Legion Tryouts: Introducing the Composite Supergirl
Cosmic Boy regarded the masked figure before him. The young woman had not offered any civilian identity on her application, and her face was concealed by a full-faced mask that did not even have holes for her eyes. Her entire body was covered by a similar form-fitting blue and gold costume that left not an inch of skin exposed, and had an emblem that contained a stylized crimson 'S' similar to the emblem of the House of El, within the outline of a dark gray bat. He could sense that it was not only made of Braalian ferrimesh, but also magnetically charged, suggesting that she was either a fellow Braalian, or relying on technology to simulate the appearance of superhuman abilities…
“Next up, the Composite Supergirl.” He said, his tone betraying nothing of his analysis. “Let’s see what you’ve got.”
The enigmatic figure turned first to the pair of combat robots and craned her head, as if considering her options before motioning for them to begin the exercise.
Both of the lumbering combat droids lifted their arms, crackling as bursts of electricity leapt towards the figure, who dashed forward in a blur of motion, charging directly into the current from her target apparently unharmed while the second robots taser-blasts missed her entirely.
Jo sat forward as she moved, muttering under his breath, “Ultra-energy?”
As the masked woman reached her target, she seized it’s arm and tore it directly from the machine’s body with a burst of strength, and then turned in a single motion, one hand striking the exposed circuitry at the damaged shoulder joint of her target and causing it to erupt in a coruscating display of electricity, while hurling the mechanical arm in her other hand at the second robot with such strength and speed that it knocked the second robot to the ground, leaving a large dent in its chest plate. She launched into the air and sailed over her first target, which was already shutting down in a massive electrical overload, and hovered a yard off of the ground, looming over the other as it struggled to right itself. Her hand reached out and the mechanical arm she had thrown at it flew back to her grip, and, wielding it two-handed like a club, she struck the distressed machine a powerful blow to the head, before letting the severed limb fall with a conspicuously weighty clunk to the ground, to be followed seconds later by the now-defunct robot.
Ayla leaned towards Jo and muttered as well, “Flight, electrical manipulation *and* some sort of gravitic or mass manipulation was going on there.”
If the masked woman was aware of the commentary from the sidelines, she gave no sign and turned to face her human opponents, Officier Gigi Cusimano and Legionnaire Gim Allon, aka Colossal Boy. Each was equipped with padded armor, as the applicants were meant to display their nonlethal tactics against living foes, to demonstrate their ability to operate within the parameters of the Legion Code prohibiting the use of lethal force.
The masked applicant drifted to a place midway between the smoldering remains of the combat-droids, and the wary trainers, before settling down lightly and nodding her readiness.
Recognizing that the figure had some degree of super-speed, both Gim and Gigi assumed defensive postures, meant to discourage a rapid approach by spinning their combat-batons around to create a dangerous perimeter, but the masked figure did not approach and instead raised her arms and faded from view, the colors washing away like watercolors in rain, until there was no visible sign of her presence. Gigi muttered, “Teleportation?” over the private frequency she shared with her fellow trainer, and he replied, “No displaced air, probably illusion or invisibility or she’s messing with our heads…” “Awesome.” came the reply, the telepathic earplug conveying the full richness of Officer Cusimano’s sarcasm.
They carefully approached, swinging their training-staves ahead of them to check for her presence, and when she moved out of the way of Officer Cusimano’s combat-staff, she appeared as a smear of colors, as whatever means she used to cloak her appearance could not adjust for her movement, creating a disorienting splash of distorted background colors in the shape of a woman’s body, seizing the Officer’s staff and hurling it, and Officer Cusimano, who had been stepping forward, behind her with casual strength. Gigi felt her body become almost weightless, and drifted through the air, unable to get her bearing, and wished she had been wearing a Flight Ring for the training session, as she took long seconds to spin lazily through the air before landing gently as a feather near the sparking remains of the destroyed robots. Gim took advantage of the masked woman’s semi-visibility, and overextended reach from hurling Gigi away, and swung both battle-staves powerfully into her exposed side, hoping to at least knock the breath out of her, or throw her off-balance, even if she seemed at least partially invulnerable.
Instead, his batons moved through her body as if it was barely denser than water, and he was the one who fell off-balance as the force of his blow carried him forward, only to feel her hand gently tap his shoulder, and he thundered gracelessly to the ground as he felt his mass triple. The masked woman placed her foot on him and her slender figure felt like she weighed many hundreds of kilos as she pinned him to the ground effortlessly as she turned to Gigi, who was just drifting to the ground.
As she walked forward, the last of the visual camouflage faded away, and her form distorted and grew in size, until she had the bulky figure of Gim Allon, although still concealed behind her gold and blue bodysuit. From her hand, a dazzling pulse of white light left Gigi seeing spots, and she raised her hands to signal that the fight was over, still suffering from whatever anti-gravity effect the masked woman had afflicted her with, and not wishing to be effortlessly thrown around again.
Gigi felt the woman’s hand touch her shoulder, and her weight returned over several seconds, giving her time to catch her breath and not be further disoriented, and her vision cleared in time to see the 'Composite Supergirl' walk over to Colossal Boy, who had used his Flight Ring to lift himself off of the ground, and similarly remove whatever weight-increasing effect she had used to pin him to the ground.
She stepped before the viewing Legionnaires and gave a bow, like an entertainer, and stood at ease, arms behind her back, in a decidedly military fashion.
Rokk felt the beginning of a headache coming on. This ‘Composite Supergirl’ clearly didn’t choose that name idly, and had the powers of a one-woman Legion all by herself, but he also knew that such powers had their drawbacks…
Ayla stabbed the button for the privacy field, and Jo was the first to speak up, “I could feel the ultra-energy coming off of her when she used super-speed, although I didn’t catch it again…”
Rokk nodded, “She’s also got magnokinesis, although I gauged its strength, and she seemed to be at her limit when she pulled that robot’s arm towards her. I wouldn’t consider that a viable super-power, if that was all she could do…”
“But she seems to be able to do everything!” Violet finishes the thought that Rokk was leading up to. “I saw flight, toughness, speed, strength, lightning, blinding light, and at least partial invisibility and phasing, as well as either mass or gravity manipulation and shapeshifting. If she was a telepath and a super-genius, she’d be the total package!”
Imra’s mental voice conceded, <Then she is the ‘total package,’ because I tried contacting her mind and she’s got some telepathic power, if little skill, and her mind works like a computer. She was analyzing every move, measuring the exact amount of power the combat-droids had used on previous applicants, and the combat techniques that Gim and Gigi were using as well, to anticipate their actions and plan her own. She’s not a tenth the telepath I am, or the genius that Querl is, but she’s superhuman in both areas.>
“Do her powers relate to the Composite Superman?” Rokk asks.
<Indeed, but I think we should speak to her directly on the subject. I was surprised to recognize her.>
“What?” Ayla and Jo say almost simultaneously, as Gim and Gigi join them in the conference behind the privacy screen.
<It’s her story, and I should allow her to tell it.> Imra insists.
At a signal from Rokk, the privacy field shimmers and he speaks to the waiting applicant. “Applicant, come forward.” The other applicants begin whispering among themselves as the gold and blue armored figure lifts into the air and floats to stand behind the dias, with the other Legionnaires, and the privacy field once again shimmers, freezing the image so that the applicants can now only see that last frozen moment.
Unfastening a clasp beneath her chin, the Composite Supergirl pulls her micro-mesh mask back to reveal the smiling face of Zoe Saugin. “Hey guys.” she says in a small voice, the confidence from her performance on the tryout stage seemingly stripped away with her anonymity. “I got new powers, obviously…”
Violet stands up, excited to see her friend, but her move to hug Zoe is interrupted by Rokk’s cold tone.
“The question is where? Those statuettes were destroyed, so that the Composite Superman could not once again threaten our allies in the past.” Rokk said, refusing to allow this audition to become a reunion of old friends before business was settled.
Zoe replied, arms folding back to stand in a relaxed 'at ease' posture she must have picked up during her time with the Science Police, “I discovered the Composite Superman during my research into artifacts of power, and while the statuettes themselves would have required time travel to intercept before they were destroyed, the machine that generated the unliving copies of your bodies still existed, at least in parts. It took me six months of research to find it, because it seemed like the records were deliberately obscured.”
<Because they were,> Imra said, <and I would like to know after how you located that information, so that we can finish the job…>
Zoe looks a bit flustered, and nods, “Sure. Anyway, I found the machine, and it has been mostly disassembled, but I had a tiny fraction of my old powers left, and I used them to make the machine flow back together, like it was when it was originally assembled. Inside the machine, I found what I had hoped was there, the echoes of the imprints made, that were used to form the statuettes in the first place, like blueprints for the powers of over a dozen Legionnaires!”
“So you gave yourself all of our powers?” Violet said, and as Zoe nodded excitedly, the Imskian Legionnaire continued, shaking her head, “You do realize that the effect is temporary? The Composite Superman lost those powers if he didn’t recharge regularly, and the Legion Code forbids membership to someone who gains their powers from a machine in this way, even if it lasts for days between exposures…”
Rokk looked relieved that Salu had brought this up, as he didn’t want to continue to be the ‘heavy’ in this discussion.
“Yeah, I read that in the history files, that the Composite Superman was defeated a couple of times by being prevented from recharging and overextending its abilities, but I figured out a way around that. The original guy didn’t really know what he was doing, and the villain who came later was just greedy for power and didn’t really think it through either.”
Rokk shot Imra a look at that last comment, and she smiled back.
“And yeah, that was me, a couple years ago, too. I totally get the irony. But I realized that a body might be able to assimilate either a smaller number of powersets, or smaller doses of each individual power. So I didn’t give myself the *full* powers of a dozen Legionnaires, but only a fraction. I used the enhanced intelligence of Brainiac Five to figure out exactly how much I could hold in a stable configuration, without the powers draining away, and it came out to roughly seven percent of the power of the average Legionnaire, although it was different with each person, and I ended up only being able to permanently assimilate, like, one percent of Brainy’s brainpower in the end...”
Ayla nodded, “So you can’t throw lightning, but you can generate electricity like we saw, and you can’t burn as hot as a star, but you can generate flashes of blinding light?”
“Right. A lot of the powers I can only use at close range, and I have only the most ridiculously tiny percentages of Mon-El and Ultra Boy’s powers, but I can almost become fully invisible, and while I can’t walk through walls, I can at least put my body into a fluid state and seep through small openings or avoid being hit by combat-staves,” she says, smiling awkwardly at Gim as she does, with an apologetic look that quickly fades back into a smile as he waves it off.
“So the powers aren’t temporary, and they don’t require machinery, and we can more fully dismantle the machinery to make sure that we don’t have a rash of Composite Supermen running around…” Rokk says, ticking off points of concern.
“Uh, yeah, about that last thing, you don’t have to worry. What I had to do to extract the imprints from the machine and overlay them permanently on myself pretty much burned them out. The only way anyone is getting to that is by time-travelling to before I broke it…”
Violet shoots Rokk a look at having been interrupted previously, and moves over to give Zoe a hug. “That’s probably for the best. It’s not the sort of power we need just anybody getting their hands on, after all.”
Rokk looked to Imra and she nodded, joining their minds, so that they could talk privately, even in the presence of the applicant.
<The only thing I was concerned about was her longing for power, and her comment about how the original Composite Supermen failed because of such short-sightedness was really all I needed to hear. She has sincerely grown since we last saw her.> Imra thought to the others.
Violet replied, <I was worried about that, too. I’m glad to hear that she’s not so driven.>
Ayla’s discomfort at broaching the subject could be felt through the telepathic communion, coloring her thoughts <Not that I don’t want her on the team, but does she have a unique power?>
Rokk pondered for a moment and gave the mental equivalent of a shrug. <The fluid state trick perhaps? Or the anti-gravity stunt, which Ayla no longer does? If we’ve got room for Mon-El, and his ‘unique power’ is that Kryptonite doesn’t kill him, I think she’s more than qualified.>
Sensing that the discussion was over, Jo startled them all by speaking out loud, “Yeah, you’re in. Welcome back, Zoe!”
A Zoe Saugin for the 'classic continuity.' She would have had Life Lass-like animation powers, and gone through the same sort of power-seeking-obsessive arc, but ended up never becoming a terrorform. Instead, she found another way to empower herself, so that she could rejoin her friends.
The machine was partially dismantled, and multiple power-imprints had been lost. She's got not a jot of the powers of Element Lad, Supergirl, Triplicate Girl, Bouncing Boy, Matter-Eater Lad or Elastic Lad.
She does have fractional powers of; Mon-El, Ultra Boy, Colossal Boy, Shrinking Violet, Lightning Lad, Sun Boy, Light Lass, Star Boy, Invisible Kid, Chameleon Boy, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy, Brainiac Five and Phantom Girl.