Shrinking Violet dived over the bed and rolled across the room even as she willed herself to shrink. Blaster fire ripped over her head, and she flew directly at the gunmen in a desperate effort to distract their attention from the woman patient. Her stunt worked, and just as she flew within inches of their faces, she returned to normal and planted both boots in their faces. They groaned, and she followed up with a spinning kick that sent them reeling.
She hurled herself into the nearest robber, then hurled herself into a closet. She slammed the door behind her and shrank down until she was tiny enough to exit through the lock. As the thugs ripped open the door, she grew to normal size and kicked them both into the door. She slammed it shut and locked it.
While they pounded on the metal door, Violet turned to the elderly woman in the bed. “Are you hurt? I’ve secured this floor. Let me get some of the other patients to join you, and you will all be safer than on your own.”
The woman thanked her and said, “Those terrible men! I feel safer now that the Legion of Super-Heroes is here!”
Violet smiled and said, “Thanks!” No need to tell her that I’m it as far as Legionnaires on the scene goes, she thought as she led a few of the patients into a common room. She stopped at a holographic display of the different departments within the huge hospital. I have to outthink those goons. I know some are in the organ banks and others are looking for drugs. If this plan of the facility is current, then I may not be as bad off as the odds would make it seem!
She took a final look at the layout, then shrank down and entered the hospital ventilation system. She hoped her quick scan of the layout would be enough to enable her to get to where she wanted to go without becoming lost.
Violet ignored the darkness and the chill of the shafts and concentrated on keeping the overall design in her mind. Easy, Salu! Don’t take a wrong turn and get trapped inside some servo-cleaner! That would be a real anticlimax. I hold off a whole gang, only to be beaten by a cleaning appliance.
Shrinking Violet flew up to the top of a grid and peered out to see the Medicus One drug depository. Every conceivable pharmaceutical product from across the universe could be found within the vast vault-like chamber. She saw seven goons loading carts with the valuable substances. This is it. I might as well make my move. She dropped down and made her way in the shadows until she reached the far side of the room. She spotted a label on a carton near the top of a shelf, and she smiled. Perfect! I owe whoever stocked the drugs in that particular order a big kiss!
She made her way to the top and shoved the carton to the ground. It crashed down to break open, and a pink powder filled the air. She held her breath even as the startled thugs began to gasp for air. She exited beneath the heavy door and grew to close it behind her. It locked with a satisfying click, and she called out, “I wouldn’t try to blast your way out. Some of the drugs stored in that room are volatile if exposed to heat or if they get mixed together!” She heard shouts and coughs and then silence.
Great! The narcotic I tipped over should have sedated the whole bunch of them. Even if some of them put on respiration gear like our trans-suits before the drug knocked them out, they won’t be able to get by the heavy door. She frowned as she realized that she was beginning to tire from her efforts. I have to take down however many of them are raiding the organ banks, but I have a good idea about how I can do that if I don’t fall over from sheer exhaustion.
She rushed over to a computer and programmed a carefully determined timing device. If I missed some step when I watched the staff use this system during my own stay here before, then I’ve accomplished nothing. If I set this timing device correctly, then I’d better move fast!
Vi hurried away via the ventilation system and soon found herself looking down at the hallway that led to the organ bank. I hear around eight voices. I guess most of the goons concentrated on loading the organs. That means I have my work cut out for me.
She heard one of them say, “Marius, we haven’t heard anything from the other squads. I think they’re in trouble!”
A handsome blond man with wavy blond hair said, “I trained this group myself. Failure is not an option. Just as we have modeled our organization after the ancient Roman Empire’s ruthless means of conquest and aggrandizement, so have we as little tolerance for failure as did those noble beings.”
Shrinking Violet nodded to herself as she hid outside. Marius is their leader. I was right about their Roman history fixation. Well, that high and mighty Empire crumbled, and I aim to see this gang of rogues do the same. She knew that a sudden attack would possibly damage some of the organs stored within, and she also was reluctant to tackle the gang in a direct physical assault, since she was both outnumbered and tired. Thus, she scanned the area and decided to try to pick them off when they split up.
“Surely someone from the outside has tried to contact Medicus One and failed by now. The Science Police will have been contacted, and perhaps even the Legion. Help has to be on the way, but for now I’m on my own.” She waited until four of the remaining robbers made their way out with their precious cargo. They pushed along cryo-containers on hovering service disks. As she saw the temperature-controlled containers, an idea began to form.
Vi crossed the hall and saw a locked room. She shrank down and entered through the lock, then shivered as she saw the huge interior of the cryogenics lab. The same generators that create the frigid environmental conditions so necessary for the treatment and preservation of those seeking cryogenic cures can be used as a weapon in a crude way. All I have to do is lure them in here after making a few adjustments. She worked quickly and carefully and managed to remove the shields that prevented the entire chamber and not just the selected medical pods from freezing. The work was hard, and she had to do the job from both outside and within the walls of the room. It wasn’t easy to dismantle the protective safeguards the experts had installed upon its design. Still, she persevered, and she completed the job in time to intercept the foursome and catch their eye.
“Grife! Shrinking Violet!” cried a uniformed woman. “That may explain why none of the others have checked in yet or returned!”
“Not likely,” a man said. “What good can a woman who can become small do? I’d say her super-powered buddies like Mon-El took down our gang!”
They hesitated, and three of the four followed Violet as she flew back and led them into the cryogenic medicine chamber. They closed in on her and gasped as she activated the freezing system, and waves of frigid cold swept across the room. She had reduced herself to microscopic size, and she escaped the room and slammed the door shut just as she ran out of air.
They’ll be okay in time. Still, I almost trapped myself in there. I didn’t realize the cold would be so all-encompassing. Even my shrinking came almost too late to help. Violet gasped as heavy hands grabbed her from behind. She struggled as hands gripped her arms and legs, and she fell beneath a tangled mass of limbs.
The remaining five robbers had tackled her, and she fought for freedom without any luck. “I wouldn’t shrink if I was you,” said Marius. “We have a good grip on your shapely legs and arms, and we’d hate to see you ripped limb from limb by the process!”
Violet knew they were right. While they held her so tightly, she was trapped. She glanced at a clock and bit her lip as she wondered if her earlier computer use would pay off. “My friends are on the way,” she said. “Your communication shut-down came too late. The Medicus One staff alerted the Legion. I just happened to be closer than the rest. It won’t take Ultra Boy, Mon-El, and the rest long to get here. I’d surrender now if I were you. We haven’t fed Timber Wolf lately.”
Marius laughed at the spunky Salu Digby’s efforts to bluff them. “You have done extraordinarily well. The rest of my team has been dealt with, I assume? No matter. We will free them and take what we want after we finish you off!”
Violet spat in his face and said, “Don’t get so cocky. I’m not beaten yet!”
Marius slapped her across the face, and she rolled her head back with the impact. At that moment, a flashing light began to shine from a lowered screen, and the gang looked away as the powerful hypno-sedating machine began to work. Vi closed her eyes and struggled until she had broken free from the gang. They were too busy trying to resist the potent hypnotic sedation system Vi had preset earlier to click on at this time. She shrank down and crossed the room to evade them and buy herself some time.
Marius cursed and blasted the hypno-system to shards as he led his gang in pursuit. “You witch!” he cried. “That little stunt is going to earn you some pain!”
Shrinking Violet had counted on the fact that the gang might be distracted or even sedated by the screens when she had set the timers earlier. She knew one set of screens was located in every major room of the satellite.
Now, she flew down the long halls and stopped abruptly as the gang ran past her unseen tiny form. She dropped out of the air at full size and landed on two of them. She stomped down on them and punched them with her all strength before she rolled aside and disappeared within the nearest waste-disposal unit. She choked as the refuse covered her, but she knew she had little choice but to use what resources were close at hand. She heard Marius and the other two robbers as they searched for her.
“She can’t have gotten far,” said Marius. “You two go free the others, and I’ll contact you if our little pest pops up.”
Violet waited, then grew until she was normal-sized. She coughed delicately, and when Marius turned around, she struck him directly in the nose. She followed up with a flurry of blows that left him dazed on the floor.
She turned to see the remaining thugs, including a few she had beaten in other parts of the hospital, closing in on her. “I’m going down fighting, you space-slugs!” she cried.
“Well, that’s a pretty image!” said a voice from above as Wildfire blazed into view and blasted the thugs backward with his carefully aimed energy blasts.
Sun Boy swooped in behind him and used his own heat bursts to round up the gang. “Don’t worry, Vi! The space cavalry is here!” he said. “Jan sent us on ahead when he got word from the S.P.s that no one could reach Medicus One. Jo and Mon-El are cleaning up the gang’s ship. I’d say they’ll have the whole group wrapped up in no time!” He sniffed and smiled slightly. “Vi, you really need a good hot bath! You reek!”
Shrinking Violet sighed and said, “Hiding in a refuse bin will do that to you.”
Wildfire landed and said, “You know, you really took this group of losers down on your own! We just played clean-up. Uh, no pun intended.”
Violet smiled and said, “Sure it wasn’t.” They laughed and made their way to where their allies were waiting.
“The ship was almost empty,” explained Mon-El. “We captured it easily. My x-ray vision enabled me to tip the others off as to exactly where they could find you within the satellite. Great work, Vi!”
“Thanks,” said Violet. “Still, they shot several staff and patients upon entry. They may be losers, but they need to pay for their crimes.”
“They will, but Mon says there were no fatalities,” said Wildfire. “Even the people they shot were just stunned. Thanks to you, medical care reached the rest in time to save them. So, in the big picture, no harm was done!”
“If I was Dreamy, I’d make some remark about how they owe me a new costume!” said Shrinking Violet.
Elsewhere, a dark-costumed figure examined data beamed to him from afar. He smiled a reptilian smile as certain details caught his eye. “Marius and his group failed for the most part,” he said, “but the data he managed to transmit to us from Medicus One before something damaged the transmission should prove very useful, indeed!”
Another shadowy figure nodded. “We could have used the funds his stolen goods would have brought in, but I feel information is far more precious in the right hands.”
Thus, as one case ended in victory, the seeds were sown for a much larger threat in the future.