by Dan Swanson
Chapter seven — Gathering the Forces, Part 1 ####### CHAPTER 5
Before he headed out to find the Lieutenants Marvel, Captain Marvel made a quick stop at the New York office of UN International Police Senior Investigator Pep Pepper, a.k.a. Radar. “Pep, I need your help! I need to round up all the Lieutenants Marvel, and I need to do it fast. It’s ‘Save the World’ time again and it will require all of us!”
Pepper hopped up from behind his desk. “Great! It’s been too long since I’ve gotten out from behind this desk. Let’s get going!” He put on his trademark white trench coat and hat. Cap frowned.
“I need you to help me locate the Marvels faster. Once we’ve done that, I think you ought to sit this one out. We’re going to be deep in space.”
“I don’t have to read your mind to know you’re thinking I’m out of my league, Cap. Well, you may be forgetting a couple things about me!” He casually picked up his desk and tossed it at Marvel. Who caught it even more casually and put it down. Radar continued “I’m not in your class, but I can hold my own. And it’s my world, too. If I don’t help and you don’t win, then what?”
“Your point, Pep. Let’s get going!” Within seconds, they were flying through the air, Radar sitting on Cap’s back, headed for Cool Willie B.’s house. Willie was in.
“Yo, Cappy! Who’s the ‘Man in White’? You hang out with some strange dudes, man!”
“Cool Marvel, you are needed” Cap responded. “Round up Hill Marvel and Tall Marvel and meet us at the Rock of Eternity in eight hours!” and then Cap and Radar were headed East, looking for other Marvels.
As Cap and Radar disappeared, Willie B. said the magic word — “SHAZAM” and a bolt of magic lightning zapped down from the sky, striking the youth. There was a dazzling flash of light and a tremendous thunderclap.
Even before the flash had fully faded, Cool Marvel was speeding West, on his way to find Hill Marvel and Tall Marvel. He really wished that Cap had given him some more information! His first inclination was to be a little unhappy that Cap had selected him to be the errand boy, but the Wisdom of Solomon suggested that anything that could cause Captain Marvel to act so abruptly must be pretty heavy. If Cap was needed elsewhere, Cool Marvel was a good choice to find the other Lieutenants Marvel — he knew them already and now he could help them change. He hoped they wouldn’t be jealous now that he could change by himself.
Cap and Radar flashed across the ocean to England. Radar pulled the location of Posh Mary Batson’s home from Cap’s mind, along with her appearance, and he used his radar vision to try to locate her. It was late afternoon in her time zone, and Radar saw her just going in to the train station in the small village near her family estate. She emerged on the London-bound platform, along with a half dozen friends. They appeared to be going clubbing, as they were all dressed rather saucily. Radar whistled. “No way in heck would my teenage daughter get out of the house dressed like that!” he said. “I wonder how we can get her attention without giving away her secret?”
As they got closer, Captain Marvel was able to see the group of girls. Surely Radar had made a mistake? Shazam wouldn’t give the power to someone who dressed like that, would he? The Wisdom of Solomon kicked in. ‘Judge a person by what’s in her mind and heart, not what she looks like!’
“Suppose” he said to Radar “she were to break a boot heel? She would at least have to change boots, right?” Radar nodded dubiously. Cap set him down outside the station and disappeared for an instant. The two took to the air again.
Cap flew across the field of vision of the gaggle of girls. They weren’t all that used to seeing a super-hero overhead, and they all waved and pushed at each other to get a better view. Suddenly Mary Batson tottered, and almost fell, then was caught by her friends. Damn — the three 1/2″ heel on her thigh high white-vinyl boot had just broken off! It could be fixed, but she couldn’t even walk now, much less dance, and she wasn’t going to go into London barefooted.
“You go ahead, gals! Maybe I can get Alexander,” the Batsons’ butler, “to drive me in. If so, I’ll meet you at the Cherry Jam! Don’t have too much fun without me!” In fact, she was suspicious — a Captain Marvel sighting, and then her heel broke? Seemed like too much of a coincidence to her! So she wasn’t too surprised to find Cap and Radar waiting in the station lobby.
“You’re a bit of a bother, Captain! You’ve right cocked up my favorite pair of boots!”
“Posh Mary, a mighty enemy approaches the Earth from deep space. I’m gathering all the heroes who carry the Power of Shazam,”
“to go deep into space to stop this terrible enemy!” Billy finished Cap’s sentence.
Posh Mary was startled by the lightning, and off balance because of her missing heel, she fell on her booty, momentarily exposing her knickers to the two heroes, who both courteously turned their heads. She climbed back to her feet.
“Tallyho!” she yelled, and then said her magic ward at the same time that Billy did. Once more there was a crack of thunder.
“Meet us at the Rock of Eternity in six hours!” and Cap and Radar zoomed away, heading back to the US. They headed south, toward the plantation home of Mary Belle. When they finally reached her house, she was out. Radar was able to locate her with his radar vision riding her bike in one of the wooded areas of her family’s estate. She skidded to a stop when Cap and Radar landed nearby.
“WOW! Y’all’re Captain Marvel, Mary’s brother, arencha?”
“Yes. Mary Belle, we need your power!” Cap said his magic word and the magic lightning struck, turning him into Billy Batson.
“Mary never told me you were so good lookin’. So what d’y’all want from li’l ole me?” she asked coyly.
“Speak your magic word!” Together they said SHAZAM and twin lightning bolts exploded out of the sky and hit the two Batsons with a deafening crash, changing then to Captain Marvel and Mary Belle!
Mary jumped into the air and started doing aerobatics. “Ah just love flyin’. Wish Ah could do this any ole time!”
“Mary, the world is in danger. Meet us at the Rock of Eternity in four and a half hours!” Cap and Radar headed west. Mary Belle watched them fly away, shrugged her shoulders, picked up her bike and flew back to the house to put it away. It would only take her a few seconds to get to the Rock of Eternity, so she was going to enjoy her powers between now and then. Besides, she might find some bad guys to capture.
Radar was already scanning the beaches around Valley Mary’s home, and did he get an eyeful! He’d thought Posh Mary was all tarted up, but some of the valley girls (and boys) on the beaches had suits that were smaller than outfits he’d seen in strip clubs (in the line of duty, of course! Wanted criminals often tried to escape pursuit by the International Police by ducking through strip clubs, hoping the IP cops would become distracted.)
He guided Captain Marvel to a fairly remote beach. There were several surfers and a lot of beautiful kids lying on the beach, tanning and making sure they were seen. Radar pointed out a cluster of guys hanging around a beautiful blond. “That’s her, Cap. How are you going to even get close to her with all those boys around?””
“I’ve got an idea. Wait here!” He dropped Radar off in a shaded spot, then did a super-speed search along the coast. He quickly found what he was looking for, somebody’s lost surfboard, hopefully washed out to sea and then tossed up onto the rocks in some storm or other. He then headed ‘way out to sea, turned and flew shore ward at high speed, skimming the water.
As he had hoped, the suction created by his passage was drawing a large wave after him. He slowed and let it pass him, and then when he was close enough to shore, he dropped down behind it, flew threw and just as he popped out the front of the wave, he said his magic word and hopped onto the surfboard he was carrying!
Billy had never surfed before, but Cap had used the Wisdom of Solomon to figure out what the best techniques must be. Billy was pretty athletic in his own right, and right away felt pretty comfortable. When all the boys on the beach looked out and saw a 20’ wave coming their way, and only one surfer on it, they realized they were losing their chance to impress the beach bunnies. Where there was one wave like this, there were more! A flock of macho surfer dudes hit the waves instants later, leaving Valley Mary to wonder if she had bad breath or what…
Billy was sliding down the front of the wave, picking up speed, when he suddenly realized he had no idea how to stop! He started to panic and lose his balance, and suddenly he was in the water and the wave was breaking over his head! Billy was a strong swimmer, but he had never been battered by a wave such as this one. Then his board banged into his head, and he stopped worrying — about anything.
When he came to he was lying on something hard (a surfboard, he realized, on the beach) and a beautiful blond was kissing him! Nope, she was giving him mouth to mouth, but Billy realized it was the kiss of life. “Thanks, Mary Batson!” he said to the startled girl. “I hope my girlfriend Cissy never hears about this!” She started laughing.
“Like, how do you like even know my name? If you’re like hitting on me, that was like the most awesome pickup attempt ever!”
“My name is Billy Batson, and you know my sister Mary. I’m not trying to pick you up; we might be cousins or something! Anyway, I have a girlfriend.” Although it was hard to think about Cissy when there was so much of Mary to see! Was that a tattoo just below her naval? He pulled his eyes away. “Anyway, I need you to say the magic word with me! The world needs all the Marvels, now more than ever!”
“Like that is so totally awesome!” she laughed. “SHAZAM!” And once again, there were two Marvels where before there had been two teenagers.
“We’re marshaling at the Rock of Eternity. Can you carry my friend Radar? Tell everyone I’ll be there in a few minutes, I have one more stop to make!”