December 14, 1973 – Justice is a noncorrosive metal, but metals can be melted by the heat of revenge!

“Oh hey Blue, I was just thinking . . . oh shit!”

When he turned and snarled at me I realized that it wasn’t Blue.  That was my mistake on several counts.  First of all I was going to meet Blue and Martialla, so it would be strange to bump into him on the street.  Second of all he wasn’t even blue, he was kind of greyish-brown with some pale yellow marks.  Once I got a good look at him I realized my mistake, but at the risk of being a lizard-racist, when you’re walking about and you see someone who’s got scales and is three feet taller than everyone else your mind kind of fills in the blank.  It’s not like there’s SO many lizard guys around here that it’s unreasonable when you’re not paying attention right?  I mean there’s like four lizard guys tops.  Sidenote why aren’t there any lizard women?  Probably because lizards don’t have boobs.  Why would any male scientist turn a woman into something without boobs?

He roared something at me, his breath was simply AWFUL with the stench of rotting meat, and I was so distracted by that that I didn’t realize I actually understood (mostly) what he we saying until he referred to himself as “Bestia-lagarto cornuda devoradora.  Beside the color he was much different from (than?) Blue, he did indeed have little (and big) horns jutting out from his dinosoury skull.  Although he didn’t really look like a dinosaur, maybe more like a dragon guy?  Really what it was was like one of those little thorny desert lizards, only you know, a huge monster-guy.  He said “Me cago en la leche. Déjame solo!” to me which is some kind of slang (or he’s insane) I didn’t understand in full but I got the gist of it.

I was tempted to give him a good shove, but we were in a crowd and he probably would have plowed down fifty people.  He may weigh eight hundred pounds but I have the strength of twenty strong men.  And that’s only forty pounds per man, which is something a non-strong man should be able to handle.  Not wanting to crush a bunch of locals I contented myself by telling him “estás bien pendejo” – but I totally could have knocked him on his ass.  For sure. 

No sooner had I walked away from that dust-up when I heard someone shouting (in English, well sort of, Australian) at me from the street.  I turned to see that a small gap at formed in the crowd where my old friend the Crimson Cardinal was holding one giant red robo-fist in the air – which seemed to be the only piece of his suit left.  For reasons unknown he wasn’t wearing a shirt, and he really should have been – not a lot of meat on those bones you know what I mean?  There was a network of wires running down his dirty bare arm to some kind of glowing chest-piece strapped to him like a bullet-vest.  He was making such a spectacle that I didn’t notice at first that Captain Patriot USA was at this side furiously swooshing his finger around his glowing green alien pad.

“Stand and deliver Jezebel!  Your time of judgement is at hand, for you face the Hammer of God!”  He threw his hand up dramatically and made a fist, which resonated with a thunderous clap.

“Is the hammer invisible?”

“What?”

“Are you holding an invisible hammer above your head?”

“No . . . I . . . the gauntlet is the hammer of God.”

“Why wouldn’t you say the fist of God then?  Or the hand of God?”

Patriot muttered “I told you it didn’t make sense.”

Red Fist all but spat at him “You’re the one that wanted to call us the Ela Revenge Squad.”

“Like the Superman Revenge Squad?  That would have been cool.  But there’s only two of you, that’s hardly a squad, that’s the problem.”

A local guy I thought was just watching shouting something angrily and the Scarlet Fingerman gestured “Yes, Halimah is a member as well.  Three is enough for a squad.”

I peered at the man “Uh, what did I do to him?  He doesn’t look familiar.”

They spoke briefly “He says you wrecked his kiosk.”

I made a face “Oh yeah, I did do that.  Can you tell him I’m sorry?  There’s not enough big heavy things to throw around here, I don’t know what they want me to do.  Are there boulders around here?”

“Silence!  The time is nigh, you shall be punished for your insolence!”

“Why are you the one with the robot fist?  No offense, but you’re like the guy in those Charles Atlas ads before he does the program.” I pointed at the Blond Bomber “Isn’t that guy like a special forces army ranger marine commando?  Shouldn’t he be the one with the robo attack glove?”

The Aussie pulled his fist back and made some awkward looking punching motion and a wave of concussive force went in my general direction and knocked over a bunch of boxes. 

“No more questions!  I demand satisfaction!”

I pointed “The red light district is over there.” I laughed and laughed and laughed.  Because I am hilarious.  

Mr. America growled “Just kill her already!  You only have enough power for . . .”

The Aussie’s eyes went wide “Don’t tell her how much power we have!”

I walked towards them “Alright, look guys, we had some issues in the past but surely you’re not going to kill me just because I wrecked your suit are you?  You didn’t even really own that suit, didn’t you steal it?  Plus, I was defending myself.  Are you really suggesting that you’re going to kill me for the crime of not letting you kill me?  That makes no sense.”

“I’m not going to kill you, I’m just going to defeat you.”

I shrugged “Okay, I’m defeated.”

He frowned “What do you mean?”

“What do YOU mean?” I raised my hands “Everyone, everyone, your attention please, I Ela hereby admit defeat.  I am officially defeated.” I went down to one knee “I submit to you good sir.  You are the better man.”

His head whipped around at the curious crowd “Get up!”

I looked up at him incredulously “What?  Do you want to hit me?  You’re going to punch a defenseless woman in the face with a cracking bionic fist?”

Blondie’s face was flushed with bloodlust “Yes, do it!”

The Aussie looked around desperately “No . . . I . . . just . . . what . . . I mean . . .”

I stood up and tapped the rig on his chest, which seemed to be burning his skin “Did you guys rig this all up yourselves?”

He shook his head slowly “No, we . . .”

Blondie spit-screamed at his back “Don’t tell her!”

“Yes, do tell her.  My crew needs a contact with a good tech guy.  There have to be some of them around here right?  Some guy who worked for a company and then flew off with one of their prototypes suits and came here to sell it and now he’s like an underground outlaw tech guy?  Something like that?  I feel like that happens all the time.  There would probably be a lot less criminals in supersuits if the superheroes quit forming companies to make supershit.  Can you hook me up with your guy?  I’m about to come into some money and I need an equipment source.”

He looked back uncertainly at the rest of his squad, Blondie was freaking out and Dr. Kiosk looked like he had no idea what was going on “Yeeeah.”

October 23, 1973 – It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me

Do lizards have good night vision?  I wouldn’t think so.  They need the sun to move around right?  At night they’re just sitting around waiting for the sun, so why would they need good night vision?  Seems like all the other nocturnal animals would eat them while they were powered down.  Do bats eat lizards?  I wonder how that works.  Fish probably have good night vision.  It’s dark underwater right?  But how well do they see on land?  Martialla’s eyes are white like those blind cave animals on PBS.  But her vision seems pretty sharp.  Except when it comes to her wardrobe.  In that case she’s blind as a lizard at night.

Madripoor never gets very dark, even in the low city where things sometime seem like cowboy times, there are houselights all over the place.  There was enough darkness that I didn’t see anything though.  My first indication of trouble was when Blue and Martialla started shooting into the shadows.  That could have just been them shooting for fun though, what really convinced me that something was amiss was when I saw Elvis clutching his stomach and noticed that he was covered with blood.   That set off some alarm bells.

I’d never really been in a fight before.  Not like that.  Back home nothing like this ever happened obviously.  And the scrapes I’ve gotten into here so far have been quick reactions to someone trying to kill me personally – a couple seconds of fight and then time for flight.  I didn’t freeze exactly, but clearly I was the one of us that wasn’t used to this kind of thing.  Blue and Martialla were shooting and moving from cover to cover and making hand signals at each other and doing all kinds of shit.  LBK frog-leaped off one guy, slamming his head into the ground with his feet (it sounded like when you drop a bowling ball) to jump-kick another guy while executing a front flip onto a building roof where he jumped down on two other guys.  This was while I was still figuring out what was going on. 

A guy with a knife charged at me and I put my hand out reflexively to shove him away like a football player.  I’m sure anyone trained in fighting would tell me that was the worst thing I could do in that situation.  It worked out fine though on account of my hand caving in his chest like it was made of papier-mâché.  Which is was not.  It was made of flesh and bone and stuff.  I’m very strong you see.  The knife flew out of his hand and hit me on the ear like a punch to the side of the head.  It made me wonder what happened to the earrings I had on when I was blown up back home.  My grandmother gave me those.  Are they sitting in a pile of rubble or did some NFFA asshole give them to his girlfriend as a present?  How would she feel to know she’s wearing stolen earrings? 

I picked up Elvis and ran out of what I thought was the field of fire – I would later learn none of our attackers even had guns, all the shooting was being done by Martialla and Blue.  I tried to carry him as gently as possible, but if there’s a good way to run with someone in your arms without jostling them, I don’t know it.  With every step I took, he made gulping noises like he was being kicked in the gut.  Once we were “safe” I asked him where the nearest hospital was.  He managed to laugh, sort of, at the idea of a Madripoor hospital. 

“There have to be some hospitals here man, you can’t have a city of millions without any medical care!” 

“They’re all up the hill, they won’t care.” 

“They’ll care after I threaten to crush their heads in my palm.” 

Elvis managed a smile but before he could work his way into saying anything, Blue came up holding his rifle at a jaunty angle, barrel still smoking “Clear of hostiles.” 

“Already?!  That was like thirty seconds.” 

He flicked out his lizard-tongue “That’s what happens when you bring knives to a gun fight.  What happened to our boy?” 

Martialla appeared at his shoulder — well, under his shoulder I guess “Throwing knife, I saw it.  Must have been ten meters away, it was a hell of a toss.  Too bad for the thrower, you shot him three times in the chest a second later.  Nice grouping big man.” 

They touched elbows in some kind of weird military high five “This is what I do little darlin’.” 

I was annoyed they were congratulating each other while Elvis was bleeding out, but before I could lay into them, LBK drifted down like a leaf in the wind “Is anyone else hurt?  I know a place nearby.” 

With all the shooting and stabbing and super-brawling that goes on around here, I knew there had to be someplace for people to get patched up who weren’t among the elite.  I carried Elvis to a house a few blocks away that was set up with beds and beeping machines and all that stuff.  It was nicer than some of the clinics in rural areas back home.  The not-doctor looked more like a model than a medical professional – I’ve seen some good-looking blokes in my day and I’m telling you, this guy was gorgeous.  Granted, I have a thing for men from the Caribbean States but even so.  Yum.   

Those feelings were dashed when he made it clear that he wasn’t going to do shit without the promise of payment.  Somehow he divined that a lizard, a fish, and a woman in ratty ill-fitting, blood-splattered clothes were unlikely to have a lot of cash on hand.  My first instinct was to threaten him, like I planned to do at the actual hospital, but anyone who provides medical care to criminals probably has measures in place that makes bald-faced intimidation a bad idea.  I asked Martialla how much money was left from the casino “heist”.  She said we spent most of it on drinks.  I guess it wasn’t that much money.  I still haven’t figured out the conversion rate to CS dollars. 

Blue and Martialla turned over their guns which was enough to get doctor handsome and his much less attractive nurses in gear.  Elvis was stabilized and “resting comfortably” in short order.  Dr. Handsome knew his way around a knife-hole in the gut for sure.  I suppose there’s not much better trauma training you can get than operating an unlicensed clinic in Madripoor.  Maybe the CS should set up some kind of program where residents or interns or whatever can come over here for a year and learn how to patch people up, there’s no substitute for experience.  The ones that don’t get killed themselves will be great ER docs when they get back.

Once he was cleaned up, he handsomely came to discuss payment options. 

“A couple of used guns doesn’t cover much medical care I’m afraid.  Your friend was badly injured, a perforated bowel requires a lot of work.” 

“How much will you knock off the bill if I sleep with you?” 

He looked down his nose at me (figuratively, we were eye to eye) “You?” 

“Hey, I’ve had a rough day, I just need to shower and run a comb through my hair.  With that and some clean clothes . . .” 

He made an impatient gesture “I’m a professional madam, don’t waste my time with jokes.  Unless you have a real way to pay me, your friend has about four hours here based on what you’ve already given me.” 

“Don’t worry, you’ll get your money.  I’ll stay here as collateral and my friends will go get it.” 

“How do I know they won’t abandon you?” 

“Because I said so.” 

That’s when I heard a booming robot voice with a ridiculous Australian accent “Halt evildoers!”