ASH/HCC: LL&DD Special - "Pull"

Dave Van Domelen dvandom at
Wed Jun 23 15:58:02 PDT 2010

     [The cover shows Doctor Developer behind the wheel of a van, looking
head on through the window at him.  Copy along the bottom reads, "It's 281
miles to Chicago, I've got a full tank of gas, half a stack of pancakes, it's
sunny, and I'm not wearing sunglasses.  Hit it."]

 Coherent                                                  LL&DD Special
 Comics          | ADY | AWFUL    __        __                "Pull"
 Presents an     |__   |__     &  | \ OCTOR | \ EVELOPER   copyright 2010
 ASHistory Tale:                  |_/       |_/            by Andrew Burton

[September 8, 1994 - Detroit, Michigan]

     Word on the street was Doctor Developer was getting ready to blow town.
He had been quiet lately, hiding out after losing his minions to the rumor
campaign about how he was hot for some white-cape tail.  Now was the perfect
time to strike, when he was least prepared to hold his ground.
     Mistah Mekanique smiled a toothy grin as he signaled for the two other
wings of his assault to close in around the building to which Doctor
Developer had been tailed.  It was an old storefront with a pair of windows
framing a slightly inset door, the perfect place to ambush from both sides.
With the back exits covered, he led his own team of cyborgs toward the front
     They rushed forward, breaking through the front doors and windows,
pushing forward toward the middle of the building, where a small room had
been walled off by stacks of crates and equipment.  Mistah Mekanique and his
men fired several shots through the crates, hoping to hit their target before
he had a chance to react.  When no shots were returned, they felt confident
to approach toward the opening at the front of the room.
     Inside the room there was a newly-shot-up television set, a desk with
papers on it, and small cot.  On the cot, covered in a bullet-holed blanket,
was a lump oozing blood on the floor.  Mistah Mekanique stepped toward the
lump and nudged it with his foot.  When the lump didn't move, Mistah
Mekanique leaned forward and yanked the blanket off.
     A mannequin in a leather coat and wig rolled onto the floor.  As it hit
the ground, Mistah Mekanique realized there was a wire attached to the
mannequin.  The wire went taut, and he heard something make a twanging noise,
followed up by the roar of metal doors.
     Mistah Mekanique bolted from the room just in time to see three rolling
metal doors...the kind that could be found in any good garage...slam shut,
closing off the front of the building.  His men soon reported the same from
behind the store.
     "Hello?  Hello," a voice began to speak.  It was none other than Doctor
Developer's voice.  "If you're hearing this, it means you thought I was
hiding out in this building and didn't know about the tunnel, which is sealed
up now, so, ah, don't bother.  I imagine you'll be able to get through the
doors with a little work, so in a few seconds I'm going to flood the building
with a nitrous oxide mixture.  That should keep you quiet for a while."
     Before anyone could make an attempt to open the doors, a hissing sound
began.  Following the noise upward, Mistah Mekanique and his men saw several
jets of gas pouring down from the ceiling.  "Sleep tight, and have fun
running Detroit without me," Doctor Developer's voice said as the recording
came to an end.

               *              *              *              *

     Cameron didn't want to leave Detroit.  It was where Tom was buried.  It
was his home.  He knew all the best restaurants, all the shortcuts through
alleys, and which parts store would have which components he needed no matter
when.  Detroit was a great place to hideout after a crime, and an even better
place to prepare for your next one.  And it wasn't like he had to flee town
ahead of the law.
     Unfortunately, that was the problem, as far as Cameron was concerned.
He didn't have to flee, which meant he had to leave.  Most of the good heroes
moved out of town before they became good heroes.  Even the bad good guys,
like that Unbeatable girl, didn't stick around long.  There were guys like
Mistah Mekanique that could be challenging, but Cameron McKay (Doctor
Developer to such parts of the world that knew about him at all) didn't want
Mistah Mekanique as an arch-nemesis.
     Cameron knew who he wanted as an arch-nemesis, and it wasn't anyone in
Detroit.  This insight was why he found himself packing his most important
equipment...a couple of half-finished robot bodies, the rolling tool chest
Tinker Tom gave him for graduation, and several notebooks of diagrams and CD
envelopes...into the back of a nondescript panel van.  Everything else...the
tools he that could replace at his destination, Tom's car Betty Rides, some
deathtrap prototypes too big to move...he left locked up in a particularly
secure sanctuary, one he never took the henchmen to visit.  If things worked
out, he could arrange for transport later.
     With everything he was taking with him packed up and strapped down,
Cameron pulled on a baseball cap and got behind the wheel of the van.  He set
the styrofoam container of blueberry pancakes on the passenger seat, made
sure his thermos was shut tight, and double-checked his map.
     When he was absolutely sure everything was ready, he started the van.

               *              *              *              *

[September 14, 1994 - Chicago, Illinois]

     Almost a week after getting to Chicago, Cameron had mostly settled into
the city.  He still had a couple of backup apartments he was looking at, as
well as a couple of self-storage sheds, but the first apartment he had taken
was nice enough for the time being.  Motion sensors by the windows and door
kept it fairly secure, and so far no one had noticed the small robotics
labroatory he had in the den.
     He was still getting used to the new city.  The restaurants were
different than Detroit, and none made blueberry pancakes to his liking.  He
was still trying to get a feel for the supply stores, which he'd made a
priority since he was already running low.  He was still *lying* low, which
meant he had not met up with the local capes and masks scene yet, black or
white.  He had feelers out, but that was it.
     After a parts supplier, his top priority was locating a comic book shop.
In Detroit he had a shop that always held a copy of Lady Lawful's comic for
him.  In Chicago he was still trying to find a store...after visiting three
already...that had not sold out.  Part of him knew it was something he could
pick up later on, but the part that kept him going was curiosity to see how
Lady Lawful was going to save herself from last month's cliffhanger.  Comic
writers never got her escapes right, which was half the fun of reading the
     The fourth store Cameron entered was a small shop, just barely big
enough to hold the box-filled tables in the middle and provide enough walk
room on either side.  It was almost a deathtrap already, although he could
see a dozen ways to make it better.  Or worse.  Depended on your point of
view.  He managed to squeeze down the makeshift aisles well enough, though.
     "Can I help you?" the guy behind the cash register asked.
     Cameron searched the rows of comics hanging from the wall before
replying.  "Uh, yeah, do you have Lady Lawful?" he asked.  He glanced across
the store, hoping to find the issue on the other wall.
     The guy smiled.  "Sure do," he answered, "If I put them up there on
Wednesday, scalpers come through an buy'em all.  One per customer, that's our
Lady Lawful policy."
     Cameron pulled out his wallet to pay from the comic.  "Yeah, makes
sense," he replied.  He paid for the book.
     "You're new in town, I bet," the guy said.  Cameron looked up from the
comic.  Before he could answer, the guy continued, "anyone who lived here
would know you have have to reserve a copy of Lady Lawful's book if you want
it on Wednesday."
     "Or they could come here," Cameron suggested, pointing out the flaw in
the guy's statement.
     "Yes, but if you lived here long enough to know that, you would have
come here first," the guy answered.
     "Ah, that is true," Cameron replied after a moment of thought.  He filed
the observation away as an interesting bit of trivia.  "Next time, I'll just
come here first," he said.
     The guy behind the register smiled, "A new customer, I like you


Author's Notes:

     This story was written for High Concept Challenge #10, "The Immigrant
Experience."  This was supposed to be longer.  There was a scene that I
wanted to write that would have kind of been Deedee's big Welcome to Chicago
moment, but I got distracted by another work and ran out of time.  Maybe, one
day, the scene will be written, but until then, this is whatcha get.
Hopefully the other work, aka LL&DD #11, will be finished soon.


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