My sponsor stood up. “I’d like to introduce a friend of mine: Doctor Power.” There was polite applause as I walked to the front of the room.
Oddly, it’s less nerve-wracking to speak in front of an audience if they’re all wearing masks. “I’ve thought long and hard about what my first act of counterheroism should be. Although I’d like to branch out into other areas eventually, I’m a botanist by trade, and so my first plan is a simple one. I am currently breeding a variety of dandelion adapted for the climate of central Florida. Additionally, it will have the hardiness necessary to out-compete St. Augustine Grass. (As you know, St. Augustine Grass is notoriously weed-resistant, which...”
I acknowledged a raised hand from an angular red-and-black mask. “Isn’t this a little bit … small-scale?”
“I’ll admit it’s not very flashy, but it has long term potential. Your ‘doom robot’ might kill a few citizens, but that’ll just make room for more population growth. A regional invasive species infestation has the potential to last forever! It symbolizes loss of control! And then the frustration! Pesticides!”
“Dandelions! Not daisies! And this is even if Super Super doesn’t fly up and smash your robot when—”
A frog mask interrupted. “Super Super is a ringer! She’ll move to one of the Northeastern metro conferences in eighteen months, at most.”
Another mask: “That is bush league thinking! Super Super in an opportunity for us to show just how important the Southern and Central Florida Counterheroic Guild is!”
There was a long period of arguing before the conversation got back on track.
Captain Carnage delivered the final verdict. “It’s not the place of the Counterheroic Guild to pre-authorize acts of counterheroism. Doctor Power may design and deploy daffodils—”
“—dandelions, and we’ll judge whether such an act merits inclusion after it has been completed. Perhaps the results will surprise us! Doctor Power, do your worst.”
The doom robot was sabotaged; it wound up picking up its creator and taking him straight to the police. Captain Carnage turned out to be a faker; her bombings had been nothing but special effects and having friends who worked at the newspaper. Linar the Destroyer fought Super Super on top of a tall building and fell to his death, but a jury acquitted Super Super of all charges. Melrock’s poison gas got switched for glitter. There aren’t enough of us to have meetings anymore, so I never got a chance to be formally inducted into the Guild.
I stand alone atop a hill in a city park, and look at all the white puffs of dandelion seed heads. It occurs to me that I should learn how to do an evil laugh.
I’m practicing how to do a “MUHAHA” that doesn’t sound fake, when I see Super Super fly in over the palm trees. She lands on top of a swingset, runs along it with her arms out, and tumbles off it and onto the base of my hill. She picks a dandelion, skips up the hill, and sits down near me.
Her voice sounds vaguely familiar. “I always liked daffodils.” She blows away all the seeds with one puff.
“You mean dandelions.”
“Dandelions, right. Well, I gotta fly. Don’t get into any trouble!”
She leaps into the air and flies north.