Blue and Martialla were questioned as well. What we told the Prince’s lady in a lady business suit didn’t exactly line up. We should have gotten our stories straight beforehand. In our defense though, we had no idea that the Madripoor government (or royal family or whatever) would care about us turning up with a hundred people in a fishing net. Despite what Salvacion (that’s the lady I was calling Uncle Fester’s real name) said, it certainly felt like we were in trouble.
I hate to admit it, but Martialla got us out of that jam. I guess she pulled a bunch of people out of a Japanese base or something so the Prince already knew her and was inclined to hear her out. After talking to a bunch of other people, eventually we did go to a palace and talk to the Prince’s eighth wife’s cousin, who was a general or something. We told him the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (more or less) and the next thing I know we’re on a boat off the shore of Ape Island watching the Madripoor Royal Guard storm the place. They said with all the shore batteries and stuff, a conventional military attack would result in lots of casualties so they went with an elite strike force of super people. I think they just did it because it’s cool.
And it was cool. Baron Frankenstein had soldiers and his own band of super mercs defending his island so it was a real melee. I watched through binoculars from the boat, which if you ask me is the best way to watch a NBH skirmish. One guy made out of rocks was killed and a woman that had glowing Saturn rings around her was badly injured, but Blue and Martialla were impressed with the Royal Guard. Sounds like they’re the real deal.
Doctor Evil got away but Martialla’s niece was rescued. Kid didn’t even know she had been kidnapped.
She just thought she was on a trip with her long-lost uncle. She’s not too bright apparently. It was funny to see Martialla clamp onto her and start blubbering with the “thank god you’re alive” and the kid is all like “What’s your problem weirdo?”
Her name is Elizaveta and she’s a funny little thing. Spent the last months eating ice cream, watching cartoons, and running around the island of supervillain Jones. What a world, huh? The Baron had someone nab her because it turns out that the reason Martialla survived the experiment they did to turn her into a grouper-woman is because she has some funky genetics and they were hoping her niece would have the same thing.
Which she must have, because Doctor Baron harvested some juice from the kid and he made the gas that Tiger Shark used to attack the undersea facility that Martialla is always winging on about. I guess she wasn’t lying about that. Some of the soldiers that were transformed wrecked the tanker ship that Alacazar was so interested in so his men could steal whatever was on it.
Alacazar is pissed. Not only did we not get whatever the thing was for him, but we lost the sub. Since it (whatever it is) was already taken off the ship, I don’t know what he expected us to do about it. And honestly if you lend a mini sub to super people, you have to expect that it ain’t coming back. I told him if he figured out where his mystery package was, we’d go get it for him. He told me to go to hell. He’ll come around I’m sure.
The Prince gave us the use of an apartment in Hightown for a few days and it has a satellite that gets the Tropics games! During commercials of a game where Jackie Moon had fifteen rebounds in the first half, I was regaling Elizaveta with some age-appropriate stories while hammering down bottles of Coke and eating hot dogs like they’re going out of style.
“So anyway, long story short it wasn’t the laundry detergent that was making it burn when I pee. Let that be a lesson to you kid, men are liars.”
She screwed up her little face “GAH-ROSS !!!”
I nodded “Tell me about it. It’s like this one time, I was trying to show Jeanie how to blow a bubble inside a bubble with some Yubba Bubba . . .” Martialla walked in wearing actual clothes for once instead of her stupid Canadian flag wetsuit “I’ll tell you later.” I got up and followed her into the kitchen “Get everything squared away?”
Martialla grabbed a beer out of the fridge and nodded “Yes, my sister will be here in a few days to take her home.”
I frowned “What do you mean, why is she coming here? I thought you were taking her home?”
She smiled humorlessly “I’m a fugitive Ela, remember?”
“I don’t mean home to Canada, I mean the Coalition with your sister.”
“Someday maybe. We still need to rescue your friend Maggie. And we still need to kill the Duke.” She laughed “You’re not very good at revenge, are you? Doesn’t seem like you’ve made any progress at all.”
I shook my head in confusion “I can’t . . . you don’t . . . it doesn’t make any sense Martialla. You only came here to get your niece back, you should go home, be with her and your sister.”
“We had a deal Ela, you help me get my niece back and I help you kill the Duke. I’m a woman my word.”
“But I didn’t even really do anything. The Royal Guard did that.”
Martialla tilted her head “You didn’t give up. Ela, you’re not very smart, you can’t fight for shit, you should be charming at least but you always say the worst thing possible, and even if you don’t, every decision you make is exactly wrong. You’re a crazy bitch, Ela. But you’re not afraid. Of anything seemingly. Even when you should be. You did enough. You did enough. You brought her home. What kind of a woman would I be if I didn’t see this through to the end? I’m a fighter Ela, this is what I do. At least this is a fight that means something.”
“I can’t ask you to do this.”
“You’re not asking me, I’m offering.”
I couldn’t help but laugh “But you don’t even like me!”
She looked at her beer for a moment as if it had the answer “And sometimes Downtown ‘Funky’ Malone doesn’t like Jackie Moon either I bet. I bet sometimes they want nothing more than to strangle each other. But they’re teammates – you don’t have to like someone to work with them. The only thing you have to ask yourself, Ela, is this – are you ready to get Tropical?”