The Brass Man vs Nikola Tesla
Armor: superior (rank 2)
“…And so Tesla aimed the particle beam accelerator towards the Brass Man; violet hues of energy smashed against his armor, heating the metal to near inhuman temperatures. Yet the Brass Man was no mere human. He dove for cover behind two sets of the massive coils. The mad scientist let out a barking howl.
‘It seems even you cannot defeat me, Brass Man,’ Tesla said, ‘I will gain ultimate knowledge.’
‘The only knowledge you will gain is that ultimately you know nothing.’ My Great Great Great Grandfather replied.”
Kevin dramatically extends his arm out as he repeats the memorized line. Stacey drums her trapped fingers against the side chair as Kevin continues despite his audience’s indifference.
“A cloud of steam rushed from behind the two story electrified coil, blinding Tesla, who fired out of sheer rage. Tesla saw a dark figure within the haze and fired the Accelerator towards it, but the Brass Man moved instantly, and the discharge collided with the monstrous coil.’
‘NOOOOOOO’ Tesla screamed, ‘My work!’
The coil let off waves of energy, the laboratory equipment began to fry. As Tesla dropped his weapon in anguish, the Brass Man flew out of the chaos and punched him right in the face. Just as he heaved Tesla onto his back, the self-destruct sequence enacted. The Brass Man shot out like a rocket, leaving a trail of steam and a dramatic explosion in his wake,”
“Whoa whoa whoa,” Stacey interrupts, “what about the kidnappings. Weren’t Edison and Westinghouse’s children still in that laboratory?”
“I’m getting to it,” Kevin replies, “But I assure you, I will shove a sock into your pretty lips if you keep interrupting.”
“Ahem… So, as he landed outside of the secret island fortress he was greeted by a familiar friend. He dropped Tesla to the ground as Victor Beckett approached.
‘Good news,’ the lizard man said in a posh Brit accent, ‘The distraction worked, the hostages were freed. What about Tesla’s death machines?’
They both looked back towards the sobbing scientist on the floor, and my great great great grandfather chuckled, ‘Lets just say his plans for ultimate knowledge were, shortcircuited.’
And then they both had a good laugh.”
“Wait, I’m sorry,” Stacey says. Kevin sighs and rubs the bridge of his nose. He quickly looks around, but is disheartened to find there is nothing around he can stuff in her mouth.
“So I’m a little confused,” she says, “I thought earlier you said he single handedly defeated Tesla; who was the Lizard guy?”
“Well, he defeated him mostly single handedly,” Kevin replies “he had some help from Infinium, that’s where the Lizard guy came in…”
“Oh did I not mention them before? They’re like a secret society that began like a Victorian Age Justice League. Sorry, they’re kind of important, and I guess that whole bit with Frankenstein’s army wouldn’t make sense without them. Okay I’ll start over; in the beginning,”
“NO-NO-NO,” Stacey yells, shaking the chair as she does. She then quickly regains journalistic composure as Kevin stares. Calming down she says, “Really its fine. I don’t need to know who they are. Don’t tell that whole story over again; focus on whatever you want and I’ll just put the rest together on my own. Please,”
“Good; they just hung off great-great-great granddads coattails anyway, and turned out to be traitorous bastards. But I’ll get to that later.”
The Bronze Bullet vs The Red Baron
Flight: standard (rank 1)
“So the Red Baron’s plane was drawing near again, its machine guns pulsing out with violent strokes. The Bonze Bullet dodged as best he could and flew upwards out of range, but the crazed killer stayed locked on his tail. Rounds began to ping and thump against the suit; it couldn’t take much more. What could my Great Great Grandfather do? And then he was struck with a brilliant stroke of Talbot ingenuity,”
Stacey’s eyes roll.
“You don’t have to say ‘stroke’ when you use ‘struck’,” she says, “Its implied by the root word.”
“Well excuse me Mrs. Journalism School, but I like the alliteration and I can tell it however I like, so zip it up!… So, after getting his STROKE of brilliance, the Bronze Bullet banked upwards into the cloud cover. The Red Baron followed, firing into the white mess. The German kept at full speed, refusing to give up the chase. He blasted through the cloud, and on the other side there was nothing. The winds were calm and the skies empty…”
Kevin was at little more than a whisper now. Stacey leans as far forward in the chair as her bonds allow, leaving the chair to squeak and wobble as she comes closer and closer to his face.
“He looked all around, but saw nothing. I can only imagine the fear that was creeping in the Red Baron’s mind. But then, he realized,”
“The Bronze Bullet was on his tail!” Stacey gasps.
The exited utterance goes off right in Kevin’s ear. He stops speaking and an awkward moment passes as Kevin just stares at her. Then,
“Do you want to tell the story?
“Oh, sorry. Zipping it up.”
“You better be,” he says. Kevin shakes his head, “Anyway yes, The Bronze Bullet was on his tail. But not on his tail metaphorically, but on his tail literally. His opponent was standing on the back of his plane. Then the Bullet stomped up to the cockpit, punched through it and grabbed the gerry by his skinny neck and ripped him out.
‘So sorry old chap, it seems your record ends here.’
The plane spiraled to the ground and exploded into fiery tinder. The Bullet and his prisoner of war safely hovered to the earth. He threw the Baron down and with a single punch to the jaw knocked him out cold. Then he flew away towards the battlefield to rescue the trapped trench fighters.”
“He just left him there,” Stacey asks, “he didn’t hand him off to the British, or chain him to a fencepost or anything? Wouldn’t the Baron escape?”
“I’d reprimand you for interrupting again, but that question leads very nicely to the next chapter in the saga, entitled ‘The Bronze Bullet fights the Red Baron, again.”
The Tin Soldier vs The Desert Fox
Berserker: standard (rank 1)
“The Tunisian sands were blistering hot as the Nazi Panzers rolled across them. Shells fired above American positions. The American’s fired back, blasting away at the Germans. Then, flying seemingly out of the sun, a massive dark spot appeared. It plummeted down towards the German line, till crashing like a hammer in front of the lead tank.
My great grandfather stood before the barrel of the armored machine. He ducked beneath the giant gun before it could fire and grabbed a hold of the Panzer with both of his metal claws. Grasping the inner lever of the suit near his palm, he breathed out calmly.
“Time to see what this baby can do.”
He flipped the lever, the new Allied powered engine hummed to life and began to roar. Oppenheimer’s overdrive mode was finally activated. He clutched the twenty-ton tank and heaved it upwards. The engine grew louder and louder, until with a final mighty throw he tossed the war machine back onto the German line.
The battle became a slobber knocker, with the great metal man pounding through tank after tank, rending the Afrikancorps asunder. Then he zoomed back towards the German command and slammed through the roof of the central tent. A single man in high Nazi uniform sat in front of the battle preparations. The man smiled.
‘So, you must be the famous Tin Soldier I’ve been hearing all about?’ he said in fluctuating accented English, “I had heard of your predecessor, Silver Bullet, whilst serving during the Great War. We never met but, it is an honor to meet his sucessor.’
‘And you must be General Rommel,’ Tin Soldier replied, ‘Mr. Patton sends his regards.’
Both men stepped forward, and exchanged hands. They shook like men. Rommel shoves a small envelope into my great-grandfather’s free hand.
‘This is all his movements, his secret bunkers, and retreats. You can get this to your people in the Fatherland?’
‘Yes, General,’ Tin Soldier said, ‘I’m sorry about your tanks, but I had to make this look genuine. Infinium’s man in Berlin can handle the rest. But should we fail, I cannot guarantee your safety; you’re taking a big risk.’
Rommel said nothing and simply nodded. The plan was afoot, the Führer had to be stopped, had to be killed. Unfortunately their plan never got its chance, as Hitler committed suicide before it could be enacted,”
“Wait a minute, Kevin,” Stacey says, “that’s not what happened. The assassination attempt on Hitler did go through, but it failed.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Kevin its common knowledge. The attempt failed and Rommel was forced to commit suicide or be executed. Your great-grandfather must have failed,”
“No!” Kevin says, “That’s not how the story goes! I don’t know what assassination attempt you’re talking about, but he didn’t fail! He didn’t!”
Kevin now looms over the trapped reporter, who uncomfortably squirms beneath the sheets of plastic wrap. She looks up at him sheepishly.
“Ok, ok, … maybe we can take a break or something?”
The Iron Curtain Enforcer vs Jane Fonda
Magnetism: standard (rank 1)
Kevin stands outside his first-floor bathroom, tapping his foot. The echo of a flush comes through the door. Then the sound of a rushing sink. Kevin taps his foot some more. Then Stacey opens the door whilst drying her hands with a towel. Kevin sighs.
“Women... What happened, did you fall in?”
“You’re the one who tied me up for two hours, so you don’t get to complain,” She turns to him, “Speaking of, you gonna tackle me again?”
“No. I would, but I ran out of Saran Wrap the last time. So where did I leave off?”
Stacey walks into the living room and plops down on the couch. The mass of strewn clothes across the floor indicates to her that despite his wealth, Kevin had never once employed a maid. The only thing she could see that seemed to be kept in any sort of order is a shrine of action figures across the mantle. She counted four metallic looking figures in a row, then a gap, then one that still seemed half painted. As Kevin sits on the couch next to her she quickly jumps back into the conversation.
“The Bay of Pigs” she says.
“Ahhhhh, right,” Kevin replies, “Grandpa at the Bay of Pigs. The Iron Curtain Enforcer, the hero of the Cold War,”
“Please,” Stacey says, “From what you’ve told me so far, this guy wasn’t a real hero, Kevin. The others may have been at times pompous and ineffective, but at least they were decent human beings. This guy was just plain shady.”
“My grandfather was a hero and I’m not going to hear anymore about it. So, the rebels were storming the beach. Meanwhile, the Iron Curtain Enforcer flew over the island and slammed through a wall of the Presidential Palace. Cuban guards fired towards him with no effect. He magnetically ripped the guns from their hands, then using a second pulse, sent the weapons over the balcony. Then he tossed the guards over the balcony as well. He heard their screams end quickly, but it was not his concern. The only good communist was a dead communist.
He blasted through a wall, the overdrive suit roaring loudly. In a bedroom decked with Cuban flags, the old bearded general sat chomping a cigar. My grandfather walked forward. He clenched his fist and prepared to eliminate the old man. Castro plucked the cigar from his lips and crushed it in his palm. White, hot lightning zoomed from his fist and blasted the Enforcer against a back wall. The Enforcer grunted in pain.
‘Jane, you bitch.’
Castro’s skin began to morph. His beard rescinded and his figure shrank until my Grandfather’s starlet ex-wife stood in front of him. Even as she glared in disgust there was still some tenderness in her voice.
‘You disgust me Enforcer. Helping these imperialists try an conquer a free country? This isn’t the way of peace, this isn’t what Infinium stands for. You should be ashamed.’
‘I stand by my country,’ Enforcer replied, ‘If America falls, England falls with it. The rest of the world can burn…’
She threw the crumbs of cigar at his face as he recovered from the blast.
‘Castro isn’t here,’ She said, ‘you and your little black ops psychopaths will never endanger world peace again, as long as Infinium can stop you. By the way we’re officially kicking you out. And you might want to think of an escape route before more Cubans come.”
And then with a flash, she was gone, and in my opinion Hanoi Jane can keep her crummy commie-coddling consortium, thank very much…”
That empty spot on the mantle
Super Speed: standard (rank 1)
“Then the Berlin wall fell, and the Iron Curtain Enforcer soon retired. So then that only leaves me” Kevin says, “The unwritten chapter of the Talbot saga. I will bring our great family name back to prominence; I, Kevin Ruster will become,”
“Wait a minute,” Stacey says, “The Berlin Wall fell in 1989.”
“Yes. Your point?”
“That leaves a 23 year gap. Did your family just decide to skip the adventuring and take the next two decades off? And if you’re a direct descendant of the ‘Talbot’ family, then why is your last name ‘Ruster’.”
“Ughhh,” Kevin moans, “Look those years aren’t important. The suit has to be handed down from father to son, or son-in-law, just like great-great-great grandpa Axel did. My grandfather had no sons, so until me, the last few years weren’t official. They don’t count, so I won’t bother telling them. Anyway, I will soon become,”
“OH MY GOD!” Stacey blurts, “I know what happened; The Furious Ferric Ferret! She must have been your mother!”
Kevin’s hands tighten into fists and he mutters beneath his breath. Stacey hops off the couch, dashes into the hall, and grabs a tape recorder from her purse. She presses down on the record button, pounces back to the couch, and shoves the device directly into his face. Kevin just stares at it.
“Wait a tic, you had that the whole time and your only pulling it out now?”
“Of course,” she replies, “I’m a journalist, I carry it everywhere in case I catch an important story. So tell me about your mother? What was she like? Did you ever see her fight? Did she ever tell you what happened at Kosovo? Why did she disappear for a year after the Challenger rescue?”
Kevin pushes the recorder away.
“Wouldn’t you rather hear about the others, or about what I’m going to do?”
“What, are you kidding me, the Ferret is a legend,” Stacey says, “Out of all of them she was the only ‘hero’ in this story I’ve actually heard about. Hell, in 5th grade I bought a Ferric Ferret lunchbox. Do you remember the song she had?”
Kevin scratches his head and looks up and away, “I really can’t recall any,”
“OH she’s as fast as a ferret,
and her fists are ferric,
She’s got fury enough to share it,
And the villains will be hysteric,”
Stacey keeps on singing and Kevin glares at the floor. His lips curl into a grimace as she finishes the song.
“Here comes, the figh-ting Ferret! …. Man. I’ll admit the third line’s a bit long, but you got to credit them for finding words that rhyme with ferric. I can’t believe you’re related to her and you didn’t mention it, hell you told me everything else. I mean she is your mother right and not an aunt or something?”
“I don’t want to talk about it!”
Kevin explodes out of his seat. Stacey says nothing; Kevin begins to pace the floor.
“I don’t know what she did back then, and I don’t care,” he says, “And you know what, it wasn’t her place to take the suit, she shouldn’t have tried doing his job, so as far as I’m concerned, she didn’t count. So just stop asking!”
Another awkward silence emerges. Kevin stares at the wall. But it isn’t long before Stacey interrupts again.
“I’m guessing your dad left when you were what, five, six?”
Kevin looks away and slumps back down into the couch.
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“You’re right it has nothing to do with anything,” she says, “A missing father, a working single mother, I’m guessing not a lot of attention at home, way too much money and a delinquent personality. Nothing at all. You know at first I just thought you were just a chauvinistic ass, but now I realize you’re a chauvinistic ass with Mommy issues.”
Kevin doesn’t respond, but instead rises off the couch and heads towards a screen door. He swings it open and turns back to the reporter.
“Well come on,” he says, “do you want to see this thing or not?”
Kevin vs. Stacey
Invisibility: standard (rank 1)
She stares at the suit. It was definitely the Ferrous Ferret, she could tell by the ears. But something was off. The coloring was smudgy. It lacked the clear silver sheen she remembered seeing when she watched footage of the Silicon Valley battle. She turns to Kevin.
“What did you do to the suit? Its skin is all blotchy.”
“That is the Pièce de résistance my dear. Behold!”
Kevin presses a button on his garage door clicker. There is a slight sucking noise like a mouse just went up a vacuum hose. Stacey looks back towards the suit, but cannot find it. She begins to circle the space and sees a transparent outline of a super-suit still standing in the garage.
“Way,” Kevin says, “very way.”
“How’d you manage to pull this off?”
“Hmmm, oh,” he points to a giant metal wing sitting at the other end of the shop, “I cannibalized that. Its got super-classified stealth skin technology, or well, at least it had some before I got to it.”
Stacey turns to the wing. Staring briefly, she then rubs her eyes and breathes out hesitation.
“Is that a U.S. drone?”
“Yep,” Kevin replies still enamored by his invisible creation, “It’s the one that crashed in Iran last year. Had a bit of a bidding war with the Chinese, but I finally outfoxed the red devils—”
Stacey takes a deep breath,
“You idiot!” she yells, “Do you have any idea how many international laws you’ve broken? This is super-secret military hardware, if they catch you with it they WILL kill you.”
Kevin struts away from his creation and places a hand on her shoulder.
“The first of two points is, if they wanted to keep it secret they probably shouldn’t be crashing it in other people’s countries. The second point is that they won’t catch me because A, that’s the entire point of invisibility, and B, no one’s going to tell them. Especially not a good natured reporter who knows the great good a hero billionaire can do with it, isn’t that right Mrs.Grey?... Stacey?”
He looks her straight in the eye. She slowly looks back towards him, and reluctantly smiles.
“I want five thousand dollars a month for the rest of my life, or I expose you as a war criminal on the nightly news.”
“Can do,” Kevin says.
Mrs. Grey exits Kevin’s garage and begins walking through the front yard. Kevin follows after her.
“So check, cash, diamonds, whatever….I’ll just send cash then… Umm, oh, did I ever tell you what the jet fuel and thermite was for? It’s great you see,”
“Don’t care.” Stacey says.
“Ok, but just make sure you don’t tell anyone my secret. I need to preserve my identity… But as a reporter if you feel I’m ever doing newsworthy things feel free to cover it. In fact we could even do interviews where I remain incognito, you know, to give the public a side of Quick Silver they don’t see. That’s the working name I’m thinking of, Quick-Silver, or possibly Platinum Black; do you think one of those will catch? Do you preference? I’m not great with names, but as a TV person you’d probably know what would make a good hero name,”
“How about Pig-Iron.”
She reaches her car and steps in. Kevin walks to the window.
“Very funny… Oh wait, I just remembered, about the interview, should I give you my number?”
“No,” Stacey replies, buckling her seatbelt. Her key enters the ignition.
“Right, right,” Kevin says, “You’re a reporter, you can just look that stuff up. And you know where I live, so whenever you want come on over; or we could do dinner, that works for me, I’m a light eater. In fact there’s this French place on Market,”
The car slowly pulls away from the curb. Kevin stands in the middle of his giant driveway for a moment or two.
“So, call me, or…whatever…”