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Super-Team Family: Panic Hollywood (pt 6)

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  • mcmaenza
    Not too far from the studio, a black sedan was parked near a phone booth with the engine idling. The passenger door was open while one of the men from the car
    Message 1 of 14 , Mar 1, 2003
      Not too far from the studio, a black sedan was parked near a phone
      booth with the engine idling. The passenger door was open while one
      of the men from the car used the phone. "Boss, we got it!" he said
      into the mouthpiece. "Your little distraction worked like a dream."

      "Excellent," said the voice on the other end of the line, "though
      there was never a doubt in my mind that it would not. Next stop is
      Paragon Studios. The scenario will be the same: you signal me when
      you are in position, I will generate the distraction and you make
      way with the specified goods. Understood?"

      "Sounds good," the hireling said. "This is one of the easiest gigs
      me and the boys have had in awhile."

      "And if you continue to perform as directed, you all will be
      compensated handsomely for your work," the boss replied.

      "I like the sound of that," the thug said. "We'll be in touch
      soon." He hung up the phone and joined the others in the car.

      And, somewhere across town in a hidden location, the man in charge
      also hung up the phone.

      "It's all unfolding like a well written plot," the figure in the
      dimly lit room said to himself. "No one can stop me now, not even
      Green Lantern. And even if he did show his do-gooder face, it won't
      matter. With my vastly improved abilities, I'll bring all of
      Hollywood to its knees by ripping off the major studios and holding
      their prized releases for a king's ransom! There is not a damn
      thing any heroes can do to stop me now!" And the man laughed with a
      maniacal laughter.
    • mcmaenza
      From Paragon Studios, just across town that evening, came reports of a spaceship hovering over the lot. A pair of heroes were quickly on the scene, having
      Message 2 of 14 , Mar 1, 2003
        From Paragon Studios, just across town that evening, came reports of
        a spaceship hovering over the lot. A pair of heroes were quickly on
        the scene, having been on alert for the better part of the afternoon.

        "There she is!" Blue Devil said as he spied a saucer like craft
        hovering over the back part of the lot. The rockets in his trident
        propelled him through the air.

        A green condor soared beside him. "I don't know," the transformed
        Changeling said. "From the alternating lights to the eerie glow
        from the underside."

        "Sounds real too," the azure avenger agreed as the air was filled
        with a faint hum. "Given recent events, maybe its the real McCoy."
        He noticed that the security guards were flocking towards the back
        of the lot, guns drawn.

        "Doubt it," Changeling replied. "I doubt anyone would try another
        invasion this soon. Plus, I've seen enough real crafts in my time,
        and that ship looks waaaay too Hollywood."

        The ship suddenly began to open fire. Blasts of light surged from
        the sides, randomly striking the ground. "Those men!" Blue Devil
        tensed. "We gotta help them!" He charged into battle before
        waiting for Changeling to reply.

        Blue Devil hit the ground hard and found he had to dodge the
        striking blasts. "No time for offense yet," he said, eyeing one of
        the guards who was firing upon the ship. "First things first." He
        ran up and scooped up the man in his free hand.

        "Hey!" the studio guard exclaimed.

        "Trust me, buddy," Blue Devil said. "You're better off leavin' this
        to the professionals!" He deposited the guy back with the
        others. "Guys, you better stay back!"

        "I thought you heroes drove off all those stinking aliens!" one of
        the men said.

        "We did, we did!" Blue Devil bounded back off. "Sheesh, we get no
        respect."

        A green bird caught up with him. "There you are! You bolted so
        fast."

        "Sorry, Gar," Blue Devil apologized, "but I saw trouble. Those guys
        were under attack!"

        "Hmm," Changeling said. "I wonder..."

        "Think its a set up?"

        "Could be. Stay loose for a second and let me try something." The
        green condor streaked off towards the space craft while Blue Devil
        landed on one of the building roofs to hang back.

        As Changeling got closer, he transformed himself again. This time,
        he was a bit smaller with a different wing span. "I may not be the
        detective that Nightwing is," he said to himself, "but even I know
        that sometimes you need to invoke the skills of the bat." He
        laughed to himself silently as he moved into position.

        Blue Devil watched the craft. "I'd swear that was real," he said to
        himself. "If its not, its some of the best damn special effects
        I've ever seen!" Then again, he had believed the giant ape he was
        fighting earlier was real too, though all the clues seemed to be
        pointing to that it was a fake somehow.

        While he watched and waited, he heard a sound coming from the
        alleyway behind the building atop he was perched. "What's this?"
        Blue Devil thought to himself as he peered over the edge. Three men
        with film canisters under their arms rushed to a waiting black
        sedan. They hopped in the vehicle which then took off quickly.

        The hero smiled. "Ah ha!" he said. "Looks like I know who might be
        behind that spectacular distraction!" Blue Devil raised his trident
        and was about to shoot out the tires.

        "BD, hold up!" a voice called out behind him. A green condor landed
        and transformed back to the green skinned hero in a red and white
        costume.

        "Gar, those are thieves, makin' off with studio films!" Blue Devil
        said. "I bet they're behind the theft at Verner Brothers too!"

        "The M.O. certainly fits," Changeling agreed. "But I think they're
        just hired muscle. Let's follow them."

        The two heroes took to the air, high enough to keep the car in sight
        but to remain unseen.

        "What makes you think they're not behind the giant ape and the space
        ship?" Blue Devil asked.

        "I checked that ship using sonar," Changeling said. "It wasn't
        real."

        "An illusion!"

        "Exactly, but a damn good one. I've experienced a few of those in
        my time, and it takes a pretty powerful person to whip one of those
        up. I think if we follow the car, it'll lead us right to the
        mastermind behind the plot."

        "Sounds good," Blue Devil said. Though he was older than
        Changeling, Gar certainly had more years in the business. He would
        gladly draw upon Gar's wisdom in this matter. Still, he hoped the
        car would lead them to whoever was behind this business soon. After
        the beating he took earlier in the day, Danny was itching for some
        more action.
      • mcmaenza
        The three men entered the hidden lair, their arms full of stacks of film canisters. Boss, we got em! one of the men called out. The man at the table
        Message 3 of 14 , Mar 1, 2003
          The three men entered the hidden lair, their arms full of stacks of
          film canisters. "Boss, we got 'em!" one of the men called out.

          The man at the table dressed in a white and gold costume looked up.
          His eyes were blue, his hair and beard black. A smile crossed his
          lips as he saw the bundle. "Excellent," he said, rubbing his hands
          eagerly. "Put them down on the table so I can examine the take
          thoroughly."

          "Definitely a good idea hittin' Paragon next," one of the thugs
          said. "They definitely had more releases ready to go."

          "Verner Brothers is struggling," the costumed man said. "I knew
          Paragon would bring in a good haul." He moved around the table and
          began to examine the titles on the sides of the canisters.

          "The sequel to 'Laguna Hills Cop', excellent. They'll certainly
          want to reacquire this one fast. Given the first film's take, this
          one is assured a good run. 'The Untraceables' has been generating
          some buzz in the production papers as well. Good, good. 'Lethal
          Lure', also a lot of buzz about this one. 'The Damned Boys'? I'm
          not familiar with this one..."

          "It's a vampire flick. It's got those Corey's in it," one of the
          thugs said.

          The costumed man nodded. "Hmmm," he mused. "No great talent there,
          but it might have youth appeal." He put the cans down and moved
          about the table. "Now, to make some calls and get wheels in motion
          to ransom these back to the studios. If this opportunity proves as
          lucrative as I surmise, we'll be taking a little road trip in the
          near future."

          "Road trip?" one of the guys asked.

          "Of course," the costumed man said. "After we extort the studios
          here, its down to Florida and Benchmark Studios there. I hear they
          have a number of big profile projects that have just wrapped on
          production."

          Suddenly, there was a loud crash from above.

          The men stepped back as the shattered glass of the skylight rained
          down to the floor.

          A large figure landed on the floor with a thud, while a green bat
          swooped down behind him. "I'd avoid booking any flights if I were
          you," Blue Devil warned. "The only place you're going is jail."

          "Get him!" shouted the costumed boss.

          "Right!" the men replied. A couple pulled guns from the waist of
          their pants and began to open fire on the horned hero.
        • mcmaenza
          Blue Devil smiled as he took the fire without flinching. C mon, fellas, that tickles, he said as the projectiles bounced off of his invulnerable hide.
          Message 4 of 14 , Mar 1, 2003
            Blue Devil smiled as he took the fire without flinching. "C'mon,
            fellas, that tickles," he said as the projectiles bounced off of his
            invulnerable hide.

            "Better watch it, BD," the circling bat said. "Superman might get
            mad if you use his schtick."

            "Nah," Blue Devil replied. "Me and the Man of Steel are buds." He
            turned to the two men firing on him. "Okay, boys, now its my
            turn." He hoisted up his trident weapon and took aim. The blast of
            energy shot from the tines and slammed into the two thugs. They
            flew back against the wall, knocked out from the blow.

            Blue Devil turned to his partner. "Need any help there?"

            "Got it covered!" replied Changeling who had transformed into a
            large Australian marsupial with large hind limbs. With the shorter
            forelimbs, he was punching out the third thug. "Just call
            me 'Captain Kangaroo'. Ha ha ha ha."

            When the last of the hirelings fell, the two heroes turned back to
            the man in charge. "Okay, buddy, whoever you are," Blue Devil said
            to the costumed man, "you plan on doing this the easy way or the
            hard way?"

            "Fools!" the man scoffed. "Don't you know who I am?"

            "He looks vaguely familiar," the green kangaroo said.

            "Really."

            "Fools!" the villain spat. The room suddenly seemed to burst into
            flame and a huge projection of the man's face appeared in the air
            before them. "I am the great and powerful Dazzler! Cower before my
            mighty power!"

            "Dazzler?" Blue Devil repeated.

            Changeling's eyes grew wide. "Yeah, sure," he said, popping himself
            aside the head. "The name. The costume. He was a character on
            some campy TV show from the late 70's called 'the Dazzler'. It
            featured a lead character who was a super villain."

            "Really?" Blue Devil asked. "I don't remember it."

            "Very short lived," Changeling said.
          • mcmaenza
            Shut up, both of you! the image of the villain s face scowled. And prepare to feel my wrath! A bolt of energy shot towards them. The two quickly
            Message 5 of 14 , Mar 1, 2003
              "Shut up, both of you!" the image of the villain's face
              scowled. "And prepare to feel my wrath!" A bolt of energy shot
              towards them. The two quickly scattered.

              "Wrath of corn is more like it," Changeling said, transforming into
              a bird for easier maneuverability.

              "Careful, Gar," warned Blue Devil. "Let's not upset the crazy man!
              Let's just find out how he's making with the special effects and
              shut it down!"

              "Ha ha ha!" laughed the face of the Dazzler. "You'll never shut me
              down. My power, originally taught to me by an alien named Ibor from
              the planet Ethor is one hundred percent natural. Even after my
              incarceration last year by the accursed Green Lantern, I encountered
              a party who could increase my powers ten fold. Now, I am able to
              project my powers even across a good distance, allowing me to strike
              at my intended victims from anywhere."

              "Yeah?" Blue Devil said, taking a defensive stance. "Then bring it
              on, loud mouth! He stepped defiantly between the glowing giant head
              and the table of films. "The only way you're gettin' your ill-
              gotten gains is through me!"

              Changeling pondered for a second the Dazzler's boastful words. "I
              got it!" He transformed himself again, this time into a green
              cheetah, and took off like a shot towards the exit of the room. As
              he got into the hall, he spied the fleeing villain going through the
              building exit. "I thought so!" Using the natural speed of the
              animal whose form he now shared, he was quickly closing the gap
              between himself and the Dazzler.

              Blue Devil battled against the enemy who wasn't there. His body was
              registering the heat from the flames all around him. "Gotta keep
              tellin' myself this is all just illusion," he thought to himself as
              he swung his weapon about him. "Sooner or later, I gotta connect
              with something."

              He closed his eyes for a moment, figuring that might do it. When he
              opened them again, the flames and everything were gone. "What do
              you know?" the hero exclaimed. Then, Blue Devil looked about the
              room quickly. The films were still in place but both Changeling and
              the villain were gone. "Oh great!" He raced out of the room after
              them.

              When he got outside, Blue Devil saw that Changeling had cornered the
              villain. Or, more to the point, the villain had cornered him. A
              half dozen Dazzlers had encircled the green cheetah.

              "Ha ha, you green freak!" all the villains laughed in
              unison. "Having it a bit of trouble deducing which of us is the
              real Dazzler?"

              The animal was pacing slowly back and forth, scrutinizing the
              group. It might take a little while, but he hoped his enhanced
              senses would yield the truth. "I'll figure it out," Changeling
              said, "just as I figured out your other illusions."

              "Why bother?" Blue Devil shouted. All heads turned. "Especially
              when I can do this!" With his trident in hand, he blasted the group
              with a barrage of lightning from the tines. In a moment, the arc of
              energy was going about the circle of villains, shocking them all.
              Each writhed and screamed in pain.

              Changeling had transformed into a mole, tunneled into the ground and
              appeared safely near Blue Devil. "Now that's what I call dazzling!"
              he quipped.

              "Thought you'd like that," Blue Devil smiled. One by one, the
              villains started to fall. After a moment, they started to blip out
              in turn. The illusions faded, leaving the real Dazzler there on the
              ground. "I had a feeling if he got distracted that his illusions
              would fall. That had to be what happened in the room back there
              when you chased him out here."

              "Good thinking," Changeling agreed.

              The Dazzler groaned and started to rise. "I won't be defeated so
              easily. I have great strength that I can rely upon."

              "Really?" Blue Devil said as he came charging forward. "Good to
              know. Then you won't mind if I do this!" He swung back his right
              fist and slammed it into the man's jaw. The Dazzler spun about and
              fell to the ground once more.

              Changeling joined his friend. "I'd say this guy's all washed up,"
              he said.

              Blue Devil nodded. "Yeah, a shame when an old television star goes
              bad, huh?"

              "They all can't be like me," Changeling said. "I just get better
              with age." And the two heroes had a laugh as they carted the
              criminals off to jail.
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