Legion of Lawndale Heroes
Written by Brother Grimace
Legion of Lawndale Heroes created by James Bowman
LLH 11.2 – 'Look Through My Eyes'
The difference between being a hormonal teenager, and being a hormonal teenager with super-powers? Absolutely none.
I have spent most of my time discussing the differences between
Legion training, and the training I had at the United States Academy of
Extranormal Studies. Now I would like to focus on the perks to be had at Legion
Tower. Namely, Trent Lane.
-excerpts from Inside The Tower, by K. M. Sherrie
"Why don't you tell me why you really wanted me to come over here, Trent?"
Trent sighed, lifting his legs off the couch as he reached for his beer; Monique Martin watched him with her large, grey eyes that made her look exotic and slightly eerie all in one. "You don't want to just watch TV – besides, there's nothing good on tonight anyway – and you don't want to get busy... what's up?"
"I don't know," he said, draining the last of his beer in three gulps. "What else are you up to...?"
Monique blew a slightly exasperated spurt of air upwards, making several errant strands of hair dance momentarily. "I told you that already – I'm finishing up the last of my classes at Four-See, and I get my bachelor's in business administration next month. Once I get my degree, I'm getting out of the Harpies and taking that promotion as manager of Stepford Music out at Lawndale Mall – they promised it to me last year, when I finished the..."
The lanky brunette reached over and slid her hand into Trent's. "Hey. Did you forget that you can actually talk to me, too?"
Trent looked up and gave her a loose smile. "Don't want to be buzzkill. Congrats on getting the degree."
"You know, you could start taking classes over at Lawndale Community College, get your associate's and then finish up at Four-See; there's a lot on non-traditionals there, and with a bachelor's degree, you could get something like normal work – not a nine-to-five, but you could teach music somewhere – really teach, like at a school or a music store, or..."
Her voice trailed away, and she sat back; her eyes hardened as she watched him for several seconds. "Okay. What the hell DO you want to do – besides sit around during the day with your... guitar in your hand, and bouncing around the bar circuit at night, making tiny stacks and screwing bimbos who let you in their pants because you were up on the stage, not because you were any good up there?"
Trent looked up at Monique with wide eyes. "Whoa."
"What – you thought I was going to pour the drinks for this little pity party of yours? Figure out what you want to do, Trent – you're getting too damned old to be just a bum with a litle bit of talent and no aspirations!"
"Adults are expected to use them every now and then. What the hell's wrong with you, just lounging around with nothing in your eyes? You used to at least be interesting with that 'eyes on the Prize' line-"
"It wasn't a line-"
"What have you done with it lately? When's the last time you actually sat down and wrote out a song – even a halfway-decent one?"
She leaned towards Trent and kissed him on the ear. "Trent... you're not even trying anymore. I mean, you knew that music never was going to be the thing that got you up on your feet and paid the bills; yeah, it fed you spiritually, but look at your place... look at you. It's not that the place is dirty... it's like no one really cares. That's what I see when I look around in here... and when I look right at you."
Trent pulled away from Monique, and she sighed as she ran her hand across his back. "I'm not saying this to put you down, Trent, you know that. I know you. I know that you want more, but when I look at you now, all I see is what you let me... and all that is, is that you don't care anymore."
There was silence in the front room; Taylor, the slender blue-point Siamese cat, hopped up onto the back of the couch, meowing for attention, and began to purr happily, arching himself as Monique started to rub a long, slender finger along his back. Zachary, the slightly plump yellow tabbycat, appeared in the doorway and went over with heavy pawsteps, wanting her share of attention as well.
"Explain to me again why your mother named a girl cat Zachary."
"That's Mom for you," he said, his hand going on autopilot as the cat with sun-yellow stripes climbed upon him, rolled over and displayed her tummy for immediate stroking. "She just named them that. Hey, Monique..."
Zachary meowed in protest as Trent's fingers slowed, and as he renewed stroking her tummy, a pronounced, peaceful purring poured from the pacified pussycat perched perfectly in his lap. "Monique."
She looked at Trent, who looked down at Zacary's half-closed eyes before looking up to her.
"I don't know what to do."
"Then do anything."
"I don't follow you."
"Just... just go find something to do, and do it. Maybe you'll hate it. You probably will – but figure out why you hate it. That'll give you an idea of what you'd like to do instead of that... and that's the beginning of where you want to go."
"That... that's pretty smart."
"No. It's just learning something about who and what you want to be. You know what, though? I did learn something kind of smart from business classes..."
"Ever heard of 'networking?"
"That movie with the guy shouting out the window in the rain?"
Monique covered the comment she almost made by picking Taylor up, ignoring his yowl of protest (Taylor wasn't a fan of just anyone picking him up, but he'd let Satan himself stroke his fur) and noticing how it disapeared immediately as she resumed stroking his back... "Trent. In business school, that's what it's called when people use the connections with the people they know in order to get things. You're networked with some of the biggest names in the country!"
Trent's expression immediately soured. "I'm not asking Janey for any money."
"Did I say that? No. What I am saying is that one of the biggest things that's hit this state this century just happens to have slept down the hall from you all of her life."
Monique shifted slightly. "You're not looking for charity – but I'm sure that the Legion haas something around that brand-new Legion Tower that needs doing, and that could be done by you. Everybody you can think of has gotten help getting a job at one time or another – and the people know you, so if it bothers you to ask Jane if they have jobs open there, ask somebody else! You've been out there a lot of times, so they know who you are, right?"
Trent nodded slowly. "Yeah. They know me out there..."
Okay. Time to bite the bullet.
Tom picked up his cell phone, and dialed a number. "Hello?"
"Well, guess who it is – Invisible Boy!"
Tom winced at the playfulness in her tone that meant she'd tease him about his sudden retreat from her room for weeks to come. "So... did we finish whatever business we had to take care of... probably in the bathroom... and now, you're calling me back?"
"I could have helped you with that, you know," she bubbled happily over the line. "I even have latex gloves and other – can we say, 'handy' things to assist you in your time of need!"
The girlish laughter trickled away. "Okay – you've got the serious voice on. What's up?"
"I have something I need to tell you. Something that I need to tell all of you..."
The sound of a second person in the background made Tom wince; Jane had him on the cell phone's speaker. "Jane, will you stop throwing ice at Daria and listen to me!"
Abject silence sprinkled from the phone; Tom turned his face away from the direction of Jane's apartment, where – before he turned away – Daria and Jane had turned towards his apartment... and Daria seemed to be looking directly into his face.
A moment passed before he spoke. "Jane?"
A flow of ice replaced the shower of silence from the phone. "We'll be right over."
Stacy had opened the stairwell door and was about to step through when her nose perked up – and she quickly closed the door. A scant few moments later, the elevator door opened, and Daria and Jane appeared from within to march over to Tom's room.
Oh, do they look mad! I wonder if they somehow saw me – I wonder if Daria's mental powers let her seem me taking some dinner over to Tom – I wasn't trying anything with him, really! – and if she told Jane, and she's mad at him, too...
A look of serenity slowly went across the young woman's face, a look that, if Sandi had seen it, would have sent even her newfound self running for the hills. So what if I had tried something?
The look passed quickly, and the trademarked 'deer-in-the-headlights' look that Stacy had worn for years reasserted itself solidly upon her face. But what if we had gotten caught? What if Jane or Daria had come in and caught us... doing it? EWWWW! I can't believe I actually saw – his robe had come open – I saw it, and it – when he looked at me, it was like he saw me naked, and then it – EWWWW!
Three minutes later, any onlookers in the pool area would have been impressed with the way that Stacy rushed through the doors and – after stopping for a moment, leaped across the full length of the pool and into the thirty-foot diving section with the grace of an Olympic diving champion. She came to the surface immediately, the deep blush in her face fading, and calm returning to her face.
Tom was uncertain which was worse – the way Daria stared at him silently, or the way that Jane couldn't even look at him... because she was laughing so hard that she could barely stay seated on the Queen Anne chair she was in.
"Would... Jane, would you please stop doing that...?
"Okay..." Jane sniffled, somehow managing to surpress her laughter for a moment. "Well, between you looking down at my crotch with your 'shape-vision' – I love that name for it! – and you scaring the lovely Miss Rowe off with your grandly unveiled endowment, I think the scales of justice have been more than balanced. So, you can't really control it yet, hmn?"
"When it kicks in and I don't want it to, I just switch to another power and it switches right off," he told the two girls. "There were a few times when I was using another power and it switched itself on..."
"Is THAT why I nearly knocked your head off that one – Ohhhh..." Jane nodded over at Daria sagely. "I thought that it was just my punch that knocked him for a loop."
"I don't think this is funny."
"Oh come on, Daria! Now, the mystery's undone – and he's privy to our most tender of secrets...!"
"No, that's not true!" Tom lied outright, actually surprised at the level of sincerity he threw into the lie. "It only happened like that twice – the night of the fire, when I saw through the wall and flames to see-"
"THAT'S why you insisted on flying Sandi back under your own power, rather than having carry all of us!" Jane exclaimed, making Tom jump. "And the second time-"
"I got punished for it on the spot," he said, defiantly not looking anywhere in Daria's general direction. "I know that I should have said something right away, but I would have had to say what I saw with-"
"And the embarrassment train would have pulled in," Jane said, stumbling over and giving him a kiss on the cheek that was half-giggle. ""Now, you know that you're going to have to tell everyone about this..."
Tom winced; he could see the look on Armalin's face. "...But in the interest of making you suffer a little longer, I guess it can wait until tomorrow morning, after breakfast but before PT. Nightey-night."
Knowing that Jane's rolling sounds of mirth were because of him, at any other time, would have made Tom happy beyond words... but as she walked through the door, he was just glad that he had made it through telling her his secret intact-
Then, Daria stepped into his view – and Tom was reasonably certain that the next time he saw that particular expression on someone's face directed towards him, it would probably involve angels, swords of fire and the overwhelming stench of brimstone.
A snatch of something he had seen at Fielding Prep suddenly flashed through his mind as he looked directly into Daria's large brown eyes: All I can say is that NOW I UNDERSTAND WHY KURTZ IN "HEART OF DARKNESS" BEHAVED AS HE DID!
The horror... the horror...
"You said that your power only kicked in accidentally twice when you were looking at someone – with Jane, and when you rescued Sandi."
Daria held up a finger, and it was as if Tom was struck mute. "For the rest of your life – and the next two or three you get - stick to that story. If I ever find out that you were looking through my clothes..."
She leaned in close. "Why don't you talk to Upchuck? I had a similar conversation with him when he joined up... and what I promised to do to him will seem like a trip to Disneyland with the girl of your dreams... compared to what I'll do to you."
She turned and left the room... but as she left, Tom couldn't help it as a single thought slipped into his mind...
She is so...damned... hot... when she's madder than hell...
Colonel Kyle Armalin sighed as he sat down on a small boulder, and then looked up at the line of Legionnaires.
"Well. Never let it be said that this isn't the way to be awakened in the morning. Morgendorffer, Sloane – so, we have new abilities, I see. Okay."
He stood up, and walked back and forth in from of them. "You know, when I was growing up. One thing my mother would do when one of my brothers got caught doing something was to line all of us up, and punish all of us. Her rationale was that she was getting the one who did something wrong – and to get the others for whatever it was that we did, but got away with."
Tom looked down at the ground in front of him as Armalin stopped next to him. "I wasn't crazy about the punishments, but the theory's sound. In the spirit of my mother's practice – I'm going to entertain the possibility that several more of you have manifested addiotonal abilities or found new uses for the ones you have... but you haven't shared with the other children.Yet. "
Kyle looked down the line, and then focused back on Tom. "Time for 'show and tell', kids."
He turned from Tom to Jane, who had a big smile on her face. "I assume you've got something good to show us, Miss Lane?"
She turned to Tom, and extended her hand to him. "About last night – no hard feelings?"
Jane tossed a quick wink at him as Tom took her hand – and yelped loudly as a loud, electric CRACK! reverberated through the quarry. "Found out that I can generate a bit of a static charge a couple of nights ago," she said, smirking as Tom turned invulnerable to get rid of the pain. "I wasn't hiding it – I thought that it was just the cold weather, but I was going to tell you."
"Okay. What about you, Legion Leader?"
Quinn held her right hand up and let a flickering arc of golden electricity dance in the air between her thumb and pinky... and then, the arc began to circle around her hand into a perfect little circle. She let it spin for a moment, then the circle became a perfect cube of electricity the size of a basketball, then a triangle that spun slowly, and then, a small globe... "How long have you been practicing that?"
"A couple of weeks," she said, a slightly sheepish grin on her face.
"Ever since you went down to New Orleans."
"You mean, 'Just before I went down', don't you?" Armalin actually smiled. "Okay. Let's see it..."
The angelic look of innocence on Quinn's face actually fooled most of the others. "Quinn – we're waiting..."
A very cute hand lifted upward, and Kyle found himself in a cage made of pure electricity. "Not bad. Have you been working on manipulating your electrical output the way Mr. Randall suggested?"
"I'm still trying – I was able to run my hair dryer for about ten minutes..."
"AC output - good deal. Miss Taylor?"
The shapely young woman held her hand out to Armalin – and the others gasped as they both disappeared! "Not bad, Miss Taylor."
They both reappeared, and Armalin released her hand. "As long as I'm holding onto someone or something, they stay invisible, too!" she gushed, bouncing with excitement. "I was in my car and I was holding onto the steering wheel – and the car went invisible, too!"
"Why didn't you tell anyone, Miss Taylor?"
"Um... I just didn't think about it?"
"Right." I can actually believe that... coming from her. "Miss Griffin?"
"I haven't noticed anything new," she said crisply. "I've been working on target practice. I have noticed that, like, I can triplicate the pistol magazines, so that I never run out of ammunition-"
"Wait a minute. You can triplicate an item – without triplicating yourself to do it?"
Sandi visibly caught herself as that thought sank in... and a beautiful smile spread across her face as she realized what she had done.
"Outstanding, Miss Griffin. Mister Ruttheimer – do you have anything new to show the group?"
"Well, sir – yes and no."
In an instant, Charles was gone – his place taken by the most handsome man any of them had ever seen, dressed in a suit that looked like it didn't even know what the word 'rack'meant. "I figured that it might be a good idea to create a specific alter ego – someone who can go and do things that we might need done," the man said, speaking in a firm, strong tone leavened with enough bass to make all of the former Fashion Club girls nearly sigh – and then, wince in unison as they remembered who the man really was. "I also figured that he might need to make a REALLY good impression somewhere-"
The man took off his jacket, and then began to unbutton his shirt-
"Trust me, sir."
The man took off his shirt, and the Fashion Club girls – as well as several of the other instructors – gasped as the man unfurled a pair of spectacular, cream-white wings. He flexed them once, then again, and then began to rise into the air as his wings lifted him slowly aloft... "People like angels, or people who look like angels – and if we ever need to use our powers somewhere... maybe I can make people believe that-"
"Points for creativity, Mr. Ruttheimer. I'm not so sure on the wings angle, but if you can impersonate anyone, that could be very useful in a number of..." Realization went across his face, and he looked off in the direction of the front gate before turning back to Charles, who had shifted back into his normal form. "I'm going to put that clipboard where the monkey put the onion?' I knew there was something I had forgotten to take care of..."
He stepped up to Charles, who went pale, and actually seemed to shrink a good foot or so in height as Armalin glared at him. "We're going to talk later about why it's not a good idea to impersonate some people, Charles. One reason for it is that you may take a bullet meant for them." He paused, and looked down at Charles. "Ruttheimer. Can you do that anytime you want?"
"D-do what, sir?"
"Charles... right now, you're shorter than Daria. How far down can you shrink?"
"I... I don't know..."
"Work on it-" Armalin fell backwards as Charles suddenly grew to a height of forty feet! "I didn't mean 'NOW', Ruttheimer – and you got your signals crossed, anyway! Get back down here, now!"
The other Legionnaires looked an Charles with wide eyes – except for Daria, who yawned, and Tom; surprised by the way Charles suddenly became a giant, stumbled back – and as he looked up at Charles, his shape-vision kicked in-
"What's wrong with you?" Jane asked, turning towards Tom as he grabbed at his eyes and fell as he tripped over a rock. "What happened – what did you s- OH."
Jane dropped her knees laughing as Tom lifted himself to his feet. "Would you mind sharing with everyone, Miss Lane...?
"Sure!" she almost-giggled. "When Charles did his Goliath impression, it caught Mr. I-See-Through-Everything-When-I'm-Surprised here off-guard, and he looked right up at-"
Tom went tomato red as the sounds of laughter rocked the quarry, and Armalin simply smiled. "I'd say that you're punishing yourself just fine, Mr. Sloane. I'll consider that matter handled. Miss Blum-Deckler – do you have anything that you'd like to share?"
Armalin sighed, and stepped over to the last of the Legionnaires. "And last but certainly not least – Miss Rowe."
"Good morning, Miss Rowe. Do you have anything new that you'd like to show us?"
"Well..." she said, idly making a small circle with he tip of her boot as she swayed back and forth, "there's one think that I learned I could do, down when I was in Florida..." Stacy winced slightly as Armalin shot a sharp look in her direction."B-but I didn't say anything, because it didn't seem like it was so special... well, with the things that everyone else can do..."
"Well, I'm sure that what you can do is just as impressive," Armalin said. Even with her powers and that occasional burst of confidence that she exhibited – and which, he suspected, would become more pronounced as time went on – it was still standard policy to give Stacy encouragement whenever possible. "Anytime you're ready..."
Stacy looked about to see the eyes of everyone there upon her. She looked back at Armalin, looked skyward, leaped up – and disappeared with a CRACK! as she flew away at the speed of sound.
"Oh, wow," Sandi said, echoing the sentiments of everyone there as Stacy shot off across the sky. "Who's going to go get her – does she know the way back?"
"I'll get her-"
"You stay right here, 'Peeping Tom," Armalin said, ignoring the sudden wave of laughter that rose up at his words. "I'll go and get her..."
Before anyone could speak, Armalin leaped into the sky in the same manner as Stacy, and a second CRACK! echoed through the air as he sped off after her. "Well – what do we do now?"
"Two mile run, everyone," Quinn piped up. "After that, breakfast, and-"
"You'll meet in the Conference Room at 0900," Nemec broke in. "The Colonel has an announcement to make."