World Hero Federation – Part Three

World Hero Federation – Part Three

Today

In the strange part of town known only as “Sidekicksville”, Edge wandered around aimlessly. With the departure of AngleMan for god-knew-where with that weirdo Undertaker, Edge had been having enough trouble patrolling the city, let alone finding time to strike dramatic poses on rooftops. Besides, a sidekick striking a dramatic pose by himself wasn’t really that effective.

So Edge made the only decision he possibly could: He decided it was time to go solo and get away from AngleMan on his own.

He walked into the Sidekick Employment Office, looking for a suitable person to call “chum” and give affirming life advice to, and nearly crashed headfirst into someone who could have been his brother.

He even had the cool shades that AngleMan hated so much. AngleMan always hated the really neat stuff, like crazy shades and unorthodox shenanigans. Edge was shocked that he even let him have some of the one-liners with the way AngleMan was always trying to control his life.

Well, no more.

“Hey,” he said to the stranger, “what’s your name?”

“Well, I don’t have a real superheroic name yet, but my friends call me Christian.”

It was destiny, Edge thought.

I’ve finally found my sidekick they both thought.

Two Weeks Later

Steve Austin was having the most wonderful dream, involving a sponge bath from his boyhood sweetheart Debbie, when he suddenly woke up and realized that a dog was licking his face.

Well, the dog was licking his head, to be precise.

His bald head.

The head that had hadn’t been bald last time he had checked.

“What the hell is going on?” He yelled out, to no one in particular. No one in particular answered.

“Sit tight!” Someone answered.

“Who are you?” Austin demanded.

“No one in particular.”

Austin should have seen that one coming.

“Why am I bald?” He demanded.

“It’s to faciliate the connections to your head. Hair gets in the way.”

Come to think of it, thought Austin, he DID feel some weird wires poking into his head, but he had been too busy wondering about the sudden lack of hair and even more sudden lack of drug-induced haze that kept him repeating “What” all the time like a broken record. He felt like getting up and doing something useful with his sobriety, but found his legs were strapped firmly to the chair he was sitting in.

“Why are my legs strapped down to this chair?” He demanded again, hoping to bluff his way out of the situation with some bravado.

“It matches your hands nicely.” And yes, there they were, strapped down to the arms of the chair, and indeed it occurred to Austin that it WAS more organized to have BOTH sets of limbs strapped down than to throw everything out of whack with just one.

“Oh, Christ, now I’m thinking like you, GET ME OUT OF HERE.”

“Don’t panic, the doctor will be with you shortly.”

“I’M NOT PANICKING!” Austin decided to give the old “thrashing around aimlessly” plan a shot, hoping that this might be the one time when it worked and he could shatter his bonds like Hercules in one of those dubbed Italian movies. He thrashed this way, and that way, and back to this way again just to make sure he hadn’t forgotten to do it the first time, and then he decided to try headfaking “that way” and thrash this way again, but all to no avail.

Just then, Dr. Paul Levesque walked in, carrying a clipboard.

“Steve, please don’t thrash around, the bonds are for your own good. I promise I’ll release you in good time if you cooperate.”

“What’s going on, Dr. Levesque?”

“Tell me, Steve, do you remember much about junior high?”

“I think I went. That’s about all.”

“Yes, I know, the effects of the drugs on long-term memory are an unfortunate side-effect. Well, Steve, have you ever seen any James Bond movies?”

“Sure. I like it when things blow up.”

“Well, you’re going to get a hell of a show in a few days, then. But I digress: This is the part of the plot where the hero — you — is tied up to an inescapable deathtrap, and the villain – me – proceeds to explain the details of his nefarious plan in great detail for the benefit of audience members who haven’t figured it out by then. There are, however, two differences between this and a Bond movie. First, you are not the hero, and second, I’m going to release you from this deathtrap in about 5 minutes, once the effects kick in.”

“Effects?”

“Don’t interrupt, Steve, it’s impolite. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s a lack of proper respect for your betters.” Levesque stopped his monologue and backhanded Austin across the face, hard, to emphasize that point.

“YOU BASTARD!”

“Don’t worry, you’ll forget all this in a few minutes anyway.” And Levesque touched a small button on a small remote control not unlike a cell phone and Austin suddenly became docile again.

“Steve?”

“Uh?” Steve asked, drooling slightly.

“You’re drooling. Now be a good boy and I won’t have to do anything more nasty to your synapses, okay?” Levesque touched another button and the effects seemed to evaporate, as Austin snapped back into awareness. “All right, Steve, now that I have your attention, I’m going to release you and explain my evil plot, after which I’ll place you in an easily-escapable deathtrap and then assume your inevitable demise occurs while I go and watch Friends. I hear Rachel’s pregnant.” Steve’s eyes lit up. “KIDDING! No, sorry, you’re screwed, but I just love the look on people’s faces when I use that bit on them. Actually, I have much bigger plans for you, Steve, so let’s get started.”

Good as his word, Levesque undid the restraints and disconnected the bizarre wiring system from Austin’s shaved head. Steve tentatively sat up, stretched his legs and fell flat on his face.

“Oh, sorry, forgot to mention that your muscles might be a little bit atrophied. You’ve been in something of a coma for the past two weeks while we worked on you. My bad.” Paul was at least nice enough to help him up and provide him with a pair of crutches to get around with. Steve took a couple of steps forward with them and stopped in shock at the horrors beneath him.

For the floor was made of glass, containing a series of labyrinthan cages, each holding a more bizarre variety of half man, half animal creations.

One of them, with what looked like a rhinocerous horn growing out of his head, lept up at the glass and bounced off it, snarling at Austin and Leveque the whole time. Another one, smaller, scratched at the glass with large, sharpened claws on his hands while he foamed at the mouth like a rabid wolverine.

“Oh, Steve, I wouldn’t worry about my little menagerie of experiments – that’s a quadruple-reinforced glass ceiling over their heads, they can’t possibly break through it.”

Austin stopped after looking at the wolverine-creature, however, recognizing something familiar

“Wait a second! Isn’t that Chris Benoit from Floor 12?”

“Well, honestly, yes. I guess you’ve found out my dirty little secret. But who HASN’T dabbled in ungodly genetic monsters? I mean, really, I’m only human, Steve.”

Something really disgusting and vile, apparently lacking in any kind of skeletal structure, chose that moment to slime up against a glass wall near Austin and vomit blood all over the cage.

“WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?” Austin yelled, nearly tripping over his crutches in disgust.

“Oh, that’s just Andrew Martin from Accounting. He’s kind of a test. Ah, there’s Jericho with your injection.”

Jericho, who was apparently the no one in particular from before, came over from a large-ish control panel, carrying a tray with a larger-ish needle on it and a nasty-looking neon-pink substance filling it. Jericho, Austin noted, was wearing a very nice tuxedo and had hair down to his feet and a thick bushy beard.

“Jericho is one of my more successful ventures,” Levesque explained, “as he was dying of an incurable heart condition, so I decided to try a lion’s heart and spliced in some extra DNA at the same time.”

“How can you get away with this?” Austin gasped.

“You’d be amazed what Medicare will pay for these days. Now then, this won’t hurt much ”

Austin decided to buck the odds and, using his crutch like a catapult, snapped the business end upwards into Levesque’s crotch. He groaned and dropped like a rock.

“You should have had THAT genetically engineered!” Austin quipped, like a real action hero. This WAS as easy as it looked in the movies, he thought. Using his other crutch for leverage, he moved towards a large, open door as fast as he could, figuring ANY exit was better than this. He cast one last look towards the fallen Leveque and his toadying butler Jericho, and seeing no opposition turned around and walked for the door

and nearly plummetted 600 feet to the bottom of a rather nasty looking pile of jagged rocks and ice. Austin guessed he was at the top of a mountain, which would explain Levesque’s non-chalance towards the whole situation. Out of the shadows beside the door, a large and ugly looking android stepped towards Austin, looking kind of like a normal person if they had had a hose stuck up their ass and been pumped full of air like in the cartoons.

“I believe,” Levesque croaked in between vomiting and gasps of air, “you’ve met my bodyguard, the robot known as Billy GUNN.”

Austin frantically turned to run again, but found his feet frozen to the steel grating below him. To the other side of the door stood Ice-Pac, a smug look on his face.

Levesque, collecting himself, picked up the needle again and stalked towards Austin, a little more upset, both at Austin for trying to escape and himself for not forseeing it.

“I only take SOME solace in knowing that in about two minutes, you’ll happily be serving my little crew here and be blissfully unaware of this whole unpleasant incident.” Levesque said, practically spitting the words at him.

“Wait ” Austin said, memory suddenly floading back to him with the drugs having worn off, “I DO remember! You were that geek in high school who always got beat up by his dad and thought he was so much smarter than everyone else! Didn’t you get expelled and join the army?”

“SHUT UP!” Paul yelled, and then stabbed the needle into Steve Austin’s neck, then added a good punch to the face for good measure.

Austin, before he passed out and began a most remarkable tranformation, thought he saw a figure in black before him, murmering one word over and over as the blackness consumed him

“Remember ”