Hey all. Just a quick blog update before I head to work. Will spruce things up a bit more later on when I get away from work, until then hope you all enjoy!
Everyone give a special birthday shout out to #insomniacfamily member Shoom Isaacs today!(March 17th)
“So,” muttered an AIM member, “which of us will get the U-ray?”
Someone cleared their throat. “I believe the correct answer is ‘none of you’.”
It took everyone a moment to realize that the speaker was a pale young man in a rather expansive cape that had somehow wound up standing in the middle of them. He fidgeted nervously, as all eyes went on him. “Mind you—I’m just guessing. No need to take it seriously…”
“Who are you…?” said Sagittarius suspiciously.
“I’m Dr. Strange,” stated the young man with a nervous chuckle. He raised his hand. “Now, please back away from the van so that this whole affair ends to the satisfaction of all.”
“Or what…?” muttered a HYDRA agent menacingly.
A shimmying vortex appeared in Dr. Strange’s hand. “Or else, I will unleash the POWER OF THE TEMPEST!” A great blast of wind sent most of his opponents off their feet. “Winds! Buffet them! Lightning! Stun them! Rains! Umm…get them wet…” Elemental powers surged around him, tossing around the various agents as if they were kindling. In a few moments, most of the agents were lying prone on the ground, with the exception of those who were lying prone in trees, and prone on the tops of buildings.
Jameson glanced around, surprised. “That went immensely better than expected,” he commented quietly.
At that moment an arrow buried itself in the ground at his feet.
“Halt evildoer!” came a high voice.
Jameson rolled his eyes and whimpered. “Oh, perfect…” He turned.
“I don’t know what you’re doing here,” announced Karen in a lofty tone she considered awe-inspiring, “I just know that I don’t like it.”
Jameson sighed. “Well, it’s good to know you put a lot of thought into this…”
Karen leveled another arrow at him. “Hey! No mocking of my epic struggle against darkness! I demand you explain yourself…”
Jameson began to massage his forehead. He was really starting to wonder what this job was going to do to his health even if he did manage to avoid being eaten by something out of an H.R. Giger picture. “Look, you strange Halloween costume wearing girl, I really don’t care what you think—”
It was at that moment Jameson heard the sound of something hurtling through the air at great speed. He took a step to the right. And then two more, just to stay on the safe side.
Junichiro landed uneasily next to him, about three steps off.
Jameson glanced at him, then at Karen. “Pardon me, is this your pet?”
“Son of Satan!” yelled Karen. “You were supposed to get him with a flying tackle!”
“I tried!” shouted back Junichiro. “He sorta moved on me!”
“Oh, I’m tired of these constant excuses…” Karen muttered.
“Son of Satan?” stated Jameson flatly, eyes watching Karen with a combination of levity and despair.
“That’s right!” chirped Karen. “He’s Son of Satan, and I’m Hellcat!”
“Of course you are,” said Jameson with a pitying nod.
“Hey, we’re an up and coming superheroic duo!” She stated proudly.
“I’ve no doubt.” Jameson replied.
Karen pouted. “You should take us seriously.”
Jameson sighed. “Look, I’m guessing you two were bitten by radioactive wombats or something along those lines…”
“That’s not our origin at all!” cried Karen. “You see one day, I went to this old well—”
“I don’t care about your origin,” muttered Jameson. “My point is just because you’ve got X-ray vision doesn’t mean you should go blithely skipping off to make the world safe for fruit pies! Leave it to the professionals.” Even when they’ve only had a week of training and don’t quite feel up to the job, he added internally.
“We are professionals,” said Karen. “Professional good guys.”
She was, Jameson thought, exactly the sort of person who got themselves and others killed. Often in a slow, painful manner. “Look, normally I’d be nicer about this, but the truth is I reached my crazy crap limit an hour ago, and all I want to do is finish my work here, get home, soak in the tub, and come up with a compelling reason not to take the toaster in with me.” He took a deep breath. “So please, just let me get done here. And just—be careful.”
“HA!” said Karen triumphantly. “Nice try villain! But unfortunately for you, that Jewel shard in your pocket gives the truth away!”
Junichiro glanced at her. “Can I grab him now?”
Karen nodded. “You can grab him now.”
Junichiro grabbed Jameson by the shirt. “All right creep, I don’t know what your game is…”
“Well—I like Reversi…” Jameson coughed. “Look, about the shard—I’m really just holding it. For someone else. Really.” He flashed Junichiro a grin.
Junichiro snorted. “A likely story.”
Jameson shut his eyes. “You seem very sure of yourself for a man covered in scorpions.”
Junichiro glanced down at his shoulders, then blinked. “Sc-scorpions…?” He let out a piercing scream and dropped Jameson, then began to beat wildly at his shirt. “Get them off! Get them off!”
Jameson stood up, dusted off his cloak, and glanced at Karen. “Now, as for you, you’ve begun to irritate me, so I suggest you go do a mazurka.”
Karen stared at him, puzzled. “What’s a mazurka?”
“A sort of jig,” replied Jameson.
“They’re crawlin’ up my back!” screamed Junichiro. “Oh my God! They’re crawlin’ up my back!”
Karen coughed. “What’s a jig?”
Jameson began to squint in a manner that suggested a great deal of annoyance. “A variety of dance known for its energetic motions, and the fact that it can be danced solo.”
“Oh!” said Karen.
“They’re wrigglin’! They’re wrigglin’! Oh-oh-no-did I just feel a STING? Please no!”
Karen raised her bow. “I don’t think I’ll do it.”
Jameson’s eyes widened. “Oh, crap…”
Karen loosed her arrow.
Jameson shut his eyes, and raised his hand in panic.
The arrow dissolved in midair with an audible pop.
Jameson opened his eyes, and glanced up. He looked around for a moment, and then gave a relieved laugh. “Great. All my internal organs remain internal.”
“There’s one crawlin’ up my neck! There’s one crawlin’ up my neck!” squealed Junichiro.
Karen grabbed him, angrily. “Junichiro! I need your help!”
Junichiro screamed. “Don’t get ’em angry, Karen! They might sting!” He began to twitch. “Oh, NO, PLEASE, NOT NOW!”
Karen frowned. “There are NO scorpions on you!”
“Can’t you see them? Big hairy ones—with claws—an’ stingers, drippin’ with venom…”
“No scorpions!” shouted Karen.
Junichiro calmed a moment, then glanced himself over, surprised. “Umm, Karen?”
Karen glanced at him, concerned. “Yes?”
“Why’d I think I was covered in scorpions? Hell, why’d that frighten me anyway?”
“He did some evil mind thing on you,” said Karen, glaring at Jameson.
Junichiro looked at him and snarled. “Nobody plays with my mind.”
“Is that an issue of principles, or do they just have problems finding it?” asked Jameson.
Junichiro drew his sword, and rushed at him. “That’s it! You’re dead, freak!”
I’ve got to stop insulting these people, thought Jameson. They’re all so…touchy…
Junichiro slashed at Jameson with a mighty blow that would have cleft him in twain, had it actually hit.
Jameson stared at the bare patch of ground the Tetsaiga was presently lodged in, then glanced at Junichiro. “That was close.”
Junichiro jerked his sword free, and took another swing.
“I’m sorry about the scorpions, all right?” stated Jameson. “Does that make you happy?”
Junichiro grumbled to himself. It wasn’t that his opponent was especially fast—in fact he didn’t seem to even dodge his blows. He just had a way of being somewhere other than where you aimed…
Junichiro took another swing, screamed to himself, and then followed with a heavy swipe down that should have by all rights left Jameson with a very large gap in his skull. “Will you just get hit?” screamed Junichiro in frustration.
Jameson stepped slightly to the side. “Sorry, but while I’ve no doubt it’s a fascinating experience to be skewered by a gigantic blade, I’m going to have to pass on it. My deepest regrets.”
Junichiro was about to try for another swing, when the answer came to him. Don’t aim… Just attack… He charged forward, and managed a wild stab.
Jameson just barely managed to grab the sword as it plunged towards his skull. “Look…” he muttered, as Junichiro pressed Tetsaiga towards his head, “I thought I made myself clear—NOT getting skewered by the sword…” Slowly a reddish glow spread over the blade as Jameson tried to push it back through an act of Will.
He succeeded. Barely.
“I’m not letting you beat me!” screamed Junichiro.
“We can call it a draw!” cried back Jameson. “I find that solution very admirable!” Despite his efforts, the sword was creeping forward, towards his rather vulnerable skull.
It was at that moment that something neither of them was expecting happened.
“SIT!” cried Karen.
Junichiro fell forwards with enough force to unbalance Jameson, who fell backwards with a few feet away from the half demon. His falling also tore loose Tetsaiga. The blade soared briefly in the air, then fell to the ground, where, Jameson could not help but note, it landed only inches away from wiping out the existence of the Smith family name in all future generations.
“What’d ya do that for?” cried Junichiro to Karen as she rushed forward.
“I’m so sorry!” said Karen plaintively.
“Well, that’s more like it…” muttered Junichiro, as he righted himself.
Karen ran past him to Jameson. “We thought you were a supervillain! We really had no idea…”
“That,” muttered Jameson, with icy dignity, “was obvious.” He took a deep breath. “But you’re forgiven! Go buy yourself ice cream! Some place far, far away!”
Junichiro started. “Bu-but…” He let out a low scream. “What’s goin’ on?” He pointed at Jameson. “We were fightin’ him!”
Karen gave him a glare that immediately made Junichiro wish he were somewhere else, and quite possibly someone else as well. “Junichiro! Don’t you realize who he is? He’s a superhero!”
Junichiro blinked. “How’d ya figure that?”
Karen gave a cheerful laugh. “Through logic! He’s got a sacred jewel shard—but he isn’t using it! Only a good guy would do that, ’cause all bad guys are out for as much power as they can get. And ’cause no ordinary man could grab Tetsaiga, I realized we were with a fellow superhero!”
The look on Junichiro’s face made it clear he didn’t think much of her logic.
The furtive glance on Jameson’s face made it clear he didn’t either, but that he also felt no burning need to dissuade her.
Karen missed that glance, even as she went to grab his arm. “Like I said, I’m so sorry about that mix-up.” From her tone, a person would guess this was about a mistake involving house keys instead of a potentially deadly struggle. “We’re thrilled to meet you!” She turned to Junichiro, and gave him a pointed glance. “Aren’t we?”
“Yeah,” said Junichiro. “Thrilled.”
“So…” Karen paused, clearly puzzled. “Hey, I didn’t catch your name…” she stated cheery.
“That’s because I didn’t say it,” replied Jameson dourly.
“Oh.” Karen gave him a piteous look.
Jameson shoved his hands in his pockets, and glanced around awkwardly. “Dr. Strange.”
“Wow!” Karen beamed at him. “That is a good name!” She glanced at Junichiro. “Isn’t it, Son of Satan?”
Junichiro grimaced. “Well, it sure as hell beats MINE!” He leaned forward urgently. “Can we at least go back to our REAL names in private, Karen? This is gettin’ ridiculous…”
“Quiet, Son of Satan!” hissed Karen. “And call me Hellcat!”
Jameson walked ahead quietly. They seemed busy, which meant he could just take care of the shard here and leave.
“Hey! Whatcha doin’?” said Karen cheerfully.
Jameson shuddered slightly. “Just taking care of this pesky little sacred jewel shard…”
Karen gave another enthusiastic nod. “Oh, Son of Satan and I can help! We have a duty to collect those things…”
“About time you remembered that…” muttered Junichiro.
Jameson glanced around. Something was wrong, and he had an awful idea what it was. “That’s nice,” he said absently.
Karen gave a cheerful laugh. “I just want to say this is an honor.” She leaned forward so that she dominated Jameson’s field of vision. “We’re eager to learn at the metaphorical feet of an experienced superhero such as yourself.”
“Speak for yourself,” said Junichiro peevishly.
“Junichiro!” whispered Karen harshly.
“He covered me in SCORPIONS!”
“Not really,” pointed out Karen. “He just made you think you were. Which makes it your fault.”
“OH COME ON!” cried Junichiro.
Jameson was holding his palm to his forehead as if in great pain. “Umm, Hellcat—I have my first lesson for you.”
“Really?” said Karen.
Jameson nodded. “When trying to apprehend a deadly superweapon powered by evil magic, do not fight your fellow heroes so that villains can get away with said deadly superweapon.”
Karen mused on this. “Doesn’t seem like that will happen too often…”
“Oh, once is enough,” muttered Jameson, as he looked at the back of the SHIELD van, where the U-ray was only conspicuous in its absence.