This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them. Due to the half-price sale, the rate is $.25/line, so $5 will reveal 20 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.
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The first time Riposte had tangled
with Mindflare had been scary,
or so he reported to Ligeia.
"I'd heard all these horrible things
about him, you know?" Riposte said
as he set the lunch tray between them.
"So I conked him over the head, got both
the aluminum foil and the handcuffs on him,
called SPOON, and then ran like hell."
"What did he do?" Ligeia asked.
"He just shouted 'Curses, aluminum foiled again!'
at me," Riposte said, scooping up a stray bit
of barbecue escaping from his sandwich.
"He really said that?" Ligeia mused.
"My mother would have smacked him
with a spoon. It's so cheesy. Supervillains
should have some self-respect."
"This one doesn't seem to -- everything he does
is overblown like that," said Riposte.
"Next time wasn't as scary."
"What happened the next time?" she asked.
"He tried to get even in front of my family,"
Riposte said with a chuckle. "My older sister
blocked his telepathy, my mother beat him up,
and everyone else stood around whining about
not getting their turn because it would have been
excessive force if they hit him after he went down."
Ligeia muffled a laugh into her blackberry smoothie.
"So the third time, I just put my shields up
and stood there and looked bored," Riposte said.
"He went totally apeshit. I think that Mindflare
must really crave attention for some reason.
Ignoring him may have been a mistake."
"Why, what did he do?" Ligeia asked.
"Remember that time I compared
my family life to being a caboose in
a train made of engines?" Riposte said.
Sauce dripped onto his Tesla t-shirt,
making him curse and grab a napkin.
"Yeah, because it's a shelter for the crew
who keep the train safe," Ligeia said.
"Well, Mindflare quoted me all out of context,
and made it sound like I was dissing the way
that SPOON treats supernaries," said Riposte.
"I seriously did not need that much drama."
"He sounds like a real llama farmer," she agreed.
"That about sums it up," Riposte said.
That was when Mindflare himself appeared,
his scarlet-lined black suitcoat fluttering dramatically
in a convenient breeze as he struck a pose.
"You have got to be kidding me," Ligeia drawled.
"I challenge you to a duel of powers!"
Mindflare cried, pointing at Riposte.
"In case you haven't noticed, I don't
have any special powers," Riposte said.
Mindflare replied by casting an illusion
of a Tyrannosaurus rex into the street,
which promptly caused a crash.
"Everyone take cover!" Riposte barked.
"Listen to the nerd if you want to live,"
Ligeia advised the civilians as she
hustled them out of the way.
She preferred to keep out of cape politics, but
surely she could lend a hand to others who felt
likewise without being mistaken for a superhera.
Taking cover behind a sturdy brick building,
Ligeia called emergency services and
described the situation. With a little luck,
Mindflare would spend some time in jail,
even if he bought his way out or escaped
the way supervillains usually did.
Next she peeked around the corner
to see what was going on.
A team of citizen responders had
identified the dinosaur as an illusion
and hurried through it to extract
the dazed drivers from the cars.
Mindflare stood on one of the glass tables
at the café, waving his arms and
shouting at Riposte.
Ligeia pursed her lips and chirped,
shattering the glass and dumping
Mindflare onto the pavement.
Riposte wrestled him into submission
and brought out the restraints.
"Foil! Curses again!" said Mindflare.
"Some people give supervillains
a bad name," Ligeia muttered.
* * *
Mindflare -- Phineas Moore is a supervillain with mental powers. He has short black hair, brown eyes, and light brown skin.
Origin: Near-death experience: While touring in California, an earthquake collapsed a building around him, leaving him with a severe head injury and super-powers.
Uniform: Stage dress with a black suit lined in scarlet satin, white shirt, scarlet bow tie. Mindflare relies on his powers to conceal his identity.
Qualities: Master (+6) Mentalist, Expert (+4) Will to Survive, Good (+2) Big and Tall, Good (+2) Connections in Entertainment
Poor (-2) Distractible
Powers: Expert (+4) Mind Powers (Signature Stunt Slice-and-Dice), Average (0) Illusion Powers
Vulnerability: Good (+2) Friable (can lose portions of his powers when attacking someone mentally)
Motivation: Get attention.
Riposte (Jacob "Coby" Wade) -- Coby has fair skin, light brown hair, and blue eyes. He is average height with considerable muscle. He grew up in a family of superheroes but never developed powers himself. His mother is a strongwoman and his father is a telepath; his oldest brother has super-strength, middle brother has super-speed, and his older sister has telepathy. Coby's fashion sense is such that he can put together the wildest outfit and still look good in it instead of ridiculous. He wore a glass-green smoking jacket to his senior prom and had girls hanging all over him. His specialty is fighting supervillains with telepathic, empathic, or other abilities that allow them to manipulate people. He is still touchy about lacking real powers, though.
Origin: Coby is the youngest of four children in a super family, and the only one without powers. So he pushed his ordinary abilities until he could compete on a super scale, finding ways to accomplish the same things.
Uniform: Colorful and expressive, the details change but the flair remains similar. Riposte likes poet shirts, fancy coats, and hats. The most common color is yellow-green contrasted with blue-violet and red-violet. He wears a tricolor half-mask.
Qualities: Master (+6) Armor of Iron Will, Expert (+4) More Than One Way to Skin a Cat, Expert (+4) Soup Culture, Expert (+4) Family Connections, Expert (+4) Strong, Expert (+4) Tough, Good (+2) College Student, Good (+2) Deduction, Good (+2) Speed-reading, Good (+2) Unusual Fashion Sense, Good (+2) Wrestler
Poor (-2) I Can TOO Keep Up With You!
Ligeia (Lily Acquarone) -- Lily has long straight black hair, black eyes, and olive skin. She lives across the alley from Riposte (Jacob "Coby" Wade). Her mother Narcissa used to work for Coby's grandmother as a kid sidekick, until said grandmother fell in love with a hero and quit the supervillain life. Narcissa wants Lily to be a supervillain. Lily wants to be a singer or an actress in musicals. The family has a lot of emotional violence. In swim class, Lily once lost control of her powers and drowned Coby by accident, but he doesn't blame her.
Powers: Expert (+4) Siren Song (Signature Stunts: Break Glass, Truth Serum), Average (0) Flight, Average (0) Water Powers
* * *
"Curses, foiled again!" is a line so classic that most people consider it cheesy. However, there are melodramatic supervillains who use it anyway.
Although the tinfoil hat is usually a crackpot trope, in Terramagne aluminum really does interfere with telepathy. Scientists are not sure exactly why, beyond the fact that it seems to cross that particular "bandwidth" of energy. Merely wrapping the head in foil provides some protection, but it's kind of like tying someone with telephone cord. Secure protection requires a specially designed helmet that encloses the head almost completely.
Enjoy a Blackberry Smoothie recipe.
Yes, a caboose has a purpose.
These are the barbecue sandwiches.
See Riposte's Tesla T-shirt.
The Cardboard Prison trope is all about villains who don't stay in jail. Obviously supervillains are much more difficult to contain, especially long-term. During the postwar period, Terramagne discovered supervillains and tried making super prisons and realized that it just doesn't work very well. So instead of beating the dead horse, they switched to other methods of discouraging crime: heavy fines, community service, rehabilitation programs, etc. This works a lot better. So prison is mostly reserved for violent crimes.
If you train them properly, even ordinary people can do pretty well in a crisis. T-America uses a system of first responders (police, paramedics, superheroes, etc.), citizen responders (scout masters, nurses, etc.), and civilians (everyone else) to distinguish between people whose dayjob is containing emergencies, people who can help if a random emergency happens in front of them, and people who need to be protected. They're averaging around 10% citizen responders, which is enough to change a crowd scene from a panicked stampede to an orderly retreat in most cases.