Superfreaks/ACRA: Superfreaks #1
martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 13 01:14:53 PDT 2006
SINS OF THE FATHERS
"1:00 am, the people in the next room heard
screaming so they called the police. We got there at
"Has the body been moved?"
"Not unless he moved the body before we got here."
"Just tell me if you moved the body."
"No. We didn't."
"Thank you. I'd like to speak to Mr. Extreme."
"He's just known as 'Extreme'."
"Maybe to you. But I prefer to keep a distance."
Michael King was grumpier than usual. He didn't like
it when he was called down to a crime scene at 2:00 in
"You wanted to speak to me?"
"I'm just called 'Extreme'."
"Very well, Extreme, I assume you are aware of your
"The arresting officers already read them to me,
"We just want to know the truth. It would save
time, you see. Anything you could say to shed light
on what happened would be appreciated."
Extreme sighed. "Alright. Her name is Paula Pound.
Or at least that's what she said. It probably isn't
her real name: it would be a strange coincidence if
her family name and her job description were the same.
You see, she's a super, like me. She can pound a car
into a cube. I didn't think there'd be a problem."
"We'll run her fingerprints, maybe show her picture
around. We will have to find out who she really was
so we can contact her relatives."
"Of course. Anyway, one thing led to another. I
mean, I'm Extreme. Women love me. But I rarely, you
know, get any. Your ordinary woman, I could just
crush them. Not on purpose of course, but I like it a
"We hit it off right away. But we both have our own
secret identities. And we weren't planning on
revealing who we were just yet, not unless things got
serious. We were both just interested in sex."
"So this was consentual."
"Absolutely! You can ask downstairs. We both
checked in. Under assumed names, of course."
"Go check the registry. Perhaps she signed in using
her real name."
"You were saying."
"I don't think her real name was Jane Smith."
"We have to allow for the possibility."
"Anyway, things were going great. And then she was
"Just like that?"
Extreme nodded. "Look, I would have called the
police myself, but I have super hearing: I knew that
the couple in the room next to us had already called
the police. So I waited for the police to get here.
I wanted to make sure she was alright."
"She's not alright. She's dead."
"Yeah, but... I thought maybe she just had passed
out. Her heart was still strong. At first. Then it
started to fade away. I swear... all the powers I
have... I have nothing that could have brought her
"You could have flown her to a hospital."
"I screwed up. I panicked. I'm sorry."
"I think, for your own protection, that you find
yourself a lawyer before we continue this
"In the meantime, you'll be in the custody of the
"Who found the body?"
"Garbagemen. She'd been thrown out with the trash."
Michael examined the body. Two dead women in
Pepperton found just a few hours apart. But this one
didn't look like an accident. Mary Jones had her own
"It looks like the killer knew her," she said.
"Why do you say that?"
"She appears to have been stabbed ten times. He
really wanted her dead. If this had been a robbery
then stabbing her once would have been enough."
"I agree," Michael said, "but it's also possible
that he's just a psycho who had a bad day. Either
way, we're going to have to make this case a top
priority: we'd be responsible if the killer were to
"You think this is a new serial killer?"
"We have to be prepared for the possibility."
"Did you finish the preliminary examination of the
body we found in the hotel?"
"What did you determine to be cause of death?"
Dr. Jack Greenspan hesitated. He'd never seen a
case quite like this one. "Near as I can tell, her
skin is virtually invulnerable: that made the
examination very difficult. But her internal organs
are more sensitive."
"So she was killed during intercourse?"
"Near as I can tell she died shortly afterwards."
"So what, specifically, was the cause of death?"
"The force of the blast, if you will, would have
been sufficient to rip a normal girl apart. In her
case, she appears to have ultimately died from
"Would she have been in a lot of pain?"
"No. I don't think so."
"How long would it have taken her to die?"
"Fifteen. Maybe twenty minutes."
"So what do you think District Attorney Russell
will say? He's got no love for capes."
"Alan Russell is a good man. You've told me that
the evidence shows that she died accidentally. If, as
you say, she wasn't in a lot of pain when she died
then that corroborates Extreme's claim that he didn't
think she was dying, that he thought she had just
passed out. The only problem the DA might have is
with his inability to act. The fact that he could
have gotten her to a hospital before she died."
"Moving her at superspeed would have exacerbated her
"Then that's what we tell the DA."
"We might end up telling him that in court."
"Edward, the girl we found in the dumpster. Do you
have anything we can go on?"
"Yeah. For starters, she wasn't so much stabbed as
"So you've identified the weapon?"
"It appears to have been retractable claws."
"Retractable claws? As in the retractable claws
used by Weapon Alpha?"
"That would be my guess. We also have a sample of
blood that doesn't appear to be the victims. I'm
going to test it for DNA. Hopefully the government
will allow us to obtain a sample of Weapon Alpha's DNA
for the purpose of comparison."
"I'm sure they would want to have him eliminated as
a suspect. First Extreme and now Weapon Alpha. This
is certainly a bad day for the Extreme Force Six."
"I want you to continue to press charges against
Detective John Phelps looked at Alan Russell
quizically. "The death has been ruled accidental. We
were going to drop the charges. What do you want us
to charge him with?"
"Manslaughter. His negligence led directly to Miss
"Do you want us to bring him in?"
"You should never have released him."
"Do you seriously believe that the city's protector
belongs in jail?"
"I'm going to ask Judge Matthews to prepare a
summons for him. He needs to have his day in court
just like everybody else."
"Did you get the DNA sample you needed?"
Edward Bailey nodded. "Yeah. And I compared it to
the sample I obtained from the victim. It's a match."
Michael looked sad. Of course, he was very tired.
"Alright. We're going to have to bring him in.
"Do you understand why you were asked to come here,
"Yeah. And I didn't do it."
"The wounds on the victim match those made by the
retractable claws coming out of your wrists. We also
were able to match your DNA with DNA found on the
"Yes. What do you have to say about that?"
"It wasn't me."
Michael King was getting impatient. "We don't
require a confession. People are a bit more
sophisticated now than they were ten years ago: they
know going in that if we match your DNA then that's as
good as a fingerprint if not better."
"I have a twin brother."
"A twin brother?"
"With retractable claws?"
Michael King shook his head. "That's not going to
work. You weren't born with retractable claws."
"We went into the Weapon Alpha program together.
They told me he had died. I believed them."
"They told you he had died?"
"We had both volunteered. We both knew the risks.
I agreed to let them cover up his death, to make it
seem as though he had never existed, because we didn't
want to embarass the program. But I see now that they
must have wanted him as a covert op. Having his own
family disavow his very existance would have made him
the perfect soldier with no ties, no history and no
reason to question orders."
"Do you have any evidence to prove that your twin
brother ever existed?"
"Of course not. It was all destroyed."
"You never kept anything as a keepsake?"
"No. Nobody was to know."
"And yet you're telling me this now."
"I feel responsible. Detective Phelps showed me the
pictures. It was a brutal slaying. Maybe all this
time underground, maybe he's gone nuts."
"Or maybe this twin brother of yours is just that
part of you that you sometimes allow to come out
precisely so you can release your id and not feel
guilty about it. It wasn't you, you tell yourself, it
was your twin brother."
"No. I swear I'm telling the truth."
"I don't believe you. We're placing you under
"He says he didn't do it."
"That's what they all say," Mary Jones said with a
"What else have you got?"
"She appears to have been sexually assaulted."
"Well then that gives us motive. He must have raped
her and killed her." Michael thought for a moment.
"When this goes to trial, he's going to use the 'evil
twin' defense. Is there any way to rule it out?"
"Other than the obvious fact that his twin brother
wouldn't have claws like him?"
"He claims that they went into the Weapon Alpha
program together and were given the same claws."
"Why don't you go to his old neighbourhood and try
to find people who were there when he was growing up.
If we can prove that he didn't have a twin brother
then he'll have no choice but to change his story."
"Want to go out for a quick bite?"
Michael looked at his watch. "It's a bit early.
It's not yet time for lunch."
Detective John Phelps nodded. "We're in a hurry.
We need to grab a quick bite and head down to a crime
"It's Johnathon Jenner. He's dead."
"Johnathon Jenner? The toy magnate?"
"Yeah. He recently came out as Night Man."
"That's right. And I remember his former partner,
Moon Boy sued him as a result, saying that it just put
him in more danger."
"Seems he had a point." Michael whistled. "It's
not a good time to be a super."
"I'm sorry to bother you."
"Not at all."
"My name is Mary Jones. I'm with the Pepperton
"How can I help you?"
"Do you remember a Mr. Logan Garfield?"
"Oh. He lived here when he was a little boy, yes.
Why? Is he in trouble?"
"You could say that. Was Mr. Garfield an only child
or did he have a brother?"
"An only child? Heaven's no. He had a brother. A
twin, in fact."
"Oh, yes, I remember it like it was yesterday.
Little Logan and Lucas used to play together in the
streets. I remember my husband John, bless his soul,
he used to tell them to be more careful, to watch out
for cars but they wouldn't listen. They were very
headstrong, very determined to go their own way."
"I see. Do you mind coming down to the police
station and making a written statement to that
"Of course. But why?"
"Because it could be that Mr. Garfield is being
accused of a crime he didn't commit."
"Jack identified the cause of death in the Jenner
case as being poison that was absorbed through the
skin. What do you have on the lipstick I found?"
"Positive for poison. I also found a woman's DNA."
"Did you run a match with those of known felons in
"Yeah. I couldn't find a match."
"Poison in lipstick. That was the modus operandi of
Edward Bailey nodded. "That was a bit before my
time but, yeah, I remember hearing about that. Isn't
she still in prison though?"
"I want you to run a comparison between her DNA and
the DNA in the lipstick."
"But it couldn't have been her, not if she's been in
"But you could be able to tell if the DNA is from a
relative of hers, somebody who might have had access
to her poisons. Somebody who might have had a reason
to want to kill Night Man."
>>It's about Logan Garfield.<<
"What about him?"
"Johnston says he's able to pick locks with his
claws. And with his government training he had no
trouble getting away."
"We need to get him back, John."
John sighed. "I know. I've put Johnson in charge
of the case. He's heading down to where we found the
dead girl and he's starting from there."
"That's assuming that he's going to try to prove his
innocence. He could just be going on the run."
"Then he's going to need transportation. I've sent
officers to the train stations, the bus stations, even
the airports. We'll get him, Mike."
A man and a woman walked up to them. "Excuse us.
We're the parents of Diane Brenton, the girl who
Extreme killed. Who is in charge of the case?"
"That would be us," John said. "I'm John Phelps,
the lead detective and this is Michael King, the CSI
in charge of the case."
"How can we help you?" Michael asked.
"I just... don't want him to get away with killing
my daughter," the woman said.
"Well, I understand your loss, but her death has
been ruled an accident."
John cut in. "I spoke to The Super Soldier
yesterday afternoon. He's promised to personally
deliver Extreme with a supeona today. He goes to
trial in two weeks."
"I hope that bastard rots in jail!" the man said.
"If the criminal trial doesn't lead to a conviction
then we're prepared to go after him in civil court!"
They walked off.
Michael looked confused. "The Extreme case is going
to trial? I thought we agreed we were going to drop
"The DA wanted us to act on this. I think he might
have been in touch with her parents and now her
parents are putting pressure on us directly. They're
serious, Mike. You heard them: they want justice for
"It sounds as if they are more interested in
persecuting Extreme than in getting justice. There's
no evidence that the sex was non-consentual. There's
"They want closure, Mike. They can't just drop it.
Can't you see that?"
"Okay. So we'll have a trial. But I'll be
testifying for the defense."
"All any of us want is for the truth to be laid out
in the open for all to see, Mike." He thought for a
moment. "You know, it doesn't help the fact that
these capes keep secret identities and work with
covert government ops. It makes people suspicious."
"You're right." Michael nodded. "You're absolutely
right. It doesn't help at all."
That scent. It was just like his. But different.
It was Lukas. It had to be.
"Hold it! Hold it right there!" Officer Mark
Johnston said as he pointed his gun at Weapon Alpha.
He had been sent down to the crime scene looking for
Weapon Alpha. He had found him.
"I didn't kill the girl," Weapon Alpha told him.
"I don't care!" Johnston quiped. "You're a
"You're not going to shoot me. I'm the only one who
can find the real killer."
"That's not how it works," Mark insisted. "You let
the CSIs do their job and let them find the killer.
"That's not going to be good enough."
"Freeze!" Weapon Alpha lept towards him. He shot.
Somehow, he missed. Johnston wondered if maybe he'd
deliberately missed rather than shoot somebody he
still considered a hero.
Weapon Alpha had gotten away. Again. Johnston was
going to be in deep shit when he reported this to
Phelps. Great. Just great.
"What do you want?"
"I'm here to talk about your daughter, Penny."
"What about her?"
Mary Jones had to be very careful taking to Plant
Woman. She had no reason to want to help her. "You
may have heard that Night Man is dead."
"No. First time I've heard. Can't say I'm upset to
hear it though. What does this have to do with my
"Night Man was poisoned by lipstick. Your
Penelope Kay aka Plant Woman smiled. "I couldn't
have killed him, dearie, I've been here in the joint."
"We found DNA in the lipstick. The DNA is of your
daughter. Miss Kay, your daughter killed Night Man."
"Good for her," Penelope said, her smile broadening.
"You're not concerned that your daughter may end up
"I am concerned," Penelope said flatly. "That's why
I'm not going to help you."
Mary sighed. "Look. You'll be coming up for parole
soon. If you help me, I can put in a word with the
"And if I don't help you?"
"Then I'll tell the DA you were uncooperative."
Penelope sat there thinking for a while. "So all I
have to do is give you an address where she might be
"And you'll put in a good word with the DA?"
"So I could be out of here by next month?"
"Maybe," Mary said quickly.
"I'll do what I can."
Penelope made a clicking sound with her mouth.
"Okay. Try 1374 Elgin. That's where her boyfriend
lives. I assume you've already been to her home
"Her home address is in the phone book."
"That's what I figured." Penelope leaned forward.
"So I'm going to get out of here, right?"
"We'll see. I'll talk to the DA." Mary stood up.
"Thanks for your help." Mary reached across the table
to shake Plant Woman's hand but she refused. Mary
understood: a handshake to her was not the way to
ensure trust; she was a woman who believed in results.
"Have a seat."
"It's okay. I don't get tired."
Leroy Laurel looked up at Extreme. "Please sit
down. It makes me nervous having someone standing
like that in front of me. And it's more comfortable
to me to look people in the eye."
"Alright." He grabbed a chair and sat down.
"You need to accustom yourself to being around
Extreme didn't respond. Of course, as Kenneth
Clark, reporter for the Daily World, he had to be
around ordinary people but he was accustomed to acting
like a God when he was Extreme. If he tried to act
more human when he was Extreme then wouldn't people
immediately recognize him as Kenneth Clark?
"So what is this I hear about you being accused of
"I did kill somebody. Diane Brenton. But it was an
accident. And the police agreed that it was an
"So why are you being charged?"
"The district attorney is charging me with
manslaughter / negligent homocide. He says I should
have known what was going to happen."
"What did happen?"
Extreme sighed. "Three days ago I met Diane
Brenton. I didn't know her as Diane Brenton: she
called herself 'Paula Pound'. Anyway, we hit it off,
we went to a motel and we had sex."
"That's how she died."
"As Paula Pound, Diane Brenton was a super. She was
superstrong. But not, apparently, completely
"Look... I've been thinking... after I had my
orgasm, I was in a weakened state. I don't even know
if my powers were working, if I even could have flown
her to a hospital, even if I actually thought she was
Leroy Laurel leaned back on his chair and thought
for a moment. "Alright," he said, leaning foward
again. "I'll take your case."
"Thank you." He offered to shake Leroy's hand.
"I don't think so," Leroy said, waving his right
hand. "Seems to me you don't know your own strength."
"Lukas, I'm bringing you in!"
"Over my dead body!"
"If that's the way it's got to be."
The two brothers both popped out their retractable
Michael was pissed: second time in three nights he'd
been called down to a crime scene in the middle of the
"I had to kill him," Weapon Alpha said. "He was
going to kill me."
"He was your brother."
"He would have killed you too. Any of you."
Michael shook his head. "Don't you see what you've
done? There's no way we can prove that he killed the
girl and not you."
Weapon Alpha exhaled. "Maybe you can find the
girl's blood on him."
"Maybe. We're certainly going to try. But we'll
never know the full story. Not now."
"Do you think I wanted to kill him?"
"For all we know, you killed him to cover up the
truth." He looked at the body. "Look at him. He's
wearing the same costume as you."
"So all this time there have been two Weapon Alphas
and yet you're telling me you didn't know?"
"I swear. I didn't know."
Michael sighed. "You see, Mr. Garfield, that's the
part that I find hard to believe."
"Are you Penny Kay?"
"I'm Detective Mary Jones and this is Officer Mark
Johnston. We're from the Pepperton police
"Yes," she said. "I've been expecting you."
"Miss Kay, we're placing you under arrest for the
murder of Johnathon Jenner aka Night Man. You have
the right to remain silent. If you give up the right
to reamin silent, anything you say can and will be
used against you in a court of law. You have the
right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an
attorney, one will be appointed for you by the courts
to act in your defense. Do you understand these
"Then come with us."
"He didn't know about me."
Mary, always the investigator, was curious. "Why
would he have known about you?"
"He should have known about me. He should have
known that Plant Woman had had a daughter."
Mary nodded. "So. He was your father."
Penny smiled. "Very good."
"Why didn't you just tell him who you were?"
"All these years I knew Night Man was my father but
I didn't know Johnathon Jenner was Night Man. After
he came out as Night Man, it took a while the gather
up the courage to go see him."
"He... hit on me. He told me I was very attractive.
He actually thought I'd be interested in an old man
"He didn't know."
"HE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!" she screamed.
"Hey!" Officer Johnston said. "Take it easy."
"So I agreed to go out with him. I went home first.
I put on some of my mother's old makeup."
"You kept your mother's old makeup?"
"Sure," Penny said with a deranged smile. "The
colours are beautiful. And they're perfectly safe as
long as I don't kiss anyone."
The guard in front of Extreme Force Headquarters was
a military police officer. After being told to stop,
Michael King showed him his badge.
"I'm here to see The Super Soldier."
"A Detective Michael King from the Pepperton police
is here to see you, Sir."
"Send him in."
Michael went in to The Super Soldier's office. "Mr.
"I prefer to be called _The_ Super Soldier."
Michael cracked a smile. "Alright."
"Sit down. Please."
Michael sat down. "Been quite a week, hasn't it?"
"Night Man murdered. Extreme facing charges of
criminal negligence. And then there's the whole
Weapon Alpha situation."
The Super Soldier nodded. "Quite a mess. I know."
"Now, what bothers me is that there were two people,
brothers, both of whom wore the Weapon Alpha costumes
and both of whom had retractable claws given to them
by the government."
"So, what I want to know is this: did you know there
were two Weapon Alphas?"
"No, I did not."
"They didn't tell you?"
"Detective King, I am on a need to know basis here
and apparently I didn't need to know."
"I see. So can I speak to anyone who would have
"All information regarding the Weapon Alpha program
is classified as top secret."
"Aren't you the least bit curious yourself about
"My superiors tell me that Lukas Garfield was a
covert ops agent who went rogue a few weeks ago and
they hadn't seen any sign of him until he turned up
dead this morning."
"Can I speak to your superiors?"
"No, you can not."
"I'm trying to run an investigation here."
"I'm sorry, Detective King, but we have to maintain
a level of secrecy here for the sake of national
"Can you at least tell me why your superiors, who
obviously knew of the existance of a second Weapon
Alpha, did not volunteer information to us when your
Weapon Alpha was charged with murder."
"That would be a question for my superiors."
"But you told me that I wouldn't get a chance to
speak to your superiors!"
"That's not very helpful then, is it?
The Super Soldier sighed. "I'm sorry, but that's
the way it has to be. The identities of my immediate
superiors are classified. It's for their protection,
"Protection from what? Prosecution?"
The Super Soldier smiled. "I assure you, Detective
King, there's no conspiracy here. There's no cover
"I wish I could believe that."
"Again, I'm sorry. I wish I could be more help."
Michael nodded. "The Extreme trial is coming up in
"I know. I was the one who handed him the supeona."
"I was planning to testify for the defense."
"Anything you can say in his defense would be
"But now I'm not so sure. I'm starting to have
The Super Soldier stared blankly. "You will do your
job. You will follow the evidence. And your
testimony will be based on that."
Michael nodded. "You're right. Of course. I just
don't feel good about it anymore."
"You don't have to."
"We'll be keeping an eye on you. All of you."
The Super Soldier nodded. "Feel free to keep in
Michael couldn't help but smile. "We will."
THE END (of issue #1)
Just now, as I was doing my final editting, I had my
own reservations about the Weapon Alpha character.
Extreme and Night Man get a free pass because they are
mythological archetypes as old as Gods and daemons,
but the Weapon Alpha plot looks suspciously like
Wolverine fanfic, I agree. One attack would have been
to get rid of the retractable claws, but there had to
have been some recognizable weapon that could only be
associated with Weapon Alpha and his brother which
would then result in a murder by one being pinned on
the other. The other attack would be to make the
Logan and Lukas characters different from Wolverine
and Sabretooth and, frankly, by making them twin
brothers who were presumably not aware that the other
was still alive, I feel I've already differentiated
them from the characters which inspired them to the
point where it isn't Wolverine fanfic. I suppose I
could have explored this further by actually showing
the Logan vs. Lukas fight and making it clear that
this was a battle between brothers but I didn't want
to shift the point of view away from the main
characters. Besides, if you don't buy the argument
that Weapon Alpha is not Wolverine then focusing more
on him would just make it more like Wolverine fanfic.
I suppose, really, that it is hypocritical for us on
RACC to have characters like Irony Man and Doctor
Peculiar and have them be obvious parodies of Marvel
characters and not consider it fair use when similar
characters appear in a more serious context. Because
if Weapon Alpha is a problem for some people then,
frankly, things are going to get far, far worse in the
next few issues. If it helps to see Superfreaks as a
parody imprint, then so be it. It's just that not a
single one of these characters are in on the joke.
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