STUPENDOUS WAVE the web of intrigue
A Superâ€™s word in this world is worth a lot more than ours Alia.
ALSO BY LISA SAT Poetry Collections NOTHING BUT, SKIN & BONE Take me home CAN YOU HEAR ME? Let him grow Short stories Dead end florals
Dead end florals A Lil-sea-salt book / published via an arrangement with issuu.com
cover art by John Kent from Super Sons #1 image is protected under Fair Use This is a Parody set in Marvel Universe
All rights reserved. Copyright, 2017, by Lisa Sat This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part, by Mimeograph or any other means, without permission. For information contact: email@example.com Published simultaneously in U.S.A and Antigua.
They say that people in San Francisco used to fear, earthquakes, but now it’s mostly Supers who are defending us against everything--natural disasters, wars, other Supers. Supers is basically an all-encompassing term for everyone who has some kind of supernatural ability--physical ability that is. Alia was not a Super. She didn’t live in Sky City. The realm of superheroes and supervillains. She lived in a 1980s apartment building in downtown SF. A place where the only thing sky high was the property damage insurance. Her super powers mostly consisted of being incredibly allergic to almost about everything. And idolizing her heroes. The supers who didn’t act like jerks. She woke up slowly and picked up her glasses. They were covered in dust from the ceiling so she sneezed violently for several minutes before getting a grip on where she was. Outside pedestrian cars swerved as a Super chased an armored car and stayed there as a filing of police cars followed suit. Alia scratched her head dreamily as she got her prescription toothpaste and started facing the day. After she’d finished getting ready with a cat’s flick of eyeliner and Wonder Lady
lipstick, she brewed a strong mug of coffee and booted up her dog-eared laptop. She typed in her blog on one tab and logged into her email on the other. The blog itself was her most prized possession. Atlantean Times, one of the premier Supers gossip websites in the city. On it she would publish anonymous tip-offs about the goings on in Sky City and the Supers who lived there. It was junk mostly, but the AdSense revenue fueled her book and tv addiction as well as keeping a roof over her head. On it, she could FAP or follow her OTP or even show the corruption that was apparent in both the Super and non-Super world. Or at least, that’s what she told herself. One of the few luxuries or maybe annoyances was the apartment’s balcony. It opened onto the street and was closed by two French doors that had a lock that never worked. Thank goodness it opened into the living room instead of her bedroom. Alia as she checked her emails on the couch felt the French doors fly open with help from the breeze. She tore herself from the string of interesting emails to find a person standing in her living room. The person was in a yellow latex jumpsuit with opposing gloves and boots in a teal shade. There was a letter W embroidered onto it with a sort of wave motif that reminded Alia of the ocean. He was squinting at a piece of paper as if his mask was interfering with his eyesight. She carefully maneuvered her coffee to avoid spillage onto her laptop and said the only thing she could think of, “Can I help you?” She tucked her laptop into her lap, guarding it.
His head snapped and his eyes bore into hers. He had ginger hair. He levitated so he was floating just above her coffee table. She had to look up to see him. His voice was incredulous, “You’re the gossip blogger?” “I don’t usually discern my hobbies to people I don’t know very well as I am also a college student.” “You look scrawny.” “I’ll take that as a compliment. But you are trespassing into a civilian home so I could--” “Ok, uh--” “Alia” “Who’s Alia?” “That’s my name.” “Why did you write a story about how I’m falling in love with Elina Electric?” “Wait a minute, you’re the Stupendous Wave? I should do take pictures, but I did just buy a new phone. Oh wow, you usually wear a red suit and wow, you’re a lot shorter than you look on TV. But to answer your question. I don’t plan posts. You guys are my one true pairing so I reported the story when I got ahold of it.” “Are you a Pap?” “No? I’m also trying to finish my medical degree so I most definitely am not. I received the photographs via an anonymous tip off. I got an email from a subscriber.” There was an awkward silence as a girl screaming ringtone sounded loudly. Alia was surprised. “I didn’t know Supers were allowed to bring phones with them.”
Stupendous Wave gave her a look like he was losing his patience. He had a flip phone. He checked the caller id before answering. The sound was loud enough for Alia to hear. The girl on the other end sounded exasperated and more importantly pissed. The voice was high pitched and weirdly doll-like. “STU!! Did you figure out the blogger who got those pictures of us?” Alia couldn’t help laughing. “Stu?” “Ahem, excuse me. Sorry E. But yeah I’m talking to her right now. We're discussing the incident.” “Wait, you went all the way to a NON-Super’s house?” “Yeah. How else am I--” “Why are you talking to her? Why don’t you just take her computer and give it to Vike-US? She’s literally a plant.” Alia ignored the insult. “Who’s vuh-ike-us?” Stu gave her a motion to shut up. “Is that Atlantean News Girls? Is she listening in on me, us? Am I hearing this correctly? ” Stu sighed in resignation. “I’m going to hang up.” Elina on the other end started yelling. “STU-pendous WAVE I WILL--” He blew a kiss. “Bye baby.” Alia was aghast at the blatant disgust she felt for people she’d have sworn were in love hours before. They sounded like a couple of angry teenagers. People who’d never left high school and brought it in the real world. A couple like that with powers--the thought rattled her. He placed the phone back into his pocket. “What?” “They say you should never meet your heroes. Wow, she sounds like a--” Alia edited her comment to be more friendly. “-really intense person. Passionate lover.” 8
“Not like you imagined it huh. I need to know where the photos came from?” There was a digital sound--a ping of an email arriving. Alia checked it and stiffened infinitesimally. This was different. Stu seated himself Indian style on the couch next to her. The familiarity was a bit disconcerting. Alia let him face the laptop towards himself. He read the email out loud. “Would you like for me to publish these Alia?” He scrolled down to the attached pictures and quickly zipped over to the balcony doors and closed them. The movement was so fast it blurred. Alia didn’t care enough to react. The pictures were real. The photographs showed Alia and Stupendous Wave, him and her in various locations together, Stu floating close by Alia. From the angle the footage made it seemed like they were going on secret dates together. The blogosphere would eat it up. It would be a national headline within an hour. Gossip Blogger & Super: How Will Romeo Take His Juliet to Sky City? Super & Non - those Who Defied the Ban Alia’s eyes felt hot. She fought to keep her voice from quivering. “My only protection was anonymity. This is all I have Wave, Stu---I can’t lose this.” Stu looked resigned. “This was bound to happen eventually. It’s not what happens that matters, it’s what we do that’s do that’s important.” 9
“Who said that?” “Me.” “Why don’t you leave?” Her nose started running and she started hiccupping. Alia knew her eyes were red as well. She wondered if her allergies were acting up from the material on Stu’s suit. “Whoever this is already has the evidence. There’s no point. My new objective is clearing your name. I shouldn’t have let Electric talk me into this. I am a secure good boyfriend. I just need some time to prove it to her.” “Girls like her used to make fun of me. Still do.” “I’m sorry you got caught up in this, but it’s not safe for you to be here.” “I’m not going anywhere with you.” Alia sneezed. Stu recoiled. “That’s a lot of liquid.” “I’m taking you anyways.” Alia finally figured out what the weird phrase stood for Vivek United Electronics. The store itself was quaint. There were a lot of windows so it was well lighted. The crammed merchandise for the most part was kept in an OCD sense of alignment with every box facing east to west and the labels exact. The signs above had so many words they were squeezed in a white marker on the side. The guy taking a look at her laptop was using a cybernetic arm and leg with a huge set of magnifying lens draped over one eye. Initially when she’d met him, Alia was saddened. Cybernetics even with all this recent advancement were lacking. But once she saw how well he’d programmed his parts, Alia gained some respect.
Vivek was not someone to pity. He smiled quickly before grabbing the object out of her hands. “Call me Vik, Alia. By gods, this is horrible.” Alia was offended. “I’m horrible?” “You’re funny. No this old laptop.” He smiled at her, giving her a playful once over and wiggling his eyebrows. Then he motioned to Stu, “Did you make her sign an NDA?” Stu shrugged. “No.” Vik rolled his eyes. “You’re so stupid. Sometimes I wonder why you even got powers to begin with. Alia, did he ever tell you how he got his powers?” Alia was wandering around as Vik tinkered with her PC. She was wearing a bathrobe that she’d put on atop of her flannel pajamas. “No, I’d assumed it’s a laboratory in Sky City that chugs out supers one by one. It’s a government conspiracy that they moved Area 51 to Sky City. I mean in the origins of the Main Supers they’re all experiments gone wrong.” Stu chortled. “Bitch please, I am very real.” Vik sobered. “I was in the team that found him, back in the days of arms and legs. When the military wasn’t overrun with supers. He was hailed as the son of Poseidon. But, the sea-god spat him back out. He was twelve. He’s a demigod. Not your average super. Which also means the others his age don’t consider him a super. He’ll never make the big leagues” “That’s really sad.” “Vik, I don’t need a wingman. Alia it wasn’t that sad. I had people to help me.” Vik raised an eyebrow. “Alia’s a doctor.” “Whoa I’m by no means able to offer anything but basic life support. I just know how to keep your heart beating.”
Stu floated over to where Vik was running a program. He seemed to permanently levitate himself a couple inches off the ground to keep his boots clean. “Are you done?” “I’ve been done for a bit. It’s Dreamer.” Alia butt in. “Who’s the Dreamer?” Vik cleared his throat. He googled the name and an image popped up. It was a girl in a violet witch’s costume throwing a dream catcher in the air. The girl’s face was unnaturally pale and her hair and eyes were the same violet as her robes. Even her makeup was the same shade. The lipstick as well. Alia was sure she’d seen it somewhere. “She’s a psychotic villain who likes artifacts or jewels of nocturnal origin. She’s into magic as well. Even though she can’t practice. She’s also known to horde mattresses and pillows.” Then Alia realized where she’d seen the lipstick. “She’s my neighbor.” Both Vivek and Stupendous Wave burst out laughing. Then the same feminine scream burst through the say. “Boy you really need to get around to changing that ringtone.” “Shut up Vik.” Stu checked the id before groaning and answering. “Hey baby.” Elina’s voice was loud as usual. Alia couldn’t believe she’s forgotten how much it had annoyed her. “Hey did you get the laptop to Vik’s dump?” “Alia, the girl who has a name, isn’t safe at her own house.” “I don’t care about non-supers Stu. They’re annoying little ants I have to deal with.” “Babe, the Dreamer is her neighbor and the Dreamer took a picture of her and me together.” 12
“Shut up for a minute. What the--Stu you’re on the news. You and that stupid whatever blogger girl.” Alia piped up. “I have a name.” Vik put his robotic arm on her shoulder and tried to soothe her. “Superiority complex. Common in most supers. This is why we live separately. They’re over-ruled in Sky City by a system that can repair itself so they have little understanding of basic human interaction. But the main thing is all we have to do is report her and this should close cleanly.” Just as he was saying this a spotlight lit up the store, Stu froze. He landed. He looked terrified at Vik. “Vik, this is the reformatory squad from Sky City. Did you--” his eyes flashed in Alia’s direction. Vik took the hint. “Don’t worry about us; I’ll make sure she doesn’t get tangled up in this at all.” Alia was shoved into a giant sarcophagus that was leaning against the wall. She was encased inside a box of darkness as she heard the roar of machines. Stu and Vik hurriedly gave statements and were hassled by robots. She could hear the automated voices grow closer. The machines scanning the premises. A single thought bothered her, Why am I hiding? When her knees started to hurt from standing stiffly for so long, Vik opened the door. Outside the sky was changing day into night. “Breathe.” Alia couldn’t see over Vik’s massive shoulders. “Why? What happened to Stu--Stupendous Wave?” The name sounded silly now. To her he would now be Stu “Well, there is a legal system. He’ll have a hearing to say he’s not in a relationship with you. We wanted to avoid the 13
media frenzy that would come with that. They’re going to make an example of you guys now. But once he’s done being that. He’ll be free. Sky City has a much stricter disciplinary system than we do?” Vik gave Alia some room to stretch as he recalibrated his own circuits. “What about my laptop?” “It’s no big. I’ll just upgrade you. I’ll give you a better model. Don’t worry about paying me.” “Vik--you couldn’t. Why don’t you let me cook you dinner? It’s the least I could do.” Alia was apprehensive when she walked up the stairs to her apartment. It had started raining outside and somewhere in her mind it unsettled her that she’d lived so close to a Super and not really noticed it. The vacant sign on the door next to hers did little to alleviate her tension. She unlocked the door and went in. The apartment was eerily chill. Her coffee from this morning was cold. Her phone on the kitchen countertop vibrated with a text message. Alia unlocked the phone. It was from Vik. Hey it’s V. Stu asked if you’re ok. I’ll be over by 9. After eating, Vik & Alia decided to tune into the deposition that Stu would be giving about well everything that happened today. Vik sat in the armchair while Alia curled up with a blanket and her cats. Both had steaming cups of hot chocolate in their hands. The tv’s glare reflected on the balcony’s glass doors. Vik complained loudly about how outdated the little thing was, but shut up as the deposition started.
Stu was in the frame, still in his suit and mask. He was seated in a wooden chair and table in front of a camera crew. His arms were crossed and he looked tired. His ginger hair was matted with sweat. The same sweatiness was visible on his face. Off screen the lawyer’s voice was irate. “Remember today when I asked you.” “I don’t have to listen to anything that you have to say. I don’t have to do any of this” The lawyer cleared his throat. “Stupendous Wave, we ask that you please comply with regulation. You have a lot of young people looking up to you. You’re a role model in both Sky City and beyond. I will ask you again. Did you . . . or did you not enter the home of a non-super with the intent of having relations with her.” “No. Your honor, I did not. “ “Do you have any questions about my question?” “My only question is why I’ve been grilled for six hours about an incident that I have given my proof for. The main culprit, the super who called herself Dreamer, has been arrested, apprehended, and charged. I have a girlfriend who testified. I don’t understand why this is such a big deal. I don’t agree with the system that states supers and non-supers can’t coexist peacefully.” The footage cut to a newsflash and Vik turned off the tv. “Stupid, stupid, stupid. Just take it and you can leave Stewart.” Alia didn’t know what to think. She was both impressed and disturbed at what had happened, “He kind of reminds me of MLK. That kid really could be something if he wanted to be. But more importantly, why isn’t the press contacting me?” 15
“Elina Electric said we were just thrown in by mistake. Her words carry more weight because her dad and mom are from the old generation. Remember: a super’s world is worth a lot more than ours Alia.” “Then why did you guys protect me?” “This is a media maelstrom. You said earlier you wanted out of all of this so Stu took the blame for everything instead of you.” “I don’t like that.” “If you were smart, you’d shut down the blog.” “No, that’s my income. I’m paying for college with that and I don’t want to take money from anyone I want to do it on my own. I wish there was something I could do. I feel really bad.” “Stu’s a public figure he was bound to deal with this eventually. It’s life for him. You shouldn’t take it personally.”