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Guest Starring the Justice Defenders!



June 11, 1987

Seattle is an interesting place. Especially for the Justice Defenders.
    The Justice Defenders have a base in Seattle, thanks to the bequest of a millionaire industrialist who wanted to do something good for the city. He set up a base, support, equipment and everything else a super-hero team would require, and willed it to the Justice Defenders, hoping this would spark the team to expand itself into a third city (in addition to its current bases in Chicago and San Francisco). The Justice Defenders' corporate sponsors think this is great: a complete base! At no extra cost to themselves! Perfect. There is a small catch; contractually, the Justice Defenders have to have someone there, at the base, three months out of the year (not necessarily in succession). How hard could this be? 93 days a year. No sweat.
    Did I mention that the base is cursed? Maybe haunted, too? How about that Seattle is the home of the strangest, most absurd super-villains to ever don spandex and foam rubber? Seattle's rogues gallery includes such luminaries as Commander Cobra, the Ophidian Overlord; The Octogenarian Alien Sumo Armadillos (Inky, Pinky, Blinky and Clyde); I-Scream (armed with thirty-wonderful flavors of terror); Ms. Saint Helens and her Lava Hair; and the pinnacles of Seattle wrongdoers, whose personal war for control of the city has raged for nearly a decade, Phil Chlora—the master of evil plant life—and Commander Cardboard and his Corrugated Pasteboard Commandos.
    The only member ever to request Seattle duty is Powerhouse, who enjoys a chance to flex his ludicrous strength against these peculiar villains. Needless to say, the rest of the team thinks the place is a nightmare; it's where Survivor sends them when they mess up.
    For our hero, Scott Silver, Seattle is an interesting place for another reason: his 'father' Dr. Jeffrey Scott relocated here several months ago, taking a job with the scientific think tank the GEMINI Institute. (GEMINI—Greater Engineering Mechanics and Innovation in the Name of Invention.) There Dr. Scott continues his research into the properties of Plovian liquid super-conductors. His previous experiments in this field produced his 'son,' and he now pursues it in hope of using this strange material's bio-aura reactive properties to replace his lower legs, destroyed in the altercation with TECH.
    "Right this way, Mr. Silver." The steward showed Boston's amorphous hero to his seat in coach.
    Scott shlorked dutifully behind him. "Thanks. I am sorry about the metal detectors."
    "No, no, that was really our fault. Regulations state we have to have everyone go through them before they get on the plane."
    "Oh." Scott considered for a moment. "Do they shriek and smoke like that for everyone, then?"
    The steward looked oddly at him, a face Scott had learned to recognize as someone trying to figure out of he was serious or not.
    Awareness of his presence was rippling through the coach compartment, and most of the faces were smiling and friendly. Two small children were waving and wearing Revolution hats. It had been a month since Albert's 'whammy' on the greater Boston area, and the results hadn't totally faded. Scott wasn't sure about morality of the move, but the circumstances had demanded it. He poured into the small seat just as a stewardess began the pre-flight safety instructions. In order to be helpful he assumed his seldom used human form, so that he could buckle his seat belt. The rest of the directions were meaningless in his case, but he listened politely anyway before turning to his neighbor in the adjacent seat.
    "Hi. I'm Scott. I'm going to Seattle."
    The man blinked several times, his eyes trying to focus around or through the android's glistening silver body. "Hi. Chicago. I'm getting off in Chicago."
    "You're from out of town, aren't you?"
    "Bangor, Maine. I'm going to a sales conference." There was a little fear in the man's eyes, and he looked totally unprepared to deal with a gregarious android.
    "Oh. I'm a super-hero. Hey! We're taking off!" Scott shifted back to his liquid state, stretching a pseudopod across his neighbor to look out the window in his excitement. After a few seconds he realized what was happening and rotated the extension to look at the salesman. "Sorry. First time I've flown."
    The salesman weighed his options, and decided he'd prefer ready access to running room over an android in his lap. "Would you like the window seat?"
    "You wouldn't mind? Neat!"
    The stop-over in the Windy City took place as scheduled, forcing Scott to return to the aisle seat when his old neighbor was replaced by a seasoned traveler who took one look at Scott, pushed his seat back, and fell asleep.
    The stewardess from Boston came by Scott's seat again, "Are you sure you don't want something to eat?"
    "Nothing, thank you. You don't mind if I leave the light on?"
    "Um, no."
    During that stop-over Alchemy of the Justice Defenders got on in first class, carrying a briefcase as a carry on and with a small mousy man in tow. She was not happy, and part of her hoped someone would try and hijack the plane. It had happened twice before, and she could use the exercise. Probably not this time—instead she's stuck escorting this scientist and his gizmo to the GEMINI group for Orion Space Sciences. And it has to be top secret to prevent industrial theft or sabotage—ha!—which means she has to spend several days in Seattle to make the cover story believable.

It was raining in Seattle as the plane taxied in. It's always raining in Seattle, just that some times it's heavier than others. Powerhouse and Eclipse, the junior member of the Justice Defenders, were waiting in the airport for Alchemy to get in.
    "Actually, I think we did rather well on that last case, Eclipse."
    "Yeah." Eclipse rolled her eyes. "It only took you a week to figure out that one of Commander Cobra's snake-men had replaced the mayor."
    Powerhouse's oft-practiced wounded look came easily to his face. "He always had a lisp! I was just being polite! We got them, didn't we?"
    Eclipse bounced, since nodding was too small a word to describe the energy in her teenage frame, "You bet! We even did it on television. I looked really good."
    "Of course, Cobra's venom gun had melted my pants just before the press crew arrived."
    "At least your underwear sponsors were happy."
    Powerhouse broke into a huge grin. "They weren't the only ones, little lady! God, I love this town. Now I'm just wondering why Survivor sent Alchemy here."
    "She doesn't strike me as a 'Seattle' sort of woman."
    "She must have messed up to get sent out here."
    Eclipse shook her head thoughtfully. "Alchemy never messes up. It must be something big. Secret. Important."
    Powerhouse grimaced. "Or Survivor thinks we need looking after.... Either way, she isn't going to tell us. Wait, her plane's here. Get the sign ready!"
    Eclipse unfolded a piece of cardboard with the world ALCHEMY carefully lettered in sparkly magic marker. Then she climbed onto Powerhouse's shoulders and waved excitedly, just in case.
    "As if I'd miss you," Alchemy muttered, rolling her eyes and barely acknowledging Eclipse and her hyper-thyroid teammate as she led her charge through the special security corridor to pick up her gun and other sundries from the airport security folk. Dr. Small was still in tow, and she kept a careful eye on him.
    Powerhouse and Eclipse headed to where Alchemy stood with a small, dorky-looking scientist type.
    "Maybe she picked up someone on the plane?"
    "Eclipse, the only men Alchemy meets on planes are terrorists."

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson