Mason's 'Mazin' Mob 8/9 outline/rough draft
"Speed Trials"

Mason Kramer, Eric Alfred Burns, and Jesse Taylor

Episode 8

    "Welcome to Austin, kiddies," Lori said over the intercom from
the front of the truck Shana had rented to transport their
Tornado suits and gear in. "Guys?" She flipped on receive mode,
only to be confronted by a wave of that most dread form of song
known as... karaoke!
    "I make my liiiiiving off the eeeeeevening news!" Tris and
Nina sang in something almost, but not totally unlike harmony.
"Just give me soooomething, something I can uuuuuuse! People
loooove it when you lose, give us diiirty laaaaundry!"
    "Make it stop..." Lori whimpered, fumbling for the cut-off
    "The horror... the horror..." Shana groaned, stuck in the
back with the would-be singers.
    Tris and Nina suddenly bounded to either side of Shana and
hauled her out of her seat.
    "We got the bubble-headed bleach-blonde, comes on at fiiiive;
she can tell you 'bout the plane crash, with a gleeeam in her
eye..." Tris and Nina sang, dodging out of Shana's way as she
swiped at them.
    "You two are reeeeeally getting on my nerves, here..." Shana
grumbled, regaining her seat and, not for the first time that
trip, considered putting a railgun spike into Tris's karaoke
    "You don't really need to find out, what's goooooin' on! You
don't really want t'know, just how faaaaar it's gone!" Tris and
Nina chorused. From the front came a gunshot as Lori fired into
the speaker to make it stop. "Just leave well enough alooooone,
give us diiiiiiirty laaaaundry!"
    "Kick 'em when they're up!" Tris and Nina chorused,
enthusiastically. "Kick 'em when they're down. Kick 'em when
they're up! Kick 'em when they--- aaiiigh!"
    "We're here," came Lori's voice, amused, over the intercom.
"Sorry about the abrupt stop."
    "No... problem..." Tris groaned, from under Nina and a pile
of gear that had been thrown against the front of the van by the
abrupt stop. "Nina, this tears it. Diet for you."
    "Awww!" Nina whined.
    Shana stopped the karaoke machine, sighing with relief.
"Okay, you two. Let's get unpacked and set up. Tris, you have
your assignment."
    "You got it, boss," Tris nodded and slipped out of the truck.
    "Nina, Lori, you two will trade off shifts -- I want someone
at the truck constantly."
    "Uh, boss?" Lori said, quietly.
    "You're not gonna like this."
    "What is it?" Shana sighed quietly.
    "We're early."
    Shana paused, blinked, paled.
    "YAY!" Nina exclaimed, heading for the machine. "We've got
time to do 'I saw the sign' again!"

                  Mason Kramer Proudly Presents:
                       Mason's Mazin' Mob!
                 Speed Trials, Part One of Three
                          Nowhere Fast
                       *THE* Mason Kramer
                      Eric, Reverend Sabre
                        Comments welcome

"We're goin' nowhere slowly and we gotta get away from the past
 There's nothin' wrong with goin' nowhere baby
 But we should be goin' nowhere fast
 Everybody's goin' nowhere slowly
 They're only fighting for the chance to be last
 There's nothin' wrong with goin' nowhere baby
 But we should be goin' nowhere fast."
--Meatloaf, "Nowhere Fast"

Continuity Note:  The continuity note from last episode also
applies to this episode.  Some minor additions, though. Tornado
Knights #10 occurred more or less with MMM7 but before this
episode, and MMMMosaic2, "Just This Once," occurred between 7 and
eight.  Please update your chart accordingly.

    The phone rang, shocking Alice out of a deep sleep.  She
reached over and picked it up between the third and fourth tone
of the first ring and said "Hello?" before she thought to slow
down.  She said it again at a more normal rate.
    "Hi, this is Jenny, Mr. Johnson's aid.  Mr. Johnson asked me
to give you a buzz to make sure that you were up and ready for
the day in plenty of time."
    "Gar."  Alice wasn't much of a morning person to begin with,
and really didn't need the extra stress of remembering that she
was going on trial starting at 10... "What time is it?"
    "Six thirty."
    "Gar."  Wonderful.  She could be showered, dressed and made
up in under a minute if she wished.  Now she had three and a half
hours to kill.  But there was something nagging at the back of
her mind.  A phone call last night.  Oh well, she thought.  It'll
come back to me.
    "Miss Alice?  Are you still there?"
    Jenny's voice startled her awake again.  "Yeah, I'm here. 
Here I am, and here I'll stay, 'till death or the judge release me."
    Jenny giggled.  "Oh, don't worry.  Mr. Johnson's one of the
best. He's never lost a case, you know!"
    "Yeah?  I didn't know that.  Good to hear."
    "It's true!"  He hasn't ever actually done a live trial, but
no need to bring up that part of it.  "Anyway, don't forget that
he'll be there at nine to do the final briefing before you go on
    "Right.  That gives me enough time to..."  The phone
conversation snapped into her mind suddenly, making her pause for
a moment.  "Er, sorry.  To get ready and all.  Talk to you
    She hung up and stared at the phone for a moment.  She had an
hour and a half to kill before the reporter would be coming. 
"Hey, Buddy?  I need some help here.  Makeup time, and I need

    Samantha lazily opened an eye and scanned the room.  "Good
morning, Mr. Ward," she said to the figure working on tying a tie
    "And good morning to you, Mrs. Ward.  Sleep well?"
    She stretched, arching her back even as she remained in bed. 
//You know I did, love.\\  "What's got you up so early today?"
    "Trial.  That and I'm terrible at tying these things.  Takes
me ten tries to get it right."
    "Mmm.  And how many tries so far?"
    "Let me help you with that, then.  Save you a few minutes."
    "Hmm... I dunno.  Can a fellow really trust his wife when she
has her hands around his throat?"
    "Try me and find out."  She rose from the bed and walked
over.  Tim turned and watched, as marriage had apparently *not*
made him immune to her charms.  More the reverse.  Samantha
smiled, unknotted what Tim had done so far, and showed him how to
do it properly.
    Tim chuckled. "How come you know how to do that and I don't?"
    "My mom--my adoptive mom, that is--taught me, so that she
didn't have to do it for dad all the time.  That way--hold
still!--dad didn't have to bother to learn.  But you do, because
I might not be there every time to help you, and the girls,
    "...haven't exactly been born yet," he said, smiling.  "I'm
willing to learn, just haven't had much opportunity.  How do I
    "Good enough that I'm tempted to get you out of those clothes
and ravish you for hours."
    "Mmmm... Tempting, but, sigh, duty calls.  Rain check?"
    "Always.  Go get breakfast, and I'll meet you down there."

    "How's my hair?"
    Bruce glanced over from the mirror, his practiced hands still
tying the full windsor into his red silk tie.  "Long.  Blond,
somewhat curly, in need of touch up at the roots."
    "I will kill you slowly."
    "And it also looks very good.  Elizabeth, are you truly
concerned with your hair?"
    "We're going to court, I'm going to be on camera part of the
day at least, I'm representing the Academy and there's every
chance I'm going to be called to the stand if Phobos's plan is
seriously proposed.  Why yes, I'm truly concerned with my hair. 
Why?  Are you worried about it maybe looking good?"
    Bruce smiled tightly.  "Desperately worried.  I'm terrified
that the love of your life will be in the building, but would
have walked by if it weren't for your shining golden hair
catching his eye and tearing you from my side."
    Elizabeth chuckled.  "If said love is attracted to my *hair,*
you have nothing to worry about."  She zipped up her uniform,
looked in the mirror, unzipped slightly, and glanced up and down
herself.  "All right, I think I'm ready."
    "As am I."
    "Bruce -- why are you going that way?  Why aren't you going
as Trashman?  As you're not, should I be going as Healer?"
    "There are several reasons why you are attending in uniform
and I am attending incognito, Elizabeth.  First off, it is
appropriate for the Commandant of the Academy to attend this
trial.  Several of her students are involved.  The issue with
Phobos's plan involves you and the Academy. And of course you are
an expert in new paranorms and their issues. Secondly, Healer and
Doctor Elizabeth Tirkoff are publicly known to be one and the
same, and said Doctor Tirkoff is a prominent psychologist in the
field of metahuman and supervillain psychoanalysis.  This makes
you an expert witness, and the uniform adds credence to your
presence, rather than detracting from it.
    "On the other hand, the situation at hand does not warrant
the active intervention of the Leader of the Adjusted League
Unimpeachable.  It would attract far more attention to this trial
than would be readily warranted, and make it far more difficult
for Phobos's plan to be enacted. And, given the... oddity of my
and Momentum's shared dream--"
    "Let's not discuss the dreams from that night, all right?"
Elizabeth asked, shuddering slightly.
    "My apologies, Eliza... I realize... that wasn't a pleasant
night for you.  Regardless, the events of that night would make
Momentum nervous if Trashman appeared.  Furthermore, if Trashman
and Healer appeared together, it would no doubt lead inexorably
to `Trashman and his Girlfriend' having attended, when your
presence is mandated, not mine. Finally, there are excellent
reasons for Bruce Rogers, head of the Rogers Foundation and Bored
and Boring Multibillionaire to be showing an interest in these
kinds of affairs.  `Bruce' hasn't had enough public exposure of
late.  If he should become `the reclusive Billionaire,' it would
not be as effective a tool."
    "Do you really see your true self as a tool?" Elizabeth
asked, eyebrows arched.
    "You see," Bruce said with a smile.  "There's that expert
Doctor Tirkoff again.  Come, let's away to the Xolchaporter.  And
let's pick up breakfast on the way."

        Alice paced in the cell, nearly making Buddy dizzy, even
though she was keeping it to a moderate 40 miles per hour.  This
was still enough to stir small things in the cell, including bits
of paper, dust, and an intelligent cricket.  He clung to the
blanket, afraid to let go for fear of his life.
    "Uh, Alice, I understand that, uh, you're nervous, but, uh,
could you slow down some, please?"
    "Sorry."  Alice stopped pacing and sat down on the edge of
the bed.  "It's just...after all this waiting, it's finally
happening.  In just a couple of hours, the trial's finally going
to be starting, and I can start putting this behind me.  And
there's also that reporter supposed to be showing up
    Tris grinned at Alice's nervousness as she listened through
the miniprobe she and Nina had snuck through the air ducts to
Alice's cell the night before.  She discreetly deactivated her
earphone as she followed a guard up to Alice's cell.  "Excuse
me... Alice is it?"  Tris said, grinning disarmingly. 
"I'm...Tris. TONN evening news.  I'm here to interview you for a
story we're doing."
    Alice looked at Tris for a long moment before shaking her
head, trying to clear it. "Sorry.  Just had the oddest feeling
that we've met before.  Guess I just saw you on TV or something."
    Tris nodded slightly. "Yeah. I can imagine..."  She sat down
across the bars. "'s real odd...but...I have the same
feeling."  She grinned nervously and ran a hand through her hair.
"Maybe we were twins in a past life or something."
    "That's probably it."  Alice grinned and pulled a chair over.
 "So, I've got an hour to kill before my lawyer shows, so there's
plenty of time for you to ask what you want to, but I've got a
question for you, first.  What the heck do you want to interview
me for?  And broadcast my trial, for that matter.  OJ's gone and
you need to fill time?"
    Tris grinned and rolled her eyes.  "Oh, geez. Don't remind
me.  If I have to see one more damn OJ trial discussion, we have our reasons for being interested in
you.  I mean, you've obviously had a hard time, and the public
just loves a sad story."  Tris set down a small box on the floor,
and a low, barely audible humming filled the air.  "And now we
have some privacy."
    "Oh?  Don't want anyone stealing your exclusive?"  Alice eyed
the box as she took half a second to identify the hum as
oscillating around G two octaves below middle C.
    "Hey, give me more credit than that.  Listen, I know you're
in a bad situation.  And I just wanted to offer the help only a
media conspiracy can offer."  Tris grinned, but her eyes were
serious.  "In exchange for information, maybe we can pull a few
strings, get you a lighter sentence?"
    "Heh.  Seems like everyone wants to see me get a light
sentence.  Be nice if the judge agrees to that...Sure.  What'cha
want to know?"
    Tris shrugged. "What I'm -really- interested in is the speed
serum. The thing that gave you your powers. What can you tell me
about it?"
    "Not much, really. I was doing some temp work at one of the
university's labs, and one of my duties was the testing of the
drug. I was doing a regularly scheduled injection when the
subject decided it'd had enough of that and scratched at me.  I
fell, and somehow managed to inject myself when I did.  And,
well, here I am."
    "Hm..." Tris sighed and leaned back in her chair. "Well...
damn." She'd already read the files enough to know everything
about the professor, and a little about Alice, and if Alice
didn't know anything about the serum itself, she wasn't useful
for that. "That's, as far as my job goes, all I needed to ask...
um... so we've got some time. Uhm... why'd you do it?"
    Alice grinned.  "For the money, of course.  The scholarship
is nice, but it doesn't pay the rent.  Or the electricity.  Or
the phone bill.  Or the food bill.  And, frankly, the lab job
wasn't going that far in helping.  As it was, I was about to
'retire' from theft as it was.  I'd gotten enough to pay my debts
and get ahead a fair bit, and, well...decided to try to get a
fair bit farther."
    "Heh. So what's it like being a supervillain?"
    "Hmm..."  Alice looked blank for a moment, then laughed. 
"Truth to tell, I didn't even think of myself like that.  Guess I
fit the description, though!
    "Let's see...the waiting around in jail part sucks.  The
noteriety is cool.  Being chased by heroes sucks.  And the
speed..."  Alice smiled, almost seeming to forget that she was
talking to someone.  "The speed is the best.  Going flat-out on a
straight stretch, I confused a radar detector.  I'm not sure
*how* fast I move,'s Pretty Dang Fast."
    Tris nodded, grinning.  "I remember the first time I got into
a starfighter and got to take it was such a
rush...and to be able to -run- like that...I can't imagine what
it must be like."
    Tris blinked. "Um." She blinked again, fidgiting. "Um...
um... splunge?"
    Alice stared at Tris while she figited.  "A starfighter. 
That's not exactly standard issue for reporters, is it?"
    Tris squirmed in her seat. "Well... I mean... you've gotta
keep with the times..."
    "Uh-huh..." Alice's eyes widened suddenly.  Faster than Tris
could easily track, Alice got up, went over to the desk, grabbed
a diary, sat back down, and flipped through the pages.  "You're
one of the Tornado Knights, aren't you?"
    Tris facepalmed. "Augh." She immediately realized she'd just
confirmed Alice's guess, tried to look innocent for a moment,
then slumped. "Yeah."
    "Uhm."  Alice looked thoughtful for a moment.  "Which means
that dream..."  She shuddered and huddled into the chair just a
    Tris blinked, also paling slightly. "Wait... dream?"
    "Yeah.  A few nights ago.  I've never met you before, but I
dreamed about you and...someone else.  And I was convinced that I
was dreaming, and you were convinced that we weren't, and we
exchanged phone numbers..."
    Tris grinned weakly. "Did I call?"
    "Someone did, said something vaguely resembling 'wrong
number,' and hung up."  Alice looked at Tris for a moment.  "Did
    "Not that I remember."  Tris grinned.  "But I've got a little
widgit that lets me avoid pesky things like long distance bills.
Lemme check..." She pulled out a rectangular device from her
pocket and scrolled through it. "Hm. I..." Tris trailed off,
staring at the device.
    She put the device away, and sat there for a moment, unable
to speak. "This is... really weird. Yeah. I called."
    Very quietly, Alice said, "You called, and...Hell(tm).  If I
had any intention of trying to escape before, which I didn't
really, I *really* don't now..."
    Tris stared at her hands. "You know, don't you. If that dream
was real, you know all about me. You know I work for Morgan, you
know everything..."
    Alice thought a moment.  Until Tris had said that, she hadn't
really connected on the fact that she was sitting across from the
top henchperson of the Most Totally Evil Woman in the Galaxy.
    "Universe," Tris mumbled, still staring at her hands.
    There was no telling just how dead Alice was at the moment. 
If Tris felt she had to, in order to protect Morgan, she'd kill
Alice.  Regretfully, perhaps, but that wouldn't make her feel any
better about being dead.  Fortunately, there was still a way out.
    "Uh, yeah.  Listen, Tris.  Don't worry about it.  We
supervillains have to stick together, right?  Your secret's safe
with me."
    Tris blinked. "I... um... thank you."
    "Sure.  After all...if the dream *was* real, and that *was*
you...well, I enjoyed our conversation then, I'm enjoying it now,
and I'd like to continue it in the future.  If you'd like to." 
And if I can have visitors, Alice thought.
    Tris nodded slightly. "I...I'd like that."
    Alice grinned.  "Is this as weird to you as it is to me?  I
mean, I've never been through *anything* like that, but you've
been around..."
    "Ohhh, yeah. I've been through some weird stuff, but this one
definitely rates a 10 on the Just Plain Out There scale."
    Alice laughed.  "Is ten the highest it goes?"
    "Yeah. 'course, having said that, I'll run into an 11 or
something." Tris grinned widely.
    "Yikes.  Of course, I think I *had* an you remember
who else was in that dream?"
    "Trashman, right?"
    Alice nodded.  "There used to be a side cell window in here."
    "Um... eep?"
    Alice sighed.  "Yup.  Somebody's definitely trying to tell me
something here, but I don't have a clue what they're saying."
    "Well, it'll come to you... and I think we're running out of
    Alice glanced at the clock.  "Yeah. I still need to change
into the dress they brought for me, talk to the lawyer, and cross
my fingers.  Uh, wish me luck?"
    Tris nodded, scooping up the privacy field generator. "Good
luck, Alice. I'll be at the trial, rooting you on..." 'For all
the good that'll do,' she didn't add.
    "Hey, I can use it.  Thanks, Tris, and I'll see you in an
hour or so."

    Mandy Harken straightened her blue blazer as she walked up the
marble steps of the courthouse.  "Looks like an okay crowd," she
says, "and is that TONN setting up?"
    "So it seems," Bruce said quietly.  "I shouldn't have thought
a minor supervillain's trial would attract this much attention. 
This could be problematic."
    "Oh, I don't think so," Healer said.  "If anything, it should
help draw attention to what we're trying to do here.  I can't
think that's a bad thing."
    "I can," Mandy said.  "I *hate* television cameras.  They
always make me look toothy."
    "You're hardly toothy, Mandy."  Bruce led the two into the
courtroom.  "Hm.  Shana Shannon and Tris.  Odd.  Why two
reporters?  And why is one of them a fashion reporter?"
    "Bruce," Healer said with a laugh, "you see preplanning and
conspiracy in everything, don't you?"
    "I've found the paranoids tend to be right.  There are the
various Mobsters."
    "Mobsters," Mandy asked, grinning.  "Do you really--"
    "Well, we can't really call them Acadlites like the rest of--"
    "AcadeMY.  With an M."  Healer shook her head.  "Et tu, Bruce?"
    "Mm.  Let's take a seat, before the press pigeonholes us--"
    "Too late.  Here they come..."

    "Okay, got the minicamera?" Shana said to Tris, speaking
slowly and without moving her lips. "And the minirecorder? Bruce
Rogers is here. Bruce 'Richer than God' Rogers. I smell story."
    "Um. Shana... You -know- this isn't anything to do with our
mission..." Tris said, quietly, discreetly preparing a few
devices. ("Not to mention they've got a damn telepath over
there...") she didn't add.
    "Oh? I think we need to maintain our cover IDs, hmm?" Shana
said, grinning slightly. "Something doesn't feel right here --
and I'm -never- wrong about stuff like that. So c'mon." The
blonde 'fashion reporter' cum 'elite commando' put on her best
grin and headed across the courtroom.
    Rolling her eyes slightly, Tris patted the minicamera on her
shoulder and headed after her boss.

    "Great," Mandy said.  "Target aquired, missile lock.  I *hate*
the press."
    "It's all right," Healer said, amused.  "You get used to it. 
And I think I should have expected it."
    "Mm." Bruce said.  There was something odd about the two. 
Something almost familiar, in the way they walked.  He couldn't
*quite* put his finger on it, but it was there.  Which didn't
mean anything, of course -- no reason to expect the worst just
because his instinct went off.
    Except, of course, that his instincts were effectively never
    "Well, maybe you like it, but I want to fade into the
    "No problem," Healer said.  "I'll take the first volley --
get some groundwork and public opinion in."  She stepped forward,
professional smile on her face.  "Hi there," she said.  "I--"
    The two reporters walked right by her, a slight nervous look
on the camerawoman's face, as they walked straight up to Bruce. 
"Hi," the blond said.  "Do you have just a second?  'Course you do."
    "Ooo, she shoots, she misses the backboard," Mandy smirked.
    }{Oh, just die and be done with it,}{ Elizabeth sent.
    Shana was blessed with several things that made her an
excellent reporter, and also, occasionally, got her in way over
her head. The first, a prerequisite for most of the good people
in her field, was that innate sense of when things were out of
the ordinary. The 'nose for news' as it were. The second was the
fact that she virtually never took no for an answer.
    The second, of course, sometimes resulted in her getting over
her head and not only failing to back out gracefully, but digging
the hole deeper. This was pretty obviously going to be one of
those days.
    "Mr. Rogers?" Shana said, beaming a bright and cheerful
smile. "Shana Shannon, for That Other News Network. I was
wondering if I could ask you a few questions about, oh, why the
head of the Rogers Foundation would be down in Austin, Texas at
the trial of a minor supervillainess?"
    Bruce blinked.  He'd fielded the predatory advances of the
professional media, of course.  But there was a special, deeper
sort of reporter.  One who latched on and bit to the bone.  One
who sought the truth... or a juicy enough lie to get the 11:04
air time on the broadcast.
    Which is what Bruce handled best.  He hadn't lied to
Elizabeth.  "Bruce Rogers" was a tool.  One that shielded the
Non-Biodegradable Trashman and left him capable of doing what had
to be done.  It was time 'Shana Shannon, for That Other News
Network' learned that.
    Bruce's eyes dropped to half-droop.  His shoulders slumped. 
His eyebrow arched in a disinterestedly amused way.  "Not at all,
Miss Sherman.  When one is involved in a plethera of, oh, those
things I do, whatever they may be, it is important to remember,
sometimes, that the common touch is so easy to let slip away.  So
I thought, well, the Acadley thingy part of that Boston thing was
going to be coming down to Texas, and, well, I just got myself up
and came right down and here I am.  As you see."  He smiled,
sheer and toxic boredom radiating from his pores.
    Tris blinked, and shifted her minicamera a little. A glance
at Shana confirmed her worst fear -- Shana had decided to keep
pushing this until she either got something or got her nose
rubbed in it. Sighing to herself, Tris panned around, convinced
this was pointless.
    Shana smiled her best friendly smile at Bruce. "But surely
you must realize it -does- seem a little unusual for the ALU
Academy to be involved, much less to have the head of the
organization that funds them be present."
    Bruce nodded, a tired smile on his face.  "Miss Sharmin, I
realize you all think we rich and influential people have
entirely too important duties to attend to, so that we haven't
any time to wander around places like this Texas place and see
after new and I suppose exciting developments in our company, but
you'd actually be wrong.  It's the most astounding thing... I go
to my little office thingy and I drink coffee and talk to those
people who work there and offer to, you know, pitch in for the
home team and all that and they all look a bit nervous and tell
me that's not necessary and they'd be happy to do it for me and
then I sit in my little office and I just sort of look at the
walls and I play solitaire on my computer and drink my coffee and
have a wonderful little time, really, but it's nothing that I
can't drop when I decide by gum, I want to be on Court TV.  Are
they here yet?"
    "Um... no... not yet..." Shana blinked, trying to regain her
focus. "Uh... anyway... uh... um..." She shut her mouth to avoid
looking any more foolish than she had to. Behind her, Tris
giggled quietly.
    "Oh.  Pity that.  I should hate to miss them and all.  Mm. 
Perhaps they'll be by later and I can sort of lean into the shot
or maybe drop my pencil or the like.  I think that might help,
but then it's hard to say.  It's a bit hard to be spontaneous,
I've found -- you plan and plan for it but when the time comes,
it's just not there.  Don't you think?"
    Shana nodded vigorously. "Yes, I often run into that problem
myself." Tris, at this point, was having to cover her mouth with
her hand to stifle her laughter.
    "Yes, well... I'd think this would be an ideal moment to drop
a causal and somewhat witty hint to you that maybe dinner or a
movie later would be enjoyable, but of course I've had no time to
come up with said hint, and I'm not sure what the ettiquite guide
has to say about it, and besides, I have plane reservations and
they're such a bother to change and all, so there you have it in
microcosm, yes?  Yes."  He turned to Healer and Mandy.  "Should
we sit down?"
    "Guh," Mandy said.
    "Eep," Elizabeth said.
    Shana stood there with her mouth hanging open for a moment.
"Yes," she managed, finally, trying and failing to regain her
    "Brilliant one, boss," Tris muttered, grinning.
    "Oh, be quiet."
    "Yes what, ma'am?"
    "Yes to, um, what you said about... the... um... the thing.
You're absolutely right."
    "Oh, yes.  I always seem to be.  Will you excuse us?  Of
course you will."  He walked rather aimlessly off, Healer and
Mandy helping guide him as his directional sense seemed to have
fallen asleep.
    "That was sick," Mandy whispered.
    "That was cruel," Healer whispered.
    "That was *brilliant,*" the two said in unison.
    "Thank you," Bruce said absently.  "The question is, what's
her real purpose in being here?  She's as out of place as I am,
only without the justification of being a imbecile."
    "You know," Mandy said, "if anyone *else* said that..."
    "Don't say it, Tris," Shana muttered tiredly, looking at the
floor. "-Don't- say it."
    Tris grinned as the two headed with all speed back to where
Lori was rolling on the floor laughing at what Shana had just
been put through. "Me? I wasn't going to say a thing, boss."

    Alice turned away from the mirror and saw Johnson and Ward. 
Johnson was wearing a suit, as usual, and looked great in it, as
usual.  Ward had usually come more casually, though, and looked
*very* nice in a suit.
    Tim was astounded by what he saw.  When he first saw her, she
was someone to stop from robbing a banks, and he didn't pay any
attention to what she looked like.  Later, during their meetings,
she'd been a pretty girl in prison fatigues.
    Now, she'd taken the time to style her hair somewhat, put on
makeup, and was wearing a conservative, but nice, yellow
sundress.  He reminded himself, very firmly, that not only was he
married, but his wife could listen in on him if she wanted to,
and smiled.  "The camera's are going to love you, Alice."
    "They always have," she grinned.  "Any last minute
suggestions, Mr. Johnson?"
    Burt nodded, and started making random signs that held little
meaning themselves, but were a great cover for Tim's
"translation," which was actually a surface read of his thoughts.
If they were ever pressed, Tim was prepared to say that while
Mr. Johnson didn't know American Sign Language, Tim could still
understand his meaning due to long practice, and it was easier
for him to figure out what Mr. Johnson meant than it was for Tim
to teach Mr. Johnson ASL.
    He expected to be asked today, judging from the number of
reporters upstairs.  Burt had mixed feelings about the cameras
being allowed in the building, but had decided not to object.  He
expected the prosecution would feel the same way, as he'd had
dealings with the prosecuting attorney before.  A vain, mildly
repugnant individual, in his opinion, but very good at his job.
    Burt had to hope that he was better.
    "More a last minute question, Alice," Tim translated.  "Are
you sure about this?  Until we start talking to the judge, it's
not too late to change your mind, but it would be a lot easier on
us if you tell us now that you don't want to go through with it."
    Alice grinned wryly.  "I've changed my mind a dozen times in
the last five minutes.  But I've changed it back every time,
because I *don't* want to go to prison, and I *really* don't
think I could successfully escape.  If a radical deal can get me
off from that, I'm willing and ready."
    Burt nodded, smiling, and made a few gestures that left Alice
thinking he believed she'd made the right choice, but Tim said,
"By the way, you have a cricket in your hair."
    "Fashion statement," she lied smoothly.  Tim quirked an
eyebrow, knowing that she was lying, but decided not to pry.
    "Then, let's take that fashion statement upstairs, shall we?"

    There was a hush over the courtroom, a sort of quiet
expectancy.  The Knight Sabers--er, TONN reporters--were in
position, keeping their cover firmly in place.  Shana was still
trying to recover from her interview of Bruce Rogers.  She
strongly considered sending in the tape and marking it as an
insomnia cure, but was far more tempted to destroy all evidence
that she'd ever done the interview in the first place.
    The row directly behind the defense table was taken up by
(going left to right) Bruce Rogers, Healer, Mandy Harken, Phobos,
and two disposable extras who were fated to be knocked
unconscious in next episode's fight scene.  Tris had already
worked out the camera angles to make sure that Bruce wouldn't be
in the shot while she was focusing on Momentum.
    Idly, Tris wondered why they were still there. They'd found
out what they needed to from Momentum, so it seemed to her that
it was time to blow out of there.  Not that she was going to
point this out to Shana, of course, since she'd told Momentum
that she'd be there to root for her, and she fully intended to
follow through on that.
    The hush in the room intensified as the doors in the back
opened again, and several uniformed guards entered the room,
moving to stand in front of all exits from the room.  Shortly
after that, Momentum, her lawyer, and his translator were ushered
in, preceeded by, flanked by, and followed by more guards.
    Not that A.P.D. was being paranoid, of course.  They just
would have felt more comfortable if the Dash was there to do
guard duty.
    Alice looked over the people as she was escorted to her seat.
 She recognized Phobos immediately from his mask, but the rest
were unfamiliar to her, although the blond behind her seat seemed
vaguely familiar.  Bleach blond, that is, Alice thought to
herself, dismissing her from her mind.
    Instead, she took a moment to look at the prosecution.  There
were two people at that table, going over their notes and
whispering to each other.  One fit the description of "blandly
handsome" perfectly.  He was of the tall, dark, handsome, and
moneyed variety, she assumed, looking over his expensively
tailored suit, immaculately groomed nails, and perfect hair.  He
noticed her looking at him and winked before whispering something
to his companion, a thirty-something woman with blond hair. 
Probably really blond, she decided.
    Second later, there was a gentle tap on the door, and a guard
announced, "All rise.  Court is now in session.  The honerable
Harry T. Anderson presiding."
    Judge Anderson wandered in from the back door, muttering to
himself as he struggled to finish buttoning his robe.  "Siddown,
folks.  We've got a long day ahead of us, and I for one don't
want to stand the whole time, and I'll bet you feel the same way.
What's on the docket today, oh master of the filing system?"
    "For your pleasure and the camera's entertainment, sir, I
present to you case number 23504, the People vs. Alice, A.K.A.
the People vs. Momentum."
    "Really?  I thought that was next week.  Aren't we doing the
People vs. the Masked Jaywalker today?"
    "No, sir, he walked."
    Alice looked around, trying to track down the source of the
laugh track.
    "Bah-dum-dum," Judge Anderson intoned, sitting back in his
chair.  "Right!  People vs. Momentum it is.  And YOU," he pointed
with his mallet, "must be Momentum.  Stand up, if you would
    Alice stood up, as did both the prosecuting and defending
attorneys and their assistants.  Judge Anderson said, "Good work,
but you forgot to wait for me to say 'Simon Says.'  But enough
games!  Who wants to read the charges?"
    "Oh, may I, sir?"
    "Go right ahead, he who knows where the Jimmy Hoffa file is
    "Thank you, sir.  Today's contestant has been charged with
seven counts of robbery, one count of resisting arrest, gosh,
SEVERAL counts of destruction of university property, and one
count of exceeding the speed limit by several hundred miles per
    Judge Anderson looked at the file clerk for a moment.  "This
one's going to take awhile, isn't it?"
    "I'm afraid so, sir."
    "Right.  Well, let's get moving on this, then, shall we? 
Dare I say, get some momentum into the trial?"  Judge Anderson
grinned widely as the laugh track was again played.  "So, Mo--can
I call you Mo?"
    "Uhm... I guess," Alice answered.
    "Right.  So, Mo, how do you plead on these charges?"
    Alice glanced at Burt, who nodded.  "Your Honor, I plead
guilty on all charges save the last, which applies only to
vehicles.  I wasn't using one."
    Judge Anderson whistled.  "You were going..."  He glanced at
the file, "...over six hundred miles an hour, without a vehicle?"
    "I was, Your Honor."
    "Oh, call me Harry.  Everyone does.  Still, you sure about
this? I mean, if you plead guilty, you kill your chances of
writing a book after a long court battle where you eventually get
off on a technicality.  On the bright side, it would mean that
'Trip' Renfield--"
    "That's 'Reinhold,' Your Honor," the prosecuting attorney
said.  "Morrison Reinhold the third."
    "Right, Trip.  You can spell it for the reporters later.  As
I was saying, it would mean that he could stop preening for the
cameras in my courtroom that much longer.  But hey, it's your
call.  You sure you want to go through with a 'guilty' plea on
all of that?"
    "I am, you--Harry."
    Tim translated for Burt, "Your Honor, in the interest of time,
we move that the last charge, the speeding offense, be thrown
out, as my client clearly was moving under her own power, and
speeding offenses *do* require motorized assistance of some
    Judge Anderson considered.  "Weeell, I don't see a problem
with that, Mr. Johnson. How about you, Mr. Reinhold?"
    "Your Honor, the People have no objection."
    "How about the other charges?  Toss 'em and take an early
lunch?"  The laugh track apparently found this absolutely
    "No, Your Honor," Reinhold said without looking up from his
notes.  "The accused has admitted her guilt already.  If we move
quickly enough through the punishment phase, we can knock off
early and go play tennis."
    Judge Anderson said, "That's a great idea, Trip!  That is,
assuming you're Trip, since you've apparently been replaced by
aliens...  But regardless!  You're right, whoever you are.  Time
to meet out punishment.  Let's see.  How many counts of
destruction was that again, file god?"
    "That would be lots, sir!"
    "Your Honor," Tim interrupted, translating, "we would like to
introduce a somewhat...unusual plan brought to us by some
concerned citizens.  May we approach?"
    "Come on down, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Reinhold.  Just when I was 
starting to wonder when the plot twist would come in, too.  Good 
    "Thank you, your Honor."  Burt and Tim approached, as did
Reinhold.  Tim continued, more quietly, "Your Honor--"
    "Will you stop that? It's Harry.  Please."
    "...Harry, this one should give you entertainment for weeks. 
It was only brought to my attention recently, so I wasn't able to
give any warning to my distinguished colleague, but here's the
paperwork, and here's the plan in a nutshell."
    Tim handed Judge Anderson and Reinhold the paperwork
describing the plan as he translated Burt's quick breakdown. 
Judge Anderson sat back and listened, a grin forming and growing
on his face as he heard the plan.  Reinhold, on the other hand,
just looked shocked.  "You... can't be serious, Mr. Johnson," was
picked up by the minicamera Tris held.
    "I'm going to call a ten minute recess here, folks, since I
have some light reading I need to do.  Remember, ten minutes
means ten minutes, which means I expect you back within fifteen
at the *very* least."  Judge Anderson searched around on his desk
for his gavel, then opened a drawer, pulled out a rubber chicken
(which he set aside for later) and the gavel, which he banged
loudly on his desk.

    After the recess, Judge Anderson called the attorneys back up
to the bench.  "Okay, Burt, I'm going to allow you to present
your plan to the jury.  Trip, if you have any objections, and I
can tell by your face that you do, save 'em until he finishes
presenting the plan."  He waved the men away from the bench. 
"Whatcha got, Mister Johnson?"
    Burt started making a series of mostly-random gestures, which
Burt interpreted as, "Your Honor, we would like to propose that
sending Alice to prison would be a mistake, and offer an
alternative.  The 'Mazin' Mob has come to us with a plan that
would have her joining the Mob as a member, and joining the
Adjusted League Unimpeachable Academy for classes and
counselling.  This would be in the form of probation,
administered jointly by Phobos of the 'Mazin' Mob, Healer of the
Academy, and Trashman of the ALU."
    "Neat!  Mister Reinhold, you look like you have something 
to say..."
    "I do, Your Honor.  This...thing," he said, rattling the
pages, "hardly seems adequate punishment for a dangerous criminal
such as the young lady sitting at that table!"
    "Harry," Tim translated, "we'd like to remind our esteemed
colleague that the purpose here is not just punishment, but
rehabilitation, which would be much more difficult to achieve in
today's prison system, but could well be accomplished by this
plan.  To address the plan in detail, I'd like to call Phobos of
the 'Mazin' Mob to the stand to explain."
    "There's an idea.  Sure, bring him on!"

    Phobos was a bit self-conscious as he took the stand.  He'd
never particularly liked cameras, and now one was centered right
on him.  Sure, he was wearing a full-face mask, and he'd lost a
fair amount of weight lately, so he didn't look *bad* per se, but
he didn't like it.  Idly, he considered darkening the area right
in front of the camera, but decided against it.
    The bailiff, a tall bald man, held the Bible and asked
Phobos, "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and
nothing but the truth, in Superguy's name?"
    "I do," he said, and started to sit down.
    "Objection, your Honor!"  Trip cried, standing up.
    "Morrie..." his assistant mumbled.  "Not the mask argument. 
Please, not the mask argument...."
    "What proof do we have that this person is Phobos of the
'Mazin' Mob?  He's wearing a mask, for crying out loud!"
    Judge Anderson looked at Reinhold for a moment.  "You're
serious, aren't you, Trip?  Okay, any response, Mr. Johnson?"
    "Er..." Phobos started.  "I'd like to say something that can
quickly and easily establish my identity to everyone's
    Burt quirked an eyebrow at Phobos, then signed something to
Tim, who said, "Your Honor?"
    "Hmm? Oh, yeah.  Sure, if you can clear this up quickly, go
for it, Phobos."
    Phobos nodded, took a deep breath, and pulled his mask off. 
"My name is Mason Kramer, aka Phobos of the 'Mazin' Mob.  I can
establish my identity in the one, and prove my power for the
other, if you feel it necessary."
    There was a hush of about ten seconds duration, followed by a
loud uproar, which Judge Anderson countered with his gavel. 
Phobos took the time to wonder if he'd done the right thing here.
 After all, the mask was darn useful for keeping his expressions
hidden, and now here he was, on camera, maskless.  He'd never
have done it if he hadn't talked to his mom the night before, and
told her a few things, like, for example, what he'd really been
doing since February of '94 when he was supposedly enrolled in a
school for gifted youths.
    He'd been surprised when she told him that she already knew,
and supported him.  You just never really know your parents, he
reminded himself, waiting for the uproar to die down.
    "Now that's enough, people!" Judge Anderson stated.  "I don't
want to clear the room if I don't have to, because I do better
with an audience.  Mr. Reinhold?  That enough for you, or do you
need more proof?"
    "Your Honor, my objection stands.  Anyone could put on a mask
and claim to be Phobos, even if they then pull the mask off and
claim to be Phobos."
    "Right, right...  Can you prove that you're Phobos, Phobos?"
    "Sure.  I have one of my teammates here in the courtroom who
can do so.  Maria Mendez, more commonly known as Mirror Maid. 
Maria, would you care to stand up?"
    The reflective young woman stood up, her silvery skin a
testimony to the fact that she was, indeed, Mirror Maid.  "In
addition, Healer of the ALUA is also present, and she can
establish my identity as well.  Finally, as I indicated, I'm
willing to do a demonstration of ability."  Phobos waited for a
    Finally, Reinhold said, "Your Honor, in light of this, the
People remove our objections."
    "Thank you, Mister Reinhold.  Burt? Your show."
    Burt nodded and signalled Tim that he almost wished he had a
daughter for the express purpose of not allowing her to marry
Reinhold.  What Tim said, however, was, "Mr. Kramer, would you
care to outline your plan for the people assembled here?"
    "Uh, sure, Mr. Johnson.  It's really pretty much like you
said earlier, though.  We'd like to bring Momentum into the Mob
and the ALUA, so that she can learn how to help people rather
than rob banks.  She's already shown that she's got the instinct
to do that, you see."
    "What do you mean, Phobos?"
    Mason grinned.  "Just that she could have continued trying to
make her getaway when she took some precious time to save a man's
life.  Something that no one else was in position to do at the
time.  And, well, she deserves some consideration for that, we
    "Has she agreed to this plan?"
    "Yes, she has.  I have here a document outlining the plan that
she signed, stating her willingness to follow through.  I also
have copies of the paperwork making myself, Healer, and Trashman
probation officers for the states of Texas and Boston."  Phobos
handed the documents to the bailiff, who passed copies to the
judge and prosecution.
    "Thank you, Mr. Kramer," Tim translated.  Privately, he
added, //Nice move earlier, but warn us next time, will you?\\
    "No further questions, your Honor."
	Reinhold approached the bench with a slight swagger.  "Tell
me, `Phobos'," he said, managing to put derisive quotation marks
around the name as he spoke, "how exactly does a barely
post-adolescent child become the leader of a superhero team?"
	"This seems like a good place for an objection," Tim said, a
bit wide eyed from the Defense Stand.  Burt nodded rather
	"Seems like a really good place for an objection," Harry
said.  "I think that one gets a check mark in the old sustained
	"Your Honor," Reinhold said, a pained look on his face.
	"C'mon, Trip.  Call me Harry.  Everyone does!"
	"Because you *insist* on it in your ingratiatingly `nice'
way," Reinhold snapped.  "I *hate* this court."
	Harry narrowed his eyes, and leaned over towards the file
clerk.  "Can I give out the Death Penalty for Contempt of Court?"
he asked.
	"We *are* in Texas, Sir," the File Clerk said with a grin.
	"Ah," Reinhold swallowed.  "The State would like to retract
that comment, the question, and in fact everything we've ever
said, and take a couple of moments to regroup?"
	"The ingratiating Judge grants you leave to drop back ten and
punt, yes," Harry said, nonplussed.
	Reinhold stepped back to the bench and leaned over to his
assistant.  "I'd better just go with the credentials argument,
	"Depends on how much you like being hung," his assistant
	"You're rooting for it, aren't you."
	With a sigh, Reinhold stood and stepped back out into the
middle of the room.  "Phobos," he asked, "have you ever been
directly involved with the Criminal Justice System beyond
Vigalantish Law Enforcement?"
    "Yes, sir.  The Mob has an agreement with the State of Texas
which allows us to work at crime prevention at the state and
local level as special deputies.  So, technically, when operating
in Texas, we aren't operating as vigilantes, but as duly
appointed representatives of the law."
	"I see," Reinhold said, pacing slightly.  "Let me rephrase
this, then.  Have you ever been involved with any part of the
Criminal Justice System in a way that didn't involve you wearing
spandex and dealing with social problems by punching them in the
	Phobos grinned slightly.  "I'd hardly call what I wear
spandex, and I don't punch people in the face.  Heck, I'd
probably hurt myself more than them if I did so."  There was
chuckling audible throughout the courtroom.
	Reinhold grinned in a pained way, and chuckled.  "Oh yes," he
said.  "How pithy.  Your honor--"
	"Sorry.  Harry.  Old Buddy.  Old Pal.  Could you please ask
the witness to answer the question and stop splitting hairs.  Or
would you really want me to ask the question in a form that
doesn't open us up to a *frightfully* witty comment?"
	Harry leaned to Phobos.  "Trip here was undefeated in debate
in Law School, in part because he once asked a rebuttal question
with the semantic content of `where do you live.'  The recitation
of the question took three hours and had two intermissions."
	"Ah."  Phobos turned back to the prosecutor.  "No."
	"No.  I see.  So, you haven't been involved with, say,
rehabilitation programs?  Or counseling programs?  Or work
release programs?  Or prison benefit car washes?  Anything?"
	"No, sir.  Which is why--"
	"I see.  So, you're suggesting we allow you to shepherd a
known supervillain with considerable power, without having any
prior training or experience with prison populations?"
	"I'm suggesting nothing of the sort," Phobos said, calmly. 
"I'm suggesting that you allow us to work with the ALU to work
toward rehabilitation of a known supervillain that we have a
proven track record of being able to capture and hold."
	"Ah.  Then she would never actually be left alone in your
team's care?  She would always be kept with the Adjusted League
	"No, she wouldn't."
	"Then she *would* be left alone in your care?"
	Phobos nodded. "Yes, she would."
	"So.  Let's recap.  You and your team, having no prior
experience with rehabilitation or with dealing with prisoners on
a long term basis, would be placed in charge of a Supervillain of
considerable power.  She would be left in your care alone, often,
under the justification that you managed to capture her once.  Do
I have that more or less correct, Phobos?"
	"Uhm... Yes?"
	"I see.  And *what* a plan it is, too.  No further questions,
	Phobos started away from the stand, wondering exactly why he'd
thought this was a good idea in the first place.
	//She saved Burt's life, Mason.\\
	//Right. Knew I had a reason.\\
    "Okay, people," Judge Anderson said, drumming his fingers on
the desk and biting the end of a pencil.  "Let's settle down and
move on to the next witness, shall we?  Mister Johnson, it's your
    Burt stood, nodded, and made various random signs to Tim. 
"Your Honor," Tim said, "the Defense calls Doctor Elizabeth
    Healer stood and walked to the front of the room and stepped
to the small witness box.  "Do you swear to tell the truth, the
whole truth and nothing but the truth, in Superguy's name," the
bailiff asked her.
    "I do," Healer said, and sat.  She smiled slightly, her eyes
warm. Burt smiled too -- having a telegenic expert witness who
supported your side was never a bad thing when television was
    "Doctor Tirkoff," Tim began, interpreting for Burt, "you
    "Objection, your Honor," Reinhold said, rising.  "We have not
had the witness's qualifications as a so-called expert witness
    "Bwah," Ms. Post said, stunned, and leaned to the District
Attorney. "Trip, are you high?  Healer's one of the
best-established ex-"
    "That's my plan," Reinhold murmured with a smirk.  "Everyone
*knows* she's an expert, so no one's ever checked.  Trust me, I
know the way these `heroes' work.  She's probably got a degree
from a one-horse college and some community service hours but
because she's a `doctor,' everyone assumes she's so hot.  Let's
knock her out of contention now."
    Judge Anderson rolled his eyes.  "Well, Burt, `Trippy's' got
a point.  Can you establish the expert credentials of your
    Burt sighed, and began an elaborate series of signs and
movements that managed to convey to the people in the room and
the viewing public alike his personal belief that `Morrison
"Trip" Reinhold III' was in fact only *four* generations removed
from particularly low grades of chimpanzee, but Tim's
interpretation came out as "of course, your Honor.  Doctor
Tirkoff, could you please summarize where you went to school and
how you placed, as well as any other supplemental qualifications
which might be pertinent?"
    Healer smiled a small smile. "Of course, Mister Johnson.  I
received my Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Psychology from
Brown University, then went on and took my Medical Doctorate and
my Ph.D. in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University, graduating
fourth in one degree and second in the other.  I did my
internship at the University of Colorado Medical College.  I am
licensed to practice Psychotherapy in California, Massachusetts,
New York State, Texas and Washington State, with reciprocity
agreements in most others.  I am further licensed for private
practice in Massachusetts, California and Texas, currently.  I am
a member of the American Psychological Association, where I sit
on the Board, and I am a member of the American Medical
Association.  I also currently act as a Contributing Editor for
Psychology for The American Journal of Metahuman Medical Science,
and I am on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Psionic and
Psiological Research.  Is this sufficient, or should I begin
listing publications, awards and post-doc work?"
    "Ah," Reinhold said from the Prosecutor's Bench.
    Burt smiled and looked at Judge Anderson.  Judge Anderson
also smiled, and leaned back.  "Oh, I don't know," he said. 
"Gee, Trip... do we need to hear more, or does the Prosecution
withdraw its motion?  I'd really hate to delay lunch recess while
we wait for Doctor Tirkoff to read her C.V."
    "Um... this witness is acceptable to the State," Reinhold
said, trying to affect calm.
    "Great move there, Trip," Fisher said, eyes rolling.
    "So glad to hear it.  Mister Johnson, if you'd like to
    Burt nodded, and mimed hand motions and movements that
suggested that Reinhold would serve a much better purpose in life
if he'd simply *pursued* his dream of being a fry cook at
McDonald's, instead of throwing it all away for a career in law. 
"Doctor Tirkoff," Tim interpreted, "You are familiar with the
case at hand?"
    "I am," she replied.
    "It has been proposed that rather than see the Accused serve
a prison sentence that does no one any good at all, that she
attempt a period of rehabilitative study and community service
with the 'Mazing Mob, and attend courses at the Adjusted League
Unimpeachable Academy at the same time.  How feasible do you
believe this course of action is?"
    "Very feasible," Healer said with a smile.
    "Is this from a psychological point of view or a logistical
    "Could you please elaborate?"
    Healer smiled and crossed her arms in front of herself.  "Of
course.  From a psychological point of view, we have a subject
who is not truly a threat to society. Though she comes from a
background that has promoted a general lack of respect for
authority and a belief in her own superiority, these attitudes
are more reactions than ingrained beliefs. They are defense
mechanisms for a person who apparently has never had the
opportunity to believe or learn otherwise.  Where incarceration
would only reinforce this world-view, ultimately leading Momentum
to believe her view of the world the only rational explanation
for what she has endured and also ultimately making her the very
threat to society the Prosecution already maintains she is, a
program combining trust, the encouragement of the altruistic and
humane impulses she has already shown in the rescue of Mime Man
and education both in a moral application of her powers and the
physical use *of* those powers could only help prove to her that
her instincts are right... that there is more to the world than
survival of the fittest.  That there are higher purposes she can
turn her life towards.
    "From a logistical standpoint, the danger posed would be
minimal. The Mob has already shown themselves able to contain her
if necessary, and this would be readily supplemented by her
association with the Academy -- after all, if Momentum *were* to
use the work-release program to attempt an escape, she would find
herself facing Trashman's ability to track her... and the Dash as
an adversary.  As the Dash possesses all the known powers of
Momentum at exponentially higher power levels, the risk involved
is minimal."
    Burt nodded, and signed to Tim, who interpreted.  "What would
your involvement with the subject be on an ongoing basis?"
    "I would be first and foremost her primary teacher," Healer
replied.  "I would oversee her development and track her growth. 
I would also be her Counselor, helping her to deal with the
issues that first caused her to act anti-socially and criminally.
 Finally, along with Phobos and Trashman, I would be one of her
Probation Officers, working in conjunction with the Department of
Justice and the State of Texas Probation Office."
    "Do you foresee any difficulties with this plan?"
    "Finally... do you believe the subject is capable of the
redemption you have suggested?"
    "I would not have agreed to support this course of action if
I was not."
    "Thank you.  Your Witness."
    Reinhold stood, and stepped forward. "Doctor Tirkoff," he
said, pacing a bit, "are you involved with prison counseling
    "Yes, I am."
    "So you have regular interaction with the prison population
and with court-ordered counseling?"
    "Yes, I do."
    "And Doctor Tirkoff... are you aware of the various other
probationary and work release programs that have been attempted
and are currently being attempted around the country?"
    "It is a subject of particular interest to me, Mister
    "Good.  Tell me, is the rate of success for Prison Counseling
programs over ninety five percent?"
    "Over ninety percent?"
    "No."  Healer looked unflapped.
    "What *is* the rate of successful rehabilitation due to
counseling programs, Doctor Tirkoff?"
    "Approximately thirty-eight percent."
    "I see.  What about Work-Release programs?  What is the rate
of recidivism for Work Release Programs?"
    "Generally between sixty and seventy percent of former
prisoners return to some form of crime within ten years of being
released from such a program."
    "Sixty to seventy percent.  Mmm.  I see.  And these are for
non-super powered criminals?"
    "So what you are saying is... for most of the people involved
with the programs that are already in place, these programs
simply don't work."
    "I didn't say that.  Even in cases of recidivism, there is
    "Doctor Tirkoff, did you or did you not indicate that over
fifty percent of the participants of either Work Release or
Counseling programs return to some form of crime?"
    "I did."
    "Then, a majority of participants revert?"
    "The accused is a paranormal, is she not?"
    "Yes, she is."
    "The accused is untrained, is she not?"
    "Yes, she is untrained."
    "The Adjusted League Unimpeachable Academy is probably the
best paranormal training currently available and publicly known,
    "We try hard to make it so."
    "So, let me get this straight.  You are suggesting a program
of counselling and work release for the accused, knowing full
well that over fifty percent of participants in such programs
return to a life of crime despite them.  You are further
suggesting that you take this untrained but dangerous paranormal
and train her using the best currently known techniques, making
her an extremely highly skilled paranormal, who statistically
would return to crime afterwards?"
    "Statistics do not apply to the individual, Mister Reinhold."
    "All right, assume a hypothetical participant."
    "I can't.  We would not extend the offer--"
    "Objection," Tim interpreted for Burt.  "The Prosecutor is
leading the witness."
    "I withdraw the question," Reinhold said quietly.  "I have no
further questions."

    Phobos neatly avoided the onrushing press of reporters by
going over their heads--literally-- on his way out to wait during
jury deliberations.  He moved quickly for the water fountain and
got his fill, then looked up.  "Man, what a day."
    "Hey, Tim.  What do you think?"
    "Dunno."  He took a sip of water himself.  "I don't think the
jury was feeling very sympathetic, which means we're probably
looking at a loss here. If they come back quickly, it's lost.  If
they take their time, though, she's probably with--"
    "Gentlemen?  The jury's returning."
    Mason and Tim exchanged a glance, then headed back for the
courtroom silently.
    Judge Anderson retook his seat, motioning for people to sit
down, then the jury filed in.  The foreman passed a slip to the
bailiff, who hand-carried it to Anderson and handed it to him. 
He looked at it, frowned slightly, and handed it back.
    Alice figited in her seat.  She was about 95% certain that it
was no-go, and resigned herself to a prison sentence.  In a way,
she was relieved.  All morning long, she'd been listening to
opinions about her from people that hadn't ever talked to her. 
Especially Healer.  "Though she comes from a background that has
promoted a general lack of respect for authority and a belief in
her own superiority, these attitudes are more reactions than
ingrained beliefs," indeed.  Where does she get off analyzing me
when we've never exchanged so much as one word, she thought.
    }{This isn't going to be easy, Bruce.  She already hates
    ][Don't worry overly much about it.  The jury's decided in
favor of prison.  Notice how the foreman is standing, and how
none of them are looking at Momentum?][
    "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a
decision?"  Judge Anderson asked formally."
    "We have, your Honor.  We of the jury find--"
    Suddenly and without warning, the doors to the courtroom blew
open, and several people moved in quickly.  Very quickly, in
fact.  Superhumanly quickly, to belabor the point.  Quickly
enough that none of the guards had a chance to respond before
they realized that there were guns at their heads, the foreman's
head, and Judge Anderson's head.  Several people started to get
up, then decided, for the safety of all involved, it'd be better
to stay seated.  For the moment.
    "Excuse us, your Honor.  We'd like to take this decision off
your hands, if you don't mind."
    Alice knew that voice.  Slowly, she turned in her seat, and
saw that it was, as she figured, Professor Watt.






    To be continued, on the next episode of "Night Cou--" er,
Mason's 'Mazin' Mob, only on Superguy!

Episode 9

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a decision?" Judge Anderson asked formally. "We have, your Honor. We of the jury find--" Suddenly and without warning, the doors to the courtroom blew open, and several people moved in quickly. Very quickly, in fact. Superhumanly quickly, to belabor the point. Quickly enough that none of the guards had a chance to respond before they realized that there were guns at their heads, the foreman's head, and Judge Anderson's head. Several people started to get up, then decided, for the safety of all involved, it'd be better to stay seated. For the moment. "Excuse us, your Honor. We'd like to take this decision off your hands, if you don't mind." Alice knew that voice. Slowly, she turned in her seat, and saw that it was, as she figured, Professor Watt. "Didn't we already do this last episode?" Judge Harry Anderson asked his file clerk. "Standard literary device, sir. Take the cliffhanger from the last episode, and use it as the beginning of the episode, then roll the credits. That way, you bring people right back into the story as though they'd never left." Judge Anderson nodded, then looked around. "So, where are the credits?" Mason Kramer Proudly Presents: Mason's Mazin' Mob! in Speed Trials, Part Two of Three or by *THE* Mason Kramer Eric, Reverend Sabre ShadowyWriter Comments welcome Episode Quote Continuity Note: Fast and furious on the heels of MMM8. I mean, whoosh. No time for a break here, folks. Lights flashed, handbells were cut, and Mirror Maid stepped out of the Xolchaportation chamber. She didn't have to be at A.L.U.C.H.Q.M.O.U.S.E. anytime soon, because she might have been needed at the trial. She hadn't been, though, and decided to go back to the Acadley, just to have something to do. She knew what she was doing, of course. She was a bright young woman, and knew her mind well. Right now, she was going through the motions, doing whatever she could to distract herself from herself, so that she could keep from thinking about that dream. And, of course, everyone wanted her to talk about it, to get it out of her system. Even Healer didn't seem to understand that she didn't want to talk about it, because talking about it would lead to thinking about it, and that was the last thing she wanted to do. And she was doing it now, as usual. Sighing, she continued down the corridor. She stopped off at a water fountain and slowly, very slowly, aimed her thumb at the button to get a sip. ", anyway, Dani, a bunch of us are going to that concert, and I was wondering if you'd like to come with us?" Maria didn't look up at Roger's voice, but kept her head down, trying to capture some of the water. It was a tricky process, as she had to hold her mouth open and quickly lower her head, capturing a small amount before the stream turned back on itself, spilling down the drain. She had to repeat this process several times to get a good sip. "Sounds good, Roger. I'll have to check my schedule, of course...." Dangerousgirl's voice trailed off as the two passed. So, Roger seemed to be getting along well with the other students, she thought wryly as she took a few more gulplets. She stood up, started to wipe her mouth, realized (with mild annoyance) that it would be perfectly dry, and headed on toward the class. Healer had planned the schedule for classes well in advance, and had planned for today's class to be on the Mask Principle, something she had a bit of experience with. Unfortunately, the guest speaker thought he did as well, and had decided to take on the planned topic. *SQUEEEEEEEEK!* was the sound that greeted Maria as she opened the door, and she sighed. Mighty Guy had just finished drawing something on the chalkboard, judging by the sound and the faces of her classmates and teammates... Mighty Guy picked up his pointer and indicated the board, poking the stick through the drawing, the board, and the wall. "The Domino Mask, friends. One of the most effective tools in a crimefighter's toolkit! Why, with the mere use of a mask, you keep your friends, not to mention your enemies, who are the people you really want to keep from knowing your secret, from, er, knowing your secret." He put the pointer back on the desk, which was reinforced steel and therefore merely buckled under the pressure as he leaned on it. "Any questions?" "We've got a verdict," Dreamweaver exclaimed. She'd been paying some attention to the trial as well as to her classwork, and giving periodic updates. "The judge is reading the verdict... he's asked for the formal declaration... and... uh-oh." "Uh-oh?" Kid Electron asked. "Why say you 'uh-oh?'" "Because a couple dozen people just broke into the room." "Uhm... Look, fast as you guys are moving, do you really *need* to point guns at people?" Phobos asked as he slowly stood up. "Oh,no.Theyaren'tloadedornothin'," answered one of the speedsters, eliciting a moan from several of his fellows and a rolling of eyes from Watt. "Er,oops?" "Oh, well, that's all right then," Judge Anderson said, not quite sarcastically. "Look, would you mind explaining the meaning of all this?" "But of course," Professor Watt said, smoothly. "It will require a flashback..." "Nope, sorry, can't do it." All eyes turned on Phobos. "Why not?" "All the budget for this episode was blown on the fight sequence. We don't have anything left for a flashback, so you'll just have to exposit, instead." "Very well, if I must. That young lady, you see, is my lab assistant. She took my research and turned it toward her own evil plans, and didn't let me in on them. Furthermore, she's modified the formula somehow, both increasing the rate that she can move substantially over what my formula allows and, slightly more importantly, defeated one of the major side effects." Momentum looked up. "Side effects?" Watt nodded. "Accelerated aging. You should be physically in your mid-thirties by now." "...aha. But... I didn't do anything to modify the formula. Hell(tm), taking it in the first place was an accident!" "Really? Then it must be something different about you. Fascinating...Well, we'll have to look into that after we leave, then." "Er, I'm not coming with you." Watt's eyes flashed angrily. "You're not?" "Nope. I don't have any desire to live the rest of my life (a) getting examined, and (b) just waiting to get caught again. Much rather serve my time and get on with my life, thanks all the same." "My dear, you speak as though you have a choice." "Uh, well, she does," Phobos said, wincing inwardly. "Well, she's not going with you, at any rate. Uh, I mean...." "You mean that you and Healer, with no other support, are going to try and stop 24 people with accelerated speed and enhanced reflexes?" Watt laughed. Phobos grinned a grin he didn't really feel. "Hey, anything's better than going through another cross examination." "NINA!!" Lori yelled, sprinting up to the van parked in the lot beside the courthouse. "We've got trouble!!" She skidded to a halt beside the van and banged on the side door. "Nina!! Open up!" "Huh? I'm right here, Lori..." Nina said, wandering up. "But you're supposed to be guarding the van!" Lori yelled. "What are you doing out here?!" Nina slurped on her newly-acquired fudgesickle. "I got hungry and went across the street f'r munchies," she explained, grinning. "Look, we've got big problems, kid! Some metas are doing something in the courtroom, and Shana's still stuck inside! Now open the damn van already so I can get to my suit!" Nina blinked. "Er..." she patted her pockets. "Um..." Lori gaped. "You... you didn't. You couldn't have." "I'm sorry..." Nina said in a small voice. Lori peered inside the van and saw the keys sticking out of the ignition. "This... sucks." Phobos looked about quickly. //Right. Two dozen of them, four of us. I'm hoping four, anyway. Check with Healer.\\ //On it. Healer, we could use your help here.\\ }{Of course.}{ Phobos nodded quietly. //That helps the odds slightly. Mental, take the east, Mime Man, west, Healer, south. Keep an eye on your backs, and remember there's a ton of civilians around.\\ Remember there were civilians? Healer could scarely forget. She ducked to one side -- too bloody fasy, they were, and their thoughts were fast too. This could get very bad, very fast. She focused and reached for her targets, letting her mental power flow into two speeder's senses and choking them off. She had to make their speed irrelevant -- but there were so many of them there... so many of them to fight. To her side, Bruce Rogers lurched clumsily towards the door. "Terribly sorry," he said. "Must head out. Board meeting or somesuch. Sure you'll all have heaps of fun. Just sure." He had to get outside. He had to get into uniform. National television was *not* the place to reveal you were better at hand combat than people expected.... "Are you filming this?" Shana said, from where she and Tris had taken up a tactical defense position cowering under a table. "'course I'm filming this. Not like I have anything else to do. Sure we can't join in?" "Oh, right, yes, let's just reveal that we're not the reporters we say we are, in front of the ALU, the Mob, and Author knows who else. Brilliant idea, Tris." "Er...right. So we just sit here and watch and hope Lori and Nina get their butts in here soon?" "Right." "I can live with that." Shana produced a popcorn popper and a portable power supply from somewhere. "Munchies?" "Please." Bruce skidded to a stop. Not the reporters they say they were? What could they mean by-- Bruce's next thought was on landing comfortably. It was always a mistake to get distracted in a super-fast combat zone.... Mental took his tactical cue from Healer. He couldn't cut them off as smoothly, but he could focus them against each other rather than against himself. He had a minor advantage over Healer, too, in that he wasn't an obvious target. Advantage when you have inobvious powers... "..." Mime Man said as he ducked under a table, nearly colliding with the two reporters that were already under there. He nodded to them, then watched from a slightly secure position. Someone rushed by too fast to see more than a decent blur. He envisioned a speed bump, and was rewarded with that particular one going headfirst into a wall. Momentum grumbled her frustration. Not only was she the target of all this, but her legs were nicely chained to the table, so she couldn't get out with help anyway. Even if she was loose... She felt something at her leg and looked down. One of them was down there, working on the chain, and another had just come up behind her, grabbing an arm and using her as a shield between himself and Phobos, who'd just taken to the air. Wonderful. "Damn..." Tris muttered, spotting the two speeders working to free Alice. She kept the camera on Alice -- no sense missing any potential evidence. "Shana..." "Hmm?" Shana replied, discretely sending a non-stick baking tray skidding out over the floor to trip up on of the bad guys. Tris wondered, just for the moment, where Shana stored all these seemingly endless amounts of cooking supplies, then decided she really didn't want to know. Tris nodded to Alice. Shana glanced over and her eyes narrowed. "Damn..." Healer managed to throw herself around, getting the speeder who had grappled her in the way of the tumbling speeder who had tripped over a tray. She flooded mental power into her grappler's mind, shreading it somewhat. Contact made it so-- Three of them. All looking at her. }{Poopy.}{ They ran, grinning. They stopped, suddenly, not grinning, with massive looks of pains on their faces as they slid down an invisible wall. Nearby, Mime Man grinned slightly. Behind them, Bruce started discussing mutual bonds with his own attackers, trying ever so slowly to reach the door.... Flight is such a wonderful advantage, Phobos thought to himself. Sure, it makes you a big target, but it also keeps you out of reach of others when you *have* a target that you can reach. Unfortunately, he couldn't do much in the way of damage, because he didn't want to hit any of the bystanders, who were just adding to the general confusion. At least the reporters had gotten out of the way... Standing in the midst of the chaos, Professor Watt looked on, wondering what was going wrong. There were only two heroes there, they shouldn't be having so much trouble. He sighed, and once again wished he'd taken the serum himself. Another case of needing to do everything oneself if you wanted it done properly, he supposed. Mime Man sat under the table with the reporters, his eyes narrowed has he concentrated. This wasn't as easy as it looked. He felt the stress as another one ran into a wall that wasn't exactly there, and shuddered slightly. "Gotitlet'sgo!" exclaimed the guy unshackling the shackles. The other one tightened his grip on Momentum's arm and started to pull her from her seat. "Guys, you're forgetting something," she said quietly. "Hmm?what'sthat?Whatareweforgetting?" "I said," she mentioned as she slammed her elbow into the standing speedster's stomach, "I don't," she continued as she kicked the other one in the nose, "want to go!" she finished as she shoved the first guy firmly on the floor. Watching this, Tris quietly exulted and made sure she had the camera trained on Alice. "Go get 'em, girl..." If the judge doesn't go easy on her after THIS, she thought, there'll be Hell(tm) to pay. "HeyboysIgotthisone!" a speeder shouted, blurring towards Bruce, who'd made it as far as the door, at last. As always. Bruce dodged, making carefully sure to take a glancing blow and spinning himself around in a careful pantomime of ineptidude and pain. He heard the laugh of the speeder, who hit him again, spinning Bruce around faster and faster, Bruce looking befuddled and scared and clutching his briefcase to himself pathetically. Come on, he thought, a little faster.... "Richboydon'tknowhowtofight? Awwwwwwww...." Bruce was a good actor. He didn't even smile. He just let go of his briefcase. Which then hit the speeder in the forehead at three hundred miles an hour. It didn't fly apart into a million pieces. Bruce paid a lot for that briefcase. He slipped out the door, only faking vertigo until he made it into the hall. He truly hoped the others would leave him something. He was a touch tense. He needed to work that off. --- Break between parts --- "Ummm... Lori..." Lori didn't look up at Nina, being too intent on getting around the security lock Tris had built into the van's door. "Can you pipe down? I'm busy." "Er... ah..." "Oh, what is i-- urk!" Lori said, looking up finally and noticing the two policemen heading in their direction. "Um... oh, screw subtlety," she growled, pulling out a large gun and blowing a hole through the lock. "Hold them off for a sec, willya?" "Hold them... what?!" Nina blinked. "Loriii, how'm I supposed to..." Lori just scrambled into the van and closed the door again. "Um... hi, officers..." Nina gulped as the two policemen hurried up. "Nice, uh, weather we're having, huh?" "What the heck do you think you're doing?!" one of them exclaimed, pointing at the van door. "Um, breaking in?" Nina tried, then slapped a hand over her mouth. "Umm.." "Right," one of the policemen said, rolling his eyes. "Book her, Danno." "The name's George, dangit! George!" complained the other one. "Why the heck do you keep calling me Danno?!" "Aww..." "Besides, she didn't do any--" George started, but was cut off in mid-word as a suit of powered armor blasted out through the back of the van and headed towards the courthouse. "Um." "Eep!" Nina exclaimed. "Yow. Okay, kid. You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you--" "Waaah! Shaaaaaanaaaa! Help!" Phobos finally started making some progress. He didn't want to hurt anyone, but he could always do a few blinding flashes. If someone else got hit, the worst would be that they couldn't see for a bit. If one of the speedsters got hit, they likely ran into something before they could stop, or became sitting ducks if they managed to stop. He was about to use the process again, when he noticed Momentum was free. Almost instinctively, he aimed there... Momentum noticed Phobos' aim, and dodged quickly, moving right into another of the speedsters. She winced at the contact, but the speed she'd been going was enough to throw him off balance, make him stumble onto a pie pan, and fall flat. More quickly than man should be able to move, he stood up and started to tackle her. More quickly than he could respond, Momentum dodged and slammed her fist into his back, flooring him again. Idly, she wondered where she'd learned to fight like this, as she ducked under yet another person. Mental grinned to himself. Nice to see his instincts were right about the girl, he thought, even as he continued to hold two of the speedsters under his control. He couldn't make them fight nearly as effectively as their mates, but just the fact that he was keeping four or five people from doing anything else was a plus. Judge Anderson peaked out from under his bench. "Hmm... Looks like the odds are evening out out there. Twelve of them still on their feet, looks like, and both the heroes are up still..." "Glad to hear it, sir. By the way, what *is* that smell?" "My lunch from last week. Remind me to clean up down here, will you?" "Damn, this is frustrating..." Tris muttered, continuing to film the battle, the ultra-tech enhancements in her camera easily adjusting for the high rate of speed of the people she was filming. Beside her, Shana dispensed another no-stick baking implement onto the floor, then paused. "Well, there *is* one more thing we can do." "Oh? What's that?" "Yaaaay! Go, team!" Shana exclaimed, pulling out a pair of pom-poms. Phobos, Phobos, he's our man! If he can't do it, no one can!" "Dooowh..." Healer felt the surprise of one of the speeders at the cheerleading reporter. Well, surprise and a somewhat baser emotion. But what else was new? She wrenched his thoughts and threw herself to the floor as another swung at her, his fist cracking the sound barrier. She reached out and snagged -- one... two... three.... "Aha!!!" Healer blinked, as Professor Watt ran for her, clutching a pistol. "Foolish woman!" he shouted. "You're powerful, yes. I'd expect as much from a hero! But you're holding my minions at bay with the power of your mind -- leaving you uncharaceristically defenseless against the power of Watt!!!!" "You know," Healer said, "you don't have to use the overblown dialogue any more. They revised the standard Style Sheet. You can talk like a human." "Be that as it may -- prepare to pay the price for your folly! With your mental powers occupied, how could you stop me?!" Healer narrowed her eyes, took one step forward, turned slightly, and kicked Professor Watt in the gun hand (not causing him to fire it, as the safety had been left on), the wrist, the elbow and the head -- the last a full extention toe kick that broke the professor's nose and knocked him back under one of the benchs. "You know, you're not helping my case much," Trip groused from where he was cowering. "Sod your case," Miss Post said, braining Watt with her briefcase. "Youknow,nowthatthebossisout,asishalftheclass... IthinkI'mgettingoutoffhere..." mumbled one of the more intelligent speedsters. He made a break for the door at slightly under 250mph. And stopped. How Momentum got there before him when she'd been behind him, he didn't want to think about. "C'mon,Ijustwanttoleave..." "Yeah?Well...Right.Forgetit.I'mnotleaving,andyou'renotleaving, 'tillthejudgesaysgo." He narrowed his eyes. "Fine," he said as he charged, running right through the space where he could have sworn she was standing an instant earlier... and running right into a Millite trashcan lid. Trashman slowly walked into the room, looking in both corners. Looking at the speeders who were still standing. Who were looking at him. The lid had sounded like a gong when the cretin had run into it. "You have exactly five seconds to surrender," he called out. "Four..." A Speeder charged him. Trashman saw, judged, threw himself into the air and hurled the lid against a wall, rebounding it into the speeder, expertly leading him, and knocking it at mach speed into the back wall, where it bounced to the side wall, and into a second speeder, before skittling across the floor, hitting a no-stick bake pan and flipping into Trashman's waiting hand. "Three." Three Speeders threw themselves on the floor, putting their hands over their heads and whimpering hypersonically. The rest did not. Trashman moved forward, finishing the count. "All right," he said. "Three of you get to walk out under their own power...." "Should've gone down with 'em, Alice," Momentum mumbled to herself as things went back into high gear. She ducked a fist and butted her head into the attached stomach, then stood, flipping the guy into the wall at a few hundred miles an hour, causing a serious impression. "When'd you become a glutton for punishment?" Mime Man was wondering the same thing, pretty much. Definite migrane forming. At least no one'd tried going under the table to take out the... A hand reached under the table far too quickly to be seen, reaching for the camera. Tris didn't react fast enough to do anything about the hand. But truth be told, she didn't have to. The Speeder froze and shuddered as a pulse of several hundred thousand volts from the camera's anti-theft system played Happy Fun games with his nervous system. "Hi, there," Shana said, as the anti-theft system cut off, letting the Speeder pull himself free. "urgle," he managed. "Bye, now," she continued, kicking him in the head. Tris peered at her camera. "Hey, cool, it worked! I've been waiting ages to test that feature!" Mime Man quirked an eyebrow, then grinned at Shana. Quickly, he signed "Nice moves, by the way." Shana winked and grinned back. "Thanks. I try to be useful as well as fashionable." Tris just rolled her eyes and concentrated on her camera work. Mime Man signed, "You're both, easily." He was about to continue, but an annoyed pulse from Mental brought his attention back to the matter at hand. Not that there was much left to do, he grumbled (or would have, if he could grumble without moving his hands). Mental let go of his current captives as both lapsed into unconsciousness, having been overcome by two other speedsters, and reached out for one more. This one he merely had run into a wall at full speed, denting the wall slightly and his nose greatly. Two left, by his count. Healer took several deep breaths, watching the remaining two circle the room at high velocity, looking for an opening. "Do you people really do this for fun?" Judge Anderson asked. "Well, that and the exciting prizes for selling seeds," she said. There -- one of them was swinging around, grabbing a broken bannister and swinging it around-- The girl -- Momenteum. She didn't see the speeder swinging. }{Behind you!}{ Healer sent reflexively, before glancing at the last one. Momentum went into a cartwheel, getting out of the way and setting the happless fool up for Mime Man's wall. She came back to her feet in front of Healer. "Keep out of my mind!" she snapped before turning away and tracking the last person. Healer blinked, startled. With a sigh, she turned to the last one as well. Not far from them, Trashman was poised. Mime Man and Mental were ready, though didn't appear it. The Speeder looked around himself, looking cornered. He took some solace, however, in the fact that it couldn't get worse for him.... Of course, predictably, at that point, things did indeed get worse. With a shriek of jet thrusters, a Tornado suit came blasting through one wall, scattering debris over half the room. The Speeder just gaped, too stunned to react, and the half-ton power armor suit casually settled itself down on his feet. "YEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!" he yowled, startling the suit's pilot, who pivoted rapidly and accidentally slammed the Speeder across the room, imbedding him firmly in the wall. The suit looked around, somehow managing to display confusion. "Don't tell me I missed the fight sequence..." Momentum picked up her chair and sat down. "Hey, I won't tell you that..." Judge Anderson called for a 30 minute recess, to give enough time to arrest the speedsters and Professor Watt and get them down to processing, as well as enough time to clean up the room a bit and get all of the no-stick baking pans out of there so it wasn't quite so dangerous. He told the jury to go back to the sequester room and wait it out, the stand to go do whatever, and pointed his gavel at Momentum. "As for you, young lady... Don't leave the building." Reinhold jumped up. "Your Honor..." "Trip, I think she's proven that while she might have been a flight risk at one point, she isn't anymore. I'm going to overrule on this one." Momentum grinned. "Thank you, Harry. You won't be sorry." "I know I won't. I've never had cause to regret a decision like that," the judge said, returning the smile. He then banged his gavel. "That's thirty, folks!" Alice quickly made her way over to Tris. "So, did you get my good side?" Tris grinned. "Sure did! You were great. I think the camera loves you." "Really? Wow, and we've never even kissed. Join me in the snack bar while we wait for the jury to come back and throw me in prison?" "Sure." Shana was about to protest that they needed to pack up before Trashman got around to wondering what the Tornado Knights were doing in Austin when she felt a tap on her shoulder. She spun quickly and reached for a spatula, then smiled a little when she saw Burt standing there, smiling back. Burt quickly signed, "Sorry to startle you, but I was wondering. Several members of the Mob are going to a concert this weekend, and I've been invited, along with a guest. Would you be interested in being that guest?" She blinked a couple of times. "Uh, sure, I suppose..." She successfully squelched the "there's a story here" senses enough to keep from pumping her fist in the air, but not quite enough to grin. She didn't notice Trashman watching her thoughtfully before slipping out of the room. Thirty minutes later, the original scene represented itself, the major difference being the large hole in the ceiling, and a few broken chairs. Once again, Judge Anderson said, "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a decision?" "We have, your Honor," stated the foreman. He read off a piece of paper. "We of the jury have elected to recommend that Alice be placed under probation, under the terms as outlined by Phobos in the document provided as Exibit A." "Bwah?" Alice bwahed as the courtroom exploded with murmering. Judge Anderson blinked, then looked at the foreman carefully. "You did?" "Yes, your Honor, we did." (The second time we convened, we talked it over, and, well...) he thought. "O-kay! Your recommendation is taken. Mo, you're under probation for three years. If you break the terms of your probation, you're gonna be right back in here. You know what that means?" "Yessir, I think I do." "Well, let's make sure. You break your probation, you come back, I look at what happened. If I'm not happy, you get to go to prison, and it's likely you'll serve the full term without parole. Kapish?" "Er... Kapish." "Good, good... And look! It's 11:30! Court adjourned for lunch, we meet back here for whatever case is next. What *is* next, oh, filer of files?" The file clerk looked at his list. "That would be the Case of the Singing Nun, sir. Disturbing the peace." "Right! Back at 2, and bring your earplugs!" He banged his gavel loudly enough to cover the laughtrack, just as the credits started rolling. CREDITS? BUT THE CREDITS WERE AT THE FRONT OF THE EPISODE. DID YOU MEAN THE TEASERS? Whatever. Superguy. It's not just for breakfast anymore. ---Break between parts--- The camera slowly panned across the empty courtroom. Lunch had been called half an hour ago, and everyone had cleared out. It was very quiet. You could hear a pin drop. Or, more likely, a piece of the ceiling from where Lori had dropped through. The camera stopped on a piece of paper sitting on the floor. It fluttered slightly to some unseen breeze. A nearby table started shaking. It was quickly followed by the shaking of the chairs, the bench, the lights, and the walls. Then, suddenly and with a lot of warning if you really think about it, one of the walls exploded in a shower of granite as two large figures flew in. "Fear not, friends, for we are here at last to save the day!" Mighty Guy proclaimed, loudly enough to shatter the windows in the building, as well as the next building over. "That's odd! They seem to have left," Mighty Dog said, slightly more quietly. Mighty Guy looked around. "Indeed! Then we are too late to stop the foul villain from taking them, but do not despair! We are not, I say *not* too late to rescue them from their villainous plans! Come, Mighty Dog! We must scour the city!"

Episode 10

Mason Kramer Proudly Presents: Mason's Mazin' Mob! in Speed Trials, Part Three of Three or Probation! by *THE* Mason Kramer Stirge Comments welcome

Last updated 7-19-96 17:45 CDT.