“It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been plotting evil schemes like a dog….”
Caption City Jail. Interrogation Room 4.
It was dark, except for a single bright light shone in the face of General Kidnap-The-Mayor. The Cappers stood in a semi-circle around him, staring at him intensely. For the last hour, they’d been trying to get information from him with no success. Frustrated, Gray Zombie said, “Alright General, enough’s enough! Where’s the Baron’s headquarters?”
“Forget it, Crappers!” the General snapped. “I ain’t saying nothing to you!”
Amon leaned close to his left ear. “So that means you will say something?”
Animebabe said, “But you said you weren’t saying nothing. That means that you were saying something.”
GlitterRock quickly added, “Ah! So now you’re taking it back! That isn’t going to look good at your trial, General-dude. Offering to give information and then reneging on it. That could be an extra charge!”
“But I didn’t…” The General’s mind was reeling. “I ain’t saying anything else until I got me a lawyer. And an English teacher!”
Resigned, the Cappers left the room. Outside in the hall, GlitterRock shook his head. “Man, like that dude’s harder to crack than the Billboard Top 10 singles’ list.”
Animebabe nodded. “Which leaves us back at square one. We still don’t know where they are, or what Miglionicco’s planning.”
“We shouldn’t have long to wait,” Gray told them. “If there’s one thing about villains, when they think they’ve won, they can’t wait to reveal their evil plan.”
Footsteps echoed down the hallway towards them, and a policeman turned the corner. “Cappers! Quick … there’s something wrong!”
Gray Zombie sighed. “Told you so.”
Across the city, all of the TV screens crackled and sizzled with static. And it was on every channel, regardless of antenna, cable or satellite. Finally the picture cleared, the screen turning black with words in a nice Helvetica-font on it: “A WORD FROM BARON MIGLIONICCO.” The title screen dissolved into a study, where Miglionicco sat beside a crackling fireplace. He was wearing a velvet smoking jacket and was reading a book. He glanced up at the screen, and gave a faux-surprised little gasp. “Oh, hello Caption City. I’m glad you stopped by.”
He closed the book, rising from the chair. “Let me introduce myself. I’m Baron Vlad Miglionicco. You may have heard about me in your newspapers, or your television news. Some have painted me as a crazed supervillain. Others have thought of me as an insane madman. Heh, there are even those who have called me a ruthless despot with delusions of grandeur. Me? Well, I just think of myself as a starry-eyed lad from Sussex, who used to sit on his back porch, look up at the star-filled sky, and dream of the day when the world would be a better place … because I’d be ruling it.
“Caption City, I’ll make this simple enough for even you to understand. In 24 hours, your mayor will turn over control of your city to me, or else.”
A voice sneered from off-screen. “Or else what?”
“I was getting to that!” he snapped, throwing the book at the right of the camera; a painful yelp was heard. He composed himself and he smiled thinly again. “Caption City is known the world over for its screengrabbing technology. Providing quality screen captures to the world is the city’s primary source of income. When the statue of Saddam was toppled, it was Caption City’s screengrabs that were in the world’s magazines. When Britney and Madonna kissed, it was Caption City’s capture of it that countless men masturbated to.”
“Shut up!” Miglionicco picked up a poker from aside the fireplace and tossed it to the right of the camera; a squeal of pain was heard. He reached into his smoking jacket and pulled out a small remote control. “Well Caption City, from now on consider your screengrabs…. frozen!” He punched a button and grinned. “You want them back? You want money back in the city’s coffers? I urge you: call your mayor, write him. Tell him to hand the city over to me. Remember—your vote does count!” The screen dissolved into black.
It quickly snapped back to Miglionicco’s study. “Oh, and I’ve destroyed all of the roads out of town. Have a nice day.”
The screen went to black. In the upper left corner, a small red “X” was in a box, and the words “Sorry. This isn’t very interesting without graphics” sat alongside it.
The Cappers stood in the Mayor’s office. It had been cleaned up since their battle with the General and Winky. The Mayor stood at the window, wringing his hands nervously. “Things are falling apart, Cappers. I thought you said that using my office for your little scheme, you’d be able to solve this mess.”
Animebabe said, “We’re doing the best we can, Mayor McCheese.”
“We can only do so much.” Gray Zombie added. “There’s only four of us left, remember.”
Mayor McCheese looked out the window, down to the street below. There was a mob of people outside of City Hall being held back by the police. “The city’s afraid. Without the screengrabs, the city’s funding won’t last long.”
“Chill out, Mr. Mayor.” GlitterRock said, “We’re working on a plan right now to cool the Baron’s heels.”
McCheese sighed and sat in his chair. “You Cappers had better act fast. The people want a solution now. And if you cant’ stop the Baron by tomorrow and unfreeze the screengrabs, I’m going to have no choice but to agree to his demands.”
Amon’s eyes widened. “Give him Caption City?? You can’t!”
“I can and I will. I’ve got to do what’s best for Caption City.” He looked up at the clock. “You’ve got twelve hours, Cappers. After that, the city belongs to Miglionicco!”
The Baron sipped his tea delicately, listening to what the other members of the Cadre were telling him. “Tell me that one more time.”
Major Antagonist said, “He called us up and said the Cappers are planning an assault on the Caption City Screengrab Server. They mean to strike within the hour!”
Miglionicco pursed his lips. “And you’re sure you can trust your source?”
Mr. Sneer chuckled. “He’s in the position to know what they’re planning, isn’t he?” He sneered, “Why else would he tell us?”
“Why indeed.” He thought a moment. “Very well. Pack up, boys. We’ve got an ambush to plan.”
The Cappers peered through the underbrush outside of the Server complex. It loomed large, its shadow covering the area. Animebabe swallowed nervously. “It’s …. uh… big.” She looked over at the others. “’Big’ is animetalk for ‘lots of places to hide.’”
Gray Zombie put a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “We’ve got the element of surprise on our side.”
Amon said, “I wish we had The Fifth Element on our side.” The others looked at him, confused. “The Fifth Element? Bruce Willis?” They gave no reaction. “We get Bruce Willis on our side, no one’s gonna beat us!”
Animebabe shook her head with a sigh. “You’ve gotta kick the pay-per-view habit, Amon. It’s ruining your life.”
GlitterRock hefted his guitar in his hands. “Time’s running short. Let’s boogie, cats!” They ran across the grass and entered the building. They cautiously went from floor to floor without incident. Finally, the Cappers reached the top floor, and ended up in the hallway leading to the main server assembly. Gray said, “Something’s wrong.”
Glitter asked, “How so, underwear-dude?”
“The Baron went to a lot of trouble to freeze the screengrabs. To do that, he had to do something to the server here. Which means he wouldn’t just leave it unguarded; anyone could just come up and start them up again.”
“How very astute, Mr. Zombie.” The voice of Baron Miglionicco rang down the hall, and he stepped into view up ahead, standing between them and the assembly door. “How very sad you won’t have long to enjoy your sharp thinking.” He clapped his hands. Major Antagonist, Darth Binks and Mr. Sneer stepped out of the assembly door to stand behind him. The Cappers turned to see the Evil Cheese and Ms. Iree come up behind them. They were trapped! Miglionicco said, “You see, this is what the supervillain trade calls ‘a t—“
A voice sneered from behind him, “It’s a trap!”
Miglionicco sighed angrily. “I was getting to that! Here I was, I was going to make a grandiose speech about evil triumphing over good, but you’ve gone and cocked it all up, haven’t you? I mean it’s all about presentation, isn’t it?” Exasperated, he threw up his hands and walked away, leaning against a wall.
Ms. Iree frowned. “Uh… what should we do, Baron?”
“Oh I don’t care. Kill them, I suppose.”
The villains leapt into action.
Ms. Iree sprang at GlitterRock, her talons outstretched for his throat. He quickly turned, pulling his guitar up to protect himself. Her claws raked across the back of it, scratching the surface. “Hey, hick chick! That’s a sour note you’re laying on my ax!” He twisted the guitar, hitting her, and she went sprawling.
The Evil Cheese swung his fist at Gray Zombie, connecting on his chin. The hero stumbled back, falling to the ground. As the Cheese moved in, Zombie reached to his belt and quipped, “Can’t we all just get a-thong?” Spinning a small red thong on his finger, he launched it at the Cheese’s feet. The villain’s large boots tangled in the mesh, and he cracked onto the floor.
Mr. Sneer spin-kicked Amon to the floor. He then grabbed Animebabe’s arms from behind. Major Antagonist cracked his knuckles as he moved closer. “I’m going to strike you like you’ve never been struck before!”
Amon’s hand went to his Handle-handle, spinning it. The window soon settled on the handle “Amon_tel_Williams.” A flash of light later, he stood bald with a mustache and a sharp suit, with a microphone in his hand. He said, “Next time on ‘AMON_TEL’, floor, and the supervillains that fall on them.” He threw the microphone, hitting Antagonist on the forehead; the villain fell back. Pulling back the cord, Amon_tel smiled at Mr. Sneer. He swung the microphone in the air like a lasso. “And now a word from our sponsors.” Animebabe jumped quickly – just as the microphone cord swung around Sneer’s feet, wrapping around them. With a pull, he yanked the villain down, freeing Animebabe.
Darth Binks slid behind Amon_tel and raised his fists. Wheezing through his helmet, he said, “Oooo, maxi-big dis beating iza gonna be!”
Animebabe rushed over, and laid a wet smooch on Binks. A loud *KISS* was heard. Binks spun around on his heels, tongue waggling out. “Wowsie wowsie wowsie!” He finally fell, unconscious.
Animebabe turned to the Baron, fists at the ready. “The game’s up, Baron! You’re finished!”
Miglionicco rose an eyebrow. “Oh I see. This is where the boy guys lose once again, is it?” He shook his head. “Doesn’t it ever get tiresome living out these horrid cliches over and over again?”
Gray smiled, pulling two pairs of underwear from his belt. “No. Beating scum like you always makes it worthwhile.”
“Scum? Scum??” Offended, Miglionicco exclaimed, “I have an Oxford education! I know what a salad fork looks like! You think your type can beat me? You’re not even in my class! I’m Chateau Rothchild ’42 … you’re Mountain Dew!”
Amon_tel touched his Handle-handle and changed back into Amon. “Don’t worry, Baron. We’ll make sure you’re sent to a high-class prison. There may not be a seat on your toilet, but there’ll always be someone to push in your stool.”
Animebabe winced. “Please Amon, no scatology!”
Miglionicco laughed. “Oh, very witty. But there’s one thing none of you are considering.” He snapped his fingers. “I may not be alone.”
There was a jarring clamber from behind the Cappers, and they grabbed their ears. The sound seemed to drain the very strength from their bodies, and they sank to their knees in pain. Once the sound ended, a pair of boots walked past them and they watched helplessly as a figure went to stand next to Miglionicco.
“I don’t think they dug my gig, Baron-dude.”
The Baron smiled, and patted GlitterRock on the shoulder. He laughed at the Cappers’ shocked expressions. “What’s wrong? Did you forget the cliché about one of the heroes being a traitor?”
TO BE CONCLUDED
(In part four, the stunning conclusion. ‘Stunning’ being a relative term.)