It's previously been established in these chronicles, that I am a weirdness magnet. Often, my friends and acquaintances can't help but notice. And this seems to happen in aerobics class a lot. On one occasion I created a pocket universe there. Another time, I got captured by robots there.
But for once, something happens in aerobics class, that they can't blame on me. And maybe I can help them out.
I work out at Norma's House of Fitness. I think of it as Mistress Norma's House of Discipline. I've been there for years, long enough for Mistress Norma herself to nag me into getting certified as an aerobics instructor. Of course, once I did this, she didn't have a job for me.
But still, she calls me in to an instructor meeting one night. There, I find out, some really bad stuff has happened.
The police were no help; they just said there's lots of this stuff going on, and promised to file a report. I've been called in tonight, because I have experience with weird stuff. Norma didn't know where else to go.
Of course, I have to help. I've been in situations like this before, where a friend was abducted. The last time, I wound up gaming with aliens for the life of my friend. I'm not really familiar with the woman who got abducted this time, and we can't be sure aliens are behind this, but the stakes are no less. And that friend I rescued is here too, and she agrees.
Little-known fact about me: I have superpowers. But the powers change a lot. At the time, I used a "Tracker" power. Fortunatly, I had (on a whim) stored this power in my vehicle "Tater", itself a Geo Tracker. Cute, huh? And now I can access it again.
Tater tracks Dann to a warehouse in Norwood, Massachusetts, well south of the gym. I get there, and decide to be sensible for once and call the police with an anonymous tip. I even wait until they get there. They find nothing.
So, I report back to Mistress Norma. When she calls back, she tells me she has sixteen volunteers to help on the next stakeout. She even gives me her own cellphone to use there; she'll have Mistress Jen call her when stuff happens. (Thus far, I have considered cellphones to be electronic leashes. I might have to reconsider.)
And so, the next night, I trace Dann to a warehouse in... of all places, Hudson, Massachusetts where our gym is. And I put out the call.
Every woman who was in the aerobics class on the night of the abduction, showed up. So did every woman I've ever worked out with at that gym, including the ones who suffered through two mystic assaults with me. (I thought a lot of those women blamed me, and didn't want to be seen in the same gym with me afterwards.) So did everyone who works at the gym. So did everyone who was working out there that night.
A lot of the women in the group have children. They all showed up, and left the kids with their husbands. Some of the women have husbands but no children; the husbands showed up too. So, we've got two people for every exit, plus sixteen people in reserve. The reserve turns out to be all the women who were with me when the robots attacked. I'd guess they want to see what happens around me.
They've all put a lot of trust in me. Let's hope it's worth it.
Our abductor seems to have an ability to hypnotize women. Luckily, I turn up the "Hypnotist of Ladies" power tonight. And I use it on all the women who've shown up to help me.
We set up the reserve on the side of the warehouse, where we can see all the front and back exits. I have my favorite "flying" trenchcoat on, so I have it fly me up to sit on top of a phone pole... along with a handy chunk of cinderblock.
Then Norma calls the police.
Before long, Norma gets a cellphone call from the front door of the warehouse. About eight women are trying to get out there - all dressed in that halter-top and swimsuit combo, and carrying big sticks! And they've started beating on the one man and woman we left at that door!
Norma sends half the reserve (eight of our own women) down there, just to chase the escapees and help nurse wounds. But that's not how it works. When they get there, it becomes a rumble. Our side is unarmed, but we seem to be a lot stronger and more agile than those enemy supermodels.
Then, six more women start moving around the rear loading docks. They put some ramps down, and a limousine starts moving out. Norma sends the rest of the reserve down there, and motions for me to come too. I carry my big chunk of concrete along.
The limo picks up speed, but it outruns its guards and has to come past our women. They dodge. I, on the other hand (being airborne), throw my cinderblock at the engine. It dents the hood significantly, then bounces through the front windshield. The car swerves to a halt against the nearest fence.
A woman wearing the standard uniform pops out the side door. She's pretty fast, but Karen and Cheryl chase her down and knock her out.
But then, a woman who's even faster swings out the broken front windshield, and stands on the hood. She had to grab broken glass to do this - and she's not bleeding. She yells, "Back off!" Uh oh.
Another "person" is wearing a trenchcoat, but has huge arms and moves like an ape. When I see his face, it looks like an exotic ape face too. And he smells like an ape too.
He tries to pop out the side door, but Tater holds him off for a few seconds. When he finally gets free, he just stands there for a few seconds.
He then looks at me. He really is an ape of some sort. As unimpressive as super-apes seem in the comic books, it's different to have one breathing in your face.
And he says, "Your effort to use women against me is doomed! For I am the Mandrill, and I control all women!" (Great, not only is he a super-ape, he talks like a super-villain.) "Now your women serve me! You there -" (at my friend Karen Bodil) "- come to me!" And she does.
Then I look over at Norma, and she winks at me. I'd have to guess, this Mandrill's powers aren't working as well as he thinks.
So, I can't resist saying in theatrical manner, "Curses! You have released my control over these women, and now they shall destroy me!"
... And meanwhile, while the Mandrill isn't looking, Karen smashes him in the face.
He yells at someone in the car, "Get us out of here!", and then dives in the car. The whole car, with Stonewater still on the hood, lifts slowly into the air.
"Oh no you don't!", I say. I can chase them. And I can deprogram them, starting with Stonewater. And I do start there. She shakes her head, and says, "...Wyatt?" We've met.
Then something invisible grabs me. Then it squeezes. My heart wasn't feeling too good tonight; I've been diagnosed with a heart murmur. And it feels even worse now.
But Stonewater's on the case. She feints at the Mandrill's door, dodges over the car as a jet of musk comes out, then smashes through the back seat from the other side. The car drops to the top of the building below, as she comes out the other side with her hands around the Mandrill's neck. For several seconds they roll around... until the pheromones take effect again. I haven't had time to hypnotize her to ignore them.
At least Stonewater's just dazed. And the Mandrill's tired now. And my allies are boosting themselves up the sides of the building. I always knew, if I had these ladies' proportional strength, I could jump over small buildings... and now it seems they can too. He dodges and runs.
But he's tired. I can fly after him. And we have cars. Mine can drive itself - and invite two passengers in. Shelly and Karen are the lucky ones. (They're the two I used to work with, as well.) As they catch up with me, I plant my stick through the sunroof, and they pull me along.
We've got the Mandrill cornered. Until our forces can catch up, it looks like an even fight.
About then, the police start arriving. I go back to try to deprogram the Mandrill's victims, starting with Dann and the other woman inside the limo... but that's all I remember.
I wake up in the hospital. Norma, Karen, and Shelly are there, along with one of the Mandrill's victims that I deprogrammed. They tell me I've had a heart attack! They had to give me CPR... well, sort of. CPR usually breaks the subject's ribs; that's why they only do it on people who are technically dead. But my ribs feel fine now.
Then we all compare notes.
It seems the ladies of my aerobics group have enhanced strength, dexterity, and endurance in each other's presence - and in mine. Whenever they gather together, they each get as much as the entire group would normally have. Which explains why our group was so much stronger than women who were recruited out of other aerobics groups. And how fast and strong they are in aerobics class, for that matter...
My guess is, this happened when the Countess harassed us, and it came in handy when the robots attacked. I saw my aerobics class fight those robots. Total Conversion, the world's most powerful superhero team, got attacked by the same kind of robots, the same day. They did better than we did that day, but not by much.
Anyway, the hospital released me two days later, after they did some tests. They say that heart murmur of mine is all gone! I guess that's what happens when a superhuman with powers over heart tissue spends several hours sustaining a piece of heart tissue.
I found that everyone who leaves a hospital rides out in a wheelchair. They say it's a regulation, but I think it's really just tradition. But I had lots of friends to help steer me.
Now that I helped my fellow aerobics exercisers out during a "normal" sort of crisis, they don't seem to fear me any more. Mistress Norma says, she has a class available for me to teach now! We think we'll call it "Body Up". (27 May 2000)