by Starsky Hutch 76
The Arrowcave outside of Star City:
The two girls, one in costume, one plain-clothed, stood in the middle of the cave, transfixed by their environment. “Look at all of this stuff!” Beth Harper exclaimed. “All of this belonged to your grandfather?”
“Apparently so,” Bonnie Jones-Carter said, taking in her surroundings. Her eyes moved to the sleek roadster in the middle of the room, aimed at the point in which they entered the cave. “The Arrowcar!”
“Maybe I can hotwire it,” Beth said.
“It might be easier if we looked for the keys,” Bonnie said.
After a brief search, the keys to the Arrowcar were found, and they climbed inside. Bonnie put the key in the ignition, turned it, and nothing happened.
“Thanks for saving me the trouble,” Beth said, jumping out of the passenger seat. “Pop the hood.”
“Great,” Bonnie cursed, pulling the hood release.
“No wonder it wouldn’t start,” Beth said. “This battery’s probably as old as the car itself.” She slammed the hood down in frustration.
“Well, if the car fell into ruin while he was gone, then how did he get around after he came back?” Bonnie said, climbing out of the driver’s seat.
“I don’t know what he was doing in the meantime,” Beth said, “but it looks like he was probably planning to start using this!” She pulled away a tarp to reveal a brand-new, high-tech motorcycle, painted green with an arrow logo on the side.
“Wow!” Bonnie said. “That sure blows away my bike at home!”
“You know how to ride one of these things?” Beth asked.
“A regular one, sure,” Bonnie said. “I’m betting that thing has more than a few extra gadgets on it, though. The man was a super-hero, after all.”
“Only one way to find out,” Beth said. “Want to take it for a spin?”
“Take the Arrowcycle for a spin? Are you kidding?!” Bonnie exclaimed. “That’s like taking the Batmobile for a joyride!”
“Why not?” Beth said. “He was your grandfather, so technically it’s yours now. And this is the only way you’re going to learn how to use it.”
“I suppose you’re right,” Bonnie said. “But if you’re going to ride with me, you can’t go out looking like that.”
“What? What’s wrong with the way I’m dressed?” Beth said warily.
“Look at what I’m wearing and what you’ve got on.”
“Then what do you suggest?” Beth asked.
Bonnie gestured to the cabinet with the Speedy costume that until recently was worn by Roy Harper. “Aw, no!” Beth exclaimed. “This hero thing is your deal. Besides, that would never fit me. The guy was a full-grown man when he wore that. Just the shirt would hang down to my knees.”
“So just wear the tunic,” Bonnie said. “You can pull the belt tighter to make it fit. You want to come with me, don’t you?”
“Oh, all right,” Beth said, groaning. “At least I’m wearing red underwear, so it’ll look like part of the costume. But if you think I’m signing onto this hero gig full-time with you, you’re nuts.”
“Why not?” Bonnie said, smiling. “You took all the same martial arts classes I did. That’s how we met. Heck, you’re better at it than I am.”
“Yeah,” Beth said, wriggling out of her tight-fitting jeans. “Of course, I was there because my dad’s a paranoid cop. Why a rich lady like Cissie Jones-Carter would put her kid through all that when she could just hire a bodyguard, I still haven’t figured out.”
“Because she didn’t want to take any chances on me not being as good as her,” Bonnie said, “so that meant putting me through everything she went through.”
“Sounds like we both had some childhoods, huh?” Beth said, pulling off her T-shirt and reaching for the tunic. Bonnie tried to hand her the hat and mask, and Beth said, “No way. You can pull off the hat because you’ve got that Peter Pan thing going with your hair, but it would look pretty dorky on me.” She pointed to her own long, black hair for emphasis.
“You’ve got to!”
“The Robin Hood thing is your gig, not mine. I’d probably do more damage than good with those fancy arrows. If anyone messes with me, I’ll just give him a well-placed kick. Besides, why do I need to wear a mask when you haven’t got one?”
“Everyone knows my grandmother was the original Miss Arrowette, thanks to my mom. So if a new one shows up who’s my same age, it won’t be too hard to figure out it’s me. You might still want some kind of private life, though.”
“Good point,” Beth said. “I’ll improvise. Hand me those scissors,” she said, pointing to a pair that were sitting on a work bench. Bonnie handed her the scissors, and Beth began cutting slits up the sides of the red tunic.
“What are you doing?!” Bonnie exclaimed in horror.
“Oh, like he’s ever going to wear this again. Besides, if I’m going to be doing a lot of high kicks, I’m going to need freedom of movement.”
“So what’s the idea? To keep their eyes off your face?”
“Oh, ha-ha-ha-ha. Just watch.” She cut off each of the sleeves and pulled on the tunic, then cinched the belt around the waist, cutting off the extra slack. She took the material from one of the sleeves, cut a couple of holes for her eyes, and then tied it over her head as a bandana mask.
“Very cool,” Bonnie said. “You’ve got kind of a sexy ninja thing going there.”
“I’ll have to jazz it up a little in the future, but this’ll do for now… not that I’m planning on sticking with this hero thing.”
“If you say so,” Bonnie said, smiling to herself. “So let’s ride.”
Arrowette and Beth Harper, now in costume, raced down the road on the Arrowcycle. “How about seeing what some of these buttons do?” Beth said, clinging to Arrowette.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Arrowette said. “One of them might be an ejector seat or something.”
“The only way to find out how everything works is to try it out,” Beth insisted.
“Then here goes nothing,” Arrowette said. She turned a dial, and the sound of a police scanner came to life. “That’s simple enough to see what it is,” Arrowette laughed.
“They’re saying there’s been a bank robbery,” Beth said, “by a guy using toys to pull it off?”
“The Toyman!” Arrowette said. “He’s an old enemy of Superman’s. But I thought he was dead!”
“An enemy of Superman’s?” Beth gulped. “Isn’t that a little heavy on our first time out? Maybe we should go find some jaywalkers or something.”
They arrived at the bank several minutes later to see someone who looked like a cross between Dennis the Menace and an insane clown escaping from the bank on a jet-powered skateboard. “Looks like he’s held up pretty well,” Beth said.
“That doesn’t look like the same guy,” Arrowette said. “Well, whoever he is, he’s not getting away. Take the controls.” She reached back to her quiver, pulled out an arrow, fired at his skateboard, and it blew up beneath him.
“You got him!” Beth said excitedly.
“Lets round him up!” She pulled out another arrow and fired it at him, causing a net to drop over him. “I can’t believe how easy this was!”
“Hi, girls! Come to play with the Toyman?” the man said. As they got closer, they discovered he had the face of a doll. Hearing a voice coming from him but seeing his face remain still was all-too eerie. He reached into one of the pockets of his colorful overalls and pulled out a handfull of jacks, which he tossed in front of the Arrowcycle, causing its tires to blow out.
“Jump!” Arrowette screamed.
Arrowette and Beth jumped, aiming for the soft grass of the median rather than the hard pavement of the street. They both landed in near-crouching positions, having shoved themselves away from the machine before it lost control.
“I’m going to kill that little freak,” Beth cursed.
“Not if I beat you to it,” Arrowette said.
The Toyman’s henchmen suddenly ran from the bank, each dressed like one of the biggest marketing gimmicks of the age — a Teletummy. “You are bad, bad girls!” one of them squealed.
“That’s right,” Beth said. “So don’t try none, won’t be none.”
“You naughty girls shouldn’t play with arrows and motorcycles.”
“I thought these things couldn’t talk,” Arrowette said.
“We wish,” Beth remarked. “There’s only one way it could get any worse.”
Suddenly, a large purple dinosaur walked out of the bank, carrying the safe. It was singing, “A-banking we will go, a-banking we will go… Hi-ho, a-cheerio, a-banking we will go!”
“Is that what you meant?” Arrowette asked.
“Yes…” Beth sighed. “You! Lizard-boy — drop the safe!” She pulled out an arrow and fired, and a smoke cloud enveloped the purple dinosaur and the safe.
“Bad, bad girls! Cough!” the dinosaur sputtered.
The expression on the masked faces of the Teletummies suddenly became very angry, and they moved in on Arrowette and Beth. Unseen by everyone, the Toyman withdrew what looked like a Swiss army knife, and an electronic motor came to life as he began to cut himself out of the net.
The red Teletummy took a swing at Beth, which she quickly dodged. She then quickly delivered a roundhouse kick to its head, sending it sprawling. “Ouchies!” it cried as it fell.
“Mommy! Make them stop hurting the Teletummies!” the voice of a little boy cried. Beth, distracted, turned to the gathered crowd to see where the anguished voice had come from. The purple Teletummy used the distraction to deliver a backhanded slap that sent her flying. the letters, “HA HA HA!” appeared in the screen in his stomach.
“So that’s how you want to play, is it?” Arrowette said angrily. She pulled out an arrow and aimed for the TV screen, causing it to explode in a shower of sparks.
“Ooouuu-chiiieees,” the Teletummy cried in a slowing voice before falling over.
“They’re robots!” Arrowette cried in amazement.
“Of course they are!” the Toyman said. “They’re my finest creations, and you destroyed one of them!” He turned to the others and cried, “Get them!”
The red Teletummy rose up; half his faceplate was missing, and the motors and gears controlling facial movement could be seen. “You hurt my friend and me, too! You’re bad, bad girls and need to be punished!”
The purple dinosaur moved in to join the remaining three Teletummies. On their screens could be seen Arrowette and Beth suffering various forms of punishment.
“You girls think you’re so smart,” the green Teletummy said.
“But you’re not so smart, after all,” the yellow Teletummy said. It pointed to its stomach, and a little boy appeared on its screen saying, “Mommy, make them leave the Teletummies alone!”
“I knew it was too late for kids to be out!” Beth said angrily.
“Right,” Arrowette said. “And much too late for kid’s programs,” she said, firing another arrow, and the yellow Teletummy’s screen exploded.
“Jeez! These things even die annoyingly!” She fired two more arrows, shattering the other two screens.
She turned toward the purple dinosaur, hoping to take him out the same way, but noticed the glaring absence of a TV screen.
“Sorry!” the Toyman said. “Not all my creations are so easily beaten! Ha-ha-hah!”
“Come here and let me give you a biiig huuug!” the dinosaur said in a menacingly sweet voice as he moved toward them.
“Oh, great. Now what do we do?” Beth groaned. “That guy lifted the bank safe. I don’t think one of my kicks will have that big an effect on him.”
“Bi-i-i-i-g hug,” the purple dinosaur repeated. Suddenly, a torrent of flame erupted from his mouth.
“Look out!” Arrowette cried. They both dived out of the path of the flames. Beth just narrowly missed being singed and had to put out tiny bits of flame that had erupted on the back flap of her tunic.
“Great! A fire-breathing, annoyingly cute purple dinosaur,” Beth cursed.
“You think I’m cute? Gee, thanks. I think you’re swell, too,” the dinosaur said, spitting more fire in their direction.
“Don’t you have anything in that bag of tricks on your back that can shut him up?” Beth growled.
“I think I just might,” Arrowette said. She pulled out an arrow with a large bulb on the end and fired it directly at the dinosaur’s mouth as it was about to spew more fire. Foam suddenly exploded from its mouth as the dinosaur reached for its neck, falling over.
“What the heck was that?” Beth said in amazement.
“The fire extinguisher arrow,” Arrowette said, grinning.
“You girls have a lot of flare,” the Toyman said.
A light came into Beth’s eyes. “She’s Arrowette. I’m Flare,” she said, gesturing to Bonnie and then to herself with her thumb.
“Well, whoever you are, you haven’t seen the last of me.” A balloon suddenly popped out of the top of his cartoony doll mask and began to inflate. It popped out of the top with a string attached to it, which he took in hand. He suddenly began to rise from the ground and waved. “Toodles.”
“He’s getting away!” shouted Beth, now Flare.
“I believe all I’ll need for this is a regular arrow.” Arrowette pulled an ordinary, pointed arrow from her quiver and fired, bursting the balloon.
The Toyman plummeted from the sky, landing in a tree. “Oh, I hate those icky girls,” he groaned before passing out.