With Lady Justice, Lockdown, and Judgement Girl all frozen solid, not to mention Claire Greenfield a glass statue and a majority of the police force similarly incapacitated, things were already looking bad for New Oslo. What's more was that Technomagus and Cold Fusion had teamed up and turned over a dozen people into mindless robotic drones, including Elsa Louiselle and Mayor Rushmore. To top it all off Nathan had just used the robot transformation ray on Lilly, transforming her into her evil alter-ego Cyberlady.
“You fool!” roared Cold Fusion, pushing away Nathan as he tried to raise his freezing ray so he could stop Cyberlady before she caused trouble. Unfortunately by the time the weapon was fired Cyberlady had already moved, driving a powerful fist into the closest android, which was Elsa. The robotic Elsa went down as Technomagus, Cold Fusion and their new army moved to try and capture the black chrome android.
“You cannot defeat me,” Cyberlady casually announced, zipping over to the next drone, this one the transformed Maria Chavez, and with a simple touch turned the silver robot into an inanimate golden statue. It was then that Cold Fusion finally tagged Cyberlady with his special ray, which used his own mutation as a source of power, but Cyberlady did not become an ice sculpture, unlike many before her. “I am immune to thermal-based attacks,” Cyberlady declared, making the scientist decide to step behind Technomagus.
Nathan knew it was probably a bad move to unleash Cyberlady again, but had been in dire need of a distraction. Jason's ray had been cast aside as the worried scientist had tried desperately to stop Cyberlady, allowing Nathan to retrieve it and switch its setting to reverse. Cold Fusion had equipped all his devices with a reversal feature just in case he ever regretted doing something with them, a fact that made Nathan very pleased. As the Elsa android tried to stand Nathan fired the ray and the android froze for a moment, then shimmered as she was bathed in light.
As Cyberlady turned Jason into a steel statue and Technomagus reversed it, Elsa too was restored to flesh and blood as her hair went from metallic gold to her natural blond color. Her flesh became soft and pink, her clothing no longer looked as if it was part of her body. Finally Elsa's eyes went from a solid black metallic mass to the normal blue ones that Nathan knew, and then the scientist let out a groan. “What the hell did they do to me?” muttered the woman.
“Long story,” Nathan replied. “My guess is, you were frozen, hypnotized and then finally turned into a machine. Now lets grab the others and get out of here so we can restore Jessica and Stephanie.” The martial artist helped the scientist of French origins stand and indicated the ice statue of Judgement Girl and the glass statue of Claire. Claire's arms had been up in shock and she had been moving them to her belt to grab her devices when she'd been changed. Judgement Girl, meanwhile, had been trying to run forward, her left arm going for her EMP gun, but she had been frozen in mid-stride, a thick layer of ice and frost coating her and leaving her little more than a fancy winter sculpture.
Moving quickly, and fortunately not being noticed by the villains who were all far too busy fighting for control of the city, Nathan and Elsa dragged the two statuesque women by their heels and out the door. However, as the pair attempted to go down the steps, a woman dressed like a typical scientist, wearing a white lab coat and plain clothing, appeared and picked up Claire's feet as Elsa tried to drag her assistant. “Who are you?” asked Elsa, curious.
“Ashley Cornell,” replied the cute young woman. “I was kidnapped I guess about a month ago by Jas-err, Cold Fusion. I want to help you set things right.” Nathan, standing beside the women holding a very stiff and cold Judgement Girl, merely shrugged. Now three, the group quickly headed for Nathan's car and got in, carefully roping the two human statues into the back seat. Ashley was forced to squeeze in between Nathan and Elsa as the drove to the lab, leaving behind the medley of other victims.
“Lady Justice and Lockdown are already at your lab,” explained Nathan as he drove. “After this is all over you should really make sure that Claire knows how to use your machines to thaw people who've been frozen by Jason.”
“I'll keep that in mind,” replied Elsa. “So would you mind explaining why Cyberlady is back?”
“That's my fault,” confessed Nathan. “Turns out Technomagus's robot transformation technology worked fine, it just responds poorly to genetic mutations, hence why Cyberlady is such a monster.” Nathan had every intent of furthering the discussion, but instead noted something else concerning. Up ahead were several cars, but none moved. The pedestrians too had suddenly seemed to become inanimate. Of course, it was fairly clear how this had happened since both the vehicles and the people had been turned to stone. “Gorgun,” muttered Nathan as his car screeched to a halt. The martial artist leapt from his vehicle but could find no sign of the disturbed young woman, merely a great deal of her work.
“Jason did have a radio transmitter with him,” offered Ashley, no longer shy about using his real name. “He used it to announce to the city that he and Technomagus were now in charge.”
“Great, he's effectively called out all the villains in the city,” cursed Elsa. “It's a good thing we aren't far from the lab, because we need to get back to City Hall as fast as we can.”
* * *
Elsa's comment would hold true, as while Nathan, Ashley and the scientist carried Claire and Judgement Girl back to the lab, many of the villains of the city were heading towards the mayor's office. Mister Mannequin had left his hideout in the local Sears and raced to City Hall, pausing only once in a while to touch any woman he found attractive and turn her into a mannequin. Nighttime, who'd been planning to make the high school she'd frozen become followers in a cult that worshiped the old gods, also decided to go challenge Cold Fusion's claim, casually sending out a mist of sleep around her as she moved, causing many to lose consciousness. Even Fire Eyes decided to take the announcement as a challenge and headed for City Hall, though he only transformed people that tried to get in his way. Very soon more than a third of the city had been frozen, transformed, or put to sleep.
Nighttime, thanks to her ability to fly, arrived first, quickly ringing her magic bell which caused Cold Fusion to suddenly freeze in place as he attempted to order around the few robots he had left. Technomagus, Cyberlady and the androids were not affected as they were not flesh and blood. In annoyance Technomagus turned and targeted the surprised avatar with his ray, shooting her as she floated above them and causing a molecular transformation. The woman screamed as she, dress and all, was turned into solid gold, her face pitched backwards in horror, her arms wide. The new statue and the bell both clattered to the ground and lay still.
Technomagus turned back to Cyberlady only to find she too had been turned into a statue. Gorgun had arrived and fired her own ray at the android, petrifying her as she'd been trying to transmute The mayor android. Both were now solid marble, Cyberlady clutching the chin of the helpless robotic Rushmore.
A moment later, however, a yellow hand shot out and touched Gorgun in the small of her back as she moved to train her weapon on Technomagus. Immediately her skin became shiny, her body stiffened, her eyes glazed over. The military robot determined that Gorgun had been turned into a mannequin, and it was confirmed when Technomagus entered the building's lobby, grinning his sadistic grin.
Not surprisingly before Technomagus could fire his ray to incapacitate Mister Mannequin he too was rendered helpless as Fire Eyes had also arrived. Training his flaming gaze on the large robot, Fire Eyes had emitted his trademark green eye-beams and the gold and chrome Technomagus had been immediately turned into a wooden statue, his systems all being rendered useless. Thus only Mister Mannequin and Fire Eyes remained.
“Welski...” hissed Mister Mannequin, the man who had once been Lewis Maxwell. Thanks to Fire Eyes and his shady business dealings, he was now a yellow freak of nature.
“Hello, Maxwell,” sneered Fire Eyes. “Now that all the other annoyances have been eliminated, what say you and I have it out to see who's the real king of this fair city?” Trent's arms were crossed, and he considered turning Mister Mannequin into wood right then and there. However, he did want to see if the man still had any sanity left, just in case he could be used against Jim Anderson again.
“I think not!” roared Mister Mannequin, his left index finger suddenly growing to be several meters long and shooting towards Fire Eyes. In response Fire Eyes emitted his signature green blast, and both attacks connected at the same time. However, Mister Mannequin did not turn into a human totem pole, nor did Fire Eyes become a fashion display piece.
“Well I'll be,” said Trent, somewhat surprised as he slapped Mister Mannequin's finger away. “It seems we can't use our powers against one-another. Then again, our powers do come from the same chemical. I guess this means we'll have to settle things differently!” Paying no mind to the human life around him, Welski unleashed a powerful burp of flame which seared towards Mister Mannequin, who just barely managed to dodge in time. In response Maxwell's right leg spun up and extended, driving itself into Fire Eyes and knocking the mutant back.
“Now I shall finally have vengeance!” declared Mister Mannequin, his eyes burning almost are fiercely as those belonging to Fire Eyes.
* * *
Back at the lab, Ashley helped Elsa work as they made the final adjustments to the system. The frozen forms of Lady Justice and Lockdown had already been placed within the two capsules, Claire and Judgement Girl standing by to be placed in next. Due to the nature of the ice and glass transformations Elsa had been unable to reproduce a more portable unit to restore those that were transformed, hence why they needed to use the full set-up in the lab.
By a computer sat Nathan, who was monitoring police frequencies. “Nearly every officer in the city can't be reached now,” he told the two scientists as the prepared to activate the capsules. “The city's in a state of pure chaos. A report from the news chopper claims that now at least half the city has been incapacitated. The clean-up after this is going to be huge.” Sighing, Elsa finished the calibrations within the capsule and activated it.
Within the capsule a pool of water began to form below the two frozen superheroes as they thawed. Slowly but surely the icy sheen that covered their bodies melted away, and the two immobile women began to breathe and move once more. The two then collapsed against the walls of the capsules, disoriented. “Excellent,” said Ashley in a low voice as Nathan moved to greet Lady Justice when she exited the capsule.
“You miss me, handsome?” asked Jessica as she embraced Nathan.
“It's been tough,” admitted Nathan, returning the embrace.
“What did we miss?” asked Lockdown, then noticing Ashley. “Who are you?”
“It's a long story,” confessed Elsa, moving to place Judgement Girl in a capsule.
* * *
The battle for New Oslo had reached a stalemate. For over an hour Mister Mannequin and Fire Eyes had dueled inside City Hall, neither able to secure an instant win as their transformation powers did not work on one another. Instead the pair was reduced to using extended arm punches and blasts of flaming breath, though occasionally some good old-fashioned pugilism was also involved. If Mister Mannequin had any hair left it would have been singed away by the heat. His was luckily tougher than that of a normal human, otherwise he'd of been cooked like a steak on more than one occasion. His green slacks had been charred in some areas, and had he been wearing shoes they would of melted.
Fire Eyes wasn't in great shape either. Unable to match the distance Lewis could achieve with his extendible limbs, thus reducing him to a punching bag during some periods of the conflict. Bruises covered his face and chest, plus his jacket was more than a little ruffled and torn. Even a patch of his hair had been torn out. They were really tearing into one another. Luckily for the rest of the city there had been no innocent casualties in the battle, just the occasional bystander, android slave or cop that would be turned into a mannequin or wooden statue. City Hall itself looked like war zone.
Finally Mister Mannequin got the upper hand, swinging from the ceiling and kicking Fire Eyes with enough force to launch him outside. However, as the dueling pair exited the building they came across a peculiar sight. When Cold Fusion and Technomagus had first attacked a great deal of people had been transformed, frozen and generally immobilized. Now, however, was police barricade, which included over two dozen officers, and no statues in sight. While the two men had dueled the superheroes had worked frantically with the remnants of the FBI and police department to restore the city, their priority being the area around City Hall. As Mister Mannequin leaped after Fire Eyes he stopped when he saw what had happened. The police had effectively been waiting for them to expose themselves.
“Take them down!” ordered Chief Meyers, and at once every officer opened fire with their dart guns. The small projectiles, filled full of tranquilizer, slammed into the two villains and, unable to resist, the pair was rendered unconscious. Cautiously Lady Justice, Lockdown, Judgement Girl and Silent Dragon all advanced. A quick examination of the two men revealed that they were sedated. Deciding to take a chance, the group headed inside, upon which they discovered that all the other villains were dealt with. The conflict was over.
A short time later, Elsa had successfully restored the rest of the civilians within City Hall, including the mayor and Lilly. However, it had been decided to leave the other villains as they were for the moment, since they'd be easy to transport to a holding facility. “With this we should be more or less done with super-powered crime in New Oslo,” declared Chief Meyers as she stood with Lady Justice, Judgement Girl, Lockdown and Nathan. A short distance away Elsa, Claire and Ashley were all looking over Jason, who was still frozen by Nighttime's bell. The object in question still lay on the ground, no one daring to touch it.
Then, all at once, the scene froze. Meyers stood with her arms crossed, a smile on her face. Beside her Judgement Girl, Lockdown and Lady Justice by in casual poses, Stephanie with one hand on her hip and the other at her side, Jessica with both hands resting on her hips, Victoria with her hands cushioning the back of her head as she leaned back. Nathan's hands rested in his pockets. All were smiling. Not far away Elsa stood with a scanner in her hands as she examined Jason. Claire had been patting Ashley's back, consoling the woman. Not far away were a team of FBI agents that had been in the process of strapping Gorgun and Nighttime to gurneys. Everyone and everything was frozen in time, save two familiar green beings.
“It looks like they lead themselves to their own capture,” observed Tick as she stood beside the mannequin that was Gorgun, rapping her leg and getting a somewhat classic thunking sound in reply.
“Yeah, and that's no fun,” decided Tock as he casually looked up the bottom of Lockdown's dress. “We should give them all one last chance, don't you think, Tick?”
“I agree, but this will be the last time,” concurred Tick. Moving with all the time in the world, Tick and Tock casually used Elsa's devices to restore Gorgun, Nighttime and Technomagus. Nighttime of course immediately flew away, being immune to Tick and Tock's time-freezing powers. Technomagus and Gorgun were both carted away by the goblins, the pair returned to their perspective hideouts. Next came Fire Eyes and Mister Mannequin, who were carried to opposite ends of town and left there to recover from the sedatives. Finally the pair came to Jason and Ashley. Ultimately Tick and Tock decided not to separate the two and dragged them to Ashley's apartment. They also repositioned the frozen female scientist and her male counterpart so that they sat on the bed, their clothing torn off save their underwear. Satisfied with their work, the two goblins returned to City Hall and surveyed the scene one last time.
“We should distract them a bit more,” giggled Tock, and Tick agreed. The goblins hurriedly made their final adjustments and then restarted time. Immediately everyone looked around in confusion, noticing a lack of villains. This then turned to screams and other exclamatory noises as the women all realized their clothes had all been removed and stacked in a big pile before them. Tick and Tock were beside themselves with laughter as they left the scene.
To be continued in Advanced Buildings & Superheroes, 2nd Edition...