Friday, 1 July 2011

Steampunk Superheroes

Friday has rolled around again, that meant it's time to offer up my entry for Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction. This week, we had to pick two of:

Men’s Adventure.
And write something. Nice! But it meant that my usual slacking off of reading other people's entries at work can't be done, as I don't want to have something NSFW on-screen when a kid asks me how to stop spelling banananana.

I chose Steampunk and Superheroes - and depending on how you like your superheroes, possibly farce, too. If you like them all broody and deep, with hidden layers and tortured souls, then you ain't getting that. If, instead, you love the Adam West Batman Show (be warned that link is to TV Tropes) then this is for you.

“Good evening, all of ye meritorious members of the Mechanascience Association! As I take the podium for tonight’s meeting, to espouse to you the progress of my latest predilection - a flight of fancy based upon the works of that most eminent scientist, Mr. Charles Darwin.” With a flourish, The Technomancer gestured to Sprockette to draw aside the curtain. Sketching a chaste curtsey she did so, and he reveled in the startled gasps and the smattering of applause before continuing. “I humbly present to you: Monkey Wench! An estimable fusion of biology and technology she will no doubt be instrumental in our efforts to thwart those rapscallions in The Clockwerk Alliance!

as always the presentation was followed a more informal gathering in the smoking room. Feet up on an ottoman, The Technomancer puffed contentedly at his cigar. He listened with half an ear to Monkey Wench eloquently holding forth to an interested knot of listeners, including some of the Mechanascience Association’s inner coterie. The peace was short lived though. With a clattering bang, the door was thrown back and a breathless street urchin came in. “Parden me, sirs an’ ladies, but yer needed down at the wharfs! It’s them Coalstack Boyz!”

“They’re causin’ all sorts o’ trouble!” Instantly, the room sprang to attention, focusing on the impressive bulk of The Steamhammer, waiting for his lead. “Righto my lads and lasses, Forge and Foundry Division will field this one. Let’s see,” he rumbled, glancing about. “I’ll take The Wind-Up Kid with me, Mr. Lectric, and I would be honoured if you would grace us with your presence, ma’am” he finished, winking at Monkey Wench who blushed furiously. Pausing to throw a ha’penny to the boy, The Steamhammer led his team out of the building.

Slowly, the team spread out, but kept within hearing distance of each other. Regrettably, this meant they could all listen to The Wind-Up Kid complain. “The Coalstack Boyz! What a waste of time for all four of us! Why, I could take ‘em on me own! Come on, they don’t even have a catch-phrase, and barely have a costume! Not one in three has a cape!” He was right of course, The Coalstack Boyz were the lowest level in that insidious amalgam - The Clockwerk Alliance. Little more than henchmen and hired goons, The Coalstack Boyz ran the minor rackets and did all the grunt work... they had to prove themselves before being initiated into the higher levels of Evil. Our brave and plucky heroes come upon them, pilfering goods from one of the loading bays.

Shouted Mr. Lectric, striking an inspiring pose. “For the might of the Mechanascience Association is here to foil your foul deeds!” The incorrigible bounders that made up The Coalstack Boyz threw their ill-gotten cargo at Mr. Lectric’s head, and sprinted for the shadows. As luck would have it, most of the boxes were too heavy to make the distance, yet he still spectacularly dodged to the side to avoid them. The Steamhammer closed in on the miscreants and was about to come down on them hard, as only he could...

thick, ropey tendrils shot out of the blackness, and lashed round his bulky figure, holding him immobile. A sonorous clanking echoed repeatedly from the darkness, and the mechanical legs of Spinning Jenny appeared. Cackling manically to herself, she started to wind him in towards her massive mandibles.

Monkey Wench leapt into action with a lady-like (albeit slightly feral) grunt. Bringing her fore-paws to bear with their massive Stilsons, she attacked one of Spinning Jenny’s joints. With a
of rending metal, the leg dangled uselessly. Shrieking the spider-thing turned from her attack on The Steamhammer, and focused her attentions on Monkey Wench instead. Things looked grim indeed for our heroine, until her allies returned from routing The Coalstack Boyz. Mr. Lectric charged in, with shocking effectiveness. Battered and beaten into submission, Spinning Jenny ejected from her carapace of brass fulcrums and whirring cogs, and made off over the rooftops.

retired to the hallowed halls of the Mechanascience Association, where Monkey Wench was lauded for her fine showing on her first outing. Yet all is not well in our fine city. While the Clockwerk Alliance was stymied on this outing, they still imperil us all... Deep in her underground lair, Spinning Jenny raises the speaking tube to her mouth, and whispers throatily into it “Dr. Phlogiston? I will require your services once more...” In the darkness a whistle sounds and massive governor balls begin to spin once again with malicious intent...

Tune in next week for the next thrilling installment of:


  1. Just finished reading this and can hardly see I've been giggling so much, if more people wrote about superheroes like this (that's wrote like this, not superheroes like this, necessarily)I'd be way more into superheroes.

  2. I just happen to think this piece was genius

  3. I grew up on Adam West as Batman - this is just fantastic. It also reminds me of that other series which I think is more Steam Punk now that I look back on it...though I don't think it was labeled such in the 1960's, 1970's...yes I'm over the hill...not quite in need of a cane but I've got my bi-focal glasses... anyway -
    The Wild Wild West (TV series in the US) - Two government spies traveled across the United States in a special railroad car with all sorts of gadgets. Artimus Gordon was the brain and disguise artist, where the other Gent... Mr. West (forget his first name, could have been Jim or James) was the heart-throb.
    Loved the illustrated 'Crash' 'Bang' 'Booms'
    Jules (from WOWH)