Entertainingly Evil

Uniformity by David Boop

“Hey, toots. How ‘bout you get me a cup of coffee.”
     Darlene Dixon nearly choked on her breakfast burrito. Tom Harris, Lieutenant Liberty to the world, had a well-earned reputation for being a man with values straight out of the Forties, but he’d never called her that before.  Sure, she’d only been a member of the Liberty Legion for a year, but she believed she’d earned better than “toots.”
      “I’m sorry, but what did you just call me?”
     “And while you’re at it, doll face,” The Titanium Titan, a.k.a Alexander  Fabian, echoed, “grab us some donuts from the break room. I’m famished.”
    Fabian, feet up on the Oval Table of Justice™, was a notorious playboy and the worst misogynist of the bunch.  The mask of his full-body power-suit was up and he grinned around a thick, black stogie. (Darlene hated their smell–both Fabian and the cigar–but as owner of the Legion’s headquarters, he had all the smoke detectors disabled when Australian superhero The Burning Bushman visited.)
     When taunted similarly by villains, Darlene regularly smashed their outlines through brick walls. Why would her comrades risk angering her? They knew that when transformed she was nigh-invulnerable and highly unstable, earning her the moniker of The Rage Queen.
     Liberty Legion membership was a privilege. Darlene accomplished more with the team in a year than she’d ever done alone. Still, being the only female had drawbacks. Occasionally she’d catch whispers of “H.I.L.F.,” and “Super-hottie” from other members, plus she needed to fight twice as hard for half the media’s respect.
      Putting down her burrito, she cast Fabian a warning glare. “Whoa, whoa. Has Dr. Moon’s hypno-device taken over your mouth instead of your brain this time? Heroes don’t talk to me like that.”
     She could feel her arm muscles tense under the sheer unitard she’d been assigned when joining the team. The multi-dimensional material of the costume expanded when she bulked out to triple her size. While convenient, its form-fitting nature left her uncomfortable. Twice she’d requested a comparable multi-D leather jacket and pants, but R&D had yet to come through.
    “Art thou about to cry? Maybe you should away to yon little girl’s room?”
    That was the weirdest. Darlene had spent most of her down time teaching Mars, Roman god of war, how to blend in with modern society. The time-traveling being hadn’t called her wench or salaria (prostitute) in months. He even commended her on her battle with Mount Fuji, the giant Sumo, just the other day. The mad wrestler attacked downtown where Darlene worked as a stockbroker and she’d been unprepared for the fight. While the fight started rough, she did prevail, and without the rest of the Legion’s help. Could their insults be about bruised egos?
    Standing, Darlene pounded her knuckles down on the Oval Table of Justice™.
    “Enough! I don’t know why you’re doing this, but I don’t deserve this treatment.”
    Normally, if anyone stepped on her feelings, they’d immediately take a step back and apologize, lest they risk her anger-management issues releasing the beast inside. That day, though, they acted like they were expecting that to happen, giving her pause. She studied their faces, each hero trying not to drool in anticipation.
    “Wait. You’re trying to get me mad, aren’t you?”
    “No. No. No.” They said in unison, too rehearsed to be a coincidence.
    Then she put the pieces together. “Oh, my God!”
    “Not you, Mars.” Darlene crossed her arms, “Did you ‘men’ get replaced with thirteen-year-old boys?”
Lieutenant Liberty feigned ignorance. “I haven’t the foggiest idea what you’re going on about.”
Darleen paced around the table. “You want me to rage out thinking I’ll end up half naked again?”
“You had a uniform malfunction? Dang, I missed it. I mean, how unfortunate.” But the Titanium Titan couldn’t swallow his smirk.
    “I was at work! I didn’t have time to change into my costume.”
    “That art known to all. It ‘trends’ on your interwebs.” Mars rotated the monitor around to show the iTube stream.
    Darlene blushed, even though the channel blurred the most of her bits. The caption below read, “Should super-heroine be renamed the Naked Rage?”
    When she looked up, all three heroes huddled around Fabien’s monitor, giggling like elementary schoolboys who’d caught a glimpse of their neighbor changing through a window.
    Darlene tried to shrug them off, “So, what then? You thought you could piss me off and I’d rip out of my clothes again? Multi-D costume, remember?”
    “Art thou sure?”
    Curious, Darlene pulled on the fabric around her shoulder hard and it peeled away like tissue paper.
The three heroes laughed at their tomfoolery until Darlene really did get mad–madder than she’d ever been! Every cell in her body came alive and filled with delta-energy. Rage Queen never felt so powerful in her life. Instinctually, she realized she’d crossed a new threshold with her abilities and, despite the sudden breeze she felt around her body, she didn’t worry about her current state of undress.
    She sent each super-asshole through the Legion’s roof before they could catch a single glimpse.
     The Liberty League’s alarmed summoned the team to their headquarters.
     “It must be the Vile Five!” Fabian guessed. “Only they have the balls to attack our base.”
Two days and Fabian had yet to remove his armor, per doctor’s orders. The fist-shaped dent in the Titanium Man’s suit had broken so many ribs, his lungs would collapse if he stepped out of the suit.    “Nay,” Mars challenged. “It must be Hades, Dark Lord of the Underworld. Just like the cur to assault us while we are not at full strength.” Reflexively, the Roman god put a hand up to his bruised eye-socket.
     “It could be any of our former nemesi,” Lieutenant Liberty said. “It wouldn’t take much to drop through the hole in the roof.” Tom blew on the quick-drying glue that held his Shield of Righteousness™ together. Rage Queen had snapped the “unbreakable” indestuctomantium shield in half as if it were a cookie.
     “It’s just me, boys.”
     The heroes slid to halt when they saw Darlene Dixon sitting in Tom’s command chair, sipping on a mocha latte.
     Fabian took a step back, covering his damaged chest plate with crossed forearms. “I thought you quit.”
     “I changed my mind. Quitting is not what heroes do.”
     The Lieutenant swung his shield behind him, lest she snap it in four. “Who’s to say we want you back?”
     Darlene purred. “Oh, Tom. After the dozen or so email, text and vine apologies you sent, I think you do.”
     Tom’s teammates stared incredulously at their leader. “What? Our counsel recommended it.” They clearly didn’t believe him.
     Pushing the chair back, Darlene stood and strolled around the Oval Table of Justice™. “No, I think you gentleman need to understand that you’re in the Twenty-first century now and those immature antics of yours won’t cut it anymore. So, in lieu of the sexual harassment lawsuit my counsel suggested, I going to give you a chance to make things good with a series of trials.“ She glared knowingly at Mars, “You Gods are all about trials, aren’t you?”
     Mars swallowed hard.
     Darlene didn’t know if it was just a slow news day, or having three superheroes protesting on the steps of the City Hall normally brought out hundreds of gawkers.
     Fabian looked resplendent with his Titanium armor painted pink. He actually seemed to enjoy waving his “Save the Tatas” sign. She guessed if there was any cause he could get behind…
     Mars, however, looked slightly uncomfortable, having traded his Roman tunic for a ballet tutu.
     “Her body, her choice!” He said as he handed bystanders “right-to-choose” literature.
     She was most impressed by Lieutenant Liberty as he waved a “Hailey in ‘16” banner and proclaimed, without a touch of sarcasm in his voice, “It’s time we had a woman in the White House!”
      Darlene smiled. Today they were really heroes.

David Boop is a Denver-based author. His first novel, She Murdered Me with Science, returns to print in 2015 from WordFire Press. David has had over fifty short stories published across several genres including media tie-ins for The Green Hornet and Veronica Mars. You can find out more on his fanpage, www.facebook.com/dboop.updates or Twitter @david_boop.

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