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Interlude Twenty Point Two: Flexing some Muscle

Sly Jim was sitting in his favorite bar just listening to the talk when Pete slipped down on the stool next to him. Pete was a gofer for the local organization, but he liked to play it big and brag about his contacts and inside knowledge. Jim knew that Pete's big mouth was the main reason Pete would always be a gofer. In some ways, Pete reminded him of himself.

Pete ordered a beer and leaned in close to Jim. "Big happenings soon," he said, touching his nose. "The boss has decided that those goodie-goodies that are always down here are interfering with business a little too much, and they might need to be given a lesson."

"Yeah, wouldn't be a bad idea but it would have to be a good lesson to get those chumps. Come on then spill the beans what have they got lined up, this has got to be good..." Jim smiled, thinking to himself yeah this has got to be good it I find out first and teach these guys a lesson.

Pete frowned, "I don't know for sure. There's a meeting set-up for tonight down at the old parking garage."

Jim knew the place, it was condemned as unsafe, but hadn't been torn down yet. There were squatters living in it, but they stuck to the lower floor, since the upper levels were more exposed to the elements.

Jim smiled, "Thanks Pete look like this is one not to miss, who do you think is going to be there?"

"Nah, man, you can't go there! Invite only, you know? You'll hear about it afterwords, for sure. Word is they're bringing in some big guns from out of town," Pete gulped his beer. "Gotta run. Bye."

"Invitation only, huh?" thought Jim. "Well looks like Flex 'll have to join them".

Moving quickly Jim thought, "I need to check out that site, as well as keep looking for Defender and his Pal. What ever is going down they'll need to know about it. Beside this will make the perfect opportnity to make some kind of formal introduction". Moving quickly and quielty Jim slipped of in the direction of the old Garage.

He was able to make a fairly complete recconnaisance of the garage. It was four stories tall, the top three being exposed to the elements and walled merely with support pylons and a low concrete fence designed to keep cars in rather the the elements out. It was boarded up, but the local homeless had penetrated it easily and some six or ten had made squats on the lowest level. There were a numer of places on the highest level where he would be able to hide himself and watch the proceedings.

Taking one last look around Jim quietly changed into Flex then jumped up to the higher levels. "Better get comfortable I am going to get me a good seat for this little show," Jim thought as he spotted a good place and got comfortable.

His spot was back in a dark corner behind an abandoned dumpster. He shifted his flexible form a bit to find a comfortable position and settled in to wait.

Night fell, and there was still no sign of the meeting. He was beginning to fear that it would be one of those stereotypical "midnight meetings" when, at around 9PM, a couple of men showed walked up the ramp from the lower level. They certainly weren't homeless; they walked like the owned the place, and began to search the top floor. Flex realized that they would find him unless he took some action, since they were being quite thorough.

Flex seeing that he would soon be discovered changed into a foul looking tramp. He hoped the boils and sores looked convincing enough. "Better make it look like I have laid down to die I should look like it, I just its enough I don't want to scupper the meeting," thought Jim.

The toughs found him a few minutes later, "Hey old-time," one said. "Move along, you can't sleep here. Go downstairs."

Jim thought to himself, "Better play dumb and ooze loads." He began to make horrible noises in the back of his throat and tried to make the boils and warts look angrier and sicker than ever. "I think I am making myself sick with this I hope it has the same affect on them," he thought.

"Good lord," said the other man, "This guy's practically dead.'

"Doesn't matter, he can die downstairs just as easily as here. Get moving, old man," he said.

Jim thought, "Well they are going to have to move me - don't want to seem to eager. Besides maybe I can get a good look at them and sneak back as one of them without raising suspicion."

The second man helped Jim to his feet, "Come on, down you go." He led him to a stairwell and pushed him to the edge. "Here ya go," he dug out a twenty dollar bill. "Go have a few snorts on me, ok? But go." He gave Jim a push and Jim had no option but to start down the stairs or fall. So Jim relaxed and fell. "Look natural," he thought.

He rolled down to the next landing. "Good enough," said the guy. "Don't come back up, or we'll have to hurt you." The two men went back to their sweep of the top floor.

Jim lay quiet waiting for them to make their sweep and then some. "Don't want to get up to early," thought Jim. Getting up he moved slowly back up the stairs. "Time to try a different tack, since the tramp routine only half worked now it is time to test the limits of these new powers." He poured himself up the stairs and slid along the walls near the floor, all the time listening for the voices he knew had to be there near by.

Resembling nothing so much as a moving carpet, Flex slid up the stairs, finally sending his flattened head up a wall to try to catch a view of what there was to see. Everything looked and sounded strange because of the flattened nature of the ears and eyes. The view was very much like a fish-eye lens and all the sounds were tinny. He was able to see the two men who had made the sweep finishing up. One walked toward him, or rather toward the door and took up a guard position. The other walked down the rampway and took a station there.

After about a half an hour, Flex became aware of an approaching voices. He would have noticed it earlier but for the strange sonic distortion he was experiencing. Four men walked up the ramp to the middle of the flat open space. One of them opened a folding camp chair and set it up, another man sat in it. The first man opened another and set it up as well.

There was another wait, this one of perhaps ten minutes. Then Flex heard a strange whistling sound. He looked for its source and saw, plummeting out of the sky, what appeared to be a man on pogo stick. The stick was of a very odd design and when it hit the tarmac, the spring absorbed all the energy with hardly any bump, and the man dismounted, swinging the odd vehicle over his shoulder. The man wore some kind of athlete's outfit -- shorts, a sleeveless shirt, running shoes - and moved with the grace of gymnast. He approached the four men and sat in the chair.

Jim remained motionless. "Having got a good position I now need to make sure I can hear what they are saying and not blow this covert thing in the process," Jim thought. Jim moved to maximise his unique talents to hear all that he could from what was going down.

He was able to overhear the conversation perfectly well. Introductions were quickly made, the new arrival called himself Pogo, while the organization negotiator was Ian McHelvie.

"It is simplicity itself, Pogo," said McHelvie. "Two heroes, Ka-Sador and Defender, are making themselves a nuisance in this part of town. We would like them to learn that interfering with our projects is a bad idea. They should stick to saving the world from super-villians. No offense."

"None taken," said Pogo. "Two of them, eh? I might need to call in some support."

"We would prefer for you to to defeat them in detail, if you could," said McHelvie. "They often patrol alone."

"Allright. What have you got?"

McHelvie handed Pogo a file, "This data may help you plan your attack."

"Thanks." Pogo took the file and glanced at it. "When do I start?"

"Whenever you want. Shall we meet here again, in one week, to discuss your progress?"

"Sure. See you then," said Pogo. He stood and prepared to depart.

Flex snapped back to his normal shape and leapt toward Pogo. Landing a few meters away, he swung a fist toward the villian which stretched out as it headed toward its target. Something must have warned Pogo, because he spun around to face Flex, "What the heck?" Flex's punch went high.

Jim was stunned. "I thought I was suppossed to surprise them," he thought. "Ok, Pongo or what ever you call yourself - lets get to it. I am going to show your boss you're not the man he needs for this job but I am." Jim hoped spinning this line out would make the boss hold back his goons to give him a chance to scupper their plans. "If only he could get on the inside of this deal he might be be able to really turn the whole thing into his favour," thought Jim as he made ready for Pogo's attaack.

"I don't think so," said Pogo, whipping the pogo stick off his back and hopping on it. With a strange whooshing-springing sound he launched himself at Flex, on landing the stick skidded in an old oil patch on the ground, and Pogo was forced to realign himself.

Flex took advantage of his foe's momentary loss of balance and expanded up into a larger version of himself and rocketed a fist toward his foe's jaw. Pogo tried to block it, but failed and the blow landed solidly and he flew backwards several meters, but flipped agilely in mid-air and landed on his feet. "That's it," he snapped. "You're a dead man."

Jim looked pleased that his punch had connected with Pogo then moved forward to re-engage.

Pogo turned the impact into a roll forward ending up just in front of Flex. He punched and was surprised when Flex'es body gave at the impact.

Seeing his chance Jim launched his attack, leading with his fists. "See what you make of this, Pongo old chump," said Jim as he punched out.

Pogo dropped below the blows and bounced back to his feet.

"Despite the fact that Pogo was fast," thought Jim, "he can't keep this up for ever."

Pogo seemed to be doing a decent job of keeping it up, though, and managed to avoid Flex'es flurry of punches. "Now, try this on for size," he said, firing back with three quick jabs of his own.

More confident now, Pogo scooped up his Pogo stick and swung it like a club at Flex, but the blow was high. He punched out with a quick jab and connected.

"Oh man, am I in over my head. So much for playing the hero and impressing the boss," thought Flex.

"Woa, I did not realise you out of town types where quiet so dapper with the fisty cuffs! Well, must toodle pip old chum, be seeing you," spouted Flex trying to put a brave face on an otherwise ill timed first encounter as he altered his shape and jumped for the edge of the roof - seeking to put some space between him and Pogo.

Flex fell toward the ground, and landed easily on elastic legs. Above him the thugs and Pogo and rushed over to watch him fall. Pogo shouted down, "This aint over yet, punk," and leapt over edge himself, bringing his stick around under him.

Flex looked around, "What I need is a good hot bath, but failing that somewhere to ambush this sucker would be good." Flex looked around.

Flex flattened on the ground, literally and tried to hide. Pogo landed near Flex, looking around for his target. Flex sprang up off the ground and barrelled into the villian, who again seemed to anticipate the attack just before it hit and managed to duck the blow. Flex followed up with another pair of punches, the first of which Pogo blocked, but the second of which landed solidly. The villian spun around and collapsed on the street.

The villian spun around and collapsed on the street.

"At last," said Flex as he moved to administer the coup de grace.

Above him, the other men backed off from the roof edge and dissappeared from Flex'es view. He finished making sure that Pogo was down for the count and considered his next step.

"This old Stick was tough, better relieve him of this pogo stick and call the police," thought Flex as he sought his mobile. After calling in the police he checked around for the file or the men. Once he had a thorough look he went back down to await the police.

The men had vanished, taking the file with them. The only thing that remained was a map of the 'Parts that had a number of blue dots on it with dates and times written on it, and a number of red dates labeled the same way. At several points, the red and blue dots were in the same location, and there were three or four places where the dots were clustered very closely together.

The police arrived led by a Lieutenant Jackson. "What's going on here?" He asked, when Flex bounced down from the roof to meet them.

"Hi officer, I am Flex and I placed the call after running into this nasty piece of work," said Flex as he pointed to the prostrate Pogo on the floor. "I heard that something was going down - turns out some local boys have gotten offended on account of Defenders record of leaning on their opperations. This guy was brought in to sort him out and his campanion" Flex looked up as he said this indicating where this had all taken place. "I am sorry to say that this guys employers got away but I can give you descriptions for what it's worth, I just don't have any physical evidence". Turning to leave Flex said, "Well if that is all officer it's been a long night and it's not over yet".

Jackson looked at the unconscious Pogo and back at Flex, "You say this guy's some kind of superpowered enforcer? Hell. Well, I guess we can run him back to the station and see if there are any outstanding warrants. We're not really set up to handle supervillians, but we'll do our best Mr., ah, Flex."

By the time Jackson finished his speech, Flex was already gone, first up to the parking garage to lose any followers then a few blocks away to shift persona, then back to his flat.

Last Updated 29 April 2002