This is for everyone who has ever been told they're any more or less of a woman because of how they look, behave or were born.
Veldron 14Veldron's Saga 14: A Pleasant Cruise
In the end I picked my cruise by price. It was apparently a new company. "Sunrise Cruises Capture the Experience!" In one week, from Peterhead. Plenty of time. The cheap cruise not only saved me money but lacked the normal security protocols; it didn't even really count as a cruise so much as an ocean tour to hoodwink stingy tourists.
The boat was the sort of small thing that you'd expect to see on a river, with peeling paint. There were only about thirty of us there for the trip, milling about awkwardly as we waited for the crew to show up. I could see regret creeping onto the faces of other passengers already; they'd paid to spend four days on this thing. I was beginning to see why tickets were non-refundable.
We were provided with boxed wine and sandwiches for lunch as we stared out over depressingly grey water in the chilly air. It seemed that Sunrise Cruises wanted its customers to capture the experience of disappointment, but may
Veldron 13 Veldron's Saga 13: Getting Home
I spent the week waiting for my jewel constructing the rest of the device for it.
It wasn't a dangerous machine. The Jewel has a way of greatly amplifying vibrations and waves of various kinds if you can get it in the right state, so it had been used to create earthquakes, make strong lasers from a ridiculously small power source, pour fire... I had another use for it.
Polaron and the Captain could both fly, and they both tripped my levitation detector when they did. This I knew from experience and, in Polaron's case, experiment. Polaron's EMP blasts left faint but definitely present after-effects when we fought and had me demagnetising everything metal on the surface of my island for weeks. The Captain's only power apart from flight was unnaturally high strength and endurance, but I had had the opportunity to see him fight that time when Rainbow managed to get that emitter on the Eiffel Tower, and he gave off gamma radiation when he was hurt. I
Veldron 12Veldron's Saga 12: This Wouldn't Happen In England
They were firing bullets at us! Actual bullets!
I don't like bullets. Invulnerability is not part of my skill set and I don't exactly know what my limits for regeneration are. I'd tried to find out once but no culture of my cells showed anything unusual except for a slightly higher than normal reproductive rate and my skin's various wave resistances. Regeneration didn't translate that well to a beaker environment.
And since I'd prefer not to discover my limits by dying, I do not like bullets.
CYBR put her titanium body between me and the shooter. I was going to owe her so much when all this was over. She took a couple of bullets to the back, so either they knew what she was or I was facing a more dangerous class of hero than I'd thought. This is what happens when you strand yourself in Egypt; I would never have faced this problem in England.
The civilians had mostly cleared out of the shop. I threw a concussion grenade and used
Veldron 11Veldron's Saga 11: A New Face
You never really know where you are with new heroes.
If you're careful, if you keep yourself mostly in enlightened countries and aren't too physically dangerous, you usually get good ones. Idealism, PR concerns, respect for local laws and an understanding that it would be bad business sense to render oneself redundant meant that most heroes prefer capture over killing. Polaron and StarFyre would annihilate my robot armies, for instance, but although there was always the risk that my minions would go too far or the pair would misaim their attacks there was the general understanding that we weren't actually trying to kill one another. In their case, their punches were pulled mostly because of idealism, and mine because they weren't all that dangerous and murdering children tends to attract a bit too much attention. Stupid kids.
Facing a new wave of desperate, angry and probably no
Veldron 10 Veldron's Saga 10: Puzzling Things Out
It wasn't hard to piece together what was happening.
My escape had coincided with the disappearance of the Captain and then Polaron a little too much. StarFyre had her suspicions and had come for me, presumably after telling people where she went. Then she had disappeared, causing people to conclude that I was responsible for the disappearances.
Polaron and StarFyre were minor vigilantes, not part of the Ultimate Justice Squad. That actually made their disappearances more worrying, socially speaking; private heroes would probably not intrude as much in the issue if somebody was targeting the Squad, but if anybody was a target it would be much easier to drum up a force from the general powered population. A militia. That explained why my detector went crazy when I went near my base.
Personally I thought it was a bit of an overreaction just because a couple of guys had gone missing. They were probably caught in an old trap or something. It
Veldron 9 Veldron's Saga 9: Fortune Favours the desperate
I had to talk fast. "How did they know I was here?" I asked. "How did they know where the exits were? We have a spy among us, and if we don't find them then it's going to be bad for all of us."
Turning supervillains against each other is the easiest thing in the world, but this time they weren't buying it. They'd seen or heard of me getting out of too many tricky situations to just assume that they could capture me later, whereas the question of the spy would keep. Well, with Scythe and Cabaret out of the picture, and Forcinor in no shape to use his shields... suddenly I was glad that they didn't make a very effective fighting force, although five on one was not good odds.
I always carry a few pain grenades in my belt. I rolled one across the floor, knowing that my radiation-proof skin would protect me, and ran.
A few cries. Forcinor and Gerald had both collapsed behind me. FrostWing and Yolund both cried out but seemed to be fol
Veldron 8Veldron's Saga 8: Fighting Like Villains
There would be time to worry about who the traitor was later. There would be time to throw around accusations of lax security later. For now, a bunch of heroes (newbies, a lot of them, as far as I could tell; their faces weren't familiar) had ambushed a hall full of the greatest supervillains in the world.
We knew what to do. As one, we turned and ran for the secret escape routes.
The thing about supervillains is, not many of us do much actual fighting. That's what the minions are for. We'd all had combat training, but when we were physically fighting a hero it meant that most of our defences had failed and that we were about to lose. Our instinct upon seeing a hero isn't to engage them in hand-to-hand.
I turned the stupid clicking detector on my wrist off and aimed my pain laser. Man I love that thing. It can bypass most heroic forcefields and the shock of agony drops them from the sky like flies. It's only temporary, though; heroes tend
Veldron 7Veldron's Saga 7: Quite a Nice Party
Panama Square. It's just an undistinguished, old building, but one with a history. It was one of the many relics of the League of Shadows.
The League had held together barely a year, but what a year! Lord Oberon, the closest thing the League had to a leader, who basically set the scene for the rest of us long before the League had ever formed, I'd never met. He had been killed a few years later in a battle with the Captain. The previous Captain, of course, not our Captain. Mechan had simply faded into obscurity and vanished; nobody was really sure what had happened to him but he never raised his head again. Wisp was said to be the greatest assassin and thief that had ever lived, not that she killed people after joining the League. That had been one of Lord Oberon's rules, as villains who made a habit of killing their enemies tended to attract more ruthless enemies. That prediction had proven correct for Wisp when, several months after the bre
Veldron 6 Veldron 6: The Better Part of Valor
It's a good thing that I never leave the base without a whole lot of scanning equipment.
It had taken a lot of experimentation, but one of my many amazing achievements is what I like to call a levitation detector, largely because I'm terrible with names. In my experience, about 80% of superhumans who can fly use the same method to do so. I won't bore you with the details, but the levitation detector is basically to levitation what a Geiger counter is to radiation-based powers.
It's become habit to wear it outside the base. Like pretty much any other method of detection, it's pretty useless inside if you can detect levitation with it, you are already within line of sight of the freaking superhero. But I'd all but forgotten what it did when I approached my island and it started clicking like crazy.
The problem with living on a scanproof base is that it's quite difficult to know what's happening inside from outside. That's rather the poin