Villains Don't Train Heroes!

By: Mia Archer

1





Training





Fialux flew towards me with her fist out in front of her. Her mouth opened in a scream of rage.

I instinctively winced and turned away. All the times she’d kicked my ass in a fight flashed through my head. Hey, you try having your ass handed to you by a hero time and time again and not have that reaction.

This was it. This was the end.

This was totally a touch of PTSD that hadn’t manifested until I started training her on how to fly using the antigrav units in a suit I’d custom made for her. I forced myself to face her, reminding myself there was no real danger here.

Something changed. Her eyes went wide. Her mouth opened even wider, and her look wasn’t really rage now so much as it was pure surprise. Pure terror.

At the last moment she veered off. Though to say she veered off because she was afraid she was going to hit me would be charitable at best.

No, one moment she was moving across the giant flight training room in full control of her flight, something I would’ve expected since she’d spent so much time flying around without the help of my little toys, and the next she’d completely lost control.

“Fuck!” she shouted.

“Just roll with it!” I shouted at her. “Smacking into walls builds character!”

The hazy sparkling outline of a shield appeared around her as she hit a wall. It was able to wrap all around her unlike with my suit. I was always powering so many things that I had to go with a directional shield, but her suit was only powering the antigrav units so I was able to devote the remainder of the suit’s power to keeping her from hurting herself when she inevitably screwed up.

She bounced around the massive flight training room a couple of times. She careened off of one wall, flew across the room into another, bounced off the bottom and the top, looking for all the world like a three-dimensional game of Pong where the physics engine had suddenly gone terribly wrong.

Not that Pong ever really had a physics engine. Whatever. Bad example.

I put a hand over my mouth to cover my giggle. It didn’t stop the giggle, but I figured the last thing I wanted her to see was me laughing at her predicament.

I was supposed to be the patient teacher here, after all. The Miyagi to her Danial san. Or maybe Danielle san. I definitely wasn’t supposed to be laughing at her misfortune.

Finally I held my wrist blaster out and used my anti-Newtonian field to bring her to a halt. The thing hadn’t been all that great at stopping her when she had her powers, it’d only worked the one time when I managed to catch her flat footed, but it turns out the thing was great for flight training.

It helped that the kind of flight power one of my suits could put out didn’t hold a candle to what she could do back when we were still tangling with each other. Sure the anti-Newtonian field would still eventually break down even when used on one of my suits, I’d proven that in a fight with Dr. Lana, but it was perfect for slowing Fialux down when she went careening around the flight lab.

“So what did you do wrong there?” I asked.

Fialux picked herself up from a heap on the flight lab floor. She looked a little worse for the wear. A little frazzled. She was a little wobbly on her feet.

“It’s this damn antigravity flight system!” she said. Well, I suppose it would be more accurate to say she screamed. “How were you ever able to fly this damned thing long enough to learn how to use it safely?”

I floated over, the flight lab was too damn big for walking to be efficient, and put an arm around her. I’d meant for it to be a comforting arm, but she tensed. A fair reaction considering we’d only recently been archenemies, but it still hurt when she did that.

“You’ve heard the old chestnut about the villain who was asked how he got to the Carnegie Hall, right?”

She eyed me askance. “The villain? I thought that story was about a musician.”

I shrugged. “In my version of the story it’s a villain. He was on his way over to shrink the place, steal it, and get a hefty ransom from the city of New York. Though this story wouldn’t have worked back in the ‘70s when they didn’t have any money, but I suppose now they’re doing okay so…”