Betsy Visits River City.
Vicky recovered during their escape and our three heroes made it back to Pearl’s apartment quickly, as this time they had hidden cash in the woods, just in case. Now, all they did was call an Uber and they were whisked away to safety. They all wondered why Betsy’s phone actually worked when calling up the Uber, but stopped again as soon as the call was made. Their phones never started working again, intermittent or not. Betsy knew but didn’t admit to anything.
“We can’t stay here,” said Betsy when they arrived.
“I know, Betsy,” said Pearl. “I just want to get some things and we’re off. That took a couple of minutes before they were back in a cab heading to the destination Pearl gave the driver. Pearl was now happier because she had her tampons, makeup and her favourite teddy bear with her.
“Is it safe?” Asked Vicky.
“Oh yes, Vicky,” answered Pearl. “I’m taking us to the League’s HQ where we can learn of a safe house they keep for emergencies.”
“What’s this League?” said Betsy.
“It’s the League of Supers. Well, it’s the League of Supers who co-operate with each other. The membership is fairly fluid but there’s still a fair number of us.”
Pearl led them into the League building, using her secret credentials to gain access for herself and gaining visitor passes for Betsy and Vicky. Inside, it was eerily quiet.
At Vicky’s and Betsy’s request, they went first to the labs where they were searched thoroughly for any trackers Dr. Orlof might have installed. There were none.
Pearl then led them to the main control room, where they met what appeared to be the League’s only resident. She was smallish and dressed in the old flapper style. The style Pearl also favoured. Both Vicky and Betsy noticed Pearl hiding her displeasure at seeing Belinda Nicholson here.
“Hello Billie,” Pearl said softly. “Where are the others?”
Billie smiled. She was a happy go lucky girl who thought the best of everyone. Pearl hated her for that. It meant she couldn’t show her hate—the hate, she noted, that seemed to be increasing. Belinda Nicholson seemed to be getting more obnoxious each time she saw her. She desperately wanted to be more formal with her, call her Belinda, or, better, Ms. Nicholson, instead of Billie which everyone called her. She wanted distance between them in every respect.
“They’re all out patrolling the city. These storms have caused chaos and the underworld has turned out in force. We think they’re caused by Voltaire and Tempest somehow and we’re looking into that. Plus they seem to have a new weapon — we don’t know what it is. It seems to be some sort of disturbance in the air that sucks in some of our heroes and spits them out again drained. It takes them a while to regain their powers. But here’s the funny thing, it’s just some of our heroes. The rest seem to be immune. The villains can’t control their weapon very well either. They seem to be unaware of what it will do and which heroes it will drain. It looks like the villains are improvising around what their weapon does rather than use it to target specific people. As you can imagine, all this is taking a lot of coordination on our part, which is my responsibility at the moment. I’m also watching out for sneak attacks.
“Now, who are your friends? Can they help?”
“Vicky and Betsy.” Pearl pointed them out. Vicky was inordinately pleased Pearl introduced her first. Betsy wasn’t.
“Oh, I know all about you Vicky,” said Billie, again with a smile. I’m very pleased to meet you.” She approached with her hand out in the traditional open hand greeting, which was what she assumed was proper British etiquette. Vicky shook her hand. “I’m certain you are eligible to join the League Vicky. We’d be happy to welcome you into our little community.”
Billie turned to Betsy. “I’m sorry, but I don’t know you Betsy. Obviously you know Vicky and Pearl. Can you help as well?”
Vicky was at a loss. She didn’t know how to turn this wholesome girl down without being rude. She hoped Pearl would do the turning down, especially as she detected a little friction in Pearl since Billie hove into their orbit.
“I was just passing and sort of got caught up in all this,” answered Betsy. “I’m not a hero, sorry. I just want this to end and be on my way. But I do know Vicky and you’re right. She’ll make a great addition to your numbers here in River City. I’m looking forward to reading about her in the near future.” Betsy smiled and was as friendly as fuck towards Billie. Vicky wasn’t happy with this turn of events and was about to intervene a little more forcefully when Pearl spoke.
“I’m sorry Billie, but we can’t help. Dr. Orlof is still active and we’ve got to stop him.”
“Dr. Orlof? The industrialist recluse? He’s a harmless eccentric who’s benefited the local charities a lot. I don’t think he’s a problem just now, Pearl.” Belinda had opinions and authority. Pearl didn’t like that.
“Sorry Billie, but I have to go my own way on this. We three,” she included Betsy and Vicky with her eyes, “need a new place to stay. All our apartments have been compromised and we need to regroup and recoup before we go back in.”
Billie looked at Pearl, and then at Betsy and Vicky. Vicky nodded at her. Betsy was looking around the room, taking it all in. There were machines and control panels all round the walls with a central control desk in the middle. Surely they could come up with something better than this? It was as if everything was laid out for maximum visual effect rather than for maximum functional effect. It felt as if they were inside a comic.
Billie had to take a call from Golem asking for reinforcements. It took her a minute or two to locate and divert Vamp and The Kid from their patrol to Golem. Then she had to reallocate the cover those two were giving the city to the rest of the heroes.
“I know this duty looks to be the most important, but I assure you Dr. Orlof is a very serious danger as well. We have to stop him before he gets more bimbos.”
“Bimbos?” said Billie.
“Yes, Bimbos,” answered Pearl. “He has a massive giggle of them, well, he had, but Vicky and Betsy here reduced their number drastically. But I know he’s ordered more. They’ll be here soon and then all hell will break loose.”
Billie looked at Pearl and assessed her statement. She looked at Betsy and Vicky. Vicky nodded solemnly at her. Betsy’s eyes were still wandering, taking everything in.
“OK then Pearl.” She reached into a drawer and handed Pearl a set of keys with an address tag attached. “Here you are. I’ll allocate reinforcements for you when we can, but it won’t be soon I’m sorry to say.”
Pearl smiled as she took the keys. “Thank you Billie,” she answered formally. “Don’t worry. We know you’re hard pressed. And, by the way, Betsy here,” Betsy suddenly took an active interest in the conversation, “is as good as Vicky at their work. She was here on her own mission from Britain, but she has succeeded at that and is now stuck here. I’m sure she’ll help us once Dr. Orlof is taken care of.”
Billie looked at Betsy, who smiled a thin lipped smile. Betsy might want to fuck Pearl, but this was too high a cost to pay. Vicky had a broad grin on her face.
“Yes,” said Vicky, twisting the knife. “I know Betsy here from a long time ago and she’ll make a great addition to the crime fighting abilities of your League.”
She added in her thoughts, ‘If only because she can’t steal things if she’s actively on the other side and, more importantly, being observed.’
Betsy decided this was one of those ‘if only’ things people sometimes talked about but didn’t really mean. Well, she wasn’t going to join this League was she? What if they were guarding something she wanted? That would be awkward, wouldn’t it?”
“Just one thing,” said Billie as they were leaving. “As you can see, we’re too stretched right now to help you, so Pearl, would you please write up what’s happened to you and send it in? There’s a comms unit at the apartment. That would be a great help.”
Pearl didn’t like taking orders from Belinda, especially when those orders made perfect sense and were phrased so respectfully. It was galling. She nodded and turned to leave.
“What happened to your face Pearl?” said Billie. “You have more freckles now. How do you do that? If anything, this weather should reduce their numbers, not increase them.”
Both Betsy and Vicky remembered the elf’s words and stared at Pearl’s face, which made her uncomfortable.
Pearl looked straight at Belinda, happy to have something to be angry about. “What is it with my freckles? First that elf, then Ffanci and now you? There’s nothing wrong with my freckles. Stop going on about them. I like them.” Pearl’s voice had risen as well as the tempo of her speech. Billie noted her response was much more aggressive than it should have been, even if she had accidentally triggered some sore point.
“Sorry Pearl. I was out of order there,” said Billie reasonably. Pearl didn’t like reasonable when she was starting to get into the argument, but, it had hardly developed and she throttled back her pique, which she realised, could have easily turned into anger.
“But what elf?” added Billie.
Pearl smiled directly at Belinda. “No Billie. I’m sorry. I’m afraid the last few days have gotten to me. I need some rest first. Thanks for the keys. I’ll tell you about the elf later.” She turned and left, followed by Vicky and Betsy.
Billie then sent a message to the League’s psychiatrists detailing this discussion and Pearl’s response to a simple question about her freckles. Billie was a nice girl and wanted to help in every way she could. This was the best way.
Meanwhile, back at the castle, Ffanci, Dr. Orlof, Tilly and Stewart had just discovered the bimbos performing cunnilingus on each other while chained in a ring in the dungeons.
“There’s another anomaly you’ll have to correct with the next batch,” Dr. Orlof told Tilly and Stewart.
Ffanci was determined. “Now we have to start again. We won’t stop until Pearl Girl has been transformed.”
“And we have Betsy as well,” said Tilly and Stewart together.
“Yes, of course,” said Dr. Orlof. “And remember, I have already sold Vicky, so she’ll have to be available as well.”