The Vetting Process

A Legion of Lawndale Heroes 'Mini'

Legion of Lawndale Heroes created by James Bowman

"Here we go again."

Ben Rotaluger (dressed in the uniform of a PSI Cop – everybody in the Legion Tower security staff was wearing one for the Halloween Costume Charity Ball) glanced over to where Brenda Nemec was pointing.

"Who's that the Colonel's scooping out?" the reed-thin Marine Reservist said, his eyes all but popping out as he stared at the woman Colonel Kyle Armalin talked with. "I like the 'evil Bond Girl' outfit. I like it a lot."

Nemec (the head of the Legion Tower security force) also admired the red-purple crocodile-skin bodysuit and matching facemask, complete with dual bullwhips wrapped around her in the most seductive of ways, worn by Armalin's guest. Nice, Brenda mused. Pity he saw her first...

"She looks like she's a Latina – so I'd say that she's the new soon-to-be ex-Mrs. Armalin," Nemec said, smirking as he saw how Colonel Kyle Armalin was standing very close to the woman in the skin-tight outfit, and she wasn't backing away one bit. "Number three... remember that Gunny from 1st Scout Sniper that we worked with in '90 and '91 – the one who went into naval investigations? He was the same way – just change out 'Latina' with 'redhead'. If he were around here and thirty or years younger, he'd be in Heaven!"

Ben looked in Armalin's direction. "Well, looks like the Colonel's not doing bad himself."


Kyle smiled at the beautiful woman (who was the same height as he – putting her at a solid six-foot-three) as he spoke.

"The .40 Smith and Wesson," the woman said. "More accurate than the .45 and less recoil, and more powerful than the 9 millimeter."

The Marine chuckled. "Favorite color."

The woman let her smile widen a touch more than before. "Powder-blue when I want to be subtle, and white when I'm not."

"Favorite breakfast." He asked.

"Biscuits and gravy," she countered.

Kyle allowed himself a smile. "Favorite vegetable."

The woman brushed her long, shaggy hair back as she responded. "I'm torn between red onions and potatoes."

"Favorite quote from The West Wing?"

Her large, dark eyes never left his. "Then shut it down."

Kyle allowed himself to look over the outfit she wore; the woman only smirked as he did so. "Nice outfit," he said finally. "Who are you supposed to be?"

"Didn't you ever read comics growing up?" the woman spoke, her every word a lure to draw him in closer. "I'm Tyrian Crocodile – arch-enemy of the Grey Ghost."

"Either this Ghost character has some series issues," Kyle said, "Or you're a very bad girl."

The woman ran her fingertips around the end of one of her bullwhip handles, slow and deliberate, as she spoke; her eyes flickered upwards in mid-sentence. "I can be – under the right circumstances. Lauriel de la Ribas."

"Kyle Armalin," he answered. "Would you like to get something to eat? I kind of know the kids who own the place – they won't mind if we raid the fridge."

"Why don't I just fix you something?" she replied. "Oh, and don't think I'm going all 'domestic' and 'nesty' on you; I do it for a living. Cook. I'm a chef."

Kyle looked her over. "I think that's a nice idea."

Lauriel moved closer to Kyle. "We'll start with breakfast tomorrow."

Without missing a beat, the Marine snapped his fingers; Nemec was at his side almost immediately. "Sergeant – you're in charge of the detail tonight."

The way Nemec kept a straight face and her voice free of any telling emotion as she spoke was impressive. "Very good, sir. You are relieved."