Sunday, February 6, 2011

And They Have A Plan

Edit: Fixed hole, 11/02/11.

[Scene: The Leaguemobile, coming back from wherever it is that too-square-for-their-own-good kids hang out in this town. Billy Washington is pulling into a 7-11 parking lot, but the boys are distracted.]

Captain Super Ultra [Billy Washington]: "...Hey, officer! The mall is that way!"
Wolverine Boy [Billy Tatum]: I don't know. Campus cops have to patrol even further than mall cops. Maybe he needs a Segway?"
Billy W.: "Is this even a campus?"
Billy Tatum: "Sure. Well, not quite. The frat houses start next block, and the cowboys handle calls. Plus, Doctor Croghan's clinic is on the next corner. There's always campus security around when I go there, because of the protestors. Blah, blah, mutagenic nerve gas Pentagon blah. Won't stop Grond with kitten cannons."
Brad: "It's stupid."
Billy W.: "It's a fat campus cop on a Segway. Of course it's stupid. Stupid funny. You remember funny, Brad?"
Brad: "Don't want to talk about it."
Billy W.: "Talk about what, Brad?"
Twilight [Anita Guzman]: "Oh! There's Henry!"
Billy W.: "Please remain seated and, y'know, inside the car until we come fully to rest, Nita."
Anita: "Okay, whatev. Uhm, you're going to be okay, Brad?"
Brad: "I'm fine."
Anita: "I'll call you tomorrow morning. Okay?"
Brad: "Okay."
Anita: "Bye, guys!"
Billy W.: "The door...! 'And, goodbye, Nita, he said, talking to himself.'"
Billy W. "Brad...."
Brad [talking quickly, and for once now audibly]: "So, what does Doctor Croghan say, Billy?"
Billy T.: "Same as always. I'm showing progress, my synapses are prunes, maybe I can go to college next year instead of spending my THIRTY-FIFTH GODDAMN YEAR IN HIGH SCHOOL! The first time he said that, I was so excited that I spent August on road trip. It was just like Little Miss Sunshine, which, just coincidentally, was playing that year!"
Billy W. "Now there's an image."
Billy T. "I work with what I've got. Were there any other road trip movies in 2006?"
Billy W. That thing with Tom Green?"
Billy W. "No. I looked it up. That was 2000."
Brad: "Second grade? That was when..." [Brad sounds like he's about to swallow his own tonsils as he grinds to a halt.]
Billy W. "Okay. We got bidness."
Brad: "Bidness? Seriously?"
Billy W. "Shut up. Who's team captain? I'm team captain. And I say that in a situation like this, a super-team gets pro-active."
Brad: "Pro-active?"
Billy W.: "Brad, has anyone ever mentioned that you might even be able to get a girlfriend if you just toned down the sarcasm?"
Billy T. [quickly]: "You have a plan, Glorious Leader?"
Billy W.: "Look, let me read here from a copy of that book Mr. Secret Mastermind sent Dekkar: 'DOSPA's difficulties with sub rosa UN  interventions became more acute with the ratification of the UNTIL Treaty. One of the more notable came late in 1977, when Doctor Dekkar took an apartment building hostage in Philadelphia. The property manager proved to be a local superhero, and in mopping up Dekkar's rather sad efforts, the supervising agents discovered several UNTIL personnel and equipment. Suspicion that the hero's location had been leaked, for reasons of their own, by individuals within UNTIL have never been allayed.' Also, Muppets."
Billy T: "Uhm, what?"
Billy W. "The author has a blog. It has Muppets. It's cool, but he doesn't update anymore, 'cuz he's too busy with real life. And, I guess, writing stuff like this. Bleeah. Look, the Wongs go on a family vacation. An UNTIL agent shows up and romances Jenny. They get back to Philadelphia. Supervillains attack. A cold, clear lead goes right back to a mole within UNTIL who just happens to be stationed right near the place they vacationed. What happens next?'
Brad: "Mr. Wong goes and tears the guy a new one. With extra tearing."
Billy W. "Unh-unh. What happens next is the trap closes right around Mr. Wong. And gets us instead." 

Brad: "So, what, we swing out to Vancouver and drop a text? 'Hey, UNTIL guys! Any agent with a goatee? We teen superheroes from Philadelphia would like to have lunch with him for no reason whatsoever?"
Billy W.: "Of course not. Look, Jenny was saying about the family cancelling another trip West, right. Pick up a horse? We can totally do that for them. Perfect cover"

Brad: "We totally can NOT." 
Billy W.: "What? Why not? You're always talking about how you get to drive  trucks and  trailers up at your Mom's hill last five summers. You, what, got out of school five times this year to drive her SUVs back and forth between the hill and Phillie."
Billy T. "Yeah, didn't you even say you've towed horses a couple times for the Wongs?"
Brad: "Horses. Not the Lion Stallion."
Billy W.: "You're afraid of some horse?"
Brad: "Have you seen the Lion Stallion? It's eighteen-and-a-half hands!"
Billy W. "Pretend I have no idea what that means."
Brad: "It's crazy horsepeople talk for 'that monster is friggin' horse-Shaq.' With Kobe attitude."
Billy T.: "Hee. Horse-Shaq." 
Billy W.: "It doesn't matter. We don't need to haul a horse back to Phillie. We just need to look like we're going to do it. We don't even need a truck. We can just say we're going to rent when we get there."
Brad: "That part's actually no problem. The Wongs have a truck and tailer out there. But we do need to bring our passports."
Billy T: "What, in case super-horse escapes to Canada?"
Brad: "The pasture where they keep the Lion Stallion straddles the border. The Wongs always make sure that they can cross over if they need to."
Billy W.: "Is that legal?"
Brad: "Mrs. Wong says that Mr. Wong's family has owned the land since before there was a Canada."
Billy T. "Cool. Cowboys-and-Indians! Except...didn't Mr. Wong come over from Hong Kong in 1963?"
Brad: "Yeah. His Grandfather sent his Dad back to China in the Twenties after the Exclusion Act."
Billy W.: "'My country 'tis of thee...'"
Brad: "And where do we get the money for this plan?"
Billy W. "Parents? ATM? Same diff."
Brad: "Easy for you to say."
Billy W. "Actually, I have a feeling my aunt will come through. If she was willing to sell my uncle's bike to Mr. My-Brain-regenerates-I-Don't-Need-A-Helmet here, she'll let us use her Airstream." 
Billy T. Summer road trip! Just like last time! Wow, crossing the country, again and again, me and my buddies wearing Happy Face shirts to symbolise the renewal of American optimism after the Vietnam War, helping a member of America's natural ruling class adjust to running a fast food chain instead of the army.."
Billy W: "Okay. I'm pretty sure that was Forrest Gump, Billy."
Billy T.: "My synapses must be pruning again."
Billy W. "Where did you go on the trip, Billy?"
Billy T. "Don't remember, but it was all about the Zen. And motorcycle maintenance. This one is about us being ninjas! And beating in the head of the guy who done Jenny wrong."
Brad: "How can anyone be that stupid?"

[It's a beautiful Friday morning at the Wong's place. It's August in Philadelphia, so it never quite got cool over the night, but the grass is achingly green and the streets are empty as the sun peeks over the houses across the street...

Oh, who am I kidding. It's 11:50. Technically still morning.  Honestly, the kids meant it to be early. And....Look, have you ever organised a summer cross-country road trip? No? Then don't be so critical. And if Jenny can just find her teddy bear ("Kongie," if you have to ask) in the next ten minutes, they'll be off before noon.]

Billy W. : "Oh, Good Lord. No, Brad, you're not."
Brad: "Hunh?"
Billy W. "You forgot your guitar, Brad. Girls, Brad. Are you trying to be a Darwin laureate?"

Brad: "Hunh?"
Billy W.: "Removing yourself from the gene pool for the good of the species?'"
Brad: "Hunh?"
Billy W.: "Hunh? Look. I may act like I don't know what's going on with you and.." [a brief head nod towards the Wongs]
Brad: [The silence that comes from ignoring something really, really hard, so that it will go away and you don't have to embarrass yourself twice about a girl, first by talking about her, and then later when it doesn't happen for you.]
Billy T. "Uh oh. Okay, you guys finish packing the Airstream, go pick up Brad's axe, and we'll meet tomorrow at, uhm, the Harding House in Marion. I gotta get outta here. Give you a ride back to your place, Brad?"

....[Exit a 1976 Suzuki GS750T, suddenly turned into a hardtail by 220lbs of teenager riding pommel.]

Anita: "Am I going nuts, or did Billy just spook off?"
Billy W. "I think he might be skipping some clinic appointments to come with us. Dr. Croghan knows where to look for him. I wonder if he's a Harding fan, too?"
Anita: "President Harding what now? Billy was born in 1891. So he was, what, a toddler during the Harding administration?"
Billy W.: "And his foster parents had another ten years of toilet training to go. Must have been fun."

Anita: "Speaking of crapping ourselves, about this stupid-ass plan, Billy?"
Billy W.: "It's not stupid."
Anita: "It's totally stupid. We're walking into a trap set for the Furious Fists of Wong, dude."
Billy W.: "He's 66 years old. And thirty pounds over his fighting weight. And there's one of him, five of us."
Anita "Mr. Wong used to spar with Dr. Yin Wu. Guy fights the entire Tiger Squad straight up. We're" 
Billy W.: "Okay, first, you worry too much. Second, the whole reason we're doing this is to take responsibility for our lives. News flash: that won't always be candies and rainbows. Third: you're outvoted."
Anita: "Okay, you voted for this because it's your stupid plan. Billy voted for it because 'road trip whoo-hoo.' And Brad voted for it because he hasn't slept in three days,  just watching Scott Pilgrim again and again.  Does it matter that the only sensible people around here voted against?"
Billy W.: "Yeah. But Jenny might have voted no, but her parents haven't said no. Was she really trying?"
Anita: "Hey, Mr. Lonelyhearts, I see what you're doing here. You can push Jenny and Brad together all you like, but Brad blew it long ago."
Billy W.: "Mr. Lonelyhearts to Ms. Teen Spirit: 'Who you callin' black?'"
Anita: "The hell?"
Billy W. "What I'm saying is, your head's not always screwed on, my head's not always screwed on... Not Jenny, not Brad, most of all not the kook who's trying to set Mr. Wong up. We got to push on and try, see what happens. Because if we let ourselves be the kind of people that things happen to, we might as well just sit back, start our own blogs."
Anita: "Captain, my captain." 
Billy W.: "Damn straight.  It would help if someone had a heart-to-heart with Jenny, though."
Anita: "She's not talking to me."
Billy W.: "Again? Girls."
Anita: "Like gay guys are so much better?"
Billy W.: "Better. And fabulous."
Anita: "Much as I like you, Billy W., that's where I draw the line. You do not pull that off."
Billy W.: "Who cares? Road trip! Woo-hoo!"

This is the eleventh in a series of fan fictions set in the Champions Universe (a property of the Cryptic Games Studio licensed to DOJ, Inc. for the pen-and-paper Hero Games RPG line). It features the adventures of the teenaged descendants of Philadelphia's superheroic defenders of the "Gold" and "Silver" Age, the Liberty Legion. The new Liberty Legion has been operating for several years now as a mostly self-described auxiliary of Philadelphia's real superteam, the Liberty League.  Billy Washington is their leader, and he is inspirational, not fabulous. As to whether or not he's slept with Bulldozer, a gentleman doesn't tell. 

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