Another early short story from when I was drafting my Superhero series, in a similar vein to Black Summer. When the newest challenge for Shark Week came up, I decided that I might as well submit this one.
Jason let his head fall back, narrowly missing the headboard, as a shrill alarm echoed through the house. "Seriously?"
The Universe hated him, that was the only explanation for why they kept getting interrupted. Hovering above him, Riona looked equally frustrated as she reached for her shirt. "Look on the bright side, if it's a big mission, we get mandatory downtime afterward."
Melissa wiggled her way back into her pants, which did nothing to help Jason's current condition, catching the top half of her uniform as one of Riona's shadow constructs swooped over from the closet. "What if it's a small one?"
Finally calming down enough that he wouldn't strain something when he pulled his pants on, Jason sat up. "Then I will bribe or blackmail some of my godmother's less-reputable contacts to cause another incident, and claim time off in lieu of overtime. The cheapskates in Finance won't object."
Jason's godmother - coincidentally Riona's mother - was a former Villain who figured out that there was better money in prosecuting high-profile cases as a lawyer than there was in committing petty crime, and had been making life difficult for Superheroes who overstepped their bounds ever since. She also had no shortage of other minor Villains who owed her for pro bono reduced sentences.
Jason wasn't sure that she'd call in any of those favors just to let him get laid, but she would make introductions if he asked nicely.
Even Villainesses weren't immune to the lure of potential grandchildren, after all, and while Jason was pretty sure that Riona wanted to finish her mandatory service before she even considered kids, he wasn't above taking advantage of his godmother's hopes.
Riona sighed, putting her hair up and reaching for a mask, "Just as long as it isn't that twit of the Mayor's son wanting a selfie to make himself seem vaguely relevant."
Jason didn't bother to hide his grin; Riona had little patience for those who, in her words 'needed to be seen in proximity to those who have the occupation or personality to be famous in their own right', and even less for people who thought they deserved things because of who their parents were. There was a reason that their team was rarely show-ponied around fundraising galas.
He pulled on his boots and reached for the long jacket, embroidered with the outline of flames. "If it is, I'm putting a week-long ban on photographs and making sure the media knows why."
Riona snickered, and summoned a large shadow construct. "Well, we won't find out by waiting here."
The Mayor's spawn was involved, but only tangentially, in that he was the one to answer the phone when the alien mothership got into contact. As the bearer of bad news, he was actually trying not to be noticed for once. The trio held off celebrating in favour of looking at the immediate problem.
Jason stared at the Mayor in blatant disbelief. "There's three of us, and you want us to fight how many motherships?"
The Mayor squirmed, most likely aware of what he was asking, but without many alternatives. "The Council of Defense and the Superhero Council are still arguing about which of them should take point. I'm sorry, Phoenix, but you're the only ones I can call without having to wait for approval."
Riona sighed, visibly resisting the urge to pinch the bridge of her nose. One of her shadow constructs nuzzled her cheek in an attempt to be comforting. “At least they aren’t going for the cities, unlike the last six alien invasions, though that does limit us to the Coast Guard and Search and Rescue for back-up.”
She had a point - the Super-fight and Alien Insurance premiums had skyrocketed over the last year, yet the companies still tried to avoid payouts - but it was a mixed blessing. These Aliens were aquatic, and demanding exclusive rights to the oceans.
The Mayor nodded eagerly, grateful for any kind of support to his stance. "I'll see what I can do about having SES on standby, Shadow Queen, but..."
He shrugged helplessly. Melissa shook her head, “On the downside, it makes it harder for us to get out there to fight them.”
Jason studied the maps that the invaders had forwarded for where they planned to settle. “We may not have to. Look where they plan to put their home base.”
His partners did as he said, Riona pulling out her phone to double check something, a dark smile spreading across her face. Melissa matched it, pulling up the data they had on the alien physiology. “Well, now.”
The Mayor’s son shuddered. “It’s times like this I remember whose children you are.”
Jason ignored him, having a lifetime of people judging him for his father having turning Villain. Melissa spared him a glare. “Mother was a Hero before she was medically retired, thank you.”
Riona shrugged, almost certainly planning to repeat the conversation to people who could make the young man’s life... inconvenient. “I had two parents, as I keep reminding everyone, and Dad was the work-from-home. Winter Queen, what’s the closest comparison to Earth's aquatic fauna?”
Melissa, who had taken her Mother's codename upon graduation, tilted her head. "Rather like a seal in build and composition, but their respiratory system and propulsion is closer to a squid."
The Mayor sighed, a little more theatrically than was strictly called for. "I don't suppose one of you could enlighten me before I have to explain this in a press conference?"
Sometimes it was too easy to forget that not everyone could read them as well as the triad could each other. Jason explained. "They're landing in one of the biggest shark nurseries on the planet, and only a few nautical miles from where King Shark was last reported. We'll go out there to observe, but it's probable that they will decide to look for a non-Deathworld planet in fairly short order."
King Shark was a Supervillain and Mad Scientist who mostly kept to himself, but had rather a lot to say about shark-hunting and whaling ships. His habit of turning the tables on said ships was most of the reason that he was considered a Supervillain rather than an environmental activist. Hopefully, he could be persuaded to use his shark telepathy to scare the invaders off, rather than for wholesale slaughter.
Riona smiled, creating a shadow-dragon big enough for all three of them to ride. "Or at least one where they're higher on the Apex Predator food chain than they will be here."
With that reassuring thought, they departed. Melissa waited until they were safely out of hearing range. "Tell me that one of you can at least get into contact with King Shark."
Riona pulled out her Civilian mobile phone, texting. "A certain organization tried to sue him for making them look like pacifistic incompetents last year. Mum still has his contact information, and it'll be harder to trace back to us, in the event of backlash."
Melissa leaned forward to kiss her on the cheek. "If you ever decide to go Villain, warn me in advance. I'll surrender and get it over with."
Riona scoffed. "If I ever went Villain, it'd be over something bad enough that you two would be right there as my consorts."
Jason hummed. "Nice scenario for the next time any of us want to be tied up, at least."
Riona laughed. Melissa turned bright red and elbowed him. "If I fall off this dragon because of remarks like that, I will be displeased."
She was right; Jason could tease her safely once they were back on solid ground.
Riona's phone dinged. She checked it quickly. "King Shark's on his way to the Invader's base. Hold tight."
In the end, there was very little for the Superheroes to do.
There was a lot of screaming and frothing waves, and even more disapproving stares from other Heroes who had come to offer assistance. Despite that, it took only a few hours before the Aliens were back on their ships and on their way out of atmosphere at top speed. Personally, Jason hoped that they tried their luck no closer than Jupiter's ocean moons.
Either way, Earth was probably off their list of habitable places for the near future.
Riona turned the shadow construct back toward the dimly-visible land. "Deal with the press, then home to celebrate?"
Melissa smiled, leaning back against Jason's chest. "Make sure at least two of us hold hands. They'll get distracted with relationship questions and the conference will get shut down for going off topic."
Jason honestly wondered why more Heroes didn't fake relationships in order to use the same Get-Away-From-Media-Free ploy, but not all Supers were so creatively-minded as his two beloveds. "Sounds good to me."
For more "Aliens vs Earth" and "Earth is Space Australia", check out my other work here.
For more Superheroes, you can find the series this inspired here
Very well written. Keep up the good work!