- The first day in the public life of a new hero...
Another Manic Monday
Johnny Thunder was unhappy when his favorite soap opera, As the Heart
Beats, was interrupted by a news flash. But as soon as he saw what
was being reported, his anger was quenched...
"We interrupt this program with a special live news bulletin. In
Centennial Park in Seacoast City, two unknown men are engaged in a
life-and-death battle. One man appears to have super powers similar
to Green Lantern, only in white and gray, while the other is armed
with a supply of exotic gadgets and weapons. As you can see, the
unknown flying man has just been knocked from the sky with some
unknown weapon, and the other man is now attacking with a sword.
Wait! The gadget man has just sprayed the flying man with some kind
of paste! KSEA News was fortunate to have a live news crew
broadcasting from the scene of the building collapse, next to the
park, so we can bring you this exclusive coverage."
Johnny had heard enough. "The flying guy, that's that new guy, Jim
Chisholm, who was working out at JSA HQ last week! Say, you'd think
there would be something we could do to help!" On the TV screen, the
cocoon surrounding Chisholm suddenly exploded! He flew at the other
figure at incredible speed, and slammed into him, driving him back
into and entirely through the walls of a nearby gazebo. Chisholm
stopped, and a giant hand sprung from his Glove, reaching for the
villain. This hand seemed to be somewhat out of control, totally
demolishing the wooden gazebo. Chisholm looked astonished. He
quickly dissolved the white construct, and ran over to the villain.
As he approached, the camera panned to the villain, who could be seen
writhing in pain. In the background, Johnny could see police and
"T-Bolt, what happened? I expected you to whisk us off to Centennial
Park!" Johnny yelled. "Why did Jim almost kill that guy? What trashed
his power, and how did he get it back? I'll bet you had something to
do with this!"
It was hard to believe, but the T-Bolt almost looked sheepish. "Well,
Master John, you wished that we could help Chisholm, but you didn't
specifically say how. As you know, when you are not specific, I have
considerable latitude in interpreting your commands."
"Stop with the excuses already! What did you do?"
"Well, Master John, I didn't do much I simply created a little lead
shielding, and Jim did the rest on his own!"
"So why did his powers go out of control? And what made him collapse
"Sorry, oh most glorious one, I don't really know. If you would only
ask me to find out "
"It doesn't matter. Get us over there QUICK!" Johnny and the T-Bolt
Another Manic Monday
Jim Chisholm had been having a bad day. It started as soon as he woke
up. He had finished his first super-hero battle yesterday and he
STILL didn't have a super-hero name! And the harder he thought about
it, the worse it got
"Hmm Gauntlet? Black Lightning? Nope, I want to stay away from
names with colors in them. Starhawk sounds pretty good Glow Master?
Silly! Nimbus? That's not too terrible, I might come back to it.
Star Saber? Lighthawk? Laser? Lightbolt? Maybe just Bolt? Darn,
this is harder than fighting super-villains! At least I got the
costume straightened out". Jim hadn't decided yet if he was going to
adopt a 'secret identity' as a super-hero, or let the general public
know who he was, but he had decided, at least temporarily, to wear a
cowl. His cowl matched the gray of his costume, and resembled the
cowl Batman had used to wear - although without the ears, and with a
black fin on top similar to that on Starman's hood. Jim had
discovered that he could will the Glove to be invisible, so he started
wearing it all the time. Whenever Jim activated the Glove, the Glow
automatically switch whatever he was wearing for his costume, which
now included the finned cowl.
Finally he tried to thrust the whole heroic name issue from his mind,
and went into the office to get started on his week's work. Almost
before he sat down, the phone rang. It was his biggest client, for
whom he was designing a new factory/office building, with bad news.
They had just been acquired in a hostile takeover, and the new owner
was canceling or postponing all current projects. Jim would get a
penalty fee for early cancellation of the project, but the penalty fee
wasn't close to the full fee. He tried to think of this as an
opportunity rather than a setback "I get a lump sum now larger than
the retainer, and I can find a new client " but he was annoyed anyway.
He had a 10:30 appointment in nearby Seacoast City, so he decided to
go early, leave his car at a park outside of town, and walk downtown.
He noticed that the drivers today seemed worse than normal, which
maintained his irritation at a low level, but he was pleasantly
surprised to find an open parking spot at the park. He got out of the
car and headed towards the center of town. The park was along the
bank of the Muddy River, and overhead was the Seacoast bridge, which
carried Interstate traffic into downtown. On the bridge, a bizarre
accident occurred, just as Jim was about to leave the park.
A flatbed semi was cut off by another semi. The flatbed semi driver
slammed on his brakes, and his rig jackknifed. The trailer broke free
and spun around on the highway, then the rear end jammed into the
bridge retaining wall, the front of the flatbed trailer lying on the
road, forming a kind of ramp. A pickup truck, trying to avoid the
mess, went out of control and zoomed up the ramp, flying away from the
bridge and out over the river. It hit hood-first, and immediately
started to sink.
While the pickup was still in the air, Jim was flying towards it.
Before the truck could sink, he picked it up in a giant hand and
deposited it safely in the parking lot. He quickly flew to the bridge
and scanned the scene. Realizing that no one else had been hurt, he
quickly gathered up the tractor and trailer, and put them into the
parking lot next to the pickup. He then landed at a local phone booth
and called the police and an ambulance. He then changed out of his
uniform and ran back to the lot to see if he could offer first aid.
He wasn't ready to let the world know about him yet. Not without a
heroic name, at least!
The semi driver was fine. The driver in the pickup had been wearing
seat belt and shoulder harness, but they hadn't kept his head from
slamming into the steering wheel when the truck had hit the water. He
had a heavily-bleeding gash on his forehead and his eyes were glazed
and his speech slurred. He probably had a concussion. The ambulance
arrived shortly, and Jim slipped away before the police arrived.
Jim was around the corner from his appointment, when he stopped at a
newsstand to purchase his morning paper. There were puddles in the
street from rain the night before, and some jerk deliberately drove
through a puddle and thoroughly soaked him. Jim saw him laughing as
he drove off.
He didn't laugh too long, though - when he stopped at the next light,
his engine died and he couldn't get it restarted. Horns started
blaring behind him as he got out of the car and looked under the hood.
He was stunned to find that all of the wires had been pulled off of
the spark plugs! As he started to reconnect the wires, other drivers
angrily drove around him, blaring their horns and honoring him with
the one-fingered salute. Unfortunately for this thoughtless driver,
there was a puddle on that corner. Every car that sped through the
puddle soaked him more thoroughly with cold dirty water!
Chuckling himself, Jim ducked into an alley and used his Glove to dry
his clothes. He walked across the street and into the lobby of the
building where his appointment was. In the lobby, he stopped to use
the brand new Automatic Teller Machine. It swallowed his card, hummed
for a couple of minutes, and returned the card. An 'Out of Service'
message popped up on the screen. On a normal morning, Jim probably
would have ignored this, but today he decided to investigate.
A little discrete Glow-powered investigation showed that there was no
money in the ATM, and indeed never had been. All this machine did was
record the user's card information, including the secret code, and
then periodically used a modem to send the recorded information to an
anonymous phone number. Jim erased all of the information that had so
far been recorded, disabled the machine, and reported the whole scheme
anonymously to the FBI. Wonderful thing, that Glove
He wasn't surprised when the elevator stopped working between floors.
However, the elevator repairmen were surprised when they finally
entered the elevator from the trapdoor on the ceiling and found it
empty - people in the lobby swore that they had seen someone enter
As he entered the office, Jim heard an explosion nearby. He ran back
out into the hall, and headed for a window. While it was Jim Chisholm
who leapt towards the window, it was umm, who is it, anyway? who flew
out the window.
As he approached the scene of the explosion, he wondered just what
else could go wrong today? Certainly he was going to miss his
appointment, and probably lose the job because of it.
Jim ordered his Glove to locate the source of the explosion and then
fly him there as quickly as possible. Within seconds he was hovering
over a scene of chaos. Some kind of explosion, perhaps from a gas
main, had blown open the back wall of a bank, leaving a hole into the
vault. People were still running out of the bank in panic.
It had been less than 2 minutes since the explosion. Jim used the
Glow to locate injured people in the building. He discovered two dead
bodies in the bank, along with 7 people seriously injured. He created
a radio receiver and finding that an ambulance was already on the way,
he created a giant hand that picked up the ambulance near the hospital
and landed it outside of the bank.
Fortunately, the wall that had been blown open fronted on an empty
alley, so no one outside the bank had been injured. As he approached
the bank, Jim noticed that the walls were starting to crumble, and he
feared that within minutes, the entire building would collapse,
As quickly as thought, glowing white supports surrounded the bank and
propped up the building. Jim had to land, as supporting the building
took all his concentration! He saw an emergency response squad
composed of firemen and police arriving, and yelled to the commander
"Evacuate the building as quickly as possible. It's going to collapse
and I can't hold it more than about 15 minutes!" The squad rushed into
the building, up the stairs, and began a room-to-room search, sending
anyone they found out of the building. As more emergency workers
arrived, Jim directed them to help the current searchers. Incredibly,
within 10 minutes, the rescue team reported that everyone was out of
The strain on Jim was incredible. He had never before supported such
massive objects, and he had never been forced to split his attention
in so many directions. He couldn't just shore up the hole, because
the entire support structure of the building had started to
disintegrate. He needed to replace, by will power, all of the beams
holding the building up. Making it more difficult was that every time
he braced something, some other piece of rubble would start to shift,
and then he had to brace something else. When he moved to brace that,
something else would shudder. Despite Jim's best efforts, bits of
brick and concrete and other building materials were raining down from
the building, making it dangerous to be nearby. Jim hoped that all
the spectators in the gathering crowd would be smart enough to stay
back. But he had so much occupying his attention that he had none to
spare for spectators!
When the rescue squad reported that everyone was out of the building,
he could relax just a little. As the building started to settle a
little, he used the Glow to verify that everyone was out. There were
no people left, but he was startled to find a kitten cowering between
some internal walls. He willed the Glove to whisk the kitten to
safety. Meanwhile, the rescue squad moved people further away from
Finally, everyone was far enough away to be safe. Jim relaxed his
supports, and immediately surrounded the building with a force field.
As the crowd watched in awe, the 10 story building collapsed! The
white force field kept the rubble and dust contained, but the ground
shuddered as if there was an earthquake. Buildings on several nearby
buildings shattered and some people in the crowd were injured by
flying glass. Fortunately, there were medical teams already on the scene.
Jim looked around and spotted a TV news crew, from KSEA. He wasn't
going to be able to stay out of the public eye any longer
Another Manic Monday
While everyone was rushing around in a panic, either trying to escape
or trying to rescue other people from the doomed building, one man
ignored the chaos and calmly looted the bank vault. He was quite
satisfied with the way this operation was going. He had not expected
that the whole building would threaten to collapse, but that was all
to the good. The looter didn't know who the super-powered guy was,
but as long as he was occupied, it made looting that much simpler. He
hadn't expected to meet any super-heroes in Seacoast City.
It wasn't too surprising that no one saw this lone figure looting the
vault. He was wearing a high-tech camouflage cloak that changed to
match whatever background he was standing in front of. As long as he
stayed near a wall and moved carefully, he was very difficult to see.
With the chaos of the collapsing building to distract them, no one
else around paid him any attention. Naturally, the cloak was stolen.
In fact, the man was equipped with many items of equipment, all of
In his mind, he called himself 'the Pack Rat'. He didn't know if
anyone else was using the name, and he didn't care. He never expected
to be famous anyway. The fewer people that knew about him, the better
for him. Pack Rat sort of described him, but he didn't just collect
stuff - he stole anything he could get his hands on that might be of
use to him.
He opened his briefcase and started stuffing it with money and
negotiable securities. And continued stuffing it, long after it
should have been full. The briefcase was actually much larger inside
than out, with about the same volume as a one-car garage. It had an
additional useful property - it never weighed more than an ordinary,
empty briefcase, regardless of what was stored in it. The only
limitation was that any item he wanted to carry had to fit through the
opening, which was the size of a regular briefcase. He had stolen the
briefcase from a young wizard. He didn't know how or why it worked,
but as long as it worked, he didn't care.
Finally the vault was empty, and the Pack Rat slowly moved out of the
vault and through the hole in the back of the bank. He then walked
slowly down the alley, away from the front of the bank. Just before
he left the alley for the next street, he took off his cloak and
stuffed it into the briefcase. Under the cloak he had on an expensive
3-piece business suit (stolen, of course!) He stepped out onto the
sidewalk and merged with the crowd of pedestrians, most of whom were
gawking at the bank building, which was surrounded by various glowing
white hands, girders, jacks and other constructs keeping the building
When Jim and the emergency squad herded the crowd away from the
building, the Pack Rat went with them, unnoticed. After watching for
about 15 minutes, the building collapsed. "I hope there was somebody
important inside!" he mused to himself. "It would be a shame to waste
all that destruction "
The Pack Rat decided on a walk across nearby Centennial Park. As he
neared the lake, he was suddenly surrounded by a cage made of glowing
Another Manic Monday
As soon as he was sure that everyone was safely out of the building,
Jim let it collapse. Hardly had it finished falling when he started
using the Glow to determine the cause of the explosion. "Hmm, there
are traces of magic lingering in the alley behind the bank " Jim
turned that way, and suddenly his eyes were covered by glowing white
goggles. "These lenses will help me follow these traces."
The traces led into the crowd, and then became very hard to follow.
Apparently whoever was leaving this little trace of magic had mingled
with the crowd of spectators for a few minutes, and the milling around
of the large crowd had somehow dispersed the lingering magical traces.
As he looked around, Jim realized that there were only a few streets
leaving the scene of this disaster, so he quickly used the Glow to
check them all. He was very gratified when his Glove detected a trace
of magic leading to Centennial Park, and even more pleased when he
realized that the trace was getting stronger.
Suddenly the Glove formed a glowing white arrow in the air, pointing
at a young man in an expensive dark gray 3-piece suit, carrying a
"Hold it, buddy! My Glove says you are carrying something magical, and
I need to see what it is!" Jim's commanding voice rang out. He
commanded the Glove to form a cage around the man.
Pack Rat had expected to sneak away unnoticed, and he really wasn't
prepared to fight a super-hero. He was a thief, not a fighter. He
tried to think of something in his case that he could use, but he was
having problems remembering just what was in there, so he dumped the
case on the ground inside the cage and frantically started searching
through the pile of stuff.
Suddenly the cage dissolved and Jim fell to the ground, landing hard
on the muddy turf near Rat. He staggered to his feet to see Rat
coming at him with a sword. Even though he was a little disoriented
that his Glove had failed so suddenly, and a little dazed by the fall,
Jim wasn't all that worried. He had often worked out against trained
swordsmen, and it was immediately clear to him that Pack Rat had no
training with a sword whatsoever. Of course, anyone with a sword
could be dangerous, especially against an opponent with no weapon and
no armor! As Rat swung the sword, Jim got a better view of it and
realized that it was actually a scimitar - a long curved blade, widest
near the point, with a very sharp edge on the convex side. The handle
was covered with jewels, and it looked like something out of a movie.
Rat swung the scimitar wildly, holding it like a baseball bat. Jim
moved backwards, and the swing missed, but Jim's feet caught in the
mud and he fell onto his back. Rat swung the sword over his head and
down at Jim like he was chopping wood. Jim rolled aside, and the
blade plunged deep into the mud. Jim quickly got to his feet as Rat
struggled to pull the sword free of the muck. In each hand, he had
picked up a softball-sized rock.
Rat approached him more cautiously now, clearly worried about the
possibility that Jim would throw a rock at him. Instead of swinging
wildly, he started stabbing and thrusting. This confirmed to Jim his
inexperience with swords - a scimitar is designed for slashing and
cutting, not thrusting. Jim was able to anticipate the thrusts, using
the rock in one hand or the other to deflect the blade. Then Rat
surprised him. Just before Jim deflected his thrust, Rat twisted his
wrist, so the rock in Jim's hand met the sharp edge of the sword. The
blade sheared easily through the rock, and cut deeply into the palm of
Jim's hand. He quickly jerked his hand back, and only his quick
reflexes saved him from losing part of his hand! The blade was so
sharp, Jim didn't even feel it cut him. But instantly afterwards, he
did feel the pain!
This was no ordinary sword! No sword Jim had ever faced could have
cleaved that rock so easily! Suddenly, Jim had a lot more respect -
this opponent, unskilled as he was, could easily kill him if Jim made
any more mistakes.
Jim backed away quickly, and changed tactics. He hurled the rock in
his right hand. It struck Rat on the holding the sword. Rat dropped
the deadly sword as his fingers were crushed. As Rat stumbled
backwards, Jim turned his attention quickly to his bleeding hand. He
quickly realized that it was only a flesh wound. He jammed his hand
under his right armpit and squeezed to stop the bleeding.
This short break gave Rat time to pick up a strange gun. The gun
looked like a large squirt gun with a bell-shaped nozzle, connected to
a small tank of some kind by a hose. The Pack Rat had stolen it from
some small-time costumed criminal named Pastry Pete, who had used it
to spray his foes with quick-hardening cake icing. Rat was sure that
Pastry Pete had never put his Pastry Gun to such good use as it was
now - Jim was totally encased in quick-hardening icing.
Suddenly, Jim couldn't move, and he couldn't breath and he couldn't
see! Jim strained to use the Glow to break out of the suffocating
coating, but nothing happened! Whatever had fouled up the Glove was
still operating. Jim had known that being a super-hero was dangerous,
but he had never expected to die like this - and in only his second
heroic battle. No matter how much he strained, he couldn't move - and
the Glove wasn't working - and his head was spinning and his ears were
buzzing, louder and louder, and then
Suddenly the coating vaporized with explosive force, staggering the
Pack Rat even though he was 50 feet away. Jim erupted, flying through
the cloud of debris and straight into Pack Rat, with stunning force,
lifting him off the ground and driving him completely through the
walls of an empty gazebo. Jim formed a hand-shaped glow construct and
attempted to pick up the stunned and possibly seriously injured Pack
Rat, but the hand appeared to be uncoordinated and totally smashed the
wooden gazebo. Jim appeared dazed, but he immediately dispelled the
hand and instead approached the Pack Rat on foot. He could hear the
sirens of police and ambulances approaching.
When he reached the Pack Rat, Jim found that he was conscious and
squirming in pain, although there were no obvious broken bones or
external damage. "Thank God I didn't kill him!" he thought, and then
collapsed on the ground unconscious! At that instant, Johnny Thunder
and the T-Bolt appeared.
"Say, T-Bolt, are these guys OK?" Johnny asked, concern obvious in his
"Clearly they are NOT OK, oh insightful Master! But both will be OK
if they are quickly attended by appropriate physicians"
"Well, then, see too it!" snapped Johnny.
Immediately, the approaching ambulance disappeared from the highway
and instantly reappeared, next to the injured Pack Rat and the
attendants were popped out of the vehicle to appear, with their
equipment, next to their patient, the Pack Rat. Johnny, the T-Bolt,
and Jim Chisholm disappeared.
Another Manic Monday
Several hours later, in Dr. McNider's office, Johnny, T-bolt and Dr.
McNider talked to Jim Chisholm, who lay on a bed. McNider is wearing
only a medical robe.
"I'm sorry, Jim." said Johnny with a hang-dog expression on his face.
"T-Bolt and I were only trying to help! You weren't supposed to end
up in a sick bed!"
"I'm not all that upset, Johnny. I'm much more interested in finding
out from our resident doctor just how I am, and just what happened."
Dr. McNider spoke up. "As you can surmise from my attire, Johnny's
Thunderbolt transported me here from home at an inopportune time.
Fortunately I called Myra immediately after I arrived. She was on the
verge of hysterics - she's still not used to her husband disappearing
without warning. But there was work to be done.
"Jim, in your life, you have never before really faced the possibility
that you might die. Probably the most dangerous situation you were
ever in was in your battle yesterday, and from what I hear, that
result of that battle was never really in doubt. Today, first when
that blade sliced into your hand, and later you were wrapped in that
cocoon, you finally realized you could really die. You were straining
to use every bit of your will power, and every erg of energy your
Glove had, to break out. But with your Glove not working, that shell
was like the immovable object.
"When T-Bolt suppressed whatever it was that was interfering with your
power, suddenly the immovable object changed into something with less
resistance than tissue paper. This change from absolute resistance to
no resistance cause a mental sprain - much like swinging very hard at
a baseball and totally missing sometimes can lead to sprained muscles.
"Combined with that, you were physically exerting yourself to the
maximum, trying to break out of the cocoon. Your adrenaline was
pumping, your heart was beating fast, and all your muscles were
straining as hard as you have ever strained. And, you were short on
air. Add to that the shock from the cut to your hand. When you
finally broke free, all of the strains on you were relieved, and you
started falling into that weakness that always follows an adrenaline rush.
"Because you were straining so hard, you overdrove the Glove and it
seemed to be out of control. This was followed by the fear that you
had killed a man. These factors all added together caused your
"You don't have to worry, all you need is a little rest! I sewed your
hand closed and it will be sore for awhile, but otherwise, you are
fine. And you'll be happy to know that that crook will be fine as well."
"I feel awful, Doc. I'm glad you think I'm ok, but I sure hope I
don't have another day like that again soon! I really need some rest,
but I wonder - do you guys know what screwed up my Glove? UP until
today, I didn't know if there was anything that could do that. And
what was up with that sword?"
"Say, you know, T-bolt can tell you that!" said Johnny. And of
course, the Thunderbolt did.
"The sword was a magic scimitar allegedly once owned by Sinbad. It
was apparently on display at the Seacoast City Museum for many years,
but it was stolen yesterday. The enchantment on it makes it much
sharper than a normal sword, as you discovered.
"I was really surprised to discover what interfered with your control
of the Glove. It seems that the villain was prepared with defenses
against a number of different heroes. When his case spilled, one of
the items that spilled from it was a chunk of Kryptonite! Kryptonite
radiation directly interferes with your control over the Glow."
Dr. McNider jumped in. "It's our theory that no wearer of the Glove
has ever before encountered Kryptonite, which didn't exist until after
Krypton exploded. So the people who built the glove didn't know about
Kryptonite radiation, so they didn't build in any protection against
it.. So, while Kryptonite radiation won't harm you directly, your
Glove won't work if there is unshielded Kryptonite nearby. All the
Thunderbolt did was shield the Kryptonite with lead."
"The Glove is probably designed to protect you from any danger from
anything that existed when it was created, over 100,000 years ago. So
you had best be aware that you might have vulnerabilities to other
modern' tools, weapons and natural phenomena that were unknown to the
Jim smiled wearily. "Well, thanks a lot to all of you, especially you
, T-bolt, for helping me out today! Now, if only one of you could
help me come up with a good heroic name T-bolt, do you think you
could zap me home? I really need "
Johnny interrupted "Have you selected a heroic name yet?" Jim shook
his head no. "Say, you'd think we could help you with that!" Johnny said.
Doctor McNider looked started, and then he started to talk. " Sir
Glove, WildFlyer, Tomorrowiac, Shadow Rider, Doctor Danger,
Turbodazzler, UltraLight, Gamma Warrior, Violet Wing, Jet Nova,
Obsidian , Senor Weirdo "
Jim couldn't stop himself from joining in, " Nuclear Paladin, Captain
Freedom, Bullet Beam, Star Cavalier, Sun Wave, Jet Prodigy, Light
Wave, Ricochet Ray, Gray Prowler, Lightning, Shiningwave "
Even Johnny got into the act, with " Space Stinger, Gamma Eagle, Major
Rocket, Meteor Guy, Power Prince, Starhawk, UltraBeam, Z-Beam, Star
Champion, Quick Lightning, Hawk Nimbus Hey, T-Bolt, CUT IT OUT!"
"Yes, Master John, whatever you say, Master John. As always, Master
John, your every wish is my absolute command!"
All 3 looked relieved when the magic left, and they could stop
babbling. T-Bolt looked at Jim and asked "Well, did you like any of
Johnny had to interrupt again. "I think you should call yourself
Strobe, because when you're around, it's lights out for the bad guys!"
Jim finally got a tired word in edgewise. "Sorry, guys, but I think
I've had enough for one day. Johnny, can you please ask T-Bolt to
send me home?"
T-bolt looked at Johnny, who nodded, and Jim was home. He thought
about heading to the kitchen for something to eat, but decided he was
too tired. It had been a long day, and it was only Monday!
- --- Dan Swanson <ddswanson@...> wrote:
> The first day in the public life of a new hero...Another enjoyable installment of the hero without a
> Another Manic Monday
> Part 1.
code name! I liked it!
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