Ace Reporter: This is Grace Cartilage from Ace News .I’m at the scene of another super-powered battle in downtown Colossus City. Today’s saviour is a new member of our crowded superhero community. Mister Extra, why don’t you introduce yourself to our viewers?
Mister Extra: Oh, please, Grace, call me Ex. I can’t claim to be anything special. I was just someone in the right place at the right time.
Ace Reporter: Mister Extra, isn’t this your first public appearance?
Mister Extra: That’s right Grace. I’ve been training in secret for some time, learning how to use my powers to protect the good people of Colossus City. But when danger threatened, I had no choice but to jump into the fray.
Ace Reporter: And what a fray! You found yourself up against the Colossal Crab on your very first outing. That’s quite a trial by fire!
Mister Extra: Well, he is a formidable opponent. It was touch and go there for a while.
Ace Reporter: Can you take us through your bruising encounter?
Mister Extra: Well, Grace, when I heard Crab had launched a wave of pincer drones at the Exoscope Industries trade show, and that international defense delegates were in peril, I donned my power armour and – voila!
Ace Reporter: It’s quite a look you’ve got there.
Mister Extra: Thanks! The armour plating is a composite of ceramic and carbon fibre strata, the joints have gravitic boosters for extra strength and short-range flight, and the wraparound face mask has sensor and communications arrays, as well as counter-intrusion hardening against electronic and magical scans.
Ace Reporter: I really like how the purple highlights set off your red hair.
Mister Extra: Thanks! It’s my favourite colour.
Ace Reporter: You heard it here first, folks. So, what happened?
Mister Extra: Well, the Colossal Crab had secured control of the bottom six floors of the Pharaoh Convention Centre and taken the entire Exoscope contingent hostage along with more than a hundred convention delegates. A quick reconnaissance with my holovision scanner revealed that each hostage had been subdued by a pincer drone to the throat. One wrong move and they could all be snipped to death.
Ace Reporter: That is extraordinarily horrible. But despite the danger you decided not to back off and leave the job to police negotiators. Why not?
Mister Extra: There was no time, Grace. From monitoring his command channels, I knew the Colossal Crab was on the verge of a decapitation frenzy. I had to act.
Ace Reporter: No doubt. So what did you do?
Mister Extra: Well, as you know from my helmet camera footage, which I’ve made exclusively available to your network, an episode of Teen Celebrity Cakeologists was being filmed in the floor above the conference. I organised a little distraction by using my disintegration beams to dissolve the floor beneath an oversized confectionery fountain. It dumped five hundred liters of Belgian ganache right on top of the Colossal Crab.
Ace Reporter: That sounds unhygienic.
Mister Extra: More importantly, it coated his eyestalks for a crucial six seconds. While he was out of commission I projected an EMP hackwave to cut off the control signal to his pincer drones. Bam! Hostages freed!
Ace Reporter: And that’s when the Colossal Crab punched you through a wall?
Mister Extra: That’s when I took the opportunity to reposition the fight away from civilians.
Ace Reporter: He punched you through the Orthopaedics wing of the Merciful Heaven Medical Centre.
Mister Extra: No life-threatening injuries occurred.
Ace Reporter: No, just forty million in property damage and structural instability which will close the hospital for at least three months.
Mister Extra: It’s regrettable, Grace, but after all, you can’t make an omelette without cracking an egg.
Ace Reporter: I can’t help feeling I’ve heard that before.
Mister Extra: It’s a common expression.
Ace Reporter: That must be it. So, Mister Extra, can you tell our viewers how you brought the Colossal Crab to justice?
Mister Extra: To my shame, he slipped away from the scene while I was using my gravitational field to stop a wall from collapsing on some innocent passers-by.
Ace Reporter: He got away?
Mister Extra: Not for long. I’ll stop at nothing to track him down.
Ace Reporter: Where will your pursuit begin?
Mister Extra: As you can see from this holographic projection, Grace, I’m currently running over two hundred thousand simulations to calculate his escape route and –
Ace Reporter: Wouldn’t you start at Apartment 206 of Lieber Towers, 701 Kirby Avenue?
Mister Extra: Er, what?
Ace Reporter: The current address of Herbert Charles Simonic, better known as the Colossal Crab.
Mister Extra: How do you know about -?
Ace Reporter: I have a picture of the Lieber Towers front entrance taken yesterday morning.
Mister Extra: …you do?
Ace Reporter: Take a look. I snapped it just as three people left. You can see every detail in the faces.
Mister Extra: …you can? Oh. You can.
Ace Reporter: Herb Simonic is the bearded man. By unbelievable coincidence, the woman is Madeleine Barrow, Chief of Corporate Intelligence for Valkyrie Industries.
Mister Extra: I’m not familiar with –
Ace Reporter: One of Exocorp’s closest defense contracting rivals.
Mister Extra: Ah. Grace, I’ve received an emergency call. I’ll have to cut this –
Ace Reporter: The man with the curly ginger hair is Todd Blight.
Mister Extra: I really have to go –
Ace Reporter: Previously known as the Irregulator. Remember him? The genius pioneer of gravity manipulation and atomic disruption technologies? He was thrown out of the Society of Vigilance last year for taking kickbacks from the criminal network known as Omega Corps. You know, the one the Colossal Crab used to lead?
Mister Extra: Sorry, but –
Ace Reporter: I miss the Irregulator. Not everyone could make a violet cape work.
Mister Extra: Goodbye!
Ace Reporter: And there he goes. Thanks, Mister Extra, for giving up some of your precious remaining time. Back to you in the studio, Walter and Louise!
This story is brought to you for no better reason than I hadn’t done superheroes yet. And I do love superheroes.
In case anyone somehow managed to miss my news last weekend, my short story collection Mnemo’s Memory and Other Fantastic Tales is now available for pre-order from your favourite online ebook store. Unless your favourite is Google Play; sorry, I’m still working on them. You can find the details to place your order here.
Of course, the book’s not officially released until the 28th of February. If you can’t wait that long – and who could blame you for your feverish impatience? Not me! – then you can get a link to own it immediately by signing up for my newsletter.
Just fill out that extremely basic form on the right with your name and email address, and the magic of the internet will do the rest. In no time at all, your preferred e-reading device will be nineteen stories heavier! For free, what’s more! Some would say that’s exactly the right amount of great value!