Superfluous Productions
                               Soundstage #4
                         So Very Out of Continuity



     Elizabeth Tirkoff drank sparkling water and looked over her lines. It
was easier before she needed the glasses. But then, age could be like that.
"Man, when did I become such a prig?" she asked.
     "You don't want me to answer that," Alice Mercury said, walking over
to the craft services table. "Gods -- tell me again why I don't just cook
things for the production?"
     "Union rules and they don't want to pay you."
     "And that's why we're partners." Alice grinned. "Hey, did you see the
'previously' prologue?"
     "The what?"
     "Oh -- it's been, what, nine years since all this started, so they
wanted to do a recap. Only Sabre wanted to be all 'artistic' and
'episodic,' so he had editorial put together a whole reel of fast cut
quotes and stuff to summarize... you know, everything."
     "Oh -- oh wait, yeah. They had me come in and do ADR -- rerecording
some lines to make them fit, stuff like that."
     "Right, yeah. Anyway, they put it together."
     "Cool -- a quick fifteen second intro for Episode 9, then?"
     Alice paused. "Um... no."
     "No?"
     "Well, in terms of word count?"
     "Yeah?"
     "...probably clocking in around eighty-five hundred."
     Elizabeth stared.
     "I'm serious."
     "Eighty-five hundred words."
     "Yup." She paused. "Wanna see it?"
     "Are you kidding? I wouldn't miss this disaster."



                  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

                   SUPERFLUOUS PRESS EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT
                                ROUGH CUT #1
                       "Previously... on the League"

                        ROUGH CUT - NOT FOR RELEASE


                                [June 2000]

     Trudy frowned. "So how are you and Jane going to--"
     Dianna smiled slightly. "I have no idea. I'm just going to get used to
wearing a skimpy lame outfit and draping around one of Mike's legs. Isn't
that what space opera heroines do?"

                                   # # #

     Dianna paused. "Hey Trudy... where's the Trash Can Lid?"
     Trudy paused. "Where it's supposed to be."

                                   # # #

     Mandy snorted. "You people have plans. Me? I'm getting up at the same
time tomorrow, taking a shower, heading to B Tower and going to work.
Retirement's going to look exactly the same as fighting crime."
     Dani rolled her eyes. "Rub it in, Harken. I had to get an apartment."

                                   # # #

     Lauren shook her head. "You're going off and getting married. I've got
a service sector job. Mike, Dianna and Jane are flying off in a
Xolchipalian ship. Mandy's taking over the new Rogers Institute. Maria's
living an accidental heiress's lifestyle. Trudy -- where do you go from
here?"

                                   # # #

     Dianna took her Xolchacomm off, and dropped it next to Dani's. "You
know... if you ever need us...."

                                   # # #

     Mike laughed. "I feel badly for Mem. He wanted to be so badly. He's
finally primed to graduate and everyone knows there's not going to be one
any more."
     Trudy nodded. "He'll land on his feet. It's what he does."

                                   # # #

     "That's that," Mandy said. "Final paychecks will be direct deposited,
for those of you who care about Earth money."

                                   # # #

                               [October 2007]

     "Hazard!" one of the police officers shouted. "On the ground with your
hands over your head!"
     "Why do they always address you," Reflects asked. "I'm standing *right
here!*"
     "I guess I stand out in a crowd better."
     "And yet, you manage to be so unnoticable. I'm jealous, really."
     The officers looked at where the pair had disappeared in a burst of
Cherenkov radiation. "I guess they got away again."
     "Yeah." The officer grinned. "Damn shame, huh? Start arresting the
Scions?"

                                   # # #

     "Everyone assumes the League is backed by the Rogers Institute,"
Scholarman said.
     "All that could be handwaved away," Nouveaux Skunk said. "The problem
is Trashman. When he's sighted fighting alongside them--"
     Elizabeth frowned. "Trashman's dead," she said. "Everyone in this room
knows that."
     "Good for everyone in this room," Mandy answered. "It doesn't matter.
So long as people see this 'League' and think 'Adjusted League,' it's going
to reflect on us."

                                   # # #

     "You understand the League's right," Mandy said to Elizabeth. "The
people *do* back them. The city and the state may say to arrest them, but
the police don't. And if they did, the city's population would have a fit."
     "They're not the Adjusted League. And I don't care who says it. We
both know there's no Trashman. Not any more."
     "So... you're not advising me to leave the League alone?" Mandy asked
softly.
     Elizabeth looked at her for a long moment. "No. I want them taken out.
*However* we have to do it."

                                   # # #

     There was a rush of wind and a green blur shot past and grew a
wriggling appendage. Alice Mercury, in the green and yellow costume with
the lightning bolts on it, was holding a young blond boy in a grey training
outfit by the scruff of the neck. "*There* you are," the speedster snapped.
     "*Kirby,*" Elizabeth snapped. "I've *told* you not to go snooping!"

                                   # # #

      {{Kirby's too good,}} the former Momentum sent telepathically to
Mandy and Elizabeth. {{He goes psi-null when he goes stealthy and
invisible. I've had to track him down by figuring out psychic dead spots.}}
      }{Greeeeeat,}{ Elizabeth sent back. }{My son the sponge.}{

                                   # # #

     "They're gonna throw the league in jail," Kirby said. "They're all
pissed off because Trashman sided with them instead--"
     "*Kirby!*" Elizabeth snapped.
     Kirby flinched. "Sorry."
     "We don't use that language. We find better ways to express ourselves.
And that's not Trashman."
     "You just don't want it to be Trashman. If it's Trashman, then he
didn't die. He just left you!"

                                   # # #

     "You're late," Ordinal said, quietly.
     "You ever try getting a garbage packer through traffic without
attracting attention," Trashman asked.
     "I can't say I have. Did Ops send you?"
     "I don't work for Ops."

                                   # # #

     "You know, you might want to adjust your tone, boy. We're United
States Marines."
     The stranger snickered. "No you're not."
     "What did you say?"
     "I said that not one of you is a Marine. I know you guys are liars and
bullies, but are you also stupid?"

                                   # # #

     "You don't get to call yourself a Marine. They cast you out, and
struck your name from the rolls, and any *real* Marine would kick your ass
for *presuming* to use their name. Do you hear me? It's over, Jake. No more
bullying. No more attitude. No. More. Free. Lunch."

                                   # # #

     "Afternoon, Sheriff!" The stranger smiled. "Just pitching in. Doing my
bit for community service."
     "Looks to me like assault. Looks to me like somebody needs to learn a
lesson."
     The stranger grinned broadly. "I couldn't agree more. Arrest them, and
I'll gladly sign a statement."
     "You don't understand. I'm going to arrest *you.*"
     The stranger chuckled. "Well, you can try. See that man back there?
He's my brother. He videotaped the whole fight, and he uploaded it to the
Internet. The wonders of the broadband card, huh?" The stranger leaned
closer to the sheriff. "If you arrest me, I'll have all the evidence in the
world for a wrongful arrest lawsuit. We'll also have plenty of evidence for
a state investigation. Am I under arrest, Sheriff?"

                                   # # #

     "What is it?" Dan asked.
     "Eminence," Rip answered. "Two hundred and nineteen dollars a bottle
for the mass market stuff. The real stuff is only available to close
confidents of Andrew Goodwin or Chalandra Harkness." He turned to look at
the woman standing behind them.
     "Rip Davis," the woman said.
     "Healer," he answered.
     "Not anymore. We need to talk."

                                   # # #

     "When the Lickmi invaded, Anansi was crucial in driving them up into
the Somerville War Commercial District. By the time they had the walls up
and the direct invasion contained, the Anansi were entrenched in the Boston
Harbor Islands. If you haven't noticed, crime is rampant in the streets of
Boston proper. You think anyone has the manpower to drive a full on militia
out of an ex National Park?"

                                   # # #

     "The Feds stay out of Boston," Elizabeth said. "They have since--"
     "They have since they ran a black op to hack Intercontinental
Salvage's computer and got them to erect unfeasible and implausible
concrete walls around Boston and its neighborhoods. Let's not kid ourselves
about the Federal government's interest in Boston."
     Doctor Tirkoff looked down at the table. "The walls contain--"
     "The walls don't contain jack, Liz. The aliens have *spaceships.* By
definition they can fly over those ridiculous things."
     "Don't call me Liz."
     "Don't screw around with me. This 'Lochaber' of yours isn't about
policing the neighborhoods. If you want the neighborhoods safe, take those
gigantic eyesores down, and throw your support behind the League."
     Doctor Tirkoff's eyes narrowed. "We're not supporting the League.
We're taking them down."

                                   # # #

     "We are the inheritors of Bruce Rogers and his foundation.
Safeguarding the good name of the Adjusted League Unimpeachable is our
responsibility."
     Rip looked at his teacher, and shook his head, laughing. "The amazing
thing is you believe that horse shit."
     Doctor Tirkoff narrowed her eyes. "Rip--"
     "Your city is in crisis, Liz! What's worse, it's in *permanent*
crisis, because that's what someone wants. Now you and Mandy want to clamp
down on honest to Christ super heroes -- your former friends and coworkers
-- out of some freakish control urge, and you think I'm going to have
anything to do with it? My ex girlfriend is on that team, for Christ's
sake!"
     "There's a right way to do these things," Doctor Tirkoff said. "That
was the first lesson I taught you."
     "The second thing you taught us was to consider the circumstances
before the regulations."

                                   # # #

     "Rip, they're using Trashman's name." Doctor Tirkoff's voice was quiet.
     "I know."
     "But you won't help us stop them?"
     "No."
     Doctor Tirkoff looked away. "Why not?"
     "Because they're right. Because they're doing what you taught them to
do. Because someone has to help the city, and they're the ones willing to
do it. Because they're my friends. And because you and Mandy have lost
perspective."
     "Rip--"
     "And even if all of that weren't true? My sister's in the League, Liz.
Allegedly." Rip folded his arms. "Are you honestly suggesting I go up
against her?"

                                   # # #

     "Tell me something, Mem."
     "They don't call me Mem any more."
     "They don't call me Liz any more, but that doesn't seem to stop you.
If you believe all of this... if you *really* believe all of this... why
are you wandering around the Midwest like Michael Knight? Or are you
telling me the League wouldn't have you?"

                                   # # #

                    [1997 - The Christmas Eve Offensive]

     Arsenal did not cry out, though her eyes went wide. As the spasm
faded, she slumped back into her chair. "You stabbed me," she said, wonder
in her voice.
     "Yes," Egoiste said, taking his seat again. He did not look at her. He
did not speak with rancor. He simply began programming the autopilot.
     "The traitor. The one Oracle prophesied about. It wasn't Artifact. You
just managed to deflect suspicion onto him." Arsenal didn't sound angry.
She was surprised, perhaps. But not angry. "I'm helpless."
     "I know," he half-whispered.

                                   # # #

     Arsenal managed to turn her head to face her brother. "We're going to
die."
     "Yes," Egoiste said.
     "Together."
     "I would not..." Egoiste's breath caught, and his voice faltered, for
the first time. "I could not do this and survive. Not if you were going to
die, sister."
     "I know, Anthony." Arsenal's own voice sounded very small. Her French
was almost simple -- the dialect of their childhood, not their cultured
present. "Why are you doing this?"
     ""Because it wasn't supposed to be this way."

                                   # # #

                               [October 2007]

     "Lord Egoiste," the Tsuchigumo Warrior said. "Master Atrax has
requested your presence in the Obelisk.
     "Did he say why?"
     "No, Lord," the warrior said. "But it sounded important."
     "Master Atrax's summons are always important, warrior."

                                   # # #

     "You were supposed to give us support!" Iceweaver shouted. "Where the
Hell *were* you? Do you think I *like* needing Parvenu to heal me after--"
     "You're not supposed to let them *shoot* you," Capacitor said,
grinning.
     "I swear, if you bail on us one more time--"

                                   # # #

     "Ordinal's on a call," Hazard said. "Her mom called -- The Leonard
Maltin Groupies are staging an attack, and she 'ported over to stop them."

                                   # # #

     "Right. I wanted to call everyone -- or almost everyone -- in for a
briefing. Life's about to get more complicated."
     Parvenu arched his eyebrow. "More complicated? There are factions and
gangs dominating Boston's neighborhoods. There's gigantic absurd concrete
walls everywhere making any kind of coordinated response impossible.
There's pressure to have us arrested. There's an alien invasion penned in
up at Somerville. How much more complicated can we possibly get?"
     "The Rogers Institute is about to begin training a cadre of paranormal
security officers under the project name Lochaber. Their mission will be to
begin regaining control of the Boston streets once and for all. Their
unofficial -- and primary -- mission will be arresting all eight of you."
     "Well, that complicates things," Parvenu said, cheerfully.

                                   # # #

     "You have to have a fallback," Alice said. "If Rip won't do it, who's
next on the board's list?"
     "You are," Elizabeth said.
     "You know better," Alice said.
     "Yes I do. So what we need is a public figure who people will like and
trust, who *we* can trust at the same time."
     "And who has the power we need, leadership abilities, but won't buck
the system more than we want. Jesus, when did we become the Mega
Intelligence Bureau?"
     Elizabeth frowned. "On my side? 1989."

                                   # # #

     "So why not you?" Alice asked. "You can trust yourself, right?"
     "I'm retired."
     "Gotcha. So. You need to find someone who's good on camera, smart,
powerful, has leadership abilities, will do what we expect him to do, that
we trust, who trusts us, and who won't have a problem taking down the
League."
     "Pretty much, yeah."

                                   # # #

     "Part of Ingress's research is Altiversal travel," Ordinal said to her
adopted mother. "The rumors that came out of Canada back in the 90's were
cautionary, but they also suggested that there might be an Altiverse out
there where things never fell apart. No Lickmi invasion. No Genocidal War
between the Awe Inspiring Force and the Unimaginable League Amoral. It's a
seductive picture."

                                   # # #

     "Boston's dangerous, Mom," Ordinal said, softly.
     Doctor Laura Davis smiled a bit more, touching her adopted daughter's
face. "Then it's handy I have a brave daughter who can bend time and space,
isn't it. And wear a sweater. It gets cold in Boston, you know."

                                   # # #

     "Honestly, I underestimated Elizabeth's issues with the League," Mandy
said. "When the Lochaber solution presented itself, she grabbed it with
both hands."
     "Which means?" Capacitor asked.
     "Which means *my* plan of building an overly bureaucratic, hidebound
institution died before I could even outline it. Lochaber's going to exist,
it's going to be well armed and well trained, and it's going to be
effective."
     "And its unspoken mandate is arresting us," Hazard said. "Greeeeeeat."

                                   # # #

     "They need a leader," Incandescence said. "Right? Who's she tapped?"
     Mandy half-smiled. "Memorex."
     There was a moment of silence, before several of the League burst into
laughter. "Never in a *million* years," Capacitor said. "I know Memorex
turned us down, but he'd never, *ever--*"
     "Rip would never do it," Incandescence said softly. "He wouldn't."
     "I know," Mandy said. "I'm the one who pushed to have him at the top
of the list. The advantage of a big brain is knowing how to line up the
bank shots."

                                   # # #

     Parvenu raised his voice. "I know that with the city in chaos it's
never been a good time to start figuring out *who* and *why* so many levels
of government seem to want Boston in a state of Hell and the League
arrested. But we have a shot at getting some information, and a *little*
bit of time before Lochaber starts putting serious heat on us! We need to
take it!"

                                   # # #

     "Elizabeth won't use your secret identities against you," Mandy said.
"Part of Bruce Rogers's will stipulated that no beneficiary of his estate
would compromise the secrets of the members or associates of the Adjusted
League Unimpeachable. The Rogers Institute and Elizabeth Tirkoff can try to
arrest you, but they can't use your secret identities against you. That's
why I had you all shift codenames."

                                   # # #

      A figure -- who had been invisible and undetectable until Ordinal
entered the room and sensed his mass in the corner -- finished misting into
view after being teleported onto the conference table. He was smaller than
anyone else there, and looked somewhere between scared and delighted. And,
of course,nine. "Um, hi guys," he said.
     "Well, shit," Hazard said.
     "Language," Mandy said. She sighed. "Hello, Kirby."

                                   # # #

     "Hey... Kid...." Mike Green said, tentatively. "...you're leaving. For
years, Mandy wanted you to give her super powers and you wouldn't--"
     "She doesn't have super powers."
     "My point is, you and her... you finally got to a point where she just
wanted top be with *you,* and now you're leaving."
     Kid Solipsism sighed. "I think you underestimate Mandy. I'd say she's
one of the most intelligent of all the delusions I ever created."
     "Really?" Mike said. "Mandy's as smart as Andy Awesome or Lady Awe
Inspiring? That seems--"
     Kid Solipsism snorted. "What did I just say?"

                                   # # #

     Upstairs, Mandy Harken lay on her bed, her unbreakable brip on the bed
next to her. In her head, a gear shifted. Thoughts connected. Mandy
blinked, and sat up. "Oh."

                                   # # #

     "What are you *doing* here, Kirby?" Mandy was exasperated, though not
really angry.
     "You keep going away, and once I noticed that you went to the Load Pan
Bay but you never actually came out the doors, so I got curious. I made
sure you really did get in the elevator and I watched below and you never
came out, so I decided to follow you."
     "Kirby, this is really important," Mandy said. "If your mother or
other people found out--"
     "I get it, Aunt Mandy." Kirby was serious now, turning to look at her.
"And don't worry. Mom can only read my actual thoughts if I let her in. I
won't tell on you."

                                   # # #

                              [November 1996]

     "Alice!" the girl said, bouncing, her face lighting up as she ran to
Momentum, her movements broad like a child's. "You came back!"
     "Course I came back, Susan." Momentum's face softened, and she took
her sister's hand. I want to introduce you to a friend of mine," Momentum
leaned forward. "She's a *superhero.*"
     Susan's eyes got wide. "Really?" she whispered.
     "Really. Wanna meet her?"
     "Yes!"
     Momentum grinned. "Susan, this is Healer. She's a superhero."
     Susan bit her lip. "H'lo, Miss Healer," she said, shy.
     Healer smiled warmly. "Hello, Susan. I'm very, very glad to meet you."
     That got a larger smile from the seventeen year old. "Really?"
     "Really. I hope we can be good friends."

                                   # # #

                               [October 2007]

     Elizabeth turned towards the girl. "Hello, Susan."
     Susan turned to face Elizabeth. "Hello, Lil."
     The pair embraced.
     "It's so good to see you," Susan whispered.
     "I know, Suz-i-q. I know."
     Susan giggled. "You haven't called me that for a long time."
     "It seemed appropriate." They separated. "But... I'm not here for a
social visit."
     "I know."

                                   # # #

     "Where's Trashman," Kirby asked.
     "We don't exactly tell him where to show up, little guy," Capacitor
said. "Dude shows up when he wants or when we need him."
     "He does his own thing," Reflects cut in. "He spends a lot of his time
back in Dark City, and I guess he shows up in other places too. And he
helps us when we need it. They say he's got access to some of the vestiges
of the old Xolchaportation Network."

                                   # # #

     "What did they mean about Reflects's best friend?" Kirby asked.
"Someone died?"
     "Well, yeah," Incandescence said. "I did. Here's the thing. Reflects
and I gained our powers at the same time -- she got the power to deflect
damage away from herself, though for a long time she couldn't control it.
And I was turned into fire which later turned into Hellfire. We found out
that I was actually killed in the accident -- so I was less a hellfire
woman, and more a hellfire ghost. And I had a chance to ascend to Heaven.
Only it was the wrong Heaven, and there was a clerical error, and then I
had the chance to come back, only by then history had been rewritten and my
life was being occupied by someone else."

                                   # # #

     Ops shook her head, turning to Kirby. "At least we've delayed your
Mother finding a leader for Lochaber."
     "You haven't delayed her."
     Ops blinked, looking back. "What?"
     Kirby shrugged.  "Mom doesn't delay, she diverts. By now she's
probably already pitching to someone else."
     Ops shook her head, turning to her work. "I hope you're wrong."
     Kirby signed. "I'm never wrong. I'm the son of Trashman and Healer.
You're lucky I just know when to keep my mouth shut."

                                   # # #

     "Susan... Lochaber's official mission is retaking Boston's streets,
but unofficially...."
     "Unofficially, Lochaber's going to take down the League," Susan said.
She didn't sound surprised. "Does Alice know you're here?"
     Elizabeth looked down.
     Susan nodded. "I didn't think so. That's not like you, Lil."
     "Alice would have talked me out of seeing you, Susan. And you're
perfect. You're powerful, you're smart, you can be a leader, you can keep
care of your own, you know the League members, and--"
     "And dress me in the right clothing and the television will love me."
Susan smiled a bit more. "Of course I'll do it. My first loyalty is to you.
I owe you everything, Lil. Alice owes you everything. I love you. Is this
something you want?"
     "Yes," Elizabeth said softly.
     Susan nodded. "Then I'll do it. I'll train Lochaber. I'll lead them.
We'll retake the Boston streets. And we'll take the League down."
     "Just like that?"
     Susan took another long sip of chocolate milk, the glass remaining
ever full. "Just like that."

                                   # # #

                              [February 1998]

     "I've written the coordinates down," Memorex said. "The top location
is the rendezvous point for the fleet. The bottom's the location of
Islandilai. Lady Awe-Inspiring's runnin' the whole war from there."
     Trashman nodded. "All her forces are moving into position. If they can
get back to Islandilai's resources, they could rearm or worse. That base
has to be taken out."
     "And so does Lady Awe-Inspiring," Dangerousman said. "If we can find a
way to kill her."
     Memorex swallowed. "...can I come with you?" he asked.
     Trashman looked at Memorex for a long moment. "We're not going as
superheroes," he said, softly. "We're going to kill her and destroy her
base. Heroes don't do what we're about to do." Trashman put his gloved hand
on Memorex's shoulder, and looked into the young man's eyes. "Rip... I need
you to be the hero I can't be after this," he said. "I've never met any
hero who believes as passionately as you do. Do good work, Rip. Make us
proud."


                  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
                   ROUGH CUT PART 1 OF 2 - DO NOT RELEASE

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