A/N: Alex’s powers and new knowledge will make more sense if you go read the first story in this series: “The League of Extraordinary Women”. The disclaimers, spoilers, and other information are all in previous chapters.
Alex stared down in shock. Wasn’t she supposed to stop the bad guys and protect the good guys? And she’d seen him knocking Hanna and Riley all over the place, and Jack was down… But she’d just about electrocuted some blind girl’s boyfriend.
She felt totally creepy. Mega-creepy.
The monster lying in the alley moaned, “Man, that really hurt!”
Jack groaned as he climbed to his feet. He said, “Then maybe you could stay down. You may be able to rip guys’ heads off, but I think the two young women here are going to kick your ass – again – if you give them any more trouble.”
Alex made sure she was using her Terawatt voice when she asked, “Colonel O’Neill, is everyone on your team all right?”
Jack brushed himself off. “Well, my dry cleaner may be pretty ticked off at me…”
The blind girl twisted her head around and finally looked straight up. “Is someone really up there?”
Alex kind of gawked a little, because for a blind girl, whoever she was, she sure used a lot of hair product. Even Libby didn’t do her hair up like that, and Libby could spend a lot of time and money on her hair. And how would you be able to do your hair like that if you couldn’t look in a mirror and check your work?
Jack said, “Yep.” He even popped his ‘p’ so Alex figured he really was okay. “That’s Terawatt. The West coast superheroine. She flew in to save the day.”
“And she’s the one who hurt Melvin?”
Jack smirked, “I think everyone hurt Melvin, except me. And those cops. But mostly Action Girl.”
The monster complained, “She looks small, but she’s more powerful than a… a locomotive or something!”
Hanna’s grin was somewhere between excited and feral. It was kind of intimidating. But Hanna had a bloody nose, and blood at the corner of her mouth, and a big scrape on one cheek, and she looked like she got punched in the eye too. And there was no telling how many bruises Hanna had that were hidden under her hair or her clothes. Okay, Hanna probably didn’t care how many bruises she had picked up. Even if Janet would probably have a cow when she saw Hanna tonight.
Hanna smiled, “I would like to spar some more with him. He is very strong, and has good reaction times. But he needs martial arts training. He is lacking in skill.”
Jack sternly said, “We’re not training anyone in martial arts until we’ve dealt with the legal issues. Like him killing over half a dozen people. Who my IT guys tell me mostly have arrest records longer than my arm. Longer than his arm.” He stopped and put a finger to his earjack. “Okay, Acid Burn says the old lady in the laundry was using an alias… and her fingerprints tell us her real name… flags as someone wanted in Florida… on thirty-two counts of kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, white slavery, violation of civil rights, and accessory to murder. But vigilante murder is still murder. So we need to do what we can to clear your name, and see what we can do about the charges a D.A. is probably gonna level against you – even if there’s no way in hell I’m letting any locals do that – and then see what we can do about fun stuff like probation or alternatives to jail time.”
The blind girl insisted, “He saved me! These guys charged into the restaurant with guns and stuff, and they robbed it, and they shot my seeing eye dog and tried to rape me, and he… rescued me.”
Grover announced from the head of the alley, where Alex didn’t even know he’d gone, “We’ve got trouble. One really fat mayor, one really ugly police chief, and four policemen with riot gear. I’m seeing two shotguns and two semi-automatics.”
Jack tersely said, “Go to comms.”
Alex touched her earpiece and asked, “What’s going on?”
Jack’s voice came over her earjack. “Evil mayor, corrupt cops. Expect badness. Mad Dog, move behind their rear force and find a blunt instrument. Mr. T, check the other end of the alley. If it’s clear, come up and play pompous superhero. If there’s a plug force, stun ‘em, then assist up here. Face, cuff the cops who are down and then play wholesome Army officer. Amy, move up to the mouth of the alley and play injured victim until they pull something.”
“Amy to Hannibal. Do I have permission to remove rear positions?”
“Yeah, but nothing lethal.”
Alex didn’t ask why she had to be Mr. T instead of Amy, because Jack would probably like it if she didn’t want to be Mr. T. She really didn’t think she was the heavyweight fighter on the team. Even if she had dropped Monster Guy in one shot. And Terawatt did start with a ‘T’. And Hanna probably wanted to be Mr. T, so Jack would naturally know that, and make her Amy, and kid her about it.
At least he hadn’t given Grover the codename ‘Amy’. Yet. She knew better than to say that on the comms, because Jack would do it. It was probably only a matter of time before they had an op where she got the codename ‘Twilight Sparkle’ and Hanna got ‘Rainbow Dash’. Okay, ‘Face’ was perfect for Riley Finn. Hey, Riley could be Applejack! Jack would probably want to be Applejack, but he was more of a Pinkie Pie.
She had already spun around and flown to the far end of the alley. Uh-oh. “Mr. T to Hannibal. Two squad cars, police with riot shotguns in position behind car doors, blocking the alley. They’re in riot gear so they could charge at us.”
“Hannibal here. Say ‘I pity the fool!’ and then blast ‘em.”
There was no way she was saying ‘I pity the fool!’ no matter how much Jack wanted.
She flew down until she was about forty feet in front of the police cars and about twenty feet above the ground. She ran a big spark between her hands and said in her Terawatt voice, “Attention, officers! I am Terawatt. You have been misled. The monster has been dealt with. Your mayor and police chief are about to be arrested by the Department of Homeland Security. You should get back in your cars and return to your stationhouse. Now.”
One of them pointed his gun at her, while the other three kept aiming at the alley. Why could Jack get people to do what he wanted, and she couldn’t?
Another policeman stepped in front of the police cars. He was dressed like a regular police officer, and had his gun holstered. He said, “Listen to her!”
“O’Clancy, get the hell out of here!”
“We’ve got an assignment straight from the top!”
The O’Clancy guy walked right at the guns and said, “This is crazy. That monster’s the only law and order we’ve got in this town right now! What we need to do is listen to the superheroine, and go arrest the mayor and the police chief, and then call in the Justice Department!”
She said, “That has already been done.” Okay, she was guessing, because that was totally the kind of thing Jack would do. “What would benefit the upcoming Justice Department investigation the most would be you officers moving to arrest your fellow officers who you have grounds to believe are on the take.”
One of the policemen said, “Look, in a perfect world, we’d get to believe you. But we’ve got orders. And there’s not much we can do about ‘em.”
Okay, she could take a hint. She landed so she had lots of telekinesis. The guys all followed her down with their eyes. She was pretty sure half of them were locked on her legs, and the other half were locked on her chest. Yuck.
She grabbed their guns and yanked them up into the air, then tossed all of them onto the closest roof. Then she pulled all their handguns out of their holsters and tossed them after the shotguns. She glared at them and said, “Now you have an excuse to return to your stationhouse. Go. Now.”
They actually left! Okay, she was going to have to give them back their guns, sooner or later. The other guy, Officer O’Clancy, said, “Thank you, ma’am. And thanks for not hurting any of them. They’re good officers.”
She said, “You may want to avoid this alley for another couple minutes.” And she leapt into the air so she was above the alley and moving toward the mayor’s people. She touched her earjack and spoke into her comm, “Mr. T to Hannibal. Rear force persuaded to leave. Officer O’Clancy helped me out, so assume he’s not a hostile.”
“Chopper to Hannibal. We’re now at two thousand feet, and there’s no threat in the area except the mayor’s force. Rooftops are clear. Streets are clear.”
Alex added, “Ditto on that assessment.” She dropped down toward Jack and the mayor, who really needed to hear about SlimFast. Alex could see the four policemen in riot gear, with Hanna standing behind them acting like she was some helpless, beaten-up teenager.
Just as she got there, Jack was saying, “…we already kicked one big fat blob’s ass this summer, and I have no trouble making you number two! And I have the authority of the Department of Homeland Security, so you’d better put your guns down before someone gets hurt!”
She dropped to about twenty feet above Jack and gave it her best Terawatt voice. “Mayor, I am Terawatt. I am here to help. You could help the most by following a direct order from the DHS.”
The mayor, who really was kind of a blobby guy, insisted, “It’s a monster! You have to shoot it before it does something else horrible!” And he yanked a pistol out of his waistband and tried to shoot Monster Guy, even if there were two soldiers and a blind girl in the way.
Alex used her telekinesis and shoved the gun down, and shoved the bullets down, so everything fired right into the street in front of Mayor Blobbo. Then she yanked the gun out of his hand and moved it over to where Riley could wrap a bandanna around it and put it somewhere safe.
Jack calmly said, “That was mighty obliging of you, committing attempted murder and all, right in front of two DHS witnesses and a superheroine. Consider yourself under arrest. I’d ask you to assume the position, but I don’t think I can find anyone who’d be willing to frisk you.”
The police chief pulled out his sidearm and yelled at his men, “Open fire!”
Alex yanked the gun out of his hand before he could even get it aimed.
Grover smacked one policeman across the back of the head with a brick.
And the poor, beaten-up, teary-eyed teenaged girl standing behind the officers abruptly changed into Action Girl and attacked. She kicked one officer in the back of the knee. She punched the second in the kidney. She punched the third in the back of the neck. She did a spinkick and caught the second one in the head as he started to react to her punch. And she chopped the first one on both sides of the neck as he fell to his knees. She was done before any of them had a chance to do anything. All three of them just keeled over.
“Hannibal to team. Well done. Let’s cuff these losers up and get them into a paddy wagon ASAP.”
Officer O’Clancy came up the alley and called in for two paddy wagons, because they had these six guys, plus the four guys already in the alley. And Monster Guy needed to go to the police station too and do all the ‘filing a report’ stuff and maybe even the ‘getting arrested’ stuff, because he had killed like six or eight people according to Officer O’Clancy. And someone needed to drive Sarah the blind girl home.
“Mr. T to Hannibal. What do you need me to do next?”
“Amy to Hannibal. Me as well. And why can I not be Mr. T?”
“Hannibal to Amy. You are now Mad Dog. The former Mad Dog is now codenamed Amy.”
“Aww, c’mon! Not AMY!”
“Mad Dog to Hannibal. I like that. I will be quite happy with Mad Dog.”
“Mr. T to Hannibal. You’re so mean!”
“I PITY THE FOOL!”
“That is like the worst B.A. Baracus impression ever, and I’m telling my mom you changed my codename to Amy.”
Jack grinned, “There is no way Deborah and Cindy won’t agree that Hanna should be Mad Dog.”
So it turned out that all Jack really needed from Alex and Hanna and Grover at that point was keeping an eye on ‘Mayor McCheese’ – okay, so she laughed out loud when she heard Jack say it, even if she really shouldn’t have, but it was just so totally on target – and the bad cops until they were all searched and processed and locked up. Then the police called in all the shifts to go arrest everyone they knew was a crook or a crooked policeman or a crooked city official, and lock them up too.
Alex didn’t even have her gymbag, since she’d left it in the SR-71, which was waiting for her not too far away, over at Fort Dix, so she couldn’t even fill in forms and write her after-action report. So Jack sent her off. Jack had the chopper pilot fly Grover and Hanna home, so Alex hardly got a chance to hug both of them before they were going too.
When she got to Fort Dix and got vectored to the Blackbird, it was undergoing refueling and maintenance checks, so she had time to sit in the second seat and eat her sandwiches and do her ‘auxiliary personnel’ documents, even if she had to change the GPS coordinates on both forms before she could email them to Jack, because the forms thought she wanted to start with the Fort Dix GPS coordinates instead of the downtown Tromaville coordinates. Then she got half her report written before the pilot climbed in and said they were ready to go.
Once again, it only took about an hour to cross the entire country in the SR-71. And the view was so spectacular she could have sat there and watched it all day. And she let the pilot go down to Mach 0.7 at thirty thousand feet before she morphed out through the portal with her gymbag, which she had never even used, except for her tablet and her lunch.
Alex flew through the runoff system, up the buried pipe, and into her garage. “Mom? Dad? I’m back!”
Her mom came rushing into the garage and hugged her. “Alex, how can you be back so fast? I thought you had to go to the East Coast!”
“Umm, yeah, it was this place in New Jersey. But the fight was already going when I got there, and then we just had to arrest the mayor and some evil cops and get everyone hauled off to jail. I was back at the Blackbird before they even had all the maintenance checks done. Oh, and I ate all your sandwiches. They were yummy.”
Her mom gave her a little smile and asked, “Does that mean you’d like lunch now? It is only one in the afternoon.”
She sort of blushed a little, but she said, “Umm, sure. What do we have to eat? Besides chocolate cake? Because I want a piece of that for dessert.”
Her mom said, “I’d better save a big piece of that second cake for your father, because you’re going through cake like Willow’s going to run out of zucchini today.”
Alex said, “Well, she did say she was trying not to plant too much…”
Her mom just rolled her eyes. “You do know I can get some zucchini and Willow’s recipe and make one of Willow’s cakes, right?” Alex nodded. “And so could you.”
Alex said, “Well, maybe I need to make sure I know all the secret Willow Rosenberg cake baking tips first.”
Her mom smiled, “Honey, there’s no reason you couldn’t drive up and visit whenever you wanted, or wait until it was dark and then fly up, which I bet would be a lot faster.”
So, while she had a late lunch, she worked on her report for Jack on her tablet, and she called her friends on her regular Alex phone. Over a big slice of cake, she asked, “So, did you talk to Willow?”
Her mom turned seriously red. Ooh, that meant major embarrassment. Her mom finally said, “It’s a shame Willow doesn’t really have a normal cohort, because most girls go through this in their senior high school year – not that I want you to! – or in college, and she would have had lots of people in her peer group to talk to about this. But she’s so happy. I just couldn’t make myself tell her not to describe inappropriate things to you. I couldn’t even get her not to tell me about it. And some of the questions she had! There are thing she found on the web that she wanted to ask me about and I didn’t even know people did.”
Alex timidly said, “I found someone Willow can talk to about this stuff.”
Her mom said, “Oh please don’t tell me it’s Louis.”
“Mom! I would never! That would be way too weird and creepy!”
Her mom gave her an eyebrow, and she admitted, “Well, maybe Terawatt flew over to Libby’s house and asked Libby to help one of Team Terawatt by just talking to her and being a good advisor on makeup and haircare… And sex and stuff.”
“Libby? THE Libby? The bane of your existence? The girl who nearly got a supervillain burning down your school? THAT Libby?”
Alex defended herself, “It’s a good idea! Libby’s hiding at home still, and she’s lonely, and she likes Willow – okay we’ve only told her the codename Acid Burn so she can’t figure out it’s Willow Rosenberg – and Willow likes her, and they have great chats, and Willow says she’s been a huge help… and if Libby becomes good friends with a computer geek, she’s going to realize she’s been a real creep to people who are just like Willow but have a Y chromosome, and Libby might get nicer to people at school.”
Her mom stared at her for several seconds and finally said, “That’s a really good plan, honey. But don’t you think it’s a little… Machiavellian?”
Alex sort of pulled up her shoulders and said, “I was sort of hoping it was more like when Pollyanna gets people to do what she thinks would make them happier.”
Her mom patted her on the shoulder and said, “But you’re doing a good thing first, and pulling something sneaky second, right?” Alex nodded. “Then I think it’s okay. And if it really helps Willow and it makes Libby a better person… I don’t think that’s Machiavellian as much as being a good friend.”
Alex put her hand on her mom’s hand. “And mom? I really messed up.” Her mom just looked at her to go on. “We got called in because a mayor had a monster killing people and he wanted like an entire battalion of the National Guard with tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles and mortar platoons and stuff. And I flew in just in time to see the fight. Jack was down, and Riley and Hanna both got knocked through the air, and I couldn’t see Grover, and I hit the monster with a huge lightning bolt…” She tried not to sound pathetic as she said, “And we were wrong. The monster was the good guy, and the mayor is like a gangster crimelord guy, and he’s not a monster, he’s a guy who got dumped in toxic waste by badguys. And I could’ve killed him!”
Her mom guessed, “But he’s okay now?” Alex nodded. “And your team caught the real badguys?” Alex nodded. “And things are a lot better than if your team hadn’t gone in, right?” Alex sort of nodded. Her mom came around the table and hugged her. “Alex, it’s a hard lesson to learn, but we don’t always know what’s best. And we don’t always have the right information. This is what it’s like being a parent all the time. We all just try our best with what we’ve got, and when we make mistakes we try to fix them, and we try not to make that mistake again.”
Alex hugged her mom hard.
After managing not to cry too much on her mom’s nice blouse, Alex washed dishes in the kitchen and helped her mom get a new slow cooker recipe going. This one was a pork and lentil stew with lots of onions and carrots and other yummy stuff. She wasn’t too sure about the amounts on the seasonings, but she was willing to give it a shot. After all, if it was pretty decent but there wasn’t enough coriander, they could just add some more the next time. Her mom thought it didn’t have enough bayleaf. Her mom had a baggie of real bayleaf leaves from her major professor’s yard, so bayleaf could turn up pretty much anywhere. Well, not in things like jello, but in gravy or a stew or a casserole.
She Skyped Willow to talk about the Tromaville mess, and Willow was the one being all apologetic and unhappy about not finding out the right information fast enough. So Alex found she was telling Willow the same things her mom had just said to her like half an hour ago. How weird was it that Alex was the ‘mentor’ type in this relationship?
But Willow was all excited that Tromaville was done, so Jack would be able to fly out and spend Willow’s birthday with her on Friday. Jack wanted to drive up to San Francisco and do date things, and Willow wanted to not leave the bedroom for Jack’s entire visit. Alex had a feeling it would turn out sort of like in a romantic comedy. Jack would whisk Willow away to a romantic dinner, and then they’d stay in a hotel in San Francisco and Willow would try not to let Jack out of the bed until checkout time.
Alex said, “I bought you a present, but you’re not gonna want me hanging around doing birthday cake-y stuff while Jack’s there. So maybe I could fly up next week and give it to you and we could go do something fun?”
And Willow bubbled, “Ooh, I know! Comic Con in San Diego next week! I reserved a room just in case, but Jack can’t do it and isn’t interested in it, even if I showed him one of my cosplay costumes and he REALLY liked it, so maybe you could go with me! Call it my other birthday present.”
Alex asked, “And you have cosplay costumes you want to wear? At the convention?”
Willow nodded, “Yeah! And I’ve got a great idea for one for you too!”
Alex frowned, “Umm, isn’t this gonna be expensive? And I’d need to pay for a room too. I mean, I’ve got money from my photography, but I’m not rich like you. And I don’t want a costume that’s super skanky, or makes me look too much like you-know-who, or is embarrassing, or is stuff I won’t even know about.”
Willow asked, “You know Kitty Pryde, don’t you?”
Alex nodded. “Sure. The X-Men. Ooh! That would work! But how are you gonna get a costume that fits me just right?”
Willow said, “It’s easy. I’ve got a lot of Terawatt footage, and I know how tall you are, and I scanned it into a 3-D modeler and subtracted on the falsies down to your cup size, and I can get a Shadowcat costume your size in no time!”
Willow explained, “Well, there’s this company I know that makes 3-D models and is working on a 3-D clothes-cutting and sewing system, and it’s years away from being usable, much less affordable, but there’s a Silicon Valley billionaire funding them so they’re solvent for the next five or ten years, and they need test runs, and I got them to do the cutting and sewing for one of my cosplay models because I could send them a completely constructed 3-D wireframe to work from and the materials to cut, and everything. I just had to do the accessories, which for you would be the boots and belt and wig and stuff.”
Alex said, “Flats. I want Alex Mack to be small, and Terawatt to be tall.”
Willow said, “Oh sure, we need Kitty Pryde to be shorter anyway, because she’s the teenager.”
“Oh, well… good.”
Willow said, “So I got a suite, because I was trying to talk Mindi and her husband into coming with me, but they had to say no because of his job, but all you have to do is ask your mom!”
Alex thought it over. She did want to spend more time hanging out with Willow, and this sounded totally fun, and she’d wanted to go see one of these, and Willow would probably know all the ins and outs… “Mom! Can you come up for a second? It’s Willow!”
And her mom thought it would be great, as long as Willow remembered Alex was under 21, so no alcohol, and no getting up to stuff with guys they didn’t know, and no drinking anything at a party if they had stopped looking at it for even a second after it got opened, and…
Well, her mom sort of talked at them like they were two really dumb eighteen-year-old girls off to their first frat party at a wild college. It was pretty embarrassing, since Willow was going to have her twenty-fifth birthday in like hours. And it wasn’t like her mom had never given her The Talk, or The Other Talk, and she’d been there when her mom gave Annie The Talk too. Boy, was she glad she wasn’t there when her mom sat Annie down for The Other Talk.
A/N: Yes, in the movie, Toxie’s blind girlfriend has Eighties hair that would require half an hour of styling – if you could see yourself in a mirror. That’s not relevant to the movie’s plot, but it still bugs me.
A/N2: Remember, in this universe, comics imprints like Marvel and Archie and Wildstorm exist, but *not* DC.