[Vfw-times] story: Weird Warriors, Night of the Rats

Eric Vary orenotter at yahoo.com
Sun Aug 5 04:15:56 CDT 2001

The Weird Warriors
Night of the rats

author's note: this story takes place in the future,
after the Weird Warriors have become well established.
 For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Weird
Warriors (and you know you are) a brief explanation of
each of the heroes follows this story.  You may want
to scroll down and read that part first.

	Emily sighed heavily as she stared out across the
blue expanse of the ocean.  Life had been difficult
since coming to the island of Ralu, but she had been
able to handle it.  That is, until now.  Her father's
research in the field of cancer had earned him a
reputation as a medical genius.  This had garnered the
two of them a respectable income and a lovely home in
southern California.  All that had been left behind
when her father, the great Shaun Delapin decided that
a more remote location would help him concentrate on
his work more easily.
	Emily had not seen her father in days.  He'd holed
himself up in his lab and refused to see anyone.  That
was going to end, the girl decided.  She knew where
the spare key was kept.  Stealing silently down the
hallway, she opened the door of her father's lab.
	"Emily?" squeaked a hoarse voice from within.  "Is
that you?"
	"It's me, father.  I was worried..."
	"Don't come in!" shouted Doctor Delapin shrilly. 
	"Why?  Father, are you all right?"
	When she saw him, she learned that he was not all
right.  Sitting at the desk in a long white lab coat
sat an enormous black rat.  She screamed.  The
creature screamed.  Emily threw up her hands as the
beast came at her, only to turn suddenly away and flee
out the window.
	Emily did the only thing she could.  She called for

	* * *

		Robbie gave a little grunt as he twisted the wrench
again.  That stubborn little nut simply would not come
loose.  He glanced right, glanced left to see if
anyone was watching, then extended a finger toward the
offending hardware.  A tiny but powerful burst of
light shot from beneath his nail.  The nut fell away,
sliced by the energy bolt.
	"I thought White eagle told you not to do that."
	Robbie jumped.  He whirled around and saw Roanne
standing in the doorway.  Or rather, he didn't see
her.  He was perfectly aware that she was there, but
simply could not force his mind to resolve any detail
about her.  That was, of course, how Roanne liked it.
	"Foxx, don't you know it's impolite to use your
peekaboo power to spy on your teammates?" Robbie asked
	"That may be," said Roanne, dropping her
mind-clouding field just enough to reveal her non-
human appearance.  "But it's a good thing I did.  You
could have fried Coral One's circuits with that bolt."
	"I'm not going to fry anyone's circuits, Foxx."
	"Would you like someone to do that to you?  Remember
what happened to your father."
	The red glow which was ever-present in Robbie's eyes
began to intensify.  "How come you're not on Gamma
Epsilon with the rest of the Weird Warriors anyway?"
	"Somebody had to stay behind and fix Coral One."
	"That's why White Eagle, Feverman, Volt and I are
	"Sugar, you two are doctors and engineers, but Coral
One is a cyborg island, and there ain't no one
understands cyborgs or genetic constructs like a
	"Don't fib, Foxx. Mentalis ordered you to stay behind
because he didn't trust you to be able to resist
Paradox's mind control.  He did, didn't he?"
	"Why you little..." Roanne dropped her peekaboo field
completely, allowing Robbie's mind to see exactly what
she was: a snarling, angry humanoid fox.
	At that moment, Volt popped his head into the room. 
"Hey, Rob, I..."  He stopped and stared at Roanne. 
"Whoah, Foxx.  Nice fur there.  Am I interrupting
	Roanne stared for a minute at the brightly colored
squarish android as if to ascertain what was going
through his electronic brain.  Deciding that Volt was
closer to being a human teenager than he admitted, she
once again raised her psionic field, obscuring the
details of her body from the robot's eager eyes.
	"What is it, Volt?" Robbie prompted.
	"Uh, yeah... I have some interesting news.  We just
got a call from one of the outer Tanuati Islands."
	"Yeah?  What is it?"
	"Several calls, actually.  There's a girl... Emily
Delapin... says her father has gone missing. 
	"Sounds like a case for the police."
	"It gets better.  She says that he was eaten by a
giant humanoid rat."
	Robbie glowered.  "Is this one of those
‘make-fun-of-the-clone' jokes?"
	Volt crossed his arms as much as the fins on them
would allow.  "Look, bro... I know you started life as
a lab rat, and I'm sorry that it hurts your feelings
any time someone mentions the word ‘rat', but this is
what was reported.  Besides, you don't see me whining
every time our team has to go stomp some evil robot,
do you?"
	"It's not the same, and you know it!"
	Both Volt and Robbie turned to see White eagle
standing in the doorway.  "I would think that the
clone and the Android would be more respectful of one
another's feelings.  After all, you are both unique,
created beings, and you are brothers, both your
father's beloved sons."
	Robbie looked at his feet.  Volt twitched a servo in
his waist uncomfortably and said "he started it."
	The old pale medicine man smiled and put his hands on
both of the boys' shoulders.  "Volt, you know that
your brother is sensitive about his life before
becoming  your father's duplicate.  And Robert, you
should listen to what your brother has to say.  And
Roanne, you should not eavesdrop on a private
	Roanne, who had gone totally imperceptible, asked
"how did you know I was still here?"
	"You delight in being mysterious, Foxx."
	"So do I.  Come.  Let us resume discussing this
distress call in the meeting hall, where Feverman may
also be present."

	* * *

	"Since Ms. Delapin's sighting, there have been dozens
of calls from people who say they've seen a giant
black rat.  It stands six feet tall.  Some say seven
or eight.  Always pitch black.  It wears clothes, and
they say it's done everything from breaking into
houses to eating people whole."
	Feverman looked toward Robbie, his star-shaped pupils
staring out from his scruffy face in silent question.
	"Don't even say it!" Robbie warned.
	"I've said nothing." Feverman responded.
	Robbie turned to White Eagle.  "What's your opinion,
old man?"
	The healer sat up straight and answered.  "My
brother..." he glanced at Volt and Robbie before
continuing.  "Was Red Wolf.  He was born with
paranormal powers.  His was the ability to change into
the forms of animals."
	A disembodied voice filled the room as the island
itself spoke.  "Red Wolf was a member of the Allies,
along with Allegiance, Flying Fortress, Apple Pi and
	"You are of course correct, Coral one.  My brother
was a great hero during World War Two.  And yet
because of the color of his skin combined with his
unusual powers, he was looked upon by many of his
countrymen as a freak.  Americans hated and feared
	"We all know how people hate mutants." said Feverman.
 "That's the whole reason Mentalis founded the Weird
Warriors.  To make people see mutants in a positive
	"No disrespect intended, eagle," said Robert.  "But
what does this have to do with Ralu?"
	"My brother was the victim of many slanderous
accusations by people who did not understand him. 
Some accused him of witchcraft.  Others of attacking
those he was in reality trying to save."
	"I think I understand." said Volt.  "You think it's
possible that this rat-man might be the victim of bad
	"It is a possibility."
	"In either case, we've got to get to Ralu.  Either to
protect the islanders or to protect the rat from the
	"You are the highest ranking Warrior here." White
eagle reminded the Android.  "We await your command."
	Volt's camera-eyes looked to the faces of his
teammates.  Finally, he ordered "Coral One, set course
to Ralu."
	"Course laid in and engaged." the living island
	"Hey," said Roanne.  "Isn't anyone going to ask my
	Robbie didn't bother to look at her before saying "We
might have if you'd dropped your psionic field enough
to let us remember you were in the room."
	Roanne growled.

	* * *

	For the hours of the trip, the Weird Warriors sat
together in Coral One's bridge, each one pondering
their own thoughts.  None of them had been expecting
to see action while their comrades were away. 
Especially not in such a makeshift, cobbled-together
	The alien.  The clone.  The robot.  The mutant.  The
medicine-man.  The living island.  Heading together
into the unknown.

	* * *

	Coral One found it difficult getting his companions
to the island.  While his unusual makeup of  versatile
robotics and symbiotic coral gave him the ability to
alter his shape, an island, even a metamorphic one,
could not possibly make it over Ralu's coral reef.  It
was White eagle who had to get the group to the
island.  Or rather, White eagle's constant companion. 
As he gazed out toward the island, he reached inward
with his mind.
	"Matthew.  Matthew, can you hear me?"
	In his mind's eye, White eagle saw a young man with
long, dark braids stir from sleep.  "Master?" he said.
	"Have you had a good nap, my pupil?"
	"I'm sorry master... it's just that when you were
running all those medical tests on Coral One... I just
got so... so bored."
	"I apologize for the inconvenience of sharing our
physical space."
	Matthew frowned to himself.  It was he who should be
apologizing.  It was his fault that years ago, when
White Eagle was training him in the use of his mutant
powers that he made the biggest mistake of his life. 
Becoming confused, he had teleported into the space
occupied by his own mentor.  The two of them had
become fused, two minds dwelling in a single body. 
Sometimes one man, sometimes the other.  Always
	"Master, you know that my body is your body.  You can
access my power whenever you wish.  You do not need me
to teleport you."
	"Be that as it may," said White Eagle.  "We may very
well be going into battle.  You deserve to be aware of
what is happening, and to be given the opportunity to
join us of your own accord."
	"How long is he going to stand there?" asked Roanne.
	"Please be quiet, Foxx." said Volt.  "He's talking
with Matthew."
	"Great." said the canis.  "Mister woo-woo is having
another schizophrenic episode."
	"That's not necessary." said Feverman.
	"Says the scruffy Canadian mystic.  It's a wonder you
two don't form a club."
	Robbie stepped in, now.  "Oh, and a furry version of
Lamont Cranston is normal?"
	"Listen, clone-boy..."
	"ENOUGH!" shouted Volt.  "One more word out of
	"And you'll what?" Roanne challenged.
	The android got right up into Roanne's face.  He
still couldn't make out her features, but that didn't
deter him.  "There shouldn't have to be any ‘what'. 
You are a Weird Warrior.  You have your creed to live
by.  Your honor should be all the incentive you need
to obey your commander, which, I'm sorry to say, in
this instance just happens to be a robot.  Now if you
have a problem with that, you can turn in your badge.
	Roanne stared at Volt for a long time.  He couldn't
focus on any detail of her eyes, but he knew she was
glaring at him, and that made him uncomfortable.  Had
he been human, he might have sweat.
	"I'm sorry." said the fox at last.  "Let the Indians
finish talking."
	"We are finished." said Matthew.  Everyone turned to
see the young man in a suit standing there in place of
his master.  "We thought it would be better this way."
	"How so?" asked Volt.
	"Well, the islanders have no doubt been spooked by
the appearance of the rat people.  It would be best to
look as normal as possible to avoid spooking them
further.  White Eagle agreed that my appearance might
be less jarring than a wrinkled old fellow in feathers
and spandex.
	Volt looked at Feverman.  In his standard uniform of
jeans and a T-shirt, there was nothing bizarre about
him, as long as one didn't get a good look at his
eyes.  He then looked to his brother, Robbie, who was
decked out in his Laser-Man outfit.  "Perhaps he is
right.  We should go in our civilian guises until we
have the trust of the islanders."
	"Go in as civilians?" the clone echoed.  "We've never
done that before."
	Suddenly, the android found himself in an awkward
situation.  How to reaffirm his orders without pulling
rank on his brother?  Instead of speaking, he simply
turned on his solid-light holojector.  Around his body
appeared the rather husky form of a human man.  It was
necessarily large to cover all of his corners and
protrusions, especially his wings, fins, and stylish
horns.  In the end, however, he simply looked like a
large man with a tall hat.
	Laser-Man got the picture.  He disappeared inside and
emerged moments later as plain old Robbie, complete
with contacts to disguise his glowing eyes.
	Roanne, of course, had no need of a disguise.
	"All right" said Matthew/white Eagle. "Are we all
here?  Let's go."  With a sudden puff of smoke, the
Warriors were gone.
	Coral One hunkered down for a long wait.

	* * *

	"Who is it?"
	"Weird Warriors, Ma'am.  We're here in response to
your call."
	Emily opened the door of the house just a crack.  She
studied the visitors for a moment.  Three white men,
one red man, and a woman who was... incredibly
	"You do not look like the Weird Warriors.  Where is
the man with the metal arm?  And the lion?  And the
cyborg with the brain?"
	At the last description, Robbie nudged volt and
mouthed "Dad."
	"Ah... that's the Weird Warriors East.  We're the
Weird warriors Pacific.  Well, most of us.  We're sort
of a special team assembled just for this mission."
	"You are?"
	"It's a long story." said Feverman.
	Emily gazed at Feverman's eyes.  "All right, then. 
Come inside."

	* * *

	"My father had been holed away in his lab for several
days." said Emily as she politely poured cups of
lemonade for her visitors.  "I had become worried for
	"What was your father working on?" asked Feverman.
	"A cure for cancer.  He had said that he had even
found a way to cure cancer in laboratory animals, but
he hadn't discovered a method of applying it to
	"Did he say anything to you about his work when you
last saw him?"  Matthew.
	"No.  Well..."
	"Go ahead." Volt urged.  "Anything you can tell us
may be a vital clue."
	"He made a cryptic comment.  Said he didn't want to
fat-finger.  I don't know what that means."
	"It's computer jargon." said Robbie.  "It refers to
the process of copying a program or file by typing it
in line by line."
	"Do you think he tried that with genetic code?" asked
Roanne.  Emily stared at her, and found it
disturbingly difficult to concentrate on any of the
details of her face.  It was like looking at a
newspaper and not being able to make out any of the
	"Miss Delapin," said Volt.  "Was the creature you
found in your father's lab wearing anything?"
	"Yes.  A lab coat.  And pants, I think.  I don't
really remember."
	The brothers looked at each other, silently
communicating their mutual question.  It was Robbie
who asked it.  "Miss Delapin... Emily... what I'm
going to say is going to sound... well, probably
downright ridiculous.  But... have you at all
considered the possibility that the creature in the
lab might be your father?  Now I know that sounds
stupid, but as people who deal with the paranormal on
a daily basis, we have to ask."
	"I'm not offended.  And your right.  I would have
considered it ridiculous until..."
	There was a pregnant silence.  "Go on." Feverman
	"Until I found this."  Emily drew back the sleeve of
her shirt.  On her right arm was a sizable patch of
grey fur.
	Volt glanced at Robbie, then did a double-take.  The
clone was sweating visibly.  It was time to get Robbie
away from this.  "Laser-Man," he said, using his
brother's official code-name.  "I want you to take
Foxx and go out into the village.  See how many people
you can find who've seen this rat- creature. 
Feverman, White Eagle, I'd like you to come with me
and take a look at the lab.  Miss Delapin, if you
would show us the way?"
	"Of course."

	* * *

	"It was horrible!" said the storekeeper in her thick
south-seas accent.  "The beast, he broke the shop
window, and he yelled at us to give him food.  When my
husband refused, he bit him on the arm.  The teeth
went right through!"
	"This beast... can you describe it?"
	"It was a giant rat... but with arms and legs like a
man.  It had clothes, but they were tattered."
	"And it's fur?"
	"What do you mean?"
	"What color was it?  Was it black?"
	"No." replied the shopkeeper with a quizzical look. 
"It was yellow."

	* * *

	"The lab animals' cages have been opened." was White
Eagle's first observation.  Matthew had transformed
back into his mentor, as White Eagle would certainly
have a better understanding of matters pertaining to
medical science.
	"Shoes." observed Feverman, pointing to a pair of
abused loafers in the corner.  "Looks like they were
torn apart from the inside."
	Volt, now back in his normal, metallic guise, pointed
to some spilled chemicals.  "What's that?" he
	Feverman stooped over the mess.  "Bacterial culture."
he answered.  "Doesn't seem familiar."
	"Can we find out what it is?"
	Feverman stood up straight and stiffened.  "We can go
the normal route, which could take months, maybe
longer.  Or..."
	Volt nodded.  "Do it."
	White Eagle turned to Emily.  "When Feverman uses his
power, it's not pretty.  You may want to leave."
	"I'll stay." replied the girl.
	The mutant began to concentrate on the liquid. 
First, a few bubbles formed.  Then, a shape began to
emerge.  Small at first, it began to grow.  Two
inches.  Three.  Six.  Suddenly, it's height sprang to
seven feet tall!  A disgusting yellow color, it was
unmistakably rodentian, with slime-soaked fur and a
slithering tail accompanied by venom-dripped claws and
teeth.  It picked up Feverman and threw him across the
room, then turned toward Emily.
	White Eagle quickly teleported into the monster's
path, only to be flung across the lab as well.  Volt,
moving quickly, used his solid-light holojector to
create a shining sword.  Down he swung at the beast,
only to find that his weapon passed through it.
	The monster grabbed Emily by the throat.  Gurgling
screams gave way to high-pitched squeals as her very
flesh began to transform at the monster's touch.
	Volt searched his memory drives for any method of
hurting the monster.  "It's made of bacteria." he told
himself.  "A human body fights bacteria by raising
it's temperature.  HEAT!"  Focusing the laser on his
hand, the android set it on infra-red and fired into
the monster.  It roared in pain, then grabbed Volt's
arm and began to twist.  Even Volt's robotic strength
was little defense.
	Feverman, barely able to move, did the one thing left
to him.  He focused on the microbes within his own
	The monster, intent on ripping Volt's arm from it's
socket, was surprised to suddenly find itself faced
with another like itself.  Only this one was smaller,
and green.  The monster knew what it had to do.  It
tossed the android aside.  Robots were of no real
interest, after all.  They had no organic tissue. 
This new thing, however, was nothing but organic.
	Germ had left Feverman's body ready for action.  It
new that it's master only called it out into the
macrobiotic world to do battle.  This, however, did
not look like a promising situation.  This other
disease was twice its height and particularly
mean-looking.  Germ hissed, flicking its slimy, arrow-
shaped tongue, and lunged.  The rat-disease grabbed it
by the throat.
	Germ began to panic.  This other disease was
absorbing the bacteria and viruses which made up its
body.  Germ was too weak to fight back, and was
getting weaker by the second.  Soon, it knew, it would
die, and it's master, his body deprived of all
symbiotes, would die as well.
	White Eagle did not know what to do.  Germ needed
help, and fast.  He searched his immediate
surroundings for a weapon of any kind.  His eyes
landed on a set of petri dishes.
	Germ was losing the will to fight, its body becoming
weaker and weaker as the enemy absorbed its cells. 
Then suddenly, something touched it.  A hand, from
behind.  A glass dish.  A dish full of... E-coli
bacteria!  Germ absorbed the E-coli hungrily, adding
every last cell to its own mass, even sucking germs
from White-eagle's hand.  The new cells rejuvenated
it, giving it new strength.  Then another dish.  And
another!  Each new petri dish made germ stronger and
stronger, until instead of being absorbed, germ was
doing the absorbing.  It sucked the enemy's mass and
power into itself, ignoring pathetic squeals of agony,
until nothing was left but a tiny little creature,
which Germ popped into its mouth and swallowed.
	"I am so glad I don't eat." said Volt.  "Because that
would have made me throw up for sure."
	"I really did not need to see that." said Matthew
within White Eagle.  "Or feel that.  Ick!  Did you
have to put our hand in that thing?"
	"Is everyone okay?" asked Volt, doing his best to
place his arm back into its socket.
	Germ evaporated into mist, disappearing once again
into the body of Feverman.
	White eagle attempted to wipe the slime from his
	Emily, however, knelt on the floor and wept.  The
monster had transformed her.  She was now a humanoid
	There are certain things to be said for Superheroes. 
Special abilities other than their superpowers which
they and no others possess.  One of these abilities is
that of finding oneself in a dark alley, no matter
where in the world one may be.  Ralu had never known a
large population.  There had never been a need to
build upward, yet Foxx and laser-Man now found
themselves in the one spot they had done so.  To make
matters worse, two large rat-people were blocking
their only escape.
	"Shade could have flown out." Robbie complained to
himself.  Samson could have lifted a building. 
Logoman would disappear into a telephone wire.  What
power do I get?  I'm a walking sun lamp.  Foxx, any
	"Foxx, don't bail on me now!"
	"You did this to us freak!" exclaimed one of the
	"What?" Laser-man responded, his mouth emitting a
bright white glow as he spoke.  "I didn't do anything
to you!"
	"The minute you and your friends arrive, we turned
into THIS!" cried the other.  "You did this to us,
	"I'm not a mutant, I'm a clone!"
	"RRRAAAAAGGGHHH!"  The rat leapt.  Laser-man defended
himself by emitting a beam of searing hot light from
his eyes and mouth.  The creature lay on the ground,
his fur gone in front, his flesh pink and blistered. 
The only place he hadn't been burned was an area which
was shaped strangely like the silhouette of a human
	"You burned Carl." said the second rat in horror. 
Then in anger, "You burned Carl!"
	"Well Hello!" said a voice from nowhere.  "In case
you didn't notice, Carl was about to rip him to
	"Who said that?"
	"Me!"  Carl was only vaguely aware of something
nebulous and undefined punching him in the jaw.
	"Foxx?" asked Robbie.  "You there?"
	Roanne dropped her psionic cloak.  It was painfully
obvious from the burned and furless skin on her
shoulder just where she had been standing when the
first rat attacked.  "You were guarding me." Robbie
	"Yeah.  I'm kind of partial to my teammates.  Just
don't get all sappy on me, kiddo."
	"Look behind you."
	Half a dozen rat-people were now entering the alley. 
What they saw was two freaks and two of their own,
unconscious or dead.  There was no doubt in the rats'
minds as to who the guilty party was.

	* * *

	"Are you going to be all right?" asked Volt.
	"I'll be okay." said Emily as she wiped a tear from
her furry cheek.
	"Yes.  Please, tell me what you learned."
	"Emily, your father is an absolute genius.  He did
indeed find a way to cure cancer in rats, and he found
that it was possible to apply the treatment to humans.
 But the treatment calls for gene therapy."
	"Normally," said White Eagle.  "The gene is placed
into an E-coli bacteria and introduced into the human
body, where it produces the desired proteins."
	"But Shaun discovered a more direct route." Feverman
explained.  "He was able to encode the anti-cancer
genes directly into the chromosomes of his lab-rats."
	"To re-create the code in human Chromosomes would
take years longer, since he'd have to do everything
again from scratch, and repeat the process for every
human patient." said Volt.  "Apparently, he wasn't
willing to take that time.  Instead, he tried to cut
and paste the gene directly from the rats."
	"But... how?"
	"There's a virus which duplicates DNA from one host
and re-creates it in another, enacting the new genetic
code almost instantly." Feverman explained.  "We don't
know where it came from.  Outer space, apparently. 
Engineered by some distant alien civilization.  But we
know it exists.  It's the same virus which created
	"Somehow," said Volt.  "Your father got a hold of
this virus, modified the active genes, and spliced
them into bacteria.  He was hoping to create an agent
which he could program to take the anti- cancer gene
from his modified rats and place it directly into
human cells."
	"But the bacteria didn't just take the one gene."
Emily reasoned.  "It took a lot more.  And placed
	"Into a human host." White Eagle said with a tinge of
sorrow in his voice.  "Then it enacted the new genes
	"So your father isn't dead, Emily.  Just changed. 
Just like you.  But he became frightened and didn't
know what to do, so he hid in his lab.  When you came
and saw him, he tried to scare you away, and finally
ran from you."
	"Then all we have to do is convince Dad that
everything's all right."
	"No." said Feverman.  "Because now, we have a new
problem.  That pathogen has gotten loose.  Shaun was
infected, and he's carrying the disease all over the
	"You mean, everyone will be turning into rats?  Even
	"I'm immune." said Feverman.  "Any bacteria entering
my body comes under my control.  Volt, Roanne and
Coral One aren't human, so they're safe.  Laser-Man is
safe.  His internal temperature fries germs
	Volt looked at White Eagle.
	"No, my friend." the old medicine-man sighed.  "My
pupil and I are not immune.  We, along with the people
of this island, will soon be changed into rats."
	"It's going to..."
	Volt activated the communicator in his badge.  "Volt
	"Volt, we've got trouble, here.  Rats are coming out
of the woodwork.  No pun intended.  Foxx and I are
about to get lynched.  We need a cavalry charge,
	"On our way!"  Volt was already following the two
healers to the door.
	"Wait!" cried Emily.  "Take me with you!"
	"No, Miss Delapin.  It's too dangerous."
	"You have to take me!  The people are turning into
animals.  They're frightened.  They don't know what to
do.  If they see me, already transformed, siding with
you and calling for calm, they might listen to
	"She has a point." said White Eagle."
	"She's just a girl!" exclaimed Feverman.  "You can't
take a girl into battle!"
	"I'm seventeen!" Emily barked back.
	"Enough shouting!" said Volt.  "We're going."  The
robot stepped out the door and unfolded an enormous
pair of yellow metallic wings.  "Emily, get on my
	* * *

	"What are these people so upset about?" asked Roanne
as she pounded down the road.  "Fur is much more
attractive than that dull, brown skin."
	"Shut up and keep running!"
	Across the island they ran, keeping one step ahead of
the angry mob of rat-people.
	On and on they ran, until they ran into an equally
large mob of angry, untransformed humans.
	"There they are!" someone shouted.  "The freaks are
leading the army of rats!"
	Robbie and Roanne stopped cold.  With lynch mobs
before and behind, there was little to do.
	"Foxx, go invisible." Robbie insisted.
	"What about you?"
	"I'm gonna get creamed, but you can save yourself."
	With no other options, Roanne raised her psionic
field and rendered herself unnoticeable.
	The rats advanced.  The humans advanced.  Somewhere,
a drum began to beat.  Then, suddenly, they all
started dancing.
	"Huh?" was all Laser-Man could say as he watched the
choreography, dumbfounded.
	As the angry mob danced, a familiar voice began to
rap.  "On the Isle of Ralu in Tanuati, there's
somethin' strange happenin' to me.  It's kind of
spooky, drivin' me kooky, cuz I got a tail, hey looky
	Volt landed next to Robbie with Emily on his back
just as White Eagle teleported in with Feverman. 
"What in the name of Will Smith is going on here?"
asked the android.
	Robbie pointed to the top of a hill, where a blonde
man in a loud Hawaiian shirt was dancing and rapping. 
"It's Luau!  He's making the crowd dance to keep them
from killing us!  Only... what is he doing here?"
	"Hey, buddies!" called Luau.  "I was on leave in
Tanuati!  I heard your message on the radio, so I
hopped a speedboat and rushed over here as fast as I
	"Have you been in contact with any of the people,
yet?" called Feverman.
	"No.  Why?"
	"Good!  Stay up there!"
	As Luau took the crowd from hard dancing to a gentle
swaying-in-place, Volt stepped up to address them. 
"People of Ralu," he said.  "I'm sorry we had to do
this to you.  However, I'm willing to order Luau to
keep you all dancing in order to keep you from killing
us or one another."
	The people weren't at all happy to hear that.
	"Listen to me!  There are no monsters here!  There is
a mutagenic pathogen... a disease that's loose on the
island!  THAT is what is responsible for these
rat-people.  These people are your neighbors!"
	Loud protests came from the people incongruously
swaying in place.
	"Listen to what he's saying!"  Emily begged.  "Look
at me!  I'm Doctor Delapin's daughter!" she pointed to
the side of the crowd which was mostly rat-people. 
"Over there is Mister Ozaka from the bakery, and Mrs.
Kuzura from the hardware store!  Ond over there are
Mr. and Mrs. Li with little Chen!  Pretty soon, all of
us will look like this.  I know it's frightening, but
violence isn't going to stop it!"
	Volt had been studying the faces in the crowd.
"Okay!" he called to Luau.  "Let ‘em go!"
	Everyone stopped dancing.  Many fell to the ground.
	"This thing..." croaked one of the rat-people.  "It's
turned us into monsters!"
	"Monsters?" Robbie responded?  "What is a monster? 
Does looking like a rat make you a monster?  If that's
true, then call me Frankenstein, because I used to BE
a rat!"
	There were a number of surprised murmurs.
	"I know that many of you have become scared and
confused, and so you've started doing some pretty rash
things.  But let me remind you of something.  You are
still the people of Ralu!  You're still exactly who
you used to be.  Only the outside has changed.  Now
that we know what's happening, there's no reason for
this stuff to continue!"
	Volt picked it up from there.  "From now on, we
expect you all to act like civilized human beings.  No
smashing windows.  No biting people.  Is that
	No one responded.
	"I said is that understood?"
	"Yes." the rats responded weakly.
	"And you who are still normal.  I don't want to hear
of anyone killing anyone else because they've gotten a
little harrier.  After all, unless we find a cure for
this disease, you're all going to end up looking like
that.  Do I make myself clear?"
	"Yes."  Again, very weak.
	"All right then.  Everyone, return to your homes.  Go
on, now!"
	Roanne put a hand on Volt's shoulder.  "I didn't know
you had that in you."
	"Me neither!  Whoah, that felt good.  I wonder if
this is how Dr.Moraeu felt."

	* * *

	"I feel ridiculous." said Luau as he walked through
the village in an airtight suit.  "Here i am on this
beautiful tropical island, and I'm sweating to death
in this gettup."
	"It's only for one day, Irv." said Robbie.  "But if
you'd rather, you can always take the suit off and
turn into a rat-man."
	"No thank you.  I feel silly, not stupid."
	On they walked through the morning air, watching the
transformed people of Ralu going about their lives as
if nothing had ever happened.  They wore a little
less, to avoid becoming overheated from wearing both
fur and clothing in the tropical heat.  Otherwise, it
was as if the past day's events had never happened.
	When they arrived at the Delapin home, there on the
front steps sat a grey rat-girl with her black-furred
	"Laser-Man!" called Emily.  "Look, father has come
	"Doctor Delapin." Robbie greeted.  "Does anyone know,
yet, what the source of this outbreak was?"
	"No, Sir." the black rat replied.  "And I'd like to
keep it that way until the Raluans are comfortable
with looking the way they do."

	* * *

	Vala the angeline rubbed her forehead as she read
over Volt's report.  "So you're saying that an entire
micronesian island's population now consists entirely
of humanoid rats?"
	"Yes, Ma'am."
	"And that the transformative agent is contagious, and
therefore the island must be quarantined?"
	"Only for a few years.  After that, Doctor Delapin
believes that any airborne pathogens will have died
out and that the only way to contract the virus is
through blood-to-blood contact with one of the
	Vala just sat and rubbed her head.  Things like this
just didn't happen.  Then again..."
	"So how did things go on Gamma Epsilon, Vala?"
	"Oh, fine, fine.  Unfortunately, we had to blow up
the ruins of Ranopar to stop Paradox from controlling
the minds of the carniborgs."
	"Blew up a planetary landmark?"
	Vala nodded.  "This week has been rather stressful
for both of us, I'd say.  How about a nice, relaxing
	"I'd say that sounds wonderful." answered Volt,
flexing his wings as Vala unfolded hers.
	Just as they were leaving, a call came over the
radio.  "Mayday!  This is the SS Rising Sun!  We're
being attacked by a sea monster!"
	Sometimes the work never stopped.

a brief explanation of our heroes:

Volt: from the WW East.  Volt Whittaker is an android.
 He was created by Bob Whittaker, A.K.A. Psi-Borg, as
an experiment in artificial intelligence.  His body,
hastily assembled during an emergency, was equipped
with solid-light projectors, allowing him to create
solid objects out of energy.  As time went on, it was
discovered that these projectors had incorporated
Volt's self-repair programs and were in fact slowly
creating solid matter, causing Volt's body to grow and
evolve, making his both physically and mentally

Laser-Man: From WW Pacific.  Robbie Whittaker began
life as a lab rat in the care of Professor Simon
Gerfallen.  After coming in contact with an alien
disease bonded to the DNA of Bob Whittaker, Robbie was
changed into Bob's duplicate, gaining not only his
appearance, but also his powers of light projection
and telepathy.  The telepathy enabled him to tap into
bob's mind and copy all of his memories.  Robbie now
considers Bob to be his father, and thus Volt his

White Eagle: WW Pacific.  This old medicine man, being
the brother of a mutant, considered himself aptly
qualified to train young Matthew to hone his mutant
power of teleportation.  However, an accident
occurred, and Matthew teleported into White Eagle,
causing the two men to merge.  Matthew, now pursuing a
career as an attorney, is able to transform into White

Foxx: WW North.  Roanne Baringer is actually a
humanoid fox from planet Gamma Epsilon, created by the
evil tyrant Paradox.  She was able to escape to Earth
along with several other created canises, including
her boyfriend, Pulsar.  Roanne's power is the ability
to lower the perceptiveness of anyone around her,
enabling her to make people simply not notice that she
isn't human.

Feverman: WW Arctic.  A mysterious individual known to
his friends only as "John", Feverman is a mutant with
the power to animate microbes.  Trained in mystic
healing arts, he has become able to give diseases
bodily form.  At times, he uses this power to cure
seemingly incurable diseases, but it also gives him
the power to generate his companion, Germ.

Germ: WW Arctic.  Normally lives only as bacteria and
viruses inside Feverman's Body, but is often called
out to do battle, usually with another disease.  Germ
is able to absorb the cells of other diseases and add
them to itself, making it more powerful, gradually
building its own powers.  It isn't very smart and
can't speak, but it is fiercely protective of its
master.  Germ cannot stay apart from Feverman for
long, as it contains symbiotes vital to Feverman's

Coral One: WW Pacific.  The living island.  Coral One
is a highly versatile artificial intelligence which is
able to spontaneously grow coral, from which it
derives sustenance.  He is able to change shape at
will, and serves as a mobile base of operations for
the Weird warriors pacific.

Luau: WW Pacific.  Irving Ocznowski.  Formerly a US
intelligence agent.  Irving recently discovered he had
the power to control the movement of other people's
muscles.  He uses this power to subdue his enemies by
making them dance.

-Oren the Otter

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