JUSTICE LEAGUE

4

The Mall Riot
 

BRRRREEEEET! BRRRREEEET!

"Gah!" X-Raytor said, as he fell off the couch with amazing poise and grace, landing with amazing skill flat on his face.

"I've got it, I've got it." Raven said, stepping over him. She picked up the receiver. "Hello? Justice League, how can we help/save/avenge/imprison/kill you?"

There was a pause, and then a voice, a man said, "Uh...dudes, there's like this serious riot going on down at the mall. Like, people are throwin’ stuff and swingin’ across the ceiling in Batman costumes and s***- it's nuts, man, it's nuts!"

"Okay, okay. Please, just calm down and tell me what store you're at."

"Oh, uh, Popular Girl. Not that I was shoppin’ there, no man, I do Fashionable Male and that sorta s***, knamean?"

"Ahem, yes, of course."

"Okay, good. Now hurry up down here and hurry before they trash the pet store! Snoogans!"

And then they hung up. Raven stared, and then turned around. X-Raytor was still facedown on the floor.

"I didn't know that there was a secret set of girl's showers downstairs! You told me that there were snakes down there that ate people!" X-Raytor said, the last part addressed at Raven.

"And now you know why." She grumbled. "Listen, ignore your unimpressive libido for a second and help me out here. We've got a riot situation at the mall, the cops, as usual, are no-shows, and- yeah!" Raven looked around. "Okay, Oreo Avenger and Xiao are in the kitchen..."

"Twisk is in the shower." X-Raytor supplied. Then, obviously in conjunction to what he saw, he exclaimed, "No! Don't turn into water! At least wait until your clothes are all the way off! Hey c-" He paused. "Well, that's weird..."

"What?" Raven asked. She realized that she was scratching the marks on her shoulders, the sunburn or whatever, and stopped.

"She went into the plumbing, or something. I wonder why sh-"

Just then, a heavy jet of water shot from the kitchen sink, flew into the common room and nailed X-Raytor in the side of the head.

Twisk materialized, fully costumed. "I just love a good refreshing shower." She said. "Don't you, X-Raytor?"

X-Raytor grumbled and hopped around on one foot, head tilted, trying to get water out of his ear.

"Forge him." Raven said. "We've got a riot down at the mall. This should be some good practice for the more routine jobs for you." She turned towards the kitchen. "Oreo? Xiao? Coming?"

"Can't we finish playing cards?" Xiao asked.

"Fred's cheating!" Oreo Avenger exclaimed.

"He's a demon, he's allowed to!"

X-Raytor walked into the kitchen and flopped down on the table. "Don't fight! Look at my chiseled bod!"

Silence.

Xiao looked at Oreo Avenger. "Do we have to take him?"

Oreo Avenger sighed. "He's got the x-ray vision, so..."

A few minutes later, they were on their way, each in their own mode of transportation. Oreo Avenger flew. Twisk traveled through the sewers. Fred used his amazing demon powers to lift himself and Xiao up, flying about a hundred feet away from Oreo Avenger, lest some Yeerk bird watcher notice them and think it was odd that they were flying together. Raven snuck onto a bus by walking through the wall, into the bathroom, and then locking the door. X-Raytor went with her, but he had to ride on the roof. It wasn't fun.

Finally, they arrived at the mall, X-Raytor picking bugs from his costume, Twisk shaking off any pollutants that she had picked up in the sewers, and Raven, Oreo Avenger and Xiao looking pretty much fine.

"Curse the Derris Bus Company!" X-Raytor said. "They go faster than Walt Flanagan's dog!"

The five superheroes entered the mall. Past the Comic Toast. Past Fashionable Male. Past Rug Munchers. Past Gerbils Gerbils Gerbils!. Past the Burning Flesh tanning salon. Past the Moobie Burger. Past Buy-Me-Toys. Past a store labeled "Mallrats References R Us."

Finally they reached the riot in front of Popular Girl. The riot was made mostly of young men, except for one woman. X-Raytor waved at her.

"Hi, Finger Cuffs!"

"Okay, what's going on here?" Oreo Avenger demanded.

A portly, greasy teen turned and looked at Oreo Avenger, and got a look that made it obvious that he had nocturnal fantasies about Wonder Woman and Spider Girl, and now that he had met a real life super heroine, he was envisioning them all over again.

"Um, like, there were these hot chicks up there. And they promised to strip if we all cleared out of the store and stood out front, but then they locked the doors and the guy who was with them flipped us off! And we didn't get to see any naked chicks!"

"So that's why Finger Cuffs is rioting..." X-Raytor said.

His fifteen thousandth Kevin Smith reference was lost amid the angry shouting.

"Oh, come on, let's do this the old fashioned way!" Xiao said. She walked towards the crowd, and Fred grabbed a few of the uppity teens and chucked them out of the way. The crowd fell silent and parted, giving the Justice Leaguers a clear pathway to the store.

"She's sexy when she uses her evil demon shadow on slacker teens!" X-Raytor whispered to Twisk. Twisk rolled her eyes.

X-Raytor leered beneath his mask. "You're even sexier when you think I'm a perverted loser!"

Twisk whacked him upside the head.

"Hey!" Oreo Avenger said. "That was the first time you whacked X-Raytor! There's a celebration in order!"

"Not yet," Raven said. "We've got more problems than that right now..."

***

The Magic Finger.

"The Magic Finger? What kind of loser supervillain is that?" Twisk asked.

"Oh. A bad one. He can shoot. Fingers." Xiao said.

"Ah." she said in response.

The crow cheered. X-Raytor attempted to kick down the doors. They didn’t budge. The crowd died down.

"Allow me." In a second, Twisk was just a puddle of water. She moved under the door, took shape, unlocked the door, and moved the chair.

"Good job, rookie." Xiao said.

The superheroes turned to face a huge army of…models? Twisk hooked up her shooters, tubes that went from her backpack of water to her wrists. Their purpose was to, well, shoot water.

"I will take the pretty one." Twisk whispered to Raven. She squirted water straight up into the air, formed it into a wall, and shot it straight at the only man in the crowd. Obviously the Magic Finger. He fell to the ground, drenched.

***

Interesting. Most interesting indeed, Isomorphix thought as he looked at the printout of relevant links on the computer screen after cross-referencing the JL Database.

Some of the other Justice League members had responded to a riot in the mall... most likely Magic Finger's doing.

And now...and now this.

Isomorphix made a printout of the results and tore the paper from the printer. He went over to the corner and picked up his Katana after throwing on his trench coat. Sliding the weapon into his belt, he looked over at the bed. Violet had gone to sleep with the magazine still draped across her.

Isomorphix smirked a little at that, and shut the door quietly behind him. After all, if she had wanted to come along, she shouldn't have drifted off.

Eventually, Isomorphix made it to what the underworld knew as the "South Side."

His boots splashed in the puddles of stagnant water behind the familiar alley as he approached the road. His destination lay before him.

It was a small shop, with a simple light-up sign reading "Phil's Antiques and More!" It was the "more" aspect of Phil's shop that made it what it was. Walking up to the shop, it appeared to be closed for the night. The sign that hung in the door attested to that.

Closed... of course, Isomorphix thought while something that could be related to a smirk graced his face.

Isomorphix went to the side of the building and grabbed hold of the emergency ladder that lined the brick wall. Slowly, he made his way to the top amongst the constant CLANK sounds his boots made against the rungs.

After reaching the top, Isomorphix walked across to the door to the stairwell. The doorknob turned easily.

Unlocked, as always.

Just as he was about to push it open, Isomorphix heard a cocking sound.

Quickly, as if second nature, Isomorphix twirled around and drew his katana from its sheath, bringing it in an arc with a flurry of speed.

The severed muzzle of the gun dropped to the ground with a thud.

The man holding what was left of his pistol stared in shock, then recognition.

"Oh... it's you," the man replied simply.

***

"Oh Brad...that was so sweet of you!" Violet mumbled as she rolled over on the bed. "Oh!" She yelled as she landed on the wood floor. Rubbing her head, she searched around the room. "Iso?" She called; the boy was nowhere in sight.

"That bum!" Violet exclaimed and pushed herself to her feet. She walked over to the computer and sat down, looking at what was left on the screen. "Or maybe he's not so much of a bad guy..." She whispered and quickly printed out the address. The screen saver hadn't been on when Violet woke up- so that meant that Iso had left within the last 15 minutes- so if she hurried, she could probably catch up to him.

Slipping out the side door of the headquarters, Violet was consumed by the heavy air of the night. Ten minutes later, she was back at the Hall, disappointed at having lost his trail.

***

X-Raytor grinned under his mask. "Finally! A newbie who knows what they're doing from the get-go!"

Twisk did a little curtsy as the mob of disaffected comic readers applauded.

"I'll take these back to the Hall for questioning," Twisk said. "It should be easy enough to drag them through the sewers."

The Super Model Clones' faces were struck with abject terror.

"I'm sure Iso will enjoy this," Oreo Avenger said. "He thinks there's something big going on in the crime underworld. At least, that's what Violet told me."

They stepped outside the mall, Twisk towing the captured villains. For a moment there was silence, and then, X-Raytor sighed.

"Ok, I guess I have to do this if no one else will." He cleared his throat and then grabbed Oreo Avenger's arm. "So, like, what's the dirt? Are Violet and Iso, like, an item?"

Oreo Avenger stared and then said, "Um... totally?"

"Oh my gawd! I so knew it! She was always, like, giving him these looks in gym class, and he always does that little check-out-while-they're-not-looking thing that guy's do..." X-Raytor paused, considered what he was saying, and shut up.

"Well, let's just get back to the Hall." Xiao said.

Raven coughed. "Um, I need to do something first, but I'll see you guys there."

Oreo Avenger gave her a brief look, and then took flight, back towards the hall.

Once the others were gone, Raven snuck around the back of the mall, into the shadowy place behind the JC Penny's.

A few minutes later he, or she, since it was impossible to tell the gender, arrived. He/she was dressed completely in black, all details obscured. The person’s voice was even altered, coming out in a mechanical rasp.

"Ah, my favorite customer." He/she said.

Raven bit her lip and said nothing.

"So? Shall we get down to business?" The dark person pulled something from a coat. A CD. The label read "PM2: #0570."

PM2. Princess Maker 2. Raven's number one addiction.

"Listen," She said. "This has been fun and all, but I think I'm going to pull out. Go to rehab and all, you know?"

The dark person clicked his or her tongue in disappointment. "I'd think you'd be more loyal." He/she paused. "Especially after... Fiona."

Raven stiffened.

"What was your score with her again? 136? Not a very good princess, was she?"

Raven was holding her head, eyes squeezed shut. "Shut up shut up shut up..."

"You can do much better, you know that."

"No, no, I want to stop, I don't want to..."

"But you do, Raven, you do. The PM2 monkey on your back is shrieking, messing up your concentration. You need it to make it all clear, don't you? Don't you?"

Raven sighed. "Yes, yes. Here, just take your money. And remember you don't say anything about this to anyone. Got me? Anyone."

Behind the dark disguise, the PM2 dealer must have smirked. "Understood. Have a nice game."

Raven took the CD and hurried back to the Hall.

***

She played PM2 late into the night. She even got a 172 score, very good! And she knew she was an addict and she knew that for all of her powers, she was a slave to PM2 and the dealer. And she didn't care.

After all, it was fun! And no one would ever suspect her addiction- Oreo Avenger played PM2 after all. No reason for anyone to suspect.

But Raven knew, and she just didn't care.

"Heh." She laughed. It was the laugh of addicts. "Heh heh heh heh!"

***

The phone rang.

"Justice league. What can we do for you?" Pinzz asked.

The voice came clear and sharp. "We have word that you are holding a Charlotte Fyre against the word of her mother. We ask you immediately to return her home."

"Whatever you say." Pinzz hung up.

"Guys, who is Charlotte Fyre?" she looked at Scarlett.

Scarlett shrugged. "Maybe.... Twisk?”

"Well, cops want her back. Or something. I guess she is a runaway. She better not get hurt, or we’re in it deep."

"Where is Twisk, anyway?"

"She said something about the mall. And the Magic Finger."

Suddenly the front door opened, and Twisk came in with the other absent superheroes, except for Isomorphix.

"We're back! My first job was successful," Twisk announced.

"Hey, what'd you say your real name was again?" Pinzz asked.

"Uh, Charlotte. Charlotte Fyre."

Pinzz and Scarlett exchanged glances.

"Twisk, the police just called. They think we're holding you here against your will, and that your mom wants you back home," Pinzz told her.

"Any chance you might have runaway instead of being kicked out?" asked Scarlett.

Twisk stared at the two superheroines. "I'm not going back! I'm NEVER going back, do you hear me?!"

Oreo tried to calm her down. "Look, we don't have much of a choice--you're still legally a minor, and you can't fight crime with the Justice League without your parents' permission."

Oreo pulled a sheet of paper from a drawer in a nearby desk, and handed it to Twisk. "Here. Get your mom to sign this permission form when you go back, and you can join us in our crime fighting after school and on the weekends."

Twisk rolled her eyes. "Don't you get it? I can't do anything. Mom won't let me! My life at home sucks!"

Omega looked at her. "And you think life with the Justice League doesn't? Good grief, we sleep in tiny rooms with no privacy, the girls have to endure X-Raytor’s constant 'curiosity', and we risk our lives every day to fight crime for a city full of people that forget us two minutes after we save their lives from certain disaster."

"Well. That's a nice way of saying it, Omega," said Studmuffin.

"Come on, Twisk," Pinzz said. "We've got to take you home."

So Pinzz, Scarlett, and Omega left, escorting Twisk home, and Oreo went to check her email.

"Oh, no! Guys, come here, quick!" she said, after opening her first message.

"What is it?"

"Bad news. Our old nemesis, Paper Kut, just sent us an email."