With an electric crackle, the portal closed behind Commander Cull. One minute, there was a glowing circle of light, a doorway to halfway across the planet. The next, there was just an empty back alley, with Halogen and Apex staring where the portal had been. Halogen panted hard from the chase.
“He got away!”
Apex looked around. “Yeah, I almost had him too. What do we do now?”
Halogen leaned forward, his hands on his knees, trying to convince himself things could still work out okay, and that there wasn’t a huge stitch in his side.
“I don’t know. We have to warn people. Quickly! Tell the whole world, so other heroes can help out.”
Apex pulled the useless cellphone from his belt, poking at the power button.
“Yeah, but Cull fried all our electronics.”
“Who would we call, anyway? Who’d listen to us? We’re nobody.”
Apex shrugged, looking down the alley at the busy street beyond. “We gotta try.”
“If only we could find a way to get the word out onto the Internet, Facebook or something.”
“Yeah, that wouldn’t work, unless we had something spectacular that everyone shared immediately….”
Halogen noticed the pause. “What are you thinking?”
Apex strode quickly toward the street, every perfect muscle on his six-foot-and-four-inch frame moving with renewed purpose.
“C’mon,” he called over his shoulder. “I need a light show.”
Coughing, Halogen struggled to catch up. By the time he reached the end of the alley, Apex had already made it to the nearest street corner. The lunchtime crowds streamed around him — some glanced at his gold and white costume, or the physique it clung to, but most seemed to be on their way from one place to another with no time to lose.
“Lights!” Apex shouted.
Picking up on Apex’s enthusiasm, Halogen felt a rush of adrenaline, and began to glow. In moments, he was a ten-thousand watt lamp, shining a blue-white light too bright to look at. People around him, of course, looked, and then gasped and shielded their eyes.
Adjusting his stance, he directed the full glare at Apex.
“Ladies and gentleman,” Apex called out. His lungs were as impressive as every other part of him, and his voice carried across the intersection, nearly drowning out the sounds of traffic.
“If you could direct your attention and your camera phones this way….”
Apex smiled, teeth gleaming in Halogen’s light as he crossed his arms to grab the bottom of his spandex shirt. With a flourish, he pulled it up over his head. His bare chest glistened with sweat as he held a quick body builder pose, and then dropped the shirt at his feet.
Now people were looking at him. A couple of teen-aged girls had their phones out, but even this action failed to attract the full crowd’s attention.
Halogen wondered what Apex was going to do next. A moment later, he wished he was still wondering.
With a grace that defied the normal awkwardness of removing one’s pants, Apex slipped out of his shoes, tights and underwear, and stood naked and flawless in the spotlight.
Halogen was not surprised that Apex’s genitals were as perfectly endowed as the rest of his body. He was also not surprised that it took only seconds for every cellphone and camera within sight to be trained on his fellow hero. He had no doubt this would go viral almost as quickly.
As Apex began to warn the world about Commander Cull, Halogen could only shake his head and chuckle.
“Yep,” he said to no one in particular, “that definitely got people’s attention.”