The European branch of the Astounding Superhero Syndicate, known to all but themselves as EurASS, stood in the terminal of the London Heathrow Airport, all three men sullen and cranky from jet-lag. Englishman was the first off the plane, very nearly hitting a table in anger. The next was Captain Monocle, dressed like an 18th-century British Naval captain with a weaponized monocle, carrying a plastic container. The last was the Scooter, dressed in a tweed suit with a brown bowler cap, a trim little mustache upon his face below a brown domino mask.

"The nerve of that colonist," said Englishman, "Bringing us all the way to his upstart little settlement and then turning us away with nary a thought! See you in PE? What does that even mean?"

Captain Monocle stretched and adjusted his 18th-century style naval jacket, "No idea, old chap. At least we're back home. Might as well let Sandy out of the carry-on, what?"

Englishman waved him away, "I don't care what you do with that common harlot. If Llewellyn thinks I'll let this injustice go -- " Suddenly, Englishman's demeanor changed. He checked his watch and looked almost panicked. He took out his mobile tea set and began to drink his tea.

Captain Monocle sighed and took out the large plastic container filled with sand. He removed the lid and placed it on the ground, and the sand took the form of a sandy-haired young woman, dressed like a much cleaner 19th-century chimney sweep. She stretched.

"So this is America, then? Ain't never been here," she said, looking around, "Cor. Looks a lot like home."

Captain Monocle nodded, "We are home, Sandy."

Britain Sandy turned to him, eyes filled with anger, "Just how long did I spend in that box?"

Captain Monocle looked at his watch, "Nearly a day."

Sandy stepped out of the box, poking her finger in Captain Monocle's face, and the man acquitted himself poorly, only just managing not to back away from the angry young woman. "I thought we was going for a bit of a team-up and you let me out of the box and I find out I been in there since yesterday? Bad enough you lot put me in there so you wouldn't have to pay for me, you leave me in there the whole time?"

"Well, yes," said Captain Monocle, having trouble adjusting to this young woman's rage, "We didn't have much of a chance to let you out. King sent us right back. We hardly had a chance to stretch our legs, ourselves."

"Stretch your legs? Stretch your bloody legs? I was in a bleedin' box the whole bloody time, you daft sod!"

Captain Monocle looked over to Englishman, still enjoying his tea-time and disregarding the stares of passer-by and a guard who kept asking him how he got a tea-set on-board, and as such currently unable to aid Captain Monocle. More important than the young lady yelling at him was the fact that people were beginning to stare, and it would not do to make a scene. Suddenly, Captain Monocle realized that one of their number was missing.

"Where has the Scooter gone?"

***

On the runway, another person was bound and determined to avoid making a scene. He dropped from the wheel-well of the plane, dressed in a black leather-like jumpsuit adorned with silver balls, with matching boots and gloves. He looked around nervously, saw that the ground crew was paying him no attention, and climbed back into the wheel-well. Moments later, a large transparent metallic orb fell from the wheel-well with the man, now wearing a black helmet, inside. He placed his hands on the dashboard in front of him, and the orb began to levitate, and then fly off. Unfortunately for him, he was not unseen, as further down the tarmac, outside the gates, the Scooter was waiting for a valet to bring him his scooter, a specialized craft which could adapt to any terrain. He tapped his foot impatiently and looked at his pocket-watch, watching the mysterious orb retreat.

"I've no idea why they even brought me along if I couldn't bring my scooter," he said, "I'm always one for a good rumble, but without my scooter, I'm just a bloke with a good right hook. Could have given my seat to Sandy, the poor girl."

The valet arrived, terror in his eyes. He handed the Scooter the keys to his vehicle and hurriedly got off it and ran into the small room the valets hung around. The Scooter rolled his eyes, assuming that the youth had either scratched the scooter or activated one of its many different modes, and sat upon it.

"Not as if we do much of the old super-heroics here," muttered the Scooter, pressing a button on his hat which caused it to transform into a helmet, "We get one, maybe two ne'er-do-wells a fortnight, if that. Sick and tired of it, is what I am." He scanned the horizon, trying to see where the orb had gone, decided to just guess, and drove off.

***

An hour later, Englishman, Captain Monocle, and Britain Sandy sat on a bench outside the airport. Englishman's arms were crossed, his face filled with hate. Britain Sandy's arms were also crossed, as she was in the middle of a pout. Captain Monocle sat between the two, hands folded in his lap.

"I don't see why they had to escort us out like that," said Englishman, "I was only indulging in the most sacred rite of the Empire."

Captain Monocle turned to him, "I don't think it was so much that you were practicing tea-time, but rather the fact that you were doing it in the middle of a crowded airport and had somehow smuggled all the necessary tools onboard an aircraft."

"One must always be prepared for tea-time."

"I fear we'll all be placed on that no-fly list after this," said Captain Monocle.

"Oh no, now I can't be put in a sodding box," muttered Sandy.

Captain Monocle had no desire to get into that conversation again, "Anyway, I've ordered us a car! No need to be put in your box there, eh? I've no doubt the Scooter will catch up with us at headquarters. No doubt Llewellyn will want to hear all about our grand adventure!"

Sandy stared daggers at a young man who had the gall to look at her for more than two seconds, "You mean how we got kicked out of an airport and you all put me in a box while the Scooter ran off? Sure he'll get a kick out of it, the sick old goat."

"He's not a goat, he's a lion," said Englishman, "Or something like that."

"Llewellyn is the spirit of England, a lion-man with a lion's heart and a man's courage," said Captain Monocle, "Shame he's been so sickly lately, though."

"Never seen 'im well," said Sandy, "Hope he kicks it soon. Tired of him lyin' there coughing all the time."

"Sandy! That is simply unladylike," said Captain Monocle, scowling.

"Like I ever been concerned with bein' ladylike," said Sandy.

Captain Monocle raised his forefinger and began to speak, but was interrupted halfway through when his cell phone went off. He pulled it out of his pocket and flipped it open, "Salutations! What's your emergency, citizen?"

"It's me," said the Scooter, on the other end, "We've got a situation about ten kilometers west of the airport."

Captain Monocle's brow furrowed, "Isn't there some sort of nature reserve there?"

"Looks like it," said the Scooter, "Hurry along, chaps."

Captain Monocle put his phone back into his pocket and pointed westward, "We've a situation to attend to, my fellows! We must away!"

Englishman stood up, "What is it?"

"No idea, but the Scooter sounded entirely nonplussed! It must be serious!"

"You know what's not ladylike," said Sandy, still sitting, "Being put in a stupid box. Hope you all get put into a box soon."

Englishman squinted westward, "How far away is it?"

"About ten kilometers," said Captain Monocle.

"You expect us to walk there?"

Captain Monocle looked westward, "I do suppose it's a bit far of a walk. By the time we get there, they'll probably be gone. Perhaps we should commandeer a vehicle?"

"Nah need!" said a massive red-haired Scotsman, wearing a kilt and tight white shirt, his wild beard and mustache flowing in the wind, as he leapt from the top of the airport, "I got ye covered!"

"Weren't you just in America?" asked Englishman.

"I'm where I'm needin' to be, lad!" said the Scottish Boxman, "Now all o' ye get in me box! I'll git ye there in two shakes!"

A smile slowly grew upon Sandy's face, "Someone up there likes me. How about it, gents, up for it?"

Captain Monocle sighed, "I guess we have no choice."

***

Ten kilometers west, give or take, the Scooter floated upon his vehicle in the water of the Arthur Jacob Nature Reserve. The flora in front of him did little to hide him from his quarry, the mysterious man with the orb. The man was currently outside of his orb and walking around in front of it, occasionally talking to it and waving his arms. He was clearly insane, but other than illegally entering the country and trespassing, hadn t done anything outright evil. So the Scooter waited.

The man, on the other hand, had problems of his own.

"What do you mean we're in England?" he said, pointing to the orb, "You said that plane was going to California." He paused for a moment as the orb fed information directly to his brain. "Well, yes, I know that it was the wrong plane. You could have let me known that before we wound up here. Is there anyway I can get back without having to sneak into the wheel-well of a plane? That was the worst." The orb fed more information. "Oh yes, I'll just buy a plane ticket. I'm a convicted criminal, it's not like I can walk up to the desk and just buy a ticket."

The man sat down and placed his chin in his hands, "You know, I used to be a normal guy. Just minding my own business, and then what happens? A bunch of blue aliens show up and destroy a few buildings and leave their little sphere-craft behind, I take it because that's what you do with abandoned alien tech, and suddenly I'm public enemy number one. At least, I guess, if I lay low then no one here will start hunting me down for a while. So maybe being in England is a good thing."

A wooden box floated upon the water, listlessly going past the Scooter, who watched it with reserved curiosity, and ending up on the shore by the mysterious man in black. The Scooter continued to watch as the man in black looked at the box, shrugged, and dragged it onto the shore. He turned to the sphere, "Give this a scan, please. I don't want to open it and find a corpse or something."

A faint blue light came from the sphere, passing over the wooden box several times.

"What's up?" asked the man, "You usually give it two scans." Silence. "It's a what?"

Just then, the lid of the box exploded upwards and the Scottish Boxman and Britain Sandy jumped out, ready to battle. Englishman climbed out and stuck a pose. Captain Monocle, however, slowly peeked out, and then hurriedly climbed out of the box and kicked it back into the water. The Scooter chose this moment to accelerate, and joined his compatriots.

"What the bloody hell was that," said Captain Monocle, pointing to the wooden box.

"It's one o' me boxes," said the Scottish Boxman, still in a fighting-stance and facing the man in black.

"Guess someone don't like bein' put in a box," said Sandy, smirking.

"We shouldn't have fit in there! Besides, you pulled that box out of another box! There's no way that chain of events could have happened in a just universe!"

The man in black chuckled, "Buddy, this universe is anything but just."

Captain Monocle turned to the man in black, "Excuse me, who are you?"

"I was going to ask you the same thing," said the man in black, "I'll go first. My name is Paul Seams, but they've attached the name Kinetosphere to me."

"He's a criminal back in the States," said the Scooter, "He talks to his bubble."

"A criminal, eh? Not only that, but an illegal as well! From the colonies, no less! You're the lowest of the low," said Englishman.

"Enough wit' the gabbin'," said the Scottish Boxman, pulling a hatbox from his belt and opening it, "If yon Scooter says he's a criminal, we have to bring 'im in!"

"I'm not a criminal," said Kinetosphere, "I've done nothing but try to help people!"

"Then how'd you get on a plane to the UK?" said Sandy, smiling.

"It was an accident," replied Kinetosphere, backing slowly towards his sphere, "I was trying to get on another plane."

"Without paying? Sounds pretty crime-like to me," said the young lady, transforming her fist into a hard sandy hammer. She slammed it on the ground between Kinetosphere and his sphere.

"Get rid of his bubble," said Englishman, "I've no doubt this coward means to use it to flee!"

Sandy nodded and scooped up the sphere, flinging it away. Captain Monocle's monocle whirred and began firing laser blasts at Kinetosphere, who narrowly dodged them, rolling onto the ground. Englishman adopted a boxer's stance, and began easing himself from heel to heel as he circled his fists in front of himself. Scottish Boxman pulled a large wooden club from the hatbox and tossed the box into the water, where it dissolved quickly. The Scooter leaned against his scooter and wondered when there'd be a chance for him to use it. Kinetosphere grabbed a handful of soil and rolling it into a ball.

"One of the reasons they call me Kinetosphere is because I have telekinetic power over spheres," said Kinetosphere, holding the ball of soil in front of him. It began to hover above his palm, and with a flick of his wrist, it hit Captain Monocle in the face.

"I say!" he exclaimed, trying to wipe it off.

The Scottish Boxman surged forward, trying to bash Kinetosphere on the head with his club. Britain Sandy slammed her hammer into the ground, following it as it landed, and continued to jump around, continually hitting the ground around Kinetosphere as he desperately tried to dodge. He continued grabbing handfuls of soil to fling at the attacking superheroes, but they were largely ineffectual. On the sidelines, Englishman continued circling his fists in front of him, occasionally exclaiming "HA!" or "Have at thee!" while the Scooter just stood there.

"Ye'll not last long, laddie," said the Scottish Boxman, swinging his club, "Eventually one of us will hit ye, and that'll be it fer you!"

Sandy smiled as she slammed against the ground, "I'm surprised you lasted this long."

Captain Monocle wiped the last of the dirt from his monocle and changed the setting, "No! The sphere's coming back! Blasted thing! Scooter!"

The Scooter nodded and mounted his namesake vehicle, executed a one-hundred-eighty degree turn, and sped off to stop the sphere from reaching their location. Captain Monocle's monocle whirred again, and he began shooting more laser blasts at Kinetosphere, easily dodging the spheres of soil as they were thrown. He blasted the ground under Kinetosphere, causing him to lose his footing and allowing the Scottish Boxman to hit Kinetosphere in his midsection, knocking him right into the path of Britain Sandy. The direct hit was enough to knock Kinetosphere towards Englishman, who lashed out with one of his twirling fists, knocking Kinetosphere to the ground.

"Once again, I'm the hero of the day!" said Englishman, grinning.

***

As the Scooter drove off, he knocked the wooden box his teammates had somehow arrived in on its side, and it quickly filled with water. It sank quickly to the bottom of the pond the battle was taking place by, where many things had been sleeping for a very long time. This did little but cause one of the creatures to toss in its seemingly endless slumber. As the particles from the hatbox found their way to the bottom of the pond, one of the creatures woke up, stirred by the residual energy the hatbox had contained. It noticed the wooden box and swam over to it using its long slender arms. It turned the box over and over and then began to chew on it. The taste was not to its liking, but as it spat out the bits, the released energy allowed one of its fellows to awake. Noticing it this, the creature chewed again, this time with its fellow, and one by one, the creatures awoke.

***

On the surface, the Scooter sped towards the sphere, which sped towards him. He pushed a button on the side of his scooter and it sprouted gliding wings and secured its rider, and with a well-placed wheelie, the Scooter achieved altitude. He reached out and grabbed the sphere, but the sphere seemed to lash out with malevolent electricity. Still, the Scooter held on, until he realized that the sphere was not attacking, but attempting to communicate. Knowing this allowed his mind to process the signals, and after the sphere's message was received, the Scooter let go of the sphere and followed it back to the nature reserve, where Britain Sandy had wrapped her sandy arms around Kinetosphere, who was just now waking up. Captain Monocle noticed the Scooter and sphere's approach.

Captain Monocle angrily waved his arms, "What part of stop the sphere did you not understand?"

The Scooter slowed to a stop in front of his angry teammate, "I had a talk with it. Its rider is a kind and virtuous man. All he wants to do is clear his name."

Englishman laughed a quick hard chuckle, "Oh yes. We should all listen to spheres!"

The Scooter scowled at them, "Go ahead. Touch it."

The Scottish Boxman laughed heartily, "The look in yer eyes is enough fer me, lad. Might as well let 'im go, lass."

"You're not the leader of this team!" said Captain Monocle, striding up to Scottish Boxman angrily and jabbing his finger into the man's hard chest.

The Scottish Boxman carefully moved the finger off of his chest, "Just callin' 'em as I see 'em. Our leader's bed-ridden, anyway."

Captain Monocle angrily turned away, "Fine! Englishman, don't you have some sort of training in this? I'd much rather trust your word over that of a sphere or, God forbid, a Scotsman!"

Englishman blanched for a microsecond at this, but just as quickly regained his composure, "Of course! I'll have to wash my hands strenuously afterward, but give me the man's wrist." Sandy let the man's arm out and Englishman took it with disgust, placing two fingers where he thought the man's vein should be.

"Shouldn't you remove his gauntlet?" asked the Scooter.

Englishman let out a single laugh, "An amateur may do that, perhaps, but for a professional like myself, I can take readings through a gauntlet. Many gauntlets, in fact. Now then, are you a criminal, you coward?"

Kinetosphere groggily looked at Englishman, "No. Not a criminal."

Englishman concentrated intensely for a moment, then let go of the man's wrist, exhaling with relief as he did so, "He's telling the truth."

Sandy let Kinetosphere go and he leaned against the sphere, "So can I go then?"

"I suppose," said Captain Monocle.

"No! Don't go," said a voice which was half-gurgle, coming from the water's edge, "So hungry! You look tasty!"

All eyes turned to the water's edge, where a short green-scaled creature with short legs and long slender arms stood, its eyes wide and snake-like, its mouth filled with sharp jagged teeth. It also wasn't alone, with more of its race emerging from the water with each passing moment.

"Is this normal?" asked Kinetosphere.

"No, it's not," said Captain Monocle, "I think we should all back away quite slowly, then once we're sure they can't catch up, quite quickly."

"I've seen worse creatures delivering my take-away," said Englishman, "Granted, I doubt many of them wanted to eat me."

"They won't eat me, will they?" said Sandy, eyes wide with worry, "I'm made of sand, after all."

"They'll try," said Captain Monocle.

"Perhaps we should try reasoning with them," said the Scooter.

"Yes! Grand idea!" said Captain Monocle, "Hello there! We mean you no harm!"

"Good!" said one of the creatures, licking its lips with a long slender tongue, "Less fight!"

"So you'd eat a defenseless group of people?" said Englishman, his British pride offended by the creature's remark.

"Best kind to eat!"

"You can't fault his logic," said Kinetosphere, who had opened his sphere and was pulling long black boxes out and affixing them to his arms, "They want to eat us, but seem to not be willing to fight us for that honor. So maybe we should fight them."

"This is a nature reserve, man!" said Captain Monocle, "These horrid abominations are part of nature, I'm sure!"

"Then don't kill any of them," said Kinetosphere, flexing his arms.

"Now see here, you creatures," said Captain Monocle, pointing to the foremost one, "We'll not be your supper!"

"Yes you will!" said the creature, its tongue waggling madly, "More of us! Special day for us today! Day we wake up! King of the Grindylows say we need to feast!"

"Grindlylows, eh?" said Englishman, "You're just a myth, a bogeyman to scare children!"

"They're standing right there, lad," said Scottish Boxman.

"I demand to speak with your king!" said Captain Monocle.

"I be king!" said one of the grindylow.

"No, me!" said another.

"I be queen!" said yet another, seemingly indistinguishable from the others.

"Only be one king!"

"Or queen!"

"And queen?"

"Maybe! Only be one king and maybe one queen! Can't all be king or queen!"

"Quiet! The food is leaving!"

EurASS and Kinetosphere had indeed taken the opportunity to take the first steps towards fleeing.

"You be king today!" said one of the grindylow to the one who had pointed out the escape attempt, "We eat before they get away!" The grindylows surged forward.

"Defend yourselves!" shouted Captain Monocle, shooting off a series of short weak laser blasts. They were still enough to deter the grindylows hit by them.

The Scottish Boxman simply waded into the mass of creatures and began kicking and punching those who came close. Britain Sandy's arms became shovels, used to pick the creatures up and toss them to the water, where they simply returned to the fold. Englishman stood in his fighting stance, punching and kicking any who dared come close to him. The Scooter circled them in his scooter, knocking aside those he could. Captain Monocle continued to shoot his laser blasts. Kinetosphere aimed his hands at the creatures and used his powers to launch rubber balls at them. However, even with six of them attacking, the surge of grindylows was proving too much.

"We feast tonight!" shouted a grindylow as he grabbed onto Britain Sandy's arm and tried to bite it.

"Shove off, you wanker!" said Sandy in reply, grabbing the creature and throwing it in the water, making a "V" with her fingers at the creature as it hit the water.

Another grabbed onto the Scooter's leg, "Only qualified for one passenger!" said the Scooter, punching it off with a right hook.

Gradually, the fight began to seem hopeless, and then began to seem lost.

"I'm out of spheres," shouted Kinetosphere, kicking grindylow as they came near him.

"I can keep doing this all night," said Englishman, punching another grindylow in the eye.

"As can I," said Captain Monocle, blasting another, "We'll have to, unless we wish to be their next meal."

"If we just killed the little -- " started the Scottish Boxman as he flung more grindylows away.

"No killing!" said Captain Monocle and Kinetosphere in unison.

They fought and they fought until, suddenly, the woods behind them began to glow. None of the superheroes noticed, but the grindylows did.

"The light!" shouted one, immediately retreating back into the water.

"He said he wouldn't hurt us! He said he wouldn't hurt us!" said another, trying to force his way forward, away from the dreaded light.

Within minutes, the grindylows had retreated back into the water, save one. "We'll be back to feast!" he cried, shaking his fist. Scottish Boxman picked him up and chucked him away.

"They finally saw the light," said Englishman, "No opponent can attack Englishman and succeed, much like no opponent may attack England and succeed. The rest of you did help in minor ways, however."

"How kind of you to notice," said Captain Monocle, who turned and was facing the woods, "I think perhaps they did see the light. Look!"

The team looked towards the woods where a bright light was already dimming. As it came closer, its source appeared: a regally dressed bipedal lion, walking through the woods, relying on a cane to steady him. As he reached the clearing, he raised his hand-like paw to his mouth and coughed.

"Llewellyn?" said Captain Monocle, rushing to the spirit of England's side.

"I was growing concerned," said the lion-man, who eased himself onto the Scooter's scooter, "So I made my way to the airport to see where you had gotten to. Imagine my surprise when I heard that those nearby were complaining about odd noises from the nature preserve. I thought to myself, that's where they'll be. So what happened here?"

"Allow me," said Englishman, who told a version of the tale in which he single-handedly defeated Kinetosphere and the grindylows.

"That's not what happened -- " started Britain Sandy, who became silent when she saw the glint in Llewellyn's eye.

"A colony of grindylow awoke, eh? It's been years since I've seen one, and decades since I've seen one alive. The fact that they're waking up is worrisome. We shall have to make a report," said Llewellyn, "They'll have to be classified, as well. We don't want to step on the toes of the Paci Custodis, after all."

"So am I free to go?" said Kinetosphere.

"Of course," said Llewellyn, "I'm sure we can arrange something to get you back home."

***

"...and that's the way it really happened," said Britain Sandy to her young American friend.

"How'd you know about what happened with the Scooter?" he said, wondering not for the first how Sandy's skin felt.

"Half of it, I asked him. Half of it, I guessed," she said, sitting down next to the young man, "So what do you think, Charley? Help a girl out?"

Charley, perhaps better known as Charles Earheart-Lindbergh-Algernon Junior, and perhaps even known better as Codename: Lucky Charms, looked into Sandy's deep brown eyes and knew that he'd probably regret what he was going to say. After all, he was in the United Kingdom to pick up some antiques, not to help out a girl. Even a girl who was exceptionally attractive, if made of sand. What the hell, he thought, might as well help a damsel in distress. He smiled at her, "Today's your lucky day, doll. Just tell this Kinetosphere guy to meet me at my plane tomorrow morning. I'll arrange the rest."

"You're a sweetheart, Charley," said Sandy, leaning over and almost kissing him on the cheek, "Talk to you later. Look me up next time you're in town."

"You too, Sandy," said Codename: Lucky Charms, feeling his cheek where her breath had touched, "You too."