Superfreaks/ACRA: Superfreaks Season 3 #5
martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 22 08:47:22 PDT 2007
Michael King, Lana Lewis and Frank Lopez: crime scene
investigators. John Phelps, Mark Johnston and Tom
Jackson: police officers. Jack Greenspan and Edward
Bailey: medical examiners. Alan Russell and Roger
Roeper: lawyers. These men and women 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?
SUPERFREAKS SEASON 3 #5
"HU ARE YOU (HU HU HU HU)"
Eight months ago.
My given name is Xiaqi. It means "low spirits". I
was given that name because I've almost always been in
a foul mood. Or perhaps it was a self-fulfilling
prophecy. Anyway, who gives a shit about this ancient
Chinese mysticism crap. I'm an asshole and my parents
knew I would be that way since the day I was born.
My father, Hu Shanghai, is a major player in the
communist party of China. He may even be president
one day. Like I care. I got tired of being my
father's son so I ran away to this small town of
Heisong in Gwangdong province to be alone away from
anybody who knows me.
Don't get me wrong: I'm no bum. I did get an
education, although maybe not the education that my
father would have wanted for me: I studied at the
Beijing School for the Performing Arts. No, I din't
study ballet, dipshit: I studied the martial arts. I
can kick serious ass so don't even think of pissing me
"Ni shi Hu Xiaqi ma?"
Now, see, obviously this guy isn't paying attention
to my first person narration. What did I just say? I
said I can kick serious ass and I don't like getting
pissed off. So would it be a good idea to walk into a
small town restaurant and bother me why I eat my chao
"Wo xiang ni shi Hu Xiaqi. Dui bu dui?"
"Ni shi shei?"
Normally it is not polite to ask a person "Who are
you?" You are supposed to politely ask them their
family name first and comment about how honourable
their name is. Fuck that. This guy is lucky I don't
break his legs. I could do that, you know, and I
wouldn't even have to get off the stool.
"Detective Chan, my Mandarin Chinese is a bit rusty.
Perhaps you could have him talk in English?"
This police officer is being accompanied by an
American. Well, actually, he might not be an American
but it's politer to assume that they are Americans and
refer to them as Americans than to simply call them
"White devils". Anyway, the police officer sighs.
"My name is Chan Jialee."
"Really?" That's funny so I laugh.
"Have you ever been to an English speaking country,
"So you introduce yourself as Detective Jialee
"Actually, no. My English name is Robert. So I'm
Robert Chan to foreigners."
"And you are Hu Xiaqi. Are you not?"
"Dui." I figure the foreigner can't complain if I
use a word of Chinese here and there. It's still our
country, after all.
"The son of Hu Shanghai?"
"What's it to you?"
The detective smiles.
"We need your help. We believe that Hu Shanghai is
a dangerous man."
I roll my eyes. "News flash. Can I finish my lunch
"He's rising in the ranks of the communist party and
could one day be president."
"So?" I ask. "What makes him any worse than any of
the other old fogies in the Chinese power structure?"
The foreigner then speaks.
"We are concerned about his relationship with the
family of Dick Cheney."
"What are you talking about?" I ask.
"Hu Shanghai and Dick Cheney are distant cousins."
"It's true. Hundreds of years ago the Earl of
Cheney married the Chinese princess Hu Ahyu. That
marriage was the beginning of a plot to unite East and
West under a single dictatorial rule."
"In other words their aim is nothing short of world
The detective apparently likes to state the obvious.
"And this makes them different from other
politicians exactly how?"
"They actually could pull it off!"
At least the foreigner is honest.
"So what do you want me to do?" I ask. "My father's
probably disowned me by now."
"We need someone to investigate the American
connection. We want you to travel to America and live
in their city of Pepperton. Don't worry: there's a
thriving Chinatown there so you'll fit right in.
You'll need an English name. Something like Frank?"
"I like the name Guess. You know, like the jeans."
"Fine. This man here is a British secret agent.
He'll be your contact in case you have any trouble."
"Fair enough. So, what's your name?"
The foreigner smiles.
"James. Brad James."
Today. 10:01 am
"So what is the cause of death?" Pepperton Police
Detective Michael King asked Jack Greenspan, his Chief
"Based on the pattern of the bruises I would say
that cause of death was massive internal bleeding
brought on my successive blows to the body."
"With what weapon?"
"No weapon. Somebody did this with their bare
"You're kidding! What kind of person could do such
"Only a superb martial artist. My guess is that
you're looking for someone from mainland China,
perhaps a recent immigrant."
Michael sighed. "You have to do better than that.
The precinct has a policy against racial profiling."
Jack nodded. "Just go into Chinatown and start
questioning people. And don't bother being polite.
The Chinese guy who puts an officer in the hospital is
"What's your name?" Detective John Phelps asked.
"Look, I'm not here to play games with you!"
"Okay. Okay. I'm Hu Xiaqi."
"How do you spell that?"
"H-U X-I-A Q-I."
John shook his head, sighed and then grimaced.
"Look, I told you I'm not here to play games! Do I
have to remind you that you put one of my officers
into the hospital today? You broke his arm!"
"Did I say something funny?"
"My name is spelt the way I spelt it. It's Pinyin
Romanization. The X and the Q represent the
unstressed 'sh' and 'ch' sounds."
"Fine. Have it your way." John showed him a
picture. "Do you know this man?"
"Never seen him before."
"Is that so?"
"Yeah. That's the way it is."
"Well this is the way he looks now." John showed
him an autopsy photo.
"Wow," Xiaqi said.
"Admiring your handiwork, are we?"
Xiaqi shook his head. "This wasn't my doing but,
whoever did it, it was done by a true master of the
"Uh huh," John said. "And I have witnesses that say
that your martial arts skills are pretty impressive
too. So you see my problem, don't you?"
Scott Grey looked at his wife, Jean, with pity.
She'd been like this ever since their son, Nathan had
been sent to the future: almost nonresponsive. Well,
except for that one time she tried to kill him and
almost destroyed all of Pepperton.
"Look," Scott said. "It's been a few months
already. Nathan will be back any day now."
As if on cue, Michelle returned from the future.
Standing next to her was a little boy.
"Nathan?" Jean asked.
"But you were only gone a few months," Scott said.
"To you it was a few months but for Nathan it was a
few years," Michelle explained. "The process was not
a simple one."
"Well at least he's back with us."
"Mommy? Daddy?" Nathan asked.
Jean sighed. "We never got to see him take his
first walk. Or utter his first word."
"He'll be alright," Michelle said. "I mean, after
he's finished being a homocidal time treveller and
goes on to be the true Pepperton Protector, that is."
"Oh but you might want to train him to control his
powers," Michelle suggested.
"Powers?" Jean asked.
"What sort of powers?" Scott asked.
Michelle thought for a moment and then started
listing his powers. "Time travel. Super stength.
Flight. Telekinesis. Low level telepathy. Energy
projection. A few others."
"Oh... God," Jean said.
"I think we will need Javier's help with him," Scott
"Thanks again for bailing me out last night," Hu
Xiaqi told his partner.
Brad James, the famous British Secret Agent,
shrugged his shoulders. "I'm here for you if you get
into any trouble," he said. "Anyway, they had nothing
to hold you on."
Xiaqi nodded. "True. But I figure I need to find
the real killer and clear my name."
"And I will help you!"
Xiaqi smiled. "It's probably best you stay out of
Brad James sighed. "No offense but I don't actually
know for sure that you didn't actually commit the
murder you were accused of doing. I think I want to
keep a close eye on you for the time being!"
"Fine," Xiaqi said. "But keep in mind that the man
we're looking for could kill you with his bare hands."
Brad James considered this factoid. "Like I said,
I'll just be an observer."
"Doctor Javier," Scott said, "thank you for seeing
us at such short notice."
"What seems to be the problem?" Doctor Carlos Javier
"It's Nathan," Jean explained. "He's back. And
he's exibiting powers."
"Powers? What sort of powers?"
"Time travel," Scott told him. "Super stength.
Flight. Telekinesis. Low level telepathy. Energy
projection. And a few others."
"Can you help us, Doctor?" Jean asked.
Javier grimaced. "Perhaps I can. Over the past few
months I've developed a means of preventing the spread
of Rasputin Syndrome. But many died. And some of the
ones who died were parents. I have therefore become
the legal guardian of four orphans, all of whom have
powers, although perhaps not as powerful or as many as
"I don't understand," Scott said.
"I can train your son to use his powers but it would
be much better if he grew up surrounded with others
like himself. So he doesn't ever feel isolated I
mean. Just leave Nathan in my care and he'll be
"I don't know," Jean said reluctantly.
"It's okay," Scott said. "It would be like having
him go away to school. Remember, he's old enough
already to start pre-school."
"Yes," Javier said. "Exactly."
"I don't want to lose him again!"
"You won't be losing him!" Javier assured her. "You
can come over and see him as often as your time
allows. But for his own safety and for the safety of
others, it is best if I get to observe him regularly
and train him as to how to properly use his powers."
"Alright," Jean finally agreed.
"Excellent!" Javier said. "Come by my place this
afternoon and I'll introduce everybody!"
"Ow! You broke my nose!"
Xiaqi just smiled: he had humbled yet another
"So is this our suspect?" Brad James asked.
"Him?" Xiaqi scoffed. "Hardly! He's just somebody
who looked at me funny."
Brad James sighed. "Look, I don't have time for
this. Do you have any idea who the real killer might
"None at all," Xiaqi admitted. "Not yet anyway."
"And you beating up random thugs is going to help us
Xiaqi shrugged his shoulders. "By helping me to
work off some of my frustration?"
Brad shook his head. "Look: the suspect is most
likely a Chinese national. If you were a master of
martial arts and a Chinese national who had just
arrived in the U.S. and didn't know anybody then where
would you go?"
"Well, _I_ am a Chinese national. And I'm also a
master of the martial arts. And the only person I
knew when I came here was you."
"Right. So this should be easy for you. In fact,
there's a good chance that the killer is somebody you
Xiaqi frowned. "Really? But the only people here I
know here are you, the people in my apartment
building, the people I meet when I go out to eat and
the people I meet when I exercise in the park."
"Anybody you know by name?"
Xiaqi thought for a moment. "Only Tom Lee Bagai."
"Tom, the bad guy?"
"No. Tom Lee Bagai. He's from China like me. His
English name is Tom and his real name is Lee Bagai."
"How do you know him?"
"Like I said, he eats at the same restaurant I do.
And I've seen him exercise in the park: he does tai
chi just like I do. So I spoke to him. He also
studied in martial arts in Beijing but a few years
before me so we hadn't met before."
"I see. And you hadn't considered him as a suspect
Xiaqi looked at him quixically. "What do you mean?
You think he could be the killer."
Brad sighed and shook his head.
"Welcome to Javier mansion!" Doctor Carlos Javier
told his guests, Scott Grey, his wife Jean and their
"It's a nice place," Scott said.
"You're welcome to come over for weekends, you know,
so you can be near Nathan."
"That would be great," Scott said. "Don't you think
"Hmm," Jean said while smiling and nodding
"Follow me," Javier told them. "I'll introduce you
to the others."
"The orphans?" Scott asked. "The ones whose parents
died from Rasputin Syndrome?"
They all followed Javier into another room. There
they found four girls, all the same age as Nathan, all
representing different ethnicities.
"I'd like to introduce you to Javier's Orphans.
First we have Mornstar: she has the power to project
into your mind either your fondest desire or the
grossest, sickest, most disgusting images imaginable.
Then there's Fate: she has the power to make you do
things you don't want to do and then forget about them
later. Tigress, meanwhile, has the power to transform
into her cat form. And Mystic has the power to
teleport herself and others to anyplace, anywhere or
Jean frowned. "Don't their powers seem awfully
inappropriate for youngs girls?" she asked.
Javier nodded. "Which is why they have to be
trained in their use by a professional," he argued.
"Okay," Scott said, "as long as the kids don't use
their powers on each other."
"No, no," Javier said. "Of course not. The goal is
for them to find ways to use their powers to benefit
humanity and not simply as offensive weapons."
"Well that sounds great!" Scott said. "Don't you
think so, Jean?"
"Hmm?" Jean asked. "Oh, yeah, sure," she said.
"There he is!" Hu Xiaqi told his partner, the
British Secret Agent Brad James. "It's just like I
told you: he's in the park every afternoon."
"Fine," Brad said. "Go up and ask him about the
"No problem," Xiaqi said with obvious confidence.
He walked up to him. "Hey, Bagai."
"Yeah? What is it?"
"My friend here thinks you killed somebody a couple
of days ago."
Bagai attacked without warning. An ordinary man
would have been killed by Bagui's vicious attack but
Xiaqi was no ordinary man and was able to defend
himself well enough to stagger backwards.
Brad James took full advantage of the opportunity:
he pulled out his gun and shot Bagai.
"What the Hell did you do that for?" Xiaqi asked.
"I could have had him."
"You're welcome," Brad James told him. "He was
going to kill you."
"You didn't give me a chance to get the upper hand!"
Xiaqi complained. "And if he dies then how will I
prove my innocence?"
"He won't die," Brad told him. "I didn't hit any
"How do you know?"
"Because that's my job!" Brad assured him. "Now
just let me call 911. Then we can turn ourselves in
to the local police."
"Turn ourselves in?"
"You were fighting a guy and I shot him."
"The hospital called," Detective Michael King said.
"He's going to be alright."
"What were you too thinking?" Detective John Phelps
asked. "This was a police investigation! You should
have contacted us if you had a suspect."
"My apologies," Brad James told them. "I'm
accostumed to working under cover."
"Yeah well you'd better get used to working with the
local authorities," John told him, "because this is
America and we do things by the book!"
"Of course," Brad said, apparently genuinely feeling
"So what led you two to this suspect?" Michael
"Well," Xiaqi explained, "he's a martial artist from
China, just like me and, well, actually it was James
who suspected him really. I only knew the guy as an
"I see," Michael said. "Anything else?"
"Yeah," Xiaqi said. "His moves were exactly like
the moves used by your killer."
Xiaqi lifted his shirt. "Just look at these
Michael called the Chief Medical Examiner over.
"Jack? Come take a look at these bruises."
Jack Greenspan came over and took a look at Xiaqi's
bruises. "Mmm hmm. They look familiar."
"Are they a match to the bruises on our victim?"
"I can't be sure just by looking at them: the
problem is that they've already begun to heal. Our
victim died from his wounds so there was no healing."
"I'll have to take some pictures right away and do a
computer analysis, taking into account a few hours of
healing. Then I'll have some objective evidence for
Michael nodded. "Fine. Do that."
Jack took Xiaqi aside to take pictures of his bare
"Just to be sure," Xiaqi said. "These pictures
aren't going to appear in any gay men's magazine,
"I'm not familiar with any," Jack told him, "so no,
John sighed. "What about motive?"
"I suggest you ask Lee Bagai," Brad told him.
"Oh we will," John said, "as soon as the doctors
tell us it's okay to talk to him."
"Gentlemen," Michael said. "Please. We're all on
the same side here."
John nodded. "Alright then. So would you be
willing to testify in court as to what happened
"Testify?" Brad asked. "I don't know. I mean what
kind of secret agent would I be if everybody knew my
Bonus feature! Rejected Title Gallery: "Crush Hour"
"Dusk Hour" "Fuss Hour" "Hush Hour" "Gush Hour"
"Mush Hour" "Push Hour" "Tush Hour" You get the
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