Young Titans: A World Too Small
(Note: This is a sequel to my unsold novel In Myths and Dreams. It was inspired in large part by the music video for "Your Love is Strong."
(In the novel, creatures from ancient Greek myth - including some of the gods - have been reborn on Earth and are recovering their identities and powers. This includes several gender changes. In this tale - set several years after the novel - there's only one.)
Marcy saw her target and stooped, diving sharply towards the ground. At the last moment she pulled up, cupping her wings, catching air and creating huge amounts of drag. Perfectly timed, she stopped just as her toes touched the pavement in the parking lot. She folded her wings, then grinned at her stunned audience.
"Uh, Marcy Goodwin?" asked one of the men, rather timidly, stepping forward.
Marcy felt a bit irritated at the question. After all, there were only five people with functioning wings on the entire planet. Still, she smiled pleasantly down at him and nodded.
"I'm Peter Freeman, the man who called you the other day. I'm very glad you could make it. If you could just step inside..."
He reached out towards the city hall building with one hand while bringing the other almost to Marcy's arm. There he hesitated. Had she been a normal human he would have simply taken her arm and ushered her inside. For some reason, though, most people seemed reluctant to actually touch one of the Olympians... Though a few were all too eager to do so.
Marcy nodded and moved in the direction indicated, Freeman tagging along. As they approached the double doors in the side of the building Marcy willed her wings to retract. She still had to stoop a bit to get through. Being nearly three meters tall caused problems in most human structures.
Elevators were another worry, but Freeman guided her towards the stairs. Marcy remembered that he had mentioned a need for circumspection, so he probably wanted to stay out of the public areas of the building. Though asking her to fly in seemed contrary to that aim.
The two were soon seated comfortably in a small office, Marcy feeling a bit cramped in her chair. Freeman gestured at a map of the city on the wall.
"We have the locations of incidents marked. As you can see, many of them cluster around certain areas, mostly places with large bodies of water."
Freeman fussed with some folders for a moment, then handed Marcy a sheaf of photos. In them a number of oversized teenagers and an adult giantess were seen cavorting around the city, usually in a state of semi-undress.
"That's definitely Lucy Parker," said Marcy, indicating the woman.
"Yes, well, she's actually the least troublesome of these Titans," said Freeman. "She seems more interested in just showing off. Some of the kids have done things which have hurt people and outraged the public morals."
"Oh, great," groaned Marcy, as she came across an all too familiar image. "Yes, that's my daughter, Pandora. The one skinny-dipping in the park lake. Is she here, in town, now?"
"We don't think so," said Freeman. "She hasn't directly been responsible for any problems, above and beyond those her appearance and size cause. Even when she went nude swimming she was careful to use cover going in and out of the water. We don't really have any quarrel against her."
"She's eighteen, and not really that rebellious," sighed Marcy. "It's just that... well, you know her history. She feels uncomfortable and out of place wherever she is and whoever she's with. And she's so damn naïve..."
"Well, like I said, she hasn't caused many problems. At least she's of legal age, so we are free to take action against her if she does become a problem. Some of the others, however... That one, the boy on the left, has injured several people, most of them because they made some objection to his activities. The girl leaning against him has a habit of getting drunk and relieving herself in alleys. They're both juveniles, and we are severely restricted by law in what we can do to them."
"Well, when you're twenty feet tall and there aren't any bushes..." mused Marcy. She laughed, shuffled the photos back into a stack and handed them over to Freeman. "What about the parents?"
"Some of these youngsters are orphans. Others we don't know who their parents are. Those parents we have been able to find won't or can't control their children. That includes Malcolm Hawthorn. He's hard to reach and uncooperative when we do reach him."
"Well, Mal has had some problems," said Marcy, sighing. "I think I can persuade him to help, but that's for later. I think my best bet for now is to go after Lucy first. I'll lay even money she's been encouraging the kids to act this way."
"She was spotted in the woods south of here this morning," said Freeman. He pulled out a map, showed Marcy a circled location.
"All right," said Marcy, rising. "Unless there's some emergency, I'll go after her right now. I'll come back here when I'm finished with her, but I don't know how long that will take."
"Well, please don't be so... obvious about it this time," said Freeman, looking worried. "We're trying to keep this out of the national press."
Marcy stopped, hand on the door knob, turning to look at Freeman.
"You're asking a winged giant woman to keep a low profile while helping you corral a bunch of giant juvenile delinquents and the goddess of mischief," she said, slowly. "I don't think you've got a chance."
* * *
Marcy circled the field, watching Lucy. The woman was nude sunbathing face down and full-sized, her black wings spread out on the ground. At one point Marcy's shadow crossed over the prone figure, but there was no reaction. Marcy landed nearby and called out. Again, no response. Marcy moved closer.
"Okay, Lucy, on your feet," said Marcy.
"Oh, dear, I think I hear the chirping of a little bird," said the other woman, not otherwise reacting.
Marcy set her jaw and grew, from her normal height to the largest she was comfortable with, topping out at almost eight meters, which made her a bit taller than Lucy. She then grabbed the woman by the bases of her wings and heaved her upright. Lucy let out an undignified squawk and jerked free, turning angrily on her.
"You knock it off! I take that stuff from Ruth but you're not in her class!"
"That's right. The question is, are you in mine?"
The black-winged woman looked startled, then sullen. It didn't help her defiant attitude that at this size Marcy's voice resonated like the base pipes of an organ. Lucy's was deeper than any human's but not that deep.
"What do you want, Nike?" Lucy asked, finally.
"First, don't call me that," snapped Marcy.
"I'll make a deal. You call me Eris and I'll call you Marcy."
"All right," sighed Marcy, rolling her eyes, "just don't ask me to call you Ray."
Again, Lucy - or Eris - looked startled. Then she laughed.
"I don't believe it! You actually made a funny! I think I've been underestimating you."
"Good. Then maybe you'll take me seriously when I tell you that some of your young protégés have been causing problems with their antics. My daughter among them."
"Pandora? She's a good girl," said Eris, making a sour face as she said "good." "The others, well, I haven't been teaching them except by example. If they miss-learn the lesson it's not my fault."
"Some of the authorities think it is," said Marcy. "Since most of the kids are underage, they may just punish you for corrupting minors."
"Shit," said Eris, scowling.
"Now, if you help me reign them in, the police and Child Welfare will probably not go after you for that," Marcy continued, "and the cops will probably be lenient about your own offenses."
"Okay," sighed Eris.
"That's it?" Marcy countered, suspicious.
"Hey, I'm not stupid," said Eris. "If I can make my life easier by doing a little civic duty, great."
"Your loyalty to your followers is touching," said Marcy, voice dripping sarcasm.
"Hey, like you said, I don't encourage them, they just follow my example."
"Actually, you said that," Marcy pointed out.
"Okay, where to?" asked Eris, changing the subject.
"Hmm, well, we'll have to shrink to have enough room to take off from here. Even then, it will be tight."
"You first," said Marcy. "Be sure to dress. We don't want the sight of your unclad body causing anyone to drive into something."
"Another reason to shrink, then," said Eris.
Reduced to human - if very large human - size and with Eris dressed, the two prepared to take wing.
"Gonna be tight," the dark-winged woman muttered, eyeing the tall trees around the clearing.
"So levitate," said Marcy, lifting off vertically.
Eris scowled but complied, though Marcy noted that she seemed to strain a bit. Once they were moving, though, both were stable and comfortable.
"Must be handy, you being able to play Rocky to Ruth's Bullwinkle," Eris said.
"Hey, when you can fly and have a friend five times your size, that's the quickest and easiest way to get into the air," Marcy replied.
"It looked like fun, the couple of times I saw it. Do you think she'd give me a boost like that?"
"Yeah, but you know how Ruth feels about you. She'd probably wrap you in duct tape, first, and throw you at a cliff."
"Ouch," said Eris.
It was odd having someone along who could soar with the wind currents as Marcy was used to doing. Too bad it was someone she detested.
"You realize that half these kids are Mal Hawthorn's," Eris suddenly announced.
"Yeah," sighed Marcy. "Good thing he straightened out mostly after that first year."
"Yeah; even I was kinda disgusted over his behavior, there for a while."
This time Marcy landed on the roof, Eris beside her. She charmed the lock on the door and led the way down the stairs to Freeman's office.
"She's agreed to help in exchange for clemency," said Marcy, after making the introductions.
"Fair enough," said Freeman, "and just in time. Cobalt, Buster and Toni got drunk, had a water fight in the Reservoir, nearly drowning several people, and are now roughhousing in the Green Hills subdivision."
"Which is where?"
Freeman went to the wall map, started at the city hall, then slid his finger over to the destination.
"Ready?" Marcy asked, eyeing Eris.
"Might as well," the other woman sighed.
"What is it with them and water?" said Freeman, mostly to himself, as he looked at the map.
"It cools them down and buoys them up," Marcy replied, as she opened the door.
* * *
The Titans were actually just lounging quietly in the shade of some trees and drinking beer when the winged pair arrived. Marcy and Eris landed, and grew to their largest comfortable sizes. The trio seemed puzzled over Marcy, but welcomed Eris.
"Hey, good to see you!" the oldest - the boy who went by Buster - called out. "You should have been here a while ago. We were havin' a ball, over in the lake!"
"Yeah, but remember, people don't like to drink water after someone has been fuckin' with it," said Eris. She grinned. "Or fuckin' in it, for that matter."
"The city government has asked me to help them with the problems you kids are causing," said Marcy. She paused for a moment, wondering what to say next.
"Hey, we're not the problem," said Buster, cutting Marcy off as he rose to his full 6.6 meters. "We just want to get along, and have some fun. So where do you get the spunk, telling us what to do. You're just an oldie, like all those cops and homeowners."
"You'll be eighteen in another year and a half," said Marcy, coldly. "Of course, they may not wait that long, if you hurt someone again."
"So, come on, boys and girls," said Eris, cheerfully. "Don't give the oldies an excuse to spoil your fun. Be good children."
Marcy glared briefly at her, then turned back to Buster.
"Don't delude yourself, either, into thinking that they can't hurt you," she said, forcefully. "The local SWAT team has been issued anti-tank weapons by the Ohio National Guard."
That last was pure fabrication, but Marcy was too irritated just then to care about sticking to the truth.
"Seriously, kids, you need to tone it down," said Eris. She laughed. "Just think of how much you'll confuse them if you suddenly start behaving!"
"Lucy, SHUT UP!!" roared Marcy, her deep, loud voice rattling windows for blocks.
"Hey, I told you not to call me that!" snapped the other woman.
Marcy was about to start a full-fledged yelling match, when she caught motion out of the corner of her eye. She ducked and raised her arm, and a beer can the size of a large gas can bounced off her wrist. Buster follow this by lunging forward and throwing a haymaker, obviously expecting to sucker-punch Marcy. Instead, he crashed to the pavement half a block away, his impact setting off the alarm in the car he landed beside.
Buster scowled, half rose, and smashed his fist through the hood of the car, killing the alarm. He turned and continued to rise... then froze, as he saw his opponent.
Marcy couldn't form an aegis as Ruth could, but she could put on a good glow, and just now she looked rather impressive. She had summoned the armor and sword Ruth made for her, and stood there, surrounded by a red-fringed gold aura, looking like she was ready for just about anything. Buster did one of the smartest things in his short life. He sat down with a thump, and stared at her. Marcy glanced behind her to make sure that none of the others were trying anything, then turned her full attention on Buster. She walked towards him, concentrating. Buster let out a cry of alarm as he started shrinking. A cry that turned into a full-blown scream of terror.
"That ought to do it," said Marcy, when the boy was about the size of a normal human his age, lost in his clothes. "Now, if you are good, and ask nicely, I'll put you back. Someday."
She walked away, leaving the youngster sobbing hysterically.
* * *
"He won't stay that forever, unfortunately," Marcy explained. "I can't make a permanent change in someone that easily. However, I put a lot of energy into the change. He should stay that size for at least a couple of weeks."
"Too bad you can't do all of them like that," sighed Freeman. "This is the first time we've been able to actually detain him."
"Legal concerns aside, it would take too much work," said Marcy. "I'm pretty tired just from doing him."
"Well, I'm glad you had the presence of mind to stop at normal human size. If you had made him much smaller he could have grounds for legal action."
"I just wish I could think of some way to deal with them," Marcy continued, as much to herself as to him. "Lucy was worse than useless, but in a way that she can claim she carried out her part of the bargain. Which means she's gone."
"I hate to put this on you, but we've run out of ideas," said Freeman, spreading his hands.
"Well, have you tried tracking down where they're getting those oversized beer cans from?" Marcy suggested. "Or their clothes, for that matter."
"I thought they were just enlarging normal items," said Freeman, surprised.
"No. They aren't strong enough. Only a few of us Olympians can even enlarge clothing. The rest have to buy stuff whatever size they need."
"Damn," was Freeman's soft reply. "I didn't know that. We'll check. You can bet on that. Uh, it isn't Lucy, is it?"
"Not unless she's improved a lot recently, and is hiding it very well," said Marcy. "These have to be coming from somewhere else. Either one of the more powerful Olympians is enlarging things for them, or someone is simply making giant stuff."
Marcy thought hard for several minutes.
"Buster is being held in juvenile detention."
"Yes," said Freeman. "He'll be there for several days, at least."
"Then I think I'll do a little undercover work."
* * *
Cobalt, Toni, Bridger and Soul were startled by a disturbance in the bushes over at the edge of the park. They were even more startled when Buster peeked out at them.
"There you are!" he hissed, in a giant's whisper. "I've been lookin' all over for you!"
"Buster!" Cried Toni, jumping up and running over to him. "You got out!"
"Hey, not so loud," said Marcy/Buster. Which was all he managed to say before Toni tackled him with enough force to fell a giant redwood. She then proceeded to kiss him rather enthusiastically, with plenty of tongue. "Mmph... Glg..."
"Damn," said Soul, laughing, "sixteen hours without any and she cain't wait."
Toni wasn't just kissing; she ground her crotch into Marcy's, her fingernails digging into his sides. Marcy quickly got a raging hard-on, thanks to Toni's attentions. He hoped he wouldn't cum in his pants; not only would that be embarrassing, the lack of control might make the others suspicious.
"Whoah, take it easy," gasped Marcy, when Toni finally came up for air. "I've had a hard day."
"How'd you get out?" asked Bridger.
"About two hours ago I felt that bitch's spell wearing off," said Marcy. "I waited until there was no-one in the hall, then busted my door open as quiet as I could. I snuck out, and've been looking for you guys since."
Marcy finally managed to stand up, Toni hanging onto him.
"You're still short," observed Cobalt, who seemed resentful of Toni's activities.
"Hey, give me time," said Marcy. He reached up and tousled Toni's short hair, grinning. Cobalt's reaction confirmed what he had guessed.
"You can't stay here," said Bridger. "Cops'll be looking for you. We need to get you someplace safe."
Bless you, thought Marcy, relieved he hadn't had to be the one to bring that up.
"Where can we hide him?" pleaded Toni.
"Kevin will put him up," said Cobalt.
Marcy barely managed not to react to that name. They must be referring to Kevin Coldstream, one of the original Olympians. If anyone could figure out a way to supply these kids with giant-sized implements, he could.
"Sounds good to me," said Marcy. "I'm beat. I don't know what that bitch did to me but I feel like I ran all the way here, instead of sneaking around."
There was a general consensus, and the group started off. Marcy had half expected them to have some form of exotic transportation, or perhaps a tractor-trailer. Instead they used their feet. The trip took about an hour and a half, and Marcie slowly increased her size on the way. By the time the group reached the old produce warehouse by the river he was at Buster's normal height. Also, night had fallen.
As the quintet entered Marcy saw his guess confirmed. Kevin Coldstream was busy at a workbench off to the left, and the rest of the warehouse was filled with paraphernalia with the gadgeteer's distinctive stamp on it. They were eccentric machines, some active, some actually moving around the large space. Glowing lights flickered and blinked, and muted beeps, chirps and pings filled the air.
"Hey, Kevin!" Bridger called, waving to the huge man.
Greetings were exchanged between the Titans and the Olympian, Kevin seeming genuinely glad to see them. Marcy was a bit uneasy; he was sure he could take the entire group of Titans if he had to, or Kevin alone, but all of them together might be more than he could handle should he be discovered.
Bridger started explaining what they were doing there, but without mentioning anything involving the police or a fight. He simply stated that an Olympian was causing problems for Buster and he wanted to stay here for a while. This, and Kevin's reaction, convinced Marcy that Kevin was in the dark about the gang's troubles with the law.
"We also wanted to pick up some more supplies," Bridger finished.
"No problem. I was just getting ready to run some off for myself," Kevin announced.
Marcy acted cool, but was really quite curious. He was going to see how the large versions of commercial items the Titans used were made!
Kevin took requests from the Titans, added them to a list he had already started, then went to a row of industrial shelving and gathered the items in a large box. From there he went to one of the strange-looking machines which occupied most of the floor. A bottle of Mountain Dew went under a small hood, about the size and shape of an upside-down clothes basket. Kevin fiddled with the controls for a moment. The machine made a series of odd, panting sounds, then a bell rang. Kevin went to the right side and opened a large cabinet. There was a Titan-sized bottle, looking perfectly normal except for being so large.
A bundle of clothes was next. Marcy noted that the bottle was gone from under the hood. Keven returned to the controls, but this time when he activated the machine an alarm sounded.
"Out of raw materials," muttered Kevin. "Bridger, would you go get that dumpster?"
The young Titan complied, bringing an industrial dumpster to the back of the machine, carrying it like a normal man would a large box. From what Marcy could see it was filled with ordinary garbage. It certainly didn't smell like anything special. Kevin pulled a lever, and arms like those on the trucks which empty dumpsters came down, lifted the dumpster into the air as a lid on top of the machine opened, and noisily dumped the contents into a large hopper. The dumpster was lowered, the lid on the strange machine closed, and Bridger wheeled the dumpster away. The only part of the process that puzzled Marcy was why Kevin didn't just lift the dumpster himself. He was certainly big and strong enough. Of course, he did like gadgets...
With the reservoir filled, Kevin proceeded to make for the Titans various articles of clothing, food and drink, and a carton of cigarettes. Properly re-equipped, they said their good-byes and headed for the door.
"Hey!" said Marcy, plaintively, still playing the role of out-of-luck Buster. "Toni, are you leaving, too?"
"Don't whine, lover," she cooed, tracing a finger along Marcy's jawline. "I'll be back. Eventually."
Marcy was actually tempted to wait for her, which he found disconcerting.
Laughing, the other Titans left. Kevin wandered back to his work bench, resuming whatever he had been doing when the Titans arrived. Marcy waited a while, to make sure they were really alone. Then she shifted back.
"Kevin..." she said.
He looked around, stared in bewilderment for a moment, then frowned.
"Okay, what were you doing disguised as Buster?"
"He's in jail," said Marcy. "For assault, terroristic threatening, vandalism, vagrancy and a number of other offenses. The police asked me to go undercover and track down the rest of the Titans, as well as try to find out where they get their supplies."
"Am I in trouble, again?" asked Kevin, almost timidly.
"Maybe. Depends on whether you knew what the Titans were using the stuff you gave them for. Oh, and you're definitely in trouble for giving them alcohol and cigarettes."
"I don't give them alcohol," said Kevin, "and the cigarettes are for Eris."
Marcy sighed, realizing that he could probably make a good case that he didn't know the kids were smoking them. As for the booze...
"Do they use this machine without you watching?"
"They're not supposed to," said Kevin, "but I know they've snuck in here a few times, anyway."
"Well, I'll tell the police you didn't know about that," said Marcy.
She wandered over to the enlarging machine, Kevin trailing along quietly. Marcy was beginning to get an idea.
"So this thing turns garbage into goods," she mused, hands on hips. "Can it make duplicates, or only enlarge things?"
"It just enlarges," said Kevin. "What comes out is the same thing, just our size."
The idea was almost fully formed, now, and the beauty of the situation was that she could probably get both Kevin and Eris to go along with her plan. They'd have to convince the Titans, of course, and it was unlikely that all of them would cooperate, but most of them probably would.
"Okay, here's the deal," said Marcy. "The biggest problem with the Titans is they don't have anything to do. They're too big for regular work, and some of them wouldn't do it even if they weren't. However, they just about all want attention and fame. So we call up various clothing manufacturers and tell them about this device, and about how the Titans are using it to so they can wear their products. Since it is the same product, enlarged, there's no copyright or trademark violation. Some of the other Titans are already minor celebrities. We convince the manufacturers to offer the kids you're supporting endorsement contracts. We make it a condition that the Titans have to keep their noses clean. This way, they get money and favorable attention. They can afford homes and stuff, and have places to go!"
Marcy was feeling quite pleased with herself. She wasn't as wise as Ruth or as clever as Eris, but she was far from stupid, and enjoyed demonstrating this fact.
"What about the ones who are underage?" asked Kevin.
"If they don't have a responsible parent or guardian we have the money put in a trust fund," said Marcy, getting more enthusiastic as she went. "We have the court appoint guardians, who can use part of the money for the kid, the rest being held until they're old enough. Oh, and you could certainly get some money and favorable publicity out of this, too."
"I dunno," said Kevin. "It might work, but I can see some problems."
"I'll run it by Ruth, and we'll put it to the authorities," said Marcy. She grinned broadly. "Y'know, this just might work. It won't keep the more rebellious under control, but the others should go for it."
This work is Copyright 1998 Rodford Edmiston Smith, who can be reached at: [email protected]
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