Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another Fine Mess Chapter Three

Lauren paced furiously outside the lab, her hands gesticulating wildly as she expressed her anger and rage at anyone close enough. Behind her Yukiko sighed. She'd been around Lauren long enough to experience all the crime boss' moods and she knew the only way to get past the excitement and frustration of waiting was to get Lauren occupied in something else.
"Should we practice your Aikido Lauren?" she asked politely.
"I don't want to practice any bloody Aikido," Lauren said tersely. "I want to know what the hell is takin' them so long. I have an Owl to capture and a deadline to meet."
"We are well ahead of deadline, as you well know," Yukiko said. Her cell phone beeped and Yukiko apologized. "One moment."
Yukiko pulled her long dark hair away from her ear, the soft leather of her catsuit crinkling seductively, and put the cell phone to her ear. "Yes?" she said softly.
Lauren strained, but was unable to hear what was said. But the accent was unmistakeably New Jersey. So when Yukiko put the phone down, Lauren demanded, "What did Bethany want?"

Yukiko smiled enigmatically. "We are invited to the rooftop for a special demonstration."

Thirty minutes later, Lauren was laughing her head off, and slapping Suzy Q and Felicia on the back. "I don't know how ye did it, but it's bloody BRILLIANT! Consider your pay increased! The Old Pink Pigeon won't know what happened and we'll have her nailed but good!"
Suzy Q smiled. "That's right sugah. Ah think Felicia did a fantastic job with her li'l ol' bio scan."
"Well, it was your wedding my technology with yours that turned the trick, Suzy," said Felicia.
"Ladies please, we'll continue this mutual admiration society later," said Lauren. "Right now, we need to get this stuff in place."

"It is in place, boss," said Bethany. "We're gonna jump the Purple Peacock here."

"Well it would more properly be a pea hen," said Felicia. "But Bethany has the location correct."

"What's a pea hen?" asked Bethany.
"Well if we're referring to a certain bird Athene Noctua, then the feminine side is called for, wouldn't you agree?"

"Huh?" said Bethany. "I don't get it."

"You don't have to Bethany," said Lauren. "White Fowl is the one that's going to get it. Now how are we going to bring her here?"

"You will observe," said Yukiko," that Freya, Tasha and Daliyah aren't here. In fact, they are committing a well planned robbery of rare art at the Fleischer Gallery. It's well known, White Owl protects the art and museum treasures of this city, so she'll be in pursuit."

"Is that a fact?" muttered Lauren. She was answered by the squeal of screeching tires as a dark van rounded the corner at the alleyway to the Celtic Shipping Warehouse. The engine revved and the van roared toward the safety of the warehouse directly across from the office rooftop where Lauren waited with the rest of her gang.

"Here she comes!" Bethany pointed into the night sky and a white blur was whizzing toward the van, intent on nothing but the pursuit.

"Generators are at full strength an' the cannon is ready honey," said Suzy Q.

"Let her have it," shouted Lauren with glee. Suzy Q pressed two buttons on her control panel and a discharge of electricity arced across the sky, smiting the superheroine with a full jolt of high voltage energy. White Owl danced in the air, her hair spreading wide from her hair as the static charge shocked and confused her.

"Fox one" said Felicia, pressing on her own control board. Then..."Fox two! Both missiles running hot."

White Owl struggled to keep her altitude. She shook her head, trying to clear the cobwebs and attempting to blink away the little flashes of light still stuck to her retinas. As she lifted her eyes she saw the first of the two tiny rockets gleaming in the dark night, heading straight for her. In a panic, White Owl dodged left, breathing a sigh of relief as the first missile shot past her.
Then she felt the tug of something on her arm. Glancing down in shock she saw a large pink ribbon wrapped tightly around her left arm. The arm was pulled back and White Owl reached back with her other arm to pull the ribbon off. But the rocket was swifter, and with Felicia at the controls, move than maneuverable. The two rockets darted in and out, up and down, spewing their pink ribbon over all parts of White Owl and her costume. The more White Owl struggled, the tighter the ribbon became, pulling her arms and legs into a tight, well wrapped heroine.
Suzy Q fired her electro cannon once more and White Owl danced again in her cocooned form, the drooped unconscious and tumbled to the harsh asphalt 40 feet below her.

"Oh! Be careful ye daft boffin!" said Lauren. "She's not supposed to be injured! A fall like that coulda killed her!"

"Not likely, sugah," said Suzy Q. "Look."

Lauren glanced over the edge of the building and saw Freya holding an unconscious form wrapped in pink. "Not bad, hey? I play bases ball?"

Lauren let out a sigh of relief, then shouted. "Well don't just stand there! I don't pay you to lollygag."

"Actually Lauren, you do," said Yukiko. "Remember the time we kidnapped that industrialist's daughter in Japan?" Lauren grimaced at Yukiko's pun.

"Listen," said Lauren, waving a pointed finger under Yukiko's calm reserved nose. "I finally got the bird brain to stop making puns. Don't you start now..." She turned away and headed for the roof access. Lauren didn't see Yukiko snicker quietly with Suzy Q and Felicia.

A few minutes later, Lauren preceded her henchwomen into another part of the lab. Freya and Daliyah were settling White Owl's drooping and bound form onto a table with restraints built into it. The two gangsters cinched the restraints on tightly and stepped back just as White Owl began groaning.

Lauren stepped over to her hated nemesis and grabbed a handful of the bound heroine's hair. With her other hand she slapped White Owl across the face. "Wake up, ye nocturnal menace!"

White Owl's eyes fluttered, then with a sudden realization at her predicament she struggled. The pink ribbons were too strong for her, however, and the added restraints were not making matters any easier. Her eyes focused on Lauren and she hissed, "You!"

Lauren tipped her fedora and smiled. "At your service Grey Crow! Though I doubt I'll be seein' much of ye after this."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, my dear little birdy, that this time my gals and I have finally found a way to stop you...permanently! Those bonds are designed to withstand strength up to Captain Valiant's level, which we all know you're not. And Felicia here has designed one more thing that will keep you completely helpless."

Lauren beckoned and Felicia stepped forward with a silvery hoop about the size of White Owl's head. In her proper Oxford accent, she explained, "We have always had trouble holding you in the past White Owl, because we generally focused on stopping your strength. But all too often you won with your brain too."
Gently, Felicia placed the hoop around White Owl's head.

Continuing her lecture, Felicia said, "So this device will stop both. It won't keep you from thinking, but it fires an interrupter into your neuron flow. Any mental commands to your voluntary muscles will be stopped--or controlled from this board. But since our client wants you alive, then your involuntary functions will be left alone."

Felicia stepped back to the control box and twisted a dial. White Owl grimaced, then her face went blank. Above her, the panel on the wall measured a steady strong heartbeat.
"She's all yours boss." Lauren laughed.

Picking up a cell phone, Lauren shot several pictures of her pet superheroine. Then she dialed Hao Chin's phone. "I have a package ready for ye," she said. "Want to see some pictures?"

She transmitted the images to Chin then picked up the conversation. "I've done my bit. Now tell me when and where you want her." She listened a moment nodding.. "All righty then. You'll receive delivery tomorrow night AFTER I confirm the deposit. Good Night!" She snapped the phone shut and tossed it to Freya, who fumbled and dropped it.

"Guess you don't play Bases Ball," giggled Lauren. She looked at Yukiko. "Tomorrow night. Chin said to come alone."

"You don't plan to go alone do you?" asked Yukiko, nervously.

"Of course I do," said Lauren. "You'll be in the other car with the rest of the girls. I may be crazy but I'm not insane. The place we picked is a small valley surrounded by many hills and the river. You lassies will take command on the hills and watch. If anything crazy happens, then you swoop down and save my arse!"

Yukiko felt a headache coming on, but nodded.
to be continued

Monday, May 3, 2010

Another Fine Mess Chapter Two

In the wee hours of the morning, the coffee was brewing and lights were on in the main conference room of Celtic Van Lines and Shipping. Lauren sat at the head of the table, her eyes fluttering slightly from the long night and the wine with Hao Chin. Still she was able to rouse herself to full awareness as she surveyed her gaggle of girl gangsters like a queen with her courtiers. Though each member of Lauren's inner circle held an undying, unflinching loyalty to the boss, each of them also possessed at least one highly destructive skill or mindset beneficial to the organization.

Yukiko sat next to Lauren, and opened the meeting. The slim Japanese woman spoke softly, and with perfect diction and control. Her body was perfectly chiseled, almost sculpted, and bespoke both beauty and power. As she stroked her dark hair away from her ear, Lauren noticed the ending of the Dragon tattoo; Yukiko's family crest.

Lauren had saved Yukiko's life when a rival Yakuza clan tried to destroy Yukiko's family. The rival clan had been destroyed by Lauren and Yukiko; but now the young woman considered herself bound to Lauren for as long as the red headed gangster lived. It was a matter of honor.

Bethany stood up and handed out thick manila folders as Suzy Q started a power point projector. Lauren's eyes followed the comely Bethany for a moment, watching the cute little wiggle the Jersey girl put into her walk. But Lauren was eyes forward as Suzy Q began her presentation.

""Hi y'all" began Suzy Q; her accent placing her somewhere well below the Mason Dixon line. She had a dancer's grace, poise and a body to match; suggesting a familiarity with the carnal side of life. Her blonde hair and good looks disguised the fact that she had graduated with advanced degrees from both Tulane and MIT with advanced degrees before the age of twenty. Suzy Q discovered though, that even with the credentials, men would judge her by her looks, rather than her talents. She was appalled and disappointed; and quite ready when Lauren recruited her from a dance bar just outside Mobile.

Suzy Q cleared her throat and began the presentation. "The challenge before us is to stop White Owl. Now any time we've captured her before, she's defeated us through sheer brute strength, some advanced healing factor in her metabolism or some combination of both." Suzy Q nodded her platinum locks across the table to her colleague.

"So Felicia and I have developed a two pronged attack that will allow us to both capture her, and contain her for delivery to Hao Chin."

"An' how long will it take t' put all of it together?" asked Lauren, leaning forward, hands on her chin.

"That depends on White Owl," said Felicia with an upperclass British lilt in her voice. Felicia possessed an angelic appearance and a heart that would frighten Satan himself. She had been a pre-med student at St Matthews College in Oxford, but her specialty had been vivisection. Felicia had been asked to leave after the unexplained disappearances of four lab partners. "We need to take a biometric reading, so we can calibrate the missiles to her unique physiology."

"MISSILES!! JAYZUS CHRIST!" swore Lauren. "As much as it pains me to say it, Felicia, we want the Blue Parakeet ALIVE, and not dead, savvy?" The pretty blonde nodded prettily.

"Oh don't worry, sweetie," said Suzy Q, coming to her partner's defense. "These are SPECIAL missiles. And if they work out as planned, well then, we'll have lots of buyers lining up. More money, sugah!" Lauren smiled at that and looked around the table.

Freya was looking up from her Wacom. Her dark hair was severely short and framed her face in a utilitarian way. "Owl vill be at park this afternoon. Is beeg revealink."

"You mean the Grand Unveiling?" corrected Yukiko gently. Freya bobbed her here head vigorously.

"Da, Grand Unweilink at Wictory Park. Is big statuary of Qveen City Heros?"

"I think she means the new police memorial in Victory Park, Lauren," said Yukiko. "They're unveiling the new names today, and White Owl is the guest of honor."

Lauren stifled a yawn and looked at her science team. "Will that be enough time?" she asked.

"Oh sure sugah," said Suzy Q with a giggle in her voice. " I already have the bio scanner in a li'l ol' camera. The Ol' Buzzard won't know we're even there. An' once we have her li'l ol' bio signature, then Felicia here takes ovah!"

"And we'll be able to find her no matter who she is!" quipped Felicia.

"What do ye mean, no matter who she is?" asked Lauren.

Bethany laughed. "You don't think she's White Owl all the time do ya boss? I mean she's gotta have a real life, somethin' normal?"

"Then why does she dress in a skimpy leotard an' bother me so much," said Lauren, finally drooping over and falling asleep at the table. Yukiko looked over and sighed.

"This meeting is over. We will meet again at noon to put the first phase of the operation into action. Daliyah, will you and Freya stay with me? I will need your assistance." With gentle motions, borne of long practice, the three women gently carried their unconscious leader into her bed. They spent the night in the room with Lauren, taking turns keeping watch over her until the rosy dawn crept high into the sky.

Statuary Glen at Victory Park was decorated with red white and blue bunting for the newest dedication at the city's police memorial. In the parking lot, well away from the main stands, a Celtic Van Lines truck was parked. But instead of a cargo of risers or seats, it held the cramped control room for Suzy Q's audacious scheme. Lauren was wide awake, and fidgeted nervously, while Suzy Q and Felicia tinkered with the settings on the control panel. As her eyes focused on a monitor, Lauren asked, "Are you sure this will work?" for the fifteenth time.

"Yes, all we need is the White Duck and her goose is cooked," said Felicia.

"Actually, it won't be all that simple sugah," said Suzy Q. But as long as the Radah, is working we'll be able to track her an' lead her into our trap."

Not to be outdone, Felicia said, "The biometric scanner will also enable us to work out effective countermeasures for overcoming the Grey Turkey's powers--keeping the bird dormant for as long as it takes."

On the monitor, Lauren spotted the white streak against the pale blue sky just seconds before Bethan shouted, "Thar she blows!" White Owl slowed to a gentle glide, then landed gracefully on the stage, shaking hands with both Mayor Pettingill and Police Commissioner Linseed.

"Look at her, struttin' like a prize pullet" humphed Suzy Q.

"That she may be, but I'm countin' on ye to pluck her and dress her too," replied Lauren.

"Don't worry," said Felicia. "I like boning birds." The van pealed with laughter as Felicia's confusion grew. When understanding broke across her face, the deep red of embarrassment burned in her fair cheeks.

"I'm so sorry, that was most unladylike," she stammered.

"Not to worry lass, I've been known to do it too," said Lauren with a sly wink.

The ceremony went off without any further difficulties and was winding down when Lauren asked, "Did we get enough?"

"And then some," said Felicia. "I should be able to have this ready within the next week. And after that, no more White Owl."

"Then why are we sittin' here?" asked Lauren. "With the finest in front o' us an' White Owl there too, I'd say the city is open to a crime wave right about now. How 'bout it ladies?"

A resounding cheer rocked the van as it pulled from the parking lot.

to be continued