Then And Now, Part Three: Match-Up

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(January 9th, 2009)

Then – September 2002

“Nina, you never told me you'd become a supervillain.” Timebender and Nightshade circled each other cautiously. Occasionally, Nightshade would dart forwards, only for Timebender to dash quickly to one side and avoid her.

“Yeah, well, the things I don't tell you could fill a book or three.” With a grin, Nightshade dashed forwards again, twisting as Timebender sped around to grab for her. Her hand breezed past her sister's jumpsuit, and Timebender kicked out as she passed. Across the room, Lucky was dancing around the tendrils of Ecch's trained monster, occasionally yelping as something nearly struck him. “And it's Nightshade when I'm on the job.”

“Oh, come on! There's no way that…”

Timebender's disbelief left her open, and Nightshade took the opening. Her fist caught Timebender in the chest, sending her careening across the room. As the impact struck, Timebender focused to slow down time, enough that what could have knocked her out instantly wasn't more than a serious gut-punch, but she still was knocking sprawling, surging to her feet as she recovered with time-assisted speed. “Listen, sis. You know my powers. It's not like they're suited for courier work, and I'll be damned if I waste my time the way you do.” She paused, and grinned. “Besides, the Doc's made me an executive. Says that I'll be a vice-president by the end of the year if I work out.”

“Oh, please.” Timebender rolled her eyes. “This'll be just like the city's last five villains. He'll be gone by the end of the year.”

“Oh, I don't think so.” Up above, Ecchs worked cheerfully on his machinery. “Pleasant weather, some very accepting tax codes, and the scintellating conversation I get to listen to while I work? I think I'll be here for a very long time.”

“I'll believe it when I see it.” Shrugging, Timebender jumped to one side as Nightshade approached, and the battle was resumed.


“I do not believe it.” Staring up at the structure before them, Timebender felt her jaw drop.

“Believe it, Champions! What better way to inaugurate the new year than with a true classic of the villainous code?” Standing on the steps of the bandstand, Ecchs posed dramatically, fist clenched triumphantly as he shook them in front of him. “You may have laughed at some of my inventions, but you cannot mock this one!”

“I… I can't even figure out what that is.” Lucky tilted his head sideways to study it more carefully.

“It is a Van de Graff generatory, Lucky. They are used…” Ash broke off. “Oh, you were referring to its purpose as a villainous tool?” When Lucky nodded, the tree ninja considered. “I must confess that I am also at a loss.”

The structure in question was a good two stories tall, including a five-foot orb at the top that arced with blue lightning. It rested on a massive silver tower, jutting from the roof of the bandstand. The midnight blue covering that had, until moments before, been concealing it was now draped over the bandstand, shrouding everything except for the steps on which the villains stood, Ecchs flanked by Phil and Nightshade as usual. Ecchs chuckled good-naturedly. “Well, you can't see the whole thing. I've spent the last two months secretly building a Type 2 particle accelerator under the park. When this machine goes live, we'll transform most of the bedrock into uranium, which Malefico will mine for a vast profit.”

Timebender frowned. “That doesn't even begin to make sense. In what possible way can a particle accelerator create uranium?”

“It's a Type 2 accelerator, duh.” Ecchs snorted. “It accelerates underground particles into each other, causing them to merge. When their atoms mesh, they form new atoms, and my accelerator is set to mesh them up to uranium and no further.”

“That makes even less sense! You can't make that kind of… you know what, forget it. After we break that thing it won't matter what you wanted to do with it.”

“Bold words, girl. How well will you keep them when faced with an army of ULTIMINIONS!

There was a brief paused. Phil coughed, wiping his tongue-tendril with one claw. Ecchs frowned, took a deep breath, and repeated, “…an army of ULTIMINIONS!

“Would this be a poor time to inform you that my robot zombie ninja and your robot zombie ninja are currently engaged in a high-speed silent battle raging across the park, and thus neither will be able to attend this engagement?” Ash inquired politely. “I do not wish to interrupt.”

Ecchs favoured Ash with a long, slow glare. “No, it's fine. Good of you to mention it. Now. After I made a fool of myself.” He turned away, throwing one hand up in frustration. “You two try and slow them down or something, okay? Maybe we can get a little uranium out of this thing before everything explodes. Again. Stupid razzafrazzing turncoat creations…”

Nightshade frowned, calling after him. “I resent the implication that we aren't going to be able to yikes!” She dove to one side as a brace of pine cone grenades ripped apart the entrance to the pavilion. “Okay, that's it. I'm making a bonfire out of your twigs, tree-boy!” As Phil moved to block Lucky and Timebender, she charged towards the tree ninja, who expertly dodged aside. “You are so dead, you hear me?”

Lucky grinned, glancing over to Timebender. “Like old times already.”

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