8FOLD: Jolt City Adventures # 1, "Just Another Day", by Saxon Brenton

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 23 18:22:58 PST 2008

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       ADVENTURES # 1
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 ///    ///   //     \//  "JUST ANOTHER DAY"
////// ///   //      //    BY SAXON BRENTON

   The diabolical Professor Longitude leapt out of bed as soon as he
woke up that morning.  The day was new and full of promise and simply
brimming with opportunities to do evil.  He was a mad scientist and a
criminal maniac and he relished his work.
   A quick shower later and he was in his work clothes, a stylised
while lab coat with just enough costume elements of gold trim and a
short cape to make it look like a supervillain ensemble.  He strode
into his workroom where his villainous henchmen were waiting.  "Good
morning gentlemen!" he said with enthusiasm.  "It's time to begin a
new Scheme!"
   "What type of Scheme, Boss?" asked Mr Giggles, who was fat and
jovial and sinisterly avuncular.
   "Capture a hero and make an evil clone of him to wreck the real
one's reputation?" suggested Blue Foam, an embittered ex-Navy SEAL
altered in a freak accident.
   "Hold the city to ransom with a viral plague dumped in the water
supply?" said Chop-Sockey, a martial artist whose transparent hands
were literally living diamond and whose Italian-American origins were
disguised by his really bad fake Chinese accent.
   "Use a time machine and mind control ray to form an army of
conquest consisting of Nazi dinosaurs?" put forward Pebbles McGee, who
looked like a bulldog from a Warner Bros cartoon whose faced had just
been smashed in with a frying pan.
   "No!  I feel like doing something large!  Something...
   A thrill of excitement and fear passed through the henchmen.  They
hadn't seen their employer this hyped up in ages; not since the Green
Knight and Acro-Bat had thwarted his plan to replace the President of
the United States with a robotic simulacrum and start World War 3.
This was going to be good.  Whatever nefarious plot they embarked
upon, regardless of whether it was successful or not, they knew that
Professor Longitude would remind the world that he was a homicidal
madman to be reckoned with.
   The diabolical Professor Longitude steepled his hands thoughtfully,
and focused his attention on the constantly shifting stream of words
that was always hovering seductively just before his mind's eye.
"Here is what we're going to do..."

   That was three days ago.
   "Hot diggity dog," said the Acro-Bat sourly.  "Another death trap."
   The boy astounding was currently suspended at the top of a pit.
The only reason that he wasn't falling into it was because he had
wedged himself, with outstretched arms and legs, between the walls.
And, crucially, because the diabolical Professor Longitude hadn't
coated the walls with slime.  (Although the Acro-Bat had been in the
business long enough to know that no villain with pretensions of mad
science would *dream* of using mere slime.  It would be a
revolutionary new totally frictionless surface, or nothing.)
   He looked down.  It wasn't that deep a pit, but there was a bask of
robot crocodiles armed with gosh-darn lasers in their eyes at the
bottom, and Acro-Bat really didn't have time to waste trying to
deactivate robot crocodiles.
   Nor did he really have time to stay suspended on the inside edge of
a pit before his limbs grew sore and began to cramp.  Nevertheless the
young man carefully studied his situation as his mentor had taught
him, searching for any hidden escape routes or further traps that may
have been built in.  Once he was satisfied that this was not so, the
Acro-Bat began the task of edging his way up the walls.  It did not
take long since he had not fallen far, so it was tedious rather than
   Once he had levered himself out of the top of the pit he took a few
seconds to massage his limbs while wondering where Green Knight had
gotten off to.  The problem was that the answer could be 'almost
anywhere'.  He took a pair of infra-red goggles and briefly scanned
the area with them.  Nothing.  Any heat traces from the Green Knight's
passage had long since faded to the point where they were masked by
the background temperature of Longitude's setup here in this abandoned
   He sighed.  There wasn't much time left before midnight and
Professor Longitude did... whatever it was that he was planning to do
to the moon with that laser of his.  Most likely the Green Knight had
gone ahead, trusting the Acro-Bat's ability to take care of himself.
Acro-Bat should do the same.  And who knew: perhaps they could end up
acting as distractions for one another.
   Yeah, right.
   The mazelike quality of Professor Longitude's setup was annoying.
How did he get a place like this constructed?  And why?  It wasn't
even a proper defensive perimeter.  Simply a series of arbitrary
puzzles and deathtraps.  Some of them, like recognising a Fibonacci
Sequence and keying in the next three numbers, weren't even
particularly difficult if you had time to do the pattern recognition.
   Why did moral retards like Longitude go to all the trouble?  Why
did they insist on playing stupid games?  Out there in the real world
there were muggers and white collar criminal, arsonists and
murderers.  And then there were costumed exhibitionists who
choreographed high visibility crimes the way other people arranged an
advertising campaign...
   There was someone just ahead.
   Acro-Bat paused just before the intersection, as if wondering which
direction to take.  There was the muted sound of someone trying to
suppress the noise of their own breathing.  They were anxious.
Someone who was scared?  Or someone who was thrill junkie enough to be
excited at the prospect of a fight?  That would be either Chop-Sockey
   (Acro-Bat ducked to one side as an electrified cane tip came
smashing down right where he had been.)
   ...Mr Giggles.
   People who had neither encountered nor heard of Mr Giggles before
usually made the mistake of thinking that someone so rotund could not
possibly be so nimble.  The Acro-Bat was fortunate in that he had
never been a member of that group.  Nevertheless, that electrified
cane of his was always a pain in the backside.  Metaphorically
   The Acro-Bat feinted to one side, then ducked and rolled as Mr
Giggles smacked down the tip of his cane where Acro-Bat would have
been.  There was another spark and the sharp smell of ozone.  The
villain wasted no time with his follow through: spinning about and
executing a sideways kick that would have landed in Acro-Bat's guts
had the hero not leapt upwards and backwards out of the way.
   As he did so, however, Acro-Bat's eyes widened briefly in
surprise.  Mr Giggles had done that same manoeuvre the last time they
had fought.  Surely it couldn't be...
   The Acro-Bat decided to put it to the test, and briefly ran though
a series of attacks and dodges.  Mr Giggles handled them as Acro-Bat
had remembered, and the hero could not believe his luck that his
opponent had such a stylised fighting method.  Contrary to what had
been drilled into Acro-Bat by the Green Knight, Mr Giggles apparently
did not learn from past encounters.
   Oookaaay.  Now came the risky part.  Another series of moves that
if successful would lead Mr Giggles into a position where he would
briefly be overextended, off balance, and exposed.
   The Acro-Bat repeated his feint, duck and roll.
   As Mr Giggles spun around for his gut kick Acro-Bat dodged back in
the opposite direction - just barely missing being hit by the
villain's foot.  Still, it was good.  With his limbs extended out so
wide Mr Giggles could not do another speedy turn just now due to
simple conservation of angular momentum.  Mr Giggles seemed to almost
instinctively understand this, and instead whipped his cane around for
a cruel overhead swipe.
   Acro-Bat had anticipated the movement and its consequences better
than Mr Giggles had.  He shifted slightly to his opponent's offside,
caught Mr Giggles' arm, and before Mr Giggles had time to shift his
weight to compensate Acro-Bat had dragged him off his feet (almost
dislocating the man's shoulder in the process), grabbed his cane and
jabbed Mr Giggles in the neck with it.  There was a brief scream of
pain and then Mr Giggles lay unconscious.
   The Acro-Bat moved on.
   There was a rather cynical notion held by some people that
supervillains were created by superheroes.  More than just moths drawn
to a flame, that they were social misfits with weak senses of identity
and who moulded themselves in response to the heroes' alpha male
presence.  Acro-Bat didn't think much of this viewpoint.  For a start
it failed to take into account that where fighting crime was concerned
it was the villains who were active and the heroes were reactive.
   No.  These types of villains were attention seeking obsessive-
compulsives and would be causing trouble anyway.  The more important
and considerably more subtle question was whether or not thwarting
demented super geniuses by solving their carefully encrypted puzzles
and then fighting them atop giant appliances was pandering to them.
Was fighting supervillains really the most useful thing that he could
be doing with his time?
   Ah, here it was.  He had found Professor Longitude's control room.
   The man himself stood waiting for Acro-Bat.  Or for someone, at any
rate.  The Acro-Bat was looking straight at him, and caught the
flicker of disappointment across his features.  Had he been hoping for
the Green Knight, perhaps?
   Nevertheless: "Welcome, Acro-Bat!  Welcome to my humble abode."
   The Acro-Bat launched a metal discuss at the gigantic and
stereotypically baroque telescope arrangement that looked plausibly
like the control of Professor Longitude's laser cannon.  The discus
bounced off of a force field and ricocheted back at the young man,
forcing him to jump out of the way.  He examined the barrier and found
that it surrounded him.  He scowled and demanded, "What do you want,
   "That's 'the diabolical Professor Longitude' to you!"
   "What do you want!?"
   "Behold my greatest creation!" proclaimed Professor Longitude.  The
Acro-Bat wasn't impressed, since Professor Longitude was subject to
fits of enthusiasm and called pretty much every invention his greatest
creation.  Still, it didn't escape Acro-Bat's notice that the
Professor had forgone even trying to have a conversation with him,
instead going straight to the monologuing.
   'Calm,' thought Acro-Bat to himself.  'Keep calm.  Do not give up
the weapon of keeping the villain talking.'  Why, back in the day the
Acro-Bat's reputation as an annoying kid sidekick always with a line
of witty banter was second to none.
   Longitude announced grandly, "By means of coherent light emissions
created by using the Star of Trafalgar Diamond..."
   (the same diamond whose theft had set the Green Knight and Acro-Bat
on the trail of Professor Longitude in the first place)
   "...as a focal lense, I shall aim my weapon at the Moon..."
   "And use the Moon as a reflector to bounce a death ray back at
Earth?" guessed Acro-Bat during the lull when Longitude paused
   "To turn the Moon into green cheese!" proclaimed Professor
Longitude with a crow of triumph.
   "What!?  What possible use is doing that?"
   The diabolical Professor Longitude sniffed disdainfully.  "Young
man, you obviously don't understand the principles of *mad* science."
   A flicker of movement in Acro-Bat's peripheral vision told him that
the Green Knight had arrived.  Ah, so it came down to this.  Oh,
alright then.  Just say the words and get it over with.  "But that's
   "They laughed at me at the university..." Professor Longitude
   'Yes, they did,' thought Acro-Bat.  'One guy laughed so hard he
caught a chronic case of hiccups and almost choked to death.  Come
*on*, GK.'
   "...but I'll show them!  I'll show them all!"
   The Acro-Bat had lost track of the Green Knight.  No matter, keep
the villain talking.  "Mister, proof of concept counts for nothing
without a practical use for it.  Otherwise it'll just be a nine day
wonder and then the world will forget about it because it won't affect
   Professor Longitude sneered at him.  "Ah, but it *will* have an
effect on them!  A moon made of green cheese is far less massive than
a Moon made of lunar rock.  The change in tidal forces will be
enormous and will wreck havoc here on Earth.  The devastation will be
   "The mass?  Where does the mass go?"
   "Oh, elsewhere," said Longitude dismissively.  "Converted into
virtual particles.  And now," he said, cracking his knuckles.  "We
shall begin!"
   "Wait.  If this devastation is going to be so great, aren't you
worried about how you'll survive?"
   "This complex is isolated in a pocket dimension.  I am perfectly
   Ah, now that at least was a useful piece of information.  It
explained why his lair was always so difficult to find except by
tracking the movements of his minions.
   The diabolical Professor Longitude pulled a massive brass knife
switch.  His laser cannon, or at least the control panel for it, lit
up.  A high pitched thrumming began to build.  The Professor screamed,
"Vengeance will be mine!" and hit the Big Red Button.
   The thrumming went through a decrescendo and ended in a rather
disappointing 'pfffttt' sound.
   "Wha?" went the diabolical Professor Longitude, looking about at
his machine in surprise, just in time to be knocked unconscious with a
single well placed punch to the face by the Green Knight.
   And that was that.  Another villain defeated; once again the world
saved.  But as the Green Knight and Acro-Bat set about securing the
area and calling in the authorities, Acro-Bat couldn't help but
continue to wonder...
   Was this the most useful thing that he could be doing with his


EDITOR'S NOTE (yes, an editor's note!)

   Some among you might recall the announcement of the 2007 JOLT CITY
ANNUAL.  The intention was for a different author to write a different
story covering a different era of Martin Rock's life: his career as
the Acro-Bat, his time in Iraq, his time as the mask with no name and
the "modern" era-- with a good ol' fashioned imaginary story thrown in
for good measure.  So what became of it?
   Well, this is it.
   Five authors signed up: of those, two submitted fragments of works-
in-progress, one dropped off the face of the internet, one came up
with an absolutely electrifying story hook and one (and only one)
completed a story.  That one was Saxon Brenton, and that story has
been sitting on my computer for over a year as I awaited the
completion of its companion stories.  (That's right; Saxon was the
only one who got it done and he got it done *early*.)
   Having re-read the story recently, however, I felt it a crime to
deprive the world of it any longer-- and so, out of the ashes of last
year's never-finished annual comes the inaugural edition of JOLT CITY
ADVENTURES.  The basic idea being that each issue will present a
different author writing a different story about everyone's favourite
verdant vigilante and the wild and woolly members of his supporting
   Those of you who'd like to write such a story are encouraged to e-
mail the editor to submit it for publication within these pages.
Those of you who signed up for the annual are encouraged to complete
your stories and do the same, especially if said story involves the
mask with no name fighting velociraptors.

   And strictly as a note to myself, since this story is being posted
after the annual Eightfold count, JOLT CITY ADVENTURES # 1 is the 73rd
story to appear under our illustrious banner.


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