Lady Justice was feeling restless, which she made clear with her constant pacing around the lab. Lilly had been kidnapped by the mysterious robot and her sidekick Judgement Girl had been turned into a glass statue. To make matters worse Elsa wasn't sure if she could restore Victoria to normal. Eager to hear the results, the superhero had decided to wait instead of immediately heading out in search of the missing young woman. If not for the presence of her boyfriend Nathan, she might of gone crazy.
Judgement Girl sat in a capsule, undergoing scans by Elsa's devices. She'd been transformed while holding a classic superhero pose, her hands on her hips, her legs spread and her face showing determination. However, she was now clear and effectively hollow, which was different than the other times she'd been turned into some sort of statue. Elsa explained that when turned into stone, wood or plastic they'd always maintained a totally solid form, their insides also turned to into the material. This time, however, the insides appeared to be gone. If that was the case, they might never be able to bring her back to normal.
“Scan complete,” announced Elsa as the machine finished going over Judgement Girl. The doctor then smiled. “Good news, it can be reversed.”
“What makes this so different?” asked Nathan as he walked over, his arm around Lady Justice's shoulders. “Your molecular re-sequencers, realignment devices and the like could always help them before. Why won't it work this time?”
“Her internal molecules aren't solid,” explained Elsa. “While her outer shell is now a sturdy glass material, her insides are effectively air.”
“So she's a glass statue full of oxygen?” inquired Nathan.
“No no no,” replied Elsa. “Actual air isn't just oxygen, though it is the part of it we breathe. Air has all kinds of different molecules in it. It's the same with Victoria's inner substance. Inside there's a lot of oxygen and hydrogen as well as other elements. I can't restore her using a portable device, I'm afraid. I'll need to do it all here, and it will take time.”
“Alright, that's about all I need to know,” said Lady Justice. “I'm going to go the trail of the robot. Nathan, I need you to contact Chief Meyers and find out what you can about that thing. Elsa, do you have anything that might work against a robot?”
“There is one thing,” admitted Elsa, getting up and heading over to a set of office drawers. She proceeded to open one and rummage around in it, pulling out what looked like a gun without a grip a moment later. “This device can scramble the harmonics within a robot's artificial mind,” explained Elsa. “It works like a gun, but only has enough power for about three shots and can only be recharged here. It works using an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP.”
“I'll take it,” said Lady Justice, snatching up the weapon and finding a place for it on her utility belt. “If you need to contact me dial my cell or ring my belt communicator because I'm going to fly instead of drive. Since I'm alone I can cover the distance much quicker that way.” She paused for a moment as Nathan embraced her, and she returned it.
“Watch you back,” her lover told her as they held each other close. “I don't really mind saving you all the time, but isn't it technically your job to do that as a superhero?”
“I can still crush your bones if you want,” offered Jessica jokingly, and everyone in the room laughed. Everyone except Judgement Girl of course, but she couldn't hear anything anyways. With that Lady Justice left the lab, and Nathan followed suit a moment later, leaving Elsa with the transformed superhero.
Lady Justice went to the roof of the building where the lab was located instead of the lobby for once, already feeling lighter. When she made it to the top she began to run and finally leapt over the side of the building. By that point her body mass had become so little she was literally lighter than air, making her float though the skies. She maneuvered by carefully toying with her mass, steering very similarly to how helicopter pilots operated.
The heroine was still flying when Tick and Tock spotted her. The two goblins were well aware of Technomagus and his plans. Wanting to see what the robot revolution would be like, the two decided to prevent Lady Justice from interfering too soon. As the superhero began to soar past the fire escape on which they stood, the goblins touched their hands together and instantly Lady Justice halted in mid-flight. Her face was neutral, her arms her stretched out in front to help with balance, her legs straight. She was hanging in the air as if caught in a spiderweb. Giggling at the sight for the superhero frozen in the air, the two goblins vanished, looking to cause more chaos elsewhere. Lady Justice certainly couldn't stop them from doing so, they having literally stopped her in time.
* * *
Cyberlady stood before Technomagus in the back of the boutique, examining her creator. They shared similar materials, Technomagus being coated with gold and black chrome, while her hair was now gold and her skin was chrome. Of course, she still looked like Lilly Anderson while Technomagus was a bit taller and was a loose humanoid.
“Not much of an audience for my creation,” observed Cyberlady, her voice sounding almost exactly the same save with a sort of automated feel to it. Indeed, besides her creator the only others present were the collection of store mannequins. Granted four of them were actually humans that had been transformed, they had no consciousness at the moment and Cyberlady didn't know their situation.
“Do not despair, my queen,” Technomagus assured Cyberlady. “You possess powers far beyond what any human could ever do. Your eyes are capable of instantly hypnotizing anyone who looks at them. You are stronger than any human could hope to be. You, like me, can manipulate molecules, but all it requires is a mere touch from your new shell. And to add even more to that, you can tap into a being's genetic code and adapt it as your own. You will be a shining star within our new world order.”
Cyberlady looked down at her hands and began a self-diagnostic. Indeed, it was as Technomagus had said. She rapidly became aware of her her capabilities, of her creator's plans for the future, her own creation, everything. The part of her mind that was Lilly was inactive, Technomagus having effectively rewritten her cerebral functions. However, he had made one flaw.
“Yes, a new age shall begin,” she assured Technomagus. “However, it shall not be one ruled by an outdated machine such as yourself!” Before the robot could react, Cyberlady lashed out with her hands and grasped his wrists, keeping his claws from touching her. Her left leg then stretched out and pushed his head back, preventing Technomagus from using his ray. “I alone shall rule this world!” Cyberlady told Technomagus, forming a cruel smile. “A relic like you shall be nothing but scrap!” With that Cyberlady triggered a molecular change. Instantly all the circuitry within Technomagus was turned into plastic, causing his system signals to be disrupted. Unable to function, the large robot slumped to the ground, effectively disabled.
As Cyberlady savored her victory over her creator, her sensors suddenly detected movement within the room. Turning to the door, the robotic woman spotted two women entering the room. One was a tanned woman with bleached blond hair tied back wearing a police uniform. The other was a woman dressed as a typical scientist with reddish-brown hair, glasses and a soft, pale-like complexion. A quick optical scan of the two identified them as Officer Alice Tilly and lady technician Claire Greenfield.
Since the policewoman had her gun drawn and the scientist held what was most likely a weapon designed to disable robots, Cyberlady considered them an immediate threat. As the two spotted the female robot she activated her hypnotic vision, capturing both in her gaze. Officer Tilly had raised her gun with both hands holding it while Claire held the device she'd brought in front of herself near her mini-skirt.
Both were instantly commanded to freeze in place by Cyberlady and her enchanting eyes, and the duo did just that. Pleased, the robot walked over to greet the two unwelcome guests who stood unmoving before her.
“How did you find me?” Cyberlady asked Claire as she removed the weapon from her rigid hands.
“We traced the power signature from the RTM-X1,” answered Claire in a monotone voice, her lips barely moving, her gaze unblinking.
“What is this device?” Cyberlady asked next, examining what she'd taken from the immobile scientist.
“It emits an electromagnetic pulse,” Claire replied, still in her hypnotized state. “While Technomagus is shielded from such attacks, it would disable his power core, making unable to use any special abilities.”
“Well then, I think I'd better keep it,” decided Cyberlady. “Or better yet...” With a mere flex of her powerful fingers Cyberlady crushed the device as if it were a piece of toast. Letting the remains of the device fall to the floor, Cyberlady reached out and took away Alice's gun, doing the same to it a moment later. “I could just leave you here like this, but if they come looking for you all they'd need to do to get you back to normal is get you wet. That doesn't work for me, so I'll just make you blend in...”
Instead of just ordering the two mentally-dominated women to take up poses, Cyberlady took delight in reposing them herself. Alice had on hand on her forehead and the other on her hip, each bent equally in a somewhat sexy pose. Claire meanwhile had one hand holding her chin while the other was casually pointing forward, its palm facing up with the index finger extended. That done, Cyberlady touched both and triggered a molecular change. Instantly both had their skin become shiny and tough, as did their eyes and nails. Both were now mannequins, just like those that Technomagus had transformed earlier.
Cyberlady didn't like the odds of the police and the military having someone capable of figuring out how to use the machine Technomagus had used to create her to turn her back into her normal so she also turned it into plastic. Thus anything in the immediate area that was a threat to her was either incapacitated or destroyed. Ready to move on with the next part of her plan, Cyberlady left the boutique.
* * *
Nathan had gotten the full report from Chief Meyers and was now searching for Lady Justice. The military had decided to come clean with the police when the report of the RTM-X1 was at large came to their attention, briefing everyone on what it could do. Unfortunately they also revealed that EMP wouldn't defeat it, though it would help. Armed with the information, Nathan had tried to contact Lady Justice only to be unable to pick up her communicator or cell. He'd contacted Elsa and she'd confirmed that Lady Justice wasn't showing up in the search grid either, which meant she'd been frozen by Tick and Tock, the only two capable of masking life signs when they froze people.
As if the missing superhero wasn't bad enough, Nathan had also heard from the police that the scientist who'd released the robot as well as Officer Tilly were both missing. They were currently working with Elsa to track the two down. Fortunately they were the only others missing so far besides Lilly, so the situation wasn't too out of control yet.
As Nathan stopped at a red light he casually glanced around and ended up spotting who he'd been searching for. Lady Justice was in the air near the forth story fire escape of a building, frozen in mid-flight. Nathan immediately found a place to park and raced up the metal stairs until he was level with his immobile girlfriend. By stretching out he found he could just barely grasp Lady Justice's left shoulder, thus he managed to pull her in. Fortunately the air around her had also been frozen, keeping her from falling as Nathan pulled her onto the fire escape.
After carefully leaning the frozen Lady Justice against the edge of the fire escape while on her toes, Nathan let out a breath. “Great, the terrible two are at it again,” muttered Nathan. “Now we've got a rampaging robot and two crazed goblins that can mess with time. Who else is going to decide to turn up?”
* * *
The basement of the city's art college got a surprise visitor while Nathan attempted to get Jessica back to Elsa's lab. Gorgun had been minding her own business, sitting in her secret hideout cleaning her weapon, when Cyberlady suddenly kicked in her door. “What on earth...?!” exclaimed Gorgun as she snapped up her weapon, turning to face the intruder. When she saw the robotic woman her eyes just went wider. “The Anderson brat?!” gasped the villain.
In response to Gorgun pointing the ray at her Cyberlady snapped out her right hand, grasping her weapon. Instantly a chill went down Gorgun's back, a literal one. A moment later she realized what this meant. “No!” She screamed as she felt herself lock up, becoming positively frigid. A layer of ice formed around the woman's body, trapping her on the spot, her face a mask of horror.
“It seems taking Cold Fusion's powers was a good idea,” observed Cyberlady as she pulled her hand away from the ice statue of Gorgun. “With you gone, I've eliminated any villains that may be a treat to me. The goblins I can't detect, but they're neutral anyways. Now there's just one target left before I can make my grand play...”
* * *
Nathan had managed to tie Lady Justice to the back of his bike and driven her to the lab, where Elsa was just finishing with Judgement Girl. By the time Nathan had managed to get the frozen superhero in the door, the process had been finished and Judgement Girl had emerged from the capsule. A moment later Elsa used a temporal re-aligner on Lady Justice and the duo was back to normal. Elsa and Nathan then brought the duo up to speed on the situation.
“Any clue where the RTM-X1 is now?” asked Lady Justice after being briefed.
“Actually, we just got some interesting new information,” replied Elsa, calling up some video footage on a nearby computer. “A tourist picked this up while taping standing in front of the park's fountain.” On the screen of the computer, a woman in casual clothing came into view, standing before a circular fountain. In the center of the monument water spouted up from the center like a geyser. The woman was waving.
Elsa proceeded to pause the footage. “Look in the back,” she told the group. Everyone leaned in and saw a black metallic figure who'd been in the process of moving across the screen. Everyone's eyes went wide.
“That looks like Lilly!” exclaimed Judgement Girl.
“It might just be,” admitted Elsa with a sad tone in her voice. “Greenfield deduced that if the robot felt threatened it may try to make others like itself. It looks like Lilly was one of the first to be transformed.”
“It can do that?!” asked Lady Justice, horror in her voice.
“Not by itself,” answered Elsa. “It would need some kind of power booster, which is what he might of stolen from here, though he would need more than that. Still, since we haven't been able to detect Lilly, this might explain why.”
“So what can we do?” asked Nathan, eager to hurry and crush the threats that were popping up before too many more appeared.
“I've traced Greenfield to this location,” explained Elsa, changing the screen to show a map of the city. A dot appeared in a commercial zone. “It's a fashion boutique. She's been there for a while, so it's possible the robot or someone else got to her. It'll probably be a good place to start looking.”
“Alright, lets go then!” exclaimed Judgement Girl, eager to go help her friend. Taking their leave of Elsa, the trio hurried out of the lab. Judgement Girl and Lady Justice hopped into their car while Nathan went for his motorcycle, promising to meet the two at the boutique.
Minutes later the superheroes arrived at boutique, Nathan not far away. The three quickly walked towards the back door, eager to head inside and investigate as to why the scientist was still there. However, Tick and Tock decided it was good time to annoy the heroes again and once more brought their palms together. Instantly all three were frozen in place, Lady Justice trying the door while Judgement Girl was drawing her EMP gun and Nathan was limbering up. With the only people nearby inside the boutique and turned into mannequins, it would be a while before the three were discovered, and Tick and Tock wanted to leave them trapped for a bit.
In the meantime, a familiar figure was walking down the hallway to the door to Elsa's lab...
Continued in The Day of the Robot...