by Martin Maenza
“Wings to Team!” the Golden Eagle shouted in his radio. “We have a situation, guys, over!” He swooped down out of the sky toward the halted British motorcade, hoping his friends would arrive soon. From what he saw, he’d have his hands full without them.
A Chinese woman with short black hair had easily stopped the lead limousine. Dressed in a blue tunic, red skirt, red boots, and cape, she had leaped out in front of the vehicle and slammed her fist down hard through the hood. The mighty blow from this super-girl was enough to knock the engine clean through and out the bottom.
A Chinese man in a green tunic and pants with a blaster attached to his left wrist then opened fire on the security men as they attempted to attack the caped woman. The blasts from this emerald gladiator’s weapon were enough to knock the guards back into one another, disarming them.
A second Chinese man in red with a flaming circle pattern on his lapels leaped onto the roof of the second car. His orange gloved hands began to glow as if he were trying to cut through the top of the vehicle to get at the Prime Minister inside.
The Golden Eagle made this one his top priority.
The armored hero dived down fast with his fists out front. “Hey, dude!” he shouted. “I don’t think you should be doing that!” As he moved past the man on the roof, his punch nailed the man squarely in the shoulder. The man fell to the ground, his yellow hat with red flame patterns falling to the ground and revealing his shaved head.
The man in green took aim at the flying hero and fired his blast. As the emerald beam nailed the Golden Eagle, the hero noticed the emblem on the man’s tunic. This dude’s supposed to be like a Green Lantern, he thought as he tried to regain his orientation in the air. If so, then why does his weapon work against my golden armor?
Before he could contemplate the answer to that, the armored hero was nailed in the chest by a huge rock. “Ooof!” he said as he fell to the ground. The Chinese super-girl stood confidently with her hands on her hips.
Then, a third Chinese male raced by him toward the cars. He was bald like the other men, and he wore a costume of red with a lightning bolt on his chest.
“Like, they’re coming out of the woodwork,” the Golden Eagle said. “This is totally unfair!”
“Relax!” said a familiar male voice. “Time for us to even up the odds some!”
The Golden Eagle turned his head to see Hawk, the Herald, and the Bumblebee arrive on the scene.
“OK, gang,” the Herald said. “Pick yourselves a dance partner, and let’s get down to it!” He withdrew a horn weapon from his cloak and raised it to his lips.
“I ain’t against hittin’ a woman,” said Hawk, “so the little lady with the strong arm is mine!” The hero in red and white charged for the Chinese woman in the cape.
The Bumblebee took aim at the speedster with her wrist-blasters. If I can just time this right, she thought as she fired.
Even though she aimed her shots ahead of the man, he moved much quicker than she expected. It’s times like this it would be good to have Wally on our team, the Bumblebee thought. Though she failed to score a hit, the heroine hoped her barrage would keep the man on the offensive and thus away from his intended target.
The Golden Eagle took to the air once more. “I like owe that G.L. wanna-be one,” he said to himself. The man in green fired at the hero, who dodged the blasts left and right. “You caught me off-guard last time, dude. I won’t make that mistake twice!”
The Chinese man trained his blaster on a nearby tree and fired. The emerald blast smashed into the lower portion of the trunk, causing the tree to sway into the flying hero’s path. “Hey!” the Golden Eagle exclaimed.
Hawk leaped at the Chinese woman. “OK, missy, time for you and your super-friends to surrender!” The hero swung his fist at the woman, connecting to her shoulder. He expected the blow to take her out but was surprised when it did not.
She swung at the hero with all her might, knocking him backward. Hawk rubbed his jaw as he rose to his feet. “Hmm,” he said, “I guess you can give as good as you get.” She continued her assault, throwing another punch at him. He quickly caught it with his own gloved fist, stopping her short. “Uh-uh, not this time!”
With her left hand, she grabbed Hawk’s wrist and flipped him over her back. The hero came down on the ground hard.
The Herald watched his teammates struggle with the opposition while he kept the flame-producing Sino-Superman at bay with a sonic wall. Time for a little change in strategy, he thought.
The Herald stepped back and pulled the horn from his lips. “Titans, time to mix it up a bit,” he called out.
He trained his sonic horn on the speedster who had been eluding his wife and began to blow. Let’s see if this guy moves faster than the speed of sound, the Herald thought. His horn created a sonic blast right in the path of the moving man.
The Chinese version of the Flash clasped his hands about his ears, trying to block out the unnerving sound. Not watching where he was running, his foot caught a root, and the man went tumbling uncontrolled across the ground. Score! the Herald congratulated himself.
The Chinese Green Lantern kept firing upon the winged hero and wasn’t watching his back. The Bumblebee was able to sneak up on the man, nailing him from behind with her stinger blasts. “Just as I thought,” she said. “His weapon is only offensive, not defensive. He doesn’t have a protective energy shield like Arisia does.” She continued to fire on the man until the fight was taken out of him.
Golden Eagle swooped down out of the sky and grabbed the red cape of the Chinese super-girl. “Hey, baby!” he said. “How’s about we, like, go for a ride?” He lifted her off the ground by the material and rose up into the air. She wiggled back and forth, trying to reach up and grab the man who had her in tow. “It’s so nice to be, like, totally wanted by a woman.”
In desperation, the woman grabbed for the place on her tunic where the cape was attached and released the material. She dropped toward the ground like a stone.
“Heads up below!” the Golden Eagle shouted in warning.
Hawk wrestled with the Chinese version of Firestorm, trying to avoid his heated touch. He glanced up at his teammate’s call and only had a few moments to react. “Play-time’s over, fire-boy!” Hawk said as he pushed the man away hard. The Chinese man stumbled backward but did not fall.
Meanwhile, Hawk took a few steps back, cocked back his fist, and waited. As the Chinese super-girl was about to hit the ground, he let his fist fly and intersected her path. His punch slammed into the woman, knocking her into a new direction and causing her to slam into her teammate.
“Two with one blow,” Hawk said. “I like that!”
The heroes gathered up the stunned villains and radioed for the police to arrive.
Hawk let his friends handle filing the report while he returned to the van. With the danger passed, he changed back into Hank Hall and climbed inside. “I wonder how Dawn’s making out,” he said, grabbing the radio on the seat. “Predator to Peacekeeper. Predator to Peacekeeper. Come in, Peacekeeper.” There was nothing but static on the other end. “Hmmm. Radio silence. I hope they’re not in any kind of trouble.”
The elevator to the parking deck below the Fairmont Hotel came to a stop, and its doors opened. Two larger Chinese men in trench coats stepped out, one pushing a third Chinese man in a wheelchair.
“We must hurry,” the man in the chair said in his native tongue.
“Not so fast,” said a brown-haired American speaking in the same language. “You’re not goin’ anywhere, Wo Fong.” Jonny Double held out his .37 Magnum pistol. “You’re under arrest.”
“Get him!” Wo Fong ordered. The two men left his side, shedding their trench coats as they went. Both men were bald and wore colorful costumes under their coats. One was dressed in a blue tunic with red pants; the other wore a gray tunic with dark pants. The former had a diamond-like emblem on his chest, while the latter’s insignia was a black oval with a yellow bat-like symbol.
“Back off, boys!” Jonny warned. When they continued to charge him, he opened fire. The one in blue and red dived in the bullets’ path, and the projectiles seemed to ricochet off his costumed chest. “Uh-oh!”
Dawn Granger had been watching from the shadowy sidelines near Jonny’s ’57 Thunderbird. He offered to handle the situation on his own; she agreed if nothing else to allow her to change into her heroic identity if the situation warranted it.
That conclusion came to pass. Uttering the single word “Dove,” the blonde young woman transformed into the platinum-haired, blue-and-white-costumed super-heroine.
“Excuse me, boys,” Dove said as she effortlessly vaulted over a parked Buick. “Is this a private party, or can anybody join in?”
“Her?” Wo Fong glared at the heroine. “She is the one who interfered last night! Kill her!”
The two Sino-Supermen gave a brief nod and proceeded to carry out his instructions. They lunged for her, but she managed to leap away.
“I don’t follow Chinese,” Dove said, “but I think I can tell I’m the new target.”
“Dee, be careful!” Jonny warned. He was torn between helping her out and taking care of Fong. After a moment, he realized what he had to do.
He went for the mastermind.
“The game’s over, Wo Fong!” Jonny Double said.
The man in the wheelchair laughed. “It is over,” he said as he pulled something from inside his coat, “but I am the winner here.” It was a wrist-blaster weapon similar to those some of his agents wore. “You and the girl are no match for my Sino-Supermen.”
“Yeah,” Jonny said, his gun still out. “Looks like a stalemate to me.”
Wo Fong’s blaster went off, knocking the private investigator backward into the side of a van. His gun fell to the ground and bounced under the vehicle. “Wrong, fool,” Fong said. “Wo Fong is not so easy to capture. Your government thought they had me years ago in China, but I managed to kill the NSB agent who had me cornered and escaped. Though that night cost me my legs, it did not stop our operations completely. I used those years to refine the Sino-Supermen program, to create better suits of power to mirror the accursed American heroes.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Jonny Double could see Dove keeping her two attackers busy. Through a combination of acrobatics and agility, she managed to stay two steps ahead of the men. She easily avoided their punches and kicks. He hoped she wouldn’t need his assistance.
He turned back to Fong who was moving closer slowly, one hand on the wheel of his chair while the other was on the blaster.
“If you wanna make your own heroes so badly, why use them to attack other governments?” Jonny asked, hoping to stall for another moment or two.
“Ha-ha!” Wo Fong laughed. “You foolish Americans with your soft lives and materialistic ways. You do not know anything about the way the rest of the world works. Before your western countries were even a thought, my nation was a dynasty with which to be reckoned. You westerners continue to interfere with matters that are not of your concern, and for that you will be brought down.”
With his back still against the vehicle, Jonny had been able to slowly raise up his right foot. He placed the sole gently against the side of the van, getting ready for just the right moment to strike.
As Wo Fong droned on, the man had moved closer and closer. “For the glory of the People’s Republic,” the man said, “I strike at your leaders!”
“Funny thing,” Jonny said softly. “When we’re struck, we tend to strike back!” He pushed off the vehicle with all his might and dived through the air at the man.
The blaster discharged.
“Jonny!” Dove exclaimed as she heard the shot.
The Chinese bat-man lunged at her; the heroine spun to the side and then used his own momentum to propel him forward. At the same instant, the Chinese super-man tried to strike her. Through her quick reflexes, Dove managed to have the second man take out the first with a pile-driver blow meant for her.
The bigger man roared and lunged for her once more. Dove flipped to the left and onto a railing of the stairwell. The super-man charged her again, grabbing with his mighty hands. The heroine flipped over his shoulders with a hand-spring and landed on her right foot. With her left foot, she gave the man a further shove, propelling him over the rail and down to the concrete floor on the next level.
That should buy me the time I need, she thought. Dove turned and was surprised by what she saw.
Jonny Double stood over the prone body of the helpless Wo Fong. The wheelchair had been knocked over and aside in the brief scuffle. “Dee, we can call my friends at the precinct,” the private investigator said. “This case is wrapped up.”
A short time later, after Jonny Double had turned the criminals over to the police, he rejoined the heroine who was now back in her street clothes, sunglasses, and ball cap. “Did you get a hold of your friends, Dee?” he asked.
“I did,” Dawn replied. “Looks like they managed to stop the assassination attempt on the Prime Minister. All’s well that ends well.”
“That’s good to hear,” Jonny said as they started to walk. “Say, how’s about we go get some coffee? I know a great little diner not far from here. It’s the least I can do for all your help back there. I was able to handle Fong easy enough, but those super-goons of his would’a given me a time.”
Dawn smiled. “That’s a nice offer,” she said. “But I’ll have to take a rain check.”
Jonny nodded and reached into his coat pocket. After a moment of digging around, he produced a wrinkled business card. “Well, here’s my number if you ever want to cash that check in,” he said, handing her the card.
The young woman smiled. “Thanks. I will.” They returned to Jonny’s Thunderbird, where he proceeded to give her a lift to the nearest bus stop.