Hi. *THE* Mason Kramer here. I was going through the archives looking at my old stuff and cringing, when I decided to share the pain a bit and put together collections of the old stuff. Apologies in advance. You see, I'm not the writer I used to be. I'm better. I know this. And, frankly, this stuff, for the most part, sucks. If it weren't important historically, I'd probably just delete any traces that it ever existed and move on. But there are glimmers of potential here and there. Episode 2 is tolerable, and episode five almost rocks. Six is okay for a necessary issue. Things continue on in this vein until after the Industrial Revolution, when I suddenly start writing better. I'm really not sure what made the difference, but it's noticeable. Read this, and then read "Summer's Vacation," the third collection, and tell me that it's the same Author. In any event, try to extract what pleasure you can from this collection. I need to go get a drink now. I'm depressed.

========================================================================= Date: Tue, 1 Feb 1994 08:46:00 PST Reply-To: UCF SUPERGUY List <SUPERGUY@UCF1VM.BITNET> Sender: UCF SUPERGUY List <SUPERGUY@UCF1VM.BITNET> From: "Kramer, Mason" <MKRAMER@MAIL.TEA.TEXAS.GOV> Subject: SG: Teen Team #1

TEEN TEAM #1 in Birth Act 1 Conception by Mason Kramer

C o n t i n u i t y C o r n e r

This is happening *now*. From what I've seen, everyone else is out of continuity, but this story is in it. Okay, it's a little behind, actually. The first part is, anyway. But I'll be caught up in the second part. So there.

Scene 1: A remote island in the tropics. Well away from anything that could be considered "Wintery." There are two men lying on the beach, working on a nice, winter tan. The only feature they have in common is that they are male, but the resemblance ends there. The larger one is, well, fat. There are kinder, gentler terms to use, but let's not quibble, right? After all, he hasn't lost any of his rotundness in the past century, since he posed for that Coca-Cola (r) ad, so he's not likely to really care, right? However, he was not so large that one would mistake him for an albino whale that got beached, mainly because of the beard, so he's lucky there. His companion is much smaller. Much. In high heels, he could maybe top out at 2 feet tall. The second thing you might notice about him is that his ears are sharper-looking than Captain Spock's. The third, or first if on the phone with him, would be the loud, high-pitched, annoying voice, which he is fortunately not using at the moment. The larger one says, "I'm tired, Melvin." The smaller one, presumably Melvin, replies, "That's why I suggested this vacation, boss. Let's face it, you've been working way too hard for way too many years, and the past couple years weren't even able to do the part you enjoy the most. Face it, boss, you're dangerously close to burnout." "And here I thought you suggested it because *YOU* wanted to go. Ho-ho-ho." "I'm still surprised that your missus didn't want to come..." "But that's not what I mean by tired. Melvin, I'm about to let you in on a big secret. You have to promise to never tell anyone. I mean it. Especially not the missus." "You got it, boss." Melvin turns to face the larger man, preparing for a shock. "I'm Superclaus." For a moment, Melvin sits there, waiting for the big revelation. Belatedly, he realizes that this *WAS* the big revelation, and says, "Wow! You're Superclaus? I, er, never would have guessed!" "At first, it was exciting, sneaking out in my costume, flying around the world, righting wrongs and saving little boys and girls. But leading this double life is getting to me. I never get any sleep any more, and I think the missus is starting to suspect something." Melvin resists the urge to say that she'd known from the beginning, and instead says, "What are you thinking of doing, then, boss?" "I think it's time for Superclaus to retire. I need to focus all my energies on my day job and, er, the missus." "But you can't do that, boss!" Melvin exclaims, genuinely shocked. "Think of the children!" "I am, Melvin, I am. I'm not saying I'm going to retire without making sure that someone is there to take care of them. I need to find a successor. And I want your help." "Me, sir?" The larger man turns toward Melvin, and removes the cotton from his eyes. "Yes, Melvin, you. No, not as my successor, but to help find him. Or her, it is the 20th Century, after all. "When we get back home, I want you to start looking through The List." Yes, you can hear the capitols. "Find someone with the proper combination of powers, abilities, and a love for children. Keep me informed, of course." Melvin swallows. This is the biggest task that the boss had ever assigned *anyone*, and he has it. Just his luck. "You got it, boss."

Scene Two: Two weeks later, in what looks like a small toy factory. Not a modern looking one, though, but more on the lines of a toy factory from around the turn of the century. The two people from the last scene are in an office, the large one behind a desk and Melvin sitting on the desk. He has apparently just gotten there, as he is opening a briefcase. "It's not been easy to match your specifications, boss. Here are the three I've been able to match up with, but I don't think they're right for the job." The large man takes the papers from Melvin, adjusts his glasses, and looks at the first one. "No. As much as I admire the man, he's vastly underpowered, and been injured recently due to a tactical error on his part." He barely glances at the second, and looks at Melvin in surprise. "This one would be more likely to shoot a child than save one! How did you decide on him?" "He's always saving people in an admittedly violent way, usually without revealing his presence. Why, he was instrumental in bringing Superguy back from the dead, with a single bullet, and noone saw him at all!" "That's because he didn't fire the shot, and he wasn't there. Remember, I know who's been naughty, and he's been it. Don't worry about it." He looks at the third sheet and pauses. Finally, he sighs, "No, he'd be perfect, of course, but Superguy is much too busy." Melvin grimaces, and says, "That's what I thought, too, but he really is the only one person that matches your specs." "The only one person? Elaborate." "Well, I did have a thought, but it's probably stupid. Maybe one person isn't right for the job, but a group of people would be." The large man sits, stunned by the idea. "It's perfect! We can find people with the proper qualities, form them into a team, and set them to work. We can set them up with uniforms, a secret base, the whole nine yards! Brilliant, Melvin! Get to work on finding some appropriate people, at once." "Begging your indulgence, boss, I already have," says Melvin, pulling a folder out of the briefcase. The large man reads through the folder, pauses, and reads through again. "Interesting," he says, "but don't you think their a little... young?" "I don't think so. Remember, their primary mission is the protection of children. Who better for the job than people that can blend in with them?" "Besides, look at their abilities..."









For the answers, stay tuned to this list. You know,

SUPERGUY! ========================================================================= Date: Fri, 4 Feb 1994 22:49:15 -0600 Reply-To: UCF SUPERGUY List <SUPERGUY@UCF1VM.BITNET> Sender: UCF SUPERGUY List <SUPERGUY@UCF1VM.BITNET> From: Mason L Kramer <masonk@TENET.EDU> Subject: SG:Teen Team 2: Birth Act 2 Gestation Part One

Teen Team #2 Birth Act #2 Gestation Part One by Mason Kramer

Scene 1: Takes place immediately after Act One, Scene Two. Still in the toy factory. The large man says, "Very well, Melvin. You've done your research here, I can tell. Go ahead and get who and what you need to put this... this Teen Team together." "If you wish it, I will. But there is one thing I must ask, and that is that we must have complete autonomy once I put it together. My Teen Team, as you call it, works alone." "Hmmm," Hmms the large man, steepling his fingers. "Very well. On two conditions. "Condition One: You don't let them know who their patron is. Young as they are, they still probably wouldn't believe you. "As for the second..."

Scene 2: Three days later. This is apparently a girl's room, if one were to make a guess based on something besides the girl in question being on the bed. The walls are painted a light pink, there are frills hanging from the bedcover, and posters of horses covering some of the pinkness of the walls. The girl lookes to be about 16, and is very pretty. Her long, blond hair is well set off by her black dress that she is currently wrinkling by lying on her bed with it on. The whole day seemed to have gone wrong earlier. She was having a hard time staying awake in class, and the teacher had caught her daydreaming again. Naturally, her parents had been informed, and now she was locked in her own room. Naturally, she feels that it isn't her fault. She wasn't the one that told the local CBS affiliate to preempt David Letterman to 11:00pm rather than run it at 10:30. Suggestions that may be too late to stay up for Dave fell on deaf ears, of course. Why, in some parts of the country, Dave didn't come on till 11:30 or midnight, and people watched him there! Well, she would just have to get along without him for the next two weeks, she thinks, since Mom and Dad won't let me watch while I'm grounded. Life just isn't fair when you're 16, she reflected. With that, she starts taking a serious nap. A few minutes later, Dad sees her come down the stairs and walk into the kitchen. He frowns, as she is under strict instructions to stay upstairs until he says otherwise, and heads into the kitchen as well. He sees her looking in the fridge, and says, "Samantha, just what do you think you're doing?" Samantha looks up, sees him, and smiles. "I just needed something to drink, Daddy." She ducks her head back in the refrigerator. He walks toward her angrily, and is amazed when she vanishes before he's halfway across the floor. The refrigerator door closes itself. He runs up the stairs, taking them two at a time and flings her door open. He sees her, napping on the bed, still wearing her black dress. He sees her, sitting at her desk, wearing black shorts and a black tee-shirt, looking at her history book and sipping a Dr. Pepper (non-dietic). She looks up from the text book and says, "Is something wrong, Daddy?" Dr. Malone, for whom Samantha was named, says, "Oh, boy," and proceeds to faint.

Scene 3: Same place, same day. Suppertime.

Dr. and Mrs. Malone seem to be darker than the tee-shirt that Samantha is wearing when they walk into the dining area. Samantha is already there, reading some silly fantasy book (tm). She almost guiltily hides the book when she sees her parents have arrived. "Sam," her mother says, "we need to talk." "I'm sorry, Mom, but I just can't help it! That class is *SO* boring! You'd fall asleep in that...." "Not about that, Samantha," interjects her father. "It's about something that happened this afternoon, something that I hoped I'd never see, but something I always expected might happen." "Uh, is it something we can talk about while we eat?" "We sent out for pizza." "Cool. So what's on your mind, parents o' mine?" A moment later, she says, "Don't everybody talk at once, now." "I'm sorry, honey, but it's just so hard to decide where to start." Mrs. Malone turns to her husband and asks, "Dear, did we ever tell her that she's adopted?" "Why, no, I don't believe the subject ever came up!" "Well, *DUH!* I figured out a long time ago that you two weren't exactly my biological folks. It's just not very likely that two African-American people can have a daughter of apparent Scandanavian descent. Just because I tend to fall asleep in class doesn't mean I'm *stupid!*" "I rather thought that you would figure it out, but I expected that you would ask about it some day." "Nah. Oh, sometimes I've wondered about what kind of people could give up such an intelligent, beautiful, wonderful person like myself..." she grins, "But seriously, they didn't keep me. You did. It just plain wasn't something I thought about." "I mean, look," she says, cutting off her father, "You guys fed me, kept a roof over my head, taught me how to take care of the animals out here, etc. All they did was leave me, right?" "Well, almost. It's quite a bit more complicated than that. So much so, that we need to tell it in flashback in scene 4."

Scene 4: A hospital room. Mrs. Malone is in the bed, nearly conscious, her hair spread in a halo around her on the pillow. Her husband is sitting beside her, holding her hand. The doctor is standing on the other side of the bed, talking to the couple. "Then, there's no hope that we can ever have children?" asks Dr. Malone. "I'm afraid not. Of course, there's always the possibility of adoption." "Doctor, could we have a few minutes alone?" "Very well, Mrs. Malone. Dr. Malone, would you mind stepping outside for a few minutes?" "Actually, Doctor, I meant he and I." "Ah." The Doctor turns on his heel and leaves the room. "Honey, I'm sorry. I'm really..." "We will adopt. I had a dream about it. I will tell you when the time comes." Time goes by. We rejoin them six months later as they are watching television in the den. They seem to be just quietly enjoying each other's company, when a horse and rider stride into the room through the television. As Dr. Malone sits there, gasping for breath, Mrs. Malone gets up from her chair and accepts the bundle handed her. The rider says, "Thank you for offering your help. My condolences on your loss." "And mine, yours. Will you visit?" "It would not be safe for her, or for me, if I did. Do not tell her where she came from unless disaster strikes, or she comes into her powers. It is rather unlikely; only 10% of the family receives them. If she does, give her this." The rider hands Mrs. Malone a necklace, with a cameo of a horse. "This will provide her with what she needs at that time. "She will be more able to defend herself if she comes into her powers, but she will also be more vulnerable. If that should happen, she can be tracked and found. Therefore, I want your solemn oath: If she should come into her powers, you *must* make her leave, that you not suffer for your generosity. This is as much for her protection as for your own." "I promise, much as it pains me to do so." "And you, good healer of men and caretaker of animals: do you swear as well?" "You just walked through a wall! On a horse!" The rider smiled. "I do tend to do that. "I must leave, before I am traced to here. Guard my daughter well, and if things ever settle down at home, I will be back. And thank you again!" So saying, he rides through the couch and presumably through the kitchen door.

Scene 5: "And so we raised you as though you were our own little girl, until today." "Wait a minute, are you trying to say that you think I have some sort of powers?" "Samantha, I saw you sitting at your desk and laying in your bed at the same time. I saw you disappear from the kitchen!" "Maybe you were dreaming?" she asks hopefully. "That's what I thought when I first met your father," Mrs. Malone interjects. "I met him in a dream." "Maybe this will help." So saying, Mrs. Malone gets up and starts for the living room. When the doorbell rings, she goes and gets the pizza first. She then returns to the living room, and returns from it, holding a box. "This is what your father gave us before he left." She hands the box to Samantha, who opens it. The necklace is inside, and she gently brings it out. "It's beautiful!" she exclaims, holding it like it was a fragile egg growing a chick inside of it. She looks at it closely, and notices the latch on the side. She presses her thumb at it, and it opens. A man appears on the table. Well, half a man does. The other half is under the table. Only his legs can be seen at first, until Samantha realizes what is wrong and holds the necklace at the proper angle. The man rights himself, but he is still cut off by the table. "Sam," the man says looking just a few inches over the head of Samantha, "By the time you see this, you will be 16 years old, and I will likely be in my grave for much of that time. I hope that you haven't been a burden to the Malones. "If you are able to see this, then the Malones noticed a change about you. This change is not unknown to your family, although it is rare. "You have the ability to project dreams. There are two ways that this can happen. You can broadcast dreams to all in the area, but they are week and cannot truly affect someone, save by covering that which is there. The other way is to project the dream at one person, at which point it is reality for that person. Use this ability wisely. Dreams *can* kill in this manner. "Your steed will be outside the door. You need to prepare a pack and leave. I suggest you try to find other powerful people and band with them for protection; both your protection, and the protection of the people of this world." The man fades. Samantha sits there for a minute. The man reappears, and gets on top of the table. He starts dancing a little jig on the box of pepperoni. "Then it's true." "*You're* doing that?" Samantha nods, and the man vanishes. "Oh, Honey, I am going to miss you so much!" cries Mrs. Malone. She stands and rushes over to her daughter, grabbing her in a huge bear hug. Dr. Malone sits quietly, a single tear falling from his eye. More hugs and kisses occur, but this is supposed to be a humor list, so I'll avoid the rest of it. An hour later, Samantha steps into the night. She is wearing a dark cloak, covering dark leotards from her ballerina days. "If I'm going to be a superperson, I may as well dress the part," she had told the Malones while changing and packing. She looked around for the promised steed, but sees no more than the horses that live at the ranch. "So, is it either one of you guys," she asks them, certainly not expecting an answer. //No, it's me,\\ she hears from behind. She turns, and sees the darkest horse she's ever seen. It almost seems to suck the light right in, not allowing any to escape. "You?" she asks. The horse nods. "Yup, definitely my night for surprises," she says, going to the horse. "What should I call you?" //Call me Nightmare, for that is what my people are,\\ comes the answer. Samantha realizes that she's not so much hearing the answer as receiving it. "Chalk it up to another surprise," she thinks. "Well, you can call me Samantha when we're alone, but call me Daydream Believer the rest of the time, Okay?" //After the Monkees tune?\\ "You've heard it?" //Just because I'm a horse doesn't mean I don't like music,\\ the Nightmare laughs. //So where are we going, anyway?\\ asks the Nighmare as Daydream Believer mounts up. "I'm really not sure. I was thinking California, where Calforce is, but with all the earthquakes, I'm not sure that's a good idea." "Mind if I offer an alternative?" asks the elf sitting on top of the Nightmare's head. Briefly, Samantha wonders how she could have missed him earlier.






The last question will be answered Tuesday. The others will sit in the vault with the winners of the Golden Grunion until Burt Ward wins a major award. It could only happen here. Only on......

SUPERGUY! ========================================================================= Date: Wed, 9 Feb 1994 18:13:00 PST Reply-To: UCF SUPERGUY List <SUPERGUY@UCF1VM.BITNET> Sender: UCF SUPERGUY List <SUPERGUY@UCF1VM.BITNET> From: "Kramer, Mason" <MKRAMER@MAIL.TEA.TEXAS.GOV> Subject: SG:TeenTeam#3 Gestation Part Two

Teen Team #3 Birth Act #2 Gestation Part Two by Mason Kramer

Scene 1: Takes place immediately after Act Two, Scene One. Still in the toy factory. The larger man says, "What do you mean by 'full autonomy?'" "Just that, Boss. No offense, but if you want me to run this team, you have to give me all the responsibility. Otherwise, you may as well come out of retirement. That's not to say I don't want the help for the setup." The large man sits for a minute, looking at his companion. "Very well. On two conditions." "First, you cannot let them know who their working on. Young as they are, they probably still wouldn't believe you, but better safe than sorry." "No problem, Boss." "Second, stop calling me Boss. Sounds to me like you're ready to be a partner, Melvin. And that goes for you, too, Narrator. Stop referring to me as 'the larger man' or 'the large man.' I won't have it!" I'm sorry, sir, but the Author wanted me to try to protect your anonymity so that the Readers wouldn't know who used to be Superclaus. But, if you don't care...

Scene Two: One week after Scene One. Large, white mansion overlooking Lake Austin. Two men and a dog in a large bedroom. One of the men standing is dressed in a black shirt, wearing black slacks and a black tie, with a black coat to match his shoes and socks. His face and hands have been painted white, and his lips bright red. He appears to be packing, but there is no suitcase where he is putting the clothes. "Are you sure you have to go?" Asks the man sitting on the bed. "I mean, San Francisco is a long way away, and pretty dangerous. After all, keep in mind that Mighty Guy lives near there..." *No, I... Oh. Right.* thinks Charlie, the dog. Longtime readers will recognize Charlie as Mighty Dog, who was created through spicing together genes from the hair follicles from a dog and Mighty Guy's dandruff, then cloning the lot. While in force-growth, he was taught to believe that he _was_ Mighty Guy transformed into a dog. That was not for the benefits of the long-time readers, but those who have just joined us. "I mean, look at that area: They've been hit with fires, floods, earthquakes, and so on. It's almost like God's playing SimCity with LA, and the next disaster will be a monster! (Line stolen from Mac-L. Used without permission)" Mime Man smiles and thinks, //But there's not much need for me here. _Nothing_ seems to happen in Texas, and you two can cover the state well enough without me.\\ Timmy, for that is who he's been with, in case you forgot what happened before New Years, not that I have, says, "But..." *Leave Burt alone, Timmy. If he wants to go and wear one of DefenseCo's silly uniforms, let him. We'll just have to find someplace else to live, assuming that you still don't want to go home.* "No, I can't let my parents see me like _this_, and you know it!" _This_ refers to Timmy's recent venture on the wrong side of an aging gun, which doubled his age from 9 to 18 instantly. //I've been meaning to talking to you about that, Timothy,\\ Burt thinks. //Sign this\\ he further thinks, handing Timmy a piece of paper from his pocket. "Got a pen?" //Uh, sure. Here.\\ Burt takes nothing from his vest pocket and hands it to him. Timmy signs the paper with it and hands it back to Burt. He puts the pen on the nightstand. "Now, what did I sign?" //Oh, you just bought my house for a dollar. By the way, you owe me a dollar.\\ Burt grinned. He picked up the suitcase, which didn't appear to be there, and thinks, //All set. Wipe that look off your face. I've got three other houses in the US alone. One of the benefits of having had rich parents.\\ The pair left the mansion after Timmy changed into his costume. Charlie left also, to do a quick once-around on the town. Mime Man and Best Friend headed across the lake, Best Friend following Mime Man on the bridge he was "building." "Okay, I'll take the house. But I'll leave your suite for you when you're here..." //Works.\\ The pair walk up the steps to the Rogers Building downtown and enter. Despite the relatively late hour, there are several people in business suits apparently doing business inside. They fail to notice the two heroes precisely because they were not wearing business suits, and therefore are not 1) rich, 2) customers, or 3) otherwise important by their definition. They get on the elevator, and Best Friend says, "Must you go?" +Haven't we been through this movie already?+ Burt moans. "I'm sorry. It's just that I'll... I'll miss you." Timmy finally closes the distance between the two, embracing him as though he is trying to keep him from leaving, which he may well be. //Hey, kid, I'll miss you, too. But I won't be far. Remember, it's only a couple hours between LA and San Fran, then across the lake to the mansion. I'll be able to visit.\\ The elevator doors open on the 13th floor, something that doesn't appear on the building directory. There also isn't a button for it in the elevator, although pressing "Emergency Stop" and "12" at the same time after passing the 12th floor seems to have done the trick. There is a short hall, ending in a single door. The sign on the door says, "Superheroes only allowed past this point." Penciled in at the bottom is written, "or Authors." Timmy dries his eyes and says, "You better. Heck, if you don't have any telepaths on your team, I'll probably see you every day, 'less you can cure that speech impediment." Best Friend grins at Mime Man's choking routine. "You know, you never have gone to see that therapist; what was her name again?" Mime Man shrugs, and hugs Best Friend again. //Take care of my city, OK?\\ "Bet on it." Mime Man opens the door and steps inside. A moment later, the sound of a thousand chainsaws cutting a thousand differently- tuned hand bells filled the air, then all is silence. The suits continued talking, as though nothing has changed.

Scene 3: Very shortly after. Back at the mansion. "I dunno, man. It's been too easy to get in here. And I think I smell a dog." "Will you relax," his companion says. "Now, if my guess is right, the safe will be behind this picture." The large thug moves the picture, but there is no safe behind it. There is a hole behind it, however, and the hole is stuffed with money. He prepares a bag to fill when the slightly less stocky thug says, "Listen!" "What?" "Thought I heard a door open." "Go check it out. I'll get the money." "Right." The smaller thug leaves the room. A moment later, he returns. "See anything?" "Just a superhero. He took over my mind and asked me to come in and knock you unconscious." "Geez, don't even *think* things like that, O.. Ow!" He is interrupted by the smaller thugs attempt to knock him out suddenly and without warning with a sharp chop to the neck. Fortunately for the larger thug, he had moved a bit to get some more money, so he was lucky there. "You chose the wrong night to try to rob this house," says Best Friend from his perch on the couch. He thinks about getting some popcorn for the fight, but decides not to, lest he seem too cocky. The larger thug grunts as the smaller thug punches him in the stomach, but responds quickly by kicking the legs out from under the smaller thug, who proceeds to sprawl on the ground. "Who are you?" asks the larger thug, as the smaller thug uses his arm to trip the larger thug. "They call me...." Timmy trails off. He can't really call himself Best Friend if he wants to keep his parents from guessing about him. "They call me Mental, dude. And they call you, mud." The last is said as the smaller thug finally succeeds in knocking out the larger thug. Mental tells the smaller thug to take the larger thug to the police and to give them a full confession of every crime he'd ever committed in the past seven years. *You want me to make sure they get there all right?* "Thanks but I think they will. How long have you been back?" *Long enough, Mental. That's the first time you've had a real solo, you know?* "It is, isn't it? Huh. All in all, though, I like working with others. To bad we're about the only ones in the state..." "I could introduce you to some others, if you'd like." Timmy could swear that he'd never seen an elf sitting in that chair before that moment.

Scene 5: The next day. A newsstand. Camera closes in on headline. "Mental Dude Foils Criminals!" "New Crime Fighter Single Handedly Stops Burglary Of The Ward Mansion," reads the subhead.







Find your own answers. I'm busy writing for...

SUPERGUY! ========================================================================= Date: Sun, 13 Feb 1994 16:44:00 PST Reply-To: UCF SUPERGUY List <SUPERGUY@UCF1VM.BITNET> Sender: UCF SUPERGUY List <SUPERGUY@UCF1VM.BITNET> From: "Kramer, Mason" <MKRAMER@MAIL.TEA.TEXAS.GOV>

Teen Team #4 Birth Act #2 Gestation Part Three by Mason Kramer

Scene One: immediately after Scene One of Part Two, like you didn't know. Same place, same people. Geez, I don't know why I even bother typing some of this information. "Are you finished?" Oh, sorry. Please, continue; I'll stay out of the way. "Thank you." Kris looks away from the narrator and returns to talking to the elf sitting on his desk. "Are you sure about this one?" "Completely, sir. Oh, I know he's young, but you have to admit, he isn't the youngest person on the team." "Yes he... well, kind of... But Mental Dude has an established history as a hero. Plus, he has a very powerful ally." "So does this one, although he, and most others, don't realize it. Look at the name again." Kris looks at the name again, with the result that he feels the name is familiar, but can't quite put his finger against the familiarity. "Sorry, it rings a bell, but I'm not sure which note." "Well, in addition to his vast powers, he's an (deleted for dramatic reasons)."

Interlude I: Similarity and Diference in Altiverses. At first glance, most people think that all Altiverses are pretty much the same. Most people are not that observant, but in this case they are correct. However, it is easier to notice the differences between two Altiverses than the similarities. This tendency goes well with people as well. For a timely example, look at the ALU#53 appendix posted earlier this week. Some people, like Ramrod, are pretty much the same no matter what Altiverse they're from. Others, like Mike Green, are darned different (See Masked Bruce, Shrouded Hope, and Buried Butthead). Certain things however, remain the same. Bill Paul, in every Altiverse he's appeared, has a hat that is, shall we say, not the cleanest that he allows no one to touch. Despite these differences, however, there is almost always, at some point in the past or future, an Altiversal Twin of each person in each Altiverse, even such diverse ones as 000SUPERGUY and 000SFSTORY, which could produce two Akanes, very alike and totally different. Even such diverse Altiverses as, purely for example, 000SUPERGUY and 223DON'TTRYITAUTHORSONLY can produce two Bill Pauls, Bill Dicksons, and so on. We pause for people to get over the implications of more than one Bill Dicksons in the Multiverse. Why then, one could speculate, there could be a Mason Kramer in both Altiverses! We pause for people to get over the implications of more than one Mason Kramers in the Multiverse.


Scene 2: One week before Scene One. A bedroom of a boy. The furnishings are rather plain, and there are few toys in the room. They were apparently taken away to make room for the desk upon which the computers sit. There are two computers on the desk. On the left is a Macintosh Quadra 700, on the right a Generic 486sx. In the center sits a boombox, currently playing "Jurrasic Park" by "Weird Al" Yankovic. The owner of the room and equipment therein is seated at the Quadra, playing Maelstrom. The Generic is busily working on his paper on "Thoughts on the Ramifications of Authorial Twins." He hears footsteps near his door and quickly switches the Quadra to a screensaver and slides his chair over to the other computer just as the door opens. He turns and says, "Hi, Mom!" Mom, for such she is, says, "Good afternoon, dear. How was school today?" "Not bad. Got that Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering this morning, signed up for the Doctorate's this afternoon. I think I'll be able to place out of most of the required courses..." "That's nice, dear. Oh, did you take the trash out when you got home?" Sigh. "Yes, Mom." He tosses a grin over his shoulder. His mother returns it and leaves the room, announcing that dinner would be served in half an hour. He returns to his game, which ended while he was away. Sigh. And he was so close to getting his high score beat again. A few clicks of the mouse, and he is reading his e-mail. "Junk, more junk, still more junk, Team M.E.C.H.A., more jun... hang on." He backs up to the message about Team M.E.C.H.A.

From: alabaster@ucf1vm.cc.ucf.edu To: Mason Kramer (masonk@tenet.edu) cc: Team M.E.C.H.A. Newsgroup (TEAM-MECHA@UCF1VM.BITNET) Reply-To: Team M.E.C.H.A. Newsgroup (TEAM-MECHA@UCF1VM.CC.UCF.EDU) Subject: re: Is Spectrum a member?

Spectrum seems to be an independent hero, despite his apparent ties to Da Team. I believe it's pure Coincidence that they've worked together so much lately. He also seems to be older than the members of Da Team. Perhaps he's more of a father figure?

Alabaster .sig THIS!

Mason runs of a reply that states that he's probably more friend than father, then scans for more interesting news. Finding none, he notices that the half-hour has gone by, so he heads over to the kitchen. After dinner, which included a celebratory slice of cheesecake, he returns to his room and closes the door. After checking his mail once again, he gets out his special project. "By the time this thing is ready," he thinks, "Team M.E.C.H.A. will be happy to take _me_ on as a member..."

Scene 3: Two weeks later. The same room. Mason is putting on a not-quite-skintight outfit, and buckling on a belt. The belt is wide and made of some sort of silvery metal. "Let villains beware, for now they can face the might of... PHOBOS, Master of Light!" For effect, he makes a few stars dance around in the room. "Good. Cybernetic controls are working perfectly. Now, let's test the flight module." He opens the window and leaps out. Before he has a chance to panic, a rainbow bursts from the belt, and he lifts high into the air. "Perfect. The special effects module is working, too." He flies across Austin, looking at his watch the entire time. "Yup, as expected, normal cruising speed of 60, max of 120." "Now, to test the scanner..." He mentally flips a switch, and the scanner starts up. Naturally, it's a quiet night, save for the reports of a rainbow spotted across town. "Humph!" he humphs. "Never any crime around when it's welcome." He heads home, turning off the rainbow effect a couple miles away to keep anyone watching from tracing him there. As soon as he lands in his room, however, he heard that there's a hostage situation downtown, and quickly takes back off.

Scene 4: A few minutes ago. Three blocks from the Capitol Building at a bank, across from the Gap. There are twelve police cars outside the bank, hiding several officers from view from the bank. The only person that can be seen from there is Lietenant Caruthers, a rather large, rather black, rather fat man in a tan raincoat (despite the fact that it isn't raining). He is holding a megaphone, and currently talking into it. "Look, people, you can't get out without us blowing you to little pieces, and you interrupted my dinner, which means that I currently don't give a damn about the hostages. So come out without your weapons and we won't kill you immediately, OK?" Inside the bank were several people laying face-down with their hands crossed over their heads. Three people were standing, two of them filling a bag with money and one holding a gun over the people on the floor. "Do you think he means it?" asks Thugee #1. "Nah. He's just trying to psyche us out. Besides, we're wearing Bullet-Proof BodySuits (R), right?" Thugee #3 says, "But suppose they use gas?" Thugee #2 pokes him in the ribs and says, "Don't breathe." It is unclear whether he meant this as something to do now or in case of gas, but Thugee #3 decides to take it in the later meaning. "Right, boss." Back outside the bank, Lt. Caruthers is consulting with Captain Caruthers as to whether or not to use the Dog Signal, when a rainbow passes over the bank and vanishes behind it. Back inside the bank, the trio of thugs prepares to leave. "Does anyone remember how to use this thing again?" asks Thugee #3. "You idiot. You press the button that says, 'press me to teleport!' Then you wait for it to warm up, and when it's ready, it beeps and you step in. The last person in grabs the side so that it comes with us. How many times do we have to go through this?" "I dunno, boss. It just seems like it should be easier..." At this point, all light in the building goes out. "They weren't supposed to do that, were they?" "I don't know. Maybe they didn't read the script! Put on your gas masks, just in case." A young man's voice says, "Freeze, or you will leave me no recourse but to fire!" "What do we do, boss?" "Don't worry about it. In the first place, that's a kid, probably one of the hostages, so I doubt he has a gun. In the second, we're wearing Bullet-Proof BodySuits (R), remember?" A laser blast slices through Thugee #1, knocking him down and out. "On the other hand, " Thugee #2 snarls, "Get out of my way!" He heads for where he remembers the TelePorter (tm) is, but bumps into someone shorter than he is. "Drop, or I will fire." The voice is calm, if cracking slightly. Thugee #2, being the intelligent type, complies. #3, not realizing that he wasn't the one being addressed, does the same. Mason, please with this turn of events, lets the lights come back on. Covering the three thugs, he says, "The rest of you can get up now. Oh, and would someone let the police in?" The police are let in, and there is much rejoicing. The thugs are picked up to be taken away, and Lt. Caruthers talks with Phobos. "So, kid, how did you manage it?" "Well, first I commanded the light in the room to go away, which panicked the thugs. Then I let one of them take a hit from a laser blast, which their Bullet-Proof BodySuits (R)just couldn't do anything with." "You told the light to go away? Jeez, kid, how the heck did you do that?" "Sorry, trade secret. By the way, they were going to use that thing to get away. Called it a TelePorter (TM). I'd check it out, if I were you." So saying, he flies out the door, leaving a rainbow trail that lingers for a couple of seconds. "This town is getting too crowded with Supers for me," he sighs, turning toward the TelePorter. Sudenly, and without warning, the TelePorter implodes, taking all trace of it having been there with it. "And other strange happenings."

Scene 5: A television set. Several monitors are on a bookshelf benind a desk. There is only one person in the studio, a man that makes Kris Kringle look a bit thin. Well, thinner, anyway. He watches as the TelePorter appears before him, empty. "Why is it that every time I try to do something in that liberal cesspool, some new kid with superpowers shows up and stops it?" he asks retorically. "Maybe it's time I try to do something myself..."

Scene 6: Back in Mason's bedroom. Phobos has just flown back in, exhilerated. He shuts the suit down and removes the helmet. "A sucessful field test! Team M.E.C.H.A, look out!" "Actually, I had another team in mind," says the elf sitting on top of the Generic's screen.










These questions, and many more, will be asked by Ignorantman as he serves Big Macs, only on...


(wait for it...)



worth the wait, wasn't it? ========================================================================= Date: Tue, 15 Feb 1994 18:56:00 PST Reply-To: UCF SUPERGUY List <SUPERGUY@UCF1VM.BITNET> Sender: UCF SUPERGUY List <SUPERGUY@UCF1VM.BITNET> From: "Kramer, Mason" <MKRAMER@MAIL.TEA.TEXAS.GOV> Subject: SG: Teen Team #5: Gestation Part Four (conclusion)

Teen Team #5 Birth Act #2 Gestation Part Four by Mason Kramer

Scene One: (All together now) Immediately after Scene One of Part Three. Still in the toy shop. "The narrator's getting bored," Melvin says. "I believe you are correct. Why don't we just jump right into the episode." "Well, because we need to let people know that this is the last part of Act #2. Believe me, there are people out there ready for this to get moving." "Fine. You told them." Thanks, you two. Gee, I didn't know you cared that much.

Scene Two: 2 weeks later. Downtown. The camera focuses in on two people wearing "Born To Shop" tee-shirts. The taller, apparently the shorter's mother, is carrying a purse and a totebag. The shorter, apparently the taller's daughter, is carrying 6 boxes stacked up just passed the point that she can see. "Yoo-hoo! Carolyn!" cries a woman from behind the two. The mother stops to see who's calling her, and sees one of her oldest, dearest friends. Maria, listening to her headphones, does not notice that her mother is no longer beside her and continues forward. The driver has been having a long day. A long three days, really. While it is poor judgment for him to be driving an 18-wheeler on no sleep, it would be hard to fault him for falling asleep at the wheel after driving non-stop since Alaska. Maria's first indication that something is wrong is a high-pitched screaming sound that manages to overpower the sound of Meat Loaf proclaiming that he would do anything for love, then saying what he cannot do for love. She looks to her left where her mother had been last seen, and instead sees a large truck heading her direction. Quickly. Too quickly for her to move, in fact. Too quickly for the girl to do anything except pray and prepare to do something that she wasn't ready to do. Die.

Interlude 2: Observations on the Relationship between Stress and Superpowers. There are several indications that there are three points in one's life where a person is most likely to develop super abilities. The first is the onset of puberty. At this time in a person's life, the body goes through several hormonal changes, leading to enhanced growth, changes in hair output, and mental abilities (as they now know everything, but are quickly losing this ability). In some Altiverses, people who develop powers at this time are evil mutie scum who must be hunted and killed, much like witches, just because they turn 13 or 14. The second is a laboratory accident or experiment. Such experiments are hardly ever reproducible, and always cause much stress to produce the effects desired or obtained. The third is the sudden realization that one is going to die, and is not ready to do so.

Scene 2 (continued): The truck is bearing down on Maria, who's eyes are currently closed. The truck hits Maria, going about 45 MPH. The truck bounces off Maria, going in reverse at 45 MPH. This speed quickly decelerates as the trucks wheels are still spinning forward. Maria opens her eyes, wondering why she isn't dead yet, and sees the truck coming toward her again, albeit at a lower speed. She closes her eyes again. The truck hits her again, this time at about 15 MPH, and bounces backward again. By this time, the driver has been jolted awake and hits the brakes, hard. The rear axle snaps from the stresses it has been through the last few seconds. The snap gets through the headphones, and Maria opens her eyes again. She sees the truck sitting there, inches from her. She does the only thing that she can in this situation, certainly the thing most of us would do in a situation like this. She faints.

Scene 3: A hospital room. Maria is laying on the bed, surrounded by her mother, her father, and a doctor. Her eyes flutter open. "I didn't die?" "Not even a scratch, young lady. You are quite fortunate that the truck malfunctioned when it did, because it came so close that several witnesses swear that it did hit you, not once, but twice." The doctor consults his charts and says, "Your clothes weren't even messed up when you fainted." Maria was stunned. "In that case, Doctor, can she go home?" "Well, I'd like her to stay overnight, run a few tests..." "I don't know..." "Oh, there won't be any fees involved in this one, your insurance is **quite** comprehensive." "Maria, are you OK with this?" "I guess so..." She smiles weakly. Her parents chat for a while, then leave. The doctor leaves as well, promising to return shortly to take some blood. Terrific, she thinks. Left to her own devices, she gets out of the bed and does a few exercises. "Looks like I won't make it for class tonight," she thinks. "Guru's going to be pissed!" She locates her headphones and goes into her warm-up routine. A few minutes later, she feels a hand tap her shoulder. Without thinking, she grabs the wrist and twists, hurling her doctor up and onto the bed. "OhmyAuthor, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean..." "It's all right, Maria!" he interrupts, pulling himself off the bed. "I shouldn't have startled you like that. You're a lot stronger than you look, you know that?" "Oh, that wasn't strength, really. I'm no stronger than most girls my age. It's just that, thanks to my training, I've learned to use my strength better." "Well, whatever it is, it's impressive. However, I have a bit of work to do here..." He indicates the bed, and she gets back in. "OK, vampire, which vein do you want first?" she smiles. He returns her smile and says, "Oh, I think just a capillary for now, I'm not very hungry." He sterilizes her pointer on her right hand, and points the needle at it. With a quick jab, he attempts to draw blood. The needle bounces off her skin. He tries again. It bounces again. "Uh, bad needle maybe?" Maria asks. He tries another needle. It bounces. "Here, try this finger." He tries this finger. It bounces again. To make a long sequence short, he tries several times, but is unable to do more than bounce the needle off her. "Let me try something. Close your eyes." She complies, and he slaps her shoulder. His hand bounces off at the same speed it hit her. She asks, "What are you doing?" when she hears the sound of the smack. "Hang on." The doctor points a finger at her and moves it toward her, very slowly. It gets to her skin and stops. He increases the pressure. It doesn't move. He increases the pressure some more. It still doesn't move. He increases the pressure some more. His finger begins to ache. "Can you feel that?" "Feel what?" He pauses, waiting for her to notice, then says, "My finger on your arm. Don't look, just tell me where it is." She concentrates, but feels nothing. She concentrates again, this time in a different area, and notices something that she hadn't earlier. "Uh, Doctor, are my headphones still on my neck?" "Yes, they are." "Uh-oh. Doctor, I can't feel them. I can't feel **ANYTHING!**" She starts crying. "Hey, now, that's not quite correct. You felt my hand when I came up behind you during your exercises, right?" "Yeah," she sobs. He taps her on the shoulder. She reaches up and grabs the hand. She can feel his hand in hers. "Touch my neck." He does so, and this she feels. "Now slap it." He pauses, considering, then does so. His hand connects and bounces off at the same speed that it had hit. "I think that's enough tests for one night, Doctor," she says, drying her eyes. "You didn't feel that, did you." It isn't asked as a question, but said as a statement. That's why there isn't a question mark, but a period. Just so you know it isn't a typo. "Nope. And I didn't feel that truck earlier today, or the pavement when I hit it. I haven't felt anything that had the potential to harm me." "What about the headphones?" "Uh, I usually have them on to high. Probably high enough to harm my hearing..." She grins and turns the volume down. Putting them back on around her neck, she says, "Yep, there they are." "This is incredible! A person completely impervious to pain! There's got to be a paper in this somewhere!" The doctor's eyes gleam brightly. "No offense, Doctor, but I'd rather not have this thing poked and prodded, OK?" "Oh, no. Don't pull the plug on this! I'm not a rich doctor. I'm not even all that well-to-do! Let me have my 15 minutes of fame, please?" His eyes turn from gleaming to fearful. "Hmm... Keep the truck incident out of it, and especially my name. Instead, use the name Reflective Lass." "Who's Reflective Lass?" "Me, just as soon as I have a chance to design a costume."

Scene 4: The next day. Maria's bedroom. She's standing in front of a mirror, admiring her silver costume. It starts with a butterfly mask, covered with silver sequins, and ends with the silvery-satin body suit that she made using fabric she'd bought that afternoon. Her boots are covered in the same fabric. There was still one more thing she wanted to try. She'd waited until her parents went out to the movie, then gone and gotten the taser that her mom had bought for her New York trip. She knew that while it could really hurt, no real damage would be done with it. She wanted to know if energy was just as fallible as other types of damage. She lays down on the bed and turns on the taser. She can feel the energy pulsing through it, can see the blue-white electricity pulsing from one lead to the other. She sticks her other hand in to interrupt the taser. She isn't all that surprised when the taser starts to smoke. She turns it off and returns it to it's hiding place, hoping it gets tested before it's needed. She then heads outside in the night, looking for trouble. "If your going to sneak out, it's generally better to use the back door," says the elf sitting on her porch swing. Maria turns to look at him, and says the same thing that everyone else did at this point. "You're an elf!" "Young lady, you belabor the obvious. Listen, I was hoping we could talk, in a somewhat more private area. Could we head inside?" Shaking, she holds the door open for Melvin to enter.






Yes, we will! Starting next episode, here on.....


Oh, the other questions? Who cares? ========================================================================= Date: Tue, 22 Feb 1994 14:23:00 PST Reply-To: UCF SUPERGUY List <SUPERGUY@UCF1VM.BITNET> Sender: UCF SUPERGUY List <SUPERGUY@UCF1VM.BITNET> From: "Kramer, Mason" <MKRAMER@MAIL.TEA.TEXAS.GOV> Subject: SG: TEEN TEAM #6

Teen Team #6 Birth Act #3 It's a Team! Part One and Only by Mason Kramer

Scene One: Immediately after... Scene Four of Act Two, Part Four. Hah! Bet you thought I was going to say after Scene One of Part Four, didn't you? Huh! Got Ya! Ahem. The room that Maria enters is **not** the same room she just left. That is the first thing that Reflective Lass notices. The room is more like a cave, with stalagtites and stalagmites hanging or pointing from their respective locations. In the center of the cave is a table, with five chairs, a largish stool, and a horse around it. Three of the chairs are taken, and a dog lays on the stool. Maria hears the door close behind her, and turns to see that it isn't there. Melvin is, smiling slightly. "Sorry, I didn't exactly say that it was somewhere private in **your** place I wanted to talk. Please, they're waiting for us." Reflective Lass walks toward the table, noticing that this cavern is rather well lit for a late night, and begins noticing odd details about it. One side of the cavern is rather smooth, and could pass for a good sized movie screen due to it's pale coloring from the limestone content of the cave. Opposite the flat surface is what appears to be a lot of electronic equipment, including several computer terminals. Directly opposite where she came in is a rough staircase leading up and, presumably, out. Next to the staircase is a basketball hoop. She takes one of the remaining chairs, as much to stop trembling as anything else. She had thought that magic was dead after the recent events in California and throughout the world. She had been wrong. Or, she thinks, maybe I'm dreaming. Maybe that truck hit me and put me in a coma and I've been dreaming all this time. "No such luck, Reflective Lass," says the oldest, or at least tallest, one in the room. She nearly jumps out of the chair. "It's cool though. He's one of the good guys. I think." "Oh, how encouraging. Tall, dark and brooding thinks he's one of the good guys," says the girl sitting next to the horse. "I think we all decided that, or we wouldn't be sitting here." "People, people. Please! No fighting in this room. If you want to fight, you can go down a level to the Dangerous Room, Okay?" "Well. First of all," Melvin says, sitting in the remaining chair. Noticing that his eyes line up evenly with the table, he mutters under his breath, and the chair's legs lengthen. "Better. Now, where was I? Oh, yes. "First of all, thank you for coming. I know that it's a bit abrupt, but as I told you, I have a proposition. "The six of you should work together." He paused dramatically, and waited for one of them to say, "What a great idea!" The pause lengthened, and bordered on uncomfortable. Before it could teeter and crash on that side, he continued. "Perhaps it would help if we had a few introductions first. Allow me to start. "My name is Melvin, and I'm an elf. I've been watching the young people of the world for over twelve hundred years now, and I have never seen..." "Twelve Hundred Years!" shouted the boy in the black body suit. "Sorry, but you don't look a day over a thousand..." "Thanks. I think. As I was saying, I have never seen so many young people with so much power springing up all over the world. Just in the past year, we've seen the introduction of Unorthodox Girl..." "Lass," interrupted the girl next to the horse. "...whatever, Kid Solipsism, Team M.E.C.H.A., and Best Friend. And you guys. "I pulled together a couple of favors, a couple of resources, and set up this meeting place, if you accept my offer to work together as a force for good. Naturally, I will not force any of you into this, and will help you get home if you refuse. "As for my abilities, I know some magic, though I've spent most of my non-work time observing. "Anyway, that's me in a nutshell. Who wants to go next?" "No, **this** is you in a nutshell." So saying, the girl by the horse gestures, and a large pecan shell forms around the elf. Giggling, she continues, "My name is Samantha, but I guess you should call me Daydream Believer when I'm in this getup. I'm the daughter of a king from an otherworldly dimension that's being chased by unimaginable enemies." She pauses, looks around the table, and says, "Yeah, it does sound pretty corny, almost like something out of a cheap paperback fantasy when you say it out loud, doesn't it? But, this is my life, not the imaginings of some demented hack, OK?" The narrator coughs politely. "Anyway, I have the ability to project illusions. If I concentrate, I can make them appear for just one person, mentally, in which case they can seem solid, otherwise, their just figments of the imagination." "Uh, if their just mental, wouldn't they be anyway?" asks the kid in the black body suit. "Well, I suppose so, but one type of figment can shoot a laser at you that hurts, and the other can't. I guess a distinction can be drawn somewhere." "As much as I appreciate your abilities, I would like to be able to see over here..." Daydream Believer gestures, and the nutshell disappears. "Thank you. Who's next?" "I'm not done yet! I haven't introduced Nightmare here!" "My most humble apologies. Pray continue." "Uh, thanks. This is Nightmare, my friend and free trip to the mall. She can pass through walls, taking me with her. She can also pass through the dimensional walls, although it's tricky and doesn't always get us where we're going. Though come to think of it, we always get where we need to be..." She trails off for a moment, then says, "Oh, sorry. Next." Noone speaks for a moment, after which Melvin makes him leave the room. Then the oldest looking of them says, "I'm Mental." "I believe it," inserts Daydream Believer. "I can read minds, and sometimes control them." "I take everything back," says Daydream Believer. "I didn't mean a word of it." "Yes you did. This is Mighty Dog. He's *my* friend." Mighty Dog looks up from his nap, says, "Woof," and closes his eyes again. "I thought he hung around with Best Friend?" says the boy in the black body suit. "He did. Now he hangs with me." The silence looms large in the room. //Not going to tell them, huh?\\ //Nope.\\ "Okay, who's next?" asks the elf brightly. "That would be me, I guess. I am Phobos, Master of Light," says the boy, dramatically. "Ya'll can call me Mason, though, when we're in here and all. Like many scientific genius', I've decided to use my knowledge for the good of mankind and built this suit. "The suit allows me to redirect, amplify, and diminish light. I can use the redirect and amplification to make a laser, but I can only do a few shots that way. I'm working on the stress levels there, but right now, I wouldn't use it for more than five shots. "The suit also has a flight pack and force field built in." "In addition, I'm a computer whiz and electronics genius. And I have the master's degree to prove it." Daydream Believer says, "A Master's degree in... SCIENCE!?" "No, Electrical Engineering. UT doesn't offer SCIENCE!" "Thank you, Mason. Reflective Lass?" It takes her a moment to realize that he's talking to her, then Maria says, "Oh, uh, I'm Reflective Lass, and, well, stuff bounces off of me. Needles, trucks, electric current, stuff like that." "Really? How about lasers?" "Uh, I dunno, I've never tried." Phobos nods, points his finger at Maria, and fires. The beam hits her and bounces, going back the way it came. It dissipates harmlessly off his force field. "Cool," he says. "Looks like it does." "Phobos!" Timmy nearly shouted. "That was very irresponsible! Suppose it hadn't worked?" "No problem, Mental. I had it set so low it would have barely tingled." Maria says, "It's all right. I need to learn what I can and cannot do. And look, I didn't even scream or anything, right?" Silently, she congratulates herself on that point. "In addition to that, I know how to use Judo, though I'm not like a black belt or anything." "That's a handy skill, Reflective Lass," Mental says. "Maybe you could teach me some of that." "All of us, you mean," Melvin says, looking at them, "assuming, of course, that you are agreeable to my offer." //What do you think?\\ thinks Mighty Dog. //Why not? If this guy has something up his sleeve, I'd rather watch him than let him try something without us around.\\ "We're in." Daydream Believer says, "Well, then, that makes this Party Central. Count me in, too." "Hmmm," Phobos hmmms. "Give me a crack at that computer?" "Yes," Melvin says hesitantly. "Count me in, too." "Reflective Lass?" "Uh, yeah, I guess so. Sure, why not?" "In that case, I think it's time for a tour of this place. I believe you mentioned a Dangerous Room?" asked Mental. "Why, yes, I did. This way, people."

Scene Two: At that moment, at an airport.... The large man steps up to the counter and says, "I need a round trip to Austin, Texas, please." "Yes, sir. That will be $400. Smoking or Non-Smoking? It doesn't matter, since none of the airlines allow smoking anymore, but we always like to know..." "Smoking." "Airsick or non-airsick?" "Non-airsick." "Reading or non-reading?" "Reading." "Laptop computers or non-laptop computers?" "Laptop Computers." "Macintosh or PC?" "Macintosh." "165 or 180c?" "180c." "Yes, sir. That will be seat A-1. The movie will be the screen version of "Flatphoot's Guide for Supervillains." Dinner will be served. As with any flight to Austin, there will be a stopover in Dallas." "Thank you, young lady, and have a great day!" "Oh, and sir?" "Yes?" "Would you sign my book for me?" she asks, pulling out a well-worn copy of "See, I told you so." He, of course, does so.