Required Secondary Abilities
A Legion of Lawndale Heroes ‘Mini’, by Brother Grimace
Legion of Lawndale Heroes created by James Bowman
Okay, so you’ve got one of those people who’s got a ‘Special Power’. But, even if you supposedly have the one ability - if you’re going to actually use it for anything - Fridge Logic demands that you have myriad other passive powers in order to make it work the way it usually does. This is sometimes directly referred to and explained – and sometimes not.
Related to Fan Wank, this encompasses all of the powers that aren’t explicitly stated that would make a power function like it does in the work in question. Often, these powers would be useless outside allowing the main power to work, but some could have use beyond that.
This only covers if the power in question is not explicitly defined. While Cyclops from the X-Men doesn’t hurt his own eyelids with his eye beams every time he shuts his eyes, this is defined as an explicit ability of his (and his brother).
-from the ‘Required Secondary Powers’ entry on TV Tropes.com
There were two interesting things that happened during the period commonly referred to as the ‘Expansion Phase’ of the Legion – most notably, both concerned the application and changes to the Legion Constitution. The first was actually not unexpected – the change of the entry age into the Legion, sometimes jokingly referred to as the ‘Drinking Age Rule’, or the raising of the entry age cut-off from 18 to 21. This was done – and made retroactive, to allow older youth (who were nevertheless considered by society to be ‘underage’) a chance to enter - to allow many institutions of higher education to create National Legion chapters (and instantly expand the National Legion’s membership by over fifty percent in the six weeks following the announcement of the rule change). Not surprisingly, the number of internship requests from college students to study or work at Legion Tower (and when it was completed, the Legion Annex) exploded in the year that the change was made.
The second concerned the ‘inherent superpower specialization clause’ in the Constitution – a clause that stated that each Legionnaire, upon induction in the legion, have a primary natural power (i.e. innate, as opposed to powers generated or dependent on any outside means, methods or devices) that is not currently possessed by a current, active member in good standing. Because of the nature of their overall skill sets, there would always be some overlap in the nature of powers possessed by some Legionnaires (for example, Julia Carlyle and Daria Morgendorffer both possessed the telepathic ability of tracking, or ‘telelocation’; however, Daria’s telepathy and mental domination were her primary abilities, and Julia’s wings gained her entry). This was solved in part by simply insisting that the rule stood in spirit –which meant that while a potential inductee may possess a power already held by a Legionnaire, if the inductee used that power in a primary manner so distinct from the manner in which it was already held by said Legionnaire OR the manner in which the power originated was fundamentally different than the current Legionnaire’s ability, it could be technically be considered a unique and distinct power in its own right. For example, one USAES cadet who had inquired about participating in the USAES Legion Liaison Program was first told that her flame/heat powers disqualified her (because the Legion Liaison is considered to actually be a Legionnaire during their year in the program; this is why Julia Carlyle, at eighteen in her final year at USAES, was the only member of The Alliance eligible for the initial phase of the program); however, when it was noted that Mack Mackenzie’s mutant ability effectively made him a living star, whereas the cadet’s powers were inherent upon the generation and manipulation of microwave energies, it was decided that she was eligible for the program.
It was the discovery of some of the overlap in these powers – more often than not, totally unexpected in the discovery – that made for some interesting moments and encounters for the Legionnaires. Some were embarrassing, some hilarious (even if only in hindsight)… and some of those moments were literally Crowning Moments of Awesome (if I can be so bold as to steal from that vast online tome of pop culture).
-from Inside The Tower, by K.M. Sherrie (Sherrie Klein)
(NOTE: This ‘Mini’ takes place immediately following the conclusion of LLH Chapter Fourteen. Mild spoilers can be found within.)
“Well, this makes it official,” Daria Morgendorffer quipped, looking down from the enclosed balcony to what – to her eyes – reminded her of a massive football field, but with no goal posts and the yard markers labeled by multiples of five instead of ten, and going up to 150 . “First, ‘Competition Kitten Cannon’ – and now you guys came up with this?”
She gave Michael Fulton – a USAES Cadet Second Class, and a ‘good friend’ that she’d met over Halloween – a look that combined disbelief and a level of affection her fellow Legionnaires wouldn’t have believed possible…
…if Daria hadn’t been so caught up in Michael’s sudden appearance that she actually forgot that several other female Legionnaires were in the balcony with her – and all remembered to be quiet in order to observe this incredibly rare occurrence: Daria Morgendorffer acting like a normal young woman around a guy she likes, and is spending time – in public! - getting to know him better.
Thank God for ‘accidental dates’, Jane Lane thought, noticing how even the four former Fashion Club members and Julia Carlyle (the resident ‘visiting royalty’ to the Legion, she smirked inwardly) were noticing the six cadets dressed in Academy sweat suits and wearing helmets with face masks, as well as gloves on the massive field… She’s actually acting like a teenage girl, and Michael’s being calm about it, too. Not bad for a starter model, D.
“You guys will do anything to amuse yourselves.”
Daria sipped from the organic blueberry slushie that Michael bought for her from the cafeteria on the second floor of Zero Area, just beyond the balcony doors (which the Legionnaires were surprised to find in place, until they learned just how much time cadets spent in the underground facility), and nodded for him to continue.
“Okay – you guys know football players, so you know what ‘suicides’ are?”
Not surprisingly, Brittany Taylor and Jane nodded – in the back row, Quinn Morgendorffer did so, too – but Michael was surprised when Sandi Griffin spoke up.
“Mack hated them,” she said. “You have to run from the goal line to the ten-yard line and back to the goal, then out to the twenty and back to the goal, then out to the thirty and back to the goal.”
“That doesn’t seem so hard.” Fran managed to pull herself away from the remains of her third ‘uber-grape’ slushie (beside her, Brittany moved her own ‘uber-grape’ slushie out of her teammate’s reach) to speak. “I mean, it’s just running, right?”
“Yeah – but you’re timed, and you have to do it again if you go over,” Jane pointed out. “At Lawndale, the team got split up into three groups – the ‘sports cars’, the ‘pickup trucks’, and the ‘Mack trucks’. The ‘sports cars’ had to do it in thirty-six seconds, the ‘pickups’ had forty-two, and the ‘Mack trucks’ got forty-eight.”
Michael smiled. “Here, it’s basically the same… but a bit faster, and we shift the lines you have to touch. You remember those games where you have to watch the pattern of lights and then push the buttons in the right pattern? Mix that and ‘suicides’ – and you have ‘Lightning Crash’.”
“That’s what you call this? How is this - a game?”
Quinn’s shrill tone made Michael smile; Daria, he noted, did an excellent impression of her younger sister.
“Well, up to six people run at the same time – and they have to be in the same speed levels, otherwise it wouldn’t be fair. Good example – Jeffrey Brace only gets to run with about four or five people because of his powers; his top speed is about one-third the speed of light. The average speed for people around here who aren’t speedsters – well, forty to a hundred-plus is about right. Besides, it’s more fun if you can actually see them run – that’s why the really fast people like Jeffrey use a Mark 80 if they want to run with the other people.”
Daria cocked her head as she turned to him. “A ‘Mark 80’? Is that like-”
“Yeah, it’s a Psychon-class device – a Mark 80 power governor,” Michael finished for her. “just like the Mark 30 you're wearing. What the Mark 80 does is dampens a person’s powers down by a set amount, and regulates it there so the person can use their powers as if that level is their natural maximum.”
“You can cut a person’s levels from a base of fifty percent all the way down to ninety percent,” Julia chimed in. “It works on any type of innate power, regardless of the source of their powers – but it only works for up to one hour, and that’s more than enough time for a few games of ‘Crash’.”
Daria was about to speak when her cellphone rang; she looked at the screen to see her mom’s face.
“Jeez, Morgendorffer - you’d think that your mom’s got the psychic powers…”
“Bite me, Lane.”
“Okay, fine!” Jane held her hand out to Michael. “Tag off.”
Laughter followed Daria from her seat as she moved over to the door and jabbed at the screen. “Hi, mom.”
Slightly more than seven hundred miles away, in the Lawndale home of the Morgendorffer family, Helen Morgendorffer managed to finish off a chicken leg before she answered her daughter.
“Daria – did Quinn tell you that I expected a call from you tonight?”
“No… she forgot to mention that.”
“Did Colonel Armalin also forget to mention that I had expected a call?”
A grimace crossed Daria’s face as she envisioned the look on her mother’s face after she answered the question – and the look of annoyance on the Colonel’s face as he suffered under the thunder of Helen Morgendorffer’s ire brightened her face immediately.
“No – the Colonel didn’t say anything, either.”
“I’ll have to have words with him when he drops by tomorrow.”
Daria cleared her throat. “Really? Why’s the Colonel dropping by the house?”
“Well, with the way things are going with your – fans, he thought it might be a good idea to have a bit more security at the house. Well, at all of the Legionnaire’s homes. He hasn’t said anything about what he has in mind – and I think he’s going to also talk to Jake about taking more shooting lessons at the Tower-”
Every Legionnaire with enhanced hearing – Julia, Stacy, Sandi – appeared to watch Quinn and Michael talk as cadets darted back and forth across the field below, but listened in on the conversation.
“New security?” Julia asked. “I didn’t hear the Colonel say-”
“He said something about bringing some girl over in a couple of days, and Julia’s program, I didn’t catch all of it-”
“Mom, you never miss things like that.” Daria’s eyes narrowed. “What happened to distract you – oh.”
The blush reappeared across Daria’s body; Julia and Sandi shook with silent laughter as they heard Helen’s reply. “Daria – how many times have you heard me say that you should never ask any question as a prosecutor for which you don’t already have the answer?”
“Mom – can we not talk about this right now?”
“Daria… are you with some boy right now? Oh, I’m so sorry – wait a minute. Are you with that boy you met on Halloween?”
“Mom, I’m just here at the Academy to talk with the finalists for Julia’s position. They make the decision for that program before the end of the fall semester, so the other candidates can still make arrangements for their internship year.”
“You didn’t answer my question, young lady. You may be of age, but I still want to know – oh, Jake! Dammit! How did you manage to forget that!”
Daria sniffled a bit. “What did Dad do this time?”
Back in Lawndale, Helen moved over to the window. “I was so caught up in – things – that I didn’t even notice how the water hose is on right now! It’s spraying all over the door to the back yard!”
Julia’s face went hard; her head whipped around as she dropped all pretense of not listening in on Daria’s conversation.
“Yeah, that sounds like a Dad move,” Daria agreed.
“It’s your father, all right,” Helen echoed. “Hold on while I go out and turn that off, I don’t even want to think how high the water bill will be this month-”
Daria let out a loud “EEP!” as Julia actually leaped from her seat to cover the ten feet to her fellow Legionnaire and swept the phone from her.
“What the hell-”
“Mrs. Morgendorffer – this is Special Agent Carlyle. Stop right where you are. Do not move.”
Instantly, the atmosphere in the balcony changed; Sandi’s hand swept downward to the spot on her belt where she kept her retracted PFT fighting batons, and the others – along with Michael – were rising from her seats…
Daria went cold; in all the time she’d known Julia, only once – during the Legion’s raid on the Appleton Industries labs – to take on her demeanor as a Federal officer… and she’d never heard Julia use her official title when speaking to someone.
“I keep up with the local crime blotters whenever I spend time there,” Julia continued as she ignored Daria. “Don’t go outside. Go upstairs right now, lock yourself in your room and call the police.”
“Julia Carlyle?” Helen’s voice held confusion that was audible over the phone. “I know your parents - what’s wrong?”
“There are reports of several women being attacked in the Baltimore area, and in each case, the attacker turned on the water spigot outside the house-”
Julia was cut off by a flash of fur and speed.
In the roughly two years since Stacy Rowe was injured and accidentally gained powers, the focus had always been on the animalistic aspect of her abilities.
People noticed her tracking skills, the claws – her natural ones, and the energy claws that she had discovered during the VR combat exercise she and her fellow Legionnaires had engaged in with The Alliance - as well as the feline characteristics that she took on when in emotional stress – usually in pain or when angry.
They noticed her healing ability, and her unnatural level of agility – for example, how she was once able to climb and maneuver across live power wires, a feat which unnerved even many of the cadets in the USAES Advanced Infantry Technologies Program (the ones who were specifically referred to by other cadets as the ‘super-soldiers’) when they saw how she did so with an ease that made many wonder if her powers were actually mystical in nature.
The fact that she had some level of superhuman speed was also noticed – but Stacy’s speed was almost an afterthought to what were considered her ‘primary’ abilities that allowed her place in the Legion.
None of that was important now.
Many cadets were aware of the fact that a speedster had gone past – but as the campus intruder alerts and countermeasures against unauthorized metahumans with super-speed abilities had not been deployed, few gave it a second thought beyond how rude it was to blow through the area without warning.
The distance between Evansville, Indiana and Lawndale, Maryland (a suburb of Baltimore) is just over seven hundred and thirty miles.
Stacy ran – ran like she’d never run before, on all fours, a bounding, speeding blur of fur and explosive motion that dashed through farmland and forest, across cities and over mountain peaks as she easily passed through the speed of sound and beyond, pushing faster and faster as the idea of what could happen was painted vividly across her mind’s eye…
In the moments that elapsed from Michael’s rise from his seat to his being at Daria’s side – Stacy made it to the street in Lawndale where the Morgendorffer house sat.
The light in the Morgendorffer’s back yard was out (it was actually unscrewed), and a man in dark clothes waited outside the sliding doors that led to the yard, a stun gun held casually in his right hand.
He never saw the blow that threw him a good eight feet away from the door; the attempted (and soon to be incarcerated) serial rapist was unconscious long before he landed in the newly-mown grass in a pose reminiscent of Rembrandt’s Vitruvian Man.
Back in Evansville, Quinn looked down at her smartphone as Poison’s Look What The Cat Dragged In poured from the speaker; the photo of the wildcat that told her it was Stacy had appeared on the screen.
“Your mom’s safe, Quinn. I got him!”
“The rapist! I got him!”
“But… you were – you just left – you’re in Lawndale?”
“I’m in your backyard! Tell your mom it’s okay to come outside – oh! There she is! Hi, Mrs. Morgendorffer!”
Quinn turned to the others. “There was a rapist out in the backyard of our house, Daria – and he was going to try to get Mom.”
Julia cut off the venomous suggestion Daria was going to make as she also tapped the speaker logo on Quinn’s smartphone. “Stacy – are you all right? How’s Mrs. Morgendorffer?”
“I’m okay, and so is Mrs. Morgendorffer. The rapist isn’t. He won’t be waking up for a while.”
“Call the Colonel and have Mrs. Morgendorffer call the police. I’ll be there in a minute – I need to pick up a baseball bat.”
Daria took her phone back from Julia. “Mom – there’s a baseball bat under my bed. It’s on the side next to the wall… and by the way, Julia – why am I telling my mom to go get a baseball bat?”
Julia turned her gaze towards the current Legion Leader. “Would you rather have your mom explain to the police that Stacy has superhuman strength - and she knocked some P.O.S. criminal out of his socks with one punch?”
The two redheads locked glares for a moment before Daria relented. “No. I would not.”
“Then the story – for a long time to come – is that your mom got the drop on her attempted rapist and jacked him up with that bat. Comprende?”
Julia turned back to Quinn. “Stay on the line with your mom. I’m on my way.”
Daria’s words made Julia turn back to her. “I’ll see you there.”
Jane stepped forward. “Dar, you can’t make it back home before Julia.”
Daria glanced at her best friend. “I’m already there. Don't worry. You'll catch on.”
There was a collective yelp of surprise as Daria suddenly slumped to the floor; Michael caught her before even Julia could react.
Julia shook her head. “Damned astral projection.”
_________________Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together. And the truth is, there will always be darkness. And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey. But we do it anyway, together.
-Jon Stewart "We have a right to fight for our country - the same as every other American. We will not go away." -Col. A.J. Bullard (Terrence Howard), Red Tails"If we can't protect the Earth - you can be damn well sure we'll avenge it."
-Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), The Avengers"Sometimes you have to spontaneously break into song - right?" - Mack, from Teen Beach 2The PSI Corps is your friend. Trust The Corps.