Patting him on the shoulder, Jo decides a little history clarification will help.  “Remember how your wife was supposed to be the System Successor, but her story was changed due to I.C. Mendez’s series, so now Elfie and Gigi are the stars?  Well, back then Duplica and I fought our own version of the Council of the Solar System, making friends with three of the members.  Those three former villains are Mercury, Earth and Neptune, now known as Mercy, Hart and Karon.  Boy, that was so long ago!”

    With Mercy being a regular in the group, unlike these other two visiting from out of town, she teases Doug by asking, “How does it feel to have the child of a villain going to your school?”

    Seeing his opportunity to question his wife’s impulsive nature, Doug retorts, “Are you referring to your Paul or my Elfie and Gigi?”

    “I’m telling!” Kammy announces.

    “Heh heh heh, couldn’t resist.  You know Cat wouldn’t.”  Doug gives a cheesy grin.

    Mercy snickers, “Oh, I KNOW Cat wouldn’t.  I give you ten points for that jab in her stead, ha ha.”

    “So,” Karon asks, seeking to change the subject, “did y’all ever find that mime girl we used to work for?  It was kind of eerie how she just up and disappeared for centuries.”

    Punching the air in victory, Jo declares, “Man, we broke her in pieces years ago.  She actually tried to sneak onto one of our trips, but Duplica, the great detective, figured her out and shattered that metal-wood freak into shards.  THEN we found the guy who made her and gave him the final surprise of his existence.  He was all obsessed with the Ultimate Machine actually being a woman, which is stupid, and hatched a big scheme that was so counterproductive, he ended up destroying himself over its redundancy.  So, yeah, as of now, all the bad guys and gals have all been dealt with.”

    “Except Cat,” Mercy says to Doug, “right?  The villainous Lady Late needs a brave hero to stop her in her tracks.”

    “I’m not that brave,” Doug admits.  “But, as if you haven’t figured out yet, Duplica’s going to be busy today, so it’s just me and Jo in charge.  Help us.”

    “What?!” Hart shouts.  “You know how much traffic there is between here and Dogwood Earth?!  I have summer plans, yo!  I can’t go putting my life on hold for a friend that ditches me at the last minute.  She’s an Infinite like us.  How can she even be busy?”

    Doug bravely, yet carefully motions for Hart to calm down.  “Well, I shouldn’t have to tell you, being an Infinite yourself, but as individuals that can do virtually anything, this alone means we still have limitations.  Four reasons I can think of Cat would be busy could be another Infinite or the physics of whatever storyboard she may have gone to interfering with her powers.  Reason number two, though less likely, is how we Infinites tone down what we do so as to not overload the finite minds of the real-worlders.  They can’t properly process the full capacity of our physics, so we have to water it down to avoid breaking them.  This isn’t the case as it has nothing to do with us not knowing where she’s at, nor do I think it has to do with her going about it the old-fashioned, difficult way just for the sake of nostalgia.  That leaves either my first suspicion of the mission she’s on having an outside force involved or…Cat’s being lazy.  Not like her to miss a day like today, but who knows.  This is my Cat Rug.”

    “You’ve got to be joking me,” says Hart with a sigh.  “Doug, look, I’m sorry.  I have too much to do to wait around.  If she’s not coming, then I’m going to go.  If things change, then instead of flying, I’ll just teleport over this time so I’ll be ready.  Also, you gave three reasons, not four.”

    “But…” Doug tries to comprehend her logic, “you just…scolded Cat in absentia for having the same priority habits you do.  And that whole Infinite speech I just gave…”

    Bobbing over to him, the native Earthling gives him a quick hug and blips out of sight, having returned to her home planet of Dogwood Earth.  Seeing her pal gone, Karon Neptune, though nicer about it, decides to do the same, leaving poor Mercy and Jo as the only ones of Cat’s old team left.

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