In the last episode of Julie Gentron and the Lady League, the ladies were blown away by the exhaust fumes from Plastica’s subterranean Parisian spaceship. After the plastic witch escaped into space with a horde of unlucky fashionistas, including their charge Simpson Oswald, the ladies were forced to return to London empty-handed. Furious at their failure, Lady Fairfax, the ladies’ boss and Chief of the MI6, forced her girls to undergo a rigorous martial arts training session.
Swerving round nimbly in her wicker wheelchair, Fairfax whipped the ladies into shape like a sadistic lesbian prison warden, a cane in one hand and a gin-and-tonic in the other: “Right, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and left, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and right, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and—”
“–Ugh, Lady Fairfax, I can’t keep up,” groaned Donna flailing in exhaustion and panting like a pregnant cougar. “My knees are sore and my pants are stuck in my crotch!”
“It’s your awkward bosoms getting in the way, girl, not your knees,” snapped Fairfax in her prim British accent.
“Wh–what?? I can’t believe you actually said that!”
“Silence, you shrieking sow! For every moment you spend protesting”–Fairfax wheeled her way behind Donna–“the fiend strikes at your heel!” She crouched like a viper, tripped Donna to the ground under her cane, and resumed her stiff position in the wheelchair. “You may be able to move objects with your mind, Donna, but you had better learn to concentrate, lest an old, wheelchair-bound coot like me should stab you in the back from behind. If you want to save this daft fashion critic from the demon’s clutches, you must think fast! Our time is limited!” She raised her cane perpendicular to the ground and gave a toffy-nosed grimace. Rosalind suddenly grabbed her from behind in an effort to retrieve the cane, but Fairfax deftly smacked her backwards in the face with it, swivelled her chair round, and grabbed her opponent’s thighs in her arms, dragging her to the ground. Rosalind had to use above-average force to extricate herself from Fairfax’s unusually strong grip.
“That wasn’t fair!” cried the proud Zaghawa tribeswoman.
“What do you mean it wasn’t fair, you unwieldy oaf?” countered Fairfax. “You possess super-human strength, Rosalind; hence, I rely on skill. Why, I could barely even do what I did!” Rosalind nodded apologetically, and Fairfax placed her gin-and-tonic gracefully on a nearby table with a gruff harrumph. “I look ahead, anticipate your next move, and prepare to strike”–Rosalind threw a punch at her, but the feisty sexagenarian blocked it with her newly free fist, clipping Rosalind on the side of the cheek with the other, cane in hand–“and thus emerge the victor! And next time, Rosalind, remember that MI6 protocol strictly forbids the use of mutant powers against a superior officer. Learn to govern your reflexes, you ill-bred country-woman. Carry on, ladies!”
Rosalind and Donna ganged up on the aging martial artist, but in a sudden swirl she knocked both to the ground with her cane and a fist. Julie intervened, pressing forth her large trunk and flexing her sinewy muscles. A tango ensued between the two, and Julie showed unusually precise movements in response to the cane-thrusts of the crippled but nimble woman. Fairfax darted about like a cat in a wheelchair for disabled pets, but Julie made few advances, finally surrendering in exhaustion.
“You have beaten me,” said Fairfax.
“What do you mean, Lady? I have not,” replied Julie, pacing about like an African lioness.
“My loss was inevitable. You have surrendered too soon; you have far too much integrity to give up so easily. You are being lazy because you are fighting an old coot in a wicker wheelchair. You must always stick it out till the end,”–she made a jabbing motion with her cane–“and that end is the triumph of the British people!” She gave her cane a stomp. “We shall proceed with a rematch.” She retrieved her gin-and-tonic, took a long, delicate sip, and set it back down on the table, noticing Julie’s discomfiture. “You are far too serious, my dear. Lighten up.”
“H—How can I keep going unless I use my powers?” asked Julie. She swiped at Fairfax, who dodged the blow and parried it with the tip of her fabled cane.
“Charisma, uniqueness, nerve, talent–and lady essence!” replied the crone. “A hard-hewn tool no muscle-bound man can out-manoeuvre. All one needs to topple a locomotive is a misaligned railway track—a single trip, a well-timed block, a clip to the jaw. Do not succumb to fear or distraction, girl. Focus on your goal.” She took another sip from her drink, returned it to the table, and swayed her cane at the ladies. “Lady essence consists of real-life epigenetic phenomena combined in a virulent concoction with supernova gamma ray bursts and high-galactic ectoplasm!”
“Huh?” said Donna in her annoying California accent. Her painfully contorted face belied her brainy potential. “Madam Fairfax, if genes are the script for human behaviour, how can anybody control what they do?”
“They control what they do because they realize they can,” said Fairfax, simply. There was an awkward pause as the ladies gave each other funny looks. “Genes are subsidiary to consciousness and environment. Volition is an inherent part of the lady essence, passed down to us by the cosmic rays of the universe and the many unseen lady-dimensions beyond. All that is required of you is to stop screaming like banshees in heat and focus on the task at hand. That is why you spit and sputter like a Model T Ford, Donna! You abandon yourself to destiny. And yet, with enough focus, you can do such mighty things. I almost fear you.”
“Madam Fairfax,” interjected Julie, “respectfully, your observations sound to me like junk science.”
“What, you untrained vessel of womanhood? Are volition and self-awareness ‘unscientific’ to you? You talk like a maladaptive cretin. Never would I allow some Stone Age brute to throttle me to the ground and drag me screaming back to his cave, forcing me to pop out a few more babes with random scraps of leftover wooly mammoth meat flung my way as modest incentive!” She raised her cane in the air with a queenly conviction. “Never would I sanction the violation of the yonic temple to satisfy the lusts of monsters who wage war over mates and resources only to mock their female prize with the scant remnants of their winnings. I take my life in my own hands! I am a lady of the future!” Once more the matron gave her cane a thund’rous rap, and this time it went home. In sudden silence, she delicately laid the unassuming weapon across her lap and clasped her hands there like a venerable grandmother. The ladies, stunned, tried to collect themselves.
“You are right, Madam Fairfax,” said Julie, bravely breaking the silence. “How remiss I am to forget my own passion for your cause. I myself gave a speech not so long ago enumerating the many necessities of female empowerment, and how we musn’t bow to biological determinism. All I know is that something inside me–this ‘lady essence,’ as you call it–drives me forth in an endless quest to secure justice for all humankind. Why, something–something makes me want to punch that plastic bitch square in the jaw, grab her by the wig, and toss her unnaturally pretty corpse into the Old Bailey–if only to defend the women and men of Britain, of Earth, and of the galaxy!”
“It is there your sentiment should lie, my dear,” said Fairfax. “Hopefully when it comes to that you’ll have prised poor Oswald from the witch’s clutches unbruised. The daft old queen is so delicate. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it; for now, my worries are soothed. With your fierce conviction, Julie, you have only demonstrated my weird hypothesis, which is that you have control over your destiny. I can tell that in your heart resides true nobility.”
“That doesn’t mean I’m not going to give up common sense, Madam! It’s the only way I can gauge a threat in my environment. Why, if I didn’t have my wits to rely on—” Julie suddenly grabbed the tip of Fairfax’s cane, spun the wheelchair round, and pulled the cane securely against her boss’s neck with both hands. Almost as soon as it happened, she mercifully released Fairfax, who spun back round, regained her composure, and gave a stunned, weird look of awe and delight. The old woman deployed a swift cane-strike at Julie’s kidney, but the technopath grabbed the weapon in her palms and broke it in two over her knee, throwing the pieces to the ground. Bereft of her cane, and with a maniacal look in her eyes, the crippled woman siezed her wheels, swirled round in a circle to gain momentum, and charged at Julie with wheels and legs in the air. Julie leapt up, catapulted herself over the wheelchair foot-holds, and landed crotch-first on Fairfax’s face, squeezing her thighs together. She sat there snugly until her mentor mumbled something along the lines of surrender, and she peeled her buttocks away to reveal a happy face.
“Spectacular!” boomed Lady Fairfax, repositioning her wheelchair with her strong arms and whipping blood from her nose. “You have passed the test! You have mastered the use of a most formidable weapon—the lady strike—a powerful repository of female ingenuity. But you had better know not only when to strike, but whom! Take that to heart. Now let us break and relax. I have some dark secrets about Plastica to tell you girls.”
Find out what those little dark secrets are in the next episode of Julie Gentron and the Lady League!