Villainous Delegation

“You’ve got some fractured ribs…,” the barkeep said. He wrapped white gauze around the midsection of a lean, bony man. “…take it easy for a few weeks and you’ll be fine.” The patient sat on a tall bar stool as the short bald man walked around him with the bandage. A tall, handsome, blonde man towered over the seated victim and the bartender dressing his wound. He had an eager, apologetic look on his face like he did something wrong but was ready to make amends. The tall man wore a green bodysuit with a golden cape.

“I’m sorry, L.S.” The blonde hero said. “I tried warning you,” he shrugged. LightningStrike, the villain, shook his head.

“You said she was tough. You didn’t say she could crush me like a bug without even trying,” he whined.

“I warned you she was a Unique,” the hero said; his tone was still apologetic. The villain handed the barkeep a small stack of bills, nodded at him, then shrugged at his nemesis.

“Obviously you think she’s special, or you wouldn’t have married her-,” he started to say but the barkeep interrupted with a slight cough. LightningStrike looked at the bald man.

“Not unique as in ‘special’,” the barman said. “His wife is a Unique Soul.” The lean man tilted his head in confusion as he slipped his arm back into his blue spandex sleeve.

“And that means… what?” he asked.

“You’re a Super, right? You’re better than normal humans.” The lean man grinned and raised a hand between them. He splayed his fingers and small arcs of lightning crackled between them.

“Yeah I am,” he said.

“Uniques are like super Supers,” the short man nodded at the tall blonde. “Uniques come in different flavors but his wife, in particular, is in the strongest category. Your strongest move…,” he said to the bandaged villain.

“Storm of Li-” LightningStrike began to give its name.

“Yeah, whatever it’s called. how much damage can you do with it?”

“I can reduce the Empire State Building to rubble,” he said proudly. His back straightened.

“Majesty can break the Earth in half,” the blonde said.

“Wha..what?” LightningStrike’s posture shrunk. “Your wife can do that?” The tall hero nodded.

“She can punch the ground hard enough to split the Earth. I’ve seen her do it. She doesn’t even have to try all that hard.” LightningStrike burst into wheezing, villainous laughter; it was his normal laugh.

“Then why are we still here?” he grinned. “You almost had me going.”

“I didn’t say it was this Earth, L.S.,” the hero smiled back. The villain looked at the bartender. The short man nodded.

“Alternate Earths are real too. Some Uniques can hop between universes as easy as taking a step.”

“Can I.. I mean,” LightningStrike fumbled over his words for a moment, then looked up at the blonde hero. “How does someone get to be a Unique?”

“Die,” the barkeep answered. “A lot.”

“How does that work?” he turned his attention to the short one.

“You and me, we’re what they call ‘Zeros’. I have hundreds… thousands, maybe even millions of doppelgangers in other universes. You too.” The short man sighed. “I don’t think anyone knows the exact process but here’s the gist as I’ve learned it. Somehow all of our duplicates are sifted down and compressed into one soul over time. We carry some things over from all of our different lives. Majesty is an easy example,” he looked up at the hero and the blonde man nodded. “She’s insanely strong, right? Theoretically, she has the combined strength of all physical training throughout all her thousands of lives. It’s also likely that a lot of those lives focused on strength training because somewhere in her soul she knew what she wanted to be. So, if you want to be a Unique, I suggest you start training now.”

“Nah,” the villain said with a dismissive wave of his hand. “I’m sure other versions of me are working on it.”

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