Note: The characters in this trilogy will be familiar to readers of other related stories. A complete chronology of the adventures and travails of the heroines of this temporal continuum was prepared by an enthusiastic reader, Adam ben Yisroel, and is appended to the third story, "Early Retirement".
in the Family. Part 1.
America's most formidable superheroine, Superlady, landed on the roof of the nondescript office building in downtown Capital City, and tripped lightly down fifteen flights of stairs to a small private club, a private club with the most exclusive membership imaginable. Only superheroines were invited to join. The members jokingly referred to the club as the 'Hall of Superheroines'. It was an informal gathering place, unknown to the general public, where they could meet and coordinate their crimefighting activities. An emergency communication desk was staffed by the members on a voluntary basis.
Superlady waved to young Power Angel at the desk, today. Superlady always did her best to encourage new blood in the struggle for justice. Although only a high school student in her teens, the neophyte crimefighter was proving that she would one day be the most formidable of superheroines. Power Angel's powers derived from an Angelic Visitation, and she had told Superlady in confidence that she was considering entering a convent the following year.
As she entered the main room, all of the younger superheroines gazed in awe at the mighty figure of America's premier heroine. Superlady had to admit, ruefully to herself, that these days it seemed all of the other heroines were younger.
Superlady spied her two favorite young colleagues, Justice Lady and Silver Valkyrie about to go into the small refreshment room, where there was a self-service coffee maker and a few simple tables and chairs.
"We're just going to have a cup of coffee, care to join us?" Silver Valkyrie asked.
"I'll get it!" Silver Valkyrie offered. "You sit down!"
As she filled the cups, the Norse heroine complained. "Oh Darn! These are the last three cups! Now I've have to refill the coffee maker!"
"Oh, Justy, do you have three dollars for the cup, here? I don't have any money on me!" Silver Valkyrie asked with an embarrassed grin.
"C'mon you've been pulling that one, forever! Really Valk! you're demi-divine disdain for money is wearing a little thin!" Justice Lady, replied, as she ruefully pulled three dollar bills from her boot.
"Well there's no place to keep money in this outfit!" Silver Valkyrie replied with a helpless shrug.
"Use your boot like the rest of us do, Twit!"
"Yes Ulrica!' Superlady added. "I always keep a supply of cash in my boot, for emergencies, as well as my passport, just in case!" The mature heroine patted a thigh length boot; butter soft leather lovingly fitting about her superb, fully contoured legs, as snugly as a pair of gloves.
As Silver Valkyrie set the cups down on the table and joined her friends, Superlady pulled several photographs from her commodious boot. "I even have some new pics of the grand kids in here! Care to see them?"
"Oh they're adorable!" Silver Valkyrie cooed. "Sometimes I do regret that I'm bound to perpetual chastity!" She added a little wistfully. Justice Lady had just been recounting the plans for her upcoming wedding in two months.
"Oh, children are such a comfort!" Superlady replied. "Of course, they can be a worry too! I'm always concerned about a young mother like Laurie going back to crimefighting as Supermom! It's nice to know, though, there will be some one to carry on in my place, if I ever decide to retire! And I wouldn't be surprised if that little tike Betty doesn't put on the cape one of these days! She already runs around calling herself 'Superlass'! Isn't that cute? It's a shame the two little ones, Bobby and Amy didn't inherit our full powers though! One blessing of that, is they aren't susceptible to the family weakness to Kryptonite!"
Justice Lady asked with assumed innocence. "You know Clarice, I've been wondering! Now that you have a daughter who calls herself 'Supermom', doesn't that make you 'SuperGRAN'?"
"Not FUNNY, Deirdre!" The frivolous, younger superheroine was impaled by an icy glare that could quell a riot.
"Oh now Clarice, you know it was only a joke! You look like a sexy thirty year old! No one could ever guess you're a grandmother!"
The icy stare did not melt.
Justice Lady sheepishly looked down at the table and then took a sip of coffee, so Superlady wouldn't see she was near giggling.
Silver Valkyrie broke the tension. "Oh, don't pay any attention to her Clarice! She's always kidding me about my age! I don't know why I ever told her that I lived in Valhalla for over two thousand years, before I came down to the earthly plane for some excitement and adventure! Nothings happened there for the last nine hundred years! You would think a law school professor could act a little more mature, though, instead of like a flighty teenager!"
"Well, don't forget, 'Ms. Wodden', I was YOUR law school professor!" Justice Lady did giggle. "If I wasn't such a nice, 'flighty' professor you wouldn't have passed my torts class, either! I hope your doing better with criminal law! So, how are things in the DA's office?"
As Ulrica Wodden, her altar ego, Silver Valkyrie, newly graduated from law school, had just been hired as an Assistant District Attorney.
"Hah! Just the same! As the 'young, blond air head' just out of law school, I have less status, than the cleaning lady! My boss is finally letting me prosecute a case, next week, though! Nothing important, of course! Some charlatan faith healer and fortune teller! She claims to be a 'wiccan adept' or some such nonsense! She's bilked a few people! The usual bunco tricks! Her name's Morganna Morgul! Her name gave me a start, though, the first time I heard it! Reminded me of something from my old life! Anyway, this bimbo is strictly small time!'
"Oh maybe Laurie told you?" Silver Valkyrie said to Superlady. "She has a younger sister, Leticia Luther! We could have prosecuted her, too, as an accomplice, but she lives next door to Laurie! Laurie vouched for her! Said she has two small children! Guess she can't get into much trouble living next door to Supermom!"
"I guess not, but sometimes my daughter is too soft hearted!" Superlady replied.
"By the way, Clarice! I've been meaning to ask you! Have you turned up anything on that von Richtofen bitch?" Silver Valkyrie asked.
"Nothing concrete! I've been after her for thirty years! No superheroine can ever rest easy, while she's at large, after what she did to Amerizon!"
Superlady didn't directly answer the question. She did have a new lead on the longtime fugitive, Nazi War Criminal who once called herself 'Black Valkyrie', but Superlady preferred to work alone, and didn't always share everything she knew with her colleagues.
"Oh, I'd love to see someone nail her in the worst way!" Silver Valkyrie replied. "That bitch had the effrontery to call herself a 'valkyrie', during the war and brought shame to our order! I begged Dad THEN, to let me come to earth, and deal with her, but he said the time wasn't ripe! Of course, that meant he didn't want his little, two thousand year old daughter to go off on her own! It took me another forty years of wheedling before he finally relented!" The 'Dad' Silver Valkyrie so casually referred to, was the great God Odin, Monarch of Valhalla.
"Elfrieda von Richtofen must be over eighty by now! Do you think she's still alive?" Justice Lady interjected.
"Yes according to all reports she's still alive, and doesn't look more than forty! Evidently the powers she discovered for evil, have preserved her! If there's one person I want to get, it's her! She's the last major war criminal still at large!" Superlady replied.
"We all hate the Nazis of course!"
"I have a personal reason!" Superlady replied.
"Oh Clarice, I forgot! I'm sorry! Your mother?"
"Yes, Mom was a superheroine too, 'Super Woman'! I guess it runs in the family! But Mom's career was cut tragically short, by that other Nazi witch! She was one of Fraulein Power's victims! I was only eight years old, but I was with her that day, and saw the whole thing! It was the most terrible day of my life!"
"Oh Clarice, you saw it? How terrible for you!"
The stern Superlady's voice softened in remembrance. "I've never told anyone except Laurie the story, before! It was a Saturday morning, and Mom took me out to practice my flying! I had on a little uniform of my own, my first one! While we were flying around the park, Mom spied another woman, all in black, flying past!"
"Mom was suddenly all serious! She took me down to the ground and hid me in some trees! She told me that no matter what, I shouldn't move or interfere! If anything happened, to get away from there as quick as I could! I was so excited! I was going to see Mom in action! What could happen? Certainly no villainess could be a threat to My Mom, the greatest superheroine of her time! Then Mom took off! Of course, with my super hearing and eyesight, I could hear and watch everything, as though I were only a few feet away!"
"Mom flew up after her! The sun was in her eyes, and even with her super senses, Fraulein Power ambushed her! I think that conniving witch must have planned the whole thing! The Nazi flew out of a cloud behind Mom and crashed into her from behind!"
"Fraulein Power literally hit Mom in the back with the speed of a jet plane! The impact was terrific, and stunned Mom for a second! She lost her concentration, and started falling! I knew she couldn't be hurt, but it's terrifying to see your mother falling like that! Mom screamed herself! I couldn't take my eyes off Mom and lost sight of Fraulein Power! Mom must have fallen about five hundred feet, when all of a sudden, I saw the Nazi come plummeting down, and hit Mom in the stomach! Mom's scream was cut off, and she grunted in pain! It wasn't until then, that I realized this awful witch could really hurt Super Woman!"
"Mom hit the ground with a loud bump! Her back was buried in the soft ground and she squealed in shock, but I knew she wasn't hurt! As a child, the only thing I could think of was how embarrassed she must feel that her underpants were showing!"
"Mom quickly picked herself up and pulled her skirt down! I couldn't help think how ladylike and dignified she always was! Just then, Fraulein Power landed right in front of her! The Nazi witch was a big, strong woman, although she looked more fat than muscular! Even so, Mom, all solid muscle towered over her! Fraulein Power didn't seem fazed by the contrast! She stood there with her hands on her hips sneering up at Mom, this cocky grin on her face!"
"It was Mom who looked kind of nervous and apprehensive! Until that day, I never thought my mother could be afraid of anything, but getting knocked out of the sky like that must have shaken her up! Nothing like that ever happened to her before! There was something worse, too! Mom told me later, it was then, she noticed the small ring on Fraulein Power's finger! The ring was set with a tiny sliver of Kryptonite! You know that's the one substance that's deadly to our family! There was only a small amount! God knows where that Nazi got even that much! It wasn't enough to incapacitate Mom, or rob her of all her super powers! It was just enough to slow down her super reflexes, and make her vulnerable to the Nazi's blows!"
"Well, Fraulein Power didn't have her hands on her hips long! The next thing I knew, she punched Mom in the face! Mom still wasn't used to any criminal being so bold I guess, and that Nazi witch caught her off guard, again!"
"That first punch must have been awful, because Mom never seemed to get her bearings after that! The punch combined with the Kryptonite, anyway! The Nazi witch kept right on punching! Her attack kept Mom off balance, so she couldn't retaliate, or hardly even defend herself! Every one of those punches must have been deadly, because Mom's whole body would shudder and jerk at each one, as though she were a puppet on strings! Oh it was terrible to watch, but I couldn't tear my eyes away!"
"Mom backed away looking really hurt, and I hate to say it, I couldn't believe it at the time, but it was obvious she was scared!"
"Fraulein Power just laughed, when Mom tried to get her breath, and kicked her in the face! The kick spun Mom around, and the Nazi drove her elbow into Mom's back and then judo tossed her from behind!"
"Once she had Mom down on the ground, Fraulein Power started kicking her!"
"After she kicked Mom over on her back, Fraulein Power jumped up and came down on Mom's stomach, feet first! Mom's body jack knifed and she cried out in terrible pain! I was beginning to feel sick to my stomach, myself!"
"Mom must have known Fraulein Power had beaten her, and she tried to get away, but the Nazi grabbed the front of her uniform while she was still on her knees!"
"Fraulein Power held Mom up by the the handful of her uniform, with one hand and cocked her right fist! Mom struggled to get away or block the punch but there was nothing she could do! Fraulein Power smashed her fist into Mom's jaw like a battering ram!"
"Fraulein Power hit Mom so hard, her neck twisted around like it was broken, and she pitched down on the ground and didn't move!"
End of Part 1.
Go on to Part 2, Conclusion.