The afternoon sun gleams off the polished metal amazon as she floats a foot above Primrose Avenue. The weapon pods on her high-tech armour shine like gemstones, and her aggressive stance says screams that she’s ready for whatever comes next.
Iron Maiden is only a B-list supervillain, but that’s more than enough for us: we’re high-school students. The boys’ team is already down: Combat Lad is wrapped in a Buick, Max Power is sucking pavement, Bling has been totally blung and Bob-Sothoth is a tangled mess of tentacles, eyeballs, and bicycle stand. They didn’t even smudge her finish.
She turns all seven feet of her attention to us.
“Thinking of running, girls? Good idea, but it’s too late.”
A perfectly-timed jump means she misses my legs but the spray of darts from her hip launcher shreds both tires on this side of the FoxWagen. Great; fixing that will come out of my allowance.
The Prize sits in plain view: her chest emblem. The shiny chrome badge is right between her breasts, visible (and a little sexy) but untouchable. It’s the final, hardest to get and only unique item in Wagner High’s Spirit Week Scavenger Hunt.
The eight supers in the school were divided up, boys versus girls, and given a list of items to acquire in heroic fashion. Our teams are tied with only one prize left, so it’s all or nothing now.
Phantasie’s voice rises from behind the car, “What do we do, Vix? Our plan was to catch her by surprise!”
“I’m thinking!” Our original plan had been for Phantasie to distract her with an illusionary superhero long enough for Wallflower to sneak up and take the emblem. By now Iron Maiden would be running all her sensors in combat mode, so that wouldn’t work.
I strike a crouch pose on top of the car. If Maiden can mug for the cameras, so can I. That’s half of what this business is about; lots of boys look at my spandex-clad ass one-handed, if you get my drift.
A voice forms in my head, “Vixen?”
“She’s looking at you.”
“No, she’s *looking* at you. Like the boys do.”
That gives me an idea. “Okay, get Phan to illusion herself and you to look like me. Flower will know what to do.”
Suddenly there are three of me, all showing off for Iron Maiden. Her faceplate turns rapidly, trying to keep all of us in sight.
A tiny ball of goo hits Phantasie and expands into a capture net, blowing her concentration. The illusion goes down. A mini-missile explodes in Psyche’s face and she drops.
I leap at her using a flying spin kick. She lets me slam into her; it’s like a bird hitting a window. I flail against her armour to no effect.
Well, almost no effect. While she’s concentrating on my hopeless attempts to hurt her, a transparent hand reaches up and deftly plucks the emblem off her chest. Good ol’ Wallflower.
* * *
I come to in the back of the FoxWagen, my limbs aching and splayed in random directions. There’s a note pinned to my chest.
It has a phone number and a message on it, “Call me and I can teach you some more effective hand-to-hand moves. I.M.” I try not to notice it doesn’t say ‘combat’.