yellow bandana around her forehead like a pirate, Pinzz stood up. “Any losers on my team should get over here. I’ll be captain.” Immediately, about half of the Justice League joined her.

“No, no, no, Pinzz. There is no captain in this game. Each member must work together.”

“Great,” she mumbled. “This will be a disaster.”

“Okay, guys, let’s head to the jungle!” Ryan slung the tot over his back and led the very wet superheroes into the jungle.

“Hey, we’re away from the water,” Drew comforted Netic, who was still shaken about being tossed overboard.

Ryan stopped suddenly, causing several team members to trip over one another.

“We have here a fork in the road. In a few moments, each team will follow a separate path, leading them to the first obstacle,” he spoke to the camera. “Two massive spider webs have been built, they are impassible except through the holes between the vines used to create the web. The superheroes will need to work together to get through these holes without touching the vines. The problem is, after a hole has been used to move one team member through, it can no longer be used for any other person. The holes vary in size from about three inches in diameter to two feet. Choose wisely in your decisions.

“Teams will gain five points for every member that is successfully moved to the other side, but if that member at any point touches our web, he or she is disqualified and ten points is taken off their score. Twenty bonus points will be given to the fastest team.” Ryan turned to the Justice league. “Do you understand the rules?”

There were several mumbled yes’s and uh huh’s. “We got it,” X-Raytor announced for the red team. Scowling, Pinzz added, “Yea, we do too!”

“Then, good luck guys!” Ryan stepped aside to allow the teams to disappear down their separate paths. He turned to the camera and grinned. “What our superheroes don’t know is that we have an extra surprise in store for them. On our specially made webs have been placed spiders, species ranging from the harmless garden breed, to the deadly black widow. Let us wish them luck.”

***

“GO!” Ryan Seabeast yelled, hitting a gong.

Oreo Avenger stopped playing with the red bandana on her wrist and took off. Not literally, of course. She couldn’t fly on this cursed island. Climbing a tree, Oreo looked around for another within leaping distance.

She didn’t want to be on this reality show, and she was not going to play by their stupid rules. Seabeast never said they had to go through the maze. Oreo had been paying very close attention to the rules. The only thing he said was they couldn’t touch the vines and they had to be the first team to get to the other side.

The trees bent from the vines tied to them, creating a path above the ground. Oreo leapt from one tree to the next. She’d done this kind of thing hundreds of times. Of course, she’d been able to fly then. Stupid island with their stupid reality shows.

Oreo quickly overcame the obstacle, never touching a vine. The rest of her team was close behind her. X-Raytor rang the gong when the entire group made it.

Ryan Seabeast ran up, no longer scarily perky.

“What was that?” he roared at Oreo.

“We made it to the other side,” Rosma said, leaping to her friend’s defense. “Exactly like you told us to.”

“You were supposed to go through the spider web, like the yellow team!”

In the distance, cries of pain and shock could be heard from the yellow team.

“You never said we had to go through,” Oreo said. “We fulfilled your ridiculous rules to the letter.”

Ryan breathed furiously, smoke seeming to shoot from his nose. The sun grew dark, background noise dimmed, and Seabeast seemed to grow larger, until he was towering over even X-Raytor. Suddenly he smiled, noticing the camera. The sun and noise came crashing back and Ryan was normal size once again.

“It looks like the yellow team wins this challenge,” he said perkily into the camera. He continued talking over the outcry. “The red team is disqualified for not following the rules.”

Seabeast walked away, a new bounce in his perky walk. Oreo glared at him as he left.

***

"Sure I was disappointed when we lost," X-Raytor said to the camera. "But, hey, I think we're just going to come back from this."

The cameraman held up a cue card which read: "RUDER"

"Of course, that's because the yellow team sucks," X-Raytor said. "I mean, honestly. Pinzz? When you have Pinzz as a captain you know you're in trouble. She really can do, like, squat without that suit. I should know, I dated her for a while... but that's another story."

He seemed to think this over.

"Of course, if there is one benefit to all of this, it's that I've got girls exerting themselves in the hot, humid island air. I'm telling you, someone's going to have to strip down eventually. Do you think maybe you guys could work that into one of the challenges?"

The shot changed to the red team's beach.

"Here it is!" Oreo Avenger said.

"Wait... where's the shelter?" Crystal Freeze asked.

"We need to build it." Oreo said.

Silence.

The shot switched to Oreo Avenger, sitting on a log.

"So we get to camp," she said. "And, of course, there's nothing there. Well, apparently, everyone's been living in the Hall too long, 'cause there's a lot of people who expected there to be, like, a Ritz Carlton sitting there on the beach."

The shot changed back to the beach.

"Are they allowed to not give us a shelter?!" Crystal Freeze demanded.

"So... does anyone know how to build a lean-to?" X-Raytor asked.

"I read Hatchet!" Twisk said proudly.

"Twisk!" X-Raytor said. "I'd almost completely forgotten that you exist!"

"It happens." Twisk said.

"Do you think we're allowed to use our powers to build the shelter, at least?" Rosma asked.

A trunk dropped from the sky, and landed in the sand. The top popped open.

Cut to X-Raytor.

"So, we're sitting around, and suddenly this chest falls from the sky! And we open it up..."

Back to the beach, with X-Raytor's voice-over.

"...And there's seven machetes inside- one for each of us- some rope, and a few plastic bags, with Target logos on them."

"What are these for?" Scarlett Fyre asked, picking up a bag.

"Beats me," X-Raytor said.

"Maybe they're for foraging!" Twisk said.

X-Raytor looked at her. "... You really liked Hatchet, didn't you?"

"Well, we might as well try to make this shelter," Rosma said, and they picked up the machetes and headed for the woods.

Cut to Typho.

"Yo, man, I look so f***in' tuff with this knife!" he said. "Man, I could cut you! Y'all better step off! I- hey, no! I was just f***in' wit you man! Don't take it away!!"

Cut to X-Raytor.

"I like the way this machete looks against my butt," X-Raytor said. "I know all of the girls on my team were looking at me. It's tough, being the only manly man here, but I deal. I've tried to instruct Studmuffin and Typho in my ways, believe me, but they're not having it. Anyway, I'm thinking that there needs to be a little lagoon rendezvous later, with myself and other red team members who may be invited. ... There is a lagoon around here, right?"

Cut to Oreo Avenger.

"Putting up the shelter wasn't easy," she said. "Which is an understatement."

Cut to the beach. Various members of the red team felled a few thin palm trees with their machetes. Typho worked on what appeared to be a redwood.

"Cha-CHING! I dented that mutha up, yo!" Typho said.

Later, the red team carried some of the chopped up pines out onto the beach.

"Well, on Survivor, they always make these elaborate structures," X-Raytor said. "Of course, they usually have an architect. Anyone here an architect?"

Silence.

Cut to Studmuffin.

"I hate myself and want to die." he said. "Oh, and, uh, being on this island sucks. Totally. I'm such, like, a spoiled celebrity. Oh. My gaw. D."

Cut back to beach.

"We can make a lean-to, then," Oreo Avenger said. "Uh... is it possible to make a lean-to against other trees?"

"I don't think so..." Twisk said.

Cut to the red team walking down the beach.

Rosma voice-over: "We decided to find a cliff-side or something to build a lean-to against. We found one just a little ways down the beach, which was just fine with us!"

Cut to the red team, standing in front of a reddish-brown cliff-side.

"So... do we just lean the wood against it?" X-Raytor asked.

"That's why it's called a lean-to." Twisk said.

Cut to Oreo Avenger, who is smiling like a maniac.

"The building went fine." She said. "Really."

Cut to the red team pushing the wood up against the cliff, and then watching it fall, over and over and over.

"Isn't there some way to secure this better?" X-Raytor asked.

"Lean it against the cliff better!" Twisk said.

Eventually, they sent three of the team members beneath the wood, to try and hold it up should it fall. Everything looked fine... until the piece of wood that X-Raytor was putting in place fell on top of Typho.

"Hey!!" Typho cried from underneath the wood.

"Uh, sorry." X-Raytor said.

"Yo!! You did that on purpose!" Typho said, as the piece of wood was pulled off of him. He got in X-Raytor's face.

"Hey, what you tryin' to say about me?" X-Raytor asked.

"I say you did that on purpose!" Typho said. "What you tryin' to do, huh? You want me to busta cap up yo pansy white boy ass?"

"Hey, you don't know me!" X-Raytor said, waving his hand in Typho's face. "Y'all can't judge me, 'cause y'all don't know me!"

Cut to X-Raytor.

"He don't know me!" X-Raytor told the camera. "He don't know me! Ain't nobody gonna tell me how to raise my baby!"

Cut back to X-Raytor and Typho, were pushing each other.

"Punk!" Typho said, pushing X-Raytor.

"Er, punk!" X-Raytor said, pushing him back.

"Punk squared!" Typho said.

"Punk, uh, cubed!" X-Raytor said.

"Punk... uh..."

"Quartered?"

"I don't think so..."

"Oh, so now I don't know my algebra?!" X-Raytor demanded, and then tried to tackle Typho.

Scarlett buried her face in her hands.

"This didn't happen in Hatchet..." Twisk said.

"It did in Lord of the Flies!" Crystal put in cheerfully.

Oreo Avenger tried to break the fight up.

"Hey!" Oreo Avenger said. "Hey! HEY!!! THAT'S ENOUGH!!! STOP FIGHTING RIGHT NOW OR I'LL PUT MY CAPE OVER YOUR HEADS AND USE YOU AS A TENT!!!!!!!!"

X-Raytor and Typho stared.

Cut to X-Raytor.

"Oreo's so kinky when she's angry," he said. "I never would have thought of that tent thing. Rrrow! Although, if she wanted a three-some, I don't know why she didn't say Scarlett instead of Ty- oh, wait, she was threatening us? ... Wow. Oh, so that's why so many girls try to kill me!" He slapped his forehead. "Wow! See? This is a life changing experience!"

Cut to Oreo. She stared at the camera, and then dropped her face into her hands and began to sob.

"We're ho-o-o-o-opless!!!" She said. "I'm going to die on this stupid island with the idiot briga-a-a-a-a-ade!!!!"

Commercial break.

***

"So we finally get out of the webbing, and they tell us we have to &*%^& build a shelter." Pinzz said to the camera, angrily. "So what does my group of geniuses decide to do? Yeah, they all flop on the ground and start complainin' about their &*^* bites! I'll tell you what bites! *!%$ LOSERS BUILDING OUR SHELTER!!"

Pinzz looked down, regained her composure, and looked back at the camera, smiling. "So then Ari starts !@$#* ralphing in the bushes, she's like, 'Oh, I'm allergic to spiders!' I'll BET she's &*#@ allergic! It's probably all that cheerleader beer they poured in the punch."

Shot of the yellow team struggling to build a shelter on the beach out of branches, frond leaves, and mud.

"I'm sure I saw this on the discovery channel once," MC said, looking the shelter over. "Now, do we use devil knots or..."

"Ahhh! THIS IS NEVER GOING TO WORK!" Eric suddenly yelled. "WE'RE GOING TO DIE OUT HERE ABANDONED TO THE ELEMENTS AND NEVER GET HOME! AHHHH!"

"GET A GRIP ON YOURSELF!" Pinzz smacked him. "We're on a ^&$#@ show!"

"Oh yeah." Eric said, and then went back to trying to bend branches to make a roof.

"Hey...this stuff is...itchy!" Ari yelped, apparently awake, holding a pair of fronds, and covered with red blotches."AAAHHHH! THERE'S BUGS ON THE LEAVES! GET THEM OFF GET THEM OFF GET THEM OFF!"

Llamamatrix rushed over and knocked Ari to the ground. Ari dragged herself to the water and tried to wash the bugs off, then paused, and ran out of the water.

"LEECHES! LEEEEEEECHEEEESSSSS! AAAHHHHHH!" She began running in panicked circles, all the while trying to rip several large leeches off her legs and arms.

"Too bad we don't have any salt," MC said, staring. "Salt is lethal to leeches."

"Too bad we don't have anything that's lethal to llamas."

Llamamatrix spat in their general direction.

The camera focused on Pinzz again. "Yeah, like that llama is really going to help us. I don't see why he's even on here. Ought to be hanging out with Iso or RWM, wherever THEY are. Yeah, I'm talking to YOU!"

***

Meanwhile, back in the city, star reporter Deborah Walters fluffed her extra bouncy hair.

“Shouldn’t we be covering the bag boy’s strike?”

Her cameraman, what’s-his-name…Grant! That was it. He had no sense whatsoever of the importance of a situation.

“This is vital,” Deborah said. “Those bag boys’ll still be striking when we get back."

“Next!” the teller said.

Deborah stepped up to the window. “Hi,” she said, putting on her Dealing-with-the-public smile. “I’m having trouble with my ATM card…”

“What kind of trouble, ma’am?”

“It won’t give me money,” she explained, sliding the card under the glass.

“I’ll see what I can do, Mrs…” The teller picked up the card. “…Thompson.”

“Walters. And it’s Ms.”

The teller’s head snapped up. “Are you…”

Deborah flashed her full smile, saved only for the press. “Yes I am. You may have caught my interview last night with the mayor.”

Behind her, Grant rolled his eyes.

“No, are you related to Barbara Walters?”

“My mother. About my ATM-“

“Did you see on 20/20 last week? She was amazing!”

“Magical. Now about my ATM-“

“Can you tell her Angie says hi? I’m such a huge fan. I actually met her a couple years ago. She’ll remember me. I spilled a whole pot of coffee on her and-“

CRASH!

“AAAIIEEE!”

All heads snapped to the entrance, where a caped, masked woman stood holding a duct-taped security guard. A large white circle glared from the center of her brown shirt.

“You hear me?” Ore Avenger asked. “This is a robbery! You want to get out of here in the same shape you came in, you’ll do what I say!”

Fear infected the crowd, freeing them in place. Grant surreptitiously turned on his camera.

“Now I want everyone, EVERYONE, to lie down on their bellies with their hands behind their heads!” Oreo Avenger tossed aside the security guard. “NOW! Who’s the bank manager?”

“Me,” a meek voice said from the back. “I…I am.”

In two steps, Oreo Avenger stood in front of him. She seized his collar in her fist.

“What’s your-HEY! What did I say? Down on the ground with your hands over your heads!” Oreo Avenger cleared her throat. “As I was saying, what’s your name, bank manager?”

“R-Richard Hollis.”

“Pleased to meet you, Richard Hollis.”

Richard Hollis smiled weakly, then SMACK, his head flung one way and SMACK, his head flung the other way. Oreo Avenger smiled. SMACK! SMACK! SMACK!

“Stop it!” Angie, the teller. “Leave him alone!”

Oreo Avenger hoisted Richard Hollis over her head, holding him there. “I want every one of you useless strumpets to fill a money bag up with the big bills” CRASH, and Richard Hollis smashed through Angie’s window. “And I know what a paint can looks like!”

Oreo Avenger leapt through the broken glass to the counter behind, taking an Oreo out of her bag. “You people get moving or one of you is next! Nobody gets hurt if everyone behaves!” She glared around the bank. “NOW! Get moving or I swear to Oprah I am going to break someone’s neck!”

Sirens screamed in the distance. Oreo Avenger dashed to the entrance, looked out, swore, and dashed back to the broken window. “Stay on the ground!”

Grabbing the nearest bag of money, she tossed the Oreo at the back wall. ka-BOOOM! Shrapnel flew everywhere. Deborah screamed as a flaming chunk hit her hair. In all the smoke and confusion, no one saw Oreo Avenger escape.

Deborah turned to Grant, eyes wide. “Please tell me you got that.”

Grant patted his camera. “Every second.”

“Great. I can get a few interviews here and it’ll be ready in time for the six o’clock news! ‘Superhero Snaps!’ No, ‘Cookie-Crazed…’ no, I had it the first time. Ha! I knew those Justice freaks were up to no good!”

“Damn shame, I say.”

“What?” Deborah turned the full force of her Icy Stare on Grant.

“Hey, I can have an opinion!” Grant glared back but, like so many before him, wilted before that stare. “I just, I thought better of Oreo Avenger.”

“She’s a girl in a cape and mask flying around. Now she’s a girl in a cape and mask who robbed a bank. The girl has always-“

“But here’s the thing, Deborah. I’m not, well, I’m not entirely sure it’s the same Oreo Avenger we saw fighting at the Oscars.”

“What?!”

Grant shrank away. Deborah had gone from icy to furious.

“Listen,” he said. “This girl didn’t have the same flair as the one I saw fight at the Oscars. Remember? We were there. Why didn’t this girl fly? It’s what Oreo Avenger’s known for. This girl was way less polished and-“

“Oh, come on!”

“No, listen. First of all, why would Oreo Avenger all of a sudden-“

“People change all the time!” Deborah yelled. “Why would a teenager all of a sudden dress all in black and call himself a Lord of Darkness?”

“Oreo Avenger’s on a cruise right now!”

“Supposed to be! Like you said, she’s known for her flying!” Deborah leaned in close. “Now, did you or did you not see Oreo Avenger rob a bank?”

“I saw a girl in an Oreo Avenger outfit-“

“Who looks exactly like her!”

“Who beat a man, and that just doesn’t match the profile which-“

“Who threw an Oreo!”

“I…listen Deborah, I know what I saw.”

“Just roll the camera!”

“I just think it’s worth-“

“Roll the camera!”

“But we have an obligation-“

“Roll the camera!!”

“Fine!” Grant brought the camera to his should and focused on Deborah.

“Top story tonight!” Deborah fluffed her hair. “How do I look?”

“Like the seventh circle of Hell.”

“Great!” Deborah cleared her throat. “This is Deborah Walters, here in the First National Bank of Monay, which today was the scene of a brutal robbery…”

***

"This seriously sucks," Twisk said as the Red team huddled under their lean-to early that evening. A chorus of muttering superheroes agreed with her.

"Whose idea was it, anyways?"

For some inexplicable reason, everyone turned to look at Scarlett.

"Don't you dare look at me. I did not vote yes for this."

"Who did then?"

"I don't know. Must have been everyone on the yellow team."

"But that's still not a majority."

"Look, they only counted out two votes no, and I know I voted against. So don't blame me, you got yourselves into this." Scarlett stood up and sand rinsed over the tops of her bare feet as she did so. She started walking toward the beach.

"Where are you going?"

"For a swim."

"In that?" asked Raven. They were all still in their costumes, now dry but much dirtier.

"No."

There was an uncomfortable pause, and by now Scarlett had reached the surf. The sun hung low in the sky, but there was at least another hour before it would set. She took her jacket off.

"SKINNY-DIPPING IN THE LAGOON! WHOO--OWW!" shouted X-Raytor as he jumped up from the lean-to and knocked it over.

"Watch it, clumsy," complained Crystal.

"I'm not skinny dipping! I've got my bathing suit on underneath, X-y," Scarlett called out. "I thought you would have looked by now, to be honest." She flung off the last of her outer-Slutty-Lana-Lang garb, revealing a red bikini, then waded out to knee-deep water before taking a shallow dive out further. The other Red team members watched.

"You know, that looks like fun," said Oreo Avenger.

"Yeah."

"Come on, ya'll!" Scarlett shouted from a sandbar she had reached several yards from shore. "The island doesn't look half so bad when you're not stuck on it!"

That was all it took. The rest of the Red team made a mad dash for the ocean and the sandbar.


From a distance, Xiao noticed the Red team splashing around in the middle of the lagoon.

"What are they up to?" asked Drew.

"Maybe one of them found a shark and they're trying to get it to eat them."

"They're stupid enough." Pinzz frowned. Apparently the Suvivor situation dejected her so much that was all the hostility she could muster.

"Hey, it's one way to get off the island," Xiao pointed out.

"Any idea who we'll end up voting off?"

"Hopefully me," Rosma said, walking up. "So what are they doing?"

"Trying to pull a Jonah."

"Wait, I thought that was a whale."

"Maybe it's a whale shark."

"Ooh."

******

"Gah! Don't dunk m-mmph!" X-Raytor shouted for the twentieth time as Scarlett and Oreo teamed up to dunk him yet again.

It was a strange way of making peace, but at least it was fun.

"Jesus Christ!" X-Raytor yelled as he came up out of the water again. "What is wrong wit--bmmph!?" Oreo and Scarlett dunked him again, but then...

Bwaaaaaaashhhhhh!

"Yo, wuzzat?"

"Sounds kind of like a big wave."

Raven nodded. "A really big one."

"There's a word for it. A Japanese word," said Scarlett.

"I know. We learned it in ecology." Twisk frown, puzzled. Water was her thing. She should know this. "I just can't remem--"

"TSUNAMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!" shouted one of the Yellow team members.

Scarlett ignored them. "It started with an S, I think...no, wait, it started with a T, but you said it with an S. Kind of like Tsar, but that's Russian, not Japanese."

"They are on the same continent," Twisk pointed out.

"TSUNAMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!" Now the entire Yellow team was yelling it.

"Hmm.. True."

"Wait! It's--TSUNAMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!" Twisk shouted.

"Aaahhh!" shouted the Red team. They started to swim back to shore, but didn't have to swim quite far because the tide was receding back into the ocean, leaving the shore up to the sandbar dry.

"Run!" They made it to the collapsed lean-to, which the Yellow team had fled to as well.

"Somehow, I don't think the lean-to's going to do us much good," Netic said as they turned to look back at the approaching tsunami.

"WHOO-HOO!!! COWABUNGA, DUDE!"

"What the..?"

"Hey, there's a guy out there!" shouted Eric.

"SITTIN' ON TOP OF THE WORLD NOW!"

"What's he doing?"

"Heck if I know, but I think he's on a surf board."

"TUBULAR!"

"Sounds familiar, though," Scarlett said. "Like...Michelangelo."

"Michelange-who?"

"From the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Only he's definitely not a mutant. Or a Turtle. Probably not teenage, either," she said as she observed through a pair of binoculars the Professor had conveniently left behind. "I don't know about the Ninja part, though."

"SURFIN' USA!"

"If we don't get to higher ground, it's not going to matter what he is," Rosma pointed out.

"Let's go, people!" Pinzz shouted and she started running.

"COWABUNGA!"

"What about the guy?"

"He seems to be just fine where he is."

"Come on! We've got like two seconds before it hits!"

CRAAAAAAAAAASH! The tsunami hit the shore, but then, inexplicably, every single one of them was suddenly soaring upwards into the coconut trees and out of harm's way, cushioned by the strongest wind any of them had ever felt.

"Oreo! You're not supposed to be flying!" shouted Midnight.

"Neither are you!"

"What the...ahhhh!"

"What's going on?"

"WHOO-HOO! GOOD VIBRATIONS!" shouted the guy, now clearly visible in blue turquoise colored swim trunks on a yellow surfboard. "Don't worry, superhero dudes! You'll be safe in the trees until I finish riding this righteous wall of water!"

"Wait. Beach Boy's the one who's got us floating up here?"

"Looks like it."

***

The next morning...

"Thank God that's over," Rosma said after she and the other Justice Leaguers were on board the Justice Yacht once again. Captain Davy Seeeeeeabiscuit couldn't even look any of them in the eye anymore.

Xiao nodded. "Yeah. I'm just glad the Gilligan's Island people got homesick and we were able to talk the Evil TV Producer into doing Survivor: Really Old TV Sitcom Celebrities Face-Off and dropping that stupid SOS thing."

"It helped that all their stuff got washed away, too."

"I don't see why Beach Boy has to come with us," X-Raytor sulked.

"That's not his name," Scarlett said. "It's Jo Surf. And he did saved us from the tsunami, and that saved us from the TV show."

"We still shouldn't have let him join the Justice League."

"But he's got really cool powers," Xiao pointed out. "Haven't any of you seen X-Men?"

"X-Men 2 was way better."

"I still say we shouldn't let h--"

"After a couple of weeks with us he probably won't want to stay, so don't worry about it, X-y," Scarlett said.

"I'm not worried, I'm--"

"X-Raytor dude! Is that your Bob Marley collection I saw in hidden in the trash can?" the newest member of the Justice League asked as he walked up, still in swim trunks and toting his yellow surfboard in one arm.

"No."

"Too bad. Bob Marley is the man. I don't get into that rasta stuff or dreadlocks or anything, but his music is the best, mon. I hear there are some killer waves in Jamaica."

"Check with Iso," Scarlett suggested.

"Sure thing." He winked at her, and Scarlett's knees wobbled a little bit. "So where's the Sloop John B going?"

Everyone present gave him a strange look.

"The boat, dudes. Where are we going? Aruba? Jamaica? Or you know, off the Florida Keys there's this place called Kokomo. Good place to get away from it all."

"We're going back home," Rosma told him.

"Awesome. Well, I'd better work on my tan while I can, then. Does anyone have any extra tanning oil? I left mine in my guitar case back in the cabin."

"You play the guitar, too?" asked Scarlett.

"Just a few songs. I'll get it out after dinner later if you like."

"That'd be cool."

He grinned. "You're Scarlett, right?"

"Yeah."

"I ran into an old friend of mine a month back. Said he was working on something for a friend of his, and if I ever saw her, to give her a message from him."

"Who?"

Jo pulled a slightly damp envelope from a pocket in his swim trunks. It was labeled "From Hamlet."

"Oh, my..." Scarlett tore open the envelope and read the contents inside. She left without saying anything more to anybody and headed for her cabin to mull things over.