Superfreaks/ACRA: Superfreaks #7
martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 21 03:02:00 PDT 2006
Michael King and Mary Jones: crime scene
investigators. Mark Johnston and Tom Jackson: police
officers. Jack Greenspan and Edward Bailey: medical
examiners. Alan Russell and Cliff Murdock:
prosecutors. 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 hindrance?
Lately there's been an escalation in superhuman
activity: the Extreme Force Six found the body of one
of their former members, The Archer, in a hideout that
had belonged to the Brotherhood of Masters. In
response, Harry Roy, formerly the Archer's sidekick,
Arrow Boy, then took on the mantle of his mentor and
used one of the Archer's arrows to kill Edward
Alexander Goodhead, the leader of the Brotherhood of
Masters. The Brotherhood of Masters then responded by
finding a new leader named Snake and then sending the
Extreme Force Six a video CD showing what the group
was capable of. Are the Brotherhood of Masters now
going to seek revenge against Harry for killing one of
"If two straight lines intersect then the opposite
angles are equal. Now, if a straight line intersects
two paralell lines, notice that we now have four equal
Carmnine Perez turned away from the board to face
the class. She looked around to see who was paying
attention and noticed Peter Farrell with his head on
his desk, apparently asleep.
"Peter? Could you point out which four angles are
equal? Peter? Peter, this is rude."
Peter Farrell didn't respond. He didn't even move.
"Peter? Peter, this isn't funny. Peter, I want you
to sit up straight this instant."
Then she noticed blood dripping from his ear. "Oh
"Any idea as to cause of death?"
Doctor Jack Greenspan shrugged his shoulders. He
was a man of science: he knew that there was an
explanation for everything. But with thei case he was
stumped. "I've performed a full autopsy. Near as I
can tell, this boy just died."
"That can't be," Detective Michael King said.
"Teenaged boys don't just die. There has to be a
Jack nodded repeatedly. "I know. But until we find
a cause of death, we can't officially label this as a
Micahel sighed. "And until we can show that he was
murdered, we can't charge anyone for it."
"Alright. See what you can do... but not at the
expense of other cases. If we can't get to the bottom
of this case then we'll just have to consider it
Jack nodded. "Understood."
"Hey! Moon Boy!"
Greggory Dickenson cringed. "Please don't call me
Moon Boy. Just call me Greggory."
Harry Roy shrugged his shoulders. "Okay."
"So... how are they treating you?"
Harry bit his lip. "I'm a bit confused."
Harry gestured at his fellow patients. "All these
people. They don't look like people training to
become supers," he said. "For that matter, my own
'training', for now, seems to be limited to my
sessions with Doctor Leonard. And all we seem to do
"What do you talk about?"
"My life. Mostly my childhood." He snickered.
"Personally, I think it's a waste of time. I'm ready
to go back out there and fight injustice."
Greggory smiled weakly. His old friend and former
teammate couldn't accept the fact that he'd been
placed here at Raftpork Assylum under Doctor Leonard's
observation after said doctor had declared him unfit
to stand trial for the murder of Edward Alexander
Goodhead. "So how are things otherwise?"
"Fine. I guess.
"Good." Greggory wasn't sure what else to say.
"Look... um... I'm sorry I haven't been round before."
"Oh no no no," Harry said. "Don't worry about it."
Greggory nodded. "Well... I tell you what... I'll
come back tomorrow, okay?" Greggory didn't feel
comfortable leaving without saying when he'd be back.
"Sure. If you're not too busy."
"Hey," Greggory said. "Old friends stick together!"
"Detective King, Sir?"
Michael looked up at the police officer standing on
the other side of his desk. "Yes, Tom?"
"I've been thinking about the Farrell case, Sir."
"I understand there's no evidence of foul play."
"But teenages boys... that don't just die like
"I know. We've been thinking the same thing."
"Anyway, it occurs to me that the past couple of
months I've been working here I've seen some pretty
bizarre things. You know, people who claim to be able
to see the future, bad guys who shoot fire from their
hands, stuff like that."
"So I was thinking, maybe instead of looking for a
natural explanation for what happened to the Farrell
boy, we should be looking for a supernatural
"You mean like ghosts, vampires, werewolves, stuff
"I know it sounds ridiculous, Sir, but if a kid dies
even though nobody touched him, it doesn't mean nobody
did anything to him. If you see what I mean."
"It was just a thought."
"I know. And I appreciate the thought."
"Yes. You see, the way I've been trained, I only
look at evidence I can actually see and hold in my
hand, stuff I can bring to court."
"But I appreciate the fact that you're able to think
outside the box. In fact, I think you might be on to
Michael nodded. "I'll have Mary go to the school
tomorrow morning and ask around. If we can establish
a pattern of unexplained phenomena at the school then
we would then have a reason to follow your theory."
"That would be great, Sir!"
"But Tom, in the end, I still need something I can
see, hold and take to court. Otherwise, we'd never be
able to build a case."
"I know. I just thought if we didn't have any other
leads then that would be the way to go."
"Are you familiar with the Adventures of Sherlock
Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?"
"Sherlock Holmes was to have said 'When all possible
explanations have been excluded, the impossible
explanation, no matter how seemingly unlikely, must be
"I'd forgotten my Doyle, Mr. Jackson. I thank you
for reminding me."
"You're welcome, Sir!"
"I'm Mary Jones from the Pepperton Police."
"Yes. I'm here about the death of Peter Farrell."
"Yes, of course. What can I do for you?"
"I know this is going to sound like a strange
question, but have there ever been any other weird,
unexplained occurances at this school?"
"I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean. This is the
first time anybody has died."
"Anything you can think of, Ma'am."
"I don't know."
Mary looked around the classroom. "You were
teaching class when Peter died?"
"So you were using the board?"
"So you don't really know what might have happened
"No. I suppose not. Are you saying Peter was
Mary sighed. "Something happened to cause that boy
to die. With your permission, I'd like to talk to
"Somewhere private. No more than two at a time.
Would it be possible for us to use the teacher's
lounge? I need somewhere private yet comfortable. I
don't want students to feel threatened."
"Yes. Yes, of course."
"Do you mind showing me where the teacher's lounge
is? Then you can send the students two at a time once
they all get here."
"Please sit down."
"What are your names."
"Im Cherry and this is Bobbie."
"Alright. So, Cherry, Bobbie, in your opinion, is
this a school where strange things happen?"
"Well, like, what do you mean?"
"I mean a boy died yesterday. Just like that.
Doesn't that seem strange to you?"
Cherry shrugged her shoulders.
"Was he a friend of yours?"
"But he was a classmate, right?"
"Aren't you the least bit concerned that a student
died in your class?"
"Not really. I mean, these things happen, right?
People die. What's the big deal?"
Mary sat there for a moment with her mouth hung
"So, is that it? Can we go back to class now?"
"They did it, Mike. I don't know how but they did
Detective Michael King nodded. "Based on what?"
"They were the only students who didn't show any
remorse for Peter's death."
"We need more than that, Mary. Don't forget that
the most common reaction anybody has to being accused
of a crime is shock and denial. Everyone says they
didn't do it, including those who did. So the fact
that all the other students expressed remorse doesn't
mean that none of them are guilty."
"It's more than that, Mike. There was something
frightening about these two girls."
"From what you've told me, it could just be that
they hadn't yet come to terms with what had happened."
"Maybe." She sighed. "Maybe you're right."
"But I tell you what: you go back there tomorrow and
you ask around again. You ask the whole school,
anybody who you can find. And you ask about those two
"Are you sure?"
"Absolutely. It's the only lead we've got and right
now I'm feeling a bit desperate."
"Hey!" Harry looked up. "Wait... who are you?"
A man in a beige suit and short blonde hair stood
before Harry. "My name is Luke Ross. I'm here to
take you out of here."
"They are lying to you, Harry. This is not a
training facility: this is an assylum. It's Raftpork
"That can't be."
"They think you're crazy, Harry. They think you
were crazy when you killed Goodhead. But I know
you're not crazy. That's why I'm taking you out of
"But Doctor Leonard..."
"Don't worry about him. I've done all your
paperwork. You're free to go."
"I don't know."
"I thought you wanted to be a hero, Harry. I
thought you wanted to be out there fighting injustice.
Why would you want to stay here?"
"Then come on. I can help you become the hero
you've always wanted to be."
"Absolutely. I've got a whole team of supers
working with me. And they're just waiting for you to
Luke smiled. "What do you say?"
"Sure," he said with a big smile. "This is the best
news I've heard all month!"
"Just follow me then."
Harry followed him outside and into an awaiting car.
"So where are the other supers?"
"Patience," Luke said. "I'm going to set you up at
the hotel tonight. You wait for me tomorrow around
two o'clock and I'll take you to our base of
operations. Does that sound good?"
"It sounds great!"
"Yes, Luke said with a smile. "It will be."
"Excuse me, do you girls mind talking to me for a
moment? I'm Mary Jones from the Pepperton Police."
"Sure," one of the girls said.
"Do any of you girls know Cherry and Bobbie?"
"Oh," they all said.
"Is something wrong?"
"We don't like talking about them," another one of
the girls explained.
"Well, it's just that if they don't like you then
bad things start to happen to you."
"Your hair might fall out or you might suddenly
start getting fat. Stuff like that."
"And you think Cherry and Bobbie might be
"How is that possible?"
"They're witches!" one of the girls blurted out.
"They have to be. I mean, what else could they be?
How else could they do these things?"
"Do you think they had something to do with Peter
The girls just looked at each other uncomfortably.
"I see. I understand. Thank you for talking to
"That's what they said."
Michael sighed and shook his head. "I'm afraid then
this is a dead end."
"There's no way Alan would take this to trial. Can
you imagine the headlines? 'Pepperton Witchhunt
begins.' 'Girls put on trial for practicing
"So are you telling me to just drop this?"
"Look. Suppose it's true. Suppose these girls are
capable of killing someone without even touching them.
Then you'd be putting yourself at an unacceptable
"It's our job, Mike!"
"No it isn't. This is a job for supers." Mike
nodded. "Right. I'm going to put in a call right
away to The Super Soldier. Maybe he knows somebody
who can handle this sort of thing, some master of the
mystic arts, somebody who's secretly working for the
government. You never know. If such a person
existed, do you think he'd tell us?"
"I'm sorry, Mary, but I think this is the way to go.
It's just like with the Brotherhood of Masters:
facing supervillains is not our job. That's their
"I feel so useless."
"Don't. You did a good job. I mean, you're
probably right about those girls. But we'd never be
able to prove it in court. And then where would we
"You're right." She nodded.
"I usually am."
"I know," she said, laughing.
"Are you ready?" Luke asked.
"Absolutely," Harry said. Luke had dropped him off
at the hotel the night before but Harry had somehow
managed to retrieve his Archer costume and all of his
"This is the place," Luke said.
"It looks like an abandoned warehouse."
"Of course. This is the abandoned warehouse
district. It's all abandoned warehouses as far as the
eye can see."
"So do you want to meet the guys?"
"Here they are."
"What's wrong? Don Navarro? Cockroach? General
Lee? Madame Scarlet? The Crimson Cape? This is the
Brotherhood of Masters!"
"What do you mean?"
"Goodhead had them under mind control. You freed
them. Now they are free to go with their better
"You've got to be kidding me!"
"Not at all. You see, having been freed from
Goodhead's control they have come to see the light, so
to speak. So the Brotherhood of Masters are no more!
Harry Roy, Archer, I bring you... the
"The Lighteningbolts? Now I know you're shitting
me. Are people supposed to believe that the
Brotherhood of Masters have reformed and that they are
going to be heroes?"
"They will if you join us."
"But you told me they thought I was crazy."
"Oh, sure, Samuel Leonard thought you were crazy.
But what about your adoring fans?"
"I have fans?"
"Sure! Well, the original Archer, your mentor had
fans. But you were his sidekick. So, yeah, you have
"OKay. But maybe they didn't like the fact that I
"But it was necessary. And look at the good you
did! Now the Lighteningbolts, free from his control,
can fight injustice together! And isn't that what you
want? To be part of a team again fighting injustice?"
"I suppose so. But how are you supposed to fight
injustice when the Extreme Force Six are going to want
to put you all in jail?""
Luke nodded. "Ah, yes, that is a problem. But
don't worry because we have a plan."
"What kind of plan?"
"We have a mission for you."
"For all of us, actually. You see, we know of this
man, a very bad man. He used to work with the
Brotherhood, you see, but Goodhead didn't have to
control him: what he did he did of his own free will.
And he's still at large. We need you to help us bring
Harry nodded. "Just tell me what you want me to
"That's what I was hoping you'd say," Luke said with
4:49 pm (the same day)
Say what you will about the abandoned warehouse
district, it's a cheap place to live: you can find a
nice spacious place all to yourself and not have to
worry about paying rent to anybody. After all, the
place is abandoned.
Electricity is a problem. So is running water. But
Gary Rand found a way to get both set up. He also
set it up so that he received the bills at a post
office box downtown near where he worked. He decided
it was too much trouble trying to get cable TV though.
So, overall, his place was quite comfortable.
And spacious! Gary had set up his sofa and TV (and
DVD player of course - no cable after all) in one
corner of the room and his refrigerator, stove and
table in another corner. The place already had a
bathroom so he set up a shower nearby. The final
corner of the warehouse was where he placed his bed.
It wasn't exactly the most convenient of set ups but
he just liked the idea of using all the space
Gary was watching TV when they arrived: he had
rented a couple of DVDs from the back room of a video
store near where he worked. He was literally caught
with his pants down.
Yes, the author finally decided to go to the trouble
of setting the scene and he actually ended up
providing too much information.
"What do you want?" he asked, as he quickly arranged
"Gary Rand, you are accused of standing idly by
while two people were killed," Luke said.
"What?" he said as he turned off the TV and all.
"That was you guys."
"So you admit it!" he said.
Luke turned to Harry who was, of course, still in
his Archer costume. "Now, Archer, use one of your
arrows. Take him out."
"The man is guilty. Use one of your arrows on him."
"No," John said, "don't."
"You want me to kill him?" Harry asked.
"I want you to strike a blow for justice!"
"But I'm not even sure what he's supposed to have
Luke shook his head. "You need to trust us, Harry.
You can't just make decisions by yourself. You're
part of a team now."
"I don't know. If he's committed a crime then he
should go to jail. He should face trial."
"What about Goodhead? You killed him."
"That was different."
"He killed my mentor, the original Archer."
"So," Luke said, "it's okay then to kill out of
revenge. Is that what you're saying?"
Harry went to grab one of his arrows but General Lee
grabbed his arm. "Looks like we won't be needing you
after all." He took away Harry's arrows. "Which
means you won't be needing these."
"Finish him!" Madame Scarlet said.
But they weren't alone.
"I wouldn't do anything if I were you," somebody
"Extreme!" Don Navarro said. He immediately started
shooting flames at the hero.
With everybody distracted, the Super Soldier
attacked General Lee, forcing him to drop the Archer's
arrows. They engaged in hand to hand combat while the
Arche bent down to pick up all his arrows.
Extreme and the Super Soldier weren't alone either:
Weapon Alpha, Amazing Woman, the Human Spider and Mr.
G, they were all there.
"It's the Extreme Force Six!" the Crimson Cowl
"Fuck this!" Cockroach said. "Let's get out of
"No," Luke said, as he slithered out of his suit to
reveal his Snake costume. "We can take them." He
jumped and wrapped his body around Mr. G, hoping to
squeeze his chest so he couldn't breathe.
"Fair enough!" Cockroach said. He pulled out his
gun and opened fire on Amazing Woman but the bullets
just bounced off of her bracelets.
"You come along quietly, alright?" the Human Spider
said to Madame Scarlet.
"I don't think so!" Madame Scarlet said. She used
her telekinesis on the Human Spider, causing him to
fly back into Amazing Woman.
"What the hell are you doing?" Amazing Woman asked.
"Make yourself useful and go after Cockroach. I'll
handle Madame Scarlet."
"Um... okay!" The Human Spider got up again. "Hey,
Cockroach! It's going to be you and me! Mano a mano!
Insect a... um.. arachnid! (I really need to work on
"That's it!" Cockroach said. "I'm out of here!"
But he found there was somebody standing between him
and the door. "Who are you?"
"I'm Greggory Dickenson."
Greggory punched Cockroach in the face. Cockroach
was going to shoot him but Greggory grabbed his arm
and took away his gun Just like Night Man had taught
him all those years ago.
Meanwhile, Weapon Alpha was having trouble fighting
the Crimson Cape: his claws counldn't cut the cape
itself and he couldn't see under the cape because it
created a dimension of almost total darkness from
which very little light would escape.
"Need any help?" Harry asked rhetorically. He took
a flare arrow and shot it into the dimension under the
cape. The result was not so much a bright flare but
it did provide enough light to enable Weapon Alpha to
see the man under the cape.
"Thanks!" Weapon Alpha said. He then grabbed the
body of the Crimson Cape with one hand and threatened
to disembowel him with the claws from the other hand.
"No!" Harry said. "Don't. Don't kill him!"
"Why the hell not?" Weapon Alpha asked.
"Because heroes don't kill," Harry said.
Weapon Alpha smiled and retracted his claws.
Harry felt momentarily confused.
"I'm so happy to hear you say that!" Extreme said as
he swooped down and grabbed the Crimson Cape's cape
from behind. He tore the cape off of him leaving the
Crimson Cape helpless to defend himself.
Harry looked around. Everyone in the Brotherhood of
Masters / Lighteningbolts was defeated.
"Don Navarro gave me a bit of trouble," Extreme
admitted, "but once I had subdued him, it was just a
matter of me helping out my teammates to ensure
"So fast," Harry said.
"Yeah," Extreme said with a smile. "Don't forget,
I'm faster than Mr. Quick!"
"Well sure," Amazing Woman said with a smile, "now
that he's retired."
"I always was faster!" Extreme insisted.
"Alright," Harry said, "what's going on? How did
you guys find us?"
"That would be my doing," Greggory explained.
"I was on my way to Raftpork Assylum to go see you
when I spotted this guy," Greggory said, referring to
the now unconscious Snake. "Now if there was one
thing I learned from Night Man it was how to spot a
villain. I knew this guy was up to no good. So when
I saw you leave with him, I decided to follow you to
your hotel. Because I wanted to know who he was and I
wasn't sure how helpful asking you would be, seeing as
how you still seemed quite crazy at the time (Maybe it
was the drugs), I asked one of the hotel clerks to
call me if the guy came back to pick you up. I also
stopped by Extreme Force Headquarters, introduced
myself as Greggory Dickenson aka Moon Boy and was
provided with an emergency number that would give me
direct access to the team.
"Fast forward to this afternoon: the hotel clerk
calls me around three o'clock so I stop what I'm doing
and head down to the hotel just in time to see you
leave with this guy. I took a taxi and followed the
two of you to the abandoned warehouse district.
Sensing that this was a bad thing, I called up the
Extreme Force Six and told them you were in trouble
and that they should meet me in the abandoned
warehouse district. By the time they got here, you
had gone over to this warehouse here. Extreme then
used his superhearing to listen in and find out what
"You then waited until the last minute before
intervening," Harry said.
Extreme nodded. "I know. I had to know if you'd
kill this man," he said, referring to Gary Rand. "I
had to know if you were still capable of that despite
all your therapy."
"And if I had killed him?"
"Then it would have been on my conscience too,"
Extreme admitted, "but like I said, I had to know. If
we had burst in a moment sooner and you were captured
as a member of the Brotherhood of Masters then it
would have been all over for you."
"But you failed their test. Which means you passed
mine. As far as I am concerned, you'd be welcome on
the team: we can just call ourselves the Extreme Force
"Or Eight," said the Super Soldier, looking at
Greggory. "It's thanks to Moon Boy here that we were
finally able to capture the Brotherhood of Masters. I
can think of no greater honour to the memory of Night
Man than to welcome him into our ranks."
Greggory cringed. And yet... for a moment there...
he felt tempted to take up the Super Soldier's offer.
He didn't enjoy the training, he certainly didn't
enjoy it when Night Man would get angry with him and
he definitely did not like getting shot. But he liked
being Moon Boy. It was something he was proud of.
But he couldn't tell anybody that. Not after the
"Thanks but... no thanks."
The Super Soldier nodded. "But keep our number.
You know, in case you ever get into trouble. Or in
case you ever change your mind."
"I doubt that," Greggory said with a laugh.
And yet, Greggory wondered if he couldn't just
assume a new identity? Sparrow? Nightbird? Hmm. It
would be something for Greggory to consider if he ever
got tired of his regular nine to five job.
"Good luck. And have a good life."
"Yeah," Greggory said with a smile. "You too."
Okay. That turned out alright I think.
It also neatly ties up all the threads from the
beginning. Which makes me wonder where I go from
Not that it matters. My wife will be joining me here
in a few days so I don't expect I'll have as much time
on my hands. This was basically a late summer project
for me. I'd like to think it worked out pretty well.
And if anybody's wondering, yes, I'm laughing my @$$
off as I write this stuff. I personally think serious
stories with ridiculous scenarios are funnier than
comedies. That's just what makes me laugh. Your
mileage may vary. :)
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