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Challenge #01249-C154: Who's the Hero?

The super-villain who is an absolutely great parent -- Gallifreya

It began small, as it always does. A few disappearances. A few strangers with the wrong ID, turning up as suicides or deaths by cop.

But it wasn't until Senator Morganbaum took the public podium and changed before everyone's eyes into a latino woman of about the same height and weight that people realised something was up.

It was a very specific pattern. White cops who were on leave for shooting incidents found themselves waking up with vastly different skins. Elderly male senators deciding on the "protections" of women, found themselves with the very needs they were deciding on.

People who were arrested for going about their business while black... turned up in the courtrooms with dazzling white skin and Caucasian features. Only to return to their former natures at a later time.

And a discrete advertisement in every newspaper in the county.

What would it take to change your life? and a toll-free number.

People who had previously had great trouble achieving their proper identities had a large number of barriers suddenly removed. They had the bodies of their dreams, and less paperwork and expense in their lives.

Someone was doing something. Someone had a machine that, through magic and technology combined, could change a person's physical nature in less than a heartbeat and only the briefest flash of light.

The people of Tollbrook county were scared. Well. The white, wealthy, well-off people of Tollbrook county were scared. And they had the ear of the mayor, and the mayor told Enforcerman to go find whoever was doing it, and stop them.

It was a long hunt finding him. Following the money was no good. The villain who called themselves The Leveller got donations of cash from the people who paid for his magical ray. The In-my-shoes gun, they called it. And it gave so many Types a new lease on life.

Enforcerman had had trouble from Types before. He had learned the right words, of course, to seem politically correct, but they were all Those Types inside his head. Those Types who wanted the world to follow the wrong laws. Those Types who wanted to invade the wrong bathrooms. Those Types who wanted to trick men. Those Types who wanted their unfair place in the world.

He never felt it happen, of course. There was a brief flash of light, and the body he knew wasn't his body any more. He came home with breasts. And darker skin. He came home as one of Those Types.

*

Business was good. Equality Inc saw all people who felt they were being misrepresented. It saw people who wanted their issues to be represented by one of their number. Equality Inc took donations from those who could afford it.

And overcharged those in power who had been "disadvantaged" by the In-my-shoes gun.

People who saw Mr Libra often wondered why his office was plastered with images of the supermodel Lucy Lowell. And one aging photo of a small, smiling child with short hair in a princess dress and holding a baseball mitt. Those who enquired... got a story.

Once upon a time, there was a man who had lost his wife. His son was the light of his life. And then, one day, his son announced that she was really his daughter. That one announcement, taken in welcome and patience, changed Mr Libra's life. He saw how hard it was. Knew how tough the fight was.

If only the people in power knew what it was like to live in another person's shoes...

So he spent quite a deal of money and time working on the solution. A mixture of magic and technology that, though first a booth, had been transformed into a rather small and accurate gun that could fit into a small valise.

Lucy had been the first. And she told all her transsexual friends. They flocked to Mr Libra and changed their lives for way less than it would cost for The Operation.

The machine could not change their height, or their weight. But it could change everything else. A retroactive flick of their genetics, and it would be as if they had always been that way.

And yet, the people in power persisted in being terrible to those they alleged to care for. So Mr Libra took up his gun, and donned a mask. And became The Leveller. Exposing people to their prejudices one bigot at a time.

Of course, he only changed their exterior. It wasn't Mr Libra's fault that, when facing life on the other side of the fence, they didn't want to live any more. Even the county hero, Enforcerman, couldn't see things from the other side.

So Mr Libra made him look.

It would cost him most of his millions to return to his previous physique. Just in time to market the In-my-shoes gun to the masses.

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