Short Treatment 36 - Good Enough for Me

VANESSA is a paralegal in Baltimore living a relatively mundane life, but a good kind of mundane. Especially good is her still-pretty-new relationship with CHRIS which is just going gangbusters. They just fit together. They met because they live in the same apartment building, which would be a pain if they were to ever break up, but for right now, means they functionally already live together; they’re almost always at one or the other’s apartment, only rarely do they each go to their own place.

This doesn’t mean they don’t live their own lives; they’ll do stuff on their own all the time. Chris will head out to hang out with friends almost on a moment’s notice, and often doesn’t even invite Vanessa. This would probably bother anyone else, but Vanessa is actually super cool with it.

Because Vanessa’s life isn’t actually that mundane. She’s actually a literal supervillain.

She goes by the name SONORA, after a lab accident in high school gave her power over sounds. She can throw sonic blasts from her hands, fly with sonic pulses, and her screams are powerful enough to disintegrate steel.

Sonora isn’t just a supervillain for chaos’s sake, nor is she in it for personal gain. She’s more along the lines of the Punisher: if she thinks somebody deserves to get wrecked, she’s gonna wreck them. Sometimes it’s other supervillains, but a lot of the time it’s crooked politicians, cops on the take, or even just banks offering predatory loans.

It’s also the superheroes who fight for the status quo and defend the rot infecting the system; none moreso than JUPITER, a Captain America-type who relies on gadgets rather than superpowers. Sort of a cross between Cap and Batman. Jupiter is practically the city’s mascot, so it’s a badge of honor for Sonora to be his arch-nemesis.

The only problem: Vanessa just found out that Jupiter is actually Chris. And Chris just found out she’s Sonora.

They get lunch at a diner and talk things over.

Obviously they have to break up, so the first thing they talk about is just the mundanity of dealing with all of their shit that’s at the other’s apartment. That raises the topic - they both know where the other lives. They both know the other’s family. This is dangerous for both of them.

They agree to separate personal and super lives; no going after family, no attacking the other at their place, no turning Vanessa into the police - unless, of course, he catches her as Sonora. But what does that mean? Can she throw her mask off and get away with it? They briefly debate one or the other moving, but neither of them is willing to.

They move on to discussing the other’s morals. Vanessa can’t believe Chris is willing to support a broken system, and Chris can’t believe Vanessa is willing to resort to violence to get “justice.”

Finally, they both admit that they still really like each other, and they’re going to try to make it work.

Vanessa leaves to go to a supervillain meeting that was called to discuss killing Jupiter. She was the one who originally put it together.

It’s very quickly obvious that she can’t just call it off, but even with her generally avoiding participating, a plan starts to form. They’re not going to iron everything out then and there, so she’s forced to take more of an active role to stay in the loop. She volunteers to be the one to discover his alter ego.

She goes home to Chris having made a nice dinner for the two of them. It’s great and weird.

She goes back to one of her closer villain friends, MOB RULE, a guy who can create illusions of himself. She confesses that she’s having second thoughts about killing Jupiter - she’s always been idealistic about her villainy, fighting the system. Jupiter is part of the system, yes, but it’s different. He’s not oppressing anyone directly, he’s just upholding a system that does. Which seems like it shouldn’t be a big difference, but it kind of is.

Mob Rule tells her he gets it. She can’t call things off at this point, but he totally understands her wanting to back out. He’s something of an idealist himself, with a goal of getting revenge on the city’s crooked mayor. He offers to take over her part of the plan. She hems and haws until he points out the plan is rolling now with or without her. She can delay it by pretending to help when she’s not actually going to, but she can’t stop it without fighting them. Is she willing to do that?

No, she isn’t. She backs out, lets Mob Rule do her part.

Time passes. Things go… better than could be expected for her and Chris. It’s weird, obviously, but they’re both into it enough to keep things going.

Until one day, they’re out on a date, and they see some cops beating up a guy. Vanessa runs off to change into Sonora, but by the time she gets back, Chris is already defending the guy - not even in super form, just as himself. He gets arrested and locked up alongside the guy.

Vanessa is pissed for him - doesn’t he see that this is the system in action? But he says he knew this was going to happen when he made the decision, and he’s okay with it. He gets a trial date in a couple weeks, but he can’t make bail, and Vanessa can’t make bail honestly, so he won’t accept her help.

Vanessa is pissed. She visits the cop as Sonora. She threatens to beat the shit out of him like he beat up that guy, but she holds back for Chris’s sake. She tells the cop he knows what he did was wrong, and warns him she’ll be back if he doesn’t do the right thing. The next day, Chris gets released. He doesn’t know for sure why, but he has suspicions. But he’s okay with it.

That night, Vanessa gets a visit from Mob Rule. He has news, and it’s not great: it turns out, Jupiter is actually her boyfriend, Chris. GASP.

She plays dumb, pretends to freak out. Mob Rule tells her the plan is going on, now, and it’s happening soon, warns her to not get too invested in the relationship.

Vanessa tries to convince him to stop, but he won’t hear it. He tells her he gets it, but warns her against doing anything stupid: the other villains don’t know her secret identity, but he’s got it in a dead man’s switch. If anything happens to him or the plan doesn’t go smooth, he’ll reveal her identity to the world.

Vanessa doesn’t know what to do. She goes out as Sonora to clear her head. She attacks the offices of some evil corporation, and who shows up to stop her but Jupiter.

This is the first real encounter they’ve had with each other since they’ve been dating, and neither of them is sure how to react. Jupiter tries to get her to leave peacefully, but she’s freaking out, and she snaps. She goes ham on him, starts wrecking shit all over the place. The fight ends with him diving in front of the corporation’s CEO before she can blast him out a window, and her holding back, running away.

She goes to her parents’ place in Virginia. Ignores all of Chris’s calls. He leaves some angry voicemails. It sucks all around.

She talks to her parents about it a bit - they know her alter ego, they’re okay with it even if they don’t entirely approve. She’s afraid she went overboard - “Isn’t the adult thing to do finding a compromise?” But they both tell her to fuck compromises - there are lots of things you can make deals on, but if something is wrong it’s just wrong, and you shouldn’t let anybody convince you to do it anyway.

She’s there for a week, until she realizes she hasn’t gotten a call from Chris in 24 hours. She freaks out, calls him in a panic - he answers, relieved and pissed. She’s just relieved, tells him she’ll be there in a couple hours, and leaves immediately to go back.

When she gets back, they go to the diner where they initially talked things out after learning each others’ identities. She lays out everything for him - the plan to kill him, her backing out, them finding out his identity, everything. It’s a lot for him to take in, but he’s surprisingly understanding, even if he is upset. Not just that she hadn’t told him, but that she’d signed up in the first place, before even knowing who he was - “I thought Sonora only killed killers.”

He tells her he understands, and he’s very sorry, but after their last fight, he’s realized he can’t be with her. He thanks her for warning him about the plot, and assures her he’ll continue to keep her identity a secret. He leaves in tears, with Vanessa crying too.

But Vanessa isn’t finished.

Chris hasn’t even gotten home when Sonora shows up, destroys his car, and kidnaps him.

Chris is upset, but before he can get too mad, she gives him his supersuit and takes him on a ride to the city outskirts.

They land in the middle of a meeting of supervillains, caught like deer in the headlights of an oncoming freight train. The pair of them fight side-by-side; it’s not an easy fight, but they manage to take down half of the city’s biggest villains before the other half get away. It’s a massive victory for justice.

Among the escapees, though - Mob Rule, who slips away while they fight his illusions.

Jupiter asks her why she did it, though - Mob Rule is going to reveal her identity to the world. She’ll go to prison, lose everything. Sonora takes off her mask, is just Vanessa. Jupiter takes off his mask, is just Chris.

Vanessa tells Chris she’s gonna run. She asks him to run with her. They’ll go to Europe, start a new life. She’ll give up supervillainy, he’ll give up superheroics, and they’ll just be together.

She knows he won’t say yes. He can’t give it up, he’s too responsible. But she had to ask. She turns to leave, and he stops her: “Okay. Let’s do it.”

They hurry home to pack, but when they get back, Mob Rule is there, waiting for them. Very casual. He tells them he was prepared for something like this - his minions have just finished tying up Vanessa’s parents, and he shows them the pictures.

They ask what he wants, and he says the only thing he’s wanted all along: Jupiter dead. Chris starts to willingly sacrifice himself, but before he can, Vanessa kills Mob Rule. “Fuck compromises,” she says. She and Jupiter fly as fast as they can to her parents house, and find her mother dead, but her father just injured, having fought off the minions long enough for the police to arrive. “You made the right choice,” he tells her. “She’d be pissed if you’d let him push you around.”

Vanessa and Chris pack for a vacation backpacking around Europe. Vanessa sees an engagement ring hidden in a corner of Chris’s bag; doesn’t let on that she saw it.

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