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Authors: Robert T. Jeschonek

Forced Partnership

BOOK: Forced Partnership
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Forced Partnership

 

Book 3
in the Forced Heroics Series

 
By

 
Robert T. Jeschonek

 

 *****

More Superhero
E-books
by Robert T. Jeschonek

 

7 Comic Book Scripts

A Matter of Size
(mature readers)

Forced Retiremen
t (Forced Heroics Book 1)

Forced Betrayal (Forced Heroics Book 2)

Heroes of Global Warming

The Masked Family
– a novel

 

*****

  

Forced Partnership

 
 

ONE NIGHT IN ISOSCELES CITY...

My favorite super-hero pounds me with his fists. I can almost see the spiky sound effect balloons fly up with each punishing blow to my head.
Boom!
Pow!
Wham!

Krack.
That's the sound of my cheekbone snapping. The
un
-super cheekbone of a very
un
-super man. The super-hero battering me has unbreakable bones and the strength of ten men, but I've got nothing like that.

Even though we both wear the same black and gray costume and go by the same code name. Even though we both call ourselves Partycrasher.

"Stop it! Stop hurting me!" I blubber the words through my shattered teeth and swollen lips. "How can you do this to your number one
backup
? Your chief deputy in the
Party Line
?"

At least that makes him put my beating on pause. "For the last time!" He's so furious, he spits in my face while he screams at me. "
You are not my
backup
!
"

I cower on the sidewalk at his feet. "Please don't say that! What's wrong with you?"

"You're not in the
Party Line
, and we've
never
had a team-up!" He hauls back his fist, ready to let it fly. "The only thing you've ever
done
for me is
ruin
my
life
!"

"This isn't
you
talking, Partycrasher!" I spread my arms pleadingly, desperate to get through to him. "You're under a villain's
control
. You've got to
fight
it!"

The leather in his black glove creaks as he tightens his fist. "The only thing I'm
fighting
is the urge to
kill
you right this
minute
."

I meet his gaze through the eye-holes in his black leather cowl. Maybe there's a spark of mercy in there after all. "I
knew
you didn't
want
to kill me, Partycrasher."

"I didn't
say
that. I just don't want to kill you too
soon
." The muscles bulge along the length of his arm, defined by the moonlight flowing over them. "I want you to
suffer
like
she
did."

Then, he releases that punch he's been aiming. His sledgehammer fist crosses the night air like a missile, cruising straight for my...

 

*****

AT LAST! THE SECRET ORIGIN OF THE PARTYCRASHER/ADJUSTER TEAM!

You haven't lived until you've charged through the dark city streets at night, fighting crime with a true crusader. I'm telling you, man.

I remember our first adventure together, five years ago. Back when I was just starting out. Back when I was still calling myself the Adjuster.

You should've seen my homemade outfit and gear.
So
lame. I basically wore a black hoodie and jeans, plus a Halloween mask that was supposed to make me look like some kind of red demon creature.

It was pouring down rain one night, and I saw these two goons beating up a homeless guy in an alley. When I tried to break it up, I got my ass handed to me. Didn't even get to try my patented spine-cracking techniques on these guys. (I'm a chiropractor by day, hence "the Adjuster.")

Anyway, I was pretty much laid out on a pile of trash, about to get torn apart, when all of a sudden I heard that trademark howling laugh of his. It echoed down the alleyway, making the goons stop and look around for him.

Was he up the alley? Down the alley? Neither!

He leaped down from a fire escape above us, kicking both of them in the head at once on the fly. The goons staggered aside as he landed in a crouch on the wet pavement, surrounded by his fanned-out black cape.

There was the briefest of pauses. I remember thinking how cool he looked, how intimidating. Now
that
was a super-hero, I thought.

Then, he swirled into action again, tearing through the goons like they were a couple of rubber clowns. The one guy was crying by the time he was done with him; Partycrasher dislocated his left arm and broke his right leg in two places.

The other guy took a beating, too, but then he sneaked in a lucky shot with a cinderblock while Partycrasher was breaking his buddy's leg.
Kerash!
The block smashed against Partycrasher's head. The blow might have killed a less super-powered person, but it did leave him dazed, I could tell.

And that was my cue.

Springing off the trash pile, I reached into my pocket for the tube of ultra-potent deep-heating rub (my own personal formula). Bolting toward the goon as he raised the cinder block for another strike at Partycrasher, I squirted the rub right in his eyes. Wailing, he dropped the block and stumbled across the alley.

That gave Partycrasher all the time he needed to fully recover. Shaking off the effects of the block, he hurtled past me and took down the goon with style, pummeling him with a dozen blows to the upper body.

The goon teetered, then collapsed on the pavement.

Partycrasher turned to me. "Nice work."

I shrugged. "Any time."

Then, he cocked his head to one side, looking deep in thought. He stepped toward me and planted his hands on his hips. "Have you considered working with somebody? As a backup, say?"

I shook my head. My heart was pounding in my chest.

He reached out a black leather-gloved hand. "Well,
would
you? Consider it, I mean? I've been thinking about partnering up, and clearly, you can handle yourself in a fight."

I smiled. "Sure, I'll consider it." Then, on the spot, I made up my mind. "Actually, my answer is..."

*****

 

WHO--OR WHAT--IS BRAINTEAZER?

"Y-you're not just my p-partner." My speech slurs as Partycrasher's unrelenting blows pound my face to pulp. "You're my b-best friend!"

Partycrasher hauls me up by the front of my costume and snarls the words in my face. "I'm not your
partner
, and I've
never
been your
friend
!" He looks mad enough to bite my nose off, I swear to God.

Tears trickle down the ragged maze of my cracked and lumpy cheeks. "It's Brainteazer, isn't it? Or Non Compos Mentis? One of them g-got inside your h-head, didn't they?"

"You delusional
idiot
!" He shakes me like a rag doll--a rag doll he hates with every fiber of his being. "For the last time! There. Is. No.
Mind control
."

I wince at him with all the deep and tragic affection welling up in my heart. "They're m-making you say that, I know..."

He shakes me again. "Brainteazer isn't even in the super-villain
game
anymore! He's in Silicon Valley working on mind-machine interface systems!"

"Th-that's what he
wants
you to think."

"And Non Compos Mentis died from a drug overdose!"

"They've totally t-taken you over...haven't they?" I shake my head slowly. "They've stolen...my p-partner...the g-greatest crimefighter this city has ever...the
world
has ever..."

"
I'm not your partner!
" He screams the words so loud it hurts. "
All you've ever been is a deluded wannabe who I should've killed long...
"

*****

 

INTRODUCING THE ONE AND ONLY RAVE SIGNAL!

When did Partycrasher give me the fabulous Rave Signal? I'm glad you asked.

I was in the hospital, right? This was six months after Partycrasher and I joined forces. By then, we were both wearing the same costume and going by the same code name--all the better to confuse the underworld element, he always said.

Anyway, I was laid up after a solo battle with Ballbuster and the Let 'Em Eat Cake Gang. Imagine a band of seven goons all dressed like Marie Antoinette, but with weaponized hairpins and flying guillotines. As for Ballbuster, she was the ultimate butch lesbian with a fetish for striking below the belt.

I was left in a full body cast, more or less, confined to my hospital bed. My first night there, I heard a knock at the door, and it was Partycrasher. He swirled into the darkened room like a cloud of smoke.

"Hey there, chum." He brought in a bouquet of flowers and put it on the nightstand. "I'm so sorry about all this."

"There's nothing to be sorry about." I smiled and shrugged. "Comes with the territory."

He shook his head and sat down in a chair in the corner, in the shadows. "If only I'd gotten there quicker. If only I'd known...perhaps I could've dispatched Fugu and Amanita faster and raced across town to your side before they hurt you."

"You can't be everywhere at once," I said. "I'm just grateful to be able to do my part in your name. Taking an occasional beating is a price I'm willing to pay for that privilege."

He propped his elbows on the armrests and steepled his fingers against his chin. "Never again."

I panicked. "You're not
firing
me? You're not taking away my
black and gray
?"

For a long moment, I thought that was exactly what he meant. He said nothing, just stared at me from the shadowy corner.

Then, leather gloves creaking, he pushed himself up from the chair. "I will
never
fire you, my faithful ally." Reaching down, he unsnapped a pocket on his multi-belt and drew out a loop of gold metal. "But I
will
make you safer."

His black cape rustled as he crossed the moonbeam streaming in through the window. He held up the golden loop and turned it between his fingers.

"W-what is it?" I asked.

"The
Rave S
ignal
," said Partycrasher. "A secret signal that will alert me if you're in danger. It's an anklet." He held it out to me. "When the threat is too great, simply kick it, and the signal tone will be transmitted to my headgear." He patted the crown of his black cowl, which was threaded with sophisticated electronics. "I will be there in a flash."

I felt choked up when he handed it to me. "Thank you, Partycrasher. I can't tell you what this
means
to me..."

"No more than our
alliance
means to
me
." With that, he held out his gloved hand with the thumb and third finger extended--configured for the official Party Line handshake.

I returned the shake, twisting my hand clockwise as he turned his counterclockwise. "Criminals," I said, beginning our traditional oath, "your party is over."

"We're not invited," said Partycrasher, "and we're showing up anyway."

I grinned and held the Rave Signal tight in my fist. "I swear, I will use this wisely, and will never betray your..."

*****

 

EVEN A HERO CAN GO INSANE!

"If y-you're not my partner...n-not my f-friend..." I struggle to get out the words as he pastes me again across the kisser. "Th-then why did you give me...the Rave Signal?"

Partycrasher throws his head back and rolls his eyes skyward. "How many times do I have to
tell
you? It was an
ankle monitor
, moron! It was supposed to alert
law enforcement
any time you violated the
restraining order
and got within thirty feet of me!"

Though I'm the one suffering and bleeding, I gaze up at him with pity. "They really g-got to you...didn't they? Got in d-deep." I shake my head at him. "Was it Thinkupine? Neuronicus?"

"Oh my God!" His eyes are huge as he glares down at me. "Can you
imagine
how
sick to death
I am of listening to your
delirious bullshit
?"

"
I
know. It w-was Heads-I-Win, wasn't it?" I gurgle up a mouthful of bloody foam. "He t-took control of you...once before...remember?"

"Why do I bother trying to talk
sense
to you?" Partycrasher hauls back a booted foot, aiming the toe at my gut. "You're
hopeless
. You're a
lunatic
."

"It can't be Linda Loveblind..." It hurts to move, but I curl up against the blow to come. "Sh-she's already...g-gone..."

Maybe it
does
have something to with Linda Loveblind. What I say pushes him over the top.

"Her name is
Maria
!" he screams as his steel-toed boot connects with my belly. "And you know
damn well
that she was my..."

 

*****

 

FAIRER SEX OR
TERROR
SEX?
YOU
BE THE JUDGE!

We had a real golden age there for a while. The two Partycrashers cleaned up Isosceles City in a big way. The streets were
safe
again at night, can you imagine?

Together, Partycrasher and I took down Tic Tac Moe and the Greenstamps Gang...Fill-'Er-Up and Liver Spot...Coke Furnace and the Five Ingots. When no one else could stop Fifty-Three Flavors and the Himalayan from liquefying every bone within a hundred mile radius, guess who saved the day? And when Pharmacopia turned everyone in the city, except us, into drugged-out screaming zombies, only the Partycrashers managed to cancel his prescription.

We even saved the world once, I swear to God. When Core Sample resurrected Invicticus, the living soul of all fossil fuels, the planet was doomed. Only our quick thinking and decisive action stopped them from igniting every deposit of oil, gas, and coal in the world at once. (We used philosophy and alien weapons from Area 51, that's all I'll say.)

We made the headlines almost every day. The President gave us Congressional Medals of Honor. Little kids wrote more letters to us than to Santa Claus. It was the happiest time of my life.

Then,
she
showed up.

When we first met her, she was a super-villainess--part of the Chick Posse. They were really tearing up the town in those days, staging spectacular robberies and running rings around every cop and hero who tried to stop them. They even gave
us
a run for our money that first time at the Diamond Show robbery.

There were seven of them that day. They came to steal an exhibit of crown jewels from around the world, on loan for the Diamond Show's fiftieth anniversary.

Lady of the Night dazzled the guards with her feminine wiles. Sarah Firma used her control of dirt and rock to tunnel past the security system. When the alarms went off anyway, Catfight and Henny Penny exploded into action, battling guards and cops alike with feline and avian savagery. Fashionista used her control over articles of clothing to bind and imprison the first heroes on the scene. After that, Dee Flower cast an erotic spell over the mind of every man and woman in range.

And then there was
her
, Linda Loveblind. When Partycrasher and I charged onto the scene, she used her control of the sense of sight to render us useless. We kept fighting what we thought were Chick Posse members, but in actuality, we were only fighting each other.

Thankfully, though, I was able to break free before it was too late. Instead of fighting everyone who looked like a Chick Posse woman, I went after the one person who looked like my partner--the person who was in reality Linda Loveblind. After I knocked her out, Partycrasher saw clearly again, and the two of us made short work of the Posse.

But even as the cops hauled them off in power-nullifying bonds and helmets, I had a terrible feeling we hadn't seen the last of them--and of
her
in particular. Because I saw her flash a look at Partycrasher, and he didn't look away.

I'd seen that look before. I knew what it meant.

"Good riddance to bad rubbish," I said as the paddy wagon pulled away.

"I do believe in rehabilitation, you know." Partycrasher wouldn't take his eyes off the wagon. "Perhaps there is hope for even the most hardened offenders."

I smacked him on the back. "You're not goin'
soft
on me now, are you?"

He watched the paddy wagon a moment more, then turned my way and grinned. "Never in a million years, chum."

"That one dame had an influence on you, I know. Just remember, her
power
is to control the way you
see
things."

"Thanks for your concern," said Partycrasher, "but nothing will
ever
get in the way of my never-ending war on crime. Not even..."

BOOK: Forced Partnership
4.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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