Truth. Justice. Minesweeper.

Monday, October 11, 2004

So here's a summarized version of the list I turned over to Greyghost:

- Greyghost

- Torque a.k.a. Bob

- Perseid a.k.a. Cassie

- One-Eyed Jack

- Moonshooter. He's been fighting crime in this city for over a decade now and nobody knows a damn thing about him. The criminals and supervillains he's left tied up in the police station parking lot have described him as being a tall well-built guy wearing a black-and-white costume with a moon-and-dice motif, but that's about it. No pictures. Greyghost has never met him, neither has Bob. He's a mystery, is what he is

- Icecap. The kid's been all over the papers recently

- Prowl. I wasn't sure I should put her on here because she might also be a supervillain; there's a story about her beating up some cop, and some rumors about vandalizing billboards and defacing ads. She does fight crime, though; works with women's shelters and stuff. The only super-power I could find for her is the ability to turn into a cat, which seems only moderately useful, so she must have something else on the ball

- Neontetra. This is the glowing-outline guy. There still isn't a lot known about him, but at least now the press has pinned him with a name. Since his first case, he's nailed a chemical polluter and swamped a cigarette boat full of marijuana. Pattern: spends most of his time in the water

- Ms. Moxie. Now on maternity leave

- Surefire. Don't know where the hell he's gone

- Shadow-Falcon. Okay, here's what I've got for this guy. He can fly, he seems to be decently strong, and he can project some kind of darkness ray. Fine. However, all he's done is take out some street punks in the Doverdale suburb. I suspect he's a high-school student who isn't ready for the big time

- Fantastic Man. Student at ECU, I am forced to conclude, because what he mostly does is show up for parties there. When he can tear himself away from that, though, he's also nabbed his share of muggers, rapists, car thieves and vandals who were operating on campus. And, in his big moment, he blew up a really nasty ring of Satanists, not on campus, who were doing all kinds of unpleasant crap. He seems to have some kind of metal power-suit thing going on

- Lady Starwind. Doesn't seem to have any powers beyond glowing. Doesn't do much crimefighting, but has shown up to help out at a few disasters and large emergencies

- Wire-Paladin. This guy made a big splash a couple of years ago when he brought down a gang of supervillains called the Quintet, but nobody's heard from him since. Still, we have a couple of informants who swear he's still around and still active, so he goes on the list. He's got some kind of electrical-techno powers that I don't understand

- Inkling. Fought low-level street crime intermittently for a few years, but no sign of him this year. Not sure about his powers

- Some chick in a red costume. Showed up while Bob was duking it out with Maligno five months ago and helped Bob win the fight by shooting a stream of red bubbles in Maligno's face at a key moment. Nobody's seen her before or since; nobody knows nothing about her

And that's it. That's who's protecting Empire City. God knows what Greyghost is gonna do with this list; cry over it, maybe. There's not a lot of help for him here.
Saturday evening Greyghost and Cassie were in the blue room putting together their plan of attack for that night. Informants' reports were scattered all over the place. I wasn't in there; I was out at my desk working. Some of the information they were kicking around had gone through me, though, so I knew that it was going to be a busy night.

Bob came in. I was expecting him; there was enough stuff going on that night that I figured Greyghost'd call for help. He had a weird expression on his face, though. "Is he in?" Bob asked in a low voice. I nodded at the blue room. He nodded thanks back and went in. I followed.

"Hey," Bob said. "I've got good news that you're going to hate."

Greyghost and Cassie looked up at him.

"Jessie's having a baby. She told me that, starting today, she's going to be away from the game for about a year and a half," Bob said. It took me a couple of seconds flipping mental file cards to figure out that Jessie = Ms. Moxie.

"Oh, great for her!" Cassie said. And then, realizing the implications, "Oh."

"Mm," Greyghost said. "I see."

Cassie looked at Greyghost. "So who can we call now?"

He shook his head. "Jack's out of town. We haven't heard from Surefire since the story came out. We'll just have to handle it."

"Whatever it is, you'll have to handle it without me," Bob said. "Lucas has some kind of deal going on tonight and I may be able finally to staple his ass to the wall." Lucas, a supervillain of brutal and elusive nature, is Bob's particular nemesis.

"If it's just us, we'd better go now," Cassie said. "You get set up at the docks and I'll try to catch Ratbastard in his car on the way to the meet. I can go right from there to the jewelry store."

Greyghost nodded. "We'll coordinate through Dennis. I can handle things at the docks, and we'll decide later if I need you to cover the prisoner transfer with me at 3:00, but that still leaves nobody to apprehend XBadX and his gang at the hotel."

They were silent.

"Don't look at me," I said. "I'm no match for anybody with two X's in his name."

Cassie ventured, "I could try to..." but couldn't find an ending to the sentence.

"We'll have to let it go," Greyghost said. "There are only two of us, and we can't be in three places at once."

So that's what they did. Final score for the evening: Lucas got away from Bob again, Cassie never saw Ratbastard but did foil a jewelry store burglary, Greyghost busted up a drug deal at the docks, and the Professionals' middle-of-the-night transfer to a different jail went off without a hitch. XBadX and his guys, uninterfered with at one of the airport hotels, killed two guys and got away with a briefcase of money.

So, today, Greyghost comes up to me and says, "I'd like you to compile a list of all auxiliaries who are or might be active in the Empire City area. If it's not someone we know well, include as much information as you have about his or her habits and capabilities, or anything else useful." 'Auxiliary' is his word for 'superhero'.

"Sure. What for?"

"Increasing your workload," he said. Like I didn't know that already.

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