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  | Asymmetry | Role-Playing | Villains & Vigilantes | The Revolution | Story So Far | Aside |





    With Needle and Thunderbolt in the hospital, Phoenix Talon decided it was time to call up the reserves. Such as they were.
    "Hey, is Stu there?"
    "May I ask who's calling please?"
    "Phoenix Talon."
    "Just a minute. Dad? It's your gang leader on the phone," a long-suffering teenager called.
    "Stu?" Talon prompted before the other man could speak.
    "Yes, sensei?" Stu's voice was, as always, a cross between business-brisk and eagerness.
    "I hear you're superstrong." [Entire room falls apart in laughter for several minutes.]
    Stu seemed a bit taken aback. "Um... yeah, I guess Rick told you—"
    "Meet me down at Rowes Wharf," Talon interrupted. "You're gonna come over to the base, I'm gonna see what you can do."
    "Okay.... I'll be right there!"
    "Gotcha. Out."
    "Hi, Stan here?"
    "Stan, it's sensei."
    "Hey, sensei, what's up?"
    "I hear you got superpowers."
    "I'm really strong now, if that's what you mean...."
    "Yeah. Good. Get down to the wharf, I'll meet you in twenty minutes."
    "Okay, great! Do I get a costume?" he added excitedly.
    "Yeah, probably."
    "Yeah, Rick here?"
    "Rick, it's sensei."
    "Hey, sensei, what's up?"
    "We got an emergency, so I'm taking extraordinary action. I asked Stu and Stan to come over, I'm gonna see what they can do, if it's good enough they're becoming costumes."
    "They're what?!"
    "Needle's in the hospital, and the rest of us are... did you hear the news?" He realized his lieutenant might not be entirely aware of current events.
    "Yeah, something about you guys fighting a bunch of Chinese opera clowns?"
    "Yeah, we lost."
    "That wasn't how the news made it sound...."
    "Well I'm glad to hear that. Get everybody out, get everybody on the street, on patrol now. Now don't—"
    "Don't engage?"
    "Right. Now what I'm thinking of for Stu and Stan is these stupid theme villains that we've been running around these past few weeks?"
    "You want us to engage them?"
    "No, don't engage them. But if Stu and Stan work out, then they can deal with them, because of whatever happened with Dawn, which I'll have to ask her about later, but it's not important now. Everything works out for the best, I suppose. While we deal with more important things, they can deal with the theme villains. I gotta go."
    "Okay...." Rick sounded a bit confused still. Too bad; explanations could wait.
    "Hello, Mariner Corporation."
    "Hi, this is Phoenix Talon from the Revolution."
    "Oh, hey. How are you?"
    "Good," he replied automatically. "Can I speak with J.T. Mariner?"
    Sparky seemed surprised by his abruptness. "Yeah, hang on just a minute. Something up?"
    "Hold on."
    "Hello?" J.T. said a moment later.
    "Hello, Mr. Mariner? This is Phoenix Talon."
    "We're having something of an emergency right now."
    His, "Okay...." invited more information.
    "I don't know if you saw the news, but we just had a severe contact with the Wuxia and we didn't come off too good. Needle's in the hospital...."
    "That sounds serious."
    "The problem is that there's currently a lot of bad guys on the street right now, that we're trying to take care of, and our resources are frankly getting stretched to the margin. Can you guys help us out with anything?"
    "I think we should be able to do that. Do you want us to handle this Wuxia situation for you?" he inquired, apparently serious.
    [Yes! Go for it! - Josh]
    "We may be asking for some backup on that," Talon temporized. "Currently they're the most dangerous immediate threat, so we want to save us for that, but there's a lot of other shit. Have you met the League of Nations?"
    "Oh, yeah. We've encountered them three or four times," was the reply.
    "Well good, 'cause they're in town. And then there's all these fuckin' theme villains running around."
    "I don't suppose Manta Master has turned up again?"
    "Not yet, but I wouldn't be surprised. If you come over real quick, I can show you everyone that we're currently looking for."
    "I'll swing by. Be there in a few minutes."
    "Hello, you've reached the offices of Trent Aster. I'm sorry, I'm not available right now. If you leave a message after the tone, I'll call you back as soon as I can."
    "What the—did she write down the number right?—this is your headquarters? This is Phoenix Talon, we got problems, give us a call."
    He called K. Robeson and got a busy signal.
    He'd have requested a PITS team, but being professionals and all, they cost money.
    Meanwhile, in the Blobcave, Scott made a call of his own.
    "Hello, K. Robeson Enterprises."
    "Hello Stephanie."
    "Oh, hi, Mr. Silver. What can I help you with?"
    "Are the guys around?"
    "Um. Yes."
    "Want to put this on speakerphone for the whole bunch of you?"
    "I'm telling you, I'm not going to make a giant pyramid out of it!" he heard.
    "I know what you're thinking! It'll be my mobile theater!"
    "Excuse me," Scott interrupted.
    Pause. "Yes?" Larry asked in a quite different tone of voice.
    "About the homicidal Chinese supervillain team who might have figured out that you guys work for me...."
    "I suppose we'll be decamping to a new location to prevent an unfortunate reenactment of the end of last season?"
    "Yeah, that would be a good idea."
    "It's time to decamp, gentlemen! And lady," he added.
    "I don't suppose you happen to know where their headquarters is, by the way?"
    "No," Felix told him.
    "I could start trying to infiltrate Chinatown to find out," Larry offered.
    "That could take rather more time than we have, though. Anyway, the Wuxia just eliminated the police precinct near Chinatown."
    "Oh, dear heaven," Larry murmured, all seriousness now. "I can't say that's going to reflect well on them at their trial."
    "Probably not," Scott had to agree. "Lest the three of you become victims in their unstoppable surge to take over the city...."
    "Their what?"
    "Their what?" Felix echoed. "Correct me if I'm wrong, last time we discussed these people, you had said that one of them had organized a shadow empire in Chinatown. What are they doing?!"
    "The other five members, the big burly let's punch our enemies repeatedly types, got out of prison. And apparently have decided that a shadow empire, holding the reins of power within Chinatown in their iron-clads fists, is not worthy of their magnificence when they can grind the entire city beneath their heel."
    "Did they actually say, 'grind the entire city beneath their heel?'" Larry wanted to know.
    "God I hope so, otherwise there's really no redeeming features about them at all."
    "Exactly." Scott couldn't see him, but had absolutely no doubt that Larry had just made a flourishing gesture. "Quick! To the Blobcave!"
    "Good idea. Considering I'm already there, I'll meet you here."

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© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson