Just Desserts – by Jake Tyson

“Hey, Micron, what do ‘just desserts’ taste like?”

Andrew Ashton, dressed as his costumed alter-ego Minuteman, voiced the question as he and his teammate snuck through the door to the warehouse.

Micron, a size-shifter named DeAndre, frowned at Andrew. “What are you talking about?”

“Captain Condor said we were going to give Null Point his ‘just desserts.’”

“It’s an expression, kid. It means—”

“Yeah, I know what it means.” Andrew shrugged. “But desserts usually taste good, right? I mean, why not say we’re giving him his just…kale?”

DeAndre barked out a laugh. “You’re one of a kind, kid. You know that?”

“Quiet, both of you.” Stillhouette’s voice was barely a whisper over their comms. She’d snuck in from the other side of the warehouse, using her shadow ability as camouflage. “The main room’s just ahead of your position.”

Andrew clamped his mouth shut. This warehouse was registered to a shell corporation that belonged to a fake identity that had led them to Null Point, a super-powered terrorist who had been wreaking mayhem on Washington, D.C. for weeks. This was the Peacekeepers’ chance to bring him down.

“Moving in.” Andrew peered around the corner into the main room. “I don’t see—Micron, look out!”

Throwing up the stump of his left arm, Andrew slowed the oncoming crate to a crawl. Micron was already in motion, shrinking to the size of a paper clip as the crate shattered in slow motion. Using the fragments of the crate as steppingstones, Micron traversed the projectile in seconds, landed in the center of the main room in a three-point crouch, and grew back to his normal intimidating size. Minuteman rushed in behind him and looked toward the ceiling.

Null Point, a gravity manipulator, hovered in the air above the main room, his obnoxiously plain white outfit and cape flowing around him. Minuteman reached down to grab a stun disc from his utility belt.

“The Peacekeepers.” Null Point laughed. “Did you really think finding this warehouse was a stroke of luck for you? This is exactly as I planned.”

“Oh, great.” Andrew rolled his eyes. “He’s monologuing.”

“Stand down, Null Point.” Micron rose from his crouch and popped his knuckles. “You’re surrounded.”

“On the contrary, my friend, I believe you’re the ones who are surrounded.”

Four gunmen appeared on a catwalk overlooking the warehouse, two on either side. Minuteman widened his eyes in mock distress and looked over at Micron.

“Oh, no! Henchmen. Whatever shall we do?”

Micron chuckled. “Boss?”

Captain Condor’s voice echoed over their comms. “Peacekeepers: engage.”

Minuteman whipped out one of his stun discs and pulled back his arm to throw it. As he did, Micron shrunk down and leapt onto the disc. Minuteman hurled it, sending it and his teammate up toward the balcony. Before the gunmen could swivel to face the new threat, Micron had resized himself and decked one of them with an uppercut. On the other balcony, Stillhouette stepped out of the shadows and engaged the other two henchmen with her twin batons.

The floor vibrated. Minuteman looked up at Null Point and grinned. “Hear that? You’re in trouble.”

The warehouse’s main door burst open, and the Peacekeepers’ speedster, Formula One, rushed in, a blue blur of pseudo-motion trailing her like a comet’s tail. Suddenly, she was hovering in the air, her legs still kicking at a hundred miles an hour but going nowhere. Null Point laughed.

“You fools really have no idea who you’re dealing with, do you?”

Minuteman tucked into a roll and dodged another thrown crate. Null Point’s gravity control could turn everything in the warehouse—including Minuteman’s teammates—into weapons. Another crate careened past Minuteman, and he barely flattened himself to the floor as a third one rocketed toward his head. There was a whirlwind of them now, orbiting around Null Point’s head.

“How many crates are in this warehouse?” Minuteman exclaimed.

“More than enough to deal with you!”

Man, this guy is corny! Minuteman slowed another box as it headed toward the helpless Formula One and kicked it aside before it struck her. He turned back toward Null Point—

Ouch! A crate struck his temple, knocking him flat. Minuteman clutched at the wound, his head feeling sticky through his gloved hand. Null Point raised a hand, and a trio of crates rose at his command, trained on Minuteman.

“Cap?” Minuteman muttered. “Now?”

“Now.”

Minuteman flexed his left arm, catching Null Point in a time lock to slow him down. Null Point couldn’t stop them if he couldn’t think fast enough to alter the gravity. The villain recoiled—and Captain Condor cannoned into the room and hurled a crate that struck Null Point dead center. Minuteman released his time grip, and the supervillain dropped to the warehouse floor. The Captain was on him in an instant, knocking him out with a single superpowered punch.

Stillhouette and Micron returned to ground level, and Formula One hit the ground in a crouch. Andrew ran a hand through his tousled brown hair and stepped over to Captain Condor’s side. Micron knelt to cuff Null Point, glancing up at Andrew as he did.

“Hey, Minuteman?”

“Yeah?”

“This is what ‘just desserts’ taste like.”

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