Doc Tesseract

The adventures of Greg Silverman, retail industry employee, prospective college student and superhero.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Catalyst Captured!

We brought down Catalyst! Sure, I probably got fired from work as a result, but Hell, it was worth it.

It all started around three. I was stocking new games, while Brett was talking on the phone with his girlfriend. All of a sudden, this girl rushed into the store and told us to turn on the news. Brett hung up on his girlfriend and turned one of the TVs we use for game displays to Channel 4. That's when I got my first look at Catalyst.

She (yes, she; that must've been some voicechanger) was wearing a red cloak and hood over body armor the color of blood. Every bit of her was covered in the stuff except for her arms (where she wore gloves) and her face (where she wore a red domino mask). Behind her was a totaled cop car flipped on its roof... and behind that, the police station where I'd gone after the Mysterious Episode.

The place where I sent every criminal I ported.

If this wasn't personal, then it was pretty fucking close.

We'd tuned into the station mid-speech. "...tried to show you the way, yet you refuse. Obviously, words and symbolism are not enough. If you will not join me willingly, then I must demonstrate my system in action." She gestured to the station. "Behind me: one hundred and fifty men and women, all members of the Philadelphia Police Department. Also behind me: one hundred pounds of my personal explosives. My offer still stands: if the mayor and the rest of the Philadelphia city government abdicates, then I will let these men go. Otherwise... well, no one ever made an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

"You have twenty minutes to decide, gentlemen. Remember; their lives are in your hands."

Damnit. How to get out of this one? Something came to me. I turned to Brett and said, "Brett, listen, I have to go. My mom's in Philly right now, and I don't know where she is. I've gotta go home and see if she's okay."

Brett looked at me suspiciously. "Look, Greg, I'm sure the heroes can handle it just fine. There's no need to take off early."

Brett, you fuck! I thought. I am a hero! Of course, I couldn't say this to his face. That's when I just turned and ran, Brett screaming, "Hey!" after me. Not that I cared anymore; after six weeks under Brett's heel, being fired would be next to a paid vacation in Heaven. I ran into the bathroom, ported home, changed into costume, and ported to the police station.

When I got there, Lady Liberty and Talon had arrived on the scene. Lady Liberty was standing back, looking for some high ground, while Talon was up in the air, hurling her Talonrangs at Catalyst. I saw her fire off a Talonrang right at her... and then I saw it bounce off of something right in front of her and fly off into space. She threw something I couldn't see at Talon, and the next thing I knew, there was a loud bang and Talon was lying on the ground in a heap.

"Hey!" I yelled at Catalyst. She turned to look at me. "Nice costume. What, were they out of Guy Fawkes masks at the costume shop?" Quippage achieved, I volleyed off a beam that would send her to the Citadel. Had it hit, that is; the beam stopped a few inches from her and ceased to exist. Catalyst made the same throwing motion as she did before. I looked down at the ground, only to see... I can probably best describe it as "a ball of solid air" roll in front of my feet. I ported up to the roof of the police station; just as I hit, I heard the explosion, and when I looked back, there was a large crater where I was standing.

L.L. had taken advantage of the distraction and charged at Catalyst, trying to knock her down. Her blows kept stopping in mid-air, though. Catalyst kept punching back, and while her punches were slower, they semed to carry more weight.

That's when the idea struck. Maybe whatever's surrounding her is finite, I thought. I launched off a beam at her, but instead of just letting it go, I concentrated. Sure enough, the beam kept burrowing through whatever was protecting her. Just a few seconds away from contact, though, she noticed; she turned to me, and threw another one of those air balls at me. I ported off of the roof down to street level, just a second before the police station got a new skylight.

When I was back on the ground, I saw L.L. take advantage of Catalyst's weakness and distraction and punch her right where I'd weakened the shield. The blow wasn't blocked, and hit Catalyst right in the small of the back. She went down, but she wasn't out; she rounded on L.L., and made a slight flicking notion with her wrist. Before L.L. could react, the bomb went off. She was knocked a few feet into the air, and then fell back to Earth, unconscious.

"No!" I yelled. Catalyst turned to me and said, "See what you made me do?" She threw another bomb my way, and I ported up onto a nearby roof. So emerged a pattern that continued for the next few minutes: I port, I try to beam her up, she throws a bomb at me, I port, lather, rinse, repeat. All the while, Catalyst has gone into crazed supervillain mode. "We could have had paradise! Utopia within our grasp! But you would rather have certain oppression than freedom with risks. Why? Am I the only one brave enough to enact change?"

I ported right next to Catalyst. "Well, I gotta say, there's no one crazier," I cracked.

She spun around. "Die!" she yelled. I ported away just as the bomb hit the ground and exploded... not two feet away from Catalyst. And thus, the brave revolutionary was swiftly knocked on her ass.

When I turned around to view the carnage, she was still conscious. She said, "Think that's funny? They'll pay for what you've done!" Before she could do anything, though, I shot off a beam at her. This time, it hit; she went to the Citadel, where she could do nothing.

"Hail Discordia, biatch," I quipped. Hey, I took out my first real supervillain; I think I deserve a quip.

After it was safe, the paramedics came in and took Talon and L.L. away. Talon didn't have many injuries-- just a concussion from the blast-- and L.L.'s healing factor had done most of the work, so she just spent an hour in the hospital getting her shit together. Quint showed up some time later to neutralize the rest of the "air bombs"; he'd been on the Astral Plane during Catalyst's little escapade. "An amazing talent," he said. "Pity she could not devote it to finer things." He congratulated me for taking her down, as well. After that, I headed home and rested. I got a call from Judy around five; we spent a half hour talking about the battle, and she congratulated me for kicking villainous ass.

So, I might have been fired, and I probably made an archnemisis today. Still, I saved a bunch of lives, put a terrorist behind bars, and earned the thanks of my friends and comrades. So it kind of evens out.

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