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I'll rise and fight again

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Diana, if you choose to leave, you may never return. Once, you were my greatest joy, now you became my greatest sorrow. The world of man does not deserve you!”

Colonel Steve Trevor, top agent of the Department of Extranormal Operations of Director Amanda Waller, was a tough, hardened veteran. But when he recalled Queen Hippolyta's words, and the glare he received when he took her daughter to the world of man, it covered him with goosebumps.

If I screw this up, I'll prove her point, Steve muttered inwardly, fighting his panic and focusing on the task at hand. He stood alone in a dark, tall forest, clutching his taser rifle. The silence was unearthly, and Steve scanned the trees though his night vision goggles, trying to track down his enemy.

Out of nowhere, a golden streak shot past him, snared his right arm and yanked him off his feet. A split second later, a crimson streak shot past him. Its fist would have taken his head off, but at the last split second, he parried the punch with his forearm and smashed his rifle butt into its flank. His blow harmlessly glanced off, and he scolded himself: Keep your head in the game, idiot!

He took full cover, and again, there was only silence. Steve sneaked through the woods, until he reached a small pond. He deliberately stepped onto a big, fat branch. A split second later, his enemy soared through the air and taunted: “I thought you were better than this, Colonel!”

Steve spat out and fired a point blank salvo at his enemy. It effortlessly parried his taser bullets and taunted: “When did that ever work?!”

“Right now,” he retorted, and threw a grenade into the pond. The explosion doused it in water, and the taser bullets discharged all over its wet body. Trusting his insulated battle suit, Steve charged forward, decked his enemy with a right hook and put it into a chokehold. It spewed out gutter Greek, evaded his grip and kicked him so hard in the side that his body armor cracked.

“You keep pulling your punches, Colonel, that will be your downfall!” it taunted, before jumping away. Steve held his aching ribs and groaned: It's so darn quick, and its rope is nothing but a golden blur.

He forced himself to breathe normally, and decided to climb up a tree. He perched himself like a sniper, staring through his night vision goggles. Suddenly, a magic lasso shot straight at his body. With incredible reflexes, he dodged the blow, but couldn't avoid the golden tiara that hit him straight in his head. Steve was knocked silly and fell two stories deep.

“Go limp!” his enemy shouted, and Steve did that. It snatched him in mid air and safely landed him on the ground.

“Oh, Steve, this was exhilarating! Do you want to fight me again?” it beamed, twirling its lasso. Wincing in pain, he looked at a six foot three Amazon warrior with chiseled muscles, crimson armor, jet black hair and steel blue eyes, whose power, beauty and majesty made gods quiver.

Why am I spending Sunday evening getting my butt whipped by Wonder Woman?! Steve scolded himself, clutched his boot shaped mark on his side and mumbled: “Dear Diana, I have to check if my guts are still inside my body.”

On queue, Corporal Etta Candy came out of the woodwork, holding the night vision camera. The motherly redhead beamed: “Woo, woo! That footage of your fight is so impressive! I came to see Steve's butt getting kicked, but stayed for his attempts to defend himself.”

“'His futile attempts', Etta. I wasn't anywhere near beating Diana,” he groaned, nursing his ribs, but his girlfriend smiled: “Steve, you think on your feet, improvise quickly, and have guts. That was very clever, luring me out, dousing me with water and tasering me! But you need to be more proactive, take initiative, and never let it go again.”

“I'll try next time, angel,” he muttered, but she kissed him on the cheek and whispered: “Don't feel bad, I am born and bred a warrior, and have the blessing of the Olympian gods. It's very hard to beat me.”

“How does this blessing work, Diana? You got superpowers, but you weren't born with it?” Etta asked curiously, and she replied: “When I rescued Steve on Themyscira, I won a contest to accompany him back to the world of man. In return, I was granted the power of Zeus, the beauty of Aphrodite, the wisdom of Athena, the skill of Artemis, the mercy of Hera, the strength of Hephaestus, and the speed of Hermes. I trust the Olympians unconditionally, and in return, they will protect me until the end!”

With a huge smile, Diana crossed her wrists over her head, and Etta and Steve stared in awe. Finally, he whispered: “Diana, I want to say how cool it is to train with you. I am an elite soldier, and I have never fought somebody like you. You are so very, very good.”

“You're welcome, Steve. One more go, or are you finished?” Diana smiled, cracking her knuckles. Steve had the deep desire to say no, but then, he quoted: “'Fight on, my men,' Sir Andrew Said / A little I’m hurt but not yet slain. / I’ll just lie down and bleed a while / And then I’ll rise and fight again.'”

“That is a beautiful poem. What is it?”

“It's an old poem about a Scottish knight. My mother consoled me with it when I lost a big football match. Every time I am hurting, I recite it.”

“Are you hurting? We can stop now, it's already late,” she replied, glancing at her watch. As usual, Steve smiled when he recognized his old army watch on her wrist. He grinned: “No way, angel, you will hurt this time!”

“I'll be feisty prey, darling,” she purred, blew him a kiss and disappeared in the dark. Steve grinned, reloaded his taser rifle, put on his night vision goggles and tried to ignore that he was going to get owned.

To make it short, even Etta cringed when Diana delivered a hard, merciless smackdown. In the end, Etta drove home in her jeep, while Diana flew Steve home to his apartment. He prepared a hot foam bath, staggered inside the tub and nearly passed out with joy when it soothed his aching muscles. Steve hardly noticed when his girlfriend came in, but awoke when she casually took off her Wonder Woman armor. She let him drool at her chiseled, voluptuous body and smiled: “Mind if I join in, Colonel?”

“Not at all, angel,” he beamed as she climbed in. Steve's pain subsided at once, and he eagerly accepted her advances. While he kissed and fondled her soapy body, his brain suddenly recited Queen Hippolyta's final words.

“Diana, if you choose to leave, you may never return. Once, you were my greatest joy, now you became my greatest sorrow. The world of man does not deserve you!”

Steve understood that she didn't consider any man, let alone him, worthy of her daughter. But why did her words haunt him so much? He was sure that Diana regularly returned to Themyscira, why did he get so worked up?

Maybe Queen Hippolyta didn't think he deserved her, but judging from their lovemaking, Diana herself did. She eagerly wrapped her arms around her boyfriend, grateful for the fantastic workout in and out of the forest, and already pitied the next supervillain she would fight against.

 


 

“Stop the thief! STOP THE THIEF!

On Monday morning, Angle Man raced through inner city Boston on his rocket powered hover skates. He had slung the loot of his bank robbery over his shoulder, and smirked at the policemen who were firing at him. His Angler Suit glowed, and in defiance of spatial laws, their bullets passed through his body.

“Eat shit, you losers!” the supervillain gloated, charging at top speed through inner city Boston. He knocked over pedestrians, phased through incoming traffic and teleported in short ranges, making it impossible to get a lock on him. When a police car swerved in front of him, his suit nullified their shots. Angle Man switched on his energy suit, electrocuted the policemen, grabbed the driver and threw him into a hot dog stand. It rained hotdogs, sauces and cash, which the thug eagerly snatched out of the air.

“Die, you scum! JUST DIE, YOU F/&§%!!” the vendor swore, and he gloated: “Is that typical Boston slang?”

Out of nowhere, a red blur struck him down and kicked him into the wall with the force of a sledgehammer.

“No, but this is!” Wonder Woman snapped, while he staggered up. She threw her lasso so quickly that it was a mere flash, but it passed right through Angle Man's body.

“Kinetic energy charges me up, kinky boots,” he grinned, and seemingly punched nothing. His fist vanished in mid air, reappeared behind Wonder Woman and smashed into her temple. Diana swore gutter Greek, parried a second blow with her bracelet and tried to snare him. But he dashed away on his rocket powered skates, teleported a few yards anytime she tried to snared him and taunted: “How are going to catch me, kinky boots? Scandalize me with your swimsuit?”

When he vanished into thin air again, Diana paused.

“If I were a loser like you… I would reappear EXACTLY THERE!” she spat out and threw her lasso in a seemingly random direction. Angle Man reappeared, flew directly into her snare and crashed into a bunch of garbage cans.

“That's where you really belong, idiot!” Wonder Woman snapped. He wriggled helplessly in her rope, and under its influence, he confessed: “'Yes, I do, madam.'”

“You didn't even give me a workout, idiot,” she taunted, comparing Steve's valiant efforts and Angle Man's cheap shots. The onlookers applauded Boston's finest hero, and when the police took off Angle Man's suit and arrested him, she uttered: “Thanks you, but I am late for my job!”

Wonder Woman flew in the sky and disappeared high above their heads. She didn't notice that odd security cameras were tracking her.

 


 

At the same time, Steve could hardly think, let alone walk. His body felt after being pounded with rocks, and mauled by a lioness afterwards. His groin hurt, but he wore a dazed, silly grin that wouldn't go away.

“You are walking strangely again, Colonel. I assume you continued your 'fisticuffs' with Diana?” Etta chuckled, and when he guiltily nodded, she kissed him on the cheek and pressed a double latte into his hand. He croaked: “Thanks, Etta, you are the best! But where is Diana?”

She helplessly shrugged. The clock read 7:59 AM, but at the last second, a red faced Diana stormed in, clad in her secretary outfit of bowler hat, pulled back hair, birth control classes, and her dark office suit with white blouse, knee length skirt and flat black sandals.

“Sorry, there was a 'disturbance',” she muttered, hastily sitting down next to Etta and Steve, who wearily pointed at his watch. Director Amanda Waller glared at her, while Steve tried to ignore how cute Diana looked. The big boned African-American boss started: “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the monthly staff meeting. I will come straight to the point and present today's agenda...”

Steve was experienced enough to know that today's meeting was going to be pleasantly boring. Knock on wood, but no extraterrestrial threats like Doomsday or Brainiac were active, no global supervillains like the Injustice Gang or the Brotherhood of Evil, or even single threats like Ra's al Ghul, Black Adam or Amazo. Diana and Etta, who took turns writing the minutes, logged a lot of text about corruption, money laundering, racketeering and many more. But then, Director Waller uttered: “...our old enemy Isabel Maru, also known as Dr. Poison, is on the move again. She has formed her own all female bioterrorist squad, Team Poison, and is trying to wrest control from South American drug lords.”

Etta, Diana and Steve looked at each other.

“What is she doing, and should we take action, Director? I don't feel comfortable letter her unchecked,” Steve asked, remembering her role in the Genocide fight.

“Our intel suggests that she is trying to gain a foothold in the local drug market. The more this scum slaughters each other, the better for us. The local army can take care, it frees us up for the real threats.”

Steve was not entirely convinced, but stayed silent. After an hour of brutally uninteresting accounting slides, causing Steve to zone out, Director Waller commented: “… to my annoyance, we are registering strange security breaches. Our network has been compromised.”

“Again?” Steve muttered under his breath, making sure she didn't hear him. She continued: “Dr. Arthur Light, please carry on.”

Dr. Light, a pale scholar so thin that his cola bottle glasses seem to weigh him down, presented a few slides about the 'Cyberwalker' breach, which plagued the DEO networks, and concluded: “...either the Cyberwalker is the most ridiculously skilled hacker I have ever seen, some extremely off the charts AI, or a combination of both. Neither my security staff nor me have an idea, Director.”

“Or you just suck at keeping out hackers,” Steve swore under his breath, sipping his coffee. Director Waller asked: “Do we know its motives?”

“No, because the Cyberwalker just… walks. It crawls our network and collects data, nothing more.”

Steve quipped: “Maybe, we need some external help? I could recruit my old friend 'Moneyspider'.”

“Who is 'Moneyspider', Colonel Trevor?”

“Moneyspider is the pseudonym of a gray hat hacker I have previously worked with. He kind of hates authority, but given some creative freedom, I get along pretty well.”

“I don't think that will be necessary, Colonel.”

For an agency who invades other people's privacy for a living, this sure sounds ironic, Steve muttered inwardly. He loved to protect the world from supervillains, but hated the price he had to pay for it. Finally, the meeting ended, and Diana, Etta and Steve could eat lunch at last. Going Asian this time, he kissed his girlfriend on the cheek and asked: “So, Diana, could you write notes fast enough?”

“I am still struggling what is important, but learning shorthand sure is practical, Steve. I'll never truly master ten finger typing like Etta.”

“You're selling yourself short, Diana. You are doing a great job, especially in accounting. I hate numbers!”

“Numbers come easy to me, our culture loves maths and logic. But sometimes, everything overwhelms me. Steve, why did you already make me a Lieutenant? I have so many duties. Etta is just better than me, and she is only a Corporal.”

“Because Lieutenant is the lowest rank that has clearance to fight supervillains, which she neither has nor wants,” Steve explained. Etta ate her dim sum and confirmed: “Diana, no way I am fighting thugs like that 'Angle Man' you defeated before our meeting!”

“Great Hera, battling a supervillain who defies spatial laws is harrowing. I thought I was fighting drunk,” Diana muttered, sipping her green tea. Steve replied: “Thank you, angel. I was only tense because Director Waller is the last person on earth who tolerates tardiness. You do superhuman stuff every day.”

“Well, I am Wonder Woman,” she smiled, and he kissed her on the cheek. Etta looked approvingly and asked: “Are you still planning to move in together this weekend?”

“Yes, we are!” Diana beamed, and Steve exclaimed: “Diana is packing her stuff, and on Saturday, Sameer, Charlie and Chief promised to come over and help.”

“Normally, I am skeptical if a couple lives together after just half a year. But you literally saved each other's lives multiple times, so I'll give it a pass.”

“Also, we already were together,” Steve remarked. Diana and him exchanged guilty smiles, happy that this sordid chapter had been resolved. Etta asked: “Can I come, too? I am not a great carrier, but smaller stuff is no problem.”

“We would be happy if you came! Our brave helpers get some of Steve Trevor's famous home made pizza.”

“Why did you forbid me to bake my own pizza?” Diana sulked, and he retorted: “Because eating that violates human rights, angel. Pizza is not supposed to bounce like that.”

“Hey!”

Etta rolled her eyes and reserved the Saturday for helping her two favorite colleagues.

 


 

“So, what was the haul of that idiot Angle Man?”

“Not very much, boss. He got beaten so quickly that we hardly got any readings on Wonder Woman and her lasso.”

“This is very disappointing. I knew I shouldn't have cheaped out on the quality of my footsoldiers!”

“So, what are we doing now, boss? I need more data!”

“I'll take matters in my own hands!”