8FOLD: Victory #4

Jeanne Morningstar mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 9 11:38:34 PDT 2020

8FOLD Comics Presents:
VICTORY #4 [8F-205]
"The First Battle"
by Jeanne Morningstar

Content warning: attempted mass shooting, references to transmisogyny 
and police violence


Chapter 1: The Landlord

And it went on like that for a while. Kate kept training away; she was 
putting up a respectable fight against the Quintain cut still couldn't 
land a blow on it. She also couldn't really get any straight answers 
about of Cornelius just yet. She kept working at her data entry work and 
her game making on the side, though training as a superhero gave her an 
incentive to procrastinate.

Midway through the second week of training, Elinor had cut her hair 
short and dyed it sea-green, which made her look more beautiful than 
ever. That was what Kate thought every time she changed her hair. She 
was fielding some polyam relationship drama in her usual board game 
group, which led to her spending more time with Kate. This was a bit 
bittersweet; it meant Kate spent more time with the woman she loved, of 
course, but also meant she was alone less so it was harder to duck out 
for training.

Meanwhile, life outside went on pretty much as it had. There were no 
major crises in her city, no supervillains, no natural disasters, no 
further appearances of the Toad King's minions or other weird menaces.

Kate had been wondering for some time where and how she'd find her first 
real fight. So far there were no "calls" from her mystic senses, or 
whatever, like she'd had the first time, and she had a faint tug of 
anxiety worrying she'd actually had them and missed it.

There was a brief altercation with a landlord, but that didn't really 
count. One of Elinor's other trans friends (Kellan, a trans guy in the 
board game group that Kate knew but was never really close to--making 
close friends was hard for her) was being evicted. His friends had tried 
to push the landlord on it, but the landlord wouldn't listen to anyone. 
Kate decided she'd do something about it.

That night, the landlord, a skinny bearded man with metal band tattoos, 
woke up to hear a knocking on his window. He opened it and saw the 
four-color, the one who'd been rumored to show up a few weeks ago, 
levitating outside his window. "Hi," she said. "We need to talk."

The landlord rubbed his eyes. "Wha--you're not real! I--I saw about you 
on Twitter, but I thought you were like, a hoax."

"Nope. I'm real. But I'm..." she grimaced a bit inwardly at the cliche 
but it was the right thing to say. "Your worst nightmare. Now. I hear 
you're trying to evict someone."

"I--I--look, I have to make money just like everyone else."

"Well you're not making it off the backs of people who can't afford to 
pay you. Not on my watch," said Victory. She yanked him up by the back 
of his shirt and flew full speed ahead into the night. Feeling the rush 
fo the wind, she started laughing, with the landlord screaming in chorus.

"OK, are you ready to give up?"

"Look, can't you--uh--can't you be reasonable" croaked the landlord as 
they rushed through the air.

"You'd better be careful. I think my grip's getting pretty loose." She 
let him go and sent him plummeting to the ground, then caught him just 
in time as he was about to hit the street. She flew upwards and dropped 
him on a building, giving him a moment to catch his breath. "I could do 
this for quite a while," she said, crossing her arms. "Are you ready to 
drop the eviction?"

"Okay, okay, fine," grumbled the landlord. "I'll let it go."

Victory cocked her head. "You sure?"

"I promise," said the landlord. "OK?"

"You'd better keep it. I'll be watching you," said Victory. She lifted 
up the landlord and carried him back to the apartment, tossing him 
through the window, and that was that.

The next day, Elinor burst on her, overjoyed, to tell them Kellan wasn't 
being evicted after all. The landlord was obviously panicking but hadn't 
said why. Kate smiled to herself.

Ideally, of course, she'd be working to get rid of the whole concept of 
landlords, creating a world where this didn't have to happen. A bit of a 
tall order even for a superhero. But it was a start.

Chapter 2: The Shooter

After a few more days, Kate faced her first battle, such as it was. She 
was going out to the mall scope out new manga at the borders with 
Elinor, one of her rare outings. She seldom ever left the apartment 
anymore unless Elinor dragged her into it. But this was a regular ritual 
for them, especially after US manga publishers wised up and finally 
started translating more yuri.

By the time they got to the Borders, Kate was feeling worn down, even 
though she hadn't done anything that day. It was amazing how easily she 
got both physically and mentally exhausted. It was entirely possible 
Kate had some form of chronic fatigue syndrome, but she was too poor and 
too scared to navigate the healthcare system as a trans girl and get a 
formal diagnosis. She was fairly sure she had anxiety too. She mostly 
just put all that exhaustion down to trauma and shrugged. She often felt 
like her body and her mind was a laggy machine running on legacy code 
and broken hardware. Still, at least she had some yuri to look forward to.

As she walked with Elinor past the Aunt Anne's pretzels and the stuffed 
toy store in the mall court, feeling a small pang of longing and regret 
as she passed the shop for teenage girls' clothes and trinkets, Kate 
felt a sudden and immediate tug of danger pulling at her heart. It was 
the same kind of tug she'd felt on the first day--she'd spent a lot of 
time worrying whether she'd know if it happened again, but now there was 
no mistaking it.

She looked out into the crowd passing through the wall. A man stood out 
to her immediately, a tall, thin white man with a sort of jittery, 
nervous energy. He was wearing a black blazer shirt. He reminded her a 
lot of the man she'd spent a lot of her life trying to be (except that, 
of course, he was tall).

"Get out, now," she whispered to Elinor. Before anything could happen 
she rushed off into the bathroom. She was amused by the fact that she 
was more scared of the man than of going into the womans' bathroom. When 
she was sure she was alone, she spoke the Word.

Rushing out of the bathroom, she saw the man pointing the gun at the 
crowd. He was clutching it as if he was holding onto a live animal that 
was trying to escape his grasp.

"All right," he said, "get down and--" He suddenly saw Victory striding 
out of the bathroom and his jaw dropped. He swung around and pointed the 
gun at her. She felt a stab of fear and then remembered, oh yeah, she 
was basically invulnerable now.

"Put that down," she said, in her best angry mom voice.

"You--you--you're just like all the other women who got in my way," he 
said. "You'll pay for this."

"You know, you're not going to actually be happier or feel any better if 
you kill a bunch of people, right?"

The shooter raised the shaking gun at her and pulled the trigger. The 
bullets reflected off her chest, giving her boobs a nice little bounce. 
Thankfully, her god senses (or whatever) immediately let her know they 
wouldn't hit anyone; she wanted to find out if she'd be faster then the 
proverbial speeding bullet someday, but not just now.

"A. Aaaaaa," said the shooter.

She yanked the gun from the shooter's trembling hands and took a bite 
out of its barrel. Slowly and thoughtfully, she chewed it over in her 
mouth while the shooter stared in slack jawed horror. She spat it out 
and tossed aside the gun. "Gross," she said.

The shooter screamed and ran for his life.

With that, Kate dashed back into the restroom faster than anyone could 
see, changed back, and stumbled back in through the confusion. She 
pushed her way through the crowd to find Elinor. "You OK?" she said, 
touching her shoulder. "God, I'm sorry, I just had this panic attack and--"

"You're OK!" Elinor hugged her tight. It was a nice feeling and she 
wished she was in a better place to enjoy it.

"We'd better get out of here before the cops show up," whispered Kate. 
Elinor nodded. Neither of them had exactly had good experiences with the 

They made their way out, sadly without the manga, and headed back home. 
The cop cars were coming in just as they drove away, too late as always.

On the way back, she listened to Elinor babble excitedly about having 
seen a real superhero for the first time, how amazing and exciting and 
gorgeous she was. She looked ahead, still a bit dizzy and insulated from 
the world around her, and turned over her thoughts and feelings.

On one level, she was disappointed. That was it? But on another level, 
it had been amazing. She'd taken up a man who'd tried to rule peoples 
lives by fear and shown he was nothing at all. There was something in 
the city now more powerful than guns.

She was still feeling heady, powerful, euphoric, but also anxious and 
stretched thin. She didn't even feel too bad about her body in her 
mortal form for once. The main thing that scared her was thinking--what 
if she hadn't been in time to save Elinor? She remembered all the things 
she'd heard about superheroes' friends, family and partners being 
targeted, but she hadn't expected Elinor to get involved this soon. 
She'd have to have that conversation soon, a lot sooner than she'd wanted...

"OK," said Elinor. "I need to talk to you about something."

Shit. Kate immediately felt this stab of fear she felt whenever someone 
said they needed to talk about something without saying what.

"It's nothing wrong." Elinor smiled gently. "So, that superhero who 
saved us... that was you, wasn't it?"



Well, this was originally going to be a completely different concept--a 
story about Kate facing down a fascist protest that had its roots in 
paranoia around the post-apocalyptic state of things and some distorted 
knowledge that had filtered out about what was really going on with the 
Pulse War. That was an interesting concept, though I hadn't quite 
figured out to make it work than a story. But now the politics around 
who's protesting and why have changed a lot. Thoe early issues were 
posted a little over a year ago but it feels a LOT longer. I knew I 
wanted to start out with a bit of a Golden Age Superman small-scale 
social-justice-y angle, so I went with this instead.

In the 8fold universe, Borders never closed.

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