And Now A Word From Our Sponsor, Pt 4

From the Story Arc: Lovers and Heroes

Previous Story in the Arc: And Now A Word From Our Sponsor, Pt 3 by Dr. Bella Dawn Parker (Saturday, January 28, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Zach Marlowe: Privyet Eye Pt 5 by Bestial Boy (Saturday, March 11, 2006)

(posted Sunday, January 29, 2006)

“Here,” Bella shouted to John Murdock, handing him a minicam about the size of a large button. “Put this on, would you?”

The Portal was making its usual racket, which made it almost impossible to think, much less ask many questions—and Bella was a good, good friend, the best—so John pinned it on as asked, but curiosity was eating him alive. Only when the dimensional rifts they had been sent to close had been shut down did he manage to pester her about what she wanted—

And then the answer was very straightforward.

“Commercial footage,” she said, confirming his suspicion. “My assignments now are too dangerous for a camera crew. I don’t ask just anybody—just people I know won’t mind. Mandy, Nova, you, Sera, Zach…” She grimaced a little. “The genetic tests I ran on you didn’t come cheap. This commercial will pay for them. I don’t want some bean-counter from Moscow second-guessing me on this issue and giving Nat hell over it.”

He nodded, as a follow-up assignment came through her PDA from her contact. “Lemme go with ya on this one, too, kiddo. This time I’ll be sure’n get your good side.”

Split-screen, opening shot. Right side, Belladonna Aura soaring over Eden at dawn looking grimly determined. Left side: Model Mom at dawn with a van full of Little Leaguers and baby ballerinas.

Voice-Over: “You fly through your day.”

Split screen: Right side, Belladonna Aura blasting a Rikti Mentalist point-blank and stunning it. Left side, Model Mom facing down a corporate suit who is looking cowed.

Voice-Over: “You fight for what’s right.”

Split screen: Right side, Bella healing and patching up Nova Requiem. Left side, Model Mom doing the same for her daughter.

Voice-Over: “You heal the hurts.”

Split screen: Right: Bella comforting someone, but the shot does not make it clear who it is as only the top of a head is shown. Left side: Model Mom cuddling a crying son.

Voice-Over: “and the hearts.”

Split-screen: Right: Bella adjudicating some unspecified dispute between BioHazard Boy and Chug. Left: Model Mom separating battling toddlers.

Voice-Over: “You settle disputes.”

Split-screen: Right: Bella dancing with Zach at a nightclub. Left: Model Mom doing the same moves with Model Dad

Voice-Over: “And you still have what it takes to show your man your sexy side. But you need healthy energy to do it all—“

Shot of Bella with GammaBar and a cup of coffee.

Bella, gazing into the camera and radiating sincerity: “GammaBars and Jungle-Grown Ethical Coffee—because you are a superhero too!”

“Cut!” the director called, grinning. He crossed the distance between the camera and the table where Bella was posed in three long strides and hugged her. “My one-take wonder does it again!”

She laughed, and finished off both coffee and bar. “Well, I try.”

“What I still don’t get is how you manage to sound like you meant that line,” the director continued, handing Bella a towel to wipe off the stage-makeup with.

She stopped. “But I did mean it,” she replied. “I mean—look at them—“ She nodded at the crew, now packing up and clearing the soundstage for the next shoot. “Look at them. Not a one of them with powers, yet they’ll go out there to a world full of the same dangers I deal with. They’re having kids and lives in the face of all those odds, plus things I’ll never have to think about. Cancer. Taxes. Floods. And little things, the things that make your life a misery. Colds. In-laws from hell. Bills. Root canals.” She shook her head. “Most of them are content to struggle through as long as their jobs don’t make them actively think about opening a vein twice a week. And they keep on keeping on, mostly without complaint. Compare that to my life.” She shook her head. “No, I know who the superheroes are in this world, even if they’ll never wear a cape.”

She tossed the towel to the cleanup guy, who caught it deftly and winked at her. “I don’t forget that,” she concluded, “And neither should you. ‘Cause you’re one of ‘em.”

And with that, she waved goodbye to the techs, and headed out the door. Back to another mission. Leaving the director standing, watching her go, with a thoughtful look in his eyes.