Thursday, October 7, 2010


The Big Leagues
Al Bruno III

Nine TV screens cast pale light over the masked woman in the comfortable high-backed chair. Computer readouts scrolled across the bottom of each video feed. The control panel before her was a mass of switches and dials with a single red button in the center. The woman wore a purple costume that concealed everything but her luxurious red hair. In this identity she was called the Maven and this was her first night of monitor duty on the topmost floor of Guardian Tower.
Guardian Tower was the most famous structure in Megalopolis City, perhaps even the world. It was the base of operations for the Legion Of Protectors as well as a super hero museum and sprawling gift shop that hundreds of tourists visited every day.
This was the big time. After years of fighting crime in River City the Maven’s abilities had come to the attention of Commander Infinity himself. He had told her how proud he would be if he could have the world’s greatest detective by his side.
How could she say no to an offer like that? From her first day the world’s most powerful super team had treated her like an equal. They had presented her with a silver Legion of Protectors communicator badge and her very own office.
Then she took the Legion Vow, “To defend mankind from threats above, below and beyond.”

Something on one of the screens caught her eye. The Maven leaned forward, taking the situation in.
This was it!
She hit the button in the center of the control panel calling the active members of the Legion to duty.
Within seconds the Blue Bolt was there. He could run at the speed of sound and wore a suit of azure armor that protected him from attacks and high-speed collisions with bugs. Even with his super speed he would have been the first one there, he had been living at the tower since his messy divorce.
The Math-Magician appeared in a flash of algorithms. She didn’t wear a standard costume, just her street clothes hidden beneath a full length brown robe. She wore a hood that hid her short blonde hair and dark horn-rimmed glasses concealed her eyes. She was a master of Advanced Lovecraftian Trigonometry, a mathematics so extreme that it could alter the very fabric of reality. Her voice was frosty, “I was in the middle of dinner.”
An arm flew into the monitor room, followed by a leg and a torso and then a head. It was Dismembro, possibly the most disgusting super hero ever; he had the power to bloodlessly remove parts of his body and send them flying this way and that. He rarely spoke, mainly because he disguised himself by keeping his nose, eyebrows and lips stored in his utility belt.
Mighty Woman dropped through an access point in the ceiling. The gold alien armor she wore gave her strange powers and abilities and hid all but her pale blue eyes from view. There were some people that resented her being on the team because of her extreme right wing conservative views but her beliefs had almost no impact on the team whatsoever- except of course for her long running feud with Wavy Gravy.
Commander Infinity was the last to arrive but the Maven was sure he had been close by all along. One of the monitor room’s floor length windows slid open and he hovered towards her. There was a neutral expression on his regal features, his red and yellow costume gleamed like polished metal. His cape was tossed casually over one shoulder. “What’s the emergency?” his voice was a deep baritone, it seemed to reverberate through the room.
“A group of Furry Separatists have taken control of the city museum,” the Maven explained, “they have hostages.”
“Furry Separatists?” the Math-Magician sounded incredulous.
“They’re an obscure but deadly group,” the Maven explained, “I’ve dealt with them before.”
The Blue Bolt looked more closely at the monitor screen, “Do they have any hi-tech weapons or super powers?”
“What’s the difference?” the Maven said, “Shouldn’t we get going?”
“No,” Commander Infinity shook his head. He was still hovering, “This is a police matter.”
Dismembro’s head and arms hovered over the monitor station checking the readouts, “She had the settings too high.”
“People are in danger!” the Maven couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
Commander Infinity hovered closer, “You’ve forgotten your vow. To defend mankind from threats above, below and beyond. The Legion exists to defend the Earth-”
“And the moon!” Dismembro added.
“-and the moon from external threats. We are not here to defend mankind from itself.”
The Blue Bolt tapped the monitor screen, “We don’t get involved in police matters.”
“But...” the Maven said.
Commander Infinity explained, “If we start down that road then municipal authorities and worse yet- the general public will start expecting us to stop every bank robbery and put out every fire.”
Mighty Woman agreed, “We’re super heroes, not community activists.”
“And what happens the one day we don’t get there in time?” Commander Infinity continued, “Public scorn, lawsuits and scathing editorials. This isn’t the way we do things.”
For a few seconds the Maven tried to convince herself that this was some kind of prank or hazing ritual but when you’re the world’s greatest detective you can’t be fooled by anyone, especially not yourself.
Didn’t that explain why there were no stories about the Legion of Protectors foiling robberies or taking time out to rescue kittens from trees?
She felt a pang of regret when she removed the Legion badge from her costume and handed it back to Commander Infinity. “I’m sorry but this isn’t the way I do things.”
The world’s mightiest super team watched as she leapt out the open window and caught her grapple line on a nearby building. The Maven swung in a wide arc making her way towards the city museum.


  1. Malcolm Gladwell would be overjoyed with this Maven. Those darned furry separatists...

    With all respect, the first sentence is in present tense while ensuing story is in past tense.

  2. Good Job Maven. I would have made the same choice.

  3. Fun tale. The team has a point, but so does she.

  4. Al, this is your genre. Snobby superheroes. This rocks.

  5. Great story, loved it!

  6. Hmm, a bit of an Ayn Rand feel to the group dynamics, eh?

  7. Hilarious, Al! Dismembro is the best superhero name EVER.

    I studied Mathematics at university. If only Lovercraftian trig had been part of the syllabus, I might have been a superhero instead of an office drone. Sigh.