Fellow author and friend David Reiss has completed his trilogy about Doctor Fid, alpha-supervillain on a hero’s journey. I cannot recommend this trilogy highly enough. So I will pay it my highest compliment: a Doctor Fid and Super Holly crossover! (Written with David’s permission and his excellent advice, for he knows his villain better than anyone.) I set this crossover, which Doctor Fid left out of his personal log, in book 3, Starfall.
SEASIDE CITY, CALIFORNIA. THE SUPERHERO SCIENCE LAB. EARLY AUGUST. A FRIDAY. 11:22 A.M.
My fingers blurred on the dimensional control panel and my super-intelligent mind roiled like when I—Cal “The Intellectual” Critbert—had watched the recently discovered director’s cut of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho; the first sentence of my resulting review was “Triple the tension, quadruple the suspense!” But now, my mind did not roil in a good way. On the control panel, a stretching progress bar assaulted my retinas with a bright red glow indicating an approaching unknown power that could level three city blocks… four blocks… five… six…
Twenty five feet away, a ten-foot-wide vortex kaleidoscoped faster and faster. In all the movies I have reviewed over the years, dimensional portals were never so showy. Or so nasty. When this vortex had popped into existence twenty two seconds ago, it had knocked out every guard and scientist in this lab. I was unhurt, thanks to my inky black, cowled and caped, built-in-six-pack-abs Intellecta-body armor. Excellent for my night job as a superhero, but no match for whatever would pop out of the portal in five point two seconds.
I checked my Intellecta-phone’s map app. A blue dot moved toward my black dot. Impact in one minute, nine point eight seconds. I drew my Intellecta-gun, set it to Harry-Headbutt-buster blaster, and frowned at the futility of that. I faced the portal and adjusted my stance to maximize my scary grimness.
With a flash like lightning and a sound of thunder—KRAKRRROOOOOOOMMM!!!—an eight-foot-tall super-armored man burst through the portal. His posture and balance were perfect. The blackness of that armor outdid my own, absorbing ambient light like a demonic black hole. The armor glowed red at the joints and was speckled with a thousand points of light. Stars? I did not recognize any constellations.
The armored man spoke, my Intellecta-hearing recognizing that the voice was computer-modulated for even-tempered intimidation frosted with contempt. “A hero. I should have known.” He turned and—even though his helmet had no facial features whatsoever—I could somehow sense when his attention locked upon me. “My name is Doctor Fid and you have diverted me from my mission.”
I put Intellecta-speed into my finger-dancing on the control panel. “My apologies. Your passage through the portal created a overload. I must make immediate adjustments to prevent a multi-dimensional implosion.”
Eight feet of gleaming metal intimidation floated closer. “As my world’s smartest and greatest supervillain, I have far more experience in such matters. Step away from the control panel.” He pointed a glowing finger right between my eyes. “Your body armor is no match for my MK 47 heavy-combat armor.”
I glanced at my phone and back to Doctor Fid. I had to smile. “I don’t need combat armor. I have a Holly.”
Doctor Fid’s faceless head cocked curiously. “A Holly?”
BRAKKOOOOOOOW!!! A six-foot-one, blue-supersuited, blonde amazon meteored through a thick steel-and-concrete lab wall, leading with a super-strong right fist. That fist, surrounded by a six-foot-wide transparent telekinetic blue boxing glove, super-sledgehammered Doctor Fid. He hurtled across the lab and embedded two feet deep into yet another steel-and-concrete wall.
Super Holly Hansson alighted next to me and kissed my cheek, ah, her sweet strawberry scent. “Sorry I’m late. I had to dodge a couple of 747s.”
I typed faster. “Holly, Doctor Fid’s armor,” I nodded at the armored man, “badly affected the dimensional portal.”
Like a cat checking out a maybe-dead mouse for the slightest twitch, Super Holly scowled at Doctor Fid. “How bad can it be?”
The portal glowed brighter as its ominous hum slowly went up the scale. “Imagine it swallowing Seaside City and spitting it out halfway across the galaxy. Into another dimension. That is the best case scenario.”
KERRRRONK!!! Doctor Fid had flexed free of the wall’s rocky embrace. He thrust out his right hand. In that hand appeared a baseball-bat-size rod that had the same color scheme as his armor. He aimed the rod at Holly and floated toward me. “Last warning. Stand aside.”
My movie critic side surfaced. “The metaphor of that rod is unmistakable.”
Holly put her red-caped back to me. Her tall, super-strong body tensed into heavyweight boxer. “Cal, you know I hate those metaphors almost as much as I hate crucifix cliches. Stay behind me.” She inserted herself between the control panel and Doctor Fid. “As for you, tall, dark, and gruesome, come any closer and the mightiest super on Earth, namely me, will get a can opener and—”
KAAZOOOOOWWW!!! The rod’s blinding concussive force blast howitzered Holly through even yet another lab wall. Good thing I had designed this lab to stay standing even if seventy nine percent of it was pulverized. Doctor Fid walked toward me, the rod vanishing back to whatever little pocket dimension he had summoned it from. “We have fifty two seconds left.”
I sighed. “You shouldn’t have done that. It’ll just make her mad.”
ZOOM!!! A blonde and blue missile warheaded upon Doctor Fid and jackhammered punches and kicks. “YOU FRIKIN’ FRAKIN’ FRIKITY SON OF A FRIKIN’ FRAK!!!”
Doctor Fid blocked every blow with a skill to rival the Karate Queen. His moves were too quick, too precise. Probably his armor’s programming. He said, “I suppose I will have to hit you in your weak spot.”
The stars on the armor’s faceplate glowed brighter and swirled into a glittering, hypnotic rainbow that lighthouse-beamed onto Holly’s startled face. A deep thrumming emanated from the armor, matching the flashing faceplate.
Holly’s wide eyes magnetized at Doctor Fid’s faceplate. Her boxer-posed arms dropped and hung like noodles. Her eyelids slowly lowered, her mouth gaped open… and then she snarled, “STOPPIT,” and headbutted Doctor Fid: KLONK!!!
He crashed onto the floor next to me. He stood up, brushed himself off, and turned his faceless face to me. “Mental shields?”
I nodded. “Taught her myself.”
Doctor Fid nodded. “I’m impressed.” He placed a small black and red disc on the control panel. “This will fix your problem.” He glanced at Holly, who was shaking cobwebs out of her head with a “B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B!!!” He sighed. “Your portal problem, at least.”
“Thank you.” I shook his armored hand and sneaked a small disc of my own onto his armor. “Keep your guard up on your left.”
“So, great intellects do think alike,” he said, and floated toward Holly. His voice turned its alpha-supervillain contempt up to eleven. “Bah! I fixed your portal merely so that I can have yet another dimension to make my own!” His fists glowed red, but it was his voice that pushed Holly’s buttons. “Once I vanquish its mightiest hero, the rest will fall like dominoes!”
Holly faced Doctor Fid, her fists up, her teeth bared, her blue eyes ablaze, and I needed to lecture her about falling for melodramatic villainy. She spat out, “The FRAK you will! And mind control is fighting dirty!”
Doctor Fid hovered within boxing range of Holly. He put up his dukes. “That was more of a tranquilizer beam. Works best on soft minds. Have at thee?”
They went at it, their arms like super-jackhammers: POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW!!!!!! I glanced down at the control panel. Well well, Fid’s disc did it! The control panel display showed that the portal was stabilizing nicely.
I glanced up at the super-heavyweight championship of two intersecting dimensions. I noted that this time, Doctor Fid’s moves were not computer generated, but very human. He seemed to relish the challenge of fighting the most powerful superhero in this dimension. He landed more blows than Holly, but she stubbornly did not yield a millimeter. POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW!!!!!! My Intellecta-hearing easily picked up the snark in his battle banter: “Take that, hero! And that, and that! Ha ha, evil triumphs because good is clumsy!”
I glanced at my Intellecta-phone. As expected, the disc I had slipped onto Fid’s armor could not penetrate his armor’s firewalls. But it had gleaned a record of his recent actions, and his mini-biography, and his current mission… oh. OH!
I put Intellecta-authority into my yell: “Holly! Cease and desist! AT ONCE!!!”
“GRRRR!!!” said Holly as she wiped blood from her split lip. She shoved hard with both hands, and two five-foot-tall blue hands pushed Doctor Fid back. She gave me a look that made me grateful she did not have heat vision lest she drill a hole to the Earth’s core. She barked, “WHAT?!?!”
I held out my phone. “You really need to see this.”
Holly snapped at Doctor Fid, “You stay put!” She zoomed over to me, yanked the phone out of my hand, and grumbled, “What is so frikin’ important…” She blinked at the phone. “that I have to…” Her big blue eyes lost their fire, going soft and liquid. “to…” A tear ran down her cheek. “Oh.” She turned those big blues to Doctor Fid. “You poor thing!”
ZOOM! She flew to Doctor Fid. WHUMP! And engulfed him in a hug. She super-blubbered, “I have a dear little fangirl whom I love too! SOB!!!”
Fascinating. Doctor Fid, mightiest supervillain of his world, super genius, fearless and arrogant, suddenly had no idea what to do. His hands fidgeted, his awkward discomfort was palpable. He must have realized that his goal here was accomplished and that we did not intend to hinder his progress, for he managed a pat to Holly’s back, a gesture like a toddler carefully shaping his first mud pie. “Apology accepted.”
They both floated over to land next to me. Holly broke the hug and forced her lower lip to stop trembling. Her eyes were two oceans of empathy. “Is there anything I can do to help?”
Doctor Fid’s faceplate betrayed no emotion. “You can be the superhero that your world needs.” His voice turned stern. “You are reckless!” And then respectful. “But you have the heart of a true hero.”
Holly wiped her eyes with her cape, and smiled warmly at Doctor Fid. “I am beginning to think the latter of you, mister scary supervillain.”
I could have sworn that a smile flitted across Doctor Fid’s faceplate. He grabbed my disc off his armor and handed it to me. “Trade you.”
I handed him the disc off the control panel. Doctor Fid floated up and backed into the completely stabilized portal. “Goodbye, Holly. Learn from him. I respect his intellect.” And Doctor Fid was gone.
Super Holly sighed deeply and gazed wistfully at the portal, which vanished. “Good luck, Doctor Fid.” Then a happy little pout pursed her lips. She turned to me. Her voice was a cat meowing for petting. “Cal? Have you thought about upgrading your armor?”
It was hard to keep from laughing. I reared up to Dracula posture. “I thought you liked the Batman look.”
She wrapped her arms around my neck. “I love it. But maybe a little blacker?” She pecked my lips with a quick kiss: “MMM-WAH! And some stars? MMM-WAH! And glowing joints? MMM-WAH!”
I smirked at her. “And a big rod?”
Holly smirked back. “Ew.”