Untold Tales of the JLI: "Easy Like Sunday Morning" Chapter One

Power Girl was upset. VERY upset!

She HAD plans for this Sunday morning. She WAS GOING to spend some time alone and just unwind. She WAS GOING to do nothing in particular, and enjoy herself doing it! But, as it turned out, her plans went POOF! - along with the main security board at the JLI's Paris Embassy.

Power Girl was considered the "computer expert" of the European branch of the Justice League International, mainly because she owned a software company under her secret identity, Karen Starr. So, she was the one that was called into the embassy this Sunday morning by the administrator there, Catherine Colbert.

It wasn't bad enough that she was called in on a Sunday morning, but, it turned out she was going to be the only one there. With the main security board out, the monitoring station was down. With no monitoring station, there was no way to be alerted of emergencies. All calls were being redirected to the JLI embassy in New York. If there were a problem, the New York embassy would alert the members of the European branch via personal communicators.

Catherine informed her when she arrived that the League still wanted a hero at the embassy in case of "walk-ins". So, not only was Power Girl here to look at the security board, she was "on call" until the situation was normalized. AND THEN Catherine had the gall to disappear almost the second Power Girl had gotten there.

"I guess she had plans!" thought Power Girl, a little bitterly.

After spending less than a half an hour trying to figure out just exactly what she was looking at (and getting frustrated beyond belief), Power Girl conceeded that she was in over her head. Software was her specialty, NOT hardware! And especially not the kind of hardware she was looking at. She was proficient enough to install a hard drive or even a mother board into a computer, but, the main security board was not a PC!

This was incrediblly stupid! Who the Hell had installed these damned things in the first place? Why wasn't there any type of emergency manuals around here in case of such emergency? This was turning into one huge cluster-futst!

Power Girl finally called the JLI embassy in New York when her boiling point hit its highest. Of course, she had to do this by personal communicator because the communications systems were part of the monitoring station, and the monitoring station was down because the main security board was down. Power Girl was really beginning to HATE the main security board!

As soon as someone answered the communicator at the New York embassy, Power Girl, leaving pleasantries aside, yelled "HELP!".

Luckily for her, J'Onn J'Onnz, the Martian Manhunter; sole survivor of the Martian race; leader of the American branch of the JLI; and infinitely patient being, answered her signal. "How may I be of assistance, Power Girl?" he asked in his deep baritone voice. Power Girl noted what might have been slight bemusement therein.

"I'll tell you how you can be of assistance," said an agitated Power Girl. "Send SOMEONE who knows how to fix this damned security board!"

"I am aware of the problem." explained J'Onn patiently. "Catherine told me she had a computer expert in-house. Am I to assume that would be you?"

"SOFTWARE!" shouted an exasperated Power Girl in response. (On the other end of the line J'Onn held the communicator away from himself to save the damage to his ears.) "Software! I don't know anything about hardware! Even less about whatever technological nightmare passes for that damned security board! And I have no idea how I'm suppose to fix something I don't understand!"

J'Onn sighed. "Very well." he said. "I'll send someone there when I can."

"No-no-no!" said Power Girl quickly. She had images of being stuck in the embassy all day before some repairman decided to show up God-only-knows how many hours later. "You send someone A.S.A.P.!"

"You do realize that it's only five in the morning here?" asked J'Onn, trying hard to keep the patience in his voice.

"I DON'T CARE!" stated Power Girl emphatically. "Send someone! I don't care if you have to personally drag them out of bed! SEND SOMEONE! Someone who knows what they're doing!"

"Is half an hour too unreasonable for you?" asked J'Onn, who was starting to reach the limits of his patience with Power Girl's attitude.

"It'll do!" Power Girl said as she clicked off the communicator.

Power Girl sighed as she looked down at the communicator in her hand. "Calm down!" she told herself. It was outbursts like that that gave her such a sterling reputation! Was it any wonder people flinched away when she walked into a room?

What followed might have been the longest thirty minutes of Power Girl's life. Patience was not one of Power Girl's virtues. In fact, she hated waiting more than just about anything. The longer the wait, the worse it was! She had practically walked a bare spot in the carpet from pacing back and forth. When she heard the whine of the teleporter, she turned in a combination of relief and annoyance. Relief that someone had finally showed up. And annoyance because she thought the teleporters would have been down along with the security board.

The light around the figure in the teleporter diminished, and he came into form.

"Oh, COME ON!" said Power Girl, clearly annoyed. "J'Onn was suppose to send someone to help me! Not comic relief!"

"And that's why I'm here!" said Blue Beetle as he stepped out of the teleporter tube. He was carrying several boxes and what looked to be a tool kit. He set the boxes down and yawned loudly as he stretched.

"YOU?" asked Power Girl disbelievingly. "You're "the expert" J'Onn was sending?"

Beetle sat down in one of the chairs and yawned again. He looked up at Power Girl with sleepy eyes and shrugged his shoulders. "Here I come to save the day..." he started singing.

"You have got to be kidding me!" said Power Girl as she started massaging her temples in a futile effort to ward off a headache.

"Perfect!" thought Power Girl, as she tried to avoid an oncoming headache. "I need some REAL help here and J'Onn sends Blue Beetle. BLUE fricking BEETLE! Is this some kind of weird Martian practical joke J'Onn is trying to pull on me?" Power Girl was so lost in thought, she didn't hear the first time Beetle had asked a question.

Beetle repeated the question. "What happened to the security board?" He was still slumped in the chair, his eyes closed.

"I don't know." replied Power Girl honestly. "I wasn't here when it went bad. Apparently, it just went 'poof' and..."

"Took out the monitoring station with it." Beetle completed Power Girl's statement.

"Yeah." Power Girl said as she eyed Beetle. "Do you know what's wrong with it?"

"No." said Beetle, as he opened his eyes. "It could be any number of things... But, I have some ideas!"

Power Girl looked at Beetle suspiciously. She was considering the fact that MAYBE, just maybe, Beetle did know something about the hardware here. Or maybe he was going to screw it up worse than it was before! She had heard some of the stories about Beetle from Captain Atom and Elongated Man. In any case, she was going to keep an eye on him.

Beetle got up slowly out his chair, leaned over, and picked up his boxes with a moan. "Let's get this show on the road!"

As Power Girl and Blue Beetle walked down the hallway to the monitor room, Beetle couldn't help himself. "So, how's the diet going, Peegee?" he asked with a smirk. It was an ongoing thing between them. When Beetle had really let himself go wild on Twinkies and lack of training, he had ballooned up to over thirty pounds past his fighting weight. His doctor, knowing Beetle's juvenile mindset, suggested finding a "diet buddy" and turn weight-loss into a competition. It was even the doctor's suggestion that the diet buddy be female, as men have higher metabolisms than women. The perfect candidate was Power Girl, who was forever drinking diet sodas and was as competitive as they came.

Power Girl shot him a quick dirty look. "Fine." she said evenly.

Beetle caught the dirty look out of the corner of his eye and smiled more broadly. He was going to enjoy needling her. "Good to hear!" he said. "I dropped another three pounds this week. You?"

Power Girl was sorely tempted to punch Beetle for asking. Instead, she ignored it as they reached the monitor room. "It's right over..." she started. But, Beetle had walked right over to where the main security board was.

As Power Girl watched, Beetle popped open an access panel. He took a small Mag-lite flashlight out of his tool kit and started shining it into the machinery. He peered into the opening and looked around, his eyes squinted to look for the problem. Beetle smiled at Power Girl and reached into the opening. With a slight yank, he pulled out a component and showed it to Power Girl.

"There's the start of your problem right there!" said Beetle.

"That's a cooling fan." said Power Girl, clearly unimpressed. Even as limited as her knowledge of the hardware end of computers was, she was still able to distinguish most of the parts in a computer.

Beetle was taken slightly aback. "Yeah. It seized up. Without the cooling fan, the system overheated and blew out a few relays. I'll have to check the main control board to make sure it wasn't damaged." Beetle looked down at the cooling fan and checked its markings. "Lexcorp." he said outloud. "JUNK!" With that proclomation, he threw the component over his shoulder.

It was Power Girl's turn to be taken aback. Beetle clearly knew what he was talking about. Or, at the very least, knew enough to b.s. his way into SOUNDING like he knew what he was talking about. "So, what do you need to do to fix it?"

That question wiped most of the smile off of Beetle's face. "I'm going to need to pull the entire system apart to see what was damaged and what wasn't."

Power Girl visibly winced. "Damn! There goes my whole day! I had plans, too."

"Yeah." said Beetle sympathetically, as he pulled a socket wrench from his tool kit. "I know where you're coming from. Nothing like a Martian waking you up at five in the morning to start your day! Do you know he came into my quarters and personally dragged me outta bed?" Beetle asked. Power Girl looked away a little sheepishly.

"AND I was going to see the Cubs play the Mets this afternoon." continued Beetle. "Had seats right off of third base, too. I can forget about that now. There's no way I can pull this apart and put it back together again in a few hours." A thought occurred to Beetle. "Unless..."

"Unless what?" asked Power Girl cautiously, not liking the look on Beetle's face.

"Unless you want to give me hand." said Beetle. He gave Power Girl the big doe eyes and wane smile.

"Uh-uh." said Power Girl, shaking her head. "I don't know a thing about this hardware!"

"C'mon!" replied Beetle. "That's not true. You were able to recognize the cooling fan. And I'm sure you know several parts of a PC. That's all this is. A glorified PC!"

Power Girl was hesitant. She didn't want to screw it up. AND she especially didn't want to screw it up in front of Beetle, whom she decided DID know what he was doing. She could just picture Beetle cracking jokes about her to his friend Booster Gold.

Beetle wasn't about to give up. "Think of it as a learning opportunity! If this ever happens again, you'll not only be prepare, but, you can amaze and dazzle your friends!" He smiled at her. "It's not everyday that someone can learn at the foot of a true master!"

Power Girl just raised an eyebrow at him.

"Plus," said Beetle. "The faster we get this done, the sooner we can get back to our respective plans."

Power Girl considered this. Beetle was right. If they could get this straightened out fast enough, she could still salvage the afternoon. "Okay." she said, no enthusiasm whatsoever in her voice.

"That's the spirit!" Beetle said brightly as he handed Power Girl a phillips head screwdriver. "You can be the the 'Robin' to my 'Batman'! I always wanted a sidekick! You can start by taking the panel off the back."

"I'm no one's sidekick, buster!" Power Girl said while brandishing the screwdriver ominously.

"Aw, c'mon!" said Beetle, as he went back to work pulling the machine apart. "If you be my sidekick today, I'll be your sidekick next week! Just don't dress me up in short pants. I have hairy kneecaps!"

Power Girl bit her lip to keep from laughing at that. She went to take the panel off in the back, the picture of Beetle in shorts still fresh in her mind.

Surprisingly quickly, Power Girl and Beetle managed to strip the machine down to its skeleton. Beetle was using a tester to check the relays, and Power Girl was going through the boxes Beetle had brought with him.

"You sure do have a lot of KORD stuff here." she said as she inspected the boxes. It was true, most of the stuff Beetle brought had K.O.R.D. Inc. stamped all over it. Boxes and boxes of computer components.

"Can't beat quality!" said Beetle as he tested another relay.

"Yeah," said Power Girl. "They had the best stuff back when Ted Kord still owned it! But, not after ZYCO took over!"

Unseen by Power Girl, Beetle raised his eyebrows and smiled a little proudly. "If you check the boxes," he said. "You'll see all that stuff is pre-ZYCO! I convinced Max to buy out their stock of computer parts when ZYCO liquidated all the old KORD stuff. The JLI owns a warehouse full of K.O.R.D. Inc. computer parts!"

"And Max actually agreed to spend all that money?" asked Power Girl skeptically, knowing full well that Maxwell Lord IV, executive administrator of the Justice League International, was as tight with money as was humanly (some would say super-humanly) possible.

"Well," said Beetle with a smile. "He kinda HAD to! Number one, it WAS liquidation prices, and Max can't pass up a bargain." Power Girl nodded knowingly. "And number two, almost all the computers the League uses are KORD or contain a lot of KORD elements."

"Really?" asked a surprised Power Girl. "I would have thought they'd be a more mainstream brand like IBM or Waynetech or Compaq."

"Nope." said Beetle as he finished testing the relays. "The League's been using KORD technology since the beginning. And I don't mean the beginning of the JLI. I mean the beginning of the Justice League of AMERICA. Kord built their first security system."

Beetle smiled at the memory of Green Lantern (Hal Jordan, NOT Guy Gardner), Flash (Barry Allen, NOT Wally West), Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and Black Canary (and her magical, wonderful fishnet stockings!) coming to a still-teenaged Ted Kord to ask HIM to build their first security device. That was one of the proudest days in Ted Kord's life. "That's what I want to be when I grow up!" Young Ted Kord had said as the superheroes flew away. Life is full of little surprises!

Power Girl was impressed. "I didn't know that." she said.

"Well," said Beetle, getting his mind back on the task at hand. "We're lucky! Only one of the relays is fried!"

"I met him once, you know." said Power Girl.

"Who?" asked Beetle, confused. He wasn't following her.

"Ted Kord." responded Power Girl.

Beetle was stunned. He didn't remember meeting Power Girl until after she joined the League. And he was SURE he'd remember some like Power Girl! "When?" he asked, just keeping the concern out of his voice in order to sound conversational.

"Oh, it was some technological tradeshow in Chicago about three years ago." said Power Girl, letting her mind travel back in time. "He was the keynote speaker."

Beetle was racking his brain. He remembered the tradeshow. The only reason he agreed to give the keynote address was because the show was in his hometown. But, for the life of him, he couldn't place Power Girl! And that was driving him nuts!

"Absolutely brilliant man!" continued Power Girl, a little smile playing accross her face. "He made describing his new computer line exciting and fun! He was funny and charming. Not your typical nerdy geek!" She was lost in her memory for a second. "He was kinda cute, too."

"Really?" asked Beetle, eyebrows fully lifted.

"He had an attractive redhead with him." continued Power Girl. "I thought she was just arm-candy, but, I found out later that she actually worked for Kord as a research scientist."

Beetle realized immediately that Power Girl was describing his ex, Melody Case. Damned! Power Girl was describing the whole scene to a tee, and Beetle still couldn't picture where he would have met Power Girl!

Power Girl shook her head. "Man, was she the JEALOUS type! I was trying to discuss some software problems I was having at the time, and she just pulled him away as fast as she could!"

"Okay." thought Beetle. "THAT I remember! I was talking to a really attractive blonde from the West Coast and..." Beetle's eyes bugged. "NO! That was Power Girl? THAT WAS POWER GIRL! It's amazing at what a change of clothes can do for a person. What was the company's name? It sounded like Hollywood lingerie...Star-something...STARRWARE! Yeah. Yeah. THAT was it! StarrWare! Starr was her last name! What was her first name again? Katey Starr?...Kathy Starr?...Kerry Starr?..."

"KAREN STARR!" Beetle said outloud and immediately covered his mouth.

TOO LATE!

Power Girl spun around quickly. She was stunned. "How do you know my real name!" she asked.

Power Girl had been blissfully busy reliving some past memories as she went through some of the equipment Blue Beetle had brought with him. Suddenly, without any warning, Beetle blurted out her name. Her REAL name! Power Girl took great pains to protect her secret identity. It was her refuge from the maddening world of super-heroics and all the problems that ensued from it. And the fact that Blue Beetle, who SHOULDN'T know her secret identity, DID know, shocked Power Girl!

"I said," Power Girl approached Beetle menacingly. "HOW - DO - YOU - KNOW - MY - REAL - NAME?"

"Uh-oh!" thought Beetle as he slowly started inching back. "I'm in it deep now!"

Beetle smiled nervously and licked his suddenly dry lips. "Lucky guess?"

Power Girl moved lightening quick and grabbed Beetle by the throat. She wasn't in the mood to play games. "'Lucky guess?'" she hissed. "Like 'six-billion-to-one' kind of lucky? I DON'T THINK SO!"

Power Girl had a secure grip around Beetle's throat. Not enough to choke him, but, definitely enough to hurt. And enough to scare Beetle! Power Girl was almost "Superman level" strength, and one little twitch from her, and it was "see ya later, sucker" time for him!

"You've got three seconds to give me a straight answer." said Power Girl. "And, so help me God, if you try jerking me around, I'll make you regret it!" Beetle had no doubts that she meant it.

"Me and my big mouth!" thought Beetle. "Had to blurt that out loud, didn't you? Couldn't have just thought of the name?"

"ONE!" said Power Girl grimly.

"There's no way around this!" thought Beetle. Two superheroes revealing their secret identities to each other was like the superheroic version of "I'll show you mine if you show me yours". And Power Girl had inadvertantly shown Beetle "hers".

"TWO!"

"I'M TED KORD!" blurted out Beetle quickly.

"I told you not to jerk me around!" warned Power Girl, as her brows knit over her blue eyes. Eyes that were flashing with anger.

"I'm not jerking you around!" stated Beetle. "I am Ted Kord!"

"BULL!" said an angry Power Girl. "If you were Ted Kord, you'd be inventing something to revolutionize technology. Not dropping water balloons on people and breying like a jackass about it!"

"That was Booster! That wasn't me!" said Beetle quickly. He was lying. It was him that dropped the water balloon, but, he was aiming at Elongated Man!

Beetle waited as Power Girl eyed him suspectiously. She was think of something. "Take it off!" she ordered.

"Beg pardon?" said Beetle nervously as he raised his eyebrows.

"YOUR MASK!" said Power Girl testily. "Take it off!"

Beetle had nothing to lose. He already told Power Girl who he was. Now, he had to show her. He reached up over Power Girl's grip on his throat and, using the electronics in the fingertip of his glove, unlatched the clasp of his mask. He pulled the mask and goggles clear of his head.

Power Girl released her grip on Beetle's throat. Her face drained of all color and her eyes widened as though she had seen a ghost. She was completely shaken!

Beetle studied her. He knit his brow and thought, "Interesting reaction".

Ted Kord was someone Karen Starr always respected. He was genuine real-life scientific genius! TIME Magazine proclaimed him a "technological boy wonder" as a teenager when he created a solar power cell that twice as efficient as anything on the market! He took computers farther faster than anyone in this generation. Lexcorp and IBM were still playing catch up to thing Kord created years ago! Not only computers, but, technology in general: satellites, cell phones, environment-friendly research.

And, despite all that, Karen always got the feeling from interviews that he was a down-to-Earth kind of person. He was rich, but, didn't flaunt it like Lex Luthor, Donald Trump, or Bruce Wayne. He was smart, but, would take the time out to explain something in layman's terms. Ted Kord was like an "everyman" who happened to have an incredible intellect.

AND NOW...

It was like learning that Albert Einstein was secretly Bozo the Clown!

Power Girl had just had her faith shaken. "How could someone as brilliant as Ted Kord end up like...like THIS?" asked Power Girl quietly as she motioned to Beetle.

"What the Hell does THAT mean?" asked Beetle indignantly, not liking the turn of this conversation.

"Did you suffer some kind of head trauma?" asked Power Girl sadly.

"WHAT?" asked Beetle, who was starting to get mad now.

"How does someone go from being a genius to a... well... A JACKASS!"

Beetle was seeing red now! He was so mad, he was having a hard time making a coherant sentence. "Who the f- ?... What are you-?... How-?" Finally, Beetle gave up and just yelled. He threw the relay he was holding accross the room, to shatter against the wall.

"I don't know what kind of little fantasy you had about me," yelled Beetle. "But, I've got news for you, lady! THIS is who I am! THIS is how I've always been! THIS is who Ted Kord is. NOT whatever daydream you might have had about me!"

Power Girl was taken aback by Beetle's flash of anger. She always thought of Beetle as a laid-back jokester. The light-hearted guy that would make a bet on who could lose the most weight in a week. She'd never seen Beetle mad before. Hell, she never even heard of him really losing his temper. She was having to reassess a lot of what she thought in the last minute!

"You know what?" Beetle shouted at her. "To Hell with this!" He motioned around to the unassembled security board and stalked away down the hall that led to the teleporter room.

"And to Hell with you!" he shouted back over his shoulder at Power Girl.

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Sunday mornings usually started late at the Justice League Embassy in New York. If not on a mission, Saturday nights were long and late for Guy Gardner, Booster Gold, and Fire. Guy would find the sleeziest of bars and feel at home. Both Booster and Fire liked to go to the clubs and party (although not with each other). Occasionally, they'd drag their respective best friends, Blue Beetle and Ice, along with them, whether they wanted to go or not.

Luckily for Beetle, last night was one of those nights that Booster hadn't dragged him to a club.

Unluckily for Ice, last night was one of those nights that Fire HAD dragged her to the clubs.

Ice really didn't like going to the clubs. They were too loud, too dark, and too crowded with people. Ice didn't mind crowds. But, she did mind being packed in like a sardine. But, she'd go because Fire would ask. "You're too much of a shut-in." Fire would tell her. "You're young! You need to experience new things!" Fire would add. Ice found it amusing that by "new things" Fire meant "new clubs", which always seemed exactly like the previous club.

Invariably, Fire would spend far too much time there. And that meant Ice wouldn't be coming back to the embassy until very, very late. Still, Ice was an "early riser", and by 7:00 AM, was already in the embassy's kitchen making herself breakfast.

She was enjoying her orange juice when J'Onn J'Onnz phased through the wall.

"Good morning!" Ice said brightly.

J'Onn returned the greeting. He added, "If you would, when they awaken, please, inform Booster, Fire, and Guy that I would like to speak with them."

Ice knit her delicate brow in concerned. "Is there a problem?"

"A small one." said J'Onn, as he seated himself accross from Ice. "I need to inform them that are on-call today. Along with yourself."

"Are we expecting some kind of problem?" Ice was still concerned.

"No." answered J'Onn. "But, at present, the Paris embassy is experiencing technical difficulties. We might have to answer any emergencies that might arise until the difficulties are rectified."

"What about Ted?" asked Ice, noting that J'Onn had neglected to mention him.

"Beetle left almost two hours ago to assist the Paris embassy." replied J'Onn. "He should be well on his way to helping them solve their problem."

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Meanwhile, at the Paris embassy, Beetle was well on his way to blowing a gasket! He was extremely agitated. Agitated to the point that he kicked the control console of the teleporter, and, as his toe throbbed, immediately regretted it. In his anger, he'd forgotten that without the security board, the teleporters here could only receive an incoming signal from another teleporter. In other words: HE COULDN'T TELEPORT OUT!

The nerve of Power Girl! Who the Hell was she to judge him? And that look of disappointment when she found out he was Ted Kord... Where the Hell did that come from?

Power Girl hesitantly walked into the teleporter room. "Beetle...?" she started.

Beetle spun around and pointed a finger at her. "Unless the next two words out of your mouth are 'I'm sorry', I don't want to hear it!" He was still livid. "Just who in the Hell do you think you are..."

Power Girl cut him off. "I'm sorry." she said.

"It's too late for that!" yelled Beetle. Then he blinked when what Power Girl had just said registered in his brain. "Wait...what?..."

"I'm sorry." Power Girl repeated, genuinely looking remorseful. "You're right. I had some pre-conceived notions of what Ted Kord is and what you are, and, when the two didn't mesh, I acted like...well...I acted like an idiot!"

Beetle's tirade had made Power Girl think. She based all her knowledge of Ted Kord from interviews and one short meeting. She had based all her knowledge of Blue Beetle on hearsay and a few short meetings. She thought one was the most brilliant man on the planet and the other was an immature practical joker. Opposite ends of the spectrum. Completely different from the other. Obviously, she realized, she knew neither man.

Power Girl's admission took all the righteous air out of Beetle's anger sails. Like a punctured ballooon, Beetle deflated. He sank down and sat on the floor. He shook his head and muttered something to the effect that "it was way too early in the morning to expel this kind of energy in being p.o.ed!".

Power Girl just stood there, shifting from foot to foot, waiting for Beetle to say something. She felt awkward and foolish, but, couldn't think of what else to do.

Beetle wasn't one to stay mad at someone for any great length of time. It wasn't in his nature. Sure, he tried to stay mad at Captain Atom when he found out that Cap lied about teaming up with Beetle's predecessor, Dan Garrett. But, even then, Beetle forgave him. And Power Girl had apologized for her actions.

He looked up at Power Girl, who was shifting uncomfortablly from foot to foot, and said, "Okay."

"Okay?" asked Power Girl, making sure Beetle accepted her apology.

Beetle smiled a bit. "Okay." He extended his hand. "Help me up."

Power Girl took his hand and easily helped him to his feet. Power Girl couldn't help but think that if the situation were reversed, she'd still be thundering and fuming. Beetle could let his anger go, while she would hold onto it and intimidate and threaten... A thought occured to her.

"If I didn't have my hands around your throat, would you have told me?" she asked cautiously.

Beetle smiled at her. "Probably. But, only after I had found out just how BIG a crush you had on me!"

"WHAT? I do not have a crush on you!" said a surprised Power Girl as she blushed slightly.

"Oh, right!" said Beetle as he broke into an even bigger smile. "'Absolutely brilliant man!'; 'funny and charming'; 'kinda cute'!"

"You're taking what I said out of context!" stated Power Girl, trying to defend herself.

"I think not!" said Beetle disapprovingly. "You were practically swooning when you described me!"

"Like I said, I must have been misinformed!" said an irked Power Girl.

"No." Beetle corrected her. "What you said was that you had a pre-conceived notion of me! A pre-conceived notion of me being a beacon of light in a world of dimness. Just an extraordinarally beneificent being radiating knowledge on all!" Beetle stuck out his tongue as he smiled at her, which oddly reminded Power Girl of that famous picture of Albert Einstein.

"And now I see how wrong pre-conceived notions are!" said Power Girl testily.

"AH!" Beetle said as he pointed at her and smiled. "See? I 'radiated' knowledge all over you!"

Power Girl almost choked on his choice of words. But, she smiled and shook her head. "Yeah." she said. "You 'radiate' something all over people, but, I'm not sure it's knowledge!"

TO BE CONTINUED...