This story is a little different than “Heroes and Friends.” I didn’t have it fully developed in my head before I started on it and I basically sat down and typed it all in one shot. I guess it’s not bad as is but I’d love it if people would send in suggestions for changes to make it better. Maybe more detail, additional dialogue, or alternative ways to identify the characters (I love alliterations, i.e., buxom blonde, pint-sized pistolera, etc.). As long as the changes don’t alter the basic structure of the story, I’ll amend it to include reader’s suggestions that make the final story more fun to read! Thanks so far to Jim Johnston for his suggestions.
The World Spins ‘Round and ‘Round!
The window slid open silently and the caped figure crept into the darkened storefront. She congratulated herself on a much quieter entry than if she had tried the padlocked storm cellar door. Shadows in the room loomed threateningly cast by the streetlights illuminating the sidewalk outside the shop. Drawing her twin .45’s from their holsters, the Blue Bulleteer listened for any sound piercing the silence which might alert her to danger. For, if this was one of Lady Luger’s hideaways in the United States, danger was assured.
Goosebumps crept across her flesh and she wondered how the other members of the Femforce were faring as they investigated Lady Luger’s other suspected hideaways. It was a stroke of luck that they had obtained the information that Lady Luger had again crossed the Atlantic. Just this morning they had foiled an espionage attempt at the local Air Force base and one of the captured German spies had been coerced into revealing the sites and the identity of his new boss. Having just come under her command, he was less fearful of her revenge than he would have been had he been a seasoned agent. Of course, there was always the possibility that he was sending the team into a trap.
The spy had revealed four locations where Lady Luger based her local operations. A warehouse on the marina, a seedy motel on the edge of town, a house in the countryside, and this toy store near the center of town. The Femforce had split up with each taking a location and as Laura peered through the darkness at the grinning faces of so many jack-in-the-boxes she wondered if she wouldn’t have preferred the countryside.
Having ascertained that no one was present in the retail portion of the store, the Blue Bulleteer cautiously moved back the curtain and eased into the back room. An office of sorts, it had two doors, a desk, a chair, several filing cabinets, and papers strewn throughout. She lifted a piece of paper from the desk and peered at an invoice for toy trains. If this was a hideaway for Lady Luger it seemed the shop doubled as a legitimate business. Once the building was secure she would check the various documents for clues, but given the haphazard nature in which she found them it was not a task she relished.
Standing with her back to the wall at the side of one door, she twisted the knob and let the door swing open. The squeaking hinges seemed deafening in the silence as she stepped into the doorway with her pistols raised. Her eyes having grown accustomed to the darkness, she found herself confronted by an empty restroom. She sighed to herself and moved to the other door where she repeated the procedure. Steps leading down to a basement. She listened intently for any sound that might signal a human presence but heard nothing.
Carefully, the Blue Bulleteer placed her foot on the top step and shifted her weight. The wooden plank creaked under the pressure. Laura knew that she wouldn’t be able to search the basement without making some noise. Hopefully, no one would be around to hear it. She moved down the steps, listening for any noise other than that of creaking wooden stairs. She was halfway down when she felt icy fingers clamp around her ankle long enough to trip her as her momentum sent her tumbling forward.
Miraculously, though she bounced off the steps several times, she found herself unhurt as she skidded to a stop at the base of a wall. Suddenly, the lights clicked on and the Blue Bulleteer’s pupils could scarcely adjust quickly enough to see the figure of Lady Luger towering above her. Before she could raise her weapons to defend herself, a vicious boot to the chin sent her back into darkness.
“Wake up, Schweinhunt!”
The sound of the whip cracking inches away from her face shocked the Blue Bulleteer back into consciousness. As she blinked her eyes and tried to focus, she felt the tug of gravity pulling on her wrists. Shaking her head to clear the cobwebs, she looked at her arms and saw that she was bound by the wrists to a multicolored circular board. As her senses cleared, she realized that she was tied spread-eagle to a wooden wheel.
“Ahhh, the infamous Blue Bulleteer. How good of you to join us! Miss Victory is at the Marina, no doubt?” Lady Luger again cracked her trademark whip with unerring accuracy, this time the tip actually brushed the Blue Bulleteer’s raven hair.
It had been a trap! She should have known one of Lady Luger’s operatives would never have given up such vital information so easily! Ignoring Lady Luger, she tugged at her bonds, testing their strength. From behind her she heard another voice. “Foolish American! You don’t even have the strength of Miss Victory. Do you really think you can escape when her superior, Panzer, has tied you down?!?”
Panzer and Lady Luger. Together! This was serious! She wondered how quickly the other members of the Femforce had been able to secure their targets. If they were done, and she didn’t report in, they’d come to check on her. She had to buy time.
“That paper hanger in Berlin must be really desperate to send you two losers over here to cause problems!”
“Our glorious Fuhrer has decided that we can ensure the 1000 year Reich by forcing the United States out of the war.”
“You’ll never be able to get us out of the war. All your espionage efforts will never sway the will of the people!”
“Maybe the American people will be swayed by the death of their beloved heroine, the Blue Bulleteer? Maybe they will cry out that no more of their heroes should be lost?”
“It’ll never happen. You’ve got it all wrong. My demise at your hands would only serve to galvanize public anger against you Ratzis. The American people will work and fight even harder to bring down your evil regime!”
“So the Americans will not mourn your death? What a shame! Your going to suffer so much, your people really should mourn after what you’re going to go through.”
“You see, American, Fraulein Luger has decided to turn your demise into a game. The Spinning Wheel of Death upon which you are tied will decide your end! Your method of execution will be determined by where the pointer lands!”
“Of course, Blue Bulleteer, our aim may not be perfect. You may not die after the first time around.”
“Fascist Fiends! You’ll never get away with this!”
“If we don’t, you won’t be around to hear of it. Spin the Wheel of Death, Panzer!”
Laura felt the pointer skim across the top of her head and then the rushing force of her body turning head over heels and upright again with each turn being marked by the pointer slapping against the side of her head. She spun around more times than she could count, her body weight shifting up, down, and side to side as she closed her eyes and tried to keep her equilibrium. Finally, she slowed to a stop on her side.
She opened her eyes and Lady Luger had put aside her bullwhip and picked up a hatchet. “Turn her upright, please, Panzer. I’d like to go for an arm.”
Panzer rotated the wheel and the Blue Bulleteer steeled herself as Lady Luger prepared to throw. Laura tensed as the razor-sharp tomahawk flew through the air and she jerked involuntarily as she heard it slam into the wood not far from her right arm. She exhaled, knowing that her arm was intact, and she looked to see the blade embedded above her forearm.
“Bah, you missed! Here, let Panzer show you how to do it.” Panzer threw the wheel into rotation and walked over next to Lady Luger. Laura closed her eyes and waited for the wheel to stop turning again but the sound of metal slicing into wood shocked her to attention. As the world spun around in front of her, she could hear her tormentors laughing.
“It seems you missed as well, my friend! But, I like your version of the game better. Spin her around again and let’s see how we do with the throwing knives.”
As Laura came to a stop, she looked around to see where the hatchet was embedded. She located it protruding from between her legs. Scarcely had the implications of the location set in than she was again spinning around. She tried to look at the two harpies as they drew back their new weapons but soon dizziness and nausea overcame her and she scarcely heard the knives whistle toward her. She felt the tug of her cape and realized that at least one had found it’s mark uncomfortably close to home.
“Ah, it seems we’ve both missed again. Perhaps, a bullet will better find it’s mark?” Lady Luger drew her pistol from it’s holster.
“No, Fraulein, wait.” Panzer walked over behind the wheel and emerged with the Blue Bulleteer’s weapons. “Better with her own guns, I think!”
“Indeed! How ironic it will be! Panzer, for this idea, I give you the honor of going first!”
Lady Luger walked up beside the Blue Bulleteer on the wheel. “I think you will not be so lucky this time! Do you have any final words?”
“Feh!” Lady Luger tugged on the wheel violently and the Blue Bulleteer began spinning around with so much force that she could barely stay conscious. The Teutonic twins watched with delight as the Blue Bulleteer’s body shifted to and fro. Panzer took aim. “Perhaps, we start with a kneecap?”
The gunshots echoed in the small room. Laura felt no pain and knew the Nazis had missed. Relief washed over her, but she knew that sooner or later her foes would tire of playing games. Sure enough, as she slowly came to rest just shy of vertical, her vision cleared and though the room still seemed to be spinning she was able to focus on Lady Luger’s visage. It was clear that this time, she wouldn’t miss. Luger took the .45 from Panzer and standing directly in front of the crimefighter raised both guns to fire.
“Auf wiedersehen, Amerikanen!”
The Blue Bulleteer knew that if this was it, she was going out fighting, and, who knows, she might make the Nazi numbskull so angry that she’d miss. “Ok, you swastikad stooge, let’s see if you can finally hit your target. If the rest of you Aryan schmucks are all as bad a shot as you, our boys will make short work of them!”
Lady Luger’s lip curled up in a sneer, and then, suddenly, the room was bathed in red light. “Eh? Someone else has entered the store. Panzer, check to see who it is?”
The Blue Bulleteer watched Panzer go into a curtained room over near the wall on her right. For the first time, she had an opportunity to notice her whereabouts. It was evident that she was in a finished room in the basement. She couldn’t see the steps that had proven her undoing so they had to be somewhere behind her. Behind Luger she could see steps leading up to the storm entrance.
Lady Luger walked up to the Blue Bulleteer and hissed in a hushed whisper, “If you try to say a word to alert someone, you will die before the first syllable has escaped your lips!” Laura’s .45 pressed against her jaw as Luger clamped her hand across the Blue Bulleteer’s mouth.
Suddenly, a streaking figure clad in red, white, and blue crashed through the storm cellar door. Miss Victory rushed forward only to stop dead in her tracks as Lady Luger shoved the .45 under the Blue Bulleteer’s jaw.
“That’s right, stupid Amerikanen! Any closer and the insides of your friend’s head will get scrambled!”
“Luger, your operation at the marina has been crushed. You’re finished. Give it up! It’ll only go harder on you if you do the Blue Bulleteer any harm.” Miss Victory moved closer trying to dominate Lady Luger’s field of vision. “Come on, hand over the gun.”
“Yes, maybe I should?” Lady Luger’s words did not deceive the patriotic powerhouse. Miss Victory knew that the Nazi would never surrender so easily. Laura’s eyes widened with fear and her muffled cries filled the room. Too late, Miss Victory realized that she herself was in danger as a strong arm grabbed her from behind pinning her arms and a strong hand clamped a damp rag across her mouth. Surprised the superheroine took in a sharp breath as she struggled to free herself from her attackers iron grip.
Too late, Miss Victory recognized the sickly sweet smell of chloroform on the rag. Sensing her peril if she did not escape from the overwhelming effect of the drug she redoubled her efforts but her initial breaths had already taken their toll. Her strength waning, she could not free herself from a foe almost as powerful as herself. Mighty legs buckled and powerful shoulders sagged as Miss Victory slowly slumped into unconsciousness.
“Excellent work, Panzer!” Lady Luger walked toward her compatriot who was the only thing holding the almost unconscious Miss Victory aloft. She tucked the Blue Bulleteer’s pistols into her belt. “You should check around and make sure that none of the other verdamnt Femforce are around.”
“Why don’t you check around!?! I captured Miss Victory, the honor of destroying her should be mine!”
“We captured Miss Victory, just like we captured the Blue Bulleteer! The Fatherland will shower plenty of honor on both of us. Besides, I am your superior officer and I have issued an order!”
Panzer stood petulantly for a moment and then released her grasp on Miss Victory. The mighty heroine’s eyes fluttered as she was freed from the intoxicating chloroform but her legs were without strength to carry her weight as she fell unceremoniously to the floor. With a backwards glance at Lady Luger, Panzer stalked off through the storm cellar entrance.
“She’ll be your downfall, Luger. She’s too ambitious. She’ll try to take credit for what you’ve done!”
Ignoring the Blue Bulleteer’s attempts to cause her concern, Lady Luger looked down at the semi-conscious Miss Victory. Kneeling she pressed the liquid soaked rag over the blonde bombshell’s nose and mouth. The momentary respite had allowed Miss Victory to regain some of her strength but despite her best efforts she was still too weak to push the Nazi fiend away. Luger continued pushing the cloth onto Miss Victory’s face until the blonde heroine’s breathing became regular and shallow. Checking underneath Joan’s eyelids, she confirmed that the American was unconscious. Standing, Luger walked into the room Panzer had previously entered.
“Miss Victory! Miss Victory wake up!” Laura’s heart sank. Panzer and Lady Luger had managed to capture not only her, but Miss Victory as well. The blow to the American public’s morale if they were both defeated would be tremendous. She couldn’t hope that She-Cat or Rio Rita would find them. She had prayed for Miss Victory to arrive and look at that result, the situation was worse. The Blue Bulleteer again tested her bonds and was overjoyed to find that they had been loosened by the centrifugal forces exerted by her spinning body. She began to work her arms trying to get the ropes free as Lady Luger returned with a bottle of what Laura had to believe was more chloroform.
Miss Victory’s vaunted recuperative powers had kicked into high gear and in that short span she had roused herself into semi-consciousness. Rolling over onto her side, she tried weakly to lift herself up but before she could get to her knees Luger pressed a boot heel into her shoulder and shoved her onto her back. Still, her eyes fluttered open again and she tried to sit up only to have Luger again smash the chloroform soaked rag into her face. Miss Victory pawed at Lady Luger’s arms trying unsuccessfully to push them away before the fumes again overpowered her senses and she slipped off to sleep.
As Laura watched Lady Luger sit back and stare at the unconscious Miss Victory, she realized in horror that her buxom friend’s invulnerable body would not save her from the overdose of chloroform that Lady Luger was clearly planning. The Blue Bulleteer frantically called out to her comatose comrade to wake up but the prone powerhouse did not respond. Turning her attention to their captor, the Blue Bulleteer screamed, “Get away from her you Nazi witch! Only a coward would attack a fallen opponent!”
Lady Luger was so absorbed in the realization of her dream to bring about the demise of the personification of American patriotism that Laura wondered if her comments had even been heard, then the teutonic titan respondent in a chillingly quiet voice, “Be quiet liebchen, your turn will come soon enough.”
Devastated by the off-handed manner of the German’s reply, the raven-haired adventuress returned to working on her bonds, desperately attempting to free herself and rescue her fallen comrade. She was gaining significant headway when she was alarmed to hear a noise at her side. Thinking it might be Panzer returning from the check of the grounds, she was enormously relieved to see a surprised Rio Rita who, upon witnessing the awful tableau, quickly drew her pistol from its’ holster located on her leg, high up under her dress.
“Don’t move a muscle, Luger!”
The Nazi swung around, dropping the chloroform soaked rag and extracting one of the Blue Bulleteer’s pistols from her belt, but Rita Farrar’s shot was true and the force of the bullet impacting on the gun in Luger’s hand sent the pistol flying across the room. Seeing that she was covered by a sharpshooter, Lady Luger sheepishly put her hands in the air.
“Stay on your knees, but turn around. Now, take that pistol from your belt butt first and slide it on the ground over toward the Blue Bulleteer. Okay, the same with the luger in your holster. Fine, hands clasped behind your head and don’t move a muscle.”
As Rita Farrar took Lady Luger into custody, the Blue Bulleteer continued freeing herself. Having managed to free her arms, she was working on her legs when she warned, “Rita, be careful, Panzer is around here someplace, as well.”
“You’re warning is too late, Amerikanen! Panzer is here, now!”
As Rita turned to face the giant German, she was met with a slap that sent her hurtling through the air and slamming into a wall. She slid to the floor, stars in her eyes. Sensing her opportunity, Lady Luger went for the gun that had been shot out of her hand. The Blue Bulleteer, having freed her arms but not her feet, leaned forward falling to the floor where she was able to grasp the .45 Rita had ordered Luger to slide her way. Just before Lady Luger reached the other weapon, she was able to fire and the bullet whizzing past the Nazi’s head caused Luger to abandon her effort.
Panzer kicked the gun out of the Blue Bulleteer’s hands before she could turn from her awkward position, but as Miss Victory again regained consciousness and Rio Rita managed to regain her wits the Teutonic terrors both realized that without either weapons or the element of surprise they were completely outclassed. Lady Luger darted out the storm cellar entrance as Panzer fled up the stairs.
Rio Rita, her senses returned, sprinted over to the Blue Bulleteer to help extract her from the final rope binding her to the wooden wheel as Miss Victory finally regained enough strength to sit up. A freed Laura and Rita helped Miss Victory to her feet as She-Cat finally arrived.
“Hey! What’s up with you three? I thought we were going to meet back at the base?”
The three ruffled heroines embarassedly dropped their eyes before Miss Victory attempted to change the subject by asking She-Cat if she had run into any problems at the house out in the country.
“Not a one. Nobody there. I ripped the place up pretty good, though. What happened here?”
The Blue Bulleteer tried the casual approach. “Oh, not much. We ran into Lady Luger and Panzer, but they got away.”
“The three of you let them get away?!?”
“We didn’t let them do anything, Jess!” Miss Victory looked at her compatriots, “We’ll get them the next time.”