Episode One: Attack of the Little Intellectuals
It was a slow day for the H.U.H. organization (Hall of Unsung Heroes). Captain Capable, their paraplegic boss, along with Techno-Geek, had left for the lab that morning to take the latest Power Chair (Power-Operated Wheelchair with Extraneous Regards) model for a spin. The rest of the gang was slumped at headquarters, trying to find a way, any way, to pass the time.
The Loose Cannon, after getting reprimanded for it, was working to improve her bad aim with a little target practice. This didn't go over so well with the Instant Messenger, her target.
The Invisible Lad was sneaking around the conference table, pick-pocketing everyone, his favorite hobby. He forgot that the Unsung Heroes were totally broke, and ended up with two dimes, a stick of Winterfresh gum, and a paperclip.
Lady Malady was experimenting with some new diseases, using the other Heroes as her "patients". Vampire Hunter Steve was lurking behind her with a pointy stake in hand. He had always had suspicions that the pale, gothish woman was actually of the undead, but he was forced to put his theories aside for a moment when the Lady snapped her fingers and gave him the runs.
Meanwhile, Bunny Boy and the Diversion Twins were off in the children's area, engaged in a game of "Truth or Dare." Bunny Boy got dared to lick Frosty Man's elbow. If he chickened out again, the other kids would call him "Momma's Boy" and he'd have to go through another session of therapy, so he trudged over to the grown-up's table and tugged at Frosty Man's shirt. Frosty Man asked what was the matter, and Bunny Boy lied and asked him to roll up his sleeve so he could see his watch. The man complied. Only too late did he realize he wasn't wearing a watch.
"Whoa, hey, wait a minute, what're you trying to...ewww!"
Bunny Boy tried to pull away, but his tongue was stuck to Frosty Man's icy skin. He wondered if morphing into a rabbit, the only thing he seemed to be good at, would help his situation. It didn't. His tongue was still stuck, and now, when Frosty Man raised his arm, Bunny's light-weight body went with it. It turned into quite the spectacle.
"Check it out! That guy's got a rabbit hanging from his arm!" laughed Jack DeLightful.
"I know. It's hilarious," agreed Lady Malady in her normal, deadened tone.
"You shouldn't be talking, my friend," spoke an unknown voice. "You've got a light bulb for an ass!" Jack scowled and turned around to face the dirty-rotten punk, but the offender was nowhere in sight.
"Heh, that's strange. I could've sworn I heard..."
"And my goodness, lady, you could use a little sunlight. I've seen ghosts darker than you!"
"There it is again!"
"Yes, I heard it too. If I had to guess, I'd say it's the Invisible Lad up to his usual tricks."
"Naw, miss, I'm right here," answered the boy through a mouthful of chewing gum. Jack sniffed the air.
"Mmmm, Winterfresh." He rummaged through his pockets for a pack, but it had mysteriously vanished.
"You little thief!" he shouted, swatting at empty space. "If I catch you, I'll wring your neck!"
"Quiet, you foolish half-breed!" barked the unknown voice. "You've got much bigger problems to worry about! Or should I say...much smaller ones?"
The voice broke into a fit of evil laughter at this seemingly un-funny comment. Then all of a sudden the room began to shake. It felt as if an entire army was marching across the floor, which, oddly enough, was exactly what was happening. The Heroes were under siege.
They looked down and noticed a swarm of itty-bitty tanks and armed vehicles being driven by even smaller men, followed by rows and rows of infantry. A barrage of rice-grain bullets were fired at the Heroes' ankles. They stung like needles and caused some of the members to jump up onto the table. Bunny Boy, who had just gotten detached from Frosty Man's elbow thanks to the Loose Cannon and her built-in heater function, received a micro-sized missile right in the nose. He morphed back into a human and made a high-pitched, girly shriek. The Diversion Twins, who were busy stomping on soldiers nearby, heard his scream and chanted,
"Momma's Boy! Momma's Boy! Bunny's a big, fat Momma's Boy!"
"So much for a week without therapy," he grumbled.
A faint whirring noise drew the Heroes' attention to the ceiling. Four mini-helicopters were circling the room with a giant net stretched between them. The puny pilots received a signal from their leader and began their descent. The Heroes saw the net falling over them and tried to escape, but the Lilliputian commandos had found a way to deactivate the sliding doors. They were trapped.
The Loose Cannon shot a laser beam toward the net, and since it was such a wide target, she didn't miss; however, the shot was dispersed through the wiring and the object remained unscathed. Next the Amazing Benjamin waved his lightning rod to summon a bolt of electricity, which hit the net full-force. Still no luck. Whatever the thing was made of seemed to absorb the shock.
"Oh, give it a rest, will you?" It was the evil voice again, now projected at twenty times the original volume. The voice's owner had managed to tap into the Heroes' intercom system. "You so-called heroes make me laugh! Why do you always insist on fighting back? Obviously, your feeble minds can't comprehend the fact that you're all about to be terminated, and there's nothing you can do about it. That net is woven from pure invincium, a metal that my scientists discovered. It's light, flexible, far stronger than any of your Earth metals, and, most importantly, able to absorb all forms of energy. Isn't that simply delightful?"
"No, this is!" Jack rushed forward and punched out one of the helicopters. A corner of the net came unclipped, and he was able to lift it up and scramble to safety. "That's the trouble with you evil genius types," he said. "You get so caught up in your brilliant schemes that you overlook the minor details."
"Ah, spoken like a true simpleton. But tell me, Mr. DeLightful, now that you're free from my net, where are you planning to run to?" Jack's smirk turned into a frown. He hadn't really thought about that.
"Well, I know these doors are jammed, but...I could probably bust through 'em if I..."
"Uh-uh, you silly bug! I had my men spray them with a coat of invincium while you heroes were enjoying your lunch break."
"Ohhh, so that's why they looked shinier than usual."
"And what was it...ha...that you were saying...ha, ha...about minor details?" Jack stared at his shoes in shame. His mindless antics had probably damned the whole team to a year of torture in some evil lair.
"Now, if you'd be kind enough to step back inside the net so I can seal it up and transport you heroes to my lair..."
"Yes, sir," he mumbled, and grudgingly obeyed the villain's orders.
"Good, good. See, even the dumbest apes can learn to follow a simple command. You humans will prove very useful as our slaves."
About an hour later, Vampire Hunter Steve finished his business in the restroom and came back to the conference room to find the place deserted.
"The Heroes must've been kidnapped!" he thought. As always, he suspected vampires, perhaps led by the Lady Malady.
"I've got to warn Captain Capable!" He tried the exits, but they were all stuck shut. Then he eyed a possible escape through the bathroom window. It was a little clichéd, but he gave it a shot. He smashed through the glass with his trusty stake and squeezed through the narrow space. He tumbled out onto the front lawn and ran around back to where they parked the hover jet.
"I'm coming, Captain! You can count on Steve!"
"Your newest creation is astounding! The flamethrowers were a nice touch, and it's so comfortable on my fanny! Thank you, Techno-Geek, for a job well done." The lean, bespectacled man blushed.
"I'm glad you like it, Captain. I built it, as always, with you in mind."
"Well, isn't that...wait. So you're saying I'm a pyromaniac with a hard ass?"
"Oh no, madam! All I meant was that..."
Just then a deep rumbling noise could be heard outside the building. It grew louder and louder and...
BOOM! When the dust cleared, there was the team's patented hover jet, hovering nonchalantly over a mess of debris, spilled chemicals, and chunks of laboratory wall. The hatch opened with its patented pneumatic hiss and out stepped none other than Vampire Hunter Steve. He shook his leather cloak and coughed as plaster filled his nose.
"Oh, hey guys. Sorry about that. I had a little trouble with the brakes." Techno-Geek, the once-proud inventor of the hover jet, stood in silent agony over his demolished lab. He knelt down on the linoleum floor, picked an empty test tube from the heap, and began to stroke it. "Uhhh...will he be all right?" asked Steve.
"Probably," the Captain assured. "I wouldn't worry too much. Remember when that giant mutant bird crushed his old lab in Santa Barbara? Sure, some of his Nobel-winning experiments were lost forever. And sure, he cried himself to sleep for months. But Techno-Geek's a fighter! He'll pull through this...eventually." The Vampire Hunter sighed with relief.
"Well, that's good. Otherwise I'd feel like a total jerk!"
"Yes, we wouldn't want that. So, what business do you have stealing my hover jet and crashing through these walls? It had better be something important, or at least anything but..."
"Vampires! The Heroes were kidnapped by vampires!"
"Errgh, not the V-word! Steve, I have had it up to here with your stupid theories! I'm not even sure vampires exist!"
"But...but the team, they're in trouble. We've got to save them!"
Captain Capable sat fuming in her Power Chair, clenching and unclenching her fists. It was times like these that she wished she still had use of her lower body, because she wanted nothing more than to get up, walk over there, and strangle the boy who cried vampire. Finally, when her rage subsided, she asked the Hunter if he was sure. "Yes. Positive. They need us, Captain!"
"Fine. Then we should get moving."
"What about...?" He pointed over his shoulder at Techno-Geek, who was still kneeling and cradling the test tube.
"I don't think he can handle another mission right now. He needs time to cope with his loss. Why don't you and I go, and we'll come back for him later?"
"Okay, boss. I'll start up the hover jet."
"But this time I'm driving." Just before leaving, the Captain wheeled over to Techno-Geek and put her hand on his shoulder. He dropped the test tube and looked up. "I'm sorry, dear. I'll call the construction company right away and have this place rebuilt. It'll be good as new," she told him. "I promise."
At first Techno-Geek said nothing, but then his lips formed a weak smile and his eyes shone brighter.
"I love you," he whispered. Just like that. Captain Capable hadn't expected this, and didn't know how to respond.
"Hey, Captain, you coming?" yelled Steve from the passenger side.
"Um, yeah, just a second! Well, um, goodbye, Techno. I'll see you later, I guess."
She put the chair in drive and waved before boarding the hover jet. She waved one more time before taking the controls and backing the vehicle into the parking lot, which caused more plaster to shake free. All she could do was wave.
The Heroes had been shackled and blindfolded during their tour of the tiny men's lair. They could tell it was underground because of the drop in temperature upon entry, but they had no idea what sort of evil awaited them. Their captors led them to a large, echoing chamber. The leader, still refusing to show his face, buzzed in over a speaker system.
"Now, my obedient pets, you may remove your blindfolds and behold my greatest creation!" They did as they were told, and gasped when they saw it. Before them stood a normal-sized human male, but with half his face torn away to reveal a bunch of metal and wires. "As you can see, it still needs a little work, but when complete, this biotechnical android will look and function just like a big-footed, clumsy Earth man. Your people won't be able to tell the difference."
Most of the Heroes realized the terror that could come of this, but Jack DeLightful, being a bit slow on the uptake, just had to ask.
"What's it for?" The villain's reverberant laughs sent chills up everyone's spine.
"I'm glad you asked, my curious firefly. It's a politician. And it's thinking of running for president in the next election."
"But why would it want to do that? Presidents don't make that much money compared to guys like professional athletes, and the comedians are always bashing..."
"TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD, YOU FOOL!"
After the villain's moment of show-and-tell, the Heroes were led to a high-tech holding cell, their final destination. Their wrists were bound in shiny metal cuffs; more invincium, no doubt. As soon as the miniature guards left their posts, the Heroes broke into a frantic chatter.
"What are we going to do?" asked Jack. "We need a plan!"
"I want my mommy!" cried Bunny Boy.
"Me too!" sniffed the Diversion Twins.
"Don't worry, children," said the Loose Cannon. "I'm sure we can all work together and defeat that nasty bad guy!"
"Why are you always so optimistic?" asked Frosty Man.
"I don't know. I think it's because I was programmed that way. Why are you always so blue?"
"Because I'm permanently frozen, you twit!"
"No, I mean, why are you always depressed?"
"Guys, please, enough!" yelled Jack. "We need to concentrate! Lady Malady, do you have any ideas?"
"Sorry. I've tried every disease I could think of on those microscopic fellows, but they've been immune to everything. I only know the human diseases, and those things are obviously not human. I think they're aliens. Very small, very smart aliens. We could call them...Little Intellectuals."
"Ha. I like it. But we still need a plan. Jen the Intern, why don't you take the floor."
"First of all, I'm not an intern anymore. I'm the Instant Messenger, remember? I can run at super speed and..."
"That's great, but do you have a plan?"
"Does anyone here have anything to say?" The Amazing Benjamin cleared his throat.
"A penny saved...is a penny earned. Unless, of course, you found the penny on the street somewhere. In that case you didn't really earn it, you found it. And even still, it's just a penny. What'll that get you? One sixteenth of a sandwich? Back in my day, a penny could go far. You could buy a whole bag of..."
By that point, the Heroes were too tired to tell him to can it, and just let the old man babble on. They couldn't think of a plan, but maybe if they rested their minds for a while, one would come to them. Hopefully. "And that's how Republicans screwed the economy. The end. Hmm, it seems that everyone is taking a nap. I guess they don't want to hear my escape plan."
"Boss, uh, I'm seeing something on the monitor," twittered a meager officer to the big one in charge. "I think you should take a look." The boss swiveled around in his chair and gazed at the screen.
"It appears to be a hover jet, Kunji. That old tin can shouldn't impress you. Those cretins are light-years behind us in the realm of technology."
"I know, boss, but...look at that logo on the hull." He pointed to a circle with the letters H.U.H. in the foreground of a big question mark. "Isn't that the same design we saw on our prisoners' clown suits?" The boss squinted at the logo and rubbed his chin in thought.
"Hmm, yes, but...that can't be! We captured all of them. I tapped into their security cameras and checked every room of their silly little hideout. There's no way that one escaped!"
"What about that invisible kid?"
"I read his thermo-scans. We caught him."
"Well...maybe there wasn't a camera in every room."
The rescue team parked the vehicle in a rundown alleyway.
"Captain, are you sure this is the place?"
"How do you know?"
"Because I'm psychic. Now grab your things and let's go," she ordered. They climbed out of the hover jet and raced towards a square metal grate in the ground. "I hope this lair is wheelchair-accessible. Remember that crazy wax sculptor's lair? It was, like, on top of a mountain! Techno-Geek had to carry me in his arms...which...was actually kind of nice..."
"Whoa, Captain, do you have a thing for that nerd?"
"No! I mean, yes. Maybe. I don't know, all right?"
"Jeez, sorry I asked!"
Steve found a rusty crowbar amidst the litter and used it to lift the grate. It opened into a dark tunnel with a very faint light at the end. The Heroes followed the light. It led them to a big, white room, empty except for a speaker in the far corner of the ceiling. They wondered if they should turn back and seek an alternate entrance, but then the speaker buzzed to life and a strange voice filled the room.
"Ahh, heroes, it seems you have stumbled across my humble lair. Please, pull up a chair and make yourselves at home!" A section of the floor slid open on cue, and a platform with two chairs rose from the depths. Steve took a step towards them, but Captain Capable grabbed his elbow to stop him.
"What are you doing?" she hissed. "It's probably a trap."
"But Captain, those cushions look so soft and...yeah. It's probably a trap."
"Aww, that's too bad," whined the voice. "I tried to be nice, but now I guess we'll have to do things the hard way." A high-pitched alarm sounded, and the room was flooded with thousands of creepy-crawly things from other hidden openings. At first the Heroes thought they were mice, but upon closer inspection saw that they were men! Eensy-weensy little men...with guns!
"See, Steve? They're midgets, not vampires."
"Or maybe they're vampire midgets!"
"Or maybe," the voice chimed in, "We're a race of superior beings in the process of colonizing this planet!"
"You talking aliens?" asked Steve, with a raised eyebrow. "What kind of fool do you take me for? Aliens are just make-believe!" Captain Capable gave a loud, booming laugh.
"Coming from the guy who brought us vampire midgets? But hey, I'd believe just about anything after what I've seen, and I've seen some pretty wild stuff. If this creep says he's an alien, I wouldn't put it past him."
"Yes, my ape in cow's skin," chided the voice. "You should listen to your handicapped friend."
The Captain's eyes flashed with malice at this unspeakable insult.
"Who are you calling handicapped, bub?" she asked through gritted teeth. Her hands were balled into fists and her hair had come loose from its bun, with auburn strands floating outward in a corona of raw energy. Her blue eyes dipped five shades darker than normal, and Vampire Hunter Steve could feel the energy coursing through the air, ready to catapult bodies and crush organs with a single brainwave. It had been a long time since the Captain had used her psychic abilities in battle, usually relying on the heavily-armed Power Chair. Steve rubbed his hands together in eagerness. It was a real treat to watch. "It's...handi...CAPABLE! AHHHH!"
She let out an animalistic scream as the blood rushed to her face. Her body lifted out of the chair and kept rising, until she was levitating half way between floor and ceiling like an angel of chaos, ready to unleash her terror on an unsuspecting world. And just like that, it was over. An army of dead alien soldiers lay strewn across the ground and the speaker had exploded into a pile of shrapnel. The deed was done.
Captain Capable's exhausted body drifted down to earth and landed in a curled-up slump. Vampire Hunter Steve scooped her up and plopped her in the Power Chair.
"That was incredible, Captain!" he congratulated. "With power like that, it's no wonder the Council put you in charge!"
"Please, Steve..." she whispered. "Now's not the time...for kissing up. We've got to rescue...the others. And tell Techno...I love him, too." With that, she fainted.
"So she does have a thing for him. I knew it!"
It turned out that Captain Capable's telekinetic waves had killed every alien in the building, except the leader, who had somehow managed to escape. It also turned out that the metal invincium could absorb all forms of energy except psychic, so the Heroes were set free. The Captain was sent to a special hospital to recuperate, with Techno-Geek attending her bedside day and night. The rest of the gang headed back to headquarters to wait for their next big crime-busting adventure. And as for the unfinished android...
"Hello, there. My name's the Loose Cannon. I'm a cyborg, just like you."
"Yes, that's right. And I think I'll call you...Geoffrey."
"Why is half my face missing?"
"Oh, don't worry about that. My sisters and I will fix you up, and you can be my secret friend!"
"Yeah, if the other Heroes find out, they'll probably try to destroy you. After all, you were created by evil aliens bent on world domination."
"But I'm not...evil. Am I?"
"Of course not, Geoffrey. Not at all."