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A HERO’S HERO


 

By

 

Atomic American

 

"Can one man be worth this?” 

 

Atomic American accidentally muttered this thought aloud as he surveyed
the carnage around him. Several heroes were on the ground, either
unconscious, or too injured to stand up. There were dozens of defeated
villains, plus a few civilians too. Even though Atomic American's team
had won the fight, victory had come at a high price. "Is he worth it"
Atomic asked, this time silently "Even if he is the greatest hero
Paragon City had ever known?”

 

*       *        *

 

Statesman was missing; gone through an interdimensional portal at
Portal Corp. Now he was trapped, maybe captured, perhaps even
dead. Atomic American had been called in to investigate the mirror
dimension, which was presumed to be hip deep in evil. 

 

He hastily formed a team of heroes who were eager to help search for
the Protector of Paragon. At least they'd been eager before they found
out what tough opposition they were up against.

 

Atomic American knelt next to Libertie Belle; she was alive, but too
weak to move. "Up and At'em, Libertie Belle!" he screamed, using his
Atomic powers to infuse Belle's wounded body with healing energies. The
hero regained her feet, rejuvenated, and temporarily glowing green.

 

"Thanks AA." she said, giving her muscles a cautious flex. Belle was a
scrappy gal; she could pound most villains into the ground without
breaking a sweat. Of course she had been helpless as a puppy after
getting whammied by a mental blast from one of Malaise's evil minions.

 

"Um... a little help here, Atomic." said a muffled voice. Atomic
American turned to see Hero Man in a crumpled heap on the ground. 

 

"Up and At'em, Hero Man!" he ordered, and flooded Hero Man with
invigorating energies.

 

"What hit me?" Hero Man asked no one in particular after standing up.

 

"Psionic blast" muttered Libertie Belle, still wincing with pain.

 

"Ow. I hate psionics." grumbled Hero Man, rubbing his head. You could
pound on Hero Man's head with sledgehammers all day long and get
nothing but a pile of broken hammers, but he hadn't lasted much longer
than Libertie Belle in the fight. 

 

"Getting tired of looking at the floor, Mr. Fearless Leader, sir." said
a quiet sarcastic voice behind him. The tiny Hellkitten was facedown on
the ground surrounded by the bodies of a dozen foes. Hellkitten wasn't
old enough for high school, and was small for age, even. She could take
down scores of bad guys in seconds with her fire blasts, but you could
knock her out with a feather pillow if you threw it hard enough. She
had brought down the last of the psi villains with a tremendous fire
blast, but one of them got her with a parting shot.

 

"Up and At 'Em, Hellkitten!" and the little cat girl was on her feet,
wobbling a bit in her high heeled boots.

 

"How many more missions like this do we have left?" she asked massaging
her temples.

 

"As many as it takes." replied Atomic American.

 

"Great" mumbled Hellkitten "You sure this guy's worth it?"

 

Atomic American found that he didn't have an answer.

 

*       *        *

 

Several hours later (Along with several Arch-Villains plus many an "Up
and At'em") Atomic American put in a call to his contact, Maria
Jenkins. It took him a few minutes to find a pay phone that worked (He
still didn't understand the obsession with those portable phones these
days). After piecing together the trail of clues, Maria seemed certain
that she'd found precisely where Statesman might be... in the clutches
of the mirror dimension's greatest villain, Tyrant.

 

She warned him that defeating Tyrant would be the toughest mission
Atomic American would ever face, and he couldn't shake the question
rattling around the back of his head, "Will it be worth it..."

 

Stepping out of the phone booth, he addressed his team:

 

"Heroes, I've just been told-"

 

"Dude, why'd you use a payphone?" interrupted Hellkitten "Don't you
have a cell phone?"

 

Atomic American ignored her "I've just been told that Statesman's been
located. We're heading to the base of the villain who's holding him
prisoner."

 

Hero Man's eyes widened "Holding Statesman... prisoner. What villain is
tough enough to hold Statesmancaptive?"

 

Liberty Belle stepped forward "Maybe we should call in a few more
heroes..."

 

"A few?" squeaked Hellkitten "Call in the whole friggin' Freedom
Phalanx!"

 

"There's no time to recruit help. The four of us are going, and we're
going now." 

 

*       *        *

 

The inter-dimensional portal glowed bright blue, and filled the lab
with an irritating racket, as Atomic American's team assembled on the
runway leading to the portal.

 

"Before we go through to the mirror universe I have to tell you... It
appears that Tyrant is this mirror dimension's version of Statesman".

 

"So, he's just as tough Statesman!" said Libertie Belle.

 

"Statesman's fireproof!" exclaimed Hellkitten, audibly alarmed.

 

"He's everythingproof!" Hero Man continued, his voice betraying panic.

 

"I heard Lord Recluse picked up the old City Hall and dropped it on
Statesman" said Libertie Belle "And Statesman wasn't even scratched."

 

"Alright, settle down heroes" Atomic American said, "We can handle
this."

 

"No way!" argued Hellkitten. "If this guy's as tough as Statesman, then
he's unkillable! Statesman is like, immortal er something."

 

"He's not immortal." admonished Atomic American. "I've seen Statesman
bleed. He was almost killed in WWII. I know, I was there."

 

 

END PART I


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