Disclaimer: All artificial persons herein are based on characters owned by their creators, not the author.
Author's Note: This is not a canon Life With Alpha story, meaning events here happen in their own universe splitting off separately from the main story. This story is set after Chapter 15 in the main series. I strongly recommend that you read the main story before reading this side story.
This is a 'just for fun' story inspired by a suggestion from a fan.
The first indication I had that something was wrong came when the two security cameras at the cabin showed someone was poking around.
The cabin cameras were low priority. Alpha monitored them, but just barely. One of her security systems would spare a few milliseconds of attention every five minutes or so to make sure nothing had changed. One camera's field of view included some of the driveway and the spot where we would leave our DC superheroines to wake up. The other camera showed the front door and part of the lake/beach area in the distance. The cabin itself wasn't right next to the lake, but it was within easy walking distance and had a nice view.
Given the story setups we had used in the past, Kara made sure she left a note on the cabin door for anyone else who would show up looking for her. The note included no addresses or names (other than "Kara"), but did include our home phone number. There was also a key to the cabin buried in an old lunch box by a tree with 'PG' carved into it.
On a Tuesday morning in late November, Alpha alerted me to a security breach while I was at work.
"Frank, four unknown persons have appeared at the cabin at the lake."
"What, teenagers or something? Did they break into the cabin?"
"Yes, but they do not appear to be teenagers. Four minutes and thirty-one seconds ago, they simply appeared at approximately the same location we use to awaken the DC characters."
I was a little slow on the uptake. "Huh?"
"I'm playing the video on your screen now."
The screen showed the driveway on the left and trees and overgrown grass on the right - not a split-screen, that's just the way the landscape was laid out. Then all of a sudden, four people appeared among the trees. The screen detail was too poor to make out details, especially at a distance of 30 or 40 yards or so. All four had long coats on, and a couple were wearing baseball- style caps.
They huddled together and started talking. I backed up the video a little so I could watch their appearance frame-by-frame. There was no noticeable change in the video or lighting, the four of them just suddenly showed up. I resumed normal play and watched. After they talked amongst themselves for a minute, they all walked to my cabin. When they left the screen, the video switched to show the other camera.
I could actually see some details this time. The video was in black and white, but all four appeared to be women. The two without caps were both Caucasians with hair that went down past their shoulders. One appeared to be especially pale.
One of them pulled the letter off the front door, at which point I paused the playback and said, "Alpha, make sure you answer the phone at the house until we have this cleared up."
"Where are they now?"
"Unknown." A second video window opened up, showing an open front door and empty driveway, presumably the live feed.
"Are they inside?"
"No, they left the cabin after only a couple minutes. Frank, I am concerned. They show indications that they are not normal human beings."
I restarted the first video and asked, "What do you mean?"
They spent a moment reading the letter. As best I could remember, Kara had addressed it to 'Friends of Kara'. It said that any friends of Kara could find a key to the cabin under her tree and provided our home phone number, and that was about it.
Then they turned to the cabin door. One of the bare-headed women bent down and appeared to put something on the door's handle or lock or something. Then she stood back and ... nothing happened. They had some discussion and the other bare-headed woman looked like she was flexing or something, and ... she grew! Not instantly, but in less than a minute, she had grown from five foot something to almost seven feet!
"Is the video ... has it been tampered with?"
"As far as I can determine, no it has not."
"Then how ... how did she do that?"
"Unknown. I currently have no valid speculations to offer which have any degree of likelihood. I am currently running multiple analyses to determine whether or not the video was altered or artificially created, however I can offer no likely reasons anyone would want to do so."
It was hard to read expressions on the video, but I don't think the growing lady was happy. Happy or not, she was still able to punch the door and bust the lock with a single blow.
All four went inside, including the growing lady. A couple minutes later, all four of them left, and all appeared to be their normal size again.
"That's really ... weird."
"Should I alert the police?"
"Not with that video. Send in two of your platforms for recon. If you find them, observe only for now."
"Agreed. Until we determine what is happening, I insist you remain near Eiko and Beta. Jasmine and Elisa will investigate the cabin area."
That was it for awhile. An hour later, Jasmine and Elisa reached the cabin area, parked a good distance away, and checked out the cabin. The letter was gone. The phone was dead, possibly electrically fried, but phone records showed no calls had been made.
After some discussion with Alpha, they left the cabin untouched. That way if the mystery women returned, they wouldn't suspect that anyone else had visited the cabin recently.
Jasmine and Elisa went back to the house to maintain security there with Dorothy while Beta and Eiko stayed with me at the office. Alpha finished her various analyses and determined that video was authentic to a certainty of 97.3%.
Finally I told Alpha that we needed to alert Kara and the others, so they could be on their toes.
"I mean, it could well be that this has nothing to do with us, and we'll never see those women in the flesh let alone find out what's going on or who they are. But if it is ... uummm ... if there's something related to us, then the more trusted people we have on the lookout for them, the better."
"Okay," Beta said. "I will prepare for possible memory rewrites, just in case."
I called Kara, Diana, Zatanna, Linda and Anna Marie into my office.
"Hi, everyone," I said as soon as everyone dragged in chairs and sat down. "Something odd happened at the cabin a little while ago."
I turned my monitor to face everyone and clicked play. There were exclamations when the women appeared, but to their credit, my women held their questions and comments for a minute. When the camera view switched to the front door, Kara and Diana both asked me to pause the video.
"Is that... ?"
"Yes," said Diana. "I think that's Giganta. And I can't be sure, but the other woman without a hat looks a lot like Poison Ivy."
I kept my face blank somehow, showing no physical reaction. But mentally? I mean, come on!
I restarted the playback. 'Poison Ivy' tried to do something to the handle or lock, failed, then 'Giganta' grew a couple feet and broke the door.
Kara squealed with laughter at the sight. "Ha! Their powers are all messed up too."
Zatanna joined in, "I bet Ivy was trying to plant one of her fast growing seeds in the lock."
Linda asked, "Do you have any idea who the other two are?"
"No clue," I admitted. "Didn't even know who the first two were until now." And I still didn't know. This made no sense whatsoever. Maybe...
While the ladies talked about the situation, I typed to Alpha.
<This is a direct order. Tell me, did you create those women on the video?>
<No. Why would I?>
<As a surprise for me.>
<No, I did not create those women or the video. I am not even sure how to create or simulate the accelerated growth evidenced on the video.>
Alpha continued. <It makes no sense for women to appear who match the physical appearances created in false memories, except that we based those memories off of characters' appearances from comic books.>
<Do you actually believe they are real comic book villains?>
<I will believe what the evidence presents. For the time being, for safety's sake, you should assume the worst.>
I turned my attention back to my women. Apparently one of them had noticed a bulge of some sort on the back of one of the unknown women and they were debating among themselves who it might be.
Taking a deep breath, I asked the big question. "So, why are they here?"
"Hunting for one of us, I assume," Diana said. "I wonder if they know how many of us are here?"
"So what do you think they're going to do?"
"Well, they have my letter. It has your home phone number, but that's it. Has anyone called the house so far today?"
"As soon as I analyzed the video, I rerouted the home line to here. The only call on that line since then was a classmate of Kasumi from her chef class. Alert, someone has approached ... correction, someone has entered the main gate at the house."
"Wha ... How? It should be locked."
The video switched to show the four women at the gate to the house. Giganta was already 7 or 8 feet tall, but it was one of the women with hats that touched the gate's electronic control box. There was a spark and the gate swung open.
"Let's go," I said, getting up quickly and heading for the door. "Alpha, call the house and tell them to hide."
Beta interposed herself between myself and the door while the other women rushed out.
"It is not safe. Let them handle the invaders."
"Beta ... Who is at home right now? Kasumi?"
"Yes, she is there. So are Daria, Jasmine, Elisa and Dorothy."
"Then we're going. I'M going."
"I believe I have identified the other two women as Harley Quinn and Livewire. The situation at the house is much too tenuous for you to go. Update: Elisa has been incapacitated by Livewire. Jasmine has disarmed Harley Quinn. Dorothy is moving to engage Giganta. Elisa is resetting."
"Then I'll just drive to the area until it's under control."
"That is an acceptable compromise," Beta said. She and Eiko started escorting me out of the building.
When we passed the front desk, I told the receptionist that we were being called away due to an emergency at my house and to just transfer all calls to voicemail or have them call back later.
Once we were outside, Beta resumed updating me on the situation.
"Poison Ivy's skin secretes some type of nerve toxin which is ineffective on my cyborg and android platforms. Elisa is functioning again but at reduced efficiency. Livewire is able to cause a small electrical shock with her touch and is probably the one who disabled the phone at the cabin. Her touch is an effective weapon against my cyborg and android platforms. Giganta is not as strong as Dorothy but is faster. Harley has used some kind of exploding ribbon bomb to entangle Daria and Kasumi, who were spectators to the combat.
"The attackers are apparently trying to withdraw from combat with hostages. They are threatening injury or death to Daria and Kasumi unless we allow them to go. I cannot guarantee their safety. Should we let them leave?"
"Yes, but tell them that if the hostages are hurt, we will kill them."
"The message has been relayed. The attackers are leaving. They have two vehicles and are taking one hostage in each car. I am noting the make, model, color and plate for each. Both vehicles were reported stolen earlier today. Kara's vehicle is the nearest reinforcement but is still 15 minutes away." It was about a 20 to 30 minute drive between work and home, so Kara was making good time.
"Hook me into a conference call with the others."
A moment later we were all conferenced together on the car speakerphones.
"Alpha has updated me on the situation. The attackers have kidnapped Kasumi and Daria and fled the house. There was a fight, and Dorothy acquitted herself well. Apparently Elisa was hurt by Livewire but should be fine."
"Livewire?" I heard Diana ask.
"Yes. Working from your identification of Giganta and Ivy, Alpha believes the other two attackers were Livewire and Harley Quinn."
"Told you it was Harley with the bulge on her back," said Zatanna. "She always carries around a clown-style sledge hammer."
"Yeah, but we're all at reduced power. Not sure what Ivy can do right now, but Giganta is probably as strong as me or Diana," Kara warned.
"Okay, Ah don't know your... 'opponents' as well as you, but we have me, Karah, Dianah, an Lindah. That's four super-strong ladies on our side," said Anna Marie.
"Five," interrupted Eiko. "Me too."
"Ah'm sorry. Ah guess Ah forgot since ya don't have your own comic. That's five of us. If Ah remembah right, only one of them is actually super- strong and tough an such, an Ah don't think the rest of them have powers that are really workin right. Why in the world would they come heah?"
"I don't think they know we are all here, or they would have brought a much stronger force. As it is, you're right, we noticeably out-power them," said Diana.
"I don't think Ivy's plants are growing for her here, but she may still have a toxic touch or kiss," said Kara thinking out loud.
"And Harley can be a bitch to pin down. She can dodge away from almost anything and probably has a few dozen nasty tricks up her sleeve," Zatanna added. "What does Livewire do? Is she that electrical radio gal I heard about?"
"Yes," said Linda, joining the conversation. "Back home she can travel through electrical wires and throw lightning bolts and such."
"The thing is we still don't know what they wanted. They took hostages so they could retreat in safety," I said. "Maybe they were only coming after Kara and didn't know anyone else here could fight."
"I'm surprised that Alphadroid could fight them off by herself," Diana commented.
"Elisa and Jasmine helped too. I think they both have black belts or something. And remember the ... uhhh ... the supervillain ladies are mostly de- powered from being in this universe."
Wow, I actually had to say that seriously for once. If I ever have a chance to sit down and think this through, I might end up going crazy. At the bare minimum, I needed to act like I was taking the idea seriously in front of the others. You'd think my years of faking conversations with artificial women would prepare me for this ... and it did, to an extent. But there's a huge difference between acting a part and actually having to accept the fiction as reality.
I gave myself a mental slap in the face. Gotta focus.
"Okay, we need to find out where they are and save Kasumi and Daria. Alpha, is there any way to track the cars?"
"Not at the moment."
"Can't ya ... Ah don't know ... access the traffic cameras around the city or somethin?" asked Anna Marie.
"That only happens on TV," said Alpha. "The traffic cameras in this area are not internet accessible. Most simply store their photographs locally. While there are a few networked cameras vaguely similar to what TV shows use, their purpose is to track traffic patterns, thus their resolution is generally much too low for easy identification of a particular vehicle."
"What about GPS phones? Can't you track through those?" Kara was the one asking this time.
"If they have acquired such phones, then yes, I could, even though the required hack would be a risk to myself. Since they arrived here just a few hours ago, it is not likely that they have such phones."
"What about Daria and Kasumi's phones?"
"Their phones are still in the house," explained Alpha.
"So we just wait?" asked Zatanna.
"Regardless of their specific target, the most likely scenario explaining their actions is that they used the phone number from the letter at the cabin with a reverse phone directory, either online or at a public library, to get our address. They arrived at the house looking for whoever their target was and encountered unexpected resistance. That, combined with their own reduced powers, led them to take hostages and withdraw. Logically their next actions will be to gain whatever information they can from their hostages, then try to draw out their target with a hostage exchange. So, yes, we wait for them to contact us."
"Alpha, remind me to make our home phone unlisted."
"I think what Alpha described makes sense," Diana said thoughtfully. "We don't even know which one of us they're after, so we wait a few hours. Alpha can monitor the police broadcasts and maybe the emergency lines in case they raise a red flag anywhere. When they call us, have Alpha ready to trace it."
"And let's keep a close eye on things around the house," I said. "Alpha, close the office early today and lock it down in case they decide to visit there. Hmmm ... also, let's send Elisa or Jasmine out to install more cameras at the cabin just in case. And fix the phone. For everyone else, let's get to the house as quickly as possible and decide what to do from there."
After the phone call ended, Beta said, "The safest course of action right now would be to check you into a random hotel under an assumed name and keep you there until the situation has been resolved."
"Their powers are limited such that they are not a significant enough threat, therefore I am ordering you to take me home. Acknowledged?"
"Do you agree to absent yourself from any combat that takes place?"
"I cannot agree to blanket promises like that. I will state for the record that I have no desire to die or be captured by those women."
Beta said nothing for a moment. Finally she said, "Acceptable." And she continued driving me home.
By the time I pulled in, the others had already arrived and gotten started. Jasmine had left for the cabin, and Elisa was fixing the front gate. Dorothy was at her charging station. Zatanna had loaded herself down with enough tricks and traps that even I could pick out occasional bulges in her clothing. No one was in costume, but Diana had her rope hanging from her belt. Rei was the only non-powered woman at home. I don't think anyone had told Jane about Daria being missing yet, because she hadn't yet rushed home from classes.
Beta had me rush upstairs and put on one of the carbon-nanotube-enhanced suits she had modified for me. Although the suit would only negate part of the power of blows and bullets, it is doubtful that anything the invaders brought to bear could actually penetrate it. Of course, then I had to explain to the others why I changed from casual dress to a suit.
I went down to the basement to confer with Alpha in private for a few minutes. Shortly after we started, Elisa put herself in a nanopod for minor repairs from Livewire's attack. All of the cyborgs plugged in to top off their batteries. Even Jasmine was plugged into a car adapter while she drove out to the cabin.
I was really tempted to start by asking for any updates, but I knew full well that she would have told me anything new already. Fighting off the urge, I instead asked, "Do you know what Ivy's toxic skin does?"
"I believe it is likely meant to induce euphoria and compliance, but I am not convinced that it will be completely effective, even against normal humans. In all likelihood it would require prolonged and extensive contact to actually create slave-like acquiescence."
"Is there anything you can do to immunize us against her?"
"I could disable most glandular functionality in everyone's bodies."
"Let's call that Plan B. Anything else?"
"If we could place her in a nanopod, I am relatively certain I could disable any toxic ability. Or it is possible that I could synthesize an anti- toxin if I had access to her sweat and saliva and sufficient time."
"So for now, we'll just have to deal. How about defenses for your cyborg selves against Livewire?"
Fifteen minutes later, I was back upstairs waiting with the others. I scrounged up a couple buckets, filled them with water and put them by the front doors. To the questioning glances I received, I responded, "Use them to ground out Livewire."
It was still only early afternoon, and we didn't hear from the kidnappers until almost 4 o'clock.
After some deliberation, it was decided that I should be the one to answer the phone. We didn't want to give away the presence of any of our superheroes, and mine was the name of record for the house.
We had also discussed at length what approach to take. I was angry enough that I really wanted to threaten them, make them understand that I was more than willing to kill them outright. But threats like that were not likely to cow these women and might instead lead them to harm their hostages.
"Hello! May I speak to Frank ____?"
"Speaking. Are you one of the visitors we had earlier today?"
"Why, yes, I am," the voice purred. I had it on speakerphone and Kara mouthed, 'Poison Ivy' at me.
"Are Kasumi and Daria all right?"
A nearby computer screen suddenly woke up from its screen saver and popped up a message from Alpha. <Phone traced. They are at a house 2.3 miles away. Address: 325 Pembroke Lane.>
I snapped my fingers and pointed at the screen to make sure everyone noticed it. They started whispering among themselves, with Diana taking the lead.
"So far, and they'll continue to be all right as long as you don't do anything rash."
"I'd like to speak to them before we go any further."
"Sure. Come here, honey, and tell the nice man that you're all right."
I heard Daria's voice come on the line, though she didn't sound normal.
"Oh, hi, Frank. How are you doing?"
"Daria, are you and Kasumi all right?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah. I mean, I think they drugged us, but..." Her voice was cut off suddenly and Ivy came back on the line.
"So Frank, here's the situation. We have your friends, and as nice as we are, we will hurt them unless you turn yourself in to us in exchange. Once we have you, we don't need them anymore, and we'll let them go."
Kara, Diana, Linda, Zatanna, Anna Marie and Eiko moved quickly and quietly out the front door while Beta and Dorothy took up watch next to me. I noticed Eiko pick up one of the pails of water on her way.
"I have a couple concerns," I said, drawing the conversation out. "First, Daria definitely sounded drugged. What did you do to them?"
"Nothing that won't go away by tomorrow."
"Assuming that's true, what assurance do I have that you'll really let them go unharmed if I do trade myself to you?"
"None at all, except that we'd have no reason to hurt them at that point."
"And what exactly do you want with me?"
"Us? Nothing. We've been hired to take you on a little trip, that's all."
"Uh huh. You know that I do realize that you and your friends aren't exactly from around here."
"Oh really?" She sounded like she was enjoying the conversation.
"Yes. And I also understand the travel difficulties you're probably facing. Let me ask you this, have you checked on your transportation home?" This wasn't completely guesswork or bluffing. Science really doesn't support the stuff that goes on in comic books. If these people really and truly were from a comic book world, well ... you've read previous chapters, right?
"We brought our transportation with us, if that's what you mean."
"Actually, no that's not what I mean. I mean the same thing that's ... interfering with your ... your special abilities ... will also probably prevent your transportation from working. The odds are good that you won't be able to go home easily."
"Just a minute."
I heard some muffled discussions in the background that went on for a couple minutes. The only thing I was able to make out was one raised voice saying 'What do you mean it's not working?'
Ivy picked the phone back up. "All right, let's cut the double-talk. How did you know it wouldn't work?"
"The laws of this universe, our laws of physics, don't allow most superpowers to work. That extends to include most super-science and magic too."
"So how does Power Girl travel back and forth between worlds? Or are you the one who does the traveling and you're just hiding the method?"
As if all of this wasn't confusing enough as it was. Fortunately I didn't have to answer because I heard a loud thump in the background and the phone was dropped on their end.
"Alpha? What's happening?"
"Eiko and the others arrived at the house. Zatanna, Anna Marie and Eiko circled around to the rear of the house while Linda, Diana and Kara approached the front. Your comments about their possible transportation problems served as a well-timed distraction.
"Linda, Kara and Diana kicked down the front door which was the signal for the rest to enter from the rear. Harley sprayed something at Kara and Diana that has caused them to lose consciousness. Eiko has thrown the bucket of water on Livewire, which seems to have disabled her powers. Zatanna is restraining the wet Livewire with handcuffs while the rest move further into the house.
"Linda is wrestling with Giganta. Eiko, who is wearing gloves, has engaged Ivy. Additional information is spotty due to Eiko's focused attention, but I believe Anna Marie engaged Harley until Zatanna arrived, then Anna Marie moved to help Linda while Zatanna faced off with Harley.
"Ivy's main method of attack seems to be with her bodily secretions. Eiko dislocated Ivy's left arm with her first blow, but Ivy ignored the pain and was able to kiss Eiko's arm on her bare skin. Ivy is now unconscious, but Eiko's mental focus has begun to waver. Eiko is moving to aid Zatanna.
"Harley is proving to be nearly impossible to target accurately. Harley has struck Eiko with her hammer but with insufficient force to cause damage.
"Note: Rat units one through three have arrived."
This was unexpected. We kept three rats in my basement lab as test subjects. (We had more at AARD, but these three were our original test subjects.) By now they were extremely old for rats, but as subjects for our nanite tests, they had undergone the same rejuvenation treatments I had. They could be remotely controlled by Alpha and were occasionally used to perform tasks in hard-to-reach places.
I didn't know Alpha had released them or intended to use them at all this afternoon, but I refrained from interrupting.
"Linda and Anna Marie have as yet been unable to subdue Giganta, but they do appear to have the upper hand. Rat One is moving to aid.
"Visibility around Harley is obscured due to smoke pellets dropped by Zatanna. Eiko has been reduced in efficiency by an estimated 31% due to toxins from Ivy. Rat Two moving to engage Harley. Rat Three maintaining observational post.
"Rat One was able to damage Giganta's right Achilles tendon. This distracted Giganta significantly and Anna Marie has been able to render her unconscious.
"Eiko has been hit with an expanding bundle of glue and ribbons thrown by Harley. She has been temporarily removed from combat.
"Zatanna has inhaled a small amount of Harley's sleeping gas but is still conscious. Linda caught Harley from behind, but Harley is in danger of escaping her grasp. Her momentary lack of movement has allowed Rat Two to crawl up inside Harley's pants leg. Harley has ceased attacking and is instead screaming. Anna Marie and Linda have together been able to render Harley unconscious."
"Call them. Let me talk to them."
"The local phone was destroyed in the fight. Eiko's phone is functional but inaccessible. Calling Anna's cell phone."
She answered after only two rings. "Frank?"
"I'm here. Don't hurt the rats. Alpha is controlling them remotely." I heard Anna relay this to the group. "Good, I didn't know she was sending them, but she used them to give me a blow-by-blow of the fight. Are you all okay?"
"Pretty much," she said, breathing heavily. "Diana and Kara are out cold and Eiko's all gummed up and Zatanna's a mite woozy. For the rest of us, we're mostly fine. Damn, who'd have thought Harley wudda been the hardest one to take down."
"Are Daria and Kasumi okay? Was anyone else in the house? Check to make sure everyone's okay before you leave."
"They're fine. We'll do a check of the house before we leave. I guess we're bringing Ivy and them back with us?"
"Yeah. We'll figure something out, because I don't think the police around here would be prepared to deal with them. Be sure to strip Harley down before you bring her inside the house."
"Okay, sugah, we'll be back in a few minutes. Love ya. Bye."
Damn. The thought of the fight was a bit unsettling, and I really wish I could have been there. This whole 'protect Frank at all costs' might end up making my life pretty boring. Okay, that's an overstatement, but you get what I mean, right?
"So, Alpha, any thoughts? Do you think you can disable their abilities?"
"Probably, but my first action will be to implant spinal cut-off switches for them."
"What? Like with our women?"
"I do not think I will have the time to work with that precision. I will implant a simple remote controlled cutoff which will sever all voluntary body control below the neck, effectively able to render them paraplegic whenever needed."
"I don't know about that, Alpha. Doing that to real people ... that's just ... wrong ... immoral."
"I do not see a perfect solution here. I doubt our ability to hold them incarcerated here for any significant length of time. We do not have the facilities and their abilities will eventually find a way to cause us harm and/or allow escape."
Damn it. This is one of those no-win moral choices. From one perspective it would be better to just kill them outright. At least this would keep them alive and under control.
"What about Livewire? Won't her electrical power mess up any controls like that?"
"You may be correct. Just a moment ... I can include basic insulation and include a fuse-like connection which would break in case of an electrical surge, rendering them paralyzed."
I sighed in resignation. "Go ahead and prepare for the implants. I'll convince the women to accept the idea when they arrive. They're not going to be happy about it."
"A search of the house found three or more families sleeping and tied up in an upstairs bedroom. They have been untied and left asleep. An unknown device was also recovered in a search of their house, which is being brought back to our house as well.
"Giganta has been bound securely with Diana's rope. The others have all been handcuffed by Zatanna. I registered no calls to the police resulting from the fight."
"Wait, where exactly was the fight? In a house in a neighborhood?"
"Correct. I speculate that the residents of the surrounding houses were captured by the invaders to secure the area. Ideally I would prefer to burn the house down to destroy evidence of our presence, but that would likely kill civilians. I am dispatching Elisa to clean and purify the fight scene as best she can before it is discovered.
"The others should arrive here in less than three minutes."
Harley and Ivy had been stripped to their bras and panties by the time they arrived. I greeted the returning heroes with a quick hello and congratulations, then hurried them inside.
"Take Giganta and Livewire down to the basement. Beta will show you. Keep a close eye on Harley and Ivy and put all of their stuff in the game room for now. Put Kasumi and Daria in bed. Jasmine, check their health and keep an eye on them."
Everyone scurried around at my command. Diana and Kara had wet faces and hair and were back on their feet, though they didn't look entirely awake yet.
As I predicted, the others were not happy about Alpha's idea. It took a while, but eventually I convinced them that it was the most humane option we had right now. We couldn't send them home. We couldn't keep them safely locked up here for very long. The local police wouldn't have any idea how to deal with them. We couldn't just kill them outright. But by using the implants we could keep them under control until we could figure out a better way.
Giganta was well and truly out of it, and after being knocked out she had slowly shrunk down a bit so that she was now only seven feet tall. A tight fit, but we were able to squeeze her into the pod. Dorothy and Alpha immediately got to work on her.
We had enough nerve interfaces on hand, but the remote control components had to be assembled quickly, which was currently Beta's job. The nanites would create a hole in the spine for the interface, as well as blocking the pain and making sure the body worked smoothly during the operations. Without Alpha's experience and the nanites, this would have taken hours for each subject. As it was, it still took about forty-five minutes each, but we were able to work on two subjects simultaneously.
Livewire was conscious and gagged, trying to spit venom with her eyes and curse us through the sock stuffed and tied in her mouth. We ran a grounding wire to her, tying it onto her wrist. Kara and Linda had to physically hold her down in the nanopod for ten minutes until her body suddenly fell limp, the nanites having worked to cut through her spine.
I felt incredibly guilty as I tried to calm her down, assuring her that she would be fine. Her chalk white skin seemed to become even paler, if that was possible.
"Livewire ... does anyone know her real name?"
"Leslie," replied Linda.
"Leslie. We are not planning to hurt you, but we have to be able to keep you from hurting us. What we are doing is implanting a cutoff switch in your spine. We can trigger it whenever we need to, and please understand that any electrical surge applied to the switch will basically break a fuse and leave you paralyzed until we fix it again. Yes, this is a violation of your person and, to an extent, your free will. I apologize for that. But you are going to be trapped in my world for a while, and this is a much better option than killing you or letting you kill others in my world."
There really wasn't anything more to say on the subject at the moment. I went upstairs to check on Daria and Kasumi, both of whom had fallen asleep.
Diana, Anna Marie and Eiko were keeping watch on the shackled and mostly naked Harley and Ivy, both of whom were awake.
"Hi, I'm Frank. Giganta and Livewire are fine. They're being given medical treatment downstairs right now. When we've finished with them, we'll take you down too. In the meantime, why don't you tell me what's going on? Why did you want to kidnap me?"
"It's just a job, y'know?" said Harley with a grin. "We didn't know you had so many powers here."
"Harley, shut up."
I continued. "Pamela, it's not as though anyone is going to be riding to the rescue for you. Anyone who follows you will be in exactly the same boat you are. We have cameras on the dimensional entry point and will be better prepared this time. In all likelihood, you're going to be stuck here for a few months at the bare minimum. In the interests of getting along, the least you can do is tell me why you came after me. You said you were hired, right? Who hired you?"
They looked at each other, then Pamela smiled up at me with a seductive grin.
"Come on, don't you want to untie us so we can have some fun?"
"Pamela, whatever pheromones you're trying to give off are miniscule compared to what you think you're emitting. Plus, it runs quietly, but please note that there's an intake vent overhead. One of the house's residents uses this area to paint, so we installed a fan system to pull the paint fumes out of the house. Please, who hired you?"
She continued to try to look seductive, but shrugged and said, "Well, she was planning to announce it anyway. Satanna wanted to kidnap Power Girl's boyfriend as revenge for what she did to the Ultrahumanite. She hired a mystic who said that PG's boyfriend was in another dimension. She hired someone else to give us the means to hop to and from your world, so here we are. I'm guessing you're Power Girl's boyfriend?"
"Yes, but..." I stopped myself from saying anything else. This was getting ridiculous.
Okay. Take a deep breath and think. I created my own fake Power Girl. Check. I created my own fake Wonder Woman, Zatanna and Supergirl too. Triple check. They are not real superheroes, but don't discuss this where they can hear you. Double check.
Now, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Giganta and Livewire have appeared out of thin air. Check. Neither I nor Alpha created them. Check. As far as I know, no one else is creating fake super-women and sending them after me. So ... there may really be a superhero universe which may have gotten its wires crossed with my universe? Hoo-boy. Still doesn't mean I actually believe it's true, but I'll admit to the remote possibility that it might be true. At the same time, I have to act as though it is true.
I realized people were talking while I was thinking.
" ... cause Mr J will start missin' me soon, y'know," said Harley.
"Harley, that insane clown couldn't care less if you're around or not. Hell, he's tried to kill you at least five times that I know of."
"Aw, that's just cause ya don't understand how Mr J expresses his feelin's."
"Sorry," I interrupted, "I was lost in thought there for a minute. What were you saying?"
"I was just wonderin' how long til you send us back?" explained Harley. "Cause Mr J..."
"Harley, we're stuck here! Remember how the return button didn't work? Or even light up?" said Ivy with obvious exasperation.