Saturday, September 19, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes Fanfic: "Myriad," Chapters 6 and 7 of 9

Chapter Six

An instant later, Superboy appeared above Legion Headquarters, emerging through the time barrier from the 20th century.  The “teen of steel” – one day destined to become the greatest hero earth would ever know – found he wasn’t alone.  Mon-El and Ultra Boy were also flying toward the citadel.

“What’s going on?”  Superboy asked. “It must be a major threat for the three of us to be summoned together.”

Mon-El nodded grimly. They were the three most powerful Legionnaires. He turned to Ultra Boy.  “We need to know what we're getting into. Jo?"

Ultra Boy, who had the same powers as the other two but could use only one at a time, switched from flight to penetra-vision.  His flight ring would keep him aloft while he scanned inside the inertron walls of the HQ -- an ability not shared by Superboy or Mon’s x-ray vision.  After a moment, Ultra Boy exclaimed, “You won’t believe this.  We’ve been invaded by an army of girls!”

“Girls?”  Superboy said.

“Yes, and ... wait!  There’s more of them than there were a second ago.  They seem to be replicating at will.”

“Carggites?”  Superboy said.

“Sounds like it,” Mon-El replied.  “What are they doing?”

Ultra Boy scanned deeper.  “They’ve overrun much of the HQ, but they seem to be heading in the same general direction,” he said.  Ultra Boy turned off his penetra-vision and faced the other two, his face pale.  “Brainy’s lab!”

“What do you suppose they want?” Superboy said.

“Who knows?” Mon said.  “Brainy was studying the Miracle Machine and Tharok’s robot brain, among other things.  Whatever they’re after,  they've got to be stopped.”

"Let's go in from different angles," Superboy offered, "and round them up."

Mon-El considered this. As Legion leader, it was his call. "No," he decided. "We know where they're headed. What do they say back in the 20th century? 'Let's cut them off at the pass.'"

Flying at super-speed, the three entered Legion HQ, blocking the main path to the laboratory.

But even they were not enough.  Within seconds, they were overrun by Myriads, who managed to defy even their super-strength and invulnerability.

Superboy breathed deep and exhaled, blowing dozens of Myriads down the hallway.  Three dozen more appeared in their place.

Mon-El flew circles around several Myriads, cutting off their oxygen and forcing them to pass out.  But more jumped him and held on as he zig-zagged through the winding corridors.

Ultra Boy switched from super-speed to flash vision to invulnerability as fast as he could.  But he was swamped by legions of young women.  Any other time, he might have enjoyed this (though he would never admit it to Phantom Girl), but this was taxing even his powers.

“They seem to be getting stronger the more they multiply,” he shouted.

“Yes, and the more they replicate, the less rational they seem,” Superboy replied, as he encircled several Myriads in his super-stretchable cape.  “Look at their eyes!”

But Jo didn’t have time to look in their eyes.  It was all he could do to keep pace with the army of young women.  Switching powers back and forth exhausted him.  If he kept this up, he would make a mistake – switch to super-strength when he needed super-speed, perhaps -- and they would have him.  Finally, he decided on a plan: He would switch to invulnerability and let the young women wear themselves out trying to subdue him.  When they were exhausted, he would be refreshed and continue the fight.  

Instead, it turned out to be fateful mistake.  Jo found himself pushed down into a ball-shaped position, as the Myriads huddled over him like players in a moopsball tournament.  There must have been hundreds on top of him, he thought.  He couldn’t move without switching back to super-strength.  But if he did, they would crush him in an instant.  Like it or not, Ultra Boy was out of this fight.

Mon-El held his own, but he was not succeeding at pushing the invaders back.  “Who are you?”  he demanded of one of the invaders.  “What do you want?”

The woman’s lips turned up in a crooked smile.  Her eyes widened into dark pools.  “I want to be more.”

Chapter Seven

“I want to be more,” Brainiac 5 repeated, as he watched the video screen. 

“What does that mean?”  Phantom Girl asked.  She had been summoned to Brainy’s lab to serve as a last line of defense, as had Shrinking Violet and Chameleon Boy.  All three had powers which would enable them to hide quickly and take an attacker by surprise, if need be.  Not that Phantom Girl believed they would do much good against a mass of enemies who could keep Superboy and Mon-El in check.  But if that was Brainy’s plan, she was not about to argue.

“Why would she want to be more?”  Chameleon Boy echoed.  “She can already replicate as many times as she wants.”

“Perhaps,” Brainy said, stroking his chin, “but not without cost.  Observe.”

He pointed to another video screen.  Karate Kid was now in the sub-basement, far removed from Superboy and Mon-El’s fight.  The master of martial arts judo-flipped one Myriad into several others.  They fell and did not replicate further.  “She’s growing tired,” Brainy continued.  “Replicating countless times takes a toll on her.”

“Then what do we do?”  Violet asked.

“We keep it up,” Brainy replied, toggling another signal device.  “We overrun her with our own Legions.”

Within minutes, the call was answered by Legion’s reserve branch, the Legion of Substitute-Heroes: Polar Boy, Night Girl, Color Kid, Chlorophyll Kid, Stone Boy and Fire Lad.  Their powers were not strong enough for the regular Legion, but their valor was unquestioned.  They had overcome their own limitations and assisted the Legion on many occasions.

“Are you nuts, Brainy?”  Chameleon Boy protested, as he watched the Subs wade into the sea of Myriads.  “If our buddies can’t overcome her, what makes you think they can?”

“They don’t have to,” Brainy snapped.  It always bothered him when the other Legionnaires questioned his sanity, as if having a super-intellect went hand in hand with mental defects.  It wasn’t Brainy’s fault if they neither knew nor understood his strategies. 

“I think I see,” Phantom Girl said, as she stepped forward to study the viewscreen.  On it, Chlorophyll Kid had turned the houseplants in the Green Room into an oversized, thorny maze.  The Myriads attacked it with wild abandon, cutting themselves, yet not seeming to care.  It would be only a matter of time before the bloodied replicates reached the startled Sub.  “She’s becoming careless,” Phantom Girl continued.

Brainy nodded.  “Take your places,” he said.  “She will be here in seconds.”

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