"THE WIZARD OF KOZ"
"Not in Palm City Anymore"
To all members of The Cape fandom, past, present, and future, this crossover is dedicated.
Prologue: The Lich
"Who did you say you were looking for?"
"Conrad Chandler. There's a certificate of birth, but it was never filed," Jamie Fleming handed the document she'd gotten from the head of the Port Authorities to Chandler. "We file this, and you can claim your inheritance. You can keep Fleming from taking control of the docks."
Chandler examined the papers. Then he looked up at her.
"You never featured in any of my plans. You could actually make them a reality. Why would you help me?"
Jamie looked at the crib in the room. It looked like she had finally found someone who could empathize with the tragedy that was her childhood. Certainly here was another person who hated her father.
"Because maybe I understand what it's like to be an orphan," she said aloud. She didn't, of course. But she had lost her mother and she would prefer to think of her father as dead than to think about who he was.
Chandler had gone back to looking at the certificate of birth.
"Kidnappers didn't bring me here," he observed. "My parents did," he handed her back the document, with his parents' names on it.
"They left me here, an unwanted child. But they didn't expect the little boy to have a knack for chemicals. Neither did the orderlies who used to bully me." Revenge was sweet. "But they learned their lesson," Chandler stood up from his chair at last, surprising the blogger, who had assumed he was crippled.
But Chandler wasn't finished with his speech. He began telling the reporter about the birth defect he'd been born with.
As he spoke, he took off his wig, and then started peeling off his face—no, not his face, Jamie realized quickly. Chandler had been wearing a mask. Without it, far from looking handsome, he barely looked human. His eyes gleamed menacingly as he continued.
"They say my mother screamed for two days after she saw me." The Lich blew his powdered toxin into Jamie's stunned face before she could retreat.
"When will you stop screaming, my dear?" Conrad addressed her seemingly lifeless body. Orwell lay upon the floor, staring at nothing, her mouth contorted in a silent scream.
Chapter One: To the Middle of Nowhere
Jamie Fleming woke up with a concussion. Her head pounded as the blogger lifted it up from its position on the steering wheel of her Porsche.
"What happened?" the brunette twenty-something groaned.
Jamie, a.k.a. Orwell, turned to the passenger seat and froze.
"This isn't real," she muttered. There, wagging his tail, was Frodo, the dog she'd had as a child—the dog that had died before Jamie had ever run away from home. She tried to figure out what was going on.
She remembered that the CEO of ARK Corporation (a.k.a. the psychopath that called himself Chess, a.k.a. her father, Peter Fleming) was about to purchase all of the land along Palm City's coastline. Her father having control of the city's ports would be a Very Bad Thing, but there was one way to stop it. The city couldn't sell the land to him if it rightfully belonged to someone else.
The last thing Jamie remembered, she was following a lead, talking with Conrad Chandler, the long-lost heir of the Chandler family… Everything after that was a blank. She didn't remember leaving the institution Conrad had grown up in, let alone getting in her car.
She forced open the car door, climbed out of the vehicle, and gaped.
She'd run someone over. Poking out from underneath the tires was a very familiar looking spider silk cape. She thought she was going to be sick—she couldn't have run over Vince! Faraday was her partner, her best friend in the world… Wait a minute. That's not Vince. What she could make out of the body didn't match Vince's figure. Not to mention the fact that lying not far from the corpse was a pair of red heels. Last time she checked, cross-dressing wasn't Vince's thing.
There was something about those heels that seemed off to her. She felt like she should recognize…Oh hell. They were ruby slippers and they were lying, not on pavement, but on a yellow brick road.
"Now I know this isn't real, Frodo," Orwell told the figment of her imagination. Frodo hopped down from the car and started nipping playfully at her heels.
"Ohhh, those will go great with my dress!" someone exclaimed cheerfully. The blogger looked up to see who it was.
"Raia?" What was the aerialist doing? And what was she wearing? The blonde (one of Vince's friends from the Carnival of Crime*) was decked out in an ankle length dress that, sure enough, matched the ruby slippers perfectly (and showed off her cleavage).
"That's me! The Good Witch of the North," Raia introduced herself, as she tried the slippers on. "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?" she asked.
"I'm," not even going to point out that if this follows the movie's screwed-up logic, you basically just asked me if I'm ugly. "I'm not a witch. I'm no one special."
"Of course you're special! You killed the Wicked Witch of the East," she gestured to the body under the Porsche.
"By accident and I got a concussion for my trouble."
"Oh, let me see that." To Orwell's confusion, Raia attempted to 'kiss it better'—and it worked.
"Somebody must've drugged me," Jamie concluded. "Hey, if you're the Good Witch of the North, shouldn't you be telling me to take those slippers?"
"But they don't go with your outfit," Raia gave her a blank look. "And if you're not a witch, then unlike me, you're going to be doing a lot of walking. I think you'd be better off in sneakers."
"Let me guess—you're going to tell me I need to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City to meet the wizard?"
"You've heard of him! Do you need his help with something?" Raia asked.
"What I need is to wake up," Jamie was starting to get frustrated.
"I mean, return to Palm City, where I'm from. Hang on, why are we not surrounded by munchkins?" On second thought, if her car had dropped out of the sky, maybe it was a good thing that she'd landed in the middle of nowhere, where the only casualty was an evil witch.
Before Raia could reply, there was a bang and a flash of orange smoke. When the smoke cleared, it revealed Gregor Molotov.
"Kozmo," Jamie whispered. But the bastard was supposed to be behind bars on Owl Island. (This dream was getting old fast.)
Molotov, a.k.a. Kozmo, had left a string of dead bodies in his voyages through Europe, until he was captured and thrown into a Russian prison. The contortionist had escaped and headed to America—where he clashed with Vince, for a couple of reasons. Namely that Vince had elected himself the protector of Palm City and that the hero had something Kozmo wanted.
Oh, Gregor looked pissed. Maybe he remembered her?
"Who killed my sister Netta?" he growled. "Who killed the Witch of the East?"
Netta…wasn't that Conrad's nurse? Was she the one that had drugged her?
"That's my cue, right? Uh… 'I didn't mean to kill her, it was an accident!'"
"I can cause accidents, too," Gregor snarled, advancing on the young woman.
"Aren't you forgetting the silk cape?" Raia called out, distracting him.
"The cape! Of course, the cape!" The Russian contortionist turned away from the blogger and headed towards the Porsche. Just as he got to Netta's body, the cape vanished. His head snapped up.
"It's right there," Raia pointed to Jamie's shoulders. "There it is and there it'll stay," she grinned.
"Give me that cape," Kozmo demanded, once again rounding on Fleming. "It's no good to you; you don't know how to use it."
"It must be very powerful, for him to want it so badly," Raia observed.
"It doesn't belong to you," Orwell told him.
"Be gone, before somebody drops a horseless carriage on you!" the aerialist warned.
Gregor looked up at the sky, as if expecting it to start raining sports cars.
"Very well, but this isn't over. That cape is mine. I'll get you, you little daddy's girl. And your dog, too!"
Maybe, since she knew how the story was supposed to end, she could skip the journey to the Emerald City. Jamie closed her eyes, tapped her heels together three times, and repeated to herself: "There's no place like home."
She opened her eyes to find Raia, still in her ruby-red Good Witch of the North getup, scrutinizing her.
"Trying to cut your journey short?" the blonde asked.
"It didn't work…" She wasn't waking up that easily—probably too many drugs in her system, damn it.
"It might have helped if you meant what you were saying," Raia advised her.
"If I…Of course I meant it! I want to go back to Palm City!"
"But do you want to go home?" Raia pressed.
Home…she didn't really have a home to go back to. Since the time she had left home years ago, she had to hide from the investigators her father sent to find her. (And that was before she had gotten daddy's attention using her skills as a hacker/blogger. Now her father had a second, considerably more sinister team trying to track her Orwell alias down.)
Vince's reckless interrogation of one ARK employee had gotten her flushed out of her hiding place, forcing her to share his hideout for the time being—not that she minded it, but…
Vince didn't know her. He couldn't. And someday, when he had cleared the name that her father had tarnished, he would go back to his family and she would be alone, again…
That said, she'd prefer going back to her clueless roommate to having to endure more of this stupid dream.
"Alright, if I have to go to the Emerald City, I can at least drive…Wait a minute," she took another look at the tires of her Porsche, noticing what was no longer under them. "Netta's body was right there."
"Kozmo took it with him," Raia explained. "I expect he'll want to bury his sister before he makes another demand for the cape."
"I guess that makes sense," Jamie said, frowning. "Come on Frodo," she scooped the dog up as she got into her car. The doors closed, she turned the key in the ignition, stepped on the gas pedal—and the car refused to budge.
"Oh, you've got to be kidding me." No reason to get upset. She could just take a look under the hood and fix whatever was wrong; she was an expert in cars, after all. Then her eyes flicked to the fuel gage. The gas tank was empty. Stifling a groan, she turned back to her friend.
"I don't suppose there's a gas station around here?"
"What's a gas station?" Raia asked.
"Right, no cars in Oz. Thank you, L. Frank Baum, for writing about a fantasy world sans modern technology." That clinched it; this wasn't a dream, it was a nightmare.
"Alright, Frodo, back out of the car; looks like we're stuck walking," the blogger climbed back out. "See you in Emerald City," she added, before the witch bid her farewell.
"Oh, look, Frodo, a fork in the road, and no GPS in sight," Jamie grumbled what felt like hours later. "What kind of advice is 'follow the yellow brick road' if it goes in more than one direction?"
"You could try going that way," a man's voice called out to her.
Jamie's brown eyes grew wide. She turned around and instantly spotted the blond man strung up on a pole like a living scarecrow, one arm now pointing in one direction. She was pretty sure neither his usual vigilante costume nor his civilian clothes normally had straw poking out of the cuffs of his sleeves.
"Vince," she breathed.
*So named because, when not performing in the circus, the members supplemented their income with robberies.
Author's Note: If you're confused, let me know. I've added a prologue in an attempt to allow people who are new to The Cape fandom a chance to read this without getting hopelessly lost. Those who are not new to The Cape fandom will note that I've borrowed heavily from The Lich Part 1. Obviously, any lines you recognize from "The Cape" or from "The Wizard of Oz" are not mine.
Who's ready for chapter two?