Chapter 46: In Sicily, Women Are More Dangerous Than Shotguns
Velocity slowly hovered down until zyr boots landed in the grass. Ze looked around for any sign of Ian or Dana. Their dates never lasted this long so it was kind of a big deal that they weren’t back yet. Not seeing anything, Velocity flew up an soared about the park looking.
Velocity’s search ended when ze found a large crowd of people, many of whom were holding cameras, at the edge of the pond. Velocity floated on over the crowd’s head to get a better look and saw a dejected Dana beaten, singed, missing a shoe, and hanging from a tree branch by her underpants. Velocity sighed quietly and landed between Dana and the crowd.
“Alright, alright,” said Velocity, dispersing the crowd, “That’s enough. Nothing to see here. Get a move on, come on.”
When the crowd had finally started walking away, Velocity turning back to see Dana. Dana looked up at Velocity without saying a word. They shared a moment before Dana let out a long and sad sigh.
“You okay?” asked Velocity.
Ze was met with a glare from Dana.
“Fair enough,” said Velocity, “What happened?”
“Gadget showed up and took Ian,” said Dana quietly.
“Why would she do that?” asked Velocity.
“I don’t know,” whispered Dana irritably.
“And she left you like this?” asked Velocity.
“Yes,” answered Dana angrily.
“Here,” offered Velocity, “Let me help you down.”
Velocity floated over the water and floated up to Dana, lifting her up to unhook her from the tree branch to no avail. The underwear was too firmly hooked to the branch that it wouldn’t come off. So Velocity instead let Dana go, causing her to bounce from worsening wedgie as she quietly grunted in discomfort. Velocity tried to unhook the underwear from the branch, but it was practically knotted.
“Please don’t let me fall in the water,” said Dana meekly.
“Oh,” said Velocity in confusion, “Okay. Here, let me just…”
Velocity then tried to pull down on Dana to get her off the branch. As Velocity flew Dana downward ze could hear the fabric in the underwear stretching as the branch gradually bent downward and Dana moaned from the worsening wedgie.
The tension of the branch became too much as Velocity’s grip slipped and ze let go of Dana by accident. The result was the branch snapping back to its original position and flinging Dana upward. Her underwear tore instantly this time, leaving half of it hooked to the branch as Dana was catapulted into the sky again. She screamed as Velocity flew after her, trying to catch her before she hit the water. Sadly Velocity wasn’t fast enough as Dana reached the apex of her flight before falling back toward the earth. Velocity continued to follow her until she landed face first in pond in a belly flop, leaving her floating face down in the water, her stretched out and torn underwear trailing out from her shorts.
Velocity cautiously grabbed the underwear and pulled Dana out of the water by flying up. Dana was fine, but far too humiliated and demoralized to even react to the wedgie. Velocity pulled up on the underwear and grabbed ahold of Dana from under the arms.
“Let’s head back,” suggested Velocity.
“Come on out,” called Mastermind, “Let’s have a look.”
Ian slowly walked out from around the corner. He was was wearing dark brown shorts, white high socks, brown loafers, a yellow plaid short sleeve button down, and a red bow tie. His hair was parted right down the middle in either direction and slicked down. His eyes glowed green from Mastermind’s influence.
“Perfect!” giggled Mastermind, “I love it! What do you think?”
“I think it’s okay,” said Ian in a monotone voice.
“No, you love it,” ordered Mastermind.
“Yes, I love it,” repeated back.
“And the rest of you,” barked Mastermind, “You love it too!”
“Yes,” responded Gadget, Fade, and Colossa in unison, “We love it too.”
All three of them were wearing their super suits, ready for combat if necessary. Their eyes all glowed green as well. Mastermind was also wearing her uniform, which she had made a proud habit out of wearing on a regular basis.
“Great!” clapped Mastermind, “I’m sure I can convince the store clerk to give it to us for free.”
Several feet away the store clerk stood, motionless, eyes also glowing green.
“Now Ian, are you ready?” asked Mastermind.
“I don’t know,” said Ian.
“Well have you gotten over dear old Dana yet?” asked Mastermind, growing impatient.
“No,” responded Ian.
“Yes you have,” said Mastermind irritably.
“Yes I have.”
“And are you in love with me, the great Mastermind?”
“Yes you are!” shouted Mastermind through gritted teeth, “Because I deserve you just as much as some sellout in green tights!”
“Yes I am,” said Ian after a short pause.
“Good,” smiled Mastermind, “Because if I’m going to rule this city as Queen Mastermind, I’m going to need a king. And only a man as dashing as you will do. But of course, we’ll need to be married first. Off to the church!”
Mastermind and her crew of mind-controlled villains marched out of the store, leaving the clerk absolutely clueless as to what had happened for the last thirty minutes.
“Are we sure this is a good idea?” asked Wisp nervously.
“No,” answered Laila, “But it seemed like you guys were out of options.”
“We can handle it,” assured Entropy.
“YOU can maybe,” sighed Wisp, “But I’m barely trained and the computer geek doesn’t even have powers.”
“Hey!” said Laila indignantly.
“What?” said Wisp honestly, “Am I wrong?”
The restaurant was warmly lit, although still very dark. Candles in jars lined the walls to be stylized lanterns and windows were few and far between. The trio approached the front desk, which was run by a short woman in a black pantsuit.
“Hello ladies,” greeted the woman, “My name is Maria. How can I help you?”
“We’d like a table,” said Entropy.
“We’re rather busy right now,” said Maria, not even looking over her shoulder into the restaurant.
“We’re here to see Giuliana,” said Entropy firmly.
Maria looked the trio up and down. Wisp was wearing her super suit and looked quite out of place next to Entropy, who was wearing a black pinstripe pantsuit with a maroon shirt, black tie, and black leather shoes. Laila was wearing a short black dress and heels.
“Giuliana won’t see just anyone,” she said, “But she can make time for Entropy. The rest of you will have to wait.”
Entropy sighed. She then thrust her arm out toward Maria. Maria felt the front of her collared shirt tighten before it lifted her off the ground and slammed her into the wall behind her. She grabbed at the collar to relieve some of the pressure.
“We’re here to see Giuliana,” repeated Entropy.
“Alright, alright!” pled Maria, “You can go in. Just please don’t give me a wedgie like your robo friend did!”
“Gadget?” realized Laila instinctively.
Entropy released Maria as she fell to the ground, landing on her butt and leaning back into the wall panting. Entropy looked back and Wisp and Laila for a moment before returning her attention to Maria.
“When did my robo friend do this?” asked Entropy.
“A week or so ago,” said Maria, “I thought you guys had something to do with it.”
“Why’d she do it?” asked Entropy.
“Because you heroes are a bunch of unhinged weirdos!” spat Maria.
“I’m going to ask again…” began Entropy menacingly.
“Alright, alright!” surrendered Maria, “We were about to rough up this girl who wandered into Giuliana’s territory. Then Robocop Lite showed up and stopped us. We were sure she was going to arrest us. But then the girl convinced her to, well, humiliate us instead.”
“What can you tell us about this girl?” asked Entropy.
“Real dweeby looking kid,” explained Maria, “In her 20’s. Not too tall. Frizzy black hair. Wore these thick rimmed glasses and had a kid’s backpack on the whole time.”
“That sounds like Maggie,” thought Wisp out loud.
Laila and Entropy turned to look at her in confusion.
“Velocity, Dana, and I went to school with her,” she explained, “The same school Cassandra and Savannah went to for that matter.”
“Who?” asked Laila, still very confused.
“Colossa and Speedstra,” answered Entropy.
“It might seem like a stretch,” explained Wisp, “But I don’t know anyone else who wears a kid’s backpack at our age.”
“And if she was able to order Gadget around...” realized Entropy.
“Then maybe she was the one who did it when Gadget attacked me,” concluded Laila, “Mastermind DID have frizzy black hair.”
“Wisp,” ordered Entropy, “Go chase down this lead. Find out where Maggie lives and see if you can track her down. Laila and I will talk to Giuliana.”
“Why even bother at this point?” asked Laila as they walked past Maria into the mostly empty restaurant, “If we have Mastermind’s identity what else can Giuliana give us?”
“Giuliana controls more of the city than the mayor,” answered Entropy in a hushed tone, “If Mastermind is hiding out somewhere, chances are that someone under Giuliana’s control knows.”
“Well, well, well,” came a confident and piercing voice, “Look who has graced us with her presence.”
Entropy and Laila turned to see the voice. Sitting at a long table with empty chairs, no plates, a single glass of wine, and several candles was a pale woman with a look that could kill. She had blonde hair, blood red lipstick, perfectly drawn black eyeliner, and a grin that showed absolute confidence and control. She was wearing a long, black dress and red high heels.
“Giuliana I presume,” nodded Entropy.
“Elena Entropy,” smiled Giuliana back, “I’d know your face anywhere! Come, have a seat. Your friend can sit too.”
“Hi,” said Laila nervously as Entropy sat down, “My name is-”
“So tell me Elena,” said Giuliana, refilling her wine glass, “What brings you here? And might I add, what’s taken so long?”
Laila nervously sat down.
“I’m looking for someone,” answered Entropy, “Someone dangerous. Someone who’s hurt one of mine and one of yours.”
“This Mastermind character, yes?” clarified Giuliana, “I know a few things. But you must know that I don’t give away this kind of information.”
“She’s as much a threat to you as she is to me,” countered Entropy.
“I doubt that very much,” said Giuliana, raising an eyebrow, “And I further doubt that she’s any more of a threat to me than you and your friends already are.”
“It certainly shouldn’t come as any surprise to you that my business has suffered substantially since The Hawk and the others arrived in the city,” explained Giuliana, “Gambling, arms trades, extortion rings, they’ve all been hit pretty hard by the capes. I had a good deal with the P.C.P.D. back in the day, you know. I don’t hurt nobody, they don’t mess with my business. It was a respectful arrangement. The Hawk had no such respect. Specter even less so. By the time the rogue Iron Lady became a problem even the police didn’t respect me no more. You see my problem?”
“Yes,” answered Entropy calmly, “But there’s nothing I can do about it.”
“So you’re telling me that you’d rather harass my people for petty crimes than have access to my resources throughout the city?” clarified Giuliana.
“Your resources are of no use to us if we’re under your thumb,” said Entropy.
Giuliana paused. She took a sip of her wine. Then she raised her arm in the air to call attention to a man tall man with a large nose across the room. She motioned for him to walk over.
“Let me explain something to you,” said Giuliana, standing up, “You heroes have a lot of fancy powers. Flight, strength, lasers, all that fun stuff. I’m sure that’s very helpful when you’re in a fight with another super freak. Or apprehending some street criminal. But for all your powers there’s something I have that you never will. Thank you, Hank.”
The tman had just arrived at Giuliana’s side. She grabbed him by both shoulders and turned him around so his back was to her. She then continued speaking to Entropy and Laila.
“Allow me to explain,” said Giuliana, “Anyone can do this.”
Giulaian lifted up the back of Hank’s suit jacket and pulled back the belt on his pants. She reached in with both of her hands and hoisted out two fistfuls of white fabric with rainbow polka dots. Hanks yelped and keeled over as Giuliana pulled them a little higher so Laila and Entropy could get a better look.
“And you superfreaks,” she explained, “You can use your powers to pull higher…”
Giuliana yanked the waistband up to Hank’s shoulder blades, causing him to whimper.
“Or faster, or harder…”
Giuliana continued to demonstrate as Hank squealed in pain and Laila winced in sympathy. Giuliana pulled the waistband up several inches past Hank’s head before letting it snap back to his butt, leaving about four feet of stretched out polka dotted fabric bunched up and hanging there.
“That’ll be all Hank,” smiled Giuliana.
“Thank you Boss,” squeaked Hank in a high pitch voice, before waddling away bowlegged.
“But only I can do that with such complete control that even he thanks me,” concluded Giuliana, “That’s what I can offer you. Control.”
Entropy stood and slammed her hands down on the table, releasing a telekinetic burst that sent the candles, wineglass, and wine bottle flying to the corners of the room. Giuliana remained unphased.
“What do you know about Mastermind!?!” demanded Entropy.
“There are a half dozen witnesses in here,” said Giuliana calmly, “Assault me and the ensuing trial will surely ruin the Panda City Heroes for the foreseeable future. Anything they see will be remarkable evidence.”
“Fine then,” said Entropy, “They won’t see anything.”
Entropy clenched her fist. Suddenly Giuliana’s complete confidence was sucked away in a second as a ripping sound filled the room and the crime boss went cross eyed, squeaked, grabbed her butt with both hands, and squatted widely.
“Tell me of your own volition,” ordered Entropy, “Without any incentive or under any duress: what do you know about Mastermind?”
“You…” squealed Giuliana, “Bitch!”
Entropy clenched her fist harder as another ripping sound filled the room and Giuliana’s face went red as she bit her lip and keeled over, grasping desperately at the seat of her dress with both hands.
“Think harder,” said Entropy sternly.
“We don’t know anything,” gasped Giuliana in a raspy voice, “Word on the street is she wipes the minds of everyone she interacts with. No one knows where she is.”
“You sure?” asked Entropy, raising her fist as another ripping sound filled the room. Giuliana’s feet were suddenly up on their tip toes as if she were being lifted by some force.
“I’m sure!!” squealed Giuliana in a high pitched voice, “Now let me go please!”
Entropy unclenched her fist. Giuliana let out a sigh of relief as she nearly fell onto the table. Her face returned to its normal hue as Entropy nodded to Laila and the two turned and left the room as Laila looked around in concern and confusion.
“Thank you for your time,” said Entropy.
The two of them walked past Maria and out of the restaurant as the various folks all rushed to Giuliana’s side to see what was wrong with her.
“What did you do?” asked Laila.
“You don’t have to pull on the waistband to give a wedgie,” explained Entropy with a sly smile, “You just have to make sure the fabric goes to all the right places.”
“Ow,” winced Laila, “Brutal.”
Back in the restaurant Giuliana shooed away everyone but Maria as she continued to regain her composure. She finally stood up right again and readjusted her dress, trying to pull free the fabric that had been telekinetically lodged into her butt.
“Are you okay?” asked Maria.
“Yes,” grunted Giuliana.
“Is there anything I can get you?”
“Bring me all our detailed files on every collider powered person in Panda City,” she demanded, before wincing as the friction of fabric moving around in her butt caused her severe discomfort, “And a pair of tweezers while you’re at it.”
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We have some plot development, the return of some minor characters, and of course some good old-fashioned humiliation.
Bonus points for anyone who gets the title reference. I thought long and hard about what to use.
Bonus points for anyone who gets the title reference. I thought long and hard about what to use.
Wonderful as always. Hank's wedgie was quite unique to say the least. Giuliana is also very interesting. And Mastermind's desire to marry Ian...All wonderful things. I'm quite interested to see what's going to happen.
Well, that's just great Entropy. Ya pissed off the friggin' mob for no dang reason.
Good Godfather reference, by the by.
Good Godfather reference, by the by.