Superpowers In A World Gone Mad
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Iron Maiden, Issue #004

October 27, 2013 in Iron Maiden Tags:

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Issue #003 – – – – – controlled by Junius Stone – – – – – Credits 2

Sitting at the table with the Imperceptibles, Iron Maiden listened carefully to their comments and made mental ticks as she noted things about the small group.  First of all, it was clear that they were Nerds with a capital “N”.  These guys lived and breathed their genre, constantly referring to the actions of super-powered characters about whom they gossiped as “us” or “we” – including their own “team” in the mix.  That was fine by her.  She’d always rather liked the geeks and misfits of the world  They tended to be decent and genuine.  And let’s face it, she had metal skin.  She was hardly normal herself.

It was also apparent that they were in awe of her.  The boys couldn’t seem to keep their eyes from straying occasionally to her generous shape, a fact that made them blush and avert in equal measures.  The girls, for their part, seemed to be uncertain whether she was somebody they wanted to admire or resent.  Iron Maiden put them at ease quickly with a few carefully chosen compliments on their own costumes, appearance or abilities.

There were five other Imperceptibles.  A painfully shy teenager who called himself Hint.  A thin, pale young man introduced as Stopwatch.  A heavy set young lady called Dumpling.  A pretty waif of a girl with haunted eyes who called herself Manikin. And a tall, awkward girl with more freckles than Iron Maiden had ever seen on one person who said her name was “Slapstick.”

It was clear Dragonfly was the unofficial leader of their group and it didn’t take long to see that both Manikin and Dumpling had something of a crush on him.  It was probably just as well Hint and Stopwatch didn’t seem to notice the girls on their team or she could see all manner of romantic complications springing up.  She had taken a liking to Dragonfly quickly – his earnest and friendly approach, his likeable affability.   “So.  DF.  Can I call you DF?” She asked.
“Sure, yes.  Of course,” Dragonfly grinned, looking as pleased as punch to have his name abbreviated to initials.
“So what does your gang do, other than hang about in here?”
“We’re not a gang,” Dumpling huffed.  “We’re a team.  Gangs are the bad guys.”
“Sorry,” Iron Maiden said with straight-faced gravity.  “I meant no offence.  Team, of course.”
“We fight crime!” Stopwatch assured her.  “Okay, not the big bad guys or anything like that.  But we do our bit.”
“We don’t fight crime very often,” Slapstick said.
“We stopped the Lucifers’ Bloody Rampage earlier in the year!”  He protested.  “We caught Hammerfist and handed him over to the police.  We stopped that mugger who was hanging about near the city park!”
“That sounds like an impressive record,” Iron Maiden grinned enthusiastically.
“Yes, until you understand the the Lucifers were a gang of twelve and thirteen year olds and their Bloody Rampage was the kidnapping of cats for ransom from their owners.  Or that Hammerfist was a C-Class bruiser who only had his mild super-strength during the hour just before the sun set.  Or that the mugger was actually caught by The Midnight Runner on his way to somewhere and we just happened to be near enough to “help.”  By which I mean we cheered from the sidelines and Dumpling kicked the gun away when the crook dropped it.”

“Don’t be so down on yourselves,” Iron Maiden said.  “People love their cats.  Kidnapping and blackmail are still kidnapping and blackmail, regardless of the targets.  A super-villain can still be very dangerous even if their powers have a limited time frame.  Maybe if Dumpling hadn’t kicked that gun away, the Midnight Runner would have been shot?”  Dumpling’s wide face split into a broad grin.
“I told you!” Stopwatch cried happily.
“Huh,” Slapstick said.  “You’re one of these glass half full types, right?”
Iron Maiden indicated her drink, which was getting low.  “If only…” She said.  Dragonfly called a waitress for a refill.
“So who are you?” Manikin asked, her small voice almost lost in the noise of the bar.
“I’m Mandy,” Iron Maiden told them.
“And who are you supposed to be?” Slapstick asked, eyeing the costume.
“Whoever it is, that’s a kickin’ costume!” Hint said, immediately blushing from his collar upwards.
“You can call my, uh, cosplay Iron Maiden,” She replied.  “It’s a character of my own design.”
“So your character has metal skin, huh?” Dumpling asked.  “What other powers?”
“Strength and fast-healing,” Iron Maiden responded with a grin:  “And a figure that makes men drool.”
“Doesn’t work,” Stopwatch said.   Then: “Sorry.”
“What do you mean it doesn’t work?” Iron Maiden asked.
“Well, you’ve created what we call a Brick.  You know, tough skin, strength.  They don’t tend to have healing.  I guess because they don’t need it.  They absorb so much damage there’s never anything to heal.”
“There are rules to the way powers go together?” Iron Maiden asked him.
“Of course!” Said several members of the group at once.
“I’ll have to bear than in mind!” Iron Maiden said with a wry grin.

“So what sort of paint did you use to make your skin look like that?” Dumpling asked, fascinated.  She prodded at Iron Maiden’s bare arm and then gasped.  “Wow!  It feels so real!  Almost like actual metal!”
“Yes,” Iron Maiden said.  “I used a strong metallic paint. It’s really tough.  Water proof.  Friction proof.  Proof proof.”
“What sort of paint is that?” Stopwatch asked.  “I haven’t heard of it.”
“It’s very new,” Iron Maiden assured him, laying a hand gently on his shoulder.
Stopwatch grinned and nodded inanely.  “Sure!  Okay!  Great!”

The evening wore on in a pleasant way and Iron Maiden was perfectly happy for the group to keep picking up her tab.  She felt fed, watered and relaxed.  But she was aware that she needed to plan her next moves in order to find out just what was actually going on in the city.  While she was considering whether she’d be able to convince the Imperceptibles to give her somewhere to crash the conversation was interrupted by a well-dressed woman’s approach.  Iron Maiden recognised her as the alleged government agent from the bar.  “Look out,” Dumpling said.  “Feds!”
“Good evening,” The Woman said.
“Hi! Slapstick reponded.
“Hello, officer, what can we do for you?” Dragonfly asked.
The women looked momentarily put out at being identified as an agent, but recovered quickly.  She flashed a badge and then took a seat with the group.  “I recognise most of you from the files,” she said, “So I know you aren’t a problem.  I was hoping you might be able to help me, actually.”
“Oh?” Stopwatch said.  “How?”
“On the far side of the bar there is a man in a long black coat with a replica pulse rifle slung over his back.  Can you see him?”
The group glanced over.  They could see the man she was talking about.  He was in conversation with a woman who was dressed as the Russian super hero Seela.
“Sure,” Dragonfly agreed.  “I can see him.”
“I have reason to believe that unlike the others in here, and your super-team of course,” she favoured them with a patronising smile, “He is not a fake.  I think he is the wanted super-criminal known as Hectic.”

The group gaped for a moment and then Stopwatch said: “Hectic?  Who was a member of the Mavericks?  Who killed the Golden Knight and Jay The Malleable Man in the Battle Of Franklin Bridge?”
“That’s the one,” the woman agreed.
“Why are you telling us?” Slapstick asked.  “We’re C-Class abnormals.  We don’t have the sort of firepower to take on somebody like that!  You should be calling in back-up.”
“Most of our specialist forces are involved in a situation with The Devastator and some new villain.  That man is a cop-killer and a hero-killer.  By the time I’ve got backup here, he may be gone.  I’m going to try and take him, but I need help.  You are the only people here with real powers.  I need you!”
“The Devastator?” Dragonfly asked.  His face had gone pale.  He looked like he had seen a ghost.
“Don’t worry about that,” said the woman.  “Worry about this.  There’s a dangerous killer amongst the crowd.  Are you going to step up, or stay C-List forever?”
“Now wait a minute,” Iron Maiden said.  The woman looked at her, seemingly noticing her for the first time.
“These youngsters aren’t equipped to handle a villain like the one you are describing.  You’ll get them all killed!”
“What does this have to do with you?” The agent sneered.  “Do you think putting on some body paint means you have insight into matters of law and order?  Why don’t you head on back to the other wannabees and let these real heroes show you how it’s done?”

2 Responses to “Iron Maiden, Issue #004”

  1. False Bill Says:

    C-List vs. real villain, not good news, or maybe it a Fed trap to catch iron Maiden?

  2. Keith Nixon Says:

    I’ll bet that pulse rifle isn’t fake.


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