Title: "The Adventures of the Mighty CSIs"
Summary: A response to chrissie0707's CSIs as Superheroes challenge. Set in S1.
A/N: Umm. There's really no explanation for this story except that it's a response to Chrissie's "CSIs as Superheroes" challenge and I was inspired by the Adam West/Burt Ward "Batman." If you're up for a wild and psychotic time, get ready to enter a world where nothing is sacred - not even Nick.
In a dark city, full of sin and corruption, there shines a beacon of hope. Wherever there is injustice, they'll be there. Wherever liberty is threatened, they'll be there. Wherever puppies are kicked and daisies are uprooted, you will find the Mighty CSIs. Who are these masked avengers of the innocent? Las Vegas may never know.
With a sigh, Royal Flush traced a finger of his gloved hand along the rim of his club soda. The night was young, but he was already starting to feel the effects of it. He was waiting and watching – two things he hated. He much preferred to be "doing," but Flush understood all too well that with his job, these things came with the territory.
And right now, his job entailed keeping an eye on Jean Claude Van Tram, the half-French, half-Vietnamese gangster, who was currently terrorizing the streets of Las Vegas. Drugs, murder, kidnapping, prostitution, tax evasion, puppy-kicking – you name it and Jean Claude was knee-deep in it. Despite this common knowledge, he was a difficult man to keep behind bars. The trouble was that Jean Claude had friends in high places; he was under the protection of The Judge, a criminal mastermind who had gained power through blackmail and extortion. Once The Judge took a criminal into his service, it was virtually impossible to bring him to justice.
Tonight, though, things were going to change. Lady Luck had smiled down upon Royal Flush once again. He had received a tip. A big tip. He had it on good authority that Jean Claude was going to meet with Freddy "The Fingers" Mason and rob the bank down on Main Street tonight.
"If he ever gets up from the table that is," Flush muttered, annoyed. "Criminals are never considerate of one's schedule."
An exasperated sigh passed between his lips as Jean Claude applauded his own brilliance in continuing his winning streak. Palming his glass, Flush drained the last remnants of his drink. He glanced down at his watch and saw that only ten minutes had past since the last time he had looked.
"Well, you certainly seem out of place," a silky voice said from behind him.
The Mighty CSI swiveled in his seat to see a curvaceous blonde approaching him. Clad in a skin tight red dress that accentuated her flawless figure, she was the kind of woman who haunted the dreams of men. She oozed danger but Flush hard pressed to tell whether it was the kind of danger that would get him killed or send him howling with pleasure.
"Oh really? How so?" he baited, an eyebrow cocked in amusement. "I mean, this is Las Vegas, you know."
The lady flashed him a smile, acknowledging the obvious joke. A man dressed head to toe in a black leather suit complete with a golden ace of spades emblazoned across his chest and a matching cape would seem out of place anywhere save behind the walls of his secret headquarters.
She sat down on the stool next to him, reclining her elbow on the counter of the bar and crossing her long legs in such a way that her knee brushed against the leather covering Flush's thigh. This seemingly innocent touch sent a ripple of pleasure throughout his body, making him long for her to repeat it. She caressed one of her longer fingers across her knee, never taking her eyes off his face.
"With the outfit you've got on, I don't peg you as a guy who likes to play spectator." She smiled playfully, tugging gently at the black cape that was draped across his broad shoulders. "You seem like the kind of guy who likes action. Very hands on, I'd wager."
That pleasurable sensation was now flooding Flush's senses, threatening to send all thoughts of Jean Claude Van Tram from his mind. He found it difficult to break eye contact with her long enough to shoot a quick look at Jean Claude, who still appeared to be showing no signs of getting up from the table any time soon. Perhaps his hot tip hadn't been so hot after all. Well, there was no reason why the night shouldn't be a total waste.
"I'm good with my hands." Flush smiled slyly, not bothering to hide his appraising look. "I'm good with a lot of things."
"I have no doubt of that, Royal Flush." The hand that had been fingering his cape slid down the length of his arm until it rested on top of his own.
The fact that she knew his name didn't really surprise him. After all, he was a bit of a celebrity in Las Vegas. That, too, came with the territory of his job. Flush repositioned himself on his stool, allowing his knee to gently graze hers. "You put me at a disadvantage seeing as I don't know your name."
She leaned forward, her lips inches a part from his own. "Miss Trix," she whispered. "You busy tonight? I need some help. I could use a man with your expertise."
"I live to serve and protect," he whispered, matching her intensity.
Her face continued to linger near his and Flush was unable to take his eyes off her full, red lips. "Tell me, if I'm holding a seven and a six and the dealer's showing a jack and a nine, should I stand?"
"Never," he replied without hesitation.
"My hero," Miss Trix replied as she slid off her stool. "Follow me. I see a table in the back that I like."
Uh-oh! Has Royal Flush been lured into a trap? What tricks does the seemingly devious Miss Trix have up her metaphorical sleeve? What danger lies in store for our hero?
Meanwhile, all is not well in the domicile of the Mighty CSIs. Bugman and Hop-a-long Emoticon are in a heated discussion regarding that delegation of tasks.
"It's not fair, Bugman. Royal Flush gets to go after Jean Claude Van Tram on his own while I'm stuck playing sidekick. I deserve the same opportunity. After all, I was promoted before Flush." Hop slumped down further in his chair, doing his best imitation of a kicked puppy. He began to pluck at the blue spandex covering his upper thigh; he found the sound of it snapping back into place soothing.
Bugman sat in silence for a few seconds, observing the younger man's actions and his fierce determination to avoid his eyes as if he were a specimen in a jar. Finally, he said, "Repeat after me: Silk, silk, silk."
"Silk, silk, silk," Hop repeated blandly, not bothering to look up. He wondered vaguely what kind of mind game Bugman was attempting to pull.
"What's the gestation period of the bovine?" Bugman asked without warning.
The obscurity of the question threw Hop for a loop. "What? What does that have to do with silk?"
"It's a simple gauge to test one's readiness to work solo. Flush answered it without a moment's hesitation. That's how I knew he was ready." Bugman shrugged his shoulders in an unapologetic way.
The casual frankness of the man's words cut Hop to the quick. Once again, Bugman was making him feel like an idiot and making no effort to hide his obvious favoritism. There was no one who's opinion mattered more to him than Bugman's, but his idol had no respect for Hop or his abilities, and it both pained and infuriated him at the same time.
"That's a load of crap," Hop-a-long cried loudly, his face contorted with barely restrained frustration and anger. "Why can't you just be a man and give me a straight answer to my face?"
"Fine," Bugman replied. "You're not ready."
"And why not?" Hop pushed, folding his arms tightly across his chest.
Bugman sighed, frustration seeping through cracks in his stoic exterior. "Do I really need to justify myself? Do you remember Le Femme Kristiana? You were given a simple assignment to perform and she seduced you within a matter of minutes."
"Okay, first, we were off the clock when that happened. Second, we were two consenting adults. Third, I didn't compromise my assignment! I still go the bad guy!" Hop fired back, his voice rising with emotion.
Waving a dismissive hand, Bugman continued. "And remember the mentally-unhinged, chemically imbalanced Lady MacHendler? You let her back you into a corner at gun point. I had to save you. Remember all the tears and sniffling that ensued?"
Hop jumped to his feet in outrage. "You left me with her! You were the one who deemed her a non-threat!"
"That's beside the point." Bugman shook his head. "You obviously can't handle the pressure and besides, you've yet to exhibit a true super power."
"I do to have a super power! I'm empathic! I can sense people's emotions! I know how to connect with them on a personal level!"
"It's nothing compared to Gap-Tooth Herbivore's ability to stay awake for days at a time or how her abrasive personality disarms suspects faster than anything else I've seen. It's nothing compared to Nympho Momma's ability to use her sexual prowess to render suspects immobile and that mind-controlling pole dance she does. It's nothing to Royal Flush's ability to tell instinctively when someone's bluffing, to know when to take the big gamble, and Fortune is always with him. And then of course, there are my unique gifts." He flashed Hop-a-long a self-serving smile, which rendered the younger man speechless long enough for Bugman to dish out one last barb.
"At any rate, you can't really sense emotions. You're just emotional." Bugman stated with extra emphasis on the last syllable.
Hop swelled with up rage and was seconds away from unleashing the full weight of his fury when Gap-Tooth Herbivore and Nympho Momma entered, signaling the end of the discussion. Like a moth to flame, Bugman was instantly drawn to Gap-Tooth's side.
"How did your assignment go? Did you apprehend the Strip Pastry Slinger?" Bugman asked quietly. He stood inches from her, longing to touch her, but his ant suit and a fear of intimacy prevented him from achieving the physical contact he so greatly desired.
"Our baddie's bagged and tagged. He won't be putting his fingers in anyone else's icing," Gap-Tooth replied breathlessly, keenly aware of the blush creeping into her cheeks. She quickly glanced away, making a pretense at adjusting the cape woven out of hemp that she had received from a brotherhood of blind, vegetarian monks as a thank you for retrieving their tofu from the diabolical Rib-Eye McFry.
When Gap-Tooth's eyes connected with Bugman's once again, a surge of electricity ignited between them, sending sparks everywhere. This was a common occurrence whenever the two were in close proximity and the other Mighty CSIs had become accustomed to extinguishing the small fires that started as a result of their unresolved sexual tension. Hop-a-long had lobbied unsuccessfully to lock them both in a small room until they dealt with their closeted feelings.
Meanwhile, sensing his fragile emotional state, Nympho rushed to comfort Hop. "Oh, my poor Hoppie! Are you sad? Have you and Bugman been arguing again? You know that you shouldn't take everything he says so seriously. He doesn't understand you like I do. C'mon, I want to see that trademark smile of yours." Nympho said as she traced a finger along on the smile of the smiley face on Hop's chest.
The Mighty CSI sniffed and let his eyes drop down to Nympho's red, leather halter tight. "I don't want to smile. Bugman said I didn't have any super powers."
"Oh, poor boy!" Nympho cradled Hop in her arms, allowing him to rest his head on her bosom. She heard him give a sigh of contentment, and she quivered slightly as the warmth of his breath touched her skin. How could a man be so tantalizing and yet so vulnerable at the same time? Once again, she was torn between her desire to nurture the child within him and surrender to the passionate man he was.
"You know you have super powers, right?" she whispered, stroking his hair. "You have very good ones. Bugman just can't understand. He has the emotional intelligence of a piece of cardboard."
"Yeah, cardboard," Hop repeated dully as he nestled his head deeper.
A moment of silence fell across the room as each Mighty CSI succumbed to a moment of private pleasure, knowing it was the only viable option. Superheroes such as themselves answered to a higher calling - one that often precluded the chance for love. This rare moment, however, was disturbed all too soon by the shuffling entrance of Gregorovitch the Hunchback of the Fighting Irish.
"Master," he slurred, lumbering towards Bugman. "Brass Knuckles has just received new intelligence, Master, that the tip Royal Flush received was bad. He believes Royal Flush has walked into a carefully construed trap set by The Judge."
Another moment of silence fell across the room, but this time it was decidedly unpleasant. The Mighty CSIs stared at their deformed lackey, praying that the news he had just delivered was incorrect. The prospect of one of their own being caught in the clutches of The Judge was more than they could handle.
Suddenly, Bugman threw himself into high gear. "We've got to find Flush before it's too late. Gap-Tooth Herbivore and Nympho Momma, you two get over to Hooters 'R Us. That's Jean Claude Van Tram's favorite strip club. It's one of the places Flush was going to go look for him. Hop-a-long Emoticon and I will go to the Evil Lair Casino."
With a whirl of capes or in Bugman's case, extra appendages, the Mighty CSIs ran from the room.
Things certainly look dire for our heroes! Will Bugman and Hop-a-long Emoticon ever be able to see eye-to-eye? Will Bugman and Gap-Tooth Herbivore ever acknowledge their feelings for each other? Will Nympho Momma ever start wearing age-appropriate clothing? Will Gregorovitch ever get the cosmetic surgery needed to remove the hump on his back? But more importantly, will the Mighty CSIs be able to save Royal Flush?
Once again, we join two of our heroes outside of the Evil Lair Casino, where things are very quiet. Too quiet. What sinister evil awaits them? Will these two Mighty CSIs be able to put their differences aside long enough to defeat The Judge?
Bugman carefully surveyed the casino. There was no sign of Royal Flush or Jean Claude Van Tram. He feared that whatever fiendish plan The Judge orchestrated had already been put into motion. The trouble now was where to start looking for Royal Flush. The casino was quite big and Bugman wasn't sure his secret intelligence had pinned down the location of every secret room in it. Futhermore, it was quite possible that The Judge had taken Royal Flush to an entirely different location. Perhaps they were at the Evil Lair Doomsday Weapons Repair Shop, or the Evil Lair Department Store for Super Villians. The possibilities were virtually endless.
"They could be anywhere," Hop-a-long breathed, echoing Bugman's thoughts.
"I think it would be best to start with the basement level and work our way up," Bugman stated. "And before you suggest it, I don't think it would be in our best interest to split up. The last thing we need is for one of us to stumble into trouble and get himself captured."
"No," Hop cut him off. He clutched his stomach, holding his breath. "We need to go to the roof. Now. That's where they are."
"How do you know that?" Bugman asked, suspiciously.
Hop shook his head uncertainly. "Don't know for sure, but that's what my gut is telling me."
Ever the skeptic, Bugman furrowed his brow. "Your gut? Are you sure that's not just those tacos and beans you had for lunch wreaking havoc on your digestive system?"
"No, it's not my digestive system," Hop snapped, frustrated. "I'm telling you where they are and if you don't believe me, fine. I'm going anyway. I have to save Flush."
To prove his resolve, Hop took off at a run in the direction of the secret staircase which lead directly to the roof. Despite his misgivings, Bugman had no choice but to follow. Hop's retreating form was disappearing through the door when Bugman reached it and when his foot touched the first step, his young companion was already two flights above him. Though he would never admit it to anyone, he sometimes cursed himself for choosing an ant costume for a super suit. The restrictive quality of the costume made foot pursuits so difficult.
Hop was like a madman, driven solely by the thought of finding his friend. He was only vaguely aware of Bugman's footsteps behind him. Part of him knew that he should slow down to let Bugman catch up – they were, after all, a team – but his feet seemed to be moving independently from his brain. After what seemed like an eternity, he had reached the top landing and pushed the door open with no thought to what might be waiting for him.
What he saw sent him screeching to a halt. Hop's jaw dropped in surprised confusion. Instead of finding his friend bound and gagged, being tortured by devious henchmen of The Judge, he saw Royal Flush standing next to him and Jean Claude Van Tram. Flush's arm was draped around a delectable blonde in a red dress. As he tried to comprehend the scene before him, he sensed Bugman's appearance at his side.
"What's going on here?" Bugman's voice ran out into the night.
The Judge stepped forward, his robes billowing in the night wind. A smirk was plastered across his frog-like face. "You're interrupting a private meeting, that's what. You see, I've just recruited another member to my team."
Hop watched in horror as Royal Flush concurred with a smile. In vain, he searched his friend's face to see if this was some sort of elaborate rouse he was staging in effort to catch not only Jean Claude but The Judge as well, but all he saw was confirmation of the horrible truth. The person who had become like a brother to him during their time together had vanished without a trace.
"This night just keeps getting better! Not only have I persuaded Royal Flush to join my side, but I am going to kill both you, Bugman, and Hop-a-long Emoticon," The Judge cried with pleasure as he held up his hands in triumph. "I am only a few steps closer to realizing my dream to destroy the Mighty CSIs!"
"Not so fast! You seem to forget who you're dealing with," Bugman shouted. Closing his eyes, he held his arms out in front of him, palms facing up, and began to make a sound that was somewhere between a buzz and a hum.
Within seconds, the air was filled with thousands of winged insects and they hovered above the group awaiting Bugman's orders. He did not waste time in giving them. "Surround them, my pretties!"
The swarm moved in on the group, preparing to envelope them in a cloud of wings. Before they could attack him though, The Judge launched himself at Bugman. He grabbed the Mighty CSI around his middle and brought him crashing to the ground, his ant legs flailing in the air.
Not allowing himself to be distracted by the shrieks made by Jean Claude and Miss Trix as they tried to shield themselves from the attacking insects, Hop took a few steps towards the struggling pair, his eyes searching for a way to help.
"I don't think so, Emoticon," Flush called from behind him. Royal Flush had extracted himself with ease from the army of insects for Bugman had trained them not to attack any Mighty CSI. With a quick movement, the former Mighty CSI grabbed Hop's cape and yanked him backwards. The motion sent Hop to the ground. He lay there for a few seconds, winded by the fall.
"Why did you come here, Emoticon?" Royal Flush sneered as he towered over the other man.
"We learned that you were in trouble. I wanted to help you," he answered, fighting to keep his voice steady. This was his friend, not some super villain. He had to try and get through to him. "And you are in trouble."
Royal Flush shook his head, a sarcastic smile on his face. "I'm not in trouble. I know exactly what I'm doing. This is where I belong."
"No it isn't," Hop replied, getting to his feet. "You belong with us. Look, I don't know what The Judge did to you, but you've been brainwashed or something. I know you and this isn't who you are. You're a good guy – one of the best guys I've ever known."
"Ah, here it is! The impassioned plea by the team's leading authority on feelings!" Flush threw back his head and laughed. "You really think you're going to sway me with the feeble power of your words?"
Hop dismissed the cruelty of Flush's words with little effort, knowing that his friend wasn't really in control of what he was saying, but the meaning behind them was not lost on Hop. If he really believed in his super power, his words would be able to sway him.
"Words have more power than people give them credit for," Hop replied, refusing to let any emotion break through his calm exterior. "You taught me that. You've always encouraged me to be the best that I can be. You stuck by me during hard times, offering me words of support. You've been the truest kind of friend I could hope for."
Something Hop said appeared to penetrate the interior of Royal Flush's mind and he faltered at Hop's words, suddenly seeming uncertain of himself. Pleased by this response to his words, Hop took a step towards Flush, holding out his hand in an act of supplication.
"Stay back," Flush cautioned weakly, his eyes wide with fear. "I'm warning you!"
"I can't do that," Hop answered, shaking his head. "You're my friend. It doesn't matter what you say or what you do to me. I care about you and I will do everything I can to help you. Nothing's going to change that."
He took another step closer, but it seemed that he had moved too close for Flush's comfort. His fist connected with the side of Hop's jaw and sent him staggering to his right. Immediately, Flush grabbed his head and practically doubled over, anguish clouding his features.
"I can feel the struggle within you," Hop told him, ignoring the pain he was experiencing. He took Flush's pain as a sign that he was almost there. He just had a little farther to go to reach his friend. "The good man you were is fighting to break free. Let me help you."
"I don't know if I can do that," Flush stammered, his breathing becoming increasingly more ragged. "Things got out of control down there. She tricked me somehow. Got me to start playing at the Blackjack table. I started winning and it felt so good. Part of me, deep down, knew that I should stop - that I should leave the casino - but I ignored it. I let my love of gambling control me and I did things I would never do if I'd been thinking straight, like joining forces The Judge."
He fell silent, casting his gaze down to the pavement in shame. A shaky hand reached up to wipe his sopping brow. "I messed up. I put both of you in jeopardy. I don't deserve your help or your forgiveness."
"You haven't done anything that requires forgiveness. The Judge knows how to manipulate people, how to take something like your super power and corrupt it before you realize it. It's how he establishes control over others and it's part of what makes him so dangerous," Hop stated wisely.
The Mighty CSI stepped closer to his friend and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "It's not too late to stop him, but I'm going to need your help, partner."
That small word produced a tremendous change in Royal Flush. All at once, he stood up to his full height and cleared his face of any signs up emotional upset. He was ready for action. Turning his head, he saw Bugman and The Judge still struggling with one another.
'"C'mon, Bugman needs us," Flush declared and they rushed forward.
Bugman, for his part, was doing as well as could be expected of a man wearing a rather constricting ant suit. However, The Judge got the upper hand when he, whether inadvertently or not was never decided – ripped off one of Bugman's extra appendages and used it to beat the Mighty CSI about the face. Once forced on the defensive, it became difficult for him to inflict any damage on his attacker.
As The Judge issued a particularly ambitious swing, Hop-a-long seized the back of his robes and flung him off his boss. The Judge's momentum sent him somersaulting across the ground until he came to a halt a few feet away near the roof's ledge. Though a bit dazed, he managed to jump to his feet. Incensed at the humiliation he had suffered at Hop's hands, he whipped out a gun and pointed it at the unsuspecting Mighty CSI, who had knelt down to help the groggy Bugman.
"You! You come here, managing to ruin the evil deed that I had carefully orchestrated, and then you humiliate me! I won't stand for it," the man shouted, taking aim.
There was a shout, the unmistakable sound of gunfire, and then a final cry of anguish. In a desperate attempt to save his friend, Royal Flush had dived at The Judge and sending the robed man over the ledge, plummeting to certain death. His heroics had cost him dearly however. Flush staggered a few paces to the left before falling to his knees, his hands clamped over the gunshot wound in his gut.
"Flush!" Hop cried, running to catch his friend in his arms as he started to fall backwards. Carefully, he laid Flush's head on the ground, quickly examining the wound. It didn't look good. Placing his hands over the wound to stem the flow of blood, he stole a look at Bugman. His pale face was all Hop needed to have his worst suspicions confirmed.
"You hold on, okay? We're going to get help and everything's going to be okay," Hop told with a false smile. He was determined to remain strong for his friend. It was the only thing he could do.
Flush, however, was not convinced. He gave a little cough and then shook his head, a wry smile on his face. "Don't try to lie. You aren't good at it."
Hop permitted himself to give a small laugh. "No, I guess not." He fell silent and grabbed his friend's hand. Tears were beginning to streak down his face, but he didn't bother to wipe them away.
"Thank you for saving my life," he whispered.
"No. Thank you," Flush choked out. He took a few more ragged breaths before his eyes closed.
Hop hung his head, giving into his grief. He wept as he had never wept before, letting his tears fall down on the body stretched out before him. He took no notice of the sympathetic hand Bugman placed on his shoulder; he took no notice of Bugman's sharp intake of breath. Abandoning himself to his misery, he would let nothing distract him from his mourning.
Except maybe being frantically shaken by his shoulders.
"What?" Hop sobbed angrily. "Am I being too emotional for you? Do my tears bother you? Is it not okay for me to grieve for my friend's death?"
"Look," Bugman cried, pointing to Flush's body.
Hop turned his head, noticing for the first time the strange sight before him. Flush's blood, which had mixed with Hop's tears, had disappeared. The wound in his chest was shrinking, shrinking, shrinking, gone. Lungs that had been emptied filled once again with air and a heart that had stopped pumping suddenly roared to life. Flush opened his eyes.
"You're alive!" Hop pulled his friend into a bone-crushing hug.
"Not for long if you don't let me get a breath soon," Flush chuckled lightly.
Laughing, Hop released him. "I don't understand. What happened?"
"It was your tears," Bugman replied in an awestruck voice. "They must have healing powers. Just like the phoenix. I guess you do have super powers after all!"
"A pretty impressive one if you ask me," Flush said, giving Hop a friendly punch on the shoulder. "Thanks."
The newly reunited Mighty CSIs stood up to take stock of their situation. The Judge might have been disposed of, but Miss Trix and Jean Claude Van Tram still had to be dealt with. With a wave of his hand, Bugman dismissed his horde of winged friends and the villains fell to the ground. Immediately, they began to scratch their numerous bug bites, moaning with torment.
"You don't want to scratch those. That just increases the chance of scarring," Bugman warned them, but they decided not to heed his words. Bugman shrugged, feeling that he had done his duty by them and what they did with his information was on their heads.
"Yeah, okay. I understand. We'll get right on it," Hop answered into his communicator. He flipped it shut and turned to his companions. "I just spoke to Brass Knuckles to let him know about our two friends Itchy and Scratchy, and he said that there's a major situation unfolding downtown. Ecklie Kong has scaled the Stratosphere and he's holding a young woman hostage. We gotta get down there now."
Bugman nodded. "I think the two of you can handle that. I'll stay here and babysit until the police pick these two up. Good luck."
And thus the Mighty CSIs wrap up one case, after learning a valuable lesson about the true meaning of friendship and heroism. With a whirl and swish of their capes, Hop-a-long Emoticon and Royal Flush head off into the night, ready to save the citizens of Las Vegas once again.