The next day, Jack Sorason was nursing the after-effects of one too many drinks and being stood up by the attractive barmaid. He knocked on his sister’s hotel room and heard two women giggling. His sister opened the door a crack, dressed in a short towel. A canary-eating grin was on her face as she looked at her brother.
“Sorry I was in the shower, brother dear.” Jill scanned her brother’s bloodshot eyes and irritated expression. He muttered disagreeably about finishing the last of the small-time surveys before stalking off to his room. Jill watched him leave for a second before dropping her towel and going back into the bathroom. The giggling started up again as the bathroom door closed behind Jill.
Meanwhile, Alex DeWitt and Buffy Winter had already gotten through the official interview that would be the basis for the newspaper article and were now in an old-style movie theatre run by Wayne Enterprises. Surprisingly enough, or perhaps not, the two found that they had a lot of common ground and were fast becoming friends, to the surprise of them both.
One week later, at the Bishamon Research and Development facilities, Buffy Winter clawed her way back to consciousness to find herself tied to a chair. Sitting directly across from her was the still-unconscious Alex DeWitt, who was also tied to a chair. Scattershot images from her memory went through Buffy’s mind as she took stock of the situation.
She had memories of meeting Jack and Jill Sorason at one of the clubs and all four of them hanging out, Jill Sorason hitting on Alex and just throwing her all out of kilter, Jack Sorason becoming overly friendly and being tossed onto the floor, Alex and her coming to Bishamon for a guided tour late at night. But the last concrete memory was of her and Alex coming out of the dining facility and seeing two armored figures. Then the rose-colored armor hit them with a sonic beam that caused unconsciousness.
“Alex, are you OK?” Buffy asked as she tensed her arms up to try to get some release of pressure on the ropes. Alex’s eyelids began to flicker as she struggled to consciousness as well. Buffy sighed at the skill of whomever tied these ropes.
Alex opened her eyes to see Buffy sitting tied to a chair directly across from her. Her power ring had protected her from the worst of the sonic blast, so no side effects of random memories afflicted her as she came to full consciousness.
“I didn’t recognize our two friends before I passed out.” Alex looked down at the ropes tying her to the wooden chair. It would be easy to bust loose, if only Buffy wasn’t in the room with her, she thought to herself.
“I would say two high-tech armor bandits or thieves. At least we know one of them uses sound-based weaponry,” Alex said, trying to think of a way to cut the ropes without revealing her secret identity to her new friend.
“The other one is probably based on some sort of magnetic fields, since that’s what protects the main lobby doors and most of the first-floor security systems.” Buffy considered her own options as she went over the material in the dining facility.
“Just our luck, Buffy, that no super-heroes have shown up to save the two damsels in distress,” Alex said, trying to hide how ridiculous she felt being tied up in the chair.
Alex watched Buffy tilt her chair back, causing it to fall backward. She thought silently to herself that it was now a chance for her to use her power ring without Buffy seeing it in operation. She twisted the invisible ring around on her finger and directed it to rot the wood composing the chair.
Meanwhile, Buffy was using her advanced ninjutsu training to escape the ropes, hoping that Alex would believe that she cut them with a knife from her belt buckle.
Outside the dining facility, the two armored mercenaries were having an argument about how best to destroy the Bishamon facilities.
“According to both my magnetic power and your sonic scan, this place is too well-built to fall to any of our usual tricks,” Jack said in his sand-colored, magnetic armor.
Jill frowned behind her helmet as she read the scans again, searching for a hidden weak point. “I still think we can bring this place down by inducing a harmonic resonance on the rooftop, combined with a controlled magnetic pulse.”
“It has only a fifty percent chance of succeeding, though, which is why I think it should be a last resort.” Jack sent a metal rod through the dining facility double doors and bent it into a circle to make sure that no interference came from that direction.
“At least our two little friends will be safe in that room, no matter what we do,” Jill said with a sort of perverse pride. “Whoever designed this facility is a genius. I think it would even survive a hurricane or an earthquake strike.”
“I would like to teach that little blonde a lesson in how to treat a man, but our employer is only paying for us to destroy the labs.” Jack let his anger show as several more metal objects in his immediate vicinity began to warp and twist.
“I would love to play with her friend, too, for rejecting me, brother dear, but we can’t let personal pleasure or revenge get in the way of our job. Besides, if they showed up deceased, the police would look for any immediate associates that could lead to them finding us.” Jill sent a sonic blast at the metal desk Jack had already bent, destroying it.
Jack and Jill Sorason, the grandchildren of Joye Plazchek, the sister of Nuclear the Magnetic Marauder, were avid surfers who used high-tech armor to fund their lifestyle. Jack’s armor used magnetic forces, while Jill’s armor used sonic forces. Thanks to these powers, the foreign press had already dubbed them Magno and Sonik, which were names they hated. If anything, they preferred to be called by the colors of their armor. Jill’s armor was a rose color, while Jack’s armor was the color of sand, giving them the names of Sand and Rose.
The two were virtual unknowns in North America, since they operated mainly in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and they also took the occasional job in Australia. The only reason they had accepted a commission to wreck scientific labs in the United States was because of Jill’s respect for Vandal Savage. Over the last week in Gotham, they hadn’t run into any super-characters yet, and they hoped they never would.
Meanwhile, the two blonds in the dining facility had already managed to free themselves from their chairs and were busy trying to find an escape route. Alex DeWitt was trying to think of a graceful way to disappear to change to her secret identity of Corona, while Buffy Winter was mentally cursing Kompera Lee for making her leave almost all of her special equipment behind.
Buffy snapped her fingers as a thought occurred to her. “There’s an emergency escape passage to the outside from this dining facility. I’ll open it up, and you can get out to call the police.”
Alex thought to herself what a stroke of luck this was. “Aren’t you going to come with me? I mean, it’s hardly the safest place to stay in here with those two nutcases running around.”
Buffy shook her head, indicating that she couldn’t leave the building. “Sorry, Alex. It’s my responsibility to the company to stay on site to see if I can minimize the damage they do.”
“Just be careful, then. You aren’t, after all, a super-hero or a police officer.” Alex gave her friend a quick hug before entering the passageway that Buffy opened up.
“You are absolutely right, Alex. I’m neither one of those things.” Buffy waved to her friend as she disappeared into the passageway leading to the outside.
Alex quickly escaped the passageway and emerged in a back alley two blocks away from the Bishamon Research and Development facility. She searched for any observers before using her ring to transform into the heroine known as Corona. “This isn’t something the police can handle, but Corona can.”
Turning herself invisible with her power ring, Corona took off into the sky, heading toward the top of the Bishamon building. Unknown to her, the two costumed mercenaries called Sand and Rose had also gone to the rooftop, where they planned to bring the house down by shaking it apart.
Inside the building, Buffy was busy scanning through the project listings from a computer terminal inside the dining facility. She paused at one particular project before shutting down the computer. She tried the double doors, but they were firmly jammed. “It’s time to improvise,” she said to herself before heading into the dining facility’s small but well-furnished kitchen. A quick search revealed the ingredients she was looking for, which she stirred into a bottle. She used the chemical concoction to blow one of the doors off the hinges, allowing an angry Buffy Winter outside.
She entered the elevator and pushed one of the buttons marked B-4. A panel opened up, and a beam of light shone outward. A mechanical voice chimed on: “Please identify by retinal scan and voice code.”
Buffy held her eye to the light while saying, “Buffy Winter, authorized access code 19ADDK.” The light blinked off, and the elevator started moving downward.
As Corona arrived at the rooftop, she was busy making plans of her own. “I’ll catch them by surprise and have them locked up and in police custody in no time,” she assured herself.
She swooped in and placed the two armored villains in yellow energy globes. Both seemed surprised by the presence of a costumed hero arriving so fast on the scene. “That was easy enough,” Corona said to the villains.
Jack grinned behind his helmet. “Look — we attracted the attention of a Power Girl wannabe. She didn’t even get the costume right.”
“The name is Corona, not Power Girl. Those globes you are in will prevent you from escaping,” Corona said with confidence, as she had crafted the globes to cancel out the powers of the two armored villains.
“Well, at least she has the right costume for her name. Corona beer is yellowish, but I do not understand how she justifies having a yellow power ring,” Jill said mockingly out loud to her brother.
“I am not named after the beer but the aura around the sun, you idiot,” Corona said with some heat to her voice.
“She seems too damn sensitive to be a real super-hero to me.” Jack sent a magnetic pulse at the bubble, only to see it nullified. In the other bubble, Jill tried a sonic blast, only to see it nullified as well.
Corona grinned in triumph. “I used my ring to scan your armor and then created these bubbles to counteract your powers. Escape is virtually impossible.”
“Normally you would be right, Beer Girl, but you see, just before you arrived on the scene, we linked our armor together to shake this building apart.” Jack raised his arms, aiming them at his sister, while she repeated the same motions. A loud humming was heard as the combined powers of the two armors were used at once.
Corona quickly tried to compensate, but it was too late as the two high-tech armored mercenaries popped the bubbles they were contained in. Waves of energy struck Corona, sending her reeling.
“Let’s deal with her before we take out the building,” Jill said as she sent a pulse of sound at Corona.
“Agreed,” Jack replied as various bits of metal flew up and were sent streaming at Corona.
Corona thought to herself, I’ve got to remember everything Alan taught me, so I can defeat these two. And she spiraled around the attacks.
“You can’t dodge us forever, Beer Girl.” Jack concentrated on the scattered bits of metallic dust in the air, forming them into a wicked-looking metal blade, which was sent after the spiraling Corona.
Jill was using her sonar capabilities to keep an exact track of the location of Corona and transferred the information directly to her brother’s armor targeting systems.
Corona smashed the blade with a giant ring-forged hammer, but the metal bits just re-formed and attacked again.