by Martin Maenza
“Aaa-aaa-aaah!” a blonde woman screamed. Her bountiful bosom, covered in the top portion of a leopard skin print two-piece bikini, bounced up and down as she ran from the water.
“Candy! What is it?” a well-built male in blue bathing trunks asked as he sat up.
“Tommy! I saw a shark!”
Others were rushing in from the waves, and word of the sighting spread like wildfire across the tourists and beachcombers. Folks were scampering about the white sands, gathering their stuff and counting their kids. There were many raised voices and concerned cries as the air was filled with tension. One word was repeated over and over:
Tito Makani, a heavyset native of the islands, bobbed up and down on his surfboard in the waves. “What are those crazy shoobies up to?” he wondered to himself as he saw everyone scurrying about the beach.
Suddenly, something brushed up against his left foot underneath the water. Tito peered over the side of his long board while keeping his weight mostly to the center. He saw nothing near him, but then his eyes caught sight of something approaching.
A big black fin protruding out the surface of the water. His eyes grew wider as the first fin was joined by another, and then another.
“Aaa-aaaiggghh!” Tito squealed as he started to paddle his board with his hands and feet. “Sharks!”
The heavyset Hawaiian started to move, trying in vain to intercept a decent wave, hoping to catch one that would propel him to the shore faster than the shark’s could bear down on him. As he paddled, he kept glancing back to see where the predators of the ocean were.
The fins were closing in fast.
Tito did a quick count in his head. Only two. Where was the third?
He glanced forward just in time to see something burst up through the surface of the water in his path. A large mouth full of a number of rows of razor-sharp teeth appeared, awaiting the flesh meal to fall right into it.
“Aaa-aaaiggghh!” Tito cried again, unable to avert his course in time.
“Not today!” a voice boomed as a large metal fist from above slammed into the back of the shark’s head. The creature fell into the waves. The hand then reached down and grabbed Tito by the arm.
“Wha’–?!” the black-haired man cried out.
“We’ve got you!” the same voice boomed from above. Tito felt himself being pulled into the air quickly by a bluish figure that resembled a human, and the man was hoisted up on to a floating circular saucer.
The rescue was just in time, too, as the other sharks chopped down on the long board, snapping it in two. “Oh, man! I spent all day waxing that!”
“I got him, Tin! Let’s move!” the rescuer said.
“R-r-right, Iron!” the smaller robot said as he piloted the craft back toward shore.
On the beach, the rest of the Metal Men were trying to control the crowd. Gold had fashioned one of his hands into a megaphone and was addressing the people. “Calmly, people, calmly!” he said, his voice amplified. “Make your way from the water in a quiet, orderly fashion!”
Mercury shook his foot in the air. “Yuck! I hate sand! It’ll take days to get this out of my cracks!”
“Look… uh… on the bright side,” Lead said. “We… uh… don’t sunburn.”
Mercury glared at his dimwitted colleague.
“Well, one of us already looks like he’s sunburned,” Platinum giggled.
Mercury glared at her, too, a wisp of steam rising off his forehead as his internal temperature started to rise.
“My baby!” a woman cried out nearby. “Where’s my boy?” She was in her early forties and somewhat heavyset, wearing a gaudy green and yellow one-piece bathing suit and a floppy hat.
Platinum rushed over to her. “Calm down, ma’am,” she said, putting her arm about the woman’s shoulders and gently patting. “Where did you last see him?”
“He was building sand castles while I napped!” the woman said in a fluster. “When I heard the screams, I looked up but couldn’t see Billy anywhere! You have to find him!”
“We will!” Platinum promised. Quickly getting a description, she then turned to Lead and Mercury. “Guys, let’s do this!”
The robots split up and began to search feverishly. “Lost kid patrol,” Mercury grumbled to himself. “How demeaning.”
Lead trudged up the beach that was getting vacated by the minute. He excused himself as he passed the fleeing people. “Uh… sorry. Pardon… me. Thanks.” He then noticed a boy matching the mother’s description by the water’s edge.
He plodded up to him. “Are you… uh… named Billy?” the robot asked.
The brown-haired boy turned and looked up at the large figure. Lead’s broad smile and non-threatening manner let the child know instantly things were all right. “Yeah,” the five-year-old said softly.
“Your mother… uh… is lookin’ for… you.”
“I was just lookin’ out there,” Billy said, pointing outward.
Lead turned to where the child’s finger indicated. On the horizon, he could see a wave growing larger and larger as it approached. “Uh… oh!” the robot said. Scooping up the boy in his arms, he started to trudge off. “Gotta… uh… tell the others!”
“Okay, everybody!” Gold shouted. “Get ready!”
Lead and Iron had expanded themselves as large as they could while still keeping a sufficient thickness. They also interlocked their bodies together, Lead’s left side to Iron’s right. In doing so, they formed a rather impressive barricade a few feet off the shoreline. Platinum and Tin had formed themselves into two support pillars, bracing themselves behind their two larger teammates. Their feet dug into the sand, establishing footholds.
“I h-h-hope this w-w-works,” Tin stuttered.
“It will!” Platinum said firmly, as she always had confidence in Gold’s plans. She shifted slightly. “Hey, Mercury! How’s about some more footing here?”
The red-skinned robot had formed himself into a miniature steam shovel, scooping up dirt in the bucket formed by his hands and dumping it where his fellow robots needed. “I’m coming! I’m coming!” Mercury grumbled. “Sheesh! You’re sure getting bossy as time goes by!” He flung a load in their direction.
“H-h-hey!” Tin exclaimed.
“Mercury! Cut it out!” Platinum spat out the sand that hit her pretty face.
“Enough!” Gold shouted. “Get ready now! Here it comes!”
Gold and the others turned toward the ocean as a rumbling like a dozen freight trains filled the air. A large wave of water was rolling toward the shore, a surfer’s dream and a weatherman’s nightmare. The wave was easily a tsunami-class tidal wave, barreling down upon the Hawaiian beach. No meteorological charts had predicted it. It was as if it had appeared out of nowhere.
Luckily, the Metal Men were on the scene, and they positioned their robot-made break-wall directly in its path in order to minimize the destruction. As the seconds ticked away, they waited in anticipation for the crashing blow.
Gold blinked as he thought he saw something near the crest of the wave. He formed his hands into a makeshift set of binoculars to get a better look. The sun glinted in his optical sensors for a moment, then cleared. What he saw surprised him.
“A man!” Gold cried out.
“What?” Mercury squawked. “Where?”
“Atop the wave!” Gold cried out. “He looks familiar! Purple costume, golden helmet, an insignia on his chest!” He pulled the binoculars way from his face. “I’ve got it! That’s the Ocean Master!”
“W-w-who?” Tin stuttered.
Gold and Mercury fell back as the giant wave crashed down upon the shore.
As the excess water started to rush back, the costumed criminal landed on the wet sand. His boots made a slooshing sound as they landed firmly. “Nothing like a little ‘anger inducer’ to prod the local sharks to get the troublemakers out of the water and off the beach,” he chortled as he indicated one device on his belt. “Then, a little ‘consolidated wave’ to shake things up a bit.” The beach was indeed a shambles after the wave had hit.
“Now to locate my prize!” Ocean Master said.
“The only prize you’re getting is a booby prize!” a voice called out.
Ocean Master turned around to see a shiny gold figure pulling himself out of the sand. “I don’t know who you are,” the villain sneered, “but you’re in for quite a shock if you think you can mess with me!” The purple-costumed man lunged forward, his right hand flying forward in a punch.
“I don’t think so!” Gold said confidently, catching the man’s gauntlet-covered wrist in his own grasp.
“Want to bet?” Ocean Master said, grinning. Suddenly, a burst of electricity shot through the metal gauntlet and into the one who opposed him. “Let’s see how you like that, mister!”
Gold’s body went rigid for a moment as the electric current traversed through him, and then he shook back and forth. Ocean Master cackled.
“Big deal!” another voice called from behind the villain. Ocean Master turned to see another being, this one colored red, emerging from the sand. He looked like the other but had a different face and form. “Don’t you know that Gold conducts electricity? It won’t keep him stunned for long!”
Ocean Master growled. “What is this — a convention of weirdos?” He then glanced at the new threat and noticed something shiny near its left foot. “Wait! Don’t move! The artifact!”
Mercury glanced down and realized his foot was on something. He thought it a shell. “This?” he asked, picking up a gemstone slightly smaller than a fist.
“Give it here!” Ocean Master demanded, releasing his attack on Gold. “And careful! You have no idea how much power that possesses!”
“Really?” Mercury scoffed, eyeing the item. “Looks like some melted-down beer bottle to me!”
“‘Melted down’…?” Ocean Master fumed. “I’ll melt you down!” He moved his hand to the side of his helmet. “The latest addition to my weaponry will deal with you!” The eye pieces of the helmet began to glow red, and then beams shot forth. “Taste my ‘laser lens,’ freak!”
The blasts hit Mercury square on. He could feel them pierce through his shell, causing his internals to boil. “Hey!” he squawked. “No fair making me hot under the collar!”
“Then turn over the artifact, freak!”
“Hey!” another voice boomed from the water’s edge. “No one calls Mercury a ‘freak’ but us!”
Ocean Master spun around to see four more odd figures, two large, one smaller, and one female. “What is this? My intricate plan did not call for interfering parties!” He lunged for Mercury and the artifact.
“Plans change, buster!” Mercury said, tossing the jewel into the air.
“Hey!” Ocean Master yelled, grasping at the air but failing to touch the object that flew over his head.
“Oh n-n-no!” Tin cried as he realized Mercury’s pass was heading straight for him.
“I’ve got it!” Platinum said, forming a curved sloop with body. The artifact hit one end of the slide and slid out the other end. “Head’s up!”
“No! Give that back!”
Iron stretched out his hand. “No way!” the robot said, catching the item in his hand. He immediately created a solid box about it with his two hands.
“Give it back!” Ocean Master pleaded, pounding on the robot’s metal hide. “I worked hard to locate that missing ancient item of power, so it belongs to me!” He ignored the pain as he continued to thud against Iron.
“Item of power, huh?” Iron said. “Well if you want it badly enough to send sharks and tidal waves on innocent people, there’s no way you’re getting it!” Suddenly, his hands ground together like a trash compactor. A slight sklitch sound could be heard as the gem was shattered. “Oops.” But the look on Iron’s face indicated it was hardly an accident.
“Fools!” Ocean Master cried out. “How could you?”
“Easy!” said Gold, who had recovered. “Just as easy as this!” With a well-thrown punch to the jaw, the robot knocked Ocean Master across the beach. The villain hit the sand with a thud and slipped into unconsciousness.
The others regrouped around the defeated villain. “All’s well… uh… that ends… well,” Lead said.
“We saved the day and stopped the villain,” Gold concurred. “Great job, everyone.”
Suddenly, a voice called out. “Gold! Iron! Lead! Tin! Platinum! Mercury!” Doc Magnus appeared over the edge of the dune, dressed now in the beach attire but not looking very amused.
“U-u-uh-oh,” Tin said.
“Relax,” Platinum said. “After all this, sightseeing with Doc will be a breeze!” The robots all laughed.