#define disclaimer.h "I will make no money from this story. I do not own The Incredibles or any character or symbol associated therewith. If I did, I would be writing a sequel instead of a fanfic. I do, however, own the character of eGirl, including but not limited to the right to move her between universes as I see fit. I leave for the reader the right to enjoy this story to the maximum of his or her ability."

#include disclaimer.h
&title"Justice: The Tale of Gazer-Beam"


The locator in my visor is beeping more stridently now. I'm getting close—the goons who thought they could rob this jewelry store while most of the other Supers were occupied are about to discover how sorely mistaken they were. I swing around a lightpole and drop down in front of two thugs. They point their weapons at me—cheap Uzi subs—and I burn them out of their hands. They shriek, drop the guns, and turn to run, just as eGirl steps out of an alley and shocks them both into unconsciousness. I nod at her in thanks, and look across the street to where a black Ford is screeching away from the curb—the getaway car, three panicked thugs inside. I look at the rear tires, and a pair of converging laser beams streak out and strike them—first one, then the other—just as the car begins to move; the tires pop instantly and the car grinds to a stop. I leap over and slag the locks; the criminals will be trapped inside their own car until the cops arrive to pick 'em up.

The crisis has been averted, and my visor isn't showing any other unhandled calls for help just yet. eGirl walks over and we high-five. "Impeccable timing as always, E."

"You too, Gaze. Never late for showing up to someone else's mission."

I smile. "Hey, what can I say—we both know how lonely you'd get without me."

"Later, laser-brain."

I vault up onto the roof of the store and survey the Municiberg skyline. Signs of combat are visible everywhere if one looks for them—the occasional boom echoing from downtown, the muted rat-a-tat of machinegun fire from the freeway. Large cities like this never run out of criminals, Super and otherwise—there's always a schmuck who thinks he can beat the odds. Some of them do, but the vast majority go to jail. Most amateur criminals disappeared years ago—the chances of getting caught for ripping off some trivial item were just too high. The baddies we Supers pick up today are either other Supers gone bad or career criminals who've learned to fight back.

I breathe in the cool evening air. My visor beeps as the Mission Tracking System reports another robbery in progress, but it's halfway across town and I'm getting hungry. Some other Super will pick it up—I'm getting something to eat.

Maybe if I'd known that was the last night I could use my powers, I would have picked up that robbery. The next day the Super laws went into effect. I'd heard about Incredible getting sued, of course, and the subsequent string of lawsuits and debate over the legality of Supers fighting crime, but I never thought Congress would have the gall to pass a law so obviously detrimental to public safety. Did they think, by getting rid of the solution, that the problem would go away too? The month after the Super Relocation Program went into effect, crime rates spiked a hundred and forty percent. Eventually they dropped back down to something resembling pre-Super levels as law enforcement compensated, but the law was wasting the ideal crime-fighting resource, never mind what it did to the Supers to have their talents suppressed. Do you know what it does to a man to be able to help—to be able to solve problems instantly, on a whim—and instead watch helplessly as Evil prevails because others fear your power?

Some Supers couldn't handle it. Reports flickered through the news of former crime fighters being actually mowed down by SWAT teams as they tried to make one last heroic stand. I was almost one of those. After saving the lives of an entire building full of people by vaporizing a terrorist van I was publicly rebuked, forced to issue an apology for ruffling the public feathers with my existence, and exiled from Municiberg, my home for most of my life. I managed to hold it in after that and only occasionally would salesmen have to sprint away from my house dodging laser blasts. I spent my time as a professional weapons instructor and as an advocate for Supers; many knew I was a former Super, but no-one cared much as long as I behaved. Not much happened out where I lived, and I allowed myself to gradually forget more and more of the good old days, when Super powers were a force for Good and not something to be covered up, ashamed.

twelve years later

I pulled into my driveway and opened the door of my car. Tonight had been a successful evening; my talk at City Hall on the effectiveness of Supers had gone over well, and I had made a few allies. I grabbed the mail from its box on my way inside and dropped it on the kitchen table. My cat Proton greeted me; I rubbed her ears and refilled her bowl. My laptop was on the table; I flipped it open and pulled up my email. Nothing of interest, but the activity set my Chat status to Active, and an IM popped up on my screen.

ShockerChick43: Hey GB
Wavelength650: You shouldn't call me that
ShockerChick43: It's who u are
ShockerChick43: Don't forget that
Wavelength650: I'd rather not think about that
ShockerChick43: I thought u were fighting
ShockerChick43: to bring the Supers back
Wavelength650: I am
Wavelength650: but I can't be GB any more
Wavelength650: not yet
Wavelength650: can we talk about something else?
ShockerChick43: Sure, whatever
Wavelength650: what are you up to?
ShockerChick43: Slacking off at work :P
ShockerChick43: my shift's almost over
Wavelength650: Bad girl :P
Wavelength650: plans for tonight?
ShockerChick43: Not really
ShockerChick43: What, are you suggesting something? ;)
Wavelength650: I've got spaghetti and a fresh DVD
ShockerChick43: Hang on a minute

There was a long pause. I stood up and got the spaghetti out of the refrigerator. eGirl, better known as Melissa Levy, and I had been friends even before the Super laws went into effect, and had remained so after. Neither of us had made a move to push the relationship further, and we were both content to remain in a perpetually affectionate, semi-dating state. An electrical outlet next to the kitchen door sparked once, then glowed as a flood of energy poured through it and eGirl transmitted herself into my kitchen. The ability to travel through electrical grids and computer networks was not to be taken lightly; while eGirl could hold her own in a firefight, her primary strength lay in computer hacking and electrical manipulation. For one thing, it saved on gas. "Hey, almost ready," I said after she finished materializing. I opened the lid of the cold pot of spaghetti and scooped portions into two bowls.

"Good to see you too," she replied as I placed the bowls and some silverware on trays and painted the food with a microwave beam. Steam began to rise from both bowls, and I handed her a tray and walked into the living room. "So what movie we watching?"

"Finding Nemo," I replied, sitting back on the couch. "A classic."

There was silence for a moment as I queued up the DVD. As the opening credits rolled, eGirl said softly, "Do you really believe you're not Gazer-Beam anymore?"

I sighed. "I'm Simon Paladino. I'm a weapons instructor, fighting so Gazer-Beam and the other Supers can fight again. Can live again."

Melissa didn't seem entirely satisfied but remained silent. Not exactly the fight I expected when I found out I had Super powers.

Author's Notes:

This is my first fanfic. We'll see how it goes. Reviews please! :-)

I try to include as much authentic information in my stories as possible, and when I can't do that I try to make up something hidden and clever. Props to the first one to figure out where I got GB's chat nickname from.

More to come! Look forward to your reviews.