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Me, Myself & I
Written by Limstella :: [Friday, 30 March 2018 23:58] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 31 March 2018 11:01]
Mento-girl examined the situation she was in. A single false misstep was likely to be deadly, a fact that she realized was causing her partner Beast Boy to be visibly shaking. Mento-girl wasn't nervous at all however, even if it was true that their opponent Solomon Grundy could tear her head off in a second if he got the chance. She was confident that as long as she played this fight smart he wouldn't get anywhere near her. In the past, the Green Lantern of Earth-two had kept him contained in a force bubble. Mento-girl’s telekinesis wasn't nearly as powerful as a Green Lantern ring, but she figured it should be enough to contain Grundy for the time being. She held out a hand and slowly began to lift Grundy with the power of her own mind. She lifted him carefully away from everything nearby, making sure there weren’t any signs, cars, or walls within his reach. Grundy was confused by what was happening to him. He attempted to keep moving his legs to continue walking, but it was to no avail.
Mento-girl allowed a smile to form on her lips despite the tension of the situation. With any luck she would be able to contain Grundy like this until the Justice League showed up. Beast Boy examined Grundy hanging seemingly helpless in the air and asked Mento-girl, "Should I hit him?"
"No, let's try to keep him here. Just be on alert in case he gets free"
Grundy's anger at not being able to get to the two superheroes was rising. He began flailing wildly in his invisible prison. Immediately Mento-girl felt a strain at each movement of Grundy's limbs. Grundy was far too strong for her to constrict his movements entirely. Her only hope was to cling to his center of mass as tightly as she could and hope that she could contain him. Every flail of his arms was causing his torso to twist and shake her grip a little looser. She couldn't let him escape. She had to hold him tighter. She closed her eyes and concentrated on securing her grip with all her willpower.
It was to no avail. With one final motion, Grundy shattered the telekinetic hold Mento-girl had on him. He landed with a loud thud, but stayed on his feet and immediately began charging at Mento-girl. Mento-girl opened her eyes and saw the behemoth that was now bearing down on her. She considered trying to fly out of the way, but decided instead to make a telekinetic wedge to try and send Grundy to one side. This was a tactic she had used quite effectively to avoid the punches of even super-powered opponents, but she had never attempted it on someone as strong and heavy as Grundy before. She pushed his charging body to the left and ducked his left fist as it swung wide over him. As she turned she saw Grundy swinging his other fist. Reflexively she tried to push it back head-on, but it barely slowed it down.
Mento-girl realized that when she had been desperately trying to keep Grundy in her grip she had gotten rid of her force field. Taking the full brunt of Grundy's punch might kill her. She was pushed out of the way as a green gorilla tackled her out of the way.
"Thanks for the assist," Mento-girl said as her partner changed back into his base form.
"No problem," said Beast Boy, "But how do we beat this guy?"
"We can't, we're simply not powerful enough," Mento-girl bit her lip and paused a second before continuing, "Our best bet is to try and contain him and avoid getting hit."
Mento-girl used her telekinesis to trip Grundy and Beast Boy shifted into a hawk in order to swoop down, peck at grundy's eyes, and then fly away as Grundy tried to smack him off. The pair was staying in the air to avoid getting in range of Grundy's fists, but there was enough debris around for Grundy to let loose a near constant stream of projectiles, moving fast enough to make it incredibly difficult for Mento-girl to deflect their course. Mento-girl was starting to get as worried as Beast Boy was as the fight dragged on wondering how long she would be able to keep this up. Finally however, a fast moving object blurred past them colliding with Grundy and sending him skidding along the ground.
As the dust settled it became clear that Superman had arrived with a super punch for Grundy. Grundy stumbled a bit as he slowly brought himself up back to his feet. He attempted to punch Superman with a haymaker, but the man of steel simply caught the giant's fist in his open palm, stopping it cold. With his other hand, Superman delivered his own haymaker to Grundy's chin. The behemoth dropped to the ground unconscious.
"Two punches…" Mento-girl thought to herself.
Not long after a few other members of the Justice League showed up, most notably Green Lantern who surrounded Grundy with a green bubble.
"I've reinforced this force bubble with a double layer of Green lantern energy, so this time it should last forever as it orbits the Earth," said Green Lantern. Then he flew off with the captive Grundy in tow.
Mento-girl looked up at them growing smaller in the distance, a bit frustrated, only partially because of how easily Green Lantern was able to contain Grundy. More important to her was how quickly the League had unilaterally decided to imprison Grundy. Even though he wasn't exactly human, and rarely showed intelligence, it hardly seemed fair for the League to sentence Grundy like this. And an orbit around the Earth while almost totally secure from the perspective of Grundy freeing himself, hardly seemed safe from a villain like Luthor who might want to break him out...
"Hey, you with us, Mento-girl?" said Beast Boy.
"Oh sorry, what did you say?" said Mento-girl.
I said, "It's sure good we have guys like that on our side right?"
"Oh yeah, definitely."
"Makes things a bit easier for us regular schmo superheroes, eh?"
"I guess that's one way to put it."
News crews arrived on the scene a minute later, having held at a safe distance from the fight while it was ongoing. Mento-girl and Beast Boy walked to join with the Justice Leaguers. "How did you and the Justice League defeat Grundy, Superman?" one reporter asked.
"With a super punch of course. Grundy may be strong, but he isn't a match for someone like me. Of course we really have these two young heroes to thank the most for bringing Grundy to a dead stop in this city block. They prevented massive destruction by keeping him contained here."
There was some applause at this, but it was clear the press was more interested in Superman and even Wonder Woman and Snapper Carr, the other leaguers present, even though they hadn't contributed to the fight. After the league took off and the press started to disperse, Mento-girl walked away from the scene. Resting her mental powers for a bit for her eventual flight back to her base of operations. Then she noticed a familiar cloaked figure.
"Here to give me some more vague advice?" said Mento-girl.
The figure smiled for a second and said, "You're not ready. None of you are." He vanished into thin air after he finished speaking.
"Informative as ever," Mento-girl said to herself. She used her telekinesis to lift herself up and began flying home. As little as he had given her, the Stranger's advice had always helped Mento-girl in the end, and so his words stuck with her on her solitary flight. "We're not ready," she thought, "What do we need to do become ready?" Perhaps her frustration at being so outclassed in the fight with Grundy was clouding her objectivity in analyzing his cryptic message, but in that moment she was sure she knew what he meant.
She came upon a modest storefront away from the center of the city. A painted sign atop the building read, "Mento-girl Inc." She landed at the entrance and stepped through the door.
"Hey boss, how did the fight with Grundy go?" asked Tim. He was one of the two employees that Mento-girl had brought in to help manage her career. She had a couple of sponsors and hired herself out for paid appearances at events periodically. It wasn't a ton of money, but enough to allow her to be a superhero more or less full time. Hiring Tim and Tina allowed her to dedicate even more of her time to her training and crime-fighting. They were a very bright pair and valuable employees, but Mento-girl wasn't in the mood for conversation right now and so didn't bother to look at him before responding, "It showed me that I and the superhero community are woefully unprepared for dangerous threats. I want both of you to drop whatever you're doing and prepare a pitch for the Justice League. I'm going to convince them that they need to start using every resource available to them. The forces of evil are constantly trying to make themselves more powerful, and it's time we adopted the same mindset. Prepare as much info as you can on both the most dangerous threats the Earth has faced and what assets the League possesses that could be used to protect the Earth before COB today. I'll try to arrange a meeting tomorrow morning. I'm about to collapse from exhaustion, so I'll be in my apartment if you urgently need me."
With that she unlocked a door at the back of the building and went up a staircase to her loft. She walked past the table in the main area of her apartment straight into her bedroom. It was a small room containing nothing but a twin bed and a single dresser. She plopped down and fell asleep right away despite her agitated state.
"Thank you all for allowing me to talk here today. As you know the world has been in grave peril before. Despero and Xotar were able to essentially disable the entire Justice League. Victory in these fights was by the slimmest of margins. The two major lessons seem clear to me: One: The Earth's safety cannot rest solely in the hands of six individuals, no matter how talented and powerful. Two: Training can only take us so far. We must start looking into ways to increase our powers. Currently there are tons of powerful artifacts that are sitting either in the trophy room of this building, the Fortress of Solitude, the Batcave, or Jimmy Olsen's apartment. Only the first two are properly secured from our enemies but more importantly all of those artifacts are being wasted when they could be used to better equip our side. In this very building we have Dr. Ivo's power transfer ray and the Stimoluck which we could use to create new heroes or make the current ones more effective.
"While increasing the number of superheroes might be necessary for ensuring the safety of this planet, it does raise the issues of ensuring that only trustworthy people receive power as well a the broader problem of finding ways to keep ourselves in check to make sure we don't appear to the outside world to be blindly amassing power. So the more radical part of my proposal is to democratize the Justice League. If we truly want to commit ourselves to Earth Defense, we cannot align ourselves with any one government. The United Nations has its own set of issues, so what I propose is that we create a new oversight council for the Justice League with members elected from all the nations of the Earth to regulate our new power creation initiatives."
"You idea has merits, Mento-girl. But I think I can speak for the league when I say there was no way we could ever implement it. Our goal as heroes is to use our powers well, not to seek more power for ourselves. We may have been brought to the brink, but the Justice League hasn't lost when it counts. Too many of our enemies thought the world would be better if they had more power, that cannot be the league's philosophy." said Wonder Woman.
Batman and Superman glanced at each other, something that Mento-girl had noticed them doing earlier in the meeting. She was about to respond to Wonder Woman's point when Green Lantern chimed in.
"Also, our community operates best informally by voluntary participation. Adding bureaucracy into our vital work has a real risk of putting the world in danger." he said.
"I'm sorry Mento-girl, but the status quo works, that's the simple truth." said Martian Manhunter.
"I see, you seem to be in agreement, then. Well. Thank you for your valuable time and I hope you at least think about what I've said today." Mento-girl said. She did a quick bow then turned and hastily exited the room. With Superman it was more or less impossible to truly get out of earshot, but he typically didn't eavesdrop so when she was a good distance away she began swearing profusely all the way back to her HQ. She calmed herself before she walked through the doors.
"How did the meeting go boss?" said Tim.
"Not well. But thank both of you so much for all the work you did on that presentation. It was great research on such short notice. But no, pretty much everyone but Batman and Superman joined in to tell me my plan was foolish or borderline evil," She spun around and laughed as she said this, "It's okay though. It made me realize something. The only thing this world respects is power, including the Justice League whether they realize it or not. If I want anyone to take me seriously about threat preparedness, I need to have more respect. And gaining more respect in practical terms means gaining more power."
"So what's the plan then, boss?" said Tina.
"Do I have anything else on my schedule today?" asked Mento-girl.
"Nope, you're clear for the rest of the day."
"Okay then, give me the full files you pulled on giving people super powers and I'll see what we can do."
Looking at the list it became clear to Mento-girl that there was one man she needed to start with.
"Hello, Professor Potter, right?" said Jane.
"Yes, that's me," replied the Professor.
"My name is Mento-girl. I fight crime in Upvale."
"Oh yes, you saved Jimmy's life once didn't you? What can I do for you?"
"I'm looking for something to improve my crime-fighting abilities. You seem to produce a lot of marvelous inventions that might be able to help"
"I don't know about that, most of my inventions seem to be more trouble than they're worth."
Mento-girl looked around at the shelves. She saw a row of helpfully labeled jars. ELASTIC ELIXER, POWER POTION, GROWTH SERUM, BRAIN FOOD, YOUTH SERUM the labels read. "What about this power potion and brain food here?" Jane asked.
"The one can grant superhuman strength and the other can make a person smarter. Unfortunately both are only temporary and given the trouble Jimmy has gotten into thanks to my inventions in the past I hesitate to have him try it out, besides I've misplaced the formula for both of these," said Professor Potter.
"Jimmy gets in trouble because he's a trouble magnet, to be just a little frank," Mento-girl giggled a little, "I've been reading files on those cases and your inventions seem to be nothing but effective. How much would you say you have left of them?"
"A safe dose lasts about a day, and I'd say I have about two weeks worth left of each"
"I see, I know it's a lot to ask, but could I have half of your brain food? I think it would really help me out in my crime-fighting."
"I suppose I can do that. I don't mind doing a favor for someone who saved Jimmy's life."
"Oh thank you so much, here take this," She held out $500 in cash to the professor, "I think you do great work, and I'd love to help you in any way I can."
"Oh I couldn't take your money…"
"Listen, I know that most people in our industry as it were have a big stigma about accepting money because we should be doing these things for the greater good. And we all are. But, it's a fact of the word that we need money to operate. I can be a superhero essentially full-time because I leveraged my powers into a paying career. I can imagine the antics surrounding your recent inventions have made it harder to get grant money, I'm just trying to help you out with that."
"Well, when you put it like that. Thank you, I really do appreciate it."
"No problem, and if you ever need a favor don't hesitate to ask." She flicked him a business card and flew off.
"What's all this?" said Tina. Mento-girl had entered the door carrying a couple bags. She began placing the items on the table.
"I got a microscope, a couple of chemistry textbooks, a safe, and most importantly this." she placed seven vials on the table. "Seven doses of a mental enhancer made by Professor Potter."
I am going to take one dose now to test to see if it works how I hope it will. I will keep one dose on my person. The rest of the doses will be placed into the safe, the combination to which only the two of you will know. I'm serious about wanting to spread power and responsibility in the superhero community and I want you to control my access to the enhancements I acquire.
"Okay, I don't know how well we'll be able to keep you in check, but we'll try," said Tim.
Mento-girl drank one of the vials. The effects from Mento-girl's perspective were almost immediate. Time seemed to slow down for her for a few seconds as her mind started to work faster and faster. Her perception returned to normal as her mind adjusted to its faster processing speed, but she found she could still slow things down if she wished. Her thinking just seemed incredibly clearer now. She was able to instantaneously decide the next thing from her checklist to do was to see the state of her telekinesis. She noticed that she was automatically feeling everything about 50 feet around her with her tk, something she normally had to focus to do, and even then in a smaller area. She moved her invisible hands into a backroom until she found what she was looking for: a heavy steel sphere just a bit larger than a basketball. She lifted it and carried it into the room.
"You got that all the way from over there so quickly," said Tina, "How are you feeling?"
"Amazing" replied Mento-girl. The sphere was a specially made device designed to challenge the strength and precision of her telekinesis. Beneath an inch of steel, it contained several tiny but incredibly powerful magnets suspended by poles in the middle of the sphere. The magnets ranged in size from about the size of a silver dollar down to just a few mm across and in strength from 10 pounds to 1000 pounds. Indicator lights would turn on as each magnet was successfully removed from its resting place. Ordinarily Mento-girl found herself unable to move the magnets smaller than a dime or heavier than 500 pounds, but today she not only felt all the the magnets inside the sphere effortlessly, she was able to pull all the magnets off with very little resistance.
"You took off all the magnets. And all at once." Tina was stunned, "What does this mean."
"It's as I suspected. Since my telekinesis is powered through my brain, things that increase my intelligence also increase my powers. Now to see just how much smarter I am," said Mento-girl.
She quickly set up the microscope and placed a few drops of the formula under a microscope. She looked through it briefly. Then she immediately began reading the chemistry textbook, scanning and flipping through the pages at a brief pace. After about an hour of alternating between reading and looking through the microscope, Mento-girl reached the end of the chemistry textbook.
"Well, I still have no idea what the formula for this marvelous substance is, but I suppose it's to be expected that a bump up in intelligence isn't enough for me to understand chemistry this advanced instantaneously. Still getting through this textbook in an hour is pretty impressive. I think I'll use most of my remaining time with a super mind studying up on mechanical engineering, which I already have my college degree in. It might help me understand some of the complicated devices mentioned in the super power files. First though, call up the organizers of the Upvale Open, see if they'll accommodate some last minute changes to the exhibition match tomorrow morning," said Mento-girl.
"Yes that's right folks, Upvale's very own superheroine Mento-girl will be playing three tennis matches simultaneously against some of the brightest young athletes entirely with the power of her mind. She will be forbidden to move her physical body or use her telekinesis on anything other than the three rackets or the initial toss of the ball for a serve."
Although it was true that Mento-girl wouldn't be moving the ball or her opponents with her mind, she was still telekinetically sensing everything in all three of the adjacent courts. She began the matches with a triple serve, all fair. The balls seemed to be moving at half speed to her, so it was easy to to move the rackets to return the volley every time. Keeping track of all three games was proving to be a bit of a chore, but it seemed her enhanced mind was just up to the task of not letting anything slip through. She had effectively unlimited speed and endurance, no matter how much the athletes tried to trip her up. Her only weakness was that she couldn't see the lines very well and she wasn't nearly as skilled as the actual tennis players in planting the ball where she wanted, causing her to have a few outs and double faults. Still she was winning almost all of her points against three professional athletes, whereas she hadn't expected herself to win against the one opponent she was scheduled to face before she had consumed Professor Potter's brain food.
After the three matches were over, one of the tournament organizers came up to her and said, "Wow that was a great show. I guess we'll both be collecting a fatter check when I sell that footage to the networks, eh?"
"I suppose. I'm just glad to bring publicity to this event. The young women and men here are true inspirations. It was a pleasure to help you and them out and keep myself operating."
"Oh yes of course I'll be glad to-" she noticed something out of the corner of her eye. Up in the sky Green lantern was flying, no small surprise given the closeness of Upvale to Coast City. He seemed to be falling out of the sky however which alarmed Mento-girl. He recovered and continued on his course, but Mento-girl flew up to investigate to see if there was anything around that could have affected him. She caught a flash coming from the ground and reached out telekinetically to realize there was a humanoid figure wearing a small ring. She flew down to confront him.
He had red skin and was wearing a blue and black outfit. Mento-girl's enhanced mind allowed her to recall that she had seen his face one in the Justice League files. He was Sinestro, a former green lantern who had rebelled against the Guardians.
"Sinestro! I thought Green Lantern had left you in a bubble of green energy!" said Mento-girl.
"He did, but I escaped using this power ring which is mightier than his. I will not allow you to warn him of his impending doom however," replied Sinestro.
He fired a beam of yellow energy at Mento-girl. Despite appearing to be made of energy, the beam had a solidity to it and Mento-girl telekinetically deflected it with a flick of her wrist.
"Impossible, I've absorbed enough power from Green Lantern's power ring to be unstoppable!" Sinestro shouted. He fired a spread of 8 beams which bent back to hit Mento-girl. The all stopped ineffectually as they hit her personal force field.
Mento-girl was astounded. Sinestro was claiming his ring was as powerful as a green Lantern ring and yet her temporary powers were handling it with ease. She quickly reached mentally for his hand and slid the power ring right off his finger and into the palm of her hand. Ending the battle just like that. She telekinetically held his hands behind his back and signaled the police and green Lantern.
"I guess your power ring wasn't that powerful after all, eh Sinestro?"
"Bah, you fool! I cannot be held by any prison, and I will have my revenge against you and Green Lantern when I escape!"
"Ha! We'll see I guess. I'm not too worried," She mentally gripped him by the ankles and flipped him upside down in the air, humiliating the supervillain. She noticed that his one of his boots felt strange. Examining it further she realized it had a hidden compartment. She opened it and discovered another power ring, exactly like the one she had taken from Sinestro. She drew it to her hand as well.
"I bet the prisons will have a lot easier time holding you without this," Mento-girl laughed. Green Lantern showed up and took Sinestro into custody, flying off into space with Sinestro in tow. Some members of the press followed the police to the scene.
"Mento-girl, first the remarkable and now defeating a dangerous villain all by your lonesome, what's your secret?" a reporter asked.
"Well, I've recently found a way to enhance my mental powers, which as you can see from today was a great boon for my fight against crime. Who knows what havoc Sinestro might have wreaked if I hadn't had the strength to stop him from executing his plan." There were some further questions, but Mento-girl knew she had gotten the point across with her first statement.
As she stepped in Tim once again tried to greet her, "What happened at the tournament? I just got a call from a reporter asking about a fight with a villain called Sinestro."
"The matches went well, the crowd loved it. Afterwards I spotted Sinestro, he was plotting to take out Green Lantern, but fortunately I was able to stop him. And I collected these as souvenirs"
She tossed her two power rings, one to Tim and one to Tina.
"What are they?" asked Tina.
"Sinestro's power ring, which he claimed was more powerful than Green Lantern's power ring. Unfortunately, I think they can only be charged by absorbing the power of a Green Lantern ring, so these two are for emergencies only, but I'd like the two of you to have them either way."
"Are you sure that's safe?" asked Tim.
"I meant it when I said I believed in checks and balances and that I wanted to spread the power out, these rings might not have been able to defeat me while I was powered up, but they're still a start."
"I guess. Well, thank you for entrusting us with these. Though I'm not sure either of us is prepared for the responsibility," said Tina, putting the ring into her purse.
"Ha! Superman loves to talk about how normal people can't handle superpowers, but the truth is that pretty much no one was given any kind of preparation before gaining powers. Pretty much everyone manages to figure it out and from what I can tell, very few drastically change in personality as a result. I've worked with the two of you for two years now, and you have both proven to me many times over that you are incredibly hard-working and deeply believe in helping the world. Those are the traits you want people with power to have," said Mento-girl.
"You know what, you're right boss. I'm going to study this ring and see what I can learn about it," said Tim.
"Glad to hear it. Now we need to strategize in next steps for getting more powers and advancing our cause in the public eye," said Mento-girl.
Mento-girl went up to her apartment after Tim and Tina went home without a real plan for either of those things, but that was fine. These things take time after all. Her powers had returned to normal, but she knew she had six more doses of the brain food before she had to find another source to enhance her powers. She was pretty exhausted, so she planned to go straight to bed as soon as she entered. As she opened the door to her bedroom however, she saw a teenaged girl floating inside.
Mento-girl looked over the girl from head to toe. She had a slight build and short blonde hair, looking to be about 15-17 years old. She was dressed in a version of Superman's costume that replaced the trunks and pants with a skirt. Mento-girl wasn't sure what to make of the flying girl in her bedroom.
"Hello Mento-girl," the girl said, "Let me start by saying I'm here because Superman believes you're right about the fact that Earth needs to prepare better for the top tier threats and so I convinced him to let you in on a very closely guarded secret: the existence of a Supergirl on Earth?"
"So you're… Supergirl, then?" asked Mento-girl.
"And you're from Krypton like him?"
"Yes, the story of how I survived Krypton's destruction is long, but the important part is that when I arrived on Earth over a year ago, Superman decided to keep my existence a secret so that I could become his emergency weapon."
"An ace up his sleeve… that's actually really smart. The list of Earth's heroes is pretty well known. It's fairly easy to lure them into a trap as a result. But you can't prepare a trap for someone who you don't know exists."
"Exactly, I've gotten Superman out of a number of jams and operated clandestinely in his stead while he was unavailable all without anyone even realizing I exist."
It was beginning to make sense to Mento-girl why Superman didn't speak up during her proposal, he agreed with the idea of amassing more power for the side of the angels at least to some extent, but knew his teammates didn't approve of it.
"Batman knows about you too, doesn't he?" asked Mento-girl.
"Yes, the list of people who know about me is: Superman, Batman, Robin, a few of Superman's mermaid allies, and the people of Kandor. And now you I suppose. Superman is closer to Batman than any of his other Justice League allies and they share a somewhat pragmatic view of keeping Earth safe," said Supergirl.
"So then, you're here to tell me Superman approves of what I'm doing?"
"Not exactly, see Superman read the papers that are going to print tomorrow, and even though he doesn't mind your efforts in improving your powers, he wants you to stop trying to get the press on your side about it. Listen, he might be wrong, but he makes a pretty compelling case that putting this issue into the public eye is only going to lead to a global superpowers arm race which could be devastating to humanity."
Mento-girl put up her telekinetic force field and took a fighting stance. "So you're here to threaten me, then?"
Supergirl only smiled, "No, just to make you an offer. The two of us become partners in this operation to strengthen the forces of good. You'd have my considerable abilities at your disposal. I'm sure you can imagine how helpful I'd be scouring the Earth or even Space for whatever we needed. And I want to add that I convinced Superman to let me come here because I heard your speech to the Justice League and was really excited about it. You were bold and told a group of the most powerful people on the planet the truth you knew they might not want to hear. I mean, you're right there are scary people out there and we all need to be as super as possible to deal with them. It's been really difficult being Superman's emergency weapon and I still long for the day I can be revealed to the public, but as time has gone on, I've realized how important this position is to keeping Superman and the world safe. So please, I'd really like to do this with you, the only condition is that we have to operate in secret."
"You heard my speech?"
"It's pretty easy with super-hearing."
Mento-girl looked at Supergirl. The girl had an earnest look in her eyes. Mento-girl supposed that would have to be enough. Mento-girl extended her hand to Supergirl, who eagerly shook it. This was going to be interesting.