(Note: These are characters from a novel I wrote a few years back but haven't published yet. The Power Girl in the story is not the DC Power Girl but my own creation. I've been considering trying to find a better name for her to avoid any confusion.)
I met Power Girl about a year ago. I was just a silly fan boy then who collected every comic about her and every action figure made of her. I was in a parking lot across the street from the Wonder Corp building when she showed up, fighting a villain. I was so awestruck, I froze up and wound up in her way so much so that she crashed into me. This was in violation of laws that state we non-superpowered folks were supposed to get out of the way of the superpowered people when they were in action.
This had gotten me not only a published bit in one of her comic books but got me on a commercial with her about why people needed to follow the laws. While taping the segment, Rock Slide had come to kidnap her. I helped get the people out of the studio but didn’t leave Power Girl after everyone had left. It was like I was her sidekick - until I was captured alongside her. Then, I became the Dude in Distress.
It worked out in the end, though. I am now Power Girl’s boyfriend. There’s nothing like sharing an adventure and a jail cell to bring to people together. In that jail cell, I learned who Power Girl really was - her secret identity and who she was underneath. No more was she just an idol to look up to, she was completely real and completely wonderful.
So, it’s date night tonight. Of course, I don’t go out on the town with Power Girl, in full costume and all. Nope, my date is her secret identity: Angela Howards - the rich daughter of shipping and technology mogul, Jonathan Howards. Power Girl has a public persona of a rich it-girl. The tabloids have had fun trying to figure out who I am and what Angela Howards could ever see in me. Headlines range from either trying to figure out what dark secret I have to questioning her sanity.
It’s the normal circus when we get to the restaurant. Cameras flash like crazy as we make our way from the limo to the restaurant. Photographers shout at her trying to get her to look directly at them. She’s taught me to look straight forward at the door I’m heading towards and to keep my expression still. She’s had plenty of awful pictures of herself in the tabloids, she would know.
Thankfully, the restaurant we’re headed to, “Max’s” is really good about placing us strategically in the dining room so that even the guys with the awesome camera lenses can’t get a picture of us. We’re only on our second course when the date gets interrupted.
I didn’t see the three men in the black ski masks enter the place, but here they are. Two are standing near the door and one is in the middle of the dining room, holding a very large gun of some sort, barrel pointed towards the ceiling.
“Ladies and gentlemen of this fine establishment, we are The Oakland Boys and you are our hostages!” he shouts.
Gasps come from the crowd. One man stands up from his chair and makes to move towards the guy with the gun. The gun is shot in the air and the man sits back down.
“Don’t be stupid, people. All you have to do is sit tight until we get our demands met.”
“What are your demands?” asks a woman in the room.
“Simple,” the masked gunman says. “We want all Howards Industries buildings shut down and we want the Mayor of Oakland to step down.”
I look at Angela and grimace. We both know these guys aren’t going to get what they want. How long will it take before they start hurting their hostages?
I whisper, “you need to do something.”
She whispers back, “I can’t - I need to change,” and she points at her purse.
“Who cares?” I whisper back.
“Make a distraction,” she whispers, as she slides down her chair. I think she’s headed under the table to change.
I decide it would be very stupid of me to bum rush the guy with the gun since I’m not the one with the super powers. Instead, I stand up and slowly walk towards the bar. I look like I’m trying to sneak out.
This elicits the response I was hoping for. The gunman turns and points his gun at me. “Hey! You! Where do you think you’re going?”
All eyes are on me: the gunman’s, the two guys at the door, and the entire dining room. Perfect.
“I just need to pee,” I say and gesture towards the bathrooms to the side of the bar area.
“Nice try,” he says. “You a hero?”
The gunman heads towards me and all I can think is how long is it going to take her to get dressed? Is she trying to put on the boots under that table? Please, not the boots.
“No, sir,” I say. “I just really need to pee.”
The gunman is in front of my face and backhands me. It stings like hell and I could swear I feel my brain hit my skull. It sucks. I think I’m rapidly going from being a sidekick to dude in distress again.
“That hurt, you know,” I say indignantly. I am trying to show no fear - if I do, he may not feel I am a threat to watch any longer. On the inside, though, I’m counting.
He grabs me by my hair and throws me to the floor in front of the bar and kicks a stool out of the way. He looks to his men at the door. “Get these stools out of the way and get all of our hostages on the floor next to this idiot.”
“No, boys, I don’t think that’ll be necessary.” Power Girl’s voice carries across the restaurant and everyone turns to look at her. She skipped the boots but is otherwise in full costume.
The gunman fires at her and the bullets bounce off. “Have you never heard of impervious skin?” Power Girl says and smiles. “Let’s make this easy. I want the night off and I don’t want to beat you silly - just put the guns down and go stand in that corner.” She points to an unoccupied corner near the front door.
“Dream on,” says the gunman. He turns to his men and points and her and says, “Get her.”
Let it be said that The Oakland Boys gang is not entirely filled with stupid people. His men shake their heads and bolt for the front door.
“No!” shouts the gunman. “You don’t run away!” and he points his gun at them.
The gunman didn’t see her building up her lightning energy in her hand. She pulls the energy from the air near as I can tell. While he’s training his gun on his men, she takes that energy from her hand and directs it in a bolt to his gun’s grip. It gets hot and gives him an electrical shock.
The gunman drops the gun cursing and I leap up into action. I grab him and pull him to the ground while he is still distracted. The other two got away but I’m sitting on top of this one with a big grin and a big bruise on my face. I’ll stay on him until some cops show up.
Sidekick, not Dude in Distress.