Friday, July 16, 2010

Firegirl's Internet Diary

Entry for July 7, timestamped 03:16 A.M. EDT

Wow! Today was certainly an eventful day! It was also way more entertaining than I would have guessed.

I woke up at about 10 this morning and reluctantly pulled myself out of bed. God, I so wanted to lay around after we foiled those aliens with heads that looked like hamburgers last night. All I got out of that case was a craving for late night burgers and learning that drive-thru windows really will wait on Air Cars.

Oh, but I paid for it. I stumbled into the the bathroom and fumbled in the medicine cabinet for my indigestion medicine. I downed some as I turned on the shower and leaned against the wall. I rubbed sleep from my eyes as the water got insanely hot. Well, hot for a normal person. For me, it was no problem.

The medicine started working on my upset stomach as I stood under the shower head and let the water cascade over me. I had a soothing, peaceful shower - no Blue Behemoth buzzing me on the intercom for something "urgent", hoping to get me in the halls in my bathtowel. Still, the big lug is just so cute that I play along. Besides, the attention is nice after a couple of years there of living like a nun.

Getting dressed is always an adventure for super folks, but fortunately, my Firegirl costume is, ahem, skimpy enough that it doesn't interfere with fashion. That's important! As I was getting ready, I went to grab the Pyro Pistol and put it in my purse before I stopped myself with a chuckle. It hasn't been necessary for a long time after that whole "Volcano Monsters" incident, but old habits die hard.

I headed to the hangar to hop into my Official Invincible Alliance Air Car™ for my book signing and saw that the boys were already at work. Drone Man was pointing to something on a blueprint Ultimate American was examining, while Elektroid held the prototype new model Air Car aloft. I asked them where BB was and D Man guessed that he was watching the kung-fu movie marathon on TV. Ah, that gorilla man.

I called Shelly up as I jetted to the bookstore, and we had a pleasant chat. We even set up a lunch for next week! It's still awkward sometimes between us, because Shelly is really protective of Paul and, well, there's that history. I can't blame her for being leery of me after what happened years ago. Every day, I wish I could take back what I did, but that's just not possible. Paul and I have mended things as best we can, and I'm so happy that he met someone like Shelly. Now, I just have to earn her trust.

The signing got started right on schedule at noon, and it was such a thrill to meet so many people who love my book. One thing that irks me is how some critics label me a "vapid party girl". Look, I'll cop to "party girl" sometimes, but "vapid"? Please! Are they forgetting who I am? I was a reporter long before I was Firegirl, and even if that career didn't work out, I'm no idiot. No one calls Roxanne Prize's intelligence into question! It's vindicating to have my book chronicling the Invincible Alliance's most amazing cases sitting on the Major City Courier's bestseller list.

There was one guy there got my attention during the signing, but not in a good way. Have you ever met anyone you'd describe as "oily"? This was that guy. He sort of oozed up through the line, and something about him reeked of sleaze as he slide his book to me. Look, I worked for some sleazy types out in El Oceano, I know what I'm talking about here. But not even those west coast lowlifes set off my alarms like the person who introduced himself as "Alex Royce". I crossed my fingers that he didn't catch the chill he gave me (ME!) as I went to add my autograph to his copy of my book. Strangely, he'd opened it specifically to the Rogues Gallery section for my signature. Ugh. I scrawled my name quickly and handed the book back to him, offering my best fake smile.

The rest of the signing was uneventful, but that "Alex Royce" kept milling around well after he'd been through the line. I kept one eye on him as I greeted my fans. Yeah, he was definitely casing the place, or creating a diversion. Only why? It wasn't even like we were at a big chain bookstore; I'd deliberately chosen an independent to increase their business. Then I remembered the owner telling me about the rare books upstairs, including first editions of works by Calvin Major. Any one of those would fetch a fortune on the black market.

After the event was over, I procrastinated and socialized, just to watch the mysterious Mr. Royce. Sure enough, I spotted him trying to surreptitiously make his move up the stairs, and I followed him. I grabbed his shoulder from behind and notched the heat of my grip a few degrees.

"Honey, the party's down here," I cooed as I tilted my head.

Royce must have known then he was busted, because he pushed me away and broke into a mad dash up the stairs. I raced after him, doffing my civilian clothes and donning my mask as I did. Sure hope I didn't jumpstart any kids into puberty.

When I made it to the second floor, I was in full Firegirl regalia. As I soon learned when a bullet whizzed past me, my new friend had also brought a change of clothes. Except there was nothing "new" about this "friend".

"Phantom Rogue!" I exclaimed as he stepped out of the shadows. Never one for modesty (yeah yeah, I should talk), he couldn't resist taking a bow.

"We meet again, Firegirl," he intoned in that peculiar voice of his. "You saw through my deception. Well done."

Ordinarily, I would have immediately thrown a fireball at the clown. Do you know why I didn't? Right - I was in a BOOKSTORE. It would be sort of dumb to incinerate priceless books while trying to prevent their theft. So I held back.

"I should tell you," the Rogue continued, "that my accomplice has already secured my prize."

It was true. The Phantom Rogue was waving a musty-looking book in my face, taunting me. I inched forward, but the Rogue cocked his gun at me.

"As you may remember, I am a gentleman," he said.

"Oh really?" I countered in exasperation. "Funny, you didn't mention that when you were tying me up and dangling me over a tentacle monster!"

I swear to you, I saw him grin beneath that ghost hood of his. "Instead of fighting you, Spookette will do the honors."

That was when the Rogue's accomplice showed herself. Yes, herself. She was a redhead like me, but her cute face was framed by a pair of glasses. She otherwise wore a white costume just like the Rogue's, but it was a whole different story on a girl's body. It's a shame she's a criminal, because she has a hell of a nice rack.

Hey, I notice things like that. :)

The Phantom Rogue took off for the roof, carrying his ill-gotten reading material. I tried to give chase, but I got tackled to the floor by Spookette. Don't get me wrong, I'm usually game for rolling around with anybody (equal opportunity, ha ha), but the quarters were cramped and the Rogue was getting away. I managed to shed Spookette and got to the roof.

Are you surprised he'd already gotten the Spookcopter there by remote control? I wasn't. I shot a stream of fire at the Rogue, trying to be careful to avoid the fuel tank of his getaway vehicle as I cut him off. My caution almost cost me, because it meant I forgot about Spookette for a split second.

"Split" is about right, because I had a splitting headache after she clubbed me in the head with her gun. I whirled around and shot the fire in her direction without thinking. Lucky for her, she avoided it.

The Phantom Rogue was boarding his Spookcopter and was going to escape scot-free with the book. That would not do. Holding Spookette at bay with fire from one hand, I pulled off one of my boots with the other and flung it at the book. Bullseye! It fell out of the Rogue's hands onto the roof as the Spookcopter rotored off to its preset destination. All the Rogue could do was count on its recovery by the hench wench he was abandoning.

Spookette decided to use her gun more practically and took a couple of potshots at me. It's pretty easy to stop bullets in mid-air with a controlled fireburst. I needed a bigger fireball to melt the whole gun when Spookette chucked it at me after emptying it. Still, all that accomplished for her was her last weapon being reduced to a useless hunk of metal.

I expected Spookette to surrender. Instead, she took a flying leap at me, with an expression that indicated she was in no mood to just give up. That girl was out for blood. She hit me a few times, and I tried some of those fancy martial arts moves Ultimate American has been teaching us. I think I need more practice.

I don't know how I hadn't noticed, but our struggle brought us to the edge of the roof. Spookette did notice, and let loose with this HUGE kick that sent me right over the edge. I doubt if she even bothered to watch me fall. Tough break for her.

Let me explain. My powers have a lot of applications. One of them is that, if I concentrate, I can heat the air around my body enough to make myself lighter than air. It's not enough to fly like Captain Satellite, but I can float. That's just what I did as I careened off the building - I heated the air so that I slowly and safely floated down instead of falling.

I counted on Spookette not knowing what had happened to me in the confusion of her escape through the bookstore. So as she retreated, stolen book in tow, into the alley where I had fallen, she discovered an apparently-dead Firegirl sprawled on the pavement. She couldn't resist checking out her handiwork just to be sure, and that was when I had her.

I caught her head in a scissorlock with my legs. She didn't even have enough time to resist before I pulled her down to me, grabbed a handful of hair, and delivered a chop to the back of her neck. It was lights-out for Spookette, and at least one book thief was on her way into custody.

I retrieved the book, and sure enough, it was one of the Calvin Major texts. I am fairly certain it was the first edition of his autobiography, but I didn't have the opportunity to take a peek inside to satisfy my curiosity. I wonder why that one in particular was the only one the Phantom Rogue tried to steal?

Anyway, by the time I had everything sorted out and I was headed back to the IA embassy, it was ten o'clock! If I was going to be stuck with having a late dinner, I decided to make it one I'd enjoy. I rounded up the whole gang when I got home, herded them into the transporter tubes, and beamed us all to the Tokyo IA embassy! You see, there's this great little restaurant I know over there, and it was already the next day in Japan. Their mid-afternoon lunchtime was my dinner!

We had a great time. I even got the Amercian to roll up his mask and try some sake. He's one that could stand to loosen up a little - maybe even take some lessons from the Behemoth. SPEAKING OF BB, he surprised me yet again by discussing his admiration for kabuki, noh, and bunraku theater. I will never figure him out.

I wanted to hit one of the bars for a nightcap (at 1 in the afternoon local time!) and maybe coax some daytime karaoke out of Drone Man. He doesn't like it when I out his beautiful singing voice! ;) But Elektroid kept going on and on about time zones, so we relented and headed back for Major City.

Goodness, this has been a really long entry! I guess I got carried away in telling that Phantom Rogue story. Sorry! I've had some time to wind down now, so I think I'll turn in for the night. Ciao darlings!


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