The Ultimate Drug
The original version of this parody featured Lois Lane, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how easily it adapted to other members of the DCU. This version, with the Birds of Prey, is my current favorite. If you have any questions at the end of this story, you're welcome to provide a fix at my e-mail address or the Fanzing Forum. ;)
"Well, we're just about wrapped up here," Dinah said cheerfully as she waded through a particularly inept group of thugs. "What's up next on the agenda?"
"Don't you think you ought to concentrate on the job at hand before you start worrying about your next assignment?" Barbara's voice sounded irritated.
"What, this?" A huge bruiser with the name "Lou" tattooed on his bald head went flying over Dinah's shoulder to crash into the far wall. "This is nothing. This isn't even a proper warm-up!"
"Well, excuuuuse me. Next time I'll be sure to find you some real bad guys."
Kick, whirl, smash! "So what's up next, huh? A little time in the sun, maybe?" Dinah ducked a clumy blow, then launched herself out of her crouched position to knock down a man twice her size and easily three times her weight. "I hear it's really nice in Hawaii at this time of year."
"So what do you want me to do, arrange some kind of revolution or terrorist attack in the fiftieth state just so you can work on your tan?"
"Well, when you put it that way -- oh NO!"
"What? What is it?" The bantering stopped as Babs, suddenly all business as Oracle, frantically scanned around Dinah for any source of new danger.
"Why you rotten, stinking..." Dinah's voice rose higher as she suddenly erupted into a virtual whirlind of fists, boots, and knees. Less than sixty seconds later, the dust slowly began to settle on the unconscious heaps that lay strewn about the floor. Dinah, breathing a little faster than usual, glared angrily at one particular supine form before turning away and stomping out the door.
"What was that all about?" Barbara demanded. "Are you all right?"
"I will be." Dinah sounded sulky. "It'll take a while, though."
"I broke a nail."
"You broke a --" Babs burst out in a peal of laughter.
"I happen to like my nails, okay?"
"Okay, okay." Still chuckling a little, she scanned ahead of Dinah's location. "You're in the clear. Mission accomplished, case solved -- you can come back home."
"It's too dreary in Gotham right now," Dinah complained absentmindedly as she made her way out of the deserted complex. "C'mon, don't you have something for me to work on? What's flashing on those screens of yours?"
"Nothing for you, sorry. Just some research that Batman asked me to do."
"Yeah? So what's Tall, Dark, and Broody interested in now?"
Barbara rolled her eyes. "Well, he's been hearing about this new drug flooding the market, and he asked me to find out more about it."
"A new drug?" Dinah frowned. "Since when don't we bust drug rings?"
"It's not a ring, it's a --" Babs stopped and sighed. "It's called FDK. Not a pretty drug at all; it's a thousand times more addictive than anything else on the market, and as far as we can tell, there's no cure."
"No cure?" Dinah repeated. "Hate to break it to you, honey, but there's no cure for cocaine, either."
"Okay, I didn't phrase that very well," Babs conceded. "Let's put it this way: So far, rehabilitation has proven impossible. To date, there has not been a single case of a person who has succeeded in getting over the addiction."
Dinah stopped short in her tracks. "I don't believe it."
Dinah shook her head and stepped over the broken fragments of a door she'd smashed open only six hours before. "Not a single case?"
"Not yet," Barbara said. "I've been monitoring the list of patients. Some of them seem to go quietly dormant for years, and then the sudden need blazes up again and becomes completely insatiable. The longest 'sleeper' case has been two years, four months, and eleven days. Just last week, the woman in question succumbed."
"Yow." Dinah stepped out of the building and blinked as the rays of the westering sun slanted into her vision. "Do the studies document what FDK does to its victims?"
"They sure do." There was a pause for a moment as Barbara looked up the information in the files, and then she rattled off the list. "Incredible euphoria. A single hit can keep the victim grinning for days, yet constantly seeking more. Side effects include a tendency towards sleeplessness, aching finger joints, neglect of outside interests, and eyestrain. Some victims retreat into themselves; others become more garrulous. On occasion, a 'bad' hit will leave the victim despondent, but these happen only rarely.
"As the drug eventually works its way through the system, the victim is suddenly struck by a craving for more. The victim will do anything to get more FDK, including spending hours on end in pursuit of a single extra hit."
"Oooh, I don't like the sound of that." Dinah retraced her steps towards the perimeter fence, veering to the left to find the spot where she'd disabled the electrified wires. "What exactly do you mean by 'anything'? Have these kids been hitting the streets?"
"No more 'kids' than I am... or you, for that matter," Barbara teased her.
"Watch your mouth with your elders," Dinah said automatically. "It's not every woman who can look good in fishnets at my age." She clambered easily over the fence and plunged into the jungle, heading for the hidden motorbike that had brought her to the complex. "So we're talking adults more than the teenage crowd?"
"Well, they do come in all ages, but it looks like it's mostly adults. There are exceptions, of course... Let's see, there's a confirmed report of a mother-daughter pair who apparently seek FDK together. But it looks like most victims are twenty-one or older. There have been several documented cases of suffering teenagers, but the ones who seem the most addicted are usually in their late twenties or thirties. We've got some forty-plus victims, too."
"Oh, that's just great," said Dinah, grimacing as a branch tried to tangle itself in her hair. She shoved the branch out of her way. "So we've got adults getting hopelessly addicted to this FDK?"
"There have been cases of normally responsible men and women sneaking fixes in the workplace, or turning up red-eyed in the morning because they've been up all night." Barbara snorted into the microphone. "Just what we need, huh?"
"Oh, yes, just what we've always wanted," Dinah singsonged. "Adults running rampant, robbing and stealing people blind in order to afford their next fix! Tell me again why this isn't our department?"
"Well, actually, there hasn't been anything like that."
"Say what?" Dinah sighed with relief as she finally spotted her sturdy motorboke. "A drug that addictive can't possibly be cheap, so how do the addicts get enough money to afford their next fix?"
"Actually, Dinah, that's the one saving grace of FDK. In terms of money, it's absolutely free. All you need is access."
"Access," Dinah repeated dubiously as she straddled the motorbike. "What does that mean?"
"Availability. The necessary equipment. Even the most rudimentary tools can be used in a pinch, although most of the patients seem to prefer more sophisticated methods."
Dinah kicked the motorbike to life and tucked her hair into her helmet. "Are you trying to tell me that FDK victims are only harming themselves? They're not a menace to society? 'Cause I really find that hard to believe."
"I find it hard to believe, too," Barbara agreed, "but at the very least, they're not violent. Still, think of all the hours that are wasted by the victim in pursuing the fix. Who knows what might have been accomplished in that time?"
Dinah turned this over in her mind as she started off down the jungle path. "Well, at least they're not hurting anyone else." The pause at the other end of the line was just a little too long, and Dinah added sharply, "Or are they?"
"Well, there is a strong tendency for victims to spread the addiction," Barbara conceded. "In their excitement over the fix, they will encourage others to give them further doses. They also offer doses to others, which proliferates the problem."
"They offer doses of FDK to other victims?" Dinah was incredulous. "But I thought you said that the victims are constantly looking for another fix!"
"It's hard to explain," Barbara grumbled, sounding a little frustrated. "But it seems pretty clear that a FDK victim can somehow give a fix to another victim without lessening his or her own dosage. It seems almost symbiotic; the more fixes one victim offers to others, the more that victim seems to receive from those same sources."
"That is one weird drug," Dinah muttered, shaking her head. "Okay, so we've got this FDK on the market and more and more people succumbing daily. What's being done to get FDK off the market? Explain it to me one more time -- exactly why isn't this our department? Why aren't we shutting this down?"
"Because no one is, Dinah."
"Nothing's being done about it."
"Is there a recording echo in this equipment? You got it, Dinah. Absolutely nothing. Even Batman isn't planning to fight it."
"Why not?" Dinah demanded, indignant. "Can't we track down sources, find out who's supplying it?"
"Not this one, Dinah. It's way too widespread." Barbara sighed again before she added, "Let's look at the bright side. At least FDK really only harms the victim. The physical side effects do go away with time, and a 'sleeper' patient is as healthy and well adjusted as -- well, as we are."
"As we are?" Dinah felt a grin spread slowly across her face. "Hate to tell you this, honey, but most people would not think of our lives as healthy and well-adjusted..."
"Very funny, BC. Look, just think of the addicts as victims of a chronic disease that flares up on occasion."
Dinah snorted. "I'd rather get it off the market."
"Well, of course. So would I. But at least FDK is a relatively harmless drug. The victims don't harm other people, except for those that are already suffering from the same condition. They even manage to hone skills through their addiction, and it definitely keeps them off the streets."
Dinah mulled this over. "Hmm. I'm going to have to think about this one." The jungle thinned out ahead as she approached the main road and civilization. "Well, here we go, back to the real world. I'm headed for the airport now."
"Great. You did a good job here, Dinah."
"Well, naturally. I supply the brains, the brawn, and the beauty; you supply the... What is it you do again?" Dinah grinned wickedly at the sputter on the other end of the link. "Seriously, though, thanks for your help on this one. I'll talk to you later, after I've got my ticket, okay?"
"Right," said Barbara, her voice a little pensive. "Oracle out."
As Barbara closed her connection with Black Canary, she sat back in her chair, frowning at the computer screens that flickered across her vision. One screen showed a lithe vigilante in black and midnight blue, and she watched unabashedly for a few moments for the sheer pleasure of it. Then she caught a glimpse of a dark cape on another screen, and her bleak mood returned as she scowled at it.
"Dinah manages to thank me," she muttered at the image of Bruce, "and Dick is always appreciative of any information I give him. But does it every occur to you to tell me when I've done a good job? Noooooo...."
Hazel Von Nolastname is an FDK addict. You can support her habit by e-mailing her and encouraging her to write more material for Fanzing!
All characters are DC Comics
This piece is © 2001 by Hazel.
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