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"You're right. I have a plan. You're going to love this one." - Mr. Moonlight to Heisenberg.



Turn 1

"You want the Whiz on that? It is the melted form a cheddar after all." Bryan the waiter asks the elegantly dressed man.

"I must certainly do not AND it most certainly is not" is the coarse reply.

The man who was once known simply as Heisenberg, arch-villain of First Flight, sits alone at Galileo's Dinner. Not the sort of place one would expect to find a criminal mastermind and certainly not the sort of place one would expect to see a man of such accumulated wealth either. Of course, that was always his greatest asset, even above and beyond his probability altering powers, when dueling those golden boys of bygone days, he never behaved, never reacted quite the way you thought he would.

His schemes were always wonderfully Byzantine and inevitably untraceable to any number of his identities. Unlike many of his fellow n'er-do-wells, he actually succeeded more times than not, and the few times he did "fail" always felt like he planned it that way. Certainly not like the man now seating himself opposite him at the Formica table.

Mr. Moonlight, while certainly a threat to be reckoned with, was usually bested by his own nemesis, The Black Fog. That is to say early in The Black Fog's career when he deigned to fight Moonlight and his "Lunar Legion." He never understood why the vigilante simply began to pass him over in the mid-80s leaving it to others to curtail his criminal intentions. If it weren't for those pesky brats in the TEENAgents and that holographic P.I., Noir, he would have felt forgotten even sooner than he did.

Now it seems, he's losing yet another to the passage of time itself instead of some two-fisted terror. His once shimmering mane of platinum blonde hair has been replaced with a scarce white wisps. Distinct liver spots can be seen to dapple his hands even from the other side of the restaurant.

Heisenberg coolly greets the man who couldn't possibly yet still is years younger. "Hullo, George. Why have you summoned me?"

"Are you sure this is a safe place to talk?" The older man asks hesitantly?

"As long as I will it, it shall be so" Heisenberg sighs "They see what they expect to see, hear what they want to hear and so on. Such is my power, as you well know. Speak freely and I guarantee you they think we're discussing something as banal as the weather or bocci ball or discussing the latest eyesore festooned to the street outside..." His eyes literally glare in red menace at the Gap window display across the street and yet ANOTHER Starbucks having its grand opening.

He thinks to himself that they MUST spawn in pairs. He can recall a time when New Philadelphia was a vibrant frontier town, manifest destiny of the highest order, a lawless land. Not some cancerous extension of the corporate greed and middle-class sensibilities that have long since marred that neighboring blue pebble.

"I trust, I have need to exert my power, and that you aren't planning to discuss these topics..." the rich baritone trails off in an inquiring tone.

"You're right. I have a plan. You're going to love this one" Mr. Moonlight says eagerly rubbing his now lively hands together fiendishly.

Reaching deep into his coat pocket his produces small silver figurines on the table. Heisenberg can't help but smirk at the ludicrous juxtaposition of these monstrous miniatures and the Heinz 57 bottle. Moonlight fails to notice as he fidgets with the six-inch man-monsters.

"My Guignol Golems will bring terror back to this wretched city!!!"

* * *

"So, Dr. Z," asked Shatterman casually as he poured himself a post-workout bowl of Sugar-Blams cereal, "I hear the Red Antz are forming over beyond the Dune C. You want Terry 'n me to go check it out?" *crunch* *crunch*

Moist tendrils of soft white fog caress the morning air as the mysterious figure known as Gaslight stalks silently into view, gliding out from the hiding place where he had carefully secreted himself hours earlier... um, next to the refrigerator.

Turning the polarized lenses of his gas mask towards young Jack Dunn, Gaslight stares coldly at the younger hero for several long moments before finally speaking, his voice like broken glass. "Sugar-Blams? You don't actually eat that shit, do you?"

"Uhm,..." said Jack staring humbly at his cereal as if it had suddenly turned into a fetid bowl of fuming feces, "...yeah. Need the sugar to fuel my metabolism. Flight. Blasting power. Rapid repair. Burns a lot of calories. Right?"

Gaslight clucked his tongue, scarcely able to credit the naivety of this younger generation of super-heroes. His voice as cold and hard as a cemetery gravestone, the Shrouded-Terror replies, "Are you aware that excessive consumption of sugar leads to tooth decay? I know this from my many years of training with The Hygienist, one of New Philadelphia's lesser-known heroes. You ARE planning to brush after breakfast, aren't you?"

"Uh. Brush. Yeah. I'll just go now and finish my cereal in the Blue Conference Room and catch Bay Watch. The latest episode just arrived from Earth. Then I'll brush my teeth promptly. Wouldn't want to tax my rapid repair ability with tooth decay."

Shatterman quickly leaves the room. In the hall, he passes Silver Dragon on her way to get something from the kitchen. "Hey, S.D.," Shatterman whispers with a nudge and sidelong glance back toward the kitchen, "don't go in there right now. Gassy is in one of his 'moods' being all dark and brooding like." Then with an irrepressible smile he adds, "C'mon to the Blue Room. The new Bay Watch just came in and we can ogle the underdressed bodies together as they solve the latest contrived mystery."

"Huhhh," she yawns, running a hand through rumpled hair that has almost grown out from the latest color experiment (dark purple) . "He ever *not* in a mood? What is that?" She squints at the bowl. "Sugar Blams? Perfectly balanced meal with the addition of whole-grain toast, soy milk, and two servings of fruit, nothing to complain about. Ogling, check," she seems to be waking up. "Catch you in five, Blue Room. I'll tell Professor Newman it counts as ethnographic study. He'll probably buy it, too, the lech." And she proceeds onward to forage for her own breakfast, nodding to the others. "Yo."

"Hmmmm?" says Zachary, lowering the paper he's reading as Dierdre walks in -- revealing his breakfast of two slices of vegemite toast and a cup of yogurt -- to look up at Gaslight. "Ah yes, the Hygenist. I remember you mentioning her. Didn't she keep fighting that "Anti-Floridator" kook?"

"Oh. Good morning Dierdre. There's a fascinating column in todays paper about efforts to apply some of your mother's bacterial sequences to chemically treated soil, in efforts to increase their potential for vineyard growth. I'll set it aside if you're interested."

"You and your vines," she grins. "Do that, I'll take a look later on." She nods to Gaslight and rummages in the fridge for some juice and an orange, pours a heaping bowl of cereal and starts trying to figure out how to carry the whole assemblage, eventually settling on using her textbook as a tray. "Right. Baywatch and Richard Leakey await!"

The Martian Mancer arrived, as was his wont, at the precise moment best suited to torment his sister's son. In his beefy paws he toted his massive coffee mug, pretending the pale Martian brew was in any way similar to the Terran ideal. "Careful, boy. You enflame a young woman's passions with that sort of thing, you better be prepared to take the consequences." He flashed a private, gleefully malicious 'twisting the knife' look to his favorite nephew.

* * *

Jack's just about to press "play" on the 3-D TeleGraphix unit when Dee recognized the familiar "Ba-da-da-doo" chime signaling that "New Philadelphia Now" was about to run a "This Day in History" segment.

"Ooooh." "Keep it there for a sec, wouldja?" She asks Jack with noticeably less sleep in her voice then just moments before.

"...but Pamela's fully modeled and texture mapped..." is the young man's reply.

"Hush." She retorts just missing the first vignette in the exchange.

"...Fifty years ago, in 1952, immigration to New Philadelphia begins in earnest. It was the first time most had seen the monolithic "Astrodome", which was finished scant months prior by members of First Flight based on designs by NASA and R. Buckminster Fuller. "

"...In 1972 Democratic Mayor Quinlan won re-election for his second term in office soundly defeating his Republican rival and City Council Speaker, Edward Mallory. Quinlan delivered his acceptance speech from the base camp of the original manned mission to Mars. He concluded the speech by adding "Old Town" to the register of historic sites and ringing the Liberty Bell twenty-five times, a ring for each year since its installation."

"...and in 1976, two years before his death, Elvis Presley performs for the first and last time on Martian soil at The Dunes Resort and Casino. The concert was set to be the first interplanetary satellite telecast, and thereby surpassing Presley's achievement from three years prior when his "_Aloha from Hawaii_" concert was the first Earth global satellite telecast, but..."

"This just in! Old Town Under Attack! We go now to our Man in The Street reporter, Dirk Manning. Dirk, what can you tell us?"

"Not much as of yet, Brent. Monstrous creatures virtually erupted from beneath the streets and are rampaging through Old Town. The police have stated that the attacks seem to have begun just outside the historic district at a Starbuck's grand opening on Pelham Place in the Barron Hill neighborhood of The City."

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© 2002 Daniel Harvey et al