Chapter Two: Ultra Girl Cometh
Simon Teffler strode into Lilian Ross's office, quietly shutting the door so as not to disturb her while she was conducting a phone call. He waved to her slightly to get her attention, and she smiled and raised her index finger to indicate that she would be right with him. She looked a bit surprised to see him, as he rarely visited this office, and it seemed to her that relatively few people in the office bothered to visit the premiere proofreader of THE DAILY VOICE. She quickly ended the phone call, eager to see what her atypical company wanted. Hanging up the phone, she smiled warmly at her unexpected visitor.
"Saints preserve me, if it isn't Mr. Teffler," she said sardonically. "What can I do for you?"
"Um, Lilian," he stuttered with a degree of sadness on his expression. "I really need to talk to you about something very important. And I've heard that you're as open-minded as they come. And for this, you just have to be."
"Mr. Teffler, latch the lock on my door so no one happens to just walk in, and pull up a seat. You sound really serious. I promise to be there for you to the best of my ability."
Simon smiled uneasily and did as she requested. He suddenly thought it would be easier to reveal that he was actually Solar Man, one of the world's greatest super-heroes, than the other thing he was about to reveal to a woman he barely knew but whose reputation for open-mindedness was well known and respected.
On the other side of Metro City, in the area of West Virginia Street (often nicknamed 'Yes Virginia' street by the people who live there after a popular girl musical group native to the vicinity), five members of Youth Power were making their way towards a severe ruckus at the end of the block. The Scarlet Eagle was leading the group, her red uniform hugging the contours of her adolescent body, a weighted battle stave in each of her hands as she prepared to lead her all-adolescent team into action. Following her was the blue-costumed Ultra Girl, who also wore a tight uniform, leaving one of her shoulders and part of her back bare, and she always found herself feeling a bit inferior to her leader, whose 15-year-old body was considerably more developed than her own. Nevertheless, since gaining her power several months back, Ultra Girl was determined to make her reputation as one of the greatest super-heroes of her era. She was followed close behind by the black-costumed Mystik, who wore a dark tiara with obsidian-colored jewels around her forehead and a slightly see-through outfit, with a black bra-like garment visible underneath. Clad in such an eye-stealing garb, the 14-year-old mistress of the mystic arts stood ready to conjure her foes into oblivion. Ferro-Con walked just to the left of Mystik, his organic steel skin glinting off the sunlight and contrasting with his green uniform, with the 16-year-old Laze to the right of his leader, his black and ebony uniform reflecting odd shadows as he prepared to guard her flank, his power to project sapphire-hued beams of plasma from each of his ocular nerves always ready to wreak havoc on his adversaries. Though Ultra Girl was the youngest of the team, she was determined to prove herself its bravest and most resourceful member. I'm going to be as hot as GirlRobo, she told herself as she proceeded down West Virginia Street. Okay, maybe not as hot as GirlRobo, but close enough.
Scarlet Eagle motioned for each of her teammates to stop, as she surveyed their immediate surroundings.
"What's the problem, boss?" Ferro-Con asked, his voice eliciting its characteristic metallic echo when his skin was in organic metal mode.
"I want to make sure Captain Krueger doesn't appear to interfere with this mission," she replied, always sounding extremely sure of herself.
Ultra Girl shrugged, both admiring and feeling a bit insecure as she saw the non-metahuman mistress of the martial arts prepare to wade into extreme danger.
"From what I've gathered of the opposition," Scarlet Eagle continued, "this Infernus, the latest of the Metahuman Domination Front, may be as dangerous as that MetalDeath who Solar Man stopped last week. The heat he produced has already slagged half the cars in that entire neighborhood."
"That's really kinda hellish, boss," Ultra Girl retorted with concern. "He thinks metahumans should rule the world? He seems like another pimple on the world's butt to be squeezed out of existence. And we're the acne medicine!"
Laze smiled. "I like the way you think, Ultra Chick."
Ultra Girl knew she should find Laze's flirtations flattering--and to some extent, she did. She wanted to be attractive. But she found herself wishing that he was…older. Much older. She only rarely found herself attracted to boys in her own age group, and she didn't understand why. Was she sick? Was this some side effect of the process that gave her the power to control ambient force fields?
This wasn't the time to think about that, as her teammates were counting on her to watch their backs and kick some serious super-villain posterior.
Scarlet Eagle skillfully twirled her battle staves in each hand, causing them to stop in a combat ready position. "Your way of speaking is…girlish, Ultra Girl, but as always, I agree with your sentiment."
Ultra Girl smiled in response. "What can I say? I just totally rock the socks!"
Just then, the adolescent troupe began hearing the shrill sound of screams, along with the sight of brilliant flames rising down the block. They had practically reached their target.
"Mystik, can you use your magicks to minimize the effects of the flames on the surrounding environment?" Scarlet Eagle queried.
"If I do, will I earn a cookie?" Mystik smiled in her usual good-humored manner and concentrated intently, manipulating the etheric forces around her to do precisely as Scarlet Eagle requested.
Within moments, waves of mystical silvery energy started to become visible around the flames, preventing them from touching the cars and people laying about damaged and injured respectively, thus preventing further cars from blowing up, and more injured people from being burned beyond recognition.
"Um, boss, not to spazz out or anything, but those flames are really strong, and I feel part of their effect on the etheric waves I'm creating…and I can't keep this up forever."
"You won't have to," Scarlet Eagle said with extreme determination. "Youth Power, engage the target!"
"Woo hoo!" Ultra Girl yelled. "Now it's time to really get hypered up!"
As Mystik continued to do her best to control the flames, her four teammates rushed the source of the blazing inferno. They soon came across a fairly tall man wearing punk clothing, possessing a Mohawk hairdo with the hair dyed lavender, and wearing leather that was mysteriously resistant to the flames encircling his body. He was directing his flames to engulf anything within his immediate vicinity, and the atmosphere was filled with the smell of burning gasoline and charred flesh. He rose his hands in the air, as if he was a god surveying his domain and exalted by his own actions.
"Yeah, ha ha! I will raze this city! I will burn it to the ground, so that we metas can rebuild it in a superior image! The reign of man is finished. Now begins the reign of super-man!"
"Aww, shut up!" Scarlet Eagle yelled as she hurled one of her battle staves at the fiery malcontent's face.
The stave struck the side of the villain's visage with expert precision, and though his head moved to the side with a yelp of pain, the weapon fell to the ground in a melted heap. Its weighted tip turned to slag before it could shatter his facial bones. Infernus's head turned with a look of abject rage on his countenance, the nimbus of flames surrounding his body slowly pushing Mystik's etheric waves away from him and turning his eyes a bright, glowing crimson.
"You…little bitch! You traitor to the metahuman race!"
Scarlet Eagle motioned for her three teammates to back her up.
"Aw, shit," Laze noted warily. "This is going to be rough."
Lilian looked at Simon with a dejected expression on her face, but with a hint of concern and compassion always being present.
"Exactly…how long have you felt these things, Mr. Teffler?"
"Please, call me Simon. And I guess ever since I was in my early to late 20s. I just never stopped…being interested…in the middle and high school girls. But I never did anything with any of them! I have attempted to date women my own age, I swear it. I'm not a child molester, or anything like that, and I would never…"
Lilian smiled calmly. "Simon, be at ease. You're not on trial here. You are just trying to sort something out that is difficult for you. I know you're not a child molester. I think I'm a good judge of character, and I know how it is to be judged as some sort of pervert because your attractions are different from the norm."
Simon looked at her, wanting to smile but still unable to do so, and worried he may begin to cry.
"Then…you don't find me repulsive, or…?"
"No, Simon, I don't. And believe me, having grown up in the Bible Belt, I remember how my family reacted when I first 'came out' as being gay."
Simon clenched his fist. "Lilian, I know you went through a lot. Please don't take this as me trying to minimize that. But at least you have support groups in the more liberal areas of the country, and you have much of the media sympathizing with you. But with me…with people like me…we are portrayed as monsters. We have no support to speak of. We have no signs of understanding, or even any desire to do so with any degree of compassion. They claim we kidnap kids, that we murder them; damn it, Lilian, I try so hard to be a good person, I…really go out of my way to help others…I'm not exaggerating here, I know it sounds like I am, and I can't go into any detail, but please believe me when I tell you that I would sacrifice my life for any innocent people…"
Lilian moved forward and gently touched Simon's hand, noticing tears beginning to form on his face.
"Simon, I know you're a very good person. I know you would gladly jump in front of a truck to save someone's life. I can't say I fully understand this attraction of yours, but I know you're not evil, and I know what the media says about people like you…it's truly horrific. Have you ever considered counseling?"
Simon moved his hand away from Lilian's. "But I'm not sick…I don't do anything…deviant or harmful. I am just attracted to young girls. At least, I don't think that I'm sick." Tears suddenly began flowing freely from his eyes. "My god, Lilian…am I sick? Is there something wrong with me? Am I not the good person that I try so damn hard to be?"
Lilian stood up, walked over to Simon, and put her arms around his shoulders, sending a warm feeling of comfort through his body that rivaled the internal solar furnace that powered his metahuman form.
"Simon, I don't know enough about this sort to thing to determine that. But you have never hurt anyone, nor do I think you're capable of doing so. For what it's worth…though I don't really understand this…I don't think you're sick. Not at all."
Scarlet Eagle somersaulted out of the way to avoid being hit by one of Infernus's flame bolts. Ferro-Con pushed Laze aside and took the full brunt of the blast. He winced as the ultra-hot flames sizzled off of his metallic-organic hide, leaving several scorch marks. Oh, man, I felt that, the metallic lad thought to himself ominously. I don't know how many hits like that I can take before I start to…melt. I better stay out of the way…but I can't let any of the fleeing bystanders--or my teammates--get hit. As Ferro-Con began to stumble, he noticed--to his horror--that Infernus was beginning to form another crackling flame bolt around his right hand. Oh no…this is gonna hurt.
"You fucking traitors! Burn! Burn to the ground!"
With that exclamation made, Infernus hurled another ball of flame at Ferro-Con, who stood his ground in front of a group of fleeing people, hoping and praying that he could withstand this bolt without dying or being seriously injured. Just as he braced himself for a world of pain, the fireball suddenly dispersed a few feet before hitting him. He noticed a bluish glow in the air around him, and recognized this as a harmless side effect of Ultra Girl's force fields, which have a slight blue luminescence to them.
"Hey, metalboy, I hope you didn't think I was going to let you take all of the beatings by this flaming loser."
"Th-thanks," Ferro-Con stammered uneasily, his chrome-colored skin still sizzling from the last bolt of flame that struck him.
"No probs, pardner," she replied supportively.
This time, Ultra Girl projected a vertical stream of pure force about two feet in width directly from her right arm, which pummeled into Infernus with the force of a jackhammer. He was knocked completely off of his feet, and he smashed into a van directly behind him, the side of the vehicle melting inwards as the ultra-hot body of the super-villain called Infernus collided with it.
Scarlet Eagle did her best to push any remaining bystanders away from the area. She hated to be so rough with these people, but she didn't want to see yet another charred corpse or sizzling body part laying around the area. No more lives lost on her watch, she declared. She was quite angry that she was unable to approach the ultra-hot villain before her, but if she did, her skin would sizzle and melt right off of her all-too human bones.
But she was determined to minimize the danger he was presenting to the surrounding environment.
"Mystik, can you possibly manipulate the weather to cause a localized rainfall? We have to stop this fire from spreading! Too many people have been killed or severely burned already! And we have to stop more cars from exploding, let alone a gas main!"
"To ask is to receive, boss-lady," the 14-year-old lass of great mystical power replied. Raising her hands in the air, Mystik spouted off an arcane spell that summoned forth a large storm cloud, thereby causing a deluge that prevented the flames from spreading beyond 20 feet, as they grew progressively less hot the further from Infernus's body that they spread.
"I could try hitting Infernus with the rain directly, Eagle, but as hot as that ass-rammer is right now, it could cause the water to become super-heated steam, and that could have as bad an effect on those panicking peeps as the fire itself."
Scarlet Eagle sighed in frustration. "Okay, keep the deluge localized, since the flames over here aren't as hot. I'll do my best to keep the people running in this direction, away from the flames and the steam. Let our three teammates engage Infernus. And they will be in for a serious ass-whipping if they fail to take him down! We are going to do this without the help of the Liberty League!"
As the van he was hurled into continued to melt away from Infernus's ultra-hot form, he began getting to his feet once more.
"Um, Ultra?" Laze asked despondently. "How is it, exactly, that your force beam didn't cave his chest in?"
"It seems like his flames provide some type of buoyant cushion around his body. Maybe if you…"
"Way ahead of you, pretty girl!" With that said, Laze began projecting his reddish bolts of plasma from each of his eyes, the impact knocking Infernus off of his feet again. Unfortunately, since Laze's "laser eyes" were plasma-based, the fiery villain was simply starting to absorb the beams of energy now being projected at him.
Ultra Girl suddenly formed a plan. "Laze, I'm going to project a force field around Mr Mohawk…aim your laser eyes at the engine of the van and blow it up around that buttmunch."
"Can your force field handle an explosion like that?"
"It's handled worse. Just do it!"
As ordered, Laze projected his ocular plasma beams at the engine of the burning van, causing a powerful explosion to ensue as a result. Ultra Girl winced and shook at the impact of the explosion hitting her force field. But it held.
"Yea!" The young heroine shouted excitedly. "There is no way he will be getting up from…"
With a powerful bolt of flame, Infernus stepped out of the burning wreckage. The heat of the explosion was simply absorbed by his body, and a swirling plume of flame surrounded him fully.
"Traitors! You are all traitors to the metahuman race! I'll burn you all into puddles of flesh!"
"Oh man," Ferro-Con said, as his superhumanly strong muscles lifted a car in preparation of throwing the vehicle at their deadly nemesis. "Not the best idea you ever had. Now he has more flames than ever surrounding him. He's going to burn this entire neighborhood to the ground!"
Ultra Girl realized that with Scarlet Eagle evacuating the bystanders, and therefore unable to approach the metahuman lunatic before them, she didn't have her leader's guidance and strategies behind her. But she knew she could come up with a way to defeat this seemingly undefeatable menace on her own. She would not order Ferro-Con to risk death by charging directly into the epicenter of Infernus's heat shield. No, she would stop this menace herself. If she could only figure out how…
"Lilian, I want to thank you for at least trying to understand. I know you've been conditioned to react with total hostility to something like this…to think that people who feel this way are completely evil…I've devoted my life to…fighting evil…I can't really explain that…but I would never commit an evil act…"
Lilian smiled again. "Simon, I don't know you very well, but I like you. You've always been kind to others. You're always concerned about how your actions affect others. You're far from an evil man. Please don't let an ignorant society convince you that you're less of a person than you actually are simply because of who you are attracted to."
Simon sniffled as he drew back another stream of tears.
"Lilian, I don't know how to thank you. I just wish I didn't have to burden you with something as…unsettling as this."
"Simon, I'm honored that you felt I could be of help to you, over and above all of your friends. I can't say how they will react to this, but maybe you should talk to others like yourself before you bring this up to any friend."
"Lilian, I don't know how I could tell anyone I know. People…look up to me. Depend on me for…certain things. They will be…so disappointed in me. At the very least. And others like me, if they exist, are so far hidden in the closet that it can be near-impossible to find them."
"For what it's worth, Simon, you're not the only person I know who has these feelings. In fact, this may be a lot more common than people think. There could be any number of doctors, firemen, journalists, police officers, rescue crewmen, etc., who feel the way you do; people who routinely save the lives of others."
"Lilian, the police hunt and entrap…people like me…all the time."
"I know. Remember, they used to treat gay people in a similar manner several decades ago. I do not approve of entrapment, and I do not think people like you are necessarily dangerous. Not after getting to know you, and also getting to know…"
"Who, Lilian? Who else do you know that is like me?"
"Simon, I don't think Seamus would mind if I revealed to you how he feels about little girls."
"Isn't Seamus the guy who is our liaison with Nebula Communications, our TV affliliate?"
"Yes, and I think you should talk to him."
"You mean…he's…he's also…?"
"He is attracted to pre-pubescents, even more controversial than your own predilection, even though society at large often sees no difference between actual children and adolescents anyway because of the legal status and cultural status they share. I know this because I once proofread a report he wrote trying to tell the true story of pedophilia, from the standpoint of someone who has those feelings. Nebula Communications deep-sixed it before it could ever be made into the documentary he was planning. They didn't like the fact that it was so non-judgmental, and trying just to get at the facts without condemning all of these people outright. But I knew that Seamus was a pedo as soon as I read the report. You need to talk to him. I fully trust you with this knowledge."
"And you never confronted him about this?"
"I only know him slightly better than you, Simon, but he impressed me a lot. I didn't judge him."
"This is…just amazing. Thank you, Lilian." More tears appeared on his face. "Just…thank you."
Suddenly, a furious pounding erupted on Lilian's door once the person on the other side realized that it was locked.
The voice of Larry Alton emanated from the opposite side of the locked door. "Simon, are you in there?"
"Yes, I am, Larry," Simon replied. "I'm just having some coffee with Lilian. What's up?"
"There's a major metahuman ruckus going on near Yes Virginia Street! I thought maybe you would want to hear about it, considering your interest in the metahuman movement and all that."
"Thank you for the info, Larry!"
"Lilian, I really need to go. Thank you very much for this convo. Can we do lunch one of these days?"
Lilian smiled warmly. "It would be my pleasure, Simon."
"And I'll be sure to get in touch with Seamus. Thank you so much!" He kissed Lilian on the cheek, eliciting a smile from the older woman. He then quickly left the office, pushing past Larry. "I'm going to get some lunch, Larry! Keep me up to date on what's going on with the metahuman ruckus!"
"Well, okay, but would you like to do lunch together…?"
"Can't, I have to…um, go to the bathroom first. Meet you later!"
"Geez, Sime, you need to lay off those tacos!"
I have to get to West Virginia Street as fast as possible! Simon thought to himself as he prepared to go into action as Solar Man. Lives could have been lost while I was sitting in Lilian's office wallowing in self-pity. Time to act like a hero again!
Lilian smiled again as she saw Simon race down the hallway, a look of realization permeating her features. Go get 'im, Solar Man, she mused to herself, with a wry grin on her face.
"I'll raze this entire fucking city! The entire city! The metas will reign supreme, as is our destiny!"
With that declaration made, Infernus quickly incinerated the vehicle that Ferro-Con hurled at him. As the Scarlet Eagle hastened to evacuate the few remaining people from the area, Mystik ran up to Ultra Girl.
"Let me try a few bolts of bedevilment! I'm a bit tired, but maybe they will…"
"Look out!" Ultra Girl barely managed to deflect another flame bolt with her force field, which surrounded both her and Mystik. Nevertheless, they both felt the heat clear through the field, and Ultra Girl even received a small first-degree burn on her left arm.
"Ouch. This situation is totally suckish."
Just then, the smell of burning metal caused the young girl in the revealing blue costume to turn around and see the sizzling body of Ferro-Con, who leapt in front of Laze at the last moment. It took a heavy toll on his body, yet the boy of organic metal was determined to keep fighting. Ultra Girl deeply regretted being unable to throw her force field around all four of them in unison, but she didn't have the time to concentrate.
She was half determined to call the Liberty League, and let the adult heroes deal with this menace. Give me a quarter and I'll call someone that I can cry to, she thought to herself. Sorry, but today, the kids are going to win.
"I have an idea! Ferro, you're hurt, so move aside. Laze, Mystik, prepare to back me up, in case this doesn't work."
Mystik looked at her slightly younger teammate glumly. "What are you…?"
Without answering, Ultra Girl projected her force field in close quarters around Infernus himself. Screaming like a madman, he began projecting flames omnidirectionally from his body, pushing with tremendous heat against the glowing blue force field, causing its luminescent boundaries to glare a bright orange. Ultra Girl cringed and sweat profusely as she struggled to maintain her field despite the brutal amount of heat, realizing that with the field surrounding Infernus so tightly, that he would quickly burn up all oxygen in his immediate environs. This, coupled with his monomaniacal effort to blast himself free of her force field, would cause him to pass out. Unless Ultra Girl passed out from the extreme heat buffeting her force field first, that is.
Realizing the extreme degree of stress Ultra Girl was dealing with, Mystik offered to try and back up her force field with an etheric field of her own.
"No!" Ultra Girl shouted with great determination. "I have this! I got it! Just do what you can to shield Laze and Ferro. If my field loses its…integrity…these flames are going to fly for half a block. Get yourself and the two of them to safety! And make sure Eagle is nowhere…nowhere near…"
The pressure was extraordinary, and she almost felt as if her own flesh was being seared by the indescribable heat buttressing her force field. But Ultra Girl is a hero, and her willpower is even more extraordinary than the merciless inferno she was now facing. Acting with complete homicidal rage, Infernus redoubled his efforts, projecting as much flame as he could possibly muster against the bluish field enveloping his body, all the while eating away more and more of the life-giving oxygen surrounding his limber form. For a moment, he resembled a human fireball, flames jutting forth from his eyes, dancing around his Mohawk, and sputtering out of his mouth. His eyes glowed like flaming red coals, the field buckled and steamed under the tremendous heat brought to bear against it. Ultra Girl's legs buckled in concert with her field, as the heat became more and more beyond human endurance.
What seemed like an eternity later, but was actually just a few minutes, Ultra Girl was on her knees, and her force field was down…but Infernus lay unconscious on the ground 25 feet away from her, streams of billowing smoke poofing out from his insensate, oxygen-deprived body. The blue-clad metahuman girl took several large gasps and the Scarlet Eagle appeared at her side to help her to her feet.
"Ultra Girl, you did it. It's over. And a minimum of casualties arose since we arrived."
Ultra Girl looked up at her leader with half-opened eyes. "Ferro…is he…?"
"His organic metal skin is blistered, but he seems to be recovering. He's pretty tough, all things considered."
"Ultra," Mystik said to her, with a smile on her face, "you truly rocked the socks."
Laze walked forward and put his hand on Ultra Girl's shoulder. "That was mucho impressive, not to mention way cool. I think I owe you a nice dinner."
Again, Ultra Girl was flattered, but she couldn't help wishing that someone much older than her 16-year-old teammate wanted to take her out.
Just then, she noticed a nimbus of crimson light above her, and a huge beam washed across her face as none other than Solar Man himself landed in front of her.
"It would appear that I'm no longer needed here; you kids did just fine. As well as the Liberty League could have done, in fact. Infernus was a very tough customer…he's even managed to singe my nigh-invulnerable skin before."
"Thank you, Solar Man," the Scarlet Eagle said proudly. "Feel free to help us with the mop-up if you'd like. And we would prefer if you would talk to Captain Krueger once the police arrive…"
But, much to Ultra Girl's happy surprise, Solar Man's attention was focused not on Scarlet Eagle's words and pretty face…but on her own. He admired Ultra Girl's lithe form, and the way her blue spandex uniform hugged her body, making it clear that she had shapely legs and very small breasts, the flawless skin of her right shoulder and the top of her back clearly visible for admiration. She would have expected this amazing older man to look at the curvy body of the Scarlet Eagle instead, who was taller than her with brown shoulder length hair and relatively large breasts. But Solar Man's eyes were elsewhere.
"Solar Man? Do you hear me?"
"Huh? Oh, yes, I do…I hear you. And you did a very good job. Especially you, Ultra Girl. I saw the very end of your detainment of Infernus."
Ultra Girl beamed excitedly again, and extended her hand. "Just doing my part for the betterment of the world to stop that disgrace to the metahuman race."
Solar Man barely seemed to notice that he held Ultra Girl's hand for several minutes longer than was required to shake it.
"You know, I don't think I handled that situation as well as I could have," she told the red-costumed hero she was looking at with great admiration. "I would love it if you could show me some pointers, maybe let me train with you sometime."
Solar Man was barely able to conceal how flattered he was at the suggestion, and how much he would look forward to spending time with the lovely blonde metahuman girl whose hand he now held. He released her hand when he noticed that Scarlet Eagle began staring at the two of them, as if suspecting something.
"Well…I'm very busy, Ultra Girl. I'm usually answering one emergency after another, and..."
Ultra Girl sighed slightly. "I know. It was just a suggestion."
"But considering the commendable job you did here, I would be remiss in my responsibilities to the next generation of heroes if I didn't give you some of my time."
Ultra Girl suddenly began to feel hyper. "That's wonderful!" He is soooo gorgeous, she began thinking to herself. I would so much rather spend my time with him than with Laze or any other boy near my age. I just wonder…no, girl, don't be foolish. Of course he would never consider that.
Solar Man continued to look into Ultra Girl's pale blue eyes as the police began to arrive on the scene, and Laze, Mystik, and Ferro-Con walked over to greet the great hero before them. There is nothing wrong with taking on a young hero as a protégé, the crimson-clothed hero told himself obliquely. And she is…a really amazing girl. I've…never felt quite this way by the Amazonian or any of the other female adult heroes I work with in the Liberty League, nor Evelyn or any of my co-workers at the THE DAILY VOICE. She must truly be something special. I just have to make sure that…I don't become too interested…she's too young…but she's…so amazing…
Captain Emil Krueger then approached the small group of heroes.
"What the hell are these kids doing here? Solar Man, I take it that you stopped this meta loony?"
"No, Captain," he replied. "Youth Power did. I'm only here to help with the mop-up."
"Jesus, these kids are going to be the death of this city. I'm in my legal right to run all of you in, and see to it that you all register with the government…"
"What a buttmunch," Ultra Girl whispered to herself.
"Excuse me, little girl? What did you say?"
"Captain Krueger," the Scarlet Eagle intervened, "if not for us 'damn kids,' this city would have met its death. Show us some respect because we did a job that you couldn't do yourself."
The Captain resisted the urge to throw a train of expletives at the red-clad girl before him. He couldn't deny that they did good, despite his extreme misgivings with youth metahumans allowed to run around free.
Solar Man looked at Ultra Girl and smiled. "They have my full support, Captain. Please treat them accordingly."
"Yeah, yeah. Okay, let's start taking the wounded and dead out of here, and keep the crowds back. This area is still really hot!"
Scarlet Eagle noticed that Solar Man and Ultra Girl's eyes were fixed on each other again.
"Um…are we going to help with the clean-up and search for survivors?"
"Of course," Solar Man hastily replied. "Ultra Girl went through a lot, and I just wanted to make sure she was okay. We'll start your training later this week."
She smiled very ebulliently, not wanting to embarrass herself. "That totally rocks." And you totally rock, Solar dude.
Forcing himself to turn his gaze away from the vision of bravery and loveliness before him, Solar Man began assessing the property damage around him as the police carted off the slumbering body of Infernus. The Man of the Sun then proceeded to high-five Laze and Ferro-Con as the Scarlet Eagle continued to watch him--and Ultra-Girl--with rapt attention.