“Legion of the Extraordinary,” said the bored sounding and staticky female voice, “this is Marissa. How can we aid you today?”
“This is the Babydoll Bruiser,” Anna responded quickly but (she hoped) without any audible note of panic, “in—”
“I’m sorry, the who?” She didn’t sound so much bored now as intentionally nasty. There was sill static, though.
“I—uh—I—I’m called the ‘Babydoll Bruiser’ and I--”
“I do not know of any Legionnaire by that codename, Ma’am. Please provide your full identification number so that I may locate your record.”
“But I’m not a Legionnaire, I’m just—”
“Then just who are you, Ms ‘Babydoll Bumbler’?”
Anna doubted the name slip-up was really a slip-up, but she really didn’t have the time to stand up to a rude receptionist. “I’m, uh, a vigilante, I guess. I need some help here—”
“The Legion of the Extraordinary does not aid unregistered vigilantes, Ms Bumbler.”
“Are you fucking serious!?” Anna shrieked into the phone. The panic might be apparent now, but she didn’t care. “I’m a relatively new… I mean I’ve applied… I just haven’t… There are people here in significant… Oh, screw this! Fine! I’m a, uh, concerned citizen requesting Legion aid with a supervillain situation! Two vigilantes have attempted to deal with the threat presented by the villainess known as ‘Ms Malicious’ to minimal effect, and now one of them is under her thrall.”
“Yes,” said Marissa dryly, “you’ll get that with those unregistered vigilantes.”
Anna’s temper flared. She knew that to become a member of the Legion of the Extraordinary one had to, almost without exception, start as an “unregistered vigilante”—they didn’t take you if you didn’t have a reputation and accomplishments to point to! She also knew that the people of Waterdale were far better off with the protection offered by the Duo than just waiting patiently for Legion aid. After all, they certainly didn’t stop the Legion from coming in to save the day—Hell, it was what she was trying to accomplish!
She bit back her retorts. Bypassing this bitch of a secretary was vital to the highly important “Everybody doesn’t die” plan.
“Hmmm,” said Marissa after a moment. She almost sounded a little more polite. Was there a supervisor looking at her or something? “Yes. There is an available Legionnaire not far from your current location Ma’am. I have dispatched him, and he should arrive within a few moments.”
Hold on now, did she say “him”? Anna was definitely concerned. She had thought the Legion’s files on all known villains would enable the secretary to dispatch a Legionnaire well-suited to taking out Ms Malicious. That was, she thought, the whole damn point of the bureaucracy!
“No!” she shouted, “I need a female Legionnaire! Ms Malicious has the power to ‘ensorcel the minds of me—”
“Ma’am,” said the secretarial bitch with a note of annoyance, “the Legion has extensive files on all known super-human criminals, or ‘supervillains’, and always use this information to dispatch appropriate operatives. We are fully aware of all issues, and you have no reason for—”
Anna stopped listening to Marissa, because she heard something much more pressing much closer at hand. Most people would have missed it, but Anna had very good hearing. There was an odd whirring or buzzing, the sound of something vibrating, coming from the other side of the wall.
She jumped back, and the blade sliced right through both the wall and the phone cord, leaving the receiver in her hand completely useless. And there was pain. She looked down to see a neat slice in her babydoll T, the pink tainted with red around the edge of the hole.
There weren’t many swords that could cut her skin so easily, but she recognized that blade. It was supposedly molecule-thin at its cutting edge and vibrated, just slightly, to enhance its power. Even grabbing the sides of the blade would pose a challenge—if she could even pull it off without losing a few fingers.
Three more slashes from the sword, and a section of the wall fell away. “Hello, Techno-Knight.”