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The Curious Case of the Mystery Marvel (a Wonder Twins fan fiction adventure)

Discussion in 'The Story Board' started by hobbyfan, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  2. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 2:

    It wasn't long before Harland Fletcher and his lawyer, Herman Barrett, were in Inspector Henderson's office, but by the time they had arrived, Amanda had already been released on her own recognizance, with the charges dropped.

    "I warned you the last time what might happen if your loose cannon went off the grid with another of his false arrests.", Barrett said.

    "I'm aware of that, Herm, and I'm also aware that the Fletchers were nowhere near the crime scene. Turned out that Kearney paid off an informant to implicate Amanda, and even had the guy rehearse the routine so it'd sound legit. Kearney was pretty steamed when I had the charges dropped.", Henderson replied. To Fletcher, he said, "I'm very sorry about this, but to avoid any further trouble, I will be bringing Kearney to a meeting with the Police Commissioner this afternoon with the idea of keeping him away from you and your troupe."

    "That won't deter him, Inspector, and you know that.", Fletcher replied. "He needs to be in a psychiatrist's office."
    ======================================================================
    Later, Joanna had her first workout as the Mystery Marvel, dressed in the grappler's black & blue costume, which, it turned out, might've inspired her to create her current Night Phantom costume, not the other way around. Amanda, grateful to be sparring with Joanna, explained the history of the character.

    "It started with Jimmy McNally, about 10 years ago.", she said. "Jimmy gave us 5 good years, and this was after he'd already been a 2-time light heavyweight champion. He added two more runs as the Marvel, and would've had a 3rd if it wasn't for the accident that ended his career."

    "Accident?", Joanna asked.

    "Yes. Jimmy was in an auto accident 5 years ago that left him paralyzed from the waist down. His understudy, Pablo Suarez, took over the role, but lasted a year before he died in a fire in San Juan while we were on tour there. Since then, the role's been played by women, but the two that preceded me as the Marvel also passed away, both in incidents involving matches in New Orleans."

    "Sounds like the city is bad luck for FCW,", Joanna observed, "but go on."

    "Felicia Forbes was the last one before me, and wrestled a local lady wrestler down there, a 7-foot glamazon named Tytan. The Marvel won the match, but Tytan's handlers, who've been trying for years to buy us out, felt we double-crossed them, and, the next morning, when I went to check on Felicia, I found her dead in her bed. She'd been smothered with her own pillow. Her predecessor, Theresa Hawkins, died of a broken neck a year earlier, also resulting from a match with Tytan. In that case, Tytan threw her off a balcony, and through a table that was at ringside, some 30 feet below. Dead on impact."

    "So why was Tytan back a year later?"

    "Her handlers, Randy "Salt" Bergland & Morgan Pepper, are very influential promoters in the New Orleans market. They claimed it was an accidental death, and there's no reason to prove otherwise, really, but I've a feeling it wasn't the case. Since Felicia died, we haven't been back in New Orleans, and Dad doesn't want to go back there, because every time we do, Salt & Pepper practically mandate that Tytan has to be on the card, and she's a liability."

    "Didn't the police investigate the case?"

    "Yes, but like I said, it got swept under the rug. Now, with Kearney creating problems, we'll be lucky to get to the first bell on Saturday. I've played the Marvel for nearly 2 years, and I've had a couple of injuries, but until now, I didn't have an understudy to cover for me. Hopefully, after Saturday, we'll find someone to be that understudy on a more full-time basis."
    ======================================================================
    As soon as Joanna returned home, Mary Lou greeted her with some disturbing news.

    "The Marvel's struck again, but it happened while you were at the gym with Amanda.", she said. "This time, the Marvel hit the 3rd National Bank of Metropolis."

    "And I'll bet Kearney made a bee-line for the Hyatt.", Joanna cracked as she repaired to her bedroom.

    "Surprisingly, no, he didn't.", Mary Lou replied. "Word on the street is that he's been suspended for the false arrest this morning."

    Just then, the phone rang, just as Joanna had emerged from the bedroom, wearing a towel.

    "I'll take this, then I'm taking a shower.", she said. "Just remind John I'm cooking dinner for the four of us. See you at 7?"

    "Oh, I'll be there, Jo.", Mary Lou replied as she ambled out. Joanna finally picked up the phone. It was Jimmy.

    "Kreepy Kearney's at it again, honey.", he said. "He was just tossed out of the Hyatt, and got picked up for, get this, harassment."

    "Oh, this story's getting better all the time.", Joanna cracked. "Jimmy, can you stop and pick up some spaghetti sauce on the way over?"

    "Got it on my shopping list, Joanna, along with the fresh turnips you asked for. See you in a bit."
    ======================================================================
    "Do you see what this is?", Henderson asked Kearney in city jail. "This is a restraining order preventing you from having any further contact with the Fletchers or anyone else associated with the FCW while they're in the city. Amanda had an airtight alibi again this afternoon, and, yet, you're obsessed with putting her in the clink for something she didn't do!"

    "Who else could it be?", Kearney argued. "I've been aware of the Mystery Marvel's true identity for a while now, and while Amanda travels with her dad ahead of the rest of the troupe, that allows her the opportunity to pull these jobs."

    "Unfortunately, Eddie, that doesn't apply this time. She was at the gym when the bank was hit. She was with her father at the hotel when the furrier was robbed yesterday. Now, you have no choice. You have already been placed under suspension by the department pending a hearing, and now you need to keep as far away from the FCW troupe as possible!"
    ======================================================================
    Meanwhile, Randy Bergland and Morgan Pepper had arrived in Metropolis, and set up shop at the Hotel Metropolis. Officially, they were in town to host a club party on Friday night under their Salt & Pepper Promotions banner, but there was something more, as the Mystery Marvel, or a facsimile thereof, met them in their suite.

    "Eddie Kearney's ruined it for us.", he said. "He's tried twice to pin the robberies on Mandy Fletcher, but she's got alibis for both jobs, and enough witnesses to fill a dozen juries."

    "So, where does that leave us?", Pepper wanted to know. "We wanted her in jail so you could take her place on Saturday, and close the deal on her father and the company."

    "That's a problem. The Daily Planet has a reporter covering the story and working undercover as Mandy's understudy. That's one more we have to eliminate before Saturday night."

    "Unfortunately, Tytan is back in New Orleans, cooling her heels in jail, and can't come on short notice.", Bergland said. "They jugged her on a traffic charge. How ironic is that?"

    "Ehh, why worry about it?", Pepper replied. "We know the reporter, don't we? It's Lois Lane, isn't it?"

    "Nope,", the Marvel replied. "Younger chick. Real athletic, gymnast type. Don't have a name on her yet."

    "Doesn't matter.", Pepper said. "We'll bag her and keep her under wraps, then we'll spring a trap on the Fletchers and steal the show come Saturday night!"
    ======================================================================
    Back at the Anderson Arms, Jimmy was helping Joanna with the dishes after a spaghetti dinner.

    "Find out anything?", he asked.

    "Plenty. I think we have a suspect, one that Kearney has totally ignored.", Joanna replied.

    Just then, the kitchen phone rang. Joanna turned off the water and answered on the second ring. It was Amanda.

    "I think we need to hold our workouts someplace else the rest of the week.", she said. "Mr. Copeland at the gym said he saw someone nosing around after we left, but when he couldn't find what he was looking for, he slugged Copeland and left."

    "Definitely a guy, eh? Do we have a make on him?", Joanna asked.

    "Oh, you'll love this part, Joanna. He was dressed as the Mystery Marvel!"
    ====================================================================
    Now, the plot thickens. We know the thieving Marvel is in league with Salt & Pepper in a hostile takeover plot. They're targeting Joanna and the Fletchers, but may have to deal with the Night Phantom AND the Wonder Twins before getting to their targets. We'll see in chapter 3.
     
    #2 hobbyfan, Jul 16, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
  3. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 3:

    Salt Bergland was not happy to see the Mystery Marvel return empty handed from his visit to the Y.

    "What happened?", he asked indignantly.

    "I thought Fletcher might have his office on the ground floor, where the gym is, but he doesn't. The guard saw me, we fought. He unmasked me, but left himself open for a little jack to the head.", the Marvel replied.

    "Then Fletcher must be based at the hotel.", Bergland said. "We'll pay him and Mandy a visit tomorrow, when they least expect it."

    Meanwhile, Amanda was on the phone with Joanna.

    "Was anything of value taken?", Joanna asked.

    "No. The Marvel didn't know we rented office space on the 3rd floor and got confused. I'm just not sure if the Y is safe.", Amanda replied.

    "It will be. However, since you asked so nicely, we'll have a little aerobic workout here, at my place, tomorrow. How does 2:00 sound?"

    "Perfect. Dad will be in the office, and we've got security covering our suite at the hotel."
    ======================================================================
    The next day, Amanda & Joanna had finished their workout when the phone rang. It was Jimmy.

    "What is it, honey?", Joanna asked.

    "The Marvel's been at the hotel, and raised a fuss with the security. Salt & Pepper were caught trying to sneak up to the FCW suite. They escaped before the police arrived."

    Joanna then handed Amanda the phone.

    "Jimmy? Is my father okay?"

    "Yes, he just got back as soon as he was contacted. Oh, by the way, the police sketch on the Marvel, unmasked, has been circulating. I was wondering if you girls had seen it."

    Joanna took back the phone.

    "Besides what was in the Planet, Jimmy? It's all over the campus at Metropolis College. I have a copy here with me for research. I think I know who our KleptoMarvel is."

    As soon as Joanna hung up, Amanda asked about her theory.

    "You know, I was thinking along the same line as you when I told you about the past Marvels yesterday. Dad tried contacting Jimmy McNally down in Tampa, but he was in therapy at that time, so Dad left him a message. If it isn't Jimmy, then who could it be?"

    "How about someone who was hiding in plain sight, when no one thinks he's there? I believe you told me Morgan Pepper had a twin brother?"

    "Yes, Marshall Pepper, but he supposedly died a year ago in prison."

    "Some guys have been known to cheat death, Amanda, in the most bizarre ways."
    ======================================================================
    Later that night, Joanna & Mary Lou, as the Night Phantoms, visited the Y, and found the Fletchers' office. Joanna picked the window lock with her skeleton key. Within minutes, the girls found the file on the Mystery Marvel.

    "What are we looking for, Jo?", Mary Lou asked.

    "Something on Marshall Pepper. I've a feeling he's got something in common with our friend Mr. Kearney."

    Joanna pulled some papers from the file and walked over to the photocopy machine. Her work done, she replaced the file in the cabinet, and the girls quickly departed the same way they came. Minutes later, the two returned to the Anderson Arms, using the back entrance that led directly to Joanna's apartment, only to find the police waiting.

    "Oh, boy.", Mary Lou said. "Now what, fearless leader?"

    "Back downstairs. We can use the public ladies room and change there."

    A short time later, Joanna was questioned by Inspector Henderson. Someone had broken into the apartment, but couldn't find anything. Joanna breathed a sigh of relief, as she'd stored her Mystery Marvel costume in a secret closet, alongside her other costumes, and the thief or thieves weren't even close to her bedroom. She gave the cover story that she & Mary Lou were at the campus library doing some studying, then left when the library closed. After Henderson left, John showed up.

    "Sis, I think you're going to need your purple gear. Jimmy called while you were away and said that the Mystery Marvel was seen at the civic center doing something, but wasn't sure what, and thought we might need to look into it.", he said.

    "Should I go with you on this one, honey?", Mary Lou asked. "I have my gear in my backpack."

    "Might as well, if you're up for some air travel.", John quipped as Joanna ducked into her bedroom to change yet again.
    ======================================================================
    Soon, Mary Lou & the twins reached the civic center, with Jayna providing the transportation as a pterodactyl. Once inside, the trio searched the entire arena, which was already configured for a pro wrestling show. It wasn't long before Jayna spotted something beneath the ring. That something, clumsily placed so it stuck out like a sore thumb, was a set of dynamite sticks, timed to go off Saturday night after the main event.

    "They're thinking it'll still work two days later?", Zan wondered.

    "Not if we do something about it, lover.", Mary Lou replied. "Jayna, can you...."

    "Already on it.", Jayna said as she slid under the ring. Mary Lou handed her a flashlight. In minutes, the time bomb was removed and dismantled. As it happened, it was a dud, anyway.

    "Hmm, a dummy bomb. They wanted us to find it while they planted one, if they wanted to, somewhere else.", Zan observed.

    "But where? Those guys have already struck out at the Y and the Hyatt.", Mary Lou replied.

    "Not entirely. Like Zan said, this was a dummy, a decoy. Whatever they're really planning is for Saturday.", Jayna replied as she dusted herself off. "Let's see if we can find something else."

    Backstage, the trio found the stolen furs and money from the robberies, left in an area designated for FCW champion Rock Britton, who was to defend vs. Austin Flash in Saturday's main event.

    "We've hit the jackpot, girls.", Zan said. "I'll contact Inspector Henderson while you pack the stolen loot for delivery to police headquarters."
    =====================================================================
    Early Friday morning, Salt Bergland had returned to the civic center, only to find the loot gone.

    "Impossible!", he thought to himself as he left through a rear exit. Minutes later, in his hotel suite, he briefed his partners.

    "How can that possibly happen?", Marvel wondered. "The police had installed a tight cordon in the area after we'd planted the furs and the money and the fake bomb."

    "Someone got there after we did.", Morgan replied, icily. You're forgetting that Metropolis is Superman's base. He might've found that stuff and turned it in."

    At the Daily Planet, Inspector Henderson & Perry White knew differently.

    "I didn't even realize the Wonder Twins were in town.", Henderson said. "Superman should be proud of those kids for finding the stolen loot and the dummy bomb and handling it on their own."

    "I had a couple of people tell me they saw a pterodactyl flying around. There's only one possibility, and with the Hall of Justice not too far away, well....", White said, grinning.

    "You're right. The twins must've been on monitor duty, or took the assignment themselves. It's just too bad Superman's away on another case."

    Meanwhile, Jimmy dropped Joanna off at school, and told her she'd been spotted the night before.

    "Perry's having a few laughs, but the tone of his voice suggests he's happy with what happened last night, and believes Superman would be proud.", he said.

    "After six years of training, you'd think handling a dummy bomb would be a snap.", Joanna replied, kissing Jimmy. "But I think there's something we haven't found yet."

    Later, at the Hall of Justice, the twins fed some information on the Pepper twins into the Justice League computer. The results came back rather quickly, and a smile formed on Jayna's face.

    "I was right. Marshall Pepper faked his death, and has been working with the FCW under a different name. Several of them.", she said. "They keep firing him, he keeps coming back with a new name and a new look. I think Salt & Pepper wanted him spying on the Fletchers to set up their takeover bid."

    "And how would you know about hostile takeovers?"

    Superman & Batman had just returned from a case out of town, but were aware of the twins working on the Fletcher case.

    "Economics class.", Jayna said, blushing. She then told the World's Finest Heroes of her newest role.....

    "But didn't Jimmy already buy the tickets?", Superman asked.

    "Yes. We just got backstage passes earlier today."

    "And the Fletchers haven't figured out your multiple alter-egos?", Batman inquired.

    "No."

    "She's grown up into a fine detective.", Batman whispered to Superman. "We always knew she had the skills to go with her powers."

    "And now she's dating Jimmy on top of that."
    ======================================================================
    Saturday finally came, and Joanna, now in her Mystery Marvel garb, was going over final instructions with Amanda.

    "The other Marvel will arrive through the crowd first, he'll have plenty to say. You just pick the time to cut into his promo, and then the fun really starts.", Amanda said.

    "He'll never know what hit him.", Joanna said, grinning as she pulled her mask on. As she did, Eddie Kearney, dressed for battle, walked through.

    "This is a surprise.", Amanda said.

    "Well, I guess Inspector Henderson didn't have a chance to tell ya, kid. Things've been worked out with the Boys Club and the PBA, and I got me a match tonight. A dream come true, I tell ya."

    "So who's the opponent?"

    "Steve Lombard, WGBS sports anchor. It's all for fun.", Kearney replied. "At my age, that's all it can be to fulfill a dream."

    The Kearney-Lombard match ended in a 10 minute draw. The Battle of the Mystery Marvels was the co-feature, and, as Amanda had guessed, the evil Marvel bullied his way through the crowd, and challenged his "imposter". The lights went out, and when they came on, Joanna was suddenly in the ring with him.

    "Really.", she hissed, disguising her voice. "Have you looked in the mirror lately?"

    The battle was joined, and was short and to the point. Joanna dominated the match, using her gymnastics moves to befuddle her taller opponent. At 10 minutes, Jimmy & John spotted Salt Bergland setting up a blow-dart just off to their right.

    "One guess what this is all about.", Jimmy whispered.

    "Let's get him.", John replied.

    The boys then slid over and intercepted Bergland. John disarmed him, and Jimmy knocked him out with a right cross. Security did the rest. Distracted, Marshall Pepper was easy prey for a cross-body block, and Joanna collected the pinfall. The house erupted in enormous cheers.

    Pepper, seeing his chance to escape, left the ring, but found Henderson waiting for him. Henderson unmasked him.

    "Marshall Pepper, you're under arrest!", Henderson declared.

    Marshall looked to his left and found twin brother Morgan already in custody, having tried to rob the box office. He & Bergland were led out of the arena. In the ring, Joanna was lucky she was masked, as it hid the fact she was blushing again. A glance to her left, and she gave the boys the OK sign.
    ======================================================================
    After the show, Joanna & Jimmy returned to the Planet office to file their story. Perry was ecstatic, such that he couldn't resist giving Joanna a celebratory hug.

    "You were fantastic out there, kiddo. A real natural.", he said.

    "Well, thanks.", Joanna replied, blushing. "There was a reason I tried out for the gymnastics team in high school, even if I didn't make it."

    "Not only that, but Jimmy tells me you found the key clues that cracked the case."

    "It was something that Amanda had told me when she explained the history of the Mystery Marvel character the other day. Marshall Pepper was Jimmy McNally's best friend, but he also knew his brother and Bergland wanted the rights to the Marvel for themselves, and I think we saw the reasons why the last few days. Jimmy had a deal with the Fletcher family, and was loyal to them, so he turned Marshall & Morgan down, and it was Marshall who caused the accident, sacrificing his friend in favor of his brother's greed."

    "And how could you tell him apart from Morgan?"

    "Scars across both eyes.", Joanna replied. "Morgan has only one scar."

    The next day, Joanna woke up to find a copy of the Sunday Planet on her lap, courtesy of Mary Lou.

    "Wake up, sleeping beauty!", John teased. "You landed on the front page!"

    "Jimmy's on his way over for breakfast.", Mary Lou added, "and says he wants you to be in your Sunday best, as he treating us at Siegel's."

    "Ok, you two, give me 10 minutes to hit the showers.", Joanna said as she ambled out of bed. "Shoo!"

    "We can take a hint, super-sis."

    Joanna reached under her bed and pulled out her Mystery Marvel costume, which Amanda let her keep.

    "There's only one place for you now.", she said as she laid it in her laundry basket for washing later. "It'll be a long time before I'm in the ring again. A very long time."

    At Siegel's Restaurant, the Fletchers came by to say goodbye.

    "Joanna, I can't thank you enough for all you and your friends did to help us.", Harland said. "Eddie Kearney's apologized for 10 years of mistakes, and he's been forgiven."

    "We'll be back in town in another 4 months, so who knows? You might be needed again.", Amanda teased.

    "I'll keep that in mind.", Joanna chuckled.

    "Oh, and one more thing.", Amanda said. "Austin Flash wanted a date with you after the show last night, but I told him you were already spoken for. I told him he might see you again in 4 months."

    "I appreciate it, Amanda, and thanks."
    =====================================================================
    Later that day, Joanna hung her Mystery Marvel costume in the back of her secret closet.

    "The guys all tell me I look sexy in black. I wonder if maybe I should make that my primary color.", she thought to herself. "Naaaah. I have an image to protect."
    ======================================================================
    In chapter 4, we'll see what happens when Jayna & Jimmy go on a date to a Halloween party.
     
  4. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 4:

    The signs were all over the Metropolis College campus on the morning of Halloween, promoting a campus party later that night. Stan Bigley, representing the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, was tacking the posters on every available tree & bulletin board on the campus grounds when Joanna rushed by en route to class.

    "Joanna?", he called. "Got a minute?"

    "Not really, Stan.", Joanna replied. "I'm late for class due to oversleeping. See you later?"

    "Ok, sure."

    Fraternity brother Travis Cooper then approached Bigley.

    "Well?", he asked.

    "So far, she's not saying. She said she was running late, and that isn't like her."
    =================================================================
    "What happened, Jo?", Mary Lou asked as Joanna came out of class. "Did Jimmy forget to pick you up this morning?"

    "Overslept.", Joanna replied. "I must've lost track of days and shut the alarm off."

    "Have you seen the posters for the party?"

    "I have, Mary, but we have invitations to another party elsewhere."

    "Oh, really? John didn't mention anything about that."

    "Only because he doesn't know about it. The invites were under my door this morning."

    "So where's the party?"

    "Gotham City. We're to be ready by 3 for transport. It's at Wayne Manor."

    "Isn't that where you and Jimmy met?"

    "Yes, it is."

    The girls made it to the parking lot when Jimmy pulled in.

    "Honey? Did you get the invitations to Bruce Wayne's party? I dropped them off this morning, along with a note. I couldn't take you to school because something came up at the office and Perry needed me right away.", he said.

    "I have the invitations here, Jim. I overslept and had to bus it to school. Not knowing the schedule, I was a wee bit late.", Joanna replied, kissing Jimmy as she entered the car.

    Presently, John joined the group and got his invitation.

    "Just how are we supposed to get from here to Gotham in time for the party?", he asked.

    "VIP treatment, John. You'll see.", Jimmy replied, chuckling.

    Just then, Stan came back to Joanna.

    "Have you decided, Joanna?", he asked.

    "Sorry, Stan. I had no chance to tell you before, but my sponsor, Bruce Wayne, invited us to his party in Gotham City later tonight. As much as I'd like to stay in town, any opportunity to meet with Mr. Wayne can't be wasted. See you in the morning."

    Jimmy pulled away, with John trailing in his car, before Stan could say anything further.
    ================================================================
    Back at the Anderson Arms, the twins were finally struck with a dose of reality.

    "It says here a Wayne Enterprises corporate jet will meet us at Metropolis Airport at 3.", Joanna said. "Estimated arrival time would be around 5 or 5:15, and there is an airstrip about a quarter-mile from the manor, meaning Alfred will be waiting for us with the limo."

    "So we enter through the front door like everyone else.", John replied. "It makes sense, since we'd otherwise have to blindfold Mary Lou so she can't see the location of the Batcave."

    "Exactly. Now, if you'll excuse me, dear brother, and send Mary over here, we have some work to do."

    Joanna walked into her bedroom and brought out two large jars of paint, and her makeup kit.

    "That answers my next question.", John said, grinning. "No powers this time, right?"

    "Right again. Now, shoo. This is going to take a while. Just make sure Mary brings over a few dresses to choose from for the party."

    "See you later, sis."

    Meanwhile, Jimmy was busy picking out his costume for the party, and settled on improvising an Indiana Jones ensemble, complete with fedora, buying a bullwhip at a sporting goods store to complete the look. Back in his apartment, John, realizing what his sister had in mind, called a local costumer, asking about an animal trainer or safari outfit. 30 minutes later, he was at the shop, buying the outfit.

    "Very few actually ask about animal trainers.", Sam Brody, the owner, said. "What's the theme of the party?"

    "No theme, really.", John replied. "My sister and girlfriend are opting for a jungle look, if I understood the clues my sister dropped. More like that Wells book, I think."

    "You mean, 'The Island of Dr. Moreau'?"

    "That's the one. Saw the movie the other night on TV."

    "Oh, I get it. The 'Humanimal' look. Again, that's thinking outside the box."
    ===================================================================
    When John returned, Jimmy was arriving at the same time, dressed as Indiana Jones.

    "I didn't know they had anything in Frank Buck.", he cracked.

    "Frank Buck? Who's he?", John asked.

    "Famous big game hunter. Before our time."

    "Oh. I was going more for Gunther Gebel-Williams."

    "The guy from the circus?"

    "That's him."

    "Oh, man! Why didn't I think of that?"

    "Worry about that later, pal. We'd better check on our wild women and see if they're ready."

    Once on the second floor, the guys were stunned to see a leopard-woman and a lioness emerging from Joanna's apartment, modestly garbed in gold lame dresses and sandals.

    "How do we look, guys?", Joanna asked, sidling up to Jimmy.

    "Purr-fect.", John quipped, giving Mary Lou a loving peck.

    "Careful, honey. Let's not smudge the makeup before we get to the party.", she said.

    "Ok, we're all set, so let's head for the airport.", Joanna said, linking hands with Jimmy.
    ====================================================================
    The Wayne jet landed on the air field around 5, and Alfred, right on time, picked up the quartet in the limo. Once there, however, the twins were directed to Bruce Wayne's private study, while Jimmy & Mary Lou waited patiently in the foyer.

    "The reason I arranged for you to be here tonight is because I won't be here much of the night, and I have some very important people coming in.", Bruce said. "The British ambassador to the United States and his wife are attending, under heavy security, due to recent death threats against the ambassador. I realize that this is a very big assignment, and you both brought your dates so that there isn't any, well, suspicion that the assassins know they're being watched."

    "Plus, there's always the chance either Jimmy or I can file the story for the Daily Planet.", Joanna said.

    "Hmmm, there is that, too. I forgot you went back to work there part-time.", Wayne replied. "You kids just have to be careful, and, above all else...."

    "We know.", John put in. "No powers. We left our usual gear back in Metropolis."

    "Good thinking, lad.", Bruce replied.

    "How will we know when the ambassador is here?", Joanna asked.

    "That's something you'll have to figure out, once you get around the security detail.", Bruce said. "You might as well rejoin your dates."

    "Thanks for the heads-up.", John said as he left.

    "Oh, and Joanna?"

    "Yes, Mr. Wayne?"

    "If I happen to get back before the party's over, promise me at least one dance."

    "Sure. I don't think Jimmy will have a problem."
    ======================================================================
    Ah, but there is a problem soon to arise that the Twins don't know about, and we'll see what it is in chapter 5.
     
  5. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 5:

    Since they arrived so early, Jimmy, Mary Lou, & the twins helped Alfred finish preparing the banquet hall for the party. Soon, Jimmy & Joanna found themselves at the center of the dance floor, and Joanna told Jimmy about the promise to Bruce Wayne. Jimmy just shook his head.

    "You're being played, honey. I happen to know for a fact, since Bruce was in Metropolis yesterday on business, that he was en route to Hawaii on a business trip.", he said.

    "Then, that means that was really....."

    "It was Dick, masquerading as Bruce. He won't be here most of the night because he & Starfire probably have another commitment, but he wanted one last chance to be with you. If he thought he was fooling me, and I've known Dick for years, he's fooling himself."

    "How could he pull such a stunt like that?"

    "It's easy, Joanna. He knew Bruce had the ambassador coming in, but couldn't get out of his commitment to whatever he had planned tonight in New York, where the Titans are based. Knowing we'd gotten invitations, he wanted to be here to get at least one dance with you. It's on him to honor his promise at the end of the night."

    Meanwhile, Dick Grayson, aka Robin, was watching on a monitor with Alfred.

    "Blast it. I should've known Jimmy would rat me out like that.", he fumed. "He's got me dead to rights."

    "Indeed, sir, though I must admit you did have Master John and Miss Joanna fooled with the makeup and mimicry, the latter of which Miss Joanna is working on mastering herself, as she did a fine job with makeup as well.", Alfred offered.

    "Oh, that's all gone to waste thanks to Jimmy."
    ================================================================================================================
    Later in the evening, Ambassador Clark Gaithers and his wife, Rosemary, arrived dressed as King Henry VIII & Marie Antoinette, with their guards dressed as Buckingham Palace Beefeater guards. Gaithers was quite taken with Joanna, as a lioness, but had to make sure Rosemary didn't notice him ogling Joanna from a distance. Just before 10, however, there was a commotion in the foyer. Alfred went to check on the rented guards. The Beefeaters then showed their true colors, chloroforming the Gaithers, then dropping some tear gas. In the hall, the twins were taking a break when they heard the commotion.

    "Uh-oh! Seems like the Gaithers brought a Trojan horse with them, and didn't realize it.", John observed.

    "Then we'd better do something about it, brother.", Joanna replied. "After all, I've got just the right animal for this job."

    "But we left our costumes at home, remember?"

    "Yes, we did, but there's a reason why I treated your safari outfit with a special solution Batman concocted a while back. Once you change back, all you'll need will be your hair dye, as your clothes will return.... as will my dress."

    "Oh. Unstable molecules, right?"

    "Exactly."

    The twins retreated to the end of the hall to change. Minutes later, Jayna returned as a lion stalking her prey. Zan approached from the other side, as a ice creature. The Beefeaters were gradually dragging the Gaithers out when confronted with the twins.

    "Oy! We were ready for you lot.", one said, as he produced a bolo. Abruptly, seeing her friends in trouble, Mary Lou took advantage of her own feline disguise and let out a feral growl as she pounced on one of the guards.

    "Cor'! They didn't say anything about a third one of these!", the guard said as he reaimed his bolo for Mary Lou. Zan stopped him cold---literally, freezing him and the other guards in blocks of ice.

    Soon, after reverting to John & Joanna, the twins attended to the Gaithers while Alfred arranged for a police escort for the duplicitous guards to jail.

    "They must have been paid off.", Rosemary Gaithers concluded. "By whom, I don't know. Hiring those guards was the only way they'd have a free shot at us."

    "They won't bother you again.", Joanna promised. "But I think it might help if you could tell us about any enemies you might have that wanted to eliminate you or your husband."

    "I can tell you that.", the ambassador replied. "Sir Norris Hedgely. He was removed as ambassador to the US after they discovered he was involved in some shady dealings with American gangsters. Seems he's become quite connected here in America, and wants his job back so he can continue his operations. The only reason he didn't go to jail was because of his political ties."
    ===================================================================================================================
    The rest of the party went off without a hitch, and, as promised, Dick Grayson returned to the Manor for one final dance with Joanna, this time disguised as Zorro. Of course, now that she was aware of the deception, and since most of the guests had left, she played along until after everyone else had departed. Finally, shortly after midnight, only the twins, Jimmy, Mary Lou, Dick, & Alfred remained, though Mary Lou was busy washing off her body paint in the shower and getting ready to head home.

    "I guess I owe you one huge apology.", Dick began, "I was asked at the last minute to fill in for Bruce, but, as Jimmy's already figured out, Kory and I were committed to a party in New York at the same time. Bruce wouldn't have been able to stay long, anyway, knowing him, so there'd not have been much difference."

    "Apology accepted. Now,......"

    Joanna was cut off by a feral scream. Soon, Mary Lou made her way back out, but not as expected.

    "Joanna, there's a....problem....with the paint.", she said, slowly. Joanna turned, and gasped. Mary Lou had become more cat than woman.

    "What sort of paint did you girls use?", Dick inquired.

    "Normal body paint, or so I thought. I still have some left at home.", Joanna replied. She soon began to feel dizzy.

    "My head is buzzing. So hard to think."

    Soon, she collapsed right into Jimmy's arms. As the reporter held her close, he noticed her eyes had changed, just like Mary Lou's. The change was taking effect on Joanna, too, despite her Exorian physiology.

    "Guys, I think we'd better get these girls someplace where there won't be any issues.", he said.

    "There's only one place, and that's the Hall of Justice. I'll warm up the Batjet.", Dick said as he headed for the Batcave to change to Robin.
    ==============================================================================================================
    Ohhhh, boy. Maybe posing as a leopard and a lioness wasn't the best idea the girls had, but there may be a price to pay if things don't change soon enough. The conclusion is in chapter 6.
     
  6. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 6:

    Wonder Woman & Zatanna were waiting on the airport roof of the Hall of Justice as the Batjet touched down around 1:30 am, Metropolis time. Mary Lou & Joanna had been strapped to gurneys and sedated, then led into the Justice League's medi-center.

    "They aren't the only ones.", Wonder Woman told Robin. "There are a number of students at Metropolis College who used the same paint you described, and they too turned into animals. Superman's busy retrieving them before they or anyone else gets hurt."

    Meanwhile, John & Jimmy returned to the Anderson Arms. Jimmy, using a pass key Joanna had given him, gained access to her hidden closet and pulled her Wonder Twin costume, then packed it carefully in a box. Zan joined him after changing outfits, then the two returned to the Hall, using Jimmy's car. A short while later, Zatanna greeted the boys with good news.

    "It's going to be some time before they're awake and alert, but they'll be very happy to see you.", she said. "Believe me, they do need their beauty sleep after tonight."

    "So what exactly happened?", Jimmy asked.

    "There are some demonic, animalistic spirits in the paint the girls and some other kids had used. I've contained the spirits and cast them into limbo. By morning, the girls should be ready to head for home."

    "You said there were others?", Zan inquired.

    "Yes. At Metropolis College."

    "Jupiters!", Zan exclaimed. "That must've been the party Stan Bigley was talking about!"

    "Bigley.", Zatanna repeated. "Yes, that name does sound familiar. Come on inside, guys."

    Soon, the boys had been briefed on the incident at the college. Classes had been cancelled for the day, giving the twins an unexpected day off.

    "There was plenty of damage.", Superman said. "I doubt very seriously those kids knew what they were doing."

    "Jimmy, Joanna still has the receipt for the paint, doesn't she?", Zan whispered.

    "Yes, she does, or did. I have it here.", Jimmy replied, reaching into his pocket. Zan examined the sales slip.

    "Oleck's Costumes and Designs.", he noted. "I thought about going there, and went elsewhere instead."

    "Smart lad.", Supeman said. "However, that place might be worth checking into."
    =====================================================================================================
    Later that morning, Jimmy visited Oleck's and talked to the manager, Alice Tomlin.

    "Ohhh, dear. I heard about what happened at the college last evening.", she said. "And you say your girlfriend bought the same paint?"

    "Yes, ma'am. We were at a party out of town last night."

    "Oh, I hope nothing actually happened to her."

    "Well, it almost did, but we caught the virus or whatever it was in time and contained it."

    "I see. Mr. Hedgely, the store owner, is going to be meeting with Inspector Henderson later this morning about the possibility of civil suits filed against him and the store by the parents of these kids. He's afraid the store will be ruined."

    "Is this the first time something like this has happened?", Jimmy asked.

    "Yes, as far as since I've been here, and I've only been working here six months."
    =========================================================================================================
    Back at the Anderson Arms, Jayna took advantage of the day off to do some exercising, thankful that the danger had passed. Abruptly, the phone rang. It was Jimmy.

    "What is it, honey?", Jayna asked.

    "Remember when Ambassador Gaithers told us about Sir Norris? Well, it turns out he's the guy who owns the shop where you bought the paint. He's meeting with Inspector Henderson as we speak, and the parents of at least 3-4 of the kids at school are actually considering legal action."

    "I've got a bad feeling about this, Jim. Let me get changed and I'll meet you at headquarters."

    "I'll be waiting, doll."

    A short time later, Joanna & Jimmy were at Metropolis Police Headquarters, but as soon as Joanna made eye contact with Hedgely, she began to feel dizzy. Jimmy then led her back to the car.

    "Honey, there's something about him that seems all wrong.", she said. "Almost as if....."

    "I get it, babe. Zatanna may have purged those demons from you, but not completely. That reaction means there's something else to all this. It's back to the Hall for us!"

    A short time later, the twins, Mary Lou, & Jimmy were back at the Hall of Justice. Mary Lou was experiencing the same symptoms as Joanna. Zatanna had an answer.

    "Hedgely, on the surface, is merely a businessman, very wealthy.", she said. "However, he's also a practicing warlock. His knowledge of the black arts led to the creation of that paint, but what did he hope to gain by selling it to innocent college kids?"

    "I wish I had an answer.", Jimmy said.

    Abruptly, Flash, monitoring the TroubleAlert, entered the conference room.

    "Remember those kids you treated this morning, Zatanna? They're having a relapse at the hospital.", he said.

    "Good night!", Jimmy exclaimed. "Then his casual eye contact wasn't accidental!"

    "No....it wasn't, Jimmy.", Joanna said, slowly. "We....need to go.....to...the hospital..."

    "We're going, honey."

    Soon, outside Metropolis General Hospital, Hedgely, now attired in sorcerer's robes, stood on the roof, surrounded by the 8 college students who'd been infected the night before. Four men and four women, gradually, again, changing into animals.

    "We stand on the precipice of a new world order, just as HG Wells foretold.", Hedgely said. "A world where man & beast live as one and will dominate! Now, embrace the beasts within you!!"

    But, as the youths began to mutate anew, they were frozen in place. Zatanna appeared with the Twins and Superman, while Jimmy remained on the ground, concerned more for Jayna's safety and health.

    "I hope you know what you're doing, my love.", he thought to himself. "I don't want to lose you."

    "It's over, Hedgely!", Superman declared. "These kids don't deserve any of this!"

    "Oh, no, Superman? Ordinary children are weak unless motivated to find what's best for them, and, believe me, I know what's best!"

    Hedgely glanced toward a young Asian girl, Mia Chen, and accelerated her transformation into a giant spider. Now fully under Hedgely's control, she webbed up Zatanna, leaving her mute and helpless. Or was she?

    "They took the bait.", Zan whispered. "Now's your chance."

    Jayna feigned as if to activate her powers, but instead, recited one of Zatanna's backward spells, which forced Mia back into her human form, and at the same time, released the other students from Hedgely's control. The last of his demon spirits had left them, cast into limbo. Finally, as the web dissolved, there was one last change. A sudden shimmer of light revealed the Jayna & Zatanna had traded places, in a variation of the classic stage magician's metamorphosis routine, thanks to the Princess of Prestidigation's backward magic enabling her to do a little shapechanging of her own. Freed, Jayna caught Hedgely unaware with a savate kick, and Superman finished off the sorcerer with a right cross.
    ==================================================================================================================
    With Hedgely in custody, all was revealed. He'd created the paint as a means of releasing the demons into the populace. They were to be housed in more than just 10 people, but things didn't work out that way. The remaining paint had been destroyed, sending the remaining demons into limbo to join their brethren.
    =================================================================================================================
    Three days later, at Metropolis College, Mia sought out Joanna.

    "You are fortunate that you weren't there on Tuesday at the hospital.", she said. "I feel as though I've finally been liberated."

    "So everyone tells me.", Joanna replied as the two walked to the library

    "Stan and Travis got refunds on the paint yesterday. They're swearing they'll never do something that dumb again."

    "I got a refund, too. As far as those boys go, they're frat rats. Doing something dumb is in their blood."

    Later that night, Joanna was finally able to relax and spent some time with Jimmy in his apartment.

    "I think I've learned a valuable lesson after this case.", she said. "You know what they say about judging a book by its cover?"

    "Yeah. It applies to labels of all kinds.", Jimmy replied, handing Joanna a cup of tea. "Although you were by far the sexiest lioness I've ever seen."

    "Ohhhh, Jimmy.", Joanna cooed. "Maybe next year, I'll just design a costume and stitch it up like I should've done, and just use my makeup."

    "Now you're talking, honey.", Jimmy replied, kissing her. "As Ralph always told Alice, baby, you're the greatest."
    ================================================================================================================
    We're taking our leave of the Twins for now, and our next project will be something completely different. Stay tuned, or I should say, tooned.
     
    #6 hobbyfan, Jul 30, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2012
  7. Kenny E. McCall

    Kenny E. McCall We fight like cats!

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    Hobbyfan, this is some good stuff that you got here! I need to do more stuff with the H-B characters myself in the future.
     
  8. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    You've got some serious catching up to do, my friend.
     

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