JUSTICE LEAGUE

9

Llama-Boy and the Green Penguin
 

Scarlett brushed her hair. Tonight, she had not one, but two dates. She wasn’t sure how exactly that had happened. A man named Eli Woods had asked her, but the hot Scottish guy had asked, too. How could she say no to either one?

The doorbell at Scarlett Fyre's secluded cottage rang. Hamlet glanced at the antique clock he'd put in the huge walk-in closet. Six o’clock on the dot. This Eli Woods was punctual, a quality Hamlet approved of.

Scarlett gave herself a once-over in the mirror before dashing to answer the door. She opened it, and there stood Eli, looking rather dashing in a swinging 50's kind of way. He had longish dark hair, and glasses unable to hide blue eyes that matched the color of his tie perfectly.

He pulled out a bouquet of orange roses, sunflowers, and white gardenias, and then handed it to Scarlett. "These are for you, Lor--I mean, Scarlett."

"They're my favorites! How did you know?" asked Scarlett, noticing a sly grin forming on Hamlet's little cat face.

"I called Hamlet. He told me what to get. That's one smart little cat you've got there," Eli told her. With that, the pair left for the nightclub, and Hamlet stayed home to watch the Travel Channel. Tonight there was a special on the best 10 places to visit in France.

When Scarlett and Eli reached the nightclub, she checked her watch. 6:25. The hot Scottish guy might be waiting for her. After dancing one quick number with Eli, she excused herself, and then quickly found the hot Scottish guy. She danced a slow dance with him, and then excused herself.

After doing this about 4 times, Scarlett realized she had to ditch one of the guys, at least temporarily. So she told the hot Scottish guy she wasn't feeling well, and he took her home to the Justice League. The minute he left, she morphed into a cheetah and ran back to the nightclub, demorphing in an alleyway outside.

She had long ago discovered the secret to morphing clothing--all she had to do was eat a spoonful of instant ginger maple oatmeal combined with a McDonald's Happy Meal, so when she met back up with Eli, he didn't know any different.

The next few hours were spent with the two of them dancing feverishly. They swing-danced, waltzed, booty-danced, tangoed...heck, they even did the macarena. Scarlett was thoroughly enjoying herself when the clock struck eleven.

"Oh, no!" cried Eli. He started to run off, but Scarlett followed close behind.

"What's wrong?"

"It's...I just lost track of the time. You have to go…you can't see...I don't want you to see me like I'm going to be in a few minutes…" Eli raved. He was pacing back and forth outside the nightclub like a madman.

"What on earth are you talking about, Eli?"

A pained look swept across his face. "Lor--Scarlett, I haven't been completely honest with you."

"What?"

"I'm Eli Woods most of the time, but every other night, at precisely 11:07 at night, I turn into a..." his voice trailed off. Scarlett looked at her watch. It was 11:04 pm.

"You turn into a what? A werewolf? A frog? What?"

He laughed weakly. "I wish it were something as cool as a werewolf. No, I turn into a little mouse. A little black mouse with tiny mouse glasses, to be exact."

"And how long does it last, Eli?" Scarlett asked, fighting back laughter. A mouse? A mouse with glasses?

"Until dawn." Eli fell to his knees.

"How did it happen...why are you like this?" Now it was 11:06 pm.

"It happened a long time ago. My parents had a falling out with this family. They had this kid, he was 8 or 9 years older than me, but I was just a baby. The kid had this friend...his had some kind of strange powers. Powers in his fingers."

"One day, he caught me coming home from school. Pointed his middle finger straight at me, then laughed and told me how I had been cursed, how the other kid wanted to see what the torture of it would do to me. I've been like this ever since then."

"What was his name?"

"I don't remember. All I know is his old nickname...The Magic Finger."

Scarlett gasped, recognizing the name. "Who was the kid? The one who wanted you to be tortured?"

"Neo...Neo something. Mattress...Something close to Neomattress."

Her watch clicked to 11:07 pm, and Eli suddenly turned into a little black mouse. With tiny mouse glasses.

"Eli, I'm going to take you home, okay? Hamlet will watch you. He likes you, and he won't eat you or anything, 'cause he's a pacifist by nature." So Scarlett dropped Eli off at her secluded cottage. Then she headed for the Justice League.

"Neomattress, huh? That's close enough to Neomatrix to me," she muttered to herself.

As she blew in through the Justice League headquarters, she snagged X-Raytor, Oreo, and Omega. They all three ran over to where Neomatrix’ ship was. Everyone else blinked, and then followed.

Neomatrix was inside. Lately, he’d been experimenting to create new members of his species.

"Okay, Omega, you first. Cancel whatever plans Neomatrix made to create more of his kind, then dislocate yourself from that stupid ship's brain hold. Then, using your power of telekinesis, pick the ship up and drop it a few times."

Omega did this. The onlooking superheroes cheered.

"Oreo? Your turn." Oreo took a sackful of her homemade Oreos inside the ship, and force-fed them to Neomatrix. After going though about 20 different creatures, he finally stopped as a fluffy white llama with green eyes.

The superheroes cheered again.

"Alright, X-Raytor? Time to make sure no more of these freaks get loose in the universe."

X-Raytor turned his x-ray powers the highest he'd ever turned them. The ship exploded into billions of tiny pieces.

The superheroes cheered with glee.

And finally, Scarlett sang a touching rendition of "Just Whistle While You Work" which burned the remaining tiny pieces into individual atoms.

They all cheered.

“That’s what you get for torturing people with diseases!” SuperDude shouted. “You’re lucky the antidote worked in time or we might have done worse!”

Scarlett spoke to Neomatrix: "I hope you like llamas."

***

X-Raytor had a strange, strong desire to turn the police force into extra-crispy chicken nuggets. They were no damn use, honestly. Sometimes, X-Raytor thought it would be good if the Justice League took a break, show the people of the city how pathetic and lethargic their public safety forces were. They were stopping freakin' suicides now! Sure, it was a life saved, but they were supposed to be doing bigger things, important things- not stopping some freakin’ nuts from hurling themselves off roofs. Let the cops deal with the mundane and menial, super heroes had bigger things to deal with.

With great power comes great responsibility, that's what Iso would say at a time like this. Iso had never been one for personal glory, though. Easy for him to say. He'd probably also never changed his family and classmates in gibbering mutants, never felt the knife edge of guilt for a crime without name, never felt that nagging, nagging @#%$ need to prove himself, stop hating himself, never...never...

Or maybe he was just mad. He always got mad when he took his medication. It allowed him to focus, yes, but he didn't want to freaking focus. He wanted distractions. He didn't want that incessant guilt, nagging nagging nagging always freaking nagging in the back of his head.

He kicked a piece of metal off of the roof of the Hall of Justice- debris from Neomatrix's ship, probably. Oh well. The roof was, on days like this, X-Raytor's sanctum. He never let people see him when he was under his medication- they'd force him to go to therapy or something. Screw it, he could do this himself, he could...

***

Bo Powers' eyebrows narrowed. "Dare I ask?"

The Ferret shrugged. "I was doing the perimeter, boss. Didn't know anything was wrong till the alarms went off."

Bo glared at him. "I'm sorry, I don't recall asking for your opinion." He glanced around the room. A few minutes ago, it had been the holding station for the creature called the Green Penguin. Now it was trashed, radioactive snowballs all over the place. And no Green Penguin.

"Who was on duty at the time?" Bo demanded.

The Ferret jerked a finger at the opposite wall, where a security guard was pinned down with a snowball. Bo strode over to the man.

"You, how did the Green Penguin escape?"

The guard grunted, and finally forced an answer. "When we...ghhhhh... when we fed him, he... he attacked. Must have... uhh... must have faked taking the sedatives." He breathed heavily, gasping for air. "This really hurts, boss."

Bo glared again. "You know what hurts even more? What I have done to guards who let giant, powerful mutants- no, giant, powerful, vengeful mutants escape." He turned to his bodyguards. "Thaw him out, and then take him down to Block E. Tell Randal I want all the toppings on this one."

The Ferret nodded, and Bo stormed out of the room. His two bodyguards- the Ferret and a nameless suit- fell in line behind him.

"This is an embarrassment." He snapped, to no one in particular. "The operation has been infiltrated, I lost She-Man, Loud Mouth and the Silencer, all in the course of a few days, the Evil Super Market operation is screwed, there's a maniacal, sadistic mutant on the loose... and I had to knock down my cabin. Iliked my cabin."

He growled and stormed into his office.

***

X-Raytor was sitting on the couch, still wallowing in self-pity and loathing, when he heard something explode. He was up, on his feet, Raven rushing from the computer room, Oreo Avenger and Rosma standing up from the table.

The wall exploded, chunks of wallboard and flying everywhere. X-Raytor caught a glimpse of something big and green- and then he was flying. He hit the wall and felt a familiar, violent pressure on his ribs. He looked down in shock to see the giant, glowing snowball that pinned him down.

With liquid grace, the Green Penguin slid into the room on his belly. Before anyone could react, Raven was pinned to the wall, crying out and desperately trying to get back to the computer room, screaming something about princesses and daughters and something about "not like Lourdes! NOT LIKE LOURDES!!!!!!!"

Oreo Avenger and Rosma were quicker, however. Rosma became invisible as Oreo Avenger launched herself into the air. Snowballs flew, smashing into furniture, breaking lights, sometimes even punching holes in the walls. Where the hell was everyone else?

There was a loud thump, and Rosma reappeared, a snowball pinning her upside down on the wall across the room.

Oreo Avenger landed a kick on the Green Penguin's head, but he slapped her away with a massive wing. She tried to dodge the snowball that came at her, but it caught her arm and she was trapped.

The Green Penguin turned to X-Raytor and grabbed at him, tearing the snowball and the superhero contained inside it, off of the wall. He tucked X-Raytor under his wing, and jumped up, through the roof, breaking through several levels before he reached the roof. X-Raytor caught quick glimpses of a confused Violet Princess, Eric posing in front of his mirror. Then they were out in the open air, up and away.

X-Raytor gasped for air in the Green penguin' monstrous grasp. So high up...

The Green Penguin looked down at him with baleful, yellow eyes.

"Jhhhhhhhhn..." It growled.

Something popped in X-Raytor's brain. Did it just say his name?

"Jhhhhhhhhn!"

"How do you know my name?" He whispered.

But then he was falling, a bullet heading towards the asphalt. The Green Penguin had flung him down, and now he was going to be street pizza.

***

Oreo Avenger struggled against the snowball that held her arm, but failed to pull it free.

"This is very inconvenient!" Rosma said. Raven just stared blankly into the computer room, looking completely lost.

It suddenly occurred to Oreo Avenger, and with her free hand, she grabbed her Oreo bag. This should help somehow, right? But what should she turn herself into? Ah! Of course!

She popped an Oreo into her mouth and began a strange, strange transformation.

Rosma blinked. Oreo Avenger was changing, and yet, she was turning into someone familiar, someone...

Rosma's eyes bugged out. Oreo Avenger had been replaced by Elijah Wood.

"Oh God... you are soooooooooo hooooooooooot..." Rosma drooled, and under her gaze, Oreo Avenger felt her body become hotter and hotter... until, finally, the snowball melted. Oreo Avenger leapt free, and popped another Oreo in her mouth, returning to normal. Rosma pouted.

"Ok, you two try not to get into any trouble or anything, I'll be back." She said, and flew up through the hole the Green Penguin had made.

***

X-Raytor was falling towards the street, no way to stop, no way to avoid it. Well, maybe...

He started to swim in the air, like sky divers did, towards the roof of the nearest building. Maybe it would break his-

WHUMP!

"Owies..." X-Raytor pulled himself up out of the crater his body had created by the force of impact. The Green Penguin landed, stood over him.

"Okay, that's it, Bird Boy, time to clip your wings!' X-Raytor said, knocking his x-ray vision up to zap mode and firing a pair of lasers at the giant penguin. The mutant pulled back, and the lasers flew up, past it- burning through Oreo Avenger's cape.

She glared, and X-Raytor waved. "Er... sorry!"

The Green Penguin glared up at Oreo Avenger, and threw a snowball in her direction. Oreo Avenger dodged, but in the time it took to do so, the Green Penguin was away, bounding from rooftop to rooftop, towards the Richard Simmons Memorial Bridge.

As he passed over X-Raytor's head, he grabbed onto the penguin's green, feathered tail, desperately trying to hold on. The Green Penguin looked back at him angrily, and swung its stubby tail, shaking X-Raytor loose. He flew, towards the giant metal construction that was the Richard Simmons Memorial Bridge.

He reached, grabbed at the steel chords that held the bridge up. Missed! Grabbed on- slipped!- held on. He clung to the wire for dear life, and started to inch his way up, onto the top part. The Green Penguin was ahead of him, standing at the very, very top of the bridge, the gigantic, steel centerpiece.

X-Raytor was seriously pissed now. Time to teach Big Bird a lesson.

He ran up the length of the supporter, and tackled the Green Penguin. It didn't budge.

"Okay, maybe that wasn't the best plan..."

The Green Penguin grabbed X-Raytor, scooped him up in a giant hug. He could feel his ribs creaking from the force.

"JHHHHHHHHN!" The Green Penguin roared in his face.

"Who are you?!" X-Raytor demanded. "Why won't you just tell me what the hell you want?!"

He caught a flash of Oreo Avenger zipping overhead, behind the Green Penguin, but she didn't reappear. X-Raytor could barely breath now, the pain was unbearable...

"Jhhhhhhhhhn..." The Green Penguin hissed, obviously enjoying it now. X-Raytor's eyes suddenly widened. There was something familiar, it was-

A rib cracked.

X-Raytor let out a yelp of pain, and, for some reason, his x-ray vision came on. He saw through the Green Goblin, through muscle and bone and organ. Saw behind him. A weird vision of Oreo Avenger pulling something out of her bag...

The Green Penguin jerked in pain as Oreos dug into his back. X-Raytor fell onto his back.

"Oh Christ..."

The Green Penguin panted heavily, something thick and green running down its body. X-Raytor recalled something he'd heard Midnight Chatter say once, something about chocolate being harmful to penguins...

Oreo Avenger was reloading, getting more Oreos.

"Stop!" X-Raytor yelled. "Stop shooting!"

But he was too late. Oreos nailed the Green Penguin in the chest, in the mid-section. It growled in agony and stumbled back. Then it turned its evil, yellow eyes on X-Raytor. It panted, growled, hissed, and finally let out one, final word.

"JOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHNNNNNNN!!!!"

"HOW DO YOU KNOW ME?!" X-Raytor

The Green Penguin slid on its stomach, straight at him. X-Raytor summoned up the last of his strength and leapt, over the Green Penguin, letting it slide past him.

The wounded mutant plummeted off of the bridge, and fell a very, very long way to the water below. X-Raytor saw the splash, watched the ripples, and then collapsed.

He was vaguely aware of Oreo Avenger landing next to him. His mind was buzzing with a sudden realization.

Oreo Avenger glanced over the edge. "I guess that's the end of him. I wish we'd been able to find out what it was, though..."

"I know what it is." X-Raytor said, quietly, lying on his back.

Oreo Avenger gave him a look. "What?"

"I know wha- I know who it is."

Oreo Avenger blinked, and that seemed to annoy X-Raytor.

"Don't you understand?!" He raged. "That was my uncle! My uncle Bubba! He's a mutant now, a freaking giant penguin, and I turned him into it! I turned him into a freak and now he's coming to kill me..." He trailed off.

Oreo Avenger stood for a moment, then lifted X-Raytor's mask a little and forced an Oreo down his throat. He immediately turned into a suitcase, docile, easy to carry. She picked him/it up, and flew back to the Hall of Justice.

In the water below, far down, down below the depths, bubbles rose ominously to the surface...

***

It had been morning when Isomorphix awoke, thinking that he had sensed footsteps coming towards him. He had shaken off his slight grogginess after watching the offending squirrel scamper off.

Now, he was walking through the woods with the birds chirping, heading back to JL HQ to try fresh again. As he brushed aside a pine branch, Isomorphix looked down at the disaster below him.

One of the walls had been torn into in the JL Main Hall along with several other holes with shattered windows.

As Isomorphix walked down to the Main Hall he noticed a large pile of dust indicating some sort of burned debris. Coincidentally, the large spaceship that had once been parked outside JL HQ no longer seemed to be present.

Isomorphix walked through the large hole in the side, deciding not to bother with the door. Everything was a mess. And there seemed to be puddles of water around as if someone had spilled large quantities of it. Or as if something had melted.

Hmmm. Intriguing. It would take something large to tear down the walls and cause such havoc. And the water... Isomorphix thought.

Just then, Isomorphix heard a sound behind him. Quickly, he unsheathed his blade and brought it forth, swinging around to see who his assailant was. A white llama trotted by, knocking over a pan and sending it scattering across the floor.

What... dear Lord, I'm away for a night and what happens to the place? A llama??

"Oh, hey Iso." called Oreo Avenger as she stepped into the Hall through the door. She was carrying a briefcase.

"What. Happened." Isomorphix stated.

"Oh... stuff. We'll talk about it when the rest of us get together for this morning's meeting."

"I see."

Kicking the pan, Isomorphix walked back out through the hole and headed for the living quarters, resheathing his blade as he walked.

Might as well get some more connections until the meeting, he thought, slipping through the door into the Justice League's version of dormitories.

***

"...So anyway, it turned out that he was my uncle Bubba, who I mutated when I first got my powers." X-Raytor said, staring up at the ceiling.

The therapist, Dr. Lansky, scribbled away on his notebook.

"And how did this make you feel?"

X-Raytor snapped back to attention. "Huh? Oh, uh, bad. And guilty. Yeah."

Dr. Lansky sighed. "We're not going to get anywhere if you keep undressing my receptionist with your eyes, so to speak."

X-Raytor glared at Dr. Lansky, from under his mask. "I wasn't."

"I'm sure."

"Really!"

"It says here that you have an acute case of Attention Deficiency Disorder." Dr. Lansky said, flipping through the papers in his hands.

"Huh? Oh, um, yeah! Acute!" X-Raytor didn't want to be here. He had been eating ice cream and had been ready to go on a reconnaissance mission, when Oreo Avenger, Iso and Rosma had confronted him and dragged him off to therapy, telling him it was finally time to work out his problems.

"I see..." Dr. Lansky said, raising an eyebrow. "You've been taking your medication, right?"

"Yeah." X-Raytor snapped. He hated his medication.

"And it hasn't been helping?"

X-Raytor grated. "Oh, it's been working. It keeps me focused, yes, but it makes everything so freaking hard to do! I mean, and there are things I want to block out sometimes, and-"

"Guilt." Dr. Lansky said. X-Raytor gave him a sharp look, although the doctor couldn't see it. Lansky was right, of course, and that's what hurt.

"Well, there's a reason it hasn't been helping in the long run. You see, it seems that when you accidentally introduced the radiation into your eyes, it must have filtered through your optical nerves and into your brain, intoxicating it. It seems to have hampered your capability to get over your problems."

X-Raytor was starting to zone out again. Lansky sighed.

"Anyway, there's only one way to cure you: force you to focus on something you don't want to focus on."

X-Raytor scoffed. "Listen, Doc, I'm very good at finding diversions, so I don't think this is going to help."

"Normally it wouldn't, but I've taken extra precautions." He handed X-Raytor a pill. "Take you medication."

X-Raytor blinked and then swallowed the pill. "Okay, now what?"

Suddenly, the couch began to transform, into a cold, metal chair. Shackles came down on his arms and les. Tiny metal prongs held his eyes open. A projection screen lowered in front of him.

Dr. Lansky nodded. "This may hurt, a little, but trust me, it's worth it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get far away from that screen."

He left. For a moment, X-Raytor sat, confused.

And then the film started to roll.

That music was familiar... porno music! Yes! Free porn! And he wasn't allowed to look away!

It was then that the title appeared:

"Richard Simmons: X-Posed!!!!"

"OH JESUS CHRIST, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"
X-Raytor screamed. he tried to shut his eyes, tried to focus on something else, but he couldn't, couldn't, couldn't...

***

Three hours later, X-Raytor entered the Hall of Justice.

"Alleluia!" He cried. "I have been rehabilitated!"

"Yay!" Oreo Avenger said. "So, you're not a pervert anymore?"

"I no longer have ADD!"

"So...you're not a pervert?"

X-Raytor wasn't listening. "Violet! I think this calls for a hug!"

Violet rolled her eyes.

"I guess that answers that..." Rosma muttered.

"Anyway," Pinzz said. "We were just briefing everyone. In review: X-Raytor was attacked by the Green Penguin- really his mutated uncle Bubba- but the Penguin was killed by Oreo Avenger. We needed to check NeoFreak's power, so Scarlett, in association with OMEGA, Oreo Avenger and X-Raytor, blew up his ship and turned him into a llama." Everyone nodded happily, except Neomatrix, who glared at them all with llama eyes.

"Oh, and Violet has an announcement..." Pinzz said as X-Raytor sat down. Everyone started murmuring and Violet stood up.