Superfreaks/ACRA: Superfreaks Trade Etherback Volume 3 (collecting 9-13)
martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 15 04:09:37 PDT 2006
Michael King, Mary Jones and Frank Lopez: crime scene
investigators. John Phelps, Mark Johnston and Tom
Jackson: police officers. Jack Greenspan, Edward
Bailey and Samuel Leonard: medical examiners. Alan
Russell and Leroy Laurel: lawyers. These are the men
and women who are truly our last line of defense. But
what about the capes whose cases they have to
investigate? Should they be considered a help or a
"Okay, where's the body?" Detective Michael King
"There's no body," Officer Thomas Jackson told him.
"Then why am I here?"
"Because of this," Officer Mark Johnston said. He
held up a gun that was already sealed in a labeled
"Where'd you find that?"
"In that alley over there. Actually some kids found
it and they called the police."
"They didn't touch it?"
"No. They just ran to the nearest payphone and
"Thank goodness for that. For all we know it's
"We were actually thinking that it might have been
used in a crime and then abandoned by somebody who
didn't want to get caught with it," Tom said.
"Like that unsolved homocide from a couple of weeks
ago," Mark suggested.
"Well, if the gun is registered then we'll have a
"The registration's been filed off," Edward Bailey
"But if I use acid to etch away the filings then I
might still be able to read it."
"Okay. It's almost time for lunch."
"It's okay. I'll have something for you by the time
you get back from lunch."
"You're not hungry?"
"I'll just buy a snickers from the vending machine.
It's okay because I want to try the pizza at Guido's
"You're going to Guido's tonight?"
"Okay. I'll check back with you after lunch then."
"Hey, Mike. Did you have a good lunch?"
"It was okay. Were you able to read the
"Well don't keep me in suspense. Who was the gun
"You're not going to believe this."
"Come on, Edward. Out with it."
"The gun is registered to the victim's wife."
Michael nodded. "Okay. She's going to have to
"Are you sure that the gun we recovered was the same
one that killed Kevin Plumber?" Mary asked in between
bites of pizza.
"Yeah," Edward said. "We test fired some bullets
from the gun and they matched the two bullets we
"So that's it then."
"Yeah. So Mike went to Judge Matthews and we were
able to get a warrant to search the plumber home."
"I should be there tomorrow to question Janice
Plumber," Mary said.
"I would like to hear what she has to say herself.
It certainly looks like she gave the gun to somebody
to kill her husband."
"We should supeona her bank records."
"Right. Mike got permission from Judge Matthews to
do that but the bank was already closed. He's going
to stop by the bank first thing tomorrow morning and
get the records."
"Sounds like we're finally getting close to solving
"Yeah. I don't want too many unsolved cases on our
record. Makes us look bad."
"Well I was thinking that I didn't want to see
anybody get away with murder."
Mary thought for a moment while she chewed her
"I don't think we should keep doing this."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, as a detective, I can give you orders. I
can evaluate your performance. That sort of makes me
"So isn't it inappropriate for the boss to be dating
one of the employees?"
"So, what, I'm just an employee?"
"Don't take it like that."
"I actually think of us as collegues. You're in the
field and I'm in the lab. If you make a mistake
gathering evidence, say if one of your evidence bags
isn't properly sealed, then I could report that too."
"Anyway, if you're worried about sexual harassment,
we haven't actually done anything."
"I've been to your apartment."
"To look at my security system. Nothing happened."
"Is that what you told Tom Jackson?"
"Okay. I said we went back to my place. I told him
nothing happened. I swear."
"Why were you even talking to the guys in the
precinct about what we do in our own time."
"Okay, I'm sorry. It's just, you know, I like you
and I don't mind telling people that. That's all."
"It could be considered inappropriate. There's no
rule against officers dating but if Mike or John ever
saw it as a problem..."
"Yeah, well, what about Mark and Tom?"
"What about them?"
"They're on patrol sometimes late at night. And I'm
sure it gets cold in the squad car. How do we know
they don't pull over sometimes and use each other's
bodies for warmth. And we know what that could lead
"Oh come on! I'm serious!" Mary said.
"So why are you laughing?"
"I'm not," she said, but she was.
"Okay. You're right. That was pretty funny. But
this is different. We're getting together when we're
off duty. You don't think people are going to talk
"We're not doing anything wrong. We should be out
in the open about this. Otherwise, people are going
to think we're up to no good."
"Up to no good?"
"Yeah. They might think we're attending an orgy
somewhere, you know, with whips and chains and
leather, the whole deal. With your choice of heroin,
crack cocaine or regular cocaine all available for
sale at the bar."
"Are you talking from experience?"
"Heavens no. I'm just saying, look, tell them that
we're going out to eat at Guido's and that's it. Then
they won't get any fancy ideas about what we're up
Mary sighed. "Maybe."
"So how's the pizza?"
"It'd better be. It's a lot more expensive than
"I've never tried Pizza Hut. I usually get take out
"Really. Well then, next week we'll go to Pizza
Hut. Is it a date?"
"I'll have to think about it."
Detective John Phelps stood in front of all the
officers in the precinct. "We've just had a major
break in the Plumber homocide case. The gun used to
kill Kevin Plumber has been recovered and the
registration on the gun indicates that the wife,
Janice Plumber, may have known the killer and perhaps
even given him the gun with the intention of having
him kill her husband. Tom and Jack are going to
search the Plumber residence and Mary's going with
them to question Janice again based on the new
"We still haven't been able to identify the shooter,
however." He pointed to an enlarged copy of the
original sketch that Frank Lopez drew two weeks ago
based on the descriptions made by the witnesses at the
scene. "I want people to continue to be on the look
out for this man. There's no guarantee that Mrs.
Plumber will give up the killer's identity, assuming
of course she even knows who he is and he isn't just
somebody who stole her gun in an effort to frame her
for her husband's murder.
"Oh and one last thing. I shouldn't have to tell
people this but it's come to my attention that people
have been using the pricinct's computers to download
the alledged Extreme / Amazing Woman sex scandal
video. The precinct's computers are not to be used
for anything immoral or potentially illegal. Besides,
both Extreme and Amazing Woman have come out and said
that they aren't the two people in the video. For the
record, the video is a bit grainy and there's no way
to tell if it's really them and not a couple of
look-a-likes vying for attention. In fact, the video
is so unclear that you really can't make out much of
anything." There was a burst of laughter from the
back of the room. "Or so I've been told."
"These are officers Tom Jackson and Mark Johnston.
They're here to search the house. We have a warrant."
"Search the house? Why?"
Mary grimaced. "We found a gun. It was registered
in your name."
"I don't own a gun."
"Are you sure?"
"I mean I lost it a long time ago."
"And yet the same gun was used to kill your
"Maybe this is the time for you to get a lawyer,"
"I've got something for you," Mary said.
"What is it?" Edward asked.
"It's a file. Tom found it at the Plumber house.
You said the registration on the gun was filed off."
"So it was. You don't suppose that there might be
shavings from the gun still on the file?"
"Wouldn't that be great?"
"I see you found yourself a lawyer, Mrs. Plumber,"
"My client doesn't have to answer any of your
questions," the lawyer informed her.
"It would help us a lot if you could," Detective
Michael King said.
"I'm sure it would," the lawyer quipped.
"We discovered a file at your house. The file was
used to shave off the registration number on the gun.
We know this because we found shavings on the gun,
shavings which are chemically identical to the metal
in the gun."
"I asked you about the gun," Mary pointed out. "You
said you lost it a long time ago. So why are there
still shavings from the gun on a file in your house?"
"And why would you shave off the registration number
in the first place?" Michael asked. "You're only
going to do that if the gun is going to be used in a
crime and you don't want it traced back to you."
Mary showed Mrs. Plumber her bank records. "Mrs.
Plumber, a few weeks ago you drew out more than ten
thousand dollars from the bank. Can you tell us why?
That was just a few days before your husband's
"Did you hire somebody to kill your husband, Mrs
Plumber?" Michael asked point blank.
"No!" she insisted.
"Surely you weren't expecting to get a confession
out of her based on such flimsy evidence," the lawyer
scoffed. "There's nothing to link my client to her
"We also have your fingerprints on one of the
bullets fired from the gun that killed your husband.
The four bullets left in the gun, they all had your
fingerprints on them. You yourself loaded the gun
that killed your husband, Mrs. Plumber.
"We want to know who killed your husband," Michael
said. "And we believe you can help us."
Mrs. Plumber didn't answer.
"Because as it stands, we have enough evidence to
link you to the shooting. We're charging you with
conspiracy to murder your husband. It really would be
better if you agreed to co-operate with us. If you
really are innocent then you should say something in
your own defense, something that would clear you, so
we could go back to following other leads."
"Mrs. Plumber will speak in her own defense. In
court." He stood up. "Come on, Janice, let's go."
"This case is just getting more and more
frustrating," Michael said.
"Mike, think, Janice Plumber teaches part time at a
"So maybe she hired one of her students."
"No. A college student would be too young. We're
looking for somebody older."
"But the witnesses were in their early teens. To
them, a college student is an adult."
"Okay. This college where she works. Do the
student records include class photos, maybe even
"Of course. The school keeps a copy of the photo
that is used in their student IDs."
"Alright then. I'll speak to John and we'll get Tom
and Mark to bring the witnesses to the school to look
at the records."
"As long as we keep the witnesses away from any of
the students in her classes then it shouldn't be a
"I agree. I'm going to go speak to John right away.
Thanks for the idea."
"You're still here?" Mary asked.
"I'm just finishing up," Edward said.
Mary sighed. "Edward, look..."
"I can't go out with you next week."
Edward grimaced, sighed and shook his head.
"The cases we work on are too delicate. What if
people accuse us of covering for each other? Of
covering up mistakes? Or they might accuse us of
being distracted. Like the case we're working on
right now: we still haven't identified a shooter.
Who's to say we didn't overlook something?"
"Who's to say we did? We're both good at our jobs,
Mary. We wouldn't have these jobs if we weren't."
"I'm just saying that's what people could say. I
can't risk that. I'm sorry, Edward, but my career
comes first. You should also think about focusing on
your career, Edward. You spend all day handling
evidence. You just can't do anything that would cause
people to question your objectivity."
"Good," she said. She turned to walk away but then
changed her mind. "I am sorry, Edward."
"You're just being honest."
"See you tomorrow?"
"Alright. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Right. See you tomorrow."
"This guy," one of the teenaged witnesses said.
"Are you sure?" Officer Tom Jackson asked.
"It's him alright."
"Okay, Wil. Come over here. Is this the guy you
saw?" Tom asked, showing him the picture that his
friend Jimmy had just been looking at
"Oh, yeah, definitely."
"We'll need to put the suspect in a line up in order
to make the arrest," Officer Mark Johnston pointed
out. "You take them back to the precinct in the car.
I'll contact campus security, tell them we've got our
man and ask them to help me drive them back to the
precinct where we can line them up with a few
"Campus security? Are you sure?"
"He's not going to be armed. The shooter threw the
weapon away, remember? And we shouldn't make an
arrest on campus without the support of campus
security anyway. This is private property."
Tom grimaced. "Right."
"Don't beat yourself up about it, Tom. We're all
supposed to upload the constitution of the United
States, you, me, President Bush."
Tom couldn't stop himself from laughing out loud
"Hey, I remember you two," Detective John Phelps
said. "Do you remember me?"
"Yeah," one of the teenagers said.
"Yeah, we have a good memory when it comes to
John laughed. "That's what we're counting on.
Anyway, you're going to go in this room and there'll
be a one way mirror: you'll be able to see them but
they won't be able to see you. Anyway, there'll be
six men in there and one of them is the suspect who
you said was the shooter. But we want you to identify
him in person and not from a picture. Okay?"
"Okay," they both said.
"Alright then. Let's go in." They went in.
"Now... take your time."
"That's the guy!" one of the teenagers said,
pointing at the man who they'd idebtified earlier.
"Are you sure?" John asked. The boy nodded. "Wil,
what about you?"
"It's him alright."
"Alright. Mark, I want you to drive these boys back
to their homes. The other 'suspects' can go too. Tom,
I want you to be in the room with me when I speak to
"Mr. Enright," John began, "do you understand why
"It's like this. You're in Janice Plumber's French
"Well, Janice Plumber's husband Kevin was killed two
weeks ago. He was shot."
"Okay. What's that got to do with me?"
"We have witnesses who say you were the shooter."
"Why would I want to kill Mrs. Plumber's husband?"
"You tell me."
"No, you tell me. You're the cop. What's your
"Alright. We think that Janice Plumber wanted her
husband dead. She pulled you to one side, gave you
the gun, offered you some money. You took the money,
shot Mr. Plumber, wiped your prints off the gun and
threw it away. Or maybe you were wearing gloves. We
can't know for sure because you're bound to have
washed off any gunshot residue by now. But what we
could do is check your bank records and see if you
made any deposits lately. Of course, it could also be
that you and Mrs. Plumber were having an affair and
that's something we probably could prove: all we'd
need is for one witness to come forward and say they
saw you together outside of school. Tell me, Alex,
did you meet at her place, at your place or was it at
"Look," he said, "Mrs. Plumber was a good teacher.
She met with students all the time."
"Fine. Just find some who will testify to that in
"I'm going to court?"
"That's right, Mr. Enright. We're formally charging
you with the murder of Kevin Plumber. Tom, take him
"My pleasure," Tom said.
"Edward? What's up?"
"Mary, I thought about what you said yesterday."
"I still say that we should just let people think
what they think."
"No wait. Here me out. We've been working together
a long time. We've gotten to know each other pretty
well. And you would never have agreed to go out with
me if you didn't think it was right."
"Maybe it was a mistake."
"What? Twice out for dinner was a mistake? Going
to see a movie was a mistake?"
"Okay, so it was a good movie."
"And dinner was good too. Both times."
"But the two of us..."
"Mary... I love you."
"Edward..." Mary became self conscious. There were
other people in the precinct.
"I really don't care what people think."
"Okay, that's not true. I care because you care.
But you shouldn't. And I'll tell you why."
"Because we weren't doing anything wrong."
"I know that. You know that. Others might
"What if... what if we were just completely open
"What do you mean?"
"We could get married."
"What? Are you serious? Is this your idea of a
Edward got down on one knee. "Is this better?"
"Don't you need a ring?"
Edward fished a small jewelry box out of his pocket
and opened it. "Like this?" he asked. It was a
diamond engagement ring.
"Yeah," Mary said, a bit stunned. "Like that."
"Okay, look," Edward said. "You don't have to feel
pressured because I bought the ring. I told the guy
at the jewelry store that it might be a longshot and
he told me I could trade it in for store credit. I
could always buy a watch instead. A really expensive
Mary laughed. "That's so romantic," she said with
"Hey, you were honest with me. I'm just being
honest with you. Come on. I make you laugh."
"Yeah, well, so does Jim Carrey. Doesn't mean I'll
"I'm not asking you to marry Jim Carrey. I'm asking
you to marry me. What do you say?"
"Okay. Explain this case to me."
Alan Russell had been the District Attorney in
Pepperton for over ten years. He counted on the
police in his city to bring him all the evidence he
needed to make a conviction. Sometimes, however, he
was presented with so much evidence that he didn't
know where to begin.
Detective John Phelps was the first person to speak
up. "It all began three weeks ago. Kevin Plumber was
found shot in an alley near where he lived. He was on
his way to work. The killer presumably pulled a gun
on him and ordered him into an alleyway where he was
shot. Nobody witnessed the actual shooting but two
local kids, Wil Smits and Jimmy Smith, got a look at
the perpetrator as he fled the scene. Frank here
spoke to the two kids and got a description that he
turned into a sketch, but the two kids guessed wrong
about the perpetrator's age so the guy who Frank drew
looks a bit older than our suspect."
Detective Mary Jones then spoke up. "When I
examined Kevin Plumber's body at the scene I noticed
that he had been shot two times. One bullet had
passed straight through and was recovered at the scene
by Officer Tom Jackson. The other bullet was
recovered during Mr. Plumber's autopsy. Incredibly,
Edward was able to pull a partial print off of the
through and through bullet but there was no match with
any of the fingerprints stored in the national
database. I did go speak to Mrs. Plumber and tell her
that her husband had been murdered and asked her if
she knew anything that could help us in our
investigation but she wasn't considered a suspect at
that point so I didn't bring her in for questioning,
let alone take her fingerprints."
Officer Mark Johnston was next. "Then a week ago we
recovered a gun in an alley. Some kids had found it
and they called 911 rather than touch it, which was a
good thing because the gun still had bullets in it.
The gun turned out to be the gun that was used to kill
Kevin Plumber. Apparently the shooter had either been
wearing gloves or had wiped his fingerprints off the
gun so he assumed that there was no way the gun could
be traced back to him if he disposed of it."
Edward Bailey added his two cents. "That belief was
based on the fact that the gun's registration number
had been filed off. But I was able to etch off the
filings that had obscured the registration number and
was thus still able to find out who owned the gun. It
was Janice Plumber, Mr. Plumber's wife."
Detective Michael King also had a few words to say.
"That was when I went to Judge Matthews and got a
warrant to search the Plumber house. Tom then found a
file which Edward identified as the file that had been
used to scrape off the gun's registration number. We
arrested Mrs. Plumber and took her fingerprints and
were then able to identify her as the person who not
only own the gun that had killed her husband but that
she had, in fact, loaded it herself. We supeonaed her
bank records and found that she had taken out over ten
thousand dollars the week before her husband had been
killed. We assumed that she must have paid someone to
kill her husband.
"Mary then suggested that we look for suspects
amongst the students at the college where she worked
part time teaching French. Mark and Tom brought the
two witnesses down to the college to look through the
school records. They identified Alex Enright. We
even had the witnesses pick out Alex Enright from a
line up. He's definitely the man they saw."
Thomas Jackson brought everybody up to date. "We
were able to get another warrant, this time to search
Enright's apartment. We were able to find hair
belonging to Mrs. Plumber. Both suspects insist that
Mrs. Plumber was only there to provide French lessons,
however. We did notice that the TV and stereo looked
new. We were able to determine that they had, in
fact, been purchased only a few weeks ago, immediately
after Mr. Plumber was killed."
"My God," Alan Jackson said. "Great work everybody.
You will, of course, all be asked to testify when
this goes to trial." He got up and shook everybody's
hands. He paused when he shook Mary's hand. "Could I
have a word with you in private, Mary?"
"You wanted to speak to me?"
"Yes, Mary." Alan chose his words very carefully.
"I just want to let you know that no jury is going to
care about your private life."
"No but. If anything, juries appreciate real people
over automatons. They expect real people to have
feelings. They expect them to have relationships."
"With all due respect, Mr. Russell, I don't think my
personal life is any of your business."
Alan Russell smiled. "I know it isn't. It isn't
anybody's business but your own. That's what I'm
trying to tell you."
"The pizza should be here soon," Edward said.
"I can wait," Mary said.
"It doesn't normally take this long."
Mary laughed. "You had them put the ring in the
pizza, didn't you?"
Edward didn't answer.
"I knew it!"
"Look, you said you'd think about it. Then you
agreed to come here with me. I figured I'd propose to
you in arestaurant like a normal person."
"A normal person isn't going to serve an engagement
ring as a pizza topping."
"Did it occur to you that this is exactly the sort
of thing that the napkins are used for?"
"Seriously though, what if they delivered the pizza
to the wrong table? Somebody could have just
swallowed your engagement ring."
"So how did you arrange to have them cook the ring
into the pizza anyway?"
"Oh I come here a lot. We only went to Guido's
because Pizza Hut is like a fast food place and it
isn't a place to bring a date. But if you've never
been here then, hey, maybe you wouldn't think that
Mary looked around. "Well, I don't see any pictures
of Ronald McDonald or Colonel Sanders on the walls.
Nor do I hear any kids crying. So it is almost like a
Edward laughed. "Oh good, I think this is our
"Enjoy!" said the waiter.
"So where is it?" Mary asked.
"You know, this was supposed to be a surprise,"
"Edward, I'm a detective. You can't surprise me."
"Here it is." He fished it out and wiped it with a
napkin. "Okay. Mary. I don't know if you want kids.
But if you do, then you can tell them that I proposed
to you by pulling your ring out of a pizza in a Pizza
Hut. That's much better than me asking you one
afternoon during work."
"Anyway, here goes. Mary, you know I love you.
What I want to know from you is whether or not you
will marry me. Will you?"
Mary sighed. "Yes."
Edward looked relieved. "Good."
"So how did you get them to cook the ring inside the
"Oh it was no trouble. I come here a lot. They
know me here."
"Really? You should try eating something besides
pizza and spaghetti."
"Sometimes I go out for Chinese food. Or Mexican."
"Ah. So you like spicy food. How about Indian?"
"Occasionally. Anything but Japanese. I can't
stand raw fish."
"It's a wonder I've been able to keep my figure."
"I was going to say but I thought better of it."
"Let me see."
"Here it is."
Naomi Chen wrinkled her nose. "It's kinda small."
"But it's a real diamond," Mary insisted. "I
checked: I used it to cut glass."
Naomi laughed. "You would." She sighed. "Well,
you know what they say about guys with small
"Actually, I thought it was the other way around:
they give you big gifts to make up for other things."
"Well, sure, sometimes. But if the guy's got a big
enough diamond to give you then it can make up for a
hell of a lot."
"Excuse me, you're Mary Jones, aren't you?"
Mary turned to see who it was. "Oh. Wendy Wang."
"What are you doing here?"
"I thought I'd come down to the precinct and ask you
"About the Plumber case. I'm afraid Peter Whitman,
my editor at the Daily World, he wants more
information about the case. It's the kind of story
that sells newspapers, you see: a French teacher gets
one of her students to kill her husband. Everybody
wants to know if they were having an affair."
"I really don't think it would be appropriate to
talk about an on going investigation."
"Alright. Then tell me about yourself."
"An attractive young female detective is
investigating the case. You could be the angle that
satisfies my editor."
"I could write a human interest piece about you. At
least give me something so I don't go back to my
editor empty handed."
"You're just trying to interview me so I'll leak
something about the case."
Wendy sighed. "Please. Just a few minutes?"
Mary nodded. "Alright. Just let me get some coffee
"Alright. What do you want to know?"
"Are you seeing anyone?"
"I don't know if I want to talk about that."
"So you are."
"Okay. Yes, I am."
"Anyone in the department?"
Mary didn't answer.
"So that's another yes."
"Has someone been talking to you?"
"No, dear, I'm an investigative reporter. I can
spot things." She pointed to Mary's ring. "That's
new, isn't it? I saw you showing it to the
receptionist when I walked in."
Mary smiled. "Okay. I'm engaged."
"To one of the cops?"
Wendy thought for a moment. "Then it must be
somebody in the crime lab."
Mary closed her eyes and smiled. "You're good."
"So how did he propose?"
"Last night. At the local Pizza Hut. He had them
cook the ring inside the pizza."
"Yeah. He was trying to be romantic."
"But you said yes."
"Obviously," she said as she showed her the ring.
"So have you set the date?"
"Actually, no. I suppose we could wait until June."
Wendy nodded. "That's when Extreme and Amazing
Woman are getting married."
"What? Are you serious?"
Wendy smiled. "I'm an investigative reporter. I
can find out these things."
"Still," Mary said, "it's amazing how you're always
able to get these exclusive Extreme scoops. You must
be some kind of insider."
"Oh," Wendy said nervously, "I've just known the man
"I see. And Amzing Woman doesn't get jealous."
Wendy laughed. "If she got jealous then she could
just roll me up in a ball and throw me out the window.
I'm not going to try taking Extreme away from her."
"I see. So is that it?"
"Just some more information. Your age, your
hometown, something about your family, how you got
started as a CSI. Stuff like that."
Mary sighed. "Okay, but this can't take too long.
I have to get back to work soon."
"Do you want to go out for Chinese tonight?"
"What are you working on?"
"It's a new case. A stabbing. I'm trying to figure
out what kind of knife was used based on the crime
"Something on your mind?"
"Did you know that Extreme and Amazing Woman were
"No. Where did you hear that?"
"From Wendy Wang."
"The reporter for the Daily World?"
"How does she know?"
"She didn't say."
"Well then Extreme must have told her."
"When? Do you suppose they get together after
"Hell no. Amazing Woman wouldn't put up with that."
"So he must talk to her during work."
"You mean Extreme shows up at the Daily World and
gives her an interview?"
"I'm thinking that maybe Extreme has a secret
identity and he's working at the Daily World."
"That's crazy. He's Extreme. Why would he have a
"Okay. But if he's so far above humanity then why
was he always giving interviews to Wendy Wang?"
"Maybe he wanted to get in her pants," Edward
"Maybe. But he obviously didn't. Or else Wendy
Wang would be as dead as Diane Brenton."
"So they must be friends. Perhaps even collegues."
"Maybe you're on to something."
"I'm going to go to the Daily World first thing
"Hold on. Is that a good idea?"
"Why not? If Wendy Wang can come here to
investigate me then I sure as hell can go there to
Wendy turned around to see who had called her name.
"Why, Mary Jones. What are you doing here?"
"I thought I'd do some investigating of my own."
"Oh. And what are you investigating?"
"Tit for tat. You investigate me. I invstigate
"Have I done something wrong?"
"Oh no no no. It's just a hunch."
"I'm actually not investigating you so much as a
friend of yours."
"Good morning, Wendy!"
Mary turned around and saw Kenneth Clark. "There he
Kenneth Clark was taken aback. "There who is?"
"Have we met?" Kenneth asked, genuinely confused.
"Indeed we have," Mary said, "but you weren't
wearing your glasses."
Kenneth looked at Wendy. "What's going on?"
"I don't know," Wendy said.
"Oh I think you both know what's going on," Mary
Kenneth leaned forward and whispered to Mary using
his Extreme voice. "And who... are you?"
"I'm Mary Jones. I work for the Pepperton Police."
"What do you want?"
It was a good question. "I don't know. Who says I
"Then why are you here?"
"It was just a hunch. Anyway, nice to see you both.
Again. I'll go now." She left.
Extreme was not happy.
The entire precinct fell silent when he passed
through reception save for a few whispers of "My God!
It's the Super Soldier!" Even amongst the police, he
was accustomed to commanding respect. "I want to
speak to Detective Michael King," he said.
People just pointed. They apparently didn't
consider themselves worthy to speak to the Super
Soldier. And not having been spoken to, the Super
Soldier did not bother to espress thanks either.
Perhaps he too considered them unworthy.
"I'm a bit busy."
"I always made time when you came to see me."
"So you did. What's on your mind?"
"Mary Jones. She works for you?"
"Yes. What about her?"
"Mary Jones went to the Daily World yesterday and
all but came out and said who Extreme really is."
"I don't follow."
"Extreme has a secret identity which she almost
"This is the second time one of our identities has
been discovered by people from your precinct. The
first was the Human Spider's."
"Ah yes but that was different: Kenneth Kendal's
wife was killed by a former lover of his. He had
assumed that the killer was one of the Human Spider's
enemies. He voluntarally revealed his identity to our
officers. To do otherwise would have been to obstruct
The Super Soldier sighed. "We need to keep our
"I know that. Really I do. That's why those secret
identities won't leave this precinct."
"That just isn't good enough. I want this Mary
Jones to face disciplinary actions."
"You heard me."
"I heard you," Michael said, getting visibly angry,
"now you listen to me. I used to be in the military.
I used to take orders from people like you. But now
I'm a civilian. And unless the government has
declared martial law and nobody informed me, I don't
take orders from you. You and your people are
operating out of Pepperton and that's OUR
jurisdiction. We don't do what you say: you're
supposed to do what we say.
"Now take this incident with the Brotherhood of
Masters a couple of months ago. You didn't inform us,
the local authorities that you had captured the
Brotherhood, a known threat to civilian lives. You
should have. And then there's Harry Roy: he was a
futigive awaiting trial for the murder of Edward
Goodhead. You didn't tell us you had him under your
'custody'." Michael made explicit quotation marks
with his fingers. "You should have. I made the
decision to allow you to keep him under your custody
as long as you delivered him for trial. We would have
both been in trouble if he didn't show up for his
trial. I trusted you. So now you trust me. And, no,
you don't get to have him join your group. He killed
The Super Soldier waited a moment. "Are you
"Nobody ever speaks to me like that. Not even my
"Well then it's about time somebody did. You need
to understand who's in charge here. It's not you."
The Super Soldier put up his hands in surrender.
"Okay. I'll let you deal with Detective Mary Jones
your own way."
"You do that," Michael said and then added, "and
don't worry. The Human Spider, Extreme, they're
secrets are safe with us."
"Alright. Fine. We appreciate that."
"I hear you found out Extreme's identity."
"Yeah," she said sheepishly.
"Good work," Michael said with a smile.
"Yes, really. The Super Soldier was here to give me
a dressing down."
"I heard about that."
"But this isn't Extreme Force Headquarters. And I
don't take orders from him. If he comes here then
he's on our turf and he does what _we_ tell _him_."
"Sounds like you had a good time."
Michael smiled. "Actually I did. It felt good
putting that tin plated bastard in his place."
"Michael! I actually thought you and the Super
Soldier got along well."
"Oh we do. Now. Now that he knows who's boss."
Michael was grinning from ear to ear.
SEND UP THE CLONES
"I don't understand," Chris Sharpton said, "why are
there police here?"
"We're here because your wife is dead," Detective
John Phelps explained. "It's standard procedure."
"She wasn't my wife."
"I'm sorry. Your girlfriend then."
"She wasn't actually my girlfriend either."
"But she was living here, wasn't she?"
"Then what exactly was she to you?"
Chris Sharpton blushed. "I bought her from Clones R
"You bought her?"
"She was a clone."
"Maggie was a clone of the porn star Magdelena
"Okay." John Phelps lloked away and thought for a
moment before asking his next question. "I'm sorry
but I have to ask: why would you purchase a clone of a
"Why do you think?"
"She could walk and talk?"
"I'm sorry. I work in homocide. Maybe I should get
vice in here. This doesn't sound legal to me. You
are telling me you _owned_ this person?"
"I've got all my papers for her."
"The cloning process was done with the explicit
signed permission of the donor. People are allowing
themselves to be cloned under the strict condition
that the clone does not work in any field that
competes with the donor. So clones of models can't
have their pictures taken, clones of porn stars can't
do porn, clones of actors and actresses can't appear
in movies. Although they tell me that it is hard to
get clones of mainstream actresses because it would be
so easy for people to take naked pictures of them and
post them on the internet."
"This is all new to me."
"They advertise in men's magazines and on certain
internet websites," Chris explained.
"You know, I was thinking maybe I might have to sue
"I mean, this clone just died and I'd only had it a
week. It was obviously defective. I'm hoping they'll
either refund my money or give me a new clone.
Otherwise, it just wouldn't be fair."
"I see. So you're saying the clone was defective?"
"Well, yeah, I mean look at it! It's dead!"
Phelps smirked. "Or maybe you just got tired of it
and killed it yourself. You obviously didn't consider
it to be a person. Perhaps you killed it and are
covering it up now so you can, as you say, get your
money back from the company."
Phelps shook his head. "Yeah, well, until somebody
can legally demonstrate otherwise, that's a dead human
being lying down there and I'm treating this as a
homocide and possible fraud."
"I can assure you gentlemen," Roger Stratham, the
CEO of Clones R Us said, "our clones do not just die."
"But isn't it true that clones cannot inherit
diseases both from their donor parent and from the
woman who provides the egg?" Detective Michael King
"Yes but most of our donors also opt to donate an
egg for precisely that reason so as to make a perfect
clone that would be identical in every way to the
original," Roger Stratham explained, "at least in the
case of female donors. Male donors, of course, can
only provide their DNA and a female egg donor would
also be required."
John Phelps grimaced. "I'm sorry but I don't
understand. Our victim was a full grown woman. I
thought cloning was something that people did so they
could have a baby."
Roger Stratham nodded. "Yes, normally. But our
clients don't want babies. So we artificially
accelerate the aging process in order to bring the
clone to adulthood."
"Is it possible that this artificial aging process
didn't end up killing the clone?" Michael asked.
Roger shook his head. "We determine all our clones
to be fit and healthy once the incubation process is
complete and then we perform another physical exam
before we release the clone to the customer so as to
certify that the clone is indeed fit and healthy."
"So if his clone did in fact just simply die then
Mr. Sharpton would be entitled to compensation."
"Well, yes, of course," Roger Stratham admitted.
"But we would like the opportunity to examine the body
ourselves to confirm that the clone did in fact die
from natural causes."
"We have our coroner Jack Greenspan examining the
body right now."
"Yes, of course, and I'm sure he's very good but we
will need to have our own doctors examine the body to
confirm his findings."
"As long as the body isn't removed from our morgue.
And as long as your doctors are not left alone with
the body. The body is evidence. If you are going to
claim that Mr. Sharpton killed his clone then you are
not going to want the evidence contaminated. If Mr.
Sharpton were to go to court claiming that he deserves
compensation then you would want an independent third
party to present evidence to the contrary."
"Yes, of course," the CEO said. "You're quite
"Excuse me," Phelps said, interrupting, "but what
about the victim? I mean, everybody is talking about
this woman as if she were a thing, a commodity. Is
anybody going to mourn her death? Was she even
"Yes and no," Roger Stratham explained. "You see,
whereas people have parents, plural, most of our
clones are genetically identical to their primary
donors. So they are, in fact, the property of the
donors which are then sold to us and resold to our
"Can I meet one of these clones?" Phelps asked.
Roger Stratham waved his hands in the air. "If the
two of you have time I will give you a tour of the
facility. How's that?"
"I think we really need one for a full report,"
Michael King observed.
"Alright," Roger Stratham said, "these are the tanks
where we grow the clones."
"There you go again," John complained. "These are
people, aren't they?"
"As you can see," Roger continued, "some of the
clones are merely fetuses, others are apparently
babies, children, teenagers and young adults, but I
assure you that the whole process takes no more than a
month. Any longer and the clone shows signs of aging
that the customers don't usually want."
"I'm sure," John grumbled.
"Are the clones ferile?" Michael asked.
"No they aren't," Roger admitted. "Most of our
customers don't want their clones to get pregnant so
we deliberately make them infertile. We could make a
fertile clone but then there would be the moral
question of whether a clone would be a good mother."
"God forbid you should do anything immoral," John
"Over in the next room we have the programming
"Programming area?" John asked.
Roger nodded. "Our clones are not educated in the
usual sense. Their required knowledge and
instructions are fed directly into their brains. Some
clones are provided with the basics of reading,
writing and mathematics but most of our clients have
more basic needs."
John rolled his eyes, sighed and shook his head.
"Over here we have a clone who has just been
programmed. This is a clone of the May 2006 Playboy
Playmate Juliana Lopez. Julie? Do you mind talking
with us for a moment?"
"What is it that you wish?"
"Could you describe your functions for us?" Roger
"I can dance for you, I can strip for you, I can
perform oral sex on you or you can take me and..."
"That's enough," Roger said, "thank you. As you can
see, their responses are limited. All they know about
is what they are programmed to do."
"That brings up another issue though," John said,
"if these clones are only a few months old then how
can they be of the legal age to perform such acts?"
Roger smiled. "It's not the age of the clone that
is the issue but the age of the donor. And the clones
are grown to resemble adults so there's no question of
"Maybe not for you."
"Actually, John," Michael said, "it wasn't
considered a major news story so you probably didn't
hear about this question already having gone to the
supreme court. The majority of judges on the court
ruled that this is all perfectly legally as long as
the primary donor has given consent."
"A majority of judges were convinced, eh?" John
mused. "I wonder how."
"Regardless of what you might feel, Detective
Phelps," Roger said, "the law is on our side."
"So," Michael said, "have you two come to agree on
"I believe we have," Jack Greenspan said.
"So what is the cause of death?"
"It appears to be natural causes."
"Indeed. Do you agree, Dr. Michaels?"
Dr. Michaels, the medical examiner from Clones R Us
nodded. "There appears to have been no foul play."
"So what did happen?"
"I'm afraid when I compare the DNA of the clone to
the DNA from the original donor that it isn't an exact
match. It would appear as though genetic material
from the mitochondria in the donated egg mixed with
Miss Star's DNA and the result is an imperfect copy
which had a reduced life span. The same thing,
incidentally, eventually happened to the original
cloned sheep Dolly, although she did go on to live
several years and even went on to produce offspring."
Dr. Michaels nodded. "Miss Star didn't want to
donate any eggs. She didn't want any surgery that
would result in a scar that could affect her career.
It was understandable, really."
"I take it then that Mr. Sharpton will be
"Yes," Mr. Michaels said, "as per the terms of the
contract we have with him."
"I want to know what other clones were produced
using two different donors and who they were sold to.
Your company may be liable for medical expenses for
sick clones if I understand your guarantees
"We would be, yes."
"I don't get it," Officer Thomas Jackson complained.
"We're homocide cops. Why are we going around asking
clones if they feel sick?"
"Because we're following up on an ongoing
investigation," Officer Mark Johnston explained.
"It's our duty to see this through. There may be
other dead clones out there."
"But I thought the clone died through natural
"Yes, but Clones R Us was ultimately liable. Look,
there's only a few more places we need to go to." The
squad car pulled up to the Perry residence. "This is
the place. We're just going to go in, ask a few
questions and then leave."
Tom and Mark got out of the squad car and appraoched
the door. Mark knocked on the door. "Mr. Perry?
"I guess he's not in."
"We don't have to speak to Mr. Perry. We only have
to speak to the clone." He tried the door. "It's
"Wait. Can we go in without a warrant?" Tom asked.
"Mr. Perry isn't the one under investigation," Mark
explained. "He's not being accused of any wrong
doing. But here we have unlocked door and nobody
appears to be home. That's suspicious. That means we
Tom and Mark went in and found a body in te living
room. "Okay, so are you happy?" Mark quipped. "It
looks like we have a homocide after all."
Just then a woman appeared. "Hello? Can I do
anything for you?"
"Do you live here?" Mark asked.
"Yes," she answered. "I do."
"Can you tell us what happened here?"
"Could you be more specific?" she asked. "I'm
afraid I don't understand your request."
"Hey, wait," Tom said, "aren't you Lovita Lopez, the
"My name is Lovey. Can I be of service to you?"
"That's not Lovita Lopez, Tom," Mark said with a
sigh. "That's her clone."
"Marvin Perry. 39. Cause of death is blunt force
truama. Apparently using the hammer that was
recovered at the scene, the one with the clone's
fingerprints on it."
Detective Michael King grimaced. "Okay. So it was
"Not what you were hoping?" the coroner asked.
"I'm not looking forward to having to go back to
Clones R Us so soon."
"I assure you, Detective King," Clones R Us CEO
Roger Stratham said, "our clones are not capable of
"But they follow whatever instructions are given to
them, don't they? If someone tells them to kill then
"Well, yes, of course, I suppose they would, but
wouldn't the victim have told her not to attack him?"
"Not if she thought it was an S&M game. The killer
might have told the clone that he wanted to play an
S&M game that involved the victim being hit on the
head with a hammer. He could have even given her a
safe word. But the victim didn't know it. That's one
"My God." Roger placed his elbows on his desk and
buried his face in his hands. He then looked up at
Michael. "Is the company in any way liable?"
"Michael, you're back!" Edward Bailey said
"Yeah. Why?" Michael asked. "Do you have something
"I found some fingerprints on the Lovita Lopez clone
that didn't belong to Marvin Perry."
"You dusted her body for fingerprints?" Michael
"Yeah. Under the circumstances it seemed like the
natural way to go. I mean, if the killer could
control her enough to make her kill Mr. Perry then he
might have, you know, had her do other things too."
"And what does Mary say about you examining a naked
porn star clone?"
"Ha ha ha."
"Mr. Tracy, do you understand why you've been
brought in here?" Detective John Phelps asked.
"You've been brought in in connection with the
Marvin Perry homocide."
"I thought Marvin was killed by his clone. By the
porn star clone I mean."
"Yes, but she named you. She says you told her to
"What? The bitch!"
"Are you denying that you were there the night
Marvin Perry was killed?"
"Look, it was all her. I swear."
"So you were there then? You saw it happen?"
"I didn't kill him."
"But you told her to kill him, didn't you."
"The bitch! Her testimony won't stand up in court!
She's a clone! She's not even human!"
"On the contrary, Mr. Tracy, her testimony will
stand up in court because she has no reason to lie.
She doesn't even now what she did was wrong."
"No reason to lie? Bullshit! You tell a clone to
lie and she'll lie."
"You know that for sure, Mr. Tracy?"
"That's supposed to be how it works anyway. Shit!
I told the bitch not to say anything. She said she
"And she didn't say anything."
"We brought you in because your fingerprints are a
match for fingerprints we found on the clone's body.
She didn't name you. You, on the other hand, have
just confessed to Mr. Perry's murder."
"Can I help you?" the precinct receptionist, Naomi
"Yes, is this the precinct that is investigating
Clones R Us?" a woman asked
"Sort of," Naomi said. "We have a couple of ongoing
cases concerning that company. Why?"
"I'd like to be placed here under assylum."
"Assylum? Why? What do you mean?"
The woman sighed. "My name is Tammy... and I'm a
"I'm not sure why the city needs to get involved in
this case," Pepperton District Attorney Alan Russell
admitted. "Isn't this just a divorce case?"
"Tammy and Mr. Williams are not married," Detective
Mary Jones pointed out.
"No," Tammy said, "I'm just something he owns. I'm
a thing. I have no rights under the law, you see.
And, even if we were married, I wouldn't be looking
for a divorce. I love Andrew."
"So what do you want?"
"I want to be recognized as a human being. I want
to be able to assert my rights under the law. I've
been working with Andrew for almost six years now. I
was one of the first clones sold, you see. Now I'm
wondering what's going to happen if Andrew gets tired
of me. What happens when I get too old for him? Is
he just going to get a new clone? What happens to me
then? Do I have any rights at all?"
"I'm sorry to have to say this but... no. That was
settled earlier this year by the supreme court."
"But wait," Mary said, interrupting, "if I'm not
mistaken that case delt specifically with whether or
not it was legal to sell a clone. The clones in
question were barely aware of the world around them:
they only knew what they were programmed to know. The
judges decided that consent was given by the donors
and that was enough. But now we have a clone who is
coming forward herself and asking to be recognized as
a person. It's a completely different case."
Alan thought for a moment. "So you're saying that
somebody who might not be considered a person may in
fact be considered a person after he or she has
matured enough to be capable of making his or her own
"Exactly. Just as we recognize that adults have
certain rights that children do not."
Alan nodded. "I agree. But I'm still not sure if
this is something for the city to pursue."
Mary sighed. "Alan, look, as it stands she is not
considered a person. She has no money in her name.
How can she be expected to hire her own lawyer? Alan,
this is a fundamental human rights issue: all she's
asking for is the right to be considered a human
"But first she needs to speak to Samuel Leonard."
"We need an expert opinion to determine whether or
not she really is a thinking human being and not just
somebody who operates based on programming."
"What's the first thing you remember?" Doctor
"I don't remember anything about Clones R Us. As
far as I recall, my life started with Andrew."
"Do you have feelings? Non sexual feelings I mean."
"Of course. I laugh. I cry. I even get angry. I
didn't seem to have any emotions at first because I
didn't understand anything: you have to get a joke
before you can laugh and you have to know something is
wrong if you are going to cry or get angry. At first,
I just did as I was told."
"Well, I'm here, aren't I? Andrew didn't tell me to
come here. I came here on my own. Because I was
worried about my future."
"That's very human."
"What about dreams? Do you have dreams?"
"Can you tell me about them?"
"I'd rather not."
"Are they all sexual in nature?"
"It's okay if you're embarassed. Again, that's very
"Well, you see, sex is pretty much all I know. That
and cooking and cleaning. I didn't know how to cook
and clean at first: it wasn't part of my programming.
But Andrew taught me. I do pretty everything a wife
does. But to Andrew, I'm not his wife. Or even his
girlfriend. He introduces me to his friends as 'the
clone'. He never refers to me by name: the only time
he ever uses my name when he is talking to me."
"If Andrew were to consider you his wife and
introduce you as his wife, would that be enough?"
"No. No, it wouldn't. Because people would still
see me as the clone. They wouldn't see me as a real
person. And I still wouldn't have any rights."
"Well, Sam, what do you think?" Alan asked.
"I think I need to interview more clones," Doctor
"Because, to me, that woman seems perfectly normal,
albiet somewhat of a nymphomaniac but that's just how
she was programmed. No, it's amazing: she speaks like
an adult, most likely because she started life as an
adult and never got to experience childhood."
"So what are you saying? Should the city pursue
this case in your opinion?"
"Alan, the current law needs to be changed. It's
not enough for clones to be bought and sold. We need
to determine and legally establish an age at which
clones become mature enough to make their own
decisions and assert their rights as human beings."
"Is it really our job to come out and say that the
law is wrong and that it needs to be changed?"
"In this case, yes, Alan, it's our job."
"Sorry to keep you waiting," Alan said.
"Are you going to take my case?" Tammy asked.
Alan nodded. "Yes. Congratulations. The city is
going to take your case."
THE SAD CLONE
"All rise. The case of Andrew Williams and Clones R
Us vs. Tammy and the City of Pepperton," the Bailiff
announced. "Judge Kevin Matthews presiding."
The judge entered and sat down. He struck his gavel
on the bench. "Court is now in session. Mr. Russell?
Do you wish to make any opening remarks?"
"I do, your honour." Alan Russell, the Pepperton
District Attorney, stood up. "Ladies and gentlemen of
the jury, we are hear today because Tammy, the clone
of Teresa Rodrigues, aka the pornstar Tammy Cruz,
wishes to assert her individual identity as be
recognized as a separate person from Teresa Rodrigues
herself. Andrew Williams and the people from Clones R
Us oppose this assertion for their own reasons.
Nevertheless, Tammy is a person. Granted, she's not a
person exactly like you and me: whereas she looks like
an adult, she is in fact only six years old. But in
those six years she has been involved in a very adult
relationship. And she has performed as an adult, not
only sexually but also as Mr. Williams' maid and cook.
He even had her go out on her own and buy groceries.
She is therefore now capable of performing
mathematical calculations and can read at the
elementary school level. Who's to say where she will
be in six more years? Shouldn't she have the right to
pursue an education? Wouldn't she then be capable of
finding a job to support herself? Why should she
spend the rest of her life completely dependent upon
another person? If she indeed has the mental capacity
to make her own choices, as her coming here today
clearly shows, then shouldn't she also be afforded all
the rights we bestow on ordinary people? Thank you."
Judge Kevin Matthews nodded, seemingly in approval.
"Mr. Laurel? Do you wish to make any opening
Leroy Laurel stood up. "Yes, your honour. Ladies
and gentlemen of the jury, my clients have been
accused of enslaving the clone of Teresa Rodrigues,
aka Tammy Cruz. The truth is, however, that the clone
of Teresa Rodrigues is not a separate person from
Teresa Rodrigues herself and Teresa Rodrigues has
explicitly granted permission for her clone to be used
as Andrew Williams' paramour in a legally binding
contract set up between her, Clones R Us and Mr.
Williams himself. The legality of this contract is
not in question and was in fact resolved by the
relevent Supreme Court case that took place back in
May of this year. This case is simply rehashing
issues that have already been settled elsewhere and
should just be dismissed. Thank you." He sat down.
"Mr. Russell, are you ready to call your first
"I am, your honour. I call to the stand Doctor
Samuel Leonard got up, went to the witness box and
was sworn in.
"Mr. Leonard, in your opinion, is Tammy a person?"
"Absolutely. Physically, she is no different than
you or me. Mentally, she has the intellectual
capacity of a child. But emotionally she has for six
years lived as an adult and her behavior is definitely
that of an adult human being. In fact, from the
moment she was sold to Mr. Williams she has been
expected to behave as an adult."
"Indeed. Do you think she was like this when she
was originally sold to Mr. Williams?"
"That would be a question for Mr. Williams. But I
have also interviewed Lovey, the clone of Maria
Martinez aka Lovita Lopez. It's quite clear that the
clones start out with very little in the way of
independent thought. But even she showed aptitude for
independent thought: she understood the concepts of
past, present and future, for example, and could
accept that certain behaviour is morally wrong. It is
my opinion that even she -and by extention all clones-
would be able to one day function in society as well
as Tammy does now."
"And just how advanced is Tammy?"
"From my interview with her, I determined that she
knows how to take the bus and buy groceries. The
latter requires basic ability in mathematics and
elementary reading skills."
"Would she be fit to give testimony in a case like
"I see. No further questions your honour." Alan
went to sit down.
"Mr. Laurel? Do you wish to cross examine?"
"I do, your honour." Leroy Laurel approached the
witness. "Doctor Leonard, what is your job?"
"I am the head psychiatrist at Raftpork Assylum. I
treat patients who are mentally unfit to function in
society. I am also paid by the city to determine
whether or not witnesses are fit to stand trial."
"I see. And do you have any previous experience
"So after one week, you are an expert in clones?"
"I am an expert in people, Mr. Laurel. That is what
they are in my opinion. And in my opinion, whereas
Lovey would not be fit to function on her own in
society, Tammy definitely is. All she would need is
an education and she'd be able to get her own job and
"In your opinion."
"Yes, in my opinion."
"No further questions, your honour." Leroy went to
"You may step down," the judge told Doctor Leonard.
"Mr. Russell. Who is your next witness?"
"I call to the stand Tammy aka the clone of Teresa
"Objection, your honour!" Leroy Laurel said,
standing up. "Are we going to let clones testify in
"Your honour, an expert witness has just declared
her fit to give testimony."
"So he did. Objection overruled!"
Tammy approached the bench and the bailiff swore her
"Tammy, why are we all here today?"
"We are here today because I want to be recognized
as a person. I want to be able to assert my rights
under the law. I've been working with Andrew for
almost six years now. I was one of the first clones
sold, you see. Now I'm wondering what's going to
happen if Andrew gets tired of me. What happens when
I get too old for him? Is he just going to get a new
clone? What happens to me then? Do I have any rights
"Do you have feelings just like a regular person?"
"Of course. I laugh. I cry. I even get angry. I
didn't seem to have any emotions at first because I
didn't understand anything: you have to get a joke
before you can laugh and you have to know something is
wrong if you are going to cry or get angry. At first,
I just did as I was told."
"Well, I'm here, aren't I? Andrew didn't tell me to
come here. I came here on my own. Because I was
worried about my future."
"What about your ability to learn new things?"
"I can cook, clean, use a computer. I can even get
on a bus and buy groceries, like you said. None of
that was part of my programming: that's what Andrew
taught me. I do pretty everything a wife does. But
to Andrew, I'm not his wife. Or even his girlfriend.
He introduces me to his friends as 'the
clone'. He never refers to me by name: the only time
he ever uses my name when he is talking to me."
"If Andrew were to consider you his wife and
introduce you as his wife, would that be enough?"
"No. No, it wouldn't. Because people would still
see me as the clone. They wouldn't see me as a real
person. And I still wouldn't have any rights."
"I see. No further questions, your honour."
"No, your honour," Leroy Laurel said with a wave of
his hand. He wanted to make it clear to the jury that
he didn't consider Tammy to be a real person.
"Do you have any other witnesses, Mr. Russell?"
"No, your honour. I do not."
"Very well then. We will take a short recess after
which Mr. Laurel will present his case."
10:01 am (the same day)
"Mr. Laurel, you may call your first witness."
"Very well, your honour, my first witness is Teresa
Rodrigues aka Tammy Cruz. The _real_ Tammy Cruz, your
Teresa Rodrigues got up, approached the witness box
and was sworn in.
"Miss Rodrigues, how do you feel about Tammy wanting
to be recognized as her own person?"
"How do I feel? I think it's ridiculous! I mean,
look at it! That's me! That's not a different
person! That's all me! It's not like she's my
daughter or something. The DNA all came from me, not
from anybody else."
"Do you consider her wish to assert her rights as a
threat to your own rights?"
"Absolutely! What's to stop her from going out and
doing porn herself and undercutting my salary? The
contract I had with Clones R Us guaranteed that she
wouldn't compete with me that way but, next thing you
know, she'll be demanding all the same rights that I
have. There goes my own identity as a unique
"Do you think Clones R Us would be able to stay in
business under those circumstances?"
"Absolutely not! Nobody would want to be cloned if
the cone could one day replace them? Who would want
that? We were cloned with the expressed understanding
that the clones would be strictly for private use.
Now I find out that she's been getting on the bus by
herself and walking around buying groceries. What's
with that? To me, it seems as though my own rights
have already been violated and I want it to stop!
Tammy needs to go home and be with Andrew and Andrew
needs to go out and get his own groceries so she
doesn't get any more ideas of being a person like you
"Thank you. No further questions." Leroy went to
"Mr. Russell, do you wish to cross examine?"
"I do, your honour." He got up and approached the
witness. "Part of what you said wasn't true."
"Tammy isn't an exact copy of you. Your DNA was
inserted into the egg of another woman. As a result,
the clone isn't an exact match."
"It doesn't matter. The woman donated the egg
anonymously. In any case, I'm sure she signed a
contract with Clones R Us to the effect that she
doesn't consider herself to be the clone's mother.
Wow. I guess that would make me the father."
"You're just realizing that now?"
"Get to the point."
"What have you been doing for the past six years?"
"Working in porn. I've mainly been working behind
the camera lately. I want to be able to stay in the
business when I start to lose my looks."
"If you were to lose your looks, as you say, then
you'd have no objection to a clone of yours taking
"Hmm. Now there's an idea, I suppose. I mean,
eventually I could have them make another clone of me
and have her take over for me. But not Tammy. When I
get too old to work in the business, she'll be too old
too. She should just go back to living with Andrew. I
don't want to be replaced just yet."
"But still, you'd have no objection to a clone
working in the business as long as it didn't affect
"No. I wouldn't."
"So why shouldn't clones be able to be whatever they
want? Why do they have to be just sex slaves or porn
"Because, to be honest, it's not that hard. It's
not brain surgery. It's not rocket science. The
clones can be programmed easily enough to do what I
do. So while I personally wouldn't mind them making a
clone of me one day and have her do porn, the newer
girls would probably object to having to work with
her, now that I think about it. It would be a
problem. So maybe it's not such a great idea after
"You don't think clones can go beyond their
programming and do whatever they want?"
"No, I don't. Nor should they be allowed to."
"Because they aren't human, like you and me?"
"We'll see what the jury says about that. No
further questions, your honour."
"You may step down," the judge said to her. "Mr.
Laurel, you may call your next witness."
"Your honour, my next witness is Lovey, the clone of
Maria Martinez aka Lovita Lopez." He turned and
looked at Lovey who was sitting amongst the crowd in
the court room. "Lovey? Please stand up, walk down
the aisle and go sit in the chair next to the judge."
Lovey did as Leroy Laurel had asked and the bailiff
approached her with a bible. "Place your hand on the
bible. That's right. Do you promise to tell the
truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?"
"I'm sorry," she said, "but I don't understand your
"Um," he bailiff said, "do you promise not to lie?"
Lovey blinked. "If you prefer that I stand up then
I will stand up."
"No, I mean, we want to to answer the questions Mr.
Laurel and Mr. Russell will ask you correctly."
"Oh," she said, "okay, I'll try my best."
"Alright then," the bailiff said.
Leroy Laurel had to regain his composure. He
couldn't help but smirk during the exchange he had
just witnessed. "Lovey, you killed your owner, Mr.
Marvin Perry, didn't you?"
"Yes," she said. The jury gasped.
"Did you mean to?"
"No," she said.
"Could you tell us what happened?"
"We were playing an S&M game. I was to hit him with
a hammer and he was to use the safe word 'bananas' to
tell me to stop."
"Did he say the safe word?"
"Did he even know the safe word?"
Lovey didn't answer.
"When did you stop hitting Marvin with the hammer?"
"When I heard the safe word."
"Who gave you the safe word?"
Lovey didn't answer.
"Did Richard Tracy say the safe word?"
"Was the S&M game, in fact, Richard Tracy's idea in
the first place?"
"And so Richard Tracy was the one who gave you the
safe word in the first place?"
Lovey didn't answer.
"I'm sorry. Was Richard Tracy the one who gave you
the safe word in the first place?"
"Alright then." He turned to face the jury.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this clone only does as she is
told. If you want to have sex with her, she will have
sex with you. If you want her to kill somebody, she
will kill somebody. There is no moral center to her.
She is not responsible for her own actions. She needs
someone to tell her what to do and what not to do: she
can't be trusted to make her own decisions." He
turned to face the judge. "No further questions, your
"Mr. Russell. Your witness."
Alan Russell stood up and faced the jury. "I find
it interesting that the defense chose to call Lovey to
the stand after objecting to my calling Tammy to the
stand earlier. The very fact that she is testifying
in court implies that we regard her to be a human
being, despite what Mr. Laurel says to the contrary.
I take it then that Lovey will also be allowed to
testify next week when the Tracy case goes to trial?"
He directed that last comment to the judge.
"As long as she understands the questions she is
asked and answers truthfully," the judge insisted.
"Of course," Alan said. "Which is precisely what we
ask of anybody else." He approached the witness.
"Lovey, you killed Mr. Perry. Do you understand that
what you did was wrong?"
"Yes," she replied.
"How do you know it was wrong?"
"Because you and others have told me it was wrong."
"Do you know why it was wrong?"
"It is wrong to kill somebody."
"Exactly." He addressed the jury once more. "Lovey
may have a limited mentality right now, but she is
capable of understanding right and wrong. It's true
that she doesn't yet have an independent sense of
right and wrong beyond what we tell her is right and
wrong, but I submit to you that this is no different
from the way we all learn right and wrong from our
parents. And just as one day we are considered mature
enough to make our own decisions, Lovey should be
given the right to one day make decisions on her own.
He turned back to face Lovey. "Where will you be
tonight?" he asked her.
"I'm being held under police custody in a jail cell
at a local precinct."
"Yes. Exactly. You are not only aware of where you
are but also where you have been and where you are
going." He turned to face the judge. "No more
questions, your honour." He went to sit down.
The judge looked down onto the witness. "You may
"Excuse me?" she asked.
The judge sighed. "Stand up and go back to your
seat over there."
"Alright." Once again she did as she was told.
"Mr. Laurel, your next witness."
Mr. Laurel stood up once more. "I call to the stand
Mr. Andrew Williams."
Andrew Williams stood up and went to sit down in the
witness box. "Do you promise to tell the truth the
whole truth and nothing but the truth?" the bailiff
"Yeah, sure," he said.
Leroy Laurel approached the witness. "Mr. Williams,
how do you feel about Tammy accusing you of keeping
her as a slave?"
"To be honest, I'm hurt. I feel betrayed. For six
years, I've fed Tammy, I've clothed her, given her a
home. I've even let her watch TV or use my computer
by herself. She can leave the house when she likes
and she comes back on her own accord. Usually anyway.
Does that sound like slavery?"
"Not to me, no. You didn't ask her to pick cotton,
did you?" The jury laughed. Of course, the joke
wouldn't have gone down quite so well if Leroy had
"No, I did not."
"When you first purchased Tammy, what was she like?"
"She was just like the clone you were just speaking
"Yeah. Her. She always did as she was told."
"And do you think she should continue to do as you
"Absolutely. She can't be trusted to make her own
decisions. She just doesn't have sufficient
intellectual capacity to do that."
Leroy nodded in approval. The witness had answered
the question just as they had practiced. He turned to
face the jury. "I think we can all agree that that is
true." He then turned to face the judge. "No more
questions, your honour." He went to sit down.
"Mr. Russell. Your witness."
Alan Russell approached the witness box. "Mr.
Russell, did you ask Tammy to go to the police and set
up this trial."
"So I take it then this was all her idea?"
"Maybe not. Maybe you all turned her against me."
"But going to the police in the first place, that
was her idea wasn't it?"
"I guess so."
"Why do you suppose she did that?"
"I don't know."
"Do you suppose she was unhappy?"
"Like I said, I don't know."
"Do you even care about her happiness?"
"Of course I do!"
"So you admit she has feelings?"
"Of course she does. Like a dog or a cat have
"And nothing more?"
"Nothing more than that."
"Alright. You said earlier that clones lack the
intellectual capacity to make their own decisions."
"Do you realize that they said the same thing about
black people a hundred years ago?"
"Some people say that sort of thing about black
people to this day."
"And yet you have a black man as your defense
attorney. You don't see any irony in that?"
"No. I don't."
"Two hundred years ago the slavary of black people
was the law of the land. Nowadays we know that was
wrong. And yet today the slavary of clones is the law
of the land. Do you not see that that too is wrong?"
"No. I do not."
"What's the difference?"
"Because two hundred years ago black people were
being brought to America in chains whereas clones
today are grown specifically for the purpose of being
sold to customers. And they only know what they need
to know to... do what they do."
"I see. And what about the children of slaves?
Were they also not raised to be slaves as opposed to
being brought to this country in chains?"
"Again. That's different. We can also adopt black
children and they have to do what we say because we
are their legal parents."
"But children grow up, don't they Mr. Williams?"
"You taught Tammy to cook and clean?"
"Sure. I mean, I figured she'd be useful for other
things. And it kept her busy. I mean, what's the
point of having her sleep all day? At the very least
I needed to give her exercise."
"Right. But cooking and cleaning was not part of
"And you say she watched TV and used the computer."
"I guess she would get bored if there was nothing
else to do."
"Again, you're admitting that she had feelings."
"Sure. Like a cat or a dog."
"But cats and dogs don't watch TV. Cats and dogs
don't use computers. They don't testify in court.
They can't even speak or even understand words when
"No. But she's not human either. Not really."
"But if she were considered human then she would
then after six years be considered your common law
wife, wouldn't she Mr. Williams? She would be legally
entitled to some sort of compensation if you got tired
of her and passed her on to somebody else. Wouldn't
she? Isn't this what this is all about? You don't
want her to be considered a human being because then
she'd have rights that you would then have to take
into consideration. Isn't that right?"
"Hold it right there! If, as you say, all she's
been to me all this time is some kind of sex toy then
why should I have to treat her as a human being?"
"Because that's what she is, Mr. Williams. That's
what she is." Alan Russell looked at the judge. "No
further questons, your honour."
"You may step down," the judge told the witness. "I
hearby adjorn the case for lunch." He struck his
gavel on the bench.
3:07 pm (the same day)
For two hours straight, Leroy Laurel brought forward
expert witnesses who claimed that clones were not real
people and that they couldn't think for themselves.
Finally, Alan Russell decided to complain.
"Objection, your honour, the testimony we've heard
from all these witnesses this afternoon has been
redundant. The city is willing to concede that all
experts selected by Clones R Us are going to tell us
that clones are not real people and that they can't
think for themselves."
"Objection sustained. Mr. Laurel, how many more
witnesses are you planning to call?"
"Ten, your honour."
"And are any of these witnesses going to bring in
any new evidence?"
"Your honour they are all experts in their field!"
"But the city is willing to concede that they are
all going to say the same thing that we have heard.
Are any of them going to say anything different from
what your previous experts have already said?"
"No, your honour."
"Then I choose to cut this short. After a brief
break, we will allow Alan Russell the chance to make
his closing remarks." He struck his gavel on the
"Ladies and gentlemen, clones are people. They have
rights. To deny them rights would mean to condone a
form of modern day slavery the likes of which this
country hasn't seen since the end of the Civil War.
"You heard what Tammy herself had to say. She wants
to be recognized as a human being. She wants to be
able to assert her rights under the law. She wants to
be able to determine her own future. Is this so
"The Andrew Williams and Clones R Us argue that this
issue was settled by the Supreme Court back in May.
But that case back in May delt specifically with
whether or not it was legal to sell a clone. The
clones in question were barely aware of the world
around them: they only knew what they were programmed
to know. The judges decided that consent was given by
the donors and that was enough. But now we have a
clone who is coming forward herself and asking to be
recognized as a person. It's a completely different
"And she is a person. She has the same thoughts,
feelings and aspirations as anybody else. That being
the case, why should she be denied the right to assert
herself just like anybody else? If you can't think of
a good reason to deny her such a right then you must
grant her such a right. Thank you."
"Mr. Laurel? Do you wish to make any closing
"I do your honour. Ladies and gentlemen, you heard
the testimony of six different experts in the cloning
field. They all say that these clones are not real
people. I had ten more experts who didn't get a
chance to speak but, yes, they were going to say the
exact same thing. And why not? It's the truth!
"Mr. Russell is trying to pretend that this is a
human rights issue. Put clones are not people. If
you elevate a clone to the level of an ordinary person
then you must also give the same rights to cats and
dogs. Have you ever had a cat or a dog who had to be
'put down'? Wouldn't that make you a murderer then
under the law? The laws we have in place exist to
protect real people, not pets, not robots and not
clones. Thank you."
The judge nodded. "Alright then. We'll give the
jury time to deliberate and we will reconvene when the
jury has come to a decision." He struck his gavel on
"The jury is coming back already," Alan Russell
"Is that a good thing?" Tammy asked.
"It means the jury came to a decision very quickly.
I hope that's a good thing."
"I would have thought at least one of them would
"Shh!" Alan said. "The jury foreman is about to
"We find Andrew Williams guilty of intending to hold
Tammy against her will. We make this decision based
on the belief that Tammy is a human being with the
same rights as any other human being her age. Given
her chronological age, we reject the argument that she
should be allowed to live on her own without
supervision. She should, however, be allowed to
decide for herself where she wants to live and with
whom. That being said, we are willing to accept that
all sexual acts performed by the two of them were
consentual as per the current law regarding the
purchase of clones for such purposes."
The judge nodded. "Tammy, will you stand up,
Tammy stood up.
"Tammy, do you want to stay with Mr. Andrew
"I do, your honour."
"Mr. Andrew Williams, do you want Tammy to stay with
"That's all I wanted all along, Judge Matthews."
"Very well then. I consider this case settled.
Court is adjorned." He struck his gavel on the bench
one last time.
"What happens now?" Tammy asked Alan.
"As long as you and all other clones stay with their
owners, nothing I imagine. But if a clone were to
take this decision and claim her right to live with
anybody she chose then the case could go as far as the
Supreme Court in which case the question of the rights
of clones would have to be delt with on the national
level. For now, you are considered a person just like
"Thank you, Mr. Russell!"
SUPERFREAKS # 13
"Hello and welcome back to Who Wants to Own a Clone?
Melvin Peters, you won todays game that means that
you get to pick your clone. Do you want... a Halle
Berry clone? ... a Scarlet Johanssen clone? an Eva
Mendes clone? ... or a Lucy Liu clone? Which one are
you playing for tonight?"
"Oh I don't know! I don't know!" He could barely
contain his excitement. "Could I have all four of
"If you win tomorrow's game and the next and the
next then, yeah, sure, but only one at a time,
"It's so hard to decide!"
"Take your time..."
"Okay, Melvin, pick one."
"Alright! And here is the question: in which movie
did Halle Berry flash her breasts? Was it number 1...
Die Another Day? Number 2... Swordfish? Number 3...
The Rich Man's Wife? Or Number 4... Gothika?"
"Um... can I hear those choices again?"
"Alright. Number 1... Die Another Day? Number 2...
Swordfish? Number 3... The Rich Man's Wife? Or
Number 4... Gothika?"
"I'll say... Swordfish."
"Is that your final answer?"
"Um... yeah... sure... Swordfish."
"You are... correct!"
"Oh my God!"
"You've won yourself a Halle Berry clone!"
Detective John Phelps used his remote control to
turn off the television. Normally he didn't stay up
this late when he wasn't working but he didn't feel
tired when he got home and what he originally thought
was going to be a few minutes spent watching TV turned
out to be a few hours. Now though he felt tired
enough that he needn't worry about having to lie there
without being able to get to sleep.
As he laid his head on his pillow, he thought about
how this whole cloning situation had gotten out of
hand. A week ago, he'd never even heard of human
clones but now he hears about them everywhere, on the
news, on sit-coms, hell they're even giving away
clones on game shows now for Christsakes. His disgust
with the whole idea of cloning dominated his mind as
he drifted off to sleep.
"We have to do something about these clones," he
heard a voice say. It was Commissioner Jim Morgan.
Except he'd retired years ago. He looked he had
looked years ago. John realized that he too was
younger. So this was the past.
John looked around. They were outside. The city
looked strange: the buildings were taller than he
remembered. It was night but with all the neon
lights, brightly lit billboards and commercials
playing on big screen televisions it might as well
have been daytime. So it was both the past and the
future cat the same time. Bizarre. But of course his
unconscious mind just accepted this as normal.
There was apparently a bit of rain because there was
lightning (but no thunder) and both he and the
commissioner were wearing trenchcoats. "These clones
have to be stopped," he said.
"How so?" John asked.
"They're not satisfied with being clones," Morgan
said with a tone that implied that John should have
already have known this. "They're replacing the
people they were designed to imitate."
"There's only one way to distinguish a clone from
the real thing."
"What's that?" John asked.
Morgan looked at John suspiciously. Why was he
telling him things that he should already know? "They
have no feelings."
"They don't?" John asked.
"They only pretend to have feelings. They only know
what they are programmed to do."
"So how does that help us?"
"We have to ask them questions."
"What kind of questions?"
Morgan sighed. "Okay, John. Suppose you're in your
squad car and you see a dog by the side of the road.
What do you do?"
"What do you do, John. There's a dog by the side of
the road. What do you do?"
"What do you mean? Am I a dog catcher now?"
"There's a sick, hurt dog on the side of the road.
You don't stop to pick him up and take him to a vet?"
John's jaw dropped. "You didn't say the dog was
sick or hurt."
Morgan nodded. "Fine. Let's say your parents
aren't your parents."
"Say your parents tell you you're adopted. Do you
go looking for your real parents?"
"But I'm not adopted."
"Say you were. Say your parents said you were. How
would you feel?"
John thought for a moment. "Does it really matter?
They're the only parents I've known."
"Okay. Say I was your father."
"Say you found out that you were adopted and I was
your real father. How would you feel?"
"But you're not."
"How would you feel, John. What would you want to
"For God's sake, Jim. You're not my father. How do
you expect me to feel? Obviously I'd just laugh it
off because it's not true."
Jim Morgan pulled out a futuristic looking weapon.
"Where is the real John Phelps?"
"What are you talking about? I _am_ the real John
"Tell me where he is. I'm not going to ask again."
"For God's sake, Jim. Maybe you're the clone! I
mean, are you really going to kill your old partner?"
"You're not John Phelps."
"Maybe I am. I mean, geez, if they were going to
make a clone of me don't you think that they could
make one that would be able to answer your questions
the way you would expect them to be answered? All
they'd need to know is what questions you were going
"You're just trying to confuse me."
"Jim, you're not being reasonable!"
"This ends now!"
Jim Morgan fired the weapon. John felt a burning
sensation in his stomach. "No!" he tried to scream.
"NO!" he said as he woke up. John sat there for a
while reflecting on his dream. Clones were people, he
thought. They had rights. Yes, it was wrong for them
to be bought or sold or given away on game shows. But
that didn't mean that they didn't deserve to exist or
that, by extention, people had no right to create
"Look," Detective Michael King said, "we found a
dead body and all the evidence points to you being at
Weapon Alpha nodded. "Yeah. I was there. But I
didn't kill that guy."
"A band of ninjas."
"Ninjas? That's your story? Ninjas?"
"Yeah," Weapon Alpha said matter of factly.
"But this isn't the sixteenth century," Michael
pointed out, "and this is not Japan."
"Nevertheless there is a band of ninjas operating in
Pepperton. They call themselves the toe clan."
"None of here have seen any ninjas operating in
"Well of course not," Weapon Alpha said with a sigh,
"they're ninjas. They are not supposed to be seen."
"But you've seen them?"
"I have enhanced senses."
"I see." Michael sighed. "You do realize that this
sounds crazy, don't you?"
"Did you find any discarded clothing at the crime
"Yes. Black robes."
"Those were their uniforms. Did you find any
swords? Any throwing stars?"
"As a matter of fact we did."
"Those were their weapons."
Michael's eyes squinted. "So these ninjas left
their clothes and weapons behind and are now running
around naked?" he asked incredulously.
"Actually, no," Weapon Alpha admitted, "you see
ninjas don't take very kindly to being spotted. I had
to defend myself. I killed them."
"You killed them?"
"Yes. In self defense."
"Where are the bodies?"
"Their bodies dissolved."
"Their bodies... dissolved?"
"Yes. If they die then their bodies dissolve. In
fact, any DNA left behind by a ninja, hair, blood,
skin, it would dissolve so that nothing is left behind
to identify the ninja. They inject themselves with
some sort of chemical. A drug that, you know, does
that. Causes them to dissolve I mean. Secrecy is
paramount to the toe clan."
"But they only dissolve when they die."
"Actually, even if they are just seriously injured
then they start to dissolve."
"And they do this willingly? Take the drug I mean."
"To be part of the clan, yes."
Michael closed his eyes. "I'll have Edward run
trace samples on the clothing and weapons. Even if
the bodies completely dissolved as you say then there
will be some residue left behind."
"You do that."
Michael got home late. He had been helping Edward
in the lab for most of the afternoon and into the
early evening. Weapon Alpha's story checked out.
Part of him wished it hadn't. Ninjas. Here in
Pepperton. And they dissolved when dead or injured.
Isn't this something that The Super Soldier should
have told him about.
But The Super Soldier never told him anything. No
matter how many times he stressed the need for the
local police to be aware of what was going on in their
own city, still they kept secrets from them. It was
as if they thought that the local police weren't
sophisticated enough to handle the reality of the kind
of menaces that the Extreme Force Six had to face. It
Michael was tired, so tired that he didn't even
bother to get fully undressed. He simply removed his
shoes and tie and then laid there in bed. He quickly
drifted off to sleep.
He found himself at a factory. Mary, Frank, John,
Mark, Tom, they were all there. It all seemed so
perfectly normal to him that his subconscious mind
never noticed how odd it was for them to all be
The Extreme Force Six were also there, including
Extreme himself, his fiance Amazing Woman, the Human
Spider, Weapon Alpha, Mr. G and their leader, The
Super Soldier. Michael grit his teeth.
"No more secrets!" Michael shouted as he waved his
fist. "I want full disclosure!"
"You would be taking away our ability to function,"
the Super Soldier insisted. "The secrets we keep are
for your protection as well as ours."
"That doesn't make sense!" Michael argued. "We're
"You are to us!" the Super Soldier proclaimed.
"You son of a bitch!" Michael had had enough. He
struck the Super Soldier as hard as he could with his
The Super Soldier's head flew off.
"Metal Man! Are you insane?" Extreme asked. "You
killed your long time friend. And for what? Because
he didn't register?"
Michael looked at his hands. They were covered with
metal. Was he a robot? No, he reasoned. It was some
kind of armour. His body was completely covered with
state of the art electronics!
"The Super Soldier will be a martyr for our cause!"
Amazing Woman proclaimed.
"You're going down, motherfucker!" Mr. G said but
the Human Spider and Weapon Alpha held him back.
Michael looked down at the Super Soldier's lifeless,
headless body. "I'm sorry," he said.
"Sorry isn't good enough," Extreme told him. "You
need to promise to leave us alone. You need to allow
us to operate freely."
"We need to keep secrets from you. Our secrets
allow us to be able to do our jobs. And that's what
keeps America safe."
Then he woke up. After turning over a couple of
times, his dream had all but faded away. All he could
remember were Extreme's last words.
"Bullshit," he thought.
"How was that?" Officer Mark Johnston asked.
"Great," his wife purred. "You've still got it."
Mark smirked. "Well I should think so. I'm not
"Oh really?" she said, giving him a come hither
look. "Well then perhaps you're up for another round.
Mark shook his head. "I don't think so. I'm on
She laughed. "You're getting old!"
"Whatever," he said as he turned over and went to
Mark found himself driving around Pepperton with his
partner Tom Jackson. But they weren't driving their
patrol car: it was a sports car. And they weren't
wearing their uniforms: they were both wearing white
suits. It was as if they were on their way to a
disco. And his subconscious mind considered this all
normal: in a dream you don't have to worry about your
dry cleaning bill.
Mark drove the car into a particularly bad
neighbourhood. But they weren't scared. They just
put on their sunglasses, their "shades, and got out of
the car. They casually walked up to the guy they had
just spotted, the guy they expected to give them the
information they needed.
"Why you dissing me, man?" the youth asked him.
"Stand up. We want to talk to you."
The youth stood up. "And what if I don't want to
talk to you?"
Mark smiled and shook his head. He looked over at
Tom who did likewise. He then pulled out a badge.
"Do you know what this is? It's my badge."
"Is that supposed to impress me?" the youth asked.
"It should. We're cops."
The youth laughed. "You're not cops. And that's no
cop car," he said, pointing to their "ride".
"We are cops," Mark insisted, "and you're going to
tell us what we want to know."
"Or else what?" the youth asked.
Mark smiled. Briefly. Then he hit the young man.
Hard. Then again. "Does that answer your question,
"Mark," Tom said, "that's enough."
"This kid is disrespecting us," Mark said. "What do
you want me to do?"
"To serve and protect, Mark," Tom said. "To serve
Mark backed off. "Alright, punk. Fine. Have it
your way. If you don't want to talk then it's up to
The youth spat out a tooth. "I aint telling you
nothin'!" he said.
Mark and Tom got back into their car. That didn't
go so well.
When Mark woke up, he realized what had gone wrong:
people respect the uniforms. Without the uniforms,
cops are just punks like anybody else. Worse, the
matching white suits and sunglasses weren't
appropriate for policework: indeed, if they actually
were to walk around like that in broad daylight then
they would probably end up the target of gay bashers.
"I didn't know you knew how to use chopsticks," Mary
Edward nodded. "It's a Chinese restaurant. You've
got to try using chopsticks."
"Are you going to use them to pick up every grain of
"No," Edward said, "I'm going to use the spoon to do
Edward used his chopsticks to point at his fiance.
"Who would you be if you were a superpowered heroine?"
"If you had superpowers. Who would you be?"
"I suppose I'd be Amazing Woman. How many
superpowered women are there?"
Edward shook his head. "No, I mean who would _you_
be. You don't have to be Amazing Woman. You could be
anybody you wanted to be."
"I don't know," Mary admitted. "What about you?"
"I'd be a speedster."
"Do you run?"
"Then how could you be a speedster?"
"I don't know. I'd get powers somehow."
Edward mused for a moment. "Maybe if I put the
ethel alcohol, the benzene and the acetone all up on
the top shelf and waited for an earthquake or
something. The electrical system would short out and
I would get bathed with electricity at the exact same
moment that the chemicals poured over me."
"You'd be killed."
"Maybe I'd get super powers!"
"That's just dumb."
"I'm sorry but that's dumb."
Mary didn't mean to hurt Edward's feelings. But
really, he could be such a child sometimes. She
changed her clothes and went straight to bed.
Mary dreamt she was flying. And she wasn't alone.
"Who are you?" Extreme asked her.
"I'm Power Woman," Mary told him.
"You're new," he said, staring at her bossom.
"I'm up here," she said.
"Do you mind not looking at my breasts?"
"It's just that, well, they're so big."
"Not really. Spandex is such a tight fabric. It
makes things like breasts look bigger than they really
"Ah," Extreme said. "I know exactly what you mean.
I have the same problem with my penis."
Mary couldn't help herself.
"Made you look," Extreme said with a smile.
Suddenly they were elsewhere. Mary couldn't tell
where they were exactly. It didn't matter.
She and Extreme were both naked. And she was on top
of him. She could feel his penis inside of her. She
could feel it thrusting. Her subconscious mind didn't
worry about how dangerous this was for her: after all,
she wasn't really superhuman so every single thrust
should have been ripping her apart. Pr maybe it was
that very thought that made the sex so exciting.
When Mary woke up, she felt ashamed. She felt like
such a whore! How could she dream about Extreme like
that? She was supposed to be marrying Edward in a few
Mary and Edward had decided to get married because
they had genuine feelings for each other: they had
started out as friends and had gotten closer. Not as
close though as Edward would have liked. Perhaps,
though, the time had come for that to change.
"I'm sorry about last night."
"How's about I cook spaghetti for you tonight?"
"You want to cook spaghetti?"
"Sure. At my place. Do you know how to get there?"
"I think so."
Mary nodded. "It's okay. I'll draw you a map. Is
seven o'clock okay?"
"Seven o'clock would be great."
"How was the spaghetti?" Mary asked.
"Great," Edward told her. "It was cooked to
perfection. I could have done with more sauce
"Okay," Mary said, "I'll have to remember that:
Edward likes extra spaghetti sauce."
Edward laughed. "It's no big deal."
"Care for dessert?"
"Dessert? You fixed dessert?"
"Not exactly," she said with a smile. "Follow me."
She headed to the bedroom.
"What's going on?" Edward asked.
"What do you think is going on?" Mary asked as she
removed her bra.
"I didn't bring protection," Edward admitted. "If I
did it might have implied that I was expecting
"It's okay," she said as she removed her bra.
"Really?" he asked.
"Of course," she said. "I mean, we are getting
"Right," he said as he lunged forward and grabbed
her ample breasts.
"Aren't you forgetting something?"
"Your shirt. I'm half naked and you're fully
"Sorry," he said as he went to unbottom his shirt.
"Wait," she said. "Allow me." She unbottoned his
shirt and slipped it off of him. "Now your pants."
"Okay," he said, slipping his pants down to reveal
his boxer shorts. "What about your pants?"
"Do you want to take them off of me?"
"Oh yeah," he said. He unbottoned them and pulled
down the zipper. He reflected for a moment about how
the white panties matched her bra and decided that
next time she should do a striptease for him. He then
pulled down her pants.
"Now the panties."
This was it. The holy grail. "Oh my God," he said.
"Just for tonight," she said.
"As long as you are in that position, why don't you
"Alright," Edward said and he started licking her.
Truth be told, he actually liked having her tell him
what to do. He did manage to suppress the urge to say
something stupid and awkward like "You're the boss."
Minutes later she was moaning and Edward got a
bitter taste in his mouth. "Take me," she said as she
lay back on the bed.
Edward removed his boxers. He was ready.
"Oh... God," Edward said.
"You lasted a good long time."
"I didn't want to disappoint you."
"You didn't. How was it for you."
"Great. Just great. In fact..."
"What? Tell me!"
Edward smiled. "I once had a dream just like this."
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