Author's note: I thought it'd be an idea to mix a little wrestling in this time around. I've had this story idea bouncing in my head for a long time, and now it's time to put it out there. To set the stage: Zan & Jayna, in their civilian identities as college students John & Joanna Fleming, have been reunited at Metropolis College, where Joanna has transferred after two seasons at UCLA. The move was mostly so Jayna can be with her new boyfriend, Daily Planet reporter-photographer Jimmy Olsen (see Growing Up Is Hard To Do for how that hookup came about), as she's putting one bad relationship (Joanna's failed romance with Lew Watson) behind her and moving on. As per normal, all characters, save for incidentals created for this story, are copyright DC Comics/Warner Bros./Hanna-Barbera. Setting: October 1983. Chapter 1: The Fantastic Champions of Wrestling (FCW, for short) is one of the most popular independent promotions of its day, traveling across the country and thrilling fans. The FCW's current tour brings them to Metropolis Civic Center, but owner-promoter Harland Fletcher and his daughter, Amanda, have arrived in town a few days ahead of the scheduled October 29 show. Amanda dropped out of college to help her father after her mother passed away two years ago in an auto accident. The promotion's main attraction is the Mystery Marvel, supposedly a male wrestler, but is really a woman wearing a padded costume to pass for male. Her true identity remains a secret, but it seems that someone's decided to try to discredit the Marvel before she comes to Metropolis. As the Fletchers check into the Metropolis Hyatt Hotel, someone dressed as Mystery Marvel is busy breaking into Bridwell's Furriers just a few short blocks away. Later that night, Inspector Bill Henderson arrives at the hotel with two detectives, Eddie Kearney and Mitch Clayborne. Kearney is a 20 year veteran, the last 10 in Metropolis, and has had a standing grudge against Harland Fletcher ever since arriving in Metropolis. No one's really sure why, but it comes to a boil again. "I'm telling you, Inspector, my sources are sure the Mystery Marvel came here after hitting the Furriers.", he said. "We'll know for sure after we talk to the Fletchers.", Henderson replied. "Right now, Eddie, the last thing I need is you creating a headache not only for them, but for the department as well." "Say what you want, but every city that the FCW has gone in the last month has been hit with a rash of robberies. The Fletchers are in town four days before their show, and that follows the pattern!" Henderson was directed to room 415. Harland Fletcher greeted him & Clayborne warmly, but not Kearney. "What seems to be the trouble, Inspector?", he asked. "My daughter and I just arrived in town and checked in an hour ago." "I'll tell you, Fletcher. Your Mystery Marvel is moonlighting as a thief and hit Bridwell's Furriers earlier today. I'm certain that the Marvel came here and dropped off his loot.", Kearney said. "Preposterous!", Fletcher replied, angrily. "I heard about the robbery on the news right at the time Amanda and I checked in. We've had no visitors until now!" Amanda then entered the room. "What's going on? Why are you hassling my father again, Detective?", she asked. "Again?", Henderson repeated. "Yes, again. Every time we've been here, this detective has tried to ruin our shows by creating trumped up charges against one of our performers, whether it's robbery, drugs, you name it, he's trying to ruin the company." "Can you prove it, Ms. Fletcher?", Clayborne asked. "I certainly can. We're here 2-3 times a year. Four months ago was our last visit. One of our wrestlers was arrested before the show because your partner claimed he'd had drugs in his possession, and didn't. We had to bail him out, and held him out of this trip because he's afraid the same thing will happen again, just because he is Hispanic." "It was a simple misunderstanding, but my sources said they saw the Mystery Marvel enter this hotel after the robbery. If I have to petition a judge for a search warrant, I will.", Kearney replied. Henderson apologized for Kearney, and the three detectives left. ===================================================================== "Someone here order a vegetarian pizza?" Ricky Simson was making a delivery, but didn't know which apartment it was supposed to go to in the Anderson Arms. Jimmy Olsen had just arrived for a dinner date with his girlfriend and co-worker, Joanna Fleming, who was back interning part-time at the Daily Planet when not at school. "I'll take it, Ricky. I ordered it for my girlfriend for dinner.", he said, and paid for the pie and sodas, giving Ricky a $4 tip. "Thanks, Jimmy. So your new babe's a vegan?" "Not really. She wanted to try something new. It's better than buying chocolates.", Jimmy chuckled as he entered the elevator. Jimmy reached Joanna's apartment, which, like her brother's, was on the 2nd floor, only on the opposite end of the hall. John opened his door, hearing Jimmy whistling as he went down the hall. "I just came back from Joanna's. She's in the shower, but left her key under the doormat, Jimmy.", he said. "Thanks, John. I got us our tickets for Saturday night. Front row, ringside!" "Super. Mary Lou's been dying to go to one of these shows. I never realized she was a fan." "So you're learning, too, eh? I'd not be surprised if Mary starts asking you to practice some holds on her." "It hasn't gotten to that stage----yet.", John replied. "I know, though, that Joanna may be feeling a little frisky and might want to do that with you." "We'll see about that, pal." Soon, Jimmy entered the apartment, just as Joanna turned off the shower. She heard the pizza being laid on her kitchen table. "Jimmy? Is that you, honey?" "It's me. I paid the delivery boy when I got to the lobby. I'll set the table for you, so take your time." "Oh, you know I will.", Joanna teased. Just then, the phone rang. "Don't worry, honey, I've got it.", Jimmy called. It was his boss, Perry White. "Jimmy? Where's Joanna?", he inquired. "She's just getting out of the shower, just as I came in. What's up, boss?" "Big, breaking story. Seems the hottest wrestler in the business, the Mystery Marvel, is wanted for a series of robberies, and just hit Bridwell's Furriers earlier today. Supposedly, this is the latest in a series that began several weeks ago in Philadelphia. I'm putting you and Joanna on this story together, but report to the office tomorrow before taking her to school." "You got it. We'll be there at 7." Joanna had gone from the bathroom to the bedroom to change while Jimmy had his back turned, and emerged in a blue jean top and skirt and blue socks, with matching sneakers. "What was that all about?", she asked. "Honey, remember when you asked me about learning a few wrestling holds?" "Yes, but I was only kidding." "Well, maybe you can get the chance to learn for real." ====================================================================== The next morning, Jimmy & Joanna reported to the Planet office before school. White gave them a quick briefing after having met with Henderson and his investigators. "I know you kids already have your tickets for Saturday night, but there's every chance you'll get backstage access on top of it.", White said. "Bill Henderson is worried because one of his detectives has a vendetta against the FCW league, and is pushing for a quick arrest, even without enough evidence to prosecute." "Sounds like a witch hunt to me.", Joanna said. "Why let this officer be part of the investigation if he can't see things clearly?" "Because, Joanna, Eddie Kearney wanted to be a wrestler before he became a cop. It happened that he failed a tryout with Harland Fletcher's group, and failed subsequent physical examinations and auditions with other promotions. He turned to police work, but he was bitter when he graduated from the academy. Five times in the last three years, the city has had to work to avoid litigation from not only FCW, but other promotions because of Kearney abusing his authority around the wrestlers. A Latino wrestler was arrested on false charges 4 months ago, but the charges were dropped. Here, I've got a present for you." White pulled out a box, containing a Mystery Marvel costume. "Joanna, this one's for you. This afternoon, you will be meeting the Fletchers at the YWCA after school. Jimmy will go with you. They're going to need an understudy in case something happens to the "real" Mystery Marvel before Saturday, and from what I can figure, you're about the same height and size as the Marvel." "Thanks. I think." Soon, the couple headed for Metropolis College. Joanna had her own car, which she had used as the masked Night Phantom, but kept it in the garage, just in case the Phantom would soon make her Metropolis debut. Thus, most days, Jimmy would drive her to school on the way to work to maximize the time they'd spend together. "This complicates things, doesn't it?", she asked. "No, sweetheart. Perry wants you going undercover just in case. Besides, we're filing the story together, and sharing the by-line. It'll be our first one together." "To tell you the truth, Jimmy,", Joanna replied, peeking inside the box, "I don't know when the Mystery Marvel first appeared, but the costume may be borrowing some of my Night Phantom designs. I'll show you what I mean when you come over later." "Oh, and how are you going to accomplish that, when I'm going to keep this in the trunk while at work? Remember, honey, this is one extra secret you now have to protect." "Oh, right.", Joanna said as the car pulled into the college parking lot. She tossed the box onto the floor of the backseat, then kissed Jimmy before going to class. Once he returned to the Planet, Jimmy replaced the box in the trunk. ====================================================================== Later that morning, Amanda Fletcher entered Plastino's Supermart to buy some groceries when she was accosted by Detective Kearney and a man who claimed he was a witness to the previous day's robbery. "That's her, officer. She's probably wearing her costume underneath her clothes." "Ms. Fletcher?", Kearney asked. "I'm placing you under arrest for robbery." ====================================================================== Ok, we know this. We have a cop who's a failed wrestler with a grudge who just arrested the daughter of an influential promoter. Joanna's going undercover to locate the real thief, but she may need all of the skills----and powers---at her command to crack this case. Will the Night Phantom end her self-imposed retirement? We'll see in chapter 2.