By Den Warren © 2017
A man of light build with a blue cowl and a seven foot muscular giant with dreadlocks in a long coat were standing out in front of a poorly lit jewelry storefront in Neogothic City at 2am.
“Are you sure that’s what that message meant?” the Blue Retaliator asked his huge Pain Posse teammate. “The message was, ‘Flashing for ice?’ To me it sounds like a thief is going to show up naked at the convenience store across the street.”
Roid Rage shook his dreadlock covered head and sighed. Then he said, “It was clear as can be. That message was not in code or nuthin’. Just normal talk.”
“Not to me it’s not. I don’t get that black urban slangy buzzwordy crap. It’s like K-Tron all over again.”
“You won’t get it. You’re Vietnamese anyhow. Your parents barely speak English to begin with.”
“Huh? You know I was born in Neogothic City. What time is it, anyhow?” the Retaliator asked. He nervously handled his two telescoping batons on his utility belt that were being kept ready for use on some flash mobsters.
Roid Rage turned his freakishly massive wrist to see his watch. “Just a few more minutes.” He took his watch off and put it in an inner pocket of his tent-like leather coat for protection.
Blue Retaliator said, “Either way, we are stuck out here since we took the last train. It’s going to be a long night. I can’t believe the cops wouldn’t send someone over here.”
“Obviously they can’t respond to all the chatter that goes out over the internet. I tried to tell ‘em. After they heard the actual message they understood it about as well as you did. Either that, or they just didn’t to understand it.”
Retaliator said, “I’ll feel a whole lot better about these uncertain kinds of operations once we replace some of our members.”
Roid Rage was doing some stretches. “We got this. As long as there aren’t any metahumans joining the party. Or guns. Just watch my back.”
“The only thing going to be against my back is either a wall or you, which amounts to the same thing,” Retaliator said.
“You know my work,” Roid Rage said. “Listen.”
Thumping music vibrating an approaching car filled the night air.
Retaliator said, “If that is them, they are not too smart.”
Soon the duo learned why the thieves were so brazen. There were ten converging vehicles holding about forty flash mobsters who were holding baseball bats, pipes, and other blunt instruments. They strutted toward the store.
A commanding figure with a pipe wrench said, “Hey monkeys, this is not your zoo. So why don’t you just move along and mind your own.”
“Go home,” Roid rage said. “I’d hate to see anyone get hurt here.” He shrugged his shoulders. “Okay, I lied. I’d love to pile your stupid selves in a heap out on the street.”
Retaliator said under his breath, “Bring it down a notch, okay?”
The spokes-mobster said, “Oh look. One big stupid guy seriously thinks he is gonna stop all of us. What are you all waiting for?! Go get some rock!”
Roid Rage started walking toward the leader. The flash mob froze in place.
Retaliator walked next to Roid Rage and tried to keep his voice down as he spoke. He said, “What are you doing?! No! No!”
Roid Rage kept walking toward the leader.
“Stop! No! No!” Retaliator pleaded.
Roid Rage was already beyond control.
The man swung the pipe wrench at Roid Rage, who blocked it with a glancing blow to his forearm. Then Roid Rage picked up the surprised man over his head and slammed him down on the hood of the car like a rag doll, leaving a huge dent. Retaliator admired Roid Rage’s elegant brutality for a brief moment. His form was like a classic Greek sculpture with his dreadlocks and the flair of his violently artistic movement in full display. A few of the opportunistic mobsters went wide around Roid Rage to try to forcibly smash their way into the jewelry store windows without opposition.
Then Retaliator charged and intercepted those mobsters trying to get around them and started cutting their legs out from under them with his batons. The would-be robbers fell to the sidewalk screaming, holding their limbs. This was Retaliator’s favorite part of the job.
But one from among the large mob got a solid hit on Retaliator’s shoulder with a chunk of lumber. Retaliator immediately knew he could not go down or the next swing might be the final one to his cranium. With great discipline he spun around and whapped the surprised looter on the side of the face with a baton. The victim held his face and stumbled away.
Meanwhile, Roid Rage picked up the same guy he had previously slammed on the hood of the car and slammed him again onto the street with a sickening thud. A couple of flash mobsters jumped at Roid Rage’s unguarded back. One with a baseball bat and one with a crowbar started swinging and trying to get a hit on his back. Roid Rage took a glancing blow from the crowbar to the rib cage, then turned around and lunged at his attackers. Roid Rage grabbed one by his forearm and one by his coat and slammed them together and pushed them back onto the car. Both of them collapsed and fell onto the curb, revealing a dent to the car. More of the flash mobsters gained the confidence to slowly approach the superheroes. Roid Rage and Retaliator moved to their back to back formation in front of the store.
“Come on!” Roid Rage said to the mob, “Let’s do this!”
“Or you could just go home!” Retaliator offered them another alternative. “Nothing gained, nothing lost, you know?”
The flash mob attacked all at once. Retaliator parried attack after attack with his batons. Because of his extensive self-training, he could see their slow amateurish attacks coming a mile away. Even with his injured shoulder, the attackers were no match for him.
Roid Rage grabbed an attacker’s swinging pipe in his bare hand. He pulled the assailant closer. Since the pipe wielder wouldn’t let go, Roid Rage put his other big fist into his face. The attacker’s head snapped back and he dropped out cold to the sidewalk. Once the mob realized Roid Rage had sole possession of the pipe, no one wanted any part of him. Their morale immediately crumbled and they started running back to their vehicles.
“Where you going?!” Roid Rage shouted. “Want some more?!”
Retaliator chanted, “Please don’t chase them. Please don’t chase them. Please don’t chase them.” After the mob left, Retaliator bent over in agony holding his injury. “Sonofa, My shoulder is messed up.”
Roid Rage grunted, “My side is . . . ugh!”
Blue Retaliator said, “Oh, you human.”
The two superheroes walked to the subway station and sat on a bench for a few hours until it opened. They got on the first train back to their own neighborhood. No one else was going from the downtown commercial area to their neighborhoods so early in the morning. Retaliator wondered if anyone in the community would even realize they had thwarted a major robbery. At least word would be out on the street that they might have to contend with the Pain Posse.
While on the train, Roid Rage stared at his phone. “Hey did you see where cops in Ohio captured Doctor Maelstrom yesterday? Some kids in the school tossed one of his lackeys out of a second story window. I love that.”
“Really, I’m too tired and sore to care. I just want to get home. Later today I gotta go talk to someone about joining the Posse.”
Roid Rage said, “That would be great if we could get some good local talent. All of our heavy hitters are from out of town. Hopefully, he’s not just another poser. Did you already vet him out on the Super Human Outfitters website?”
Retaliator said, “I looked at the S.H.O. profile. You can’t always tell much by looking at that. Some people put down anything.”
Roid Rage asked. “Well . . . does it say he is a metahuman?”
is, I guess.”
Roid Rage sighed and rolled his eyes. “ Are you just considering this woman because she is hot?!”
“Did you hear me? I told you ‘yes’, she is a metahuman. She is not just a regular powerless female with hot amenities. The fact that she is, at least I think, a metahuman is a deal changer, right? Besides, after that mess with the Tolerance Consortium, I’ll never get my priorities out of whack like that again. I will never mix romance and business. If you remember, I already had a superheroine I liked kill off my own arch-nemesis. Then she ends up dumping me for some other superhero? No way am I going through that again. I thought you would know I was done with all that.”
“If you say so. . .” Roid Rage tried to stretch his back to get some relief to his sore ribcage. “Are we stupid for doing this stuff, or what? It always ends up the same way.” He froze for a moment. “Oh, I forgot to ask, so what is her super power? Mind control breasts? Self-delusion?”
“Her profile isn’t real clear about that.”
“Here we go,” Roid Rage said. Does this seem at all like that crazy chick Cynapse who tried to join the Posse? Then she ended up getting dumped by that arrogant supervillain puke because she was not as advertised.”
Retaliator said, “You think running a superhero team is so easy? Maybe you ought to try it. Her name is Green Triangle, and she claims her superpower is the .”
“Yikes. Is that totally made up, or is she an alien?”
Blue Retaliator said, “How am I supposed to know? Why don’t you just wait and see. If we ignore everyone who sounds incredible, you will be left with a bunch of everyday Blue Retaliators.”
“You sell yourself far too short. We could do worse.”
“Thanks, but as your leader, I am aiming a little higher. I want new members to at least be better than me. Women included.”
The next morning, at his apartment, Blue Retaliator hears his phone going off to a Lady Gaga song. He looks and sees “Mom” on the screen.
“Gordon? This is Mom.”
“You just getting up? I thought you would be in class. When you gonna graduate?”
“I don’t know for sure.”
“Your Dad says you are like some kinda professional student, like we should own one of their buildings by now.”
“Mom, I am not taking that many classes right now, so it can’t be that expensive. Most of my classes are online, so I can do it when I want.”
“Why you not taking much classes? What you doing there? Your brother will be done before you. If you can take classes when you want, you should be taking twice as many classes as your brother. Sounds like you lazy.”
“Mom, I told you. I got a job. Okay? I work security for the Mayor.” The story he told him mother was more true than not. The local Pain Posse members got some financial support from Mrs. Jenkins to fight crime. Later, she became City Manager of Neogothic City.
“What is that security job, like some kinda Mall cop, or Mal-Mart greeter? When your father was your age, he was on boat and barely made it alive. Now look, he is big man at company. Very very big man. Gordon, you gotta do something big in your life. You are smart boy.”
“Okay Mom. I gotta run, Okay?” Retaliator sighed as he realized Thanksgiving was not too far away and the stressful interrogation would begin all over again at the dinner table. Maintaining a secret identity was extremely difficult and unrewarding. He couldn’t drive a car as Blue Retaliator because the license plates might give away his identity. If his enemies found out who he was, his shelf life would be drastically reduced. He missed out on a lot of fun he could be having if he wasn’t so busy and always beaten up. It would be easy to walk away from being the Blue Retaliator. He often wondered to himself if his staunch vigilante idealism was some kind of mental disorder.
Later that day, Retaliator arrived at the coffee shop and Green Triangle was already there. Good sign, he thought. She had a light blue mask and black hair. She stood to greet him and her light blue skin tight uniform, with of course a solid green triangle as the logo, did not conceal much. Retaliator knew that Roid Rage would say that she was hot, and he was showing favoritism, so she better have a good interview.
“Blue Retaliator, it’s an honor to meet you.”
“Likewise, Green Triangle.” They shook hands. Blue Retaliator wondered if anyone ever told his always perfect brother that it was an honor to meet ? Something to remember the next time someone criticizes his lack of civilian accomplishments. “Is it okay if I call you ‘Triangle’?”
“Of course. Green Triangle is actually a . My codename is Alexa.”
Retaliator said, “I liked your online profile. I really didn’t totally understand it all though. Would you please explain your powers?”
“Sure. I am fully trained in the Discipline of the Creativity Triangle. I have passed all of the examinations of the Academy. This means I can empathically assess the intentions and motivations of others, and quickly come up with a tactic to mentally disarming them.”
“So you can you predict what they will do?”
“Does it help you in a street fight?”
“I’ve never been in a street fight.”
Retaliator said, “You have to understand something. We are in street fights all the time. That is where the war with crime is. We can’t bring in the baddies by being nice, you know.”
Triangle said, “My skill is in avoiding the fights and getting them to do things they would not normally do.”
Retaliator thought about how Roid Rage goes headlong into a fight unnecessarily. “We could use a little more of that, for sure, but can you take a punch?”
“No one wants to punch me.”
“Okay. Let’s say that no baddies would want to punch you. How do you stop them from committing a crime?”
“I would have to understand the crime and the person.”
“I have never heard of your Academy. To be honest, it sounds a little unbelievable.” Retaliator was becoming frustrated at what seemed like a circular conversation.
Triangle said, “Retaliator, the Discipline may keep us out of fights, but we are not cowards.”
Retaliator said, “What about weaknesses? Anything about you I should know of?”
“My abilities are sometimes unpredictable and occasionally have unintended consequences.”
“Well, it’s like I said; unpredictable.”
“Fine. Anything else?”
“I do keep seeing this same space warrior person. I have seen him my entire life every couple of years. I suppose I am about due to see him again. People say it is a ghost, or I am not sane. I am not insane and I really do see him.”
Retaliator had a long pause. “Triangle, I can tell you are a very nice person. Unfortunately, I can’t see you being in the Pain Posse.”
A waitress came to the table, “Would you like to order now?”
Retaliator said, “No thank you, I was just leaving. Nice to meet you Triangle, I have your contact information.”
They stood and shook hands.
Triangle said, “Again, it was an honor to meet you, and thank you for your time. I know you will always make the right choice.” Then she handed the waitress some money. “Here is a tip for the use of your table.”
After Retaliator left, he couldn’t help but admire the way Triangle made everyone around her feel better about themselves in some way. Did she somehow exert some psionic influence over him? Maybe there was some substance to this “Discipline” of hers.
It wasn’t very long after the interview that Roid Rage called Retaliator to find out about the outcome of the interview.
Roid Rage asked, “What did you think.”
Retaliator said, “She’s kind of not good enough, and a little creepy in her own way.”
“Is she hot?”
“So-so. I could take her or leave her.”
“You’d take her.”
Roid Rage said, “The real question is, would take her?”
“I could see you two being a couple.”
“Her personality isn’t much. But none of that matters. I turned her down.”
Roid Rage said, “Maybe we need to be a little more aggressive in recruiting. Have you thought much about it?”
“You know what? I would much rather lounge around here and brood about the meaning of life and good versus evil, but I can’t seem to get past getting my studies done, or getting the laundry done, or whatever.”
“No, I get it. I just wondered.”
Meanwhile, at the Neogothic City Mal-Mart, a most unusual customer came through the door. Neogothic City was used to seeing all sorts of Superheroes and Supervillains, with their mutations and strange behavior. But this man was about as tall a Roid Rage and wore some heavy body armor. The suit had angular armor with various modules attached to it. The pale white face of the man inside could be seen looking out of the walking tank. The lines in the man’s face looked as if he had been through a lot and his age was unknowable. The composite material suit had a real-time automatic chameleon color and pattern changing camouflage scheme. Whatever he stood next to for more than a couple of seconds he started looking like it.
The well-past-retirement-aged Greeter told him, “Welcome to Mal-Mart.”
“My name is Xorgron. I am from the Historical Management Agency.”
“You mean the Neogothic County Museum?”
“No. I do not mean that. I am here to gather information about your time period.”
The greeter laughed. “We don’t have that here. We do have a lot of stuff made in China though.”
“Do you have any food suitable for human consumption?”
“All kinds of it. The whole left-hand side of the store.”
“Good.” Xorgron clomped through the grocery aisles as customers moved out of his way. “How nauseating it is at the thought of people eating this vile offering. This is a place for barbarians to feed.” He spent a considerable amount of time reading the labels of products and shaking his head. He was amazed to see fresh fish and various shellfish available. Finally, he settled on an apple and started eating it while in the produce section.
A clerk approached Xorgron and said, “Sir, you have to pay for that at the checkout.”
Xorgron said, “Pay for eating this? Really? You would begrudge a fellow human an apple? I should make you pay for daring to speak to me. And I don’t need a checkout. I already checked this fruit out with a full scan. It is fine.”
The clerk said, “You trying to be funny? We will prosecute you for shoplifting.”
“Lift a shop? If I picked up this entire shop, it would undoubtedly crumble. I have no such intention.”
“Again,” the clerk said, “I’m serious.”
Xorgron asked, “Are you threatening me?”
“Yes sir, I am.”
Xorgron raised his arm and blasted the clerk with a blue ray from a lens attached to his arm. The bloody remains of the clerk were scattered about the produce section. Customers were screaming in horror at the ghastly scene. Xorgron picked up a whole box of apples and proceeded to the front of the store. He did not go to the checkouts, he went right by the greeter and was heading out the door.
The greeter yelled back at him, “Sir, may I see your receipt?”
Xorgron turned and said, “A man back there threatened me. I found it necessary to defend myself. Do not make the same mistake.”
The greeter said, “I’m a veteran and if you don’t show me your receipt, I’m going to call the police.”
Xorgron blasted the greeter and proceeded out of the store. The greeter’s remains collapsed into a smoldering heap on the floor.
Mal-Mart security called the NCPD. But Mitch, the security manager, was a personal acquaintance of the Blue Retaliator. There were other notable metahuman confrontations at Mal-Mart in the recent past, so he thought it might be prudent to give the superhero contact a call.
Retaliator was trying to sleep off his terrible night when Mitch called.
“Hi Mitch,” Retaliator said.
“You better come out here. This war-robot-guy was here and killed a couple of our people while he stole some apples. I’m pretty sure the Police will not be able to handle him. We need your team.”
“Apples? I’m pretty tired. There’s just the two of us, you know.”
Mitch said, “Maybe you can bring one of those space rifles with you.”
“Those Plasfusion rifles can easily blow up, Mitch. I’m not using them ever again.”
“All I know is this alien, or whatever, is roaming around causing mayhem. If this doesn’t call for a superhero, then I don’t know what does.”
“Okay Mitch, what if I bring a Plasfusion rifle to use on him?”
“I gotta go. My store is like some kind of shop of horrors right now.” Mitch hung up the phone.
Retaliator hurt so bad he could barely put on his uniform and blue hood. He dug deep down to find the energy to run down to the bus stop for a ride to City Hall.
A NCPD squad car pulled up beside Xorgron who was running about forty miles per hour down the street. The officer on the passenger side pulled out a shotgun and blasted Xorgron a couple of times at no effect. A rack elevated from Xorgron’s back and a small rocket unfolded. The rocket immediately launched at the squad car. The Police car exploded, killing the officers inside. The car continued rolling down the road like a chariot of fire. Then the unguided car swerved into an oncoming traffic, causing a chain collision of numerous vehicles. Some of those vehicles also caught on fire. After that menacing confrontation, Xorgron immediately blasted two more police cruisers. Then he ran up the ramp to a parking garage and snapped off the gate.
Blue Retaliator arrived at City Hall and was immediately attached by Chief Evans to one of four SWAT teams.
Retaliator was given a communication headset. The SWAT team included a fire team with one of the rare Plasfusion rifles. The SWAT vehicles stopped in front of the parking garage. The Plasfusion fire team was in tactical formation and went into the garage as Retaliator followed. The other SWAT members took tactical positions.
The SWAT sergeant spotted Xorgron running up a ramp. He pointed and tapped the Plasfusion armed SWAT member on top of the helmet. The Plasfusion blast was a direct hit upon Xorgron. The shooter maintained a steady continuous beam at Xorgron, even though this type of shooting often results in the weapon exploding. Unlike anything they had ever seen, the rifle did no damage to Xorgron’s armor. Xorgron turned and fired his wrist blaster at the rifleman, resulting in his gruesome dismemberment.
Retaliator stood in amazement that the Plasfusion beam didn’t go completely through Xorgron and a car or two behind him. “You gotta be kidding!” Blue Retaliator said. “There is no way on this Earth we can ever beat this guy! We might as well call in the Air Force now. What can we do?! We gotta stop him from attacking us. Maybe we should try to talk . . .” He pulled out his phone.
The SWAT Commander called Retaliator. “Retaliator, report.”
“Not good, Commander. We are dealing with some sort of alien technology here. I’m calling for backup. Everyone sit tight. Don’t do anything.” Retaliator made his call and waited patiently for about twenty minutes.
Triangle came out of a police squad car and greeted Retaliator.
Retaliator said, “I’ve had awhile to think about putting you on the team. Let’s see how this situation turns out and maybe we can work something out.”
Green Triangle smiled. Then she turned serious. “What is the situation, Sir?”
“I’m not gonna lie. We have an invulnerable alien super-tech mass killer inside the Parking garage. Wanna try and work your magic, or whatever it is?” Then he spoke to his headset. “Commander, under no circumstances do we want Roid Rage to come into this parking garage.”
Green Triangle casually walked up the ramp.
“Get down!” Retaliator shouted.
“I don’t operate like that.”
“Don’t come complaining to me if you’re dead.”
“I’ll keep that in my thought processes.”
Triangle continued to walk up floor after floor until they arrived at the top. They looked around and saw Xorgron in the far corner.
Xorgron said, “Let me caution you about coming too close. I have a job to do and I’m going to do it. I won’t hesitate to cull more of your careless people.”
Triangle told Retaliator. “Stay here,” but he followed a few steps behind.
She walked closer and closer to Xorgron. “You’re the one,” she said.
“What do you mean?”
“You are the one I keep seeing over and over, every couple of years or so.”
“I think you are mistaken.”
“I am not mistaken in the least. Are you an alien?”
“No. Then evidently I am from your future.”
“The future? Why are you here?”
“I am from the Historical Management Agency. We are looking for ways to change the final outcome of Mankind.”
“So you are a time traveler?”
“Your understanding of time and space is so backwards. You have no concept of what it would take to fly to even the nearest solar system, nor the mechanisms involved in altered time presence. No one ‘travels’ in time. Time is an irrelevant mindset of ancient Earthlings. It appears that meeting our Creator is unavoidable. So is it your purpose here to threaten me like the others?”
“I have no reason to threaten you, do I? It appears that your time jumping has brought you into a situation that you cannot handle properly. Don’t you think that it would be best if everyone remained in their own time period?”
Xorgron looked deep into Triangle’s eyes. “We will never give up on reverse management of our timestream. But I have to say, in all the time periods I have audited, I have never met anyone like you. I sense that you are beyond intelligent, wholly truthful, and totally fearless. You are an enigma . . . a visually pleasing one indeed.”
Retaliator said, “That’s so hot.”
Xorgron said to Triangle, “Would you like to come back to my time period?”
“Yes, more than anything. But it would be disruptive for both time periods, don’t you think? If every time we meet there is misunderstanding and extreme violence. We will all lose. If you destroy us, you destroy your own past and void the future. If we destroy you, we destroy our own future.”
Just then Roid Rage came charging from behind some cars at Xorgron. He was on a kamikaze collision course that would take them both off of the top the parking garage plunging a hundred feet below.
Triangle raised the palm of her hand toward Roid Rage and said, “Stop.”
Roid Rage immediately stopped his momentum in a couple of steps and his eyes were fixed upon her.
Retaliator raised his eyebrows and said, “How many miracles can happen in one day?”
Triangle looked at Xorgron. “As I said, we have met many times before.”
Xorgron said, “Clearly, I know you speak the truth. But what you saw was in your past, those memories you have of me now in your past will be my actions in my future, which I am certain will not change, even though I know about them.”
“Now I understand,” Triangle said. “I also understand that I am failing in the present to convince you to stay in your own time.”
Xorgron said, “Perhaps the History Management Agency should spend less resources on preventing what went wrong in the past, and work more toward encouraging the most positive elements, such as yourself.”
Then Xorgron vanished without a trace.
“What?!” Roid Rage said. “No way! I did not just see that!”
Afterwards, in a meeting room at City Hall, Mayor Henderson, Chief Evans, and City Manager Jenkins offered their congratulations to the Pain Posse for the way the Xorgron matter was resolved. But it was unclear how much of the Posse story each of the officials truly believed.
Afterwards, Retaliator asked Triangle. “How did you know that Xorgron would not attack you?”
“I didn’t. I told you I was not a coward. Quite to the contrary, boldness is one of the prime traits of the Triangle Discipline.”
Retaliator said, “If you would still like to, we would like to have you join the Posse. Maybe you can teach us more about the Triangle.”
Triangle smiled. “I accept. And maybe you can teach me the skill of street fighting.”
As they walked out of the parking garage, Retaliator asked Triangle, “Do you think you could convince K-Tron and Purple Harold to move to Neogothic City and become regular members?”
“Maybe. I don’t know them or their situation. And I can’t and won’t tell them anything that is intellectually dishonest to get them to act in a way that we want.”
Retaliator’s phone rang with the Lady Gaga ringtone. “Crap. It’s my Mom. I gotta take this.” He took a deep breath and said, “Hi Mom.”
Check out these other publications by . Many are FREE downloads. Some are in the same UU Superhero Universe.
is a unique free online action figure webcomic. Action Figures try to understand the alien menace and battle against them in this series. Its entertainment on a small scale.
is the first book in the Unbelievable Universe series, full of Action-Packed humor.
is the epic humorous tale set in the Unbelievable Universe.
It’s the origin of , a short story set in Neogothic City in the Unbelievable Universe.
Check out the entire collection of the short stories, books and articles by .