by Kadorienne

Kryptonite, Part I

Where superheroes arise, supervillains also spring up. And being captured by them is the inevitable consequence of being loved by those who don capes and tights and defy the limitations of humankind.

"Good evening, my English friend," the villain says when the skylight shatters in a rain of gleaming fragments and the red-clad hero descends, cape streaming above him. He's been rehearsing those words for weeks.

"It's a trap! Get out of here!" the Major insists, straining angrily against the ropes that hold him.

Eroica's sky-colored eyes take in his adversary's ensemble with disdain. "You and Ming the Merciless must share the same designer."

"But not the same jeweler." With a flourish, the villain casts aside his voluminous black cloak, revealing a suit studded with dozens of emeralds. Eroica staggers back, his hands raised as if to ward them off. The villain yanks a silk bellpull and all over the room panels open, revealing emeralds by the hundreds. A grill also studded with the gems slams over the broken skylight. "Your one weakness, Eroica!"

"No! Not emeralds!" Eroica doubles over, clutching his stomach. "Not the... only substance... I'm still vulnerable to!"

"It took twenty heists to acquire enough of them to build a trap for you. You will find that the floor is lined with them as well. Your powers are no match for my strategy, Eroica!"

Eroica is shaking. The Major looks on, furious at his own helplessness. The villain laughs, deeply and loudly.

After a long moment, Eroica straightens, still shaking... with laughter of his own.

The villain freezes. "But... you can't... the emeralds...."

"I can't believe anyone actually bought that story." Eroica smiles, striking a dashing pose. "I spread the rumor myself."

The would-be archvillain is on the verge of apoplexy. Eroica saves his life by knocking him unconscious.

"Nice of you to try to warn me, darling," he says as he snaps the Major's ropes. The Major doesn't look too far from apoplexy himself.

"So - the emeralds - it isn't true? They don't hurt you? At all?"

"Not a bit of it. May I give you a lift anywhere? Flying without an airplane is quite a rush."

"Absolutely not." The Major stands up, brushing the bits of rope off like an offended cat licking down his mussed fur.

"As you wish." Eroica poises to take flight again, but stops. Moving too quickly for the eye to see, he zips over to the Major and tears his shirt open, the buttons popping all over the place. Then he zips away again, regarding the necklace overlying the white cotton undershirt with amusement.

"As I've always said, emeralds are very becoming to brunets."

Disgusted, the Major yanks the necklace off and tosses it aside.

While Eroica is tearing the grill off the skylight, the Major speaks up.

"Do you have a weakness? Or was it a complete lie?"

"You've caught me. My real weakness is rubies."

The Major does not appear impressed.

Eroica's eyes twinkle. "Oh, I have a weakness, all right. But you already know what it is."

Dress Code

Long before the meteor shower, everyone in the world had known how superheroes dressed. The skintight costumes and flowing capes had taken root in the collective consciousness as symbols of superhuman powers decades before anybody had any.

Accordingly, when one day people found that they could fly, outrun a speeding bullet, leap a tall building in a single bound, or lift locomotives, they donned tights and spandex as a matter of course.

Whenever they teamed up with Fabulousman, he made no effort to hide his appreciation of the traditional garb of those with unusual abilities. At least, in the case of the newly powered men.

The world hardly had time to get used to superheroes before it had to accustom itself to superheroes in loosely fitting pants.

The Hall of Heroes

Just over a hundred people across the Earth were hit by the mysterious meteorites, and every one of them is affected differently. And uses their gifts according to their nature.

It is inevitable that some of the nastier ones band together in time, and equally inevitable that the more pleasant ones do the same in response.

Weather Woman ensures a warm sunny day for their first meeting. Eroica is the recipient of many resentful looks from wholesome sorts who think the meteors should have chosen a worthier person to transform into the most powerful being on earth.

There are things he can't do, however. For example, Sapphire Flame's ability to control fire came in awfully handy when they were combating Eve Ville, who had tried to take over the world by making apple trees grow out of control, strangling people and crumbling buildings with rapidly growing branches.

Eroica sidles up to The Telepath before the meeting starts. "I wonder if you would-"

"No," The Telepath replies, and walks away.


"How many times must I tell you, Jamesie? It's still Eroica." Really, couldn't people even tell the difference between an E and an F? Was he going to have to spell his entire name on his chest? It would ruin the effect.

"But my loooooooooooord!" The little accountant waves a sheaf of unsigned contracts. "The papers always call you Fabulousman, and think of the product endorsements!"

Bee Man

Napoleon himself didn't put so many bees on things. There are pictures of bees on the walls, the furniture is upholstered in fabric with little bees on it, the light fixtures are shaped like large brass bees, the armoire had probably been bought only because there were bees carved in the door. Apparently bee curtains hadn't been available, but the curtains were black-and-yellow striped.

Eroica wasn't sure why the henchmen were dressed as caterpillars. Possibly their boss was simply confused.

"Before I take you to prison, Bee Man, I just want to know one thing."

Bee Man glares at his archnemesis from the ground. "What?"

"Did you ever consider investing more of your funds into weapons to use against me and less into maintaining your bee motif?"


For a moment Eroica thought the man was another aspiring Evil Overlord, and was bracing himself to fend off an assault. One came, but it was verbal.

"As the most famous homosexual on earth, don't you think you have a responsibility to counteract the image of gay men as effeminate show-offs?" the stranger demanded, all but quivering with righteous indignation.

Eroica sighed. "In ten years you're going to be telling this story while explaining to a jury why you built an army of giant robots and sent them to destroy me, aren't you?"

It was a shame how quickly villains became predictable.


Illo by altrntvgrlfrnd

"How many times do I have to tell you not to rescue me, you perverted freak!"

Eroica's soaring flight out of the hideout doesn't pause. "Oh, of course you had everything under control. Just because they had you tied up, locked in a cell and disarmed didn't mean you couldn't escape on your own."

"I don't need your help!" the Major insists, perhaps illogically. "Now get us back down to the fucking ground!"

"In a few minutes. We're still in their territory. I can take you back to Bonn, if you like."

After thinking for a few seconds, the Major grudgingly says, "No, there's a NATO office just beyond the border. I still have work in this area."

"Let me help you."

"No, dammit!"

Eroica spies the building he's been there in the past, before the meteors, when he was still a thief and alights in front of it. He sets the Major down, but keeps ahold of his arm; he isn't finished with the conversation.

"What matters more to you, Major?" he asks seriously. "Doing the job on your own, or keeping another little struggling country free from the Soviets?"

The Major isn't happy, but Eroica is right, the mission does come first. "Come inside and I'll debrief you," he grumbles, heading for the door.