Mother Earth appeared on Near Absolute Hero‘s phone and immediately launched into what she wanted to say. “You’re the best fireman the world has ever seen but when it comes to the Mother Earth Force, you are our worst regular superhero.”
“I played it perfectly with our big fight against Flame Tosser and his gang.”
“Yes you were perfect for the job. But he was fire and you were ice. Are we to demand that supervillains remain just fire so you can be useful against them?”
“I’ve still never tested my cold gun to its highest setting. Who knows what a hero I’ll become?”
Mother Earth went in for the kill. “Blah, blah, someday, blah blah. We can also take an analytical tack and see the scientist that I think you’re needing to maximize the use of your cold gun.”
“What kind of scientist is that?”
“Fly to the York University campus.”
When they got there, Mother Earth first pointed the way to the Farquharson Life Sciences building and up to the second floor. The door she pointed out said Professor Keeshawn Betts on the outside. Near Absolute Hero knocked. A sixty year old man with graying hair answered.
“Near Absolute Hero? Mother Earth told me about you. Do you know what she thinks is your greatest need?”
“I think I need to cool hands that are holding guns, so much that they drop them. It’s just that I’m not sure if I will kill them or give them a bad case of frostbite, forcing amputations.”
“That’s what I already told him,” said Mother Earth from the computer screen on Keeshawn’s desk. “Guess what he studies?”
“What?” Near Absolute Hero asked looking at Keeshawn.
“I study cryogenic effects on living things. Allow me to take you to my lab in the basement.”
Keeshawn wasn’t talking, just leading till they got down to a basement door which read “Live Animals”.
Not knowing what kind of live animals, Near Absolute Hero was scared as Keeshawn took his keys and opened the door. A light turned on. Keeshawn went directly over to a giant terrarium.
Keeshawn waved at the terrarium. “Welcome to the abode of the wood frog. These frogs can be endure freezing – and when thawed will simply hop away again.”
“Can I just freeze any of them?”
“Oh no,” said Keeshawn. “I believe you have the power to freeze them too quickly. But if you use low power on their periphery there is no danger of frostbite. If you use too much power on their periphery they might eventually totally freeze. But that should take long enough to not hurt them.”
Keeshawn had set up experiments for them to try. Near Absolute Hero was displeased that they were still only using his lowest setting. He was pleased that the building had an inner court yard to do these things safely outdoors.
At first he aimed a few centimeters from the frog’s limbs with his lowest settings. Then he aimed closer to the legs of the live wood frog. The frog had a suit to measure how cold its skin was. Eventually they hit a sweet spot. That should be good to make it drop a gun. They could see the involuntary twitching of the aimed at limb.
Then they aimed further toward the body of the frog. The professor believed this would induce frost bite in another organism like a human. They pushed it further till professor Keeshawn said “There, I think its whole body is going to freeze.”
The frog stopped moving – including breathing. It was frozen. “Watch this,” said Professor Keeshawn and nudged the frog off the bench and onto the patio stone. There was an audible “clunk” sound as it hit.
Near Absolute Hero got into the action. He picked the frog up off the patio stone and threw it as hard as he could at the bench. It made a “Whack!” sound and bounced a couple feet in the air before settling on the patio stone again with the now familiar “clunk”.
“What are you doing?” challenged Professor Keeshawn. “It’s frozen but it can still be damaged!”
“I’m so sorry! I just thought I had to test a theory of mine.”
“What possible theory would that be?”
“I’ve always wanted to write about the perfect crime. I know that’s silly for someone who is so anti-crime they are a superhero.”
“What perfect crime?”
“The victim could be bludgeoned by a hard blunt murder weapon that later thaws out and hops away.”
“That’s not a perfect crime. In some murders the murder weapon is never found but they can still convict someone of the crime.”
“Again, sorry if I hurt the frog.”
“It’ll probably be alright.”