JSA Brownstone, New York, NY. 9:47 AM.
"I think it's a good idea!" said Power Girl.
Sand, JSA Chairman and patient fellow, sighed. "No. It's not. These things never go well. Something bad always happens. That's just the way it is."
"That's not true!" started Power Girl. "What about the time..." Power Girl thought for a moment. "No wait. That one time...No, that ended badly...How about...no..."
"See?" said Sand. "Mixers between teams always go wrong somewhere."
"Well," said Power Girl. "Then the law of averages is on our side. Maybe this is the one time things'll go right!"
Sand sighed again. "With anyone else, maybe. The JLA. The Outsiders. Even the Teen Titans! But, the... What do they call themselves?... the SUPER-BUDDIES? That's a disaster waiting to happen!"
Power Girl set her shoulders. Sand could tell that she wasn't going to give up. "Maybe, they're right." she said. "Maybe the JSA are a bunch of ELITISTS!"
"Did they really call us 'elitists'?" asked Sand.
Power Girl's shoulders slumped. "No." she said. "BUT it looks that way, doesn't it? You said it yourself. These mixers always go wrong. YET, we still have them with the JLA!"
"Why is this so important to you?" asked Sand. "You don't strike me as the party type."
"Because..." started Power Girl. "Because...it JUST IS!"
Sand sighed again.
"Okay." he finally said. "But, you tell Ma Hunkel!"
Centerline Diner, New York, NY. 12:21 PM.
"They actually agreed to it!"
Ted Kord, better known as Blue Beetle in the meta-human community, was in a state of semi-shock! He was sitting in a booth with Karen "Kara" Starr, Power Girl.
"How could they agree to it? Don't they know something always goes wrong at these things?" asked Ted.
"Not always." said Kara in between bites of her salad.
"Name one time it didn't." challenged Ted.
Kara waved her fork dismissively. "Nevermind that." she said. "I thought you wanted me to ask for this mixer."
Ted put down his glass of ice tea. "I ask you because I thought there was no way in hell they'd say yes! The ONLY reason I asked you to ask was because Max pressured me into it. Even he didn't think they'd say yes. He told me to take the whole afternoon to convince you to go to bat for us!"
"Well, I already DID go to bat for you." said Kara. "That's why you got the mixer!"
"Great." said Ted dejectedly. "Now, all I have to do is make sure Booster behaves himself, Guy doesn't show up, Ralph doesn't do any of his 'party tricks', and Bea doesn't lose her temper with anyone."
Ted let his fork hit the plate. "Piece of cake." he said glumly.
"Sucks to be mature, doesn't it?" asked Kara.
Ted gave her a sour smile. "I'm starting to think that maturity is overrated."
"Oh, I don't know." said Kara as she slipped a shoe off. "Some women find it attractive." She ran her toe up Ted's shin. Ted stiffened up (no pun intended) in surprise.
"You did say you had the afternoon off, didn't you?" asked Kara with a smile.
Super-Buddies HQ, a strip mall outside of New York. 6:34 PM.
Maxwell Lord IV was ecstatic. He was going to have his mixer with the Justice Society! After that, the JLA would surely be next! Let the word get out that the Super-Buddies were team players, able to lend a hand to whoever needed it. Word of mouth was the best endorsement!
"I can't believe they said yes!" said Sue Dibny. "Don't they know these things always end badly!"
"Nonsense!" said Max.
"Oh, yeah?" asked Sue. "At the last one, Beetle got drunk and picked a fight with a god!"
"Technically speaking, the god picked a fight with Beetle, and Beetle was too drunk to decline." said Max.
"Very well stated, your revisionistness!" stated L-Ron, robotic major domo of Max Lord.
"Anyway, Beetle's matured since then. He was gone all afternoon convincing the JSA to have this mixer. He was exhausted when he got back here!" said Max.
Sue stuck here tongue in her cheek. "Uh-huh." she said.
"And we get our reception with the JSA!" said Max enthusiastically.
"And pray nothing goes wrong!" added Sue.
"When did you become such a pessimist?" asked Max.
"When I joined this team." responded Sue. "And the term is 'realist'."
Max shook his head. "It's a party. What could go wrong?"
JLA Watchtower, the Moon, orbitting Earth. 3:27 AM EST.
J'Onn J'Onnz was on monitor duty. He enjoyed the time here alone. He smiled (but, not before doing a telepathic sweep to make sure he was alone). Peace and quiet.
J'Onn had come to appreciate peace and quiet in his recent years. Let Superman and Batman position for leadership of the JLA. J'Onn was just happy with these moments of blessed quiet.
J'Onn opened a drawer at the monitoring station and pulled out a sleeve of Oreos. He set them down next to his glass of milk. He looked down on his treat. "Does it get any better than this?" he thought.
"I thought you didn't eat Oreos anymore."
Batman appeared from around the corner.
J'Onn sighed. Batman's appearance didn't surprise J'Onn. He had long ago become accustomed to Batman "flying below his radar", as it were.
"Despite your concerns," said J'Onn. "They're just milk and cookies."
"Right." said Batman.
"Is there a particular reason you're here?" asked J'Onn. "Or are you simply here to keep me company?"
"The JSA is holding a reception." stated Batman.
"For whom?" asked J'Onn. He really didn't care who the reception was for. If the reception were for the JLA, J'Onn would have known already. Although, the idea of a reception was a bad one J'Onn thought. They always ended on a less than sterling note.
"Guess!" said Batman.
THIS took J'Onn by surprise. Batman wasn't known for fun and games. J'Onn looked at Batman and was sorely tempted to sneak a peek into his mind. The only time J'Onn saw Batman as anything other than grim was when he was discussing...
"No!" said J'Onn.
"YES!" said Batman. J'Onn knew he was wrong, but, he could have sworn he saw a shadow of a smile on Batman's face.
"Those poor, unknowing fools!" said J'Onn. "What could they have been thinking?"
"Are you going to warn them?" asked Batman.
J'Onn thought about it for a moment. "No." he finally said. "I believe experience is the greatest teacher of all."
"So," said Batman. "You believe the JSA should 'experience' the 'Super-Buddies'?"
"You have to experience them to believe them!" said J'Onn as he popped an Oreo into his mouth.
JSA Brownstone, New York, NY. 7:54 AM.
"What do you mean you're not coming?"
Power Girl watched Wildcat hitting the heavy bag in the JSA's gym. Whack...whack...whack. Each hit sounding like a gunshot off the bag.
"Sorry, kid!" said Wildcat. "I've got plans for tomorrow. Maybe next time."
"C'mon!" said Power Girl. "Nothing you can break? This is an official event."
"Yeah." said Wildcat, hitting the bag. "For the 'Super-Buddies'!" Wildcat punctuated it with another hard punch to the bag. "What kinda name is that anyway? 'Super-Buddies'! It sounds like a Saturday morning kiddie show!"
"They're former Justice Leaguers." said Power Girl.
"Yeah. When the League wasn't that hot!" said Wildcat, attacking the bag.
"I was part of THAT Justice League!" said Power Girl who was getting mad.
Wildcat stopped hitting the bag when he heard Power Girl's tone. "Look, kid," he said. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to put you down. I might have said that outta turn. But, I do have plans for tomorrow."
Power Girl calmed down. "All right, Ted." she said. "I understand." Power Girl turned and started to walk away with her head down. Wildcat started hitting the bag again.
"It's just that I heard Dinah might be dropping in at the reception..." said Power Girl as she was walking away.
Wildcat stopped hitting the bag. "Did you say Dinah was stopping in?" asked Wildcat.
BINGO! Power Girl knew Wildcat had a soft spot for Black Canary. She was his favorite student and the daughter of the first Black Canary, one of Wildcat's teammates during the "glory days".
"I heard she might be stopping in at the reception." said Power Girl. "I'll tell her you had plans, but, would have loved to have seen her."
"Hey!" said Wildcat. "Nothin' I can't break. I'll be at this little soiree!"
As Wildcat went back to punching the heavy bag, Power Girl licked her finger and marked one off in the air.
Super-Buddies HQ, a strip mall outside of New York. 8:09 AM.
"Booster says he's not going!" said Sue at the doorway to Blue Beetle's cubicle.
Beetle threw his arms up in the air. "THANK YOU, GOD!" he shouted. "Sometimes good things DO happen to good people!"
"Max wants Booster to go!" said Sue.
"And sometimes they don't!" said Beetle to himself. "WHY? Why does Max want Booster to go?"
"To slowly torture you until your mind snaps?" offered Sue.
"Too late." said Beetle. "Really. Did Max even say why he wanted Booster there?"
Sue put one hand in the pocket of her jeans and was pretending to hold a cigar in her other. "Because Booster is one of the core members of this team!" said Sue in a very passable imitation of Max. "He's the backbone...not the brain, mind you...of this team!"
As Beetle sat at his desk, he couldn't help smiling. "That was almost scary!" he said. "It was that good!"
"You should see my Blue Beetle impersonation!" Sue said.
"Nothing too offensive to me I hope." said Beetle.
Sue positioned herself in a stance Beetle recognized as his own. "Let's discuss this reception, Kara!" Sue started with a mischievous smile. "ALL afternoon!"
Beetle's eyes bulged, and he grabbed Sue by the wrist and dragged her into his cubicle. "You know about that? About us?" Beetle hissed in a whisper.
Sue was surprised. "Well, it doesn't take a genius..." Beetle waved his hand for Sue to lower her voice. "It doesn't take a genius to figure out there's something going on between you two." said Sue in a whisper.
"Have you told anyone yet?" asked Beetle looking concerned.
"No." said Sue, perplexed. "Why are you keeping this under wraps?"
"Put yourself in my place." said Beetle. "If you and Kara were...y'know..." Beetle waved his hand into the air to complete his thought. "Would you want Booster knowing about it? Worse. What about Guy?"
"Wouldn't that make you...'the man'...in their eyes?" asked Sue.
"Booster would want every detail. And I don't even want to think about what he'd do with those details!" Beetle shivered. "Every horny little question you could think of and more from Booster! 'Is she a natural blonde?' 'Are they real?'..."
"Are they real?" asked Sue.
"Oh. Yeah." said Beetle breathlessly. "And they're magnificent!"
"WOW!" said Sue.
There was a moment of awkward silence between Beetle and Sue.
"You'd better talk to Booster." said Sue finally.
"I'm not going to tell him..." Beetle started.
"NO! No." Sue cut him off. "About the reception!"
"Oh!" said Beetle. "Right! The reception!"
"Don't worry, Ted!" said Sue. "I'll keep it secret!"
Super-Buddies HQ, a strip mall outside of New York. 8:23 AM.
Blue Beetle found Booster Gold in the break room. Booster was sitting at a table, head down, resting on his folded arms. Sleeping. Fire was standing in the doorway looking at the scene before her.
Beetle joined her in the doorway. He just shook his head. Beetle whispered something to Fire, and she started smiling. They both walked over and leaned in over Booster.
"Booster," Fire whispered quietly. "Booooooster."
"Hmmmmmm?" Booster mumbled. He never opened his eyes. He was still in that magical place between asleep and awake.
"Booster," Fire whispered. "Are you sleeping?"
Booster mumbled. "Yeah, baby."
Beetle raised an eyebrow at that. He smiled as Fire continued. "Booster? Will you still respect me in the morning?" she whispered.
"Yeah, baby." muttered Booster. "You know I will."
Fire grinned. "That's good!" she whispered. "Because there's something I should have told you last night."
"Hmmm?" muttered Booster.
"I'm a man!" Beetle said loudly in a deep baritone.
Booster's eyes snapped open and he began to yell. He saw Beetle, jerked back and yelled again. Beetle and Fire started laughing.
Elongated Man looked in around the doorway (his body was still in his cubicle as he stretched his neck) to see what the problem was. He saw Booster sitting in a chair next to the break table, holding his chest with a horrified look on his face. Beetle was kneeling on the floor next to the table, laughing so hard he was having trouble catching his breath. Fire was leaning up against the wall, laughing so hard she was holding her belly.
"It sounded like someone was being murdered in here!" said Ralph.
"On...on...," Beetle tried to speak. "Only Booster's dreams!" Beetle started another laughing fit. Fire joined in.
Meanwhile, Booster was starting to regain his composure. "Oh, yeah. Real funny." he said in deadpan. "I thought you were suppose to be soooo mature now!" he said to Beetle.
"What happened? What happened?" asked Ralph, always looking for a good laugh.
"B-B-Booster was sleeping and... and..." Fire started laughing again.
Beetle reached under his goggles and started wiping away tears. "Do me a favor, Bea." said Beetle, trying to catch his breath. "Could you get Ralph up to speed? I need to talk to Booster."
Bea, still laughing, and Ralph left the break room. Beetle pulled out a chair and sat down.
"I'm not talking to you!" said Booster.
"Okay." said Beetle. "Then just listen. Max wants you to go the reception with the JSA."
"I don't want to go to the old-age home and hang out with the fossils!" said Booster.
"What happened to not talking to me?"
"I changed my mind!" said Booster petulantly. "And I'm not going to the reception! That's final! Set in stone!"
Beetle thought for a moment. "That's a shame!" said Beetle. "Kara said she was looking forward to seeing you again."
"Really?" asked Booster, his face filled with almost a "puppy-waiting-to-be-petted" look. "Your not just lying to get me to go?"
"Would I do that?" Beetle answered the question with a question.
Booster looked doubtfully at Beetle. Beetle had Booster snagged. He just needed something to reel Booster in.
"Kara told me she had a new uniform she wanted to show you!" said Beetle quickly. "Something a little more..." Beetle was searching for a word.
"A little more what?" asked Booster impatiently.
"Lowcut!" Beetle said finally.
"I'm in!" said Booster.
Justice Society Brownstone, New York, NY. 9:11 AM.
"So, what do you see in him?" asked Hawkgirl.
Hawkgirl and Power Girl were sitting in the study. Just talking. "Girl talk". The most dangerous kind of talking.
"He's smart. He's funny. He's cute..." said Power Girl.
"But, not 'dropdead gorgeous'!" interrupted Hawkgirl.
"Well, he's not a model or anything, but, he has his charms..." started Power Girl.
"Such as...? Hawkgirl interrupted again, this time teasingly.
Power Girl raised an eyebrow. "Stamina!" she answered as they both giggled.
Star-Spangled Kid was listening at the door intently to Kara and Kendra's discussion. She was smiling broadly at all she had learned in last few minutes. She was so engrossed, she didn't hear the figure coming up behind her until it was too late. A hand landed on her shoulder and she spun around.
Green Lantern had caught her. The FIRST Green Lantern. The real deal. "Eavesdropping is not the activity a young lady should be engaged in!" he reprimand her.
"...and he's really, REALLY eager to please!" continued Power Girl. "There's a lot to be said for that!"
Power Girl started suddenly. "I almost forgot!" she said as she pulled out a cell phone.
"Who are you calling?" asked Hawkgirl.
"Ted." said Power Girl as she punched in the number.
"Our Ted or your Ted?"
"Beetle." said Power Girl. "I don't know if 'my Ted' is an appropriate term."
"'Your Teddy'?" asked Hawkgirl with a grin.
Power Girl shot Hawkgirl a look, but, obviously someone picked up on the other end of the phone. "Hello. Ted. I need you to do me a big favor."
Meanwhile, Hawkgirl was making kissy-faces while Power Girl was talking on the phone. Power Girl gave her a little shove...which knocked Hawkgirl right off of the couch and butt-first onto the floor.
"OW!" said Hawkgirl as she got up and rubbed her posterior.
"That?" asked Power Girl to the person on the other end of the phone. "That was nothing. Yeah, I can meet you there. Same time? Okay. Fine. Bye."
"Setting up an illicit encounter?" asked Hawkgirl teasingly.
Power Girl shook her head. "No! And I'm starting to think it was a mistake telling you!"
"Oh, c'mon, Kara!" said Hawkgirl. "I was just teasing a little... And give 'your Teddy' my best!" With that Hawkgirl ran out the door before Power Girl could say- or DO- anything.
Super-Buddies HQ, a strip mall outside of New York. 9:42 AM.
Blue Beetle was feeling a little bit better about himself. He'd handled that little problem with Booster pretty well he thought. "Now, all I have to do is convince Kara to pretend to be happy to see Booster at the reception!" thought Beetle.
He was about to call her and ask for a favor when she called him to ask for a favor. It was like cosmic synchronicity, or something! He smiled. Then, he stopped.
"What am I so happy about!" he thought to himself. "I didn't even want there to be a reception. And Booster at a reception is just a disaster waiting to happen!"
Fire broke his train of thought. "Ted!" she yelled accross the room.
As she walked up to Beetle, she said, "There's something I wanted to ask you earlier."
Beetle braced himself for disaster because, hey, that's what always happens!
"Is this reception formal or costumes?" asked Fire.
Beetle looked blankly at her for a second, then asked, "Do you even HAVE a costume anymore?"
"Well, no." said Fire. "But, if the reception is 'costumes only', I was going to pull one of my old ones out of the closet."
Inspiration hit Beetle like a lightening bolt. "Why not use this opportunity to debut a new costume?" he asked.
Fire's eyes lit up at the suggestion.
"It's the perfect excuse to do a little shopping! Take Tora, Sue, and Mary! You can make an afternoon of it." said Beetle. He added to himself, "And not become another problem for me to deal with!"
Fire loved the idea! "What a great idea! I'll ask the girls. It'll give Sue an opportunity to put a major hurting on Ralph's credit card!"
Beetle smiled as Fire left. He'd never thought of himself as a political schemer. But, damned! Was he getting good at it!
JSA Brownstone, New York, NY. 10:07 AM.
Power Girl was feeling very pleased with herself. So far everything was going smoothly. Everyone had agreed to be at the reception. Ma Hunkle was taking care of the refreshments. And she had taken care of the one snag, Wildcat, very smoothly.
Now, all she had to do was ask Ted to make sure Black Canary showed up. He got along with her better than Kara had, and Kara was sure Beetle could find a way to get her to come.
In fact, things were going so well that she had time to sit back and page through a computer magazine. Power Girl was browsing through an article when she had the distinct feeling she was being watched!
Power Girl looked up to see Star-Spangled Kid sitting at the other end of the room. She was just staring at Power Girl with a smile on her face. Power Girl raised an eyebrow.
"Is there something you want?" asked Power Girl.
"No." answered Star-Spangled Kid. She kept staring at Power Girl with that smile on her face.
"Well, what are you doing?"
"Nothing." responded the Kid, never changing her stare or smile.
She was seriously starting to creep Kara out! "Why are you staring at me!" asked Power Girl peevishly.
"I'm not!" responded SSK. But, she looked away as though it finally dawned on her that she WAS staring.
"Kids!" thought Kara. "Who knows what they're thinking nowadays!"
Super-Buddies HQ, a strip mall outside of New York. 10:12 AM.
Fire was getting ready to leave for her shopping trip. Ice and Mary Marvel had agreed to go shopping with her, but, Sue said Ralph had been a "good boy" lately, so, she was out! COWARD!
Booster peaked into her cubicle. "Where are you going?" he asked.
"Not that it's any of your business," Fire said. "But, I'm going out shopping for a new costume."
"Oooooh," said Booster with a smile. "You must have heard Power Girl's got a new costume!"
"What! asked Fire. "She's got a new costume! How do you know!"
"Beetle told me." said Booster.
Fire's mind was working quickly. Why didn't Ted mention it to her? He DID say it was a good opportunity to debut a new costume. And HE did suggest she go shopping. Maybe, he didn't want Power Girl to upstage her, but, was too polite to betray her confidence. Maybe he wanted his team to LOOK GOOD in front of the JSA. And, by God, Fire was going to look stunning!
"Did he say anything about what Power Girl's new costume looks like?' asked Fire.
"Ted said it was lowcut." said Booster with a big smile. "VERY lowcut!"
"Typical!" thought Fire. "PG wants to show off more of her...assets! Well, I've got assets of my own! MAJOR ASSETS! I'm a MODEL- or, I was a model- SAME THING! She is NOT going to outdo me!"
TO BE CONTINUED...