By LabRat <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: April 2003
Summary: Our triumphantly evil Nazi wannabes find things don't go entirely to plan in this Plot Untwist Challenge vignette.
A Plot Untwist Challenge Vignette based on the episode "Super Mann."
Author's note: Hazel's challenge on Zoomway's mbs was to produce a short story, the point of which was to 'untwist' the plot, so that the episode would never have happened.
It was silent in the long-abandoned coal mine. Save for the distant hum of long-forgotten machinery still endlessly rotating in the darkness.
In the center of the room, where three long, rectangular boxes lay with the dust of decades still on them, analog clocks suddenly clicked on over to a new date. A new era.
May 7, 1993.
A new dawn. The new and glorious dawn that those who had built this chamber had never seen and had known they never would see as they toiled. Yet their eyes, as they had lowered the stiff, cold bodies into their metal coffins, had been full of the vision of a new age. A future age in which these conquerors would bring enlightenment.
A change came over the machinery, its humming beginning a slow rise in pitch, increasing its fluctuation…as it carefully brought the sleepers awake and into their kingdom. The kingdom that had been promised to them and which they had waited on, slumbering out their dreams of dominion, all these years.
Clouds of nitrogen billowed out into the stagnant air as the lids of the coffins were thrown aside. The occupants who emerged were perfect specimens. Young and strong. Pure and athletic. And, despite their decades of sleep in the wombs of the machines, vitally alive.
As they stood, blinking and adjusting to the sudden beat of blood in their veins, memory and purpose returning to them out of the mists they had been bound in for so long, their eyes fell on the gold Nazi eagle on its pedestal in the corner. The red and black swastika clutched in its claws fluttered in the sudden rush of fresh air piped into the chamber…as though in welcome.
As though in triumph.
They emerged slowly onto the street, shielding eyes weakened by decades of darkness from the onslaught of the sun. The woman inhaled deeply, taking pleasure in the freshness of the air. Her two male companions looked around themselves at the bustling Metropolis surrounding them, their expressions showing soft wonder.
"We made it," Lisa said. Her voice still had a faint accent to it and she frowned, knowing she would have to work on that. But, for now, nothing could disturb her pleasure. And her relief. They had made it. She grinned at her companions.
Across the street, a hum of machinery startled them. But it was only a crane lifting a large billboard high into the air. On its surface was a brightly colored advertisement for something called The Daily Planet. A newspaper? She made a mental note to check it out later as she relaxed from her momentary fright.
The taller of the two men had spotted a newspaper dispenser across the street. He made for it, his companions following. He studied the headlines through the glass cover.
"Democrats and Republicans Deadlocked over Budget."
"Congress votes new pay raise."
They met each other's stricken gazes.
"We lost," Lisa whispered finally.
"And America won." Hank sounded as stunned as she did. This was surely impossible. Impossible!
"But we will correct that," Steve said quickly, before the enormity of this shock could sink deep into them, demoralize them. "Nothing can stop *us*."
Lisa nodded slowly, then brought up her head sharply at another commotion across the street. A woman screamed. Lisa saw immediately what was happening. The rope holding the billboard aloft had begun to fray. Even as she watched, another strand snapped clear and the billboard juddered. The crowd of pedestrians in the area quickly scattered, but one little girl, dragged hastily clear by an older woman who was probably the child's grandmother, dropped the small bear she was carrying directly beneath the swaying board.
Before the grandmother could react, the child had jerked her hand free of the woman's grip and run back to fetch her beloved toy, heedless of the danger. The babble of consternation in the crowd increased as they saw the small, coming tragedy play out before them. There was another scream. Lisa watched without interest and began to turn away. She had more important things to consider.
"Let's find out —"
Sudden cheers whipped her back around. Her eyes widened. As the rope finally snapped completely and the billboard crashed to the ground, a blur of color whipped past and then the little girl was safely deposited next to her weeping grandmother. Lisa blinked, sure she hadn't seen what she had.
"Gott in Himmel," Steve breathed beside her. "Ein Super Mann."
"Speak English," she heard Hank hiss. But she was already moving as though in a daze to cross the street and stand beside the fallen billboard. She sensed the others crowding at her back as she put out a shaking hand to the wooden board.
A whoosh of air caught their attention and they craned their necks to watch as the little girl's savior streaked up into the sky and disappeared.
"A super man." Steve sounded dazed.
Lisa and Hank looked around, slightly alarmed, at the crowd, who were smiling as they calmly went back to their interrupted business. Obviously this incident was nothing new to them — or unusual. Lisa blanched.
"What if there are more like him in America?" Hank whispered. He was pale too.
Steve shook his head and when he spoke they looked at him, his words resonating a new purpose in them. A new truth.
"Then," he said, grimly determined. "That is just one more obstacle we must overcome."
Lisa glanced at Hank. He met her gaze steadily and she nodded. Yes. They would overcome this…super mann…just as they would everything else to achieve their promised birthright.
"No one," she agreed. "And nothing. We *will* prevail here. And this super mann will die!"
As one, they turned to stare up into the sky and the point where the mysterious man had vanished, Lisa's vehement declaration ringing in their ears like a call to arms, with its tantalizing promise of victory so close they could almost taste it.
What could stand in their way? They were invincible. The masters here.
Unfortunately, none of them noticed that the billboard, which had fallen to land only on one corner, had — unlike their resolve — begun to waver. They probably didn't even know what hit them as it teetered, swayed, and then toppled to land squarely on top of them with a crash that echoed the length of the street.