The Super-Uncanny Adventures of Bobby and His Amazing X-Girlfriends
by ValKerrie

Chapter 2: Electric Boogaloo

Damn you, Shelly Burke, Bobby thought to himself.

Damn your messy handwriting.

Damn your atrocious filing system.

Damn that bottle of nail polish you left in the bottom of your desk which got accused of being mine.

Damn the fact that you quit and I got hired to replace you and got stuck in your desk, with your paper work and worst of all, your--

"Yoohoo!  Mister Dra-ake!"


Laura Jannson poked her perky blonde head into Bobby's cubicle.

"I was just making some coffee, and I thought, I bet Bobby would like some coffee, and--"

"No, thank you," Bobby said, trying to concentrate on the Shipman account.

"--two sugars, but no cream, and then I realized we didn't have any cream--"

"No, thank you, Laura," Bobby repeated a little louder.

"--which reminds me, last Sunday, I was on my way to--"

"Hey, Drake!"

Bobby looked up to see Paul "Call-Me-Butch" Stanfield hanging over his cubicle wall.

"Catch the Yankees game last night?"

"--and there was this little bunny--"

"No. One of my friends came over last night."

Laura trailed off in the middle of her bunny story. "Was it romantic?"

"It was a guy, Laura."

"Was it?"

"I'm not gay, Laura."

"Hmm. Oh, anyway, I saw this bunny, and--"

"Look, Drake, if we're gonna start an office pool, you're gonna have to start keeping up with the games, capiche?"

"I don't want to start an office pool."

"Of course you do!"

"--with brown fur, and that reminds me, did you want any coffee?"

Suddenly, with a quick expletive, Paul dived back behind his cubicle wall.

"--rather not use decaf, but -- WHOA!" Laura was unceremoniously removed from Bobby's cubicle with a quick tug on her perky little ponytail.

"Hello, Bobby," a smarmy voice began.

"Hello, Nadine," Bobby replied, voice dripping with sweetness.

"What have you got for me today?"

"Nothing, Nadine."

"Nothing, Bobby?"

"Nothing, Nadine."

"Not even a teensy, weensy something?"

"Um, according to my mother, Marlena on 'Days of Our Lives' got a haircut."

"I tape it. Do better."

"Um ... Nadine, I really need to do this--"

"Bobby? How am I supposed to reign as Gossip Queen of the Office if my little peons don't keep me supplied?"

Bobby hunched further over his work.

"Bobby. I have dirt on you, you know."

"No, you don't."

"Oh, but I do. See, my great-aunt Thelma lives in your building."

Bobby cringed. "Okayokay. Paul broke the water cooler! Just leave me alone!"

"Oooh, I knew you were holding out on me! Pauly!"

"Did NOT!" Paul yelled.

"I never asked..." Laura said, sticking her head back in the cubicle. "Bobby, did you want any coffee?"

Bobby made his way through the park, crumpled lunch sack in one hand, and the Shipman account in the other. Sure, he probably shouldn't have it out of the office, but it was quite possibly safer in the park then it was on his abandoned desk. Twenty-seven minutes left. Twenty-seven minutes of peace and quiet and freedom.

Tiredly, he collapsed on a park bench overlooking the little pond in the middle of the park. A few turtles sunned themselves on a log sticking out of the water. Bobby stuffed his papers under one leg so they wouldn't blow away, and wrestled with his lunch sack.

The first thing that fell out was the note. He carefully unfolded it.

"Dear 12:00 Bobby, It is I, dead-tired 6:00 a.m. Bobby. I hope you enjoy this lunch that I slaved over for you. I toil hard for you, my friend. Remember to buy more ramen on the way home, and to tell Marge that normal people don't do Tae-Bo at 2 in the morning. Please, for the sake of 2:00 a.m. Bobby, TELL MARGE. Have a nice day. Love, 6:00 a.m. Bobby"

Bobby contemplated this, then stuffed the note back in the bag, and pulled out his pastrami sandwich and his Yoohoo. "Ah, he remembered the mustard," he grinned contentedly.

Suddenly, the bench shifted slightly, as a young woman collapsed on the other end. Bobby looked over, not realizing he had mustard on his face.

The woman didn't notice. She, too, carried a crumpled paper bag and a stack of papers.

Realizing she wasn't going to say anything, Bobby stuffed half his sandwich in his mouth, and tried to balance his papers on one knee.

Slowly, the woman looked over. She studied him carefully, then jammed half of her own fluffer-nutter into her mouth, and tried to organize her papers.

As Bobby took a swig of Yoohoo, she he caught a glance of her out of the corner of his eye. She looked kinda ... familiar. While she pored over her work, he gave her a quick stare. And blinked a few times.

The woman started to wash down her sandwich with her juice box of Tang, when she caught Bobby staring at her.

"I gnou oo!" she exclaimed around a mouth full of stickiness.

"I knew it!" Bobby added, not realizing that the Yoohoo bottle had managed to smear the mustard halfway up to his nose.

"Who are you?" they asked together.

"Bobby Drake," Bobby said, as she took another desperate swig of Tang.

Her eyes widened, and she swallowed. "You used to live near Salem Center, right?"


"You went to some boarding school ... aw, crap ... Alexander's or something? You had a big friend, name of Hank? He dated a girl named Vera?"

"That means you're..." Bobby started, comprehension beginning to dawn.

"Zelda Lincoln. I worked at that stupid coffee house you and Hank used to go to! Vera was my best friend."

"And we dated when we were sixteen," Bobby finished.

"Er, right," Zelda finished. "You look really good."

"Me? You look great," Bobby said.

Zelda raised one eyebrow. "Is this a veiled reference to my new bra size?"

"No, really! Well, that helps, but--" Bobby caught himself before he dug his hole any deeper. "What are you doing in Port Jefferson?"

"Oh, I work over at HyrulTech. Y'know, the big engineering firm? What about you?"

She must be a secretary or something, Bobby decided. "I'm from Port Jefferson. I moved back here to be closer to my family. I'm an accountant at Goldstein, Goldstein and Ross. I only live about 3 blocks from the HT building, though. The big apartment complex on the corner of 8th and DeMatteis."

"Wow!" Zelda's brow crinkled. "You live in Sunny Oaks?"

Bobby scratched his head. "Yeah."

"Isn't that a, uh ... retirement community?"


Zelda giggled. "I drive past the shuffleboard courts every day on my way to work..."

"Hey, don't knock shuffleboard! Me and Mr. Mellipoulos play every Wednesday. He makes me gyros if I win."

"And if you lose?"

"Um ... he still makes me gyros. The point is -- I can't remember what the point is."

Zelda grinned, and took another bite of fluffer-nutter. "Zho, oo shtill gnou 'Ank?"

"Yeah, I talk to him every so often. You still know Vera?"

"Yeah, she calls me all the time. She got married."

"She did?" But she was nerdier than Hank, Bobby didn't add.

"Oh, yeah, she--" Zelda was cut off by an insistent beep from her wristwatch. "Shoot. I have to be back at work in ten."

"Oh, Bobby said, crumpling up his paper bag. "I, uh, guess I need to get back to work, too."

"Hey, why don't you come by when you get off and we can go out for some food or something," Zelda suggested brightly.

"Okay," Bobby agreed, before realizing he was doing so.

"Great! Just pop in the lobby and tell the receptionist you're looking for me. He'll point you in the right direction."

"See ya then," Bobby waved, as Zelda rushed off, her pack of papers in hand.

He tossed the crust of his sandwich to the turtles, and headed back to work. He felt ready to take on another round of rascally co-workers. At least a short round.

Bobby stood in front of the HyrulTech building, and looked up. And up. Granted, he'd lived in New York City for a large chunk of his life, but most of the buildings in Port Jefferson were ... well, closer to eye-level. Feeling slightly self-conscious, Bobby walked in though the shiny glass doors. It was even shiner inside.

"May I help you?" a middle-aged man sitting at the main desk asked.

"Uh, yeah," Bobby said. "I'm looking for a girl who works here. A Miss Lincoln?"

"Miss Lincoln?" the man, whose nametag said "Clive" asked, raising one eyebrow.

"Yeah. Zelda Lincoln. Short, with short brown hair, I think she's a sec--"

"Ah, Doctor Lincoln. Take the elevator up to the third floor."

Doctor? Bobby's mind echoed. He seemed to remember Zelda spilling a lot of coffee and having a penchant for poorly-written beat poetry. Doctor Lincoln?

"Uh, okay. What do I do after I get to the third floor?"

Clive blinked. "The third floor is her lab. I'm sure one of her assistants can direct you."

ASSISTANTS? "Okay," Bobby managed. Maybe there were two Lincolns here. Two Zelda Lincolns. Two Zelda Lincolns who fit the same physical description. Two Zelda Lincolns who fit the same physical description and worked in the same place. By the time he had gotten that far in his reasoning, Bobby was already riding the elevator up to the third floor.

In fact, he was trying to calculate the probability of there being two Zelda Lincolns on the same planet, in the same town, who worked in the same building when the elevator doors opened, and Bobby found himself being Angrily Glared At by an Angry, Not-to-Mention Burly Security Guard.

"Security card?" he grumbled.

Bobby blinked. Whatever that probability was, it had to be greater than the probability that his Zelda Lincoln was a doctor who merited her own floor and her own Mean-Ass Security Guard.

"I'm ... here to see Dr. Lincoln," he managed to get out.

"Do you have an appointment?" the Mean-Ass Security Guard accused.

"Well, she's expecting me," Bobby said, scratching his head.


"Bobby Drake. We, uh, knew each other in high school, and--"

The guard gave him a look, as he leafed through an official-looking book, and Bobby promptly shut up.

"No. You don't have an appointment."

"Can't you ask her?"

"Dr. Lincoln is very--"

"Hey, you came!" Zelda exclaimed, brightly, dashing out of the glass door leading out of the lobby into some sort of lab. She was dressed in a rather odd outfit -- a strange conglomeration of spandex and circuitry with a lab coat thrown on top of the whole mess. "Boy, you're early."

"It's 6:15," Bobby noted.

"REALLY? Wow. Okay, I'm running late again."

"You know this man, Dr. Lincoln?" the guard asked, shooting Bobby dirty looks.

"Sure, I invited him. C'mon in, Bobby, you can check out my baby."

Bobby had to resist sticking his tongue out at the guard as he followed Zelda into the lab.

"So, you're a ... doctor?" Bobby asked, following Zelda as she wound her way through a mess of spare parts, tables, tools and interns.

Zelda shrugged. "I guess."

"You guess?"

"Well, I'm not exactly qualified to operate on anyone. I've got a PhD in mechanical engineering, with a double major in mech and electrical e as an undergrad. I just stayed in college long enough, and they gave me a nifty title," she grinned.

"Uh ... huh..." Bobby nodded. "And you work here long enough and they give you your own floor? I may have to change jobs."

Zelda laughed. "Oh, this. It's just because I'm heading the Project. Don't let the secretaries tell you this is my floor."

"And your own security guard?"

"The bulldog? What a jerk."

"But you evidently get to buck the dress code, right?"

Zelda stopped short and blinked. Then she looked down at what she was wearing. "Ack! Oh, I can't believe I let you see me in the I-Suit." She wrapped the lab coat closer around her. "Sorry."

Bobby grinned. He'd seen plenty of girls in a lot tighter spandex before, but he'd never seen one so embarrassed about it. Zelda might not be as ... buoyant as Jeannie or Bets, but she didn't have anything to be ashamed of, either.

"What's an I-Suit?"

"Interface Suit. It's, um -- here, let me show you."

She led him to a far corner of the lab, and stared into a retinal scanner for a few seconds. The pair of thick, steel doors next to it swung open, and Zelda pulled Bobby through.

"My baby," she sighed contentedly.

Bobby blinked at the mass of red and grey metal standing before him. If it was any kind of baby, it looked like the mutant child of a prairie dog and an anklosaurus. Which had been through the microwave. Twice.

Fortunately, almost a decade of superheroing kept Bobby from blurting out the "What IS it?" which was, nevertheless, hovering around the back of his tongue.

"It's a battle robot," he blurted out, instead.

"Close," Zelda replied. "It's battle armor."

"Battle ... armor..." Bobby echoed. He'd seen a lot battle armor in his life. He'd destroyed a lot of battle armor in his life. He wondered what kind of temperatures Zelda's "baby" could withstand before it shattered.

"Not just any battle armor," Zelda added, sliding off her lab coat. "DON'T LOOK!"

Bobby dutifully closed his eyes, as Zelda shimmied into the small, ferrous mountain in front of her.

"Okay, you can look!" Zel called, her voice sounding very distant, and slightly tinny.

Bobby barely opened his eyes, when he found himself dangling four feet in the air, at the end of a robotic arm.

A rather dirty word escaped Bobby's lips.

With a hydraulic hiss, part of the armor lifted away, revealing Zelda's smiling face. "Impressive, eh?" she said, gently putting him back down.

"F-fast..." Bobby replied. He'd never seen armor move that quickly and naturally in his life. Most mech suits were big, clumsy affairs that often ended up more of a liability than an asset. In fact, he and Jubilee had once invented a game called "Trip-the-Guy-in-the-Mech," which Scott had promptly banned the second he learned of it. The truth was, the only armor Bobby'd ever seen that matched the speed and dexterity was Iron Man's, which was about a quarter of the size.

"Exactly," Zelda replied, doing a few stretches. "The trick is the I-Suit. It picks up impulses from my muscles and transmits them straight into the armor's command structure. It moves the way I move."

A dirty comment threatened fight its way out of Bobby's mouth. He caught it just in time. After all, Zelda was wearing a rather massive piece of machinery.

"So, is your company planning to sell these things to the army?" Bobby asked, squinting at the armor.

"No," Zelda said, looking a little peeved. "They want to use them for ... dangerous scientific expeditions or something. Going into volcanoes or whatnot."

"You sound disappointed."

"I wanted to make something cool that could blow things up," Zelda admitted sheepishly.

Bobby shrugged. "On the other hand, you don't want the bad guys getting ahold of one of those things, either."

Zelda grinned. "No problem, kemosabe. You couldn't run this thing if you wanted to."

"Yes, I could."

"No. You couldn't. I'd like to see you fit in my I-Suit."

Bobby blinked. "Okay, point. But what if it was my size?"

"No good. I had to train for MONTHS before I could use this thing."

"But you invented it. Don't you know how to use it?"

"Sure. But it doesn't know how to use me. I had to spend a long time letting it synch to the electrical impulses in my muscles. Furthermore, now that it's synched to me, if anyone else wanted to use it, they'd have to wipe the hardware, and start training all over."

Bobby frowned. "So what you're saying is, you've created a kick-ass suit of armor, which is going to be used for peaceful purposes ... and there's no conceivable way for it to be used by evil?"


"Zelda ... you rock."

Zel beamed. "Well, since I rock so much, you can buy me dinner."

"I can buy you dinner if you don't mind eating at Arby's..."

"Mind? I think not."

"Well, you're going to have to change. If there's one restaurant that would serve you in that getup, it's Arby's. But I don't think you'd fit in the door."

"Good call," Zelda said, fumbling around inside the armor for the ejection switch.

And then the sirens went off.

"Wrong button," Bobby managed, clapping his hands over his ears.

A six-inch-thick steel blast door slammed down in front of each of the walls of the room, as red lights began to flash and the klaxons continued to wail.

"Um... are we in trouble?" Bobby asked.

"No," Zelda grumbled. "Alarm gets tripped once a week. I'll just radio the boys up front, and tell 'em we're back here. I've been stuck back here twice during drills. It sucks."

Still in her armor, Zelda stomped over to one of the blast doors, which had an intercom set into it. She stabbed at it. "Bart? Hey, Ba..."

She trailed off as the sharp crackle of a gunfire and several screams filtered through the intercom. "Oh ... um..."

"Shit?" Bobby guessed.

"Yeah." Zelda bit her lip. "Um ... look, this place has a ton of security. Whatever's going on, they'll take care of it. This room is a bunker. You can't get through it without ... I dunno. Blowtorches."

Bobby and Zelda looked at each other.

The hatch of Zel's armor snapped shut with a hydraulic hiss. Then open again. "This thing has heat vision. They have blowtorches."

"Um..." Bobby stuttered. "But you said no one could use this thing but you."

"That doesn't mean they won't kill us."

"But you said it was invincible!"

"Yeah, well, it's never been tested. And furthermore, how invincible are you feeling today?"

"Um ... not very?" Bobby guessed.

"We have to get out of here," Zelda frowned, running her armored fingers over the wall. I can't break through this, even in the suit. The floor's slightly better, but not much..." She stuck out her lip. "Bobby, can you freeze the floor? Make it brittle?"

"Right, ju--" Bobby's eyes widened. "Huh? What are you talking about?"

"Oh, stop playing dumb. Can you freeze the floor or not?"

Saying goodbye to his nicely-pressed accounting suit, Bobby iced up, and set to work on the floor, feeling rather self-conscious. In a few seconds, it was coated over with swirls of rime.

Zelda motioned for him to step back, closing the hatch of the suit once more, and then slammed one massive fist through the floor, which exploded into chunks of frozen concrete. Zelda eyed the distance to the next floor for a second, then jumped down, the tiled floor crunching under the massive weight of the suit.

Forming an ice slide, Bobby followed close behind her. "They're nearly through," he said quickly. "I got heat vision, too."

"Great," Zelda replied impatiently, tramping down the deserted hallway.

Bobby slip after her. "Tell me you have a plan."

"Of course I have a plan. We're going down the hall to Jim Reynolds' office. He never locks his door during evacuations like he's supposed to. Then, we're going to call downstairs, and tell them we're up here. Then we wait for them to rescue us."

"Good plan."


Zelda stopped at one office, and motioned towards it. "I'd rather not smash Jim's door. If you don't mind?"

Bobby grabbed the door. 3 tons of hydraulic force, but Zelda's supersuit still couldn't handle doorknobs.

Bobby and Zelda ducked inside the office, shutting the door behind them.

Bobby shifted into his human form, his suit hanging a little looser and a little soggier. He grabbed the phone.

"Dial 3195," Zelda announced, opening her armor.

An angry voice came over the line. "Who is this?"

Bobby held the phone up so Zel could talk. "This is Dr. Lincoln, code Alpha-Tau-6-6- Whiskey."

"Lincoln? We thought your floor was under assault. What's going on up there?"

"We were attacked, Larry. Terrorists of some sort, I never saw them. But they have machineguns and blowtorches and they mean business."

"Where are you?"

"Second floor, Jim Reynolds' office."

"How did you get there?"

"I was in the Vault, demonstrating Project NK-1124 to a friend of mine. We managed to smash through the floor. Look, we weren't exactly subtle, they'll be after us in a minute."

"Project Status?"

"Pro -- Secure. It's secure."

"What are the chances of them obtaining the Project in one piece?"

"Chances? You've read the reports! They couldn't use it if they pried it off my cold corpse! Look, are you going to send some of the boys up or not? We're in real danger here, Larry."

"Of course. Stay where you are. When you hear a triple knock, you'll know it's my boys. Don't do anything before that."

"Great," Zelda muttered. "We'll just sit tight, then."

"Security out."

The line went dead.

"They're not going to send anyone, are they?" Bobby asked softly. He'd been on enough missions to know when the pawns were getting sacrificed.

"Dammit!" Zelda swore, slamming her fist into Jim's desk, and taking out two coffee mugs, a blotter and a pencil sharpener. "Dammit, dammit, dammit."

"Look, we're not exactly helpless," Bobby reasoned. "You're wearing a tank, and I've got my ice powers."

"Against how many?" Zelda sighed. "Look, I like to hope as much as anyone, but two of us against all of them? No chance. Unless..." she frowned. "Bobby, I don't suppose any of your, uh ... 'friends' could break into this place?"

Bobby frowned. Salem was almost an hour away. Even if he could get ahold of the X- Men, they'd never make it in time. If only Warren was still bumming around his apartment. His apartment ... His apartment...

Bobby grabbed the phone.

Cloud poked at her fern disconsolately. She was bored. Somehow, she'd remember Earth being a lot funner before. Of course, before, she had fun things to do, as opposed to killing plants.

She leaned back in her chair, glancing into the kitchen, where Lev was sticking things in the blender. She wasn't sure she wanted to know what the alien girl was up to.

And then the phone rang.

Cloud wondered who it could be.

Zelda tapped her fingers nervously, gouging rather large dents in Jim's desk. She didn't think he would care.

She watched Bobby tap his foot impatiently. She wanted to have faith in him. He had been her friend for many a long time. He was an X-Man. But deep in her heart, Zelda knew she was going to die. And probably painfully.

Suddenly, Bobby's face brightened.


Zelda blinked. She didn't know what kind of name Cloud was, but Bobby seemed pretty happy to hear him/her. "Look, I'm kinda in some deep shit, here."


"Yeah, I think I would like a rescue. You know where the HyrulTech building is?" Pause. "Yes, the one Lev's been scoping out." Another pause. "Yeah! Bring the other girls! That's great! We'll meet you ... uh, we're kinda on the run here. We'll try to stay on the second floor. Is that good enough?" Final pause. "Great! See you soon, Cloudy."

Bobby slammed the phone down triumphantly.

"We have backup," he grinned evilly.

"The X-Men?" Zelda asked, her jaw slack.

Bobby's smile wavered. "My neighbors."

Yup, Zelda decided. I'm definitely going to die.

"What's going on?" Lev kept asking as Cloud dragged her down the street. Marge walked briskly after them, refusing to run.

"Bobby's in trouble and we need to save him," Cloud said for the sixth time.

"I know that. But why is he in trouble? Why does he need our help? What's happening?"

"I suppose we'll find out when we get there," Marge said, flipping her long hair over her shoulder.

"Oh ... my," Cloud gasped, as they rounded the corner. The massive HyrulTech building was swamped with police cars and reporters.

The girls could catch snippets of what various reporters were saying.

"--stand-off, where--"

"--seven people dead--"

"--terrorists with--"

"--believed to be connected to one of HyrulTech's--"

Lev blinked at the crowd of cops gathered around the entrances. "How are we going to get in?"

"Easy," Marge replied. "We don't use the door." Trying to look subtle, she led the other two around the side of the building to a bland, featureless wall.

Squaring her shoulders, Marge stared at the wall, and with a ripple of power, the bricks parted wide enough for them to walk through.

"Tell me again why she needs the rest of us?" Lev whispered.

"She's not really omnipotent," Cloud whispered back. "She can just manipulate reality a little bit. And she's not very original, so she sometimes has trouble coming up with ways to actually do anything."

"Oblivion will pretend she didn't here that," Marge announced.

"Oh, double great. She's in High Goddess Mode," Cloud sighed, misting into her sparkling nebulous form. "Don't we have a plan or something?" Lev demanded, following the other two into the building. She wasn't planning on flaming up until she had to -- these were new sneakers and the only ones she owned without scorch marks.

"I say we split up and try to find Bobby," Cloud suggested.

"I will go to the second floor," Marge announced as the hole in the wall closed up behind them. "Lev, stay down on the first floor, in case he needs to go for lower ground. Cloud, take the air conditioning vents up to the third floor, in case he needed to go upwards."

Lev scowled as Cloud headed for the ventilation system, and Marge flew straight through the ceiling. "I want to be intangible," muttered, then headed down the hallway, in search of Bobby.

"Left or right?" Bobby asked, glancing down the fork in the labyrinth of hallways. He and Zelda had been making they way through the second floor, leaving shattered flooring and ice slides everywhere they could, trying to muddy their trail as much as possible.

"Left, I guess. I don't even work on the second floor," Zelda sighed. "I wonder how far behind us they are."

"Don't think about that. We're going to get out of here."


Bobby frowned. Zelda was holding up amazingly well for having never been in this sort of situation before, but he had to keep her distracted before she cracked on him. "So ... how did you know?"

"Know what?" Zelda asked, kicking through a cubicle wall.

"About the Iceman thing."

Even though he couldn't see her face, Bobby knew she was smiling. "You were pretty obvious, my friend. Let's see if you can connect the dots. You hung out with Hank. Every so often, you and Hank disappear. Two years later, Hank turns himself blue, joins the Avengers as the Beast and becomes a celebrity. Hmm ... Beast ... former X-Man ... hung out with you. You obviously didn't have wings and weren't Marvel Girl, so you were either the Iceman or the guy with the eye things. And that guy had that big jaw thing going, so it was all process of elimination."

"Wow. I guess I did a really crappy job on the whole secret identity business, huh?"

"You did well enough. Better than Hank, anyway. So, ever fought terrorists before?"

"Terrorists? Sure. Old hat."

"Good. Because there's one staring at us from across the room."

Bobby froze, literally, as a bullet ricocheted off Zelda's carapace.

"Going down!" he yelled, freezing the floor beneath them.

Zelda got the hint, and with a mighty stomp, they found themselves on the first floor.

Cloud emerged from the air conditioning vent in a huge laboratory, and would have gagged if she had a throat in her gaseous form. No less than seven bodies lay strewn about the lab, and three young adults in lab coats sat huddled in a corner, which a man and a woman, each heavily armed and dressed in kevlar body armor paced back and forth in front of them. Others dressed the same way stood at attention at several points in the lab. One man, who seemed to be the leader, sat at a desk whose nameplate said "Lincoln," shouting into a walkie-talkie.

"Look, Larry, we're tracking them down, now. Yes. They're somewhere on the second floor. We'll find them, Larry. I don't care what the bitch says about her armor, there's some way to crack into it. No! Dammit, hold on." He flipped something on the walkie talkie, and was about to talk into it, when a small hand shoved itself over the receiver.

Eyes blazing, he pumped several rounds into Cloud's slim, completely intangible stomach.

"I think we need to talk," Cloud announced, cocking an eyebrow.

The kevlar-clad terrorist cursed as the bitch in the robot suit and the weird ice guy dropped straight through the floor. Vaulting several cubicle walls, he aimed through the pit in the floor, and fired off a few rounds at the fleeing twosome. He grabbed at his walkie talkie, to radio in. The scientist and her pet mutie weren't getting out of here, period, no matter how many floors they busted through.

Funny, no one was picking up. He shook the walkie talkie a few times, and started to dial in again, when his feet started to burn. Blinking, he looked down, and saw the floor beginning to wrap himself around his boots, and snake up his legs.

"What a mess you've made here," the Daughter of Oblivion said, shaking her head. "I don't suppose you've seen a young man? Made of ice possibly? I do need to talk to him."

The mercenary pointed on shaking finger at the hole.

Marge glanced at it out of the corner of her eye. "I see. I could have figured that much out myself, thank you."

"No problem," the mercenary squeaked as the red-haired goddess drifted down to the ground floor. Then he absently wondered how he was ever going to get his feet out of the floor.

"Look, we're on the first floor, can't we just smash through the wall?" Bobby shouted from his ice slide.

"No good!" Zelda yelled back over the radio. "The walls down here are about two feet thick. And in case of emergency -- electrified halfway through."

"Friendly place you work at."

"Yeah, shut up."

"Hey, Zel?"


"Does this place have a basement?"

"Sort of. There's a boiler room but it's nasty and ratty and stuff. Why?"

"Because if we run into any more bad guys, we can't exactly go down anymore."

"Oh, crap, you're right. We're ... trapped." Zelda scowled.

Bobby shrugged off-handedly. "Hey, we just have to stay one step ahead of them until--"


"Don't. Move."

Bobby and Zelda slowly turned to face a circle of mercenaries wielding submachine guns.

"Dr. Lincoln, you have something we want," the woman who seemed to be in charge said deliberately.

"Is that so?"

"Remove the armor now, and we will let you go. Not a scratch."

Zelda's arms dropped to her sides.

Is she going to do it? Bobby wondered. None of the X-Men would surrender. Ever. But Zelda wasn't an X-Man. She was just an engineer, stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"I..." she slowly, standing loosely, ducking her head slightly. "DON'T THINK SO!"

Her arm swung around, slamming four of the mercenaries into the wall, as her foot snaked out, sweeping two more off their feet.

It took a moment for Bobby to react. He blinked, and as a bullet thunked into his iceform, he realized he was supposed to be fighting.

"Anatomy lesson, dummies!" he shouted. "Ice doesn't bleed!"

The terrorists flung away their guns as the temperature of their weapons suddenly dropped below zero.

A rain of bullets pinged off Zelda's armor, two of them embedding themselves in Bobby.

"Whose side are you on?" he joked, giving another two mercenaries facefuls of snow.

"Busy ... now..." Zelda mumbled, slamming a hapless flunky's head into the wall.

With every terrorist within arm's reach unconscious or frozen, Bobby and Zelda stood calmly, facing down the five remaining insurrectionists.

"You wanna throw down?" Bobby challenged, the air around him dropping temperature rapidly.

Zelda kicked one of the unconscious men out of the way for emphasis.

"Repeat ... need backup..." the woman in charge mumbled into some sort of microphone.

"You're gonna need a funeral," Zelda announced, getting ready to launch herself into action again.

"FREEZE!" a new voice yelled, as the clatter of boots filled the hallway.

"Isn't that what I was doing?" Bobby mused.

"Larry!" Zelda exclaimed gleefully, as a dozen men, dressed in HyrulTech Guard uniforms dashed in, carrying rather large weapons that ranged from machine guns to what appeared to be a rocket launcher. "You came! Oh, jeez, I thought you were gonna leave us!"

Bobby breathed a sigh of relief. Wow. An entire battle without anyone yelling "JEEEEEAAAANNN!" He'd have to tell Hank about it.

The head man, Larry, Bobby assumed, was slightly balding, and had a sandy-colored mustache. "Dr. Lincoln? Please remove the armor. Project NK-1124 is no longer your responsibility."

Zelda blinked.

"What are you talking about?"

"Remove the armor, Dr. Lincoln."

The largest guard hefted the rocket launched onto his shoulder. Another seemed to be wielding a flame-thrower. Bobby didn't like the idea of that.

"Larry, what are you doing?" Zelda screamed. "Do you know what the Guys Upstairs are gonna do when they find out about this? They're scary guys, Larry, you know they are!"

Bobby didn't like the smile on Larry's face.

"Who do you think gave me the orders? Dr. Lincoln. Now. We'd prefer not to damage Project NK-1124. You have ten seconds before we perforate your friend. And then an additional ten second before we destroy you and take what we want."

Bobby blinked. He didn't want to be perforated. Especially not in a battle where no one even yelled "JEEEEEAAAANNN!" That was just depressing.

"Don't do it, Zel," Bobby snarled. "They're bluffing."

"Bobby, I can't--"

"Don't take off the armor, Zel. You can survive anything they throw at you."

Larry scowled.


Bobby grimaced. He squared his shoulders.


Behind the mirrored hatch of her suit, Zelda squeezed her eyes shut.


"JEEEEEAAAANNN!" Bobby bellowed at the top of his lungs.

And then 11 guards, Larry and 5 terrorists burst into flame.

Bobby opened his eyes. "I can't believe that worked."

"Bobby! Put them out!"

"Oh, right." Three of the men had run screaming down the hall, but Bobby coated the rest in ice, quickly snuffing the flame.

"What did you--" Zelda started to ask.

"There you are!"

"Lev?" Bobby exclaimed, as the blonde girl stepped out of the dim hallway, waving smoke away from her face. "LEV! Oh, I could kiss you!"

"Don't," she snorted, holding up one hand, and glancing down at the fresh scorch markers on her sneakers. "Just ... don't."

"SCORE! FWOOSH, can't touch this!" Bobby announced, doing a little happy dance with his shuffleboard stick.

"I'm not sure I want to be on your team any more," Marge intoned, raising one eyebrow.

"Not to worry, kiddo," Mr. Mellipoulos whispered to Zelda. "He's never beaten me."

"Honestly, they're just overgrown boys," Mrs. Mellipoulos sighed, shaking her head, as she put her knitting down in her lap.

"Mrs. Mellipoulos? I'm stuck again," Lev replied, trying to tug at least one of her hands loose from the knot of yarn they were currently tangled in. Perhaps knitting wasn't her thing.

"Hey, I got the paper!" Cloud yelled, bouncing onto the shuffleboard court. "We're in it!"

"We are?" Bobby asked.

Cloud cleared her throat, and read aloud. "A terrorist attempt to steal HyrulTech's revolutionary exosuit technology ended in tragedy yesterday. The terrorists, believed to have been hired by a rival corporation, attacked the Port Jefferson Research Facility, killing eight civilian scientists, including project head, Dr. Zelda Lincoln."

Zelda ground her teeth.

"Fortunately, HyrulTech Security Forces managed to capture the terrorists before they could escape with the technology. However, several guards and the terrorists were severely injured when stray gunfire ruptured an electrical line, causing a large fire."

Lev snorted.

"Several interns who survived the ordeal had an interesting story to tell. After the massacre, while being held captive be several guards, a young woman appeared, and threatened the leader of the terrorists, and then knocked out the other members of the group, freeing them, and then abruptly disappearing."

Cloud beamed, and read on.

"The witnesses claim the gunmen's bullets passed through the woman's body with no effect. Intern Anthony Parks has a theory."

Zelda groaned, and shook her head.

"'I think it was the ghost of Dr. Lincoln, who came back to avenge her death, and protect us. Dr. Lincoln was a good lady to work for, and she looks great in the afterlife!'"

"Anthony..." Zelda growled, shaking her head again.

"We should hang this on our fridge!" Cloud announced.

"I can't believe they reported I'm dead..." Zelda groaned. "And if I try to go back to my apartment, I know they'll try and get the stupid armor back. Oh, I'm so screwed..."

"It's okay, Zel," Cloud said, patting her on the shoulder. "You can stay with us as long as you need to. I think Lev likes having a roommate."

"Huh?" Lev grunted, looking up from her knitting. "What?"

"Thanks," Zel shrugged. "And thanks for putting up NK-1124, too. She appreciates the nice digs."

"Well, we don't have a car, so the spot in the parking garage was just going to waste," Marge smiled brightly.

"I think it's nice that all you girls live together," Mrs. Mellipoulos announced, patting Lev's knee. "And I like having you here. I feel like our own Shady Oaks is just like a little Avengers Mansion."

"Mrs. Mellipoulos, we're no superheroes," Marge informed her.

"Oh, but you could be!" Mrs. Mellipoulos sighed, concentrating on her knitting.

Zelda shrugged. "It was kinda fun ... beating those guys up."

"We could be like 'Charlie's Angels,'" Lev put in.

The girls exchanged glances for a moment.

They looked at Bobby.

He was still dancing around with his shuffleboard stick.

He missed the entire conversation.

To tell the truth, it was probably better that way.

continued >>

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