The Servo Solution

13-year-old Thomas Richter just got out of the bus after a day of school when he saw two people fighting across the street.

"Knock it off! I told you, I'm not doing that until I'm older." He realized it was Merle, a classmate of his who lived a few blocks down in a large house.

"Well, I'm not waiting that long." He shoved her against the wall of a house. "Just sit back and enjoy it, I'll do all the work for you."

She saw the young boy watching, knowing he couldn't possibly stand there and watch. "Tom, help me!!"

Well, now that the boy knew he was there, Tom jumped into action, "Let her go!"

"Back off, Richter. This doesn't concern you." Just then, her assailant was knocked back by an invisible force. It was Tom using his skill of sonic vibrations to create a projectile of sorts that couldn't be seen by the human eye.

"I'll have you know that's no way to treat a lady" He said, as he fired another blast from his hand, sending him into a tree and knocking him unconscious.

"Thanks for saving me." She turned and smiled, as if she already had forgotten what happened. "I guess you're a lot more heroic than I took you for." she gave Tom a kiss on the cheek. "You wanna walk me home?"

"Sure."

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When they got to her house, she invited him into her bedroom, patting her bed as a signal to sit on it. He decided to accept her offer.

"I can't believe you couldn't get out of that. I thought you were, like, really strong."

"Well, I probably would've taken him myself, but I just wanted to see if you were brave enough to be a hero."

"Me? A hero? Yeah, right." His cheeks turned a little red. "I-I am just an ordinary kid. Anybody would have done the same thing for a nice girl like you."

"Why, Tom, are you flirting with me?" she giggled.

"N-no. I mean, uh, well we both have some classes together so I usually see you around, but I, um, never really talked to you before. I just kinda wanna know you, I mean, if that's alright."

Merle's eyes widened. She had kind of a crush on him for a while but never said anything. She wanted to desperately tell him her deepest secret. However, she had to go through it with her guardian first. "Stay here for a moment, 'kay? I need to talk to Leila about something."

She went downstairs and talked to her legal guardian. Tom, having above average hearing, still could barely hear them. He was convinced their walls were more soundproof than other houses'.

"That's odd." Then he though for a moment and his eyes widened, "Oh, crap. What if they're criminals?" He got off the bed and got ready to leave. "I should get out of here, before--"

"Tom! There you are." She cut him off "She said it was okay." she grabbed his hand. He tried to let go, but her grip was too strong. "What are you afraid of? I promise it's fine."

"So you're not a criminal?" Merle looked blankly at Tom for a moment then burst into a fit of laughter.

"No! Of course not!" she kept laughing, then just yanked him across the house and into their garage. In it was a door that seemed out of place, but not to the point that others would find it odd. They walked in front of the door which had a number key on the side. "Let's see... damn, what the heck was that code? We just got a new one yesterd-- Oh, yeah!" Merle input the code, 9-1-4-9-7, then turned to Tom and chuckled. "She thought I'd remember the password better if it was my birth date."

"So what now?"

"Wait for it..." A 'ding' sound rang as the door opened.

"An... elevator?" The door opened, she walked in and gestured him to come with her.

At the bottom, the elevator opened to reveal an underground cavern with high-maintenance equipment scattered across.

Tom could only bring himself to mutter, "Holy Batcave."

"Actually, she calls it the Dusk Lair, but yeah it's pretty much like the Batcave. Wait here a sec." she went into a nearby dressing booth they had installed and took some time to get her suit on. Once she did, she popped out and exclaimed, "Ta-da!"

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"What... exactly is that supposed to be?"

"What you don't watch the news? I'm Crow... the young sidekick to the great Dusk Woman," she said with a dramatic inflection. "I strike fear in the hearts of the wicked all over town; but sometimes I just strike my fists in their stomach."

"Oh, yeah, I remember now. So does that mean Ms. Ross, is..."

"Yep, she's Dusk."

"So she trained you to become your sidekick?"

"What, are you kidding me? Who would let an 11 year old girl fight crime?"

"Aren't you turning 13 tomorrow?"

"I meant when I started."

"Ah."

"No, I pretty much had to beg her. She was reluctant at first, but she saw how I was able to handle myself pretty well and decided to let me join her."

"So why tell me all this? What's the catch?"

"Why must you always find some kind of problem with something, Tom? I just happened to see your potential and thought maybe we could be partners. How 'bout it?"

He took a moment to think about it. On the one hand, he'd be risking his life against dangerous foes; on the other hand, he'd be doing something worthwhile in society that wasn't mandatory community service. "Eh, I got nothing else going on. I'll give it a shot."

"Great!" She gave him a big hug, but quickly stopped when she thought she heard a few bones crack. "Sorry, I'm still trying to control my strength. You wouldn't believe how many crooks I put in the hospital by accident."

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They sparred together for a few hours when suddenly, a radio from a police car was heard about some thugs holed up in a warehouse. "Well, tonight's your lucky day, pal. Ready for your first attempt at crime-fighting?"

"Ready! So how do we get there?"

"It depends. Can you use those things to propel yourself to higher ground? 'cause otherwise, you're walkin'." She ran out the secret exit as he followed. She ran and jumped at such tremendous speed and height, he wondered why he didn't put it together earlier that Crow would be an ex-performer. He decided to take her advice and improvise flight by using his sonic blasts as rocket boosts. He was a bit nervous but slowly got into it, even being able to catch up with her.

"Don't you think I should wear something like you?"

"I'm sure no one would be able to see you with how dark it is out here. Besides, we don't even have a cool name for you yet."

"I was thinking about 'Sonic Boomer'."

"Not bad, but it needs work."

They made their way to the warehouse as Merle made Tom stay where he was as she sneaked around and knocked out their lookout guys without making herself known. "Make sure you keep your presence completely unaware," she told him, "hide in the shadows and strike when they least expect it."

"Well gee, that sounds great if only I was even half-capable of doing that." He said with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

Merle rolled her eyes. "Shut up, let's just go."

They made their way inside, where a couple of thugs were guarding a door. Fortunately, the two made quick work of them.

"You're pretty good." Crow chuckled. "I knew I saw something in you."

"Thanks."

They slowly took out more and more crooks until their boss was left. However, before they could sneak up on him...

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"Shouldn't you children be getting ready for bed?" He ate something, turned around and started to breathe fire. Taking them entirely by surprise, Crow and Tom jumped high into the air to avoid the flames.

"Who the hell is this guy!?" Tom freaked.

"I don't know! I thought it was just some run of the mill baddie; I never thought he'd be a Kinetic!" They continued dodging fire, until Tom found a broken door. He shot a sonic blast and blew it open, grabbing Merle as he made a break for it.

Once outside, Tom and Crow heard sirens and decide to leave before they arrived. They safely made their way back to Merle's house.

"'Kinetic'?" The bearded man mused as the sirens grew closer. "So, master was correct. They do have a name for us on this planet." He suddenly transformed into a dragon and flew away.

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Meanwhile, back home...

"So how does your power work? Is it like a servo where you bounce back and forth."

"I don't think that's what a servo is-- Of course!" he snapped his fingers.

"What is it?"

"My name! Sonic Servo. It's perfect."

She gave it a thought then nodded her head "It certainly has a better ring to it than 'Sonic Boomer'."

"Thank you so much for this, Merle." On impulse, he gave her a big kiss on the lips. "This superhero lifestyle is exactly what my boring life needs..." He paused, realizing both what he had just done and that the girl next to him was blushing. "Oh, jeez. Merle, I'm so sorry, I--"

She giggled, "It's fine. Actually, now that you mention it, can you do me a favor?"

"Sure, what is it?"

"Come see me after school tomorrow."

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The next day, after doing just that, Leila took them both to a cemetery down in Humble.

"So, why are we in the graveyard?" She shot him an uncomfortable look. "Stupid question, I know."

"Well, you see, today's my birthday. It's been a year and a half since they died." He nodded, knowing about her parents' untimely deaths. "When I turned 12 last year, I asked Leila to remind me each year to visit them." She turned and smiled, "And since you helped me out last night, I thought you'd like to come with me."

"Why not bring any of your boyfriends over? I've seen you with so many guys, I wouldn't be surprised if you dated every boy in school."

"Well that's because they expect me to put out. I want to wait until I'm 17."

"So it'll be legal?"

"No, because it was a promise I made to my parents. I mean I've experimented before but I've never seen a guy's... you know." she blushed and chuckled. Tom was surprised how perverted his friend was.

"Well, maybe we could go out. I-if you not seeing anyone, that is."

"I'd love to." It was now her turn to kiss him on the lips. "How about I let you be the first to deflower me?"

"What!?"

"I'm kidding!" she laughed as they walked back to Leila's car.

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Meanwhile, the bearded shapeshifter went into a secret passageway and stepped into an office. "Master, Crow has recruited a new hero to assist her and Dusk Woman."

"I see. That is unexpected." A female voice said from the chair that was faced against the glass wall. "But it doesn't change much, as long as they keep doing what they're doing, the plan will continue. Oh, and Luther?" She turned around and turned on the television, changing to news footage of the man as a dragon flying away from the warehouse. "I don't need you to attract so much attention. Do be more careful next time." She was being strict with him for this rather potentially alarming screw-up, but her tone of voice made it sound more like she was giving constructive criticism as opposed to just yelling at him.

"I will. Thank you, sir." He took his leave as the young woman rechecked her strategy and sighed.

"With this new player joining in, I'll have to push the trigger phase until June when he's been acquainted with his new teammates long enough for them to be able to work together. Even so, Ozborn's company will become mine soon enough."

The End

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